Full Text Archive logoFull Text Archive — Free Classic E-books

The Arabian Nights Entertainments Complete by Anon.

Part 13 out of 28

Adobe PDF icon
Download this document as a .pdf
File size: 3.0 MB
What's this? light bulb idea Many people prefer to read off-line or to print out text and read from the real printed page. Others want to carry documents around with them on their mobile phones and read while they are on the move. We have created .pdf files of all out documents to accommodate all these groups of people. We recommend that you download .pdfs onto your mobile phone when it is connected to a WiFi connection for reading off-line.

commend whatever belonged to him; and in this they found their
account. "Sir," said one of them, "I came the other day by your
estate that lies in such a place; nothing can be so magnificent
or so handsomely furnished as your house; and the garden
belonging to it is a paradise upon earth." "I am very glad it
pleases you," replied Noor ad Deen: "bring me pen, ink, and
paper; without more words, it is at your service; I make you a
present of it." No sooner had others commended one of his houses,
baths, or public buildings erected for the use of strangers, the
yearly revenue of which was very considerable, than he
immediately gave them away. The fair Persian could not forbear
stating to him how much injury he did himself; but, instead of
paying any regard to her remonstrances, he continued his
extravagances, and the first opportunity that offered, squandered
away the little he had left.

In short, Noor ad Deen did nothing for a whole year but feast and
make merry, wasting and consuming, with the utmost prodigality,
the great wealth that his predecessors, and the good vizier his
father, had with so much pains and care acquired and preserved.

The year was but just expired, when a person one day knocked at
the door of the hall, where he and his friends were at dinner
together by themselves, having sent away the slaves, that they
might enjoy the greater liberty.

One of his friends offered to rise; but Noor ad Deen stepping
before him, opened the door himself. It was the steward; and Noor
ad Deen, going a little out of the hall to know his business,
left the door half open.

The friend that offered to rise from his seat, seeing it was the
steward, and being curious to know what he had to say, placed
himself between the hangings and the door, where he plainly
overheard the steward's discourse to his master. "Sir," said he,
"I ask a thousand pardons for coming to disturb you in the height
of your pleasure; but what I have to say is of such importance,
that I thought myself bound in duty to acquaint you with it. I am
come, sir, to make up my last accounts, and to tell you, that
what I all along foresaw, and have often warned you of, is at
last come to pass. I have not the smallest piece left of all the
sums I have received from you for your expenses; the other funds
you assigned me are all exhausted. The farmers, and those that
owe you rent, have made it so plainly appear to me, that you have
assigned over to others what they held of you, that it is
impossible for me to get any more from them on your account. Here
are my books; if you please, examine them; and if you wish I
should continue useful to you, assign me other funds, or else
give me leave to quit your service." Noor ad Deen was so
astonished at his statement, that he gave him no answer.

The friend who had been listening all this while, and had heard
every syllable of what the steward said, immediately came in, and
told the company what he had overheard. "It is your business,
gentlemen," said he, "to make your use of this caution; for my
part, I declare to you, this is the last visit I design ever to
make Noor ad Deen." "Nay," replied they, "if matters go thus, we
have as little business here as you; and for the future shall
take care not to trouble him with our company."

Noor ad Deen returned presently after; notwithstanding all his
efforts to appear gay to his guests, he could not so dissemble
his concern, but they plainly perceived the truth of what they
had heard. He was scarcely sat down in his place, when one of his
friends arose: "Sir," said he, "I am sorry I cannot have the
honour of keeping you company any longer; and therefore I hope
you will excuse my rudeness in leaving you so soon." "What urgent
affair," demanded Noor ad Deen, "obliges you to be going so
soon?" "My wife, sir," he replied, "is brought to bed to-day; and
upon such an occasion, you know a husband's company is always
necessary." So making a very low bow, he went away. A minute
afterwards a second took his leave, with another excuse. The rest
did the same, one after another, till at last not one of the ten
friends that had hitherto kept Noor ad Deen company remained.

As soon as they were gone, Noor ad Deen, little suspecting the
resolution they had formed never to see him again, went directly
to the fair Persian's apartment; to whom he related all the
steward had told him, and seemed extremely concerned at the ill
state of his affairs. "Sir," said the fair Persian, "allow me to
say, you would never take my advice, but always managed your
concerns after your own way, and now you see the fatal
consequences. I find I was not mistaken, when I presaged to what
a miserable condition you would bring yourself at last: but what
afflicts me the more is, that at present you do not see the worst
of your misfortunes. Whenever I presumed freely to remonstrate
with you, ‘Let us be merry,' you replied, ‘and improve the time
that Fortune offers us; perhaps she will not always be so
prodigal of her favours:' but was I to blame in telling you, that
we are ourselves the makers of our own fortunes by a prudent
management of them? You would not hearken to me; and I was
forced, however reluctantly, to let you go on."

"I must own," replied Noor ad Deen, "I was extremely in the wrong
in not following the advice which with such admirable prudence
you gave me. It is true, I have spent my estate; but do you not
consider, it is among a chosen set of friends, whom I have long
known, and who, I am persuaded, have more generosity and
gratitude than to abandon me in distress?" "Sir," replied the
fair Persian, "if you have nothing but the gratitude of your
friends to depend on, your case is desperate; for, believe me,
that hope is ill-grounded, and you will tell me so yourself in

To this Noor ad Deen replied, "Charming Persian, I have a better
opinion of my friends' generosity: to-morrow I design to visit
them all, before the usual time of their coming hither; and you
shall see me return with a round sum that they will assist me
with. I am resolved to alter my way of living, and, with the
money they lend me, to set up in some business."

Next morning, Noor ad Deen visited his ten friends, who lived in
the same street. He knocked at the first door, where one of the
richest of them resided. A slave came to the door: but before he
would open it, asked who was there. "Tell your master," said he
to the slave, "it is Noor ad Deen, the late vizier Khacan's son."
The slave opened the door, and shewed him into a hall, where he
left him, in order to inform his master, who was in an inner
room, that Noor ad Deen was come to wait on him, "Noor ad Deen!"
cried he, in a disdainful tone, loud enough for him to hear: "go
tell him I am not at home; and whenever he may come again, be
sure you give him the same answer." The slave returned, and told
Noor ad Deen he thought his master was within, but was mistaken.

Noor ad Deen came away in the greatest confusion. "Ah! base,
ungrateful wretch!" cried he, "to treat me so to-day after the
vows and protestations of friendship that he made me yesterday."
He went to another door, but that friend ordered his slave also
to say he was gone out. He had the same answer at the third; and,
in short, all the rest denied themselves, though every one was at

Noor ad Deen now began in earnest to reflect with himself, and
see the folly of relying upon the protestations of attachment
that his false friends had solemnly made him in the time of his
prosperity, when he could treat them sumptuously, and load them
with favours. "It is true," said he to himself, "that a fortunate
man, as I was, may be compared to a tree laden with fruit, which,
as long as there is any on its boughs, people will be crowding
round, and gathering; but as soon as it is stripped of all, they
immediately leave it, and go to another." He smothered his
passion as much as possible while he was abroad; but no sooner
was he got home than he gave a loose to his affliction, and
discovered it to the fair Persian.

The fair Persian seeing him so extremely concerned, guessed he
had not found his friends so ready to assist him as he expected.
"Well, sir," said she, "are you now convinced of the truth of
what I told you?" "Ah!" cried he, "thou hast been too true a
prophetess; for not one of them would know me, see me, or speak
to me. Who could ever have believed, that persons so highly
obliged to me, and on whom I have spent my estate, could have
used me so ungratefully? I am distracted; and I fear shall commit
some action unworthy myself, in the deplorable and desperate
condition I am reduced to, unless you assist me with your prudent
advice." "Sir," replied the fair Persian, "I see no other way of
supporting yourself in your misfortunes, but selling off your
slaves and furniture, and living on the money they produce, till
heaven points out some other means to deliver you from your
present misery."

Noor ad Deen was loth to resort to this expedient; but what could
he do in the necessitous circumstances to which he was reduced?
He first sold off his slaves, those unprofitable mouths, which
would have been a greater expense to him than in his present
condition he could bear. He lived on the money for some time; and
when it was spent, ordered his goods to be carried into the
market-place, where they were sold for half their value, though
there were among them several articles that had cost immense
sums. Upon the produce of these he lived a considerable time; but
this supply failing at last, he had nothing left by which he
could raise any more money, of which he informed the fair Persian
in the most sorrowful expressions.

Noor ad Deen little expected the answer this prudent woman made
him. "Sir," said she, "I am your slave; and the late vizier your
father gave ten thousand pieces of gold for me. I know I am a
little sunk in value since that time; but I believe I shall sell
for pretty near that sum. Let me entreat you then instantly to
carry me to the market, and expose me to sale; and with the money
that you get for me, which will be very considerable, you may
turn merchant in some city where you are not known, and by that
means find a way of living, if not in splendour, yet with
happiness and content."

"Lovely and adorable Persian!" cried Noor ad Deen, "is it
possible you can entertain such a thought? Have I given you such
slender proofs of my love, that you should think me capable of so
base an action? But suppose me so vile a wretch, could I do it
without being guilty of perjury, after the oath I have taken to
my late father never to sell you? I would sooner die than break
it, and part with you, whom I love infinitely beyond myself;
though, by the unreasonable proposal you have made me, you shew
me that your love is by no means reciprocal."

"Sir," replied the fair Persian, "I am convinced that your
passion for me is as sincere as you express; and heaven, who
knows with what reluctance I have made this proposal which
induces you to think so hardly of me, is my witness, that mine is
as great as yours; but to silence your reasons, I need only bid
you remember, that necessity has no law. I love you to that
degree that it is impossible for you to love me more; and be
assured, that to what master soever I shall belong, my love for
you will continue undiminished; and if you are ever able to
redeem me, as I hope you may, it will be the greatest pleasure in
the world to be restored to you again. I confess it is a fatal
and cruel necessity to which we are driven; but I see no other
way of freeing ourselves from the misery that involves us both."

Noor ad Deen, convinced of the truth of what the fair Persian had
said, and that there was no other way of avoiding a shameful
poverty, was forced to yield to her proposal. Accordingly he led
her to the market where the women-slaves are exposed to sale,
with a regret that cannot easily be expressed. He applied himself
to a broker, named Hagi Hassan. "Hagi Hassan," said he, "here is
a slave whom I mean to sell; what will they give for her?"

Hagi Hassan desired Noor ad Deen and the fair Persian to walk
into a room; and when she had pulled off the veil that covered
her face, "Sir," said Hagi Hassan, in surprise, "if I am not
mistaken, this is the slave your father, the late vizier, gave
ten thousand pieces of gold for?" Noor ad Deen assured him she
was the same and Hagi Hassan gave him some hopes of selling her
at a high price, and promised to use all his art to raise her
value as high as he could.

Hagi Hassan and Noor ad Deen went out of the room; and Hagi
Hassan locked the fair Persian in. He went immediately to the
merchants; but they being busy in buying slaves from different
countries, Greeks, Franks, Africans, Tartars, and others, he was
forced to wait till the market was over. When the sale was ended,
and the greatest part of them were got together again, "My
masters," said he to them, with an air of gaiety in his looks and
actions, "every thing that is round is not a nut, every thing
that is long is not a fig, all that is red is not flesh, and all
eggs are not fresh; it is true you have seen and bought a great
many slaves in your lives, but you never yet saw one comparable
to her I am going to tell you of. She is the very pearl of
slaves. Come, follow me, you shall see her yourselves, and judge
at what rate I shall cry her."

