Part 6 out of 7
bottle and glass, poured out some wine, and when she had drunk
herself, filled another glass, and gave it to Amgiad, who pledged
her. The more the prince reflected on this adventure, the more he
was amazed that the master of the house did not appear; and that
a mansion, so rich and well provided, should be left without a
servant. "It will be fortunate," said he to himself, "if the
master of the house do not return till I am got clear of this
intrigue." While he was occupied with these thoughts, and others
more troublesome, she ate and drank heartily, and obliged him to
do the same. Just as they were proceeding to the dessert, the
master of the house arrived.
It happened to be Bahader, master of the horse to the king of the
magicians. This mansion belonged to him, but he commonly resided
in another; and seldom came to this, unless to regale himself
with two or three chosen friends He always sent provisions from
his other house on such occasions, and had done so this day by
some of his servants, who were just gone when the lady and Amgiad
Bahader came as he used to do, in disguise, and without
attendants, and a little before the time appointed for the
assembling of his friends. He was not a little surprised to find
the door broken open; he entered, making no noise, and hearing
some persons talking and making merry in the hall, he stole along
under the wall, and put his head half way within the door to see
who they were.
Perceiving a young man and a young lady eating at his table the
victuals that had been provided for his friends and himself, and
that there was no great harm done, he resolved to divert himself
with the adventure.
The lady's back was a little turned towards him, and she did not
see the master of the horse, but Amgiad perceived him
immediately. The glass was at the time in his hand, and he was
going to drink; he changed colour at the sight of Bahader, who
made a sign to him not to say a word, but to come and speak to
Amgiad drank and rose: "Where are you going?" inquired the lady.
The prince answered, "Pray, madam, stay here a little; I shall
return directly." Bahader waited for him in the vestibule, and
led him into the court to talk to him without being overheard by
When Bahader and Amgiad were in the court, Bahader demanded of
the prince, how the lady came into his house? and why they broke
open his door? "My lord," replied Amgiad, "you may very
reasonably think me guilty of a very unwarrantable action: but if
you will have patience to hear me, I hope I shall convince you of
my innocence." He then related, in a few words, what had
happened, without disguising any part of the truth; and to shew
him that he was not capable of committing such an action as to
break into a house, told him he was a prince, and informed him of
the reason of his coming to the city of the magicians.
Bahader, who was a good man, was pleased with an opportunity of
obliging one of Amgiad's rank: for by his air, his actions, and
his well-turned conversation, he did not in the least doubt the
truth of what he had asserted. "Prince," said Bahader, "I am glad
I can oblige you in so pleasent an adventure. Far from disturbing
the feast, it will gratify me to contribute to your satisfaction
in any thing. Before I say any more on this subject, I must
inform you my name is Bahader; I am master of the horse to the
king of the magicians; I commonly reside in another house, which
I have in the city, and come here sometimes to have the more
liberty with my friends. You have made this lady believe you have
a slave, though you have none; I will personate that slave, and
that this may not make you uneasy, and to prevent your excuses, I
repeat again, that I will positively have it to be so; you will
soon know my reason. Go to your place, and continue to divert
yourself. When I return again, and come to you in a slave's
habit, chide me for staying so long, do not be afraid even to
strike me. I will wait upon you while you are at table till
night; you shall sleep here, and so shall the lady, and to-morrow
morning you may send her home with honour. I shall afterwards
endeavour to do you more important services: go, and lose no
time." Amgiad would have made him an answer, but the master of
the horse would not suffer him, forcing him to return to the
lady. He had scarcely reentered the hall before Bahader's
friends, whom he had invited, arrived. Bahader excused himself
for not entertaining them that day, telling them they would
approve of his reason when they should be informed of it, which
they should be in due time. When they were gone, he went and
dressed himself in a slave's habit.
Prince Amgiad returned to the lady much pleased at finding the
house belonged to a man of quality, who had received him so
courteously. When he sat down again, he said, "Madam, I beg a
thousand pardons for my rudeness. I was vexed that my slave
should tarry so long; the rascal shall pay for it when he comes:
I will teach him to make me wait so for him."
"Let not that trouble you," said the lady. "The evil is his; if
he is guilty of any faults, let him pay for it: but do not let us
think of him, we will enjoy ourselves without him."
They continued at the table with the more pleasure, as Amgiad was
under no apprehensions of the consequence of the lady's
indiscretion in breaking open the door. The prince was now as
merry as the lady: they said a thousand pleasant things, and
drank more than they ate, till Bahader arrived in his disguise.
Bahader entered like a slave who feared his master's displeasure
for staying out when he had company with him. He fell down at his
feet and kissed the ground, to implore his clemency; and when he
had done, stood behind him with his hands across, waiting his
"Sirrah," said Amgiad, with a fierce tone, and angry look, "where
have you been? What have you been doing, that you came no
"My lord," replied Bahader, "I ask your pardon; I was executing
your orders, and did not think you would return home so early."
"You are a rascal," said Amgiad, "and I will break your bones, to
teach you to lie, and disappoint me." He then rose up, took a
stick, and gave him two or three slight blows; after which he sat
The lady was not satisfied with this chastisement. She also rose,
took the stick, and fell upon Bahader so unmercifully, that the
tears came into his eyes. Amgiad, offended to the last degree at
the freedom she took, and that she should use one of the king's
chief officers so ill, called out to her in vain to forbear. "Let
me alone," said she "I will give him enough, and teach him to be
absent so long another time." She continued beating him with
great fury, till Amgiad rose from the table, and forced the stick
out of her hand which she did not relinquish without much
struggling. When she found she could beat Bahader no longer, she
sat down, railed at and cursed him.
Bahader wiped his eyes, and stood up to fill out wine When he saw
they had done eating and drinking, he took away the cloth,
cleared the hall, put every thing in its place; and night coming
on, lighted up the lamps. Every time he came in, or went out, the
lady muttered, threatened him, and gave him abusive language, to
Amgiad's great regret, who would have hindered her, but could
not. When it was time for them to retire to bed, Bahader prepared
one for them on the sofa, and withdrew into a chamber, where he
laid himself down, and soon fell asleep, having been fatigued
with his beating. Amgiad and the lady entertained one another for
some time afterwards. The lady before she went to bed having
occasion to go to another part of the house, passing through the
vestibule, heard Bahader snore, and having seen a sabre hanging
up in the hall, turned back, and said to Amgiad, "My lord, as you
love me, do one thing for me." "In what can I serve you?" asked
the prince. "Oblige me so far as to take down this sabre and cut
off your slave's head." Amgiad was astonished at such a proposal
from a lady, and made no doubt but it was the wine she had drunk
that induced her to make it. "Madam," said he, "let us suffer him
to rest, he is not worthy of your farther notice: I have beaten
him, and you have beaten him: that ought to be sufficient;
besides, I am in other respects well satisfied with him."
"That shall not satisfy me," replied the lady, in a violent
passion; "the rascal shall die, if not by your hands, by mine."
As she spoke, she took down the sabre from the place where it
hung, drew it out of the scabbard, and prepared to execute her
Amgiad met her in the vestibule, saying, "You shall be satisfied,
madam, since you will have it so; but I should be sorry that any
one besides myself should kill my slave." When she had given him
the sabre, "Come, follow me," said he; "make no noise, lest we
should awaken him." They went into Bahader's chamber, where
Amgiad, instead of striking him, aimed his blow at the lady, and
cut off her head, which fell upon Bahader.
Bahader was awakened by the head of the lady falling upon him. He
was amazed to see Amgiad standing by him with a bloody sabre, and
the body of the lady lying headless on the ground. The prince
told him what had passed, and said, "I had no other way to
prevent this furious woman from killing you, but to take away her
life." "My lord," replied Bahader, full of gratitude, "persons of
your rank and generosity are incapable of doing such a wicked
action: as she desired of you. You are my deliverer, and I cannot
sufficiently thank you." After having embraced him, to evince the
sense he entertained of his obligations to him, he said, "We must
carry this corpse out before it is quite day; leave it to me, I
will do it." Amgiad would not consent to this, saying, "He would
carry it away himself, since he had struck the blow." Bahader
replied, "You are a stranger in this city, and cannot do it so
well as one who is acquainted with the place. I must do it, if
for no other reason, yet for the safety of both of us, to prevent
our being questioned about her death. Remain you here, and if I
do not return before day, you may be sure the watch has seized
me; and for fear of the worst, I will by writing give this house
and furniture for your habitation."
When he had written, signed, and delivered the paper to prince
Amgiad, he put the lady's body in a bag, head and all; laid it on
his shoulder, and went out with it from one street to another,
taking the way to the sea-side. He had not proceeded far before
he met one of the judges of the city, who was going the rounds in
person. Bahader was stopped by the judge's followers, who,
opening the bag, found the body of a murdered lady, bundled up
with the head. The judge, who knew the master of the horse
notwithstanding his disguise, took him home to his house, and not
daring to put him to death without telling the king, on account
of his rank, carried him to court as soon as it was day. When the
king had been informed by the judge of the crime Bahader had, as
he believed from the circumstances, committed, he addressed
himself to the master of the horse as follows: "It is thus then
that thou murderess my subjects, to rob them, and then wouldst
throw their dead bodies into the sea, to hide thy villainy? Let
us get rid of him; execute him immediately."
Innocent as Bahader was, he received sentence of death with
resignation, and said not a word in his justification. The judge
carried him to his house, and while the pale was preparing, sent
a crier to publish throughout the city, that at noon the master
of the horse was to be impaled for a murder.
Prince Amgiad, who had in vain expected Bahader's return, was
struck with consternation when he heard the crier publish the
approaching execution of the master of the horse. "If," said he
to himself, "any one ought to die for the murder of such a wicked
woman, it is I, and not Bahader; I will never suffer an innocent
man to be punished for the guilty." Without deliberating, he then
hastened to the place of execution, whither the people were
running from all parts.
When Amgiad saw the judge bringing Bahader to the pale, he went
up to him, and said, "I am come to assure you, that the master of
the horse, whom you are leading to execution, is wholly innocent
of the lady's death; I alone am guilty of the crime, if it be
one, to have killed a detestable woman, who would have murdered
Bahader." He then related to him how it had happened.
The prince having informed the judge of the manner in which he
had met her coming from the bath; how she had occasioned his
going into the master of the horse's pleasure-house, and all that
had passed to the moment in which he was forced to cut off her
head, to save Bahader's life; the judge ordered execution to be
stopped, and conducted Amgiad to the king, taking the master of
the horse with them.
The king wished to hear the story from Amgiad himself; and the
prince, the better to prove his own innocence and that of the
master of the horse, embraced the opportunity to discover who he
was, and what had driven him and his brother Assad to that city,
with all the accidents that had befallen them, from their
departure from the Isle of Ebene.
The prince having finished his account, the king said to him, "I
rejoice that I have by this means been made acquainted with you;
I not only give you your own life, and that of my master of the
horse, whom I commend for his kindness to you, but I restore him
to his office; and as for you, prince, I declare you my grand
vizier, to make amends for your father's unjust usage, though it
is also excusable, and I permit you to employ all the authority
with which I now invest you to find out prince Assad."
Amgiad having thanked the king for the honour he had done him, on
taking possession of his office of grand vizier used every
possible means to find out the prince his brother. He ordered the
common criers to promise a great reward to any who should
discover him, or give any tidings of him. He sent men up and down
the country to the same purpose; but in vain.
Assad in the meanwhile continued in the dungeon in chains;
Bostama and Cavama, the cunning old conjuror's daughters,
treating him daily with the same cruelty and inhumanity as at
The solemn festival of the adorers of fire approached; and a ship
was fitted out for the fiery mountain as usual: the captain's
name was Behram, a great bigot to his religion. He loaded it with
proper merchandize; and when it was ready to sail, put Assad in a
chest, which was half full of goods, a few crevices being left
between the boards to give him air.
Before the ship sailed, the grand vizier Amgiad, who had been
told that the adorers of fire used to sacrifice a Mussulmaun
every year on the fiery mountain, suspecting that Assad might
have fallen into their hands, and be designed for a victim,
resolved to search the ship in person. He ordered all the
passengers and seamen to be brought upon deck, and commanded his
men to search all over the ship, which they did, but Assad could
not be found, he was so well concealed.
When the grand vizier had done searching the vessel, she sailed.
As soon as Behram was got out to sea, he ordered prince Assad to
be taken out of the chest, and fettered, to secure him, lest he
should throw himself into the sea in despair since he knew he was
going to be sacrificed.
The wind was very favourable for a few days, after which there
arose a furious storm. The vessel was driven out of her course,
so that neither Behram nor his pilot knew where they were. They
were afraid of being wrecked on the rocks, for in the violence of
the storm they discovered land, and a dangerous shoal before
them. Behram perceived that he was driven into the port and
capital of queen Margiana, which occasioned him great
This queen Margiana was a devout professor of the Mahummedan
faith, and a mortal enemy to the adorers of fire. She had
banished all of them out of her dominions, and would not suffer
their ships to touch at her ports.
It was no longer in the power of Behram to avoid putting into the
harbour, for he had no alternative but to be dashed to pieces
against the frightful rocks that lay off the shore. In this
extremity he held a council with his pilot and seamen. "My lads,"
said he, "you see to what a necessity we are reduced. We must
choose one of two things; either to resolve to be swallowed up by
the waves, or put into queen Margiana's port, whose hatred to all
persons of our religion you well know. She will certainly seize
our vessel and put us all to death, without mercy. I see but one
way to escape her, which is, to take off the fetters from the
Mussulmaun we have aboard, and dress him like a slave. When queen
Margiana commands me to come before her, and asks what trade I
follow, I will tell her I deal in slaves; that I have sold all I
had, but one, whom I keep to be my clerk, because he can read and
write. She will by this means see him, and he being handsome, and
of her own religion, will have pity on him. No doubt she will
then ask to buy him of me, and on this account will let us stay
in the port till the weather is fair. If any of you have any
thing else to propose that will be preferable, I am ready to
attend to it." The pilot and seamen applauded his judgment, and
agreed to follow his advice.
Behram commanded prince Assad's chains to be taken off, and had
him neatly habited like a slave, as became one who was to pass
for his clerk before the queen of the country. They had scarcely
time to do this, before the ship drove into the port, and dropped
Queen Margiana's palace was so near the sea, that her garden
extended down to the shore. She saw the ship anchor, and sent to
the captain to come to her, and the sooner to satisfy her
curiosity waited for him in her garden.
Behram landed with prince Assad, whom he required to confirm what
he had said of his being a slave, and his clerk. When he was
introduced to the queen, he threw himself at her feet, and
informed her of the necessity he was under to put into her port:
that he dealt in slaves, and had sold all he had but one, who was
Assad, whom he kept for his clerk.
The queen was taken with Assad from the moment she first saw him,
and was extremely glad to hear that he was a slave; resolving to
buy him, cost what he would. She asked Assad what was his name.
"Great queen," he replied, with tears in his eyes, "does your
majesty ask what my name was formerly, or what it is now?" The
queen answered, "Have you two names then?" "Alas! I have," said
Assad: "I was once called Assad (most happy); and now my name is
Motar" (devoted to be sacrificed).
Margiana not being able to comprehend the meaning of his answer,
interpreted it to refer to his condition of a slave. "Since you
are clerk to the captain," said she, "no doubt you can write
well; let me see your hand."
Behram had furnished Assad with pen, ink, and paper, as a token
of his office, that the queen might take him for what he designed
The prince stepped a little aside, and wrote as follows, suitable
to his wretched circumstances:
"The blind man avoids the ditch into which the clear-sighted
falls. Fools advance themselves to honours, by discourses which
signify nothing, while men of sense and eloquence live in poverty
and contempt. The Mussulmaun with all his riches is miserable.
The infidel triumphs. We cannot hope things will be otherwise.
The Almighty has decreed it shall be so."
Assad presented the paper to queen Margiana, who admired alike
the moral of the sentences, and the goodness of the writing. She
needed no more to have her heart inflamed, and to feel a sincere
concern for his misfortunes. She had no sooner read the lines,
than she addressed herself to Behram, saying, "Do which you will,
either sell me this slave, or make me a present of him; perhaps
it will turn most to your account to do the latter."
Behram answered insolently, that he could neither give nor sell
him; that he wanted his slave, and would keep him.
Queen Margiana, provoked at his rudeness, would not talk to him
any more on the subject. She took the prince by the arm, and
turned him before her to the palace, sending Behram word, that if
he stayed the night in her port, she would confiscate his goods,
and burn his ship. He was therefore forced to return to his
vessel, and prepare to put to sea again, notwithstanding the
tempest had not yet subsided.
Queen Margiana, on entering her palace, commanded supper to be
got ready; and while it was providing, she ordered Assad to be
brought into her apartment, where she bade him sit down. Assad
would have excused himself: "It becomes not a slave," said he,
"to presume to this honour."
"To a slave! "replied the queen: "you were so a moment ago;
henceforward you are no more a slave. Sit down near me, and tell
me the story of your life; for by what you wrote, and the
insolence of that slave-merchant, I guess there is something
extraordinary in your history."
Prince Assad obeyed her; and sitting down, began thus: "Mighty
queen, your majesty is not mistaken, in thinking there is
something extraordinary in the story of my life: it is indeed
more so than you can imagine. The ills, the incredible torments I
have suffered, and the death to which I was devoted, and from
which I am delivered by your royal generosity, will shew the
greatness of my obligation to you, never to be forgotten. But
before I enter into particulars of my miseries, which will strike
horror into the hearts of all that hear them, I must trace the
origin of them to its source."
This preamble increased queen Margiana's curiosity. The prince
then told her of his royal birth; of his brother Amgiad, and
their mutual friendship; of their mothers' criminal passion, the
cause of all their sufferings; of the king his father's rage; how
miraculously their lives were saved; how he had lost his brother;
how he had been long imprisoned and tortured, and was devoted to
be sacrificed on the fiery mountain.
When Assad had finished his recital' the queen was more than ever
enraged at the adorers of fire. "Prince," said she, "though I
have always had an aversion to the adorers of fire, yet hitherto
I have had some humanity for them: but after their barbarous
usage of you, and their execrable design to sacrifice you, I will
henceforth wage perpetual war against them."
She was proceeding, but supper being served in, she made prince
Assad sit down at table with her, being charmed with his beauty
and eloquence, and touched with a passion which she hoped soon to
have an opportunity of making known to him "Prince," said she,
"we must make you amends for so many fasts and wretched meals, to
which the pitiless adorers of fire made you submit; you must want
nourishment after such sufferings." With conversation of this
kind she helped him at supper; and ordered him to drink a good
deal of wine to recover his spirits; by which means he drank more
than he could well bear.
The cloth being taken away, Assad having occasion to go out, took
an opportunity when the queen did not observe him. He descended
into the court, and seeing the garden-door open, went into it.
Being tempted by the pleasantness of the place, he walked there
for some time. At last he came to a fountain, where he washed his
face and hands to refresh himself, and lying down on the turf by
the fountain, fell asleep.
Behram, to prevent the queen from executing her threats, had
weighed anchor, vexed at the loss of Assad, by which he was
disappointed of a most acceptable sacrifice. He comforted himself
as well as he could, with the thoughts that the storm was over,
and that a land breeze favoured his getting off the coast. As
soon as he was towed out of the port by the help of his boat,
before it was hoisted up into the ship again, "Stop, my lads,"
said he to the seamen, "do not come on board yet; I will give you
some casks to fill with water, and wait for you." Behram had
observed, while he was talking to the queen in the garden, that
there was a fountain at the end of it, near the port. "Go," said
he, "land before the palace-garden; the wall is not above breast
high, you may easily get over; there is a basin in the middle of
the garden, where you may fill all your barrels, and hand them
aboard without difficulty."
The sailors went ashore at the place he directed them to, and
laying their casks on their shoulders easily got over the wall.
As they approached the basin, they perceived a man sleeping on
the grass, and knew him to be Assad. They immediately divided
themselves; and while some of the crew filled their barrels with
as little noise as possible, others surrounded Assad, and watched
to seize him if he should awake.
He slept on undisturbed, giving them time to fill all their
casks; which they afterwards handed over the wall to others of
the crew who waited to carry them aboard.
They next seized Assad, and conveyed him away, without giving him
time to recollect himself. They got him over the wall into their
boat with the casks, and rowed to the ship. When they drew near
her they cried out for joy, "Captain, sound your trumpets, beat
your drums, we have brought you your slave."
Behram, who could not imagine how the seamen could find and take
him again, and did not see Assad in the boat, it being night,
waited their arrival with impatience, to ask what they meant; but
when he saw him, he could not contain himself for joy. He
commanded him to be chained, without staying to inquire how they
came by him; and having hoisted the boat on board, set sail for
the fiery mountain.
In the meanwhile queen Margiana was in alarm. She was not at
first apprehensive when she found prince Assad was gone out,
because she did not doubt but he would soon return When some time
had passed without his appearing, she began to be uneasy, and
commanded her women to look for him. They sought for him in every
direction, and at night renewed their search by torch-light, but
all to no purpose.
Queen Margiana was so impatient and alarmed, that she went
herself with lights, and finding the garden-door open, entered,
and walked all over it with her women to seek for him. Passing by
the fountain and basin, she espied a slipper, which she took up,
and knew it to be prince Assad's, her women also recognized it to
be his. This circumstance, together with the water being spilt
about the edge of the basin, induced her to believe that Behram
had carried him off. She sent immediately to see if he was still
in the port; and hearing he had sailed a little before it was
dark, that he lay-to some time off the shore, while he sent his
boat for water from the fountain, she sent word to the commander
of ten ships of war, which lay always ready in the harbour, to
sail on the shortest notice, that she would embark herself next
morning as soon as it was day. The commander lost no time,
ordered the captains, seamen and soldiers aboard, and was ready
to sail at the time appointed. She embarked, and when the
squadron was at sea, told the commander her intention. "Make all
the sail you can," said she, "and chase the merchantman that
sailed last night out of this port. If you capture it, I assign
it to you as your property; but if you fail, your life shall
The ten ships chased Behram's vessel two whole days without
seeing her. The third day in the morning they discovered her, and
at noon had so surrounded her, that she could not escape.
As soon as Behram espied the ten ships of war, he made sure it
was queen Margiana's squadron in pursuit of him; and upon that he
ordered Assad to be bastinadoed, which he had done every day. He
was much perplexed what to do, when he found he was surrounded.
To keep Assad, was to declare himself guilty; to kill him was as
dangerous, for he feared some marks of the murder might be seen.
He therefore commanded him to be unfettered and brought from the
bottom of the hold where he lay. When he came before him, "It is
thou," said he, "that art the cause of my being pursued;" and so
saying, he flung him into the sea.
Prince Assad being an expert swimmer, made such good use of his
feet and hands, that he reached the shore in safety. The first
thing he did after he had landed, was to thank God who had
delivered him from so great a danger, and once more rescued him
out of the hands of the adorers of fire. He then stripped
himself, and wringing the water out of his clothes, spread them
on a rock, where, by the heat of the sun, and of the rock, they
soon dried. After this he lay down to rest himself, deploring his
miserable condition, not knowing in what country he was nor which
way to direct his course. He dressed himself again and walked on,
keeping as near the sea-side as he could. At last he entered a
kind of path, which he followed, and travelled on ten days
through an uninhabited country, living on herbs, plants, and wild
fruits. At last he approached a city, which he recognized to be
that of the magicians, where he had been so ill used and where
his brother Amgiad was grand vizier.
He rejoiced to discover where he was, but resolved not to
approach any of the adorers of fire, and to converse only with
Moosulmauns, for he remembered he had seen some the first time he
entered the town. It being late, and knowing the shops were
already shut, and few people in the streets, he resolved to
remain in a burying ground near the city, where there were
several tombs built in the form of mausoleums. He found the door
of one of them open, which he entered, designing to pass the
We must now return to Behram's ship, which, after he had thrown
prince Assad overboard, was soon surrounded on all sides by queen
Margiana's squadron. The ship in which queen Margiana was in
person first came up with him, and Behram, being in no condition
of defence against so many, furled his sails as a mark of his
The queen herself boarded his ship, and demanded where the clerk
was, whom he had the boldness to take or cause to be taken out of
her palace. Behram replied, "O queen! I swear by your majesty, he
is not in my ship; you will, by searching, be convinced of my
Margiana ordered the ship to be searched as narrowly as possible,
but she could not find the man, whom she so much wished to
recover, as well on account of her love for him, as of the
generosity for which she was distinguished. She once resolved to
kill Behram with her own hand, but refrained, and contented
herself with seizing his ship and cargo, and turning him and his
men on shore in their boat.
Behram and his seamen arrived at the city of the magicians the
same night as Assad, and stopped at the same burying-ground, the
city gates being shut, intending to stay in some tomb till the
next day, when they should be opened again.
To Assad's misfortune, Behram came to that in which the prince
was sleeping with his head wrapped up in his habit, and entered
it. Assad awoke at the noise of his footsteps, and demanded who
Behram immediately recognized him. "Hah, hah," said he, "thou art
the man who has ruined me for ever; thou hast escaped being
sacrificed this year, but depend on it thou shalt not be so
fortunate the next." Saying this, he flew upon him, clapped his
handkerchief into his mouth to prevent his making a noise, and
with the assistance of his seamen bound him.
The next morning as soon as the city gates were open, Behram and
his men easily carried Assad through streets, where no one was
yet stirring, to the old man's house, where he had been so
inhumanly treated. As soon as he was brought in, he was again
thrown into the same dungeon. Behram acquainted the old man with
the unfortunate circumstances of his return, and the ill success
of his voyage. The old savage, upon this, commanded his two
daughters Bostama and Cavama to treat him, if possible, more
cruelly than before.
Assad was overwhelmed with terror at seeing himself again in the
hands of persecutors from whom he had suffered so much, and
expected the repetition of the torments from which he hoped that
he had been delivered. He was lamenting the severity of his fate,
when Bostama entered with a stick in her hand, a loaf and a
pitcher of water. He trembled at the sight of this unmerciful
wretch, and at the very thoughts of the sufferings he was to
endure for another year, at the conclusion of which he was to die
the most horrible death.
Bostama treated prince Assad as inhumanly as she had done during
his first confinement. But his cries, lamentations, and earnest
entreaties to her to spare him, joined with his tears, were so
affecting, that she could not help shedding tears. "My lord,"
said she, covering his shoulders again, "I ask a thousand pardons
for my inhuman treatment of you formerly, and for making you once
more feel its effect. Till now I was afraid of disobeying a
father, who is unjustly enraged against you, and resolved on your
destruction, but at last I abhor this barbarity. Be comforted,
your evil days are over. I will endeavour by better treatment to
make amends for all my crimes, of the enormity of which you will
find I am duly sensible. You have hitherto regarded me as an
infidel; henceforth believe me one of your own religion; having
been taught it by a slave, I hope your lessons will complete my
conversion. To convince you of my sincerity, I first beg pardon
of the true God for all my sins, in dealing so cruelly by you,
and I trust he will put it in my power to set you entirely at
This address afforded the prince much comfort. He thanked the
Almighty for the change wrought in her heart, He also thanked her
for her favourable disposition towards him, and omitted no
arguments which he thought would have any effect in confirming
her conversion to the Moosulmaun religion. He afterwards related
to her the whole story of his life to that time. When he was
fully assured of her good intentions respecting him, he asked her
how she could continue to keep her sister Cavama in ignorance of
them; and prevent her treating him as barbarously as she used to
do? "Let not that trouble you," replied Bostama; "I know how to
order matters so that she shall never come near you."
She accordingly every day prevented her sister's coming down into
the dungeon, where she often visited the prince. Instead of
carrying him bread and water, she now brought him the best wine
and the choicest victuals she could procure, which were prepared
by her twelve Mahommedan slaves. She ate with him herself from
time to time, and did all in her power to alleviate his
A few days afterwards, Bostama, as she stood at her father's
door, observed the public crier making proclamation, but she
could not hear what it was about, being too far off. As he was
proceeding in the direction of her father's house, she went in,
and holding the door half open, perceived that he went before the
grand vizier Amgiad, brother to Assad; who was accompanied by
several officers, and other attendants.
The crier, a few steps from the house, repeated the proclamation
with a loud voice, as follows: "The most excellent and
illustrious grand vizier is come in person to seek for his dear
brother, from whom he was separated about a year ago. He is a
young man of such an appearance; if any one has him in keeping,
or knows where he is, his excellency commands that they bring him
forth, or give him notice where to find him, promising a great
reward to the person that shall give the information. If any one
conceal him, and he be hereafter found, his excellency declares'
he shall be punished with death, together with his wife,
children, and all his family, and his house to be razed to the
Bostama, as soon as she had heard this, shut the door as fast as
she could, and ran to Assad in the dungeon. "Prince," said she,
with joy, "your troubles are at an end; follow me immediately.
She had taken off his fetters the day he was brought in, and the
prince followed her into the street, where she cried, "There he
is, there he is!"
The grand vizier, who was not far from the house, returned. Assad
knew him to be his brother, ran to him, and embraced him. Amgiad,
who immediately recollected him, returned his embrace with all
possible tenderness; made him mount one of his officers' horses,
who alighted for that purpose; and conducted him in triumph to
the palace, where he presented him to the king, by whom he was
advanced to the post of a vizier.
Bostama not wishing to return to her father's house, which was
the next day razed to the ground, was sent to the queen's
The old man her father, Behram, and all their families were
brought before the king, who condemned them to be beheaded. They
threw themselves at his feet, and implored his mercy. "There is
no mercy for you to expect," said the king, "unless you renounce
the adoration of fire, and profess the Mahummedan religion."
They accepted the condition, and were pardoned at the
intercession of Assad, in consideration of Bostama's friendship;
for whose sake Cavama's life, and the lives of the rest of their
families were saved.
Amgiad, in consideration of Behram turning Mussulmaun, and to
compensate for the loss which he had suffered before he deserved
his favour, made him one of his principal officers, and lodged
him in his house. Behram, being informed of Amgiad and his
brother Assad's story, proposed to his benefactor, to fit out a
vessel to convey them to their father's court: "For," said he,
"the king must certainly have heard of your innocence, and
impatiently desire to see you: otherwise we can easily inform him
of the truth before we land, and if he is still in the same mind,
you can but return."
The two brothers accepted the proposal, communicated it to the
king of the city of the magicians, who approved of it; and
commanded a ship to be equipped. Behram undertook the employment
cheerfully, and soon got in readiness to sail. The two princes,
when they understood the ship was ready, waited upon the king to
take leave. While they were making their compliments, and
thanking the king for his favours, they were interrupted by a
great tumult in the city: and presently an officer came to give
them notice that a numerous army was advancing against the city,
nobody knowing who they were, or whence they had come.
The king being alarmed at the intelligence, Amgiad addressed him
thus: "Sir, though I have just resigned into your majesty's hands
the dignity of your first minister, with which you were pleased
to honour me, I am ready to do you all the service in my power. I
desire therefore that you would be pleased to let me go and see
who this enemy is, that comes to attack you in your capital,
without having first declared war."
The king desired him to do so. Amgiad departed immediately, with
a very small retinue, to see what enemy approached, and what was
the reason of their coming.
It was not long before prince Amgiad descried the army, which
appeared very formidable, and which approached nearer and nearer.
The advanced guards received him favourably, and conducted him to
a princess, who stopped, and commanded her army to halt, while
she talked with the prince; who, bowing profoundly to her,
demanded if she came as a friend or an enemy: if as an enemy,
what cause of complaint she had against the king his master?
"I come as a friend," replied the princess, "and have no cause of
complaint against the king of the city of the magicians. His
territories and mine are so situated, that it is almost
impossible for us to have any dispute. I only come to require a
slave named Assad, to be delivered up to me. He was carried away
by one Behram, a captain of a ship belonging to this city, the
most insolent man in the world. I hope your king will do me
justice, when he knows I am Margiana."
The prince answered, "Mighty queen, the slave whom you take so
much pains to seek is my brother: I lost him, and have found him
again. Come, and I will deliver him up to you myself; and will do
myself the honour to tell you the rest of the story: the king my
master will rejoice to see you."
