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

Part 3 out of 8

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resorted to the patron, as was their custom, came a daughter of
the King of Constantinople, a beautiful girl called Sophia. They
tarried at the monastery six days and on the seventh the folk
went their ways;[FN#205] but Sophia said, 'I will not return to
Constantinople save by water.' So they equipped for her a ship in
which she embarked with her suite; and making sail they put out
to sea; but as they were voyaging behold, a contrary wind caught
them and drove the vessel from her course till, as Fate and
Fortune would have it, she fell in with a Nazarene craft from the
Camphor Island[FN#206] carrying a crew of five hundred armed
Franks, who had been cruising about a long time. When they
sighted the sails of the ship, wherein Sophia and her women were,
they gave chase in all haste and in less than an hour they came
up with her, then they laid the grappling irons aboard her and
captured her. Then taking her in tow they made all sail for
their own island and were but a little distant from it when the
wind veered round and, splitting their sails, drove them on to a
shoal which lies off our coast. Thereupon we sallied forth and,
looking on them as spoil driven to us by Fate,[FN#207] boarded
and took them; and, slaying the men, made prize of the wreck,
wherein we found the treasures and rarities in question and forty
maidens, amongst whom was the King's daughter, Sophia. After the
capture we carried the Princess and her women to my father, not
knowing her to be a daughter of King Afridun of Constantinople;
and he chose out for himself ten including her; and divided the
rest among his dependents. Presently he set apart five damsels,
amongst whom was the King s daughter, and sent them to thy
father, King Omar bin al-Nu'uman, together with other gifts, such
as broadcloth[FN#208] and woollen stuffs and Grecian silks. Thy
father accepted them and chose out from amongst the five girls
Sophia, daughter of King Afridun; nor did we hear more of her
till the beginning of this year, when her father wrote to my
father in words unfitting for me to repeat, rebuking him with
menaces and saying to him: Two years ago, you plundered a ship of
ours which had been seized by a band of Frankish pirates in which
was my daughter, Sophia, attended by her maidens numbering some
threescore. Yet ye informed me not thereof by messenger or
otherwise; nor could I make the matter public, lest reproach
befal me amongst the Kings, by reason of my daughter's honour.
So I concealed my case till this year, when I wrote to certain
Frankish corsairs and sought news of my daughter from the Kings
of the Isles. They replied, 'By Allah we carried her not forth
of thy realm; but we have heard that King Hardub rescued her from
certain pirates. And they told me the whole tale.' Then he added
in the writing which he writ to my father: 'Except you wish to be
at feud with me and design to disgrace me and dishonour my
daughter, you will, the instant my letter reacheth you, send my
daughter back to me. But if you slight my letter and disobey my
commandment, I will assuredly make you full return for your foul
dealing and the baseness of your practices.'[FN#209] When my
father read this letter and understood the contents,[FN#210] it
vexed him and he regretted not having known that Sophia, King
Afridun's daughter, was among the captured damsels, that he might
have sent her back to her sire; and he was perplexed about the
case because, after so long a time, he could not send to King
Omar bin al-Nu'uman and demand her back from him, especially as
he had lately heard that Heaven had granted him boon of babe by
this Sophia. So when we pondered that truth, we knew that this
letter was none other than a grievous calamity; and my father
found nothing for it but to write an answer to King Afridun,
making his excuses and swearing to him by strong oaths that he
knew not his daughter to be among the bevy of damsels in the ship
and setting forth how he had sent her to King Omar bin al
Nu'uman, who had gotten the blessing of issue by her. When my
father's reply reached King Afridun he rose up and sat
down,[FN#211] and roared and foamed at the mouth crying:--'What!
shall he take captive my daughter and even her with slave girls
and pass her on from hand to hand sending her for a gift to
Kings, and they lie with her without marriage contract? By the
Messiah and the true Faith,' said he, 'I will not desist till I
have taken my blood vengeance for this and have wiped out my
shame; and indeed I will do a deed which the chroniclers shall
chronicle after me!' So he bided his time till he devised a
device and laid notable toils and snares, when he sent an embassy
to thy father, King Omar, to tell him that which thou hast heard:
accordingly thy father equipped thee and an army with thee and
sent thee to King Afridun, whose object is to seize thee and
thine army to boot. As for the three jewels whereof he told thy
father when asking his aid, there was not one soothfast word in
that matter, for they were with Sophia, his daughter; and my
father took them from her, when he got possession of her and of
her maidens, and gave them to me in free gift, and they are now
with me. So go thou to thy host and turn them back ere they be
led deep into, and shut in by, the land of the bevy of damsels in
the ship and setting forth the Franks and the country of the
Greeks; for as soon as you have come far enough into their
interior, they will stop the roads upon you and there will be no
escape for you till the Day of retribution and retaliation. I
know that thy troops are still halting where thou leftest them,
because thou didst order a three days' rest; withal they have
missed thee all this time and they wot not what to do." When
Sharrkan heard her words, he was absent awhile in thought; then
he kissed Princess Abrizah's hand and said, "Praise be to Allah
who hath bestowed thee on me and appointed thee to be the cause
of my salvation and the salvation of whoso is with me! But 'tis
grievous to me to part from thee and I know not what will become
of thee after my departure." "Go now to thine army," she replied,
"and turn them back, while ye are yet near your own country. If
the envoys be still with them, lay hands on them and keep them,
that the case may be made manifest to you; and, after three days,
I will be with you all and we will enter Baghdad together." As he
turned to depart she said, "Forget not the compact which is
between me and thee," then she rose to bid[FN#212] him farewell
and embrace him and quench the fire of desire, so she took leave
of him and, throwing her arms round his neck, wept with exceeding
weeping, and repeated these verses,

"I bade adieu, my right hand wiped my tears away, * The while my
left hand held her in a close embrace:
'Fearest thou naught,' quoth she, 'of shame?' I answered 'Nay, *
The lover's parting day is lover's worst disgrace.'"

Then Sharrkan left her and walked down from the convent. They
brought his steed, so he mounted and rode down stream to the
drawbridge which he crossed and presently threaded the woodland
paths and passed into the open meadow. As soon as he was clear
of the trees he was aware of horsemen which made him stand on the
alert, and he bared his brand and rode cautiously, but as they
drew near and exchanged curious looks he recognized them and
behold, it was the Wazir Dandan and two of his Emirs. When they
saw him and knew him, they dismounted and saluting him, asked the
reason of his absence; whereupon he told them all that had passed
between him and Princess Abrizah from first to last. The Wazir
returned thanks to Almighty Allah for his safety and
said,[FN#213] "Let us at once leave these lands; for the envoys
who came with us are gone to inform the King of our approach, and
haply he will hasten to fall on us and take us prisoners." So
Sharrkan cried to his men to saddle and mount, which they did
and, setting out at once, they stinted not faring till they
reached the sole of the valley wherein the host lay. The
Ambassadors meanwhile had reported Sharrkan's approach to their
King, who forthright equipped a host to lay hold of him and those
with him. But Sharrkan, escorted by the Wazir Dandan and the two
Emirs, had no sooner sighted the army, than he raised the cry
"March! March!" They took horse on the instant and fared through
the first day and second and third day, nor did they cease faring
for five days; at the end of which time they alighted in a well
wooded valley, where they rested awhile. Then they again set out
and stayed not riding for five and twenty days which placed them
on the frontiers of their own country. Here, deeming themselves
safe, they halted to rest; and the country people came out to
them with guest gifts for the men and provender and forage for
the beasts. They tarried there two days after which, as all
would be making for their homes, Sharrkan put the Wazir Dandan in
command, bidding him lead the host back to Baghdad. But he
himself remained behind with an hundred riders, till the rest of
the army had made one day's march: then he called "To horse!" and
mounted with his hundred men. They rode on two
parasangs'[FN#214] space till they arrived at a gorge between two
mountains and lo! there arose before them a dark cloud of sand
and dust. So they checked their steeds awhile till the dust
opened and lifted, discovering beneath it an hundred cavaliers,
lion faced and in mail coats cased. As soon as they drew within
earshot of Sharrkan and his meiny they cried out to them, saying,
"By the virtue of John and Mary, we have won to our wish! We
have been following you by forced marches, night and day, till we
forewent you to this place. So dismount and lay down your arms
and yield yourselves, that we may grant you your lives." When
Sharrkan heard this, his eyes stood out from his head and his
cheeks flushed red and he said 'How is it, O. Nazarene dogs, ye
dare enter our country and overmatch our land? And doth not this
suffice you, but ye must adventure yourselves and address us in
such unseemly speech? Do you think to escape out of our hands
and return to your country?" Then he shouted to his hundred
horsemen, "Up and at these hounds, for they even you in number!"
So saying, he bared his sabre and bore down on them, he and his,
but the Franks met them with hearts firmer than rocks, and wight
dashed against wight, and knight dashed upon knight, and hot
waxed the fight, and sore was the affright, and nor parley nor
cries of quarter helped their plight; and they stinted not to
charge and to smite, right hand meeting right, nor to hack and
hew with blades bright white, till day turned to night and gloom
oppressed the sight. Then they drew apart and Sharrkan mustered
his men and found none wounded save four only, who showed hurts
but not death hurts. Said he to them, "By Allah, my life long
have I waded in the clashing sea of fight and I have met many a
gallant sprite, but none so unfrightened of the sword that smites
and the shock of men that affrights like these valiant Knights!"
"Know, O King," said they, that there is among them a Frankish
cavalier who is their leader and, indeed, he is a man of valour
and fatal is his spear thrust: but, by Allah, he spares us great
and small; for whoso falls into his hands he lets him go and
forbears to slay him. By Allah, had he willed he had killed us
all." Sharrkan was astounded when he heard what the Knight had
done and such high report of him, so he said, "When the morn
shall morrow, we will draw out and defy them, for we are an
hundred to their hundred; and we will seek aid against them from
the Lord of the Heavens." So they rested that night in such
intent; whilst the Franks gathered round their Captain and said,
"Verily this day we did not win our will of these;" and he
replied, "At early dawn when the morrow shall morn, we will draw
out and challenge them, one after one." They also rested in that
mind, and both camps kept guard until Almighty Allah sent the
light of day dawn. Thereupon King Sharrkan and his hundred
riders took horse and rode forth to the plain, where they found
the Franks ranged in line of battle; and Sharrkan said to his
followers, "Our foes have determined like ourselves to do their
devoir; so up and at them and lay on load." Then came forth an
Herald of the Franks and cried out, saying, "Let there be no
general engagement betwixt us this day, save by the duello, a
champion of yours against a champion of ours." Whereupon one of
Sharrkan's riders dashed out from the ranks and crave between the
two lines crying, "Ho! who is for smiting? Let no dastard
engage me this day nor niderling!" Hardly had he made an end of
his vaunt, when there sallied forth to him a Frankish cavalier,
armed cap-à-pie and clad in a surcoat of gold stuff, riding on a
grey white steed,[FN#215] and he had no hair on his cheeks. He
urged his charger on to the midst of the battle plain and the two
fell to derring do of cut and thrust, but it was not long before
the Frank foined the Moslem with the lance point; and, toppling
him from his steed, took him prisoner and led him off
crestfallen. His folk rejoiced in their comrade and, forbidding
him to go out again to the field, sent forth another, to whom
sallied out another Moslem, brother to the captive, and offered
him battle. The two fell to, either against other, and fought
for a little while, till the Frank bore down upon the Moslem and,
falsing him with a feint, tumbled him by a thrust of the lance
heel from his destrier and took him prisoner. After this fashion
the Moslems ceased not dashing forwards, one after one, and the
Franks to unhorse them and take them captive, till day departed
and the night with darkness upstarted. Now they had captured of
the Moslems twenty cavaliers, and when Sharrken saw this, it was
grievous to him and he mustered his men and said to them, "What
is this thing that hath befallen us? To- morrow, I myself will
go forth to the field and offer singular combat to their chief
and learn what is the cause of his entering our land and warn him
against doing battle with our band. If he persist, we will
punish him with death, and if he prove peaceable we will make
peace with him." They righted on this wise till Allah Almighty
caused the morn to dawn, when mounted the twain and drew up for
battle fain; and Sharrkan was going forth to the plain, but
behold, more than one half of the Franks dismounted and remained
on foot before one of them who was mounted, till they reached the
midst of the battle plain. Sharrken looked at that horseman and
lo! he was their chief. He was clad in a surcoat of blue satin
and a close ringed mail shirt; his face was as the moon when it
rises and no hair was upon his cheeks. He hent in hand an Indian
scymitar and he rode a sable steed with a white blaze on brow,
like a dirham; and he smote the horse with heel till he stood
almost in the midst of the field when, signing to the Moslems, he
cried out in fluent Arab speech "Ho, Sharrkan! Ho, son of Omar
bin al- Nu'uman! Ho, thou who forcest fortalice and overthrowest
cities and countries! up and out to battle bout, and blade
single handed wield with one who halves with thee the field!
Thou art Prince of thy people and I am Prince of mine; and whoso
overcometh his adversary, him let the other's men obey and come
under his sway." Hardly had he ended his speech, when out came
Sharrkan with a heart full of fury, and urging his steed into the
midst of the field, closed like a raging lion with the Frank who
encountered him with wariness and steadfastness and met him with
the meeting of warriors. Then they fell to foining and hewing,
and they stinted not of onset and offset, and give and take, as
they were two mountains clashing together or two seas together
dashing; nor did they cease fighting until day darkened and night
starkened. Then they drew apart and each returned to his own
party; but as soon as Sharrkan foregathered with his comrades, he
said, "Never looked I on the like of this cavalier: he hath one
quality I have not yet seen in any and this it is that, when his
foemen uncovereth a place for the death blow, he reverseth his
weapon and smiteth with the lance-heel! In very deed I know not
what will be the issue 'twixt him and me; but 'tis my wish that
we had in our host his like and the like of his men." Then he
went to his rest for the night and, when morning dawned, the
Frank came forth and rode down to the mid field, where Sharrkan
met him; and they fell to fighting and to wheeling, left and
right; and necks were stretched out to see the sight, nor did
they stint from strife and sword play and lunge of lance with
main and might, till the day turned to night and darkness
overwhelmed the light. Then the twain drew asunder and returned
each to his own camp, where both related to their comrades what
had befallen them in the duello; and at last the Frank said to
his men, "Tomorrow shall decide the matter!" So they both passed
that night restfully till dawn; and, as soon as it was day, they
mounted and each bore down on other and ceased not to fight till
half the day was done. Then the Frank bethought him of a ruse;
first urging his steed with heel and then checking him with the
rein, so that he stumbled and fell with his rider; thereupon
Sharrkan threw himself on the foe, and would have smitten him
with the sword fearing lest the strife be prolonged, when the
Frank cried out to him, "O Sharrkan, champions are not wont to do
thus! This is the act of a man accustomed to be beaten by a
woman."[FN#216] When Sharrkan heard this, he raised his eyes to
the Frank's face and gazing steadfastly at him, recognized in him
Princess Abrizah with whom that pleasant adventure had befallen
him in the convent; whereupon he cast brand from hand and,
kissing the earth before her, asked her, "What moved thee to a
deed like this?"; and she answered, "I desired to prove thy
prowess afield and test thy doughtiness in tilting and jousting.
These that are with me are my handmaids, and they are all clean
maids; yet they have vanquished thy horsemen in fair press and
stress of plain; and had not my steed stumbled with me, thou
shouldst have seen my might and prowess in combat." Sharrkan
smiled at her speech and said, "Praise be to Allah for safety and
for my reunion with thee, O Queen of the age!" Then she cried out
to her damsels to loose the twenty captives of Sharrkan's troop
and dismount. They did as she bade and came and kissed the earth
before her and Sharrkan who said to them, "It is the like of you
that Kings keep in store for the need hour." Then he signed to
his comrades to salute the Princess; so all alighted and kissed
the earth before her, for they knew the story. After this, the
whole two hundred took horse, and fared on night and day for six
days' space, till they drew near to Baghdad, when they halted and
Sharrkan bade Abrizah and her handmaids doff the Frankish garb
that was on them,--And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and
ceased saying her permitted say.