The merchants followed Hagi Hassan into the apartment where he
had left the fair Persian, and as soon as they beheld her were so
surprised at her beauty, that they unanimously agreed, four
thousand pieces of gold was the very lowest price they could set
upon her. The merchants left the room; and Hagi Hassan, who came
out with them, without going any farther, proclaimed with a loud
voice, "Four thousand pieces of gold for a Persian slave."

None of the merchants had yet offered anything, and were
consulting together about what they might afford to give for her,
when the vizier Saouy appeared. Perceiving Noor ad Deen in the
market, he said to himself, "Noor ad Deen is certainly still
making money of his goods" (for he knew he had exposed them to
sale), "and is come hither to buy a slave with the product." He
advanced forward just as Hagi Hassan began to proclaim a second
time, "Four thousand pieces of gold for a Persian slave."

The vizier Saouy, who concluded by the high price, that the slave
must be extraordinarily beautiful, was very desirous to see her;
so spurring his horse forward, he rode up to Hagi Hassan, who was
surrounded by the merchants. "Open the door," said he, "and let
me see the slave." It was not the custom to shew a slave to a
particular person after the merchants had seen her, and were
treating for her; but none of them durst dispute their right with
the vizier; and Hagi Hassan was obliged to open the door, and he
made a sign to the fair Persian to come forward, that Saouy might
see her, without alighting from his horse.

The vizier was astonished at the sight of so beautiful a slave;
and knowing the broker's name (having formerly dealt with him),
"Hagi Hassan," said he, "is it not at four thousand pieces of
gold that you cry her?" "Yes, sir," answered he; "the merchants
just now agreed that I should put her up at that price: I wait
their advance; and I question not but they will give a great deal

"If no one offers more, I will give that sum," replied Saouy,
looking at the merchants at the same time with a countenance that
forbad them to advance the price. He was so universally dreaded,
that no one durst speak a word, even to complain of his
encroaching upon their privilege.

The vizier having stayed some time, and finding none of the
merchants outbid him, "What do you stay for?" said he to Hagi
Hassan. "Inquire after the seller, and strike a bargain with him
at four thousand pieces of gold, or ask if he demands more."

Hagi Hassan having locked the chamber-door, went to confer with
Noor ad Deen. "Sir," said he to him, "I am very sorry to bring
you the ill news of your slave's going to be sold for nothing."
"How so?" replied Noor ad Deen. "Why sir," continued Hagi Hassan,
"you must know that the business at first went on well; for as
soon as the merchants had seen your slave, they ordered me,
without hesitation, to cry her at four thousand pieces of gold;
accordingly I cried her at that price, but presently the vizier
Saouy came, and his presence has stopped the mouths of all the
merchants, who seemed disposed to raise her, at least to the same
price your deceased father gave for her. Saouy will give no more
than four thousand pieces; and it is much against my inclination
that I am come to tell you his despicable offer. The slave indeed
is your own; but I will never advise you to part with her upon
those terms, since you and every one else are sensible of her
being worth infinitely more; besides, he is base enough to
contrive a way to trick you out of the money."

"Hagi Hassan," replied Noor ad Deen, "I am highly obliged to thee
for thy advice: do not think I will ever sell my slave to any
enemy of our family; my necessities, indeed, are at present very
great; but I would sooner die in the utmost poverty than consent
to delivering her up to him. I have only one thing to beg of
thee, who art skilful in all the turns and shifts of sale, that
thou wouldst put me in a way to prevent the completion of the

"Sir," said Hagi Hassan, "nothing is more easy: you must pretend
that, being in a violent passion with your slave, you swore to
expose her in the market, and for the sake of your oath have now
brought her hither, without any intention of selling her. This
will satisfy every one; and Saouy will have nothing to say
against it. Come along with me then; and just as I am presenting
her to Saouy as if it were by your own consent, pull her to you,
give her two or three blows, and send her home." "I thank thee
for thy counsel," said Noor ad Deen, "and will make use of it."

Hagi Hassan went back to the chamber; and having privately
acquainted the fair Persian with their design, that she might not
be surprised, took her by the hand, and led her to the vizier
Saouy, who was still on horseback at the door "Sir," said he,
"here is the slave, she is yours; take her."

The words were scarcely out of Hagi Hassan's mouth, when Noor ad
Deen, catching hold of the fair Persian, pulled her to him, and
giving her a box on the ear, "Come hither, impertinence," said
he, "and get you home again; for though your ill-humour obliged
me to swear I should bring you hither, yet I never intended to
sell you: I have business for you to do yet; and it will be time
enough to part with you when I have nothing else left."

This conduct of Noor ad Deen put the vizier Saouy into a violent
passion. "Miserable debauchee," cried he, "wouldst thou have me
believe thou hast any thing else left to make money of but thy
slave?" and at the same instant, spurring his horse directly
against him, endeavoured to carry off the fair Persian. Noor ad
Deen. nettled to the quick at the affront the vizier had put upon
him, quitted the fair Persian, and laying hold of his horse's
bridle, made him run two or three paces backwards. "Vile dotard,"
said he to the vizier, "I would tear thy soul out of thy body
this moment, were it not out of respect for the crowd of people
here present."

The vizier Saouy being hated by all, there was not one among them
but was pleased to see Noor ad Deen mortify him; and by signs
they gave him to understand, that he might revenge himself upon
him as much as he pleased, for nobody would interfere in their

Saouy endeavoured to force Noor ad Deen to quit the bridle; but
he being a lusty, vigorous man, and encouraged by those that
stood by, pulled him off his horse, gave him several blows, and
dashed his head against the stones, till it was all over blood.
The slaves who waited upon the vizier would have drawn their
cimeters, and fallen upon Noor ad Deen; but the merchants
interposing prevented them. "What do you mean?" said they to
them; "do you not see that one is a vizier, the other a vizier's
son? Let them fight it out; perhaps they will be reconciled one
time or another; whereas, if you had killed Noor ad Deen, your
master, with all his greatness, could not have been able to
protest you against the law?"

Noor ad Deen having given over beating the vizier Saouy, left him
in the mire, and taking the fair Persian, marched home with her,
attended by the people, with shouts and acclamations for the
action he had performed.

The vizier, cruelly bruised with the blows he had received, made
shift to get up, with the assistance of his slaves, and had the
mortification to see himself besmeared with blood and dirt. He
leaned on the shoulders of two slaves, and in that condition went
straight to the palace in the sight of all the people, with the
greater confusion, because no one pitied him. As soon as he
reached the king's apartment, he began to cry out, and call for
justice in a lamentable tone. The king ordered him to be
admitted; and asked who it was that had abused and put him into
that miserable plight. "Sire," cried Saouy, "it is the favour of
your majesty, and being admitted into your sacred councils, that
has occasioned me to be so barbarously treated." "Say no more of
that," replied the king, "only let me hear the whole story
simply, and who the offender is; and if he is in the wrong, you
may depend upon it he shall be severely punished."

"Sire," said Saouy, telling the whole matter to his own
advantage, "having occasion for a cook, I went to the market of
women-slaves to buy one: when I came thither, there was a slave
just cried at four thousand pieces of gold; I ordered them to
bring her before me, and I think my eyes never did nor will
behold a more beautiful creature: I had no sooner examined her
beauty with the highest satisfaction, than I immediately asked to
whom she belonged; and upon inquiry found that Noor ad Deen, son
to the late vizier Khacan, had the disposing of her.

"Your majesty may remember, that about two or three years ago,
you gave that vizier ten thousand pieces of gold, strictly
charging him to buy you a slave with that sum. The money, indeed,
was laid out upon this very slave; but instead of bringing her to
your majesty, thinking his son deserved her better, he made him a
present of her. Noor ad Deen, since his father's death, having
wasted his whole fortune in riot and feasting, has nothing left
but this slave, whom he at last resolved to part with; and she
was to be sold in his name, I sent for him; and, without
mentioning any thing of his father's prevarication, or rather
treachery to your majesty, I in the civilest manner said to him,
‘Noor ad Deen, the merchants, I perceive, have put your slave up
at four thousand pieces of gold; and I question not, but, in
emulation of each other, they will raise the price considerably:
let me have her for the four thousand pieces; I am going to buy
her for the king our lord and master; this will be a handsome
opportunity of making your court to him: and his favour will be
worth far more than the merchants can propose to give you.'

"Instead of returning me a civil answer, the insolent wretch,
beholding me with a fierce air, "Impotent villain,' said he, ‘I
would rather give my slave to a Jew for nothing than to thee for
money.' ‘Noor ad Deen,' I replied, without passion, though I had
some reason to be a little warm,'you do not consider, that by
talking in this manner you affront the king, who raised both your
father and me to the honours we have enjoyed.'

"This admonition, instead of softening him, only provoked him to
a higher degree; so that, falling upon me like a madman, without
regard to my age or rank, he pulled me off my horse, and put me
into this miserable plight. I beseech your majesty to consider,
that it is on your account I have been so publicly affronted."

The abused king, highly incensed against Noor ad Deen by this
relation, so full of malice and artifice, discovered by his
countenance the violence of his anger; and turning to the captain
of his guards, who stood near him, "Take forty of your soldiers,"
said he, "immediately plunder Noor ad Deen's house, and having
ordered it to be razed to the ground, bring him and his slave to
the presence."

Before the captain of the guards was gone out of the king's
presence, an officer belonging to the court, who overheard the
order given, hastened out. His name was Sangiar; and he had been
formerly a slave of the vizier Khacan who had introduced him at
court, where by degrees he had raised himself.

Sangiar, full of gratitude to his old master and affection for
Noor ad Deen, whom he remembered a child, being no stranger to
Saouy's hatred of Khacan's family, could not hear the order
without concern. "This action," said he to himself, "may not be
altogether so black as Saouy has represented it. He has
prejudiced the king against him, who will certainly put him to
death, without allowing him time to justify himself." He made so
much haste to Noor ad Deen's house, as to get thither soon enough
to acquaint him with what had passed at court, and give him time
to provide for his own and the fair Persian's safety. He knocked
so violently at the door, that Noor ad Deen, who had been a great
while without any servant, ran immediately to open it. "My dear
lord," said Sangiar, "there is no safety for you in Bussorah; you
must lose no time, but depart hence this moment."

"How so?" demanded Noor ad Deen. "What is the reason I must be
gone so soon?" "Make haste away, sir," replied Sangiar, "and take
your slave with you. In short, Saouy has been just now
acquainting the king, after his own way of telling it, all that
passed between you and him; and the captain of the guards will be
here in an instant, with forty soldiers, to seize you and the
fair Persian. Take these forty pieces of gold to assist you in
repairing to some place of safety. I would give you more if I had
it about me. Excuse my not staying any longer; I leave you with
reluctance." Sangiar gave Noor ad Deen but just time to thank
him, and departed.

Noor ad Deen acquainted the fair Persian with the absolute
necessity of their going that moment. She only put on her veil;
they both stole out of the house, and were fortunate enough not
only to get clear of the city, but also safely to arrive at the
Euphrates, which was not far off, where they embarked in a vessel
that lay ready to weigh anchor.

As soon as they were on board, the captain came on deck amongst
his passengers. "Children," said he to them, "are you all here?
have any of you any more business to do in the city? or have you
left any thing behind you?" They were all there, they answered
him, and ready; so that he might sail as soon as he pleased. When
Noor ad Deen came aboard, the first question he asked was,
whither the vessel was bound? and being told for Bagdad, he
rejoiced at it. The captain, having weighed anchor, set sail; and
the vessel, with a very favourable wind, lost sight of Bussorah.

The captain of the guards came to Noor ad Deen's house, and
knocked at the door; but no one answering, he ordered his
soldiers to break it open, who immediately obeyed him, and rushed
in. They searched the house; but neither he nor the fair Persian
were to be found. The captain of the guards made them inquire of
the neighbours; and he himself asked if they had seen them
lately. It was all in vain; for if they had seen him go out of
his house, so universally beloved was Noor ad Deen by the people,
that not one of them would have said the least word to his
prejudice. While they were rifling the house, and levelling it to
the ground, he went to acquaint the king with the news. "Look for
them," said he, "every where; for I am resolved to have them."

The captain of the guards made a second search, and the king
dismissed the vizier Saouy with honour. "Go home," said he,
"trouble yourself no farther to punish Noor ad Deen; I will
revenge your injuries."

Without delay the king ordered to be proclaimed throughout the
whole city a reward of a thousand pieces of gold for any person
that should apprehend Noor ad Deen and the fair Persian, also a
severe punishment upon those who should conceal them. No tidings
however could be heard of them; and the vizier Saouy had only the
comfort of seeing the king espouse his quarrel.

In the mean time, Noor ad Deen and the fair Persian, after a
prosperous voyage, landed safe at Bagdad. As soon as the captain
came within sight of that city, pleased that his voyage was at an
end, "Rejoice, my children," cried he to the passengers; "yonder
is that great and wonderful city, where there is a perpetual
concourse of people from all parts of the world: there you shall
meet with innumerable crowds, and never feel the extremity of
cold in winter, nor the excess of heat in summer, but enjoy an
eternal spring with all its flowers, and the delicious fruits of

When the vessel came to anchor, a little below the city, the
passengers went ashore, each to their respective place of abode.
Noor ad Deen gave the captain five pieces of gold for his
passage, and went ashore also with the fair Persian; but being a
perfect stranger in Bagdad, was at a loss for a lodging. They
rambled a considerable time along the gardens that bordered on
the Tigris, and keeping close to one of them that was enclosed
with a very long wall, at the end of it they turned into a street
well paved, where they perceived a magnificent gateway and a
fountain near it.

The inner door happened to be shut, but the portal was open, in
which there was an estrade on each side. "This is a very
convenient place for us," said Noor ad Deen to the fair Persian;
"night comes on apace; and though we have eaten nothing since our
landing, I am for passing the night here, and to-morrou we shall
have time enough to look for a lodging." "Sir," replied the fair
Persian, "you know your wishes are mine; les us go no farther,
since you are willing to stay here." Each of them having drunk a
draught of water at the fountain, they laid themselves down upon
one of the estrades; and after a little chat, being soothed by
the agreeable murmur of the water, fell asleep.

The garden belonged to the caliph: and in the middle of it there
was a pavilion, called the pavilion of pictures, because its
chief ornaments were pictures after the Persian manner, drawn by
the most celebrated painters in Persia, whom the caliph had sent
for on purpose. The stately hall within this pavilion was lighted
by fourscore arches and a lustre in each; but these were lighted
only when the caliph came thither to spend the evening. On such
occasions they made a glorious illumination, and could be seen at
a great distance in the country on that side, and by great part
of the city.

The office of keeper of this pleasure house was at this time held
by a very aged officer, named Scheich Ibrahim, whom the caliph,
for some important service, had put into that employment, with
strict charge not to let all sorts of people in, but especially
to suffer no one either to sit or lie down on the estrades at the
outward door, that they might always be clean; and whenever he
found any body there, to punish them severely.

Some business had obliged this officer to go abroad, and he was
not yet returned. When he came back, there was just day-light
enough for him to discern two persons asleep upon one of the
estrades, with their heads under a piece of linen, to defend them
from the gnats. "Very well," said Scheich Ibrahim to himself;
"these people disobey the caliph's orders: but I will take care
to teach them better manners." Upon this he opened the door very
softly, and a moment after returned with a cane in his hand, and
his sleeve tucked up to the elbow: he was just going to lay on
them both with all his might, but withholding his arm, began to
reason with himself after this manner: "Thou wast going, without
reflection, to strike these people, who perhaps are strangers,
destitute of a lodging, and utterly ignorant of the caliph's
order; so that it would be advisable to know first who they are."
Upon this he gently lifted up the linen that covered their heads,
and was astonished to see a young man so well shaped, and a young
woman so beautiful; he then waked Noor ad Deen, by pulling him
softly by the feet.

Noor ad Deen, lifting up his head, and seeing an old man with a
long white beard standing at his feet, got up, and throwing
himself upon his knees, and taking his hand, kissed it. "Good
father," said he, "Heaven preserve you!" "What do you want, my
son?" replied Scheich Ibrahim; "who are you, and whence came
you?" "We are strangers newly arrived," answered Noor ad Deen,
"and would fain tarry here till to-morrow." "This is not a proper
place for you," said Scheich Ibrahim; "come in with me, and I
will find one fitter for you to sleep in than this; and the sight
of the garden, which is very fine, will please you, when you see
it to-morrow by day light." "Is this garden your own?" asked Noor
ad Deen. "Yes," replied Scheich Ibrahim, smiling; "it is an
inheritance left me by my father: pray walk in, for I am sure you
will not repent seeing it."

Noor ad Deen rose to thank Scheich Ibrahim for the civility he
had strewn, as did afterwards the fair Persian; and they entered
the garden. Scheich Ibrahim locked the door, and going before,
led them to a spot from whence, at one view, they might see the
disposition, grandeur, and beauty of the whole.

Noor ad Deen had seen very fine gardens, but never any comparable
to this. Having satisfied his curiosity, as he was walking in one
of the walks, he turned about to the officer, and asked his name.
As soon as he had told him it was Scheich Ibrahim; "Scheich
Ibrahim," said he to him, "I must confess this is a charming
garden indeed. Heaven send you long to enjoy the pleasures of it;
we cannot sufficiently thank you for the favour you have done by
shewing us a place so well worth seeing; however, it is but just
that we should make you some amends for your kindness; here are
two pieces of gold; take them and get us something to eat, that
we may be merry together."

At the sight of the two pieces of gold, Scheich Ibrahim, who was
a great admirer of that metal, laughed in his sleeve: he took
them, and leaving Noor ad Deen and the fair Persian by
themselves, went to provide what was necessary; for he was alone.
Said he to himself with great joy, "these are generous people; I
should have done very wrong, if, through imprudence, I had ill-
treated and driven them away. A tenth part of the money will
suffice to treat them; and the rest I will keep for my pains."

While Scheich Ibrahim was gone to fetch something for his own
supper, as well as for his guests Noor ad Deen and the fair
Persian walked up and down the garden, till at last they came to
the pavilion of pictures. They stood awhile to admire its
wonderful structure, size, and loftiness; and after taking a full
view of it on every side, went up many steps of fine white marble
to the hall-door, which they found locked.

They were but just returned to the bottom of the steps, when
Scheich Ibrahim arrived, loaded with provisions. "Scheich
Ibrahim," said Noor ad Deen, in great surprise, "did you not tell
us that this was your garden?" "I did," replied Scheich Ibrahim,
"and do so still." "And does this magnificent pavilion also
belong to you?" Scheich Ibrahim was staggered at this unexpected
question. "If," said he to himself, "I should say it is none of
mine, they will ask me how I can be master of the garden and not
of the pavilion.' As he had made them believe the garden was his,
he said the same of the pavilion. "My son," said he, "the
pavilion is not distinct from the garden; but they both belong to
me." "If so," said Noor ad Deen, "since you invite us to be your
guests to-night, do us the favour to shew us the inside of it;
for if we may judge by the outward appearance, it must certainly
be extraordinarily magnificent."

It would have been a great piece of incivility in Scheich Ibrahim
to refuse this favour, after what he had already done: moreover,
he considered that the caliph not having given him notice,
according to his usual custom, it was likely he would not be
there that night, and therefore resolved to treat his guests, and
sup with them in the pavilion. He laid the provisions on the
first step, while he went to his apartment for the key: he soon
returned with a light, and opened the door.

Noor ad Deen and the fair Persian entered the hall, and were
never tired with admiring the beauty and richness of the place.
Indeed, without saying anything of the pictures. which were
admirably well drawn, the sofas were very noble and costly; and
besides lustres suspended from every arch, there was between each
a silver branch supporting a wax candle. Noor ad Deen could not
behold these glorious objects without recollecting his former
splendour, and sighing.

In the mean time Scheich Ibrahim was getting supper ready; and
the cloth being laid upon a sofa, and every thing in order, Noor
ad Deen, the fair Persian, and he sat down and ate together. When
supper was finished, and they had washed their hands, Noor ad
Deen opened a lattice, and calling the fair Persian to him, "Come
hither," said he, "and with me admire the charming prospect and
beauty of the garden by moon-light; nothing can be more
agreeable." She came to him; and they both enjoyed the view,
while Scheich Ibrahim was busy in taking away the cloth.

When Scheich Ibrahim came to his guests again, Noor ad Deen asked
him whether he had any liquor to treat them with. "What liquor
would you have?" replied Scheich Ibrahim--"Sherbet? I have the
best in the world; but sherbet, you know, my son, is never drunk
after supper."

"I know that very well," said Noor ad Deen; "it is not sherbet,
but another sort of liquor that we ask you for, and I am
surprised at your not understanding me." "It is wine then you
mean?" said Scheich Ibrahim. "You guess right," replied Noor ad
Deen, "and if you have any, oblige us with a bottle: you know a
bottle after supper is a very proper companion to spend the hours
with till bed-time."

"Heaven defend me from keeping wine in my house," cried Scheich
Ibrahim, "and from ever coming to a place where any is found! A
man who, like me, has been a pilgrimage four times to Mecca, has
renounced wine for ever."

"You would do us a singular kindness," said Noor ad Deen, "in
getting a little for our own drinking; and if it be not too much
trouble, I will put you in a way how you may do it, without going
into a vintner's shop, or so much as laying your hand upon the
vessel that contains it." "Upon that condition I will do it,"
replied Scheich Ibrahim, "only let me know what I am to do."

"Why then," said Noor ad Deen, "we just now saw an ass tied at
the entrance of your garden, which certainly must be yours, and
which you may make use of in this extremity: here are two pieces
of gold more; take them, and lead your ass with the panniers to
the next vintner's; you may stand at as great a distance as you
please, do but give something to the first person that comes by,
and desire him to go with your ass, and procure two pitchers of
wine; put one in one pannier, in another, another, which he must
pay for out of the money you give him, and so let him bring the
ass back to you: you will have nothing to do, but to drive the
beast hither before you; we will take the wine out of the
panniers: by this means you will do nothing that will give you
any scruple."

