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The Arabian Nights Entertainments Volume 1 by Anonymous

Part 4 out of 12

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passed the time in several discourses, till night came on. I
found the young lad of a ready wit, and ate with him of his
provisions, of which he had enough to have lasted beyond the
forty days, though he had had more guests than myself. After
supper, we continued some time in discourse, at last we went to

The next day, when we got up, I held the basin and water to him;
I also provided dinner, and set it on the table in due time.
After we had done, I invented a play to divert ourselves, not
only for that day, but for those that followed. I prepared supper
after the same manner as I had prepared dinner; and having
supped, we went to bed as formerly. We had time enough to
contract friendship; I found he loved me; and, for my part, I had
so great a respect for him, that I have often said to myself,
Those astrologers, who predicted to his father that his son
should die by my hand, were impostors; for it is not possible
that I could commit so base an action. In short, madam, we spent
thirty-nine days in the pleasantest manner that could be in a
place under ground.

The fortieth day appeared; and in the morning, when the young man
awaked, he says to me, with a transport of joy that he could not
restrain, Prince, this is the fortieth day, and I am not dead;
thanks to God and your good company. My father will not fail to
be here anon to give you testimony of his gratitude for it, and
shall furnish you with all that is necessary for your return to
your kingdom; but in the mean time, said he, I beg you to get
ready some water very warm to wash my whole body in that portable
bagnio, that I may clean myself, and change my clothes, to
receive my father more cheerfully.

I set the water on the fire, and when it was hot put it into the
moveable bagnio. The youth went in, and I myself washed and
rubbed him. At last he came out, and laid himself down in his bed
that I had prepared, and covered him with his bed-clothes. After
he had slept a while, he awaked, and said, Dear prince, pray do
me the favour to fetch me a melon and some sugar, that I may eat
some and refresh me.

Out of several melons that remained, I took the best, and laid it
on a plate; and because I could not find a knife to cut it with,
I asked the young man if he knew where there was one? There is
one, said he, upon this cornice over my head; I accordingly saw
it there, and made so much haste to reach it, that while I had it
in my hand, my foot being entangled in the covering, I fell most
unhappily upon the young man, and the knife ran into his heart in
a minute.

At this spectacle I cried out most hideously; I beat my head, my
face, and breast; I tore my clothes, and threw myself on the
ground with unspeakable sorrow and grief. Alas! I cried, there
were only some hours wanting to have put him out of that danger
from which he sought sanctuary here; and when I myself thought
the danger past, then I became his murderer, and verified the
prediction. But, O Lord, said I, lifting up my face and hands to
heaven, I beg thy pardon, and, if I be guilty of his death, let
me not live any longer.

After this misfortune I would have embraced death without any
reluctance, had it presented itself to me. But what we wish to
ourselves, whether good or bad, will not always happen.
Nevertheless, considering with myself that all my tears and
sorrows would not bring the young man to life again, and, the
forty days being expired, I might be surprised by his father, I
quitted that subterranean dwelling, laid down the great stone
upon the entry of it, and covered it with earth.

I had scarcely done, when, casting my eyes upon the sea towards
the main-land, I perceived the vessel coming to fetch home the
young man. I began then to consider what I had best do; I said to
myself, if I am seen by the old man, he will certainly lay hold
on me, and perhaps cause me to be massacred by his slaves. When
he has seen his son killed, all that I can allege to justify
myself will not be able to persuade him of my innocence. It is
better for me, then, to withdraw, since it is in my power, than
expose myself to his resentment.

There happened to be near this subterranean habitation a large
tree with thick leaves, which I thought fit to hide me in. I got
up to it, and was no sooner fixed in a place where I could not be
seen, than I saw the vessel come to the same place where she lay
the first time.

The old man and his slaves landed immediately, and advanced
towards the subterranean dwelling, with a countenance that showed
some hope; but when they saw the earth had been newly removed,
they changed colour, particularly the old man. They lifted up the
stone, and went down; they called the young man by his name, but
he not answering, their fears increased; they went down to seek
him, and at length found him lying upon the bed with the knife in
his heart, for I had not power to take it out. At this sight,
they cried out lamentably, which increased my sorrow: the old man
fell down in a swoon. The slaves, to give him air, brought him up
in their arms, and laid him at the foot of the tree where I was;
but, notwithstanding all the pains they took to recover him, the
unfortunate father continued a long while in that condition, and
made them oftener than once despair of his life; but at last he
came to himself. Then the slaves brought up his son's corpse
dressed in his best apparel, and when they had made a grave, they
put him into it. The old man, supported by two slaves, and his
face all covered with tears, threw the first earth upon him,
after which the slaves filled up the grave.

This being done, all the furniture was brought out from under
ground, and, with the remaining provisions, put on board the
vessel. The old man, overcome with sorrow, and not being able to
stand, was laid upon a sort of litter, and carried to the ship,
which put forth to sea, and in a short time sailed quite out of

After the old man and his slaves were gone with the vessel, I was
left alone upon the island. I lay that night in the subterranean
dwelling, which they had shut up; and when the day came, I walked
round the isle, and stopped in such places as I thought most
proper to repose in when I had need.

I led this wearisome life for a month together; after which I
perceived the sea to be mightily fallen, the island to be much
larger, and the main-land seemed to be drawing nearer me. In
effect, the water grew so low, that there was but a small stream
between me and the Terra Firma. I crossed it, and the water did
not come above the middle of my leg. I marched so long upon the
slime and sands that I was very weary; at last I got upon firm
ground, and, when at a good distance from the sea, I saw a good
way before me somewhat like a great fire, which gave me some
comfort, for I said to myself, I shall find somebody or other, it
not being possible that this fire should kindle of itself; but
when I came nearer, I found my error, and saw that what I had
taken to be fire was a castle of red copper, which the beams of
the sun made look, at a distance, as if it had been in flames.

I stopped near the castle, and sat down to admire its admirable
structure, and to rest a while. I had not taken such a full view
of this magnificent building, as it deserved, when I saw ten
handsome young men coming along as if they had been taking a
walk; but that which most surprised me was, that they were all
blind of the right eye; they accompanied an old man, who was very
tall, and of a venerable aspect.

I could not but wonder at the sight of so many half-blind men all
together, and every one of the same eye. As I was thinking in my
mind by what adventure all these could come together, they came
up to me, and seemed to be mighty glad to see me. After the first
compliments were passed, they inquired what had brought me
hither? I told them my story would be somewhat tedious, but, if
they would take the trouble to sit down, I would satisfy their
request. They did so, and I related unto them all that had
happened unto me since I left my kingdom, which filled them with

After I had ended my discourse, the young gentlemen prayed me to
go with them into the castle; I accepted the proffer, and we
passed through a great many halls, antichambers, bedchambers, and
closets, very well furnished, and arrived at last in a spacious
hall, where there were ten small blue sofas set round, and
separate from each other, upon which they sat by day, and slept
by night. In the middle of this round there stood an eleventh
sofa, not so high as the rest, but of the same colour, upon which
the old man before mentioned sat down, and the young gentlemen
made use of the other ten, whereas each sofa could only contain
one man. One of the young men says to me, Comrade, sit down upon
that carpet in the middle of the room, and do not inquire into
any thing that concerns us, nor the reason why we are all blind
of the right eye; be content with what you see, and let not your
curiosity go any further.

The old man, having sat a little while, rose up, and went out;
but he returned in a minute or two, brought in supper for the ten
gentlemen, distributed to each man his proportion by himself, and
likewise brought me mine, which I ate by myself, as the rest did,
and when supper was almost done, he presented to each of us a cup
of wine.

They thought my story so extraordinary, that they made me repeat
it after supper, and this gave occasion to discourses which
lasted a good part of the night. One of the gentlemen, observing
that it was late, said to the old man, You see it is time to go
to bed, and you do not bring us that with which we may acquit
ourselves of our duty. At these words the old man rose, and went
into a closet, from whence he brought out upon his head ten
basons, one after another, all covered with blue stuff: He set
one before every gentleman, together with a light.

They uncovered their basons, in, which there were ashes, coal-
dust, and lamp-black; they mixed all together, and rubbed and
bedaubed their faces with it in such a manner, that they looked
very frightful. After having thus blackened themselves, they fell
a-weeping and lamenting, beating their heads and breasts, and
cried continually, This is the fruit of our idleness and

They continued this almost the whole night, and when they left
off, the old man brought them water, with which they washed their
faces and hands; they also changed their clothes, which were
spoiled, and put on others; so that they did not look in the
least as if they had been doing so strange an action.

You may judge, Madam, how uneasy I was all the while; I had a
mind a thousand times to break the silence which these young
gentlemen had imposed upon me, and ask questions; nor was it
possible for me to sleep that night.

After we got up next day, we went out to walk, and then I told
them, Gentlemen, I declare to you that I must renounce that law
which you prescribed to me last night, for I cannot observe it.
You are men of sense, and all of you have wit in abundance; you
have convinced me of it, yet I have seen you do such actions, as
none but madmen could be capable of. Whatever misfortune befals
me, I cannot forbear asking, why you bedaubed your faces with
black? How it comes that each of you have but one eye? Some
singular thing must have been the cause of it, therefore I
conjure you to satisfy my curiosity. To these pressing instances
they answered nothing, but that it was none of my business to ask
such questions, and that I should do well to hold my peace.

We passed that day in discourses upon different subjects, and
when night was come, and every man had supped, the old man
brought in the blue basons, and the young gentlemen bedaubed
their faces, wept, and beat themselves, crying, This is the fruit
of our idleness and debauches, as before, and continued the same
actions the following night. At last, not being able to resist my
curiosity, I earnestly prayed them to satisfy me, or to show me
how to return to my own kingdom, for it was impossible for me to
keep them company any longer, and to see every night such an odd
spectacle, without being permitted to know the reason.

One of the gentlemen answered in behalf of the rest, Do not
wonder at our conduct in regard to yourself; and that hitherto we
have not granted your request; it is out of mere kindness, and to
prevent the sorrow of your being reduced to the same condition
with us. If you have a mind to try our unfortunate destiny, you
need but speak, and we will give you the satisfaction you desire.
I told them I was resolved on it, let come what will. Once more,
said the same gentleman, we advise you to restrain your
curiosity; it will cost you the loss of your right eye. No
matter, said I; I declare to you, that if such a misfortune befal
me, I will not impute it to you, but to myself. He further
represented to me, that when I had lost an eye, I must not hope
to stay with them, if I were so minded, because their number was
complete, and no addition could be made to it. I told them, that
it would be a great satisfaction to me never to part from such
honest gentlemen, but, if there was necessity for it, I was ready
to submit; and, let it cost what it would, I begged them to grant
my request.

The ten gentlemen, perceiving that I was positive in my
resolution, took a sheep and killed it, and, after they had taken
off the skin, presented me with the knife, telling me it would be
useful to me on a certain occasion, which they should tell me of
presently. We must sew you into this skin, said they, and then
leave you; upon which a fowl of monstrous size, called a roc,
will appear in the air, and, taking you to be a sheep, will come
down upon you, and carry you up to the very sky; but let not that
frighten you, he will come down again with you, and lay you upon
the top of a mountain. When you find yourself upon the ground,
cut the skin with the knife, and throw it off. As soon as the roc
sees you, he will fly away for fear, and leave you at liberty. Do
not stay, but walk on till you come to a prodigious castle, all
covered with plates of gold, large emeralds, and other precious
stones: Go up to the gate, which always stands open, and walk in:
We have been in the castle as long as we have been here: We will
tell you nothing of what we saw, or what befel us there, because
you will learn it yourself; all that we can inform you is, that
it has cost each of us our right eye, and the penance which you
have been witness to is what we are obliged to do, because we
have been there. The history of each of us in particular is so
full of extraordinary adventures, that a large volume would not
contain them; but we must explain ourselves no further.

