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The Book of the Thousand Nights and a Night, Volume 3 by Richard F. Burton

Part 3 out of 8

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and the water which irrigated it; and all my comrades fared for
it and I at their head, and we ceased not faring till we reached
the mead. Then we alighted at the spring and watered our beasts.
But I was seized with a fever of foolish curiosity and went up to
the door of that tent, wherein I saw a young man, without hair on
his cheeks, who fellowed the new moon; and on his right hand was
a slender-waisted maid, as she were a willow-wand. No sooner did
I set eyes on her than love get hold upon my heart and I saluted
the youth, who returned my greeting. Then said I, "O my brother,
tell me who thou art and what to thee is this damsel sitting by
thy side?"[FN#119] Thereupon the youth bent his head groundwards
awhile, then raised it and replied, "Tell me first who thou art
and what are these horsemen with thee?" Answered I, "I am Hammad
son of al-Fazari, the renowned knight, who is reckoned among the
Arabs as five hundred horse. We went forth from our place this
morning to sport and chase and were overcome by thirst; so I came
to the door of this tent, thinking haply to get of thee a draught
of water." When he heard these my words, he turned to the fair
maiden and said, "Bring this man water and what food there is
ready." So she arose trailing her skirts, whilst the golden
bangles tinkled on her ankles and her feet stumbled in her long
locks, and she disappeared for a little while. Presently she
returned bearing in her right hand a silver vessel full of cold
water and in her left hand a bowl brimming with milk and dates,
together with some flesh of wild cattle. But I could take of her
nor meat nor drink for the excess of my passion, and I applied to
her these two couplets, saying,

"It was as though the sable dye[FN#120] upon her palms, *
Were raven perching on a swathe of freshest snow;
Thou seest Sun and Moon conjoined in her face, *
While Sun fear-dimmed and Moon fright-pallid show."

After I had eaten and drunk I said to the youth, "Know thou, O
Chief of the Arabs, that I have told thee in all truth who and
what I am, and now I would fain have thee do the like by me and
tell me the truth of thy case." Replied the young man, "As for
this damsel she is my sister." Quoth I, "It is my desire that
thou give me her to wife of thy free will: else will I slay thee
and take her by force." Upon this, he bowed his head groundwards
awhile, then he raised his eyes to me and answered, "Thou sayest
sooth in avouching thyself a renowned knight and famed in fight
and verily thou art the lion of the desert; but if ye all attack
me treacherously and slay me in your wrath and take my sister by
force, it will be a stain upon your honour. An you be, as ye
aver, cavaliers who are counted among the Champions and reck not
the shock of foray and fray, give me a little time to don my
armour and sling on my sword and set lance in rest and mount war
steed. Then will we go forth into the field of fight, I and you;
and, if I conquer you, I will kill you to the last man; but if
you overcome me and slay me, this damsel, my sister, is yours."
Hearing such words I replied, "This is only just, and we oppose
it not." Then I turned back my horse's head (for my love for the
damsel waxed hotter and hotter) and returned to my companions, to
whom I set forth her beauty and loveliness as also the comeliness
of the young man who was with her, together with his velour and
strength of soul and how he had avouched himself a match for a
thousand horse. Moreover, I described to my company the tent and
all the riches and rarities therein and said to them, "Know ye
that this youth would not have cut himself off from society and
have taken up his abode alone in this place, were he not a man of
great prowess: so I propose that whoso slayeth the younker shall
take his sister." And they said, "This contenteth us." Then my
company armed themselves and mounting, rode to the tent, where we
found that the young man had donned his gear and backed his
steed; but his sister ran up to him (her veil being drenched with
tears), and took hold of his stirrup and cried out, saying,
"Alas!" and, "Woe worth the day!" in her fear for her brother,
and recited these couplets,

"To Allah will I make my moan of travail and of woe, *
Maybe Ilah of Arsh[FN#121] will smite their faces with
Fain would they slay thee, brother mine, with purpose
felon-fell; * Albe no cause of vengeance was, nor fault
forewent the fight.
Yet for a rider art thou known to those who back the steed, *
And twixt the East and West of knights thou art the prowess
Thy sister's honour thou shalt guard though little might be
hers, * For thou'rt her brother and for thee she sueth
Allah's might:
Then let not enemy possess my soul nor 'thrall my frame, *
And work on me their will and treat thy sister with
I'll ne'er abide, by Allah's truth, in any land or home *
Where thou art not, though dight it be with joyance and
For love and yearning after thee myself I fain will slay, *
And in the gloomy darksome tomb spread bed upon the clay."

But when her brother heard her verse he wept with sore weeping
and turned his horse's head towards his sister and made this
answer to her poetry,

"Stand by and see the derring-do which I to-day will show, *
When meet we and I deal them blows that rend and cleave and
E'en though rush out to seek a bout the lion of the war, *
The stoutest hearted brave of all and eke the best in wit;
To him I'll deal without delay a Sa'alabiyan blow,[FN#122] *
And dye my cane-spear's joint in blood by wound of foe
If all I beat not off from thee, O sister, may this frame *
Be slain, and cast my corpse to birds, for so it would
Yes, for thy dearest sake I'll strike my blows with might and
main, * And when we're gone shall this event in many a book
be writ."

And when he had ended his verse, he said, "O my sister, give ear
to what I shall enjoin on thee"; whereto she replied, "Hearkening
and obedience." Quoth he, "If I fall, let none possess thy
person;" and thereupon she buffeted her face and said, "Allah
forbid, O my brother, that I should see thee laid low and yield
myself to thy foe!" With this the youth put out his hand to her
and withdrew her veil from her face, whereupon it shone forth as
the sun shineth out from the white clouds. Then he kissed her
between the eyes and bade her farewell; after which he turned to
us and said, "Holla, Knights! Come ye as guests or crave ye cuts
and thrusts? If ye come to us as your hosts, rejoice ye in the
guest rite; and, if ye covet the shining moon, come ye out
against me, knight by knight, into this plain and place of
fight." There upon rushed out to him a doughty rider and the
young man said to him, "Tell me thy name and thy father's name,
for I am under an oath not to slay any whose name tallies with
mine and whose father's name is that of my father; and if this be
the case with thee, I will give thee up the maid." Quoth the
horseman, "My name is Bilal;"[FN#123] and the young man answered
him, saying,

"Thou liest when speaking of 'benefits,' while *
Thou comest to front with shine evillest will
An of prowess thou'rt prow, to my words give ear, *
I'm he who make' champions in battle-field reel
With keen blade, like the horn of the cusped moon, *
So 'ware thrust the, shall drill through the duress hill!"

Then they charged down, each at each, and the youth thrust his
adversary in the breast so that the lance head issued from his
back. With tints, another came out, and the youth cried,

"Ho thou hound, who art rotten with foulness in grain,[FN#124] *
What high meed is there easy for warrior to gain?
'Tis none save the lion of strain purest pure *
Who uncareth for life in the battle plain!"

Nor was it long before the youth left him drowned in his blood
and cried out, "Who will come forth to me?" So a third horse man
rushed out upon the youth and began saying,

"To thee come I forth with my heart a-flame, *
And summon my friends and my comrades by name:
When thou slewest the chief of the Arabs this day, *
This day thou remainest the pledge of my claim."

Now when the youth heard this he answered him in these words,

"Thou liest, O foulest of Satans that are, *
And with easings calumnious thou comest to war
This day thou shalt fall by a death dealing point *
Where the lances lunge and the scymitars jar!"

Then he so foined him in the breast that the spear-point issued
from his back and he cried out, saying, "Ho! will none come out?
So a fourth fared forwards and the youth asked him his name and
he answered, "My name is Hilal, the New Moon." And the youth
began repeating,

"Thou hast failed who would sink me in ruin sea, *
Thou who camest in malice with perfidy:
I, whose verses hast heard from the mouth of me, *
Will ravish thy soul though unknown to thee."

Then they drave at each other and delivered two cuts, but the
youth's stroke devanced that of the rider his adversary and slew
him: and thus he went on to kill all who sallied out against him.
Now when I saw my comrades slain, I said to myself, "If I go down
to fight with him, I shall not be able to prevail against him;
and, if I flee, I shall become a byword of shame among the
Arabs." But the youth gave me no time to think, for he ran at me
and dragged me from my saddle and hurled me to the ground. I
fainted at the fall and he raised his sword designing to cut off
my head; but I clung to his skirts, and he lifted me in his hand
as though I were a sparrow. When the maiden saw this, she
rejoiced in her brother's prowess and coming up to him, kissed
him between the eyes. Then he delivered me to her, saying, "Take
him and look to him and entreat him hospitably, for he is come
under our rule." So she took hold of the collar of my
hauberk[FN#125] and led me away by it as one would lead a dog.
Then she did off her brother's coat of mail and clad him in a
robe, and set for him a stool of ivory, on which he sat down; and
she said to him, "Allah whiten thy honour and prevent from thee
the shifts of fortune!" And he answered her with these couplets,

"My sister said, as saw she how I stood *
In fight, when sun-rays lit my knightlihood
'Allah assain thee for a Brave of braves *
To whom in vale bow lions howso wood!'
Quoth I, 'Go ask the champions of my case, *
When feared the Lords of war my warrior mood!
My name is famed for fortune and for force, *
And soared my spirit to such altitude,'
Ho thou, Hammad, a lion hast upstirred, *
Shall show thee speedy death like viper brood."

Now when I heard his verse, I was perplexed as to my case and
considering my condition and how I was become a captive, I was
lowered in my own esteem. Then I looked at the damsel, his
sister, and seeing her beauty I said to myself, "'Tis she who
caused all this trouble"; and I fell a-marvelling at her
loveliness till the tears streamed from my eyes and I recited
these couplets,

"Dear friend! ah leave thy loud reproach and blame; *
Such blame but irks me yet may not alarm:
I'm clean distraught for one whom saw I not *
Without her winning me by winsome charm
Yestreen her brother crossed me in her love, *
A Brave stout-hearted and right long of arm."

Then the maiden set food before her brother and he bade me eat
with him, whereat I rejoiced and felt assured that I should not
be slain. And when he had ended eating, she brought him a flagon
of pure wine and he applied him to it till the fumes of the drink
mounted to his head and his face flushed red. Then he turned to
me and said, "Woe to thee, O Hammad! dost thou know me or not?"
Replied I, "By thy life, I am rich in naught save ignorance!'
Quoth he, "O Hammad, I am 'Abbad bin Tamim bin Sa'labah and
indeed Allah giveth thee thy liberty and leadeth thee to a happy
bride and spareth thee confusion." Then he drank to my long life
and gave me a cup of wine and I drank it off; and presently he
filled me a second and a third and a fourth, and I drained them
all; while he made merry with me and swore me never to betray
him. So I sware to him one thousand five hundred oaths that I
would never deal perfidiously with him at any time, but that I
would be a friend and a helper to him. Thereupon he bade his
sister bring me ten suits of silk, so she brought them and laid
them on my person, and this dress I have on my body is one of
them. Moreover, he made bring one of the best of his she-
dromedaries[FN#126] carrying stuffs and provaunt, he bade her
also bring a sorrel horse, and when they were brought he gave the
whole of them to me. I abode with them three days, eating and
drinking, and what he gave me of gifts is with me to this
present. At the end of the three days he said to me, "O Hammad,
O my brother, I would sleep awhile and take my rest and verily I
trust my life to thee; but, if thou see horsemen making hither,
fear not, for know that they are of the Banu Sa'labah, seeking to
wage war on me." Then he laid his sword under his head-pillow and
slept; and when he was drowned in slumber Iblis tempted me to
slay him; so I arose in haste, and drawing the sword from under
his head, dealt him a blow that made his head fall from his body.
But his sister knew what I had done, and rushing out from within
the tent, threw herself on his corpse, rending her raiment and
repeating these couplets,

"To kith and kin bear thou sad tidings of our plight; *
From doom th' All-wise decreed shall none of men take
Low art thou laid, O brother! strewn upon the stones, *
With face that mirrors moon when shining brightest bright!
Good sooth, it is a day accurst, thy slaughter-day *
Shivering thy spear that won the day in many a fight!
Now thou be slain no rider shall delight in steed, *
Nor man child shall the breeding woman bring to light.
This morn Hammad uprose and foully murthered thee, *
Falsing his oath and troth with foulest perjury."

When she had ended her verse she said to me, "O thou of accursed
forefathers, wherefore didst thou play my brother false and slay
him when he purposed returning thee to thy native land with
provisions; and it was his intent also to marry thee to me at the
first of the month?" Then she drew a sword she had with her, and
planting the hilt in the earth, with the point set to her breast,
she bent over it and threw herself thereon till the blade issued
from her back and she fell to the ground, dead. I mourned for
her and wept and repented when repentance availed me naught.
Then I arose in haste and went to the tent and, taking whatever
was light of load and weighty of worth, went my way; but in my
haste and horror I took no heed of my dead comrades, nor did I
bury the maiden and the youth. And this my tale is still more
wondrous than the story of the serving-girl I kidnapped from the
Holy City, Jerusalem. But when Nuzhat al-Zaman heard these words
from the Badawi, the light was changed in her eyes to night.--And
Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased to say her
permitted say.

When it was the One Hundred and Forty-fifth Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when Nuzhat
al-Zaman heard these words from the Badawi, the light was changed
in her eyes to night, and she rose and drawing the sword, smote
Hammad the Arab between the shoulder-blades so that the point
issued from the apple of his throat.[FN#127] And when all
present asked her, 'Why hast thou made haste to slay him;" she
answered, "Praised be Allah who hath granted me in my life tide
to avenge myself with mine own hand!" And she bade the slaves
drag the body out by the feet and cast it to the dogs. Thereupon
they turned to the two prisoners who remained of the three; and
one of them was a black slave, so they said to him, What is thy
name, fellow? Tell us the truth of thy case." He replied, "As
for me my name is Al-Ghazban," and acquainted them what had
passed between himself and Queen Abrizah, daughter of King
Hardub, Lord of Greece, and how he had slain her and fled.
Hardly had the negro made an end of his story, when King Rumzan
struck off his head with his scymitar, saying, Praise to Allah
who gave me life! I have avenged my mother with my own hand."
Then he repeated to them what his nurse Marjanah had told him of
this same slave whose name was Al-Ghazban; after which they
turned to the third prisoner. Now this was the very camel-
driver[FN#128] whom the people of the Holy City, Jerusalem, hired
to carry Zau al-Makan and lodge him in the hospital at Damascus
of Syria; but he threw him down on the ashes midden and went his
way. And they said to him, "Acquaint us with thy case and tell
the truth." So he related to them all that had happened to him
with Sultan Zau al-Makan; how he had been carried from the Holy
City, at the time when he was sick, till they made Damascus and
he had been thrown into the hospital; how also the Jerusalem folk
had paid the cameleer money to transport the stranger to
Damascus, and he had taken it and fled after casting his charge
upon the midden by the side of the ash-heap of the Hammam. But
when he ended his words, Sultan Kanmakan took his sword
forthright and cut off his head, saying, "Praised be Allah who
hath given me life, that I might requite this traitor what he did
with my father, for I have heard this very story from King Zau
al-Makan himself." Then the Kings said each to other, "It
remaineth only for us to wreak our revenge upon the old woman
Shawahi, yclept Zat al-Dawahi, because she is the prime cause of
all these calamities and cast us into adversity on this wise.
Who will deliver her into our hands that we may avenge ourselves
upon her and wipe out our dishonour?" And King Rumzan said,
"Needs must we bring her hither." So without stay or delay he
wrote a letter to his grandmother, the aforesaid ancient woman,
giving her to know therein that he had subdued the kingdoms of
Damascus and Mosul and Irak, and had broken up the host of the
Moslems and captured their princes, adding, "I desire thee of all
urgency to come to me, bringing with thee Queen Sophia, daughter
of King Afridun, and whom thou wilt of the Nazarene chiefs, but
no armies; for the country is quiet and wholly under our hand."
And when she read the letter and recognised the handwriting of
King Rumzan, she rejoiced with great joy and forthright equipping
herself and Queen Sophia, set out with their attendants and
journeyed, without stopping, till they drew near Baghdad. Then
she foresent a messenger to acquaint the King of her arrival,
whereupon quoth Rumzan, "We should do well to don the habit of
the Franks and fare forth to meet the old woman, to the intent
that we may be assured against her craft and perfidy." Whereto
Kanmakan replied, "Hearing is consenting." So they clad
themselves in Frankish clothes and, when Kuzia Fakan saw them,
she exclaimed, "By the truth of the Lord of Worship, did I not
know you, I should take you to be indeed Franks!" Then they
sallied forth with a thousand horse, King Rumzan riding on before
them, to meet the old woman. As soon as his eyes fell on hers,
he dismounted and walked towards her and she, recognizing him,
dismounted also and embraced him, but he pressed her ribs with
his hands, till he well nigh broke them. Quoth she, "What is
this, O my son?" But before she had done speaking, up came
Kanmakan and Dandan; and the horsemen with them cried out at the
women and slaves and took them all prisoners. Then the two Kings
returned to Baghdad, with their captives, and Rumzan bade them
decorate the city which they did for three days, at the end of
which they brought out the old woman Shawahi, highs Zat al-
Dawahi, with a peaked red turband of palm-leaves on her head,
diademed with asses' dung and preceded by a herald proclaiming
aloud, "This is the reward of those who presume to lay hands on
Kings and the sons of Kings!" Then they crucified her on one of
the gates of Baghdad; and, when her companions saw what befel
her, all embraced in a body the faith of Al-Islam. As for
Kanmakan and his uncle Rumzan and his aunt Nuzhat al-Zaman and
the Wazir Dandan, they marvelled at the wonderful events that had
betided them and bade the scribes chronicle them in books that
those who came after might read. Then they all abode for the
remainder of their days in the enjoyment of every solace and
comfort of life, till there overtook them the Destroyer of all
delights and the Sunderer of all societies. And this is the
whole that hath come down to us of the dealings of fortune with
King Omar bin al-Nu'uman and his sons Sharrkan and Zau al-Makan
and his son's son Kanmakan and his daughter Nuzhat al-Zaman and
her daughter Kuzia Fakan. Thereupon quoth Shahryar to Shahrazad,
"I desire that thou tell me somewhat about birds;" and hearing
this Dunyazad said to her sister, "I have never seen the Sultan
light at heart all this while till the present night, and his
pleasure garreth me hope that the issue for thee with him may be
a happy issue." Then drowsiness overcame the Sultan, so he
slept;[FN#129]--And Shahrazad perceived the approach of day and
ceased saying her permitted say.

When it was the One Hundred and Forty-sixth Night,

Shahrazad began to relate, in these words, the tale of


Quoth she, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that in times
of yore and in ages long gone before, a peacock abode with his
wife on the seashore. Now the place was infested with lions and
all manner wild beasts, withal it abounded in trees and streams.
So cock and hen were wont to roost by night upon one of the
trees, being in fear of the beasts, and went forth by day
questing food. And they ceased not thus to do till their fear
increased on them and they searched for some place wherein to
dwell other than their old dwelling place; and in the course of
their search behold, they happened on an island abounding in
streams and trees. So they alighted there and ate of its fruits
and drank of its waters. But whilst they were thus engaged, lo!
up came to them a duck in a state of extreme terror, and stayed
not faring forwards till she reached the tree whereon were
perched the two peafowl, when she seemed re assured in mind. The
peacock doubted not but that she had some rare story; so he asked
her of her case and the cause of her concern, whereto she
answered, "I am sick for sorrow, and my horror of the son of
Adam:[FN#131] so beware, and again I say beware of the sons of
Adam!" Rejoined the peacock, "Fear not now that thou hast won our
protection." Cried the duck, "Alhamdolillah! glory to God, who
hath done away my cark and care by means of you being near! For
indeed I come of friendship fain with you twain." And when she
had ended her speech the peacock's wife came down to her and
said, "Well come and welcome and fair cheer! No harm shall hurt
thee: how can son of Adam come to us and we in this isle which
lieth amiddlemost of the sea? From the land he cannot reach us
neither can he come against us from the water. So be of good
cheer and tell us what hath betided thee from the child of Adam."
Answered the duck, "Know, then, O thou peahen, that of a truth I
have dwelt all my life in this island safely and peacefully, nor
have I seen any disquieting thing, till one night, as I was
asleep, I sighted in my dream the semblance of a son of Adam, who
talked with me and I with him. Then I heard a voice say to me, 'O
thou duck, beware of the son of Adam and be not imposed on by his
words nor by that he may suggest to thee; for he aboundeth in
wiles and guiles; so beware with all wariness of his perfidy, for
again I say, he is crafty and right cunning even as singeth of
him the poet,

He'll offer sweetmeats with his edged tongue, *
And fox thee with the foxy guile of fox.

