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Supplemental Nights, Volume 6 by Richard F. Burton

Part 2 out of 9

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should hie to him; and what may be his name?" She replied, "He
pretendeth to the name of Al-Bundukani--the Arbalestrier" (which
was a by-name of the Caliph kept concealed from the folk but well
known to all officials). Hereat the Kazi sprang to his feet
without stay or delay and said to her, "O my lady, do thou forego
me," whilst all present asked him, "O our lord, whither away?"
and he, answering them, "A need hath suddenly occurred," went
forth. Then quoth the crone in her mind, "Hapless the Kazi who is
a pleasant person, haply this son-in-law of mine hath given him
to drink of clotted gore[FN#126] by night in some place or other
and the poor man hath yet a fear of him; otherwise what is the
worth of this Robber that the Judge should hie to his house?"
When they reached the door, the Kazi bade the ancient dame
precede him;[FN#127] so she went in and called to him and he on
entering saw the Caliph seated at the head of the chamber. He
would have kissed ground but Harun signed to him silence with a
wink; so he made his salam and sat him down saying, "'Tis
well,[FN#128] O my lord, what may be thy want?" The Prince of
True Believers replied, "I desire thou marry me to the daughter
of this ancient dame, so do thou write out the writ." Hereupon
the Judge asked the assent of the old woman and of her daughter;
and, when they both granted it, he enquired, "What may be the
amount of the dower?" The mother replied, "Four thousand dinars
of gold and the like sum in ready coin." "Dost thou accept?"
quoth the Kazi to the Caliph, and quoth he, "Yes." Accordingly,
the Judge wrote out the writ upon the skirt of his Farajiyah-robe
for in his agitation he had forgotten to bring paper, and he set
down the name of the Sovran and his father and his grandfather
without question for that he knew them well; after which he
enquired of the old woman her daughter's name[FN#129] and that of
her sire and grandsire. She wailed and cried, "Why and
wherefore?[FN#130] Oh miserable that we are! Had her father been
living how would this Robber have availed to stand at our door,
much less to marry her? but 'twas Death that did with us this
deed." "Allah bless the wronged,"[FN#131] quoth the Kazi and
busied himself with writing out the writ; but whatever question
he put to the crone, she wailed in reply and buffeted her cheeks,
whilst the Judge wagged his head and his heart was like to burst
and the Caliph laughed long and loud. And when the writ was
written and finished, the writer cut off from the skirt of his
gown according to the measure of the writing and gave it to
Harun; then he rose up to fare forth but he was ashamed to wear a
robe in rags, so he stripped it off and said to the old woman, "O
my mother, present this to anyone deserving it." And so saying he
left the house. Hereupon quoth the old woman to the Caliph, "Dost
thou not pay unto the Kazi his fee for coming to thee in person
and writing the writ upon his robe which he was obliged to throw
away?" "Let him go," said the Caliph, "I will not give him
aught." Cried she, "And why? Oh, how greedy are these robbers!
the man came to us in hopes of gain and we have stripped him
instead of robing him." Harun laughed again, then he arose and
said to her, "I now hie me home to fetch thee the gold and the
stuffs wherewith to clothe my bride," and the crone cried out,
"Robber, whence shalt thou find cloth and coin? unhappy some one
whom thou designest to seize and deprive of his daily bread and
reduce to poverty and penury!" The Commander of the Faithful held
his peace and went forth intending for his Palace, where he
donned the royal robes and taking seat upon his throne bade
summon marble-cutters and carpenters and plasterers and house-
painters. Then, as they came to the presence and kissed ground
and blessed him and prayed for the permanence of his empire, he
had them thrown and bade administer to them a bastinado of two
hundred sticks a head.[FN#132] And when they prayed for mercy and
said to him, "O our lord, the Commander of the Faithful, what be
our crime?" he said to the artizans, "The hall such-and-such in
the Darb-al-Záji,[FN#133] do ye wot it well?" They replied,
"Yes," and he resumed, "I desire that ye fare thither forthright
and ye repair the walls with marble-slabs and should mid-
afternoon come on and ye leave unfinished a place as big as a
man's palm, I will hack off your hands and place them in lieu
thereof." "O Prince of True Believers," asked they, "how shall we
do seeing that we have no marble?"[FN#134] He answered, "Take it
from the government stores[FN#135] and collect each and every
stone-cutter in Baghdad. But do you all bear in mind that, if the
household enquire who sent you, ye must reply, 'Thy son-in-law;'
and should they demand, 'What is his craft,' say, 'We ken not;'
and when they require to know his name declare it to be Al-
Bundukani. And whoso of you shall speak aught beyond this him
will I crucify." So the master-mason went forth and gathered
together the stone-cutters and took marble and ashlar from the
stores and set the material on the backs of beasts with all other
needs and he repaired to the hall,[FN#136] and entered with his
company. Hereat the old woman asked "What is't ye want?" "We
would slab the floors and walls of this dwelling with marble!"
"And who was it sent you?" "Thy son-in-law!" "And what may be his
business?" "We know not." "Then what is his name?" "A1-
Bundukani," they replied. So she said to herself, "He is naught
but a Robber and Captain of thieves." Then the masons divided and
marked out the ground, and each found that each and every had to
pave and slab a surface of a cubit or less. Such was their case;
but as concerneth the Caliph, he turned him to the chief
Carpenter, and looking at him keenly said, "Go thou likewise and
assemble all thy fellows in the capital: then do thou repair to
the dwelling of Such-an-one and make the doors and so forth, in
fact everything needed of carpentry and joinery, taking thee all
the requisites from the public warehouses; nor let the afternoon
come on ere thou shalt have finished, and if all be not done I
will strike thy neck." He also charged them even as he had
charged the marble-cutters never to divulge his dignity or even
his name other than Al-Bundukani. So the chief Carpenter went
and, gathering his craftsmen, took planks and nails and all his
needs, after which they repaired to the lodging and entered, and
setting up their scaffoldings[FN#137] fell to work while the head
man marked off a task for each hand. But the crone was consterned
and cried to the men, "And why? Who hath sent you?" "Thy son-in-
law!" "And what may be his trade?" "We know not." "Then what may
be his name?" "Al-Bundukani." So they pushed on their work, each
urging his fellow, whilst the old woman well-nigh waxed Jinn-
mad,[FN#138] and said to herself, "This my son-in-law, the
Robber, is naught save a viceroy of the Jánn; and all this is of
their fear, so that none dareth or deemeth it safe to disclose
the craft or even the name of him, so much do they hold him in
awe." Lastly, the Caliph bade the plasterers and house-painters
call a meeting of their brother-craftsmen and go to the
government stores and thence take all their requirements of
quicklime and hemp[FN#139] and so forth; and lastly, charging
them as he had charged the others who forewent them, he said, "As
soon as the Izán of mid-afternoon prayer shall be cried, if any
one of you shall have left in the lodging work unwrought, be it
only the size of a man's palm, I will hack off his hand and set
it upon the unfinished stead." Accordingly, they kissed ground
and fared forth carrying with them all their requirements; and,
repairing to the tenement, entered therein and slaked their lime
and set up their ladders, and four or five artificers fell to
working at every wall whilst the house-painters followed them.
But when the ancient dame beheld this, her wits were wildered and
she was utterly bedazed: so said she to her daughter, "This son-
in-law of mine is none save one whose word is heard, and folk
abide in awe of him; otherwise who could work all this work in a
single day whenas none other than himself could have wrought the
same within a twelve-month? But pity 'tis he be a Robber." Anon
she went to the plasterers and said, "Who was it sent you?" "Thy
son-in-law!" "And what may be his trade?" "We know not." "Then
what is his name?" "Al-Bundukani." After this she passed on to
the house-painters and asked the same question and receiving the
same reply, quoth she to one of them, "I demand of thee, by God
the Great, O my son, why thou wilt not disclose to me concerning
my son-in-law his name and his craft?" Thereupon quoth the wight
addressed, "No man hath power to speak out, otherwise his life is
lost;" and she repeated to herself, "Indeed he is none but a
mighty Robber, for that the Moslems one and all dread him and his
mischief."[FN#140] Now when mid-afternoon came, the artizans had
done the whole of their work; so they donned their outer dresses
and went forth intending for the Commander of the Faithful, Harun
the Orthodox. And when they entered all kissed ground and said,
"Under the good auspices of our lord the Prince of True Believers
we have wroughten the work of the house." So he bestowed robes of
honour upon them and gave them gifts that contented them, after
which they fared forth about their business. Then the Caliph
summoned Hammáls or porters and set in their crates articles of
furniture such as carpets and counterpanes and sofa-cushions and
hangings of arras and prayer-rugs, besides gear of brass and all
such necessaries for the household; and to this he added two
baskets containing body-raiment and kimcob or gold cloth and
stuffs inworked and studded with gems; also jewellery and
precious stones, pearls and what not: nor did he forget a coffer
containing the eight thousand pieces of gold.[FN#141] Then he
sent them upon their errand, saying, "Take up all this and bear
it to such a house in the Darb al-Zaji and make it over to the
ancient dame who owneth the hall; and when she asketh, 'Who was
it sent you?' do ye answer, 'Thy son-in-law;' and should she
enquire, 'What is his craft?' respond, 'We know it not;' and
should she demand the name, declare, 'Al-Bundukani.' Accordingly
the porters fared forth, and reaching the tenement rapped at the
door, when the old woman came out and cried, "Who knocketh here?"
and they replied "Open and take what we have brought of cloth and
clothes and so forth." But when she looked upon the loads she
wailed and cried, "Indeed ye have wandered from the way: whence
could all this prosperity have befallen us? return with it to the
owner thereof." They asked her, "Is not this hall that which was
builded this day?" And when she answered, "Yes," quoth they,
"Then 'twas hither thy son-in-law sent us." With these words they
went in and set down whatso was with them, but the old woman
wailed and cried aloud, "'Tis not for us: ye have wandered from
your way." "It is for you, indeed," they rejoined, "and thy son-
in-law saith, 'Adorn your dwelling and don the stuffs and dress
therewith whomso you choose:' as for him, he hath much business
yet will he come to you what time the folk sleep." "Yes, indeed,"
quoth she to herself, "Robbers never do come save by night." And
when the Hammals went their ways the old woman fared forth to her
neighbours and summoned them to assist her in ranging the
furniture and vaiselle;[FN#142] so they gathered together and
entered; and, when they beheld what had befallen, their eyes were
dazed and dazzled by seeing the restoration of the hall and by
the stuffs and vases therein. So they asked her, "Whence camest
thou by all this, and who set for thee this dwelling in such
condition and at what time? Yesterday 'twas a ruin and showed
neither marble nor whitewash nor stencilling. Can it not be that
we are sleeping and haply that we see a dream-house?" She
replied, "No vision is this, but evidence of eye-sight: and what
work ye behold was wrought by my son-in-law during this one day
and to-day also he sent me these stuffs and other matters whereon
ye look." "And who may be thy son-in-law?" asked they, "and when
didst thou wed thy daughter while we wotted naught thereof?"
Answered she, "To-day all this happened;" and they rejoined, "And
what may be the bridegroom's calling? haply he is a mighty
merchant or an Emir." "Nor merchant nor Emir," quoth she, "but a
Robber and the Head and Captain of Bandits!" Hereat the women
were startled and cried, "Allah upon thee, do thou charge him
anent us that he plunder not aught from our houses, seeing that
we have a claim of neighbourhood and gossipry upon you." "Never
fear," she replied, "he is not wont to take aught of neighbours
albeit he be a Viceregent of the Jann." So their hearts were
heartened, and they fell to ordering the furniture and
decorations; and, when they had ended the ordinance of the house,
they applied themselves to dressing the bride; and they brought
her a tirewoman and robed her in the finest robes and raiment and
prepared her and adorned her with the choicest ornaments. And
while they did thus behold, up came other porters carrying crates
of meat, such as pigeon-poults and poultry, Katás,[FN#143] and
quails,[FN#144] lambs and butcher's meat, clarified butter and
other cooking material, with all manner of edibles and delicacies
such as sugar and Halwá-confections and the like thereof. The
Hammals then said to the household, "'Take ye this which your
son-in-law hath sent to you saying, 'Do ye eat and feed your
neighbours and whomso ye please.'" Quoth the old woman, "I ask
you, for Allah's sake, to let me know what may be my son-in-law's
craft and his name;" and quoth they, "His name is Al-Bundukani,
but what his business may be we know not;" and so saying they
went their ways. Hereupon exclaimed certain of the women who were
present, "By the Apostle, he is naught but a robber;" while
others who had claims upon the old housemistress cried, "Be
whatever may be, before the man who can do after this fashion all
the folk in Baghdad are helpless." Presently they served the
provision and all ate their sufficiency; then they removed the
trays and set on others loaded with the confections which they
also enjoyed; and at last after dividing the orts amongst the
neighbours they reserved some of the best of meats and sweetmeats
for the bridegroom's supper. In due time a report was bruited
about the quarter that the old woman had wedded her daughter with
a robber who had enriched them with what booty he had brought
them. And these tidings spread from folk to folk till they
reached the young merchant of whom mention hath been made, the
same who had sought the maiden to wife and who had not wedded her
because refused by her mother. Also he was told that the damsel
had been married to a robber who had rebuilt the hall with
marble, and the plasterers and painters and carpenters and
joiners had wrought therein works which astounded the beholders;
moreover that the bridegroom had sent them of stuffs and
jewellery a matter beyond count or compute. Hearing this report
he found the matter grievous on him and the fire of envy flamed
in his heart and he said to himself, "Naught remaineth to me
except that I wend me to the Wálí[FN#145] and tempt him with
promises and thereby work the ruin of this robber and take the
damsel to myself." With these words he rose up sans stay or delay
and, going to the Chief of Police related to him all that
occurred and promised him a muchel of money, saying, "Whatso thou
wantest can be gotten from this robber inasmuch as he owneth good
galore." The Wali rejoiced and replied, "Be patient until after
supper-tide when the thief shall have returned home and we will
go and catch him and thou shalt carry away the young lady." So
the trader blessed him and took himself off and waited at home
until it was supper-time and the streets were void of folk.
Presently Názúk[FN#146] the Wali mounted horse with four hundred
headsmen and smiters of the sword, link-boys and low
fellows,[FN#147] bearing cressets and paper-lanthorns under four
head constables and rode to the house of the old woman. Now all
the gossips had departed to their abodes and were dispersed, nor
did one of them remain behind; but the household had lighted wax
candles and was expecting the bridegroom with bolted doors when
behold, the Chief of Police came up and finding all shut bade his
men knock with an easy rap. This was heard by those within the
hall and the ancient dame sprang up and went to the entrance,
whence she espied gleams of light athwart the door-chinks and
when she looked out of the window she saw the Wali and his merry
men crowding the street till the way was cut. Now the Chief had a
lieutenant Shamámah[FN#148] hight, which was a meeting-place of
ill manners and morals; for naught was dearer to him save the
straitening of a Moslem, nor was there upon his body a single
hair which affected or aided the veiling of Allah.[FN#149] Brief
he was, even as the poet said,