The two last pieces of gold that Scheich Ibrahim was going to
receive wrought wonderfully upon his mind. "Ah! my son," cried
he, "you have an excellent contrivance; and had it not been for
your invention, I should never have thought of this way of
getting you some wine without any scruple of conscience." Away he
went to execute the orders, which he did in a little time; and,
upon his return, Noor ad Deen taking the pitchers out of the
panniers, carried them into the hall.

Scheich Ibrahim having led the ass to the place from whence he
took him, came back again, "Scheich Ibrahim," said Noor ad Deen,
"we cannot enough thank you for the trouble we have already given
you; but we want something yet." "What is that? "replied Scheich:
"what more service can I do you?" "We have no cups to drink out
of," said Noor ad Deen, "and a little fruit, if you had any,
would be very acceptable." "Do but say what you have a mind to,"
replied Scheich Ibrahim, "and you shall have every thing to your
heart's content."

Down went Scheich Ibrahim, and in a short time spread a carpet
for them with beautiful porcelain dishes, full of all sorts of
delicious fruits, besides gold and silver cups to drink out of;
and having asked them if they wanted any thing else, he withdrew,
though they pressed him earnestly to stay.

Noor ad Deen and the fair Persian sat down again, and drank each
a cup. They were pleased with the wine, which was excellent.
"Well, my dear," said Noor ad Deen to the fair Persian, "are we
not the most fortunate persons in the world, after so many
dangers, to meet with so charming and agreeable a place? Let us
be merry, and think no more on the hardships of our voyage. Can
my happiness be greater in this world, than to have you on one
side of me, and my glass on the other?" They drank freely, and
diverted themselves with agreeable conversation, each singing a

Both having very fine voices, but especially the fair Persian,
their singing attracted Scheich Ibrahim, who had stood hearkening
a great while on the steps, without discovering himself. He could
contain himself no longer; but thrusting his head in at the door,
"Courage, sir," said he to Noor ad Deen, whom he took to be quite
drunk, "I am glad to see you so pleased."

"Ah! Scheich Ibrahim," cried Noor ad Deen, turning to him, "you
are a glorious man, and we are extremely obliged to you. We dare
not ask you to drink a cup; but walk in; come, sit down, and let
us have the honour at least of your company." "Go on, go on,"
said Scheich Ibrahim; "the pleasure of hearing your songs is
sufficient for me." Upon this he immediately retired.

The fair Persian perceiving Scheich Ibrahim, through one of the
windows, standing upon the steps, told Noor ad Deen of it. "Sir,"
said she, "you see what an aversion he has for wine; yet I
question not in the least to make him drink, if you will do as I
would have you." Noor ad Deen asked her what it was. "Do but say
the word," replied he, "and I am ready to do what you please."
"Prevail with him then only to come in, and bear us company; some
time after fill up a bumper, and give it him; if he refuses,
drink it yourself, pretend to be asleep, and leave the rest to

Noor ad Deen understood the fair Persian's design, and called to
Scheich Ibrahim, who came again to the door. "Scheich Ibrahim,"
said he, "we are your guests; you have entertained us in the most
obliging manner, and will you now refuse our solicitations to
honour us with your company? We do not ask you to drink, but only
the favour of seeing you."

Scheich Ibrahim being at last prevailed upon, came into the hall,
and sat down on the edge of a sofa nearest to the door. "You do
not sit well there," said Noor ad Deen, "and we cannot have the
honour of seeing you; pray come nearer, and sit you down by the
lady; she will like it much." "I will obey you," replied Scheich
Ibrahim, so coming forward, simpering, to think he should be
seated near so beautiful a creature, he placed himself at some
distance from the fair Persian. Noor ad Deen desired a song of
her, in return for the honour Scheich Ibrahim had done them; and
she sung one that charmed him.

When the fair Persian had ended her song, Noor ad Deen poured out
a cup of wine, and presented it to Scheich Ibrahim. "Scheich
Ibrahim," said he, "I entreat you, drink this to our healths."
"Sir," replied he, starting back, as if he abhorred the very
sight of the wine, "I beseech you to excuse me; I have already
told you that I have forsworn the use of wine these many years."
"Then since you will not drink our healths," said Noor ad Deen,
"give me leave to drink yours."

While Noor ad Deen was drinking, the fair Persian cut half an
apple, and presented it to Scheich Ibrahim. "Though you refused
drinking," said she, "yet I believe you will not refuse tasting
this apple; it is very excellent." Scheich Ibrahim had no power
to refuse it from so fair a hand; but taking it with a very low
bow, put it in his mouth. She said a great many pleasant things
on the occasion; and Noor ad Deen, falling back upon a sofa,
pretended to fall fast asleep. The fair Persian presently
advanced towards Scheich Ibrahim, and speaking in a low voice,
"Look at him," said she, "thus in all our merry parties he
constantly serves me; and no sooner has he drunk a cup or two,
but he falls asleep, and leaves me alone; but I hope you will
have the goodness to keep me company till he awakes."

At this the fair Persian took a cup, and filling it with wine,
offered it to Scheich Ibrahim. "Here," said she, "drink off this
to my health; I am going to pledge you." Scheich Ibrahim made a
great many difficulties, and begged her to excuse him from
drinking; but she pressed him so, that overcome by her charms and
entreaties he took the cup, and drank off every drop of the wine.

The good old man loved a chirruping cup to his heart, but was
ashamed to drink among strangers. He often went to the tavern in
private, as many other people do; and he did not take the
precaution recommended, but went directly where he was well known
(night serving him instead of a cloak), and saved the money that
Noor ad Deen had ordered him to give the messenger who was to
have gone for the wine.

While Scheich Ibrahim was eating fruit after his draught, the
fair Persian filled him out another, which he received with less
difficulty than the former, but made none at all at the third. In
short, a fourth was quaffing, when Noor ad Deen started up from
his pretended sleep; and bursting out into a violent fit of
laughter, and looking at him, "Ha! ha!" said he, "Scheich
Ibrahim, have I caught you at last? did you not tell me you had
forsworn wine? and now you have drunk it all up from me."

Scheich Ibrahim, not expecting to be surprised, blushed a little;
however, that did not spoil his draught; but when he had done,
"Sir," said he laughing, "if there is any crime in what I have
done, it lies at this fair lady's door, not mine: for who could
possibly resist so many charms?"

The fair Persian, who perfectly understood Noor ad Deen, took
Scheich Ibrahim's part. "Let him talk," said she, "Scheich
Ibrahim, take no notice of him, but let us drink on and be
merry." Awhile after Noor ad Deen filled out a cup for himself
and the fair Persian; but when Scheich Ibrahim saw that Noor ad
Deen had forgotten him in his turn, he took his cup, and
presenting it to the fair Persian, "Madam," said he, "do you
suppose I cannot drink as well as you?"

At these words Noor ad Deen and the fair Persian laughed very
heartily. They poured him out some wine; and sat laughing,
chatting, and drinking, till near midnight. About that hour the
fair Persian began to notice that there was but one candle on the
carpet. "Scheich Ibrahim," said she to the good old officer, "you
have afforded us but one candle, when there are so many wax-
lights yonder; pray do us the favour to light some of them, that
we may see a little better what we are doing."

Scheich Ibrahim making use of the liberty that wine inspires when
it gets into the head, and not caring to be interrupted in his
discourse, bade the fair Persian light them herself. "It is
fitter for a young person like you to do it," said he, "than for
me; but be sure not to light above five or six" Up rose the fair
Persian immediately, and taking a wax candle in her hand, lighted
it with that which stood upon the carpet, and without any regard
to Scheich Ibrahim's order, lighted up the whole fourscore.

By and by, while Scheich Ibrahim was entertaining the fair
Persian with some discourse, Noor ad Deen took his turn to desire
him to light up some of the candles in the lustres, not taking
notice that all the wax-lights were already in a blaze.
"Certainly," replied Scheich Ibrahim, "you must be very lazy, or
less vigorous than I am, that you are not able to light them
yourself; get you gone, and light them; but be sure you light no
more than three." To work he went; but instead of that number, he
lighted them all, and opened the shutters of the fourscore
windows, before Scheich Ibrahim, who was deeply engaged with the
fair Persian, knew any thing of the matter.

The caliph Haroon al Rusheed being not yet gone to rest, was in a
room of his palace on the river Tigris, from whence he could
command a view both of the garden and pavilion. He accidentally
opened the casement, and was extremely surprised at seeing the
pavilion illuminated; and at first, by the greatness of the
light, thought the city was on fire. The grand vizier Jaaffier
was still with him, waiting for his going to rest. The caliph, in
a great rage, called the vizier to him. "Careless vizier," said
he, "come hither, come hither; look at the pavilion of pictures,
and tell me the reason of its being illuminated at this hour, now
I am not there."

The grand vizier at this account fell into a violent trembling;
but when he came nearer, and with his own eyes saw the truth of
what the caliph had told him, he was more alarmed than before.
Some excuse must be made to appease the caliph's anger.
"Commander of the true believers," said he, "all that I can say
to your majesty about this matter is, that some five or six days
ago Scheich Ibrahim came to acquaint me, that he had a design to
assemble the ministers of his mosque, to assist at a ceremony he
was ambitious of performing in honour of your majesty's
auspicious reign. I asked him if I could be any way serviceable
to him in this affair; upon which he entreated me to get leave of
your majesty to perform the ceremony in the pavilion. I sent him
away with leave to hold the assembly, telling him I would take
care to acquaint your majesty with it; and I ask pardon for
having quite forgotten it." "Scheich Ibrahim," continued he, "has
certainly made choice of this day for the ceremony; and after
treating the ministers of his mosque, was willing to indulge them
with the sight of this illumination."

"Jaaffier," said the caliph, with a tone that plainly shewed his
anger was a little mollified, "according to your own account, you
have committed three faults; the first, in giving Scheich Ibrahim
leave to perform this ceremony in my pavilion, for a person in
such an office is not worthy of so great an honour; the second,
in not acquainting me with it; and the third, in not diving into
the bottom of the good old man's intention. For my part, I am
persuaded he only did it to try if he could get any money towards
bearing the charge of it; but that never came into your head."

The grand vizier, overjoyed to hear the caliph put the matter
upon that footing, very willingly owned the faults he reproached
him with, and freely confessed he was to blame in not giving
Scheich Ibrahim a few pieces of gold. "Since the case is so,"
added the caliph, "it is just that thou shouldst be punished for
thy mistakes, but thy punishment shall be light: thou shalt spend
the remainder of the night as I mean to do, with these honest
people, whose company I shall be well pleased with; and while I
am putting on a citizen's habit, go thou and disguise thyself
with Mesrour, and come both of you along with me."

The vizier would have persuaded him it was late, and that all the
company would be gone before he could get thither: but the caliph
said he would positively go. The vizier, who knew that not a
syllable of what he had said was true, began to be in great
consternation; but there was no reply to be made, and go he must.

The caliph then, disguised like a citizen, with the grand vizier
Jaaffier and Mesrour, chief of the eunuchs, stole out of the
palace together. They rambled through the streets of Bagdad till
they came to the garden; the door, through the carelessness of
Scheich Ibrahim, was open, he having forgotten to shut it when he
came back with the wine. The caliph was very angry at this.
"Jaaffier," said he to the grand vizier, "what excuse have you
for the door's being open at this unseasonable hour?" "Is it
possible that Scheich Ibrahim makes a custom of leaving it thus
all night? I rather believe the hurry of the feast has been the
occasion of this neglect."

The caliph went into the garden; and when he came to the
pavilion, resolving not to go into the hall till he knew what was
doing, consulted with the grand vizier whether it was not his
best way to climb up into one of the trees that was near, to
observe what was going forward. The grand vizier casting his eyes
upon the door, perceived it stood half open, and told the caliph.
It seems Scheich Ibrahim had left it so, when he was prevailed
upon to come in and bear Noor ad Deen and the fair Persian

The caliph laying aside his first design, stole softly up to the
hall-door, which standing half open, he could see all the company
within, without being discovered himself.

But how was he surprised, when he saw a lady of incomparable
beauty and a handsome young man sitting, with Scheich Ibrahim by
them. Scheich Ibraham held a cup in his hand. "My fair lady,"
said he to the fair Persian, "a true toper never drinks without
singing a song first: if you please to hear, I will give you one
of my best songs."

Scheich Ibrahim sung, and the caliph was the more surprised,
because till that moment he never knew of his drinking wine, but
always took him for a grave, solid man, as he seemed to be to
outward appearance. The caliph retired from the door with the
same caution as he had made his approaches to it; and coming to
the grand vizier, who was standing on the steps a little lower,
"Come up," said he to him, "and see if those within are the
ministers of the mosque, as you would have made me believe."

By the tone of voice in which the caliph spoke these last words,
the vizier understood that things went ill on his side: however,
he went up the steps; but when he had peeped in at the door, and
saw the three sitting in that condition, he trembled for his
life. He returned to the caliph, but in such confusion, that he
knew not what to say. "What riotous doings are here?" said the
caliph to him: "who are these people that have presumed to take
the liberty of diverting themselves in my garden and pavilion?
and how durst Scheich Ibrahim give them admittance, and partake
of the diversion with them? I must, however, confess, I never saw
two persons more beautiful or better paired in my life; and
therefore, before I discover my anger, I will inform myself
better, and know who they are, and the reason of their being
here." He went to the door again to observe them more narrowly;
and the vizier, who followed, stood behind him, while he fixed
his eyes upon them. They both plainly heard every word that
Scheich Ibrahim said to the fair Persian. "Is there any thing, my
charming lady, wanting to render the pleasure of the evening more
complete?" "Nothing but a lute," replied the fair Persian, "and
methinks, if you could get me one, all would be well." "Can you
play upon it?" said Scheich Ibrahim. "Fetch me one," replied the
fair Persian, "and you shall hear whether I can or not."

Scheich Ibrahim, without stirring very far from his place, took a
lute out of a press, and presented it to the fair Persian, who
begun to tune it. The caliph, in the mean time, turning to the
grand vizier, "Jaaffier," said he, "the young lady is going to
play upon the lute; and if she performs well, I will forgive her,
and the young man for her sake; but as for thee, I will have thee
impaled." "Commander of the true believers," replied the grand
vizier, "if that is your intention, I wish to God she may play
ill." "Why so?" said the caliph. "Because," replied the grand
vizier, "the longer we live in this world, the more reason we
shall have to comfort ourselves with the hopes of dying in good
sociable company." The caliph, who loved a repartee, began to
laugh at this; and putting his ear to the opening of the door,
listened to hear the fair Persian play.

The fair Persian began in such a style, that, from the first
moment of her touching the lute, the caliph perceived she did it
with a masterly hand. Afterwards accompanying the lute with her
voice, which was admirably fine, she sung and played with so much
skill and sweetness, that the caliph was quite ravished to hear

As soon as the fair Persian had finished her song, the caliph
went down the steps, and the vizier followed him. When he came to
the bottom, "I never," said he to the vizier, "heard a more
charming voice, or a lute better touched. Isaac, whom I thought
the most skilful player in the world, does not come up to her. I
am so charmed with her music, that I will go in, and hear her
play before me. We must, therefore, consider how I can do it."

"Commander of the true believers," said the grand vizier, "if you
should go in, and Scheich Ibrahim chance to know you, he would
infallibly die with the fright." "It is that which hurts me,"
replied the caliph, "and I should be loth to be the occasion of
his death, after so many years service. A thought is just come
into my head, that may succeed; stay here with Mesrour, and wait
for me in the next walk."

The neighbourhood of the Tigris had given the caliph an
opportunity of turning the stream under a stately bridge into his
garden, through a piece of water, whither the choicest fish of
the river used to retire. The fishermen knew it well; but the
caliph had expressly charged Scheich Ibrahim not to suffer any of
them to come near it. However, that night, a fisherman passing by
the garden-door, which the caliph had left open as he found it,
made use of the opportunity, and going in, went directly to the

The fisherman immediately fell to work with his nets, and was
just ready to draw them, when the caliph, fearing what would be
the effect of Scheich Ibrahim's negligence, but willing to make
use of it to bring his design about, came to the same place. The
fisherman, in spite of his disguise, knew him, and throwing
himself at his feet, humbly implored his pardon, and excused
himself on account of his poverty. "Rise," said the caliph, "and
be not afraid; only draw your nets, that I may see what fish you
have got."

The fisherman, recovered of his fright, quickly obeyed the
caliph's orders. He drew out five or six very large fishes; and
the caliph choosing the two biggest, tied them together by the
head, with the twig of a tree. "After this," said he to the
fisherman, "give me thy clothes, and take mine." The exchange was
soon made; and the caliph being dressed like a fisherman, even to
his boots and turban, "Take thy nets," said he to the fisherman,
"and get thee about thy business."

When the fisherman, well pleased with his good fortune, was gone,
the caliph, taking the two fishes in his hand, went to look after
the grand vizier and Mesrour; he first met Jaaffier, who, not
knowing him, asked what he wanted, and bade him go about his
business. The caliph fell a laughing; by which the vizier
recognising him, "Commander of the true believers," said he, "is
it possible it can be you? I knew you not; and I ask a thousand
pardons for my rudeness. You are so disguised that you may
venture into the hall without any fear of being discovered by
Scheich Ibrahim." Stay you here with Mesrour," said the caliph,
"while I go and play my part."

The caliph went up to the hall, and knocked at the door. Noor ad
Deen hearing him first, told Scheich Ibrahim of it, who asked who
was there? The caliph opened the door, and stepping a little way
into the hall to shew himself, "Scheich Ibrahim," said he, "I am
the fisherman Kerim, who being informed of your design to treat
some of your friends, have brought you two very fine fishes,
fresh caught, to ask if you have any occasion for them."

Noor ad Deen and the fair Persian were pleased to hear him name
fish. "Pray," said the latter to Scheich Ibrahim, "let him come
in, that we may look at them." Scheich Ibrahim, by this time, was
incapable of asking this counterfeit fisherman how or which way
he came thither, his whole thought being only to oblige the fair
Persian. With much ado he turned his head towards the door, being
quite drunk, and, in a stammering tone, calling to the caliph,
whom he took to be a fisherman, "Come hither, thou nightly
thief," said he, "and let us see what thou hast got."

The caliph went forwards, and counterfeiting all the actions of a
fisherman, presented the two fishes. "These are very fine ones
indeed," said the fair Persian, "and if they were well dressed
and seasoned, I should be glad to eat some of them." "The lady is
in the right," answered Scheich Ibrahim; "but what can you do
with your fish, unless it were dressed? Go, dress it thyself, and
bring it to us; thou wilt find every thing necessary in my

The caliph went back to the grand vizier. "Jaaffier," said he, "I
have been very well received; but they want the fish to be
dressed." "I will take care to dress it myself," said the grand
vizier, "and they shall have it in a moment." "Nay," replied the
caliph, "so eager am I to accomplish my design, that I will take
that trouble myself; for since I have personated the fisherman so
well, surely I can play the cook for once; in my younger days, I
dealt a little in cookery, and always came off with credit." So
saying, he went directly towards Scheich Ibrahim's lodgings, and
the grand vizier and Mesrour followed him.

They all fell to work; and though Scheich Ibrahim's kitchen was
not very large, yet there was every thing in it that they wanted.
The fish was quickly cooked; and the caliph served it up, putting
to every one's place a lemon to squeeze into the sauce, if they
thought proper. They all ate very heartily, but especially Noor
ad Deen and the fair Persian; and the caliph stood before them.

As soon as the repast was over, Noor ad Deen looking at the
caliph, "Fisherman," said he, "there never was better fish eaten;
and you have done us the greatest favour." At the same time,
putting his hand into his bosom, and pulling out a purse of
thirty pieces of gold, the remainder of forty that Sangiar, the
officer of the king of Bussorah, had given him just upon his
departure, "Take it," said he to him; "if I had any more, thou
shouldst have it; had I known thee in my prosperity, I would have
taken care to secure thee from want: do not refuse the small
present I make thee, but accept of it as kindly as if it were
much greater."

The caliph took the purse, thanked Noor ad Deen, and perceiving
by the weight that it contained gold, "Sir," said he to him, "I
cannot enough thank you for your liberality, and I think myself
very fortunate in having to do with a person of your generosity;
but before I take my leave I have a favour to ask, which I beg
you not to deny me. Yonder is a lute, which makes me believe that
the lady understands playing upon it; and if you can prevail with
her to play but one tune, I shall go away perfectly satisfied;
for a lute, sir, is an instrument I am particularly fond of."

"Fair Persian," said Noor ad Deen, immediately addressing himself
to her, "I ask that favour of you, and I hope you will not refuse
me." She took up the lute without more entreaties, and putting it
presently in tune, played and sung with such an air, as charmed
the very soul of the caliph. Afterwards she played upon the lute
without singing, but with so much strength and softness, as to
transport him into an ecstasy.

When the fair Persian had given over playing, the caliph cried
out, "What a voice! what a hand! what skill! Was there ever finer
singing, or better playing upon the lute? Never was there any
seen or heard like it."

Noor ad Deen, who was accustomed to give all that belonged to him
to persons who praised him, said, "Fisherman, I find thou hast
some taste for music; since thou art so delighted with her
performance, she is thine, I make thee a present of her." At the
same time he rose up, and taking his robe which he had laid by,
was going away, and leaving the caliph, whom he believed to be no
other than a fisherman, in possession of the fair Persian.

The fair Persian was extremely surprised at Noor ad Deen's
liberality; she took hold of him, and looking tenderly at him,
"Whither, sir," said she, "are you going? sit down in your place,
I entreat you, and hearken to what I am going to sing and play."
He did as she desired him, and then the fair Persian, touching
the lute, and looking upon him with tears in her eyes, sung some
verses that she had made ex tempore, to reproach him with his
indifference, and the easiness as well as cruelty with which he
resigned her to Kerim. She only hinted, without explaining
herself any farther to a fisherman; for she, as well as Noor ad
Deen, was ignorant of his being the caliph. When she had done
playing, she put the lute down by her, and clapped a handkerchief
to her face, to hide the tears she could not repress.

Noor ad Deen made no answer to all these reproaches, but by his
silence seemed to declare he did not repent of what he had done
The caliph, surprised at what he had heard, said, "Sir, as far as
I see, this beautiful, rare, and accomplished lady, of whom so
generously you have made me a present, is your slave?" "It is
very true, Kerim," replied Noor ad Deen, "and thou wouldst be
more surprised than thou art now, should I tell thee all the
misfortunes that have happened to me upon her account." "Ah! I
beseech you, sir," replied the caliph, still behaving like a
fisherman, "oblige me so far as to let me hear part of your

Noor ad Deen, who had already obliged him in several things of
more consequence, was so complaisant as to relate the whole story
to him. He began with the vizier his father's buying the fair
Persian for the king of Bussorah, and omitted nothing of what he
had done, or what had happened to him, from that time to their
arrival at Bagdad, and to the very moment he was talking to him.

