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Supplemental Nights, Volume 6 by Richard F. Burton

Part 4 out of 9

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put it upon him, for he was the most generous man of his time. Then he
enteretained Ja'afar with the news of the day and of the subjects and anecdotes
of the great pieces of poetry and said to him, O my lord, load not thyself with
cares. The Rawi says that they continued living in the same way for forty days
and on the forty-first Ja'afar said to the young man, Know, O my lord, that I
have left my country neither for eating nor for drinking, but to divert myself
and to see the world; but if God vouchsafe my return to my country to talk to my
people, my neighbours and frieds, and they ask me where I have been and what I
have seen, I will tell them of your generosity and of the great benefactions that
you have heaped upon me in your country of Damascus. I will say that I have
sighted this and that, and thus I will entertain them with what I have espied in
Damascus and of its order. The young man replied, Thou sayest true: and Ja'afar
said, I desire to go out and visit the city, its bazars and its streets, to which
the young man answered, With love and good will, to-morrow morning if it please
Allah. That night Ja'afar slept there and when God brought the day, he rose,
went in to the young man, wished him good morning and said to him, O my lord, thy
promise! to which he replied, With love and good will; and, ordering a white
dress for him, he handed him a purse of three hundred dinars saying, Bestow this
in charity and return quick after thou hast made thy visit, and lastly said to
his servants, Bring to your lord a horse to ride. But Ja'afar answered, I do not
wish to have one, for a rider cannot observe the people but the people observe
him. The young man, who was named Attaf, said, O my lord, be it as thou wishest
and desirest; be not away long on my account for thine absence gives me pain.
Then he gave to Ja'afar a grain of red musk saying, Take this and keep it in thy
hand and if thou go into any place where there is a bad odour thou wilt take a
smell of the musk. Ja'afar the Barmeky (Allah be merciful to him!) said, After
that I left him and set out to walk in the streets and quarters of Damascus and
went on until I came to the Most of the 'Omeyyades where I saw a fountain casting
the water from its upper part and falling like serpents in their flight. I sat
down under the pulpit; and as it was a Friday I heard the preacher and made my
Friday prayer and remained until I made the afternoon prayer when I went to
distribute the money I had, after which I recited these verses:--

I see the beauties united in the mosk of Jullag, and around her the meaning of
beauty is explained;
If people converse in the mosks tell them their entrance door is open.

Then I left the mosk and began to promenade the quarters and the streets until
I came before a splendid house, broad in its richness and strong in its build,
having a border of gold astonishing the mind by the beauty of the work, showing
curtains of silk embroidered with gold and in front of the door were two carpeted
steps. I sat down upon one of them and began to think of myself and of the
events that had happened to me and of my ignorance of what had taken place after
my departure. In the midst of my sadness at the contemplation of my troubles
(and the wind blowing upon me) I fell asleep and I awaked not until a sprinkling
of water came down upon me. On opening my eyes I saw a young woman behind the
curtain dressed in a morning gown and a Sa'udi fillet upon her forehead. Her
look and eyelids were full of art and her eyebrows were like the fronts of the
wings of light. The Rawi says she resembled a full moon. When my eyes fell upon
her (continued Ja'afar) and looked at her, that look brought with it a thousand
sighs and I arose and my disposition was changed. The young woman cried at me
and I said, I am your servant, O my lady, and here at thy command, but said she,
No labbayka and no favour for thee! Is this house thine? Said I, No my lady,
and she replied, O dog of the streets, this house is not thine, why art thou
sitting here? When Ja'afar heard this he was greatly mortified, but he took
courage and dissimulated, answering, O my lady, I am resting here only to recite
some verses which I have composed for thee, then she asked, And what hast thou
said about me? He continued:--

She appeared in a whitish robe with eyelids and glances of wonder,
I said she came out without greeting, with her I'm content to my heart's
Blessed be He that clothed thy cheeks with roses, He can create what He wills
without hindrance.
Thy dress like thy lot is as my hand, white, and they are white upon white upon
my white.

When he had finished these verses he said, I have composed others on thine
expression, and recited the following:--

Dost thou see through her veil that face appearing how it shines, like the moon
in the horizon?
Its splendour enlightens the shade of her temples and the sun enters into
obscurity by system;
Her forehead eclipses the rose and the apple, and her look and expression
enchant the people;
It is she that if mortal should see her he'd become victim of love, of the fires
of desire.

On hearing this recitation the young lady said to Ja'afar, Miserable fellow, what
is this discourse which does not belong to the like of thee? Get up and begone
with the malediction of Allah and the protection of Satan. Ja'afar arose, seized
with a mighty rage in addition to his love; and in this love for her he departed
and returned to the house of his friend Attaf and saluted him with a prepossessed
heart. As soon as Attaf saw him he cast himself on his breast and kissed him
between the eyes, saying to him, O my lord, thou hast made me feel desolate
to-day by thine absence. Then Attaf, looking in the face of Ja'afar and reading
in it many words, continued to him, O my lord, I find thy countenance changed and
thy mind broken. Ja'afar answered, O my lord, since I left thee up to the
present time I have been suffering with a headache and a nervous attack for I was
sleeping upon my ear. The people in the mosk recited the afternoon prayer
without my knowing it, and now I have a mind to get an hour's sleep, probably I
shall find repose for the body, and what I suffer will pass off. Accordingly,
Attaf went into the house and ordered cushions to be brought out and a bed to be
made for him. Ja'afar then stretched himself upon it depressed and out of
spirits, and covering himself up began to think of the young lady and of the
offensive words she gave him so contrary to usage. Also he thoguht of her beauty
and the elegance of her stature and perfect proportions and of what Allah (to
whom be praise!) had granted her of magnificence. He forgot all that happened
to him in other days and also his affair with the Caliph and his people and his
friends and his society. Such was the burden of his thoughts until he was taken
with monomania and his body wasted. Hereupon Attaf sent for doctors, they
surrounded him constantly, they employed all their talents for him, but they
could find no remedy. So he remained during a certain time without anyone being
able to discover what was the matter with him. The breast of Attaf became
straitened, he renounced all diversions and pleasures, and Ja'afar getting worse
and worse, his trouble augmented. One day a new doctor arrived, a man of
experience in the art of gallantry, whose name was Dabdihkan. When he came to
Ja'afar and looked at his face and felt his pulse and found everything in its
place, no suffering, no pain, he comprehended that he was in love, so he took a
paper and wrote a prescription and placed it beneath Ja'afar's head. He then
said, Thy remedy is under thy head, I've prescribed a purge, if thou take it thou
wilt get well, for he was ashamed to tell Attaf his love-sick condition.
Presently, the Doctor went away to other patients and Attaf arose and when about
entering to see Ja'afar he heard him recite the following verses:--

A doctor came to me one day and took my hand and pulse, when I said to him Let
go my hand, the fire's in my heart.
He said, Drink syrup of the rose and mix it well with water of the tongue but
tell it not to anyone:
I said, The syrup of the rose is quite well known to me; it is the water of the
cheek that breaks my very heart;
But can it be that I can get the water of the tongue that I may cool the burning
fire that within me dwells?
The doctor said, Thou art in love, I said Yes to him, and said he to me, Its
remedy is to have the body here.

Then when Attaf went in to him after the end of the recitation he sat down at the
head of the bed and asked him about his condition and what had been perscribed
for him by the Hakim. Ja'afar said, O my lord, he wrote for me a paper which is
under the pillow. Attaf put out his hand, took the paper and read it and found
upon it written:--"In the name of God the Curer--To be taken, with the aid and
blessing of God, 3 miskals of pure presence of the beloved unmixed with morsels
of absence and fear of being watched: plus, 3 miskals of a good meeting cleared
of any grain of abandonment and rupture: plus, 2 okes of pure friendship and
discretion deprived of the wood of separation. Then take some extract of the
incense of the kiss, the teeth and the waist, 2 miskals of each; also take 100
kisses of pomegranate rubbed and rounded, of which 50 small ones are to be
sugared, 30 pigeon-fashion and 20 after the fashion of little birds. Take of
Aleppine twist and sigh of Al-Iraq 2 miskals each; also 2 okes of tongue-sucking,
mouth and lip kissing, all to be pounded and mixed. Then put upon a furnace 3
drams of Egyptian grain with the addition of the beautiful fold of plumpness,
boil it in love-water and syrup of desire over a fire of wood of pleasure in the
retreat of the ardour. Decant the whole upon a royal dibaqy divan and add to it
2 okes of saliva syrup and drink it fasting during 3 days. Next take for dinner
the melon of desire mixed with embrace-almond and juice of the lemon of concord,
and lastly 3 rolls of thigh-work and enter the bath for the benefit of your
health. And--The Peace!" When Attaf had finished reading of this paper he burst
into a laugh at the prescription and, turning to Ja'afar, he asked him with whom
he was in love and of whom he was enamoured. Ja'afar gave no answer, he spoke
not neither did he commence any discourse, when Attaf said, O my brother, thou
are not my friend, but thou art in my house esteemed as is the soul in the body.
Between me and thee there has been for the last four months friendship, company,
companionship and conversation. Why then conceal thy situation? For me, I have
fear and sorrow on thine account. Thou art a stranger, thou art not of this
capital. I am a son of this city, I can dispel what thou hast (of trouble) and
that of which thou sufferest. By my life, which belongs to you, by the bread and
salt between us, reveal to me thy secret. And Attaf did not cease to speak thus
until Ja'afar yielded and said to him, It shall no longer be concealed, and I
will not blame those who are in love and are impatient. Then he told his story
from beginning to end, what was said to him by the young lady and what she did
with him and lastly he described the quarter and the place. Now when Attaf heard
the words of Ja'afar he reflected on the description of the house and of the
young lady and concluded that the house was his house and the young lady was his
cousin-wife, and said to himself, There is no power nor strength but in Allah the
High, the Great. We are from God and to Him we return. Then he came to his mind
again and to the generosity of his soul and said to himself, O Attaf! God hath
favored me and hath made me worthy of doing good and hath sent to me I know not
whence this stranger who hath become bound in friendship with me during all this
time and he hath acquired over me the ties of friendship. His heart hath become
attached to the young woman and his love for her hath reached in him an imminent
point. Since that time he is almost on the verge of annihilation, in so pitiable
a condition and behold, he hopeth from me a good issue from his trouble. He hath
made known to me his situation after having concealed it for so long a time: if
I do not befriend him in his misfortune I should resemble him who would build
upon water and thus would aid him to annihilate his existence. By the
magnanimity of my God, I will further him with my property and with my soul. I
will divorce my cousin and will marry her to him and I will not change my
character, my generosity nor my resolution. The Rawi says, that young woman was
his wife and his cousin, also a second wife as he was previously married to
another, and she occupied the house, his own house containing all that he
possessed of property and so forth, servants, odalisques and slaves. There was
also his other house which was for his guests, for drinking and eating and to
receive his friends and his company. Of this, however, he said nothing to his
cousin-wife when he came to see her at certain times. When he heard that Ja'afar
was in love with her he could not keep from saying to him, Be quiet, I take upon
myself to dispel thy chagrin, and soon I shall have news of her, and if she is
the daughter of the Naib of Damascus I will take the proper steps for thee even
though I should lose all my property; and if she is a slave-girl I will buy her
for thee even were her price such as to take all I possess. Thus he calmed the
anguish of Ja'afar the best way he could; then he went out from his own house and
entered that of his cousin-wife without making any change in his habits or saying
a single word save to his servants, Go to my uncle's and bring him to me. The
boy then went for the uncle and brought him to Attaf, and when the uncle entered
the nephew arose to receive him, embraced him and made him be seated, and, after
he had been seated awhile, Attaf came to him and said, O my uncle! there is
naught but good! Know that when God wills good to his servitor he shows to him
the way and my heart inclines to Meccah, to the house of God, to visit the tomb
of Mohammed (for whom be the most noble of prayers and the most complete of
salutations!). I have decided to visit those places this year and I cannot leave
behind me either attachments or debts or obligations; nothing in fact that can
disturb the mind, for no one can know who will be the friend of the morrow.
Here, then, is the writ of divorce of thy daughter and of my other wife. Now
when his uncle heard that, he was troubled and exaggerating to himself the
matter, he said, O son of my brother, what is it that impels thee to this? If
thou depart and leave her and be absent as long as thou willest she is yet thy
wife and thy dependent which is sufficient. But Attaf said, O my uncle, what
hath been done is done. As soon as the young wife heard that, the abomination
of desolation overcame her, she became as one in mourning and was upon the point
of killing herself, because she loved her husband by reason of his relationship
and his education. But this was done by Attaf only to please Ja'afar, and for
that he was incited by his duty to do good to his fellow beings. Then Attaf left
the house and said to himself, If I delay this matter it will be bruited abroad,
and will come to the ears of my friend who will be afflicted and will be ashamed
to marry, and what I have done will come to naught. The divorce of Attaf's
second spouse was only out of regard to his cousin-wife, and that there might not
be an impediment to the success of his project. Then Attaf proceeded to his
guesthouse and went in to Ja'afar, who when he saw him, asked where he had been.
Attaf replied, Make yourself easy, O my brother, I am now occupied with your
affair, I have sought out the young lady and I know her. She is divorced from
her husband and her 'iddah is not yet expired, so expand your breast and gladden
your soul, for when her obligatory term of waiting shall be accomplished I will
marry her to you. And Attaf ceased not to diver him by eating and drinking,
amusements and shows, song and songstress until he knew that the 'iddah of his
cousin had ended; then he went to Ja'afar and said to him, Know, O my lord, that
the father of the young woman thou sawest is one of my friends, and if I betroth
her that would not be proper on my part and he will say: My friend hath not done
well in betrothing my daughter to a man who is a stranger and whom I know not.
He will take her and carry her to his own country and we shall be separated. Now
I have an idea that has occurred to me, and 'tis to send out for you a tent with
ten mamelukes and four servants upon horses and mules, baggage, stuffs, chests
of dresses, and horses and gilded vehicles. Everything I have mentioned will be
placed outside the city that no one shall know of thee, and I will say that thou
art Ja'afar the Barmeky the Caliph's Wazir. I will go to the Kady and the Wali
and the Naib and I will inform them of thee (as Ja'afar); so will they come out
to meet and salute thee. Then thou wilt salute them and tell them that thou hast
come on business of the Caliph. Thou must also say thou hast heard that Damascus
is a very fine city and a hospitable, and add, I will go in to visit it and if
it prove favourable to me I will remain and marry to establish between myself and
its inhabitants relationship and friendship, and I would like you to seek for me
a man of high position and noble origin who hath a beautiful cousin that I may
marry. Attaf then said to Ja'afar, O my lord, we know one who hath a daughter
of noble origin, that man is such-and-such an one, ask her of him for betrothal
and say to him, Here is her dowry, which is all that thou hast in the chests.
Then produce a purse of a thousand dinars and distribute them among those
present, and display the characteristic of the Barmekys, and take out a piece of
silken stuff and order them to draw up the marriage contract immediately. If
they sign it, declare to them that thou wilt not enter the city because thou art
pressed and thy bride will come to thee. Should thou do thus, thou wilt
accomplish what thou desirest, God willing, then leave instantly and order that
the tents be struck, the camels loaded, and set out for thine own country in
peace. Know that all I shall do for you is little for the rights of friendship
and devotedness. Ja'afar sprang up to kiss the hand of Attaf, but was prevented,
then he thanked him and praised him and passed the night with him. The next
morning at break of day he arose, made his ablutions, and having recited his
morning prayer, accompanied his host to the outside of the city. Attaf ordered
a great tent to be pitched and that everything necessary should be carried to it;
of horses, camels, mules, slaves, mamelukes, chests containing all kinds of
articles for distribution, and boxes holding purses of gold and silver. He
dressed his guest in a robe worthy of a Wazir, and set up for him a throne and
sent some slaves to the Naib of Damascus to announce the arrival of Ja'afar on
business of the Caliph. As soon as the Naib of Damascus was informed of that,
he went out accompanied by the notables of the city and of his government and met
the Wazir Ja'afar, and kissing the ground between his hands, said to him, O my
lord, why didst thou not inform me sooner in order that we might be prepared for
thine arrival. Ja'afar said, That was not necessary, may God augment thy wealth,
I have not come but with the intention to visit this city; I desire to stay in
it for some time and I would also marry in it. I have learned that the Amir 'Amr
has a daughter of noble descent, I wish thou wouldst cause her to be brought
before thee and that thou betroth her to me. The Naib of Damascus said, Hearing
is obeying. Her husband hath divorced her and desireth to go to al-Hejaz on the
pilgrimage, and after her 'iddah hath expired and there remaineth not any
impediment the betrothal can take place. At the proper time the Naib of Damascus
caused to be present the father of the lady and spoke to him of what the Wazir
Ja'afar had said and that he should betroth his daughter, so that there was
nothing more for the father to say than, I hear and I obey. The Rawi says that
Ja'afar ordered to be brought the dress of honour and the gold from the purses
to be thrown out for distribution and commanded the presence of the Kady and
witnesses; and, when they arrived, he bade them write the marriage contract.
Then he brought forward and presented the ten chests and the ten purses of gold,
the dowry of the bride, and all those present, high and low, and rich and poor
gave him their best wishes and congratulations. After the father of the lady had
taken the dowry he ordered the Kady to draw up the contract and presented to him
a piece of satin; he also called for sugar-water to drink and set before them the
table of viands, and they ate and washed their hands. Afterwards they served
sweet dishes and fruits; and when that was finished and the contract passed, the
Naib of Damascus said to the Wazir, O my lord, I will prepare a house for thy
residence and for the reception of thy wife. Ja'afar said, That cannot be; I am
here on a commission of the Commander of the Faithful, and I wish to take my wife
with me to Baghdad and only there can I have the bridal ceremonies. The father
of the lady said, Enter unto thy bride and depart when thou wilt. Ja'afar
replied, I cannot do that, but I wish thee to make up the trousseau of thy
daughter and have it ready so as to depart this very day. We only wait, said the
father of the bride, for the Naib of Damascus to retire, to do what the Wazir
commands. He answered, With love and good will; and the lady's father set about
getting together the trousseau and making her ready. He took her out and got her
trousseau, mounted her upon a Hodaj, and when she arrived at Ja'afar's camp her
people made their adieus and departed. When Ja'afar had ridden to some distance
from Damascus and had arrived at Tiniat el 'Iqab he looked behind him and
perceived in the distance in the direction of Damascus a horseman galloping
towards him; so he stopped his attendants and when the rider had come near them
Ja'afar looked at him and behold it was Attaf. He had come out after him and
cried, Hasten not, O my brother. And when he came up he embraced him and said,
O my lord, I have found no rest without thee, O my brother Abu 'l-Hasan, it would
have been better for me never to have seen thee nor known thee, for now I cannot
support thine absence. Ja'afar thanked him and said to him, I have not been able
to act against what thou hast prescribed for me and provided, but we pray God to
bring near our reunion and never more separate us. He is Almighty to do what He
willeth. After that Ja'afar dismounted and spread a silken carpet and they sat
down together, and Attaf laid a tablecloth with duck, chicken, sweets and other
delicacies, of which they ate and he brought out dry fruits and wine. They drank
for an hour of the day when they remounted their horses and Attaf accompanied
Ja'afar a way on the journey, when Ja'afar said to him, Every departer must
return, and he pressed him to his breast and kissed him and said to him, O my
brother Abu 'l-Hasan, do not interrupt the sending of thy letters; but make known
to me about thyself, and thy condition as if I were present with thee. Then they
bade each other adieu and each went on his way. When the young wife noticed that
the camels had stopped on their march as well as their people, she put out her
head from the Hodaj and saw her cousin dismounting with Ja'afar and they eating
and drinking together and then in company to the end of the road where they bade
adieu exchanging a recitation of poetry. So she said, The one, Wallahy, is my
cousin Attaf and the other the man whom I saw seated under the window, and upon
whom I sprinkled the water. Doubtless he is the friend of my cousin. He hath
been seized with love for me, and complaining to my cousin, hath given him a
description of me and of my house; and the devotedness of his character and the
greatness of his soul must have impelled him to divorce me and to take steps to
marry me to that man. The Rawi says that Attaf in bidding good-bye to Ja'afar
left him joyful in the possession of the young lady for whom he was on the point
of ruin by his love, and in having made the friendship of Attaf whom he intended
to reward in gratitude for what he had done by him. So glad was he to have the
young wife that everything that had taken place with Er-Rashid had passed out of
his mind. In the meanwhile she was crying and lamenting over what had happened
to her, her separation from her cousin and from her parents and her country, and
bemoaning what she did and what she had been; and her scalding tears flowed while
she recited these verses:--

I weep for these places and these beauties; blame not the lover if some day he's
For the places the dear ones inhabit. O praise be to God! how sweet is their
God protect the past days while with you, my dear friends, and in the same house
may happiness join us!

On finishing this recitation she wept and lamented and recited again:--

I'm astonished at living without you at the troubles that come upon us:
I wish for you, dear absent ones, my wounded heart is still with you.

Then, still crying and lamenting, she went on:--

O you to whom I gave my soul, return; from you I wish'd to pluck it, but could
not succeed:
Then pity the rest of a life that I've sacrificed for thee, before the hour of
death my last look I will take:
If all of thee be lost astonished I'll not be; my astonishment would be that his
lot will be to another.

Presently the Wazir Ja'afar coming up to the Hodaj said to the young wife, O
mistress of the Hodaj, thou hast killed us. When she heard this address she
called to him with dejection and humility, We ought not to talk to thee for I am
the cousin-wife of thy friend and companion Attaf, prince of generosity and
devotion. If there be in thee any feeling of the self-denial of a man thou wilt
do for him that which, in his devotion, he hath done for thee. When Ja'afar
heard these words he became troubled and taking in the magnitude of the situation
he said to the young lady, O thou! thou art then his cousin-wife? and said she,
Yes! it is I whom thou sawest on such a day when this and that took place and thy
heart attached itself to me. Thou hast told him all that. He divorced me, and
while waiting for the expiration of my 'iddah diverted thee that such and such
was the cause of all my trouble. Now I have explained to thee my situation: do
thou the action of a man. When Ja'afar heard these words he uttered a loud cry
and said, We are from God and to Him we return. O thou! thou art now to me an
interdiction and hast become a sacred deposit until thy return to where it may
please thee. Then said Ja'afar to a servant, Take good care of thy mistress.
After which they set foward and travelled on day and night. Now Er-Rashid, after
the departure of Ja'afar, became uneasy and sorrowful at his absence. He lost
patience and was tormented with a great desire to see him again, while he
regretted the conditions he had imposed as impossible to be complied with and
obliging him to the extremity of tramping about the country like a vagabond, and
forcing him to abandon his native land. He had sent envoys after him to search
for him in every place, but he had never received any news of him, and was cast
into great embarrassment by reason of his absence. He was always waiting to hear
of him, and when Ja'afar had approached Baghdad and he, Er-Rashid, had received
the good tidings of his coming, he went forth to meet him, and as soon as they
came together they embraced each other, and the Caliph became content and joyful.
They entered together into the palace and the Prince of True Believers seating
Ja'afar at his side, said to him, Relate to me thy story where thou hast been
during thine absence and what thou hast come upon. So Ja'afar told him then all
that had happened from the time he left him until the moment of finding himself
between his hands. Er-Rashid was greatly astonished and said, Wallahy, thou hast
made me sorrowful for thine absence, and hast inspired me with great desire to
see thy friend. My opinion is that thou divorce this young lady and put her on
the road homeward accompanied by someone in whom thou hast confidence. If thy
friend have an enemy he shall be our enemy, and if he have a friend he also shall
be ours; after which we will make him come to us, and we shall see him and have
the pleasure of hearing him and pass the time with him in joy. Such a man must
not be neglected, we shall learn, by his generosity, bounty and useful things.
Ja'afar answered, To hear is obedience. Then Ja'afar apportioned to the young
lady a spacious house and servants and a handsome enclosure; and he treated with
generosity those who had come with her as suite and followers. He also sent to
her sets of furniture, mattresses and every thing else she might need, while he
never intruded upon her and never saw her. He sent her his salutation and
reassuring words that she should be returned to her cousin; and he made her a
monthly allowance of a tousand dinars, besides the cost of her living. So far
as to Ja'afar; but as to Attaf, when he had bidden adieu to Ja'afar and had
returned to his country, those who were jealous of him took steps to ruin him
with the Naib of Damascus, to whom they said, O our lord, what is it that hath
made thee neglect Attaf? Dost thou not know that the Wazir was his friend and
that he went out after him to bid him adieu after our people had returned, and
accompanied him as far as Katifa, when Ja'afar said to him, Hast thou need of
anything O Attaf? he said Yes. Of what? asked the Wazir, and he answered, That
thou send me an imperial rescript removing the Naib of Damascus. Now this was
promised to him, and the most prudent thing is that thou invite him to breakfast
before he takes you to supper; success is in the opportunity and the assaulted
profiteth by the assaulter. The Naib of Damascus replied, Thou has spoken well,
bring him to me immediately. The Naib of Damascus replied, Thou hast spoken
well, bring him to me immediately. The Rawi says that Attaf was in his own
house, ignorant that anyone owed him grudge, when suddenly in the night he was
surrounded and seized by the people of the Naib of Damascus armed with swords and
clubs. They beat him until he was covered with blood, and they dragged him along
until they set him in presence of the Pasha of Damascus who ordered the pillage
of his house and of his slaves and his servants and all his property and they
took everything, his family and his domestics and his goods. Attaf asked, What
is my crime? and he answered, O scoundrel, thou art an ignorant fellow of the
rabble, dost dispute with the Naibat of Damascus? Then the Swordman was ordered
to strike his neck, and the man came forward and, cutting off a piece of his
robe, with it blindfolded his eyes, and was about to strike his neck when one of
the Emirs arose and said, Be not hasty, O my lord, but wait, for haste is the
whisper of Satan, and the proverb saith: Man gaineth his ends by patience, and
error accompanieth the hasty man. Then he continued, Do not press the matter of
this man; perhaps he who hath spoken of him lieth and there is nobody without
jealousy; so have patience, for thou mayest have to regret the taking of his life
unjustly. Do not rest easy upon what may come to thee on the part of the Wazir
Ja'afar, and if he learn what thou hast done by this man be not sure of thy life
on his part. He will admit of no excuse for he was his friend and companion.
When the Naib of Damascus heard that he awoke from his slumber and conformed to
the words of the Emir. He ordered that Attaf should be put in prison, enchained
and with a padlock upon his neck, and bade them, after severely tightening the
bonds, illtreat him. They dragged him out, listening neither to his prayers nor
his supplications; and he cried every night, doing penance to God and praying to
Him for deliverance from his affliction and his misfortune. In that condition
he remained for three months. But one night as he woke up he humiliated himself
before God and walked about his prison, where he saw no one; then, looking before
him, he espied an opening leading from the prison to the outside of the city.
He tried himself against his chain and succeeded in opening it; then, taking it
from his neck, he went out from the gaol running at full speed. He concealed
himself in a place, and darkness protected him until the opening of the city
gate, when he went out with the people and hastening his march he arrived at
Aleppo and entered the great mosk. There he saw a crod of strangers on the point
of departure and Attaf asked them whither they were going, and they answered, To
Baghdad. Whereupon he cried, And I with you. They said, Upon the earth is our
weight, but upon Allah is our nourishment. Then they went on their march until
they arrived at Koufa after a travel of twenty days, and then continued
journeying till they came to Baghdad. Here Attaf saw a city of strong buildings,
and very rich in elegant palaces reaching to the clouds, a city containing the
learned and the ignorant, and the poor and the rich, and the virtuous and the
evil doer. He entered the city in a miserable dress, rags upon his shoulders,
and upon his head a dirty, conical cap, and his hair had become long and hanging
over his eyes and his entire condition was most wretched. He entered one of the
mosks. For two days he had not eaten. He sat down, when a vagabond entered the
mosk and seating himself in front of Attaf threw off from his shoulder a bag from
which he took out bread and a chicken, and bread again and sweets and an orange,
and olive and date-cake and cucumbers. Attaf looked at the man and at his
eating, which was as the table of 'Isa son of Miriam (upon whom be peace!). For
four months he had not had a sufficient meal and he said to himself, I would like
to have a mouthful of this good cheer and a piece of this bread, and then cried
for very hunger. The fellow looked at him and said, Bravo! why dost thou squint
and do what strangers do? By the protection of God, if you weep tears enough to
fill the Jaxartes and the Bactrus and the Dajlah and the Euphrates and the river
of Basrah and the stream of Antioch and the Orontees and the Nile of Egypt and
the Salt Sea and the ebb and the flow of the Ocean, I will not let thee taste a
morsel. But, said the buffoon, if thou wish to eat of chicken and white bread
and lamb and sweets and mutton patties, go thou to the house of Ja'afar son of
Yahya the Barmeky, who hath received hospitality from a Damascus man named Attaf.
He bestoweth charity in honour of him in this manner, and he neither getteth up
nor sitteth down without speaking of him. Now when Attaf heard these words from
the buffoon he looked up to heaven and said, O Thou whose attributes are
inscrutable, bestow thy benefits upon thy servant Attaf. Then he recited this

Confide thy affairs to thy Creator; set aside thy pains and dismiss thy thoughts.

Then Attaf went to a paper-seller and got from him a piece of paper and borrowed
an inkstand and wrote as follows:--From thy brother Attaf whom God knoweth. Let
him who hath possessed the world not flatter himself, he will some day be cast
down and will lose it in his bitter fate. If thou see me thou wilt not recognise
me for my poverty and my misery; and, because of the change in situation and the
reverses of the times, my soul and body are reduced by hunger, by the long
journey I have made, until at last I have come to thee. And peace be with thee.
Then he folded the paper and returning the pencase to its owner asked for the
house of Ja'afar, and when it was shown to him he went there and stood at a
distance before it. The doorkeepers saw him standing, neither commencing nor
repeating a word, and nobody spoke to him, but as he was thus standing
embarassed, an eunuch dressed in a striped robe and golden belt passed by him.
Attaf remained, motionless before him, then went up to him, kissed his hands and
said to him, O my lord, the Apostle of Allah (upon whom be peace and salutation)
hath said, The medium of a good deed is like him who did it, and he who did it
belongeth to the dwellers in heaven. The man said to him, What is thy need? and
said he, I desire of thy goodness to send in this paper to thy lord and say to
him, Thy brother Attaf is standing at the door. When the servant heard his words
he got into a great and excessive rage so that his eyes swelled in his head and
he asked, O cursed one, thou art then the brother of the Wazir Ja'afar! and as
he had in his hand a rod with a golden end, he struck Attaf with it in the face
and his blood flowed and he fell full length to the ground in his weakness from
weeping and from receiving the blow. The Rawi says that God hath placed the
instinct of good in the heart of some domestics, even as he hath placed that of
evil in the heart of others. Another of the domestics was raised up against his
companion by good will to Attaf and reproved him for striking the stranger and
was answered, Didst thou not hear, O brother, that he pretended to be the brother
of the Wazir Ja'afar? and the second one said, O man of evil, son of evil, slave
of evil, O cursed one, O hog! is Ja'afar one of the prophets? is he not a dog of
the earth like ourselves? Men are all brethren, of one father and one mother,
of Adam and of Eve; and the poet hath said:--

Men by comparison all are brethren, their father is Adam their mother is Eve;

but certain people are preferable to others. Then he came up to Attaf and made
him be seated and wiped off the blood from his face and washed him and shook off
the dust that was upon him and said, O my brother, what is thy need? and said he,
My need is the sending of this paper to Ja'afar. The servant took the paper from
his hand and going in to Ja'afar the Barmeky found there the officers of the
Governor and the Barmekys standing at his service on his right and on his left;
and Ja'afar the Wazir who held in his hand a cup of wine was reciting poetry and
playing and saying, O you all here assembled, the absent from the eye is not like
the present in the heart; he is my brother and my friend and my benefactor, Attaf
of Damascus, who was continuous in his generosity and his bounty and his
benfactions to me; who for me divorced his cousin-wife and gave her to me. He
made me presents of horses and slaves and damsels and stuffs in quantities that
I might furnish her dower; and, if he had not acted thus, I should certainly have
been ruined. He was my benefactor without knowing who I was, and generous to me
without any idea of profiting by it. The Rawi says that when the good servant
heard these words from his lord he rejoiced and coming forward he kneeled down
before him and presented the paper. When Ja'afar read it he was in a state of
intoxication and not being able to discern what he was doing he fell on his face
to the floor while holding the paper and the glass in his hand, and he was
wounded in the forehead so his blood ran and he fainted and the paper fell from
his grasp. When the servant saw that he hastened to depart fearing the
consequence; and the Wazir Ja'afar's friends seated their lord and staunched the
blood. They exclaimed, There is no power and strength but in God the High, the
Mighty. Such is the character of servants; they trouble the life of kings in
their pleasures and annoy them in their humours: Wallahy, the writer of this
paper merits nothing less than to be handed over to the Wali who shall give him
five hundred lashes and put him in prison. Thereupon the Wazir's doorkeeper went
out and asked for the owner of the paper, when Attaf answered, 'Tis I, O my lord.
Then they seized him and sent him to the Wali and ordered him to give one hundred
blows of the stick to the prisoner and to write upon his chain "for life." Thus
they did with Attaf and carried him to the prison where he remained for two
months when a child was born to Harun er-Rashid, who then ordered that alms
should be distributed, and good done to all, and bade liberate all that were in
prison and among those that were set free was Attaf. When he found himself out
of gaol, beaten and famished and naked, he looked up to heaven and exclaimed,
Thanks be to thee, O Lord, in every situation, and crying said, It must be for
some fault committed by me in the past, for God had taken me into favour and I
have said repaid Him in disobedience; but I pray to Him for pardon for having
gone too far in my debauchery. Then he recited these verses:--

O God! the worshipper doth what he should not do; he is poor, depending on Thee:
In the pleasures of life he forgetteth himself, in his ignorance, pardon Thou his

Then he cried again and said to himself, What shall I do? If I set out for my
country I may not reach it; if I arrive there, there will be no safety for my
life on teh part of the Naib, and if I remain here nobody knoweth me among the
beggars and I cannot be for them of any use nor for myself as an aid or an
intermediate. As for me, I had hope in that man, that he would raise me from my
poverty. The affair hath turned out contrary to my expectations, and the poet
was right when he said:--

O friend, I've run o'er the world west and east; all that I met with was pain
and fatigue:
I've frequented the men of the age, but never have found e'en a friend grateful
not even to me.

Once more he cried and exclaimed, God give me the grace of patience. After that
he got up and walked away, and entered one of the mosks and staid there until
afternoon. His hunger increased and he said, By Thy magnanimity and Thy majesty
I shall ask nothing of anyone but of Thee. He remained in the mosk until it
became dark when he went out for something, saying to himself, I have heard a
call from the Prophet (on whom be the blessing and peace of Allah!) which said,
God forbiddeth sleep in the Sanctuary and forbiddeth it to His worshippers. Then
he arose, and went out from the mosk to some distance when he entered a ruined
building after walking an hour, and here he stumbled in the darkness and fell
upon his face. He saw something before him that he had struck with his foot and
felt it move, and this was a lad that had been slain and a knife was in his side.
Attaf rose up from off the body, his clothes stained with blood; he stood
motionless and embarrassed, and while in that situation the Wali and his
policemen stood at the door of the ruin and Attaf said to them, Come in and
search. They entered with their torches and found the body of the murdered lad
and the knife in him and the miserable Attaf standing at the head with his
clothes stained with blood. When a man with a scarf saw him he arrested him and
said to him, O Wretch, 'tis thou killedst him. Attaf said, Yes. Then said the
Wali, Pinion him and take him to prison until we make our report to the Wazir
Ja'afar. If he orders his death we will execute him. They did as ordered, and
the next day the man with the scarf wrote to the Wazir, We went into a ruin and
found there a man who had killed a lad and we interrogated him and he confessed
that it was he who had done the deed, what are thine orders? The Wazir commanded
them to put him to death; so they took Attaf from the prison to the place of
execution and cut off a piece of his garment and with it bandaged his eyes. The
Sworder said, O my lord, shall I strike his neck? and the Wali said, Strike! He
brandished the sword which whistled and glittered in the air and was about to
strike, when a cry from behind, Stop thy hand! was heard, and it was the voice
of the Wazir Ja'afar who was out on a promenade. The Wali went to him and kissed
the earth before him and the Wazir said to him, What is this great gathering
here? He answered, 'Tis the execution of a young man of Damascus whom we found
yesterday in a ruin; he had killed a lad of noble blood and we found the knife
with him and his clothes spotted with blood. When I said to him, Is it thou that
killedst him? he replied Yes three times. To-day I sent to thee my written
report and thine Excellency ordered his death, saying, Let the sentence of God
be executed, and now I have brought him out that his neck may be struck. Ja'afar
said, Oh, hath a man of Damascus come into our country to find himself in a bad
condition? Wallahy, that shall never be! Then he ordered that he should be
brought to him. The Wazir did not recognise him, for Attaf's air of ease and
comfort had disappeared; so Ja'afar said to him, From what country art thou, O
young man, and he answered, I am a man from Damascus. From the city or from the
villages? Wallahy, O my lord, from Damascus city where I was born. Ja'afar
asked, Didst thou happen to known there a man named Attaf? I know when thou wast
his friend and he lodged thee in such-and-such a house and thou wentest out to
such-and-such a garden; and I know when thou didst marry his cousin-wife, I know
when he bade adieu to thee at Katifa where thou drankest with him. Ja'afar said,
Yes, all that is true, but what became of him after he left me? He said, O my
Lord, there happened to him this and that and he related to him everything from
the time he quitted him up to the moment of his standing before him and then
recited these verses:--

This age, must it make me its victim, and thou at the same time art living:
wolves are seeking to devour me while thou the lion art here.
Every thirsty one that cometh his thirst is quenched by thee: can it be that I
thirst while thou art still our refuge?

When he had finished the verses he said, O my lord, I am Attaf, and then recalled
all that had taken place between them from first to last. While he was thus
speaking a great cry was heard, and it came from a Sheikh who was saying, This
is not humanity. They looked at the speaker, who was an old man with trimmed
beard dyed with henna, and upon him was a blue kerchief. When Ja'afar saw him
he asked him what was the matter, and he exclaimed, Take away the young man from
under the sword, for there is no fault in him: he hath killed no one nor doth he
know anything of the dead youth. Nobody but myself is the killer. The Wazir
said, Then 'tis thou that killed him? and he answered. Yes.--Why didst thou kill
him? hast thou not the fear of God in killing a Hashimy child? The old man said,
He was my servant, serving me in the house and working with me at my trade.
Every day he took from me some quarter-pieces of money and went to work for
another man called Shumooshag, and to work with Nagish, and with Gasis, and with
Ghubar, and with Gushir, and every day working with someone. They were jealous
of my having him. 'Odis the sweeper and Abu Butran the stoker, and everyone
wanted to have him. In vain I corrected him, but he would not abide corrected
and ceased not to do thus until I killed him in the ruin, and I have delivered
myself from the torment he gave me. That is my story. I kept silent until I saw
thee when I made myself known at the time thou savest the head of this young man
from the sword. Here I am standing before you: strike my neck and take life for
life. Pray do no harm to this young man, for he hath committed no fault. The
Wazir said, Neither to thee nor to him. Then he ordered to be brought the
parents of the dead lad and reconciled them with the old man, whom he pardoned.
He mounted Attaf upon a horse and took him to his house; then he entered the
palace of the Caliph and kissed the earth before him and said, Behold Attaf, he
who was my host at Damascus, and of whom I have related his treatment of me and
his kindness and generosity, and how he preferred me to himself. Er-Rashid said,
Bring him in to me immediately. He presented him to the Caliph in the miserable
state in which he had found him; and when he entered, he made his salutations in
the best manner and with the most eloquent language. Er-Rashid answered and said
to him, What is this state in which I find you? and Attaf wept and made his
complaint in these verses:--

Troubles, poverty and distant sojourn far away from the dear ones, and a
crushing desire to see them:
The soul is in them, they became like their fellows, thus the enigma remains in
the world;
While the generous is stricken with misfortune and grief, where's the miser that
finds not good fortune therein?

When Attaf had finished he conversed with the Caliph about his history and all
his life from beginning to end; and Er-Rashid cried and suffered at what had
happened to him after the loss of his riches, nor did he cease to weep with
Ja'afar until the close of Attaf's story. The Sheikh who had killed the lad and
had been liberated by Ja'afar came in and Er-Rashid laughed at seeing him. Then
he caused Attaf to be seated and made him repeat his story. And when Attaf had
finished speaking the Caliph looked at Ja'afar and said, The proverb goeth:--

Good for good, to the giver the merit remains; evil for evil, the doer's most

Afterwards the Caliph said to Ja'afar, Tell me what thou didst for thy brother
Attaf before he came to thee, and he answered, O Commander of the Faithful, he
came upon me suddenly, and I now prepare for him three millions of gold, and the
like of it in horses, and in slaves, and in boys, and in dresses; and the Caliph
said, From me the same. Here endeth the last leaf of the writ, but the Wari says
that two days afterwards Ja'afar restored to his friend Attaf his beloved
cousin-wife, saying to him, I have divorced her and now I deliver over to thee
intact the precious deposit that thou didst place in my hands. Already hath the
order from the Caliph been despatched to Damascus enjoining the arrest of the
Naib, to place him in irons and imprison him until further notice. Attaf passed
several months in Baghdad enjoying the pleasures of the city in company with his
friend Ja'afar and Er-Rashid. He would have liked to have stayed there all his
life, but numerous letters from his relations and his friends praying him to
return to Damascus, he thought it his duty to do so, and asked leave of the
Caliph, who granted it, not without regrets and fears for his future condition.
Er-Rashid appointed him Wali of Damascus and gave him the imperial rescript; and
a great escort of horses, mules and dromedaries, with abundant magnificent
presents accompanied him as far as Damascus, where he was received with great
pomp. All the city was illuminated as a mark of joy for the return of Attaf, so
loved and respected by all classes of the people, and above all by the poor who
had wept incessantly for him in his absence. As to the Naib, a second decree of
the Caliph ordered his being put to death for his oppression of the people, but
by the generous intercession of Attaf Er-Rashid contented himself with commuting
the sentence to banishment. Attaf governed his people many years with justice
and prosperity, protector of his happy subjects and in the enjoyment of the
delights and pleasures of life, until the Angel of Death overtook him and
summoned him to Paradise.




Here we begin to indite the history of Sultan Habib and of what
befel him with Durrat al-Ghawwas.[FN#378]

It is related (but Allah is All-knowing of His unknown and All-
cognisant of what took place and forewent in the annals of folk!)
that there was, in days of yore and in times and tides long gone
before, a tribe of the tribes of the Arabs hight Banu Hilal[FN#379]
whose head men were the Emir Hilal and the Emir Salamah.[FN#380]
Now this Emir Salamah had well nigh told out his tale of days
without having been blessed with boon of child; withal he was a
ruler valiant, masterful, a fender of his foes and a noble knight
of portly presence. He numbered by the thousand horsemen the
notablest of cavaliers and he came to overrule three-score-and-six
tribes of the Arabs. One chance night of the nights as he lay
sleeping in the sweetness of slumber, a Voice addressed him saying,
"Rise forthright and know thy wife, whereby she shall conceive
under command of Allah Almighty." Being thus disturbed of his rest
the Emir sprang up and compressed his spouse Kamar
al-Ashraf;[FN#381] she became pregnant by that embrace and when her
days came to an end she bare a boy as the full moon of the
fulness-night who by his father's hest was named Habib.[FN#382] And
as time went on his sire rejoiced in him with joy exceeding and
reared him with fairest rearing and bade them teach him
Koran-reading together with the glorious names of Almighty Allah
and instruct him in writing and in all the arts and sciences. After
this he bestowed robes of honour and gifts of money and raiment
upon the teachers who had made the Sultan[FN#383] Habib, when he
reached the age of seventeen, the most intelligent and penetrating
and knowing amongst the sons of his time. And indeed men used to
admire at the largeness of his understanding and were wont to say
in themselves, "There is no help but that this youth shall rise to
dignity (and what dignity!) whereof men of highmost intellect shall
make loud mention." For he could write the seven caligraphs[FN#384]
and he could recite traditions and he could improvise poetry; and,
on one occasion when his father bade him versify impromptu, that he
might see what might come thereof, he intoned,

"O my sire, I am lord of all lere man knows or knew-- * Have
enformed my vitals with lore and with legend true;
Nor cease I repeat what knowledge this memory guards * And my writ
as ruby and pearl doth appear to view."

So the Emir Salamah his sire marvelled at the elegance of his son's
diction; and the Notables of the clan, after hearing his poetry and
his prose, stood astounded at their excellence; and presently the
father clasped his child to his breast and forthright summoned his
governor, to whom there and then he did honour of the highmost.
Moreover he largessed him with four camels carrying loads of gold
and silver and he set him over one of his subject tribes of the
Arabs; then said he to him, "Indeed thou hast done well, O Shaykh;
so take this good and fare therewith to such a tribe and rule it
with justice and equity until the day of thy death." Replied the
governor, "O King of the Age, I may on no wise accept thy boons,
for that I am not of mankind but of Jinn-kind; nor have I need of
money or requirement of rule. Know thou, O my lord, that erst I sat
as Kazi amongst the Jinns and I was enthroned amid the Kings of the
Jann, whenas one night of the nights a Voice[FN#385] addressed me
in my sleep saying, 'Rise and hie thee to the Sultan Habib son of
the Emir Salamah ruler of the tribes of the Arabs subject to the
Banu Hilal and become his tutor and teach him all things teachable;
and, if thou gainsay going, I will tear thy soul from thy body.'
Now when I saw this marvel-vision in my sleep, I straightway arose
and repairing to thy son did as I was bidden."[FN#386] But as the
Emir Salamah heard the words of this Shaykh he bowed him down and
kissing his feet cried, "Alhamdolillah--laud to the Lord, who hath
vouchsafed thee to us of His bounty; and indeed thy coming to us
was of good omen, O Judge of the Jann." "Where is thy son?" quoth
the governor, and quoth the father, "Ready, aye ready;" then he
summoned his child and when the Shaykh looked upon his pupil he
wept with sore weeping and cried, "Parting from thee, O Habib, is
heavy upon us," presently adding, "Ah! were ye to wot all that
shall soon befal this youth after my departure and when afar from
me!"[FN#387] Those present in the assembly at once asked saying,

"And what shall, O Shaykh, to us fall forthright?" * Quoth he,
"Sore marvels shall meet your sight:
No heart have I to describe it you." * Then approached Habib the
same tutor-wight;
And clasping the youth to the breast of him, * Kissed his cheek a-
shrieking the shrillest shright.[FN#388]

Whereupon all about them were perturbed and were amated and amazed
at the action of the Shaykh when, vanishing from their view, he
could nowhere be seen. Then the Emir Salamah addressed the lieges
saying, "Ho ye Arabs, who wotteth what presently shall betide my
son? would Heaven I had one to advise him!" Hereupon said his
Elders and Councillors, "We know of none." But the Sultan Habib
brooded over the disappearance of his governor and bespake his sire
weeping bitter tears the while, "O my father, where be he who
brought me up and enformed me with all manner knowledge?" and the
Emir replied, "O my son, one day of the days he farewelled us and
crying out with a loud cry evanished from our view and we have seen
him no more." Thereupon the youth improvised and said,

"Indeed I am scourged by those ills whereof I felt affray, ah! * By
parting and thoughts which oft compelled my soul to say, 'Ah!'
Oh saddest regret in vitals of me that ne'er ceaseth, nor * Shall
minished be his love that still on my heart doth prey, ah!
Where hath hied the generous soul my mind with lere adorned? * And
alas! what hath happened, O sire, to me, and well-away, ah!"

Hereat the Emir Salamah shed tears (as on like wise did all
present) and quoth he to his son, "O Habib, we have been troubled
by his action," and quoth the youth, "How shall I endure severance
from one who fostered me and brought me to honour and renown and
who raised my degree so high?" Then began he to improvise saying,

"Indeed this pine in my heart grows high, * And in eyeballs wake
doth my sleep outvie:
You marched, O my lords, and from me hied far * And you left a
lover shall aye outcry:
I wot not where on this earth you be * And how long this patience
when none is nigh:
Ye fared and my eyeballs your absence weep, * And my frame is
meagre, my heart is dry."

Now whilst the Emir Salamah was sitting in his seat of dignity and
the Sultan Habib was improvising poetry and shedding tears in
presence of his sire, they heard a Voice which announced itself and
its sound was audible whilst its personality was invisible.
Thereupon the youth shed tears and cried, "O father mine, I need
one who shall teach me horsemanship and the accidents of edge and
point and onset and offset and spearing and spurring in the Maydan;
for my heart loveth knightly derring-do to plan, such as riding in
van and encountering the horseman and the valiant man." And the
while they were in such converse behold, there appeared before them
a personage rounded of head, long of length and dread, with turband
wide dispread, and his breadth of breast was armoured with doubled
coat of mail whose manifold rings were close-enmeshed after the
model of Daud[FN#389] the Prophet (upon whom be The Peace!).
Moreover he hent in hand a mace erst a block cut out of the live
hard rock, whose shock would arrest forty braves of the doughtiest;
and he was baldrick'd with an Indian blade that quivered in the
grasp, and he bestrode, with a Samhari[FN#390] lance at rest, a bay
destrier of black points whose peer was not amongst the steeds of
the Arabs. Then he took his station standing as a vassal between
the Emir Salamah's hands and he addressed a general salam and he
greeted all that stood a-foot or were seated. His salute they
repealed and presently the pages hastened forwards and aided him
alight from his charger's back; and after waiting for a full-told
hour that he might take somewhat of repose, the stranger-knight and
doughty wight advanced and said, "Ho thou the Emir, I came hither
to fulfil the want whereof thou expressedst a wish; and, if such
prove thy pleasure, I will teach thy son fray and fight and prowess
in the plain of sword-stroke and lance-lunge. But ere so doing I
would fain test thy skill in cavalarice; so do thou, O Emir, be
first to appear as champion and single combatant in the field when
I will show thee what horsemanship is." "Hearkening and obeying,"
replied the Emir, "and if thou desire the duello with us we will
not baulk thee thereof." Hereat his Shaykhs and Chieftains sprang
up and cried to him, "O Emir, Allah upon thee, do not meet in fight
this cavalier for that thou wottest not an he be of mankind or of
Jinn-kind; so be thou not deceived by his sleights and snares."
"Suffer me this day," quoth the Emir, "to see the cavalarice of
this cavalier, and, if over me he prevail, know him to be a knight
with whom none may avail." Speaking thus the Emir arose and hied
him to his tent where he bade the slaves bring forth the best of
his habergeons; and, when all these were set before him, he took
from them a Davidian suit of manifold rings and close-meshed, which
he donned, and he baldrick'd himself with a scymitar of Hindi
steel, hadst thou smitten therewith a cliff it had cleft it in
twain or hadst thou stricken a hill it had been laid level as a
plain; and he hent in hand a Rudaynian lance[FN#391] of Khatt
Hajar, whose length was thirty ells and upon whose head sat a point
like unto a basilisk's tongue; and lastly he bade his slaves bring
him his courser which in the race was the fleetest-footed of all
horses. Then the two combatants took the plain accompanied by the
tribesmen nor did one of them all, or great or small, remain in
camp for desire to witness the fight of these champions who were
both as ravening lions. But first the stranger-knight addressed his
adversary and speaking with free and eloquent tongue quoth he, "I
will encounter thee, O Emir Salamah, with the encountering of the
valiant; so have thou a heed of me for I am he hath overthrown the
Champions some and all." At these words each engaged his foeman and
the twain forwards pressed for a long time, and the Raven of
cut-and-thrust croaked over the field of fight and they exchanged
strokes with the Hindi scymitar and they thrust and foined with the
Khatti spear and more than one blade and limber lance was shivered
and splintered, all the tribesmen looking on the while at both. And
they ceased not to attack and retire and to draw near and draw off
and to heave and fence until their forearms ailed and their
endeavour failed. Already there appeared in the Emir Salamah
somewhat of weakness and weariness; natheless when he looked upon
his adversary's skill in the tourney and encounter of braves he saw
how to meet all the foeman's sword-strokes with his targe: however
at last fatigue and loss of strength prevailed over him and he knew
that he had no longer the force to fight; so he stinted his
endeavour and withdrew from brunt of battle. Hereat the stranger-
knight alighted and falling at the Emir's feet kissed them and
cried, "O Sovran of the Age, I came not hither to war with thee but
rather with the design of teaching thy son, the Sultan Habib, the
complete art of arms and make him the prow cavalier of his day."
Replied Salamah, "In very sooth, O horseman of the age, thou hast
spoken right fairly in thy speech; nor did I design with thee to
fight nor devised I the duello or from steed to alight;[FN#392]
nay, my sole object was my son to incite that he might learn battle
and combat aright, and the charge of the heroic Himyarite[FN#393]
to meet with might." Then the twain dismounted and each kissed his
adversary; after which they returned to the tribal camp and the
Emir bade decorate it and all the habitations of the Arab clans
with choicest decoration, and they slaughtered the victims and
spread the banquets and throughout that day the tribesmen ate and
drank and fed the travellers and every wayfarer and the mean and
mesquin and all the miserables. Now as soon as the Sultan Habib was
informed concerning that cavalier how he had foiled his father in
the field of fight, he repaired to him and said, "Peace be with him
who came longing for us and designing our society! Who art thou, Ho
thou the valorous knight and foiler of foemen in fight?" Said the
other, "Learn thou, O Habib, that Allah hath sent me theewards."
"And, say me, what may be thy name?" "I am hight Al-'Abbus,[FN#394]
the Knight of the Grim Face." "I see thee only smiling of
countenance whilst thy name clean contradicteth thy nature;" quoth
the youth. Presently the Emir Salamah committed his son to the new
governor saying, "I would thou make me this youth the Brave of his
epoch;" whereto the knight replied, "To hear is to obey, first
Allah then thyself and to do suit and service of thy son Habib."
And when this was determined youth and governor went forth to the
Maydan every day and after a while of delay Habib became the best
man of his age in fight and fray. Seeing this his teacher addressed
him as follows. "Learn, O Sultan Habib, that there is no help but
thou witness perils and affrights and adventures, wherefor is weak
the description of describers and thou shalt say in thyself, 'Would
heaven I had never sighted such and I were of these same free.' And
thou shalt fall into every hardship and horror until thou be united
with the beautiful Durrat al-Ghawwas, Queen-regnant over the Isles
of the Sea. Meanwhile to affront all the perils of the path thou
shalt fare forth from thy folk and bid adieu to thy tribe and
patrial stead; and, after enduring that which amateth man's wit,
thou shalt win union with the daughter of Queen Kamar
al-Zaman."[FN#395] But when Habib heard these words concerning the
"Pearl of the Diver" his wits were wildered and his senses were
agitated and he cried to Al-Abbus, "I conjure thee by Allah say me,
is this damsel of mankind or of Jinn-kind." Quoth the other, "Of
Jinn-kind, and she hath two Wazirs, one of either race, who
overrule all her rulers, and a thousand islands of the Isles of the
Sea are subject to her command, while a host of Sayyids and
Sharifs[FN#396] and Grandees hath flocked to woo her, bringing
wealthy gifts and noble presents, yet hath not any of them won his
wish of her but all returned baffled and baulked of their will."
Now the Sultan Habib hearing this from him cried in excess of
perturbation and stress of confusion, "Up with us and hie we home
where we may take seat and talk over such troublous matter and
debate anent its past and its future." "Hearkening and obedience,"
rejoined the other; so the twain retired into privacy in order to
converse at ease concerning the Princess, and Al-Abbus began to
relate in these words--

The History of Durrat al-Ghawwas.

