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The Arabian Nights Entertainments Complete by Anon.

Part 28 out of 28

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being surprised at her coolness, informed her that he had
purchased her as his slave for a thousand deenars. The
unfortunate lady told him that she was a free woman, but this had
no effect on the brutish sailor, who finding tenderness
ineffectual proceeded to force and blows in order to reduce her
to submit to his authority. Her strength was almost exhausted,
when suddenly the ship struck upon a rock, the master was hurried
upon deck, and in a few moments the vessel went to pieces.
Providentially the virtuous wife laying hold of a plank was
wafted to the shore, after being for several hours buffeted by
the waves. Having recovered her senses she walked inland, and
found a pleasant country abounding in fruits and clear streams,
which satisfied her hunger and thirst. On the second day she
arrived at a magnificent city, and on entering it was conducted
to the sultan, who inquiring her story, she informed him that she
was a woman devoted to a religious life, and was proceeding on
the pilgrimage to Mecca, when her vessel was shipwrecked on his
coast, and whether any of the crew had escaped she knew not, as
she had seen none of them since her being cast ashore on a plank;
but as now the hopes of her reaching the sacred house were cut
off, if the sultan would allot her a small hut, and a trifling
pittance for her support, she would spend the remainder of her
days in prayers for the prosperity of himself and his subjects.

The sultan, who was truly devout, and pitied the misfortune of
the lady, gladly acceded to her request, and allotted a pleasant
garden-house near his palace for her residence, at which he often
visited her, and conversed with her on religious topics, to his
great edification and comfort, for she was sensibly pious. Not
long after her arrival, several refractory vassals who had for
years withheld their usual tribute, and against whom the good
sultan, unwilling to shed blood, though his treasury much felt
the defalcation, had not sent a force to compel payment,
unexpectedly sent in their arrears; submissively begged pardon
for their late disobedience, and promised in future to be loyal
in their duty. The sultan, who attributed this fortunate event to
the successful prayers of his virtuous guest, mentioned his
opinion to his courtiers in full divan, and they to their
dependents. As, according to the proverb, the sheep always follow
their leader, so it was in the present instance. All ranks of
people on every emergency flocked to beg the prayers and counsel
of the sultan's favourite devotee; and such was their efficacy,
that her clients every day became more numerous, nor were they
ungrateful; so that in a short time the offerings made to her
amounted in value to an incalculable sum. Her reputation was not
confined to the kingdom of her protector, but spread gradually
abroad through all the countries in the possession of true
believers, who came from all parts of Asia to solicit her
prayers. Her residence was enlarged to a vast extent, in which
she supported great numbers of destitute persons, as well as
entertained the crowds of poor people who came in pilgrimage to
so holy a personage as she was now esteemed. But we must now
return to her pious husband.

The good cauzee having finished the ceremonies of his pilgrimage
at Mecca, where he resided one year, and visited all the holy
spots around, returned to Bagdad: but dreadful was his agony and
grief when informed that his wife had played the harlot, and that
his brother, unable to bear the disgrace of his family, had left
the city, and had not been heard of since. This sad intelligence
had such an effect upon his mind, that he resolved to give up
worldly concerns, and adopt the life of a wandering religious, to
move from place to place, from country to country, and visit the
devotees celebrated for sanctity in each. For two years he
travelled through various kingdoms, and at length hearing of his
wife's fame, though he little supposed the much-talked-of female
saint stood in that relation to himself, he resolved to pay his
respects to so holy a personage. With this view he journeyed
towards the capital of the sultan her protector, hoping to
receive benefit from her pious conversation and prayers.

