Full Text Archive logoFull Text Archive — Free Classic E-books

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

Part 2 out of 8

Adobe PDF icon
Download this document as a .pdf
File size: 0.9 MB
What's this? light bulb idea Many people prefer to read off-line or to print out text and read from the real printed page. Others want to carry documents around with them on their mobile phones and read while they are on the move. We have created .pdf files of all out documents to accommodate all these groups of people. We recommend that you download .pdfs onto your mobile phone when it is connected to a WiFi connection for reading off-line.

Chamberlain also took horse, as did Bahram, captain of the
Daylamites, and Rustam, captain of the Persians, and Tarkash,
captain of the Arabs, who attended to do him service; and they
ceased not riding with him three days' journey by way of honour.
Then, taking their leave of him, they returned to Baghdad and the
Sultan Zibl Khan and the Wazir Dandan fared on, with their suite
and troops, till they drew near Damascus. Now news was come,
upon the wings of birds, to the notables of Damascus, that King
Zau al-Makan had made Sultan over Damascus a King named Zibl Khan
and surnamed Al-Mujahid; so when he reached the city he found it
dressed in his honour and everyone in the place came out to gaze
on him. The new Sultan entered Damascus in a splendid progress
and went up to the citadel, where he sat down upon his chair of
state, whilst the Wazir Dandan stood in attendance on him, to
acquaint him with the ranks of the Emirs and their stations.
Then the Grandees came in to him and kissed hands and called down
blessings on him. The new King, Zibl Khan, received them
graciously and bestowed on them dresses of honour and various
presents and bounties; after which he opened the treasuries and
gave largesse to the troops, great and small. Then he governed
and did justice and proceeded to equip the Lady Kuzia Fakan,
daughter of King Sharrkan, appointing her a litter of silken
stuff. Moreover he furnished the Wazir Dandan equally well for
the return journey and offered him a gift of coin but he refused,
saying, "Thou art near the time appointed by the King, and haply
thou wilt have need of money, or after this we may send to seek
of thee funds for the Holy War or what not." Now when the Wazir
was ready to march, Sultan al-Mujahid mounted to bid the Minister
farewell and brought Kuzia Fakan to him, and made her enter the
litter and sent with her ten damsels to do her service.
Thereupon they set forward, whilst King "Fighter for the Faith"
returned to his government that he might order affairs and get
ready his munitions of war, awaiting such time as King Zau al-
Makan should send a requisition to him. Such was the case with
Sultan Zibl Khan, but as regards the Wazir Dandan, he ceased not
faring forward and finishing off the stages, in company with
Kuzia Fakan till they came to Ruhbah[FN#61] after a month's
travel and thence pushed on, till he drew near Baghdad. Then he
sent to announce his arrival to King Zau al-Makan who, when he
heard this, took horse and rode out to meet him. The Wazir
Dandan would have dismounted, but the King conjured him not to do
so and urged his steed till he came up to his side. Then he
questioned him of Zibl Khan highs Al-Mujahid, whereto the Wazir
replied that he was well and that he had brought with him Kuzia
Fakan the daughter of his brother. At this the King rejoiced and
said to Dandan, "Down with thee and rest thee from the fatigue of
the journey for three days, after which come to me again."
Replied the Wazir "With joy and gratitude," and betook himself to
his own house, whilst the King rode up to his Palace and went in
to his brother's daughter, Kuzia Fakan, a girl of eight years
old. When he saw her, he rejoiced in her and sorrowed for her
sire; then he bade make for her clothes and gave her splendid
jewelry and ornaments, and ordered she be lodged with his son
Kanmakan in one place. So they both grew up the brightest of the
people of their time and the bravest; but Kuzia Fakan became a
maiden of good sense and understanding and knowledge of the
issues of events, whilst Kanmakan approved him a generous youth
and freehanded, taking no care in the issue of aught. And so
they continued till each of them attained the age of twelve. Now
Kuzia Fakan used to ride a horseback and fare forth with her
cousin into the open plain and push forward and range at large
with him in the word; and they both learnt to smite with swords
and spike with spears. But when they had reached the age of
twelve, King Zau al-Makan, having completed his preparations and
provisions and munitions for Holy War, summoned the Wazir Dandan
and said to him, "Know that I have set mind on a thing, which I
will discover to thee, and I want shine opinion thereon; so do
thou with speed return me a reply." Asked the Wazir, "What is
that, O King of the Age?"; and the other answered, "I am resolved
to make my son Kanmakan Sultan and rejoice in him in my lifetime
and do battle before him till death overtake me. What reckest
thou of this?" The Wazir kissed the ground before the King and
replied, "Know, O King and Sultan mine, Lord of the Age and the
time! that which is in thy mind is indeed good, save that it is
now no tide to carry it out, for two reasons; the first, that thy
son Kanmakan is yet of tender years; and the second, that it
often befalleth him who maketh his son King in his life time, to
live but a little while thereafterward.[FN#62] And this is my
reply." Rejoined the King, "Know, O Wazir that we will make the
Grand Chamberlain guardian over him, for he is now one of the
family and he married my sister, so that he is to me as a
brother." Quoth the Wazir, "Do what seemeth good to thee: we have
only to obey thine orders." Then the King sent for the Grand
Chamberlain whom they brought into the presence together with the
Lords of the realm and he said to them, "Ye know that this my son
Kanmakan is the first cavalier of the age, and that he hath no
peer in striking with the sword and lunging with the lance; and
now I appoint him to be Sultan over you and I make the Grand
Chamberlain, his uncle, guardian over him." Replied the
Chamberlain, "I am but a tree which thy bounty hath planted"; and
Zau al-Makan said, "O Chamberlain, verily this my son Kanmakan
and my niece Kuzia Fakan are brothers' children; so I hereby
marry her to him and I call those present to witness thereof."
Then he made over to his son such treasures as no tongue can
describe, and going in to his sister, Nuzhat al-Zaman, told her
what he had done, whereat she was a glad woman and said, "Verily
the twain are my children: Allah preserve thee to them and keep
thy life for them many a year!" Replied he, "O my sister, I have
accomplished in this world all my heart desired and I have no
fear for my son! yet it were well thou have an eye on him, and
an eye on his mother." And he charged the Chamberlain and Nuzhat
al-Zaman with the care of his son and niece and wife, and this he
continued to do nights and days till he fell sick and deemed
surely that he was about to drink the cup of death; so he took to
his bed, whilst the Chamberlain busied himself with ordering the
folk and realm. At the end of the year, the King summoned his
son Kanmakan and the Wazir Dandan and said, "O my son, after my
death this Wazir is thy sire; for know that I am about to leave
this house of life transitory for the house of eternity. And
indeed I have fulfilled my will of this world; yet there
remaineth in my heart one regret which may Allah dispel through
and by thy hands." Asked his son, "What regret is that, O my
father?" Answered Zau al-Makan, "O my son, the sole regret of me
is that I die without having avenged thy grandfather, Omar bin
al-Nu'uman, and thine uncle, Sharrkan, on an old woman whom they
call Zat al-Dawahi; but, if Allah grant thee aid, sleep not till
thou take thy wreak on her, and so wipe out the shame we have
suffered at the Infidel's hands; and beware of the old hag's wile
and do what the Wazir Dandan shall advise thee; because he from
old time hath been the pillar of our realm." And his son assented
to what he said. Then the King's eyes ran over with tears and
his sickness redoubled on him; whereupon his brother in law, the
Chamberlain took charge over the country and, being a capable
man, he judged and bade and forbade for the whole of that year,
while Zau al-Makan was occupied with his malady. And his
sickness was sore upon him for four years, during which the Chief
Chamberlain sat in his stead and gave full satisfaction to the
commons and the nobles; and all the country blessed his rule.
Such was the case with Zau al-Makan and the Chamberlain, but as
regards the King's son, he busied himself only with riding and
lunging with lance and shooting with shaft, and thus also did the
daughter of his uncle, Kuzia Fakan; for he and she were wont to
fare forth at the first of the day and return at nightfall, when
she would go in to her mother, and he would go in to his mother
whom he ever found sitting in tears by the head of his father's
couch. Then he would tend his father all night long till
daybreak, when he would go forth again with his cousin according
to their wont. Now Zau al-Makan's pains and sufferings were
lonesome upon him and he wept and began versifying with these

"Gone is my strength, told is my tale of days *
And, lookye! I am left as thou dost see:
In honour's day most honoured wont to be, *
And win the race from all my company
Would Heaven before my death I might behold *
My son in seat of empire sit for me
And rush upon his foes, to take his wreak *
With sway of sword and lance lunged gallantly:
In this world and the next I am undone, *
Except the Lord vouchsafe me clemency."

When he had ended repeating these verses, he laid his head on his
pillow and closed his eyes and slept. Then saw he in his sleep
one who said to him, "Rejoice, for thy son shall fill the lands
with justest sway; and he shall rule them and him shall the
lieges obey."; Then he awoke from his dream gladdened by the good
tidings he had seen, and after a few days, Death smote him, and
because of his dying great grief fell on the people of Baghdad,
and simple and gentle mourned for him. But Time passed over him,
as though he had never been[FN#63] and Kanmakan's estate was
changed; for the people of Baghdad set him aside and put him and
his family in a place apart. Now when his mother saw this, she
fell into the sorriest of plights and said, "There is no help but
that I go to the Grand Chamberlain, and I must hope for the
aidance of the Subtle, the All-Wise!" Then she rose from her
place and betook herself to the house of the Chamberlain who was
now become Sultan, and she found him sitting upon his carpet. So
she went in to his wife, Nuzhat al-Zaman, and wept with sore
weeping and said unto her, "Verily the dead hath no friend! May
Allah never bring you to want as long as your age and the years
endure, and may you cease not to rule justly over rich and poor.
Thine ears have heard and thine eyes have seen all that was ours
of kingship and honour and dignity and wealth and fair fortune of
life and condition; and now Time hath turned upon us, and fate
and the world have betrayed us and wrought in hostile way with
us, wherefore I come to thee craving thy favours, I from whom
favours were craved: for when a man dieth, women and maidens are
brought to despisal." And she repeated these couplets,

"Suffice thee Death such marvels can enhance, *
And severed lives make lasting severance:
Man's days are marvels, and their stations are *
But water-pits[FN#64] of misery and mischance.
Naught wrings my heart save loss of noble friends, *
Girt round by rings of hard, harsh circumstance."

When Nuzhat al-Zaman heard these words, she remembered her
brother, Zau al-Makan, and his son Kanmakan, and, making her draw
near to her and showing her honour, she said, "Verily at this
moment, by Allah, I am grown rich and thou art poor; now by the
Lord! we did not cease to seek thee out, but we feared to wound
thy heart lest thou shouldest fancy our gifts to thee an alms
gift. Withal, whatso weal we now enjoy is from thee and thy
husband; so our house is thy house and our place thy place, and
thine is all our wealth and what goods we have belong to thee."
Then she robed her in sumptuous robes and set apart for her a
place in the Palace adjoining her own; and they abode therein,
she and her son, in all delight of life. And Nuzhat al-Zaman
clothed him also in Kings' raiment and gave to them both especial
handmaids for their service. After a little, she related to her
husband the sad case of the widow of her brother, Zau al-Makan,
whereat his eyes filled with tears and he said, "Wouldest thou
see the world after thee, look thou upon the world after other
than thyself. Then entreat her honourably and enrich her
poverty."--And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased to
say her permitted say.

When It was the One Hundred and Thirty-eighth Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when Nuzhat
Al-Zaman related to her husband the sad case of the widow of her
brother, Zau al-Makan, the Chamberlain said, "Entreat her
honourably and enrich her poverty." Thus far concerning Nuzhat
al-Zaman and her consort and the relict of Zau al-Makan; but as
regards Kanmakan and his cousin Kuzia Fakan, they grew up and
flourished till they waxed like unto two fruit-laden boughs or
two shining moons; and they reached the age of fifteen. And she
was indeed the fairest of maids who are modestly veiled, lovely
faced with smooth cheeks graced, and slender waist on heavy hips
based; and her shape was the shaft's thin line and her lips were
sweeter than old wine and the nectar of her mouth as it were the
fountain Salsabíl[FN#65]; even as saith the poet in these two
couplets describing one like her,

"As though ptisane of wine on her lips honey dew *
Dropt from the ripened grapes her mouth in clusters grew
And, when her frame thou doublest, and low bends her vine, *
Praise her Creator's might no creature ever knew."

Of a truth Allah had united in her every charm: her shape would
shame the branch of waving tree and the rose before her cheeks
craved lenity; and the honey dew of her lips of wine made jeer,
however old and clear, and she gladdened heart and beholder with
joyous cheer, even as saith of her the poet,

"Goodly of gifts is she, and charm those perfect eyes, *
With lashes shaming Kohl and all the fair ones Kohl'd[FN#66]
And from those eyne the glances pierce the lover's heart, *
Like sword in Mír al-Muminína Ali's hold."

And (the relator continueth) as for Kanmakan, he became unique in
loveliness and excelling in perfection no less; none could even
him in qualities as in seemliness and the sheen of velour between
his eyes was espied, testifying for him while against him it
never testified. The hardest hearts inclined to his side; his
eyelids bore lashes black as by Kohl; and he was of surpassing
worth in body and soul. And when the down of lips and cheeks
began to sprout bards and poets sang for him far and near,

"Appeared not my excuse till hair had clothed his cheek, *
And gloom o'ercrept that side-face (sight to stagger!)
A fawn, when eyes would batten on his charms, *
Each glance deals thrust like point of Khanjar-dagger."

And saith another,

"His lovers' souls have drawn upon his cheek *
An ant that perfected its rosy light:
I marvel at such martyrs Lazá-pent *
Who yet with greeny robes of Heaven are dight.''[FN#67]

Now it chanced one holiday, that Kuzia Fakan fared forth to make
festival with certain kindred of the court, and she went
surrounded by her handmaids. And indeed beauty encompassed her,
the roses of her cheeks dealt envy to their mole; from out her
smiling lips levee flashed white, gleaming like the
chamomile[FN#68]; and Kanmakan began to turn about her and devour
her with his sight, for she was the moon of resplendent light.
Then he took heart and giving his tongue a start began to

"When shall the disappointed heart be healed of severance, *
And lips of Union smile at ceasing of our hard mischance?
Would Heaven I knew shall come some night, and with it surely
bring * Meeting with friend who like myself endureth

When Kuzia Fakan heard these couplets, she showed vexation and
disapproval and, putting on a haughty and angry air, said to him,
"Dost thou name me in thy verse, to shame me amongst folk? By
Allah, if thou turn not from this talk, I will assuredly complain
of thee to the Grand Chamberlain, Sultan of Khorasan and Baghdad
and lord of justice and equity; that disgrace and punishment may
befal thee!" Kanmakan made no reply for anger but he returned to
Baghdad; and Kuzia Fakan also returned to her palace and
complained of her cousin to her mother, who said to her, "O my
daughter, haply he meant thee no harm, and is he aught but an
orphan? Withal, he said nought of reproach to thee; so beware
thou tell none of this, lest perchance it come to e Sultan's ears
and he cut short his life and blot out his name and make it even
as yesterday, whose memory hath passed away." However, Kanmakan's
love for Kuzia Fakan spread abroad in Baghdad, so that the women
talked of it. Moreover, his breast became straitened and his
patience waned and he knew not what to do, yet he could not hide
his condition from the world. Then longed he to give vent to the
pangs he endured, by reason of the lowe of separation; but he
feared her rebuke and her wrath; so he began improvising,

"Now is my dread to incur reproaches, which *
Disturb her temper and her mind obscure,
Patient I'll bear them; e'en as generous youth his case to
cure.'' * Beareth the burn of brand his case to

And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased saying her
permitted say.

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

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when the
Grand Chamberlain became Sultan they named him King Sásán; and
after he had assumed the throne he governed the people in
righteous way. Now as he was giving audience one day, Kanmakan's
verses came to his knowledge. Thereupon he repented him of the
past and going in to his wife Nuzhat al-Zaman, said to her,
"Verily, to join Halfah grass and fire,[FN#71] is the greatest of
risks, and man may not be trusted with woman, so long as eye
glanceth and eyelid quivereth. Now thy brother's son, Kanmakan,
is come to man's estate and it behoveth us to forbid him access
to the rooms where anklets trinkle, and it is yet more needful to
forbid thy daughter the company of men, for the like of her
should be kept in the Harim." Replied she, "Thou sayest sooth, O
wise King!" Next day came Kanmakan according to his wont; and,
going in to his aunt saluted her. She returned his salutation
and said to him, "O my son! I have some what to say to thee
which I would fain leave unsaid; yet I must tell it thee despite
my inclination." Quoth he, "Speak;" and quoth she, Know then that
thy sire the Chamberlain, the father of Kuzia Fakan, hath heard
of the verses thou madest anent her, and hath ordered that she be
kept in the Harim and out of thy reach; if therefore, O my son,
thou want anything from us, I will send it to thee from behind
the door; and thou shalt not look upon Kuzia Fakan nor shalt thou
return hither from this day forth." When he heard this he arose
and withdrew with out speaking a single word; and, betaking
himself to his mother related what his aunt had said. She
observed, "This all cometh of thine overtalking. Thou knowest
that the news of thy passion for Kuzia Fakan is noised abroad and
the tattle hath spread everywhere how thou eatest their food and
thereafter thou courtest their daughter." Rejoined he, "And who
should have her but I? She is the daughter of my father's
brother and I have the best of rights to her." Retorted his
mother, "These are idle words. Be silent, lest haply thy talk
come to King Sasan's ears and it prove the cause of thy losing
her and the reason of thy ruin and increase of thine affliction.
They have not sent us any supper to-night and we shall die an
hungered; and were we in any land but this, we were already dead
of famine or of shame for begging our bread." When Kanmakan heard
these words from his mother, his regrets redoubled; his eyes ran
over with tears and he complained and began improvising,

"Minish this blame I ever bear from you: *
My heart loves her to whom all love is due:
Ask not from me of patience jot or little, *
Divorce of Patience by God's House! I rue:
What blamers preach of patience I unheed; *
Here am I, love path firmly to pursue!
Indeed they bar me access to my love, *
Here am I by God's ruth no ill I sue!
Good sooth my bones, whenas they hear thy name, *
Quail as birds quailed when Nisus o'er them flew:[FN#72]
Ah! say to them who blame my love that I *
Will love that face fair cousin till I die."

And when he had ended his verses he said to his mother, "I have
no longer a place in my aunt's house nor among these people, but
I will go forth from the palace and abide in the corners of the
city." So he and his mother left the court; and, having sought an
abode in the neighbourhood of the poorer sort, there settled; but
she used to go from time to time to King Sasan's palace and
thence take daily bread for herself and her son. As this went on
Kuzia Fakan took her aside one day and said to her, "Alas, O my
naunty, how is it with thy son?" Replied she, "O my daughter,
sooth to say, he is tearful-eyed and heavy hearted, being fallen
into the net of thy love." And she repeated to her the couplets
he had made; whereupon Kuzia Fakan wept and said, "By Allah! I
rebuked him not for his words, nor for ill-will to him, but
because I feared for him the malice of foes. Indeed my passion
for him is double that he feeleth for me; my tongue may not
describe my yearning for him; and were it not for the extravagant
wilfulness of his words and the wanderings of his wit, my father
had not cut off from him favours that besit, nor had decreed unto
him exclusion and prohibition as fit. However, man's days bring
nought but change, and patience in all case is most becoming:
peradventure He who ordained our severance will vouchsafe us
reunion!" And she began versifying in these two couplets,

"O son of mine uncle! same sorrow I bear, *
And suffer the like of thy cark and thy care
Yet hide I from man what I suffer for pine; *
Hide it too, and such secret to man never bare!"

When his mother heard this from her, she thanked her and blessed
her: then she left her and acquainted her son with what she had
said; whereupon his desire for her increased and he took heart,
being eased of his despair and the turmoil of his love and care.
And he said, "By Allah, I desire none but her!"; and he began

"Leave this blame, I will list to no flout of my foe! *
I divulged a secret was told me to keep:
He is lost to my sight for whose union I yearn, *
And I watch all the while he can slumber and sleep."

So the days and nights went by whilst Kanmakan lay tossing upon
coals of fire,[FN#73] till he reached the age of seventeen; and
his beauty had waxt perfect and his wits were at their brightest.
One night, as he lay awake, he communed with himself and said,
"Why should I keep silence till I waste away and see not my
lover? Fault have I none save poverty; so, by Allah, I am
resolved to remove me from this region and wander over the wild
and the word; for my position in this city is a torture and I
have no friend nor lover therein to comfort me; wherefore I am
determined to distract myself by absence from my native land till
I die and take my rest after this shame and tribulation." And he
began to improvise and recited these couplets,

"Albeit my vitals quiver 'neath this ban; *
Before the foe myself I'll ne'er unman!
So pardon me, my vitals are a writ *
Whose superscription are my tears that ran:
Heigh ho! my cousin seemeth Houri may *
Come down to earth by reason of Rizwan:
'Scapes not the dreadful sword lunge of her look *
Who dares the glancing of those eyne to scan:
O'er Allah's wide spread world I'll roam and roam, *
And from such exile win what bread I can
Yes, o'er broad earth I'll roam and save my soul, *
All but her absence bear ing like a man
With gladsome heart I'll haunt the field of fight, *
And meet the bravest Brave in battle van!"

So Kanmakan fared forth from the palace barefoot and he walked in
a short sleeved gown, wearing on his head a skull cap of
felt[FN#74] seven years old and carrying a scone three days
stale, and in the deep glooms of night betook himself to the
portal of al-Arij of Baghdad. Here he waited for the gate being
opened and when it was opened, he was the first to pass through
it; and he went out at random and wandered about the wastes night
and day. When the dark hours came, his mother sought him but
found him not; whereupon the world waxt strait upon her for all
that it was great and wide, and she took no delight in aught of
weal it supplied. She looked for him a first day and a second
day and a third day till ten days were past, but no news of him
reached her. Then her breast became contracted and she shrieked
and shrilled, saying, "O my son! O my darling! thou hast
revived my regrets. Sufficed not what I endured, but thou must
depart from my home? After thee I care not for food nor joy in
sleep, and naught but tears and mourning are left me. O my son,
from what land shall I call thee? And what town hath given thee
refuge?" Then her sobs burst out, and she began repeating these

"Well learnt we, since you left, our grief and sorrow to
sustain, * While bows of severance shot their shafts in
many a railing rain:
They left me, after girthing on their selles of corduwayne *
To fight the very pangs of death while spanned they sandy
Mysterious through the nightly gloom there came the moan of
dove; * A ring dove, and replied I, 'Cease thy plaint, how
durst complain?'
If, by my life, her heart, like mine, were full of pain and
pine * She had not decks her neck with ring nor sole with
ruddy stain.[FN#75]
Fled is mine own familiar friend, bequeathing me a store *
Of parting pang and absence ache to suffer evermore."

Then she abstained from food and drink and gave herself up to
excessive tear shedding and lamentation. Her grief became public
property far and wide and all the people of the town and country
side wept with her and cried, "Where is thine eye, O Zau al-
Makan?" And they bewailed the rigours of Time, saying, "Would
Heaven we knew what hath befallen Kanmakan that he fled his
native town, and chased himself from the place where his father
used to fill all in hungry case and do justice and grace?" And
his mother redoubled her weeping and wailing till the news of
Kanmakan's departure came to King Sasan.--And Shahrazad perceived
the dawn of day and ceased saying her permitted say.

When it was the One Hundred and Fortieth Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that came to
King Sasan the tidings of the departure of Kanmakan, through the
Chief Emirs who said to him, "Verily he is the son of our Sovran
and the seed of King Omar bin al-Nu'uman and it hath reached us
that he hath exiled himself from the land." When King Sasan heard
these words, he was wroth with them and ordered one of them to be
hanged by way of silencing him, whereat the fear of him fell upon
the hearts of all the other Grandees and they dared not speak one
word. Then he called to mind all the kindness that Zau al-Makan
had done him, and how he had charged him with the care of his
son; wherefore he grieved for Kanmakan and said, "Needs must I
have search made for him in all countries." So he summoned
Tarkash and bade him choose an hundred horse and wend with them
in quest of the Prince. Accordingly he went out and was absent
ten days, after which he returned and said, "I can learn no
tidings of him and have hit on no trace of him, nor can any tell
me aught of him." Upon this King Sasan repented him of that which
he had done by the Prince; whilst his mother abode in unrest
continual nor would patience come at her call: and thus passed
over her twenty days in heaviness all. This is how it fared with
these; but as regards Kanmakan, when he left Baghdad, he went
forth perplexed about his case and knowing not whither he should
go: so he fared on alone through the desert for three days and
saw neither footman nor horseman; withal, his sleep fled and his
wakefulness redoubled, for he pined after his people and his
homestead. He ate of the herbs of the earth and drank of its
flowing waters and siesta'd under its trees at hours of noontide
heats, till he turned from that road to another way and,
following it other three days, came on the fourth to a land of
green leas, dyed with the hues of plants and trees and with
sloping valley sides made to please, abounding with the fruits of
the earth. It had drunken of the cups of the cloud, to the sound
of thunders rolling loud and the song of the turtle-dove gently
sough'd, till its hill slopes were brightly verdant and its
fields were sweetly fragrant. Then Kanmakan recalled his
father's city Baghdad, and for excess of emotion he broke out
into verse,

"I roam, and roaming hope I to return; *
Yet of returning see not how or when:
I went for love of one I could not win, *
Nor way of 'scaping ills that pressed could ken."

When he ended his recital he wept, but presently he wiped away
his tears and ate of the fruits of the earth enough for his
present need. Then he made the Wuzu-ablution and prayed the
ordained prayers which he had neglected all this time; and he sat
resting in that place through the livelong day. When night came
he slept and ceased not sleeping till midnight, when he awoke and
heard a human voice declaiming these couplets,

"What's life to me, unless I see the pearly sheen *
Of teeth I love, and sight that glorious mien?
Pray for her Bishops who in convents reign, *
Vying to bow before that heavenly queen.
And Death is lighter than the loved one's wrath, *
Whose phantom haunts me seen in every scene:
O joy of cup companions, when they meet, *
And loved and lover o'er each other lean!
E'en more in time of spring, the lord of flowers, *
When fragrant is the world with bloom and green:
Drainer of vine-juice! up wi' thee, for now *
Earth is a Heaven where sweet waters flow.[FN#76]"

When Kanmakan heard these distichs his sorrows surged up; his
tears ran down his cheeks like freshets and flames of fire darted
into his heart. So he rose to see who it was that spake these
words, but saw none for the thickness of the gloom; whereupon
passion increased on him and he was frightened and restlessness
possessed him. He descended from his place to the sole of the
valley and walked along the banks of the stream, till he heard
the same voice sighing heavy sighs and reciting these couplets,

"Tho' 'tis thy wont to hide thy love perforce, *
Yet weep on day of parting and divorce!
Twixt me and my dear love were plighted vows; *
Pledge of reunion, fonder intercourse:
With joy inspires my heart and deals it rest *
Zephyr, whose coolness doth desire enforce.
O Sa'adá,[FN#77] thinks of me that anklet wearer? *
Or parting broke she troth without remorse?
And say! shall nights foregather us, and we *
Of suffered hardships tell in soft discourse?
Quoth she, 'Thou'rt daft for us and fey'; quoth I, *
' 'Sain thee! how many a friend hast turned to corse!'
If taste mine eyes sweet sleep while she's away, *
Allah with loss of her these eyne accurse.
O wounds in vitals mine! for cure they lack *
Union and dewy lips' sweet theriack."[FN#78]

When Kanmakan heard this verse again spoken by the same voice yet
saw no one, he knew that the speaker was a lover like unto
himself, debarred from union with her who loved him; and he said
to himself, "'Twere fitting that this man should lay his head to
my head and become my comrade in this my strangerhood."[FN#79]
Then he hailed the speaker and cried out to him, saying, "O thou
who farest in sombrest night, draw near to me and tell me thy
tale haply thou shalt find me one who will succour thee in thy
sufferings." And when the owner of the voice heard these words,
he cried out, "O thou that respondest to my complaint and
wouldest hear my history, who art thou amongst the knights? Art
thou human or Jinni? Answer me speedily ere thy death draw near
for I have wandered in this desert some twenty days and have seen
no one nor heard any voice but thy voice." At these words
Kanmakan said to himself, "This one's case is like my case, for
I, even I, have wandered twenty days, nor during my wayfare have
I seen man or heard voice:" and he added, "I will make him no
answer till day arise." So he was silent, and the voice again
called out to him, saying, "O thou that callest, if thou be of
the Jinn fare in peace and, if thou be man, stay awhile till the
day break stark and the night flee with the dark." The speaker
abode in his place and Kanmakan did likewise and the twain in
reciting verses never failed, and wept tears that railed till the
light of day began loom and the night departed with its gloom.
Then Kanmakan looked at the other and found him to be of the
Badawi Arabs, a youth in the flower of his age; clad in worn
clothes and bearing in baldrick a rusty sword which he kept
sheathed, and the signs of love longing were apparent on him. He
went up to him and accosted him and saluted him, and the Badawi
returned the salute and greeted him with courteous wishes for his
long life, but somewhat despised him, seeing his tender years and
his condition, which was that of a pauper. So he said to him, "O
youth, of what tribe art thou and to whom art thou kin among the
Arabs; and what is thy history that thou goest by night, after
the fashion of knights? Indeed thou spakest to me in the dark
words such as are spoken of none but doughty cavaliers and lion-
like warriors; and now I hold thy life in hand. But I have
compassion on thee by reason of thy green years; so I will make
thee my companion and thou shalt go with me, to do me service."
When Kanmakan heard him speak these unseemly words, after showing
him such skill in verse, he knew that he despised him and would
presume with him; therefore he answered him with soft and well-
chosen speech, saying, "O Chief of the Arabs, leave my tenderness
of age and tell me why thou wanderest by night in the desert
reciting verses. Thou talkest, I see, of my serving thee; who
then art thou and what moved thee to talk this wise?" Answered
he, "Hark ye, boy! I am Sabbáh, son of Rammáh bin Humám.[FN#80]
My people are of the Arabs of Syria and I have a cousin, Najmah
highs, who to all that look on her brings delight. And when my
father died I was brought up in the house of his brother, the
father of Najmah; but as soon I grew up and my uncle's daughter
became a woman, they secluded her from me and me from her, seeing
that I was poor and without money in pouch. Then the Chiefs of
the Arabs and the heads of the tribes rebuked her sire, and he
was abashed before them and consented to give me my cousin, but
upon condition that I should bring him as her dower fifty head of
horses and fifty dromedaries which travel ten days[FN#81] without
a halt and fifty camels laden with wheat and a like number laden
with barley, together with ten black slaves and ten handmaids.
Thus the weight he set upon me was beyond my power to bear; for
he exacted more than the marriage settlement as by law
established. So here am I, travelling from Syria to Irak, and I
have passed twenty days with out seeing other than thyself; yet I
mean to go to Baghdad that I may ascertain what merchant men of
wealth and importance start thence. Then will I fare forth in
their track and loot their goods, and I will slay their escort
and drive off their camels with their loads. But what manner of
man art thou?" Replied Kanmakan, "Thy case is like unto my case,
save that my evil is more grievous than thine ill; for my cousin
is a King's daughter and the dowry of which thou hast spoken
would not content her people, nor would they be satisfied with
the like of that from me." Quoth Sabbah, "Surely thou art a fool
or thy wits for excess of passion are gathering wool! How can
thy cousin be a King's daughter? Thou hast no sign of royal rank
on thee, for thou art but a mendicant." Re joined Kanmakan, "O
Chief of the Arabs, let not this my case seem strange to thee;
for what happened, happened;[FN#82] and if thou desire proof of
me, I am Kanmakan, son of King Zau al-Makan, son of King Omar bin
al-Nu'uman Lord of Baghdad and the realm Khorasan; and Fortune
banned me with her tyrant ban, for my father died and my
Sultanate was taken by King Sasan. So I fled forth from Baghdad
secretly, lest I be seen of any man, and have wandered twenty
days without any but thyself to scan. So now I have discovered
to thee my case, and my story is as thy story and my need as thy
need." When Sabbab heard this, he cried out, "O my joy, I have
attained my desire! I will have no loot this day but thy self;
for since thou art of the seed of Kings and hast come out in
beggar's garb, there is no help but thy people will seek thee;
and, if they find thee in any one's power, they will ransom thee
with monies galore. So show me thy back, O my lad, and walk
before me." Answered Kanmakan, "O brother of the Arabs, act not
on this wise, for my people will not buy me with silver nor with
gold, not even with a copper dirham; and I am a poor man, having
with me neither much nor little, so cease then to be upon this
track and take me to thy comrade. Fare we forth for the land of
Irak and wander over the world, so haply we may win dower and
marriage portion, and we may seek and enjoy our cousins' kisses
and embraces when we come back." Hearing this, Sabbah waxed
angry; his arrogance and fury redoubled and he said, "Woe to
thee! Dost thou bandy words with me, O vilest of dogs that be?
Turn thee thy back, or I will come down on thee with clack!"
Kanmakan smiled and answered, "Why should I turn my back for
thee? Is there no justice in thee? Dost thou not fear to bring
blame upon the Arab men by driving a man like myself captive, in
shame and disdain, before thou hast proved him on the plain, to
know if he be a warrior or of cowardly strain?" Upon this Sabbah
laughed and replied, "By Allah, a wonder! Thou art a boy in
years told, but in talk thou art old. These words should come
from none but a champion doughty and bold: what wantest thou of
justice?" Quoth Kanmakan, "If thou wilt have me thy captive, to
wend with thee and serve thee, throw down thine arms and put off
thine outer gear and come on and wrestle with me; and whichever
of us throw his opponent shall have his will of him and make him
his boy." Then Sabbah laughed and said, "I think this waste of
breath de noteth the nearness of thy death." Then he arose and
threw down his weapon and, tucking up his skirt, drew near unto
Kanmakan who also drew near and they gripped each other. But the
Badawi found that the other had the better of him and weighed him
down as the quintal downweighs the diner; and he looked at his
legs firmly planted on the ground, and saw that they were as two
minarets[FN#83] strongly based, or two tent-poles in earth
encased, or two mountains which may not he displaced. So he
acknowledged himself to be a failure and repented of having come
to wrestle with him, saying in himself, "Would I had slain him
with my weapon!" Then Kanmakan took hold of him and mastering
him, shook him till the Badawi thought his bowels would burst in
his belly, and he broke out, "Hold thy hand, O boy!" He heeded
not his words, but shook him again and, lifting him from the
ground, made with him towards the stream, that he might throw him
therein: where upon the Badawi roared out, saying, "O thou
valiant man, what wilt thou do with me?"[FN#84] Quoth he, "I mean
to throw thee into this stream: it will bear thee to the Tigris.
The Tigris will bring thee to the river Isa and the Isa will
carry thee to the Euphrates, and the Euphrates will land thee in
shine own country; so thy tribe shall see thee and know thy manly
cheer and how thy passion be sincere." Then Sabbah cried aloud
and said, "O Champion of the desert lair, do not with me what
deed the wicked dare but let me go, by the life of thy cousin,
the jewel of the fair!" Hearing this, Kanmakan set him on the
ground, but when he found him self at liberty, he ran to his
sword and targe and taking them up stood plotting in himself
treachery and sudden assault on his adversary.[FN#85] The Prince
kenned his intent in his eye and said to him, "I con what is in
thy heart, now thou hast hold of thy sword and thy targe. Thou
hast neither length of hand nor trick of wrestling, but thou
thinkest that, wert thou on thy mare and couldst wheel about the
plain, and ply me with thy skene, I had long ago been slain. But
I will give thee thy requite, so there may be left in thy heart
no despite; now give me the targe and fall on me with thy
whinger; either thou shalt kill me or I shall kill thee." "Here
it is," answered Sabbah and, throwing him the targe, bared his
brand and rushed at him sword in hand; Kanmakan hent the buckler
in his right and began to fend himself with it, whilst Sabbah
struck at him, saying at each stroke, "This is the finishing
blow!" But it fell harmless enow, for Kanmakan took all on his
buckler and it was waste work, though he did not reply lacking
the wherewithal to strike and Sabbah ceased not to smite at him
with his sabre, till his arm was weary. When his opponent saw
this, he rushed upon him and, hugging him in his arms, shook him
and threw him to the ground. Then he turned him over on his face
and pinioned his elbows behind him with the baldrick of his
sword, and began to drag him by the feet and to make for the
river. Thereupon cried Sabbah, "What wilt thou do with me, O
youth, and cavalier of the age and brave of the plain where
battles rage?" Answered he, "Did I not tell thee that it was my
intent to send thee by the river to thy kin and to thy tribe,
that thy heart be not troubled for them nor their hearts be
troubled for thee, and lest thou miss thy cousin's bride-feast!"
At this Sabbah shrieked aloud and wept and screaming said, "Do
not thus, O champion of the time's braves! Let me go and make me
one of thy slaves!" And he wept and wailed and began reciting
these verses,

"I'm estranged fro' my folk and estrangement's long: *
Shall I die amid strangers? Ah, would that I kenned!
I die, nor my kinsman shall know where I'm slain, *
Die in exile nor see the dear face of my friend!"

Thereupon Kanmakan had compassion on him and said, "Make with me
a covenant true and swear me an oath to be a comrade as due and
to bear me company wheresoever I may go." "'Tis well," replied
Sabbah and swore accordingly. Then Kanmakan loosed him and he
rose and would have kissed the Prince's hand; but he forbade him
that. Then the Badawi opened his scrip and, taking out three
barley scones, laid them before Kanmakan and they both sat down
on the bank of the stream to eat.[FN#86] When they had done
eating together, they made the lesser ablution and prayed; after
which they sat talking of what had befallen each of them from his
people and from the shifts of Time. Presently said Kanmakan,
"Whither dost thou now intend?" Replied Sabbah, "I purpose to
repair to Baghdad, thy native town, and abide there, until Allah
vouchsafe me the marriage portion." Rejoined the other, "Up then
and to the road! I tarry here." So the Badawi farewelled him and
took the way for Baghdad, whilst Kanmakan remained behind, saying
to himself, "O my soul, with what face shall I return pauper-
poor? Now by Allah, I will not go back empty handed and, if the
Almighty please, I will assuredly work my deliverance." Then he
went to the stream and made the Wuzu-washing and when prostrating
he laid his brow in the dust and prayed to the Lord, saying, "O
Allah! Thou who sendest down the dew, and feedest the worm that
homes in the stone, I beseech Thee vouchsafe me my livelihood of
Thine Omnipotence and the Grace of Thy benevolence!" Then he
pronounced the salutation which closes prayer; yet every road
appeared closed to him. And while he sat turning right and left,
behold, he espied a horseman making towards him with bent back
and reins slack. He sat up right and after a time reached the
Prince; and the stranger was at the last gasp and made sure of
death, for he was grievously wounded when he came up; the tears
streamed down his cheeks like water from the mouths of skins, and
he said to Kanmakan, "O Chief of the Arabs, take me to thy
friendship as long as I live, for thou wilt not find my like; and
give me a little water though the drinking of water be harmful to
one wounded, especially whilst the blood is flowing and the life
with it. And if I live, I will give thee what shall heal thy
penury and thy poverty: and if I die, mayst thou be blessed for
thy good intent." Now under that horseman was a stallion, so
noble a Rabite[FN#87] the tongue fails to describe him; and as
Kanmakan looked at his legs like marble shafts, he was seized
with a longing and said to himself, "Verily the like of this
stallion[FN#88] is not to be found in our time." Then he helped
the rider to alight and entreated him in friendly guise and gave
him a little water to swallow; after which he waited till he had
taken rest and addressed him, saying, "Who hath dealt thus with
thee?" Quoth the rider, "I will tell thee the truth of the case.
I am a horse thief and I have busied myself with lifting and
snatching horses all my life, night and day, and my name is
Ghassan, the plague of every stable and stallion. I heard tell
of this horse, that he was in the land of Roum, with King
Afridun, where they had named him Al-Katúl and surnamed him Al
Majnún.[FN#89] So I journeyed to Constantinople for his sake and
watched my opportunity and whilst I was thus waiting, there came
out an old woman, one highly honoured among the Greeks, and whose
word with them is law, by name Zat al-Dawahi, a past mistress in
all manner of trickery. She had with her this steed and ten
slaves, no more, to attend on her and the horse; and she was
bound for Baghdad and Khorasan, there to seek King Sasan and to
sue for peace and pardon from ban. So I went out in their track,
longing to get at the horse,[FN#90] and ceased not to follow
them, but was unable to come by the stallion, because of the
strict guard kept by the slaves, till they reached this country
and I feared lest they enter the city of Baghdad. As I was
casting about to steal the stallion lo! a great cloud of dust
arose on them and walled the horizon. Presently it opened and
disclosed fifty horsemen, gathered together to waylay merchants
on the highway, and their captain, by name Kahrdash, was a lion
in daring and dash; a furious lion who layeth knights flat as
carpets in battle-crash."--And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of
day and ceased to say her permitted say.

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

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that the wounded
rider spake thus to Kanmakan, "Then came out the same Kahrdash,
and fell on the old woman and her men and bore down upon them
bashing them, nor was it long before they bound her and the ten
slaves and bore off their captives and the horse, rejoicing.
When I saw this, I said to myself, 'My pains were in vain nor did
I attain my gain.' However, I waited to see how the affair would
fare, and when the old woman found herself in bonds, she wept and
said to the captain, Kahrdash, 'O thou doughty Champion and
furious Knight, what wilt thou do with an old woman and slaves,
now that thou hast thy will of the horse?' And she beguiled him
with soft words and she sware that she would send him horses and
cattle, till he released her and her slaves. Then he went his
way, he and his comrades, and I followed them till they reached
this country; and I watched them, till at last I found an
opportunity of stealing the horse, whereupon I mounted him and,
drawing a whip from my wallet, struck him with it. When the
robbers heard this, they came out on me and surrounded me on all
sides and shot arrows and cast spears at me, whilst I stuck fast
on his back and he fended me with hoofs and forehand,[FN#91] till
at last he bolted out with me from amongst them like unerring
shaft or shooting star. But in the stress and stowre I got
sundry grievous wounds and sore; and, since that time, I have
passed on his back three days without tasting food or sleeping
aught, so that my strength is down brought and the world is
become to me as naught. But thou hast dealt kindly with me and
hast shown ruth on me; and I see thee naked stark and sorrow hath
set on thee its mark, yet are signs of wealth and gentle breeding
manifest on thee. So tell me, what and whence art thou and
whither art thou bound?" Answered the Prince, "My name is
Kanmakan, son of Zau al-Makan, son of King Omar bin al-Nu'uman.
When my father died and an orphan lot was my fate, a base man
seized the throne and became King over small and great." Then he
told him all his past from first to last; and the horse thief
said to him for he pitied him, "By Allah, thou art one of high
degree and exceeding nobility, and thou shalt surely attain
estate sublime and become the first cavalier of thy time. If
thou can lift me on horseback and mount thee behind me and bring
me to my own land, thou shalt have honour in this world and a
reward on the day of band calling to band,[FN#92] for I have no
strength left to steady myself; and if this be my last day, the
steed is thine alway, for thou art worthier of him than any
other." Quoth Kanmakan, By Allah, if I could carry thee on my
shoulders or share my days with thee, I would do this deed
without the steed! For I am of a breed that loveth to do good
and to succour those in need; and one kindly action in Almighty
Allah's honour averteth seventy calamities from its doer. So
make ready to set out and put thy trust in the Subtle, the All-
Wise." And he would have lifted him on to the horse and fared
forward trusting in Allah Aider of those who seek aid, but the
horse thief said, "Wait for me awhile. Then he closed his eyes
and opening his hands, said I testify that there is no god but
the God, and I testify that Mohammed is the Apostle of God!" And
he added, "O glorious One, pardon me my mortal sin, for none can
pardon mortal sins save the Immortal!" And he made ready for
death and recited these couplets,

"I have wronged mankind, and have ranged like wind *
O'er the world, and in wine-cups my life has past:
I've swum torrent course to bear off the horse; *
And my guiles high places on plain have cast.
Much I've tried to win and o'er much my sin, *
And Katul of my winnings is most and last:
I had hoped of this steed to gain wish and need, *
But vain was the end of this journey vast.
I have stolen through life, and my death in strife *
Was doomed by the Lord who doth all forecast
And I've toiled these toils to their fatal end *
For an orphan, a pauper sans kith or friend!"

And when he had finished his verses he closed his eyes and opened
his mouth; then with a single death-rattling he left this world.
Thereupon Kanmakan rose and dug a grave and laid him in the dust;
after which he went up to the steed and kissed him and wiped his
face and joyed with exceeding joy, saying, "None hath the fellow
of this stallion; no, not even King Sasan." Such was the case
with Kanmakan; but as regards King Sasan, presently news came to
him that the Wazir Dandan had thrown off his allegiance, and with
him half the army who swore that they would have no King but
Kanmakan: and the Minister had bound the troops by a solemn
covenant and had gone with them to the Islands of India and to
Berber-land and to Black-land;[FN#93] where he had levied armies
from far and near, like unto the swollen sea for fear and none
could tell the host's van from its rear. And the Minister was
resolved to make for Baghdad and take the kingdom in ward and
slay every soul who dare retard, having sworn not to return the
sword of war to its sheath, till he had made Kanmakan King. When
this news came to Sasan, he was drowned in the sea of appal,
knowing that the whole state had turned against him, great and
small; and his trouble redoubled and his care became despair. So
he opened his treasuries and distributed his monies among his
officers; and he prayed for Kanmakan's return, that he might draw
his heart to him with fair usage and bounty; and make him
commander of those troops which ceased not being faithful to him,
so might he quench the sparks ere they became a flame. Now when
the news of this reached Kanmakan by the merchants, he returned
in haste to Baghdad on the back of the aforesaid stallion, and as
King Sasan sat perplexed upon his throne he heard of the coming
of Kanmakan; whereupon he despatched all the troops and head-men
of the city to meet him. So all who were in Baghdad fared forth
and met the Prince and escorted him to the palace and kissed the
thresholds, whilst the damsels and the eunuchs went in to his
mother and gave her the fair tidings of his return. She came to
him and kissed him between the eyes, but he said to her, "O
mother mine, let me go to my uncle King Sasan who hath
overwhelmed me with weal and boon." And while he so did, all the
palace-people and head-men marvelled at the beauty of the
stallion and said, "No King is like unto this man." So Kanmakan
went in to King Sasan and saluted him as he rose to receive him;
and, kissing his hands and feet, offered him the horse as a
present. The King greeted him, saying, "Well come and welcome to
my son Kanmakan! By Allah, the world hath been straitened on me
by reason of thine absence, but praised be Allah for thy safety!"
And Kanmakan called down blessings on him. Then the King looked
at the stallion, Al-Katul highs, and knew him for the very horse
he had seen in such and such a year whilst beleaguering the
Cross-worshippers of Constantinople with Kanmakan's sire, Zau al-
Makan, that time they slew his uncle Sharrkan. So he said to the
Prince, "If thy father could have come by this courser, he would
have bought it with a thousand blood horses: but now let the
honour return to the honourable. We accept the steed and we give
him back to thee as a gift, for to him thou hast more right than
any wight, being knightliest of knights." Then King Sasan bade
bring forth for him dresses of honour and led horses and
appointed to him the chief lodging in the palace, and showed him
the utmost affection and honour, because he feared the issue of
the Wazir Dandan's doings. At this Kanmakan rejoiced and shame
and humiliation ceased from him. Then he went to his house and,
going to his mother, asked, "O my mother, how is it with the
daughter of my uncle?" Answered she, "By Allah, O my son, my
concern for thine absence hath distracted me from any other, even
from thy beloved; especially as she was the cause of thy
strangerhood and thy separation from me." Then he complained to
her of his case, saying, "O my mother, go to her and speak with
her; haply she will vouchsafe me her sight to see and dispel from
me this despondency." Replied his mother, "Idle desires abase
men's necks; so put away from thee this thought that can only
vex; for I will not wend to her nor go in to her with such
message.' Now when he heard his mother's words he told her what
said the horse-thief concerning Zat al-Dawahi, how the old woman
was then in their land purposing to make Baghdad, and added, "It
was she who slew my uncle and my grandfather, and needs must I
avenge them with man-bote, that our reproach be wiped out." Then
he left her and repaired to an old woman, a wicked, whorish,
pernicious beldam by name Sa'adánah and complained to her of his
case and of what he suffered for love of his cousin Kuzia Fakan
and begged her to go to her and win her favour for him. "I hear
and I obey," answered the old hag and leaving him betook herself
to Kuzia Fakan's palace, that she might intercede with her in his
behalf. Then she returned to him and said, "Of a truth Kuzia
Fakan saluteth thee and promiseth to visit thee this night about
midnight."--And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased
saying her permitted say.

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

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when the
old woman came to Kanmakan and said, "Of a truth the daughter of
thine uncle saluteth thee and she will visit thee this night
about midnight;" he rejoiced and sat down to await the fulfilment
of his cousin's promise. But before the hour of night she came
to him, wrapped in a veil of black silk, and she went in to him
and aroused him from sleep, saying, "How canst thou pretend to
love me, when thou art sleeping heart-free and in complete
content?" So he awoke and said, "By Allah, O desire of my heart,
I slept not but in the hope that thine image might visit my
dreams!" Then she chid him with soft words and began versifying
in these couplets,

"Hadst thou been leaf in love's loyalty, *
Ne'er haddest suffered sleep to seal those eyne:
O thou who claimest lover-loyalty, *
Treading the lover's path of pain and pine!
By Allah, O my cousin, never yet *
Did eyes of lover sleep such sleep indign."

Now when he heard his cousin's words, he was abashed before her
and rose and excused himself. Then they embraced and complained
to each other of the anguish of separation; and they ceased not
thus till dawn broke and day dispersed itself over the horizon;
when she rose preparing to depart. Upon this Kanmakan wept and
sighed and began improvising these couplets,

"O thou who deignest come at sorest sync, *
Whose lips those teeth like necklaced pearls enshrine'
I kissed him[FN#94] thousand times and clips his waist, *
And spent the night with cheek to cheek close li'en
Till to depart us twain came dawning day, *
Like sword edge drawn from sheath in radiant line."

And when he ended his poetry, Kuzia Fakan took leave of him and
returned to her palace. Now certain of her damsels became aware
of her secret, and one of these slave girls disclosed it to King
Sasan, who went into Kuzia Fakan and, drawing his sabre upon her,
would have slain her: but her mother Nuzhat al-Zaman entered and
said to him, "By Allah, do her no harm, for if thou hurt her, the
report will be noised among the folk and thou shalt become a
reproach amongst the Kings of the age! Know thou that Kanmakan
is no son of adultery, but a man of honour and nobility, who
would not do aught that could shame him, and she was reared with
him. So be not hasty; for verily the report is spread abroad,
among all the palace-people and all the folk of Baghdad, how the
Wazir Dandan hath levied armies from all countries and is on his
way hither to make Kanmakan King." Quoth Sasan, "By Allah, needs
must I cast him into such calamity that neither earth shall
support him nor sky shall shadow him! I did but speak him fair
and show him favour because of my lieges and my lords, lest they
incline to him; but right soon shalt thou see what shall betide."
Then he left her and went out to order the affairs of the realm.
Such, then, was the case with King Sasan; but as regards
Kanmakan, on the next day he came in to his mother and said, "O
my mother! I am resolved to ride forth a raiding and a looting:
and I will cut the road of caravans and lift horses and flocks,
negroes and white slaves and, as soon as I have collected great
store and my case is bettered galore, I will demand my cousin
Kuzia Fakan in marriage of my uncle Sasan." Replied she, "O my
son, of a truth the goods of men are not ready to hand like a
scape-camel;[FN#95] for on this side of them are sword-strokes
and lance-lungings and men that eat the wild beast and lay
countries waste and chase lynxes and hunt lions." Quoth he,
Heaven forefend that I turn back from my resolve, till I have won
to my will! Then he despatched the old woman to Kuzia Fakan, to
tell her that he was about to set out in quest of a marriage
settle ment befitting her, saying to the beldam, "Thou needs must
pray her to send me an answer." "I hear and I obey," replied the
old woman and going forth, presently returned with Kuzia Fakan's
reply, which was, "She will come to thee at midnight." So he
abode awake till one half of the night was passed, when
restlessness get hold on him, and before he was aware she came in
to him, saying, "My life be thy ransom from wakefulness!" and he
sprang up to receive her, exclaiming, "O desire of my heart, my
life be thy redemption from all ills and evils!" Then he
acquainted her, with his intent, and she wept: but he said, "Weep
not, O daughter of my uncle; for I beseech Him who decreed our
separation to vouchsafe us reunion and fair understanding." Then
Kanmakan, having fixed a day for departure, went in to his mother
and took leave of her, after which came he down from his palace
and threw the baldrick of his sword over his shoulder and donned
turband and face-veil; and mounting his horse, Al-Katul, and
looking like the moon at its full, he threaded the streets of
Baghdad, till he reached the city gate. And behold, here he
found Sabbah bin Rammah coming out of town; and his comrade
seeing him, ran to his stirrup and saluted him. He returned his
salutation, and Sabbah asked him, "O my brother, how camest thou
by this good steed and this sword and clothes, whilst I up to
present time have gotten nothing but my sword and target?"
Answered Kanmakan, "The hunter returneth not but with quarry
after the measure of his intention. A little after thy
departure, fortune came to me: so now say, wilt thou go with me
and work thine intent in my company and journey with me in this
desert?" Replied Sabbah, "By the Lord of the Ka'abah, from this
time forth I will call thee naught but 'my lord'!" Then he ran on
before the horse, with his sword hanging from his neck and his
budget between his shoulder blades, and Kanmakan rode a little
behind him; and they plunged into the desert, for a space of four
days, eating of the gazelles and drinking water of the springs.
On the fifth day they drew near a high hill, at whose foot was a
spring-encampment[FN#96] and a deep running stream; and the
knolls and hollows were filled with camels and cattle and sheep
and horses, and little children played about the pens and folds.
When Kanmakan saw this, he rejoiced at the sight and his breast
was filled with delight; so he addressed himself to fight, that
he might take the camels and the cattle, and said to Sabbah,
"Come, fall with us upon this loot, whose owners have left it
unguarded here, and do we battle for it with near and far, so
haply may fall to our lot of goods some share." Replied Sabbah,
"O my lord, verily they to whom these herds belong be many in
number; and among them are doughty horsemen and fighting footmen;
and if we venture lives in this derring do we shall fall into
danger great and neither of us will return safe from this bate;
but we shall both be cut off by fate and leave our cousins
desolate." Then Kanmakan laughed and knew that he was a coward;
so he left him and rode down the rise, intent on rapine, with
loud cries and chanting these couplets,

"Oh a valiant race are the sons of Nu'umán, *
Braves whose blades shred heads of the foeman-clan![FN#97]
A tribe who, when tried in the tussle of war, *
Taketh prowess stand in the battle-van:
In their tents safe close gaberlunzie's eyne, *
Nor his poverty's ugly features scan:
And I for their aidance sue of Him *
Who is King of Kings and made soul of man."

Then he rushed upon the she-camels like a he-camel in rut and
drove all before him, sheep and cattle, horses and dromedaries.
Therewith the slaves ran at him with their blades so bright and
their lances so long; and at their head rode a Turkish horseman
who was indeed a stout champion, doughty in fray and in battle
chance and skilled to wield the nut-brown lance and the blade
with bright glance. He drove at Kanmakan, saying, "Woe to thee!
Knewest thou to whom these herds belong thou hadst not done this
deed. Know that they are the goods of the band Grecian, the
champions of the ocean and the troop Circassian; and this troop
containeth none but valiant wights numbering an hundred knights,
who have cast off the allegiance of every Sultan. But there hath
been stolen from them a noble stallion, and they have vowed not
to return hence without him." Now when Kanmakan heard these
words, he cried out, saying, "O villain, this I bestride is the
steed whereof ye speak and after which ye seek, and ye would do
battle with me for his sake' So come out against me, all of you
at once, and do you dourest for the nonce!" Then he shouted
between the ears of Al-Katul who ran at them like a Ghul;
whereupon Kanmakan let drive at the Turk[FN#98] and ran him
through the body and threw him from his horse and let out his
life; after which he turned upon a second and a third and a
fourth, and also of life bereft them. When the slaves saw this,
they were afraid of him, and he cried out and said to them, "Ho,
sons of whores, drive out the cattle and the stud or I will dye
my spear in your blood." So they untethered the beasts and began
to drive them out; and Sabbah came down to Kanmakan with loud
voicing and hugely rejoicing; when lo! there arose a cloud of
dust and grew till it walled the view, and there appeared under
of it riders an hundred, like lions an-hungered. Upon this
Sabbah took flight, and fled to the hill's topmost height,
leaving the assailable site, and enjoyed sight of the fight,
saying, "I am no warrior; but in sport and jest I
delight."[FN#99] Then the hundred cavaliers made towards Kanmakan
and surrounded him on all sides, and one of them accosted him,
saying, "Whither goest thou with this loot?" Quoth he, "I have
made it my prize and am carrying it away; and I forbid you from
it, or come on to the combat, for know ye that he who is before
you is a terrible lion and an honourable champion, and a sword
that cutteth wherever it turneth!" When the horseman heard these
words, he looked at Kanmakan and saw that he was a knight like a
mane-clad lion in might, whilst his face was as the full moon
rising on its fourteenth night, and velour shone from between his
eyes. Now that horseman was the captain of the hundred horse,
and his name was Kahrdash; and when he saw in Kanmakan the
perfection of cavalarice with surpassing gifts of comeliness, his
beauty reminded him of a beautiful mistress of his whose name was
Fátin.[FN#100] Now she was one of the fairest of women in face,
for Allah had given her charms and grace and noble qualities of
all kinds, such as tongue faileth to explain and which ravish the
hearts of men. Moreover, the cavaliers of the tribe feared her
prowess and all the champions of that land stood in awe of her
high spirit; and she had sworn that she would not marry nor let
any possess her, except he should conquer her in combat (Kahrdash
being one of her suitors); and she said to her father, "None
shall approach me, save he be able to deal me over throw in the
field and stead of war thrust and blow. Now when this news
reached Kahrdash, he scorned to fight with a girl, fearing
reproach; and one of his intimates said to him, "Thou art
complete in all conditions of beauty and goodliness; so if thou
contend with her, even though she be stronger than thou, thou
must needs overcome her; for when she seeth thy beauty and grace,
she will be discomfited before thee and yield thee the victory;
for verily women have a need of men e'en as thou heedest full
plain." Nevertheless Kahrdash refused and would not contend with
her, and he ceased not to abstain from her thus, till he met from
Kanmakan that which hath been set down. Now he took the Prince
for his beloved Fatin and was afraid; albeit indeed she loved him
for what she had heard of his beauty and velour; so he went up to
him and said, "Woe to thee,[FN#101] O Fatin! Thou comest here
to show me thy prowess; but now alight from thy steed, that I may
talk with thee, for I have lifted these cattle and have foiled my
friends and waylaid many a brave and man of knightly race, all
for the sake of thy beauty of form and face, which are without
peer. So marry me now, that Kings' daughters may serve thee and
thou shalt become Queen of these countries." When Kanmakan heard
these words, the fires of wrath flamed up in him and he cried
out, "Woe to thee, O Persian dog! Leave Fatin and thy trust and
mistrust, and come to cut and thrust, for eftsoon thou shalt lie
in the dust;" and so saying, he began to wheel about him and
assail him and feel the way to prevail. But when Kahrdash
observed him closely he knew him for a doughty knight and a
stalwart in fight; and the error of his thought became manifest
to him, whenas he saw the green down on his cheeks dispread like
myrtles springing from the heart of a rose bright-red. And he
feared his onslaught and quoth he to those with him, "Woe to you!
Let one of you charge down upon him and show him the keen sword
and the quivering spear; for know that when many do battle with
one man it is foul shame, even though he be a kemperly wight and
an invincible knight." Upon this, there ran at Kanmakan a
horseman like a lion in fight, mounted on a black horse with
hoofs snow-white and a star on his forehead, the bigness of a
dirham, astounding wit and sight, as he were Abjar, which was
Antar's destrier, even as saith of him the poet,

"The courser chargeth on battling foe, *
Mixing heaven on high with the earth down low:[FN#102]
As though the Morning had blazed his brow, *
And he rends her vitals as quid pro quo."

He rushed upon Kanmakan, and they wheeled about awhile, giving
blows and taking blows such as confound the sprite and dim the
sight; but Kanmakan was the first to smite the foe a swashing
blow, that rove through turband and iron skull cap and reached
his head, and he fell from his steed with the fall of a camel
when he rolleth over. Then a second came out to him and offered
battle, and in like guise a third, a fourth and a fifth, and he
did with them all as he had done with the first. Thereupon the
rest at once rushed upon him, for indeed they were roused by rage
and wild with wrath; but it was not long before he had pierced
them all with the point of his spear. When Kahrdash saw these
feats of arms, he feared death; for he knew that the youth was
stoutest of heart and concluded that he was unique among knights
and braves; and he said to Kanmakan, "I waive my claim to thy
blood and I pardon thee the blood of my comrades: so take what
thou wilt of the cattle and wend thy ways, for thy firmness in
fight moveth my ruth and life is better for thee than death."
Replied Kanmakan, "Thou lackest not of the generosity of the
noble! but leave this talk and run for thy life and reck not of
blame nor think to get back the booty; but take the straight path
for thine own safety." Thereupon Kahrdash waxed exceeding wroth,
and rage moved him to the cause of his death; so he said to
Kanmakan, "Woe to thee, an thou knew who I be, thou wouldst not
wield these words in the open field. I am the lion to bash known
as Kahrdash, he who spoileth great Kings and waylayeth all
travellings and seizeth the merchants' preciousest things. And
the steed under thee is that I am seeking; and I call upon thee
to tell me how thou camest by him and hast him in thy keeping."
Replied Kan makan, "Know thou that this steed was being carried
to my uncle King Sasan, under the escort of an ancient dame high
in rank attended by ten slaves, when thou fellest upon her and
tookest the horse from her; and I have a debt of blood against
this old woman for the sake of my grandfather King Omar bin al
Nu'uman and my uncle King Sharrkan.' "Woe to thee!" quoth
Kahrdash, "who is thy father, O thou that hast no lawful mother?"
Quoth he, "Know that I am Kanmakan, bin Zau al-Makan, son of Omar
bin al-Nu'uman." But when Kahrdash heard this address he said,
"Thy perfection cannot be denied, nor yet the union in thee of
knightly virtue and seemlihead," and he added, "Fare in peace,
for thy father showed us favour." Rejoined Kanmakan, "By Allah, I
will not deign to honour thee, O wretch I disdain, so far as to
overcome thee in battle plain!" Upon this the Badawi waxed wroth
and they drove at each other, shouting aloud, whilst their horses
pricked their ears and raised their tails.[FN#103] And they
ceased not clashing together with such a crash that it seemed to
each as if the firmament were split in sunder, and they continued
to strive like two rams which butt, smiting and exchanging with
their spears thrust and cut. Presently Kahrdash foined at
Kanmakan; but he evaded it and rejoined upon him and so pierced
him through the breast that the spearhead issued from his back.
Then he collected the horses and the plunder, and he cried out to
the slaves, saying, "Up and be driving as hard as ye may!"
Hearing this, down came Sabbah and, accosting Kanmakan, said to
him, "Right well hast thou dight, O Knight of the age! Verily I
prayed Allah for thee and the Lord heard my prayer." Then he cut
off Kahrdash's head and Kanmakan laughed and said, "Woe to thee,
O Sabbah! I thought thee a rider fain of fight." Quoth the
Badawi, "Forget not thy slave in the division of the spoil, so
haply therewith I may marry my cousin Najmah." Answered Kanmakan,
"Thou shalt assuredly share in it, but now keep watch over the
booty and the slaves." Then he set out for his home and he ceased
not journeying night and day till he drew near Baghdad city, and
all the troops heard of Kanmakan, and saw what was his of loot
and cattle and the horse-thief's head on the point of Sabbah's
spear. Also (for he was a noted highwayman) the merchants knew
Kahrdash's head and rejoiced, saying, "Allah hath rid mankind of
him!"; and they marvelled at his being slain and blessed his
slayer. Thereupon all the people of Baghdad came to Kanmakan,
seeking to know what adventures had befallen him, and he told
them what had passed, whereupon all men were taken with awe of
him and the Knights and champions feared him. Then he drove his
spoil under the palace walls; and, planting the spear heel, on
whose point was Kahrdash's head, over against the royal gate,
gave largesse to the people of Baghdad, distributing horses and
camels, so that all loved him and their hearts inclined to him.
Presently he took Sabbah and lodged him in a spacious dwelling
and gave him a share of the loot; after which he went in to his
mother and told her all that had befallen him in his last
journey. Meanwhile the news of him reached the King, who rose
from his levee and, shutting himself up with his chief officers,
said to them, "Know ye that I desire to reveal to you my secret
and acquaint you with the hidden facts of my case. And further
know that Kanmakan will be the cause of our being uprooted from
this kingdom, our birth place; for he hath slain Kahrdash, albeit
he had with him the tribes of the Kurds and the Turks, and our
affair with him will end in our destruction, seeing that the most
part of our troops are his kinsmen and ye weet what the Wazir
Dandan hath done; how he disowneth me, after all I have shown him
of favours; and after being faithful he hath turned traitor.
Indeed it hath reached me that he hath levied an army in the
provinces and hath planned to make Kanmakan Sultan, for that the
Sultanate was his father's and his grandfather's; and assuredly
he will slay me without mercy." Now when the Lords of the Realm
heard from him these words, they replied, "O King, verily this
man.[FN#104] is unequal to this, and did we not know him to have
been reared by thee, not one of us would approve of him. And
know thou that we are at thy commandment; if thou desire his
death, we will do him die; and if thou wilt remove him, we will
remove him." Now when King Sasan heard this, he said, "Verily, to
slay him were wise; but needs must ye swear an oath to it." So
all sware to slay Kanmakan without giving him a chance; to the
end that, when the Wazir Dandan should come and hear of his
death, his force might be weakened and he fail of his design.
When they had made this compact and covenant with trim, the king
honoured them with the highest honours and presently retired to
his own apartments. But the officers deserted him and the troops
refused their service and would neither mount nor dismount until
they should espy what might befal, for they saw that most of the
army was with the Wazir Dandan. Presently, the news of these
things came to Kuzia Fakan and caused her much concern; so that
she sent for the old woman who was wont to carry messages between
her and her cousin, and when she came, bade her go to him and
warn him of the plot. Whereto he replied, "Bear my salutation to
the daughter of my uncle and say to her, 'Verily the earth is of
Allah (to whom belong Might and Majesty!), and He giveth it as
heritage to whomsoever of His servants He willeth.' How excellent
is the saying of the sayer,

'Allah holds Kingship! Whoso seeks without Him victory *
Shall be cast out, with soul condemned to Hell of low
Had I or any other man a finger breadth of land, *
The rule were changed and men a twain of partner gods would
see.' "

Then the old woman returned to Kuzia Fakan and told her his reply
and acquainted her that he abode in the city. Meanwhile, King
Sasan awaited his faring forth from Baghdad, that he might send
after him some who would slay him; till it befel one morning that
Kanmakan went out to course and chase, accompanied by Sabbah, who
would not leave him night or day. He caught ten gazelles and
among them one that had tender black eyes and turned right and
left: so he let her go and Sabbah said to him, "Why didst thou
free this gazelle?" Kanmakan laughed and set the others free
also, saying, "It is only humane to release gazelles that have
young, and this one turned not from side to side, save to look
for her fawns: so I let her go and released the others in her
honour." Quoth Sabbah, "Do thou release me, that I may go to my
people." At this Kanmakan laughed and smote him with the spear
butt on the breast, and he fell to the ground squirming like a
snake. Whilst they were thus doing, behold, they saw a dust
cloud spireing high and heard the tramp of horses; and presently
there appeared under it a plump of knights and braves. Now the
cause of their coming was this. Some of his followers had
acquainted King Sasan with Kanmakan's going out to the chase; so
he sent for an Emir of the Daylamites, called Jámi' and twenty of
his horsemen; and gave them money and bade them slay Kanmaken.
So when they drew near the Prince, they charged down upon him and
he met them in mid-charge and killed them all, to the last man.
And behold, King Sasan took horse and riding out to meet his
people, found them all slain, whereat he wondered and turned
back; when lo! the people of the city laid hands on him and
bound him straitly. As for Kanmakan after that adventure, he
left the place behind him and rode onward with Sabbah the Badawi.
And the while he went, lo! he saw a youth sitting at the door of
a house on his road and saluted him. The youth returned his
greeting and, going into the house, brought out two platters, one
full of soured milk and the other of brewis swimming in clarified
butter; and he set the platter before Kanmakan, saying "Favour us
by eating of our victual." But he refused and quoth the young man
to him, "What aileth thee, O man, that thou wilt not eat?" Quoth
Kanmakan, "I have a vow upon me." The youth asked, "What is the
cause of thy vow?", and Kanmakan answered, "Know that King Sasan
seized upon my kingdom like a tyrant and an enemy, although it
was my father's and my grand father's before me; yet he became
master of it by force after my father's death and took no count
of me, by reason of my tender years. So I have bound myself by a
vow to eat no man's victual till I have eased my heart of my
foe." Rejoined the youth, "Rejoice, for Allah hath fulfilled thy
vow. Know that he hath been prisoned in a certain place and
methinks he will soon die." Asked Kanmakan, "In what house is he
confined?" "Under yon high dome," answered the other. The Prince
looked and saw the folk entering and buffeting Sasan, who was
suffering the agonies of the dying. So he arose and went up to
the pavilion and noted what was therein; after which he returned
to his place and, sitting down to the proferred victual, ate what
sufficed him and put the rest in his wallet. Then he took seat
in his own place and ceased not sitting till it was dark night
and the youth, whose guest he was slept; when he rose and
repaired to the pavilion wherein Sasan was confined. Now about
it were dogs guarding it, and one of them sprang at him; so he
took out of his budget a bit of meat and threw it to him. He
ceased not casting flesh to the dogs till he came to the pavilion
and, making his way to where King Sasan was, laid his hand upon
his head; whereupon he said in a loud voice, "Who art thou?" He
replied, "I am Kanmakan whom thou stravest to kill; but Allah
made thee fall into thine evil device. Did it not suffice thee
to take my kingdom and the kingdom of my father, but thou must
purpose to slay me?"[FN#105] And Sasan swore a false oath that
he had not plotted his death and that the bruit was untrue. So
Kanmakan forgave him and said to him, "Follow me." Quoth he, "I
cannot walk a single step for weakness." Quoth Kanmakan, "If the
case be thus we will get us two horses and ride forth, I and
thou, and seek the open." So he did as he said, and he took horse
with Sasan and rode till day break, when they prayed the dawn
prayer and fared on, and ceased not faring till they came to a
garden, where they sat down and talked. Then Kanmakan rose to
Sasan and said, "Is aught left to set thy heart against me?" "No,
by Allah!" replied Sasan. So they agreed to return to Baghdad
and Sabbah the Badawi said, "I will go before you, to give folk
the fair tidings of your coming." Then he rode on in advance,
acquainting women and men with the good news; so all the people
came out to meet Kanmakan with tabrets and pipes; and Kuzia Fakan
also came out, like the full moon shining in all her splendour of
light through the thick darkness of the night. So Kanmakan met
her, and soul yearned to soul and body longed for body. There
was no talk among the people of the time but of Kanmakan; for the
Knights bore witness of him that he was the most valiant of the
folk of the age and said, "It is not right that other than
Kanmakan should be our Sultan, but the throne of his grandfather
shall revert to him as it began." Meanwhile Sasan went in to his
wife, Nuzhat al-Zaman, who said to him, "I hear that the folk
talk of nothing but Kanmakan and attribute to him such qualities
as tongue never can." He replied, "Hearing of a man is not like
seeing a man. I have seen him, but have noted in him none of the
attributes of perfection. Not all that is heard is said; but
folk ape one another in extolling and cherishing him, and Allah
maketh his praises to run on the lips of men, so that there
incline to him the hearts of the people of Baghdad and of the
Wazir Dandan, that perfidious and treacherous man; who hath
levied troops from all lands and taketh to himself the right of
naming a King of the country; and who chooseth that it shall be
under the hand of an orphan ruler whose worth is naught." Asked
Nuzhat al-Zaman, "What then is it that thou purposest to do?";
and the King answered, "I mean to kill him, that the Wazir may be
baulked of his intent and return to his allegiance, seeing
nothing for it but my service." Quoth she, "In good sooth perfidy
with strangers is a foul thing and how much more with kith and
kin! The righteous deed to do would be to marry him to thy
daughter Kuzia Fakan and give heed to what was said of old time,

'An Fate some person 'stablish o'er thy head, *
And thou being worthier her choice upbraid,
Yet do him honour due to his estate; *
He'll bring thee weal though far or near thou vade:
Nor speak thy thought of him, else shalt thou be *
Of those who self degrade from honour's grade:
Many Haríms are lovelier than the Bride, *
But Time and Fortune lent the Bride their aid.'"

When Sasan heard these her words and comprehended what her verse
intended, he rose from her in anger and said, "Were it not that
thy death would bring on me dishonour and disgrace, I would take
off thy head with my blade and make an end of thy breath." Quoth
she, "Why art thou wroth with me? I did but jest with thee."
Then she rose to him and bussed his head and hands, saying,
"Right is thy foresight, and I and thou will cast about for some
means to kill him forthright." When he heard this, he was glad
and said, "Make haste and contrive some deceit to relieve me of
my grieving: for in my sooth the door of device is straitened
upon me!" Replied she, "At once I will devise for thee to do away
his life." "How so?" asked he; and she answered, "By means of our
female slave the so-called Bákún." Now this Bakun was past
mistress in all kinds of knavery and was one of the most
pestilent of old women, in whose religion to abstain from
wickedness was not lawful; she had brought up Kuzia Fakan and
Kanmakan who had her in so great affection that he used to sleep
at her feet. So when King Sasan heard his wife name her, he
said, "Right is this recking"; and, sending for the old woman,
told her what had passed and bade her cast about to kill
Kanmaken, promising her all good. Replied she, "Thy bidding
shall be obeyed; but I would have thee, O my lord, give me a
dagger[FN#106] which hath been tempered in water of death, that I
may despatch him the speedilier for thee." Quoth Sasan, "And
welcome to thee!"; and gave her a hanger that would devance man's
destiny. Now this slave women had heard stories and verses and
had learned by rote great store of strange sayings and anecdotes:
so she took the dagger and went out of the room, considering how
she could compass his doom. Then she repaired to Kanmakan, who
was sitting and awaiting news of tryst with the daughter of his
uncle, Kuzia Fakan; so that night his thought was taken up with
her and the fires of love for her raged in his heart. And while
he was thus, behold, the slave woman, Bakun, went in to him and
said, "Union time is at hand and the days of disunion are over
and gone." Now when he heard this he asked, "How is it with Kuzia
Fakan?"; and Bakun answered, "Know that her time is wholly taken
up with love of thee." At this he rose and doffing his outer
clothes put them on her and promised her all good. Then said
she, "Know that I mean to pass this night with thee, that I may
tell thee what talk I have heard and console thee with stories of
many passion distraughts whom love hath made sick." "Nay," quoth
he, "rather tell me a tale that will gladden my heart and gar my
cares depart." "With joy and good will," answered she; then she
took seat by his side (and that poniard under her dress) and
began to say: "Know thou that the pleasantest thing my ears ever
heard was

The Tale of the Hashish Eater.

A certain man loved fair women, and spent his substance on them,
till he became so poor that nothing remained to him; the world
was straitened upon him and he used to go about the market-
streets begging his daily bread. Once upon a time as he went
along, behold, a bit of iron nail pierced his finger and drew
blood; so he sat down and wiping away the blood, bound up his
finger. Then he arose crying out, and fared forwards till he
came to a Hammam and entering took off his clothes, and when he
looked about him he found it clean and empty. So he sat him down
by the fountain-basin, and ceased not pouring water on his head,
till he was tired.--And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and
ceased to say her permitted say.

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

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that the man sat
down by the fountain basin and ceased not pouring water on his
head till he was tired. Then he went out to the room in which
was the cistern of cold water; and seeing no one there, he found
a quiet corner and taking out a piece of Hashísh,[FN#107]
swallowed it. Presently the fumes mounted to his brain and he
rolled over on to the marble floor. Then the Hashish made him
fancy that a great lord was shampooing him and that two slaves
stood at his head, one bearing a bowl and the other washing gear
and all the requisites of the Hammam. When he saw this, he said
in himself, "Meseemeth these here be mistaken in me; or else they
are of the company of us Hashish-eaters."[FN#108] Then he
stretched out his legs and he imagined that the bathman said to
him, "O my master, the time of thy going up to the Palace draweth
near and it is to-day thy turn of service." At this he laughed
and said to himself, "As Allah willeth,[FN#109] O Hashish!" Then
he sat and said nothing, whilst the bathman arose and took him by
the hand and girt his middle with a waist-cloth of black silk,
after which the two slaves followed him with the bowls and gear,
and they ceased not escorting him till they brought him into a
cabinet, wherein they set incense and perfumes a-burning. He
found the place full of various kinds of fruits and sweet-scented
flowers, and they sliced him a watermelon and seated him on a
stool of ebony, whilst the bathman stood to wash him and the
slaves poured water on him; after which they rubbed him down well
and said, "O our lord, Sir Wazir, health to thee forever!" Then
they went out and shut the door on him; and in the vanity of
phantasy he arose and removed the waist-cloth from his middle,
and laughed till he well nigh fainted. He gave not over laughing
for some time and at last quoth he to himself, "What aileth them
to address me as if I were a Minister and style me Master, and
Sir? Haply they are now blundering; but after an hour they will
know me and say, This fellow is a beggar; and take their fill of
cuffing me on the neck." Presently, feeling hot he opened the
door, whereupon it seemed to him that a little white slave and an
eunuch came in to him carrying a parcel. Then the slave opened
it and brought out three kerchiefs of silk, one of which he threw
over his head, a second over his shoulders and a third he tied
round his waist. Moreover, the eunuch gave him a pair of bath-
clogs,[FN#110] and he put them on; after which in came white
slaves and eunuchs and sup ported him (and he laughing the while)
to the outer hall, which he found hung and spread with
magnificent furniture, such as be seemeth none but kings; and the
pages hastened up to him and seated him on the divan. Then they
fell to kneading him till sleep overcame him; and he dreamt that
he had a girl in his arms. So he kissed her and set her between
his thighs; then, sitting to her as a man sitteth to a
woman,[FN#111] he took yard in hand and drew her towards him and
weighed down upon her, when lo! he heard one saying to him,
"Awake, thou ne'er-do-well! The noon hour is come and thou art
still asleep." He opened his eyes and found him self lying on the
merge of the cold-water tank, amongst a crowd of people all
laughing at him; for his prickle was at point and the napkin had
slipped from his middle. So he knew that all this was but a
confusion of dreams and an illusion of Hashish and he was vexed
and said to him who had aroused him, "Would thou hadst waited
till I had put it in!" Then said the folk, "Art thou not ashamed,
O Hashish-eater, to be sleeping stark naked with stiff standing
tool?" And they cuffed him till his neck was red. Now he was
starving, yet forsooth had he savoured the flavour of pleasure in
his dream. When Kanmakan heard the bondwoman's tale, he laughed
till he fell backward and said to Bakun, "O my nurse, this is
indeed a rare story and a delectable; I never heard the like of
this anecdote. Say me! hast more?" "Yes," replied she, and she
ceased not to tell him merry adventures and laughable
absurdities, till sleep overcame him. Then she sat by his head
till the most part of the night was past, when she said to
herself, "It is time to profit by the occasion." So she sprang to
her feet and unsheathed the hanger and rushing up to Kanmakan,
was about to cut his throat when behold, his mother came in upon
the twain. As soon as Bakun saw her, she rose in respect and
advanced to meet her, and fear get hold of her and she fell a-
trembling, as if he had the ague. When his mother looked at her
she marvelled to see her thus and aroused her son, who awoke and
found her sitting at his head. Now the cause of her coming was
that Kuzia Fakan overheard the conversation and the concert to
kill Kanmakan, and she said to his mother, "O wife of my uncle,
go to thy son, ere that wicked whore Bakun murther him;" and she
told her what had passed from first to last. So she fared forth
at once, and she thought of naught and stayed not for aught till
she went in to her son at the very moment when Bakun was about to
slay him in his sleep. When he awoke, he said to his mother, "O
my mother, indeed thou comest at a good time, for nurse Bakun
hath been with me this night." Then he turned to Bakun and asked
her, "By my life! knowest thou any story better than those thou
hast told me?" She answered, "And where is what I have told thee
compared with what I will tell thee?; but however better it be,
it must be told at another time." Then she rose to depart, hardly
believing, in her escape albeit he said, "Go in peace!" for she
perceived by her cunning that his mother knew what had occurred.
So she went her way; whereupon his mother said to him, "O my son,
blessed be this night, for that Almighty Allah hath delivered
thee from this accursed woman." "And how so?" enquired he, and
she told him the story from beginning to end. Quoth he, "O my
mother, of a truth the live man findeth no slayer, and though
slain he shall not die; but now it were wiser that we depart from
amongst these enemies and let Allah work what He will." So, when
day dawned he left the city and joined the Wazir Dandan, and
after his departure, certain things befel between King Sasan and
Nuzhat al-Zaman, which compelled her also to quit the city and
join herself to them; and presently they were met by all the high
officers of King Sasan who inclined to their party. Then they
sat in counsel together devising what they should do, and at last
all agreed upon a razzia into the land of Roum there to take
their revenge for the death of King Omar bin al-Nu'uman and his
son Sharrkan. So they set out with this in tent and, after
sundry adventures (which it were tedious to tell as will appear
from what follows), they fell into the hands of Rúmzán, King of
the Greeks. Next morning, King Rumzan caused Kanmakan and the
Wazir Dandan and their company to be brought before him and, when
they came, he seated them at his side, and bade spread the tables
of food. So they ate and drank and took heart of grace, after
having made sure of death, when they were summoned to the King's
presence; and they had said to one another, "He hath not sent for
us but to slay us." And when they were comforted the King said,
"In truth I have had a dream, which I related to the monks, and
they said, "None can expound it to thee save the Wazir Dandan."
Quoth the Minister, "Weal it was thou didst see in thy dream, O
King of the age!" Quoth the King, "O Wazir, I dreamt that I was
in a pit which seemed a black well where multitudes were
tormenting me; and I would have risen, but when springing up I
fell on my feet and could not get out of that same pit. Then I
turned and saw therein a girdle of gold and I stretched out my
hand to take it; but when I raised it from the ground, I saw it
was two girdles. So I girt my middle with them both and behold,
the girdles became one girdle; and this, O Wazir, is my dream and
what I saw when my sleep was deepest." Said Dandan, "O our Lord
the Sultan! know that this thy dream denoteth thou hast a
brother or a brother's son or an uncle's son or other near
kinsman of thy flesh and blood whom thou knowest not; withal he
is of the noblest of you all." Now when the King heard these
words he looked at Kanmakan and Nuzhat al-Zaman and Kuzia Fakan
and the Wazir Dandan and the rest of the captives and said to
himself, "If I smite these people's necks, their troops will lose
heart for the destruction of their chiefs and I shall be able to
return speedily to my realm, lest the Kingship pass out of my
hands." So having determined upon this he called the Sworder and
bade him strike off Kanmakan's head upon the spot and forthright,
when lo! up came Rumzan's nurse and said to him, "O auspicious
King, what purposest thou?" Quoth he, "I purpose slaughtering
these prisoners who are in my power; and after that I will throw
their heads among their men: then will I fall upon them, I and
all my army in one body, and kill all we can kill and rout the
rest: so will this be the decisive action of the war and I shall
return speedily to my kingdom ere aught of accident befal among
my subjects." When the nurse heard these words, she came up to
him and said in the Frankish tongue, "How canst thou prevail upon
thyself to slay thine own brother's son, and thy sister, and thy
sister's daughter?" When he heard this language, he was wroth
with exceeding wrath and said to her, "O accursed woman, didst
thou not tell me that my mother was murthered and that my father
died by poison? Didst thou not give me a jewel and say to me,
'Of a truth this jewel was thy father's?' Why didst thou not tell
me the truth?" Replied she, "All that I told thee is true, but my
case and thy case are wonderful and my history and thy his tory
are marvellous. My name is Marjanah and thy mother's name was
Abrizah: and she was gifted with such beauty and loveliness and
velour that proverbs were made of her, and her prowess was
renowned among men of war. And thy father was King Omar bin al-
Nu'uman, Lord of Baghdad and Khorasan, without doubt or double
dealing or denial. He sent his son Sharrkan on a razzia in
company with this very Wazir Dandan; and they did all that men
can. But Sharrkan, thy brother, who had preceded the force,
separated himself from the troops and fell in with thy mother
Queen Abrizah in her palace; and we happened to have sought a
place apart in order to wrestle, she and I and her other damsels.
He came upon us by chance while we were in such case, and
wrestled with thy mother, who overcame him by the power of her
splendid beauty and by her prowess. Then she entertained him
five days in her palace, till the news of this came to her
father, by the old woman Shawahi, surnamed Zat al-Dawahi,
whereupon she embraced Al-Islam at the hands of Sharrkan, and he
took her and carried her by stealth to Baghdad, and with her
myself and Rayhánab and twenty other damsels, all of us having,
like her, followed the True Faith. When we came into the
presence of thy Father, the King Omar bin al-Nu'uman, and he saw
thy mother, Queen Abrizah, he fell in love with her and going in
unto her one night, had connection with her, and she conceived by
him and became with child of thee. Now thy mother had three
jewels which she presented to thy father; and he gave one of them
to his daughter, Nuzhat al-Zaman, another to thy brother, Zau al-
Makan, and the third to thy brother Sharrkan. This last thy
mother took from Sharrkan and kept it for thee. But as the time
of her delivery drew near she yearned after her own people and
disclosed to me her secret; so I went to a black slave called Al-
Ghazban; and, privily telling him our case, bribed him to go with
us. Accordingly the negro took us and fled the city with us, thy
mother being near her time. But as we approached a desert place
on the borders of our own country, the pangs of labour came upon
thy mother. Then the slave proved himself a lustful villain and
approaching her sought of her a shameful thing; whereupon she
cried out at him with a loud cry, and was sore affrighted at him.
In the excess of her fright she gave birth to thee at once, and
at that moment there arose, in the direction of our country, a
dust-cloud which towered and flew till it walled the view.
Thereupon the slave feared for his life; so he smote Queen
Abrizah with his sword and slew her in his fury; then mounting
his horse he went his way. Soon after his going, the dust lifted
and discovered thy grandfather, King Hardub, Lord of Grćcia-land,
who, seeing thy mother (and his daughter) lying slain on the
plain, was sorely troubled with a distress that redoubled, and
questioned me of the manner of her death and the cause of her
secretly quitting her father's realm. So I told him all that had
passed, first and last; and this is the cause of the feud between
the people of the land of the Greeks and the people of the city
of Baghdad. Then we bore off thy murthered mother and buried
her; and I took thee and reared thee, and hung about thy neck the
jewel which was with Queen Abrizah. But, when being grown up
thou camest to man's estate, I dared not acquaint thee with the
truth of the matter, lest such information stir up a war of blood
revenge between you. More over, thy grandfather had enjoined me
to secrecy, and I could not gainsay the commandment of thy
mother's father, Hardub, King of the Greeks. This, then, is the
cause of my concealment and the reason why I forbore to inform
thee that thy father was King Omar bin al-Nu'uman; but when thou
camest to the throne, I told thee what thou knowest; and I durst
not reveal to thee the rest till this moment, O King of the Age!
So now I have discovered to thee my secret and my proof, and I
have acquainted thee with all I know; and thou reckest best what
is in thy mind." Now all the captives had heard the slave woman
Marjanah, nurse to King Rumzan, speaking as she spake; when
Nuzhat al-Zaman, without stay or delay, cried out, saying, "This
King Rumzan is my brother by my father, King Omar bin al-Nu'uman,
and his mother was Queen Abrizah, daughter of King Hardub, Lord
of the Greeks; and I know this slave-woman Marjanah right well."
With this, trouble and perplexity got hold upon Rumzan and he
caused Nuzhat al-Zaman to be brought up to him forthright. When
he looked upon her, blood yearned to blood and he questioned her
of his history. She told him the tale and her story tallied with
that of Marjanah, his nurse; whereupon the King was assured that
he was, indeed and without a doubt, of the people of Irak; and
that King Omar bin al-Nu'uman was his father. So without losing
time he caused his sister to be unpinioned, and Nuzhat al-Zaman
came up to him and kissed his hands, whilst her eves ran over
with tears. The King west also to see her weeping, and brotherly
love possessed him and his heart yearned to his brother's son
Sultan Kanmakan. So he sprang to his feet and, taking the sword
from the Sworder's hands (whereat the captives made sure of
death), he caused them to be set close to him and he cut their
bonds with the blade and said to his nurse Marjanah, "Explain the
matter to this company, even as thou hast explained it to me."
Replied she, "O King, know that this Shayth is the Wazir Dandan
and he is the best of witnesses to my story, seeing that he
knoweth the facts of the case." Then she turned to the captives
and repeated the whole story to them on the spot and forthright,
and in presence of the Kings of the Greeks and the Kings of the
Franks; whereupon Queen Nuzhat al-Zaman and the Wazir Dandan and
all who were prisoners with them confirmed her words. When
Marjanah, the bond-woman, had finished, chancing to look at
Sultan Kanmakan she saw on his neck the third jewel, fellow to
the two which were with Queen Abrizah; and, recognising it, she
cried so loud a cry, that the palace re-echoed it and said to the
King, "O my son, know that now my certainty is still more
assured, for this jewel that is about the neck of yonder captive
is the fellow to that I hung to thy neck; and, these being the
two, this captive is indeed thy brother's son, Kanmakan." Then
the slave women Marjanah turned to Kanmakan and said to him, "Let
me see that jewel, O King of the Age!"; so he took it from his
neck and handed it to her. Then she asked Nuzhat al-Zaman of the
third jewel and she gave it to her; and when the two were in her
hand she delivered them to King Rumzan, and the truth and proof
were made manifest to him; and he was assured that he was indeed
Sultan Kanmakan's uncle and that his father was King Omar bin al-
Nu'uman. So he rose at once and on the spot and, going up to the
Wazir Dandan, threw his arms round his neck; then he embraced
King Kanmakan and the twain cried a loud cry for excess of joy.
The glad news was blazed abroad without delay; and they beat the
tabrets and cymbals, whilst the shawms sounded and the people
held high festival. The armies of Irak and Syria heard the
clamour of rejoicing among the Greeks; so they mounted to the
last man, and King Zibl Khan also took horse saying to himself,
"Would I knew what can be the cause of this clamour and rejoicing
in the army of the Franks and the Greeks!" Then the army of Irak
dight itself for fight and advanced into the plain and place of
cut and foin. Presently, King Rumzan turned him round and saw
the army deployed and in preparing for battle employed, so he
asked the cause thereof and was told the state of the case.
Thereupon he bade his niece and brother's daughter, Kuzia Fakan,
return at once and forthright to the troops of Syria and Irak and
acquaint them with the plight that had betided and how it was
come to light that King Rumzan was uncle to Sultan Kanmakan. She
set out, putting away from her sorrows and troubles and, coming
to King Zibl Khan,[FN#112] saluted him and told him all that had
passed of the good accord, and how King Rumzan had proved to be
her uncle and uncle of Kanmakan. And when she went in to him she
found him tearful eyed, in fear for the captive Emirs and
Princes; but when he heard what had passed, from first to last,
the Moslem's sadness was abated and they joyed with the more
gladness. Then King Zibl Khan and all his officers and his
retinue took horse and followed Princess Kuzia Fakan till they
reached the pavilion of King Rumzan; and when entering they found
him sitting with his nephew, Sultan Kanmakan. Now he had taken
counsel with the Wazir Dandan concerning King Zibl Khan and had
agreed to commit to his charge the city of Damascus of Sham and
leave him King over it as he before had been while they
themselves entered Irak. Accordingly, they confirmed him in the
vice royalty of Damascus of Syria, and bade him set out at once
for his government; so he fared forth with his troops and they
rode with him a part of the way to bid him farewell. Then they
returned to their own places whereupon, the two armies
foregathered and gave orders for the march upon Irak; but the
Kings said one to other, "Our hearts will never be at rest nor
our wrath cease to rage till we have taken our wreak of the old
woman Shawahi, surnamed Zat al-Dawahi, and wiped away our shame
and blot upon our honour." Thereupon King Rumzan and his nephew
set out, surrounded by their Nobles and Grandees; and indeed
Kanmakan rejoiced in his uncle, King Rumzan, and called down
blessings on nurse Marjanah who had made them known to each
other. They fared on and ceased not faring till they drew near
their home Baghdad, and when the Chief Chamberlain, Sasan, heard
of their approach, he came out to meet them and kissed the hand
of King Rumzan who bestowed on him a dress of honour. Then the
King of Roum sat down on the throne and seated by his side his
nephew Sultan Kanmakan, who said to him, "O my uncle, this
Kingdom befitteth none but thee." Replied Rumzan, "Allah be my
refuge and the Lord forbid that I should supplant thee in thy
Kingdom!" Upon this the Wazir Dandan counselled them to share the
throne between the two, ruling each one day in turn; and with
this they were well satisfied.--And Shahrazad perceived the dawn
of day and ceased saying her permitted say.

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

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that the two
Kings agreed each to rule one day in turn: then made they feasts
and offered sacrifices of clean beasts and held high festival;
and they abode thus awhile, whilst Sultan Kanmakan spent his
nights with his cousin Kuzia Fakan. And after that period, as
the two Kings sat rejoicing in their condition and in the happy
ending of their troubles, behold, they saw a cloud of dust arise
and tower till it walled the world from their eyes. And out of
it came a merchant shrieking and crying aloud for succour and
saying, "O Kings of the Age! how cometh it that I woned safely
in the land of the Infidels and I am plundered in your realm,
though it be the biding place of justice[FN#113] and peace?" Then
King Rumzan went up to him and questioned him of his case and he
replied, "I am a merchant and, like other merchants, I have been
long absent from my native land, travelling in far countries for
some twenty years; and I have a patent of exemption from the city
of Damascus which the Viceroy, King Sharrkan (who hath found
mercy) wrote me, for the cause that I had made him gift of a
slave-girl. Now as I was drawing near my home, having with me an
hundred loads of rarities of Hind, when I brought them near
Baghdad, which be the seat of your sovereignty and the place of
your peace and your justice, out there came upon me wild Arabs
and Kurds[FN#114] in band gathered together from every land; and
they slew my many and they robbed my money and this is what they
have done me." Then the trader wept in presence of King Rumzan,
saying that he was an old man and infirm; and he bemoaned himself
till the King felt for him and had compassion on him; and
likewise did King Kanmakan and they swore that they would sally
forth upon the thieves. So they set out amid an hundred horse,
each reckoned worth thou sands of men, and the merchant went
before them to guide them in the right way; and they ceased not
faring on all that day and the livelong night till dawnbreak,
when they came to a valley abounding in rills and shady with
trees. Here they found the foray dispersed about the valley,
having divided that merchant's bales among them; but there was
yet some of the goods left. So the hundred horsemen fell upon
them and surrounded them on all sides, and King Rumzan shouted
his war cry, and thus also did his nephew Kanmakan, and ere long
they made prize of them all, to the number of near three hundred
horsemen, banded together of the refuse of rascality.[FN#115]
They took what they could find of the merchant's goods and,
binding them tightly, brought them to Baghdad, where King Rumzan
and his nephew, King Kanmakan, sat down together on one throne
and, passing the prisoners in review before them, questioned them
of their case and their chiefs. They said, "We have no chiefs
but these three men and it was they who gathered us together from
all corners and countries." The Kings said to them, "Point out to
us your headmen!"; and, when this was done, they bade lay hands
on the leaders and set their comrades free, after taking from
them all the goods in their possession and restoring them to the
merchant, who examined his stuffs and monies and found that a
fourth of his stock was missing. The Kings engaged to make good
the whole of his loss, where upon the trader pulled out two
letters, one in the handwriting of Sharrkan, and the other in
that of Nuzhat al-Zaman; for this was the very merchant who had
bought Nuzhat al-Zaman of the Badawi, when she was a virgin, and
had forwarded her to her brother Sharrkan; and that happened
between them which happened.[FN#116] Hereupon King Kanmakan
examined the letters and recognised the handwriting of his uncle
Sharrkan, and, having heard the history of his aunt, Nuzhat al-
Zaman, he went in to her with the second letter written by her to
the merchant who had lost through her his monies; Kanmakan also
told her what had befallen the trader from first to last. She
knew her own handwriting and, recognising the merchant,
despatched to him guest gifts and commended him to her brother
and nephew, who ordered him largesse of money and black slaves
and pages to wait on him; besides which Nuzhat al-Zaman sent him
an hundred thousand dirhams in cash and fifty loads of
merchandise and presented to him other rich presents. Then she
sent for him and when he came, she went up to him and saluted him
and told him that she was the daughter of King Omar bin al-
Nu'uman and that her brother was King Rumzan and that King
Kanmakan was her nephew. Thereupon the merchant rejoiced with
great joy, and congratulated her on her safety and on her re-
union with her brother, and kissed her hands thanking her for her
bounty, and said to her, "By Allah! a good deed is not lost upon
thee!" Then she withdrew to her own apartment and the trader
sojourned with them three days, after which he took leave of them
and set out on his return march to the land of Syria. Thereupon
the two Kings sent for the three robber chiefs who were of the
highway men, and questioned them of their case, when one of them
came forward and said, "Know ye that I am a Badawi who am wont to
lie in wait, by the way, to snatch small children[FN#117] and
virgin girls and sell them to merchants; and this I did for many
a year until these latter days, when Satan incited me to join yon
two gallows birds in gathering together all the riff-raff of the
Arabs and other peoples, that we might plunder merchandise and
waylay merchants." Said the Kings, "Tell us the rarest of the
adventures that have befallen thee in kidnapping children and
maidens." Replied he, "O Kings of the Age, the strangest thing
that happened to me was that one day, two-and-twenty years ago, I
snatched a girl who belonged to the Holy City; she was gifted
with beauty and comeliness, despite that she was but a servant
and was clad in threadbare clothes, with a piece of camlet-cloth
on her head. So I entrapped her by guile as she came out of the
caravanserai; and at that very hour mounting her on a camel, made
off with her, thinking to carry her to my own people in the
Desert and there set her to pasture the camels and gather their
droppings in the valley. But she wept with so sore a weeping
that after coming down upon her with blows, I took her and
carried her to Damascus city where a merchant saw her with me
and, being astounded at her beauty and marvelling at her
accomplishments, wished to buy her of me and kept on bidding me
more and more for her, till at last I sold her to him for an
hundred thousand dirhams. After selling her I heard her display
prodigious eloquence; and it reached me that the merchant clothed
her in handsome gear and presented her to the Viceroy of
Damascus, who gave him three times the price which he had paid to
me, and this price, by my life! was but little for such a
damsel. This, O Kings of the Age, is the strangest thing that
ever befel me." When the two Kings heard her story they wondered
thereat, but when Nuzhat al-Zaman heard what the Badawi related,
the light became darkness before her face and she cried out and
said to her brother Rumzan, "Sure and sans doubt this is the very
Badawi who kidnapped me in the Holy City Jerusalem!" Then she
told them all that she had endured from him in her stranger hood
of hardship, blows, hunger, humiliation, contempt, adding, "And
now it is lawful for me to slay him." So saying she seized a
sword and made at him to smite him; and behold, he cried out and
said, "O Kings of the Age, suffer her not to slay me, till I
shall have told you the rare adventures that have betided me."
And her nephew Kanmakan said to her, "O my aunt, let him tell us
his tale, and after that do with him as thou wilt." So she held
her hand and the Kings said to him, "Now let us hear thy
history." Quoth he, "O Kings of the Age, if I tell you a rare
tale will ye pardon me?" "Yes," answered they. Then the Badawi
robber-chief began,

The Tale of Hammad the Badawi.

And he said:--Know ye that a short while ago, I was sore wakeful
one night and thought the morn would never dawn; so, as soon as
it was break of day I rose, without stay or delay; and, slinging
over my shoulder my sword, mounted horse and set my lance in
rest. Then I rode out to sport and hunt and, as I went along, a
company of men accosted me and asked me whither I was bound I
told them and they said, "We will keep thee company." So we all
fared on together, and, whilst we were faring, lo and behold! up
started an ostrich and we gave her chase, but she escaped our
pursuit and spreading wings ceased not to fly before us (and we
following by sight) till she lost us in a desert wherein there
was neither grass nor water, nor heard we aught therein save hiss
of snake and wail of Jinn and howl of Ghul; and when we reached
that place the ostrich disappeared nor could we tell whether she
had flown up into the sky or into the ground had gone down. Then
we turned our horses' heads and thought to return; but found that
to retrace our steps at that time of burning heat would be
toilsome and dangerous; for the sultry air was grievous to us, so
that we thirsted with sore thirst and our steeds stood still. We
made sure of death; but while we were in this case we suddenly
espied from afar a spacious mead where gazelles were frisking
Therein was a tent pitched and by the tent side a horse tethered
and a spear was planted with head glittering in the sun.[FN#118]
Upon this our hearts revived after we had despaired, and we
turned our horses' heads towards that tent making for the meadow

Book of the day: