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The Arabian Nights Entertainments Volume 1 by Anonymous

Part 8 out of 12

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silence on such an occasion, which would have made another apt to
speak. I make a particular profession of holding my peace; and on
that account I have acquired the title of Silent. Thus I am
called, to distinguish me from my six brothers. This is the
effect of my philosophy; and, in a word, in this virtue consists
my glory and happiness. I am very glad, said the caliph, smiling,
that they gave you a title which you so well deserve, and know
how to make such good use of. But tell me what sort of men your
brothers are: were they like you? By no means, said I; they were
all of them given to prating, one more than another; and as to
their persons, there was still a greater difference betwixt them
and me. The first was hump-backed; the second had rotten teeth;
the third had but one eye; the fourth was blind; the fifth had
his ears cut; and the sixth had hare-lips. They had such
adventures as would inform you of their characters, had I the
honour of telling them to your majesty. Accordingly, the caliph
expressing a desire to hear a relation of their stories, I began


Sir, said I, my eldest brother, whose name was Bacbouc the
Hump-back, was a tailor by trade: when his apprenticeship
expired, he hired a shop just opposite a mill; and, having but
very little business, could scarcely maintain himself. The
miller, on the contrary, was wealthy, and had a very handsome
wife. One day, as my brother was at work in his shop, he lifted
up his head, and saw the miller's wife looking out of the window,
and was charmed with her beauty. The woman took no notice of him,
but shut the window, and came no more to it all that day; while
the poor tailor did nothing but lift up his eyes towards the mill
all day long. He pricked his fingers more than once; and his work
that day was not very regular. At night, when he was to shut up
his shop, he could scarcely tell how to do it, because he still
hoped the miller's wife would come to the window once more; but
at last he was forced to shut it up, and go home to his little
house, where he passed the night in great uneasiness. He rose
very early the next morning, and ran to his shop, in hopes of
seeing his mistress again; but he was no happier than the day
before, for the miller's wife did not appear at the window above
one moment all the day; but that moment made the tailor the most
amorous that ever lived. The third day he had some more ground of
satisfaction; for the miller's wife cast her eyes upon him by
chance, and surprised him as he was gazing at her, of which she
presently knew the reason.

No sooner did the miller's wife perceive my brother's mind,
continued the barber, but, instead of being vexed at it, she
resolved to make it her diversion. She looked upon him with a
smiling countenance, and my brother looked upon her in the same
manner; but his looks were so very whimsical and singular, that
the miller's wife was obliged to shut her window, lest her loud
laughter should have made him sensible that she only ridiculed
him. Poor Bacbouc interpreted her behaviour on this occasion to
his own advantage, and flattered himself that she had looked upon
him with pleasure.

The miller's wife resolved to make sport with my brother. She had
a piece of very fine stuff, with which she had for a long time
designed to make herself a suit; she therefore wrapped it up in a
fine embroidered silk handkerchief, and sent it to him by a young
slave; who, having been first taught her lesson, came to the
tailor's shop, and said, My mistress gives you her service; and
prays you to make her a suit with this stuff according to the
pattern: she changes her clothes often, so that her custom will
be profitable to you. My brother doubted not but the miller's
wife loved him, and therefore concluded that she sent him work so
soon after what had passed betwixt them only to signify that she
knew his mind, and to convince him that he had obtained her
favour. Confirmed in this opinion, my brother charged the slave
to tell her mistress that he would lay aside all other work for
her's, and that the suit should be ready by next morning. In
effect, he laboured at it with so much diligence, that he
finished it the same day.

Next morning, the young slave coming to see if the suit was
ready, Bacbouc gave it to her neatly folded up; and said, I am
too anxious to please your mistress to neglect her suit: I would
engage her by my diligence to employ no other but myself for the
future. The young slave went some steps, as if she had intended
to go away; and then coming back, whispered to my brother, I had
forgot part of my commission; my mistress charged me to
compliment you in her name, and to ask you how you passed the
night: for her part, poor woman, she loves you so mightily, that
she could not sleep. Tell her, answered my silly brother, that I
have so violent a passion for her, that I have not closed my eyes
in sleep these four nights. After such a compliment from the
miller's wife, my brother thought she would not let him languish
in expectation of her favour.

About a quarter of an hour after, the slave returned to my
brother with a piece of satin. My mistress, said she, is very
well pleased with her suit; nothing in the world can fit her
better: and as it is very fine, she would not wear it without a
new petticoat; and she prays you to make her one, as soon as you
can, of this piece of satin. It is enough, said Bacbouc; I will
do it before I leave my shop; you shall have it in the evening.
The miller's wife showed herself often at her window; was very
prodigal of her charms; and, to encourage my brother, she feigned
to take pleasure in seeing him work. The petticoat was soon made;
and the slave came for it, but brought the tailor no money,
neither for the trimming he had bought for the suit, nor for his
labour. In the mean time, this unfortunate lover, whom they only
amused, though he could not perceive it, had eat nothing all that
day, and was under the necessity of borrowing money to purchase
himself a supper. Next morning, as soon as it was day, the young
slave came to tell him that the miller wanted to speak with him.
My mistress, said she, has told him so much good of you, when she
showed him your work, that he has a mind you should work also for
him; she does it on purpose, that the friendship she designs to
form betwixt you and him may make you succeed in what you both
equally desire. My brother was easily persuaded, and went to the
mill with the slave. The miller received him very kindly, and
showed him a piece of cloth, told him he wanted shirts, bid him
make twenty of that cloth, and return to him what he should not
make use of.

My brother, said the barber, had work enough for five or six days
to make twenty shirts for the miller; who afterwards gave him
another piece of cloth to make him as many pair of drawers. When,
they were finished, Bacbouc carried them to the miller, who asked
him what he must have for his pains. My brother answered, that he
would be content with twenty drams of silver. The miller
immediately called the young slave, and bid her bring him his
weights, that he might see if his money was right. The slave who
had her lesson, looked upon my brother with an angry countenance,
to signify to him that their project would be frustrated if he
took any money. He knew her meaning, and refused to take any,
though he wanted it so much that he was forced to borrow money to
buy the thread with which he sewed the shirts and drawers. When
he left the miller, he came to me to borrow money to live on, and
told me they did not pay him. I gave him some copper-money that I
had in my pocket, on which he subsisted for some days. It is
true, indeed, he lived upon nothing but broth; nor had he a
sufficiency of that.

One day he went to the miller, who was busy at his work; and,
thinking that my brother came for money, he offered him some; but
the young slave being present, made him another sign not to take
it, with which he complied, and told the miller he did not come
for his money, but only to know how he did. The miller thanked
him, and gave him an upper garment to make. Bacbouc carried it to
him the next day; and when the miller drew out his purse, the
young slave gave my brother the usual sign; on which he said to
the miller, Neighbour, there is no haste; we will reckon another
time. The poor simpleton then returned again to his shop, with
the three terrible distempers of love, hunger, and want of money,
upon him.

The miller's wife was not only avaricious, but very ill-natured;
for, not content with having cheated my brother of what was due
to him, she provoked her husband to revenge himself upon him for
making love to her; which they accomplished thus. The miller
invited Bacbouc one night to supper; and, after having
entertained him in a very indifferent manner, addressed himself
to him in this way: Brother, it is too late for you to go home;
you had better stay here all night: and then he took him to a
place in the mill, in which was a bed, where he left him, and
went to bed with his wife. About the middle of the might, the
miller came to my brother, and said, Neighbour, are you asleep?
My mule is ill, and I have a great deal of corn to grind; you
will do me a mighty kindness if you will turn the mill in her
stead. Bacbouc, to show his good-nature, told him that he was
ready to do him such a piece of service, if he would first
instruct him. The miller then tied him by the middle to the
mule's place; and whipping him over the back, cried, Go
neighbour! Ho! said my brother, why do you beat me? It is to make
you brisk, said the miller; for without a whip my mule will not
go. Bacbouc was amazed at this sort of treatment, but durst not
complain. When he had gone five or six rounds he would fain have
rested; but the miller gave him a dozen of sound lashes, saying,
Courage, neighbour! do not stop, pray; you must go on without
taking your breath, otherwise you will spoil my meal.

The miller obliged my brother, continued the barber, thus to turn
the mill all night; about break of day he left him, without
untying him, and went to his wife's chamber. Bacbouc continued
there for some time; and at last the young slave came and untied
him. Ah! said the treacherous wretch, how my mistress and I
bemoaned you! We had no hand in this wicked trick which her
husband has put upon you. Unhappy Bacbouc answered her not a
word, he was so much fatigued with labour and blows: but,
creeping to his own house, resolved never more to think on the
miller's wife.

The telling of this story, said the barber, made the caliph
laugh. Go home, said he to me, I have ordered something to be
given you instead of the good dinner you expected. Commander of
the faithful, said I, I pray your majesty to stay till I have
related the story of my other brothers. The caliph having
signified by his silence that he was willing to hear me, I
proceeded thus:


My second brother, who was called Backbarah the Toothless, going
one day through the city, met an old woman in an out-street, who
came to him presently, and said, I want one word with you, pray
stop one moment. He did so, and asked her what she would have. If
you will come along with me, said she, I will bring you into a
stately palace, where you shall see a lady as fair as the day.
She will receive you with abundance of pleasure, and give you a
treat with excellent wine. I need say no more to you. But is what
you say true? replied my brother. I am no lying hussy, replied
the old woman; I say nothing to you but what is true. But hark, I
have something to ask of you. You must be wise, you must speak
but little, and you must be mighty complaisant. Backbarah agreed
to all this. The old woman went before, and he followed after.
They came to the gate of a great palace, where there was a great
number of officers and domestics. Some of them would have stopped
my brother, but no sooner did the old woman speak to them, than
they let him pass. Then turning to my brother, she said to him,
You must remember that the young lady I bring you to loves
good-nature and modesty, and cannot endure to be contradicted; if
you please her in that, you may be sure to obtain of her what you
wish. Backbarah thanked her for this advice, and promised to
follow it.

She brought him into a fine apartment, which was a great square
building, answerable to the magnificence of the palace. There was
a gallery round it, and a very fine garden in the middle. The old
woman made him sit down upon a sofa very well trimmed, and bid
him stay a moment, till she went to tell the young lady of his
being come.

