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Supplemental Nights, Volume 5 by Richard F. Burton

Part 3 out of 9

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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 Al-Hayfa
sued pardon of Allah the Great and took refuge with the Almighty
from Satan the Stoned, after which said she, "There is no
diverter to whatso is doomed by the Lord nor availeth aught of
solicitude against that commanded by the Omnipotent, the All-
puissant; and His power is upon me with His destiny and needs
must it come to pass." Then she called for a pen-case of gold and
she wrote for placing over the gateway of the Palace the
following couplets,[FN#197]

"Behold here's a mansion like 'Home of Delight' * Whose sight
heals the sick and abates all blight:
Here are roe-like maidens with breasts high raised * And with
charms of the straightest stature bedight:
Their eyes prey on the lion, the Desert's lord. * And sicken the
prostrate love- felled plight:
Whomso their glances shall thrust and pierce * Naught e'er
availeth mediciner's might:
Here Al-Hayfa scion of noble sire * E'en craven and sinner doth
fain invite;
And here for the drunken wight there abide * Five pardons[FN#198]
and bittocks of bread to bite.
My desire is the maiden who joys in verse, * All such I welcome
with me to alight,
And drain red wine in the garth a-morn * where beasts and birds
all in pairs unite;
Where rose and lily and eglantine * And myrtle with scent
morning-breeze delight,
Orange bloom, gillyflower and chamomile * With Jasmine and
palm-bud, a joyful site.
Whoso drinketh not may no luck be his * Nor may folk declare him
of reason right!
Wine and song are ever the will of me * But my morning wine lacks
a comrade-wight
O who brightenest the Five[FN#199] do thou rise and fetch * By
night for my use olden wine and bright:
O thou reading this writ, prithee comprehend: * Cross the stream
I swear thee by God's All-might!
This is House of Honour may none gainsay :* Cup-comrade shall be
who shall self invite;
For within these gates only women wone, * So of men-folk here
thou hast naught to affright."

When Al-Hayfa had finished her writing and what she had
improvised of verse and couplets, she bade close the entrance of
the Palace and went up, she and her women, to the higher
apartments; and the while she was drowned in thought and fell to
saying, "Would Heaven I knew an this mighty guard and ward will
defend Al-Mihrjan and would I wot if this fortalice will fend off
Fate and what fain must be." Then she enjoined her women to high
diet and the drinking of wine and listening to intimate converse
and the hearing of songs and musical instruments and gladness and
gaiety for a while of time; and she felt herself safe from the
shifts of chance and change. Such was her case but now we will
recount (Inshallah!) what further befel her.[FN#200] In the land
of Sind was a King hight Sahl[FN#201] and he was of the Monarchs
of might, endowed with puissance and prepotency and exalted
degree, abounding in troops and guards and overruling all that
fair region. Now Allah (be He extolled and exalted!) had
vouchsafed him a son than whom was none in his age fairer of
semblance: beautiful exceedingly was he, with a face brighter far
than the full moon; and he was of tongue eloquent and of pluck
puissant, valorous, formidable. Also he was mighty fond of wine
mere and rare and of drinks in the morning air and of converse
with the fair and he delighted in mirth and merriment and he was
assiduous in his carousing which he would never forego during the
watches of the night or the wards of the day. Now for the
abundance of his comeliness and the brilliancy of his
countenance, whenever he walked abroad in the capital he would
swathe his face with the Lithám,[FN#202] lest wax madly enamoured
of him the woman-kind and all creation, wherefore he was named
the Veiled Yúsuf of Beauty. It chanced one night as he sat
carousing with his boon companions that the wine prevailed over
him and he became sprightly and frolicsome; so he went forth from
the door of his cabinet in a state of drink, understanding naught
and knowing nothing of that he did. He wandered about the rooms
belonging to his father and there he saw a damsel of the paternal
concubines standing at the door of her bower and his wine so
mastered him that he went up to her and clasped her to his bosom
and threw her backwards upon the floor. She cried aloud to the
royal Eunuchs who stood there looking on at him; not one of them,
however, dared arrest him or even draw near him to free the girl,
so he had his will of her and abated her maidenhead after which
he rose up from off her and left her all bleeding[FN#203] from
his assault. Now this slave-girl had been gifted to his sire and
Yusuf left her to recover her condition when he would have
visited her again, but as soon as he had returned to his
apartment (and he not knowing what he had done) the Eunuchs took
the damsel (she bleeding as before) and carried her to King Sahl
who seeing her in such case exclaimed, "What man hath done this
to her?" Said they, "'Tis thy son Yusuf;" and he, when he heard
the words of his slaves, felt that this matter was hard upon him
and sent to fetch the Prince. They hastened to bring him, but
amongst the Mamelukes was one lovingly inclined to the youth who
told him the whole tale and how his father had bade the
body-guards summon him to the presence. And when Yusuf had heard
the words of the Mameluke he arose in haste and baldrick'd his
blade and hending his spear in hand he went down to the stables
and saddled him a steed of the noblest blood and likeliest
strain; then he mounted and, taking with him a score of Mamelukes
his pages, he sallied forth with them through the city gate and
rode on unknowing what was concealed from him in the Secret
Purpose--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 King
suffer me to survive?" Now when it was the next night and that
was

The Six 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 Prince
Yusuf, son of King Sahl, went forth the city all unknowing
whither he should wend and to what part he should turn, and he
ceased not faring with his merry men for ten full-told days,
cutting across the wold and wild and the valley and the
stone-clad hill, and he was perplext as to his affair. But whilst
he was still journeying he came upon the river Al-Kawa'ib and he
drew in sight of the castle of Al-Hayfa, which stood amiddlemost
that mighty stream with its height and bulk and defensive
strength. Hereupon quoth Yusuf to himself, "By Allah, none
founded this puissant fortalice in such power and prepotency and
forcefulness save for a mighty matter and a cause of much
consequence. Would Heaven I wot to whom this belongeth and who
dwelleth therein!" Then he applied his mind and had recourse to
the knowledge of his companions the Mamelukes and he commanded
all his white slaves alight upon the marge of the river for the
purpose of rest, and when they had reposed he asked them, "Who
amongst you will go down to this stream and will over-swim it and
will visit the lord of the Castle and bring us news of it and
tidings of its ownership and discover for us the man to whom it
belongeth?" But as no one would return him a reply he repeated
his words without any answer and he, when he saw that, arose
forthright and doffed what he had upon him of dress, all save his
shirt only. Then he took his bow and quiver and placing his
clothes with his weapon and arrow-case upon his head he went down
to the river and swam it until he came forth it on the further
side. Here he walked up to the gateway and found an impregnable
entrance all of steel which none might avail to open, but when he
saw the verses thereon inscribed and understood their
significance he gave himself joy and was certified of entering.
Then he took from his quiver a pen-case and paper whereupon he
inscribed these couplets,

"At your door, O Fountains of weal, I stand * A stranger from
home and a-morning bann'd.
Your grace shall haply forfend my foe * And the hateful band of
unfriends disband:
I have none resort save your gates, the which * With verse like
carcanet see I spann'd:
Ibn Sahl hath 'spied with you safe repair, * So for lonesome
stranger approach command!"

And when Yusuf had ended his writing, he folded the paper and
made it fast to a shaft; then he took his bow and arming it drew
the string and aimed the arrow at the upper terrace, where it
dropped within the parapet. Now, by the decree of The Decreer
Al-Hayfa was walking there with her women when the shaft fell
between her feet and the paper became manifest, so she caught
sight of it and took it up and opened it, and having read it
understood its significance. Hereat she rejoiced and
congratulated herself and her cheeks flushed rosy-red, and
presently she went hastily in the direction of the entrance,
whilst her women still looked down from the terrace upon the
doorway and saw Yusuf a-foot before it. They cried out to their
lady, "Verily there standeth below a youth lovely in his
youthfulness, with his face gladdening as the crescent moon of
Sha'aban."[FN#204] But when Al-Hayfa heard the words of the women
she was glad and gave herself joy and sensed an oppression of
pleasure, whilst her vitals palpitated and she perspired in her
petticoat-trowsers.[FN#205] Then she went down to the gateway
which she bade be thrown open, and seeing Prince Yusuf she smiled
in his face and welcomed him and greeted him. He returned her
salam with sweetness of phrase and softness of words, when said
she to him, "Well come and welcome and good cheer to thee, O thou
who dost visit us and takest refuge in our demesne[FN#206] and in
our presence, for that here thou hast immunity and impunity and
civility;" presently adding, "Enter into this guarded stead and
feel thou no fear from any foe, for thou hast wrought thy wish
and hast attained thine aim and hast won thy will, O fair of face
and o perfect of form, O thou whose countenance excelleth the new
moon: here thou hast preserved thy life and art saved from
foeman's strife." Thereupon she mounted the staircase and he
behind her, while the slave-girls surrounded the twain, and she
conversed with him and cheered him with fair words and welcomed
him once more till they had entered the Castle saloon, when she
took his hand and seated him at the head of the hall. But as
Yusuf looked upon the fortalice and the beauty of its building
and the excellence of its ordinance and the high degree of its
decorations which made it like unto the Palaces of Paradise, and
as he beheld that furniture and those couches, with what was over
them of hangings, and the gems and jewels and precious metals
which abounded there, he magnified the matter in his mind and
said to himself, "This place belongeth to none save to a mighty
monarch!" Then Al-Hayfa bade her women bring a bundle of
clothing, and when they had set it between her hands, she opened
it and drew forth a suit of Daylakian[FN#207] garments and a
caftan of Coptick stuff (fine linen of Misraim purfled with
gold), and bestowed them upon him, and she bound around his head
an or-fringed Shash[FN#208] with either end gem-adorned. And when
he donned the dress his countenance became brilliant and its
light shone afar, and his cheeks waxed red as rose, and she
seeing this felt her wits bewildered and was like to faint.
However, she soon recovered herself and said, "This is no mortal:
verily he is naught but of the Hur's of Heaven. Then she bade her
women bring food--And Shahrazad was surprised by 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 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 Six Hundred and Seventy-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 Al-Hayfa
bade her women bring the food trays, and when they obeyed her
bidding and placed them between the hands of Yusuf he considered
them and saw that one was made of Yamání onyx and another of red
carnelian and a third of rock crystal, and they bore platters of
gold and silver and porcelain and jasper. Upon them were ranged
dishes furnished with the daintiest food which perplexed the
wits, and sweetmeats and sumptuous meats, such as gazelle's
haunch and venison and fatted mutton and flesh of birds, all the
big and the small, such as pigeon and rock-pigeon, and greens
marinated and viands roasted and fried of every kind and colour
and cheeses and sugared dishes. Then she seated Yusuf beside her
and served him with all manner cates and confections and conjured
him to fall-to and morselled him until he had eaten his
sufficiency; after which they twain sat together in laughter and
enjoyment each conjoined to other and both cast in the mould of
beauty and loveliness and brilliancy and stature and symmetric
grace as though in the likeness of a rattan-palm. All this and
Al-Hayfa rejoiced in Yusuf, but ever and anon she took thought
anent her sire King Al-Mihrjan and his works and she kept saying
in her mind, "Would Heaven I wot will he wed me to this youth so
charming of inner grace; and, if my father be not satisfied
therewith, I will marry my lover in despite of him." And the
while Yusuf quoth to himself "Would Heaven I wot how my sire will
act in the business of the concubine whose pucelage I did away,
and would Heaven I knew if he have ridden forth in search of me,
or he have lost sight of me and never asked of me." On this wise
either of the twain spoke to themselves, and neither of them
believed in safety, all unknowing what was predestined to them by
Him who saith to a thing, "Be" and it becometh. So Al-Hayfa and
Yusuf sat drowned in the depths of thought, withal their joyance
and enjoyment made them clean forget that writ for them by Fate;
and the Prince gazing upon the greater tray saw graven upon its
edge these couplets,

"For the gathering of friends and familiars design'd * Between
hands of Kings and Wazirs I'm shrin'd:
Upon me is whatever taste loves and joys * Of flesh and viands
all kinds combin'd:
From me fill thee full of these cates and praise * Thy Lord, the
Maker of all mankind."

Then the attendants placed bread upon the trays, and the Prince
found writ in moulded letters upon the loaves the couplets that
follow,

"And a loaf new-born from the flour of wheat, * White and piping
hot from the oven-heat:
Quoth to me my chider, Be wise and say * Soothe my heart and
blame not, O friend I greet."

Presently the handmaidens piled upon the trays platters of silver
and porcelain (whereof mention hath been made) containing all
that lip and tongue gratify of the meat of muttons in fry and
Katá-grouse and pigeon-poults and quails and things that fly of
every kind and dye which hungry men can long to espy, and Yusuf
saw inscribed upon the china dishes the following couplets,

"Platters of china fair * That all men's eyne ensnare,
None seeth in this our town * China of mould so rare.

Then he looked upon the silver plate and found it graven with
these lines,

"Plate worked in silver of the brightest white * In height of
beauty, O thou joy to sight,
When fully finisht and when perfect made * Becometh chargers
peerless in delight."

And portrayed upon the porcelain were all that grow and fly of
geese and poultry. Anon a handmaid brought in hand a knife
wherewith to carve the meats, and Yusuf looking at the blade saw
upon it letters gold-inlaid and forming these verses,

I am blade of finest grain * Wherefrom comes naught of bane:
Fro' my friends all harm I ward * And thy foes by me be slain!"

Hereupon the handmaids ended the ordinance of the table and set
everything in its own stead; after which the Princess took seat
beside the Prince and said to him, "O my lord, hearten our heart
and deign grace to us and honour us by eating with us: this
indeed be a day of joy for my union with thee and for thy
lighting this my lodging with the splendour of thy semblance so
bright and thy beauty so rare and for thine alighting at my home
and thine opportune kindness and thine inner
graciousness,[FN#209] O thou unique one of the Age and the Time,
and O thou who hast no peer in our day and our tide." Now when
Yusuf heard the words of Al-Hayfa he said to her, "Wallahi, O
thou who the moons adornest and who the sun and the daylight
shamest, O lady of brow flower-bright and of stature
elegant-slight, O thou who passest in beauty and comeliness all
mortal beings, O thou with smile like water sweet and mouth-dews
like purest spring and of speech the softest, I wot thou art the
lady of goodness and excellence and generosity and liberality."
Then she again fell to morselling the Prince until they both had
a sufficiency of food, whereupon she bade them fetch water for
washing their hands after meat. And they brought to Yusuf a basin
of glittering gold, when he rejoiced with exceeding exultation
the while he was sunk in meditation, and at times he gazed upon
Al-Hayfa and his wits were bewildered and his senses seduced him
to some- thing he would do with her for the abundance that was in
her of beauty and loveliness. But his reason forbade to him his
passion, and quoth he in his mind, "To everything its own
time,"-- 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 King
suffer me to survive?" Now when it was the next night and that
was

The Six Hundred and Seventy-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 Yusuf
said, "To everything its own time, and soothly sayeth the old
saw, Whoso hurrieth upon a matter ere opportunity consent shall
at last repent. Now when they brought the basin before him and
therein stood an ewer of crystal garnished with gold, he looked
at it and saw graven thereupon the following couplets,

"I'm a Basin gold beautifies * For the hands of the great and the
wise:
Abased[FN#210] for the cleansing of palms, * Washing hands with
the water of eyes."

Thereat he considered the ewer and saw inscribed upon it these
lines,

"O rare the Ewer's form whereon must dote * Our hearts and pupils
of our eyes fain gloat:
Seems ferly fair to all admiring orbs * You seemly body wi' the
slender throat.

And when he had finished washing his hands and had dried them
with the napkins he pointed at them and spoke these couplets,

"Groweth my love a-heart and how to hide * When o'er the plains
of cheek tear-torrents glide?
I veil what love these sobs and moans betray * With narrowed
heart I spread my patience wide.
O Farer to the fountain,[FN#211] flow these eyes * Nor seek from
other source to be supplied:
Who loveth, veil of Love his force shall reave, * For tears shall
tell his secrets unespied:
I for the love of you am bye-word grown, * My lords, and driven
to the Desert-side;
While you in heart of me are homes, your home; * And the
heart-dweller kens what there may bide.

When Prince Yusuf had finished his improvisation and the poetry
which he produced, Princess Al-Hayfa bussed him upon the brow,
and he seeing this waxed dazed of his wits and right judgment
fled him and he fell fainting to the floor for a while of time.
And when he came to himself he pondered how she had entreated him
and his Passion would have persuaded him to do with her somewhat
but Reason forbade and with her force he overcame himself. After
his improvising Al-Hayfa again saluted him on the front and
cried, "Indeed thou hast done well in thy words, O thou with
Crescent's brow!" Presently she came for the table of wine and
filling a cup drank it off; then she crowned another goblet and
passed it to Yusuf who took it and kissed it while she improvised
some couplets as follows,

"Thy seduction of lips ne'er can I forbear * Nor deny
love-confession for charms so rare:
O thou aim of my eyes, how my longing stay? * O thou tall of form
and long wavy hair?
Thy rose-hued cheek showeth writ new-writ[FN#212] * Dimming wine
my cups in their rondure bear."

And presently she added,[FN#213]

"I hid his phantom, by the Lord, but showed * My looks the blush
his scented cheek had sent:
How veil the joy his love bestows, when I * To blood-red[FN#214]
tears on cheek give open vent,
When his uplighted cheek my heart enfires * As though a-morn in
flame my heart were pent?
By Allah, ne'er my love for you I'll change * Though change my
body and to change consent.

And when Al-Hayfa had finished her improvisation and her poetry,
Yusuf drained the goblet and after kissing it returned it to her;
but he was as one a-swoon. Then she took it from him and he
recovered and presently declaimed for her the following couplets,

"A maiden in your tribe avails my heart with love to fire[FN#215]
* And how can I a-hidden bear the love my eyes declare?
The branches of the sand-hill tree remember and recall * What
time she softly bent and showed a grace beyond compare;
And taught me how those eyne o'erguard the roses of her cheek *
And knew to ward them from the hand to cull her charms would
dare."

As soon as Yusuf had finished his improvisation and what of
poetry he had produced, Al-Hayfa took seat by his side and fell
to conversing with him in sweetest words with softest smiles, the
while saying, "Fair welcome to thee, O wonder of beauty and
lovesome in eloquence and O charming in riant semblance and lord
of high degree and clear nobility: thou hast indeed illumined our
place with the light of thy flower-like forehead and to our
hearts joyance hast thou given and our cares afar hast thou
driven and eke our breasts hast made broad; and this is a day of
festival to laud, so do thou solace our souls and drain of our
wine with us for thou art the bourne and end and aim of our
intent." Then Al-Hayfa took a cup of crystal, and crowning it
with clear-strained wine which had been sealed with musk and
saffron, she passed it to Prince Yusuf. He accepted it from her
albeit his hand trembled from what befel him of her beauty and
the sweetness of her poetry and her perfection; after which he
began to improvise these couplets,

"O thou who drainest thy morning wine * With friends in a bower
sweet blooms enshrine–
Place unlike all seen by sight of man * In the lands and gardens
of best design--,
Take gladly the liquor that quivers in cup * And elevates man,
this clean aid of the Vine:
This goblet bright that goes round the room * Nor Chosroës held
neither Nu'uman's line.
Drink amid sweet flowers and myrtle's scent * Orange-bloom and
Lily and Eglantine,
And Rose and Apple whose cheek is dight * In days that glow with
a fiery shine;
'Mid the music of strings and musician's gear * Where harp and
pipe with the lute combine;--
An I fail to find her right soon shall I * Of parting perish
foredeemed to die!"

Then Al-Hayfa responded to him in the same rhyme and measure and
spake to him as follows,

"O thou who dealest in written line * Whose nature hiding shall
e'er decline;
And subdued by wine in its mainest might * Like lover drunken by
strains divine,[FN#216]
Do thou gaze on our garden of goodly gifts * And all manner
blooms that in wreaths entwine;
See the birdies warble on every bough * Make melodious music the
finest fine.
And each Pippet pipes[FN#217] and each Curlew cries * And
Blackbird and Turtle with voice of pine;
Ring-dove and Culver, and eke Hazár, * And Katá calling on Quail
vicine;
So fill with the mere and the cups make bright * With bestest
liquor, that boon benign;--
This site and sources and scents I espy * With Rizwan's garden
compare defy."

And when Al-Hayfa had ended her improvisation and what she had
spoken to him of poetry, and Yusuf had given ear to the last
couplet, he was dazed and amazed and he shrieked aloud and waxed
distraught for her and for the women that were beside and about
her, and after the cry he fell fainting to the ground. But in an
hour[FN#218] he came to, when the evening evened and the wax
candles and the chandeliers were lighted, his desire grew and his
patience flew and he would have risen to his feet and wandered in
his craze but he found no force in his knees. So he feared for
himself and he remained sitting as before.--And Shahrazad was
surprised by 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 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 Six Hundred and Seventy-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 when Yusuf
remained sitting as before, Al-Hayfa asked him saying, "How art
thou hight, O dearling of my heart and fruit of my vitals?" Here-
upon he told her his name and the name of his sire, and related
to her the whole of what had befallen him, first and last, with
the affair of the concubine and his faring forth from his own
city and how he had sighted her Palace and had swum the stream
and shot the shaft that carried the paper, after which he recited
to her these couplets,

"I left my home for a fair young maid * Whose love my night with
its light array'd;
Yet wot I not what her name may be * Thus ignorance mating with
union forbade.
But when of her gifts I was certified * Her gracious form the
feat easy made;
The King of Awe sent my steps to her * And to union with beauty
vouchsafed me aid:
Indeed disgrace ever works me shame * Tho' long my longing to
meet I'm afraid."

When Al-Hayfa heard his name her great love to him waxed greater.
Then she took the lute upon her lap and caressed it with her
finger-tips when it sighed and sobbed and groaned and
moaned[FN#219] and she fell to singing these verses,

"A thousand welcomes hail thy coming fain, * O Yusuf, dearling
son of Sahl's strain:
We read thy letter and we understood * Thy kingly birth from sand
that told it plain:[FN#220]
I'm thine, by Allah, I the loveliest maid * Of folk and thou to
be my husband deign:
Bruit of his fair soft cheek my love hath won * And branch and
root his beauty grows amain:
He from the Northern Realms to us draws nigh * For King Mihrjan
bequeathing ban and bane;
And I behold him first my Castle seek * As mate impelled by
inspiration fain.
The land upstirs he and the reign he rules * From East to West,
the King my father slain;
But first he flies us for no fault of ours * Upon us wasting
senseless words and vain:
E'en so Creation's Lord hath deigned decree, * Unique in
Heaven--glorified be He!"[FN#221]

Now when Yusuf heard the words of Al-Hayfa he rejoiced with
exceeding joy and she was gladdened in like manner, after which
he gifted her with all that was upon him of gear and in similar
guise she doffed what dress was upon her and presented it to
him.[FN#222] Then she bade the slave-girls bring her an especial
suit and they fetched her a second bundle and she clothed Yusuf
with what was therein of sumptuous clothes. After this the Prince
abode with Al-Hayfa as an inmate of her palace for a term of ten
days in all the happiness of life, eating and drinking and
enjoying conjugal intercourse.[FN#223] Presently Almighty Allah
(be He extolled and exalted!) decreed that, when all tidings of
Yusuf son of Sahl were lost, his sire sent in search of him
Yahyà,[FN#224] his cousin and the son of his maternal aunt,
amongst a troop of twenty knights to track his trail and be
taught his tidings until Allah (be He glorified and magnified!)
guided him to the pages who had been left upon the river-bank.
Here they had tarried for ten days whilst the sunshine burnt them
and hunger was exterminating them; and when they were asked
concerning their lord, they gave notice that he had swum the
stream and had gone up to yonder Castle and had entered therein.
"And we know not (they ended) whether he be alive or dead." So
the lord Yahya said to them, "Is there amongst you any will cross
the current and bring us news of him?" But not one of them would
consent and they remained in silence and confusion. So he asked
them a second time and a third time yet none would rise up before
him and hearten him to attempt the dangers of the stream,
whereupon he drew forth his ink-case of brass and a sheet of
paper and he fell to writing the following verses,

"This day I have witnessed a singular case * Of Yusuf scion to
Sahl's dear race:
Since he fared at undurn his sire was grieved * And the Palace
remained but an empty place:
I liken the youth to full moon 'mid stars * Disappeadng and
darkening Earth's bright face.
'Tis my only fear that his heart is harmed, * Brent by Love-fires
lacking of mercy and grace:
By Allah, albeit man's soul thou rule * Among stranger folk thou
art but an ace!"

Presently he took a reed and grasping it thrust thereinto the
twisted and folded paper, after which he stopped the hole with
wax; then, lashing it to the surface of the shaft, he set it upon
the bow-handle and drew the string and shot the bolt in the
direction of the Castle, whither it flew and fell at the foot of
the staircase beside the main entrance. It so fortuned at that
time a slave-girl came forth to fill her pitcher with water and
she found the arrow and picked it up and carried it to her lady
who was sitting in the speak-room at converse with Yusuf.
Hereupon the Prince hent the reed in hand and broke it and drew
forth the paper which he opened and read and comprehended.
Hereupon he wept with exceeding great weeping until he fell to
the floor a-faint and the Princess took the note from his grasp
and perused it, and it was hard upon her, so she bade them beat
the slave-girl who brought the writ with an hundred blows and
they bastinadoed her till she lost her senses. But when Yusuf
recovered, he thought of his pages and his people and his
homestead and his family and he cried to Al-Hayfa, "Wallahi, I
have sinned with a great sin when I left my suite in the desert;
and Satan garred me forget them and the wine made me mindless of
them and banished from my thought my folk and my home. And now
'tis my desire to fare and look upon my pages and to forgather
with Yahya my cousin, the son of the King's sister and greet them
and dismiss them to their homesteads, after which I will return
to thee forthright." Quoth she, "By Allah, I may not patient
myself away from thee a single hour otherwise shall my spirit
depart my body, and I conjure thee by the Almighty that thou bid
me return to them a reply!" Quoth Prince Yusuf, "What news wilt
thou give them? An thou say that I never came to thee none will
believe; for indeed my pages saw me passing into thy Palace"--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 King suffer me to
survive?" Now when it was the next night and that was

The Six Hundred and Eightieth 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 Prince
Yusuf said to the Princess Al-Hayfa, "Indeed my pages saw me
passing into the Palace and have given him[FN#225] tidings to
that effect." And she responded to him with fairest response and
tenderness of terms and gem-like verse. Then she took her
ink-case and paper and a brazen pen and would have written but he
forbade her, saying by way of deprecation "This be not the right
rede! An thou return a reply my slaves will take it and will bear
it to my native country and will inform the folk of all our
adventure: 'tis better far that I fare to them myself and greet
them and going with them to my own country satisfy my sire, after
which I will return to thee in hottest haste. And do not thou on
this wise, for we fear lest our affair be made public and this
our case be reported to thy royal father, and it prove hard to
him by reason that all such talk in the case of the Kings is to
them mighty grievous. Moreover, when he shall be acquainted with
the truth he will either transport thee to his presence or he
shall place over this Palace guards who may forbid thee from me
and forbid me from thee, and this shall be a cause of our
separation each from other." But Al-Hayfa shrieked aloud when she
heard these words and wept and wailing said, "O my lord, prithee
take me with thee, me and my handmaids and all that be in this my
Palace." Said he, "I will not delay from thee save for the space
of my wayfare an I live and Allah Almighty preserve me." Hereat
she wept with loud weeping and groaned, and love-longing surged
up in her and she fell to repeating the following couplets,

"Rain, O mine eyeballs, gouts of blood beshed * From clouds of
eyelids e'en as grass turns red.
O mighty bane that beatest on my bones * And oh heart-core, that
melts with fire long-fed!
My soul's own dearling speedeth on his march * Who can be patient
when his true love sped?
Deal kindly with my heart, have ruth, return * Soon to my Castle
nor be long misled."

And when Al-Hayfa had ended her verse, Yusuf wept with sore
weeping and cried, "By Allah, I had intended to return to thee
after I had fared to them and had settled the matter in hand. But
suffer me dismiss those who have come for me and seek reunion
with thee, Inshallah--an it be the will of Allah Almighty." Then
he farewelled her and doffed what he had of dress, and when
Al-Hayfa asked him, "Wherefore take off these clothes?" he
answered,[FN#226] "I will not inform anyone of our news, and
indeed this dress mostly befitteth womenkind." Then he went forth
from her with a grief-bound heart and she wept and cried, "Help!
Help!"[FN#227] and all her women shrieked and shed tears over
parting with him. But as soon as Yusuf passed out of the
palace-door he took off the gown which was upon him and turband'd
it around his head together with his bow and quiver, and he
stinted not to stem the stream until he had reached the further
bank where he found and greeted the lord Yahya and his Mamelukes.
They all kissed his hand, and his cousin enquired of him, "What
is the cause of thy disappearing from these thy men for a space
of ten days?" He replied, "By Allah, O son of my aunt, when I
went up to yonder Palace, I found there a Youth of the sons of
the kings, who welcomed and greeted me as a guest and honoured me
with the highmost honour and favoured me with the fullest favour.
But when I would have taken leave of him, the air smote
me[FN#228] and fell upon my loins and laid me up so that I feared
to swim the stream and the unease that was upon me increased, and
such is the reason of my delaying away from you." Then he took
horse together with Yahya and the pages, and they all sought
their homes and cut across the wilds and the wastes and the vales
and the stony hills until they drew near to their destination and
their city rose clear before eyes of them. As soon as they
reached it the tidings were told to King Sahl[FN#229] who made
ready for faring forth, he and the lords of his land, to meet and
greet his son and heir Yusuf; and meanwhile he bade decorate the
capital with the choicest decorations and ornaments and
adornments. The lieges gave one another joy of their Prince's
safe return, and clothed their city in gala-guise, and the father
having met the son alighted from his steed and embraced him and
kissed him between the eyes, and personally conducting him up to
the Palace did him due honour and largessed him; and so great and
lasting was their joy that the day of arrival became high
holiday. As soon as night fell, Prince Yusuf repaired to his own
Palace where he was met by his mother and his women who were as
full moons a-rising; and the spouses numbered three, besides
forty concubines. However he turned away from them and he lay
alone that night moaning even as moaneth the dove for the loss of
her mate; and he regarded not one of those wives and lemans, and
he passed the dark hours in brooding over the loss of his
beloved, and in weeping and in the reciting of poetry-- And
Shahrazad was surprised by 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 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 Six Hundred and Eighty-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 Yusuf
passed the night weeping and improvising verse, but he let not
fall a word of explanation fearing lest he divulge his secret;
and his spouses supposed that he was wroth with his sire and knew
not what there was in his vitals of exceeding desire to Al-Hayfa.
But when brake the day he was roused and gazing upon the rise of
awaking Dawn he pondered the happy mornings which had passed; so
he wept and complained and moaned like the culver and he fell to
reciting these couplets,

"No joy but you in house and home I know * Save bitter heart and
tears that ever flow;
Nor with mine eyes I view aught save yourselves * Whenas in lowe
of love-desire I glow:
My heart enjoys but gust and greed for you, * Mine eyelids own no
joy save wake and woe:
O blaming me for them, avaunt, by God * Nor leave me fancy-free,
worst gift of foe!"

And when Yusuf had finished his poetry he fell into a fainting
fit and he quivered as quivereth the fowl with cut
throat,[FN#230] and he came not to himself save when the sun had
arisen arraying the lowlands with its rays. Then he waxed wood
and sat with eyes at the ground, a-gazing and not accosting nor
answering aught, and lastly he took to his pillow. These tidings
presently reached the King his father, who accompanied by the
Lords of his land came to him and after greeting him said, "O my
son, whom I would ransom with my life, what contagion hath come
upon thee of disease, and whereof dost thou complain?" Quoth he,
"O my father, the air hath struck me and hath cut my
joints,"[FN#231] and quoth his father, "O my son, Almighty Allah
vouchsafe ease thee of this thy disease." Then the King mounted
and went forth from him, and sent a leach which was a Jew[FN#232]
of wits penetrating and sagacious. The man went in to him, and
sitting beside him felt his joints and asked him of his case; but
he held his peace nor would return aught of reply. So the
Israelite knew that he was a lover and in the depths of love
bedrowned; accordingly he left him and told the King that the
Prince had no complaint save that he was a hot amourist and
distraught of vitals. Hereupon his mother came to Yusuf and said,
"O my son, fear Almighty Allah for thy soul, and have some regard
for thy wives and concubines and yield not to thy passions which
will mislead thee from the path of Allah." But he deigned not
answer her. In this condition he remained until three days sped,
taking no taste of meat or drink, nor finding pleasure in any
stead, nor aught of rest a-bed. Presently he bade summon a
Mameluke of the Mamelukes Hilal hight, and asked him, "O Hilal,
say me wilt thou be my companion in travel?" whereto the other
answered, "Yea, verily, O my lord, to hear is to obey thee in all
thou devisest and desirest." Hereupon the Prince bade him saddle
a steed of the purest blood, whose name was
"The-Bull-aye-ready-and-for-Battle-day- steady,"[FN#233] a beast
which was a bye-word amongst the folk. The Prince waited until
the first third of the night had gone by when he mounted the
courser and placed Hilal his Mameluke upon the crupper, and they
cut once more the wilds and the wastes until they sighted hard-by
the river Al-Kawa'ib and the Castle of Al-Hayfa rising from its
waters. Hereupon Yusuf fell to the ground in a swoon, and he when
he recovered said to Hilal, "Do thou ungirth the horse's saddle
and hide it within the cave amid the rocks;" and the Mameluke did
as he was bidden and returned to him. Herewith Prince Yusuf
turband'd himself with his clothes and those of his man and
backing the horse bade Hilal hang on by its tail, then the beast
breasted the stream and ceased not swimming with them until it
reached the farther side. There Yusuf dismounted and knocked at
the door when a confidential handmaid established in the good
graces of her mistress,[FN#234] came down and threw it open,
after which she embraced him and kissed his hands and his breast
and his brow between the eyes. Then she ran up and informed
thereof her lady who with wits bedazed for excess of joy hurried
down to him and threw her arms round his neck, and he threw his
arms round hers, and she clasped him to her bosom, and he clasped
her to his, and he kissed her and she kissed him, and they
exchanged accolades, after which they both of them fell fainting
to the floor until the women who stood by thought that they had
been reaped by Death, and that their latest hour had been doomed.
But when they recovered from their swoon they complained and
wept, each lamenting to other the pains of parting, and lastly
she asked him concerning Hilal, and he answered, "This is a
Mameluke of the number of my Mamelukes." So she marvelled how two
men had come upon one horse,[FN#235] and quoth she to him, "O
Yusuf, thou hast indeed tortured me with thine absence;" and
quoth he to her, "By Allah (and beside Him God there is none!) my
hand never touched or woman or aught of feminine kind or of
she-Jinn or Jinn kind, but in me desire for thee ever surged up,
and wake and in vitals a fiery ache." Then the Princess bade her
handmaids wend with Hilal in a body to the garden, and when they
obeyed her bidding she arose and walked forth with Yusuf. And
Shahrazad was surprised by dawn of day and fell silent and ceased
to say her permitted say. Then quoth her sister Dunyazad, "How
sweet and tasteful 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 King suffer me
to survive?" Now when it was the next night and that was

The Six Hundred and Eighty-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 Al-Hayfa walked forth with Yusuf and led him to the saloon
of session where they passed their day in privacy, he and she,
and right joyous was the joy of them twain. After this the Prince
abode with her thirty full-told days in merriment prime and
pleasure and wine. But when that time had elapsed, she said to
him, "O light of my eyes, do thou arise and go up with me to the
highmost post of the Palace that we may look upon this flow of
stream and command a view of these mounts and mountains and these
wilds and valleys wherein wander the gazelles." Thereupon the
twain fared together and solaced themselves with the spectacle of
the antelopes browsing on the desert growth, when quoth Al-Hayfa,
"Ah, O my lord, would I had for captive one of these herding roes
to keep beside me in the Palace," and quoth he, "By the rights of
thine eyes, and the night of their pupils, I indeed will fill the
place with them." Hereupon he went forth from her in haste,
albeit she hung on to him and forbade him from that, and she
invoked upon herself a mighty strong invocation, yet would he not
be stayed, but taking his horse and saddling it he left his
Mameluke Hilal in the Castle and swam the stream upon his steed,
and rode through the wold in quest of the gazelles. He ceased not
chasing them till he had taken three,[FN#236] which he tied fast
and slung upon his courser and rode back until he had reached the
river-bank, and Al-Hayfa sat looking at him as he pounced upon
and snatched up the roes from his courser's back like a lion and
she wondered with extreme wonderment. But when he had made sure
of his place on the water-side and purposed returning to the
palace, lo and behold! he saw a batel[FN#237] manned by sundry
men coming towards him down-stream from the direction of his
capital. Now Al-Hayfa, who was in her bower, expected the craft
to be sent, bearing rarities and presents, by her sire King
Al-Mihrjan; and Yusuf, when he looked upon its approach, was
certified that it came from her father. So he delayed going down
to the river till he had seen what action might be taken by the
batel, but when the Princess sighted it she made sure of its
coming from her sire, so she bade bring paper for note and a pen
of brass wrought wherewith she wrote in verse and lastly indited
to Yusuf these couplets,

"O my need, thou hast left me a-field to fare * When come is a
craft which our men doth bear:
I deem she be sent by Al-Mihrján * And it bringeth of provaunt a
goodly share:
So loiter a little, then back to us * And obey my bidding, O
Beauty rare."[FN#238]

Then she made fast the paper to a shaft and setting it upon a
bow-handle drew the string aiming high in air, and the arrow fell
between the feet of the Prince, who seeing it took it up and read
the writ and comprehended its meaning and full significance. So
he hung back and he turned to wandering amongst the mountains,
but anon he said in himself, "There is no help but that I
discover this matter." Then he dismounted from his steed and
stabled it in a cave hard-by, and having loosed the antelopes he
propped himself against a rock and fell to gazing upon the batel,
which ceased not floating down until it made fast at the Palace
gate. Hereupon there issued from it a youth, singular of
comeliness, whom Al-Hayfa greeted and embraced, and forth- right
led within her Palace. Presently came forth from the batel the
four pages that were therein, and amongst them was a man hight
Mohammed ibn Ibráhim, one of the King's cup-companions, whereas
the youth she had embraced was her cousin, named Sahlúb, the son
of her maternal aunt. But when Yusuf looked upon this lover-like
reception, his wits were wildered and the sparks started from his
eyes, and he deprecated and waxed care-full and indeed he was
like one Jinn-mad, and he cried, "Walláhi, I will stay away from
them this night and see whatso they do." Now Al-Hayfa had left
her trusty handmaid at the Palace gate, saying to her, "Tarry
here alone: haply Yusuf shall return during the dark hours, when
do thou open to him the door." Then she returned to her guests
and bade serve the table of wine and seated Sahlub and Ibn
Ibrahim, and took seat between them after she had hidden the
Mameluke Hilal in a closet and she had disposed of the pages
about the Palace-sides. Then they fell to drinking wine. Such was
the case with these; but as regards Yusuf, he took patience until
the dark hours drew near, when he swam the stream and he came
forth it to the Palace-door, at which he knocked a light knock.
Hereupon the porter-hand-maiden opened to him and he accosted her
and questioned her concerning her lady, and was told that she was
sitting with her cousin and the prime favourite and cup-companion
of her sire. So quoth he to the girl, "Say me, canst thou place
me in some commanding place that I may look upon them?" and she
did accordingly, choosing a site whence he might spy them without
being espied. He gazed at them as one distraught, while Al-Hayfa
engaged them in converse and improvised verse to them; and this
was so distressful to him that at last he asked the slave-girl,
"Say me, hast thou by thee ink-case and paper?" And-- Shahrazad
was surprised by 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 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 Six Hundred and Eighty-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 Prince
Yusuf took from the handmaid the pen-case and paper, and waxing
void of sense through jealousy, fell to writing the following
couplets,

"Indeed I deemed you of memory true * And our hearts as one that
had once been two;
But I found to my sorrow you kept no pact: * This much and you
fain of unfaith I view.
Ill eye ne'er looketh on aught but love * Save when the lover is
hater too.
You now to another than us incline * And leave us and homeward
path pursue;
And if such doings you dare gainsay, * I can summon witness
convicting you;
To the Lion, wild dogs from the fount shall drive * And shall
drink themselves, is none honour due.
That I'm not of those who a portion take * In love, O Moslems, I
know ye knew."

This done, he folded the paper and gave it to the slave-girl
crying, "Say me, dost thou know where be Hilal?" and as she
replied "Yes," he told her to fetch him. So she went and brought
him, and when he came his lord dismissed the girl on some
pretext; then he opened the Castle-door and turband'd himself
with his gear and that of his Mameluke, and the twain went down
to the river and swam the stream until they reached the other
side. When they stood on terra firma, the Prince found his horse
and saddled and mounted him, taking Hilal upon the crupper, and
rode forth to his own country. Such was the case with Yusuf; but
as regards Al-Hayfa, when she awoke a-morn, she asked of her
lover and her handmaid handed to her the letter; so she took it
and read it and mastered its meaning and significance, after
which she wept with excessive weeping until she fainted and the
blood issued from her eyes. Presently she came to herself and
dismissed Sahlub and his companions; then she said to Ibn
Ibrahim, "Rise thou and depart our presence; haply some wight may
come to us and swim the stream and pass into the Palace." But Ibn
Ibrahim remained behind while Sahlub departed with those about
him; and when they had left the company, Al-Hayfa asked, "O Ibn
Ibrahim, say me, canst thou keep my secret and my being
fascinate[FN#239] by love?" and he answered, "Yea, verily, O my
lady, how should I not conceal it for thee, when thou art my
mistress and princess and the daughter of my master, even though
I keep it inside mine eyes?" So she continued, "O Ibn Ibrahim,
there came to me a youth named the Veiled Yusuf of Beauty, son of
King Sahl, Sovran of Sind; and I waxed enamoured of him and he
waxed enamoured of me, and he abode with me two score of days.
One day of the days, quoth I to him, 'Come up with me to the
Palace-roof that we may gaze upon the view,' when we saw from its
height a herd of gazelles, and I cried, 'Ah that I had one of
these!' Hereat said he, 'By Allah, and by the life of thine eyes
and by the blackness of their pupils, I will in very deed fill
thy Palace therewith,' and with such words he went forth and
saddled his steed and swam the river to the further side, where
he rode down three roes within sight of me. Then I looked
city-ward up stream and saw a batel cleaving the waters, whereby
I knew that my father had sent me somewhat therein; So I wrote to
the Prince and shot the paper bound to a shaft and bade him hide
away from your faces until ye should have departed. So he
concealed himself within a cave where he tethered his horse, then
he sought tidings of me, and seeing my cousin Sahlub, he was
seized by jealousy. So he lingered till yesternight, when he
again swam the stream and came to the Palace where I had posted
Rádih, the handmaid, bidding her take seat beside the door lest
haply he should enter; and presently she opened to him and he
sought a place commanding a sight of us, and he saw me sitting
with you twain, and both of you were carousing over your wine.
Now this was sore to him; so he wrote to me yonder note, and
taking his Mameluke with him, fared forth to his own folk; and my
desire is that you hie to him."[FN#240]--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 King suffer me to survive?"
Now when it was the next night and that was

The Six Hundred and Eighty-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 quoth
Al-Hayfa to Ibn Ibrahim, "I devise that thou hie to Yusuf with
this letter;" whereto quoth he, "Hearkening is obedience: I will,
however, take this thy writ and wend with it first to my own
folk, after which I will mount my horse and fare to find him." So
she largessed him with an hundred gold pieces and entrusted to
him the paper which contained the following purport in these
couplets,

"What state of heart be this no ruth can hoard? * And harm a
wretch to whom none aid accord,
But sobs and singulfs, clouds that rain with tears * And seas aye
flowing and with gore outpour'd;
And flames that rage in vitals sickness-burnt * The while in
heart-core I enfold them stor'd.
Yet will I hearten heart with thee, O aim! * O Ravisher, O
Moslems' bane ador'd:
Ne'er did I look for parting but 'twas doomed * By God Almighty
of all the lords the Lord."

Then Mohammed Ibn Ibrahim took the paper and Al-Hayfa said to
him, "Ho thou! Inform none that thou wast sitting beside me on
that night." Then he went forth until he drew near his folk and
there he mounted a she-dromedary and pushed her pace until he
arrived at the capital of Sind. He asked for the son of the King;
and when they had directed him thereto he entered and found the
Prince in privacy; so he kissed hands and gave him the writ which
he took and opened and read. But when he had comprehended its
object and purport, he turned and re-turned it with stern regards
until he had well nigh torn it to tatters. Then he threw it to
Ibn Ibrahim who said to him, "O lord of the Time and the Tide,
'tis not on this wise that the sons of the Kings cast away an
address without returning aught of reply." Quoth he, "There is no
response from me," and quoth Ibn Ibrahim, "O King of the Age,
pity that thou mayest be pitied!"[FN#241] Hereupon the Prince
called for pen-case and paper of note and pen of brass
wrought[FN#242] and wrote in reply to her poetry the following
couplets,

"Al-Hayfá with verses a-tip of tongue * Comes suing mercy for
love so strong:
She hath no mercy fro' me, but still * She pleadeth a plea that
our love was long:
She falsed, turned face, doubted, recked her naught * And her
hard false heart wrought me traitor's wrong:
Were my heart now changèd her love to woo * She with quick
despisal my heart had stung:
Were my eyne to eye her, she'd pluck them out * With tip of
fingers before the throng:
Soft and tranquil life for her term she seeks * While with
hardness and harshness our souls are wrung.

Then Yusuf folded the paper and handed it to Ibn Ibrahim and
ordered him a robe of honour and an hundred dinars. So he took
them and rode forth until he drew near the Palace of Al-Hayfa,
when he tethered his dromedary and hid her in a cave whose mouth
he walled with stones. Then he went down to the river and swam it
till he reached the other side; and entering into the presence of
Al-Hayfa he drew forth the paper and committed it to her. But
she, after perusing it, wept with sore weeping and groaned until
she swooned away for excess of tears and for the stress of what
had befallen her. Such was the effect of what she had read in the
letter, and she knew not what might be the issue of all this
affair and she was perplext as one drunken without wine. But when
she recovered she called for pen-case and paper, and she wrote
these improvised couplets,

"O Lord of folk, in our age alone * And O Raper of hearts from
the bonny and boon:
I have sent to thee 'plaining of Love's hard works * And my
plaint had softened the hardest stone:
Thou art silent all of my need in love * And with shafts of
contempt left me prone and strown."

And after she had ended writing she folded her note and gave it
to Ibn Ibrahim who took it, and cried to his slaves, "Saddle my
she-dromedary,", after which he mounted and fared until he had
made the city of Sind. Then he repaired to Yusuf and after
greetings handed the letter to him, but the Prince after perusing
it[FN#243] threw it in his face, and presently rose and would
have left him. But Ibn Ibrahim followed him and heard him say to
his pages, "Send him back without beating him," and they did
accordingly, after forbidding him the place. So he again bestrode
his she-camel and ceased not pushing on till he arrived at the
Palace of Al-Hayfa where he presented himself in her
presence.[FN#244] But when he handed to her the writ she found it
was that very same she had sent to the Prince, so she wept and
sorrow was sore upon her and presently she cried, "O Ibn Ibrahim
what's to do?" He replied, "When I delivered thy writ to him, he
brake its seal and read it and threw it in my face: then he rose
in wrath from beside me, and as I followed he bade his slaves and
pages drive me away, adding, 'I have for her nor answer nor
address'; and this was all he did." When the Princess heard his
words, she felt the matter to be grievous, and she wept unknowing
how she should act, and fainted for awhile, and when she
recovered she said, "O Ibn Ibrahim, what is this affair and on
what wise shall I behave? Do thou advise me in my case; and haply
joy shall come to me from thy hand, for that thou be a Counsellor
of the Kings and their boon-companion." "O my lady," he replied,
"do thou not cut off thy tidings from him and haply shall
Almighty Allah change his heart from case to case and
peradventure insistence overcometh hindrance."[FN#245] Quoth she,
"Had he sent me a reply I had been rightly directed as to what I
should write, but now I wot not what to indite, and if this
condition long endure I shall die." "Address him again," answered
he, "and I will fare back once more and fain would I ransom thee
with my life, nor will I return without a reply."--And Shahrazad
was surprised by 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 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 Six Hundred and Eighty-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 Ibn
Ibrahim said to Al-Hayfa, "Do thou write to him and there is no
help but that I return to thee with a reply, albe life depart
from me." Then she asked for pen-case and paper and thereon
indited the following couplets,

"Ah would thou knew what I of parting dree * When all my hiddens
show for man to see;
Passion and longing, pine and lowe o' love * Descend surchargèd
on the head of me:
God help the days that sped as branches lopt * I spent in Garden
of Eternity.[FN#246]
And I of you make much and of your love * By rights of you, while
dearest dear be ye:[FN#247]
May Allah save you, parted though we be, * While bide I parted
all unwillingly:
Then, O my lord, an come thou not right soon * The tomb shall
home me for the love of thee."

And when she had written her reply, she largessed Ibn Ibrahim
with an hundred dinars, after which he returned[FN#248] to the
capital of Sind, where he found Yusuf issuing forth to hunt; so
he handed to him the letter, and the Prince returning citywards
set apart for him a fair apartment and spent the livelong night
asking anent Al-Hayfa. And when it was morning he called for
pen-case and paper whereupon he wrote these improvised couplets,

"You dealt to us a slender dole our love mote satisfy, * Yet nor
my gratitude therefor nor laud of me shalt gain:
I'm none of those console their hearts by couplets or by verse *
For breach of inner faith by one who liefly breaks the
chain:
When so it fortunes she I love a partner gives to me * I wone in
single bliss and let my lover love again:
Take, then, what youth your soul desires; with him forgather, for
* I aim not at your inner gifts nor woo your charms I deign:
You set for me a mighty check of parting and ill-will * In public
fashion and a-morn you dealt me bale and bane:
Such deed is yours and ne'er shall it, by Allah satisfy * A boy,
a slave of Allah's slaves who still to slave is fain."

Then Prince Yusuf robed Ibn Ibrahim in a robe of green; and
giving him an hundred gold pieces, entrusted him with the letter
which he carried to Al-Hayfa and handed it to her. She brake the
seal and read it and considered its contents, whereupon she wept
with sore weeping which ended in her shrieking aloud; and after
she abode perplext as to her affair and for a time she found no
sweetness in meat and drink, nor was sleep pleasant to her for
the stress of her love-longing to Yusuf. Also her nature tempted
her to cast herself headlong from the terrace of the Palace; but
Ibn Ibrahim forbade her saying, "Do thou write to him replies,
time after time; haply shall his heart be turned and he will
return unto thee." So she again called for writing materials and
indited these couplets, which came from the very core of her
heart,

"Thou art homed in a heart nothing else shall invade; * Save thy
love and thyself naught shall stay in such stead;
O thou, whose brilliancy lights his brow, * Shaped like
sandhill-tree with his locks for shade,
Forbid Heaven my like to aught else incline * Save you whose
beauties none like display'd:
Art thou no amongst mortals a starless moon * O beauty the dazzle
of day hath array'd?"

These she committed[FN#249] to Ibn Ibrahim who rode again on his
route and forgathered with Prince Yusuf and gave him the letter,
whose Contents were grievous to him; so he took writing materials
and returned a reply in the following verses,

"Cease then to carry missives others write, * O Son of Ibrahim,
shun silly plight:
I'm healed of longing for your land and I * Those days forget and
daysters lost to sight:
Let then Al-Hayfá learn from me I love * Distance from her and
furthest earthly site.
No good in loving when a rival shows * E'en tho' 'twere victual
shared by other wight;
These modes and fashions never mind arride * Save him unknowing
of his requisite.

Then he entrusted the writ to Ibn Ibrahim, after giving him an
hundred dinars, and he fared forth and ceased not faring till he
had reached the palace of the Princess. Presently he went in and
handed to her the writ, and as soon as she had read it, the
contents seemed to her sore and she wept until her vitals were
torn with sobs. After this she raised her hand[FN#250]
heavenwards and invoked Allah and humbled herself before him and
said, "My God, O my Lord, do Thou soften the heart of Yusuf ibn
Sahl and turn him mewards and afflict him with love of me even as
thou hast afflicted me with his love; for Thou to whatso Thou
wishest canst avail, O bestest of Rulers and O forcefullest of
Aiders." Anon she fell to writing and indited these verses,

"Love rules my bosom and a-morn doth moan * The Voice, ah Love,
who shows strength weakness grown! His lashes' rapier-blade hath
rent my heart; * That keen curved brand my me hath overthrown:
That freshest cheek-rose fills me with desire: * Fair fall who
plucketh yonder bloom new-blown! Since love befel me for that
youth did I * Begin for charms of him my pride to own: O thou my
hope, I swear by Him did share * Love and decreed thou shouldst
in longing wone, In so exceeding grief why sight I thee * Jacob
made Joseph by the loss of me?"

She then handed the letter to Ibn Ibrahim, after giving him an
hundred dinars; and he returned forthright to the city of Sind
and, repairing to Yusuf, gave him the writ which he took and
read. Hereupon the Prince waxed sore sorrowful and said to
himself, "By Allah, indeed Al-Hayfa cleaveth to love."--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 King suffer me to
survive?" Now when it was the next night and that was

The Six Hundred and Ninety-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 Prince
Yusuf said, "By Allah, had Al-Hayfa any save myself she had not
sent me these letters; but the outgoings of the heart conciliate
lovers and correspond each with other." Then he took writing
materials and after thinking awhile he improvised these couplets,

O thou of stature fair with waist full slight[FN#251] *
Surpassing sandhill- branch and reedlet light;
I deal in words and gems of speech that melt, * By none 'mid all
of mortal kind indite;
From my tribe's lord, a lion rending foes * Moon of Perfections
and 'The Yusuf' hight:
Homed in thy home I joyed my joys with maids *
High-breasted,[FN#252] virgins weakening forceful sprite;
Your songs and touch of lute 'mid trembling wine * Consoled all
sorrows, made all hearts delight,
Till you to other deignèd union grant * And I your nature learnt
and learnt aright,
Whereat my vitals failed, sore bane befel, * Pine,
disappointment, and injurious blight.
No virtue dwelleth in the fairest forms * But forms the fairest
are by goodness dight.
How many a maiden deckt with crescent brow * Hath nature dealing
injury and despite?
Man hath no merit save in kindly mind * And loquent tongue with
light of wits unite."[FN#253]

And when Yusuf had ended his poetry he presented an hundred
dinars to Ibn Ibrahim, who took the letter and fell to cutting
through the wilds and the wolds, after which he went in to the
presence of Al-Hayfa and gave her the missive. She wept and
wailed and cried, "O Ibn Ibrahim, this letter is indeed softer
than all forewent it; and as thou hast brought it to me, O Ibn
Ibrahim, I will largesse thee with two honourable robes of golden
brocade and a thousand dinars." So saying, she called for
pen-case and paper whereupon she indited these couplets,

"O my lord, these words do my vitals destroy, * O thou gem of the
earth and full moon a-sky!
How long this recourse to denial and hate * With heart whose
hardness no rocks outvie?
Thou hast left my spirit in parting-pangs * And in fires of
farness that flame on high:
How long shall I 'plain of its inner pains? * Haps thy grace
shall grant me reunion-joy:
Then pity, my vitals and whatso homed * Thy form within me before
I die.

She then handed the paper to Ibn Ibrahim who again set out and
sought the Prince and kissed his hand and gave him the letter;
whereupon said he, "O Ibn Ibrahim, come not thou again bringing
me aught of missive--ever or any more after this one." Quoth Ibn
Ibrahim, "Wherefore, O my lord, shall I not do on such wise?" and
quoth Yusuf "Suffer her to learn the fates of men-kind." Said the
other, "I conjure thee, by Allah Almighty, ho thou the King,
inasmuch as thou art of the seed of mighty monarchs, disappoint
her not of her question; and Allah upon thee, unless thou show
pity to her heart it haply will melt away with melancholy and
love and madness for thy sake; and all of this is for the truth
of her affection." Hereupon Yusuf smiled and taking up his pen
wrote these couplets,

"Stay thy tears; for hindrance and parting hie, * And the endless
of Empire aye glorify:
From my core of heart fly all cark and care * After parting that
seemed all Time defy.
A Lion am I for the love of him * Whom the slanderer's part ne'er
can satisfy:
My mind and soul be this day with you * But my heart and thought
are at enmity:
Thought and mind delight in Love's cruelty * While heart and soul
for re-union cry:
And if mind and thought e'er can overcome * Soul and heart,
Re-union thou ne'er shalt 'spy."

And when Yusuf had finished his writing, he gifted Ibrahim with
an hundred dinars and sent him again to Al-Hayfa with the letter,
and she on receiving it shed tears and said, "O Ibn Ibrahim,
seeing that his soul and heart be with us, Allah Almighty
availeth to turn his thoughts and his fancy and the mind of him."
Hereupon she took writing materials and wrote,

"Calm, O my lord, thy vitals' painful plight, * O thou whose
semblance lighteth sooty night:
O gladding heart, O sweet of union, Oh * Whose charms the tribe
in festal hours delight:
O high in honour passing height of Kings, * O thou with purest
blood 'mid Kings bedight,
Fear'st not the Throne[FN#254] of God (O hope of me!) * When
harming heart whereon all pains alight?
Then deign thou grant me union, for such wise * Shall rest my
heartstrings and dark care wax bright:
From none, except that Lion O' men Ali[FN#255] * Comes pardon
proving to man- kind his might."

Then she passed her missive to Ibn Ibrahim giving him an hundred
gold pieces and he pushed his pace till he reached the city of
Sind, where he went in to Yusuf and kissed his hands and feet.
The Prince taking the letter smiled and laughed and said, "O Ibn
Ibrahim, when Allah (be He extolled and exalted!) shall decree my
faring I will fare to them[FN#256] within a short while; but do
thou return and let know that I intend forgathering with them."
Quoth the other, "Ah! O my lord, do thou indite her a reply,
otherwise she will have no trust in me; so the Prince fell to
penning these lines,

"My vitals restless bide for very jealousy * The while my heart
must ever show unfriendly gree:
Yet I obeyed my heart and tore it out for him * Albe man ever
holds his heart in amity;
And I have heard my lover drives me forth from him * But Allah
grant my prayer of benedicite.
In anxious care I came and sought your side this day * Naught
shall the youth exalt save generosity."

Then Prince Yusuf passed the letter to Ibn Ibrahim who, after
receiving his hundred dinars, repaired to Al-Hayfa and greeted
her[FN#257] informing her the while that her lover was about to
make act of presence.--And Shahrazad was surprised by 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 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 Six Hundred and Ninety-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 Ibn
Ibrahim said to Al-Hayfa, "Verily Yusuf purposeth to visit thee
after a little while." But when the Princess heard his words she
would not believe him albeit her heart palpitated with pleasure;
whereupon Ibn Ibrahim improvised to her as follows,

"O thou world-seducer and full moon bright, * Stay thy speech and
with boon of good news requite.
Love pledged me his word he would see thee and said, * Hie thee
home and order the house aright.
I awoke this morning in cark and care, * In tears distraught and
in dire despite;
For the wrongs and farness thou doom'st me dree * Have forced my
forces to fright-full flight."

And when Ibn Ibrahim had ended his verse, Al-Hayfa joyed with
increased and exceeding joy, and in her delight she answered him
according to the rhyme and rhythm of his verse,

"O who spreadest clouds,[FN#258] Son of Ibrahim hight; * By the
Lord who ruleth in 'Arsh his height,
By Mohammed the bestest of men and by * Th' adorers of yore and
the Tá-Há's[FN#259] might,
By Zemzem, Safá and wall Hatím[FN#260] * And Ka'abah and glories
of Ka'abah's site,
An this speech be sooth and my dearling come * One thousand, two
thou- sand dinars are thy right;
And I'll give thee a courser, O Ibrahim's son, * Selle, stirrups
and bridle with gold bedight;
Six turbands and robes that shall honour show * With that courser
the colour of blackest night.
So hold me not like the most of mankind, * Who joy the fair ones
to twit and flyte."

And when Al-Hayfa had finished her verses, Ibn Ibrahim brought
out to her the letter of the Prince, and as soon as she read it
her heart was comforted and she waxed glad with exceeding
gladness and she bade them present him with largesse of value
great and a thousand dinars upon a china plate. After this she
took him by the hand and led him into a closet and said, "O Ibn
Ibrahim, all that be in this cabinet is a free gift to thee when
thou shalt have brought to me that lover of mine." Such was the
case with them; but as regards Prince Yusuf, when Ibn Ibrahim
left him, he felt love-lowe aflaming in his heart, and he
summoned his Mameluke Hilal and said to him, "Go saddle for us
the steed known by the name of The
Bull-aye-ready-and-for-Battle-day-steady." Hereupon the slave
arose and enselled the courser and Yusuf mounted; and, taking his
Mameluke on the crupper, pushed his pace (and he madly in love
with Al-Hayfa), and he ceased not faring till he reached her
Palace. He then swam the stream with his Mameluke hanging on, as
before, to the tail, and knocked at the door which was opened by
a damsel hight Nuzhat al-Zaman[FN#261] and she on recognising him
kissed his hands and hurrying to her lady informed her of his
coming. Al-Hayfa hearing of the arrival fell fainting to the
ground and when she recovered she found Yusuf standing beside her
head; so she arose and embraced him for a long while, after which
she improvised and said,

"O thou Pilgrim of Love, after parting far * From us driven by
malice of jealous foe!
My life for the friend in affection comes; * Naught dearer to me
than such boon can show;
Full many a writ have I written thee * Nor union nor grace of
return I know.
In this world I see him with single heart * O my wish! and Allah
ne'er part us two.

And when she had ended her verses she bade the slave-girls convey
Ibn Ibrahim and Hilal to the gardens, after which she led Yusuf
to the saloon of session and the twain passed the night together
he and she, in joyance and enjoyment, for that night was indeed a
night of delight. But when Allah bade the morn to morrow,
Al-Hayfa arose and cried, "How short it is for a night: Ah that
it had been longer for us! but 'tis for me to say even as said
Imr al-Kays[FN#262] in sundry of his verses upon a similar theme,

"On me Night waxeth long nor would I shorten Night; * Yet hasteth
Morn when I for longer Nights would sue:
It brings me union till 'My lover's mine' I cry * Yet when with
him unite disunion comes to view.

Now when it was the second day, Al-Hayfa took seat in the
assembly of converse.--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 King suffer me to survive?" Now when it was the next night
and that was

The Six Hundred and Ninety-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 Al-Hayfa
repaired to the saloon of séance, she and Yusuf, and summoned Ibn
Ibrahim and bade the handmaids bring everything that was in the
closet. They obeyed her bidding and fetched her all the contents,
amongst which were ten robes of honour and three coffers of silk
and fine linen and a packet of musk and a parcel of rubies and
pearls and jacinths and corals and similar objects of high price.
And she conferred the whole of this upon Mohammed ibn Ibrahim,
the while improvising these verses,

"We are noblest of lords amongst men of might; * What we give and
largesse bring the most delight:
And when we strive with our hearts and souls * We strive in
public nor rue our plight.
With me the pact no regret shall breed * Save in head of
suspecting envying wight.
I am none who riseth sans bounteous deed; * I am none who giveth
with felon sprite."

And when Al-Hayfa had ended her poetry, Prince Yusuf
largessed[FN#263] Ibn Ibrahim and said to him, "Thou shalt have
on my part one thousand dinars and twenty robes of brocade and an
hundred she-camels and eighty horses (whereof the meanest is
worth five hundred gold pieces and each is saddled with a golden
selle), and lastly forty handmaids." After which he began to
improvise these couplets,

"Good signeth man to sight and all men see * Sahl's son is lord
of liberality:
Time and the world and mortals one and all * Witness my goodness
and for aye agree:
Who comes for purpose him I gratify * With boons, though 'twere
with eyen-light of me:
I back my neighbour whenas harmèd by * Dolour of debt and
foeman's tyranny:
Whoso hath moneys lacking liberal mind * Though he snatch Fortune
'mid the vile is he."

And when Yusuf had finished his verse, Ibn Ibrahim arose and
bussed his hands and feet and cried, "Allah dole to thee all thou
desirest." The other replied, "When thou shalt return to our
city, do thou go to my quarters and therefrom take thee whatso I
have promised." Then the Prince and Princess waxed assiduous in
the eating of meat and the drinking of wine; and this continued
for many successive months[FN#264] until Ibn Ibrahim craved leave
to visit his folk; and, when he received permission, he took with
him that was light in weight and weighty of worth. And as he set
forth, Al-Hayfa said to him, "When thou shalt return to thy
people in safety, do thou salute for me my sire and name to him a
certain stallion which same he shall largesse to thee and
likewise its saddle and bridle." Hereupon he farewelled them and
went forth and stemmed the stream and withdrawing his
she-dromedary from the cave harnessed her and mounted her and set
forth upon his desert way, and as soon as he reached the capital
of Sind he went to his folk who greeted him kindly. Now when King
Al-Mihrjan heard of Mohammed ibn Ibrahim's coming he sent to
summon him and as soon as he appeared between his hands he asked
concerning his absence. "O King of the Time and the Tide," quoth
he, "I have been in Yasrib[FN#265] city;" and indeed he was one
of the cup-companions of Al-Hayfa's father and by the decree of
Destiny he had been ever in high favour with the King. So the
twain sat down to drink wine and as Fortune willed it Ibn Ibrahim
bore about him a letter containing poetry, part of the
correspondence between the Prince and Princess, wherein were
written the names of all three. Now when he was at the height of
his joy he wagged his head and shook off his turband and the
paper fell therefrom into Al-Mihrjan's lap.[FN#266] The King took
it and read it and understood its contents but he kept the case
secret for a while; presently, however, he dismissed his
Courtiers and Equerries who were around him and forthright bade
smite Mohammed ibn Ibrahim with stripes until his sides were
torn. Then quoth he, "Acquaint me concerning this youth who
correspondeth with my daughter, making thee the goer between them
twain, otherwise I will cut off thy head." Quoth Ibn Ibrahim, "Ho
thou King; verily this be only poetry which I found in one of the
histories of old."--And Shahrazad was surprised by 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 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 Six Hundred and Ninety-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 Ibn
Ibrahim said to Al-Mihrjan, "Verily I found this poetry in a tale
of the olden time." So the King issued orders to smite his neck,
when intercession was made for him by a Courtier hight Tá'il
al-Wasf,[FN#267] whereupon the King commanded him to jail,
whither he was taken forthright. But as Ibn Ibrahim was being
locked up, he said to the gaoler, "Say me, canst thou bring for
me a pen-case and paper and pen?" and the other assented,
fetching for him whatso he wanted. So he wrote to Prince Yusuf
the following couplets,

"O Yúsuf, master mine, for safety fly; * In sorest danger
Ibrahim's son doth lie:
When from thy side for house and home he sped * Forthright bade
Al-Mihrjan to bring him nigh,
And 'mid th' Assembly highest stead assigned * A seat in public
with a sleight full sly.
A writ thou wrotest bore he on his head * Which fell and picked
it up the King to 'spy:
'Tis thus discovered he thy state and raged * With wrath and fain
all guidance would defy.
Then bade he Ibrahim's son on face be thrown * And painful
beating to the bare apply;
With stripes he welted and he tare his sides * Till force waxed
feeble, strength debility.
So rise and haste thee to thine own and fetch * Thy power, and
instant for the tribe-lands hie;
Meanwhile I'll busy to seduce his men * Who hear me, O thou
princely born and high;
For of the painful stress he made me bear * The fire of bane I've
sworn him even I."

Now when Ibn Ibrahim had finished his verse, he said to the
gaoler, "Do thou summon for me the son of my brother hight
Manná[FN#268] and thou shalt have from me one hundred gold
pieces." The man did his bidding, and when the youth came the
uncle gave him the letter and bespake him as follows: "O son of
my brother, take thou this paper and fare with it to the Castle
of Al-Hayfa and swim the stream, and go up to the building and
enter therein and commit this missive unto a youth whom thou
shalt see sitting beside the Princess. Then do thou greet him
with the salam from me, and inform him of all that I am in and
what I have seen and what thou hast witnessed, and for this
service I will give thee an hundred gold pieces." The nephew took
the uncle's letter and set forth from the first of the night
until he drew nigh the Castle. Such was the case with Ibn Ibrahim
and his sending his nephew Manna' on a mission to the Princess;
but as regards King Al-Mihrjan, when the morning morrowed and
showed its sheen and shone and the sun arose with rays a-low-
land strown, he sent to summon Ibn Ibrahim; and, when they set
him between his hands, he adjured him saying, "O thou! by the
rights of the God unique in his rule for Unity; by Him who set up
the skies without prop and stay and dispread the Earths firmly
upon the watery way, unless thou inform me and apprise me rightly
and truly I will order thy head to be struck off this very
moment." So the cup-companion related to the King the whole
affair of Princess Al-Hayfa and Prince Yusuf, and all that had
passed between the twain; whereupon Al-Mihrjan asked, "And this
Yusuf from what land may he be?" "He is son to the Sovran of
Sind, King Sahl," quoth the other, and quoth Al- Mihrjan, "And is
he still in the Palace, or hath he gone to his own country?" "He
was therein," replied Ibn Ibrahim, "but I know not whether he be
yet there, or he be gone thence." Hereupon Al-Mihrjan commanded
his host at once to mount, and all took horse and rode forth
making for the Castle of Al-Hayfa. Now, between Manna and King
Al-Mihrjan was a march of only a single night, when the youth
went up to the Palace of the Princess, where he knocked at the
door and they opened and admitted him to the presence of Prince
Yusuf. There he handed to him the letter, which the Prince opened
and read; then he suddenly rose up crying upon Hilal, whom when
he was fetched he bade forthwith bring out his steed. Hereat
cried Al-Hayfa, "I ask thee by Allah, O my lord, what may be the
news?" and he answered her, "Verily when Ibn Ibrahim fared from
us to his folk he was summoned on his arrival by thy sire, and he
went to him and informed him of all that hath befallen us, first
and last." So saying he put the letter into her hands, and she
having read it exclaimed, "O my lord, do thou take me with thee
lest haply he slay me." Answered the Prince, "O end and aim of
mine every wish, we have naught with us save this one steed who
availeth not to carry three; therefore will thy father overtake
us upon the road and will put us to death one and all. Now the
rede that is right be this, that thou conceal thyself somewhere
in the Palace and charge the slave-girls when thy sire shall come
hither, to tell him that I have carried thee off to mine own
country, and for the rest be thou assured that I will tarry away
from thee but a few days." So saying Yusuf took his horse with
him and Hilal his page a-crupper and swam the river and made for
his own land pushing his pace, and presently he drew within sight
of the capital. Such was the case of Prince Yusuf, son to King
Sahl; but as regards the matter of King Al-Mihrjan and his host,
he ceased not marching them till such time as he came within
sight of the Castle of his daughter Al-Hayfa; and this was soon
after the departure of Yusuf. And when he had led hither his
host, which was like unto a dashing sea, he dismounted upon the
river-bank that all might free themselves of their fatigue, after
which he summoned Sahlub and bade him swim the stream and walk up
to the Castle and knock at the door. The youth did as he was
bidden, and the handmaids opened to him and greeted him as he
asked for Al-Hayfa--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 King suffer me to survive?" Now when it was the next night
and that was

The Six Hundred and Ninety-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 when
Sahlub went up to the Palace, he asked of Al-Hayfa, and the
slave-girls told him that a youth had come thither and had taken
her away and had carried her off to his own country. So he
returned to Al-Mihrjan and informed him thereof, when the King
took horse with all his host and pursued Yusuf with uttermost
haste and hurry until there was between the twain less than a
day's march. But as the Prince drew near his capital on the tenth
day he went in to his sire and told him whatso had befallen him
from incept to conclusion, nor did he hide from him aught;
whereupon King Sahl mustered his many (all who received from him
royal solde and allowances), and bade them take horse with his
son Yusuf. The troops did accordingly and the Prince rode a-van,
and after a little while the two armies met. Now Ibn Ibrahim had
made a compact with five of the nobles who were the chiefest men
of King Al-Mihrjan's reign and had promised them five hundred
thousand dinars. So when the two hosts were about to engage, an
Emir of the Emirs came forth (and he was one of those whom Ibn
Ibrahim had appointed to watch over Yusuf) and said to the
Prince, "O Son of the King, verily Ibn Ibrahim hath promised five
of the nobles as many hundred thousand dinars of gold the which
we may take and receive from thee." Replied he, "The like sum
shall be thine from me with all thou canst ask of us." Presently
the Emir returned from him to Al-Mihrjan and said to him, "Verily
I have asked this youth that he make vain and void the battle
between us twain, but he assented not and sware an oath that he
would never return from affray until the enemies should meet and
fight it out, and that he had with him a mighty host and a
conquering whose van was not known from its rear.[FN#269] Now
'tis my rede that thou strive to take him prisoner[FN#270] and
then do whatso he may please, especially he being son to thee,
King of the mighty Kings and with him a thousand thousand knights
all mailed cap-a-pie and clothed in steel not one of whom hath
any fear of fight." King Al-Mihrjan waxed wroth at the Emir's
speech and cried, "What words be these? Shall the Kings of the
Age remain saying of me that a man hath debauched the daughter of
Al-Mihrjan and hath carried her away perforce despite the nose of
her father? Never shall such thing be spoken of me; no, never!
But do thou know, ho thou the Emir, that an ye have no taste for
fray nor avail for fight and ye have no training save for bibbing
of wine and ease at home, I have sworn and swear by Him who
lighted the lucident fires of the Sun and the Moon, none shall
sally forth to do single combat with this youth save I myself."
But when so saying he knew not that was hidden from him in the
World of Secrets. Presently he rushed into the field of fight
with reins floating upon his courser's neck and he renowned it,
showing himself between the foremost files, and he played with
the edge of glaive and spit of spear until men's wits were
bewildered and he improvised the while and cried out the
following couplets,

"Ibn Sahl, ho scion of tree abhorr'd! * Rise, meet me in mellay
and prove thee lord:
My daughter hast snatched, O thou foul of deed, * And approachest
me fearing the Lion of the horde.
Hadst come in honour and fairly sued * I had made her thine own
with the best accord;
But this rape hath o'erwhelmed in dishonour foul * Her sire, and
all bounds thou hast overscor'd."

Now when King Al-Mihrjan finished his verse, Yusuf rushed out to
him, and cried at him with a terrible cry and a terrifying, and
garred his own steed bound upon the battle-plain, where he played
with brand and lance until he cast into oblivion every knight,
reciting in the meantime the following verses,

"I am son to Al-Sahl, O of forbears vile! * Come forth and fight
me sans guile or wile;
Thou hast hurt my heart; O of deed misdone, * So thou com'st to
contend with this rank and file."[FN#271]

King Al-Mihrjan re-echoed his war-cry, but hardly had he ended
when Yusuf drawing near him answered it with a shout which
enquaked his heart and ravished his reason with sore terror, and
repeated in reply these couplets,

"I am not to be titled of forbears vile * O whose ape-like face
doth the tribe defile!
Nay, I'm rending lion amid mankind, * A hero in wilds where the
murks beguile.
Al-Hayfa befitteth me, only me; * Ho thou whom men for an
ape[FN#272] revile,"

When Yusuf had ended these words, Al-Mihrjan rushed forth and
charged down upon him, and the two drawing nigh each of the
foemen set on the other with a mighty onset and a prodigious.
They fought in duello and lanced out with lance and smote with
sword, and dashed together as they were two ships of two
mountains clashing; and they approached and retired, and the
dust- cloud arose over them and they disappeared from men's
sight. But hardly had an hour passed by when Yusuf made a final
attack upon his enemy and narrowed his course and barred his way
and pressed him hard; and, hanging upon his flank, smote him with
the scymitar upon the nape of the neck[FN#273] and caused his
head to fall between his feet, when he slipt from his steed upon
the ground, and he lay stone dead and in his gore drowned. Now as
soon as the folk looked upon Yusuf and what he had dealt to their
King and how he had made his head fly his body and had done him
dead, they turned to take flight. Thereupon Yusuf recognised
Sahlub the cousin of Al-Hayfa, he who had been the cause of their
separation and had roused her wrath against him; so he drew near
to him and smote him with the bright shining blade on the right
flank, and it came forth gleaming between his left ribs; so he
fell to the ground drenched with blood, and he was left prostrate
in the dust. And when Yusuf had slain King Al- Mihrjan and
Sahlub, his nephew, the Grandees of the realm came around him and
greeted him with the salam.--And Shahrazad was surprised by 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 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 Seven Hundredth 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
Grandees of King Al-Mihrjan's reign saw their Sovran slain, they
flocked to Prince Yusuf and greeted him, marvelling at his beauty
and valour and excellence: then they all agreed to salute him as
their Sultan and they raised him to the rank of King and sole
ruler over them. Presently they led him with them, and fared
seeking the city of Al-Mihrjan until they reached it, when they
adorned the streets on the occasion of his coming. And King Yusuf
having entered his capital took seat on the throne of his
kingship and bade and forbade and deposed and appointed; and
lastly freed Mohammed ibn Ibrahim from gaol, and established him
his Wazir. Hereupon the new Minister displayed to him the four
wives and the hundred concubines of King Al-Mihrjan, also the
negro slaves, male and female, whom he found to number two
hundred and four hundred. Moreover, he showed his riches and
rarities and treasuries wherein were found an hundred boxes full
of silk and fine linen, and parcels of pearls and rubies and
jacinths and jewels and precious minerals and other wealth in
abundance. So he distributed the whole amongst his nobles, and
largessed them with excessive largesses; and his partisans of his
subjects and his guards flocked to him with presents and
offerings; and all the city-folk gave him joy and rejoiced in
him. Then he commissioned Ibn Ibrahim to Al-Hayfa, daughter of
King Al-Mihrjan, saying "Do thou bring her hither to me, her and
her hand-maids and all that be in her palace." Accordingly he
went forth to Al-Hayfa's Castle, and ceased not wending till he
came to its entrance where he discovered that King Yusuf had
appointed a craft for the river transport. And when he arrived
there and found the vessel afloat he went in to Al-Hayfa and he
greeted her. Then he related to her what had betided her sire
from Yusuf and how the Prince had slain him after the fashion of
what befel; so she cried, "There is no Majesty and no Might save
in Allah, the Glorious, the Great; and this was writ in the Book
of Life!" Then she asked Ibn Ibrahim touching her mother, and he
answered that she was sound and safe in her own home which she
had never left nor did any one go in to her; and (added he) "she
expecteth thy coming to her." Then he bade carry down her
impediments and her bondmaids and all the good that was in her
Castle until nothing remained, and embarked them upon the craft;
and presently, mounting her in a litter of sandal-wood plated
with ruddy gold, he set her women in Howdahs;[FN#274] and, taking
horse himself, he rode until they drew near the city. And when
they arrived there he went up to King Yusuf whom he informed of
their coming and was told, "Suffer them to be till night shall
set in." Hereupon he took patience, and when came the appointed
term Al-Hayfa went up to the Palace. Now as Allah caused the morn
to morrow and to light the world with its shine and sheen, King
Yusuf sent to summon the Kazi and witnesses and bade them write
his writ of marriage with Al-Hayfa and was wedded to her by Book
and traditional Usage.[FN#275] After this Al-Hayfa sent to fetch
her mother and bore her to her home and their joy and enjoyment
were great and lasting. Now by the decree of the Decreer anon it
befel that the Caliph Al-Maamun waxed strait of breast one night
of the nights: so he summoned a certain of his courtiers whose
name was Ibrahim the Cup-companion;[FN#276] but, as they found
him not, he bade bring a man hight Al-Khadí'a, and when he came
between his hands quoth he to him, "'Tis a while since I have
seen thee here." Quoth the other, "O Commander of the Faithful, I
have been wayfaring about the land of Syria." Continued the
Prince of True Believers, "Do thou this very night broaden the
Caliph's heart with a delectable tale;" and the other rejoined,
"O Viceregent of Allah upon Earth, know thou an adventure befel
me with a youth named the Veiled Yusuf of Beauty, son to King
Sahl, the friendly ruler of Al-Sind, and with Al-Hayfa the
daughter of King Al-Mihrjan, and 'tis a tale whose like hath
never been heard; no, never." Hereupon he related to Al-Maamun
the history of the two, first and last, adding, "Furthermore, O
Commander of the Faithful, I have learnt that Al-Hayfa owneth ten
handmaidens whose peers are not to be found in thy Palace, and
they are mistresses of all manner instruments of mirth and
merriment and other matters; and amongst things said of them by
their lady when they marvelled at her good fortune, 'Verily this
day I have acquired half a score of slave- girls the like of
which Al-Maamun hath never collected.'" But when the Prince of
True Believers heard this he gave ear to the tale anent them
during the livelong night till Allah caused the morn to morrow.
Then he sent for Ibrahim the Cup-companion, and to him coming
into the presence the Viceregent of Allah exclaimed "Mount
without stay and delay taking with thee one thousand Mamelukes
and make thy way to this youth who is King of Al-Sind[FN#277] and
named 'The Veiled Yusuf of Beauty,' and bring me his ten
handmaidens. After which do thou ask concerning his case and
anent his subjects, whether he be just or unjust to the lieges,
and if he be righteous I will robe him in honourable robes and if
otherwise do thou bring him to my presence." Hereupon Ibrahim
took leave of the Caliph and went forth at that very time and
tide intending for Al-Sind, and he ceased not wending till he
arrived there and found Yusuf setting out for the chase. But when
the youth saw the host approaching him--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 King suffer me to survive?" Now
when it was the next night, and that was

The Seven Hundred and 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, when
Yusuf beheld Ibrahim the Cup-companion, and those in his company,
he returned to the city and took them with him; yet he knew not
Ibrahim nor did Ibrahim know him. But on entering the capital he
was met by his guards and his soldiers who blessed him and prayed
for him length of days and permanence of rule wherefor the
courtier knew him to be a just King. Yusuf led them to and lodged
them in the House of Hospitality; after which returning to his
own Palace he sent for Ibrahim and assembled for him a session
and received him with the highmost honour that could be, and rose
to him and greeted him and embraced him and accompanied him to
the sitting-saloon where the twain took their places. Then Yusuf
bade summon the ten handmaidens with as many instruments of
music; and, sitting down begirt by them, he ordered wine be
brought. So they set before him flagons and beakers of crystal
and jewelled cups; and presently pointing to the first of the
slave-girls whose name is not recorded, bade her recite somewhat
of her pleasantest poetry. So she hent the lute in hand and set
it upon her lap and swept it with a light touch and caressed it
with her finger-tips and smote it after eleven modes; then she
returned to the first[FN#278] and recited these couplets,

"My heart for parting ever burns with lowe; * My lids fiery with
tear-floods ever flow:
Ho thou in lover's loving ferly fair, * Cut is the road for those
Love gars to glow.
How many a youth has felt his vitals torn * By slender forms and
glances forceful prow?
Alas for lover slain by might of Love; * Nor friend avails nor
brother true, I trow!"

When the first handmaiden had finished, Yusuf rejoiced (as did
Ibrahim the Cup-companion) with excessive joy and the King bade
robe her in a sumptuous robe. Hereupon she drained her cup and
passed it to her compeer whose name was Takná, and this second
handmaiden taking beaker in hand placed it afore her and hending
the lute smote on it with many a mode; then, returning to the
first[FN#279] while the wits of all were bewildered, she
improvised the following verses,

"Look on the lute that 'minds of Mangonel; * Whose strings are
ropes that make each shot to tell:
And note the pipes that sound with shriek and cry, * The pipes
that cast a fearful joyful spell;
Espy the flagons ranged in serried rank * And crops becrowned
with wine that longs to well."

But when Takna had finished her poetry Yusuf and Ibrahim were
gladdened and the King bade largesse her with a sumptuous robe
and a thousand dinars and she tossed off her cup and passed it to
her successor the third handmaiden Mubdi'[FN#280] hight. She
accepted it and setting it before her took the lute and smote it
after manifold fashions and presently she spake these couplets,

"Love with his painful pine doth rack this frame of me; * Melts
heart and maims my vitals cruel agony;
And rail my tears like cloud that rains the largest drops; * And
fails my hand to find what seek I fain to see:
Thee I conjure, O Yúsuf, by Him made thee King * O Sahl-son, Oh
our dearest prop, our dignity,
This man methinks hath come to part us lovers twain * For in his
eyes I see the flame of jealousy."

And when Mubdi' had sung her song, Ibrahim the Cup-companion and
King Yusuf smiled and rejoiced and anon there befel them what
there befel and the two slipt down aswoon;--And Shahrazad was
surprised by the dawn of day and fell silent and ceased saying
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 Seven Hundred and Third Night,

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