When the gentleman had ended this discourse, I wrapt myself in
the sheep's skin, held fast the knife which was given me; and
after those young gentlemen had been at the trouble to sew the
skin about me, they retired into the hall, and left me on the
place. The roc they had spoken of was not long a-coming; he fell
down upon me, took me up between his talons like a sheep, and
carried me to the top of the mountain. When I found myself upon
the ground, I made use of the knife, cut the skin, and throwing
it off, the roc at the first sight of me flew away. This roc is a
white bird of a monstrous size; his strength is such that he can
lift up elephants from the plains, and carry them to the tops of
mountains, where he feeds upon them. Being impatient till I
reached the castle, I lost no time, but made so much haste, that
I got thither in half a day's journey, and I must say, that I
found it surpassed the description they had given me of it. The
gate being open, I entered into a court that was square, and so
large, that there were round it ninety-nine gates of wood of
sanders and aloes, with one of gold, without counting those of
several magnificent stair-cases that led up to apartments above,
besides many more I could not see. The hundred doors I spoke of
opened into gardens or store-houses full of riches, or into
palaces that contained things wonderful to be seen. I saw a door
standing open just before me, through which I entered into a
large hall, where I found forty voung ladies of such perfect
beauty, that imagination could not go beyond it; they were all
most sumptuously apparelled; and as soon as they saw me, they
rose up, and, without expecting my compliments, said to me, with
demonstrations of joy, Noble sir, you are very welcome. And one
spoke to me in the name of the rest thus: We have been in
expectation a long while of such a gentleman as you; your mien
assures us that you are master of all the good qualities we can
wish for, and we hope you will not find our company disagreeable
or unworthy of yours. They forced me, notwithstanding all the
opposition I could make, to sit down on a seat that was higher
than theirs, and though I signified that I was uneasy. That is
your place, said they; you are at present our lord, master, and
judge, and we are your slaves, ready to obey your commands.

Nothing in the world, madam, so much astonished me as the passion
and eagerness of those fair ladies to do me all possible service.
One brought hot water to wash my feet; a second poured sweet
scented water on my hands; some brought me all sorts of
necessaries, and change of apparel; others brought in a
magnificent collation; and the rest came with glasses in their
hands to fill me delicious wines, all in good order, and in the
most charming manner that could be. I ate and drank; after which
the ladies placed themselves about me, and desired an account of
my travels. I gave them a full relation of my adventures, which
lasted till night came on.

When I had made an end of my story, which I related to the forty
ladies, some of them that sat nearest me staid to keep me
company, whilst the rest, seeing it was dark, rose to fetch
tapers. They brought a prodigious quantity, which made such a
marvellous light as if it had been day, and they were so
proportionably disposed,, that nothing could be more beautiful.
Other ladies covered a table with dry fruits, sweet-meats, and
everything proper to make the liquor relish; and a side-board was
set with several sorts of wines and other liquors. Some of the
ladies came in with musical instruments, and, when every thing
was prepared, they invited me to sit down to supper. The ladies
sat down with me, and we continued a long while at supper. They
that were to play upon the instruments, and sing, stood up, and
made a most charming concert. The others began a sort of ball,
and danced by two and two, one after another, with a wonderfully
good grace. It was past midnight before those divertisements
ended. At length one of the ladies says to me, You are doubtless
wearied by the journey you have made to-day; it is time for you
to go to rest; your lodging is prepared; but, before you depart,
make choice of any of us you like best to be your bed-fellow. I
answered, That I knew better things than to offer to make my own
choice, since they were all equally beautiful, witty, and worthy
of my respects and service, and that I would not be guilty of so
much incivility as to prefer one before another. The same lady
that spoke to me before answered. We are all very well satisfied
of your civility, and find you are afraid to create a jealousy
among us, which occasions your modesty; but let nothing hinder
you. We assure you, that the good fortune of her whom you choose
shall cause no jealousy; for we are agreed among ourselves, that
every one of us shall have the same honour till it go round, and,
when forty days are past, to begin again; therefore make your
free choice, and lose no time to go and take the repose you stand
in need of. I was obliged to yield to their instances, and
offered my hand to the lady that spoke; she, in return, gave me
hers, and we were conducted to an apartment, where they left us;
and then every one retired to their own apartment. I was scarcely
dressed next morning, when the other thirty-nine ladies came into
my chamber, all in other dresses than they had the day before:
They bid me good-morrow, and inquired after my health; after
which they carried me into a bagnio*, where they washed me
themselves, and, whether I would or not, served me in every thing
I stood in need of; and when I came out of the bath, they made me
put on another suit much richer that the former.

We passed the whole day almost constantly at table; and when it
was bed-time, they prayed me again to make choice of one of them
to keep me company. In short, madam, not to weary you with
repetitions, I must tell you, that I continued a whole year among
those forty ladies, and received them into my bed one after
another: And during all the time of this voluptuous life, we met
not with the least kind of trouble. When the year was expired, I
was strangely surprised that these forty ladies, instead of
appearing, with their usual cheerfulness, to ask how I did,
entered one morning into my chamber all in tears: They embraced
me with great tenderness one after another, saying, Adieu, dear
prince, adieu! for we must leave you. Their tears affected me; I
prayed them to tell me the reason of their grief, and of the
separation they spoke of. For God's sake, fair ladies, let me
know, said I, if it be in my power to comfort you, or if my
assistance can be any way useful to you. Instead of returning a
direct answer, Would to God, said they, we had never seen nor
known you. Several gentlemen have honoured us with their company
before you, but never one of them had that comeliness, that
sweetness, that pleasantness of humour, and merit, which you
have; we know not how to live without you. After they had spoken
these words, they began to weep bitterly. My dear ladies, said I,
be so kind as not to keep me in suspense any more: Tell me the
cause of your sorrow. Alas! said they, what other thing could be
capable of grieving us, but the necessity of parting from you? It
may so happen that we shall never see you again; but if you be so
minded, and have command enough over yourself, it is not
impossible for us to meet again. Ladies, said I, I understand not
your meaning; pray explain yourselves more clearly. Oh, then,
said one of them, to satisfy you, we must acquaint you, that we
are all princesses, daughters of kings; we live here together in
such a manner as; you have seen, but, at the end of every year,
we are obliged to be absent forty days upon indispensable duties,
which we are not permitted to reveal; and afterwards we return
again to this castle. Yesterday was the last day of the year, and
we must leave you this day, which is the cause of our grief.
Before we depart, we will leave you the keys to every thing;
especially those belonging to the hundred doors, where you will
have enough to satisfy your curiosity, and to sweeten your
solitude during our absence: But, for your own welfare, and our
particular concern in you, we recommend unto you to forbear
opening the golden door; for, if you do, we shall never see you
again; and the fear of this augments our grief. We hope,
nevertheless, that you will follow the advice we give you, as you
tender your own quiet, and the happiness of your life; therefore
take heed that you do not give way to indiscreet curiosity, for
you will do yourself a considerable prejudice. We conjure you,
therefore, not to commit this fault, but to let us have the
comfort of finding you here again after forty days. We would
willingly carry the key of the golden door along with us; but it
would be an affront to a prince like you to question your
discretion and modesty.

This discourse of the fair princesses made me extremely
sorrowful. I omitted not to make them sensible how much their
absence would afflict me: I thanked them for their good advice,
and assured them that I would follow it, and willingly do what
was much more difficult, in order to be so happy as to pass the
rest of my days with ladies of such rare qualifications. We took
leave of one another with a great deal of tenderness; and having
embraced them all, they at last departed, and I was left alone in
the castle. Their agreeable company, the good cheer, the concert
of music, and other pleasures, had so much diverted me during the
whole year, that I neither had time, nor the least desire, to see
the wonderful things contained in this enchanted palace. Nay, I
did not so much as take notice of a. thousand rare objects that
were every day in my sight; for I was so taken with the charming
beauty of those ladies, and took so much pleasure in seeing them
wholly employed to oblige me, that their departure afflicted me
very sensibly; and though their absence was to be only forty
days, it seemed to be an age to live without them. I promised
myself not to forget the important advice they had given me, not
to open the golden door; but as I was permitted to satisfy my
curiosity in every thing I took the first of the keys of the
other doors, which were hung in good order. I opened the first
door, and came into an orchard, which I believe the universe
could not equal; I could not imagine that any thing could surpass
it, but that which our religion promises us after death; the
symmetry, the neatness, the admirable order of the trees, the
abundance and diversity of a thousand sorts of unknown fruits,
their freshness and beauty, ravished my sight.

I ought not to forget, madam, to acquaint you, that this
delicious orchard was watered after a very particular manner;
there were channels so artificially and proportionably digged,
that they carried water in abundance to the roots of such trees
as wanted it for making them produce their leaves and flowers.
Some carried it to those that had their fruit budded;* Others
carried it in lesser quantities to those whose fruit was growing
big; and others carried only so much as was just requisite to
water those which had their fruit come to perfection, and only
wanted to be ripened. They exceeded the ordinary fruits of our
gardens very much in bigness; and, lastly, those channels that
watered the trees whose fruits were ripe, had no more moisture
than what would just preserve them from withering. I could never
be weary to look at and admire so sweet a place; and I should
never have left it, had I not conceived a greater idea of the
other things which I had not seen. I went out at last with my
mind filled with those wonders; I shut that door, and opened the
next. Instead of an orchard, I found a flower-garden, which was
no less extraordinary of its kind; it contained a spacious plot,
not watered so profusely as the former, but with greater
niceness, furnishing no more water than just what each flower
required. The roses, jessamines, violets, dills, hyacinths,
wind-flowers, tulips, crowsfoots, pinks, lilies, and an infinite
number of other flowers, which do not grow in other places but at
certain times, were there flourishing all at once; and nothing
could be more delicious than the fragrant smell of this garden.

I opened the third door, where I found a large volary, paved with
marble of several fine colours that were not common. The cage was
made of sanders and wood of aloes: it contained a vast number of
nightingales, goldfinches, canary birds, larks, and other rare
singing-birds which I never heard of; and the vessels that held
their seed and water were of the most precious jasper or agate.
Besides, this volary was so exceedingly neat, that, considering
its extent, one would think there could not be less than an
hundred persons to keep it so clean as it was; but all this while
not one soul appeared, either here or in the gardens where I had
been, and yet I could not perceive a weed or any superfluous
thing there. The sun went down, and I retired, being perfectly
charmed with the chirping notes of the multitude of birds, which
then began to perch upon such places as were convenient for them
to repose on during the night. I went to my chamber, resolving to
open all the rest of the doors the day following, except the
golden one.

I failed not to open a fourth door next day, and if what I had
seen before was capable of surprising me, that which I saw then
put me into a perfect ecstasy. I went into a large court,
surrounded with buildings of an admirable structure, the
description of which I shall pass by to avoid prolixity. This
building had forty doors, wide open, and through each of them
there was an entrance into a treasury, several of which were of
greater value than the largest kingdoms. The first contained
heaps of pearls; and, what is almost incredible, the number of
these stones, which are most precious, and as large as pigeons'
eggs, exceeded the number of those of the ordinary size: in the
second treasury there were diamonds, carbuncles, and rubies: in
the third there were emeralds: in the fourth there were ingots of
gold: in the fifth, money: in the sixth, ingots of silver: in the
two following there was also money. The rest contained amethysts,
chrysolites, topazes, opals, turkoises, and hyacinths, with all
the other stones unknown to us, without mentioning agate, jasper,
cornelian, and coral, of which there was a storehouse filled, not
only with branches, but whole trees. Being filled with amazement
and admiration, I cried out to myself, after having seen all
these riches, Now, if all the treasures of the kings of the
universe were gathered together in one place, they could not come
near this. What good fortune have I to possess all this wealth,
with so many admirable princesses!