My brother, who had never been before in such a stately palace,
gazed upon the fine things that he saw; and, judging of his good
fortune by the magnificence of the palace, he was scarcely able
to contain himself for joy. By and by he heard a great noise,
occasioned by a troop of merry slaves, who came towards him with
loud fits of laughter, and in the middle of them he perceived a
young lady of extraordinary beauty, who was easily known to be
their mistress by the respect they paid her. Backbarah, who
expected private conversation with the lady, was extremely
surprised when he saw so much company with her. In the mean time,
the slaves put on a grave countenance when they drew near; and
when the young lady came up to the sofa, my brother rose up and
made her a low bow. She took the upper-hand, prayed him to sit
down, and with a smiling countenance, said to him, I am mighty
glad to see you, and wish you all the happiness you can desire.
Madam, replied Backbarah, I cannot desire a greater happiness
than to be in your company. You seem to be of a good-humour, said
she, and to have a mind that we should pass the time pleasantly

She forthwith commanded a collation to be brought; and
immediately a table was covered with several baskets of fruit and
confections. The lady sat down at the table with the slaves and
my brother, and he being placed just over against her, when he
opened his mouth to eat, she perceived he had no teeth; and
taking notice of it to her slaves, she and they laughed at him
heartily. Backbarah, from time to time, lifted up his head to
look at her, and perceiving her laugh, thought it was for joy of
his company, and flattered himself that she would speedily send
away her slaves, and be with him alone. She judged what was his
mind; and, pleasing herself to flatter him in his mistake, she
gave him abundance of sweet words, and presented him the best of
every thing with her own hand. The treat being done, they rose
from the table, when ten slaves took musical instruments, and
began to play and sing, and others went to dance. My brother, to
make them sport, did likewise dance, and the lady danced with
them. After they had danced some time, they sat down to take
breath; and the young lady, calling for a glass of wine, looked
upon my brother with a smiling countenance, to signify that she
was going to drink his health. He rose up, and stood while she
drank. When she had done, instead of giving back the glass, she
ordered it to be filled, and presented it to my brother, that he
might pledge her. My brother took the glass from the young lady's
hand, which he at the same time kissed, and stood and drank to
her, in acknowledgment of the favour she had done him. Then the
young lady made him sit down by her, and began to caress him. She
put her hand behind his head, and gave him some tips from time to
time with her fingers: ravished with those favours, he thought
himself the happiest man in the world, and had a great mind to
toy also with the charming lady, but durst not take that liberty
before so many slaves, who had their eyes upon him, and laughed
at their lady's wanton tricks. The young lady continued to tip
him with her fingers, but at last gave him such a sound box on
the ear, that he grew angry at it; the colour came in his face,
and he rose up to sit at a greater distance from such a rude
play-fellow. Then the old woman who brought him thither gave him
a look, to let him know he was in the wrong, and that he had
forgot the advice she gave him to be very complaisant. He owned
his fault; and, in order to make amends, he went near the young
lady again, pretending that he did not go away out of any bad
humour. She drew him by the arm, made him sit down by her again,
and gave him a thousand malicious hugs. Her slaves came in for a
part of the diversion: one gave poor Backbarah a fillip on the
nose with all her strength; another pulled him by the ears, as if
she would have plucked them off; and others boxed him so, as
might show they were not in jest. My brother suffered all this
with admirable patience, affected a gay air, and, looking to the
old woman, said to her, with a forced smile, You told me, indeed,
that I should find the lady very good, very pleasant, and very
charming; I must own I am mightily obliged to you! All this is
nothing, replied the old woman: let her go on; you will see
another thing by and by. Then the young lady said to him,
Brother, you are a brave man, I am glad to find you are of so
good an humour, and so complaisant, as to bear with my little
caprices; your humour is exactly like mine. Madam, replied
Backbarah, who was charmed with this discourse, I am no more my
own man, I am wholly yours; you may dipose of me as you please.
Oh, how you oblige me! said the lady, by so much submission! I am
very well satisfied with you, and will have you to be so with me.
Bring him perfume, said she, and rose-water. Upon this, two
slaves went out, and returned speedily; one with a silver
perfume-box, with the best wood-aloes, with which she perfumed
him; and the other with rose-water, which she threw on his hands
and face. My brother was quite beside himself at this honourable
treatment. After this ceremony, the young lady commanded the
slaves, who had already played on their instruments and sung, to
renew their concerts. They obeyed; and, in the mean time, the
lady called another slave, and ordered her to carry my brother
with her, and do what she knew, and bring him back to her again.
Backbarah, who heard this order, got up quickly, and going to the
old woman, who also rose up to go along with him and the slave,
prayed her to tell him what they were to do with him. My mistress
is only curious, replied the old woman softly; she has a mind to
see how you look in a woman's dress; and this slave who has
orders to carry you with her, is instructed to paint your
eye-brows, to cut off your whiskers, and to dress you like a
woman. You may paint my brows as much as you please, said my
brother; I agree to that, because I can wash it off again: but to
shave me, you know I must not allow that. How can I appear abroad
again without mustachos? Beware of refusing what is asked of you,
said the old woman: you will spoil your affairs, which go on now
as well as heart can wish. The lady loves you, and has a mind to
make you happy: and will you, for a nasty whisker, renounce the
most delicious favour that man can obtain. Backbarah listened to
the old woman, and without saying one word, went to a chamber
with the slave, where they painted his eye-brows with red, cut
off his whisker, and went to do the like with his beard. My
brother's patience began to wear out; O! said he, I will never
part with my beard. The slave told him, that it was to no purpose
to have parted with his whiskers, if he would not also part with
his beard, which could never agree with a woman's dress; and she
wondered that a man, who was on the point of enjoying the finest
lady in Bagdad, should have any regard to his beard. The old
woman threatened him with the loss of the young lady's favour, so
that at last he let them do what they would. When he was dressed
like a woman, they brought him before the young lady, who laughed
so heartily when she saw him, that she fell backward on the sofa
where she sat. The slaves laughed and clapped their hands, so
that my brother was quite out of countenance. The young lady got
up, and still laughing, said to him, After so much complaisance
for me, I should be very much in the wrong not to love you with
all my heart: but there is one thing more you must do for me; and
that is, to dance as we do. He obeyed; and the young lady and her
slaves danced with him, laughing as if they had been mad. After
they had danced some time with him, they all fell upon the poor
wretch, and did so box and kick him, that he fell down like one
out of his senses. The old woman helped him up again; and that he
might not have time to think of his ill treatment, she bid him
take courage, and whispered in his ear that all his sufferings
were at an end, and that he was just about to receive his reward.

You have only one thing more to do, and that is but a small one.
You must know that my mistress has a custom, when she has drank a
little, as you see she has done to-day, to let nobody that she
loves come near her, except they are stripped to their shirt; and
when they have done so, she takes a little advantage of them, and
sets a running before them through the gallery, and from chamber
to chamber, till they catch her. This is one more of her humours:
what advantage soever she takes of you, considering your
nimbleness, and inclination to the work, you will soon overtake
her; strip yourself, then, to the shirt, and undress yourself
without delay.

My silly brother, said the barber, had done too much to stick at
any thing now. He undressed himself; and, in the mean time, the
young lady was stripped to her shift and under-petticoat, that
she might run the more nimbly. When they were ready to run, the
young lady took the advantage of twenty paces, and then fell a
running with surprising swiftness: my brother followed her as
fast as he could, the slaves in the mean time laughing aloud and
clapping their hands. The young lady, instead of losing ground,
gained upon my brother: she made him run three or four times
round the gallery, and then running into a long dark entry, got
away by a passage which she knew. Backbarah, who still followed
her, having lost sight of her in the entry, was obliged to
slacken his pace, because of the darkness of the place: at last
perceiving a light, he ran towards it, and went out at a door,
which was immediately shut upon him. You may imagine he was
mightily surprised to find himself in a street inhabited by
curriers, and they were no less surprised to see him in his
shirt, his eye-brows painted red, and without beard or mustachos;
they began to clap their hands and shout at him, some of them
even ran after him, and lashed his buttocks with pieces of
leather. Then they stopped, and set him upon an ass, which they
met by chance, and carried him through the town exposed to the
laughter of the people.

To complete his misfortune, as he went by the house of a justice
of peace, he would needs know the cause of the tumult. The
curriers told him, that they saw him come out in that condition
at the gate of the apartment of the grand vizier's lady, which
opened into their street; upon which the justice ordered
unfortunate Backbarah to have an hundred blows with a cane on the
soles of his feet, and sent him out of the town, with orders
never to return again.

Thus, commander of the faithful, said I to the caliph Monstancer
Billah, I have given an account of the adventure of my second
brother, who did not know that our greatest ladies divert
themselves sometimes by putting such tricks upon young people
that are foolish enough to be caught in their snares.


Commander of the faithful, said he to the caliph, my third
brother, whose name was Backback, was blind, and his ill destiny
reduced him to beg from door to door. He had been so long
accustomed to walk through the streets alone, that he had no need
of one to lead him: he had a custom to knock at people's doors,
and apt to answer till they opened to him. One day he knocked
thus at a door, and the master of the house, who was alone,
cried, Who is there? My brother gave no answer, and knocked a
second time: the master of the house asked again, Who is there?
but to no purpose; my brother did not answer: upon which the man
of the house came down, opened the door, and asked my brother
what he wanted. That you would give me something, for heaven's
sake! said Backback. You seem to be blind, replied the master of
the house. Yes, to my sorrow, said my brother. Give me your hand,
said the master of the house. My brother did so, thinking he was
going to give him alms; but he only took him by the hand, to lead
him up to his chamber: Backback thought he had been carrying him
to dinner with him, as several other people had done. When they
came up to the chamber, the man loosed his hand out of my
brother's, and sitting down, asked again what he wanted. I have
already told you, said Backback, that I want something for God's
sake. Good blind man, replied the master of the house, all that I
can do for you is to wish that God may restore you your sight.
You might have told me that at the door, said my brother, and not
have given me the trouble to come up. And why, fool, said the man
of the house, do you not answer at first, when people ask you who
is there? Why do you give any body the trouble to come and open
the door when they speak to you? What will you do with me, then?
said my brother. I tell you again, said the man of the house, I
have nothing to give you. Help me down stairs, then, replied
Backback, as you helped me up. The stairs are before you, said
the man of the house, and you may go down alone if you will. My
brother went to go down, but missing a step about the middle of
the stairs, he fell down and hurt his head and his back: he got
up again with a great deal of difficulty, and complained heavily
of the master of the house, who only laughed at his fall.

As my brother went out of the house, two blind men, his
companions, going by, knew him by his voice, and asked him what
was the matter. He told them what had happened to him, and
afterwards said, I have eaten nothing to-day; I conjure you to go
along with me to my house, that I may take some of the money that
we three have in common, to buy me something for supper. The two
blind men agreed to it, and they went home with him.

You must know that the master of the house where my brother was
so ill used, was a highwayman, and naturally cunning and
malicious. He heard at his window what Backback had said to his
companions, and therefore came down and followed them to my
brother's house. The blind men being seated, Backback said to
them, brethren, we must shut the door, and take care there be no
strangers with us. At this the highwayman was much perplexed, but
perceiving a rope hanging down from a beam, he caught hold of it,
and hung by it, while the blind men shut the door, and felt about
the room with their sticks. When they had done this, and sat down
again in their places, the highwayman left his rope, and sat down
softly by my brother, who thinking himself alone with his blind
comrades, said to them, Brothers, since you have trusted me with
the money, which we all three have gathered a long time, I will
show you that I am not unworthy of the trust that you repose in
me. The last time we reckoned, you know we had ten thousand
drams, and that we put them into ten bags; I will show you that I
have not touched one of them. Having said so, he put his hand
among some old lumber, and taking out the bags, one after
another, gave them to his comrades, saying, There they are; you
may judge by their weight that they are whole, or you may tell
them if you please. His comrades answered, there was no occasion,
they did not mistrust him; so opened one of the bags, and took
out ten drams, and each of the other blind men did the like.

My brother put the bags into their place again; after which one
of them said to him, There is no need to lay out any thing for
supper, for I have got as much provision from good people as will
serve us all three. At the same time he took out of his bag bread
and cheese, and some fruit; and, putting them all upon the table,
they began to eat. The highwayman, who sat at my brother's right
hand, picked out the best, and ate with them; but, whatever care
he took to make no noise, Backback heard his jaws going, and
cried out immediately, We are undone! there is a stranger among
us! and having said so, he stretched out his hand, and catching
hold of the highwayman by the arm, cried out, Thieves! fell upon
him, and boxed him. The other blind men fell upon him in like
manner, and the highwayman defended himself as well as he could;
but being young and vigorous, and having the advantage of his
eyes, he gave furious blows, sometimes to one, sometimes to
another, as he could come at them, and cried out Thieves! louder
than they did. The neighbours came running at the noise, broke
open the door, and had much ado to separate the combatants; but,
having at last done it, they asked the cause of their quarrel. My
brother, who still had hold of the highwayman, cried out,
Gentlemen, this man I have hold of is a thief, and stole in with
us on purpose to rob us of the little money we have. The thief,
who shut his eyes as soon as the neighbours came, feigned himself
also to be blind, and cried out, Gentlemen, he is a liar. I swear
to you by Heaven, and by the life of the caliph, that I am their
companion, and they refuse to give me my just share! They have
all three fallen upon me, and I demand justice. The neighbours
would not meddle with their quarrel, but carried them all before
a judge.

When they came before the magistrate, the highwayman, without
staying to be examined, cried out, still feigning himself to be
blind, Sir, since you are deputed to administer justice by the
caliph, whom God prosper, I declare to you that we are equally
criminal, my three comrades and I; but we have all engaged upon
oath to confess nothing unless we be bastinadoed; so that if you
would know our crime, you need only order us to be bastinadoed,
and begin with me. My brother would have spoken, but was not
allowed to do so; and the highwayman was put under the bastinado.

The robber, being under the bastinado, had the courage to bear
twenty or thirty blows; when, seeming to be overcome with pain he
first opened one eye, and then the other; and, crying out for
mercy, begged the judge would put a stop to the blows, The judge,
perceiving that he looked upon him with his eyes open, was much
surprised, and said to him, Rogue! what is the meaning of this
miracle? Sir, replied the highwayman, I will discover to you an
important secret, if you pardon me, and give me, as a pledge that
you will keep your word, the seal-ring which you have on your
finger. The judge agreed to it, gave him his ring, and promised
him pardon. Upon this, said the highwayman, I must confess to
you, Sir, that I and my three comrades do all see very well: we
feigned ourselves to be blind, that we might more freely enter
people's houses, and into women's apartments, where we abuse
their frailty. I must further, confess to you, that by this trick
we have gained together ten thousand drams. This day I demanded
of my partners two thousand five hundred that belong to me as my
share, but they refused, because I told them I would leave them;
and they were afraid I should accuse them. Upon pressing still to
have my share, they all three fell upon me; for the truth of
which I appeal to those people who brought us before you, I
expect from your justice, that you will make them deliver to me
the two thousand five hundred drams which are my due; and if you
have a mind to make my comrades confess the truth, you must order
them three times as many blows as I have had, and you will find
they will open their eyes as well as I did.

My brother and the other two blind men would have cleared
themselves of this horrid cheat, but the judge would not hear
them: Villains! said he, do you feign yourselves blind then, and
under that pretext cheat people, by begging their charity, and
abusing poor women? He is a cheat, cried my brother; we take God
to witness that none of us can see!

All that my brother could say was in vain; his comrades and he
received each of them two hundred blows. The judge looked always
when they should have opened their eyes, and ascribed to their
obstinacy what really they could not do. All the while the
highwayman said to the blind men, Poor fools that you are, open
your eyes, and do not suffer yourselves to be killed with blows.
Then addressing himself to the judge, said, I perceive, sir, that
they will be maliciously obstinate to the last, and will never
open their eyes: they have a mind certainly to avoid the shame of
reading their own condemnation in the face of every one who looks
upon them; it were better, if you think fit, to pardon them, and
to send some person along with me for the ten thousand drams they
have hid.

The judge did so, gave the highwayman two thousand five hundred
drams, and kept the rest to himself; and as for my brother and
his two companions, he thought he showed them a great deal of
pity by sentencing them only to be banished. As soon as I heard
what befel my brother, I ran after him; he told me his
misfortune, and I brought him back secretly to the town. I could
easily have justified him to the judge, and have got the
highwayman punished as he deserved, but durst not attempt it, for
fear of bringing myself into trouble. Thus I finished the sad
adventure of my honest blind brother. The caliph laughed at it,
as much as at those he had heard before, and ordered again that
something should be given me; but, without staying for it, I
began the story of my fourth brother.


Alcouz was the name of my fourth brother, who came to lose one of
his eyes upon an occasion that I shall by and by acquaint your
majesty with. He was a butcher by profession, and had a
particular way of teaching rams to fight by which he procured the
acquaintance and friendship of the chief lords of the country,
who loved that sport, and for that end kept rams about their
houses: he had, besides, a very good trade, and had his shop
always full of the best meat, because he was very rich, and
spared no cost for the best of every sort. One day, when he was
in his shop, an old man with a long white beard came and bought
six pounds of meat, gave him money for it, and went his way. My
brother thought the money so fine, so white, and so well coined,
that he put it apart by itself: the same old man came every day
for five months together, bought a like quantity of meat, and
paid for it in the same sort of money, which my brother continued
to lay apart by itself.

At the end of five months, Alcouz having a mind to buy some
sheep, and to pay for them with this fine money, opened his
trunk; but, instead of finding money, was extremely surprised to
see nothing but a parcel of leaves clipped round in the place
where he had laid it: he beat his head, and cried out aloud,
which presently brought the neighbours about him, who were as
much surprised as he, when he told them the story. O! cried my
brother, weeping, that this treacherous old fellow would come now
with his hypocritical looks! He had scarce done speaking, when
seeing him coming at a distance, he ran to him, and laid hands on
him, Mussulman, cried he, as loud as he could, help! hear what a
cheat this wicked fellow has put upon me! and at the same time
told a great crowd of people, who came about him, what he had
formerly told his neighbours. When he had done, the old man,
without any passion, said to him very gravely, You would do well
to let me go, and by that means make amends for the affront you
have put upon me before so many people, for fear I should put a
greater affront upon you, which I am not willing to do. How! said
my brother, what have you to say against me? I am an honest man
in my business, and fear not you nor any body. You would have me
to tell it then, said the old man; and turning to the people,
said, Know, good people, that this fellow, instead of selling
mutton as he ought, sells man's flesh. You are a cheat, said my
brother. No! no! said the old man: Good people, this very minute
that I am speaking, there is a man with his throat cut hung up in
his shop like a sheep; do any of you go thither, and see if what
I say be not true.

Before my brother had opened his trunk, he had just killed a
sheep, dressed it, and exposed it in his shop, according to
custom: he protested that what the old man said was false; but,
notwithstanding all his protestations, the mob, being prejudiced
against a man accused of such a heinous crime, would go to see
whether the matter was true. They obliged my brother to quit the
old man, laid hold of him, and ran like madmen into his shop,
where they saw a man murdered and hung up, as the old man had
told them; for he was a magician, and deceived the eyes of all
people, as he did my brother's, when he made him take leaves
instead of money. At this spectacle, one of those who held Alcouz
gave him a great blow with his fist, and said to him, Thou wicked
villain, dost thou make us eat man's flesh instead of mutton? At
the same time the old man gave him another blow, which beat out
one of his eyes, and every body that could get near him beat him;
and, not content with that, they carried him before a judge, with
the pretended carcase of the man, to be evidence against him.
Sir, said the old magician to the judge, we have brought you a
man, who is so barbarous as to murder people, and to sell their
flesh instead of mutton; the public expect that you should punish
him in an exemplary manner. The judge heard my brother with
patience, but would believe nothing of the story of the money
exchanged into leaves; called my brother a cheat, told him he
would believe his own eyes, and ordered him to have five hundred
blows. He afterwards made him tell where his money was, took it
all from him, and banished him for ever, after having made him
ride three days through the town upon a camel, exposed to the
insults of the people.

I was not at Bagdad when this tragical adventure befel my fourth
brother. He retired into a remote place, where he lay concealed
till he was cured of the blows with which his back was terribly
gored. When able to walk, he went by night to a certain town
where nobody knew him, and there he took a lodging, from whence
he seldom went out; but, being at last weary of his life, he took
a walk into one of the suburbs, where he was suddenly alarmed
with the noise of horsemen coming behind him. He was then by
chance near the gate of a great house; and fearing, after what
had befallen him, that these horsemen were pursuing him, he
opened the gate in order to hide himself; and, after shutting it
again, he came into a wide court, where two servants immediately
came and took him by the neck, and said, Heaven be praised that
you are come voluntarily to surrender yourself up to us! You have
frightened us so much these three last nights, that we could not
sleep; nor would you have spared our lives, if you could have
come at us! You may very well imagine that my brother was much
surprised at this compliment. Good people, said he, I know not
what you mean; you certainly take me for another! No, no, replied
they; you and your comrades are great robbers: you were not
contented with robbing our master of all that he had, and thereby
reducing him to beggary, but you were also going to take his
life; let us examine whether you have not a knife about you,
which you had in your hand when you pursued us last night. Having
said this, they searched him, and found that he had a knife. Ho!
ho! cried they, laying hold of him; and dare you say that you are
not a robber? Why, said my brother, cannot a man carry a knife
without being a highwayman? If you will be attentive to my story,
continued he, instead of having so bad an opinion of me, you will
be touched with compassion at my misfortunes. But, far from
hearkening to him, they fell upon him, trod him underfoot, took
away his clothes, and tore his shirt. Then observing the scars on
his back, O you dog! cried they, redoubling their blows, would
you have us to believe you are an honest man, when your back
convinces us to the contrary? Alas! said my brother, my faults
must be very great, since, after having been abused already so
unjustly, I am ill treated a second time without being more

The two servants, no way moved with his complaint, carried him
before the judge, who asked him how he durst be so bold as to go
into their house, and pursue them with a drawn knife. Sir,
replied poor Alcouz, I am the most innocent man in the world, and
am undone if you will not hear me patiently: nobody deserves more
compassion. Sir, replied one of the domestics, will you listen to
a robber, who enters people's houses to plunder and murder them?
if you will not believe us, only look upon his back. Upon which
they showed it to the judge, who, without any other information,
immediately commanded one hundred lashes to be given him with a
bull's pizzle over his shoulders, and caused him afterwards to be
carried through the town on a camel, with one crying before him,
Thus are such men punished as enter people's houses by force!
After treating him thus, they banished him from the town, and
forbade him ever to return to it. Some people, who met him after
the second misfortune, brought me word where he was; and I went
and fetched him to Bagdad privately, and gave him all the
assistance I could.

The caliph, continued the barber, did not laugh so much at this
story as at the other: he was pleased to bewail the unfortunate
Alcouz, and ordered something to be given me. But, without giving
his servants time to obey his orders, I continued my discourse,
and said to him, My sovereign lord and master, you see that I do
not speak much; and since your majesty has been pleased to do me
the favour to listen to me so far, I beg you would likewise hear
the adventures of my two other brothers; I hope they will be as
diverting as those of the former. You may make a complete history
of them, which will not be unworthy of your library. I do myself
the honour, then, to acquaint you that my fifth brother was
called Alnaschar.


Alnaschar, as long as our father lived, was very lazy; instead of
working for his living, he used to go a begging in the evening,
and to live upon what he got the next day. Our father died in a
very old age, and left among us seven hundred drams of silver,
which we equally divided; so that each of us had one hundred to
his share. Alnaschar, who never had so much money before in his
possession, was very much perplexed to know what he should do
with it; he consulted a long time with himself, and at last
resolved to lay it out in glasses, bottles, and other glass-work,
which he bought of a great merchant, He put them all in an open
basket, and chose a very little shop, where he sat with the
basket before him, and his back against the wall, expecting that
somebody would come and buy his ware. In this posture he sat with
his eyes fixed on his basket; and beginning to rave, spoke the
following words loud enough to be heard by a neighbour tailor:
This basket, said he, cost me one hundred drams, which are all I
have in the world; I shall make two hundred of it by retailing my
glass; and of these two hundred drams, which I will again lay out
in glass, I shall make four hundred; and, going on thus, I shall
make at last make four thousand drams; of four thousand I shall
easily make eight thousand; and when I come to ten thousand, I
will leave off selling glass, turn jeweller and trade in
diamonds, pearls, and all sorts of precious stones. Then, when I
am as rich as I can wish, I will buy a fine house, a great
estate, slaves, eunuchs, and horses: I will keep a good house,
make a great figure in the world, and will send for all the
musicians and dancers of both sexes in town. Nor will I stop
here; I will, by the favour of Heaven, go on till I get a hundred
thousand drams; and when I have got so much, I will think myself
as great as a prince, send to demand the grand vizier's daughter
in marriage, and represent to that minister that I have heard
very much of the wonderful beauty, modesty, wit, and all the
other qualities of his daughter; in a word, that I will give him
one thousand pieces of gold the first night we are married; and
if the vizier be so uncivil as to refuse his daughter, which
cannot be, I will go and take her before his face, and carry her
to my house, whether he will or no. As soon as I have married the
grand vizier's daughter, I will buy her ten young black eunuchs,
the handsomest that can be had; I will clothe myself like a
prince, and ride upon a fine horse, with a saddle of rich gold,
and housings of cloth, of gold, elegantly embroidered with
diamonds and pearls. I will march through the city, attended both
before and behind; and I will go to the vizier's palace, in the
view of all sorts of people, who will show me profound reverence.
When I alight at the foot of the vizier's stair-case, I will
ascend it in the presence of all my people, ranged in files on
the right and left; and the grand vizier, receiving me as his
son-in-law, shall give me his right hand, and set me above him,
to do me the more honour. If this comes to pass, as I hope it
will, two of my people shall have each of them a purse of a
thousand pieces of gold, which they shall carry with them. I will
take one, and presenting it to the grand vizier, will tell him,
There are the thousand pieces that I promised the first night of
marriage; and I will offer him the other, and say to him, there
are as many more, to show you that I am a man of my word, and
that I am better than my promise. After such an action as this,
all the world will speak of my generosity, and I will return to
my own house in the same pomp. My wife shall send to compliment
me by some officer, on account of the visit I made to her father:
I will honour the officer with a fine robe, and send him back
with a rich present. If she thinks to send me one, I will not
accept of it, but dismiss the bearer. I will not suffer her to go
out of her apartment, on any account whatever, without giving me
notice; and when I have a mind to go to her apartment, it shall
be in such a manner as to make her respect me. In short, no house
shall be better ordered than mine. I shall be always richly clad.
When I retire with my wife in the evening, I will sit on the
upper hand; I will assume a grave air, without turning my head to
the one side or to the other; I will speak little; and whilst my
wife, as beautiful as the full moon, stands before me in all her
ornaments, will feign as if I did not notice her. The women about
her will say to me, Our dear lord and master, here is your
spouse, your humble servant, before you; she expects you will
caress her, and is very much mortified that you do not so much as
vouchsafe to look upon her: she is wearied with standing so long;
bid her at least sit down. I will give no answer to this
discourse, which will increase their surprise and grief; they
will lay themselves at my feet; and, after they have done so a
considerable time, begging me to relent, I will at last lift up
my head, and give her a careless look. Afterwards I will return
to my former posture; and then will they think that my wife is
not well enough, nor handsome enough dressed, and will take her
to her closet to change her apparel. At the same time I will get
up and put on a more magnificent suit than before: they will
return and hold the discourse with me as before; and I shall have
the pleasure not so much as to look upon my wife, till they have
prayed and entreated as long as they did at first. Thus I will
begin, on the first day of marriage, to teach her what she is to
expect during the rest of her life.

After the ceremonies of the marriage are over, said Alnaschar, I
will take from one of my servants, who shall be about me, a purse
of five hundred pieces of gold, which I will give to the
tire-women, that they may leave me alone with my spouse. "When
they are retired, my wife shall go to bed first, and then I will
lie down beside her, with my back towards her, and will not speak
even one word to her the whole night. The next morning she will
certainly complain of my contempt of her, and of my pride, to her
mother, the grand vizier's wife, which will rejoice me extremely.
Her mother will then wait upon me, respectfully kiss my hands,
and say to me, Sir, (for she will not dare to call me her
son-in-law, for fear of provoking me by such familiarity), I pray
you not to disdain my daughter, by refusing to approach her: I
assure you that her chief study is to please you; and that she
loves you with all her heart. But my mother-in-law might as well
hold her peace; I will not make her the least answer, but keep my
gravity. Then she will prostrate herself at my feet, kiss them,
and say to me, Sir, is it possible that you can suspect my
daughter's chastity? I assure you that I never let her go out of
my sight. You are the first man that ever saw her face; do not,
then, mortify her so much. Do her the favour to look upon her, to
speak to her, and confirm her in her good intentions to satisfy
you in every thing. But nothing of this shall prevail; upon which
my mother-in-law will take a glass of wine, and, putting it into
the hand of her daughter, will say, Go, present him with this
glass of wine yourself; perhaps he will not be so cruel as to
refuse it from so fair a hand. My wife will come with the glass,
and stand trembling before me; and when she finds that I do not
look towards her, and that I continue my disdain, she will say to
me, with tears in her eyes, My heart! my dear soul! my amiable
lord! I conjure you, by the favours which Heaven bestows upon
you, to receive this glass of wine from the hand of your most
humble servant! But I will not look upon her still, nor answer
her. My charming spouse! she will then say, redoubling her tears,
and putting the glass to my mouth, I will never leave off till I
prevail with you to drink! Then, being fatigued with her
entreaties, I will dart a terrible look at her, give her a good
box on the cheek, and such a kick with my foot, as will throw her
quite off the alcove.

My brother was so full of these chimerical visions, that he acted
with his foot as if she had been really before him; and
unfortunately gave such a push against the basket and glasses,
that they were thrown down in the street, and broken in a
thousand pieces.

A tailor, who was his neighbour, and who had heard his
extravagant discourse, fell into a fit of laughter when he saw
the basket fall. O what an unworthy fellow art thou! said he to
my brother; ought you not to be ashamed to abuse thus a young
spouse, who gave you no cause to complain? You must be a very
brutish fellow to despise the tears and charms of such a
beautiful lady! Were I the vizier your father-in-law, I would
order you a hundred lashes with a bull's pizzle, and send you
through the town with your character written on your forehead. My
brother, on this fatal accident, came to himself; and perceiving
that he had brought this misfortune upon himself by his
unsupportable pride, beat his face, tore his clothes, and cried
so loud, that the neighbours came about him; and the people who
were going to their noon-prayers stopped to know what was the
matter. It being on a Friday, a greater number of people was
going to prayers than usual; some of them took pity on Alnaschar,
while others only laughed at his extravagance. In the mean time,
his vanity being dispersed, as well as his glasses, he bitterly
lamented his loss; and a lady of distinction passing by on a mule
with rich caparisons, my brother's condition excited her
compassion; she asked who he was, and what was the matter with
him; they told her that he was a poor man, who had laid out a
little money in buying a basket of glasses, and that the basket
falling, all his glasses were broken. The lady immediately turned
to an eunuch who attended her, and said to him, Give the poor man
what money you have about you. The eunuch obeying, put into my
brother's hand five hundred pieces of gold. Alnaschar was
transported with excess of joy on receiving them; he bestowed a
thousand blessings upon the lady, and shutting up his shop, where
he had no longer occasion to sit, he returned to his house.

Whilst he was seriously reflecting upon his good fortune, he
heard a knocking at the door; but, before he opened it, he
thought it prudent first to inquire who it was; when knowing it
to be a woman by her voice, he instantly admitted her. My son,
said she, I have a favour to beg of you: the hour of prayer is
come; be pleased, therefore, to let me wash myself, that I may be
fit to say my prayers. My brother looked at her, and saw that she
was a woman far advanced in years: though he knew her not, he
granted what she required, and then sat down again, being still
full of his new adventure. He put his gold into a long strait
purse, proper to carry at his girdle. The old woman, in the mean
time, said her prayers, and, when she had done, came to my
brother, and bowed twice to the ground, so low that she almost
touched it with her forehead; then raising herself up, she wished
my brother all manner of happiness, and thanked him for his
civility. Being meanly clad, and very humble to him, he thought
she asked alms, upon which he offered her two pieces of gold. The
old woman stepped back in a sort of surprise, as if my brother
had done her an injury. Heavens! said she, what is the meaning of
this? Is it possible, sir, said she, that you take me for an
impudent beggar? Did you think I came so boldly into your house
to ask alms? Take back your money; I have no need of it, thanks
to Heaven! I belong to a young lady of this city, who is a
charming beauty, and very rich; she does not let me want for any

My brother was not cunning enough to perceive the craft of the
old woman, who only refused the two pieces of gold that she might
catch more. He asked her if she could not procure him the honour
of seeing her lady. With all my heart, replied she, she will be
very well satisfied to marry, and to put you in possession of her
estate, by making you master of her person. Take up your money,
and follow me. My brother being ravished with his good luck of
finding so great a sum of money, and almost at the same time a
beautiful and rich wife, his eyes were shut to all other
considerations; so that he took his five hundred pieces of gold,
and followed the old woman. She walked before him, and he
followed at a distance, to the gate of a great house, where she
knocked. He came up to her just as a young Greek slave opened the
gate. The old woman made him enter first, went across a court
very well paved, and introduced him into a hall, the furniture of
which confirmed him in the good opinion he had conceived of the
mistress of the house. While the old woman went to acquaint the
lady, he sat down, and, the weather being hot, pulled off his
turban, and laid it by him. He speedily saw the young lady come
in, whose beauty and rich apparel perfectly surprised him. He got
up as soon as he saw her. The lady, with a smiling countenance,
prayed him to sit down again, and placed herself by him. She told
him she was very glad to see him; and, after having spoken some
engaging words, said, We do not sit here at our conveniency.
Come, give me your hand. At these words, she presented her's, and
carried him into an inner chamber, where she entertained him for
some time; then she left him, bidding him stay, and she would be
with him in a moment. He expected her; but, instead of the lady,
came in a great black slave, with a scimitar in his hand; and
looking upon my brother with a terrible aspect, said to him
fiercely, What have you to do here? Alnaschar was so full of fear
at the sight of the slave, that he had no power to answer. The
black stripped him, carried off his gold, and gave him several
cuts with his scimitar. My unhappy brother fell to the ground,
where he lay without motion, though he had still the use of his
senses. The black, thinking him to be dead, asked for salt; the
Greek slave brought him a basin full; they rubbed my brother's
wounds with it; who had so much command of himself,
notwithstanding the intolerable pain it put him to, that he lay
still without showing any sign of life. The black and the Greek
slave having retired, the old woman who drew my brother into the
snare, came and dragged him by the feet to a trap-door, which she
opened, and threw him into a place under ground, among the
corpses of several other people who had been murdered. He
perceived this as soon as he came to himself; for the violence of
his fall had taken away his senses. The salt rubbed into his
wounds preserved his life, and he recovered strength by degrees,
so as to be able to walk. After two days he opened the trap-door
during the night; and, finding a proper place in the court to
hide himself, continued there till break of day, when he saw the
cursed old woman open the gate, and go out to seek another prey.
He staid in the place some time after she went out, that she
might not see him, and then came to me for shelter, when he told
me of his adventures.

In a month he was perfectly cured of his wounds by medicines that
I gave him, and resolved to avenge himself of the old woman who
had put upon him such a barbarous cheat. To this end, he took a
bag, large enough to contain five hundred pieces of gold, and
filled it with pieces of glass.

My brother, continued the barber, one morning fastened the bag of
glass about him, disguised himself like an old woman, and took a
scimitar under his gown. He met the old woman walking through the
town to seek her prey: he went up to her, and, counterfeiting a
woman's voice, said, Cannot you lend me a pair of scales? I am a
woman newly come from Persia, have brought five hundred pieces of
gold with me, and would know if they will hold out according to
your weights. Good woman, answered the old hag, you could not
have applied to a more proper person. Follow me; I will bring you
to my son, who changes money, and will weigh them himself, to
save you the trouble. Let us make haste, for fear he be gone to
his shop. My brother followed her to the house where she carried
him the first time, and the Greek slave opened the door.

The old woman carried my brother to the hall, where she bid him
stay a moment till she called her son. The pretended son came,
and proved to be the villanous black slave. Come, old woman, said
he to my brother, rise and follow me. Having spoken thus, he went
before to bring him to the place where he designed to murder him.
Alnaschar got up, followed him, and, drawing his scimitar, gave
him such a dexterous blow on the neck, as to cut off his head,
which he took in one hand, and dragging the body with the other,
threw them both into the place under ground before mentioned. The
Greek slave, who was accustomed to the trade, came presently with
a basin of salt; but when she saw Alnaschar with the scimitar in
his hand, and without his veil, she laid down the basin, and
fled. But my brother overtaking her, cut off her head also. The
wicked old woman came running at the noise, and my brother
seizing her, said to her, Treacherous wretch! do not you know me?
Alas, sir, answered she, trembling, who are you? I do not
remember that I ever saw you. I am, said he, the person to whose
house you came the other day to wash and say your prayers.
Hypocritical hag! said he, do not you remember it? Then she fell
upon her knees to beg his pardon; but he cut her in four pieces.

There remained only the lady, who knew nothing of what had
passed. He sought her out, and found her in a chamber, where she
was ready to sink when she saw him. She begged her life, which he
generously granted. Madam, said he, how could you live with such
wicked people as I have now so justly revenged myself upon? I
was, said she, wife to an honest merchant; and the cursed old
woman, whose wickedness I did not know, used sometimes to come to
see me. Madam, said she one day, we have a very fine wedding at
our house, which you will be pleased to see, if you give us the
honour of your company. I was persuaded by her, put on my best
apparel, and took with me a hundred pieces of gold. I followed
her; she brought me to this house, where the black has kept me
since by force, and I have been three years here to my very great
sorrow. By the trade which the cursed black followed, replied my
brother, he must have gathered together a vast deal of riches.
There is so much, said she, that you will be made for ever, if
you can carry them off. Follow me, and you shall see them, said
she. Alnaschar followed her to a chamber, where she showed him
several coffers full of gold, which he beheld with admiration.
Go, said she, fetch people enough to carry it all off. My brother
needed not to be bid twice; he went out, but staid only till he
got ten men together, and he brought them with him, and was much
surprised to find the gate open, but more when he found the lady
and the coffers all gone; for she, being more diligent than he,
had carried them all away. However, being resolved not to return
empty-handed, he carried off all the goods he could find in the
house; which were a great deal more than enough to make up the
five hundred pieces of gold of which he was robbed; but, when he
went out of the house, he forgot to shut the gate. The
neighbours, who saw my brother and the porters come and go, went
and acquainted the magistrate with it; for they looked upon my
brother's conduct as suspicious. Alnaschar slept well enough all
night; but next morning, when he came out of his house, twenty of
the magistrate's men seized him. Come along with us, said they;
our master would speak with you. My brother prayed them to have
patience for a moment, and offered them a sum of money to let him
escape; but, instead of listening to him, they bound him, and
forced him to go along with them. They met in the street an old
acquaintance of my brother's, who stopped them a while, and asked
them why they seized my brother, and offered them a considerable
sum to let him escape, and to tell the magistrate that they could
not find him. But this would not do; so he was carried before the

When the officers brought him before the magistrate, he asked him
where he had the goods which he carried home last night? Sir,
replied Alnaschar, I am ready to tell you all the truth; but
allow me first to have recourse to your clemency, and to beg your
promise that nothing shall be done to me. I give it you, said the
magistrate. Then my brother told him the whole story without
disguise, from the time the old woman came into his house to say
her prayers, to the time the lady made her escape, after he had
killed the black, the Greek slave, and the old woman; and as for
what he had carried to his house, he prayed the judge to leave
him part of it for the five hundred pieces of gold that he was
robbed of.

The judge, without promising any thing, sent his officers to
bring all off; and, having put the goods into his own wardrobe,
commanded my brother to quit the town immediately, and never to
return; for he was afraid, if my brother had staid in the city,
he would have found some way to represent this injustice to the
caliph. In the mean time, Alnaschar obeyed without murmuring, and
left that town to go to another. By the way he met with
highwaymen, who stripped him naked; and when the ill news was
brought to me, I carried him a suit, and brought him in secretly
again to the town, where I took the like care of him as I did of
his other brothers.


I am now only to tell the story of my sixth brother, called
Schacabac, with the hare-lips. At first he was industrious enough
to improve the hundred drams of silver which fell to his share,
and became very well to pass; but a reverse of fortune brought
him to beg his bread, which he did with a great deal of
dexterity. He studied chiefly to get into great men's houses by
means of their servants and officers, that he might have access
to their masters, and obtain their charity. One day, as he passed
by a magnificent house, whose high gate showed a very spacious
court, where there was a multitude of servants, he went to one of
them, and asked to whom that house belonged. Good man, replied
the servant, whence do you come, that you ask such a question?
Does not all that you see make you understand that it is the
palace of a Bermecide? [Footnote: The Bermecides were, as has
been mentioned, a noble family of persia, who settled at Bagdad.]
My brother, who very well knew the liberality and generosity of
the Bermecides, addressed himself to one of his porters, (for he
had more than one,) and prayed him to give him an alms. Go in,
said he; nobody hinders you, and address yourself to the master
of the house; he will send you back satisfied.

My brother, who expected no such civility, thanked the porter,
and with his permission entered the palace, which was so large,
that it took him a considerable time to reach the Bermecide's
apartment. At last he came to a fine square building, of
excellent architecture, and entered by a porch, through which he
saw one of the finest gardens, with gravel-walks of several
colours, extremely pleasant to the eye. The lower apartments
round this square were most of them open, and shut only with
great curtains, to keep out the sun, which were opened again when
the heat was over.

Such an agreeable place struck my brother with admiration, and
might well have done so to a man far above his quality. He went
on till he came into a hall richly furnished, and adorned with
paintings of gold and azure foliage, where he saw a venerable man
with a long white beard, sitting at the upper end of an alcove,
whence he concluded him to be the master of the house; and in
effect it was the Bermecide himself, who said to my brother, in a
very civil manner, that he was welcome, and asked him what he
wanted. My lord, answered my brother, in a begging tone, I am a
poor man, who stand in need of the help of such rich and generous
persons as yourself. He could not have addressed himself to a
fitter person than this lord, who had a thousand good qualities.

The Bermecide seemed to be astonished at my brother's answer;
and, putting both his hands to his stomach, as if he would rend
his clothes for grief, Is it possible, cried he, that I am at
Bagdad, and that such a man as you is so poor as you say? This is
what must never be. My brother, fancying that he was going to
give him some singular mark of his bounty, blessed him a thousand
times, and wished him all sort of happiness. It shall not be
said, replied the Bermecide, that I will abandon you, nor will I
have you to leave me. Sir, replied my brother, I swear to you I
have not swallowed one bit to-day! Is that true? replied the
Bermecide; and are you fasting till now? Alas, for thee, poor
man! he is ready to die for hunger. Ho, boy! cried he with a loud
voice, bring a bason and water presently, that we may wash our
hands. Though no boy appeared, that my brother saw, either with
water or bason, the Bermecide fell a rubbing his hands, as if one
had poured water upon them, and bid my brother come and wash with
him. Schacabac judged by this that the Bermecide lord loved to be
merry; and he himself understanding raillery, and knowing that
the poor must be complaisant to the rich, if they would have any
thing, came forward, and did as he did.

Come on, said the Bermecide, bring us something to eat, and do
not let us stay for it. When he had said so, though nothing was
brought, he cut as if something had been brought upon a plate;
and, putting his hand to his mouth, began to chew, and said to my
brother, Come, friend, eat as freely as if you were at home; come
and eat: you said you were like to die of hunger; but you eat as
if you had no stomach. Pardon me, my lord, said Schacabac, who
perfectly imitated what he did, you see I lose no time, and that
I do my part well enough. How like you this bread? said the
Bermecide; do not you find it very good? O, my lord, said, my
brother, who neither saw bread nor meat, I never ate any thing so
white and so fine. Come, eat your bellyful, said the Bermecide; I
assure you the baker-woman that bakes me this bread, cost me five
hundred pieces of gold to purchase her.

The Bermecide, after having boasted so much of his bread, which
my brother ate only in idea, cried, Boy, bring us another dish.
Though no boy appeared, Come, my good friend, said he to my
brother, taste this new dish, and tell me if ever you ate better
mutton and barley broth than this. It is admirably good, replied
my brother, and therefore you see I eat heartily. You oblige me
mightily, replied the Bermecide: I conjure you, then, by the
satisfaction I have to see you eat so heartily, that you eat all
up, since you like it so well. A little while after he called for
a goose and sweet sauce, vinegar, honey, dry raisins, grey peas,
and dry figs, which were brought just in the same manner as the
other was. The goose is very fat, said the Bermecide; eat only a
leg and a wing; we must save our stomachs, for we have abundance
of other dishes to come. He actually called for several other
dishes, of which my brother, who was ready to die of hunger,
pretended to eat; but what he boasted of more than all the rest,
was a lamb fed with pistacho nuts, which he ordered to be brought
up in the same manner that the rest were. Here is a dish, said
the Bermecide, that you will see at nobody's table but my own; I
would have you eat unsparingly of it. Having spoken thus, he
stretched out his hand as if he had a piece of lamb in it, and
putting it to my brother's mouth, There, said he, swallow that,
and you will know whether I had not reason to boast of this dish.
My brother thrust out his head, opened his mouth, and made as if
he took the piece of lamb, and ate it with extreme pleasure. I
knew you would like it, said the Bermecide. There is nothing in
the world more fine, replied my brother; your lamb is a most
delicious thing. Come, bring the ragoo presently; I fancy you
will like that as well as the lamb. Well, how do you relish it?
said the Bermecide. O! it is wonderful! replied Schacabac, for
here we taste all at once, amber, cloves, nutmeg, ginger, pepper,
and the most odoriferous herbs; and all these tastes are so well
mixed, that one does not hinder us from perceiving the other: O
how pleasant it is. Honour this ragoo, said the Bermecide, by
eating heartily of it, Ho, boy! cried he; bring us a new ragoo.
No, my lord, an't please you, replied my brother; for indeed I
cannot eat any more.

Come, take it away then, said the Bermecide, and bring the fruit.
He staid a moment, as it were, to give time for his servants to
carry away; after which, he said to my brother, Taste these
almonds; they are fresh and new gathered. Both of them made as if
they had peeled the almonds, and ate them. After this, the
Bermecide invited my brother to eat something else. Look you,
said he, there are all sorts of fruits, cakes, dry sweatmeats,
and conserves; take what you like. Then stretching out his hand
as if he had reached my brother something, Look, said he, there
is a lozenge very good for digestion. Schacabac made as if he ate
it, and said, My lord, there is no want of musk here. These
lozenges, said the Bermecide, are made in my own house, where
there is nothing wanting to make every thing good. He still bade
my brother eat, and said to him, Methinks you do not eat as if
you had been so hungry as you said when you came in. My lord,
replied Schacabac, whose jaws ached with moving and having
nothing to eat, I am so full, that I cannot eat one bit more.

Well, then, my friend, replied the Bermecide, we must drink now,
after we have eaten so well. You drink wine, my lord, replied my
brother; but I will, if you please, drink none, because I am
forbidden. You are too scrupulous, replied the Bermecide, do as I
do. I will drink then out of complaisance, said Schacabac; for I
see you will have nothing wanting to make your treat noble: but,
since I am not accustomed to drink wine, I am afraid that I shall
commit some error in point of breeding, contrary to the respect
that is due to you, and therefore I pray you once more to excuse
me from drinking any wine; I will be content with water. No, no,
said the Bermecide, you shall drink wine; and at the same time he
commanded some to be brought in the same manner as the meat and
fruit had been brought before. He made as if he poured out wine,
drank first himself, and then pouring out for my brother,
presented him the glass: Drink my health, said he, and let me
know if you think this wine good. My brother made as if he took
the glass, and looked as if the colour was good, and put it to
his nose to try if it had a good flavour; he then made a low bow
to the Bermecide, to signify that he took the liberty to drink
his health, making all the signs of a man who drinks with
pleasure: My lord, said he, this is very excellent wine; but I
think it is not strong enough. If you would have stronger, said
the Bermecide, you need only speak, for I have several sorts in
my cellar; try how you like this; upon which he made as if he
poured out another glass to himself, and then to my brother; and
did this so often, that Schacabac, feigning to be drunk with the
wine, took up his hand, and gave the Bermecide such a box on the
ear as made him fall down; he lifted up his hand to give him
another blow; but the Bermecide, holding up his hand to ward it
off, cried to him, What! are you mad? Then my brother, making as
if he had come to himself again, said, My lord, you have been so
good as to admit your slave into your house, and give him a great
treat; you should have been satisfied in making me eat, and not
have obliged me to drink wine; for I told you beforehand that it
might occasion me to come short in my respect: I am very much
troubled at it, and beg you a thousand pardons. He had scarcely
finished these words, when the Bermecide, instead of being in a
rage, fell a laughing with all his might. It is a long time, said
he, since I wished a man of your character.

The Bermecide caressed Schacabac mightily, and told him, I not
only forgive the blow you have given me, but am willing
henceforward we should be friends; and that you take my house for
your home: you have been so complaisant as to accommodate
yourself to my humour, and have had the patience to bear the jest
out to the last; we will now eat in good earnest. When he had
finished these words, he clapped his hands, and commanded his
servants, who then appeared, to cover the table; which was
speedily done, and my brother was treated with all those viands
in reality which he ate of before in fancy. At last they took
them away, and brought wine; and at the same time a number of
handsome slaves, richly apparelled, came in and sung some
agreeable airs to their musical instruments. In a word, Schacabac
had all the reason in the world to be satisfied with the
Bermecide's civility and bounty; for he treated him as his
familiar friend, and ordered him a suit out of his wardrobe.

The Bermecide found my brother to be a man of so much wit and
understanding, that in a few days after he trusted him with his
household, and all his affairs. My brother acquitted himself very
well in that employment for twenty years, at the end of which the
generous Bermecide died, and, leaving no heirs, all his estate
was confiscated to the use of the prince; upon which my brother
was reduced to his first condition, and joined a caravan of
pilgrims going to Mecca, designing to accomplish that pilgrimage
upon their charity; but by misfortune the caravan was attacked
and plundered by a number of Beduins [Footnote: Vagabond
Arabians, who wander in the deserts, and plunder the caravans
when they are not strong enough to resist them.] superior to that
of the pilgrims. My brother was then taken as a slave by one of
the Beduins, who put him under the bastinado for several days, to
oblige him to ransom himself. Schacabac protested to him that it
was all in vain. I am your slave, said he, you may dispose of me
as you please: but I declare unto you that I am extremely poor,
and not able to redeem myself. In a word, my brother discovered
to him all his misfortunes, and endeavoured to soften him with
tears; but the Beduin had no mercy; and, being vexed to find
himself disappointed of a considerable sum, which he reckoned he
was sure of, he took his knife, and slit my brother's lips, to
avenge himself, by this inhumanity, for the loss that he imagined
he had sustained.

The Beduin had a handsome wife; and frequently, when he went on
his courses, he left my brother alone with her, and then she used
all her endeavours to comfort my brother under the rigour of his
slavery: she gave him tokens enough that she loved him; but he
durst not yield to her passion, for fear he should repent it, and
therefore he shunned to be alone with her, as much as she sought
the opportunity to be alone with him. She had so great a custom
of toying and jesting with the miserable Schacabac, whenever she
saw him, that one day she happened to do it in presence of her
husband. My brother, without taking notice that he observed them,
(so his stars would have it) jested likewise with her. The
Beduin, immediately supposing that they lived together in a
criminal manner, fell upon my brother in a rage, and after he had
mangled him in a barbarous manner, he carried him on a camel to
the top of a desert mountain, where he left him. The mountain was
on the way to Bagdad, so that the passengers who passed that road
gave me an account of the place where he was. I went thither
speedily, where I found the unfortunate Schacabac in a deplorable
condition: I gave him what help he stood in need of, and brought
him back to the city.

This is what I told the caliph, added the barber; that prince
applauded me with new fits of laughter. Now, said he, I cannot
doubt that they justly gave you the surname of Silent; nobody can
say the contrary. For certain reasons, however, I command you to
depart this town immediately, and let me hear no more of your
discourse. I yielded to necessity, and went to travel several
years in far countries. I understood at last that the caliph was
dead, and returned to Bagdad, where I found not one of my
brethren alive. It was on my return to this town that I did the
important service to the same young man which you have heard. You
are, however, witness of his ingratitude, and of the injurious
manner in which he treated me. Instead of testifying his
acknowledgments, he chose rather to fly from me, and to leave his
own country. When I understood that he was not at Bagdad, though
nobody could tell me truly whither he was gone, yet I did not
forbear to go and seek him. I travelled from province to province
a long time; and when I had given over all hopes, I met him this
day; but I did not think to find him so incensed against me.

The tailor made an end of telling the sultan of Casgar the
history of the lame young man, and the barber of Bagdad, after
that manner I had the honour to tell your majesty.

When the barber, continued he, had finished his story, we found
that the young man was not to blame for calling him a great
prattler. However, we were pleased that he would stay with us,
and par take of the treat which the master of the house had
prepared for us. We sat down to table, and were merry together
till afternoon prayers; then all the company parted, and I went
to my shop, till it was time for me to return home.

It was during this interval that Hump-back came half drunk before
my shop, where he sung and taboured. I thought that, by carrying
him home with me, I should divert my wife; therefore I brought
him along. My wife gave us a dish of fish, and I presented
Hump-back with some, which he ate without taking notice of a
bone. He fell down dead before us; and, after having in vain
essayed to help him, in the trouble occasioned us by such an
unlucky accident, and through the fear of punishment, we carried
the corpse out, and dexterously lodged it with the Jewish doctor.
The Jewish doctor put it into the chamber of the purveyor, and
the purveyor carried it forth into the street, where it was
believed the merchant had killed him. This, sir, added the
tailor, is what I had to say to satisfy your majesty, who must
pronounce whether we be worthy of mercy or wrath, life or death.

The sultan of Casgar looked with a contented air, and gave the
tailor and his comrades their lives. I cannot but acknowledge,
said he, that I am more amazed at the history of the young
cripple, at that of the barber, and at the adventures of his
brothers, than at the story of my jester; but before I send you
all four away, and before we bury Hump, I would see the barber,
who is the cause that I have pardoned you. Since he is in my
capital, it is easy to satisfy my curiosity. At the same time he
sent a serjeant with the tailor to find him.

The serjeant and the tailor went immediately, and brought the
barber, whom they presented to the sultan. The barber was an old
man of ninety years; his eye-brows and beard were as white as
snow, his ears hung down, and he had a very long nose. The sultan
could not forbear laughing when he saw him. Silent man, said he
to him, I understand that you know wonderful stories; will you
tell me some of them? Sir, answered the barber, let us forbear
the stories, if you please, at present. I most humbly beg your
majesty to permit me to ask what that Christian, that Jew, that
Mussulman, and that dead Hump-back, who lies on the ground, do
here before your majesty. The sultan smiled at the barber's
liberty, and replied, Why do you ask? Sir, replied the barber, it
concerns me to ask, that your majesty may know that I am not so
great a talker as some pretend, but a man justly called Silent.

The sultan of Casgar was so complaisant as to satisfy the
barber's curiosity. He commanded them to tell him the story of
the Hump-back, which he earnestly wished for. When the barber
heard it, he shook his head, as if he would say, there was
something under this which he did not understand. Truly, cried
he, this is a surprising story; but I am willing to examine
Hump-back a little closely. He drew near him, sat down on the
ground, put his head between his knees, and after he had looked
upon him steadfastly, he fell into so great a fit of laughter,
and had so little command of himself, that he fell backwards on
the ground, without considering that he was before the sultan of
Casgar. As soon as he came to himself, It is said, cried he, and
without reason, that no man dies without a cause. If ever any
history deserved to be written in letters of gold, it is this of

At this all the people looked on the barber as a buffoon, or a
doting old man. Silent man, said the sultan, speak to me; why do
you laugh so hard? Sir, answered the barber, I swear by your
majesty's good humour that Hump-back is not dead! he is yet
alive; and I shall be willing to pass for a madman, if I do not
let you sec it this minute. Having said these words, he took a
box, wherein he had several medicines, that he carried about to
make use of on occasion; and took out a phial with balsam, with
which he rubbed Hump-back's neck a long time; then he took out of
his case a neat iron instrument, which he put betwixt his teeth,
and, after he had opened his mouth, he thrust down his throat a
pair of pincers, with which he took out a bit offish and bone,
which he showed to all the people. Immediately Hump-back sneezed,
stretched forth his arms and feet, and gave several other signs
of life.

The sultan of Casgar, and those with him, who were witnesses to
this operation, were less surprised to see Hump-back revive,
after he had passed a whole night and great part of a day without
giving any signs of life, than at the merit and capacity of the
barber who performed this; and, notwithstanding all his faults,
began to look upon him as a great person. The sultan, ravished
with joy and admiration, ordered the story of Hump-back to be
recorded, with that of the barber, that the memory of it might,
as it deserved, be preserved for ever. Nor did he stop here; but
that the tailor, Jewish doctor, purveyor, and Christian merchant,
might remember, with pleasure, the adventure which the accident
of Hump-back had occasioned to them, he did not send them away
till he had given each of them a very rich robe, with which he
caused them to be clothed in his presence. As for the barber, he
honoured him with a great pension, and kept him near his person.

Thus the sultaness finished this long train of adventures, to
which the pretended death of Hump-back gave occasion; then held
her peace, because day appeared; upon which her sister Dinarzade
said to her, My princess, my sultaness, I am so much the more
charmed with the story you just now told, because it concludes
with an incident I did not expect. I verily thought Hump-back was
dead. This surprise pleases me, said Schahriar, as much as the
adventures of the barber's brothers. The story of the lame young
man of Bagdad diverted me also very much, replied Dinarzade. I am
very glad of it, dear sister, said the sultaness; and since I
have the good fortune not to tire out the patience of the sultan,
our lord and master, if his majesty will still be so gracious as
to preserve my life, I shall have the honour to give him an
account to-morrow of the history of the amours of Aboulhassen Ali
Ebn Becar and Schemselnihar, favourite of the caliph Haroun
Alraschid, which is no less worthy of your notice than the
history of Hump-back.

The sultan of the Indies, who was very well satisfied with the
stories which Scheherazade had told him hitherto, was willing to
hear the history which she promised. He rose, however, to go to
prayers, and hold his council, without giving any signification
of his pleasure towards the sultaness.

Dinarzade, being always careful to awake her sister, called this
night at the ordinary hour. My dear sister, said she, day will
soon appear. I earnestly beg of you to tell us some of your fine
stories. We need no other, said Schahriar, but that of the amours
of Aboulhassen Ali Ebn Becar and Schemselnihar, the favourite of
caliph Haroun Alraschid. Sir, said Scheherazade, I will satisfy
your curiosity; and began thus.


In the reign of the caliph Haroun Alraschid, there was at Bagdad
a druggist, called Aboulhassen Ebn Thaher, a very rich and
handsome man. He had more wit and politeness than those of his
profession generally have. His integrity, sincerity, and jovial
humour, made him to be loved and sought after by all sorts of
people. The caliph, who knew his merit, had entire confidence in
him; and so great was his esteem for him, that he entrusted him
with the care of providing the ladies his favourites with all
things they stood in need of. He chose for them their clothes,
furniture, and jewels, with admirable judgment.

His good qualities, with the favour of the caliph, made the sons
of emirs, officers, and others of the first rank, to be always
about him. His house was the rendezvous of all the nobility of
the court. But, among the young lords who daily visited him,
there was one of whom he took more notice, and with whom he
contracted a particular friendship, called Aboulhassen Ali Ebn
Becar, originally of an ancient royal family of Persia. This
family had continued at Bagdad ever since the Mussul-men made a
conquest of that kingdom. Nature seemed to have taken pleasure to
endow this young prince with many of the rarest qualities both of
body and mind. His face was so very beautiful, his shape so fine,
and his physiognomy so prepossessing; that none could see him
without loving him immediately. When he spoke, he expressed
himself always in terms the most proper and well chosen, with a
new and agreeable turn, and his voice charmed all who heard him.
He had withal so much wit and judgment, that he thought and spoke
on every subject with admirable exactness. He was so reserved and
modest, that he advanced nothing till he had taken all possible
precautions to avoid giving any ground of suspicion that he
preferred his own opinion to that of others.

Being such a person as I have represented him, we need not wonder
that Ebn Thaher distinguished him from all the other young
noblemen of the court, most of whom had vices contrary to his
virtues. One day, when the prince was with Ebn Thaher, there came
a lady mounted on a piebald mule, surrounded by six women-slaves,
who accompanied her on foot, all very handsome, as far as could
be judged by their air, and through the veils which covered their
faces. The lady had a girdle of a rose colour, four inches broad,
embroidered with pearls and diamonds of an extraordinary bigness;
and it was easy to perceive that she surpassed all her women in
beauty as much as the full moon does that of two days old. She
came to buy something; and when she had spoken to Ebn Thaher,
entered his shop, which was very neat and large, and receiving
her with all the marks of the most profound respect, entreated
her to sit down, and showed her the most honourable place.

In the mean time the prince of Persia, unwilling to let such an
opportunity pass to show his good-breeding and courtly temper,
beat up the cushion of gold cloth for the lady to lean on; upon
which he retired speedily, that she might sit down; and having
saluted her, by kissing the tapestry under her feet, he rose, and
stood at the lower end of the sofa. It being her custom to be
free with Ebn Thaher, she lifted her veil, and discovered to the
prince of Persia such extraordinary beauty, that he was struck
with it to the heart. On the other hand, the lady could not
contain herself from looking on the prince, the sight of whom had
made the same impression, upon her. My lord, said she to him,
with an obliging air, pray sit down. The prince of Persia obeyed,
and sat down upon the edge of the sofa. He had his eyes
constantly fixed upon her, and swallowed large draughts of the
sweet poison of love. She quickly perceived what worked in his
heart, and this discovery inflamed her the more towards him. She
rose up, went to Ebn Thaher, and, after whispering to him the
cause of her coming, asked the name and country of the prince.
Madam, answered Ebn Thaher, this young nobleman's name is
Aboulhassen Ali Ebn Becar, and he is a prince of the blood-royal.

The lady was overjoyed to hear that the person she already so
passionately loved was of a quality so high. You certainly mean,
said she, that he is descended from the kings of Persia. Yes,
madam, replied Ebn Thaher; the last kings of Persia were his
ancestors, and, since the conquest of that kingdom, the princes
of his family have always made themselves acceptable at the court
of the caliphs. You will oblige me much, added she, in making me
acquainted with this young nobleman. When I send this woman, said
she, pointing to one of her slaves, to give you notice to come
and see me, pray bring him with you; I shall be very glad to
display to him the magnificence of my house, that he may see that
avarice does not reign at Bagdad among persons of quality. You
know what I mean; therefore do not fail, other, wise I will be
very angry with you, and beg you will never come hither again
while I live.

Ebn Thaher was a man of too much penetration not to perceive the
lady's mind by these words. My princess! my queen! replied he;
God preserve me from ever giving you any occasion of anger
against me! I shall always make it a law to obey your commands.
At this answer, the lady bowed to Ebn Thaher, and bid farewell;
and, after giving a favourable look to the prince of Persia,
remounted her mule, and went away.

The prince of Persia was so deeply smitten with the lady, that he
looked after her as far as he could see; and, for a long time
after she was out of sight, he still looked that way. Ebn Thaher
told him, that several persons were observing him, and were
laughing to see him in this posture. Alas! said the prince, the
world and you would have compassion on me, if you knew that the
fine lady who is just now gone, has carried with her the best
part of me, and that the remaining part seeks for an opportunity
to go after her. Tell me, I conjure you, added he, what cruel
lady this is, who forces people to love her, without giving them
time to advise? My lord, answered Ebn Thaher, this is the famous
Schemselnihar, [Footnote: This word signifies the sun of the
day.] the principal favourite of the caliph our master. She is
justly so called, added the prince, since she is more beautiful
than the sun at noon-day. That is true, replied Ebn Thaher;
therefore the commander of the faithful loves, or rather adores
her: he gave me express orders to furnish all that she asked of
me, and to prevent, as much as possible, every thing that she can
desire of me.

He spoke in this manner, in order to hinder him from engaging in
an amour which could not but prove unhappy to him; but it served
only to inflame him the more. I was very doubtful, charming
Schemselnihar, said he, that I should not be allowed so much as
to think of you. I perceive well, however, that, without hopes of
being loved by you, I cannot forbear loving you. I will love you
then, and bless my lot that I am slave to an object fairer than
the meridian sun.

While the prince of Persia was thus consecrating his heart to
fair Schemselnihar, this lady, upon returning home, thought upon
a way how she might see and have free converse with him. She no
sooner entered her palace, than she sent to Ebn Thaher the woman
she had shown him, and in whom she put all her confidence, to
tell him to come and see her without delay, and to bring the
prince of Persia with him. The slave came to Ebn Thaher's shop
while he was speaking with the prince, and endeavouring, by very
strong arguments, to dissuade him from loving the caliph's
favourite. When she saw them together, Gentlemen, said she, my
honourable mistress Schemselnihar, the chief favourite of the
commander of the faithful, entreats you to come to her palace,
where she waits for you. Ebn Thaher, to testify his obedience,
rose up immediately, without answering the slave, and followed
her, though with some reluctance. As for the prince, he followed
without reflecting upon the danger that might happen in such a
visit: the company of Ebn Thaher, who had liberty to visit the
favourite whenever he pleased, made the prince very easy in the
affair. They followed the slave, who went a little before them,
entering after her into the caliph's palace, and joined her at
the gate of Schemselnihar's little palace, which was already
open: she introduced them into a great hall, where she entreated
them both to sit down.

The prince of Persia thought himself in one of those magnificent
palaces that are promised us in the other world, for he had never
seen any thing that equalled the shining splendour of the place;
the carpets, cushions, and other furniture of the sofas, the
moveables, ornaments, and architecture, were all surprisingly
beautiful. A little time after Ebn Thaher and he were sat down, a
very handsome black slave set before them a table covered with
several very fine dishes, the delicious smell of which made them
judge of the delicacy of the sauce. While eating, they were
waited upon by the slave who had introduced them, and who invited
them to eat of what she knew to be the greatest dainties; when
they had done, they were served with excellent wine by the other
slaves, who afterwards presented to each of them a fine gold
basin full of water to wash their hands, and also a golden pot
full of the perfume of aloes, with which they both perfumed their
beards and clothes; nor was odoriferous water forgotten, which
the slaves brought to them in a golden vessel, enriched with
diamonds and rubies, made particularly for that use, and which
they threw upon their beards and faces, according to custom. They
then went to their places; but had scarcely seated themselves,
when the slave entreated them to rise and follow her; and opening
a gate of the hall in which they were, they entered into a
spacious saloon of a marvellous structure. It was a dome of the
most agreeable fashion, supported by a hundred pillars of marble,
white as alabaster; the bases and chapiters of the pillars were
adorned with four-footed beasts and birds of several sorts
gilded. The foot-carpet of this noble parlour consisted of one
piece of gold cloth, embroidered with garlands of roses in red
and white silk; and the dome being painted in the same manner,
after the Arabian form, was one of the most charming objects the
eye ever beheld: betwixt each column was placed a little sofa
adorned in the same manner, and great vessels of china, crystal,
jasper, jet, porphyry, agate, and other precious materials,
garnished with gold and jewels: the spaces betwixt the columns
were so many large windows, with jets high enough to lean on,
covered with the same sort of stuff as the sofas, from which was
a prospect into one of the most delightful gardens in the world,
the walks of which, being made of little pebbles of different
colours, much resembled the foot-carpet of the saloon; so that it
appeared, both within and without, as if the dome and the garden,
with all their ornaments, had stood upon the same carpet. The
prospect round was thus diversified: at the ends of the walks
were two canals of clear water, of the same circular figure as
the dome; one of which, being higher than the other, emptied
itself into the lowermost, in form of a table-cloth; and curious
pots of gilded brass, with flowers and greens, were placed at
equal distances on the banks of the canals: the walks lay betwixt
great plots of ground, planted with straight and bushy trees,
among winch were thousands of birds, whose notes formed a
melodious concert, and entertained the beholder by sometimes
flying about, at others by playing together, and sometimes by
fighting in the air.

The prince of Persia and Ebn Thaher diverted themselves for some
time with viewing the magnificence of the place, and testified
great surprise at everything they saw, especially the prince, who
had never before seen any thing to equal it; and Ebn Thaher,
though he had several times been in that delightful place, yet
could now observe many new beauties: in a word, they never grew
weary of admiring so many singular things; and were thus
agreeably employed, when they perceived, at some distance from
the dome, a company of ladies richly apparelled, each of them
sitting upon a seat of Indian wood, inlaid with silver wire in
figures, with instruments of music in their hands, expecting
orders to play. They both advanced to the jet which fronted the
ladies, and on the right they saw a large court, with a stair up
from the garden, encompassed with beautiful apartments. The slave
having retired, and left them alone, they entered into
conversation: As to you, who are a wise man, said the prince of
Persia to Ebn Thaher, I doubt not but that you look with much
satisfaction upon all these marks of grandeur and power. For my
part, I do not think there is any thing in the world more
surprising. But when I consider that this is the glorious
habitation of the lovely Schemselnihar, and that he who keeps her
here is the greatest monarch of the earth, I confess to you that
I look upon myself to be the most unfortunate of all mankind;
that no destiny can be more cruel than mine, in loving an object
possessed by a rival, and that too in a place where he is so
potent, that I cannot think myself sure of my life one moment!

Ebn Thaher hearing the prince of Persia speak, said to him, Sir,
I wish you could give me as good an assurance of the happy
success of your amours, as I can give you of the safety of your
life. Though this stately palace belongs to the caliph, who built
it on purpose for Schemselnihar, and called it the palace of
eternal pleasures, and that it makes part of his own palace, yet
you must know that this lady lives here at entire liberty; she is
not surrounded by eunuchs as spies over her; this is her own
particular house, which is absolutely at her disposal: she goes
into the city when she pleases, and returns again, without asking
leave of any body; and the caliph never comes to see her without
sending Mesrour, the chief of his eunuchs, to give her notice,
that she may be prepared to receive him. Therefore you may be
easy, and give full attention to the concert of music, which I
perceive, Schemselnihar is preparing on purpose for you.

Just as Ebn Thaher spoke these words to the prince of Persia,
they observed the favourite's trusty slave coming with orders for
the ladies to begin singing and playing on the instruments, which
they instantly obeyed, and all began playing together as a
preludium; after which, one of them began singing alone, at the
same time playing admirably well upon her lute, having been
before advertised of the subject on which she was to sing. The
words were so agreeable to the prince of Persia's sentiments,
that he could not forbear applauding her at the end of the stave.
Is it possible, cried he, that you have the gift of knowing
people's hearts, and that the knowledge of what is in my mind has
occasioned you to give us a taste of your charming voice by those
words? Were I to choose, I should not express myself otherwise.
The lady made no reply, but went on, and sung several other
staves, with which the prince was so much affected, that he
repeated some of them with tears in his eyes, which plainly
discovered that he applied them to himself. When she had made an
end, she and her companions rose up, and sung all together,
signifying by their words that the full moon was going to rise in
all her splendour, and that they should speedily see her approach
the sun; by which it was meant that Schemselnihar was just
coming, and that the prince of Persia should have the pleasure of
seeing her.

In effect, as they were looking towards the court, they saw
Schemselnihar's confident coming towards them, followed by ten
black women, who, with much difficulty, carried a throne of massy
silver most curiously wrought, which they set down, before them
at a certain distance; upon which the black slaves retired behind
the trees to the entrance of a walk. After this there came twenty
handsome ladies, all alike most elegantly apparelled: they
advanced in two rows, singing and playing upon instruments which
each of them held in her hand; and, coming near the throne, ten
of them sat down on each side of it.

All these things kept the prince of Persia and Ebn Thaher in very
great suspense, both of them being impatient to know how they
would end. In this state of anxious expectation, they saw ten
handsome ladies, well dressed, come out of the same gate whence
the ten black women came, where they stopped for a few moments,
expecting the favourite, who came out last, and placed herself in
the midst of them.

Schemselnihar was easily distinguished from the rest by her fine
shape and majestic air, as well as by a sort of mantle, of very
fine stuff of gold and sky-blue, fastened to her shoulders over
her other apparel, which was the most handsome, best contrived,
and most magnificent, that could be thought of. The pearls,
rubies, and diamonds, with which she was adorned, though few in
number, were well chosen, and of inestimable value, and were
displayed in excellent order. She came forward with a majesty
resembling the sun in his course amidst the clouds, which receive
his splendour without hiding his lustre, and seated herself on
the silver throne that was brought for her.

As soon as the prince of Persia beheld Schemselnihar, nothing
else could attract his notice: We cease inquiring after what we
seek, said he to Ebn Thaher, when we see it; and there is no
doubt remaining when once the truth makes itself manifest. Do you
see this charming beauty? She is the cause of all my sufferings,
which I hug, and will never forbear blessing them, however
lasting they may be! At the sight of this object, I am not my own
master; my soul rebels, and disturbs me; and I fancy it has a
mind to leave me! Go then, my soul, I allow thee; but let it be
for the welfare and preservation of this weak body! It is you,
cruel Ebn Thaher, who are the cause of this disorder! You thought
to do me great pleasure in bringing me hither, and I perceive I
am only come to complete my ruin! Pardon me, said he,
interrupting himself; I am mistaken: I was willing to come, and
can blame nobody but myself. At these words, he could not refrain
from tears. I am very well pleased, said Ebn Thaher, that you do
me justice; when at first I told you that Schemselnihar was the
caliph's chief favourite, I did it on purpose to prevent that
fatal passion which you please yourself with entertaining in your
breast. All that you see here ought to disengage you, and you are
to think of nothing but of acknowledgments for the honour which
Schemselnihar was willing to do you, by ordering me to bring you
with me. Call in, then, your wandering reason, and put yourself
in a condition to appear before her, as good-breeding requires.
Behold, there she comes! Were the matter to begin again, I would
take other measures; but, since the thing is done, I wish we may
not repent of it. What I have further to say to you is this, that
love is a traitor, who may throw you into a pit from which you
will never be able to escape.

Ebn Thaher had not time to say more, because Schemselnihar came,
and, sitting down upon her throne, saluted them both with an
inclination of the head; but she fixed her eyes on the prince of
Persia, and they spoke to one another in a silent language,
intermixed with sighs; by which, in a few moments, they spoke
more than could have been done by words in a great deal of time.
The more Schemselnihar looked upon the prince, the more she found
from his looks that he was in love with her; and, being thus
persuaded of his passion, thought herself the happiest woman in
the world. At last, turning her eyes from him to command the
women who began to sing first to come near; they got up, and
whilst they advanced, the black women, who came out of the walk
into which they retired, brought their seats, and set them near
the window, in the jet of the dome, where Ebn Thaher and the
prince of Persia stood; and then they so disposed them on each
side of the favourite's throne, that they formed a semicircle.

The women who were sitting before she came, took each of them
their places again, with the permission of Schemselnihar, who
ordered them by a sign. That charming favourite chose one of
these women to sing; who, after she had spent some moments in
tuning her lute, played a song, the meaning whereof was, that two
lovers, who entirely loved each other, and whose affection was
boundless, their hearts, though in two bodies, were one and the
same; and, when any thing opposed their desires, could say, with
tears in their eyes, if we love, because we find one another
amiable, ought we to be blamed for this? Let destiny bear the

Schemselnihar discovered so well, by her eyes and gestures, that
these sayings ought to be applied to her and the prince of
Persia, that he could not maintain himself; he rose, and came to
a balluster, which he leaned upon, and obliged one of the women,
who came to sing, to observe him. When she was near him, Follow
me, said he to her, and do me the favour to accompany with your
lute a song which you shall forthwith hear. Then he sang with an
air so tender and passionate, as perfectly expressed the violence
of his love. When he had done, Schemselnihar, following his
example, said to one of the women, Follow me likewise, and
accompany my voice; at the same time she sung after such a
manner, as further pierced the heart of the prince of Persia, who
answered her by a new air as passionate as the former.

These two lovers declared their mutual affection by their songs.
Schemselnihar yielded to the force of hers; she rose from her
throne, and advanced towards the door of the hall. The prince,
who knew her design, rose likewise, and went towards her in all
haste. They met at the door, where they took each other by the
hand, embracing with so much passion, that they fainted, and
would have fallen, if the women who followed them had not helped
them. But they were supported and carried to a sofa, where they
were brought to themselves again, by throwing odoriferous water
upon their faces, and giving them other things to smell.

When they came to themselves, the first tiling that Schemselnihar
did was to look about; and not seeing Ebn Thaher, she asked, with
a great deal of concern, where he was. He had withdrawn out of
respect, whilst her women were applying things to recover her,
and dreaded, not without reason, that some troublesome
consequence might attend what had happened; but as soon as he
heard Schemselnihar ask for him, he came forward, and presented
himself before her.

Schemselnihar was very well pleased to see Ebn Thaher, and
expressed her joy in these terms: Kind Ebn Thaher, I do not know
how to make amends for the great obligation you have put upon me:
without you I should never have seen the prince of Persia, nor
have loved him who is the most amiable person in the world; but
you may assure yourself, however, that I shall not die
ungrateful, and that my acknowledgment, if possible, shall be
equal to the obligation. Ebn Thaher answered this compliment by a
low bow, and wished the favourite the accomplishment of all her

Schemselnihar, turning towards the prince of Persia, who sat by
her, and looking upon him with some sort of confusion, after what
had passed between them, said to him, Sir, I am very well assured
you love me; and, however great your love may be to me, you need
not doubt but mine is as great towards you; but let us not
flatter ourselves; for, though we are both agreed, yet I see
nothing for you and me but trouble, impatience, and tormenting
grief. There is no other remedy for our evils but to love one
another constantly, to refer ourselves to the disposal of Heaven,
and to wait till it shall determine our destiny. Madam, replied
the prince of Persia, you will do me the greatest injustice in
the world if you doubt but one moment of the continuance of my
love. It is so united to my soul, that I can justly say it makes
the best part of it, and that I shall persevere in it till death.
Pains, torments, obstacles, nothing shall be capable of hindering
me to love you. Speaking these words, he shed tears in abundance,
and Schemselnihar was not able to restrain hers.

Ebn Thaher took this opportunity to speak to the favourite:
Madam, said he, allow me to represent to you, that, instead of
breaking forth into tears, you ought to rejoice that you are
together. I understand not this grief. What will it be when you
are obliged to part? But why do I talk of that? We have been a
long time here; and you know, madam, that it is time for us to be
going. Ah, how cruel you are! replied Schemselnihar. You, who
know the cause of my tears, have you no pity for my unfortunate
condition? Oh, sad fatality! What have I done to be subject to
the severe law of not being able to enjoy the person whom I love?

She being persuaded that Ebn Thaher spoke to her only out of
friendship, did not take amiss what he said to her, but made a
right use of it. Then she made a sign to the slave, her
confident, who immediately went out, and in a little time brought
a collation of fruit upon a small silver table, which she set
down between her mistress and the prince of Persia. Schemselnihar
presented some of the best to the prince, and prayed him to eat
for her sake: he did so, and put that part to his mouth which she
had touched; and then he presented some to her, which she took,
and ate in the same manner. She did not forget to invite Ebn
Thaher to eat with them; but he not thinking himself safe in that
place, ate only from complaisance. After the collation was taken
away, they brought a silver basin with water in a vessel of gold,
and washed together; they afterwards returned to their places,
when three of the ten black women brought each of them a cup of
rock crystal full of curious wines, upon a golden salver, which
they set down before Schemselnihar, the prince of Persia, and Ebn
Thaher. That they might be more private, Schemselnihar kept with
her only ten black women, with ten others who began to sing and
play upon instruments; and, after she had sent away all the rest,
she took up one of the cups, and holding it in her hand, sung
some tender expressions, which one of her women accompanied with
her lute. When she had done, she drank, and afterwards took up
one of the other cups, and presented it to the prince, praying
him to drink for love of her, as she had drunk for love of him.
He received the cup with a transport of love and joy, but, before
drinking, he also sung a song, which another woman accompanied
with an instrument and as he sung, the tears fell from his eyes
in such abundance, that he could not forbear expressing in his
song that he knew not whether he was going to drink the wine she
had presented to him, or his own tears. Schemselnihar at last
presented the third cup to Ebn Thaher, who thanked her for her
kindness, and for the honour she did him.

She then took a lute from one of her women, and sung to it in
such a passionate manner as bespoke her to be beside herself, the
prince of Persia standing with his eyes fixed upon her, as if he
had been enchanted. As these things were passing, her trusty
slave arrived all in a fright; and, addressing herself to her
mistress, said, Madam, Mesrour and two other officers, with
several eunuchs that attend them, are at the gate and want to
speak with you from the caliph. When the prince of Persia and Ebn
Thaher heard these words, they changed colour, and began to

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