When Noor ad Deen had ended his story, "And whither are you going
now?" asked the caliph. "Where Heaven shall direct me," answered
Noor ad Deen. "If you will believe me," replied the caliph, "you
shall go no farther, but, on the contrary, you must return to
Bussorah: I will write a short letter, which you shall give the
king in my name: you shall see upon the reading it, he will give
you a very handsome reception, and nobody will dare to speak
against you."

"Kerim," said Noor ad Deen, "what thou hast told me is very
singular; I never heard that a poor fisherman, as thou art, had
any correspondence with a king?" "Be not astonished at that,"
replied the caliph: "you must know, that we both studied together
under the same masters, and were always the best friends in the
world: it is true, fortune has not been equally favourable to us;
she has made him a king, and me a fisherman. But this inequality
has not lessened our friendship. He has often expressed a
readiness and desire to advance my fortune, but I always refused;
and am better pleased with the satisfaction of knowing that he
will never deny me whatever I ask for the service and advantage
of my friends: let me do it, and you shall see the success."

Noor ad Deen consented to what the caliph had proposed; and there
being every thing necessary for writing in the hall, the caliph
wrote a letter to the king of Bussorah; at the top of which he
placed this form, "In the name of the most merciful God," to shew
he would be absolutely obeyed.

"Haroon al Rusheed, son of Mhadi, sends this letter to Zinebi,
his cousin. As soon as Noor ad Deen, son to the late vizier
Khacan, the bearer, has delivered you this letter, and you have
read it, pull off the royal vestments, put them on his shoulders,
and place him in thy seat without fail. Farewell."

The caliph folded up the letter, sealed it, and giving it to Noor
ad Deen, without saying any thing of what was in it, "Go," said
he, "embark immediately in a vessel that is ready to go off (as
there did constantly every day at the same hour); you may sleep
when you are aboard."

Noor ad Deen took the letter, and departed with the little money
he had about him when Sangiar gave him his purse; and the fair
Persian, distracted with grief at his departure, retired to one
of the sofas, and wept bitterly.

Noor ad Deen was scarcely gone out of the hall, when Scheich
lbrahim, who had been silent during the whole transaction,
looking steadfastly upon the caliph, whom he still took for the
fisherman Kerim, "Hark'e," said he, "Kerim, thou hast brought us
two fishes, that are worth twenty pieces of copper at most, and
thou hast got a purse and a slave: but dost thou think to have
all for thyself? I here declare, that I will go halves with thee
in the slave; and as for the purse, shew me what is in the
inside: if it is silver, thou shalt have one piece for thyself;
but if it is gold, I will have it all, and give thee in exchange
some pieces of copper which I have in my purse."

The caliph, before his serving up the fish, had dispatched the
grand vizier to his palace, with orders to get four slaves with a
rich habit, and to wait on the other side of the pavilion till he
gave a signal with his finger against the window. The grand
vizier performed his commission; and he, Mesrour, and the four
slaves, waited at the appointed place, expecting the sign.

The caliph, still personating the fisherman, answered Scheich
Ibrahim boldly, "I know not what there is in the purse; gold or
silver, you shall freely go my halves: but as to the slave, I
will have her all to myself; and if you will not accept these
conditions, you shall have nothing."

Scheich lbrahim, enraged to the last degree at this insolence,
considering him only as a fisherman, snatched up one of the china
dishes which were on the table, and flung it at the caliph's
head. The caliph easily avoided the blow, being thrown by a
person in liquor; but the dish striking against the wall, was
dashed into a thousand pieces. Scheich Ibrahim grew more enraged
at having missed his aim, and catching up the candle that stood
upon the table, rose from his seat, and went staggering down a
pair of back-stairs to look for a cane.

The caliph took this opportunity, and striking his hands against
the window, the grand vizier, Mesrour, and the four slaves were
with him in an instant: the slaves quickly pulled off the
fisherman's clothes, and put him on the habit they had brought.
They had not quite dressed the caliph, who had seated himself on
the throne that was in the hall, but were busy about him when
Scheich Ibrahim, spurred on by interest, came back with a cane in
his hand, with which he designed to pay the pretended fisherman
soundly; but instead of finding him, he saw his clothes in the
middle of the hall, and the caliph on his throne, with the grand
vizier and Mesrour on each side of him. He stood awhile gazing on
this unexpected sight, doubting whether he was awake or asleep.
The caliph fell a laughing at his astonishment; and calling to
him, "Scheich Ibrahim," said he, "What dost thou want? whom dost
thou look after?"

Scheich Ibrahim, no longer doubting that it was the caliph,
immediately threw himself at his feet, with his face and long
beard to the ground. "Commander of the true believers," cried he,
"your vile slave has offended you; but he implores your clemency,
and asks a thousand pardons for his offence." As soon as the
slaves had finished dressing him, he came down from his throne,
and advancing towards him, "Rise," said he, "I forgive thee."

The caliph then addressed himself to the fair Persian, who had
suspended her sorrow as soon as she understood that the garden
and pavilion belonged to that prince, and not to Scheich Ibrahim,
as he had all along made her believe, and that it was he himself
disguised in the fisherman's clothes. "Fair Persian," said he,
"rise, and follow me: by what you have lately seen, you ought to
know who I am, and to believe that I am above taking any
advantage of the present which Noor ad Deen, with a generosity
not to be paralleled, has made me of your person. I have sent him
to Bussorah as king; and when I have given him the dispatches
necessary for his establishment, you shall go thither and be
queen. In the mean time I am going to order an apartment for you
in my palace, where you shall be treated according to your

This discourse encouraged the fair Persian, and comforted her
very sensibly. The joy for the advancement of Noor ad Deen, whom
she passionately loved, to so high an honour, made her sufficient
amends for her affliction. The caliph kept his promise, and
recommended her to the care of his empress Zobeide, whom he
acquainted with the esteem he had entertained for Noor ad Deen.

Noor ad Deen's return to Bussorah was more fortunate, and
speedier by some days than he could have expected. Upon his
arrival, without visiting any of his friends or relations he went
directly to the palace, where the king at that time was giving
public audience. With the letter held up in his hand, he pressed
through the crowd, who presently made way for him to come forward
and deliver it. The king took and opened it, and his colour
changed in reading it; he kissed it thrice, and was just about to
obey the caliph's orders, when he bethought himself of strewing
it to the vizier Saony, Noor ad Deen's irreconcileable enemy.

Saouy, who had discovered Noor ad Deen, and began to conjecture,
with great uneasiness, what might be the design of his coming,
was no less surprised than the king at the order contained in the
letter; and being as much concerned in it, he instantly devised a
method to evade it. He pretended not to have read the letter
quite through, and therefore desiring a second view of it, turned
himself a little on one side as if he wanted a better light, and,
without being perceived by any body, dexterously tore off from
the top of it the form which shewed the caliph would be
absolutely obeyed, and putting it into his mouth, swallowed it.

After this egregious piece of villainy, Saouy turned to the king,
and giving him the letter, "Sir," said he to him in a low voice,
"what does your majesty intend to do?" "What the caliph has
commanded me," replied the king. "Have a care, sir," said the
wicked vizier, "what you do. It is true this is the caliph's
hand, but the form is not to it." The king had observed it, but
in his confusion thought his eyes had deceived him when he saw it
was gone.

"Sir," continued the vizier, "we have no reason to doubt but that
the caliph, on the complaints he has made against your majesty
and myself, has granted him this letter to get rid of him, and
not with any intention of having the order contained in it
executed. Besides, we must consider he has sent no express with a
patent; and without that the order is of no force. And since a
king like your majesty was never deposed without that formality,
any other man as well as Noor ad Deen might come with a forged
letter: let who will bring such a letter as this, it ought not to
be put in execution. Your majesty may depend upon it, that is
never done; and I will take upon myself all the consequence of
disobeying this order."

King Zinebi, easily persuaded by this pernicious counsel, left
Noor ad Deen entirely to the discretion of the vizier Saouy, who
led him to his house in a very insulting manner; and after
causing him to be bastinadoed till he was almost dead, he ordered
him to a prison, where he commanded him to be put into the
darkest and deepest dungeon, with a strict charge to the gaoler
to give him nothing but bread and water.

When Noor ad Deen, half dead with the strokes, came to himself,
and found what a dismal dungeon he was in, he bewailed his
misfortunes in the most pathetic manner. "Ah! fisherman," cried
he, "how hast thou cheated me; and how easy have I been in
believing thee! Could I, after the civility I shewed thee, expect
such inhuman and barbarous usage? However, may Heaven reward
thee; for I cannot persuade myself that thy intention was so
base; and I will with patience wait the end of my afflictions."

The disconsolate Noor ad Deen remained six whole days in this
miserable condition; and Saouy did not forget that he had
confined him there; but being resolved to put him to a shameful
death, and not daring to do it by his own authority, to
accomplish his villainous design, loaded some of his slaves with
rich presents, which he, at the head of them, went and presented
to the king. "Behold, sire," said he, with the blackest malice,
"what the new king has sent you upon his accession to the crown,
and begs your majesty to accept."

The king taking the matter just as Saouy intended, "What!"
replied he, "is that wretch still living? I thought you had put
him to death already." "Sire, I have no power," answered the
vizier, "to take any person's life; that only belongs to your
majesty." "Go," said the king, "behead him instantly; I give you
full authority." "Sire," replied the vizier Saouy, "I am
infinitely obliged to your majesty for the justice you do me; but
since Noor ad Deen has publicly affronted me, I humbly beg the
favour, that his execution may be performed before the palace;
and that the criers may publish it in every quarter of the city,
so that every body may be satisfied he has made a sufficient
reparation for the affront." The king granted his request; and
the criers in performing their office diffused universal sorrow
through the whole city. The memory of his father's virtues being
yet fresh among them, no one could hear, without horror and
indignation, that the son was going to suffer an ignominious

Saouy went in person to the prison, accompanied by twenty slaves,
ministers of his cruelty, who took Noor ad Deen out of the
dungeon, and put him upon a shabby horse without a saddle. When
Noor ad Deen saw himself in the hands of his enemy, "Thou
triumphest now," said he, "and abusest thy power; but I trust in
the truth of what is written in our scripture, ‘You judge
unjustly, and in a little time you shall be judged yourself.'"
The vizier Saouy triumphed in his heart. "What! insolent," said
he, "darest thou insult me yet? but I care not what may happen to
me, so I have the pleasure of seeing thee lose thy head in the
public view of all Bussorah. Thou oughtest also to remember what
another of our books says, ‘What signifies if one dies the next
day after the death of his enemy?'"

The vizier, implacable in his hatred and enmity, surrounded by
his slaves in arms, conducted Noor ad Deen towards the palace.
The people were ready to fall upon him as he passed; and if any
one had set the example, would certainly have stoned him to
death. When he had brought him to the place of suffering, which
was to be in sight of the king's apartment, he left him in the
executioner's hands, and went straight to the king, who was in
his closet, ready to glut his eyes with the bloody spectacle he
had prepared.

