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The Book Of The Thousand Nights And One Night, Volume II by Anonymous

Part 6 out of 7

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woman whom they call Dhat ed Dewahi; but, so God grant thee aid,
do not thou fail to take thy wreak on her and to wipe out the
disgrace we have suffered at the hands of the infidels. Beware of
the old woman's craft and do as the Vizier shall counsel thee;
for that he from of old time hath been the pillar of our realm."
And his son assented to what he said. Then the King's eyes ran
over with tears and his sickness redoubled on him, nor did it
leave to press sore upon him four whole years, during which time
his brother-in-law the Chamberlain held sway over the country,
judging and commanding and forbidding, to the contentment of the
people and the nobles, and all the land prayed for him[FN#153]
what while Zoulmekan was occupied with his malady. As for
Kanmakan, he had no thought but of riding and tilting with spears
and shooting with arrows, and thus also did his cousin Kuzia
Fekan; for they were wont to go forth at the first of the day and
return at nightfall, when she would go in to her mother and he to
his, to find her sitting weeping by his father's bed. Then he
would tend his father till daybreak, when he would go forth again
with his cousin, according to their wont. Now Zoulmekan's
sufferings were long upon him and he wept and recited these

My strength is past away, my tale of days is told And I, alas! am
left even as thou dost behold.
In honour's day, the first amongst my folk was I, And in the race
for fame the foremost and most bold.
Would that before my death I might but see my son The empery in
my stead over the people hold
And rush upon his foes and take on them his wreak, At push of
sword and pike, in fury uncontrolled.
Lo, I'm a man fordone, in this world and the next, Except my
spright of God be solaced and consoled!

When he had made an end of repeating these verses he laid his
head on his pillow and his eyes closed and he slept. In his sleep
he saw one who said to him, "Rejoice for thy son shall fill the
lands with justice and have the mastery over them and men shall
obey him." Then he awoke gladdened by this happy omen that he had
seen, and after a few days, death smote him, whereat great grief
fell on the people of Baghdad, and gentle and simple mourned for
him. But time passed over him, as if he had never been, and
Kanmakan's estate was changed; for the people of Baghdad set him
aside and put him and his family in a place apart. When his
mother saw this, she fell into the sorriest of plights and said,
"Needs must I go to the Grand Chamberlain, and I hope for the
favour of the Subtle, the All-Wise One!" Then she betook herself
to the house of the Chamberlain, who was now become Sultan, and
found him sitting upon his couch. So she went in to his wife
Nuzhet ez Zeman and wept sore and said, "Verily, the dead have no
friends. May God never bring you to need and may you cease not to
rule justly over rich and poor many days and years! Thine ears
have heard and thine eyes have seen all that was ours aforetime
of kingship and honour and dignity and wealth and goodliness of
life and condition; and now fortune hath turned upon us, and fate
and the time have played us false and wrought hostilely with us;
wherefore I come to thee, craving thy bounties, I that have been
used to confer favours; for when a man dies, women and girls are
brought low after him." And she repeated the following verses:

Let it suffice thee that Death is the worker of wonders and know
That the lives which are gone from our sight will never
return to us mo'.
The days of the life of mankind are nothing but journeys, I wot,
whose watering-places for aye are mixed with misfortune and
Yet nothing afflicteth my heart like the loss of the good and the
great, Whom the stresses of adverse events have compassed
about and laid low.

When Nuzhet ez Zeman heard this, she remembered her brother
Zoulmekan and his son Kanmakan and making her draw near to her,
said to her, "By Allah, I am now rich and thou poor, and by
Allah, we did not leave to seek thee out, but that we feared to
wound thy heart, lest thou shouldst deem our gifts to thee an
alms. Of a truth, all the good that we now enjoy is from thee and
thy husband: so our house is thy house and our place thy place,
and all that we have of wealth and goods is thine." Then she clad
her richly and appointed her a lodging in the palace, adjoining
her own; and she and her son abode therein in all delight of
life. Him also did Nuzhet ez Zeman clothe in kings' raiment and
gave them handmaids to do them service. After a little, she told
her husband of her brother's widow, whereat his eyes filled with
tears and he said, "Wouldst thou see the world after thee, look
upon the world after another than thyself. Entertain her
honourably and enrich her poverty."

Meanwhile, Kanmakan and Kuzia Fekan grew up and flourished, like
unto two fruit-laden saplings or two shining moons, till they
reached the age of fifteen. As for the girl, she was indeed the
fairest of the cloistered maids, with lovely face and smooth
cheeks, slender waist, heavy hips and arrowy shape, lips sweeter
than old wine and spittle as it were the fountain Selsebil of
Paradise, even as saith the poet, describing her:

From her mouth's honeyed dew, meseems, the first-pressed wine is
drawn And on her sweetest lips the grapes, from which it's
crushed, are grown;
And when thou makest her to bend, its vines sway in her shape.
Blessed be He who fashioned her and may not be made known!

For indeed God had united in her every attribute of beauty: her
shape put to shame the willow-wand and the rose sought grace
before her cheeks; the water of her mouth made mock of clear
wine, and she gladdened heart and eyes, even as saith of her the

Goodly and glorious she is, and perfect in every charm. Her
eyelashes put to shame kohl and the users of kohl.
Even as a sword in the hand of Ali, the Vicar of God, So is the
glance of her eye to a lover's heart and soul.

As for Kanmakan, he was no less accomplished in grace and
excelling in perfection; there was none could match with him in
beauty and qualities, and valour shone from between his liquid
black eyes, testifying for him and not against him. The hardest
hearts inclined to him; and when the tender down of his lips and
cheeks began to sprout, many were the poems made in his honour:
as for example quoth one:

Unshown was my excuse, till on his cheek the hair Grew and the
darkness crept, bewildered, here and there.
A fawn, when eyes of men are fixed upon his charms, His glances
straight on them a trenchant poniard bare.

And another:

His lovers' souls have woven upon his cheek, I ween, A net the
blood has painted with all its ruddy sheen.
Oh, how at them I marvel! They're martyrs; yet they dwell In
fire, and for their raiment, they're clad in sendal

It chanced, one festival day, that Kuzia Fekan went out,
surrounded by her handmaids, to visit certain kindred of the
court; and indeed beauty encompassed her; the rose of her cheek
vied with the mole thereon, her teeth flashed from her smiling
lips, like the petals of the camomile flower, and she was as the
resplendent moon. Her cousin Kanmakan began to turn about her and
devour her with his eyes. Then he took courage and giving loose
to his tongue, repeated the following verses:

When shall the mourning heart be healed of anger and disdain?
When, rigour ceasing, shall the lips of union smile again?
Would God I knew if I shall lie, some night, within the arms Of a
beloved, in whose heart is somewhat of my pain!

When she heard this, she was angry and putting on a haughty air,
said to him, "Hast thou a mind to shame me among the folk, that
thou speakest thus of me in thy verse? By Allah, except thou
leave this talk, I will assuredly complain of thee to the Grand
Chamberlain, Sultan of Baghdad and Khorassan and lord of justice
and equity, whereby disgrace and punishment will fall on thee?"
To this Kanmakan made no reply, but returned to Baghdad: and
Kuzia Fekan also returned home and complained of her cousin to
her mother, who said to her, "O my daughter, belike he meant thee
no ill, and is he not an orphan? Indeed, he said nought that
implied reproach to thee; so look thou tell none of this, lest it
come to the Sultan's ears and he cut short his life and blot out
his name and make it even as yesterday, whose remembrance hath
passed away." How ever, Kanmakan's case was not hidden from the
people, and his love for Kuzia Fekan became known in Baghdad, so
that the women talked of it. Moreover, his heart became
contracted and his patience waned and he knew not what to do.
Then longed he to give vent to the anguish he endured, by reason
of the pangs of separation; but he feared her anger and her
rebuke: so he recited the following verses:

What though I be fearful, anon, of her wrath, Whose humour serene
is grown troubled and dour,
I bear it with patience, as he who is sick Endureth a caut'ry in
hopes of a cure.

His verses came one day to the knowledge of King Sasan (for so
had they named the Grand Chamberlain, on his assumption of the
Sultanate), as he sat on his throne, and he was told of the love
the prince bore to Kuzia Fekan; whereat he was sore vexed, and
going in to his wife Nuzhet ez Zeman, said to her, "Verily, to
bring together fire and dry grass is of the greatest of risks;
and men may not be trusted with women, so long as eyes cast
furtive glances and eyelids quiver. Now thy nephew Kanmakan is
come to man's estate and it behoves us to forbid him access to
the harem; nor is it less needful that thy daughter be kept from
the company of men, for the like of her should be cloistered."
"Thou sayest sooth, O wise King," answered she. Next day came
Kanmakan, according to his wont, and going in to his aunt,
saluted her. She returned his greeting and said to him, "O my
son, I have somewhat to say to thee, that I would fain leave
unsaid; yet must I tell it thee, in my own despite." "Speak,"
said he. "Know then," rejoined she, "that thine uncle the
Chamberlain, the father of Kuzia Fekan, has heard of thy love for
her and the verses thou madest of her and has ordered that she be
kept from thee; wherefore, if thou have occasion for aught from
us, I will send it to thee from behind the door, and thou shalt
not look upon Kuzia Fekan nor return hither from day forth." When
he heard this, he withdrew, without speaking a word, and betook
himself to his mother, to whom he related what his aunt had said
to him. Quoth she, "This all comes of thy much talk. Thou knowest
that the news of thy passion for Kuzia Fekan is noised abroad
everywhere and how thou eatest their victual and makest love to
their daughter." "And who should have her but I?" replied the
prince. "She is the daughter of my father's brother and I have
the best of rights to her." "These are idle words," rejoined his
mother. "Be silent, lest thy talk come to King Sasan's ears and
it prove the cause of thy losing her and of thy ruin and increase
of affliction. They have not sent us the evening meal to-night
and we shall die of want; and were we in any land other than
this, we were already dead of the pangs of hunger or the
humiliation of begging our bread." When Kanmakan heard his
mother's words, his anguish redoubled; his eyes ran over with
tears and he sobbed and complained and repeated the following

Give o'er this unrelenting blame, that never lets me be! My heart
loves her to whom it's thrall and may not struggle free.
Look not to me for any jot of patience, for I swear By God His
house, my patience all is clean divorced from me!
Blamers to prudence me exhort; I heed them not, for I In my
avouchment am sincere of love and constancy.
They hinder me by very force from visiting my dear, Though, by
the Merciful, nor rogue am I nor debauchee!
Indeed, my bones, whenas they hear the mention of her name, Do
quake and tremble even as birds from sparrow-hawks that
O daughter of my uncle, say to him who chides at love, That I, by
Allah, am distraught with love-longing for thee.

And he said to his mother, "I can dwell no longer in my aunt's
house nor among these people, but will go forth and abide in the
corners of the city." So he and his mother left the palace and
took up their abode in one of the quarters of the poorer sort:
and she used to go from time to time to King Sasan's palace and
take thence food for her own and her son's subsistence. One day,
Kuzia Fekan took her aside and said to her, "Alas, my aunt, how
is it with thy son?" "O my daughter," replied she, "sooth to say,
he is tearful-eyed and mournful-hearted, being fallen into the
snare of thy love." And she repeated to her the verses he had
made; whereupon Kuzia Fekan wept and said, "By Allah, I rebuked
not him for his words of ill-will or dislike to him, but because
I feared the malice of enemies for him. Indeed, my passion for
him is double that he feels for me; words fail to set out my
yearning for him; and were it not for the extravagances of his
tongue and the wanderings of his wit, my father had not cut off
his favours from him nor decreed unto him exclusion and
prohibition. However, man's fortune is nought but change, and
patience in every case is most becoming; peradventure He who
ordained our severance will vouchsafe us reunion!" And she
repeated the following:

O son of mine uncle, the like of thine anguish I suffer, the like
of thy passion I feel;
Yet hide I from men what I suffer for longing, And shouldst thou
not also thy passion conceal?

When his mother heard this, she thanked her and blessed her: then
she left her and returning to her son, told him what his mistress
had said; whereupon his desire for her increased. But he took
heart, being eased of his despair, and the turmoil of his spirits
was quelled. And he said, "By Allah, I desire none but her!" And
he repeated the following verses:

Give over thy chiding; I'll hearken no whit to the flouts of my
foes: Indeed I've discovered my secret that nought should
have made me disclose;
And she, whose enjoyment I hoped for, alack! is far distant from
me; Mine eyes watch the hours of the dark, whilst she passes
the night in repose.

So the days and nights went by, whilst Kanmakan lay tossing upon
coals of fire, till he reached the age of seventeen: and indeed
his beauty was now come to perfection and his wit had ripened.
One night, as he lay awake, he communed with himself and said,
"Why should I keep silence, till I consume away, and see not my
love? My only fault is poverty: so, by Allah, I will go out from
this land and wander afar in the plains and valleys; for my
condition in this city is one of misery and I have no friend nor
lover in it to comfort me; wherefore I will distract myself by
absence from my native land, till I die and am at peace from
abasement and tribulation." And he repeated the following verses:

Though my soul weary for distress and flutter fast for woe, Yet
of its nature was it ne'er to buckle to a foe.
Excuse me; for indeed my heart is like a book, whereof The
superscription's nought but tears, that aye unceasing flow.
Behold my cousin, how she seems a maid of Paradise, A houri come,
by Rizwan's grace, to visit us below!
Who seeks the glances of her eyes and dares the scathing stroke
Of their bright swords, shall hardly 'scape their swift and
deadly blow.
Lo, I will wander o'er the world, to free my heart from bale And
compensation for its loss upon my soul bestow!
Yea, I will range the fields of war and tilt against the brave
And o'er the champions will I ride roughshod and lay them
Then will I come back, glad at heart and rich in goods and store,
Driving the herds and flocks as spoil before me, as I go.

So he went out in the darkness of the night, barefoot, wearing a
short-sleeved tunic and a skull-cap of felt seven years old and
carrying a cake of dry bread, three days stale, and betook
himself to the gate El Arij of Baghdad. Here he waited till the
gate opened, when he was the first to go forth; and he went out
at random and wandered in the deserts day and night. When the
night came, his mother sought him, but found him not, whereupon
the world, for all its wideness, was straitened upon her and she
took no delight in aught of its good. She looked for him a first
day and a second and a third, till ten days were past, but no
news of him reached her. Then her breast became contracted and
she shrieked and lamented, saying, "O my son, O my delight, thou
hast revived my sorrows! Did not what I endured suffice, but thou
must depart from the place of my abiding? After thee, I care not
for food nor delight in sleep, and but tears and mourning are
left me. O my son, from what land shall I call thee? What country
hath given thee refuge?" And her sobs burst up, and she repeated
the following verses:

We know that, since you went away, by grief and pain we're tried.
The bows of severance on us full many a shaft have plied.
They girt their saddles on and gainst the agonies of death Left
me to strive alone, whilst they across the sand-wastes
Deep in the darkness of the night a ring-dove called to me,
Complaining of her case; but I, "Give o'er thy plaint,"
For, by thy life, an if her heart were full of dole, like mine,
She had not put a collar on nor yet her feet had dyed.
My cherished friend is gone and I for lack of him endure All
manner sorrows which with me for ever will abide.

Then she abstained from food and drink and gave herself up to
weeping and lamentation. Her grief became known and all the
people of the town and country wept with her and said, "Where is
thine eye, O Zoulmekan?" And they bewailed the rigour of fate,
saying, "What can have befallen him, that he left his native town
and fled from the place where his father used to fill the hungry
and do justice and mercy?" And his mother redoubled her tears and
lamentations, till the news of Kanmakan's departure came to King
Sasan through the chief amirs, who said to him, "Verily, he is
the son of our (late) King and the grandson of King Omar ben
Ennuman and we hear that he hath exiled himself from the
country." When King Sasan heard these words, he was wroth with
them and ordered one of them to be hanged, whereat the fear of
him fell upon the hearts of the rest and they dared not speak one
word. Then he called to mind all the kindness that Zoulmekan had
done him and how he had commended his son to his care; wherefore
he grieved for Kanmakan and said "Needs must I have search made
for him in all countries." So he summoned Terkash and bade him
choose a hundred horse and go in quest of the prince. Accordingly
he went out and was absent ten days, after which he returned and
said, "I can learn no tidings of him and have come on no trace of
him, nor can any tell me aught of him." With this, King Sasan
repented him of that which he had done with Kanmakan; whilst his
mother abode without peace or comfort, nor would patience come at
her call: and thus twenty heavy days passed over her.

To return to Kanmakan. When he left Baghdad, he went forth,
perplexed about his case and knowing not whither he should go: so
he fared on alone into the desert for the space of three days and
saw neither footman nor horseman. Sleep deserted him and his
wakefulness redoubled, for he pined for his people and his
country. So he wandered on, eating of the herbs of the earth and
drinking of its waters and resting under its trees at the hour of
the noontide heats, till he came to another road, into which he
turned and following it other three days, came to a land of green
fields and smiling valleys, abounding in the fruits of the earth.
It had drunken of the beakers of the clouds, to the sound of the
voices of the turtle and the ring-dove, till its hill-sides were
enamelled with verdure and its fields were fragrant. At this
sight, Kanmakan recalled his father's city Baghdad, and for
excess of emotion repeated the following verses:

I wander on, in hope I may return Some day, yet know not when
that day shall be.
What drove me forth was that I found no means To fend awe, the
ills that pressed on me.

Then he wept, but presently wiped away his tears and ate of the
fruits of the earth. Then he made his ablutions and prayed the
ordained prayers that he had neglected all this time; after which
he sat in that place, resting, the whole day. When the night
came, he lay down and slept till midnight, when he awoke and
heard a man's voice repeating the following verses:

Life unto me is worthless, except I see the shine Of the flashing
teeth of my mistress and eke her face divine.
The bishops in the convents pray for her day and night And in the
mosques the imams fall prone before her shrine.
Death's easier than the rigours of a beloved one, Whose image
never cheers me, whenas I lie and pine.
O joy of boon-companions, when they together be And lover and
beloved in one embrace entwine!
Still more so in the season of Spring, with all its flowers, What
time the world is fragrant with blossoms sweet and fine.
Up, drinker of the vine-juice, and forth, for seest thou not
Earth gilt with blooms and waters all welling forth like

When Kanmakan heard this, it revived his sorrows; his tears ran
down his cheeks like rivers and flames of fire raged in his
heart. He rose to see who it was that spoke, but saw none, for
the thickness of the dark; whereupon passion increased on him and
he was alarmed and restlessness possessed him. So he descended to
the bottom of the valley and followed the banks of the stream,
till he heard one sighing heavily, and the same voice recited the
followed verses:

Though thou have used to dissemble the love in thy heart for
fear, Give on the day of parting, free course to sob and
'Twixt me and my beloved were vows of love and troth; So cease I
for her never to long and wish her near.
My heart is full of longing; the zephyr, when it blows, To many a
thought of passion stirs up my heavy cheer.
Doth she o' the anklets hold me in mind, whilst far away, Though
between me and Saada were solemn vows and dear?
Shall the nights e'er unite us, the nights of dear delight, And
shall we tell our suff'rings, each in the other's ear?
"Thou seduced by passion for us," quoth she, and I, "God keep Thy
lovers all! How many have fallen to thy spear?"
If mine eyes taste the pleasance of sleep, while she's afar, May
God deny their vision her beauties many a year!
O the wound in mine entrails! I see no cure for it Save
love-delight and kisses from crimson lips and clear.

When Kanmakan heard this, yet saw no one, he knew that the
speaker was a lover like unto himself, debarred the company of
her whom he loved; and he said to himself; "It were fitting that
this man should lay his head to mine and become my comrade in
this my strangerhood." Then he hailed the speaker and cried out
to him, saying "O thou that goest in the sombre night, draw near
to me and tell me thy history. Haply thou shalt find in me one
who will succour thee in shine affliction." "O thou that
answerest my complaint and wouldst know my history," rejoined the
other, "who art thou amongst the cavaliers? Art thou a man or a
genie? Answer me speedily ere thy death draw near, for these
twenty days have I wandered in this desert and have seen no one
nor heard any voice but thine." When Kanmakan heard this, he said
to himself, "His case is like unto mine, for I also have wandered
twenty days in the desert and have seen none nor heard any voice:
but I will make him no answer till the day." So he was silent and
the other called out to him, saying, "O thou that callest, if
thou be of the Jinn, go in peace, and if thou be a man, stay
awhile, till the day break and the night flee with the dark." So
they abode each in his own place, reciting verses and weeping
with abundant tears, till the light of day appeared and the night
departed with the darkness. Then Kanmakan looked at the other and
found him a youth of the Bedouin Arabs, clad in worn clothes and
girt-with a rusty sword, and the signs of passion were apparent
on him. So he went up to him and accosting him, saluted him. The
Bedouin returned the salute and greeted him courteously, but made
little account of him, for what he saw of his tender years and
his condition, which was that of a poor man. So he said to him,
"O youth, of what tribe art thou and to whom art thou kin among
the Arabs? What is thy history and wherefore goest thou by night,
after the fashion of champions? Indeed, thou spokest to me in the
night words such as are spoken of none but magnanimous cavaliers
and lionhearted warriors; and now thy life is in my hand. But I
have compassion on thee by reason of thy tender age; so I will
make thee my companion, and thou shalt go with me, to do me
service." When Kanmakan heard him speak thus unseemly, after what
he had shown him of skill in verse, he knew that he despised him
and thought to presume with him; so he answered him with soft and
dulcet speech, saying, "O chief of the Arabs, leave my tenderness
of age and tell me thy story and why thou wanderest by night in
the desert, reciting verses. Thou talkest of my serving thee; who
then art thou and what moved thee to speak thus?" "Harkye, boy!"
answered the Bedouin, "I am Subbah, son of Remmah ben Hummam. My
people are of the Arabs of Syria, and I have a cousin called
Nejmeh, who brings delight to all that look on her. My father
died, and I was brought up in the house of my uncle, the father
of Nejmeh; but when I grew up and my cousin became a woman, they
excluded her from me and me from her, seeing that I was poor and
of little estate. However, the chiefs of the Arabs and the heads
of the tribes went in to her father and rebuked him, and he was
abashed before them and consented to give me his daughter, but
upon condition that I should bring him as her dower fifty head of
horses and fifty dromedaries and fifty camels laden with wheat
and a like number laden with barley, together with ten male and
ten female slaves. The dowry he imposed upon me was beyond my
competence; for he exacted more than the due marriage portion. So
now I am travelling from Syria to Irak, having passed twenty days
without seeing other than thyself, and I mean to go to Baghdad,
that I may note what rich and considerable merchants start
thence. Then I will go out in their track and seize their goods,
for I will kill their men and drive off their camels with their
loads. But what manner of man art thou?" "Thy case is like unto
mine," replied Kanmakan; "save that my complaint is more grievous
than thine; for my cousin is a king's daughter, and the dowry of
which thou hast spoken would not content her family, nor would
they be satisfied with the like of that from me." "Surely," said
Subbah, "thou art mad or light-headed for excess of passion! How
can thy cousin be a king's daughter? Thou hast no sign of
princely rank on thee, for thou art but a mendicant." "O chief of
the Arabs," rejoined Kanmakan, "marvel not at my case, for it is
due to the shifts of fortune; and if thou desire proof of me,
behold, I am Kanmakan, son of King Zoulmekan, son of King Omar
ben Ennuman, lord of Baghdad and Khorassan, and fortune hath
played the tyrant with me; for my father died and (my uncle) King
Sasan took the Sultanate. So I fled forth from Baghdad, secretly,
lest any should see me, and have wandered twenty days, without
seeing any but thyself. So now I have discovered to thee my case,
and my history is as thy history and my need as thy need." When
Subbah heard this, he cried out and said, "O joy! I have attained
my desire! I will have no booty this day but thyself; for, since
thou art of the lineage of kings and hast come out in the habit
of a beggar, it cannot be but thy people will seek thee, and if
they find thee in any one's hand, they will ransom thee with much
treasure. So put thy hands behind thee, O my lad, and walk before
me." "Softly, O brother of the Arabs," answered Kanmakan; "my
people will not ransom me with silver nor with gold, no, not with
a brass dirhem; and I am a poor man, having with me neither much
nor little: so leave this behaviour with me and take me to
comrade. Let us go forth of the land of Irak and wander over the
world, so haply we may win dower and marriage-portion and enjoy
our cousins' embraces." When Subbah heard this, he was angry; his
arrogance and heat redoubled and he said, "Out on thee, O vilest
of dogs! Dost thou bandy words with me? Turn thy back, or I will
chastise thee." At this Kanmakan smiled and answered, "Why should
I turn my back for thee? Is there no equity in thee? Dost thou
not fear to bring reproach upon the Arabs by driving a man like
myself captive, in dishonour and humiliation, before thou hast
proved him in the field, to know if he be a warrior or a coward?"
The Bedouin laughed and replied, "By Allah, I wonder at thee!
Thou art a boy in years, but old in talk. These words should come
from none but a doughty champion: what wantest thou of equity?
"If thou wilt have me be thy captive, to serve thee," said
Kanmakan, "throw down thine arms and put off thine upper clothes
and wrestle with me; and whichever of us throws the other shall
have his will of him and make him his servant." The other laughed
and said, "I think thy much talk denotes the nearness of thy
death." Then he threw down his sword and tucking up his skirt,
drew near unto Kanmakan, and they gripped each other. But the
Bedouin found that Kanmakan had the better of him and outweighed
him, as the quintal outweighs the dinar; and he looked at his
legs and saw that they were as firmly planted as two well-builded
minarets or two tent-poles driven into the ground or two
immovable mountains. So he knew that he himself was not able to
cope with him and repented of having come to wrestle with him,
saying in himself, "Would I had fallen on him with my weapons!"
Then Kanmakan took hold of him and mastering him shook him, till
he thought his guts would burst in his belly and roared out,
"Hold thy hand, O boy!" He heeded him not, but shook him again,
and lifting him from the ground, made with him towards the
stream, that he might throw him therein: whereupon the Bedouin
cried out, saying, "O valiant man, what wilt thou do with me?"
Quoth Kanmakan, "I mean to throw thee into this stream: it will
carry thee to the Tigris. The Tigris will bring thee to the river
Isa and the Isa to the Euphrates, and the Euphrates will bear
thee to thine own country; so thy people will see thee and know
thy manlihead and the sincerity of thy passion." When Subbah
heard this, he cried out and said, "O champion of the desert, do
not with me the deed of the wicked, but let me go, by the life of
thy cousin, the jewel of the fair!" With this, Kanmakan set him
down; and when he found himself at liberty, he ran to his sword
and buckler and taking them up, stood plotting in himself
treachery and a sudden attack on Kanmakan. The latter read his
intent in his eye and said to him, "I know what is in thy mind,
now thou hast hold of thy sword and buckler. Thou hast neither
strength nor skill for wrestling, but thou thinkest that, wert
thou on horseback and couldst wheel about and ply me with thy
sword, I had been slain long ago. But I will give thee thy will,
so there may be no despite left in thy heart. Give me the buckler
and fall on me with thy sword; either I shall kill thee or thou
me." "Here it is," answered Subbah and throwing him the shield,
drew his sword and rushed at him. Kanmakan took the buckler in
his right hand and began to fend himself with it, whilst Subbah
struck at him with the sword, saying at each stroke, "This is
the finishing one!" But Kanmakan received all his blows on his
buckler and they fell harmless, though he did not strike back
again, having no weapon of offence; and Subbah ceased not to
smite at him, till his arm was weary. When the prince saw this,
he rushed at him and seizing him in his arms, shook him and threw
him to the ground. Then he turned him over on his face and
binding his arms behind him with the hangers of his sword, began
to drag him by the feet towards the river: whereupon cried
Subbah, "What wilt thou do with me, O youth and cavalier of the
age and hero of the field?" "Did I not tell thee," answered
Kanmakan, "that it was my intent to send thee by the river to thy
people and thy tribe, lest their hearts be troubled for thee and
thou miss thy cousin's bride-feast?" At this, Subbah shrieked
aloud and wept and said, "Do not thus, O champion of the time!
Let me go and make me one of thy servants." And he wept and
wailed and recited the following verses:

An outcast from my folk (how long my exile lasts!) am I. Would
God I knew if I in this my strangerhood shall die!
I perish, and my folk know not the place where I am slain; I fall
in exile, far away from her for whom I sigh.

Kanmakan had compassion on him and said to him, "Make a covenant
with me and swear to be a true comrade to me and to bear me
company whithersoever I may go." "It is well," replied Subbah and
took the required oath. So Kanmakan loosed him, and he rose and
would have kissed the prince's hand; but he forbade him. Then the
Bedouin opened his wallet and taking out three barley-cakes, laid
them before Kanmakan, and they both sat down on the bank of the
stream to eat. When they had done eating, they made the ablution
and prayed, after which they sat talking of what had befallen
each of them from his people and the shifts of fortune. Then said
Kanmakan, "Whither dost thou now intend?" "I purpose," replied
Subbah, "to repair to Baghdad, thy native town, and abide there,
till God vouchsafe me the marriage-portion." "Up then," rejoined
the other, "and to the road! I abide here." So the Bedouin took
leave of him and set out for Baghdad, whilst Kanmakan remained
behind, saying to himself, "O my soul, how shall I return poor
and needy? By Allah, I will not go back empty-handed, and if God
please, I will assuredly work my deliverance!" Then he went to
the stream and made his ablutions and prayed to his Lord, laying
his brow in the dust and saying, "O my God, Thou that makest the
dew to fall and feedest the worm in the rock, vouchsafe me, I
beseech Thee, my livelihood, of Thy power and the graciousness of
Thy compassion!" Then he pronounced the salutation that closes
prayer and sat, turning right and left and knowing not which way
to take. Presently, he saw, making towards him, a horseman whose
back was bowed and who let the reins droop. He sat still and
after awhile the horseman came up to him, when, behold, he was at
the last gasp and made sure of death, for he was grievously
wounded. The tears streamed down his cheeks, like water from the
mouths of skins, and he said to Kanmakan, "O chief of the Arabs,
take me to friend, whilst I live, for thou wilt not find my like,
and give me a little water, harmful though the drinking of water
be to a wounded man, especially whilst the blood is flowing and
the life with it. If I live, I will give thee what shall heal thy
distress and thy poverty; and if I die, mayst thou be blessed for
thy good intent!" Now this horseman had under him a stallion of
the most generous breed, with legs like shafts of marble, the
tongue fails to describe it; and when Kanmakan looked at it, he
was seized with longing admiration and said in himself, "Verily,
the like of this stallion is not to be found in our time." Then
he helped the rider to alight and entreated him friendly and gave
him a little water to drink; after which he waited till he was
rested and said to him, "Who has dealt thus with thee?" "I will
tell thee the truth of the case," answered the wounded man. "I am
a horse-thief and all my life I have occupied myself with
stealing and snatching horses, night and day, and my name is
Ghessan, surnamed the plague of all stables and horses. I heard
tell of this stallion, that he was with King Afridoun in the land
of the Greeks, where they had named him El Catoul and surnamed
him El Mejnoun. So I journeyed to Constantinople on his account,
and whilst I was watching my opportunity to get at him, there
came out an old woman, much considered among the Greeks and whose
word is law with them, a past mistress in all manner of trickery,
by name Shewahi Dhat ed Dewahi. She had with her this stallion
and ten slaves, no more, to attend on her and it, and was bound
for Baghdad, there to sue for peace and pardon from King Sasan.
So I went out in their track, thinking to get the horse, and
ceased not to follow them, but was unable to get at the stallion,
by reason of the strict guard kept by the slaves, till they
reached this country and I feared lest they should enter the city
of Baghdad. As I was casting about to steal the horse, behold, a
great cloud of dust arose and covered the prospect. Presently it
opened and disclosed fifty horsemen, banded together to waylay
merchants and led by a captain by name Kehrdash, like a raging
lion, yea, in battle a lion that lays heroes flat even as a
carpet. They bore down on the old woman and her company, shouting
and surrounding them, nor was it long before they bound her and
the ten slaves and made off with their captives and the horse,
rejoicing. When I saw this, I said to myself, 'My toil is wasted
and I have not attained my desire.' However, I waited to see how
the affair would result, and when the old woman found herself a
captive, she wept and said to Kehrdash, 'O doughty champion and
invincible warrior, what wilt thou do with an old woman and
slaves, now thou hast thy will of the horse?' And she beguiled
him with soft words and promises that she would send him horses
and cattle, till he released her and her slaves. Then he went his
way, he and his comrades, and I followed them to this country,
watching my opportunity, till at last I succeeded in stealing the
horse, whereupon I mounted him and drawing a whip from my wallet,
struck him with it. When the robbers heard this, they came out on
me and surrounded me on all sides and shot arrows and cast spears
at me, whilst I stuck fast on the horse's back and he defended me
with his hoofs, till at last he shot out with me from amongst
them, like an arrow from the bow or a shooting star, after I had
gotten a grievous wound in the press of the battle. Since that
time, I have passed three days in the saddle, without tasting
food or sleep, so that my strength is wasted and the world is
become of no account to me. But thou hast dealt kindly with me
and hast had pity on me: and I see thee naked of body and
sorrowful of aspect; yet are the marks of gentle breeding
manifest on thee. So tell me, what and whence art thou and
whither art thou bound?" "My name is Kanmakan," answered the
prince, "son of King Zoulmekan, son of King Omar ben Ennuman. My
father died, and a base man seized the throne after his death and
became king over great and small." Then he told him all his story
from first to last; and the thief said to him, (and indeed he had
compassion on him), "By Allah, thou art a man of great account
and exceeding nobility and thou shalt surely win to high estate
and become the first cavalier of thy time! If thou canst lift me
into the saddle and mount behind me and bring me to my country,
thou shalt have honour in this world and a reward on the Day of
calling of men one to another;[FN#155] for I have no strength
left to hold myself in the saddle; and if I die by the way, the
steed is thine; for thou art worthier of it than any other." "By
Allah," said Kanmakan, "if I could carry thee on my shoulders or
share my life with thee, I would do so, without the horse! For I
am of those that love to do good and succour the afflicted. So
make ready to set out and put thy trust in the Subtle, the
All-Wise." And he would have lifted him on to the horse and set
forward, trusting in God the Succourable. But the robber said,
"Wait for me a little." Then he closed his eyes and opening his
hands, said, "I testify that there is no god but God and that
Mohammed is the Apostle of God! O Glorious One, pardon me my
mortal sin, for none can pardon mortal sins save Thou!" And he
made ready for death and recited the following verses:

I've ranged through all countries, oppressing mankind, And in
drinking of wine I have wasted my days.
I've waded through torrents, the horses to steal And I've used
with my guile the high places to raze.
My case is right grievous and great is my guilt, And Catoul,
alas! is the end of my ways.
I hoped of this horse I should get my desire; But vain was my
journey and vain my essays.
All my life I have stolen the steeds, and my death Was decreed of
the Lord of all power and all praise.
So, in fine, for the good of the stranger, the poor, The orphan,
I've wearied in toils and affrays.

When he had finished, he closed his eyes and opened his mouth;
then giving one sob, he departed this life. Kanmakan rose and dug
a grave and laid him in the earth. Then he went up to the
stallion and kissed it and wiped its face and rejoiced with an
exceeding joy, saying, "None has the like of this horse, no, not
even King Sasan." So much for Kanmakan.

Meanwhile, news came to King Sasan that the Vizier Dendan and
half the army had thrown off their allegiance to him and sworn
that they would have no king but Kanmakan and the Vizier had
bound the troops by a solemn covenant and had gone with them to
the islands of India and Ethiopia, where he had gathered together
a host like the swollen sea, none could tell its van from its
rear. Moreover, he was resolved to make for Baghdad and possess
himself of the kingdom and slay all who should let him, having
sworn not to return the sword of war to its sheath, till he had
set Kanmakan on the throne. When this news came to Sasan, he was
drowned in the sea of melancholy, knowing that the whole state
had furled against him, great and small, and trouble and anxiety
were sore on him. So he opened his treasuries and distributed
that which was therein among his officers and prayed for
Kanmakan's return, that he might draw his heart to him with fair
usage and bounty and make him commander of those troops that
remained faithful to him, hoping thus to prop his [falling]
power. The news of this reached Kanmakan by the merchants; so he
returned in haste to Baghdad, riding on the aforesaid stallion,
and the news of his coming reached King Sasan, as he sat
perplexed upon his throne; whereupon he despatched all the troops
and head-men of Baghdad to meet him. So all who were in Baghdad
went out to meet the Prince and escorted him to the palace and
kissed the threshold, whilst the damsels and eunuchs went in to
his mother and gave her the good tidings of his return. She came
to him and kissed him between the eyes, but he said to her, "O my
mother, let me go to my uncle King Sasan, who hath overwhelmed us
with favours and benefits." Then he repaired to the palace,
whilst all the people marvelled at the beauty of the stallion and
said, "No king is like unto this man." So he went in to King
Sasan, who rose to receive him; and Kanmakan saluted him and
kissing his hands, offered him the horse as a present. The King
bade him welcome, saying, "Welcome and fair welcome to my son
Kanmakan! By Allah, the world hath been straitened on me by
reason of thine absence, but praised be God for thy safety!" And
Kanmakan called down blessings on him. Then the King looked at
the stallion and knowing it for the very horse, Catoul by name,
that he had seen in such and such a year, whilst at the leaguer
of Constantinople with King Zoulmekan, said to Kanmakan, "I! thy
father could have come by this horse, he would have bought him
with a thousand chargers of price: but now let the honour return
to thee who deservest it. We accept the steed and return it to
thee as a gift, for thou hast more right to it than any man
alive, being the prince of cavaliers." Then he bade bring forth
for him dresses of honour and led horses and appointed him the
chief lodging in the palace, giving him much money and showing
him the utmost honour, for that he feared the issue of the Vizier
Dendan's doings. At this Kanmakan rejoiced and despondency and
humiliation ceased from him. Then he went to his house and said
to his mother, "O my mother, how is it with my cousin?" "By
Allah, O my son," answered she, "my concern for thine absence
hath distracted me from any other, even to thy beloved;
especially as she was the cause of thine exile and separation
from me." Then he complained to her of his sufferings, saying, "O
my mother, go to her and speak with her; haply she will favour me
with a sight of her and dispel my anguish." "O my son," replied
his mother, "idle desires abase the necks of men; so put away
from thee this thought that will but lead to vexation; for I will
not go to her nor carry her such a message." Thereupon he told
her what he had heard from the horse-thief concerning Dhat ed
Dewahi, how she was then in their land, on her way to Baghdad,
and added, "It was she who slew my uncle and grandfather, and
needs must I avenge them and wipe out our reproach." Then he left
her and repaired to an old woman, by name Saadaneh, a cunning,
perfidious and pernicious beldam, past mistress in all kinds of
trickery and deceit To her he complained of what he suffered for
love of his cousin Kuzia Fekan and begged her to go to her and
implore her favour for him. "I hear and obey," answered the old
woman and betaking herself to Kuzia Fekan's palace, interceded
with her in his favour. Then she returned to him and said, "Thy
cousin salutes thee and will visit thee this night at the middle
hour." At this he rejoiced and sat down to await the fulfilment
of his cousin's promise. At the appointed hour she came to him,
wrapped in a veil of black silk, and aroused him from sleep,
saying, "How canst thou pretend to love me, when thou art
sleeping, heart-free, after the goodliest fashion?" So he awoke
and said, "O desire of my heart, by Allah, I slept not but hoping
that thine image might visit me in dreams!" Then she chid him
tenderly and repeated the following verses:

Wert thou indeed a lover true and leal, Thou hadst not suffered
slumber on thee creep.
O thou who feign'st to walk the ways of love, The watch of
passion and desire to keep,
Son of my uncle, sure the eyes of those Who're love-distraught
know not the taste of sleep.

When he heard his cousin's words, he was abashed before her and
rose and excused himself. Then they embraced and complained to
each other of the anguish of separation; and thus they did, till
the dawn broke and the day flowered forth over the lands; when
she rose to depart. At this, Kanmakan wept and sighed and
repeated the following verses:

She came to me, after her pride had driven me to despair, She in
whose lips the teeth as the pearls of her necklace were.
I kissed her a thousand times and clipped her close in my arms
And lay all night with my cheek pressed close to the cheek
of the fair;
Till the day, that must sever our loves, as 'twere the blade of a
sword That flashes forth of its sheath, gleamed out on us

Then she took leave of him and returned to her palace. Now she
let certain of her damsels into her secret, and one of them told
the King, who went in to Kuzia Fekan and drawing his sabre upon
her, would have slain her: but her mother Nuzhet ez Zeman entered
and said to him, 'By Allah, do her no hurt, lest it be noised
among the folk and thou become a reproach among the kings of the
age! Thou knowest that Kanmakan is no base-born wretch, but a man
of honour and nobility, who would not do aught that could shame
him, and she was reared with him. So take patience and be not
hasty; for verily the report is spread abroad, among the people
of the palace and all the folk of the city, how the Vizier Dendan
hath levied troops from all countries and is on his way hither to
make Kanmakan king." "By Allah," said the King, "needs must I
cast him into a calamity, such that neither earth shall bear him
nor sky shadow him! I did but speak him fair and entreat him with
favour, because of my subjects and officers, lest they should
turn to him; but thou shalt see what will betide." Then he left
her and went out to order the affairs of the kingdom.

Next day, Kanmakan came in to his mother and said to her, "O my
mother, I am resolved to go forth a-raiding in quest of booty. I
will waylay caravans and seize horses and flocks and slaves black
and white, and as soon as my store is waxed great and my case is
bettered, I will demand my cousin Kuzia Fekan in marriage of my
uncle." "O my son," replied she, "of a truth the goods of men are
not as a wastril camel, ready to thy hand; but between thee and
them are sword-strokes and lance-thrusts and men that eat wild
beasts and lay waste countries and snare lions and trap lynxes."
Quoth he, "God forbid that I should turn from my purpose, till I
have attained my desire!" Then he despatched the old woman to
Kuzia Fekan, to tell her that he was about to set out in quest of
a dowry befitting her, saying, "Thou must without fail bring me
an answer from her." "I hear and obey," repled the old woman and
going forth, presently returned with Kuzia Fekan's answer, which
was that she would come to him at midnight. So he abode awake
till one half of the night was past, when disquietude got hold on
him, and before he was aware, she came in to him, saying, "My
life be thy ransom from wakefulness!" And he sprang up to receive
her, exclaiming, "O desire of my heart, my life be thy ransom
from all things evil!" Then he acquainted her with his intent,
and she wept; but he said, "Weep not, O my cousin; for I beseech
Him who decreed our separation to vouchsafe us reunion and
felicity." Then Kanmakan went in to his mother and took leave of
her, after which he girt on his sword and donned turban and
chin-band and mounting his horse Catoul, rode through the streets
of Baghdad, till he reached the gate of the city. Here he found
his comrade Subbah ben Remmah going out, who, seeing him, ran to
his stirrup and saluted him. He returned his greeting, and Subbah
said to him, "O my brother, how camest thou by this steed and
sword and clothes, whilst I up to now have gotten nothing but my
sword and target?" Quoth Kanmakan, "The hunter returns not but
with game after the measure of his intent. A little after thy
departure, fortune came to me: so now wilt thou go with me and
work thine intent in my company and journey with me in this
desert?" "By the Lord of the Kaabeh," replied Subbah, "from this
time forth I will call thee nought but 'My lord!'" Then he ran on
before the horse with his sword hanging from his neck and his
budget between his shoulder-blades, and they pushed on into the
desert four days' space, eating of the gazelles they caught and
drinking of the water of the springs. On the fifth day, they came
in sight of a high hill, at whose foot was a Spring encampment
and a running stream. The knolls and hollows were filled with
camels and oxen and sheep and horses, and little children played
about the cattle-folds. When Kanmakan saw this, he was right glad
and his breast was filled with joy; so he addressed himself to
battle, that he might take the camels and the cattle, and said to
Subbah, "Come, let us fall upon this good, whose owners have left
it unguarded, and do battle for it with near and far, so haply it
may fall to our lot and we will share it between us." "O my
lord," replied Subbah, "verily they to whom these herds belong
are much people, and among them are doughty horsemen and footmen.
If we cast ourselves into this great danger, neither of us will
return to his people; but we shall both be cut off utterly and
leave our cousins desolate." When Kanmakan heard this, he laughed
and knew that he was a coward: so he left him and rode down the
hill, intent on rapine, shouting and chanting aloud the following

O the house of En Numan is mickle of might! We're the champions
with swords on the squadrons that smite!
When the fury of battle flames high in our hearts, We're aye to
be found in the front of the fight.
The poor man amongst us may slumber secure Nor see the foul
favour of want or upright.
I hope for the succour of Him in whose hand Is the Kingdom, the
Maker of body and spright.

Then he rushed upon the cattle, like a camel in heat, and drove
them all, oxen and sheep and horses and camels, before him.
Therewith the slaves ran at him with their bright swords and
their long lances; and at their head was a Turkish horseman, a
stout champion, doughty in battle and onset and skilled to wield
the tawny spear and the white sabre. He drove at Kanmakan,
saying, "Out on thee! Knewest thou to whom these cattle belong,
thou hadst not done this thing! Know that they are the good of
the Greek band, the champions of the sea and the Circassian
troop, and they are a hundred cavaliers, all stern warriors, who
have forsworn the commandment of all kings. There has been stolen
from them a steed of great price, and they have vowed not to
return hence, but with it." When Kanmakan heard these words, he
cried out, saying, "O losers, this that I bestride is the steed
itself, after which ye seek and for whose sake ye would do battle
with me! So come out against me, all of you at once, and do your
dourest!" So saying, he cried out between Catoul's ears and he
ran at them, as he were a ghoul. Then Kanmakan drove at the Turk
and smote him and overthrew him and let out his life; after which
he turned upon a second and a third and a fourth and bereft them
also of life. When the slaves saw this, they were afraid of him,
and he cried out and said to them, "Ho, sons of whores, drive out
the cattle and the horses, or I will dye my spear in your blood!"
So they untethered the cattle and began to drive them out, and
Subbah came down to Kanmakan, crying out with a loud voice and
rejoicing greatly; when, behold, there arose a cloud of dust and
grew till it covered the prospect, and there appeared under it a
hundred cavaliers, like fierce lions. With this Subbah fled up on
to the hill, that he might gaze upon the fight in safety, saying,
"I am no warrior but in sport and jest." Then the hundred
cavaliers made towards Kanmakan from all sides, and one of them
accosted him, saying, "Whither goest thou with this good?" "I
have made prize of them," replied he, "and am carrying them away;
and I forbid you from them, for know that he who is before you is
a terrible lion and an illustrious champion and a sword that cuts
wherever it turns!" When the horseman heard this, he looked at
Kanmakan and saw that he was a cavalier as he were a strong lion,
whilst his face was as the full moon rising on its fourteenth
night, and valour shone from between his eyes. Now this horseman
was the chief of the hundred horse, and his name was Kehrdash;
and what he saw in Kanmakan of the perfection of martial grace,
together with surpassing beauty and comeliness, reminded him of a
mistress of his, by name Fatin. Now this Fatin was one of the
fairest of women in face, for God had given her beauty and grace
and charms and noble qualities of all kinds, such as the tongue
fails to describe. Moreover, the cavaliers of the tribe feared
her prowess and the champions of the land stood in awe of her,
and she had sworn that she would not marry nor give any
possession of her, except he should conquer her, saying to her
father, "None shall approach me, except he master me in the field
and the stead of war." Kehrdash was one of her suitors, and when
the news reached him of the vow she had taken, he thought scorn
to fight with a girl, fearing reproach; and one of his friends
said to him, "Thou art accomplished in beauty and manly
qualities; so if thou contend with her, even though she be
stronger than thou, thou must needs overcome her, for when she
sees thy beauty and grace, she will be discomfited before thee,
seeing that women by nature incline unto men, as is not unknown
to thee." Nevertheless he refused and would not contend with her,
albeit indeed she loved him, for what she had heard of his beauty
and velour: and he ceased not to abstain from her thus, till he
met with Kanmakan, as hath been set down. Now he took the prince
for his beloved Fatin and was afraid; so he went up to him and
said, "Out on thee, O Fatin! Thou comest to show me thy prowess;
but now alight from thy steed, that I may talk with thee, for I
have driven off these cattle and waylaid horsemen and champions,
all for the sake of thy beauty and grace, which are without peer.
So now thou shalt marry me, that kings' daughters may wait on
thee, and thou shalt become queen of these countries." When
Kanmakan heard this, the fires of wrath flamed up in him and he
cried out, saying, "Out on thee, O dog of the barbarians! Leave
thy raving of Fatin and come to cutting and thrusting, for
eftsoon thou shalt lie in the dust." So saying, he began to wheel
about him and offer battle. Then Kehrdash observed him more
closely and saw that he was indeed a doughty knight and a
stalwart champion; and the error of his thought was manifest to
him, whenas he saw the tender down that adorned his cheeks, as it
were myrtles springing from the heart of a red rose. And he
feared his onslaught and said to those that were with him, "Out
on you! Let one of you attack him and show him the keen sword and
the quivering spear; for know that for a company to do battle
with one man is foul shame, even though he be a doughty man of
war and an invincible champion." With this, there ran at Kanmakan
a lion-like horseman, mounted on a black horse with white feet
and a star on his forehead, the bigness of a dirhem, astounding
sight and wit, as he were Abjer, that was Antar's steed: even as
saith of him the poet:

See, where the stallion yonder comes, that with a fierce delight
Drives to the battle, mingling earth with heaven in his
Meseems, the morning smote his brow and to avenge himself
Thereon, he plunges straight and deep into its heart of

He rushed upon Kanmakan, who met him in mid-career, and they
wheeled about awhile in the dint of battle, exchanging blows such
as confound the wit and dim the sight, till Kanmakan took the
other at vantage and smote him a swashing blow, that shore
through turban and iron skull-cap and reached his head, and he
fell from his saddle, as a camel falls, when he rolls over. Then
a second came out to him and a third and a fourth and a fifth,
and he did with them all as he had done with the first. Thereupon
the rest rushed upon him, all at once, for indeed they were wild
with rage and concern; but it was not long before he had
transfixed them all with the point of his lance. When Kehrdash
saw his feats of arms, he knew that he was stout of heart and
concluded that he was the phoenix of the champions and heroes of
the age: so he feared death and said to Kanmakan, "I give thee
thy life and pardon thee the blood of my comrades, for I have
compassion on thee by reason of thy fair youth. So take what thou
wilt of the cattle and go thy ways, for life is better for thee
[than death]." "Thou lackest not of the generosity of the
noble,"[FN#156] replied Kanmakan; "but leave this talk and flee
for thy life and reck not of blame nor think to get back the
booty; but take the straight path for thine own safety." When
Kehrdash heard this, he waxed exceeding wroth and his anger moved
him to that which was the cause of his death; so he said to
Kanmakan, "Out on thee! Knewest thou who I am, thou wouldst not
talk thus in the open field. I am the doughty lion known as
Kehrdash, he who despoils great kings and waylays all the
travellers and seizes the merchants' goods. Yonder steed under
thee is what I am seeking and I call upon thee to tell me how
thou camest by it." "Know," replied Kanmakan, "that this steed
was being carried to my uncle King Sasan in the company of a
certain old woman, attended by ten slaves, when thou fellest upon
her and tookest the horse from her; and I have a debt of blood
against this old woman for the sake of my grandfather King Omar
ben Ennuman and my uncle King Sherkan." "Out on thee!" said
Kehrdash. "Who is thy father, O thou that hast no (known)
mother?" "Know," answered the prince, "that I am Kanmakan, son of
Zoulmekan, son of Omar ben Ennuman." Quoth Kehrdash, "Thy
perfection cannot be denied, nor yet the union in thee of martial
virtue and comeliness: but go in peace, for thy father showed us
favour and bounty." "By Allah, O vile wretch," rejoined Kanmakan,
"I will not so far honour thee as to overcome thee in the open
field!" At this the Bedouin was wroth and they drove at one
another, shouting aloud, whilst their horses pricked up their
ears and raised their tails. They clashed together with such a
dint, that it seemed to each as if the heavens were split in
sunder, and strove like two butting rams, smiting one another
with thick-coming spear-strokes. Presently, Kehrdash aimed a blow
at Kanmakan; but he evaded it and turning upon the brigand, smote
him in the breast, that the head of the spear issued from his
back. Then he collected the horses and cattle and cried out to
the slaves, saying, "Up and drive them off briskly!" With this
down came Subbah and accosting Kanmakan, said to him, "Thou hast
quitted thee right well, O hero of the age! I prayed God for thee
and He heard my prayer." Then he cut off Kehrdash's head and
Kanmakan laughed and said, "Out on thee, Subbah! I thought thee a
man of valour." Quoth the Bedouin, "Forget not thy slave in the
division of the spoil, so haply I may win therewith to marry my
cousin Nejmeh." "Thou shalt surely have a share in it," answered
Kanmakan, "but now keep watch over the booty and the slaves."
Then they set out and journeyed night and day till they drew near
Baghdad, and all the troops heard of Kanmakan and saw the booty
and the brigand's head on the point of Subbah's spear. Moreover,
the merchants knew Kehrdash's head and rejoiced, for he was a
noted highwayman, saying, "Allah hath rid mankind of him!" And
they marvelled at his death and called down blessings on his
slayer. Then all the people of Baghdad came to Kanmakan, seeking
to know what had befallen him, and he told them what had passed,
whereupon they were taken with awe of him and all the champions
and men of war feared him. After this, he drove his spoil to the
palace and planting the spear, on which was Kehrdash's head,
before the gate, gave largesse to the people of camels and horses
so that they loved him and all hearts inclined to him. Then he
took Subbah and lodged him in a spacious dwelling, giving him
part of the booty; after which he went in to his mother and told
her all that had befallen him. Meanwhile the news of him reached
the King, who rose and shutting himself up with his chief
officers, said to them, "I wish to reveal to you my secret and
acquaint you with the truth of my case. Know that Kanmakan will
be the cause of our expulsion from the kingdom; for he has slain
Kehrdash, albeit he had with him the tribes of the Turks and the
Kurds, and our affair with him will assuredly result in our
destruction, seeing that the most part of our troops are his
kinsmen and ye know what the Vizier Dendan hath done; how he
refuses to recognize me, after all the favours I have done him,
and is become a traitor to his faith. Indeed, it has come to my
knowledge that he hath levied an army in the provinces and goeth
about to make Kanmakan king, for that the kingdom was his
father's and his grandfather's before him, and he will surely
slay me without mercy." When they heard this, they replied, "O
King, verily he[FN#157] is unequal to this, and did we not know
him to have been reared by thee, not one of us would take thought
to him. We are at thy commandment; if thou wilt have us slay him,
we will do so, and if thou wilt have him kept at a distance, we
will chase him away." When King Sasan heard this, he said,
"Verily, it were wise to slay him: but needs must ye take an oath
of it." So they all pledged themselves to kill him, to the intent
that, when the Vizier Dendan came and heard of his death, his
might should be weakened and fail of that which he designed to
do. When they had made this compact with him, the King bestowed
great gifts upon them and dismissing them, retired to his own
apartments. Now the troops refused their service, awaiting what
should befall, for they saw that the most part of the army was
with the Vizier Dendan. Presently, the news of these things came
to Kuzia Fekan and caused her much concern; so that she sent for
the old woman, who was wont to carry messages between her and her
cousin, and bade her go to him and warn him of the plot against
his life. Accordingly, she repaired to Kanmakan and gave him the
princess's message, to which he replied, "Bear my cousin my
salutation and say to her, 'The earth is God's (to whom belong
might and majesty), and He maketh whom He willeth of His servants
to inherit it. How excellent is the saying of the poet:

The kingship is God's alone, and him who would fain fulfil His
wishes He driveth away and maketh him rue for his ill.
Had I or another than I a handsbreadth of earth to my own, The
Godship were sundered in twain and two were the Power and
the Will.'"

The old woman returned to Kuzia Fekan with Kanmakan's reply and
told her that he abode in the city. Meanwhile, King Sasan awaited
his going forth from Baghdad, that he might send after him and
kill him; till, one day, it befell that Kanmakan went out to
hunt, accompanied by Subbah, who would not leave him day or
night. He caught ten gazelles and among them one that had soft
black eyes and turned right and left; so he let her go, and
Subbah said to him, "Why didst thou let her go?" Kanmakan laughed
and set the others free also, saying, "It behoves us, of
humanity, to release gazelles that have young, and this one only
turned from side to side, to look for her young ones: so I let
her go and released the others in her honour." Quoth Subbah, "Do
thou release me, that I may go to my people." At this Kanmakan
laughed and smote him on the breast with the butt of his spear,
and he fell to the ground, writhing like a serpent. Whilst they
were thus occupied, they saw cloud of dust and heard the tramp of
horse; and presently there appeared a troop of armed cavaliers.
Now King Sasan had heard of Kanmakan's going out and sending for
an Amir of the Medes, called Jami, and twenty men, had given them
money and bidden them slay Kanmakan. So, when they drew near the
prince, they rushed at him and he met them in mid-career and
killed them all, to the last man. Meanwhile the King took horse
and riding out to meet his men, found them all slain, whereat he
wondered and turned back; but the people of the city laid hands
on him and bound him straitly. As for Kanmakan, he left that
place behind him and rode onward with Subbah. As he went, he saw
a youth sitting at the door of a house in his road and saluted
him. The youth returned his greeting and going into the house,
brought out two platters, one full of milk and the other of
brewis swimming in (clarified) butter, which he set before
Kanmakan, saying, "Favour me by eating of my victual." But he
refused and the young man said to him, "What ails thee, O man,
that thou wilt not eat?" "I have a vow upon me," replied the
prince. "What is the cause of thy vow?" asked the youth, and
Kanmakan answered, "Know that King Sasan seized upon my kingdom
wrongfully and oppressively, albeit it was my father's and my
grandfather's before me; yet he laid hands upon the throne by
force, after my father's death, and took no count of me, for that
I was of tender years. So I have bound myself by a vow to eat no
man's victual, till I have eased my heart of my enemy."
"Rejoice," rejoined the youth, "for God hath fulfilled thy vow.
Know that he is in prison and methinks he will soon die." "In
what house is he imprisoned?" asked Kanmakan. "In yonder high
pavilion," answered the other. The prince looked and saw the folk
entering and buffeting Sasan, who was suffering the agonies of
death. So he went up to the pavilion and noted what was therein;
after which he returned to his place and sitting down to meat,
ate what sufficed him and put the rest in his budget. Then he
waited till it was dark night. And the youth, whose guest he was,
slept; when he rose and repaired to the pavilion in which Sasan
was confined. Now about it were dogs, guarding it, and one of
them ran at him; so he took out of his wallet a piece of meat and
threw it to him. He ceased not to do thus, till he came to the
pavilion and making his way to the place where Sasan was, laid
his hand upon his head; whereupon he said in a loud voice, "Who
art thou?" "I am Kanmakan," replied the prince, "whom thou
wentest about to kill; but God made thee fall into the evil
thyself hadst devised. Did it not suffice thee to take my kingdom
and that of my father, but thou must go about to kill me?" And
Sasan swore a vain oath that he had not plotted his death and
that the report was untrue. So Kanmakan forgave him and said to
him, "Follow me." Quoth he, "I cannot walk a single step for
weakness." "If the case be thus," replied Kanmakan, "we will get
us two horses and ride forth and seek the open country." So they
took horse and rode till daybreak, when they prayed the
morning-prayer and fared on till they came to a garden, where
they sat down and talked awhile. Then Kanmakan rose and said to
Sasan, "Is there aught of bitterness left in thy heart against
me?" "No, by Allah!" replied Sasan. So they agreed to return to
Baghdad and Subbah the Bedouin said, "I will go on before you, to
give the folk notice of your coming." Then he rode on in advance,
acquainting men and women with the news; so all the people came
out to meet Kanmakan with tabrets and flutes; and Kuzia Fekan
also came out, like the full moon shining in all her splendour in
the thick darkness of the night. Kanmakan met her, and their
hearts yearned each to each and their bodies longed one for the
other. There was no talk among the people of the time but of
Kanmakan; for the cavaliers bore witness of him that he was the
most valiant of the folk of the age and said, "It is not just
that other than he should be King over us; but the throne of his
grandfather shall revert to him as it was." Meanwhile King Sasan
went in to his wife Nuzhet ez Zeman, who said to him, "I hear
that the folk talk of nothing but Kanmakan and attribute to him
such qualities as beggar description." "Hearing is not like
seeing," replied the King; "I have seen him, but have noted in
him not one of the attributes of perfection. Not all that is
heard is said; but the folk ape one another in extolling and
cherishing him, and God makes his praise to run on the lips of
men, so that there incline to him the hearts of the people of
Baghdad and of the perfidious traitor the Vizier Dendan, who has
levied troops from all countries and arrogates to himself the
right of naming a king of the country and chooses that it shall
be under the hand of a worthless orphan." "What then dost thou
purpose to do?" asked Nuzhet ez Zeman. "I mean to kill him,"
replied the King, "that the Vizier may be baulked of his intent
and return to his allegiance to me, seeing nothing for it but my
service." Quoth she, "Perfidy is a foul thing with strangers, and
how much more with kinsfolk? Thou wouldst do better to marry him
to thy daughter Kuzia Fekan and give heed to what was said of old

If Fate set over thee a man, though thou than he Be worthier and
this be grievous unto thee,
Yield him the honour due to his estate; thou'lt find He will
advantage thee, though near or far thou be.
Speak not thy thought of him; else wilt thou be of those Who of
their own accord the way of weal do flee.
Many in the harem oft are brighter than the bride; But time is on
her side, and opportunity."

When Sasan heard this, he rose in anger and said to her, "Were it
not that to kill thee would bring disgrace and reproach on me, I
would take off thy head with my sword and make an end of thee."
Quoth she, "I did but jest with thee." And rose and kissed his
head and hands, saying, "Thou art right, and we will cast about
for some means to kill him." When he heard this, he was glad and
said, "Make haste and contrive some device to relieve me of my
affliction; for I am at my wit's end." Said she, "I will make
shift to do away his life for thee." "How so?" asked he; and she
answered, "By means of our female slave Bakoun." Now this Bakoun
was past mistress in all kinds of knavery and was one of the most
pernicious of old women, in whose religion it was not lawful to
abstain from wickedness; she had brought up Kanmakan and Kuzia
Fekan, and the former had her in so great affection, that he was
wont to sleep at her feet. So when King Sasan heard his wife name
her, he said, "This is a good counsel," and sending for the old
woman, told her what had passed and bade go about to kill
Kanmakan, promising her all good. "O my lord," replied she, "thy
commandment shall be done: but I would have thee give me a dagger
that has been tempered in water of dearth,[FN#158] that I may
despatch him the quicklier for thee." "So be it," said Sasan and
gave her a knife that would well-nigh forego destiny. Now this
woman had heard stories and verses and committed to memory great
store of witty traits and anecdotes: so she took the dagger and
went out, considering how she should compass Kanmakan's
destruction. Then she repaired to the prince, whom she found
sitting awaiting [the coming of a messenger with] his cousin's
tryst; so that night his thought was taken up with Kuzia Fekan
and the fires of love for her raged in his heart. Bakoun went in
to him, saying, "The time of union is at hand and the days of
separation are over and gone." When he heard this, he said, "How
is it with Kuzia Fekan?" And she answered, "Know that she is
distraught for love of thee." At this he rose and taking off his
[upper] clothes, put them on her and promised her all good. Then
said she, "Know that I mean to pass this night with thee, that I
may repeat to thee what talk I have heard and divert thee with
tales of many a slave of love, whom passion hath made sick."
Quoth he, "Tell me a story, that will gladden my heart and dispel
my cares." "With all my heart," answered she and sitting down
beside him, with the dagger under her clothes, began thus, "The
pleasantest thing I ever heard was as follows:

Bakoun's Story of the Hashish-eater.

A certain man loved the fair and spent his substance on them,
till he became a beggar and used to go about the streets and
markets, seeking his bread. One day, as he went along, a splinter
of iron pierced his finger and made it bleed; so he sat down and
wiping away the blood, bound up his finger. Then he went on,
crying out, till he came to a bath, and entering found it clean
(and empty). So he took off his clothes and sitting down by the
basin, fell to pouring water on his head, till he was tired, when
he went out to the room in which was the tank of cold water.
Finding none there, he shut himself up [in a cabinet] and taking
out a piece of hashish, swallowed it. The fumes of the drug
spread through his brain and he rolled over on to the marble
floor. Then the hashish made it appear to him as if a great lord
were kneading him and as if two slaves stood at his head, one
bearing a bowl and the other washing gear and all the requisites
of the bath. When he saw this, he said to himself, 'Meseems these
are mistaken in me; or else they are of the company of us
hashish-eaters.' Then he stretched out his legs and it seemed to
him that the bathman said to him, 'O my lord, the time of thy
going forth draws near and it is to-day thy turn of service (at
the palace).' At this he laughed and said, 'As God wills, O
hashish!' Then he sat and said nothing, whilst the bathman took
him by the hand and raising him up, girt his middle with a
waist-cloth of black silk, after which the two slaves followed
him, with the bowls and implements, till they brought him into a
cabinet, wherein they set perfumes burning. He found the place
full of various kinds of fruits and sweet-scented flowers, and
they cut him a melon and seated him on a stool of ebony, whilst
the bathman stood to wash him and the slaves poured water on him;
after which they rubbed him down well and said, 'O our lord the
Vizier, may the bath profit thee and mayst thou come to delight
everlasting!' Then they went out and shut the door on him; and he
took up the waist-cloth and laughed till he well-nigh lost his
senses. He gave not over laughing for some time and saying to
himself, 'What ails them to bespeak me as if I were a Vizier and
style me "Master" and "our lord"? Surely they are dreaming now;
but presently they will know me and say, "This fellow is a
beggar," and take their fill of cuffing me on the nape of the
neck.' Presently, he felt hot and opened the door, whereupon it
seemed to him that a little white slave and an eunuch entered,
carrying a parcel. The slave opened the parcel and brought out
three kerchiefs of silk, one of which he threw over his head, a
second over his shoulders, and a third he tied round his waist.
Moreover, the eunuch gave him a pair of bath-clogs, and he put
them on; after which in came eunuchs and slaves and supported
him, laughing the while, to the outer hall, which he found hung
and spread with magnificent furniture, such as beseems none but
kings; and the pages hastened up to him and seated him on the
divan. Then they fell to kneading him, till sleep overcame him
and he dreamt that he had a girl in his arms. So he kissed her
and set her between his thighs; then, clipping her as a man clips
a woman, took his yard in his hand and was about to have at her,
when he heard one saying to him, 'Awake, thou good-for-nought!
The hour of noon is come and thou art still asleep.' He opened
his eyes and found himself lying on the merge of the cold-water
tank, with a crowd of people about him, laughing at him; for the
napkin was fallen from his middle and discovered his yard in
point. So he knew that all this was but an imbroglio of dreams
and an illusion of hashish and was vexed and said to him who had
aroused him, 'Would thou hadst waited till I had put it in!' Then
said the folk, 'Art thou not ashamed, O hashish-eater, and thou
lying asleep and naked, with thy yard on end?' And they cuffed
him, till the nape of his neck was red. Now he was starving, yet
had he tasted the savour of delight in sleep."

When Kanmakan heard this story, he laughed till he fell backward
and said to Bakoun, "O my nurse, this is indeed a rare story; I
never heard its like. Hast thou any more?" "Yes," answered she
and went on to tell him diverting stories and laughable
anecdotes, till sleep overcame him. Then she sat by him till the
most part of the night was past, when she said to herself, "It is
time to profit by the occasion." So she unsheathed the dagger and
drawing near to Kanmakan, was about to slaughter him, when,
behold, in came his mother. When Bakoun saw her, she rose to meet
her, and fear got hold on her and she fell a-trembling, as if she
had the ague. The princess mother marvelled to see her thus and
aroused her son, who awoke and found her sitting at his head. Now
the reason of her coming was that Kuzia Fekan heard of the plot
to kill Kanmakan and said to his mother, "O wife of my uncle, go
to thy son, ere that wicked baggage Bakoun kill him." And she
told her what had passed, from beginning to end. So she rose at
once and stayed not for aught, till she came to her son's
lodgings, just as Bakoun was about to slay him. When he awoke, he
said to his mother, "O my mother, indeed thou comest at a good
time, for my nurse Bakoun has been with me this night." Then he
turned to Bakoun and said to her, "My life on thee, knowest thou
any story better than those thou hast told me?" "What I have told
thee," answered she, "is nothing to what I will tell thee; but
that must be for another time." Then she rose to go, hardly
believing that she should escape with her life, for she perceived
of her cunning that his mother knew what was toward; and he said,
"Go in peace." So she went her way, and his mother said to him,
"O my son, blessed be this night, wherein God the Most High hath
delivered thee from this accursed woman!" "How so?" asked he, and
she told him the whole story. "O my mother," said he, "whoso is
fated to live finds no slayer; nor, though he be slain, will he
die; but now it were wise that we depart from amongst these
enemies and let God do what He will." So, as soon as it was day,
he left the city and joined the Vizier Dendan, and certain things
befell between King Sasan and Nuzhet ez Zeman, which caused her
also to leave the city and join herself to Kanmakan and Dendan,
as did likewise such of the King's officers as inclined to their
party. Then they took counsel together what they should do and
agreed to make an expedition into the land of the Greeks and take
their revenge for the death of King Omar ben Ennuman and his son
Sherkan. So they set out with this intent and after adventures
which it were tedious to set out, but the drift of which will
appear from what follows, they fell into the hands of Rumzan,
King of the Greeks. Next morning, King Rumzan caused Dendan and
Kanmakan and their company to be brought before him and seating
them at his side, bade spread the tables of food. So they ate and
drank and took heart of grace, after having made sure of death,
for that, when they were summoned to the King's presence, they
said to one another, "He has not sent for us but to put us to
death." Then said the King, "I have had a dream, which I related
to the monks and they said, 'None can expound it to thee but the
Vizier Dendan.'" "And what didst thou see in thy dream, O King of
the age?" asked Dendan. "I dreamt," answered the King, "that I
was in a pit, as it were a black well, where meseemed folk were
tormenting me; and I would have risen, but fell on my feet and
could not get out of the pit. Then I turned and saw on the ground
a girdle of gold and put out my hand to take it; but when I
raised it from the ground, I saw it was two girdles. So I girt my
middle with them, and behold, they became one girdle; and this, O
Vizier, is my dream and what I saw in sleep." "O our lord the
Sultan," said Dendan, "this thy dream denotes that thou hast a
brother or a brother's son or an uncle's son or other near
kinsman of thy flesh and blood [of whom thou knowest not]." When
the King heard this, he looked at Kanmakan and Dendan and Nuzhet
ez Zeman and Kuzia Fekan and the rest of the captives and said in
himself, "If I cut off these people's heads, their troops will
lose heart for the loss of their chiefs and I shall be able to
return speedily to my realm, lest the kingdom pass out of my
hands." So he called the headsman and bade him strike off
Kanmakan's head, when behold, up came Rumzan's nurse and said to
him, "O august King, what wilt thou do?" Quoth he, "I mean to put
these captives to death and throw their heads among their troops;
after which I will fall upon them, I and all my men, and kill all
we may and put the rest to the rout; so will this be the end of
the war and I shall return speedily to my kingdom, ere aught
befall among my subjects."

When the nurse heard this, she came up to him and said in the
Frank tongue, "How canst thou slay thine own brother's son and
thy sister and thy sister's daughter?" When he heard this, he was
exceeding angry and said to her, "O accursed woman, didst thou
not tell me that my mother was murdered and that my father died
by poison? Didst thou not give me a jewel and say to me, 'This
jewel was thy father's'? Why didst thou not tell me the truth?"
"All that I told thee is true," replied she: "but thy case and my
own are wonderful and thine and my history extraordinary. My name
is Merjaneh and thy mother's name was Abrizeh. She was gifted
with such beauty and grace and valour that proverbs were made of
her, and her prowess was renowned among men of war. Thy father
was King Omar ben Ennuman, lord of Baghdad and Khorassan. He sent
his son Sherkan on an expedition, in company with this very
Vizier Dendan; and Sherkan thy brother separated himself from the
troops and fell in with thy mother Queen Abrizeh, in a privy
garden of her palace, whither we had resorted to wrestle, she and
I and her other damsels. He came on us by chance and wrestled
with thy mother, who overcame him by the splendour of her beauty
and her valour. Then she entertained him five days in her palace,
till the news of this came to her father, by the old woman
Shewahi, surnamed Dhat ed Dewahi, whereupon she embraced Islam at
Sherkan's hands and he carried her by stealth to Baghdad, and
with her myself and Rihaneh and other twenty damsels. When we
came to thy father's presence, he fell in love with thy mother
and going in to her one night, foregathered with her, and she
became with child by him of thee. Now thy mother had three
jewels, which she gave to thy father, and he gave one of them to
his daughter Nuzhet ez Zeman, another to thy brother Zoulmekan
and the third to thy brother Sherkan. This last thy mother took
from Sherkan, and I kept it for thee. When the time of the
princess's delivery drew near, she yearned after her own people
and discovered her secret to me; so I went privily to a black
slave called Ghezban and telling him our case, bribed him to go
with us. Accordingly, he took us and fled forth the city with us
by stealth towards the land of the Greeks, till we came to a
desert place on the borders of our own country. Here the pangs of
labour came upon thy mother, and the slave, being moved by lust,
sought of her a shameful thing; whereat she cried out loudly and
was sore affrighted at him. In the excess of her alarm, she gave
birth to thee at once, and at this moment there arose, in the
direction of our country, a cloud of dust which spread till it
covered the plain. At this sight, the slave feared for his life;
so, in his rage, he smote Queen Abrizeh with his sword and slew
her, then, mounting his horse, went his way. Presently, the dust
lifted and discovered thy grandfather, King Herdoub, who, seeing
thy mother his daughter dead on the ground, was sorely troubled
and questioned me of the manner of her death and why she had left
her father's kingdom. So I told him all that had happened, first
and last; and this is the cause of the feud between the people of
the land of the Greeks and the people of Baghdad. Then we took up
thy dead mother and buried her; and I took thee and reared thee,
and hung this jewel about thy neck. But, when thou camest to
man's estate, I dared not acquaint thee with the truth of the
matter, lest it should stir up a war of revenge between you.
Moreover, thy grandfather had enjoined me to secrecy, and I could
not gainsay the commandment of thy mother's father, Herdoub, King
of the Greeks. This, then, is why I forbore to tell thee that thy
father was King Omar ben Ennuman; but, when thou camest to the
throne, I told thee [what thou knowest]; and the rest I could not
reveal to thee till this moment. So now, O King of the age, I
have discovered to thee my secret and have acquainted thee with
all that I know of the matter; and thou knowest best what is in
thy mind." When Nuzhet ez Zeman heard what the King's nurse said,
she cried out, saying, "This King Rumzan is my brother by my
father King Omar ben Ennuman, and his mother was the Princess
Abrizeh, daughter of Herdoub, King of the Greeks; and I know this
damsel Merjaneh right well." With this, trouble and perplexity
got hold upon Rumzan and he caused Nuzhet ez Zeman to be brought
up to him forthright. When he looked upon her, blood drew to
blood and he questioned her of his history. So she told me all
she knew, and her story tallied with that of his nurse; whereupon
he was assured that he was indeed of the people of Irak and that
King Omar ben Ennuman was his father. So he caused his sister to
be unbound, and she came up to him and kissed his hands, whilst
her eyes ran over with tears. He wept also to see her weeping,
and brotherly love entered into him and his heart yearned to his
brother's son Kanmakan. So he sprang to his feet and taking the
sword from the headsman's hands, bade bring the captives up to
him. At this, they made sure of death; but he cut their bonds
with the sword and said to Merjaneh, "Explain the matter to them,
even as thou hast explained it to me." "O King," replied she,
"know that this old man is the Vizier Dendan and he is the best
of witnesses to my story, seeing that he knows the truth of the
case." Then she turned to the captives and repeated the whole
story to them and to the princes of the Greeks and the Franks who
were present with them, and they all confirmed her words. When
she had finished, chancing to look at Kanmakan, she saw on his
neck the fellow jewel to that which she had hung round King
Rumzan's neck, whereupon she gave such a cry, that the whole
palace rang again, and said to the King, "Know, O my son, that
now my certainty is still more assured, for the jewel that is
about the neck of yonder captive is the fellow to that I hung to
thy neck, and this is indeed thy brother's son Kanmakan." Then
she turned to Kanmakan and said to him, "O King of the age, let
me see that jewel." So he took it from his neck and gave it to
her. Then she asked Nuzhet ez Zeman of the third jewel and she
gave it to her, whereupon she delivered the two to King Rumzan,
and the truth of the matter was made manifest to him and he was
assured that he was indeed Prince Kanmakan's uncle and that his
father was King Omar ben Ennuman. So he rose at once and going up
to the Vizier Dendan, embraced him; then he embraced Prince
Kanmakan, and they cried aloud for very gladness. The joyful news
was blazed abroad and they beat the drums and cymbals, whilst
the flutes sounded and the people held high festival. The army of
Irak and Syria heard the clamour of rejoicing among the Greeks;
so they mounted, all of them, and King Ziblcan also took horse,
saying in himself, "What can be the cause of this clamour and
rejoicing in the army of the Franks?" Then the Muslim troops made
ready for fight and advancing into the field, drew out in battle
array. Presently, King Rumzan turned and seeing the army deployed
in battalia, enquired the reason and was told the state of the
case; so he bade Kuzia Fekan return at once to the Muslim troops
and acquaint them with the accord that had betided and how it was
come to light that he was Kanmakan's uncle. So she set out,
putting away from her sorrows and troubles, and stayed not till
she came to King Ziblcan, whom she found tearful-eyed, fearing
for the captive chiefs and princes. She saluted him and told him
all that had passed, whereat the Muslims' grief was turned to
gladness. Then he and all his officers took horse and followed
the princess to the pavilion of King Rumzan, whom they found
sitting with his nephew, Prince Kanmakan. Now they had taken
counsel with the Vizier Dendan concerning King Ziblcan and had
agreed to commit to his charge the city of Damascus of Syria and
leave him king over it as before, whilst themselves entered Irak.
Accordingly, they confirmed him in the viceroyalty of Damascus
and bade him set out at once for his government, so he departed
with his troops and they rode with him a part of the way, to bid
him farewell. Then they returned and gave orders for departure,
whereupon the two armies united and King Rumzan and his nephew
set out, surrounded by their nobles and grandees. And indeed
Kanmakan rejoiced in his uncle King Rumzan and called down
blessings on the nurse Merjaneh, who had made them known to each
other; but the two Kings said to one another, "Our hearts will
never be at rest nor our wrath appeased, till we have taken our
wreak of the old woman Shewahi, surnamed Dhat ed Dewahi, and
wiped out the blot upon our honour." So they fared on till they
drew near Baghdad, and Sasan, hearing of their approach, came out
to meet them and kissed the hand of the King of the Greeks, who
bestowed on him a dress of honour. Then King Rumzan sat down on
the throne and seated his nephew at his side, who said to him, "O
my uncle, this kingdom befits none but thee." "God forbid,"
replied Rumzan, "that I should supplant thee in thy kingdom!" So
the Vizier Dendan counselled them to share the throne between
them, ruling each one day in turn, and they agreed to this. Then
they made feasts and offered sacrifices and held high festival,
whilst King Kanmakan spent his nights with his cousin Kuzia
Fekan; and they abode thus awhile.

One day, as the two Kings sat, rejoicing in the happy ending of
their troubles, they saw a cloud of dust arise and up came a
merchant, who ran to them, shrieking and crying out for succour.
"O Kings of the age," said he, "how comes it that I was in safety
in the country of the infidels and am plundered in your realm,
what though it be a land of peace and justice?" King Rumzan
questioned him of his case, and he replied, "I am a merchant, who
have been nigh a score of years absent from my native land,
travelling in far countries; and I have a patent of exemption
from Damascus, which the late Viceroy King Sherkan wrote me, for
that I had made him gift of a slave-girl. Now I was returning to
Irak, having with me a hundred loads of rarities of Ind; but, as
I drew near Baghdad, the seat of your sovereignty and the
abiding-place of your peace and your justice, there came out upon
me Bedouins and Kurds banded together from all parts, who slew my
men and robbed me of all my goods. This is what hath befallen
me." Then he wept and bemoaned himself before the two Kings, who
took compassion on him and swore that they would sally out upon
the thieves. So they set out with a hundred horse, each reckoned
worth thousands of men, and the merchant went before them, to
guide them in the right way. They fared on all that day and the
following night till daybreak, when they came to a valley
abounding in streams and trees. Here they found the bandits
dispersed about the valley, having divided the treasure between
them; but there was yet some of it left. So they fell upon them
and surrounded them on all sides, nor was it long before they
made prize of them all, to the number of near three hundred
horsemen, banded together of the scourings of the Arabs. They
bound them all, and taking what they could find of the merchant's
goods, returned to Baghdad, where the two Kings sat down upon one
throne and passing the prisoners in review before them,
questioned them of their condition and their chiefs. So they
pointed out to them three men and said, "These are our only
chiefs, and it was they who gathered us together from all parts
and countries." The Kings bade lay on these three and set the
rest free, after taking from them all the goods in their
possession and giving them to the merchant, who examined them and
found that a fourth of his stock was missing. The two Kings
engaged to make good his loss, whereupon he pulled out two
letters, one in the handwriting of Sherkan and the other in that
of Nuzhet ez Zeman; for this was the very merchant who had bought
Nuzhet ez Zeman of the Bedouin, as hath been before set forth.
Kanmakan examined the letters and recognized the handwriting of
his uncle Sherkan and his aunt Nuzhet ez Zeman; then (for that he
knew the latter's history) he went in to her with that which she
had written and told her the merchant's story. She knew her own
handwriting and recognizing the merchant, despatched to him
guest-gifts (of victual and what not) and commended him to her
brother and nephew, who ordered him gifts of money and slaves and
servants to wait on him, besides which the princess sent him a
hundred thousand dirhems in money and fifty loads of merchandise,
together with other rich presents. Then she sent for him and made
herself known to him, whereat he rejoiced greatly and kissed her
hands, giving her joy of her safety and union with her brother
and thanking her for her bounty: and he said to her, "By Allah, a
good deed is not lost upon thee!" Then she withdrew to her own
apartment and the merchant sojourned with them three days, after
which he took leave of them and set out to return to Damascus.
After this, the two Kings sent for the three robber-chiefs and
questioned them of their condition, whereupon one of them came
forward and said, "Know that I am a Bedouin, who use to lie
in wait, by the way, to steal children and virgin girls and
sell them to merchants; and this I did for many a year until
these latter days, when Satan incited me to join these two
gallows-birds in gathering together all the riff-raff of the
Arabs and other peoples, that we might waylay merchants and
plunder caravans." Said the two Kings, "Tell us the rarest of the
adventures that have befallen thee in kidnapping children and
girls." "O Kings of the age," replied he, "the strangest thing
that ever happened to me was as follows. Two-and-twenty years
ago, being at Jerusalem, I saw a girl come out of the khan, who
was possessed of beauty and grace, albeit she was but a servant
and was clad in worn clothes, with a piece of camel-cloth on her
head; so I entrapped her by guile and setting her on a camel,
made off with her into the desert, thinking to carry her to my
own people and there set her to pasture the camels and collect
their dung (for fuel); but she wept so sore, that after beating
her soundly, I carried her to Damascus, where a merchant saw her
and being astounded at her beauty and accomplishments, bid me
more and more for her, till at last I sold her to him for a
hundred thousand dinars. I heard after that he clothed her
handsomely and presented her to the Viceroy of Damascus, who gave
him for her her price thrice told; and this, by my life, was but
little for such a damsel! This, O Kings of the age, is the
strangest thing that ever befell me." The two Kings wondered at
his story; but, when Nuzhet ez Zeman heard it, the light in her
face became darkness, and she cried out and said to her brother,
"Sure, this is the very Bedouin who kidnapped me in Jerusalem!"
And she told them all that she had endured from him in her
strangerhood of hardship and blows and hunger and humiliation,
adding, "And now it is lawful to me to slay him." So saying, she
seized a sword and made at him; but he cried out and said, "O
Kings of the age, let her not kill me, till I have told you the
rare adventures that have betided me." And Kanmakan said to her,
"O my aunt, let him tell his story, and after do with him as thou
wilt." So she held her hand and the Kings said to him, "Now let
us hear thy story." "O Kings of the age," said he, "if I tell you
a rare story, will you pardon me?" "Yes," answered they. Then
said the Bedouin, "know that

Hemmad the Bedouin's Story.

Awhile ago, I was sore wakeful one night and thought the dawn
would never break: so, as soon as it was day, I rose and girding
on my sword, mounted my steed and set my lance in rest. Then I
rode out to hunt, and as I went along, a company of men accosted
me and asked me whither I went. I told them, and they said, 'We
will bear thee company.' So we all fared on together, and
presently we saw an ostrich and gave chase; but it evaded us and
spreading its wings, fled before us and drew us on after it, till
it brought us to a desert, wherein there was neither grass nor
water, nor was aught to be heard there save the hissing of
serpents, the wailing of Jinn and the howling of ghouls. Here we
lost sight of the ostrich, nor could we tell whether it had flown
up into the sky or sunk into the ground. Then we turned our
horses' heads and thought to go back; but found that our return
would be toilsome and dangerous at that time of exceeding heat;
for the heat was grievous to us, so that we were sore athirst and
our horses stood still. So we made sure of death; but as we were
in this case, we espied a spacious meadow afar off, wherein were
gazelles frisking. There was a tent pitched and by the tent-side
a horse tethered and a spear stuck in the earth, whose head
glittered in the sun. When we saw this, our hearts revived, after
we had despaired, and we turned our horses' heads towards the
meadow and rode on, till we came to a spring, where we alighted
and drank and watered our beasts. Then I was seized with a frenzy
of curiosity and went up to the door of the tent, where I saw a
young man like the new moon, without hair on his cheeks, and on
his right hand a slender damsel, as she were a willow wand. No
sooner did I set eyes on the girl, than love of her got hold upon
my heart and I saluted the young man, who returned my greeting.
Then said I to him, 'O brother of the Arabs, tell me who thou art
and what is this damsel to thee?' With this, he bent down his
head awhile, then raised it and replied, 'Tell me first who thou
art and what are these horsemen with thee.' 'I am Hemmad, son of
El Fezari,' answered I, 'the renowned cavalier, who is reckoned
as five hundred horse among the Arabs. We went forth this morning
to hunt and were overcome by thirst; so I came to the door of
this tent, thinking to get of thee a draught of water.' When he
heard this, he turned to the fair maiden and said to her, 'Bring
this man water and what there is of food.' So she went in,
trailing her skirts, whilst her feet stumbled in her long hair
and the golden bangles tinkled on her ankles, and returned after
a little, bearing in her right hand a silver vessel of cold water
and in her left a bowl full of milk and dates and flesh of wild
cattle. But, of the excess of my passion for her, I could take of
her nor meat nor drink, and I recited to her the following
verses, applying them to her:

The dye of the henna upon her hand doth show, As 'twere a raven
new lighted on fresh-fall'n snow;
And see the full moon and the sun beside her face, This dim and
the other fearful for shame and woe.

Then, after I had eaten and drunk, I said to the youth, 'O chief
of the Arabs, I have told thee truly who and what I am, and now I
would fain have thee do the like by me and tell me the truth of
thy case.' 'As for this damsel,' replied he, 'she is my sister.'
Quoth I, 'It is my desire that thou give her to me to wife of
free will: else will I slay thee and take her by force.' With
this, he bowed his head awhile, then raised his eyes to me and
answered, 'Thou sayest sooth in avouching thyself a renowned
cavalier and a famous champion and the lion of the desert; but if
ye all attack me treacherously and slay me and take my sister by
force, it will be a stain upon your honour. If ye be, as thou
sayest, cavaliers that are counted among the champions and fear
not the shock of battle, give me time to don my armour and gird
on my sword and set my lance in rest and mount my horse. Then
will we go forth into the field and fight; and if I conquer you,
I will kill you, every man of you; and if you overcome me and
slay me, this damsel my sister is thine.' 'This is but just,'
answered I, 'and we oppose it not.' Then I turned my horse's
head, mad for love of the damsel, and rode back to my companions,
to whom I set forth her beauty and grace, as also the comeliness
of the young man and his valour and strength of soul and how he
avouched himself a match for a thousand horse. Moreover, I
described to them the tent and all the riches and rarities it
contained and said to them, 'Be sure that this youth would not
have taken up his abode alone in this desert place, were he not a
man of great prowess: so I propose that whoso slays him shall
take his sister.' And they agreed to this. Then we armed
ourselves and mounting, rode to the tent, where we found the
young man armed and mounted; but his sister ran up to him, with
her veil drenched with tears, and laying hold of his stirrup,
cried out, saying, 'Alas!' and 'Woe worth the day!' in her fear
for her brother, and recited the following verses:

To God above I make my moan of sorrow and affright. Mayhap, the
empyrean's Lord will smite them with dismay.
They fain would kill thee, brother mine, with malice
aforethought, Though never cause of anger was nor fault
forewent the fray.
Yet for a champion art thou known among the men of war, The
doughtiest knight that East or West goes camping by the way.
Thou wilt thy sister's honour guard, whose might is small, for
thou Her brother art and she for thee unto the Lord doth
Let not the foe possess my soul nor seize on me perforce And work
their cruel will on me, without my yea or nay.
By God His truth, I'll never live in any land where thou Art not
albeit all the goods of plenty it display!
But I will slay myself for love and yearning for thy sake And in
the darksome tomb I'll make my bed upon the clay.

When he heard her words, he wept sore and turning his horse's
head towards her, made answer with the following verses:

Stand by and see the wondrous deeds that I will do this day,
Whenas we meet and I on them rain blows in the mellay.
E'en though the lion of the war, the captain of the host, The
stoutest champion of them all, spur out into the fray,
I'll deal a Thaalebiyan[FN#159] blow at him and in his heart I'll
let my spear, even to the shaft, its thirst for blood allay.
If I defend thee not from all that seek thee, sister mine, May I
be slaughtered and my corse given to the birds of prey!
Ay, I will battle for thy sake, with all the might I may, And
books shall story after me the marvels of this day.

Then said he, 'O my sister, give ear to what I shall enjoin on
thee.' And she answered, 'I hear and obey.' Quoth he, 'If I fall,
let none possess thee;' and she buffeted her face and said, 'God
forbid, O my brother, that I should see thee laid low and yield
myself to thine enemies!' With this he put out his hand to her
and drew aside her veil, whereupon her face shone forth, like the
sun from out clouds. Then he kissed her between the eyes and bade
her farewell; after which he turned to us and said, 'Ho,
cavaliers! Come ye as guests or are you minded to cut and thrust?
If ye come as guests, rejoice in hospitality; and if ye covet the
shining moon,[FN#160] come out against me, one by one, and
fight.' Then came out to him a sturdy horseman, and the young man
said to him, 'Tell me thy name and thy father's name, for I have
sworn to fight with none whose name and whose father's name tally
with mine and my father's, and if it be thus with thee, I will
give thee up the girl.' 'My name is Bilal,'[FN#161] answered the
other; and the young man repeated the following verses:

Thou liest when thou talkest of "benefits"; for lo, Thou comest
with mischief and malice and woe!
So, an thou be doughty, heed well what I say: I'm he who the
braver in the battle lays low
With a keen-cutting sword, like the horn of the moon; So look
(and beware) for a hill-shaking blow!

Then they ran at one another, and the youth smote his adversary
in the breast, that the lance-head issued from his back. With
this, another came out, and the youth repeated the following

O dog, that art noisome of stench and of sight, What is there of
worth that to come by is light?
'Tis only the lion, of race and of might Right noble, recks
little of life in the fight.

Nor was it long before he left him also drowned in his blood and
cried out, 'Who will come out to me?' So a third horseman pricked
out, reciting the following verses:

I come to thee, with a fire in my breast that blazes free, And
call on my comrades all to the fight to follow me.
Though thou hast slain the chiefs of the Arabs, yet, perdie, Thou
shalt not 'scape this day from those that follow thee!

When the youth heard this, he answered him, saying:

Thou com'st, like theright evil fiend that thou art, With a lie
on thy lips and a fraud at thy heart;
This day shalt thou taste of a death-dealing dart And a spear
that shall rid thee of life with its smart.

Then he smote him on the breast, that the spear-point issued
from his back, and cried out, saying, 'Will another come out?' So
a fourth came out and the youth asked him his name. He replied,
'My name is Hilal.'[FN#162] And the youth repeated these verses:

Thou err'st, that wouldst plunge in my sea of affray And thinkest
to daunt me with lies and dismay.
Lo, I, to whose chant thou hast hearkened this day, Thy soul, ere
thou know'st it, will ravish away!

Then they drove at one another and exchanged blows; but the
youth's stroke forewent that of his adversary and slew him: and
thus he went on to kill all who sallied out against him. When I
saw my comrades slain, I said in myself, 'If I fight with him, I
shall not be able to withstand him, and if I flee, I shall become
a byword among the Arabs.' However, the youth gave me no time to
think, but ran at me and laying hold of me, dragged me from my
saddle. I swooned away and he raised his sword to cut off my
head; but I clung to his skirts and he lifted me in his hand, as
I were a sparrow [in the clutches of a hawk]. When the maiden saw
this, she rejoiced in her brother's prowess and coming up to him,
kissed him between the eyes. Then he delivered me to her, saying,
'Take him and entreat him well, for he is come under our rule.'
So she took hold of the collars of my coat-of-arms and led me
away by them as one would lead a dog. Then she did off her
brother's armour and clad him in a robe, after which she brought
him a stool of ivory, on which he sat down, and said to him, 'May
God whiten thine honour and make thee to be as a provision
against the shifts of fortune!' And he answered her with the
following verses:

My sister said, (who saw my lustrous forehead blaze Midmost the
war, as shine the sun's meridian rays)
"God bless thee for a brave, to whom, when he falls on, The
desert lions bow in terror and amaze!"
"Question the men of war," I answered her, "of me, Whenas the
champions flee before my flashing gaze.
I am the world-renowned for fortune and for might, Whose prowess
I uplift to what a height of praise!
O Hemmad, thou hast roused a lion, who shall show Thee death that
comes as swift as vipers in the ways."

When I heard what he said, I was perplexed about my affair, and
considering my condition and how I was become a captive, I was
lessened in my own esteem. Then I looked at the damsel and said
to myself, 'It is she who is the cause of all this trouble;' and
I fell a-marvelling at her beauty and grace, till the tears
streamed from my eyes and I recited the following verses:

Reproach me not, O friend, nor chide me for the past, For I will
pay no heed to chiding and dispraise.
Lo, I am clean distraught for one, whom when I saw, Fate in my
breast forthright the love of her did raise.
Her brother was my foe and rival in her love, A man of mickle
might and dreadful in affrays.

Then the maiden set food before her brother, and he bade me eat
with him, whereat I rejoiced and felt assured of my life. When he
had made an end of eating, she brought him a flagon of wine and
he drank, till the fumes of the wine mounted to his head and his
face flushed. Then he turned to me and said, 'Harkye, Hemmad,
dost thou know me?' 'By thy life,' answered I, 'I am rich in
nought but ignorance!' Said he, 'I am Ibad ben Temim ben
Thaalebeh, and indeed God giveth thee thy liberty and spareth
thee confusion.' Then he drank to my health and gave me a cup of
wine and I drank it off. Then he filled me a second and a third
and a fourth, and I drank them all; and he made merry with me and
took an oath of me that I would never betray him. So I swore to
him a thousand oaths that I would never deal perfidiously with
him, but would be a friend and a helper to him.

Then he bade his sister bring me ten dresses of silk; so she
brought them and laid them on me, and this gown I have on my body
is one of them. Moreover, he made her bring one of the best of
the riding camels, laden with stuffs and victual, and a sorrel
horse, and gave the whole to me. I abode with them three days,
eating and drinking, and what he gave me is with me to this day.
At the end of this time, he said to me, 'O Hemmad, O my brother,
I would fain sleep awhile and rest myself. I trust myself to
thee; but if thou see horsemen making hither, fear not, for they
are of the Beni Thaalebeh, seeking to wage war on me.' Then he
laid his sword under his head and slept; and when he was drowned
in slumber, the devil prompted me to kill him; so I rose, and
drawing the sword from under his head, dealt him a blow that
severed his head from his body. His sister heard what I had done,
and rushing out from within the tent, threw herself on his body,
tearing her clothes and repeating the following verses:

Carry the tidings to the folk, the saddest news can be; But man
from God His ordinance no whither hath to flee.
Now art thou slaughtered, brother mine, laid prostrate on the
earth, Thou whose bright face was as the round of the full
moon to see.
Indeed, an evil day it was, the day thou mettest them, And after
many a fight, thy spear is shivered, woe is me!
No rider, now that thou art dead, in horses shall delight Nor
evermore shall woman bear a male to match with thee.
Hemmad this day hath played thee false and foully done to death;
Unto his oath and plighted faith a traitor base is he.
He deemeth thus to have his will and compass his desire; But
Satan lieth to his dupes in all he doth decree.

When she had ended, she turned to me and said, 'O man of accursed
lineage, wherefore didst thou play my brother false and slay him,
whenas he purposed to send thee back to thy country with gifts
and victual and it was his intent also to marry thee to me at the
first of the month?' Then she drew a sword she had with her, and
planting it in the ground, with the point set to her breast,
threw herself thereon and pressed upon it, till the blade issued
from her back and she fell to the ground, dead. I mourned for her
and wept and repented when repentance availed me nothing. Then I
went in haste to the tent and taking whatever was light of
carriage and great of worth, went my way: but in my haste and
fear, I took no heed of my (dead) comrades, nor did I bury the
maiden and the youth. This, then, is my story, and it is still
more extraordinary than that of the serving-maid I kidnapped in

When Nuzet ez Zeman heard these words of the Bedouin, the light
in her eyes was changed to darkness, and she rose and drawing the
sword, smote him amiddleward the shoulder-blades, that the point
issued from his throat. The bystanders said to her, "Why hast
thou made haste to slay him?" And she answered, "Praised be God
who hath granted me to avenge myself with my own hand!" And she
bade the slaves drag the body out by the feet and cast it to the
dogs. Then they turned to the second prisoner, who was a black
slave, and said to him, "What is thy name? Tell us the truth of
thy case." "My name is Ghezban," answered he and told them what
had passed between himself and the princess Abrizeh and how he
had slain her and fled. Hardly had he made an end of his story,
when King Rumzan struck off his head with his sabre, saying,
"Praised be God that gave me life! I have avenged my mother with
my own hand." Then he repeated to them what his nurse Merjaneh
had told him of this same Ghezban; after which they turned to the
third prisoner and said to him, "Tell us who thou art and speak
the truth." Now this was the very camel-driver, whom the people
of Jerusalem hired to carry Zoulmekan to the hospital at
Damascus; but he threw him down on the fuel-heap and went his
way. So he told them how he had dealt with Zoulmekan, whereupon
Kanmakan took his sword forthright and cut off his head, saying,
"Praised be God who hath given me life, that I might requite this
traitor what he did with my father, for I have heard this very
story from King Zoulmekan himself!" Then they said to each other
"It remains only for us to take our wreak of the old woman

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