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

The Arabian Nights Entertainments Volume 1 by Anonymous

Part 3 out of 12

Adobe PDF icon
Download this document as a .pdf
File size: 1.4 MB
What's this? light bulb idea Many people prefer to read off-line or to print out text and read from the real printed page. Others want to carry documents around with them on their mobile phones and read while they are on the move. We have created .pdf files of all out documents to accommodate all these groups of people. We recommend that you download .pdfs onto your mobile phone when it is connected to a WiFi connection for reading off-line.

like himself, and told them that she was not mistress of the
house; but, if they would have a minute's patience, she would
return with an answer.

Safie acquainted her sisters with the matter, who considered for
some time what to conclude upon; but, being naturally of a good
disposition, and having granted the same favour to the three
calenders, they at last consented to let them in.

The caliph, his grand vizier, and the chief of the eunuchs, being
introduced by the fair Safie, very courteously saluted the ladies
and the calenders; the ladies returned them the like civilities,
supposing them to be merchants. Zobeide, as the chief, says to
them, with a grave and serious countenance, which was natural to
her, You are welcome; but, before I proceed further, I hope you
will not take it ill if we desire one favour of you. Alas! said
the vizier, what favour? We can refuse nothing to such fair
ladies. Zobeide replied, It is, that you would only have eyes,
but no tongues; that you put no questions to us about the reason
of any thing you may happen to see; and not to speak of any thing
that does not concern you, lest you come to hear of things that
will by no means please you. Madam, replied the vizier, you shall
be obeyed. We are not censorious, nor impertinently curious; it
is enough for us to take notice of that which concerns us,
without meddling with that which does not belong to us. Upon this
they all sat down, and the company being united, they drank to
the health of the new comers.

While Giafar entertained the ladies in discourse, the caliph
could not forbear to admire their extraordinary beauty, graceful
behaviour, pleasant humour, and ready wit; on the other hand,
nothing was more surprising to him than the calenders being all
three blind of the right eye. He would gladly have been informed
of this singularity; but the conditions so lately imposed upon
himself and his companions would not allow him to speak. This,
with the richness of the furniture, the exact order of every
thing, and neatness of the house, made him think it was some
enchanted palace.

Their entertainment happening to be upon divertisements, and
different ways of making merry, the calenders rose and danced
after their fashion, which augmented the good opinion the ladies
had conceived of them, and procured them the esteem of the caliph
and his companions.

When the three calenders had made an end of their dance, Zobeide
arose, and, taking Amine by the hand, said, Pray, sister, rise
up, for the company will not take it ill if we use our freedom;
and their presence need not hinder our performance of what we
were wont to do. Amine, by understanding her sister's meaning,
rose up from her seat, carried away the dishes, the table, the
flasks, and cups, together with the instruments which the
calenders had played upon.

Safie was not idle, but swept the room, put every thing again in
its place, snuffed the candies, and put fresh aloes and ambergris
to them, and then prayed the three calenders to sit down upon the
sofa on one side, and the caliph, with his companions, on the
other. As to the porter, she savs to him, Get up, and prepare
yourself to serve in what we are going to be about; a man like
you, who is one of the family, ought not to be idle. The porter,
being somewhat recovered from his wine, gets up immediately, and,
having tied the sleeve of his gown to his belt, answers, Here am
I, ready to obey your commands in any thing. That is very well,
replied Safie; stay till you are spoken to; you shall not be idle
very long. A little time after, Amine came in with a chair, which
she placed in the middle of the room; and so went to a closet,
which having opened, she beckoned to the porter, and says to him,
Come hither and help me; which he obeying, entered the closet,
and returned immediately leading two black bitches, with each of
them a collar and chain; they looked as if they had been severely
whipped with rods, and he brought them into the middle of the

Then Zobeide, rising from her seat between the calenders and the
caliph, marched very gravely towards the porter, Come on, says
she, with a great sigh, let us perform our duty; then tucking up
her sleeves above her elbows, and receiving a rod from Safie,
Porter, said she, deliver one of the bitches to my sister Amine,
and come to me with the other.

The porter did as he was commanded; the bitch that he held in his
hand began to cry, and, turning towards Zobeide, held her head up
in a begging posture; but Zobeide, having no regard to the sad
countenance of the bitch, which would have moved pity, nor her
cries that sounded through ail the house, whipped her with the
rod till she was out of breath; and having spent her strength
that she could strike no more, she threw down the rod, and,
taking the chain from the porter, lifted up the bitch by her
paws, and looking upon her with a sad and pitiful countenance,
they both wept; after which Zobeide, with her handkerchief, wiped
the tears from the bitch's eyes, kissed her, returned the chain
to the porter, bid him carry her to the place whence he took her,
and bring her the other. The porter led back the whipped bitch to
the closet, and receiving the other from Amine, presented her to
Zobeide, who, bidding the porter hold her as he had done the
first, took up the rod, and treated her after the same manner;
and when she had wept over her, dried her eyes, and, kissing her,
returned her to the porter; but lovely Amine spared him the
trouble of leading her back into the closet, and did it herself.
The three calenders and the caliph, with his companions, were
extremely surprised at this execution, and could not comprehend
why Zobeide, after having so furiously whipped those two bitches,
that, by the Mussulman religion, are reckoned unclean animals,
should cry with them, wipe off their tears, and kiss them. They
muttered among themselves; and the caliph, being more impatient
than the rest, longed exceedingly to be informed of the cause of
so strange an action, and could not forbear making signs to the
vizier to ask the question; the vizier turned his head another
way; but, being pressed by repeated signs, he answered by others
that it was not yet time for the caliph to satisfy his curiosity.

Zobeide sat still some time in the middle of the room, where she
had whipped the two bitches, to recover from the fatigue; and
fair Safie called to her, Dear sister, will you be pleased now to
return to your place, that I may also act my part? Yes, sister,
replies Zobeide, and then went and sat down upon the sofa, having
the caliph, Giafar, and Mesrour, on her right hand, and the three
calenders, with the porter, on her left.

After Zobeide sat down, the whole company was silent for a while;
at last Safie, sitting on a chair in the middle of the room,
spoke to her sister Amine; Dear sister, I conjure you to rise up;
you know well enough what I would say, Amine rose up, and went
into another closet near to that where the bitches were, and
brought out a case covered with yellow satin, richly embroidered
with gold and green silk; she came near Safie, and opened the
case, from whence she took a lute, and presented her, and, after
some time spent in tuning it, Safie began to play, and,
accompanying it with her voice, she sung a song about the
torments that absence creates to lovers, with so much sweetness
as to charm the caliph and all the company. Having sung with a
great deal of passion and action, she said to lovely Amine, Pray
take it, sister, for I can do no more; my voice fails me; oblige
the company with a tune and song in my room. Very willingly,
replied Amine, who, taking the lute from her sister Safie, sat
down in her place.

Amine, after a small trial to see whether the instrument was in
tune, played and sung almost as long upon the same subject, but
with so much vehemency, and was so much affected, or rather
transported, by the words of the song, that her strength failed
her as she made an end of it.

Zobeide, willing to testify her satisfaction, said, Sister, you
have done wonders, and we may easily see that you have a feeling
of the grief you have expressed so much to the life. Amine was
prevented from answering this civility, her heart being so
sensibly touched at the same moment, that she was obliged, for
air, to uncover her neck and breast, which did not appear so fair
as might have been expected from such a lady; but, on the
contrary, black and full of scars, which frightened all the
spectators. This, however, gave her no ease, but she fell into a

While Zobeide and Safie ran to help their sister, one of the
calenders could not forbear to say, We had better have slept in
the streets than have come hither, had we thought to have seen
such spectacles. The caliph, who heard this, came up to him and
the other calenders, and asked them what might be the meaning of
all this? They answered, Sir, we know no more than you do. What,
says the caliph, are you not of the family? nor can you resolve
us concerning the two black bitches and the lady that fainted
away, and has been so basely abused? Sir, said the calenders,
this is the first time that ever we were in the house, having
come in but a few minutes before you.

This increased the caliph's astonishment. It may be, says he,
this other man that is with you may know something of it. One of
the calenders made a sign for the porter to come near, and asked
him whether he knew why those two black bitches had been whipped,
and why Amine's bosom was so scarred? Sir, said the porter, I can
swear by Heaven, that if you know nothing of all this, I know as
little as you do. It is true I live in this city, but I never was
in the house till now, and if you are suprised to see me here, I
am as much to find myself in your company; and that which
increases my wonder is, that I have not seen one man with these

The caliph and his company, as well as the calenders, supposed
the porter had been one of the family, and hoped he could inform
them of what they desired to know; but finding he could not, and
resolving to satisfy his curiosity, cost what it would, he says
to the rest, Look ye, we are here seven men, and have but three
women to deal with; let us try if we can oblige them to satisfy
us, and, if they refuse by fair means, we are in a condition to
force them to it.

The grand vizier Giafar was against this method, and showed the
caliph what might be the consequence of it; but, without
discovering the prince to the calenders, he addressed him, as if
he had been, a merchant, thus: Sir, consider, I pray you, that
our reputation lies at stake; you know very well upon what
conditions these ladies were ready to receive us, and we also
agreed to them. What will they say of us if we break them? We
shall be still more to blame if any mischief befal us; for it is
not likely that they would demand such a promise of us, if they
did not know themselves in a condition to make us repent the
breaking of it.

Here the vizier took the caliph aside, and whispered to him thus:
Sir, the night will soon be at an end, and if your majesty will
only be pleased to have so much patience, I will take these
ladies to-morrow morning, and bring them before your throne,
where you may be informed of all you desire to know. Though this
advice was very judicious, the caliph rejected it, bid the vizier
hold his tongue, and said he would not stay till then, but would
have satisfaction in the matter presently.

The next business was to know who should carry the message. The
caliph endeavoured to prevail with the calenders to speak first;
but they excused themselves, and at last they agreed that the
porter should be the man. And as they were consulting how to word
this fatal question, Zobeide returned from her sister Amine, who
was recovered of her fit, drew near them, and having overheard
them speaking pretty loud, and with some passion, says,
Gentlemen, what is the subject of your discourse? what are you
disputing about?

The porter answered immediately, Madam, these gentlemen pray you
to let them understand wherefore you wept over your two bitches,
after you whipped them so severely, and how the bosom of the
lady, who lately fainted away, comes to be so full of scars? This
is what I am ordered to ask in their name.

At these words, Zobeide looked with a stern countenance, and,
turning towards the caliph and the rest of the company, Is it
true, gentlemen, says she, that you have given him orders to ask
me this question? All of them, except Giafar, who spoke not a
word, answered, Yes. On which she told them, in a tone which
sufficiently expressed her resentment, Before we granted you the
favour of being received into our house, and to prevent all
occasion of trouble from you, because we are alone, we did it
upon condition that you should not speak of any thing that did
not concern you, lest you might come to hear that which would not
please you; and yet, after having received and entertained you as
well as possibly we could, you make no scruple to break your
promise. It is true that our easy temper has occasioned this, but
that shall not excuse you, for your proceedings are very
unhandsome. As she spoke these words, she gave three hard knocks
with her foot, and, clapping her hands as often together, cried,
Come quick! Upon this a door flew open, and seven strong sturdy
black slaves, with scimitars in their hands, rushed in; every one
seized a man, threw him on the ground, and dragged him into the
middle of the room in order to cut off his head.

We may easily conceive what a fright the caliph was in; he then
repented, but too late, that he had not taken his vizier's
advice. In the mean time this unhappy prince, Giafar, Mesrour,
the porter, and the calenders, were upon the point of losing
their lives by their indiscreet curiosity. But, before they would
strike the fatal blow, one of the slaves says to Zobeide and her
sisters, High, mighty, and adorable mistresses, do you command us
to cut their throats? Stay, says Zobeide, I must examine them
first. The frightened porter interrupted her thus: In the name of
Heaven, do not make me die for another man's crime. I am
innocent, they are to blame. Alas! says he, crying, how
pleasantly did we pass our time! those blind calenders are the
cause of this misfortune; there is no town in the world but goes
to ruin, wherever these inauspicious fellows come. Madam, I beg
you not to destroy the innocent with the guilty, and consider
that it is more glorious to pardon such a wretch as I, who have
no way to help myself, than to sacrifice me to your resentment.

Zobeide, notwithstanding her anger, could not but laugh within
herself at the porters lamentation; but, without answering him,
she spoke a second time to the rest: Answer me, says she, and
tell me who you are, otherwise you shall not live one moment
longer. I cannot believe you to be honest men, nor persons of
authority or distinction in your own countries; for, if you were,
you would have been more modest and more respectful to us.

The caliph, who was naturally impatient, was infinitely more so
than the rest, to find his life depend upon the command of a lady
justly incensed; but he began to conceive some hopes when he saw
she would know who they all were; for he imagined she would not
take away his life when once she came to be informed who he was;
therefore he spoke with a low voice to the vizier, who was near
him, to declare speedily who he was; but the vizier, being more
prudent, resolved to save his master's honour, and not to let the
world know the affront he had brought upon himself by his own
weakness; and therefore answered, We have what we deserve. But,
if he would have spoken in obedience to the caliph, Zobeide did
not give him time; for having turned to the calenders, and seeing
them all three blind of one eye, she asked if they were brothers.
One of them answered, No, madam, no otherwise than as we are all
calenders; that is to say, as we observe the same rules. Were you
born blind of the right eye? replied she. No, madam, answers he,
I lost my eye in such a surprising adventure, that it would be
instructive to every body, were it in writing. After this
misfortune, I shaved my beard and eye-brows, and took the habit
of a calender, which I now wear.

Zobeide asked the other two calenders the same question, and had
the same answer; but he that spoke last added, Madam, to show you
that we are no common fellows, and that you may have some
consideration for us, be pleased to know, that we are all three
sons of kings; and though we never met together till this
evening, yet we have had time enough to make that known to one
another; and I assure you that the kings from whom we derive our
being made some noise in the world.

At this discourse Zobeide assuaged her anger, and said to the
slaves, Give them their liberty a while, but stay here. Those who
tell us their history, and the occasion of their coming, do them
no hurt, let them go where they please, but do not spare those
who refuse to give vis that satisfaction.

Scheherazade demanded leave of the sultan, and having obtained
it, Sir, says she, the three calenders, the caliph, the grand
vizier Giafar, the eunuch Mesrour, and the porter, were all in
the middle of the hall, set upon a foot-carpet, in the presence
of the three ladies, who sat upon a sofa, and the slaves stood
ready to do whatever their mistresses should command.

The porter, understanding that he might rid himself of his danger
by telling his history, spoke first, and said, Madam, you know my
history already, and the occasion of coming hither; so that what
I have to say will be very short. My lady, your sister there,
called me this morning at the place where I plied as a porter to
see if anybody would employ me, that I might get my bread; I
followed her to a vintner's, then to an herb-woman's, then to one
that sold oranges, lemons, and citrons, then to a grocer's, next
to a confectioner's and a druggist's, with my basket upon my
head, as full as I was able to carry it; then I came hither,
where you had the goodness to suffer me to continue till now; a
favour that I shall never forget. This, Madam, is my history.

When the porter had done, Zobeide says to him, Go, march; let us
see you no more here. Madam, replies the porter, I beg you to let
me stay; it would be just, after the rest have had the pleasure
to hear my history, that I should also have the satisfaction to
hear theirs. And having spoken thus, he sat him down at the end
of the sofa, glad to the heart to have escaped the danger that
had frightened him so much. After him, one of the three
calenders, directing his speech to Zobeide, as the principal of
the three ladies, and the person that commanded him to speak,
began his history thus;


Madam, in order to inform you how I lost my right eye, and why I
was obliged to put myself into a calender's habit, I must tell
you that I am king's son born; the king my father had a brother
that reigned, as he did, over a neighbouring kingdom; and the
prince his son and I were almost of one age.

After I had learned my exercises, and that the king my father
granted me such liberty as suited my dignity, I went regularly
every year to see my uncle, at whose court I diverted myself
during a month or two, and then returned again to my father's.
These several journies gave occasion of contracting a very firm
and particular friendship between the prince my cousin and
myself. The last time I saw him, he received me with greater
demonstrations of tenderness than he had done at any time before;
and resolving one day to give me a treat, he made great
preparations for that purpose. We continued a long time at table,
and after we had both supped very well, Cousin, says he, you will
hardly be able to guess how I have been employed since your last
departure from hence, now about a year past. I have had a great
many men at work to perfect a design I have had in my mind; I
have caused an edifice to be built, which is now finished so well
as one may dwell in it: You will not be displeased if I show'it
you. But first you are to promise me, upon oath, that you will
keep my secret, according to the confidence I repose in you.

The love and familiarity existing between us would not allow me
to refuse him any thing. I very readily took the oath required of
me: Upon which he says to me, Stay here till I return; I will be
with you in a moment: and accordingly he came with a lady in his
hand, of singular beauty, and magnificently apparrelled. He did
not discover who she was, neither did I think it was polite in me
to make inquiry. We sat down again with this lady at table, where
we continued some time entertaining ourselves with discourses
upon indifferent subjects; and now and then a full glass to drink
one another's health. After which the prince said, Cousin, we
must lose no time, therefore pray oblige me to take this lady
along with you, and conduct her to such a place, where you will
see a tomb newly built in the form of a dome; you will easily
know it; the gate is open; go in there together, and tarry till I
come, which will be very speedily.

Being true to my oath, I made no further inquiry, but took the
lady by the hand, and by the directions which the prince my
cousin had given me, I brought her to the place, by the light of
the moon, without losing one step of the way. We were scarcely
got thither, when we saw the prince following after, carrying a
little pitcher with water, a hatchet, and a little bag with

The hatchet served him to break down the empty sepulchre in the
middle of the tomb; he took away the stones one after another,
and laid them in a corner. When all this was taken away, he
digged up the ground, where I saw a trap-door under the
sepulchre, which he lifted up, and underneath perceived the head
of a staircase leading into a vault. Then my cousin, speaking to
the lady, said, Madam, it is by this way that we are to go to the
place I told you of. Upon which the lady drew nigh and went down,
and the prince began to follow after, but, turning first to me,
said, My dear cousin, I am infinitely obliged to you for the
trouble you have been at; I thank you: Adieu. I cried, Dear
cousin, what is the meaning of this? Be content, replied he; you
may return back the same way you came.

Madam, said the calender to Zobeide, I could get nothing further
from him, but was obliged to take leave of him; as I returned to
my uncle's palace, the vapours of the wine got up into my head;
however, I got to my apartment, and went to bed. Next morning,
when I awaked, I began to reflect upon what befel me the night
before, and, after recollecting all the circumstances of such a
singular adventure, I fancied it was nothing but a dream. Being
full of these thoughts, I sent to see if the prince my cousin was
ready to receive a visit from me; but when they brought back word
that he did not lie in his own lodgings that night, they knew not
what was become of him, and were in much trouble about it, I
conceived that the strange event of the tomb was but too true. I
was sensibly afflicted at it, and, stealing away privately from
my people, I went to the public burying-place, where there was a
vast number of tombs like that which I had seen. I spent the day
in viewing them one after another, but could not find that I
sought for; and thus I spent four days successively in vain.

You must know all this while the king my uncle was absent, and
had been a-hunting for several days. I grew weary of staying for
him, and having prayed his ministers to make my apology to him at
his return, I left his palace, and set towards my father's court,
from which I had never been so long absent before. I left the
ministers of the king my uncle in great trouble to think what had
become of the prince my cousin; but, because of the oath I had
made to keep his secret, I durst not tell them any thing of what
I had seen or knew, in order to make them easy.

I arrived at my father's capital, the usual place of his
residence, where, contrary to custom, I found a great guard at
the gate of the palace, who surrounded me as I entered. I asked
the reason, and the commanding officer replied, Prince, the army
proclaimed the grand vizier king instead of your father, who is
dead; and I take you prisoner in the name of the new king. At
these words the guards laid hold of me, and carried me before the
tyrant. I leave you to judge, madam, how much I was surprised and

The rebel vizier had entertained a mortal hatred against me for a
long time upon this occasion: When,I was a stripling, I loved to
shoot with a cross-bow; and being one day upon the terrace of the
palace with my bow, a bird happened to come by; I shot, but
missed him, and the ball by misfortune hit the vizier, who was
taking the air upon the terrace of his own house, and put out one
of his eyes. As soon as I understood it, I not only sent to make
my excuse to him, but did it in person; yet he always resented
it, and, as opportunity offered, made me sensible of it. But now,
madam, that he had me in his power, he expressed his resentment
in a very barbarous manner; for he came to me like a madman as
soon as ever he saw me, and, thrusting his finger into my right
eye, pulled it out himself; and so, madam, I became blind of one

But the usurper's cruelty did not stop here; he ordered me to be
shut up in a box, and commanded the executioner to carry me into
the country to cut off my head, and leave me to be devoured by
the birds of prey. The hangman and another carried me, thus shut
up on horseback, into the country, in order to execute the
usurper's barbarous sentence; but by my prayers and tears I moved
the executioner's compassion. Go, says he, get you speedily out
of the kingdom, and take heed of ever returning to it, otherwise
you will certainly meet with your own ruin and be the cause of
mine. I thanked him for the favour he did me; and as soon as I
was left alone, I comforted myself for the loss of my eye, by
considering that I had very narrowly escaped a much greater

Being in such a condition, I could not travel far at a time. I
retired to remote places while it was day, and travelled as far
by night as my strength would allow me. At last I arrived in the
dominions of the king my uncle, and came to his capital.

I gave him a long detail of the tragical cause of my return, and
of the sad condition he saw me in. Alas! cried he, was it not
enough for me to have lost my son; but must I have also news of
the death of a brother I loved so dearly, and see you also
reduced to this deplorable condition? He told me how uneasy he
was; that he could hear nothing of his son, notwithstanding all
the diligence and inquiry he could make. At these words, the
unfortunate father burst out into tears, and was so much
affected, that, pitying his grief, it was impossible for me to
keep the secret any longer; so that, notwithstanding the oath I
had made to the prince my cousin, I told the king his father all
that I knew.

His majesty listened to me with some sort of comfort, and when I
had done, Nephew, says he, what you tell me gives me some hope. I
know that my son ordered that tomb to be built, and I can guess
pretty near at the place, and, with the idea you still have of
it, I fancy we shall find it; but since he ordered it to be built
privately, and you took your oath to keep his secret, I am of
opinion that we ought to go in quest of it alone, without saying
any thing.

But he had another reason for keeping the matter secret, which he
did not then tell me, and an important reason it was, as you will
perceive by the sequel of my discourse.

We both of us disguised ourselves, and went out by a door of the
garden which opened into the field, and soon found what we sought
for. I knew the tomb, and was so much the more rejoiced at it,
because I had formerly sought it a long time in vain. We entered,
and found the iron trap pulled down upon the entrance of the
stair-case; we had much ado to raise it, because the prince had
fastened it on the inside with the water and mortar formerly
mentioned; but at last we got it up.

The king my uncle went down first, I following, and we went down
about fifty steps. When we came to the foot of the stairs, we
found a sort of antichamber full of a thick smoke, and an ill
scent, which obscured the lamp that gave a very faint light. From
this antichamber we came into another, very large, supported by
great columns, and lighted by several branched candlesticks.
There was a cistern in the middle, with provisions of several
sorts standing on one side of it; but we were very much surprised
to see nobody. Before us there appeared a high sofa, which we
mounted by several steps, and over this there appeared a very
large bed, with the curtains drawn close. The king went up, and,
opening the curtains, perceived the prince his son and the lady
in bed together, but burnt and changed into a coal, as if they
had been thrown into a great fire, and taken out again before
they were consumed.

But that which surprised me most of all was, that though this
spectacle filled me with horror, the king my uncle, instead of
testifying his sorrow to see the prince his son in such a
frightful condition, spit in his face, and says to him, with an
air, "This is the punishment of this world, but that of the other
will last to eternity;" and, not content with this, he pulled off
his sandal, and gave his son a great blow on the cheek with it.

I cannot enough express, Madam, said the calender how much I was
astonished, when I saw the king my uncle abuse the prince his
son, thus, after he was dead. Sir, said I, whatever grief this
dismal sight is capable to impress upon me, I am forced to
suspend it, on purpose to ask your majesty what crime the prince
my cousin may have committed, that his corpse should deserve this
sort of treatment? Nephew, replied the king, I must tell you that
my son (who is unworthy of that name) loved his sister from his
infancy, and so she did him: I did not hinder their growing love,
because I did not foresee the pernicious consequences of it. This
tenderness increased as they grew in years, and came to such a
height, that I dreaded the end of it. At last I applied such
remedies as were in my power; I not only gave my son a severe
reprimand in private, laying before him the foulness of the
passion he was entertaining, and the eternal disgrace he would
bring upon my family if he persisted in such criminal courses,
but I also represented the same thing to my daughter; and besides
I shut her up so close, that she could have no conversation with
her brother. But that unfortunate creature had swallowed so much
of the poision, that all the obstacles, which by my prudence I
could lay in the way, served only the more to inflame her love.

My son, being persuaded of his sister's constancy, on pretence of
building a tomb, caused this subterraneous habitation to be made,
in hopes to find one day or other an opportunity to possess
himself of that object which was the cause of his flame, and to
bring her hither. He laid hold on the time of my absence to enter
by force into the place of his sister's confinement; but that is
a thing which my honour would not suffer me to make public; and,
after so damnable an action, he came and enclosed himself and her
in this place, which he has supplied, as you see, with all sorts
of provisions, that he might enjoy his detestable pleasures for a
long time, which ought to be a subject of horror to all the
world: but God, who would not suffer such an abomination, has
justly punished them both. At these words he melted into tears,
and I joined mine with his.

After a while, casting his eyes upon me, Dear nephew, cried he,
embracing me, if I have lost that unworthy son, I shall happily
find in you one who will better supply his place. And, upon some
other reflections he made on the doleful end of the prince and
princess, we both fell into a new fit of weeping.

We went up the same stairs again, and departed at last from this
dismal place. We let down again the trapdoor, and covered it with
earth, and such other materials as the tomb was built of, on
purpose to hide, as much as lay in our power; so terrible an
effect of the wrath of God.

We had not been very long got back to the palace unperceived by
anyone, before we heard a confused noise of trumpets, drums, and
other instruments of war: We soon understood, by the thick cloud
of dust which almost darkened the air, that it was the arrival of
a formidable army; and it proved to be the same vizier that had
dethroned my father, and usurped his throne, who, with a vast
number of troops, was also come to possess himself of that of the
king my uncle.

That prince, who then had only his usual guards about him, could
not resist so many enemies; they invested the city, and the gates
being opened to them without any resistance, they very soon
became masters of the city, and broke into the palace where the
king my uncle was, who defended himself till he was killed, and
sold his life at a dear rate. For my part I fought as well as I
could for a while, but, seeing we were forced to submit to a
superior power, I thought on my retreat and safety, which I had
the good fortune to effect by some back ways, and got to one of
the king's servants, on whose fidelity I could depend.

Being thus surrounded with sorrows, and persecuted by fortune, I
had recourse to a stratagem, which was the only means left me to
save my life; I caused my beard and eyebrows to be shaved, and
putting on a calender's habit, I passed, unknown by any, out of
the city: After that, by degrees, I found it easy to get out of
my uncle's kingdom by taking the byeroads.

I avoided passing through towns, until I was got into the empire
of the mighty governor of the Mussulmen, the glorious and
renowned Caliph Haroun Alraschid, when I thought myself out of
danger; and, considering what I was to do, I resolved to come to
Bagdad, intending to throw myself at the monarch's feet, whose
generosity is every where applauded. I shall move him to
compassion, said I to myself, by the relation of my surprising
misfortunes, and without doubt he will take pity on such an
unfortunate prince, and not suffer me to implore his assistance
in vain.

In short, after a journey of several months, I arrived yesterday
at the gate of this city, into which I entered about the dusk of
the evening, and standing still a little while to revive my
spirits, and to consider on which hand I was to turn, this other
calender you see here next me came also along; he saluted me, and
I him. You appear, said I, to be a stranger, as I am. You are not
mistaken, replied he. He had no sooner returned this answer, than
this third calender you see there overtook us. He saluted us, and
told us he was a stranger newly come to Bagdad; so that as
brethren we joined together, resolving not to separate from one

Meanwhile it was late, and we knew not where to seek a lodging in
the city, where we had no acquaintance, nor had ever been before.
But good fortune having brought us before your gate, we made bold
to knock, when you received us with so much kindness, that we are
incapable to return you suitable thanks. This, madam, (said he,)
is, in obedience to your commands, the account I was, to give you
why I lost my right eye, wherefore my beard and eye-brows are
shaved, and how I came to be with you at this present time.

It is enough, says Zobeide, you may retire to what place you
think fit. The calender made his excuse, and begged the ladies'
leave to stay till he had heard the relations of his two
comrades, whom I cannot, says he, leave with honour; and till he
might also hear those of the three other persons that were in

The story of the first calender seemed very strange to the whole
company, but especially to the caliph, who, though the slaves
stood by with their scimitars in their hands, could not forbear
whispering to the vizier, Many stories have I heard, but never
any thing that came near the story of the calender. Whilst he was
saying this, the second calender began, addressing himself to


Madam, said he, to obey your command, and to show you by what
strange accident I became blind of the right eye, I must of
necessity give you the whole account of my life.

I was scarcely past my infancy, when the king my father (for you
must know, madam, I am a prince by birth) perceived that I was
endowed with a great deal of sense, and spared nothing to improve
it. He employed all the men in his dominions, who excelled in
sciences and arts, to be constantly about me.

No sooner had I learned to read and write, than I learned the
alcoran from the beginning to the end by heart; that admirable
book, which contains the foundation, the precepts, and the rules
of our religion; and, that I might be thoroughly instructed in
it, I read the works of the most approved authors by whose
commentaries it had been explained. I added to this study that of
all the traditions collected from the mouth of our prophet by the
great men that were contemporary with him. I was not satisfied
with the knowledge alone of all that had any relation to our
religion, but made also a particular search into our histories. I
made myself perfect in polite learning, in the works of the
poets, and in versification. I applied myself to geography, to
chronology, and to speak our Arabian language in its purity; not
forgetting, in the mean time, all such exercises as were proper
for a prince to understand. But one thing I was mightily in love
with, and succeeded in to admiration, was, to form the characters
of our Arabian language, wherein I surpassed all the
writing-masters of our kingdom, that had acquired the greatest

Fame did me more honour than I deserved, for she had not only
spread the renown of my parts through all the dominions of the
king my father, but carried it as far as the Indian court, whose
potent monarch, desirous to see me, sent an embassador, with rich
presents, to demand me of my father, who was extremely glad of
this embassy for several reasons; for he was persuaded that
nothing could be more commendable in a prince of my age, than to
travel and see foreign courts; and, besides, he was very glad to
gain the friendship of the Indian sultan. I departed with the
embassador, but with no great retinue, because of the length and
difficulty of the journey.

When we had travelled about a month, we discovered at a distance
a great cloud of dust, and under that we saw very soon fifty
horsemen well armed, that were robbers, coming towards us at full

As we had ten horses laden with baggage and other presents, which
I was to present to the Indian sultan from the king my father,
and that my retinue was but small, you may easily judge that
these robbers came boldly up to us; and, not being in a posture
to make any opposition, we told them that we were embassadors
belonging to the sultan of the Indies, and hoped they would
attempt nothing contrary to the honour that is due to them,
thinking to save our equipage and our lives; but the robbers most
insolently replied, For what reason would you have us show any
respect to the sultan your master? We are none of his subjects,
nor are we upon his territories. And, having spoken thus, they
surrounded and fell upon us. I defended myself as well as I
could; but finding myself wounded, and seeing the embassador,
with his servants and mine, lying on the ground, I made use of
what strength yet remained in my horse, who was also very much
wounded, and separated myself from the crowd, and rode away as
fast as he could carry me; but he, happening all of a sudden to
fall under me by weariness and the loss of blood, fell down dead;
I got rid of him in a trice; and finding that I was not pursued,
it made me judge the robbers were not willing to quit the booty
they had got.

Here you see me alone, wounded, destitute of all help, and in a
strange country. I durst not betake myself to the high- road,
fearing I might fall again into the hands of these robbers. When
I had bound up my wound, which was not dangerous, I marched on
the rest of the day, and arrived at the foot of a mountain, where
I perceived a passage into a cave; I went in, and staid there
that night with little satisfaction, after I had eaten some
fruits that I had gathered by the way.

I continued my journey for several days following, without
finding any place of abode; but, after a month's time, I came to
a large town well inhabited, and situtate very advantageously,
being surrounded with several rivers, so that it enjoyed a
perpetual spring.

The pleasant objects which then presented themselves to my view,
afforded me some joy, and suspended for a time the deep sorrow
with which I was overwhelmed, to find myself in such a condition.
My face, hands, and feet, were all tawny and sun-burnt, and by my
long journey my shoes and stockings were quite worn out, so that
I was forced to walk bare-footed; arid, besides, my clothes were
all in rags. I entered into the town to inform myself where I
was, and addressed myself to a tailor that was at work in his
shop; who, perceiving by my air that I was a person of more note
than my outward appearance bespoke me to be, made me sit down by
him, and asked me who I was, and from whence I came, and what had
brought me thither? I did not conceal any thing of all that had
befallen me. nor made I any scruple to discover my quality.

The tailor listened with attention to my words; but after I had
done speaking, he, instead of giving me any consolation,
augmented my sorrow. Take heed, says he, how you discover to any
person what you have now declared to me; for the prince of this
country is the greatest enemy that the king your father has, and
he will certainly do you some mischief when he comes to hear of
your being in this city. I made no doubt of the tailor's
sincerity when he named the prince; but since that enmity which
is between my father and him has no relation to my adventures, I
must beg your pardon, madam, to pass it over in silence.

I returned the tailor thanks for his good advice, and showed
myself inclinable wholly to follow his counsel, and assured him
that his favours should never be forgotten by me. And as he
believed I could not but be hungry, he caused them to bring me
somewhat to eat, and offered me at the same time a lodging--in
his house, which I accepted. Some days after, finding me pretty
well recovered of the fatigue I had endured by a long and tedious
journey, and, besides, being sensible that most princes of our
religion did apply themselves to some art or calling that might
stand them in stead upon occasion, he asked me if I had learned
any thing whereby I might get a livelihood, and not be burdensome
to any man? I told him that I understood the laws both divine and
human; that I was a grammarian and poet; and, above all, that I
understood writing perfectly well. By all this, says he, you will
not be able, in this country, to purchase yourself one morsel of
bread; nothing is of less use here than those sciences: But if
you will be advised by me, says he, dress yourself in a
labourer's habit; and since you appear to be strong, and of a
good constitution, you shall go into the next forest, and cut
down fire-wood, which you may bring to the market to be sold; and
I can assure you it will turn to so good an account, that you may
live by it without dependence upon any man: By this means you
will be in a condition to wait for the favourable minute when
Heaven shall think fit to dispel those clouds of misfortune that
thwart your happiness, and oblige you to conceal your birth: I
will take care to supply you with a rope and a hatchet.

The fear of being known, and the necessity I was under of getting
a livelihood, made me agree to this proposal, notwithstanding all
the meanness and hardships that attend it. The day following, the
tailor brought me a rope, a hatchet, and a short coat, and
recommended me to some poor people that gained their bread after
the same manner, that they might take me into their company. They
conducted me to the wood, and the first day I brought in as much
upon my head as brought me half a piece of gold, which is the
money of that country; for though the wood is not far distant
from the town, yet it was very scarce there, by reason that few
or none would be at the trouble to go and cut it. I gained a good
sum of money in a short time, and repaid my tailor what he had
advanced for me.

I continued this way of living for a whole year; and one day that
by chance I had gone further into the wood than usual, I happened
to light on a very pleasant place, where I began to cut down
wood; and, in pulling up the root of a tree, I espied an iron
ring, fastened to a trap-door of the same metal. I took away the
earth that covered it, and, having lifted it up, saw stairs,
which I descended, with my axe in my hand.

When I was come to the bottom of the stairs, I found myself in a
large palace, which put me into a mighty consternation, because
of the great light which appeared as clear in it as if it had
been above ground in the open air. I went forward along a gallery
supported by pillars of jasper, the bases and chapiters of massy
gold; but seeing a lady of a noble and free air, and of
extraordinary beauty, coming towards me, this turned my eyes from
beholding any other object but her alone.

Being desirous to spare the lady the trouble to come to me, I
made haste to meet her; and as I was saluting her with a low bow,
she asked me, What are you? a man or a genie? A man, madam, said
I; I have no correspondence with genies. By what adventure, said
she, (fetching a deep sigh,) are you come hither? I have lived
here these twenty-five years, and never saw any man but yourself
during that time.

Her great beauty, which had already smitten me, and the sweetness
and civility wherewith she received me, made me bold to say to
her, Madam, before I have the honour to satisfy your curiosity,
give me leave to tell you that I am infinitely satisfied with
this unexpected rencounter, which offers me an occasion of
consolation in the midst of my affliction; and perhaps it may
give me an opportunity to make you also more happy than you are.
I gave her a true account by what strange accident she saw me,
the son of a king, in such a condition as I then appeared in her
presence; and how fortune would have it that I should discover
the entrance into that magnificent prison, where I had found her,
but in an uneasy condition, according to appearance.

Alas! prince, said she, (sighing once more,) you have just cause
to believe this rich and pompous prison cannot be otherwise than
a most wearisome abode; the most charming place in the world
being nowise delightful when we are detained in it contrary to
our will. It is not possible but you have heard of the great
Epitimarus, king of the isle of Ebone, so called from that
precious wood it produces in abundance; I am the princess his

The king my father had chosen for me a husband, a prince that was
my cousin; but, on my wedding-night, in the midst of the
rejoicing there was in the court and the capital city of the
kingdom of the isle of Ebone, before I was given to my spouse, a
genie took me away. I fainted at the same moment, and lost all my
senses; but, when I came to myself again, I found myself in this
place. I was a longtime inconsolable; but time and necessity have
accustomed me to see and receive the genie. It is twenty-five
years, as I told you before, that I have continued in this place,
where, I must confess, I have every thing that I can wish for
necessary to life; and also every thing that can satisfy a
princess that loves nothing but fine dress and fashions.

Every ten days, says the princess, the genie comes hither to lie
with me one night, which he never exceeds; and the excuse he
makes for it is, that he is married to another wife, who would
grow jealous if she came to know how unfaithful he was to her.
Meanwhile, if I have any occasion for him by day or night, as
soon as I touch a talisman, which is at the entrance of my
chamber, the genie appears. It is now the fourth day since he was
here, and I do not expect him before the end of six more; so, if
you please, you may stay five days and keep me company, and I
will endeavour to entertain you according to your quality and
merit. I thought myself too fortunate to have obtained so great a
favour without asking it, to refuse so obliging a proffer. The
princess made me go into a bagnio, which was the most handsome,
the most commodious, and the most sumptuous, that could be
imagined; and when I came forth, instead of my own clothes, I
found another very costly suit, which I did not esteem so much
for its richness as that it made me look worthy to be in her
company. We sat down on a sofa covered with rich tapestry, with
cushions to lean upon, of the rarest Indian brocade; and, some
time after, she covered a table with several dishes of delicate
meats. We ate together, and passed the remainder of the day with
very great satisfaction; and at night she received me to her bed.

The next day, as she contrived all manner of ways to please me,
she brought in at dinner a bottle of old wine, the most excellent
that ever was tasted, and, out of complaisance, she drank part of
it with me. Whan my head grew hot with the agreeable liquor, Fair
princess, said I, you have been too long thus buried alive; come
follow me, and enjoy the real day from which you have been
deprived of so many years, and abandon this false light that you
have here. Prince, replied she with a smile, leave this
discourse; if you, out of the days, will grant me nine, and
resign the last to the genie, the fairest day that ever was would
be nothing in my esteem. Princess, said I, it is the fear of the
genie that makes you speak thus; for my part, I value him so
little that I will break his talisman, with the conjuration that
is written about it, in pieces. Let him come then, I will expect
him, and how brave or redoubtable soever he be, I will make him
feel the weight of my arm. I swear solemnly that I shall
extirpate all the genies in the world, and him first. The
princess, who knew the consequence, conjured me not to touch the
talisman, for that would be a mean, said she, to ruin both you
and me; I know what belongs to genies better than you. The fumes
of the wine did not suffer me to hearken to her reasons, but I
gave the talisman a kick with my foot, and broke it in several

The talisman was no sooner broken than the palace began to shake,
and was ready to fall, with a hideous noise like thunder,
accompanied with flashes of lightning, and a great darkness. This
terrible noise in a moment dispelled the fumes of my wine, and
made me sensible, but too late, of the folly I had committed.
Princess, cried I, what means all this? She answered in a fright,
and without any concern for her own misfortune, cries, Alas! you
are undone, if you do not escape presently.

I followed her advice, and my fears were so great that I forgot
my hatchet and cords. I was scarcely got to the stairs by which I
came down, when the enchanted palace opened at once, and made a
passage for the genie. He asked the princess, in great anger,
what has happened to you, and why did you call me? A qualm at my
stomach, said the princess, made me fetch this bottle which you
see here, out of which I drank twice or thrice, and by mischance
made a false step, and fell upon the talisman, which is broken,
and that is all the matter.

At this answer the furious genie told her, You are a false woman
and a liar. How came that axe and those ropes there? I never saw
them till this moment, said the princess. Your coming in such an
impetuous manner has, it may be, forced them up in some place as
you came along, and so brought them hither without your knowing

The genie made no other answer but what was accompanied with
reproaches and blows, of which I heard the noise. I could not
endure to hear the pitiful cries and shouts of the princess so
cruelly abused; I had already laid off the suit she made me put
on, and taken my own, which I had laid on the stairs the day
before, when I came out of the bagnio. I made haste up stairs,
being so much the more full of sorrow and compassion that I had
been the cause of so great a misfortune; and that, by sacrificing
the fairest princess on earth to the barbarity of a most
merciless genie, I was become the most criminal and ungrateful of
mankind. It is true, said I, she has been a prisoner these
twenty-five years; but, setting liberty aside, she wanted nothing
that could make her happy. My madness has put an end to her
happiness, and brought upon her the cruelty of an unrelenting
devil. I let down the trap-door, covered it again with earth, and
returned to the city with a burden of wood, which I bound up
without knowing what I did, so great were my trouble and sorrow.

My landlord, the tailor, was very much rejoiced to see me. Your
absence, said he, has disquieted me very much, by reason you had
intrusted in with the secret of your birth, and I knew not what
to think. I was afraid that somebody had known you; God be
thanked for your return. I thanked him for his zeal and
affection, but never a word durst I say of what had passed, nor
the reason why I came back without my hatchet and cords.

I retired to my chamber, where I reproached myself a thousand
times for my excessive imprudence. Nothing, said I, could have
paralleled the princess's good fortune and mine, had I foreborn
to break the talisman.

While I was thus giving myself over to melancholy thoughts, the
tailor came in and told me, An old man, said he, whom I do not
know, brings me your hatchet and cords, which he found in his
way, as he tells me, and understood, by your comrades that go
along with you to the woods, that you lodge here. Come out and
speak to him, for he will deliver them to none but yourself.

At this discourse I changed colour, and fell a-trembling. While
the tailor was asking me the reason, my chamber-door opened at
once, and the old man, having no patience to stay, appeared to us
with my hatchet and cords. This was the genie, the ravisher of
the fair princess of the isle of Ebone, who had thus disguised
himself, after he had treated her with the utmost barbarity. I am
a genie, said he, son of the daughter of Ebis, prince of genies.
Is not this your hatchet? said he, speaking to me, and are not
these your cords?

After the genie had put the question to me, he gave me no time to
answer, nor was it in my power, so much had his terrible aspect
put me beside myself. He grasped me by the middle, dragged me out
of the chamber, and, mounting into the air, carried me up as high
as the skies, with such swiftness, that I perceived I was got so
high as not to be able to take notice of the way, being carried
in so few moments. He descended again in like manner to the
earth, which, on a sudden, he caused to open with a knock of his
foot, and so sunk down at once, where I found myself in the
enchanted palace before the fair princess of the isle of Ebone.
But, alas! what a spectacle was there; I saw that which pierced
me to the heart; this poor princess was quite naked, all in
blood, and laid upon the ground, more like one dead than alive,
with her cheeks all bathed in tears.

Perfidious wretch, said the genie to her, pointing at me, is not
this your gallant? She cast her languishing eyes upon me, and
answered mournfully, I do not know him; I never saw him till this
moment. What, said the genie, he is the cause of thy being in the
condition thou art justly in; and yet darest thou say thou dost
not know him? If I do not know him, said the princess, would you
have me to make a lie on purpose to ruin him? O then, said the
genie, pulling out a scimitar, and presenting it to the princess,
if you never saw him before, take the scimitar and cut off his
head. Alas! replied the princess, how is it possible I should
execute what you would force me to do? My strength is so far
spent that I cannot lift my arm; and if I could, how should I
have the heart to take away an innocent man's life, and one I do
not know? This refusal, said the genie to the princess,
sufficiently informs me of your crime. Upon which, turning to me,
And thou, said he, dost thou hot know her?

I should have been the most ungrateful wretch, and the most
perfidious of all mankind, if I had not shown myself as faithful
to the princess as she was to me, who had been the cause of her
misfortunes. Therefore I answered the genie, How should I know
her, that never saw her till now? If that be so, said he, take
the scimitar and cut off her head. On this condition I will set
thee at liberty, for then I will be convinced that thou never saw
her till this very moment, as thou sayest thyself. With all my
heart, replied I, and took the scimitar in my hand.

Do not think, madam, that I drew near to the fair princess of the
isle of Ebone, to be the executioner of the genie's barbarity; I
did it only to demonstrate by my behaviour, as much as possible,
that as she had shown her resolution to sacrifice her life for my
sake, so I would not refuse to sacrifice mine for her's. The
princess, notwithstanding her pain and suffering, understood my
meaning, which she signified by an obliging look, and made me
understand her willingness to die for me; and that she was
satisfied to see also how willing I was to die for her. Upon this
I stepped back, and threw the scimitar on the ground. I shall for
ever, says I to the genie, be hateful to all mankind, should I be
so base as to murder, I do not only say a person whom I do not
know, but also a lady like this, who is ready to give up the
ghost; do with me what you please since I am in your power; I
cannot obey your barbarous commands.

I see, said the genie, that you both out-brave me, and insult my
jealousy; but both of you shall know, by the treatment I give
you, what I am capable to do. At these words, the monster took up
the scimitar and cut off one of her hands, which left her only so
much life as to give me a token with the other, that she bid me
for ever adieu. For the blood she had lost before, and that which
gushed out then, did not permit her to live above one or two
moments after this barbarous cruelty, the sight of which threw me
into a fit. When I was come to myself again, I expostulated with
the genie, why he made me languish in expectation of death.
Strike, cried I, for I am ready to receive the mortal blow, and
expect it as the greatest favour you can show me. But instead of
agreeing to that, Look ye, says he, how genies treat their wives
whom they suspect of unfaithfulness; she has received thee here,
and were I certain that she had put any other affront upon me, I
would make thee die this minute; but I will content myself to
transform thee into a dog, ape, lion, or bird: take thy choice of
any of these, I will leave it to thyself.

These words gave me some hopes to mollify him. O genie; said I,
moderate your passion, and since you will not take away my life,
give it me generously; I shall always remember your clemency, if
you pardon me, as one of the best men in the world pardoned one
of his neighbours who bore him a mortal hatred. The genie asked
me what had passed between those two neighbours, and said, he
would have patience till he heard the story, which I told him
thus: And I believe, madam, you will not take it ill if I also
relate it to you.


In a considerable town, two persons dwelt next door to each
other; one of them conceived such a violent hatred against the
other, that he who was hated resolved to remove his dwelling
further off, being persuaded that their being neighbours was the
only cause from whence his animosity did arise; for, though he
had done him several pieces of service, he found, nevertheless,
that his hatred was nothing diminished; therefore he sold his
house, with what goods he had left, and retired to the capital
city of that kingdom, which was not far distant. He bought a
little spot of ground, which lay about half a league from the
city; he had a house convenient enough, with a fine garden, and a
pretty spacious court, wherein was a deep well, which was not in

The honest man, having made this purchase, put on a dervize's or
monk's habit to lead a retired life, and caused several cells to
be made in the house, where in a short time he established a
numerous society of dervizes. He came soon to be publicly known
by his virtue, through which he acquired the esteem of a great
many people, as well of the commonalty as of the chief of the
city. In short, he was extremely honoured and cherished by every
one. People came from far to recommend themselves to his prayers;
and all those that came to live with him published what blessings
they received through his means.

The great reputation of that honest man having spread to the town
from whence he came, it touched the envious man so much to the
quick, that he left his house and affairs, with a resolution to
go and ruin him. With this intent he went to the new convent of
dervizes, of which his former neighbour was the head, who
received him with all imaginable tokens of friendship. The
envious man told him that he was come on purpose to communicate a
business of importance to him, which he could not do but in
private; and because that nobody shall hear us, let us, says he,
take a walk in your court, and seeing night begins to draw on,
command your dervizes to retire to their cells. The head of the
dervizes did as he required.

When the envious man saw that he was alone, with this good man,
he began to tell him his errand, walking side by side in the
court until he saw his opportunity; and getting the good man near
the brink of the well, he gave him a thrust, and pushed him into
it, without any body being witness to so wicked an action. Having
done this, he marched off immediately, got out at the gate of the
convent without being known to any one, and came home to his own
house, well satisfied with his journey, being fully persuaded
that the object of his hatred was no more in this world.

This old well was inhabited by fairies and genies, which happened
luckily for the relief of the head of the convent; for they
received and supported him, and carried him to the bottom, so
that he got no hurt. He perceived well enough that there was
something extraordinary in his fall, which must otherwise have
cost him his life; whereas he neither saw nor felt any thing. But
he soon heard a voice, which said, Do you know what honest man
this is to whom we have done this piece of service? Another voice
answered, No. To which the first replied, Then I will tell you.
This man, out of charity the greatest that ever was known, left
the town he lived in, and has established himself in this place,
in hopes to cure one of his neighbours of the envy he had
conceived against him; he has acquired such a general esteem,
that the envious man, not able to endure it, came hither on
purpose to ruin him, which he had performed, had it not been for
the assistance which we have given this honest man, whose
reputation is so great, that the sultan, who keeps his residence
in the neighbouring city, was to pay him a visit to-morrow, and
to recommend the princess his daughter to his prayers.

Another voice asked, What need had the princess of the dervize's
prayers? To which the first answered, You do not know, it seems,
that she is possessed by genie Maimoun, the son of Demdim, who is
fallen in love with her. But I know well how this good head of
the dervizes may cure her; the thing is very easy, and I will
tell it you. He has a black cat in his convent, with a white spot
at the end of her tail, about the bigness of a small piece of
English money: let him only pull seven hairs out of this white
spot, burn them, and smoke the princess's head with the fume, she
will not only be perfectly cured, but be so safely delivered from
Maimoun, the son of Demdim, that he will never dare to come near
her a second time.

The head of the dervizes remembered every word of the discourse
between the fairies and the genies, who were very silent all the
night after. The next morning, by break of day, when he could
discern one thing from another, the well being broken down in
several places, he saw a hole, by which he crept out with ease.

The other dervizes who had been seeking for him, were rejoiced to
see him. He gave them a brief account of the wickedness of that
man to whom he had given so kind a reception the day before, and
retired into his cell. It was not long till the black cat, of
which the fairies and the genies had made mention in their
discourses the night before, came to fawn upon her master, as she
was accustomed to do: He took her up, and pulled seven hairs out
of the white spot that was upon her tail, and laid them aside for
his use, when occasion should serve.

The sun was not high, when the sultan, who would leave no means
untried which he thought could restore the princess to her
perfect health, arrived at the gate of the convent. He commanded
his guards to halt, whilst he, with his principal officers, went
in. The dervizes received him with profound respect.

The sultan called their head aside, and says, good Sheik, it may
be you know already the cause of my coming hither. Yes, sir,
replies he, very gravely; if I do not mistake it, it is the
disease of the princess which procures me this honour that I have
not deserved. That is the very thing, replied the sultan. You
will give me new life, if your prayers, as I hope they will, can
procure my daughter's health. Sir, said the good man, if your
majesty will be pleased to let her come hither, I am in hopes,
that through God's assistance and favour, she shall return in
perfect health.

The prince, transported with joy, sent immediately to fetch his
daughter, who very soon appeared with a numerous train of ladies
and eunuchs, but masked, so that her face was not seen. The chief
of the dervizes caused a pall to be held over her head, and he
had no sooner thrown the seven tufts of hair upon the burning
coal, than the genie Maimoun, the son of Demdim, gave a great
cry, without any thing being seen, and left the princess at
liberty; upon which she took the veil from off her face, and rose
up to see where she was, saying, Where am I, and who brought me
hither? At these words, the sultan, overcome with excess of joy,
embraced his daughter, and kissed her eyes; he also kissed the
chief of the dervize's hands, and said to his officers, Tell me
your opinion, what reward does he deserve who has cured my
daughter? They all cried, he deserves her in marriage. That is
what I had in my thoughts, said the sultan; and I make him my
son-in-law from this moment. Some time after, the prime vizier
died, and the sultan conferred the place on the dervize. The
sultan himself died without heirs-male; upon which the religious
orders and the militia gathered together, and the honest man was
declared and acknowledged sultan by general consent.

The honest dervize, being mounted on the throne of his
father-in-law, as he was one day in the midst of his courtiers
upon a march, espied the envious man among the crowd of people
that stood as he passed along, and calling one of his viziers
that attended him, whispered him in the ear thus: Go bring me
that man you see there, but take care you do not frighten him.
The vizier obeyed, and when the envious man was brought into his
presence, the sultan said, Friend, I am extremely glad to see
you. Upon which he called an officer: Go immediately, says he,
and cause to be paid this man out of my treasury one hundred
pieces of gold; let him have also twenty load of the richest
merchandise in my store-houses, and a sufficient guard to conduct
him to his house. After he had given this charge to the officer,
he bade the envious man farewell, and proceeded on his march.

When I had finished the recital of this story to the genie, the
murderer of the princess of the isle of Ebone, I made the
application to himself thus: O genie! you see here that this
bountiful sultan did not content himself with forgetting the
design of the envious man to take away his life, but treated him
kindly, and sent him back with all the favours which I just now
related. In short, I made use of all my eloquence, prayed him to
imitate such a good example, and to grant me pardon; but it was
impossible for me to move his compassion.

All that I can do for thee, said he, is, that I will not take
away thy life; do not flatter thyself that I will send thee safe
and sound back. I must let you feel what I am able to do by my
enchantments. With that he laid violent hands on me, and carried
me across the vault of the subterraneous palace, which opened to
give him passage; he flew up with me so high, that the earth
seemed to be only a little white cloud; from thence he came down
again like lightning, and alighted upon the ridge of a mountain.

There he took up a handful of earth, and pronounced, or rather
muttered, some words which I did not understand, and threw it
upon me. Leave the shape of a man, says he to me, and take on
that of an ape. He vanished immediately, and left me alone,
transformed into an ape, overwhelmed with sorrow in a strange
country, not knowing if I was near unto or far from my father's

I went down from the height of the mountain, and came into a
plain country, which took me a month's time to travel through,
and then I came to a coast of the sea. It happened then to be a
great calm, and I espied a vessel about half a league from the
shore; I would not lose this good opportunity, but broke off a
large branch from a tree, which I carried with me to the
sea-side, and set myself astride upon it, with a stick in each
hand to serve me for oars.

I launched out in this posture, and advanced near the ship. When
I was near enough to be known, the seamen and passengers that
were upon the deck thought it an extraordinary spectacle, and all
of them looked upon me with great astonishment. In the mean time,
I got aboard, and laying hold of a rope, I jumped on the deck,
and, having lost my speech, I found myself in very great
perplexity; and indeed the risk I ran then was nothing less than
when I was at the mercy of the genie.

The merchants, being both superstitious and scrupulous, believed
I should occasion some mischief to their voyage, if they received
me: therefore, says one, I will knock him down with an handspike;
says another, I will shoot an arrow through his guts; says a
third, Let us throw him into the sea. Some of them would not have
failed to have executed their design, if I had not got to the
side where the captain was; when I threw myself at his feet, and
took him by the coat in a begging posture. This action, together
with the tears which he saw gush from my eyes, moved his
compassion; so that he took me into his protection, threatened to
be avenged on him that should do me the least hurt; and he
himself made very much of me, And on my part, though I had no
power to speak, I did, by my gestures, show all possible signs of

The wind that succeeded the calm was gentle and favourable, and
did not alter for five days, but brought us safe to the port of a
fine town, well peopled, and of great trade, where we came to an
anchor. It was so much the more considerable, that it was the
capital city of a powerful state.

Our vessel was speedily surrounded with an infinite number of
boats, full of people, who either came to congratulate their
friends upon their safe arrival, or to inquire for those they had
left behind them in the country from whence they came, or out of
curiosity to see a ship that came from a far country.

Amongst the rest, some officers came on board, desiring to speak
with the merchants in the name of the sultan. The merchants
appearing, one of the officers told them, The sultan, our master,
hath commanded us to acquaint you that he is glad of your safe
arrival, and prays you to take the trouble, every one of you, to
write some lines upon this roll of paper; and, that his design
may be understood, you must know that he had a prime vizier, who,
besides a great capacity to manage affairs, understood writing to
the highest perfection. This minister is lately dead, at which
the sultan is very much troubled, and since he can never behold
his writing without admiration, he has made a solemn vow not to
give the place to any man but to him that can write as well as he
did. Abundance of people have presented their writings; but to
this day nobody in all this empire has been judged worthy to
supply the vizier's place.

Those merchants that believed they could write well enough to
pretend to this high dignity, wrote, one after another, what they
thought fit. After they had done, I advanced and took the roll
out of the gentleman's hand; but all the people, especially the
merchants, cried out, he will tear it, or throw it into the sea,
till they saw how properly I held the roll, and made a sign that
I would write in my turn. Then they were of another opinion, and
their fears turned into admiration. However, since they had never
seen an ape that could write, nor could be persuaded that I was
more ingenious than other apes, they offered to snatch the roll
out of my hand; but the captain took my part once more. Let him
alone, says he; suffer him to write. If he only scribbles the
paper, I promise you that I will punish him upon the spot. If, on
the contrary, he writes well, as I hope he will, because I never
saw an ape so handy and ingenious, and so apprehensive of every
thing, I do declare that I will own him as my son. I had one that
had not by far the wit that he has. Perceiving that no man did
any more oppose my design, I took the pen, and wrote, before I
had done, six sorts of hands used among the Arabians, and each
specimen containing an extemporary distich or quatram in praise
of the sultan. My writings did not only outdo that of the
merchants, but I dare say they had not before seen any such fair
writing in that country. When I had done, the officers took the
roll, and carried it to the sultan.

The sultan took little notice of any of the other writings, but
considered mine, which was so much to his liking, that he says to
the officers, Take the finest horse in my stable, with the
richest harness, and a robe of the most sumptuous brocade, to put
upon that person who wrote those six hands, and bring him hither
to me. At this command the officers could not forbear laughing:
the sultan grew angry at their boldness, and was ready to punish
them till they told him. Sir, replied the officers, we humbly beg
your majesty's pardon; these characters are not written by a man,
but by an ape. What do you say! says the sultan, are not these
admirable characters written by the hands of a man? No, sir,
replied the officers, we do assure your majesty that it was an
ape who wrote them in our presence. The sultan was too much
surprised at this account not to desire a sight of me; and
therefore says, Do what I command you, and bring me speedily that
wonderful ape.

The officers returned to the vessel, and showed the captain their
order, who answered, that the sultan's commands must be obeyed.
Whereupon they clothed me with that rich brocade robe, and
carried me ashore, where they set me on horseback, whilst the
sultan waited for me at the palace with a great number of
courtiers, whom he gathered together, to do me the more honour.

The cavalcade being begun, the harbour, the streets, the public
places, windows, terraces, palaces, and houses, were all filled
with an infinite number of people, of all sorts, who were curious
to come from all parts of the city to see me; for the rumour was
spread in a moment, that the sultan had chosen an ape to be his
grand vizier; and after having served for a spectacle to the
people, who could not forbear to express their surprise by
redoubling their shouts and cries, I arrived at the palace of the

I found the prince seated on his throne, in the midst of the
grandees. I made my bow three times very low, and at last kneeled
and kissed the ground before him, and afterwards sat down in my
seat in the posture of an ape. The whole assembly admired me, and
could not comprehend how it was possible that an ape should
understand so well to give the sultan his due respect; and he
himself was more astonished than any man. In short, the usual
ceremony of the audience would have been complete, could I have
added speech to my behaviour; but apes do never speak, and the
advantage I had of having been a man did not allow me that

The sultan dismissed his courtiers, and none remained by him but
his chief of the eunuchs, a little young slave, and myself. He
went from his chamber of audience into his own apartment, where
he ordered dinner to be brought. As he sat at table, he gave me a
sign to come near, and eat with him. To show my obedience, I
kissed the ground, stood up, sat down at table, ate with
discretion, and moderately.

Before the table was uncovered, I espied an ink-horn, which I
made a sign should be brought me; having got it, I wrote upon a
large peach some verses after my own way, which testified my
acknowledgment to the sultan; who having read them, after my
presenting him the peach, it increased his astonishment. When the
table was uncovered, they brought him a particular liquor, of
which he caused them to give me a glass. I drank, and wrote some
new verses upon it, which explained the state I was in, after a
great many sufferings. The sultan read them likewise, and said,
an ape that was capable of doing so much ought to be exalted
above the greatest of men.

The sultan caused them to bring in a chess-board, and asked me,
by a sign, if I understood that game, and would play with him? I
kissed the ground, and laying my hand upon my head, signified
that I was ready to receive that honour. He won the first game,
but I won the second and third; and perceiving he was somewhat
displeased at it, I made a quatrain to pacify him; in which I
told him that two potent armies had been fighting very eagerly
all day, but that they made up a peace towards the evening, and
passed the remaining part of the night very peaceably together
upon the field of battle.

So many things appearing to the sultan far beyond what any one
had either seen or known of the behaviour or knowledge of apes,
he would not be the only witness of these prodigies himself; but
having a daughter, called the lady of beauty, to whom the head of
the eunuchs, then present, was governor, Go, said the sultan to
him, and bid your lady come hither: I am willing she should have
a share in my pleasure.

The eunuch went, and immediately brought the princess, who had
her face uncovered; but she was no sooner got into the room, than
she put on her veil, and said to the sultan, Sir, your majesty
must needs have forgotten yourself; I am very much surprised that
your majesty has sent for me to appear among men. How, daughter!
said the sultan, you do not know what you say. Here is nobody but
the little slave, the eunuch your governor, and myself, who have
the liberty to see your face; and yet you lower your veil, and
would make me a criminal in having sent for you hither. Sir, said
the princess, your majesty shall soon understand that I am not in
the wrong. That ape you see before you, though he has the shape
of an ape, is a young prince, son of a great king; he has been
metamorphosed into an ape by enchantment. A genie, the son of the
daughter of Eblis, has maliciously done him this wrong, after
having cruelly taken away the life of the princess of the isle of
Ebone, daughter to the king of Epitimarus.

The sultan, astonished at this discourse, turned towards me, and
spoke no more by signs, but, in plain words, asked me, if it was
true what his daughter said? Seeing I could not speak, I put my
hand to my head to signify that what the princess spoke was true.
Upon this the sultan said again to his daughter, How do you know
that this prince has been transformed by enchantment into an ape?
Sir, replied the lady of beauty, your majesty may remember that
when I was past my infancy, I had an old lady that waited upon
me; she was a most expert magician, and taught me seventy rules
of magic, by virtue of which I can transport your capital city
into the midst of the sea, in the twinkling of an eye, or beyond
mount Caucasus. By this science I know all enchanted persons at
first sight. I know who they are, and by whom they have been
enchanted: therefore do not admire if I forthwith relieve this
prince, in spite of enchantments, from that which hinders him to
appear in your sight what he naturally is. Daughter, said the
sultan, I did not believe you to have understood so much. Sir,
replies the princess, these things are curious, and worth
knowing; but I think I ought not to boast of them. Since it is
so, said the sultan, you can dispel the prince's enchantment.
Yes, sir, said the princess, I can restore him to his first shape
again. Do it then, said the sultan, you cannot do me a greater
pleasure; for I will have him to be my vizier, and he shall marry
you. Sir, said the princess, I am ready to obey you in all that
you shall be pleased to command me.

The princess, the lady of beauty, went into her apartment, from
whence she brought in a knife which had some Hebrew words
engraved on the blade: She made us all, viz. the sultan, the
master of the eunuchs, the little slave, and myself, to go down
into a private court adjoining to the palace, and there left us
under a gallery that went round it. She placed herself in the
middle of the court, where she made a great circle, and within it
she wrote several words in Arabian characters, some of them
ancient, and others of those which they call the character of

When she had finished and prepared the circle as she thought fit,
she placed herself in the centre of it, where she began
adjurations, and repeated verses out of the alcoran. The air grew
insensibly dark, as if it had been night, and the whole world
about to be dissolved. We found ourselves struck with a panic
fear, and this fear increased the more, when we saw the genie,
the son of the daughter of Eblis, appear all of a sudden in the
shape of a lion of a frightful size.

As soon as the princess perceived this monster, You dog, said
she, instead of creeping before me, dare you present yourself in
this shape, thinking to frighten me? And thou, replied the lion,
art thou not afraid to break the treaty which was solemnly made
and confirmed between us by oath, not to wrong or do one another
any hurt? Oh, thou cursed creature! replied the princess, I can
justly reproach thee with doing so. The lion answered fiercely,
Thou shalt quickly have thy reward for the trouble thou hast
given me to return: With that he opened his terrible throat, and
ran at her to devour her; but she, being upon her guard, leaped
backward, got time to pull out one of her hairs, and, by
pronouncing three or four words, changed herself into a sharp
sword, wherewith she cut the lion through the middle in two

The two parts of the lion vanished, and the head was only left,
which changed itself into a large scorpion. Immediately the
princess turned herself into a serpent, and fought the scorpion,
who, finding himself worsted, took the shape of an eagle, and
flew away: But the serpent at the same time took also the shape
of an eagle that was black and much stronger, and pursued him, so
that we lost sight of them both.

Some time after they disappeared, the ground opened before us,
and out of it came forth a cat, black and white, with her hair
standing upright, and keeping up a fearful mewling; a black wolf
followed her close, and gave her no time to rest. The cat, being
thus hard beset, changed herself into a worm, and being nigh to a
pomegranate that had accidentally fallen from a tree that grew on
the side of a canal, which was deep, but not broad, the worm
pierced the pomegranate in an instant, and hid itself; but the
pomegranate swelled immediately, and became as big as a gourd,
which, mounting up to the top of the gallery, rolled there for
some space backward and forward, fell down again into the court,
and broke into several pieces.

The wolf, who had in the meanwhile transformed itself into a
cock, fell a-picking up the seeds of the pomegranate one after
another; but, finding no more, he came towards us with his wings
spread, making a great noise, as if he would ask us whether there
was any more seed? There was one lying on the brink of the canal,
which the cock perceiving as he went back, ran speedily thither;
but just as he was going to pick it up, the seed rolled into the
river, and turned into a little fish.

The cock jumped into the river, and was turned into a pike, that
pursued the small fish; they continued both under water above two
hours, and we knew not what became of them; but all of a sudden
we heard terrible cries, which made us to quake, and a little
while after we saw the genie and princess all in flames. They
threw flashes of fire out of their mouths at one another, until
they came to it hand to hand; then the fires increased, with a
thick burning smoke, which mounted so high, that we had reason to
fear that it would set the palace on fire. But we very soon had a
more pressing occasion of fear; for the genie, having got loose
from the princess, came to the gallery where we stood, and blew
flames of fire upon us. We had all perished, if the princess,
running to our assistance, had not forced him, by her efforts, to
retire and defend himself against her; yet, notwithstanding all
her diligence, she could not hinder the sultan's beard from being
burnt, and his face spoiled, the chief of the eunuch's from being
stifled, and burnt on the spot, nor a spark to enter my right
eye, and make it blind. The sultan and I expected nothing but
death, when we heard a cry, Victory, victory; and, all of a
sudden, the princess appeared in her natural shape, but the genie
was reduced to a heap of ashes.

The princess came near to us, and, that she might not lose time,
called for a cup of cold water, which the young slave that had
got no damage brought her: She took it, and, after pronouncing
some words over it, threw it upon me, saying, If thou art become
an ape by enchantment, change thy shape, and take that of a man,
which thou hadst before. These words were hardly uttered till I
became a man, as I was before, one eye only excepted.

I was preparing myself to give thanks to the princess, but she
prevented me, by addressing herself to her father thus: Sir, I
have got the victory over the genie, as your majesty may see; but
it is a victory that costs me dear; I have but a few moments to
live, and you will not have the satisfaction to make the match
you intended; the fire has pierced me during the terrible combat,
and I find it consumes me by degrees. This would not have
happened, had I perceived the last of the pomegranate seeds, and
swallowed it as I did the other, when I was changed into a cock.
The genie had fled thither as to his last intrenchment, and upon
that the success of the combat depended, which would have been
successful, and without danger to me. This slip obliged me to
have recourse to fire, and to fight with those mighty arms as I
did between heaven and earth in your presence; for, in spite of
all his redoubtable art and experience, I made the genie to know
that I understood more than he: I have conquered and reduced him
to ashes, but I cannot escape death, which is approaching.

The sultan suffered the princess, the lady of beauty, to go on
with the recital of her combat; and when she had done, he spoke
to her in a tone that sufficiently testified his grief. My
daughter, said he, you see in what condition your father is:
Alas! I wonder that I am yet alive! Your governor, the eunuch, is
dead, and the prince whom you have delivered from his enchantment
has lost one of his eyes. He could speak no more; for his tears,
sighs, and sobs, made him speechless; his daughter and I were
exceedingly sensible of his sorrow, and wept with him.

In the mean time, while we were striving to outdo one another in
grief, the princess cried, I burn; Oh, I burn! She found that the
fire which consumed her had at last seized upon her whole body,
which made her still to cry, I burn, until death had made an end
of her intolerable pains. The effect of that was so
extraordinary, that in a few moments she was wholly reduced to
ashes like the genie.

I cannot tell you, madam, how much I was grieved at so dismal a
spectacle. I had rather all my life have continued an ape or a
dog, than to have seen my benefactress thus miserably perish. The
sultan, being afflicted beyond all that can be imagined, cried
out piteously, and beat himself upon his head and stomach, until
such time as, being quite overcome with grief, he fainted away,
which made me fear his life. In the mean time the eunuchs and
officers came running at the sultan's cries, and with very much
ado brought him to himself again. There was no need for that
prince and me to give them a long narrative of this adventure, in
order to convince them of their great loss. The two heaps of
ashes, into which the princess and genie had been reduced, were
demonstration enough. The sultan was hardly able to stand
upright, but was forced to be supported by them till he could get
to his apartment.

When the noise of this tragical event had spread itself through
the palace and the city, all the people bewailed the misfortune
of the princess, the lady of beauty, and were sensible of the
sultan's affliction. Every one was in deep mourning for seven
days, and a great many ceremonies were performed: The ashes of
the genie were thrown into the air, but those of the princess
were gathered into a precious urn, to be kept; and the urn was
set in a stately tomb, which was built for that purpose, on the
same place where the ashes had lain.

The grief which the sultan conceived for the loss of his daughter
threw him into a fit of sickness, which confined him to his
chamber for a whole month. He had not fully recovered strength
when he sent for me: Prince, said he, hearken to the orders that
I now give you; it will cost you your life if you do not put them
in execution. I assured him of exact obedience; upon which he
went on thus: I have constantly lived in perfect felicity, and
never was crossed by any accident; but by your arrival all the
happiness I possessed is vanished; my daughter is dead, her
governor is no more, and it is through a miracle that I am yet
alive. You are the cause of all those misfortunes, for which it
is impossible that I should be comforted; therefore depart from
hence in peace, but without further delay, for I myself must
perish, if you stay any longer: I am persuaded that your presence
brings mischief along with it. This is all I have to say to you.
Depart, and take care of ever appearing again in my dominions;
there is no consideration whatsoever that shall hinder me from
making you repent of it. I was going to speak, but he stopped my
mouth by words full of anger; and so I was obliged to remove from
his palace, rejected, banished, thrown off by all the world, and
not knowing what would become of me. Before I left the city, I
went into a bagnio, where I caused my beard and eye-brows to be
shaved, and put on a calender's habit. I began my journey, not so
much deploring my own miseries as the death of the two fair
princesses of which I had been the occasion. I passed through
many countries without making myself known; at last I resolved to
come to Bagdad, in hopes to get myself introduced to the
commander of the faithful, to move his compassion by giving him
an account of my strange adventures. I came hither this evening,
and the first man I met was this calender, our brother, that
spoke before me. You know the remaining part, madam, and the
cause of my having the honour to be here.

When the second calender made an end of his story, Zobeide, to
whom he had addressed his speech, told him, It is very well, you
may go which way you please; I give you leave: but, instead of
departing, he also petitioned the lady to show him the same
favour she had vouchsafed to the first calender, and went and sat
down by him.

The third calender, perceiving it was his turn to speak,
addressed his speech, as the rest had done, to Zobeide, and began
in this manner.


Most Honourable Lady,

That which I am going to tell you very much differs from what you
have heard already. The two princes that spoke before me have
each lost an eye by the pure effects of their destiny, but mine I
lost through my own fault, and by hastening to seek my own
misfortune, as you shall hear by the sequel of my story.

My name is Agib, and I am the son of a king who was called
Cassib. After his death I took possession of his dominions, and
resided in the same city where he lived before. This city is
situate on the sea-coast; has one of the finest and safest
harbours in the world, and an arsenal large enough for fitting
out fifty men of war to sea, that are always ready on occasion,
and light frigates, and pleasure-boats for recreation. My kingdom
is composed of several fine provinces upon Terra Firma, besides a
number of spacious islands, every one of which lies almost in
sight of my capital city.

The first thing I did was to visit the provinces; I afterwards
caused to fit out and man my whole fleet, went to my islands to
gain the hearts of my subjects by my presence, and to confirm
them in their loyalty; and, some time after I returned, I went
thither again. These voyages giving me some taste for navigation,
I took so much pleasure in it that I resolved to make some
discoveries beyond my islands; to which end I caused only ten
ships to be fitted out, embarked on board them, and set sail.

Our voyage was very successful for forty days together; but on
the forty-first night the wind became contrary, and withal so
boisterous that we were like to have been lost in the storm.
About break of day the wind grew calm, the clouds were dispersed,
and the sun having brought back fair weather, we came close to an
island, where we remained two days to take in fresh provisions;
this being done, we put off again to sea. After ten days sail, we
were in hopes of seeing land, for the tempests we had gone
through had so much abated my curiosity, that I gave orders to
steer back to my own coast; but I perceived at the same time that
my pilot knew not where we were. Upon the tenth day, a seaman
being sent to look out for land from the mast-head, he gave
notice that on starboard and larboard he could see nothing but
the sky and the sea which bounded the horizon, but just before
us, upon the stern, he saw a great blackness.

The pilot changed colour at the relation and throwing his turban
on the deck with one hand, and beating his breast with the other,
cried, O, sir, we are all lost; not one of us will escape; and,
with all my skill, it is not in my power to prevent it! Having
spoken thus, he fell a-crying like a man who foresaw unavoidable
ruin; his despair put the whole ship's crew into a terror. I
asked him what reason he had thus to despair? He told me, the
tempest which we had outlived had brought us so far out of our
course that to-morrow about noon we should come near to that
black place, which is nothing else but the black mountain, that
is, a mine of adamant, which at this very minute draws all your
fleet towards it, by virtue of the iron nails that are in your
ships; and when we come to-morrow, at a certain distance, the
strength of the adamant will have such a force, that all the
nails will be drawn out of the sides and bottoms of the ships,
and fastened to the mountain, so that your vessel will fall to
pieces, and sink to the bottom; and as the adamant has a virtue
to draw all iron to it, whereby its attraction becomes stronger,
this mountain on the side of the sea is all covered over with
nails, drawn out of an infinite number of vessels that have
perished by it; and this preserves and augments its virtue at the
same time.

This mountain, continues the pilot, is very rugged. On the top of
it there is a dome of fine brass, supported by pillars of the
same, and upon the top of that dome there stands a horse of the
same metal, with a rider on his back, who has a plate of lead
fixed to his breast, upon which some talismantical characters are
engraved. Sir, the tradition is, that this statue is the chief
cause that so many ships and men have been lost and sunk in this
place, and that it will ever continue to be fatal to all who have
the misfortune to come near it, until such time as it shall be
thrown down.

The pilot, having ended his discourse, began to weep afresh, and
this made all the rest of the ship's company to do the like. I
myself had no other thoughts but that my days were there to have
an end. In the mean time every one began to provide for his own
safety, and to that end took all imaginable precautions; and,
being uncertain of the event, they all made one another their
heirs, by virtue of a will, for the benefit of those that should
happen to be saved.

The next morning we perceived the black mountain very plain, and
the idea we had conceived of it made it appear more frightful
than it was. About noon we were come so near that we found what
the pilot had foretold to be true; for we saw all the nails and
iron about the ships fly towards the mountain, where they were
fixed, by the violence of the attraction, with a horrible noise;
the ship split asunder, and sunk into the sea, which was so deep
about that place that we could not sound it. All my people were
drowned, but God had mercy on me, and permitted me to save myself
by means of a plank, which the wind drove ashore just at the foot
of the mountain; I did not receive the least hurt, and my good
fortune brought me to a landing-place, where there were steps
that went up to the top of the mountain.

At the sight of these steps, for there was not a bit of ground
either on the right or left whereon a man could set his foot, I
gave thanks to God, and recommended myself to his holy
protection. I began to mount the steps, which were so narrow,
rugged, and hard to get up, that had the wind blown ever so
little, it would have thrown me down into the sea; but at last I
got up to the top without any accident; I came into the dome,
and, kneeling on the ground, gave God thanks for his mercies to

I passed the night under the dome, and, in my sleep, an old grave
man appeared to me, and said, Hearken, Agib, as soon as thou art
awake, dig up the ground under thy feet; thou shalt find a bow of
brass, and three arrows of lead, that are made under certain
constellations, to deliver mankind from so many calamities that
threaten them. Shoot the three arrows at the statue, and the
rider shall fall into the sea, but the horse will fall down by
thy side, which thou must bury in the same place from whence you
took the bow and arrows. This being done, the sea will swell and
rise up to the foot of the dome that stands upon the top of the
mountain; when it is come up so high, thou shalt see a boat with
one man and an oar in each hand. This man is also of metal,
different from that thou hast thrown down; step on board to him
without mentioning the name of God, and let him conduct thee. He
will in ten days time bring thee into another sea, where thou
shalt find an opportunity to get home to thy country safe and
sound, provided, as I have told thee, thou dost not mention the
name of God during the whole voyage.

These were the contents of the old man's discourse. When I
awaked, I was very much comforted by the vision, and did not fail
to observe every thing that he had commanded me. I took the bow
and arrows out of the ground, shot them at the horseman, with the
third arrow I overthrew him, and he full into the sea, as the
horse fell by my side, which I buried in the place whence I took
the bow and arrows. In the mean time the sea swelled, and rose up
by degrees. When it came as high as the foot of the dome that
stood upon the top of the mountain, I saw afar off a boat rowing
towards me, and I returned God thanks that every thing succeeded
according to my dream.

At last the boat came ashore, and I saw the man was made of
metal, according as I had dreamed. I stepped aboard, and took
great heed not to pronounce the name of God, neither spoke I one
word at all; I sat down, and the man of metal began to row off
from the mountain. He rowed without ceasing, till the ninth day
that I saw some islands, which put me in hopes that I was out of
all the danger that I was afraid of. The excess of joy made me
forget what I was forbidden to do; God's name be blessed, said I,
the Lord be praised!

I had no sooner spoken these words than the boat sunk with the
man of metal, and, leaving me upon the surface, I swam the
remaining part of the day towards that land which appeared
nearest to me. A very dark night succeeded, and, not knowing
whereabouts I was, I swam at a venture; my strength began at last
to fail, and I despaired of being able to save myself, when the
wind began to blow hard, and a wave as big as a mountain threw me
on a flat, where it left me, and drew back. I made haste to get
ashore, fearing another wave might wash me back again. The first
thing I did was to strip and wring the water out of my clothes,
and then I laid them down to dry on the sand, which was still
pretty warm by the heat of the day.

Next morning the sun dried my clothes betimes; I put them on, and
went forward to see whereabouts I was. I had not walked very far
till I found I was got upon a little desert island, though very
pleasant, where grew several sorts of trees and wild fruits; but
I perceived it was very far from the continent, which much
diminished the joy I conceived for having escaped the danger of
the seas. Notwithstanding, I recommended myself to God, and
prayed him to dispose of me according to his good-will and
pleasure; at the same time I saw a vessel coming from the
main-land, before the wind, directly to the island. I doubted not
that they were coming to anchor there, and being uncertain what
sort of people they might be, whether friends or foes, thought it
not safe for me to be seen: I got up into a very thick tree, from
whence I might safely view them. The vessel came into a little
creek, where ten slaves landed, carrying a spade and other
instruments fit for digging up the ground; they went towards the
middle of the island, where I saw them stop, and dig the ground a
long while, after which I thought I saw them lift a trap-door.
They returned again to the vessel, and unloaded several sorts of
provisions and furniture, which they carried to that place where
they had broken ground, and so went downward, which made me
suppose it was a subterraneous dwelling.

I saw them once more go to the ship, and return soon after with
an old man, who led a very handsome young lad in his hand, of
about fourteen or fifteen years of age; they all went down at the
trap-door; and being come up again, having let down the
trap-door, and covered it over with earth, they returned to the
creek where the ship lay, but I saw not the young man in their
company; this made me believe that he staid behind in that place
under ground, at which I could not but be extremely astonished.

The old man and the slaves went on board again, and the vessel
being got under sail, steered its course towards the mainland.
When I perceived they were at such a distance that they could not
see me, I came down from the tree, went directly to the place
where I had seen the ground broken, and removed the earth by
degrees, till I found a stone that was two or three feet square.
I lifted it up, and saw it covered the head of the stairs, which
were also of stone; I went down, and came into a large room,
where there was laid a foot-carpet, with a couch covered with
tapestry, and cushions of rich stuff, upon which the young man
sat with a fan in his hand. I saw all this by the light of two
tapers, together with the fruits and flower-pots he had standing
about him. The young lad was startled at the sight of me; but, to
rid him of his fear, I spoke to him as I came in thus: Whoever
you be, sir, do not fear any thing: a king, and the son of a
king, as I am, is not capable of doing you any prejudice. On the
contrary, it is probable that your good destiny has brought me
hither to deliver you out of this tomb, where it seems they have
buried you alive, for reasons unknown to me. But that which makes
me wonder, and that which I cannot conceive, (for you must know
that I have been witness to all that hath passed since your
coming into this island) is, that you suffered yourself to be
buried in this place without any resistance.

The young man recovered himself at these words, and prayed me,
with a smiling countenance, to sit down by him; which when I had
done, he said, Prince, I am to acquaint you with a matter so odd
in itself that it cannot but surprise you.

My father is a merchant-jeweller, who has acquired, through his
ingenuity in his calling, a great estate; he hath a great many
slaves, and also deputies whom he employs to go as supercargoes
to sea with his own ships, on purpose to maintain the
correspondence he has at several courts, which he furnishes with
such precious stones as they want.

He had been married a long while, and without issue, when he
understood by a dream that he should have a son, though his life
would be but short, at which he was very much concerned when he
awaked. Some days after, my mother acquainted him that she was
with child, and the time which she supposed to be that of her
conception agreed exactly with the day of his dream. She was
brought to bed of me at the end of nine months, which occasioned
great joy in the family.

My father, who had observed the very moment of my birth,
consulted astrologers about my nativity, who told him, Your son
shall live very happy till the age of fifteen, when he will be in
danger of losing his life, and hardly be able to escape it; but
if his good destiny preserve him beyond that time, he will live
to grow very old. It will be then, said they, when the statue of
brass that stands upon the top of the mountain of adamant, shall
be thrown down into the sea by Prince Agib, son of King Cassib;
and, as the stars prognosticate, your son shall be killed fifty
days afterwards by that prince.

As the event of this part of the prediction about the statue
agrees exactly with my father's dream, it afflicted him so much
that he was struck to the very heart with it. In the mean time,
he took all imaginable care of my education, until this present
year, which is the fifteenth of my age; and he had notice given
him yesterday that the statue of brass had been thrown into the
sea about ten days ago by the same prince I told you of. This
news has cost him so many tears, and has alarmed him so much,
that he looks not like himself.

Upon these predictions of the astrologers, he has sought by all
means possible to falsify my horoscope, and to preserve my life.
It is not long since he took the precaution to build me this
subterranean habitation to hide me in till the expiration of the
fifty days after the throwing down of the statue; and therefore,
since it was that this had happened ten days ago, he came hastily
hither to hide me, and promised at the end of forty days to come
again and fetch me out. As for my own part, I am in good hopes,
and cannot believe that Prince Agib will come to seek for me in a
place under ground in the midst of a desert island. This, my
lord, is what I have to say to you.

Whilst the jeweller's son was telling me this story, I laughed in
myself at those astrologers who had foretold that I should take
away his life; for I thought myself so far from being likely to
verify what they said, that he had scarcely done speaking when I
told him with great joy, Dear sir, put your confidence in the
goodness of God, and fear nothing; you may consider it as a debt
you was to pay, but that you are acquitted of it from this very
hour. I am glad that, after my shipwreck, I came so fortunately
hither to defend you against all those that would attempt your
death; I will not leave you till the forty days are expired, of
which the foolish astrologers have made you so apprehensive; and
in the mean time I will do you all the service that lies in my
power; after which I shall have the benefit of getting to the
main-land in your vessel, with leave of your father and yourself;
and when I am returned into my kingdom, I shall remember the
obligations I owe you, and endeavour to demonstrate my
acknowledgments in a suitable manner.

This discourse of mine encouraged the jeweller's son, and made
him have confidence in me. I took care not to tell him I was the
very Agib whom he dreaded, lest I should put him into a fright,
and took as much care not to give him any cause to suspect it. We

Book of the day:
Facebook Google Reddit StumbleUpon Twitter Pinterest