The cauzee on his way overtook his treacherous brother, who,
repenting of his wicked life, had turned mendicant, and was going
to confess his sins, and ask the prayers for absolution of the
far-famed religious woman. Time and alteration of dress, for they
were both habited as dervishes, caused the brothers not to know
each other. As fellow travellers they entered into conversation;
and finding they were both bound the same way, agreed to continue
their journey together. They had not proceeded many days when
they came up with a driver of camels, who informed them that he
was upon the same errand as themselves, having been guilty of a
horrid crime, the reflection upon which tormented his conscience,
and made life miserable; that he was going to confess his sins to
the pious devotee, and consult her on whatever penance could
atone for his villany, of which he had heartily repented, and
hoped to obtain the mercy of heaven by a sincere reformation of
life. The crime of this wretch was no less than murder; the
circumstances of which we forgot to detail in its proper place.
The cauzee's wife immediately after her expulsion from Bagdad,
and before she had met the young man who sold her for a slave,
had taken shelter in the hut of a camel breeder, whose wife owed
her great obligations, and who received her with true hospitality
and kindness; consoling her in her misfortunes, dressing her
wounds, and insisting on her stay till she should be fully
recovered of the painful effects of her unjust and disgraceful
punishment; and in this she was seconded by the honest husband.
With this humble couple, who had an infant son, she remained some
time, and was recovering her spirits and beauty when the wicked
camel breeder, first mentioned, arrived on a visit to her host;
and being struck with her beauty made love to her, which she
mildly but firmly rejected, informing him that she was a married
woman. Blinded by passion, the wretch pressed his addresses
repeatedly, but in vain; till at length, irritated by refusal, he
changed his love into furious anger, and resolved to revenge his
disappointed lust by her death. With this view he armed himself
with a poniard; and about midnight, when the family were asleep,
stole into the chamber where she reposed, and close by her the
infant son of her generous host. The villain being in the dark
made a random stroke, not knowing of the infant, and instead of
stabbing the object of his revenge, plunged his weapon into the
bosom of the child, who uttered loud screams; upon which the
assassin, fearful of detection, ran away, and escaped from the
house. The cauzee's wife awaking in a fright, alarmed her unhappy
hosts, who, striking a light, came to her assistance; but how can
we describe their agonizing affliction when they beheld their
beloved child expiring, and their unfortunate guest, who had
swooned away, bathed in the infant's blood. From such a scene we
turn away, as the pen is incapable of description. The unhappy
lady at length revived, but their darling boy was gone for ever.
Some days after this tragical event she began her pilgrimage,
and, as above stated, reached the city where she released the
young man from his cruel creditors, and was shortly afterwards
ungratefully sold by him as a slave. But to return to the good
cauzee and his wicked companions.

They had not travelled far when they overtook a young man, who
saluted them, and inquired their course; of which being informed,
he begged to join in company, saying, that he also was going to
pay his respects to the celebrated religious, in hopes that by
her prayers he might obtain pardon of God for a most flagitious
ingratitude; the remorse for which had rendered him a burthen to
himself ever since the commission of the crime. The four pilgrims
pursued their journey, and a few days afterwards overtook the
master of a vessel, who told them he had some time back suffered
shipwreck; since which he had undergone the severest distress,
and was now going to request the aid of the far-famed woman,
whose charities and miraculous prayers had been noised abroad
through all countries. The companions then invited him to join
them, and they proceeded on the pilgrimage together, till at
length they reached the capital of the good sultan who protected
the cauzee's wife.

The five pilgrims having entered the city, repaired immediately
to the abode of the respected devotee; the courts of which were
crowded with petitioners from all parts, so that they could with
difficulty gain admission. Some of her domestics seeing they were
strangers newly arrived, and seemingly fatigued, kindly invited
them, into an apartment, and to repose themselves while they
informed their mistress of their arrival; which having done, they
brought word that she would see them when the crowd was
dispersed, and hear their petitions at her leisure. Refreshments
were then brought in, of which they were desired to partake, and
the pilgrims having make their ablutions, sat down to eat, all
the while admiring and praising the hospitality of their pious
hostess; who, unperceived by them, was examining their persons
and features through the lattice of a balcony, at one end of the
hall. Her heart beat with joyful rapture when she beheld her long
lost husband, whose absence she had never ceased to deplore, but
scarcely expected ever to meet him again; and great was her
surprise to find him in company with his treacherous brother, her
infamous intending assassin, her ungrateful betrayer the young
man, and the master of the vessel to whom he had sold her as a
slave. It was with difficulty she restrained her feelings; but
not choosing to discover herself till she should hear their
adventures, she withdrew into her chamber, and being relieved by
tears prostrated herself on the earth, and offered up
thanksgivings to the protector of the just, who had rewarded her
patience under affliction by succeeding blessings, and at length
restored to her the partner of her heart. Having finished her
devotions, she sent to the sultan requesting him to send her a
confidential officer, who might witness the relations of five
visitors whom she was going to examine. On his arrival she placed
him where he could listen unseen; and covering herself with a
veil, sat down on her stool to receive the pilgrims, who being
admitted, bowed their foreheads to the ground; when requesting
them to arise, she addressed them as follows: "You are welcome,
brethren, to my humble abode, to my counsel and my prayers,
which, by God's mercy, have sometimes relieved the repentant
sinner; but as it is impossible I can give advice without hearing
a case, or pray without knowing the wants of him who entreats me,
you must relate your histories with the strictest truth, for
equivocation, evasion, or concealment, will prevent my being of
any service; and this you may depend upon, that the prayers of a
liar tend only to his own destruction." Having said this, she
ordered the cauzee to remain, but the other four to withdraw; as
she should, to spare their shame before each other, hear their
cases separately. The good cauzee having no sins to confess
related his pilgrimage to Mecca; the supposed infidelity of his
wife; and his consequent resolve to spend his days in visiting
sacred places and holy personages, among whom she stood so
famous, that to hear her edifying conversation, and entreat the
benefit of her prayers for his unhappy wife, was the object of
his having travelled to her sacred abode. When he had finished
his narrative the lady dismissed him to another chamber, and
heard one by one the confessions of his companions; who not
daring to conceal any thing, related their cruel conduct towards
herself, as above-mentioned; but little suspecting that they were
acknowledging their guilt to the intended victim of their evil
passions. After this the cauzee's wife commanded the officer to
conduct all five to the sultan, and inform him of what he had
heard them confess. The sultan, enraged at the wicked behaviour
of the cauzee's brother, the camel-driver, the young man, and the
master of the vessel, condemned them to death; and the
executioner was preparing to put the sentence in force, when the
lady arriving at the presence demanded their pardon; and to his
unspeakable joy discovered herself to her delighted husband. The
sultan complying with her request, dismissed the criminals; but
prevailed on the cauzee to remain at his court, where for the
remainder of his life this upright judge filled the high office
of chief magistrate with honour to himself, and satisfaction to
all who had causes tried before him; while he and his faithful
partner continued striking examples of virtue and conjugal
felicity. The sultan was unbounded in his favour towards them,
and would often pass whole evenings in their company in friendly
conversation, which generally turned upon the vicissitudes of
life, and the goodness of Providence in relieving the sufferings
of the faithful, by divine interposition, at the very instant
when ready to sink under them and overwhelmed with calamity. "I
myself," said the sultan, "am an example of the protection of
heaven, as you, my friends, will learn from my adventures." He
then began as follows.

The Sultan's Story of Himself.

Though now seated on a throne, I was not born to such exalted
rank, but am the son of a rich merchant in a country far distant
from this which I now govern. My father brought me up to his own
profession; and by instruction and example encouraged me to be
virtuous, diligent, and honest. Soon after I had attained to the
age of manhood death snatched away this valuable parent, who in
his last moments gave me instructions for my future conduct; but
particularly requested that nothing might ever prevail upon me to
take an oath, though ever so just or necessary to my concerns. I
assured him it would not: soon after which he breathed his last,
leaving me, my mother, and sister in sincere grief for his loss.
After the funeral I examined his property, and found myself in
possession of a vast sum of money, besides an ample stock in
trade, two-thirds of which I immediately paid to my mother and
sister, who retired to a house which they purchased for
themselves. Many weeks had not elapsed when a merchant set up a
claim on my father's estate for a sum of money equal to nearly
the whole that I possessed: I asked him for his bond, but he had
none, yet swore solemnly to the justice of his demand. I had no
doubt of the falsity of his oath, but as I had promised never to
swear, I could not disprove it by mine, and therefore was obliged
to pay the money, which I did entirely from my own share, not
choosing to distress my mother and sister by lessening theirs.
After this, other unjust demands were preferred, and I paid them,
rather than falsify my promise to my father, though by so doing I
became reduced to the most abject poverty, as still I would not
trouble my mother. At length I resolved to quit my native city,
and seek for subsistence in a distant country as clerk to a
merchant, or in any other way that might offer. I accordingly set
out alone, and had travelled some days, when in passing over a
sandy desert I met a venerable looking personage dressed in
white, who kindly accosting me, inquired the object of my
journey: upon which I related my story. The old man blessed me,
highly praised the steadfastness of my adherence to the promise I
had made to a dying father; and said, "My son, be not dismayed,
thy virtuous conduct has been approved by our holy prophet, who
has interceded for thee at the throne of bounty: follow me, and
reap the reward of thy sufferings." I did as he desired; and we,
after some time, reached this city, which was then wholly
depopulated, and even this palace in a state of decay. On our
entrance my venerable guide bade me welcome, saying, "Here heaven
has decreed thee to reign, and thou wilt soon become a powerful
sultan." He then conducted me to the palace, and we descended
from one of the apartments into a vault, where to my astonishment
I beheld vast heaps of gold and silver ingots, large bags of
coins of the same metals, and several rich chests filled with
jewels of inestimable value, of all which he saluted me master. I
was overcome with astonishment; but said, "Of what use is all
this wealth in a depopulated city? and how can I be a sultan
without subjects?" The old man smiled, and said, "Have patience,
my son; this evening a numerous caravan will arrive here composed
of emigrants, who are in search of a settlement, and they will
elect thee their sovereign." His words proved true; the caravan
arrived, when the old man invited them to inhabit the city; his
offer was gladly accepted, and by his direction they declared me
their sultan. My protector remained with me a whole year, during
which he gave me instructions how to govern, and I became what I
am. Heaven has prospered my endeavours to do good: the fame of my
liberality, justice, and clemency soon spread abroad; the city
was soon filled by industrious inhabitants, who repaired the
decayed buildings, and erected new ones. The country round became
well cultivated, and our port was filled with vessels from every
quarter. I shortly after sent for my family, for I had left
behind me a wife and two sons; and you may guess from your own
joy at meeting after long separation what must have been mine on
such an occasion. My venerable patron, at the expiration of the
year, one day thus addressed me: "My son, as my mission is
completed I must now leave you; but be not alarmed, for provided
thou continuest to act as thou hast begun, we shall meet again.
Know that I am the prophet Khizzer, and was sent by heaven to
protect thee. Mayest thou deserve its blessings!" Having said
this he embraced me in his arms, and then vanished, how I know
not, from my sight. For some time I continued rapt in
astonishment and wonder, which at length gave place to
reverential awe and gratitude to heaven; by degrees I recovered
myself, and bowed down with fervent devotion. I have endeavoured
to follow the admonitions of my holy adviser. It is unnecessary
to say more; you see my state and the happiness I enjoy.


The sultan of the Indies could not but admire the prodigious and
inexhaustible memory of the sultaness his wife, who had
entertained him so many nights with such a variety of interesting

A thousand and one nights had passed away in these innocent
amusements, which contributed so much towards removing the
sultan's unhappy prejudice against the fidelity of women. His
temper was softened. He was convinced of the merit and great
wisdom of the sultaness Scheherazade. He remembered with what
courage she had offered to be his wife, without fearing the death
to which she knew she exposed herself, as so many sultanesses had
suffered within her knowledge.

These considerations, and the many other good qualities he knew
her to possess, induced him at last to forgive her. "I see,
lovely Scheherazade," said he, "that you can never be at a loss
for these little stories, which have so long diverted me. You
have appeased my anger. I freely renounce the law I had imposed
on myself. I restore your sex to my favourable opinion, and will
have you to be regarded as the deliverer of the many damsels I
had resolved to sacrifice to my unjust resentment."

The sultaness cast herself at his feet, and embraced them
tenderly with all the marks of the most lively and perfect

The grand vizier was the first who learned this agreeable
intelligence from the sultan's own mouth. It was instantly
carried to the city, towns, and provinces; and gained the sultan,
and the lovely Scheherazade his consort, universal applause, and
the blessings of all the people of the extensive empire of the

End of Volume 4.

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