And know thou that the son of Adam circumventeth the fishes and
draweth them forth of the seas; and he shooteth the birds with a
pellet of clay[FN#132] and trappeth the elephant with his craft.
None is safe from his mischief and neither bird nor beast
escapeth him; and on this wise have I told thee what I have heard
concerning the son of Adam.' So I awoke, fearful and trembling
and from that hour to this my heart hath not known gladness, for
dread of the son of Adam, lest he surprise me unawares by his
wile or trap me in his snares. By the time the end of the day
overtook me, my strength was grown weak and my spunk failed me;
so, desiring to eat and drink, I went forth walking, troubled in
spirit and with a heart ill at ease. Now when I reached yonder
mountain I saw a tawny lion whelp at the door of a cave, and
sighting me he joyed in me with great joy, for my colour pleased
him and my gracious shape; so he cried out to me saying, 'Draw
nigh unto me.' I went up to him and he asked me, 'What is thy
name, and what is thy nature?' Answered I, 'My name is Duck, and
I am of the bird kind;' and I added, 'But thou, why tarriest thou
in this place till this time?' Answered the whelp, 'My father the
lion hath for many a day warned me against the son of Adam, and
it came to pass this night that I saw in my sleep the semblance
of a son of Adam.' And he went on to tell me the like of that I
have told you. When I heard these words, I said to him, 'O lion,
I take asylum with thee, that thou mayest kill the son of Adam
and be steadfast in resolve to his slaughter; verily I fear him
for myself with extreme fear and to my fright affright is added
for that thou also dreadest the son of Adam, albeit thou art
Sultan of savage beasts.' Then I ceased not, O my sister, to bid
the young lion beware of the son of Adam and urge him to slay
him, till he rose of a sudden and at once from his stead and went
out and he fared on, and I after him and I noted him lashing
flanks with tail. We advanced in the same order till we came to a
place where the roads forked and saw a cloud of dust arise which,
presently clearing away, discovered below it a runaway naked ass,
now galloping and running at speed and now rolling in the dust.
When the lion saw the ass, he cried out to him, and he came up to
him in all humility. Then said the lion, 'Harkye, crack brain
brute! What is thy kind and what be the cause of thy coming
hither?' He replied, 'O son of the Sultan! I am by kind an ass--
Asinus Caballus--and the cause of my coming to this place is that
I am fleeing from the son of Adam.' Asked the lion whelp, 'Dost
thou fear then that he will kill thee?' Answered the ass, 'Not
so, O son of the Sultan, but I dread lest he put a cheat on me
and mount upon me; for he hath a thing called Pack saddle, which
he setteth on my back; also a thing called Girths which he
bindeth about my belly; and a thing called Crupper which he
putteth under my tail, and a thing called Bit which he placeth in
my mouth: and he fashioneth me a goad[FN#133] and goadeth me with
it and maketh me run more than my strength. If I stumble he
curseth me, and if I bray, he revileth me;[FN#134] and at last
when I grow old and can no longer run, he putteth on me a
panel[FN#135] of wood and delivereth me to the water carriers,
who load my back with water from the river in skins and other
vessels, such as jars, and I cease not to wone in misery and
abasement and fatigue till I die, when they cast me on the
rubbish-heaps to the dogs. So what grief can surpass this grief
and what calamities can be greater than these calamities?' Now
when I heard, O peahen, the ass's words, my skin shuddered, and
became as gooseflesh at the son of Adam; and I said to the lion
whelp, 'O my lord, the ass of a verity hath excuse and his words
add terror to my terror.' Then quoth the young lion to the ass,
'Whither goest thou?' Quoth he, 'Before sunrise I espied the son
of Adam afar off, and fled from him; and now I am minded to flee
forth and run without ceasing for the greatness of my fear of
him, so haply I may find me a place of shelter from the
perfidious son of Adam.' Whilst the ass was thus discoursing with
the lion whelp, seeking the while to take leave of us and go
away, behold, appeared to us another cloud of dust, whereat the
ass brayed and cried out and looked hard and let fly a loud
fart[FN#136]. After a while the dust lifted and discovered a
black steed finely dight with a blaze on the forehead like a
dirham round and bright;[FN#137] handsomely marked about the hoof
with white and with firm strong legs pleasing to sight and he
neighed with affright. This horse ceased not running till he
stood before the whelp, the son of the lion who, when he saw him,
marvelled and made much of him and said, 'What is thy kind, O
majestic wild beast and wherefore freest thou into this desert
wide and vast?' He replied, O lord of wild beasts, I am a steed
of the horse kind, and the cause of my running is that I am
fleeing from the son of Adam.' The lion whelp wondered at the
horse's speech and cried to him 'Speak not such words for it is
shame to thee, seeing that thou art tall and stout. And how
cometh it that thou fearest the son of Adam, thou, with thy bulk
of body and thy swiftness of running when I, for all my
littleness of stature am resolved to encounter the son of Adam
and, rushing on him, eat his flesh, that I may allay the affright
of this poor duck and make her dwell in peace in her own place?
But now thou hast come here and thou hast wrung my heart with thy
talk and turned me back from what I had resolved to do, seeing
that, for all thy bulk, the son of Adam hath mastered thee and
hath feared neither thy height nor thy breadth, albeit, wert thou
to kick him with one hoof thou wouldst kill him, nor could he
prevail against thee, but thou wouldst make him drink the cup of
death.' The horse laughed when he heard the whelps words and
replied, 'Far, far is it from my power to overcome him, O Prince.
Let not my length and my breadth nor yet my bulk delude thee with
respect to the son of Adam; for that he, of the excess of his
guile and his wiles, fashioneth me a thing called Hobble and
applieth to my four legs a pair of ropes made of palm fibres
bound with felt, and gibbeteth me by the head to a high peg, so
that I being tied up remain standing and can neither sit nor lie
down. And when he is minded to ride me, he bindeth on his feet a
thing of iron called Stirrup[FN#138] and layeth on my back
another thing called Saddle, which he fasteneth by two Girths
passed under my armpits. Then he setteth in my mouth a thing of
iron he calleth Bit, to which he tieth a thing of leather called
Rein; and, when he sitteth in the saddle on my back, he taketh
the rein in his hand and guideth me with it, goading my flanks
the while with the shovel stirrups till he maketh them bleed. So
do not ask, O son of our Sultan, the hardships I endure from the
son of Adam. And when I grow old and lean and can no longer run
swiftly, he selleth me to the miller who maketh me turn in the
mill, and I cease not from turning night and day till I grow
decrepit. Then he in turn vendeth me to the knacker who cutteth
my throat and flayeth off my hide and plucketh out my tail, which
he selleth to the sieve maker; and he melteth down my fat for
tallow candles.' When the young lion heard the horse's words, his
rage and vexation redoubled and he said, 'When didst thou leave
the son of Adam? Replied the horse, 'At midday and he is upon my
track.' Whilst the whelp was thus conversing with the horse lo!
there rose a cloud of dust and, presently opening out, discovered
below it a furious camel gurgling and pawing the earth with his
feet and never ceasing so to do till he came up with us. Now when
the lion whelp saw how big and buxom he was, he took him to be
the son of Adam and was about to spring upon him when I said to
him, 'O Prince, of a truth this is not the son of Adam, this be a
camel, and he seemeth to fleeing from the son of Adam.' As I was
thus conversing, O my sister, with the lion whelp, the camel came
up and saluted him; whereupon he returned the greeting and said,
'What bringeth thee hither?' Replied he, 'I came here fleeing
from the son of Adam.' Quoth the whelp, 'And thou, with thy huge
frame and length and breadth, how cometh it that thou fearest the
son of Adam, seeing that with one kick of thy foot thou wouldst
kill him?' Quoth the camel, 'O son of the Sultan, know that the
son of Adam hath subtleties and wiles, which none can withstand
nor can any prevail against him, save only Death; for he putteth
into my nostrils a twine of goat's hair he calleth Nose-
ring,[FN#139] and over my head a thing he calleth Halter; then he
delivereth me to the least of his little children, and the
youngling draweth me along by the nose ring, my size and strength
notwithstanding. Then they load me with the heaviest of burdens
and go long journeys with me and put me to hard labour through
the hours of the night and the day. When I grow old and stricken
in years and disabled from working, my master keepeth me not with
him, but selleth me to the knacker who cutteth my throat and
vendeth my hide to the tanners and my flesh to the cooks: so do
not ask the hardships I suffer from the son of Adam.' 'When didst
thou leave the son of Adam?' asked the young lion; and he
answered, 'At sundown, and I suppose that coming to my place
after my departure and not finding me there, he is now in search
of me: wherefore let me go, O son of the Sultan, that I may flee
into the wolds and the wilds.' Said the whelp, 'Wait awhile, O
camel, till thou see how I will tear him, and give thee to eat of
his flesh, whilst I craunch his bones and drink his blood.'
Replied the camel, 'O King's son, I fear for thee from the child
of Adam, for he is wily and guilefull.' And he began repeating
these verses:--

'When the tyrant enters the lieges' land, *
Naught remains for the lieges but quick remove!'

Now whilst the camel was speaking with the lion whelp, behold,
there rose a cloud of dust which, after a time, opened and showed
an old man scanty of stature and lean of limb; and he bore on his
shoulder a basket of carpenter's tools and on his head a branch
of a tree and eight planks. He led little children by the hand
and came on at a trotting pace,[FN#140] never stopping till he
drew near the whelp. When I saw him, O my sister, I fell down for
excess of fear; but the young lion rose and walked forward to
meet the carpenter and when he came up to him, the man smiled in
his face and said to him, with a glib tongue and in courtly
terms, 'O King who defendeth from harm and lord of the long arm,
Allah prosper thine evening and thine endeavouring and increase
thy valiancy and strengthen thee! Protect me from that which hath
distressed me and with its mischief hath oppressed me, for I have
found no helper save only thyself.' And the carpenter stood in
his presence weeping and wailing and complaining. When the whelp
heard his sighing and his crying he said, 'I will succour thee
from that thou fearest. Who hath done thee wrong and what art
thou, O wild beast, whose like in my life I never saw, nor ever
espied one goodlier of form or more eloquent of tongue than thou?
What is thy case?' Replied the man, 'O lord of wild beasts, as to
myself I am a carpenter; but as to who hath wronged me, verily he
is a son of Adam, and by break of dawn after this coming
night[FN#141] he will be with thee in this place.' When the lion
whelp heard these words of the carpenter, the light was changed
to night before his sight and he snorted and roared with ire and
his eyes cast forth sparks of fire. Then he cried out saying, 'By
Allah, I will assuredly watch through this coming night till
dawn, nor will I return to my father till I have won my will.'
Then he turned to the carpenter and asked, 'Of a truth I see thou
art short of step and I would not hurt thy feelings for that I am
generous of heart; yet do I deem thee unable to keep pace with
the wild beasts: tell me then whither thou goest?' Answered the
carpenter, 'Know that I am on my way to thy father's Wazir, the
lynx; for when he heard that the son of Adam had set foot in this
country he feared greatly for himself and sent one of the wild
beasts on a message for me, to make him a house wherein he should
dwell, that it might shelter him and fend off his enemy from him,
so not one of the sons of Adam should come at him. Accordingly I
took up these planks and set forth to find him.' Now when the
young lion heard these words he envied the lynx and said to the
carpenter, 'By my life there is no help for it but thou make me a
house with these planks ere thou make one for Sir Lynx! When thou
hast done my work, go to him and make him whatso he wisheth.' The
carpenter replied, 'O lord of wild beasts, I cannot make thee
aught till I have made the lynx what he desireth: then will I
return to thy service and build thee a house as a fort to ward
thee from thy foe.' Exclaimed the lion whelp, 'By Allah, 'I will
not let thee leave this place till thou build me a house of
planks.' So saying he made for the carpenter and sprang upon him,
thinking to jest with him, and cuffed him with his paw knocking
the basket off his shoulder; and threw him down in a fainting
fit, whereupon the young lion laughed at him and said, 'Woe to
thee, O carpenter, of a truth thou art feeble and hast no force;
so it is excusable in thee to fear the son of Adam.' Now when the
carpenter fell on his back, he waxed exceeding wroth; but he
dissembled his wrath for fear of the whelp and sat up and smiled
in his face, saying, 'Well, I will make for thee the house.' With
this he took the planks he had brought and nailed together the
house, which he made in the form of a chest after the measure of
the young lion. And he left the door open, for he had cut in the
box a large aperture, to which he made a stout cover and bored
many holes therein. Then he took out some newly wrought nails and
a hammer and said to the young lion, 'Enter the house through
this opening, that I may fit it to thy measure.' Thereat the
whelp rejoiced and went up to the opening, but saw that it was
strait; and the carpenter said to him, 'Enter and crouch down on
thy legs and arms!' So the whelp did thus and entered the chest,
but his tail remained outside. Then he would have drawn back and
come . out; but the carpenter said to him, 'Wait patiently a
while till I see if there be room for thy tail with thee.' The
young lion did as he was bid when the carpenter twisted up his
tail and, stuffing it into the chest, whipped the lid on to the
opening and nailed it down; whereat the whelp cried out and said,
'O carpenter, what is this narrow house thou hast made me? Let me
out, sirrah!' But the carpenter answered, 'Far be it, far be it
from thy thought! Repentance for past avails naught, and indeed
of this place thou shalt not come out.' He then laughed and
resumed, 'Verily thou art fallen into the trap and from thy
duress there is no escape, O vilest of wild beasts!' Rejoined the
whelp, 'O my brother, what manner of words are these thou
addresses" to me?' The carpenter replied 'know, O dog of the
desert! that thou hast fa]len into that which thou fearedst: Fate
hath upset thee, nor shall caution set thee up. ' When the whelp
heard these words, O my sister, he knew that this was indeed the
very son of Adam, against whom he had been warned by his sire in
waking state and by the mysterious Voice in sleeping while; and I
also was certified that this was indeed he without doubt;
wherefore great fear of him for myself seized me and I withdrew a
little apart from him and waited to see what he would do with the
young lion. Then I saw, O my sister, the son of Adam dig a pit in
that place hard by the chest which held the whelp and, throwing
the box into the hole, heap dry wood upon it and burn the young
lion with fire. At this sight, O sister mine, my fear of the son
of Adam redoubled and in my affright I have been these two days
fleeing from him." But when the peahen heard from the duck this
story,--And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased to say
her permitted say.

When it was the One Hundred and Forty-seventh Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when the
peahen heard from the duck this story, she wondered with
exceeding wonder and said to her, "O my sister, here thou art
safe from the son of Adam, for we are in one of the islands of
the sea whither there is no way for the son of Adam; so do thou
take up thine abode with us till Allah make easy thy case and our
case. Quoth the duck, "I fear lest some calamity come upon me by
night, for no runaway can rid him of fate by flight." Rejoined
the peahen, "Abide with us, and be like unto, us;" and ceased not
to persuade her, till she yielded, saying, "O my sister, thou
knowest how weak is my resistance; but verily had I not seen thee
here, I had not remained." Said the peahen, "That which is on our
foreheads[FN#142] we must indeed fulfil, and when our doomed day
draweth near, who shall deliver us? But not a soul departeth
except it have accomplished its predestined livelihood and term.
Now the while they talked thus, a cloud of dust appeared and
approached them, at sight of which the duck shrieked aloud and
ran down into the sea, crying out, "Beware! beware! though flight
there is not from Fate and Lot!"[FN#143] After awhile the dust
opened out and discovered under it an antelope; whereat the duck
and the peahen were reassured and the peacock's wife said to her
companion, "O my sister, this thou seest and wouldst have me
beware of is an antelope, and here he is, making for us. He will
do us no hurt, for the antelope feedeth upon the herbs of the
earth and, even as thou art of the bird kind, so is he of the
beast kind. Be there fore of good cheer and cease care taking;
for care taking wasteth the body." Hardly had the peahen done
speaking, when the antelope came up to them, thinking to shelter
him under the shade of the tree; and, sighting the peahen and the
duck, saluted them and said, 'I came to this island to-day and I
have seen none richer in herbage nor pleasanter for habitation."
Then he besought them for company and amity and, when they saw
his friendly behaviour to them, they welcomed him and gladly
accepted his offer. So they struck up a sincere friendship and
sware thereto; and they slept in one place and they ate and drank
together; nor did they cease dwelling in safety, eating and
drinking their fill, till one day there came thither a ship which
had strayed from her course in the sea. She cast anchor near them
and the crew came forth and dispersed about the island. They soon
caught sight of the three friends, antelope, peahen and duck, and
made for them; whereupon the peahen flew up into the tree and
thence winged her way through air; and the antelope fled into the
desert, but the duck abode paralyzed by fear. So they chased her
till they caught her and she cried out and said, "Caution availed
me naught against Fate and Lot!'; and they bore her off to the
ship. Now when the peahen saw what had betided the duck, she
removed from the island, saying, "I see that misfortunes lie in
ambush for all. But for yonder ship, parting had not befallen
between me and this duck, because she was one of the truest of
friends." Then she flew off and rejoined the antelope, who
saluted her and gave her joy of her safety and asked for the
duck, to which she replied, "The enemy hath taken her, and I
loathe the sojourn of this island after her." Then she wept for
the loss of the duck and began repeating,

"The day of parting cut my heart in twain:*
In twain may Allah cut the parting-day!

And she spake also this couplet,

"I pray some day that we reunion gain, *
So may I tell him Parting's ugly way."

The antelope sorrowed with great sorrow, but dissuaded the peahen
from her resolve to remove from the island. So they abode there
together with him, eating and drinking, in peace and safety,
except that they ceased not to mourn for the loss of the duck;
and the antelope said to the peahen, "O my sister, thou seest how
the folk who came forth of the ship were the cause of our
severance from the duck and of her destruction; so do thou beware
of them and guard thyself from them and from the wile of the son
of Adam and his guile." But the peahen replied, I am assured that
nought caused her death save her neglecting to say Subhan' Allah,
glory to God; indeed I often said to her, 'Exclaim thou, 'Praised
be Allah, and verily I fear for thee, because thou neglectest to
laud the Almighty; for all things created by Allah glorify Him on
this wise, and whoso neglecteth the formula of praise[FN#144] him
destruction waylays.'" When the antelope heard the peahen's words
he exclaimed, "Allah make fair thy face!" and betook himself to
repeating the formula of praise, and ceased not there from a
single hour. And it is said that his form of adoration was as
follows, "Praise be to the Requiter of every good and evil thing,
the Lord of Majesty and of Kings the King!" And a tale is also
told on this wise of

The Hermits.

A certain hermit worshipped on a certain mountain, whither
resorted a pair of pigeons; and the worshipper was wont to make
two parts of his daily bread,--And Shahrazad perceived the dawn
of day and ceased saying her permitted say.

When it was the One Hundred and Forty-eighth Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that the
worshipper was wont to make two parts of his daily bread, eating
one half himself and giving the other to the pigeon pair. He also
prayed for them both that they might be blest with issue so they
increased and multiplied greatly. Now they resorted only to that
mountain where the hermit was, and the reason of their fore-
gathering with the holy man was their assiduity in repeating
"Praised be Allah!" for it is recounted that the pigeon[FN#145]
in praise, "Praised be the Creator of all Creatures, the
Distributor of daily bread, the Builder of the heavens and
Dispreader of the earths!" And that couple ceased not to dwell
together in the happiest of life, they and their brood till the
holy man died, when the company of the pigeons was broken up and
they dispersed among the towns and villages and mountains. Now it
is told that on a certain other mountain there dwelt a shepherd,
a man of piety and good sense and chastity; and he had flocks of
sheep which he tended, and he made his living by their milk and
wool. The mountain which gave him a home abounded in trees and
pasturage and also in wild beasts, but these had no power over
his flocks; so he ceased not to dwell upon that highland in full
security, taking no thought to the things of the world, by reason
of his beatitude and his assiduity in prayer and devotion, till
Allah ordained that he should fall sick with exceeding sickness.
Thereupon he betook himself to a cavern in the mountain and his
sheep used to go out in the morning to the pasturage and take
refuge at night in the cave. But Allah Almighty, being minded to
try him and prove his patience and his obedience, sent him one of
His angels, who came in to him in the semblance of a fair woman
and sat down before him. When the shepherd saw that woman seated
before him, his flesh shuddered at her with horripilation[FN#146]
and he said to her, 'O thou woman, what was it invited thee to
this my retreat? I have no need of thee, nor is there aught
betwixt me and thee which calleth for thy coming in to me." Quoth
she, "O man, cost thou not behold my beauty and loveliness and
the fragrance of my breath; and knowest thou not the need women
have of men and men of women? So who shall forbid thee from me
when I have chosen to be near thee and desire to enjoy thy
company? Indeed, I come to thee willingly and do not withhold
myself from thee, and near us there is none whom we need fear;
and I wish to abide with thee as long as thou sojournest in this
mountain, and be thy companion and thy true friend. I offer
myself to thee, for thou needest the service of woman: and if
thou have carnal connection with me and know me, thy sickness
shall be turned from thee and health return to thee; and thou
wilt repent thee of the past for having foresworn the company of
women during the days that are now no more. In very sooth, I give
thee good advice: so incline to my counsel and approach me."
Quoth the shepherd, "Go out from me, O woman deceitful and
perfidious! I will not incline to thee nor approach thee. I want
not thy company nor wish for union with thee; he who coveteth the
coming life renounceth thee, for thou seducest mankind, those of
past time and those of present time. Allah the Most High lieth in
wait for His servants and woe unto him who is cursed with thy
company!" Answered she, "O thou that errest from the truth and
wanderest from the way of reason, turn thy face to me and look
upon my charms and take thy full of my nearness, as did the wise
who have gone before thee. Indeed, they were richer than thou in
experience and sharper of wit; withal they rejected not, as thou
rejectest, the enjoyment of women; nay, they took their pleasure
of them and their company even as thou renouncest them, and it
did them no hurt in things temporal or things spiritual.
Wherefore do thou recede from thy resolve and thou shalt praise
the issue of thy case." Rejoined the shepherd, "All thou sayest I
deny and abhor, and all thou offerest I reject: for thou art
cunning and perfidious and there is no honesty in thee nor is
there honour. How much of foulness hidest thou under thy beauty,
and how many a pious man hast thou seduced from his duty and made
his end penitence and perdition? Avaunt from me, O thou who
devotest thyself to corrupt others!" Thereupon, he threw his
goat's hair cloak over his head that he might not see her face,
and betook himself to calling upon the name of his Lord. And when
the angel saw the excellence of his submission to the Divine
Will, he went out from him and ascended to heaven. Now hard by
the hermit's hill was a village wherein dwelt a pious man, who
knew not the other's station, till one night he heard in a dream
a Voice saying to him, "In such a place near to thee is a devout
man: go thou to him and be at his command!" So when morning
dawned he set out to wend thither, and what time the heat was
grievous upon him, he came to a tree which grew beside a spring
of running water. So he sat down to rest in the shadow of that
tree and behold, he saw beasts and birds coming to that fount to
drink, but when they caught sight of the devotee sitting there,
they took fright and fled from before his face. Then said he,
"There is no Majesty and there is no Might save in Allah! I rest
not here but to the hurt of these beasts and fowls." So he arose,
blaming him self and saying, "Verily my tarrying here this day
hath wronged these animals, and what excuse have I towards my
Creator and the Creator of these birds and beasts for that I was
the cause of their flight from their drink and their daily food
and their place of pasturage? Alas for my shame before my Lord on
the day when He shall avenge the hornless sheep on the sheep with
horns!''[FN#147] And he wept and began repeating these couplets,

"Now an, by Allah, unto man were fully known *
Why he is made, in careless sleep he ne'er would wone:
First Death, then cometh Wake and dreadful Day of Doom, *
Reproof with threats sore terror, frightful malison.
Bid we or else forbid we, all of us are like *
The Cave companions[FN#148] when at length their sleep was

Then he again wept for that he had driven the birds and beasts
from the spring by sitting down under the tree, and he fared on
till he came to the shepherd's dwelling and going in, saluted
him. The shepherd returned his salutation and embraced him,
weeping and saying, "What hath brought thee to this place where
no man hath ever yet come to me." Quoth the other devotee, "I saw
in my sleep one who described to me this thy stead and bade me
repair to thee and salute thee: so I came, in obedience to the
commandment." The shepherd welcomed him, rejoicing in his company
and the twain abode upon that mountain, worshipping Allah with
the best of worship; and they ceased not serving their Lord in
the cavern and living upon the flesh and milk of their sheep,
having clean put away from them riches and children and what not,
till the Certain, the Inevitable became their lot. And this is
the end of their story. Then said King Shahyrar, "O Shahrazad,
thou wouldst cause me to renounce my kingdom and thou makest me
repent of having slain so many women and maidens. Hast thou any
bird stories?" "Yes," replied she, and began to tell the


It is related by truthful men, O King, that a certain bird flew
high up firmament wards and presently lit on a rock in the midst
of water which was running. And as he sat there, behold, the
current carried to him the carcass of a man, and lodged it
against the rock, for being swollen it floated. The bird, which
was a water fowl, drew near and examining it, found that it was
the dead body of a son of Adam and saw in it sign of spear and
stroke of sword. So he said to himself, "I presume that this man
who hath been slain was some evil doer, and that a company banded
themselves together against him and put him to death and were at
peace from him and his evil doing." And as he continued
marvelling at this, suddenly the vultures and kites came down
upon the carcass from all sides and get round it; which when the
water fowl saw, he feared with sore affright and said, "I cannot
abide here any longer." So he flew away in quest of a place where
he might wone, till that carcass should come to an end and the
birds of prey leave it; and he stayed not in his flight, till he
found a river with a tree in its midst. So he alighted on the
tree, troubled and distraught and sore grieved for departing from
his birth place, and said to himself, "Verily sorrows cease not
to follow me: I was at my ease when I saw that carcass, and
rejoiced therein with much joy, saying, 'This is a gift of daily
bread which Allah hath dealt to me:' but my joy became annoy and
my gladness turned to sadness, for the ravenous birds, which are
like lions, seized upon it and tare it to pieces and came between
me and my prize So how can I hope to be secure from misfortune in
this world, or put any trust therein? Indeed, the proverb
saith,'The world is the dwelling of him who hath no dwelling': he
who hath no wits is cozened by it and entrusteth it with his
wealth and his child and his family and his folk; and whoso is
cozened ceaseth not to rely upon it, pacing proudly upon earth
until he is laid under earth and the dust is cast over his corpse
by him who of all men was dearest to him and nearest. But naught
is better for generous youth than patience under its cares and
miseries. I have left my native place and it is abhorrent to me
to quit my brethren and friends and loved ones." Now whilst he
was thus musing lo! a male tortoise descended into the river and,
approaching the water fowl, saluted him, saying, "O my lord, what
hath exiled thee and driven thee so far from thy place?" Replied
the water fowl, "The descent of enemies thereon; for the wise
brooketh not the neighbourhood of his foe; and how well saith the

Whenas on any land the oppressor doth alight, *
There's nothing left for those, that dwell therein, but

Quoth the tortoise, "If the matter be as thou sayest and the case
as thou describest, I will not leave thee nor cease to stand
before thee, that I may do thy need and fulfil thy service; for
it is said that there is no sorer desolation than that of him who
is an exile, cut off from friends and home; and it is also said
that no calamity equalleth that of severance from the good; but
the best solace for men of understanding is to seek companionship
in strangerhood and be patient under sorrows and adversity.
Wherefore I hope that thou wilt approve of my company, for I will
be to thee a servant and a helper." Now when the water fowl heard
the tortoise's words he answered, "Verily, thou art right in what
thou sayest for, by my life, I have found grief and pain in
separation, what while I have been parted from my place and
sundered from my brethren and friends; seeing that in severance
is an admonition to him who will be admonished and matter of
thought for him who will take thought. If the generous youth find
not a companion to console him, weal is forever cut off from him
and ill is eternally established with him; and there is nothing
for the sage but to solace himself in every event with brethren
and be constant in patience and endurance: indeed these two are
praiseworthy qualities, and both uphold one under calamities and
vicissitudes of the world and ward off startling sorrows and
harrowing cares, come what will." Rejoined the tortoise, "Beware
of sorrow, for it will spoil thy life and waste thy manliness."
And the two gave not over conversing till the bird said, "Never
shall I cease fearing the shifts of time and vicissitudes of
events." When the tortoise heard this, he came up to him and,
kissing him between the eyes, said to him, "Never may the company
of the birds cease to be blest in thee and through thee, and find
wisdom in thy good counsel! How shalt thou be burdened with care
and harm?" And he went on to comfort the water fowl and soothe
his terrors till he became reassured. Then he flew to the place
where the carcass was and found on arriving there the birds of
prey gone, and they had left nothing of the body but bones;
whereupon he returned to the tortoise and acquainted him with the
fact that the foe had disappeared from his place, saying, "Know
that of a truth I long for return homewards to enjoy the society
of my friends; for the sage cannot endure separation from his
native place." So they both went thither and found naught to
affright them; whereupon the water fowl began repeating,

"And haply whenas strait descends on lot of generous youth *
Right sore, with Allah only lies his issue from annoy:
He's straitened, but full oft when rings and meshes straitest
clip, * He 'scapes his strait and joyance finds, albe I see
no joy."

So the twain abode in that island; and while the water fowl was
enjoying a life of peace and gladness, suddenly Fate led thither
a hungry falcon, which drove its talons into the bird's belly and
killed him, nor did caution avail him when his term of life was
ended. Now the cause of his death was that he neglected to use
the formula of praise, and it is said that his form of adoration
was as follows, "Praised be our Lord in that He ordereth and
ordaineth; and praised be our Lord in that He enricheth and
impoverisheth!" Such was the waterfowl's end and the tale of the
ravenous birds. And when it was finished quoth the Sultan, "O
Shahrazad, verily thou overwhelmest me with admonitions and
salutary instances. Hast thou any stories of beasts?" "Yes,"
answered she, and began to tell the


Know, O King, that a fox and a wolf once cohabited in the same
den, harbouring therein together by day and resorting thither by
night; but the wolf was cruel and oppressive to the fox. They
abode thus awhile, till it so befel that the fox exhorted the
wolf to use gentle dealing and leave off his ill deeds, saying,
"If thou persist in thine arrogance, belike Allah will give the
son of Adam power over thee, for he is past master in guile and
wile; and by his artifice he bringeth down the birds from the
firmament and he haleth the mighty fish forth of the
flood-waters: and he cutteth the mountain and transporteth it
from place to place. All this is of his craft and wiliness:
wherefore do thou betake thyself to equity and fair dealing and
leave frowardness and tyranny; and thou shalt fare all the better
for it." But the wolf would not accept his counsel and answered
him roughly, saying, "What right hast thou to speak of matters of
weight and importance?" And he dealt the fox a cuff that laid him
senseless; but, when he revived, he smiled in the wolf's face
and, excusing himself for his unseemly speech, repeated these two

"If any sin I sinned, or did I aught *
In love of you, which hateful mischief wrought;
My sin I sore repent and pardon sue; *
So give the sinner gift of pardon sought."

The wolf accepted his excuse and held his hand from further
ill-treatment, saying, "Speak not of whatso concerneth thee not,
lest thou hear what will please thee not." Answered the fox, "To
hear is to obey!"--And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and
ceased to say her permitted say.

When it was the One Hundred and Forty-ninth Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that quoth the
wolf to the fox, "Speak not of whatso concerneth thee not, lest
thou hear what will please thee not!" Answered the fox, "To hear
is to obey! I will abstain henceforth from what pleaseth thee
not; for the sage saith, 'Have a care that thou speak not of that
whereof thou art not asked; leave that which concerneth thee not
for that which concerneth thee, and by no means lavish good
counsel on the wrongous, for they will repay it to thee with
wrong.'" And reflecting on the words of the wolf he smiled in his
face, but in his heart he meditated treachery against him and
privily said, "There is no help but that I compass the
destruction of this wolf." So he bore with his injurious usage,
saying to himself, "Verily insolence and evil-speaking are causes
of perdition and cast into confusion, and it is said, 'The
insolent is shent and the ignorant doth repent; and whose
feareth, to him safety is sent': moderation marketh the noble and
gentle manners are of gains the grandest. It behoveth me to
dissemble with this tyrant and needs must he be cast down." Then
quoth he to the wolf, "Verily, the Lord pardoneth his erring
servant and relenteth towards him, if he confess his offences;
and I am a weak slave and have offended in presuming to counsel
thee. If thou knewest the pain that befel me by thy buffet, thou
wouldst ken that even the elephant could not stand against it nor
endure it: but I complain not of this blow's hurt, because of the
joy and gladness that hath betided me through it; for though it
was to me exceeding sore yet was its issue of the happiest. And
with sooth saith the sage, 'The blow of the teacher is at first
right hurtful, but the end of it is sweeter than strained
honey.'" Quoth the wolf, "I pardon thine offence and I cancel thy
fault; but beware of my force and avow thyself my thrall; for
thou hast learned my severity unto him who showeth his
hostility!" Thereupon the fox prostrated himself before the wolf,
saying, "Allah lengthen thy life and mayst thou never cease to
overthrow thy foes!" And he stinted not to fear the wolf and to
wheedle him and dissemble with him. Now it came to pass that one
day, the fox went to a vineyard and saw a breach in its walls;
but he mistrusted it and said to himself, "Verily, for this
breach there must be some cause and the old saw saith, 'Whoso
seeth a cleft in the earth and shunneth it not and is not wary in
approaching it, the same is self-deluded and exposeth himself to
danger and destruction.' Indeed, it is well known that some folk
make the figure of a fox in their vineyards; nay, they even set
before the semblance grapes in plates, that foxes may see it and
come to it and fall into perdition. In very sooth I regard this
breach as a snare and the proverb saith, 'Caution is one half of
cleverness.' Now prudence requireth that I examine this breach
and see if there be aught therein which may lead to perdition;
and coveting shall not make me cast myself into destruction." So
he went up to the hole and walked round it right warily, and lo!
it was a deep pit, which the owner of the vineyard had dug to
trap therein the wild beasts which laid waste his vines. Then he
said to himself, "Thou hast gained, for that thou hast
refrained!"; and he looked and saw that the hole was lightly
covered with dust and matting. So he drew back from it saying,
"Praised be Allah that I was wary of it! I hope that my enemy,
the wolf, who maketh my life miserable, will fall into it; so
will the vineyard be left to me and I shall enjoy it alone and
dwell therein at peace." Saying thus, he shook his head and
laughed a loud laugh and began versifying,

"Would Heaven I saw at this hour *
The Wolf fallen down in this well,
He who anguisht my heart for so long, *
And garred me drain eisel and fel!
Heaven grant after this I may live *
Free of Wolf for long fortunate spell
When I've rid grapes and vineyard of him, *
And in bunch-spoiling happily dwell."

His verse being finished he returned in haste to the wolf and
said to him, "Allah hath made plain for thee the way into the
vineyard without toil and moil. This is of thine auspicious
fortune; so good luck to thee and mayest thou enjoy the plentiful
plunder and the profuse provaunt which Allah hath opened up to
thee without trouble!" Asked the wolf, "What proof hast thou of
what thou assertest?": and the fox answered, "I went up to the
vineyard and found that the owner was dead, having been torn to
pieces by wolves: so I entered the orchard and saw the fruit
shining upon the trees." The wolf doubted not the fox's report
and his gluttony gat hold of him; so he arose and repaired to the
cleft, for that greed blinded him; whilst the fox falling behind
him lay as one dead, quoting to the case the following couplet,

"For Layla's[FN#151] favour dost thou greed? But, bear in mind *
Greed is a yoke of harmful weight on neck of man."

And when the wolf had reached the breach the fox said, "Enter the
vineyard: thou art spared the trouble of climbing a ladder, for
the garden-wall is broken down, and with Allah it resteth to
fulfil the benefit." So the wolf went on walking and thought to
enter the vineyard; but when he came to the middle of the
pit-covering he fell through; whereupon the fox shook for joy and
gladness; his care and concern left him and he sang out for
delight and improvised these couplets,

"Fortune had mercy on the soul of me, *
And for my torments now shows clemency,
Granting whatever gift my heart desired, *
And far removing what I feared to see:
I will, good sooth, excuse her all her sins *
She sinned in days gone by and much sinned she:
Yea, her injustice she hath shown in this, *
She whitened locks that were so black of blee:
But now for this same wolf escape there's none, *
Of death and doom he hath full certainty.
Then all the vineyard comes beneath my rule, *
I'll brook no partner who's so fond a fool."

Then the fox looked into the cleft and, seeing the wolf weeping
in repentance and sorrow for himself, wept with him; whereupon
the wolf raised his head to him and asked, "Is it of pity for me
thou weepest, O Father of the Fortlet[FN#152]?" Answered the fox,
"No, by Him who cast thee into this pit! I weep for the length of
thy past life and for regret that thou didst not fall into the
pit before this day; for hadst thou done so before I foregathered
with thee, I had rested and enjoyed repose: but thou wast spared
till the fulfilment of thine allotted term and thy destined
time." Then the wolf said to him as one jesting, "O evil-doer, go
to my mother and tell her what hath befallen me; haply she may
devise some device for my release." Replied the fox, "Of a truth
thou hast been brought to destruction by the excess of thy greed
and thine exceeding gluttony, since thou art fallen into a pit
whence thou wilt never escape. Knowest thou not the common
proverb, O thou witless wolf, 'Whoso taketh no thought as to how
things end, him shall Fate never befriend nor shall he safe from
perils wend." "O Reynard," quoth the wolf, "thou was wont to show
me fondness and covet my friendliness and fear the greatness of
my strength. Hate me not rancorously because of that I did with
thee; for he who hath power and forgiveth, his reward Allah
giveth; even as saith the poet,

'Sow kindness-seed in the unfittest stead; *
'Twill not be wasted whereso thou shalt sow:
For kindness albe buried long, yet none *
Shall reap the crop save sower who garred it grow.'"

Rejoined the fox, "O witlessest of beasts of prey and stupidest
of the wild brutes which the wolds overstray! Hast thou forgotten
thine arrogance and insolence and tyranny, and thy disregarding
the due of goodfellowship and thy refusing to be advised by what
the poet saith?

'Wrong not thy neighbour e'en if thou have power; *
The wronger alway vengeance-harvest reaps:
Thine eyes shall sleep, while bides the wronged on wake *
A-cursing thee; and Allah's eye ne'er sleeps.'"

"O Abu 'l-Hosayn," replied the wolf, "twit me not with my past
sins; for forgiveness is expected of the generous and doing kind
deeds is the truest of treasures. How well saith the poet,

'Haste to do kindness while thou hast much power, *
For at all seasons thou hast not such power.'"

And he ceased not to humble himself before the fox and say,
"Haply, thou canst do somewhat to deliver me from destruction."
Replied the fox, "O thou wolf, thou witless, deluded, deceitful
trickster! hope not for deliverance, for this is but the just
reward of thy foul dealing and its due retaliation." Then he
laughed with chops wide open and repeated these two couplets,

"No longer beguile me, *
Thou'lt fail of thy will!
What can't be thou seekest; *
Thou hast sown so reap Ill!"

Quoth the wolf, "O gentlest of ravenous beasts, I fain hold thee
too faithful to leave me in this pit." Then he wept and
complained and, with tears streaming from his eyes, recited these
two couplets,

"O thou whose favours have been out of compt, *
Whose gifts are more than may be numbered!
Never mischance befel me yet from time *
But that I found thy hand right fain to aid."

"O thou ninny foe," quoth the fox, "how art thou reduced to
humiliation and prostration and abjection and submission, after
insolence and pride and tyranny and arrogance! Verily, I kept
company with thee only for fear of thy fury and I cajoled thee
without one hope of fair treatment from thee: but now trembling
is come upon thee and vengeance hath overtaken thee." And he
repeated these two couplets,

"O thou who seekest innocence to 'guile, *
Thou'rt caught in trap of thine intentions vile:
Now drain the draught of shamefullest mischance, *
And be with other wolves cut off, thou scroyle!"

Replied the wolf, "O thou clement one, speak not with the tongue
of enemies nor look with their eyes; but fulfil the covenant of
fellowship with me, ere the time of applying remedy cease to be.
Rise and make ready to get me a rope and tie one end of it to a
tree; then let the other down to me, that I may lay hold of it,
so haply I shall from this my strait win free, and I will give
thee all my hand possesseth of wealth and fee." Quoth the fox,
"Thou persistest in conversation concerning what will not procure
thy liberation. Hope not for this, for thou shalt never, never
get of me wherewithal to set thee at liberty; but call to mind
thy past misdeeds and the craft and perfidy thou didst imagine
against me and bethink thee how near thou art to being stoned to
death. For know that thy soul is about the world to quit and
cease in it and depart from it; so shalt thou to destruction hie
and ill is the abiding-place thou shalt aby!"[FN#153] Rejoined
the wolf, "O Father of the Fortlet, hasten to return to amity and
persist not in this rancorous enmity. Know that whoso from ruin
saveth a soul, is as if he had quickened it and made it whole;
and whoso saveth a soul alive, is as if he had saved all
mankind.[FN#154] Follow not frowardness, for the wise forbid it:
and it were most manifest frowardness to leave me in this pit
draining the agony of death and dight to look upon mine own doom,
whenas it lieth in thy power to deliver me from my stowre. So do
thy best to release me and deal with me benevolently." Answered
the fox, "O thou base and barbarous wretch, I compare thee,
because of the fairness of thy professions and expressions, and
the foulness of thy intentions and thy inventions to the Falcon
and the Partridge." Asked the wolf, "How so?"; and the fox began
to tell

The Tale of the Falcon[FN#155] and the Partridge.[FN#156]

Once upon a time I entered a vineyard to eat of its grapes; and,
whilst so doing behold, I saw a falcon stoop upon a partridge and
seize him; but the partridge escaped from the seizer and,
entering his nest, hid himself there. The falcon followed apace
and called out to him, saying, "O imbecile, I saw thee
an-hungered in the wold and took pity on thee; so I picked up for
thee some grain and took hold of thee that thou mightest eat; but
thou fleddest from me; and I wot not the cause of thy flight,
except it were to put upon me a slight. Come out, then, and take
the grain I have brought thee to eat and much good may it do
thee, and with thy health agree." When the partridge heard these
words, he believed and came out to him, whereupon the falcon
struck his talons into him and seized him. Cried the partridge,
"Is this that which thou toldest me thou hadst brought me from
the wold, and whereof thou badest me eat, saying, 'Much good may
it do thee, and with thy health agree?' Thou hast lied to me, and
may Allah cause what thou eatest of my flesh to be a killing
poison in thy maw!" So when the falcon had eaten the partridge,
his feathers fell off and his strength failed and he died on the
spot. "Know, then, O wolf!" (pursued the fox), "that he who
diggeth for his brother a pit himself soon falleth into it, and
thou first deceivedst me in mode unfit." Quoth the wolf, "Spare
me this discourse nor saws and tales enforce, and remind me not
of my former ill course, for sufficeth me the sorry plight I
endure perforce, seeing that I am fallen into a place, in which
even my foe would pity me, much more a true friend. Rather find
some trick to deliver me and be thou thereby my saviour. If this
cause thee trouble, remember that a true friend will undertake
the sorest travail for his true friend's sake and will risk his
life to deliver him from evil; and indeed it hath been said, 'A
leal friend is better than a real brother.' So if thou stir
thyself to save me and I be saved, I will forsure gather thee
such store as shall be a provision for thee against want however
sore; and truly I will teach thee rare tricks whereby to open
whatso bounteous vineyards thou please and strip the fruit-laden
trees." Rejoined the fox, laughing, "How excellent is what the
learned say of him who aboundeth in ignorance like unto thee!"
Asked the wolf, "What do the wise men say?" And the fox answered,
"They have observed that the gross of body are gross of mind, far
from intelligence and nigh unto ignorance. As for thy saying, O
thou stupid, cunning idiot! that a true friend should undertake
sore travail for his true friend's sake, it is sooth as thou
sayest, but tell me, of thine ignorance and poverty of
intelligence, how can I be a true friend to thee, considering thy
treachery. Dost thou count me thy true friend? Nay, I am thy foe
who joyeth in thy woe; and couldst thou trow it, this word were
sorer to thee than slaughter by shot of shaft. As for thy promise
to provide me a store against want however sore and teach me
tricks, to plunder whatso bounteous vineyards I please, and spoil
fruit-laden trees, how cometh it, O guileful traitor, that thou
knowest not a wile to save thyself from destruction? How far art
thou from profiting thyself and how far am I from accepting thy
counsel! If thou have any tricks, make shift for thyself to save
thee from the risk, wherefrom I pray Allah to make thine escape
far distant! So look, O fool, if there be any trick with thee;
and therewith save thyself from death ere thou lavish instruction
upon thy neighbours. But thou art like a certain man attacked by
a disease, who went to another diseased with the same disease,
and said to him, 'Shall I heal thee of thy disease?' Replied the
sick man, 'Why dost thou not begin by healing thyself?' So he
left him and went his way. And thou, O ignorant wolf, art like
this; so stay where thou art and under what hath befallen thee be
of good heart!" When the wolf heard what the fox said, he knew
that from him he had no hope of favour; so he wept for himself,
saying, "Verily, I have been heedless of my weal; but if Allah
deliver me from this ill I will assuredly repent of my arrogance
towards those who are weaker than I, and will wear
woollens[FN#157] and go upon the mountains, celebrating the
praises of Almighty Allah and fearing His punishment. And I will
withdraw from the company of other wild beasts and forsure will I
feed the poor fighters for the Faith." Then he wept and wailed,
till the heart of the fox softened when he heard his humble words
and his professions of penitence for his past insolence and
arrogance. So he took pity upon him and sprang up joyfully and,
going to the brink of the breach, squatted down on his hind
quarters and let his tail hang in the hole; whereupon the wolf
arose and putting out his paw, pulled the fox's tail, so that he
fell down in the pit with him. Then said the wolf, "O fox of
little mercy, why didst thou exult in my misery, thou that wast
my companion and under my dominion? Now thou art fallen into the
pit with me and retribution hath soon overtaken thee. Verily, the
sages have said, 'If one of you reproach his brother with sucking
the dugs of a bitch, he also shall suck her.' And how well quoth
the poet,

'When Fortune weighs heavy on some of us, *
And makes camel kneel by some other one,[FN#158]
Say to those who rejoice in our ills: --Awake! *
The rejoicer shall suffer as we have done!'

And death in company is the best of things;[FN#159] wherefore I
will certainly and assuredly hasten to slay thee ere thou see me
slain." Said the fox to himself, "Ah! Ah! I am fallen into the
snare with this tyrant, and my case calleth for the use of craft
and cunning; for indeed it is said that a woman fashioneth her
jewellery for the day of display, and quoth the proverb, 'I have
not kept thee, O my tear, save for the time when distress draweth
near.' And unless I make haste to circumvent this prepotent beast
I am lost without recourse; and how well saith the poet,

'Make thy game by guile, for thou'rt born in a Time *
Whose sons are lions in forest lain;
And turn on the leat[FN#160] of thy knavery *
That the mill of subsistence may grind thy grain;
And pluck the fruits or, if out of reach, *
Why, cram thy maw with the grass on plain.'"

Then said the fox to the wolf, "Hasten not to slay me, for that
is not the way to pay me and thou wouldst repent it, O thou
valiant wild beast, lord of force and exceeding prowess! An thou
accord delay and consider what I shall say, thou wilt ken what
purpose I proposed; but if thou hasten to kill me it will profit
thee naught and we shall both die in this very place." Answered
the wolf "O thou wily trickster, what garreth thee hope to work
my deliverance and thine own, that thou prayest me to grant thee
delay? Speak and propound to me thy purpose." Replied the fox,
"As for the purpose I proposed, it was one which deserveth that
thou guerdon me handsomely for it; for when I heard thy promises
and thy confessions of thy past misdeeds and regrets for not
having earlier repented and done good; and when I heard thee
vowing, shouldst thou escape from this strait, to leave harming
thy fellows and others; forswear the eating of grapes and of all
manner fruits; devote thyself to humility; cut thy claws and
break thy dog-teeth; don woollens and offer thyself as an
offering to Almighty Allah, then indeed I had pity upon thee, for
true words are the best words. And although before I had been
anxious for thy destruction, whenas I heard thy repenting and thy
vows of amending should Allah vouchsafe to save thee, I felt
bound to free thee from this thy present plight. So I let down my
tail, that thou mightest grasp it and be saved. Yet wouldest thou
not quit thy wonted violence and habit of brutality; nor
soughtest thou to save thyself by fair means, but thou gavest me
a tug which I thought would sever body from soul, so that thou
and I are fallen into the same place of distress and death. And
now there is but one thing can save us and, if thou accept it of
me, we shall both escape; and after it behoveth thee to fulfil
the vows thou hast made and I will be thy veritable friend."
Asked the wolf, "What is it thou proposest for mine acceptance?"
Answered the fox, "It is that thou stand up at full height till I
come nigh on a level with the surface of the earth. Then will I
give a spring and reach the ground; and, when out of the pit, I
will bring thee what thou mayst lay hold of, and thus shalt thou
make thine escape." Rejoined the wolf, "I have no faith in thy
word, for sages have said, 'Whoso practiseth trust in the place
of hate, erreth;' and, 'Whoso trusteth in the untrustworthy is a
dupe; he who re-trieth him who hath been tried shall reap
repentance and his days shall go waste; and he who cannot
distinguish between case and case, giving each its due, and
assigneth all the weight to one side, his luck shall be little
and his miseries shall be many.' How well saith the poet,

'Let thy thought be ill and none else but ill; *
For suspicion is best of the worldling's skill:
Naught casteth a man into parlous place *
But good opinion and (worse) good-will!'

And the saying of another,

'Be sure all are villains and so bide safe; *
Who lives wide awake on few Ills shall light:
Meet thy foe with smiles and a smooth fair brow, *
And in heart raise a host for the battle dight!'

And that of yet another,[FN#161]

'He thou trusted most is thy worst unfriend; *
'Ware all and take heed with whom thou wend:
Fair opinion of Fortune is feeble sign; *
So believe her ill and her Ills perpend!'"

Quoth the fox, "Verily mistrust and ill opinion of others are not
to be commended in every case; nay trust and confidence are the
characteristics of a noble nature and the issue thereof is
freedom from stress of fear. Now it behoveth thee, O thou wolf,
to devise some device for thy deliverance from this thou art in,
and our escape will be better to us both than our death: so quit
thy distrust and rancour; for if thou trust in me one of two
things will happen; either I shall bring thee something whereof
to lay hold and escape from this case, or I shall abandon thee to
thy doom. But this thing may not be, for I am not safe from
falling into some such strait as this thou art in, which, indeed,
would be fitting punishment of perfidy. Of a truth the adage
saith, 'Faith is fair and faithlessness is foul.'[FN#162] So it
behoveth thee to trust in me, for I am not ignorant of the haps
and mishaps of the world; and delay not to contrive some device
for our deliverance, as the case is too close to allow further
talk." Replied the wolf, "For all my want of confidence in thy
fidelity, verily I knew what was in thy mind and that thou wast
moved to deliver me whenas thou heardest my repentance, and I
said to myself, 'If what he asserteth be true, he will have
repaired the ill he did; and if false, it resteth with the Lord
to requite him.' So, look'ee, I have accepted thy proposal and,
if thou betray me, may thy traitorous deed be the cause of thy
destruction!" Then the wolf stood bolt upright in the pit and,
taking the fox upon his shoulders, raised him to the level of the
ground, whereupon Reynard gave a spring from his back and lighted
on the surface of the earth. When he found himself safely out of
the cleft he fell down senseless and the wolf said to him, "O my
friend! neglect not my case and delay not to deliver me." The fox
laughed with a loud haw-haw and replied, "O dupe, naught threw me
into thy hands save my laughing at thee and making mock of thee;
for in good sooth when I heard thee profess repentance, mirth and
gladness seized me and I frisked about and made merry and danced,
so that my tail hung low into the pit and thou caughtest hold of
it and draggedst me down with thee. And the end was that Allah
Almighty delivered me from thy power. Then why should I be other
than a helper in thy destruction, seeing that thou art of Satan's
host? I dreamt yesterday that I danced at thy wedding and I told
my dream to an interpreter who said to me, 'Verily thou shalt
fall into imminent deadly danger and thou shalt escape
therefrom.' So now I know that my falling into thy hand and my
escape are the fulfillment of my dream, and thou, O imbecile,
knowest me for thy foe; so how couldest thou, of thine ignorance
and unintelligence, nurse desire of deliverance at my hands,
after all thou hast heard of harsh words from me; and wherefore
should I attempt thy salvation whenas the sages have said, 'In
the death of the wicked is rest for mankind and a purge for the
earth'? But, were it not that I fear to bear more affliction by
keeping faith with thee than the sufferings which follow perfidy,
I had done mine endeavour to save thee." When the wolf heard
this, he bit his forehand for repentance. --And Shahrazad
perceived the dawn of day and ceased to say her permitted say.

When it was the One Hundred and Fiftieth Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when the
wolf heard the fox's words he bit his forehand for repentance.
Then he gave the fox fair words, but this availed naught and he
was at his wits' end for what to do; so he said to him in soft,
low accents, "Verily, you tribe of foxes are the most pleasant
people in point of tongue and the subtlest in jest, and this is
but a joke of thine; but all times are not good for funning and
jesting." The fox replied, "O ignoramus, in good sooth jesting
hath a limit which the jester must not overpass; and deem not
that Allah will again give thee possession of me after having
once delivered me from thy hand." Quoth the wolf, "It behoveth
thee to compass my release, by reason of our brotherhood and good
fellowship; and, if thou release me, I will assuredly make fair
thy recompense." Quoth the fox, "Wise men say, 'Take not to
brother the wicked fool, for he will disgrace thee in lieu of
gracing thee; nor take to brother the liar for, if thou do good,
he will conceal it; and if thou do ill he will reveal it.' And
again, the sages have said, 'There is help for everything but
death: all may be warded off, except Fate.' As for the reward
thou declarest to be my due from thee, I compare thee herein with
the serpent which fled from the charmer.[FN#163] A man saw her
affrighted and said to her, 'What aileth thee, O thou serpent?'
Replied she, 'I am fleeing from the snake-charmer, for he seeketh
to trap me and, if thou wilt save me and hide me with thee, I
will make fair thy reward and do thee all manner of kindness.' So
he took her, incited thereto by lust for the recompense and eager
to find favour with Heaven, and set her in his breastpocket. Now
when the charmer had passed and had wended his way and the
serpent had no longer any cause to fear, he said to her, 'Where
is the reward thou didst promise me? Behold, I have saved thee
from that thou fearedest and soughtest to fly.' Replied she,
'Tell me in what limb or in what place shall I strike thee with
my fangs, for thou knowest we exceed not that recompense.' So
saying, she gave him a bite whereof he died. And I liken thee, O
dullard, to the serpent in her dealings with that man. Hast thou
not heard what the poet saith?

'Trust not to man when thou hast raised his spleen *
And wrath, nor that 'twill cool do thou misween:
Smooth feels the viper to the touch and glides *
With grace, yet hides she deadliest venene.'"

Quoth the wolf, "O thou glib of gab and fair of face, ignore not
my case and men's fear of me; and well thou weetest how I assault
the strongly walled place and uproot the vines from base.
Wherefore, do as I bid thee, and stand before me even as the
thrall standeth before his lord." Quoth the fox, "O stupid
dullard who seekest a vain thing, I marvel at thy folly and thy
front of brass in that thou biddest me serve thee and stand up
before thee as I were a slave bought with thy silver; but soon
shalt thou see what is in store for thee, in the way of cracking
thy sconce with stones and knocking out thy traitorous
dog-teeth." So saying the fox clomb a hill overlooking the
vineyard and standing there, shouted out to the vintagers; nor
did he give over shouting till he woke them and they, seeing him,
all came up to him in haste. He stood his ground till they drew
near him and close to the pit wherein was the wolf; and then he
turned and fled. So the folk looked into the cleft and, spying
the wolf, set to pelting him with heavy stones, and they stinted
not smiting him with stones and sticks, and stabbing him with
spears, till they killed him and went away. Thereupon the fox
returned to that cleft and, standing over the spot where his foe
had been slain, saw the wolf dead: so he wagged his head for very
joyance and began to recite these couplets,

"Fate the Wolf's soul snatched up from wordly stead; *
Far be from bliss his soul that perished!
Abu Sirhan![FN#164] how sore thou sought'st my death; *
Thou, burnt this day in fire of sorrow dread:
Thou'rt fallen into pit, where all who fall *
Are blown by Death-blast down among the dead."

Thenceforward the aforesaid fox abode alone in the vineyard unto
the hour of his death secure and fearing no hurt. And such are
the adventures of the wolf and the fox. But men also tell a


A mouse and an ichneumon once dwelt in the house of a peasant who
was very poor; and when one of his friends sickened, the doctor
prescribed him husked sesame. So the hind sought of one of his
comrades sesame to be husked by way of healing the sick man; and,
when a measure thereof was given to him, he carried it home to
his wife and bade her dress it. So she steeped it and husked it
and spread it out to dry. Now when the ichneumon saw the grain,
she went up to it and fell to carrying it away to her hole, and
she toiled all day, till she had borne off the most of it.
Presently, in came the peasant's wife and, seeing much of the
grain gone, stood awhile wondering; after which she sat down to
watch and find out who might be the intruder and make him account
for her loss. After a while, out crept the ichneumon to carry
off the grain as was her wont, but spying the woman seated there,
knew that she was on the watch for her and said in her mind,
"Verily, this affair is like to end blameably; and sore I fear me
this woman is on the look-out for me, and Fortune is no friend to
who attend not to issue and end: so there is no help for it but
that I do a fair deed, whereby I may manifest my innocence and
wash out all the ill-doings I have done." So saying, she began
to take the sesame out of her hole and carry it forth and lay it
back upon the rest. The woman stood by and, seeing the ichneumon
do thus, said to herself, "Verily this is not the cause of our
loss, for she bringeth it back from the hole of him who stole it
and returneth it to its place; and of a truth she hath done us a
kindness in restoring us the sesame, and the reward of those who
do us good is that we do them the like good. It is clear that it
is not she who stole the grain; but I will not cease my watching
till he fall into my hands and I find out who is the thief." The
ichneumon guess what was in her mind, so she went to the mouse
and said to her, "O my sister, there is no good in one who
observeth not the claims of neighborship and who showeth no
constancy in friendship." The mouse replied, "Even so, O my
friend, and I delight in thee and in they neighborhood; but what
be the motive of this speech?" Quoth the ichneumon, "The house-
master hath brought home sesame and hath eaten his fill of it, he
and his family, and hath left much; every living being hath eaten
of it and, if thou take of it in they turn, thou art worthier
thereof than any other." This pleased the mouse and she squeaked
for joy and danced and frisked her ears and tail, and greed for
the grain deluded her; so she rose at once and issuing forth of
her home, saw the sesame husked and dry, shining with whiteness,
and the woman sitting at watch and ward. The mouse, taking no
thought to the issue of the affair (for the woman had armed
herself with a cudgel), and unable to contain herself, ran up to
the sesame and began turning it over and eating of it; whereupon
the woman smote her with that club and cleft her head: so the
cause of her destruction were her greed and heedlessness of
consequences. Then said the Sultan, "O Shahrazad, by Allah! this
be a goodly parable! Say me, hast thou any story bearing on the
beauty of true friendship and the observance of its duty in time
of distress and rescuing from destruction?" Answered she:--Yes,
it hath reached me that they tell a tale of


Once upon a time, a crow and a cat lived in brotherhood; and one
day as they were together under a tree, behold, they spied a
leopard making towards them, and they were not aware of his
approach till he was close upon them. The crow at once flew up
to the tree-top; but the cat abode confounded and said to the
crow, "O my friend, hast thou no device to save me, even as all
my hope is in thee?" Replied the crow, "Of very truth it
behoveth brethren, in case of need, to cast about for a device
when peril overtaketh them, and how well saith the poet,

'A friend in need is he who, ever true, *
For they well-doing would himself undo:
One who when Fortune gars us parting rue *
Victimeth self reunion to renew.'"

Now hard by that tree were shepherds with their dogs; so the crow
flew towards them and smote the face of the earth with his wings,
cawing and crying out. Furthermore he went up to one of the dogs
and flapped his wings in his face and flew up a little way,
whilst the dog ran after him thinking to catch him. Presently,
one of the shepherds raised his head and saw the bird flying near
the ground and lighting alternately; so he followed him, and the
crow ceased not flying just high enough to save himself and to
throw out the dogs; and yet tempting them to follow for the
purpose of tearing him to pieces. But as soon as they came near
him, he would fly up a little; and so at last he brought them to
the tree, under which was the leopard. And when the dogs saw him
they rushed upon him and he turned and fled. Now the leopard
thought to eat the cat who was saved by the craft of his friend
the crow. This story, O King, showeth that the friendship of the
Brothers of Purity[FN#167] delivereth and saveth from
difficulties and from falling into mortal dangers. And they also
tell a tale of


A Fox once dwelt in a cave of a certain mountain and, as often as
a cub was born to him and grew stout, he would eat the young one,
for he had died of hunger, had he instead of so doing left the
cub alive and bred it by his side and preserved and cherished his
issue. Yet was this very grievous to him. Now on the crest of
the same mountain a crow had made his nest, and the fox said to
himself, "I have a mind to set up a friendship with this crow and
make a comrade of him, that he may help me to my daily bread; for
he can do in such matters what I cannot." So he drew near the
crow's home and, when he came within sound of speech, he saluted
him and said, "O my neighbour, verily a true-believer hath two
claims upon his true-believing neighbour, the right of
neighbourliness and the right of Al-Islam, our common faith; and
know, O my friend, that thou art my neighbour and thou hast a
claim upon me which it behoveth me to observe, the more that I
have long been thy neighbour. Also, there be implanted in my
breast a store of love to thee, which biddeth me speak thee fair
and obligeth me to solicit thy brothership. What sayest thou in
reply?" Answered the crow, "Verily, the truest speech is the
best speech; and haply thou speakest with thy tongue that which
is not in thy heart; so I fear lest thy brotherhood be only of
the tongue, outward, and thy enmity be in the heart, inward; for
that thou art the Eater and I the Eaten, and faring apart were
apter to us than friendship and fellowship. What, then, maketh
thee seek that which thou mayst not gain and desire what may not
be done, seeing that I be of the bird-kind and thou be of the
beast-kind? Verily, this thy proffered brotherhood[FN#168] may
not be made, neither were it seemly to make it." Rejoined the
fox, "Of a truth whoso knoweth the abiding-place of excellent
things, maketh better choice in what he chooseth therefrom, so
perchance he may advantage his brethren; and indeed I should love
to wone near thee and I have sued for thine intimacy, to the end
that we may help each other to our several objects; and success
shall surely wait upon our amity. I have a many tales of the
goodliness of true friendship, which I will relate to thee if
thou wish the relating." Answered the crow, "Thou hast my leave
to let me hear thy communication; so tell thy tale, and relate it
to me that I may hearken to it and weigh it and judge of thine
intent thereby." Rejoined the fox, "Hear then, O my friend, that
which is told of a flea and a mouse and which beareth out what I
have said to thee." Asked the crow, "How so?" and the fox
answered:--They tell this tale of

The Flea and the Mouse

Once upon a time a mouse dwelt in the house of a merchant who
owned much merchandise and great stories of monies. One night, a
flea took shelter in the merchant's carpet-bed and, finding his
body soft, and being thirsty drank of his blood. The merchant
was awakened by the smart of the bite and sitting up called to
his slave-girls and serving men. So they hastened to him and,
tucking up their sleeves, fell to searching for the flea; but as
soon as the bloodsucker was aware of the search, he turned to
flee and coming on the mouse's home, entered it. When the mouse
saw him, she said to him, "What bringeth thee in to me, thou who
art not of my nature nor of my kind, and who canst not be assured
of safety from violence or of not being expelled with roughness
and ill usage?" Answered the flea, "Of a truth, I took refuge in
thy dwelling to save me from slaughter; and I have come to thee
seeking thy protection and on nowise coveting thy house; nor
shall any mischief betide thee from me to make thee leave thy
home. Nay I hope right soon to repay thy favours to me with all
good and then shalt thou see and praise the issue of my words."
And when the mouse heard the speech of the flea, - And Shahrazad
perceived the dawn of day and ceased saying her permitted say.

When it was the One Hundred and Fifty-first Night

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when the
mouse heard the words of the flea, she said, "If the case be as
thou dost relate and describe, then be at thine ease here; for
naught shall befal thee save the rain of peace and safety; nor
shall aught betide thee but what shall joy thee and shall not
annoy thee, nor shall it annoy me. I will lavish on thee my
affections without stint; and do not thou regret having lost the
merchant's blood nor lament for thy subsistence from him, but be
content with what sustenance thou canst obtain; for indeed that
is the safer for thee. And I have heard, O flea, that one of the
gnomic poets saith as follows in these couplets,

'I have fared content in my solitude *
With wate'er befel, and led life of ease,
On a water-draught and a bite of bread, *
Coarse salt and a gown of tattered frieze:
Allah might, an He pleased, give me easiest life, *
But with whatso pleaseth Him self I please.'"

Now when the flea heard these words of the mouse, he rejoined, "I
hearken to thy charge and I submit myself to obey thee, nor have
I power to gainsay thee, till life be fulfilled in this righteous
intention." Replied the mouse, "Pure intention sufficeth to
sincere affection." So the tie of love arose and was knitted
between them twain, and after this, the flea used to visit the
merchant's bed by night and not exceed in his diet, and house him
by day in the hole of the mouse. Now it came to pass one night,
the merchant brought home great store of dinars and began to turn
them over. When the mouse heard the chink of the coin, she put
her head out of her hole and fell to gazing at it, till the
merchant laid it under his pillow and went to sleep, when she
said to the flea, "Seest thou not the proffered occasion and the
great good fortune? Hast thou any device to bring us to our
desire of yonder dinars? Quoth the flea, "Verily, it is not good
that one strives for aught, unless he be able to win his will;
because, if he lack ability thereto, he falleth into that which
he should avoid and he attaineth not his wish by reason of his
weakness, albeit he use all power of cunning, like the sparrow
which picketh up grain and falleth into the net and is caught by
the fowler. Thou hast no strength to take the dinars and to
transport them out of this house, nor have I force sufficient to
do this; I the contrary, I could not carry a single ducat of
them; so what hast thou to do with them?" Quoth the mouse, "I
have made me for my house these seventy openings, whence I may go
out at my desire, and I have set apart a place strong and safe,
for things of price; and if thou can contrive to get the merchant
out of the house, I doubt not of success, an so be that
Fate aid me." Answered the flea, "I will engage to get him out
of the house for thee;" and, going to the merchant's bed, bit him
a fearful bite, such as he had never before felt, then fled to a
place of safety, where he had no fear of the man. So the
merchant awoke and sought for the flea, but finding him not, lay
down again on his other side. Then the flea bit him a second
time more painfully than before. So he lost patience and,
leaving his bed, went out and lay down on the bench before his
door and slept there and woke not till the morning. Meanwhile
the mouse came out and fell to carrying the dinars into her hole,
till she left not a single one; and when day dawned the merchant
began to suspect the folk and fancy all manner of fancies. And
(continued the fox) know thou, O wise and experienced crow with
the clear-seeing eyes, that I tell thee this only to the intent
that thou mayst reap the recompense of thy kindness to me, even
as the mouse reaped the reward of her kindness to the flea; for
see how he repaid her and requited her with the goodliest of
requitals. Said the crow, "It lies with the benefactor to show
benevolence or not to show it; nor is it incumbent on us to
entreat kindly one who seeketh a connection that entaileth
separation from kith and kin. If I show thee favour who art my
foe by kind, I am the cause of cutting myself off from the world;
and thou, O fox, art full of wiles and guiles. Now those whose
characteristics are craft and cunning, must not be trusted upon
oath; and whoso is not to be trusted upon oath, in him there is
no good faith. The tidings lately reached me of thy treacherous
dealing with one of thy comrades, which was a wolf; and how thou
didst deceive him until thou leddest him into destruction by thy
perfidy and stratagems; and this thou diddest after he was of
thine own kind and thou hadst long consorted with him: yet didst
thou not spare him; and if thou couldst deal thus with thy fellow
which was of thine own kind, how can I have trust in they truth
and what would be thy dealing with thy foe of other kind than thy
kind? Nor can I compare thee and me but with the saker and the
birds." "How so?" asked the fox. Answered the crow, they relate
this tale of

The Saker[FN#169] and the Birds.

There was once a saker who was a cruel tyrant"--And Shahrazad
perceived the dawn of day and ceased saying her permitted say.

When it was the One Hundred and Fifty-second Night

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that the crow
pursued, "They relate that there was once a saker who was a cruel
tyrant in the days of his youth, so that the raveners of the air
and the scavengers of the earth feared him, none being safe from
his mischief; and many were the haps and mishaps of his tyranny
and his violence, for this saker was ever in the habit of
oppressing and injuring all the other birds. As the years passed
over him, he grew feeble and his force failed him, so that he was
often famished; but his cunning waxed stronger with the waning of
his strength and redoubled in his endeavour and determined to be
present at the general assembly of the birds, that he might eat
of their orts and leavings; so in this manner he fed by fraud
instead of feeding by fierceness and force. And out, O fox, art
like this: if thy might fail thee, thy sleight faileth thee not;
and I doubt not that thy seeking my society is a fraud to get thy
food; but I am none of those who fall to thee and put fist into
thy fist;[FN#170] for that Allah hath vouchsafed force to my
wings and caution to my mind and sharp sight to my eyes; and I
know that whoso apeth a stronger than he, wearieth himself and
haply cometh to ruin. Wherefore I fear for thee lest, if thou
ape a stronger than thyself, there befal thee what befel the
sparrow." Asked the fox, "What befel the sparrow?" Allah upon
thee, tell me his tale." And the crow began to relate the story

The Sparrow and the Eagle

I have heard that a sparrow was once flitting over a sheep-fold,
when he looked at it carefully and behold, he saw a great eagle
swoop down upon a newly weaned lamb and carry it off in his claws
and fly away. Thereupon the sparrow clapped his wings and said,
"I will do even as this one did;" and he waxed proud in his own
conceit and mimicked a greater than he. So he flew down
forthright and lighted on the back of a fat ram with a thick
fleece that was become matted by his lying in his dung and stale
till it was like woollen felt. As soon as the sparrow pounced
upon the sheep's back he flapped his wings to fly away, but his
feet became tangled in the wool and, however hard he tried, he
could not set himself free. While all this was doing the
shepherd was looking on, having seen what happened first with the
eagle and afterwards with the sparrow; so he came up to the wee
birdie in a rage and seized him. Then he plucked out his wing-
feathers and, tying his feet with a twine, carried him to his
children and threw him to them. "What is this?" asked one of
them; and he answered, "This is he that aped a greater than
himself and came to grief." "Now thou, O fox, art like this and
I would have thee beware of aping a greater than thou, lest thou
perish. This is all I have to say to thee; so fare from me in
peace!" When the fox despaired of the crow's friendship, he
turned away, groaning for sorrow and gnashing teeth upon teeth in
his disappointment; and the crow, hearing the sound of weeping
and seeing his grief and profound melancholy, said to him, "O
fox, what dole and dolour make thee gnash thy canines?" Answered
the fox, "I gnash my canines because I find thee a greater rascal
than myself;" and so saying he made off to his house and ceased
not to fare until he reached his home. Quoth the Sultan, "O
Shahrazad, how excellent are these thy stories, and how
delightsome! Hast thou more of such edifying tales?" Answered
she:--They tell this legend concerning


A hedgehog once too up his abode by the side of a date-palm,
whereon roosted a wood-pigeon and his wife that had built their
next there and lived a life of ease and enjoyment. So he said to
himself, "This pigeon-pair eateth of the fruit of the date tree
and I have no means of getting at it; but needs must I find some
fashion of tricking them. Upon this he dug a hole at the foot of
the palm tree and took up his lodgings there, he and his wife;
moreover, he built an oratory beside the hole and went into
retreat there and made a show of devotion and edification and
renunciation of the world. The male pigeon saw him praying and
worshipping, and his heart was softened towards him for his
excess of devoutness; so he said to him, "How many years hast
thou been thus?" Replied the hedgehog, "During the last thirty
years." "What is thy food?" "That which falleth from the palm-
tree." "And what is thy clothing?" "Prickles! and I profit by
their roughness." "And why hast thou chosen this for place
rather than another?" "I chose it and preferred it to all others
that I might guide the erring into the right way and teach the
ignorant!" "I had fancied thy case," quoth the wood-pigeon,
"other than this, but now I yearn for that which is with thee."
Quoth the hedgehog, "I fear lest thy deed contradict thy word and
thou be even as the husbandman who, when the seed-season came,
neglected to sow, saying, 'Verily I dread lest the days bring me
not to my desire and by making hast to sow I shall only waste my
substance!' When harvest-time came and he saw the folk earing
their crops, he repented him of what he had lost by his tardiness
and he died of chagrin and vexation." Asked the wood-pigeon,
"What then shall I do that I may be freed from the bonds of the
world and cut myself loose from all things save the service of my
Lord?" Answered the hedgehog, "Betake thee to preparing for the
next world and content thyself with a pittance of provision."
Quoth the pigeon, "How can I do this, I that am a bird and unable
to go beyond the date-tree whereon is my daily bread? And even
could I do so, I know of no other place wherein I may wone."
Quoth the hedgehog, "Thou canst shake down of the fruit of the
date-tree what shall suffice thee and thy wife for a year's
provaunt; then do ye take up your abode in a nest under the
trunk, that ye may prayerfully seek to be guided in the right
way, and then turn thou to what thou hast shaken down and
transport it all to thy home and store it up against what time
the dates fail; and when the fruits are spent and the delay is
longsome upon you, address thyself to total abstinence."
Exclaimed the pigeon, "Allah requite thee with good for the

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