The queen ordered her army to pitch their tents, and encamp where
they were; and accompanied prince Amgiad to the city and palace,
where he presented her to the king; who received her in a manner
becoming her dignity. Assad, who was present, and knew her as
soon as he saw her, also paid his respects to her. She appeared
greatly rejoiced to see him. While they were thus engaged,
tidings came, that an army more powerful than the former
approached on the other side of the city.
The king of the magicians was more terrified than before,
understanding the second army was more numerous than the first,
for he saw this by the clouds of dust they raised, which hid the
face of the heavens. "Amgiad," cried he, "what shall we do now? a
new army comes to destroy us." Amgiad guessed what the king
meant; he mounted on horseback again, and galloped towards the
second army. He demanded of the advanced guards to speak with
their general, and they conducted him to their king. When he drew
near him, he alighted, prostrated himself to the ground, and
asked what he required of the king his master.
The monarch replied, "I am Gaiour, king of China; my desire to
learn tidings of a daughter, whose name is Badoura, whom I
married to Kummir al Zummaun, son of Shaw Zummaun, king of the
isles of the children of Khaledan, obliged me to leave my
dominions. I suffered that prince to go to see his father, on
condition that he came back in a year with my daughter; from that
time I have heard nothing of them. Your king will lay an infinite
obligation on an afflicted father, by telling him if he knows
what is become of them."
Prince Amgiad, perceiving by his discourse that the king was his
grandfather, kissed his hand with tenderness, and answered him
thus: "I hope your majesty will pardon my freedom, when you know
that I only pay my duty to my grandfather. I am the son of Kummir
al Zummaun, king of the isle of Ebene, and of queen Badoura, for
whom you are thus troubled; and I doubt not but they are both in
good health in their kingdom."
The king of China, overjoyed to see his grandson, tenderly
embraced him. Such a meeting, so happy and unexpected, drew tears
from both. The king inquiring on what occasion he had come into a
strange country, the prince told him all that had happened to him
and his brother Assad. When he had finished his relation, "My
son," replied the king of China, "it is not just that such
innocent princes as you are should be longer ill used. Comfort
yourself, I will carry you and your brother home, and make your
peace. Return, and acquaint your brother with my arrival."
While the king of China encamped in the place where prince Amgiad
met him, the prince returned to inform the king of the magicians,
who waited for him impatiently, how he had succeeded.
The king was astonished that so mighty a king as that of China
should undertake such a long and troublesome journey, out of a
desire to see his daughter. He gave orders to make preparations
for his reception, and went forth to meet him.
While these things were transacting, a great dust was seen on
another side of the town; and suddenly news was brought of the
arrival of a third army, which obliged the king to stop, and to
desire prince Amgiad once more to see who they were, and on what
account they came.
Amgiad went accordingly, and prince Assad accompanied him. They
found it was Kummir al Zummaun their father's army, with whom he
was coming to seek for them. He was so grieved for the loss of
his sons, that at last emir Jehaun-dar declared that he had saved
their lives, which made him resolve to seek for them wherever he
was likely to find them.
The afflicted father embraced the two princes with tears of joy,
which put an end to those he had a long time shed for grief. The
princes had no sooner told him the king of China, his father-in-
law, was arrived, than, accompanied by them and a small party, he
rode to wait upon him in his camp. They had not gone far, before
they saw a fourth army advancing in good order, which seemed to
come from Persia.
Kummir al Zummaun desired the two princes to go and see what army
it was, and he would in the meanwhile wait for them. They
departed immediately, and coming up to it, were presented to the
king to whom the army belonged; and, after having saluted him
with due reverence, they demanded on what design he approached so
near the king of the magicians' capital. The grand vizier, who
was present, answered in the name of the king his master, "The
monarch to whom you speak is Shaw Zummaun, king of the isles of
the children of Khaledan, who has a longtime travelled, thus
attended, to seek his son, who left his dominions many years ago:
if you know any thing of him, you cannot oblige him more than by
communicating to him all the information in your power."
The princes only replied, that they would shortly bring him an
answer, and galloping back as fast as they could, told Kummir al
Zummaun that the king his father was approaching with his army.
Wonder, surprise, joy, and grief, had such an effect on Kummir al
Zummaun, that he fainted as soon as he heard he was so near.
Prince Amgiad and prince Assad, by their assiduities, at length
brought him to himself; and when he had recovered his strength,
he went to his father's tent, and threw himself at his feet.
Never was there a more affecting interview. Shaw Zummaun gently
upbraided his son with unkindness in so cruelly leaving him; and
Kummir al Zummaun discovered a hearty sorrow for the fault which
love had urged him to commit.
The three kings, and queen Margiana, stayed three days at the
court of the king of the magicians, who treated them
magnificently. These three days were rendered more remarkable by
prince Assad's marriage with queen Margiana, and prince Amgiad
with Bostama, for the service she had done his brother Assad.
At length the three kings, and queen Margiana, with her husband
Assad, returned to their respective kingdoms. As for Amgiad, the
king of the magicians had such an affection for him, he could not
part with him; and being very old, he resigned his crown to him.
Amgiad, when he had the supreme authority, did his utmost to
exterminate the worship of fire, and establish the Mahummedan
religion throughout his dominions.
THE STORY OF NOOR AD DEEN AND THE FAIR
The city of Bussorah was for many years the capital of a kingdom
tributary to the caliphs of Arabia. The king who governed it in
the days of the caliph Haroon al Rusheed was named Zinebi, who
not thinking it proper to commit the administration of his
affairs to a single vizier, made choice of two, Khacan and Saouy.
Khacan was of a sweet, generous, and affable temper, and took
pleasure in obliging, to the utmost of his power, those with whom
he had any business to transact, without violating the justice
which it became him to dispense to all. He was therefore
universally respected, at court, in the city, and throughout the
whole kingdom; and the praises he so highly deserved were the
Saouy was of a very different character: he was always sullen and
morose, and disgusted every body, without regard to their rank or
quality. Instead of commanding respect by the liberal
distribution of his immense wealth, he was so perfect a miser as
to deny himself the necessaries of life. In short, nobody could
endure him; and nothing good was said of him. But what rendered
him most hateful to the people, was his implacable aversion to
Khacan. He was always putting the worst construction on the
actions of that worthy minister, and endeavouring as much as
possible to prejudice him with the king.
One day after council, the king of Bussorah amused himself with
his two viziers and some other members. The conversation turned
upon the female slaves that are daily bought and sold, and who
hold nearly the same rank as the lawful wives. Some were of
opinion, that personal beauty in slaves so purchased was of
itself sufficient to render them proper substitutes for wives,
which, often on account of alliance or interest in families, men
are obliged to marry, though they are not always possessed of any
perfection, either of mind or body.
Others maintained, and amongst the rest Khacan, that personal
charms were by no means the only qualifications to be desired in
a slave; but that they ought to be accompanied with a great share
of wit, a cultivated understanding, modesty, and, if possible,
every agreeable accomplishment. The reason they gave was, that
nothing could be more gratifying to persons on whom the
management of important affairs devolved, than, after having
spent the day in fatiguing employment, to have a companion in
their retirement, whose conversation would be not only pleasing,
but useful and instructive: for, in short, continued they, there
is but little difference between brutes and those men who keep a
slave only to look at, and to gratify a passion that we have in
common with them.
The king entirely concurred in this opinion, and accordingly
ordered Khacan to buy him a slave, of perfect beauty, mistress of
all the qualifications they had enumerated, and possessed, above
all things, of an enlightened understanding.
Saouy, jealous of the honour the king had done Khacan, and
differing widely with him in opinion, said, "Sire, it will be
very difficult to find a slave so accomplished as your majesty
requires; and should such a one be discovered, which I scarcely
believe possible, she will be cheap at ten thousand pieces of
gold." "Saouy," replied the king, "I perceive plainly you think
the sum too great; it may be so for you, though not for me." Then
turning to his high treasurer, he ordered him to send the ten
thousand pieces of gold to the vizier's house.
Khacan, as soon as he had returned home, sent for all the brokers
who used to deal in women-slaves, and strictly charged them,
that, if ever they met with one who answered the description he
gave them, they should immediately apprise him. The brokers,
partly to oblige the vizier, and partly for their own interest,
promised to use their utmost endeavours to procure for him one
that would accord with his wishes. Scarcely a day passed but they
brought him a slave for his inspection, but he always discovered
in each something defective.
One day, early in the morning, as Khacan was mounting his horse
to go to court, a broker came to him, and, taking hold of the
stirrup with great eagerness, told him a Persian merchant had
arrived very late the day before, who had a slave to sell, so
surprisingly beautiful that she excelled all the women his eyes
had ever beheld; "And for wit and knowledge," added he, "the
merchant engages she shall match the most acute and learned
persons of the age."
Khacan, overjoyed at this intelligence, which promised him a
favourable opportunity for making his court, ordered him to bring
the slave to his palace against his return, and departed.
The broker failed not to be at the vizier's at the appointed
hour; and Khacan, finding the lovely slave so much beyond his
expectation, immediately gave her the name of the fair Persian.
As he had himself much wit and learning, he soon perceived by her
conversation, that it was in vain to search further for a slave
that surpassed her in any of the qualifications required by the
king; and therefore he asked the broker at what sum the Persian
merchant valued her.
"Sir," replied the broker, "he is a man of few words in
bargaining, and he tells me, that the very lowest price he will
take for her is ten thousand pieces of gold: he has also sworn to
me, that, without reckoning his care and pains from the time of
his first taking her under his charge, he has laid out nearly
that sum on her education in masters to improve her form and
cultivate her mind, besides what she has cost him in clothes and
maintenance. As he always thought her fit for a king, he has from
her infancy, when he first bought her, been sparing of nothing
that might contribute towards advancing her to that high
distinction. She plays upon all kinds of instruments to
perfection; she sings, dances, writes better than the most
celebrated authors, makes verses, and there is scarcely any book
but she has read; so that there never was a slave so accomplished
heard of before."
The vizier Khacan, who could estimate the merits of the fair
Persian better than the broker, who only reported what he had
heard from the merchant, was unwilling to defer the bargain to a
future opportunity, and therefore sent one of his servants to
look for the merchant, where the broker told him he was to be
As soon as the Persian merchant arrived, "It is not for myself,
but for the king," said the vizier Khacan, "that I buy your
slave; but, nevertheless, you must let him have her at a more
reasonable price than you have set upon her."
"Sir," replied the merchant, "I should do myself unspeakable
honour in offering her as a present to his majesty, if it became
a person in my situation to make him one of such inestimable
value. I ask no more than her education and accomplishments have
cost me; and all I have to say is, that I believe his majesty
will be extremely pleased with the purchase."
The vizier Khacan would stand no longer bargaining with the
merchant, but paid him the money immediately. "Sir," said he to
the vizier, upon taking his leave of him, "since the slave is
designed for the king's use, give me leave to tell you, that
being extremely fatigued with our long journey, you see her at
present under great disadvantage. Though she has not her equal in
the world for beauty, yet if you please to keep her at your own
house for a fortnight, she will appear quite another creature.
You may then present her to the king with honour and credit; for
which I hope you will think yourself much obliged to me. The sun,
you perceive, has a little injured her complexion; but after two
or three times bathing, and when you have dressed her as you
think proper, she will be so changed, that she will appear
infinitely more charming."
Khacan was pleased with the instructions the merchant gave him,
and resolved to abide by them. He assigned the fair Persian a
particular apartment near his lady's, whom he desired to invite
her to an entertainment, and thenceforth to treat her as a person
designed for the king: he also provided for her several suits of
the richest clothes that could be had, and would become her best.
Before he took his leave of the fair Persian, he said "Your
happiness, madam, cannot be greater than what I am about to
procure for you; you shall judge for yourself; it is for the king
I have purchased you; and I hope he will be even more pleased
with possessing you than I am in having discharged the commission
with which his majesty has honoured me. I think it, however, my
duty to warn you that I have a son, who, though he does not want
wit, is yet young, insinuating, and forward; and to caution you
how you suffer him to come near you." The fair Persian thanked
him for his advice; and after she had given him assurance of her
intention to follow it, he withdrew.
Noor ad Deen, for so the vizier's son was named, had free access
to the apartment of his mother, with whom he usually ate his
meals. He was young, handsome in person, agreeable in manners,
and firm in his temper; and having great readiness of wit, and
fluency of language, was perfect master of the art of persuasion.
He saw the fair Persian; and from their first interview, though
he knew his father had bought her purposely for the king, and had
so informed him, yet he never used the least endeavour to check
the violence of his passion. In short, he resigned himself wholly
to the power of her charms, by which his heart was at first
captivated; and, from his first conversation with her, resolved
to use his utmost endeavours to keep her from the king.
The fair Persian, on her part, had no dislike to Noor ad Deen.
"The vizier," said she to herself, "has done me honour in
purchasing me for the king; but I should have thought myself very
happy if he had designed me only for his own son."
Noor ad Deen was not remiss in improving the advantage he enjoyed
of seeing and conversing with a beauty of whom he was so
passionately enamoured; for he would never leave her till obliged
by his mother. "My son," she would say, "it is not proper for a
young man like you to be always in the women's apartments; go,
mind your studies, and endeavour to qualify yourself to succeed
to the honours of your father."
The fair Persian not having bathed for a considerable time on
account of the length of her journey, the vizier's lady, five or
six days after she was purchased, ordered the bath in her own
house to be got ready purposely for her. She sent her to it
accompanied by many other women-slaves, who were charged by the
vizier's lady to be as attentive to her as to herself, and, after
bathing, to put her on a very rich suit of clothes that she had
provided for her. She was the more careful in order to ingratiate
herself with her husband, by letting him see how much she
interested herself in every thing that contributed to his
As soon as she came out of the bath, the fair Persian, a thousand
times more beautiful than she had appeared to Khacan when he
bought her, went to visit his lady, who at first hardly knew her.
The fair Persian gracefully kissed her hand, and said, "Madam, I
know not how you like me in this dress you have been pleased to
order for me; but your women, who tell me it becomes me so
extremely well they should scarcely know me, certainly flatter
me. From you alone I expect to hear the truth; but, if what they
say be really so, I am indebted to you, madam, for the advantage
it has given me."
"Oh! my daughter," cried the vizier's lady, transported with joy,
"you have no reason to believe my women have flattered you; I am
better skilled in beauty than they; and, setting aside your
dress, which becomes you admirably well, your beauty is so much
improved by the bath, that I hardly knew you myself. If I thought
the bath was warm enough, I would take my turn; for I am now of
an age to require its frequent use." "Madam," replied the fair
Persian, "I have nothing to say to the undeserved civilities you
have been pleased to shew me. As for the bath, it is in fine
order; and if you design to go in, you have no time to lose, as
your women can inform you."
The vizier's lady, considering that she had not bathed for some
days, was desirous to avail herself of that opportunity; and
accordingly acquainted her women with her intention, who
immediately prepared all things necessary for the occasion. The
fair Persian withdrew to her apartment; and the vizier's lady,
before she went to bathe, ordered two little female slaves to
stay with her, with a strict charge that if Noor ad Deen came,
they should not give him admittance.
While the vizier's lady was bathing, and the fair slave was alone
in her apartment, Noor ad Deen came in, and not finding his
mother in her chamber, went directly towards the fair Persian's,
and found the two little slaves in the antechamber. He asked them
where his mother was? They told him in the bath. "Where is the
fair Persian, then?" demanded Noor ad Deen. "In her chamber,"
answered the slaves; "but we have positive orders from your
mother not to admit you."
The entrance into the fair Persian's chamber being only covered
with a piece of tapestry, Noor ad Deen went to lift it up, in
order to enter, but was opposed by the two slaves, who placed
themselves before it, to stop his passage. He presently caught
them both by the arms, and, thrusting them out of the
antechamber, locked the door upon them. They immediately ran with
loud lamentations to the bath, and with tears in their eyes, told
their lady, that Noor ad Deen, having driven them away by force,
had gone into the fair Persian's chamber.
The vizier's lady received the account of her son's presumption
with the greatest concern. She immediately left the bath, and
dressing herself with all possible speed, came directly to the
fair Persian's chamber; but before she could get thither, Noor ad
Deen had gone away.
The fair Persian was extremely surprised to see the vizier's lady
enter her chamber in tears, and in the utmost confusion. "Madam,"
said she, "may I presume to ask you the occasion of your concern;
and what accident has happened in the bath, to make you leave it
"What!" cried the vizier's lady, "can you so calmly ask that.
question, after my son has been with you alone in your chamber?
Can there happen a greater misfortune to him or me?"
"I beseech you, madam," replied the fair slave, "what prejudice
can this action of Noor ad Deen's do to you or him?"
"How," returned the vizier's lady, "did not my husband tell you
that you were designed for the king, and sufficiently caution you
to beware of our son?"
"I have not forgotten that, madam," replied the fair Persian;
"but your son came to tell me the vizier his father had changed
his purpose, and instead of reserving me for the king, as he
first designed, had made him a present of my person. I easily
believed him; for, oh! think how a slave as I am, accustomed from
my infant years to the laws of servitude, could or ought to
resist him! I must own I did it with the less reluctance, on
account of the affection for him, which the freedom of our
conversation and daily intercourse has excited in my heart. I
could without regret resign the hope of ever being the king's,
and think myself perfectly happy in spending my whole life with
Noor ad Deen."
At this discourse of the fair Persian's, the vizier's lady
exclaimed, "Would to God that what you say were true! I should
hear it with joy; but, believe me, Noor ad Deen has deceived you;
for it is impossible his father should ever make him such a
present. Ah! wretched youth, how miserable has he made me! and
more especially his father, by the dismal consequences we must
all expect to share with him! Neither my prayers nor tears will
be able to prevail, or obtain a pardon for him; for as soon as
his father hears of his violence to you, he will inevitably
sacrifice him to his resentment." At these words she wept
bitterly; and the slaves, who were as much alarmed for Noor ad
Deen as herself, joined in her tears.
Shortly after the vizier Khacan entered; and being surprised to
find his lady and her slaves all in tears, and the fair Persian
very melancholy asked the reason; but instead of answering him
his wife and the slaves continued weeping and lamenting. This
astonished him still more; at last, addressing himself to his
wife, "I command you," said he, "to let me know the reason of
your tears, and to tell me the whole truth."
The disconsolate lady could no longer refuse to satisfy her
husband. "Sir," said she, "first promise not to use me unkindly
on account of what I shall inform you, since I assure you, that
what has happened has not been occasioned by any fault of mine."
Without waiting for his answer, she then proceeded, "whilst I was
bathing with my women, your son seizing that fatal opportunity to
ruin us both, came hither, and made the fair Persian believe,
that instead of reserving her for the king, you had given her to
him as a present. I will not say what he did after such a wicked
falsehood, but shall leave you to judge. This is the cause of my
affliction, on your account, and his, for whom I want confidence
to implore your pardon."
It is impossible to express the vizier Khacan's distraction at
this account of the insolence of his son. "Ah!" cried he, beating
his breast, and tearing his beard, "miserable son! unworthy of
life! hast thou at last thrown thy father from the highest
pinnacle of happiness into a misfortune that must inevitably
involve thee also in his ruin? neither will the king be satisfied
with thy blood or mine, to avenge the affront offered to his
His lady endeavoured to comfort him. "Afflict yourself no more,"
said she; "I shall easily raise, with part of my jewels, ten
thousand pieces of gold, and you may buy another slave, more
beautiful and more worthy of the king."
"Ah!" replied the vizier, "could you think me capable of being so
extremely afflicted at losing ten thousand pieces of gold? It is
not that loss, nor the loss of all I am worth, for that I should
not feel; but the forfeiting my honour, more precious than all
the riches in the world, that distresses me." "However," replied
the lady, "a loss that can be repaired by money cannot be so very
"How!" exclaimed the vizier; "do you not know that Saouy is my
mortal enemy; and as soon as this affair comes to his knowledge,
do you think he will not exult over me before the king? ‘Your
majesty,' will he not say to him, ‘is always talking of Khacan's
zeal and affection for your service; but see what a proof he has
lately given of his claim to the regard you have hitherto shewn
him. He has received ten thousand pieces of gold to buy a slave;
and, to do him justice, he has most honourably acquitted himself
of that commission, by purchasing the most beautiful that ever
eyes beheld; but, instead of bringing her to your majesty, he has
thought it better to make a present of her to his son. "Here, my
son," said he, "take this slave, since thou art more worthy of
her than the king."' Then, with his usual malice, will he not go
on, ‘His son has her now entirely in his possession, and every
day revels in her arms, without the least disturbance. This, sir,
is the exact truth, that I have done myself the honour of
acquainting you with; and if your majesty questions my veracity,
you may easily satisfy yourself.' Do you not plainly see,"
continued the vizier, "how, upon such a malicious insinuation as
this, I am every moment liable to have my house forced by the
king's guards, and the fair Persian taken from me, besides a
thousand other misfortunes that will unavoidably follow?" "Sir,"
replied the vizier's lady to her husband, "I am sensible the
malice of Saouy is very great, and that, if he have but the least
intimation of this affair, he will certainly give it a turn very
disadvantageous to your interest; but how is it possible that he
or any one else should know what has been privately transacted in
your family? Suppose it comes to the king's ears, and he should
ask you about it; cannot you say, that upon a strict examination
you did not deem the slave so fit for his majesty's use as you
had at first thought her; that the merchant has cheated you;
that, indeed, she has considerable beauty, but is by no means so
accomplished as she had been represented. The king will certainly
believe what you say, and Saouy be vexed to the soul, to see all
his malicious design of ruining you disappointed. Take courage
then, and, if you will follow my advice, send for all the
brokers, tell them you do not like the fair Persian, and order
them to be as expeditious as possible in procuring for you
As this advice appeared rational to the vizier Khacan, and as his
passion began to cool, he resolved to abide by it, but his
indignation against his son remained as violent as ever.
