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The Arabian Nights Entertainments vol. 4 by Anon.

Part 4 out of 8

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At length I found an opportunity of being in private with one of
her black slaves, and questioned her concerning her mistress. "My
lord," replied she, "the history of my mistress is wonderful; but
I dare not relate it, lest she should put me to death." Upon
this, I assured her, that if she would inform me, no one should
know it but myself, and I took an oath of secrecy, when she began
as follows:

"My mistress one day went to a public bath, intending to amuse
herself, for which purpose she made such preparations of
delicacies and rarities, as were worth a camel's load of
treasure, and when she left the hummaum, made an excursion to a
garden, where a splendid collation was laid out. Here she
continued enjoying herself till evening, when she ordered her
retinue to make ready for departure, and the fragments of the
entertainment to be distributed among the poor. On her return,
she passed through the street in which is your warehouse. It was
upon a Friday, when you were sitting in conversation with a
friend, arrayed in your best attire. She beheld you, her heart
was stricken with love, but no one perceived her emotion.
However, she had no sooner reached her palace than she became low
and melancholy, and her appetite failed her. At length she took
to her bed, her colour left her, sleep forsook her, and she
became very weak. Upon this her mother went to call in a
physician, that he might consider what might be the cause of her
daughter's indisposition; but on the way she met a skilful old
lady, with whom she returned home.

"The old lady on feeling the pulse of her patient, and after
asking several questions, could perceive in her no bodily ailment
or pain; upon which she judged she was in love, but did not
venture to speak to her before her mother of her suspicions. She
took leave, and said, ‘By God's blessing thou wilt soon recover;
I will return tomorrow, and bring with me an infallible
medicine.' She then took her mother aside, and said, ‘My good
lady, be not angry at what I shall remark, but thy daughter has
no bodily disorder; she is in love, and there can be no cure for
her but by a union with her beloved.' The mother, on the
departure of the old lady, repaired to her daughter, and with
much difficulty, after twenty days of denial (for my mistress's
modesty was hurt), obtained from her a description of your
person, and the street in which you lived; upon which she behaved
to you in the manner you are well acquainted with, brought you
here, and you know what followed. Such is her history," concluded
the black slave, "which you must not reveal." "I will not,"
replied I; and after this I continued to live very happily with
my wife, going daily to see my mother, to attend in my warehouse,
and return in the evening, conducted as usual by the old lady my

One day, after the expiration of some months, as I was sitting in
my warehouse, a damsel came into the street with the image of a
cock, composed of jewelry. It was set with pearls, diamonds, and
other precious stones, and she offered it to the merchants for
sale; when they began bidding for it at five hundred deenars, and
went to nine hundred and fifty; all which I observed in silence
and did not interfere by speaking or bidding. At length the
damsel came up to me, and said, "My lord, all the merchants have
increased in bidding for my precious toy, but you have neither
bidden, nor taken any notice of me." "I have no occasion for it,"
replied I. "Nay," exclaimed she, "but you must bid something
more." "Since I must," I answered, "I will give fifty deenars
more, which will be just a thousand." She accepted the price, and
I went into my warehouse to fetch the money to pay her, saying to
myself, "I will present this curiosity to my wife, as it may
please her." When I was going to pay the money, the damsel would
not take it, but said, "My lord, I have a request to make, which
is, that I may snatch one kiss from your cheek as the price of my
jewelry, for I want nothing else." Upon this, I thought to
myself, a single kiss of my cheek is an easy price for the value
of a thousand deenars, and consented; when she came up to me and
gave me a kiss, but at the same time a most severe bite; left the
piece of jewelry, and went away with the greatest haste.

In the evening I repaired to the house of my wife, and found the
old lady waiting as usual at the accustomed spot. She tied the
handkerchief over my eyes, and when she had conducted me home,
took it off. I found my wife sitting upon her golden stool, but
dressed in scarlet, and with an angry countenance; upon which I
said to myself, "God grant all may be well." I approached her,
took out the toy set with diamonds and rubies (thinking that on
sight of it her ill-humour would vanish), and said, "My mistress,
accept this, for it is curious, and I purchased it for thee." She
took it into her hand, and examined it on all sides; after which
she exclaimed, "Didst thou really purchase this on my account?"
"By heavens," replied I, "I bought it for thy sake, for a
thousand deenars." Upon this she frowned angrily upon me, and
exclaimed, "What means that wound upon thy cheek?" I was
overwhelmed with confusion.

While I was in this state, she called out to her attendants, who
immediately descended the staircase, carrying the headless corpse
of a young girl, the head placed upon the middle of the body. I
looked, and knew it to be the head of the damsel who had sold me
the piece of jewelry for a kiss, and had bitten my cheek. My wife
now exclaimed, "I had no occasion for such baubles, for I have
many of them; but I wished to know if thou wert so faithful to
thy agreement with me, as not to address another woman than
myself, and sent the girl to try thee. Since thy promise has been
broken, begone, and return no more."

When my wife had finished her speech, the old woman took me by
the hand, tied the handkerchief over my eyes, and conducted me to
the usual spot, when she said, "Begone!" and disappeared. I was
so overcome by the sad adventure, and the loss of my wife, that I
ran through the streets like one frantic, crying, "Ah, what
beauty, what grace, what elegance did she possess!" upon which,
the people, supposing me distracted, conducted me to this
hospital, and bound me in fetters, as you see.

When the sultan had heard the young man's story, he was much
affected, inclined his head for some instants in deep thought,
then said to his vizier, "By Allah, who has intrusted me with
sovereignty, if thou dost not discover the lady who married this
young man, thy head shall be forfeited." The vizier was alarmed,
but recovering himself, replied, "Allow me three days to search,"
to which the sultan consented. The vizier then took with him the
young man, and for two days was at a loss how to find out the
house. At length he inquired if he should know the spot where the
handkerchief was tied over his eyes, and the gateway at which it
was taken off, of both which the youth professed to be certain.
He conducted the minister to the street where he was blindfolded,
and they reached a gateway, at which the vizier knocked. It was
opened by the domestics, who knowing the vizier, and seeing the
young man with him, were alarmed, and ran to communicate the
quality of the visitants to their mistress. She desired to know
the commands of the vizier, who informed her, that it was the
sultan's pleasure she should be reconciled to her husband; to
which she replied, "Since the sultan hath commanded, my duty is
obedience." The young man was reunited to his wife, who was the
daughter of a former sultan of Cairo.

Such were the adventures of the young man who was reading in the
hospital. We now recite those of the youth who was listening to
him. Upon the sultan's inquiring his story, he began as follows.

Story of the Second Lunatic.

My lord, I was by profession a merchant, and on my commencing
business the youngest of my trade, having but just entered my
sixteenth year. As I was one day busy in my warehouse, a damsel
entering, put into my hands a packet, which, on opening, I found
to contain several copies of verses in praise of myself, with a
letter expressive of ardent affection for my person. Supposing
them meant only as banter, I foolishly flew into a passion,
seized the bearer, and beat her severely. On her departure, I
reflected on my improper behaviour, dreaded lest she should
complain to her relations, and that they might revenge themselves
upon me by some sudden assault. I repented of what I had done,
but alas! it was when repentance would not avail.

Ten days had passed, when, as I was sitting in my warehouse as
usual, a young lady entered most superbly dressed, and
odoriferously perfumed. She resembled in brightness the moon on
its fourteenth night, so that when I gazed upon her my senses
forsook me, and I was incapable of attention to any thing but
herself. She addressed me, saying, "Young man, have you in your
warehouse any female ornaments?" to which I replied, "Of all
sorts, my lady, that you can possibly require." Upon this she
desired to see some bracelets for the ankles, which I shewed her,
when holding out her foot, she desired me to try them on. I did
so. After this, she asked for a necklace, and opening her veil,
made me tie it on. She then chose a pair of bracelets, and
extending her hands, desired me to put them on her wrists, which
I did; after which, she inquired the amount of the whole, when I
exclaimed, "Fair lady, accept them as a present, and inform me
whose daughter thou art." She replied, "I am the daughter of the
chief magistrate;" when I said, "My wish is to demand thee in
marriage of thy father." She consented that I should, but
observed, "When you ask me of my father, he will say, I have only
one daughter, who is a cripple, and wretchedly deformed. Do thou,
however, reply, that thou art willing to accept her, and if he
remonstrates, still insist upon wedding her." I then asked when I
should make my proposals. She replied, "The best time to visit my
father is on the Eed al Koorbaun, which is three days hence, as
thou wilt then find with him all his relations and friends, and
our espousals will add to his festivity."

Agreeably to the lady's instructions, on the third day following
I repaired with several of my friends to the house of the chief
magistrate, and found him sitting in state, receiving the
compliments of the day from the chief inhabitants of the city. We
made our obeisance, which he graciously noticed, received us with
kindness, and entered familiarly into conversation. A collation
was brought in, the cloth spread, and we partook with him of the
viands, after which we drank coffee. I then stood up, saying, "My
lord, I am desirous of espousing the chaste lady your daughter,
more precious than the richest gem."

When the chief magistrate heard my speech, he inclined his head
for some time towards the earth in deep thought, after which he
said, "Son, my daughter is an unfortunate cripple, miserably
deformed." To this I replied, "To have her for my wife is all I
wish." The magistrate then said, "If thou wilt have a wife of
this description, it must be on condition that she shall not be
taken from my house, that thou shalt consummate the marriage
here, and abide with me." I replied, "To hear is to obey;"
believing that she was the beautiful damsel who had visited my
warehouse, and whose charms I had so rapturously beheld. In
short, the nuptial ceremony was performed, when I said to myself,
"Heavens! is it possible that I am become master of this
beautiful damsel, and shall possess her charms!"

When night set in, the domestics of the chief magistrate
introduced me into the chamber of my bride. I ran eagerly to gaze
upon her beauty, but guess my mortification when I beheld her a
wretched dwarf, a cripple, and deformed, as her father had
represented. I was overcome with horror at the sight of her,
distracted with disappointment, and ashamed of my own foolish
credulity, but I dared not complain, as I had voluntarily
accepted her as my wife from the magistrate: I sat down silently
in one corner of the chamber, and she in another, for I could not
bring myself to approach her, as she was disgusting to the sight
of man, and my soul could not endure her company.

At day-break I left the house of my father-in-law, repaired to my
warehouse, which I opened, and sat down much distressed in mind,
with my head dizzy, like one suffering from intoxication, when
lo! who should appear before me but the lady who had put upon me
so mortifying a trick. She entered, and paid me the customary
salute. I was enraged, and began to abuse her, saying, "Wherefore
hast thou put upon me such a stratagem?" when she replied,
"Wretch, recollect the day that I brought thee a packet, in
return for which you seized, beat, reviled, and drove me
scornfully away. In retaliation for such treatment, I have taken
revenge by giving thee such a delectable bride." I now fell at
her feet, entreated her forgiveness, and expressed my repentance;
upon which, smiling upon me, she said, "Be not uneasy, for as I
have plunged thee into a dilemma, I will also relieve thee from
it. Go to the aga of the leather-dressers, give him a sum of
money, and desire him to call thee his son; then repair with him,
attended by his followers and musicians, to the house of the
chief magistrate. When he inquires the cause of their coming, let
the aga say, ‘ My lord, we are come to congratulate thy son-in-
law, who is my beloved child, on his marriage with thy daughter,
and to rejoice with him.' The magistrate will be furiously
enraged, and exclaim, ‘Dog, is it possible that, being a leather-
dresser, thou durst marry the daughter of the chief magistrate?'
Do thou then reply, ‘My lord, my ambition was to be ennobled by
your alliance, and as I have married your lordship's daughter,
the mean appellation of leather-dresser will soon be forgotten
and lost in the glorious title of the son-in-law of your
lordship; I shall be promoted under your protection, and purified
from the odour of the tan-pit, so that my offspring will smell as
sweet as that of a syed."

I did as the lady had directed me, and having bribed the chief of
the leather-dressers, he accompanied me with the body of his
trade, and a numerous party of musicians, vocal and instrumental,
to my father-in-law's house, before which they began to sing and
dance with great clamour every now and then crying out, "Long
live our noble kinsman! Long live the son-in-law of the chief
magistrate!" The magistrate inquired into the cause of our
intrusive rejoicing, when I told him my kinsfolk were
congratulating me upon my alliance with his illustrious house,
and come to thank him for the honour he had done the whole body
of leather-dressers in my person. The chief magistrate on hearing
this was passionately enraged, and abused me; but reflecting that
without my consent the supposed disgrace of his noble house could
not be done away, he became calm, and offered me money to divorce
his daughter. At first I pretended unwillingness, but at length
affecting to be moved by his earnest entreaties, accepted forty
purses of gold, which he gave me to repudiate my deformed wife,
and I returned home with a lightened heart. The day following,
the lady came to my warehouse, when I thanked her for having
freed me from my ridiculous marriage, and begged her to accept of
me as a husband. To this she consented, but said she was, she
feared, too meanly born for me to marry, as her father was but a
cook, though of eminence in his way, and very rich. I replied,
"Even though he were a leather-dresser, thy charms would grace a
throne." In short, my lord, we were married, and have lived
together very happily from the day of our union to the present

Such is my story, but it is not so surprising as that of the
learned man and his pupil, whose adventures were among the
miracles of the age, which I will relate.

Story of the retired Sage and his Pupil, related to the Sultan
by the Second Lunatic,

There was a learned and devout sage, who in order to enjoy his
studies and contemplations uninterrupted, had secluded himself
from the world in one of the cells of the principal mosque of the
city, which he never left but upon the most pressing occasions.
He had led this retired life some years, when a boy one day
entered his cell, and earnestly begged to be received as his
pupil and domestic. The sage liked his appearance, consented to
his request, inquired who were his parents, and whence he came;
but the lad could not inform him, and said, "Ask not who I am,
for I am an orphan, and know not whether I belong to heaven or
earth." The shekh did not press him, and the boy served him with
the most undeviating punctuality and attention for twelve years,
during which he received his instructions in every branch of
learning, and became a most accomplished youth. At the end of the
twelve years, the youth one day heard some young men praising the
beauty of the sultan's daughter, and saying that her charms were
unequalled by those of all the princesses of the age. This
discourse excited his curiosity to behold so lovely a creature.
He repaired to his master, saying, "My lord, I understand that
the sultan hath a most beautiful daughter, and my soul longs
ardently for an opportunity of beholding her, if only for an
instant." The sage exclaimed, "What have such as we to do, my
son, with the daughters of sovereigns or of others? We are a
secluded order, and should refrain ourselves from associating
with the great ones of this world." The old man continued to warn
his pupil against the vanities of the age, and to divert him from
his purpose; but the more he advised and remonstrated, the more
intent the youth became on his object, which affected his mind so
much, that he grew very uneasy, and was continually weeping.

The sage observing his distress was afflicted at it, and at
length said to the youth, "Will one look at the princess satisfy
thy wishes?" "It shall," replied the pupil. The sage then
anointed one of his eyes with a sort of ointment; when lo! he
became to appearance as a man divided into half, and the sage
ordered him to go and hop about the city. The youth obeyed his
commands, but he had no sooner got into the street than he was
surrounded by a crowd of passengers, who gazed with astonishment
at his appearance. The report of so strange a phenomenon as a
half man soon spread throughout the city, and reached the palace
of the sultan, who sent for the supposed monster to the presence.
The youth was conveyed to the palace, where the whole court gazed
upon him with wonder; after which he was taken into the haram, to
gratify the curiosity of the women. He beheld the princess, and
was fascinated by the brilliancy of her charms, insomuch, that he
said to himself, "If I cannot wed her, I will put myself to

The youth being at length dismissed from the palace, returned
home; his heart tortured with love for the daughter of the
sultan. On his arrival, the sage inquired if he had seen the
princess. "I have," replied the youth, "but one look is not
enough, and I cannot rest until I shall sit beside her, and feast
my eyes till they are wearied with gazing upon her." "Alas! my
son," exclaimed the old man, "I fear for thy safety: we are
religious men, and should avoid temptations; nor does it become
us to have any thing to do with the sultan." To this the youth
replied, "My lord, unless I shall sit beside her, and touch her
neck with my hands, I shall, through despair, put myself to

At these words, the sage was alarmed for the safety of his pupil,
and said to himself, "I will, if possible, preserve this amiable
youth, and perchance Allah may gratify his wishes." He then
anointed both his eyes with an ointment, which had the effect of
rendering him invisible to human sight. After this, he said, "Go,
my son, and gratify thy wishes, but return again, and be not too
long absent from thy duty."

The youth hastened towards the royal palace, which he entered
unperceived, and proceeded into the haram, where he seated
himself near the daughter of the sultan. For some time he
contented himself with gazing on her beauty, but at length
extending his hands, touched her softly on the neck. As soon as
she felt his touch, the princess, alarmed, shrieked out
violently, and exclaimed, "I seek refuge with Allah, from Satan
the accursed." Her mother and the ladies present, affrighted at
her outcries, eagerly inquired the cause; when she said, "Eblees,
or some other evil spirit, hath this instant touched me on the

Upon this, the mother was alarmed and sent for her nurse, who,
when informed of what had happened, declared, "That nothing was
so specific to drive away evil spirits as the smoke of camel's
hair;" a quantity of which was instantly brought, and being set
fire to, the smoke of it filled the whole apartment, and so
affected the eyes of the young man, that they watered
exceedingly, when he unthinkingly wiped them with his
handkerchief, so that with his tears the ointment was soon washed

The ointment was no sooner wiped away from his eyes than the
young man became visible, and the princess, her mother, and the
ladies, all at once uttered a general cry of astonishment and
alarm; upon which the eunuchs rushed into the apartment. Seeing
the youth, they surrounded him, beat him unmercifully, then bound
him with cords, and dragged him before the sultan, whom they
informed of his having been found in the royal haram. The sultan,
enraged, sent for an executioner, and commanded him to seize the
culprit, to clothe him in a black habit patched over with flame
colour, to mount him upon a camel, and after parading with him
through the streets of the city, to put him to death.

The executioner took the young man, dressed him as he had been
directed, placed him upon the camel, and led him through the
city, preceded by guards and a crier, who bawled out, "Behold the
merited punishment of him who has dared to violate the sanctuary
of the royal haram." The procession was followed by an
incalculable crowd of people, who were astonished at the beauty
of the young man, and the little concern he seemed to feel at his
own situation.

At length the procession arrived in the square before the great
mosque, when the sage, disturbed by the noise and concourse of
the people, looked from the window of his cell, and beheld the
disgraceful situation of his pupil. He was moved to pity, and
instantly calling upon the genii (for by his knowledge of magic
and every abstruse science he had them all under his control),
commanded them to bring him the youth from the camel, and place
in his room, without being perceived, some superannuated man.
They did so, and when the multitude saw the youth, as it were,
transformed into a well-known venerable shekh, they were stricken
with awe, and said, "Heavens! the young man turns out to be our
reverend chief of the herb-sellers;" for the old man had long
been accustomed to dispose of greens and sugarcane at the college
gate near the great mosque, and was the oldest in his trade.

The executioner, on beholding the change of appearance in his
prisoner, was confounded. He returned to the palace with the old
man upon the camel, and followed by the crowd. He hastened or
contrive my death." to the sultan, and said, "My lord, the young
man is vanished, and in his room became seated upon the camel
this venerable shekh, well known to the whole city." On hearing
this, the sultan was alarmed, and said to himself, "Whoever has
been able to perform this, can do things much more surprising He
may depose me from my kingdom,

The sultan's fears increased so much, that he was at a loss how
to act. He summoned his vizier, and said, "Advise me what to do
in the affair of this strange youth, for I am utterly
confounded." The vizier for some time inclined his head towards
the ground in profound thought, then addressing the sultan, said,
"My lord, no one could have done this but by the help of genii,
or by a power which we cannot comprehend, and he may possibly, if
irritated, do you in future a greater injury respecting your
daughter. I advise, therefore, that you cause it to be proclaimed
throughout the city, that whoever has done this, if he will
appear before you shall have pardon on the word of a sultan,
which can never be broken. Should he then surrender himself,
espouse him to your daughter, when perhaps his mind may be
reconciled by her love. He has already beheld her, and seen the
ladies of the haram, so that nothing can save your honour but his
union with the princess."

The sultan approved the advice of his vizer, the proclamation was
issued, and the crier proceeded through several streets, till at
length he reached the square of the great mosque. The pupil
hearing the proclamation, was enraptured, and running to his
patron, declared his intention of surrendering himself to the
sultan. "My son," said the sage, "why shouldst thou do so? Hast
thou not already suffered sufficiently?" The youth replied,
"Nothing shall prevent me." Upon which the sage exclaimed, "Go
then, my son, and my midnight prayers shall attend thee."

The youth now repaired to the hummaum, and having bathed, dressed
himself in his richest habit; after which he discovered himself
to the crier, who conducted him to the palace. He made a profound
obeisance to the sultan, at the same time uttering an eloquent
prayer for his long life and prosperity. The sultan was struck
with his manly beauty, the gracefulness of his demeanour, and the
propriety of his delivery, and said, "Young stranger, who art
thou, and from whence dost thou come?" "I am," replied the youth,
"the half man whom you saw, and have done what you are already
acquainted with."

The sultan now requested him to sit in the most honourable place,
and entered into conversation on various subjects. He put to him
several difficult questions in science, to which the youth
replied with such judgment, that his abilities astonished him,
and he said to himself, "This young man is truly worthy of my
daughter." He then addressed him, saying, "Young man, my wish is
to unite thee to my daughter, for thou hast already seen her,
also her mother, and after what has passed no one will marry
her." The youth replied, "I am ready in obedience, but must
advise with my friends." "Go then," said the sultan, "consult
with thy friends, and return quickly."

