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The Arabian Nights Entertainments Complete by Anon.

Part 14 out of 28

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mine, named Saleh, and to the queen, my mother, who is also a
princess, the daughter of another puissant monarch of the sea. We
enjoyed profound peace and tranquillity through the whole
kingdom, till a neighbouring prince, envious of our happiness,
invaded our dominions with a mighty army; and penetrating as far
as our capital, made himself master of it; and we had but just
time to save ourselves in an impenetrable and inaccessible place,
with a few trusty officers, who did not forsake us in our

"In this retreat my brother was not negligent in contriving means
to drive the unjust invaders from our dominions. One day taking
me into his closet, 'Sister,' said he, 'the events of the
smallest undertakings are always dubious. For my own part, I may
fail in the attempt I design to make to recover my kingdom; and I
shall be less concerned for my own disgrace than what may
possibly happen to you. To secure you from all accident, I would
fain see you married. But in the present miserable condition of
our affairs, I see no probability of matching you to any of the
princes of the sea; and therefore I should be glad if you would
concur in my opinion, and think of marrying one of the princes of
the earth. I am ready to contribute all that lies in my power
towards accomplishing this; and am certain there is not one of
them, however powerful, but, considering your beauty, would be
proud of sharing his crown with you.'

"At this discourse of my brother's, I fell into a violent
passion. 'Brother,' said I, 'you know that I am descended, as
well as you, from the kings and queens of the sea, without any
mixture of alliance with those of the earth; therefore I do not
design to marry below myself, and I have taken an oath to that
effect. The condition to which we are reduced shall never oblige
me to alter my resolution; and if you perish in the execution of
your design, I am prepared to fall with you, rather than follow
the advice I so little expected from you.'

"My brother, who was still earnest for my marriage, however
improper for me, endeavoured to make me believe that there were
kings of the earth who were no ways inferior to those of the sea.
This put me into a more violent passion, which occasioned him to
say several bitter reflecting things, that nettled me to the
quick. He left me, as much dissatisfied with myself as he could
possibly be with me; and in this peevish mood I gave a spring
from the bottom of the sea up to the Island of the Moon.

"Notwithstanding the violent discontent that made me cast myself
upon that island, I lived content in retirement. But in spite of
all my precautions, a person of distinction, attended by his
servants, surprised me sleeping, and carried me to his own house.
He expressed much love to me, and omitted nothing which he
thought might induce me to return his passion. When he saw that
fair means would not prevail upon me, he attempted to use force:
but I soon made him repent of his insolence. He resolved to sell
me, which he did to the merchant who brought me hither, and sold
me to your majesty. He was a prudent, courteous, humane man; and
during the whole of the long journey, never gave me the least
reason to complain.

"As for your majesty," continued the princess Gulnare, "if you
had not shown me all the respect you have hitherto done (for
which I am extremely obliged to your goodness), and given me such
undeniable marks of your affection, that I can no longer doubt of
it; if you had not immediately sent away your women; I hesitate
not to tell you, that I should not have remained with you. I
would have thrown myself into the sea out of this window, where
you accosted me when you first came into this apartment; and have
gone in search of my mother, my brother, and the rest of my
relations. I should have persisted in that design, and would have
put it in execution, if after a certain time I had found myself
deceived in the hopes of being with child; but in the condition I
am in, all I could say to my mother or my brother would never
convince them that I have been a slave to a king like your
majesty. They would never believe it, but would for ever upbraid
me with the crime I have voluntarily committed against my honour.
However, sire, be it a prince or princess that I may bring into
the world, it will be a pledge to engage me never to be parted
from your majesty; and therefore I hope you will no longer regard
me as a slave, but as a princess worthy your alliance."

In this manner the Princess Gulnare discovered herself to the
king of Persia, and finished her story. "My charming, my adorable
princess," cried he, "what wonders have I heard! and what ample
matter for my curiosity, to ask a thousand questions concerning
those strange and unheard of things which you have related! But
first, I ought to thank you for your goodness and patience in
making trial of the truth and constancy of my passion. I thought
it impossible for me to love you more than I did; but since I
know you to be a princess, I love you a thousand times more.
Princess! did I say, madam? you are no longer so; but you are my
queen, the queen of Persia; and by that title you shall soon be
proclaimed throughout the whole kingdom. To-morrow the ceremony
shall be performed in my capital with a pomp and magnificence
never yet beheld; which will plainly shew that you are my queen
and my lawful wife. This should long ago have been done, had you
sooner convinced me of my error: for from the first moment of my
seeing you, I have been of the same opinion as now, to love you
always, and never to place my affections on any other.

"But that I may satisfy myself, and pay you all the respect that
is your due, I beseech you, madam, to inform me more particularly
of the kingdom and people of the sea, who are altogether unknown
to me. I have heard much talk, indeed, of the inhabitants of the
sea, but I always looked upon such accounts merely as tales or
fables; by what you have told me, I am convinced there is nothing
more true; and I have a proof of it in your own person, who are
one of them, and are pleased to condescend to be my wife; which
is an honour no other inhabitant on the earth can boast. There is
one point however which yet perplexes me; therefore I must beg
the favour of you to explain it; that is, I cannot comprehend how
it is possible for you to live or move in water without being
drowned. There are few amongst us who have the art of staying
under water; and they would surely perish, if, after a certain
time, according to their activity and strength, they did not come
up again."

"Sire," replied the Queen Gulnare, "I shall with pleasure satisfy
the king of Persia. We can walk at the bottom of the sea with as
much ease as you can upon land; and we can breathe in the water
as you do in the air; so that instead of suffocating us, as it
does you, it absolutely contributes to the preservation of our
lives. What is yet more remarkable is, that it never wets our
clothes; so that when we wish to visit the earth, we have no
occasion to dry them. Our language is the same with that of the
writing engraved upon the seal of the great prophet Solomon the
son of David.

"I must not forget to inform you further, that the water does not
in the least hinder us from seeing: for we can open our eyes
without any inconvenience: and as we have quick, piercing sight,
we can discern any objects as clearly in the deepest part of the
sea as upon land. We have also there a succession of day and
night; the moon affords us her light; and even the planets and
the stars appear visible to us. I have already spoken of our
kingdoms; but as the sea is much more spacious than the earth, so
there are a great number of them, and of great extent. They are
divided into provinces; and in each province are several great
cities well peopled. In short there is an infinite number of
nations differing in manners and customs, as they do on the

"The palaces of the kings and princes are sumptuous and
magnificent. Some of them are constructed of marble of various
colours; others of rock-crystal, with which the sea abounds,
mother of pearl, coral, and of other materials more valuable;
gold, silver, and all sorts of precious stones are more plentiful
there than on earth. I say nothing of the pearls, since the
largest that ever were seen upon earth would not be valued
amongst us; and none but the very lowest rank of citizens would
wear them.

"As we have a marvellous and incredible agility to transport
ourselves whither we please in the twinkling of an eye, we have
no occasion for carriages or horses; not but the king has his
stables and his stud of sea horses; but they are seldom used,
except upon public feasts or rejoicing days. Some, after they
have trained them, take delight in riding and shewing their skill
and dexterity in races; others put them to chariots of mother of
pearl, adorned with an infinite number of shells of all sorts, of
the liveliest colours. These chariots are open; and in the middle
is a throne on which the king sits, and shows himself to the
public view of his subjects. The horses are trained to draw by
themselves; so that there is no occasion for a charioteer to
guide them. I pass over a thousand other curious particulars
relating to these submarine countries, which would be very
entertaining to your majesty; but you must permit me to defer
them to a future opportunity, to speak of something of much
greater consequence, which is, that the method of delivering, and
the way of managing the women of the sea in their lying-in, is
very different from those of the women of the earth; and I am
afraid to trust myself in the hands of the midwives of this
country: therefore, since my safe delivery equally concerns us
both, with your majesty's permission, I think it proper, for
greater security, to send for my mother and my cousins, to assist
at my labour; at the same time to desire the king my brother's
company, to whom I have a great desire to be reconciled. They
will be glad to see me again, when they understand I am wife to
the mighty king of Persia. I beseech your majesty to give me
leave to send for them. I am sure they will be happy to pay their
respects to you; and I venture to say you will be pleased to see

"Madam," replied the king of Persia, "you are mistress; do
whatever you please; I will endeavour to receive them with all
the honours they deserve. But I would fain know how you will
acquaint them with what you desire, and when they will arrive,
that I may give orders to make preparation for their reception,
and go myself in person to meet them." "Sire," replied the Queen
Gulnare, "there is no need of these ceremonies; they will be here
in a moment; and if your majesty will but step into the closet,
and look through the lattice, you shall see the manner of their

As soon as the king of Persia was in the closet, Queen Gulnare
ordered one of her women to bring her a fire-pan with a little
fire. After that she bade her retire, and shut the door. When she
was alone, she took a piece of aloes-wood out of a box, and put
it into the fire-pan. As soon as she saw the smoke rise, she
repeated some words unknown to the king of Persia, who observed
with great attention all that she did. She had no sooner ended,
than the sea began to be disturbed. The closet the king was in
was so contrived, that looking through the lattice on the same
side with the windows that faced the sea, he could plainly
perceive it.

At length the sea opened at some distance; and presently there
arose out of it a tall, handsome young man, with whiskers of a
sea-green colour; a little behind him, a lady, advanced in years,
but of a majestic air, attended by five young ladies, nothing
inferior in beauty to the Queen Gulnare.

Queen Gulnare immediately came to one of the windows, and saw the
king her brother, the queen her mother, and the rest of her
relations, who at the same time perceived her also. The company
advanced, supported, as it were, upon the waves. When they came
to the edge, they nimbly, one after another, sprung in at the
window. King Saleh, the queen her mother, and the rest of her
relations, embraced her tenderly on their first entrance, with
tears in their eyes.

After Queen Gulnare had received them with all imaginable honour,
and made them sit down upon a sofa, the queen her mother
addressed herself to her: "Daughter," said she, "I am overjoyed
to see you again after so long an absence; and I am confident
that your brother and your relations are no less so. Your leaving
us without acquainting any one with your intention, involved us
in inexpressible concern; and it is impossible to tell you how
many tears we have shed on your account. We know of no reason
that could induce you to take such a resolution, but what your
brother related to us respecting the conversation that passed
between him and you. The advice he gave you seemed to him at that
time advantageous for settling you in the world, and suitable to
the then posture of our affairs. If you had not approved of his
proposal, you ought not to have been so much alarmed; and give me
leave to tell you, you took his advice in a different light from
what you ought to have done. But no more of this; it serves only
to renew the occasion of our sorrow and complaint, which we and
you ought to bury forever in oblivion; give us now an account of
all that has happened to you since we saw you last, and of your
present situation, but especially let us know if you are

Gulnare immediately threw herself at her mother's feet, and
kissing her hand, "Madam," said she, "I own I have been guilty of
a fault, and I am indebted to your goodness for the pardon which
you are pleased to grant me. What I am going to say, in obedience
to your commands, will soon convince you, that it is often in
vain for us to have an aversion for certain measures; I have
myself experienced that the only thing I had an abhorrence to, is
that to which my destiny has led me." She then related the whole
of what had befallen her since she quitted the sea for the earth.
As scon as she had concluded, and acquainted them with her having
been sold to the king of Persia, in whose palace she was at
present; "Sister," said the king her brother, "you have been
wrong to suffer so many indignities, but you can properly blame
nobody but yourself; you have it in your power now to free
yourself, and I cannot but admire your patience, that you could
endure so long a slavery. Rise, and return with us into my
kingdom, which I have reconquered from the proud usurper who had
made himself master of it."

The king of Persia, who heard these words from the closet where
he stood, was in the utmost alarm; "Ah!" said he to himself, "I
am ruined, and if my queen, my Gulnare, hearken to this advice,
and leave me, I shall surely die, for it is impossible for me to
live without her." Queen Gulnare soon put him out of his fears.

"Brother," said she smiling, "what I have just heard gives me a
greater proof than ever of the sincerity of your affection; I
could not brook your proposing to me a match with a prince of the
earth: now I can scarcely forbear being angry with you for
advising me to break the engagement I have made with the most
puissant and most renowned monarch in the world. I do not speak
here of an engagement between a slave and her master; it would be
easy to return the ten thousand pieces of gold he gave for me;
but I speak now of a contract between a wife and a husband--and a
wife who has not the least reason to complain. He is a religious,
wise, and temperate king, and has given me the most essential
demonstrations of his love. What can be a greater proof of the
sincerity of his passion, than sending away all his women (of
which he had a great number) immediately upon my arrival, and
confining himself to me alone? I am now his wife, and he has
lately declared me queen of Persia, to share with him in his
councils; besides, I am pregnant, and if heaven permit me to give
him a son, that will be another motive to engage my affections to
him the more."

"So that, brother," continued the queen Gulnare, "instead of
following your advice, you see I have all the reason in the
world, not only to love the king of Persia as passionately as he
loves me, but also to live and die with him, more out of
gratitude than duty. I hope then neither my mother, nor you, nor
any of my cousins, will disapprove of the resolution or the
alliance I have made, which will do equal honour to the kings of
the sea and earth. Excuse me for giving you the trouble of coming
hither from the bottom of the deep, to communicate it to you; and
to enjoy the pleasure of seeing you after so long a separation."

"Sister," replied King Saleh, "the proposal I made you of going
back with us into my kingdom, upon the recital of your adventures
(which I could not hear without concern), was only to let you see
how much we all love you, and how much I in particular honour
you, and that nothing is so dear to me as your happiness. Upon
the same account then, for my own part, I cannot condemn a
resolution so reasonable and so worthy of yourself, after what
you have told us of the king of Persia your husband, and the
great obligations you owe him; and I am persuaded that the queen
our mother will be of the same opinion."

The queen confirmed what her son had spoken, and addressing
herself to Gulnare, said, "I am glad to hear you are pleased; and
I have nothing to add to what your brother has said. I should
have been the first to condemn you, had you not expressed all the
gratitude you owe to a monarch. that loves you so passionately."

As the king of Persia had been extremely concerned under the
apprehension of losing his beloved queen, so now he was
transported with joy at her resolution never to forsake him; and
having no room to doubt of her love after so open a declaration,
he resolved to evince his gratitude in every possible way.

While the king was indulging incredible pleasure, Queen Gulnare
clapped her hands, and immediately some of her slaves entered,
whom she had ordered to bring in a collation: as soon as it was
served up, she invited the queen her mother, the king her
brother, and her cousins to partake. They began to reflect that
they were in the palace of a mighty king, who had never seen or
heard of them, and that it would be rudeness to eat at his table
without him. This reflection raised a blush in their faces, and
in their emotion, their eyes glowing like fire, they breathed
flames at their mouths and nostrils.

This unexpected sight put the king of Persia, who was totally
ignorant of the cause of it, into a dreadful consternation. Queen
Gulnare, suspecting this, and understanding the intention of her
relations, rose from her seat, and told them she would be back in
a moment. She went directly to the closet, and by her presence
recovered the king of Persia from his surprise; "Sir," said she,
"I doubt not but that your majesty is well pleased with the
acknowledgment I have made of the many favours for which I am
indebted to you. I might have complied with the wishes of my
relations, and gone back with them into their dominions; but I am
not capable of such ingratitude, for which I should have been the
first to condemn myself." "Ah! my queen,"cried the king of
Persia, "speak no more of your obligations to me; you have none;
I am under so many to you, that I shall never be able to repay
them. I never thought it possible you could have loved me so
tenderly as you do, and as you have made appear to me in the most
endearing manner." "Ah! sir," replied Gulnare "could I do less? I
fear I have not done enough, considering all the honours that
your majesty has heaped upon me; and it is impossible for me to
remain insensible of your love, after so many convincing proofs
as you have given me."

"But, sir," continued Gulnare, "let us drop this subject, and
give me leave to assure you of the sincere friendship the queen
my mother and the king my brother are pleased to honour you with;
they earnestly desire to see you, and tell you so themselves: I
intended to have had some conversation with them by ordering a
banquet for them, before I introduced them to your majesty; but
they are impatient to pay their respects to you; and therefore I
beseech your majesty to be pleased to honour them with your

"Madam," said the king of Persia, "I should be glad to salute
persons who have the honour to be so nearly related to you, but I
am afraid of the flames they breathe at their mouths and
nostrils." "Sir," replied the queen laughing, "you need not in
the least fear those flames, which are nothing but a sign of
their unwillingness to eat in your palace, without your honouring
them with your presence, and eating with them."

The king of Persia, encouraged by these words, rose and went into
the apartment with his Queen Gulnare She presented him to the
queen her mother, to the king her brother, and to her other
relations; who instantly threw themselves at his feet, with their
faces to the ground. The king of Persia ran to them, and lifting
them up, embraced them one after another. After they were all
seated, King Saleh began: "Sir;" said he to the king of Persia,
"we are at a loss for words to express our joy, to think that the
queen my sister, in her disgrace, should have the happiness of
falling under the protection of so powerful a monarch. We can
assure you, she is not unworthy of the high rank to which you
have been pleased to raise her; and we have always had so much
love and tenderness for her, that we could never think or parting
with her to any of the puissant princes of the sea, who have
often demanded her in marriage before she came of age. Heaven has
reserved her for you, and we have no better way of testifying our
gratitude for the favour it has done her, than beseeching it to
grant your majesty a long and happy life with her, and to crown
you with prosperity and satisfaction.

"Certainly," replied the king of Persia, "heaven reserved her for
me, as you observe. I love her with so tender and ardent a
passion, that I am satisfied I never loved any woman till I saw
her. I cannot sufficiently thank either the queen her mother or
you, prince, or your whole family, for the generosity with which
you have consented to receive me into an alliance so glorious to
me as yours." So saying he invited them to take part of the
collation, and he and his queen sat down with them. After the
collation, the king of Persia conversed with them till it was
very late; and when they thought it convenient to retire, he
waited upon them himself to the several apartments he had ordered
to be prepared for them.

The king of Persia treated his illustrious guests with continual
feasts; in which he omitted nothing that might shew his grandeur
and magnificence, and insensibly prevailed with them to stay with
him till the queen was brought to bed. When the time of her
lying-in drew near, he gave particular orders that nothing should
be wanting proper for such an occasion. At length she was brought
to bed of a son, to the great joy of the queen her mother, who
assisted at the labour, and presented him to the king.

The king of Persia received this present with a joy easier to be
imagined than expressed. The young prince being of a beautiful
countenance, he thought no name so proper for him as that of
Beder, which in the Arabian language signifies the Full Moon. To
return thanks to heaven, he was very liberal in his alms to the
poor, caused the prison doors to be set open, and gave all his
slaves of both sexes their liberty. He distributed vast sums
among the ministers and holy men of his religion. He also gave
large donations to his courtiers, besides a considerable sum that
was thrown amongst the people; and by proclamation, ordered
rejoicings to be kept for several days through the whole city.

One day, after the queen was recovered, as the king of Persia,
Gulnare, the queen her mother, King Saleh her brother, and the
princesses their relations, were discoursing together in her
majesty's bed-chamber, the nurse came in with the young prince
Beder in her arms. King Saleh as soon as he saw him, ran to
embrace him, and taking him in his arms, kissed and caressed him
with the greatest demonstrations of tenderness. He took several
turns with him about the room, dancing and tossing him about,
when all of a sudden, through a transport of joy, the window
being open, he sprung out, and plunged with him into the sea.

The king of Persia, who expected no such sight, believing he
should either see the prince his son no more, or else that he
should see him drowned, was overwhelmed in affliction. "Sir,"
said queen Gulnare (with a quiet and undisturbed countenance, the
better to comfort him), "let your majesty fear nothing; the young
prince is my son as well as yours, and I do not love him less
than yourself. You see I am not alarmed; neither in truth ought I
to be. He runs no risk, and you will soon see the king his uncle
appear with him again, and bring him back safe. Although he be
born of your blood, he is equally of mine, and will have the same
advantage his uncle and I possess, of living equally in the sea,
and upon the land." The queen his mother and the princesses his
relations affirmed the same thing; yet all they said had no
effect on the king, who could not recover from his alarm till he
again saw prince Beder.

The sea at length became troubled, when immediately King Saleh
arose with the young prince in his arms, and holding him up in
the air, reentered at the window from which he had leaped. The
king of Persia being overjoyed to see Prince Beder again, and
astonished that he was as calm as before he lost sight of him;
King Saleh said, "Sir, was not your majesty in alarm, when you
first saw me plunge into the sea with the prince my nephew?"
"Alas prince," answered the king of Persia, "I cannot express my
concern. I thought him lost from that very moment, and you now
restore life to me by bringing him again." "I thought as much,"
replied King Saleh, "though you had not the least reason to
apprehend danger; for before I plunged into the sea, I pronounced
over him certain mysterious words, which were engraved on the
seal of the great Solomon the son of David. We practise the like
in relation to all those children that are born in the regions at
the bottom of the sea, by virtue whereof they receive the same
privileges as we have over those people who inhabit the earth.
From what your majesty has observed, you may easily see what
advantage your son Prince Beder has acquired by his birth on the
part of his mother Gulnare my sister: for as long as he lives,
and as often as he pleases, he will be at liberty to plunge into
the sea, and traverse the vast empires it contains in its bosom."

Having so spoken, King Saleh, who had restored Prince Beder to
his nurse's arms, opened a box he had fetched from his palace in
the little time he had disappeared, which was filled with three
hundred diamonds, as large as pigeons' eggs; a like number of
rubies of extraordinary size; as many emerald wands, each half a
foot long, and thirty strings or necklaces of pearl consisting
each of ten feet. "Sir," said he to the king of Persia,
presenting him with this box, "when I was first summoned by the
queen my sister, I knew not what part of the earth she was in, or
that she had the honour to be married to so great a monarch. This
made us come without a present. As we cannot express how much we
have been obliged to your majesty, I beg you to accept this small
token of gratitude in acknowledgment of the many favours you have
been pleased to shew her, wherein we take equal interest."

It is impossible to express how greatly the king of Persia was
surprised at the sight of so much riches, enclosed in so little
compass. "What! prince," cried he, "do you call so inestimable a
present a small token of your gratitude, when you never have been
indebted to me? I declare once more you have never been in the
least obliged to me, neither the queen your mother nor you. I
esteem myself but too happy in the consent you have given to the
alliance I have contracted with you. Madam," continued he,
turning to Gulnare, "the king your brother has put me into the
greatest confusion; and I would beg of him to permit me to refuse
his present, were I not afraid of disobliging him: do you
therefore endeavour to obtain his leave that I may be excused
accepting it."

"Sir," replied King Saleh, "I am not at all surprised that your
majesty thinks this present so extraordinary. I know you are not
accustomed upon earth to see precious stones of this quality and
number: but if you knew, as I do, the mines whence these jewels
were taken, and that it is in my power to form a treasure greater
than those of all the kings of the earth, you would wonder we
should have the boldness to make you so small a present. I
beseech you therefore not to regard its trifling value, but
consider the sincere friendship which obliges us to offer it to
you, and not give us the mortification of refusing it." These
engaging expressions obliged the king of Persia to accept the
present, for which he returned many thanks both to King Saleh and
the queen his mother.

A few days after, King Saleh gave the king of Persia to
understand, that the queen his mother, the princesses his
relations, and himself, could have no greater pleasure than to
spend their whole lives at his court; but that having been so
long absent from their own kingdom, where their presence was
absolutely necessary, they begged of him to excuse them if they
took leave of him and Queen Gulnare. The king of Persia assured
them, he was sorry it was not in his power to return their visit
in their own dominions; but added, "As I am persuaded you will
not forget Gulnare, I hope I shall have the honour to see you
again more than once."

Many tears were shed on both sides upon their separation. King
Saleh departed first; but the queen his mother and the princesses
his relations were obliged to force themselves from the embraces
of Gulnare, who could not prevail with herself to let them go.
This royal company were no sooner out of sight, than the king of
Persia said to Gulnare, "Madam, I should have looked upon the
person who had pretended to pass those upon me for true wonders,
of which I myself have been eye-witness from the time I have been
honoured with your illustrious family at my court, as one who
would have abused my credulity. But I cannot refuse to believe my
senses; and shall remember them while I live, and never cease to
bless heaven for directing you to me, in preference to any other

Beder was brought up and educated in the palace under the care of
the king and queen of Persia, who both saw him grow and increase
in beauty to their great satisfaction. He gave them yet greater
pleasure as he advanced in years, by his continual sprightliness,
his agreeable manners, and the justness and vivacity of his wit;
and this satisfaction was the more sensible, because King Saleh
his uncle, the queen his grandmother, and the princesses his
relations, came from time to time to partake of it.

He was easily taught to read and write, and was instructed with
the same facility in all the sciences that became a prince of his

When he arrived at the age of fifteen, he acquitted himself in
all his exercises with infinitely better address and grace than
his masters. He was withal wise and prudent. The king, who had
almost from his cradle discovered in him virtues so necessary for
a monarch, and who moreover began to perceive the infirmities of
old age coming upon himself every day, would not stay till death
gave him possession of his throne, but purposed to resign it to
him. He had no great difficulty to make his council consent to
this arrangement: and the people heard his resolution with so
much the more joy, as they conceived Prince Beder worthy to
govern them. In a word, as the king had not for a long time
appeared in public, they had the opportunity of observing that he
had not that disdainful, proud, and distant air, which most
princes have, who look upon all below them with scorn and
contempt. They saw, on the contrary, that he treated all mankind
with that goodness which invited them to approach him; that he
heard favourably all who had anything to say to him; that he
answered everybody with a goodness that was peculiar to him; and
that he refused nobody any thing that had the least appearance of

The day for the ceremony was appointed, when in the midst of the
whole assembly, which was then more numerous than ordinary, the
king of Persia came down from his throne, took the crown from his
head, put it on that of Prince Beder, and having seated him in
his place, kissed his hand as a token that he resigned his
authority to him. After which he took his place among the crowd
of viziers and emirs below the throne.

Hereupon the viziers, emirs, and other principal officers, came
immediately and threw themselves at the new king's feet, taking
each the oath of fidelity according to their rank. Then the grand
vizier made a report of divers important matters, on which the
young king gave judgment with that admirable prudence and
sagacity that surprised all the council. He next turned out
several governors convicted of mal-administration, and put others
in their room, with such wonderful and just discernment, as
exalted the acclamations of every body, which were so much the
more honourable, as flattery had no share in them. He at length
left the council, accompanied by his father, and went to wait on
his mother Queen Gulnare at her apartment. The queen no sooner
saw him coming with his crown upon his head, than she ran to him
and embraced him with tenderness, wishing him a long and
prosperous reign.

The first year of his reign King Beder acquitted himself of all
his royal functions with great assiduity. Above all, he took care
to inform himself of the state of his affairs, and all that might
any way contribute towards the happiness of his people. Next
year, having left the administration to his council, under the
direction of his father, he left his capital, under pretence of
diverting himself with hunting; but his real intention was to
visit all the provinces of his kingdom, that he might reform
abuses, establish good order, and deprive all ill-minded princes,
his neighbours, of any opportunities of attempting anything
against the security and tranquillity of his subjects, by shewing
himself on his frontiers.

It required no less than a whole year for the young monarch to
execute a design so worthy of him. Soon after his return, the old
king his father fell so dangerously ill, that he knew at once he
should never recover. He waited for his last moment with great
tranquillity, and his only care was to recommend to the ministers
and other lords of his son's court, to persevere in the fidelity
they had sworn to him: and there was not one but willingly
renewed his oath as freely as at first. He died at length, to the
great grief of King Beder and Queen Gulnare, who caused his
corpse to be borne to a stately mausoleum, worthy of his rank and

The funeral obsequies ended, King Beder found no difficulty to
comply with that ancient custom in Persia to mourn for the dead a
whole month and not to be seen by anybody during that time. He
had mourned the death of his father his whole life, had he
yielded to his excessive affliction, and had it been right for a
great prince thus to abandon himself to sorrow. During this
interval the Queen Gulnare's mother, and King Saleh, together
with the princesses their relations, arrived at the Persian court
to condole with their relations.

When the month was expired, the king could not refuse admittance
to the grand vizier and the other lords of his court, who
besought him to lay aside his mourning, to shew himself to his
subjects, and take upon him the administration of affairs as

He shewed so much reluctance to comply with their request, that
the grand vizier was forced to take upon himself to say; "Sir, it
were needless to represent to your majesty, that it belongs only
to women to persist in perpetual mourning. We doubt not but you
are fully convinced of this, and that it is not your intention to
follow their example. Neither our tears nor yours are capable of
restoring life to the good king your father, though we should
lament him all our days. He has submitted to the common law of
all men, which subjects them to pay the indispensable tribute of
death. Yet we cannot say absolutely that he is dead, since we see
in him your sacred person. He did not himself doubt, when he was
dying, but he should revive in you, and to your majesty it
belongs to show that he was not deceived."

King Beder could no longer oppose such pressing instances; he
laid aside his mourning; and after he had resumed the royal habit
and ornaments, began to provide for the necessities of his
kingdom and subjects with the same assiduity as before his
father's death. He acquitted himself with universal approbation:
and as he was exact in maintaining the ordinances of his
predecessor, the people did not perceive they had changed their

King Saleh, who was returned to his dominions in the sea with the
queen his mother and the princesses, no sooner saw that King
Beder had resumed the government, but he at the end of the year
came alone to visit him; and King Beder and Queen Gulnare were
overjoyed to see him. One evening, talking of various matters,
King Saleh fell insensibly on the praises of the king his nephew,
and expressed to the queen his sister how glad he was to see him
govern so prudently, as to acquire such high reputation, not only
among his neighbours, but more remote princes. King Beder, who
could not bear to hear himself so well spoken of, and not being
willing, through good manners, to interrupt the king his uncle,
turned on one side, and feigned to be asleep, leaning his head
against a cushion that was behind him.

From these commendations, which regarded only the conduct and
genius of Beder, King Saleh came to speak of the perfections of
his person, which he extolled as prodigies, having nothing equal
to them upon earth, or in all the kingdoms under the waters, with
which he was acquainted.

"Sister," said he, "I wonder you have not thought of marrying
him: if I mistake not, he is in his twentieth year; and, at that
age, no prince ought to be suffered to be without a wife. I will
think of a match for him myself, since you will not, and marry
him to some princess of our lower world that may be worthy of

"Brother," replied queen Gulnare, "you call to my attention what
I must own has never occurred to me. As he discovered no
inclination for marriage, I never thought of mentioning it to
him. I like your proposal of one of our princesses; and I desire
you to name one so beautiful and accomplished that the king my
son may be obliged to love her."

"I know one," replied king Saleh, softly; "but before I tell you
who she is, let us see if the king my nephew be asleep, and I
will tell you afterwards why it is necessary we should take that
precaution." Queen Gulnare turned about and looked at her son,
and thought she had no reason to doubt but he was in a profound
sleep. King Beder, nevertheless, far from sleeping, redoubled his
attention, unwilling to lose any thing the king his uncle said
with so much secrecy. "There is no necessity for your speaking so
low," said the queen to the king her brother; "you may speak out
with freedom, without fear of being heard."

"It is by no means proper," replied King Saleh, "that the king my
nephew should as yet have any knowledge of what I am going to
say. Love, you know, sometimes enters at the ear, and it is not
necessary he should thus conceive a passion for the lady I am
about to name. Indeed I see many difficulties to be surmounted,
not on the lady's part, as I hope, but on that of her father. I
need only mention to you the princess Jehaun-ara, daughter of the
king of Samandal."

"How! brother," replied Queen Gulnare, "is not the princess yet
married? I remember to have seen her before I left your palace;
she was then about eighteen months old, surprisingly beautiful,
and must needs be the wonder of the world, if her charms have
increased with her years. The few years she is older than the
king my son ought not to prevent us from doing our utmost to
effect the match. Let me but know the difficulties in the way,
and we will surmount them."

"Sister," replied King Saleh, "the greatest difficulty is, that
the king of Samandal is insupportably vain, looking upon all
others as his inferiors: it is not likely we shall easily get him
to enter into this alliance. I will however go to him in person,
and demand of him the princess his daughter; and, in case he
refuses her, we will address ourselves elsewhere, where we shall
be more favourably heard. For this reason, as you may perceive,"
added he, "it is as well for the king my nephew not to know any
thing of our design, till we have the consent of the king of
Samandal." They discoursed a little longer upon this point and,
before they parted, agreed that King Saleh should forthwith
return to his own dominions, and demand the princess for the king
of Persia his nephew.

This done, Queen Gulnare and King Saleh, who believed King Beder
asleep, agreed to awake him before they retired; and he
dissembled so well that he seemed to awake from a profound sleep.
He had heard every word, and the character they gave of the
princess had inflamed his heart with a new passion. He had
conceived such an idea of her beauty, that the desire of
possessing her made him pass the night very uneasy without
closing his eyes.

Next day King Saleh proposed taking leave of Gulnare and the king
his nephew. The young king, who knew his uncle would not have de-
parted so soon but to go and promote without loss of time his
happiness, changed colour when he heard him mention his
departure. His passion was become so violent, it would not suffer
him to wait so long for the sight of his mistress as would be
required to accomplish the marriage. He more than once resolved
to desire his uncle to bring her away with him: but as he did not
wish to let the queen his mother understand he knew anything of
what had passed, he desired him only to stay with him one day
more, that they might hunt together, intending to take that
opportunity to discover his mind to him.

The day for hunting was fixed, and King Beder had many
opportunities of being alone with his uncle; but he had not
courage to acquaint him with his design.

In the heat of the chase, when King Saleh was separated from him,
and not one of his officers or attendants was near him, he
alighted by a rivulet; and having tied his horse to a tree,
which, with several others growing along the banks, afforded a
very pleasing shade, he laid himself on the grass, and gave free
course to his tears, which flowed in great abundance, accompanied
with many sighs.

He remained a good while in this condition, absorbed in thought,
without speaking a word. King Saleh, in the meantime, missing the
king his nephew, began to be much concerned to know what was
become of him; but could meet no one who could give any tidings
of him. He therefore left his company to seek for him, and at
length perceived him at a distance. He had observed the day
before, and more plainly that day, that he was not so lively as
he used to be; and that, if he was asked a question, he either
answered not at all, or nothing to the purpose; but never in the
least suspected the cause. As soon as he saw him dying in that
disconsolate posture, he immediately guessed he had not only
heard what had passed between him and Queen Gulnare, but was
become passionately in love. He alighted at some distance from
him, and having tied his horse to a tree, came upon him so
softly, that he heard him pronounce the following words:

"Amiable princess of the kingdom of Samandal, I have no doubt had
but an imperfect sketch of your incomparable beauty; I hold you
to be still more beautiful in preference to all the princesses in
the world, and to excel them as much as the sun does the moon and
stars. I would this moment go and offer you my heart, if I knew
where to find you; it belongs to you, and no princess shall be
possessor of it but yourself!"

King Saleh would hear no more; he advanced immediately, and
discovered himself to Beder. "From what I see, nephew," said he,
"you heard what the queen your mother and I said the other day of
the princess Jehaun-ara. It was not our intention you should have
known any thing respecting her, and we thought you were asleep."
"My dear uncle," replied King Beder, "I heard every word, and
have sufficiently experienced the effect you foretold; which it
was not in your power to prevent. I detained you on purpose to
acquaint you with my love before your departure; but the shame of
disclosing my weakness, if it be any to love a princess so worthy
of my affection, sealed up my mouth. I beseech you then, by the
friendship you profess for a prince who has the honour to be so
nearly allied to you, that you would pity me, and not wait to
procure me the consent of the divine Jehaun-ara, till you have
gained that of the king of Samandal that I may marry his
daughter, unless you had rather see me die with love, before I
behold her."

These words of the king of Persia greatly embarrassed King Saleh.
He represented to him how difficult it was to give him the
satisfaction he desired, and that he could not do it without
carrying him along with him; which might be of dangerous
consequence, since his presence was so absolutely necessary in
his kingdom. He conjured him, therefore, to moderate his passion,
till such time as he had put things into a train to satisfy him,
assuring him he would use his utmost diligence, and would come to
acquaint him in a few days. But these reasons were not sufficient
to satisfy the king of Persia. "Cruel uncle," said he. "I find
you do not love me so much as you pretended, and that you had
rather see me die than grant the first request I ever made."

"I am ready to convince your majesty," replied King Saleh, "that
I would do any thing to serve you; but as for carrying you along
with me, I cannot do that till I have spoken to the queen your
mother. What would she say of you and me? If she consents, I am
ready to do all you would have me, and will join my entreaties to
yours." "You cannot be ignorant," replied the king of Persia,
"that the queen my mother would never willingly part with me; and
therefore this excuse does but farther convince me of your
unkindness. If you really love me, as you would have me believe,
you must return to your kingdom immediately, and take me with

King Saleh, finding himself obliged to yield to his nephew's
importunity, drew from his finger a ring, on which were engraved
the same mysterious names of God that were upon Solomon's seal,
which had wrought so many wonders by their virtue. "Here, take
this ring," said he, "put it on your finger, and fear neither the
waters of the sea, nor their depth." The king of Persia took the
ring, and when he had put it on his finger, King Saleh said to
him, "Do as I do." At the same time they both mounted lightly up
into the air, and made towards the sea, which was not far
distant, and they both plunged into it.

The sea-king was not long in arriving at his palace, with the
king of Persia, whom he immediately carried to the queen's
apartments, and presented to her. The king of Persia kissed the
queen his grandmother's hands, and she embraced him with great
demonstrations of joy. "I do not ask you how you do," said she,
"I see you are very well, and am rejoiced at it; but I desire to
know how my daughter your mother Queen Gulnare does." The king of
Persia took great care not to let her know that he had come away
with out taking leave of her; on the contrary he told her, the
queen his mother was in perfect health, and had enjoined him to
pay her duty to her. The queen then presented him to the
princesses; and while he was in conversation with them, she left
him, and went with King Saleh into a closet, who told her how the
king of Persia was fallen in love with the Princess Jehaun-ara,
upon the bare relation of her beauty, and contrary to his
intention; that he had, against his own wishes, brought him along
with him, and that he was going to concert measures to procure
the princess for him in marriage.

Although King Saleh was, to do him justice, perfectly innocent of
the king of Persia's passion, yet the queen could hardly forgive
his indiscretion in mentioning the princess Jehaun- ara before
him, "Your imprudence is not to be forgiven," said she; "can you
think that the king of Samandal, whose character is so well
known, will have greater consideration for you, than the many
other kings to whom he has refused his daughter, with such
evident contempt? Would you have him send you away with the same

"Madam," replied King Saleh, "I have already told you it was
contrary to my intention that the king my nephew heard what I
related of the beauty of the princess to the queen my sister. The
fault is committed, and we must consider what a violent passion
he has for this princess, and that he will die with grief and
affliction, if we do not speedily obtain her for him. For my
part, I shall omit nothing that can contribute to effect their
union: since I was, though innocently, the cause of the malady, I
will do all I can to remedy it. I hope, madam, you will approve
of my resolution, to go myself and wait on the king of Samandal,
with a rich present of precious stones, and demand the princess
his daughter of him for the king of Persia. I have some reason to
believe he will not refuse, but will be pleased with an alliance
with one of the greatest potentates of the earth."

"It were to have been wished," replied the queen, "that we had
not been under a necessity of making this demand, since the
success of our attempt is not so certain as we could desire; but
since my grandson's peace and content depend upon it, I freely
give my consent. But, above all, I charge you, since you well
know the humour of the king of Samandal, that you take care to
speak to him with due respect, and in a manner that cannot
possibly offend him."

The queen prepared the present herself, composing it of diamonds,
rubies, emeralds, and strings of pearl, all which she put into a
rich box. Next morning King Saleh took leave of her majesty and
the king of Persia, and departed with a chosen and small troop of
officers, and attendants. He soon arrived at the kingdom, and the
palace of the king of Samandal, who delayed not to give him
audience. He rose from his throne as soon as he perceived him;
and King Saleh, forgetting his character for some moments,
knowing whom he had to deal with, prostrated himself at his feet,
wishing him the accomplishment of all his desires. The king of
Samandal stooped to raise him, and after he had placed him on his
left hand, told him he was welcome, and asked him if there was
any thing he could do to serve him.

"Sir," answered King Saleh, "though I should have no other motive
than that of paying my respects to the most potent, most prudent,
and most valiant prince in the world, feeble would be my language
to express how much I honour your majesty. Could you penetrate
into my inmost soul, you would be convinced of the great
veneration I have for you, and of my ardent desire to testify my
attachment." Having spoke these words, he took the box of jewels
from one of his servants, and having opened it, presented it to
the king, imploring him to accept of it for his sake.

"Prince," replied the king of Samandal, "you would not make me
such a present unless you had a request proportionable to it to
propose. If there be any thing in my power to grant, you may
freely command me, and I shall feel the greatest pleasure in
complying with your wishes. Speak, and tell me frankly, wherein I
can serve you?"

"I must own ingenuously," replied King Saleh, "I have a boon to
ask of your majesty; and I shall take care to ask nothing but
what is in your power to bestow. The thing depends so absolutely
on yourself, that it would be to no purpose to ask it of any one
else. I ask it then with all possible earnestness, and I beg of
you not to refuse me." "If it be so," replied the king of
Samandal, "you have nothing to do but acquaint me what it is, and
you shall see after what manner I can oblige when it is in my

"Sir," said King Saleh, "after the confidence with which your
majesty has been pleased to inspire me, I will not dissemble any
longer, that I came to beg of you to honour our house with your
alliance by the marriage of your daughter, and to strengthen the
good understanding that has so long subsisted between our two

At these words the king of Samandal burst into a loud laugh,
falling back in his throne against a cushion that supported him,
and with an imperious and scornful air, said, "King Saleh, I have
always hitherto thought you a prince of great wisdom, and
prudence; but what you say convinces me I was mistaken. Tell me,
I beseech you, where was your wit or discretion, when you formed
to yourself such a chimera as you have proposed to me? Could you
conceive a thought of aspiring in marriage to a princess, the
daughter of so powerful a monarch as myself? You ought to have
considered the great distance between us, and not run the risk of
losing in a moment the esteem I always had for you."

King Saleh was hurt at this affronting answer, and could scarcely
restrain his resentment; however he replied with all possible
moderation, "God reward your majesty as you deserve! I have the
honour to inform you, I do not demand the princess your daughter
in marriage for myself; had I done even that, your majesty and
the princess, so far from being offended, should have thought it
an honour done to both. Your majesty well knows I am one of the
kings of the sea as well as yourself; that my ancestors yield not
in antiquity to any royal house; and that the kingdom I inherit
is no less potent and flourishing than your own. If your majesty
had not interrupted me, you had soon understood that the favour I
asked was not for myself, but for the young king of Persia my
nephew, whose power and grandeur, no less than his personal good
qualities, cannot be unknown to you. Everybody acknowledges the
Princess Jehaun-ara to be the most beautiful under ocean: but it
is no less true, that the king of Persia is the handsomest and
most accomplished prince on earth. Thus the favour that is asked
being likely to redound to the honour both of your majesty and
the princess your daughter, you ought not to doubt that your
consent to an alliance so equal will be unanimously approved in
all the kingdoms of the sea. The princess is worthy of the king
of Persia, and the king of Persia is no less worthy of her."

The king of Samandal had not permitted King Saleh to speak so
long, but that rage deprived him of all power of speech. At
length, however, he broke out into outrageous and insulting
expressions, unworthy of a great king. "Dog," cried he, "dare you
talk to me after this manner, and so much as mention my
daughter's name in my presence Can you think the son of your
sister Gulnare worthy to come in competition with my daughter?
Who are you? Who was your father? Who is your sister? And who
your nephew? Was not his father a dog, and the son of a dog, like
you? Guards, seize the insolent wretch, and strike off his head."

The few officers who were about the king of Samandal were
immediately going to obey his orders, when King Saleh, who was in
the flower of his age, nimble and vigorous, got from them, before
they could draw their sabres; and having reached the palace-gate,
found there a thousand men of his relations and friends, well
armed and equipped, who were just arrived. The queen his mother
having considered the small number of attendants he had taken
with him, and foreseeing the reception he would probably meet
from the king of Samandal, had sent these troops to protect and
defend him in case of danger, ordering them to make haste. Those
of his relations who were at the head of this troop had reason to
rejoice at their seasonable arrival, when they beheld him and his
attendants running in great disorder, and pursued. "Sire," cried
his friends, the moment he joined them, "who has insulted you? We
are ready to revenge you: you need only command us."

King Saleh related his case to them in few words, and putting
himself at the head of a troop, while some seized the gates, he
re-entered the palace. The few officers and guards who had
pursued him, being soon dispersed, he forced the king of
Samandal's apartment, who, being abandoned by his attendants, was
soon seized. King Saleh left sufficient guards to secure his
person, and then went from apartment to apartment, to search
after the Princess Jehaun-ara. But she, on the first alarm, had,
together with her women, sprung up to the surface of the sea, and
escaped to a desert island.

While this passed in the palace of the king of Samandal, those of
King Saleh's attendants who had fled at the first menaces of that
king, put the queen mother into terrible consternation, on
relating the danger of her son. King Beder, who was present at
the time, was the more concerned, as he looked upon himself as
the principal author of the mischief that might ensue: therefore,
not caring to abide the queen's presence any longer, whilst she
was giving the orders necessary at that conjuncture, he darted up
from the bottom of the sea; and not knowing how to find his way
to the kingdom of Persia, happened to land on the island where
the Princess Jehaun-ara had saved herself.

The prince, not a little disturbed in mind, seated himself under
the shade of a large tree, surrounded by others. Whilst he was
endeavouring to recover himself, he heard somebody talking, but
was too far off to understand what was said. He arose, and
advanced softly towards the place whence the sound proceeded,
where, among the branches, he perceived a beauty that dazzled
him. "Doubtless," said he, within himself, stopping and
considering her with great attention, "this must be the princess
Jehaun-ara, whom fear has obliged to abandon her father's palace;
or if it be not, she no less deserves my love." This said, he
came forward, and discovering himself, approached the princess
with profound reverence. "Madam," said he, "I can never
sufficiently thank Heaven for the favour it has done me in
presenting to my eyes so much beauty. A greater happiness could
not have befallen me than this opportunity to offer you my
services. I beseech you, therefore, madam, to accept them, it
being impossible that a lady in this solitude should not want

"True, my lord," replied Jehaun-ara, sorrowfully; "it is not a
little extraordinary for a lady of my quality to be in this
situation. I am a princess, daughter of the king of Samandal, and
my name is Jehaun-ara. I was at ease in my father's palace, in my
apartment, when suddenly I heard a dreadful noise: news was
immediately brought me, that king Saleh, I know not for what
reason, had forced the palace, seized the king my father, and
murdered all the guards who made any resistance. I had only time
to save myself, and escape hither from his violence."

At these words King Beder began to be concerned that he had
quitted his grandmother so hastily, without staying to hear from
her an explanation of the news that had been brought. But he was,
on the other hand, overjoyed to find that the king his uncle had
rendered himself master of the king of Samandal's person, not
doubting but he would consent to give up the princess for his
liberty. "Adorable princess," continued he, "your concern is most
just, but it

is easy to put an end both to that and your father's captivity.
You will agree with me, when I shall tell you that I am Beder,
king of Persia, and King Saleh is my uncle: I assure you, madam,
he has no design to seize the king your father's dominions; his
only intention is to obtain your father's consent, that I may
have the honour and happiness of being his son-in- law. I had
already given my heart to you, upon the bare relation of your
beauty and charms; and now, far from repenting, I beg of you to
accept it, and to be assured that I will love you as long as I
live. I dare flatter myself you will not refuse this favour, but
be ready to acknowledge that a king, who quitted his dominions
purely on your account, deserves some acknowledgment. Permit me
then, beauteous princess! to have the honour to present you to
the king my uncle; and the king your father shall no sooner have
consented to our marriage, than King Saleh will leave him
sovereign of his dominions as before."

This declaration of King Beder did not produce the effect he
expected. It is true, the princess no sooner saw him, than his
person, air, and the grace wherewith he accosted her, led her to
regard him as one who would not have been disagreeable to her;
but when she heard that he had been the occasion of all the ill
treatment her father had suffered, of the grief and fright she
had endured, and especially the necessity she was reduced to of
flying her country; she looked upon him as an enemy with whom she
ought to have no connection. Whatever inclination she might have
to agree to the marriage which he desired, she determined never
to consent, reflecting that one of the reasons her father might
have against this match might be, that King Beder was son of a
king of the earth.

She would not, however, let King Beder know her resentment; but
sought an occasion to deliver herself dexterously out of his
hands; and seeming in the meantime to have a great kindness for
him, "Are you then," said she, with all possible civility, "son
of the Queen Gulnare, so famous for her wit and beauty? I am glad
of it, and rejoice that you are the son of so worthy a mother.
The king my father was much in the wrong so strongly to oppose
our union: had he but seen you, he must have consented to make us
happy." Saying so, she reached forth her hand to him as a token
of friendship.

King Beder, believing himself arrived at the very pinnacle of
happiness, held forth his hand, and taking that of the princess,
stooped down to kiss it, when she, pushing him back, and spitting
in his face for want of water to throw at him, said, "Wretch,
quit the form of a man, and take that of a white bird, with a red
bill and feet." Upon her pronouncing these words, King Beder was
immediately changed into a bird of that description, to his great
surprise and mortification. "Take him," said she to one of her
women, "and carry him to the Dry Island." This island was only
one frightful rock, where not a drop of water was to be had.

The waiting-woman took the bird, but in executing her princess's
orders, had compassion on King Beder's misfortune. "It would be
great pity," said she to herself, "to let a prince so worthy to
live die of hunger and thirst. The princess, who is good and
gentle, will, it may be, repent of this cruel order, when she
comes to herself; it were better that I carried him to a place
where he may die a natural death." She accordingly carried him to
a well-frequented island, and left him in a charming plain,
planted with all sorts of fruit- trees, and watered by divers

Let us return to King Saleh. After he had sought for the princess
Jehaun-ara to no purpose, he caused the king of Samandal to be
shut up in his own palace, under a strong guard; and having given
the necessary orders for governing the kingdom in his absence,
returned to give the queen his mother an account of what he had
done. The first question he asked on his arrival was, "Where was
the king his nephew?" and he learned with great surprise and
vexation that he could not be found. "News being brought me,"
said the queen, "of the danger you were in at the palace of the
king of Samandal, whilst I was giving orders to send you other
troops to avenge you, he disappeared. He must have been alarmed
at hearing of your being in such great danger, and did not think
himself in sufficient security with us."

This news exceedingly afflicted King Saleh, who now repented
being so easily wrought upon by King Beder as to carry him away
with him without his mother's consent. He sent everywhere to seek
for him, but could hear no tidings of him; and instead of the joy
he felt at having carried on so far the marriage, which he looked
upon as his own work, his grief for this accident was more
mortifying. Whilst he was under this suspense about his nephew,
he left his kingdom under the administration of his mother, and
went to govern that of the king of Samandal, whom he continued to
keep with great vigilance, though with all due respect to his

The same day that King Saleh returned to the kingdom of Samandal,
Queen Gulnare arrived at the court of the queen her mother. The
princess was not at all surprised to find her son did not return
the same day he set out: it being not uncommon for him to go
farther than he proposed in the heat of the chase; but when she
saw he neither returned the next day, nor the day after, she
began to be alarmed, as may easily be imagined from her affection
for him. This alarm was augmented, when the officers, who had
accompanied the king, and were obliged to return after they had
for a long time sought in vain both for him and his uncle, came
and told her majesty they must of necessity have come to some
harm, or must be together in some place which they could not
guess; since, notwithstanding all the diligence they had used,
they could hear no tidings of them. Their horses indeed they had
found, but as for their persons, they knew not where to look for
them. The queen hearing this, had resolved to dissemble and
conceal her affliction, bidding the officers to search once more
with their utmost diligence; but in the meantime she plunged into
the sea, to satisfy herself as to the suspicion she had
entertained that king Saleh must have carried his nephew with

This great queen would have been more affectionately received by
her mother, had she not, on first seeing her, guessed the
occasion of her coming. "Daughter," said she, "I plainly perceive
you are not come hither to visit me; you come to inquire after
the king your son; and the only news I can tell you will augment
both your grief and mine. I no sooner saw him arrive in our
territories, than I rejoiced; yet when I came to understand he
had come away without your knowledge, I began to participate with
you the concern you must needs suffer." Then she related to her
with what zeal King Saleh went to demand the Princess Jehaun-ara
in marriage for King Beder, and what had happened, till her son
disappeared. "I have sought diligently after him," added she,
"and the king my son, who is but just gone to govern the kingdom
of Samandal, has done all that lay in his power. All our
endeavours have hitherto proved unsuccessful, but we must hope
nevertheless to see him again, perhaps when we least expect it."

Queen Gulnare was not satisfied with this hope: she looked upon
the king her son as lost, and lamented him bitterly, laying all
the blame on the king his uncle. The queen her mother made her
consider the necessity of not yielding too much to grief. "The
king your brother," said she, "ought not, it is true, to have
talked to you so inconsiderately about that marriage, nor ever
have consented to carry away the king my grandson, without
acquainting you; yet, since it is not certain that the king of
Persia is absolutely lost, you ought to neglect nothing to
preserve his kingdom for him: lose then no more time, but return
to your capital; your presence there will be necessary, and it
will not be difficult for you to preserve the public peace, by
causing it to be published, that the king of Persia was gone to
visit his grandmother."

This was sufficient to oblige Queen Gulnare to yield. She took
leave of the queen her mother, and returned to the palace of the
capital of Persia before she had been missed. She immediately
despatched persons to recall the officers she had sent after the
king, to tell them that she knew where his majesty was, and that
they should soon see him again. She also caused the same report
to be spread throughout the city, and governed, in concert with
the prime minister and council, with the same tranquillity as if
the king had been present.

To return to King Beder, whom the Princess Jehaun-ara's
waiting-woman had left in the island before mentioned; that
monarch was not a little surprised when he found himself alone,
and under the form of a bird. He esteemed himself yet more
unhappy, in that he knew not where he was, or in what part of the
world the kingdom of Persia lay. But if he had known, and had
tried the force of his wings, to hazard the traversing so many
extensive watery regions, and had reached it, what could he have
gained, but the mortification to continue still in the same form,
and not to be accounted even a man, much less acknowledged king
of Persia? He was forced to remain where he was, live upon such
food as birds of his kind were wont to have, and to pass the
night on a tree.

A few days afterwards, a peasant, skilled in taking birds with
nets, chanced to come to the place where he was; when perceiving
so fine a bird, the like of which he had never seen, though he
had followed that employment for a long while, he began greatly
to rejoice. He employed all his art to ensnare him; and at length
succeeded and took him. Overjoyed at so great a prize, which he
looked upon to be of more worth than all the other birds he
commonly took, he shut it up in a cage, and carried it to the
city. As soon as he was come into the market, a citizen stops
him, and asked how much he would have for his bird?

Instead of answering, the peasant demanded of the citizen what he
would do with him in case he should buy him? "What wouldst thou
have me to do with him," answered the citizen, "but roast and eat
him?" "If that be the case," replied the peasant, "I suppose you
would think me very well paid, if you should give me the smallest
piece of silver for him. I set a much higher value upon him, and
you should not have him for a piece of gold. Although I am
advanced in years, I never saw such a bird in my life. I intend
to make a present of him to the king; he will know its value
better than you."

Without staying any longer in the market, the peasant went
directly to the palace, and placed himself exactly before the
king's apartment. His majesty, being at a window where he could
see all that passed in the court, no sooner cast his eyes on this
beautiful bird, than he sent an officer of his eunuchs to buy it
for him. The officer going to the peasant, demanded of him how
much he would have for the bird? "If it be for his majesty,"
answered the. peasant, "I humbly beg of him to accept it of me as
a present, and I desire you to carry it to him." The officer took
the bird to the king, who found it so great a rarity, that he
ordered the same officer to take ten pieces of gold, and carry
them to the peasant, who departed very well satisfied. The king
ordered the bird to be put into a magnificent cage, and gave it
corn and water in rich vessels.

The king being then ready to mount on horseback to go a hunting,
had not time to consider the bird, therefore had it brought to
him as soon as he returned. The officer brought the cage, and the
king, that he might the better view the bird, took it out
himself; and perched it upon his hand. Looking earnestly upon it,
he demanded of the officer, if he had seen it eat. "Sir," replied
the officer, "your majesty may observe the vessel with his food
is still full, and I have not observed that he has touched any of
it." Then the king ordered him meat of divers sorts, that he
might take what he liked best.

The table being spread, and dinner served up just as the king had
given these orders, as soon as the dishes were placed, the bird,
clapping his wings, leaped off the king's hand, flew upon the
table, where he began to peck the bread and victuals, sometimes
on one plate and sometimes on another. The king was so surprised
that he immediately sent the officer of the eunuchs to desire the
queen to come and see this wonder. The officer related it to her
majesty, and she came forthwith; but she no sooner saw the bird,
than she covered her face with her veil, and would have retired.
The king, surprised at her proceeding, as there was none present
in the chamber but the eunuchs and the women who attended her,
asked the reason of her conduct.

"Sir," answered the queen, "your majesty will no longer be
surprised, when you understand, that this is not as you suppose a
bird, but a man." "Madam," said the king, more astonished than
before, "you mean to banter me; but you shall never persuade me
that a bird can be a man." "Sir," replied the queen, "far be it
from me to banter your majesty; nothing is more certain than what
I have had the honour to tell you. I can assure your majesty, it
is the king of Persia, named Beder, son of the celebrated
Gulnare, princess of one of the largest kingdoms of the sea,
nephew of Saleh, king of that kingdom, and grandson of Queen
Farasche, mother of Gulnare and Saleh; and it was the Princess
Jehaun-ara, daughter of the king of Samandal, who thus
metamorphosed him into a bird." That the king might no longer
doubt of what she affirmed, she told him the whole story, and
stated that the Princess Jehaun-ara had thus revenged herself for
the ill treatment which King Saleh had used towards the king of
Samandal her father.

The king had the less difficulty to believe this assertion of the
queen, as he knew her to be a skilful magician. And as she knew
everything which passed in every part of the world, he was always
by her means timely informed of the designs of the kings his
neighbours against him, and prevented them. His majesty had
compassion on the king of Persia, and earnestly besought his
queen to break the enchantment, that he might return to his own

The queen consented with great willingness. "Sir," said she to
the king, "be pleased to take the bird into your closet, and I
will shew you a king worthy of the consideration you have for
him." The bird, which had ceased eating, and attended to what the
king and queen said, would not give his majesty the trouble to
take him, but hopped into the closet before him; and the queen
came in soon after, with a vessel full of water in her hand. She
pronounced over the vessel some words unknown to the king, till
the water began to boil; when she took some of it in her hand,
and sprinkling a little upon the bird, said, "By virtue of those
holy and mysterious words I have just pronounced, and in the name
of the Creator of heaven and earth, who raises the dead, and
supports the universe, quit the form of a bird, and re-assume
that received from thy Creator."

The words were scarcely out of the queen's mouth, when, instead
of a bird, the king saw a young prince of good shape, air, and
mien. King Beder immediately fell on his knees, and thanked God
for the favour that had been bestowed upon him. He then took the
king's hand, who helped him up, and kissed it in token of
gratitude; but the king embraced him with great joy, and
testified to him the satisfaction he had to see him. He would
then have made his acknowledgments to the queen, but she was
already retired to her apartment. The king made him sit at the
table with him, and prayed him to relate how the Princess
Jehaun-ara could have the inhumanity to transform into a bird so
amiable a prince; and the king of Persia immediately satisfied
him. When he had ended, the king, provoked at the proceeding of
the princess, could not help blaming her. "It was commendable,"
said he, "in the princess of Samandal not to be insensible of the
king her father's ill treatment; but to carry her vengeance so
far, and especially against a prince who was not culpable, was
what she could never be able to ,justify herself for. But let us
have done with this subject, and tell me, I beseech you, in what
I can farther serve you."

"Sir," answered King Beder, "my obligation to your majesty is so
great, that I ought to remain with you all my life to testify my
gratitude; but since your majesty sets no limits to your
generosity, I entreat you to grant me one of your ships to
transport me to Persia, where I fear my absence, which has been
but too long, may have occasioned some disorder, and that the
queen my mother, from whom I concealed my departure, may be
distracted under the uncertainty whether I am alive or dead."

The king readily granted what he desired, and immediately gave
orders for equipping one of his largest ships, and the best
sailors in his numerous fleet. The ship was soon furnished with
all its complement of men, provisions, and ammunition; and as
soon as the wind became fair, King Beder embarked, after having
taken leave of the king, and thanked him for all his favours.

The ship sailed before the wind for ten days together, but on the
eleventh the wind changed, and there followed a furious tempest.
The ship was not only driven out of its course, but so violently
tossed, that all its masts were brought by the board; and driving
along at the pleasure of the wind, it at length struck against a
rock and bulged.

The greatest part of the people were instantly drowned. Some few
were saved by swimming, and others by getting on pieces of the
wreck. King Beder was among the latter, when, after having been
tossed about for some time by the waves and torrents, under great
uncertainty of his fate, he at length perceived himself near the
shore, and not far from a city that seemed of great extent. He
exerted his remaining strength to reach the land, and was at
length so fortunate as to be able to touch the ground with his
feet. He immediately abandoned his piece of wood, which had been
of such great service to him; but when he came pretty near the
shore, was greatly surprised to see horses, camels, mules, asses,
oxen, cows, bulls, and other animals crowding to the shore, and
putting themselves in a posture to oppose his landing. He had the
utmost difficulty to conquer their obstinacy and force his way,
but at length he succeeded, and sheltered himself among the rocks
till he had recovered his breath, and dried his clothes in the

When the prince advanced to enter the city, he met with the same
opposition from these animals, who seemed to intend to make him
forego his design, and give him to understand it was dangerous to

King Beder, however, entered the city, and saw many fair and
spacious streets, but was surprised to find no human beings. This
made him think it was not without cause that so many animals had
opposed his passage. Going forward, nevertheless, he observed
divers shops open, which gave him reason to believe the place was
not so destitute of inhabitants as he imagined. He approached one
of these shops, where several sorts of fruits were exposed for
sale, and saluted very courteously an old man who was sitting

The old man, who was busy about something, lifted up his head,
and seeing a youth who had an appearance of grandeur in his air,
started, asked him whence he came, and what business had brought
him there? King Beder satisfied him in a few words; and the old
man farther asked him if he had met anybody on the road? "You are
the first person I have seen," answered the king, "and I cannot
comprehend how so fine and large a city comes to be without
inhabitants." "Come in, sir; stay no longer upon the threshold,"
replied the old man, "or peradventure some misfortune may happen
to you. I will satisfy your curiosity at leisure, and give you a
reason why it is necessary you should take this precaution."

King Beder entered the shop, and sat down by the old man. The
latter, who had received from him an account of his misfortunes,
knew he must want nourishment, therefore immediately presented
him what was necessary to recover his strength; and although King
Beder was very earnest to know why he had taken the precaution to
make him enter the shop, he would nevertheless not be prevailed
upon to tell him anything till he had done eating, for fear the
sad things he had to relate might spoil his appetite. When he
found he ate no longer, he said to him, "You have great reason to
thank God that you got hither without any accident." "Alas! why?"
demanded King Beder, much surprised and alarmed.

"Because," answered he, "this city is the City of Enchantments,
and is governed by a queen, who is not only one of the finest of
her sex, but likewise a notorious and dangerous sorceress. You
will be convinced of this," added he, "when you know that these
horses, mules, and other animals which you have seen, are so many
men, like ourselves, whom she has transformed by her diabolical
art. And when young men, like you, enter the city, she has
persons planted to stop and bring them, either by fair means or
force, before her. She receives them in the most obliging manner;
caresses them, regales them, lodges them magnificently, and gives
them so many reasons to believe that she loves them, that she
never fails of success. But she does not suffer them long to
enjoy this happiness. There is not one of them but she has
transformed into some animal or bird at the end of forty days.
You told me all these animals presented themselves to oppose your
landing, and hinder you entering the city. This was the only way
in which they could make you comprehend the danger you were going
to expose yourself to, and they did all in their power to prevent

This account exceedingly afflicted the young king of Persia:
"Alas!" cried he, "to what extremities has my ill fortune reduced
me! I am hardly freed from one enchantment, which I look back
upon with horror, but I find myself exposed to another much more
terrible." This gave him occasion to relate his story to the old
man more at length, and to acquaint him of his birth, quality,
his passion for the princess of Samandal, .and her cruelty in
changing him into a bird the very moment he had seen her and
declared his love to her.

When the prince came to speak of his good fortune in finding a
queen who broke the enchantment, the old man to encourage him
said, "Notwithstanding all I have told you of the magic queen is
true, that ought not to give you the least disquiet, since I am
generally beloved throughout the city, and am not unknown to the
queen herself, who has much respect for me; therefore it was your
peculiar good fortune which led you to address yourself to me
rather than to anyone else. You are secure in my house, where I
advise you to continue, if you think fit; and, provided you .do
not stray from hence, I dare assure you, you will have no just
cause to complain of my insincerity."

King Beder thanked the old man for his kind reception, and the
protection he was pleased so readily to afford him. He sat down
at the entrance of the shop, where he no sooner appeared, but his
youth and good person attracted the eyes of all who passed that
way. Many stopped and complimented the old man on his having
acquired so fine a slave, as they imagined the king to be; and
they were the more surprised as they could not comprehend how so
beautiful a youth could escape the queen's knowledge. "Believe
not," said the old man, "this is a slave: you all know that I am
not rich enough nor of rank to have one of this consequence. He
is my nephew, son of a brother of mine who is dead; and as I had
no children of my own, I sent for him to keep me company." They
congratulated his good fortune in having so fine a young man for
his relation; but could not help telling him they feared the
queen would take him from him. "You know her well," said they to
him, "and you cannot be ignorant of the danger to which you are
exposed, after all the examples you have seen. How grieved would
you be if she should serve him as she has done so many others
whom we knew."

"I am obliged to you," replied the old man, "for your good will
towards me, and I heartily thank you for the care you seem to
take of my interest; but I shall never entertain the least
thought that the queen will do me any injury, after all the
kindness she has professed for me. In case she happens to hear of
this young man, and speaks to me about him, I doubt not she will
cease to think of him, as soon as she comes to know he is my

The old man was exceedingly glad to hear the commendations they
bestowed on the young king of Persia. He was as much affected
with them as if he had been his own son, and he conceived a
kindness for him, which augmented every day during the stay he
made with him.

They had lived about a month together, when, as King Beder was
sitting at the shop-door, after his ordinary manner, Queen Labe
(so was this magic queen named) happened to come by with great
pomp. The young king no sooner perceived the guards advancing
before her, than he arose, and going into the shop, asked the old
man what all that show meant. "The queen is coming by," answered
he, "but stand still and fear nothing."

The queen's guards, clothed in purple uniform, and well armed and
mounted, marched to the number of a thousand in four files, with
their sabres drawn, and every one of their officers, as they
passed by the shop, saluted the old man. Then followed a like
number of eunuchs, habited in brocaded silk, and better mounted,
whose officers did the old man the like honour. Next came as many
young ladies on foot, equally beautiful, richly dressed, and
ornamented with precious stones. They marched gravely, with half
pikes in their hands; and in the midst of them appeared Queen
Labe, on a horse glittering with diamonds, with a golden saddle,
and a housing of inestimable value. All the young ladies saluted
the old man as they passed him; and the queen, struck with the
good mien of King Beder, stopped as soon as she came before the
shop. "Abdallah," (so was the old man named) said she to him,
"tell me, I beseech thee, does that beautiful and charming slave
belong to thee? and hast thou long been in possession of him?"

Abdallah, before he answered the queen, threw himself on the
ground, and rising again, said, "Madam, he is my nephew, son of a
brother, who has not long been dead. Having no children, I look
upon him as my son, and sent for him to come and comfort me,
intending to leave him what I have when I die."

Queen Labe, who had never yet seen any one to compare with King
Beder, began to conceive a passion for him, and thought
immediately of getting the old man to abandon him to her.
"Father," said she, "will you not oblige me so far as to make me
a present of this young man? Do not refuse me, I conjure you; and
I swear by the fire and the light, I will make him so great and
powerful, that no individual in the world ever arrived at such
good fortune. Although my purpose be to do evil to all mankind,
he shall be an exception. I trust you will grant me what I
desire, more on account of the friendship I am assured you have
for me, than for the esteem you know I always had, and shall ever
have for you."

"Madam," replied the good Abdallah, "I am infinitely obliged to
your majesty for all the kind- ness you have for me, and the
honours you propose to do my nephew. He is not worthy to approach
so great a queen, and I humbly beseech your majesty to excuse

"Abdallah," replied the queen, "I all along flattered myself you
loved me, and I could never have thought you would have shewn me
so much disrespect as to slight my request. But I here swear once
more by the fire and light, and even by whatsoever is most sacred
in my religion, that I will pass on no farther till I have
conquered your obstinacy. I understand well what raises your
apprehensions; but I promise, you shall never have any occasion
to repent having obliged me in so sensible a manner."

Old Abdallah was exceeding grieved, both on his own account and
King Beder's, at being in a manner forced to obey the queen.
"Madam," replied he, "I would not willingly have your majesty
entertain an ill opinion of the respect I have for you, and my
zeal always to contribute whatever I can to oblige you. I put
entire confidence in your royal word, and I do not in the least
doubt you will keep it. I only beg of your majesty, to delay
doing this great honour to my nephew till you shall again pass
this way." "That shall be to-morrow," said the queen; who
inclined her head, as a token of her being pleased, and so went
forward towards her palace.

When queen Labe and all her attendants were out of sight, the
good Abdallah said to King Beder, "Son" (for so he was wont to
call him, for fear of some time or other discovering him when he
spoke of him in public), "it has not been in my power, as you may
have observed, to refuse the queen what she demanded of me with
so much earnestness, to the end I might not force her to employ
her magic against both you and myself openly or secretly, and
treat you as much from resentment to you as to me with more
signal cruelty than all those she has had in her power, as I have
already told you. But I have some reason to believe she will use
you well, as she promised me, on account of that particular
esteem she professes for me. This you may have seen by the
respect shewn, and the honours paid, me by all her court. She
would be a vile creature indeed, if she should deceive me; but
she shall not deceive me unpunished, for I know how to revenge

These assurances, which appeared very doubtful, were not
sufficient to support King Beder's spirits. "After all you have
told me of this queen's wickedness," replied he, "you cannot
wonder if I am somewhat fearful to approach her: I should, it may
be, slight all you could tell me of her, and suffer myself to be
dazzled by the lustre of grandeur that surrounds her, did I not
know by experience what it is to be at the mercy of a sorceress.
The condition I was in, through the enchantment of the Princess
Jehaun-ara, and from which I was delivered only to fall almost
immediately into the power of another, has made me look upon such
a fate with horror." His tears hindered him from going on, and
sufficiently shewed with what repugnance he beheld himself under
the fatal necessity of being delivered to queen Labe.

"Son," replied old Abdallah, "do not afflict yourself; for though
I must own, there is no great stress to be laid upon the promises
and oaths of so perfidious a queen, yet I must withal acquaint
you, her power extends not to me. She knows this full well; and
that is the reason, and no other, why she pays me so much
respect. I can quickly hinder her from doing you the least harm,
if she should be perfidious enough to attempt it. You may depend
upon me, and, provided you follow exactly the advice I shall give
you, before I abandon you to her, she shall have no more power
over you than she has over myself."

The magic queen did not fail to pass by the old man's shop the
next day, with the same pomp as the preceding, and Abdallah
waited for her with great respect. "Father," cried she, "you may
judge of my impatience to have your nephew with me, by my
punctually coming to remind you of your promise. I know you are a
man of your word, and I cannot think you will break it with me."

Abdallah, who fell on his face as soon as he saw the queen
approaching, rose up when she had done speaking; and as he would
have no one hear what he had to say to her, he advanced with
great respect as far as her horse's head, and then said softly,
"Puissant queen! I am persuaded your majesty will not be offended
at my seeming unwillingness to trust my nephew with you
yesterday, since you cannot be ignorant of the reasons I had for
it; but I conjure you to lay aside the secrets of that art which
you possess in so wonderful a degree. I regard my nephew as my
own son; and your majesty would reduce me to despair, if you
should deal with him as you have done with others."

"I promise you I will not," replied the queen; "and I once more
repeat the oath I made yesterday, that neither you nor your
nephew shall have any cause to be offended at me. I see plainly,"
added she, "you are not yet well enough acquainted with me; you
never saw me yet but through my veil; but as I find your nephew
deserving of my friendship, I will shew you I am not any ways
unworthy of his." With that she threw off her veil, and
discovered to King Beder, who came near her with Abdallah, an
incomparable beauty. But King Beder was little charmed: "It is
not enough," said he within himself, "to be beautiful; one's
actions ought to correspond in regularity with one's features."

Whilst King Beder was making these reflections with his eyes
fixed on queen Labe, the old man turned towards him, and taking
him by the arm, presented him to her: "Madam," said he, "I beg of
your majesty once more to remember he is my nephew, and to let
him come and see me sometimes." The queen promised he should; and
to give a further mark of her gratitude, she caused a bag of a
thousand pieces of gold to be given him. He excused himself at
first from receiving them, but she insisted absolutely upon it,
and he could not refuse. She had caused a horse to be brought as
richly caparisoned as her own, for the king of Persia. Whilst he
was mounting, "I forgot," said the queen to Abdallah, "to ask you
your nephew's name; pray how is he called?" He answering his name
was Beder (the full moon), her majesty replied, "Surely your
ancestors were mistaken, they ought to have given you the name of
Shems (the sun)."

When King Beder was mounted, he would have taken his station
behind the queen, but she would not suffer him, and made him ride
on her left hand. She looked at Abdallah, and after having made
him an inclination with her head, departed.

Instead of observing a satisfaction in the people's faces, at the
sight of their sovereign, King Beder took notice that they looked
at her with contempt, and even cursed her. "The sorceress," said
some, "has got a new subject to exercise her wickedness upon;
will heaven never deliver the world from her tyranny?" "Poor
stranger!" exclaimed others, "thou art much deceived, if thou
thinkest thy happiness will last long. It is only to render thy
fall more terrible, that thou art raised so high." These
exclamations gave King Beder to understand Abdallah had told him
nothing but the truth of Queen Labe; but as it now depended no
longer on himself to escape the mischief, he committed himself to
the will of heaven.

The magic queen arrived at her palace, immediately alighted, and
giving her hand to King Beder, entered with him, accompanied by
her women and the officers of her eunuchs. She herself shewed him
all her apartments, where there was nothing to be seen but
massive gold, precious stones, and furniture of wonderful
magnificence. When she had carried him into her closet, she led
him out into a balcony, from whence he observed a garden of
surprising beauty. King Beder commended all he saw, but
nevertheless so that he might not be discovered to be any other
than old Abdallah's nephew. They discoursed of indifferent
matters, till the queen was informed that dinner was served.

The queen and King Beder arose, and went to place themselves at
the table, which was of massive gold, and the dishes of the same
metal. They began to eat, but drank hardly at all till the
dessert came, when the queen caused a cup to be filled for her
with excellent wine. She took it and drank to King Beder's
health; then without putting it out of her hand, caused it to be
filled again, and presented it to him. King Beder received it
with profound respect, and by a very low bow signified to her
majesty that he in return drank to her health.

At the same time, ten of Queen Labe's women entered with musical
instruments, with which and their voices they made an agreeable
concert, while they continued drinking till late at night. At
length both began so to be heated with wine; that King Beder
insensibly forgot he had to do with a magic queen, and looked
upon her only as the most beautiful woman he had ever seen. As
soon as the queen perceived she had wrought him to the pitch she
desired, she made a sign to her eunuchs and women to retire.

Next morning the queen and King Beder went to the bath; the women
who had served the king there, presented him with fine linen and
a magnificent habit. The queen likewise, who was more splendidly
dressed than the day before, came to receive him, and they went
together to her apartments, where they had a repast brought them,
and spent the remainder of the day in walking in the garden and
in various other amusements.

Queen Labe treated King Beder after this manner for forty days,
as she had been accustomed to do all her lovers. The fortieth
night, as they were in bed together, she, believing he was really
asleep, arose without making any noise; but he was awake, and
perceiving she had some design upon him watched all her motions.
Being up, she opened a chest, from whence she took a little box
full of a yellow powder; taking some of the powder, she Iaid a
train of it across the chamber, and it immediately flowed in a
rivulet of water, to the great astonishment of King Beder. He
trembled with fear, but still pretended to sleep.

Queen Labe next took up some of the water in a vessel, poured it
into a basin that contained some flour; with which she made a
paste, and kneaded it for a long time: then she mixed with it
certain drugs which she took from different boxes, and made a
cake, which she put into a covered baking-pan. As she had taken
care first of all to make a good fire, she took some of the
coals, and set the pan upon them; and while the cake was baking,
she put up the vessels and boxes in their places again; and on
her pronouncing certain words, the rivulet disappeared. When the
cake was baked, she took it off the coals, carried it into her
closet, and afterwards returned to King Beder, who dissembled so
well, that she had not the least suspicion of his having seen
what she had done.

King Beder, whom the pleasures and amusements of a court had made
to forget his good host Abdallah, began now to think of him
again, and believed he had more than ordinary occasion for his
advice, after all he had seen the queen do that night. As soon as
he was up, therefore, he expressed a great desire to go and see
his uncle, and begged of her majesty to permit him. "What! my
dear Beder," cried the queen, "are you then already tired, I will
not say with living in so superb a palace as mine is, where you
must find so many pleasures, but with the company of a queen, who
loves you so passionately as I do, and has given you so many
marks of affection?"

"Great queen!" answered king Beder, "how can I be tired of so
many favours and graces as your majesty perpetually heaps upon
me? So far from it, I desire this permission, madam, purely to go
and give my uncle an account of the mighty obligations I have to
your majesty. I must own, likewise, that my uncle loving me so
tenderly, as I well know he does, having been absent from him now
forty days, I would not give him reason to think, that I consent
to remain longer without seeing him." "Go," said the queen, "you
have my consent; but you will not be long before you return, if
you consider I cannot possibly live without you." This said, she
ordered him a horse richly caparisoned, and he departed.

Old Abdallah was overjoyed to see king Beder. Without regard to
his quality, he embraced him tenderly, and King Beder returned
his embrace, that nobody might doubt but that he was his nephew.
As soon as they were sat down, "well," said Abdallah to the king,
"and how have you passed your time with that abominable

"Hitherto," answered King Beder, "I must needs own she has been
extraordinarily kind to me, and has done all she could to
persuade me that she loves me faithfully; but I observed
something last night, which gives me just reason to suspect that
all her kindness was but dissimulation. Whilst she thought me
asleep, although I was really awake, she stole from me with a
great deal of precaution, which made me suspect her intention,
and therefore I resolved to watch her, still feigning myself
asleep." He then related to Abdallah in what manner he had seen
her make the cake; and then added, "Hitherto," said he, "I must
needs confess, I had almost forgotten, not only you, but all the
advice you gave me concerning the wickedness of this queen; but
this last action of hers gives me reason to fear she intends to
observe none of her promises or solemn oaths .to you. I thought
of you immediately, and I esteem myself happy that I have
obtained permission to come to you."

"You are not mistaken," replied old Abdallah with a smile, which
showed he did not himself believe she would have acted otherwise;
"nothing is capable of obliging a perfidious woman to amend. But
fear nothing. I know how to make the mischief she intends you
fall upon herself. You are alarmed in time; and you could not
have done better than to have recourse to me. It is her ordinary
practice to keep her lovers only forty days; and after that time,
instead of seeding them home, to turn them into animals, to stock
her forests and parks; but I thought of measures yesterday to
prevent her doing you the same harm. The earth has borne this
monster long enough, and it is now high time she should be
treated as she deserves."

So saying, Abdallah put two cakes into king Beder's hands,
bidding him keep them to be used as he should direct. "You told
me," continued he, "the sorceress made a cake last night; it was
for you to eat; but do not touch it. Nevertheless, do not refuse
to receive it, when she offers it you; but instead of tasting it,
break off part of one of the two I shall give you, unobserved,
and eat that. As soon as she thinks you have swallowed it, she
will not fail to attempt transforming you into some animal, but
she shall not succeed; when she sees that she has failed, she
will immediately turn her proceeding into pleasantry, as if what
she had done was only out of joke to frighten you; but she will
conceal a mortal grief in her heart, and think she has omitted
something in the composition of her cake. As for the other cake,
you shall make a present of it to her, and press her to eat it;
which she will not refuse to do, were it only to convince you she
does not mistrust you, though she has given you so much reason to
mistrust her. When she has eaten of it, take a little water in
the hollow of your hand, and throwing it in her face, say, "Quit
that form you now wear, and take that of such or such animal," as
you shall think fit; which done, come to me with the animal, and
I will tell you what you shall do afterwards."

King Beder expressed to Abdallah, in the warmest terms, his great
obligations to him, for his endeavours to defend him from the
power of a pestilent sorceress; and after some further
conversation took his leave of him, and returned to the palace.
Upon his arrival, he understood that the queen waited for him
with great impatience in the garden. He went to her, and she no
sooner perceived him, than she came in great haste to meet him.
"My dear Beder!" exclaimed she, "it is said, with a great deal of
reason, that nothing more forcibly shews the excess of love than
absence from the object beloved. I have had no quiet since I saw
you, and it seems ages since I have been separated from you. If
you had stayed ever so little longer, I was preparing to come and
fetch you once more to my arms."

"Madam," replied king Beder, "I can assure your majesty, I was no
less impatient to rejoin you; but I could not refuse to stay with
an uncle who loves me, and had not seen me for so long a time. He
would have kept me still longer, but I tore myself away from him,
to come where love calls me. Of all the collations he prepared
for me, I have only brought away this cake, which I desire your
majesty to accept." King Beder, having wrapped up one of the two
cakes in a handkerchief, took it out, and presented it to the
queen, saying, "I beg your majesty to accept of it."

"I do accept it with all my heart," replied the queen, receiving
it, "and will eat it with pleasure for yours and your good
uncle's sake; but before I taste of it, I desire you will, for my
sake, eat a piece of this, which I have made for you during your
absence." "Fair queen," answered king Beder, receiving it with
great respect, "such hands as your majesty's can never make
anything but what is excellent, and I cannot sufficiently
acknowledge the favour you do me."

King Beder then artfully substituted in the place of the queen's
cake the other which old Abdallah had given him, and having
broken off a piece, he put it in his mouth, and cried, while he
was eating, "Ah! queen, I never tasted anything so excellent in
my life." They being near a cascade, the sorceress seeing him
swallow one bit of the cake, and ready to eat another, took a
little water in the palm of her hand, and throwing it in the
king's face, said, "Wretch! quit that form ofa man, and take that
of a vile horse, blind and lame."

These words not having the desired effect, the sorceress was
strangely surprised to find King Beder still in the same form,
and that he only started for fear. Her cheeks reddened; and as
she saw that she had missed her aim, "Dear Beder," cried she,
"this is nothing; recover yourself. I did not intend you any
harm; I only did it to see what you would say. I should be the
most miserable and most execrable of women, should I attempt so
black a deed; not only on account of all the oaths I have sworn,
but also of the many testimonies of love I have given you."

"Puissant queen," replied King Beder, "persuaded as I am, that
what your majesty did was only to divert yourself, I could not
help being surprised. What could hinder me from being a little
moved at the pronouncing of so strange a transformation? But,
madam," continued he, "let us drop this discourse; and since I
have eaten of your cake, would you do me the favour to taste

Queen Labe, who could not better justify herself than by showing
this mark of confidence in the king of Persia, broke off a piece
of his cake and ate it. She had no sooner swallowed it than she
appeared much troubled, and remained as it were motionless. King
Beder lost no time, but took water out of the same basin, and
throwing it in her face, cried, "Abominable sorceress ! quit the
form of woman, and be turned instantly into a mare."

The same moment, Queen Labe was transformed into a very beautiful
mare; and her confusion was so great to find herself in that
condition, that she shed tears in great abundance. She bowed her
head to the feet of King Beder, thinking to move him to
compassion; but though he could have been so moved, it was
absolutely out of his power to repair the mischief he had done.
He led her into the stable belonging to the palace, and put her
into the hands of a groom, to bridle and saddle; but of all the
bridles which the groom tried upon her, not one would fit. This
made him cause two horses to be saddled, one for the groom and
the other for himself; and the groom led the mare after him to
old Abdallah's.

Abdallah seeing at a distance King Beder coming with the mare,
doubted not but he had done what he had advised him. "Cursed
sorceress!" said he immediately to himself in a transport of joy,
"heaven has at length punished thee as thou deservest." King
Beder alighted at Abdallah's door and entered with him into the
shop, embracing and thanking him for all the signal services he
had done him. He related to him the whole matter, with all its
circumstances, and moreover told him, he could find no bridle fit
for the mare. Abdallah bridled the mare himself, and as soon as
King Beder had sent back the groom with the two horses, he said
to him, "My lord, you have no reason to stay any longer in this
city: mount the mare, and return to your kingdom. I have but one
thing more to recommend to you; and that is, if you should ever
happen to part with the mare, be sure not to give up the bridle."
King Beder promised to remember this; and having taken leave of
the good old man, he departed.

The young king of Persia had no sooner got out of the city, than
he began to reflect with joy on his deliverance, and that he had
the sorceress in his power, who had given him so much cause to
tremble. Three days after he arrived at a great city, where,
entering the suburbs, he met a venerable old man, walking towards
a pleasure- house. "Sir," said the old man, stopping him, "may I
presume to ask from what part of the world you come?" The king
halted to satisfy him, and as they were conversing together, an
old woman came up; who, stopping likewise, wept and sighed
heavily at the sight of the mare.

King Beder and the old man left off discoursing, to look at the
old woman, whom the king asked, what cause she had to be so much
afflicted? "Alas ! sir," replied she, "it is because your mare
resembles so perfectly one my son had, and which I still mourn
the loss of on his account, and should think yours were the same,
did I not know she was dead. Sell her to me, I beseech you; I
will give you more than she is worth and thank you too.'

"Good woman," replied King Beder, "I am heartily sorry I cannot
comply with your request: my mare is not to be sold." "Alas!
sir," continued the old woman, "do not refuse me this favour for
the love of God. My son and I shall certainly die with grief, if
you do not grant it." "Good mother," replied the king, "I would
grant it with all my heart, if I were disposed to part with so
good a beast; but if I were so disposed, I believe you would
hardly give a thousand pieces of gold for her, and I could not
sell her for less." "Why should I not give so much?" replied the
old woman: "if that be the lowest price, you need only say you
will take it, and I will fetch you the money."

King Beder, seeing the old woman so poorly dressed, could not
imagine she could find such a sum; and said, to try her, "Go,
fetch me the money, and the mare is yours." The old woman
immediately unloosed a purse she carried fastened to her girdle,
and desiring him to alight, bade him tell over the money, and in
case he found it came short of the sum demanded, she said her
house was not far off; and she could quickly fetch the rest.

The surprise of King Beder, at the sight of the purse, was not
small. "Good woman," said he, "do you not perceive I have
bantered you all this while? I assure you my mare is not to be

The old man, who had been witness to all that had passed, now
began to speak. "Son," said he to King Beder, "it is necessary
you should know one thing, which I find you are ignorant of; and
that is, that in this city it is not permitted to any one to tell

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