Noor ad Deen did not make his appearance during the whole of that
day, and not daring to hide himself among his young companions,
lest his father should search for him in their houses, he went a
little way out of town, and took sanctuary in a garden, where he
had never been before, and where he was totally unknown. He did
not return home till it was very late, when he knew his father
was in bed; and then his mother's women, opening the door very
softly; admitted him without any noise. He quitted the house
again next morning before his father was stirring; and this plan
he pursued for a whole month, to his great mortification. Indeed,
the women never flattered him, but told him plainly, his father's
anger was not at all diminished, and that he protested if he came
into his sight he would certainly kill him.
The vizier's lady learnt from her women that Noor ad Deen slept
every night in the house, but she could not summon resolution to
supplicate her husband for his pardon. At last, however, she
ventured. One day she said to him, "I have hitherto been silent,
sir, not daring to take the liberty of talking to you about your
son; but now give me leave to ask what you design to do with him?
It is impossible for a son to have acted more criminally towards
a father than he has done, in depriving you of the honour and
gratification of presenting to the king a slave so accomplished
as the fair Persian. This I acknowledge; but, after all, are you
resolved to destroy him, and, instead of a light evil no more to
be thought of, to draw upon yourself a far greater than perhaps
you at present apprehend? Are you not afraid that the malicious
world, which inquires after the reason of your son's absconding,
may find out the true cause, which you are so desirous of
concealing? Should that happen, you would justly fall into a
misfortune, which it is so much your interest to avoid."
"Madam," returned the vizier, "there is much reason in what you
have urged; but I cannot think of pardoning our son, till I have
mortified him as he deserves." "He will be sufficiently
mortified," replied the lady, "if you will only do what has just
suggested itself to my mind. Your son comes home every night
after you have retired; he sleeps here, and steals out every
morning before you are stirring. Wait for his coming in to-night,
make as if you designed to kill him, upon which I will run to his
assistance, and when he finds he owes his life entirely to my
prayers and entreaties, you may oblige him to take the fair
Persian on what condition you please. He loves her, and I am well
satisfied the fair slave has no aversion for him."
Khacan readily consented to this stratagem. Accordingly, when
Noor ad Deen came at the usual hour, before the door was opened,
he placed himself behind it: as soon as he entered, he rushed
suddenly upon him, and got him down under his feet. Noor ad Deen,
lifting up his head, saw his father with a dagger in his hand,
ready to stab him.
At that instant his mother arrived, and catching hold of the
vizier's arm, cried, "Sir, what are you doing?" "Let me alone,"
replied the vizier, "that I may kill this base, unworthy son."
"You shall kill me first," returned the mother; "never will I
suffer you to imbue your hands in your own blood." Noor ad Deen
improved this moment. "My father," cried he with tears in his
eyes, "I implore your clemency and compassion; nor must you deny
me pardon, since I ask it in his name before whom we must all
appear at the last day."
Khacan suffered the dagger to be taken out of his hand; and as
soon as Noor ad Deen was released, he threw himself at his
father's feet and kissed them, to shew how sincerely he repented
of having offended him. "Son," said the vizier, "return thanks to
your mother, since it is for her sake I pardon you. I propose
also to give you the fair Persian, on condition that you will
bind yourself by an oath not to regard her any longer as a slave,
but as your wife; that you will not sell her, nor ever be
divorced from her. As she possesses an excellent understanding,
and abundantly more wit and prudence than yourself, I doubt not
but that she will be able to moderate those rash sallies of
youth, which are otherwise so likely to effect your ruin."
Noor ad Deen, who little expected such indulgent treatment,
returned his father a thousand thanks, and the fair Persian and
he were well pleased with being united to each other.
The vizier Khacan, without waiting for the king's inquiries about
the success of the commission he had given him, took particular
care to mention the subject often, representing to his majesty
the many difficulties he met, and how fearful he was of not
acquitting himself to his majesty's satisfaction. In short, he
managed the business with so much address, that the king
insensibly forgot it. Though Saouy had gained some intimation of
the transaction, yet Khacan was so much in the king's favour,
that he was afraid to divulge what he had heard.
This delicate affair had now been kept rather more than a year
with greater secrecy than the vizier at first expected, when
being one day in the bath, and some important business obliging
him to leave it, warm as he was, the air, which was then cold,
struck to his breast, caused a defluxion to fall upon his lungs,
which threw him into a violent fever, and confined him to his
bed. His illness increasing every day, and perceiving he had not
long to live, he thus addressed himself to his son, who never
quitted him during the whole of his illness: "My son," said he,
"I know not whether I have well employed the riches heaven has
blessed me with, but you see they are not able to save me from
the hands of death. The last thing I desire of you with my dying
breath is, that you would be mindful of the promise you made me
concerning the fair Persian, and in this assurance I shall die
These were the vizier Khacan's last words. He expired a few
moments after, and left his family, the court, and the whole
city, in great affliction, The king lamented him as a wise,
zealous, and faithful minister; and the people bewailed him as
their protector and benefactor.. Never was there a funeral in
Bussorah solemnized with greater pomp and magnificence. The
viziers, emirs, and in general all the grandees of the court,
strove for the honour of bearing his coffin, one after another,
upon their shoulders, to the place of burial; and both rich and
poor accompanied him, dissolved in tears.
Noor ad Deen exhibited all the demonstrations of a sorrow
proportioned to the loss he had sustained, and long refrained
from seeing any company. At last he admitted of a visit from an
intimate acquaintance. His friend endeavoured to comfort him; and
finding him inclined to hear reason, told him, that having paid
what was due to the memory of his father, and fully satisfied all
that decency required of him, it was now high time to appear
again in the world, to converse with his friends, and maintain a
character suitable to his birth and talents. "For," continued he,
"though we should sin against the laws both of nature and
society, and be thought insensible, if on the death of our
fathers we neglected to pay them the duties which filial love
imposes upon us; yet having performed these, and put it out of
the power of any to reproach us for our conduct, it behoves us to
return to the world, and our customary occupations. Dry up your
tears then, and reassume that wonted air of gaiety which has
always inspired with joy those who have had the honour of your
This advice seemed too reasonable to be rejected, and had Noor ad
Deen strictly abided by it, he would certainly have avoided all
the misfortunes that afterwards befell him. He entertained his
friend honourably; and when he took his leave, desired him to
come again the next day, and bring with him three or four friends
of their acquaintance. By this means he insensibly fell into the
society of about ten young men nearly of his own age, with whom
he spent his time in continual feasting and entertainments; and
scarcely a day passed but he made every one of them some
The fair Persian, who never approved of his extravagant way of
living, often spoke her mind freely. "I question not," said she,
"but the vizier your father has left you an ample fortune: but
great as it may be, be not displeased with your slave for telling
you, that at this rate of living you will quickly see an end of
it. We may sometimes indeed treat our friends, and be merry with
them; but to make a daily practice of it, is certainly the high
road to ruin and destruction: for your own honour and reputation,
you would do better to follow the footsteps of your deceased
father, that in time you may rise to that dignity by which he
acquired so much glory and renown."
Noor ad Deen hearkened to the fair Persian with a smile: and when
she had done, "My charmer," said he, with the same air of gaiety,
"say no more of that; let us talk of nothing but mirth and
pleasure. In my father's lifetime I was always under restraint;
and I am now resolved to enjoy the liberty I so much sighed for
before his death. It will be time enough for me hereafter to
think of leading the sober, regular life you talk of; and a man
of my age ought to taste the pleasures of youth."
What contributed still more to the ruin of Noor ad Deen's
fortune, was his unwillingness to reckon with his steward; for
whenever he brought in his accounts, he still sent him away
without examining them: "Go, go," said he, "I trust wholly to
your honesty; only take care to provide good entertainments for
"You are the master, sir," replied he, "and I but the steward;
however, you would do well to think upon the proverb, ‘He that
spends much, and has but little, must at last insensibly be
reduced to poverty.' You are not contented with keeping an
extravagant table, but you must lavish away your estate with both
hands: and were your coffers as large as mountains, they would
not be sufficient to maintain you." "Begone," replied Noor ad
Deen, "I want not your grave lessons; only take care to provide
good eating and drinking, and trouble your head no farther about
In the meantime, Noor ad Deen's friends were constant guests at
his table, and never failed to take advantage of the easiness of
his temper. They praised and flattered him, extolling his most
indifferent actions; but, above all, they took particular care to
commend whatever belonged to him; and in this they found their
account. "Sir," said one of them, "I came the other day by your
estate that lies in such a place; nothing can be so magnificent
or so handsomely furnished as your house; and the garden
belonging to it is a paradise upon earth." "I am very glad it
pleases you," replied Noor ad Deen: "bring me pen, ink, and
paper; without more words, it is at your service; I make you a
present of it." No sooner had others commended one of his houses,
baths, or public buildings erected for the use of strangers, the
yearly revenue of which was very considerable, than he
immediately gave them away. The fair Persian could not forbear
stating to him how much injury he did himself; but, instead of
paying any regard to her remonstrances, he continued his
extravagances, and the first opportunity that offered, squandered
away the little he had left.
In short, Noor ad Deen did nothing for a whole year but feast and
make merry, wasting and consuming, with the utmost prodigality,
the great wealth that his predecessors, and the good vizier his
father, had with so much pains and care acquired and preserved.
The year was but just expired, when a person one day knocked at
the door of the hall, where he and his friends were at dinner
together by themselves, having sent away the slaves, that they
might enjoy the greater liberty.
One of his friends offered to rise; but Noor ad Deen stepping
before him, opened the door himself. It was the steward; and Noor
ad Deen, going a little out of the hall to know his business,
left the door half open.
The friend that offered to rise from his seat, seeing it was the
steward, and being curious to know what he had to say, placed
himself between the hangings and the door, where he plainly
overheard the steward's discourse to his master. "Sir," said he,
"I ask a thousand pardons for coming to disturb you in the height
of your pleasure; but what I have to say is of such importance,
that I thought myself bound in duty to acquaint you with it. I am
come, sir, to make up my last accounts, and to tell you, that
what I all along foresaw, and have often warned you of, is at
last come to pass. I have not the smallest piece left of all the
sums I have received from you for your expenses; the other funds
you assigned me are all exhausted. The farmers, and those that
owe you rent, have made it so plainly appear to me, that you have
assigned over to others what they held of you, that it is
impossible for me to get any more from them on your account. Here
are my books; if you please, examine them; and if you wish I
should continue useful to you, assign me other funds, or else
give me leave to quit your service." Noor ad Deen was so
astonished at his statement, that he gave him no answer.
The friend who had been listening all this while, and had heard
every syllable of what the steward said, immediately came in, and
told the company what he had overheard. "It is your business,
gentlemen," said he, "to make your use of this caution; for my
part, I declare to you, this is the last visit I design ever to
make Noor ad Deen." "Nay," replied they, "if matters go thus, we
have as little business here as you; and for the future shall
take care not to trouble him with our company."
Noor ad Deen returned presently after; notwithstanding all his
efforts to appear gay to his guests, he could not so dissemble
his concern, but they plainly perceived the truth of what they
had heard. He was scarcely sat down in his place, when one of his
friends arose: "Sir," said he, "I am sorry I cannot have the
honour of keeping you company any longer; and therefore I hope
you will excuse my rudeness in leaving you so soon." "What urgent
affair," demanded Noor ad Deen, "obliges you to be going so
soon?" "My wife, sir," he replied, "is brought to bed to-day; and
upon such an occasion, you know a husband's company is always
necessary." So making a very low bow, he went away. A minute
afterwards a second took his leave, with another excuse. The rest
did the same, one after another, till at last not one of the ten
friends that had hitherto kept Noor ad Deen company remained.
As soon as they were gone, Noor ad Deen, little suspecting the
resolution they had formed never to see him again, went directly
to the fair Persian's apartment; to whom he related all the
steward had told him, and seemed extremely concerned at the ill
state of his affairs. "Sir," said the fair Persian, "allow me to
say, you would never take my advice, but always managed your
concerns after your own way, and now you see the fatal
consequences. I find I was not mistaken, when I presaged to what
a miserable condition you would bring yourself at last: but what
afflicts me the more is, that at present you do not see the worst
of your misfortunes. Whenever I presumed freely to remonstrate
with you, ‘Let us be merry,' you replied, ‘and improve the time
that Fortune offers us; perhaps she will not always be so
prodigal of her favours:' but was I to blame in telling you, that
we are ourselves the makers of our own fortunes by a prudent
management of them? You would not hearken to me; and I was
forced, however reluctantly, to let you go on."
"I must own," replied Noor ad Deen, "I was extremely in the wrong
in not following the advice which with such admirable prudence
you gave me. It is true, I have spent my estate; but do you not
consider, it is among a chosen set of friends, whom I have long
known, and who, I am persuaded, have more generosity and
gratitude than to abandon me in distress?" "Sir," replied the
fair Persian, "if you have nothing but the gratitude of your
friends to depend on, your case is desperate; for, believe me,
that hope is ill-grounded, and you will tell me so yourself in
To this Noor ad Deen replied, "Charming Persian, I have a better
opinion of my friends' generosity: to-morrow I design to visit
them all, before the usual time of their coming hither; and you
shall see me return with a round sum that they will assist me
with. I am resolved to alter my way of living, and, with the
money they lend me, to set up in some business."
Next morning, Noor ad Deen visited his ten friends, who lived in
the same street. He knocked at the first door, where one of the
richest of them resided. A slave came to the door: but before he
would open it, asked who was there. "Tell your master," said he
to the slave, "it is Noor ad Deen, the late vizier Khacan's son."
The slave opened the door, and shewed him into a hall, where he
left him, in order to inform his master, who was in an inner
room, that Noor ad Deen was come to wait on him, "Noor ad Deen!"
cried he, in a disdainful tone, loud enough for him to hear: "go
tell him I am not at home; and whenever he may come again, be
sure you give him the same answer." The slave returned, and told
Noor ad Deen he thought his master was within, but was mistaken.
Noor ad Deen came away in the greatest confusion. "Ah! base,
ungrateful wretch!" cried he, "to treat me so to-day after the
vows and protestations of friendship that he made me yesterday."
He went to another door, but that friend ordered his slave also
to say he was gone out. He had the same answer at the third; and,
in short, all the rest denied themselves, though every one was at
Noor ad Deen now began in earnest to reflect with himself, and
see the folly of relying upon the protestations of attachment
that his false friends had solemnly made him in the time of his
prosperity, when he could treat them sumptuously, and load them
with favours. "It is true," said he to himself, "that a fortunate
man, as I was, may be compared to a tree laden with fruit, which,
as long as there is any on its boughs, people will be crowding
round, and gathering; but as soon as it is stripped of all, they
immediately leave it, and go to another." He smothered his
passion as much as possible while he was abroad; but no sooner
was he got home than he gave a loose to his affliction, and
discovered it to the fair Persian.
The fair Persian seeing him so extremely concerned, guessed he
had not found his friends so ready to assist him as he expected.
"Well, sir," said she, "are you now convinced of the truth of
what I told you?" "Ah!" cried he, "thou hast been too true a
prophetess; for not one of them would know me, see me, or speak
to me. Who could ever have believed, that persons so highly
obliged to me, and on whom I have spent my estate, could have
used me so ungratefully? I am distracted; and I fear shall commit
some action unworthy myself, in the deplorable and desperate
condition I am reduced to, unless you assist me with your prudent
advice." "Sir," replied the fair Persian, "I see no other way of
supporting yourself in your misfortunes, but selling off your
slaves and furniture, and living on the money they produce, till
heaven points out some other means to deliver you from your
Noor ad Deen was loth to resort to this expedient; but what could
he do in the necessitous circumstances to which he was reduced?
He first sold off his slaves, those unprofitable mouths, which
would have been a greater expense to him than in his present
condition he could bear. He lived on the money for some time; and
when it was spent, ordered his goods to be carried into the
market-place, where they were sold for half their value, though
there were among them several articles that had cost immense
sums. Upon the produce of these he lived a considerable time; but
this supply failing at last, he had nothing left by which he
could raise any more money, of which he informed the fair Persian
in the most sorrowful expressions.
Noor ad Deen little expected the answer this prudent woman made
him. "Sir," said she, "I am your slave; and the late vizier your
father gave ten thousand pieces of gold for me. I know I am a
little sunk in value since that time; but I believe I shall sell
for pretty near that sum. Let me entreat you then instantly to
carry me to the market, and expose me to sale; and with the money
that you get for me, which will be very considerable, you may
turn merchant in some city where you are not known, and by that
means find a way of living, if not in splendour, yet with
happiness and content."
"Lovely and adorable Persian!" cried Noor ad Deen, "is it
possible you can entertain such a thought? Have I given you such
slender proofs of my love, that you should think me capable of so
base an action? But suppose me so vile a wretch, could I do it
without being guilty of perjury, after the oath I have taken to
my late father never to sell you? I would sooner die than break
it, and part with you, whom I love infinitely beyond myself;
though, by the unreasonable proposal you have made me, you shew
me that your love is by no means reciprocal."
"Sir," replied the fair Persian, "I am convinced that your
passion for me is as sincere as you express; and heaven, who
knows with what reluctance I have made this proposal which
induces you to think so hardly of me, is my witness, that mine is
as great as yours; but to silence your reasons, I need only bid
you remember, that necessity has no law. I love you to that
degree that it is impossible for you to love me more; and be
assured, that to what master soever I shall belong, my love for
you will continue undiminished; and if you are ever able to
redeem me, as I hope you may, it will be the greatest pleasure in
the world to be restored to you again. I confess it is a fatal
and cruel necessity to which we are driven; but I see no other
way of freeing ourselves from the misery that involves us both."
Noor ad Deen, convinced of the truth of what the fair Persian had
said, and that there was no other way of avoiding a shameful
poverty, was forced to yield to her proposal. Accordingly he led
her to the market where the women-slaves are exposed to sale,
with a regret that cannot easily be expressed. He applied himself
to a broker, named Hagi Hassan. "Hagi Hassan," said he, "here is
a slave whom I mean to sell; what will they give for her?"
Hagi Hassan desired Noor ad Deen and the fair Persian to walk
into a room; and when she had pulled off the veil that covered
her face, "Sir," said Hagi Hassan, in surprise, "if I am not
mistaken, this is the slave your father, the late vizier, gave
ten thousand pieces of gold for?" Noor ad Deen assured him she
was the same and Hagi Hassan gave him some hopes of selling her
at a high price, and promised to use all his art to raise her
value as high as he could.
Hagi Hassan and Noor ad Deen went out of the room; and Hagi
Hassan locked the fair Persian in. He went immediately to the
merchants; but they being busy in buying slaves from different
countries, Greeks, Franks, Africans, Tartars, and others, he was
forced to wait till the market was over. When the sale was ended,
and the greatest part of them were got together again, "My
masters," said he to them, with an air of gaiety in his looks and
actions, "every thing that is round is not a nut, every thing
that is long is not a fig, all that is red is not flesh, and all
eggs are not fresh; it is true you have seen and bought a great
many slaves in your lives, but you never yet saw one comparable
to her I am going to tell you of. She is the very pearl of
slaves. Come, follow me, you shall see her yourselves, and judge
at what rate I shall cry her."
The merchants followed Hagi Hassan into the apartment where he
had left the fair Persian, and as soon as they beheld her were so
surprised at her beauty, that they unanimously agreed, four
thousand pieces of gold was the very lowest price they could set
upon her. The merchants left the room; and Hagi Hassan, who came
out with them, without going any farther, proclaimed with a loud
voice, "Four thousand pieces of gold for a Persian slave."
None of the merchants had yet offered anything, and were
consulting together about what they might afford to give for her,
when the vizier Saouy appeared. Perceiving Noor ad Deen in the
market, he said to himself, "Noor ad Deen is certainly still
making money of his goods" (for he knew he had exposed them to
sale), "and is come hither to buy a slave with the product." He
advanced forward just as Hagi Hassan began to proclaim a second
time, "Four thousand pieces of gold for a Persian slave."
The vizier Saouy, who concluded by the high price, that the slave
must be extraordinarily beautiful, was very desirous to see her;
so spurring his horse forward, he rode up to Hagi Hassan, who was
surrounded by the merchants. "Open the door," said he, "and let
me see the slave." It was not the custom to shew a slave to a
particular person after the merchants had seen her, and were
treating for her; but none of them durst dispute their right with
the vizier; and Hagi Hassan was obliged to open the door, and he
made a sign to the fair Persian to come forward, that Saouy might
see her, without alighting from his horse.
The vizier was astonished at the sight of so beautiful a slave;
and knowing the broker's name (having formerly dealt with him),
"Hagi Hassan," said he, "is it not at four thousand pieces of
gold that you cry her?" "Yes, sir," answered he; "the merchants
just now agreed that I should put her up at that price: I wait
their advance; and I question not but they will give a great deal
"If no one offers more, I will give that sum," replied Saouy,
looking at the merchants at the same time with a countenance that
forbad them to advance the price. He was so universally dreaded,
that no one durst speak a word, even to complain of his
encroaching upon their privilege.
The vizier having stayed some time, and finding none of the
merchants outbid him, "What do you stay for?" said he to Hagi
Hassan. "Inquire after the seller, and strike a bargain with him
at four thousand pieces of gold, or ask if he demands more."
Hagi Hassan having locked the chamber-door, went to confer with
Noor ad Deen. "Sir," said he to him, "I am very sorry to bring
you the ill news of your slave's going to be sold for nothing."
"How so?" replied Noor ad Deen. "Why sir," continued Hagi Hassan,
"you must know that the business at first went on well; for as
soon as the merchants had seen your slave, they ordered me,
without hesitation, to cry her at four thousand pieces of gold;
accordingly I cried her at that price, but presently the vizier
Saouy came, and his presence has stopped the mouths of all the
merchants, who seemed disposed to raise her, at least to the same
price your deceased father gave for her. Saouy will give no more
than four thousand pieces; and it is much against my inclination
that I am come to tell you his despicable offer. The slave indeed
is your own; but I will never advise you to part with her upon
those terms, since you and every one else are sensible of her
being worth infinitely more; besides, he is base enough to
contrive a way to trick you out of the money."
"Hagi Hassan," replied Noor ad Deen, "I am highly obliged to thee
for thy advice: do not think I will ever sell my slave to any
enemy of our family; my necessities, indeed, are at present very
great; but I would sooner die in the utmost poverty than consent
to delivering her up to him. I have only one thing to beg of
thee, who art skilful in all the turns and shifts of sale, that
thou wouldst put me in a way to prevent the completion of the
"Sir," said Hagi Hassan, "nothing is more easy: you must pretend
that, being in a violent passion with your slave, you swore to
expose her in the market, and for the sake of your oath have now
brought her hither, without any intention of selling her. This
will satisfy every one; and Saouy will have nothing to say
against it. Come along with me then; and just as I am presenting
her to Saouy as if it were by your own consent, pull her to you,
give her two or three blows, and send her home." "I thank thee
for thy counsel," said Noor ad Deen, "and will make use of it."
Hagi Hassan went back to the chamber; and having privately
acquainted the fair Persian with their design, that she might not
be surprised, took her by the hand, and led her to the vizier
Saouy, who was still on horseback at the door "Sir," said he,
"here is the slave, she is yours; take her."
The words were scarcely out of Hagi Hassan's mouth, when Noor ad
Deen, catching hold of the fair Persian, pulled her to him, and
giving her a box on the ear, "Come hither, impertinence," said
he, "and get you home again; for though your ill-humour obliged
me to swear I should bring you hither, yet I never intended to
sell you: I have business for you to do yet; and it will be time
enough to part with you when I have nothing else left."
This conduct of Noor ad Deen put the vizier Saouy into a violent
passion. "Miserable debauchee," cried he, "wouldst thou have me
believe thou hast any thing else left to make money of but thy
slave?" and at the same instant, spurring his horse directly
against him, endeavoured to carry off the fair Persian. Noor ad
Deen. nettled to the quick at the affront the vizier had put upon
him, quitted the fair Persian, and laying hold of his horse's
bridle, made him run two or three paces backwards. "Vile dotard,"
said he to the vizier, "I would tear thy soul out of thy body
this moment, were it not out of respect for the crowd of people
The vizier Saouy being hated by all, there was not one among them
but was pleased to see Noor ad Deen mortify him; and by signs
they gave him to understand, that he might revenge himself upon
him as much as he pleased, for nobody would interfere in their
Saouy endeavoured to force Noor ad Deen to quit the bridle; but
he being a lusty, vigorous man, and encouraged by those that
stood by, pulled him off his horse, gave him several blows, and
dashed his head against the stones, till it was all over blood.
The slaves who waited upon the vizier would have drawn their
cimeters, and fallen upon Noor ad Deen; but the merchants
interposing prevented them. "What do you mean?" said they to
them; "do you not see that one is a vizier, the other a vizier's
son? Let them fight it out; perhaps they will be reconciled one
time or another; whereas, if you had killed Noor ad Deen, your
master, with all his greatness, could not have been able to
protest you against the law?"
Noor ad Deen having given over beating the vizier Saouy, left him
in the mire, and taking the fair Persian, marched home with her,
attended by the people, with shouts and acclamations for the
action he had performed.
The vizier, cruelly bruised with the blows he had received, made
shift to get up, with the assistance of his slaves, and had the
mortification to see himself besmeared with blood and dirt. He
leaned on the shoulders of two slaves, and in that condition went
straight to the palace in the sight of all the people, with the
greater confusion, because no one pitied him. As soon as he
reached the king's apartment, he began to cry out, and call for
justice in a lamentable tone. The king ordered him to be
admitted; and asked who it was that had abused and put him into
that miserable plight. "Sire," cried Saouy, "it is the favour of
your majesty, and being admitted into your sacred councils, that
has occasioned me to be so barbarously treated." "Say no more of
that," replied the king, "only let me hear the whole story
simply, and who the offender is; and if he is in the wrong, you
may depend upon it he shall be severely punished."
"Sire," said Saouy, telling the whole matter to his own
advantage, "having occasion for a cook, I went to the market of
women-slaves to buy one: when I came thither, there was a slave
just cried at four thousand pieces of gold; I ordered them to
bring her before me, and I think my eyes never did nor will
behold a more beautiful creature: I had no sooner examined her
beauty with the highest satisfaction, than I immediately asked to
whom she belonged; and upon inquiry found that Noor ad Deen, son
to the late vizier Khacan, had the disposing of her.
"Your majesty may remember, that about two or three years ago,
you gave that vizier ten thousand pieces of gold, strictly
charging him to buy you a slave with that sum. The money, indeed,
was laid out upon this very slave; but instead of bringing her to
your majesty, thinking his son deserved her better, he made him a
present of her. Noor ad Deen, since his father's death, having
wasted his whole fortune in riot and feasting, has nothing left
but this slave, whom he at last resolved to part with; and she
was to be sold in his name, I sent for him; and, without
mentioning any thing of his father's prevarication, or rather
treachery to your majesty, I in the civilest manner said to him,
‘Noor ad Deen, the merchants, I perceive, have put your slave up
at four thousand pieces of gold; and I question not, but, in
emulation of each other, they will raise the price considerably:
let me have her for the four thousand pieces; I am going to buy
her for the king our lord and master; this will be a handsome
opportunity of making your court to him: and his favour will be
worth far more than the merchants can propose to give you.'
"Instead of returning me a civil answer, the insolent wretch,
beholding me with a fierce air, "Impotent villain,' said he, ‘I
would rather give my slave to a Jew for nothing than to thee for
money.' ‘Noor ad Deen,' I replied, without passion, though I had
some reason to be a little warm,'you do not consider, that by
talking in this manner you affront the king, who raised both your
father and me to the honours we have enjoyed.'
"This admonition, instead of softening him, only provoked him to
a higher degree; so that, falling upon me like a madman, without
regard to my age or rank, he pulled me off my horse, and put me
into this miserable plight. I beseech your majesty to consider,
that it is on your account I have been so publicly affronted."
The abused king, highly incensed against Noor ad Deen by this
relation, so full of malice and artifice, discovered by his
countenance the violence of his anger; and turning to the captain
of his guards, who stood near him, "Take forty of your soldiers,"
said he, "immediately plunder Noor ad Deen's house, and having
ordered it to be razed to the ground, bring him and his slave to
Before the captain of the guards was gone out of the king's
presence, an officer belonging to the court, who overheard the
order given, hastened out. His name was Sangiar; and he had been
formerly a slave of the vizier Khacan who had introduced him at
court, where by degrees he had raised himself.
Sangiar, full of gratitude to his old master and affection for
Noor ad Deen, whom he remembered a child, being no stranger to
Saouy's hatred of Khacan's family, could not hear the order
without concern. "This action," said he to himself, "may not be
altogether so black as Saouy has represented it. He has
prejudiced the king against him, who will certainly put him to
death, without allowing him time to justify himself." He made so
much haste to Noor ad Deen's house, as to get thither soon enough
to acquaint him with what had passed at court, and give him time
to provide for his own and the fair Persian's safety. He knocked
so violently at the door, that Noor ad Deen, who had been a great
while without any servant, ran immediately to open it. "My dear
lord," said Sangiar, "there is no safety for you in Bussorah; you
must lose no time, but depart hence this moment."
"How so?" demanded Noor ad Deen. "What is the reason I must be
gone so soon?" "Make haste away, sir," replied Sangiar, "and take
your slave with you. In short, Saouy has been just now
acquainting the king, after his own way of telling it, all that
passed between you and him; and the captain of the guards will be
here in an instant, with forty soldiers, to seize you and the
fair Persian. Take these forty pieces of gold to assist you in
repairing to some place of safety. I would give you more if I had
it about me. Excuse my not staying any longer; I leave you with
reluctance." Sangiar gave Noor ad Deen but just time to thank
him, and departed.
Noor ad Deen acquainted the fair Persian with the absolute
necessity of their going that moment. She only put on her veil;
they both stole out of the house, and were fortunate enough not
only to get clear of the city, but also safely to arrive at the
Euphrates, which was not far off, where they embarked in a vessel
that lay ready to weigh anchor.
As soon as they were on board, the captain came on deck amongst
his passengers. "Children," said he to them, "are you all here?
have any of you any more business to do in the city? or have you
left any thing behind you?" They were all there, they answered
him, and ready; so that he might sail as soon as he pleased. When
Noor ad Deen came aboard, the first question he asked was,
whither the vessel was bound? and being told for Bagdad, he
rejoiced at it. The captain, having weighed anchor, set sail; and
the vessel, with a very favourable wind, lost sight of Bussorah.
The captain of the guards came to Noor ad Deen's house, and
knocked at the door; but no one answering, he ordered his
soldiers to break it open, who immediately obeyed him, and rushed
in. They searched the house; but neither he nor the fair Persian
were to be found. The captain of the guards made them inquire of
the neighbours; and he himself asked if they had seen them
lately. It was all in vain; for if they had seen him go out of
his house, so universally beloved was Noor ad Deen by the people,
that not one of them would have said the least word to his
prejudice. While they were rifling the house, and levelling it to
the ground, he went to acquaint the king with the news. "Look for
them," said he, "every where; for I am resolved to have them."
The captain of the guards made a second search, and the king
dismissed the vizier Saouy with honour. "Go home," said he,
"trouble yourself no farther to punish Noor ad Deen; I will
revenge your injuries."
Without delay the king ordered to be proclaimed throughout the
whole city a reward of a thousand pieces of gold for any person
that should apprehend Noor ad Deen and the fair Persian, also a
severe punishment upon those who should conceal them. No tidings
however could be heard of them; and the vizier Saouy had only the
comfort of seeing the king espouse his quarrel.