The young man repaired to the sage, and having informed him of
what had passed between himself and the sultan, signified his
wish to marry the princess, when the shekh replied, "Do so, my
son; there can be in the measure no crime, as it is a lawful
alliance." "But I wish," said the youth, "to invite the sultan to
visit you." "By all means," answered the sage. "My lord,"
rejoined the pupil, "since I first came, and you honoured me in
your service, I have beheld you in no other residence but this
confined cell, from which you have never stirred night or day.
How can I invite the sultan here?" "My son," exclaimed the shekh,
"go to the sultan, rely upon Allah, who can work miracles in
favour of whom he chooseth, and say unto him, ‘My patron greets
thee, and requests thy company to an entertainment five days
hence.' "The youth did as he was directed, and having returned to
his master, waited upon him as before, but anxiously wishing for
the fifth day to arrive.

On the fifth day, the sage said to his impatient pupil, "Let us
remove to our own house, that we may prepare for the reception of
the sultan, whom you must conduct to me." They arose, and walked,
till on coming to a ruinous building about the middle of the
city, the walls of which were fallen in heaps, the shekh said,
"My son, this is my mansion, hasten and bring the sultan." The
pupil, in astonishment, exclaimed, "My lord, this abode is a heap
of ruins, how can I invite the sultan here, it would only
disgrace us?" "Go," repeated the sage, "and dread not the
consequences." Upon this the youth departed, but as he went on
could not help saying to himself, "Surely my master must be
insane, or means to make a jest of us." When he had reached the
palace he found the sultan expecting him; upon which he made his
obeisance, and said, "Will my lord honour me by his company?"

The sultan arose, mounted his horse, and attended by his whole
court, followed the youth to the place chosen by the venerable
shekh. It now appeared a royal mansion, at the gates of which
were ranged numerous attendants in costly habits, respectfully
waiting. The young man, at sight of this transformed appearance,
was confounded in such a manner that he could hardly retain his
senses. He said to himself, "It was but this instant that I
beheld this place a heap of ruins, yet now it is a palace far
more magnificent than any belonging to this sultan. I am
astonished, but must keep the secret to myself."

The sultan alighted, as did also his courtiers, and entered the
palace. They were surprised and delighted at the splendour of the
first court, but much more so at the superior magnificence of a
second; into which they were ushered, and introduced into a
spacious hall, where they found the venerable shekh sitting to
receive them. The sultan made a low obeisance; upon which the
sage just moved his head, but did not rise. The sultan then sat
down, when the shekh greeted him, and they entered into
conversation on various subjects; but the senses of the sultan
were confounded at the dignified demeanour of his host, and the
splendid objects around him. At length the shekh desired his
pupil to knock at a door and order breakfast to be brought in,
which he did: when lo! the door opened, and there entered a
hundred slaves, bearing upon their heads golden trays, on which
were placed dishes of agate, cornelian, and other stones, filled
with various eatables, which they arranged in order before the
sultan. He was astonished, for he had nothing so magnificent in
his own possession. He then partook of the sumptuous collation,
as did also the venerable shekh, and all the courtiers, till they
were satisfied; after which they drank coffee and sherbets of
various sorts, when the sultan and the sage conversed on
religious and literary subjects, and the former was edified by
the remarks of the latter.

When it was noon the shekh again desired his pupil to knock at
another door, and order dinner to be brought in. He had no sooner
done so, than immediately a hundred slaves, different from the
former, entered, bearing trays of the richest viands. They spread
the cloth before the sultan, and arranged the dishes, which were
each thickly set with precious stones, at which he was more
astonished than before. When all had eaten till they were
satisfied, basins and ewers, some of gold and others of agate,
were carried round, and they washed their hands; after which the
shekh said to the sultan, "Have you fixed what my son must give
as the dower of your daughter?" To this, the sultan replied, "I
have already received it." This he said out of compliment; but
the shekh replied, "My lord, the marriage cannot be valid without
a dower." He then presented a vast sum of money, with many
jewels, for the purpose to his pupil; after which he retired with
the sultan into a chamber, and arrayed him in a splendid habit;
rich dresses were also given to each of his attendants according
to their rank. The sultan then took leave of the shekh, and
returned with his intended son-in-law to the palace.

When evening arrived the young man was introduced into the
apartment of the princess, which he found spread with the richest
carpets, and perfumed with costly essences, but his bride was
absent: at which he was somewhat surprised, but supposed her
coming was put off till midnight, for which he waited with
impatience. Midnight came, but no bride appeared; when a thousand
uneasy sensations afflicted his mind, and he continued in
restless anxiety till morning: nor were the father and mother of
the princess less impatient; for supposing she was with her
husband, they waited anxiously, and were mortified at the delay.

At daylight, the mother, unable to bear longer suspense, entered
the chamber; when the young man, rather angrily, inquired what
had delayed the coming of his bride. "She entered before thee,"
replied the mother. "I have not seen her," answered the
bridegroom. Upon this the sultana shrieked with affright, calling
aloud on her daughter, for she had no other child but her. Her
cries alarmed the sultan, who rushing into the apartment, was
informed that the princess was missing, and had not been seen
since her entrance in the evening. Search was now made in every
quarter of the palace, but in vain; and the sultan, sultana, and
the bridegroom, were involved in the deepest distress.

To account for the sudden disappearance of the princess, be it
known, that a genie used often to divert himself with visiting
the haram of the sultan; and happening to be there on the
marriage night, was so captivated by the charms of the bride,
that he resolved to steal her away. Accordingly, having rendered
himself invisible, he waited in the nuptial chamber, and upon her
entering bore her off, and soared into the air. At length he
alighted with his prey in a delightful garden, far distant from
the city; placed the princess in a shady arbour, and set before
her delicious fruits; but contented himself with gazing upon her

The young bridegroom, when recovered from his first alarm,
bethought himself of his tutor, and, together with the sultan,
repaired to the palace where the splendid entertainment had been
given. Here they found every thing in the same order as on the
day of festivity, and were kindly received by the venerable
shekh; who on hearing of the loss of the princess, desired them
to be comforted. He then commanded a chafing-dish of lighted
charcoal to be set before him, and after some moments of
contemplation, cast into it some perfumes, over which he
pronounced incantations. He had scarcely ended them, when lo! the
earth shook, whirlwinds arose, lightnings flashed, and clouds of
dust darkened the air, from which speedily descended winged
troops, bearing superb standards and massive spears. In the
centre of them appeared three sultans of the genii, who bowing
low before the shekh, exclaimed all at once, "Master, hail! we
are come to obey thy commands."

The shekh now addressed them, saying, "My orders are, that you
instantly bring me the accursed spirit who hath carried off the
bride of my son;" when the genii replied, "To hear is to obey:"
and immediately detached fifty of their followers to reconduct
the princess to her chamber, and drag the culprit to the presence
of the sage. These commands were no sooner issued than they were
performed. Ten of the genii carefully conveyed the bride to her
apartment, while the rest having seized the offending genie,
dragged him before the sage, who commanded the three sultans to
burn him to ashes, which was executed in an instant. All this was
done in the presence of the sultan, who was wrapt in
astonishment, and viewed with awe the tremendously gigantic
figures of the genii, wondering at the submissive readiness with
which they obeyed the commands of the venerable shekh. When the
offending genie was consumed to ashes, the shekh renewed his
incantations; during which the sultans of the genii, with their
followers, bowed themselves before him, and when he had ended,
vanished from sight.

The sultan and the bridegroom having taken leave of the shekh,
returned to the palace, where all was now gladness for the safe
return of the princess. The marriage was consummated, and the
young man was so happy with his bride, that he did not quit the
haram for seven days. On the eighth, the sultan ordered public
rejoicings to be made, and invited all the inhabitants of the
city to feast at the royal cost; causing it to be proclaimed,
that no one, either rich or poor, should for three days presume
to eat at home, light a fire, or burn a lamp in his own house,
but all repair to the nuptial festival of the daughter of the
sultan. Ample provision was made for all comers in the courts of
the palace, and the officers of the household attended day and
night to serve the guests according to their quality. During one
of the nights of this grand festival, the sultan being anxious to
know if his proclamation was generally obeyed, resolved to walk
through the city in disguise. Accordingly he and his vizier, in
the habit of dervishes of Persia, having quitted the palace
privately, began their excursion, and narrowly examined several
streets. At length they came to a close alley, in one of the
houses of which they perceived a light, and heard the sound of
voices. When they had reached the door, they heard a person say
to another, "Our sultan understands not how to treat properly,
nor is he liberal, since the poor have it not in their option to
partake of the costly feast he has prepared for his daughter's
nuptials. He should have distributed his bounty among the
wretched, who dare not presume to enter the palace in their
ragged garments, by sending it to their home."

The sultan, upon hearing this, said to the vizier, "We must enter
this house;" and knocked at the door, when a person cried out,
"Who is there?" "Guests," replied the sultan. "You shall be
welcome to what we have," answered the person, and opened the
door. On entering, the sultan beheld three mean-looking old men,
one of whom was lame, the second broken-backed, and the third
wry-mouthed. He then inquired the cause of their misfortunes; to
which they answered, "Our infirmities proceeded from the weakness
of our understandings." The sultan upon this replied in a whisper
to his vizier, that at the conclusion of the festival he should
bring the three men to his presence, in order that he might learn
their adventures.

When they had tasted of their homely fare, the sultan and vizier
rose up, and having presented the three maimed companions with a
few deenars, took leave and departed. They strolled onwards. It
was now near midnight when they reached a house in which, through
a lattice, they could perceive three girls with their mother
eating a slender meal; during which, at intervals, one of them
sung, and the other two laughed and talked. The sultan resolved
to enter the house, and commanded the vizier to knock at the
door, which he did; when one of the sisters cried out, "Who
knocks at our door at this advanced time of night?" "We are two
foreign dervishes," replied the vizier; to which the ladies
answered, "We are women of virtue, and have no men in our house
to whom you can be introduced: repair to the festival of the
sultan, who will entertain you!" "Alas!" continued the vizier,
"we are strangers unacquainted with the way to the palace, and
dread lest the magistrate of the police should meet and apprehend
us. We beg that you will afford us lodging till daylight: we will
then depart, and you need not apprehend from us any improper

When the mother of the ladies heard this she pitied the
strangers, and commanded them to open the door: upon which the
sultan and vizier having entered, paid their respects and sat
down; but the former, on observing the beauty of the sisters and
their elegant demeanour, could not contain himself, and said,
"How comes it that you dwell by yourselves, have no husbands or
any male to protect you?" The younger sister replied,
"Impertinent dervish, withhold thy inquiries! our story is
surprising; but unless thou wert sultan, and thy companion
vizier, you could not appreciate our adventures." The sultan upon
this remark became silent on the subject, and they discoursed
upon indifferent matters till near daylight, when the pretended
dervishes took a respectful leave, and departed. At the door the
sultan commanded the vizier to mark it, so that he might know it
again, being resolved, when the nuptial festivities should be
concluded, to send for the ladies and hear their story.

On the last evening of the festival the sultan bestowed dresses
of honour on all his courtiers; and on the following day, affairs
returning to their usual course, he commanded his vizier to bring
before him the three maimed men, and ordered them to relate the
cause of their misfortunes, which they did as follows.

Story of the Broken-backed Schoolmaster.

Formerly, O mighty sultan, was a schoolmaster, and had under my
tuition nearly seventy scholars, of whose manners I was as
careful as of their learning: so much did I make them respect me,
that whenever I sneezed they laid down their writing boards,
stood up with arms crossed, and with one voice exclaimed, "God
have mercy upon our tutor!" to which I replied, "May he have
mercy upon me and you, and all who have children." If any one of
the boys did not join in this prayer, I used to beat him
severely. One fine afternoon my scholars requested leave to visit
a certain garden some distance from the town, which I granted;
and they clubbed their pittances to purchase sweetmeats and
fruits. I attended them on this excursion, and was as much
delighted as themselves with the pleasure they enjoyed, and their
childish gambols. When evening approached we returned homewards,
and on the way, my boys having fatigued themselves with play, as
well as eaten much sweets and fruit, were seized with extreme
thirst, of which they heavily complained. At length we reached a
draw-well, but, alas! it had no bucket or cord. I pitied their
situation, and resolved, if possible, to relieve them. I
requested them to give me their turbans, which I tied to each
other; but as they were altogether not long enough to reach the
water, I fixed one of the turbans round my body, and made them
let one down into the well, where I filled a small cup I had with
me, which they drew up repeatedly till their thirst was
satisfied. I then desired them to draw me up again, which they
attempted; and I had reached nearly the mouth of the well, when I
was unfortunately seized with a fit of sneezing; upon which the
boys mechanically, as they had been accustomed to do in school,
one and all let go their hold, crossed their arms, and exclaimed,
"God have mercy upon our venerable tutor!" while I tumbled at
once to the bottom of the well, and broke my back. I cried out
from the agony of pain, and the children ran on all sides for
help. At length some charitable passengers drew me out, and
placing me upon an ass, carried me home; where I languished for a
considerable time, and never could recover my health sufficiently
again to attend to my school. Thus did I suffer for my foolish
pride: for had I not been so tenacious of respect from my
scholars, they would not upon my sneezing have let go their hold
and broken my back.

When the broken-backed schoolmaster had finished his story, the
old man with the wry-mouth thus began:

Story of the Wry-mouthed Schoolmaster.

I also, O sultan, was a schoolmaster; and so strict with my
pupils, that I allowed them no indulgence, but even kept them to
their studies frequently after the usual hours. At length, one
more cunning than the rest resolved, in revenge, to play me a
trick. He instructed the lads as they came into school to say to
me, "Dear master, how pale you look!" Not feeling myself ill, I,
though surprised at their remarks, did not much regard them on
the first day; but a second, and so on to a fifth passing, on
each of which all the pupils on entrance uttered the same
exclamation, I began to think some fatal disorder had seized me,
and resolved, by way of prevention, to take physic. I did so the
following morning, and remained in my wife's apartments; upon
which the unlucky lads, clubbing their pittances together to the
amount of about a hundred faloose, requested my acceptance of the
money as an offering for my recovery; and I was so pleased with
the present that I gave them a holiday. The receipt of cash in so
easy a manner was so agreeable to me, that I feigned illness for
some days; my pupils made an offering as usual, and were allowed
to play. On the tenth day the cunning urchin who had planned the
scheme came into my chamber, as customary, with an offering of
faloose. I happened then to have before me a boiled egg, which,
upon seeing him enter, I clapped into my mouth, supposing, that
if he perceived me well enough to eat he might not give me the
money. He, however, observed the trick, and coming up to me with
affected condolence, exclaimed, "Dear master, how your cheeks are
swelled!" at the same time pressing his hands upon my face. The
egg was boiling hot, and gave me intolerable pain, while the
young wit pretended compassionately to stroke my visage. At
length, he pressed my jaws together so hard that the egg broke,
when the scalding yolk ran down my throat, and over my beard:
upon which the artful lad cried out in seeming joy, "God be
praised, my dear master, that the dreadful imposthume has
discharged itself; we, your pupils, will all return thanks for
your happy recovery." My mouth was contracted by the scald in the
manner you behold, and I became so ridiculed for my folly, that I
was obliged to shut up my school.

The sultan having heard the other man's story, which was of but
little interest, dismissed the three foolish schoolmasters with a
present, commanded the vizier to go and recognize the house of
the three ladies and their mother, it being his intention to
visit them again in disguise and hear their adventures. The
vizier hastened to the street, but to his surprise and
mortification found all the houses marked in the same manner, for
the youngest sister having overheard the sultan's instructions,
had done this to prevent a discovery of their residence. The
vizier returned to the sultan, and informed him of the trick
which had been played. He was much vexed, but the circumstance
excited his curiosity in a greater degree. At length the vizier
bethought himself of a stratagem, and said, "My lord, let a
proclamation be issued for four days successively throughout the
city, that whoever presumes after the first watch of the night to
have a lamp lighted in his house, shall have his head struck off,
his goods confiscated, his house razed to the ground, and his
women dishonoured. It is possible, as these ladies did not regard
your proclamation at the nuptials of the princess, they may
disobey this, and by that means we may discover their residence."

The sultan approved the contrivance of the vizier, caused the
proclamation to be made, and waited impatiently for the fourth
night, when he and his minister having disguised themselves as
before, proceeded to the street in which the ladies lived. A
light appeared only in one house, which it being now tolerably
certain was that they were in quest of, they knocked at the door.

Immediately on their knocking the youngest sister called out,
"Who is at the door?" and they replied, "We are dervishes, and
entreat to be your guests." She exclaimed, "What can you want at
such a late hour, and where did you lodge last night?" They
answered, "Our quarters are at a certain serai, but we have lost
our way, and are fearful of being apprehended by the officers of
police. Let your kindness then induce you to open the door, and
afford us shelter for the remainder of the night: it will be a
meritorious act in the eye of heaven." The mother overhearing
what was said, ordered the door to be opened.

When they were admitted, the old lady and her daughters rose up,
received them respectfully, and having seated them, placed
refreshments before them, of which they partook, and were
delighted with their treatment. At length the sultan said,
"Daughters, you cannot but know of the royal proclamation; how
comes it that you alone of all the inhabitants of the city have
disobeyed it by having lights in your house after the first watch
of the night?" Upon this the youngest sister replied, "Good
dervish, even the sultan should not be obeyed but in his
reasonable commands, and as this proclamation against lighting
our lamps is tyrannical, it ought not to be complied with,
consistently with the law of scripture; for the Koraun says,
‘Obedience to a creature in a criminal matter, is a sin against
the Creator.' The sultan (may God pardon him!) acts against
scripture, and obeys the dictates of Satan. We three sisters,
with our good mother, make it a rule to spin every night a
certain quantity of cotton, which in the morning we dispose of,
and of the price of our labour we lay out a part in provisions,
and the remainder in a new supply of materials for working to
procure us a subsistence."

The sultan now whispered to his vizier, saying, "This damsel
astonishes me by her answers; endeavour to think of some question
that may perplex her." "My lord," replied the vizier, "we are
here in the characters of strangers and dervishes as their
guests: how then can we presume to disturb them by improper
questions?" The sultan still insisted upon his addressing them:
upon which, the vizier said to the ladies, "Obedience to the
sultan's orders is incumbent upon all subjects." "It is true he
is our sovereign," exclaimed the youngest sister, "but how can he
know whether we are starving or in affluence?" "Suppose," replied
the vizier, "he should send for you to the presence, and question
you concerning your disobedience to his commands, what could you
advance in excuse for yourselves?" "I would say to the sultan,"
rejoined she, "‘Your majesty has acted in contradiction to the
divine law.'"

The vizier upon this turned towards the sultan, and said in a
whisper, "Let us leave off disputing further with this lady on
points of law or conscience, and inquire if she understands the
fine arts." The sultan put the question; upon which she replied,
"I am perfect in all:" and he then requested her to play and
sing. She retired immediately, but soon returning with a lute,
sat down, tuned it, and played in a plaintive strain, which she
accompanied with the following verses:

"It is praiseworthy in subjects to obey their sovereigns, but his
reign will continue long who gains their affections by kindness.
Be liberal in thy manners, and he who is dependent upon thee will
pray for thy life, for the free man alone can feel gratitude. To
him who confers gifts man will ever resort, for bounty is
fascinating. Sadden not with denial the countenance of the man of
genius, for the liberal mind is disgusted at stinginess and
haughty demeanour. Not a tenth part of mankind understand what is
right, for human nature is ignorant, rebellious, and ungrateful."

When the sultan had heard these verses, he remained for some time
immersed in thought; then whispering his vizier, said, "This
quotation was certainly meant in allusion to ourselves, and I am
convinced they must know that I am their sultan, and thou vizier,
for the whole tenor of their conversation shews their knowledge
of us." He then addressed the lady, saying, "Your music, your
performance, your voice, and the subject of your stanzas have
delighted me beyond expression." Upon this she sang the following

"Men endeavour to attain station and riches during an age of toil
and oppression, while, alas! their accounts to heaven and their
graves are decreed from their very birth."

The sultan, from the purport of these last verses, was more
assured than ever that she knew his quality. She did not leave
off singing and playing till day-light, when she retired, and
brought in a breakfast, of which the sultan and the vizier
partook; after which she said, "I hope you will return to us this
night at the conclusion of the first watch, and be our guests."
The sultan promised, and departed in admiration at the beauty of
the sisters, their accomplishments, and graceful manners; saying
to the vizier, "My soul is delighted with the charms of these
elegant women."

The following evening the sultan and vizier, disguised as usual,
repaired to the house of the sisters, taking with them some
purses of deenars, and were received with the same respectful
welcome. Being seated, supper was set before them, and after it
basins and ewers to wash their hands. Coffee was then served up,
and conversation on various subjects amused them till the prayer
time of the first watch; they then arose, performed their
ablutions, and prayed. When, their devotions were ended, the
sultan presented a purse of a thousand deenars to the youngest
sister, and said, "Expend this upon your necessary occasions."
She took the purse with a profound obeisance, kissed his hands,
and was convinced, as she had before suspected, that he must be
the sultan; at the same time hinting privately to her mother and
sisters the quality of their guests, and prostrating herself
before him.

The other ladies upon this arose, and followed the example of
their sister; when the sultan said aside to his vizier, "They
certainly know us:" and then turning to the ladies, addressed
them saying, "We are merely dervishes, and you pay us a respect
only due to sovereigns; I beseech you refrain." The youngest
sister again fell at his feet, and repeated the following verse:

"May prosperous fortune daily accompany thee in spite of the
malice of the envious! May thy days be bright and those of thy
enemies gloomy!"

"I am convinced thou art the sultan, and thy companion thy
vizier." The sultan replied, "What reason have you for such a
supposition?" She answered, "From your dignified demeanour and
liberal conduct, for the signs of royalty cannot be concealed
even in the habit of a recluse."

The sultan replied, "You have indeed judged truly, but inform me
how happens it, that you have with you no male protectors?" She
answered, "My lord the sultan, our history is so wonderful, that
were it written on a tablet of adamant it might serve as an
example in future ages to such as would be advised." The sultan
requested her to relate it, which she did in the following

Story of the Sisters and the Sultana their Mother.

We are not, my lord the sultan, natives of this city, but of
Eerauk, of which country our father was sovereign, and our mother
his sultana the most beautiful woman of her time, insomuch that
her fame was celebrated throughout distant regions. It chanced
that in our infancy our father the sultan marched upon a hunting
excursion throughout his dominions, for some months, leaving his
vizier to conduct affairs at the capital. Not long after the
departure of the sultan, our mother, taking the air on the roof
of the palace, which adjoined that of the vizier, who was then
sitting upon his terrace, her image was reflected in a mirror
which he held in his hand. He was fascinated with her beauty, and
resolved, if possible, to seduce her to infidelity and compliance
with his wishes.