The king's guard and the vizier's slaves, who made a circle round
Noor ad Deen, had much trouble to withstand the people, who made
all possible efforts to break through, and carry him off by
force. The executioner coming up to him, said, "I hope you will
forgive me, I am but a slave, and cannot help doing my duty. If
you have no occasion for any thing more, I beseech you to prepare
yourself; for the king is just going to give me orders to strike
the blow."

The unfortunate Noor ad Deen, at that moment, looking round upon
the people, "Will no charitable body," cried he, "bring me a
little water to quench my thirst?" Which immediately they did,
and handed it up to him upon the scaffold. The vizier Saouy
perceiving this delay, called out to the executioner from the
king's closet window, where he had planted himself, "Strike, what
dost thou stay for?" At these inhuman words the whole place
echoed with loud imprecations against him; and the king, jealous
of his authority, made it appear, by enjoining him to stop
awhile, that he was angry at his presumption. But there was
another reason; for the king that very moment casting his eye
towards a street that faced him, saw a troop of horsemen
advancing full speed towards the palace. "Vizier," said the king
immediately, "look yonder; what is the meaning of those
horsemen?" Saouy, who knew not who they might be, earnestly
pressed the king to give the executioner the sign. "No," replied
the king; "I will first know who those horsemen are." It was the
vizier Jaaffier, with his train, who came in person from Bagdad
by the caliph's order.

To understand the occasion of this minister's coming to Bussorah,
we must observe, that after Noor ad Deen's departure with the
letter, the caliph the next day, nor for several days after,
thought not of sending him the patent which he mentioned to the
fair Persian. He happened one day to be in the inner palace,
which was that of the women, and passing by her apartment, heard
the sound of a fine voice: he listened to it; and he had no
sooner heard the words of one complaining for the absence of
somebody, than he asked the officer of the eunuchs who attended
him who the woman was that lived in that apartment? The officer
told him it was the young stranger's slave whom he had sent to
Bussorah to be king in the room of Mahummud Zinebi.

"Ah! poor Noor ad Deen," cried the caliph, "I had forgotten thee;
but hasten," said he to the officer, "and bid Jaaffier come to
me." The vizier was with him in an instant. As soon as he came,
"Jaaffier," said he, "I have hitherto neglected sending the
patent which was to confirm Noor ad Deen king of Bussorah; but we
have no time now to draw up one; therefore immediately take post-
horses, and with some of your servants, make what haste you can
to that city. If Noor ad Deen is no longer alive, but put to
death by them, order the vizier Saouy to be impaled; but if he is
living, bring him to me with the king and the vizier."

The grand vizier stayed no longer than just to get on horseback;
and being attended by a great train of officers belonging to his
household departed for Bussorah, where he arrived in the manner
and at the time already mentioned. As soon as he came to the
palace-yard, the people cleared the way for him, crying out, "A
pardon for Noor ad Deen!" and with his whole train he rode into
the palace, even to the very stairs, where he alighted.

The king of Bussorah, knowing him to be the caliph's chief
minister, went to meet him, and received him at the entrance of
his apartment. The first question the vizier asked was, If Noor
ad Deen was living? and if he was, he desired that he might be
sent for. The king made answer, he was alive, and gave orders to
have him brought in. Accordingly he soon made his appearance as
he was, bound with cords. The grand vizier Jaaffier caused him to
be unbound, and setting him at liberty, ordered the vizier Saoay
to be seized, and bound him with the same cords.

The grand vizier remained but one night at Bussorah; and,
according to the order he had received, carried Saouy, the king
of Bussorah, and Noor ad Deen, along with him. Upon his arrival
at Bagdad, he presented them to the caliph: and after he had
given him an account of his journey, and particularly the
miserable condition in which he found Noor ad Deen, and his ill-
usage by the advice and malice of Saony, the caliph desired Noor
ad Deen to behead the vizier himself. "Commander of the true
believers," said the generous youth, "notwithstanding the injury
this wicked man has done me, and the mischief he endeavoured to
do my deceased father, I should think myself the basest of
mankind if I stained my hands with his blood." The caliph was
pleased with his generosity, and ordered justice to be done by
the executioner.

The caliph would fain have sent Noor ad Deen to Bussorah as king:
but he humbly begged to be excused from accepting the offer.
"Commander of the true believers," said Noor ad Deen, "the city
of Bussorah, after the misfortunes that have happened to me
there, will be so much my aversion, that I beseech your majesty
to give me leave to keep the oath which I have made, of never
returning thither again; and I shall think it my greatest glory
to serve near your royal person, if you are pleased to allow me
the honour." The caliph consented; and placing him among the
number of those courtiers who were his greatest favourites,
restored the fair Persian to him again. To all these favours he
added a plentiful fortune; and he and the fair Persian lived
together thenceforth, with all the happiness this world could

As for the king of Bussorah, the caliph contented himself with
hinting how careful he ought to be in the choice of his viziers,
and sent him back to his kingdom.

End of Volume 2.

Text scanned by JC Byers and proofread by JC Byers, Sally
Gellert, Renate Preuss, and Christine Sturrock.

The "Aldine" Edition of

The Arabian Nights Entertainments

Illustrated by S. L. Wood


In Four Volumes

Volume 3

Pickering and Chatto

Contents of Volume III.

The Story of Beder, Prince of Persia, and Jehaunara, Prince of
Samandal, or Summunder
The History of Prince Zeyn Alasnam and the Sultan of the Genii
The History of Codadad, and His Brothers
The History of the Princess of Deryabar
The Story of Abu Hassan, or the Sleeper Awakened
The Story of Alla Ad Deen; Or, the Wonderful Lamp
Adventure of the Caliph Haroon Al Rusheed
The Story of Baba Abdoollah
The Story of Syed Naomaun
The Story of Khaujeh Hassan Al Hubbaul
The Story of Ali Aba and the Forty Robbers Destroyed by a Slave
The Story of Ali Khujeh, a Merchand of Bagdad


Persia was an empire of such vast extent, that its ancient
monarchs, not without reason, assumed the haughty title of King
of kings. For not to mention those subdued by their arms, there
were kingdoms and provinces whose kings were not only tributary,
but also in as great subjection as governors in other nations are
to the monarchs.

One of these kings, who in the beginning of his reign had
signalized himself by many glorious and successful conquests,
enjoyed so profound a peace and tranquillity, as rendered him the
happiest of princes. The only point in which he thought himself
unfortunate was, that amongst all his wives, not one had brought
him a son; and being now far advanced in years, he was desirous
of an heir. He had above a hundred ladies, all lodged in separate
apartments, with women-slaves to wait upon and eunuchs to guard
them; yet, notwithstanding all his endeavours to please their
taste, and anticipate their wishes, there was not one that
answered his expectation. He had women frequently brought him
from the most remote countries; and if they pleased him, he not
only gave the merchants their full price, but loaded them with
honours and benedictions, in hopes that at last he might be so
happy as to meet with one by whom he might have a son. There was
scarcely an act of charity but he performed, to prevail with
heaven. He gave immense sums to the poor, besides large donations
to the religious; building for their use many noble colleges
richly endowed, in hopes of obtaining by their prayers what he so
earnestly desired.

One day, according to the custom of his royal predecessors,
during their residence in their capital, he held an assembly of
his courtiers, at which all the ambassadors and strangers of
quality about the court were present; and where they not only
entertained one another with news and politics, but also by
conversing on the sciences, history, poetry, literature, and
whatever else was capable of diverting the mind. On that day a
eunuch came to acquaint him with the arrival of a certain
merchant from a distant country, who, having brought a slave with
him, desired leave to shew her to his majesty. "Give him
admittance instantly," said the king, "and after the assembly is
over I will talk with him." The merchant was introduced, and
seated in a convenient place, from whence he might easily have a
full view of the king, and hear him talk familiarly to those that
stood near his person. The king observed this rule to all
strangers, in order that by degrees they might grow acquainted
with him; so that, when they saw with what freedom and civility
he addressed himself to all, they might be encouraged to talk to
him in the same manner, without being abashed at the pomp and
splendour of his appearance, which was enough to deprive those of
their power of speech who were not used to it. He treated the
ambassadors also after the same manner. He ate with them, and
during the repast asked them several questions concerning their
health, their journey, and the peculiarities of their country.
After they had been thus encouraged, he gave them audience.

When the assembly was over, and all the company had retired, the
merchant, who was the only person left, fell prostrate before the
king's throne, with his face to the earth, wishing his majesty an
accomplishment of all his desires As soon as he arose, the king
asked him if the report of his having brought a slave for him was
true, and whether she were handsome.

"Sire," replied the merchant, "I doubt not but your majesty has
many very beautiful women, since you search every corner of the
earth for them; but I may boldly affirm, without overvaluing my
merchandise, that you never yet saw a woman that could stand in
competition with her for shape and beauty, agreeable
qualifications, and all the perfections that she is mistress of."
"Where is she?" demanded the king; "bring her to me instantly."
"Sire," replied the merchant, "I have delivered her into the
hands of one of your chief eunuchs; and your majesty may send for
her at your pleasure."

The fair slave was immediately brought in; and no sooner had the
king cast his eyes on her, but he was charmed with her beautiful
and easy shape. He went directly into a closet, and was followed
by the merchant and a few eunuchs. The fair slave wore, over her
face, a red satin veil striped with gold; and when the merchant
had taken it off, the king of Persia beheld a female that
surpassed in beauty, not only his present ladies, but all that he
had ever had before. He immediately fell passionately in love
with her, and desired the merchant to name his price.

"Sire," said he, "I gave a thousand pieces of gold to the person
of whom I bought her; and in my three years' journey to your
court, I reckon I have spent as much more: but I shall forbear
setting any price to so great a monarch; and therefore, if your
majesty likes her, I humbly beg you would accept of her as a
present." "I am highly obliged to you," replied the king; "but it
is never my custom to treat merchants, who come hither for my
pleasure, in so ungenerous a manner; I am going to order thee ten
thousand pieces of gold; will that be sufficient?" "Sire,"
answered the merchant, "I should have esteemed myself happy in
your majesty's acceptance of her; yet I dare not refuse so
generous an offer. I will not fail to publish your liberality in
my own country, and in every place through which I may pass." The
money was paid; and before he departed, the king made him put on
a rich suit of cloth of gold.

The king caused the fair slave to be lodged in the apartment next
his own, and gave particular orders to the matrons, and the
female slaves appointed to attend her, that after bathing they
should dress her in the richest habit they could find, and carry
her the finest pearl necklaces, the brightest diamonds, and other
richest precious stones, that she might choose those she liked

The officious matrons, whose only care was to please the king,
were astonished at her beauty; and being good judges, they told
his majesty, that if he would allow them but three days, they
would engage to make her so much handsomer than she was at
present, that he would scarcely know her again. The king could
hardly prevail with himself to delay so long the pleasure of
seeing her, but at last he consented.

The king of Persia's capital was situated in an island; and his
palace, which was very magnificent, was built on the shore: his
apartment looked on the water; the fair slave's, which was near
it, had also the same prospect, and was the more agreeable, on
account of the sea's beating almost against the walls.

At the three days' end, the fair slave, magnificently dressed,
was alone in her chamber, sitting on a sofa, and leaning against
one of the windows that faced the sea, when the king, being
informed that he might visit her, came in. The slave, hearing
somebody walk in the room with an air quite different from that
of the female slaves, who had hitherto attended her, immediately
turned her head about to see who it was. She knew him to be the
king, but without discovering the least surprise, or so much as
rising from her seat to salute or receive him, as if he had been
the most indifferent person in the world, she put herself in the
same posture again.

The king of Persia was extremely surprised to see a slave of so
beauteous a form so ignorant of the world. He attributed this to
the narrowness of her education, and the little care that had
been taken to instruct her in the first rules of civility. He
went to her at the window, where, notwithstanding the coldness
and indifference with which she had received him, she suffered
herself to be admired, caressed, and embraced, as much as he

In the midst of these amorous embraces and tender endearments,
the king paused awhile, to gaze upon, or rather to devour her
with his eyes. "My lovely fair one! my charmer!" exclaimed he;
"whence came you, and where do those happy parents live who
brought into the world so surprising a masterpiece of nature? How
do I love thee, and shall always continue to do. Never did I feel
for a woman what I now feel for you; and though I have seen, and
every day behold a vast number of beauties, yet never did my eyes
contemplate so many charms in one person--charms which have so
transported me, that I shall entirely devote myself to you. My
dearest life," continued he, "you neither answer, nor by any
visible token give me the least reason to believe that you are
sensible of the demonstrations I have given you of the ardour of
my passion; neither will you turn your eyes on me, to afford mine
the pleasure of meeting them, and to convince you that it is
impossible to love in a higher degree than I do you. Why will you
still preserve this obstinate silence, which chills me, and
whence proceeds the seriousness, or rather sorrow, that torments
me to the soul? Do you mourn for your country, your friends or
your relations? Alas! Is not the king of Persia, who loves and
adores you, capable of comforting you, and making you amends for
every loss?"

Notwithstanding all the protestations of love the king of Persia
made the fair slave, and all he could say to induce her to speak
to him, she remained unaltered; and keeping her eyes still fixed
upon the ground, would neither look at him, nor utter a word.

The king of Persia, delighted with the purchase he had made of a
slave that pleased him so well, pressed her no farther, in hopes
that by treating her kindly he might prevail upon her to change
her behaviour. He clapped his hands; and the women who waited in
an outward room entered: he commanded them to bring in supper.
When it was arranged, "My love," said he to the slave, "come
hither and sup with me." She rose from her seat; and being seated
opposite the king, his majesty helped her, before he began eating
himself; and did so of every dish during supper. The slave ate as
well as the king, but still with downcast eyes, and without
speaking a word; though he often asked her how she liked the
entertainment, and whether it was dressed according to her taste.

The king, willing to change the conversation, asked her what her
name was, how she liked the clothes and the jewels she had on,
what she thought of her apartment and the rich furniture, and
whether the prospect of the sea was not very agreeable? But to
all these questions she made no reply; so that the king was at a
loss what to think of her silence. He imagined at first, that she
might perhaps be dumb: "But then," said he to himself, "can it be
possible that heaven should forge a creature so beautiful, so
perfect, and so accomplished, and at the same time with so great
an imperfection? Were it however so, I could not love her with
less passion than I do." When the king of Persia rose, he washed
his hands on one side, while the fair slave washed hers on the
other. He took that opportunity to ask the woman who held the
basin and napkin, if ever they had heard her speak. One of them
replied, "Sire, we have neither seen her open her lips, nor heard
her speak any more than your majesty has; we have rendered her
our services in the bath; we have dressed her head, put on her
clothes, and waited upon her in her chamber; but she has never
opened her lips, so much as to say, that is well, or I like this.
We have often asked her, "Madam, do you want anything? Is there
anything you wish for? Do but ask, and command us," but we have
never been able to draw a word from her. We cannot tell whether
her sorrow proceeds from pride, sorrow, stupidity, or dumbness."

The king was more astonished at hearing this than he had been
before: however, believing the slave might have some cause of
sorrow, he was willing to endeavour to divert and amuse her.
Accordingly he appointed a very splendid assembly, which all the
ladies of the court attended; and those who were skilful in
playing upon musical instruments performed their parts, while
others sung or danced, or did both together: they played at all
sorts of games, which much diverted the king. The fair slave was
the only person who took no pleasure in these attempts to amuse
her; she never moved from her place, but remained with her eyes
fixed on the ground with so much indifference, that all the
ladies were not less surprised than the king. After the assembly
was over, every one retired to her apartment; and the king was
left alone with the fair slave.

The next morning the king of Persia rose more pleased than he had
been with all the women he had seen before, and more enamoured
with the fair slave than ever. Indeed, he soon made it appear, by
resolving henceforth to attach himself to her alone; and
performed his resolution. On the same day he dismissed all his
other women, giving every one of them their jewels, and other
valuables, besides a considerable fortune, with free leave to
marry whom they thought fit; and only kept the matrons and a few
other elderly women to wait upon the fair slave. However, for a
whole year together, she never afforded him the pleasure of one
single word; yet the king continued his assiduities to please
her, and to give her the most signal proofs of sincere love.

After the expiration of the year, the king sitting one day by his
mistress, protested to her that his love, instead of being
diminished, grew every day more violent. "My queen," said he, "I
cannot divine what your thoughts are; but nothing is more true,
and I swear to you, that having the happiness of possessing you,
there remains nothing for me to desire. I esteem my kingdom,
great as it is, less than an atom, when I have the pleasure of
beholding you, and of telling you a thousand times that I adore
you. I desire not that my words alone should oblige you to
believe me. Surely you can no longer doubt of my devotion to you
after the sacrifice which I have made to your beauty of so many
women, whom I before kept in my palace. You may remember it is
about a year since I sent them all away; and I as little repent
of it now, as I did the moment of their departure; and I never
shall repent. Nothing would be wanting to complete my happiness
and crown my joy, would you but speak one single word to me, by
which I might be assured that you thought yourself at all
obliged. But how can you speak to me if you are dumb? and alas! I
feel but too apprehensive that this is the case. How can I doubt,
since you still torment me with silence, after having for a whole
year in vain supplicated you to speak? If it is possible for me
to obtain of you that consolation, may heaven at least grant me
the blessing of a son by you, to succeed me. I every day find
myself growing old, and I begin already to want one to assist me
in bearing the weight of my crown. Still I cannot conceal the
desire I have of hearing you speak; for something within me tells
me you are not dumb: and I beseech, I conjure you, dear madam, to
break through this long silence, and speak but one word to me;
after that I care not how soon I die."

At this discourse the fair slave, who, according to her usual
custom, had hearkened to the king with downcast eyes, and had
given him cause to believe not only that she was dumb, but that
she had never laughed, began to smile. The king of Persia
perceived it with a surprise that made him break forth into an
exclamation of joy; and no longer doubting but that she was going
to speak, he waited for that happy moment with an eagerness and
attention that cannot easily be expressed

At last the fair slave thus addressed herself to the king: "Sire,
I have so many things to say to your majesty, that, having once
broken silence, I know not where to begin. However, in the first
place, I think myself bound to thank you for all the favours and
honours you have been pleased to confer upon me, and to implore
heaven to bless and prosper you, to prevent the wicked designs of
your enemies, and not suffer you to die after hearing me speak,
but to grant you a long life. After this, sire, I cannot give you
greater satisfaction than by acquainting you that I am with
child; and I wish, as you do, it may be a son. Had it never been
my fortune to be pregnant, I was resolved (I beg your majesty to
pardon the sincerity of my intention) never to have loved you,
and to have kept an eternal silence; but now I love you as I
ought to do."

The king of Persia, ravished to hear the fair slave not only
speak, but tell him tidings in which he was so nearly concerned,
embraced her tenderly. "Staining light of my eyes," said he, "it
is impossible for me to receive greater delight than you have now
given me: you have spoken to me, and you have declared your being
with child, which I did not expect. After these two occasions of
joy I am transported out of myself."

The king of Persia, in the transport of his feelings, said no
more to the fair slave. He left her, but in such a manner as made
her perceive his intention was speedily to return: and being
willing that the occasion of his joys should be made public, he
declared it to his officers, and sent for the grand vizier. As
soon as he came, he ordered him to distribute a thousand pieces
of gold among the holy men of his religion, who made vows of
poverty; as also among the hospitals and the poor, by way of
returning thanks to heaven: and his will was obeyed by the
direction of that minister.

After the king of Persia had given this order, he returned to the
fair slave again. "Madam," said he, "pardon me for leaving you so
abruptly, since you have been the occasion of it; but I hope you
will indulge me with some conversation, since I am desirous to
know of you several things of much greater consequence. Tell me,
my dearest soul, what were the powerful reasons that induced you
to persist in that obstinate silence for a whole year together,
though every day you saw me, heard me talk to you, ate and drank
with me, and every night slept with me? I shall pass by your not
speaking; but how you could carry yourself so as that I could
never discover whether you were sensible of what I said to you or
no, I confess, surpasses my understanding; and I cannot yet
comprehend how you could contain yourself so long; therefore I
must conclude the occasion of it to be very extraordinary."

"To satisfy the king of Persia's curiosity," replied the lady,
"think whether or no to be a slave, far from my own country,
without any hopes of ever seeing it again, to have a heart torn
with grief, at being separated forever from my mother, my
brother, my friends, and my acquaintance, are not these
sufficient reasons for the silence your majesty has thought so
strange and unaccountable?

The love of our native country is as natural to us as that of our
parents; and the loss of liberty is insupportable to everyone who
is not wholly destitute of common sense, and knows how to set a
value on it. The body indeed may be enslaved, and under the
subjection of a master, who has the power and authority in his
hands; the will can never be conquered, but remains free and
unconfined, depending on itself alone, as your majesty has found
in my case; and it is a wonder that I have not followed the
example of many unfortunate wretches, whom the loss of liberty
has reduced to the melancholy resolution of procuring their own
deaths in a thousand ways, by a liberty which cannot be taken
from them."

"Madam," replied the king, "I am convinced of the truth of what
you say; but till this moment I was of opinion, that a person
beautiful, of good understanding, like yourself, whom her evil
destiny had condemned to be a slave, ought to think herself very
happy in meeting with a king for her master."

"Sire," replied the lady, "whatever the slave be, as I have
already observed to your majesty, there is no king on earth can
tyrannize over her will. When indeed you speak of a slave
mistress of charms sufficient to captivate a monarch, and induce
him to love her; if she be of a rank infinitely below him, I am
of your opinion, she ought to think herself happy in her
misfortunes: still what happiness can it be, when she considers
herself only as a slave, torn from a parent's arms, and perhaps
from those of a lover, her passion for whom death only can
extinguish; but when this very slave is in nothing inferior to
the king who has purchased her, your majesty shall judge yourself
of the rigour of her destiny, her misery and her sorrow, and to
what desperate attempts the anguish of despair may drive her."

The king of Persia, astonished at this discourse, "Madam," said
he, "can it be possible that you are of royal blood, as by your
words you seem to intimate? Explain the whole secret to me, I
beseech you, and no longer augment my impatience. Let me
instantly know who are the happy parents of so great a prodigy of
beauty; who are your brothers, your sisters, and your relations;
but, above all, tell me your name?"

"Sire," said the fair slave, "my name is Gulnare of the Sea: and
my father, who is dead, was one of the most potent monarchs of
the ocean. When he died, he left his kingdom to a brother of

Book of the day: