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The Arabian Nights Entertainments vol. 4 by Anon.

Part 2 out of 8

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one of you, my children, if I could do it with justice; but
consider whether I can? It is true, Ahmed, the princess my niece
is obliged to your artificial apple for her cure: but let me ask
you, whether you could have been so serviceable to her if you had
not known by Ali's tube the danger she was in, and if Houssain's
carpet had not brought you to her so soon? Your tube, Ali,
informed you and your brothers that you were likely to lose the
princess your cousin, and so far she is greatly obliged to you.
You must also grant, that the knowledge of her illness would have
been of no service without the artificial apple and the carpet.
And as for you, Houssain, the princess would be very ungrateful
if she did not show her sense of the value of your carpet, which
was so necessary a means towards effecting her cure. But
consider, it would have been of little use, if you had not been
acquainted with her illness by Ali's tube, or if Ahmed had not
applied his artificial apple. Therefore, as neither the carpet,
the ivory tube, nor the artificial apple has the least preference
to the other articles, but as, on the contrary, their value has
been perfectly equal, I cannot grant the princess to any one of
you; and the only fruit you have reaped from your travels is the
glory of having equally contributed to restore her to health.

"As this is the case," added the sultan, "you see that I must
have recourse to other means to determine me with certainty in
the choice I ought to make; and as there is time enough between
this and night, I will do it to-day. Go and procure each of you a
bow and arrow, repair to the plain where the horses are
exercised; I will soon join you, and will give the princess
Nouronnihar to him who shoots the farthest.

"I do not, however, forget to thank you all in general, and each
in particular, for the present you have brought me. I have many
rarities in my collection already, but nothing that comes up to
the miraculous properties of the carpet, the ivory tube, and the
artificial apple, which shall have the first places among them,
and shall be preserved carefully, not only for curiosity, but for
service upon all proper occasions."

The three princes had nothing to object to the decision of the
sultan. When they were dismissed his presence, they each provided
themselves with a bow and arrow, which they delivered to one of
their officers, and went to the plain appointed, followed by a
great concourse of people.

The sultan did not make them wait long for him: as soon as he
arrived, prince Houssain, as the eldest, took his bow and arrow,
and shot first. Prince Ali shot next, and much beyond him; and
prince Ahmed last of all; but it so happened, that nobody could
see where his arrow fell; and notwithstanding all the search made
by himself and all the spectators, it was not to be found. Though
it was believed that he had shot the farthest, and had therefore
deserved the princess Nouronnihar, it was however necessary that
his arrow should be found, to make the matter more evident and
certain; but notwithstanding his remonstrances, the sultan
determined in favour of prince Ali, and gave orders for
preparations to be made for the solemnization of the nuptials,
which were celebrated a few days after with great magnificence.

Prince Houssain would not honour the feast with his presence; his
passion for the princess Nouronnihar was so sincere and ardent,
that he could scarcely support with patience the mortification of
seeing her in the arms of prince Ali: who, he said, did not
deserve her better nor love her more than himself. In short, his
grief was so violent and insupportable, that he left the court,
and renounced all right of succession to the crown, to turn
dervish, and put himself under the discipline of a famous chief,
who had gained great reputation for his exemplary life; and had
taken up his abode, and that of his disciples, whose number was
great, in an agreeable solitude.

Prince Ahmed, urged by the same motive, did not assist at prince
Ali and the princess Nouronnihar's nuptials, any more than his
brother Houssain, yet did not renounce the world as he had done.
But as he could not imagine what could have become of his arrow,
he resolved to search for it, that he might not have any thing to
reproach himself with. With this intent he went to the place
where the princes Houssain's and Ali's were gathered up, and
proceeding straight forwards from thence looked carefully on both
sides as he advanced. He went so far, that at last he began to
think his labour was in vain; yet he could not help proceeding
till he came to some steep craggy rocks, which would have obliged
him to return, had he been ever so desirous to continue his

As he approached these rocks, he perceived an arrow, which he
took up, looked earnestly at it, and was in the greatest
astonishment to find it was the same he had shot. "Certainly,"
said he to himself, "neither I, nor any man living, could shoot
an arrow so far; and finding it laid flat, not sticking into the
ground, he judged that it had rebounded from the rock. There must
be some mystery in this, said he to himself again, and it may be
to my advantage. Perhaps fortune, to make amends for depriving me
of what I thought the greatest happiness of my life, may have
reserved a greater blessing for my comfort."

As these rocks were full of sharp points and indentures between
them, the prince meditating, entered into one of the cavities,
and looking about, beheld an iron door, which seemed to have no
lock. He feared it was fastened; but pushing against it, it
opened, and discovered an easy descent, which he walked down with
his arrow in his hand. At first he thought he was going into a
dark place, but presently a light quite different from that which
he had quitted succeeded; and entering into a spacious square,
he, to his surprise, beheld a magnificent palace, the admirable
structure of which he had not time to look at: for at the same
instant, a lady of majestic air, and of a beauty to which the
richness of her habit and the jewels which adorned her person
added no advantage, advanced, attended by a troop of ladies, or
whom it was difficult to distinguish which was the mistress, as
all were so magnificently dressed.

As soon as Ahmed perceived the lady, he hastened to pay his
respects; and the lady seeing him coming, prevented him.
Addressing him first, she said, "Come near, prince Ahmed, you are

It was with no small surprise that the prince heard himself named
in a palace he had never heard of, though so nigh to his father's
capital, and he could not comprehend how he should be known to a
lady who was a stranger to him. At last he returned the lady's
compliment, by throwing himself at her feet, and rising up, said
to her, "Lady, I return you a thousand thanks for the assurance
you give me of welcome to a place where I had reason to believe
my imprudent curiosity had made me penetrate too far. But may I,
without being guilty of rudeness, presume to inquire by what
adventure you know me? and how you who live in the same
neighbourhood should be so little known by me?" "Prince," said
the lady, "let us go into the hall; there I will gratify you in
your request more commodiously for us both."

After these words, the lady led prince Ahmed into the hall, the
noble structure of which, displaying the gold and azure which
embellished the dome, and the inestimable richness of the
furniture, appeared so great a novelty to him, that he could not
forbear his admiration, but exclaimed, that he had never beheld
its equal. "I can assure you," replied the lady, "that this is
but a small part of my palace, as you will judge when you have
seen all the apartments." She then sat down on a sofa; and when
the prince at her entreaty had seated himself by her, she
continued, "You are surprised, you say, that I know you, and am
not known by you; but you will be no longer surprised when I
inform you who I am. You cannot be ignorant, as the Koran informs
you, that the world is inhabited by genii as well as men: I am
the daughter of one of the most powerful and distinguished of
these genii, and my name is Perie Banou; therefore you ought not
to wonder that I know you, the sultan your father, the princes
your brothers, and the princess Nouronnihar. I am no stranger to
your loves or your travels, of which I could tell you all the
circumstances, since it was I myself who exposed to sale the
artificial apple which you bought at Samarcand, the carpet which
prince Houssain purchased at Bisnagar, and the tube which prince
Ali brought from Sheerauz. This is sufficient to let you know
that I am not unacquainted with every thing that relates to you.
I have to add, that you seemed to me worthy of a more happy fate
than that of possessing the princess Nouronnihar; and that you
might attain to it, I was present when you drew your arrow, and
foresaw it would not go beyond prince Houssain's. I seized it in
the air, and gave it the necessary motion to strike against the
rocks near which you found it. It is in your power to avail
yourself of the favourable opportunity which presents itself to
make you happy."

As the fairy Perie Banou pronounced the last words with a
different tone, and looked at the same time tenderly at the
prince, with downcast eyes and a modest blush upon her cheeks, it
was not difficult for him to comprehend what happiness she meant.
He reflected that the princess Nouronnihar could never be his,
saw that Perie Banou excelled her infinitely in beauty and
accomplishments, and, as far as he could conjecture by the
magnificence of the palace, in immense riches. He blessed the
moment that he thought of seeking after his arrow a second time,
and yielding to his inclination, which drew him towards the new
objeft which had fired his heart: he then replied, "Should I, all
my life, have the happiness of being your slave, and the admirer
of the many charms which ravish my soul, I should think myself
the happiest of men. Pardon the presumption which inspires me to
ask this favour, and do not refuse to admit into your court a
prince who is entirely devoted to you."

"Prince," answered the fairy, "as I have been, long my own
mistress, and have no dependence on a parent's consent, it is not
as a slave that I would admit you into my court, but as master of
my person, and all that belongs to me, by pledging your faith to
me, and taking me as your wife. I hope you will not think it
indecorous, that I anticipate you in this proposal. I am, as I
said, mistress of my will; and must add, that the same customs
are not observed among fairies as with human-kind, in whom it
would not have been decent to have made such advances: but it is
what we do, and we suppose we confer obligation by the practice."

Ahmed made no answer to this declaration, but was so penetrated
with gratitude, that he thought he could not express it better
than by prostration to kiss the hem of her garment; which she
would not give him time to do, but presented her hand, which he
kissed a thousand times, and kept fast locked in his. "Well,
prince Ahmed," said she, "will you pledge your faith to me, as I
do mine to you?" "Yes, madam," replied the prince, in an ecstacy
of joy. "What can I do more fortunate for myself, or with greater
pleasure? Yes, my sultaness, I give it you with my heart without
the least reserve." "Then," answered the fairy, "you are my
husband, and I am your wife. Our fairy marriages are contracted
with no other ceremonies, and yet are more firm and indissoluble
than those among men, with all their formalities. But as I
suppose," pursued she, "that you have eaten nothing to-day, a
slight repast shall be served up for you while preparations are
making for our nuptial feast this evening, and then I will shew
you the apartments of my palace."

Some of the fairy's women who came into the hall with them, and
guessed her intentions, went immediately out, and returned with
some excellent viands and wines.

When Ahmed had refreshed himself, the fairy led him through all
the apartments, where he saw diamonds, rubies, emeralds, and all
sorts of fine jewels, intermixed with pearls, agate, jasper,
porphyry, and all kinds of the most precious marbles; not to
mention the richness of the furniture, which was inestimable; the
whole disposed in such elegant profusion, that the prince
acknowledged there could not be any thing in the world equal to
it. "Prince," said the fairy, "if you admire my humble abode so
much, what would you say to the palaces of the chiefs of our
genii, which are much more beautiful, spacious, and magnificent?
I could also shew you my garden; but we will leave that till
another time. Night draws near, and it will be time to go to

The next hall which the fairy led the prince into, where the
cloth was laid for the feast, was the only apartment he had not
seen, and it was not in the least inferior to the others. At his
entrance, he admired the infinite number of wax candles perfumed
with amber, the multitude of which, instead of being confused,
were placed with so just a symmetry, as to form an agreeable and
pleasant light. A large beaufet was set out with all sorts of
gold plate, so finely wrought, that the workmanship was much more
valuable than the weight of the gold. Several bands of beautiful
women richly dressed, and whose voices were ravishing, began a
concert, accompanied by the most harmonious instruments he had
ever heard. When they were seated, the fairy took care to help
prince Ahmed to the most delicious meats, which she named as she
invited him to eat of them, and which the prince had never heard
of, but found so exquisite, that he commended them in the highest
terms, saying, that the entertainment which she gave him far
surpassed those among men. He found also the same excellence in
the wines, which neither he nor the fairy tasted till the dessert
was served up, which consisted of the choicest sweetmeats and

After the dessert, the fairy Perie Banou and prince Ahmed rose
and repaired to a sofa, with cushions of fine silk, curiously
embroidered with all sorts of large flowers, laid at their backs.
Presently after a great number of genii and fairies danced before
them to the chamber where the nuptial bed was prepared; and when
they came to the entrance, divided themselves into two rows, to
let them pass, after which they made obeisance and retired.

The nuptial festivity was renewed the next day; or rather, every
day following the celebration was a continued feast, which the
fairy Perie Banou knew how to diversify, by new delicacies, new
concerts, new dances, new shows, and new diversions; which were
all so gratifying to his senses, that Ahmed, if he had lived a
thousand years among men, could not have experienced equal

The fairy's intention was not only to give the prince convincing
proofs of the sincerity of her love, by so many attentions; but
to let him see, that as he had no pretensions at his father's
court, he could meet with nothing comparable to the happiness he
enjoyed with her, independently of her beauty and attractions,
and to attach him entirely to herself. In this attempt she
succeeded so well, that Ahmed's passion was not in the least
diminished by possession; but increased so much, that if he had
been so inclined, it was not in his power to forbear loving her.

At the end of six months, prince Ahmed, who always loved and
honoured the sultan his father, felt a great desire to know how
he was; and as that desire could not be satisfied without his
absenting himself, he mentioned his wish to the fairy, and
requested she would give him leave to visit the sultan.

This request alarmed the fairy, and made her fear it was only an
excuse to leave her. She said to him, "What disgust can I have
given to you to ask me this permission? Is it possible you should
have forgotten that you have pledged your faith to me, or have
you ceased to love one who is so passionately fond of you? Are
not the proofs I have repeatedly given you of my affection

"My queen," replied the prince, "I am perfectly convinced of your
love, and should be unworthy of it, if I did not testify my
gratitude by a reciprocal affection. If you are offended at the
permission I solicit, I entreat you to forgive me, and I will
make all the reparation in my power. I did not make the request
with any intention of displeasing you, but from a motive of
respect towards my father, whom I wish to free from the
affliction in which my so long absence must have overwhelmed him,
and which must be the greater, as, I have reason to presume, he
believes that I am dead. But since you do not consent that I
should go and afford him that comfort, I will deny myself the
pleasure, as there is nothing to which I would not submit to
please you."

Ahmed did not dissemble, for he loved her at heart as much as he
had assured her by this declaration; and the fairy expressed her
satisfaction. But as he could not absolutely abandon his design,
he frequently took an opportunity to speak to her of the great
qualifications of the sultan his father: and above all, of his
particular tenderness towards himself, in hopes he might at
length be able to move her.

As the prince had supposed, the sultan of the Indies, in the
midst of the rejoicings on account of the nuptials of prince Ali
and the princess Nouronnihar, was sensibly afflicted at the
absence of the other two princes his sons, though it was not long
before he was informed of the resolution Houssain had taken to
forsake the world, and the place he had chosen for his retreat.
As a good father, whose happiness consists in seeing his children
about him, especially when they are deserving of his tenderness,
he would have been better pleased had he stayed at his court,
near his person; but as he could not disapprove of his choice of
the state of perfection which he had entered, he supported his
absence more patiently. He made the most diligent search after
Ahmed, and dispatched couriers to all the provinces of his
dominions, with orders to the governors to stop him, and oblige
him to return to court: but all the pains he took had not the
desired success, and his affliction, instead of diminishing,
increased. He would make it the subject of his conversation with
his grand vizier; and would say to him, "Vizier, thou knowest I
always loved Ahmed the most of all my sons; and thou art not
insensible of the means I have in vain used to find him out. My
grief is so heavy, I shall sink under it, if thou hast not
compassion on me; if thou hast any regard for the preservation of
my life, I conjure thee to assist and advise me."

The grand vizier, no less attached to the person of the sultan
than zealous to acquit himself well of the administration of the
affairs of state, considering how to give his sovereign some
ease, recollected a sorceress, of whom he had heard wonders, and
proposed to send for and consult her. The sultan consented, and
the grand vizier, upon her arrival, introduced her into the

The sultan said to the sorceress, "The affliction I have been in
since the marriage of my son prince Ali to the princess
Nouronnihar, my niece, on account of the absence of prince Ahmed,
is so well known, and so public, that thou canst be no stranger
to it. By thy art and skill canst thou tell me what is become of
him? If he be alive, where he is? what he is doing? and if I may
hope ever to see him again?" To this the sorceress replied, "It
is impossible, sir, for me, however skilful in my profession, to
answer immediately the questions your majesty asks; but if you
allow me till to-morrow, I will endeavour to satisfy you." The
sultan granted her the time, and permitted her to retire, with a
promise to recompense her munificently, if her answer proved
agreeable to his hopes.

The sorceress returned the next day, and the grand vizier
presented her a second time to the sultan. "Sir," said she,
"notwithstanding all the diligence I have used in applying the
rules of my art to obey your majesty in what you desire to know,
I have not been able to discover any thing more than that prince
Ahmed is alive. This is certain, and you may depend upon it; but
as to where he is I cannot discover."

The sultan of the Indies was obliged to remain satisfied with
this answer; which left him in the same uneasiness as before as
to the prince's situation.

To return to prince Ahmed. He so often entertained the fairy
Perie Banou with talking about his father, though without
speaking any more of his desire to visit him, that she fully
comprehended what he meant; and perceiving the restraint he put
upon himself, and his fear of displeasing her after her first
refusal, she inferred, from the repeated proofs he had given her,
that his love for her was sincere; and judging by herself of the
injustice she committed in opposing a son's tenderness for his
father, and endeavouring to make him renounce that natural
affecion, she resolved to grant him the permission which she knew
he so ardently desired. One day she said to him, "Prince, the
request you made to be allowed to go and see the sultan your
father gave me apprehension that it was only a pretext to conceal
inconstancy, and that was the sole motive of my refusal; but now,
as I am fully convinced by your actions and words that I can
depend on your honour and the fidelity of your love, I change my
resolution, and grant you the permission you seek, on condition
that you will first swear to me that your absence shall not be
long. You ought not to be uneasy at this condition, as if I asked
it out of distrust. I impose it only because I know that it will
give you no concern, convinced, as I have already told you I am,
of the sincerity of your love."

Prince Ahmed would have thrown himself at the fairy's feet to
shew his gratitude, but she prevented him. "My sultaness," said
he, "I am sensible of the great favour you grant me; but want
words to express my thanks. Supply this defect, I conjure you, by
your own feelings, and be persuaded I think much more. You may
believe that the oath will give me no uneasiness, and I take it
more willingly, since it is not possible for me to live without
you. I go, but the haste I will make to return shall shew you,
that it is not the fear of being foresworn, but my inclination,
which is to live with you for ever, that urges me; and if with
your consent I now and then deprive myself of your society, I
shall always avoid the pain a too long absence would occasion

"Prince," replied Perie Banou, delighted with his sentiments, "go
when you please; but do not take it amiss that I give you some
advice how you shall conduct yourself. First, I do not think it
proper for you to inform your father of our marriage, neither of
my quality, nor the place of our residence. Beg of him to be
satisfied with knowing that you are happy, that you want nothing
from him, and let him know that the sole end of your visit is to
make him easy respecting your fate."

Perie Banou then appointed twenty horsemen, well mounted and
equipped, to attend him. When all was ready, prince Ahmed took
his leave of the fairy, embraced her, and renewed his promise to
return soon. A charger, which was most richly caparisoned, and as
beautiful a creature as any in the sultan of the Indies' stables,
was brought to him, which he mounted with extraordinary grace,
which gave great pleasure to the fairy; and after he had bidden
her adieu, he set forward on his journey.

As it was no great distance to his father's capital, prince Ahmed
soon arrived there. The people, rejoiced to see him again,
received him with acclamations, and followed him in crowds to the
palace. The sultan received and embraced him with great joy;
complaining at the same time, with a fatherly tenderness, of the
affliction his long absence had occasioned; which, he said, was
the more distressing, as fortune having decided in favour of
prince Ali his brother, he was afraid he might have committed
some act of despair.

"Sir," replied prince Ahmed, "I leave it to your majesty to
consider, if after having lost the princess Nouronnihar, who was
the only object of my desires, I could bear to be a witness of
Ali's happiness. If I had been capable of such unworthy apathy,
what would the court and city have thought of my love, or what
your majesty? Love is a passion we cannot suppress at our will;
while it lasts, it rules and governs us in spite of our boasted
reason. Your majesty knows, that when I shot my arrow, the most
extraordinary accident that ever befell mortal happened to me,
for surely it was such, that in so large and level a plain as
that where the horses are exercised, it should not be possible to
find my arrow. I lost your decision in my favour, which was as
much due to my love, as to that of the princes my brothers.
Though thus vanquished by the caprice of fate, I lost no time in
vain complaints; but to satisfy my perplexed mind, upon what I
could not comprehend, I left my attendants, and returned alone to
look for my arrow. I sought all about the place where Houssain's
and Ali's arrows were found, and where I imagined mine must have
fallen, but all my labour was in vain. I was not discouraged, but
continued my search in a direct line, and after this manner had
gone above a league, without being able to meet with any thing
like an arrow, when I reflected that it was not possible that
mine should have flown so far. I stopped, and asked myself
whether I was in my right senses, to flatter myself with having
had strength to shoot an arrow so much farther than any of the
strongest archers in the world were able to do. After I had
argued thus with myself, I was ready to abandon my enterprise;
but when on the point of putting my resolution in execution, I
found myself drawn forward against my will; and after having gone
four leagues, to that part of the plain where it is bounded by
rocks, I perceived an arrow. I ran, took it up, and knew it to be
the same which I had shot. Far from thinking your majesty had
done me any injustice in declaring for my brother Ali, I
interpreted what had happened to me quite otherwise, and never
doubted there was a mystery in it to my advantage; the discovery
of which I ought not to neglect, and which I found out without
going from the spot. But as to this mystery I beg your majesty
will not be offended if I remain silent, and that you will be
satisfied to know from my own mouth that I am happy, and content
with my fate.

"In the midst of my happiness, the only thing that troubled me,
or was capable of disturbing me, was the uneasiness I feared your
majesty would experience on account of my leaving the court, and
your not knowing what was become of me. I thought it my duty to
satisfy you in this point. This was the only motive which brought
me hither; the only favour I ask of your majesty is to give me
leave to come occasionally to pay you my duty, and inquire after
your health."

"Son," answered the sultan of the Indies, "I cannot refuse you
the permission you ask, but I should much rather you would
resolve to stay with me. At least tell me where I may hear of
you, if you should fail to come, or when I may think your
presence necessary." "Sir," replied the prince, "what your
majesty requires is part of the mystery I spoke of. I beg of you
to allow me to remain silent on this head; for I shall come so
frequently where my duty calls, that I am afraid I shall sooner
be thought troublesome than be accused of negligence, when my
presence may be necessary."

The sultan of the Indies pressed Ahmed no more, but said to him,
"Son, I wish to penetrate no farther into your secrets, but leave
you at your liberty. I can only tell you, that you could not have
done me greater pleasure than by your presence, having restored
to me the joy I have not felt for a long time; and that you shall
always be welcome when you can come, without interrupting your
business or your pleasure."

Prince Ahmed stayed but three days at his father's court, and on
the fourth returned to the fairy Perie Banou, who received him
with the greater joy, as she did not expect him so soon. His
expedition made her condemn herself for suspecting his want of
fidelity. She never dissembled, but frankly owned her weakness to
the prince, and asked his pardon. So perfect was the union of the
two lovers, that they had but one will.

A month after prince Ahmed's return from visiting his father, as
the fairy had observed that since the time when he gave her an
account of his journey, and his conversation with his father, in
which he asked his permission to come and see him from time to
time, he had never spoken of the sultan, whereas before he was
frequently mentioning him, she thought he forebore on her
account, and therefore took an opportunity to say to him one day,
"Tell me, prince, have you forgotten the sultan your father? Do
not you remember the promise you made to pay your duty to him
occasionally? I have not forgotten what you told me at your
return, and put you in mind of it, that you may acquit yourself
of your promise when you may feel inclined."

"Madam," replied Ahmed, with equal animation, "as I know I am not
guilty of the forgetfulness you lay to my charge, I rather choose
to be thus reproached, however undeservedly, than expose myself
to a refusal, by manifesting a desire for what it might have
given you pain to grant." "Prince," said the fairy, "I would not
have you in this affair have so much consideration for me, since
it is a month since you have seen the sultan your father. I think
you should not be longer in renewing your visits. Pay him one to-
morrow, and after that, go and visit once a month, without
speaking to me, or waiting for my permission. I readily consent
to such an arrangement."

Prince Ahmed went the next morning with the same attendants as
before, but much more magnificently mounted, equipped, and
dressed, and was received by the sultan with the same joy and
satisfaction. For several months he constantly paid him visits,
and always in a richer and more brilliant equipage.

At last the sultan's favourites, who judged of prince Ahmed's
power by the splendour of his appearance, abused the privilege
the sultan accorded them of speaking to him with freedom, to make
him jealous of his son. They represented that it was but common
prudence to discover where the prince had retired, and how he
could afford to live so magnificently, since he had no revenue
assigned for his expenses; that he seemed to come to court only
to insult him, by affecting to shew that he wanted nothing from
his father to enable him to live like a prince; and that it was
to be feared he might court the people's favour and dethrone him.

The sultan of the Indies was so far from thinking that prince
Ahmed could be capable of so wicked a design, that he said to
them in displeasure, "You are mistaken, my son loves me, and I am
the more assured of his tenderness and fidelity, as I have given
him no reason to be disgusted."

At these words, one of the favourites took an opportunity to say,
"Your majesty, in the opinion of the most sensible people, could
not have taken a better method than you did with the three
princes, respecting their marriage with the princess Nouronnihar;
but who knows whether prince Ahmed has submitted to his fate with
the same resignation as prince Houssain? May not he imagine that
he alone deserved her; and that your majesty, by leaving the
match to be decided by chance, has done him injustice?

"Your majesty may say," added the malicious favourite, "that
prince Ahmed has manifested no appearance of dissatisfaction;
that our fears are vain; that we are too easily alarmed, and are
to blame in suggesting to you suspicions of this kind, which may,
perhaps, be unfounded, against a prince of your blood. But, sir,"
pursued the favourite, "it may be also, that these suspicions are
well grounded. Your majesty must be sensible, that in so nice and
important an affair you cannot be too much on your guard, and
should take the safest course. Consider, it is the prince's
interest to dissemble, amuse, and deceive you; and the danger is
the greater, as he resides not far from your capital; and if your
majesty give but the same attention that we do, you may observe
that every time he comes his attendants are different, their
habits new, and their arms clean and bright, as if just come from
the maker's hands; and their horses look as if they had only been
walked out. These are sufficient proofs that prince Ahmed does
not travel far, so that we should think ourselves wanting in our
duty did we not make our humble remonstrances, in order that, for
your own preservation and the good of your people, your majesty
may take such measures as you shall think advisable."

When the favourite had concluded these insinuations, the sultan
said, "I do not believe my son Ahmed is so wicked as you would
persuade me he is; however, I am obliged to you for your advice,
and do not doubt that it proceeds from good intention and loyalty
to my person."

The sultan of the Indies said this, that his favourites might not
know the impressions their observations had made on his mind. He
was, however, so much alarmed by them, that he resolved to have
prince Ahmed watched, unknown to his grand vizier. For this end
he sent for the sorceress, who was introduced by a private door
into his closet. "You told me the truth," said he, "when you
assured me my son Ahmed was alive, for which I am obliged to you.
You must do me another kindness. I have seen him since, and he
comes to my court every month; but I cannot learn from him where
he resides, and do not wish to force his secret from him; but
believe you are capable of satisfying my curiosity, without
letting him, or any of my court, know any thing of the discovery.
You know that he is at this time with me, and usually departs
without taking leave of me, or any of my court. Place yourself
immediately upon the road, and watch him so as to find out where
he retires, and bring me information."

The sorceress left the sultan, and knowing the place where prince
Ahmed had found his arrow, went immediately thither, and
concealed herself near the rocks, so as not to be seen.

The next morning prince Ahmed set out by daybreak, without taking
leave either of the sultan or any of his court, according to
custom. The sorceress seeing him coming, followed him with her
eyes, till suddenly she lost sight of him and his attendants.

The steepness of the rocks formed an insurmountable barrier to
men, whether on horseback or on foot, so that the sorceress
judged that the prince retired either into some cavern, or some
subterraneous place, the abode of genies or fairies. When she
thought the prince and his attendants must have far advanced into
whatever concealment they inhabited, she came out of the place
where she had hidden herself, and explored the hollow way where
she had lost sight of them. She entered it, and proceeding to the
spot where it terminated after many windings, looked carefully on
all sides. But notwithstanding all her acuteness she could
perceive no opening, nor the iron gate which prince Ahmed had
discovered. For this door was to be seen by or opened to none but
men, and only to those whose presence was agreeable to the fairy
Perie Banou, but not at all to women.

The sorceress, who saw it was in vain for her to search any
farther, was obliged to be satisfied with the insufficient
discovery she had made, and returned to communicate it to the
sultan. When she had told him what she had explored, she added,
"Your majesty may easily understand, after what I have had the
honour to tell you, that it will be no difficult matter to obtain
you the satisfaction you desire concerning prince Ahmed's
conduct. To do this, I only ask time, that you will have
patience, and give me leave to act, without inquiring what
measures I design to take."

The sultan was pleased with the conduct of the sorceress, and
said to her, "Do you as you think fit; I will wait patiently the
event of your promises:" and to encourage her, he presented her
with a diamond of great value, telling her, it was only an
earnest of the ample recompense she should receive when she
should have performed the important service which he left to her

As prince Ahmed, after he had obtained the fairy Perie Banou's
leave, never failed once a month to visit his father, the
sorceress knowing the time, went a day or two before to the foot
of the rock where she had lost sight of him and his attendants,
and waited there to execute the project she had formed.

The next morning prince Ahmed went out as usual at the iron gate,
with the same attendants as before, passed the sorceress, and
seeing her lie with her head on the rock, complaining as if she
was in great pain, he pitied her, turned his horse, and asked
what he could do to relieve her?

The artful sorceress, without lifting up her head, looked at the
prince in such a manner as to increase his compassion, and
answered in broken accents and sighs, as if she could hardly
breathe, that she was going to the city; but in the way was taken
with so violent a fever, that her strength failed her, and she
was forced to stop and lie down where he saw her, far from any
habitation, and without any hopes of assistance.

"Good woman," replied the prince, "you are not so far from help
as you imagine. I will assist you, and convey you where you shall
not only have all possible care taken of you, but where you will
find a speedy cure: rise, and let one of my people take you
behind him."

At these words, the sorceress, who pretended sickness only to
explore where the prince resided, and his situation, did not
refuse the charitable offer, and to shew her acceptance rather by
her actions than her words, made many affected efforts to rise,
pretending that the violence of her illness prevented her. At the
same time, two of the prince's attendants alighting, helped her
up, and placed her behind another. They mounted their horses
again, and followed the prince, who turned back to the iron gate,
which was opened by one of his retinue. When he came into the
outward court of the fairy's palace, without dismounting himself,
he sent to tell her he wanted to speak with her.

The fairy came with all imaginable haste, not knowing what had
made prince Ahmed return so soon; who, not giving her time to
ask, said, "My princess, I desire you would have compassion on
this good woman," pointing to the sorceress, who was taken off
the horse by two of his retinue; "I found her in the condition
you see her, and promised her the assistance she requires. I
recommend her to your care, and am persuaded that you, from
inclination, as well as my request, will not abandon her."

The fairy, who had her eyes fixed on the pretended sick woman all
the time the prince was speaking, ordered two of her women to
take her from the men who supported her, conduct her into an
apartment of the palace, and take as much care of her as they
would of herself.

Whilst the two women were executing the fairy's commands, she
went up to prince Ahmed, and whispering him in the ear, said,
"Prince, I commend your compassion, which is worthy of you and
your birth. I take great pleasure in gratifying your good
intention; but permit me to tell you I am afraid it will be but
ill rewarded. This woman is not so sick as she pretends to be;
and I am much mistaken if she is not sent hither on purpose to
occasion you great trouble. But do not be concerned, let what
will be devised against you; be persuaded that I will deliver you
out of all the snares that shall be laid for you. Go and pursue
your journey."

This address of the fairy's did not in the least alarm prince
Ahmed. "My princess," said he, "as I do not remember I ever did,
or designed to do, any body injury, I cannot believe any one can
have a thought of injuring me; but if they have, I shall not
forbear doing good whenever I have an opportunity." So saying, he
took leave of the fairy, and set forward again for his father's
capital, where he soon arrived, and was received as usual by the
sultan, who constrained himself as much as possible, to disguise
the anxiety arising from the suspicions suggested by his

In the mean time, the two women to whom Perie Banou had given her
orders conveyed the sorceress into an elegant apartment, richly
furnished. They first set her down upon a sofa, with her back
supported by a cushion of gold brocade, while they made a bed on
the same sofa, the quilt of which was finely embroidered with
silk, the sheets of the finest linen, and the coverlid cloth of
gold. When they had put her into bed (for the old sorceress
pretended that her fever was so violent she could not help
herself in the least), one of the women went out, and returned
soon with a china cup in her hand, full of a certain liquor,
which she presented to the sorceress, while the other helped her
to sit up. "Drink this," said the attendant, "it is the water of
the fountain of lions, and a sovereign remedy against fevers. You
will find the effeft of it in less than an hour's time."

The sorceress, the better to dissemble, took it, after a great
deal of entreaty, as if she did it with reluctance. When she was
laid down again, the two women covered her up: "Lie quiet," said
she, who brought her the china cup, "and get a little sleep, if
you can: we will leave you, and hope to find you perfectly
recovered when we return an hour hence."

The sorceress, who came not to act a sick part long, but to
discover prince Ahmed's retreat, being fully satisfied in what
she wanted to know, would willingly have declared that the potion
had then had its effeft, so great was her desire to return to the
sultan, to inform him of the success of her commission: but as
she had been told that the potion did not operate immediately,
she was forced to wait the women's return.

The two women came again at the time they had mentioned, and
found the sorceress seated on the sofa; who, when she saw them
open the door of the apartment, cried out, "O the admirable
potion! it has wrought its cure much sooner than you told me it
would, and I have waited with impatience to desire you to conduct
me to your charitable mistress, to thank her for her kindness,
for which I shall always feel obliged; but being thus cured as by
a miracle, I would not lose time, but prosecute my journey."

The two women, who were fairies as well as their mistress, after
they had told the sorceress how glad they were that she was cured
so soon, walked before her, and conducted her through several
apartments, all more superb than that wherein she had lain, into
a large hall, the most richly and magnificently furnished of all
the palace.

Perie Banou was seated in this hall, upon a throne of massive
gold, enriched with diamonds, rubies, and pearls of an
extraordinary size, and attended on each hand by a great number
of beautiful fairies, all richly dressed. At the sight of so much
splendour, the sorceress was not only dazzled, but so struck,
that after she had prostrated herself before the throne, she
could not open her lips to thank the fairy, as she had proposed.
However, Perie Banou saved her the trouble, and said, "Good
woman, I am glad I had an opportunity to oblige you, and that you
are able to pursue your journey. I will not detain you; but
perhaps you may not be displeased to see my palace: follow my
women, and they will shew it you."

The old sorceress, who had not power nor courage to say a word,
prostrated herself a second time, with her head on the carpet
that covered the foot of the throne, took her leave, and was
conducted by the two fairies through the same apartments which
were shewn to prince Ahmed at his first arrival, and at sight of
their uncommon magnificence she made frequent exclamations. But
what surprised her most of all was, that the two fairies told
her, that all she saw and so much admired was a mere sketch of
their mistress's grandeur and riches; for that in the extent of
her dominions she had so many palaces that they could not tell
the number of them, all of different plans and architecture, but
equally magnificent. In speaking of many other particulars, they
led her at last to the iron gate at which prince Ahmed had
brought her in; and after she had taken her leave of them, and
thanked them for their trouble, they opened it, and wished her a
good journey.

After the sorceress had gone a little way, she turned to observe
the door, that she might know it again, but all in vain; for, as
was before observed, it was invisible to her and all other women.
Except in this circumstance, she was very well satisfied with her
success, and posted away to the sultan. When she came to the
capital, she went by many by-ways to the private door of the
palace. The sultan being informed of her arrival, sent for her
into his apartment, and perceiving a melancholy hang upon her
countenance, thought she had not succeeded, and said to her, "By
your looks, I guess that your journey has been to no purpose, and
that you have not made the discovery I expected from your
diligence." "Sir," replied the sorceress, "your majesty must give
me leave to represent that you ought not to judge by my looks
whether or no I have acquitted myself well in the execution of
the commands you were pleased to honour me with; but by the
faithful report I shall make you of all that has happened to me,
and by which you will find that I have not neglected any thing
that could render me worthy of your approbation. The melancholy
you observe proceeds from another cause than the want of success,
which I hope your majesty will have ample reason to be satisfied
with. I do not tell you the cause; the relation I shall give will
inform you."

The sorceress now related to the sultan of the Indies how,
pretending to be sick, prince Ahmed compassionating her, had her
carried into a subterraneous abode, and presented and recommended
her to a fairy of incomparable beauty, desiring her by her care
to restore her health. She then told him with how much
condescension the fairy had immediately ordered two women to take
care of her, and not to leave her till she was recovered; which
great condescension, said she, could proceed from no other
female, but from a wife to a husband. Afterwards the old
sorceress failed not to dwell on her surprise at the front of the
palace, which she said had not its equal for magnificence in the
world. She gave a particular account of the care they took of
her, after they had led her into an apartment; of the potion they
made her drink, and of the quickness of her cure; which she had
pretended as well as her sickness, though she doubted not the
virtue of the draught; the majesty of the fairy seated on a
throne, brilliant with jewels, the value of which exceeded all
the riches of the kingdom of the Indies, and all the other
treasures beyond computation contained in that vast palace.

Here the sorceress finishing the relation of the success of her
commission, and continuing her discourse, said, "What does your
majesty think of these unheard-of riches of the fairy? Perhaps
you will say, you are struck with admiration, and rejoice at the
good fortune of prince Ahmed your son, who enjoys them in common
with the fairy. For my part, sir, I beg of your majesty to
forgive me if I take the liberty to say that I think otherwise,
and that I shudder when I consider the misfortunes which may
happen to you from his present situation. And this is the cause
of the melancholy which I could not so well dissemble, but that
you soon perceived it. I would believe that prince Ahmed, by his
own good disposition, is incapable of undertaking anything
against your majesty; but who can answer that the fairy, by her
attractions and caresses, and the influence she has over him, may
not inspire him with the unnatural design of dethroning your
majesty, and seizing the crown of the Indies? This is what your
majesty ought to consider as of the utmost importance."

Though the sultan of the Indies was persuaded that prince Ahmed's
natural disposition was good, yet he could not help being moved
at the representations of the old sorceress, and said, "I thank
you for the pains you have taken, and your wholesome caution. I
am so sensible of its great importance that I shall take advice
upon it."

He was consulting with his favourites, when he was told of the
sorceress's arrival. He ordered her to follow him to them. He
acquainted them with what he had learnt, communicated to them the
reason he had to fear the fairy's influence over the prince, and
asked them what measures they thought most proper to be taken to
prevent so great a misfortune as might possibly happen. One of
the favourites, taking upon himself to speak for the rest, said,
"Your majesty knows who must be the author of this mischief. In
order to prevent it, now he is in your court, and in your power,
you ought not to hesitate to put him under arrest; I will not say
take away his life, for that would make too much noise; but make
him a close prisoner." This advice all the other favourites
unanimously applauded.

The sorceress, who thought it too violent, asked the sultan leave
to speak, which being granted, she said, "I am persuaded it is
the zeal of your counsellors for your majesty's interest that
makes them propose arresting prince Ahmed. But they will not take
it amiss if I offer to your and their consideration, that if you
arrest the prince you must also detain his retinue. But they are
all genies. Do they think it will be so easy to surprise, seize,
and secure their persons? will they not disappear, by the
property they possess of rendering themselves invisible, and
transport themselves instantly to the fairy, and give her an
account of the insult offered her husband? And can it be supposed
she will let it go unrevenged? Would it not be better, if by any
other means which might not make so great a noise, the sultan
could secure himself against any ill designs prince Ahmed may
have, and not involve his majesty's honour? If his majesty has
any confidence in my advice, as genies and fairies can do things
impracticable to men, he will rather trust prince Ahmed's honour,
and engage him by means of the fairy to procure certain
advantages, by flattering his ambition, and at the same time
narrowly watching him. For example; every time your majesty takes
the field, you are obliged to be at a great expense, not only in
pavilions and tents for yourself and army, but likewise in mules
and camels, and other beasts of burden, to carry their baggage.
Request the prince to procure you a tent, which can be carried in
a man's hand, but so large as to shelter your whole army.

"I need say no more to your majesty. If the prince brings such a
tent, you may make other demands of the same nature, so that at
last he may sink under the difficulties and the impossibility of
executing them, however fertile in means and inventions the
fairy, who has enticed him from you by her enchantments, may be;
so that in time he will be ashamed to appear, and will be forced
to pass the rest of his life with the fairy, excluded from any
commerce with this world; when your majesty will have nothing to
fear from him, and cannot be reproached with so detestable an
action as the shedding of a son's blood, or confining him for
life in a prison."

When the sorceress had finished her speech, the sultan asked his
favourites if they had any thing better to propose; and finding
them all silent, determined to follow her advice, as the most
reasonable and most agreeable to his mild manner of government.

The next day when the prince came into his father's presence, who
was talking with his favourites, and had sat down by him, after a
conversation on different subjects, the sultan, addressing
himself to prince Ahmed, said, "Son, when you came and dispelled
those clouds of melancholy which your long absence had brought
upon me, you made the place you had chosen for your retreat a
mastery. I was satisfied with seeing you again, and knowing that
you were content with your condition, sought not to penetrate
into your secret, which I found you did not wish I should. I know
not what reason you had thus to treat a father, who ever was and
still continues anxious for your happiness. I now know your good
fortune. I rejoice with you, and much approve of your conduct in
marrying a fairy so worthy of your love, and so rich and powerful
as I am informed she is. Powerful as I am, it was not possible
for me to have procured for you so great a match. Now you are
raised to so high a rank, as to be envied by all but a father, I
not only desire to preserve the good understanding which has
hitherto subsisted between us, but request that you will use your
influence with your wife, to obtain her assistance when I may
want it. I will therefore make a trial of your interest this day.

"You are not insensible at what a great expense, not to say
trouble to my generals, officers, and myself, every time I take
the field, they provide tents, mules, camels, and other beasts of
burden, to carry them. If you consider the pleasure you would do
me, I am persuaded you could easily procure from the fairy a
pavilion that might be carried in a man's hand, and which would
extend over my whole army; especially when you let her know it is
for me. Though it may be a difficult thing to procure, she will
not refuse you. All the world knows fairies are capable of
executing most extraordinary undertakings."

Prince Ahmed never expected that the sultan his father would have
made a demand like this, which appeared to him so difficult, not
to say impossible. Though he knew not absolutely how great the
power of genii and fairies was, he doubted whether it extended so
far as to furnish such a tent as his father desired. Moreover, he
had never asked any thing of the fairy Perie Banou, but was
satisfied with the continual proofs she had given him of her
passion, and had neglected nothing to persuade her that his heart
perfectly corresponded without any views beyond maintaining
himself in her good graces: he was therefore in the greatest
embarrassment what answer to make. At last he replied, "If, sir,
I have concealed from your majesty what has happened to me, and
what course I took after finding my arrow, the reason was, that I
thought it of no great importance to you to be informed of such
circumstances; and though I know not how this mystery has been
revealed to you, I cannot deny but your information is correct. I
have married the fairy you speak of. I love her, and am persuaded
she loves me in return. But I can say nothing as to the influence
your majesty believes I have over her. It is what I have not yet
proved, nor thought of trying, but could wish you would dispense
with my making the experiment, and let me enjoy the happiness of
loving and being beloved, with all that disinterestedness I had
proposed to myself. However, the demand of a father is a command
upon every child, who, like me, thinks it his duty to obey him in
every thing. And though it is with the greatest reluctance, I
will not fail to ask my wife the favour your majesty desires, but
cannot promise you to obtain it; and if I should not have the
honour to come again to pay you my respecls, it will be the sign
that I have not been able to succeed in my request: but
beforehand, I desire you to forgive me, and consider that you
yourself have reduced me to this extremity."

"Son," replied the sultan of the Indies, "I should be sorry that
what I ask should oblige you to deprive me of the gratification
of seeing you as usual. I find you do not know the power a
husband has over a wife; and yours would shew that her love to
you was very slight, if, with the power she possesses as a fairy,
she should refuse so trifling a request as that I have begged you
to make. Lay aside your fears, which proceed from your believing
yourself not to be loved so well as you love her. Go; only ask
her. You will find the fairy loves you better than you imagine;
and remember that people, for want of requesting, often lose
great advantages. Think with yourself, that as you love her, you
could refuse her nothing; therefore, if she loves you, she will
not deny your requests."

All these representations of the sultan of the Indies could not
satisfy prince Ahmed, who would rather he had asked anything else
than, as he supposed, what must expose him to the hazard of
displeasing his beloved Perie Banou; and so great was his
vexation that he left the court two days sooner than he used to

When he returned, the fairy, to whom he always before had
appeared with a gay countenance, asked him the cause of the
alteration she perceived in his looks; and finding that instead
of answering he inquired after her health, to avoid satisfying
her, she said to him, "I will answer your question when you have
answered mine." The prince declined a long time, protesting that
nothing was the matter with him; but the more he denied the more
she pressed him, and said, "I cannot bear to see you thus: tell
me what makes you uneasy, that I may remove the cause, whatever
it may be; for it must be very extraordinary if it is out of my
power, unless it be the death of the sultan your father; in that
case, time, with all that I will contribute on my part, can alone
comfort you."

Prince Ahmed could not long withstand the pressing instances of
the fairy. "Madam," said he, "God prolong the sultan my father's
life, and bless him to the end of his days. I left him alive and
in perfect health; therefore that is not the cause of the
melancholy you perceive in me. The sultan, however, is the
occasion of it, and I am the more concerned because he has
imposed upon me the disagreeable necessity of importuning you.
You know the care I have at your desire taken to conceal from him
the happiness I have enjoyed in living with you, and of having
received the pledge of your faith after having pledged my love to
you. How he has been informed of it I cannot tell."

Here the fairy interrupted prince Ahmed, and said, "But I know.
Remember what I told you of the woman who made you believe she
was sick, on whom you took so much compassion. It is she who has
acquainted your father with what you have taken so much care to
hide from him. I told you that she was no more sick than you or
I, and she has made it appear so; for, in short, after the two
women, whom I charged to take care of her, had given her the
water sovereign against all fevers, but which however she had no
occasion for, she pretended that it had cured her, and was
brought to take her leave of me that she might go the sooner to
give an account of the success of her undertaking. She was in so
much haste, that she would have gone away without seeing my
palace if I had not, by bidding my two women shew it her, given
her to understand that it was worth her seeing. But proceed and
tell me what is the necessity your father has imposed on you to
be so importunate, which, be persuaded, however, you can never be
to your affectionate wife."

"Madam," pursued prince Ahmed, "you may have observed that
hitherto I have been content with your love, and have never asked
you any other favour: for what, after the possession of so
amiable a wife, can I desire more? I know how great your power
is, but I have taken care not to make proof of it to please
myself. Consider then, I conjure you, that it is not myself, but
the sultan my father, who, indiscreetly as I think, asks of you a
pavilion large enough to shelter him, his court, and army, from
the violence of the weather, when he takes the field, and which a
man may carry in his hand. Once more remember it is not I, but
the sultan my father who asks this favour."

"Prince," replied the fairy smiling, "I am sorry that so trifling
a matter should disturb and make you so uneasy as you appear. I
see plainly two things have contributed towards it: one is, the
law you have imposed on yourself, to be content with loving me,
being beloved by me, and deny yourself the liberty of soliciting
the least favour that might try my power. The other, I do not
doubt, whatever you may say, was, that you thought that what your
father asked was out of my power. As to the first, I commend you,
and shall love you the better, if possible, for it; and for the
second, I must tell you that what the sultan your father requests
is a trifle; as upon occasion I can do him more important
service. Therefore be easy in your mind, and persuaded that far
from thinking myself importuned I shall always take real pleasure
in performing whatever you can desire." Perie Banou then sent for
her treasurer, to whom, when she came, she said, "Noor-Jehaun"
(which was her name), "bring me the largest pavilion in my
treasury." Noor-Jehaun returned presently with a pavilion, which
could not only be held, but concealed in the palm of the hand,
when it was closed, and presented it to her mistress, who gave it
prince Ahmed to look at.

When prince Ahmed saw the pavilion, which the fairy called the
largest in her treasury, he fancied she had a mind to banter him,
and his surprise soon appeared in his countenance; which Perie
Banou perceiving, she burst out a laughing. "What! prince," cried
she, "do you think I jest with you? You will see that I am in
earnest. Noor-Jehaun," said she to her treasurer, taking the tent
out of prince Ahmed's hands, "go and set it up, that he may judge
whether the sultan his father will think it large enough."

The treasurer went out immediately with it from the palace, and
carried it to such a distance, that when she had set it up, one
end reached to the palace. The prince, so far from thinking it
small, found it large enough to shelter two armies as numerous as
that of the sultan his father; and then said to Perie Banou, "I
ask my princess a thousand pardons for my incredulity: after what
I have seen, I believe there is nothing impossible to you." "You
see," said the fairy, "that the pavilion is larger than your
father may have occasion for; but you are to observe that it has
one property, that it becomes larger or smaller, according to the
extent of the army it is to cover, without applying any hands to

The treasurer took down the tent again, reduced it to its first
size, brought it and put it into the prince's hands. He took it,
and without staying longer than till the next day, mounted his
horse, and went with the usual attendants to the sultan his

The sultan, who was persuaded that such a tent as he had asked
for was beyond all possibility, was in great surprise at the
prince's speedy return. He took the tent, but after he had
admired its smallness, his amazement was so great that he could
not recover himself when he had set it up in the great plain
before-mentioned, and found it large enough to shelter an army
twice as large as he could bring into the field. Regarding this
excess in its dimension as what might be troublesome in the use,
prince Ahmed told him that its size would always be
proportionable to his army.

To outward appearance the sultan expressed great obligation to
the prince for so noble a present, desiring him to return his
thanks to the fairy; and to shew what a value he set upon it,
ordered it to be carefully laid up in his treasury. But within
himself he felt greater jealousy than his flatterers and the
sorceress had suggested to him; considering, that by the fairy's
assistance the prince his son might perform things infinitely
above his own power, notwithstanding his greatness and riches;
therefore, more intent upon his ruin, he went to consult the
sorceress again, who advised him to engage the prince to bring
him some of the water of the fountain of lions.

In the evening, when the sultan was surrounded as usual by all
his court, and the prince came to pay his respects among the
rest, he addressed himself to him in these words: "Son, I have
already expressed to you how much I am obliged for the present of
the tent you have procured me, which I esteem the most valuable
curiosity in my treasury: but you must do one thing more, which
will be no less agreeable to me. I am informed that the fairy
your spouse makes use of a certain water, called the water of the
fountain of lions, which cures all sorts of fevers, even the most
dangerous; and as I am perfectly well persuaded my health is dear
to you, I do not doubt but you will ask her for a bottle of that
water, and bring it me as a sovereign remedy, which I may use as
I have occasion. Do me this important service, and complete the
duty of a good son towards a tender father."

Prince Ahmed, who believed that the sultan his father would have
been satisfied with so singular and useful a tent as that which
he had brought, and that he would not have imposed any new task
upon him which might hazard the fairy's displeasure, was
thunderstruck at this new request, notwithstanding the assurance
she had given him of granting him whatever lay in her power.
After a long silence, he said, "I beg of your majesty to be
assured, that there is nothing I would not undertake to procure
which may contribute to the prolonging of your life, but I could
wish it might not be by the means of my wife. For this reason I
dare not promise to bring the water. All I can do is, to assure
you I will request it of her; but it will be with as great
reluctance as I asked for the tent."

The next morning prince Ahmed returned to the fairy Perie Banou,
and related to her sincerely and faithfully all that had passed
at his father's court from the giving of the tent, which he told
her he received with the utmost gratitude, to the new request he
had charged him to make. He added: "But, my princess, I only tell
you this as a plain account of what passed between me and my
father. I leave you to your own pleasure, whether you will
gratify or reject this his new desire. It shall be as you

"No, no," replied the fairy, "I am glad that the sultan of the
Indies knows that you are not indifferent to me. I will satisfy
him, and whatever advice the sorceress may give him (for I see
that he hearkens to her counsel), he shall find no fault with you
or me. There is much wickedness in this demand, as you will
understand by what I am going to tell you. The fountain of lions
is situated in the middle of a court of a great castle, the
entrance into which is guarded by four fierce lions, two of which
sleep alternately, while the other two are awake. But let not
that frighten you. I will supply you with means to pass by them
without danger."

The fairy Perie Banou was at that time at work with her needle;
and as she had by her several clues of thread, she took up one,
and presenting it to prince Ahmed, said, "First take this clue of
thread, I will tell you presently the use of it. In the second
place, you must have two horses; one you must ride yourself, and
the other you must lead, which must be loaded with a sheep cut
into four quarters, that must be killed to-day. In the third
place, you must be provided with a bottle, which I will give you,
to bring the water in. Set out early to-morrow morning, and when
you have passed the iron gate throw before you the clue of
thread, which will roll till it reaches the gates of the castle.
Follow it, and when it stops, as the gates will be open, you will
see the four lions. The two that are awake will, by their
roaring, wake the other two. Be not alarmed, but throw each of
them a quarter of the sheep, and then clap spurs to your horse,
and ride to the fountain. Fill your bottle without alighting, and
return with the same expedition. The lions will be so busy eating
they will let you pass unmolested."

Prince Ahmed set out the next morning at the time appointed him
by the fairy, and followed her directions punctually. When he
arrived at the gates of the castle, he distributed the quarters
of the sheep among the four lions, and passing through the midst
of them with intrepidity, got to the fountain, filled his bottle,
and returned safe. When he had got a little distance from the
castle gates, he turned about; and perceiving two of the lions
coming after him, drew his sabre, and prepared himself for
defence. But as he went forwards, he saw one of them turn out of
the road at some distance, and shewed by his head and tail that
he did not come to do him any harm, but only to go before him,
and that the other stayed behind to follow. He therefore put his
sword again into its scabbard. Guarded in this manner he arrived
at the capital of the Indies; but the lions never left him till
they had conducted him to the gates of the sultan's palace; after
which they returned the way they had come, though not without
alarming the populace, who fled or hid themselves to avoid them,
notwithstanding they walked gently and shewed no signs of

A number of officers came to attend the prince while he
dismounted, and conduct him to the sultan's apartment, who was at
that time conversing with his favourites. He approached the
throne, laid the bottle at the sultan's feet, kissed the rich
carpet which covered the footstool, and rising, said, "I have
brought you, sir, the salutary water which your majesty so much
desired to store up among other rarities in your treasury; but at
the same time wish you such health as never to have occasion to
make use of it."

After the prince had concluded his compliment, the sultan placed
him on his right hand, and said, "Son, I am much obliged to you
for this valuable present; as also for the great danger you have
exposed yourself to on my account (which I have been informed of
by the sorceress, who knows the fountain of lions); but do me the
pleasure, continued he, to inform me by what address, or rather
by what incredible power, you have been preserved."

"Sir," replied prince Ahmed, "I have no share in the compliment
your majesty is pleased to make me; all the honour is due to the
fairy my spouse, and I take no other merit than that of having
followed her advice." Then he informed the sultan what that
advice was, by the relation of his expedition, and how he had
conducted himself. When he had done, the sultan, who shewed
outwardly all the demonstrations of joy, but secretly became more
and more jealous, retired into an inward apartment, whence he
sent for the sorceress.

The sorceress, on her arrival, saved the sultan the trouble of
telling her of the success of prince Ahmed's journey, which she
had heard before she came, and therefore was prepared with a new
request. This she communicated to the sultan, who declared it the
next day to the prince, in the midst of all his courtiers, in
these words: "Son, I have one thing yet to ask of you; after
which, I shall expect nothing more from your obedience, nor your
interest with your wife. This request is, to bring me a man not
above a foot and a half high, whose beard is thirty feet long,
who carries upon his shoulders a bar of iron of five hundred
weight, which he uses as a quarter-staff, and who can speak."

Prince Ahmed, who did not believe that there was such a man in
the world as his father had described, would gladly have excused
himself; but the sultan persisted in his demand, and told him the
fairy could do more incredible things.

Next day the prince returned to the subterraneous kingdom of
Perie Banou, to whom he related his father's new demand, which,
he said, he looked upon to be a thing more impossible than the
two first. "For," added he, "I cannot imagine there is or can be
such a man in the world; without doubt he has a mind to try
whether I am silly enough to search, or if there is such a man he
seeks my ruin. In short, how can we suppose that I should lay
hold of a man so small, armed as he describes? what arms can I
use to reduce him to submission? If there are any means, I beg
you will tell me how I may come off with honour this time also."

"Do not alarm yourself, prince," replied the fairy: "you ran a
risk in fetching the water of the fountain of the lions for your
father; but there is no danger in finding this man. It is my
brother Schaibar, who is so far from being like me, though we
both had the same father, that he is of so violent a nature, that
nothing can prevent his giving bloody marks of his resentment for
a slight offence; yet, on the other hand, is so liberal as to
oblige any one in whatever they desire. He is made exactly as the
sultan your father has described him; and has no other arms than
a bar of iron of five hundred pounds weight, without which he
never stirs, and which makes him respected. I will send for him,
and you shall judge of the truth of what I tell you; but prepare
yourself not to be alarmed at his extraordinary figure." "What!
my queen," replied prince Ahmed, "do you say Schaibar is your
brother? Let him be ever so ugly or deformed I shall be so far
from being frightened at his appearance, that I shall love and
honour him, and consider him as my nearest relation."

The fairy ordered a gold chafing-dish to be set with a fire in it
under the porch of her palace, with a box of the same metal: out
of the latter she took some incense, and threw it into the fire,
when there arose a thick cloud of smoke.

Some moments after, the fairy said to prince Ahmed, "Prince,
there comes my brother; do you see him?" The prince immediately
perceived Schaibar, who was but a foot and a half high, coming
gravely with his heavy bar on his shoulder; his beard thirty feet
long, which supported itself before him, and a pair of thick
moustaches in proportion, tucked up to his ears, and almost
covering his face: his eyes were very small, like a pig's, and
deep sunk in his head, which was of an enormous size, and on
which he wore a pointed cap: besides all this, he had a hump
behind and and before.

If prince Ahmed had not known that Schaibar was Perie Banou's
brother, he would not have been able to behold him without fear;
but knowing who he was, he waited for him with the fairy, and
received him without the least concern.

Schaibar, as he came forwards, looked at the prince with an eye
that would have chilled his soul in his body, and asked Perie
Banou, when he first accosted her, who that man was? To which she
replied, "He is my husband, brother; his name is Ahmed; he is a
son of the sultan of the Indies. The reason why I did not invite
you to my wedding was, I was unwilling to divert you from the
expedition you were engaged in, and from which I heard with
pleasure you returned victorious; on his account I have taken the
liberty now to call for you."

At these words, Schaibar, looking at prince Ahmed with a
favourable eye, which however diminished neither his fierceness
nor savage look, said, "Is there any thing, sister, wherein I can
serve him? he has only to speak. It is enough for me that he is
your husband, to engage me to do for him whatever he desires."
"The sultan his father," replied Perie Banou, "has a curiosity to
see you, and I desire he may be your guide to the sultan's
court." "He needs but lead the way; I will follow him," replied
Schaibar. "Brother," resumed Perie Banou, "it is too late to go
to-day, therefore stay till to-morrow morning; and in the mean
time, as it is fit you should know all that has passed between
the sultan of the Indies and prince Ahmed since our marriage, I
will inform you this evening."

The next morning, after Schaibar had been informed of all that
was proper for him to know, he set out with prince Ahmed, who was
to present him to the sultan. When they arrived at the gates of
the capital, the people, as soon as they saw Schaibar, ran and
hid themselves in their shops and houses, shutting their doors,
while others taking to their heels, communicated their fear to
all they met, who stayed not to look behind them; insomuch, that
Schaibar and prince Ahmed, as they went along, found all the
streets and squares desolate, till they came to the palace, where
the porters, instead of preventing Schaibar from entering, ran
away too; so that the prince and he advanced without any obstacle
to the council-hall, where the sultan was seated on his throne
and giving audience. Here likewise the officers, at the approach
of Schaibar, abandoned their posts, and gave them free

Schaibar, carrying his head erect, went fiercely up to the
throne, without waiting to be presented by prince Ahmed, and
accosted the sultan of the Indies in these words: "You have asked
for me," said he; "see, here I am, what would you have with me?"

The sultan, instead of answering, clapped his hands before his
eyes, and turned away his head, to avoid the sight of so terrible
an object. Schaibar was so much provoked at this uncivil and rude
reception, after he had given him the trouble to come so far,
that he instantly lifted up his iron bar, saying, "Speak, then;"
let it fall on his head, and killed him, before prince Ahmed
could intercede in his behalf. All that he could do was to
prevent his killing the grand vizier, who sat not far from him on
his right hand, representing to him that he had always given the
sultan his father good advice. "These are they then," said
Schaibar, "who gave him bad;" and as he pronounced these words,
he killed all the other viziers on the right and left, flatterers
and favourites of the sultan, who were prince Ahmed's enemies.
Every time he struck he crushed some one or other, and none
escaped but those who, not rendered motionless by fear, saved
themselves by flight.

When this terrible execution was over, Schaibar came out of the
council-hall into the court-yard with the iron bar upon his
shoulder, and looking at the grand vizier, who owed his life to
prince Ahmed, said, "I know there is here a certain sorceress,
who is a greater enemy of the prince my brother-in-law than all
those base favourites I have chastised; let her be brought to me
immediately." The grand vizier instantly sent for her, and as
soon as she was brought, Schaibar, knocking her down with his
iron bar, said, "Take the reward of thy pernicious counsel, and
learn to feign sickness again;" he left her dead on the spot.

After this he said, "This is not yet enough; I will treat the
whole city in the same manner, if they do not immediately
acknowledge prince Ahmed my brother-in-law as sultan of the
Indies." Then all who were present made the air ring with the
repeated acclamations of "Long life to sultan Ahmed;" and
immediately after, he was proclaimed through the whole
metropolis. Schaibar caused him to be clothed in the royal
vestments, installed him on the throne, and after he had made all
swear homage and fidelity, returned to his sister Perie Banou,
whom he brought with great pomp, and made her to be owned
sultaness of the Indies.

As for prince Ali and princess Nouronnihar, as they had no
concern in the conspiracy, prince Ahmed assigned them a
considerable province, with its capital, where they spent the
rest of their lives. Afterwards he sent an officer to Houssain,
to acquaint him with the change, and make him an offer of any
province he might choose; but that prince thought himself so
happy in his solitude, that he desired the officer to return his
brother thanks for the kindness he designed him, assuring him of
his submission; but that the only favour he desired was, to be
indulged with leave to live retired in the place he had chosen
for his retreat.


There was an emperor of Persia named Khoosroo Shaw, who, when he
first came to his crown, in order to obtain a knowledge of
affairs, took great pleasure in night adventures, attended by a
trusty minister. He often walked in disguise through the city,
and met with many adventures.

After the ceremonies of his father's funeral-rites and his own
inauguration were over, the new sultan, as well from inclination
as duty, went out one evening attended by his grand vizier,
disguised like himself, to observe what was transacting in the
city. As he was passing through a street in that part of the town
inhabited only by the meaner sort, he heard some people talking
very loud; and going close to the house whence the noise
proceeded, and looking through a crack in the door, perceived a
light, and three sisters sitting on a sofa, conversing together
after supper. By what the eldest said, he presently understood
the subjeft of their conversation was wishes: "For," said she,
"since we have got upon wishes, mine shall be to have the
sultan's baker for my husband, for then I shall eat my fill of
that bread, which by way of excellence is called the sultan's:
let us see if your tastes are as good as mine." "For my part,"
replied the second sister, "I wish I was wife to the sultan's
chief cook, for then I should eat of the most excellent dishes;
and as I am persuaded that the sultan's bread is common in the
palace, I should not want any of that; therefore you see,"
addressing herself to her eldest sister, "that I have a better
taste than you."

The youngest sister, who was very beautiful, and had more charms
and wit than the two elder, spoke in her turn: "For my part,
sisters," said she, "I shall not limit my desires to such
trifles, but take a higher flight; and since we are upon wishing,
I wish to be the emperor's queen consort. I would make him father
of a prince, whose hair should be gold on one side of his head,
and silver on the other; when he cried, the tears from his eyes
should be pearl; and when he smiled, his vermilion lips should
look like a rose-bud fresh blown."

The three sisters' wishes, particularly that of the youngest,
seemed so singular to the sultan, that he resolved to gratify
them in their desires; but without communicating his design to
his grand vizier, he charged him only to take notice of the
house, and bring the three sisters before him the following day.

The grand vizier, in executing the emperor's orders, would but
just give the sisters time to dress themselves to appear before
him, without telling them the reason. He brought them to the
palace, and presented them to the emperor, who said to them, "Do
you remember the wishes you expressed last night, when you were
all in so pleasant a mood? Speak the truth; I must know what they

At these unexpected words of the emperor, the three sisters were
much confounded. They cast down their eyes and blushed, and the
colour which rose in the cheeks of the youngest quite captivated
the emperor's heart. Modesty, and fear lest they might have
offended the emperor by their conversation, kept them silent. The
emperor perceiving their confusion, said, to encourage them,
"Fear nothing, I did not send for you to distress you; and since
I see that is the effect of the question I asked, without my
intending it, as I know the wish of each, I will relieve you from
your fears. You," added he, "who wished to be my wife shall have
your desire this day; and you," continued he, addressing himself
to the two elder sisters, "shall also be married to my chief
baker and cook."

As soon as the sultan had declared his pleasure, the youngest
sister, setting her eldest an example, threw herself at the
emperor's feet, to express her gratitude. "Sir," said she, "my
wish, since it is come to your majesty's knowledge, was expressed
only in the way of conversation and amusement. I am unworthy of
the honour you do me, and supplicate your pardon for my
presumption." The two other sisters would have excused themselves
also; but the emperor interrupting them, said, "No, no; it shall
be as I have declared; every one's wish shall be fulfilled."

The nuptials were all celebrated that day, as the emperor had
resolved, but in a different manner. The youngest sister's were
solemnized with all the rejoicings usual at the marriages of the
emperors of Persia; and those of the other two sisters according
to the quality and distinction of their husbands; the one as the
sultan's chief baker, and the other as head cook.

The two elder felt strongly the disproportion of their marriages
to that of their younger sister. This consideration made them far
from being content, though they were arrived at the utmost height
of their late wishes, and much beyond their hopes. They gave
themselves up to an excess of jealousy, which not only disturbed
their joy, but was the cause of great troubles and afflictions to
the queen consort their younger sister. They had not an
opportunity to communicate their thoughts to each other on the
preference the emperor had given her, but were altogether
employed in preparing themselves for the celebration of their
marriages. Some days afterwards, when they had an opportunity of
seeing each other at the public baths, the eldest said to the
other, "Well, what say you to our sister's great fortune? Is not
she a fine person to be a queen!" "I must own," said the other
sister, "I cannot conceive what charms the emperor could discover
to be so bewitched by the young gipsy. Was it a reason sufficient
for him not to cast his eyes on you, because she was somewhat
younger? You were as worthy of his bed; and in justice he ought
to have preferred you."

"Sister," said the elder, "I should not have regretted if his
majesty had but pitched upon you; but that he should choose that
hussy really grieves me. But I will revenge myself; and you, I
think, are as much concerned as me; therefore I propose that we
should contrive measures, and act in concert in a common cause:
communicate to me what you think the likeliest way to mortify
her, while I, on my side, will inform you what my desire of
revenge shall suggest to me."

After this wicked agreement, the two sisters saw each other
frequently, and consulted how they might disturb and interrupt
the happiness of the queen. They proposed a great many ways, but
in deliberating about the manner of executing them, found so many
difficulties, that they durst not attempt them. In the mean time,
they often went together to make her visits with a detestable
dissimulation, and every time shewed her all the marks of
affection they could devise, to persuade her how overjoyed they
were to have a sister raised to so high a fortune. The queen, on
her part, constantly received them with all the demonstrations of
esteem they could expect: from a sister who was not puffed up
with her high dignity, and loved them as cordially as before.

Some months after her marriage, the queen found herself to be
with child. The emperor expressed great joy, which was
communicated to all the court, and spread throughout the empire
of Persia. Upon this news the two sisters came to pay their
compliments, and proffered their service to deliver her, desiring
her, if not provided with a midwife, to accept of them.

The queen said to them most obligingly, "Sisters, I should desire
nothing more, if it was absolutely in my power to make the
choice. I am however obliged to you for your good-will, but must
submit to what the emperor shall order on this occasion. Let your
husbands employ their friends to make interest, and get some
courtier to ask this favour of his majesty; and if he speaks to
me about it, be assured that I shall not only express the
pleasure he does me, but thank him for making choice of you."

The two husbands applied themselves to some courtiers their
patrons, and begged of them to use their interest to procure
their wives the honour they aspired to. Those patrons exerted
themselves so much in their behalf, that the emperor promised
them to consider of the matter, and was as good as his word; for
in conversation with the queen, he told her, that he thought her
sisters were the most proper persons to assist her in her labour;
but would not name them before he had asked her consent. The
queen, sensible of the deference the emperor so obligingly paid
her, said to him, "Sir, I was prepared to do as your majesty
might please to command. But since you have been so kind as to
think of my sisters, I thank you for the regard you have shewn
them for my sake; and therefore I shall not dissemble, that I had
rather have them than strangers."

The emperor named the queen's two sisters to be her midwives; and
from that time they went frequently to the palace, overjoyed at
the opportunity they should have of executing the detestable
wickedness they had meditated against the queen.

When the queen's time was up she was safely delivered of a young
prince, as bright as the day; but neither his innocence nor
beauty could move the cruel hearts of the merciless sisters. They
wrapped him up carelessly in his cloths, and put him into a
basket, which they abandoned to the stream of a small canal, that
ran under the queen's apartment, and declared that she was
delivered of a little dead dog, which they produced. This
disagreeable intelligence was announced to the emperor, who
became so angry at the circumstance, that he was likely to have
occasioned the queen's death, if his grand vizier had not
represented to him, that he could not, without injustice, make
her answerable for the caprices of nature.

In the mean time, the basket in which the little prince was
exposed was carried by the stream beyond a wall, which bounded
the prospect of the queen's apartment, and from thence floated
with the current down the gardens. By chance the intendant of the
emperor's gardens, one of the principal and most considerable
officers of the kingdom, was walking in the garden by the side of
this canal, and perceiving a basket floating, called to a
gardener, who was not far off, to bring it to shore, that he
might see what it contained. The gardener, with a rake which he
had in his hand, drew the basket to the side of the canal, took
it up, and gave it to him.

The intendant of the gardens was extremely surprised to see in
the basket a child, which, though he knew it could be but just
born, had very fine features. This officer had been married
several years, but though he had always been desirous of having
children, Heaven had never blessed him with any. This accident
interrupted his walk: he made the gardener follow him with the
child; and when he came to his own house, which was situated at
the entrance into the gardens of the palace, went into his wife's
apartment. "Wife," said he, "as we have no children of our own,
God has sent us one. I recommend him to you; provide him a nurse,
and take as much care of him as if he were our own son; for, from
this moment, I acknowledge him as such." The intendant's wife
received the child with great joy, and took particular pleasure
in the care of him. The intendant himself would not inquire too
narrowly whence the child came. He saw plainly it came not far
off the queen's apartment; but it was not his business to examine
too closely into what had passed, nor to create disturbances in a
place where peace was so necessary.

The following year the queen consort was brought to bed of
another prince, on whom the unnatural sisters had no more
compassion than on his brother; but exposed him likewise in a
basket, and set him adrift in the canal, pretending this time
that the sultaness was delivered of a cat. It was happy also for
this child that the intendant of the gardens was walking by the
canal side, who had it carried to his wife, and charged her to
take as much care of it as of the former; which was as agreeable
to her inclination as it was to that of the intendant.

The emperor of Persia was more enraged this time against the
queen than before, and she had felt the effects of his anger if
the grand vizier's remonstrances had not prevailed.

The third time the queen lay in she was delivered of a princess,
which innocent babe underwent the same fate as the princes her
brothers; for the two sisters being determined not to desist from
their detestable schemes, till they had seen the queen their
younger sister at least cast off, turned out, and humbled,
exposed this infant also on the canal. But the princess, as well
as the two princes her brothers, was preserved from death by the
compassion and charity of the intendant of the gardens.

To this inhumanity the two sisters added a lie and deceit as
before. They produced a piece of wood, and affirmed it to be a
false birth of which the queen had been delivered.

Khoosroo Shaw could no longer contain himself, when he was
informed of the new extraordinary birth. "What!" said he; "this
woman, unworthy of my bed, will fill my palace with monsters, if
I let her live any longer! No, it shall not be; she is a monster
herself, and I must rid the world of her." He pronounced sentence
of death, and ordered the grand vizier to see it executed.

The grand vizier and the courtiers who were present cast
themselves at the emperor's feet, to beg of him to revoke the
sentence. "Your majesty, I hope, will give me leave," said the
grand vizier, "to represent to you, that the laws which condemn
persons to death were made to punish crimes; the three
extraordinary labours of the queen are not crimes; for in what
can she be said to have contributed towards them? Many other
women have had, and have the same every day, and are to be
pitied, but not punished. Your majesty may abstain from seeing
her, but let her live. The affliction in which she will spend the
rest of her life, after the loss of your favour, will be a
punishment sufficiently distressing."

The emperor of Persia considered with himself, and reflecting
that it was unjust to condemn the queen to death for what had
happened, said, "Let her live then; I will spare her life; but it
shall be on this condition, that she shall desire to die more
than once every day. Let a wooden shed be built for her at the
gate of the principal mosque, with iron bars to the windows, and
let her be put into it, in the coarsest habit; and every
Mussulmaun that shall go into the mosque to prayers shall spit in
her face. If any one fail, I will have him exposed to the same
punishment; and that I maybe punctually obeyed, I charge you,
vizier, to appoint persons to see this done."

The emperor pronounced his sentence in such a tone that the grand
vizier durst not further remonstrate; and it was executed, to the
great satisfaction of the two envious sisters. A shed was built,
and the queen, truly worthy of compassion, was put into it, and
exposed ignominiously to the contempt of the people; which usage,
as she did not deserve it, she bore with a patient resignation
that excited the admiration as well as compassion of those who
judged of things better than the vulgar.

The two princes and the princess were, in the mean time, nursed
and brought up by the intendant of the gardens and his wife with
all the tenderness of a father and mother; and as they advanced
in age, they all shewed marks of superior dignity, but the
princess in particular, which discovered itself every day by
their docility and inclinations above trifles, different from
those of common children, and by a certain air which could only
belong to exalted birth. All this increased the affeftions of the
intendant and his wife, who called the eldest prince Bahman, and
the second Perviz, both of them names of the most ancient
emperors of Persia, and the princess, Perie-zadeh, which name
also had been borne by several queens and princesses of the

As soon as the two princes were old enough, the intendant
provided proper masters to teach them to read and write; and the
princess their sister, who was often with them, shewing a great
desire to learn, the intendant, pleased with her quickness,
employed the same master to teach her also. Her emulation,
vivacity, and piercing wit, made her in a little time as great a
proficient as her brothers.

From that time the brothers and sister had the same masters in
geography, poetry, history, and even the secret sciences; and
made so wonderful a progress, that their tutors were amazed, and
frankly owned that they could teach them no farther. At the hours
of recreation, the princess learned to sing and play upon all
sorts of instruments; and when the princes were learning to ride
she would not permit them to have that advantage over her, but
went through all the exercises with them, learning to ride also,
to bend the bow, and dart the reed or javelin, and often-times
outdid them in the race, and other contests of agility.

The intendant of the gardens was so overjoyed to find his adopted
children so accomplished in all the perfections of body and mind,
and that they so well requited the expense he had been at in
their education, that he resolved to be at a still greater: for
as he had till then been content only with his lodge at the
entrance of the garden, and kept no country house, he purchased a
country seat at a short distance from the city, surrounded by a
large tract of arable land, meadows, and woods. As the house was
not sufficiently handsome nor convenient, he pulled it down, and
spared no expense in building a mansion more magnificent. He went
every day to hasten, by his presence, the great number of workmen
he employed; and as soon as there was an apartment ready to
receive him, passed several days together there when his presence
was not necessary at court; and by the same exertions, the
interior was furnished in the richest manner, answerably to the
magnificence of the edifice. Afterwards he made gardens,
according to a plan drawn by himself. He took in a large extent
of ground, which he walled round, and stocked with fallow deer,
that the princes and princess might divert themselves with
hunting when they chose.

When this country seat was finished and fit for habitation, the
intendant of the gardens went and cast himself at the emperor's
feet, and after representing how long he had served, and the
infirmities of age which he found growing upon him, begged he
would permit him to resign his charge into his majesty's
disposal, and retire. The emperor gave him leave, with the more
pleasure because he was satisfied with his long services, both in
his father's reign and his own; and when he granted it, asked
what he should do to recompense him? "Sir," replied the intendant
of the gardens, "I have received so many obligations from your
majesty and the late emperor your father of happy memory, that I
desire no more than the honour of dying in your favour."

He took his leave of the emperor, and retired with the two
princes and the princess to the country retreat he had built. His
wife had been dead some years, and he himself had not lived above
six months with them before he was surprised by so sudden a
death, that he had not time to give them the least account of the
manner in which he had discovered them.

The princes Bahman and Perviz, and the princess Perie-zadeh, who
knew no other father than the intendant of the emperor's gardens,
regretted and bewailed him as such, and paid all the honours in
his funeral obsequies which love and filial gratitude required of
them. Satisfied with the plentiful fortune he had left them, they
lived together in perfect union, free from the ambition of
distinguishing themselves at court, or aspiring to places of
honour and dignity, which they might easily have obtained.

One day when the two princes were hunting, and the princess had
remained at home, a religious old woman came to the gate, and
desired leave to go in to say her prayers, it being then the
hour. The servants asked the princess's permission, who ordered
them to shew her into the oratory, which the intendant of the
emperor's gardens had taken care to fit up in his house, for want
of a mosque in the neighbourhood. She bade them also, after the
good woman had finished her prayers, shew her the house and
gardens, and then bring her to her.

The old woman went into the oratory, said her prayers, and when
she came out two of the princess's women invited her to see the
house and gardens; which civility she accepted, followed them
from one apartment to another, and observed, like a person who
understood what belonged to furniture, the nice arrangement of
every thing. They conducted her also into the garden, the
disposition of which she found so well planned, that she admired
it, observing that the person who had formed it must have been an
excellent master of his art. Afterwards she was brought before
the princess, who waited for her in the great hall, which in
beauty and richness exceeded all that she had admired in the
other apartments.

As soon as the princess saw the devout woman, she said to her,
"My good mother, come near and sit down by me. I am overjoyed at
the happiness of having the opportunity of profiting for some
moments by the good example and conversation of such a person as
you, who have taken the right way by dedicating yourself to the
service of God. I wish every one were as wise."

The devout woman, instead of sitting on a sofa, would only sit
upon the edge of one. The princess would not permit her to do so,
but rising from her seat,'and taking her by the hand, obliged her
to come and sit by her. The good woman, sensible of the civility,
said, "Madam, I ought not to have so much respect shewn me; but
since you command, and are mistress of your own house, I will
obey you." When she had seated herself, before they entered into
any conversation, one of the princess's women brought a little
low stand of mother of pearl and ebony, with a china dish full of
cakes upon it, and many others set round it full of fruits in
season, and wet and dry sweetmeats.

The princess took up one of the cakes, and presenting her with
it, said, "Eat, good mother, and make choice of what you like
best; you had need to eat after coming so far." "Madam," replied
the good woman, "I am not used to eat such delicacies; but will
not refuse what God has sent me by so liberal a hand as yours."

While the devout woman was eating, the princess ate a little too,
to bear her company, and asked her many questions upon the
exercise of devotion which she practised, and how she lived: all
which she answered with great modesty. Talking of several things,
at last she asked her what she thought of the house, and how she
liked it.

"Madam," answered the devout woman, "I must certainly have very
bad taste to disapprove any thing in it, since it is beautiful,
regular, and magnificently furnished with exactness and judgment,
and all its ornaments adjusted in the best manner. Its situation
is an agreeable spot, and no garden can be more delightful; but
yet if you will give me leave to speak my mind freely, I will
take the liberty to tell you, that this house would be
incomparable if it had three things which are wanting to complete
it.""My good mother," replied the princess Perie-zadeh,"what are
those? I conjure you, in God's name, to tell me what they are: I
will spare nothing to get them, if it be possible."

"Madam," replied the devout woman, "the first of these three
things is the speaking bird, so singular a creature, that it
draws round it all the singing birds of the neighbourhood, which
come to accompany his song. The second is the singing tree, the
leaves of which are so many mouths, which form an harmonious
concert of different voices, and never cease. The third is the
yellow water of a gold colour, a single drop of which being
poured into a vessel properly prepared, it increases so as to
fill it immediately, and rises up in the middle like a fountain,
which continually plays, and yet the basin never overflows."

"Ah! my good mother," cried the princess, "how much am I obliged
to you for the knowledge of these curiosities! They are
surprising, and I never before heard there were such wonderful
rarities in the world; but as I am persuaded that you know, I
expect that you should do me the favour to inform me where they
are to be found."

"Madam," replied the good woman, "I should be unworthy the
hospitality you have with so much goodness shewn me, if I should
refuse to satisfy your curiosity in that point; and am glad to
have the honour to tell you, that these curiosities are all to be
met with in the same spot on the confines of this kingdom,
towards India. The road to it lies before your house, and whoever
you send needs but follow it for twenty days, and on the
twentieth let him only ask the first person he meets where the
speaking bird, singing tree, and yellow water are, and he will be
informed." After saying this, she rose from her seat, took her
leave, and went her way.

The princess Perie-zadeh's thoughts were so taken up with what
the devout woman had told her of the speaking bird, singing tree,
and yellow water, that she never perceived her departure, till
she wanted to ask her some question for her better information;
for she thought that what she had told her was not a sufficient
reason for exposing herself by undertaking a long journey,
possibly to no purpose. However, she would not send after her,
but endeavoured to remember all she had told her; and when she
thought she had recollected every word, took real pleasure in
thinking of the satisfaction she should have if she could get
these wonderful curiosities into her possession; but the
difficulties she apprehended, and the fear of not succeeding,
made her very uneasy.

She was absorbed in these thoughts when her brothers returned
from hunting; who, when they entered the great hall, instead of
finding her lively and gay, as she used to be be, were amazed to
see her so pensive, and hanging down her head as if something
troubled her.

"Sister," said prince Bahman,"what is become of all your mirth
and gaiety? Are you not well? or has some misfortune befallen
you? Has any body given you reason to be so melancholy? Tell us,
that we may know how to act, and give you some relief. If any one
has affronted you, we will resent his insolence."

The princess remained in the same posture some time without
answering; but at last lifted up her eyes to look at her
brothers, and then held them down again, telling them nothing
disturbed her.

"Sister," said prince Bahman, "you conceal the truth from us;
there must be something of consequence. It is impossible we could
observe so sudden a change if nothing was the matter with you.
You would not have us satisfied with the evasive answer you have
given: do not conceal any thing, unless you would have us suspect
that you renounce the strict union which has hitherto subsisted
between us from our infancy."

The princess, who had not the smallest intention to offend her
brothers, would not suffer them to entertain such a thought, but
said, "When I told you nothing disturbed me, I meant nothing that
was of importance to you; but to me it is of some consequence;
and since you press me to tell you by our strict union and
friendship, which are so dear to me, I will. You think, and I
always believed so too, that this house was so complete that
nothing was wanting. But this day I have learned that it wants
three rarities, which would render it so perfect that no country
seat in the world could be compared with it. These three things
are, the speaking bird, the singing tree, and the yellow water.
After she had informed them wherein consisted the excellency of
these rarities, "A devout woman," added she, "has made this
discovery to me, told me the place where they are to be found,
and the way thither. Perhaps you may imagine these things to be
trifles, and of little consequence to render our house complete,
that without these additions it will always be thought
sufficiently elegant with what it already contains, and that we
can do without them. You may think as you please; but I cannot
help telling you that I am persuaded they are absolutely
necessary, and I shall not be easy without them. Therefore,
whether you value them or not, I desire you to consider what
person you may think proper for me to send in search of the
curiosities I have mentioned."

"Sister," replied prince Bahman, "nothing can concern you in
which we have not an equal interest. It is enough that you have
an earnest desire for the things you mention to oblige us to take
the same interest; but if you had not, we feel ourselves inclined
of our own accord and for our own individual satisfaction. I am
persuaded my brother is of the same opinion, and therefore we
ought to undertake this conquest; for the importance and
singularity of the undertaking deserve that name. I will take
that charge upon myself; only tell me the place, and the way to
it, and I will defer my journey no longer than till to-morrow."

"Brother," said prince Perviz, "it is not proper that you, who
are the head and director of our family, should be absent. I
desire my sister would join with me to oblige you to abandon your
design, and allow me to undertake it. I hope to acquit myself as
well as you, and it will be a more regular proceeding." "I am
persuaded of your good-will, brother," replied prince Bahman,
"and that you would succeed as well as myself in this journey;
but I have resolved, and will undertake it. You shall stay at
home with our sister, and I need not recommend her to you." He
spent the remainder of the day in making preparations for his
journey, and informing himself from the princess of the
directions which the devout woman had left her.

The next morning Bahman mounted his horse, and Perviz and the
princess embraced, and wished him a good journey. But in the
midst of their adieus, the princess recollected what she had not
thought of before. "Brother," said she, "I had quite forgotten
the accidents which attend travellers. Who knows whether I shall
ever see you again? Alight, I beseech you, and give up this
journey. I would rather be deprived of the sight and possession
of the speaking bird, singing tree, and yellow water, than run
the risk of never seeing you more."

"Sister," replied Bahman, smiling at the sudden fears of the
princess, "my resolution is fixed, but were it not, I should
determine upon it now, and you must allow me to execute it. The
accidents you speak of befall only those who are unfortunate; but
there are more who are not so. However, as events are uncertain,
and I may fail in this undertaking, all I can do is to leave you
this knife."

Bahman, pulling a knife from his vestband, and presenting it in
the sheath to the princess, said, "Take this knife, sister, and
give yourself the trouble sometimes to pull it out of the sheath:
while you see it clean as it is now, it will be a sign that I am
alive; but if you find it stained with blood, then you may
believe me dead, and indulge me with your prayers."

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