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The Book of the Thousand Nights and a Night, Volume 1 by Richard F. Burton

Part 3 out of 9

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all, which browseth on the basil of the bridges, and muncheth the
husked sesame, and nighteth in the Khan of Abu Mansur." Then
laughed they till they fell on their backs, and returned to their
carousel, and ceased not to be after this fashion till night
began to fall. Thereupon said they to the Porter,
''Bismillah,[FN#164] O our master, up and on with those sorry old
shoes of thine and turn thy face and show us the breadth of thy
shoulders!" Said he, "By Allah, to part with my soul would be
easier for me than departing from you: come let us join night to
day, and tomorrow morning we will each wend our own way." "My
life on you," said the procuratrix, "suffer him to tarry with us,
that we may laugh at him: we may live out our lives and never
meet with his like, for surely he is a right merry rogue and a
witty."[FN#165] So they said, "Thou must not remain with us this
night save on condition that thou submit to our commands, and
that whatso thou seest, thou ask no questions there anent, nor
enquire of its cause." "All right," rejoined he, and they said,
"Go read the writing over the door." So he rose and went to the
entrance and there found written in letters of gold wash; WHOSO
NOT! [FN#166] The Porter said, Be ye witnesses against me that I
will not speak on whatso concerneth me not." Then the cateress
arose, and set food before them and they ate; after which they
changed their drinking place for an other, and she lighted the
lamps and candles and burned amber gris and aloes wood, and set
on fresh fruit and the wine service, when they fell to carousing
and talking of their lovers. And they ceased not to eat and drink
and chat, nibbling dry fruits and laughing and playing tricks for
the space of a full hour when lo! a knock was heard at the gate.
The knocking in no wise dis turbed the seance, but one of them
rose and went to see what it was and presently returned, saying,
"Truly our pleasure for this night is to be perfect." "How is
that?" asked they; and she answered, "At the gate be three
Persian Kalandars[FN#167] with their beards and heads and
eyebrows shaven; and all three blind of the left eye--which is
surely a strange chance. They are foreigners from Roum-land with
the mark of travel plain upon them; they have just entered
Baghdad, this being their first visit to our city; and the cause
of their knocking at our door is simply because they cannot find
a lodging. Indeed one of them said to me:--Haply the owner of
this mansion will let us have the key of his stable or some old
out house wherein we may pass this night; for evening had
surprised them and, being strangers in the land, they knew none
who would give them shelter. And, O my sisters, each of them is a
figure o' fun after his own fashion; and if we let them in we
shall have matter to make sport of." She gave not over persuading
them till they said to her, "Let them in, and make thou the usual
condition with them that they speak not of what concerneth them
not, lest they hear what pleaseth them not." So she rejoiced and
going to the door presently returned with the three monoculars
whose beards and mustachios were clean shaven.[FN#168] They
salam'd and stood afar off by way of respect; but the three
ladies rose up to them and welcomed them and wished them joy of
their safe arrival and made them sit down. The Kalandars looked
at the room and saw that it was a pleasant place, clean swept and
garnished with cowers; and the lamps were burning and the smoke
of perfumes was spireing in air; and beside the dessert and
fruits and wine, there were three fair girls who might be
maidens; so they exclaimed with one voice, "By Allah, 'tis good!"
Then they turned to the Porter and saw that he was a merry faced
wight, albeit he was by no means sober and was sore after his
slappings. So they thought that he was one of themselves and
said, "A mendicant like us! whether Arab or foreigner."[FN#169]
But when the Porter heard these words, he rose up, and fixing his
eyes fiercely upon them, said, "Sit ye here without exceeding in
talk! Have you not read what is writ over the door? surely it
befitteth not fellows who come to us like paupers to wag your
tongues at us." "We crave thy pardon, O Fakir,"[FN#170] rejoined
they, "and our heads are between thy hands." The ladies laughed
consumedly at the squabble; and, making peace between the
Kalandars and the Porter, seated the new guests before meat and
they ate. Then they sat together, and the portress served them
with drink; and, as the cup went round merrily, quoth the Porter
to the askers, "And you, O brothers mine, have ye no story or
rare adventure to amuse us withal?" Now the warmth of wine having
mounted to their heads they called for musical instruments; and
the portress brought them a tambourine of Mosul, and a lute of
Irak, and a Persian harp; and each mendicant took one and tuned
it; this the tambourine and those the lute and the harp, and
struck up a merry tune while the ladies sang so lustily that
there was a great noise.[FN#171] And whilst they were carrying
on, behold, some one knocked at the gate, and the portress went
to see what was the matter there. Now the cause of that knocking,
O King (quoth Shahrazad) was this, the Caliph, Harun al-Rashid,
had gone forth from the palace, as was his wont now and then, to
solace himself in the city that night, and to see and hear what
new thing was stirring; he was in merchant's gear, and he was
attended by Ja'afar, his Wazir, and by Masrur his Sworder of
Vengeance.[FN#172] As they walked about the city, their way led
them towards the house of the three ladies; where they heard the
loud noise of musical instruments and singing and merriment; so
quoth the Caliph to Ja'afar, "I long to enter this house and hear
those songs and see who sing them." Quoth Ja'afar, "O Prince of
the Faithful; these folk are surely drunken with wine, and I fear
some mischief betide us if we get amongst them." "There is no
help but that I go in there," replied the Caliph, "and I desire
thee to contrive some pretext for our appearing among them."
Ja'afar replied, "I hear and I obey;"[FN#173] and knocked at the
door, whereupon the portress came out and opened. Then Ja'afar
came forward and kissing the ground before her said, "O my lady,
we be merchants from Tiberias town: we arrived at Baghdad ten
days ago; and, alighting at the merchants' caravanserai, we sold
all our merchandise. Now a certain trader invited us to an
entertainment this night; so we went to his house and he set food
before us and we ate: then we sat at wine and wassail with him
for an hour or so when he gave us leave to depart; and we went
out from him in the shadow of the night and, being strangers, we
could not find our way back to our Khan. So haply of your
kindness and courtesy you will suffer us to tarry with you this
night, and Heaven will reward you!"[FN#174] The portress looked
upon them and seeing them dressed like merchants and men of grave
looks and solid, she returned to her sisters and repeated to them
Ja'afar's story; and they took compassion upon the strangers and
said to her, "Let them enter." She opened the door to them, when
said they to her, "Have we thy leave to come in?" "Come in,"
quoth she; and the Caliph entered followed by Ja'afar and Masrur;
and when the girls saw them they stood up to them in respect and
made them sit down and looked to their wants, saying, "Welcome,
and well come and good cheer to the guests, but with one
condition!" "What is that?" asked they, and one of the ladies
answered, "Speak not of what concerneth you not, lest ye hear
what pleaseth you not." "Even so," said they; and sat down to
their wine and drank deep. Presently the Caliph looked on the
three Kalandars and, seeing them each and every blind of the left
eye, wondered at the sight; then he gazed upon the girls and he
was startled and he marvelled with exceeding marvel at their
beauty and loveliness. They continued to carouse and to converse
and said to the Caliph, "Drink!" but he replied, "I am vowed to
Pilgrimage;"[FN#175] and drew back from the wine. Thereupon the
portress rose and spreading before him a table cloth worked with
gold, set thereon a porcelain bowl into which she poured willow
flower water with a lump of snow and a spoonful of sugar candy.
The Caliph thanked her and said in himself,"By Allah, I will
recompense her to morrow for the kind deed she hath done." The
others again addressed themselves to conversing and carousing;
and, when the wine gat the better of them, the eldest lady who
ruled the house rose and making obeisance to them took the
cateress by the hand, and said, "Rise, O my sister and let us do
what is our devoir." Both answered "Even so!" Then the portress
stood up and proceeded to remove the table service and the
remnants of the banquet; and renewed the pastiles and cleared the
middle of the saloon. Then she made the Kalandars sit upon a sofa
at the side of the estrade, and seated the Caliph and Ja'afar and
Masrur on the other side of the saloon; after which she called
the Porter, and said, "How scanty is thy courtesy! now thou art
no stranger; nay, thou art one of the household." So he stood up
and, tightening his waist cloth, asked, "What would ye I do?" and
she answered, "Stand in thy place." Then the procuratrix rose and
set in the midst of the saloon a low chair and, opening a closet,
cried to the Porter, "Come help me." So he went to help her and
saw two black bitches with chains round their necks; and she said
to him, "Take hold of them;" and he took them and led them into
the middle of the saloon. Then the lady of the house arose and
tucked up her sleeves above her wrists and, seizing a scourge,
said to the Porter, "Bring forward one of the bitches." He
brought her forward, dragging her by the chain, while the bitch
wept, and shook her head at the lady who, however, came down upon
her with blows on the sconce; and the bitch howled and the lady
ceased not beating her till her forearm failed her. Then, casting
the scourge from her hand, she pressed the bitch to her bosom
and, wiping away her tears with her hands, kissed her head. Then
she said to the Porter, "Take her away and bring the second;"
and, when he brought her, she did with her as she had done with
the first. Now the heart of the Caliph, was touched at these
cruel doings; his chest straitened and he lost all patience in
his desire to know why the two bitches were so beaten. He threw a
wink at Ja'afar wishing him to ask, but; the Minister turning
towards him said by signs, "Be silent!" Then quoth the portress
to the mistress of the house, "O my lady, arise and go to thy
place that I in turn may do my devoir."[FN#176] She answered,
"Even so"; and, taking her seat upon the couch of juniper wood,
pargetted with gold and silver, said to the portress and
cateress, "Now do ye what ye have to do." Thereupon the portress
sat upon a low seat by the couch side; but the procuretrix,
entering a closet, brought out of it a bag of satin with green
fringes and two tassels of gold. She stood up before the lady of
the house and shaking the bag drew out from it a lute which she
tuned by tightening its pegs; and when it was in perfect order,
she began to sing these quatrains:--

"Ye are the wish, the aim of me *And when, O Love, thy sight I
The heavenly mansion openeth;[FN#178] * But Hell I see when
lost thy sight.
From thee comes madness; nor the less * Comes highest joy,
comes ecstasy:
Nor in my love for thee I fear * Or shame and blame, or hate and
When Love was throned within my heart * I rent the veil of
And stints not Love to rend that veil * Garring disgrace on grace
to alight;
The robe of sickness then I donned * But rent to rags was
Wherefore my love and longing heart * Proclaim your high
supremest might;
The tear drop railing adown my cheek * Telleth my tale of
And all the hid was seen by all * And all my riddle ree'd aright.

Heal then my malady, for thou * Art malady and remedy!
But she whose cure is in thy hand * Shall ne'er be free of bane
and blight;
Burn me those eyne that radiance rain * Slay me the swords of
How many hath the sword of Love * Laid low, their high degree
Yet will I never cease to pine * Nor to oblivion will I flee.
Love is my health, my faith, my joy * Public and private, wrong
or right.
O happy eyes that sight thy charms * That gaze upon thee at their
Yea, of my purest wish and will * The slave of Love I'll aye be

When the damsel heard this elegy in quatrains she cried out
"Alas! Alas!" and rent her raiment, and fell to the ground
fainting; and the Caliph saw scars of the palm rod[FN#179] on her
back and welts of the whip; and marvelled with exceeding wonder.
Then the portress arose and sprinkled water on her and brought
her a fresh and very fine dress and put it on her. But when the
company beheld these doings their minds were troubled, for they
had no inkling of the case nor knew the story thereof; so the
Caliph said to Ja'afar, "Didst thou not see the scars upon the
damsel's body? I cannot keep silence or be at rest till I learn
the truth of her condition and the story of this other maiden and
the secret of the two black bitches." But Ja'afar answered, "O
our lord, they made it a condition with us that we speak not of
what concerneth us not, lest we come to hear what pleaseth us
not." Then said the portress "By Allah, O my sister, come to me
and complete this service for me." Replied the procuratrix, "With
joy and goodly gree;" so she took the lute; and leaned it against
her breasts and swept the strings with her finger tips, and began

"Give back mine eyes their sleep long ravished * And say me
whither be my reason fled:
I learnt that lending to thy love a place * Sleep to mine eyelids
mortal foe was made.
They said, "We held thee righteous, who waylaid * Thy soul?" "Go
ask his glorious eyes," I said.
I pardon all my blood he pleased to spill * Owning his troubles
drove him blood to shed.
On my mind's mirror sun like sheen he cast * Whose keen
reflection fire in vitals bred
Waters of Life let Allah waste at will * Suffice my wage those
lips of dewy red:
An thou address my love thou'lt find a cause * For plaint and
tears or ruth or lustihed.
In water pure his form shall greet your eyne * When fails the
bowl nor need ye drink of wine.[FN#180]"

Then she quoted from the same ode:--

"I drank, but the draught of his glance, not wine, * And his
swaying gait swayed to sleep these eyne:
'Twas not grape juice grips me but grasp of Past * 'Twas not bowl
o'erbowled me but gifts divine:
His coiling curl-lets my soul ennetted * And his cruel will all
my wits outwitted.[FN#181]"

After a pause she resumed:--

"If we 'plain of absence what shall we say? * Or if pain afflict
us where wend our way?
An I hire a truchman[FN#182] to tell my tale * The lover's plaint
is not told for pay:
If I put on patience, a lover's life * After loss of love will
not last a day:
Naught is left me now but regret, repine * And tears flooding
cheeks for ever and aye:
O thou who the babes of these eyes[FN#183] hast fled * Thou art
homed in heart that shall never stray
Would heaven I wot hast thou kept our pact * Long as stream shall
flow, to have firmest fey?
Or hast forgotten the weeping slave * Whom groans afflict and
whom griefs waylay?
Ah, when severance ends and we side by side * Couch, I'll blame
thy rigours and chide thy pride!"

Now when the portress heard her second ode she shrieked aloud and
said, "By Allah! 'tis right good!"; and laying hands on her
garments tore them, as she did the first time, and fell to the
ground fainting. Thereupon the procuratrix rose end brought her a
second change of clothes after she had sprinkled water on her.
She recovered and sat upright and said to her sister the
cateress, "Onwards, and help me in my duty, for there remains but
this one song." So the provisioneress again brought out the lute
and began to sing these verses:--

"How long shall last, how long this rigour rife of woe * May not
suffice thee all these tears thou seest flow?
Our parting thus with purpose fell thou dost prolong * Is't not
enough to glad the heart of envious foe?
Were but this lying world once true to lover heart * He had not
watched the weary night in tears of woe:
Oh pity me whom overwhelmed thy cruel will * My lord, my king,
'tis time some ruth to me thou show:
To whom reveal my wrongs, O thou who murdered me? * Sad,
who of broken troth the pangs must undergo!
Increase wild love for thee and phrenzy hour by hour * And days
of exile minute by so long, so slow;
O Moslems, claim vendetta[FN#184] for this slave of Love *
Whose sleep Love ever wastes, whose patience Love lays low:
Doth law of Love allow thee, O my wish! to lie * Lapt in
another's arms and unto me cry Go!?
Yet in thy presence, say, what joys shall I enjoy * When he I
love but works my love to overthrow?"

When the portress heard the third song she cried aloud; and,
laying hands on her garments, rent them down to the very skirt
and fell to the ground fainting a third time, again showing the
scars of the scourge. Then said the three Kalandars, "Would
Heaven we had never entered this house, but had rather righted on
the mounds and heaps outside the city! for verily our visit hath
been troubled by sights which cut to the heart." The Caliph
turned to them and asked, "Why so?" and they made answer, "Our
minds are sore troubled by this matter." Quoth the Caliph, "Are
ye not of the household?" and quoth they, "No; nor indeed did we
ever set eyes on the place till within this hour." Hereat the
Caliph marvelled and rejoined, "This man who sitteth by you,
would he not know the secret of the matter?" and so saying he
winked and made signs at the Porter. So they questioned the man
but he replied, "By the All might of Allah, in love all are
alike![FN#185] I am the growth of Baghdad, yet never in my born
days did I darken these doors till to day and my companying with
them was a curious matter." "By Allah," they rejoined, "we took
thee for one of them and now we see thou art one like ourselves."
Then said the Caliph, "We be seven men, and they only three women
without even a fourth to help them; so let us question them of
their case; and, if they answer us not, fain we will be answered
by force." All of them agreed to this except Ja'afar who
said,[FN#186] "This is not my recking; let them be; for we are
their guests and, as ye know, they made a compact and condition
with us which we accepted and promised to keep: wherefore it is
better that we be silent concerning this matter; and, as but
little of the night remaineth, let each and every of us gang his
own gait." Then he winked at the Caliph and whispered to him,
"There is but one hour of darkness left and I can bring them
before thee to morrow, when thou canst freely question them all
concerning their story." But the Caliph raised his head haughtily
and cried out at him in wrath, saying, "I have no patience left
for my longing to hear of them: let the Kalandars question them
forthright." Quoth Ja'afar, "This is not my rede." Then words ran
high and talk answered talk, and they disputed as to who should
first put the question, but at last all fixed upon the Porter.
And as the jingle increased the house mistress could not but
notice it and asked them, "O ye folk! on what matter are ye
talking so loudly?" Then the Porter stood up respectfully before
her and said, "O my lady, this company earnestly desire that thou
acquaint them with the story of the two bitches and what maketh
thee punish them so cruelly; and then thou fallest to weeping
over them and kissing them; and lastly they want to hear the tale
of thy sister and why she hath been bastinado'd with palm sticks
like a man. These are the questions they charge me to put, and
peace be with thee."[FN#187] Thereupon quoth she who was the lady
of the house to the guests, "Is this true that he saith on your
part?" and all replied, "Yes!" save Ja'afar who kept silence.
When she heard these words she cried, "By Allah, ye have wronged
us, O our guests. with grievous wronging; for when you came
before us we made compact and condition with you, that whoso
should speak of what concerneth him not should hear what pleaseth
him not. Sufficeth ye not that we took you into our house and fed
you with our best food? But the fault is not so much yours as
hers who let you in." Then she tucked up her sleeves from her
wrists and struck the floor thrice with her hand crying, "Come ye
quickly;" and lo! a closet door opened and out of it came seven
negro slaves with drawn swords in hand to whom she said, "Pinion
me those praters' elbows and bind them each to each." They did
her bidding and asked her, "O veiled and virtuous! is it thy high
command that we strike off their heads?"; but she answered,
"Leave them awhile that I question them of their condition,
before their necks feel the sword." "By Allah, O my lady!" cried
the Porter, "slay me not for other's sin; all these men offended
and deserve the penalty of crime save myself. Now by Allah, our
night had been charming had we escaped the mortification of those
monocular Kalandars whose entrance into a populous city would
convert it into a howling wilderness." Then he repeated these
verses :

"How fair is ruth the strong man deigns not smother! * And
fairest fair when shown to weakest brother:
By Love's own holy tie between us twain, * Let one not suffer for
the sin of other."

When the Porter ended his verse the lady laughed And Shahrazad
perceived the dawn of day and ceased to say her permitted say.

When It was the Eleventh Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that the lady,
after laughing at the Porter despite her wrath, came up to the
party and spake thus, "Tell me who ye be, for ye have but an hour
of life; and were ye not men of rank and, perhaps, notables of
your tribes, you had not been so froward and I had hastened your
doom." Then said the Caliph, "Woe to thee, O Ja'afar, tell her
who we are lest we be slain by mistake; and speak her fair be
fore some horror befal us." "'Tis part of thy deserts,"replied
he; whereupon the Caliph cried out at him saying, "There is a
time for witty words and there is a time for serious work." Then
the lady accosted the three Kalandars and asked them, "Are ye
brothers?"; when they answered, "No, by Allah, we be naught but
Fakirs and foreigners." Then quoth she to one among them, "Wast
thou born blind of one eye?"; and quoth he, "No, by Allah, 'twas
a marvellous matter and a wondrous mischance which caused my eye
to be torn out, and mine is a tale which, if it were written upon
the eye corners with needle gravers, were a warner to whoso would
be warned."[FN#188] She questioned the second and third Kalandar;
but all replied like the first, "By Allah, O our mistress, each
one of us cometh from a different country, and we are all three
the sons of Kings, sovereign Princes ruling over suzerains and
capital cities." Thereupon she turned towards them and said, "Let
each and every of you tell me his tale in due order and explain
the cause of his coming to our place; and if his story please us
let him stroke his head[FN#189] and wend his way." The first to
come forward was the Hammal, the Porter, who said, "O my lady, I
am a man and a porter. This dame, the cateress, hired me to carry
a load and took me first to the shop of a vintner, then to the
booth of a butcher; thence to the stall of a fruiterer; thence to
a grocer who also sold dry fruits; thence to a confectioner and a
perfumer cum druggist and from him to this place where there
happened to me with you what happened. Such is my story and peace
be on us all!" At this the lady laughed and said, "Rub thy head
and wend thy ways!"; but he cried, "By Allah, I will not stump it
till I hear the stories of my companions." Then came forward one
of the Monoculars and began to tell her

The First Kalandar's Tale.

Know, O my lady, that the cause of my beard being shorn and my
eye being out torn was as follows. My father was a King and he
had a brother who was a King over another city; and it came to
pass that I and my cousin, the son of my paternal uncle, were
both born on one and the same day. And years and days rolled on;
and, as we grew up, I used to visit my uncle every now and then
and to spend a certain number of months with him. Now my cousin
and I were sworn friends; for he ever entreated me with exceeding
kindness; he killed for me the fattest sheep and strained the
best of his wines, and we enjoyed long conversing and carousing.
One day when the wine had gotten the better of us, the son of my
uncle said to me, "O my cousin, I have a great service to ask of
thee; and I desire that thou stay me not in whatso I desire to
do!" And I replied, "With joy and goodly will." Then he made me
swear the most binding oaths and left me; but after a little
while he returned leading a lady veiled and richly apparelled
with ornaments worth a large sum of money. Presently he turned to
me (the woman being still behind him) and said, "Take this lady
with thee and go before me to such a burial ground" (describing
it, so that I knew the place), "and enter with her into such a
sepulchre[FN#190] and there await my coming." The oaths I swore
to him made me keep silence and suffered me not to oppose him; so
I led the woman to the cemetery and both I and she took our seats
in the sepulchre; and hardly had we sat down when in came my
uncle's son, with a bowl of water, a bag of mortar and an adze
somewhat like a hoe. He went straight to the tomb in the midst of
the sepulchre and, breaking it open with the adze set the stones
on one side; then he fell to digging into the earth of the tomb
till he came upon a large iron plate, the size of a wicket door;
and on raising it there appeared below it a staircase vaulted and
winding. Then he turned to the lady and said to her, "Come now
and take thy final choice!" She at once went down by the
staircase and disappeared; then quoth he to me, "O son of my
uncle, by way of completing thy kindness, when I shall have
descended into this place, restore the trap door to where it was,
and heap back the earth upon it as it lay before; and then of thy
goodness mix this unslaked lime which is in the bag with this
water which is in the bowl and, after building up the stones,
plaster the outside so that none looking upon it shall say:--This
is a new opening in an old tomb. For a whole year have I worked
at this place whereof none knoweth but Allah, and this is the
need I have of thee;" presently adding, "May Allah never bereave
thy friends of thee nor make them desolate by thine absence, O
son of my uncle, O my dear cousin!" And he went down the stairs
and disappeared for ever. When he was lost to sight I replaced
the iron plate and did all his bidding till the tomb became as it
was before and I worked almost unconsciously for my head was
heated with wine. Returning to the palace of my uncle, I was told
that he had gone forth a-sporting and hunting; so I slept that
night without seeing him; and, when the morning dawned, I
remembered the scenes of the past evening and what happened
between me and my cousin; I repented of having obeyed him when
penitence was of no avail, I still thought, however, that it was
a dream. So I fell to asking for the son of my uncle; but there
was none to answer me concerning him; and I went out to the
grave-yard and the sepulchres, and sought for the tomb under
which he was, but could not find it; and I ceased not wandering
about from sepulchre to sepulchre, and tomb to tomb, all without
success, till night set in. So I returned to the city, yet I
could neither eat nor drink; my thoughts being engrossed with my
cousin, for that I knew not what was become of him; and I grieved
with exceeding grief and passed another sorrowful night, watching
until the morning. Then went I a second time to the cemetery,
pondering over what the son of mine uncle had done; and, sorely
repenting my hearkening to him, went round among all the tombs,
but could not find the tomb I sought. I mourned over the past,
and remained in my mourning seven days, seeking the place and
ever missing the path. Then my torture of scruples[FN#191] grew
upon me till I well nigh went mad, and I found no way to dispel
my grief save travel and return to my father. So I set out and
journeyed homeward; but as I was entering my father's capital a
crowd of rioters sprang upon me and pinioned me.[FN#192] I
wondered thereat with all wonderment, seeing that I was the son
of the Sultan, and these men were my father's subjects and
amongst them were some of my own slaves. A great fear fell upon
me, and I said to my soul,[FN#193] "Would heaven I knew what hath
happened to my father!" I questioned those that bound me of the
cause of their doing, but they returned me no answer. However,
after a while one of them said to me (and he had been a hired
servant of our house), "Fortune hath been false to thy father;
his troops betrayed him and the Wazir who slew him now reigneth
in his stead and we lay in wait to seize thee by the bidding of
him." I was well nigh distraught and felt ready to faint on
hearing of my father's death; when they carried me off and placed
me in presence of the usurper. Now between me and him there was
an olden grudge, the cause of which was this. I was fond of
shooting with the stone bow,[FN#194] and it befel one day as I
was standing on the terrace roof of the palace, that a bird
lighted on the top of the Wazir's house when he happened to be
there. I shot at the bird and missed the mark; but I hit the
Wazir's eye and knocked it out as fate and fortune decreed. Even
so saith the poet:--

We tread the path where Fate hath led * The path Fate writ we
fain must tread:
And man in one land doomed to die * Death no where else shall do
him dead.

And on like wise saith another:--

Let Fortune have her wanton way * Take heart and all her words
Nor joy nor mourn at anything * For all things pass and no things

Now when I knocked out the Wazir's eye he could not say a single
word, for that my father was King of the city; but he hated me
everafter and dire was the grudge thus caused between us twain.
So when I was set before him hand bound and pinioned, he
straightway gave orders for me to be beheaded. I asked, "For what
crime wilt thou put me to death?"; whereupon he answered, "What
crime is greater than this?" pointing the while to the place
where his eye had been Quoth I, "This I did by accident not of
malice prepense;" and quoth he, "If thou didst it by accident, I
will do the like by thee with intention.''[FN#195] Then cried he,
"Bring him forward," and they brought me up to him, when he
thrust his finger into my left eye and gouged it out; whereupon I
became one eyed as ye see me. Then he bade bind me hand and foot,
and put me into a chest and said to the sworder, "Take charge of
this fellow, and go off with him to the waste lands about the
city; then draw thy scymitar and slay him, and leave him to feed
the beasts and birds." So the headsman fared forth with me and
when he was in the midst of the desert, he took me out of the
chest (and I with both hands pinioned and both feet fettered) and
was about to bandage my eyes before striking off my head. But I
wept with exceeding weeping until I made him weep with me and,
looking at him I began to recite these couplets:--

"I deemed you coat o' mail that should withstand * The foeman's
shafts, and you proved foeman's brand
I hoped your aidance in mine every chance * Though fail my left
to aid my dexter hand:
Aloof you stand and hear the railer's gibe * While rain their
shafts on me the giber-band:
But an ye will not guard me from my foes * Stand clear, and
succour neither these nor those!"

And I also quoted:--

"I deemed my brethren mail of strongest steel * And so they were--
from foes I to fend my dart!
I deemed their arrows surest of their aim; * And so they were--
when aiming at my heart!"

When the headsman heard my lines (he had been sworder to my sire
and he owed me a debt of gratitude) he cried, "O my lord, what
can I do, being but a slave under orders?" presently adding, "Fly
for thy life and nevermore return to this land, or they will slay
thee and slay me with thee, even as the poet said:--

Take thy life and fly whenas evils threat; * Let the ruined house
tell its owner's fate:
New land for the old thou shalt seek and find * But to find new
life thou must not await.
Strange that men should sit in the stead of shame, * When Allah's
world is so wide and great!
And trust not other, in matters grave * Life itself must act for
a life beset:
Ne'er would prowl the lion with maned neck, * Did he reckon on
aid or of others reck."

Hardly believing in my escape, I kissed his hand and thought the
loss of my eye a light matter in consideration of my escaping
from being slain. I arrived at my uncle's capital; and, going in
to him, told him of what had befallen my father and myself;
whereat he wept with sore weeping and said, "Verily thou addest
grief to my grief, and woe to my woe; for thy cousin hath been
missing these many days; I wot not what hath happened to him, and
none can give me news of him." And he wept till he fainted. I
sorrowed and condoled with him; and he would have applied certain
medicaments to my eye, but he saw that it was become as a walnut
with the shell empty. Then said he, "O my son, better to lose eye
and keep life!" After that I could no longer remain silent about
my cousin, who was his only son and one dearly loved, so I told
him all that had happened. He rejoiced with extreme joyance to
hear news of his son and said, "Come now and show me the tomb;"
but I replied, "By Allah, O my uncle, I know not its place,
though I sought it carefully full many times, yet could not find
the site." However, I and my uncle went to the grave yard and
looked right and left, till at last I recognised the tomb and we
both rejoiced with exceeding joy. We entered the sepulchre and
loosened the earth about the grave; then, up raising the trap
door, descended some fifty steps till we came to the foot of the
staircase when lo! we were stopped by a blinding smoke. Thereupon
said my uncle that saying whose sayer shall never come to shame,
"There is no Majesty and there is no Might, save in Allah, the
Glorious, the Great!" and we advanced till we suddenly came upon
a saloon, whose floor was strewed with flour and grain and
provisions and all manner necessaries; and in the midst of it
stood a canopy sheltering a couch. Thereupon my uncle went up to
the couch and inspecting it found his son and the lady who had
gone down with him into the tomb, lying in each other's embrace;
but the twain had become black as charred wood; it was as if they
had been cast into a pit of fire. When my uncle saw this
spectacle, he spat in his son's face and said, "Thou hast thy
deserts, O thou hog![FN#196] this is thy judgment in the
transitory world, and yet remaineth the judgment in the world to
come, a durer and a more enduring "-- And Shahrazad perceived the
dawn of day and ceased saying her permitted say.

When it was the Twelfth Night,

She continued, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that the
Kalandar thus went on with his story before the lady and the
Caliph and Ja'afar:--My uncle struck his son with his
slipper[FN#197] as he lay there a black heap of coal. I marvelled
at his hardness of heart, and grieving for my cousin and the
lady, said, "By Allah, O my uncle, calm thy wrath: dost thou not
see that all my thoughts are occupied with this misfortune, and
how sorrowful I am for what hath befallen thy son, and how
horrible it is that naught of him remaineth but a black heap of
charcoal? And is not that enough, but thou must smite him with
thy slipper?" Answered he,"O son of my brother, this youth from
his boyhood was madly in love with his own sister;[FN#198] and
often and often I forbade him from her, saying to myself:--They
are but little ones. However, when they grew up sin befel between
them; and, although I could hardly believe it, I confined him and
chided him and threatened him with the severest threats; and the
eunuchs and servants said to him:--Beware of so foul a thing
which none before thee ever did, and which none after thee will
ever do; and have a care lest thou be dishonoured and disgraced
among the Kings of the day, even to the end of time. And I
added:--Such a report as this will be spread abroad by caravans,
and take heed not to give them cause to talk or I will assuredly
curse thee and do thee to death. After that I lodged them apart
and shut her up; but the accursed girl loved him with passionate
love, for Satan had got the mastery of her as well as of him and
made their foul sin seem fair in their sight. Now when my son saw
that I separated them, he secretly built this souterrain and
furnished it and transported to it victuals, even as thou seest;
and, when I had gone out a-sporting, came here with his sister
and hid from me. Then His righteous judgment fell upon the twain
and consumed them with fire from Heaven; and verily the last
judgment will deal them durer pains and more enduring!" Then he
wept and I wept with him; and he looked at me and said, "Thou art
my son in his stead." And I bethought me awhile of the world and
of its chances, how the Wazir had slain my father and had taken
his place and had put out my eye; and how my cousin had come to
his death by the strangest chance: and I wept again and my uncle
wept with me. Then we mounted the steps and let down the iron
plate and heaped up the earth over it; and, after restoring the
tomb to its former condition, we returned to the palace. But
hardly had we sat down ere we heard the tomtoming of the kettle
drum and tantara of trumpets and clash of cymbals; and the
rattling of war men's lances; and the clamours of assailants and
the clanking of bits and the neighing of steeds; while the world
was canopied with dense dust and sand clouds raised by the
horses' hoofs.[FN#199] We were amazed at sight and sound, knowing
not what could be the matter; so we asked and were told us that
the Wazir who usurped my father's kingdom had marched his men;
and that after levying his soldiery and taking a host of wild
Arabs[FN#200] into service, he had come down upon us with armies
like the sands of the sea; their number none could tell and
against them none could prevail. They attacked the city unawares;
and the citizens, being powerless to oppose them, surrendered the
place: my uncle was slain and I made for the suburbs saying to
myself, "If thou fall into this villain's hands he will assuredly
kill thee." On this wise all my troubles were renewed; and I
pondered all that had betided my father and my uncle and I knew
not what to do; for if the city people or my father's troops had
recognised me they would have done their best to win favour by
destroying me; and I could think of no way to escape save by
shaving off my beard and my eyebrows. So I shore them off and,
changing my fine clothes for a Kalandar's rags, I fared forth
from my uncle's capital and made for this city; hoping that
peradventure some one would assist me to the presence of the
Prince of the Faithful,[FN#201] and the Caliph who is the
Viceregent of Allah upon earth. Thus have I come hither that I
might tell him my tale and lay my case before him. I arrived here
this very night, and was standing in doubt whither I should go,
when suddenly I saw this second Kalandar; so I salam'd to him
saying--"I am a stranger!" and he answered:--"I too am a
stranger!" And as we were conversing behold, up came our
companion, this third Kalandar, and saluted us saying:--"I am a
stranger!" And we answered:--"We too be strangers!" Then we three
walked on and together till darkness overtook us and Destiny
crave us to your house. Such, then, is the cause of the shaving
of my beard and mustachios and eyebrows; and the manner of my
losing my right eye. They marvelled much at this tale and the
Caliph said to Ja'afar, "By Allah, I have not seen nor have I
heard the like of what hath happened to this Kalandar!" Quoth the
lady of the house, "Rub thy head and wend thy ways;" but he
replied, "I will not go, till I hear the history of the two
others." Thereupon the second Kalandar came forward; and, kissing
the ground, began to tell

The Second Kalandar's Tale.

Know, O my lady, that I was not born one eyed and mine is a
strange story; an it were graven with needle graver on the eye
corners, it were a warner to whoso would be warned. I am a King,
son of a King, and was brought up like a Prince. I learned
intoning the Koran according the seven schools;[FN#202] and I
read all manner books, and held disputations on their contents
with the doctors and men of science; moreover I studied star lore
and the fair sayings of poets and I exercised myself in all
branches of learning until I surpassed the people of my time; my
skill in calligraphy exceeded that of all the scribes; and my
fame was bruited abroad over all climes and cities, and all the
kings learned to know my name. Amongst others the King of Hind
heard of me and sent to my father to invite me to his court, with
offerings and presents and rarities such as befit royalties. So
my father fitted out six ships for me and my people; and we put
to sea and sailed for the space of a full month till we made the
land. Then we brought out the horses that were with us in the
ships; and, after loading the camels with our presents for the
Prince, we set forth inland. But we had marched only a little
way, when behold, a dust cloud up flew, and grew until it
walled[FN#203] the horizon from view. After an hour or so the
veil lifted and discovered beneath it fifty horsemen, ravening
lions to the sight, in steel armour dight. We observed them
straightly and lo! they were cutters off of the highway, wild as
wild Arabs. When they saw that we were only four and had with us
but the ten camels carrying the presents, they dashed down upon
us with lances at rest. We signed to them, with our fingers, as
it were saying, "We be messengers of the great King of Hind, so
harm us not!" but they answered on like wise, "We are not in his
dominions to obey nor are we subject to his sway." Then they set
upon us and slew some of my slaves and put the lave to flight;
and I also fled after I had gotten a wound, a grievous hurt,
whilst the Arabs were taken up with the money and the presents
which were with us. I went forth unknowing whither I went, having
become mean as I was mighty; and I fared on until I came to the
crest of a mountain where I took shelter for the night in a cave.
When day arose I set out again, nor ceased after this fashion
till I arrived at a fair city and a well filled. Now it was the
season when Winter was turning away with his rime and to greet
the world with his flowers came Prime, and the young blooms were
springing and the streams flowed ringing, and the birds were
sweetly singing, as saith the poet concerning a certain city when
describing it:--

A place secure from every thought of fear * Safety and peace for
ever lord it here:
Its beauties seem to beautify its sons * And as in Heaven its
happy folk appear.

I was glad of my arrival for I was wearied with the way, and
yellow of face for weakness and want; but my plight was pitiable
and I knew not whither to betake me. So I accosted a Tailor
sitting in his little shop and saluted him; he returned my salam,
and bade me kindly welcome and wished me well and entreated me
gently and asked me of the cause of my strangerhood. I told him
all my past from first to last; and he was concerned on my
account and said, "O youth, disclose not thy secret to any: the
King of this city is the greatest enemy thy father hath, and
there is blood wit[FN#204] between them and thou hast cause to
fear for thy life." Then he set meat and drink before me; and I
ate and drank and he with me; and we conversed freely till night
fall, when he cleared me a place in a corner of his shop and
brought me a carpet and a coverlet. I tarried with him three
days; at the end of which time he said to me, "Knowest thou no
calling whereby to win thy living, O my son?" "I am learned in
the law," I replied, "and a doctor of doctrine; an adept in art
and science, a mathematician and a notable penman." He rejoined,
"Thy calling is of no account in our city, where not a soul under
standeth science or even writing or aught save money making."
Then said I, "By Allah, I know nothing but what I have
mentioned;" and he answered, "Gird thy middle and take thee a
hatchet and a cord, and go and hew wood in the wold for thy daily
bread, till Allah send thee relief; and tell none who thou art
lest they slay thee." Then he bought me an axe and a rope and
gave me in charge to certain wood cutters; and with these
guardians I went forth into the forest, where I cut fuel wood the
whole of my day and came back in the evening bearing my bundle on
my head. I sold it for half a diner, with part of which I bought
provision and laid by the rest. In such work I spent a whole year
and when this was ended I went out one day, as was my wont, into
the wilderness; and, wandering away from my companions, I chanced
on a thickly grown lowland[FN#205] in which there was an
abundance of wood. So I entered and I found the gnarled stump of
a great tree and loosened the ground about it and shovelled away
the earth. Presently my hatchet rang upon a copper ring; so I
cleared away the soil and behold, the ring was attached to a
wooden trap door. This I raised and there appeared beneath it a
staircase. I descended the steps to the bottom and came to a
door, which I opened and found myself in a noble hall strong of
structure and beautifully built, where was a damsel like a pearl
of great price, whose favour banished from my heart all grief and
cark and care; and whose soft speech healed the soul in despair
and captivated the wise and ware. Her figure measured five feet
in height; her breasts were firm and upright; her cheek a very
garden of delight; her colour lively bright; her face gleamed
like dawn through curly tresses which gloomed like night, and
above the snows of her bosom glittered teeth of a pearly
white.[FN#206] As the poet said of one like her:--

Slim waisted loveling jetty hair encrowned * A wand of willow on
a sandy mound:

And as saith another.--

Four things that meet not, save they here unite * To shed my
heart blood and to rape my sprite:
Brilliantest forehead; tresses jetty bright; * Cheeks rosy red
and stature beauty dight.

When I looked upon her I prostrated myself before Him who had
created her, for the beauty and loveliness He had shaped in her,
and she looked at me and said, "Art thou man or Jinni?" "I am a
man," answered I, and she, "Now who brought thee to this place
where I have abided five and twenty years without even yet seeing
man in it?" Quoth I (and indeed I found her words wonder sweet,
and my heart was melted to the core by them), "O my lady, my good
fortune led me hither for the dispelling of my cark and care."
Then I related to her all my mishap from first to last, and my
case appeared to her exceeding grievous; so she wept and said, "I
will tell thee my story in my turn. I am the daughter of the King
Ifitamus, lord of the Islands of Abnus,[FN#207] who married me to
my cousin, the son of my paternal uncle; but on my wedding night
an Ifrit named Jirjis[FN#208] bin Rajmus, first cousin that is,
mother's sister's son, of Iblis, the Foul Fiend, snatched me up
and, flying away with me like a bird, set me down in this place,
whither he conveyed all I needed of fine stuffs, raiment and
jewels and furniture, and meat and drink and other else. Once in
every ten days he comes here and lies a single night with me, and
then wends his way, for he took me without the consent of his
family; and he hath agreed with me that if ever I need him by
night or by day, I have only to pass my hand over yonder two
lines engraved upon the alcove, and he will appear to me before
my fingers cease touching. Four days have now passed since he was
here; and, as there remain six days before he come again, say me,
wilt thou abide with me five days, and go hence the day before
his coming?" I replied "Yes, and yes again! O rare, if all this
be not a dream!" Hereat she was glad and, springing to her feet,
seized my hand and carried me through an arched doorway to a
Hammam bath, a fair hall and richly decorate. I doffed my
clothes, and she doffed hers; then we bathed and she washed me;
and when this was done we left the bath, and she seated me by her
side upon a high divan, and brought me sherbet scented with musk.
When we felt cool after the bath, she set food before me and we
ate and fell to talking; but presently she said to me, "Lay thee
down and take thy rest, for surely thou must be weary." So I
thanked her, my lady, and lay down and slept soundly, forgetting
all that had happened to me. When I awoke I found her rubbing and
shampooing my feet;[FN#209] so I again thanked her and blessed
her and we sat for awhile talking. Said she, "By Allah, I was sad
at heart, for that I have dwelt alone underground for these five
and twenty years; and praise be to Allah, who hath sent me some
one with whom I can converse!" Then she asked, "O youth, what
sayest thou to wine?" and I answered, "Do as thou wilt." Where-
upon she went to a cupboard and took out a sealed flask of right
old wine and set off the table with flowers and scented herbs and
began to sing these lines:--

"Had we known of thy coming we fain had dispread * The cores of
our hearts or the balls of our eyes;
Our cheeks as a carpet to greet thee had thrown * And our eyelids
had strown for thy feet to betread."

Now when she finished her verse I thanked her, for indeed love
of her had gotten hold of my heart and my grief and anguish were
gone. We sat at converse and carousel till nightfall, and with
her I spent the night--such night never spent I in all my life!
On the morrow delight followed delight till midday, by which time
I had drunken wine so freely that I had lost my wits, and stood
up, staggering to the right and to the left, and said "Come, O my
charmer, and I will carry thee up from this underground vault and
deliver thee from the spell of thy Jinni." She laughed and
replied "Content thee and hold thy peace: of every ten days one
is for the Ifrit and the other nine are thine." Quoth I (and in
good sooth drink had got the better of me), "This very instant
will I break down the alcove whereon is graven the talisman and
summon the Ifrit that I may slay him, for it is a practice of
mine to slay Ifrits!" When she heard my words her colour waxed
wan and she said, "By Allah, do not!" and she began repeating:--

"This is a thing wherein destruction lies * I rede thee shun it
an thy wits be wise."

And these also:--

"O thou who seekest severance, draw the rein * Of thy swift steed
nor seek o'ermuch t' advance;
Ah stay! for treachery is the rule of life, * And sweets of
meeting end in severance."

I heard her verse but paid no heed to her words, nay, I raised my
foot and administered to the alcove a mighty kick And Shahrazad
perceived the dawn of day and ceased to say her permisted say.

When it was the Thirteenth Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that the second
Kalandar thus continued his tale to the lady:--But when, O my
mistress, I kicked that alcove with a mighty kick, behold, the
air starkened and darkened and thundered and lightened; the earth
trembled and quaked and the world became invisible. At once the
fumes of wine left my head: I cried to her, "What is the matter?"
and she replied, "The Ifrit is upon us! did I not warn thee of
this? By Allah, thou hast brought ruin upon me; but fly for thy
life and go up by the way thou camest down!" So I fled up the
staircase; but, in the excess of my fear, I forgot sandals and
hatchet. And when I had mounted two steps I turned to look for
them, and lo! I saw the earth cleave asunder, and there arose
from it an Ifrit, a monster of hideousness, who said to the
damsel "What trouble and posher be this wherewith thou disturbest
me? What mishap hath betided thee?" "No mishap hath befallen me"
she answered, "save that my breast was straitened[FN#210] and my
heart heavy with sadness! so I drank a little wine to broaden it
and to hearten myself; then I rose to obey a call of Nature, but
the wine had gotten into my head and I fell against the alcove."
"Thou liest, like the whore thou art!" shrieked the Ifrit; and he
looked around the hall right and left till he caught sight of my
axe and sandals and said to her, "What be these but the
belongings of some mortal who hath been in thy society?" She
answered, "I never set eyes upon them till this moment: they must
have been brought by thee hither cleaving to thy garments." Quoth
the Ifrit, "These words are absurd; thou harlot! thou strumpet!"
Then he stripped her stark naked and, stretching her upon the
floor, bound her hands and feet to four stakes, like one
crucified;[FN#211] and set about torturing and trying to make her
confess. I could not bear to stand listening to her cries and
groans; so I climbed the stair on the quake with fear; and when I
reached the top I replaced the trap door and covered it with
earth. Then repented I of what I had done with penitence
exceeding; and thought of the lady and her beauty and loveliness,
and the tortures she was suffering at the hands of the accursed
Ifrit, after her quiet life of five and twenty years; and how all
that had happened to her was for the cause of me. I bethought me
of my father and his kingly estate and how I had become a
woodcutter; and how, after my time had been awhile serene, the
world had again waxed turbid and troubled to me. So I wept
bitterly and repeated this couplet:--

What time Fate's tyranny shall most oppress thee * Perpend! one
day shall joy thee, one distress thee!

Then I walked till I reached the home of my friend, the Tailor,
whom I found most anxiously expecting me; indeed he was, as the
saying goes, on coals of fire for my account. And when he saw me
he said, "All night long my heart hath been heavy, fearing for
thee from wild beasts or other mischances. Now praise be to Allah
for thy safety!" I thanked him for his friendly solicitude and,
retiring to my corner, sat pondering and musing on what had
befallen me; and I blamed and chided myself for my meddlesome
folly and my frowardness in kicking the alcove. I was calling
myself to account when behold, my friend, the Tailor, came to me
and said, "O youth, in the shop there is an old man, a
Persian,[FN#212] who seeketh thee: he hath thy hatchet and thy
sandals which he had taken to the woodcutters,[FN#213] saying, "I
was going out at what time the Mu'azzin began the call to dawn
prayer, when I chanced upon these things and know not whose they
are; so direct me to their owner." The woodcutters recognised thy
hatchet and directed him to thee: he is sitting in my shop, so
fare forth to him and thank him and take thine axe and sandals."
When I heard these words I turned yellow with fear and felt
stunned as by a blow; and, before I could recover myself, lo! the
floor of my private room clove asunder, and out of it rose the
Persian who was the Ifrit. He had tortured the lady with
exceeding tortures, natheless she would not confess to him aught;
so he took the hatchet and sandals and said to her, "As surely as
I am Jirjis of the seed of Iblis, I will bring thee back the
owner of this and these!"[FN#214] Then he went to the woodcutters
with the presence aforesaid and, being directed to me, after
waiting a while in the shop till the fact was confirmed, he
suddenly snatched me up as a hawk snatcheth a mouse and dew high
in air; but presently descended and plunged with me under the
earth (I being aswoon the while), and lastly set me down in the
subterranean palace wherein I had passed that blissful night. And
there I saw the lady stripped to the skin, her limbs bound to
four stakes and blood welling from her sides. At the sight my
eyes ran over with tears; but the Ifrit covered her person and
said, "O wanton, is not this man thy lover?" She looked upon me
and replied, "I wot him not nor have I ever seen him before this
hour!" Quoth the Ifrit, "What! this torture and yet no
confessing;" and quoth she,"I never saw this man in my born days,
and it is not lawful in Allah's sight to tell lies on him." "If
thou know him not," said the Ifrit to her, "take this sword and
strike off his head.''[FN#215] She hent the sword in hand and
came close up to me; and I signalled to her with my eyebrows, my
tears the while flowing adown my cheeks. She understood me and
made answer, also by signs, "How couldest thou bring all this
evil upon me?" and I rejoined after the same fashion, "This is
the time for mercy and forgiveness." And the mute tongue of my
case[FN#216] spake aloud saying:--

Mine eyes were dragomans for my tongue betted * And told full
clear the love I fain would hide:
When last we met and tears in torrents railed * For tongue struck
dumb my glances testified:
She signed with eye glance while her lips were mute * I signed
with fingers and she kenned th' implied:
Our eyebrows did all duty 'twixt us twain; * And we being
speechless Love spake loud and plain.

Then, O my mistress, the lady threw away the sword and said, "How
shall I strike the neck of one I wot not, and who hath done me no
evil? Such deed were not lawful in my law!" and she held her
hand. Said the Ifrit, "'Tis grievous to thee to slay thy lover;
and, because he hath lain with thee, thou endurest these torments
and obstinately refusest to confess. After this it is clear to me
that only like loveth and pitieth like." Then he turned to me and
asked me, "O man, haply thou also dost not know this woman;"
whereto I answered, "And pray who may she be? assuredly I never
saw her till this instant." "Then take the sword," said he "and
strike off her head and I will believe that thou wottest her not
and will leave thee free to go, and will not deaf 'hardly with
thee." I replied, "That will I do;" and, taking the sword went
forward sharply and raised my hand to smite. But she signed to me
with her eyebrows, "Have I failed thee in aught of love; and is
it thus that thou requirest me?" I understood what her looks
implied and answered her with an eye-glance, "I will sacrifice my
soul for thee." And the tongue of the case wrote in our hearts
these lines:--

How many a lover with his eyebrows speaketh * To his beloved, as
his passion pleadeth:
With flashing eyne his passion he inspireth * And well she seeth
what kits pleading needeth.
How sweet the look when each on other gazeth; * And with what
swiftness and how sure it speedeth:
And this with eyebrows all his passion writeth; * And that with
eyeballs all his passion readeth.

Then my eyes filled with tears to overflowing and I cast the
sword from my hand saying, "O mighty Ifrit and hero, if a woman
lacking wits and faith deem it unlawful to strike off my head,
how can it be lawful for me, a man, to smite her neck whom I
never saw in my whole life. I cannot do such misdeed though thou
cause me drink the cup of death and perdition." Then said the
Ifrit, "Ye twain show the good understanding between you; but I
will let you see how such doings end." He took the sword, and
struck off the lady's hands first, with four strokes, and then
her feet; whilst I looked on and made sure of death and she
farewelled me with her dying eyes. So the Ifrit cried at her,
"Thou whorest and makest me a wittol with thine eyes;" and struck
her so that her head went flying. Then he turned to me and said,
"O mortal, we have it in our law that, when the wife committeth
advowtry it is lawful for us to slay her. As for this damsel I
snatched her away on her bride-night when she was a girl of
twelve and she knew no one but myself. I used to come to her once
every ten days and lie with her the night, under the semblance of
a man, a Persian; and when I was well assured that she had
cuckolded me, I slew her. But as for thee I am not well satisfied
that thou hast wronged me in her; nevertheless I must not let
thee go unharmed; so ask a boon of me and I will grant it." Then
I rejoiced, O my lady, with ex ceeding joy and said, "What boon
shall I crave of thee?" He replied, "Ask me this boon; into what
shape I shall bewitch thee; wilt thou be a dog, or an ass or an
ape?" I rejoined (and indeed I had hoped that mercy might be
shown me), "By Allah, spare me, that Allah spare thee for sparing
a Moslem and a man who never wronged thee." And I humbled myself
before him with exceeding humility, and remained standing in his
presence, saying, "I am sore oppressed by circumstance." He
replied "Talk me no long talk, it is in my power to slay thee;
but I give thee instead thy choice." Quoth I, "O thou Ifrit, it
would besit thee to pardon me even as the Envied pardoned the
Envier." Quoth he, "And how was that?" and I began to tell him

The Tale of the Envier and the Envied.

They relate, O Ifrit, that in a certain city were two men who
dwelt in adjoining houses, having a common party wall; and one of
them envied the other and looked on him with an evil eye,[FN#217]
and did his utmost endeavour to injure him; and, albeit at all
times he was jealous of his neighbour, his malice at last grew on
him till he could hardly eat or enjoy the sweet pleasures of
sleep. But the Envied did nothing save prosper; and the more the
other strove to injure him, the more he got and gained and
throve. At last the malice of his neighbour and the man's
constant endeavour to work him a harm came to his knowledge; so
he said, "By Allah! God's earth is wide enough for its people;"
and, leaving the neighbourhood, he repaired to another city where
he bought himself a piece of land in which was a dried up draw
well,[FN#218] old and in ruinous condition. Here he built him an
oratory and, furnishing it with a few necessaries, took up his
abode therein, and devoted himself to prayer and worshipping
Allah Almighty; and Fakirs and holy mendicants docked to him from
all quarters; and his fame went abroad through the city and that
country side. Presently the news reached his envious neighbour,
of what good fortune had befallen him and how the city notables
had become his disciples; so he travelled to the place and
presented himself at the holy man's hermitage, and was met by the
Envied with welcome and greeting and all honour. Then quoth the
Envier, "I have a word to say to thee; and this is the cause of
my faring hither, and I wish to give thee a piece of good news;
so come with me to thy cell." Thereupon the Envied arose and took
the Envier by the hand, and they went in to the inmost part of
the hermitage; but the Envier said, "Bid thy Fakirs retire to
their cells, for I will not tell thee what I have to say, save in
secret where none may hear us." Accordingly the Envied said to
his Fakirs, "Retire to your private cells;" and, when all had
done as he bade them, he set out with his visitor and walked a
little way until the twain reached the ruinous old well. And as
they stood upon the brink the Envier gave the Envied a push which
tumbled him headlong into it, unseen of any; whereupon he fared
forth, and went his ways, thinking to have had slain him. Now
this well happened to be haunted by the Jann who, seeing the
case, bore him up and let him down little by little, till he
reached the bottom, when they seated him upon a large stone. Then
one of them asked his fellows, "Wot ye who be this man?" and they
answered, "Nay." "This man," continued the speaker, "is the
Envied hight who, flying from the Envier, came to dwell in our
city, and here founded this holy house, and he hath edified us by
his litanies[FN#219] and his lections of the Koran; but the
Envier set out and journeyed till he rejoined him, and cunningly
contrived to deceive him and cast him into the well where we now
are. But the fame of this good man hath this very night come to
the Sultan of our city who designeth to visit him on the morrow
on account of his daughter." "What aileth his daughter?" asked
one, and another answered "She is possessed of a spirit; for
Maymun, son of Damdam, is madly in love with her; but, if this
pious man knew the remedy, her cure would be as easy as could
be." Hereupon one of them inquired, "And what is the medicine?"
and he replied, "The black tom cat which is with him in the
oratory hath, on the end of his tail, a white spot, the size of a
dirham; let him pluck seven white hairs from the spot, then let
him fumigate her therewith and the Marid will flee from her and
not return; so she shall be sane for the rest of her life." All
this took place, O Ifrit, within earshot of the Envied who
listened readily. When dawn broke and morn arose in sheen and
shone, the Fakirs went to seek the Shaykh and found him climbing
up the wall of the well; whereby he was magnified in their
eyes.[FN#220] Then, knowing that naught save the black tomcat
could supply him with the remedy required, he plucked the seven
tail hairs from the white spot and laid them by him; and hardly
had the sun risen ere the Sultan entered the hermitage, with the
great lords of his estate, bidding the rest of his retinue to
remain standing outside. The Envied gave him a hearty welcome,
and seating him by his side asked him, "Shall I tell thee the
cause of thy coming?" The King answered, "Yes." He continued,
"Thou hast come upon pretext of a visitation;[FN#221] but it is
in thy heart to question me of thy daughter." Replied the King, "
'Tis even so, O thou holy Shaykh;" and the Envied continued,
"Send and fetch her, and I trust to heal her forthright (an such
it be the will of Allah!)" The King in great joy sent for his
daughter, and they brought her pinioned and fettered. The Envied
made her sit down behind a curtain and taking out the hairs
fumigated her therewith; whereupon that which was in her head
cried out and departed from her. The girl was at once restored to
her right mind and veiling her face, said, "What hath happened
and who brought me hither?" The Sultan rejoiced with a joy that
nothing could exceed, and kissed his daughter's eyes,[FN#222] and
the holy man's hand; then, turning to his great lords, he asked,
"How say ye! What fee deserveth he who hath made my daughter
whole?" and all answered, "He deserveth her to wife;" and the
King said, "Ye speak sooth!" So he married him to her and the
Envied thus became son in law to the King. And after a little the
Wazir died and the King said, "Whom can I make Minister in his
stead?" "Thy son in law," replied the courtiers. So the Envied
became a Wazir; and after a while the Sultan also died and the
lieges said, "Whom shall we make King?" and all cried, "The
Wazir." So the Wazir was forthright made Sultan, and he became
King regnant, a true ruler of men. One day as he had mounted his
horse; and, in the eminence of his kinglihood, was riding amidst
his Emirs and Wazirs and the Grandees of his realm his eye fell
upon his old neighbour, the Envier, who stood afoot on his path;
so he turned to one of his Ministers, and said, "Bring hither
that man and cause him no affright." The Wazir brought him and
the King said, "Give him a thousand miskals[FN#223] of gold from
the treasury, and load him ten camels with goods for trade, and
send him under escort to his own town." Then he bade his enemy
farewell and sent him away and forbore to punish him for the many
and great evils he had done. See, O Ifrit, the mercy of the
Envied to the Envier, who had hated him from the beginning and
had borne him such bitter malice and never met him without
causing him trouble; and had driven him from house and home, and
then had journeyed for the sole purpose of taking his life by
throwing him into the well. Yet he did not requite his injurious
dealing, but forgave him and was bountiful to him.[FN#224] Then I
wept before him, O my lady, with sore weeping, never was there
sorer, and I recited:--

"Pardon my fault, for 'tis the wise man's wont * All faults to
pardon and revenge forgo:
In sooth all manner faults in me contain * Then deign of goodness
mercy grace to show:
Whoso imploreth pardon from on High * Should hold his hand
from sinners here below."

Said the Ifrit, "Lengthen not thy words! As to my slaying thee
fear it not, and as to my pardoning thee hope it not; but from my
bewitching thee there is no escape." Then he tore me from the
ground which closed under my feet and hew with me into the
firmament till I saw the earth as a large white cloud or a
saucer[FN#225] in the midst of the waters. Presently he set me
down on a mountain, and taking a little dust, over which he
muttered some magical words, sprinkled me therewith, saying,
"Quit that shape and take thou the shape of an ape!" And on the
instant I became an ape, a tailless baboon, the son of a
century[FN#226]. Now when he had left me and I saw myself in this
ugly and hateful shape, I wept for myself, but resigned my soul
to the tyranny of Time and Circumstance, well weeting that
Fortune is fair and constant to no man. I descended the mountain
and found at the foot a desert plain, long and broad, over which
I travelled for the space of a month till my course brought me to
the brink of the briny sea.[FN#227] After standing there awhile,
I was ware of a ship in the offing which ran before a fair wind
making for the shore. I hid myself behind a rock on the beach and
waited till the ship drew near, when I leaped on board. I found
her full of merchants and passengers and one of them cried, "O
Captain, this ill omened brute will bring us ill luck!" and
another said, "Turn this ill omened beast out from among us;" the
Captain said, "Let us kill it!" another said, "Slay it with the
sword;" a third, "Drown it;" and a fourth, "Shoot it with an
arrow." But I sprang up and laid hold of the Rais's[FN#228]
skirt, and shed tears which poured down my chops. The Captain
took pity on me, and said, "O merchants! this ape hath appealed
to me for protection and I will protect him; henceforth he is
under my charge: so let none do him aught hurt or harm, otherwise
there will be bad blood between us." Then he entreated me kindly
and whatsoever he said I understood and ministered to his every
want and served him as a servant, albeit my tongue would not obey
my wishes; so that he came to love me. The vessel sailed on, the
wind being fair, for the space of fifty days; at the end of which
we cast anchor under the walls of a great city wherein was a
world of people, especially learned men, none could tell their
number save Allah. No sooner had we arrived than we were visited
by certain Mameluke officials from the King of that city; who,
after boarding us, greeted the merchants and giving them joy of
safe arrival said, "Our King welcometh you, and sendeth you this
roll of paper, whereupon each and every of you must write a line.
For ye shall know that the King's Minister, a calligrapher of
renown, is dead, and the King hath sworn a solemn oath that he
will make none Wazir in his stead who cannot write as well as he
couId." He then gave us the scroll which measured ten cubits long
by a breadth of one, and each of the merchants who knew how to
write wrote a line thereon, even to the last of them; after which
I stood up (still in the shape of an ape) and snatched the roll
out of their hands. They feared lest I should tear it or throw it
overboard; so they tried to stay me and scare me, but I signed to
them that i could write, whereat all marvelled, saying, "We never
yet saw an, ape write." And the Captain cried, "Let him write;
and if he scribble and scrabble we will kick him out and kill
him; but if he; write fair and scholarly I will adopt him as my
son; for surely I never yet saw a more intelligent and well
mannered monkey than he. Would Heaven my real son were his match
in morals and manners." I took the reed, and stretching out my
paw, dipped it in ink and wrote, in the hand used for
letters,[FN#229] these two couplets:--

Time hath recorded gifts she gave the great; * But none recorded
thine which be far higher
Allah ne'er orphan men by loss of thee * Who be of Goodness
mother. Bounty's sire.

And I wrote in Rayhani or larger letters elegantly

Thou hast a reed[FN#231] of rede to every land, * Whose driving
causeth all the world to thrive;
Nil is the Nile of Misraim by thy boons * Who makest misery
smile with fingers five

Then I wrote in the Suls[FN#232] character:--

There be no writer who from Death shall fleet, * But what his
hand hath writ men shall repeat:
Write, therefore, naught save what shall serve thee when * Thou
see's on Judgment-Day an so thou see's!

Then I wrote in the character Naskh[FN#233]:--

When to sore parting Fate our love shall doom, * To distant life
by Destiny decreed,
We cause the inkhorn's lips to 'plain our pains, * And tongue our
utterance with the talking reed.

And I wrote in the Tumar character[FN#234]:--

Kingdom with none endures; if thou deny * This truth, where be
the Kings of earlier earth?
Set trees of goodliness while rule endures, * And when thou art
fallen they shall tell thy worth.

And I wrote in the character Muhakkak[FN#235]:--

When oped the inkhorn of thy wealth and fame * Take ink of
generous heart and gracious hand;
Write brave and noble deeds while write thou can * And win thee
praise from point of pen and brand.

Then I gave the scroll to the officials and, after we all had
written our line, they carried it before the King. When he saw
the paper no writing pleased him save my writing; and he said to
the assembled courtiers, "Go seek the writer of these lines and
dress him in a splendid robe of honour; then mount him on a she
mule,[FN#236] let a band of music precede him and bring him to
the presence." At these words they smiled and the King was wroth
with them and cried, "O accursed! I give you an order and you
laugh at me?" "O King," replied they, "if we laugh 'tis not at
thee and not without a cause." "And what is it?" asked he; and
they answered, "O King, thou orderest us to bring to thy presence
the man who wrote these lines; now the truth is that he who wrote
them is not of the sons of Adam,[FN#237] but an ape, a tail-less
baboon, belonging to the ship captain." Quoth he, "Is this true
that you say?" Quoth they, "Yea! by the rights of thy
munificence!" The King marvelled at their words and shook with
mirth and said, "I am minded to buy this ape of the Captain."
Then he sent messengers to the ship with the mule, the dress, the
guard and the state drums, saying, "Not the less do you clothe
him in the robe of honour and mount him on the mule and let him
be surrounded by the guards and preceded by the band of music."
They came to the ship and took me from the Captain and robed me
in the robe of honour and, mounting me on the she mule, carried
me in state procession through the streets', whilst the people
were amazed and amused. And folk said to one another, "Halloo! is
our Sultan about to make an ape his Minister?"; and came all agog
crowding to gaze at me, and the town was astir and turned topsy
turvy on my account. When they brought me up to the King and set
me in his presence, I kissed the ground before him three times,
and once before the High Chamberlain and great officers, and he
bade me be seated, and I sat respectfully on shins and
knees,[FN#238] and all who were present marvelled at my fine
manners, and the King most of all. Thereupon he ordered the
lieges to retire; and, when none remained save the King's
majesty, the Eunuch on duty and a little white slave, he bade
them set before me the table of food, containing all manner of
birds, whatever hoppeth and flieth and treadeth in nest, such as
quail and sand grouse. Then he signed me to eat with him; so I
rose and kissed ground before him, then sat me down and ate with
him. And when the table was removed I washed my hands in seven
waters and took the reed-case and reed; and wrote instead of
speaking these couplets:--

Wail for the little partridges on porringer and plate; * Cry for
the ruin of the fries and stews well marinate:
Keen as I keen for loved, lost daughters of the
Kata-grouse,[FN#239] * And omelette round the fair
enbrowned fowls agglomerate:
O fire in heart of me for fish, those deux poissons I saw, *
Bedded on new made scones[FN#240] and cakes in piles to
For thee, O vermicelli! aches my very maw! I hold * Without thee
every taste and joy are clean annihilate
Those eggs have rolled their yellow eyes in torturing pains of
fire * Ere served with hash and fritters hot, that
delicatest cate.
Praised be Allah for His baked and roast and ah! how good * This
pulse, these pot-herbs steeped in oil with eysill combinate!
When hunger sated was, I elbow-propt fell back upon * Meat
pudding[FN#241] wherein gleamed the bangles that my wits
Then woke I sleeping appetite to eat as though in sport * Sweets
from broceded trays and kickshaws most elaborate.
Be patient, soul of me! Time is a haughty, jealous wight; * Today
he seems dark-lowering and tomorrow fair to sight.[FN#242]

Then I rose and seated myself at a respectful distance while the
King read what I had written, and marvelled, exclaiming, "O the
miracle, that an ape should be gifted with this graceful style
and this power of penmanship! By Allah, 'tis a wonder of
wonders!" Presently they set before the King choice wines in
flagons of glass and he drank: then he passed on the cup to me;
and I kissed the ground and drank and wrote on it:--

With fire they boiled me to loose my tongue,[FN#243] * And pain
and patience gave for fellowship:
Hence comes it hands of men upbear me high * And honey dew
from lips of maid I sip!

And these also:--

Morn saith to Night, "withdraw and let me shine;" * So drain we
draughts that dull all pain and pine:[FN#244]
I doubt, so fine the glass, the wine so clear, * If 'tis the wine
in glass or glass in twine.

The King read my verse and said with a sigh, "Were these
gifts[FN#245] in a man, he would excel all the folk of his time
and age!" Then he called for the chess board, and said, "Say,
wilt thou play with me?"; and I signed with my head, "Yes." Then
I came forward and ordered the pieces and played with him two
games, both of which I won. He was speechless with surprise; so I
took the pen case and, drawing forth a reed, wrote on the board
these two couplets:--

Two hosts fare fighting thro' the livelong day * Nor is their
battling ever finished,
Until, when darkness girdeth them about, * The twain go sleeping
in a single bed.[FN#246]

The King read these lines with wonder and delight and said to his
Eunuch,[FN#247] "O Mukbil, go to thy mistress, Sitt al-
Husn,[FN#248] and say her, 'Come, speak the King who biddeth thee
hither to take thy solace in seeing this right wondrous ape!"' So
the Eunuch went out and presently returned with the lady who,
when she saw me veiled her face and said, "O my father! hast thou
lost all sense of honour? How cometh it thou art pleased to send
for me and show me to strange men?" "O Sitt al-Husn," said he,
"no man is here save this little foot page and the Eunuch who
reared thee and I, thy father. From whom, then, cost thou veil
thy face?" She answered, "This whom thou deemest an ape is a
young man, a clever and polite, a wise and learned and the son of
a King; but he is ensorcelled and the Ifrit Jirjaris, who is of
the seed of Iblis, cast a spell upon him, after putting to death
his own wife the daughter of King Ifitamus lord of the Islands of
Abnus." The King marvelled at his daughter's words and, turning
to me, said, "Is this true that she saith of thee?"; and I signed
by a nod of my head the answer, "Yea, verily;" and wept sore.
Then he asked his daughter, "Whence knewest thou that he is
ensorcelled?"; and she answered, "O my dear papa, there was with
me in my childhood an old woman, a wily one and a wise and a
witch to boot, and she taught me the theory of magic and its
practice; and I took notes in writing and therein waxed perfect,
and have committed to memory an hundred and seventy chapters of
egromantic formulas, by the least of which I could transport the
stones of thy city behind the Mountain Kaf and the Circumambient
Main,[FN#249] or make its site an abyss of the sea and its people
fishes swimming in the midst of it." "O my daughter," said her
father, "I conjure thee, by my life, disenchant this young man,
that I may make him my Wazir and marry thee to him, for indeed he
is an ingenious youth and a deeply learned." "With joy and goodly
gree," she replied and, hending in hand an iron knife whereon was
inscribed the name of Allah in Hebrew characters, she described a
wide circle--And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased
saying her permitted say.

When it was the Fourteenth Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that the
Kalandar continued his tale thus:--O my lady, the King's daughter
hent in hand a knife whereon were inscribed Hebrew characters and
described a wide circle in the midst of the palace hall, and
therein wrote in Cufic letters mysterious names and talismans;
and she uttered words and muttered charms, some of which we
understood and others we understood not. Presently the world waxed
dark before our sight till we thought that the sky was falling
upon our heads, and lo! the Ifrit presented himself in his own
shape and aspect. His hands were like many pronged pitch forks,
his legs like the masts of great ships, and his eyes like
cressets of gleaming fire. We were in terrible fear of him but
the King's daughter cried at him, "No welcome to thee and no
greeting, O dog!" whereupon he changed to the form of a lion and
said, "O traitress, how is it thou hast broken the oath we sware
that neither should contraire other!" "O accursed one," answered
she, "how could there be a compact between me and the like of
thee?" Then said he, "Take what thou has brought on thy self;"
and the lion opened his jaws and rushed upon her; but she was too
quick for him; and, plucking a hair from her head, waved it in
the air muttering over it the while; and the hair straightway
became a trenchant sword blade, wherewith she smote the lion and
cut him in twain. Then the two halves flew away in air and the
head changed to a scorpion and the Princess became a huge serpent
and set upon the accursed scorpion, and the two fought, coiling
and uncoiling, a stiff fight for an hour at least. Then the
scorpion changed to a vulture and the serpent became an eagle
which set upon the vulture, and hunted him for an hour's time,
till he became a black tom cat, which miauled and grinned and
spat. Thereupon the eagle changed into a piebald wolf and these
two battled in the palace for a long time, when the cat, seeing
himself overcome, changed into a worm and crept into a huge red
pomegranate,[FN#250] which lay beside the jetting fountain in the
midst of the palace hall. Whereupon the pomegranate swelled to
the size of a water melon in air; and, falling upon the marble
pavement of the palace, broke to pieces, and all the grains fell
out and were scattered about till they covered the whole floor.
Then the wolf shook himself and became a snow white cock, which
fell to picking up the grains purposing not to leave one; but by
doom of destiny one seed rolled to the fountain edge and there
lay hid. The cock fell to crowing and clapping his wings and
signing to us with his beak as if to ask, ' Are any grains left?"
But we understood not what he meant, and he cried to us with so
loud a cry that we thought the palace would fall upon us. Then he
ran over all the floor till he saw the grain which had rolled to
the fountain edge, and rushed eagerly to pick it up when behold,
it sprang into the midst of the water and became a fish and dived
to the bottom of the basin. Thereupon the cock changed to a big
fish, and plunged in after the other, and the two disappeared for
a while and lo! we heard loud shrieks and cries of pain which
made us tremble. After this the Ifrit rose out of the water, and
he was as a burning flame; casting fire and smoke from his mouth
and eyes and nostrils. And immediately the Princess likewise came
forth from the basin and she was one live coal of flaming lowe;
and these two, she and he, battled for the space of an hour,
until their fires entirely compassed them about and their thick
smoke filled the palace. As for us we panted for breath, being
well nigh suffocated, and we longed to plunge into the water
fearing lest we be burnt up and utterly destroyed; and the King
said, There is no Majesty and there is no Might save in Allah the
Glorious, the Great! Verily we are Allah's and unto Him are we
returning! Would Heaven I had not urged my daughter to attempt
the disenchantment of this ape fellow, whereby I have imposed
upon her the terrible task of fighting yon accursed Ifrit against
whom all the Ifrits in the world could not prevail. And would
Heaven we had never seen this ape, Allah never assain nor bless
the day of his coming! We thought to do a good deed by him before
the face of Allah,[FN#251] and to release him from enchantment,
and now we have brought this trouble and travail upon our heart."
But I, O my lady, was tongue tied and powerless to say a word to
him. Suddenly, ere we were ware of aught, the Ifrit yelled out
from under the flames and, coming up to us as we stood on the
estrade, blew fire in our faces. The damsel overtook him and
breathed blasts of fire at his face and the sparks from her and
from him rained down upon us, and her sparks did us no harm, but
one of his sparks alighted upon my eye and destroyed it making me
a monocular ape; and another fell on the King's face scorching
the lower half, burning off his beard and mustachios and causing
his under teeth to fall out; while a third alighted on the
Castrato's breast, killing him on the spot. So we despaired of
life and made sure of death when lo! a voice repeated the saying,
"Allah is most Highest! Allah is most Highest! Aidance and
victory to all who the Truth believe; and disappointment and
disgrace to all who the religion of Mohammed, the Moon of Faith,
unbelieve." The speaker was the Princess who had burnt the Ifrit,
and he was become a heap of ashes. Then she came up to us and
said, "Reach me a cup of water." They brought it to her and she
spoke over it words we understood not, and sprinkling me with it
cried, "By virtue of the Truth, and by the Most Great name of
Allah, I charge thee return to thy former shape." And behold, I
shook, and became a man as before, save that I had utterly lost
an eye. Then she cried out, "The fire! The fire! O my dear papa
an arrow from the accursed hath wounded me to the death, for I am
not used to fight with the Jann; had he been a man I had slain
him in the beginning. I had no trouble till the time when the
pomegranate burst and the grains scattered, but I overlooked the
seed wherein was the very life of the Jinni. Had I picked it up
he had died on the spot, but as Fate and Fortune decreed, I saw
it not; so he came upon me all unawares and there befel between
him and me a sore struggle under the earth and high in air and in
the water; and, as often as I opened on him a gate,[FN#252] he
opened on me another gate and a stronger, till at last he opened
on me the gate of fire, and few are saved upon whom the door of
fire openeth. But Destiny willed that my cunning prevail over his
cunning; and I burned him to death after I vainly exhorted him to
embrace the religion of al-Islam. As for me I am a dead woman;
Allah supply my place to you!" Then she called upon Heaven for
help and ceased not to implore relief from the fire; when lo! a
black spark shot up from her robed feet to her thighs; then it
flew to her bosom and thence to her face. When it reached her
face she wept and said, "I testify that there is no god but the
God and that Mahommed is the Apostle of God!" And we looked at
her and saw naught but a heap of ashes by the side of the heap
that had been the Ifrit. We mourned for her and I wished I had
been in her place, so had I not seen her lovely face who had
worked me such weal become ashes; but there is no gainsaying the
will of Allah. When the King saw his daughter's terrible death,
he plucked out what was left of his beard and beat his face and
rent his raiment; and I did as he did and we both wept over her.
Then came in the Chamberlains and Grandees and were amazed to
find two heaps of ashes and the Sultan in a fainting fit; so they
stood round him till he revived and told them what had befallen
his daughter from the Ifrit; whereat their grief was right
grievous and the women and the slave girls shrieked and
keened,[FN#253] and they continued their lamentations for the
space of seven days. Moreover the King bade build over his
daughter's ashes a vast vaulted tomb, and burn therein wax tapers
and sepulchral lamps: but as for the Ifrit's ashes they scattered
them on the winds, speeding them to the curse of Allah. Then the
Sultan fell sick of a sickness that well nigh brought him to his
death for a month's space; and, when health returned to him and
his beard grew again and he had been converted by the mercy of
Allah to al-Islam, he sent for me and said, "O youth, Fate had
decreed for us the happiest of lives, safe from all the chances
and changes of Time, till thou camest to us, when troubles fell
upon us. Would to Heaven we had never seen thee and the foul face
of thee! For we took pity on thee and thereby we have lost our
all. I have on thy account first lost my daughter who to me was
well worth an hundred men, secondly I have suffered that which
befel me by reason of the fire and the loss of my teeth, and my
Eunuch also was slain. I blame thee not, for it was out of thy
power to prevent this: the doom of Allah was on thee as well as
on us and thanks be to the Almighty for that my daughter
delivered thee, albeit thereby she lost her own life! Go forth
now, O my son, from this my city, and suffice thee what hath
befallen us through thee, even although 'twas decreed for us. Go
forth in peace; and if I ever see thee again I will surely slay
thee." And he cried out at me. So I went forth from his presence,
O my lady, weeping bitterly and hardly believing in my escape and
knowing not whither I should wend. And I recalled all that had
befallen me, my meeting the tailor, my love for the damsel in the
palace beneath the earth, and my narrow escape from the Ifrit,
even after he had determined to do me die; and how I had entered
the city as an ape and was now leaving it a man once more. Then I
gave thanks to Allah and said, "My eye and not my life!" and
before leaving the place I entered the bath and shaved my poll
and beard and mustachios and eye brows; and cast ashes on my head
and donned the coarse black woollen robe of a Kalandar. Then I
fared forth, O my lady, and every day I pondered all the
calamities which had betided me, and I wept and repeated these

"I am distraught, yet verily His ruth abides with me, * Tho'
round me gather hosts of ills, whence come I cannot see:
Patient I'll be till Patience self with me impatient wax; *
Patient for ever till the Lord fulfil my destiny:
Patient I'll bide without complaint, a wronged and vanquish" man;
* Patient as sunparcht wight that spans the desert's sandy
Patient I'll be till Aloe's[FN#254] self unwittingly allow * I'm
patient under bitterer things than bitterest aloe:
No bitterer things than aloes or than patience for mankind, * Yet
bitterer than the twain to me were Patience' treachery:
My sere and seamed and seared brow would dragoman my sore *
If soul could search my sprite and there unsecret secrecy:
Were hills to bear the load I bear they'd crumble 'neath the
weight, * 'Twould still the roaring wind, 'twould quench the
flame-tongue's flagrancy,
And whoso saith the world is sweet certes a day he'll see * With
more than aloes' bitterness and aloes' pungency."

Then I journeyed through many regions and saw many a city
intending for Baghdad, that I might seek audience, in the House
of Peace,[FN#255] with the Commander of the Faithful and tell him
all that had befallen me. I arrived here this very night and
found my brother in Allah, this first Kalandar, standing about as
one perplexed; so I saluted him with "Peace be upon thee," and
entered into discourse with him. Presently up came our brother,
this third Kalandar, and said to us, "Peace be with you! I am a
stranger;" whereto we replied, "And we too be strangers, who have
come hither this blessed night." So we all three walked on
together, none of us knowing the other's history, till Destiny
crave us to this door and we came in to you. Such then is my
story and my reason for shaving my beard and mustachios, and this
is what caused the loss of my eye. Said the house mistress, "Thy
tale is indeed a rare; so rub thy head and wend thy ways;" but he
replied, "I will not budge till I hear my companions' stories."
Then came forward the third Kalandar, and said, "O illustrious
lady! my history is not like that of these my comrades, but more
wondrous and far more marvellous. In their case Fate and Fortune
came down on them unawares; but I drew down destiny upon my own
head and brought sorrow on mine own soul, and shaved my own beard
and lost my own eye. Hear then

The Third Kalandar's Tale.

Know, O my lady, that I also am a King and the son of a King and
my name is Ajib son of Kazib. When my father died I succeeded
him; and I ruled and did justice and dealt fairly by all my
lieges. I delighted in sea trips, for my capital stood on the
shore, before which the ocean stretched far and wide; and near
hand were many great islands with sconces and garrisons in the
midst of the main. My fleet numbered fifty merchantmen, and as
many yachts for pleasance, and an hundred and fifty sail ready
fitted for holy war with the Unbelievers. It fortuned that I had
a mind to enjoy myself on the islands aforesaid, so I took ship
with my people in ten keel; and, carrying with me a month's
victual, I set out on a twenty days' voyage. But one night a head
wind struck us, and the sea rose against us with huge waves; the
billows sorely buffetted us and a dense darkness settled round
us. We gave ourselves up for lost and I said, "Whoso endangereth
his days, e'en an he 'scape deserveth no praise." Then we prayed
to Allah and besought Him; but the storm blasts ceased not to
blow against us nor the surges to strike us till morning broke
when the gale fell, the seas sank to mirrory stillness and the
sun shone upon us kindly clear. Presently we made an island where
we landed and cooked somewhat of food, and ate heartily and took
our rest for a couple of days. Then we set out again and sailed
other twenty days, the seas broadening and the land shrinking.
Presently the current ran counter to us, and we found ourselves
in strange waters, where the Captain had lost his reckoning, and
was wholly bewildered in this sea; so said we to the look out
man,[FN#256] "Get thee to the mast head and keep thine eyes
open." He swarmed up the mast and looked out and cried aloud, "O
Rais, I espy to starboard something dark, very like a fish
floating on the face of the sea, and to larboard there is a loom
in the midst of the main, now black and now bright." When the
Captain heard the look out's words he dashed his turband on the
deck and plucked out his beard and beat his face saying, "Good
news indeed! we be all dead men; not one of us can be saved." And
he fell to weeping and all of us wept for his weeping and also
for our lives; and I said, "O Captain, tell us what it is the
look out saw." "O my Prince," answered he, "know that we lost our
course on the night of the storm, which was followed on the
morrow by a two days' calm during which we made no way; and we
have gone astray eleven days reckoning from that night, with
ne'er a wind to bring us back to our true course. Tomorrow by
the end of the day we shall come to a mountain of black stone,
highs the Magnet Mountain;[FN#257] for thither the currents carry
us willy-nilly. As soon as we are under its lea, the ship's sides
will open and every nail in plank will fly out and cleave fast to
the mountain; for that Almighty Allah hath gifted the loadstone
with a mysterious virtue and a love for iron, by reason whereof
all which is iron travelleth towards it; and on this mountain is
much iron, how much none knoweth save the Most High, from the
many vessels which have been lost there since the days of yore.
The bright spot upon its summit is a dome of yellow laton from
Andalusia, vaulted upon ten columns; and on its crown is a
horseman who rideth a horse of brass and holdeth in hand a lance
of laton; and there hangeth on his bosom a tablet of lead graven
with names and talismans." And he presently added, "And, O King,
none destroyeth folk save the rider on that steed, nor will the
egromancy be dispelled till he fall from his horse.''[FN#258]
Then, O my lady, the Captain wept with exceeding weeping and we
all made sure of death doom and each and every one of us
farewelled his friend and charged him with his last will and
testament in case he might be saved. We slept not that night and
in the morning we found ourselves much nearer the Loadstone
Mountain, whither the waters crave us with a violent send. When
the ships were close under its lea they opened and the nails flew
out and all the iron in them sought the Magnet Mountain and clove
to it like a network; so that by the end of the day we were all
struggling in the waves round about the mountain. Some of us were
saved, but more were drowned and even those who had escaped knew
not one another, so stupefied were they by the beating of the
billows and the raving of the winds. As for me, O my lady, Allah
(be His name exalted!) preserved my life that I might suffer
whatso He willed to me of hardship, misfortune and~calamity; for
I scrambled upon a plank from one of the ships, and the wind and
waters threw it at the feet of the Mountain. There I found a
practicable path leading by steps carven out of the rock to the
summit, and I called on the name of Allah Almighty"[FN#259]--And
Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased to say her
permitted say.

When it was the Fifteenth Night,

She continued, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that the
third Kalandar said to the lady (the rest of the party sitting
fast bound and the slaves standing with swords drawn over their
heads):--And after calling on the name of Almighty Allah and
passionately beseeching Him, I breasted the ascent, clinging to
the steps and notches hewn in the stone, and mounted little by
little. And the Lord stilled the wind and aided me in the ascent,
so that I succeeded in reaching the summit. There I found no
resting place save the dome, which I entered, joying with
exceeding joy at my escape; and made the Wuzu-ablution[FN#260]
and prayed a two bow prayer,[FN#261] a thanksgiving to God for my
preservation. Then I fell asleep under the dome, and heard in my
dream a mysterious Voice[FN#262] saying, "O son of Khazib! when
thou wakest from thy sleep dig under thy feet and thou shalt find
a bow of brass and three leaden arrows, inscribed with talismans
and characts. Take the bow and shoot the arrows at the horseman
on the dome top and free mankind from this sore calamity. When
thou hast shot him he shall fall into the sea, and the horse will
also drop at thy feet: then bury it in the place of the bow. This
done, the main will swell and rise till it is level with the
mountain head, and there will appear on it a skiff carrying a man
of laton (other than he thou shalt have shot) holding in his hand
a pair of paddles. He will come to thee and do thou embark with
him but beware of saying Bismillah or of otherwise naming Allah
Almighty. He will row thee for a space of ten days, till he bring
thee to certain Islands called the Islands of Safety, and thence
thou shalt easily reach a port and find those who will convey
thee to thy native land; and all this shall be fulfilled to thee
so thou call not on the name of Allah." Then I started up from my
sleep in joy and gladness and, hastening to do the bidding of the
mysterious Voice, found the bow and arrows and shot at the
horseman and tumbled him into the main, whilst the horse dropped
at my feet; so I took it and buried it. Presently the sea surged
up and rose till it reached the top of the mountain; nor had I
long to wait ere I saw a skiff in the offing coming towards me. I
gave thanks to Allah; and, when the skiff came up to me, I saw
therein a man of brass with a tablet of lead on his breast
inscribed with talismans and characts; and I embarked without
uttering a word. The boatman rowed on with me through the first
day and the second and the third, in all ten whole days, till I
caught sight of the Islands of Safety; whereat I joyed with
exceeding joy and for stress of gladness exclaimed, "Allah!
Allah! In the name of Allah! There is no god but the God and
Allah is Almighty.''[FN#263] Thereupon the skiff forthwith upset
and cast me upon the sea; then it righted and sank deep into the
depths. Now I am a fair swimmer, so I swam the whole day till
nightfall, when my forearms and shoulders were numbed with
fatigue and I felt like to die; so I testified to my faith,
expecting naught but death. The sea was still surging under the
violence of the winds, and presently there came a billow like a
hillock; and, bearing me up high in air, threw me with a long
cast on dry land, that His will might be fulfilled. I crawled up
the beach and doffing my raiment wrung it out to dry and spread
it in the sunshine: then I lay me down and slept the whole night.
As soon as it was day, I donned my clothes and rose to look
whither I should walk. Presently I came to a thicket of low
trees; and, making a cast round it, found that the spot whereon I
stood was an islet, a mere holm, girt on all sides by the ocean;
whereupon I said to myself, "Whatso freeth me from one great
calamity casteth me into a greater!" But while I was pondering my
case and longing for death behold, I saw afar off a ship making
for the island; so I clomb a tree and hid myself among the
branches. Presently the ship anchored and landed ten slaves,
blackamoors, bearing iron hoes and baskets, who walked on till
they reached the middle of the island. Here they dug deep into
the ground, until they uncovered a plate of metal which they
lifted, thereby opening a trap door. After this they returned to
the ship and thence brought bread and flour, honey and fruits,
clarified butter,[FN#264] leather bottles containing liquors and
many household stuffs; also furniture, table service and mirrors
rugs, carpets and in fact all needed to furnish a dwelling; and
they kept going to and fro, and descending by the trap door, till
they had transported into the dwelling all that was in the ship.
After this the slaves again went on board and brought back with
them garments as rich as may be, and in the midst of them came an
old, old man, of whom very little was left, for Time had dealt
hardly and harshly with him, and all that remained of him was a
bone wrapped in a rag of blue stuff through which the winds
whistled west and east. As saith the poet of him:--

Time gars me tremble Ah, how sore the baulk! * While Time in
pride of strength cloth ever stalk:
Time was I walked nor ever felt I tired, * Now am I tired albe I
never walk!

And the Shaykh held by the hand a youth cast in beauty's mould,
all elegance and perfect grace; so fair that his comeliness
deserved to be proverbial; for he was as a green bough or the
tender young of the roe, ravishing every heart with his
loveliness and subduing every soul with his coquetry and amorous
ways.[FN#265] It was of him the poet spake when he said:--

Beauty they brought with him to make compare, * But Beauty
hung her head in shame and care:
Quoth' they, "O Beauty, hast thou seen his like?" * And Beauty
cried, "His like? not anywhere!"

They stinted not their going, O my lady, till all went down by
the trap door and did not reappear for an hour, or rather more;
at the end of which time the slaves and the old man came up
without the youth and, replacing the iron plate and carefully
closing the door slab as it was before, they returned to the ship
and made sail and were lost to my sight. When they turned away to
depart, I came down from the tree and, going to the place I had
seen them fill up, scraped off and removed the earth; and in
patience possessed my soul till I had cleared the whole of it
away. Then appeared the trap door which was of wood, in shape and
size like a millstone; and when I lifted it up it disclosed a
winding staircase of stone. At this I marvelled and, descending
the steps till I reached the last, found a fair hall, spread with
various kinds of carpets and silk stuffs, wherein was a youth
sitting upon a raised couch and leaning back on a round cushion
with a fan in his hand and nosegays and posies of sweet scented
herbs and flowers before him;[FN#266] but he was alone and not a
soul near him in the great vault. When he saw me he turned pale;
but I saluted him courteously and said, "Set thy mind at ease and
calm thy fears; no harm shall come near thee; I am a man like
thyself and the son of a King to boot; whom the decrees of
Destiny have sent to bear thee company and cheer thee in thy
loneliness. But now tell me, what is thy story and what causeth
thee to dwell thus in solitude under the ground?" When he was
assured that I was of his kind and no Jinni, he rejoiced and his
fine colour returned; and, making me draw near to him he said, "O
my brother, my story is a strange story and 'tis this. My father
is a merchant-jeweller possessed of great wealth, who hath white
and black slaves travelling and trading on his account in ships
and on camels, and trafficking with the most distant cities; but
he was not blessed with a child, not even one. Now on a certain
night he dreamed a dream that he should be favoured with a son,
who would be short lived; so the morning dawned on my father
bringing him woe and weeping. On the following night my mother
conceived and my father noted down the date of her becoming
pregnant.[FN#267] Her time being fulfilled she bare me; whereat
my father rejoiced and made banquets and called together the
neighbors and fed the Fakirs and the poor, for that he had been
blessed with issue near the end of his days. Then he assembled
the astrologers and astronomers who knew the places of the
planets, and the wizards and wise ones of the time, and men
learned in horoscopes and nativities,[FN#268] and they drew out
my birth scheme and said to my father, "Thy son shall live to
fifteen years, but in his fifteenth there is a sinister aspect;
an he safely tide it over he shall attain a great age. And the
cause that threateneth him with death is this. In the Sea of
Peril standeth the Mountain Magnet hight; on whose summit is a
horseman of yellow laton seated on a horse also of brass and
bearing on his breast a tablet of lead. Fifty days after this
rider shall fall from his steed thy son will die and his slayer
will be he who shoots down the horseman, a Prince named Ajib son
of King Khazib." My father grieved with exceeding grief to hear
these words; but reared me in tenderest fashion and educated me
excellently well until my fifteenth year was told. Ten days ago
news came to him that the horseman had fallen into the sea and he
who shot him down was named Ajib son of King Khazib. My father
thereupon wept bitter tears at the need of parting with me and
became like one possessed of a Jinni. However, being in mortal
fear for me, he built me this place under the earth; and,
stocking it with all required for the few days still remaining,
he brought me hither in a ship and left me here. Ten are already
past and, when the forty shall have gone by without danger to me,
he will come and take me away; for he hath done all this only in
fear of Prince Ajib. Such, then, is my story and the cause of my
loneliness." When I heard his history I marvelled and said in my
mind, "I am the Prince Ajib who hath done all this; but as Allah
is with me I will surely not slay him!" So said I to him, "O my
lord, far from thee be this hurt and harm and then, please Allah,
thou shalt not suffer cark nor care nor aught disquietude, for I
will tarry with thee and serve thee as a servant, and then wend
my ways; and after having borne thee company during the forty
days, I will go with thee to thy home where thou shalt give me an
escort of some of thy Mamelukes with whom I may journey back to
my own city; and the Almighty shall requite thee for me." He was
glad to hear these words, when I rose and lighted a large wax
candle and trimmed the ramps end the three lanterns; and I set on
meat and drink and sweetmeats. We ate and drank and sat talking
over various matters till the greater part of the night was gone;
when he lay down to rest and I covered him up and went to sleep
myself. Next morning I arose and warmed a little water, then
lifted him gently so as to awake him and brought him the warm
water wherewith he washed his face[FN#269] and said to me,
"Heaven requite thee for me with every blessing, O youth! By
Allah, if I get quit of this danger and am saved from him whose
name is Ajib bin Khazib, I will make my father reward thee and
send thee home healthy and wealthy; and, if I die, then my
blessing be upon thee." I answered, "May the day never dawn on
which evil shall betide thee; and may Allah make my last day
before thy last day!" Then I set before him somewhat of food and
we ate; and I got ready perfumes for fumigating the hall,
wherewith he was pleased. Moreover I made him a Mankalah-
cloth;[FN#270] and we played and ate sweetmeats and we played
again and took our pleasure till nightfall, when I rose and
lighted the lamps, and set before him somewhat to eat, and sat
telling him stories till the hours of darkness were far spent.
Then he lay down to rest and I covered him up and rested also.
And thus I continued to do, O my lady, for days and nights and
affection for him took root in my heart and my sorrow was eased,
and I said to myself, "The astrologers lied[FN#271] when they
predicted that he should be slain by Ajib bin Khazib: by Allah, I
will not slay him." I ceased not ministering to him and
conversing and carousing with him and telling him all manner
tales for thirty nine days. On the fortieth night[FN#272] the
youth rejoiced and said, "O my brother, Alhamdo, lillah!--praise
be to Allah--who hath preserved me from death and this is by thy
blessing and the blessing of thy coming to me and I pray God that
He restore thee to thy native land. But now, O my brother, I
would thou warm me some water for the Ghusl ablution and do thou
kindly bathe me and change my clothes." I replied, "With love and
gladness;" and I heated water in plenty and carrying it in to him
washed his body all over the washing of health,[FN#273] with meal
of lupins[FN#274] and rubbed him well and changed his clothes and
spread him a high bed whereon he lay down to rest, being drowsy
after bathing. Then said he, "O my brother, cut me up a water
melon, and sweeten it with a little sugar candy."[FN#275] So I
went to the store room and bringing out a fine water melon I
found there, set it on a platter and laid it before him saying,
"O my master hast thou not a knife?" "Here it is," answered he,
"over my head upon the high shelf." So I got up in haste and
taking the knife drew it from its sheath; but my foot slipped in
stepping down and I fell heavily upon the youth holding in my
hand the knife which hastened to fulfil what had been written on
the Day that decided the destinies of man, and buried itself, as
if planted, in the youth's heart. He died on the instant. When I
saw that he was slain and knew that I had slain him, maugre
myself, I cried out with an exceeding loud and bitter cry and
beat my face and rent my raiment and said, "Verily we be Allah's
and unto Him we be returning, O Moslems! O folk fain of Allah!
there remained for this youth but one day of the forty dangerous
days which the astrologers and the learned had foretold for him;
and the predestined death of this beautiful one was to be at my
hand. Would Heaven I had not tried to cut the watermelon. What
dire misfortune is this I must bear fief or loath? What a
disaster! What an affliction! O Allah mine, I implore thy pardon
and declare to Thee my innocence of his death. But what God
willeth let that come to pass.''[FN#276]--And Shahrazad perceived
the dawn of day and ceased to say her permitted say.

When it was the Sixteenth Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that Ajib thus
continued his tale to the lady:--When I was certified that I had
slain him, I arose and ascending the stairs replaced the trap-
door and covered it with earth as before. Then I looked out
seawards and saw the ship cleaving the waters and making for the
island, wherefore I was afeard and said, "The moment they come
and see the youth done to death, they will know 'twas I who slew
him and will slay me without respite." So I climbed up into a
high tree and concealed myself among its leaves; and hardly had I
done so when the ship anchored and the slaves landed with the
ancient man, the youth's father, and made direct for the place
and when they removed the earth they were surprised to see it
soft.[FN#277] Then they raised the trap door and went down and
found the youth lying at full length, clothed in fair new
garments, with a face beaming after the bath, and the knife deep

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