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Supplemental Nights, Volume 4 by Richard F. Burton

Part 2 out of 7

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and none of the guild was younger, I having just entered my
sixteenth year. Like my fellows I sold and bought in the Bazar
every day till, one day of the days, a damsel came up to me and
drew near and handed to me a paper which I opened; and behold, it
was full of verses and odes in praise of myself, and the end of
the letter contained the woman's name professing to be enamoured
of me. When I read it I came down from my shopboard, in my folly
and ignorance, and putting forth my hand seized the girl and beat
her till she swooned away.[FN#103] After this I let her loose and
she went her ways and then I fell into a brown study saying to
myself, "Would Heaven I wot whether the girl be without relations
or if she have kith and kin to whom she may complain and they
will come and bastinado me." And, O our lord the Sultan, I
repented of what I had done whenas repentance availed me naught
and this lasted me for twenty days. At the end of that time as I
was sitting in my shop according to my custom, behold, a young
lady entered and she was sumptuously clad and sweetly scented and
she was even as the moon in its fullness on the fourteenth night.
When I gazed upon her my wits fled and my sane senses and right
judgment forsook me and I was incapable of attending to aught
save herself. She then came up and said, "O youth, hast thou by
thee a variety of metal ornaments?" and said I, "O my lady, of
all kinds thou canst possibly require." Hereupon she wished to
see some anklets which I brought out for her, when she put forth
her feet to me and showing me the calves of her legs said, "O my
lord, try them on me." This I did. Then she asked for a
necklace[FN#104] and I produced one when she unveiled her bosom
and said, "Take its measure on me:" so I set it upon her and she
said, "I want a fine pair of bracelets," and I brought to her a
pair when, extending her hands and displaying her wrists to me
she said, "Put them on me." I did so and presently she asked me,
"What may be the price of all these?" when I exclaimed, "O my
lady, accept them from me in free gift;" and this was of the
excess of my love to her, O King of the Age, and my being wholly
absorbed in her. Then quoth I to her, "O my lady, whose daughter
art thou?" and quoth she, "I am the daughter of the Shaykh
al-Islam."[FN#105] I replied, "My wish is to ask thee in marriage
of thy father," and she rejoined, "'Tis well: but, O youth, I
would have thee know that when thou askest me from my sire he
will say, 'I have but one daughter and she is a cripple and
deformed even as Satih was.[FN#106] Do thou, however, make answer
that thou art contented to accept her and if he offer any
remonstrance cry, 'I'm content, content!'" I then enquired, "When
shall that be?" and she replied, "Tomorrow about undurn
hour[FN#107] come to our house and thou wilt find my sire, the
Shaykh al-Islam, sitting with his companions and intimates. Then
ask me to wife." So we agreed upon this counsel and on the next
day, O our lord the Sultan, I went with several of my comrades
and we repaired, I and they, to the house of the Shaykh al-Islam,
whom I found sitting with sundry Grandees about him. We made our
salams which they returned and they welcomed us and all entered
into friendly and familiar conversation. When it was time for the
noon-meal the tablecloth[FN#108] was spread and they invited us
to join them, so we dined with them and after dinner drank
coffee. I then stood up saying, "O my lord, I am come hither to
sue and solicit thee for the lady concealed and the pearl
unrevealed, thy daughter." But when the Shaykh al-Islam heard
from me these words he bowed his head for awhile groundwards--And
Shahrazad was surprised by the dawn of day and fell silent and
ceased to say her permitted say. Then quoth her sister Dunyazad,
"How sweet is thy story, O sister mine, and how enjoyable and
delectable!" Quoth she, "And where is this compared with that I
would relate to you on the coming night, an the Sovran suffer me
to survive?" Now when it was the next night and that was

The Three Hundred and Fifty-sixth Night,

Dunyazad said to her, "Allah upon thee, O my sister, an thou be
other than sleepy, finish for us thy tale that we may cut short
the watching of this our latter night!" She replied, "With love
and good will!" It hath reached me, O auspicious King, the
director, the right-guiding, lord of the rede which is benefiting
and of deeds fair-seeming and worthy celebrating, that the youth
resumed:--Now when the Shaykh al-Islam heard from me those words
he bowed his brow groundwards for a while in deep thought
concerning the case of his daughter who was a cripple and
wondrously deformed. For the damsel who had told me of her had
played me a trick and served me a sleight, I all the time knowing
nothing about her guile. Presently he raised his head and said to
me, "By Allah, O my son, I have a daughter but she is helpless."
Quoth I, "I am content;" and quoth he, "An thou take her to wife
after this description, 'tis on express condition that she be not
removed from my house and thou also shalt pay her the first visit
and cohabit with her in my home." I replied, "To hear is to
obey;" being confident, O King of the Age, that she was the
damsel who had visited my shop and whom I had seen with my own
eyes. Thereupon the Shaykh al-Islam married his daughter to me
and I said in my mind, "By Allah, is it possible that I am become
master of this damsel and shall enjoy to my full her beauty and
loveliness?" But when night fell they led me in procession to the
chamber of my bride; and when I beheld her I found her as hideous
as her father had described her, a deformed cripple. At that
moment all manner of cares mounted my back and I was full of fury
and groaned with grief from the core of my heart; but I could not
say a word, for that I had accepted her to wife of my own free
will and had declared myself contented in presence of her sire.
So I took seat silently in a corner of the room and my bride in
another, because I could not bring myself to approach her, she
being unfit for the carnal company of man and my soul could not
accept cohabitation with her. And at dawntide, O my lord the
Sultan, I left the house and went to my shop which I opened
according to custom and sat down with my head dizzy like one
drunken without wine; when lo! there appeared before me the young
lady who had caused happen to me that mishap. She came up and
salam'd to me but I arose with sullenness and abused her and
cried, "Wherefore, O my lady, hast thou put upon me such a piece
of work?" She replied, "O miserable,[FN#109] recollect such a day
when I brought thee a letter and thou after reading it didst come
down from thy shop and didst seize me and didst trounce me and
didst drive me away." I replied, "O my lady, prithee pardon me
for I am a true penitent;" and I ceased not to soften her with
soothing[FN#110] words and promised her all weal if she would but
forgive me. At last she deigned excuse me and said, "There is no
harm for thee; and, as I have netted thee, so will I unmesh
thee." I replied, "Allah! Allah![FN#111] O my lady, I am under
thy safeguard;" and she rejoined, "Hie thee to the Agha of the
Janakilah,[FN#112] the gypsies, give him fifty piastres and say
him, 'We desire thee to furnish us with a father and a mother and
cousins and kith and kin, and do thou charge them to say of me,
This is our cousin and our blood relation.' Then let him send
them all to the house of the Shaykh al-Islam and repair thither
himself together with his followers, a party of drummers and a
parcel of pipers. When they enter his house and the Shaykh shall
perceive them and exclaim, 'What's this we've here?' let the Agha
reply, 'O my lord, we be kinsmen with thy son-in-law and we are
come to gladden his marriage with thy daughter and to make merry
with him.' He will exclaim, 'Is this thy son a gypsey musician?'
and do thou explain, saying, 'Aye, verily I am a Jankali;' and he
will cry out to thee, 'O dog, thou art a gypsey and yet durst
thou marry the daughter of the Shaykh al-Islam?' Then do thou
make answer, 'O my lord, 'twas my ambition to be ennobled by
thine alliance and I have espoused thy daughter only that the
mean name of Jankali may pass away from me and that I may be
under the skirt of thy protection.'" Hereat, O my lord the
Sultan, I arose without stay and delay and did as the damsel bade
me and agreed with the Chiefs of the Gypsies for fifty
piastres.[FN#113] On the second day about noon lo and behold! all
the Janakilah met before the house of the Shaykh al-Islam and
they, a tom-toming and a-piping and a-dancing, crowded into the
courtyard of the mansion.--And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of
day and fell silent and ceased saying her permitted say. Then
quoth her sister Dunyazad, "How sweet and tasteful is thy tale, O
sister mine, and enjoyable and delectable!" Quoth she, "And where
is this compared with that I would relate to you on the coming
night an the Sovran suffer me to survive?" Now when it was the
next night and that was

The Three Hundred and Fifty-seventh Night,

Dunyazad said to her, "Allah upon thee, O my sister, an thou be
other than sleepy, finish for us thy tale that we may cut short
the watching of this our latter night!" She replied, "With love
and good will!" It hath reached me, O auspicious King, the
director, the right-guiding, lord of the rede which is benefiting
and of deeds fair-seeming and worthy celebrating, that the youth
continued:--So the Janakilah entered the house of the Shaykh
al-Islam all a-drumming and a-dancing. Presently the family came
out and asked, "What is to do? And what be this hubbub?" The
fellows answered, "We are gypsey-folk and our son is in your
house having wedded the daughter of the Shaykh al-Islam." Hearing
these words the family went up and reported to its head, and he,
rising from his seat, descended to the courtyard which he found
full of Jankalis. He enquired of them their need and they told
him that the youth, their kinsman, having married the daughter of
the house, they were come to make merry at the bride-feast. Quoth
the Shaykh, "This indeed be a sore calamity that a gypsey should
espouse the daughter of the Shaykh al-Islam. By Allah, I will
divorce her from him." So he sent after me, O our lord the
Sultan, and asked me saying, "What is thy breed and what wilt
thou take to be off with thyself?" Said I, "A Jankali; and I
married thy daughter with one design namely to sink the mean name
of a gypsey drummer in the honour of connection and relationship
with thee." He replied, "'Tis impossible that my daughter can
cohabit with thee: so up and divorce her." I rejoined, "Not so: I
will never repudiate her." Then we fell to quarrelling but the
folk interposed between us and arranged that I should receive
forty purses[FN#114] for putting her away. And when he paid me
the moneys I gave her the divorce and took the coin and went to
my shop, rejoicing at having escaped by this contrivance. On the
next day, behold, came the damsel who had taught me the sleight
and saluted me and wished me good morning. I returned her salam
and indeed, O our lord the Sultan, she was a model of beauty and
loveliness, stature and symmetrical grace and my heart was
enmeshed in her love for the excess of her charms and the limpid
flow of her speech and the sweetness of her tongue. So I said to
her, "And when this promise?" and said she, "I am the daughter of
Such-andsuch, a cook in such a quarter; and do thou go ask me in
marriage of him." So I rose up with all haste and went to her
father and prayed that he would give her to me. And presently I
wedded her and went in unto her and found her as the full moon of
the fourteenth night and was subjugated by her seemlihead. Such,
then, is the adventure which befel me; but, O my lord the Sultan,
the Story of the Sage Such-an-one and his Scholar is more
wonderful and delectable; for indeed 'tis of the marvels of the
age and among the miracles which have been seen by man. Thereupon
the Sovran bade him speak, and the Second Lunatic proceeded to
recount the

Story of the Sage and the Scholar.[FN#115]

There was in times of yore and in ages long gone before a learned
man who had retired from the world secluding himself in an upper
cell of a Cathedral-mosque, and this place he left not for many
days save upon the most pressing needs. At last a beautiful boy
whose charms were unrivalled in his time went in to him and
salam'd to him. The Shaykh returned the salute and welcomed him
with the fairest welcome and courteously entreated him seating
him beside himself. Then he asked him of his case and whence he
came and the boy answered, "O my lord, question me not of aught
nor of my worldly matters, for verily I am as one who hath fallen
from the heavens upon the earth[FN#116] and my sole object is the
honour of tending thee." The Sage again welcomed him and the boy
served him assiduously for a length of time till he was twelve
years old. Now on one day of the days[FN#117] the lad heard
certain of his fellows saying that the Sultan had a daughter
endowed with beauty whose charms were unequalled by all the
Princesses of the age. So he fell in love with her by
hearsay.--And Shahrazad was surprised by the dawn of day and fell
silent and ceased to say her permitted say. Then quoth her sister
Dunyazad, "How sweet is thy story, O sister mine, and how
enjoyable and delectable!" Quoth she, "And where is this compared
with that I would relate to you on the coming night, an the
Sovran suffer me to survive?" Now when it was the next night, and
that was

The Three Hundred and Fifty-eighth Night,

Dunyazad said to her, "Allah upon thee, O my sister, an thou be
other than sleepy, finish for us thy tale that we may cut short
the watching of this our latter night!" She replied, "With love
and good will!" It hath reached me, O auspicious King, the
director, the right-guiding, lord of the rede which is benefiting
and of deeds fair-seeming and worthy celebrating, that the lad
who served the Sage fell in love with the Sultan's daughter by
hearsay. Presently he went in to his master and told him thereof
adding, "O my lord, verily the King hath a daughter beautiful and
lovesome and my soul longeth to look upon her an it be only a
single look." The Shaykh asked him saying, "Wherefore, O my son?
What have the like of us to do with the daughters of Sovrans or
others? We be an order of eremites and selfcontained and we fear
the Kings for our own safety." And the Sage continued to warn the
lad against the shifts of Time and to divert him from his intent;
but the more words he uttered to warn him and to deter him, the
more resolved he became to win his wish, so that he abode
continually groaning and weeping. Now this was a grievous matter
to the good Shaykh who loved him with an exceeding love passing
all bounds; and when he saw him in this condition he exclaimed,
"There is no Majesty and there is no Might save in Allah, the
Glorious, the Great." And his heart was softened and he had ruth
upon the case of his scholar and pitied his condition, and at
last said to him, "O my son, dost thou truly long to look but a
single look at the Sultan's daughter?" Quoth he, "Yes, O my
lord," and quoth the other, "Come hither to me." Accordingly he
came up to him and the Shaykh produced a Kohl-pot and applied the
powder to one of his scholar's eyes, who behold, forthright
became such that all who saw him cried out, "This is a
half-man."[FN#118] Then the Sage bade him go about the city and
the youth obeyed his commands and fared forth; but whenas the
folk espied him they cried out, "A miracle! a miracle! this be a
half-man!" And the more the youth walked about the streets the
more the folk followed him and gazed upon him for diversion and
marvelled at the spectacle; and as often as the great men of the
city heard of him they sent to summon him and solaced themselves
with the sight and said, "Laud to the Lord! Allah createth whatso
He wisheth and commandeth whatso He willeth as we see in the
fashioning of this half-man." The youth also looked freely upon
the Harims of the Grandees, he being fairer than any of them; and
this case continued till the report reached the Sultan who bade
him be brought into the presence, and on seeing him marvelled at
the works of the Almighty. Presently the whole court gathered
together to gaze at him in wonderment and the tidings soon
reached the Queen who sent an Eunuch to fetch him and introduce
him into the Serraglio. The women all admired the prodigy and the
Princess looked at him and he looked at her; so his fascination
increased upon him and he said in his secret soul, "An I wed her
not I will slay myself!" After this the youth was dismissed by
the Sultan's Harim and he, whose heart burned with love for the
King's daughter, returned home. The Shaykh asked him, "Hast thou,
O my son, seen the Princess?" and he answered, "I have, O my
master; but this one look sufficeth me not, nor can I rest until
I sit by her side and fill myself with gazing upon her." Quoth
he, "O my child, we be an ascetic folk that shun the world nor
have we aught to do with enmeshing ourselves in the affairs of
the Sultan, and we fear for thee, O my son." But the youth
replied, "O my lord, except I sit by her side and stroke her neck
and shoulders with these my hands, I will slay myself." Hereupon
the Sage said in his mind, "I will do whatso I can for this good
youth and perchance Allah may enable him to win his wish." He
then arose and brought out the Kohl-pot and applied the powder to
his scholar's either eye; and, when it had settled therein, it
made him invisible to the ken of man. Then he said, "Go forth, O
my son, and indulge thy desire; but return again soon and be not
absent too long." Accordingly the youth hastened to the Palace
and entering it looked right and left, none seeing him the while,
and proceeded to the Harem where he seated himself beside the
daughter of the Sultan. Still none perceived him until, after a
time, he put forth his hand and softly stroked her neck. But as
soon as the Princess felt the youth's touch, she shrieked a loud
shriek heard by all ears in the Palace and cried "I seek refuge
with Allah from Satan, the stoned!" At this proceeding on the
girl's part all asked her saying, "What is to do with thee?"
Whereto she answered, "Verily some Satan hath this instant
touched me on the neck." Upon this her mother was alarmed for her
and sent for her nurse[FN#119] and when informed of what had
befallen the girl the old woman said, "If there be aught of
Satans here naught is so sovereign a specific to drive them away
and keep them off as the smoke of camel's dung."[FN#120] Then she
arose and brought thereof a quantity which was thrown into the
fire and presently it scented and pervaded the whole apartment.
All this and the Youth still sat there without being seen. But
when the dung-smoke thickened, his eyes brimmed and he could not
but shed tears, and the more smoke there was the more his eyes
watered and big drops flowed till at last all the Kohl was washed
off and trickled down with the tears. So he became visible
a-middlemost the royal Harem; and, when the dames descried him,
all shrieked one shriek, each at other, upon which the Eunuchry
rushed in; then, finding the young man still seated there, they
laid hands upon him and haled him before the Sultan to whom they
reported his crime and how he had been caught lurking in the
King's Serraglio a-sitting beside the Princess. Hearing this, the
Sovran bade summon the Headsman and committed to him the criminal
bidding him take the youth and robe him in a black habit
bepatched with flamecolour;[FN#121] then, to set him upon a camel
and, after parading him through Cairo city and all the streets,
to put him to death. Accordingly the executioner took the
Youth.--And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and fell silent
and ceased saying her permitted say. Then quoth her sister
Dunyazad, "How sweet and tasteful is thy tale, O sister mine, and
enjoyable and delectable!" Quoth she, "And where is this compared
with that I would relate to you on the coming night an the Sovran
suffer me to survive?" Now when it was the next night and that
was

The Three Hundred and Fifty-ninth Night,

Dunyazad said to her, "Allah upon thee, O my sister, an thou be
other than sleepy, finish for us thy tale that we may cut short
the watching of this our latter night!" She replied, "With love
and good will!" It hath reached me, O auspicious King, the
director, the right-guiding, lord of the rede which is benefiting
and of deeds fair-seeming and worthy celebrating, that the
Linkman took the youth and fared forth with him from the palace:
then he looked at him and found him fair of form and favour, a
sans peer in loveliness, and he observed that he showed no fear
nor shrinking from death. So he had pity upon him and his heart
yearned to him and he said in his mind, "By Allah, attached to
this young man is a rare history." Then he brought a leathern
gown which he put upon him, and the flamey black habit which he
passed over his arms: and setting him upon a camel as the Sultan
had commanded, at last carried him in procession crying out the
while, "This is the award and the least award of him who
violateth the Harem of the King;" and he threaded the streets
till they came to the square before the great Mosque wherein was
the Shaykh. Now as all the folk were enjoying the spectacle, the
Sage looked out from the window of his cell and beheld the
condition of his scholar. He was moved to ruth and reciting a
spell he summoned the Jann and bade them snatch the young man off
the camel's back with all care and kindness and bring him to his
cell; and he also commanded an 'Aun of the 'Auns[FN#122] to seize
some oldster and set him upon the beast in lieu of the Youth.
They did as he bid them for that he had taken fealty of the Jann
and because of his profound studies in the Notaricon[FN#123] and
every branch of the art magical. And when all the crowd saw the
youth suddenly transformed into a grey-beard they were
awe-stricken and cried, "Alhamdolillah--laud to the Lord--the
young man hath become an old man!" They then looked again and
behold, they saw a person well-known amongst the lieges, one who
had long been wont to sell greens and colocasia at the hostelry
gate near the Cathedral-mosque. Now the headsman noting this case
was confounded with sore affright; so he returned to the palace
with the oldster seated on the camel and went in to the Sultan
followed by all the city-folk who were gazing at the spectacle.
Then he stood before the King and the eunuchry and did homage and
prayed for the Sovran and said, "O our lord the Sultan, verily
the Youth hath vanished, and in lieu of him is this Shaykh well
known to the whole city." Hearing these words the King was
startled; sore fear entered his heart and he said to himself,
"Whoso hath been able to do this deed can do e'en more: he can
depose me from my kingship or he can devise my death." So his
affright increased and he was at a loss how to contrive for such
case. Presently he summoned his Minister and when he came into
the presence said to him, "O Wazir, advise me how to act in the
affair of this Youth and what measures should be taken." The
Minister bowed his brow groundwards in thought for a while, then
raising it he addressed the Sultan and said, "O King of the Age,
this be a thing beyond experience, and the doer must be master of
a might we comprehend not and haply he may work thee in the
future some injury and we fear from him for thy daughter.
Wherefore the right way is that thou issue a royal autograph and
bid the Crier go round about the city and cry saying, 'Let him
who hath wrought this work appear before the King under promise
of safety and again safety--safety on the word of a Sultan which
shall never be falsed.' Should the Youth then surrender himself,
O King of the Age, marry him to thy daughter when perhaps his
mind may be reconciled to thee by love of her. He hath already
cast eyes upon her and he hath seen the inmates of thy Harem
unrobed, so that naught can save their honour but his being
united with the Princess." Hereupon the Sultan indited an
autographic rescript and placed it in the Crier's hands even as
the Wazir had counselled: and the man went about the streets
proclaiming, "By Command of the just King! whoso hath done this
deed let him discover himself and come to the Palace under
promise of safety and again safety, the safety of
sovereigns--safety on the word of a Sultan which shall never be
falsed." And the Crier ceased not crying till in fine he reached
the square fronting the great Mosque. The Youth who was standing
there heard the proclamation and returning to his Shaykh said, "O
my lord, the Crier hath a rescript from the Sultan and he crieth
saying, 'Whoso hath done this deed let him discover himself and
come to the Palace under promise of safety and again
safety--safety on the word of a Sultan which shall never be
falsed.' And, I must go to him perforce." Said the Sage, "O my
son, why shouldst thou do on such wise? Hast thou not already
suffered thy sufficiency?" But the young man exclaimed, "Nothing
shall prevent my going;" and at this the Shaykh replied, "Go
then, O my son, and be thy safeguarding with the Living, the
Eternal." Accordingly, the Youth repaired to the Hammam and
having bathed attired himself in the richest attire he owned,
after which he went forth and discovered himself to the Crier who
led him to the Palace and set him before the Sovran. He salamed
to the Sultan and did him obeisance and prayed for his long life
and prosperity in style the most eloquent, and proffered his
petition in verse the most fluent. The Sultan looked at him (and
he habited in his best and with all of beauty blest), and the
royal mind was pleased and he enquired saying, "Who art thou, O
Youth?" The other replied, "I am the Half-man whom thou sawest
and I did the deed whereof thou wottest." As soon as the King
heard this speech he entreated him with respect and bade him sit
in the most honourable stead, and when he was seated the twain
conversed together. The Sultan was astounded at his speech and
they continued their discourse till they touched upon sundry
disputed questions of learning, when the Youth proved himself as
superior to the Sovran as a dinar is to a dirham: and to whatever
niceties of knowledge the monarch asked, the young man returned
an allsufficient answer, speaking like a book. So the Sultan
abode confounded at the eloquence of his tongue and the purity of
his phrase and the readiness of his replies; and he said in his
mind, "This Youth is as worthy to become my daughter's mate as
she is meet to become his helpmate." Then he addressed him in
these words, "O Youth, my wish is to unite thee with my daughter
and after thou hast looked upon her and her mother none will
marry her save thyself." The other replied, "O King of the Age, I
am ready to obey thee, but first I must take counsel of my
friends." The King rejoined, "No harm in that: hie thee home and
ask their advice." The Youth then craved leave to retire and
repairing to his Shaykh,--And Shahrazad was surprised by the dawn
of day and fell silent and ceased to say her permitted say. Then
quoth her sister Dunyazad, "How sweet is thy story, O sister
mine, and how enjoyable and delectable!" Quoth she, "And where is
this compared with that I would relate to you on the coming
night, an the Sovran suffer me to survive?" Now when it was the
next night and that was

The Three Hundred and Sixtieth Night,

Dunyazad said to her, "Allah upon thee, O my sister, an thou be
other than sleepy, finish for us thy tale that we may cut short
the watching of this our latter night!" She replied, "With love
and good will!" It hath reached me, O auspicious King, the
director, the right-guiding, lord of the rede which is benefiting
and of deeds fair-seeming and worthy celebrating, that the Youth
then craved leave to retire and, repairing to his Shaykh,
informed him of what had passed between himself and the Sultan
and said to him, "'Tis also my wish, O my lord, to marry his
daughter." The Sage replied, "There be no fault herein if it be
lawful wedlock: fare thee forth and ask her in marriage." Quoth
the Youth, "But I, O my lord, desire to invite the King to visit
us;" and quoth the Sage, "Go invite him, O my son, and hearten
thy heart." The Youth replied, "O my lord, since I first came to
thee and thou didst honour me by taking me into thy service, I
have known none other home save this narrow cell wherein thou
sittest, never stirring from it by night or by day. How can we
invite the King hither?" The Sage rejoined, "O my son, do thou go
invite him relying upon Allah, the Veiler who veileth all things,
and say to him, 'My Shaykh greeteth thee with the salam and
inviteth thee to visit him next Friday.'" Accordingly, the Youth
repaired to the King and saluted him and offered his service and
blessed him with most eloquent tongue and said, "O King of the
Age, my Shaykh greeteth thee and sayeth to thee, 'Come eat thy
pottage[FN#124] with us next Friday,'" whereto the Sultan
replied, "Hearing is consenting." Then the Youth returned to the
Sage and waited upon him according to custom, longing the while
for the coming of Friday. On that day the Sage said to the Youth,
"O my son, arise with me and I will show thee what house be ours,
so thou mayst go fetch the King." Then he took him and the two
walked on till they came upon a ruin in the centre of the city
and the whole was in heaps, mud, clay, and stones. The Sage
looked at it and said, "O my son, this is our mansion; do thou
hie thee to the King and bring him hither." But the Youth
exclaimed, "O my lord, verily this be a ruinous heap! How then
can I invite the Sultan and bring him to such an ill place? This
were a shame and a disgrace to us." Quoth the Sage, "Go and dread
thou naught." Upon this the Youth departed saying in himself, "By
Allah, my Shaykh must be Jinn-mad and doubtless he confoundeth in
his insanity truth and untruth." But he stinted not faring till
he reached the Palace and went in to the Sultan whom he found
expecting him; so he delivered the message, "Deign honour us, O
my lord, with thy presence."[FN#125] Hereupon the King arose
without stay or delay and took horse, and all the lords of the
land also mounted, following the Youth to the place where he told
them his Shaykh abode. But when they drew near it they found a
royal mansion and eunuchry standing at the gates in costliest
gear as if robed from a talismanic hoard. When the young man saw
this change of scene, he was awe-struck and confounded in such
way that hardly could he keep his senses, and he said to himself,
"But an instant ago I beheld with mine own eyes this very place a
ruinous heap: how then hath it suddenly become on this same site
a Palace such as belongeth not to our Sultan? But I had better
keep the secret to myself." Presently the King alighted as also
did his suite, and entered the mansion, and whenas he inspected
it he marvelled at the splendour of the first apartment, but the
more narrowly he looked the more magnificent he found the place,
and the second more sumptuous than the first. So his wits were
bewildered thereat till he was ushered into a spacious speak-room
where they found the Shaykh sitting on one side of the
chamber[FN#126] to receive them. The Sultan salam'd to him
whereupon the Sage raised his head and returned his greeting but
did not rise to his feet. The King then sat him down on the
opposite side when the Shaykh honoured him by addressing him and
was pleased to converse with him on various themes; all this
while the royal senses being confounded at the grandeur around
him and the rarities in that Palace. Presently the Shaykh said to
his Scholar, "Knock thou at this door and bid our breakfast be
brought in." So the young man arose and rapped and called out,
"Bring in the breakfast;" when lo! the door was opened and there
came out of it an hundred Mamelukes[FN#127] of the Book, each
bearing upon his head a golden tray, whereon were set dishes of
precious metals; and these, which were filled with
breakfast-meats of all kinds and colours, they ranged in order
before the Sultan. He was surprised at the sight for that he had
naught so splendid in his own possession; but he came forwards
and ate, as likewise did the Shaykh and all the courtiers until
they were satisfied. And after this they drank coffee and
sherbets, and the Sultan and the Shaykh fell to conversing on
questions of lore: the King was edified by the words of the Sage
who on his part sat respectfully between the Sovran's hands. Now
when it was well nigh noon, the Shaykh again said to his Scholar,
"Knock thou at that door and bid our noonday-meal be brought in."
He arose and rapped and called out, "Bring in the dinner;" when
lo! the door opened of itself and there came out of it an hundred
white slaves all other than the first train and each bearing a
tray upon his head. They spread the Sufrah-cloth before the
Sultan and ranged the dishes, and he looked at the plates and
observed that they were of precious metals and stones; whereat he
was more astonished than before and he said to himself, "In very
deed this be a miracle!" So all ate their sufficiency when basins
and ewers, some of gold and others of various noble ores, were
borne round and they washed their hands, after which the Shaykh
said, "O King, at how much hast thou valued for us the dower of
thy daughter?" The Sovran replied, "My daughter's dower is
already in my hands." This he said of his courtesy and respect,
but the Shaykh replied, "Marriage is invalid save with a dower."
He then presented to him a mint of money and the tie of wedlock
was duly tied; after which he rose and brought for his guest a
pelisse of furs such as the Sultan never had in his treasury and
invested him therewith and he gave rich robes to each and every
of his courtiers according to their degree. The Sultan then took
leave of the Shaykh and accompanied by the Scholar returned to
the Palace.--And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and fell
silent and ceased saying her permitted say. Then quoth her sister
Dunyazad, "How sweet and tasteful is thy tale, O sister mine, and
enjoyable and delectable!" Quoth she, "And where is this compared
with that I would relate to you on the coming night an the Sovran
suffer me to survive?" Now when it was the next night and that
was

The Three Hundred and Sixty-first Night,

Dunyazad said to her, "Allah upon thee, O my sister, an thou be
other than sleepy, finish for us thy tale that we may cut short
the watching of this our latter night!" She replied, "With love
and good will!" It hath reached me, O auspicious King, the
director, the right-guiding, lord of the rede which is benefiting
and of deeds fair-seeming and worthy celebrating, that the Sultan
took with him the Scholar and they fared till they reached the
citadel and entered the Palace, during which time the King was
pondering the matter and wondering at the affair. And when night
came he bade them get ready his daughter that the first visit
might be paid to her by the bridegroom. They did his bidding and
carried the Youth in procession to her and he found the apartment
bespread with carpets and perfumed with essences; the bride,
however, was absent. So he said in his mind, "She will come
presently albeit now she delayeth;" and he ceased not expecting
her till near midnight, whilst the father and the mother said,
"Verily the young man hath married our daughter and now sleepeth
with her." On this wise the Youth kept one reckoning and the
Sultan and his Harem kept another till it was hard upon dawn--all
this and the bridegroom watched in expectation of the bride. Now
when the day brake, the mother came to visit her child expecting
to see her by the side of her mate; but she could not find a
trace of her, nor could she gather any clear tidings of her.
Accordingly she asked the Youth, her son-in-law, who answered
that since entering the apartment he had expected his bride but
she came not to him nor had he seen a sign of her. Hereupon the
Queen shrieked and rose up calling aloud upon her daughter, for
she had none other child save that one. The clamour alarmed the
Sultan who asked what was to do and was informed that the
Princess was missing from the Palace and had not been seen after
she had entered it at eventide. Thereupon he went to the Youth
and asked him anent her, but he also told him that he had not
found her when the procession led him into the bridal chamber.
Such was the case with these; but as regards the Princess, when
they conducted her to the bridal room before the coming of the
bridegroom, a Jinni[FN#128] of the Marids, who often visited the
royal Harem, happened to be there on the marriage-night and was
so captivated by the charms of the bride that he took seat in a
corner, and upon her entering and before she was ware snatched
her up and soared with her high in air. And he flew with her till
he reached a pleasant place of trees and rills some three months'
journey from the city, and in that shady place he set her down
But he wrought her no bodily damage and every day he would bring
her whatso she wanted of meat and drink and solaced her by
showing her the rills and trees. Now this Jinni had changed his
shape to that of a fair youth fearing lest his proper semblance
affright her, and the girl abode in that place for a space of
forty days. But the father, after failing to find his daughter,
took the Youth and repaired to the Shaykh in his cell, and he was
as one driven mad as he entered and complained of the loss of his
only child. The Shaykh hearing these words dove into the depths
of meditation for an hour: then he raised his head and bade them
bring before him a chafing-dish of lighted charcoal. They fetched
all he required and he cast into the fire some incenses over
which he pronounced formulae of incantation, and behold! the
world was turned topsy-turvy and the winds shrieked and the earth
was canopied by dust-clouds whence descended at speed winged
troops bearing standards and colours.[FN#129] And amiddlemost of
them appeared three Sultans of the Jann all crying out at once
"Labbayka! Labbayk! Adsumus, hither we speed to undertake thy
need." The Shaykh then addressed them, saying, "My commandment is
that forthright ye bring me the Jinni who hath snatched away the
bride of my son," and they said, "To hear is to obey," and at
once commanded fifty of their dependent Jinns to reconduct the
Princess to her chamber and to hale the culprit before them.
These orders were obeyed: they disappeared for an hour or so and
suddenly returned, bringing the delinquent Jinni in person; but
as for the Sultan's daughter, ten of them conveyed her to her
Palace, she wotting naught of them and not feeling aught of fear.
And when they set the Jinni before the Shaykh, he bade the three
Sultans of the Jann burn him to death and so they did without
stay or delay. All this was done whilst the Sovran sat before the
Shaykh, looking on and listening and marvelling at the obedience
of that host and its Sultans and their subjection and civil
demeanour in presence of the Elder. Now as soon as the business
ended after perfectest fashion, the Sage recited over them a
spell and all went their several ways; after which he bade the
King take the Youth and conduct him to his daughter. This bidding
was obeyed and presently the bridegroom abated the maidenhead of
the bride, what while her parents renewed their rejoicings over
the recovery of their lost child. And the Youth was so enamoured
of the Princess that he quitted not the Harem for seven
consecutive days. On the eighth the Sultan was minded to make a
marriage-banquet and invited all the city-folk to feast for a
whole month and he wrote a royal rescript and bade proclaim with
full publicity that, according to the commands of the King's
majesty, the wedding-feast should continue for a month, and that
no citizen, be he rich or be he poor, should light fire or trim
lamp in his own domicile during the wedding of the Princess; but
that all must eat of the royal entertainment until the expiry of
the fete. So they slaughtered beeves and stabbed camels in the
throat and the kitcheners and carpet-spreaders were commanded to
prepare the stables, and the officers of the household were
ordered to receive the guests by night and by day. Now one night
King Mohammed of Cairo said to his Minister, "O Wazir, do thou
come with me in changed costume and let us thread the streets and
inspect and espy the folk: haply some of the citizens have
neglected to appear at the marriage-feast." He replied, "To hear
is to obey." So the twain after exchanging habits for the gear of
Persian Darwayshes went down to the city and there took place

The Night-Adventure of Sultan Mohammed of Cairo.[FN#130]

The Sultan and the Wazir threaded the broadways of the city and
they noted the houses and stood for an hour or so in each and
every greater thoroughfare, till they came to a lane, a
cul-de-sac wherethrough none could pass, and behold, they hit
upon a house containing a company of folk. Now these were
conversing and saying, "By Allah, our Sultan hath not acted
wisely nor hath he any cause to be proud, since he hath made his
daughter's bride-feast a vanity and a vexation and the poor are
excluded therefrom. He had done better to distribute somewhat of
his bounty amongst the paupers and the mesquin, who may not enter
his palace nor can they obtain aught to eat." Hearing this the
Sultan said to the Wazir, "By Allah, needs must we enter this
place;" and the Minister replied, "Do whatso thou willest."
Accordingly the King went up to the door and knocked, when one
came out and asked, "Who is at the door?" The Sultan answered,
"Guests;" and the voice rejoined, "Welcome to the guests;" and
the door was thrown open. Then they went in till they reached the
sitting-room where they found three men of whom one was lame, the
second was broken-backed and the third was split-mouthed.[FN#131]
And all three were sitting together in that place. So he asked
them, "Wherefore sit ye here, ye three, instead of going to the
Palace?" and they answered him, "O Darwaysh, 'tis of the weakness
of our wits!" The King then turned to his Minister and said,
"There is no help but thou must bring these three men into my
presence, as soon as the wedding-fetes be finished, that I may
enquire into what stablished their imbecility."--And Shahrazad
was surprised by the dawn of day and fell silent and ceased to
say her permitted say. Then quoth her sister Dunyazad, "How sweet
is thy story, O sister mine, and how enjoyable and delectable!"
Quoth she, "And where is this compared with that I would relate
to you on the coming night, an the Sovran suffer me to survive?"
Now when it was the next night and that was

The Three Hundred and Sixty-second Night,

Dunyazad said to her, "Allah upon thee, O my sister, an thou be
other than sleepy, finish for us thy tale that we may cut short
the watching of this our latter night!" She replied, "With love
and good will!" It hath reached me, O auspicious King, the
director, the right-guiding, lord of the rede which is benefiting
and of deeds fair-seeming and worthy celebrating, that the Sultan
said to the Wazir, "Needs must thou bring these three men into my
presence, as soon as the wedding-fetes be finished, and we will
enquire into what proved their imbecility." Then quoth the King
to them, "Wherefore fare ye not, ye three, and eat of the royal
banquet day by day?" and quoth they, "O Darwaysh, we are crippled
folk who cannot go and come, for this be grievous to us; but, an
the Sultan would assign to us somewhat of victual, and send it
hither, we would willingly eat thereof." He rejoined, "What
knoweth the Sultan that ye sit in this place?" and they retorted,
"Ye be Darwayshes who enter everywhere: so when ye go in to him,
tell him our tale; haply shall Almighty Allah incline his heart
uswards." The King asked them, "Be you three ever sitting
together in this stead?" and they answered, "Yea, verily: we
never leave one another by night or by day." Then the King and
the Minister rose up and having presented them with a few silvers
took leave and departed. Now it was midnight when they reached a
tenement wherein sat three girls with their mother spinning and
eating; and each one appeared fairer than her fellows, and at
times they sang and then they laughed and then they talked. The
Sultan said to the Wazir, "There is no help but we enter to these
damsels;" whereto the Minister replied "What have we to do with
going near them? Let them be as they are!" The Sultan, however,
rejoined, "Needs must we enter," and the Wazir retorted,
"Hearkening and obedience;" and he rapped at the door when one of
the sisterhood cried out, "Who knocketh in this gloom of the
night?" The Minister answered, "We are two Darwayshes, guests and
strangers;" and the girl rejoined, "We are maidens with our
mother and we have no men in our house who can admit you; so fare
ye to the marriage-feast of the Sultan and become ye his guests."
The Minister continued, "We are foreigners and we know not the
way to the Palace and we dread lest the Chief of Police happen
upon us and apprehend us at this time o' night. We desire that
you afford us lodging till daylight when we will go about our
business and you need not expect from us aught save respect and
honourable treatment." Now when the mother heard this, she pitied
them and bade one daughter open the door. So the damsel threw it
open and the Sultan and Wazir entered and salam'd and sat down to
converse together; but the King gazed upon the sisters and
marvelled at their beauty and their loveliness, and said in his
mind, "How cometh it that these maidens dwell by themselves
unmated and they in such case?" So quoth he to them, "How is it
ye lack husbands, you being so beautiful, and that ye have not a
man in the house?" Quoth the youngest, "O Darwaysh, hold thy
tongue[FN#132] nor ask us of aught, for our story is wondrous and
our adventures marvellous. But 'ware thy words and shorten thy
speech; verily hadst thou been the Sultan and thy companion the
Wazir an you heard our history haply ye had taken compassion upon
our case." Thereupon the King turned to the Minister and said,
"Up with us and wend we our ways; but first do thou make sure of
the place and affix thy mark upon the door." Then the twain rose
up and fared forth but the Wazir stood awhile and set a sign upon
the entrance and there left his imprint; after which the twain
returned to the Palace. Presently the youngest sister said to her
mother, "By Allah, I fear lest the Darwayshes have made their
mark upon our door to the end that they may recognise it by day;
for haply the twain may be the King and his Minister." "What
proof hast thou of this?" asked the mother, and the daughter
answered, "Their language and their questioning which were naught
save importunity!" And saying this she went to the door where she
found the sign and mark. Now besides the two houses to the right
and to the left were fifteen doors, so the girl marked them all
with the same mark set by the Wazir.[FN#133] But when Allah had
caused the day to dawn, the King said to the Minister, "Go thou
and look at the sign and make sure of it." The Wazir went as he
was commanded by the Sultan, but he found all the doors marked in
the same way, whereat he marvelled and knew not nor could he
distinguish the door he sought. Presently he returned and
reported the matter of the door-marks to the King who cried, "By
Allah, these girls must have a curious history! But when the
bride-feast is finished we will enquire into the case of the
three men who are weak-witlings and then we will consider that of
the damsels who are not." As soon as the thirtieth feast-day
passed by, he invested with robes of honour all the Lords of his
land and the high Officers of his estate and matters returned to
their customed course. Then he sent to summon the three men who
had professed themselves weak of wits and they were brought into
the presence, each saying of himself, "What can the King require
of us?" When they came before him he bade them be seated and they
sat; then he said to them, "My requirement is that ye relate to
me proofs of the weakness of your minds and the reason of your
maims." Now the first who was questioned was he of the broken
back, and when the enquiry was put to him he said, "Deign to
favour me with an answer O our Lord the Sultan, on a matter which
passed through my mind." He replied, "Speak out and fear not!" So
the other enquired, "How didst thou know us and who told thee of
us and of our weakly wits?" Quoth the King, "'Twas the Darwaysh
who went in to you on such a night;" and quoth the broken-backed
man, "Allah slay all the Darwayshes who be tattlers and
tale-carriers!" Thereupon the Sultan turned to the Wazir and
laughing said, "We will not reproach them for aught: rather let
us make fun of them," adding to the man, "Recite, O Shaykh." So
he fell to telling

The Story of the Broke-Back Schoolmaster.[FN#134]

I began life, O King of the Age, as a Schoolmaster and my case
was wondrous.--And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and fell
silent and ceased saying her permitted say. Then quoth her sister
Dunyazad, "How sweet and tasteful is thy tale, O sister mine, and
enjoyable and delectable!" Quoth she, "And where is this compared
with that I would relate to you on the coming night an the Sovran
suffer me to survive?" Now when it was the next night and that
was

The Three Hundred and Sixty-third Night,

Dunyazad said to her, "Allah upon thee, O my sister, an thou be
other than sleepy, finish for us thy tale that we may cut short
the watching of this our latter night!" She replied, "With love
and good will!" It hath reached me, O auspicious King, the
director, the right-guiding, lord of the rede which is benefiting
and of deeds fair-seeming and worthy celebrating, that the Shaykh
continued.--I began life, O my lord, as a Schoolmaster, and my
tale with the boys was wondrous. They numbered from sixty to
seventy, and I taught them to read and I inculcated due
discipline and ready respect esteeming these a part of liberal
education; nor did I regard, O King of the Age, the vicissitudes
of Time and Change; nay, I held them with so tight a rein that
whenever the boys heard me sneeze[FN#135] they were expected to
lay down their writing-tablets and stand up with their arms
crossed and exclaim, "Allah have ruth upon thee, O our lord!"
whereto I would make reply, "Allah deign pardon us and you!" And
if any of the lads failed or delayed to join in this prayer I was
wont to bash him with a severe bashing. One day of the days they
asked leave to visit the outskirts of the town for liberty and
pleasuring[FN#136] and when I granted it they clubbed their
pittances for a certain sum of money to buy them a noonday meal.
So we went forth to the suburbs and there found verdure and
water, and we enjoyed ourselves that day with perfect enjoyment
until mid-afternoon when we purposed to return homewards.
Accordingly, the boys collected their belongings and laded them
upon an ass and we walked about half-way when behold, the whole
party, big and little, stood still and said to me, "O our lord,
we are athirst and burning with drowthiness, nor can we stir from
this spot and if we leave it without drinking we shall all die."
Now there was in that place a draw-well, but it was deep and we
had nor pitcher nor bucket nor aught wherein to draw water and
the scholars still suffered from exceeding thirst. We had with
us, however, cooking-gear such as chauldrons and platters; so I
said to them, "O boys, whoso carrieth a cord or hath bound his
belongings with one let him bring it hither!" They did my bidding
and I tied these articles together and spliced them as strongly
as I could: then said I to the lads, "Bind me under the
arm-pits." Accordingly they made me fast by passing the rope
around me and I took with me a chauldron, whereupon they let me
down bucket-wise into the well till I reached the water. Then I
loosed the bandage from under my armpits and tied it to the
chauldron which I filled brim-full and shook the rope for a
signal to the boys above. They haled at the vessel till they
pulled it up and began drinking and giving drink; and on this
wise they drew a first chauldron and a second and a third and a
fourth till they were satisfied and could no more and cried out
to me, "We have had enough, quite enough." Hereupon I bound the
bandage under my armpits, as it was when I went down, and I shook
it as a signal and they haled me up till I had well-nigh reached
the kerbstone of the well when a fit of sneezing seized me and I
sneezed violently. At this all let go their hold and carrying
their arms over their breasts, cried aloud, "Allah have ruth upon
thee, O our lord!" but I, as soon as they loosed hold, fell into
the depths of the well and brake my back. I shrieked for excess
of agony and all the boys ran on all sides screaming for aid till
they were heard by some wayfaring folk; and these haled at me and
drew me out. They placed me upon the ass and bore me home: then
they brought a leach to medicine me and at last I became even as
thou seest me, O Sultan of the Age. Such, then, is my story
showing the weakness of my wits; for had I not enjoined and
enforced over-respect the boys would not have let go their hold
when I happened to sneeze nor would my back have been broken.
"Thou speakest sooth, O Shaykh," said the Sultan, "and indeed
thou hast made evident the weakness of thy wit." Then quoth he to
the man who was cloven of mouth. "And thou, the other, what was
it split thy gape?" "The weakness of my wit, O my lord the
Sultan," quoth he, and fell to telling the

Story of the Split-Mouthed Schoolmaster.[FN#137]

I also began life, O King of the Age, as a Schoolmaster and had
under my charge some eighty boys. Now I was strict with such
strictness that from morning to evening I sat amongst them and
would never dismiss them to their homes before sundown. But 'tis
known to thee, O our lord the King, that boys' wits be short
after the measure of their age, and that they love naught save
play and forgathering in the streets and quarter. Withal, I took
no heed of this and ever grew harder upon them till one day all
met and with the intervention of the eldest Monitor they agreed
and combined to play me a trick. He arranged with them that next
morning none should enter the school until he had taught them,
each and every, to say as they went in, "Thy safety, O our lord,
how yellow is thy face!" Now the first who showed himself was the
Monitor and he spoke as had been agreed; but I was rough with him
and sent him away; then a second came in and repeated what the
first had said; then a third and then a fourth, until ten boys
had used the same words. So quoth I to myself, "Ho, Such-an-one!
thou must be unwell without weeting it:" then I arose and went
into the Harem and lay down therein when the Monitor, having
collected from his school-fellows some hundred-and-eighty
Nusfs,[FN#138] came in to me and cried, "Take this, O our lord,
and expend the money upon thy health." Thereupon I said to
myself, "Ho, Such-an-one! every Thursday[FN#139] thou dost not
collect sixty Faddahs from the boys," and I cried to him, "Go,
let them forth for a holiday." So he went and dismissed them from
school to the playground. On the next day he collected as much as
on the first and came in to me and said, "Expend these moneys, O
our lord, upon thy health." He did the same on the third day and
the fourth, making the boys contribute much coin and presenting
it to me; and on such wise he continued till the tenth day, when
he brought the money as was his wont. At that time I happened to
hold in my hand a boiled egg which I purposed eating, but on
sighting him I said in myself, "An he see thee feeding he will
cut off the supplies." So I crammed the egg into my chops--And
Shahrazad was surprised by the dawn of day and fell silent and
ceased to say her permitted say. Then quoth her sister Dunyazad,
"How sweet is thy story, O sister mine, and how enjoyable and
delectable!" Quoth she, "And where is this compared with that I
would relate to you on the coming night, an the Sovran suffer me
to survive?" Now when it was the next night and that was

The Three Hundred and Sixty-fourth Night,

Dunyazad said to her, "Allah, upon thee, O my sister, an thou be
other than sleepy, finish for us thy tale that we may cut short
the watching of this our latter night!" She replied, "With love
and good will!" It hath reached me, O auspicious King, the
director, the right-guiding, lord of the rede which is benefiting
and of deeds fair-seeming and worthy celebrating, that the
Schoolmaster said to himself, "If the Monitor see thee eating the
egg now in thy hand he will cut off the supplies and assert thee
to be sound." So (continued he) I crammed the egg into my chops
and clapped my jaws together. Hereupon the lad turned to me and
cried, "O my lord, thy cheek is much swollen;" and I, "'Tis only
an imposthume." But he drew a whittle[FN#140] forth his sleeve
and coming up to me seized my cheek and slit it, when the egg
fell out and he said, "O my lord, this it was did the harm and
now 'tis passed away from thee." Such was the cause of the
splitting of my mouth, O our lord the Sultan. Now had I cast away
greed of gain and eaten the egg in the Monitor's presence, what
could have been the ill result? But all this was of the weakness
of my wit; for also had I dismissed the boys every day about
mid-afternoon, I should have gained naught nor lost aught
thereby. However the Dealer of Destiny is self-existent, and this
is my case. Then the Sultan turned to the Wazir and laughed and
said, "The fact is that whoso schooleth boys is weak of wit;" and
said the other, "O King of the Age, all pedagogues lack
perceptives and reflectives; nor can they become legal witnesses
before the Kazi because verily they credit the words of little
children without evidence of the speech being or factual or
false. So their reward in the world to come must be
abounding!"[FN#141] Then the Sultan asked the limping man,
saying, "And thou, the other, what lamed thee?" So he began to
tell

The Story of the Limping Schoolmaster.[FN#142]

My tale, O my lord the Sultan, is marvellous and 'twas as
follows. My father was by profession a schoolmaster and, when he
fared to the ruth of Almighty Allah, I took his place in the
school and taught the boys to read after the fashion of my sire.
Now over the schoolroom was an upper lattice whereto planks had
been nailed and I was ever casting looks at it till one chance
day I said to myself, "By Allah, this lattice thus boarded up
needs must contain hoards or moneys or manuscripts which my
father stored there before his decease; and on such wise I am
deprived of them." So I arose and brought a ladder and lashed it
to another till the two together reached the lattice and I clomb
them holding a carpenter's adze[FN#143] wherewith I prized up the
planks until all were removed. And behold, I then saw a large
fowl, to wit, a kite,[FN#144] setting upon her nestlings. But
when she saw me she flew sharply in my face and I was frightened
by her and thrown back; so I tumbled from the ladder-top to the
ground and brake both knee-caps. Then they bore me home and
brought a leach to heal me; but he did me no good and I fell into
my present state. Now this, O our lord the Sultan, proveth the
weakness of my wit and the greatness of my greed; for there is a
saw amongst men that saith "Covetise aye wasteth and never
gathereth: so 'ware thee of covetise." Such, O lord of the Age
and the Time, is my tale. Hereupon the King bade gifts and
largesse be distributed to the three old schoolmasters, and when
his bidding was obeyed they went their ways. Then the Sultan
turned to the Minister and said, "O Wazir, now respecting the
matter of the three maidens and their mother, I would have thee
make enquiry and find out their home and bring them hither; or
let us go to them in disguise and hear their history, for indeed
it must he wonderful. Otherwise how could they have understood
that we served them that sleight by marking their door and they
on their part set marks of like kind upon all the doors of the
quarter that we might lose the track and touch of them. By Allah,
this be rare intelligence on the part of these damsels; but we, O
Wazir, will strive to come upon their traces." Then the Minister
fared forth, after changing his dress and demeanour, and walked
to the quarter in question, but found all the doors similarly
marked. So he was sore perplext concerning his case and fell to
questioning all the folk wont to pass by these doors but none
could give him any information; and he walked about sore
distraught until even-tide, when he returned to the Sultan
without aught of profit. As he went in to the presence, his liege
lord asked him saying, "What bringest thou of tidings?" and he
answered, "O King, I have not found the property,[FN#145] but
there passed through my mind a stratagem which, an we carry it
out, peradventure shall cause us to happen upon the maidens."
Quoth the Sultan, "What be that?" and quoth he, "Do thou write me
an autograph-writ and give it to the Crier that he may cry about
the city, 'Whoso lighteth wick after supper-tide shall have his
head set under his heels.'" The Sultan rejoined, "This thy rede
is right." Accordingly, on the next day the King wrote his letter
and gave it to the Crier bidding him fare through the city and
forbid the lighting of lamps after night-prayers; and the man
took the royal rescript and set it in a green bag. Then he went
forth and cried about the street saying, "According to the
commandment of our King, the Lord of prosperity and Master of the
necks of God's servants, if any light wick after night-prayers
his head shall be set under his heels, his good shall be spoiled
and his women shall be cast into jail." And the Crier stinted not
crying through the town during the first day and the second and
the third, until he had gone round the whole place; nor was there
a citizen but who knew the ordinance. Now the King waited
patiently till after the proclamation of the third day; but on
the fourth night he and his Minister went down from the palace in
disguise after supper-tide to pry about the wards and espy into
the lattices of the several quarters. They found no light till
they came to the ward where the three damsels lived, and the
Sultan, happening to glance in such a direction, saw the gleam of
a lamp in one of the tenements. So he said to the Wazir, "Ho!
there is a wick alight." Presently they drew near it and found
that it was within one of the marked houses; wherefore they came
to a stand and knocked at the door,--And Shahrazad perceived the
dawn of day and fell silent and ceased saying her permitted say.
Then quoth her sister Dunyazad, "How sweet and tasteful is thy
tale, O sister mine, and enjoyable and delectable!" Quoth she,
"And where is this compared with that I would relate to you on
the coming night an the Sovran suffer me to survive?" Now when it
was the next night and that was

The Three Hundred and Sixty-fifth Night,

Dunyazad said to her, "Allah upon thee, O my sister, an thou be
other than sleepy, finish for us thy tale that we may cut short
the watching of this our latter night!" She replied, "With love
and good will!" It hath reached me, O auspicious King, the
director, the right-guiding, lord of the rede which is benefiting
and of deeds fair-seeming and worthy celebrating, that when the
Sultan and the Wazir stood over against the door behind which was
the light and knocked at it, the youngest of the sisters cried
out, "Who is at the door?" and they replied, "Guests and
Darwayshes." She rejoined, "What can you want at this hour and
what can have belated you?" And they, "We be men living in a
Khan; but we have lost our way thither and we fear to happen upon
the Chief of Police. So of your bountiful kindness open ye to us
and house us for the remnant of the night; and such charity shall
gain you reward in Heaven." Hereto the mother added, "Go open to
them the door!" and the youngest of the maidens came forward and
opened to them and admitted them. Then the parent and her
children rose up and welcomed them respectfully and seated them
and did them honour and set before them somewhat of food which
they ate and were gladdened. Presently the King said, "O damsels,
ye cannot but know that the Sultan proclaimed forbiddal of
wick-burning; but ye have lighted your lamps and have not obeyed
him when all the citizens have accepted his commandment." Upon
this the youngest sister accosted him saying, "O Darwaysh, verily
the Sultan's order should not be obeyed save in commandments
which be reasonable; but this his proclamation forbidding lights
is sinful to accept; and indeed the right direction[FN#146]
wherein man should walk is according to Holy Law which saith, 'No
obedience to the creature in a matter of sin against the
Creator.' The Sultan (Allah make him prevail!) herein acteth
against the Law and imitateth the doings of Satan. For we be
three sisters with our mother, making four in the household, and
every night we sit together by lamp-light and weave a half-pound
weight of linen web[FN#147] which our mother taketh in the
morning for sale to the Bazar and buyeth us therewith half a
pound of raw flax and with the remainder what sufficeth us of
victual." The Sultan now turned to his Minister and said, "O
Wazir, this damsel astonisheth me by her questions and answers.
What case of casuistry can we propose to her and what disputation
can we set up? Do thou contrive us somewhat shall pose and
perplex her." "O my lord," replied the Wazir, "we are here in the
guise of Darwayshes and are become to these folk as guests: how
then can we disturb them with troublesome queries in their own
home?" Quoth the Sultan, "Needs must thou address them;" so the
Wazir said to the girl, "O noble one, obedience to the royal
orders is incumbent upon you as upon all lieges." Said she,
"True, he is our Sovran; but how can he know whether we be
starving or full-fed?" "Let us see," rejoined the Wazir, "when he
shall send for you and set you before the presence and question
you concerning your disobeying his orders, what thou wilt say?"
She retorted, "I would say to the Sultan, 'Thou hast contraried
Holy Law.'" At this the Minister resumed, "An he ask thee sundry
questions wilt thou answer them?" and she replied "Indeed I
will." Hereat the Minister turned to the King and said, "Let us
leave off question and answer with this maiden on points of
conscience and Holy Law and ask if she understand the fine arts."
Presently the Sultan put the question when she replied, "How
should I not understand them when I am their father and their
mother?" Quoth he, "Allah upon thee, O my lady, an thou wouldst
favour us, let us hear one of thine airs and its words." So she
rose and retired but presently returning with a lute sat down and
set it upon her lap and ordered the strings and smote it with a
masterly touch: then she fell to singing amongst other verses
these ordered couplets:--

"Do thou good to men and so rule their necks: * Long reigns who
by benefit rules mankind:
And lend aid to him who for aidance hopes: * For aye grateful is
man with a noble mind:
Who brings money the many to him will incline * And money for
tempting of man was designed:
Who hindereth favour and bounties, ne'er * Or brother or friend
in creation shall find:
With harsh looks frown not in the Sage's face; * Disgusteth the
freeman denial unkind:
Who frequenteth mankind all of good unknow'th: * Man is lief of
rebellion, of largesse loath."

When the Sultan heard these couplets, his mind was distraught and
he was perplext in thought; then turning to his Wazir, he said,
"By Allah, these lines were surely an examination of and an
allusion to our two selves; and doubtless she weeteth of us that
I am the Sultan and thou art the Wazir, for the whole tenor of
her talk proveth her knowledge of us." Then he turned to the
maiden and said, "Right good are thy verse and thy voice, and thy
words have delighted us with exceeding delight." Upon this she
sang the following two couplets:--

"Men seek for them sorrow, and toil * Thro' long years as they
brightly flow;
But Fate, in the well like the tank[FN#148] * Firm-fixt, ruleth
all below."

Now as soon as the Sultan heard these last two couplets he made
certain that the damsel was aware of his quality. She did not
leave off her lute-playing till near daylight, when she rose and
retired and presently brought in a breakfast befitting her degree
(for indeed she was pleased with them); and when she had served
it up they ate a small matter which sufficed them. After this she
said, "Inshallah, you will return to us this night before
supper-tide and become our guests;" and the twain went their ways
marvelling at the beauty of the sisters and their loveliness and
their fearlessness in the matter of the proclamation; and the
Sultan said to the Wazir, "By Allah, my soul inclineth unto that
maiden." And they stinted not walking until they had entered the
palace. But when that day had gone by and evening drew nigh, the
Monarch made ready to go, he and the Minister, to the dwelling of
the damsels--And Shahrazad was surprised by the dawn of day and
fell silent and ceased to say her permitted say. Then quoth her
sister Dunyazad, "How sweet is thy story, O sister mine, and how
enjoyable and delectable!" Quoth she, "And where is this compared
with that I would relate to you on the coming night an the Sovran
suffer me to survive." Now when it was the next night and that
was

The Three Hundred and Sixty-sixth Night,

Dunyazad said to her, "Allah upon thee, O my sister, an thou be
other than sleepy, finish for us thy tale that we may cut short
the watching of this our latter night!" She replied, "With love
and good will!" It hath reached me, O auspicious King, the
director, the right-guiding, lord of the rede which is benefiting
and of deeds fair-seeming and worthy celebrating, that the King
and the Councillor made ready to go to the dwelling of the
damsels taking with them somewhat of gold pieces, the time being
half an hour after set of sun; and presently they repaired to the
house of the sisters whither they had been invited on the past
night. So they rapped at the door when the youngest maiden came
to it and opened and let them in: then she salam'd to them and
greeted them and entreated them with increased respect saying,
"Welcome to our lords the Darwayshes." But she eyed them with the
eye of the physiognomist[FN#149] and said in herself, "Verily
these two men are on no wise what they seem and, unless my
caution and intelligence and power of knowledge have passed away
from me, this must be the Sultan and that his Wazir, for grandeur
and majesty are evident on them." Then she seated them and
accosted them even more pleasantly and set before them supper,
and when they had eaten enough, she brought basins and ewers for
handwashing and served up coffee causing them to enjoy themselves
and to give and take in talk till their pleasure was perfect. At
the time of night-orisons they arose and, after performing the
Wuzu-ablution, prayed, and when their devotions were ended the
Sultan hent in hand his purse and gave it to the youngest sister
saying, "Expend ye this upon your livelihood." She took the bag
which held two thousand dinars and kissed his right hand, feeling
yet the more convinced that he must be the Sultan: so she proved
her respect by the fewness of her words as she stood between his
hands to do him service. Also she privily winked at her sisters
and mother and said to them by signs, "Verily this be the Monarch
and that his Minister." The others then arose and followed suit
as the sister had done, when the Sultan turned to the Wazir and
said, "The case is changed: assuredly they have comprehended it
and ascertained it;" presently adding to the girl, "O damsel, we
be only Darwaysh folk and yet you all stand up in our service as
if we were sovrans. I beseech you do not on this wise." But the
youngest sister again came forwards and kissed the ground before
him and blessed him and recited this couplet:

"Fair fate befal thee to thy foe's despite: * White be thy days
and his be black as night.[FN#150]

By Allah, O King of the Age, thou art the Sultan and that is the
Minister." The Sovran asked, "What cause hast thou for supposing
this?" and she answered, "From your grand demeanour and your
majestic mien; for such be the qualities of Kings which cannot be
concealed." Quoth the Monarch, "Thou hast spoken sooth; but, tell
me, how happeneth it that you wone here without men protectors?"
and quoth she, "O my lord the King, our history is wondrous and
were it graven with graver-needles upon the eye-corners it were a
warning to whoso would be warned." He rejoined, "What is it?" and
she began the

Story of the Three Sisters and Their Mother.[FN#151]

I and my sisters and my mother are not natives of this city but
of a capital in the land Al-Irak where my father was Sovran
having troops and guards, Wazirs and Eunuch-chamberlains; and my
mother was the fairest woman of her time insomuch that her beauty
was a proverb throughout each and every region. Now it chanced
that when I and my sisters were but infants, our father would set
out to hunt and course and slay beasts of raven and take his
pleasure in the gardens without the city. So he sent for his
Wazir and appointed and constituted him Viceregent in his stead
with full authority to command and be gracious to his lieges:
then he got him ready and marched forth and the Viceroy entered
upon his office. But it happened that it was the hot season and
my mother betook herself to the terrace-roof of the palace in
order to smell the air and sniff up the breeze. At that very
hour, by the decree of the Decreer, the Wazir was sitting in the
Kiosk or roofed balcony hanging to his upper mansion and holding
in hand a mirror; and, as he looked therein, he saw the
reflection of my mother, a glance of eyes which bequeathed him a
thousand sighs. He was forthright distracted by her beauty and
loveliness and fell sick and took to his pillow. Presently a
confidential nurse came in and feeling his pulse, which showed no
malady, said to him, "No harm for thee! thou shalt soon be well
nor ever suffer from aught of sorrow." Quoth he, "O my nurse,
canst thou keep a secret?" and quoth she, "I can." Then he told
her all the love he had conceived for my mother and she replied,
"This be a light affair nor hath it aught of hindrance: I will
manage for thee such matter and I will soon unite thee with her."
Thereupon he packed up for her some of the most sumptuous dresses
in his treasury and said, "Hie thee to her and say, 'The Wazir
hath sent these to thee by way of love-token and his desire is
either that thou come to him and converse, he and thou, for a
couple of hours,[FN#152] or that he be allowed to visit thee.'"
The nurse replied with "Hearkening and obedience," and fared
forth and found my mother (and we little ones were before her)
all unknowing aught of that business. So the old woman saluted
her and brought forwards the dresses, and my mother arose and
opening the bundle beheld sumptuous raiment and, amongst other
valuables, a necklace of precious stones. So she said to the
nurse, "This is indeed ornamental gear, especially the collar;"
and said the nurse, "O my lady, these are from thy slave the
Wazir by way of love-token, for he doteth on thee with extreme
desire and his only wish is to forgather with thee and converse,
he and thou, for a couple of hours, either in his own place or in
thine whither he will come." Now when my mother heard these words
from the nurse she arose and drew a scymitar which lay hard by
and of her angry hastiness made the old woman's head fall from
her body and bade her slave-girls pick up the pieces and cast
them into the common privy of the palace. So they did her bidding
and wiped away the blood. Now the Wazir abode expecting his nurse
to return to him but she returned not; so next day he despatched
another handmaid who went to my mother and said to her, "O my
lady, our lord the Wazir sent thee a present of dress by his
nurse; but she hath not come back to him." Hereupon my mother
bade her Eunuchs take the slave and strangle her, then cast the
corpse into the same house of easement where they had thrown the
nurse. They did her bidding; but she said in her mind, "Haply the
Wazir will return from the road of unright:" and she kept his
conduct a secret. He however fell every day to sending
slave-girls with the same message and my mother to slaying each
and every, nor deigned show him any signs of yielding. But she, O
our lord the Sultan, still kept her secret and did not acquaint
our father therewith, always saying to herself, "Haply the Wazir
will return to the road of right." And behold my father presently
came back from hunting and sporting and pleasuring, when the
Lords of the land met him and salam'd to him, and amongst them
appeared the Minister whose case was changed. Now some years
after this, O King of the Age, our sire resolved upon a
Pilgrimage to the Holy House of Meccah--And Shahrazad perceived
the dawn of day and fell silent and ceased saying her permitted
say. Then quoth her sister Dunyazad, "How sweet and tasteful is
thy tale, O sister mine, and enjoyable and delectable." Quoth
she, "And where is this compared with that I would relate to you
on the coming night an the sovran suffer me to survive?" Now when
it was the next night and that was

The Three Hundred and Sixty-seventh Night,

Dunyazad said to her "Allah upon thee, O my sister, an thou be
other than sleepy, finish for us thy tale that we may cut short
the watching of this our latter night." She replied, "With love
and good will!" It hath reached me, O auspicious King, the
director, the right-guiding, lord of the rede which is benefiting
and of deeds fair-seeming and worthy celebrating, that the
youngest sister continued to the Sultan:--So our sire, O King of
the Age, resolved upon a Pilgrimage to the Holy House of Meccah
and stablished the same Wazir Viceregent in his stead to deal
commandment and break off and carry out. So he said in his heart,
"Now have I won my will of the Sultan's Harem." So the King gat
him ready and fared forth to Allah's Holy House after committing
us to the charge of his Minister. But when he had been gone ten
days, and the Wazir knew that he must be far from the city where
he had left behind him me and my sisters and my mother, behold,
an Eunuch of the Minister's came in to us and kissed ground
before the Queen and said to her "Allah upon thee, O my lady,
pity my lord the Wazir, for his heart is melted by thy love and
his wits wander and his right mind; and he is now become as one
annihilated. So do thou have ruth upon him and revive his heart
and restore his health." Now when my mother heard these words,
she bade her Eunuchs seize that Castrato and carry him from the
room to the middle of the Divan-court and there slay him; but she
did so without divulging her reasons. They obeyed her bidding;
and when the Lords of the land and others saw the body of a man
slain by the eunuchry of the palace, they informed the Wazir,
saying, "What hateful business is this which hath befallen after
the Sultan's departure?" He asked, "What is to do?" and they told
him that his Castrato had been slain by a party of the palace
eunuchry. Thereupon he said to them, "In your hand abideth
testimony of this whenas the Sultan shall return and ye shall
bear witness to it." But, O King, the Wazir's passion for our
mother waxed cool after the deaths of the nurse and the
slave-girls and the eunuch; and she also held her peace and spake
not a word there anent. On this wise time passed and he sat in
the stead of my sire till the Sultan's return drew near when the
Minister dreaded lest our father, learning his ill deeds, should
do him die. So he devised a device and wrote a letter to the King
saying, "After salutation be it known to thee that thy Harem hath
sent to me, not only once but five several times during thine
absence, soliciting of me a foul action, to which I refused
consent and replied, By Allah, however much she may wish to
betray my Sovran, I by the Almighty will not turn traitor; for
that I was left by thee guardian of the realm after thy
departure." He added words upon words; then he sealed the scroll
and gave it to a running courier with orders to hurry along the
road. The messenger took it and fared with it to the Sultan's
camp when distant eight days' journey from the capital; and,
finding him seated in his pavilion,[FN#153] delivered the writ.
He took it and opened it and read it and when he understood its
secret significance, his face changed, his eyes turned backwards
and he bade his tents be struck for departure. So they fared by
forced marches till between him and his capital remained only two
stations. He then summoned two Chamberlains with orders to forego
him to the city and take my mother and us three girls a day's
distance from it and there put us to death. Accordingly, they led
us four to the open country purposing to kill us, and my mother
knew not what intent was in their minds until they reached the
appointed spot. Now the Queen had in times past heaped alms-deeds
and largesse upon the two Chamberlains, so they held the case to
be a grievous and said each to other, "By Allah we cannot
slaughter them; no, never!" Then they told my mother of the
letter which the Wazir had written to our father saying
such-and-such, upon which she exclaimed, "He hath lied, by Allah,
the arch-traitor; and naught happened save so-and-so." Then she
related to them all she had done with the exactest truth. The men
said, "Sooth thou hast spoken;" then arising without stay or
delay they snared a gazelle and slaughtered it and filled with
its blood four flasks; after which they broiled some of the flesh
over the embers and gave it to my mother that we might satisfy
our hunger. Presently they farewelled us saying, "We give you in
charge of Him who never disappointed those committed to His
care;" and, lastly, they went their ways leaving us alone in the
wild and the word. So we fell to eating the desertgrasses and
drinking of the remnants of the rain, and we walked awhile and
rested awhile without finding any city or inhabited region; and
we waxed tired, O King of the Age, when suddenly we came upon a
spot on a hill-flank abounding in vari-coloured herbs and fair
fountains. Here we abode ten days and behold, a caravan drew near
us and encamped hard by us, but they did not sight us for that we
hid ourselves from their view until night fell. Then I went to
them and asked of sundry eunuchs and ascertained that there was a
city at the distance of two days' march from us; so I returned
and informed my mother who rejoiced at the good tidings. As soon
as it was morn the caravan marched off, so we four arose and
walked all that day through at a leisurely pace, and a second day
and so forth; until, on the afternoon of the fifth, a city rose
before our sight fulfilling all our desires[FN#154] and we
exclaimed, "Alhamdolillah, laud be to the Lord who hath empowered
us to reach it." We ceased not faring till sunset when we entered
it and we found it a potent capital. Such was our case and that
of our mother;[FN#155] but as regards our sire the Sultan, as he
drew near his home after the return-journey from the Hajj, the
Lords of the land and the Chiefs of the city flocked out to meet
him, and the town-folk followed one another like men riding on
pillions[FN#156] to salute him, and the poor and the mesquin
congratulated him on his safety and at last the Wazir made his
appearance. The Sultan desired to be private with the
Minister--And Shahrazad was surprised by the dawn of day and fell
silent and ceased to say her permitted say. Then quoth her sister
Dunyazad, "How sweet is thy story, O sister mine, and how
enjoyable and delectable!" Quoth she, "And where is this compared
with that I would relate to you on the coming night an the Sovran
suffer me to survive?" Now when it was the next night and that
was

The Three Hundred and Sixty-eighth Night,

Dunyazad said to her, "Allah upon thee, O my sister, an thou be
other than sleepy, finish for us thy tale that we may cut short
the watching of this our latter night!" She replied, "With love
and good will!" It hath reached me, O auspicious King, the
director, the right-guiding, lord of the rede which is benefiting
and of deeds fair-seeming and worthy celebrating, that the King
desired to be private with the Minister and when they were left
alone he said, "O Wazir, how was it between thee and that Harim
of mine?" Said the other, "O King of the Age, she sent to me not
only once but five several times and I refrained from her and
whatsoever eunuch she despatched I slew, saying, Haply she may
cease so doing and abandon her evil intent. But she did not
repent, so I feared for thine honour and sent to acquaint thee
with the matter." The Sultan bowed his head groundwards for a
while, then raising it he bade summon the two Chamberlains whom
he had sent to slay his wife and three children. On their
appearing he asked them, "What have you done in fulfilling my
commandment?" They answered, "We did that which thou badest be
done," and showed him the four flasks they had filled with the
blood and said, "This be their blood, a flask-full from each."
The Sultan hent them in hand and mused over what had taken place
between him and his wife of love and affection and union; so he
wept with bitter weeping and fell down in a fainting fit. After
an hour or so he recovered and turning to the Wazir said, "Tell
me, hast thou spoken sooth?" and the other replied, "Yes, I
have." Then the Sultan addressed the two Chamberlains and asked
them, "Have ye put to death my daughters with their mother?" But
they remained silent nor made aught of answer or address. So he
exclaimed, "What is on your minds that ye speak not?" They
rejoined, "By Allah, O King of the Age, the honest man cannot
tell an untruth for that lying and leasing are the
characteristics of hypocrites and traitors." When the Wazir heard
the Chamberlains' speech his colour yellowed, his frame was
disordered and a trembling seized his limbs, and the King turned
to him and noted that these symptoms had been caused by the words
of the two officials. So he continued to them, "What mean ye, O
Chamberlains, by your saying that lies and leasing are the
characteristics of hypocrites and traitors? Can it be that ye
have not put them to death? And as ye claim to be true men either
ye have killed them and ye speak thus or you are liars. Now by
Him who hath set me upon the necks of His lieges, if ye declare
not to me the truth I will do you both die by the foulest of
deaths." They rejoined, "By Allah, O King of the Age, whenas thou
badest us take them and slay them, we obeyed thy bidding and they
knew not nor could they divine what was to be until we arrived
with them at the middlemost and broadest of the desert; and when
we informed them of what had been done by the Wazir, thy Harem
exclaimed, 'There is no Majesty and there is no Might save in
Allah, the Glorious, the Great. Verily we are Allah's and unto
Him are we returning. But an ye kill us you will kill us
wrongfully and ye wot not wherefor. By the Lord, this Wazir hath
foully lied and hath accused us falsely before the Almighty.' So
we said to her, O King of the Age, 'Inform us of what really took
place,' and said the mother of the Princesses, 'Thus and thus it
happened.' Then she fell to telling us the whole tale from first
to last of the nurse who was sent to her and the handmaids and
the Eunuch."[FN#157] Hereupon the Sultan cried, "And ye, have ye
slain them or not?" and the Chamberlains replied, "By Allah, O
King of the Age, whenas the loyalty of thy Harem was made
manifest to us we snared a gazelle and cut its throat and filled
these four flasks with its blood; after which we broiled some of
the flesh upon the embers and offered it to thy Harem and her
children saying to them, 'We give thee in charge to Him who never
disappointeth those committed to His care,' and we added, 'Your
truth shall save you.' Lastly we left them in the midmost of the
waste and we returned hither." When the Sultan heard these words
he turned to the Wazir and exclaimed, "Thou hast estranged from
me my wife and my children;" but the Minister uttered not a word
nor made any address and trembled in every limb like one
afflicted with an ague. And when the King saw the truth of the
Chamberlains and the treachery of the Minister he bade fuel be
collected and set on fire and they did his bidding. Then he
commanded them to truss up the Wazir, hand tied to foot, and bind
him perforce upon a catapult[FN#158] and cast him into the middle
of the fiery pyre which made his bones melt before his flesh.
Lastly he ordered his palace to be pillaged, his good to be
spoiled and the women of his Harem to be sold for slaves. After
this he said to the Chamberlains, "You must know the spot wherein
you left the Queen and Princesses;" and said they, "O King of the
Age, we know it well; but when we abandoned them and returned
home they were in the midst of the wolds and the wilds nor can we
say what befel them or whether they be now alive or dead." On
this wise fared it with them; but as regards us three maidens and
our mother, when we entered the city--And Shahrazad perceived the
dawn of day and fell silent and ceased saying her permitted say.
Then quoth her sister Dunyazad, "How sweet and tasteful is thy
tale, O sister mine, and enjoyable and delectable?" Quoth she,
"And where is this compared with that I would relate to you on
the coming night an the Sovran suffer me to survive?" Now when it
was the next night and that was

The Three Hundred and Sixty-ninth Night,

Dunyazad said to her, "Allah upon thee, O my sister, an thou be
other than sleepy, finish for us thy tale that we may cut short
the watching of this our latter night!" She replied, "With love
and good will!" It hath reached me, O auspicious King, the
director, the right-guiding, lord of the rede which is benefiting
and of deeds fair-seeming and worthy celebrating, that the
youngest sister continued her tale:--So when we three maidens and
our mother entered the city about sunset I the youngest said to
them, "We be three Princesses and a Queen-mother: so we cannot
show ourselves in this our condition and needs must we lodge us
in a Khan: also 'tis my rede that we should do best by donning
boys' dress." All agreeing hereto we did accordingly and,
entering a Caravanserai, hired us a retired chamber in one of the
wings. Now every day we three fared forth to service and at
eventide we forgathered and took what sufficed us of sustenance;
but our semblance had changed with the travails of travel and all
who looked at us would say, These be lads. In this plight we
passed the space of a year full-told till, one day of the days,
we three fared forth to our chares, as was our wont, and behold,
a young man met us upon the way and turning to me asked, "O lad,
wilt thou serve in my house?" Quoth I, "O my uncle,[FN#159] I
must ask advice," and quoth he, "O my lad, crave counsel of thy
mother and come and serve in our home." He then looked at my
sisters and enquired, "Be these thy comrades, O lad?" and I
replied "No, they are my brothers." So we three went to our
mother in the Khan and said to her, "This young man wisheth to
hire the youngest of us for service," and said she, "No harm in
that." Thereupon the youth arose and taking me by the hand guided
me to his home and led me in to his mother and his wife, and when
the ancient dame saw me, her heart was opened to me. Presently
quoth the young man to his parent, "I have brought the lad to
serve in our house and he hath two brothers and his mother
dwelling with them." Quoth she, "May it be fortunate to thee, O
my son."[FN#160] So I tarried there serving them till sunset and
when the evening-meal was eaten, they gave me a dish of meat and
three large bannocks of clean bread. These I took and carried to
my mother whom I found sitting with my sisters and I set before
them the meat and bread; but when my parent saw this she wept
with sore weeping and cried, "Time hath overlooked us; erst we
gave food to the folk and now the folk send us food." And cried
I, "Marvel not at the works of the Creator; for verily Allah hath
ordered for us this and for others that and the world endureth
not for any one;" and I ceased not soothing my mother's heart
till it waxed clear of trouble and we ate and praised Almighty
Allah. Now every day I went forth to serve at the young man's
house and at eventide bore to my mother and sisters their
sufficiency of food for supper,[FN#161] breakfast and dinner; and
when the youth brought eatables of any kind for me I would
distribute it to the family. And he looked well after our wants
and at times he would supply clothing for me and for the youths,
my sisters, and for my parent; so that all hearts in our lodgings
were full of affection for him. At last his mother said, "What
need is there for the lad to go forth from us every eventide and
pass the night with his people? Let him lie in our home and every
day about afternoon-time carry the evening meal to his mother and
brothers and then return to us and keep me company." I replied,
"O my lady, let me consult my mother, to whom I will fare
forthright and acquaint her herewith." But my parent objected
saying, "O my daughter, we fear lest thou be discovered, and they
find thee out to be a girl." I replied, "Our Lord will veil our
secret;" and she rejoined, "Then do thou obey them." So I lay
with the young man's mother nor did any divine that I was a maid,
albeit from the time when I entered into that youth's service my
strength and comeliness had increased. At last, one night of the
nights, I went after supper to sleep at my employer's and the
young man's mother chanced to glance in my direction when she saw
my loosed hair which gleamed and glistened many-coloured as a
peacock's robe. Next morning I arose and gathering up my locks
donned the Takiyah[FN#162] and proceeded, as usual, to do service
about the house never suspecting that the mother had taken notice
of my hair. Presently she said to her son, "'Tis my wish that
thou buy me a few rose-blossoms which be fresh." He asked, "To
make conserve?" and she answered, "No." Then he enquired;
"Wherefore wantest thou roses?" and she replied, "By Allah, O my
son, I wish therewith to try this our servant whom I suspect to
be a girl and no boy; and under him in bed I would strew
rose-leaves, for an they be found wilted in the morning he is a
lad, and if they remain as they were he is a lass."[FN#163] So he
fared forth and presently returned to his mother with the
rose-blossoms; and, when the sleeping-hour came, she went and
placed them in my bed. I slept well and in the morning when I
arose she came to me and found that the petals had not changed
for the worse; nay, they had gained lustre. So she made sure that
I was a girl.--And Shahrazad was surprised by the dawn of day and
fell silent and ceased to say her permitted say. Then quoth her
sister Dunyazad, "How sweet is thy story, O sister mine, and how
enjoyable and delectable!" Quoth she, "And where is this compared
with that I would relate to you on the coming night an the Sovran
suffer me to survive?" Now when it was the next night and that
was

The Three Hundred and Seventieth Night,

Dunyazad said to her, "Allah upon thee, O my sister, an thou be
other than sleepy, finish for us thy tale that we may cut short
the watching of this our latter night!" She replied, "With love
and good will!" It hath reached me, O auspicious King, the
director, the right-guiding, lord of the rede which is benefiting
and of deeds fair-seeming and worthy celebrating, that the damsel
continued:--So the young man's mother made certain that her
servant lad was a virgin lass. But she concealed her secret from
her son and was kind to me and showed me respect and, of the
goodness of her heart, sent me back early to my mother and
sisters. Now one day of the days the youth came home about noon
as was his wont; and he found me with sleeves tucked up to the
elbows engaged in washing a bundle of shirts and turbands; and I
was careless of myself so he drew near me and noted my cheeks
that flushed rosy red and eyes which were as those of the thirsty
gazelle and my scorpion locks hanging adown my side face. This
took place in summertide; and when he saw me thus his wits were
distraught and his sound senses were as naught and his judgment
was in default: so he went in to his parent and said to her, "O
my mother, indeed this servant is no boy, but a maiden girl and
my wish is that thou discover for me her case and make manifest
to me her condition and marry me to her, for that my heart is
fulfilled of her love." Now by the decree of the Decreer I was
privily listening to all they said of me; so presently I arose,
after washing the clothes and what else they had given me; but my
state was changed by their talk and I knew and felt certified
that the youth and his mother had recognised me for a girl. I
continued on this wise till eventide when I took the food and
returned to my family and they all ate till they had eaten
enough, when I told them my adventure and my conviction. So my
mother said to me, "What remaineth for us now to do?" and said I,
"O my mother, let us arise, we three, before night shall set in
and go forth ere they lock the Khan upon us;[FN#164] and if the
door-keeper ask us aught let us answer, 'We are faring to spend
the night in the house of the youth where our son is serving.'"
My mother replied, "Right indeed is thy rede." Accordingly, all
four of us went forth at the same time and when the porter asked,
"This is night-tide and whither may ye be wending?" we answered,
"We have been invited by the young man whom our son serveth for
he maketh a Septena-festival[FN#165] and a bridal-feast: so we
purpose to night with him and return a-morn." Quoth he, "There is
no harm in that." So we issued out and turned aside and sought
the waste lands, the Veiler veiling us, and we ceased not walking
till the day brake and we were sore a-wearied. Then we sat for
rest till the rise of sun and when it shone we four sprang up and
strave with our wayfare throughout the first day and the second
and the third until the seventh. (Now all this was related to
Mohammed the Sultan of Cairo and his Wazir by the youngest
Princess and they abode wondering at her words.) On the seventh
day we reached this city and here we housed ourselves; but to
this hour we have no news of our sire after the Minister was
burnt nor do we know an he be whole or dead. Yet we yearn for
him: so do thou, of thine abundant favour, O King of the Age, and
thy perfect beneficence, send a messenger to seek tidings of him
and to acquaint him with our case, when he will send to fetch us.
Here she ceased speaking and the Monarch and Minister both
wondered at her words and exclaimed, "Exalted be He who decreeth
to His servants severance and reunion." Then the Sultan of Cairo
arose without stay or delay and wrote letters to the King of
Al-Irak, the father of the damsels, telling him that he had taken
them under his safeguard, them and their mother, and gave the
writ to the Shaykh of the Cossids[FN#166] and appointed for it a
running courier and sent him forth with it to the desert. After
this the King took the three maidens and their mother and carried
them to his Palace where he set apart for them an apartment and
he appointed for them what sufficed of appointments. Now, as for
the Cossid who fared forth with the letter, he stinted not
spanning the waste for the space of two months until he made the
city of the bereaved King of Al-Irak, and when he asked for the
royal whereabouts they pointed out to him a pleasure-garden. So
he repaired thither and went in to him, kissed ground before him,
offered his services, prayed for him and lastly handed to him the
letter. The King took it and brake the seal and opened the
scroll; but when he read it and comprehended its contents, he
rose up and shrieked a loud shriek and fell to the floor in a
fainting fit. So the high officials flocked around him and raised
him from the ground, and when he recovered after an hour or so
they questioned him concerning the cause of this. He then related
to them the adventures of his wife and children; how they were
still in the bonds of life whole and hearty; and forthright he
ordered a ship to be got ready for them and stored therein gifts
and presents for him who had been the guardian of his Queen and
her daughters. But he knew not what lurked for them in the
future. So the ship sailed away, all on board seeking the desired
city, and she reached it without delay, the winds blowing light
and fair. Then she fired the cannon of safe arrival[FN#167] and
the Sultan sent forth to enquire concerning her,--And Shahrazad
perceived the dawn of day and fell silent and ceased saying her
permitted say. Then quoth her sister Dunyazad, "How sweet and
tasteful is thy tale, O sister mine, and enjoyable and
delectable!" Quoth she, "And where is this compared with that I
would relate to you on the coming night an the Sovran suffer me
to survive?" Now when it was the next night and that was

The Three Hundred and Seventy-first Night,

Dunyazad said to her, "Allah upon thee, O my sister, an thou be
other than sleepy, finish for us thy tale that we may cut short
the watching of this our latter night!" She replied, "With love
and good will!" It hath reached me, O auspicious King, the
director, the right-guiding, lord of the rede which is benefiting
and of deeds fair-seeming and worthy celebrating, that the Sultan
made enquiries concerning that ship, when behold! the
Rais[FN#168] came forth from her to the land and accosting the
King handed to him the letter and acquainted him with the arrival
of the gifts and presents. Whereupon he bade all on board her
come ashore and be received in the guest-house for a space of
three days until the traces of travel should disappear from them.
After that time the Sultan gat ready whatso became his high
degree of offerings evening those despatched to him by the father
of the damsels and stowed them in the vessel, where he also
embarked as much of victual and provaunt as might suffice for all
the voyagers. On the fourth day after sunset the damsels and
their mother were borne on board and likewise went the master
after they had taken leave of the King and had salam'd to him and
prayed for his preservation. Now in early morning the breeze blew
free and fair so they loosed sail and made for the back[FN#169]
of the sea and voyaged safely for the first day and the second.
But on the third about mid-afternoon a furious gale came out
against them; whereby the sails were torn to tatters and the
masts fell overboard; so the crew made certain of death, and the
ship ceased not to be tossed upwards and to settle down without
mast or sail till midnight, all the folk lamenting one to other,
as did the maidens and their mother, till the wreck was driven
upon an island and there went to pieces. Then he whose life-term
was short died forthright and he whose life-term was long
survived; and some bestrode planks and others butts and others
again bulks of timber whereby all were separated each from other.
Now the mother and two of the daughters clomb upon planks they
chanced find and sought their safety; but the youngest of the
maidens, who had mounted a keg,[FN#170] and who knew nothing of
her mother and sisters, was carried up and cast down by the waves
for the space of five days till she landed upon an extensive
sea-board where she found a sufficiency to eat and drink. She sat
down upon the shore for an hour of time until she had taken rest
and her heart was calmed and her fear had flown and she had
recovered her spirits: then she rose and paced the sands, all
unknowing whither she should wend, and whenever she came upon
aught of herbs she would eat of them. This lasted through the
first day and the second till the forenoon of the third, when lo
and behold! a Knight advanced towards her, falcon on fist and
followed by a greyhound. For three days he had been wandering
about the waste questing game either of birds or of beasts, but
he happened not upon either when he chanced to meet the maiden,
and seeing her said in his mind, "By Allah, yon damsel is my
quarry this very day." So he drew near her and salam'd to her and
she returned his salute; whereupon he asked her of her condition
and she informed him of what had betided her; and his heart was
softened towards her and taking her up on his horse's crupper he
turned him homewards. Now of this youngest sister (quoth
Shahrazad) there is much to say, and we will say it when the tale
shall require the telling. But as regards the second Princess,
she ceased not floating on the plank for the space of eight days,
until she was borne by the set of the sea close under the walls
of a city; but she was like one drunken with wine when she
crawled up the shore and her raiment was in rags and her colour
had wanned for excess of affright. However, she walked onwards at
a slow pace till she reached the city and came upon a house of
low stone walls. So she went in and there finding an ancient dame
sitting and spinning yarn, she gave her good evening and the
other returned it adding, "Who art thou, O my daughter, and
whence comest thou?" She answered, "O my aunt, I'm fallen from
the skies and have been met by the earth: thou needest not
question me of aught, for my heart is clean molten by the fire of
grief. An thou take me in for love and kindness 'tis well and if
not I will again fare forth on my wanderings." When the old woman
heard these words she compassioned the maiden and her heart felt
tender towards her, and she cried, "Welcome to thee, O my
daughter, sit thee down!" Accordingly she sat her down beside her
hostess and the two fell to spinning yarn whereby to gain their
daily bread: and the old dame rejoiced in her and said, "She
shall take the place of my daughter." Now of this second Princess
(quoth Shahrazad) there is much to say and we will say it when
the tale shall require the telling. But as regards the eldest
sister, she ceased not clinging to the plank and floating over
the sea till the sixth day passed, and on the seventh she was
cast upon a stead where lay gardens distant from the town six
miles. So she walked into them and seeing fruit close-clustering
she took of it and ate and donned the cast-off dress of a man she
found nearhand. Then she kept on faring till she entered the town
and here she fell to wandering about the Bazars till she came to
the shop of a Kunafah[FN#171]-maker who was cooking his
vermicelli; and he, seeing a fair youth in man's habit, said to
her, "O younker, wilt thou be my servant!" "O my uncle," she
said, "I will well;" so he settled her wage each day a quarter
farthing,[FN#172] not including her diet. Now in that town were
some fifteen shops wherein Kunafah was made. She abode with the
confectioner the first day and the second and the third to the
full number of ten, when the traces of travel left her and fear
departed from her heart, and her favour and complexion were
changed for the better and she became even as the moon, nor could
any guess that the lad was a lass. Now it was the practice of
that man to buy every day half a quartern[FN#173] of flour and
use it for making his vermicelli; but when the so-seeming youth
came to him he would lay in each morning three quarterns; and the
townsfolk heard of this change and fell to saying, "We will never
dine without the Kunafah of the confectioner who hath in his
house the youth." This is what befel the eldest Princess of whom
(quoth Shahrazad) there is much to say and we will say it when
the tale shall require the telling. But as regards the
Queen-mother,--And Shahrazad was surprised by the dawn of day and
fell silent and ceased to say her permitted say. Then quoth her
sister Dunyazad, "How sweet is thy story, O sister mine, and how
enjoyable and delectable!" Quoth she, "And where is this compared
with that I would relate to you on the coming night an the Sovran
suffer me to survive?" Now when it was the next night and that
was

The Three Hundred and Seventy-second Night,

Dunyazad said to her, "Allah upon thee, O my sister, an thou be
other than sleepy, finish for us thy tale that we may cut short
the watching of this our latter night!" She replied, "With love
and good will!" It hath reached me, O auspicious King, the
director, the right-guiding, lord of the rede which is benefiting
and of deeds fair-seeming and worthy celebrating, that as regards
the mother of the maidens, when the ship broke up under them and
she bestrode the bulk of timber, she came upon the Rais in his
boat manned by three of the men; so he took her on board and they
ceased not paddling for a space of three days when they sighted a
lofty island which fulfilled their desire, and its summit towered
high in air. So they made for it till they drew near it and
landed on a low side-shore where they abandoned their boat; and
they ceased not walking through the rest of that day and those
that followed till one day of the days behold, a dust-cloud
suddenly appeared to them spireing up to the skies. They fared
for it and after a while it lifted, showing beneath it a host
with swords glancing and lance-heads' gleams lancing and war
steeds dancing and prancing, and these were ridden by men like
unto eagles and the host was under the hands of a Sultan around
whom ensigns and banners were flying. And when this King saw the
Rais and the sailors and the woman following, he wheeled his
charger themwards to learn what tidings they brought and rode up
to the strangers and questioned them; and the castaways informed
them that their ship had broken up under them. Now the cause of
this host's taking the field was that the King of Al-Irak, the
father of the three maidens, after he appointed the ship and saw
her set out, felt uneasy at heart, presaging evil, and feared
with sore fear the shifts of Time. So he went forth, he and his
high Officials and his host, and marched adown the longshore
till, by decree of the Decreer, he suddenly and all unexpectedly
came upon his Queen who was under charge of the ship's captain.
Presently, seeing the cavalcade and its ensigns the Rais went
forward and recognising the King hastened up to him and kissed
his stirrup and his feet. The Sultan turned towards him and knew
him; so he asked him of his state and the Rais answered by
relating all that had befallen him. Thereupon the King commanded
his power to alight in that place and they did so and set up
their tents and pavilions. Then the Sultan took seat in his
Shamiyanah[FN#174] and bade them bring his Queen and they brought
her, and when eye met eye the pair greeted each other fondly and
the father asked concerning her three children. She declared that
she had no tidings of them after the shipwreck and she knew not
whether they were dead or alive. Hereat the King wept with sore
weeping and exclaimed, "Verily we are Allah's and unto Him we are
returning!" after which he gave orders to march from that place
upon his capital. Accordingly they stinted not faring for a space
of four days till they reached the city and he entered his
citadel-palace. But every time and every hour he was engrossed in
pondering the affair of the three Princesses and kept saying,
"Would heaven I wot are they drowned or did they escape the sea;
and, if they were saved, Oh, that I knew whether they were
scattered or abode in company one with other and whatever else
may have betided them!" And he ceased not brooding over the issue
of things and kept addressing himself in speech; and neither meat
was pleasant to him nor drink. Such were his case and adventure;
but as regards the youngest sister whenas she was met by the
Knight and seated upon the crupper of his steed, he ceased not
riding with her till he reached his city and went into his
citadel-palace. Now the Knight was the son of a Sultan who had
lately deceased, but a usurper had seized the reins of rule in
his stead and Time had proved a tyrant to the youth, who had
therefore addicted himself to hunting and sporting. Now by the
decree of the Decreer he had ridden forth to the chase where he
met the Princess and took her up behind him, and at the end of
the ride, when he returned to his mother, he was becharmed by her
charms; so he gave her in charge to his parent and honoured her
with the highmost possible honour and felt for her a growing
fondness even as felt she for him. And when the girl had tarried
with them a month full-told she increased in beauty and
loveliness and symmetrical stature and perfect grace; then, the
heart of the youth was fulfilled with love of her and on like
wise was the soul of the damsel who, in her new affection, forgot
her mother and her sisters. But from the moment that maiden
entered his Palace the fortunes of the young Knight amended and
the world waxed propitious to him nor less did the hearts of the
lieges incline to him; so they held a meeting and said, "There
shall be over us no Sovran and no Sultan save the son of our late
King; and he who at this present ruleth us hath neither great
wealth nor just claim to the sovereignty." Now all this benefit
which accrued to the young King was by the auspicious coming of
the Princess. Presently the case was agreed upon by all the
citizens of the capital that on the morning of the next day they
would make him ruler and depose the usurper.--And Shahrazad
perceived the dawn of day and fell silent and ceased saying her
permitted say. Then quoth her sister Dunyazad, "How sweet and
tasteful is thy tale, O sister mine, and enjoyable and
delectable!" Quoth she, "And where is this compared with that I
would relate to you on the coming night an the Sovran suffer me
to survive?" Now when it was the next night and that was

The Three Hundred and Seventy-third Night,

Dunyazad said to her, "Allah upon thee, O my sister, an thou be
other than sleepy, finish for us thy tale that we may cut short
the watching of this our latter night!" She replied, "With love
and good will!" It hath reached me, O auspicious King, the
director, the right-guiding, lord of the rede which is benefiting
and of deeds fair-seeming and worthy celebrating, that the
citizens in early morning held a meeting whereat were present the
Lords of the land and the high Officials, and they went in to the
usurping Sultan determined to remove and depose him. But he
refused and forswore consent, saying, "By Allah, such thing may
not be except after battle and slaughter." Accordingly they fared
forth and acquainted the young King who held the matter grievous
and was overridden by cark and care: however he said to them, "If
there must perforce be fighting and killing, I have treasures
sufficient to levy a host." So saying he went away and
disappeared; but presently he brought them the moneys which they
distributed to the troops. Then they repaired to the Maydan, the
field of fight outside the city, and on like guise the usurping
Sultan rode out with all his power. And when the two opposing
hosts were ranged in their forces, each right ready for the fray,
the usurper and his men charged home upon the young King and
either side engaged in fierce combat and sore slaughter befel.
But the usurper had the better of the battle and purposed to
seize the young King amidst his many when, lo and behold!
appeared a Knight backing a coal-black mare; and he was armed
cap-a-pie in a coat of mail, and he carried a spear and a mace.
With these he bore down upon the usurper and shore off his right
forearm so that he fell from his destrier, and the Knight seeing
this struck him a second stroke with the sword and parted head
from body. When his army saw the usurper fall, all sought safety
in flight and sauve qui peut; but the army of the young King came
up with them and caused the scymitar to fall upon them so that
were saved of them only those to whom length of life was
foreordained. Hereupon the victors lost no time in gathering the
spoils and the horses together; but the young King stood gazing
at the Knight and considering his prowess; yet he failed to
recognise him and after an hour or so the stranger disappeared
leaving the conqueror sorely chafed and vexed for that he knew
him not and had failed to forgather with him. After this the
young King returned from the battle-field with his band playing
behind him and he entered the seat of his power, and was raised
by the lieges to the station of his sire. Those who had escaped
the slaughter dispersed in all directions and sought safety in
flight and the partizans who had enthroned the young King
thronged around him and gave him joy as also did the general of
the city, whose rejoicings were increased thereby. Now the coming
of the aforesaid Knight was a wondrous matter. When the rightful
King made ready for battle the Princess feared for his life and,
being skilled in the practice of every weapon, she escaped the
notice of the Queen-dowager and after donning her war-garb and
battle-gear she went forth to the stable and saddled her a mare
and mounted her and pushed in between the two armies. And as soon
as she saw the usurper charge down upon the young King as one
determined to shed his life's blood, she forestalled him and
attacked him and tore out the life from between his ribs. Then
she returned to her apartment nor did any know of the deed she
had done. Presently, when it was eventide the young King entered
the Palace after securing his succession to royalty; but he was
still chafed and vexed for that he knew not the Knight. His
mother met him and gave him joy of his safety and his accession
to the Sultanate, whereto he made reply, "Ah! O my mother, my
length of days was from the hand of a horseman who suddenly
appearing joined us in our hardest stress and aided me in my
straitest need and saved me from Death." Quoth she, "O my son,
hast thou recognised him?" and quoth he, "'Twas my best desire to
discover him and to stablish him as my Wazir, but this I failed
to do." Now when the Princess heard these words she laughed and
rejoiced and still laughing said, "To whoso will make thee
acquainted with him what wilt thou give?" and said he, "Dost thou
know him?" So she replied, "I wot him not" and he rejoined, "Then
what is the meaning of these thy words?" when she answered him in
these prosaic rhymes:[FN#175]--

"O my lord, may I prove thy sacrifice * Nor exult at thy sorrows
thine enemies!
Could unease and disease by others be borne * The slave should

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