The day following he sent the female superintendant of his haram
with a package, containing a most superb dress, and many
inestimable jewels, to the sultana, requesting her acceptance of
them, and that she would allow him to see her either at the
palace or at his own house. My mother, when the old woman was
admitted into her apartments, received her with kindness,
supposing that she must be intrusted with some confidential
message from the vizier respecting the affairs of her husband, or
with letters from him.

The old woman having paid her obeisance, opened the bundle, and
displayed the rich dress and dazzling jewels; when my mother,
admiring them much, inquired the value, and what merchant had
brought them to dispose of. The wretched old woman, supposing
that the virtue of the sultana would not be proof against such a
valuable present, impudently disclosed the passion of the vizier:
upon which my mother, indignant with rage at this insult offered
to her virtue and dignity, drew a sabre, which was near, and
exerting all her strength, struck off the head of the procuress,
which, with the body, she commanded her attendants to cast into
the common sewer of the palace.

The vizier finding his messenger did not return, the next day
despatched another, to signify that he had sent a present to the
sultana, but had not heard whether it had been delivered. My
mother commanded the infamous wretch to be strangled, and the
corpse to be thrown into the same place as that of the old woman,
but she did not make public the vizier's baseness, hoping that he
would reform. He, however, continued every day to send a female
domestic, and my mother to treat her in the same way as the
others till the sultan's return; but my mother, not wishing to
destroy the vizier, and still trusting that he would repent of
his conduct, for in other respects he was a faithful and prudent
minister, kept his treachery a secret from my father.

Some years after this, the sultan my father resolved on a
pilgrimage to Mecca, and having, as before, left the vizier in
charge of his kingdom, departed. When he had been gone ten days,
the vizier, still rapturously in love, and yet presumtuously
hoping to attain his wishes, sent a female domestic, who, being
admitted into the apartment of the sultana, said, "For Heaven's
sake have compassion on my master, for his heart is devoted to
love, his senses are disturbed, and his body is wasted away. Pity
his condition, revive his heart, and restore his health by the
smiles of condescension."

When my mother heard this insolent message, she in a rage
commanded her attendants to seize the unfortunate bearer, and
having strangled her, to leave the carcase for public view in the
outer court of the palace, but without divulging the cause of her
displeasure. Her orders were obeyed. When the officers of state
and others saw the body they informed the vizier, who, resolving
to be revenged, desired them for the present to be silent, and on
the sultan's return he would make known on what account the
sultana had put to death his domestic, of which they could bear

When the time of the sultan's return from Mecca approached, and
the treacherous vizier judged he was on his march, he wrote and
despatched to him the following letter:

"After prayers for thy health, be it known, that since thy
absence the sultana has sent to me five times, requesting
improper compliances, to which I would not consent, and returned
for answer, that however she might wish to abuse my sovereign, I
could not do it, for I was left by him guardian of his honour and
his kingdom: to say more would be superfluous."

The messenger reached the sultan's camp when distant eight days'
journey from the city, and delivered the letter. On reading it
the countenance of my father became pale, his eyes rolled with
horror, he instantly ordered his tents to be struck, and moved by
forced marches till he arrived within two days' journey of his
capital. He then commanded a halting day, and despatched two
confidential attendants with orders to conduct our innocent and
unfortunate mother, with us three sisters, a day's distance from
the city, and then to put us to death. They accordingly dragged
us from the haram, and carried us into the country; but on
arriving at the spot intended for our execution, their hearts
were moved with compassion, for our mother had conferred many
obligations on these men and their families. They said one to
another, "By heavens, we cannot murder them!" and informed us of
what the vizier had written to our father: upon which the sultana
exclaimed, "God knows that he hath most falsely accused me;" and
she then related to them all that she had done, with the
strictest fidelity.

The men were moved even to tears at her misfortunes, and said,
"We are convinced that thou hast spoken truly." They then caught
some fawns of the antelope, killed them, and having required an
under garment from each of us, dipped it in the blood, after
which they broiled the flesh, with which we satisfied our hunger.
Our preservers now bade us farewell, saying, "We intrust you to
the protection of the Almighty, who never forsaketh those who are
committed to his care;" and then departed from us. We wandered
for ten days in the desert, living on such fruits as we could
find, without beholding any signs of population, when, at length,
fortunately we reached a verdant spot, abounding in various sorts
of excellent vegetables and fruits. Here also was a cave, in
which we resolved to shelter ourselves till a caravan might pass
by. On the fourth day of our arrival one encamped near our
asylum. We did not discover ourselves, but when the caravan
marched, speedily followed its track at some distance, and after
many days of painful exertion reached this city, where, having
taken up our lodging in a serai, we returned thanks to the
almighty assister of the distressed innocent for our miraculous
escape from death and the perils of the desert.

We must now quit for awhile the unfortunate sultana and her
daughters, to learn the adventures of the sultan her husband. As
he drew near his capital, the treacherous vizier, attended by the
officers of government and the principal inhabitants of the city,
came out to meet him; and both high and low congratulated his
safe return from the sacred pilgrimage.

The sultan, as soon as he had alighted at his palace, retired
with the vizier alone, and commanded him to relate the
particulars of the atrocious conduct of his wife; upon which he
said, "My lord, the sultana in your absence despatched to me a
slave, desiring me to visit her, but I would not, and I put the
slave to death that the secret might be hidden; hoping she might
repent of her weakness, but she did not, and repeated her wicked
invitation five times. On the fifth I was alarmed for your
honour, and acquainted you of her atrocious behaviour."

The sultan, on hearing the relation of the vizier, held down his
head for some time in profound thought, then lifting it up,
commanded the two attendants whom he had despatched with orders
to put his wife and children to death to be brought before him.
On their appearance, he said, "What have you done in execution of
the charge I gave you?" they replied, "We have performed that
which you commanded to be done, and as a testimony of our
fidelity, behold these garments dyed with the blood of the
offenders!" The sultan took the garments; but the recollection of
his beauteous consort, her former affectionate endearments, of
the happiness he had enjoyed with her, and of the innocence of
his guiltless children, so affected his mind, that he wept
bitterly and fainted away. On his recovery he turned to the
vizier, and said, "Is it possible thou canst have spoken the
truth?" He replied, "I have."

The sultan, after a long pause, again said to the two attendants,
"Have you really put to death my innocent children with their
guilty mother?" They remained silent. The sultan exclaimed, "Why
answer ye not, and wherefore are ye silent?" They replied, "My
lord, the honest man cannot support a lie, for lying is the
distinction of traitors." When the vizier heard these words his
colour changed, his whole frame was disordered, and a trembling
seized him, which the sultan perceiving, he said to the
attendants, "What mean you by remarking that lying is the
distinction of traitors? Is it possible that ye have not put them
to death? Declare the truth instantly, or by the God who hath
appointed me guardian of his people, I will have you executed
with the most excruciating torments."

The two men now fell at the feet of the sultan, and said, "Dread
sovereign, we conveyed, as thou commandest us, the unfortunate
sultana and thy daughters to the middle of the desert, when we
informed them of the accusation of the vizier and thy orders
concerning them. The sultana, after listening to us with
fortitude, exclaimed, ‘There is no refuge or asylum but with the
Almighty; from God we came, and to God we must return; but if you
put us to death, you will do it wrongfully, for the treacherous
vizier hath accused me falsely, and he alone is guilty.' She then
informed us of his having endeavoured to corrupt her by rich
presents, and that she had put his messengers to death."

The sultan at these words exclaimed in agony, "Have ye slain
them, or do they yet live?" "My lord," replied the attendants,
"We were so convinced of the innocence of the sultana, that we
could not put her to death. We caught some fawn antelopes, killed
them, and having dipped these garments belonging to the abused
mother and your children in their blood, dressed the flesh, and
gave it to our unfortunate mistress and thy daughters, after
which we said to them, ‘We leave you in charge of a gracious God
who never deserts his trust; your innocence will protect you.' We
then left them in the midst of the desert, and returned to the

The sultan turned in fury towards the vizier, and exclaimed,
"Wretched traitor! and is it thus thou hast estranged from me my
beloved wife and innocent children?" The self-convicted minister
uttered not a word, but trembled like one afflicted with the
palsy. The sultan commanded instantly an enormous pile of wood to
be kindled, and the vizier, being bound hand and foot, was forced
into an engine, and cast from it into the fire, which rapidly
consumed him to ashes. His house was then razed to the ground,
his effefts left to the plunder of the populace, and the women of
his haram and his children sold for slaves.

We now return to the three princesses and their mother. When the
sultan had heard their adventures, he sympathized with their
misfortunes, and was astonished at the fortitude with which they
had borne their afflictions, saying to his vizier, "How sad has
been their lot! but blessed be Allah, who, as he separateth
friends, can, when he pleaseth, give them a joyful meeting." He
then caused the sultana and the princesses to be conveyed to his
palace, appointed them proper attendants and apartments suitable
to their rank, and despatched couriers to inform the sultan their
father of their safety. The messengers travelled with the
greatest expedition, and on their arrival at the capital, being
introduced, presented their despatches. The sultan opened them,
and began to read; but when he perceived the contents, was so
overcome with joy, that, uttering a loud exclamation of rapture,
he fell to the ground and fainted away. His attendants were
alarmed, lifted him up, and took means for his recovery. When he
was revived, he informed them of his sultana and daughters being
still alive, and ordered a vessel to be prepared to convey them

The ship was soon ready, and being laden with every necessary for
the accommodation of his family, also rich presents for the
friendly sultan who had afforded them protection, sailed with a
favourable wind, and speedily arrived at the desired haven.

The commander of the vessel was welcomely received by the sultan,
who issued orders for his entertainment and that of his whole
crew at the royal cost, and at the expiration of three days the
sultana and her daughters, being anxious to return home after so
long an absence, and that so unfortunate, took leave and
embarked. The sultan made them valuable presents, and the wind
being fair they set sail. For three days the weather was
propitious, but on the evening of the last a contrary gale arose,
when they cast anchor, and lowered their topmasts. At length the
storm increased to such violence that the anchor parted, the
masts fell overboard, and the crew gave themselves over for lost.
The vessel was driven about at the mercy of the tempest till
midnight, all on board weeping and wailing, when at length she
struck upon the rocks, and went to pieces. Such of the crew whose
deaths were decreed perished, and those whose longer life was
predestined escaped to shore, some on planks, some on chests, and
some on the broken timbers of the ship, but all separated from
each other.

The sultana mother was tossed about till daylight on a plank,
when she was perceived by the commander of the vessel, who with
three of his crew had taken to the ship's boat. He took her in,
and after three days' rowing they reached a mountainous coast, on
which they landed, and advanced into the country. They had not
proceeded far when they perceived a great dust, which clearing
up, displayed an approaching army. To'their joyful surprise it
proved to be that of the sultan, who, after the departure of the
vessel, dreading lest an accident might happen, had marched in
hopes of reaching the city where they were before his wife and
daughters should sail, in order to conduct them home by land. It
is impossible to describe the meeting of the sultan and his
consort, but their joy was clouded by the absence of their
daughters, and the dreadful uncertainty of their fate. When the
first raptures of meeting were over, they wept together, and
exclaimed, "We are from God, and to God we must return." After
forty days' march they arrived at their capital, but continually
regretting the princesses, saying, "Alas, alas! most probably
they have been drowned, but even should they have escaped to
shore, perhaps they may have been separated; and ah! what
calamities may have befallen them!" Constantly did they bemoan
together in this manner, immersed in grief, and taking no
pleasure in the enjoyments of life.

The youngest princess, after struggling with the waves till
almost exhausted, was fortunately cast ashore on a pleasant
coast, where she found some excellent fruits and clear fresh
water. Being revived, she reposed herself awhile, and then walked
from the beach into the country; but she had not proceeded far,
when a young man on horseback with some dogs following him met
her, and upon hearing that she had just escaped shipwreck,
mounted her before him, and having conveyed her to his house,
committed her to the care of his mother. She received her with
compassionate kindness, and during a whole month assiduously
attended her, till by degrees she recovered her health and

The young man was legal heir to the kingdom, but his succession
had been wrested from him by a usurper, who, however, dying soon
after the arrival of the princess, he was reinstated in his
rights and placed on the throne, when he offered her his hand;
but she said, "How can I think of marriage while I know not the
condition of my unfortunate family, or enjoy repose while my
mother and sisters are perhaps suffering misery? When I have
intelligence of their welfare I will be grateful to my

The young sultan was so much in love with the princess, that the
most distant hope gave him comfort, and he endeavoured to wait
patiently her pleasure; but the nobles of the country were
anxious to see him wedded, he being the last of his race, and
importuned him to marry. He promised to conform to their wishes,
but much time elapsing, they became importunate and discontented,
when his mother, dreading a rebellion, earnestly entreated the
princess to consent to a union as the only measure that could
prevent disturbances. The princess, who really loved her
preserver, was unwilling to endanger the safety of one to whom
she owed such important obligations, and at length consented,
when the marriage was celebrated with the greatest pomp and
rejoicings. At the expiration of three years the sultana was
delivered of two sons, whose birth added to the felicity of the

The second princess, after being long driven about by the waves
upon a plank, was at length cast on shore near a large city,
which she entered, and was fortunately compassionated by a
venerable matron, who invited her to her house, and adopted her
as a daughter in the room of her own, who had lately died. Here
she soon recovered her health and beauty. It chanced that the
sultan of this city, who was much beloved for his gentle
government and liberality, was taken ill, and not withstanding
the skill of the most celebrated physicians, daily became worse,
insomuch that his life was despaired of, to the general grief of
the people. The princess having heard her venerable protectress
lament the danger of the sultan, said, "My dear mother, I will
prepare a dish of pottage, which, if you will carry to the
sultan, and he can be prevailed upon to eat it, will, by the
blessing of Allah, recover him from his disorder." "I fear,"
replied the matron, "I shall hardly be allowed admittance to the
palace, much less to present him the pottage." "You can but try,"
answered the princess;" and even the attempt at a good action is
acceptable to God." "Well,"rejoined the old woman, "prepare your
pottage, my dear daughter, and I will endeavour to get

The princess prepared the dish of pottage, composed of various
minerals, herbs, and perfumes, and when it was ready the old
woman took it to the sultan's palace. The guards and eunuchs
inquired what she had brought, when she said, "A dish of pottage,
which I request you will present to the sultan, and beg him to
eat as much of it as he can, for by God's help it will restore
him to health." The eunuchs introduced her into the chamber of
their sick sovereign, when the old woman taking off the cover of
the dish, such a grateful perfume exhaled from the contents as
revived his spirits. Being informed what the venerable matron had
brought, he thanked her and tasted the pottage, which was so
agreeably flavoured that he ate part of it with an appetite to
which he had been long a stranger. He then presented the bearer
with a purse of deenars, when she returned home, informed the
princess of her welcome reception, and of the present she had

The sultan had no sooner eaten part of the pottage than he felt
an inclination to repose, and sunk into a refreshing sleep, which
lasted for some hours. On his awakening he found himself
wonderfully revived, and having a desire afresh to eat, finished
the whole. He now wished for more, and inquired after the old
woman, but none of his attendants could inform him where she
lived. However, in the evening she brought another mess, which
the princess had prepared, and the sultan ate it with renewed
appetite; after which, though before quite helpless, he was now
able to sit up and even to walk. He inquired of the old woman if
it was her own preparation; to which she replied,"No, my lord,
but my daughter dressed it, and entreated me to bring it." The
sultan exclaimed, "She cannot be thy own daughter, as her skill
shews her of much higher quality." He then made her a present,
and requested that she would bring him every morning a fresh
supply, to which she said, "To hear is to obey;" and retired.

The princess sent regularly for seven mornings successively a
dish of pottage, and the sultan as regularly presented her
adopted mother with a purse of deenars; for such was the rapidity
of his recovery, that at the expiration of the sixth day he was
perfectly well, and on the seventh he mounted his horse and
repaired to his country palace to make the absolution of health
and enjoy the fresh air. During her visits he had questioned the
old lady concerning her adopted daughter, and she so described
her beauty, virtues, and accomplishments, that his heart was
smitten, and he became anxious to see her.

The sultan, in order to gratify his curiosity, disguised himself
one day in the habit of a dervish, and repairing to the house of
the old woman, knocked at the door. On being questioned what he
wanted, he replied, "I am a wandering dervish, a stranger in this
city, and distressed with hunger." The old woman being fearful of
admitting an unknown person, would have sent him away, but the
princess exclaimed, "Hospitality to strangers is incumbent upon
us, especially to the religious poor." Upon this he was admitted,
and the princess having seated him respectfully, set victuals
before him, of which he ate till he was satisfied, and having
washed, rose up, thanked the old woman and her supposed daughter
for their bounty, and retired, but his sight was fascinated with
her beauty, and his heart devoted to her love.

The sultan on his return to the palace sent for the old woman,
and on her arrival presented her with a rich dress and valuable
jewels, desiring that she would give them to her daughter, and
prevail upon her to put them on. The old lady promised obedience,
and as she walked homewards, said to herself, "If this adopted
daughter of mine is wise, she will comply with the sultan's
desires, and put on the dress, but if she does not, I will expel
her from my house." When she reached home, she displayed the
superb habit and the dazzling ornaments; but the princess at
first refused to accept them, till at length, moved by the
entreaties of her protectress, whom she could not disoblige, she
put them on, and the old lady was delighted with her appearance.

The sultan, who had slipped on a female dress, having covered
himself with a close veil, followed the old woman to her house,
and listened at the door to know if the daughter would accept his
present. When he found that she had put on the dress, he was
overcome with rapture, and hastening back to his palace, sent
again for the old lady, to whom he signified his wish to marry
her daughter. When the princess was informed of the offer she
consented, and the sultan, attended by a splendid cavalcade,
conducted her that evening to his palace, where the cauzee united
them in marriage. A general feast was made for all the
inhabitants of the city for seven days successively, and the
sultan and the princess enjoyed the height of felicity. In the
course of five years the Almighty blessed them with a son and two

The eldest princess on the wreck of the ship having clung to a
piece of timber, was after much distress floated on shore, where
she found a man's habit, and thinking it a safe disguise for the
protection of her honour, she dressed herself in it, and
proceeded to a city which appeared near the coast. On her
entrance she was accosted by a maker of cotton wallets for
travelling, who observing that she was a stranger, and supposing
her a man, asked if she would live with him, as he wanted an
assistant. Being glad to secure any asylum, she accepted his
offer of maintenance, and daily wages of half a dirhem. He
conducted her to his house, and treated her with kindness. The
next day she entered upon her business, and so neat was the work
she executed, that in a short time her master's shop was more
frequented than any other.

It happened that the shop was situated near the palace of the
sultan. One morning the princess his daughter looking through the
lattice of a balcony beheld the seeming young man at work, with
the sleeves of his vest drawn up to his shoulder: his arms were
white and polished as silver, and his countenance brilliant as
the sun unobscured by clouds. The daughter of the sultan was
captivated in the snare of love.

The sultan's daughter continued gazing at the supposed young man
till he withdrew from work, when she retired to her apartment;
but so much was she fascinated by his charms, that she became
restless, and at length indisposed. Her nurse who attended her
felt her pulse, and asked her several questions, but could find
no symptoms of bodily illness upon her. She said, "My dear
daughter, I am convinced that nothing has afflicted thee but
desire of some youth with whom thou art in love."The princess
exclaimed," My dear mother, as thou hast discovered my secret,
thou wilt, I trust, not only keep it sacred, but bring to me the
man I love."The nurse replied," No one can keep a secret closer
than myself, so that you may safely confide it to my care."The
princess then said," Mother, my heart is captivated by the young
man who works in the shop opposite my windows, and if I cannot
meet him I shall die of grief."

The nurse replied, "My dear mistress, he is the most beautiful
youth of the age, and the women of the whole city are distracted
with his charms; yet he is so bashful as to answer no advances,
and shrinks from notice like a school-boy, but I will endeavour
to overcome his shyness, and procure you a meeting." Having said
thus, she went immediately to the wallet-maker's, and giving him
a piece of gold, desired he would let his assistant accompany her
home with two of his best wallets. The man was pleased with her
generosity, and selecting his choicest manufacture, commanded his
journeyman to accompany the nurse.

The old woman led the disguised princess through by-paths to a
private passage of the palace, and introduced her into the
apartments of the daughter of the sultan, who received her
supposed beloved with emotions of joy too violent to be
concealed. Pretending to admire the goods, she asked some
questions, and giving him twenty pieces of gold, desired him to
return with more goods on the following evening, to which the
seeming journeyman replied, "To hear is to obey."

The disguised princess on her return home delivered the twenty
pieces of gold to her employer, who was alarmed, and inquired
from whence they came: upon which she informed him of her
adventure, when the wallet-maker was in greater terror than
before, and said to himself, "If this intrigue goes on, the
sultan will discover it, I shall be put to death, and my family
ruined on account of this young man and his follies." He then
besought him not to repeat his visit, but he answered, "I cannot
forbear, though I dread my death may be the consequence." In
short, the disguised princess went every evening with the old
nurse to the apartments of the sultan's daughter, till at length
the sultan one night suddenly entered, and perceiving, he
supposed, a man with the princess, commanded him to be seized and
bound hand and foot.

The sultan then sent for an executioner, resolved to put the
culprit to death. The executioner on his arrival seized the
disguised princess; but what was the surprise of all present,
when, on taking off the turban and vest, they discovered her sex.
The sultan commanded her to be conducted to his haram, and
inquired her story, when having no resource but the truth, she
related her adventures.

When the princess had informed the sultan of the treachery of the
vizier, the consequent conduct of her father, the distress of her
mother, her sisters and herself, their being relieved, and her
escape from shipwreck, with what had happened since, he was
filled with wonder and compassion, and ordered his daughter to
accommodate her in the haram. The love of the latter was now
changed to sincere friendship, and under her care and attentions
the unfortunate princess in a few months recovered her former
beauty. It chanced that the sultan visiting his daughter was
fascinated with the charms of the princess, but unwilling to
infringe the rules of hospitality concealed his love, till at
length he became dangerously ill, when the daughter suspecting
the matter, prevailed upon him to reveal the cause of his
complaint. She then informed her friend, and entreated her to
accept her father in marriage; but the princess said, at the same
time weeping bitterly, "Misfortune hath separated me from my
family; I know not whether my sisters, my father and my mother,
are living, or, if so, what is their condition. How can I be
happy or merry, while they are perhaps involved in misery?"

The daughter of the sultan did not refrain from comforting the
unfortunate princess, at the same time representing the hopeless
condition of her father, till at length she consented to the
marriage. This joyful intelligence speedily revived the love-lorn
sultan, and the nuptials were celebrated with the utmost joy and

The aged sultan and sultana continued to lament the loss of their
daughters for some years, when at length the former resolved to
travel in search of them, and having left the government in
charge of his wife, departed, attended only by his vizier. They
both assumed the habit of dervishes, and after a month's
uninterrupted travelling reached a large city extending along the
sea coast, close upon which the sultan of it had erected a
magnificent pleasure house, where the pretended dervishes beheld
him sitting in one of the pavilions with his two sons, one six
and the other seven years old. They approached, made their
obeisance, and uttered a long invocation, agreeably to the usage
of the religious, for his prosperity. The sultan returned their
compliment, desired them to be seated, and having conversed with
them till evening, dismissed them with a present, when they
repaired to a caravanserai, and hired an apartment. On the
following day, after amusing themselves with viewing the city,
they again repaired to the beach, and saw the sultan sitting with
his children, as before. While they were admiring the beauty of
the strufture, the younger prince, impelled by an unaccountable
impulse, came up to them, gazed eagerly at them, and when they
retired followed them to their lodging, which they did not
perceive till he had entered with them and sat down. The old
sultan was astonished at the child's behaviour, took him in his
arms, kissed and fondled him, after which he desired him to
return to his parents, but the boy insisted upon staying, and
remained four days, during which the pretended dervishes did not
stir from their caravanserai.

The sultan missing his son, supposed that he had gone to his
mother, and she imagined that he was still with his father; but
on the latter entering the haram the loss was discovered.
Messengers were despatched every way, but no tidings of the boy
could be obtained. The miserable parents now supposed that he had
fallen into the sea and was drowned. Nets were dragged, and
divers employed for three days, but in vain. On the fifth day
orders were issued to search every house in the city, when the
infant prince was at length discovered at the caravanserai in the
apartment of the pretended dervishes, who were ignominiously
dragged before the sultan.

The sultan was transported with joy at the recovery of his son,
but supposing the dervishes had meant to steal him away, he
ordered them instantly to be put to death. The executioners
seized them, bound their hands behind them, and were going to
strike, when the child with loud outcries ran up, and clinging to
the knees of the elder victim could not be forced away. The
sultan was astonished, and ordering the execution for the present
to be delayed, went and informed the mother of the child of his
wonderful behaviour.

The sultana, on hearing it, was no less surprised than the
sultan, and felt a curiosity to hear from the dervish himself on
what account he had enticed away her son. She said, "It is truly
extraordinary that the boy should express such affection for a
strange dervish. Send for him to your closet, and order him to
relate his adventures, to which I will listen from behind a

The sultan sent for the supposed dervish, and commanding all his
attendants to retire, withdrew with him into his closet, and
desired him to be seated; after which he said, "Wicked dervish,
what could have induced thee to entice away my son, or to visit
my kingdom?" He replied, "Heaven knows, O sultan, I did not
entice him. The boy followed me to my lodging, when I said, ‘ My
son, return to thy father,' but he would not; and I remained in
continual dread till what was decreed occurred." The sultan was
softened, spoke kindly to him, and begged him to relate his
adventures, when the pretended dervish wept, and said, "My
history is a wonderful one. I had a friend whom I left as my
agent and guardian to my family, while I was performing a
pilgrimage to Mecca; but had scarcely left my house ten days,
when accidently seeing my wife he endeavoured to debauch her, and
sent an old woman with a rich present to declare his adulterous
love. My wife was enraged, and put the infamous messenger to
death. He sent a second, and a third, whom she also killed.

These last words were scarcely spoken, when the sultana bursting
from her concealment ran up to the dervish, fell upon his neck,
and embraced him: upon which, the sultan her husband was enraged,
put his hand to his cimeter, and exclaimed, "What means this
shameless behaviour?" The sultana, at once laughing and crying
with rapture, informed him that the supposed dervish was her
father: upon which the sultan also fell at his feet and welcomed
him. He then ordered the other dervish his vizier to be released,
commanded royal robes to be brought for his father-in-law, and a
suite of apartments in the palace to be prepared for his
reception, with an attendance befitting his dignity.

When the old sultan had spent some time with his youngest
daughter thus happily recovered, he became anxious to search
after the others, and signified his intention of departing; but
his son-in-law declared that he would accompany him on the
expedition with a number of his nobles, and an army, lest some
fatal accident might occur from his being unattended.
Preparations were accordingly made for march, the two sultans
encamped without the city, and in a few days began their
expedition, which proved successful to their wishes. The aged
monarch having recovered his children retired to his own kingdom,
where he reigned prosperously till the angel of death summoned
him to Paradise.


In a certain city there was a vagabond fellow much addicted to
the use of bang, who got his livelihood by fishing. When he had
sold the product of his day's labour, he laid part of it out in
provisions and part in bang, with which (his day's, work over) he
solaced himself till he became intoxicated, and such was his
constant practice. One night, having indulged more than ordinary,
his senses were unusually stupefied; and in this, condition he
had occasion to come down into the square in which was his
lodging. It happened to be the fourteenth night of the moon, when
she shone uncommonly bright, and shed such a lustre upon the
ground, that the bang-eater from the dizziness of his head
mistook the bright undulations of her reflection on the pavement
for water, and fancied he was upon the brink of the river. He
returned to his chamber, and brought down his line, supposing
that he should catch his usual prey.

The bang-eater threw out his line, made of strong cord, and
baited on several hooks with bits of flesh, into the square, when
a dog, allured by the scent, swallowed one of the pieces, and
feeling pain from the hook which stuck in his throat, pulled
strongly at the cord. The bang-eater, supposing he had caught a
monstrous fish, lugged stoutly, but in vain. The dog, agonized by
the hook, resisted; at the same time yelping hideously, when the
bang-eater, unwilling to quit his prey, yet fearing he should be
dragged into the imaginary river, bellowed aloud for help. The
watch came up, seized him, and perceiving him intoxicated,
carried him bound to the cauzee.

It happened that the cauzee often privately indulged himself with
bang. Seeing the intoxicated situation of the fisherman, he
pitied his condition, and ordered him to be put into a chamber to
sleep off his disorder; at the same time saying to himself, "This
is a man after my own heart, and to-morrow evening I will enjoy
myself with him." The fisherman was well taken care of during the
day, and at night the cauzee sent for him to his apartment;
where, after eating, they took each a powerful dose of bang,
which soon operating upon their brains, they began to sing,
dance, and commit a thousand extravagancies.

The noise which they made attracted the notice of the sultan, who
with his vizier was traversing the city, disguised as merchants.
Finding the doors open, they entered, and beheld the cauzee and
his companion in the height of their mirth, who welcomed them,
and they sat down. At length, after many ridiculous tricks, the
fisherman starting up, exclaimed, "I am the sultan!" "And I,"
rejoined the cauzee, "am my lord the bashaw!" "Bashaw!" continued
the fisherman, "if I choose I can strike off thy head." "I know
it," returned the cauzee, "but at present I am not worth
beheading; give me first a rich government, that I may be worth
punishing." "Thou sayest true," answered the fisherman; "I must
make thee fat before thou wilt be fit for killing."

The sultan laughed at their extravagancies, and said to his
vizier, "I will amuse myself with these vagabonds to-morrow
evening:" then rising up, he and his minister departed.

The next evening the cauzee and the fisherman indulged themselves
as before, and while they were making merry, the sultan and his
vizier entered, but in different disguises from those they had
worn on the former night. They brought with them a strong
confection of opium, which they presented to their hosts, who,
highly delighted, greedily devoured it, and such were the effects
that they became madder than ever. At length, the fisherman
starting up, exclaimed, "The sultan is deposed, and I am
sovereign in his stead." "Suppose the sultan should hear thee,"
replied the prince. "If he opposes me," cried the fisherman, "I
will order my bashaw to strike off his head; but I will now
punish thee for thy insolent question." He then ran up and seized
the sultan by the nose, the cauzee at the same time attacking the
vizier: it was with difficulty that they made their escape from
the house.

The sultan, notwithstanding his tweak by the nose, resolved to
divert himself further with the bang-eaters, and the next evening
putting on a fresh disguise, repaired to the cauzee's house with
his vizier; where he found the happy companions in high glee.
They had taken it into their heads to dance, which they did with
such vehemence, and for so long a time, that at length they fell
down with fatigue. When they had rested a little, the fisherman
perceiving the sultan, said, "Whence comest thou?" "We are
strangers," replied the sultan, "and only reached this city to-
night; but on our way through the streets, hearing your mirth, we
made bold to enter, that we might participate it with you. Are ye
not, however, fearful lest the sultan should hear you on his
rounds, and punish you for an infringement of the laws?" "How
should the sultan hear us?" answered the fisherman; "he is in his
palace, and we in our own house, though, perhaps, much merrier
than he, poor fellow, with the cares of state upon his mind,
notwithstanding his splendour."

"How comes it," rejoined the sovereign, "that you have not
visited the sultan? for you are merry fellows, and I think he
would encourage you." "We fear," replied the fisherman, "his
guards would beat us away." "Never mind thern," said the sultan;
"if you choose I will give you a letter of recommendation, which
I am sure he will pay attention to, for we were intimate when
youths." "Let us have it," cried the fisherman. The sultan wrote
a note, directed to himself, and departed.

In the morning the cauzee and the fisherman repaired to the
palace, and delivered the note to one of the guards, who, on
sight of it, placed it on his head, prostrated himself to the
ground, and then introduced them to the sultan. Having read the
letter, the sultan commanded them to be led into separate
apartments, and to be treated respectfully. At noon a handsome
collation was served up to each, and at sunset a full service,
after which they were presented with coffee. When about two hours
of the night had passed, the sultan ordered them into his
presence, and on their making their obeisance returned their
salutes, and desired them to be seated, saying, "Where is the
person who gave you this letter?"

"Mighty sultan," replied the fisherman, "two men who last night
visited our house inquired why we did not repair to your majesty,
and partake of your bounty. We replied, that we feared the guards
would drive us away; when one of them gave us this note, saying,
‘Fear not; take this recommendation to the sultan, with whom in
my youth I was intimate.' We followed his direction, and have
found his words to be true. We inquired whence they came; but
they would not tell us more than that they were strangers in this
city." "It is,"continued the sultan, "absolutely necessary that
you should bring them to my presence, for it is long since I have
beheld my old friends." "Permit us then to return home, where
they may possibly visit us again," said the fisherman, "and we
will oblige them to come with us." "How can you do that, "replied
the sultan, "when the other evening you could not prevent your
guest escaping, though you had him by the nose?"

The poor fisherman, and his companion the cauzee, were now
confounded at the discovery that it was the sultan himself who
had witnessed their intoxication and ridiculous transports. They
trembled, turned pale, and fell prostrate to the ground, crying,
"Pardon, pardon, gracious sovereign, for the offences we have
committed, and the insult which in our madness we offered to the
sacred person of your majesty."

The sultan, after laughing heartily at their distress, replied,
"Your pardon is granted, for the insult was involuntary, though
deserved, as I was an impertinent intruder on your privacy; make
yourselves easy, and sit down; but you must each of you relate to
me your adventures, or some story that you have heard." The
cauzee and the fisherman, having recovered from their confusion,
obeyed the commands of the sultan, and being seated, the latter
related the following tale.

Story of the Bang-eater and His Wife.

There lived formerly, near Bagdad, a half-witted fellow, who was
much addicted to the use of bang. Being reduced to poverty, he
was obliged to sell his stock. One day he went to the market to
dispose of a cow; but the animal being in bad order, no one would
bid for it, and after waiting till he was weary he returned
homewards. On the way he stopped to repose himself under a tree,
and tied the cow to one of the branches while he ate some bread,
and drank of an infusion of his beloved bang, which he always
carried with him. In a short time it began to operate, so as to
bereave him of the little sense he possessed, and his head was
filled with ridiculous reveries. While he was musing, a magpie
beginning to chatter from her nest in the tree, he fancied it was
a human voice, and that some woman had asked to purchase his cow:
upon which he said, "Reverend mother of Solomon, dost thou wish
to buy my cow?" The bird croaked again. "Well," replied he," what
wilt thou give if I will sell her a bargain." The bird repeated
her croak. "Never mind," said the foolish fellow, "for though
thou hast forgotten to bring thy purse, yet, as I dare say thou
art an honest woman, and hast bidden me ten deenars, I will trust
thee with the cow, and call on Friday for the money." The bird
renewed her croaking, which he fancied to be thanks for his
confidence; so leaving the cow tied to the branch of the tree, he
returned home exulting in the good bargain he had made for the

When he entered the house, his wife inquired what he had gotten
for the cow; to which he replied, that he had sold her to an
honest woman named Am Solomon, who had promised to pay him on the
next Friday ten pieces of gold. The wife was contented, and when
Friday arrived, her idiot of a husband having, as usual, taken a
dose of bang, repaired to the tree, and hearing the bird
chattering, as before, said, "Well, my good mother, hast thou
brought the gold?" The bird croaked. Supposing the imaginary
woman refused to pay him, he became angry, and threw up his
spade, which frightening the bird, it flew from the nest, and
alighted on a heap of soil at some distance. He fancied that Am
Solomon had desired him to take his money from the heap, into
which he dug with his spade, and found a brazen vessel full of
gold coin. This discovery convinced him he was right, and being,
notwithstanding his weakness, naturally honest, he only took ten
pieces; then replacing the soil, said, "May Allah requite thee
for thy punctuality, good mother!" and returned to his wife, to
whom he gave the money, informing her at the same time of the
great treasure his friend Am Solomon possessed, and where it was
concealed. The wife waited till night, when she went and brought
away the pot of gold; which her husband observing, said, "It is
dishonest to rob one who has paid us so punctually, and if thou
dost not return it to its place, I will inform the (walee)
officer of police."

The wife laughed at his folly; but fearing the ill consequences
of his executing his threat, she planned a stratagem to prevent
them. Going to the market, she purchased some broiled meat and
fish ready dressed, which she brought privately home, and
concealed in the house. At night, the husband having regaled
himself with his beloved bang, retired to sleep off his
intoxication; but about midnight she strewed the provisions she
had brought at the door, and awakening her partner, cried out, in
pretended astonishment, "Dear husband, a most wonderful
phenomenon has occurred; there has been a violent storm while you
slept, and, strange to tell, it has rained pieces of broiled meat
and fish, which now lie at the door!" The husband, still in a
state of stupefaction from the bang, got up, went to the door,
and seeing the provisions, was persuaded of the truth of his
wife's story. The fish and flesh were gathered up, and he partook
with much glee of the miraculous treat; but he still threatened
to inform the walee of her having stolen the treasure of the good
old woman Am Solomon.

In the morning the foolish bang-eater actually repaired to the
walee, and informed him that his wife had stolen a pot of gold,
which she had still in her possession. The walee upon this
apprehended the woman, who denied the accusation, when she was
threatened with death. She then said, "My lord, the power is in
your hands; but I am an injured woman, as you wili find by
questioning my unfortunate husband; who, alas! is deranged in his
intellects. Ask him when I committed the theft." The walee did
so; to which he replied, "It was on the evening of that night on
which it rained broiled flesh and fish ready dressed." "Wretch!"
exclaimed the walee, "dost thou dare to utter falsehoods before
me? Who ever saw it rain any thing but water?" "As I hope for
life, my lord," replied the bang-eater, "I speak the truth; for
my wife and myself ate of the fish and flesh which fell from the
clouds." The woman being appealed to, denied the assertion of her

The walee being now convinced that the man was crazy, released
his wife, and sent the husband to the madhouse; where he remained
some days, till the wife, pitying his condition, contrived to get
him released by the following stratagem. She visited her husband,
and desired him when any one inquired of him if he had seen it
rain flesh and fish, to answer, "No: who ever saw it rain any
thing but water?" She then informed the keeper that he was come
to his senses, and desired him to put the question. On his
answering properly he was released.

The fisherman had not long been in the service of the sultan,
when walking one day near the house of a principal merchant, his
daughter chanced to look through a window, and the buffoon was so
struck with her beauty that he became devoted to love. Daily did
he repair to the same spot for weeks together in hopes of once
seeing her, but in vain; for she did not again appear at the
window. At length, his passion had such an effect upon him that
he fell sick, kept his bed, and began to rave, exclaiming, "Ah!
what charming eyes, what a beautiful complexion, what a graceful
stature has my beloved!" In this situation he was attended by an
old woman, who, compassionating his case, desired him to reveal
the cause of his uneasiness.

"My dear mother," replied he, "I thank thee for thy kindness; but
unless thou canst asssist me I must soon die." He then related
what he had seen, and described to her the house of the merchant.
When she said, "Son, be of good cheer; for no one could so
readily have assisted thee in this dilemma as myself. Have
patience, and I will speedily return with intelligence of thy
beloved." Having spoken thus, she departed, and upon reaching her
own house disguised herself as a devotee. Throwing over her
shoulders a coarse woollen gown, holding in one hand a long
string of beads, in the other a walking staff, she proceeded to
the merchant's house, at the gate of which she cried, "God is
God, there is no God but God; may his holy name be praised, and
may God be with you," in a most devout tone.

The merchant's daughter, on hearing this devout ejaculation, came
to the door, saluted the old woman with great respect, and said,
"Dear mother, pray for me:" when she exclaimed, "May Allah
protect thee, my beloved child, from all injury!" The young lady
then introduced her into the house, seated her in the most
honourable place, and with her mother sat down by her. They
conversed on religious subjects till noon, when the old woman
called for water, performed her ablutions, and recited prayers of
an unusual length: upon which the mother and daughter remarked to
one another that the aged matron must certainly be a most
religious character. When prayers were ended, they set a
collation before her; but she declined partaking, saying, "I am
to day observing a fast." This increased their respect and
admiration of her sanctity, so that they requested her to remain
with them till sunset, and break her fast with them, to which she
consented. At sunset she prayed again, after which she ate a
little, and then uttered many pious exhortations. In short, the
mother and daughter were so pleased with her, that they invited
her to stay all night. In the morning, she rose early, made her
ablutions, prayed for a considerable time, and concluded with a
blessing upon her entertainers in learned words, which they could
not understand. When she rose up, they supported her by the arms
respectfully, and entreated her longer stay; but she declined it,
and having taken leave, departed; promising, however, with the
permission of Allah, to make them soon another visit.

On the second day following, the old woman repaired again to the
merchant's house, and was joyfully received by the mother and
daughter; who, kissing her hands and feet, welcomed her return.
She behaved the same as before, and inspired them with stronger
veneration for her sandity. Her visits now grew frequent, and she
was always a welcome guest in the merchant's family. At length,
one evening she entered, and said, "I have an only daughter,
whose espousals are now celebrating, and this night the bride
goes in state to her husband's house. My desire is that my good
young lady should attend the ceremony, and receive the benefit of
my prayers." The mother replied, "I am unwilling to let her go,
lest some accident should befall her:" upon which the pretended
religious exclaimed, "What canst thou fear, while I and other
devout women shall be with her?" The daughter expressing great
eagerness to attend the nuptials, her mother at length consented.

When the merchant's daughter had adorned herself in her richest
habit, she accompanied the old woman; who, after leading her
through several streets, conducted her to the lodging of the late
fisherman, but now favourite to the sultan, who was eagerly
expecting her arrival. The young lady was astonished on her
entrance at beholding a comely looking man; who, she saw, could
hardly restrain his raptures at the sight of her. Her first alarm
was great at finding herself betrayed into such a snare by the
hypocritical beldam; but having naturally much presence of mind,
she concealed her fears, and considered how she might escape. She
sat down, and after looking round the apartment affected to
laugh, saying to the gallant, "It is commonly usual when a lover
invites his mistress to his house to have an entertainment
prepared; for what is love without the accompaniment of a feast?
If you wish, therefore, that I should spend the evening here, go
and bring in some good cheer, that our joy may be complete. I
will with my good mother wait your return."

The gallant, rejoiced at her commands, exclaimed, "Thou hast
spoken truly, and to hear is to obey;" after which, he went
towards the market to order a splendid entertainment. When he was
gone, the young lady locked the door after him, and thanking the
old woman for introducing her to so handsome a lover, threw her
off her guard, while she walked about the apartment meditating
her escape. At length she found in one corner of it a sharp
sabre, and drawing up her sleeve to her elbow, she grasped the
weapon, which she struck with such force at her false friend, who
was reclining on a sofa, as to cleave the head of the abandoned
procuress in two, and she fell down weltering in her blood, to
rise no more.

The merchant's daughter now searched the room, and finding a rich
dress which the favourite usually wore when he visited the
sultan, rolled it up in a bundle, and carrying it under her veil,
unlocked the door, and hastened homewards. Luckily she reached
her father's house without interruption. Her mother welcomed her
with joy; but on perceiving the bundle, said, "My dear daughter,
what can have been given thee at the nuptials of a poor
religious?" The daughter, whose mind had been over agitated with
her late adventure, was not able to answer; her spirits sunk at
the recollection of her narrow escape, and she fainted away. The
mother shrieked aloud with affright, which brought in her husband
and attendants, who used various means for the young lady's
recovery; and at length, having regained her senses, she related
what had passed. The merchant having cursed the memory of the old
woman for her hypocritical deception, comforted his virtuous
daughter, and taking up the dress which he knew, and to whom it
belonged, hastened to make his complaint to the sultan.

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