Part 4 out of 7
resolved to engage the robbers yet farther in their interest. He
commended them, flattered them, and gave them a thousand
benedictions. "Gentlemen," said he, "I must confess I have not
the honour to know you, yet it is no small happiness to me that I
am not wholly unknown to you; and I can never be sufficiently
grateful for the favours which that knowledge has procured me at
your hands. Not to mention your great humanity, I am fully
persuaded now, that persons of your character are capable of
keeping a secret faithfully, and none are so fit to undertake a
great enterprise, which you can best bring to a good issue by
your zeal, courage, and intrepidity. Confiding in these
qualities, which are so much your due, I hesitate not to tell you
my whole history, with that of those two persons you found in my
house, with all the fidelity you desire me."
After the jeweller had thus secured, as he thought, the
confidence of the robbers, he made no scruple to relate to them
the whole amour of the prince of Persia and Schemselnihar, from
the beginning of it to the time he had received them into his
The robbers were greatly astonished at all the particulars they
heard, and could not forbear exclaiming, "How! is it possible
that the young man should be the illustrious Ali Ebn Becar,
prince of Persia, and the young lady the fair and celebrated
beauty Schemselnihar?" The jeweller assured them nothing was more
certain, and that they need not think it strange, that persons of
so distinguished a character should wish not to be known.
Upon this assurance of their quality, the robbers went
immediately, one after another, and threw themselves at their
feet, imploring their pardon, and protesting that nothing of the
kind would have happened to them, had they been informed of the
quality of their persons before they broke into the house; and
that they would by their future conduct endeavour to make amends
for the crime they had thus ignorantly committed. Then turning to
the jeweller, they told him, they were heartily sorry they could
not restore to him all that had been taken from him, part of it
being no longer in their possession. but as for what remained, if
he would content himself with his plate, it should be forthwith
put into his hand.
The jeweller was overjoyed at the favour done him, and after the
robbers had delivered to him the plate, they required of the
prince, Schemselnihar, and him, to promise them upon oath, that
they would not betray them, and they would carry them to a place
whence they might easily return to their respective homes. The
prince, Schemselnihar, and the jeweller, replied, that they might
rely on their words, but since they desired an oath of them, they
solemnly swore not to discover them. The thieves, satisfied with
this, immediately went out with them.
On the way, the jeweller, uneasy at not seeing the confidant and
the two slaves, came up to Schemselnihar, and begged her to
inform him what was become of them. She answered, she knew
nothing of them, and that all she could tell him was, that she
was carried away from his house, ferried over the river, and
brought to the place from whence they were just come.
Schemselnihar and the jeweller had no farther conversation; they
let the robbers conduit them with the prince to the river's side,
when the robbers immediately took boat, and carried them over to
the opposite bank.
While the prince, Schemselnihar, and the jeweller were landing,
they heard the noise of the horse patrol coming towards them,
just as the boat had conveyed the robbers back.
The commander of the brigade demanded of the prince,
Schemselnihar, and the jeweller, who they were, and whence they
had come so late? Frightened as they were, and apprehensive of
saying any thing that might prejudice them, they could not speak;
but at length it was necessary they should. The jeweller's mind
being most at ease, he said, "Sir, I can assure you, we are
respectable people of the city. The persons who have just landed
us, and are now returned to the other side of the water, are
thieves, who having last night broke open the house where we
were, pillaged it, and afterwards carried us to their quarters,
whence by fair words, we prevailed on them to let us have our
liberty; and they brought us hither. They have restored us part
of the booty they had taken from us." At which words he shewed
the parcel of plate he had recovered.
The commander, not satisfied with what the jeweller had told him,
came up to him and the prince of Persia, and looking steadfastly
at them, said, "Tell me truly, who is this lady? How came you to
These questions embarrassed them so much that neither of them
could answer; till at length Schemselnihar extricated them from
their difficulty, and taking the commander aside, told him who
she was; which he no sooner heard, than he alighted with
expressions of great respect and politeness, and ordered his men
to bring two boats.
When the boats were come, he put Schemselnihar into one, and the
prince of Persia and the jeweller into the other, with two of his
people in each boat; with orders to accompany each of them
whithersoever they were bound. The boats took different routes,
but we shall at present speak only of that which contained the
prince and the jeweller.
The prince, to save his guides trouble, bade them land the
jeweller at his house, naming the place. The guide, by this
direction, stopped just before the caliph's palace, which put
both him and the jeweller into great alarm; for although they had
heard the commander's orders to his men, they could not help
imagining they were to be delivered up to the guard, to be
brought before the caliph next morning.
This nevertheless was not the intention of the guides. For after
they had landed them, they, by their master's command,
recommended them to an officer of the caliph's guard who assigned
them two soldiers to conduct them by land to the prince's house,
which was at some distance from the river. They arrived there,
but so tired and weary that they could hardly move.
The prince being come home, with the fatigue of his journey, and
this misadventure to himself and Schemselnihar, which deprived
him of all hope of ever seeing her more, fell into a swoon on his
sofa. While the greatest part of his servants were endeavoring to
recover him, the rest gathered about the jeweller, and begged him
to tell them what had happened to the prince their lord, whose
absence had occasioned them such inexpressible uneasiness.
While the greatest part of the prince's domestics were
endeavouring to recover him from his swoon, others of them got
about the jeweller, desiring to know what had happened to their
lord. The jeweller, who took care to discover nothing that was
not proper for them to know, told them that it was an
extraordinary case, but that it was not a time to relate it, and
that they would do better to go and assist the prince. By good
fortune the prince came to himself that moment, and those that
but just before required his history with so much earnestness
retreated to a respectful distance.
Although the prince had in some measure recovered his
recollection, he continued so weak that he could not open his
mouth to speak. He answered only by signs, even to his nearest
relations, when they spoke to him. He remained in this condition
till next morning, when the jeweller came to take leave of him.
He could answer only by a movement of his eyes, and holding out
his right hand; but when he saw he was laden with a bundle of
plate, which the thieves had returned to him, he made a sign to
his servants that they should take it and carry it to his house.
The jeweller had been expected with great impatience by his
family the day he departed with the stranger; but now he was
quite given over, and it was no longer doubted but some disaster
had befallen him. His wife, children, and servants, were in the
greatest alarm, and lamenting him. When he arrived, their joy was
excessive; yet they were troubled to see that he was so much
altered in the short interval, that he was hardly to be known.
This was occasioned by the great fatigue of the preceding day,
and the fears he had undergone all night, which would not permit
him to sleep. Finding himself much indisposed, he continued at
home two days, and would admit only one of his intimate friends
to visit him.
The third day, finding himself something better, he thought he
might recover strength by going abroad to take the air; and
therefore went to the shop of a rich merchant of his
acquaintance, with whom he continued long in conversation. As he
was rising to take leave of his friend to return home, he
observed a woman making a sign to him, whom he presently knew to
be the confidant of Schemselnihar. Between fear and joy, he made
what haste he could away, without looking at her; but she
followed him, as he feared she would, the place they were in
being by no means proper to converse in. As he quickened his
pace, she, not being able to overtake him, every now and then
called out to him to stay.
He heard her; but after what had happened, he did not think fit
to speak to her in public, for fear of giving cause to suspect
that he was connected with Schemselnihar. It was known to every
body in Bagdad, that this woman belonged to her, and executed all
her little commissions. He continued the same pace, and at length
reached a mosque, where he knew but few people came. He entered,
and she followed him, and they had a long conversation together,
without any body overhearing them.
Both the jeweller and confidant expressed much joy at seeing each
other, after the strange adventure of the robbers, and their
reciprocal apprehension for each other, without regarding their
own particular persons.
The jeweller wished her to relate to him how she escaped with the
two slaves, and what she knew of Schemselnihar from the time he
lost sight of her; but so great was her eagerness to know what
had happened to him from the time of their unexpected separation,
that he found himself obliged to satisfy her. "Having given you
the detail you desired," said he, "oblige me in your turn," which
she did in the following manner.
"When I first saw the robbers, I hastily imagined that they were
soldiers of the caliph's guard, and that the caliph being
informed of Schemselnihar's going out, had sent them to put her,
the prince, and all of us to death. Under this impression I
immediately got up to the terrace of your house, when the thieves
entered the apartment where the prince and Schemselnihar were,
and I was soon after followed by that lady's two slaves. From
terrace to terrace, we came at last to a house of very honest
people, who received us with much civility, and with whom we
lodged that night.
"Next morning, after thanking the master of the house for our
good usage, we returned to Schemselnihar's palace, where we
entered in great disorder and distress, because we could not
learn the fate of the two unfortunate lovers. The other women of
Schemselnihar were astonished to see me return without their
lady. We told them, we had left her at the house of one of her
female friends, and that she would send for us when she wished to
come home; with which excuse they seemed well satisfied.
"For my part, I spent the day in great uneasiness, and when night
arrived, opening a small private gate, I espied a little boat on
the canal which seemed driven by the stream. I called to the
waterman, and desired him to row up each side of the river, and
look if he could not see a lady; and if he found her, to bring
her along with him. The two slaves and I waited impatiently for
his return, and at length, about midnight, we saw the boat coming
down with two men in it, and a woman lying along in the stern.
When the boat was come up, the two men helped the woman to rise,
and then it was I knew her to be Schemselnihar. I cannot express
my joy at seeing her.
"I gave my hand to Schemselnihar to help her out of the boat; she
had great need of my assistance, for she could hardly stand. When
she was landed, she whispered me in a tone expressive of her
affliction, and bade me go and take a purse of one thousand
pieces of gold and give it to the two soldiers that had
accompanied her. I left her to the care of the two slaves to
support her, and having ordered the two soldiers to wait for me a
moment, I took the purse, and returned instantly; I gave it to
them, and having paid the waterman, shut the door.
"I then followed my lady, and overtook her before she had reached
her chamber. We immediately undressed her, and put her to bed,
where she had not long been, before she became so ill that for
the whole of the night we almost despaired of her life. The day
following, her other women expressed a great desire to see her;
but I told them she had been greatly fatigued, and wanted rest.
The other two women and I gave her all the assistance in our
power; but we should have given over every hope of her recovery,
had I not at last perceived that the wine which we every now and
then gave her had a sensible effect in recruiting her strength.
By importunity we at length prevailed with her to eat.
"When she recovered the use of her speech, for she had hitherto
only wept, groaned, and sighed, I begged of her to tell me how
she had escaped out of the hands of the robbers. ‘Why would you
require of me,' said she, with a profound sigh, ‘to renew my
grief? Would to God the robbers had taken away my life, rather
than have preserved it; my misfortunes would then have had an
end, whereas I live but to increase my sufferings.'
"Madam,' I replied, ‘I beg you would not refuse me this favour.
You cannot but know that the wretched feel a consolation in
relating their greatest misfortunes; what I ask would alleviate
yours, if you would have the goodness to gratify me.'
"‘Hear then,' said she, ‘the most afflicting adventure that could
possibly have happened to one so deeply in love as myself, who
considered myself as at the utmost point of my wishes. You must
know, when I first saw the robbers enter, sword in hand, I
considered it as the last moment of our lives. But death was not
an object of regret, since I thought I was to die with the prince
of Persia. However, instead of murdering us, as I expected, two
of the robbers were ordered to take care of us, whilst their
companions were busied in packing up the goods they found in the
house. When they had done, and got their bundles upon their
backs, they went out, and took us with them.
"‘As we went along, one of those that had charge of us demanded
of me who I was? I answered, I was a dancer. He put the same
question to the prince, who replied, he was a citizen.
"When we had reached the place of our destination, a new alarm
seized us. They gathered about us, and after having considered my
dress, and the rich jewels I was adorned with, they seemed to
suspect I had disguised my quality. "Dancers," said they, "do not
use to be dressed as you are. Tell us truly who you are?"
"‘When they saw I made no reply, they asked the prince once more
who he was, for they told him they plainly perceived he was not
the person he pretended to be. He did not satisfy them much more
than I had done; he only told them he came to see the jeweller,
naming him, who was the owner of the house where they found us.
"I know this jeweller," replied one of the rogues, who seemed to
have some authority over the rest: "I owe him some obligations,
which he knows nothing of, and I take upon me to bring him hither
to-morrow morning; but you must not expect," continued he, "to be
released till he arrives and tells us who you are; in the mean
time, I promise you there shall be no injury offered to you."
"‘ The jeweller was brought next morning, who thinking to oblige
us, as he really did, declared to the robbers the whole truth.
They immediately came and asked my pardon, and I believe did the
like to the prince, who was shut up in another room. They
protested to me, they would not have broken open the house where
we were, had they known it was the jeweller's. They soon after
took us (the prince, the jeweller, and myself), carried us to the
river side, put us aboard a boat, and rowed us across the water;
but we were no sooner landed, than a party of horse-patrol came
up to us.
"The robbers fled; I took the commander aside, and told him my
name, and that the night before I had been seized by robbers, who
forced me along with them; but having been told who I was,
released me, and the two persons he saw with me, on my account.
He alighted out of respect to me; and expressing great joy at
being able to oblige me, caused two boats to be brought: putting
me and two of his soldiers, whom you have seen, into one, he
escorted me hither: but what is become of the prince and his
friend I cannot tell.
"‘I trust,' added she, melting into tears, ‘no harm has befallen
them since our separation; and I do not doubt but the prince's
concern for me is equal to mine for him. The jeweller, to whom we
have been so much obliged, ought to be recompensed for the loss
he has sustained on our account. Fail not, therefore, to take two
purses of a thousand pieces of gold in each, and carry them to
him to-morrow morning in my name, and be sure to inquire after
the prince's welfare.'
"When my good mistress had done speaking, I endeavoured, as to
the last article of inquiring into the prince's welfare, to
persuade her to endeavour to triumph over her passion, after the
danger she had so lately escaped almost by miracle. ‘Make me no
answer,' said she, ‘but do what I require.'
"I was obliged to be silent, and am come hither to obey her
commands. I have been at your house, but not finding you at home,
and uncertain as I was of where you might be found, was about
going to the prince of Persia; but not daring to attempt the
journey, I have left the two purses with a particular friend, and
if you will wait here, I will go and fetch them immediately."
The confidant soon returned to the jeweller in the mosque, where
she had left him, and giving him the two purses, bade him out of
them satisfy his friends. "They are much more than is necessary,"
said he, "but I dare not refuse the present from so good and
generous a lady to her most humble servant; I beseech you to
assure her from me, that I shall preserve an eternal remembrance
of her goodness." He then agreed with the confidant, that she
should find him at the house where she had first seen him,
whenever she had occasion to impart any thing from Schemselnihar,
or to hear any tidings of the prince of Persia: and so they
The jeweller returned home well pleased, not only that he had got
wherewithal so fully to satisfy his friends, but also to think
that no person in Bagdad could possibly know that the prince and
Schemselnihar had been in his other house when it was robbed. It
is true, he had acquainted the thieves with it, but on their
secrecy he thought he might very well depend. Next morning he
visited the friends who had obliged him, and found no difficulty
in satisfying them. He had money in hand to furnish his other
house, in which he placed servants. Thus he forgot all his past
danger, and the next evening waited on the prince of Persia.
The prince's domestics told the jeweller, that he came very
opportunely, as the prince, since he had parted with him, was
reduced to such a state that his life was in danger. They
introduced him softly into his chamber, and he found him in a
condition that excited his pity. He was lying on his bed, with
his eyes closed; but when the jeweller saluted him, and exhorted
him to take courage, he recollected him, opened his eyes, and
gave him a look that sufficiently declared the greatness of his
affliction, infinitely beyond what he felt after he first saw
Schemselnihar. He grasped him by the hand, to testify his
friendship, and told him, in a feeble voice, that he was
extremely obliged to him for coming so far to visit one so
unhappy and wretched.
"Prince," replied the jeweller, "mention not, I beseech you, any
obligations you owe to me. I wish the good offices I have
endeavoured to do you had had a better effect; but at present,
let us talk only of your health; which, in the state I see you, I
fear you greatly injure by unreasonably abstaining from proper
The prince's servants took this opportunity to tell him, it was
with the greatest difficulty they had prevailed on their master
to take the smallest refreshment, and that for some time he had
taken nothing. This obliged the jeweller to entreat the prince to
let his servants bring him something to eat.
After the prince had, through the persuasion of the jeweller,
eaten more than he had hitherto done, he commanded the servants
to leave him alone with his friend. When the room was clear, he
said, "Besides the misfortune that distracts me, I have been
exceedingly concerned to think what a loss you have sustained on
my account; and it is but just I should make you some recompence.
But before I do this, after begging your pardon a thousand times,
I conjure you to tell me whether you have learnt any tidings of
Schemselnihar, since I had the misfortune to be parted from her."
Here the jeweller, instructed by the confidant, related to him
all that he knew of Schemselnihar's arrival at her palace, her
state of health from that time till she recovered, and how she
had sent her confidant to him to inquire after his welfare.
To all this the prince replied only by sighs and tears. He made
an effort to get up, and calling his servants, went himself to
his wardrobe, and having caused several bundles of rich furniture
and plate to be packed up, he ordered them to be carried to the
The jeweller would fain have declined this kind offer; but
although he represented that Schemselnihar had already made him
more than sufficient amends for what he had lost, the prince
would be obeyed. The jeweller was therefore obliged to make all
possible acknowledgments, and protested how much he was
confounded at his highness's liberality. He would then have taken
his leave, but the prince desired him to stay, and they passed
good part of the night in conversation.
Next morning the jeweller waited again on the prince, who made
him sit down by him. "You know," said he, "there is an end
proposed in all things: that which the lover proposes, is to
enjoy the beloved object in spite of all opposition. If once he
loses that hope, he must not think to live. Such is my hard case;
for twice when I have been at the very point of fulfilling my
desires, I have suddenly been torn from her I loved in the most
cruell manner imaginable. It remains for me only to think of
death, and I had sought it, but that our holy religion forbids
suicide; but I need not anticipate it; I need not wait long."
Here he stopped, and vented his passion in groans, sighs, sobs,
and tears, which flowed abundantly.
The jeweller, who knew no better way of diverting him from his
despair than by bringing Schemselnihar into his mind, and giving
him some shadow of hope, told him, he feared the confidant might
be come from her lady, and therefore it would not be proper to
stay any longer from home. "I will let you go," said the prince,
"but conjure you, that if you see her, you recommend to her to
assure Schemselnihar, that if I die, as I expect to do shortly, I
shall love her to the last moment, even in the grave."
The jeweller returned home, and waited in expectation of seeing
the confidant, who came some hours after, but all in tears, and
in great affliction. The jeweller alarmed, asked her what was the
matter? She answered, that Schemselnihar, the prince, herself,
and he, were all ruined. "Hear the sad news," said she, "as it
was told me just upon my entering the palace after I had left you
"Schemselnihar had for some fault chastised one of the slaves you
saw with her when you met in your other house. The slave, enraged
at the ill treatment, ran immediately away, and finding the gate
open, went out; so that we have just reason to believe she has
discovered all to an eunuch of the guard, who gave her
"But this is not all; the other slave her companion has fled too,
and has taken refuge in the caliph's palace. So that we may well
fear she has borne her part in this discovery: for just as I came
away, the caliph had sent twenty of his eunuchs for
Schemselnihar, who have carried her to the palace. I just found
means to come and tell you this. I know not what has passed, yet
I fear no good; but above all, I recommend to you to keep the
The confidant added to what she had related before to the
jeweller, that it was proper he should go immediately and
acquaint the prince with the whole affair, that he might be
prepared for every event, and keep faithful to the common cause.
She went away in haste, without staying for any answer.
What answer could the jeweller have made in the condition he was
in? He stood motionless as if thunderstruck. He found, however,
that there was no time to be lost, and immediately went to give
the prince information. He addressed him with an air, that
sufficiently shewed the bad news he brought. "Prince," said he,
"arm yourself with courage and patience, and prepare to receive
the most terrible shock that ever you had to encounter."
"Tell me in a few words," replied the prince, "what is the
matter, without keeping me in suspense; I am, if necessary,
prepared to die."
Then the jeweller repeated all that he had learnt from the
confidant. "You see," continued he, "your destruction is
inevitable. Rise, save yourself by flight, for the time is
precious. You, of all men, must not expose yourself to the anger
of the caliph, and, less than any, confess in the midst of
At these words the prince was ready to expire through grief,
affliction, and fear. However, he recovered himself, and asked
the jeweller what resolution he would advise him to take in this
conjuncture, every moment of which ought to be employed. The
jeweller told him, he thought nothing remained, but that he
should immediately take horse, and hasten away towards Anbar,
that he might get thither before day. "Take what servants and
swift horses you think necessary," continued he, "and suffer me
to escape with you."
The prince, seeing nothing more to be done, immediately gave
orders to prepare such an equipage as would be least troublesome;
took money and jewels, and having taken leave of his mother,
departed with the jeweller and such servants as he had chosen.