I shall not stay, madam, to tell you the particulars of all the
other rare and precious things I saw the days following: I shall
only tell you, that thirty-nine days afforded me but just as much
time as was necessary to open ninety-nine doors, and to admire
all that presented itself to my view, so that there was only the
hundredth door left, the opening of which was forbidden. I was
come to the fortieth day after the departure of those charming
princesses, and had I but retained so much power over myself as I
ought to have had, I should have been this day the happiest of
all mankind, whereas now I am the most unfortunate. They were to
return the next day, and the pleasure of seeing them again ought
to have restrained my curiosity; but, through my weakness, which
I shall ever repent, I yielded to the temptations of the evil
spirit, who gave me no rest till I had thrown myself into those
misfortunes that I have since undergone. I opened that fatal
door, which I promised not to meddle with, and had not moved my
foot to go in, when a smell that was pleasant enough, but
contrary to my constitution, made me faint away: Nevertheless, I
came to myself again, and instead of taking this warning to shut
the door, and forbear satisfying my curiosity, I went in, after I
had stood some time in the air to carry off the scent, which did
not incommode me any more. I found a large place, very well
vaulted, the pavement strewed over with saffron; several
candlesticks of massy gold, with lighted tapers that smelled of
aloes and ambergris, lighted the place; and this light was
augmented by lamps of gold and silver, that burned with oil made
of several sorts of sweet-scented materials.

Among a great many objects that engaged my attention, I perceived
a black horse, of the handsomest and best shape that ever was
seen. I went nearer the better to observe him, and found he had a
saddle and a bridle of massy gold, curiously wrought. The one
side of his trough was filled with clean barley and sessems, and
the other with rose water; I took him by the bridle, and led him
forth to view him by the light; I got on his back, and would have
had him move; but he not stirring, I whipped him with a switch I
had taken up in his magnificent stable; and he had no sooner felt
the stroke, than he began to neigh with a horrible noise, and
extending his wings, which I had not seen before, he flew up with
me into the air quite out of sight. I thought on nothing then but
to sit fast; and, considering the fear that had seized upon me, I
sat very well. He afterwards flew down again towards the earth,
and lighting upon the terrace of a castle, without giving me any
time to get off, he shook me out of the saddle with such force,
that he made me fall behind him, and with the end of his tail
struck out my right eye. Thus I became blind of one eye, and then
I began to remember the predictions of the ten young gentlemen.
The horse flew again out of sight. I got up very much troubled at
the misfortune I had brought upon myself: I walked upon the
terrace, covering my eye with one of my hands, for it pained me
exceedingly, and then came down and entered into the hall, which
I knew presently by the ten sofas in a circle, and the eleventh
in the middle, lower than the rest, to be the same castle from
whence I was taken by the roc. The ten half-blind gentlemen were
not in the hall when I came in, but came soon after with the old
man; they were not at all surprised to see me again, nor at the
loss of my eye; but said, We are sorry that we cannot
congratulate you upon your return as we could have desired; but
we are not the cause of your misfortune. I should be in the wrong
to accuse you, said I, for I have drawn it upon myself, and I can
charge the fault upon no other person. If it be a consolation to
the unfortunate, said they, to have fellows, this example may
afford us a subject of rejoicing; all that has happened to you,
we also have undergone: we tasted all sorts of pleasure during a
year successively; and we had continued to enjoy the same
happiness still, had we not opened the golden door when the
princesses were absent: You have been no wiser than we, and you
had likewise the same punishment; we would gladly receive you
among us, to do such penance as we do, though we know not how
long it may continue: But we have already declared the reasons
that hinder us; therefore depart from hence, and go to the court
of Bagdad, where you will meet with him that can decide your
destiny. They told me the way I was to travel, and so I left
them. On the road I caused my beard and eye-brows to be shaved,
and took on a calender's habit. I have had a long journey; but at
last arrived this evening in this city, where I met these my
brother calenders at the gate, being strangers as well as myself.
We wondered much at one another, to see all three blind, of the
same eye; but we had not leisure to discourse long of our common
calamities, having only so much time as to come hither to implore
those favours which you have been generously pleased to grant us.

The third calender having finished this relation of his
adventures, Zobeide addressed her speech to him and his
fellow-calenders thus: Go wherever you think fit; you are all
three at liberty. But one of them answered, madam, we beg you to
pardon our curiosity, and permit us to hear those gentlemen's
stories who have not yet spoken. Then the lady turned to that
side where stood the caliph, the vizier Giafar, and Mesrour, whom
she knew not; but said to them, It is now your turn to tell me
your adventures; therefore speak.

The grand vizier Giafar, who had always been the spokesman,
answered Zobeide thus: Madam, in order to obey you, we need only
repeat what we have said already, before we entered your house.
We are merchants of Moussol, that came to Bagdad to sell our
merchandise, which lies in the khan where we lodge. We dined
to-day, with several other persons of our profession, at a
merchant's house in this city; who, after he had treated us with
choice dainties and excellent wines, sent for men and women
dancers and musicians. The great noise we made brought in the
watch, who arrested some of the company, but we had the good
fortune to escape; and it being already late, and the door of our
khan shut up, we knew not whither to retire. It was our hap, as
we passed along this street, to hear mirth at your house, which
made us determine to knock at your gate. This is all the account
that we can give you in obedience to your commands.

Zobeide, having heard this discourse, seemed to hesitate as to
what she should say; which the calenders perceiving, prayed her
to grant the same favour to the three Moussol merchants as she
had done to them. Well, then, said she, I give my consent, for
you shall be all equally obliged to me; I pardon you all,
provided you depart immediately out of this house, and go whither
you please. Zobeide haying given this command in a tone that
signified she would be obeyed, the caliph, the vizier, Mesrour,
the three calenders, and the porter, departed without saying one
word; for the presence of the seven slaves with their weapons
kept them in awe. When they were out of the house, and the door
shut, the caliph said to the calenders, without making himself
known, You gentlemen strangers, that are newly come to town,
which way do you design to go, since it is not yet day? It is
that which perplexes us, sir, said they. Follow us, replies the
caliph, and we shall bring you out of danger. After saying these
words, he whispered to the vizier, Take them along with you, and
to-morrow morning bring them to me; I will cause their history to
be put in writing, for it deserves a place in the annals of my
reign. The vizier Giafar took the three calenders along with him;
the porter went to his quarters, and the caliph and Mesrour
returned to the palace. The caliph went to bed, but could not get
a wink of sleep, his spirits being perplexed by the extraordinary
things he had seen and heard; But, above all, he was most
concerned to know who Zobeide was, what reason she could have to
be so severe to the two black bitches, and why Amine had her
bosom so mortified. Day began to appear whilst he was thinking
upon these things: he arose and went to his council-chamber,
where he used to give audience, and sat upon his throne.

The grand vizier came in a little after, and paid his respects as
usual. Vizier, said the caliph, the affairs we have to consider
at present are not very pressing; that of the three ladies and
the two black bitches is much more so. My mind cannot be at ease
till I be thoroughly satisfied in all those matters that have
surprised me so much. Go, bring these ladies and the calenders at
the same time; make haste, and remember that I do impatiently
expect your return. The vizier, who knew his master's quick and
fiery temper, made haste to obey, and went to the ladies, to whom
he communicated, in a civil way, the orders he had to bring them
before the caliph, without taking any notice of what had passed
the night before at their house. The ladies put on their veils,
and went with the vizier; as he passed by his own house, he took
the three calenders along with him, and they, in the mean time,
had got notice that they had both seen and spoken with the caliph
without knowing him. The vizier brought them to the palace with
so much diligence, that the caliph was mightily pleased at it.
This prince, that he might keep a good decorum before all the
officers of his court who were then present, made those ladies be
placed behind the hanging of the door of the room that was next
his bedchamber, and kept by him the three calenders; who, by
their respectful behaviour, gave sufficient proof that they were
not ignorant before whom they had the honour to appear. When the
ladies were placed, the caliph turned towards them, and said,
When I shall acquaint you, that I came last night, disguised in a
merchant's habit, into your house, it will certainly alarm you,
and make you fear that you have offended me; and perhaps you
believe that I have sent for you to no other end but to show some
marks of my resentment: But be not afraid; you may rest assured
that I have forgotten all that has passed, and am very well
satisfied with your conduct. I wish that all the ladies of Bagdad
had as much discretion as you have given proof of before me. I
shall always remember the moderation you made use of, after the
incivility we had committed. I was then a merchant of Moussol,
but am at present Haroun Alraschid, the seventh caliph of the
glorious house of Abbas, who holds the place of our great
prophet. I have only sent for you to know who you are, and to ask
for what reason one of you, after severely whipping the two black
bitches, did weep with them? and I am no less curious to know why
another of you has her bosom full of scars? Though the caliph
pronounced these words very distinctly, so that the three ladies
heard them well enough, yet the vizier Giafar did, out of
ceremony, repeat them over again.

Zobeide, after the caliph by his discourse encouraged her,
satisfied his curiosity in this manner.


Commander of the faithful, says she, the relation I am about to
give to your majesty is one of the strangest that ever was heard.
The two black bitches and myself are sisters by the same father
and mother; and I shall acquaint you by what strange accident
they came to be metamorphosed. The two ladies that live with me,
and are now here, are also my sisters by the father's side, but
by another mother; she that has the scars on her breast is Amine,
the other is Safie, and mine is Zobeide.

After our father's death, the estate that he left us was equally
divided among us; and so soon as those two sisters received their
portions, they went from me to live with their mother. My other
two sisters and myself staid with our mother, who was then alive,
and, when she died, left each of us a thousand sequins. As soon
as we received our portions, the two elder (for I am the
youngest) being married, followed their husbands, and left me
alone. Some time after, my eldest sister's husband sold all that
he had; and with that money, and my sister's portion, they both
went into Africa, where her husband, by riotous living and
debauchery, spent all; when, finding himself reduced to poverty,
he found a pretext for divorcing my sister, and put her away. She
returned to this city, and having suffered incredible hardships
by the way, came to me in so lamentable a condition, as would
have moved the hardest heart to compassion. I received her with
all the tenderness she could expect; and inquiring into the cause
of her sad condition, she told me, with tears, how inhumanly her
husband had dealt by her. I was so much concerned at her
misfortune, that tears flowed from my eyes: I put her into a
bagnio, and clothed her with my own apparel, and spoke to her
thus: Sister, you are the elder, and I esteem you as my mother:
During your absence, God has blessed the portion that fell to my
share, and the employment I follow to feed and bring up
silk-worms. Assure yourself that there is nothing I have but what
is at your service and as much at your disposal as my own.

We lived very comfortably together for some months; and as we
were often discoursing together about our third sister, and
wondering we heard no news of her, she came in as bad a condition
as the elder; her husband had treated her after the same manner,
and I received her with the same affection as I had done the
former. Some time after, my two sisters, on pretence that they
would not be chargeable to me, told me they had thoughts to marry
again. I answered them, that if their putting me to charge was
the only reason, they might lay those thoughts aside, and be very
welcome to stay with me; for what I had would be sufficient to
maintain us all three, answerably to our condition: But, said I,
I rather believe you have a mind to marry again; which if you
have, I am sure it will very much surprise me: After the
experience you have had of the small satisfaction there is in
wedlock, is it possible you dare venture a second time? You know
how rare it is to meet with a husband that is a real honest man.
Believe what I say, and let us stay together, and live as
comfortably as we can. All my persuasion was in vain; they were
resolved to marry, and so they did; but, after some months were
past, they came back again, and begged my pardon a thousand times
for not following my advice. You are our youngest sister, said
they, and abundantly more wise than we; but if you will vouchsafe
to receive us once more into your house, and account us your
slaves, we shall never commit such a fault again. My answer was,
Dear sisters, I have not altered my mind with respect to you
since we last parted from one another; come again, and take part
of what I have. Upon this, I embraced them cordially, and we
lived together as formerly.

We continued thus a whole year in perfect love and tranquillity;
and seeing that God had increased my small stock, I projected a
voyage by sea to hazard somewhat in trade. To this end, I went
with my two sisters to Balsora, where I bought a ship ready
fitted for sea, and loaded her with such merchandise as I brought
from Bagdad. We set sail with a fair wind, and soon got through
the Persian gulph; and when got into the ocean, we steered our
course for the Indies, and saw land the twentieth day. It was a
very high mountain, at the bottom of which we saw a great town;
and having a fresh gale, we soon reached the harbour, where we
cast anchor. I had not patience to stay till my sisters were
dressed to go along with me, but went ashore in the boat myself;
and making directly to the gate of the town, I saw there a great
number of men upon guard, some sitting and others standing, with
batons in their hands; and they had all such dreadful
countenances that they frightened me; but perceiving that they
had no motion, nay not so much as with their eyes, I took
courage, and went nearer, and then found they were all turned
into stones. I entered the town, and passed through the several
streets, where there stood every where men in several postures,
but all immovable and petrified. On that side where the merchants
lived, I found most of the shops shut, and, in such as were open,
I likewise found the people petrified. I looked up to the
chimnies, but saw no smoke; which made me conjecture that those
within, as well as those without, were turned into stones. Being
come into a vast square in the heart of the city, I perceived a
great gate covered with plates of gold, the two leaves of which
stood open, and a curtain of silk stuff seemed to be drawn before
it; I also saw a lamp hanging over the gate. After I had well
considered the fabric, I made no doubt but it was the palace of
the prince who reigned over that country; and being very much
astonished that I had not met with one living creature, I went
thither in hopes to find some: I entered the gate, and was still
more surprised when I saw none but the guards in the porches all
petrified; some standing, some sitting, and others lying. I
crossed over a large court, where I saw just before me a stately
building, the windows of which were enclosed with gates of massy
gold: I looked upon it to be the queen's apartment, and went into
a large hall, where stood several black eunuchs turned into
stone. I went from thence in to a room richly hung and furnished,
where I perceived a lady in the same manner. I knew it to be the
queen, by the crown of gold that hung over her head, and a
necklace of pearl about her neck, each of them as big as a nut:
I, went up close to her to view it, and never saw any thing
finer, I stood some time, and admired the richness and
magnificence of the room; but, above all, the foot-cloth, the
cushions, and the sofas, which were all lined with Indian stuff
of gold, with pictures of men and beasts in silver, drawn to
admiration. I went out of the chamber where the petrified queen
was, and came through several other apartments and closets richly
furnished, and at last came into a vast large room, where there
was a throne of massy gold raised several steps above the floor,
and enriched with large enchased emeralds, and a bed upon the
throne of rich stuff embroidered with pearls. That which
surprised me more than all the rest was a sparkling light which
came from above the bed: Being curious to know from whence it
came, I mounted the steps, and lifting up my head, I saw a
diamond, as big as the egg of an ostrich, lying upon a low stool:
It was so pure, that I could not find the least blemish in it;
and it sparkled so bright, that I could not endure its lustre
when I saw it by day. On each side of the bed-head there stood a
lighted flambeau, but for what use I could not apprehend;
however, it made me imagine that there was some living creature
in this place; for I could not believe that these torches
continued burning of themselves. Several other rarities detained
me in this room, which was inestimable, were it only for the
diamond I mentioned.

The doors being all open, or but half shut, I surveyed some other
apartments as fine as those I had already seen. I looked into the
offices and store-rooms, which were full of infinite riches; and
I was so much taken with the sight of all these wonderful things,
that I forgot myself, and did not think on my ship or my sisters,
my whole design being to satisfy my curiosity: Meantime night
came on, which put me in mind that it was time to retire. I was
for returning by the same way I came in, but could not find it; I
lost myself among the apartments; and finding I was come back
again to that large room where the throne, the couch, the large
diamond, and the torches stood, I resolved to make my night's
lodging there, and to depart the next morning betimes, in order
to get on board my ship. I laid myself down upon the couch, not
without some dread to be alone in a wild place, and this fear
hindered my sleep.

About midnight I heard a voice like that of a man reading the
alcoran, after the same manner, and in the same tone, as we used
to read it in our mosques. Being extremely glad to hear it, I got
up immediately, and, taking a torch in my hand to light me, I
passed from one chamber to another, on that side whence the voice
issued; I came to the closet-door, where I stood still, not
doubting that it came from thence. I set down my torch upon the
ground, and looking through a window, I found it to be an
oratory. In short, it had, as we have in our mosques, a niche,
which shows where we must turn to say our prayers. There were
also lamps hung up, and two candlesticks with large tapers ef
white wax burning. I saw a little carpet laid down like those we
kneel upon when we say our prayers, and a comely young man sat
upon this carpet reading the alcoran, which lay before him upon a
desk, with great devotion. At the sight of this I was transported
with admiration; I wondered how it came to pass that he should be
the only living creature in a town where all the people were
turned into stones, and did not doubt but that there was
something in it very extraordinary. The door being only half
shut, I opened it, and went in, and, standing upright before the
niche, said this prayer aloud: 'Praise be to God, who has
favoured us with a happy voyage; and may he be graciously pleased
to protect us in the same manner, until we arrive again in our
own country. Hear me, O Lord, and grant my request.' The young
man cast his eyes upon me, and said, My good lady, pray let me
know who you are, and what has brought you to this desolate city?
In requital I will tell you who I am, what happened to me, why
the inhabitants of this city are reduced to the state you see
them in, and why I alone am safe and sound in the midst of such a
terrible disaster. I told him in few words from whence I came,
what made me undertake the voyage, and how I safely arrived at
this port, after twenty days sailing; and when I had done, prayed
him to perform his promise, and told him how much I was struck by
the frightful desolation which I had seen in all places as I came

My dear lady, says the young man, have patience for a moment. At
those words he shut the alcoran, put it into a rich case, and
laid it in the niche. I took that opportunity to observe him, and
perceived so much good nature and beauty in him, that I felt very
strange emotions. He made me sit down by him, and, before he
began his discourse, I could not forbear saying to him, with an
air that discovered the sentiments I was inspired with, Amiable
sir, dear object of my soul, I can scarcely have patience to wait
for an account of all those wonderful things that I have seen
since the first time I came into your city, and my curiosity
cannot be satisfied too soon; therefore, pray, sir, let me know
by what miracle you alone are left alive among so many persons
who have died in so strange a manner.

Madam, says the young man, you have given me to understand you
have the knowledge of a true God, by the prayer you have just now
addressed to him. I will acquaint you with a most remarkable
effect of his greatness and power. You must know that this city
was the metropolis of a mighty kingdom, over which the king my
father reigned. That prince, his whole court, the inhabitants of
the city, and all his other subjects, were magi, worshippers of
fire, and of Nardoun, the ancient king of the giants, who
rebelled against God. Though I was begotten and born of an
adulterous father and mother, I had the good fortune in my youth
to have a woman-governess who was a good Mussulman; I had the
alcoran by heart, and understood the explanation of it perfectly
well. Dear prince, would she oftentimes say, there is but one
true God; take heed that you do not acknowledge or adore any
other. She learned me to read Arabic, and the book she gave me to
exercise upon was the alcoran. As soon as I was capable of
understanding it, she explained to me all the heads of this
excellent book, and infused piety into my mind, unknown to my
father or any body else. She happened to die, but not before she
had perfectly instructed me in all that was necessary to convince
me of the Mussulman religion. After her death, I persisted with
constancy in the belief I was in; and I abhor the false god
Nardoun, as well as the adoration of fire.

About three years and some months ago, a thundering voice was
heard, all of a sudden, so distinctly through the whole city,
that nobody could miss hearing it. The words were these:
'Inhabitants, abandon the worship of Nardoun and of fire, and
worship the only God that shows mercy.' This voice was heard
three years successively, but nobody was converted: So the last
day of the year, at four o'clock in the morning, all the
inhabitants were changed in an instant into stone, every one in
the same condition and posture in which he then happened to be.
The king my father had the same fate, for he was metamorphosed
into a black stone, as may be seen in this palace; and the queen
my mother had the like destiny. I am the only person that did not
suffer under that heavy judgment; and ever since I have continued
to serve God with more fervency than before. I am persuaded, dear
lady, that he has sent you hither for my comfort, for which I
render him infinite thanks; for I must own that this solitary
life is very uneasy.

All these expressions, and particularly the last, increased my
love to him extremely. Prince, said I, there is no doubt that
Providence hath brought me into your port to present you with an
opportunity of withdrawing from this dismal place; the ship that
I am come in may in some measure persuade you that I am in some
esteem at Bagdad, where I have left also a considerable estate;
and I dare engage to promise you sanctuary there, until the
mighty commander of the faithful, who is vice regent to our
prophet, whom you acknowledge, do you the honour that is due to
your merit. This renowned prince lives at Bagdad; and as soon as
he is informed of your arrival in his capital, you will find that
it is not in vain to implore his assistance. It is impossible you
can stay any longer in a city where all the objects you see must
renew your grief: My vessel is at your service, where you may
absolutely command as you shall think fit. He accepted the offer,
and we discoursed the remaining part of the night about our
embarkation. As soon as it was day, we left the palace, and came
on board my ship, where we found my sisters, the captain, and the
slaves, all very much troubled about my absence. After I had
presented my sisters to the prince, I told them what had hindered
my return to the vessel the day before; how I had met with the
young prince; his story, and the cause of the desolation of so
fine a city.

The seamen were taken up several days in unloading the
merchandise I brought along with me, and embarking, instead of
that, all the precious things in the palace, as jewels, gold, and
money. We left the furniture and goods, which consisted of an
infinite quantity of plate, etc., because our vessel could not
carry it; for it would have required several vessels more to
carry all the riches to Bagdad which it was in our option to take
with us. After we had loaded the vessel with what we thought fit,
we took such provisions and water on board as were necessary for
our voyage, (for we had still a great deal of those provisions
left that we had taken in at Balsora;) and at last set sail with
a favourable wind.

The young prince, my sisters, and myself, enjoyed ourselves for
some time very agreeably. But, alas! this good understanding did
not last long; for my sisters grew jealous of the friendship
between the prince and me, and maliciously asked me one day, What
we should do with him when we came to Bagdad? I perceived
immediately that they put this question to me on purpose to
discover my inclinations; therefore resolving to put it off with
a jest, I answered them, I will take him for my husband; and upon
that, turning myself to the prince, Sir, I humbly beg of you to
give your consent; for, as soon as we come to Bagdad, I design to
offer you my person to be your slave, to do you all the service
that is in my power, and to resign myself wholly to your
commands. The prince answered, I know not, madam, whether you are
in jest or not; but, for my own part, I seriously declare before
these ladies, your sisters, that from this moment I heartily
accept your offer, not with any intention to have you as a slave,
but as my lady and mistress; nor will I pretend to have any power
over your actions. At these words my sisters changed colour, and
I could easily perceive that afterwards they did not love me as

We were come into the Persian gulph, and not far from Balsora,
where I hoped, considering the fair wind, we might have arrived
the day following; but in the night, when I was asleep, my
sisters watched their time, and threw me overboard. They did the
same to the prince, who was drowned. I swam some minutes on the
water; but by good fortune, or rather miracle, I felt ground. I
went towards a black place, which, by what I could discern in the
dark, seemed to be land, and actually was a flat on the coast:
when day came, I found it to be a desert island, lying about
twenty miles from Balsora. I soon dried my clothes in the sun;
and as I walked along, found several sorts of fruit, and likewise
fresh water, which gave me some hopes of preserving my life. I
laid myself down in a shade, and soon after I saw a winged
serpent, very large and long, coming towards me wriggling to the
right and to the left, and hanging out his tongue, which made me
think he had got some hurt. I rose, and saw a serpent still
larger following, holding him by the tail, and endeavouring to
devour him, I had compassion on him, and, instead of flying away,
had the boldness and courage to take up a stone that by chance
lay by me, and threw it at the great serpent with all my
strength, whom I hit on the head and killed. The other, finding
himself at liberty, took to his wings and flew away. I looked a
long while after him in the air, as being an extraordinary thing;
but he flew out of sight, and I lay down again in another place
in the shade, and fell asleep. When I awaked, judge how I was
surprised to see a black woman by me, of a lively and agreeable
complexion, who held two bitches tied together in her hand, of
the same colour. I sat up, and asked her who she was? I am, said
she, the serpent whom you delivered not long since from my mortal
enemy. I know not how to acknowledge the great kindness you did
me, except by doing what I have done. I know the treachery of
your sisters, and, to revenge you as soon as I was set at liberty
by your generous assistance, I called several of my companions
together, fairies like myself. We have carried the loading that
was in your vessel into your storehouses at Bagdad, and
afterwards sunk it. These two black bitches are your sisters,
whom I have transformed into this shape: but this punishment is
not sufficient, for I will have you to treat them after such a
manner as I shall direct.

At these words, the fairy took me fast under one of her arms, and
the two bitches in the other, and carried me to my house at
Bagdad, where I found all the riches, which were loaded on board
my vessel, in my store-houses. Before she left me, she delivered
me the two bitches, and told me, If you wish not to be changed
into a bitch, as they are, I ordain you, in the name of him that
governs the sea, to give each of your sisters every night a
hundred lashes with a rod, for the punishment of the crime they
have committed against your person, and the young prince whom
they have drowned. I was forced to promise that I would obey her
order. Since that time I have whipped them every night, though
with regret, whereof your majesty has been a witness. I give
evidence, by my tears, with how much sorrow and reluctance I must
perform this cruel duty; and in this your majesty may see I am
more to be pitied than blamed. If there be any thing else, with
relation to myself, that you desire to be informed of, my sister
Amine will give you the full discovery of it by the relation of
her story.

The caliph heard Zobride with a great deal of astonishment, and
desired his grand vizier to pray fair Amine to acquaint him
wherefore her breast was marked with so many scars. Upon this,
Amine addressed herself to the caliph, and began her story after
this manner:


Commander of the faithful, says she, to avoid repeating what your
majesty has already heard from my sister's story, I shall only
add, that after my mother had taken a house for herself to live
in during her widowhood, she gave me in marriage, with the
portion my father left me, to a gentleman that had one of the
best estates in this city. I had scarcely been a year married
when I became a widow, and was left in possession of all my
husband's estate, which amounted to ninety thousand sequins. The
interest of this money was sufficient to maintain me very
honourably. In the mean time, when my first six months' mourning
was over, I caused to be made me ten suits of clothes, very rich,
so that each suit came to a thousand sequins; and, when the year
was past, I began to wear them.

One day, as I was busy all alone about my private affairs, one
came to tell me that a lady desired to speak with me. I ordered
that she should be brought in: She was a person well stricken in
years; she saluted me by kissing the ground, and told me,
kneeling, Dear lady, pray excuse the freedom I take; the
confidence I have in your charity makes me thus bold: I must
acquaint your ladyship that I have a daughter, an orphan, who is
to be married this day; she and I are both strangers, and have no
acquaintances at all in this town: this puts me in a perplexity,
for we would have the numerous family with whom we are going to
ally ourselves to think we are not, altogether strangers, and
without credit: Therefore, most beautiful lady, if you would
vouchsafe to honour the wedding with your presence, we shall be
infinitely obliged to you; because the ladies of your country
will then know that we are not looked upon here as despicable
wretches, when they shall come to understand that a lady of your
quality did us that honour. But, alas! madam, if you refuse this
request, we shall be altogether disgraced, and dare not address
ourselves to any other.

The poor woman's discourse, mingled with tears, moved my
compassion. Good woman, said I, do not afflict yourself; I am
willing to grant you the favour you desire; tell me what place I
must come to, and I will meet you as soon as I am dressed. The
old woman was so transported with joy at my answer, that she
kissed my feet, without my being able to hinder her. Good
charitable lady, said she, rising up, God will reward the
kindness you have shown to your servants, and make your heart as
joyful as you have made theirs. It is too soon yet to give
yourself that trouble; it will be time enough when I come to call
you in the evening: So farewell, madam, said she, until I have
the honour to see you again. As soon as she was gone, I took the
suit I liked best, with a necklace of large pearls, bracelets,
pendents in my ears, and rings set with the finest and most
sparkling diamonds; for my mind presaged what would befall me.
When night drew on, the old woman came to call me with a
countenance full of joy; she kissed my hands, and said, My dear
lady, the relations of my son-in-law, who are the principal
ladies of the town, are now met together; you may come when you
please, I am ready to wait on you. We went immediately, she going
before, and I followed her with a good number of my maids and
slaves, very well dressed. We stopped in a large street, newly
swept and watered, at a large gate, with a lantern before it, by
the light of which I could read this inscription over the gate in
golden letters: 'Here is the abode of everlasting pleasures and
content.' The old woman knocked, and the gate was opened
immediately. They brought me to the lower end of the court into a
large hall, where I was received by a young lady of admirable
beauty; she came up to me, and after having embraced me, and made
me sit down by her upon a sofa, where there was a throne of
precious wood beset with diamonds, Madam, said she, you are
brought hither to assist at a wedding; but I hope this marriage
will prove otherwise than you expect. I have a brother, one of
the handsomest men in the world; he has fallen so much in love
with your beauty, that his fate depends wholly upon you, and he
will be the unhappiest of men, if you do not take pity on him. He
knows your quality, and I can assure you he is not unworthy of
your alliance. If my prayers, madam, can prevail, I shall join
them with his, and humbly beg you will not refuse the offer of
being his wife.

After the death of my husband, I had no thoughts of marrying
again; but I had not power to refuse the offer made by so
charming a lady. As soon as I had given consent by silence,
accompanied with a blush, the young lady clapped her hands, and
immediately a closet-door opened, out of which came a young man
of a majestic air, and of so graceful a behaviour, that I thought
myself happy to have made so great a conquest. He sat down by me,
and, by the discourse we had together, I found that his merits
far exceeded the account his sister had given me of him. When she
saw that we were satisfied one with another, she clapped her
hands a second time, and out came a cadi, or scrivener, who wrote
our contract of marriage, signed it himself, and caused it to be
attested by four witnesses he brought along with him. The only
thing that my new spouse made me promise was, that I should not
be seen nor speak with any other man but himself; and he vowed to
me, upon that condition, that I should have no reason to complain
of him. Our marriage was concluded and finished after this
manner; so I became the principal actress in a wedding to which I
was invited only as a guest.

After we bad been married about a month, I had occasion for some
stuffs; I asked my husband's leave to go out to buy them which he
granted; and I took that old woman along with me of whom I spoke
before, she being one of the family, with two of my own female
slaves. When we came to the street where the merchants dwell, the
old woman told me, Dear mistress, since you want silk stuffs, I
must carry you to a young merchant of my acquaintance who has of
all sorts, which will prevent your wearying yourself by going
from one shop to another. I can assure you that he is able to
furnish you with that which nobody else can. I was easily
persuaded, and we entered into a shop belonging to a young
merchant. I sat down and bid the old woman desire him to show me
the finest silk stuffs he had: The woman bid me speak myself;
but, I told her it was one of the articles of my
marriage-contract not to speak to any man but my husband, and
that I must keep to it. The merchant showed me several stuffs, of
which one pleased me better than the rest. I bid her ask the
price. He answered the old woman, I will not sell it for gold or
money, but I will make her a present of it, if she will give me
leave to kiss her cheek. I bid the old woman tell him that he was
very rude to propose such a thing. But, instead of obeying me,
she said, What the merchant desires of you is no such great
matter; you need not speak, but only present him your cheek, and
the business will soon be done. The stuff pleased me so much,
that I was foolish enough to take her advice. The old woman and
my slaves stood up, that nobody might see, and I put up my veil;
but, instead of a kiss, the merchant bit me till the blood came.
The pain and surprise were so great, that I fell down in a swoon,
and continued in it so long, that the merchant had time to shut
his shop, and fly for it. When I came to myself, I found my cheek
all bloody: The old woman and my slaves took care to cover it
with my veil, lest the people who cams about us should perceive;
but they supposed it only a fainting-fit. The old woman that was
with me, being extremely troubled at the accident, endeavoured to
comfort me: My dear mistress, said she, I beg your pardon, for I
am the cause of this misfortune, having brought you to this
merchant because he is my countryman; but I never thought he
could be capable of so vile an action. But do not grieve; let us
make haste to go home. I will give you a medicine that will
perfectly cure you in three days time, so that the least mark
will not be seen. The fit had made me so weak, that I was
scarcely able to walk; but at last I got home, where I had a
second fit as I went into my chamber. Meanwhile the old woman
applied her remedy, so that I came to myself, and went to bed.

My husband came to me at night, and seeing my head bound up,
asked the reason. I told him I had the headache, and hoped he
would inquire no further; but he took a candle, and saw that my
cheek was hurt: How comes this wound? said he. Though I was not
very guilty, yet I could not think of owning the thing: besides,
to make such confession to a husband, was somewhat indecent;
therefore I told him, that as I was going to seek for that stuff
you gave me leave to buy, a porter carrying a load of wood came
so close by me, as I went through a narrow street, that one of
the sticks gave me a rub on my cheek; but it is not much hurt.
This put my husband into such a passion, that he vowed it should
not go unpunished; for he should to-morrow give orders to the
lieutenant of the police to seize upon all those brutes of
porters, and cause them to be hanged. Being afraid to occasion
the death of so many innocent persons, I told him, Sir, I should
be sorry that so great a piece of injustice should be committed.
Pray, do not do it; for I should judge myself unpardonable, if I
were the cause of so much mischief. Then tell me sincerely, said
he, how you came by this wound? I answered, that it came through
the inadvertency of a broom-seller upon an ass, who coming behind
me, and looking another way, his ass gave me such a push, that I
fell down, and hurt my cheek upon some glass. Is it so? said my
husband, then to-morrow morning, before sun-rise, the grand
vizier Giafar shall have an account of this insolence, and he
shall cause all the broom-sellers to be put to death. For the
love of God, sir, said I, let me beg of you to pardon them, for
they are not guilty. How, madam, said he, what is it I must
believe? Speak, for I am absolutely resolved to know the truth
from your own mouth. Sir, said I, I was taken with a giddiness,
and fell down; and that is the whole matter. At these last words,
my husband lost all patience. Oh! cried he, I have given ear to
your lies too long. With that, clapping his hands, in came three
slaves: Pull her out of bed, said he, and lay her in the middle
of the floor. The slaves obeyed his orders, one holding me by the
head, and another by the feet: he commanded the third to fetch
him a scimitar, and when he had brought it, Strike, said he, cut
her in two in the middle, and then throw her into the Tigris to
feed the fishes. This is the punishment I give to those to whom I
have given my heart, if they falsify their promise. When he saw
that the slave made no haste to obey his orders, Why do not you
strike? said he; who is it that holds you? what art thou waiting

Madam, then, said the slave, as you are near the last moment of
your life, consider if you have, any thing to dispose of before
you die. I begged to be allowed to speak one word, which was
granted me. I lifted up my head, and looking wistfully to my
husband, Alas, said I, to what condition am I reduced? must I
then die in the prime of my youth? I could say no more, for my
tears and sighs prevented me. My husband was not at all. moved,
but to the contrary, went on to reproach me; so that to have made
an answer would have been in vain. I had recourse to entreaties
and prayers; but he had no regard to them, and commanded the
slaves to proceed to execution. The old woman that had been his
nurse came in just at that moment, fell down upon her knees, and
endeavoured to appease his wrath: My son, said she, since I have
been your nurse, and brought you up, let me beg the favour of you
to grant me her life; consider that he who kills shall be killed,
that you will stain your reputation, and lose the esteem of
mankind. What will not the world say of such a bloody rage? She
spoke these words in such a taking away, accompanied with tears,
that she gained upon him at last. Well, then, says he to his
nurse, for your sake I will spare her life; but she shall carry
some marks along with her, to make her remember her crime. With
that, one of the slaves, by his order, gave me so many blows, as
hard as he could strike, with a little cane, upon my sides and
breast, that he fetched both skin and flesh away, so that I lay
senseless: after that he caused the same slaves, the executioners
of his fury, to carry me into a house, where the old woman took
care of me. I kept my bed four months; at last I recovered; but
the scars you saw yesterday have remained ever since.

As soon as I was able to walk and go abroad, I resolved to go to
the house which was my own by my first husband, but I could not
find the place. My second husband, in the heat of his wrath, was
not content to have it razed to the ground, but caused all the
street where it stood to be pulled down. I believe such a violent
proceeding was never heard of before; but against whom should I
make my complaint? The author had taken such care, that he was
not to be found, neither could I know him again if I saw him; and
suppose I had known him, is it not easily seen that the treatment
I met with proceeded from absolute power? How then dared I make
any complaints.

Being destitute and unprovided of every thing, I had recourse to
my dear sister Zobeide, who gave your majesty just now an account
of her adventures; to her I made known my misfortune; she
received me with her accustomed goodness, and advised me to bear
it with patience. This is the way of the world, said she, which
either robs us of our means, our friends, or our lovers, and
oftentimes of all at once; and at the same time, to confirm what
she had said, she gave me an account of the loss of the young
prince, occasioned by the jealousy of her two sisters; she told
me also by what accident they were transformed into bitches; and,
in the last place, after a thousand testimonials of her love
towards me, she showed me my youngest sister, who had likewise
taken sanctuary wish her after the death of her mother.

Thus we gave God thanks, who had brought us together again,
resolving to live a single life, and never to separate any more,
for we have enjoyed this peaceable way of living many years; and
as it was my business to mind the affairs of the house, I always
took pleasure to go myself, and buy in what we wanted. I happened
to go abroad yesterday, and the things I bought I caused to be
brought home by a porter, who proved to be a sensible and jocose
fellow, and we kept him by us for a little diversion. Three
calenders happened to come to our door as it began to grow dark,
and prayed us to giye them shelter until next morning: we gave
them entrance upon certain conditions, to which they agreed; and
after we had made them sit down at the table by us, they gave us
a concert of music after their fashion, and at the same time we
heard a knocking at our gate. These were the three merchants of
Moussol, men of a very good mien, who begged the same favour
which the calenders had obtained before: we consented upon the
same conditions, but neither of them kept their promise; and
though we had power as well as justice on our side to punish
them, yet we contented ourselves with demanding from them the
history of their lives, and consequently bounded our revenge with
dismissing them after they had done, and depriving them of the
lodging they demanded.

The caliph Haroun Alraschid was very well satisfied with these
strange stories, and declared publicly his astonishment at what
he had heard. Having satisfied his curiosity, he thought himself
obliged to give some marks of grandeur and generosity to the
calender princes, and also to give the three ladies some proofs
of his bounty. He himself, without making use of his minister the
grand vizier, said to Zobeide, Madam, did not this fairy, that
showed herself to you in the shape of a serpent, and imposed such
a rigorous command upon you, tell you where her place of abode
was? or rather did she not promise to see you, and restore those
bitches to their natural shape? Commander of the faithful,
answered Zobeide, I forgot to tell your majesty, that the fairy
left with me a bundle of hair, saying withal that her presence
would one day stand me in stead; and then, if I only burnt two
tufts of this hair, she would be with me in a moment, though she
were beyond mount Caucasus. Madam, says the caliph, where is the
bundle of hair? She answered, Ever since that time, I have had
such a particular care of it, that I always carry it about with
me: Upon which she pulled it out, opened the case a little where
it was, and showed it him. Well, then, said the caliph, let us
make the fairy come hither; you could not call her in a better
time, for I long to see her. Zobeide having consented to it, fire
was brought in, and she threw the whole bundle of hair into it.
The Palace began to shake at that very instant, and the fairy
appeared before the caliph in the shape of a lady very richly
dressed. Commander of the faithful, said she to the prince, you
see I am ready to come and receive your commands. The lady that
gave me this call by your order, did me a particular piece of
service: to make my gratitude appear, I revenged her of her
sisters' inhumanity by changing them into bitches; but, if your
majesty command, I shall restore them to their former shape.
Handsome fairy, said the caliph, you cannot do me a greater
pleasure; vouchsafe them that favour, and after that I will find
out some means to comfort them for their hard penance; But,
besides, I have another boon to ask in favour of this lady who
has had such cruel usage from an unknown husband; and as you
undoubtedly know a great many things, we have reason to believe
you cannot, be ignorant of this; oblige me with the name of this
unfeeling fellow, who could not be contented to exercise his
cruelty upon her person, but has also most unjustly taken from
her all the substance she had I only wonder that such an unjust
and inhuman action could be performed in spite of my authority,
and not come to my ears. To serve your majesty, answered the
fairy, I will restore the two bitches to their former state, and
cure the lady of her scars, so that it will never appear she was
so beaten; after which I will tell you who it was that did it.
The caliph sent for the two bitches from Zobeide's house, and
when they came, a glass of water was brought to the fairy at her
desire: she pronounced some words over it which nobody
understood; then throwing some part of it upon Amine, and the
rest upon the bitches, the latter became two ladies of surprising
beauty, and the scars that were upon Amine vanished away. After
which the fairy said to the caliph, Commander of the faithful, I
must now discover to you, the unknown husband you inquire after:
he is very nearly related to yourself; for it is Prince Amin,
your eldest son, who, falling passionately in love with this lady
by the fame he had heard of her beauty, by an intrigue got her
brought to his house, where he married her. As to the strokes he
caused to be given her, he is in some measure excusable; for his
spouse had been a little too easy, and the excuses she made were
calculated to make him believe that she was more faulty than she
really was. This is all I can say to satisfy your curiosity. At
these words she saluted the caliph, and vanished.

The prince, being filled with admiration, and having much
satisfaction the changes that had happened through his means, did
such things as will perpetuate his memory to future ages. First,
he sent for his son Amin, and told him that he was informed of
his secret marriage, and how he had wounded Amine upon a very
slight cause; upon which the prince did not wait for his father's
commands, but received her again immediately. After this, the
caliph declared that he would give his own heart and hand to
Zobeide, and offered the other three sisters to the calenders,
who accepted them with a great deal of joy. The caliph assigned
to each a magnificent palace in the city of Bagdad, promoted them
to the highest dignities, and admitted them to his councils. The
town-clerk of Bagdad, being called with witnesses, wrote the
contracts of marriage; and the famous caliph Haroun Alraschid, by
making the fortunes of so many persons who had undergone such
incredible misfortunes, drew a thousand blessings upon himself.


Dinarzade having awaked her sister the sultaness as usual, prayed
her to tell her another story. Scheherazade asked leave of the
sultan, and having obtained it, began thus: Sir, in the reign of
the same caliph Haroun Alraschid, whom I formerly mentioned,
there lived at Bagdad a poor porter called Hindbad. One day, when
the weather was very hot, he was employed to carry a heavy burden
from one end of the town to the other. Being very weary, and
having still a great way to go, he came into a street, where the
delicate western breeze blew on his face, and the pavement of the
street being sprinkled with rose water, he could not desire a
better place to rest in; therefore, laying off his burden, he sat
down by it near a great house. He was mightily pleased that he
had stopped in this place, for an agreeable smell of wood of
aloes and of pastils, that came from the house, mixing with the
scent of the rose water, did completely perfume the air. Besides,
he heard from within a concert of several sorts of instrumental
music, accompanied with the harmonies of nightingales, and other
birds peculiar to that climate. This charming melody, and the
smell of several sorts of victuals, made the porter think there
was a feast, with great rejoicings within. His occasions leading
him seldom that way, he knew not who dwelt in the house; but, to
satisfy his curiosity, he went to some of the servants, whom he
saw standing at the gate in magnificent apparel, and asked the
name of the master of the house. How, replied one of them, do you
live in Bagdad, and know not that this is the house of Signior
Sindbad, the sailor, that famous traveller who has sailed round
the world? The porter, who had heard of Sindbad's riches, could
not but envy a man whose condition he thought to be as happy as
his own was deplorable; and his mind being fretted with these
reflections, he lifted up his eyes to heaven, and says, loud
enough to be heard, Almighty Creator of all things, consider the
difference between Sindbad and me. I am every day exposed to
fatigues and calamities, and can scarcely get coarse barley bread
for myself and family, whilst happy Sindbad profusely expends
immense riches, and leads a life of continual pleasure. What has
he done to obtain from thee a lot so agreeable, and what have I
done to deserve one so miserable? Having finished this
expostulation, he struck his foot against the ground, like a man
overwhelmed with grief and despair. While the porter was thus
indulging his melancholy, a servant came out of the house, and
taking him by the arm, bid him follow him, for Signior Sindbad,
his master, wanted to speak with him.

Your majesty may easily imagine that poor Hindbad was not a
little surprised at this compliment; for, considering what he had
said, he was afraid Sindbad had sent for him to punish him;
therefore he would have excused himself, alleging that he could
not leave his burden in the middle of the street. But Sindbad's
servants assured him they would look to it, and pressed the
porter so that he was obliged to yield. The servants brought him
into a large hall, where a number of people sat round a table
covered with all sorts of fine dishes. At the upper end there sat
a grave, comely, venerable gentleman, with a long white beard,
and behind him stood officers and domestics ready to serve him;
this grave gentleman was Sindbad. The porter, whose fear was
increased at the sight of so many people, and of a banquet so
sumptuous, saluted the company tremblingly. Sindbad bid him draw
near, and setting him down at his right hand, served him himself,
and gave him excellent wine, of which there was good store upon
the side-board.

When dinner was over, Sindbad began his discourse to Hindbad; and
calling him brother, according to the manner of the Arabians when
they are familiar one to another, he asked him his name and
employment. Signior, answered he, my name is Hindbad. I am very
glad to see you, replies Sindbad; and I dare to say the same for
all the company: but I would be glad to hear, from your own
mouth, what it was you said a while ago in the street; for
Sindbad had heard it himself through the window before he sat
down to table; and that occasioned his calling for him. Hindbad,
being surprised at the question, hung down his head, and replied,
Signior, I confess that my weariness put me out of humour, and
occasioned me to speak some indiscreet words, which I beg you to
pardon. Oh, do not you think I am so unjust, replies Sindbad, to
resent such a thing as that; I consider your condition, and,
instead of upbraiding you with your complaints, I am sorry for
you; but I must rectify your mistake concerning myself. You
think, no doubt, that I have acquired, without labour or trouble,
the ease and conveniency which I now enjoy. But do not mistake
yourself; I did not attain to this happy condition without
enduring more trouble of body and mind for several years than can
well be imagined. Yes, gentleman, adds he, speaking to the
company, I can assure you my troubles were so extraordinary, that
they were capable of discouraging the most covetous men from
undertaking such voyages as I did to acquire riches. Perhaps you
have never heard a distinct account of the wonderful adventures
and dangers I met with in my seven voyages; and, since I have
this opportunity, I am willing to give you a faithful account of
them, not doubting that it will be acceptable. And because
Sindbad was to tell this story particularly on the porter's
account, he ordered his burden to be carried to the place
appointed, and began thus:


His First Voyage.

My father left me a considerable estate, most part of which I
spent in debauches during my youth; but I perceived my error, and
called to mind that riches were perishable, and quickly
considered, that by my irregular way of living, I wretchedly
misspent my time, which is the most valuable thing in the world.
I remembered the saying of the great Solomon, which I frequently
heard from my father, that death is more tolerable than poverty.
Being struck with those reflections, I gathered together the
ruins of my estate, and sold all my moveables in the public
market to the highest bidder. Then I entered into a contract with
some merchants that traded by sea, took the advice of those whom
I thought most capable to give it, and resolving to improve what
money I had, went to Balsora, a port in the Persian gulph, and
embarked with several merchants, who joined with me in fitting
out a ship on purpose.

We set sail, steering our course towards the East Indies through
the Persian gulph, which is formed by the coasts of Arabia Felix
on the right, by those of Persia on the left, and, according to
common account, is seventy leagues in the broadest place. The
eastern sea, like that of the Indies, is very spacious. It is
bounded on one side by the coast of Abyssinia, and 4500 leagues
in length to the isles of Vakvak[Footnote: These islands,
according; to the Arabians, are beyond China: and are so called
from a tree which bears a fruit of that name. They are, without
doubt, the isles of Japan; but they are not, however, so far from
Abyssinia.]. At first I was troubled with sea-sickness, but
speedily recovered, and was not afterwards troubled with that

In our voyage we touched at several islands, where we sold or
exchanged our goods. One day, whilst under sail, we were becalmed
near a little island, even almost with the surface of the water,
which resembled a green meadow. The captain ordered his sails to
be furled, and suffered such persons as had a mind to land upon
the island, amongst whom I was one. But while we were diverting
ourselves with eating and drinking, and refreshing ourselves from
the fatigue of the sea, the island trembled all of a sudden, and
shook us terribly. They perceived the trembling of the island on
board the ship, and called to us to re-embark speedily, else we
should be all lost; for what we took for an island was only the
back of a whale. The nimblest got into the sloop, others betook
themselves to swimming; but, for my part, I was still upon the
back of the whale, when he dived into the sea, and I had time
only to catch hold of a piece of wood that we had brought out of
the ship to make a fire. Meanwhile the captain, having received
those on board who were in the sloop, and taken up some of those
that swam, resolved to improve the favourable gale that was just
risen, and, hoisting his sails, pursued his voyage, so that it
was impossible to recover the ship. Thus was I exposed to the
mercy of the waves, and struggled for my life all the rest of the
day and the following night. Next morning I found my strength
gone, and despaired of saving my life, when a wave threw me
happily against an island. The bank was high and rugged, so that
I should scarcely have got up, had it not been for some roots of
trees which fortune seemed to have preserved in this place for my
safety. Being got up, I lay down upon the ground half dead, until
such time as the sun appeared. Then, though I was very feeble,
both by reason of my hard labour and want of victuals, I crept
along to seek for some herbs fit to eat, and had not only the
good luck to find some, but likewise a spring of excellent water,
which contributed much to recover me. After this I advanced
further into the island, and came at last into a fine plain,
where I perceived a horse feeding at a great distance. I went
towards him between hope and fear, not knowing whether I was
going to lose my life or to save it. When I came near, I
perceived it to be a very fine mare tied to a stake. Whilst I
looked upon her, I heard the voice of a man from under ground,
who immediately appeared to me, and asked who I was? I gave him
an account of my adventure; after which, taking me by the hand,
he led me into a cave, where there were several other people, no
less amazed to see me than I was to see them. I ate some victuals
which they offered me; and then, having asked them what they did
in such a desert place, they answered, that they were grooms
belonging to King Mihrage, sovereign of the island; and that
every year, at the same season, they brought thither the king's
mares, and fastened them as I saw that mare, until they were
covered by a horse that came out of the sea, who, after he had
done so, endeavoured to destroy the mares, but they hindered him
by their noise, and obliged him to return to the sea; after which
they carried home the mares, whose foals were kept for the king's
use, and called sea-horses. They added, that we were to get home
to-morrow, and had I been one day later, I must have perished,
because the inhabited part of the island was at a great distance,
and it would have been impossible for me to have got thither
without a guide.

Whilst they entertained me thus, the horse came out of the sea,
as they had told me, covered the mare, and afterwards would have
devoured her; but, upon a great noise made by the grooms, he left
her, and went back to the sea.

Next morning they returned with their mares to the capital of the
island, took me with them, and presented me to King Mihrage. He
asked me who I was, and by what adventure I came into his
dominions? After I had satisfied him, he told me he was much
concerned for my misfortune, and at the same time ordered that I
should want nothing; which his officers were so generous and
careful as to see exactly fulfilled.

Being a merchant, I frequented men of my own profession, and
particularly inquired for those who were strangers, if perhaps I
might hear any news from Bagdad, or find an opportunity to return
thither; for King Mihrage's capital is situate on the bank of the
sea, and has a fine harbour, where ships arrive daily from
different quarters of the world. I frequented also the society of
the learned Indians, and took delight to hear them discourse; but
withal I took care to make my court regularly to the king, and
conversed with the governors and petty kings, his tributaries,
that were about him. They asked me a thousand questions about my
country; and being willing to inform myself as to their laws and
customs, I asked them every thing which I thought worth knowing.
There belongs to this king an island named Cassel; they assured
me, that every night a noise of drums was heard there, whence the
mariners fancied that it was the residence of Degial [Footnote:
Degial, to the Mahometans, is the same with antichrist to us.
According to them, he is to appear about the end of the world,
and will conquer all the earth, except Mecca, Medina, Tarsus, and
Jerusalem, which are to be preserved by angels, whom he shall set
round them.]. I had a great mind to see this wonderful place, and
in my way thither saw fishes of an hundred and two hundred cubits
long, that occasion more fear than hurt; for they are so fearful,
that they will fly upon the rattling of two sticks or boards. I
saw likewise other fishes about a cubit in length, that had heads
like owls.

As I was one day at the port after my return, a ship arrived. As
soon as she cast anchor, they began to unload her, and the
merchants on board ordered their goods to be carried into the
magazine. As I cast my eye upon some bales, and looked to the
name I found my own, and perceived the bales to be the same that
I had embarked at Balsora. I also knew the captain; but, being
persuaded that he believed me to be drowned, I went and asked him
whose bales these were? He replied, that they belonged to a
merchant of Bagdad, called Sindbad, who came to sea with him; but
one day, being near an island, as we thought, he went ashore,
with several other passengers, upon this supposed island, which
was only a monstrous whale that lay asleep upon the surface of
the water; but as soon as he felt the heat of the fire they had
kindled upon his back to dress some victuals, he began to move,
and dived under water, when most of the persons who were upon him
perished, and among them the unfortunate Sindbad. These bales
belong to him, and I am resolved to trade with them, until I meet
with some of his family, to whom I may return the profit.
Captain, says I, I am that Sindbad whom you thought to be dead,
and these bales are mine. When the captain heard me speak thus, O
heaven, says he, whom can we ever trust now-a-days? There is no
faith left among men. I saw Sindbad perish with my own eyes, and
the passengers on board saw it as well as I, and yet you tell me
that you are that Sindbad? What impudence is this? To look on
you, one would take you to be a man of probity; and yet you tell
a horrible falsehood, in order to possess yourself of what does
not belong to you. Have patience, captain, replied I; do me the
favour to hear what I have to say. Very well, says he, speak; I
am ready to hear you. Then I told him how I escaped, and by what
adventure I met with the grooms of King Mihrage, who brought me
to his court.

The captain began to abate of his confidence upon my discourse,
and was soon persuaded that I was no cheat; for there came people
from his ship who knew me, made me great compliments, and
testified a great deal of joy to see me alive. At last he knew me
himself, and embracing me, Heaven be praised, says he, for your
happy escape! I cannot enough express my joy for it; there are
your goods, take and do with them what you will. I thanked him,
acknowledged his probity, and in requital offered him part of my
goods as a present, which he generously refused. I took out what
was most valuable in my bales, and presented it to King Mihrage,
who, knowing my misfortune, asked me how I came by such rarities?
I acquainted him with the whole story. He was mightily pleased at
my good luck, accepted my present, and gave me one much more
considerable in return. Upon this, I took leave of him, and went
on board the same ship, after I had exchanged my goods for the
commodities of the country. I carried with me the wood of aloes,
sanders, camphire, nutmegs, cloves, pepper, and ginger. We passed
by several islands, and at last arrived at Balsora, from whence I
came to this city, with the value of one hundred thousand
sequins[Footnote: The Turkish sequin is about nine shillings
sterling.]. My family and I received one another with all the
transport that can arise from true and sincere friendship. I
bought slaves of both sexes, fine lands, and built me a great
house. Thus I settled myself, resolving to forget the miseries I
had suffered, and to enjoy the pleasures of life.

Sindbad stopped here, and ordered the musicians to go on with
their concert, which his story had interrupted. The company
continued to eat and drink until the evening, when it was time to
retire. Sindbad sent for a purse of one hundred sequins, and,
giving it to the porter, says, Take this, Hindbad, return to your
home, and come back to-morrow to hear some more of my adventures.
The porter went home, astonished at the honour done him, and the
present made him. The relation of it was very agreeable to his
wife and children, who did not fail to return God thanks for what
he had sent them by the hands of Sindbad. Hindbad put on his best
clothes next day, and returned to the bountiful traveller, who
received him with a pleasant air, and caressed him mightily. When
all the guests were come, dinner was set upon the table, and
continued a long time. When it was ended, Sindbad, addressing
himself to the company, says, Gentlemen, be pleased to give me
audience, and listen to the adventures of my second voyage; they
better deserve your attention than the first. Upon this, every
one held his peace, and Sindbad proceeded:

The Second Voyage of Sindbad the Sailor.

I intended, after my first voyage, to spend the rest of my days
at Bagdad, as I had the honour to tell you yesterday; but it was
not long ere I grew weary of a quiet life. My inclination to
travel revived. I bought goods proper for the commerce I
designed, and put to sea a second time with merchants of known
probity. We embarked on board a good ship, and, after
recommending ourselves to God, set sail: We traded from island to
island, and exchanged commodities with great profit. One day we
landed upon an isle covered with several sorts of fruit-trees,
but so deserted that we could see neither man nor horse upon it.
We went to take a little fresh air in the meadows, and along the
streams that watered them. Whilst some diverted themselves with
gathering flowers, and others with gathering fruits, I took my
wine and provisions, and sat down by a stream betwixt two great
trees which formed a curious shade. I made a very good meal, and
afterwards fell asleep. I cannot tell how long I slept, but, when
I awaked, the ship was gone. I was very much surprised, but got
up, looking about every where, and could not see one of the
merchants who landed with me. At last I perceived the ship under
sail, but at such a distance, that I lost sight of her in a very
little time.

I leave you to guess at my melancholy reflections in this sad
condition, I was like to die of grief, cried out sadly, beat my
head and breast, and threw myself down upon the ground, where I
lay some time in terrible agony, one afflicting thought being
succeeded by another still more afflicting. I upbraided myself an
hundred times for not being content with the product of my first
voyage, that might very well have served me all my life. But all
this was vain, and my repentance out of season. At last I
resigned myself to the will of God; and, not knowing what to do,
I climbed to the top of a great tree, from whence I looked about
on all sides to see if there were any thing that could give me
hopes. When I looked towards the sea, I could see nothing but sky
and water; but, on looking towards the land, I saw something
white; coming down from the tree I took up what provisions I had
left, and went towards it, the distance being so great that I
could not distinguish what it was.

When I came nearer, I thought it to be a white bowl, of a
prodigious height and bigness; and when I came up to it, I
touched it, and found it to be very smooth. I went round to see
if it was open on any side, but saw it was not, and it was so
smooth that there was no climbing to the top of it. It was at
least fifty paces round.

By this time the sun was ready to set, and all of a sudden the
sky became as dark as if it had been covered with a thick cloud.
I was much astonished at this sudden darkness, but much more when
I found it occasioned by a bird of monstrous size, that came
flying towards me. I remembered a fowl called *roc, that I had
often heard mariners speak of, and conceived that the great bowl,
which I so much admired, must needs be its egg. In short, the
bird lighted, and sat over the egg to hatch it. As I perceived
her coming, I crept close to the egg, so that I had before me one
of the legs of the bird, that was as big as the trunk of a tree;
I tied myself strongly to it with the cloth that went round my
turban, in hopes that when the roc[Footnote: Mark Paul in his
Travels, and Father Martini in his History of China, speak each
of this bird, and say it will take up an elephant and a
rhinoceros.] flew away next morning, she would carry me with her
out of this desert island. After having passed the night in this
condition, the bird actually flew away next morning as soon as it
was day, and carried me so high that I could not see the earth;
she afterwards descended all of a sudden, and with so much
rapidity, that I lost my senses. But when the roc was sat, and I
found myself on the ground, I speedily untied the knot, and had
scarcely done so, when the bird, having taken up a serpent of a
monstrous length in her bill, flew straight away. The place where
it left me was a very deep valley, encompassed on all sides with
mountains so high, that they seemed to reach above the clouds,
and so full of steep rocks, that there was no possibility to get
out of the valley. This was a new perplexity upon me; so that,
when I compared this place with the desert island the roc brought
me from, I found that I had gained nothing by the change.

As I walked through this valley, I perceived that it was strewed
with diamonds, some of which were of a surprising bigness. I took
a great deal of pleasure to look upon them, but speedily saw at a
distance such objects as very much diminished my satisfaction,
and which I could not look upon without terror; there were a
great number of serpents, so big, and so long, that the least of
them was capable of swallowing an elephant. They retired in the
day-time to their dens, where they hid themselves from the roc,
their enemy, and did not come out but in the night-time. I spent
the day in walking about the valley, resting myself at times, in
such places as I thought most commodious. When night came on, I
went into a cave, where I thought I might be in safety; I stopped
the mouth of it, which was low and straight, with a great stone,
to preserve me from the serpents, but not so exactly fitted as to
hinder light from coming in. I supped on part of my provisions;
but the serpents, which began to appear, hissing about in the
mean time, put me into such extreme fear, that you may easily
imagine I did not sleep. When day appeared, the serpents retired,
and I came out of the cave trembling; I can truly say, that I
walked a long time upon diamonds, without having a mind to touch
any of them. At last I sat down, and, notwithstanding my
uneasiness, not having shut my eyes during the night, I fell
asleep, after having ate a little more of my provisions. But I
had scarcely shut my eyes, when something that fell by me with a
great noise awakened me, and this was a great piece of fresh
meat; at the same time I saw several others fall down from the
rocks in different places.

I always looked upon it to be a fable, when I heard mariners and
others discourse of the valley of diamonds, and of the stratagems
made use of by some merchants to get jewels from thence; but I
found it to be true; for, in reality, those merchants come to the
neighbourhood of this valley when the eagles have young ones, and
throwing great joints of meat into it, the diamonds upon whose
points they fall stick to them: The eagles, which are stronger in
this country than any where else, fall down with great force upon
these pieces of meat, and carry them to their nests upon the top
of the rocks, to feed their young ones with; at which time the
merchants, running to these nests, frighten the eagles by their
noise, and take away the diamonds that stick to the meat. And
this stratagem they made use of to get the diamonds out of the
valley, which is surrounded with such precipices that nobody can
enter it. I believed, till then, that it was not possible for me
to get out of this abyss,which I looked upon as my grave; but
then I changed my mind, for the falling in of those pieces of
meat put me in hopes of a way to save my life. I began to gather
together the greatest diamonds I could see, and put them into a
leather bag in which I used to carry my provisions. I afterwards
took the largest piece of meat I could find, tied it close round
me with the cloth of my turban, and then laid myself upon the
ground with my face downward, the bag of diamonds being tied fast
to my girdle, so that it could not possibly drop off. I had
scarcely laid me down when the eagles came; each of them seized a
piece of meat, and one of the strongest having taken me up with
the piece of meat on my back, carried me to his nest on the top
of the mountain. The merchants fell straightway a-shooting to
frighten the eagles; and when they had forced them to quit their
prey, one of them came up to the nest where I was: He was very
much afraid when he saw me; but recovering himself, instead of
inquiring how I came hither, he began to quarrel with me, and
asked why I stole his goods? You will treat me, replied I, with
more civility, when you know me better. Do not trouble yourself;
I have diamonds enough for you and me too, more than all the
merchants together. If they have any, it is by chance; but I
chose myself, in the bottom of the valley, all those which you
see in this bag; and, having spoken these words, I showed him
them. I had scarcely done speaking, when the other merchants came
trooping about us, very much astonished to see me; but they were
much more surprised when I told them my story; yet they did not
so much admire my stratagem to save myself, as my courage to
attempt it. They carried me to the place where they staid all
together, and there having opened my bag, they were surprised at
the largeness of my diamonds, and confessed, that in all the
courts where they had been, they never saw any that came near
them. I prayed the merchant, to whom the nest belonged whither I
was carried, (for every merchant had his own,) to take as many
for his share as he pleased: He contented himself with one, and
that too the least of them; and when I pressed him to take more
without fear of doing me any injury, No, says he, I am very well
satisfied with this, which is valuable enough to save me the
trouble of making any more voyages, and to raise as great a
fortune as I desire.

I spent the night with these merchants, to whom I told my story a
second time, for the satisfaction of those who had not heard it.
I could not moderate my joy, when I found myself delivered from
the danger I have mentioned; I thought myself to be in a dream,
and could scarcely believe myself to be out of danger. The
merchants had thrown their pieces of meat into the valley for
several days; and each of them being satisfied with the diamonds
that had fallen to his lot, we left the place next morning all
together, and travelled near high mountains, where there were
serpents of a prodigious length, which we had the good fortune to
escape. We took the first port, and came to the isle of Ropha,
where trees grow that yield camphire. This tree is so large, and
its branches so thick, that a hundred men may easily sit under
its shade. The juice, of which the camphire is made, runs out
from a hole bored in the upper part of the tree, is received in a
vessel, where it grows to a consistency, and becomes what we call
camphire; and the juice being thus drawn out, the tree withers
and dies. There is here also the rhinoceros, a creature less than
the elephant, but greater than the buffalo: it has a horn upon
its nose about a cubit long; which is solid, and cleft in the
middle from one end to the other, and there are upon it white
draughts, representing the figure of a man. The rhinoceros fights
with the elephant, runs his horn into his belly, and carries him
off upon his head; but the blood and the fat of the elephant
running into his eyes, and making him blind, he falls to the
ground; and, what is astonishing, the roc comes and carries them
both away in her claws, to be meat for her young ones.

I pass over many other things peculiar to this island, lest I
should be troublesome to you. Here I exchanged some of my
diamonds for good merchandise. From thence we went to other
isles; and at last, having traded at several trading towns off
the firm land, we lauded at Balsora, from whence I went to
Bagdad. There I immediately gave great alms to the poor, and
lived honourably upon the vast riches I had brought, and gained
with so much fatigue. Thus Sindbad ended the story of his second
voyage, gave Hindbad another hundred sequins, and invited him to
come next day to hear the story of the third. The rest of the
guests returned to their homes, and came again the next day
at--the same hour; and certainly the porter did not fail, having
almost forgotten his former poverty. When dinner was over,
Sindbad demanded attention, and gave them the following account
of his third voyage.

Sindbad the Sailor's Third Voyage.

The pleasures of the life which I then led soon made me forget
the risks I had run in my two former voyages; but being then in
the flower of my age, I grew weary of living without business;
and hardening myself against the thoughts of any danger I might
incur, I went from Bagdad with the richest commodities of the
country to Balsora. There I embarked again with other merchants.
We made a long navigation, and touched at several ports, where we
drove a considerable commerce. One day being out in the main
ocean, we were attacked by a horrible tempest, which made us lose
our course. The tempest continued several days, and brought us
before the port of an island, which the captain was very
unwilling to enter; but we were obliged to cast anchor there.
When we had furled our sails, the captain told us, that this and
some other neighbouring islands were inhabited by hairy savages,
who would speedily attack us; and though they were but dwarfs,
yet our misfortune was such, that we must make no resistance, for
they were more in number than the locusts; and if we happened to
kill one of them, they would all fall upon us and destroy us.
This discourse of the captain put the whole equipage into a great
consternation, and we found very soon, to our cost, that what he
had told us was too true; an innumerable multitude of frightful
savages, covered over with red hair, and about two feet high,
came swimming towards us, and encompassed our ship in a little
time. They spoke to us as they came near, but we understood not
their language; they climbed up the sides of the ship with so
much agility as surprised us. We beheld all this with fear,
without daring to offer at defending ourselves, or to speak one
word to divert them from their mischievous design. In short, they
took down our sails, cut the cable, and, hauling to the shore,
made us all get out, and afterwards carried the ship into another
island from whence they came. All travellers carefully avoided
that island where they left us, it being very dangerous to stay
there, for a reason you shall hear anon; but we were forced to
bear our affliction with patience. We went forward into the
island, where we found some fruits and herbs to prolong our lives
as long as we could; but we expected nothing but death. As we
went on, we perceived at a distance a great pile of building, and
made towards it. We found it to be a palace, well built and very
high, with a gate of ebony of two leaves, which we thrust open.
We entered the court, where we saw before us a vast apartment,
with a porch, having on one side a heap of men's bones, and on
the other a vast number of roasting spits. We trembled at this
spectacle, and being weary with travelling, our legs failed under

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