When it was the Fifty-first Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that Sharrkan
bade Princess Abrizah and her damsels doff the garb that was on
them and don the garments of daughters of Greece; and thus did
they. Then he despatched a company of his companions to Baghdad
to acquaint his father Omar bin al-Nu'uman, with his arrival and
report that he was accompanied by Princess Abrizah, daughter of
King Hardub, Lord of Graecia-land. They halted forthright in the
place they had reached, and Sharrkan also halted and all righted
there; and when Almighty Allah made morning dawn, Sharrkan and
his company and Abrizah and her company took horse and fared on
towards the city; when lo! on the way they met the Wazir Dandan,
who had come out amongst a thousand horse to honour Abrizah and
Sharrkan, by especial commandment of King Omar Son of Al-
Nu'uman. When the two drew near, they turned towards them and
kissed ground before them; then they mounted again and escorted
them into the city and went up with them to the palace. Sharrkan
walked in to his father, who rose and embraced him and questioned
him of his case. So he told him all that Abrizah had told him,
and what had passed between them and said, "She hath parted from
her sire and departed from her reign and hath chosen to take part
with us and make her abode with us; and indeed," he said to his
father, "the King of Constantinople hath plotted to do us a
mischief, because of his daughter Sophia, for that the King of
Greece had made known to him her story and the cause of her being
given to thee; and he (the Grecian King) not knowing her to be
daughter of King Afridun, Lord of Constantinople; and, had he
known that, he would not have bestowed her upon thee, but he
would have restored her to her parent. And of a verity," he
continued, "we were saved from these perils only by the Lady
Abrizah, and never saw we a more valiant than she." And he went
on to tell his father all that had passed from first to last of
the wrestling and the single fighting. When King Omar heard the
story of Sharrkan, Abrizah was exalted in his eyes, and he longed
to see her and question her. Thereupon Sharrkan went out to her
and said, "The King calleth for thee;" she replied, "I hear and I
obey;" and he took her and brought her in to his father, who was
seated on his throne and who, having dismissed his high officers,
was attended only by his eunuchs. The Princess entered and
kissing the ground between his hands, saluted him in choice
terms. He was amazed at her eloquent speech and thanked her for
her dealing with his son Sharrkan and bade her be seated. So she
sat down and unveiled her face;[FN#217] and, when the King saw
her beauty, his reason fled his head and he made her draw near
and showed her favour, appointing her an especial palace for
herself and her damsels, and assigning them solde and allowances.
Then began he to ask her of the three jewels aforesaid, and she
answered, "Here be they with me, O King of the age!" So saying,
she rose and going to her lodging, unpacked her baggage and from
it brought out a box and from the box a casket of gold. She
opened the casket and taking out those three jewels, kissed them
and gave them to the King. Then she went away bearing his heart
with her. After her going the King sent for his son Sharrkan and
gave him one jewel of the three, and when he enquired of the
other two replied, "O my son! I mean to give one to thy brother
Zau al-Makan, and the other to thy sister Nuzhat al- Zaman." But
when Sharrkan heard that he had a brother (for to that time he
knew only of his sister) he turned to his sire and said to him,
"O King, hast thou a son other than myself?" He answered, "Yes,
and he is now six years old;" adding that his name was Zau al-
Makan and that he and Nuzhat al-Zaman were twins, born at a
birth. This news was grievous to Sharrkan, but he kept his
secret and said, "The bless- ing of Allah Most High be upon
them!", and he cast the jewel from his hand and shook the dust
off his clothes. Quoth the King, "How do I see thee change thy
manner when hearing of this, considering that after me thou
becomes" heir of the kingdom. Of a truth the troops have sworn
to thee and the Emirs and Grandees have taken the oath of
succession to thee; and this one of the three jewels is thine."
Sharrkan bowed his head to the ground and was ashamed to bandy
words with his parent so he accepted the jewel and went away,
knowing not what to do for exceeding wrath, and stayed not
walking till he had entered Abrizah's palace. As he approached
she stood up to meet him and thanked him for what he had done and
prayed for blessings on him and his sire. Then she sat down and
seated him by her side; but when he had taken his place she saw
rage in his face and questioned him, whereupon he told her that
Allah had blessed his father with two children by Sophia, a boy
and a girl, and that he had named the boy Zau al-Makan and the
girl Nuzhat al-Zaman; adding, "He hath kept the other two jewels
for them and hath given me one of thine, so I left it behind; I
knew naught of Zau al-Makan's birth till this day, and the twain
are now six years old. So when I learnt this, wrath possessed
me; and I tell thee the reason of my rage and hide nothing from
thee. But now I fear lest my father take thee to wife, for he
loveth thee and I saw in him signs of desire for thee: so what
wilt thou say, if he wish this?" Quoth she, "Know, O Sharrkan,
that thy father hath no dominion over me, nor can he have me
without my consent; and if he prevail over me by force, I will
take my own life. As for the three jewels, it was not my intent
that he should give any of them to either of his children and I
had no thought but that he would lay them up in his treasury with
his things of price; but now I desire of thy favour that thou
make me a present of the jewel which he gave thee, if thou have
accepted it." "Hearkening and obedience," replied Sharrkan, and
gave it to her. Then said she, "Fear nothing," and talked with
him awhile and continued, "I fear lest my father hear that I am
with you and sit not patiently under my loss, but do his
endeavours to find me; and to that end he may ally himself with
King Afridun, on account of his daughter Sophia, and both come on
thee with armies and so there befal great turmoil." When Sharrken
heard these words, he said to her, "O my lady, if it please thee
to sojourn with us, take no thought of them; though there gather
together against us all that be on land and on sea." " 'Tis
well," rejoined she; "if ye entreat me fair, I will tarry with
you, and if ye deal evilly by me, I will depart from you." Then
she bade her slave maidens bring food; so they set the tables,
and Sharrkan ate a little and went away to his own house,
disturbed and perturbed. Such was his case; but regarding the
affairs of his father, Omar bin al-Nu'uman, after dismissing his
son Sharrkan he arose and, taking the other two jewels, betook
himself to the Lady Sophia, who stood up when she saw him and
remained standing till he was seated. Presently, his two
children, Zau al-Makan and Nuzhat al-Zaman, came to him and he
kissed them and hung a jewel round each one's neck, at which they
rejoiced and kissed his hands. Then went they to their mother,
who joyed in their joy and wished the King long life; so he asked
her, "Why hast thou not informed me all this time that thou art
the daughter of King Afridun, Lord of Constantinople, that I
might have honoured thee still more and enlarged thee in dignity
and raised thy rank?" "O King," answered Sophia, "and what could
I desire greater or higher than this my standing with thee,
overwhelmed as I am with thy favours and thy benefits? And,
furthermore, Allah hath blessed me with two children by thee, a
son and a daughter." Her reply pleased the King and after leaving
her, he set apart for her and her children a wondrous fine
palace. Moreover, he appointed for them eunuchs and attendants
and doctors of law and doctors of philosophy and astrologers and
physicians and surgeons to do them service; and in every way he
redoubled his favour and entreated them with the best of
treatment. And presently he returned to the palace of his
dominion and to his Court where he distributed justice among the
lieges. So far concerning him and Sophia and her children; but
in the matter of Abrizah the King was greatly occupied with love
of her and burnt with desire of her night and day; and every
night, he would go in to her and converse with her and pay his
court to her, but she gave him no answer, only saying, "O King of
the age! I have no desire for men at this present." When he saw
her withdraw from him, his passion waxed hotter and his longing
and pining increased until, when weary of this, he summoned his
Wazir Dandan and, opening his very heart to him, told him of his
love for Princess Abrizah, daughter of Hardub, and informed him
how she refused to yield to his wishes and how desire for her was
doing him to die, for that he could get no grace of her. The
Wazir, hearing these words, said to the King, "As soon as it is
dark night, take thou a piece of Bhang the measure of a miskal,
about an ounce, and go in to her and drink somewhat of wine with
her. When the hour of ending the carousel shall draw near, fill
her a last cup and dropping therein the Bhang, give it to her to
drink, and she will not reach her sleeping chamber ere the drug
take effect on her. Then do thou go in to her and take thy will
of her; and such is my advice."[FN#218] "Thy rede is aright,"
quoth the King, and seeking his treasury, he took thence a piece
of concentrated Bhang, if an elephant smelt it he would sleep
from year to year. This he put in his bosom pocket and waited
till some little of the night went by, when he betook himself to
the palace of Princess Abrizah, who seeing him stood up to
receive him; but he bade her sit down. So she sat down, and he
sat by her, and he began to talk with her of wine and wassail,
whereupon she furnished the carousing table[FN#219] and placed it
before him. Then she set on the drinking vessels and lighted the
candles and ordered to bring dried fruits and sweet meats and all
that pertaineth to drinking. So they fell to tippling and the
King ceased not to pledge her till drunkenness crept into her
head; and seeing this he took out the bit of Bhang from his
pocket and, holding it between his fingers, filled a cup with his
own hand and drank it off. Then filling a second he said, "To
thy companionship!"; and dropped the drug into her cup, she
knowing naught of it. She took it and drank it off; then she
rose and went to her sleeping chamber. He waited for less than
an hour till he was assured that the dose had taken effect on her
and had robbed her of her senses, when he went in to her and
found her thrown on her back: and she had doffed her petticoat
trousers and the air raised the skirt of her shift and discovered
what was between her thighs. When the King saw the state of
things and found a lighted candle at her head and another at her
feet, shining upon what her thighs enshrined he took leave of his
five senses for lust and Satan seduced him and he could not
master himself, but put off his trousers and fell upon her and
abated her maiden head. Then he rose off her and went to one of
her women, by name Marjánah, and said, "Go in to thy lady and
speak with her." So she went in to her mistress and found her
lying on her back insensible, with the blood running down to the
calves of her legs, whereupon she took a kerchief and wiped away
the blood and lay by her that night. As soon as Almighty Allah
brought the dawn, the handmaid Marjanah washed her mistress's
hands and feet and brought rose water and bathed her face and
mouth with it, where upon she sneezed and yawned and cast up from
her inside that bit of Bhang like a bolus.[FN#220] Then she
revived and washed her hands and mouth and said to Marjanah,
"Tell me what hath befallen me." So she told her what had passed
and how she had found her, lying on her back, with the blood
running down, wherefore she knew that King Omar bin al-Nu'uman
had lain with her and had undone her and taken his will of her.
At this she grieved with exceeding grief and retired into
privacy, saying to her damsels, "Deny me to whoso would come in
to me and say to him that I am ill, till I see what Allah will do
with me." Presently the news of her sickness came to the King; so
he sent her sherbets and sugar electuaries. Some months she thus
passed in solitude, during which time the King's flame cooled and
his desire for her was quenched, so that he abstained from her.
Now she had conceived by him, and when the months of child
breeding had gone by, her pregnancy appeared and her belly
swelled, and the world was straitened upon her, so she said to
her handmaid Marjanah, "Know that it is not the folk who have
wronged me, but I who sinned against my own self[FN#221] in that
I left my father and mother and country. Indeed, I abhor life,
for my spirit is broken and neither courage nor strength is left
me. I used, when I mounted my steed, to have the mastery of him,
but now I am unable to ride. If I be brought to bed among them I
shall be dishonoured before my hand women and every one in the
palace will know that he hath taken my maidenhead in the way of
shame; and if I return to my father, with what face shall I meet
him or with what face shall I have recourse to him? How well
quoth the poet,

'Say, what shall solace one who hath nor home nor stable stead *
Nor cup companion, nor a cup, nor place to house his head?'"

Marjanah answered her, "It is thine to command; I will obey;" and
Abrizah said, "I desire at once to leave this place secretly, so
that none shall know of me but thou; and return to my father and
my mother, for when flesh stinketh, there is naught for it but
its own folk and Allah shall do with me e'en as He will." "O
Princess," Marjanah replied, "what thou wouldest do is well."
Then she made matters ready and kept her secret and waited for
some days till the King went out to chase and hunt, and his son
Sharrkan betook himself to certain of the fortresses to sojourn
there awhile. Then said she to Marjanah, "I wish to set out this
night, but how shall I do against my destiny? For already I feel
the pangs of labour and child birth, and if I abide other four or
five days, I shall be brought to bed here, and I shall be unable
to travel to my country. But this is what was written on my
forehead." Then she considered awhile, and said to Marjanah,
"Look us out a man who will go with us and serve us by the way,
for I have no strength to bear arms." "By Allah, O my lady,"
replied Marjanah, "I know none but a black slave called Al-
Ghazbán,[FN#222] who is one of the slaves of King Omar bin al-
Nu'uman; he is a valiant wight, and he keepeth guard at our
palace gate. The King appointed him to attend us, and indeed we
have overwhelmed him with our favours; so, lookye, I will go out
and speak with him of this matter, and promise him some monies
and tell him that, if he have a mind to tarry with us, I will
marry him to whom he will. He told me before to day that he had
been a highwayman; so if he consent to us we shall win our wish
and reach to our own land." She rejoined, "Call him that I may
talk with him;" whereupon Marjanah fared forth and said to the
slave, 'O Ghazban, Allah prosper thee, so thou fall in with what
my lady saith to thee!" Then she took him by the hand and brought
him to the Princess, whose hands he kissed but as she beheld him,
her heart took fright at him. "How ever," she said to herself,
"of a truth, Need giveth the law;" and she approached to speak
with him, yet her heart started away from him. Presently she
said, "O Ghazban, say me, wilt thou help me against the perfidies
of Fortune and conceal my secret if I discover it to thee?" When
the slave saw her, his heart was taken by storm and he fell in
love with her forthright and could not but reply; "O my mistress,
whatsoever thou biddest me do, I will not depart therefrom."
Quoth she, "I would have thee take me at this hour and take this
my handmaid and saddle us two camels and two of the King's horses
and set on each horse a saddle bag of goods and somewhat of
provaunt, and go with us to our own country; where, if thou
desire to abide with us, I will marry thee to her thou shalt
choose of my handmaidens, or, if thou prefer return to thine own
land, we will marry thee and give thee whatso thou desires" after
thou hast taken of money what shall satisfy thee." When Al
Ghazban, heard this, he rejoiced with great joy and replied, "O
my lady, I will serve both of you with mine eyes and will go at
once and saddle the horses." Then he went away gladsome and
saying to himself, "I shall get my will of them and if they will
not yield to me, I will kill them both and take their riches."
But he kept this his intent to himself, and presently returned
with two camels and three head of horses, one of which he rode,
and Princess Abrizah made Marjanah mount the second she mounting
the third, albeit she was in labour pains and possessed not her
soul for anguish. And the slave ceased not travelling with them
night and day through the passes of the mountains, till there
remained but musingly march between them and their own country;
when the travail pangs came upon Abrizah and she could no longer
resist; so she said to Al-Ghazban, "Set me down, for the pains of
labour are upon me;" and cried to Marjanah, "Do thou alight and
sit by me and deliver me." Then Marjanah dismounted from her
horse, and Al-Ghazban did in like sort, and they made fast the
bridles and helped the Princess to dismount, for she was aswoon
from excess of anguish. When Al-Ghazban saw her on the ground,
Satan entered into him and he drew his falchion and brandishing
it in her face, said "O my lady, vouchsafe me thy favours."
Hearing these words she turned to him and said, "It remaineth for
me only that I yield me to negro slaves, after having refused
Kings and Braves!"--And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and
ceased to say her permitted say.

When it was the Fifty-second Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that Princess
Abrizah said to the black slave Al Ghazban, "It remaineth for me
only that I yield me to negro slaves, after having refused Kings
and Braves!" And she was wroth with him and cried, "Woe to thee!
what words are these thou sayest? Out on thee, and talk not thus
in my presence and know that I will never consent to what thou
sayest, though I drink the cup of death. Wait till I have cast
my burden and am delivered of the after birth, and then, if thou
be able thereto, do with me as thou wilt; but, an thou leave not
lewd talk at this time assuredly I will slay myself with my own
hand and quit the world and be at peace from all this." And she
began reciting extempore,[FN#223]

"O spare me, thou Ghazban, indeed enow for me * Are heavy strokes
of time, mischance and misery!
Whoredom my Lord forfends to all humanity; * Quoth He, 'Who
breaks my bidding Hell for home shall see!'
And if thou leave not suing me to whoredom's way * Against th'
Almighty's choicest gift, my chastity,
Upon my tribesmen I with might and main will call * And gather
all, however far or near they be;
And with Yamáni blade were I in pieces hewn, * Ne'er shall he
sight my face who makes for villeiny,
The face of free born come of noble folk and brave; * What then
can be to me the seed of whoreson slave?"

When Ghazban heard these lines he was wroth exceedingly; his eyes
reddened with blood and his face became a dusty grey[FN#224]; his
nostrils swelled, his lips protruded and the repulsiveness of his
aspect redoubled. And he repeated these couplets,

"Ho thou, Abrizah, mercy! leave me not for I * Of thy love and
Yamáni[FN#225] glance the victim lie
My heart is cut to pieces by thy cruelty, * My body wasted and my
patience done to die:
From glances ravishing all hearts with witchery * Reason far
flies, the while desire to thee draws nigh;
Though at thy call should armies fill the face of earth * E'en
now I'd win my wish and worlds in arms defy!"

When Abrizah heard these words, she wept with sore weeping and
said to him, "Woe to thee, O Ghazban! How dareth the like of
thee to address me such demand, O base born and obscene bred?
Dost thou deem all folk are alike?" When the vile slave heard
this from her, he waxt more enraged and his eyes grew redder: and
he came up to her and smiting her with the sword on her neck
wounded her to the death. Then he drove her horse before him
with the treasure and made off with himself to the mountains.
Such was the case with Al-Ghazban; but as regards Abrizah, she
gave birth to a son, like the moon, and Marjanah took the babe
and did him the necessary offices and laid him by his mother's
side; and lo and behold! the child fastened to its mother's
breast and she dying.[FN#226] When Marjanah saw this, she cried
out with a grievous cry and rent her raiment and cast dust on her
head and buffeted her cheeks till blood flowed, saying, "Alas, my
mistress! Alas, the pity of it! Thou art dead by the hand of a
worthless black slave, after all thy knightly prowess!" And she
ceased not weeping when suddenly a great cloud of dust arose and
walled the horizon;[FN#227] but, after awhile, it lifted and
discovered a numerous conquering host. Now this was the army of
King Hardub, Princess Abrizah's father, and the cause of his
coming was that when he heard of his daughter and her handmaids
having fled to Baghdad, and that they were with King Omar bin al-
Nu'uman, he had come forth, leading those with him, to seek
tidings of her from travellers who might have seen her with the
King. When he had gone a single day's march from his capital, he
espied three horse men afar off and made towards them, intending
to ask whence they came and seek news of his daughter. Now these
three whom he saw at a distance were his daughter and Marjanah
and the slave Al- Ghazban; and he made for them to push inquiry.
Seeing this the villain blackamoor feared for himself; so he
killed Abrizah and fled for his life. When they came up, King
Hardub saw his daughter lying dead and Marjanah weeping over her,
and he threw himself from his steed and fell fainting to the
ground. All the riders of his company, the Emirs and Waxirs,
took foot and forth right pitched their tents on the mountain and
set up for the King a great pavilion, domed and circular, without
which stood the grandees of the realm. When Marjanah saw her
master, she at once recognized him and her tears redoubled; and,
when he came to himself, he questioned her and she told him all
that had passed and said, "Of a truth he that hath slain thy
daughter is a black slave belonging to King Omar bin al-Nu'uman,
and she informed him how Sharrkan's father had dealt with the
Princess. When King Hardub heard this, the world grew black in
his sight and he wept with sore weeping. Then he called for a
litter and, therein laying his dead daughter, returned to
Caesarea and carried her into the palace, where he went in to his
mother, Zat al-Dawahi, and said to that Lady of Calamities,
"Shall the Moslems deal thus with my girl? Verily King Omar bin
al-Nu'uman despoiled her of her honour by force, and after this,
one of his black slaves slew her. By the truth of the Messiah, I
will assuredly take blood revenge for my daughter and clear away
from mine honour the stain of shame; else will I kill myself with
mine own hand!" And he wept passing sore. Quoth his mother,
"None other than Marjanah killed thy daughter, for she hated her
in secret;" and she continued to her son, "Fret not for taking
the blood wit of thy daughter, for, by the truth of the Messiah,
I will not turn back from King Omar bin al-Nu'uman till I have
slain him and his sons; and of a very truth I will do with him a
deed, passing the power of Sage and Knight, whereof the
chroniclers shall tell chronicles in all countries and in every
place: but needs must thou do my bidding in all I shall direct,
for whoso be firmly set on the object of his desire shall surely
compass his desire." "By the virtue of the Messiah," replied he,
"I will not cross thee in aught thou shalt say." Then quoth she,
"Bring me a number of hand maids, high bosomed virgins, and
summon the wise men of the age and let them teach them philosophy
and the rules of behaviour before Kings, and the art of
conversation and making verses; and let them talk with them of
all manner science and edifying knowledge. And the sages must be
Moslems, that they may teach them the language and traditions of
the Arabs, together with the history of the Caliphs and the
ancient annals of the Kings of Al-Islam; and if we persevere in
this for four years' space, we shall gain our case. So possess
thy soul in patience and wait; for one of the Arabs saith, 'If we
take man bote after years forty the time were short to ye.' When
we have taught the girls these things, we shall be able to work
our will with our foe, for he doteth on women and he hath three
hundred and sixty concubines, whereto are now added an hundred of
the flowers of thy handmaidens who were with thy daughter, she
that hath found mercy.[FN#228] As soon as I have made an end of
their education, as described to thee, I will take them and set
out with them in person." When King Hardub heard his mother's
words, he rejoiced and arose and kissed her head; and at once
despatched messengers and couriers to lands sundry and manifold
to fetch him Moslem sages. They obeyed his commands and fared to
far countries and thence brought him the sages and the doctors he
sought. When these came into presence, he honoured them with
notable honorurs and bestowed dresses on them and appointed to
them stipends and allowances and promised them much money whenas
they should have taught the damsels. Then he committed the
handmaidens to their hands--And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of
day and ceased saying her permitted say.

When it was the Fifty-third Night.

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when the
sages and the doctors stood in presence of King Hardub, he
honoured them with notable honours and committed the hand maidens
to their hands, enjoining that these be instructed in all manner
of knowledge, philosophy and polite accomplishments; and they set
themselves to do his bidding. Such was the case with King
Hardub; but as for King Omar bin al Nu'uman, when he returned
from coursing and hunting and entered his palace, he sought
Princess Abrizah but found her not, nor any one knew of her nor
could any give him news of her. This was grievous to him and he
said, "How could the lady leave the palace unknown of any? Had
my kingdom been at stake in this case, it were in perilous
condition there being none to govern it! I will never again go
to sport and hunt till I have stationed at the gates those who
shall keep good guard over them!" And he was sore vexed and his
breast was straitened for the loss of Princess Abrizah. Hereupon
behold, his son Sharrkan returned from his journey; and the
father told him what had happened, and informed him how the lady
had fled, whilst he was chasing and hunting, whereat he grieved
with exceeding grief. Then King Omar took to visiting his
children every day and making much of them and brought them
learned men and doctors to teach them, appointing for them
stipends. When Sharrkan saw this, he raged with exceeding rage
and envied thereupon his brother and sister till the signs of
chagrin appeared in his face and he ceased not to languish by
reason of this matter: so one day his father said to him, "Why do
I see thee grown weak in body and yellow of face?" "O my father,"
replied Sharrkan, "every time I see thee fondle my brother and
sister and make much of them, jealousy seizeth on me, and I fear
lest it grow on me till I slay them and thou slay me in return.
And this is the reason of my weakness of body and change of
complexion. But now I crave of thy favour that thou give me one
of thy castles outlying the rest, that I may abide there the
remnant of my life, for as the sayer of bywords saith, 'Absence
from my friend is better and fitter for me'; and, 'Whatso eye
doth not perceive, that garreth not heart to grieve.'" And he
bowed his head towards the ground. When King Omar bin al-Nu'uman
heard his words and knew the cause of his ailment and of his
being broken down, he soothed his heart and said to him, "O my
son, I grant thee this and I have not in my reign a greater than
the Castle of Damascus, and the government of it is thine from
this time." Thereupon he forthright summoned his secretaries of
state and bade them write Sharrkan's patent of investiture to the
viceroyalty of Damascus of Syria. And when they had written it,
he equipped him and sent with him the Wazir Dandan, and invested
him with the rule and government and gave him instructions as to
policy and regulations; and took leave of him, and the grandees
and officers of state did likewise, and he set out with his host.
When he arrived at Damascus, the townspeople beat the drums and
blew the trumpets and decorated the city and came out to meet him
in great state; whilst all the notables and grandees paced in
procession, and those who stood to the right of the throne walked
on his right flank, and the others to the left. Thus far
concerning Sharrkan; but as regards his father, Omar bin al-
Nu'uman, soon after the departure of his son, the children's
tutors and governors presented themselves before him and said to
him, "O our lord, thy children have now learnt knowledge and they
are completely versed in the rules of manners and the etiquette
of ceremony." The King rejoiced thereat with exceeding joy and
conferred bountiful largesse upon the learned men, seeing Zau al-
Makan grown up and flourishing and skilled in horsemanship. The
Prince had reached the age of fourteen and he occupied himself
with piety and prayers, loving the poor, the Olema and the Koran
students, so that all the people of Baghdad loved him, men and
women. One day, the procession of the Mahmil[FN#229] of Irák
passed round Baghdad before its departure for the pilgrimage to
Meccah and visitation of the tomb of the Prophet (whom Allah
bless and preserve!). When Zau al-Makan the Mahmil procession he
was seized with longing desire to become a pilgrim,[FN#230] so he
went in to his sire and said, "I come to ask thy leave to make
the pilgrimage." But his father forbade him saying, "Wait till
next year and I will go and thou too." When the Prince saw that
the matter was postponed, he betook himself to his sister Nuzhat
al-Zaman, whom he found standing at prayer. As soon as she had
ended her devotions he said to her, "I am dying with desire of
pilgrimage to the Holy House of Allah at Meccah and to visit the
tomb of the Prophet, upon whom be peace! I asked my father's
leave, but he forbade me that, so I mean to take privily somewhat
of money and set out on the pilgrimage without his knowledge."
"Allah upon thee," exclaimed she, "take me with thee and deprive
me not of visitation to the tomb of the Prophet, whom Allah bless
and keep!" And he answered, "As soon as it is dark night, do thou
come forth from this place, without telling any."
Accordingly,When it was the middle of the night she arose and
took somewhat of money and donned a man's habit; and she ceased
not walking to the palace gate, where she found Zau al-Makan with
camels ready for marching. So he mounted and mounted her; and
the two fared on till they were in the midst of the Iraki[FN#231]
pilgrim-party, and they ceased not marching and Allah wrote
safety for them, till they entered Meccah the Holy and stood upon
Arafát and performed the pilgrimage rites. Then they made a
visitation to the tomb of the Prophet (whom Allah bless and
assain!) and thought to return with the pilgrims to their native
land. But Zau al-Makan said to his sister, "O my sister, it is
in my mind to visit the Holy House,[FN#232] Jerusalem, and
Abraham the Friend of Allah[FN#233] (on whom be peace!)." "I also
desire so to do," replied she. So they agreed upon this and he
fared forth and took passage for himself and her and they made
ready and set out in the ship with a company of Jerusalem
palmers. That very night the sister fell sick of an aguish
chill, and was grievously ill but presently recovered, after
which the brother also sickened. She tended him during his
malady and they ceased not wayfaring till they arrived at
Jerusalem, but the fever increased on him and he grew weaker and
weaker. They alighted at a Khan and there hired a lodging; but
Zau al- Makan's sickness ceased not to increase on him, till he
was wasted with leanness and became delirious. At this, his
sister was greatly afflicted and exclaimed, "There is no Majesty
and there is no Might save in Allah, the Glorious, the Great!
This is the decree of Allah!" They sojourned in that place
awhile, his weakness ever increasing and she attending him and
buying necessaries for him and for herself, till all the money
she had was expended and she became so poor that she had not so
much as a dirham left. Then she sent a servant of the Khan to
the bazar with some of her clothes, and he sold them and she
spent the price upon her brother; then sold she something more
and she ceased not selling all she had, piece by piece, till
nothing was left but an old rug. Whereupon she wept and
exclaimed, "Verily is Allah the Orderer of the past and the
future!" Presently her brother said to her, "O my sister, I feel
recovery drawing near and my heart longeth for a little roast
meat." "By Allah! O my brother," replied she, "I have no face to
beg; but tomorrow I will enter some rich man's house and serve
him and earn somewhat for our living." Then she bethought herself
awhile and said, "Of a truth 'tis hard for me to leave thee and
thou in this state, but I must despite myself!" He rejoined,
"Allah forbid! Thou wilt be put to shame; but there is no
Majesty and there is no Might save in Allah!" And he wept and she
wept too. Then she said, "O my brother, we are strangers who
have dwelt here a full year, but none hath yet knocked at our
door. Shall we then die of hunger? I know no resource but that
I go out and do service and earn somewhat to keep us alive, till
thou recover from thy sickness, when we will travel back to our
native land." She sat weeping awhile and he wept too, propped
upon his elbow. Then Nuzhat al-Zaman arose and, veiling her head
with a bit of camlet,[FN#234] which had been of the cameleer's
clothes and which the owner had forgotten and left with them; she
kissed the head of her brother and embraced him and went forth
from him, weeping and knowing not whither she should wend. And
she stinted not going and her brother Zau al-Makan awaiting her
return till the supper time; but she came not, and he watched for
her till the morning morrowed but still she returned not; and
this endured till two days went by. He was greatly troubled
thereat and his heart fluttered for her, and hunger was sore upon
him. At last he left the chamber and, calling the servant of the
caravanserai, said, "I wish thee to bear me to the bazar." So he
carried him to the market street and laid him down there; and the
people of Jerusalem gathered round him and were moved to tears
seeing his condition. He signed to them begging for somewhat to
eat; so they brought him some money from certain of the merchants
who were in the bazar, and bought food and fed him therewith;
after which they carried him to a shop, where they spread him a
mat of palm leaves and set an ewer of water at his head. When
night fell, all the folk went away, sore concerned for him and,
in the middle of the night, he called to mind his sister and his
sickness redoubled on him, so that he abstained from eating and
drinking and became insensible to the world around him. Then the
bazar people arose and took for him from the merchants thirty
seven dirhams, and hiring a camel, said to the driver, "Carry
this sick man to Damascus and leave him in the hospital; haply he
may be cured and recover health." "On my head be it!" replied the
camel man; but he said to himself, "How shall I take this sick
man to Damascus, and he nigh upon death?" So he carried him away
to a place and hid with him till the night, when he threw him
down on the ash heap near the fire hole of a Hammam and went his
way. When morning dawned the Stoker[FN#235] of the bath came to
his work and, finding Zau al-Makan cast on his back, exclaimed,
"Why did they not throw their dead body anywhere but here?" So
saying, he gave him a kick and he moved; whereupon quoth the
Fireman, "Some one of you who hath eaten a bit of Hashish and
hath thrown himself down in whatso place it be!" Then he looked
at his face and saw his hairless cheeks and his grace and
comeliness; so he took pity on him and knew that he was sick and
a stranger in the land. And he cried, "There is no Majesty and
there is no Might save in Allah! verily, I have sinned against
this youth, for indeed the Prophet (whom Allah bless and keep!)
enjoineth honour to the stranger, more especially when the
stranger is sick." Then he carried him home and went in with him
to his wife and bade her tend him. So she spread him a sleeping
rug and set a cushion under his head, then warmed water for him
and washed therewith his hands and feet and face. Meanwhile, the
Stoker went to the market and bought some rose water and sugar,
and sprinkled Zau al-Makan's face with the water and gave him to
drink of the sherbet. Then he fetched a clean shirt and put it
on him. With this, Zau al-Makan sniffed the zephyr of health and
recovery returned to him; and he sat up and leant against the
pillow. Hereat the Fireman rejoiced and exclaimed, "Praise be to
Allah for the welfare of this youth! O Allah, I beseech Thee by
Thy knowledge of hidden things, that Thou make the salvation of
this youth to be at my hands!"--And Shahrazad perceived the dawn
of day and ceased to say her permitted say.

When it was the Fifty-fourth Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that the Fireman
exclaimed, "O Allah, I beseech Thee of Thy knowledge of hidden
things, that Thou make this young man's life the work of my
hands!" And he ceased not to nurse him for three days, giving him
to drink of sherbet of sugar and willow flower water and rose
water; and doing him all manner of service and kindness, till
health began to return to his body and Zau al-Makan opened his
eyes. Presently came in the Fireman and, seeing him sitting up
and showing signs of amendment, said to him, "What is now thy
state, O my son?" "Praise be to Allah," replied Zau al-Makan, "I
am well and like to recover, if such be the will of Allah
Almighty at this time." The Stoker praised the Lord of All for
this and, wending fast to the market, bought ten chickens, which
he carried to his wife and said, "Kill two of these for him every
day, one at dawn of day and the other at fall of day." So she
rose up and killed a fowl and brought it to him boiled, and fed
him with the flesh and made him drink its broth. When he had
done eating, she fetched hot water and he washed his hands and
lay back upon the pillow, whereupon she covered him up with the
coverlet, and he slept till the time of the mid afternoon prayer.
Then she arose and killed another fowl and boiled it; after which
she cut it up and, bringing it to Zau al-Makan, said, "Eat, O my
son!" While he was eating; behold, her husband entered and seeing
her feeding him, sat down at his head and said to him, "How is it
with thee now, O my son?" "Thanks be to Allah for recovery!" he
replied: "may the Almighty requite thee thy kindness to me." At
this the Fireman rejoiced and going out, bought sherbet of
violets and rose water and made him drink it. Now the Stoker
used to work at the Hammam all day for a wage of five dirhams,
whereof he spent every day, for Zau al-Makan, one dirham upon
sugar and sherbet of rose water and willow flower water,[FN#236]
and another dirham for fowls; and he ceased not to entreat him
thus kindly during a whole month, till the traces of illness
ceased from him and he was once more sound and whole. Thereupon
the Fireman and his wife rejoiced and asked him, "O my son, wilt
thou go with me to the bath?"; whereto he answered, "Yes!" So the
Stoker went to the bazar and fetched a donkey boy, and he mounted
Zau al-Makan on the ass and supported him in the saddle till they
came to the bath. Then he made him sit down and seated the
donkey boy in the furnace-room and went forth to the market and
bought Iote leaves and lupin-flour,[FN#237] with which he
returned to the bath and said to Zau al-Makan, "O my master, in
Allah's name, walk in and I will wash thy body." So they entered
the inner room of the bath, and the Fireman took to rubbing Zau
al-Makan's legs and began to wash his body with the leaves and
meal, when there came to them a bathman, whom the bath keeper had
sent to Zau al-Makan; and he, seeing the Stoker washing and
rubbing him, said, "This is doing injury to the keeper's rights."
Replied the Fireman, "The master overwhelmeth us with his
favours!" Then the bathman proceeded to shave Zau al-Makan's
head, after which he and the Stoker washed themselves and
returned to the house, where he clad Zau al-Makan in a shirt of
fine stuff and a robe of his own; and gave him a handsome turband
and girdle and a light kerchief which he wound about his neck.
Meanwhile the Fireman's wife had killed and cooked two chickens;
so, as soon as Zau al-Makan entered and seated himself on the
carpet, the husband arose and, dissolving sugar in willow flower
water, made him drink of it. Then he brought the food tray and,
cutting up the chickens, fed him with the flesh and gave him the
broth to drink till he was satisfied; when he washed his hands
and praised Allah for recovery, and said to the Fireman, "Thou
art he whom the Almighty vouchsafed to me and made the cause of
my cure!" "Leave this talk," replied the other, "and tell us the
cause of thy coming to this city and whence thou art. Thy face
showeth signs of gentle breeding." "Tell me first how thou camest
to fall in with me," said Zau al-Makan; "and after I will tell
thee my story." Rejoined the Fireman, "As for that, I found thee
lying on the rubbish heap by the door of the fire house, as I
went to my work near the morning, and knew not who had thrown
thee there. So I carried thee home with me; and this is all my
tale." Quoth Zau al-Makan, "Glory to Him who quickeneth the
bones, though they be rotten! Indeed, O my brother, thou hast
not done good save to one worthy of it, and thou shalt presently
gather its fruitage." And he added, "But where am I now?" "Thou
art in the city of Jerusalem," replied the Stoker; where upon Zau
al-Makan called to mind his strangerhood and remembered his
separation from his sister and wept. Then he discovered his
secret to the Fireman and told him his story and began repeating,

"In love they bore me further than my force would go, * And for
them made me suffer resurrection throe:
Oh, have compassion, cruel! on this soul of mine * Which, since
ye fared, is pitied by each envious foe;
Nor grudge the tender mercy of one passing glance * My case to
lighten, easing this excess of woe:
Quoth I 'Heart, bear this loss in patience!' Patience cried *
'Take heed! no patience in such plight I'm wont to show.' "

Then he redoubled his weeping, and the Fireman said to him, "Weep
not, but rather praise Allah for safety and recovery." Asked Zau
al-Makan, "How far is it hence to Damascus?" Answered the other,
"Six days' journey." Then quoth Zau al-Makan, "Wilt thou send me
thither?" "O my lord," quoth the Stoker, "how can I allow thee to
go alone, and thou a youth and a stranger to boot? If thou would
journey to Damascus, I am one who will go with thee; and if my
wife will listen to and obey me and accompany me, I will take up
my abode there; for it is no light matter to part with thee."
Then said he to his wife, "Wilt thou travel with me to Damascus
of Syria or wilt thou abide here, whilst I lead this my lord
thither and return to thee? For he is bent upon going to
Damascus of Syria and, by Allah, it is hard to me to part with
him, and I fear for him from highway men." Replied she, "I will
go with you both;" and he rejoined, "Praised be Allah for accord,
and we have said the last word!" Then he rose and selling all his
own goods and his wife's gear,--And Shahrazad perceived the dawn
of day and ceased saying her permitted say,

When it was the Fifty-fifth Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that the Fire
man and his wife agreed with Zau al-Makan to travel with him
Damascus wards. Then the Stoker sold his goods and his wife's
gear and bought a camel and hired an ass for Zau al-Makan; and
they set out, and ceased not wayfaring for six days till they
reached Damascus. And they arrived there towards eventide; when
the Fireman went forth and, as was his wont, bought some meat and
drink. They had dwelt but five days in Damascus, when his wife
sickened and, after a short illness, was translated to the mercy
of Almighty Allah. Her death was a heavy matter to Zau al-Makan,
for he was grown used to her as she had tended him assiduously;
and the Fireman grieved for her with excessive grief. Presently
the Prince turned to the Stoker and finding him mourning, said to
him, "Grieve not, for at this gate we must all go in." Replied
he, "Allah make weal thy lot, O my son! Surely He will
compensate us with His favours and cause our mourning to cease.
What sayst thou, O my son, about our walking abroad to view
Damascus and cheer thy spirits?" Replied Zau al-Makan, "Thy will
is mine." So the Fireman arose and placed his hand in that of Zau
al- Makan and the two walked on till they came to the stables of
the Viceroy of Damascus, where they found camels laden with
chests and carpets and brocaded stuffs, and horses ready saddled
and Bactrian dromedaries, while Mamelukes and negro slaves and
folk in a hubbub were running to and fro. Quoth Zau al-Makan, "I
wonder to whom belong all these chattels and camels and stuffs!"
So he asked one of the eunuchs, "Whither this dispatching?'' and
he answered, "These are presents sent by the Emir of Damascus to
King Omar bin al-Nu'uman, with the tribute of Syria." Now when
Zau al-Makan heard his father's name his eyes brimmed over with
tears, and he began repeating,

"Oh ye gone from the gaze of these ridded eyne, * Ye whose sight
in my spirit shall ever dwell!
Your charms are gone, but this heart of me * Hath no sweet, and
no pleasures its sour dispel;
If Allah's grace make us meet again, * In long drawn love-tale my
love I'll tell."

And when he had ended his verse, he wept and the Fireman said to
him, "O my son, we hardly believed that thy health had
returned;[FN#238] so take heart and do not weep, for I fear a
relapse for thee." And he ceased not comforting and cheering him,
whilst Zau al-Makan sighed and moaned over his strangerhood and
separation from his sister and his family; and tears streamed
from his eyes and he recited these couplets,

"Get thee provaunt in this world ere thou wend upon thy way, *
And know how surely Death descends thy life lot to waylay:
All thy worldly goods are pride and the painfullest repine; * All
thy worldly life is vexing, of thy soul in vain display:
Say is not worldly wone like a wanderer's place of rest, * Where
at night he 'nakhs'[FN#239] his camels and moves off at dawn
of day?"

And he continued to weep and wail over his separation; whilst the
Fireman also bewept the loss of his wife, yet ceased not to
comfort Zau al-Makan till morning dawned. When the sun rose, he
said to him, "Meseemeth thou yearnest for thy native land?"
"Yes," replied Zau al-Makan, "and I can no longer tarry here; so
I will commend thee to Allah's care and set out with these folk
and journey with them, little by little, till I come to my mother
land." Said the Stoker, "And I with thee; for of a truth I cannot
bear to part with thee. I have done thee kindly service and I
mean to complete it by tending thee on thy travel." At this, Zau
al-Makan rejoiced and said, "Allah abundantly requite thee for
me!" and was pleased with the idea of their travelling together.
The Fireman at once went forth and bought another ass, selling
the camel; and laid in his provaunt and said to Zau al-Makan,
"This is for thee to ride by the way; and, when thou art weary of
riding, thou canst dismount and walk." Said Zau al-Makan, "May
Allah bless thee and aid me to requite thee! for verily thou
hast dealt with me more lovingly than one with his brother." Then
he waited till it was dark night, when he laid the provisions and
baggage on that ass and set forth upon their journey. This much
befel Zau al-Makan and the Fireman; but as regards what happened
to his sister Nuzhat al-Zaman, when she left her brother in the
Khan where they abode and, wrapped in the old camlet, went out to
seek service with some one, that she might earn wherewithal to
buy him the roast meat he longed for, she fared on, weeping and
knowing not whither to go, whilst her mind was occupied with
thoughts of her brother and of her family and her native land.
So she implored Allah Almighty to do away with these calamities
from them and began versifying,

"Dark falls the night and Passion comes sore pains to gar me
dree, * And pine upstirs those ceaseless pangs which work my
And cease not separation flames my vitals to consume, * And
drives me on destruction way this sorrow's ecstacy
And longing breeds me restlessness; desire for ever fires, * And
tears to all proclaim what I would keep in secrecy
No cunning shift is known to me a meeting to secure, * That I may
quit this sickly state, may cure my malady:
The love which blazeth in my heart is fed with fancy fuel, * The
lover from its hell of fire must bear Hell's agony![FN#240]
O thou who blamest me for all befel me, 'tis enough, * Patient I
bear what ever wrote the Reed of Doom for me:
By Love I swear I'll never be consoled, no, never more; * I swear
the oath of Love's own slaves who know no perjury:
O Night, to chroniclers of Love the news of me declare; * That
sleep hath fed mine eyelids of thy knowledge witness bear!"

Then she walked on, weeping and turning right and left as she
went, when behold, there espied her an old Badawi[FN#241] who had
come into the town from the desert with wild Arabs other five.
The old man took note of her and saw that she was lovely, but she
had nothing on her head save a piece of camlet, and, marvelling
at her beauty, he said to himself, "This charmer dazzleth men's
wits but she is in squalid condition, and whether she be of the
people of this city or she be a stranger, I needs must have her."
So he followed her, little by little, till he met her face to
face and stopped the way before her in a narrow lane, and called
out to her, asking her case, and said, "Tell me, O my little
daughter! art thou a free woman or a slave?" When she heard
this, she said to him, "By thy life, do not add to my sorrows!"
Quoth he, "Allah hath blessed me with six daughters, of whom five
died and only one is left me, the youngest of all; and I came to
ask thee if thou be of the folk of this city or a stranger; that
I might take thee and carry thee to her, to bear her company so
as to divert her from pining for her sisters. If thou have no
kith and kin, I will make thee as one of them and thou and she
shall be as my two children." Nuzhat al-Zaman bowed her head in
bashfulness when she heard what he said and communed with
herself, "Haply I may trust myself to this old man." Then she
said to him, "O nuncle, I am a maiden of the Arabs and a stranger
and I have a sick brother; but I will go with thee to thy
daughter on one condition, which is, that I may spend only the
day with her and at night may return to my brother. If thou
strike this bargain I will fare with thee, for I am a stranger
and I was high in honour among my tribe, and I awoke one morning
to find myself vile and abject. I came with my brother from the
land of Al-Hijaz and I fearless he know not where I am." When the
Badawi heard this, he said to himself, "By Allah, I have got my
desire!" Then he turned to her and replied, "There shall none be
dearer to me than thou; I wish thee only to bear my daughter
company by day and thou shalt go to thy brother at earliest
nightfall. Or, if thou wilt, bring him over to dwell with us."
And the Badawi ceased not to console her heart and coax her, till
she trusted in him and agreed to serve him. Then he walked on
before her and, when she followed him, he winked to his men to go
in advance and harness the dromedaries and load them with their
packs and place upon them water and provisions, ready for setting
out as soon as he should come up with the camels. Now this
Badawi was a base born churl, a highway thief and a traitor to
the friend he held most fief, a rogue in grain, past master of
plots and chicane. He had no daughter and no son and was only
passing through the town when, by the decree of the Decreer, he
fell in with this unhappy one. And he ceased not to hold her in
converse on the highway till they came without the city of
Jerusalem and, when outside, he joined his companions and found
they had made ready the dromedaries. So the Badawi mounted a
camel, having seated Nuzhat al-Zaman behind him and they rode on
all night. Then she knew that the Badawi's proposal was a snare
and that he had tricked her; and she continued weeping and crying
out the whole night long, while they journeyed on making for the
mountains, in fear any should see them. Now when it was near
dawn, they dismounted from their dromedaries and the Badawi came
up to Nuzhat al-Zaman and said to her, "O city strumpet, what is
this weeping? By Allah, an thou hold not thy peace, I will beat
thee to death, O thou town filth!" When she heard this she
loathed life and longed for death; so she turned to him and said,
"O accursed old man, O gray beard of hell, how have I trusted
thee and thou hast played me false, and now thou wouldst torture
me?" When he heard her reply he cried out, "O lazy baggage, dost
thou dare to bandy words with me?" And he stood up to her and
beat her with a whip, saying, "An thou hold not thy peace, I will
kill thee!" So she was silent awhile, then she called to mind her
brother and the happy estate she had been in and she shed tears
secretly. Next day, she turned to the Badawi and said to him,
"How couldst thou play me this trick and lure me into these bald
and stony mountains, and what is thy design with me?" When he
heard her words he hardened his heart and said to her, "O lazy
baggage of ill omen and insolent! wilt thou bandy words with
me?" and he took the whip and came down with it on her back till
she felt faint. Then she bowed down over his feet and
kissed[FN#242] them; and he left beating her and began reviling
her and said, "By the rights of my bonnet,[FN#243] if I see or
hear thee weeping, I will cut out thy tongue and stuff it up thy
coynte, O thou city filth!" So she was silent and made him no
reply, for the beating pained her; but sat down with her arms
round her knees and, bowing her head upon her collar, began to
look into her case and her abasement after her lot of high
honour; and the beating she had endured; and she called to mind
her brother and his sickness and forlorn condition, and how they
were both strangers in a far country, which crave her tears down
her cheeks and she wept silently and began repeating,

"Time hath for his wont to upraise and debase, * Nor is lasting
condition for human race:
In this world each thing hath appointed turn; * Nor may man
transgress his determined place:
How long these perils and woes? Ah woe * For a life, all woeful
in parlous case!
Allah bless not the days which have laid me low * I' the world,
with disgrace after so much grace!
My wish is baffled, my hopes cast down, * And distance forbids me
to greet his face:
O thou who passeth that dear one's door, * Say for me, these
tears shall flow evermore!"

When she had finished her verses, the Badawi came up to her and,
taking compassion on her, bespoke her kindly and wiped away her
tears. Then he gave her a barley scone and said, "I love not one
who answereth at times when I am in wrath: so henceforth give me
no more of these impertinent words and I will sell thee to a good
man like myself, who will do well with thee, even as I have
done." "Yes; whatso thou doest is right," answered she; and when
the night was longsome upon her and hunger burnt her, she ate
very little of that barley bread. In the middle of the night the
Badawi gave orders for departure,--And Shahrazad perceived the
dawn of day and ceased saying her permitted say.

When it was the Fifty-sixth Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when the
Badawi gave the barley scone to Nuzhat al-Zaman and promised he
would sell her to a good man like himself, she replied, "Whatso
thou doest is right!" and, about midnight when hunger burned
her,[FN#244] she ate a very little of that barley bread and the
Badawi ordered his party to set out; so they loaded their loads
and he mounted a camel setting Nuzhat al-Zaman behind him. Then
they journeyed and ceased not journeying for three days, till
they entered the city of Damascus and alighted at the Sultan's
Khan, hard by the Viceroy's Gate. Now she had lost her colour by
grief and the fatigue of such travelling, and she ceased not to
weep over her misfortunes. So the Badawi came up to her and
said, "O thou city filth, by the right of my bonnet, if thou
leave not this weeping, I will sell thee to none but a Jew!" Then
he arose and took her by the hand and carried her to a chamber,
and walked off to the bazar, and he went round to, the merchants
who dealt in slave girls, and began to parley with them, saying,
"I have brought a slave girl whose brother fell ill, and I sent
him to my people about Jerusalem, that they might tend him till
he is cured. As for her I want to sell her, but after the dog
her brother fell sick, the separation from him was grievous to
her, and since then she doth nothing but weep, and now I wish
that whoso is minded to buy her of me speak softly to her and
say, 'Thy brother is with me in Jerusalem ill'; and I will be
easy with him about her price." Then one of the merchants came up
to him and asked, "How old is she?" He answered "She is a virgin,
just come to marriageable age, and she is endowed with sense and
breeding and wit and beauty and loveliness. But from the day I
sent her brother to Jerusalem, her heart hath been yearning for
him, so that her beauty is fallen away and her value lessened."
Now when the merchant heard this, he set forth with the Badawi
and said, "O Shaykh[FN#245] of the Arabs, I will go with thee and
buy of thee this girl whom thou praisest so highly for wit and
manners and beauty and loveliness; and I will pay thee her price
but it must be upon conditions which if thou accept, I will give
thee ready money, and if thou accept not I will return her to
thee." Quoth the Badawi, "An thou wilt, take her up to the Sultan
Sharrkan, son of Omar bin al-Nu'uman lord of Baghdad and of the
land of Khorasan, and condition me any conditions thou likest,
for when thou hast brought her before King Sharrkan, haply she
will please him, and he will pay thee her price and a good profit
for thyself to boot." Rejoined the merchant, "It happens that I
have just now something to ask from him, and it is this that he
write me an order upon the office, exempting me from custom dues
and also that he write me a letter of recommendation to his
father, King Omar bin al-Nu'uman. So if he take the girl, I will
weigh[FN#246] thee out her price at once." "I agree with thee to
this condition," answered the Badawi. So they returned together
to the place where Nuzhat al-Zaman was and the wild Arab stood at
the chamber door and called out, saying, "O Nájiyah[FN#247]!"
which was the name wherewith he had named her. When she heard
him, she wept and made no answer. Then he turned to the merchant
and said to him, "There she sitteth; go to her and look at her
and speak to her kindly as I enjoined thee." So the trader went
up to her in courteous wise and saw that she was wondrous
beautiful and loveable, especially as she knew the Arabic tongue;
and he said to the Badawi, "If she be even as thou saddest, I
shall get of the Sultan what I will for her." Then he bespake
her, "Peace be on thee, my little maid! How art thou?" She
turned to him and replied, "This also was registered in the Book
of Destiny." Then she looked at him and, seeing him to be a man
of respectable semblance with a handsome face, she said to
herself, "I believe this one cometh to buy me;" and she
continued, "If I hold aloof from him, I shall abide with my
tyrant and he will do me to death with beating. In any case,
this person is handsome of face and maketh me hope for better
treatment from him than from my brute of a Badawi. May be he
cometh only to hear me talk; so I will give him a fair answer."
All this while her eyes were fixed on the ground; then she raised
them to him and said in a sweet voice, "And upon thee be peace, O
my lord, and Allah's mercy and His benediction![FN#248] This is
what is commanded of the Prophet, whom Allah bless and preserve!
As for thine enquiry how I am, if thou wouldst know my case, it
is such as thou wouldst not wish but to thy foe." And she held
her peace. When the merchant heard what she said, his fancy took
wings for delight in her and, turning to the Badawi, he asked
him, "What is her price, for indeed she is noble?" Thereupon the
Badawi waxed angry and answered, "Thou wilt turn me the girl's
head with this talk! Why dost thou say that she is
noble,[FN#249] while she is of the scum of slave girls and of the
refuse of folk? I will not sell her to thee!" When the merchant
heard this, he knew the man to be weak of wits and said to him,
"Calm thyself, for I will buy her of thee with these blemishes
thou mentionest." "And how much wilt thou give me for her?"
enquired the Badawi. Replied the merchant, "Name thy price for
her: none should name the son save his sire." Rejoined the
Badawi, "None shall name it but thou thyself." Quoth the merchant
to himself, "This wildling is a rudesby and a maggotty head. By
Allah, I cannot tell her price, for she hath won my heart with
her fair speech and good looks; and, if she can read and write,
it will be complete fair luck to her and to her purchaser. But
this Badawi does not know her worth." Then he turned and said to
him, "O Shaykh of the Arabs, I will give thee in ready money,
clear of the tax and the Sultan's dues, two hundred gold pieces."
Now when the Badawi heard this, he flew into a violent rage and
cried at the merchant, saying, "Get up and go thy ways! By
Allah, wert thou to offer me two hundred diners for the bit of
camlet she weareth, I would not sell it to thee. And now I will
not sell her, but will keep her by me, to pasture the camels and
grind my grist." And he cried out to her, saying, "Come here,
thou stinkard! I will not sell thee." Then he turned to the
merchant and said to him, "I used to think thee a man of
judgment; but, by the right of my bonnet, if thou begone not from
me, I will let thee hear what shall not please thee!" Quoth the
merchant to himself, "Of a truth this Badawi is mad and knoweth
not her value, and I will say no more to him about her price at
the present time; for by Allah, were he a man of sense, he would
not say, 'By the rights of my bonnet!' By the Almighty, she is
worth the kingdom of the Chosroës and I have not her price by me,
but if he ask even more, I will give him what he will, though it
be all my goods." Then he turned and said to him, "O Shaykh of
the Arabs, take patience and calm thyself and tell me what
clothes she hath with thee?" Cried the Badawi, "And what hath the
baggage to do with clothes? By Allah, this camlet in which she
is wrapped is ample for her." "With thy leave," said the
merchant, "I will unveil her face and examine her even as folk
examine slave girls whom they think of buying."[FN#250] Replied
the other, "Up and do what thou wilt and Allah keep thy youth!
Examine her outside and inside and, if thou wilt, strip off her
clothes and look at her when she is naked." Quoth the trader,
"Allah forfend! I will look at naught save her face."[FN#251]
Then he went up to her and was put to shame by her beauty and
loveliness,--And Shahrazed perceived the dawn of day and ceased
to say her permitted say.

When it was the Fifty-seventh Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that the
merchant went up to Nuzhat al-Zaman and was put to shame by her
beauty and loveliness, so he sat by her side and asked her, "O my
mistress, what is thy name?" She answered, "Doss thou ask what is
my name this day or what it was before this day?" Thereupon the
merchant enquired, "Hast thou then two names: to day's and
yesterday's?" "Yes," replied she, "my name in the past was Nuzhat
al-Zaman, the Delight of the Age; but my name at this present is
Ghussat[FN#252] al-Zaman, the Despight of the Age." When the
merchant heard this his eyes brimmed over with tears and quoth he
to her, "Hast thou not a sick brother?" "Ay by Allah, O my lord,
I have," quoth she, "but fortune hath parted me and him and he
lieth sick in Jerusalem." The merchant's head was confounded at
the sweetness of her speech and he said to himself, "Verily, the
Badawi spake the truth of her." Then she called to mind her
brother and his sickness and his strangerhood and her separation
from him in his hour of weakness and her not knowing what had
befallen him; and she thought of all that had happened to her
with the Badawi and of her severance from her mother and father
and native land; and the tears coursed down her cheeks and fast
as they started they dropped; and she began reciting,

"Allah, where'er thou be, His aid impart * To thee, who distant
dwellest in my heart!
Allah be near thee how so far thou fare; * Ward off all shifts of
Time, all dangers thwart!
Mine eyes are desolate for thy vanisht sight, * And start my
tears-ah me, how fast they start!
Would Heaven I kenned what quarter or what land * Homes thee, and
in what house and tribe thou art
An fount of life thou drain in greenth of rose, * While drink I
tear drops for my sole desert?
An thou 'joy slumber in those hours, when I * Peel 'twixt my side
and couch coals' burning smart?
All things were easy save to part from thee, * For my sad heart
this grief is hard to dree."

When the merchant heard her verses, he wept and put out his hand
to wipe away the tears from her cheeks; but she let down her veil
over her face, saying, "Heaven forbid, O my lord!''[FN#253] Then
the Badawi, who was sitting at a little distance watching them,
saw her cover her face from the merchant while about to wipe the
tears from her cheeks; and he concluded that she would have
hindered him from handling her: so he rose and running to her,
dealt her, with a camel's halter he had in his hand, such a blow
on the shoulders that she fell to the ground on her face. Her
eyebrow struck a stone which cut it open, and the blood streamed
down her cheeks; whereupon she screamed a loud scream and felt
faint and wept bitterly. The merchant was moved to tears for her
and said in himself, "There is no help for it but that I buy this
damsel, though at her weight in gold, and free her from this
tyrant." And he began to revile the Badawi whilst Nazhat al-
Zaman lay in sensible. When she came to herself, she wiped away
the tears and blood from her face; and she bound up her head:
then, raising her glance to heaven, she besought her Lord with a
sorrowful heart and began repeating,

"And pity one who erst in honour throve, * And now is fallen into
sore disgrace.
She weeps and bathes her cheeks with railing tears, * And asks
'What cure can meet this fatal case?'"

When she had ended her verse, she turned to the merchant and said
in an undertone, "By the Almighty, do not leave me with a tyrant
who knoweth not Allah the Most High! If I pass this night in his
place, I shall kill myself with my own hand: save me from him, so
Allah save thee from Gehenna-fire." Then quoth the merchant to
the Badawi, "O Shaykh of the Arabs, this slave is none of thine
affair; so do thou sell her to me for what thou wilt." "Take
her," quoth the Badawi, "and pay me down her price, or I will
carry her back to the camp and there set her to feed the camels
and gather their dung."[FN#254] Said the merchant, "I will give
thee fifty thousand diners for her." "Allah will open!"[FN#255]
replied the Badawi. "Seventy thousand," said the merchant.
"Allah will open!" repeated the Badawi: "this is not the capital
spent upon her, for she hath eaten with me barley bread to the
value of ninety thousand gold pieces." The merchant rejoined,
"Thou and thine and all thy tribe in the length of your lives
have not eaten a thousand ducats' worth of barley; but I will say
thee one word, wherewith if thou be not satisfied, I will set the
Viceroy of Damascus on thee and he will take her from thee by
force." The Badawi continued, "Say on!" "An hundred thousand,"
quoth the merchant. "I have sold her to thee at that price,"
answered the Badawi; "I shall be able to buy salt with her." The
merchant laughed and, going to his lodgings, brought the money
and put it into the hand of the Badawi, who took it and made off,
saying to himself, "Needs must I go to Jerusalem where, haply, I
shall happen on her brother, and I will bring him here and sell
him also." So he mounted and journeyed till he arrived at
Jerusalem, where he went to the Khan and asked for Zau al-Makan,
but could not find him. Such was the case with him; but for what
regards the merchant and Nazhat al-Zaman, when he took her he
threw some of his clothes over her and carried her to his
lodgings,--And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased
saying her permitted say.

When it was the Fifty-eighth Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when the
trader saved Nuzhat al-Zaman from the Badawi and bore her to his
lodgings and robed her in the richest raiment, he went down with
her to the bazar, where he bought her what ornaments she chose
and put them in a satin bag, which he set before her, saying,
"All is for thee and I ask nothing of thee in return but that,
when I lead thee to the Sultan, Viceroy of Damascus, thou
acquaint him with the price I paid for thee, albeit it was little
compared with thy value: and, if seeing thee he buy thee of me,
thou tell him how I have dealt with thee and ask of him for me a
royal patent, and a written recommendation wherewith I can repair
to his father, King Omar bin al-Nu'uman, Lord of Baghdad, to the
intent that he may forbid the tax on my stuffs or any other goods
in which I traffic." When she heard his words, she wept and
sobbed, and the merchant said to her, "O my lady, I observe that,
every time I mention Baghdad, thine eyes are tearful: is there
any one there whom thou lovest? If it be a trader or the like,
tell me; for I know all the merchants and so forth there and, if
thou wouldst send him a message, I will bear it for thee."
Replied she, "By Allah, I have no acquaintance among merchant
folk and the like! I know none there but King Omar bin Nu'uman,
Lord of Baghdad." When the merchant heard her words, he laughed
and rejoiced with exceeding joy and said in himself, "By Allah, I
have won my wish!" Then he said to her, "Hast thou been shown to
him in time past?" She answered, "No, but I was brought up with
his daughter and he holdeth me dear and I have high honour with
him; so if thou wouldst have the King grant thee thy desire, give
me ink case and paper and I will write thee a letter; and when
thou reachest the city of Baghdad, do thou deliver it into the
hand of King Omar bin al-Nu'uman and say to him, 'Thy handmaid,
Nuzhat al-Zaman, would have thee to know that the chances and
changes of the nights and days have struck her as with a hammer,
and have smitten her so that she hath been sold from place to
place, and she sendeth thee her salams.' And, if he ask further
of her, say that I am now with the Viceroy at Damascus." The
merchant wondered at her eloquence, and his affection for her
increased and he said to her I cannot but think that men have
played upon thine understanding and sold thee for money. Tell
me, dost thou know the Koran by heart?" "Yes," answered she; "and
I am also acquainted with philosophy and medicine and the
prolegomena of science and the commentaries of Galen, the
physician, on the canons of Hippocrates; and I have commented him
and I have read the Tazkirah and have commented the Burhán; and I
have studied the Simples of Ibn Baytár, and I have something to
say of the canon of Meccah, by Avicenna. I can ree riddles and
can solve ambiguities, and discourse upon geometry and am skilled
in anatomy I have read the books of the Sháfi'í[FN#256] school
and the Traditions of the Prophet and syntax; and I can argue
with the Olema and discourse of all manner learning. Moreover I
am skilled in logic and rhetoric and arithmetic and the making of
talismans and almanacs, and I know thoroughly the Spiritual
Sciences[FN#257] and the times appointed for religious duties and
I understand all these branches of knowledge." Then quoth she to
the merchant, "Bring me ink case and paper, that I write thee a
letter which shall aid thee on thy journey to Baghdad and enable
thee to do without passports." Now when the merchant heard this,
he cried out "Brava! Brava![FN#258] Then O happy he in whose
palace thou shalt! Thereupon he brought her paper and ink case
and a pen of brass and bussed the earth before her face to do her
honour. She took a sheet and handled the reed and wrote
therewith these verses,

"I see all power of sleep from eyes of me hath flown; * Say, did
thy parting teach these eyne on wake to wone?
What makes thy memory light such burnings in my heart? * Hath
every lover strength such memories to own?
How sweet the big dropped cloud which rained on summer day; *
'Tis gone and ere I taste its sweets afar 'tis flown:
I pray the wind with windy breath to bring some news * From thee,
to lover wightwi' love so woe begone
Complains to thee a lover of all hope forlorn, * For parting
pangs can break not only heart but stone."

And when she had ended writing the verses she continued, "These
words are from her who saith that melancholy destroyeth her and
that watching wasteth her; in the murk of whose night is found no
light and darkness and day are the same in her sight. She
tosseth on the couch of separation and her eyes are blackened
with the pencils of sleeplessness; she watcheth the stars arise
and into the gloom she strains her eyes: verily, sadness and
leanness have consumed her strength and the setting forth of her
case would run to length. No helper hath she but tears and she
reciteth these verses,

'No ring dove moans from home on branch in morning light, * But
shakes my very frame with sorrow's killing might:
No lover sigheth for his love or gladdeth heart * To meet his
mate, but breeds in me redoubled blight
I bear my plaint to one who has no ruth for me, * Ah me, how Love
can part man's mortal frame and sprite!' "

Then her eyes welled over with tears, and she wrote also these
two couplets,

"Love smote my frame so sore on parting day, * That severance
severed sleep and eyes for aye.
I waxt so lean that I am still a man, * But for my speaking, thou
wouldst never say."

Then she shed tears and wrote at the foot of the sheet, "This
cometh from her who is far from her folk and her native land, the
sorrowful hearted woman Nuzhat al-Zaman." In fine, she folded the
sheet and gave it to the merchant, who took it and kissed it and
understood its contents and exclaimed, "Glory to Him who
fashioned thee!"--And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and
ceased saying her permitted say.

When it was the Fifty-ninth Night,

She said, It reached me, O auspicious King, that Nuzhat al-Zaman
wrote the letter and gave it to the merchant; and he took it and
read it and understood the contents and exclaimed, "Glory to Him
who fashioned thee!" Then he redoubled his kindness and made
himself pleasant to her all that day, and when night came he
sallied out to the bazar and bought some food, wherewith he fed
her; after which he carried her to the Hammam and said to the
bath woman, "As soon as thou hast made an end of washing her
head, dress her and send and let me know of it." And she replied
"Hearing is obeying." Meanwhile he fetched food and fruit and wax
candles and set them on the bench in the outer room of the bath;
and when the tire woman had done washing her, she dressed her and
led her out of the bath and seated her on the bench. Then she
sent to tell the merchant, and Nuzhat al-Zaman went forth to the
outer room, where she found the tray spread with food and fruit.
So she ate and the tire woman with her, and gave the rest to the
people and keeper of the bath. Then she slept till the morning,
and the merchant lay the night in a place apart from her. When
he aroused himself from sleep he came to her and waking her,
presented her with a shift of fine stuff and a head kerchief
worth a thousand diners, a suit of Turkish embroidery and walking
boots purfled with red gold and set with pearls and gems.
Moreover, he hung in each of her ears a circlet of gold with a
fine pearl therein, worth a thousand diners, and threw round her
neck a collar of gold with bosses of garnet and a chain of amber
beads that hung down between her breasts over her navel. Now to
this chain were attached ten balls and nine crescents, and each
crescent had in its midst a bezel of ruby, and each ball a bezel
of balass: the value of the chain was three thousand diners and
each of the balls was priced at twenty thousand dirhams, so that
the dress she wore was worth in all a great sum of money. When
she had put these on, the merchant bade her adorn herself, and
she adorned herself to the utmost beauty; then she let fall her
fillet over her eyes and she fared forth with the merchant
preceding her. But when folk saw her, all wondered at her beauty
and exclaimed, "Blessed be Allah, the most excellent Creator! O
lucky the man in whose house the hall be!" And the trader ceased
not walking (and she behind him) till they entered the palace of
Sultan Sharrkan; when he sought an audience and, kissing the
earth between his hands, said, "O auspicious King, I have brought
thee a rare gift, unmatched in this time and richly gifted with
beauty and with good qualities." Quoth the King, "Let me see it."
So the merchant went out and brought her, she following him till
he made her stand before King Sharrkan. When he beheld her,
blood yearned to blood, though she had been parted from him in
childhood and though he had never seen her, having only heard a
long time after her birth that he had a sister called Nuzhat al-
Zaman and a brother Zau al-Makan, he having been jealous of them,
because of the succession. And such was the cause of his knowing
little about them. Then, having placed her before the presence,
the merchant said, "O King of the age, besides being peerless in
her time and beauty and loveliness, she is also versed in all
learning, sacred and profane, including the art of government and
the abstract sciences." Quoth the King to the trader, "Take her
price, according as thou boughtest her, and go thy ways." "I hear
and I obey," replied the merchant; "but first write me a patent,
exempting me for ever from paying tithe on my merchandise." Said
the King, "I will do this, but first tell me what price thou
paidest for her." Said the merchant, "I bought her for an hundred
thousand diners, and her clothes cost me another hundred
thousand." When the Sultan heard these words, he declared, "I
will give thee a higher price than this for her;" and, calling
his treasurer, said to him, "Pay this merchant three hundred and
twenty thousand ducats; so will he have an hundred and twenty
thousand diners profit." Thereupon the Sultan summoned the four
Kazis and paid him the money in their presence and then he said,
"I call you to witness that I free this my slave girl and purpose
to marry her." So the Kazis wrote out the deed of emancipation
and the contract of marriage, when the Sultan scattered much gold
on the heads of those present; and the pages and the eunuchs
picked up this largesse. Then, after paying him his monies,
Sharrkan bade them write for the merchant a perpetual patent,
exempting him from toll, tax or tithe upon his merchandise and
forbidding each and every in all his government to molest him,
and lastly bestowed on him a splendid dress of honour.--And
Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased saying her
permitted say.

When it was the Sixtieth Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that King
Sharrkan bade them write for the merchant a mandate, after paying
him his monies; and they wrote a perpetual patent, exempting him
from the tithe upon his merchandise and forbidding any in his
government to molest him; and lastly bestowed upon him a splendid
dress of honour. Then all about him retired, and none remained
save the Kazis and the merchant, whereupon said he to the judges,
"I wish you to hear such discourse from this damsel as may prove
her knowledge and accomplishments in all aimed for her by this
trader, that we ascertain the truth of his assertions." They
answered, "There is no evil in that!"; and he commanded the
curtain to be let down between him and those with him and the
maiden and those with her; and the women about the damsel behind
the curtains began to wish her joy and kiss her hands and feet,
when they learned that she was become the King's wife. Then they
came round her and took off her dresses easing her of the weight
of her clothes and began to look upon her beauty and loveliness.
Presently the wives of the Emirs and Wazirs heard that King
Sharrkan had bought a hand maiden unmatched for her beauty and
learning and philosophy and account keeping, and versed in all
branches of knowledge, that he had paid for her three hundred and
twenty thousand dinars, and that he had set her free and had
written a marriage contract with her and had summoned the four
Kazis to make trial of her, how she would answer all their
questions and hold disputetion with them. So they asked leave of
their husbands and repaired to the palace wherein was Nuzhat al-
Zaman. When they came in to her, they found the eunuchs standing
before her; and, as soon as she saw the wives of the Emirs and
Wazirs and Grandees of the realm coming to call upon her, she
arose to them on her feet and met them with courtesy, her
handmaidens standing behind her, and she received them saying,
"Ye be welcome!" The while she smiled in their faces so as to win
their hearts; and she promised them all manner of good and seated
them in their proper stations, as if she had been brought up with
them; so all wondered at her beauty and loveliness and said to
one another, "This damsel is none other than a Queen, the
daughter of a King." Then they sat down, magnifying her worth and
said to her, "O our lady, this our city is illumined by thee, and
our country and abode and birth place and reign are honoured by
thy presence. The kingdom indeed is thy kingdom and the palace
is thy palace, and we all are thy handmaids; so, by Allah, do not
shut us out from thy favours and the sight of thy beauty." And
she thanked them for this. All this while the curtains were let
down between Nuzhat al-Zaman and the women with her, on the one
side, and King Sharrkan and the four Kazis and the merchant
seated by him on the other. Presently King Sharrkan called to
her and said, "O Queen, the glory of thine age, this merchant
hath described thee as being learned and accomplished; and he
claimeth that thou art skilled in all branches of knowledge, even
to astrology: so let us hear something of all this he hath
mentioned, and favour us with a short discourse on such
subjects." She replied, saying: "O King, to hear is to
obey.[FN#259] The first subjects whereof I will treat are the art
of government and the duties of Kings and what behoveth governors
of command meets according to religious law, and what is
incumbent on them in respect of satisfactory speech and manners.
Know then, O King, that all men's works tend either to religious
or to laical life, for none attaineth to religion save through
this world, because it is the best road to futurity. Now the
works of this world are not ordered save by the doings of its
people, and men's doings are divided into four divisions,
government, commerce, husbandry and craftsmanship. Now
government requireth perfect administration with just and true
judgment; for government is the pivot of the edifice of the
world, which world is the road to futurity; since Allah Almighty
hath made the world for His servants as viaticum to the traveller
for the attainment of his goal; and it befitteth each man that he
receive of it such measure as shall bring him to Allah, and that
he follow not herein his own mind and his individual lust. If
folk would take of worldly goods with justice and equity, all
cause of contention would be cut off; but they take thereof with
violence ant after their own desires, and their persistence
therein giveth rise to contentions; so they have need of the
Sultan, that he do justice between them and order their affairs;
and, if the King restrain not his folk from one another, the
strong will drive the weak to the wall. Hence Ardeshir[FN#260]
saith, 'Religion and Kingship be twins'; religion is a hidden
treasure and the King is its keeper; and the Divine Ordinances
and men's intelligence point out that it behoveth the people to
adopt a Sultan who shall withhold oppressor from oppressed and do
the weak justice against the strong and restrain the violence of
the proud and the rebels against rule. For know, O King, that
according to the measure of the Sultan's good morals, even so
will be the time; as saith the Apostle of Allah (on whom be peace
and salvation!), 'There be two classes who, if they be good, the
people will be good; and if they be bad, the people will be bad,
even the Olema and the Emirs.' And it is said by a certain sage,
'There be three kinds of Kings, the King of the Faith, the King
who protecteth things to which reverence is due, and the King of
his own lusts.' The King of the Faith obligeth his subjects to
follow their faith, and it behoveth he be the most
faithful,[FN#261] for it is by him that they take pattern in the
things of the Faith; and it becometh the folk to obey him in
whatso he commandeth according to Divine Ordinance; but he shall
hold the discontented in the same esteem as the contented,
because of submission to the decrees of Destiny. As for the King
who protecteth things to be reverenced, he upholdeth the things
of the Faith and of the World and compelleth his folk to follow
the Divine Law and to preserve the rights of humanity; and it
fitteth him to unite Pen and Sword; for whoso declineth from what
Pen hath written his feet slip and the King shall rectify his
error with the sharp Sword and dispread his justice over all
mankind. As for the King of his own lusts, he hath no religion
but the following his desire and, as he feareth not the wrath of
his Lord who set him on the throne, so his Kingdom inclineth to
deposition and the end of his pride is in the house of perdition.
And sages say, 'The King hath need of many people, but the people
have need of but one King' wherefore it beseemeth that he be well
acquainted with their natures, that he reduce their discord to
concord, that with his justice be encompass them all and with his
bounties overwhelm them all. And know, O King, that Ardeshir,
styled Jamr Shadíd, or the Live Coal, third of the Kings of
Persia, conquered the whole world and divided it into four
divisions and, for this purpose, get for himself four seal rings,
one for each division. The first seal was that of the sea and
the police of prohibition and on it was written, Alterna lives.
The second was the seal of tribute and of the receipt of monies,
and on it was written, Building up. The third was the seal of
the provisioning department and on it was written, Plenty. The
fourth was the seal of the oppressed, and on it was written,
Justice. And these usages remained valid in Persia until the
revelation of Al-Islam. Chosroës also wrote his son, who was
with the army, 'Be not thou too open handed with thy troops, or
they will be too rich to need thee.'--And Shahrazad perceived the
dawn of day and ceased to say her permitted say.

