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

The Arabian Nights Entertainments Complete by Anon.

Part 16 out of 28

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

kept him.

With this intent, Abou Hassan formed a society with youths of his
own age and condition, who thought of nothing but how to make
their time pass agreeably. Every day he gave them splendid
entertainments, at which the most delicate viands were served up,
and the most exquisite wines flowed in profusion, while concerts
of the best vocal and instrumental music by performers of both
sexes heightened their pleasures, and this young band of
debauchees with the glasses in their hands, joined their songs
with the music. These feasts were accompanied by ballets, for
which the best dancers of both sexes were engaged. These
entertainments, renewed every day, were so expensive to Abou
Hassan, that he could not support the extravagance above a year:
and the great sum which he had appropriated to this prodigality
and the year ended together. As soon as he discontinued keeping
this table, his friends forsook him; whenever they saw him they
avoided him, and if by chance he met any of them, and went to
stop them, they always excused themselves on some presence or

Abou Hassan was more affected by this behaviour of his friends,
who had forsaken him so basely and ungratefully, after all the
protestations they had made him, of inviolable attachment, than
by the loss of all the money he had so foolishly squandered. He
went melancholy and thoughtful, his countenance expressive of
deep vexation, into his mother's apartment, and sat down on the
end of a sofa at a distance from her. "What is the matter with
you, son?" said his mother, seeing him thus depressed. "Why are
you so altered, so dejected, and so different from yourself? You
could not certainly be more concerned, if you had lost all you
had. I know you have lived very extravagantly, and believe all
your money is spent; you have still, however, a good estate; and
the reason that I did not so much oppose your irregular way of
living was, that I knew the wise precaution you had taken to
preserve half your property. I do not, therefore, see why you
should plunge yourself into this deep melancholy."

At these words Abou Hassan melted into tears; and in the midst of
his sighs exclaimed, "Ah! mother, I see at last how insupportable
poverty must be; I am sensible that it deprives us of joy, as the
setting of the sun does of light. As poverty makes us forget all
the commendations passed upon us before our fall, it makes us
endeavour to conceal ourselves, and spend our nights in tears and
sorrow. In short, a poor man is looked upon, both by friends and
relations, as a stranger. You know, mother, how I have treated my
friends for this year past; I have entertained them with all
imaginable generosity, till I have spent all my money, and now
they have left me, when they suppose I can treat them no longer.
For my real estate, I thank heaven for having given me grace to
keep the oath I made not to encroach upon that. I shall now know
how to use what is left. But I will, however, try how far my
friends, who deserve not that I should call them so, will carry
their ingratitude. I will go to them one after another, and when
I have represented to them what I have done on their account, ask
them to make up a sum of money, to relieve me, merely to try if I
can find any sentiment of gratitude remaining in them."

"I do not pretend, son," said Abou Hassan's mother, "to dissuade
you from your design; but I can tell you beforehand, that you
have no ground for hope. Believe me, you will kind no relief but
from the estate you have reserved. I see you do not, but will
soon, know those people, who, among persons of your sort, are
generally called friends, and I wish to heaven you may know it in
the manner I desire, for your own good." "Mother," replied Abou
Hassan, "I am persuaded of the truth of what you say, but shall
be more certain of a fact which concerns me so nearly, when I
shall have informed myself fully of their baseness and
insensibility." Abou Hassan went immediately to his friends, whom
he found at home; represented to them the great need he was in,
and begged of them to assist him. He promised to give bonds to
pay them the money they might lend him; giving them to understand
at the same time, that it was, in a great measure, on their
account that he was so distressed. That he might the more
powerfully excite their generosity, he forgot not to allure them
with the hopes of being once again entertained in the same manner
as before.

Not one of his companions was affected with the arguments which
the afflicted Abou Hassan used to persuade them; and he had the
mortification to find, that many of them told him plainly they
did not know him.

He returned home full of indignation; and going into his mother's
apartment, said, "Ah! madam, you were right; instead of friends,
I have found none but perfidious ungrateful wretches, who deserve
not my friendship; I renounce them, and promise you I will never
see them more." He resolved to be as good as his word, and took
every precaution to avoid falling again into the inconvenience
which his former prodigality had occasioned; taking an oath never
to give an inhabitant of Bagdad any entertainment while he lived.
He drew the strong box into which he had put the rents received
from his estates from the recess where he had placed it in
reserve, put it in the room of that he had emptied, and resolved
to take out every day no more than was sufficient to defray the
expense of a single person to sup with him, who, according to the
oath he had taken, was not of Bagdad, but a stranger arrived in
the city the same day, and who must take his leave of him the
following morning.

Conformably to this plan, Abou Hassan took care every morning to
provide whatever was necessary, and towards the close of the
evening, went and sat at the end of Bagdad bridge; and as soon as
he saw a stranger, accosted him civilly invited him to sup and
lodge with him that night, and after having informed him of the
law he had imposed upon himself, conducted him to his house. The
repast with which Abou Hassan regaled his guests was not costly,
but well dressed, with plenty of good wine, and generally lasted
till the night was pretty far advanced; instead of entertaining
his guests with the affairs of state, his family, or business, as
is too frequent, he conversed on different agreeable subjects. He
was naturally of so gay and pleasant a temper, that he could give
the most agreeable turns to every subject, and make the most
melancholy persons merry. When he sent away his guest the next
morning, he always said, "God preserve you from all sorrow
wherever you go; when I invited you yesterday to come and sup
with me, I informed you of the law I have imposed on myself;
therefore do not take it ill if I tell you that we must never see
one another again, nor drink together, either at home or any
where else, for reasons best known to myself: so God conduct

Abou Hassan was very exact in the observance of this oath, and
never looked upon or spoke to the strangers he had once
entertained; if he met them afterwards in the streets, the
squares, or any public assemblies, he affected not to see them,
and turned away to avoid them, that they might not speak to him,
or he have any communication with them. He had acted for a long
time in this manner, when, one afternoon, a little before sunset,
as he sat upon the bridge according to custom, the caliph Haroon
al Rusheed came by, but so disguised that it was impossible to
know him; for that monarch, though his chief ministers and
officers of justice acquitted themselves of their duty very
punctually, would nevertheless inform himself of every thing, and
for that purpose often disguised himself in different ways, and
walked through the city and suburbs of Bagdad, sometimes one way
and sometimes another. That day, being the first of the month, he
was dressed like a merchant of Moussul, and was followed by a
tall stout slave.

As the caliph had in his disguise a grave and respectable
appearance, Abou Hassan, who thought him to be a Moussul
merchant, rose up, and after having saluted him with a graceful
air, said to him, "Sir, I congratulate you on your happy arrival
in Bagdad, I beg you to do me the honour to sup with me, and
repose yourself at my house for this night, after the fatigue of
your journey." He then told him his custom of entertaining the
first stranger he met with. The caliph found something so odd and
singular in Abou Hassan's whim, that he was very desirous to know
the cause; and told him that he could not better merit a
civility, which he did not expect as a stranger, than by
accepting the obliging offer made him; that he had only to lead
the way, and he was ready to follow him.

Abou Hassan treated the caliph as his equal, conducted him home,
and led him into a room very neatly furnished, where he set him
on a sofa, in the most honourable place. Supper was ready, and
the cloth laid. Abou Hassan's mother, who took upon herself the
care of the kitchen, sent up three dishes; the first contained a
capon and four large pullets, which was set in the middle; and
the second and third, placed on each side, contained, one a fat
roasted goose, and the other broiled pigeons. This was all; but
they were good of the kind and well flavoured, with proper

Abou Hassan sat down opposite his guest, and he and the caliph
began to eat heartily of what they liked best, without speaking
or drinking, according to the custom of the country. When they
had done eating, the caliph's slave brought them water to wash
their hands: and in the mean time Abou Hassan's mother cleared
the table, and brought up a dessert of all the various sorts or
fruits then in season; as grapes, peaches, apples, pears, and
various pastes of dried almonds, &c. As soon as it grew dark, wax
candles were lighted, and Abou Hassan, after requesting his
mother to take care of the caliph's slave, set on bottles and

Abou Hassan sitting down with the pretended Moussul merchant
again, filled out a glass of wine before he touched the fruit;
and holding it in his hand, said to the caliph, "You know, sir,
that the cock never drinks before he calls to his hens to come
and drink with him; I invite you to follow my example. I do not
know what you may think; but, for my part, I cannot reckon him a
wise man who does not love wine. Let us leave that sort of people
to their dull melancholy humours, and seek for mirth, which is
only to be found in a bumper."

While Abou Hassan was drinking' the caliph taking the glass that
was set for him, said, "You are an honest fellow; I like your
pleasant temper, and expect you will fill me as much." Abou
Hassan, as soon as he had drunk, filled the caliph's glass, and
giving it to him, "Taste this wine, sir," said he, "I will
warrant it good." "I am well persuaded of that," replied the
caliph, laughing, "you know how to choose the best." "O," replied
Abou Hassan, while the caliph was drinking his glass, "one need
only look in your face to be assured that you have seen the
world, and know what good living is. If," added he in Arabic
verse, "my house could think and express its joy, how happy would
it be to possess you, and, bowing before you, would exclaim, ‘How
overjoyed am I to see myself honoured with the company of so
accomplished and polite a personage, and for meeting with a man
of your merit.'"

The caliph, naturally fond of merriment, was highly diverted with
these sallies of Abou Hassan, and artfully promoted drinking,
often asking for wine, thinking that when it began to operate, he
might from his talkativeness satisfy his curiosity. He asked him
his name, his business, and how he spent his life. "My name,
sir," replied he, "is Abou Hassan. I lost my father, who was a
merchant of Bagdad, and though not the richest, yet lived very
comfortably. When he died, he left me money enough to live free
from business; but as he always kept a very strict hand over me,
I was willing, when he was gone, to make up for the time I
thought I had lost. Notwithstanding this," continued Abou Hassan,
"I was more prudent than most young people who give themselves up
to debauchery, without any thought, pursue it till they reduce
themselves to the utmost poverty, and are forced to do penance
during the rest of their lives. To avoid this misfortune, I
divided what I had left me into two parts, landed estate and
ready money. I destined the ready money to supply the expenses of
entertaining my acquaintance. I meditated, and took a fixed
resolution not to touch my rents. I associated with young people
of my own age, and with my ready money, which I spent profusely,
treated them splendidly every day; and in short, spared for no
sort of pleasure. But this course did not last long; for by the
time the year was out, I had got to the bottom of my box, and
then all my table-friends vanished. I made a visit to every one
of them successively, and represented to them the miserable
condition I was in, but none of them offered to relieve me. Upon
this I renounced their friendship, and retrenched so far, as to
live within the compass of my income, bound myself to keep
company with none but the first stranger I might meet with coming
every day into Bagdad, and to entertain him but one day and one
night. I have told you the rest before; and I thank my good
fortune this day for having met with a stranger of so much

The caliph was well satisfied with this information, and said to
Abou Hassan, "I cannot enough commend the measures you have
taken, and the prudence with which you have acted, by forsaking
your debauchery; a conduct rarely to be met with in young
persons; and I esteem you the more for being steady to your
resolution. It was a slippery path you trod in, and I cannot but
admire your self-command, that, after having seen the end of your
ready money, you could so far refrain as not to enter upon your
rents, or even your estate. In short, I must own, I envy your
situation. You are the happiest man in the world, to enjoy every
day the company of some one with whom you can discourse freely
and agreeably, and to whom you give an opportunity to declare,
wherever he goes, how handsome he was received by you. But we
talk too long without drinking; come, drink, and pour out a glass
for me."

In this manner the caliph and Abou Hassan conversed together,
drinking and talking of indifferent subjects, till the night was
pretty far advanced; when the caliph, pretending to be fatigued
after his journey, told his host he stood in need of a little
rest. "But," added he, "as I would not deprive you of yours on my
account, before we part (because to-morrow I may be gone before
you are stirring), I should be glad to shew you how sensible I am
of your civility, and the good cheer and hospitality you have
strewn me. The only thing that troubles me is, that I know not
which way to make you any acknowledgment. I beg of you,
therefore, to let me understand how I may do it' and you shall
see I will not be ungrateful; for it is impossible but a man like
you must have some business, some want, or wish for something
agreeable to you. Speak freely, and open your mind; for though I
am but a merchant, it may be in my power to oblige you myself, or
by some friend."

To these offers of the caliph, Abou Hassan, taking him still for
a Moussul merchant, replied, "I am very well persuaded, sir, that
it is not out of compliment that you make me these generous
tenders; but upon the word of an honest man, I assure you, I have
nothing that troubles me, no business, nor desires, and I ask
nothing of any body. I have not the least ambition, as I told you
before; and am satisfied with my condition: therefore, I can only
thank you for your obliging proffers, and the honour you have
done me in condescending to partake of my frugal fare. Yet I must
tell you," pursued Abou Hassan, "there is one thing gives me
uneasiness, without, however, disturbing my rest. You must know
the town of Bagdad is divided into quarters, in each of which
there is a mosque with an imaum to perform service at certain
hours, at the head of the quarter which assembles there. The
imaum of the division I live in is a surly curmudgeon, of an
austere countenance, and the greatest hypocrite in the world.
Four old men of this neighbourhood, who are people of the same
stamp, meet regularly every day at this imaum's house. There they
vent their slander, calumny, and malice against me and the whole
quarter, to the disturbance of the peace of the neighbourhood,
and the promotion of dissension. Some they threaten, others they
frighten; and, in short, would be lords paramount, and have every
one govern himself according to their caprice, though they know
not how to govern themselves. Indeed, I am sorry to see that they
meddle with any thing but their Koraun, and will not let the
world live quietly."

"Well, I suppose," said the caliph, "you wish to have a stop put
to this disorder?" "You have guessed right," answered Abou
Hassan; "and the only thing I should pray for, would be to be
caliph but for one day, in the stead of our sovereign lord and
master Haroon al Rusheed, commander of the faithful." "What would
you do if you were?" said the caliph. "I would make examples of
them," answered Abou Hassan, "to the satisfaction of all honest
men. I would punish the four old men with each a hundred
bastinadoes on the soles of their feet, and the imaum with four
hundred, to teach them not to disturb and abuse their neighbours
in future."

The caliph was extremely pleased with this thought of Abou
Hassan's; and as he loved adventures, resolved to make this a
very singular one. "Indeed," said he, "I approve much of your
wish, which proceeds from an upright heart, that cannot bear the
malice of such officious hypocrites; I could like to see it
realized, and it is not so impossible as you may imagine. I am
persuaded that the caliph would willingly put his authority for
twenty-four hours into your hands if he knew your intentions, and
the good use you would make of it. Though a foreign merchant, I
have credit enough to contribute in some degree to the execution
of this plan." "I see," said Abou Hassan, "you laugh at my
foolish fancy, and the caliph himself would laugh at my
extravagance if he knew it: yet it would be a means of informing
him of the behaviour of the imaum and his companions, and induce
him to chastise them."

"Heaven forbid," replied the caliph, "that I, who have been so
handsomely entertained by you, should laugh at you; neither do I
believe, as much a stranger as I am to you, that the caliph would
be displeased: but let us leave off talking; it is almost
midnight, and time to go to bed." "With all my heart," said Abou
Hassan; "I would not be any hindrance to your going to rest; but
there is still some wine in the bottle, and if you please we will
drink it off first, and then retire. The only thing that I have
to recommend to you is, that when you go out in the morning, if I
am not up, you will not leave the door open, but give yourself
the trouble of shutting it after you." This the caliph promised
to do: and while Abou Hassan was talking, took the bottle and two
glasses, filled his own first, saying, "Here is a cup of thanks
to you," and then filling the other, put into it artfully a
little opiate powder, which he had about him and giving it to
Abou Hassan, said, "You have taken the pains to fill for me all
night, and it is the least I can do to save you the trouble once:
I beg you to take this glass; drink it off for my sake."

Abou Hassan took the glass, and to shew his guest with how much
pleasure he received the honour, drank it off at once; but had
scarcely set the glass upon the table, when the powder began to
operate; he fell into so sound a sleep, and his head knocked
against his knees so suddenly, that the caliph could not help
laughing. The caliph commanded the slave he had brought with him,
who entered the room as soon as he had supped, and had waited to
receive orders, to take Abou Hassan upon his back, and follow
him; but to be sure to observe the house, that he might know it
again. In this manner the caliph, followed by the slave with his
sleeping load, went out of the house, but without shutting the
door after him as he had been desired, went directly to his
palace, and by a private door into his own apartment, where the
officers of his chamber were in waiting, whom he ordered to
undress Abou Hassan, and put him into his bed, which they
immediately performed.

The caliph then sent for all the officers and ladies of the
palace, and said to them, "I would have all those whose business
it is to attend my levee wait to-morrow morning upon the man who
lies in my bed, pay the same respect to him as to myself, and
obey him in whatever he may command; let him be refused nothing
that he asks, and be addressed and answered as if he were the
commander of the faithful. In short, I expect that you attend to
him as the true caliph, without regarding me; and disobey him not
in the least circumstance."

The officers and ladies, who understood that the caliph meant to
divert himself, answered by low bows, and then withdrew, every
one preparing to contribute to the best of their power to perform
their respective parts adroitly.

The caliph next sent for the grand vizier: "Jaaffier," said he,
"I have sent for you to instruct you, and to prevent your being
surprised to-morrow when you come to audience, at seeing this man
seated on my throne in the royal robes: accost him with the same
reverence and respect as you pay to myself: observe and
punctually execute whatever he bids you do, the same as if I
commanded you. He will exercise great liberality, and commission
you with the distribution of it. Do all he commands; even if his
liberality should extend so far as to empty all the coffers in my
treasury; and remember to acquaint all my emirs, and the officers
without the palace, to pay him the same honour at audience as to
myself, and to carry on the matter so well, that he may not
perceive the least thing that may interrupt the diversion which I
design myself."

After the grand vizier had retired, the caliph went to bed in
another apartment, and gave Mesrour, the chief of his eunuchs,
the orders which he was to execute, that every thing should
succeed as he intended, so that he might see how Abou Hassan
would use the power and authority of the caliph for the short
time he had desired to have it. Above all, he charged him not to
fail to awaken him at the usual hour, before he awakened Abou
Hassan, because he wished to be present when he arose.

Mesrour failed not to do as the caliph had commanded, and as soon
as the caliph went into the room where Abou Hassan lay, he placed
himself in a little raised closet, from whence he could see all
that passed. All the officers and ladies, who were to attend Abou
Hassan's levee, went in at the same time, and took their posts
according to their rank, ready to acquit themselves of their
respective duties, as if the caliph himself had been going to

As it was just day-break, and time to prepare for the morning
prayer before sun rise, the officer who stood nearest to the head
of the bed put a sponge steeped in vinegar to Abou Hassan's nose,
who immediately turning his head about, without opening his eyes,
discharged a kind of phlegm, which was received in a little
golden basin before it fell on the carpet. This was the usual
effect of the caliph's powder, the sleep lasting longer or
shorter, in proportion to the dose. When Abou Hassan laid down
his head on the bolster, he opened his eyes; and by the dawning
light that appeared, found himself in a large room, magnificently
furnished, the ceiling of which was finely painted in Arabesque,
adorned with vases of gold and silver, and the floor covered with
a rich silk tapestry. He saw himself surrounded by many young and
handsome ladies, many of them having instruments of music in
their hands, and black eunuchs richly clothed, all standing with
great modesty and respect. After casting his eyes on the covering
of the bed, he perceived it was cloth of gold richly embossed
with pearl and diamonds; and near the bed lay, on a cushion, a
habit of tissue embroidered with jewels, with a caliph's turban.

At the sight of these glittering objects, Abou Hassan was in the
most inexpressible amazement, and looked upon all he saw as a
dream; yet a dream he wished it not to be. "So," said he to
himself, "I am caliph; but," added he, recollecting himself, "it
is only a dream, the effect of the wish I entertained my guest
with last night ;" and then he turned himself about and shut his
eyes to sleep. At the same time the eunuch said very
respectfully, "Commander of the faithful, it is time for your
majesty to rise to prayers, the morning begins to advance."

These words very much surprised Abou Hassan. "Am I awake, or do I
sleep?" said he to himself. "Ah, certainly I am asleep!"
continued he, keeping his eyes shut; "there is no reason to doubt
of it."

Immediately the eunuch, who saw he had no inclination to get up,
said again, "Your majesty must permit me to repeat once more that
it is time to rise to morning prayer, unless you choose to let it
pass; the sun is just rising, and you never neglect this duty."
"I am mistaken," said Abou Hassan immediately, "I am not asleep,
but awake; for those who sleep do not hear, and I hear somebody
speak to me;" then opening his eyes again, he saw plainly by
broad day-light, what he had seen but indistinctly before; and
started up, with a smiling countenance, like a man overjoyed at
sudden promotion. The caliph, from his recess, penetrated his
thoughts with great delight.

The young ladies of the palace now prostrated themselves with
their faces to the ground before Abou Hassan, and those who had
instruments of music in their hands wished him a good morrow, by
a concert of soft flutes, hautboys, theorboes, and other
harmonious instruments, with which he was enchanted, and in such
an ecstacy, that he knew not whether he was himself; but
reverting to his first idea, he still doubted whether what he saw
and heard was a dream or reality. He clapped his hands before his
eyes, and lowering his head, said to himself, "What means all
this? Where am I? and to whom does this palace belong? What can
these eunuchs, handsome well-dressed officers, beautiful ladies,
and musicians mean: How is it possible for me to distinguish
whether I am in my right senses or in a dream?"

When he took his hands from his eyes, opened them, and lifted up
his head, the sun shone full in at the chamber window; and at
that instant Mesrour, the chief of the eunuchs, came in,
prostrated himself before Abou Hassan, and said, "Commander of
the faithful, your majesty will excuse me for representing to
you, that you used not to rise so late, and that the time of
prayer is over. If your majesty has not had a bad night, it is
time to ascend your throne and hold a council as usual; all your
generals, governors, and other great officers of state, wait your
presence in the council-hall."

At this discourse, Abou Hassan was persuaded that he was neither
asleep nor in a dream; but at the same time was not less
embarrassed and confused under his uncertainty what steps to
take: at last, looking earnestly at Mesrour, he said to him in a
serious tone, "Whom is it you speak to, and call the commander of
the faithful? I do not know you, and you must mistake me for
somebody else."

Any person but Mesrour would have been puzzled at these questions
of Abou Hassan; but he had been so well instructed by the caliph,
that he played his part admirably. "My imperial lord and master,"
said he, "your majesty only speaks thus to try me. Is not your
majesty the commander of the faithful, monarch of the world from
east to west, and vicar on earth to the prophet sent of God?
Mesrour, your poor slave, has not forgotten you, after so many
years that he has had the honour and happiness to serve and pay
his respects to your majesty. He would think himself the most
unhappy of men, if he has incurred your displeasure, and begs of
you most humbly to remove his fears; but had rather suppose that
you have been disturbed by some troublesome dream."

Abou Hassan burst out laughing at these words, and fell backwards
upon the bolster, which pleased the caliph so much that he would
have laughed as loud himself, if he had not been afraid of
putting a stop too soon to the pleasant scene he had promised

Abou Hassan, when he had tired himself with laughing, sat up
again, and speaking to a little eunuch that stood by him, black
as Mesrour, said, "Hark ye, tell me whom I am?" "Sir," answered
the little boy, modestly, "your majesty is the commander of the
believers, and God's vicar on earth." "You are a little liar,
black face," said Abou Hassan. Then he called the lady that stood
nearest to him; "Come hither, fair one," said he, holding out his
hand, "bite the end of my finger, that I may feel whether I am
asleep or awake."

The lady, who knew the caliph saw all that passed, was overjoyed
to have an opportunity of strewing her power of diverting him,
went with a grave countenance, and putting his finger between her
teeth, bit it so hard that she put him to violent pain. Snatching
his hand quickly back again, he said, "I find I am awake and not
asleep. But by what miracle am I become caliph in a night's time!
this is certainly the most strange and surprising event in the
world!" Then addressing himself to the same lady, he said, "I
conjure you, by the protection of God, in whom you trust as well
as I, not to hide the truth from me; am I really the commander of
the faithful?" "It is so true," answered the lady, "that we who
are your slaves are amazed to find that you will not believe
yourself to be so." "You are a deceiver," replied Abou Hassan: "I
know very well who I am."

As the chief of the eunuchs perceived that Abou Hassan now wished
to rise, he offered him his hand, and helped him to get out of
bed. No sooner were his feet set on the floor, than the chamber
rang with the repeated acclamations of the officers and ladies,
who cried out all together, "Commander of the faithful, God give
your majesty a good day." "O heaven!" cried Abou Hassan, "what a
strange thing this is! Last night I was Abou Hassan, and this
morning I am the commander of the believers! I cannot comprehend
this sudden and surprising change." Presently some of the
officers began to dress him; and when they had done, Mesrour led
him through all the eunuchs and ladies, who were ranged on both
sides, quite to the council chamber door, which was opened by one
of the officers. Mesrour walked before him to the foot of the
throne, where he stopped, and putting one hand under one arm,
while another officer who followed did the same by the other,
they helped him to ascend the throne. Abou Hassan sat down amidst
the acclamations of the officers, who wished him all happiness
and prosperity, and turning to the right and left he saw the
officers of the guards ranged in order, and making a fine

The caliph in the mean time came out of the closet, and went into
another, which looked into the hall, from whence he could see and
hear all that passed in council, where his grand vizier presided
in his place. What pleased him highly, was to see Abou Hassan
fill his throne with almost as much gravity as himself.

As soon as Abou Hassan had seated himself, the grand vizier
prostrated himself at the foot of the throne, and rising, said,
"Commander of the faithful, God shower down blessings on your
majesty in this life, receive you into his paradise in the other
world, and confound your enemies."

Abou Hassan, after all that had happened that morning, at these
words of the grand vizier, never doubted but that he was caliph,
as he wished to be; and without examining any farther, how or by
what adventure, or sudden change of fortune, he had become so,
immediately began to exercise his power, and looking very gravely
at the vizier, asked him what he had to say? "Commander of the
faithful," replied the grand vizier, "the emirs, Vizier, and
other officers of your council, wait without till your majesty
gives them leave to pay their accustomed respects." Abou Hassan
ordered the door to be opened, and the grand vizier addressing
himself to the officers in waiting, said, "Chief of the door-
keepers, the commander of the faithful orders you to do your

When the door was opened, the viziers, emirs, and principal
officers of the court, all dressed magnificently in their habits
of ceremony, went in their order to the foot of the throne, paid
their respects to Abou Hassan; and bowing their heads down to the
carpet, saluted him with the title of commander of the faithful,
according to the instructions of the grand vizier, and afterwards
took their seats.

When this ceremony was over, and they were all placed, there was
a profound silence. The grand vizier always standing before the
throne, began according to the order of papers in his hand to
make his report of affairs, which at that time were of very
little consequence. Nevertheless, the caliph could not but admire
how Abou Hassan acquitted himself in his exalted station without
the least hesitation or embarrassment, and decided well in all
matters, as his own good sense suggested. But before the grand
vizier had finished his report, Abou Hassan perceived the judge
of the police, whom he knew by sight, sitting in his place.
"Stop," said he, to the grand vizier, interrupting him; "I have
an order of consequence to give to the judge of the police." The
judge of the police perceiving that Abou Hassan looked at him,
and hearing his name mentioned, arose from his seat, and went
gravely to the foot of the throne, where he prostrated himself
with his face to the ground. "Judge of the police," said Abou
Hassan, "go immediately to such a quarter, where you will find a
mosque, seize the imaum and four old grey beards, give each of
the old men a hundred bastinadoes, and the imaum four hundred.
After that, mount them all five, clothed in rags, on camels, with
their faces to the tails, and lead them through the whole city,
with a crier before them, who shall proclaim with a loud voice,
‘This is the punishment of all those who trouble their heads with
other people's affairs, make it their business to create
disturbances and misunderstandings in families in their
neighbourhood, and do them all the mischief in their power.' My
intention is also, that you enjoin them to leave that quarter,
and never to set foot in it more: and while your lieutenant is
conducting them through the town, return, and give me an account
of the execution of my orders." The judge of the police laid his
hand upon his head, to shew his obedience, and prostrating
himself a second time retired to execute the mandate.

The caliph was highly pleased at the firmness with which this
order was given, and perceived that Abou Hassan was resolved not
to lose the opportunity of punishing the imaum and the other four
old hypocrites of his quarter. In the mean time the grand vizier
went on with his report, and had just finished, when the judge of
the police came back from executing his commission. He approached
the throne with the usual ceremony, and said, "Commander of the
faithful, I found the imaum and his four companions in the
mosque, which your majesty pointed out; and as a proof that I
have punctually obeyed your commands, I have brought an
instrument signed by the principal inhabitants of the ward." At
the same time he pulled a paper out of his bosom, and presented
it to the pretended caliph.

Abou Hassan took the paper, and reading it over cautiously with
the names of the witnesses, who were all people he knew, said to
the judge of the police, smiling, "It is well; I am satisfied;
return to your seat." "These old hypocrites," said he to himself,
with an air of satisfaction "who thought fit to censure my
actions, and find fault with my entertaining honest people,
deserved this punishment." The caliph all the time penetrated his
thoughts, and felt inconceivable delight at his frolic.

Abou Hassan, then addressing himself to the grand vizier, said,
"Go to the high treasurer for a purse of a thousand pieces of
gold, and carry it to the mother of one Abou Hassan, who is known
by the name of the debauchee; she lives in the same quarter to
which I sent the judge of the police. Go, and return

The grand vizier, after laying his hand upon his head, and
prostrating himself before the throne, went to the high
treasurer, who gave him the money, which he ordered a slave to
take, and to follow him to Abou Hassan's mother, to whom he gave
it, saying only, "The caliph makes you this present." She
received it with the greatest surprise imaginable.

During the grand vizier's absence, the judge of the police made
the usual report of his office, which lasted till the vizier
returned. As soon as he came into the council-chamber, and had
assured Abou Hassan that he had executed his orders, Mesrour, the
chief of the eunuchs, made a sign to the viziers, the emirs, and
other officers, that the council was over, and that they might
all retire; which they did, by making the same prostration at the
foot of the throne as when they entered.

Abou Hassan descended from the caliph's throne, and Mesrour went
before him, to shew him the way into an inner apartment, where
there was a table spread; several eunuchs ran to tell the
musicians that the sham caliph was coming, when they immediately
began a concert of vocal and instrumental music, with which Abou
Hassan was so charmed and transported, that he could not tell
what to think of all he saw and heard. "If this is a dream," said
he, "it is a long one. But certainly," continued he, "it is no
dream; for I can see and feel, walk and hear, and argue
reasonably; whatever it is, I trust in God; I cannot but believe
that I am the commander of the faithful, for no other person
could live in this splendour. The honour and respect that has
been strewn me, and the obedience paid to my commands, are
sufficient proofs of my exaltation."

In short, Abou Hassan took it for granted that he was the
commander of the faithful; but was still more convinced of it
when he entered a magnificent and spacious hall, which was finely
painted with the brightest colours intermixed with gold. Seven
bands of female musicians, more beautiful than the others, were
placed round the hall, and as many gold chandeliers hung from the
ceiling, which was painted with blue and gold, intermixed with
wonderful effect. In the middle of the hall was spread a table
covered with massive gold plates and dishes, which scented the
apartment with the spices and amber wherewith the meat was
seasoned; and seven young and most beautiful ladies, dressed in
the richest habits of the most vivid colours, stood round this
table, each with a fan in her hand, to fan Abou Hassan when at

If ever mortal was charmed, Abou Hassan was when he entered this
stately hall. At every step he took, he could not help stopping
to contemplate at leisure all the wonders that regaled his eyes,
and turned first to one side, and then to the other; which gave
the caliph, who viewed him with attention, very great pleasure.
At last he sat down at the table, and presently all the ladies
began to fan the new caliph. He looked first at one, then at
another, and admired the grace with which they acquitted
themselves. He told them with a smile, that he believed one of
them was enough to give him all the air he wanted, and would have
six of the ladies sit at table with him, three on his right hand,
and three on his left; and he placed them so, that as the table
was round, which way soever he turned, his eyes might be saluted
with agreeable objects.

The six ladies obeyed; and Abou Hassan taking notice, that out of
respect they did not eat, helped them himself, and invited them
to eat in the most pressing and obliging terms. Afterwards he
asked their names, which they told him were Alabaster Neck, Coral
Lips, Moon Face, Sunshine, Eye's Delight, Heart's Delight, and
she who fanned him was Sugar Cane. The many soft things he said
upon their names shewed him to be a man of sprightly wit, and it
is not to be conceived how much it increased the esteem which the
caliph (who saw every thing) had already conceived for him.

When the ladies observed that Abou Hassan had done eating, one of
them said to the eunuchs who waited, "The commander of the
faithful will go into the hall where the dessert is laid; bring
some water;" upon which they all rose from the table, and taking
from the eunuch, one a gold basin, another an ewer of the same
metal, and a third a towel, kneeled before Abou Hassan, and
presented them to him to wash his hands. As soon as he had done,
he got up, and after an eunuch had opened the door, went,
preceded by Mesrour, who never left him, into another hall, as
large as the former, adorned with paintings by the best masters,
and furnished with gold and silver vessels, carpets, and other
rich furniture. There seven different bands of music began a
concert as soon as Abou Hassan appeared. In this hall there were
seven large lustres, a table in the middle covered with dried
sweetmeats, the choicest and most exquisite fruits of the season,
raised in pyramids, in seven gold basins; and seven ladies more
beautiful than the others standing round it, each with a fan in
her hand.

These new objects raised still greater admiration in Abou Hassan;
who, after he had made a full stop, and given the most sensible
marks of surprise and astonishment, went directly to the table,
where sitting down, he gazed a considerable time at the seven
ladies, with an embarrassment that plainly shewed he knew not to
which to give the preference. At last he ordered them all to lay
aside their fans and sit down, and eat with him, telling them
that it was not so hot, but he could spare them that trouble.

When the ladies were all placed about him, the first thing he did
was to ask their names, which were different from the other
seven, and expressed some perfection of mind or body, which
distinguished them from one another: upon which he took an
opportunity, when he presented them with fruit, &c., to say
something gallant. "Eat this fig for my sake," said he to Chain
of Hearts, who sat on his right hand; "and render the fetters,
with which you loaded me the first moment I saw you, more
supportable." Then, presenting a bunch of grapes to Soul's
Torment, "Take this cluster of grapes," said he, "on condition
you instantly abate the torments which I suffer for your sake;"
and so on to the rest. By these sallies Abou Hassan more and more
amused the caliph, who was delighted with his words and actions,
and pleased to think he had found in him a man who diverted him
so agreeably.

After Abou Hassan had tasted all the fruits in the basin, he got
up and followed Mesrour into a third hall, much more
magnificently furnished than the other two; where he was received
by the same number of musicians and ladies, who stood round a
table covered with all manner of wet sweetmeats. After he had
looked about him with new wonder, he advanced to the table, the
music playing all the time till he sat down. The seven ladies, by
his order, sat down with him, helped themselves, as he desired,
to what they liked best; and he afterwards informed himself of
their names, which pleased him as much as the others had done,
and led him to say as many soft things to them, to the great
diversion of the caliph, who lost not a word.

By this time the day beginning to close, Abou Hassan was
conducted into a fourth hall, much more superb and magnificently
furnished, lighted with wax in seven gold lustres, which gave a
splendid light. Abou Hassan found the same number of musicians
here as he had done in the three other halls, performing in
concert in the most agreeable manner, and seeming to inspire
greater joy; and he saw as many ladies standing round a table
covered with seven gold basins filled with cakes, dried
sweetmeats, and all such relishes as were calculated to promote
drinking. There he saw, which he had not observed in any of the
other halls, a sideboard set out with seven large silver flagons
full of the choicest wines, and by them seven crystal glasses of
the finest workmanship.

Hitherto, in the three first halls, Abou Hassan had drunk nothing
but water, according to the custom observed at Bagdad, from the
highest to the lowest and at the caliph's court, never to drink
wine till the evening; all who transgress this rule being
accounted debauchees, who dare not shew themselves in the day-
time. This custom is the more laudable, as it requires a clear
head to apply to business in the course of the day; and as no
wine is drunk till evening, no drunken people are seen in the
streets in open day creating disturbance in the city.

As soon as Abou Hassan entered the fourth hall, he went to the
table, sat down, and was a long time in a kind of ecstasy at the
sight of the seven ladies who surrounded him, and were much more
beautiful than any he had beheld in the other halls. He was very
desirous to know their names; but as the music played so loud,
and particularly the tambour, that he could not hear them speak,
he clapped his hands for the musicians to cease, when a profound
silence ensued. Taking by the hand the lady who stood on the
right next to him, he made her sit down by him, and presenting
her with a cake, asked her name. "Commander of the faithful,"
said the lady, "I am called Cluster of Pearls." "No name,"
replied Abou Hassan, "could have more properly expressed your
worth; and indeed your teeth exceed the finest pearls. Cluster of
Pearls," added he, "since that is your name, oblige me with a
glass of wine from your fair hand." The lady went to the
sideboard and brought him a glass of wine, which she presented to
him with a pleasant air. Abou Hassan took the glass with a smile,
and looking passionately at her, said, "Cluster of Pearls, I
drink your health; I desire you to fill out as much for yourself,
and pledge me." She ran to the sideboard, and returned with a
glass in her hand; but before she drank, she sung a song, which
charmed him as much by the sweetness of her voice as by its

After Abou Hassan had drunk, he made another lady sit down by
him, and presenting her with what she chose in the basins, asked
her name, which she told him was Morning Star. "Your bright
eyes," said he, "shine with greater lustre than that star whose
name you bear. Do me the pleasure to bring me some wine," which
she did with the best grace in the world. Then turning to the
third lady, whose name was Day-light, he ordered her to do the
same, and so on to the seventh, to the extreme satisfaction of
the caliph.

When they had all filled him a glass round, Cluster of Pearls,
whom he had just addressed, went to the sideboard, poured out a
glass of wine, and putting in a pinch of the same powder the
caliph had used the night before, presented it to Abou Hassan;
"Commander of the faithful," said she, "Il beg of your majesty to
take this glass of wine, and before you drink it, do me the
favour to hear a song I have composed to-day, and which I flatter
myself will not displease you. I never sung it before." "With all
my heart," said Abou Hassan, taking the glass, "and, as commander
of the faithful, I command you to sing it; for I am persuaded
that so beautiful a lady cannot compose a song which does not
abound with wit and pleasantry." The lady took a lute, and tuning
it to her voice, sung with so much justness, grace, and
expression, that Abou Hassan was in perfect ecstasy all the time,
and was so much delighted, that he ordered her to sing it again,
and was as much charmed with it as at first.

When the lady had concluded, Abou Hassan drank off his glass, and
turned his head towards her to give her those praises which he
thought she merited, but was prevented by the opiate, which
operated so suddenly, that his mouth was instantly wide open, and
his eyes close shut, and dropping his head on the cushions, he
slept as profoundly as the day before when the caliph had given
him the powder. One of the ladies stood ready to catch the glass,
which fell out of his hand; and then the caliph, who enjoyed
greater satisfaction in this scene than he had promised himself,
and was all along a spectator of what had passed, came into the
hall to them, overjoyed at the success of his plan. He ordered
Abou Hassan to be dressed in his own clothes, and carried back to
his house by the slave who had brought him, charging him to lay
him on a sofa in the same room, without making any noise, and to
leave the door open when he came away.

The slave took Abou Hassan upon his shoulders, carried him home
by a back door of the palace, placed him in his own house as he
was ordered, and returned with speed, to acquaint the caliph.
"Well," said the caliph, "Abou Hassan wished only to be caliph
for one day, to punish the imaum of the mosque of his quarter,
and the four old men who had displeased him: I have procured him
the means of doing this, and he ought to be content."

In the mean time, Abou Hassan, who was laid upon his sofa by the
slave, slept till very late the next morning. When the powder was
worked off, he awoke, opened his eyes, and finding himself at
home, was in the utmost surprise. "Cluster of Pearls! Morning
Star! Coral Lips! Moon Face!" cried he, calling the ladies of the
palace by their names, as he remembered them; "where are you?
come hither."

Abou Hassan called so loud, that his mother, who was in her own
apartment, heard him, and running to him upon the noise he made,
said "What ails you, son? what has happened to you?" At these
words Abou Hassan lifted up his head, and looking haughtily at
his mother, said, "Good woman! who is it you call son?" "Why
you," answered his mother very mildly; "are not you Abou Hassan
my son? It is strange that you have forgotten yourself so soon."
"I your son! old bull!" replied Abou Hassan; "you are a liar, and
know not what you say! I am not Abou Hassan, I tell you, but the
commander of the faithful!"

"Hold your tongue, son," answered the mother "one would think you
are a fool, to hear you talk thus." "You are an old fool
yourself," replied Abou Hassan; "I tell you once more I am the
commander of the faithful, and God's vicar on earth!" "Ah!
child," cried the mother, "is it possible that I should hear you
utter such words that shew you are distracted! What evil genius
possesses you, to make you talk at this rate? God bless you, and
preserve you from the power of Satan. You are my son Abou Hassan,
and I am your mother."

After she had used all the arguments she could think of to bring
him to himself, and to shew how great an error he was in, she
said, "Do not you see that the room you are now in is your own,
and is not like a chamber in a palace fit for the commander of
the believers? and that you have never left it since you were
born, but lived quietly at home with me. Think seriously of what
I say, and do not fancy things that are not, nor ever can be.
Once more, my son, think seriously of it."

Abou Hassan heard all these remonstrances of his mother very
patiently, holding down his eyes, and clapping his hands under
his chin, like a man recollecting himself, to examine the truth
of what he saw and heard. At last, he said to his mother, just as
if he was awaking out of a deep sleep, and with his hand in the
same posture, "I believe you are right, methinks I am Abou
Hassan, you are my mother, and I am in my own room." Then looking
at her again, and at every object before him, he added, "I am
Abou Hassan, there is no doubt of it, and I cannot comprehend how
this fancy came into my head."

The mother really believed that her son was cured of the disorder
of his mind, which she ascribed to a dream, began to laugh with
him, and ask him questions about it; when suddenly he started up,
and looking crossly at his mother, said, "Old sorceress, you know
not what you say. I am not your son, nor you my mother. You
deceive yourself and would deceive me. I tell you I am the
commander of the faithful, and you shall never persuade me to the
contrary!" "For heaven's sake, son," said the mother, "let us
leave off this discourse; recommend yourself to God, for fear
some misfortune should happen to us; let us talk of something
else. I will tell you what happened yesterday in our quarter to
the imaum of the mosque, and the four scheiks our neighbours: the
judge of the police came and seized them, and gave each of them I
know not how many strokes with a bastinado, while a crier
proclaimed, ‘That such was the punishment of all those who
troubled themselves about other people's business, and employed
themselves in setting their neighbours at variance:' he
afterwards led them through all the streets, and ordered them
never to come into our quarter again." Abou Hassan's mother
little thought her son had any share in this adventure, and
therefore had turned the discourse on purpose to put him out of
the conceit of being the commander of the faithful; but instead
of effacing that idea, she recalled it, and impressed the more
deeply in his mind, that it was not imaginary but real.

Abou Hassan no sooner heard this relation, but he cried out, "I
am neither thy son, nor Abou Hassan, but certainly the commander
of the believers. I cannot doubt after what you have told me.
Know then that it was by my order the imaum and the four scheiks
were punished, and I tell you I am certainly the commander of the
faithful: therefore say no more of its being a dream. I was not
asleep, but as much awake as I am now. You do me much pleasure to
confirm what the judge of the police told me he had executed
punctually according to my order; I am overjoyed that the imaum
and the four scheiks, those great hypocrites, were so chastised,
and I should be glad to know how I came here. God be praised for
all things! I am certainly commander of the faithful, and all thy
arguments shall not convince me of the contrary."

The mother, who could not imagine why her son so strenuously and
positively maintained himself to be caliph, no longer doubted but
that he had lost his senses, when she found he insisted so much
on a thing that was so incredible; and in this thought said, "I
pray God, son, to have mercy upon you! Pray do not talk so madly.
Beseech God to forgive you, and give you grace to talk more
reasonably. What would the world say to hear you rave in this
manner? Do you not know that ‘walls have ears?'"

These remonstrances only enraged Abou Hassan the more; and he was
so provoked at his mother, that he said, "Old woman, I have
desired you once already to hold your tongue. If you do not, I
shall rise and give you cause to repent all your lifetime. I am
the caliph and the commander of the believers; and you ought to
credit me when I say so."

The good woman supposing that he was more distracted than ever,
abandoned herself to tears, and beating her face and breast,
expressed the utmost grief and astonishment to see her son in
such a state. Abou Hassan, instead of being appeased or moved by
his mother's tears, lost all the respect due from a son to his
mother. Getting up hastily, and laying hold of a switch, he ran
to his mother in great fury, and in a threatening manner that
would have frightened any one but a mother so partial to him,
said, "Tell me directly, wicked woman, who I am." "I do not
believe, son," replied she, looking at him tenderly, and without
fear, "that you are so abandoned by God as not to know your
mother, who brought you into the world, and to mistake yourself.
You are indeed my son Abou Hassan, and are much in the wrong to
arrogate to yourself the title which belongs only to our
sovereign lord the caliph Haroon al Rusheed, especially after the
noble and generous present the monarch made us yesterday. I
forgot to tell you, that the grand vizier Jaaffier came to me
yesterday, and putting a purse of a thousand pieces of gold into
my hands, bade me pray for the commander of the faithful, who had
sent me that present; and does not this liberality concern you
more than me, who have but a short time to live?"

At these words Abou Hassan grew quite mad. The circumstance of
the caliph's liberality persuaded him more than ever that he was
caliph, remembering that he had sent the vizier. "Well, old hag,"
cried he, "will you be convinced when I tell you that I sent you
those thousand pieces of gold by my grand vizier Jaaffier, who
obeyed my commands, as I was commander of the faithful? But
instead of believing me, you endeavour to distract me by your
contradictions, and maintain with obstinacy that I am your son;
but you shall not go long unpunished." After these words, he was
so unnatural, in the height of his frenzy, as to beat her cruelly
with his cane.

The poor mother, who could not have thought that her son would
have come so soon from words to blows, called out for help so
loud, that the neighbours ran in to her assistance. Abou Hassan
continued to beat her, at every stroke asking her if he was the
commander of the faithful? to which she always answered tenderly,
that he was her son.

By the time the neighbours came in Abou Hassan's rage began to
abate. The first who entered the room got between him and his
mother, and taking the switch out of his hand, said to him, "What
are you doing, Abou Hassan? have you lost all fear of God and
your reason? Did ever a son so well brought up as you dare to
strike his mother? are you not ashamed so to treat yours, who
loves you so tenderly?" Abou Hassan, still full of fury, looked
at him who spoke without returning an answer; and then staring on
all the rest of his neighbours who had followed, said, "Who is
that Abou Hassan you speak of? Is it me you call by that name?"

This question disconcerted the neighbours. "How!" said he who
spoke first, "do not you know your mother who brought you up, and
with whom you have always lived?" "Be gone, you are impertinent
vagabonds," replied Abou Hassan; "I neither knew her nor you, and
will not know her. I am not Abou Hassan; I am the commander of
the faithful, and will make you feel it to your cost."

At this speech the neighbours no longer doubted that he was mad:
and to prevent his repeating his outrages, seized him,
notwithstanding his resistance, and bound him hand and foot, But
though apparently disabled from doing any mischief, they did not
choose to leave him alone with his mother. Two of them ran for
the keeper of the hospital for insane persons, who came presently
with chains, handcuffs, a bastinado, and many attendants. When
they entered the room, Abou Hassan, who little expected such
treatment, struggled to unloose himself; but after his keeper had
given him two or three smart strokes upon the shoulders, he lay
so quiet, that the keeper and his people did what they pleased
with him. As soon as they had bound and manacled him, they took
him with them to the hospital. When he was got out of the house
into the street, the people crowded round him, one buffeted him,
another boxed him, and others called him fool and madman. To all
this treatment he replied, "There is no greatness and power but
in God most high and almighty. I am treated as a fool, though I
am in my right senses. I suffer all these injuries and
indignities for the love of God." He was conducted to the
hospital, where he was lodged in a grated cell; but before he was
shut up, the keeper, who was hardened to such terrible execution,
regaled him without pity with fifty strokes of the bastinado on
his shoulders, which he repeated every day for three weeks,
bidding him remember that he was not the commander of the
faithful. "I am not mad," said Abou Hassan, "but if I wanted your
assistance, nothing would so effectually make me mad as your
cruel treatment. I want not your advice."

Abou Hassan's mother went every day to visit her son, and could
not forbear weeping at beholding him fall away, and sigh and
complain at the hardships he endured. In short, his shoulders,
back, and sides were so black and bruised, that he could not turn
himself. His mother would willingly have talked with him, to
comfort him, and to sound him whether he still retained the
notion of being caliph; but whenever she opened her mouth, he
stopped her with so much fury, that she was forced to leave him,
and return home inconsolable at his obstinacy.

By degrees, however, those strong and lively ideas, which Abou
Hassan had entertained, of having been clothed in the caliph's
habit, having exercised his authority, and been punctually obeyed
and treated like the true caliph, the assurance of which had
persuaded him that he was so, began to wear away. Sometimes he
would say to himself, "If I was the caliph and commander of the
believers, how came I, when I awoke, to find myself at home
dressed in my own apparel? Why should I not have been attended by
eunuchs, and their chief, and a crowd of beautiful ladies? Why
should the grand vizier, and all those emirs and governors of
provinces, who prostrated themselves at my feet, forsake me?
Undoubtedly if I had any authority over them, they would have
delivered me long ago out of the miserable condition I am in;
certainly I ought to look upon all as a dream. It is true,
however, that I commanded the judge of the police to punish the
imaum, and the four old men his companions; I ordered the grand
vizier to carry my mother a thousand pieces of gold; and my
commands were executed. All these points are obstacles to my
believing it a dream; but there are so many things that I cannot
comprehend, nor ever shall, that I will put my trust in God, who
knows all things."

Abou Hassan was taken up with these thoughts and reflections when
his mother came to see him. She found him so much altered and
emaciated that she shed a torrent of tears; in the midst of which
she saluted him as she used to do, and he returned her
salutation, which he had never done before since he had been in
the hospital. This she looked upon to be a good sign. "Well, my
son," said she, wiping her tears, "how do you do, and how do you
find yourself? Have you renounced all those whims and fancies
which the devil had put into your head?" "Indeed, mother,"
replied Abou Hassan, very rationally and calmly, and in a tone
expressive of his grief for the excesses he had been transported
to against her, "I acknowledge my error, and beg of you to
forgive the execrable crime which I have been guilty of towards
you, and which I detest. I ask pardon also of my neighbours whom
I have abused. I have been deceived by a dream; but by so
extraordinary a one, and so like to truth, that I venture to
affirm any other person, to whom such a thing might have
happened, would have been guilty of as great or greater
extravagancies; and I am this instant so much perplexed about it,
that while I am speaking I can hardly persuade myself but that
what befell me was matter of fact, so like was it to what happens
to people who are broad awake. But whatever it was, I do, and
shall always regard it as a dream and an illusion. I am convinced
that I am not that shadow of a caliph and commander of the
faithful, but Abou Hassan your son, the son of a person whom I
always honoured till that fatal day, the remembrance of which
will cover me with confusion, and whom in future I shall honour
and respect all my life as I ought."

At this rational declaration, the tears of sorrow and affliction
which the mother of Abou Hassan had so long shed were changed
into those of joy. "My son!" cried she, transported with
pleasure, "my satisfaction and comfort to hear you talk so
reasonably is inexpressible: and it gives me as much joy as if I
had brought you into the world a second time; but I must tell you
my opinion of this adventure, and observe one thing which you may
not have noticed; the stranger whom you brought home the evening
before your illness to sup with you went away without shutting
your chamber-door after him, as you desired; which I believe gave
the devil an opportunity to enter, and throw you into the
horrible illusion you have been in: therefore, my son, you ought
to return God thanks for your deliverance, and beseech him to
keep you from falling again into the snares of the evil spirit."

"You have found out the source of our misfortunes," answered Abou
Hassan. "It was that very night I had this dream which turned my
brain. I bade the merchant expressly to shut the door after him;
and now I find he did not do it. I am persuaded, as well as you,
the devil finding it open came in, and filled my head full of
these fancies. The people of Moussul, from whence this merchant
came, may not know how we at Bagdad are convinced from experience
that the devil is the cause of troublesome dreams when we leave
our chamber-doors open. But since, mother, you see I am, by the
grace of God, so well recovered, for God's sake get me out of
this horrible place, which will infallibly shorten my days if I
stay here any longer." The mother, glad to hear her son was so
well cured of his foolish imagination of being caliph, went
immediately to the keeper, and assuring him that he was very
sensible and well, he came, examined, and released him in her

When Abou Hassan came home, he stayed within doors some days to
recover his health by better living than he had found at the
hospital. But when he had recovered his strength, and felt no
longer the effect of the harsh treatment he had suffered in his
confinement, he began to be weary of spending his evenings alone.
He accordingly entered again upon the same plan as he had before
pursued; which was, to provide enough every day to regale a
stranger at night.

The day on which Abou Hassan renewed his custom of going about
sun-set to the end of Bagdad bridge to stop the first stranger
thee offered, and invite him to do him the honour of supping with
him, happened to be the first day of the month, that which the
caliph always set apart to go in disguise out of some one of the
gates to observe what was committed contrary to the good
government of the city, as established and regulated at the
beginning of his reign. Abou Hassan had not been long arrived at
the bridge, when, looking about him, he perceived the Moussul
merchant, followed by the same slave. Persuaded that all his
misfortunes were owing to the merchant's having left his door
open, he shuddered at the sight of him. "God preserve me," said
he to himself; "if I am not deceived, there is again the magician
who enchanted me!" He trembled with agitation, and looked over
the side railing into the river, that he might not see him till
he was past.

The caliph, who wished to renew the diversion he had received,
had taken care to inform himself of all that had happened to Abou
Hassan, and enjoyed much pleasure at the relation given him,
especially at his being sent to a mad-house. But as this monarch
was both just and generous, and had taken a great liking to Abou
Hassan, as capable of contributing further to his amusement, and
had doubted whether, after renouncing his frenzied character of a
caliph, he would return to his usual manner of living; with a
view therefore to bring him to his palace, he disguised himself
again like a merchant of Moussul, the better to execute his plan.
He perceived Abou Hassan at the same time that he saw him, and
presently guessed by his action that he was angry, and wished to
shun him. This made him walk close to the side railing; and when
he came nigh him, he put his head over to look him in the face.
"Ho, brother Abou Hassan," said he, "is it you? I greet you! Give
me leave to embrace you?"

"Not I," replied Abou Hassan, pettishly, without looking at the
pretended Moussul merchant; "I do not greet you; I will have
neither your greeting nor your embraces. Go along!"

"What!" answered the caliph, "do you not know me? Do you not
remember the evening we spent together at your house this day
month, where you did me the honour to treat me very generously?"
"No," replied Abou Hassan in the same tone, "I do not know you,
nor what you talk about; go, I say again, about your business."

The caliph was not to be diverted from his purpose by this rude
behaviour. He well knew the law Abou Hassan had imposed on
himself, never to have commerce again with a stranger he had once
entertained; but pretended to be ignorant of it. "I cannot
believe," said he, "but you must know me again; it is not
possible that you should have forgotten me in so short a time.
Certainly some misfortune has befallen you, which inspires you
with this aversion for me. However, you ought to remember, that I
shewed my gratitude by my good wishes, and that I offered you my
interest, which is not to be slighted, in an affair which you had
much at heart."

"I do not know," replied Abou Hassan, "what your interest may be,
and I have no desire to make use of it: but I am sensible the
utmost of your good wishes ended in making me mad. In God's name,
I say once more, go your way, and trouble me no more."

"Ah! brother Abou Hassan," replied the caliph, embracing him, "I
do not intend to part with you thus, since I have had the good
fortune to meet with you a second time; you must exercise the
same hospitality towards me again that you shewed me a month ago,
when I had the honour to drink with you."

"I have protested against this," said Abou Hassan, "and have so
much power over myself, as to decline receiving a second time as
my guest, a man like you who carries misfortunes with him. You
know the proverb, ‘Take up your drum and begone.' Make the
application to yourself. How often must I repeat my refusal. God
be with you! You have been the cause of my sufferings, and I will
not trust myself with you again." "My good friend Abou Hassan,"
said the caliph, embracing him, "you treat me in a way I little
expected. I beg of you not to speak to me thus harshly, but be
persuaded of my friendship. Do me the favour to tell me what has
happened to you; for I assure you I wished you well, and still do
so; and would be glad of an opportunity to make you any amends
for the trouble I have caused you, if it has been really my
fault." Abou Hassan yielded to the solicitations of the caliph.
"Your incredulity and importunity," said he, "have tired my
patience; and what I am going to relate will shew you that I do
not accuse you wrongfully."

The caliph seated himself by Abou Hassan, while he told him all
that had happened to him, from his waking in the palace to his
waking again in his own house, all which he described as a mere
dream, and recounted all the circumstances, which the caliph knew
as well as himself, and which renewed his pleasure. He enlarged
afterwards on the impression which the dream of being caliph and
commander of the faithful had made upon him, which, he said,
threw him into such extravagancies, that his neighbours were
obliged to carry him to a mad-house, where he was treated in a
manner which he deemed most barbarous and inhuman. "But," said
he, "what will surprise you, and what you little think of, is,
that it was altogether your fault that these things happened to
me; for, if you remember, I desired you to shut the door after
you, which you neglected, and the devil, finding it open, entered
and put this dream into my head, which, though it was very
agreeable, was the cause of the misfortune I complain of: you
therefore, for your negligence, are answerable for the horrid and
detestable crime I have committed in lifting my hand against my
mother, whom I might have killed (I blush for shame when I think
of it), because she said I was her son, and would not acknowledge
me for commander of the faithful, as I thought and positively
insisted on to her that I was. You are the cause of the offence I
have given my neighbours, when, running in at the cries of my
poor mother, they surprised me in the horrid act of felling her
at my feet; which would never have happened, if you had taken
care to shut my door when you went away, as I desired you. They
would not have come into my house without my leave; and, what
troubles me most of all, they would not have been witnesses of my
folly. I should not have been obliged to strike them in my own
defence, and they would not have bound and fettered me, to carry
and shut me up in the hospital for madmen, where I assure you
every day that I remained confined in that hell, I received a
score of strokes with a bastinado." Abou Hassan recounted his
complaints with great warmth and vehemence to the caliph, who
knew as well as himself what had passed, and was delighted to
find that he had succeeded so well in his plan to throw him into
the vagaries from which he still was not entirely free. He could
not help laughing at the simplicity wherewith he related them.

Abou Hassan, who thought that his story should rather have moved
compassion, and that every one ought to be as much concerned at
it as himself, warmly resented the pretended Moussul merchant's
laughter. "What!" said he, "do you make a jest of me and laugh in
my face, or do you believe I laugh at you when I speak seriously?
If you want proof of what I advance, look yourself and see
whether or no I tell you the truth ;" with that, stooping down
and baring his shoulders, he shewed the caliph the scars and
weals which the bastinado had left.

The caliph could not behold these marks of cruelty without
horror. He pitied Abou Hassan, and felt sorry he had carried the
jest so far. "Come, rise, dear brother," said he to him eagerly,
and embracing Abou Hassan heartily in his arms; "let me go to
your house, and enjoy the happiness of being merry with you to-
night; and to-morrow, if it please God, all things will go well."

Abou Hassan, notwithstanding his resolution never to admit the
same stranger a second time, could not resist the caresses of the
caliph, whom he still took for a merchant of Moussul. "I will
consent," said he, "if you will swear to shut my door after you,
that the devil may not come in to distract my brain again." The
caliph promised that he would; upon which they both arose, walked
towards the city, and, followed by the caliph's slave, reached
Abou Hassan's house by the time it was dark.

The caliph, the more to blind Abou Hassan, said to him, "Place
confidence in me; I promise you on my honour I will not break my
word. You need not hesitate to trust a person who wishes you all
happiness and prosperity, of which confidence you will see the
effects." "I desire not that," said Abou Hassan, stopping him
short. "I yield to your importunity; but I dispense with your
good wishes, and beg you in God's name to form none for me. All
the mischief that has hitherto befallen me arose from those you
expressed for me, and from your leaving the door open." "Well,"
replied the caliph, still laughing at the misguided imagination
of Abou Hassan, "since you will have it so, I promise you I will
form none." "You give me pleasure by speaking so," said Abou
Hassan; "I desire no more; I shall be more than satisfied
provided you keep your word, and I shall forgive you all the

As soon as Abou Hassan entered his house, he called for his
mother and for candles, desired his guest to sit down upon a
sofa, and then placed himself by him. A little time after, supper
was brought up, and they both began to eat without ceremony. When
they had done, Abou Hassan's mother cleared the table, set on a
small dessert of fruit, wine, and glasses by her son, then
withdrew, and appeared no more. Abou Hassan first filled out his
own glass, and then the caliph's: and after they had drunk some
time, and talked of indifferent matters, the caliph, perceiving
that his host grew warm with liquor, began to talk of love, and
asked him if he had ever felt that passion.

"Brother," replied Abou Hassan, familiarly thinking his guest was
his equal, "I never looked upon love or marriage but as a
slavery, to which I was always unwilling to submit; and must own
to you, that I never loved any thing but good cheer and good
wine; in short, to divert and entertain myself agreeably with my
friends. Yet I do not tell you that I am indifferent to marriage,
or incapable of attachment, if I could meet with a woman of such
beauty and sweetness of temper as her I saw in my dream that
fatal night in which I first received you into my house, and you,
to my misfortune, left my door open, who would pass the whole
night with me drinking, singing, and playing on some instrument,
and in agreeable conversation, and who would study to please and
divert me: I believe, on the contrary, I should change all my
indifference into a perfect attachment to such a person, and, I
think, should live very happily with her. But where is such a
woman to be found except in the caliph's palace, or in those of
the grand vizier or some great lords of the court, who want not
money to provide them? I choose therefore to stick to my bottle,
which is a much cheaper pleasure, and which I can enjoy as well
as the greatest." Saying these words, he filled out his own and
the caliph's glass, and said, "Come, take your glass, and let us
pursue this charming pleasure."

When they had drunk off their wine, "It is great pity," said the
caliph, "that so gallant a man as you, who owns himself not
insensible of love, should lead so solitary a life." "I prefer
the easy quiet life I live," replied Abou Hassan, "before the
company of a wife, whose beauty might not please me, and who,
besides, might create me a great deal of trouble by her
imperfections and ill-humour." The conversation lasted a long
time, and the caliph seeing Abou Hassan had drunk to the pitch he
desired, said, "Let me alone, since you have the same good taste
as every other honest man, I warrant you I will find you a wife
that shall please you." Then taking Abou Hassan's glass, and
putting a pinch of the same powder into it, filled him up a
bumper, and presenting it to him, said, "Come, let us drink
beforehand the fair lady's health, who is to make you happy. I am
sure you will like her."

Abou Hassan took the glass laughing, and shaking his head, said,
"Be it so; since you desire it, I cannot be guilty of so great a
piece of incivility, nor disoblige a guest of so much merit in
such a trifling matter. I will drink the health of the lady you
promise me, though I am very well contented as I am, and do not
rely on your keeping your word." No sooner had Abou Hassan drank
off his bumper, than he was seized with as deep a sleep as
before; and the caliph ordered the same slave to take him and
carry him to the palace. The slave obeyed, and the caliph, who
did not intend to send back Abou Hassan as before, shut the door
after him, as he had promised, and followed.

When they arrived at the palace, the caliph ordered Abou Hassan
to be laid on a sofa, in the fourth hall, from whence he had been
carried home fast asleep a month before; but first he bade the
attendants to put him on the same habit in which he had acted the
caliph, which was done. He then charged all the eunuchs,
officers, ladies, and musicians who were in the hall, when he
drank the last glass of wine which had put him to sleep, to be
there by daybreak, and to take care to act their parts well when
he should awake. He then retired to rest, charging Mesrour to
awake him before they went into the hall, that he might conceal
himself in the closet as before.

Mesrour, at the hour appointed, awakened the caliph, who
immediately rose, and went to the hall where Abou Hassan lay
still asleep, and when he had placed himself in his closet,
Mesrour and the other officers, ladies, and musicians, who waited
for him, went in, and placed themselves about the sofa, so as not
to hinder the caliph from seeing what passed, and noticing all
his actions.

Things being thus disposed, and the caliph's powder having had
its effect, Abou Hassan began to awake without opening his eyes,
and threw off the phlegm, which was received in a gold basin as
before. At that instant, the seven bands of singers joined their
voices to the sound of hautboys, fifes, flutes, and other
instruments, forming a very agreeable concert. Abou Hassan was in
great surprise to hear the delightful harmony; but when he opened
his eyes, and saw the ladies and officers about him, whom he
thought he recognized, his amazement increased. The hall that he
was in seemed to be the same he had seen in his first dream, and
he observed the same lustres, and the same furniture and

The concert ceased, to give the caliph an opportunity of
attending to the countenance of his guest, and all that he might
say in his surprise. The ladies, Mesrour, and all the officers of
the chamber, waited in profound and respectful silence. Abou
Hassan bit his finger, and cried loud enough for the caliph to
hear him, "Alas! I am fallen again into the same dream and
illusion that happened to me a month ago, and must expect again
the bastinado and grated cell at the mad-house. Almighty God,"
added he, "I commit myself into the hands of thy divine
providence. He was a wicked man that I entertained at my house
last night, who has been the cause of this illusion, and the
hardships I must again undergo. The base wretch swore to shut the
door after him, but did not, and the devil came in and has turned
my brain with this wicked dream of being commander of the
faithful, and other phantoms which bewitch my eyes. God confound
thee, Satan? and crush thee under some mountain of stones."

After these words, Abou Hassan closed his eyes, and remained some
time thoughtful and much perplexed; then opening them again, and
looking about him, cried out a second time with less surprise,
and smiling at the various objects before him, "Great God! I
commit myself into the hands of thy providence, preserve me from
the temptation of Satan." Then shutting them again, he said, "I
will go to sleep until Satan leaves me, and returns as he came,
were I to wait till noon." They did not give him time to go to
sleep again as he promised himself; for Strength of Hearts, one
of the ladies whom he had seen before, approached, and sitting
down on the sofa by him, said to him respectfully, "Commander of
the faithful, I entreat your majesty to forgive me for taking the
liberty to tell you not to go to sleep; day appears, and it is
time to rise." "Begone, Satan!" answered Abou Hassan, raising his
voice; but looking at the lady, he said, "Is it me you call the
commander of the faithful? Certainly you take me for somebody
else." "It is to your majesty I give that title," replied the
lady, "to whom it belongs, as you are sovereign of the world, and
I am your most humble slave. Undoubtedly," added she, "your
majesty means to divert yourself by pretending to have forgotten
yourself, or this is the effect of some troublesome dream; but if
you would but open your eyes, the mists which disturb your
imagination would soon be dispelled, and you would find yourself
in your own palace, surrounded by your officers and slaves, who
all wait your commands: and that your majesty may not be
surprised to find yourself in this hall, and not in bed, I beg
leave to inform you, that you fell so suddenly asleep last night,
that we were unwilling to awake you, to conduit you to your
chamber, but laid you carefully upon this sofa." In short, she
said to him so many things which appeared probable, that at last
he sat up, opened his eyes, and recollected her and all the
ladies again. They all approached him, and she who spoke first,
resuming the discourse, said, "Commander of the faithful, and
vicar of the prophet on earth, be not displeased if I acquaint
your majesty once more that it is time to rise, for day appears."

"You are very troublesome and importunate," replied Abou Hassan,
rubbing his eyes; "I am not the commander of the faithful, but
Abou Hassan; I know it well, and you shall not persuade me
otherwise." "We do not know that Abou Hassan you majesty speaks
of, nor desire to know him," answered the lady; "but we know you
to be the commander of the believers, and you cannot persuade us
to the contrary."

Abou Hassan looking about, and finding himself in the same hall,
attributed all he saw and heard to such a dream as he had had
before, and greatly feared the dreadful consequences. "Allah have
mercy on me!" said he, lifting up his hands and eyes, like a man
who knew not where he was; "I commit myself into his hands. I
cannot doubt, after what I have seen, but that the devil, who
came into my chamber, possesses me, and fills my imagination full
of all these visions."

The caliph, who saw him all the time, and heard these
exclamations, began to shake so heartily, that he had much
difficulty to forbear bursting into loud laughter.

Abou Hassan laying himself down again, and shutting his eyes, the
same lady said, "Commander of the faithful, since your majesty
does not rise, after we have, according to our duty, informed you
it is day, and the dispatch of business requires your presence,
we shall use the liberty you give us in such cases." Then taking
him by one arm, and calling to one of the other ladies to do the
same by the other, they lifted him up, and carried him into the
middle of the hall, where they seated him, and all taking hands,
danced and skipped round him while the music played and sounded
loudly in his ears.

Abou Hassan was in inexpressible perplexity, and exclaimed,
"What! am I indeed caliph, and commander of the faithful!" And in
his uncertainty, would have said more, but the music was so loud,
that he could not be heard. At last he made a sign to String of
Pearls and Morning Star, two of the ladies who were dancing, that
he wanted to speak with them; upon which they forbore, and went
to him. "Do not lie now," said he, "but tell me truly who I am?"

"Commander of the faithful," replied Morning Star, "your majesty
means either to surprise us, by asking this question, as if you
did not know that you are commander of the faithful, and vicar on
earth of the prophet of God, master of both worlds, that whereon
we now are and that to come after death, or else you must have
had some extraordinary dream that has made you forget who you
are; which may well be, considering that your majesty has slept
longer than ordinary; however, if you will give me leave, I will
refresh your memory with what passed yesterday." She then told
him how he went to council, punished the imaum, and the four old
men, and had sent a present by his grand vizier of a thousand
pieces of gold to the mother of one Abou Hassan; what he did in
the inner part of the palace, and what passed at the three meals
which he took in the three halls, adding, "In the fourth your
majesty did us the honour to make us sit down by you, to hear our
songs, and received wine from our hands, until your majesty fell
asleep, as Strength of Hearts has told you. From that time your
majesty has continued, contrary to custom, in a sound sleep until
now. Strength of Hearts, all your other slaves, and the officers
present, can confirm what I say, and it is now time you should go
to prayers."

"Very well," replied Abou Hassan, shaking his head, "you would
have me believe all this; but I tell you, you are all fools, or
mad, and that is great pity, for you are very handsome. Since I
saw you I have been at home, where I used my mother so ill that
they sent me to a mad-house, and kept me there three weeks
against my will, beat me unmercifully every day, and yet you
would make me believe all this to be a dream." "Commander of the
faithful," answered Morning Star, "you are mistaken, we are ready
to swear by all your majesty holds most dear, that all you relate
can be only a dream. You have never stirred out of this hall
since yesterday, but slept here all night."

The confidence with which the lady assured Abou Hassan that all
she said was truth, and that he had never been out of the hall
since that time, bewildered his senses so that he was at a loss
what to believe. "O Heaven!" said he to himself, "am I Abou
Hassan, or the commander of the faithful! Almighty God, enlighten
my understanding, and inform me of the truth, that I may know
what to trust." He then uncovered his shoulders, and shewed the
ladies the livid weals of the blows he had received. "Look," said
he, "judge whether these strokes could come to me in a dream, or
when I was asleep. For my part, I can affirm, that they were real
blows; I feel the smart of them yet, and that is a testimonial
there is no room to doubt. Now if I received these strokes in my
sleep, it is the most extraordinary thing in the world, and
surpasses my comprehension."

In this uncertainty Abou Hassan called to one of the officers
that stood near him: "Come hither," said he, "and bite the tip of
my ear, that I may know whether I am asleep or awake." The
officer obeyed, and bit so hard, that he made him cry out loudly
with the pain; the music struck up at the same time, and the
officers and ladies all began to sing, dance, and skip about Abou
Hassan, and made such a noise, that he was in a perfect ecstasy,
and played a thousand ridiculous pranks. He threw off his
caliph's habit, and his turban, jumped up in his shirt and
drawers, and taking hold of two of the ladies' hands, began
singing, jumping and cutting capers, so that the caliph could not
contain himself, but burst into such violent laughter, that he
fell backwards, and was heard above the noise of all the
musicians. He was so long before he could check himself, that it
had like to have been fatal. At last he got up, opened the
lattice, and putting out his head, cried "Abou Hassan, Abou
Hassan, have you a mind to kill me with laughing?"

As soon as the caliph's voice was heard, every body was silent,
and Abou Hassan, among the rest, who, turning his head to see
from whence the voice came, knew the caliph, and in him
recognised the Moussul merchant, but was not in the least
daunted; on the contrary he became convinced that he was awake,
and that all that had happened to him had been real, and not a
dream. He entered into the caliph's pleasantry. "Ha! ha!" said
he, looking at him with good assurance, "you are a merchant of
Moussul, and complain that I would kill you; you have been the
occasion of my using my mother so ill, and of my being sent to a
mad-house. It was you who treated the imaum and the four scheiks
in the manner they were used, and not me; I wash my hands of it.
It is you who have been the cause of all my disorders and
sufferings: in short, you are the aggressor, and I the injured

"Indeed, you are in the right, Abou Hassan," answered the caliph,
laughing all the while; "but to comfort you, and make you amends
for all your troubles, I call Heaven to witness, I am ready and
willing to make you what reparation you please to ask." After
these words, he came out of the closet into the hall, ordered one
of his most magnificent habits to be brought, commanded the
ladies to dress Abou Hassan in it, and when they had done, he
said, embracing him, "Thou art my brother; ask what thou wilt,
and thou shalt have it."

"Commander of the faithful," replied Abou Hassan, "I beg of your
majesty to do me the favour to tell me what you did to disturb my
brain in this manner, and what was your design; for it is a thing
of the greatest importance for me to know, that I may perfectly
recover my senses."

The caliph was ready to give him this satisfaction, and said,
"First, you are to know, that I often disguise myself, and
particularly at night, to observe if all goes right in Bagdad;
and as I wish to know what passes in its environs, I set apart
the first day of every month to make an excursion, sometimes on
one side, sometimes on another, and always return by the bridge.
The evening that you invited me to supper, I was beginning my
rounds, and in our conversation you told me, that the only thing
you wished for was to be caliph for four-and-twenty hours, to
punish the imaum of your mosque and his four counsellors. I
fancied that this desire of yours would afford me diversion, and
thought immediately how I might procure you the satisfaction you
wished. I had about me a certain powder, which immediately throws
the person who takes it into a sound sleep for a certain time. I
put a dose of it, without being perceived by you, into the last
glass I presented to you, upon which you fell fast asleep, and I
ordered my slave to carry you to my palace, and came away without
shutting the door. I have no occasion to repeat what happened
when you awoke, nor during the whole day till evening, but after
you had been regaled by my orders, one of the ladies put another
dose of the same powder into a glass she gave you; you fell
asleep as before, and the same slave carried you home, and left
the door open. You have told me all that happened to you
afterwards. I never imagined that you could have suffered so much
as you have done. But as I have a great regard for you, I will do
every thing to comfort you, and make you forget all your
sufferings; think of what I can do to serve you, and ask me
boldly what you wish."

"Commander of the faithful," replied Abou Hassan, "how great
soever my tortures may have been, they are all blotted out of my
remembrance, since I understand my sovereign lord and master had
a share in them. I doubt not in the least of your majesty's
bounty; but as interest never governed me, and you give me
liberty to ask a favour, I beg that it may be that of having
access to your person, to enjoy the happiness of admiring, all my
lifetime, your virtues."

This proof of disinterestedness in Abou Hassan confirmed the
esteem the caliph had entertained for him. "I am pleased with
your request," said he, "and grant you free access to my person
at all times and all hours." At the same time he assigned him an
apartment in the palace, and, in regard to his pension, told him,
that he would not have him apply to his treasurer, but come
always to him for an order upon him, and immediately commanded
his private treasurer to give him a purse containing a thousand
pieces of gold. Abou Hassan made a low prostration, and the
caliph left him to go to council.

Abou Hassan took this opportunity to go and inform his mother of
his good fortune, and that what had happened was not a dream; for
that he had actually been caliph, had acted as such, and received
all the honours; and that she had no reason to doubt of it, since
he had this confirmed by the caliph himself.

It was not long before this story of Abou Hassan was spread
throughout Bagdad, and carried into all the provinces both far
and near, without the omission of a single circumstance.

The new favourite Abou Hassan was always with the caliph; for, as
he was a man of a pleasent temper, and created mirth wherever he
went by his wit and drollery, the caliph formed no party of
diversion without him, and sometimes carried him to visit his
consort Zobeide, to whom he had related his story. Zobeide, who
observed that every time he came with the caliph, he had his eyes
always fixed upon one of her slaves, called Nouzhatoul-aouadat,
resolved to tell the caliph of it. "Commander of the faithful,"
said she one day, "you do not observe that every time Abou Hassan
attends you in your visits to me, he never keeps his eyes off
Nouzhatoul-aouadat, and makes her blush, which is almost a
certain sign that she entertains no aversion for him. If you
approve of it, we will make a match between them."

"Madam," replied the caliph, "you remind me of what I ought to
have done before. I know Abou Hassan's opinion respecting
marriage from himself, and have always promised him a wife that
should please him. I am glad you mentioned the circumstance; for
I know not how I came to forget it. But it is better that Abou
Hassan should follow his own inclination, and choose for himself.
If Nouzhatoul-aouadat is not averse to it, we ought not to
hesitate upon their marriage; and since they are both present,
they have only to say that they consent."

Abou Hassan threw himself at the caliph's and Zobeide's feet, to
shew the sense he had of their goodness; and rising up, said, "I
cannot receive a wife from better hands, but dare not hope that
Nouzhatoul-aouadat will give me her hand as readily as I give her
mine." At these words he looked at the princess's slave, who
shewed by her respectful silence, and the sudden blush that arose
in her cheeks, that she was disposed to obey the caliph and her
mistress Zobeide.

The marriage was solemnized, and the nuptials celebrated in the
palace, with great rejoicings, which lasted several days. Zobeide
made her slave considerable presents, and the caliph did the same
to Abou Hassan. The bride was conducted to the apartment the
caliph had assigned Abou Hassan, who waited for her with all the
impatience of a bridegroom, and received her with the sound of
all sorts of instruments, and musicians of both sexes, who made
the air echo with their concert.

After these feasts and rejoicings, which lasted several days, the
newly-married couple were left to pursue their loves in peace.
Abou Hassan and his spouse were charmed with each other, lived
together in perfect union, and seldom were asunder, but when
either he paid his respects to the caliph, or she hers to
Zobeide. Indeed, Nouzhatoul-aouadat was endued with every
qualification capable of gaining Abou Hassan's love and
attachment, was just such a wife as he had described to the
caliph, and fit to sit at the head of his table. With these
dispositions they could not fail to pass their lives agreeably.
They kept a good table covered with the nicest and choicest
rarities in season, by an excellent cook, who took upon him to
provide every thing. Their sideboard was always stored with
exquisite wines placed within their reach when at table, where
they enjoyed themselves in agreeable conversation, and afterwards
entertained each other with some pleasantry or other, which made
them laugh more or less, as they had in the day met with
something to divert them; and in the evenings, which they
consecrated to mirth, they had generally some slight repast of
dried sweetmeats, choice fruits, and cakes, and at each glass
invited each other by new songs to drink, and sometimes
accompanied their voices with a lute, or other instruments which
they could both touch.

Abou Hassan and Nouzhatoul-aouadat led this pleasant life
unattentive to expense, until at length the caterer, who had
disbursed all his and their money for these expenses, brought
them in a long bill in hope of having an advance of cash. They
found the amount to be so considerable, that all the presents
which the caliph and Zobeide had given them at their marriage
were but just enough to pay him. This made them reflect seriously
on what was passed, which, however, was no remedy for the present
evil. But they agreed to pay the caterer; and having sent for
him, gave him all they owed him, without considering the
difficulty they should be in immediately after.

The caterer went away highly pleased at receiving so large a sum,
though Abou Hassan and his wife were not so well satisfied with
seeing the bottom of their purse, but remained a long time
silent, and very much embarrassed, to find themselves reduced to
poverty the very first year of their marriage. Abou Hassan
remembered that the caliph, when he took him into the palace, had
promised never to let him want. But when he considered how
prodigal he had been of his money, was unwilling to expose
himself to the shame of letting the caliph know the ill use he
had made of his bounty, and that he wanted a supply. Besides, he
had made over his patrimony to his mother, when the caliph had
received him near his person, and was afraid to apply to her,
lest she should discover that he had returned to the same
extravagance he had been guilty of after his father's death. His
wife, on the other hand, regarded Zobeide's generosity, and the
liberty she had given her to marry, as more than a sufficient
recompense for her service, and thought she had no right to ask

Abou Hassan at last broke silence, and looking at his wife, said,
"I see you are in the same embarrassment as myself, and thinking
what we must do in this unhappy juncture, when our money fails us
so unexpectedly. I do not know what your sentiments may be; but
mine are, let what will happen, not to retrench our expenses in
the least; and I believe you will come into my opinion. The point
is, how to support them without stooping to ask the caliph or
Zobeide: and I think I have fallen on the means; but we must
assist each other."

This discourse of Abou Hassan very much pleased his wife, and
gave her some hopes. "I was thinking so as well as you," said
she; "but durst not explain my thoughts, because I do not know
how we can help ourselves; and must confess, that what you tell
me gives me a revival of pleasure. Since you say you have found
out a resource, and my assistance is necessary, you need but tell
me in what way, and I will do all that lies in my power."

"I was sure," replied Abou Hassan, "that you would not fail me in
a business which concerns us both; and therefore I must tell you,
this want of money has made me think of a plan which will supply
us, at least for a time. It consists in a little trick we must
put, I upon the caliph and you upon Zobeide, and at which, as I
am sure they will both be diverted, it will answer advantageously
for us. You and I will both die." "Not I indeed," interrupted
Nouzhatoul-aouadat; "you may die by yourself, if you please, but
I am not so weary of this life; and whether you are pleased or
not, will not die so soon. If you have nothing else to propose,
you may die by yourself; for I assure you I shall not join you."

"You are a woman of such vivacity and wonderful quickness,"
replied Abou Hassan, "that you scarcely give me time to explain
my design. Have but a little patience, and you shall find that
you will be ready enough to die such a death as I intend; for
surely you could not think I meant a real death?" "Well," said
his wife, "if it is but a sham death you design, I am at your
service, and you may depend on my zeal to second you in this
manner of dying; but I must tell you truly, I am very unwilling
to die, as I apprehended you at first."

"Be but silent a little," said Abou Hassan, "and I will tell you
what I promise. I will feign myself dead, and you shall lay me
out in the middle of my chamber, with my turban upon my face, my
feet towards Mecca, as if ready to be carried out to burial. When
you have done this, you must lament, and weep bitterly, as is
usual in such cases, tear your clothes and hair, or pretend to do
it, and go all in tears, with your locks dishevelled, to Zobeide.
The princess will of course inquire the cause of your grief; and
when you have told her, with words intermixed with sobs, she will
pity you, give you money to defray the expense of my funeral, and
a piece of good brocade to cover my body, that my interment may
be the more magnificent, and to make you a new dress in the room
of that you will have torn. As soon as you return with the money
and the brocade, I will rise, lay you in my place, and go and act
the same part with the caliph, who I dare say will be as generous
to me as Zobeide will have been to you."

Nouzhatoul-aouadat highly approved the project, and said to Abou
Hassan, "Come, lose no time; strip to your shirt and drawers,
while I prepare a winding sheet. I know how to bury as well as
any body; for while I was in Zobeide's service, when any of my
fellow-slaves died, I had the conducting of the funeral." Abou
Hassan did as his wife mentioned, and laid himself on the sheet
which she had spread on the carpet in the middle of the room. As
soon as he had crossed his arms, his wife wrapped him up, turned
his feet towards Mecca, and put a piece of fine muslin and his
turban upon his face, so that nothing seemed wanting but to carry
him out to be buried. After this she pulled off her head-dress,
and with tears in her eyes, her hair dishevelled, and seeming to
tear it off, with a dismal cry and lamentation, beating her face
and breast with all the marks of the most lively grief, ran
across the court to Zobeide's apartments, who, hearing the voice
of a person crying very loud, commanded some of her women to see
who it was; they returned and told her that it was Nouzhatoul-
aouadat, who was approaching in a deplorable condition.

The princess, impatient to know what had happened to her, rose up
immediately, and went to meet her at the door of her ante-
chamber. Nouzhatoul-aouadat played her part to perfection. As
soon as she saw Zobeide, who held the door open, she redoubled
her cries, tore her hair off by handfuls, beat her face and
breast, and threw herself at her feet, bathing them with her

Zobeide, amazed to see her slave in such extraordinary
affliction, asked what had happened; but, instead of answering,
she continued her sobs; and at last feigning to strive to check
them, said, with words interrupted with sighs, "Alas! my most
honoured lady and mistress, what greater misfortune could have
befallen me than this, which obliges me to throw myself at your
highness's feet)' God prolong your days, my most respectable
princess, in perfect health, and grant you many happy years! Abou
Hassan! poor Abou Hassan! whom you honoured with your esteem, and
gave me for a husband, is no more!"

At these words Nouzhatoul-aouadat redoubled her tears and sighs,
and threw herself again at the princess's feet. Zobeide was
extremely concerned at this news. "Abou Hassan dead!" cried she;
"that agreeable, pleasant man! I did not expect his death so
soon; he seemed to promise a long life, and well deserved to
enjoy it!" She then also burst into tears, as did all her women,
who had been often witnesses of Abou Hassan's pleasantries when
the caliph brought him to amuse the princess Zobeide, and all
together continued for some time bewailing his loss. At length
the princess Zobeide broke silence: "Wicked woman!" cried she,
addressing herself to the false widow, "perhaps you may have
occasioned his death. Your ill temper has given him so much
vexation, that you have at last brought him to his grave."
Nouzhatoul-aouadat seemed much hurt at the reproaches of Zobeide:
"Ah, madam," cried she, "I do not think I ever gave your majesty,
while I was your slave, reason to entertain so disadvantageous an
opinion of my conduct to a husband who was so dear to me. I
should think myself the most wretched of women if you were
persuaded of this. I behaved to Abou Hassan as a wife should do
to a husband for whom she has a sincere affection; and I may say,
without vanity, that I had for him the same regard he had for me.
I am persuaded he would, were he alive, justify me fully to your
majesty; but, madam," added she, renewing her tears, "his time
was come, and that was the only cause of his death."

Zobeide, as she had really observed in her slave a uniformly
equal temper, mildness, great docility and zeal for her service,
which shewed she was rather actuated by inclination than duty,
hesitated not to believe her on her word, and ordered her
treasurer to fetch a hundred pieces of gold and a piece of rich

The slave soon returned with the purse and piece of brocade,
which, by Zobeide's order, she delivered to Nouzhatoul-aouadat,
who threw herself again at the princess's feet, and thanked her
with great self-satisfaction at finding she had succeeded so
well. "Go," said Zobeide, "use that brocade to cover the corpse
of your husband, and with the money bury him handsomely, as he
deserves. Moderate the transport of your afflictions: I will take
care of you."

As soon as Nouzhatoul-aouadat got out of the princess's presence,
she dried up her tears, and returned with joy to Abou Hassan, to
give him an account of her good success. When she came home she
burst out a laughing on seeing her husband still stretched out in
the middle of the floor; she ran to him, bade him rise and see
the fruits of his stratagem. He arose, and rejoiced with his wife
at the sight of the purse and brocade. Unable to contain herself
at the success of her artifice, "Come, husband," said she,
laughing, "let me act the dead part, and see if you can manage
the caliph as well as I have done Zobeide."

"That is the temper of all women," replied Abou Hassan, "who, we
may well say, have always the vanity to believe they can do
things better than men, though at the same time what good they do
is by their advice. It would be odd indeed, if I, who laid this
plot myself, could not carry it on as well as you. But let us
lose no time in idle discourse; lie down in my place, and witness
if I do not come off with as much applause."

Abou Hassan wrapped up his wife as she had done him, and with his
turban unrolled, like a man in the greatest affliction, ran to
the caliph, who was holding a private council with Jaaffier and
other confidential viziers. He presented himself at the door, and
the officer, knowing he had free access, opened it. He entered
holding with one hand his handkerchief before his eyes, to hide
the feigned tears, which trickled down his cheeks, and striking
his breast with the other, with exclamations expressing
extraordinary grief.

The caliph, always used to see Abou Hassan with a merry
countenance, was very much surprised to behold him in so much
distress. He interrupted the business of the council to inquire
the cause of his grief. "Commander of the faithful," answered
Abou Hassan, with repeated sighs and sobs, "God preserve your
majesty on the throne, which you fill so gloriously! a greater
calamity could not have befallen me than what I now lament. Alas!
Nouzhatoul-aouadat whom you in your bounty gave me for a wife to
gladden my existence, alas!" at this exclamation Abou Hassan
pretended to have his heart so full, that he could not utter
more, but poured forth a flood of tears.

The caliph, who now understood that Abou Hassan came to tell him
of the death of his wife, seemed much concerned, and said to him
with an air which shewed how much he regretted her loss, "God be
merciful to her: she was a good slave, and we gave her to you
with an intention to make you happy: she deserved a longer life."
The tears then ran down his face, so that he was obliged to pull
out his handkerchief to wipe them off. The grief of Abou Hassan,
and the tears of the caliph, excited those of Jaaffier and the
other viziers. They bewailed the death of Nouzhatoul- aouadat,
who, on her part, was only impatient to hear how Abou Hassan

The caliph had the same suspicion of the husband that Zobeide had
of the wife, and imagined that he had occasioned her death.
"Wretch!" said he, in a tone of indignation, "have not you been
the cause of your wife's death by your ill treatment of her? You
ought at least to have had some regard for the princess my
consort, who loved her more than the rest of her slaves, yet
consented to give her to you. What a return for her kindness!"

"Commander of the faithful," replied Abou Hassan, affecting to
weep more bitterly than before, "can your majesty for a moment
suppose that Abou Hassan, whom you have loaded with your favours
and kindness, and on whom you have conferred honours he could
never have aspired to, can have been capable of such ingratitude?
I loved Nouzhatoul-aouadat my wife as much on these accounts, as
for the many good qualities she possessed, and which drew from me
all the attachment, tenderness, and love she deserved. But, my
lord," added he, "she was to die, and God would no longer suffer
me to enjoy a happiness for which I was indebted to your majesty
and your beloved consort."

Abou Hassan dissembled so well, that the caliph, who had never
heard how extravagantly he and his wife had lived, no longer
doubting his sincerity, ordered his treasurer, who was present,
to give Abou Hassan a purse of a hundred pieces of gold and a
piece of brocade. Abou Hassan immediately cast himself at the
caliph's feet, and thanked him for his present. "Follow the
treasurer," said the monarch; "throw the brocade over the corpse,
and with the money shew the last testimony of thy love for thy

Book of the day: