Part 10 out of 12
against the prince; but I must tell you he had neither one nor
the other, aud lamented only his dear mistress forsaking him,
which he in some measure attributed to himself, in giving her so
much freedom to walk about the city without his eunuchs. This was
all the resentment he showed, as you will find by his carriage
He received her with an open countenance; and when he observed
the sadness she was under, which nevertheless did not lessen her
beauty, with a goodness peculiar to himself, he said,
Schemselnihar, I cannot bear your appearing thus before me with
an air of affliction. You must be sensible how much I have always
loved you by the continual demonstrations I have given you; and I
can never change my mind, for even now I love you more than ever.
You have enemies, Schemselnihar, proceeded he; and those enemies
have done you all the wrong they can. For this purpose they have
filled my ears with stories against you, which have not made the
least impression upon me. Shake off, then, this melancholy,
continued he, and prepare to entertain your lord this night after
your accustomed manner. He said many other obliging things to
her, and then desired her to step into a magnificent apartment,
and stay for him.
The afflicted Schemselnihar was very sensible of the kindness the
caliph had for her; but the more she thought herself obliged to
him, the more she was concerned that she was so far off from the
prince, without whom she could not live, and yet was afraid she
should never see him more.
This interview between the caliph and Schemselnihar, continued
the confident, was whilst I came to speak with you; and I learned
the particulars of it from my companions, who were present. But I
had no sooner left you, proceeded she, than I went to my dear
mistress again, and was an eye-witness to what happened
afterwards. I found her in the apartment I told you of; and, as
she thought I came from you, she came to me, and whispering in my
ear, said, I am much obliged to you for the service you have been
doing me, but fear it will be the last. I took no notice of her
words, and she said no more to me; but if I had a mind to say any
thing to comfort her, I was in a place by no means proper for
disclosing my thoughts.
The caliph was introduced at night with the sound of instruments
upon which our women played, and the collation was immediately
served up. He took his mistress by the hand, and made her sit
down with him on the sofa; which she did with such regret, that
she expired some few minutes after. In short, she was hardly sat
down, when she fell backwards; which the caliph believed to be
only a swoon, and so we all thought; but when we endeavoured to
bring her to herself, we found she was quite gone, which you may
imagine not a little afflicted us.
The caliph did her the honour to weep over her, not being able to
refrain from tears, and, before he left the room, ordered all the
musical instruments to be broken, which was immediately executed.
For my part, I staid with her corpse all night, and next morning
bathed it with my tears, and dressed it for the funeral. The
caliph had her interred soon after in a magnificent tomb he had
erected for her in her lifetime, in a place she had desired to be
buried in. Now, since you tell me, said she, the prince of
Persia's body is to be brought to Bagdad, I will use my best
endeavours that he shall be interred in the same tomb, which may
be at least some satisfaction to two such faithful lovers.
The jeweller was somewhat surprised at this resolution of the
confident's, and said, Certainly you do not consider that this
enterprise is in a manner impossible, for the caliph will never
suffer it. Do not you be concerned at that, replied she; for you
will undoubtedly be of another opinion after I have told you that
the caliph has given liberty to all her slaves in general, with a
considerable pension to each for their subsistence; and as to me
in particular, has honoured me with the charge of my mistress's
tomb, and allotted me an annual income for my maintenance.
Moreover, you must think that the caliph, who was not ignorant of
the amour betweeen Schemselnihar and the prince, as I have
already told you, will not be a whit concerned if now, after her
death, he be buried with her. To all this the jeweller had not a
word to say, yet earnestly entreated the confident to conduct him
to her mistress's tomb, that he might say his prayers over her.
When he came in sight of it, he was not a little surprised to
find a vast number of people of both sexes, who were come thither
from all parts of Bagdad. As he could not come near the tomb, he
said his prayers at a distance; and then going to the confident,
who waited hard by, he said to her, I am altogether of a contrary
opinion to what I was just now; for now I am so far from thinking
that what you proposed cannot be put in execution, that you and I
need only tell abroad what we know of the amour of this
unfortunate couple, and how the prince died much about the same
time with his mistress, and is now bringing up to be buried; the
people will bring the thing about, and not suffer that two such
faithful lovers should be separated when dead, whom nothing could
divide in affection whilst they lived. As he said, so it came to
pass; for as soon as it came to be known that the corpse was
within a day's journey of the city, the inhabitants almost of all
sorts went forth, met it above twenty miles off, and marched
before it, till it came to the city gate; where the confident,
waiting for that purpose, presented herself before the prince's
mother, and begged her, in the name of the whole city, that she
would be pleased to consent that the bodies of the two lovers,
who had but one heart whilst they lived, especially during their
amour, might be buried in the same tomb now they were dead. The
princess immediately consented; and the corpse of the prince,
instead of being deposited in his own burying-place, was laid by
Schemselnihar's side, after it had been carried in procession at
the head of an infinite number of people, of all conditions and
degrees: nay, from that very time, all the inhabitants of Bagdad,
and even strangers, from such parts of the world as honoured the
Mahometan religion, have had a mighty veneration for that tomb,
and paid their devotion at it as often as opportunity would give
This, sir, said Scheherazade, who now perceived the day begin to
approach, is what I had to relate to your majesty concerning the
amour of the fair Schemselnihar, mistress to the caliph Haroun
Alraschid, and the worthy Ali Ebn Becar, prince of Persia.
When Dinarzade observed that her sister the sultaness had done
speaking, she thanked her in the most obliging manner for her
entertainment in a history so exceedingly agreeable.
If the sultan will be pleased to let me live till to-morrow, said
Scheherazade, I will also relate that of prince Camaralzaman
[Footnote: This word, in Arabic, signifies the Moon of the Time,
or the Moon of the Age.], which you will find yet more agreeable.
Here she stopped; and the sultan, who could not yet resolve on
her death, permitted her to go on next night in the following
THE STORY OF THE AMOURS OF
CAMARALZAMAN, PRINCE OF THE ISLES of THE
CHILDREN OF KHALEDAN; AND OF BADOURA,
PRINCESS OF CHINA.
About twenty days sail on the coast of Persia, there are islands
in the main ocean, called the islands of the Children of
Khaledan; these islands are divided into four great provinces,
which have all of them very flourishing and populous cities, and
which make together a most potent kingdom. It is governed by a
king named Schahzaman [Footnote: That is to say, in Persic, King
of the Time, or King of the Age.], who has four lawful wives, all
daughters of kings, and sixty concubines.
Schahzaman thought himself the most happy monarch of the world,
as well on account of his peaceful as prosperous reign. One thing
only disturbed his happiness, which was, that he was pretty old,
and had no children, though he had so many wives. He knew not
what to attribute this barrenness to; and what increased his
affliction was, that he was likely to leave his kingdom without a
successor. He dissembled his discontent a long while; and, what
was yet more uneasy to him, he was constrained to dissemble. At
length, however, he broke silence; and one day, after he had
complained bitterly of his misfortune to his grand vizier, he
demanded of him if he knew any remedy for it.
That wise minister replied, If what your majesty requires of me
had depended on the ordinary methods of human wisdom, you had
soon had an answer to your satisfaction; but, as my experience
and knowledge are not sufficient to content you, I must advise
you to have recourse to the Divine Power alone, who, in the midst
of our prosperities, which often tempt us to forget him, is
pleased so to limit our discernment, that we may apply only to
his omniscience for what we have occasion to know. Your majesty
has subjects, proceeded he, who make a profession of loving and
honouring God, and suffering great hardships for his sake; to
them I would advise you to have recourse, and engage them by alms
to join their prayers with yours; it may be, some among them may
be so just and agreeable to God as to obtain what they pray for.
King Schahzaman approved of this advice very much, and thanked
his vizier for it: he immediately caused rich alms to be given to
every monastery in his dominions; and having sent for the
superiors, declared to them his intention, and desired them to
acquaint their monks with it.
The king, in short, obtained of Heaven what he requested; for in
nine months time he had a son born of one of his wives. In return
for this favour, he sent new alms to the religious houses; and
the prince's birth-day was celebrated throughout his dominions
for a week together. The prince was brought to him as soon as
born; and he found him so beautiful, that he gave him the name of
Camaralzaman; that is, the Moon of the Age.
He was educated with all the care imaginable; and when he came to
be old enough, his father appointed him a governor and able
preceptors. These distinguished persons found him capable of
receiving all the instructions that were proper to be given him,
as well in relation to morals, as to other knowledge a prince
ought to have. When he came to be somewhat older, he learned all
his exercises; of which he acquitted himself with so much grace
and wonderful address, that he charmed all who saw him, and
particularly the sultan his father.
Having attained the age of fifteen years, the sultan, who loved
him tenderly, thought of resigning his throne to him, and
acquainted his grand vizier with his intentions. I am afraid,
said he, lest my son should lose those advantages in youth which
nature and education have given him; therefore, since I am
somewhat advanced in age, and fit for a retreat, I have had
thoughts of resigning the government to him, and passing the
remainder of my days in the satisfaction of seeing him reign. I
have undergone the fatigue of a crown a long while, and think it
is now proper for me to retire.
The grand vizier would not offer all the reasons he could have
brought to dissuade the sultan from such a proceeding; on the
contrary, he agreed with him in some measure. Sir, replied he,
the prince is yet but young; and it would not, in my humble
opinion, be wholly advisable to burden him with the weight of a
crown so soon. Your majesty fears, with a great deal of reason,
that his youth may be corrupted; but then, to remedy that, does
not your majesty likewise think it would be proper to marry him,
marriage being what would keep him within bounds, and confine his
inclinations? Moreover, your majesty might then admit him of your
council, where he would learn by degrees the art of reigning, and
consequently be fit to receive your power, whenever you shall
think proper to bestow it on him.
Schahzaman found this advice of his prime minister highly
reasonable, and therefore summoned the prince to appear before
him, dismissing the grand vizier at the same time.
The prince, who had been accustomed to see his father only at
certain times, was a little startled at this irregular summons;
therefore, when he came before him, he saluted him with great
respect, and afterwards stood still, with his eyes fixed on the
The sultan, perceiving his surprise, said to him in a mild way,
Do you know, son, for what reason I have sent for you hither? No,
may it please your majesty, answered the prince, modestly: God
alone knows how to penetrate hearts. I should be glad to know of
your majesty for what reason? Why, I sent for you, said the
sultan, to let you know that I design to marry you: what do you
think of it?
Prince Camaralzaman heard this with great uneasiness; it quite
surprised him; he was all in a sweat, and knew not what answer to
make. After a few moments, however, he replied, Sir, I beseech
your majesty to pardon me, if I seem surprised at the declaration
you have made. I did not expect any such proposal to one so young
as I am; and besides, I know not whether I could ever prevail on
myself to marry, not only on account of the trouble wives bring a
man, and which I am very sensible of, though unmarried, but also
by reason of their many impostures, wickednesses, and
treacheries, which I have read of in authors. It may be, I may
not be always of the same mind; yet I cannot but think I ought to
have time to conclude on what your majesty requires of me.
Prince Camaralzaman's answer extremely afflicted his father; he
was not a little grieved to see what an aversion he had to
marriage, yet would not call his obedience in question, nor make
use of his paternal authority: he contented himself with telling
him that he would not force his inclinations, and gave him time
to consider of what he had proposed to him; yet wished him to
remember, that, as a prince designed to govern a great kingdom,
he ought to take some care to leave behind him a successor.
Schahzaman said no more to the prince: he admitted him into his
council, and gave him all the reason to be satisfied that could
be desired. About a year after, he took him aside, and said to
him, Well, son, have you thoroughly considered of what I proposed
to you last year about marrying? Will you still refuse me the
satisfaction I desire, and let me die without seeing myself
revive in your posterity?
The prince seemed less astonished than before; he now briskly
answered his father as follows: Sir, I have not neglected to
consider of what you proposed, and, upon the whole matter, I am
resolved to continue in the state I am, without concerning myself
with marriage, In short, sir, the many evils I have read that
women have caused in the world, and the continual mischiefs I
still hear and observe they do, have been the occasion of my
resolution to have nothing to do with them; so that, sir, I hope
your majesty will pardon me if I acquaint you, that it will be to
no purpose to solicit me any further about that affair. This
said, and making a low reverence, he went out briskly, without
staying to hear what the sultan would answer.
Now, any monarch but Schahzaman would have been in a violent
passion at such deportment of a son; but he took little notice of
it, resolving to use all gentle methods before he proceeded to
force. He communicated this new cause of discontent to his prime
minister. I have followed your advice, said he, but Camaralzaman
is further off than ever from complying with my desires. He
delivered his resolution in such arrogant terms, that I had all
the occasion in the world for my reason and moderation to keep me
from being in a passion. Fathers who desire favours of their
children, which they nevertheless can command, have themselves
alone to blame if they are disobeyed. But tell me, I beseech you,
how I shall reclaim this hardy young prince, who proves so
rebellious to my pleasure.
Sir, answered the grand vizier, patience brings many things about
which before seemed impracticable; but it may be that this affair
is of a nature not likely to succeed in that way. However, in my
judgment, your majesty would do well to give the prince another
year to consider of the matter; and if, when this is expired, he
still continues averse to your proposal, then your majesty may
propose it to him in full council, as a thing that is highly
necessary for the common good; it is not likely that he will
refuse to comply with it before so grave an assembly, and on so
necessary an account, whatever he has done before.
The sultan, who passionately desired to see his son married,
thought this long delay an age; however, though with much
difficulty, he at length yielded to his grand vizier's reasons,
which he could no way disapprove.
After the grand vizier was gone, sultan Schahzaman went to the
apartment of the mother of prince Camaralzaman, to whom he had
often discovered what an ardent desire he had to marry the
prince. When he had told her, with tears in his eyes, how his son
had refused to comply a second time, and that nevertheless,
through the advice of his grand vizer, he was induced to wait yet
a longer time for his compliance, he said, Madam, I know he will
hearken more to you than me, therefore I desire you would take
your time to speak to him seriously of the matter, and to let him
know that, if he persists much longer in his obstinacy, he will
oblige me to have recourse to extremities that may not be
pleasing to him, and which may give him cause to repent of having
Fatima, for so was the lady called, acquainted the prince, the
first time she saw him, that she had been informed of his second
refusal to be married, and how much chagrin he had occasioned his
father on that account. Madam, said the prince, I beseech you not
to renew my grief upon that head; for, if you do, I have reason
to fear, in the disquiet I am under, that something may escape me
which may not altogether correspond with the respect I owe you.
Fatima knew, by this answer, that it was not then a proper time
to speak to him; therefore deferred what she had to say till
Some considerable time after, Fatima thought she had met with a
more favourable occasion, which gave her hopes of being heard
upon the subject; she therefore accosted him with all the
eagerness imaginable: Son, said she, I beg of you, if it be not
very irksome to you, to tell me what reason you have for your so
great aversion to marriage? If you have no other than the badness
and wickedness of some women, there can be nothing less
reasonable, or more weak. I will not undertake the defence of
those who are bad, there are a great number of them undoubtedly;
but it would be the greatest injustice imaginable to condemn all
the sex for their sakes. Alas, son! you have met with a great
many bad women in your books, who have occasioned great
disorders, and I will not excuse them; but you do not consider
how many monarchs, sultans, and other princes, there have been in
the world, whose tyrannies, barbarities, and cruelties,
astonished those who read of them, and which I have myself. Now,
for one woman who is thus wicked, you will meet with a thousand
of these tyrants and barbarians; and what torment, do you think,
must a good woman undergo, for such there are, who is united to
one of these wretches?
Madam, replied Camaralzaman, I doubt not but there is a great
number of wise, virtuous, good, affable, and generous women, in
the world; and would to God they all resembled you! But what
pierces me, is the doubtful choice a man is obliged to make; and
oftentimes one has not even that liberty.
Let us suppose, then, Madam, continued he, that I had a mind to
marry, as the sultan my father so earnestly desires I should;
what wife, think you, would he be likely to provide for me?
Probably a princess, whom he would demand of some neighbouring
prince, and who would think it an honour done him to send her to
him. Fair or ugly, good or ill-humoured, she must be accepted;
nay, suppose no other princess excelled her in beauty, yet who
can be certain that her temper would be of equal goodness; that
she would be affable, complaisant, entertaining, obliging, and
the like; that her discourse would generally run on solid
matters, and not on trifles, such as dress, adjustments,
ornaments, and the like fooleries, which would disgust any man of
sense? In a word, that she would not be haughty, proud, arrogant,
impertinent, scornful, and waste a man's estate in frivolous
expences, such as gaudy clothes, unnecessary jewels, toys, and
the like long train of magnificent follies.
Thus you see, madam, continued he, how many reasons a man may
have to be disgusted at marriage. Well, but to go further: let
this princess be ever so perfect, accomplished, and
irreproachable, I have yet a great many more reasons not to
desist from my sentiment, or depart from my resolution.
What, son, replied Fatima; have you then more reasons than those
you have already advanced? I do not doubt but that I shall find
wherewithal to answer them, and stop your mouth with a word. Very
well, madam, replied the prince; and perhaps I may find
wherewithal to reply to your answer.
I mean, son, said Fatima, that it is easy for a prince, who has
had the misfortune to marry such a wife as you describe, to get
rid of her, and take such care that she may not prejudice his
estate. Ah, but, madam, replied the prince, you do not consider
what a mortification it would be to a person of so great quality
to be obliged to come to an extremity of that nature. Would it
not have been better, think you, and much more for his honour and
quiet, that he had never run such a risk?
But, son, said Fatima once more, after the manner you understand
things, I apprehend you have a mind to be the last king of your
race, who have nevertheless reigned so long and gloriously in the
isles of the Children of Khaledan.
Madam, replied the prince, for my part I do not desire to survive
the king my father; and if I should die before him, it would be
no great matter of wonder, since so many children have died
before their parents. But as for my leaving no successor, I am of
opinion it is much better to be the last of one's race, than
father to a bad prince, or husband to a bad wife.
From that time Fatima had frequent conferences with her son the
prince on the same subject, and omitted no opportunity or
argument to endeavour rooting out his aversion to the fair sex;
but he eluded all her reasonings by such as she could not well
answer, and continued in the same mind.
The year expired, and, to the great regret of the sultan, prince
Camaralzaman gave not the least proof of having changed his
sentiments; so that one day, when there was a great council held,
the prime vizier and other viziers, the principal officers of the
crown, and the generals of the army, being present, the sultan
spoke thus to the prince: Son, it is now a long while since I
have earnestly desired to see you married; and I imagined you
would have had more complaisance for a father, who required
nothing unreasonable of you, than to oppose him so long. But,
after so great resistance on your part, which has almost worn out
my patience, I have thought fit to propose the same thing once
more to you in presence of my council. Now I would have you to
consider, that the favour I desire is not only to oblige me, but
to comply with the earnest request of the estates of my
dominions, who, for the common good of us all, in conjunction
with me, require it of you. Declare then, before these lords
present, whether you will marry or not; that, according to your
answer, I may proceed, and take those measures which I ought.
The prince answered with so little temper, or rather with so much
heat, that the sultan, enraged to see himself affronted in full
council, cried out, How, unnatural son! have you the insolence to
talk thus to your father and sultan? Ho! guards, take him away!
At these words he was seized by the eunuchs, and carried to an
old tower that had been uninhabited a long while; where he was
shut up, with only a bed, a few moveables, some books, and one
slave only to attend him.
Camaralzaman, thus deprived of liberty, was nevertheless pleased
that he had the freedom to converse with books, which made him
look on his confinement with some indifference. In the evening he
bathed, and said his prayers; and, after having read some
chapters in the alcoran with the same tranquillity of mind as if
he had been in the sultan's palace, undressed himself, and went
to bed, leaving his lamp burning by him all the while he slept.
In this tower was a well, which served for a retreat to a certain
fairy named Maimoune, daughter of Damriel, king or head of a
legion of genii. It was about midnight when this Maimoune came
forth silently, to wander about the world after her wonted
custom. She was surprised to see a light in prince Camaralzaman's
chamber. She entered it; and, without stopping at the slave who
lay at the door, approached the bed, whose magnificence, though
very great, she did not so much wonder at, as that there should
be a man in it.
Prince Camaralzaman had but half covered his face with the
bed-clothes, by which Maimoune could perceive that he was the
finest young man she had seen in all her rambles through the
world. What beauty, or rather what prodigy of beauty, said she
within herself, will this youth appear, when his so well formed
eye-lids shall be open? What crime can he have committed, to
deserve this rigorous treatment?
She could not forbear admiring the prince, till at length, having
kissed him gently on both cheeks, and in the middle of the
forehead, without waking him, she laid the bed-clothes in the
order they were in before, and took her flight into the air. As
she mounted to the middle region, she heard a great clapping of
wings, which induced her to fly towards that side; and, when she
approached, she saw the genius that made the noise, but he was
one of those who are rebellious to God. As for Maimoune, she
belonged to that class whom the great Solomon forced to conform.
This genius, whose name was Danhasch, the son of Schamhourasch,
knew Maimoune; but did not dare to take notice of her, being
sensible how much power she had over him, by her submission to
the Almighty. He would have avoided her, but she was so near him,
that he must either fight or yield.
Brave Maimoune, said Danhasch, in the tone of a supplicant, swear
to me, in the name of the Great Power, that you will not hurt me;
and I swear also, on my part, not to do you any harm?
Cursed genius! replied Maimoune, what hurt canst thou do me? I
fear thee not; but as thou hast desired this favour of me, I
swear not to do thee any harm. Tell me, then, wandering spirit,
whence thou comest, what thou hast seen, and what mischief thou
hast done this night? Fair lady, answered Danhasch, you meet me
in a good time to hear something that is very wonderful.
THE HISTORY OF THE PRINCESS OF CHINA.
I AM come from the utmost limits of China, which look on the last
islands of this hemisphere. But, charming Maimoune, said
Danhasch, who trembled at the sight of this fairy, insomuch that
he could hardly speak, promise me at least that you will forgive
me, and let me go on in my way, after I have satisfied your
Go on, go on, cursed spirit! replied Maimoune, go on, and fear
nothing. Dost thou think I am as perfidious an elf as thyself,
and that I am capable of breaking the serious oath I have made?
No, you may depend on my promise: but be sure you tell nothing
but what is true, or I shall clip your wings, and treat you as
Danhasch, a little heartened at the words of Maimoune, said, My
dear lady, I will tell you nothing but what is true, if you will
have but the goodness to hear me. You must know, then, the
country of China, from whence I come, is one of the largest and
most powerful kingdoms of the earth, on which depend the utmost
islands of this hemisphere, as I have already said. The king of
this country is at present Gaiour, who has a daughter the finest
woman that ever the sun saw. Neither you nor I, nor your class
nor mine, nor all mankind together, have expressions lively
enough to give a sufficient description of this bright lady. Her
hair is brown, and of so great a length, that it reaches far
below her feet. Her forehead is as smooth as the best polished
mirror, and of admirable symmetry. Her eyes are black, sparkling,
and full of fire. Her nose is neither too long nor too short, her
mouth is small, and her lips are like vermilion. Her teeth are
like two rows of pearls, and surpass every thing in whiteness.
When she moves her tongue, she forms a sweet and most agreeable
voice, and expresses herself in such proper terms as sufficiently
indicate the vavacity of her wit. The whitest marble or alabaster
is not fairer than her neck. In a word, by this perfect sketch,
you may guess there is no beauty like her in the world.
Any one that did not know the king, father of this incomparable
princess, would be apt to imagine, from the great respect and
kindness he shows her, that he was in love with his daughter.
Never did a lover do more for a mistress the most endearing, than
he has been seen to do for her. In a word, jealousy never was
more watchful over one than he is over her; and that her retreat,
on which he has resolved, may not seem irksome, he has built
seven palaces for her, the most magnificent and uncommon that
ever were known.
The first palace is of rock crystal, the second of brass, the
third of fine steel, the fourth of another sort of brass more
valuable than the foregoing, the fifth of touchstone, the sixth
of silver, and the seventh of massy gold. He has furnished these
palaces most sumptuously, and after a most unheard-of manner,
with materials not unlike those they are built of. He has filled
the gardens with parterres of glass and flowers, intermixed with
all manner of water-works, such as jets-d'eau, canals, cascades,
and the like; the eye is lost in prospect of large groves and
trees where the sun never enters. King Gaiour, in short, has made
it appear that his paternal love exceeds that of any other kind
Now, on the fame of the beauty of this incomparable princess, the
most powerful neighbouring kings sent embassadors to request her
in marriage. The king of China received them all in the most
obliging manner; but as he resolved not to marry his daughter
without her consent, so as she did not like any of them, they
returned after receiving great honours and civilities.
Sir, said the princess to the king her father, you have a mind to
marry me, and think to oblige me by it; but where shall I find
such stately palaces and delicious gardens as I have with your
majesty? Under your good pleasure I am unconstrained in all
things, and receive the same honours that are paid to your own
person. These are advantages I cannot expect to find any where
else; men ever love to be masters; and I do not care to be
commanded by a husband.
After divers embassies on the same occasion, there came one from
a more rich and potent king than any that had been hitherto sent.
The king of China recommended this prince to his daughter, as a
husband both advantageous and proper for her: yet she refused him
for the same reasons as before, and begged her father to dispense
with her on that account. He pressed her to hearken to him; but,
instead of complying, she lost all respect and duty that was due
to him. Sir, said she, in a great rage, trouble me no more with
any talk of marriage, unless you would have me bury this poniard
in my bosom, to rid myself from your importunities!
The king, being much enraged at this, said in a great passion,
Daughter, you are mad, and I must use you as such. In a word, he
shut her up in a certain apartment of one of the seven palaces,
allowing only ten old women to wait upon her, to keep her
company, the chief of whom had been her nurse. And that the kings
his neighbours, who had sent embassies to him on this account,
might not think any more of her, he despatched envoys to them
severally, to let them know how averse his daughter was to
marriage; and as he did not doubt but she was really mad, he
charged them to make it known in every court, that if there were
any physician who would undertake to come and cure her, he
should, if he succeeded, have her for his pains.
Fair Maimoune, said Danhasch, all is true that I have told you;
and I, for my part, have not failed to go every day regularly to
contemplate this incomparable beauty, whom I would be very far
from doing any harm to, notwithstanding my natural propensity to
mischief. I would have you go to see her, continued he; I will
assure you it would be worth your while, and doubt not but you
will think yourself obliged to me for the sight, when you find I
am no liar: I am ready to wait on you as a guide, and you may
command me as soon as you please.
Instead of answering Danhasch, Maimoune burst into a violent
laughter, which lasted some time; and Danhasch, not knowing what
might be the occasion of it, was not a little astonished. When
Maimoune ceased laughing, she cried, Good, good, very good; you
would have me then believe all that you have told me: I thought
you designed to entertain me with something surprising and
extraordinary, and you have been talking all this while like a
driveller! Ah! fie, fie! What would you say, if you had seen the
fine prince whom I am just come from, and whom I love with a
passion equal to his desert? I am confident you will soon give up
the bell, and not pretend to compare your choice with mine.
Agreeable Maimoune, replied Danhasch, may I presume to ask you
what this prince is called? Know, answered Maimoune, an accident
has happened to him much like that of your princess. The king his
father would have married him against his will; but, after many
importunities, he frankly told the old gentleman he would have
nothing to do with a wife. This occasioned him to be put in a
prison in an old tower, which I make my residence, and from
whence I came but just now from admiring him.
I will not absolutely contradict you, my pretty lady, replied
Danhasch; but you must give me leave to be of opinion, till I
have seen the prince, that no mortal upon earth can equal the
beauty of my princess. Hold thy tongue, cursed spirit! replied
Maimoune: I tell thee, once more, that can never be. I will not
contend with you, said Danhasch; but the way to be convinced, is
to accept of the proffer I make you to go and see my princess,
and after that I will go with you to your prince.
There is no need of taking so much pains, replied Maimoune; there
is another way to satisfy us both; and that is, for you to bring
your princess, and place her at my prince's bed-side: by this
means it will be easy for us to compare them together, and to see
which is the most handsome.
Danhasch consented to what Maimoune had proposed, and was
resolved to set out immediately for China upon that errand: but
Maimoune, drawing him aside, told him, she must first show him
the place whither he was to bring the princess. They flew
together to the tower; and when Maimoune had shown him the place,
she cried, Go now, fetch your princess: do it quickly, and you
shall find me here.
Danhasch left Maimoune, and flew towards China, whence he soon
returned with incredible speed, bringing the fair princess along
with him asleep. Maimoune introduced him into the chamber of
prince Camaralzaman, and they placed the princess by the prince's
When the prince and princess were thus laid together, all the
while asleep, there rose a great contest between the genius and
the fairy about the preference of beauty. They were some time
admiring and comparing them; but at length Danhasch broke
silence, and said to Maimoune, You see, and I have already told
you, my princess was handsomer than your prince; now, I hope, you
are convinced of it.
How! convinced of it! replied Maimoune; I am not convinced of it:
and you must be blind, if you cannot see that my prince has the
better of the comparison. The princess is fair, I do not deny it;
but if you compare them together without prejudice, you will
quickly see the difference.
Though I should compare them ever so often, said Danhasch, I
could never change my opinion. I saw what I now see at first
sight, and time will not be able to make me see more; however,
this shall not hinder my yielding to you, charming Maimoune, if
you desire it; but I would have you yield to me as a favour! I
scorn it, said Maimoune; and I would not receive a favour at such
a wicked genius' hands: I refer the matter to an arbitrator; and
if you will not consent, I shall get the better by your refusal.
Danhasch, who had ever a great deal of complaisance for Maimoune,
immediately consented, which he had no sooner done, but Maimoune
stamping with her foot, the earth opened, and out came a hideous,
hump-backed, blind, and lame genius, with six horns on his head,
and claws on his hands and feet. As soon as he was come out, and
the earth had closed up, he, perceiving Maimoune, cast himself at
her feet, and then, rising upon one knee, asked what she would
please to have with him.
Rise, Cascheasch, said Maimoune; I caused you to come hither to
determine a difference between me and that cursed Danhasch there.
Look on that bed, and tell me, without partiality, which is the
handsomest of those two who lie there asleep, the young man or
the young lady.
Cascheasch looked on the prince and princess with great
attention, admiration, and surprise; and after he had considered
them a good while, without being able to determine which was the
handsomest, he turned to Maimoune, and said, Madam, I must needs
confess I should deceive you, and betray myself, if I pretended
to say one was a whit handsomer than the other: the more I
examine them, the more it seems to me each possesses, in a
sovereign degree, the beauty which is betwixt them; and if one
has not the least defect, how can the other have any advantage?
But if either has any thing amiss, it will be better discovered
when they are awake, than now they are asleep. Let them then be
awaked one after another; and that person who shall express most
love for the other by ardour, eagerness, and passion, shall be
deemed to have least beauty.
This proposal of Cascheasch's pleased equally both Maimoune and
Danhasch. Maimoune then changed herself into a flea, and leaped
on the prince's neck, where she stung him so smartly, that he
awoke, and put up his hand to the place; but Maimoune skipped
away as soon as she had done, and resumed her pristine form;
which, like those of the two genii, was invisible, the better to
observe what he would do.
In drawing back his hand, the prince chanced to let it fall on
that of the princess of China. He opened his eyes, and was
exceedingly surprised to find a lady lying by him; nay, a lady of
the greatest beauty. He raised his head, and leaned on his elbow,
the better to consider her. Her blooming youth, and incomparable
beauty, fired him in a moment; of which flame he had never yet
been sensible, and from which he had even hitherto guarded
himself with the greatest application.
Love seized on his heart in the most lively manner, insomuch that
he could not help crying out, What beauty is this! what charms! O
my heart! O my soul! In saying which, he kissed her forehead,
both her cheeks, and her mouth, with so little caution, that she
had certainly been awaked by it, had not she slept sounder than
usual through the enchantment of Danhasch.
How, my pretty lady! said the prince, do you not awake at these
testimonies of love given you by prince Camaralzaman? Whosoever
you are, I would have you to know he is not unworthy of your
affection. He was going to awake her at that instant, but
refrained himself all of a sudden. Is not this she, said he, whom
the sultan my father would have had me marry? He was in the wrong
not to let me see her sooner. Had he done so, I should not have
offended him by my disobedience, nor would he have had occasion
to use me as he has done.
The prince began to repent sincerely of the fault he had
committed, and was once more upon the point of awaking the
princess of China. It may be, said he within himself, the sultan
my father has a mind to surprise me, and has sent this young lady
to try if I had really that aversion to marriage which I
pretended. Who knows but, having thus laid her in my way, he is
hid behind the hangings, to take an opportunity to appear, and
make me ashamed of my dissimulation? This second crime would be
yet much greater than the first. Upon the whole matter, I will
content myself with this ring, which will at any time create in
me a remembrance of this dear lady.
He then gently drew off a fine ring the princess had on her
finger, and immediately put on one of his own in its place. After
this he turned his back, and was not long before he fell into a
profounder sleep than before, through the enchantment of the
As soon as prince Camaralzaman was sound asleep, Danhasch
transformed himself into a flea likewise in his turn, and went
and bit the princess so rudely on the lower lip, that she
forthwith awoke, started, clapped herself upon her breech, and
opening her eyes, was not a little surprised to see a man lying
by her. From surprise she proceeded to admiration, and from
admiration to real joy, which she conceived at finding him so
beautiful and young.
What! cried she, is it you the king my father has designed me for
a husband? I am, indeed, most unfortunate at not knowing it
before, for then I should not have put my lord and father in a
rage, nor been so long deprived of a husband, whom I cannot
forbear loving with all my heart. Wake, then, wake, my dear love,
proceeded she; for it does not sure become a man that is married,
to sleep so soundly the first night of his nuptials.
So saying, she took prince Camaralzaman by the arm, and shook him
so violently, as had been enough to have awaked the profoundest
sleeper, had not Maimoune at that instant increased his sleep,
and augmented his enchantment. She renewed this shaking several
times, and finding it did not awake him, she cried out, What is
come to thee, my dear! What jealous rival, envying thy happiness
and mine, has had recourse to magic, to throw thee into this
profound and insurmountable drowsiness; from whence I think thou
wilt never recover? Then she snatched his hand, and kissing it
eagerly, perceived he had a ring upon his finger which greatly
resembled her's, and which she found to be her own. As soon as
she saw that she had another on her finger instead of it, she
could not comprehend how this exchange could be made; but yet she
did not doubt but it was a certain token of their marriage. At
length, being tired with her fruitless endeavours to awake the
prince, yet well assured that he could not escape her when he
awoke, she said, Since I find it is not in my power to awake
thee, I will not trouble myself any further about it, but bid
thee good night, and then compose myself to rest. At these words,
after having given him a hearty kiss on the cheeks and lips, she
turned her back, and went again to sleep.
When Maimoune saw that she could speak without fear of awaking
the princess, she cried to Danhasch, Ah, cursed genius! dost thou
not now see what thy contest is come to? Art thou not now
convinced how much thy princess is inferior to my prince in
charms? At this she turned to Cascheasch; and having thanked him
for his trouble, bid him, in conjunction with Danhasch, take the
princess, and convey her back again to her bed, from whence he
had taken her. Danhasch and Cascheasch did as they were
commanded, and Maimoune retired to her well.
Prince Caraaralzaman, waking next morning, looked to see if the
lady was by him whom he had seen the night before. When he found
she was gone, he cried out, I thought indeed that this was a
trick the king my father designed to play me! I am much obliged
to him for the favour, yet have fairly escaped his trap. Then he
awaked the slave, and bid him come and dress him, who accordingly
brought him a basin of water; and washing himself, and saying his
prayers, he took a book, and began to read.
After those ordinary exercises, he called the slave, and said to
him, Come hither, and be careful that you do not tell me a lie.
How came the lady hither who lay with me tonight, and who brought
My lord, answered the slave with great astonishment, I know not
what lady your highness speaks of. I speak, said the prince, of
her who came hither, and lay with me tonight, or rather who was
brought for that purpose. My lord, replied the slave, I know of
no such lady; and if there was any such, how should she come in
without my knowledge, since I lay at the door?
Are you in the contrivance, then, villain? replied the prince,
Slave, you lie! for there was a lady here. In saying these words,
he gave him a box on the ear, pushed him along upon the ground,
and then stamped upon him for some time; till at length, taking
the well-rope, and tying it under his arms, he plunged him
several times into the water. I will drown thee, wretch! cried
he, if thou dost not speedily tell me who the lady was, and who
The slave, half dead, said within himself, Doubtless, my lord the
prince must have lost his senses through grief, and I shall not
know how to escape being murdered, if I do not tell him a lie. My
lord, then cried he, in an humble and supplicant tone, I beseech
your highness to spare my life, and I will tell you how the
Then the prince drew the slave up, and pressed him to begin. As
soon as he was out of the well, My lord, said he, trembling, your
highness may perceive it is not proper for me to relate any thing
to you in this condition: I beg you to give me leave to go and
change my clothes, and I will satisfy you all I am able. Do it,
then, quickly, said the prince; and be sure you conceal nothing;
for if you do, you must expect the worst of usage.
The slave, being at liberty, went out; and having locked the door
upon the prince, ran to the palace in the pickle he was in. The
king was at that time in discourse with his prime vizier, to whom
he had just related the agonies he had undergone that night on
account of his son's disobedience.
The wise minister endeavoured to comfort his master, by telling
him that he did not doubt but the prince would soon be reduced to
obedience. Sir, said he, your majesty need not repent of having
used your son after this rate; I dare promise it will contribute
towards reclaiming him. Have but patience to let him continue a
while in prison, and no doubt the heat of youth will abate, and
he will submit entirely to your pleasure.
The grand vizier had just made an end of speaking when the slave
came in, and cast himself at king Schahzaman's feet. My lord,
said he, I am very sorry to be the messenger of ill news to your
majesty, which I know must create your fresh affliction. My lord
the prince is distracted; he fancies a fine lady has lain with
him all night, and has used me thus ill for questioning it. Then
he proceeded to tell all the particulars of what prince
Camaralzaman had said to him.
The king, who did not expect to hear any thing of this kind, said
to the prime minister. Now you see how much you are mistaken in
the remedy of a prison! This is very different from what hopes
you give me just now. Run immediately, and see what is the
matter, and come and give me a speedy account.
The grand vizier obeyed; and going into the prince's chamber,
found him sitting on his bed in good temper, and with a book in
his hand, which he was reading.
After mutual salutations, the vizier sat down by him, and said,
My lord, I would willingly have a slave of yours punished, who
has come to fright the king your father with news that has put
him under great disturbance.
What news is that, replied the prince, which could give my father
so great uneasiness? I have much greater cause to complain of
My lord, answered the vizier, God forbid that the news should be
true which he has told your father concerning you, and which
indeed myself find to be false, by the good temper I observe you
in, and which I pray God to continue! It may be, replied the
prince, he did not make himself well understood; but since you
are come, who ought to know something of the matter, give me
leave to ask you who that lady was that lay with me last night?
The grand vizier was almost struck dumb at this demand; however,
he recovered himself, and said, My lord, be not surprised at the
confusion I was under upon your question. Is it possible, think
you, my lord, that any lady, or any other person in the world,
should penetrate by night into this place without entering at the
door, and walking over the belly of your slave? I beseech you, my
lord, recollect yourself, and you will find this only a dream
which has made this impression on you.
I give no ear to what you say, said the prince, in an angry and
high tone; I must know of you absolutely what is become of the
lady; and if you scruple to obey me, I am in a place where I
shall soon be able to force you to tell me.
At these stern words the grand vizier began to be under greater
confusion than before, and was thinking how he could in the best
manner get away. He endeavoured to pacify the prince by good
words; and begged of him, in the most humble manner, to tell him
if he had seen this lady.
Yes, yes, answered the prince; I have seen her, and am very well
satisfied that you sent her to tempt me. She played the part you
had given her admirably well, for I could not get a word from
her: she pretended to be asleep; but I was no sooner got into a
slumber, than she rose and left me. You know all this, as well as
myself; for I do not doubt but that she has gone to make her
report of her dexterity.
My lord, replied the vizier, I swear to your highness, that
nothing of this has been acted which you seem to reproach me
with! And I vow, by the head of our great prophet, that neither
your father nor myself have sent the lady you speak of, if I may
believe my royal master's protestations; and sure I am, I can
answer for myself. I am confident that neither of us had ever any
such thought: permit me, therefore, to certify your highness once
more that this must needs have been a dream.
How! do you come thus to affront and contradict me, said the
prince in a great rage, and to tell me to my face that what I
have told you is a dream. You are an unbelieving varlet! cried
he; and at the same time took him by the beard, and loaded him
with so many blows, that he was hardly able to stand under them.
The poor grand vizier endured patiently all the brunt of his
lord's indignation, and could not help saying within himself, Now
am I even in as bad a condition as the slave, and shall think
myself happy if I can, like him, escape from any further danger.
In the midst of the blows that were given him, he cried out but
for a moment's audience; which the prince, after he had nearly
tired himself with beating him, consented to give.
I own, my lord, said the grand vizier, dissembling, that there is
something in what your highness suspects; but you cannot be
ignorant under what necessity a minister is to obey his royal
master's orders; yet if your highness will but be pleased to set
me at liberty, will go and tell him any thing on your part that
you shall think fit to command. Go, then, said the prince, and
tell him from me, that, if he pleases, I will marry the lady he
sent me, or rather that was brought me, last night. Do this
quickly, and bring me a speedy answer. The grand vizier made a
profound reverence, and went away, not thinking himself
altogether safe till he had got out of the tower, and shut the
door upon the prince.
He came and presented himself before the sultan Schahzaman, with
a countenance that sufficiently showed he had been ill used.
Well, said the king, in what condition did you find my son? Sir,
answered the vizier, what the slave reported to your majesty is
but too true. He then related the interview he had had with
Camaralzaman; how he was in a passion upon his endeavouring to
persuade him it was impossible that any lady should get in to
him; how he had used him very scurvily, and by what means he made
Schahzaman was the more concerned, because he loved the prince
with an exceeding tenderness, and resolved to find out the truth
of this matter; he therefore proposed to go and see his son in
the tower himself, accompanied by the grand vizier.
Prince Camaralzaman received the king his father in the tower
with great respect. The king sat down, and made the prince his
son seat himself by him, putting several questions to him, which
he answered with a great deal of good sense. As they were
talking, the king every now and then cast his eyes on the grand
vizier, thereby intimating to him, that he did not find his son
had lost his senses, but rather thought he had lost his.
The king at length spoke of the lady to his son. Son, said he, I
desire you to tell me what lady that was who lay with you last
night, as I have been told?
Sir, answered Camaralzaman, I beg your majesty not to give me any
more disturbance on that head, but rather to oblige me so far as
to let me have her in marriage: whatever aversion I may formerly
have discovered for women, this young lady has charmed me to that
degree, that I cannot help betraying my weakness. I am ready to
receive her at your majesty's hands, with all the acknowledgments
King Schahzaman was surprised at this answer of the prince's, so
remote, as he thought, from the good sense he had found in him
before; he therefore said to him, Son, you put me under the
greatest consternation imaginable, by what you now say to me: I
swear to you, by my crown, which is to devolve upon you after me,
that I know not one word of what you mention about the lady; and
if there has any such come to you, it was altogether without my
knowledge or privity. But how could she get into this tower
without my consent? For whatever my grand vizier told you, it was
only to appease you that he said it: it must therefore be nothing
but a dream; and I beg of you not to believe any thing to the
Sir, replied the prince, I should be for ever unworthy of the
good-will of your majesty, if I did not give entire credit to
what you are pleased to say; but I humbly beseech you, at the
same time, give ear to what I shall say to you, and then to judge
whether what I have the honour to tell you be a dream or not.
Then prince Camaralzaman related to the king his father after
what manner he had been awaked, exaggerating the beauty and
charms of the lady he found by his side, the love he had for her
at first sight, and the pains he took to awake her with- out
effect. He did not conceal what had obliged him to awake, arid
fall asleep again, after he made the exchange of his ring with
that of the lady. Showing the king the ring, he added, Sir, your
majesty must needs know my ring very well, and you see I have it
not on my finger, but another of a woman's in- stead of it. From
this proof, therefore, I hope you will be pleased to be convinced
that I have not lost my senses, as you have been almost made to
King Schahzaman was so perfectly convinced of the truth of what
his son had been telling him, that he had not a word to say,
remaining astonished for some time, and not being able to utter a
The prince took advantage of this opportunity, and said further,
May it please your majesty, the passion I have conceived for this
charming lady, whose precious image I bear continually on my
mind, is so strong, that I cannot live unless your majesty
procures me the happiness of enjoying her; which I know you can
well do, as not being ignorant who she is.
Son, replied the king, after what I have just heard, and what I
see by the ring on your finger, I cannot doubt but your passion
is real for this lady; and would to God I knew who she was, I
would make you happy from this moment. But what means have I to
come at the knowledge of her? Where shall I find her, and how
seek for her? How could she get in here, and by what conveyance,
without my consent? Why did she come to sleep only, inflame you
with her beauty, and then leave you while you was in a slumber?
These things, I must confess, are past my finding out; and if
Heaven is not so favourable as to give some light into them, we,
I fear, must both go down to the grave together. Come, then, my
son, continued he, let us go and afflict ourselves in
conjunction; you for the hopes you have lost, and I for seeing
you grieve, and not being in a capacity to remedy your
King Schahzaman then led his son out of the tower, and conveyed
him to the palace; where he was no sooner arrived, than he fell
sick, and took to his bed; which made the king shut himself up
with him, and grieve so bitterly, that he was not in a condition
to take any cognizance of the affairs of his kingdom.
The prime minister, who was the only person that had admittance,
came one day and told him the whole court, and even the people,
began to murmur at their not seeing him, and that he did not
administer justice every day as he was wont to do before this
accident happened, on which account he knew not what disorders it
might occasion. I humbly beg your majesty, therefore, proceeded
he, to take some notice of what I now represent to you. I am
sensible your majesty's company is a great comfort to the prince
in his condition, and that his is no less assuaging to your
grief; but then you must not run the risk of letting all be lost.
I should think it were proper to be proposed to your majesty,
that you would be pleased to suffer yourself to be transported to
a castle which you have in a little island opposite the port,
where you may give audience to your subjects twice a week; and
where, during that function, the prince will be so agreeably
amused with the beauty, prospect, and good air of the place, that
he will be likely to bear your absence with the less concern.
King Schahzaman approved of this proposal; and when the castle,
where he had not resided for some time, had been new furnished;
he caused himself to be transported thither with the prince;
where, excepting the times that he gave audience as aforesaid, he
passed all his hours on his son's pillow; sometimes endeavouring
to comfort him, but oftener afflicting himself with him.
Whilst matters passed thus in the capital of King Schahzaman, the
two genii, Danhasch and Cascheasch, had carried the princess of
China back to the palace, where the king her father had shut her
up, and laid her in her bed as before.
When she awaked next morning, and found, by looking to the right
and to the left, that prince Camaralzaman was not by her, she
cried out with such a voice to her old women, as soon made them
come to know what she wanted. Her nurse, who presented herself
first, desired to be informed what her highness would be pleased
to have, and what had happened to hot that occasioned her to call
out so earnestly.
Tell me, said the princess, what is become of the young man that
has lain with me to-night, and whom I love with all my soul?
Madam, replied the nurse, we know of no such person, and cannot
pretend to understand your highness, unless you will be pleased
to explain yourself.
How do you mean explain myself! quoth the princess. Why, I had a
lovely and most amiable young man that slept with me last night;
whom, though I caressed ever so much, I could not awake: I only
ask you where he is?
Madam, answered the nurse, is it to jest and impose upon us that
your highness asks these questions? I beseech your highness to be
pleased to rise, and you shall be satisfied in all things that we
are capable of satisfying you in. I am in earnest, then, said the
princess; and I must know where this young man is. Madam,
insisted the nurse, you were alone when you went to bed last
night; and how any man could come to you without our knowledge, I
cannot imagine; for we all lay about the door of your chamber,
which was locked, and I had the key in my pocket.
At this the princess lost all patience; and, catching the nurse
by the hair, and giving her two or three sound cuffs, cried, Tell
me where this young man is, you old sorceress, or I will beat out
your brains. The nurse struggled all she could to get from her,
and at last succeeded; when she went immediately, with tears in
her eyes, and her face all bloody, to complain to the queen her
mother, who was not a little surprised to see the old woman in
such a condition.
Madam, began the nurse, you see what a condition the princess has
put me in! She would certainly have murdered me, if I had not
escaped out of her hands. But for what, good nurse? replied the
queen: what occasion did you give my daughter for using you so
ill? I gave none, madam, answered the nurse; and so began to tell
the cause of all that passion and rage in the princess. The queen
was mightily surprised to hear it, and could not guess how she
came to be so infatuated as to take for a reality what could be
no other than a dream. Your majesty must conclude from all this,
madam, continued the nurse, that my mistress the princess is out
of her senses. I would beseech your majesty, therefore, to go and
see her, and you will find what I say to be but too true.
The great love the queen bore the princess readily made her
comply with the nurse's proposal; so they went together
immediately to the princess's palace.
The queen of China sat down by her daughter's bed-side upon her
arrival in her apartment, and, after informing herself about her
health, began to ask what had made her so angry with her nurse as
to treat her after the manner she had done, which great
princesses had never condescended or attempted to do before.
Madam, replied the princess, I plainly perceive your majesty is
come to mock me; but I declare I will never let you rest till you
consent I shall marry the young man that lay with me last night.
You must needs know where he is, and therefore I beg your majesty
would let him come to me again.
Daughter, answered the queen, you surprise me; I know nothing of
what you talk. Then the princess lost all manner of respect for
the queen, and replied, in a great passion, The king my father
and you have all along persecuted me about marrying when I had no
mind to it, and, now I have a mind, you would fain oppose me; but
I must tell you, madam, I will have this young man I speak of for
my husband, or I will kill myself!
Here the queen endeavoured to calm the princess by soft words.
Daughter, said she, you know well you was alone in this
apartment; how then could any man come to you? This must be mere
fancy or a dream; for--Here the princess interrupted her, and was
so far from hearkening to what she said, that she flew out into
such extravagances as obliged the queen to leave her, and retire,
in great affliction, to inform her lord in what condition their
The king, hearing it, had a mind likewise to be satisfied in
person; and, therefore, coming to his daughter's apartment,
demanded of her to say if what he had just heard was true. Sir,
replied the princess, let us talk no more of that; I only beseech
your majesty to grant me the favour that I may marry the young
cavalier I lay with last night.
What! said the king, has any one lain with you last night? How,
sir! replied the princess, without giving the king leave to go
on; do you ask me if any one lay with me last night? Your majesty
knows that but too well. He was the finest and best made cavalier
the sun ever saw: I desire him of you for my husband by all
means, sir; and I beg you will not refuse me. But that your
majesty may no longer doubt whether I have seen this cavalier,
whether he has lain with me, whether I have caressed him, or
whether I did my utmost to awake him without succeeding, see, if
you please, this ring! She then reached forth her hand, and
showed the king a man's ring upon her finger. The king did not
know what to make of all this; but, as he had confined her as
mad, so now he began to think her more so than ever. Therefore,
without saying any thing more, for fear she might do violence to
herself or somebody else, had her chained, and shut up more
closely than ever, allowing her only the nurse to wait on her,
with a good guard at the door.
The king, being exceedingly concerned at the indisposition of his
daughter, sought all possible means to get her cured. He
assembled his council, and, after having acquainted them with her
condition, he proffered any one of them that would undertake her
cure the succession to his kingdom after his death, if
The desire of enjoying a young and beautiful princess, and the
hope of governing one day so powerful a kingdom as that of China,
had a strange effect on an old emir, already advanced in age, who
was then present in council. As he was well skilled in magic, he
offered the king to cure his daughter, and flattered himself with
success. Very well, said the king; but I forgot to tell you one
thing; and that is, that if you do not succeed, you shall lose
your head. It would not be reasonable that you should have so
great a reward, and yet run no risk on your part. And what I say
to you, continued the king, I say to all others that shall come
after you, to let them consider be- forehand what they undertake.
The emir, however, accepted the condition, and the king led him
to the princess. She covered her face as soon as she saw them
come in, and cried out, Your majesty surprises me, in bringing a
man along with you whom I do not know, and by whom my religion
forbids me to allow myself to be seen. Daughter, replied the
king, you need not be scandalized; it is only one of my emirs
that is come to demand you of me in marriage. It is not, I
perceive, he that you have already given me, re- plied the
princess; and your majesty may rest assured that I will never
marry any other.
Now the emir expected the princess would have said or done some
extravagant thing, and was not a little disappointed when he
heard her talk so calmly and rationally; for he then knew her
disease was nothing but a violent love passion, which he was by
no means able to cure. He therefore threw himself at his
majesty's feet, and said, After what I have heard and observed,
sir, it will be to no purpose for me to think of curing the
princess, since I have no remedies proper for her malady; for
which reason I humbly submit my life to your majesty's pleasure.
The king enraged at his incapacity, and the trouble he had given
him, caused, him immediately to be beheaded.
Some few days after, his majesty, unwilling to have it said that
he had neglected his daughter's cure, put forth a proclamation in
his capital city, importing, that if any physician, astrologer,
or magician, would undertake to restore the princess to her
senses, he need only come, and he should be employed, provided he
was willing to lose his head if he miscarried. He had the same
thing published in the other principal cities and towns of his
dominions, as likewise in those of the other neighbouring states.
The first that presented himself was both an astrologer and
magician, whom the king caused to be conducted to the princess's
prison by an eunuch. The astrologer, upon seeing his patient,
drew forth, out of a bag he carried in his arm an astrolabe, a
small sphere, a chafing dish several sorts of drugs proper for
fumigations, a brass pot, with many other things, and desired he
might have a fire lighted.
The princess demanded for what all these preparations were Madam,
answered the eunuch, they are to exorcise the evil spirit that
possesses you, and afterwards to shut him up in this pot, and
throw him into the sea.
Foolish astrologer! replied the princess, I have no occasion for
any of your preparations, but am in my perfect senses, and it is
you alone who are mad. If your art can bring him I love to me, I
shall be obliged to you; otherwise you may go about your
business, for I have nothing to do with you. Madam, said the
astrologer, if your case be so, I shall desist from all
endeavours believing that the king your father can only remedy
your disaster in this particular. So putting up his trinkets
again, he marched away, very much concerned that he had so easily
undertaken to cure an imaginary sick person.
Coming to give an account to the king of what he had done, he
would not suffer the eunuch to speak for him, but began thus
himself: According to what your majesty published in your
proclamation, and what you were pleased to confirm to me
yourself. I thought the princess was distracted and therefore had
provided all I believed necessary to restore her to her senses,
pursuant to the nostrums I have; but, to my great amazement, when
I beheld her, I found she had no other disease than that of love,
over which my art had no power. Your majesty, then, may be
pleased to consider, that you alone are the physician who can
cure her, by giving her the person in marriage whom she desires.
The king, upon hearing this, was very much enraged at the
astrologer, and had his head cut off upon the spot. Now, not to
fatigue your majesty with long repetitions, proceeded
Scheherazade to the sultan, I will acquaint you, in few words,
that so many astrologers, physicians, magicians, and the like,
came upon this account, that they in all amounted to about fifty;
who, nevertheless, all underwent the same fate, and their heads
were set upon poles on every gate of the city.
THE STORY OF MARZAVAN, WITH THE SEQUEL OF
THAT OF PRINCE CAMARALZAMAN.
The princess of China's nurse had a son whose name was Marzavan,
and who had been foster-brother to the princess. Their friendship
was so great during their childhood, that they called each other
brother and sister, which even continued some time after their
This Marzavan, among other studies, had from his youth been much
addicted to judicial astrology, geomancy, and other secret arts,
wherein he became exceedingly skilful. Not content with what he
had learned from masters, he travelled; and there was hardly a
person of note in any science whom he did not know, so great was
his thirst after knowledge.
After several years absence in foreign parts on this account, he
returned to the capital city of his native country, China; where,
seeing so many heads on the gate by which he entered, he was
exceedingly surprised, and, on coming to his lodging, demanded
for what reason they had been placed there; but more especially
informed himself of the condition of the princess his
foster-sister, whom he had not forgotten. As he could not be made
acquainted with one without having an account of the other, he
for the present satisfied himself with what he had heard, till
such time as he could learn more from his mother, the princess's
Although the nurse, mother of Marzavan, was very much employed
about the princess, yet she no sooner heard her dear son was
returned, but she found time to come and embrace, and stay with
him a little. Having told him, with tears in her eyes, in what a
sad condition the princess was, and for what reason the king her
father had confined her, he desired to know of his mother, if she
could not procure him the sight of her royal mistress, without
the king's knowing any thing of it. After some pause, she told
him she could say nothing to the matter for the present; but if
he would meet her next day at the same hour, she would give him
Now the nurse, knowing that none could approach the princess but
herself, without leave of the eunuch who commanded the guard at
the gate, addressed herself to him, who, she believed, was
ignorant of what had formerly passed at the court of China. You
know, said she, I have brought up and suckled the princess, and
may likewise have heard that I had a daughter whom I brought up
along with her. Now this daughter has since been married; yet the
princess still does her the honour to remember her, and would
fain see her, but would do so without any body perceiving her
coming in or out.
The nurse would have gone on, but the eunuch cried, Say no more,
it is sufficient; I will do any thing to oblige the princess: go
and fetch your daughter, for send or her about midnight, and the
gate shall be open to you.
As soon as night came, the nurse went for her son Marzavan; and,
having dressed him so artfully in women's clothes, that nobody
could perceive he was a man, she took him along with her; and the
eunuch, believing it was a woman, admitted them without
The nurse, before she thought fit to present Marzavan, went to
the princess, and said, Madam, this is not a woman I have brought
to you; it is my son Marzavan, lately arrived from his travels;
he has a great desire to kiss your hand, and I hope your highness
will admit him to that honour.
What, my brother Marzavan! said the princess, with a great deal
of joy. Come hither, my dear, cried she, and take off this veil;
for surely it is not unreasonable that a brother and a sister
should see each other without reserve.
Marzavan saluted her with profound respect, when she, without
giving him leave to speak, cried out, I am rejoiced to see you
returned in good health, after so many years' absence.
Madam, replied Marzavan, I am infinitely obliged to your highness
for your goodness in rejoicing at my health; I no sooner landed
in my native country than I inquired after yours, and heard what,
to my great affliction, I am now witness of. Nevertheless, I
cannot but rejoice that I am come seasonably to administer that
remedy to you which so many others have attempted without
success; and though I should not reap any other fruit of my long
voyage, I shall think myself fully recompensed, for my great toil
and hazard, by that one happiness.
Speaking these words, Marzavan drew forth a book, and other
things from his pocket, which he judged necessary to be used,
according to the relation he had got from his mother of the
princess's distemper. The princess, seeing him make all those
preparations, cried out, What! brother, are you then one of those
who believe me mad? Undeceive yourself, and hearken to what I
shall say to you.
The princess then began to relate to Marzavan all the particulars
of her story, without omitting the least circumstance, even to
the ring which was exchanged for hers, and which she showed him.
I have not concealed the least matter from you, said she; yet it
is true there is something that I cannot comprehend, and has
given occasion for some persons to think me mad; but as for the
rest, I assure you it is literally as I have related.
After the princess had done speaking, Marzavan, filled with
wonder and astonishment, continued for some time with his eyes
fixed on the ground, without speaking a word; but at length
lifting his head, he said, If it be as your highness says, and
which I do not in the least doubt, I hope to procure the
satisfaction you desire; but I must first entreat your highness
to arm yourself with patience till I return; for I am resolved to
set out in quest of this person, and, at my return, you may
expect to see the object of your love. So saying, Marzavan took
leave of the princess, and set out next morning on his intended
tour. He travelled from city to city, from province to province,
and from island to island; and, in every place through which he
passed, he could hear of nothing but the princess Badoura (the
princess of China's name) and her history.
About four months after, our traveller arrived at Torf, a seaport
town, both great and populous, where he no more heard of the
princess Badoura, all the talk being of prince Camaralzaman, who
was sick, and whose history was very similar to that of the
princess. Marzavan was extremely glad to hear this, and informed
himself of the place where the prince was to be found, to which
he might have gone either by land or sea, or by sea only; but the
last was the shortest way.
Marzavan chose the latter, and, embarking on board a merchant
ship, arrived safe in sight of King Schahzaman's capital; but, on
entering the port, his ship happened to strike upon a rock, when
it foundered, and sunk in sight of prince Camaralzaman's castle,
where the king and his grand vizier were at that time.
Marzavan could swim very well; he therefore immediately cast
himself into the sea on the ship's sinking, and got safe on shore
under the castle, where he was soon relieved by the grand
vizier's order. After changing his clothes, and being well
treated, he was introduced to the grand vizier, who had sent for
Marzavan being a young man of good address, and of a good air,
this minister was very civil to him, especially when he heard him
give such just and pertinent answers to what was asked of him: he
also perceived he was learned; therefore said to him, From what I
can understand, you have travelled a great way, and must needs
have acquired much knowledge: I would to God you had learned any
secret for curing a certain malady, which has greatly afflicted
this court for a long while!
Marzavan replied, if he knew what malady that was, he might
perhaps find a remedy for it.
Then the grand vizier related to him the whole story of prince
Camaralzaman from its origin, and concealed nothing of his
desired birth, his education, the great inclination the king his
father had to see him early married, his aversion to marriage,
his disobeying his father in full council, his imprisonment, and
his pretended extravagances in prison, which, be said, were
afterwards changed into a violent passion for a certain unknown
lady, who he pretended had exchanged a ring with him, though, for
his part, he verily believed there was no such person in the
Marzavan gave great attention to all that the grand vizier said,
and was infinitely rejoiced to find that, by means of his
shipwreck, he had so fortunately met with the person he was
looking after. He saw no reason to doubt but that prince
Camaralzaman was the man the princess of China was in love with;
therefore, without discovering any thing further to the vizier,
he desired to see him, whereby, he said, he might be better able
to judge of his distemper. Follow me then, said the grand vizier,
and you will find the king with him, who has already desired I
should introduce you to him.
The first thing that startled Marzavan, at his entrance into the
prince's chamber, was to find him upon his bed languishing, and
with his eyes shut. Although he saw him in that condition, and
although the king his father was sitting by him, he could not
help crying out, Heavens! was there ever a greater resemblance
than this! He meant in their faces; for it seems the princess and
prince were much alike.
These words of Marzavan excited the prince's curiosity so far,
that he vouchsafed to open his eyes, and look upon him. Marzavan,
who had a great deal of wit, laid hold of that opportunity, and
made his compliment in verse extempore; which nevertheless he did
in such a disguised manner, that neither the king nor grand
vizier understood any thing of the matter. However, he
represented so nicely what had happened to the princess of China,
that the prince had no room to doubt but he knew the object of
his love, and could give him tidings of her. This made him so
joyful, that the effects of it plentifully showed themselves in
his eyes and looks.
After Marzavan had finished his compliment in verse, which
surprised prince Camaralzaman so agreeably, his highness took the
liberty to make a sign to the king his father to quit the place
where he was, and let Marzavan sit by him.
The king, overjoyed at this alteration, which gave him hopes of
his son's speedy recovery, quitted his place; and taking Marzavan
by the hand, led him to it, requesting him to be seated. Then his
majesty demanded of him who he was, and whence he came; and upon
Marzavan's answering he was a subject of China, and came from
that kingdom, the king immediately cried out, Heaven grant you
may be able to withdraw my son from this profound melancholy! and
I shall have eternal obligations to you, which I will do my
utmost to gratify beyond what was ever done. Having said this, he
left the prince to entertain himself with the stranger, while he
went and rejoiced with the grand vizier on this happy meeting.
Marzavan, leaning down to the prince, spoke low in his ear thus:
My lord, said he, it is high time your highness should cease to
grieve. I know the lady on whose account you lament so bitterly;
it is the princess Badoura, daughter of Gaiour king of China. Of
this I can assure your highness, both on account of what she has
told me of her adventure, and what I have learned of yours. You
may also depend upon it that she has undergone no less on your
account than you have done on hers. Here he began to relate all
that he knew of the princess, from the fatal time of their
interview after so an extraordinary a manner.
He omitted not to acquaint him how those had fared who had failed
in their pretences to cure the princess of her indisposition. But
your highness is the only person, added he, that can cure her
effectually, and therefore it were no matter how soon you set
about it. However, before you undertake so great a voyage, I
would have you perfectly recovered, and then we will take such
measures as are necessary.
This discourse had a marvellous effect on the prince. He found so
great a benefit by it, through the hopes he conceived of speedily
fulfilling his desires, that he soon recovered strength
sufficient to rise, and begged leave of his father to dress
before him, with such an air as gave the old king incredible
King Schahzaman immediately embraced Marzavan, without inquiring
into the means that had wrought this wonderful effect, and soon
after went out of the prince's chamber with the grand vizier, to
publish this agreeable news to his people. On this occasion, he
ordered public rejoicings for several days together, and moreover
gave great largesses to his officers, alms to the poor, and
caused the prisoners to be set at liberty throughout his kingdom.
Every city resounded with joy, and every corner of his dominions
felt the effect of his bounty.
Prince Camaralzaman thought he had been extremely weakened by
almost continual watchings and abstinence, yet, contrary to all
expectation, he soon recovered his wonted health. When he found
himself in a condition to undertake the voyage, he took Marzavan
aside, and said, Dear Marzavan, it is now time to perform the
promise you have made. I burn with impatience to see the charming
princess; and if you do not speedily give me an opportunity of
putting an end to her torments and my own, by setting out on your
journey, I shall soon relapse into my former condition; and then,
perhaps, you may not find it so easy to cure me as you have now
done. But one thing still afflicts me, continued he; and that is,
the difficulty I shall meet with in getting leave from my father
to go. You see he scarcely ever leaves me; therefore, if you do
not assist me in that particular, I am undone.
At these words the prince fell a weeping, and would not be
comforted till Marzavan said, Let not your highness be grieved at
that, for I warrant I will get you your liberty, so that nothing
shall stop us. My principal design in this voyage was to deliver
the princess of China, my mistress, from grief; and I should fail
in my duty to her, if I did not do my best endeavour to effect
it. This is, then, the means I have contrived to obtain your
liberty; you have not stirred abroad for some time, therefore let
the king your father understand you have a mind to take the air,
and, if he pleases, to go and hunt two or three days with me. No
doubt he will grant your request; which when he has done, order
two good horses to be got ready in a certain place, and leave the
rest to me.
Next day prince Camaralzaman did as he had been advised. He
acquainted the king that he was very desirous to take the air,
and, if he pleased, would go and hunt two or three days with
Marzavan. The king gave his consent, but bid him be sure not to
be from home above one night, since too much exercise might
impair his health, and too long absence create his majesty some
uneasiness. He then ordered him the best horses in his stable,
and took particular care that nothing should be wanting for his
diversion. When all was ready, his majesty embraced the prince,
and having recommended the care of him to Marzavan, left them.
Prince Camaralzaman and Marzavan were soon mounted, when, to
amuse the two grooms who led the fresh horses, they made as if
they would hunt, and so got as far from the city and out of the
road as was possible. Night approaching, they alighted at a
caravansera or inn, where they supped, and slept till about
midnight; when Marzavan awaked the prince without awaking the
grooms, desiring his highness to let him have his suit, and take
another for himself, which was brought in his sumpter. Thus
equipped, they mounted the fresh horses; and Marzavan taking one
of the groom's horses by the bridle, they set off at a good round
At day-break they got into a forest, where, coming to the meeting
of four roads, Marzavan went aside, and desired the prince to
wait for him a little: he then cut the groom's horse's throat;
and, tearing the prince's suit he had on, besmeared it with
blood, and threw it in the highway.
The prince demanded his reason for what he had done; he told his
highness that he was sure the king his father would no sooner
come to know that he was departed without the grooms, than he
would suspect something, and immediately send in quest of them.
Now, said Marzavan, to the end that, when they come to this
place, they may stop and think you are devoured by wild beasts, I
have done this; so that by this means we may have leisure to
continue our journey without fear of pursuit. I must needs
confess, continued Marzavan, that this is a violent way of
proceeding, to alarm an old father with the death of his son,
whom he loved so passionately; but then, on the other hand, the
news of your welfare, which he may soon have, will in a great
measure alleviate his grief, and make amends for your absence.
Brave Marzavan, replied the prince, I cannot sufficiently admire
your conduct, and I have all the obligations in the world to you.
The prince and Marzavan, well provided with cash for their
expenses, continued their journey both by land and sea, and found
no other obstacle but the length of the way which they were
forced to undergo: at length, however, they arrived at the
capital of China, where Marzavan, instead of going to his lodging
carried the prince to a public inn. They tarried there incognito
three days to rest themselves, during which time Marzavan caused
an astrologer's habit to be made for the prince. The three days
being expired, they went together to the bagnio, the prince
putting on his astrologer's habit; and from thence Marzavan
conducted him in sight of the king of China's palace, where he
left him to acquaint his mother, the princess Badoura's nurse, of
his arrival, that she might give the like information to the
princess her mistress.
Prince Camaralzaman, instructed by Marzavan what he was to do,
and provided with all he wanted as an astrologer, came next
morning to the gate of the king's palace, and cried aloud, I am
an astrologer, and am come to effect a cure on the most beautiful
princess Badoura, daughter of the most high and mighty monarch
Gaiour king of China, on the conditions proposed by his majesty,
to marry her if I succeed, or else to lose my life for my
fruitless and presumptuous attempt!
Besides the guards and porters standing at the gate, this novelty
drew together a great number of people about prince Camaralzaman.
There had no physician, astrologer, nor magician, appeared for a
long time on this account, deterred by the many tragical examples
of ill success that had occurred; it was therefore thought there
were either no more of these professions in the world, or at
least that there were no more so mad as those who had gone before
The prince's good mien, noble air, and blooming youth, raised
pity in every one who saw him. What do you mean, sir, said some
who stood near him, to expose thus your life, which promises so
much, to certain death? Cannot the heads you see on all the gates
of this city deter you from such an undertaking? In the name of
God, consider what you do, and abandon the rash attempt!
The prince continued firm, notwithstanding the remonstrances made
to him; and, as he saw nobody come to introduce him, he repeated
the same cry with so loud a voice as to make every body tremble.
They all then cried, Let him alone; he is resolved to die. God
have mercy upon his soul! He then proceeded to cry out a third
time in the same manner, when the grand vizier came in person,
and introduced him to the king of China.
As soon as the prince came into the king's presence, he bowed and
kissed the floor. The king, who, of all that hitherto had exposed
their lives on this occasion, had not before seen one worthy of
his notice, had now a real compassion for prince Camaralzaman, on
account of the danger he was about to expose himself to; and
perceiving in him something which merited deference and respect,
he did him the more honour, and made him seat himself near him.
Young man, said he, I can hardly believe that you, at this age,
can have acquired sufficient experience to enable you to cure my
daughter. I will give her to you with all my heart on that
account; nay, more willingly than I should have done to others
who have before offered themselves; but then I declare to you, at
the same time, with, a great deal of concern, that if you fail to
succeed in your attempt, notwithstanding your noble appearance,
and exceedingly beautiful person, you must lose your head.
Sir, replied the prince, I have infinite obligations to your
majesty for the honour you design me, though a stranger; but I
desire your majesty to consider that I would not have come from
so remote a country, and which perhaps may be unknown in your
dominions, if I had not been certain of the cure I propose. What
might not be said of my inconstancy of temper, if, after the
great fatigue and dangers I have undergone on this account, I
should abandon the generous enterprise in which I had engaged?
Even your majesty would soon lose that respect you have done me
the honour to show me, if I appeared so dastardly and
mean-spirited. I beseech your majesty, therefore, no longer to
delay the experiment I am certain of, but give me leave to
display the utmost of my art, which I doubt not will be to your
majesty's satisfaction, as well as my great happiness.
Then the king commanded the eunuch, who had the guard of the
princess, to introduce prince Camaralzaman into her apartment,
but, before letting him go, was so kind as to remind him once
more of the hazard he underwent; yet the prince seeming resolved,
the king suffered him to follow the eunuch.
When they came to a long gallery, at the end of which was the
princess's apartment, the prince, through impatience once more to
see the object of his vows, who had occasioned him so much grief,
got before the eunuch, walking as fast as he could.
The eunuch, redoubling his pace, with much difficulty got up with
him, when, taking him by the arm, he cried, Whither away so fast,
sir? you cannot be admitted without me; and it I should seem that
you have a great desire for death, who can. run to it so
headlong! Not one of the many astrologers and magicians whom I
have before introduced, made such haste as yourself to a place
whither, I fear, you will but too soon come.
Friend, replied the prince, continuing his pace, and looking
earnestly on the eunuch, it was because none of your astrologers
or magicians was ever so sure of their art as I am: they were
certain, indeed, that they should die if they did not succeed;
but they had no certainty, at the same time, of their success as
I have. On this account they had reason to tremble at approaching
the place whither I go, and where I am sure to find my happiness.
He had just spoken these words as he was at the door. The eunuch
opened it, and introduced him into a great hall, whence there was
an entrance into the princess's chamber, divided only by a piece
Prince Camaralzaman, speaking more softly to the eunuch, asked
him, before he entered, whether he chose that he should cure the
princess in his presence, or where he was, without going further;
telling him, in the same tone, that nobody might hear him in the
princess's chamber, he made him the frank offer, to show that it
was not presumptuous caprice, nor the heat of youth, which put
him upon the enterprise.
The eunuch was very much amazed to hear the prince talk with such
assurance; he left off insulting him, and said to him seriously,
It is no matter whether you do it here or there, provided the
business be done; cure her how you will, you will get immortal
honour by it, not only in this court, but over all the world.
The prince replied, it will be best, then, to make the cure
without seeing her, that you may be witness of my skill: though I
cannot, without impatience, put off seeing a princess of her
rank, who is to be my wife, yet, out of respect to you, I will
deprive myself of that pleasure for a little while. Being
furnished with every thing proper for an astrologer, and taking
pen, ink, and paper, out of his pocket, wrote this billet to the
Prince Camaralzaman to the Princess of China.
ADORABLE PRINCESS!--The love-sick prince Camaralzaman will not
trouble you with the pains that he has endured ever since the
fatal night when your charms deprived him of that liberty which
he resolved to preserve as long as he lived: he only tells you,
that he devoted his heart to you in your charming slumbers; those
slumbers which hindered him from beholding the brightness of your
piercing eyes, in spite of all his endeavours to oblige you to
open them. He presumed to present you with his ring as a token of
his passion, and, in exchange, would be proud to receive yours,
which he encloses in this billet. If you will condescend to
return it as a reciprocal assurance of your love, he will reckon
himself the happiest of all lovers: if not, the sentence of
death, which your fatal refusal brings him, will be received with
the more resignation, because he dies for love of you. He waits
in your anti-chamber for your answer.
When the prince had finished his billet, he made it up, and
enclosed with it the ring in a little packet, without letting the
eunuch see what he did. When he sealed it, he gave it to him:
There, friend, said he, carry it to your mistress. If it does not
cure her as soon as she reads it, and sees what is enclosed in
it, I give you leave to tell every body that I am the most
ignorant and impudent astrologer that ever was, is, or ever will
The eunuch entering the princess of China's chamber, gave her the
packet he received from prince Camaralzaman. Madam, said he, the
boldest astrologer that ever lived, if I am not mistaken, is
arrived here, and pretends that, on reading this letter, and
seeing what is in it, you will be cured: I wish he may prove
neither a liar nor an impostor.
The princess Badoura took the billet, and opened it with a great
deal of indifference, but, on seeing the ring, she had not
patience to read it through; she rose hastily, broke the chair;
which held her down with struggling, and ran and opened the door.
She knew the prince the moment she saw him, and he her; they
presently embraced each other with all imaginable tenderness,
and, without being able to say a word for excess of joy, they
looked on one another, admiring how they met again after their
first interview. The princess's nurse, who ran to the door with
her, made them come into her chamber, where the princess Badoura
gave the prince her ring, saying, Take it, I cannot fairly keep
it without restoring yours, which I will never part with: neither
yours nor mine can be in better hands.
The eunuch went immediately to the king to tell him what had
happened. Sir, said he, all the astrologers and doctors who have
hitherto pretended to cure the princess, were a company of fools
in comparison of him who came last! He used neither schemes,
conjurations, perfumes, nor any thing else; but cured her without
seeing her! Then he told the king how he did it, who was
agreeably surprised at the news; and going presently to the
princess's chamber, embraced her; after which he took
Camaralzaman's hand, and joined it to the princess's. Happy
stranger, said the king, I will keep my word, and give my
daughter to be your wife; though, by what I see of you, it is
impossible for me to believe that you are really what you appear
in this assumed character, and would have me believe.
Prince Camaralzaman thanked the king in the most humble
expressions, that he might the better show his gratitude. As for
my profession, said he, I must own I am not an astrologer, as
your majesty very judiciously observed; I only put on the habit
of one, that I might succeed more easily in my ambition to be
allied to the most potent monarch in the world. I am born a
prince, and the son of a king and queen; my name is Camaralzaman;
my father is Schahzaman, who now reigns over the islands that are
known by the name of the islands of the Children of Khaledan. He
then told the adventures of his life, and the wonderful rise of
his love; that the princess's was altogether as marvelous, and
that both were confirmed by the exchange of two rings.
When the prince had done speaking, the king said, This history is
so extraordinary, that it deserves to be known to posterity; an
account of it shall be taken; and the original being deposited in
my royal archives, I will spread copies of it abroad, that my own
kingdom, and the kingdoms around me, may know it.
The marriage was solemnized the same day, and the rejoicings for
it were universal all over the empire of China; nor was Marzavan
forgotten; the king immediately gave him an honourable post in
his court, and a promise to advance him higher afterwards.
Prince Camaralzaman and the princess Badoura enjoyed the fulness
pf their wishes in the sweets of marriage; and the king kept
continual feastings for several months, to testify his joy on the
In the midst of these pleasures, prince Camaralzaman one night
dreamed that he saw his father Schahzaman on death-bed, ready to
give up the ghost, and heard him speak thus to his attendants: My
son, whom I so tenderly loved--my son, whom I bred with so much
fondness, so much care, has abandoned me, and is the cause of my
death! He awoke and sighed; which wakened the princess, who asked
him the reason of it.
Alas, my love! cried the prince, perhaps the very moment that I
am speaking of it, my father is no more! He then acquainted her
with his melancholy dream, and why that sad thought came into his
head. The princess, who studied to please him in every thing,
presently contrived a way to do it; and, fearing that he would
take less delight in her company if he was kept from seeing his
father, went that very day to her father, whom she found alone.
After kissing his hand, she thus addressed herself: Sir, I have a
favour to beg of your majesty, and beseech you not to deny me;
but, that you may not believe I am put upon it by the prince my
husband, I assure you beforehand that he knows nothing of my
asking it of you; it is, that you will give me leave to go and
see the king Schahzaman, my father-in-law.
The king replied, Daughter, though I shall be very sorry to lose
your company, and part with you for so long a time as a journey
to a place so distant will take up, yet I cannot disapprove of
your resolution; it is worthy of yourself: Go, child, I give you
leave, but on condition that you stay no longer than a year in
king Schahzaman's court. I hope the king will be willing to come
to this agreement with me, that we, in our turn, may see him, his
son, and daughter-in-law, and I my daughter and son-in-law.
The princess communicated the king of China's consent to prince
Camaralzaman, who was transported to hear it, and gave her a
thousand thanks for this new token of her love.
The king of Chiha commanded preparations to be made for the
journey, and, when all things were ready, accompanied the prince
and princess several leagues on their way. When they came to
part, great was the weeping on all sides. The king embraced them,
and desired the prince to be kind to his daughter, and to love
her always with the same passion he then manifested towards her.
So he left them to proceed on their journey, and, to divert
himself, hunted all the way as he returned to his capital city.
When prince Camaralzaman and the princess Badoura had dried up
their tears, and given over mourning for parting with the king of
China, they comforted themselves with thinking how glad king
Schahzaman would be to see them, and how they should rejoice to
They travelled about a month incessantly, and at last came to a
large field, planted with tall trees at convenient distances,
under whose shade they went on very pleasantly. The weather being
that day much hotter than ordinary, Camaralzaman thought it best
to stay there during the heat, and proposed it to Badoura, who,
wishing for the same thing, readily consented. They alighted in
the most agreeable place of the grove; a tent was presently set
up, and the princess, rising from the shade under which she sat
down, entered it. The prince ordered his servants to pitch their
tent also while they staid there, and gave them directions
himself how to do it. The princess, being weary with the fatigues
of her journey, bid one of her women untie her girdle, which they
laid down by her; and, falling asleep, her attendants left her by
Prince Caraaralzaman having seen all things in order, came to the
tent where the princess was sleeping. He entered, and sat down
without making any noise, intending to take a nap himself; but
observing the princess's girdle lying by her, he took it up, and
looked upon the diamonds and rubies one by one. In doing so, he
saw a little purse hanging to it, tied fast with a riband; he
felt it, and found there was something in it: being desirous to
know what it was, he opened the purse, and took out a cornelian
engraved with unknown characters and figures. This cornelian,
said the prince to himself, must have something extraordinary in
it, or my princess would not be at the trouble to carry it with
her; and, indeed, it was Badoura's talisman, or a scheme of her
nativity drawn from the constellations of heaven, which the queen
of China had given her daughter as a charm that would keep her
from all harm as long as she had it about her.
The prince, to see what the talisman was, took it out to the
light, the tent being dark; and, while he was holding it up in
his hand, a bird darted down from the air, and snatched it away.
Your majesty may easily conceive the concern and grief of prince
Camaralzaman, when he saw the bird fly away with the
talisman*[Footnote: There is an adventure like this in the
romance of Peter of Provence and the Fair Maguelona, which was
taken from the Arabic.] . He was more troubled at it than words
can express, and cursed his unseasonable curiosity, by which
means he had lost a treasure that was so exceedingly precious,
and so much valued by his dear princess.
The bird, having got her prize, pitched upon the ground, not far
off, with the talisman in her mouth. The prince drew near it, in
hopes she would drop it; but, as he approached, the bird took
wing, and pitched again on the ground further off. Camaralzaman
followed her; and the bird, having swallowed the talisman, took a
small flight further off still. The prince, being very dexterous
at a mark, thought to kill her with a stone, and still followed.
The further she flew, the more eager he grew in pursuing, keeping
her always in view. Thus the bird drew him along from hill to
valley, and from valley to hill, all day; every step leading him
out of the way from the field where he left his camp and the
princess Badoura: and, instead of perching at night on a bush,
where he might probably have taken her, she roosted on a high
tree, safe from his pursuit. The prince vexed to the heart for
taking so much pains to no purpose, thought of returning to the
camp; but, alas! he thought of it too late. Whither could he go?
which way return? how could he find out the untracked way of the
mountains, and the untrodden paths of the vallies? Darkness
spread over the heavens; and night, with the fatigues of the
day's labour, would not suffer him to undertake so soon to return
the way he came, were there any hopes of his finding it. Ah! said
the despairing lover, if I knew which way to return, how durst I
appear before my princess without her talisman? Overwhelmed with
such afflicting thoughts, and tired with his pursuit of the bird,
sleep came upon him, and he lay down under a tree, where he
passed the night.
He awoke next morning before the bird had left the tree, and, as
soon as he saw her on the wing, followed her again the whole day,
with no better success than the former, eating nothing but herbs
and fruits all the way as he went. He did the same for ten days
together, pursuing the bird, and keeping her in his eye from
morning till night, lying always under the tree where she
roosted. On the eleventh day, the bird still flying, Camaralzaman
observed that he came near a great city: the bird made towards
it, flew over the walls, and the prince saw no more of her; so he
despaired of ever recovering the princess of Badoura's talisman.