When it was the Sixty-first night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that Chosroës
wrote his son, 'Be not thou too open handed with thy troops, or
they will be too rich to need thee; nor be thou niggardly with
them, or they will murmur against thee. Give thy giving
deliberately and confer thy favours advisedly; open thy hand to
them in time of success and stint them not in time of distress.'
There is a legend that a desert Arab came once to the Caliph Al-
Mansúr[FN#262] and said, 'Starve thy dog and he shall follow
thee.' When the Caliph heard his words, he was enraged with the
Arab, but Abu 'l-Abbás of Tús said to him, 'I fear that if some
other than thou should show him a scone, the dog would follow him
and leave thee alone.' Thereupon the Caliph Al-Mansur's wrath
subsided and he knew that the wild Arab had intended no offence
and ordered him a present. And know, O King, that Abd al-Malik
bin Marwán wrote to his brother Abd al-Azíz, when he despatched
him to Egypt, as follows, 'Pay heed to thy Secretaries and thy
Chamberlains, for the Secretaries will acquaint thee with estate
fished matters and the Chamberlains with matters of official
ceremony, whilst thine expenditure will make thy troops known to
thee.' Omar bin Al-Khattáb[FN#263] (whom Allah accept!) when
engaging a servant was in the habit of conditioning him with four
conditions; the first that he should not ride the baggage beasts,
the second that he should not wear fine clothes, the third that
he should not eat of the spoil and the fourth that he should not
put off praying till after the proper period. It is said that
there is no wealth more profitable than understanding, and there
is no understanding like common sense and prudence, and there is
no prudence like piety; that there is no means of drawing near to
God like good morals, no measure like good breeding, no traffic
like good works and no profit like earning the Divine favour;
that there is no temperance like standing within the limits of
the law, no science like that of meditation, no worship like
obeying the Divine commends, no faith like modesty, no
calculation like self abasement and no honour like knowledge. So
guard the head and what it containeth and the belly and what it
compriseth; and think of death and doom ere it ariseth. Saith
Ali (whose face Allah honour!), 'Beware of the wickedness of
women and be on thy guard against them: consult them not in
aught;[FN#264] but grudge not complaisance to them, lest they
greed for intrigue.' And eke quoth he, 'Whoso leaveth the path of
moderation his wits become perplexed'; and there be rules for
this which we will mention, if it be Allah's will. And Omar
(whom Allah accept!) saith, 'There are three kinds of women,
firstly the true believing, Heaven fearing, love full and fruit
full, who helpeth her mate against fate, not helping fate against
her mate; secondly, she who loveth her children but no more and,
lastly, she who is a shackle Allah setteth on the neck of whom He
will.' Men be also three: the wise when he exerciseth his own
judgement; the wiser who, when befalleth somewhat whereof he
knoweth not the issue, seeketh folk of good counsel and acteth by
their advice; and the unwise irresolute ignoring the right way
nor heeding those who would guide him straight. Justice is
indispensable in all things; even slave girls have need of
justice; and men quote as an instance highway robbers who live by
violenting mankind, for did they not deal equitably among
themselves and observe justice in dividing their booty, their
order would fall to pieces.[FN#265] In short, for the rest, the
Prince of noble qualities is Beneficence cum Benevolence; and how
excellent is the saying of the poet,

By open hand and ruth the youth rose to his tribe's command; * Go
and do likewise for the same were easy task to thee.'

And quoth another,

'In ruth and mildness surety lies and mercy wins respect, * And
Truth is best asylum for the man of soothfast soul:
Whoso for wealth of gold would win and wear the world's good
word, * On glory's course must ever be the first to gain the

And Nazhat al-Zaman discoursed upon the policy of Kings till the
bystanders said, "Never have we seen one reason of rule and
government like this damsel! Haply she will let us hear some
discourse upon subject other than this." When she heard their
words and understood them she said, "As for the chapter of good
breeding, it is wide of comprehension, being a compend of things
perfect. Now it so happened that one day there came to the
Caliph Mu'áwiyah[FN#266] one of his companions, who mentioned the
people of Irak and the goodness of their wit; and the Caliph's
wife Maysún, mother of Yezíd, heard his words. So, when he was
gone, she said to the Caliph, 'O Prince of the Faithful, I would
thou let some of the people of Irak come in and talk to thee,
that I may hear their discourse.' Therewith Mu'awiyah said to his
attendants, 'See who is at the door?' And they answered, 'The
Banu Tamim.' 'Let them come in,' said he. So they came in and
with them Al-Ahnáf son of Kays.[FN#267] Then quoth Mu'awiyah,
'Enter, O Abu Bahr,' and drew a curtain between himself and
Maysun, that she might hear what they said without being seen
herself; then he said to Al-Ahnaf, 'O Son of the Sea, draw near
and tell me what counsel thou hast for me.' Quoth Al-Ahnaf, 'Part
thy hair and trim thy moustachio and pare thy nails and pluck
thine armpits and shave thy pubes[FN#268] and ever use the
toothstick because therein be two and seventy virtues, and make
the Ghusl or complete ablution on Friday, as an expiation for all
between the Fridays.'--And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day
and ceased saying her permitted say.

When it was the Sixty-second Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that Ahnaf bin
Kays replied to Al-Mu'awiyah's[FN#269] question, 'And ever use
the toothstick, because therein be two end seventy virtues and
make the complete Friday ablution as an expiation for all between
the two Fridays.' Quoth Mu'awiyah, 'What is thy counsel to
thyself?' 'To set my feet firmly on the ground, to move them
deliberately and watch over them with mine eyes!' 'How dost thou
order thyself when thou goest in to one not of the nobles of thy
tribe?' 'I lower mine eyes modestly and I salute first; I avoid
what concerneth me not and I spare my words!' 'And how when thou
goest in to thine equals?' 'I give ear to them when they speak
and I do not assail them when they err!' 'When thou goest in to
thy chiefs?' 'I salute without making any sign and await the
reply: if they bid me draw near, I draw near, and if they draw
off from me I withdraw!' 'How dost thou with thy wife?' Quoth
Ahnaf, 'Excuse me from answering this, O Commander of the
Faithful!'; but Mu'awiyah cried, 'I conjure thee inform me.' He
said, 'I entreat her kindly and show her familiarity and am large
in expenditure, for woman was created of a crooked rib.'[FN#270]
'And how dost thou when thou hast a mind to lie with her?' 'I bid
her perfume herself and kiss her till she is moved to desire;
then, should it be as thou knowest,[FN#271] I throw her on her
back. If the seed abide in her womb I say, 'O Allah make it
blessed and let it not be a wastrel, but fashion it into the best
of fashions!'[FN#272] Then I rise from her to ablution and first
I pour water over my hands and then over my body and lastly, I
praise Allah for the joy He hath given me.' Said Mu'awiyah, 'Thou
hast answered right well and now tell me what be thy
requirements?' Said Ahnaf, 'I would have thee rule thy subjects
in the fear of Allah and do even handed justice between them.'
Thereupon Ahnaf rose to his feet and left the Caliph's presence,
and when he had gone Maysun said, 'Were there but this man in
Irak, he would suffice to it.' Then continued Nuzhat al-Zaman,
"And all this is a section of the chapter of good breeding, and
know O King, that Muaykib was intendant of the public treasury
during the Caliphate of Omar bin al-Khattáb,"--And Shahrazad
perceived the dawn of day and ceased to say her permitted say.

When it was the Sixty-third Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that Nuzhat al-
Zaman continued, "Know, O King, that Mu'aykib was intendant of
the public treasury during the Caliphate of Omar bin al-Khattab;
and it so befel him that he saw Omar's son and gave him a dirham
out of the treasury. Thereupon, quoth Mu'aykib, 'I returned to
my own house, and while I was sitting there behold, a messenger
came to me from Omar and I was afraid and went to him, and when I
came into his presence, in his hand was the dirham I had given
his son. He said to me, 'Woe to thee Mu'aykib! I have found
somewhat concerning thy soul.' I asked 'And what is that?'; and
he answered, 'It is that thou hast shown thyself a foe to the
followers of Mohammed (on whom be peace and salvation!) in the
matter of this dirham, and thou wilt have to account for it on
Resurrection Day.'[FN#273] And Omar also wrote a letter to Abú
Músá al-Ashári[FN#274] as follows, 'When these presents reach
thee, give the people what is theirs and remit to me the rest.'
And he did so. Now when Othman succeeded to the Caliphate, he
wrote a like letter to Abu Musa, who did his bidding and sent him
the tribute accordingly, and with it came Ziyád.[FN#275] And
when Ziyad laid the tribute before Othman, the Caliph's son came
in and took a dirham, whereupon Ziyad shed tears. Othman asked
'Why weepest thou?'; and Ziyad answered, 'I once brought Omar bin
al-Khattab the like of this and his son took a dirham, where upon
Omar bade snatch it from his hand. Now thy son hath taken of the
tribute, yet I have seen none say aught to him or snatch the
money from him.' Then Othman[FN#276] cried, 'And where wilt thou
find the like of Omar?' Again Zayd bin Aslam relates of his
father that he said, 'I went out one night with Omar till we
approached a blazing fire. Quoth Omar, 'O Aslam, I think these
must be travellers who are suffering from the cold. Come, let us
join them.' So we walked on till we came to them and behold! we
found a woman who had lighted a fire under a cauldron and by her
side were two children, both a wailing. Said Omar, 'Peace be
with you, O folk of light (for it was repugnant to him to say
'folk of fire'),[FN#277] what aileth you?' Said she, 'The cold
and the night trouble us.' He asked, 'What aileth these little
people that they weep?'; and she answered, 'They are hungry.' He
enquired, 'And what is in this cauldron?'; and she replied, 'It
is what I quiet them withal, and Allah will question Omar bin al-
Khattab of them, on the Day of Doom.' He said, 'And what should
Omar know of their case?' 'Why then,' rejoined she, 'should he
manage people's affairs and yet be unmindful of them?' Thereupon
Omar turned to me (continned Aslam) and cried, 'Come with us!' So
we set off running till we reached the pay department of his
treasury, where he took out a sack containing flour and a pot
holding fat and said to me, 'Load these on my back!' Quoth I, 'O
Commander of the Faithful, I will carry them for thee.' He
rejoined, 'Wilt thou bear my load for me on the Day of
Resurrection?' So I put the things on his back, and we set off,
running, till we threw down the sack hard by her. Then he took
out some of the flour and put it in the cauldron; and, saying to
the woman, 'Leave it to me,' he began blowing the fire under the
cauldron. Now he was a long bearded man[FN#278] and I saw the
smoke issuing from between the hairs of his beard till the flour
was cooked, when he took some of the fat and threw it in and said
to the woman, 'Bed them while I cool it for them.' So they fell
to eating till they had eaten their fill, and he left the rest
with her. Then he turned to me and said, 'O Aslam, I see it was
indeed hunger made them weep; and I am glad I did not go away ere
I found out the cause of the light I saw.'--And Shahrazad per
ceived the dawn of day and ceased to say her permitted say.

When it was the Sixty-fourth Night,

Book of the day: