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

The Arabian Nights Entertainments Volume 1 by Anonymous

Part 1 out of 12

Adobe PDF icon
Download this document as a .pdf
File size: 1.4 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.

The Arabian Nights

Consisting of

One Thousand and One Stories,
Told by The Sultaness of the Indies,

To Divert the sultan from the execution of a bloody vow he had
made to marry a Lady every day, and have her cut off next
morning, to avenge himself of the disloyalty of his first
sultaness, &c.


An accurate account of the customs, manners, and religion, of the
Eastern nations.

In Two Volumes.
Vol. I.


Contents of Volume I.

The story of the genius and the lady shut up in a glass box
The fable of the ass, the ox, and the labourer
The fable of the dog and the cock
The story of the merchant and genius
The history of the first old man and the bitch
The story of the second old man and the two black dogs
The story of the fisherman
The story of the Grecian king, and the physician Douban
The story of the husband and parrot
The story of the vizier that was punished
The history of the young king of the black isles
The story of the three calenders, sons of kings; and of the five
ladies of Bagdad
The history of the first calender, a king's son
The history of the second calender, a king's son
The story of the envious man, and of him whom he envied
The history of the third calender, a king's son
The story of Zobeide The story of Amine
The story of Sindbad the sailor
His first voyage
His second voyage
His third voyage
His fourth voyage
His fifth voyage
His sixth voyage
His seventh and last voyage
The story of the three apples
The story of the young lady that was murdered, and of the young
man her husband
The story of Nourreddin Ali and Bedreddin Hassan
The story of the little hunch-back
The story told by the Christian merchant
The story told by the sultan of Casgar's purveyor
The story told by the Jewish physician
The story told by the tailor
The story of the barber
The story of the barber's eldest brother
Of the second
Of the third
Of the fourth
Of the fifth
Of the sixth
The history of Aboulhassan All Ebn Becar and Schemselnihar,
favourite of caliph Haroun Alraschid
The story of the amours of Camaralzaman, prince of the isles of
the children of Khaledan, and of Badoura, princess of China
The history of the princess of China
The story of Marzavan, with the sequel of that of the prince
The story of the princess Badoura, after her separation from
prince Camaralzaman
The story of the princes, Amgrad and Assad
The story of prince Amgrad and a lady of the city of the
The sequel of the story of prince Assad
The story of Nourreddin aad the fair Persian

Epistle Dedicatory,

The Right Hon. The Lady Marchioness D'o,
Lady of Honour to the Duchess of Burgundy.


The great kindnesses I received from M. de Guilleragus, your
illustrious father, during my abode at Constantinople some years
ago, are too fresh in my mind for me to neglect any opportunity
of publishing what I owe to his memory. Were he still alive, for
the welfare of France, and my particular advantage, I would take
the liberty to dedicate this work to him, not only as my
benefactor, but as a person most capable of judging what is fine,
and inspiring others with the like sentiments. Every one
remembers the wonderful exactness of his judgment;--the meanest
of his thoughts had something in them that was shining, and his
lowest expressions were always exact and nice, which made every
one admire him; for never had any man so much wit and so much
solidity. I have seen him, at a time when he was so much taken up
with the affairs of his master, that nobody could expect any
thing from him but what related to his ministry, and his profound
capacity to manage the most knotty negotiations; yet all the
weight of his employment diminished nothing of his inimitable
pleasantness, which charmed his friends, and was agreeable even
to those barbarous nations with whom that great man did treat.
After the loss of him, which to me is irreparable, I could not
address myself to any other person than yourself, Madam, since
you alone can supply the want of him to me; therefore it is that
I take the boldness to beg of you the same protection for this
book that you was pleased to grant to the French translation of
the seven Arabian stories that I had the honour to present you.

You may perhaps wonder, Madam, that I have not since that time
presented them to you in print; but the reason of it is, that
when I was about putting them to the press, I was informed that
those seven stories were taken out of a prodigious collection of
stories of the like sort, entitled "One thousand and one nights."
This discovery obliged me to suspend the printing of them, and to
use my endeavours to get that collection. I was forced to send
for it from Syria; and have translated into French this first
volume being one of the four that were sent me. These stories
will certainly divert you, Madam, much more than those you have
already seen. They are new to you, and more in number; you will
also perceive, with pleasure, the ingenious design of this
anonymous Arabian, who has given us these stories after the
manner of his country, fabulous indeed, but very diverting.

I beg, Madam, your acceptance of this small present which I have
the honour to make you; it is a public testimony of my
acknowledgment of the profound respect with which I am, and shall
for ever be,


Your most humble and most obedient servant,



There is no occasion to prepossess the reader with an opinion of
the merit and beauty of the following work. There needs no more
but to read it to satisfy any man, that hitherto nothing so fine
of this nature has appeared in any language.

What can be more ingenious than to compose such a prodigious
quantity of pleasant stories, whose variety is surprising, and
whose connexion is so wonderful? We know not the name of the
author of so great a work; but probably it is not all done by one
hand; for how can we suppose that one man alone could have
invention enough to make so many fine things?

If stories of this sort be pleasant and diverting, because of the
wonders they usually contain, these have certainly the advantage
above all that have yet been published; because they are full of
surprising events, which engage our attention, and show how much
the Arabians surpass other nations in compositions of this sort.

They must also be pleasing, because of the account they give of
the customs and manners of the eastern nations, and of the
ceremonies of their religion, as well Pagan as Mahometan, which
are better described here than in any author that has written of
them, or in the relation of travellers. All the eastern nations,
Persians, Tartars, and Indians, are here distinguished, and
appear such as they are, from the sovereign to the meanest
subject; so that, without the fatigue of going to see those
people in their respective countries, the reader has here the
pleasure to see them act, and hear them speak. Care has been
taken to preserve their characters, and to keep their sense; nor
have we varied from the text, but when modesty obliged us to it.
The translator flatters himself, that those who understand
Arabic, and will be at the pains to compare the original with the
translation, must agree that he has showed the Arabians to the
French with all the circumspection that the niceness of the
French tongue and of the times require; and if those who read
these stories have any inclination to profit by the example of
virtue and vice which they will here find exhibited, they may
reap an advantage by it that is not to be reaped in other
stories, which are more fit to corrupt than to reform our


I have read, by order of my Lord Chancellor, this manuscript, and
find nothing in it that should hinder its being printed.


Paris, October 4. 1706.

Arabian Nights Entertainments.

The chronicles of the Susanians, the ancient kings of Persia, who
extended their empire into the Indies, over all the islands
thereunto belonging, a great way beyond the Ganges, and as far as
China, acquaint us, that there was formerly a king of that potent
family, the most excellent prince of his time; he was as much
beloved by his subjects for his wisdom and prudence, as he was
dreaded by his neighbours because of his valour, and his warlike
and well-disciplined troops. He had two sons; the eldest
Schahriar, the worthy heir of his father, and endowed with all
his virtues. The youngest, Schahzenan, was likewise a prince of
incomparable merit.

After a long and glorious reign, the king died; and Schahriar
mounted his throne. Schahzenan being excluded from all share of
the government by the laws of the empire, and obliged to live a
private life, was so far from envying the happiness of his
brother, that he made it his whole business to please him, and
effected it without much difficulty. Schahriar, who had naturally
a great affection for that prince, was so charmed with his
complaisance, that, out of an excess of friendship, he would
needs divide his dominions with him, and gave him the kingdom of
Great Tartary: Schahzenan went immediately and took possession of
it, and fixed the seat of his government at Samarcande, the
metropolis of the country,

After they had been separated ten years, Schahriar, having a
passionate desire to see his brother, resolved to send an
embassador to invite him to his court. He made choice of his
prime vizier for the embassy, sent him to Tartary with a retinue
answerable to his dignity, and he made all possible haste to
Samarcande. When he came near the city, Schahzenan had notice of
it, and went to meet him with the principal lords of his court;
who, to put the more honour on the sultan's minister, appeared in
magnificent apparel. The king of Tartary received the embassador
with the greatest demonstrations of joy, and immediately asked
him concerning the welfare of the sultan, his brother. The
vizier, having acquainted him that he was in health, gave him an
account of his embassy. Schahzenan was so much affected with it,
that he answered thus:--"Sage vizier, the sultan, my brother,
does me too much honour; he could propose nothing in the world
more acceptable; I long as passionately to see him as he does to
see me. Time has been no more able to diminish my friendship than
his. My kingdom is in peace, and I desire no more than ten days
to get myself ready to go with you; so that there is no necessity
of your entering the city for so short a time; I pray you to
pitch your tents here, and I will order provisions in abundance
for yourself and company."

The vizier did accordingly; and as soon as the king returned, he
sent him a prodigious quantity of provisions of all sorts, with
presents of great value.

In the mean while, Schahzenan made ready for his journey, took
orders about his most important affairs, appointed a council to
govern in his absence, and named a minister, of whose wisdom he
had sufficient experience, and in whom he had entire confidence,
to be their president. At the end of ten days, his equipage being
ready, he took his leave of the queen, his wife, and went out of
town in the evening with his retinue, pitching his royal pavilion
near the vizier's tent, and discoursed with that embassador till
midnight. But willing once more to embrace the queen, whom he
loved entirely, he returned alone to his palace, and went
straight to her majesty's apartment; who, not expecting his
return, had taken one of the meanest officers of the household to
her bed, where they lay both fast asleep, having been in bed a
considerable while.

The king entered without any noise and pleased himself to think
how he should surprise his wife, who, he thought, loved him as
entirely as he did her; but how strange was his surprise, when,
by the light of the flambeaus, which burn all night in the
apartments of those eastern princes, he saw a man in her arms! He
stood immovable for a time, not knowing how to believe his own
eyes; but finding it was not to be doubted, How! says he to
himself, I am scarce out of my palace, and but just under the
walls of Samarcande, and dare they put such an outrage upon me?
All! perfidious wretches, your crime shall not go unpunished. As
king, I am to punish wickednesses committed in my dominions; and,
as an enraged husband, I must sacrifice you to my just
resentment. In a word, this unfortunate prince, giving way to his
rage, drew his scimitar, and, approaching the bed, killed them
both with one blow, turning their sleep into death, and
afterwards taking them up, threw them out of a window into the
ditch that surrounded the palace.

Having avenged himself thus, he went out of town privately as he
came into it; and returning to his pavilion, without saying one
word of what had happened, he ordered the tents to be struck, and
to make ready for his journey. This was speedily done, and before
day he began his march, with kettle-drums and other instruments
of music, that filled every one with joy, except the king, who
was so much troubled at the disloyalty of his wife, that he was
seized with extreme melancholy, which preyed upon him during his
whole journey.

When he drew near the capital of the Indies, the sultan
Schahriar, and all his court, came out to meet him; the princes
were overjoyed fo see one another; and alighting, after mutual
embraces, and other marks of affection and respect, they mounted
again, and entered the city, with the acclamations of vast
multitudes of people. The sultan conducted his brother to the
palace he had provided for him, which had a communication with
his own by means of a garden; and was so much the more
magnificent, for it was set apart as a banqueting-house for
public entertainment, and other diversions of the court, and the
splendour of it had been lately augmented by new furniture.

Schahriar immediately left the king of Tartary, that he might
give him time to bathe himself, and to change his apparel; and as
soon as he had done, he came to him again, and they sat down
together upon a sofa or alcove. The courtiers kept a distance,
out of respect; and those two princes entertained one another
suitably to their friendship, their nearness of blood, and the
long separation that had been betwixt them. The time of supper
being come, they ate together; after which they renewed their
conversation, which continued till Schahriar, perceiving it was
very late, left his brother to his rest.

The unfortunate Schahzenan went to bed; and though the
conversation of his brother had suspended his grief for some
time, it returned upon him with more violence; so that, instead
of taking his necessary rest, he tormented himself with cruel
reflections. All the circumstances of his wife's disloyalty
represented themselves afresh to his imagination in so lively a
manner, that he was like one beside himself. In a word, not being
able to sleep, he got up, and giving himself over to afflicting
thoughts, they made such an impression upon his countenance, that
the sultan could not but take notice of it, and said thus to
himself: "What can be the matter with the king of Tartary, that
he is so melancholy; has he any cause to complain of his
reception? No, surely; I have received him as a brother whom I
love, so that I can charge myself with no omission in that
respect. Perhaps it grieves him to be at such a distance from his
dominions, or from the queen, his wife: Alas! if that be the
matter, I must forthwith give him the presents I designed for
him, that he may return to Samarcande when he pleases.'
Accordingly, next day Schahriar sent him a part of those
presents, being the greatest rarities and the richest things that
the Indies could afford. At the same time he endeavoured to
divert his brother every day by new objects of pleasure, and the
finest treats, which, instead of giving the king of Tartary any
ease, did only increase his sorrow.

One day, Schahriar having appointed a great hunting-match, about
two days journey from his capital, in a place that abounded with
deer, Schahzenan prayed him to excuse him, for his health would
not allow him to bear him company. The sultan, unwilling to put
any constraint upon him, left him at his liberty, and went a
hunting with his nobles. The king of Tartary, being thus left
alone, shut himself up in his apartment, and sat down at a window
that looked into the garden. That delicious place, and the sweet
harmony of an infinite number of birds, which chose it for a
place of retreat, must certainly have diverted him, had he been
capable of taking pleasure in any thing; but, being perpetually
tormented with the fatal remembrance of his queen's infamous
conduct, his eyes were not so often fixed upon the garden, as
lifted up to heaven to bewail his misfortune.

Whilst he was thus swallowed up with grief, an object presented
itself to his view, which quickly turned all his thoughts another
way. A secret gate of the sultan's palace opened all of a sudden,
and there came out at it twenty women, in the midst of whom
marched the sultaness, who was easily distinguished from the rest
by her majestic air. This princess, thinking that the king of
Tartary was gone a hunting with his brother the sultan, came up
with her retinue near the windows of his apartment; for the
prince had placed himself so that he could see all that passed in
the garden without being perceived himself. He observed that the
persons who accompanied the sultaness threw off their veils and
long robes, that they might be at more freedom; but was
wonderfully surprised when he saw ten of them to be blacks, and
that each of them took his mistress. The sultaness, on her part,
was not long without her gallant. She clapped her hands, and
called out Masoud, Masoud, and immediately a black came down from
a tree, and ran to her in all haste.

Modesty will not allow, nor is it necessary to relate, what
passed betwixt the blacks and ladies. It is sufficient to say,
that Schahzenan saw enough to convince him that his brother had
as much cause to complain as himself. This amorous company
continued together till midnight and having bathed all together
in a great pond, which was one of the chief ornaments of the
garden, they dressed themselves, and re-entered the palace, by
the secret door, all except Masoud, who climbed up his tree, and
got over the garden-wall the same way as he came.

All this having passed in the king of Tartary's sight, it gave
him occasion to make a multitude of reflections. How little
reason had I, says he, to think that no one was so unfortunate as
myself? It is certainly the unavoidable fate of all husbands,
since the sultan, my brother, who is sovereign of so many
dominions, and the greatest prince of the earth, could not escape
it. The case being so, what a fool am I to kill myself with
grief? I will throw it off, and the remembrance of a misfortune
so common shall never after this disturb my quiet. So that, from
that moment, he forebore afflicting himself. Being unwilling to
sup till he saw the whole scene that was acted under his window,
he called then for his supper, ate with a better appetite than he
had done at any time after his coming to Samarcande, and listened
with pleasure to the agreeable concert of vocal and instrumental
music that was appointed to entertain him while at table.

He continued after this to be of a very good humour; and when he
knew that the sultan was returning, he went to meet him, and paid
him his compliments with a great deal of gaiety. Schahriar at
first took no notice of this great alteration, but expostulated
with him modestly, why he would not bear him company at hunting
the stag; and, without giving him time to reply, entertained him
with the great number of deer and other game they had killed, and
what pleasure he had in the sport. Schahzenan heard him with
attention, gave answers to every thing, and being rid of that
melancholy which formerly over-clouded his wit, he said a
thousand agreeable and pleasant things to the sultan.

Schahriar, who expected to have found him in the same condition
as he left him, was overjoyed to see him so cheerful, and spoke
to him thus: Dear brother, I return thanks to Heaven for the
happy change it has made on you during my absence; I am extremely
rejoiced at it; but I have a request to make to you, and conjure
you not to deny me. I can refuse you nothing, replies the king of
Tartary; you may command Schahzenan as you please; pray speak, I
am impatient to know what you desire of me. Ever since you came
to my court, replies Schahriar, I found you swallowed up by a
deep melancholy, and I did in vain attempt to remove it by
diversions of all sorts. I imagined it might be occasioned by
reason of the distance from your dominions, or that love might
have a great share in it; and that the queen of Samarcande, who,
no doubt, is an accomplished beauty, might be the cause of it. I
do not know if I be mistaken; but I must own that this was the
peculiar reason why I did not importune you upon the subject, for
fear of making you uneasy. But, without my being able to
contribute any thing towards it, I find now, upon my return, that
you are in the best humour that can be, and that your mind is
entirely delivered from that black vapour which disturbed it.
Pray do me the favour to tell me why you were so melancholy, and
how you came to be rid of it.

Upon this, the king of Tartary continued for some time as if he
had been in a dream, and contrived what he should answer; but at
last replied as follows: You are my sultan and master; but excuse
me, I beseech you, from answering your question. No, dear
brother, said the sultan, you must answer, I will take no denial.
Schahzenan, not being able to withstand these pressing instances,
answered, Well, then, brother, I will satisfy you, since you
command me; and, having told him the story of the queen of
Samarcande's treachery, this, says he, was the cause of my grief;
pray judge whether I had not reason enough to give myself up to

Oh! my brother, says the sultan, (in a tone which showed that he
had the same sentiments of the matter with the king of Tartary,)
what a horrible story do you tell me! How impatient was I till I
heard it out! I commend you for punishing the traitors who put
such an outrage upon you. Nobody can blame you for that action:
it was just; and for my part, had the case been mine, I could
scarce have been so moderate as you, I should not have satisfied
myself with the life of one woman; I verily think I should have
sacrificed a thousand to my fury. I cease now to wonder at your
melancholy. The cause of it was too sensible, and too mortifying,
not to make you yield to it. O heaven! what a strange adventure!
nor do I believe the like of it ever befel any man but yourself.
But, in short, I must bless God, who has comforted you; and since
I doubt not but your consolation is well grounded, be so good as
let me know what it is, and conceal nothing from me. Schahzenan
was not so easily prevailed upon in this point as he had been in
the other, because of his brother's concern in it; but, being
obliged to yield to his pressing instances, answered, I must obey
you then, since your command is absolute; yet am afraid that my
obedience will occasion your trouble to be greater than ever mine
was. But you must blame yourself for it, since you force me to
reveal a thing which I should have otherwise buried in eternal
oblivion. What you say, answers Schahriar, serves only to
increase my curiosity. Make haste to discover the secret,
whatever it may be. The king of Tartary, being no longer able to
refuse, gave him the particulars of all that he had seen of the
blacks in disguise, of the lewd passion of the sultaness and her
ladies; and, to be sure, he did not forget Masoud. After having
been witness to those infamous actions, says he, I believed all
women to be that way naturally inclined, and that they could not
resist those violent desires. Being of this opinion, it seemed to
me to be an unaccountable weakness in men to make themselves
uneasy at their infidelity. This reflection brought many others
along with it; and, in short, I thought the best thing I could do
was to make myself easy. It cost me some pain indeed, but at last
I effected it; and, if you will take my advice, you shall follow
my example.

Though the advice was good, the sultan could not take it, but
fell into a rage. What! says he, is the sultaness of the Indies
capable of prostituting herself in so base a manner? No, brother,
I cannot believe what you say,--unless I saw it with my eyes:
yours must needs have deceived you; the matter is so important,
that I must be satisfied of it myself. Dear brother, answers
Schahzenan, that you may without much difficulty. Appoint another
hunting-match, and when we are out of town with your court and
mine, we will stop under our pavilions, and at night let you and
I return alone to my apartment. I am certain that next day you
will see what I saw. The sultan, approving the stratagem,
immediately appointed a new hunting-match; and that same day the
pavilions were set up at the place appointed.

Next day the two princes set out with all their retinue; they
arrived at the place of encampment, and staid there till night.
Then Schahriar called his grand vizier, and, without acquainting
him of his design, commanded him to stay in his place during his
absence, and to suffer no person to go out of the camp upon any
occasion whatever. As soon as he had given this order, the king
of Grand Tartary and he took horse, passed through the camp
incognito, returned to the city, and went to Schahzenan's
apartment. They had scarce placed themselves in the same window
where the king of Tartary had seen the disguised blacks act their
scene, but the secret gate opened, the sultaness and her ladies
entered the garden with the blacks, and she having called upon
Masoud, the sultan saw more than enough to convince him plainly
of his dishonour and misfortune.

