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The Book of the Thousand Nights and a Night, Volume 2 by Richard F. Burton

Part 6 out of 8

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men, when the Faithless found naught to save their lives but
flight. So they turned tail to fly while the biting sabre
wrought its havoc and the Moslems slew of them that day some
fifty thousand horse and took more than that number: much folk
also were slain while going in at the gates, for the flock was
great. Then the Greeks hove to the doors and swarmed up the
walls to await the assault; and in fine the Moslem hosts returned
to their tents aided to glory and victory, and King Zau al-Makan
went in to his brother whom he found in most joyous case. So he
made a prostration of thanks to the Bountiful and the Exalted;
and then he came forward and gave Sharrkan joy of his recovery.
Answered he, "Verily we are all under the benediction of this
Religious, holy and righteous, nor would you have been
victorious, but for his accepted orisons; indeed all day he
remained at prayer to invoke victory on the Moslems."--And
Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased saying her
permitted say.

When it was the One Hundred and Fourth Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when Zau
al- Makan went in to his brother Sharrkan, he found him sitting
with the Holy Man by his side; so he rejoiced and drew near him
and gave him joy of his recovery. Answered he, "Verily we are
all under the benediction of this Recluse nor would you have been
victorious but for his prayers, indeed he felt no fear this day
and he ceased not supplication for the Moslems. I found strength
return to me, when I heard your 'Allaho Akbar,' for then I knew
you to be victorious over your enemies. But now recount to me, O
my brother, what befel thee." So he told him all that had passed
between him and the accursed Hardub and related how he had slain
him and sent him to the malediction of Allah; and Sharrkan
praised him and thanked him for his prowess. When Zat al-Dawahi
heard tell of her son's death (and she still drest as a devotee),
her face waxed yellow and her eyes ran over with railing tears:
she kept her counsel, however, and feigned to the Moslems that
she was glad and wept for excess of joy. But she said to
herself, "By the truth of the Messiah, there remaineth no profit
of my life, if I burn not his heart for his brother, Sharrkan,
even as he hath burned my heart for King Hardub, the mainstay of
Christendom and the hosts of Crossdom!" Still she kept her
secret. And the Wazir Dandan and King Zau al-Makan and the
Chamberlain remained sitting with Sharrkan till they had dressed
and salved his wound; after which they gave him medicines and he
began to recover strength; whereat they joyed with exceeding joy
and told the troops who congratulated themselves, saying, "To
morrow he will ride with us and do manly devoir in the siege."
Then said Sharrkan to them, "Ye have fought through all this day
and are aweary of fight; so it behoveth that you return to your
places and sleep and not sit up." They accepted his counsel and
then each went away to his own pavilion, and none remained with
Sharrkan but a few servants and the old woman Zat al-Dawahi. He
talked with her through part of the night, then he stretched
himself to rest: and his servants did likewise and presently
sleep overcame them all and they lay like the dead. Such was the
case with Sharrkan and his men; but as regards the old woman she
alone abode awake while they slumbered in the tent and, looking
at Sharrkan she presently saw that he was drowned in sleep.
Thereupon she sprang to her feet, as she were a scald she bear or
a speckled snake, and drew from her waist cloth a dagger so
poisoned that if laid thereon it would have melted a rock. Then
she unsheathed the poniard and went up to Sharrkan's head and she
drew the knife across his throat and severed his weasand and
hewed off his head from his body. And once more she sprang to
her feet; and, going the round of the sleeping servants, she cut
off their heads also, lest they should awake. Then she left the
tent and made for the Sultan's pavilion, but finding the guards
on the alert, turned to that of the Wazir Dandan. Now she found
him reading the Koran and when his sight fell upon her he said,
"Welcome to the Holy Man!" Hearing this from the Wazir, her heart
trembled and she said, "The reason of my coming hither at this
time is that I heard the voice of a saint amongst Allah's Saints
and am going to him." Then she turned her back, but the Wazir
said to himself, "By Allah, I will follow our Devotee this
night!" So he rose and walked after her; but when the accursed
old woman sensed his footsteps, she knew that he was following
her: wherefore she feared the disgrace of discovery and said in
herself, "Unless I serve some trick upon him he will disgrace
me." So she turned and said to him from afar, "Ho, thou Wazir, I
am going in search of this Saint that I may learn who he is; and,
after learning this much, I will ask his leave for thee to visit
him. Then I will come back and tell thee: for I fear thine
accompanying me, without having his permission, lest he take
umbrage at me seeing thee in my society." Now when the Wazir
heard these words, he was ashamed to answer her; so he left her
and returned to his tent, and would have slept; but sleep was not
favourable to him and the world seemed heaped upon him.
Presently he rose and went forth from the tent saying in himself,
"I will go to Sharrkan and chat with him till morning." But when
he entered into Sharrkan's pavilion, he found the blood running
like an aqueduct and saw the servants lying with their throats
cut like beasts for food. At this he cried a cry which aroused
all who were asleep; the folk hastened to him and, seeing the
blood streaming, set up a clamour of weeping and wailing. Then
the noise awoke the Sultan, who enquired what was the matter, and
it was said to him, "Sharrkan thy brother and his servants are
murthered." So he rose in haste and entered the tent, and found
the Wazir Dandan shrieking aloud and he saw his brother's body
without a head. Thereat he swooned away and all the troops
crowded around him, weeping and crying out, and so remained for a
while, till he came to himself, when he looked at Sharrkan and
wept with sore weeping, while the Wazir and Rustam and Bahram did
the like. But the Chamberlain cried and lamented more than the
rest and asked leave to absent himself, such was his alarm. Then
said Zau al-Makan, "Know ye who did this deed and how is it I see
not the Devotee, him who the things of this world hath put away?"
Quoth the Wazir, "And who should have been the cause of this
affliction, save that Devotee, that Satan? By Allah, my heart
abhorred him from the first, because I know that all who pretend
to be absorbed in practices religious are vile and treacherous!"
And he repeated to the King the tale of how he would have
followed the Religious, but he forbade him, whereupon the folk
broke out into a tumult of weeping and lamentation and humbled
themselves before Him who is ever near, Him who ever answereth
prayer, supplicating that He would cause the false Devotee who
denied Allah's testimony to fall into their hands. Then they
laid Sharrken out and buried him in the mountain aforesaid and
mourned over his far-famed virtues.--And Shahrazad perceived the
dawn of day and ceased to say her permitted say.

When it was the One Hundred and Fifth Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that they laid
Sharrkan out and buried him in the mountain aforesaid and mourned
over his far-famed virtues. Then they looked for the opening of
the city gate; but it opened not and no sign of men appeared to
them on the walls; whereat they wondered with exceeding wonder.
But King Zau al-Makan said, "By Allah, I will not turn back from
them, though I sit here for years and years, till I take blood
revenge for my brother Sharrkan and waste Constantinople and kill
the King of the Nazarenes, even if death overcome me and I be at
rest from this woeful world!" Then he bade be brought out the
treasure taken from the Monastery of Matruhina; and mustered the
troops and divided the monies among them, and he left not one of
them but he gave him gifts which contented him. Moreover, he
assembled in the presence three hundred horse of every division
and said to them, "Do ye send supplies to your households, for I
am resolved to abide by this city, year after year, till I have
taken man bote for my brother Sharrkan, even if I die in this
stead." And when the army heard these words and had received his
gifts of money they replied, "To hear is to obey!" Thereupon he
summoned couriers and gave them letters and charged them to
deliver the same, together with the monies, to the soldiers'
families and inform them that all were safe and satisfied, and
acquaint them saying, "We are encamped before Constantinople and
we will either destroy it or die; and, albeit we be obliged to
abide here months and years, we will not depart hence till we
take it." Moreover, he bade the Wazir Dandan write to his sister,
Nuzhat al-Zaman, and said to him, "Acquaint her with what hath
befallen us, and what be our situation and commend my child to
her care since that, when I went out to war, my wife was near her
delivery and by this time she must needs have been brought to
bed; and if she hath given birth to a boy, as I have heard say,
hasten your return and bring me the acceptable news." Then he
gave them somewhat of money, which they pouched and set out at
once; and all the people flocked forth to take leave of them and
entrust them with the monies and the messages. After they had
departed, Zau al-Makan turned to the Wazir Dandan and commanded
him to advance with the army against the city walls. So the
troops pushed forward, but found none on the ramparts, whereat
they marvelled, while Zau al-Makan was troubled at the case, for
he deeply mourned the severance from his brother Sharrkan and he
was sore perturbed about that traitor the Ascetic. In this
condition they abode three days without seeing anyone. So far
concerning the Moslems; but as regards the Greeks and the cause
of their refusing to fight during these three days the case was
this. As soon as Zat al-Dawahi had slain Sharrkan, she hastened
her march and reached the walls of Constantinople, where she
called out in the Greek tongue to the guards to throw her down a
rope. Quoth they, "Who art thou?"; and quoth she, "I am Zat al-
Dawahi." They knew her and let down a cord to which she tied
herself and they drew her up; and, when inside the city, she went
in to the King Afridun and said to him, "What is this I hear from
the Moslems? They say that my son King Hardub is slain." He
answered, "Yes;" and she shrieked out and wept right grievously
and ceased not weeping thus till she made Afridun and all who
were present weep with her. Then she told the King how she had
slain Sharrkan and thirty of his servants, whereat he rejoiced
and thanked her; and, kissing her hands, exhorted her to
resignation for the loss of her son. Said she, "By the truth of
the Messiah, I will not rest content with killing that dog of the
Moslem dogs in blood revenge for my son, a King of the Kings of
the age! Now there is no help for it but that I work some guile
and I contrive a wile whereby to slay the Sultan Zau al-Makan and
the Wazir Dandan and the Chamberlain and Rustam and Bahram and
ten thousand cavaliers of the army of Al-Islam; for it shall
never be said that my son's head be paid with the bloodwit of
Sharrkan's head; no, never!" Then said she to King Afridun,
"Know, O King of the Age, that it is my wish to set forth
mourning for my son and to cut my Girdle and to break the
Crosses." Replied Afridun, "Do what thou desire; I will not
gainsay thee in aught. And if thou prolong thy mourning for many
days it were a little thing; for though the Moslems resolve to
beleaguer us years and years, they will never win their will of
us nor gain aught of us save trouble and weariness." Then the
Accursed One (when she had ended with the calamity she had
wrought and the ignominies which in herself she had thought) took
ink case and paper and wrote thereon: "From Shawahi, Zat al-
Dawahi, to the host of the Moslems. Know ye that I entered your
country and duped by my cunning your nobles and at first hand I
slew your King Omar bin al-Nu'uman in the midst of his palace.
Moreover, I slew, in the affair of the mountain pass and of the
cave, many of your men; and the last I killed were Sharrkan and
his servants. And if fortune do not stay me and Satan obey me, I
needs must slay me your Sultan and the Wazir Dandan, for I am she
who came to you in disguise of a Recluse and who heaped upon you
my devices and deceits. Wherefore, an you would be in safety
after this, fare ye forth at once; and if you seek your own
destruction cease not abiding for the nonce; and though ye tarry
here years and years, ye shall not do your desire on us. And so
peace be yours!" After writing her writ she devoted three days to
mourning for King Hardub; arid, on the fourth, she called a
Knight and bade him take the letter and make it fast to a shaft
and shoot it into the Moslem camp. When this was done, she
entered the church and gave herself up to weeping and wailing for
the loss of her son, saying to him who took the kingship after
him, "Nothing will serve me but I must kill Zau al-Makan and all
the nobles of Al-Islam." Such was the case with her; but as
regards what occurred to the Moslems, all passed three days in
trouble and anxiety, and on the fourth when gazing at the walls
behold, they saw a knight holding a bow and about to shoot an
arrow along whose side a letter was bound. So they waited till
he had shot it among them and the Sultan bade the Wazir Dandan
take the missive and read it. He perused it accordingly; and,
when Zau al-Makan heard it to end and understood its purport, his
eyes filled with tears and he shrieked for agony at her perfidy;
and the Minister Dandan said, "By Allah, my heart shrank from
her!" Quoth the Sultan, "How could this whore play her tricks
upon us twice? But by the Almighty I will not depart hence till
I fill her cleft with molten lead and jail her with the jailing
of a bird encaged, then bind her with her own hair and crucify
her over the gate of Constantinople." And he called to mind his
brother and wept with excessive weeping. But when Zat al-Dawahi
arrived amongst the Infidels and related to them her adventures
at length, they rejoiced at her safety and at the slaying of
Sharrkan. There upon the Moslems addressed themselves again to
the siege of the city and the Sultan promised his men that, if it
should be taken, he would divide its treasures among them in
equal parts. But he dried not his tears grieving for his brother
till his body was wasted and sick, growing thin as a tooth pick.
Presently the Wazir Dandan came in to him and said, "Be of good
cheer and keep thine eyes cool and clear; in very sooth thy
brother died not but because his hour was come, and there is no
profit in this mourning. How well saith the poet,

"Whatso is not to be no sleight shall bring to pass; * What is to
be without a failure shall become;
Soon the becoming fortune shall be found to be, * And Folly's
brother[FN#453] shall abide forlorn and glum."

Wherefore do thou leave this weeping and wailing and hearten thy
heart to bear arms." He replied, "O Wazir, my heart is heavy for
the death of my father and my brother and for our absence from
hearth and home; and my mind is concerned for my subjects."
Thereupon the Wazir and the bystanders wept; but they ceased not
from pushing forward the siege of Constantinople for a length of
days. And they being thus, behold, news arrived from Baghdad, by
one of the Emirs to the effect that the King's wife had been
blessed with a boy, and that his sister, Nuzhat al-Zaman, had
named him Kanmakan.[FN#454] Moreover, that the boy bid fair to be
famous, already showing wondrous signs and marvellous tokens; and
that she had commanded the Olema and the preachers to pray for
mother and child from the pulpits and bless them in all wise;
furthermore that the twain were well, that the land had enjoyed
abundant rains, and that his comrade the Fireman was established
in all prosperity, with eunuchs and slaves to wait upon him; but
that he was still ignorant of what had befallen him. And she
ended with the greeting of peace. Then quoth Zau al- Makan to
the Wazir Dandan, "Now is my back strengthened for that I have
been blest with a son whose name is Kanmakan."--And Shahrazad
perceived the dawn of day and ceased saying her permitted say.

When it was the One Hundred and Sixth Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when they
brought him the news of his wife having borne him a boy child,
Zau al- Makan rejoiced with great joy and cried, "Now is my back
strengthened, for that I have been blessed with a son[FN#455]
whose name is Kanmakan." And he spake to the Wazir Dandan,
saying, "I am minded to leave this mourning and order perfections
of the Koran for my brother and command almsdeeds on his
account." Quoth the Wazir, "Thy design is good." Thereupon he
caused tents to be pitched over his brother's tomb; so they
raised them and gathered together such of the men at arms as
could repeat the Koran; and some began reciting the Holy volume;
whilst others chanted litanies containing the names of Allah, and
thus they did till the morning. Then Zau al-Makan went up to the
grave of his brother Sharrkan and poured forth copious tears, and
improvised these couplets,

"They bore him bier'd, and all who followed wept * With Moses'
shrieks what day o'erhead shook Tor;[FN#456]
Till reached the grave which Pate had made his home, * Dug in
men's souls who one sole God adore:
Ne'er had I thought before to see my joy * Borne on the bier
which heads of bearers bore:
Ah no! nor ere they homed thee in the dust * That stars of
heaven earth ever covered o'er.
Is the tomb dweller hostage of a stead, * Where light and
splendour o'er thy face shall pour?
Praise to restore his life her word hath pledged: * Cribbed and
confined he shall dispread the more!"

When Zau al-Makan had made an end of his versifying he wept and
wept with him all the troops; then he came to the grave and threw
himself upon it wild with woe, and the Wazir repeated the words
of the poet,

"Pain leaving life that fleets thou hast th' eternal won; * Thou
didst as whilom many a doer like thee hath done
Leftest this worldly house without reproach or blame; * Ah, may
th' ex change secure thee every benison!
Thou west from hostile onset shield and firm defence, * For us to
baffle shafts and whistling spears to shun.
I see this world is only cheat and vanity, * Where man naught
else must seek but please the Truthful One:
Th' Empyrean's Lord allow thee bower of heavenly bliss, * And wi'
thy faithful friends The Guide show goodly wone:
I bid thee last good e'en with sigh of bitter grief, * Seeing the
West in woe for lack of Easting Sun."

When the Wazir Dandan had finished his reciting, he wept with
sore weeping and the tears rained from his eyes like cushioned
pearls. Then came forward one who had been of Sharrkan's boon
companions in his cups and he wept till ran in rills the drops,
and he enumerated the dead man's generous qualities, reciting the
following pentastichs,

"Where gone is Bounty since thy hand is turned to clay? * And I
in misery lie since thou west ta'en away.
See'st not, O litter guide[FN#457] (Heaven keep thee glad and
gay!), * How tears adorn my cheeks, these furrowed wrinkles
A sight to joy shine eyes and fill thee with
By Allah ne'er this heart within I spoke of thee; * Ah no! nor
dared my sight to see thy brilliancy:
Save that my tear drops sorest wound have garred me dree * Yea!
and if e'er on other rest these eyne of me,
May yearning draw their reins nor suffer sleep to see."

And when the man stinted reciting, Zau al-Makan and the Minister
Dandan wept and the whole army was moved to tears; after which
all retired to their tents, and the King turning to the Wazir
took counsel with him concerning the conduct of the campaign. On
this wise the two passed days and nights, while Zau al-Makan was
weighed down with grief and mourning till at last he said, "I
long to hear stories and adventures of Kings and tales of lover
folk enslaved by love; haply Allah may make this to solace that
which is on my heart of heavy anxiety, and stint and stay my
weeping and wailing." Quoth the Wazir, "If naught can dispel thy
trouble but hearing curious tales of Kings and people long gone
before and stories of folk enslaved by love of yore, and so
forth, this thing were easy, for I had no other business, in the
lifetime of thy father (who hath found mercy) than to relate
stories and to repeat verses to him. This very night I will tell
thee a tale of a lover and his beloved, so shall thy breast be
broadened." When Zau al-Makan heard these words from the
Minister, his heart was set upon that which had been promised to
him and he did nothing but watch for the coming of the night,
that he might hear what the Wazir Dandan had to tell of the Kings
of yore and distracted lovers long gone before. And hardly would
he believe that night had fallen ere he bade light the wax
candles and the lamps and bring all that was needful of meat and
drink and perfume gear, and what not; and when all was in
presence, he summoned the Wazir Dandan, and the Emirs Rustam and
Bahram and Tarkash and the Grand Chamberlain; then waited till
the whole party was seated before him; whereupon he turned to the
Minister and said, "Know, O Wazir, that night is come and hath
let down over us its veil of gloom, and we desire that thou tell
us those tales which thou promisedst us." Replied the Wazir,
"With joy and good will."--And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of
day and ceased to say her permitted say.

When it was the One Hundred and Seventh Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when King
Zau Al-Makan summoned the Wazir and the Chamberlain and Rustam
and Bahram, he turned towards the Minister Dandan and said,
"Know, O Wazir, that night is come and hath let down over us its
veil of gloom, and we desire that thou tell us those tales which
thou promisedst us." Replied the Wazir, "With love and gladness!
Know, O auspicious King, that there reached my ears a relation of
a lover and a loved one and of the discourse between them and
what befel them of things rare and fair, a story such as
repelleth care from the heart and dispelleth sorrow like unto
that of the patriarch Jacob[FN#459]; and it is as follows":

Tale of Taj al-Muluk and the Princess Dunya
(The Lover and the Loved).

There stood in times long gone by behind the Mountains of
Ispahan, a city highs the Green City, wherein dwelt a King named
Sulayman Shah. Now he was a man of liberality and beneficence,
of justice and integrity, of generosity and sincerity, to whom
travellers repaired from every country, and his name was noised
abroad in all regions and cities and he reigned many a year in
high worship and prosperity, save that he owned neither wives nor
children. He had a Minister who rivalled him in goodness and
generosity and it so happened that one day, he sent for him and
when he came into the presence said to him, "O my Wazir, my heart
is heavy and my patience is past and my force faileth me, for
that I have neither wife nor child. This is not the way of Kings
who rule over all men, princes. and paupers; for they rejoice in
leaving behind them children and successors whereby are doubled
their number and their strength. Quoth the Prophet (whom Allah
bless and keep!); 'Marry ye, increase ye, and multiply ye, that I
may boast me of your superiority over the nations on the Day of
Resurrection.' So what is thy rede, O Wazir? Advise me of what
course and contrivance be advisable!" When the Minister heard
these words, the tears sprang from his eyes in streams, and he
replied, "Far be it from me, O King of the Age, that I debate on
that which appertaineth to the Compassionate One! Wilt thou have
me cast into the fire by the All powerful King's wrath and ire?
Buy thee a concubine." Rejoined the King, "Know, O Wazir, that
when a sovereign buyeth a female slave, he knoweth neither her
rank nor her lineage and thus he cannot tell if she be of simple
origin that he may abstain from her, or of gentle strain that he
may be intimate in her companionship. So, if he have commerce
with her, haply she will conceive by him and her son be a
hypocrite, a man of wrath and a shedder of blood. Indeed the
like of such woman may be instanced by a salt and marshy soil,
which if one till for ever it yieldeth only worthless growth and
no endurance show eth; for it may be that her son will be
obnoxious to his Lord's anger, doing not what He biddeth him or
abstaining from what He for biddeth him. Wherefore will I never
become the cause of this through the purchase of a concubine; and
it is my desire that thou demand for me in marriage the daughter
of some one of the Kings, whose lineage is known and whose
loveliness hath renown. If thou can direct me to some maiden of
birth and piety of the daughters of Moslem Sovranty, I will ask
her in marriage and wed her in presence of witnesses, so may
accrue to me the favour of the Lord of all Creatures." Said the
Wazir, "O King, verily Allah hath fulfilled thy wish and hath
brought thee to thy desire;" presently adding, "Know, O King, it
hath come to my knowledge that King Zahr Shah,[FN#460] Lord of
the White Land, hath a daughter of surpassing loveliness whose
charms talk and tale fail to express: she hath not her equal in
this age, for she is perfect in proportion and symmetry, black
eyed as if Kohl dyed and long locked, wee of waist and heavy of
hip. When she draweth nigh she seduceth and when she turneth her
back[FN#461] she slayeth; she ravisheth heart and view and she
looketh even as saith of her the poet,

'A thin waist maid who shames the willow wand; * Nor sun nor moon
can like her rising shine:
'Tis as her honey dew of lips were blent * With wine, and pearls
of teeth were bathed in wine:
Her form, like heavenly Houri's, graceful slim; * Fair face; and
ruin dealt by glancing eyne:
How many a dead done man her eyes have slain * Upon her way of
love in ruin li'en:
An live I she's my death! I'll say no more * But dying without
her vain were life of mine.' "

Now when the Wazir had made an end of describing that maiden, he
said to Sulayman Shah, "It is my counsel, O King, that thou
despatch to her father an ambassador, sagacious, experienced and
trained in the ways of the world, who shall courteously demand
her in marriage for thee of her sire; for in good sooth she hath
not her equal in the far parts of the world nor in the near. So
shalt thou enjoy her lovely face in the way of grace, and the
Lord of Glory be content with thy case; for it is reported of the
Prophet (whom Allah bless and preserve!) that he said, 'There be
no monkery in Al-Islam."' At this the King was transported to
perfect joy; his breast was broadened and lightened; care and
cark ceased from him and he turned to the Wazir and said, "Know
thou, O Minister, that none shall fare about this affair save
thou, by reason of thy consummate intelligence and good breeding;
wherefore hie thee home and do all thou hast to do and get thee
ready by the morrow and depart and demand me in marriage this
maiden, with whom thou hast occupied my heart and thought; and
return not to me but with her." Replied the Wazir, "I hear and I
obey." Then he tried to his own house and bade make ready
presents befitting Kings, of precious stones and things of price
and other matters light of load but weighty of worth, besides
Rabite steeds and coats of mail, such as David made[FN#462] and
chests of treasure for which speech hath no measure. And the
Wazir loaded the whole on camels and mules, and set out attended
by an hundred slave girls with flags and banners flaunting over
his head. The King charged him to return to him after a few
days; and, when he was gone, Sulayman Shah lay on coals of fire,
engrossed night and day with desire; while the envoy fared on
without ceasing through gloom and light, spanning fertile field
and desert site, till but a day's march remained between him and
the city whereto he was bound. Here he sat him down on the banks
of a river and, summoning one of his confidants, bade him wend
his way to King Zahr Shah and announce his approach without
delay. Quoth the messenger, "I hear and I obey!" And he rode on
in haste to that city and, as he was about to enter therein, it
so chanced that the King, who was sitting in one of his
pleasaunces before the city gate, espied him as he was passing
the doors, and knowing him for a stranger, bade bring him before
the presence. So the messenger coming forward informed him of
the approach of the Wazir of the mighty King Sulayman Shah, Lord
of the Green Land and of the Mountains of Ispahan: whereat King
Zahr Shah rejoiced and welcomed him. Then he carried him to his
palace and asked him, "Where leavedst thou the Wazir?"; and he
answered, "I left him in early day on the banks of such a river
and tomorrow he will reach thee, Allah continue his favours to
thee and have mercy upon thy parents!" Thereupon King Zahr Shah
commanded one of his Wazirs to take the better part of his
Grandees and Chamberlains and Lieutenants and Lords of the land,
and go out to meet the ambassador in honour of King Sulayman
Shah; for that his dominion extended over the country. Such was
the case with Zahr Shah; but as regards the Wazir he abode in his
stead till night was half spent[FN#463] and then set out for the
city; but when morning shone and the sun rose upon hill and down,
of a sudden he saw King Zahr Shah's Wazir approaching him, with
his Chamberlains and high Lords and Chief Officers of the
kingdom; and the two parties joined company at some parasangs'
distance from the city.[FN#464] Thereat the Wazir made sure of
the success of his errand and saluted the escort, which ceased
not preceding him till they reached the King's palace and passed
in before him through the gate to the seventh vestibule, a place
where none might enter on horseback, for it was near to where the
King sat. So the Minister alighted and fared on a foot till he
came to a lofty saloon, at whose upper end stood a marble couch,
set with pearls and stones of price, and having for legs four
elephant's tusks. Upon it was a coverlet of green satin purfled
with red gold, and above it hung a canopy adorned with pearls and
gems, whereon sat King Zahr Shah, whilst his officers of state
stood in attendance before him. When the Wazir went in to him,
he composed his mind and, unbinding his tongue, displayed the
oratory of Wazirs and saluted the King in the language of
eloquence.--And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased to
say her permitted say,

When it was the One Hundred and Eighth Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when the
Wazir of King Sulayman Shah entered the presence of King Zahr
Shah he composed his mind and, unbinding his tongue, displayed
the oratory of Wazirs and saluted the King in the language of
eloquence and improvised these couplets,

"He cometh robed and bending gracefully: * O'er crop and cropper
dews of grace sheds he:
He charms; nor characts, spells nor gramarye * May fend the
glances of those eyne from thee:
Say to the blamer, "Blame me not, for I * From love of him will
never turn to flee":
My heart hath played me false while true to him, * And Sleep, in
love with him, abhorreth me:
O heart! th'art not the sole who loveth him, * So bide with him
while I desertion dree:
There's nought to joy mine ears with joyous sound * Save praise
of King Zahr Shah in jubilee:
A King albeit thou leave thy life to win * One look, that look
were all sufficiency:
And if a pious prayer thou breathe for him, * Shall join all
Faithfuls in such pious gree:
Folk of his realm! If any shirk his right * For other hoping,
gross Unfaith I see."

When the Wazir had ended his poetry, King Zahr Shah bade him draw
near and honoured him with the highmost honours; then, seating
him by his own side, smiled in his face and favoured him with a
gracious reply. They ceased not on this wise till the time of
the under meal when the attendants brought forward the tables of
food in that saloon and all ate till they were sated; after which
the tables were removed and those who were in the assembly
withdrew, leaving only the chief officers. Now when the Minister
saw this, he rose to his feet and, after complimenting the King a
second time and kissing the ground before him, spake as follows,
"O mighty King and dread Lord! I have travelled hither and have
visited thee upon a matter which shall bring thee peace, profit
and prosperity: and it is this, that I come as ambassador to
thee, seeking in marriage thy daughter, the noble and illustrious
maid, from Sulayman Shah, a Prince famed for justice and
integrity, sincerity and generosity, Lord of the Green Land and
of the Mountains of Ispahan, who sendeth thee of presents a
store, and gifts of price galore, ardently desiring to become thy
son in law. But art thou inclined to him as he to thee?" He then
kept silence, awaiting a reply. When King Zahr Shah heard these
words, he sprang to his feet and kissed the ground respectfully
before the Wazir, while the bystanders were confounded at his
condescension to the ambassador and their minds were amazed.
Then he praised Him who is the Lord of Honour and Glory and
replied (and he still standing), "O mighty Wazir and illustrious
Chief; hear thou what I say! Of a truth we are to King Sulayman
Shah of the number of his subjects, and we shall be ennobled by
his alliance and we covet it ardently; for my daughter is a
handmaid of his handmaidens, and it is my dearest desire that he
may become my stay and my reliable support." Then he summoned the
Kazis and the witnesses, who should bear testimony that King
Sulayman Shah had despatched his Wazir as proxy to conclude the
marriage, and that King Zahr Shah joyfully acted and officiated
for his daughter. So the Kazis concluded the wedding contract
and offered up prayers for the happiness and prosperity of the
wedded feres; after which the Wazir arose and, fetching the gifts
and rarities and precious things, laid them all before the King.
Then Zahr Shah occupied himself anent the fitting out of his
daughter and honourably entertained the Wazir and feasted his
subjects all, great and small; and for two months they held high
festival, omitting naught that could rejoice heart and eye. Now
when all things needful for the bride were ready, the King caused
the tents to be carried out and they pitched the camp within
sight of the city, where they packed the bride's stuffs in chests
and get ready the Greek handmaids and Turkish slave girls, and
provided the Princess with great store of precious treasures and
costly jewels. Then he had made for her a litter of red gold,
inlaid with pearls and stones of price, and set apart two mules
to carry it; a litter which was like one of the chambers of a
palace, and within which she seemed as she were of the loveliest
Houris and it became as one of the pavilions of Paradise. And
after they had made bales of the treasures and monies, and had
loaded them upon the mules and camels, King Zahr Shah went forth
with her for a distance of three parasangs; after which he bade
farewell to her and the Wazir and those with him, and returned to
his home in gladness and safety. Thereupon the Wazir, faring
with the King's daughter, pushed on and ceased not his stages
over desert ways,--And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and
ceased saying her permitted say.

When it was the One Hundred and Ninth Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that the Wazir
fared on with the King's daughter and ceased not forcing his
stages over desert ways and hastened his best through nights and
days, till there remained between him and his city but three
marches. Thereupon he sent forward to King Sulayman Shah one who
should announce the coming of the bride. The King rejoiced
thereat and bestowed on the messenger a dress of honour; and bade
his troops march forth in grand procession to meet the Princess
and her company for due worship and honour, and don their richest
apparel with banners flying over their heads. And his orders
were obeyed. He also commanded to cry throughout the city that
neither curtained damsel nor honoured lady nor time-ruptured
crone should fail to fare forth and meet the bride. So they all
went out to greet her and the grandest of them vied in doing her
service and they agreed to bring her to the King's palace by
night. More over, the chief officers decided to decorate the
road and to stand in espalier of double line, whilst the bride
should pass by preceded by her eunuchs and serving women and clad
in the gear her father had given her. So when she made her
appearance, the troops surrounded her, these of the right wing
and those of the left, and the litter ceased not advancing with
her till she approached the palace; nor remained any but came
forth to gaze upon the Princess. Drums were beaten and spears
were brandished and horns blared and flags fluttered and steeds
pranced for precedence and scents shed fragrance till they
reached the Palace gate and the pages entered with the litter
through the Harim wicket. The place shone with its splendours
and the walls glittered for the glamour of its gear. Now when
night came, the eunuchs threw open the doors of the bridal
chamber and stood surrounding the chief entrance whereupon the
bride came forward and amid her damsels she was like the moon
among stars or an union shining on a string of lesser pearls, and
she passed into the bridal closet where they had set for her a
couch of alabaster inlaid with unions and jewels. As soon as she
had taken seat there, the King came in to her and Allah filled
his heart with her love so he abated her maidenhead and ceased
from him his trouble and disquiet. He abode with her well nigh a
month but she had conceived by him the first night; and, when the
month was ended, he went forth and sat on his sofa of state, and
dispensed justice to his subjects, till the months of her
pregnancy were accomplished. On the last day of the ninth month,
towards day break, the Queen was seized with the pangs of labour;
so she sat down on the stool of delivery and Allah made the
travail easy to her and she gave birth to a boy child, on whom
appeared auspicious signs. When the King heard of this, he joyed
with exceeding joy and rewarded the bearer of the good tidings
with much treasure; and of his gladness he went in to the child
and kissed him between the eyes and wondered at his brilliant
loveliness; for in him was approved the saying of the poet,

"In the towering forts Allah throned him King, * A lion, a star
in the skies of reign:
At his rising the spear and the throne rejoiced, * The gazelle,
the ostrich, The men of main:[FN#465]
Mount him not on the paps, for right soon he'll show * That to
throne on the war steed's loins he's fain:
And wean him from sucking of milk, for soon * A sweeter drink,
the foe's blood, he'll drain."

Then the midwives took the newborn child and cut the navel cord
and darkened his eyelids with Kohl powder[FN#466] and named him
Taj al-Muluk Kharan.[FN#467] He was suckled at the breast of
fond indulgence and was reared in the lap of happy fortune; and
thus his days ceased not running and the years passing by till he
reached the age of seven. Thereupon Sulayman Shah summoned the
doctors and learned men and bade them teach his son writing and
science and belle-lettres. This they continued to do for some
years, till he had learnt what was needful; and, when the King
saw that he was well grounded in whatso he desired, he took him
out of the teachers' and professors' hands and engaged for him a
skilful master, who taught him cavalarice and knightly exercises
till the boy attained the age of fourteen; and when he fared
abroad on any occasion, all who saw him were ravished by his
beauty and made him the subject of verse; and even pious men were
seduced by his brilliant loveliness.--And Shahrazad perceived the
dawn of day and ceased to say her permitted say.

When it was the One Hundred and Tenth Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, That when Taj
al-Muluk Kharan, son of Sulayman Shah, became perfect in riding
craft and excelled all those of his time, his excessive beauty,
when he fared abroad on any occasion, caused all who saw him to
be ravished and to make him the subject of verse; and even pious
men were seduced by his brilliant loveliness. Quoth the poet of

"I clipt his form and wax'd drunk with his scent, * Fair branch
to whom Zephyr gave nutriment:
Nor drunken as one who drinks wine, but drunk * With night
draught his lips of the honey dew lent:
All beauty is shown in the all of him, * Hence all human hearts
he in hand hath hens:
My mind, by Allah! shall ne'er unmind * His love, while I wear
life's chains till spent:
If I live, in his love I'll live; if I die * For pine and
longing, 'O blest!' I'll cry

When he reached the eighteenth year of his age, tender
down[FN#468] sprouted, on his side face fresh with youth, from a
mole upon one rosy cheek and a second beauty spot, like a grain
of ambergris adorned the other; and he won the wits and eyes of
every wight who looked on him, even as saith the poet,

"He is Caliph of Beauty in Yusufs lieu, * And all lovers fear
when they sight his grace:
Pause and gaze with me; on his cheek thou'lt sight * The
Caliphate's banner of sable hue."[FN#469]

And as saith another,

"Thy sight hath never seen a fairer sight, * Of all things men
can in the world espy,
Than yon brown mole, that studs his bonny cheek * Of rosy red
beneath that jet black eye."

And as saith another,

"I marvel seeing yon mole that serves his cheeks' bright flame *
Yet burneth not in fire albeit Infidel[FN#470]
I wonder eke to see that apostolic glance, * Miracle working,
though it work by magic spell:
How fresh and bright the down that decks his cheek, and yet *
Bursten gall bladders feed which e'en as waters well."

And as saith another,

"I marvel hearing people questioning of * The Fount of Life and
in what land 'tis found:
I see it sprung from lips of dainty fawn, * Sweet rosy mouth with
green mustachio down'd:
And wondrous wonder 'tis when Moses viewed * That Fount, he
rested not from weary round."[FN#471]

Now having developed such beauty, when he came to man's estate
his loveliness increased, and it won for him many comrades and
intimates; while every one who drew near to him wished that Taj
al-Muluk Kharan might become Sultan after his father's death, and
that he himself might be one of his Emirs. Then took he
passionately to chasing and hunting which he would hardly leave
for a single hour. His father, King Sulayman Shah, would have
forbidden him the pursuit fearing for him the perils of the waste
and the wild beasts; but he paid no heed to his warning voice.
And it so chanced that once upon a time he said to his attendants
"Take ye ten days food and forage;" and, when they obeyed his
bidding, he set out with his suite for sport and disport. They
rode on into the desert and ceased not riding four days, till
they came to a place where the ground was green, and they saw in
it wild beasts grazing and trees with ripe fruit growing and
springs flowing. Quoth Taj al-Muluk to his followers, "Set up
the nets here and peg them in a wide ring and let our trysting
place be at the mouth of the fence, in such a spot." So they
obeyed his words and staked out a wide circle with toils; and
there gathered together a mighty matter of all kinds of wild
beasts and gazelles, which cried out for fear of the men and
threw themselves for fright in the face of the horses. Then they
loosed on to them the hounds and lynxes[FN#472] and
hawks;[FN#473] and they shot the quarry down with shafts which
pierced their vitals; and, by the time they came to the further
end of the net ring, they had taken a great number of the wild
beasts, and the rest fled. Then Taj al-Muluk dismounted by the
water side and bade the game be brought before himself, and
divided it, after he had set apart the best of the beasts for his
father, King Sulayman Shah, and despatched the game to him; and
some he distributed among the officers of his court. He passed
the night in that place, and when morning dawned there came up a
caravan of merchants conveying negro slaves and white servants,
and halted by the water and the green ground. When Taj al-Muluk
saw them, he said to one of his companions, "Bring me news of
yonder men and question them why they have halted in this
place."[FN#474] So the messenger went up to them and addressed
them, "Tell me who ye be, and answer me an answer without delay."
Replied they, "We are merchants and have halted to rest, for that
the next station is distant and we abide here because we have
confidence in King Sulayman Shah and his son, Taj al-Muluk, and
we know that all who alight in his dominions are in peace and
safety; more over we have with us precious stuffs which we have
brought for the Prince." So the messenger returned and told these
news to the King's son who, hearing the state of the case and
what the merchants had replied, said, "If they have brought stuff
on my account I will not enter the city nor depart hence till I
see it shown to me." Then he mounted horse and rode to the
caravan and his Mamelukes followed him till he reached it.
Thereupon the merchants rose to receive him and invoked on him
Divine aid and favour with continuance of glory and virtues;
after which they pitched him a pavilion of red satin, embroidered
with pearls and jewels, wherein they spread him a kingly divan
upon a silken carpet worked at the upper end with emeralds set in
gold. There Taj al-Muluk seated himself whilst his white
servants stood in attendance upon him, and sent to bid the
merchants bring out all that they had with them. Accordingly,
they produced their merchandise, and displayed the whole and he
viewed it and took of it what liked him, paying them the price.
Then he looked about him at the caravan, and remounted and was
about to ride onwards, when his glance fell on a handsome youth
in fair attire, and a comely and shapely make, with flower white
brow and moon like face, save that his beauty was wasted and that
yellow hues had overspread his cheeks by reason of parting from
those he loved;--And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and
ceased to say her permitted say.

When it was the One Hundred and Eleventh Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that Taj Al-
Muluk, when he looked about him at the caravan, saw a handsome
youth in neat attire and of shapely make, with flower like
forehead and moon like face, save that his beauty was wasted and
yellow hues had overspread his cheeks by reason of parting from
those he loved; and great was his groaning and moaning, and the
tears streamed from his eyelids as he repeated these couplets,

"Longsome is Absence; Care and Fear are sore, * And ceaseless
tears, O friend, mine eyes outpour:
Yea, I farewelled my heart on parting day * And heartless,
hopeless, now I bide forlore:
Pause, O my friend, with me farewelling one * Whose words my cure
can work, my health restore!"

Now when the youth ended his poetry he wept awhile and fell down
in a fainting fit, whilst Taj al-Muluk looked at him and wondered
at his case. Then, coming to himself, he stared with distracted
air, and versified in these couplets,

"Beware her glance I rede thee, 'tis like wizard wight, * None
can escape unscathed those eye shafts' glancing flight:
In very sooth black eyes, with languorous sleepy look, * Pierce
deeper than white swords however these may bite.
Be not thy senses by her sweets of speech beguiled, * Whose
brooding fever shall ferment in thought and sprite:
Soft sided Fair[FN#475] did silk but press upon her skin, *
'Twould draw red blood from it, as thou thyself canst sight.
Chary is she of charms twixt neck and anklets dwell, * And ah!
what other scent shall cause me such delight?[FN#476]"

Then he sobbed a loud sob and swooned away. But when Taj al-
Muluk saw him in this case, he was perplexed about his state and
went up to him; and, as the youth came to his senses and saw the
King's son standing at his head, he sprang to his feet and kissed
the ground between his hands. Taj al-Muluk asked him, 'Why didst
thou not show us thy merchandise?" end he answered, O my lord,
there is naught among my stock worthy of thine august highness."
Quoth the Prince, "Needs must thou show me what thou hast and
acquaint me with thy circumstance; for I see thee weeping eyed
and heavyhearted. If thou have been oppressed, we will end thine
oppression, and if thou be in debt, we will pay thy debt; for of
a truth my heart burneth to see thee, since I first set eyes on
thee."[FN#477] Then Taj al-Muluk bade the seats be set, and they
brought him a chair of ivory and ebony with a net work of gold
and silk, and spread him a silken rug for his feet. So he sat
down on the chair and bidding the youth seat himself on the rug
said to him, "Show me thy stock in trade!" The young merchant
replied, "O my Lord, do not name this to me, for my goods be
unworthy of thee." Rejoined Taj al-Muluk "It needs must be
thus!"; and bade some of the pages fetch the goods. So they
brought them in despite of him; and, when he saw them, the tears
streamed from his eyes and he wept and sighed and lamented: sobs
rose in his throat and he repeated these couplets,

"By what thine eyelids show of Kohl and coquetry! * By what thy
shape displays of lissome symmetry!
By what thy liplets store of honey dew and wine! * By what thy
mind adorns of gracious kindly gree!
To me thy sight dream-visioned, O my hope! exceeds * The
happiest escape from horriblest injury."

Then the youth opened his bales and displayed his merchandise to
Taj Al-Muluk in detail, piece by piece, and amongst them he
brought out a gown of satin brocaded with gold, worth two
thousand dinars. When he opened the gown there fell a piece of
linen from its folds. As soon as the young merchant saw this he
caught up the piece of linen in haste and hid it under his thigh;
and his reason wandered, and he began versifying,

"When shall be healed of thee this heart that ever bides in woe?
* Than thee the Pleiad-stars more chance of happy meeting
Parting and banishment and longing pain and lowe of love, *
Procrastinating[FN#478] and delay these ills my life lay
Nor union bids me live in joy, nor parting kills by grief, * Nor
travel draws me nearer thee nor nearer comest thou:
Of thee no justice may be had, in thee dwells naught of rush, *
Nor gain of grace by side of thee, nor flight from thee I
For love of thee all goings forth and comings back are strait *
On me, and I am puzzled sore to know where I shall go."

Taj al-Muluk wondered with great wonder at his verse, and could
not comprehend the cause. But when the youth snatched up the bit
of linen and placed it under thigh, he asked him, "What is that
piece of linen?" "O my Lord," answered the merchant, "thou hast
no concern with this piece." Quoth the King's son, "Show it me;"
and quoth the merchant, "O my lord, I refused to show thee my
goods on account of this piece of linen; for I cannot let thee
look upon it."--And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and
ceased saying her permitted say,

When it was the One Hundred and Twelfth Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that the young
merchant said to Taj al-Muluk, "I did not refuse to show thee my
goods save on this account, for I cannot let thee look upon it."
Whereupon Taj al Muluk retorted, "Perforce I must and will see
it;" and insisted and became angry. So the youth drew it out
from under his thigh, and wept and moaned and redoubled his sighs
and groans, and repeated these verses,

"Now blame him not; for blame brings only irk and pain! * Indeed,
I spake him sooth but ne'er his ear could gain:
May Allah guard my moon which riseth in the vale * Beside our
camp, from loosed robe like skyey plain:[FN#479]
I left him but had Love vouchsafed to leave for me * Some peace
in life such leave of him I ne'er had ta'en:
How long he pleaded for my sake on parting morn, * While down his
cheeks and mine tears ran in railing rain:
Allah belie me not: the garb of mine excuse * This parting rent,
but I will Mend that garb again!
No couch is easy to my side, nor on such wise * Aught easeth him,
when all alone without me lain:
Time with ill omened hand hath wrought between us two, * And made
my waxing joys to wane and his to wane,
And poured mere grief and woe, what time Time fain had crowned *
The bowl he made me drink and gave for him to drain."

When he ended his recitation, quoth Taj al-Muluk, "I see thy
conduct without consequence; tell me then why weepest thou at the
sight of this rag!" When the young merchant heard speak of the
piece of linen, he sighed and answered, "O my lord, my story is a
strange and my case out of range, with regard to this piece of
linen and to her from whom I brought it and to her who wrought on
it these figures and emblems." Hereupon, he spread out the piece
of linen, and behold, thereon was the figure of a gazelle wrought
in silk and worked with red gold, and facing it was another
gazelle traced in silver with a neck ring of red gold and three
bugles[FN#480] of chrysolite upon the ring. When Taj al-Muluk
saw the beauty of these figures, he exclaimed, "Glory be to Allah
who teacheth man that which he knoweth not!"[FN#481] And his
heart yearned to hear the youth's story; so he said to him, "Tell
me thy story with her who owned these gazelles." Replied the
young man: "Hear, O my Lord, the

Tale of Aziz and Azizah.[FN#482]

My father was a wealthy merchant and Allah had vouchsafed him no
other child than myself; but I had a cousin, Azizah highs,
daughter of my paternal uncle and we twain were brought up in one
house; for her father was dead and before his death, he had
agreed with my father that I should marry her. So when I reached
man's estate and she reached womanhood, they did not separate her
from me or me from her, till at last my father spoke to my mother
and said, "This very year we will draw up the contract of
marriage between Aziz and Azizah." So having agreed upon this he
betook himself to preparing provision for the wedding feast.
Still we ceased not to sleep on the same carpet knowing naught of
the case, albeit she was more thoughtful, more intelligent and
quicker witted than I. Now when my father had made an end of his
preparations, and naught remained for him but to write out the
contract and for me but to consummate the marriage with my
cousin, he appointed the wedding for a certain Friday, after
public prayers; and, going round to his intimates among the mer
chants and others, he acquainted them with that, whilst my mother
went forth and invited her women friends and summoned her kith
and kin. When the Friday came, they cleaned the saloon and
prepared for the guests and washed the marble floor; then they
spread tapestry about our house and set out thereon what was
needful, after they had hung its walls with cloth of gold. Now
the folk had agreed to come to us after the Friday prayers; so my
father went out and bade them make sweetmeats and sugared dishes,
and there remained nothing to do but to draw up the contract.
Then my mother sent me to the bath and sent after me a suit of
new clothes of the richest; and, when I came out of the Hammam, I
donned those habits which were so perfumed that as I went along,
there exhaled from them a delicious fragrance scenting the
wayside. I had designed to repair to the Cathedral mosque when I
bethought me of one of my friends and returned in quest of him
that he might be present at the writing of the contract; and
quoth I to myself, "This matter will occupy me till near the time
of congregational prayer." So I went on and entered a by street
which I had never before entered, perspiring profusely from the
effects of the bath and the new clothes on my body; and the sweat
streamed down whilst the scents of my dress were wafted abroad: I
therefore sat me at the upper end of the street resting on a
stone bench, after spreading under me an embroidered kerchief I
had with me. The heat oppressed me more and more, making my
forehead perspire and the drops trickled along my cheeks; but I
could not wipe my face with my kerchief because it was dispread
under me. I was about to take the skirt of my robe and wipe my
cheeks with it, when unexpectedly there fell on me from above a
white kerchief, softer to the touch than the morning breeze and
pleasanter to the sight than healing to the diseased. I hent it
in hand and raised my head to see whence it had fallen, when my
eyes met the eyes of the lady who owned these gazelles.--And
Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased saying her
permitted say

When it was the One Hundred and Thirteenth Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that the youth
continued to Taj al-Muluk: "So I raised my head to see whence
this kerchief had fallen, when my eyes met those of the lady who
owned these gazelles. And lo! she was looking out of a wicket in
a lattice of brass and never saw my eyes a fairer than she, and
in fine my tongue faileth to describe her beauty. When she
caught sight of me looking at her, she put her forefinger into
her mouth, then joined her middle finger and her witness
finger[FN#483] and laid them on her bosom, between her breasts;
after which she drew in her head and closed the wicket shutter
and went her ways. There upon fire broke out in and was heaped
upon my heart, and greater grew my smart; the one sight cost me a
thousand sighs and I abode perplexed, for that I heard no word by
her spoken, nor understood the meaning of her token. I looked at
the window a second time, but found it shut and waited patiently
till sundown, but sensed no sound and saw no one in view. So
when I despaired of seeing her again, I rose from my place and
taking up the handkerchief, opened it, when there breathed from
it a scent of musk which caused me so great delight I became as
one in Paradise.[FN#484] Then I spread it before me and out
dropped from it a delicate little scroll; whereupon I opened the
paper which was perfumed with a delicious perfume, and therein
were writ these couplets,

"I sent to him a scroll that bore my plaint of love, * Writ in
fine delicate hand; for writing proves man's skill:
Then quoth to me my friend, 'Why is thy writing thus; * So fine,
so thin drawn 'tis to read unsuitable?'
Quoth I, 'for that I'm fine-drawn wasted, waxed thin, * Thus
lovers' writ Should be, for so Love wills his will.

And after casting my eyes on the beauty of the kerchief,[FN#485]
I saw upon one of its two borders the following couplets worked
in with the needle,

"His cheek down writeth (O fair fall the goodly scribe!) * Two
lines on table of his face in Rayhan-hand:[FN#486]
O the wild marvel of the Moon when comes he forth! * And when he
bends, O shame to every Willow wand!"

And on the opposite border these two couplets were traced,

"His cheek down writeth on his cheek with ambergris on pearl *
Two lines, like jet on apple li'en, the goodliest design:
Slaughter is in those languid eyne whene'er a glance they deal, *
And drunkenness in either cheek and not in any wine."

When I read the poetry on the handkerchief the flames of love
darted into my heart, and yearning and pining redoubled their
smart. So I took the kerchief and the scroll and went home,
knowing no means to win my wish, for that I was incapable of
conducting love affairs and inexperienced in interpreting hints
and tokens. Nor did I reach my home ere the night was far spent
and I found the daughter of my uncle sitting in tears. But as
soon as she saw me she wiped away the drops and came up to me,
and took off my walking dress and asked me the reason of my
absence, saying, "All the folk, Emirs and notables and merchants
and others, assembled in our house; and the Kazi and the
witnesses were also present at the appointed time. They ate and
tarried awhile sitting to await thine appearance for the writing
of the contract; and, when they despaired of thy presence, they
dispersed and went their ways. And indeed," she added, "thy
father raged with exceeding wrath by reason of this, and swore
that he would not celebrate our marriage save during the coming
year, for that he hath spent on these festivities great store of
money." And she ended by asking, "What hath befallen thee this
day to make thee delay till now?; and why hast thou allowed that
to happen which happened because of thine absence?" Answered I,
"O daughter of mine uncle, question me not concerning what hath
befallen me."[FN#487] Then I told her all that had passed from
beginning to end, and showed her the handkerchief. She took the
scroll and read what was written therein; and tears ran down her
cheeks and she repeated these cinquains,

"Who saith that Love at first of free will came, * Say him: Thou
liest! Love be grief and grame:
Yet shall such grame and grief entail no shame; * All annals
teach us one thing and the same
Good current coin clips coin we may not crepe!

An please thou, say there's pleasure in thy pain, * Find
Fortune's playful gambols glad and fain:
Or happy blessings in th' unhappy's bane, * That joy or grieve,
with equal might and main:
Twixt phrase and antiphrase I'm all a heap!

But he, withal, whose days are summer bright, * Whom maids e'er
greet with smiling lips' delight;
Whom spicey breezes fan in every site * And wins whate'er he
wills, that happy wight
White blooded coward heart should never keep!"

Then she asked me, "What said she, and what signs made she to
thee?" I answered, "She uttered not a word, but put her fore
finger in her mouth, then joining it to her middle finger, laid
both fingers on her bosom and pointed to the ground. Thereupon
she withdrew her head and shut the wicket; and after that I saw
her no more. However, she took my heart with her, so I sat till
sun down, expecting her again to look out of the window; but she
did it not; and, when I despaired of her, I rose from my seat and
came home. This is my history and I beg thee to help me in this
my sore calamity." Upon this she raised her face to me and said,
"O son of mine uncle, if thou soughtest my eye, I would tear it
for thee from its eyelids, and perforce I cannot but aid thee to
thy desire and aid her also to her desire; for she is whelmed in
passion for thee even as thou for her." Asked I, "And what is the
interpretation of her signs?"; and Azizah answered, "As for the
putting her finger in her mouth,[FN#488] it showed that thou art
to her as her soul to her body and that she would bite into union
with thee with her wisdom teeth. As for the kerchief, it
betokeneth that her breath of life is bound up in thee. As for
the placing her two fingers on her bosom between her breasts, its
explanation is that she saith; 'The sight of thee may dispel my
grief.' For know, O my cousin, that she loveth thee and she
trusteth in thee. This is my interpretation of her signs and,
could I come and go at Will, I would bring thee and her together
in shortest time, and curtain you both with my skirt." Hearing
these words I thanked her (continued the young merchant) for
speaking thus, and said to myself, "I will wait two days." So I
abode two days in the house, neither going out nor coming in;
neither eating nor drinking but I laid my head on my cousin's
lap, whilst she comforted me and said to me, "Be resolute and of
good heart and hope for the best!"--And Shahrazad perceived the
dawn of day and ceased to say her permitted say,

When it was the One Hundred and Fourteenth Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that the youth
pursued to Taj al-Muluk:--"And when the two days were past she
said to me, "Be of good cheer and clear thine eyes of tears and
take courage to dress thyself and go to her, according to thy
tryst." Then she rose and changed my clothes and perfumed me with
incense smoke. So I braced myself up and heartened my heart and
went out and walked on till I came to the by-street, where I sat
down on the bench awhile. And behold, the wicket suddenly opened
and I looked up and seeing her, fell down in a swoon. When I
revived, I called up resolution and took courage and gazed again
at her and again became insensible to the world around me. Then
I came to myself and looking at her, saw that she held in hand a
mirror and a red kerchief. Now when she caught my glance, she
bared her forearms and opened her five fingers and smote her
breast with palm and digits; and after this she raised her hands
and, holding the mirror outside the wicket, she took the red
kerchief and retired into the room with it, but presently
returned and putting out her hand with the kerchief, let it down
towards the lane three several times, dipping it and raising it
as often. Then she wrung it out and folded it in her hands,
bending down her head the while; after which she drew it in from
the lattice and, shutting the wicket shutter, went away without a
single word; nay, she left me confounded and knowing not what
signified her signs.[FN#489]. I tarried sitting there till
supper time and did not return home till near midnight; and there
I found the daughter of my uncle with her cheek props in her hand
and her eyelids pouring forth tears; and she was repeating these

"Woe's me! why should the blamer gar thee blaming bow? * How be
consoled for thee that art so tender bough?
Bright being! on my vitals cost thou prey, and drive * My heart
before platonic passion's[FN#490] force to bow.
Thy Turk like[FN#491] glances havoc deal in core of me, * As
furbished sword thin ground at curve could never show:
Thou weigh's" me down with weight of care, while I have not *
Strength e'en to bear my shift, so weakness lays me low:
Indeed I weep blood tears to hear the blamer say; * 'The lashes
of thy lover's eyne shall pierce thee through!'
Thou hast, my prince of loveliness! an Overseer,[FN#492] * Who
wrongs me, and a Groom[FN#493] who beats me down with brow.
He foully lies who says all loveliness belonged * To Joseph, in
thy loveliness is many a Joe:
I force myself to turn from thee, in deadly fright * Of spies;
and what the force that turns away my sight!"

When I heard her verse, cark increased and care redoubled on me
and I fell down in a corner of our house; whereupon she arose in
haste and, coming to me lifted me up and took off my outer
clothes and wiped my face with her sleeve. Then she asked me
what had befallen me, and I described all that had happened from
her. Quoth she, "O my cousin, as for her sign to thee with her
palm and five fingers its interpretation is, Return after five
days; and the putting forth of her head out of the window, and
her gestures with the mirror and the letting down and raising up
and wringing out of the red kerchief,[FN#494] signify, Sit in the
dyer's shop till my messenger come to thee." When I heard her
words fire flamed up in my heart and I exclaimed, "O daughter of
my uncle, thou sayest sooth in this thine interpretation; for I
saw in the street the shop of a Jew dyer." Then I wept, and she
said, "Be of good cheer and strong heart: of a truth others are
occupied with love for years and endure with constancy the ardour
of passion, whilst thou hast but a week to wait; why then this
impatience?" Thereupon she went on cheering me with comfortable
talk and brought me food: so I took a mouthful and tried to eat
but could not; and I abstained from meat and drink and estranged
myself from the solace of sleep, till my colour waxed yellow and
I lost my good looks; for I had never been in love before nor had
I ever savoured the ardour of passion save this time. So I fell
sick and my cousin also sickened on my account; but she would
relate to me, by way of consolation, stories of love and lovers
every night till I fell asleep; and when ever I awoke, I found
her wakeful for my sake with tears running down her cheeks. This
ceased not till the five days were past, when my cousin rose and
warmed some water and bathed me with it. Then she dressed me in
my best and said to me, "Repair to her and Allah fulfil thy wish
and bring thee to thy desire of thy beloved!" So I went out and
ceased not walking on till I came to the upper end of the by
street. As it was the Sabbath[FN#495] I found the dyer's shop
locked and sat before it, till I heard the call to mid afternoon
prayer. Then the sun yellowed and the Mu'ezzins[FN#496] chanted
the call to sundown prayer and the night came; but I saw no sign
nor heard one word, nor knew any news of her. So I feared for my
life sitting there alone; and at last I arose and walked home
reeling like a drunken man. When I reached the house, I found my
cousin Azizah standing, with one hand grasping a peg driven into
the wall and the other on her breast; and she was sighing and
groaning and repeating these couplets,

"The longing of an Arab lass forlorn of kith and kin * (Who to
Hijazian willow wand and myrtle[FN#497] cloth incline,
And who, when meeting caravan, shall with love-lowe set light *
To bivouac fire, and bang for conk her tears of pain and
Exceeds not mine for him nor more devotion shows, but he * Seeing
my heart is wholly his spurns love as sin indign."

Now when she had finished her verse she turned to me and, seeing
me, wiped away her tears and my tears with her sleeve. Then she
smiled in my face and said, "O my cousin, Allah grant thee
enjoyment of that which He hath given thee! Why didst thou not
pass the night by the side of thy beloved and why hast thou not
fulfilled thy desire of her?" When I heard her words, I gave her
a kick in the breast and she fell down in the saloon and her brow
struck upon the edge of the raised pavement and hit against a
wooden peg therein. I looked at her and saw that her forehead
was cut open and the blood running,--And Shahrazad perceived the
dawn of day and ceased saying her permitted say.

When it was the One Hundred and Fifteenth Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that the young
merchant continued to Taj al-Muluk: "Now when I kicked the
daughter of my uncle in the breast she fell on the edge of the
raised pavement in the saloon and her brow struck upon a wooden
peg. Thereby her forehead was cut open and the blood ran down,
but she was silent and did not utter a single sound.[FN#498]
Presently she rose up, and made some tinder of rags, then
staunching with it the bleeding wound, bound her forehead with a
bandage; after which she wiped up the blood that had fallen on
the carpet, and it was as if nothing had been. Presently she
came up to me and smiling in my face, said with gentle voice, "By
Allah, O son of my uncle, I spake not these words to mock at thee
or at her! But I was troubled with an ache in my head and was
minded to be blooded, but now thou hast eased my head and
lightened my brow; so tell me what hath befallen thee to day."
Thereupon I told her all that had passed between me and her that
day; and she wept as she heard my words and said, "O son of my
uncle, rejoice at the good tidings of thy desire being fulfilled
and thine aim being attained. Of a truth this is a sign of
acceptance; for that she stayed away only because she wisheth to
try thee and know if thou be patient or not, and sincere in thy
love for her or otherwise. Tomorrow, repair to her at the old
place and see what sign she maketh to thee; for indeed thy
gladness is near and the end of thy sadness is at hand." And she
went on to comfort me; but my cark and care ceased not to
increase on me. Presently she brought me food which I kicked
away with my foot so that the contents of every saucer were
scattered in all directions, and I said, "Every lover is a
madman; he inclineth not to food neither enjoyeth he sleep." And
my cousin Azizah rejoined, "By Allah, O son of my uncle, these be
in very deed the signs of love!" And the tears streamed down her
cheeks whenas she gathered the fragments of the saucers and wiped
up the food; then she took seat and talked to me, whilst I prayed
Allah to hasten the dawn. At last, when morning arose with its
sheen and shine, I went out to seek her and hastening to her by
street sat down on that bench, when lo! the wicket opened and
she put out her head laughing. Then she disappeared within and
returned with a mirror, a bag; and a pot full of green plants and
she held in hand a lamp. The first thing she did was to take the
mirror and, putting it into the bag, tie it up and throw it back
into the room; then she let down her hair over her face and set
the lamp on the pot of flowers during the twinkling of an eye;
then she took up all the things and went away shutting the window
without saying a word. My heart was riven by this state of the
case, and by her secret signals, her mysterious secrets and her
utter silence; and thereby my longing waxed more violent and my
passion and distraction redoubled on me. So I retraced my steps,
tearful-eyed and heavy hearted, and returned home, where I found
the daughter of my uncle sitting with her face to the wall; for
her heart was burning with grief and galling jealousy; albeit her
affection forbade her to acquaint me with what she suffered of
passion and pining when she saw the excess of my longing and
distraction. Then I looked at her and saw on her head two
bandages, one on account of the accident to her forehead and the
other over her eye in consequence of the pain she endured for
stress of weeping; and she was in miserable plight shedding tears
and repeating these couplets,

"I number nights; indeed I count night after night; * Yet lived I
long ere learnt so sore accompt to see, ah!
Dear friend, I compass not what Allah pleased to doom * For
Layla, nor what Allah destined for me, ah!
To other giving her and unto me her love, * What loss but Layla's
loss would He I ever dree, ah!"

And when she had finished her reciting, she looked towards me and
seeing me through her tears, wiped them away and came up to me
hastily, but could not speak for excess of love. So she remained
silent for some while and then said, "O my cousin, tell me what
befel thee with her this time." I told her all that had passed
and she said, "Be patient, for the time of thy union is come and
thou hast attained the object of thy hopes. As for her signal to
thee with the mirror which she put in the bag, it said to thee,
When the sun is set; and the letting down of her hair over her
face signified, When night is near and letteth fall the blackness
of the dark and hath starkened the daylight, come hither. As for
her gesture with the pot of green plants it meant, When thou
comest, enter the flower garden which is behind the street; and
as for her sign with the lamp it denoted, When thou enterest the
flower garden walk down it and make for the place where thou
seest the lamp shining; and seat thyself beneath it and await me;
for the love of thee is killing me." When I heard these words
from my cousin, I cried out from excess of passion and said, "How
long wilt thou promise me and I go to her, but get not my will
nor find any true sense in thine interpreting." Upon this she
laughed and replied, "It remaineth for thee but to have patience
during the rest of this day till the light darken and the night
starker and thou shalt enjoy union and accomplish thy hopes; and
indeed all my words be without leasing." Then she repeated these
two couplets,

"Let days their folds and plies deploy, * And shun the house that
deals annoy!
Full oft when joy seems farthest far * Thou nighmost art to hour
of joy."'

Then she drew near to me and began to comfort me with soothing
speech, but dared not bring me aught of food, fearing lest I be
angry with her and hoping I might incline to her; so when coming
to me she only took off my upper garment and said to me, "Sit O
my cousin, that I may divert thee with talk till the end of the
day and, Almighty Allah willing, as soon as it is night thou
shalt be with thy beloved." But I paid no heed to her and ceased
not looking for the approach of darkness, saying, "O Lord, hasten
the coming of the night!" And when night set in, the daughter of
my uncle wept with sore weeping and gave me a crumb of pure musk,
and said to me, "O my cousin, put this crumb in thy mouth, and
when thou hast won union with thy beloved and hast taken thy will
of her and she hath granted thee thy desire, repeat to her this

'Ho, lovers all! by Allah say me sooth * What shall he do when
love sore vexeth youth?'"[FN#499]

And she kissed me and swore me not to repeat this couplet till I
should be about to leave my lover and I said, "Hearing is
obeying!" And when it was supper-tide I went out and ceased not
walking on till I came to the flower garden whose door I found
open. So I entered and, seeing a light in the distance, made
towards it and reaching it, came to a great pavilion vaulted over
with a dome of ivory and ebony, and the lamp hung from the midst
of the dome. The floor was spread with silken carpets
embroidered in gold and silver, and under the lamp stood a great
candle, burning in a candelabrum of gold. In mid pavilion was a
fountain adorned with all manner of figures;[FN#500] and by its
side stood a table covered with a silken napkin, and on its edge
a great porcelain bottle full of wine, with a cup of crystal
inlaid with gold. Near all these was a large tray of silver
covered over, and when I uncovered it I found therein fruits of
every kind, figs and pomegranates, grapes and oranges, citrons
and shaddocks[FN#501] disposed amongst an infinite variety of
sweet scented flowers, such as rose, jasmine, myrtle, eglantine,
narcissus and all sorts of sweet smelling herbs. I was charmed
with the place and I joyed with exceeding joy, albeit I found not
there a living soul and my grief and anxiety ceased from me.--And
Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day, and ceased to say her
permitted say.

When it was the One Hundred and Sixteenth Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that the young
merchant continued to Taj al-Muluk: "I was charmed with the place
and joyed with great joy albeit there I found not a living soul
of Almighty Allah's creatures, and saw nor slave nor hand maid to
oversee these things or to watch and ward these properties. So I
sat down in the pavilion to await the coming of the beloved of my
heart; but the first hour of the night passed by, and the second
hour, and the third hour, and still she came not. Then hunger
grew sore upon me, for that it was long since I had tasted food
by reason of the violence of my love: but when I found the place
even as my cousin had told me, and saw the truth of her in
terpretation of my beloved's signs, my mind was set at rest and I
felt the pangs of hunger; moreover, the odour of the viands on
the table excited me to eat. So making sure of attaining my
desire, and being famished for food I went up to the table and
raised the cover and found in the middle a china dish containing
four chickens reddened with roasting and seasoned with spices,
round the which were four saucers, one containing sweetmeats,
another conserve of pomegranate seeds, a third almond
pastry[FN#502] and a fourth honey fritters; and the contents of
these saucers were part sweet and part sour. So I ate of the
fritters and a piece of meat, then went on to the almond cakes
and ate what I could; after which I fell upon the sweetmeats,
whereof I swallowed a spoonful or two or three or four, ending
with part of a chicken and a mouthful of something beside. Upon
this my stomach became full and my joints loose and I waxed too
drowsy to keep awake; so I laid my head on a cushion, after
having washed my hands, and sleep over came me; I knew not what
happened to me after this, and I awoke not till the sun's heat
scorched me, for that I had never once tasted sleep for days
past. When I awoke I found on my stomach a piece of salt and a
bit of charcoal; so I stood up and shook my clothes and turned to
look right and left, but could see no one; and discovered that I
had been sleeping on the marble pavement without bedding beneath
me. I was perplexed thereat and afflicted with great affliction;
the tears ran down my cheeks and I mourned for myself. Then I
returned home, and when I entered, I found my cousin beating her
hand on her bosom and weeping tears like rain shedding clouds;
and she versified with these couplets,

"Blows from my lover's land a Zephyr cooly sweet, * And with its
every breath makes olden love new glow:
O Zephyr of the morning hour, come show to us * Each lover hath
his lot, his share of joy and woe:
Could I but win one dearest wish, we had embraced * With what
embrace and clip of breast fond lovers know.
Allah forbids, while bides unseen my cousin's face, * All joys
the World can give or hand of Time bestow.
Would Heaven I knew his heart were like this heart of me, *
Melted by passion-flame and charged with longing owe."

When she saw me, she rose in haste and wiped away her tears and
addressed me with her soft speech, saying, "O son of my uncle,
verily Allah hath been gracious to thee in thy love, for that she
whom thou lovest loveth thee, whilst I pass my time in weeping
and bewailing my severance from thee who blamest me and chidest
me; but may Allah not punish thee for my sake!" Thereupon she
smiled in my face a smile of reproach and caressed me; then
taking off my walking clothes, she spread them out and said, "By
Allah, this is not the scent of one who hath enjoyed his lover!
So tell me what hath befallen thee, O my cousin." I told her all
that had passed, and she smiled again a smile of reproach and
said, "Verily, my heart is full of pain; but may he not live who
would hurt thy heart! Indeed, this woman maketh herself
inordinately dear and difficult to thee, and by Allah, O son of
my uncle, I fear for thee from her.[FN#503] Know, O my cousin,
that the meaning of the salt is thou west drowned in sleep like
insipid food, disgustful to the taste; and it is as though she
said to thee; 'It behoveth thou be salted lest the stomach eject
thee; for thou professes to be of the lovers noble and true; but
sleep is unlawful and to a lover undue; therefore is thy love but
a lie.' However, it is her love for thee that lieth; for she saw
thee asleep yet aroused thee not and were her love for thee true,
she had indeed awoken thee. As for the charcoal, it means 'Allah
blacken thy face'[FN#504] for thou makest a lying presence of
love, whereas thou art naught but a child and hast no object in
life other than eating and drinking and sleeping! such is the
interpretation of her signs, and may Allah Almighty deliver thee
from her!" When I heard my cousin's words, I beat my hand upon my
breast and cried out, "By Allah, this is the very truth, for I
slept and lovers sleep not! Indeed I have sinned against myself,
for what could have wrought me more hurt than eating and
sleeping? Now what shall I do?" Then I wept sore and said to the
daughter of my uncle, "Tell me how to act and have pity on me, so
may Allah have pity on thee: else I shall die." As my cousin
loved me with very great love,--And Shahrazad perceived the dawn
of day and ceased saying her permitted say.

When it was the One Hundred and Seventeenth Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that the young
merchant continued his tale to Taj al-Muluk: "Thereupon quoth I
to the daughter of my uncle, "Tell me what to do and have pity on
me, so may Allah have pity on thee!" As the daughter of my uncle
loved me with great love, she replied, "On my head and eyes!
But, O my cousin, I repeat what I have told thee oftentimes, if I
could go in and out at will, I would at once bring you two
together and cover you both with my skirt: nor would I do this
but hoping to win thy favour. Inshallah, I will do my utmost
endeavour to unite you; but hear my words and do my bidding. Go
thou to the very same place and sit down where thou sattest
before and at supper tide look thou eat not, for eating induceth
sleep; and have a care-thou slumber not, for she will not come to
thee till a fourth part of the night be passed. And the Almighty
avert her mischief from thee!" Now when I heard these words I
rejoiced and besought Allah to hasten the night; and, as soon as
it was dark, I was minded to go, and my cousin said to me, "When
thou shalt have met her, repeat to her the couplet I taught thee
before, at the time of thy leave taking." Replied I, "On my head
and eyes!" and went out and repaired to the garden, where I found
all made ready in the same state as on the previous night, with
every requisite of meat and drink, dried fruits, sweet scented
flowers and so forth. I went up into the pavilion and smelt the
odour of the viands and my spirit lusted after them; but I
possessed my soul in patience for a while, till at last I could
no longer withstand temptation. So I arose from my seat and went
up to the table and, raising its cover, found a dish of fowls,
surrounded by four saucers containing four several meats. I ate
a mouthful of each kind and as much as I would of the sweetmeats
and a piece of meat: then I drank from the saucer a sauce
yellowed with saffron[FN#505] and as it pleased me, I supped it
up by the spoonful till I was satisfied and my stomach was full.
Upon this, my eyelids drooped; so I took a cushion and set it
under my head, saying, "Haply I can recline upon it without going
to sleep." Then I closed my eyes and slept, nor did I wake till
the sun had risen, when I found on my stomach a cube of
bone,[FN#506] a single tip-cat stick,[FN#507] the stone of a
green date[FN#508] and a carob pod. There was no furniture nor
aught else in the place, and it was as if there had been nothing
there yesterday. So I rose and shaking all these things off me,
fared forth in fury; and, going home, found my cousin groaning
and versifying with these couplets,

"A wasted body, heart enpierced to core, * And tears that down my
poor cheeks pour and pour:
And lover cure of access; but, but still * Naught save what's
fair can come from fairest flow'r:
O cousin mine thou fill'st my soul with pate, * And from these
tears mine eyelids ache full sore!"

I chid the daughter of my uncle and abused her, whereat she wept;
then, wiping away her tears, she came up to me and kissed me and
began pressing me to her bosom, whilst I held back from her
blaming myself. Then said she to me, "O my cousin, it seemeth
thou sleptest again this night?" Replied I, "Yes; and when I
awoke, I found on my stomach a cube of bone, a single tip-cat
stick, a stone of a green date and a carob pod, and I know not
why she did this." Then I wept and went up to her and said,
"Expound to me her meaning in so doing and tell me how shall I
act and aid me in my sore strait." She answered, "On my head and
eyes! By the single tip cat stick and the cube of bone which she
placed upon thy stomach she saith to thee 'Thy body is present
but thy heart is absent'; and she meaneth, 'Love is not thus: so
do not reckon thyself among lovers.' As for the date stone, it is
as if she said to thee, 'An thou wert in love thy heart would be
burning with passion and thou wouldst not taste the delight of
sleep; for the sweet of love is like a green date[FN#509] which
kindleth a coal of fire in the vitals.' As for the carob
pod[FN#510] it signifieth to thee, 'The lover's heart is
wearied'; and thereby she saith, 'Be patient under our separation
with the patience of Job.' " When I heard this interpretation,
fires darted into my vitals like a dart and grief redoubled upon
my heart and I cried out, saying, "Allah decreed sleep to me for
my ill fortune." Then I said to her, "O my cousin, by my life,
devise me some device whereby I may win my will of her!" She wept
and answered, "O Aziz, O son of my uncle, verily my heart is full
of sad thought which I cannot speak: but go thou again to night
to the same place and beware thou sleep not, and thou shalt
surely attain thy desire. This is my counsel and peace be with
thee!" Quoth I, "If Allah please I will not sleep, but will do as
thou biddest me." Then my cousin rose, and brought me food,
saying, "Eat now what may suffice thee, that nothing may divert
thy heart." So I ate my fill and, when night came, my cousin rose
and bringing me a sumptuous suit of clothes clad me therein.
Then she made me swear I would repeat to my lover the verse
aforesaid and bade me beware of sleeping. So I left her and
repaired to the garden and went up into that same pavilion where
I occupied myself in holding my eyelids open with my fingers and
nodding my head as the night darkened on me."--And Shahrazad
perceived the dawn of day and ceased to say her permitted say.

When it was the One Hundred and Eighteenth Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that the young
merchant continued to Taj al Muluk: "So I repaired to the garden
and went up into that same pavilion and occupied myself in gazing
upon the flower beds and in holding my eyelids open with my
fingers and nodding my head as the night darkened on me. And
presently I grew hungry with watching and the smell of the meats
being wafted towards me, my appetite increased: so I went up to
the table and took off the cover and ate a mouthful of every dish
and a bit of meat; after which I turned to the flagon of wine,
saying to myself, I will drink one cup. I drank it, and then I
drank a second and a third, till I had drunk full ten, when the
cool air smote me and I fell to the earth like a felled man. I
ceased not to lie thus till day arose, when I awoke and found
myself out side the garden, and on my stomach were a butcher's
knife and a dram-weight of iron.[FN#511] Thereat I trembled and,
taking them with me, went home, where I found my cousin saying,
"Verily, I am in this house wretched and sorrowful, having no
helper but weeping." Now when I entered, I fell down at full
length and throwing the knife and the dram weight from my hand, I
fainted clean away. As soon as I came to myself, I told her what
had befallen me and said, Indeed, I shall never enjoy my desire."
But when she saw my tears and my passion, they redoubled her
distress on my account, and she cried, "Verily, I am helpless! I
warned thee against sleeping; but thou wouldst not hearken to my
warning, nor did my words profit thee aught." I rejoined, "By
Allah, I conjure thee to explain to me the meaning of the knife
and the iron dram-weight." "By the dram weight," replied my
cousin, "she alludeth to her right eye,[FN#512] and she sweareth
by it and saith, 'By the Lord of all creatures and by my right
eye! if thou come here again and sleep, I will cut thy throat
with this very knife.' And indeed I fear for thee, O my cousin,
from her malice; my heart is full of anguish for thee and I
cannot speak. Nevertheless, if thou can be sure of thyself not
to sleep when thou returnest to her, return to her and beware of
sleeping and thou shalt attain thy desire; but if when returning
to her thou wilt sleep, as is thy wont, she will surely slaughter
thee." Asked I, "What shall I do, O daughter of my uncle: I beg
thee, by Allah, to help me in this my calamity." Answered she,
"On my head and eyes! if thou wilt hearken to my words and do my
bidding, thou shalt have thy will." Quoth I, "I will indeed
hearken to thy words and do thy bidding;" and quoth she, "When it
is time for thee to go, I will tell thee." Then she pressed me to
her bosom and laying me on the bed, shampoo'd my feet, till
drowsiness overcame me and I was drowned in sleep, then she took
a fan and seated herself at my head with the fan in her hand and
she was weeping till her clothes were wet with tears. Now when
she saw that I was awake, she wiped away the drops and fetched me
some food and set it before me. I refused it, but she said to
me, "Did I not tell thee that thou must do my bidding? Eat!" So
I ate and thwarted her not and she proceeded to put the food into
my mouth and I to masticate it, till I was full. Then she made
me drink jujube sherbet[FN#513] and sugar and washed my hands and
dried them with a kerchief; after which she sprinkled me with
rose water, and I sat with her awhile in the best of spirits.
When the darkness had closed in, she dressed me and said to me,
"O son of my uncle, watch through the whole night and sleep not;
for she will not come to thee this tide till the last of the dark
hours and, Allah willing, thou shalt be at one with her this
night; but forget not my charge." Then, she wept, and my heart
was pained for her by reason of her over much weeping, and I
asked, "What is the charge thou gayest me?" She answered, "When
thou takest leave of her repeat to her the verse before
mentioned." So, full of joy I left her and repairing to the
garden, went up into the pavilion where, being satiated with
food, I sat down and watched till a fourth part of the dark hours
was past. That night seemed longsome to me as it were a year:
but I remained awake till it was three quarters spent and the
cocks crew and I was famished for long watching. Accordingly I
went up to the table and ate my fill, whereupon my head grew
heavy and I wanted to sleep, when behold, a light appeared making
towards me from afar. I sprang up and washed my hands and mouth
and roused myself; and before long she came with ten damsels, in
whose midst she was like the full moon among the stars. She was
clad in a dress of green satin purfled with red gold, and she was
as saith the poet,

"She lords it o'er our hearts in grass green gown, * With
buttons[FN#514] loose and locks long flowing down.
Quoth I, 'What is thy name?' Quoth she, 'I'm she, * Who burns the
lover-heart live coals upon:'
I made my plaint to her of loving lowe; * Laughed she, 'To stone
thou moanest useless moan!'
Quoth I, 'An be of hardest stone thy heart, * Allah drew sweetest
spring from hardest stone.' "

When she saw me she laughed and said, "How is it that thou art
awake and that sleep overcame thee not? Forasmuch as thou hast
watched through the night, I know that thou art a lover; for
night watching is the mark of lovers displaying brave endurance
of their desires." Then she turned to her women and signed to
them and they went away from her, whereupon she came up to me and
strained me to her breast and kissed me, whilst I kissed her, and
she sucked my upper lip whilst I sucked her lower lip. I put my
hand to her waist and pressed it and we came not to the ground
save at the same moment. Then she undid her petticoat trousers
which slipped down to her anklets, and we fell to clasping and
embracing and toying and speaking softly and biting and inter
twining of legs and going round about the Holy House and the
corners thereof,[FN#515] till her joints became relaxed for love
delight and she swooned away. I entered the sanctuary, and
indeed that night was a joy to the sprite and a solace to the
sight even as saith the poet,

"Sweetest of nights the world can show to me, that night * When
cups went round and round as fed by ceaseless spring:
There utter severance made I 'twixt mine eyes and sleep, * And
joined, re joined mine ear drop with the anklet

We lay together in close embrace till the morning when I would
have gone away, but she stopped me and said, "Stay till I tell
thee something"--And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and
ceased saying her permitted say.

When it was the One Hundred and Nineteenth Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that the young
merchant continued his recital to Taj al Muluk: "When I would
have gone away, she stopped me and said, "Stay, till I tell thee
something and charge thee with a charge." So I stayed whilst she
unfolded a kerchief and drew out this piece of linen and spread
it open before me. I found worked on it these two figures of
gazelles and admired it with great admiration. Then I took the
piece of linen and went away, joyful, after we had agreed that I
should visit her every night in the garden; but in my joy I
forgot to repeat to her the verse my cousin had taught me. For
when giving me the piece of linen with the gazelles she had said
to me, "Keep this carefully, as it is my sister's handiwork." I
asked her, "What is thy sister's name?"; and she answered, "Her
name is Nur al-Huda." When I went to my cousin, I found her lying
down; but as soon as she saw me, she rose, with the tears running
from her eyes, and came up to me, and kissed me on the breast and
said, "Didst thou do as I enjoined thee? and repeat the verse to
her?" "I forgot it," replied I; "and nothing drove it out of my
mind but these two figured gazelles." And I threw the piece of
linen on the floor before her. She rose and sat down again, but
was unable to contain herself for impatience, and her eyes ran
over with tears, whilst she repeated these two couplets,

"O thou who seekest parting, softly fare! * Let not the Pair
delude with cunning art:
Pare softly, Fortune's nature is to 'guile, * And end of every
meeting is to part."

And when she ended her recitation she said, "O my cousin, give me
this piece of linen." So I gave it to her and she took it and
unfolding it, saw what was therein. When the tryst time came for
my going to my lover, the daughter of my uncle said to me, "Go,
and peace attend thee; and when thou art about to leave her,
recite to her the verse I taught thee long ago and which thou
didst forget." Quoth I, "Tell it me again"; and she repeated it.
Then I went to the garden and entered the pavilion, where I found
the young lad, awaiting me. When she saw me, she rose and kissed
me and made me sit in her lap; and we ate and drank and did our
desire as before. In the morning, I repeated to her my cousin's
verse which was this,

"Ho, lovers all! by Allah say me sooth * What shall he do when
Love sor' vexeth youth?"

When she heard this, her eyes filled with tears and she answered
and said,

"Strive he to cure his case, to hide the truth, * Patiently
humble self and sue for rush!"

I committed it to memory and returned home rejoicing at having
done my cousin's bidding. When I entered the house I found her
lying down and my mother at her head weeping over her case; but
as soon as I went in to her my mother said to me, "A foul plague
on such a cousin! How couldst thou leave the daughter of thy
uncle ailing and not ask what ailed her?" But when my cousin saw
me she raised her head and sat up and asked me, "O Aziz, didst
thou repeat to her the couplet I taught thee?" I answered, "Yes,
and when she heard it she wept and recited in answer another
couplet which I committed to memory." Quoth my cousin, "Tell it
me." I did so; and when she heard it she wept with much weeping
and repeated the following verses,

'How shall youth cure the care his life undo'th, * And every day
his heart in pieces hew'th?
In sooth he would be patient, but he findeth * Naught save a
heart which love with pains imbu'th."

Then added my cousin, "When thou goest to her as of wont, repeat
to her also these two couplets which thou hast heard." I replied,
"Hearkening and obedience!" and I went at the wonted time, to the
garden, where there passed between my mistress and myself what
tongue faileth to describe. When I was about to leave her, I
repeated to her those two couplets of my cousin's; whereupon the
tears streamed from her eyes and she replied,

"If he of patience fail the truth to hide * For him no cure save
Death my vision view'th!"

I committed them to memory and returned home, and when I went in
to my cousin I found her fallen into a fit and my mother sitting
at her head. When she heard my voice, she opened her eyes and
asked, "O Aziz! didst thou repeat the two couplets to her?"
whereto I answered, "Yes; but she wept on hearing them and she
replied with this couplet beginning, If he of patience fail, to
the end." And I repeated it; whereupon my cousin swooned again,
and when she came to herself, she recited these two couplets,

"Hearkening, obeying, with my dying mouth * I greet who joy of
union ne'er allow'th:
Pair fall all happy loves, and fair befal * The hapless lover
dying in his drowth!"

Again when it was night, I repaired to the garden as usual where
I found the young lady awaiting me. We sat down and ate and
drank, after which we did all we wanted and slept till the
morning; and, as I was going away, I repeated to her the saying
of my cousin. When she heard the couplet she cried out with a
loud cry and was greatly moved and exclaimed, "Awah!
Awah![FN#517] By Allah, she who spake these lines is dead!" Then
she wept and said to me, "Woe to thee! How is she who spoke thus
related to thee?" Replied I, "She is the daughter of my father's
brother." "Thou liest," rejoined she; "by Allah, were she thy
cousin, thou hadst borne her the same love as she bore thee! It
is thou who hast slain her and may the Almighty kill thee as thou
killedst her! By Allah, hadst thou told me thou hadst a cousin,
I would not have admitted thee to my favours!" Quoth I, "Verily
it was she who interpreted to me the signs thou madest and it was
she who taught me how to come to thee and how I should deal with
thee; and, but for her, I should never have been united to thee."
She then asked me, "Did thy cousin then know of us?"; and I
answered, "Yes;" whereupon she exclaimed, "Allah give thee sorrow
of thy youth, even as thou hast sorrowed her youth!" Then she
cried to me, "Go now and see after her." So I went away troubled
at heart, and ceased not walking till I reached our street, when
I heard sounds of wailing, and asking about it, was answered,
"Azizah, we found her dead behind the door." I entered the house,
and when my mother saw me, she said, "Her death lieth heavy on
thy neck and may Allah not acquit thee of her blood!"--And
Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased saying her
permitted say.

When it was the One Hundred and Twentieth Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that the young
merchant continued to Taj al-Muluk: "So I entered the house and
when my mother saw me she said, "Her death lieth heavy on thy
neck and may Allah not acquit thee of her blood! A plague on
such a cousin!" Then came my father, and we laid her out and get
ready her bier and buried her; and we had recitations of the
whole Koran over her tomb and we abode by her grave three days,
after which we returned to our home, and I grieving for her
grievously. Then my mother came to me and said, "I would fain
know what thou didst to her, to break her heart[FN#518] for, O my
son, I questioned her at all times of the cause of her complaint,
but she would tell me nothing nor let me know aught of it. So
Allah upon thee, tell me what thou hast been doing to her that
she died." Quoth I, "I did nothing." Quoth my mother, "Allah
avenge her on thee! Verily she told me naught, but kept her
secret till she died of her love longings for thee; but when she
died I was with her and she opened her eyes and said to me; 'O
wife of my uncle may Allah hold thy son guiltless of my blood and
punish him not for what he hath done by me! And now Allah
transporteth me from the house of the world which is perishable
to the house of the other world which is eternal.' Said I, 'O my
daughter, Allah preserve thee and preserve thy youth!' And as I
questioned her of the cause of her illness, she made me no
answer; but she smiled and said, 'O wife of my uncle, bid thy
son, whenever he would go whither he goeth every day, repeat
these two saws at his going away; 'Faith is fair! Unfaith is
foul!' For this is of my tender affection to him, that I am
solicitous concerning him during my lifetime and after my death.'
Then she gave me somewhat for thee and sware me that I would not
give it until I see thee weeping for her and lamenting her death.
The thing is with me; and, when I have seen thy case as I have
said, I will make it over to thee." "Show it me," cried I: but
she would not. Then I gave myself up to love delights and
thought no more of my cousin's death: for my mind was unsettled
and fain would I have been with my lover the livelong day and
night.[FN#519] So hardly had I perceived the darkness fall when
I betook myself to the garden, where I found the young lady
sitting on coals of fire for much impatience. As soon as she was
sure that she saw me, she ran to me and throwing her arms about
my neck, enquired of the daughter of my uncle. I replied, "Sooth
to say she is dead, and we have caused Zikr- litanies and
recitations of the Koran to be performed for her; and it is now
four nights and this be the fifth since she is gone." When she
heard that, she shrieked aloud and wept and said, "Did I not tell
thee that thou hast slain her? Hadst thou let me know of her
before her death, I would have requited her the kindness she did
me, in that she served me and united thee to me; for without her,
we had never foregathered, we twain, and I fear lest some
calamity befal thee because of thy sin against her." Quoth I,
"She acquitted me of offence ere she died;" and I repeated to her
what my mother had told me. Quoth she, "Allah upon thee! when
thou returnest to thy mother, learn what thing she keepeth for
thee." I rejoined, "My mother also said to me; 'Before the
daughter of thy uncle died, she laid a charge upon me, saying,
Whenever thy son would go whither he is wont to go, teach him
these two saws, 'Faith is fair; Unfaith is foul!' " When my lady
heard this she exclaimed, "The mercy of Almighty Allah be upon
her! Indeed, she hath delivered thee from me, for I minded to do
thee a mischief, but now I will not harm thee nor trouble thee."
I wondered at this and asked her, "What then west thou minded to
do with me in time past and we two being in bond of love?"
Answered she, "Thou art infatuated with me; for thou art young in
life and a raw laddie; thy heart is void of guile and thou
weetest not our malice and deceit. Were she yet alive, she would
protect thee; for she is the cause of thy preservation and she
hath delivered thee from destruction. And now I charge thee
speak not with any woman, neither accost one of our sex, be she
young or be she old; and again I say Beware! for thou art simple
and raw and knowest not the wiles of women and their malice, and
she who interpreted the signs to thee is dead. And indeed I fear
for thee, lest thou fall into some disgrace and find none to
deliver thee from it, now that the daughter of thy uncle is no
more."--And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased to say
her permitted say.

When it was the One Hundred and Twenty-first Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that the young
merchant continued to Taj al-Muluk: "Then the young lady said to
me, "I fear for thee lest thou fall into some disgrace and find
none to deliver thee from it. Alas for thy cousin and ah, the
pity of her! Would I had known her before her death, that I
might have requited by waiting upon her the fair service she did
me. The mercy of Allah Almighty be upon her, for she kept her
secret and revealed not what she suffered, and but for her thou
hadst never foregathered with me; no, never! But there is one
thing I desire of thee." I asked, "What is it?"; and she
answered, "It is that thou bring me to her grave, that I may
visit her in the tomb wherein she is and write some couplets
thereon." I rejoined, "To morrow, if Allah please!"[FN#520] I
slept with her that night, and she ceased not saying after every
hour, "Would thou hadst told me of thy cousin before her death!"
And I asked her, "What is the meaning of the two saws she taught
me? 'Faith is fair! Unfaith is foul!'" But she made no answer.
As soon as it was day she rose and, taking a purse of gold
pieces, said to me, "Come, show me her tomb, that I may visit it
and grave some verses thereon and build a dome over it and
commend her to Allah's mercy and bestow these diners in alms for
her soul." I replied, "To hear is to obey!"; and walked on before
her, whilst she followed me, giving alms as she went and saying
to all upon whom she lavisht bounty, "This is an alms for the
soul of Azizah, who kept her counsel till she drank the cup of
death and never told the secret of her love." And she stinted not
thus to give alms and say, "for Azizah's soul," till the purse
was empty and we came to the grave. And when she looked at the
tomb, she wept and threw herself on it; then, pulling out a
chisel of steel and a light hammer, she graved therewith upon the
head stone in fine small characters these couplets,

"I past by a broken tomb amid a garth right sheen, * Whereon
seven blooms of Nu'uman[FN#521] glowed with cramoisie;
Quoth I, 'Who sleepeth in this tomb?' Quoth answering Earth *
'Before a lover Hades-tombed[FN#522] bend reverently!'
Quoth I, 'May Allah help thee, O thou slain of Love, * And grant
thee home in Heaven and Paradise height to see!'
Hapless are lovers all e'en tombed in their tombs, * Where amid
living folk the dust weighs heavily!
Pain would I plant a garden blooming round thy grave, * And water
every flower with tear drops flowing free!"

Then she turned away in tears and I with her and returned to the
garden where she said to me, "By Allah! I conjure thee never
leave me!" "To hear is to obey," replied I. Then I gave myself
wholly up to her and paid her frequent visits: she was good and
generous to me; and as often as I passed the night with her, she
would make much of me and would ask me of the two saws my cousin
Azizah told my mother and I would repeat them to her. And
matters ceased not to be on this wise and I continued for a whole
year eating and drinking and enjoying dalliance and wearing
change of rich raiment until I waxed gross and fat, so that I
lost all thought of sorrowing and mourning, and I clean forgot my
cousin Azizah. And on New Year's day I went to the bath, where I
refreshed myself and put on a suit of sumptuous clothes; then
coming out I drank a cup of wine and smelt the scent of my new
gear which was perfumed with various essences; and my breast was
broadened thereby, for I knew not the tricks of Pate nor the
changing ways of Time. When the hour of night prayer came, I was
minded to repair to my lover; but, being the worse for wine, I
knew not when going to her whither I went, so my drunkenness
turned me into a by street called Syndic Street;[FN#523] and the
while I walked up that street behold, I caught sight of an old
woman faring with a lighted taper in one hand, and in the other a
folded letter.--And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and
ceased saying her permitted say.

When it was the One Hundred and Twenty-second Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that the young
merchant, whose name was Aziz, continued to Taj al-Muluk:--And
when I entered the street called Syndic Street behold, I caught
sight of an old woman walking with a lighted taper in one hand
and in the other a folded letter and I drew near her and lo! she
was weeping and repeating these couplets,

"O glad news bearer well come! Welcome! Hail! * How sweet thy
speech to me, what treat thy tale:
O messenger from him whose weal I love, * God bless thee long as
breathes soft morning-gale!"

Now when she saw me she asked, "O my son! canst thou read?"; and
I answered, of my officiousness, "Yes, old naunty!" Rejoined she,
"Then take this letter and read it to me." And when she handed it
to me, I took it and unfolding it read it to her and behold it
was from an absent man to his friends and lovers whom he greeted;
and, when she heard its purport, she rejoiced at the good tidings
and blessed me, saying, "Allah dispel thine anxiety, even as thou
hast dispelled mine!" Then she took the letter and walked on.
Meanwhile, I was urged by a call of nature and sat down on my
heels to make water.[FN#524] When I had ended I stood up and
wiped the orifice with a pebble and then, letting down my
clothes, I was about to wend my way, when suddenly the old woman
came up to me again and, bending down over my hand, kissed it and
said, "O my master! the Lord give thee joy of thy youth! I
entreat thee to walk with me a few steps as far as yonder door,
for I told them what thou didst read to me of the letter, and
they believe me not, so come with me two steps and read them the
letter from behind the door and accept the prayers of a righteous
woman." I enquired, "What is the history of this letter?", and
she replied, "O my son, this letter is from my son, who hath been

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