Whilome there was a Sovran amongst the Kings of the Sea, hight
Sabur, who reigned over the Crystalline Isles,[FN#397] and he was
a mighty ruler and a generous, and a masterful potentate and a
glorious. He loved women and he was at trouble to seek out the
fairest damsels; yet many of his years had gone by nor yet had he
been blessed with boon of boy. So one day of the days he took
thought and said in himself, "To this length of years I have
attained and am well nigh at life's end and still am I childless:
what then will be my case?" Presently, as he sat upon his throne of
kingship, he saw enter to him an Ifrit fair of face and form, the
which was none other than King 'Atrus[FN#398] of the Jann, who
cried, "The Peace be upon thee, Ho thou the King! and know that I
have come to thee from my liege lord who affecteth thee. In my
sleep it befel that I heard a Voice crying to me, 'During all the
King's days never hath he been vouchsafed a child, boy or girl; so
now let him accept my command and he shall win to his wish. Let him
distribute justice and largesse and further the rights of the
wronged and bid men to good and forbid them from evil and lend not
aid to tyranny or to innovation in the realm and persecute not the
unfortunate, and release from gaol all the prisoners he retaineth.'
At these words of the Voice I awoke astartled by my vision and I
hastened to thee without delay and I come with design to inform
thee, O King of the Age, that I have a daughter, hight Kamar al-
Zaman, who hath none like her in her time, and no peer in this
tide, and her I design giving thee to bride. The Kings of the Jann
have ofttimes asked her in marriage of me but I would have none of
them save a ruler of men like thyself and Alhamdolillah--glory be
to God, who caused thy Highness occur to my thought, for that thy
fame in the world is goodly fair and thy works make for
righteousness. And haply by the blessing of these thou shalt beget
upon my daughter a man child, a pious heir and a virtuous." Replied
the King, "Ho thou who comest to us and desirest our weal, I accept
thine offer with love and good will." Then Sabur, the King of the
Crystalline Isles, bade summon the Kazi and witnesses, and quoth
the Ifrit, "I agree to what thou sayest, and whatso thou proposest
that will I not oppose." So they determined upon the dowry and
bound him by the bond of marriage with the daughter of Al-'Atrus,
King of the Jinns, who at once sent one of his Flying Jann to bring
the bride. She arrived forthright when they dressed and adorned her
with all manner ornaments, and she came forth surpassing all the
maidens of her era. And when King Sabur went in unto her he found
her a clean maid: so he lay that night with her and Almighty Allah
so willed that she conceived of him. When her days and months of
pregnancy were sped, she was delivered of a girl-babe as the moon,
whom they committed to wet-nurses and dry-nurses, and when she had
reached her tenth year, they set over her duennas who taught her
Koran-reading and writing and learning and belles-lettres; brief,
they brought her up after the fairest of fashions. Such was the
lot[FN#399] of Durrat al-Ghawwas, the child of Kamar al-Zaman,
daughter to King 'Atrus by her husband King Sabur. But as regards
the Sultan Habib and his governor Al-Abbus, the twain ceased not
wandering from place to place in search of the promised damsel
until one day of the days when the youth entered his father's
garden and strolled the walks adown amid the borders[FN#400] and
blossoms of basil and of rose full blown and solaced himself with
the works of the Compassionate One and enjoyed the scents and
savours of the flowers there bestrown; and, while thus employed,
behold, he suddenly espied the maiden, Durrat al-Ghawwas hight,
entering therein as she were the moon; and naught could be lovelier
than she of all earth supplies, gracious as a Huriyah of the
Virgins of Paradise, to whose praise no praiser could avail on any
wise. But when the Sultan Habib cast upon her his eyes he could no
longer master himself and his wits were bewildered from the
excitement of his thoughts; so he regarded her with a long fixed
look and said in himself, "I fear whenas she see me that she will
vanish from my sight." Accordingly, he retired and clomb the
branches of a tree in a stead where he could not be seen and whence
he could see her at his ease. But as regards the Princess, she
ceased not to roam about the Emir Salamah's garden until there
approached her two score of snow-white birds each accompanied by a
handmaid of moon-like beauty. Presently they settled upon the
ground and stood between her hands saying, "Peace be upon thee, O
our Queen and Sovran Lady." She replied, "No welcome to you and no
greeting; say me, what delayed you until this hour when ye know
that I am longing to meet the Sultan Habib, the dear one, son of
Salamah, and I long to visit him for that he is the dearling of my
heart. Wherefor I bade you accompany me and ye obeyed not, and
haply ye have made mock of me and of my commandment." "We never
gainsay thy behest," replied they, "or in word or in deed;" and
they fell to seeking her beloved. Hearing this the Sultan Habib's
heart was solaced and his mind was comforted and his thoughts were
rightly directed and his soul was reposed; and when he was
certified of her speech, he was minded to appear before her; but
suddenly fear of her prevailed over him and he said to his
thoughts, "Haply she will order one of the Jinns to do me die; so
'twere better to have patience and see what Allah shall purpose for
me of His Almighty will." But the Princess and her attendants
ceased not wandering about the garden from site to site and side to
side till they reached the place wherein the Sultan Habib lay in
lurking; when Durrat al-Ghawwas there stood still and said in
herself, "Now I came not from my capital save on his account, and
I would see and be seen by him even as the Voice informed me of
him, O ye handmaidens; and peradventure hath the same informed him
of me." Then the Princess and her suite, drawing still nearer to
his place of concealment, found a lakelet in the Arab's garden
brimful of water amiddlemost whereof stood a brazen lion, through
whose mouth the water entered to issue from his tail. Hereat the
Princess marvelled and said to her bondswomen, "This be none other
than a marvellous lake, together with the lion therein; and when,
by the goodwill of Almighty Allah, I shall have returned home, I
will let make a lakelet after this fashion, and in it set a lion of
brass." Thereupon she ordered them to doff their dress and go down
to the piece of water and swim about; but they replied, "O our
lady, to hear is to obey thy commandment, but we will not strip nor
swim save with thee." Then she also did off her dress and all
stripped themselves and entered the lakelet in a body, whereupon
the Sultan Habib looked through the leaves to solace himself with
the fair spectacle and he ejaculated, "Blessed be the Lord the best
of Creators!" And when the handmaids waxed aweary of swimming, the
Princess commanded them to come forth the water, and said, "Whenas
Heaven willeth that the desire of my heart be fulfilled in this
garden, what deem ye I should do with my lover?" and quoth they,
"'Twould only add to our pleasure and gladness." Quoth she, "Verily
my heart assureth me that he is here and hidden amongst the trees
of yon tangled brake;" and she made signs with her hand whither
Habib lay in lurking-place; and he, espying this, rejoiced with joy
galore than which naught could be more, and exclaimed, "There is no
Majesty and there is no Might save in Allah, the Glorious, the
Great; what meaneth this lady? Indeed, I fear to stay in this stead
lest she come hither and draw me forth and put me to shame; and
'twere better that of mine own accord I come out of my concealment
and accost her and suffer her to do all she designeth and
desireth." So he descended from the topmost of the tree wherein he
had taken refuge and presented himself before the Princess Durrat
Al-Ghawwas, who drew near and cried to him, "O Habib, O welcome to
Habib! and is it thus that we have travailed with love of thee and
longing for thee, and where hast thou been all this time, O my
dearling, and O coolth of my eyes and O slice of my liver?" Replied
he, "I was in the head of yonder huge tree to which thou pointedst
with thy finger." And as they looked each at other she drew nearer
to him and fell to improvising,

"Thou hast doomed me, O branchlet of Ban, to despair * Who in
worship and honour was wont to fare,--
Who lived in rule and folk slaved for me * And hosts girded me
round every hest to bear!"

And anon quoth the Sultan Habib, "Alhamdolillah--laud be to the
Lord, who deigned show me thy face and thy form! Can it be thou
kennest not what it was that harmed me and sickened me for thy
sake, O Durrat al-Ghawwas?" Quoth she, "And what was it hurt thee
and ailed thee?" "It was the love of thee and longing for thee!"
"And who was the first to tell thee and make thee ware of me?" He
replied saying, "One day it so befel, as I was amongst my family
and my tribe, a Jinni Al-Abbus hight became my governor and taught
me the accidents of thrust and cut and cavalarice; and ere he left
he commended thy beauty and loveliness and foretold to me all that
would pass between thee and me. So I was engrossed with affection
for thee ere my eyes had sight of thee, and thenceforwards I lost
all the pleasures of sleep, nor were meat and eating sweet to me,
nor were drink and wine, draughts a delight to me: so
Alhamdolillah--praise be to Allah, who deigned conjoin me in such
union with my heart's desire!" Hereat the twain exchanged an
embrace so long that a swoon came upon them and both fell to the
ground in a fainting fit, but after a time the handmaidens raised
them up and besprinkled their faces with rose-water which at once
revived them. All this happened, withal the Emir Salamah wotted
naught of what had befallen his son the Sultan Habib nor did his
mother weet that had betided her child; and the husband presently
went in to his spouse and said, "Indeed this boy hath worn us out:
we see that o' nights he sleepeth not in his own place and this day
he fared forth with the dawn and suffered us not to see a sight of
him." Quoth the wife, "Since the day he went to Al-Abbus, thy boy
fell into cark and care;" and quoth the husband, "Verily our son
walked about the garden and Allah knoweth that therefrom is no
issue anywhither. So there shalt thou find him and ask him of
himself." And they talked over this matter in sore anger and
agitation. Meanwhile as the Sultan Habib sat in the garden with the
handmaids waiting upon him and upon the Princess Durrat al-Ghawwas,
there suddenly swooped upon them a huge bird which presently
changed form to a Shaykh seemly of aspect and semblance who
approached and kissing their feet humbled himself before the lover
and his beloved. The youth marvelled at such action of the Shaykh,
and signalled to the Princess as to ask, "Who may be this old man?"
and she answered in the same way, "This is the Wazir who caused me
forgather with thee;" presently adding to the Shaykh, "What may be
thy need?" "I came hither for the sake of thee," he replied, "and
unless thou fare forthright to thy country and kingdom the rule of
the Jann will pass from thy hand; for that the Lords of the land
and Grandees of the realm seek thy loss and not a few of the nobles
have asked me saying, O Wazir, where is our Queen? I answered, She
is within her palace and to-day she is busied with some business.
But such pretext cannot long avail, and thou, unless thou return
with me to the region of thy reign there shall betray thee some one
of the Marids and the hosts will revolt against thee and thy rule
will go to ruin and thou wilt be degraded from command and
sultanate." "What then is thy say and what thy bidding?" enquired
she, and he replied, "Thou hast none other way save departure from
this place and return to thy realm." Now when these words reached
the ear of Durrat al-Ghawwas, her breast was straitened and she
waxed sorrowful with exceeding sorrow for severance from her lover
whom she addressed in these words, "What sayest thou anent that
thou hast heard? In very sooth I desire not parting from thee and
the ruin of my reign as little do I design; so come with me, O
dearling of my heart, and I will make thee liege lord over the
Isles of the Sea and sole master thereof." Hereat the Sultan Habib
said in his soul, "I cannot endure parting from my own people; but
as for thee thy love shall never depart from thee:" then he spake
aloud, "An thou deign hear me, do thou abandon that which thou
purposest and bid thy Wazir rule over the Isles and thy patrial
stead; so shall we twain, I and thou, live in privacy for all time
and enjoy the most joyous of lives." "That may never be," was her
only reply; after which she cried to the Wazir saying, "Carry me
off that I fare to my own land." Then after farewelling her lover,
she mounted the Emir-Wazir's back[FN#401] and bade him bear her
away, whereat he took flight and the forty handmaidens flew with
him, towering high in air. Presently, the Sultan Habib shed bitter
tears; his mother hearing him weeping sore as he sat in the garden
went to her husband and said, "Knowest thou not what calamity hath
befallen thy son that I hear him there groaning and moaning"" Now
when the parents entered the garden, they found him spent with
grief and the tears trickled adown his cheeks like never-ceasing
rain-showers;[FN#402] so they summoned the pages who brought
cucurbits of rosewater wherewith they besprinkled his face. But as
soon as he recovered his senses and opened his eyes, he fell to
weeping with excessive weeping and his father and mother likewise
shed tears for the burning of their hearts and asked him, "O Habib,
what calamity hath come down to thee and who of his mischief hath
overthrown thee? Inform us of the truth of thy case." So he related
all that had betided between him and Durrat-al-Ghawwas, and his
mother wept over him while his father cried, "O Habib, do thou
leave this say and this thy desire cast away that the joys of meat
and drink and sleep thou may enjoy alway." But he made answer, "O
my sire, I will not slumber upon this matter until I shall sleep
the sleep of death." "Arise thou, O my child," rejoined the Emir,
"and let us return homewards,"[FN#403] but the son retorted,
"Verily I will not depart from this place wherein I was parted from
the dearling of my heart." So the sire again urged him saying,
"These words do thou spare nor persist in this affair because
therefrom for thee I fear;" and he fell to cheering him and
comforting his spirits. After a while the Sultan Habib arose and
fared homewards beside his sire who kept saying to him, "Patience,
O my child, the while I assist thee in thy search for this young
lady and I send those who shall bring her to thee." "O my father,"
rejoined the son, "I can no longer endure parting from her; nay,
'tis my desire that thou load me sundry camels with gold and silver
and plunder and moneys that I may go forth to seek her: and if I
win to my wish and Allah vouchsafe me length of life I will return
unto you; but an the term of my days be at hand then the behest be
to Allah, the One, the Omnipotent. Let not your breasts be
straitened therefor and do ye hold and believe that if I abide with
you and see not the beloved of my soul I shall perish of my pain
while you be standing by to look upon my death. So suffer me to
wayfare and attain mine aim; for from the day when my mother bare
me 'twas written to my lot that I journey over wild and wold and
that I see and voyage over the seas seven-fold." Hereupon he fell
to improvising these verses,

"My heart is straitened with grief amain * And my friends and
familiars have wrought me pain;
And whene'er you're absent I pine, and fires * In my heart beweep
what it bears of bane:
O ye, who fare for the tribe's domain, * Cry aloud my greetings to
friends so fain!"

Now when the Emir Salamah heard these his son's verses, he bade
pack for him four camel loads of the rarest stuffs, and he
largessed to him a she-dromedary laden with thrones of red gold;
then he said to him, "Lo, O my son, I have given thee more than
thou askedst." "O my father," replied Habib, "where are my steed
and my sword and my spear?" Hereat the pages brought forward a
mail-coat Davidian[FN#404] and a blade Maghrabian and a lance
Khattian and Samharian, and set them between his hands; and the
Sultan Habib donning the habergeon and drawing his sabre and
sitting lance in rest backed his steed, which was of the noblest
blood known to all the Arabs. Then quoth he, "O my father, is it
thy desire to send with me a troop of twenty knights that they may
escort me to the land of Al-Yaman and may anon bring me back to
thee?" "My design," quoth the sire, "is to despatch those with thee
who shall befriend thee upon the road;" and, when Habib prayed him
do as he pleased, the Emir appointed to him ten knights, valorous
wights, who dreaded naught of death however sudden and awesome.
Presently, the youth farewelled his father and mother, his family
and his tribe, and joining his escort, mounted his destrier when
Salamah, his sire, said to his company, "Be ye to my son obedient
in all he shall command you;" and said they, "Hearing and obeying."
Then Habib and his many turned away from home and addressed them to
the road when he began to improvise the following lines,

My longing grows less and far goes my cark * After flamed my heart
with the love-fire stark;
As I ride to search for my soul's desire * And I ask of those
faring to Al-Irak."

On this wise it befel the Sultan Habib and his farewelling his
father and mother; but now lend ear to what came of the knights who
escorted him. After many days of toil and travail they waxed
discontented and disheartened; and presently taking counsel one
with other, they said, "Come, let us slay this lad and carry off
the loads of stuffs and coin he hath with him; and when we reach
our homes and be questioned concerning him, let us say that he died
of the excess of his desire to Princess Durrat al-Ghawwas." So they
followed this rede, while their lord wotted naught of the ambush
laid for him by his followers. And having ridden through the day
when the night of offence[FN#405] was dispread, the escort said,
"Dismount we in this garden[FN#406] that here we may take our rest
during the dark hours, and when morning shall morrow we will resume
our road." The Sultan Habib had no mind to oppose them, so all
alighted and in that garden took seat and whatso of victual was
with them produced; after which they ate and drank their
sufficiency and lay down to sleep all of them save their lord, who
could not close eye for excess of love-longing. "O Habib, why and
wherefore sleepest thou not?" they asked, and he answered, "O
comrades mine, how shall slumber come to one yearning for his
dearling, and verily I will lie awake nor enjoy aught repose until
such time as I espy the lifeblood of my heart, Durrat al-Ghawwas."
Thereupon they held their peace; and presently they held council
one with other saying, "Who amongst us can supply a dose of Bhang
that we may cast him asleep and his slaughter may be easy to us?"
"I have two Miskals weight[FN#407] of that same," quoth one of
them, and the others took it from him and presently, when occasion
served, they put it into a cup of water and presented it to Habib.
He hent that cup in hand and drank off the drugged liquid at a
single draught; and presently the Bhang wrought in his vitals and
its fumes mounted to his head, mastering his senses and causing his
brain to whirl round, whereupon he sank into the depths of
unconsciousness. Then quoth his escort, "As soon as his slumber is
soundest and his sleep heaviest we will arise and slay him and bury
him on the spot where he now sleepeth: then will we return to his
father and mother, and tell them that of love-stress to his beloved
and of excessive longing and pining for her he died." And upon this
deed of treachery all agreed. So when dawned the day and showed its
sheen and shone clear and serene the knights awoke and seeing their
lord drowned[FN#408] in sleep they arose and sat in council, and
quoth one of them, "Let us cut his throat from ear to ear;"[FN#409]
and quoth another, "Nay, better we dig us a pit the stature of a
man and we will cast him amiddlemost thereof and heap upon him
earth so that he will die, nor shall any know aught about him."
Hearing this said one of the retinue, whose name was
Rabi'a,[FN#410] "But fear you naught from Almighty Allah and regard
ye not the favours wherewith his father fulfilled you, and remember
ye not the bread which ye ate in his household and from his family?
Indeed 'twas but a little while since his sire chose you out to
escort him that his son might take solace with you instead of
himself, and he entrusted unto you his heart's core, and now ye are
pleased to do him die and thereby destroy the life of his parents.
Furthermore, say me doth your judgment decide that such ill-work
can possibly abide hidden from his father? Now I swear by the
loyalty[FN#411] of the Arabs there will not remain for us a wight
or any who bloweth the fire alight, however mean and slight, who
will receive us after such deed. So do ye at least befriend and
protect your households and your clans and your wives and your
children whom ye left in the tribal domain. But now you design
utterly to destroy us, one and all, and after death affix to our
memories the ill-name of traitors, and cause our women be enslaved
and our children enthralled, nor leave one of us aught to be longed
for." Quoth they jeeringly, "Bring what thou hast of righteous
rede:" so quoth he, "Have you fixed your intent upon slaying him
and robbing his good?" and they answered, "We have." However, he
objected again and cried, "Come ye and hear from me what it is I
advise you, albeit I will take no part[FN#412] in this matter;"
presently adding, "Established is your resolve in this affair, and
ye wot better than I what you are about to do. But my mind is
certified of this much; do ye not transgress in the matter of his
blood and suffer only his crime be upon you;[FN#413] moreover, if
ye desire to lay hands upon his camels and his moneys and his
provisions, then do ye carry them off and leave him where he lieth;
then if he live, 'twere well, and if he die 'twill be even better
and far better." "Thy rede is right and righteous," they replied.
Accordingly they seized his steed and his habergeon and his sword
and his gear of battle and combat, and they carried off all he had
of money and means, and placing him naked upon the bare ground they
drove away his camels. Presently asked one of other, "Whenas we
shall reach the tribe what shall we say to his father and his
mother?" "Whatso Rabi'a shall counsel us," quoth they, and quoth
Rabi'a, "Tell them, 'We left not travelling with your son; and, as
we fared along, we lost sight of him and we saw him nowhere until
we came upon him a-swoon and lying on the road senseless: then we
called to him by name but he returned no reply, and when we shook
him with our hands behold, he had become a dried-up wand. Then
seeing him dead we buried him and brought back to you his good and
his belongings.'" "And if they ask you," objected one, "'In what
place did ye bury him and in what land, and is the spot far or
near,' what shall ye make answer; also if they say to you, 'Why did
ye not bear his corpse with you,' what then shall be your reply?"
Rabi'a to this rejoined "Do you say to them, 'Our strength was
weakened and we waxed feeble from burn of heart and want of water,
nor could we bring his remains with us.' And if they ask you,
'Could ye not bear him a-back; nay, might ye not have carried him
upon one of the camels?' do ye declare that ye could not for two
reasons, the first being that the body was swollen and stinking
from the fiery air, and the second our fear for his father, lest
seeing him rotten he could not endure the sight and his sorrow be
increased for that he was an only child and his sire hath none
other." All the men joined in accepting this counsel of Rabi'a, and
each and every exclaimed, "This indeed is the rede that is most
right." Then they ceased not wayfaring until they reached the
neighbourhood of the tribe, when they sprang from their steeds and
openly donned black, and they entered the camp showing the sorest
sorrow. Presently they repaired to the father's tent, grieving and
weeping and shrieking as they went; and when the Emir Salamah saw
them in this case, crowding together with keening and crying for
the departed, he asked them, "Where is he, my son?" and they
answered, "Indeed he is dead." Right hard upon Salamah was this
lie, and his grief grew the greater, so he scattered dust upon his
head and plucked out his beard and rent his raiment and shrieked
aloud saying, "Woe for my son, ah! Woe for Habib, ah! Woe for the
slice of my liver, ah! Woe for my grief, ah! Woe for the
core[FN#414] of my heart, ah!" Thereupon his mother came forth, and
seeing her husband in this case, with dust on his head and his
beard plucked out and his robe-collar[FN#415] rent, and sighting
her son's steed she shrieked, "Woe is me and well-away for my
child, ah!" and fainted swooning for a full-told hour. Anon when
recovered she said to the knights who had formed the escort, "Woe
to you, O men of evil, where have ye buried my boy?" They replied,
"In a far-off land whose name we wot not, and 'tis wholly waste and
tenanted by wild beasts," whereat she was afflicted exceedingly.
Then the Emir Salamah and his wife and household and all the
tribesmen donned garbs black-hued and ashes whereupon to sit they
strewed, and ungrateful to them was the taste of food and drink,
meat and wine; nor ceased they to beweep their loss, nor could they
comprehend what had befallen their son and what of ill-lot had
descended upon him from Heaven. Such then was the case of them; but
as regards the Sultan Habib, he continued sleeping until the Bhang
ceased to work in his brain, when Allah sent a fresh, cool wind
which entered his nostrils and caused him sneeze, whereby he cast
out the drug and sensed the sun-heat and came to himself. Hereupon
he opened his eyes and sighted a wild and waste land, and he looked
in vain for his companions the knights, and his steed and his sword
and his spear and his coat of mail, and he found himself mother-
naked, athirst, anhungered. Then he cried out in that Desert of
desolation which lay far and wide before his eyes, and the case
waxed heavy upon him, and he wept and groaned and complained of his
case to Allah Almighty, saying, "O my God and my Lord and my
Master, trace my lot an thou hast traced it upon the Guarded
Tablet, for who shall right me save Thyself, O Lord of Might that
is All-might and of Grandeur All-puissant and All-excellent!" Then
he began improvising these verses,

"Faileth me, O my God, the patience with the pride o' me; * Life-
tie is broke and drawing nigh I see Death-tide o' me:
To whom shall injured man complain of injury and wrong * Save to
the Lord (of Lords the Best!) who stands by side o'me."

Now whilst the Sultan Habib was ranging with his eye-corners to the
right and to the left, behold, he beheld a blackness rising high in
air, and quoth he to himself, "Doubtless this dark object must be
a mighty city or a vast encampment, and I will hie me thither
before I be overheated by the sun-glow and I lose the power of
walking and I die of distress and none shall know my fate." Then he
heartened his heart for the improvising of such poetry as came to
his mind, and he repeated these verses,

"Travel, for on the way all goodly things shalt find; * And wake
from sleep and dreams if still to sleep inclined!
Or victory win and rise and raise thee highmost high * And gain, O
giddy pate, the food for which thy soul hath pined;
Or into sorrow thou shalt fall with breast full strait * And ne'er
enjoy the Fame that wooes the gen'rous mind,
Nor is there any shall avail to hinder Fate * Except the Lord of
Worlds who the Two Beings[FN#416] designed."

And when he had finished his verse, the Sultan Habib walked in the
direction of that blackness nor left walking until he drew near the
ridge; but after he could fare no farther and that walking
distressed him (he never having been broken to travel afoot and
barefoot withal), and his forces waxed feeble and his joints
relaxed and his strong will grew weak and his resolution passed
away. But whilst he was perplexed concerning what he should do,
suddenly there alighted between his hands a snow-white fowl huge as
the dome of a Hammam, with shanks like the trunk of a palm-tree.
The Sultan Habib marvelled at the sight of this Rukh, and saying to
himself, "Blessed be Allah the Creator!" he advanced slowly towards
it and all unknown to the fowl seized its legs. Presently the bird
put forth its wings (he still hanging on) and flew upwards to the
confines of the sky, when behold, a Voice was heard saying, "O
Habib! O Habib! hold to the bird with straitest hold, else 'twill
cast thee down to earth and thou shalt be dashed to pieces limb
from limb!" Hearing these words he tightened his grasp and the fowl
ceased not flying until it came to that blackness which was the
outline of Kaf the mighty mountain, and having set the youth down
on the summit it left him and still flew onwards. Presently a Voice
sounded in the sensorium of the Sultan Habib saying, "Take seat, O
Habib; past is that which conveyed thee hither on thy way to Durrat
al-Ghawwas;" and he, when the words met his ear, aroused himself
and arose and, descending the mountain slope to the skirting plain,
saw therein a cave. Hereat quoth he to himself, "If I enter this
antre, haply shall I lose myself, and perish of hunger and thirst!"
He then took thought and reflected, "Now death must come sooner or
later, wherefore will I adventure myself in this cave." And as he
passed thereinto he heard one crying with a high voice and a sound
so mighty that its volume resounded in his ears. But right soon the
crier appeared in the shape of Al-Abbus, the Governor who had
taught him battle and combat; and, after greeting him with great
joy, the lover recounted his love-adventure to his whilome tutor.
The Jinni bore in his left a scymitar, the work of the Jann and in
his right a cup of water which he handed to his pupil. The draught
caused him to swoon for an hour or so, and when he came-to Al-Abbus
made him sit up and bathed him and robed him in the rarest of
raiment and brought him a somewhat of victual and the twain ate and
drank together. Then quoth Habib to Al-Abbus, "Knowest thou not
that which befel me with Durrat al-Ghawwas of wondrous matters?"
and quoth the other, "And what may that have been?" whereupon the
youth rejoined, "O my brother, Allah be satisfied with thee for
that He willed thou appear to me and direct me and guide me aright
to the dearling of my heart and the cooling of mine eyes." "Leave
thou such foolish talk," replied Al-Abbus, "for where art thou and
where is Durrat al-Ghawwas? Indeed between thee and her are horrors
and perils and long tracts of land and seas wondrous, and
adventures marvellous, which would amaze and amate the rending
lions, and spectacles which would turn grey the sucking child or
any one of man's scions." Hearing these words Habib clasped his
governor to his breast and kissed him between the eyes, and the
Jinni said, "O my beloved, had I the might to unite thee with her
I would do on such wise, but first 'tis my desire to make thee
forgather with thy family in a moment shorter than an eye-
twinkling." "Had I longed for my own people," rejoined Habib, "I
should never have left them, nor should I have endangered my days
nor wouldst thou have seen me in this stead; but as it is I will
never return from my wayfaring till such time as my hope shall have
been fulfilled, even although my appointed life-term should be
brought to end, for I have no further need of existence." To these
words the Jinni made answer, "Learn thou, O Habib, that the cavern
wherein thou art containeth the hoards of our Lord Solomon, David's
son (upon the twain be The Peace!), and he placed them under my
charge and he forbade me abandon them until such time as he shall
permit me, and furthermore that I let and hinder both mankind and
Jinn-kind from entering the Hoard; and know thou, O Habib, that in
this cavern is a treasure-house and in the Treasury forty closets
offsetting to the right and to the left. Now wouldst thou gaze upon
this wealth of pearls and rubies and precious stones, do thou ere
passing through the first door dig under its threshold, where thou
shalt find buried the keys of all the magazines. Then take the
first of them in hand and unlock its door, after which thou shalt
be able to open all the others and look upon the store of jewels
therein. And when thou shalt design to depart the Treasury thou
shalt find a curtain hung up in front of thee and fastened around
it eighty hooks of red gold;[FN#417] and do thou beware how thou
raise the hanging without quilting them all with cotton." So saying
he gave him a bundle of tree-wool he had by him, and pursued, "O
Habib, when thou shalt have raised the curtain thou wilt discover
a door with two leaves also of red gold, whereupon couplets are
inscribed, and as regards the first distich an thou master the
meaning of the names and the talismans, thou shalt be saved from
all terrors and horrors, and if thou fail to comprehend them thou
shalt perish in that Hoard. But after opening the door close it not
with noise nor glance behind thee, and take all heed, as I fear for
thee those charged with the care of the place[FN#418] and its
tapestry. And when thou shalt stand behind the hanging thou shalt
behold a sea clashing with billows dashing, and 'tis one of the
Seven Mains which shall show thee, O Habib, marvels whereat thou
shalt wonder, and whereof relaters shall relate the strangest
relations. Then do thou take thy stand upon the sea-shore whence
thou shalt descry a ship under way and do thou cry aloud to the
crew who shall come to thee and bear thee aboard. After this I wot
not what shall befal thee in this ocean, and such is the end of my
say and the last of my speech, O Habib, and--The Peace!" Hereat the
youth joyed with joy galore than which naught could be more and
taking the hand Of Al-Abbus he kissed it and said, "O my brother,
thou hast given kindly token in what thou hast spoken, and Allah
requite thee for me with all weal, and mayest thou be fended from
every injurious ill!" Quoth Al-Abbus, "O Habib, take this scymitar
and baldrick thyself therewith, indeed 'twill enforce thee and
hearten thy heart, and don this dress which shall defend thee from
thy foes." The youth did as he was bidden; then he farewelled the
Jinni and set forth on his way, and he ceased not pacing forward
until he reached the end of the cavern and here he came upon the
door whereof his governor had informed him. So he went to its
threshold and dug thereunder and drew forth a black bag creased and
stained by the lapse of years. This he unclosed and it yielded him
a key which he applied to the lock and it forthwith opened and
admitted him into the Treasury where, for exceeding murk and
darkness, he could not see what he hent in hand. Then quoth he to
himself, "What is to do? Haply Al-Abbus hath compassed my
destruction!" And the while he sat on this wise sunken in thought,
behold, he beheld a light gleaming from afar, and as he advanced
its sheen guided him to the curtain whereof he had been told by the
Jinni. But as he looked he saw above it a tablet of emerald dubbed
with pearls and precious stones, while under it lay the hoard which
lighted up the place like the rising sun. So he hastened him
thither and found inscribed upon the tablet the following two

"At him I wonder who from woe is free, * And who no joy
displays[FN#419] when safe is he:
And I admire how Time deludes man when * He views the past; but ah,
Time's tyranny."

So the Sultan Habib read over these verses more than once, and wept
till he swooned away; then recovering himself he said in his mind,
"To me death were pleasanter than life without my love!" and
turning to the closets which lay right and left he opened them all
and gazed upon the hillocks of gold and silver and upon the heaps
and bales of rubies and unions and precious stones and strings of
pearls, wondering at all he espied, and quoth he to himself "Were
but a single magazine of these treasures revealed, wealthy were all
the peoples who on earth do dwell." Then he walked up to the
curtain whereupon Jinns and Ifrits appeared from every site and
side, and voices and shrieks so loudened in his ears that his wits
well-nigh flew from his head. So he took patience for a full-told
hour when behold, a smoke which spired in air thickened and brooded
low, and the sound ceased and the Jinns departed. Hereat, calling
to mind the charge of Al-Abbus, he took out the cotton he had by
him and after quilting the golden hooks he withdrew the curtain and
sighted the portal which the Jinni had described to him. So he
fitted in the key and opened it, after which, oblivious of the
warning, he slammed-to the door noisily in his fear and
forgetfulness, but he did not venture to look behind him. At this
the Jinns flocked to him from every side and site crying, "O thou
foulest of mankind, wherefore dost thou provoke us and disturb us
from our stead? and, but for thy wearing the gear of the Jann, we
had slain thee forthright." But Habib answered not and, arming
himself with patience and piety, he tarried awhile until the hubbub
was stilled, nor did the Jann cry at him any more: and, when the
storm was followed by calm, he paced forward to the shore and
looked upon the ocean crashing with billows dashing. He marvelled
at the waves and said to himself, "Verily none may know the secrets
of the sea and the mysteries of the main save only Allah!"
Presently, he beheld a ship passing along shore, so he took seat on
the strand until Night let down her pall of sables upon him; and he
was an-hungered with exceeding hunger and athirst with excessive
thirst. But when morrowed the morn and day showed her sheen and
shone serene, he awoke in his sore distress and behold, he saw two
Mermaidens of the daughters of the deep (and both were as moons)
issue forth hard by him. And ere long quoth one of the twain, "Say
me, wottest thou the mortal who sitteth yonder?" "I know him not,"
quoth the other, whereat her companion resumed, "This be the Sultan
Habib who cometh in search of Durrat al-Ghawwas, our Queen and
liege lady." Hearing these words the youth considered them straitly
and marvelling at their beauty and loveliness he presently rejoiced
and increased in pleasure and delight. Then said one to other,
"Indeed the Sultan Habib is in this matter somewhat scant and short
of wits; how can he love Durrat al-Ghawwas when between him and her
is a distance only to be covered by the sea-voyage of a full year
over most dangerous depths? And, after all this woe hath befallen
him, why doth he not hie him home and why not save himself from
these horrors which promise to endure through all his days and to
cast his life at last into the pit of destruction?" Asked the
other, "Would heaven I knew whether he will ever attain to her or
not!" and her companion answered, "Yes, he will attain to her, but
after a time and a long time and much sadness of soul." But when
Habib heard this promise of success given by the Maidens of the
Main his sorrow was solaced and he lost all that troubled him of
hunger and thirst. Now while he pondered these matters there
suddenly issued from out the ocean a third Mermaid, which asked her
fellows, "Of what are you prattling?" and they answered, "Indeed
the Sultan Habib sitteth here upon the sea-shore during this the
fourth successive night." Quoth she, "I have a cousin the daughter
of my paternal uncle and when she came to visit me last night I
enquired of her if any ship had passed by her and she replied, 'Yea
verily, one did sail driven towards us by a violent gale, and its
sole object was to seek you.'" And the others rejoined, "Allah send
thee tidings of welfare!" The youth hearing these words was
gladdened and joyed with exceeding joy; and presently the three
Mermaidens called to one another and dove into the depths leaving
the listener standing upon the strand. After a short time he heard
the cries of the crew from the craft announced and he shouted to
them and they, noting his summons, ran alongside the shore and took
him up and bore him aboard: and, when he complained of hunger and
thirst, they gave him meat and drink and questioned him saying,
"Thou! who art thou? Say us, art of the trader-folk?" "I am the
merchant Such-and-such," quoth he, "and my ship foundered albe
'twas a mighty great vessel; but one chance day of the days as we
were sailing along there burst upon us a furious gale which
shivered our timbers and my companions all perished while I floated
upon a plank of the ship's planks and was carried ashore by the
send of the sea. Indeed I have been floating for three days and
this be my fourth night." Hearing this adventure from him the
traders cried, "Grieve no more in heart but be thou of good cheer
and of eyes cool and clear: the sea voyage is ever exposed to such
chances and so is the gain thereby we obtain; and if Allah deign
preserve us and keep for us the livelihood He vouchsafed to us we
will bestow upon thee a portion thereof." After this they ceased
not sailing until a tempest assailed them and blew their vessel to
starboard and larboard and she lost her course and went astray at
sea. Hereat the pilot cried aloud, saying, "Ho ye company aboard,
take your leave one of other for we be driven into unknown depths
of ocean, nor may we keep our course, because the wind bloweth full
in our faces." Hereupon the voyagers fell to beweeping the loss of
their lives and their goods, and the Sultan Habib shed tears which
trickled adown his cheeks and exclaimed, "Would Heaven I had died
before seeing such torment: indeed this is naught save a matter of
marvel." But when the merchants saw the youth thus saddened and
troubled of soul, and weeping withal, they said to him, "O Monarch
of the Merchants, let not thy breast be straitened or thy heart be
disheartened: hapty Allah shall vouchsafe joy to us and to thee:
moreover, can vain regret and sorrow of soul and shedding of tears
avail aught? Do thou rather ask of the Almighty that He deign
relieve us and further our voyage." But as the vessel ran through
the middle of the main, she suddenly ceased her course and came to
a stop without tacking to the right or the left, and the pilot
cried out, "O folk, is there any of you who conneth this ocean?"
But they made answer, "We know thereof naught, neither in all our
voyage did we see aught resembling it." The pilot continued, "O
folk, this main is hight 'The Azure';[FN#420] nor did any trader at
any time therein enter but he found destruction; for that it is the
home of Jinns and the house of Ifrits, and he who now withholdeth
our vessel from its course is known as Al-Ghashamsham,[FN#421] and
our lord Solomon son of David (upon the twain be The Peace!)
deputed him to snatch up and carry off from every craft passing,
through these forbidden depths whatever human beings, and
especially merchants, he might find a-voyaging, and to eat them
alive." "Woe to thee!" cried Habib. "Wherefore bid us take counsel
together when thou tellest us that here dwelleth a Demon over whom
we have no power to prevail, and thou terrifiest us with the
thoughts of being devoured by him? However, feel ye no affright; I
will fend off from you the mischief of this Ifrit." They replied,
"We fear for thy life, O Monarch of the Merchants," and he
rejoined, "To you there is no danger." Thereupon he donned a
closely woven mail-coat and armed himself with the magical scymitar
and spear; then, taking the skins of animals freshly slain,[FN#422]
he made a hood and vizor thereof and wrapped strips of the same
around his arms and legs that no harm from the sea might enter his
frame. After this he bade his shipmates bind him with cords under
his armpits and let him down amiddlemost the main. And as soon as
he touched bottom he was confronted by the Ifrit, who rushed
forward to make a mouthful of him, when the Sultan Habib raised his
forearm and with the scymitar smote him a stroke which fell upon
his neck and hewed him into two halves. So he died in the depths;
and the youth, seeing the foeman slain, jerked the cord and his
mates drew him up and took him in, after which the ship sprang
forward like a shaft outshot from the belly[FN#423] of the bow.
Seeing this all the traders wondered with excessive wonderment and
hastened up to the youth, kissing his feet and crying, "O Monarch
of the Merchants, how didst thou prevail against him and do him
die?" "When I dropped into the depths," replied he, "in order to
slay him, I asked against him the aidance of Allah, who vouchsafed
His assistance, and on such wise I slaughtered him." Hearing these
good tidings and being certified of their enemy's death the traders
offered to him their good and gains whereof he refused to accept
aught, even a single mustard seed. Now, amongst the number was a
Shaykh well shotten in years and sagacious in all affairs needing
direction; and this oldster drew near the youth, and making lowly
obeisance said to him, "By the right of Who sent thee uswards and
sent us theewards, what art thou and what may be thy name and the
cause of thy falling upon this ocean?" The Sultan Habib began by
refusing to disclose aught of his errand, but when the Shaykh
persisted in questioning he ended by disclosing all that had
betided him first and last, and as they sailed on suddenly the
Pilot cried out to them, "Rejoice ye with great joy and make ye
merry and be ye gladdened with good news, O ye folk, for that ye
are saved from the dangers of these terrible depths and ye are
drawing near the city of Sabur, the King who overruleth the Isles
Crystalline; and his capital (which be populous and prosperous)
ranketh first among the cities of Al-Hind, and his reign is
foremost of the Isles of the Sea." Then the ship inclined thither,
and drawing nearer little by little entered the harbour[FN#424] and
cast anchor therein, when the canoes[FN#425] appeared and the
porters came on board and bore away the luggage of the voyagers and
the crew, who were freed from all sorrow and anxiety. Such was
their case; but as regards Durrat al-Ghawwas, when she parted from
her lover, the Sultan Habib, severance weighed sore and stark upon
her, and she found no pleasure in meat and drink and slumber and
sleep. And presently whilst in this condition and sitting upon her
throne of estate, an Ifrit appeared to her and coming forwards
between her hands said, "The Peace of Allah upon thee, O Queen of
the Age and Empress of the Time and the Tide!" whereto she made
reply, "And upon thee be The Peace and the ruth of Allah and His
blessings. What seekest thou O Ifrit?" Quoth he, "There lately hath
come to us a shipful of merchants and I have heard talk of the
Sultan Habib being amongst them." As these words reached her ear
she largessed the Ifrit and said to him, "An thou speak sooth I
will bestow upon thee whatso thou wishest." Then, having certified
herself of the news, she bade decorate the city with the finest of
decorations and let beat the kettledrums of glad tidings and
bespread the way leading to the Palace with a carpeting of
sendal,[FN#426] and they obeyed her behest. Anon she summoned her
pages and commanded them to bring her lover before her; so they
repaired to him and ordered him to accompany them. Accordingly, he
followed them and they ceased not faring until they had escorted
him to the Palace, when the Queen bade all her pages gang their
gait and none remained therein save the two lovers; to wit, the
Sultan Habib and Durrat al-Ghawwas. And after the goodly reunion
she sent for the Kazi and his assessors and bade them write out her
marriage-writ[FN#427] with Habib. He did as he was bidden and the
witnesses bore testimony thereto and to the dowry being duly paid;
and the tie was formally tied and the wedding banquets were
dispread. Then the bride donned her choicest of dresses and the
marriage procession was formed and the union was consummated and
both joyed with joy exceeding. Now this state of things endured for
a long while until the Sultan Habib fell to longing after his
parents and his family and his native country; and at length, on a
day of the days, when a banquet was served up to him by his bride,
he refused to taste thereof, and she, noting and understanding his
condition, said to him, "Be of good cheer, this very night thou
shalt find thee amongst thine own folk." Accordingly she summoned
her Wazir of the Jann, and when he came she made proclamation
amongst the nobles and commons of the capital saying, "This my
Wazir shall be my Viceregent over you and whoso shall gainsay him
that man I will slay." They replied with "Hearkening to and obeying
Allah and thyself and the Minister." Then turning to her
newly-established deputy she said, "I desire that thou guide me to
the garden wherein was the Sultan Habib;" and he replied, "Upon my
head be it and on my eyes!" So an Ifrit was summoned, and Habib
mounting him pick-a-back together with the Princess Durrat
al-Ghawwas bade him repair to the garden appointed, and the Jinni
took flight, and in less than the twinkling of an eye bore the
couple to their destination. Such was the reunion of the Sultan
Habib with Durrat al-Ghawwas and his joyous conjunction;[FN#428]
but as regards the Emir Salamah and his wife, as they were sitting
and recalling to memory their only child and wondering in converse
at what fate might have betided him, lo and behold! the Sultan
Habib stood before them and by his side was Durrat al-Ghawwas his
bride, and as they looked upon him and her, weeping prevailed over
them for excess of their joyance and delight and both his parents
threw themselves upon him and fell fainting to the ground. As soon
as they recovered the youth told them all that had betided him,
first and last, whereupon one congratulated other and the
kettledrums of glad tidings were sounded, and a world of folk from
all the Badawi tribes and the burghers gathered about them and
offered hearty compliments on the reunion of each with other. Then
the encampment was decorated in whole and in part, and festivities
were appointed for a term of seven days full-told, in token of joy
and gladness; and banquets were arrayed and trays were dispread,
and all sat down to them in the pleasantest of life eating and
drinking; and the hungry were filled, and the mean and the
miserable and the mendicants were feasted until the end of the
seventh day. After this they applied them to the punishment of the
ten Knights whom the Emir Salamah had despatched to escort his son;
and the Sultan Habib gave order that retribution be required from
them, and restitution of all the coin and the good and the horses
and the camels entrusted to them by his sire. When these had been
recovered he commanded that there be set up for them as many stakes
in the garden wherein he sat with his bride, and there in their
presence he let impale[FN#429] each upon his own pale. And
thenceforward the united household ceased not living the most
joyous of lives and the most delectable until the old Emir Salamah
paid the debt of nature, and they mourned him with excessive
mourning for seven days. When these were ended his son, the Sultan
Habib, became ruler in his stead and received the homage of all the
tribes and clans who came before him and prayed for his victory and
his length of life; and the necks of his subjects, even the most
stubborn, were bowed in abasement before him. On this wise he
reigned over the Crystalline Isles of Sabur, his sire-in-law, with
justice and equity, and his Queen, Durrat al-Ghawwas, bare to him
children in numbers who in due time followed in their father's
steps. And here is terminated the tale of Sultan Habib and Durrat
al-Ghawwas with all perfection and completion and good omen.

Note On The History of Habib

The older translators of this "New Arabian Night" have made wild work with
this Novel at least as the original is given by my text and the edition of
Gauttier (vii, 60-90): in their desire to gallicise it they have invested it
with a toilette purely European and in the worst possible style. Amongst the
insipid details are the division of the Crystalline Islands into the White,
Yellow, Green and Blue; with the Genies Abarikaff, the monstrous Racachik,
Ilbaccaras and Mokilras; and the terrible journey of Habib to Mount Kaf with
his absurd reflections: even the "Roc" cannot come to his aid without "a
damask cushion suspended between its feet by silken cords" for the greater
comfort of the "Arabian Knight." The Treasury of Solomon, "who fixed the
principles of knowledge by 366 hieroglyphics (sic) each of which required a
day's application from even the ablest understanding, before its mysterious
sense could be understood," is spun out as if the episode were copy intended
for the daily press. In my text the "Maidens of the Main" are introduced to
say a few words and speed the action. In the French version Ilzaide the elder
becomes a "leading lady," whose role is that of the naive ingenue, famous for
"smartness" and "vivacty": "one cannot refrain from smiling at the lively
sallies of her good nature and simplicity of heart." I find this young person
the model of a pert, pretty, prattling little French soubrette who, moreover,
makes open love to "the master." Habib calls the "good old lady," his
governess "Esek! Esek!" which in Turk. means donkey, ass. I need hardly
enlarge upon these ineptitudes; those who wish to pursue the subject have only
to compare the two versions.

At the end of the Frenchified tale we find a note entitled:--Observations by
the French Editor, on the "History of Habib and Dorathil-goase, or the Arabian
Knight," and these are founded not upon the Oriental text but upon the
Occidental perversion. It is described "from a moral plane rather as a poem
than a simple tale," and it must be regarded as "a Romance of Chivalry which
unites the two chief characteristics of works of that sort,--amusement and
instruction." Habib's education is compared with that of Telemachus, and his
being inured to fatigue is according to the advice of Rousseau in his
"Emilius" and the practice of Robinson Crusoe. Lastly "Grandison is a here
already formed: Habib is one who needs to be instructed." I cannot but
suspect when reading all this Western travesty of an Eastern work that M.
Cazotte, a typical litterateur, had prepared for caricaturing the unfortunate
Habib by carefully writing up Fenelon, Rousseau, and Richardson; and had
grafted his own ideas of morale upon the wild stem of the Arabian novel.



By W. F. Kirby.

The Say of Haykar the Sage (Pp.1-30).

Haykar's precepts may be compared advantageously with those of other nations
of the East and West (at a corresponding stage of civilisation) which, as a
rule, follow very similar lines. Many of them find their parallels not only in
Proverbs and Ecclesiastes, as we might reasonably expect, but even in the
Havamal of the Elder Edda, respecting which Thorpe remarks in his translation
(i. p. 36 note): "Odin is the 'High One.' The poem is a collection of rules
and maxims, and stories of himself, some of them not very consistent with our
ideas of a supreme deity." The style of the Icelandic poem, and the manners of
the period when it was composed, are of course as wide apart from those of
Haykar as is Iceland from Syria, but human nature remains the same.

Pp. 22-24.--Two classes of subterfuges similar to those employed by Haykar are
common in folk-tales. In one, the hero vanquishes, and generally destroys, his
adversary (usually a giant) by imposing on his credulity, like Jack when he
hid himself in a corner of the room, and left a faggot in his bed for the
giant to belabour, and afterwards killed the giant by pretending to rip
himself up, and defying the other to do the same. In other cases, the hero
foils his opponents by subterfuges which are admitted to be just, but which
are not intended actually to deceive, as in the devices by which the blind
Shaykh instructs the merchant to baffle the sharpers, in one of the Sindibad
stories (vol. vi., pp. 202-212, No. 135x., of our Table). In the present story
Pharaoh was baffled by the superior cunning of Haykar but it is not made quite
clear whether he actually believed in his power to build a castle in the air
or not. However the story probably belongs to the second class.

P. 25.--Twisting ropes out of sand was a device by which Michael Scot baffled
a devil for whom he had to find constant employment. (Cf. Scott's "Lay of the
Last Minstrel," and notes.)

The History of Al-Bundukani (Pp. 31-68).

I believe the "Robber-Caliph" is sometimes played as a burlesque, for which it
is well adapted. The parallel suggested between the Caliph and a robber may
remind the reader of the interview between Alexander the Great and the Robber,
in "Evenings at Home." One cannot help sympathising with the disappointed
young Merchant who acted as an informer, and feeling glad that he got off with
a whole skin.

P. 34.--In some versions of this story Harun's abstention from his bride for a
year is attributed to a previous vow.

P. 46 and note 4.--This passage, relative to the character of the Caliph, may
be compared with his forgetfulness respecting Nur Al-Din Ali and Anis
Al-Jalis. (Vol. ii. p, 42, and note.)

The Linguist-dame, the Duenna, and the King's Son (Pp.

This story, though much shorter, is very closely paralleled by that of Prince
Calaf and the Princess of China, in the Thousand and One Days (cf. vol. x.,
App, pp. 499, 500) Prince Calaf (the son of the King of the Nogais Tartars)
and his parents are driven from their kingdom by the Sultan of Carizme
(Khwarizm), and take refuge with the Khan of Berlas, where the old King and
Queen remain, while Calaf proceeds to China, where he engages in an
intellectual contest with Princess Tourandocte (Turandot, i.e. Turandokht or
Turan's daughter). When Turandot is on the point of defeat, she sends her
confidante, a captive princess, to Calaf, to worm out his secret (his own
name). The confidante, who is herself in love with Calaf, horrifies him with
the invention that Turandot intends to have him secretly assassinated; but
although he drops his name in his consternation, he refuses to fly with his
visitor. In the morning Turandot declares Calaf's name to him but comforts him
by saying that she has nevertheless determined to accept him as her husband,
instead of cutting off his head; and the slave princess commits suicide.
Messengers are then sent for Calaf's parents, who arrive in company with the
friendly Khan who had granted them an asylum; and Calaf marches against the
Sultan of Carizme, who is defeated and slain, when his subjects readily submit
to the conqueror.

P. 77.--According to Jewish tradition, the Rod of Moses became transformed
into so terrible a dragon that the Egyptians took to flight, and 60,000 of
them were slain in the press.--(Sale's Koran, chap. 7, note.)

P. 77, note 4.--It was long denied that ants store up grain, because our
English ants do not; but it is now well known that many foreign species, some
of which inhabit countries bordering on the Mediterranean (including
Palestine), store up large quantities of grass seeds in their nests; and one
ant found in North America is said to actually cultivate a particular kind of

P. 81, note 6.--Those interested in the question of the succession of the
Patriarchs may refer to Joseph Jacobs' article on "Junior-right in
Genesis,"[FN#430] in which the writer argues that it was the original custom
among the Hebrews, as among other nations, for the youngest son to succeed to
his father's estates, after the elder ones had already established themselves
elsewhere. Much may be urged in favour of this writer's conclusions, and it
will be remembered that our own Monarchy was not recognised as hereditary
until the time of the Conquest, the most able or the strongest relative of the
late King usually succeeding to the Crown, and minors being always set aside,
unless powerful politicians intended to use them as mere tools. In the
Esthonian Kalevipoeg the system comes out still more strongly. Three sons are
living at home at the time of the death of Kalev, but the youngest is
designated by him as his successor, and is afterwards indicated by lot as the
peculiar favourite of the gods.

P. 84, note 4.--Although it has nothing to do with the present story, yet I
may point out the great importance of the bridle in all the folk-tales which
deal with the transformation of human beings into domestic animals. It is
clearly implied (though not actually expressed) in the story of Julnar the Sea
Born (No. 153) that the power of Abdallah and Badr Basim over Queen Lab, while
she bore the form of a mule, depended entirely on their keeping possession of
the bridle (cf. Nights, vol. vii., p. 304, and note). There are many stories
of magicians who transform themselves into horses, &c., for their friends to
sell; but the bridle must on no account be given with the horse. Should this
be neglected (purposely or otherwise) the magician is unable to reassume his
human form at will. Cf. also Spitta-Bey's story No. 1 (infra).

The Tale of the Warlock and the Young Cook of Baghdad
(Pp. 95-112).

This story appears in Chavis and Cazotte's version, and in the various
translations made from the French, in a very highly elaborated form, under the
title of "The Adventures of Simoustapha, and the Princess Ilsetilsone." The
Caliph and his Wazir are identified with Harun Al-Rashid and Ja'afar, but they
suffer no transformations at the hands of the Magician after whose death

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