"Whoreson and child of thousand pagans twain; * Son of the Road
to lasting sin and bane;
The Lord of Ruth ne'er grew him e'en a hair * Was not with this
or that of contact fain!"[FN#150]

Now this man, who was standing beside the Chief of Police, seized
the opportunity of saying, "O Emir, what booteth our standing
idle in this stead? Better 'twere that we break down the door and
rush in upon them and snatch what we want and loot all the stuffs
in the house." Hereat came forward another lieutenant who was
called Hasan[FN#151]--the Handsome--for that his face was fair
and his works were fairer and he was a meeting-place of fairest
deeds; and the same was wont to stand at the Wali's door as a
symbol of ruth to mankind. So he came forward and said, "O Emir,
this were not the rede which is right and yonder man's words lack
good counsel, seeing that none hath complained against this folk
and we know not an the accused be a thief or not: furthermore we
fear consequences for that haply this merchant speaketh with an
object, they having forbidden his marrying the girl: do not
therefore cast thyself into that shall harm thee, but rather let
us enquire anent the matter openly and publicly; and should it
prove to be as reported, then the Emir's opinion shall prevail."
All this took place while the old woman heard from behind the
door whatso they said. Hereat she dried up with dread and
affright and going within acquainted her daughter with what had
occurred and ended with, "The Wali still is standing at the
door." The young lady was sore terrified and said to her mother,
"Do thou bar[FN#152] the entrance till Allah haply deign bring us
comfort." So the old woman fared forth and bolted and barred it
yet more straitly; and when they knocked a second time she
acknowledged the rap by "Who is at the door?" and the lieutenant
Shamamah replied to her and said, "O ill-omened old woman, O
accomplice of robbers, knowest thou not that he who rappeth is
the Master of Police and his young men? So open to us
forthright." Quoth she, "We be Haríms and ne'er a man with us,
therefore we will not open to any;" and quoth he, "Open, or we
will break it down." The old woman made no reply but returning to
her daughter within said to her, "Now look at this Robber and how
from the first of this night we have been humbled for his sake:
yet had he fallen into this trap his life had been taken, and
would Heaven he may not come now and be made prisoner by them. Ah
me! Were thy father on life the Wali never had availed to take
station at our house-door or the door of any other." "Such be our
lot," replied the girl, and she went to the casement that she
might espy what was doing. This is how it fared with them; but as
concerneth the Caliph, when the folk had finished crowding the
streets he disguised himself and hending in hand his pellet-bow
and slinging his sword over his shoulder he went forth intending
for his bride. But when reaching the head of the street he saw
lanthorns and stir of crowd:[FN#153] so he approached to look and
he espied the Wali and his men with the merchant standing by the
Chief's side together with the lieutenants, all save one
shouting, "Break down the door and rush in and seize the old
woman: then let us question her with torture until she confess
where be her Robber of a son-in-law." But Hasan the fourth
officer dissuaded them saying, "O good folk, do ye fear Almighty
Allah and be not over hasty, saving that hurry is of old Harry.
These be all women without a man in the house; so startle them
not; and peradventure the son-in-law ye seek may be no thief and
so we fall into an affair wherefrom we may not escape without
trouble the most troublous." Thereupon Shamamah came up and cried
out, "O Hasan, it ill becometh thee to stand at the Wali's door:
better 'twere for thee to sit on the witness-bench; for none
should be gate-keepers to a head policeman save they who have
abandoned good deeds and who devour ordure[FN#154] and who ape
the evil practices of the populace." All this and the Caliph
overheard the fellow's words and said to himself, "'Tis well! I
will indeed gladden thee, O Accurst." Then he turned and espied a
street which was no thoroughfare, and one of its houses at the
upper end adjoined the tenement wherein was his bride; so he went
up to it and behold, its gateway showed a curtain drawn across
and a lamp hung up and an Eunuch sitting upon the door-bench. Now
this was the mansion of a certain noble who was lord over a
thousand of his peers and his name was the Emir Yúnas:[FN#155] he
was an angry man and a violent; and on the day when he had not
bastinado'd some wight he would not break his fast and loathed
his meat for the stress of his ill-stomach. But when the Eunuch
saw the Caliph he cried out at him and sprang up to strike him
exclaiming, "Woe to thee! art thou Jinn-mad? whither going?" But
the Commander of the Faithful shouted at him saying, "Ho! thou
ill-omened slave!" and the chattel in his awe of the Caliphate
fancied that the roar was of a lion about to rend him and he ran
off and entered the presence of his owner quivering with terror.
"Woe to thee!" said his master; "what hath befallen thee?" and
he, "O my lord, the while I was sitting at the gate suddenly a
man passed up the street and entered the house-door; and, when I
would have beaten him, he cried at me with a terrible voice
saying, 'Ho, thou ill-omened slave!' So I fled from him in
affright and came hither to thee." Now when the Emir Yunas heard
his words, he raged with such excessive rage that his soul was
like to leave his body and he cried out saying, "Since the man
addressed thee as 'ill-omened slave,' and thou art my chattel, I
therefore am servile and of evil-omen. But indeed I will show him
his solace!" He then sprang to his feet and hent in hand a file-
wrought mace[FN#156] studded with fourteen spikes, wherewith had
he smitten a hill he had shivered it; and then he went forth into
the street muttering, "I, ill-omened!"[FN#157] But the Caliph
seeing him recognised him straitway and cried, "Yunas!" whereat
the Emir knew him by his voice, and casting the mace from his
hand kissed ground and said, "'Tis well, O Commander of the
Faithful!" Harun replied, "Woe to thee, dog! whilst thou art the
Chief of the Emirs shall this Wali, of men the meanest, come upon
thy neighbours and oppress them and terrify them (these being
women and without a man in the house), and yet thou holdest thy
peace and sittest in ease at home nor goest out to him and
ejectest him by the foulest of ejections?" Presently the other
replied, "O Prince of True Believers, but for the dread of thee
lest thou say, 'This be the warder of the watch, why hast thou
exceeded with him?' I would have made for him a night of the
fulsomest, for him and for those with him. But an the Caliph
command I will forthright break them all to bits nor leave
amongst them a sound man; for what's the worth of this Wali and
all his varlets?" "First admit us to thy mansion," quoth the
Commander of the Faithful; so they passed in and the housemaster
would have seated his visitor for the guest-rite but he refused
all offers and only said, "Come up with us to the terrace-roof."
Accordingly they ascended and found that between it and the
dwelling of the bride was but a narrow lane; whereupon quoth the
Caliph, "O Yunas, I would find a place whence I can look down
upon these women." "There is no other way," quoth the other,
"save herefrom; and, if thou desire, I will fetch thee a
ladder[FN#158] and plant it in such wise that thou canst pass
across." "Do so," rejoined the other, and the Emir bringing a
ladder disposed it after bridge fashion that the Caliph crossed
over the lane to the house on the other side. Then quoth he, "Go
sit thee in thy stead, and when I want thee I will call." Yunas
did as he was bidden and remained on the watch for his lord's
summons. But the Prince of True Believers walked over the
terrace-roof with the lightest tread and not audible, lest his
footsteps frighten the inmates, till he came to the
parapet[FN#159] and looking adown therefrom upon the hall he saw
a site like the Garden of Paradise which had been newly pranked
and painted, whilst the lighted wax-candles and candelabra showed
the young lady, the bride, sitting upon her bedstead adorned with
gems and jewellery. She was like a Sun shedding sheen in sky
serene, or a full moon at the fullest seen, with brow flower-
bright and eyes black and white and beauty-spots fresh as greenth
to the sight; brief she was as one of whom the poet saith,

"She's a wonder! her like none in universe see, * For beauty and
graces and softest blee:
That fairest of blossoms she blooms on earth * Than gardens the
sheeniest sheenier she:
And soft is the rose of her cheek to the touch * 'Twixt apple's
and Eglantine's lenity,
And the forelock-falls on the brow of her * Death-doom to the
World and the Faith decree;
And she shames the branchlet of Basil when * She paces the Garden
so fair and free.
An water doubted her soft sweet gait * She had glided with water
o'er greenery:
When she walketh the world like the Húr al-Ayn[FN#160] * By the
tongue of looks to her friends say we:--
'O Seeker, an soughtest the heart of me * Heart of other thou
never hadst sought for thee:
O lover, an filled thee my love thou ne'er * 'Mid lovers hadst
dealt me such tyranny.
Praise Him who made her an idol for man * And glory to Him who to
her quoth 'BE'!'"

The Caliph was astonishment-struck at what he sighted of her
beauty and loveliness whilst her mother stood before her saying,
"O my child, how shall be our case with these tyrants,[FN#161]
especially we being women and sans other recourse save Allah
Almighty? Would Heaven I wot whence came to us this Robber who,
had thy sire been on life, would have been far from able to stand
at the door. But this is the doom of Destiny upon us by God's
will." Replied the young lady, "O mother mine, and how long wilt
thou put me to shame for this young man and call him 'Robber,'
this whom the Almighty hath made my portion; and haply had he
been a good man and no thief he had been given to some
other?[FN#162] However he is my lot, and lauds to the Lord and
gratitude for that He hath bestowed and made my portion." When
the ancient dame heard these words she pursued, "I hope to
Heaven, O my daughter, that thy portion may not come hither this
night, otherwise sore I fear they will seize him and do him a
harm and well-away for his lost youthtide!" All this took place
between mother and daughter whilst the Caliph stood upon the
terrace-roof listening to their say, and presently he picked up a
pebble the size of a vetchling[FN#163] and, setting it between
his thumb and forefinger, jerked it at the wax candle which
burned before the young lady and extinguished the light. "Who put
out yon taper?" cried the old woman, "and left the others afire?"
and so saying she rose and lighted it again. But Harun took aim
at that same and jerking another pebble once more extinguished it
and made her exclaim, "Ah me! what can have put out this also?"
and when the quenching and quickening were repeated for the third
time she cried with a loud voice saying, "Assuredly the air must
have waxed very draughty and gusty; so whenever I light a candle
the breeze bloweth it out." Hereat laughed the young lady and
putting forth her hand to the taper would have lit it a third
time when behold, her finger was struck by a pebble and her wits
fled her head. But as the mother turned towards the terrace-wall
the first glance showed to her sight her son-in-law there
sitting, so she cried to her daughter "O my child, behold thy
bridegroom whence he cometh unto thee, but robbers arrive not
save by the roof, and had he not been a housebreaker he would
have entered by the door. However Alhamdolillah that he hath
chosen the way of our terrace, otherwise they had captured him;"
presently adding, "Woe to thee, O miserable, fly hence or the
watch at the door shall seize thee and we women shall not avail
to release thee after thou fallest into their hands; nor will any
have ruth upon thee; nay, they will cut off at least one of thine
extremities. So save thyself and vanish so as not to lapse into
the grip of the patrol." But hearing these her words he laughed
and said to her, "Do thou open to me the terrace-wicket that I
come down to you and see how to act with these dogs and dog-
sons." She replied, "Woe to thee, O miserable, deemest thou these
be like unto that poor Kazi who snipped his gown in fear of thee:
he who now standeth at the door is Nazuk Wali and hast thou
authority over him also?" He repeated, "Open to me that I may
come down, otherwise I will break in the door;" so she unbolted
the terrace-wicket and he descended the stairs and entered the
hall where he took seat beside his bride and said, "I am an-
hungered; what have ye by way of food?" The ancient dame cried,
"And what food shall go down grateful to thy stomach and pleasant
when the police are at the door?" and he replied, "Bring me what
ye have and fear not." So she arose and served up to him whatso
remained of meat and sweetmeat and he fell to morselling[FN#164]
them with mouthfuls and soothing them with soft words till they
had their sufficiency of victual, after which she, the mother-in-
law, removed the tray. Meanwhile the Chief of Police and his
varlets stood shouting at the door and saying, "Open to us,
otherwise we will break in." Presently quoth the Caliph to the
old trot, "Take this seal-ring and go thou forth to them and
place it in the Wali's hands. An he ask thee, 'Who is the owner
of this signet?' answer thou, 'Here is he with me;' and if he
enquire of thee, 'What doth he wish and what may he want?' do
thou reply, 'He requireth a ladder of four rungs and its gear,
not forgetting a bundle of rods;[FN#165] also do thou, O man,
enter with four of thy lieutenants and see what else he
demandeth.'" When the ancient dame heard this from him she
exclaimed, "And doth the Wali also dread thee or fear this seal-
ring? My only fear is that they may now seize me and throw me and
beat me with a bastinado so painful that it will be the death of
me, and they hearken not to a word of mine, nor suffer thee to
avail me aught." Rejoined the Caliph, "Be not alarmed, he shall
not be able to gainsay my word;" and she, "An the Wali fear thee
and give ear to thee, then will I gird my loins and suffer thee
to teach me something of thy craft even were it that of robbing
slaves' shoon." "Go forth without affright," said he laughing at
her words, whereupon she took the seal-ring and went as far as
behind the door and no farther, muttering to herself, "I will not
open it wholly but only a little so as to give them the signet;
then if they hearken to what saith this Robber 'tis well,
otherwise I will keep the bolt fastened as it was." Presently she
went forward and addressed the watch saying, "What is it ye
want?" and Shamamah cried in reply, "O ill-omened old baggage, O
rider of the jar,[FN#166] O consorter of thieves, we want the
robber who is in thy house that we may take him and strike off
his hand and his foot; and thou shalt see what we will do with
thee after that." She shrank from his words, but presently she
heartened her heart and said to him, "Amongst you is there any
who can read a whit?" "Yes," said the Wali, and she rejoined,
"Take thou this seal-ring and see what be graven thereupon and
what may be its owner's name." "Almighty Allah curse him," cried
the lieutenant Shamamah, presently adding to the Wali, "O Emir,
as soon as the old crone shall come forth I will throw her and
flog her with a sore flogging; then let us enter the door and
slay her and harry the house and seize the robber; after which I
will inspect the signet and find out its owner and who sendeth
it; then, if this be one of whom we stand in shame we will say,
'Indeed we read not its graving before the command was somewhat
rashly carried out.' On this wise none may avail to molest us or
thee." Hereupon he drew near the door and cried to her, "Show me
that thou hast, and perhaps the sending it may save thee." So she
opened one leaf of the door sufficient to thrust out her hand and
gave him the ring which he took and passed to the Chief of
Police. But when the Wali had considered and read the name
engraved (which was that of the Commander of the Faithful, Harun
the Orthodox), his colour waxed wan and his limbs quaked with
fear. "What is to do with thee?" asked Shamamah, and the other
answered, "Take and look!" The man hent the ring in hand and
coming forward to the light read what was on it and understood
that it was the signet of the Vicar of Allah. So a colick[FN#167]
attacked his entrails and he would have spoken but he could
stammer only "Bí, Bí, Bí"[FN#168] whereupon quoth the Master of
Police, "The rods of Allah are descending upon us, O accurst, O
son of a sire accurst: all this is of thy dirty dealing and thy
greed of gain: but do thou address thy creditor[FN#169] and save
thyself alive." Hereat quoth Shamamah "O my lady, what dost thou
require?" and quoth she to herself, "Indeed I am rejoiced for
that they dread my son-in-law;" and presently she spoke aloud to
him and said, "The lord of the seal-ring demandeth of thee a
ladder of four rungs, a bundle of rods and cords and a bag
containing the required gear,[FN#170] also that the Wali and his
four lieutenants go within to him" He replied, "O my lady chief
of this household, and where is he the owner of the signet?"
"Here is he seated in the hall," she replied and the Wali
rejoined, "What was it he said to thee?" She then repeated the
command about the Wali and the men and the bag, whereat he asked
again concerning the whereabouts of the signet-owner and declared
the gear to be ready, while all of them bepiddled their bag-
trousers with fear.[FN#171] Then the Wali and his four
lieutenants, amongst whom was Shamamah the Accurst, entered the
house, and the Caliph commanded lieutenant Hasan (knowing him for
a kindly man of goodly ways and loath to injure his neighbour as
proved by his opposing the harshness of Shamamah), saying, "Hie
thee, O Hasan, and summon forthright Yunas the Emir of a
thousand!" So this lord came in all haste[FN#172] and was bidden
to bastinado the Wali and Shamamah which he did with such good
will that the nails fell from their toes; after which they were
carried off and thrown into gaol. Then the Caliph largessed
lieutenant Hasan; and, appointing him on the spot Chief of
Police, dismissed the watch to their barracks. And when the
street was cleared the old woman returning to the Harem said to
her son-in-law, laughing the while, "There be none in this world
to fellow thee as the Prince of Robbers! The Wali dreadeth thee
and the Kazi dreadeth thee and all dread thee, whilst I gird my
loins in thy service and become a she-robber amongst the women
even as thou art a Robber amongst men, and indeed so saith the
old saw, 'The slave is fashioned of his lord's clay and the son
after the features of his sire.' Had this Wali, at his first
coming, let break down the door and had his men rushed in upon us
and thou not present, what would have been our case with them?
But now to Allah be laud and gratitude!" The Caliph hearing these
words laughed, and taking seat beside his bride, who rejoiced in
him, asked his mother-in-law, "Say me, didst ever see a Robber
who bore him on this wise with the Wali and his men?" and
answered she, "Never, by the life of thee, but may Allah Almighty
reprehend the Caliph for that he did by us and punish him for
wronging us, otherwise who was it forwarded thee to us, O
Robber?" Quoth the Commander of the Faithful in his mind, "How
have I wronged this ill-omened old woman that she curseth me?"
and presently he asked her, "And wherein hath the Caliph done
thee an injury?" She replied, "And what hath the Caliph left us
of livelihood and so forth when he marauded our mansion and
seized all our seisins? Even this hall was part of the plunder
and they laid it waste after taking from it all they could of
marble and joinery and what-not; and they left us paupers, as
thou sawest, without aught wherewith to veil us and naught to
eat. So had it not been that Almighty Allah favoured us with
thyself, O Robber, we had been of the destroyed by famine and so
forth." "And wherefore did the Caliph plunder you?" asked he,
"and what was the cause of his so doing?" She answered,[FN#173]
"My son was a Chamberlain of the Commander of the Faithful, and
one day as he was sitting in this our home two women asked him
for a draught of water which he gave to them. Presently the elder
brought him a porcelain charger full of pancakes with the tidings
that it had been sent as a return gift from the young lady her
companion who had drunk from his hand; and he replied, 'Set it
down and wend thy ways,' which she did. Presently as my son sat
outside his door, the Watchman came up to offer blessings on the
occasion of the Greater Festival and he gave him the charger and
the man fared forth; but ere an hour had sped, folk came who
marauded our mansion, and seizing my son, carried him before the
Caliph, who demanded of him how the charger had come to his
hands. He told him what I have told thee, and the Commander of
the Faithful asked him, 'Say me sawest thou aught of the charms
of the young lady?' Now my son had on his lips to say No, but his
tongue foreran him and he stammered out, 'Yes, I espied her
face,' without really having seen her at all, for that when
drinking she had turned to the wall. The Caliph hearing this
hapless reply summoned the lady and bade smite both their necks,
but in honour of the Festival-eve he had them carried off to
prison. Such be then the reason of the wrong by the Caliph
wrought, and except for this injustice and his seizure of my son,
O Robber, it had been long ere thou hadst wedded my daughter."
When the Prince of True Believers heard the words of her, he said
in his mind, "Verily I have oppressed these unhappiest" and he
presently asked her, "What wilt thou say if I cause the Caliph to
free thy son from gaol and robe him and return his fiefs to him
and promote him in the Chamberlain's office and return him to
thee this very night?" Hereat the old woman laughed and made
answer, "Hold thy peace! This one is no Chief of Police that he
fear thee and thou work on him whatso thou willest: this one is
the Prince of True Believers Harun al-Rashid, whose behest is
heard both in Orient and in Occident, the lord of hosts and
armies, one at whose gate the lowest menial is higher in degree
than the Wali. Be not therefore beguiled by whatso thou hast
done, nor count the Caliph as one of these lest thou cast thyself
into doom of destruction, and there be an end of thy affair,
while we unfortunates abide without a man in the house, and my
son fail of being righted by him who wronged him." But when the
Commander of the Faithful heard these words, his eyes brimmed
with tears for ruth of her; then, rising without stay or delay,
he would have fared forth when the old woman and the young lady
hung about his neck crying, "We adjure thee, by Almighty Allah,
that thou draw back from this business, for that we fear greatly
on thy account." But he replied, "There is no help therefor," and
he made oath that perforce he must go. Then he fared for the
Palace of his kingship, and seating himself upon the throne bade
summon the Emirs and Wazirs and Chamberlains, who flocked into
the presence and kissed ground and prayed for him saying, "'Tis
well, Inshallah! and what may be the reason for calling us
together at this time o' night?" Said he, "I have been pondering
the affair of Alaeddin the Emir, the Chamberlain, how I seized
him wrongfully and jailed him, yet amongst you all was not a
single one to intercede for him or to cheer him with your
companionship." They bussed ground and replied, "Verily we were
awe-struck by the majesty of the Prince of True Believers; but
now at this hour we implore of the Commander of the Faithful his
mercy upon his slave and chattel;" and so saying, they bared
their heads and kissing the floor did humble obeisance. He
replied, "I have accepted[FN#174] your intercession on his
account, and I have vouchsafed to him pardon; so hie ye to him
and robe him with a sumptuous robe and bring him to me." They did
the bidding of their lord and led the youth to the presence where
he kissed ground and prayed for the permanence of the Caliph's
rule; and the Sovran accepting this clothed him in a coat whereon
plates of gold were hammered[FN#175] and binding round his head a
turband of fine gauze with richly embroidered ends made him Chief
Lord of the Right[FN#176] and said to him, "Hie thee now to thy
home!" Accordingly he blessed the Prince and went forth
accompanied by all the Emirs who rode their blood-steeds, and the
Knights fared with him and escorted him in procession, with
kettledrums and clarions, till they reached his mansion. Here his
mother and his sister heard the hubbub of the multitude and the
crash of the kettledrums and were asking, "What is to do?" when
the bearers of glad tidings forewent the folk and knocked at the
door saying, "We require of you the sweetmeats of good news, for
the Caliph hath shown grace to Alaeddin the Chamberlain and hath
increased his fiefs besides making him Chief Lord of the Right."
Hearing this they rejoiced with joy exceeding and gave to the
messengers what satisfied them, and while they were thus, behold,
Alaeddin the son of the house arrived and entered therein. His
mother and sister sprang up and saluted him throwing their arms
round his neck and weeping for stress of gladness. Presently he
sat down and fell to recounting to them what had befallen him;
but chancing to look around he saw that the house had changed
condition and had been renovated; so he said "O my mother, the
time of my absence hath been short and when was this lodging made
new?" She replied, "O my son, what day thou wast seized, they
plundered our abode even to tearing up the slabs and the doors,
nor did they leave us aught worth a single dirham: indeed we
passed three days without breaking our fast upon aught of
victual." Hearing this from her quoth he, "But whence cometh all
this to you, these stuffs and vessels, and who was it rebuilded
this house in a space so short? Or haply is all this I see in the
land of dreams?" But quoth she, "Nay, 'tis no vision but an
absolute reality and 'twas all done by my son-in-law in a single
day." "And who may be my new brother-in-law?" he enquired, "and
when didst thou give away my sister, and who married her without
my leave?"[FN#177] "Hold thy peace, O my son," rejoined she, "but
for him we had died of want and hunger!" "And what may be his
calling?" the Emir asked, and she answered, "A Robber!" But when
her son heard this he was like to choke with anger and he cried,
"What degree hath this robber that he become my brother-in-law?
Now by the tomb of my forbears I will assuredly smite his neck."
"Cast away from thee such wild talk," cried she, "for the
mischief of another is greater than thy mischief, withal naught
thereof availed him[FN#178] with a man who wrought all thou seest
in half a day." Then she related to her son what had befallen the
Kazi and the Wali from the man and how he had bastinado'd the
police, showing him as he spoke the blood which had poured from
their bodies upon the floor for excess of flogging; and she
continued, "Presently I complained to him of my case, how the
Commander of the Faithful had seized thee and imprisoned thee
when he said to me, 'At this very moment I fare to the Caliph and
cause him to free thy son and suffer him to return home; also to
robe him and to increase his fiefs;' whereupon he went from us
and after an hour, lo and behold! thou appearedst; so but for him
we had never seen thee any more." When her son heard these words,
his wits were bewildered and he was confounded at his case, so he
asked her, "What may this man be styled and what may be his
name?" She answered, "We are ignorant an he have any name or not,
for however much we enquired of the marble-cutters and master
artificers and handi-craftsmen, they told us only that his bye-
name[FN#179] is Al-Bundukani without letting us know any other.
Moreover on like wise when he sent me to fetch the Kazi he bade
me tell him that Al-Bundukani had summoned him." Now when the
Emir Alaeddin heard her name Al-Bundukani he knew that it was the
Commander of the Faithful, nor could he prevent himself springing
to his feet and kissing ground seven times; but as his mother
beheld this she laughed and cried, "O thou brawler,[FN#180] 'tis
as if he had met thee in the street and had given thee to drink a
draught of clotted blood, one beyond the common![FN#181] What of
thy brave words when anon thou saidst, 'I will smite his neck'?"
"And dost thou know," quoth he, "who may be the person thou so
callest?" and quoth she, "Who may he be?" "The Commander of the
Faithful, the Caliph Harun al-Rashid in person," cried her son,
"and what other could have done with the Kazi and the Wali and
the rest what he did?" When she heard these words, she dried up
with dread and cried, "O my son, set me in a place of
safety,[FN#182] for he will suffer me no longer to cumber the
face of earth by reason of my often speaking at him; nor did I
ever cease to address him as 'Robber.'" Now whilst they were
speaking behold, came up the Commander of the Faithful, whereat
Alaeddin arose and kissed ground and blessed him, but the ancient
dame took to flight and hid her in a closet. The Caliph seated
himself, then he looked around and, not seeing his mother-in-law,
said to the Chamberlain, "And where may be thy parent?" "She
dreadeth," replied Alaeddin, 'and standeth in awe of the Caliph's
majesty;" but Harun rejoined, "There is no harm for her." Then he
bade her be summoned whereat she appeared and kissed ground and
prayed for the permanency of his kingship, and he said to her,
"Erewhiles thou girdest thy waist to aid me in stealing slaves'
shoon and now thou fliest from thy teacher?" She blushed for
shame and exclaimed, "Pardon, O Commander of the Faithful," and
Harun al-Rashid[FN#183] replied, "May Allah pardon the Past."
Presently he sent for the Princess, the daughter of the Chosroë
and, summoning the Kazi, forthright divorced her and gave her in
marriage to Alaeddin, his Chamberlain. Hereupon were spread
bride-feasts which gathered together all the Lords of the Empire
and the Grandees of Baghdad, and tables and trays of food were
laid out during three successive days for the mesquin and the
miserable. The visit of entrance was paid by the two bridegrooms
on a single night when both went in unto their wives and took
their joy of them, and made perfect their lives with the
liveliest enjoyment. And ever after they passed the fairest of
days till such time as came to them the Destroyer of delights and
the Severer of societies and all passed away and died.

So praise be to the Ever-Living who dieth not!

Such is the tale which came down to us
in completion and perfection,
and glory be to God, the
Lord of the three Worlds.



We here begin,[FN#184] with the aidance of Allah Almighty, and
invite the History of the Tarjumánah[FN#185] and the
Kahramanah[FN#186] and the young man, the King's son, and whatso
happed between them of controversy and of contention and
interrogation on various matters.

It is related (but Allah is All-knowing anent what passed and
preceded us of the histories belonging to bygone peoples) that
there reigned in a city of Roum[FN#187] a King of high degree and
exalted dignity, a lord of power and puissance. But this Sovran
was issue-less, so he ceased not to implore Allah Almighty that
boon of babe might be vouchsafed to him, and presently the Lord
had pity upon him and deigned grant him a man-child. He bade
tend the young Prince with tenderest tending, and caused him to
be taught every branch of knowledge, and the divine precepts of
wisdom and morals and manners; nor did there remain aught of
profitable learning wherein the Youth was not instructed; and
upon this education the King expended a mint of money. Now after
the Youth grew up Time rounded upon the Sovran his sire and his
case was laid bare and he was perplext as to himself and he
wotted not whatso he should ever do. Presently his son took
heart to direct him aright, and asked, "O my father, say me, wilt
thou give ear to that wherewith I would bespeak thee?" "Speak
out," quoth the King, "that is with thee of fair rede;" and quoth
the youth, "Rise, O my sire, that we depart this city ere any be
ware of our wending; so shall we find rest and issue from the
straits of indigence now closing around us. In this place there
is no return of livelihood to us and poverty hath emaciated us
and we are set in the sorriest of conditions than which naught
can be sorrier." "O my child," quoth his sire in reply,
"admirable is this advice wherewith thou hast advised us, O my
son, pious and dutiful; and be the affair now upon Allah and upon
thee." Hereupon the Youth gat all ready and arising one night
took his father and mother without any being cognisant; and the
three, entrusting themselves to the care of Allah Almighty,
wandered forth from home. And they ceased not wandering over the
wilds and the wolds till at last they saw upon their way a large
city and a mighty fine; so they entered it and made for a place
whereat they alighted. Presently the young Prince arose and went
forth to stroll about the streets and take his solace; and whilst
he walked about he asked concerning the city and who was its
Sovran. They gave him tidings thereof saying, "This be the
capital of a Sultan, equitable and high in honour amongst the
Kings." Hereupon returning to his father and mother, quoth he to
them, "I desire to sell you as slaves to this Sultan,[FN#188] and
what say ye?" Quoth they, "We have committed our case to
Almighty Allah and then to thee, O our son; so do whatso thou
wishest and judgest good." Hereat the Prince, repairing to the
Palace, craved leave to enter to the King and, having obtained
such permission, made his obeisance in the presence. Now when
the Sultan looked upon him he saw that his visitor was of the
sons of the great, so he asked him, "What be thy need, Ho thou
the Youth?" and the other made answer, "O my lord, thy slave is a
merchant man and with me is a male captive, handy of handicraft,
God-fearing and pious, and a pattern of honesty and honour in
perfect degree: I have also a bondswoman goodly in graciousness
and of civility complete in all thou canst command of bondswomen;
these I desire to vend, O my lord, to thy Highness, and if thou
wouldst buy them of thy servant they are between thy hands and at
thy disposal, and we all three are thy chattels." When the King
heard these pleasant words spoken by the Youth, he said to him,
"And where are they? Bring them hither that I behold them; and,
if they be such as thou informest me, I will bid them be bought
of thee!" Hereupon the Prince fared forth and informed his
parents of this offer and said to them, "Rise up with me that I
vend you and take from this Sultan your price wherewith I will
pass into foreign parts and win me wealth enough to redeem and
free you on my return hither. And the rest we will expend upon
our case." "O our son," said they, "do with us whatso thou
wishest." Anon,[FN#189] the parents arose and prepared to
accompany him and the Youth took them and led them into the
presence of that Sultan where they made their obeisance, and the
King at first sight of them marvelled with extreme marvel and
said to them, "Are ye twain slaves to this young man?" Said
they, "Yes, O our lord;" whereupon he turned to the Youth and
asked him, "What be the price thou requirest for these two?" "O
my lord," replied he, "give me to the price of this man slave, a
mare saddled and bridled and perfect in weapons and
furniture;[FN#190] and, as for this bondswoman, I desire thou
make over to me as her value, a suit of clothes, the choicest and
completest." Accordingly the Sultan bade pay him all his
requirement, over and above which he largessed him with an
hundred dinars; and the Youth, after obtaining his demand and
receiving such tokens of the royal liberality, kissed the King's
hands and farewelled his father and mother. Then he applied
himself to travel, seeking prosperity from Allah and all
unknowing whither he should wend. And whilst he was faring upon
his wayfare he was met by a horseman of the horsemen,[FN#191] and
they both exchanged salutations and welcomings, when the stranger
was highly pleased at the politeness of the King's son and the
elegance of his expressions. Presently, pulling from his pocket
a sealed letter wrapt in a kerchief he passed it over to the
Youth, saying, "In very sooth, O my brother, affection for thee
hath befallen my heart by reason of the goodliness of thy manners
and elegance of thine address and the sweetness of thy language;
and now I desire to work thy weal by means of this missive."
"And what of welfare may that be?" asked the Prince, whereto the
horseman answered, "Take with thee this letter and forthwith upon
arriving at the Court of the King whither thou art wending, hand
to him this same; so shalt thou obtain from him gain abundant and
mighty great good and thou shalt abide with him in degree of
highmost honour. This paper (gifted to me by my teacher) hath
already brought me ample livelihood and prodigious profit, and I
have bestowed it upon thee by reason of thine elegance and good
breeding and thy courteousness in showing me respect." Hereat
the Youth, the son of the King, answered him, "Allah requite thee
with weal and grant thou gain thy wish;" and so saying accepted
the letter of that horseman with honest heart and honourable
intent, meditating in his mind, "Inshallah ta'ála--an it be the
will of God the Greatest I shall have good fortune to my lot by
the blessing of this epistle; then will I fare and set free my
father and my mother." So the Prince resumed his route and he
exulted in himself especially at having secured the writ, by
means whereof he was promised abundant weal. Presently, it
chanced that he became drowthy with excessive drowth that waxed
right sore upon him and he saw upon his path no water to drink;
and by the tortures of thirst he was like to lose his life. So
he turned round and looked at the mare he bestrode and found her
covered with a foam of sweat wholly unlike her wonted way.
Hereat dismounting he brought out the wrapper wherein the letter
was enrolled and loosing it he mopped up therewith his animal's
sweat and squeezing it into a cup he had by him drank it off and
found to his joy that he was somewhat comforted. Then, of his
extreme satisfaction with the letter, he said to himself, "Would
Heaven I knew that which is within, and how the profit which the
horseman promised should accrue to me therefrom. So let me open
it and see its contents that my heart may be satisfied and my
soul be joyed." Then he did as he devised and perused its
purport and he mastered its meaning and the secret committed to
it, which he found as follows, "O my lord, do thou straightway on
the arrival of him who beareth these presents slay him, nor leave
him one moment on life; because this Youth came to me and I
entreated him with honour the highmost that could be of all
honouring, as a return for which this traitor of the salt, this
reprobate betrayed me in a daughter that was by me. I feared to
do him dead lest I come to shame amongst the folk and endure
disgrace, I and my tribe, wherefore I have forwarded him to thy
Highness that thou mayest torture him with torments of varied art
and end his affair and slaughter him, thus saving us from the
shame which befel us at the hands of this reprobate
traitor."[FN#192] Now when the young Prince read this writ and
comprehended its contents, he suspected that it was not written
concerning him and he took thought in himself, saying, "Would
Heaven I knew what I can have done by this horseman who thus
seeketh diligently to destroy my life, for that this one had with
him no daughter, he being alone and wending his way without any
other save himself; and I made acquaintance with him nor passed
there between us a word which was unworthy or unmeet. Now this
affair must needs have one of two faces; to wit, the first, that
such mishap really did happen to him from some youth who
favoureth me and when he saw the likeness he gave me the letter;
or, on the second count, this must be a trial and a test sent to
me from Almighty Allah, and praise be to God the Great who
inspired me to open this missive. At any rate I thank the Most
Highest and laud Him for His warding off the distress and
calamity descending upon me and wherefrom He delivered me." Then
the young Prince ceased not wending over the wildest of wolds
until he came to a mighty grand city which he entered; and,
hiring himself a lodging in a Khan,[FN#193] dismounted thereat;
then, having tethered his mare and fed her with a sufficiency of
fodder, he fared forth to walk about the thoroughfares. Suddenly
he was met by an ancient dame who considered him and noted him
for a handsome youth and an elegant, tall of stature and with the
signs of prosperity showing manifest between his eyes. Hereat he
accosted her and questioned her of the city folk and their
circumstances, whereto the old woman made reply with the
following purport, "Here in our city reigneth a King of exalted
dignity and he hath a daughter fair of favour, indeed the
loveliest of the folk of her time. Now she hath taken upon
herself never to intermarry with any of mankind unless it be one
who can overcome her with instances and arguments and can return
a sufficient reply to all her questions; and this is upon
condition that, should he come off vanquisher, he shall become
her mate, but if vanquished she will cut off his head, and on
such wise hath she done with ninety-and-nine men of the noblest
blood, as sons of the Kings and sundry others. Furthermore, she
hath a towering castle founded upon the heights that overfrown
the whole of this city whence she can descry all who pass under
its walls." As soon as the young Prince heard these words from
the love of the King's daughter and he passed that night as it
were to him the longsomest of nights, nor would he believe that
the next morn had morrowed. But when dawned the day and anon
showed its sheen and shone, he arose without let or stay and
after saddling his mare mounted her and turned towards the palace
belonging to the King's daughter; and presently reaching it, took
his station at the gateway. Hereat all those present considered
him and asked him saying, "What be the cause of thy standing
hereabouts?" whereto he answered, "I desire speech with the
Princess." But when they heard these words, all fell to
addressing him with kindly words and courteous and dissuading him
from his desire and saying, "Ho thou beautiful youngling!
fear[FN#194] Allah and pity thyself and have ruth upon thy youth;
nor dare seek converse with this Princess, for that she hath
slain fourscore and nineteen men of the nobles and sons of the
kings and for thee sore we fear that thou shalt complete the
century." The Prince, however, would not hear a word from them
nor heed their rede; neither would he be warned by the talk of
others than they; nay he persisted in standing at the Palace
gateway. And presently he asked admission to go in to the King's
daughter; but this was refused by the Princess, who contented
herself with sending forth to him her Tarjumánah, her
Linguist-dame, to bespeak him and say, "Ho thou fair youth! art
thou ready and longing to affront dangers and difficulties?" He
replied, "I am." "Then," quoth she, "hie thee to the King the
father of this Princess and show thyself and acquaint him with
thine affair and thine aim, after which do thou bear witness
against thyself in presence of the Kazi that an thou conquer his
daughter in her propositions and she fail of replying to a query
of thine thou shalt become her mate; whereas if she vanquish thee
she shall lawfully cut off thy head,[FN#195] even as she hath
decapitated so many before thy time. And when this is done come
thou back to us." The Prince forthright fared for the monarch
and did as he was bidden; then he returned to the Linguist-dame
and reported all his proceedings before the King and eke the
Kazi. After this he was led in to the presence of the Princess
and with him was the afore-mentioned Tarjumánah who brought him a
cushion of silk for the greater comfort of his sitting; and the
two fell to questioning and resolving queries and problems in
full sight of a large attendance. Began the Tarjumánah,
interpreting the words of her lady who was present, "Ho thou the
Youth! my mistress saith to thee, Do thou inform me concerning an
ambulant moving sepulchre whose inmate is alive." He answered
and said, "The moving sepulchre is the whale that swallowed Jonas
(upon whom be the choicest of Salams![FN#196]), and the Prophet
was quick in the whale's belly." She pursued, "Tell me
concerning two combatants who fight each other but not with hands
or feet, and who withal never say a say or speak a speech." He
answered saying, "The bull and the buffalo who encounter each
other by ramming with horns." She continued, "Point out to me a
tract of earth which saw not the sun save for a single time and
since that never." He answered saying, "This be the sole of the
Red Sea when Moses the Prophet (upon whom be The Peace!) smote it
with his rod and clove it asunder so that the Children of Israel
crossed over it on dry ground, which was never seen but only
once."[FN#197] She resumed, "Relate to me anent that which drank
water during its life-time and ate meat after its death?" He
answered saying, "This be the Rod[FN#198] of Moses the Prophet
(upon whom be The Peace!) which, when a living branch[FN#199]
struck water from its living root and died only when severed from
the parent tree. Now Almighty Allah cast it upon the land of
Egypt by the hand of Moses, what time this Prophet drowned
Pharaoh and his host[FN#200] and therewith clove the Red Sea,
after which that Rod became a dragon and swallowed up the wands
of all the Magicians of Misraim." Asked she, "Give me tidings of
a thing which is not of mankind nor of the Jánn-kind, neither of
the beasts nor of the birds?" He answered saying, "This whereof
thou speakest is that mentioned by Solomon, to with the
Louse,[FN#201], and secondly the Ant." She enquired, "Tell me to
what end Almighty Allah created the creation and for what aim of
wisdom did He quicken this creation and for what object did He
cause death to be followed by resurrection and resurrection by
the rendering men's accounts?" He answered saying, "God created
all creatures that they might witness His handicraft, and he did
them die that they might behold his absolute dominion and He
requickened them to the end that they learn His All-Might, and He
decreed their rendering account that they might consider His
wisdom and His justice." She questioned him saying, "Tell me
concerning three, of whom my first was not born of father and
mother and yet died; and my second was begotten of sire and born
of woman yet died not, and my third was born of father and mother
yet died not by human death?" He answered saying, "The first
were Adam and Eve,[FN#202] the second was Elias[FN#203] the
Prophet and the third was Lot's wife who died not the death of
the general, for that she was turned into a pillar of salt."
Quoth she, "Relate to me concerning one who in this world had two
names?" and he answered saying, "This be Jacob, sire of the
Twelve Tribes, to whom Allah vouchsafed the title of Israel,
which is Man with El or God."[FN#204] She said, "Inform me
concerning the Nákús, or the Gong,[FN#205] who was the inventor
thereof and at what time was it first struck in this world?" He
answered saying, "The Gong was invented by Noah, who first smote
upon it in the Ark." And after this she stinted not to question
him nor he to ree her riddles until evening fell, when quoth the
King's daughter to the Linguist-dame, "Say thou to the young man
that he may now depart, and let him come to me betimes next
morning when, if I conquer him, I will give him drink of the cup
his fellows drained; and, should he vanquish me, I will become
his wife." Then the Tarjumánah delivered her message word for
word, and the Youth went forth from the Princess with fire aflame
in his heart and spent the longest of nights hardly believing
that the morn would morrow. But when day broke and the dawn came
with its sheen and shone upon all mankind, he arose from his
sleep and fared with the first light to the palace where the
King's daughter bade the Linguist-dame introduce him, and when he
came in ordered him to be seated. As soon as he had taken seat
she gave her commands to the Tarjumánah, who said, "My lady
directeth thee to inform her what may be the tree bearing a dozen
boughs, each clothed with thirty leaves and these of two colours,
one half white and the other moiety black?" He answered saying,
"Now that tree is the year, and its twelve branches are the dozen
months, while the thirty leaves upon each of these are the thirty
white days and the thirty black nights." Hereat quoth she, "Tell
me, what tree was it bore many a bough and manifold leaves which
presently became flesh and blood?" He answered saying, "This was
the Rod of Moses the Prophet (upon whom be The Peace!) which was
at first a tree but which after cutting became a serpent with
flesh and blood." Continued she, "Inform me what became of
Moses' Rod and Noah's Ark, and where now be they?" He answered
saying, "They are at this tide sunken in the Lake of
Tabariyyah,[FN#206] and both, at the end of time, will be brought
out by a man hight Al-Násirí.[FN#207] She pursued, "Acquaint me
with spun yarn, whence did it originate and who was it first
practised spinning the same?" He answered, saying, "Almighty
Allah from the beginning of mankind ordered the Archangel Gabriel
to visit Eve and say to her, 'Spin for thyself and for Adam
waistcloths wherewith ye may veil your persons.'"[FN#208] She
enquired, "Tell me concerning the Asáfír,[FN#209] and why they
were so called, and who first named them with such name?" He
answered saying, "There was in the days of the Moses the Prophet
(upon whom be The Peace!) a fowl called Fír, and in the time of
Solomon the King (upon whom be The Peace!) all the birds paid him
obedience, even as did all the beasts, and albeit each and every
created thing was subject to the Prophet, withal this Fír would
not show submission: so the Wise King sent a body of birds to
bring him into the presence, but he refused to present himself.
Presently they returned to the Prophet who asked them, "Where be
Fír?" and they answered, "O our lord, 'Asá Fír,'[FN#210] whence
that name hath clung to the fowls." She resumed, "Inform me of
the two Stationaries and the two Moveables and the two Conjoineds
and the two Disjoineds by jealousy and the twain which be eternal
Foes." He answered saying, "Now the two Stationaries be Heaven
and Earth and the two Moveables are the Sun and the Moon; the two
Conjoineds are Night and Day and the two Disjoineds by jealousy
are the Soul and the Body and the two Hostiles are Death and
Life."[FN#211] On this wise the Linguist-dame ceased not to
question him and he to reply solving all her problems until eve
closed in. Then she bade him go forth that night and on the next
day come again to her. Accordingly, the young Prince returned to
his Khan and no sooner had he made sure that the morn had
morrowed than he resolved to see if that day would bring him
aught better than had come to him before. So arising betimes he
made for the palace of the King's daughter and was received and
introduced by the Tarjumánah who seated him as was her wont and
presently she began, saying, "My lady biddeth thee inform her of
a thing which an a man do that same 'tis unlawful; and if a man
do not that same 'tis also unlawful." He answered, saying, "I
will: this be the prayer[FN#212] of a drunken man which is in
either case illegal." Quoth she, "Tell me how far is the
interval between Heaven and Earth?" and he answered saying, "That
bridged over by the prayer of Moses the Prophet[FN#213] (upon him
be The Peace!) whom Allah Almighty saved and preserved." She
said, "And how far is it betwixt East and West?" whereto he
answered saying, "The space of a day and the course of the Sun
wending from Orient unto Occident." Then she asked, "Let me know
what was the habit[FN#214] of Adam in Paradise?" and he answered
saying, "Adam's habit in Eden was his flowing hair."[FN#215] She
continued, "Tell me of Abraham the Friend (upon whom be The
Peace!) how was it that Allah chose him out and called him
'Friend?'"[FN#216] He answered saying, "Verily the Lord
determined to tempt and to test him albeit he kenned right
clearly that the Prophet was free of will yet fully capable of
enduring the trial; natheless, He resolved to do on this wise
that he might stablish before men the truth of His servant's
trust in the Almighty and the fairness of his faith and the
purity of his purpose. So the Lord bade him offer to Him his son
Is'hák[FN#217] as a Corban or Sacrifice; and of the truth of his
trust he took his child and would have slain him as a victim.
But when he drew his knife with the purpose of slaughtering the
youth he was thus addressed by the Most Highest Creator, 'Now
indeed well I wot that thou gatherest[FN#218] me and keepest my
covenant: so take thou yonder rain and slay it as a victim in the
stead of Is'hák.' And after this he entitled him 'Friend.'" She
pursued, "Inform me touching the sons of Israel how many were
they at the time of the going forth from Egypt?" He answered,
saying, "When they marched out of Misraim-land they numbered six
hundred thousand fighting[FN#219] men besides women and
children." She continued, "Do thou point out to me, some place
on earth which is higher than the Heavens;" and he answered
saying, "This is Jerusalem[FN#220] the Exalted and she standeth
far above the Firmament." Then the Youth turning to the
Linguist-dame, said, "O my lady, long and longsome hath been the
exposition of that which is between us, and were thy lady to ask
me for all time questions such as these and the like of them, I
by the All-might of Allah shall return a full and sufficient
answer to one and all. But, in lieu of so doing, I desire of thy
mistress the Princess to ask of her one question and only one:
and, if she satisfy me of the significance I claim therefor, let
her give me to drain the cup of my foregoers whom she overcame
and slew; and if she fail in the attempt she shall own herself
conquered and become my wife--and The Peace!"[FN#221] Now this
was said in the presence of a mighty host there present, the
great of them as well as the small thereof; so the Tarjumánah
answered willy-nilly, "Say, O Youth, whatso is the will of thee
and speak out that which is in the mind of thee." He rejoined,
"Tell thy lady that she deign enlighten me concerning a man who
was in this condition. He was born and brought up in the highest
of prosperity but Time turned upon him and Poverty mishandled
him;[FN#222] so he mounted his father and clothed him with his
mother[FN#223] and he fared forth to seek comfort and happiness
at the hand of Allah Almighty. Anon Death met him on the way and
Doom bore him upon his head and his courser saved him from
destruction whenas he drank water which came neither from the sky
nor from the ground. Now see thou who may be that man and do
thou give me answer concerning him."[FN#224] But when the
Princess heard this question, she was confused with exceeding
confusion touching the reply to be replied in presence of a posse
of the people, and she was posed and puzzled and perplext to
escape the difficulty and naught availed her save addressing the
Tarjumánah and saying, "Do thou bid this Youth wend his ways and
remove himself until the morrow." The Linguist-dame did as she
was bidden, adding, "And on the morrow (Inshallah!) there shall
be naught save weal;" and the Prince went forth leaving the folk
aghast at the question he had urged upon the King's daughter.
But as soon as he left her the young lady commanded the
Tarjumánah to let slaughter somewhat of the most toothsome
poultry and to prepare them for food as her mistress might direct
her; together with dainty meats and delicate sweetmeats and the
finest fruits fresh and dried and all manner of other eatables
and drinkables, and lastly to take a skin-bottle filled with good
old wine. Then she changed her usual garb and donned the most
sumptuous dress of all her gear; and, taking her Duenna and
favourite handmaiden with a few of her women for comitive, she
repaired to the quarters of the Youth, the King's son; and the
time of her visit was the night-tide. Presently, reaching the
Khan she said to her guardian, "Go thou in to him alone whilst I
hide me somewhere behind the door and do thou sit between his
hands;" after which she taught the old woman all she desired her
do of dissimulation and artifice. The slave obeyed her mistress
and going in accosted the young man with the salam; and, seating
herself before him, said, "Ho thou the Youth! Verily there is
here a lovely damsel, delightsome and perfect of qualities, whose
peer is not in her age, and well nigh able is she to make the sun
fare backwards[FN#225] and to illumine the universe in lieu
thereof. Now when thou wast wont to visit us in the apartment of
the Princess, this maiden looked upon thee and found thee a fair
youth; so her heart loved thee with excessive love and desired
thee with exceeding desire and to such degree that she insisted
upon accompanying me and she hath now taken station at thy door
longing to enter. So do thou grant her permission that she come
in and appear in thy presence and then retire to some privacy
where she may stand in thy service, a slave to thy will."[FN#226]
The Prince replied, "Whoso seeketh us let enter with weal and
welfare, and well come and welcome and fair welcome to each and
every of such guests." Hereat the Princess went in as did all
those who were with her, and presently after taking seat they
brought out and set before the Youth their whole store of edibles
and potables and the party fell to eating and drinking and
converse, exchanging happy sayings blended with wit and disport
and laughter, while the Princess made it her especial task to toy
with her host deeming that he knew her not to be the King's
daughter. He also stinted not to take his pleasure with her; and
on this wise they feasted and caroused and enjoyed themselves and
were cheered and the converse between them was delightful. The
Duenna, however, kept plying the Prince with wine, mere and pure,
until she had made him drunken and his carousal had so mastered
him that he required her person of her; however she refused
herself and questioned him of the enigma wherewith he had
overcome her mistress; whilst he, for stress of drunkenness, was
incapacitated by stammering to explain her aught thereof.
Hereupon the Princess, having doffed her upper dress, propped
herself sideways upon a divan cushion and stretched herself at
full length and the Youth for the warmth of his delight in her
and his desire to her anon recovering his speech explained to her
the reply of his riddle. The King's daughter then joyed with
mighty great joy as though she had won the world
universal;[FN#227] and, springing to her feet incontinently, of
her extreme gladness she would not delay to finish her disport
with her wooer; but ere the morning morrowed she departed and
entered her palace. Now in so doing she clean forgot her outer
robes and the wine-service and what remained of meat and drink.
The Youth had been overcome with sleep and after slumbering he
awoke at dawn when he looked round and saw none of the company
about him; withal he recognised the princely garments which were
of the most sumptuous and costly, robes of brocade and sendal and
suchlike, together with jewels and adornments: and scattered
about lay sundry articles of the wine-service and fragments of
the food they had brought with them. And from these signs of
things forgotten he learnt that the King's daughter had visited
him in person and he was certified that she had beguiled him with
her wiles until she had wrung from him the reply of his question.
So as soon as it was morning-tide he arose and went, as was his
wont, to the Princess's palace where he was met by the Tarjumánah
who said to him, "O Youth, is it thy pleasure that my lady
expound to thee her explanation of the enigma yesterday proposed
by thee?" "I will tell the very truth," answered he; "and relate
to thee what befel me since I saw you last, and 'twas this. When
I left you there came to me a lovely bird, delightsome and
perfect of charms, and I indeed entertained her with uttermost
honour and worship; we ate and we drank together, but at night
she shook her feathers and flew away from me. And if she deny
this I will produce her plumage before her father and all
present." Now when the Sovran, the sire of the Princess, heard
these words concerning his daughter, to wit, that the youth had
conquered her in her contention and that she had fared to his
quarters to the end that she might wring from him an explanation
of the riddle which she was unable to ree or reply thereto, he
would do naught else save to summon the Cohen[FN#228] and the
Lords of his land and the Grandees of his realm and the Notables
of his kith and kin. And when the Priest and all made act of
presence, he told them the whole tale first and last; namely, the
conditions to the Youth conditioned, that if overcome by his
daughter and unable to answer her questions he should be let
drain the cup of destruction like his fellows, and if he overcame
her he should claim her to wife. Furthermore he declared that
the Youth had answered, with full and sufficient answer, all he
had been asked without doubt or hesitation; while at last he had
proposed to her an enigma which she had been powerless to solve;
and in this matter he had vanquished her twice (he having
answered her and she having failed to answer him). "For which
reason," concluded the King, "'tis only right that he marry her;
even as was the condition between them twain; and it becometh our
first duty to adjudge their contention and decide their case
according to covenant and he being doubtless the conqueror to bid
write his writ of marriage with her. But what say ye?" They
replied, "This is the rightest of redes; moreover the Youth, a
fair and a pleasant, becometh her well and she likewise besitteth
him; and their lot is a wondrous." So they bade write the
marriage writ and the Cohen, arising forthright, pronounced the
union auspicious and began blessing and praying for the pair and
all present. In due time the Prince went in to her and
consummated the marriage according to the custom stablished by
Allah and His Holy Law; and thereafter he related to his bride
all that had betided him, from beginning to end, especially how
he had sold his parents to one of the Kings. Now when she heard
these words, she had ruth upon his case and soothed his spirit
saying to him, "Be of good cheer and keep thine eyes clear and
cool of tear." Then, after a little while the Princess bestowed
upon her bridegroom a mint of money that he might fare forth and
free his father and his mother. Accordingly the Prince,
accepting her largesse, sought the King to whom he had pledged
his parents (and they were still with him in all weal and
welfare) and going in to him made his salam and kissed ground and
told him the whole tale of the past and the conditions of death
or marriage he had made with the King's daughter and of his
wedding her after overcoming her in contention. So the monarch
honoured him with honour galore than which naught could be more;
and, when the Prince paid him over the moneys, he asked, "What be
these dirhams?" "The price of my parents thou paidest to me,"
answered the other. But the King exclaimed, "I gave thee not to
the value of thy father and mother moneys of such amount as this
sum. I only largessed thee with a mare and a suit of clothes
which was not defraying a debt but presenting thee with a present
and thereby honouring thee with due honour. Then
Alhamdolillah-laud be to the Lord, who preserved thee and enabled
thee to win thy wish, and now arise and take thy parents and
return in safety to thy bride." The Prince hereupon thanked him
and praised Allah for the royal guerdon and favours and the fair
treatment wherewith he had been entreated; after which he craved
leave to receive his parents in charge and wend his ways. And
when permission was granted to him, he wished all good wishes to
the King and taking his father and his mother in weal and welfare
he went his ways with them, in joy and gladness and gratitude for
all blessings and benefits by Allah upon him bestowed, till he
had returned to his bride. Here he found that his father-in-law
had deceased during his absence, so he took seat in lieu of him
upon the throne of the kingdom; and he and his consort, during
all the days of their life in this world, ceased not eating and
drinking in health and well-being and eating and drinking in joy
and happiness and bidding and forbidding until they quitted this
mundane scene to the safeguard of the Lord God. And here endeth
and is perfected the history of the Youth, the King's son, and
the sale of his parents and his falling into the springes of the
Princess who insisted upon proposing problems to all her wooers
with the condition that if they did not reply she would do them
drain the cup of destruction and on this wise had slain a many of
men; and, in fine, how she was worsted by and she fell to the lot
of this youth whom Allah gifted with understanding to ree all her
riddles and who had confounded her with his question whereto she
availed not to reply; when his father-in-law died, succeeded to
the kingdom which he ruled so well.[FN#229]

NOTE TO P. 82. {footnote [FN#219]]

The Músŕ (Moses) of the Moslems is borrowed from Jewish sources, the
Pentateuch and especially the Talmud, with a trifle of Gnosticism which,
hinted at in the Koran (chapt. xviii.), is developed by later writers, making
him the "external" man, while Khizr, the Green prophet, is the internal. But
they utterly ignore Manetho whose account of the Jewish legislator (Josephus
against Apion, i. cc. 26, 27) shows the other or Egyptian part. Moses, by
name Osarsiph=Osiris-Sapi, Osiris of the underworld, which some translate rich
(Osii) in food (Siph, Seph, or Zef) was nicknamed Mosheh from the Heb.
Mashah=to draw out, because drawn from the water[FN#230] (or rather from the
Koptic Mo=water ushe=saved). He became a priest an An or On (Heliopolis),
after studying the learning of the Egyptians. Presently he was chosen chief
by the "lepers and other unclean persons" who had been permitted by King
Amenophis to occupy the city Avaris lately left desolate by the "Shepherd
Kings." Osarsiph ordained the polity and laws of his followers, forbidding
them to worship the Egyptian gods and enjoining them to slay and sacrifice the
sacred animals. They were joined by the "unclean of the Egyptians" and by
their kinsmen of the Shepherds, and treated the inhabitants with a barbarity
more execrable than that of the latter, setting fire to cities and villages,
casting the Egyptian priests and prophets out of their country, and compelling
Amenophis to fall back upon Ethiopia. After some years of disorder Sethos
(also called Ramesses from his father Rampses) son of Amenophis came down with
the King from Ethiopia leading great united forces, and, "encountering the
Shepherds and the unclean people, they defeated them and slew multitudes of
them, and pursued the remainder to the borders of Syria." Josephus relates
this account of Manetho, which is apparently truthful, with great indignation.
For the prevalence of leprosy we have the authority of the Hebrews themselves,
and Pliny (xxvi. 2), speaking of Rubor Ćgyptus, evidently white leprosy ending
in the black, assures us that it was "natural to the Ćgyptians," adding a very
improbable detail, namely that the kings cured it by balneć (baths) of human

Schiller (in "Die Sendung Moses") argues that the mission of the Jewish
lawgiver, as adopted son (the real son?) of Pharoah's daughter, became
"learned in all the wisdom of the Egyptians," by receiving the priestly
education of the royal princes, and that he had advanced from grade to grade
in the religious mysteries, even to the highest, in which the great truth of
the One Supreme, the omniscient, omnipotent God was imparted, as the sublime
acme of all human knowledge, thus attributing to Moses before his flight into
Midian, an almost modern conception of an essentially anthropomorphous Deity.

Further, that his conscious mission when he returned to Egypt was not merely
the deliverance of his people from the Egyptian yoke, but the revelation to
them of this great conception, and so the elevation of that host of slaves to
the position of a nation, to whose every member the highest mystery of
religion should be known and whose institutions should be based upon it. It
is remarkable that Schiller should have accepted the fables of Manetho as
history, that he should not have suspected the fact that the Egyptian priest
wrote from motives of personal spite and jealousy, and with the object of
poisoning the mind of Ptolemy against the learned Jews with whom he stood on
terms of personal friendship. Thus he not only accepts the story that the
Hebrews were expelled from Egypt because of the almost universal spread of
leprosy among them, but explains at length why that loathsome and horrible
disease should have so prevailed. Still Schiller's essay, written with his
own charming eloquence, is a magnificent eulogy of the founder of the Hebrew

Goethe ("Israel in der Wüste"), on the other hand, with curious ingenuity,
turns every thing to the prejudice of the "headstrong man" Moses, save that he
does grant him a vivid sentiment of justice. He makes him both by nature and
education a grand, strong man, but brutal (roh) withal. His killing the
Egyptian is a secret murder; "his dauntless fist gains him the favour of a
Midianitish priest-prince . . . . under the pretence of a general festival,
gold and silver dishes are swindled (by the Jews under Moses's instigation)
from their neighbours, and at the moment when the Egyptians believe the
Israelites to be occupied in harmless feastings, a reversed Sicilian vesper is
executed; the stranger murders the native, the guest the host; and, with a
horrible cunning, only the first-born are destroyed to the end that, in a land
where the first-born enjoyed such superior rights, the selfishness of the
younger sons might come into play, and instant punishment be avoided by hasty
flight. The artifice succeeds, the assassins are thrust out instead of being
chastised." (Quoted from pp. 99-100 "The Hebrews and the Red Sea," by
Alexander W. Thayer; Andover, Warren F. Draper, 1883.) With respect to the
census of the Exodus, my friend Mr. Thayer, who has long and conscientiously
studied the subject, kindly supplied me with the following notes and permitted
their publication.

Trieste, October 11, 1887.

My Dear Sir Richard,

The points in the views presented by me in our conversation upon the Hebrews
and their Exodus, of which you requested a written exposition, are, condensed,

Assuming that the Hebrew records, as we have them, are in the main true, i.e.
historic, a careful search must reveal some one topic concerning which all the
passages relating to it agree at least substantially. Such a topic is the
genealogies, precisely that which Philippsohn the great Jewish Rabbi, Dr.
Robinson, of the Palestine researches, and all the Jewish and Christian
commentators--I know no exception--with one accord, reject! Look at these two
columns, A. being the passages containing the genealogies, B. the passages on
which the rejection of them is based:

1. Genesis xxiv. 32 to xxv. 25 (Births of Jacob's sons).
2. xxxv. 23-26 (Recapitulation of the above).
3. xlvi. 8-27 (List of Jacob and his sons, when they came into Egypt).
4. Ex. vi. 14-27 (Lineage of Aaron and Moses).
5. Numb. xxxvi. 1-2 (Lineage of Zelophehad).
6. Josh. vii. 17-18 (Lineage of Achan).
7. Ruth iv. 18-22 (ditto of David).
8. 1 Chron. ii. 9-15 (ditto).
9. Mat. i. 2-6 (ditto).
10. Luke iii. 32-37 (ditto).
11. Ezra vii. 1-5 (ditto of Ezra).

The lists of Princes, heads of tribes, the spies, the commission to divide
conquered Palestine, contain names that can be traced back, and all coincide
with the above.

1. Gen. xv. 13.
2. Ex. xii. 40, 41.
3. Acts vii. 6.

These three give the 400 and the 430 years of the supposed bondage of the Bene
Jacob, but are offset by Gen. xv. 16 (four generations) and Gal. iii. 17
(Paul's understanding of the 430 years).

4. The story of Joseph, beginning Gen. xxxvii. 2, gives us the dates in his
life; viz., 17 when sold, 30 when he becomes Prime Minister, 40 when his
father joins him.

5. 1 Chron. vi. 1-15 (Lineage of Ezra's brother Jehozadak, abounding in
repetitions and worthless).

1. As between the two, the column A. is in my opinion more trustworthy than

2. By all the genealogies of the Davidian line we have Judah No. 1, Solomon
No. 12. By Ezra's genealogy of his own family we have Levi No. 1, and Azariah
(Solomon's High Priest) No. 12. They agree perfectly.

3. If there were 400 years of Hebrew (Bene Jacob) slavery between the death
of Joseph and the Exodus, there were 400 - 80 = 320, between Joseph's death
and the birth of Moses. If this was so there is no truth in the accounts of
Moses and Aaron being the great-grandchildren of Levi (Levi, Kohath, Amram,
Aaron and Moses). In fact, if Dr. Robinson be correct in saying that at least
six generations are wanting in the genealogies of David (to fill the 400
years) the same must be lacking in all the early genealogies. Reductio ad

4. Jacob, a young man, we will say of 40, is sent to Laban for a wife. He
remains in Padan Aram twenty years (Gen. xxxi. 38), where all his sons except
Benjamin were born, that is, before he was 60. At 130 he joined Joseph in
Egypt (Gen. xlvii. 9). Joseph, therefore, born in Padan Aram was now, instead
of 40, over 70 years old! That this is so, is certain. In Judah's exquisite
pleadings (Gen. xliv. 18-34) he speaks of Benjamin as "the child of Jacob's
old age," "a little one," and seven times he calls him "the lad." Benjamin is
some years younger than Joseph, but when the migration into Egypt takes
place-a few weeks after Judah's speech-Benjamin comes as father of ten sons
(Gen. xlvi. 21), but here Bene Benjamin is used in its broad sense of
"descendants," for in 1 Chron. vii. 6-12 we find that the "Bene" were sons,
grandsons and great-grandsons. To hold that Joseph at 40 had a younger
brother who was a great-grandfather, is, of course, utterly absurd.

5. According to Gen. xv. 18, the Exodus was to take place in the fourth
generation born in Egypt, as I understand it.

Born in Egypt:--

Levi (father of) Kohath Judah (father of) Pharez

1. Amram 1. Ram
2. Aaron 2. Amminadab
3. Eleazar 3. Nahshon
4. Phinees 4. Salma

A conspicuous character in Numbers (xiii. 6, 30; xiv. 24, etc.) is Caleb. In
the first chapter of Judges Caleb still appears, and Othniel, the son of his
younger brother Kenaz, is the first of the so-called Judges (Jud. iii. 9).
This also disposes of the 400 years and confirms the view that the Exodus took
place in the fourth generation born in Egypt. Other similar proofs may be
omitted--these are amply sufficient.

6. What, then, was the origin of the notion of the 400 years of Hebrew

If the Egyptian inscriptions and papyri prove anything, it is this: that from
the subjugation of Palestine by one of the Thormes down to the great invasion
of the hordes from Asia Minor in the reign of Ramses III., that country had
never ceased to be a Pharaonic province; that during these four or five
centuries every attempt to throw off the yoke had been crushed and its Semitic
peoples deported to Egypt as slaves; that multitudes of them joined in the
Exodus under Moses, and became incorporated with the Hebrews under the
constitution and code adopted at Horeb (=Sinai? or Jebel Araif?). These
people became "Seed of Abraham," "Children of Israel," by adoption, to which I
have no doubt Paul refers in the "adoption" of Romans viii. 15-23; ix. 4; Gal.
iv. 5; Eph. i. 5. In the lapse of ages this distinction between Bene Israel
and Bene Jacob was forgotten, and therefore the very uncritical Masorites in
their edition of the Old Testament "confounded the confusion" in this matter.
With the disappearance of the 400 years and of the supposed two or three
centuries covered by the book of Judges, the genealogies stand as facts. The
mistake in the case of the Judges is in supposing them to have been
consecutive, when, in fact, as the subjugations by neighbouring peoples were
local and extended only over one or two tribes, half a dozen of them may have
been contemporaneous.

7. Aaron and Moses were by their father Amram, great-grandchildren of Levi-
-by their mother his grandchildren (Ex. vi. 20). Joseph lived to see his own
great-grandchildren. Moses must have been born before Joseph's death.

8. There is one point determined in which the Hebrew and the Egyptian
chronologies coincide. It is the invasion of Judea by Shishak of Egypt in the
fifth year of Rehoboam, son of Solomon (1 Kings xiv. 25). Supposing the
Egyptian chronology from the time of Minephtah II. to be in the main correct,
as given by Brugsch and others, the thirteen generations, Judah--Rehoboam,
allowing three to a century, take us back to just that Minephtah. In his
reign, according to Brugsch, Pharaoh sent breadstuffs to the Chittim in "the
time of famine." The Hebrew records and traditions connect Joseph's prime
ministry with a famine. By the genealogies it could have been only this in
the time of Minephtah.

9. The Bene Jacob were but temporary sojourners in Goshen and always intended
to return to Canaan. They were independent and had the right to do so. See
what Joseph says in Gen. i. 24-25. But before this design was executed came
the great irruption of the depopulated all Palestine, in the time of Ramses
III. Here was the opportunity for the Bene Jacob to enlarge their plans and
to devise the conquest and possession of Palestine. According to Josephus,
supported by Stephen (Acts vii. 22), Moses was a man "mighty in works"-a man
of military fame. The only reasonable way of understanding the beginning of
the Exodus story, is to suppose that, in the weakened condition of Ramses
III., the Hebrew princes began to intrigue with the enslaved Semites-the
Ruthenu of the Egyptian inscriptions--and this being discovered by the
Pharaoh, Moses was compelled to fly. Meantime the intrigues were continued
and when the time for action came, under one of Ramses' weak successors, Moses
was recalled and took command.

10. This prepares us for the second query, which you proposed, that is as to
the numbers who joined in the Exodus.

The Masoretic text, from which the English version of the Hebrew records is
made, gives the result of the census at Sinai (=Horeb) as being 603,550 men,
"twenty years old and upwards, that were able to go forth to war in
Israel"-the tribe of Levi not included. On this basis it has been generally
stated, that the number of the Bene Israel at the Exodus was three millions.
Of late I find that two millions is the accepted number. The absurdity of
even this aggregate is manifest. How could such a vast multitude be
subsisted? How kept in order? How compelled to observe sanitary regulations?
Moreover, in the then enfeebled state of Egypt, why should 603,550 armed men
not have marched out without ceremony? Why ask permission to go to celebrate
a sacrifice to their God?

But there is another series of objections to these two millions, which I have
never seen stated or even hinted, to which I pray your attention.

The area of Palestine differs little from that of the three American States,
Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Connecticut, the most densely peopled of the
Union, containing by the last census a population of somewhat less than two
and a half millions.

By the second Hebrew census (Numb. xxvi.) taken just before the death of
Moses, the army was 601,730; from which the inference has always been drawn,
that at least 2,000,000, in the aggregate, Levites 23,000 males still
excepted, entered and possessed the conquered territories.

Take now one of the late maps of Palestine and mark upon it the boundaries of
the tribes as given in the book of Joshua. This second census gives the
number of each tribal army to be inserted in each tribal territory. Reuben,
43,750; Judah, 76,500; Benjamin, 45,600, etc., etc. By Josh. xii. the land
was then divided between some 40 petty kings and peoples, 31 of whom are named
as having been subjected. If, now, Joshua's army numbered over 600,000, why
was not the conquest made complete? Massachusetts, Rhode Island and
Connecticut are divided into 27 counties. Suppose, now, that these counties
were each a separate and independent little kingdom dependent upon itself for
defence, what resistance could be made to an army of 600,000 men, all of them
grown up during forty years of life in a camp, and in the full vigour of
manhood? And yet Joshua was unable to complete his conquest! Again, the
first subjugation of a part of the newly-conquered territory as noted in the
book of Judges, was Judah and Simeon by a king of Edom.[FN#232] If Judah
could put an army into the field of 76,500, and Simeon 22,500, their
subjugation by a king of Edom is incredible, and the story absurd. Next comes
King Eglon of Moab and subjugates the tribes of Reuben and Gad, east of the
Dead Sea and the Jordan. And yet Reuben has an army of over 43,000, and Gad
45,000. And so on.

With an army of 60,000 only, and an aggregate of half a million of people led
out of Egypt, all the history becomes instantly rational and trustworthy.

There remains one more bubble to be exploded.

Look at these figures, in which a quadruple increase--at least 25 per centum
too great--is granted.[FN#233]

1st Generation, the Patriarchs, in number. . . . . . . . . . . 12
2nd Generation, Kohath, Pharez, etc. . . . . . . . . . . . ..48
3rd Generation, Amram, Hezron, etc.. . . . . . . . . . . . .192
4th Generation, Aaron and Moses. . . . . . . . . . . . . . .768
Aggregate . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1,020
Minus 25 per cent. for deaths, children, etc.. . . . . . . . .255
Actual number of Bene Jacob. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .765

But Jacob and his sons brought with them herdsmen, shepherds, servants, etc.
Bunsen puts the number of all, masters and men, at less than 2,000.

Let the proportion in this case be one able-bodied man in four persons, and
the increase triple.

1st Generation, the Patriarchs, in number. . . . . . . . . . .500
2nd Generation, Kohath, Pharez, etc. . . . . . . . . . . .1,500
3rd Generation, Amram, Hezron, etc.. . . . . . . . . . . .4,500
4th Generation, Aaron and Moses. . . . . . . . . . . . . 13,500
Minus 25 per centum as above . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .5,000
Add the real Bene Jacob. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .765

Aggregate. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15,765

Were these people, while Joseph is still alive, the subjects of slavery as
described in Ex. i.? Did they build Pithom and Ramses, store-cities?

The number is sufficient to lead in the great enterprise and to control the
mixed multitude which was at Sinai, adopted as "Bene Israel," "Seed of
Abraham," and divided among and incorporated with the tribes; but not
sufficient to warrant the supposition that with so small a force the Hebrew
leaders could for a moment have entertained the project of conquering

A word more on the statement in Ex. i. 11: "And they built for Pharaoh
store-cities, Pithom and Ramses." All Egyptologists agree that these cities
were built by Ramses II., or certainly not later than his reign. If the
Hebrew genealogies are authentic, this was long before the coming of Jacob and
his sons into Egypt.

(Signed) A.W. Thayer


Here we begin with the aidance of Allah Almighty, the Tale of the
Warlock and the Young Cook of Baghdad.[FN#234]

It is related (and Allah is All knowing!) of a certain man which
was a Warlock, that Destiny crave him from town to town until at
last he entered Baghdad city and dismounted at a Khán of the
Khans where he spent the night of arrival. Then, rising betimes
next morning, he walked about the highways and wandered around
the lanes and he stinted not passing from market street to market
street, solacing himself with a sight of many places, till he
reached the Long Bazar, whence he could descry the whole site of
the city. Now he narrowly considered the land, and, lo and
behold! it was a capital sans peer amongst the cities,
where-through coursed the Dajlah River blended with the River
Furát[FN#235] and over the united stream were thrown seven
bridges of boats; all these were bound one to other for the folk
to pass over on their several pursuits, especially for the
pleasure seekers who fared forth to the palm orchards and the
vergiers abounding in fruits while the birds were hymning Allah,
the Sole, the All-conquering. Now one day as this Warlock was
amusing himself amongst the markets he passed by the shop of a
Cook before whom were set for sale dressed meats of all kinds and
colours;[FN#236] and, looking at the youth, he saw that he was
rising fourteen and beautiful as the moon on the fourteenth
night; and he was elegant and habited in a habit as it had just
come from the tailor's hand for its purity and excellent fit, and
one had said that he (the artisan) had laboured hard thereat, for
the sheen of it shimmered like unto silver.[FN#237] Then the
Warlock considering the face of this Cook saw his colour wan as
the hue of metal leaves[FN#238] and he was lean of limb;[FN#239]
so he took station facing him and said to him, "The Peace be upon
thee, O my brother," and said the other in reply, "And upon thee
be The Peace and the Truth of Allah and His blessings: so well
come to thee and welcome and fair welcome. Honour me, O my lord,
by suffering me to serve thee with the noonday meal." Hereat the
Wizard entered the shop and the Kitchener took up two or three
platters white as the whitest silver; and, turning over into each
one a different kind of meat set them between the hands of the
stranger who said to him, "Seat thee, O my son." And when his
bidding was obeyed he added, "I see thee ailing and thy
complexion is yellow exceedingly: what be this hath affected thee
and what is thy disorder and what limb of thy limbs paineth thee
and is it long since thou art in such case?" Now when the Cook
heard this say he drew a sigh of regret from the depths of his
heart and the soles of his feet and quoth he weeping, "Allah upon
thee, O my lord, remind me not of that hath betided me!" But
quoth the other, "Tell me what may be thy disease and whereof
cost thou complain; nor conceal from me thy pain; for that I am a
physician and by aidance of Allah an experienced; and I have a
medicine for thy malady." Hereat the youth fell to moaning and
groaning and presently replied, "In very sooth, O my lord, I have
nor pain nor complaint, save that I am a lover." The Warlock
asked, "Art thou indeed a lover?" whereto the Cook make answer,
"And not only a lover but a lover parted from his beloved." "On
whom hangeth thy heart, say me?" continued the Mediciner and the
youth replied, "Leave me for the nonce till such time as I am
quit of my business, and return to me about mid-afternoon, that I
may inform thee of mine affair and acquaint thee with the case I
am in." The Warlock rejoined, "Arise now to thy work lest it be
miswrought by loitering;" and so saying he ate whatso of meats
had been served up to him and fared forth to thread the Bazars of
Baghdad and solace himself by seeing the city. But when it was
the hour of Al 'Asr--the mid afternoon prayer--he went back to
the Cook and found that by this time he had wrought all his work,
and as soon as the youth sighted him he rejoiced in him and his
spirits were cheered and he said in his mind, "Haply joy shall
come to me from the healing hand of this Mediciner;" so he shut
his shop and taking with him his customer tried him to his own
home. Now this young Kitchener was of amplest means which he had
inherited from either parent; so as soon as they entered his
quarters he served up food and the two ate and drank and were
gladdened and comforted. After this quoth the guest to his host,
"Now relate to me the manner of thy story and what is the cause
of thy disorder?" "O my lord," quoth the youth, "I must inform
thee that the Caliph Al-Mu'tazid bi'llah,[FN#240] the Commander
of the Faithful, hath a daughter fair of favour, and gracious of
gesture; beautiful delightsome and dainty of waist and flank, a
maiden in whom all the signs and signals of loveliness are
present, and the tout ensemble is independent of description:
seer never saw her like and relator never related of aught that
eveneth her in stature and seemlihead and graceful bearing of
head. Now albeit a store of suitors galore, the grandees and the
Kings, asked her from the Caliph, her sire refused to part with
her, nor gave her neither would he give her to any one thereof.
And every Friday when fare the folk to the Mosques that they pray
the prayers of meeting-day, all the merchants and men who buy and
sell and the very artisans and what not, leave their shops and
warehouses[FN#241] and taverns[FN#242] unbolted and wide open and
flock to congregational devotions. And at such time this rare
maiden cometh down from her palace and solaceth herself with
beholding the Bazars and anon she entereth the Hammam and batheth
therein and straightway goeth forth and fareth homewards. But one
Friday said I to myself, 'I will not go to the Mosque, for I
would fain look upon her with a single look;' and when prayer-
time came and the folk flocked to the fane for divine service, I
hid myself within my shop Presently that august damsel appeared
with a comitive of forty handmaidens all as full moons newly
risen and each fairer than her fellows, while she amiddlemost
rained light upon them as she were the irradiating sun; and the
bondswomen would have kept her from sight by thronging around her
and they carried her skirts by means of bent rods[FN#243] golden
and silvern. I looked at her but one look when straightway my
heart fell in love to her burning as a live coal and from mine
eyes tears railed and until now I am still in that same yearning,
and what yearning!" And so saying the youth cried out with an
outcry whereby his soul was like to leave his body. "Is this case
still thy case?" asked the Warlock, and the youth answered, "Yes,
O my lord;" when the other enquired, "An I bring thee and her
together what wilt thou give me?" and the young Cook replied, "My
money and my life which shall be between thy hands!" Hereupon
quoth the Mediciner, "Up with thee and bring me a phial of metal
and seven needles and a piece of fresh Lign-aloes;[FN#244] also a
bit of cooked meat,[FN#245] and somewhat of sealing-clay and the
shoulder-blade of a sheep together with felt and sendal of seven
kinds." The youth fared forth and did his bidding, when the Sage
took the shoulder-blades and wrote upon them Koranic versets and
adjurations which would please the Lord of the Heavens and,
wrapping them in felt, swathed them with silken stuff of
sevenfold sorts. Then, taking the phial he thrust the seven
needles into the green Lign-aloes and set it in the cooked meat
which he made fast with the sealing clay. Lastly he conjured over
these objects with a Conjuration[FN#246] which was, "I have
knocked, I have knocked at the hall doors of Earth to summon the
Jánn, and the Jánn have knocked for the Jánn against the
Shaytán." Hereat appeared to me the son of Al bin Imrán[FN#247]
with a snake and baldrick'd with a basilisk and cried, "Who be
this trader and son of a slave-girl who hath knocked at the
ground for us this evening?" "Then do thou, O youth, reply, 'I am
a lover and of age youthful and my love is to a young lady; and
unto your gramarye I have had recourse, O folk of manliness and
generosity and masterful deeds: so work ye with me and confirm
mine affair and aid me in this matter. See ye not how Such an
one, daughter of Such an one, oppression and wrong to me hath
done, nor is she with me in affection as she was anon?' They
shall answer thee, 'Let it be, as is said, in the tail;'[FN#248]
then do thou set the objects upon a fire exceeding fierce and
recite then over them, 'This be the business; and were Such-an-
one, daughter of Such-an-one, within the well of Káshán[FN#249]
or in the city Ispahan or in the towns of men who with cloaks
buttoned tight and ever ready good fame to blight,[FN#250] let
her come forth and seek union with the beloved.' Whereto she will
reply 'Thou art the lord and I am the bondswoman.' " Now the
youth abode marvelling at such marvel-forms and the Warlock
having repeated to him these words three times, turned to him and
said "Arise to thy feet and perfume and fumigate thy person and
don thy choicest dress and dispread thy bed, for at this very
hour thou shalt see thy mistress by thy side." And so saying the
Sage cast out of hand the shoulder-blades and set the phial upon
the fire. Thereupon the youth arose without stay or delay and
bringing a bundle of raiment the rarest, he spread it and habited
himself, doing whatso the Wizard had bidden him; withal could he
not believe that his mistress would appear. However ere a scanty
space of time had elapsed, lo and behold! the young lady bearing
her bedding[FN#251] and still sleeping passed through the house
door and she was bright and beautiful as the easting sun. But
when the youth the Cook sighted her, he was perplex" and his wits
took flight with his sense and he cried aloud saying, "This be
naught save a wondrous matter!" "And the same," quoth the Sage,
"is that requiredst thou." Quoth the Cook, "And thou, O my lord
art of the Hallows of Allah," and kissed his hand and thanked him
for his kindly deed. "Up with thee and take thy pleasure," cried
the Warlock; so the lover crept under the coverlet into the bed
and he threw his arms round the fair one and kissed her between
the eyes; after which he bussed her on the mouth. She sensed a
sensation in herself and straightway awaking opened her eyes and
beheld a youth embracing her, so she asked him, "Ho thou, who art
thou?" Answered he, "One by thine eyes a captive ta'en and of thy
love the slain and of none save thyself the fain." Hereat she
looked at him with a look which her heart for love longing struck
and again asked him, "O my beloved; say me then, who art thou, a
being of mankind or of Jánn-kind?" whereto he answered, "I am
human and of the most honourable." She resumed, "Then who was it
brought me hither to thee?" and he responded, "The Angels and the
Spirits, the Jinns and the Jann." "Then I swear thee, O my
dearling," quoth she, "that thou bid them bear me hither to thine
arms every night," and quoth he, "Hearkening and obeying, O my
lady, and for me also this be the bourne of all wishes." Then,
each having kissed other, they slept in mutual embrace until
dawn. But when the morning morrowed and showed its sheen and
shone, behold, the Warlock appeared and, calling the youth who
came to him with a smiling face, said to him, "How was it with
thy soul this night?"[FN#252] and both lovers cried, "We were in
the Garden of Paradise together with the Hur and Ghilman:[FN#253]
Allah requite thee for us with all weal." Then they passed into
the Hammam and when they had bathed, the youth said, "O my lord,
what shall we do with the young lady and how shall she hie to her
household and what shall be the case of me without her?" "Feel no
grief," said the other, "and quit all care of anything: e'en as
she came so shall she go; nor shall any of Almighty Allah's
creatures know aught of her." Hereat the Sage dismissed her by
the means which conveyed her, nor did she cease to bear her
bedding with her every night and to visit the youth with all
joyance and delight. Now after a few weeks had gone by, this
young lady happening to be upon the terrace roof of her palace in
company with her mother, turned her back to the sun, and when the
heat struck her between the shoulders her belly swelled; so her
parent asked her, "O my daughter, what hast thou that thou
justest out after this wise?" "I wot naught thereof," answered
she; so the mother put forth her hand to the belly of her child
and found her pregnant; whereupon she screamed and buffeted her
face and asked, "Whence did this befal thee?" The women-
attendants all heard her cries and running up to her enquired,
"What hath caused thee, O our lady, such case as this?" whereto
she replied, "I would bespeak the Caliph." So the women sought
him and said, "O our lord, thou art wanted by our lady;" and he
did their bidding and went to his wife, but at first sight he
noted the condition of his daughter and asked her, "What is to do
with thee and what hath brought on thee such calamity?" Hereupon
the Princess told him how it was with her and he exclaimed as he
heard it, "O my daughter, I am the Caliph and Commander of the
Faithful, and thou hast been sought to wife of me by the Kings of
the earth one and all, but thou didst not accept them as
connections and now thou doest such deed as this! I swear the
most binding oaths and I vow by the tombs of my sires and my
grandsires, an thou say me sooth thou shalt be saved; but unless
thou tell me truth concerning whatso befel thee and from whom
came this affair and the quality of the man's intention thee-
wards, I will slaughter thee and under earth I will sepulchre
thee." Now when the Princess heard from her father's mouth these
words and had pondered this swear he had sworn she replied, "O my
sire, albeit lying may save yet is truth-telling the more saving
side. Verily, O my father, 'tis some time before this day that my
bed beareth me up every night and carrieth me to a house of the
houses wherein dwelleth a youth, a model of beauty and
loveliness, who causeth every seer to languish; and he beddeth
with me and sleepeth by my side until dawn, when my couch
uplifteth me and returneth with me to the Palace: nor wot I the
manner of my going and the mode of my coming is alike unknown to
me." The Caliph hearing these her words marvelled at this her
tale with exceeding marvel and fell into the uttermost of
wonderment, but bethinking him of his Wazir, a man of penetrative
wit, sagacious, astute, argute exceedingly, he summoned him to
the presence and acquainted him as soon as he came with this
affair and what had befallen his daughter; to wit, how she was
borne away in her bed without knowing whither or aught else.
Quoth the Minister after taking thought for a full told hour, "O
Caliph of the Time and the Age, I have a device by whose virtue I
do opine we shall arrive at the stead whither wendeth the
Princess;" and quoth the Caliph "What may be this device of
thine?" "Bid bring me a bag;" rejoined the Wazir, "which I will
let fill with millet;"[FN#254] so they brought him one and he
after stuffing the same with grain set it upon the girl's bed and
close to her where lay her head, leaving the mouth open to the
intent that when during the coming night her couch might be
carried away, the millet in going and returning might be shed
upon the path. "Allah bless thee, Ho thou the Wazir!" cried the
Caliph: "this device of thine is passing good and fair fall it
for a sleight than which naught can be slyer and good luck to it
for a proof than which naught can be better proven." Now as soon
as it was even-tide, the couch was carried off as had happened
every night and the grain was strown broad cast upon the path,
like a stream, from the gateway of the Palace to the door of the
young Cook's lodging, wherein the Princess righted as was her
wont until dawn of day. And when morn appeared the Sage came and
carried off with him the youth to the Hammam where he found
privacy and said to him, "O my son, an thou ask me aught touching
thy mistress's kith and kin, I bid thee know that they have
indeed discovered her condition and against thee they have
devised a device." Exclaimed the youth, "Verily we are Allah's
and unto Him are we returning! What may be thy rede in this
affair? An they slay me I shall be a martyr on Allah's
path;[FN#255] but do thou wend thy ways and save thyself and may
the Almighty requite thee with all of welfare; thee, through whom
mine every wish I have won, and the whole of my designs I have
fulfilled; after which let them do with me as they desire." The
Warlock replied, "O my son, grieve not neither fear, for naught
shall befal thee of harm, and I purpose to show thee marvels and
miracles wroughten upon them." When the youth heard these words
his spirits were cheered, and joying with joy exceeding he
replied, "Almighty Allah reward thee for me with fullest
welfare!" Then the twain went forth the Hammam and tried them
home. But as soon as morning morrowed, the Wazir repaired to the
Caliph; and, both going to the Princess together, found her in
her bower and the bag upon her bed clean empty of millet, at
sight of which the Minister exclaimed, "Now indeed we have caught
our debtor. Up with us and to horse, O Caliph of the Age, and sum
and substance of the Time and the Tide, and follow we the millet
and track its trail." The Com mender of the Faithful forthright
gave orders to mount, and the twain, escorted by their host, rode
forth on the traces of the grain till they drew near the house,
when the youth heard the jingle and jangle[FN#256] of horses'
tramp and the wrangle and cangle of men's outcries. Upon this
said the Cook to the Warlock, "Here they draw near to seize me, O
my lord, what is there now for me to do?" and said the other,
"Rise and fill me an ewer with water then mount therewith to the
terrace-roof and pour the contents round and about the house,
after which come down to me." The youth did his bidding, and
meanwhile the Caliph and the Wazir and the soldiery had
approached the house when, lo and behold! the site had become an
island amiddlemost a main dashing with clashing billows.[FN#257]
But when the Commander of the Faithful sighted this sea, he was
perplexed with mighty great perplexity and enquired of the Wazir,
"At what time did such great water appear in this place?" The
Minister replied, "I never knew that here was any stream, albe
well I wot that the Tigris river floweth amiddlemost the capital;
but this is a magical current." So saying he bade the soldiery
urge their horses into the water sans fear, and every one crave
as he had directed until all who entered lost their lives and a
many of men were drowned. Hereupon cried the Prince of True
Believers, "O Wazir, we are about to destroy our host and to fare
with them!" and cried the other, "How shall we act, O Caliph of

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