They travelled all night without stopping, till at length, both
their horses and themselves being spent with so long a journey,
they halted to rest themselves.
They had hardly alighted before they found themselves surrounded
and assaulted by a band of robbers. They defended their lives for
some time courageously; but at length the prince's servants being
all killed, both he and the jeweller were obliged to yield at
discretion. The robbers, however, spared their dives, but after
they had seized the horses and baggage, they took away their
clothes and left them naked.
When the thieves were gone, the prince said to the jeweller,
"What think you of our adventure and condition? Had I not better
have tarried in Bagdad, and awaited my death?" "Prince," replied
the jeweller, "it is the decree of Heaven that we should thus
suffer. It has pleased God to add affliction to affliction. and
we must not murmur, but receive his chastisements with
submission. Let us stay no longer here, but seek for some retreat
where we may perhaps be relieved."
"Let me die," said the prince; "for what signifies it whether I
die here or elsewhere. Perhaps while we are talking,
Schemselnihar is no more, and why should I endeavour to live
after she is dead!" The jeweller, by his entreaty, at length
prevailed on him, and they had not gone far before they came to a
mosque, which was open; they entered it, and passed there the
remainder of the night.
At day-break a man came into the mosque. When he had ended his
prayer, as he turned about to go away, he perceived the prince
and jeweller, who were sitting in a corner. He came up to them,
and after having saluted them with a great deal of civility,
said, "I perceive you are strangers."
The jeweller answered, "You are not deceived. We have been robbed
to-night in coming from Bagdad, as you may see, and have retired
hither for shelter, but we know not to whom to apply." "If you
think fit to accompany me to my house," answered the man, "I will
give you all the assistance in my power."
Upon this obliging offer, the jeweller turned to the prince, and
whispered, "This man, as you perceive, sir, does not know us, and
we have reason to fear that somebody else may come who does. We
cannot, I think, refuse his offer." "Do as you please," said the
prince; "I am willing to be guided by your discretion."
The man observing the prince and jeweller consulting together,
and thinking they made some difficulty to accept his offer, asked
them if they were resolved what to do? The jeweller answered "We
are ready to follow you; all we hesitate about is that we are
ashamed to appear thus naked."
Fortunately the man had it in his power to cover them
sufficiently till they could get to his house. As soon as they
had entered, he brought a very handsome suit for each of them. As
he thought they must be hungry, and might wish to be alone, he
had several dishes brought to them by a slave; but they ate
little, especially the prince who was so dejected and dispirited,
that he gave the jeweller cause to fear he would die. Their host
visited them several times in the course of the day, and in the
evening, as he knew they wanted rest, he left them early. But he
was no sooner in bed, than the jeweller was forced to call him
again to assist at the death of the prince of Persia. He found
him breathe short, and with difficulty, which gave him reason to
fear he had but few minutes to live. Coming near him, the prince
said, "It is all over, and I am glad you are witness of my last
words. I quit life with a great deal of satisfaction; I need not
tell you the reason, for you know it already. All my concern is,
that I cannot die in the arms of my dear mother, who has always
loved me tenderly, and for whom I had a reciprocal affection. Let
her know how much I was concerned at this, and request her in my
name to have my body removed to Bagdad, that she may have an
opportunity to bedew my tomb with her tears, and assist my
departed soul with her prayers." He then took notice of the
master of the house, and thanked him for his kindness in taking
him in; and after desiring him to let his body rest with him till
it should be conveyed to Bagdad, he expired.
The day after the prince's death, the jeweller took the
opportunity of a numerous caravan that was going to Bagdad, and
arrived there in safety. He first went home to change his
clothes, and then hastened to the prince's palace, where every
body was alarmed at not seeing the prince with him. He desired
them to acquaint the prince's mother that he wished to speak with
her, and it was not long before he was introduced to her in a
hall, with several of her women about her. "Madam," said he to
her, with an air that sufficiently denoted the ill news he
brought, "God preserve you, and shower down upon you the choicest
of his blessings. You cannot be ignorant that he alone disposes
of us at his pleasure."
The princess would not permit him to proceed, but exclaimed,
"Alas! you bring me the news of my son's death?" She and her
women at the same time wept and sobbed loudly. At length she
checked her sighs and groans, and begged of him to continue
without concealing from her the least circumstance of such a
melancholy separation. He satisfied her, and when he had done,
she farther demanded of him, if her son the prince had not given
him in charge something more particular in his last moments? He
assured her his last words were, that it was to him the most
afflicting circumstance that he must die so far distant from his
dear mother, and that the only thing he wished was, that she
would have his corpse transported to Bagdad. Accordingly early
next morning the princess set out with her women and great part
of her slaves, to bring her son's body to her own palace.
When the jeweller, whom she had detained, had seen her depart, he
returned home very sad and melancholy, at the reflection that so
accomplished and amiable a prince was thus cut off in the flower
of his age.
As he walked towards his house, dejected and musing, he saw a
woman standing before him. He recognized her to be
Schemselnihar's confidant. At the sight of her, his tears began
to flow afresh but he said nothing to her; and going into his own
house, she followed him.
They sat down; when the jeweller beginning the conversation,
asked the confidant, with a deep sigh, if she had heard of the
death of the prince of Persia, and if it was on his account that
she grieved. "Alas!" answered she, "What! is that charming prince
then dead? He has not lived long after his dear Schemselnihar.
Beauteous souls," continued she, "in whatsoever place ye now are,
ye must be happy that your loves will no more be interrupted.
Your bodies were an obstacle to your wishes; but Heaven has
delivered you from them; ye may now form the closest union."
The jeweller, who had heard nothing of Schemselnihar's death, and
had not reflected that the confidant was in mourning, suffered
fresh grief at this intelligence. "Is Schemselnihar then dead?"
cried he. "She is," replied the confidant, weeping afresh, "and
it is for her I wear these weeds. The circumstances of her death
were extraordinary," continued she, "and deserve to be known to
you: but before I give you an account of them, I beg you to
acquaint me with those of the prince of Persia, whom, with my
dearest friend and mistress, I shall lament as long as I live."
The jeweller then gave the confidant the information she desired;
and after he had told her all, even to the departure of the
prince's mother to bring her son's body to Bagdad, she began and
said, "You have not forgotten that I told you the caliph had sent
for Schemselnihar to his palace. He had, as we had every reason
to believe, been informed of the amour betwixt her and the prince
by the two slaves, whom he had examined apart. You may imagine,
he would be exceedingly enraged at Schemselnihar's conduct, and
give striking proofs of his jealousy and of his impending
vengeance against the prince. But this was by no means the case.
He pitied Schemselnihar, and in some measure blamed himself for
what had happened, in giving her so much freedom to walk about
the city without being attended by his eunuchs. This is the only
conclusion that could be drawn from his extraordinary behavior
towards her, as you will hear.
"He received her with an open countenance; and when he observed
that the melancholy which oppressed her did not lessen her beauty
(for she appeared thus before him without surprise or fear), with
a goodness worthy himself, he said ‘Schemselnihar, I cannot bear
your appearing before me thus with an air which gives me infinite
pain. You must needs be sensible how much I have always loved
you, and be convinced of the sincerity of my passion by the
continued demonstrations I have given of it. I can never change
my mind, for I love you more than ever. You have enemies,
Schemselnihar,' proceeded he, ‘and those enemies have insinuated
things against your conduct, but all they have said against you
has not made the least impression upon me. Shake off then this
melancholy, and prepare to entertain me this night with some
amusing conversation, after your accustomed manner.' He said many
other obliging things to her, and then desired her to step into a
magnificent apartment near her own, and wait for him.
"The afflicted Schemselnihar was very sensible of the caliph's
kindness; but the more she thought herself obliged to him, the
more she was concerned that she was so far removed, perhaps for
ever, from her prince, without whom she could not live.
"This interview between the caliph and Schemselnihar," continued
the confidant, "took place whilst I was come to speak to you, and
I learned the particulars of it from my companions who were
present. But I had no sooner left you," proceeded she, "than I
went to my dear mistress again, and was eye-witness to what
happened in the evening. I found her in the apartment I told you
of; and as she though I came from you, she drew near me, and
whispering me, said, ‘I am much obliged to you for the service
you have done me, but I feel it will be the last.' She said no
more; but I was not in a place proper to offer any thing to
"The caliph was introduced at night with the sound of instruments
which her women played upon, and the collation was immediately
served up. He took his mistress by the hand, and made her sit
down with him on the sofa; she put such a force upon herself to
please him, that she expired a few minutes after. In short, she
was hardly set down, when she fell backwards. The caliph believed
she had only fainted, and so we all thought; but she never
recovered, and in this manner we lost her.
"The caliph did her the honour to weep over her, not being able
to refrain from tears; and before he left the room ordered all
the musical instruments to be broken; this was immediately done.
I stayed with her corpse all night, and next morning washed and
dressed her for her funeral, bathing her with my tears. The
caliph had her interred in a magnificent tomb he had erected for
her in her lifetime, in a place she had desired to be buried in.
Now since you tell me," said she, "the prince of Persia's body is
to be brought to Bagdad, I will use my best endeavours that he
shall be interred in the same tomb."
The jeweller was much surprised at this resolution of the
confidant, and said, "Certainly you do not consider that the
caliph will never suffer this?" "You think the thing impossible,"
replied she; "it is not. You will alter your opinion when I tell
you that the caliph has given liberty to all her slaves, with a
pension to each for their support. He has committed to me the
care and keeping of my mistress's tomb, and allotted me an annual
income for that purpose, and for my maintenance. Besides, the
caliph, who was not ignorant of the amour between Schemselnihar
and the prince, as I have already told you, without being
offended, will not be sorry if after her death he be buried with
her." To all this the jeweller had not a word to say. He
earnestly entreated the confidant to conduct him to her
mistress's tomb, that he might say his prayers over her. When he
came in sight of it, he was not a little surprised to find a vast
concourse of people of both sexes, who were come thither from all
parts of Bagdad. As he could not come near the tomb, he said his
prayers at a distance; and then going to the confidant, who was
waiting hard by, said to her, "I am now so far from thinking that
what you proposed cannot be put in execution, that you and I need
only publish abroad what we know of the amour of this unfortunate
couple, and how the prince died much about the same time with his
mistress. Before his corpse arrives, all Bagdad will concur to
desire that two such faithful lovers, whom nothing could divide
in affection whilst they lived, should not be separated when
dead." It happened as he said; for as soon as it was known that
the corpse was within a day's journey of the city, an infinite
number of people went above twenty miles to meet it, and
afterwards walked before it till it came to the city gate; where
the confidant, waiting for that purpose, presented herself before
the prince's mother, and begged of her in the name of the whole
city, who earnestly desired it, that she would be pleased to
consent that the bodies of the two lovers, who had but one heart
whilst they lived, from the time their mutual passion commenced,
might be buried in the same tomb. The princess immediately
consented; and the corpse of the prince, instead of being
deposited in his own burying-place, was laid by Schemselnihar's
side, after it had been carried along in procession at the head
of an infinite number of people of all ranks. From that time all
the inhabitants of Bagdad, and even strangers from all parts of
the world where the Mahummedan religion prevails have held that
tomb in the highest veneration, and pay their devotions at it.
The Story of the Loves of Kummir Al Zummaun, Prince of
the Isles of the Children of Khaledan, and of Badoura,
Princess of China.
About twenty days' sail from the coast of Persia, there are
islands in the main ocean called the Islands of the Children of
Khaledan. These islands are divided into four great provinces,
which have all of them very flourishing and populous cities,
forming together a powerful kingdom. It was formerly governed by
a king named Shaw Zummaun, who had four lawful wives, all
daughters of kings, and sixty concubines.
Shaw Zummaun thought himself the most happy monarch of the world,
on account of his peaceful and prosperous reign. One thing only
disturbed his happiness; which was, that he was advanced in
years, and had no children, though he had so many wives. He knew
not to what to attribute this barrenness; and what increased his
affliction was, that he was likely to leave his kingdom without a
successor. He dissembled his discontent, and this dissimulation
only heightened his uneasiness. At length he broke silence; and
one day after he had complained bitterly of his misfortune to his
grand vizier, he asked him if he knew any remedy for it?
That wise minister replied, "If what your majesty requires of me
had depended on the ordinary rules of human wisdom, you had soon
had an answer to your satisfaction; but my experience and
knowledge fall far short of your question. It is to God only that
we can apply in cases of this kind. In the midst of our
prosperities, which often tempt us to forget him, he is pleased
to mortify us in some instance, that we may address our thoughts
to him, acknowledge his omnipotence, and ask of him what we ought
to expect from him alone. Your majesty has subjects," proceeded
he "who make a profession of honouring and serving God, and
suffering great hardships for his sake; to them I would advise
you to have recourse, and engage them, by alms, to join their
prayers with yours. Perhaps some one among them may be so pure
and pleasing to God as to obtain a hearing for your prayers."
Shaw Zummaun approved this advice, and thanked his vizier. He
immediately caused alms to be given to every community of these
holy men in his dominions: and having sent for the superiors,
declared to them his intention, and desired them to acquaint
their devout men with it.
The king obtained of Heaven what he requested, for in nine
months' time he had a son by one of his wives. To express his
gratitude to Heaven, he sent fresh alms to the communities of
devotees, and the prince's birth-day was celebrated not only in
his capital, but throughout his dominions, for a whole week. The
prince was brought to him as soon as born, and he found him so
beautiful that he gave him the name of Kummir al Zummaun, or Moon
of the Age.
He was brought up with all imaginable care; and when he had
arrived at a proper age, his father appointed him an experienced
governor and able preceptors. These persons, distinguished by
their capacity, found in him a ready wit capable of receiving all
the instructions that were proper to be given him, as well in
relation to morals as other knowledge which a prince ought to
possess. As he grew up, he learned all his exercises, and
acquitted himself with such grace and wonderful address, as to
charm all that saw him, and particularly the sultan his father.
When he had attained the age of fifteen, the sultan, who tenderly
loved him, and gave him every day new marks of his affection,
proposed to afford a still higher demonstration by resigning his
throne to him, and he accordingly acquainted his grand vizier
with his intentions. "I fear," said he, "lest my son should lose
in the inactivity of youth those advantages which nature and my
education have give him; therefore, since I am advanced in age,
and ought to think of retirement I propose to resign the
government to him, and pass the remainder of my days in the
satisfaction of seeing him reign. I have borne the fatigue of a
crown till I am weary of it, and think it is now proper for me to
The grand vizier declined offering all the reasons he could have
alleged to dissuade the sultan from such a proceeding; on the
contrary, he appeared to acquiesce with him in his opinion.
"Sir," replied he, "the prince is yet but young, and it would
not, in my humble opinion, be advisable to burden him with the
weight of a crown so soon. Your majesty fears, with great reason,
his youth may be corrupted by indolence: but to avoid this
danger, do not you think it would be proper to marry him?
Marriage forms attachment, and prevents dissipation. Your majesty
might then admit him of your council, where he would learn by
degrees the art of reigning; and so be prepared to receive your
authority, whenever by your own experience you shall think him
Shaw Zummaun approved the advice of his prime minister; and
summoned the prince to appear before him, at the same time that
he dismissed the grand vizier.
The prince, who had been accustomed to see his father only at
certain times without being sent for, was a little startled at
this summons; when, therefore, he came into his presence, he
saluted him with great respect, and stood with his eyes fixed on
The sultan perceiving his constraint, addressed him with great
mildness, "Do you know, son, for what reason I have sent for
you?" The prince modestly replied, "God alone knows the heart: I
shall hear it from your majesty with pleasure." "I sent for you,"
resumed the sultan, "to inform you that it is my intention to
provide a proper marriage for you: what do you think of my
The prince heard this with great uneasiness: he was greatly
agitated, and knew not what answer to make. After a few moments
silence, he replied, "Sir, I beseech you to pardon me if I seem
surprised at the declaration you have made. I did not expect such
proposals at my present age. I know not whether I could prevail
on myself to marry, on account of the trouble incident to a
married life, and the many treacheries of women, which I have
read of. I may not be always of the same mind, yet I conceive it
will require time to determine on what your majesty requires of
The prince's answer extremely afflicted his father. He was not a
little grieved to discover his aversion to marriage; yet would
not charge him with disobedience, nor exert his paternal
authority. He contented himself with telling him, he would not
force his inclinations, but give him time to consider of the
proposal; and reflect, that a prince destined to govern a great
kingdom ought to take some care to leave a successor; and that in
giving himself that satisfaction he communicated it to his
father, who would be glad to see himself revive in his son and
Shaw Zummaun said no more to the prince but admitted him into his
council, and gave him every reason to be satisfied. At the end of
the year he took him aside, and said to him; "My son, have you
thoroughly considered what I proposed to you last year about
marrying? Will you still refuse me that pleasure I expect from
your obedience, and suffer me to die without affording me that
The prince seemed less disconcerted than before; and was not long
answering his father to this effect: "Sir, I have not neglected
to consider of your proposal; but after the maturest reflection
find myself more confirmed in my resolution to continue in a
state of celibacy. The infinite mischief which women have caused
in the world, and which are on record in our histories, and the
accounts I daily hear to their disadvantage, are the motives
which powerfully influence me against having any thing to do with
them; so that I hope your majesty will pardon me if I presume to
tell you, it will be in vain to solicit me any further upon this
subject." As soon as he had thus spoken, he quitted the sultan
abruptly without waiting his answer.
Any monarch but Shaw Zummaun would have been angry at such
freedom in a son, and would have made him repent; but he loved
him, and preferred gentle methods before he proceeded to
compulsion. He communicated this new cause of discontent to his
prime minister. "I have followed your advice," said he, "but
Kummir al Zummaun is farther than ever from complying with my
desires. He delivered his determination in such free terms, that
it required all my reason and moderation to keep my temper.
Fathers who so earnestly desire children as I did this son are
fools, who seek to deprive themselves of that rest which it is in
their own power to enjoy without control. Tell me, I beseech you,
how I shall reclaim a disposition so rebellious to my will?"
"Sir," answered the grand vizier, "patience brings many things
about that before seemed impracticable; but it may be this affair
is of a nature not likely to succeed that way. Your majesty will
have no cause to reproach yourself for precipitation, if you
would give the prince another year to consider your proposal. If
in this interval he return to his duty, you will have the greater
satisfaction, as you will have employed only paternal love to
induce him; and if he still continue averse when this is expired,
your majesty may in full council observe, that it is highly
necessary for the good of the state that he should marry; and it
is not likely he will refuse to comply before so grave an
assembly, which you honour with your presence."
The sultan, who so anxiously desired to see his son married,
thought this long delay an age; however, though with much
difficulty, he yielded to his grand vizier's reasons, which he
could not disapprove.
After the grand vizier was gone, the sultan went to the apartment
of the mother of prince Kummir al Zummaun, to whom he had often
expressed his desire to see the prince married. When he had told
her, with much concern, how his son had a second time refused to
comply with his wishes, and the indulgence which, by the advice
of his grand vizier, he was inclined to shew him; he said, "I
know he has more confidence in you than he has in me, and will be
more likely to attend to your advice. I therefore desire you
would take an opportunity to talk to him seriously, and urge upon
him, that if he persists in his obstinacy, he will oblige me to
have recourse to measures which would be disagreeable to me, and
which would give him cause to repent having disobeyed me."
Fatima, for so was the lady called, told the prince the first
time she saw him, that she had been informed of his second
refusal to marry; and how much chagrin his resolution had
occasioned his father. "Madam," replied the prince, "I beseech
you not to renew my grief upon that head. I fear, under my
present uneasiness, something may escape me, which may not be
consistent with the respect I owe you." Fatima judged from this
answer that this was not a proper time to speak to him, and
therefore deferred what she had to say to another opportunity.
Some considerable time after, Fatima thought she had found a more
favourable season, which gave her hopes of being heard upon that
subject. "Son," said she, "I beg of you, if it be not
disagreeable, to tell me what reason you have for your great
aversion to marriage? If it be the wickedness of some women,
nothing can be more unreasonable and weak. I will not undertake
the defence of those that are bad; there are a great number of
them undoubtedly; but it would be the height of injustice on
their account to condemn all the sex. Alas! my son, you have in
your books read of many bad women, who have occasioned great
mischief, and I will not excuse them: but you do not consider how
many monarchs, sultans, and other princes there have been in the
world, whose tyrannies, barbarities, and cruelties astonish those
that read of them, as well as myself. Now, for one wicked woman,
you will meet with a thousand tyrants and barbarians; and what
torment do you think must a good woman undergo, who is matched
with any of these wretches?"
"Madam," replied the prince, "I doubt not there are a great
number of wise, virtuous, good, affable, and well-behaved women
in the world; would to God they all resembled you! But what
deters me is, the hazardous choice a man is obliged to make, and
oftentimes one has not the liberty of following his inclination.