O heavens! cried he, what indignity! what horror! Can the wife of
a sovereign, such as I am, be capable of such an infamous action?
After this let no prince boast of his being perfectly happy.
Alas! my brother, continues he, (embracing the king of Tartary,)
let us both renounce the world; honesty is banished out of it; if
it flatter us the one day, it betrays us the next; let us abandon
our dominions and grandeur; let us go into foreign countries,
where we may lead an obscure life, and conceal our misfortune.
Schahzenan did not at all approve of such a resolution, but did
not think fit to contradict Schahriar in the heat of his passion.
Dear brother, says he, your will shall be mine; I am ready to
follow you whither you please; but promise that you will return,
if we can meet with any one that is more unhappy than ourselves.
I agree to it, says the sultan, but doubt much whether we shall.
I am not of your mind in this, replied the king of Tartary; I
fancy our journey will be but short. Having said this, they went
secretly out of the palace by another way than they came. They
travelled as long as it was day, and lay the first night under
the trees; and getting up about break of day, they went on till
they came to a fine meadow upon the banks of the sea, in which
meadow there were tufts of great trees at some distance from one
another. They sat down under those trees to rest and refresh
themselves, and the chief subject of their conversation was the
lewdness of their wives.

They had not sat long, before they heard a frightful noise, and a
terrible cry from the sea, which filled them with fear; then the
sea opening, there rose up a thing like a great black column,
which reached almost to the clouds. This redoubled their fear,
made them rise speedily, and climb up into a tree to hide
themselves. They had scarce got up, till, looking to the place
from whence the voice came, and where the sea opened, they
observed that the black column advanced, winding about towards
the shore, cleaving the water before it. They could not at first
think what it should be; but in a little time they found that it
was one of those malignant genie that are mortal enemies to
mankind, and always doing them mischief. He was black, frightful,
had the shape of a giant, of a prodigious stature, and carried on
his head a great glass box, shut with four locks of fine steel.
He entered the meadow with his burden, which he laid down just at
the foot of the tree where the two princes were, who looked upon
themselves to be dead men. Meanwhile the genie sat down by his
box, and opening it with four keys that he had at his girdle,
there came out a lady magnificently apparelled, of a majestic
stature, and a complete beauty. The monster made her sit down by
him; and eying her with an amorous look, Lady (says he) nay, most
accomplished of all ladies who are admired for their beauty my
charming mistress, whom I carried off on your wedding-day, and
have loved so constantly ever since, let me sleep a few moments
by you; for I found myself so very sleepy, that I came to this
place to take a little rest. Having spoken thus, he laid down his
huge head on the lady's knees; and stretching out his legs, which
reached as far as the sea, he fell asleep, and snored so, that he
made the banks to echo again.

The lady, happening at the same time to look up to the tree, saw
the two princes and made a sign to them with her hand to come
down without making any noise. Their fear was extraordinary when
they found themselves discovered, and they prayed the lady, by
other signs, to excuse them; but she, after having laid the
monster's head softly down, rose up, and spoke to them with a low
but quick voice to come down to her; she would take no denial.
They made signs to her that they were afraid of the genie, and
would fain have been excused. Upon which she ordered them to come
down, and, if they did not make haste, threatened to awake the
giant, and bid him kill them.

These words did so much intimidate the princes, that they began
to come down with all possible precaution, lest they should awake
the genie. When they came down, the lady took them by the hand,
and going a little farther with them under the trees, made a very
urgent proposal to them. At first they rejected it, but she
obliged them to accept it by her threats. Having obtained what
she desired, she perceived that each of them had a ring on his
finger, which she demanded of them. As soon as she received them,
she went and took a box out of the bundle, where her toilet was,
pulled out a string of other rings of all sorts, which she showed
them, and asked them if they knew what those jewels meant? No,
say they, we hope you will be pleased to tell us. They are,
replies she, the rings of all the men to whom I have granted my
favour; There are full fourscore and eighteen of them, which I
keep in token to remember them; and asked yours for the same
reason, to make up my hundred. So that, continues she, I have had
a hundred gallants already, notwithstanding the vigilance of this
wicked genie, that never leaves me. He is much the nearer for
locking me up in this glass box, and hiding me in the bottom of
the sea; I find a way to cheat him for all his care. You may see
by this, that when a woman has formed a project, there is no
husband or gallant that can hinder her from putting it in
execution. Men had better not put their wives under such
restraint, if they have a mind they should be chaste. Having
spoken thus to them, she put their rings upon the same string
with the rest, and, sitting down by the monster as before, laid
his head again upon her lap, and made a sign for the princes to
be gone.

They returned immediately by the same way they came; and when
they were out of sight of the lady and the genie, Schahriar says
to Schahzenan, Well, brother, what do you think of this
adventure? has not the genie a very faithful mistress? And do not
you agree that there is no wickedness equal to that of women?
Yes, brother, answers the king of Great Tartary; and you must.
agree that the monster is more unfortunate, and has more reason
to complain, than we. Therefore, since we have found what we
sought for, let us return to our dominions, and let not this
hinder us to marry again. For my part, I know a method by which I
think I shall keep inviolable the faith that any woman shall
plight to me. I shall say no more of it at present, but you will
hear of it in a little time, and I am sure you will follow my
example. The sultan agreed with his brother; and, continuing
their journey, they arrived in the camp the third night after
they left it.

The news of the sultan's return being spread, the courtiers came
betimes in the morning before his pavilion to wait on him. He
ordered them to enter, received them with a more pleasant air
than formerly, and gave each of them a gratification; after which
he told them he would go no further, ordered them to take horse,
and returned speedily to his palace.

As soon as he arrived, he ran to the sultaness's apartment,
commanded her to be bound before him, and delivered her to his
grand vizier, with an order to strangle her; which was
accordingly executed by that minister, without inquiring into her
crime. The enraged prince did not stop here; he cut off the heads
of all the sultaness's ladies with his own hand. After this
rigorous punishment, being persuaded that no woman was chaste, he
resolved, in order to prevent the disloyalty of such as he should
afterwards marry, to wed one every night, and have her strangled
next morning. Having imposed this cruel law upon himself, he
swore that he would observe it immediately after the departure of
the king of Tartary, who speedily took leave of him, and, being
loaded with magnificent presents, set forward on his journey.

Schahzenan being gone, Schahriar ordered his grand vizier to
bring him the daughter of one of his generals. The vizier obeyed;
the sultan lay with her, and, putting her next morning into his
hands in order to be strangled, commanded him to get another next
night. Whatever reluctance the vizier had to put such orders in
execution, as he owed blind obedience to the sultan his master,
he was forced to submit. He brought him then the daughter of a
subaltern, whom he also cut off the next day. After her, he
brought a citizen's daughter; and, in a word, there was every day
a maid married, and a wife murdered.

The rumour of this unparalleled barbarity occasioned a general
consternation in the city, where there was nothing but crying and
lamentation. Here a father in tears, and inconsolable for the
loss of his daughter; and there tender mothers, dreading lest
theirs should have the same fate, making the air to resound
beforehand with their groans; so that, instead of the
commendations and blessings which the sultan had hitherto
received from his subjects, their mouths were now filled with
imprecations against him.

The grand vizier, who, as has been already said, was the
executioner of this horrid injustice against his will, had two
daughters, the eldest called Scheherazade, and the youngest
Dinarzade: the latter was a lady of very great merit; but the
elder had courage, wit, and penetration, infinitely above her
sex; she had read abundance, and had such a prodigious memory
that she never forgot any thing. She had successfully applied
herself to philosophy, physic, history, and the liberal arts, and
for verse exceeded, the best poets of her times; besides this,
she was a perfect beauty, and all her fine qualifications were
crowned by solid virtue.

The vizier passionately loved a daughter so worthy of his tender
affection; and one day, as they were discoursing together, she
says to him, Father, I have one favour to beg of you, and must
humbly pray you to grant it me. I will not refuse it, answered
he, provided it be just and reasonable. For the justice of it,
says she, there can be no question, and you may judge of it by
the motive which obliges me to demand it of you. I have a design
to stop the course of that barbarity which the sultan exercises
upon the families of this city. I would dispel those unjust fears
which so many mothers have of losing their daughters in such a
fatal manner. Your design, daughter, replies the vizier, is very
commendable; but the disease you would remedy seems to be
incurable; how do you pretend to effect it? Father, says
Scheherazade, since by your means the sultan makes every day a
new marriage, I conjure you, by the tender affection you bear to
me, to procure me the honour of his bed. The vizier could not
hear this without horror. O heavens! replies he, in a passion,
have you lost your senses, daughter, that you make such a
dangerous request to me? You know the sultan has sworn by his
soul that he will never lie above one night with the same woman,
and to order her to be killed the next morning; and would you
that I should propose you to him? Pray consider well to what your
indiscreet zeal will expose you. Yes, dear father, replies the
virtuous daughter, I know the risk I run; but that does not
frighten me. If I perish, my death will be glorious; and if I
succeed, I shall do my country an important piece of service. No,
no, says the vizier, whatever you can represent to engage me to
let you throw yourself into that horrible danger, do not you
think that ever I will agree to it. When the sultan shall order
me to strike my poignard into your heart, alas! I must obey him;
and what a dismal employment is that for a father? Ah! if you do
not fear death, yet at least be afraid of occasioning me the
mortal grief of seeing my hand stained with your blood. Once
more, father, says Scheherazade, grant me the favour I beg. Your
stubbornness, replies the vizier, will make me angry; why will
you run headlong to your ruin? They that do not foresee the end
of a dangerous enterprise can never bring it to a happy issue. I
am afraid the same thing will happen to you that happened to the
ass, which was well, and could not keep itself so. What
misfortune befel the ass? replies Scheherazade. I will tell you,
says the vizier, if you will hear me.


The Ox, the Ass, and the Labourer.

A very rich merchant had several country-houses, where he had
abundance of cattle of all sorts. He went with his wife and
family to one of those estates, in order to improve it himself.
He had the gift of understanding the language of beasts, but with
this condition, that he should interpret it to nobody on pain of
death; and this hindered him from communicating to others what he
had learned by means of this gift.

He had in the same stall an ox and an ass; and one day as he sat
near them, and diverted himself to see his children play about,
him, he heard the ox say to the ass, Sprightly, O how happy do I
think you, when I consider the ease you enjoy, and the little
labour that is required of you! you are carefully rubbed down and
washed; you have well-dressed corn, and fresh clean water. Your
greatest business is to carry the merchant, our master, when he
has any little journey to make; and, were it not for that, you
would be perfectly idle. I am treated in a quite different
manner, and my condition is as unfortunate as yours is pleasant.
It is scarce day-light when I am fastened to a plough, and there
they make me work till night, to till up the ground, which
fatigues me so, that sometimes my strength fails me. Besides, the
labourer, who is always behind me, beats me continually. By
drawing the plough my tail is all flead; and, in short, after
having laboured from morning till night, when I am brought in,
they give me nothing to eat but sorry dry beans, not so much as
cleaned from sand, or other things as pernicious; and, to
heighten my misery, when I have filled my belly with such
ordinary stuff, I am forced to lie all night in my own dung; so
that you see I have reason to envy your lot.

The ass did not interrupt the ox, till he had said all that he
had a mind to say; but, when he had made an end, answered, They
that call you a foolish beast do not lie; you are too simple, you
let them carry you whither they please, and show no manner of
resolution. In the mean time, what advantage do you reap by all
the indignities you suffer? You kill yourself for the ease,
pleasure, and profit of those that give you no thanks for so
doing. But they would not treat you so, if you had as much
courage as strength.

When they come to fasten you to the stall, why do not you make
resistance? why do not you strike them with your horns, and show
that you are angry by striking your foot against the ground? and,
in short, why do not you frighten them by bellowing aloud? Nature
has furnished you with means to procure you respect, but you do
not make use of them. They bring you sorry beans and bad straw;
eat none of them; only smell them, and leave them. If you follow
the advice I give you, you will quickly find a change, for which
you will thank me. The ox took the ass's advice in very good
part, and owned he was very much obliged to him for it.

Dear Sprightly, adds he, I will not fail to do all that you have
said, and you shall see how I shall acquit myself. They held
their peace after this discourse, of which the merchant heard
every word.

Next morning betimes the labourer came to take the ox; he
fastened him to the plough, and carried him to his ordinary work.
The ox, who had not forgotten the ass's counsel, was very
troublesome and untoward all that day; and in the evening, when
the labourer brought him back to the stall, and began to fasten
him to it, the malicious beast, instead of presenting his horns
willingly as he used to do, was restive, and went backward
bellowing, and then made at the labourer as if he would have
pushed him with his horns; in a word, he did all that the ass
advised him to. Next day the labourer came, as usual, to take the
ox to his labour; but, finding the stall full of beans, the straw
that he put in the night before not touched, and the ox lying on
the ground with his legs stretched out, and panting in a strange
manner, he believed him to he sick, pitied him, and thinking;
that it was not proper to carry him to work, went immediately and
acquainted the merchant with it; who, perceiving that the ox had
followed all the mischievous advices of the ass, whom he thought
fit to punish for it, ordered the labourer to go and put the ass
in the ox's place, and to be sure to work him hard. The labourer
did so: the ass was forced to draw the plough all that day; which
fatigued him so much the more, as he was not accustomed to that
sort of labour; besides, he had been so soundly beaten, that he
could scarcely stand when he came back.

Meanwhile the ox was mightily pleased; he ate up all that was in
his stall, and rested himself the whole day. He was glad at the
heart that he had followed the ass's advice, blessed him a
thousand times for it, and did not fail to compliment him upon it
when he saw him come back. The ass answered him not one word, so
vexed was he to be so ill treated; but says within himself, it is
by my own imprudence I have brought this misfortune upon myself;
I lived happily, every thing smiled upon me. I had all that I
could wish, it is my own fault that I am brought to this
miserable condition, and if I cannot contrive some way to get out
of it, I am certainly undone; and as he spoke thus, his strength
was so much exhausted, that he fell down at his stall, as if he
had been half dead.

Here the grand visier addressed himself to Scheherazade, and
said, Daughter, you do like the ass; you will expose yourself to
destruction by your false prudence. Take my advice; be easy, and
do not take such measures as will hasten your death. Father,
replies Scheherazade, the example you bring me is not capable of
making me change my resolution; I will never cease importuning
you until you present me to the sultan to be his bride. The
vizier, perceiving that she persisted in her demand, replied,
Alas, then! since you will continue obstinate, I shall be obliged
to treat you in the same manner as the merchant I named treated
his wife in a little time after.

The merchant, understanding that the ass was in a lamentable
condition, was curious to know what passed betwixt him and the
ox; therefore, after supper, he went out by moon-light, and sat
down by them, his wife bearing him company. When he arrived, he
heard the ass say to the ox, Comrade, tell me, I pray you, what
you intend to do to-morrow, when the labourer brings you meat?
What will I do? says the ox: I will continue to do as you taught
me. I will go off from him, and threaten him with my horns, as I
did yesterday; I will feign myself to be sick, and just ready to
die. Beware of that, replies the ass, it will ruin you: for as I
came home this evening, I heard the merchant, our master, say
something that makes me tremble for you. Alas! what did you hear?
says the ox; as you love me, hide nothing from me, my dear
Sprightly. Our master, replied the ass, had these sad expressions
to the labourer: Since the ox does not eat, and is not able to
work, I would have him killed tomorrow, and we will give his
flesh as an alms to the poor for God's sake; as for his skin,
that will be of use to us, and I would have you give it to the
currier to dress; therefore do not fail to send for the butcher.
This is what I had to tell you, says the ass. The concern I have
for your preservation, and my friendship for you, obliged me to
let you know it, and to give you new advice. As soon as they
bring you your bran and straw, rise up and eat heartily. Our
master will, by this, think that you are cured, and no doubt will
recal his orders for killing you; whereas, if you do otherwise,
you are certainly gone.

This discourse had the effect which the ass designed. The ox was
strangely troubled at it, and bellowed out for fear. The
merchant, who heard the discourse very attentively, fell into
such a fit of laughter, that his wife was surprised at it, and
said, Pray, husband, tell me what you laugh at so heartily, that
I may laugh with you. Wife, said he, you must content yourself
with hearing me laugh. No, replies she, I will know the reason. I
cannot give you that satisfaction, answers he, but only that I
laugh at what our ass just now said to our ox. The rest is a
secret, which I am not allowed to reveal. And what hinders you
from revealing the secret, says she? If I tell it you, answers
he, it will cost me my life. You only jeer me, cried his wife;
what you tell me now cannot be true. If you do not satisfy me
presently with what you laugh at, and tell me what the ox and ass
said to one another, I swear by Heaven that you and I shall never
bed together again.

Having spoken thus, she went into the house in a great fret, and,
setting herself in a corner, cried there all night. Her husband
lay alone, and finding next morning that she continued in the
same humour, told her she was a very foolish woman to afflict
herself in that manner, the thing was not worth so much; and that
it concerned her as little to know the matter, as it concerned
him so much to keep it secret; therefore I conjure you to think
no more of it. I shall still think so much of it, says she, as
never to forbear weeping till you have satisfied my curiosity.
But I tell you very seriously, replied he, that it will cost me
my life, if I yield to your indiscretion. Let what will happen,
says she, I do insist upon it. I perceive, says the merchant,
that it is impossible to bring you to reason; and since I foresee
that you will occasion your own death by your obstinacy, I will
call in your children, that they may see you before you die.
Accordingly he called for them, and sent for her father and
mother, and other relations. When they were come, and heard the
reason of their being called, they did all they could to convince
her that she was in the wrong, but to no purpose: she told them
she would rather die than yield that point to her husband. Her
father and mother spoke to her by herself, and told her that what
she desired to know was of no importance to her; but that could
gain nothing upon her, either by their authority or entreaties.
When her children saw that nothing could prevail to bring her out
of that sullen temper, they wept bitterly. The merchant himself
was like a man out of his senses, and was almost ready to risk
his own life to save that of his wife, whom he loved dearly.

Now, my daughter, says the vizier to Scheherazade, this merchant
had fifty hens, and a cock, with a dog that gave good heed to all
that passed; and while the merchant was set down, as I said, and
considering what he had best do, he sees the dog run towards the
cock, as he was treading a hen, and heard him speak to him thus:
Cock, says he, I am sure Heaven will not let you live long; are
you not ashamed to do that thing to-day? The cock, standing up on
tip-toe, answers the dog fiercely, And why should I not do it
to-day as well as other days? As you do not know, replies the
dog, then I tell you that this day our master is in great
perplexity. His wife would have him reveal a secret, which is of
such a nature, that it will cost him his life if he doth it.
Things are come to that pass, that it is to be feared he will
scarcely have resolution enough to resist his wife's obstinacy;
for, he loves her, and is affected with the tears that she
continually sheds, and perhaps it may cost him his life. We are
all alarmed at it, and you only insult our melancholy, and have
the imprudence to divert yourself with your hens.

The cock answered the dog's reproof thus: What! has our master so
little sense? he has but one wife, and cannot govern her; and
though I have fifty, I make them all do what I please. Let him
make use of his reason, he will speedily find a way to rid
himself of his trouble. How, says the dog,, what would you have
him to do? Let him go into the room where his wife is, says the
cock, lock the door, and take a good stick, and thrash her well,
and I will answer for it that that will bring her to her right
wits, and make her forbear to ask him any more what he ought not
to tell her. The merchant had no sooner heard what the cock said,
than he took up a good stick, went to his wife, whom he found
still a crying, and, shutting the door, belaboured her so
soundly, that she cried out, "It is enough, husband, it is
enough, let me alone, and I will never ask the question more."
Upon this, perceiving that she repented of her impertinent
curiosity, he forbore drubbing her; and, opening the door, her
friends came in, were glad to find her cured of her obstinacy,
and complimented her husband upon this happy expedient to bring
his wife to reason. Daughter, adds the grand vizier, you deserve
to be treated as the merchant treated his wife.

Father, replies Scheherazade, I beg you will not take it ill that
I persist in my opinion. I am nothing moved by the story of that
woman; I can tell you abundance of others to persuade you that
you ought not to oppose my design. Besides, pardon me for
declaring to you that your opposing me would be in vain; for if
your paternal affection should hinder you to grant my request, I
would go and offer myself to the sultan. In short, the father
being overcome by the resolution of his daughter, yielded to her
importunity; and though he was very much grieved that he could
not divert her from such a fatal resolution, he went that minute
to acquaint the sultan that next night he would bring him

The sultan was much surprised at the sacrifice which the grand
vizier made to him. How could you resolve, says he, to bring me
your own daughter? Sir, answers the vizier, it is her own offer.
The sad destiny that attends it could not scare her; she prefers
the honour of being your majesty's wife for one night to her
life. But do not mistake yourself, vizier, says the sultan;
to-morrow, when I put Scheherazade into your hands, I expect you
shall take away her life; and, if you fail, I swear that yourself
shall die. Sir, rejoins the vizier, my heart, without doubt will
be full of grief to execute your commands; but it is to no
purpose for nature to murmur; though I be her father I will
answer for the fidelity of my hand to obey your order. Schahriar
accepted his minister's offer, and told him he might bring his
daughter when he pleased.

The grand vizier went with the news to Scheherazade, who received
it with as much joy as if it had been the most agreeable thing in
the world; she thanked her father for having obliged her in so
sensible a manner; and, perceiving that he was overwhelmed with
grief, she told him, in order to his consolation, that she hoped
he would never repent his having married her to the sultan; but
that, on the contrary, he should have cause to rejoice at it all
his days.

All her business was to put herself in a condition to appear
before the sultan; but, before she went, she took her sister
Dinarzade apart, and says to her, My dear sister, I have need of
your help in a matter of very great importance, and must pray you
not to deny it me. My father is going to carry me to the sultan
to be his wife; do not let this frighten you, but hear me with
patience. As soon as I come to the sultan, I will pray him to
allow you to lie in the bride-chamber, that I may enjoy your
company this one night more. If I obtain that favour, as I hope
to do, remember to awake me to-morrow an hour before day, and to
address me in these or some such words: "My sister, if you be not
asleep, I pray you, that till day-break, which will be very
speedily, you would tell me one of the fine stories of which you
have read so many." Immediately I will tell you one; and I hope
by this means to deliver the city from the consternation they are
under at present. Dinarzade answered, that she would obey with
pleasure what she required of her.

The time of going to bed being come, the grand vizier conducted
Scheherazade to the palace, and retired, after having introduced
her into the sultan's apartment. As soon as the sultan was left
alone with her, he ordered her to uncover her face, and found it
so beautiful, that he was perfectly charmed with her; and
perceiving her to be in tears, asked her the reason. Sir,
answered Scheherazade, I have a sister, who loves me tenderly, as
I do her, and I could wish that she might be allowed to be all
night in this chamber, that I might see her, and bid her once
more adieu. Will you be pleased to allow me the comfort of giving
her this last testimony of my friendship? Schahriar having
consented to it, Dinarzade was sent for, who came with all
possible diligence. The sultan went to bed with Scheherazade upon
an alcove raised very high, according to the custom of the
monarchs of the east; and Dinarzade lay in a bed that was
prepared for her, near the foot of the alcove.

An hour before day, Dinarzade, being awake, failed not to do as
her sister ordered her. My dear sister, cries she, if you be not
asleep, I pray, until day-break, which will be in a very little
time, that you will tell me one of those pleasant stories you
have read; alas! this may perhaps be the last time that ever I
shall have that satisfaction.

Scheherazade, instead of answering her sister, addressed herself
to the sultan thus: Sir, will your majesty be pleased to allow me
to give my sister this satisfaction? With all my heart, answers
the sultan. Then Scheherazade bid her sister listen; and
afterwards, addressing herself to Schahriar, began thus.

The First Night.

The Merchant and the Genie.

Sir--There was formerly a merchant, who had a great estate in
lands, goods, and money. He had abundance of deputies, factors,
and slaves. He was obliged from time to time to take journies,
and talk with his correspondents; and one day being under the
necessity of going a long journey about an affair of importance,
he took horse, and put a portmanteau behind him, with some
biscuits and dates, because he had a great desert to pass over,
where he could have no manner of provisions. He arrived without
any accident at the end of his journey, and, having despatched
his affairs, took horse again in order to return home.

The fourth day of his journey, he was so much incommoded by the
heat of the sun, and the reflection of that heat from the earth,
that he turned out of the road to refresh himself under some
trees that he saw in the country. There he found, at the foot of
a great walnut-tree, a fountain of very clear running water; and
alighting, tied his horse to a branch of the tree, and sitting
down by the fountain, took some biscuits and dates out of his
portmanteau, and, as he ate his dates, threw the shells about on
both sides of him. When he had done eating, being a good
Mussulman, he washed his hands, his face, and his feet, and said
his prayers. He had not made an end, but was still on his knees,
when he saw a genie appear, all white with age, and of a
monstrous bulk; who, advancing towards him, with a scimitar in
his hand, spoke to him in a terrible voice thus: Rise up, that I
may kill thee with this scimitar, as you have killed my son; and
accompanied those words with a frightful cry. The merchant, being
as much frightened at the hideous shape of the monster as at
these threatening words, answered him trembling, Alas! my good
lord, of what crime can I be guilty towards you, that you should
take away my life? I will, replies the genie, kill thee, as thou
hast killed my son. O heaven! says the merchant, how should I
kill your son? I did not know him, nor ever saw him. Did not you
sit down when you came hither, replies the genie? Did not you
take dates out of your portmanteau, and, as you ate them, did not
you throw the shells about on both sides? I did all that you say,
answers the merchant; I cannot deny it. If it be so, replies the
genie, I tell thee that thou hast killed my son, and the way was
thus; when you threw your nut-shells about, my son was passing
by, and you threw one of them into his eye, which killed him;
therefore I must kill thee. Ah! my lord, pardon me, cried the
merchant. No pardon, answers the genie, no mercy. Is it not just
to kill him that has killed another? I agree to it, says the
merchant; but certainly I never killed your son; and if I have,
it was unknown to me, and I did it innocently; therefore I beg
you to pardon me, and suffer me to live. No, no, says the genie,
persisting in his resolution, I must kill thee, since thou hast
killed my son; and then taking the merchant by the arm, threw him
with his face upon the ground, and lifted up his scimitar to cut
off his head.

The merchant, all in tears, protested he was innocent, bewailed
his wife and children, and spoke to the genie in the most moving
expressions that could be uttered. The genie, with his scimitar
still lifted up, had so much patience as to hear the wretch make
an end of his lamentations, but would not relent. All this
whining, says the monster, is to no purpose; though you should
shed tears of blood, that shall not hinder me to kill thee, as
thou killedst my son. Why! replied the merchant, can nothing
prevail with you? Will you absolutely take away the life of a
poor innocent? Yes, replied the genie, I am resolved upon it.

As Scheherazade had spoken these words, perceiving it was day,
and knowing that the sultan rose betimes in the morning to say
his prayers, and hold his council, Scheherazade held her peace.
Lord, sister, says Dinarzade, what a wonderful story is this! The
remainder of it, says Scheherazade, is more surprising; and you
will be of my mind, if the sultan will let me live this day, and
permit me to tell it you next night. Schahriar, who had listened
to Scheherazade with pleasure, says to himself, I will stay till
to-morrow, for I can at any time put her to death, when she has
ended the story. So having resolved not to take away
Scheherazade's life that day, he rose and went to prayers, and
then called his council.

All this while the grand vizier was terribly uneasy. Instead of
sleeping, he spent the night in sighs and groans, bewailing the
lot of his daughter, of whom he believed that he himself should
be the executioner: And as, in this melancholy prospect, he was
afraid of seeing the sultan, he was agreeably surprised when he
saw the prince enter the council-chamber, without giving him the
fatal orders he expected.

The sultan, according to his custom, spent the day in regulating
his affairs; and when night came, he went to bed with
Scheherazade. Next morning, before day, Dinarzade failed not to
address herself to her sister thus: My dear sister, if you be not
asleep, I pray you, till day-break, which will be in a very
little time, to go on with the story you began last night. The
sultan, without staying till Scheherazade asked him leave, bid
her make an end of the story of the genie and the merchant, for I
long to hear the issue of it; upon which Scheherazade spoke, and
continued the story as follows.

The Second Night.

When the merchant saw that the genie was going to cut off his
head, he cried out aloud, and said to him, For Heaven's sake hold
your hand! allow me one word, be so good as to grant me some
respite; allow me but time to bid my wife and children adieu, and
to divide my estate among them by will, that they may not go to
law with one another after my death; and when I have done so, I
will come back to the same place, and submit to whatever you
shall please to order concerning me. But, says the genie, if I
grant you the time you demand, I doubt you will never return. If
you will believe my oath, answers the merchant, I swear, by all
tnat is sacred, that I will come and meet you here without fail.
What time do you demand then, replies the genie? I ask a year,
says the merchant; I cannot have less to order my affairs, and
prepare myself to die without regret. But I promise you that this
day twelve months I will return under these trees, to put myself
into your hands. Do you take Heaven to be witness to this
promise, says the genie? I do, answers the merchant, and repeat
it, and you may rely upon my oath. Upon this the genie left him
near the fountain, and disappeared.

The merchant, being recovered from his fright, mounted his horse,
and set forward on his journey; and as he was glad, on the one
hand, that he had escaped so great a danger, so he was mortally
sorry, on the other, when he thought on his fatal oath. When he
came home, his wife and children received him with all the
demonstrations of perfect joy. But he, instead of making them
answerable returns, fell a-weeping bitterly; from whence they
readily conjectured that something extraordinary had befallen
him. His wife asked the reason of his excessive grief and tears;
we are all overjoyed, says she, at your return, but you frighten
us to see you in this condition? Pray tell us the cause of your
sorrow. Alas! replies the husband, the cause of it is, that I
have but a year to live; and then told what had passed betwixt
him and the genie, and that he had given his oath to return at
the end of the year to receive death from his hands.

When they had heard these sad news, they all began to lament
heavily; his wife made a pitiful outcry, beat her face, and tore
her hairs. The children, being all in tears, made the house
resound with their groans; and the father, not being able to
overcome nature, mixed his tears with theirs; so that, in a word,
it was the most affecting spectacle that any man could behold.

Next morning, the merchant applied himself to put his affairs in
order, and, first of all, to pay his debts. He made presents to
his friends, gave great alms to the poor, set his slaves of both
sexes at liberty, divided his estate among his children,
appointed guardians for such of them as were not come of age; and
restoring to his wife all that was due to her by contract of
marriage, he gave her, over and above, all that he could do by

At last the year expired, and go he must. He put his
burial-clothes in his portmanteau; but never was there such grief
seen, as when he came to bid his wife and children adieu. They
could not think of parting, but resolved to go along and to die
with, him; but, finding that he must be forced to part from those
dear objects, he spoke to them thus: 'My dear wife and children,'
says he, 'I obey the order of Heaven in quitting you; follow my
example, submit courageously to this necessity, and consider that
it is the destiny of man to die.' Having said these words, he
went out of the hearing of the cries of his family; and, taking
his journey, arrived at the place, where he promised to meet the
genie, on the day appointed. He alighted, and setting himself
down by the fountain, waited the coming of the genie with all the
sorrow imaginable. Whilst he languished in this cruel
expectation, a good old man, leading a bitch, appeared, and drew
near him; they saluted one another, after which the old man says
to him, Brother, may I ask you why you are come into this desert
place, where there is nothing but evil spirits, and by
consequence you cannot be safe. To look upon these fine trees,
indeed, one would think the place inhabited; but if is a true
wilderness where it is not safe to stay long.

The merchant satisfied his curiosity, and told him the adventure
which obliged him to be there. The old man listened to him with
astonishment, and when he had done, cried out, This is the most
surprising thing in the world, and you are bound by the most
inviolable oath; however, I will be witness of your interview
with the genie; and sitting down by the merchant, they talked
together. But I see day, says Scheherazade, and must leave off;
but the best of the story is yet to come. The sultan, resolving
to hear the end of it, suffered her to live that day also.

The Third Night.

Next morning Dinarzade made the same request to her sister as
formerly, thus: My dear sister, says she, if you be not asleep,
tell me one of those pleasant stories you have read: but the
sultan, willing to understand what followed betwixt the merchant
and the genie, bid her go on with that; which she did as follows:

Sir, while the merchant and the old man that led the bitch were
talking, they saw another old man coming to them, followed by two
black dogs; after they had saluted one another, he asked them
what they did in that place? The old man with the bitch told him
the adventure of the merchant and genie, with all that had passed
betwixt them, particularly the merchant's oath. He added, that
this was the day agreed on, and that he was resolved to stay and
see the issue.

The second old man, thinking it also worth his curiosity,
resolved to do the like: he likewise sat down by them; and they
had scarcely begun to talk together, when there came a third old
man, who, addressing himself to the two former, asked why the
merchant that sat with them looked so melancholy. They told him
the reason of it, which appeared so extraordinary to him, that he
also resolved to be witness to the result, and for that end sat
down with them.

In a little time they perceived in the field a thick vapour, like
a cloud of dust rising by a whirlwind, advancing towards them,
which vanished all of a sudden, and then the genie appeared, who,
without saluting them, came up to the merchant with his drawn
scimitar, and taking him by the arm, says, Get thee up, that I
may kill thee as thou didst kill my son. The merchant and the
three old men being frightened, began to lament, and to fill the
air with their cries.--Here Scheherazade, perceiving day, left
off her story which did so much whet the sultan's curiosity, that
he was absolutely resolved to hear the end of it, and put off the
sultaness's execution till next day.

Nobody can express the grand vizier's joy, when he perceived that
the sultan did not order him to kill Scheherazade; his family,
the court, and all the people in general, were astonished at it.

The Fourth Night.

Towards the end of the following night, Dinarzade failed not to
awake the sultaness. Mv dear sister, says she, if you be not
asleep, pray tell me one of your fine stories. Then Scheherazade,
with the sultan's permission, spoke as follows:

Sir, when the old man that led the bitch saw the genie lay hold
of the merchant, and about to kill him without pity, he threw
himself at the feet of the monster, and kissing them, says to
him: Prince of genies, I most humbly request you to suspend your
anger, and do me the favour to hear me. I will tell you the
history of my life, and of the bitch you see; and if you think it
more wonderful and surprising than the adventure of the merchant
you are going to kill, I hope you will pardon the poor
unfortunate man the third of his crime. The genie took some time
to consult upon it, but answered at last, Well, then; I agree to


I shall begin then, says the old man; listen to me I pray you,
with attention. This bitch you see is my cousin, nay, what is
more, my wife: she was only twelve years of age when I married
her, so that I may justly say, she ought as much to regard me as
her father, as her kinsman and husband.

We lived together twenty years without any children, yet her
barrenness did hot hinder my haying a great deal of complaisance
and friendship for her. The desire of having children only made
me to buy a slave, by whom I had a son, who was extremely
promising. My wife being jealous, conceived a hatred both for
mother and child, but concealed it so well, that I did not know
it till it was too late.

Mean time my son grew up, and was ten years old, when I was
obliged to undertake a journey: before I went, I recommended to
my wife, of whom I had no mistrust, the slave and her son, and
prayed her to take care of them during my absence, which was for
a whole year. She made use of that time to satisfy her hatred:
she applied herself to magic, and when she knew enough of that
diabolical art to execute her horrible contrivance, the wretch
carried my son to a desolate place, where, by her enchantments,
she changed my son into a calf, and gave him to my farmer to
fatten, pretending she had bought him. Her fury did not stop at
this abominable action, but she likewise changed the slave into a
cow, and gave her also to the farmer.

At my return, I asked for the mother and child: your slave, says
she, is dead; and for your son, I know not what is become of him:
I have not seen him these two months. I was troubled at the death
of my slave; but my son having also disappeared, as she told me,
I was in hopes he would return in a little time. However, eight
months passed, and I heard nothing of him, When the festival of
the great Bairam happened, to celebrate the same, I sent to my
farmer for one of the fattest cows to sacrifice; and he sent me
one accordingly. The cow which he brought me was my slave, the
unfortunate mother of my son, I tied her, but as I was going to
sacrifice her, she bellowed pitifully and I could perceive
streams of tears run from her eyes. This seemed to me very
extraordinary, and finding myself, in spite of all I could do,
seized with pity, I could not find in my heart to give her the
blow, but ordered my farmer to get me another.

My wife, who was present, was enraged at my compassion, and
opposing herself to an order which disappointed her malice, she
cries out, What do you do, husband? Sacrifice that cow, your
farmer has not a finer, nor one fitter for that use. Out of
complaisance to my wife, I came again to the cow, and combatting
my pity, which suspended the sacrifice, was going to give her the
fatal blow, when the victim redoubling her tears, and bellowing,
disarmed me a second time. Then I put the mell into the farmer's
hands, and bade him sacrifice her himself, for her tears and
bellowing pierced my heart.

The farmer, less compassionate than I, sacrificed her; and when
he flead her, found her nothing but bones, though to us she
seemed very fat. Take her to yourself, says I to the farmer, I
quit her to you; give her in alms, or which way you will; and if
you have a very fat calf, bring me it in her stead. I did not
inform myself what he did with the cow; but, soon after he took
her away, he came with a very fat calf. Though I knew not that
the calf was my son, yet I could not forbear being moved at the
sight of him. On his part, as soon as he saw me, he made so great
an effort to come to me, that he broke his cord, threw himself at
my feet, with his head against the ground, as if he would excite
my compassion, conjuring me not to be so cruel as to take his
life, and did as much as was possible for him to do, to signify
that he was my son.

I was more surprised and affected with this action than with the
tears of the cow: I found a tender pity, which made me concern
myself for him, or rather nature did its duty. Go, says I to the
farmer, carry home that calf, take great care of him, and bring
me another in his stead immediately.

As soon as my wife heard me say so, she immediately cried out,
What do you do, husband? Take my advice, sacrifice no other calf
but that. Wife, said I, I will not sacrifice him, I will spare
him, and pray do not you oppose it. The wicked woman had no
regard to my desire, she hated my son too much to consent that I
should save him; I tied the poor creature, and taking up the
fatal knife--Here Scheherazade stopped, because she perceived

Then Dinarzade said, Sister, I am enchanted with this story,
which bespeaks my attention so agreeably. If the sultan will
suffer me to live to-day, answers Scheherazade, what I have to
tell you to-morrow will divert you abundantly more. Schahriar,
curious to know what would become of the old man's son, who led
the bitch, told the sultaness he would be very glad to hear the
end of that story next night.

The Fifth Night.

When day began to draw near, Dinarzade put her sister's orders in
execution very exactly, who, being awaked, prayed the sultan to
allow her to give Dinarzade that satisfaction, which the prince,
who took so much pleasure in the story himself, readily agreed

Sir, then, says Scheherazade, the first old man, who led the
bitch, continuing his story to the genie, the two other old men,
and the merchant, proceeded thus: I took the knife, says he, and
was going to strike it into my son's throat, when, turning his
eyes, bathed with tears, in a languishing manner towards me, he
affected me so, that I had not strength to sacrifice him, but,
let the knife fall, and told my wife positively that I would have
another calf to sacrifice, and not that. She used all endeavours
to make me change my resolution; but I continued firm, and
pacified her a little, by promising that I would sacrifice him
against the Bairam next year.

Next morning, my farmer desired to speak with me alone; and told
me, I come, says he, to tell you a piece of news, for which, I
hope, you will return me thanks. I have a daughter that has some
skill in magic: Yesterday, as I carried back the calf which you
would not sacrifice, I perceived she laughed when she saw him,
and in a moment after fell a-weeping. I asked her why she acted
two such contrary parts at one and the same time. Father, replies
she, the calf you bring back is our landlord's son: I laughed for
joy to see him still alive, and I wept at the remembrance of the
former sacrifice that was made the other day of his mother, who
was changed into a cow. These two metamorphoses were made by the
enchantments of our master's wife, who hated the mother and son;
and this is what my daughter told me, said the farmer, and I come
to acquaint you with it.

At these words, the old man adds, I leave you to think, my lord
genie, how much I was surprised: I went immediately to my farmer,
to speak with his daughter myself. As soon as I came, I went
forthwith to the stall where my son was; he could not answer my
embraces, but received them in such a manner as fully satisfied
me he was my son.

The farmer's daughter came: My good maid, says I, can you restore
my son to his former shape? Yes, says she, I can, Ah! said I, if
you can, I will make you mistress of my fortune. She replied to
me, smiling, You are our master, and know very well what I owe to
you, but cannot restore your son into his former shape, but on
two conditions. The first is, that you give him me for my
husband, and the second is, that you allow me to punish the
person who changed him into a calf. For the first, said I, I
agree to it with all my heart; nay, I promise you more, a
considerable estate for yourself, independent of what I design
for my son. In a word, you shall see how I will reward the great
service I expect from you. As to what relates to my wife, I also
agree to it: A person that has been capable of committing such a
criminal action, deserves very well to be punished; I leave her
to you; only I must pray you not to take her life. I am just
going then, answers she, to treat her as she has treated my son.
I agree to it, said I, provided you restore my son to me

Then the maid took a vessel full of water, pronounced words over
it that I did not understand, and addressing herself to the calf,
O calf, says she, if thou wast created by the almighty and
sovereign Master of the world, such as you appear at this time,
continue in that form: but, if thou art a man, and changed into a
calf by enchantment, return to thy natural shape by the
permission of the Sovereign Creator. As she spoke these words,
she threw water upon him, and in an instant he recovered his
first shape.

My son, my dear son, cried I! immediately embracing him with such
a transport of joy that I knew not what I was doing; it is Heaven
that has sent us this young maid to take off the horrible charm
by which you were enchanted, and to avenge the injury done to you
and your mother. I doubt not but, in acknowledgment, you will
take your deliverer to wife, as I have promised. He consented to
it with joy; but, before they were married, she changed my wife
into a bitch, and this is she you see here. I desired she should
have this shape, rather than another less agreeable, that we
might see her in the family without horror.

Since that time my son has become a widower, and gone to travel;
and it being several years since I heard of him, I am come abroad
to inquire after him; and not being willing to trust any body
with my wife while I should come home, I thought it fit to carry
her every where with me. This is the history of myself and this
bitch, is it not one of the most wonderful and surprising that
can be? I agree it is, says the genie, and, upon that account, I
forgive the merchant the third of his crime.

When the first old man, Sir, continued the sultaness, had
finished his story, the second, who led the two black dogs,
addressed himself to the genie, and says to him, I am going to
tell you what happened to me and these two black dogs you see by
me, and I am certain you will say that my story is yet more
surprising than that which you have just now heard; but when I
have told it you, I hope you will be pleased to pardon the
merchant the second third of his crime. Yes, replies the genie,
provided your story surpass that of the bitch. Then the second
began in this manner. But as Scheherazade pronounced these words,
she saw it was day, and left off speaking.

O Heaven! sister, says Dinarzade, these adventures are very
singular. Sister, replies the sultaness, they are not comparable
to those which I have to tell you next night, if the sultan, my
lord and master, be so good as to let me live. Schahriar answered
nothing to that, but rose up, said his prayers, and went to
council, without giving any order against the life of the

The Sixth Night.

The sixth night being come, the sultan and his lady went to bed.
Dinarzade awaked at the usual hour, and calling to the sultaness,
says, Dear sister, if you be not asleep, I pray you, until it be
day, to satisfy my curiosity; I am impatient to hear the story of
the old man and the two black dogs. The sultan consented to it
with pleasure, being no less desirous to know the story than
Dinarzade; and Scheherazade continued it as follows.


Great prince of genies, says the old man, you must know that we
are three brothers, I and the two black dogs you see: Our father
left each of us, when he died, one thousand sequins; with that
sum we all entered into the same way of living, and became
merchants. A little time after we had opened shop, my eldest
brother, one of these two dogs, resolved to travel and trade in
foreign countries. Upon this design, he sold his estate, and
bought goods proper for the trade he intended.

He went away, and was absent a whole year; at the end of which, a
poor man, who, I thought, had come to ask alms, presented himself
before me in my shop. I said to him, God help you. God help you
also, answered he, is it possible you do not know me? Upon this,
I looked to him narrowly, and knew him. Ah, my brother! cried I,
embracing him, how could I know you in this condition? I made him
come into my house, and asked him concerning his health, and the
success of his travels. Do not ask me that question, says he;
when you see me, you see all. It would only renew my grief to
tell you all the particulars of the misfortunes that have
befallen me, and reduced me to this condition, since I left you.

I immediately shut up my shop, and, carrying him to a bath, gave
him the best clothes I had by me; and examining my books, and
finding that I had doubled my stock, that is to say, that I was
worth two thousand sequins, I gave him one half. With that, said
I, brother, you may make up your loss. He joyfully accepted the
proffer, recovered himself, and we lived together as before.

Some time after, my second brother, who is the other of these two
dogs, would also sell his estate. I and his other brother did all
we could to divert him from it, but could not; He sold it, and
with the money bought such goods as were suitable for the trade
he designed. He joined a caravan; and took a journey. He returned
at the end of the year in the same condition as my other brother;
and I having gained another thousand sequins, gave him them, with
which he furnished his shop, and continued to follow his trade.

Some time after, one of my brothers comes to me to propose a
trading voyage with them; I immediately rejected their proposal.
You have travelled, said I, and what have you gained by it? Who
can assure me that I shall be more successful than you have been?
They represented to me in vain all that they thought fit to
prevail upon me to engage in that design with them, for I
constantly refused; but they importuned me so much, that after
having resisted their solicitations five whole. years, they
overcame me at last: but when we were to make preparations for
our voyage, and to buy goods necessary for the undertaking, I
found they had spent all, and that they had not one farthing left
of the thousand sequins I had given each of them. I did not,
however, upbraid them in the least with it. On the contrary, my
stock being six thousand sequins, I shared the half of it with
them, telling them, My brothers, we must venture these three
thousand sequins, and hide the rest in some sure place, that, in
case our voyage be no more successful than yours was formerly, we
may have wherewith to assist us, and to follow our ancient way of
living. I gave each of them a thousand sequins; and keeping as
much for myself, I buried the other three thousand in a corner of
my house. We bought our goods; and, after having embarked them on
board a vessel, which we freighted betwixt us three, we put to
sea with a favourable wind. After a month's sail--But I see day,
says Scheherazade, I must stop here.

Sister, says Dinarzade, this story promises a great deal; I fancy
the rest of it must be very extraordinary. You are not mistaken,
answered the sultaness; and if the sultan will allow me to tell
it you, I am persuaded it will very much divert you. Schahriar
got up, as he did the day before, without explaining his mind;
but gave no order to the grand vizier to kill his daughter.

The Seventh Night.

When the seventh night drew near a close, Dinarzade awaked the
sultaness, and prayed her to continue the story of the second old
man. I will, answered Scheherazade, provided the sultan, my lord
and master, do not oppose it. Not at all, says Shahriar; I am so
far from opposing it, that I desire you earnestly to go on with

To resume the thread of the story, says Scheherazade, you must
know that the old man, who led the two dogs, continued his story
to the genie, the other two old men, and the merchant, thus: In
short, says he, after two months sail, we arrived happily at a
port, where we landed, and had a very great vent for our goods. I
especially sold mine so well, that I gained ten to one; and we
bought commodities of that country to transport and sell in our

When we were ready to embark in order to return, I met, upon the
banks of the sea, a lady handsome enough, but poorly clad. She
came up to me presently, kissed my hand, prayed me, with the
greatest earnestness imaginable, to marry her, and take her along
with me. I made some difficulty to agree to it; but she said so
many things to persuade me that I ought to make no objections to
her poverty, and that I should have all the reason in the world
to be satisfied with her conduct, that I yielded. I ordered fit
apparel to be made for her; and, after having married her
according to form, I took her on board, and we set sail.

During the navigation, I found the wife I had taken had so many
good qualities, that I loved her every day more and more. In the
mean time my two brothers, who had not managed their affairs so
well as I did mine, envied my prosperity; and their fury carried
them so far as to conspire against my life; so that one night,
when my wife and I were asleep, they threw us both into the sea.

My wife was a fairy, and by consequence, genie, you know well,
she could not be drowned; but for me, it is certain, I had been
lost without her help. I had scarcely fallen into the water, till
she took me up, and carried me to an island. When it was day, the
fairy said to me, You see, husband, that, by saving your life, I
have not rewarded you ill for your kindness to me. You must know
that I am a fairy, and that, being upon the bank of the sea, when
you were going to embark, I found I had a strong inclination for
you: I had a mind to try your goodness, and presented myself
before you in the disguise wherein you saw me. You have dealt
very generously with me, and I am mighty glad to have found an
opportunity of testifying my acknowledgment to you: But I am
incensed against your two brothers, and nothing will satisfy me
but their lives.

I listened to this discourse of the fairy with admiration. I
thanked her as well as I could for the great kindness she had
done me; but, Madam, said I, for my brothers, I beg you to pardon
them; whatever cause they have given me, I am not cruel enough to
desire their death. I told her the particulars of what I had done
for them, which increased her indignation so, that she cried out,
I must immediately fly after those ungrateful traitors, and take
speedy vengeance on them; I will drown their vessel, and throw
them into the bottom of the sea. No, my good lady, replied I, for
the sake of Heaven do not so; moderate your anger, consider that
they are my brothers, and that we must do good for evil.

I pacified the fairy by these words; and as soon as I had spoken
them, she transported me in an instant from the island where we
were to the roof of my own house, which was terrassed, and
disappeared in a moment. I went down, opened the doors, and dug
up the three thousand sequins I had hid. I went afterwards to the
place where my shop was, which I also opened, and was
complimented by the merchants, my neighbours, upon my return.
When I went to my house, I perceived two black dogs, which came
to me in a very submissive manner; I knew not what it meant, but
was much astonished at it. But the fairy, who appeared
immediately, says to me, Husband, do not be surprised to see
these two black dogs by you; they are your two brothers. I was
troubled at these words, and asked her by what power they were so
transformed. It was I that did it, says she, at least I gave
commission to one of my sisters to do it, who, at the same time,
sunk their ship. You have lost the goods you had on board, but I
will make it up to you in another way. As to your two brothers, I
have condemned them to remain five years in that shape. Their
perfidiousness too well deserves such a penance; and, in short,
after having told me where I might hear of her, she disappeared.

Now the five years being out, I am travelling in quest of her;
and as I passed this way, I met this merchant, and the good old
man that led the bitch, and sat down by them. This is my history,
O prince of genies, do not you think it very extraordinary? I own
it, says the genie, and, upon that account, remit the merchant
the second third of the crime which he has committed against me.

As soon as the second old man had finished his story, the third
began, and made the like demand of the genie with the two first;
that is to say, to pardon the merchant the other third of his
crime, provided the story he had to tell him exceeded the two he
had already heard for singular events. The genie made him the
same promise as he had done the other two. Hearken then, says the
old man to him. But day appears, says Scheherazade, I must stop

I cannot enough admire, sister, says Dinarzade, the adventures
you have told me. I know abundance more, answers the sultaness,
that are still more wonderful. Schahriar, willing to know if the
story of the third old man would be as agreeable as that of the
second, put off the execution of Scheherazade till the next

The Eighth Night.

As soon as Dinarzade perceived it was time to call the sultaness,
she says, Sister, I have been awake a long time, and have a great
mind to awake you, I am so impatient to hear the story of the
third old man. The sultan answered, I can hardly think that the
third story will surpass the two former ones.

Sir, replies the sultaness, the third old man told his story to
the genie; I cannot tell it you, because it is not come to my
knowledge, but I know that it did so much exceed the two former
stories in the variety of wonderful adventures that the genie was
astonished at it; and no sooner heard the end of it, but he said
to the third old man, I remit the other third part of the
merchant's crime upon the account of your story. He is very much
obliged to all three of you, for having delivered him out of this
danger by your stories; without which he had not now been in the
world. And, having spoken thus, he disappeared to the great
contentment of the company.

The merchant failed not to give his three deliverers the thanks
he owed them. They rejoiced to see him out of danger; after which
he bid them adieu, and each of them went on his way. The merchant
returned to his wife and children, and passed the rest of his
days with them in peace. But, Sir, added Scheherazade, how
pleasant soever these stories may be, that I have told your
majesty hitherto, they do not come near that of the fisherman.
Dinarzade, perceiving that the sultaness demurred, says to her,
Sister, since there is still some time remaining, pray tell us
the story of the fisherman, if the sultan is willing. Schahriar
agreed to it, and Scheherazade, resuming her discourse, pursued
it in this manner.


Sir--There was a very ancient fisherman, so poor, that he could
scarcely earn enough to maintain himself, his wife, and three
children. He went every day to fish betimes in a morning; and
imposed it as a law upon himself, not to cast his nets above four
times a-day. He went one morning by moon-light, and, coming to
the sea-bank, undressed himself, and cast in his nets. As he drew
them towards the shore, he found them very heavy, and thought he
had got a good draught of fish, at which he rejoiced within
himself; but, in a moment after, perceiving that, instead of
fish, there was nothing in his nets but the carcase of an ass, he
was mightily vexed. Scheherazade stopped here, because she saw it
was day.

Sister, says Dinarzade, I must confess that the beginning of this
story charms me, and I foresee that the result of it will be very
agreeable. There is nothing more surprising than the story of
this fisherman, replied the sultaness, and you will be convinced
of it next night, if the sultan will be so gracious as to let me
live. Schahriar, being curious to hear the success of such an
extraordinary fishing, would not order Scheherazade to be put to
death that day.

The Ninth Night.

My dear sister, cries Dinarzade, next morning at the usual hour,
if you be not asleep, I pray you to go on with the story of the
fisherman; I am ready to die till I hear it. I am willing to give
you that satisfaction, says the sultaness; but at the same time
she demanded leave of the sultan, and, having obtained it, began
again as follows:

Sir, when the fisherman, vexed to have made such a sorry draught,
had mended his nets, which the carcase of the ass had broken in
several places, he threw them in a second time; and when he drew
them, found a great deal of resistance, which made him think he
had taken abundance of fish; but he found nothing except a
pannier full of gravel and slime, which grieved him extremely. O
Fortune! cries he, with a lamentable tone, do not be angry with
me, nor persecute a wretch who prays thee to spare him. I came
hither from my house to seek for my livelihood, and thou
pronouncest death against me. I have no other trade but this to
subsist by; and, notwithstanding all the care I take, I can
scarcely provide what is absolutely necessary for my family. But
I am in the wrong to complain of thee; thou takest pleasure to
persecute honest people, and to leave great men in obscurity,
whilst thou showest favour to the wicked, and advancest those who
have no virtue to recommend them.

Having finished this complaint, he threw away the pannier in a
fret, and washing his nets from the slime, cast them the third
time, but brought up nothing except stones, shells, and mud.
Nobody can express his disorder; he was within an ace of going
quite mad. However, when day began to appear, he did not forget
to say his prayers like a good Mussulman, and afterwards added
this petition: "Lord, you know that I cast my net only four times
a day; I have already drawn them three times, without the least
reward for my labour: I am only to cast them once more; I pray
you to render the sea favourable to me, as you did to Moses."

The fisherman, having finished this prayer, cast his nets the
fourth time; and, when he thought it was time, he drew them, as
formerly, with great difficulty; but, instead of fish, found
nothing in them but a vessel of yellow copper, that, by its
weight, seemed to be full of something; and he observed that it
was shut up and sealed with lead, having the impression of a seal
upon it. This rejoiced him; I will sell it, says he, to the
founder, and with the money arising from the product, buy a
measure of corn. He examined the vessel on all sides, and shook
it, to see if what was within made any noise, and heard nothing.
This circumstance, with the impression of the seal upon the
leaden cover, made him to think there was something precious in
it. To try this, he took a knife, and opened it with very little
labour; he presently turned the mouth downward; but nothing came
out, which surprised him extremely. He set it before him, and,
while he looked upon it attentively, there came out a very thick
smoke which obliged him to retire two or three paces from it.

This smoke mounted as high as the clouds, and extending itself
along the sea, and upon the shore, formed a great mist, which, we
may well imagine, did mightily astonish the fisherman. When the
smoke was all out of the vessel, it reunited itself, and became a
solid body, of which there was formed a genie twice as high as
the greatest of giants. At the sight of a monster of such
unsizeable bulk, the fisherman would fain have fled, but was so
frightened that he could not go one step.

Solomon, cried the genie immediately, Solomon, the great prophet,
pardon, pardon; I will never more oppose your will: I will obey
all your commands.--Scheherazade, perceiving it day, broke off
her story.

Upon which Dinarzade said, Dear sister, nobody can keep their
promise better than you can keep yours. This story is certainly
more surprising than the former. Sister, replies the sultaness,
there are more wonderful things yet to come, if my lord the
sultan will allow me to tell them you. Schahriar had too great a
desire to hear out the story of the fisherman to deprive himself
of that pleasure, and therefore put off the sultaness's death
another day.

The Tenth Night.

Dinarzade called her sister next night when she thought it was
time, and prayed her to continue the story of the fisherman; and
the sultan being also impatient to know what concern the genie
had with Solomon, Scheherazade continued her story thus;

Sir, the fisherman, when he heard these words of the genie,
recovered his courage, and says to him, Thou proud spirit, what
is this that you talk? it is above eighteen hundred years since
the prophet Solomon died, and we are now at the end of time: Tell
me your history, and how you came to be shut up in this vessel.

The genie, turning to the fisherman with a fierce look, says, You
must speak to me with more civility; thou art very bold to call
me a proud spirit. Very well, replies the fisherman, shall I
speak to you with more civility, and call you the owl of good
luck? I say, answers the genie, speak to me more civilly, before
I kill thee. I have only one favour to grant thee. And what is
that, says the fisherman? It is, answers the genie, to give you
your choice in what manner you wouldst have me to take thy life.
But wherein have I offended you, replies the fisherman? Is this
the reward for the good service I have done you. I cannot treat
you otherwise, says the genie; and that you may be convinced of
it, hearken to my story.

I am one of those rebellious spirits that opposed themselves to
the will of Heaven; all the other genies owned Solomon, the great
prophet, and submitted to him. Sacar and I were the only genies
that would never be guilty of so mean a thing: And, to avenge
himself, that great monarch sent Asaph, the son of Barakia, his
chief minister, to apprehend me. That was accordingly done; Asaph
seized my person, and brought me by force before his master's

Solomon, the son of David, commanded me to quit my way of living,
to acknowledge his power, and to submit myself to his commands: I
bravely refused to obey, and told him, I would rather expose
myself to his resentment, than swear fealty, and submit to him as
he required. To punish me, he shut me up in this copper vessel;
and to make sure of me that I should not break prison, he stamped
(himself) upon this leaden cover his seal, with the great name
God engraven upon it. Thus he gave the vessel to one of the
genies that submitted to him, with orders to throw it into the
sea, which was executed to my great sorrow.

During the first hundred years imprisonment, I swore that if one
would deliver me before the hundred years expired, I would make
him rich even after his death: But that century ran out, and
nobody did me that good office. During the second, I made an
oath, that I would open all the treasures of the earth to any one
that would set me at liberty, but with no better success. In the
third, I promised to make my deliverer a potent monarch, to be
always near him in spirit, and to grant him every day three
demands, of what nature soever they might be: But this century
ran out as well as the two former, and I continued in prison. At
last, being angry, or rather mad, to find myself a prisoner so
long, I swore, that if afterwards any one should deliver me, I
would kill him without pity, and grant him no other favour but to
choose what kind of death he would die; and therefore, since you
have delivered me to-day, I give you that choice.

This discourse afflicted the poor fisherman extremely: I am very
unfortunate, cries he, to come hither to do such a piece of good
service to one that is so ungrateful. I beg you to consider your
injustice, and revoke such an unreasonable oath: pardon me, and
Heaven will pardon you; if you grant me my life, Heaven will
protect you from all attempts against yours. No, thy death is
resolved on, says the genie, only choose how you will die. The
fisherman, perceiving the genie to be resolute, was extremely
grieved, not so much for himself as for his three children, and
bewailed the misery they must be reduced to by his death. He
endeavoured still to appease the genie, and says, Alas! be
pleased to take pity on me in consideration of the good service I
have done you. I have told thee already, replies the genie, it is
for that very reason I must kill thee. That is very strange, says
the fisherman, are you resolved to reward good for evil? The
proverb says, "That he who does good to one who deserves it not,
is always ill rewarded." I must confess I thought it was false;
for in effect there can be nothing more contrary to reason, or
the laws of society. Nevertheless, I find now, by cruel
experience, that it is but too true. Do not let us lose time,
replies the genie, all thy reasoning shall not divert me from my
purpose: Make haste, and tell me which way you choose to die.

Necessity is the mother of invention. The fisherman bethought
himself of a stratagem. Since I must die then, says he to the
genie, I submit to the will of Heaven; but, before I choose the
manner of death, I conjure you by the great name which was
engraven upon the seal of the prophet Solomon, the son of David,
to answer me truly the question I am going to ask you. The genie,
finding himself obliged to give a positive answer by this
adjuration, trembled, and replied to the fisherman, Ask what thou
wilt, but make haste. Day appearing, Scheherazade held her peace.

Sister, says Dinarzade, it must be owned, that the more you
speak, the more you surprise and satisfy. I hope the sultan, our
lord, will not order you to be put to death till he hears out the
fine story of the fisherman. The sultan is absolute, replies
Scheherazade; we must submit to his will in every thing. But
Shahriar, being as willing as Dinarzade to hear an end of the
story, did again put off the execution of the sultaness.

The Eleventh Night.

Shahriar, and the princess his spouse, passed this night in the
same manner as they had done the former; and, before break of
day, Dinarzade awaked them with these words, which she addressed
to the sultaness: I pray you, sister, to resume the story of the
fisherman. With all my heart, says Scheherazade, I am willing to
satisfy you, with the sultan's permission.

The genie (continued she) having promised to speak the truth, the
fisherman says to him, I would know if you were actually in this
vessel? Dare you swear it by the name of the great God? Yes,
replied the genie, I do swear by that great name that I was, and
it is a certain truth. In good faith, answered the fisherman, I
cannot believe you; the vessel is not capable to hold one of your
feet, and how should it be possible that your whole body could be
in it? I swear to thee notwithstanding, replied the genie, that I
was there just as you see me here: Is it possible that thou dost
not believe me after the great oath which I have taken? Truly,
not I, said the fisherman; nor will I believe you unless you show
it me.

Upon which the body of the genie was dissolved, and changed
itself into smoke, extending itself, as formerly, upon the
sea-shore; and then at last, being gathered together, it began to
reenter the vessel, which he continued to do successively, by a
slow and equal motion, after a smooth and exact way, till nothing
was left out, and immediately a voice came forth, which said to
the fisherman, Well, now, incredulous fellow, I am all in the
vessel, do not you believe me now?

The fisherman, instead of answering the genie, took the cover of

Book of the day:
Facebook Google Reddit StumbleUpon Twitter Pinterest