"Let us suppose then, madam," continued he, "that I had a mind to
marry, as the sultan my father so earnestly desires; what wife,
think you, would he be likely to provide for me? Probably a
princess whom he would demand of some neighbouring prince, and
who would think it an honour done him to send her. Handsome or
ugly, she must be taken; nay, suppose no other princess excelled
her in beauty, who can be certain that her temper would be good;
that she would be affable, complaisant, easy, obliging, and the
like? That her conversation would generally turn on solid
subjects, and not on dress, fashions, ornaments, and a thousand
such fooleries, which would disgust any man of sense? In a word,
that she would not be haughty, proud, arrogant, impertinent,
scornful, and waste an estate in frivolous expenses, such as gay
clothes, jewels, toys, and foolish mistaken magnificence?
"You see, madam," continued he, "by one single article, how many
reasons a man may have to be disgusted at marriage. Let this
princess be ever so perfect, accomplished, and irreproachable in
her conduct, I have yet a great many more reasons not to alter my
opinion and resolution."
"What, son," exclaimed Fatima; "have you then more reasons after
those you have already alleged? I do not doubt of being able to
answer them, and stop your mouth with a word." "You may proceed,
madam," returned the prince, "and perhaps I may find a reply to
"I mean, son," said Fatima, "that it is easy for a prince, who
has had the misfortune to marry such a wife as you describe, to
get rid of her, and take care that she may not ruin the state."
"Ah, madam," replied the prince, "but you do not consider what a
mortification it would be to a person of my quality to be obliged
to come to such an extremity. Would it not have been more for his
honour and quiet that he had never run such a risk?"
"But, son," said Fatima once more, "as you take the case, I
apprehend you have a mind to be the last king of your race, who
have reigned so long and gloriously over the isles of the
children of Khaledan?"
"Madam," replied the prince, "for myself I do not desire to
survive the king my father; and if I should die before him, it
would be no great matter of wonder, since so many children have
died before their parents. But it is always glorious to a race of
kings, that it should end with a prince worthy to be so, as I
should endeavour to make myself like my predecessors, and like
the first of our race."
From that time Fatima had frequent conferences with her son the
prince on the same subject; and she omitted no opportunity or
argument to endeavour to root out his aversion to the fair sex;
but he eluded all her reasonings by such arguments as she could
not well answer, and continued unaltered.
The year expired, and, to the great regret of the sultan, prince
Kummir al Zummaun gave not the least proof of having changed his
sentiments. One day, therefore, when there was a great council
held, the prime vizier, the other viziers, the principal officers
of the crown, and the generals of the army being present, the
sultan thus addressed the prince: "My son, it is now a long while
since I expressed to you my earnest desire to see you married,
and I imagined you would have had more complaisance for a father,
who required nothing unreasonable of you, than to oppose him so
long. But after such a resistance on your part, which has almost
worn out my patience, I have thought fit to propose the same
thing once more to you in the presence of my council. It is not
merely to oblige a parent that you ought to have acceded to my
wish, the well-being of my dominions requires your compliance,
and this assembly join with me in expecting it: declare yourself,
then; that your answer may regulate my proceedings."
The prince answered with so little reserve, or rather with so
much warmth, that the sultan, enraged to see himself thwarted by
him in full council, exclaimed, "How, unnatural son! have you the
insolence to talk thus to your father and sultan?" He ordered the
guards to take him away, and carry him to an old tower that had
been long unoccupied; where he was shut up, with only a bed, a
little furniture, some books, and one slave to attend him.
Kummir al Zummaun, thus deprived of liberty, was nevertheless
pleased that he had the freedom to converse with his books, which
made him regard his confinement with indifference. In the evening
he bathed and said his prayers; and after having read some
chapters in the Koraun, with the same tranquillity of mind as if
he had been in the sultan's palace, he undressed himself and went
to bed, leaving his lamp burning by him while he slept.
In this tower was a well, which served in the daytime for a
retreat to a certain fairy, named Maimoune, daughter of Damriat,
king or head of a legion of genies. It was about midnight when
Maimoune sprung lightly to the mouth of the well, to wander about
the world after her wonted custom, where her curiosity led her.
She was surprised to see a light in the prince's chamber. She
entered, and without stopping at the slave who lay at the door,
approached the bed.
The prince had but half covered his face with the bed-clothes,
which Maimoune lifted up, and perceived the finest young man she
had ever seen in her rambles through the world. "What beauty, or
rather what prodigy of beauty," said she within herself, "must
this youth appear, when the eyes, concealed by such well-formed
eyelids, shall be open? What crime can he have committed, that a
man of his high rank can deserve to be treated thus rigorously?"
for she had already heard his story, and could hardly believe it.
She could not forbear admiring the prince, till at length having
kissed him gently on both cheeks, and in the middle of the
forehead, without waking him, she laid the bed-clothes in the
order they were in before, and took her flight into the air. As
she was ascending into the middle region, she heard a great
flapping of wings, towards which she directed her course; and
when she approached, she knew it was a genie who made the noise,
but it was one of those that are rebellious against God. As for
Maimoune, she belonged to that class whom the great Solomon had
compelled to acknowledge him.
This genie, whose name was Danhasch, and son of Schamhourasch,
knew Maimoune, and was seized with fear, being sensible how much
power she had over him by her submission to the Almighty. He
would fain have avoided her, but she was so near him, he must
either fight or yield. He therefore broke silence first.
"Brave Maimoune," said he, in the tone of a suppliant, "swear to
me in the name of the great God, that you will not hurt me; and I
swear also on my part not to do you any harm."
"Cursed genie," replied Maimoune, "what hurt canst thou do me? I
fear thee not; but I will grant thee this favour; I will swear
not to do thee any harm. Tell me then, wandering spirit, whence
thou comest, what thou hast seen, and what thou hast done this
night?" "Fair lady," answered Danhasch, "you meet me in a good
time to hear something very wonderful."
Danhasch, the genie rebellious against God, proceeded and said to
Maimoune, "Since you desire, I will inform you that I have come
from the utmost limits of China, which comprise the remotest
islands of this hemisphere. . . . . But, charming Maimoune," said
Danhasch, who trembled with fear at the sight of this fairy, so
that he could hardly speak, "promise me at least you will forgive
me, and let me proceed after I have satisfied your request."
"Go on, cursed spirit," replied Maimoune; "go on, and fear
nothing. Dost thou think I am as perfidious as thyself, and
capable of breaking the solemn oath I have made? Be sure you
relate nothing but what is true, or I shall clip thy wings, and
treat thee as thou deserves"
Danhasch, a little encouraged by the words of Maimoune, said, "My
dear lady, I will tell you nothing but what is strictly true, if
you will but have the goodness to hear me. The country of China,
from whence I come, is one of the largest and most powerful
kingdoms of the earth, on which depend the remotest islands of
this hemisphere, as I have already told you. The king of this
country is at present Gaiour, who has an only daughter, the
finest woman that ever was seen in the world since it has been a
world. Neither you nor I, neither your class nor mine, nor all
our respective genies, have expressions forcible enough, nor
eloquence sufficient to convey an adequate description of her
charms. Her hair is brown, and of such length as to trail on the
ground; and so thick, that when she has fastened it in buckles on
her head, it may be fitly compared to one of those fine clusters
of grapes whose fruit is so very large. Her forehead is as smooth
as the best polished mirror, and admirably formed. Her eyes are
black, sparkling, and full of fire. Her nose is neither too long
nor too short, and her mouth small and of a vermilion colour. Her
teeth are like two rows of pearls, and surpass the finest in
whiteness. When she moves her tongue to speak, she utters a sweet
and most agreeable voice; and expresses herself in such terms, as
sufficiently indicate the vivacity of her wit. The whitest
alabaster is not fairer than her neck. In a word, by this
imperfect sketch, you may guess there is no beauty likely to
exceed her in the world.
"Any one that did not know the king, the father of this
incomparable princess, would be apt to imagine, from the great
respect and kindness he shews her, that he was enamoured with
her. Never did a lover more for the most beloved mistress than he
has been seen to do for her. The most violent jealousy never
suggested such measures as his care has led him to adopt, to keep
her from every one but the man who is to marry her: and that the
retreat in which he has resolved to place her may not seem
irksome, he has built for her seven palaces, the most
extraordinary and magnificent that ever were known.
"The first palace is of rock crystal, the second of brass, the
third of fine steel, the fourth of another kind of brass more
valuable than the former and also than steel, the fifth of
touchstone, the sixth of silver, and the seventh of massive gold.
He has furnished these palaces most sumptuously, each in a manner
corresponding to the materials of the structure. He has
embellished the gardens with parterres of grass and flowers,
intermixed with pieces of water, water-works, jets d'eau, canals,
cascades, and several great groves of trees, where the eye is
lost in the perspective, and where the sun never enters, and all
differently arranged. King Gaiour, in a word, has shewn that his
paternal love has led him to spare no expense.
"Upon the fame of this incomparable princess's beauty, the most
powerful neighbouring kings have sent ambassadors to solicit her
in marriage. The king of China received them all in the same
obliging manner; but as he resolved not to marry his daughter
without her consent, and she did not like any of the parties, the
ambassadors were forced to return as they came, as to the subject
of their embassy; they were perfectly satisfied with the great
honours and civilities they had received.
"‘Sir,' said the princess to the king her father, ‘ you have an
inclination to see me married, and think to oblige me by it; but
where shall I find such stately palaces and delicious gardens as
are furnished me by your majesty? Through your good pleasure I am
under no constraint, and have the same honours shewn to me as are
paid to yourself. These are advantages I cannot expect to find
any where else, whoever may be my husband; men love to be
masters, and I have no inclination to be commanded.'
"After several other embassies on the same occasion, there
arrived one from a king more opulent and powerful than any of the
preceding. This prince the king of China recommended to his
daughter for her husband, urging many forcible arguments to shew
how much it would be to her advantage to accept him, but she
entreated her father to excuse her compliance for the reasons she
had before urged. He pressed her; but instead of consenting, she
lost all the respect due to the king her father: ‘ Sir,' said
she, in anger, ‘talk to me no more of this or any other match,
unless you would have me plunge this dagger in my bosom, to
deliver myself from your importunities'
"The king, greatly enraged, said, ‘Daughter, you are mad, and I
must treat you accordingly.' In a word, he had her shut up in a
single apartment of one of his palaces, and allowed her only ten
old women to wait upon her, and keep her company, the chief of
whom had been her nurse That the kings his neighbours, who had
sent embassies to him on her account, might not think any more of
her, he despatched envoys to them severally, to let them know how
averse his daughter was to marriage; and as he did not doubt but
she was really mad, he charged them to make known in every court,
that if there were any physician that would undertake to cure
her, he should, if he succeeded, have her for his pains.
"Fair Maimoune," continued Danhasch, "all that I have told you is
true; and I have gone every day regularly to contemplate this
incomparable beauty, to whom I would be sorry to do the least
harm, notwithstanding my natural inclination to mischief. Come
and see her, I conjure you; it would be well worth your while.
When you have seen from your own observation that I am no liar, I
am persuaded you will think yourself obliged to me for the sight
of a princess unequalled in beauty."
Instead of answering Danhasch, Maimoune burst out into violent
laughter, which lasted for some time; and Danhasch, not knowing
what might be the occasion of it, was astonished beyond measure.
When she had done laughing, she exclaimed, "Good, good, very
good! You would have me then believe all you have told me? I
thought you designed to tell me something surprising and
extraordinary, and you have been talking all this while of a mad
woman. Fie, fie! what would you say, cursed genie, if you had
seen the beautiful prince from whom I am just come, and whom I
love as he deserves. I am confident you would soon give up the
contest, and not pretend to compare your choice with mine."
"Agreeable Maimoune," replied Danhasch, "may I presume to ask who
this prince you speak of is?" "Know," answered Maimoune, "the
same thing has happened to him as to your princess. The king his
father would have married him against his will; but after much
importunity, he frankly told him he would have nothing to do with
a wife. For this reason he is at this moment imprisoned in an old
tower where I reside."
"I will not absolutely contradict you," replied Danhasch; "but,
my pretty lady, you must give me leave to be of opinion, till I
have seen your prince, that no mortal upon earth can equal my
princess in beauty." "Hold thy tongue, cursed sprite," replied
Maimoune. "I tell thee once more thou art wrong." "I will not
contend with you," said Danhasch, "but the way to be convinced,
whether what I say be true or false, is to accept of my proposal
to go and see my princess, and after that I will go with you to
"There is no need I should be at so much trouble," replied
Maimoune; "there is another way to satisfy us both; and that is,
for you to bring your princess, and place her at my prince's bed-
side: by this means it will be easy for us to compare them
together, and determine the dispute."
Danhasch consented, and determined to set out immediately for
China. But Maimoune drew him aside, and told him, she must first
shew him the tower whither he was to bring the princess. They
flew together to the tower, and when Maimoune had strewn it to
Danhasch, she cried, "Go fetch your princess, and do it quickly,
you will find me here."
Danhasch left Maimoune, and flew towards China, whence he soon
returned with incredible speed, bringing the fair princess along
with him asleep. Maimoune received him, and introduced him into
the chamber of Kummir al Zummaun, where they placed the princess
by the prince's side.
When the prince and princess were thus laid together, there arose
a sharp contest between the genie and the fairy about the
preference of their beauty. They were some time admiring and
comparing them without speaking; at length Danhasch said to
Maimoune, "You see, and I have already told you, my princess was
handsomer than your prince; now, I hope, you are convinced."
"How! convinced!" replied Maimoune; "I am not convinced, and you
must be blind, if you cannot see that my prince excels in the
comparison. That the princess is fair, I do not deny; but if you
compare them together without prejudice, you will soon see the
"How much soever I may compare them," returned Danhasch, "I shall
never change my opinion. I saw at first sight what I now behold,
and time will not make me see differently: however, this shall
not hinder my yielding to you, charming Maimoune, if you desire
it." "What! have you yield to me as a favour! I scorn it," said
Maimoune, "I would not receive a favour at the hand of such a
wicked genie. I will refer the matter to an umpire, and if you do
not consent, I shall win by your refusal."
Danhasch, who was ready to have shewn a different kind of
complaisance, no sooner gave his consent, than Maimoune stamped
with her foot. The earth opened, and out came a hideous, hump-
backed, squinting, and lame genie, with six horns upon his head,
and claws on his hands and feet. As soon as he was come out, and
the earth had closed, perceiving Maimoune, he threw himself at
her feet, and then rising on one knee, inquired her commands.
"Rise, Caschcasch," said Maimoune, "I brought you hither to
determine a difference between me and this cursed Danhasch. Look
on that bed, and tell me without partiality who is the handsomer
of those two that lie there asleep, the young man or the young
Caschcasch looked on the prince and princess with great
attention, admiration, and surprise; and after he had considered
them a good while, without being able to determine, he turned to
Maimoune, and said, "Madam, I must confess I should deceive you,
and betray myself, if I pretended to say one was handsomer than
the other. The more I examine them, the more clearly it appears
to me each possesses, in a sovereign degree, the beauty of which
both partake. Neither of them appears to have the least defect,
to yield to the other the palm of superiority; but if there be
any difference, the best way to determine it is, to awaken them
one after the other, and to agree that the person who shall
express most love for the other by ardour, eagerness, and
passion, shall be deemed to have in some respect less beauty."
This proposal of Caschcasch's pleased both Maimoune and Danhasch.
Maimoune then changed herself into a flea, and leaping on the
prince's neck, stung him so smartly, that he awoke, and put up
his hand to the place; but Maimoune skipped away, and resumed her
pristine form, which, like those of the two genies, was
invisible, the better to observe what he would do.
In drawing back his hand, the prince chanced to let it fall on
that of the princess of China. He opened his eyes, and was
exceedingly surprised to find lying by him a lady of the greatest
beauty. He raised his head, and leaned on his elbow, the better
to observe her. Her blooming youth and incomparable beauty fired
him in a moment with a flame of which he had never yet been
sensible, and from which he had hitherto guarded himself with the
Love seized on his heart in the most lively manner, and he
exclaimed, "What beauty! what charms! my heart! my soul!" As he
spoke he kissed her forehead, her cheeks, and her mouth with so
little caution, that he would have awakened her, had she not
slept sounder than ordinary, through the enchantment of Danhasch.
"How!" said the prince, "do you not awake at these testimonies of
love?" He was going to awake her, but suddenly refrained. "Is not
this she," said he, "that the sultan my father would have had me
marry? He was in the wrong not to let me see her sooner. I should
not have offended him by my disobedience and passionate language
to him in public, and he would have spared himself the confusion
which I have occasioned him."
The prince began to repent sincerely of the fault he had
committed, and was once more on the point of awaking the princess
of China. "It may be," said he, "that the sultan my father has a
mind to surprise me; and has sent this young lady to try if I had
really that aversion to marriage which I pretended. Who knows but
he has brought her himself, and is hidden behind the hangings, to
observe me, and make me ashamed of my dissimulation? The second
fault would be greater than the first. At all events, I will
content myself with this ring, as a remembrance of her."
He then gently drew off a ring which the princess had on her
finger, and immediately replaced it with one of his own. After
this he fell into a more profound sleep than before, through the
enchantment of the genies.
Danhasch now transformed himself into a flea in his turn, and bit
the princess so rudely on the lip, that she awoke, started up,
and on opening her eyes, was not a little surprised to see a man
lying by her side. From surprise she proceeded to admiration, and
from admiration to a transport of joy, at beholding so beautiful
and lovely a youth.
"What!" cried she, "is it you the king my father has designed me
for a husband? Would that I had known it, for then I should not
have displeased him, nor been deprived of a husband whom I cannot
forbear loving. Wake then, awake!"
So saying, she took the prince by the arm, and shook him so
violently, that he would have awaked, had not Maimoune increased
his sleep by her enchantment. She shook him several times, and
finding he did not awake, exclaimed, "What is come to thee? what
jealous rival, envying thy happiness and mine, has had recourse
to magic to throw thee into this unconquerable drowsiness when
thou shouldst be most awake?" Tired at length with her fruitless
endeavours to awaken the prince; "Since," said she, "I find it is
not in my power to awake thee, I will no longer disturb thy
repose, but wait our next meeting." After having kissed his
cheek, she lay down and fell asleep by enchantment.
Maimoune now cried out to Danhasch, "Ah, cursed genie, art thou
not now convinced how much thy princess is inferior to my prince?
Another time believe me when I assert any thing." Then turning to
Caschcasch, "As for you," said she, "I thank you for your
trouble; take the princess, in conjunction with Danhasch, and
convey her back again to her bed, from whence he has taken her."
Danhasch and Caschcasch did as they were commanded, and Maimoune
retired to her well.
Kummir al Zummaun on waking next morning, looked if the lady whom
he had seen the night before were by him. When he found she was
gone, he cried out, "I thought indeed this was a trick the king
my father designed to play me. I am glad I was aware of it." He
then awaked the slave, who was still asleep, and after he had
washed and said his prayers, took a book and read some time.
After these usual exercises, he called the slave, and said to
him, "Come hither, and be sure you do not tell me a lie. How came
the lady hither who lay with me to-night, and who brought her?"
"My lord," answered the slave with great astonishment, "I know
not what lady your highness speaks of." "I speak," said the
prince, "of her who came, or rather was brought hither, and lay
with me to-night." "My lord," replied the slave, "I swear I know
of no such lady; and how should she come in without my knowledge,
since I lay at the door?"
"You are a lying knave," replied the prince, "and in the plot to
vex and provoke me." He then gave him a box on the ear, which
knocked him down; and after having stamped upon him for some
time, he tied the well-rope under his arms, and plunged him
several times into the water, neck and heels. "I will drown
thee," cried he, "if thou dost not tell me directly who this lady
was, and who brought her."
The slave, perplexed and half dead, said within himself, "The
prince must have lost his senses through grief, and I shall not
escape if I do not tell him a falsehood. My lord," cried he, in a
suppliant tone, "I beseech your highness to spare my life, and I
will tell you the truth."
The prince drew the slave up, and pressed him to tell him. As
soon as he was out of the well, "My lord," said he, trembling,
"your highness must perceive it is impossible for me to satisfy
you in my present condition; I beg you to give me leave first to
go and change my clothes." "I permit you, but do it quickly,"
said the prince; "and be sure you conceal nothing."
The slave went out, and having locked the door upon the prince,
ran to the palace just as he was. The king was at that time in
discourse with his prime vizier, to whom he had just related the
grief in which he had passed the night on account of his son's
disobedience and opposition to his will.
The minister endeavoured to comfort his master, by telling him,
the prince himself had given him cause for his severity. "Sir,"
said he, "your majesty need not repent of having treated your son
in this manner. Have but patience to let him continue a while in
prison, and assure yourself his heat will abate, and he will
submit to all you require."
The grand vizier had but just done speaking when the slave came
in, and cast himself at the feet of the sovereign. "My lord,"
said he, "I am sorry to be the messenger of ill news to your
majesty, which I know must occasion you fresh affliction. The
prince is distracted; he raves of a lady having lain with him all
night, and his treatment of me, as you may see, too plainly
proves the state of his mind." Then he proceeded to relate the
particulars of what the prince had said, and the violence with
which he had been treated.
The king, who did not expect to hear any thing of this afflicting
kind, said to the prime minister, "This is a melancholy turn,
very different from the hopes you gave me: go immediately and
examine the condition of my son."
The grand vizier obeyed; and coming into the prince's chamber,
found him sitting on his bed with a book in his hand, which he
After mutual salutations, the vizier said, "My lord, I wish that
a slave of yours were punished for coming to alarm the king your
father by news that he has brought him."
"What is it," demanded the prince, "that could give my father so
"Prince," answered the vizier, "God forbid that the intelligence
he has conveyed to your father concerning you should be true;
indeed, I find it to be false, by the calm temper in which I
observe you, and which I pray you to continue."
"It may be," replied the prince, "he did not make himself well
understood; but since you are come, who ought to know something
of the matter, permit me to ask you who that lady was that lay
with me last night?"
The grand vizier was thunderstruck at this question; he recovered
himself and said, "My lord, be not surprised at my astonishment
at your question. Is it possible, that a lady or any other person
should penetrate by night into this place without entering at the
door, and walking over the body of your slave? I beseech you,
recollect yourself, and you will find it is only a dream which
has made this impression on you."
"I give no ear to what you say," replied the prince, raising his
voice. "I must know from you absolutely what is become of the
lady; and if you hesitate, I am in a place where I shall soon be
able to force you to obey me."
At this stern language, the grand vizier began to feel more
alarmed than before, and to think how he could extricate himself.
He endeavoured to pacify the prince, and begged of him, in the
most humble and guarded manner, to tell him if he had seen this
"Yes, yes," answered the prince, "I have seen her, and am very
well satisfied you sent her here to tempt me. She played the part
in which you had instructed her admirably well. She pretended to
be asleep, and I had no sooner fallen into a slumber, than she
arose and left me. You know all this; for I doubt not she has
been to make her report to you."
"My lord," replied the vizier, "I swear to you nothing of this
kind has been acted; neither your father nor I sent this lady you
speak of; permit me therefore once more to suggest to your
highness, that you have only seen this lady in a dream."
"Do you come to affront and contradict me," said the prince in a
rage, "and to tell me to my face, that what I have told you is a
dream?" At the same time he took him by the beard, and loaded him
with blows, as long as he could stand.
The grand vizier endured with respectful patience all the
violence of the prince's indignation, and could not help saying
within himself, "Now am I in as bad a condition as the slave, and
shall think myself happy, if I can, like him, escape from any
further danger." In the midst of repeated blows, he cried out but
for a moment's audience, which the prince, after he had nearly
tired himself with beating him, consented to give him.
"I own, my prince," said the grand vizier dissembling, "there is
something in what your highness suspects; but you cannot be
ignorant of the necessity a minister is under to obey his royal
master's commands: yet, if you will but be pleased to set me at
liberty, I will go and tell him any thing on your behalf that you
shall think fit to require." "Go then," said the prince, "and
tell him from me, if he pleases, I will marry the lady he sent
me, or, rather, that was brought to me last night. Do this
immediately, and bring me a speedy answer." The grand vizier made
a profound reverence and went away, not thinking himself
altogether safe till he had got out of the tower, and had closed
the door on the prince.
He came and presented himself before Shaw Zummaun, with a
countenance that sufficiently shewed he had been ill used, and
which the king could not behold without concern. "Well," said the
king, "in what condition did you find my son?" "Sir," answered
the vizier, "what the slave reported to your majesty is but too
true." He then began to relate his interview with the prince, how
he flew into a passion upon his endeavouring to persuade him it
was impossible the lady he spoke of should have been introduced;
the ill treatment he had received from him; how he had used him,
and by what means he had made his escape.
The king, the more concerned as he loved the prince with
excessive tenderness, resolved to find out the truth, and
therefore proposed to go himself and see his son in the tower,
accompanied by the grand vizier.
The prince received his father in the tower, where he was
confined, with great respect. The king put several questions to
him, which he answered calmly. The king every now and then looked
on the grand vizier, as intimating he did not find his son had
lost his wits, but rather thought he had lost his.
The king at length spoke of the lady to the prince. "My son,"
said he, "I desire you to tell me what lady it was who lay with
you last night."
"Sir," answered the prince, "I beg of your majesty not to give me
more vexation on that head, but rather to oblige me by letting me
have her in marriage; whatever aversion I may hitherto have
discovered for women, this young lady has charmed me to that
degree, that I cannot help confessing my weakness. I am ready to
receive her at your majesty's hands, with the deepest gratitude."
Shaw Zummaun was surprised at this answer of the prince, so
remote, as he thought, from the good sense he had strewn before.
"My son," said he, "you fill me with the greatest astonishment by
what you say: I swear to you I know nothing of the lady you
mention; and if any such has come to you, it was without my
knowledge or privily. But how could she get into this tower
without my consent? For whatever my grand vizier told you, it was
only to appease your anger, it must therefore be a mere dream;
and I beg of you not to believe otherwise, but recover your
"Sir," replied the prince, "I should be for ever unworthy of your
majesty's favour, if I did not give entire credit to what you are
pleased to say but I humbly beseech you at the same time to give
a patient hearing to what I shall relate, and then to judge
whether what I have the honour to tell you be a dream or not."
The prince then related to his father how he had been awaked,
exaggerating the beauty and charms of the lady he found by his
side, the instantaneous love he conceived for her, and the pains
he took to awaken her without effect. Shewing the king the ring
he had taken from her finger he added, "After this, I hope you
will be convinced that I have not lost my senses, as you have
been almost made to believe."
Shaw Zummaun was so perfectly convinced of the truth of what his
son had been telling him, that he could make no reply, remaining
astonished for some time, and not being able to utter a syllable.
The prince took advantage of this opportunity, and said, "The
passion I have conceived for this charming lady, whose lovely
image I bear continually in my mind, is so ardent, that I cannot
resist it. I entreat you therefore to have compassion, and
procure me the happiness of being united to her."
"Son," replied the king, "after what I have just heard, and what
I see by the ring on your finger, I cannot doubt but that your
passion is real, and that you have seen this lady, who is the
object of it. Would to God I knew who she was. I would instantly
comply with your wishes, and should be the happiest father in the
world! But where shall I seek her? How came she here, and by what
conveyance, without my consent? Why did she come to sleep with
you only to display her beauty, to kindle a flame of love while
she slept, and then leave you while you were in a slumber? These
things, I must confess, I do not understand; and if heaven do not
favour us in our perplexity, I fear we must both go down to the
grave together." As he spoke, he took the prince by the hand, and
said, "Come then, my son, let us go and grieve together; you with
hopeless love, and I with seeing your affliction, without being
able to afford you relief."
Shaw Zummaun then led his son out of the tower, and conveyed him
to the palace, where he had no sooner arrived, than in despair at
loving an unknown object he fell sick, and took to his bed; the
king shut himself up with him, without attending to the affairs
of his kingdom for many days.
The prime minister, who was the only person that had admittance,
at length informed him, that the whole court, and even the
people, began to murmur at not seeing him, and that he did not
administer justice every day as he was wont to do; adding, he
knew not what disorder it might occasion. "I humbly beg your
majesty, therefore," proceeded he, "to pay some attention. I am
sensible your majesty's company is a great comfort to the prince,
and that his tends to relieve your grief; but you must not run
the risk of letting all be lost. Permit me to propose to your
majesty, to remove with the prince to the castle near the port,
where you may give audience to your subjects twice a week only.
During these absences the prince will be so agreeably amused with
the beauty, prospect, and good air of the place, that he will
bear them with the less uneasiness."
The king approved this proposal: he removed thither with the
prince; and, excepting when he gave audience, never left him, but
passed all his time endeavouring to comfort him by sharing his
Whilst matters passed thus in the capital of Shaw Zummaun, the
two genies, Danhasch and Caschcasch, had carried the princess of
China back to the palace where the king her father had confined
her, and laid her in her bed as before.
When she awoke next morning, and found that prince Kummir al
Zummaun was not by her, she cried out in such a manner to her
women, that she soon brought them to her bed. Her nurse, who
arrived first, desired to be informed if any thing disagreeable
had happened to her.
"Tell me," said the princess, "what is become of the young man
that has passed the night with me, and whom I love with all my
soul?" "Madam," replied the nurse, "we cannot understand your
highness, unless you will be pleased to explain yourself."
"A young man, the handsomest and most amiable," said the
princess, "slept with me last night, whom, with all my caresses,
I could not awake; I ask you where he is?"'
"Madam,"answered the nurse, "your highness asks us these
questions in jest. I beseech you to rise." "I am in earnest,"
said the princess, "and I must know where this young man is."
"Madam," insisted the nurse, "you were alone when you went to bed
last night; and how any man could come to you without our
knowledge we cannot imagine, for we all lay about the door of
your chamber, which was locked, and I had the key in my pocket."
At this the princess lost all patience,and taking her nurse by
the hair of her head, and giving her two or three sound cuffs,
cried, "You shall tell me where this young man is, you old
sorceress, or I will put you to death."
The nurse struggled to get from her, and at last succeeded. She
went immediately with tears in her eyes, and her face all bloody,
to complain to the queen, who was not a little surprised to see
her in this condition, and asked who had misused her.
"Madam," began the nurse, "you see how the princess has treated
me; she had certainly murdered me, if I had not had the good
fortune to escape out of her hands." She then related what had
been the cause of all that violent passion in the princess. The
queen was surprised at her account, and could not guess how she
came to be so infatuated as to take that for a reality which
could be no other than a dream. "Your majesty must conclude from
all this," continued the nurse, "that the princess is out of her
senses. You will think so yourself if you will go and see her."
The queen's affection for the princess deeply interested her in
what she heard; she ordered the nurse to follow her; and they
immediately went together to the princess's palace.
The queen of China sat down by her daughter's bed-side on her
arrival in her apartment, and after she had informed herself
about her health began to ask her what had made her so angry with
her nurse, as to treat her in the manner she had done.
"Daughter," said she, "this is not right, and a great princess
like you should not suffer herself to be so transported by
"Madam," replied the princess, "I plainly perceive your majesty
is come to mock me; but I declare I will never let you rest till
you consent to my marrying the young man who lay with me last
night. You must know where he is, and therefore I beg of your
majesty to let him come to me again."
"Daughter," answered the queen, "you surprise me; I do not
understand your meaning." The princess now forgot all respect for
the queen; "Madam," replied she, "the king my father and you have
persecuted me about marrying, when I had no inclination; I now
have an inclination, and I will have this young man I told you of
for my husband, or I will destroy myself."
The queen endeavoured to calm the princess by conciliatory
language: "Daughter," said she, "you know well you are guarded in
this apartment, how then could any man come to you?" But instead
of attending to her, the princess interrupted her, by such
extravagancies as obliged the queen to leave her, and retire in
great affliction, to inform the king of all that had passed.
When the king had heard the account, he wished likewise to be
satisfied in person, and coming to his daughter's apartment,
asked her, if what he had been told was true? "Sir," replied the
princess, "let us talk no more of that; I only beseech your
majesty to grant me the favour, that I may marry the young man I
lay with last night."
"What! daughter," said the king, "has any one lain with you last
night?" "How, sir," replied the princess, without giving him time
to go on, "do you ask me if any one lay with me last night? Your
majesty knows that but too well. He was the most beautiful youth
the sun ever saw: I ask him of you for my husband; I entreat you
do not refuse me. But that your majesty may not longer doubt
whether I have seen this young man, whether he has lain with me,
whether I have caressed him, or whether I did not my utmost to
awake him without succeeding, see, if you please, this ring." She
then reached forth her hand, and shewed the king a man's ring on
her finger. The king was perplexed what to think. He had confined
his daughter as mad, he began now to think her more insane than
ever. Without saying any thing more to her, lest she might do
violence to herself or somebody about her, he had her chained,
and confined more closely than before, allowing her only the
nurse to wait on her, with a good guard at the door.
The king, exceedingly concerned at this indisposition of his
daughter, sought all possible means to effect her cure. He
assembled his council, and after having acquainted them with her
condition "If any of you," said he, "is capable of undertaking to
restore her to health, and succeed, I will give her to him in
marriage, and make him heir to my dominions."
The desire of obtaining a handsome young princess, and the hopes
of one day governing so great a kingdom as that of China, had a
powerful effect on an emir, already advanced in years, who was
present at this council. As he was well skilled in magic, he
offered the king to recover his daughter, and flattered himself
with success. "I consent to the trial," said the king; "but I
forgot to tell you one condition, and that is, that if you do not
succeed, you shall lose your head. It would not be reasonable you
should have so great a reward, and yet run no risk: and what I
say to you," continued the king, "I say to all others who shall
come after you, that they may consider beforehand what they
The emir accepted the condition, and the king conducted him to
the princess's place of confinement. She covered her face as soon
as she saw them enter, and exclaimed, "Your majesty surprises me,
in bringing with you a man whom I do not know, and by whom my
religion forbids me to let myself be seen." "Daughter," replied
the king, "you need not be scandalized, it is only one of my
emirs who is come to demand you in marriage." "It is not, I
perceive, the person that you have already given me, and whose
faith is plighted by the ring I wear," replied the princess; "be
not offended that I will never marry any other."
The emir expected the princess would have said or done some
extravagant thing, and was not a little disappointed when he
heard her talk so calmly and rationally; for he then concluded
that her disease was nothing but a violent and deep-rooted
passion. He therefore threw himself at his majesty's feet, and
said, "After what I have heard and observed, sir, it will be to
no purpose for me to think of curing the princess, since I have
no remedies proper for her malady; for which reason I humbly
submit my life to your majesty's pleasure." The king, enraged at
his incapacity, and the trouble he had given him, caused him to
be immediately beheaded.
Some days after, unwilling to have it said that he had neglected
his daughter's cure, the king put forth a proclamation in his
capital, importing, that if there were any physician, astrologer,
or magician who would undertake to restore the princess to her
senses, he needed only to offer himself, and he should be
employed, on condition of losing his head if he failed. He had
the same published in the other principal cities and towns of his
dominions, and in the courts of the princes his neighbours.
The first that presented himself was an astrologer and magician,
whom the king caused to be conducted to the princess's prison by
an eunuch. The astrologer drew forth, out of a bag he carried
under his arm, an astrolabe, a small sphere, a chafing-dish,
several sorts of drugs proper for fumigations, a brass pot, with
many other articles, and desired he might have a fire.
The princess demanded what all these preparations were for.
"Madam," answered the eunuch, "they are to exorcise the evil
spirit that possesses you, to shut him up in this pot, and throw
him into the sea."
"Foolish astrologer," replied the princess, "I have no occasion
for any of your preparations, but am in my perfect senses, and
you alone are mad. If your art can bring him I love to me, I
shall be obliged to you; otherwise you may go about your
business, for I have nothing to do with you." "Madam," said the
astrologer, "if your case be so, I shall desist from all
endeavours, believing the king your father only can remove your
disorder:" so putting up his trinkets again, he marched away,
much concerned that he had so easily undertaken to cure an
The eunuch conducted the astrologer to the king, whom the
astrologer thus addressed: "According to what your majesty
published in your proclamation, and what you were pleased to
confirm to me yourself, I thought the princess was insane, and
depended on being able to recover her by the secrets I have long
been acquainted with; but I soon found she had no other disease
but that of love, over which my art has no power: your majesty
alone is the physician who can cure her, by giving her in
marriage the person whom she desires."
The king was much enraged at the astrologer, and had his head
instantly cut off. A hundred and fifty astrologers, physicians,
and magicians, came on this account, who all underwent the same
fate; and their heads were set upon poles on every gate of the
The princess of China's nurse had a son whose name was Marzavan,
who had been foster-brother to the princess, and brought up with
her, The friendship was so great during their childhood, and all
the time they had been together, that as they grew up, even some
time after their separation, they treated each other as brother
Marzavan, among other studies, had from his youth been much
addicted to judicial astrology, geomancy, and the like secret
arts, wherein he became exceedingly skilful. Not satisfied with
what he had learned from masters, he travelled, and there was
hardly any person of note in any science or art, but he sought
him in the most remote cities, to obtain information, so great
was his thirst after knowledge.
After several years' absence in foreign parts, he returned to the
capital of his native country, where, seeing so many heads on the
gate by which he entered, he was exceedingly surprised, and
demanded for what reason they had been placed there; but he more
particularly inquired after the princess his foster-sister. As he
could not receive an answer to one inquiry without the other, he
heard at length a general account of what had happened, and
waited for further particulars till he could see his mother, the
Although the nurse, the mother of Marzavan, was much employed
about the princess, yet she no sooner heard her son was returned,
than she found time to come out, embrace him, and converse with
him a little. Having told him, with tears in her eyes, the
unhappy condition of the princess, and for what reason the king
her father had confined her; her son desired to know if she could
not procure him a private view of her royal mistress, without the
king's knowledge. After some pause, she told him she could give
him no answer for the present; but if he would meet her the next
day at the same hour, she would inform him.
The nurse knowing none could approach the princess but herself;
without leave of the eunuch, who commanded the guard at the gate,
addressed: herself to him, and said, "You know I have brought up
and suckled the princess, and you may likewise have heard that I
had a daughter whom I brought up along with her. This daughter
has been since married, yet the princess still does her the
honour to love her, and wishes to see her, without any person's
observing her enter or depart."
The nurse was proceeding, but the eunuch interrupted her and
exclaimed, "Say no more, I will with pleasure do any thing to
oblige the princess; go and fetch your daughter, or send for her
about midnight,and the gate shall be open for you."
As soon as it was dark, the nurse went to Marzavan, and having
dressed him so well in women's clothes, that nobody could suspect
he was a man, carried him along with her; and the eunuch
believing it was her daughter, admitted them.
The nurse, before she presented Marzavan, went to the princess,
and said, "Madam, this is not a woman I have brought to you, it
is my son Marzavan in disguise, newly arrived from his travels;
having a great desire to kiss your hand, I hope your highness
will vouchsafe him that honour."
"What! my brother Marzavan," exclaimed the princess, with great
joy; "approach, and take off that veil; for it is not
unreasonable that a brother and a sister should see each other
without covering their faces."
Marzavan saluted her with profound respect, while, without giving
him time to speak, she continued, "I rejoice to see you returned
in good health, after so many years' absence, and without sending
any account of your welfare, even to your good mother."
"Madam," replied Marzavan, "I am infinitely obliged to your
goodness. I hoped to have heard a better account of your health
than has been given me, and which I lament to find confirmed by
your appearance. It gives me pleasure, however, to have come so
seasonably to bring your highness that remedy which your
situation requires. Should I reap no other benefit from my
studies and travels, I should think myself amply recompensed."
Having thus spoken, Marzavan drew out of his pocket a book and
some other things, which from the account he had had from his
mother of the princess's distemper, he thought he might want. The
princess, observing these preparations, exclaimed, "What!
brother, are you one of those who believe me mad? Undeceive
yourself, and hear me."
The princess then related to Marzavan all the particulars of her
story, without omitting the least circumstance, even to the ring
which was exchanged for hers, and which she shewed him. "I have
not concealed the least incident from you," continued she; "there
is something in this business which I cannot comprehend, and
which has given occasion for some persons to think me mad. But no
one will attend to the rest, which is literally as I have
After the princess had concluded, Marzavan, filled with wonder
and astonishment, remained for some time with his eyes fixed on
the ground, without speaking a word; but at length he lifted up
his head, and said, "If it be as your highness says, and which I
do not in the least doubt, I do not despair of being able to
procure you the gratification of your wishes. But I must first
entreat your highness to arm yourself with patience, till I have
travelled over kingdoms which I have not yet visited, and when
you hear of my return, be assured the object of your desire is
not far distant." Having thus spoken, Marzavan took leave of the
princess, and set out the next morning on his intended travels.
He journeyed from city to city, from province to province, and
from island to island; and in every place he visited, he could
hear of nothing but the princess Badoura (which was the princess
of China's name) and her history.
About four months after, our traveller arrived at Torf, a sea-
port town, large and populous, where the theme was changed; he no
more heard of the princess Badoura, but all the talk was of
prince Kummir al Zummaun, who was sick, and whose history greatly
resembled hers. Marzavan was extremely delighted on hearing this,
and informed himself where the prince was to be found. There were
two ways to it; one, by land and sea; the other, by sea only,
which was the shortest.
Marzavan chose the latter; and embarking on board a merchant
ship, arrived safely in sight of Shaw Zummaun's capital; but just
before it entered the port, the ship struck upon a rock, by the
unskilfulness of the pilot, and foundered: it went down in sight
of the castle, where at that time were the king and his grand
Marzavan, who could swim well, immediately upon the ship's
sinking cast himself into the sea, and got safe on shore under
the castle, where he was soon relieved by the grand vizier's