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The Book of the Thousand Nights and a Night, Volume 4 by Richard F. Burton

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A Plain and Literal Translation
of the Arabian Nights Entertainments

Translated and Annotated by
Richard F. Burton


To Foster Fitzgerald Arbuthnot.

My Dear Arbuthnot,

I have no fear that a friend, whose friendship has lasted
nearly a third of a century, will misunderstand my reasons for
inscribing his name upon these pages. You have lived long enough
in the East and, as your writings show, observantly enough, to
detect the pearl which lurks in the kitchen-midden, and to note
that its lustre is not dimmed nor its value diminished by its
unclean surroundings.

Ever yours sincerely,
Richard F. Burton.

AthenAEum Club, October 1, 1885

Contents of the Fourth Volume

Tale of Kamar Al-Zaman (continued)
a. Ni'amar Bin Al-Rabi'a and Naomi His Slave-girl
b. Conclusion of the Tale of Kamar Al-Zaman
22. Ala Al-Din Abu Al-Shamat
23. Hatim of the Trive of Tayy
24. Ma'an the Son of Zaidah
25. Ma'an the Son of Zaidah and the Badawi
26. The City of Labtayt
27. The Caliph Hisham and the Arab Youth
28. Ibrahim Bin Al-Mahdi and the Barber-Surgeon
29. The City of Many-Columned Iram and Abdullah Son of Abi
30. Isaac of Mosul
31. The Sweep and the Noble Lady
32. The Mock Caliph
33. Ali the Persian
34. Haru Al-Rashid and the Slave-Girl and the Iman Abu Yusuf
35. The Lover Who Feigned Himself A Thief
36. Ja'afar the Barmecide and the Bean-Seller
37. Abu Mohammed Hight Lazybones
38. Generous Dealing of Yahya Bin Khalid The Barmecide with
39. Generous Dealing of Yahya Son of Khalid with a Man Who
Forged a Letter in his Name
40. Caliph Al-Maamum and the Strange Scholar
41. Ali Shar and Zumurrud
42. The Loves of Jubayr Bin Umayr and the Lady Budur
43. The Man of Al-Yaman and His Six Slave-Girls
44. Harun Al-Rashid and the Damsel and Abu Nowas
45. The Man Who Stole the Dish of Gold Wherein The Dog Ate
46. The Sharper of Alexandria and the Chief of Police
47. Al-Malik Al-Nasir and the Three Chiefs of Police
a. Story of the Chief of Police of Cairo
b. Story of the Chief of the Bulak Police
c. Story of the Chief of the Old Cairo Police
48. The Thief and the Shroff
49. The Chief of the Kus Police and the Sharper
50. Ibrahim Bin Al-Mahdi and the Merchant's Sister
51. The Woman Whose Hands were Cut Off For Giving Alms to the
52. The Devout Israelite
53. Abu Hassan Al-Ziyadi and the Khorasan
54. The Poor Man and His Friend in Need
55. The Ruined Man Who became Rich Again Through A Dream
56. Caliph Al-Mutawakkil and His Concubine Mahbubah
57. Wardan the Butcher; His Adventure With the Lady and the Bear
58. The King's Daughter and the Ape

The Book of the Thousand Nights and A Night

Ni'amah bin al-Rabi'a and Naomi his Slave-girl.

There lived once in the city of Cufa[FN#1] a man called Al-Rabi'a
bin Hatim, who was one of the chief men of the town, a wealthy
and a healthy, and Heaven had vouchsafed him a son, whom he named
Ni'amah Allah.[FN#2] One day, being in the slave-brokers' mart,
he saw a woman exposed for sale with a little maid of wonderful
beauty and grace on her arm. So he beckoned to the broker and
asked him, "How much for this woman and her daughter?" He
answered "Fifty dinars." Quoth Al-Rabi'a "Write the contract of
sale and take the money and give it to her owner." Then he gave
the broker the price and his brokerage and taking the woman and
her child, carried them to his house. Now when the daughter of
his uncle who was his wife saw the slave, she said to her
husband, "O my cousin, what is this damsel?" He replied, "Of a
truth, I bought her for the sake of the little one on her arm;
for know that, when she groweth up, there will not be her like
for beauty, either in the land of the Arabs or the Ajams." His
wife remarked, "Right was thy rede", and said to the woman "What
is thy name?" She replied, "O my lady, my name is Tauflik.[FN#3]"
"And what is thy daughter's name?" asked she? Answered the slave,
"Sa'ad, the happy." Rejoined her mistress; "Thou sayst sooth,
thou art indeed happy, and happy is he who hath bought thee."
Then quoth she to her husband, "O my cousin, what wilt thou call
her?"; and quoth he, "Whatso thou chooses"; so she said, "Then
let us call her Naomi," and he rejoined "Good is thy device." The
little Naomi was reared with Al-Rabi'a's son Ni'amah in one
cradle, so to speak, till the twain reached the age of ten and
each grew handsomer than the other; and the boy used to address
her, "O my sister!" and she, "O my brother!", till they came to
that age when Al-Rabi'a said to Ni'amah, "O my son, Naomi is not
thy sister but thy slave. I bought her in thy name whilst thou
wast yet in the cradle; so call her no more sister from this day
forth." Quoth Ni'amah, "If that be so, I will take her to wife."
Then he went to his mother and told her of this, and she said to
him, "O my son, she is thy handmaid." So he wedded and went in
unto Naomi and loved her; and two[FN#4] years passed over them
whilst in this condition, nor was there in all Cufa a fairer girl
than Naomi, or a sweeter or a more graceful. As she grew up she
learnt the Koran and read works of science and excelled in music
and playing upon all kinds of instruments; and in the beauty of
her singing she surpassed all the folk of her time. Now one day
as she sat with her husband in the wine chamber, she took the
lute, tightened the strings, and sang these two couplets,

"While thou'rt my lord whose bounty's my estate, * A sword
whereby my woes to annihilate,
Recourse I never need to Amru or Zayd,[FN#5] * Nor aught save
thee if way to me grow strait!"

Ni'amah was charmed with these verses and said to her, "By my
life, O Naomi, sing to us with the tambourine and other
instruments!" So she sang these couplets to a lively measure,

"By His life who holds my guiding rein, I swear * I'll meet on
love ground parlous foe nor care:
Good sooth I'll vex revilers, thee obey * And quit my slumbers
and all joy forswear:
And for thy love I'll dig in vitals mine * A grave, nor shall my
vitals weet 'tis there!"

And Ni'amah exclaimed, "Heaven favoured art thou, O Naomi!" But
whilst they led thus the most joyous life, behold!
Al-Hajjaj,[FN#6] the Viceroy of Cufa said to himself, "Needs must
I contrive to take this girl named Naomi and send her to the
Commander of the Faithful, Abd al-Malik bin Marwan, for he hath
not in his palace her like for beauty and sweet singing." So he
summoned an old woman of the duennas of his wives and said to
her, "Go to the house of Al-Rabi'a and foregather with the girl
Naomi and combine means to carry her off; for her like is not to
be found on the face of the earth." She promised to do his
bidding; the next morning she donned the woollen clothes of a
devotee and hung around her neck a rosary of beads by the
thousand; and, henting in hand a staff and a leather water bottle
of Yamani manufacture.-- And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day
and ceased to say her permitted say.

When it was the Two Hundred and Thirty-eighth Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that the old
woman promised to do the bidding of Al-Hajjaj, and whenas it was
morning she donned the woollen clothes of a devotee[FN#7] and
hung around her neck a rosary of beads by the thousand and hent
in hand a staff and a leather water bottle of Yamani manufacture
and fared forth crying, "Glory be to Allah! Praised be Allah!
There is no god but the God! Allah is Most Great! There is no
Majesty and there is no Might save in Allah, the Glorious, the
Great!" Nor did she leave off her lauds and her groaning in
prayer whilst her heart was full of guile and wiles, till she
came to the house of Ni'amah bin al-Rabi'a at the hour of noon
prayer, and knocked at the door. The doorkeeper opened and said
to her, "What dost thou want?" Quoth she, "I am a poor pious
woman, whom the time of noon prayer hath overtaken, and fief
would I pray in this blessed place." Answered the porter, "O old
woman, this is no mosque nor oratory, but the house of Ni'amah
son of al Rabi'a." She replied, "I know there is neither
cathedral-mosque nor oratory like the house of Ni'amah bin
al-Rabi'a. I am a chamberwoman of the palace of the Prince of
True Believers and am come out for worship and the visitation of
Holy Places." But the porter rejoined, "Thou canst not enter;"
and many words passed between them, till at last she caught hold
and hung to him saying, "Shall the like of me be denied admission
to the house of Ni'amah bin al-Rabi'a, I who have free access to
the houses of Emirs and Grandees?" Anon, out came Ni'amah and,
hearing their loud language, laughed and bade the old woman enter
after him. So she followed him into the presence of Naomi, whom
she saluted after the godliest and goodliest fashion, and, when
she looked on her, she was confounded at her exceeding seemliness
and said to her, "O my lady, I commend thee to the safeguard of
Allah, who made thee and thy lord fellows in beauty and
loveliness!" Then she stood up in the prayer niche and betook
herself to inclination and prostration and prayer, till day
departed and night darkened and starkened, when Naomi said to
her, "O my mother, rest thy legs and feet awhile." Replied the
old woman "O my lady, whoso seeketh the world to come let him
weary him in this world, and whoso wearieth not himself in this
world shall not attain the dwellings of the just in the world to
come." Then Naomi brought her food and said to her, "Eat of my
bread and pray Heaven to accept my penitence and to have mercy on
me." But she cried, "O my lady, I am fasting. As for thee, thou
art but a girl and it befitteth thee to eat and drink and make
merry; Allah be indulgent to thee!; for the Almighty saith: All
shall be punished except him who shall repent and believe and
shall work a righteous work."[FN#8] So Naomi continued sitting
with the old woman in talk and presently said to Ni'amah, "O my
lord, conjure this ancient dame to sojourn with us awhile, for
piety and devotion are imprinted on her countenance." Quoth he,
"Set apart for her a chamber where she may say her prayers; and
suffer no one to go in to her: peradventure, Allah (extolled and
exalted be He!) shall prosper us by the blessing of her presence
and never separate us." So the old woman passed her night in
praying and reciting the Koran; and when Allah caused the morn to
dawn, she went in to Ni'amah and Naomi and, giving them good
morning, said to them, "I pray Allah have you in His holy
keeping!" Quoth Naomi, "Whither away, O my mother? My lord hath
bidden me set apart for thee a chamber, where thou mayst seclude
thee for thy devotions." Replied the old woman, "Allah give him
long life, and continue His favour to you both! But I would have
you charge the doorkeeper not to stay my coming in to you; and,
Inshallah! I will go the round of the Holy Places and pray for
you two at the end of my devotions every day and night." Then she
went out (whilst Naomi wept for parting with her knowing not the
cause of her coming), and returned to Al-Hajjaj who said to her,
"As thou do my bidding soon, thou shalt have of me abundant
good." Quoth she, "I ask of thee a full month;" and quoth he
"Take the month." Thereupon the old hag fell to daily visiting
Ni'amah's house and frequented his slave-wife, Naomi.-- And
Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased saying her
permitted say.

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

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that the old hag
fell to visiting daily Ni'amah's house and frequenting his slave
wife, Naomi; and both ceased not to honour her, and she used to
go in to them morning and evening and all in the house respected
her till, one day, being alone with Naomi, she said to her, "O my
lady! by Allah, when I go to the Holy Places, I will pray for
thee; and I only wish thou wert with me, that thou mightest look
on the Elders of the Faith who resort thither, and they should
pray for thee, according to thy desire." Naomi cried, "I conjure
thee by Allah take me with thee!"; and she replied, "Ask leave of
thy mother in law, and I will take thee." So Naomi said to her
husband's mother, "O my lady, ask my master to let us go forth,
me and thee, one day with this my old mother, to prayer and
worship with the Fakirs in the Holy Places." Now when Ni'amah
came in and sat down, the old woman went up to him and would have
kissed his hand, but he forbade her; so she invoked
blessings[FN#9] on him and left the house. Next day she came
again, in the absence of Ni'amah, and she addressed Naomi,
saying, "We prayed for thee yesterday; but arise now and divert
thyself and return ere thy lord come home." So Naomi said to her
mother-in-law, "I beseech thee, for Allah's sake, give me leave
to go with this pious woman, that I may sight the saints of Allah
in the Holy Places, and return speedily ere my lord come back."
Quoth Ni'amah's mother, "I fear lest thy lord know;" but said the
old woman, "By Allah, I will not let her take seat on the floor;
no, she shall look, standing on her feet, and not tarry." So she
took the damsel by guile and, carrying her to Al-Hajjaj's palace,
told him of her coming, after placing her in a lonely chamber;
whereupon he went in to her and, looking upon her, saw her to be
the loveliest of the people of the day, never had he beheld her
like. Now when Naomi caught sight of him she veiled her face from
him; but he left her not till he had called his Chamberlain, whom
he commanded to take fifty horsemen; and he bade him mount the
damsel on a swift dromedary, and bear her to Damascus and there
deliver her to the Commander of the Faithful, Abd al-Malik bin
Marwan. Moreover, he gave him a letter for the Caliph, saying,
"Bear him this letter and bring me his answer and hasten thy
return to me." So the Chamberlain, without losing time, took the
damsel (and she tearful for separation from her lord) and,
setting out with her on a dromedary, gave not over journeying
till he reached Damascus. There he sought audience of the
Commander of the Faithful and, when it was granted, the
Chamberlain delivered the damsel and reported the circumstance.
The Caliph appointed her a separate apartment and going into his
Harim, said to his wife, "Al Hajjaj hath bought me a slave-girl
of the daughters of the Kings of Cufa[FN#10] for ten thousand
dinars, and hath sent me this letter."-- And Shahrazad perceived
the dawn of day and ceased to say her permitted say.

When it was the Two Hundred and Fortieth Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when the
Caliph acquainted his wife with the story of the slave-girl, she
said to him, "Allah increase to thee His favour!" Then the
Caliph's sister went in to the supposed slave-girl and, when she
saw her, she said, "By Allah, not unlucky is the man who hath
thee in his house, were thy cost an hundred thousand dinars!" And
Naomi replied, "O fair of face, what King's palace is this, and
what is the city?" She answered, "This is the city of Damascus,
and this is the palace of my brother, the Commander of the
Faithful, Abd al-Malik bin Marwan.[FN#11]" Then she resumed,
"Didst thou not know all this?" Naomi said, "By Allah, O my lady,
I had no knowledge of it!"; when the other asked, "And he who
sold thee and took thy price did he not tell thee that the Caliph
had bought thee?" Now when Naomi heard these words, she shed
tears and said to herself, "Verily, I have been tricked and the
trick hath succeeded," adding to herself, "If I speak, none will
credit me; so I will hold my peace and take patience, for I know
that the relief of Allah is near." Then she bent her head for
shame, and indeed her cheeks were tanned by the journey and the
sun. So the Caliph's sister left her that day and returned to her
on the morrow with clothes and necklaces of jewels, and dressed
her; after which the Caliph came in to her and sat down by her
side, and his sister said to him, "Look on this handmaid in whom
Allah hath conjoined every perfection of beauty and loveliness."
So he said to Naomi, "Draw back the veil from thy face;" but she
would not unveil, and he beheld not her face. However, he saw her
wrists and love of her entered his heart; and he said to his
sister, "I will not go in unto her for three days, till she be
cheered by thy converse." Then he arose and left her, but Naomi
ceased not to brood over her case and sigh for her separation
from her master, Ni'amah, till she fell sick of a fever during
the night and ate not nor drank; and her favour faded and her
charms were changed. They told the Caliph of this and her
condition grieved him; so he visited her with physicians and men
of skill, but none could come at a cure for her. This is how it
fared with her; but as regards Ni'amah, when he returned home he
sat down on his bed and cried, "Ho, Naomi!" But she answered not;
so he rose in haste and called out, yet none came to him, as all
the women in the house had hidden themselves for fear of him.
Then he went out to his mother, whom he found sitting with her
cheek on her hand, and said to her, "O my mother, where is
Naomi?" She answered, "O my son, she is with one who is worthier
than I to be trusted with her, namely, the devout old woman; she
went forth with her to visit devotionally the Fakirs and return."
Quoth Ni'amah, "Since when hath this been her habit and at what
hour went she forth?" Quoth his mother, "She went out early in
the morning." He asked, "And how camest thou to give her leave
for this?"; and she answered, "O my son, 'twas she persuaded me."
"There is no Majesty and there is no Might save in Allah, the
Glorious, the Great!" exclaimed Ni'amah and, going forth from his
home in a state of distraction, he repaired to the Captain of the
Watch to whom said he, "Doss thou play tricks upon me and
steal-my slave-girl away from my house? I will assuredly complain
of thee to the Commander of the Faithful." Said the Chief of
Police, "Who hath taken her?" and Ni'amah replied, "An old woman
of such and such a mien, clad in woollen raiment and carrying a
rosary of beads numbered by thousands." Rejoined the other, "Find
me the old woman and I will get thee back thy slave-girl." "And
who knows the old woman?" retorted Ni'amah. "And who knows the
hidden things save Allah (may He be extolled and exalted!)?"
cried the Chief, who knew her for Al-Hajjaj's procuress. Cried
Ni'amah, "I look to thee for my slave-girl, and Al-Hajjaj shall
judge between thee and me;" and the Master of Police answered,
"Go to whom thou wilt." So Ni'amah went to the palace of
Al-Hajjaj, for his father was one of the chief men of Cufa; and,
when he arrived there, the Chamberlain went in to the Governor
and told him the case; whereupon Al-Hajjaj said, "Hither with
him!" and when he stood before him enquired, "What be thy
business?" Said Ni'amah, "Such and such things have befallen me;"
and the Governor said, "Bring me the Chief of Police, and we will
commend him to seek for the old woman." Now he knew that the
Chief of Police was acquainted with her; so, when he came, he
said to him, "I wish thee to make search for the slave-girl of
Ni'amah son of Al-Rabi'a." And he answered, "None knoweth the
hidden things save Almighty Allah." Rejoined Al-Hajjaj, "There
is no help for it but thou send out horsemen and look for the
damsel in all the roads, and seek for her in the towns."--And
Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased to say her
permitted say.

When it was the Two Hundred and Forty-First Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that Al-Hajjaj
said to the Captain of the Watch, "There is no help for it but
thou send out horsemen, and look for the damsel on all the roads
and seek for her in the towns." Then he turned to Ni'amah and
said to him, "And thy slave-girl return not, I will give thee ten
slave-girls from my house and ten from that of the Chief of
Police." And he again bade the Captain of the Watch, "Go and seek
for the girl." So he went out, and Ni'amah returned home full of
trouble and despairing of life; for he had now reached the age of
fourteen and there was yet no hair on his side cheeks. So he wept
and lamented and shut himself up from his household; and ceased
not to weep and lament, he and his mother, till the morning, when
his father came in to him and said, "O my son, of a truth,
Al-Hajjaj hath put a cheat upon the damsel and hath taken her;
but from hour to hour Allah giveth relief." However grief
redoubled on Ni'amah, so that he knew not what he said nor knew
he who came in to him, and he fell sick for three months his
charms were changed, his father despaired of him and the
physicians visited him and said, "There is no remedy for him save
the damsel." Now as his father was sitting one day, behold he
heard tell of a skillful Persian physician, whom the folk gave
out for perfect in medicine and astrology and geomancy. So
Al-Rabi'a sent for him and, seating him by his side, entreated
him with honour and said to him, "Look into my son's case."
Thereupon quoth he to Ni'amah, "Give me thy hand." The young man
gave him his hand and he felt his pulse and his joints and looked
in his face; then he laughed and, turning to his father, said,
"Thy son's sole ailment is one of the heart."[FN#12] He replied,
Thou sayest sooth, O sage, but apply thy skill to his state and
case, and acquaint me with the whole thereof and hide naught from
me of his condition." Quoth the Persian, "Of a truth he is
enamoured of a slave-girl and this slave-girl is either in
Bassorah or Damascus; and there is no remedy for him but reunion
with her." Said Al-Rabi'a, "An thou bring them together, thou
shalt live all thy life in wealth and delight." Answered the
Persian, "In good sooth this be an easy matter and soon brought
about," and he turned to Ni'amah and said to him, "No hurt shall
befall thee; so be of good cheer and keep thine eyes cool and
clear." Then quoth he to Al-Rabi'a, "Bring me out four thousand
dinars of your money;" so he gave them to him, and he added, "I
wish to carry thy son with me to Damascus; and Almighty Allah
willing, I will not return thence but with the damsel." Then he
turned to the youth and asked, "What is thy name?"; and he
answered "Ni'amah." Quoth the Persian, "O Ni'amah, sit up and be
of good heart, for Allah will reunite thee with the damsel." And
when he sat up the leach continued, "Be of good cheer for we set
out for Damascus this very day: put thy trust in the Lord and eat
and drink and be cheerful so as to fortify thyself for travel."
Upon this the Persian began making preparation of all things
needed, such as presents and rarities; and he took of Al-Rabi'a
in all the sum of ten thousand dinars, together with horses and
camels and beasts of burden and other requisites. Then Ni'amah
farewelled his father and mother and journeyed with the physician
to Aleppo. They could find no news of Naomi there so they fared
on to Damascus, where they abode three days, after which the
Persian took a shop and he adorned even the shelves with vessels
of costly porcelain, with covers of silver, and with gildings and
stuffs of price. Moreover, he set before himself vases and
flagons of glass full of all manner of ointments and ups, and he
surrounded them with cups of crystal--and, placing astrolabe and
geomantic tablet facing him, he donned a physician's habit and
took his seat in the shop. Then he set Ni'amah standing before
him clad in a shirt and gown of silk and, girding his middle with
a silken kerchief gold-embroidered, said to him, "O Ni'amah,
henceforth thou art my son; so call me naught but sire, and I
will call thee naught but son." And he replied, "I hear and I
obey." Thereupon the people of Damascus flocked to the Persian's
shop that they might gaze on the youth's goodliness and the
beauty of the shop and its contents, whilst the physician spoke
to Ni'amah in Persian and he answered him in the same tongue, for
he knew the language, after the wont of the sons of the notables.
So that Persian doctor soon became known among the townsfolk and
they began to acquaint him with their ailments, and he to
prescribe for them remedies. Moreover, they brought him the water
of the sick in phials,[FN#13] and he would test it and say, "He,
whose water this is, is suffering from such and such a disease,"
and the patient would declare, "Verily this physician sayeth
sooth." So he continued to do the occasions of the folk and they
to flock to him, till his fame spread throughout the city and
into the houses of the great. Now, one day as he sat in his-shop,
behold, there came up an old woman riding on an ass with a
stuffed saddle of brocade embroidered with jewels; and, stopping
before the Persian's shop, drew rein and beckoned him, saying,
"Take my hand." He took her hand, and she alighted and asked him
"Art thou the Persian physician from Irak?" "Yes," answered he,
and she said, "Know that I have a sick daughter." Then she
brought out to him a phial--and the Persian looked at it and said
to her, "O my mistress, tell me thy daughter's name, that I may
calculate her horoscope and learn the hour in which it will befit
her to drink medicine." She replied, "O my brother the
Persian,[FN#14] her name is Naomi."-- And Shahrazad perceived the
dawn of day and ceased saying her permitted say.

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

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when the
Persian heard the name of Naomi, he fell to calculating and
writing on his hand and presently said, "O my lady, I cannot
prescribe a medicine for her till I know what country woman she
is, because of the difference of climate: so tell me in what land
she was brought up and what is her age." The old woman replied
"She is fourteen years old and she was brought up in Cufa of
Irak." He asked, "And how long hath she sojourned in this
country?" "But a few months," answered she. Now when Ni'amah
heard the old woman's words and recognised the name of his slave-
girl, his heart fluttered and he was like to faint. Then said the
Persian, "Such and such medicines will suit her case;" and the
old woman rejoined, "Then make them up and give me what thou hast
mentioned, with the blessing of Almighty Allah." So saying, she
threw upon the shop board ten gold pieces, and he looked at
Ni'amah and bade him prepare the necessary drugs; whereupon she
also looked at the youth and exclaimed, "Allah have thee in his
keeping, O my son! Verily, she favoureth thee in age and mien."
Then said she to the physician, "O my brother the Persian, is
this thy slave or thy son?" "He is my son," answered he. So
Ni'amah put up the medicine and, placing it in a little box, took
a piece of paper and wrote thereon these two couplets,[FN#15]

"If Naomi bless me with a single glance, * Let Su'ada sue and
Juml joy to
They said, "Forget her: twenty such thou'lt find." * But none is
like her--I will not forget!"

He pressed the paper into the box and, sealing it up, wrote upon
the cover the following words in Cufic characters, "I am Ni'amah
of al-Rabi'a of Cufa." Then he set it before the old woman who
took it and bade them farewell and returned to the Caliph's
palace, and when she went up with the drugs to the damsel she
placed the little box of medicine at her feet, saying, "O my
lady, know that there is lately come to our town a Persian
physician, than whom I never saw a more skilful nor a better
versed in matters of malady. I told him thy name, after showing
him the water-bottle, and forthwith he knew thine ailment and
prescribed a remedy. Then he bade his son make thee up this
medicine; and there is not in Damascus a comelier or a seemlier
youth than this lad of his, nor hath anyone a shop the like of
his shop." So Naomi took the box and, seeing the names of her
lord and his father written on the cover, changed colour and said
to herself, "Doubtless, the owner of this shop is come in search
of me." So she said to the old woman, "Describe to me this
youth." Answered the old woman, "His name is Ni'amah, he hath a
mole on his right eyebrow, is richly clad and is perfectly
handsome." Cried Naomi, "Give me the medicine, whereon be the
blessing and help of Almighty Allah!" So she drank off the potion
(and she laughing) and said, "Indeed, it is a blessed medicine!"
Then she sought in the box and, finding the paper, opened it,
read it, understood it and knew that this was indeed her lord,
whereas her heart was solaced and she rejoiced. Now when the old
woman saw her laughing, she exclaimed, "This is indeed a blessed
day!"; and Naomi said, "O nurse, I have a mind for something to
eat and drink." The old woman said to the serving women, "Bring a
tray of dainty viands for your mistress;" whereupon they set food
before her and she sat down to eat. And behold in came the Caliph
who, seeing her sitting at meat, rejoiced; and the old woman said
to him, "O Commander of the Faithful, I give thee joy of thy hand
maid Naomi's recovery! And the cause is that there is lately come
to this our city a physician than whom I never saw a better
versed in diseases and their remedies. I fetched her medicine
from him and she hath drunken of it but once and is restored to
health." Quoth he, "Take a thousand dinars and apply thyself to
her treatment, till she be completely recovered." And he went
away, rejoicing in the damsel's recovery, whilst the old woman
betook herself to the Persian's house and delivered the thousand
dinars, giving him to know that she was become the Caliph's slave
and also handing him a letter which Naomi had written. He took it
and gave the letter to Ni'amah, who at first sight knew her hand
and fell down in a swoon. When he revived he opened the letter
and found these words written therein: "From the slave despoiled
of her Ni'amah, her delight; her whose reason hath been beguiled
and who is parted from the core of her heart. But afterwards of a
truth thy letter hath reached me and hath broadened my breast,
and solaced my soul, even as saith the poet,

"Thy note came: long lost hungers wrote that note, * Till drop
they sweetest scents for what they wrote:
Twas Moses to his mother's arms restored; * 'Twas Jacob's eye-
sight cured by Joseph's coat!"[FN#16]

When Ni'amah read these verses, his eyes ran over with tears and
the old woman said to him, "What maketh thee to weep, O my son?
Allah never cause thine eye to shed tears!" Cried the Persian, "O
my lady, how should my son not weep, seeing that this is his
slave-girl and he her lord, Ni'amah son of al-Rabi'a of Cufa; and
her health dependeth on her seeing him, for naught aileth her but
loving him.--And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased
to say her permitted say.

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

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that the Persian
cried out to the old woman, "How shall my son not weep, seeing
that this is his slave-girl and he her lord, Ni'amah son of
al-Rabi'a of Cufa; and the health of this damsel dependeth on her
seeing him and naught aileth her but loving him. So, do thou, O
my lady, take these thousand dinars to thyself and thou shalt
have of me yet more than this; only look on us with eyes of rush;
for we know not how to bring this affair to a happy end save
through thee." Then she said to Ni'amah, "Say, art thou indeed
her lord?" He replied, "Yes," and she rejoined, "Thou sayest
sooth; for she ceaseth not continually to name thee." Then he
told her all that had passed from first to last, and she said, "O
youth, thou shalt owe thy reunion with her to none but myself."
So she mounted and, at once returning to Naomi, looked in her
face and laughed saying, "It is just, O my daughter, that thou
weep and fall sick for thy separation from thy master, Ni'amah,
son of Al-Rabi'a of Cufa." Quoth Naomi, "Verily, the veil hath
been withdrawn for thee and the truth revealed to thee." Rejoined
the old woman, "Be of good cheer and take heart, for I will
assuredly bring you together, though it cost me my life." Then
she returned to Ni'amah and said to him, "I went to thy slave-
girl and conversed with her, and I find that she longeth for thee
yet more than thou for her; for although the Commander of the
Faithful is minded to become intimate with her, she refuseth
herself to him. But if thou be stout of purpose and firm of
heart, I will bring you together and venture my life for you, and
play some trick and make shift to carry thee into the Caliph's
palace, where thou shalt meet her, for she cannot come forth."
And Ni'amah answered, "Allah requite thee with good!" Then she
took leave of him and went back to Naomi and said, "Thy lord is
indeed dying of love for thee and would fain see thee and
foregather with thee. What sayest thou?" Naomi replied, "And I
too am longing for his sight and dying for his love." Whereupon
the old woman took a parcel of women's clothes and ornaments and,
repairing to Ni'amah, said to him, "Come with me into some place
apart." So he brought her into the room behind the shop where she
stained his hands and decked his wrists and plaited his hair,
after which she clad him in a slave-girl's habit and adorned him
after the fairest fashion of woman's adornment, till he was as
one of the Houris of the Garden of Heaven, and when she saw him
thus she exclaimed, "Blessed be Allah, best of Creators! By
Allah, thou art handsomer than the damsel.[FN#17] Now, walk with
thy left shoulder forwards and thy right well behind, and sway
thy hips from side to side."[FN#18] So he walked before her, as
she bade him; and, when she saw he had caught the trick of
woman's gait, she said to him, "Expect me tomorrow night, and
Allah willing, I will take and carry thee to the palace. But when
thou seest the Chamberlains and the Eunuchs be bold, and bow thy
head and speak not with any, for I will prevent their speech; and
with Allah is success!" Accordingly, when the morning dawned, she
returned and, carrying him to the palace, entered before him and
he after her step by step. The Chamberlain would have stopped his
entering, but the old woman said to him, "O most ill omened of
slaves, this is the handmaid of Naomi, the Caliph's favourite.
How durst thou stay her when she would enter?" Then said she,
"Come in, O damsel!"; and the old woman went in and they ceased
not faring on, till they drew near the door leading to the inner
piazza of the palace, when she said to him, "O Ni'amah, hearten
thyself and take courage and enter and turn to the left: then
count five doors and pass through the sixth, for it is that of
the place prepared for thee. Fear nothing, and if any speak to
thee, answer not, neither stop." Then she went up with him to the
door, and the Chamberlain there on guard accosted her, saying
"What damsel is this?"--And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day
and ceased saying her permitted say.

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

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when the
Chamberlain accosted the old woman, saying, "What damsel is
this?"; quoth the ancient dame, "Our lady hath a mind to buy
her;" and he rejoined, "None may enter save by leave of the
Commander of the Faithful; so do thou go back with her. I can not
let her pass for thus am I commanded." Replied the old woman, "O
Chief Chamberlain, use thy reason. Thou knowest that Naomi, the
Caliph's slave-girl, of whom he is enamoured, is but now restored
to health and the Commander of the Faithful hardly yet crediteth
her recovery. She is minded to buy this hand maid; so oppose thou
not her entrance, lest haply it come to Naomi's knowledge and she
be wroth with thee and suffer a relapse and this cause thy head
to be cut off." Then said she to Ni'amah, "Enter, O damsel; pay
no heed to what he saith and tell not the Queen-consort that her
Chamberlain opposed thine entrance." So Ni'amah bowed his head
and entered the palace, and would have turned to the left, but
mistook the direction and walked to his right; and, meaning to
count five doors and enter the sixth, he counted six and entering
the seventh, found himself in a place whose floor was carpeted
with brocade and whose walls were hung with curtains of gold-
embroidered silk. And therein stood censers of aloes-wood and
ambergris and strong-scented musk, and at the upper end was a
couch bespread with cloth of gold on which he seated himself,
marvelling at the magnificence he saw and knowing not what was
written for him in the Secret Purpose. As he sat musing on his
case, the Caliph's sister, followed by her handmaid, came in upon
him; and, seeing the youth seated there took him for a slave-girl
and accosted him and said, "Who art thou O damsel? and what is
thy case and who brought thee hither?" He made no reply, and was
silent, when she continued, "O damsel! if thou be one of my
brother's concubines and he be wroth with thee, I will intercede
with him for thee and get thee grace." But he answered her not a
word; so she said to her slave-girl, "Stand at the door and let
none enter." Then she went up to Ni'amah and looking at him was
amazed at his beauty and said to him, "O lady, tell me who thou
art and what is thy name and how thou camest here; for I have
never seen thee in our palace." Still he answered not, whereat
she was angered and, putting her hand to his bosom, found no
breasts and would have unveiled him, that she might know who he
was; but he said to her, "O my lady, I am thy slave and I cast
myself on thy protection: do thou protect me." She said, "No harm
shall come to thee, but tell me who thou art and who brought thee
into this my apartment." Answered he, "O Princess, I am known as
Ni'amah bin al-Rabi'a of Cufa and I have ventured my life for the
sake of my slave-girl, Naomi, whom Al-Hajjaj took by sleight and
sent hither." Said she, "Fear not: no harm shall befall thee;"
then, calling her maid, she said to her, "Go to Naomi's chamber
and send her to me." Meanwhile the old woman went to Naomi's
bedroom and said to her, "Hath thy lord come to thee?" "No, by
Allah!" answered Naomi, and the other said, "Belike he hath gone
astray and entered some chamber other than thine and lost
himself." So Naomi cried, "There is no Majesty and there is no
Might save in Allah, the Glorious, the Great! Our last hour is
come and we are all lost." And while they were sitting and sadly
enough pondering their case, in came the Princess's handmaid and
saluting Naomi said to her, "My lady biddeth thee to her
banquet." "I hear and I obey," answered the damsel and the old
woman said, "Belike thy lord is with the Caliph's sister and the
veil of secrecy hath been rent." So Naomi at once sprang up and
betook herself to the Princess, who said to her, "Here is thy
lord sitting with me; it seemeth he hath mistaken the place; but,
please Allah, neither thou nor he has any cause for fear." When
Naomi heard these words, she took heart of grace and went up to
Ni'amah; and her lord when he saw her.--And Shahrazad perceived
the dawn of day and ceased to say her permitted say.

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

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when
Ni'amah saw his handmaid Naomi, he rose to meet her and strained
her to his bosom and both fell to the ground fainting. As soon as
they came to themselves, the Caliph's sister said to them, "Sit
ye down and take we counsel for your deliverance from this your
strait." And they answered, "O our lady, we hear and obey: it is
thine to command." Quoth she, "By Allah, no harm shall befall you
from us!" Then she bade her handmaids bring meat and drink which
was done, and they sat down and ate till they had enough, after
which they sat drinking. Then the cup went round amongst them and
their cares ceased from them; but Ni'amah said, "Would I knew how
this will end." The Princess asked, "O Ni'amah, dost thou love
thy slave Naomi?"; and he answered, "Of a truth it is my passion
for her which hath brought me to this state of peril for my
life." Then said she to the damsel, "O Naomi, dost thou love thy
lord Ni'amah?"; and she replied, "O my lady, it is the love of
him which hath wasted my body and brought me to evil case."
Rejoined the Princess, "By Allah, since ye love each other thus,
may he not be who would part you! Be of good cheer and keep your
eyes cool and clear." At this they both rejoiced and Naomi called
for a lute and, when they brought it, she took it and tuned it
and played a lively measure which enchanted the hearers, and
after the prelude sang these couplets,

"When the slanderers cared but to part us twain, * We owed no
blood-debt could raise their ire
And they poured in our ears all the din of war, * And aid failed
and friends, when my want was dire:
I fought them hard with mine eyes and tears; * With breath and
sword, with the stream and fire!"

Then Naomi gave the lute to her master, Ni'amah, saying, "Sing
thou to us some verse." So he took it and playing a lively
measure, intoned these couplets,

"Full Moon if unfreckled would favour thee, * And Sun uneclipsed
would reflect thy blee:
I wonder (but love is of wonders full * And ardour and passion
and ecstasy)
How short the way to my love I fare, * Which, from her faring, so
long I see."

Now when he had made an end of his song, Naomi filled the cup and
gave it to him, and he took it and drank it off; then she filled
again and gave the cup to the Caliph's sister who also emptied
it; after which the Princess in her turn took the lute and
tightened the strings and tuned it and sang these two couplets,

"Grief, cark and care in my heart reside, * And the fires of love
in my breast
My wasted form to all eyes shows clear; * For Desire my body hath

Then she filled the cup and gave it to Naomi, who drank it off
and taking the lute, sang these two couplets,

"O to whom I gave soul which thou tortures", * And in vain I'd
recover from fair Unfaith
Do grant thy favours my care to cure * Ere I die, for this be my
latest breath."

And they ceased not to sing verses and drink to the sweet sound
of the strings, full of mirth and merriment and joy and jollity
till behold! in came the Commander of the Faithful. Now when they
saw him, they rose and kissed the ground before him; and he,
seeing Naomi with the lute in her hand, said to her, "O Naomi,
praised be Allah who hath done away from thee sickness and
suffering!" Then he looked at Ni'amah (who was still disguised as
a woman), and said to the Princess, "O my sister, what damsel is
this by Naomi's side?" She replied, "O Commander of the Faithful,
thou hast here a handmaid, one of thy concubines and the bosom
friend of Naomi who will neither eat nor drink without her." And
she repeated the words of the poet,

"Two contraries, and both concur in opposite charms, * And charms
so contraried by contrast lovelier show."

Quoth the Caliph, "By Allah Omnipotent, verily she is as handsome
as Naomi, and to-morrow I will appoint her a separate chamber
beside that of her friend and send her furniture and stuffs and
all that befitteth her, in honour of Naomi." Then the Princess
called for food and set it before her brother, who ate and made
himself at home in their place and company. Then filling a cup he
signed to Naomi to sing; so she took the lute, after draining two
of them and sang these two couplets,

"Since my toper-friend in my hand hath given * Three cups that
brim and bubble, e'er since
I've trailed my skirts throughout night for pride * As tho',
Prince of the Faithful, I were thy Prince!"

The Prince of True Believers was delighted and filling another
cup, gave it to Naomi and bade her sing again; so after draining
the cup and sweeping the strings, she sang as follows:--

"O most noble of men in this time and stound, * Of whom none may
boast he is equal-found!
O matchless in greatness of soul and gifts, * O thou Chief, O
thou King amongst all renowned:
Lord, who dealest large boons to the Lords of Earth, * Whom thou
vexest not nor dost hold them bound
The Lord preserve thee, and spoil thy foes, * And ne'er cease thy
lot with good Fortune crowned!"

Now when the Caliph heard these couplets, he exclaimed, "By
Allah, good! By Allah, excellent! Verily the Lord hath been
copious[FN#19] to thee, O Naomi! How clever is thy tongue and how
dear is thy speech!" And they ceased not their mirth and good
cheer till midnight, when the Caliph's sister said to him, "Give
ear, O Commander of the Faithful to a tale I have read in books
of a certain man of rank." "And what is this tale?" quoth he.
Quoth she "Know, O Prince of the Faithful that there lived once
in the city of Cufa a youth called Ni'amah, son of Al-Rabi'a, and
he had a slave-girl whom he loved and who loved him. They had
been reared in one bed; but when they grew up and mutual-love get
hold of them, Fortune smote them with her calamities and Time,
the tyrant, brought upon them his adversity and decreed
separation unto them. Thereupon designing and slanderous folk
enticed her by sleight forth of his house and, stealing her away
from his home, sold her to one of the Kings for ten thousand
dinars. Now the girl loved her lord even as he loved her, so he
left kith and kin and house and home and the gifts of fortune,
and set out to search for her and when she was found he devised
means to gain access to her".--And Shahrazad perceived the dawn
of day and ceased to say her permitted say.

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

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that the
Caliph's sister said, "And Ni'amah ceased not absenting himself
from his kith and kin and patrial-stead, that he might gain
access to his handmaid, and he incurred every peril and lavished
his life till he gained access to her, and her name was Naomi,
like this slave-girl. But the interview was short; they had not
been long in company when in came the King, who had bought her of
her kidnapper, and hastily ordered them to be slain, without
doing justice by his own soul and delaying to enquire into the
matter before the command was carried out. Now what sayest thou,
O Commander of the Faithful, of this King's wrongous conduct?"
Answered the Caliph; "This was indeed a strange thing: it behoved
that King to pardon when he had the power to punish; and he ought
to have regarded three things in their favour. The first was that
they loved each other; the second that they were in his house and
in his grasp; and the third that it befitteth a King to be
deliberate in judging and ordering between folk, and how much
more so in cases where he himself is concerned! Wherefore this
King thus did an unkingly deed." Then said his sister, "O my
brother, by the King of the heavens and the earth, I conjure
thee, bid Naomi sing and hearken to that she shall sing!" So he
said "O Naomi, sing to me;" whereupon she played a lively measure
and sang these couplets,

"Beguiled us Fortune who her guile displays, * Smiting the heart,
bequeathing thoughts that craze
And parting lovers whom she made to meet, * Till tears in torrent
either cheek displays:
They were and I was and my life was glad, * While Fortune often
joyed to join our ways;
I will pour tear flood, will rain gouts of blood, * Thy loss
bemoaning through the nights and days!"

Now when the Commander of the Faithful heard this verse, he was
moved to great delight and his sister said to him, "O my brother,
whoso decideth in aught against himself, him it behoveth to abide
by it and do according to his word; and thou hast judged against
thyself by this judgement." Then said she, "O Ni'amah, stand up
and do thou likewise up stand, O Naomi!" So they stood up and she
continued, "O Prince of True Believers, she who standeth before
thee is Naomi the stolen, whom Al-Hajjaj bin Yusuf al-Sakafi
kidnapped and sent to thee, falsely pretending in his letter to
thee that he had bought her for ten thousand gold pieces. And
this other who standeth before thee is her lord, Ni'amah, son of
Al-Rabi'a; and I beseech thee, by the honour of thy pious
forebears and by Hamzah and Ukayl and Abbas,[FN#20] to pardon
them both and overlook their offence and bestow them one on the
other, that thou mayst win rich reward in the next world of thy
just dealing with them; for they are under thy hand and verily
they have eaten of thy meat and drunken of thy drink; and behold,
I make intercession for them and beg of thee the boon of their
blood." Thereupon quoth the Caliph, "Thou speakest sooth: I did
indeed give judgement as thou sayst, and I am not one to pass
sentence and to revoke it." Then said he, "O Naomi, say, be this
thy lord?" And she answered "Even so, O Commander of the
Faithful." Then quoth he, "No harm shall befall you, I give you
each to other;" adding to the young man, "O Ni'amah, who told
thee where she was and taught thee how to get at this place?" He
replied, "O Commander of the Faithful, hearken to my tale and
give ear to my history; for, by the virtue of thy pious
forefathers, I will hide nothing from thee!" And he told him all
that had passed between himself and the Persian physician and the
old nurse, and how she had brought him into the palace and he had
mistaken the doors; whereat the Caliph wondered with exceeding
wonder and said, "Fetch me the Persian." So they brought him into
the presence and he was made one of his chief officers. Moreover
the King bestowed on him robes of honour and ordered him a
handsome present, saying, "When a man hath shown like this man
such artful management, it behoveth us to make him one of our
chief officers." The Caliph also loaded Ni'amah and Naomi with
gifts and honours and rewarded the old nurse; and they abode with
him seven days in joy and content and all delight of life, when
Ni'amah craved leave to return to Cufa with his slave-girl. The
Caliph gave them permission and they departed and arrived in due
course at Cufa, where Ni'amah was restored to his father and
mother, and they abode in all the joys and jollities of life,
till there came to them the Destroyer of delights and the
Sunderer of societies. Now when Amjad and As'ad heard from Bahram
this story, they marvelled with extreme marvel and said, "By
Allah, this is indeed a rare tale!"--And Shahrazad perceived the
dawn of day and ceased to say her permitted say.

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

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when Amjad
and As'ad heard this story from Bahram the Magian who had become
a Moslem, they marvelled with extreme marvel and thus passed that
night; and when the next morning dawned, they mounted and riding
to the palace, sought an audience of the King who granted it and
received them with high honour. Now as they were sitting together
talking, of a sudden they heard the towns folk crying aloud and
shouting to one another and calling for help; and the Chamberlain
came in to the King and said to him, "Some King hath encamped
before the city, he and his host, with arms and weapons
displayed, and we know not their object and aim." The King took
counsel with his Wazir Amjad and his brother As'ad; and Amjad
said, "I will go out to him and learn the cause of his coming."
So he took horse and, riding forth from the city, repaired to the
stranger's camp, where he found the King and with him a mighty
many and mounted Mamelukes. When the guards saw him, they knew
him for an envoy from the King of the city; so they took him and
brought him before their Sultan. Then Amjad kissed the ground
before him; but lo! the King was a Queen, who was veiled with a
mouth-veil, and she said to Amjad, "Know that I have no design on
this your city and that I am come hither only in quest of a
beardless slave of mine, whom if I find with you, I will do you
no harm, but if I find him not, then shall there befall sore
onslaught between me and you." Asked Amjad, "O Queen, what like
is thy slave and what is his story and what may be his name?"
Said she, "His name is As'ad and my name is Marjanah, and this
slave came to my town in company of Bahram, a Magian, who refused
to sell him to me; so I took him by force, but his master fell
upon him by night and bore him away by stealth and he is of such
and such a favour." When Amjad heard that, he knew it was indeed
his brother As'ad whom she sought and said to her, "O Queen of
the age, Alhamdolillah, praised be Allah, who hath brought us
relief! Verily this slave whom thou seekest is my brother." Then
he told her their story and all that had befallen them in the
land of exile, and acquainted her with the cause of their
departure from the Islands of Ebony, whereat she marvelled and
rejoiced to have found As'ad. So she bestowed a dress of honour
upon Amjad and he returned forthright to the King and told him
what had passed, at which they all rejoiced and the King went
forth with Amjad and As'ad to meet Queen Marjanah. When they were
admitted to her presence and sat down to converse with her and
were thus pleasantly engaged, behold, a dust cloud rose and flew
and grew, till it walled the view. And after a while it lifted
and showed beneath it an army dight for victory, in numbers like
the swelling sea, armed and armoured cap-a-pie who, making for
the city, encompassed it around as the ring encompasseth the
little finger;[FN#21] and a bared brand was in every hand. When
Amjad and As'ad saw this, they exclaimed, "Verily to Allah we
belong and to Him we shall return! What is this mighty host?
Doubtless, these are enemies, and except we agree with this Queen
Marjanah to fight them, they will take the town from us and slay
us. There is no resource for us but to go out to them and see who
they are." So Amjad arose and took horse and passed through the
city gate to Queen Marjanah's camp; but when he reached the
approaching army he found it to be that of his grand sire, King
Ghayur, father of his mother Queen Budur.--And Shahrazad
perceived the dawn of day and ceased saying her permitted say.

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

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when Amjad
reached the approaching host, he found it to be that of his
grandsire, Lord of the Isles and the Seas and the Seven Castles;
and when he went into the presence, he kissed the ground between
his hands and delivered to him the message. Quoth the King, "My
name is King Ghayur and I come wayfaring in quest of my daughter
Budur whom fortune hath taken from me, for she left me and
returned not to me, nor have I heard any tidings of her or of her
husband Kamar al-Zaman. Have ye any news of them?" When Amjad
heard this, he hung his head towards the ground for a while in
thought till he felt assured that this King was none other than
his grandfather, his mother's father; where upon he raised his
head and, kissing ground before him, told him that he was the son
of his daughter Budur; on hearing which Ghayur threw himself upon
him and they both fell a weeping.[FN#22] Then said Ghayur,
"Praised be Allah, O my son, for safety, since I have
foregathered with thee," and Amjad told him that his daughter
Budur was safe and sound, and her husband Kamar al-Zaman
likewise, and acquainted him that both abode in a city called the
City of Ebony. Moreover, he related to him how his father, being
wroth with him and his brother, had commended that both be put to
death, but that his treasurer had taken pity on them and let them
go with their lives. Quoth King Ghayur, "I will go back with thee
and thy brother to your father and make your peace with him." So
Amjad kissed the ground before him in huge delight and the King
bestowed a dress of honour upon him, after which he returned,
smiling, to the King of the City of the Magians and told him what
he had learnt from King Ghayur, whereat he wondered with
exceeding wonder. Then he despatched guest-gifts of sheep and
horses and camels and forage and so forth to King Ghayur, and did
the like by Queen Marjanah; and both of them told her what
chanced; whereupon quoth she, "I too will accompany you with my
troops and will do my endeavour to make this peace." Meanwhile
behold, there arose another dust cloud and flew and grew till it
walled the view and blackened the day's bright hue; and under it
they heard shouts and cries and neighing of steeds and beheld
sword glance and the glint of levelled lance. When this new host
drew near the city and saw the two other armies, they beat their
drums and the King of the Magians exclaimed, "This is indeed
naught but a blessed day. Praised be Allah who hath made us of
accord with these two armies; and if it be His will, He shall
give us peace with yon other as well." Then said he to Amjad and
As'ad, "Fare forth and fetch us news of these troops, for they
are a mighty host, never saw I a mightier." So they opened the
city gates, which the King had shut for fear of the beleaguering
armies, and Amjad and As'ad went forth and, coming to the new
host, found that it was indeed a mighty many. But as soon as they
came to it behold, they knew that it was the army of the King of
the Ebony Islands, wherein was their father, King Kamar al-Zaman
in person. Now when they looked upon him, they kissed ground and
wept; but, when he beheld them, he threw himself upon them
weeping, with sore weeping, and strained them to his breast for a
full hour. Then he excused himself to them and told them what
desolation he had suffered for their loss and exile; and they
acquainted him with King Ghayur's arrival, whereupon he mounted
with his chief officers and taking with him his two sons,
proceeded to that King's camp. As they drew near, one of the
Princes rode forward and informed King Ghayur of Kamar al-Zaman's
coming, whereupon he came out to meet him and they joined
company, marvelling at these things and how they had chanced to
foregather in that place. Then the townsfolk made them banquets
of all manner of meats and sweetmeats and presented to them
horses and camels and fodder and other guest-gifts and all that
the troops needed. And while this was doing, behold, yet another
cloud of dust arose and flew till it walled the view, whilst
earth trembled with the tramp of steed and tabors sounded like
stormy winds. After a while, the dust lifted and discovered an
army clad in coats of mail and armed cap-a-pie; but all were in
black garb, and in their midst rode a very old man whose beard
flowed down over his breast and he also was clad in black. When
the King of the city and the city folk saw this great host, he
said to the other Kings, "Praised be Allah by whose omnipotent
command ye are met here, all in one day, and have proved all
known one to the other! But what vast and victorious army is this
which hemmeth in the whole land like a wall?" They answered,
"Have no fear of them; we are three Kings, each with a great
army, and if they be enemies, we will join thee in doing battle
with them, were they three times as many as they now are."
Meanwhile, up came an envoy from the approaching host, making for
the city. So they brought him before Kamar al-Zaman, King Ghayur,
Queen Marjanah and the King of the city; and he kissed the ground
and said, "My liege lord cometh from Persia-land; for many years
ago he lost his son and he is seeking him in all countries. If he
find him with you, well and good; but if he find him not, there
will be war between him and you and he will waste your city."
Rejoined Kamar al-Zaman, "It shall not come to that; but how is
thy master called in Ajam land?" Answered the envoy, "He is
called King Shahriman, lord of the Khalidan Islands; and he hath
levied these troops in the lands traversed by him, whilst seeking
his son." No-vv when Kamar al-Zaman heard these words, he cried
out with a great cry and fell down in a fainting fit which lasted
a long while; and anon coming to himself he wept bitter tears and
said to Amjad and As'ad, "Go ye, O my sons, with the herald,
salute your grandfather and my father, King Shahriman and give
him glad tidings of me, for he mourneth my loss and even to the
present time he weareth black raiment for my sake." Then he told
the other Kings all that had befallen him in the days of his
youth, at which they wondered and, going down with him from the
city, repaired to his father, whom he saluted, and they embraced
and fell to the ground senseless for excess of joy. And when they
revived after a while, Kamar al-Zaman acquainted his father with
all his adventures and the other Kings saluted Shahriman. Then,
after having married Marjanah to As'ad, they sent her back to her
kingdom, charging her not to cease correspondence with them; so
she took leave and went her way. Moreover they married Amjad to
Bostan, Bahram's daughter, and they all set out for the City of
Ebony. And when they arrived there, Kamar al-Zaman went in to his
father-in-law, King Armanus, and told him all that had befallen
him and how he had found his sons; whereat Armanus rejoiced and
gave him joy of his safe return. Then King Ghayur went in to his
daughter, Queen Budur,[FN#23] and saluted her and quenched his
longing for her company, and they all abode a full month's space
in the City of Ebony; after which the King and his daughter
returned to their own country.--And Shahrazad perceived the dawn
of day and ceased to say her permitted say,

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

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that King Ghayur
set out with his daughter and his host for his own land, and they
took with them Amjad and returned home by easy marches. And when
Ghayur was settled again in his kingdom, he made his grandson
King in his stead; and as to Kamar al-Zaman he also made As'ad
king in his room over the capital of the Ebony Islands, with the
consent of his grandfather, King Armanus and set out himself,
with his father, King Shahriman, till the two made the Islands of
Khalidan. Then the lieges decorated the city in their honour and
they ceased not to beat the drums for glad tidings a whole month;
nor did Kamar al-Zaman leave to govern in his father's place,
till there overtook them the Destroyer of delights and the
Sunderer of societies; and Allah knoweth all things! Quoth King
Shahryar, "O Shahrazad, this is indeed a most wonderful tale!"
And she answered, "O King, it is not more wonderful than that of


"What is that?" asked he, and she said, It hath reached me that
there lived, in times of yore and years and ages long gone
before, a merchant of Cairo[FN#25] named Shams al-Din, who was of
the best and truest spoken of the traders of the city; and he had
eunuchs and servants and negro-slaves and handmaids and Mame
lukes and great store of money. Moreover, he was Consul[FN#26] of
the Merchants of Cairo and owned a wife, whom he loved and who
loved him; except that he had lived with her forty years, yet had
not been blessed with a son or even a daughter. One day, as he
sat in his shop, he noted that the merchants, each and every, had
a son or two sons or more sitting in their shops like their
sires. Now the day being Friday, he entered the Hammam-bath and
made the total-ablution: after which he came out and took the
barber's glass and looked in it, saying, "I testify that there is
no god but the God and I testify that Mohammed is the Messenger
of God!" Then he considered his beard and, seeing that the white
hairs in it covered the black, bethought himself that hoariness
is the harbinger of death. Now his wife knew the time of his
coming home and had washed and made herself ready for him, so
when he came in to her, she said, "Good evening," but he replied
"I see no good." Then she called to the handmaid, "Spread the
supper-tray;" and when this was done quoth she to her husband
"Sup, O my lord." Quoth he, "I will eat nothing," and pushing the
tray away with his foot, turned his back upon her. She asked,
"Why dost thou thus? and what hath vexed thee?"; and he answered,
"Thou art the cause of my vexation."--And Shahrazed perceived the
dawn of day and ceased saying her permitted say,

When it was the Two Hundred and Fiftieth Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that Shams
al-Din said to his wife, "Thou art the cause of my vexation." She
asked, "Wherefore?" and he answered, "When I opened my shop this
morning, I saw that each and every of the merchants had with him
a son or two sons or more, sitting in their shops like their
fathers; and I said to myself:--He who took thy sire will not
spare thee. Now the night I first visited thee,[FN#27] thou
madest me swear that I would never take a second wife over thee
nor a concubine, Abyssinian or Greek or handmaid of other race;
nor would lie a single night away from thee: and behold, thou art
barren, and having thee is like boring into the rock." Rejoined
she, "Allah is my witness that the fault lies with thee, for that
thy seed is thin." He asked, "And what showeth the man whose
semen is thin?" And she answered, "He cannot get women with
child, nor beget children." Quoth he, "What thickeneth the seed?
tell me and I will buy it: haply, it will thicken mine." Quoth
she, "Enquire for it of the druggists." So he slept with her that
night and arose on the morrow, repenting of having spoken angrily
to her; and she also regretted her cross words. Then he went to
the market and, finding a druggist, saluted him; and when his
salutation was returned said to him, "Say, hast thou with thee a
seed-thickener?" He replied, "I had it, but am out of it: enquire
thou of my neighbour." Then Shams al-Din made the round till he
had asked every one, but they all laughed at him, and presently
he returned to his shop and sat down, sore troubled. Now there
was in the bazar a man who was Deputy Syndic of the brokers and
was given to the use of opium and electuary and green
hashish.[FN#28] He was called Shaykh Mohammed Samsam and being
poor he used to wish Shams al-Din good morrow every day. So he
came to him according to his custom and saluted him. The merchant
returned his salute, but in ill-temper, and the other, seeing him
vexed, said, "O my lord, what hath crossed thee?" Thereupon Shams
al-Din told him all that occurred between himself and his wife,
adding, "These forty years have I been married to her yet hath
she borne me neither son nor daughter; and they say:--The cause
of thy failure to get her with child is the thinness of thy seed;
so I have been seeking a some thing wherewith to thicken my semen
but found it not." Quoth Shaykh Mohammed, "O my lord, I have a
seed-thickener, but what wilt thou say to him who causeth thy
wife to conceive by thee after these forty years have passed?"
Answered the merchant, "If thou do this, I will work thy
weal--and reward thee." "Then give me a dinar," rejoined the
broker, and Shams al-Din said, "Take these two dinars." He took
them and said, "Give me also yonder big bowl of porcelain." So he
gave it to him and the broker betook himself to a hashish-seller,
of whom he bought two ounces of concentrated Roumi opium and
equal-parts of Chinese cubebs, cinnamon, cloves, cardamoms,
ginger, white pepper and mountain skink[FN#29]; and, pounding
them all together, boiled them in sweet olive-oil; after which he
added three ounces of male frankincense in fragments and a cupful
of coriander-seed; and, macerating the whole, made it into an
electuary with Roumi bee honey. Then he put the confection in the
bowl and carried it to the merchant, to whom he delivered it,
saying, "Here is the seed-thickener, and the manner of using it
is this. Take of my electuary with a spoon after supping, and
wash it down with a sherbet made of rose conserve; but first sup
off mutton and house pigeon plentifully seasoned and hotly
spiced." So the merchant bought all this and sent the meat and
pigeons to his wife, saying, "Dress them deftly and lay up the
seed-thickener until I want it and call for it." She did his
bidding and, when she served up the meats, he ate the evening
meal, after which he called for the bowl and ate of the
electuary. It pleased him well, so he ate the rest and knew his
wife. That very night she conceived by him and, after three
months, her courses ceased, no blood came from her and she knew
that she was with child. When the days of her pregnancy were
accomplished, the pangs of labour took her and they raised loud
lullilooings and cries of joy. The midwife delivered her with
difficulty, by pronouncing over the boy at his birth the names of
Mohammed and Ali, and said, "Allah is Most Great!"; and she
called in his ear the call to prayer. Then she wrapped him up and
passed him to his mother, who took him and gave him the breast;
and he sucked and was full and slept. The midwife abode with them
three days, till they had made the mothering-cakes of sugared
bread and sweetmeats; and they distributed them on the seventh
day. Then they sprinkled salt against the evil eye and the
merchant, going in to his wife, gave her joy of her safe
delivery, and said, "Where is Allah's deposit?" So they brought
him a babe of surpassing beauty, the handiwork of the Orderer who
is ever present and, though he was but seven days old, those who
saw him would have deemed him a yearling child. So the merchant
looked on his face and, seeing it like a shining full moon, with
moles on either cheek, said he to his wife, "What hast thou named
him?" Answered she, "If it were a girl I had named her; but this
is a boy, so none shall name him but thou." Now the people of
that time used to name their children by omens; and, whilst the
merchant and his wife were taking counsel of the name, behold,
one said to his friend, "Ho my lord, Ala al-Din!" So the merchant
said, "We will call him Ala al-Din Abu al-Shamat."[FN#30] Then he
committed the child to the nurse, and he drank milk two years,
after which they weaned him and he grew up and throve and walked
upon the floor. When he came to seven years old, they put him in
a chamber under a trap-door, for fear of the evil eye, and his
father said, "He shall not come out, till his beard grow." So he
gave him in charge to a handmaid and a blackamoor; the girl
dressed him his meals and the slave carried them to him. Then his
father circumcised him and made him a great feast; after which he
brought him a doctor of the law, who taught him to write and read
and repeat the Koran, and other arts and sciences, till he became
a good scholar and an accomplished. One day it so came to pass
that the slave, after bringing him the tray of food went away and
left the trap door open: so Ala al-Din came forth from the vault
and went in to his mother, with whom was a company of women of
rank. As they sat talking, behold, in came upon them the youth as
he were a white slave drunken[FN#31] for the excess of his
beauty; and when they saw him, they veiled their faces and said
to his mother, "Allah requite thee, O such an one! How canst thou
let this strange Mameluke in upon us? Knowest thou not that
modesty is a point of the Faith?" She replied, "Pronounce Allah's
name[FN#32] and cry Bismillah! this is my son, the fruit of my
vitals and the heir of Consul Shams al-Din, the child of the
nurse and the collar and the crust and the crumb."[FN#33] Quoth
they, "Never in our days knew we that thou hadst a son"; and
quoth she, "Verily his father feared for him the evil eye and
reared him in an under-ground chamber;"--And Shahrazad perceived
the dawn of day and ceased saying her permitted say.

When it was the Two Hundred and Fifty-first Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that Ala
al-Din's mother said to her lady-friends, "Verily his father
feared for him the evil eye and reared him in an underground
chamber; and haply the slave forgot to shut the door and he fared
forth; but we did not mean that he should come out, before his
beard was grown." The women gave her joy of him, and the youth
went out from them into the court yard where he seated himself in
the open sitting room; and behold, in came the slaves with his
father's she mule, and he said to them, "Whence cometh this
mule?" Quoth they, "We escorted thy father when riding her to the
shop, and we have brought her back." He asked, "What may be my
father's trade?"; and they answered, "Thy father is Consul of the
merchants in the land of Egypt and Sultan of the Sons of the
Arabs." Then he went in to his mother and said to her, "O my
mother, what is my father's trade?" Said she, "O my son, thy sire
is a merchant and Consul of the merchants in the land of Egypt
and Sultan of the Sons of the Arabs. His slaves consult him not
in selling aught whose price is less than one thousand gold
pieces, but merchandise worth him an hundred and less they sell
at their own discretion; nor cloth any merchandise whatever,
little or much, leave the country without passing through his
hands and he disposeth of it as he pleaseth; nor is a bale packed
and sent abroad amongst folk but what is under his disposal. And
"Almighty Allah, O my son, hath given thy father monies past
compt." He rejoined, "O my mother, praised be Allah, that I am
son of the Sultan of the Sons of the Arabs and that my father is
Consul of the merchants! But why, O my mother, do ye put me in
the underground chamber and leave me prisoner there?" Quoth she,
"O my son, we imprisoned thee not save for fear of folks' eyes:
'the evil eye is a truth,'[FN#34] and most of those in their long
homes are its victims." Quoth he, "O my mother, and where is a
refuge-place against Fate? Verily care never made Destiny
forbear; nor is there flight from what is written for every
wight. He who took my grandfather will not spare myself nor my
father; for, though he live to day he shall not live tomorrow.
And when my father dieth and I come forth and say, 'I am Ala
al-Din, son of Shams al-Din the merchant', none of the people
will believe me, but men of years and standing will say, 'In our
lives never saw we a son or a daughter of Shams al-Din.' Then the
public Treasury will come down and take my father's estate, and
Allah have mercy on him who said, 'The noble dieth and his wealth
passeth away, and the meanest of men take his women.' Therefore,
O my mother, speak thou to my father, that he carry me with him
to the bazar and open for me a shop; so may I sit there with my
merchandise, and teach me to buy and sell and take and give."
Answered his mother, "O my son, as soon as thy sire returneth I
will tell him this." So when the merchant came home, he found his
son Ala al-Din Abu al-Shamat sitting with his mother and said to
her, "Why hast thou brought him forth of the underground
chamber?" She replied, "O son of my uncle, it was not I that
brought him out; but the servants forgot to shut the door and
left it open; so, as I sat with a company of women of rank,
behold, he came forth and walked in to me." Then she went on to
repeat to him his son's words; so he said, "O my son, to-morrow,
Inshallah! I will take thee with me to the bazar; but, my boy,
sitting in markets and shops demandeth good manners and courteous
carriage in all conditions." Ala al-Din passed the night
rejoicing in his father's promise and, when the morrow came, the
merchant carried him to the Hammam and clad him in a suit worth a
mint of money. As soon as they had broken their fast and drunk
their sherbets, Shams al-Din mounted his she mule and putting his
son upon another, rode to the market, followed by his boy. But
when the market folk saw their Consul making towards them,
foregoing a youth as he were a slice of the full moon on the
fourteenth night, they said, one to other, "See thou yonder boy
behind the Consul of the merchants; verily, we thought well of
him, but he is, like the leek, gray of head and green at
heart."[FN#35] And Shaykh Mohammed Samsam, Deputy Syndic of the
market, the man before mentioned, said to the dealers, "O
merchants, we will not keep the like of him for our Shaykh; no,
never!" Now it was the custom anent the Consul when he came from
his house of a morning and sat down in his shop, for the Deputy
Syndic of the market to go and recite to him and to all the
merchants assembled around him the Fatihah or opening chapter of
the Koran,[FN#36] after which they accosted him one by one and
wished him good morrow and went away, each to his business place.
But when Shams al-Din seated himself in his shop that day as
usual, the traders came not to him as accustomed; so he called
the Deputy and said to him, "Why come not the merchants together
as usual?" Answered Mohammed Samsam, "I know not how to tell thee
these troubles, for they have agreed to depose thee from the
Shaykh ship of the market and to recite the Fatihah to thee no
more." Asked Shams al-Din, "What may be their reason?"; and asked
the Deputy, "What boy is this that sitteth by thy side and thou a
man of years and chief of the merchants? Is this lad a Mameluke
or akin to thy wife? Verily, I think thou lovest him and inclines
lewdly to the boy." Thereupon the Consul cried out at him,
saying, "Silence, Allah curse thee, genus and species! This is my
son." Rejoined the Deputy, "Never in our born days have we seen
thee with a son," and Shams al-Din answered, "When thou gavest me
the seed-thickener, my wife conceived and bare this youth; but I
reared him in a souterrain for fear of the evil eye, nor was it
my purpose that he should come forth, till he could take his
beard in his hand.[FN#37] However, his mother would not agree to
this, and he on his part begged I would stock him a shop and
teach him to sell and buy." So the Deputy Syndic returned to the
other traders and acquainted them with the truth of the case,
whereupon they all arose to accompany him; and, going in a body
to Shams al-Din's shop, stood before him and recited the "Opener"
of the Koran; after which they gave him joy of his son and said
to him, "The Lord prosper root and branch! But even the poorest
of us, when son or daughter is born to him, needs must cook a
pan-full of custard[FN#38] and bid his friends and kith and kin;
yet hast thou not done this." Quoth he, "This I owe you; be our
meeting in the garden."--And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day
and ceased to say her permitted say.

When it was the Two Hundred and Fifty-second Night,

Her sister Dunyazad said to her, "Pray continue thy story for us,
as thou be awake and not inclined to sleep." Quoth she:--With
pleasure and goodwill: it hath reached me, O auspicious King,
that the Consul of the merchants promised them a banquet and said
"Be our meeting in the garden." So when morning dawned he
despatched the carpet layer to the saloon of the garden-pavilion
and bade him furnish the two. Moreover, he sent thither all that
was needful for cooking, such as sheep and clarified butter and
so forth, according to the requirements of the case; and spread
two tables, one in the pavilion and another in the saloon. Then
Shams al-Din and his boy girded themselves, and he said to Ala
al-Din "O my son, whenas a greybeard entereth, I will meet him
and seat him at the table in the pavilion; and do thou, in like
manner, receive the beardless youths and seat them at the table
in the saloon." He asked, "O my father, why dost thou spread two
tables, one for men and another for youths?"; and he answered, "O
my son, the beardless is ashamed to eat with the bearded." And
his son thought this his answer full and sufficient. So when the
merchants arrived, Shams al-Din received the men and seated them
in the pavilion, whilst Ala al-Din received the youths and seated
them in the saloon. Then the food was set on and the guests ate
and drank and made merry and sat over their wine, whilst the
attendants perfumed them with the smoke of scented woods, and the
elders fell to conversing of matters of science and traditions of
the Prophet. Now there was amongst them a merchant called Mahmud
of Balkh, a professing Moslem but at heart a Magian, a man of
lewd and mischievous life who loved boys. And when he saw Ala
al-Din from whose father he used to buy stuffs and merchandise,
one sight of his face sent him a thousand sighs and Satan dangled
the jewel before his eyes, so that he was taken with love-longing
and desire and affection and his heart was filled with mad
passion for him. Presently he arose and made for the youths, who
stood up to receive him; and at this moment Ala Al-Din being
taken with an urgent call of Nature, withdrew to make water;
whereupon Mahmud turned to the other youths and said to them, "If
ye will incline Ala al-Din's mind to journeying with me, I will
give each of you a dress worth a power of money." Then he
returned from them to the men's party; and, as the youths were
sitting, Ala al-Din suddenly came back, when all rose to receive
him and seated him in the place of highest honour. Presently, one
of them said to his neighbour, "O my lord Hasan, tell me whence
came to thee the capital--whereon thou trades"." He replied,
"When I grew up and came to man's estate, I said to my sire, 'O
my father, give me merchandise.' Quoth he, 'O my son, I have none
by me; but go thou to some merchant and take of him money and
traffic with it; and so learn to buy and sell, give and take.' So
I went to one of the traders and borrowed of him a thousand
dinars, wherewith I bought stuffs and carrying them to Damascus,
sold them there at a profit of two for one. Then I bought Syrian
stuffs and carrying them to Aleppo, made a similar gain of them;
after which I bought stuffs of Aleppo and repaired with them to
Baghdad, where I sold them with like result, two for one; nor did
I cease trading upon my capital till I was worth nigh ten
thousand ducats." Then each of the others told his friend some
such tale, till it came to Ala al-Din's turn to speak, when they
said to him, "And thou, O my lord Ala al-Din?" Quoth he, "I was
brought up in a chamber underground and came forth from it only
this week; and I do but go to the shop and return home from the
shop." They remarked, "Thou art used to wone at home and wottest
not the joys of travel, for travel is for men only." He replied,
"I reck not of voyaging and wayfaring cloth not tempt me."
Whereupon quoth one to the other, "This one is like the fish:
when he leaveth the water he dieth." Then they said to him, "O
Ala al Din, the glory of the sons of the merchants is not but in
travel for the sake of gain." Their talk angered him; so he left
them weeping-eyed and heavy-hearted and mounting his mule
returned home. Now his mother saw him in tears and in bad temper
and asked him, "What hath made thee weep, O my son?"; and he
answered, "Of a truth, all the sons of the merchants put me to
shame and said, 'Naught is more glorious for a merchant's son
than travel for gain and to get him gold.'"--And Shahrazad
perceived the dawn of day and ceased saying her permitted say.

When it was the Two Hundred and Fifty-third Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that Ala al-Din
said to his mother, "Of a truth all the sons of the merchants put
me to shame and said, 'Naught is more honourable for a merchant's
son than travel for gain.'" "O my son, hast thou a mind to
travel?" "Even so!" "And whither wilt thou go?" "To the city of
Baghdad; for there folk make double the cost price on their
goods." "O my son, thy father is a very rich man and, if he
provide thee not with merchandise, I will supply it out of my own
monies." "The best favour is that which is soonest bestowed; if
this kindness is to be, now is the time." So she called the
slaves and sent them for cloth packers, then, opening a store
house, brought out ten loads of stuffs, which they made up into
bales for him. Such was his case; but as regards his father,
Shams al-Din, he looked about and failed to find Ala al-Din in
the garden and enquiring after him, was told that he had mounted
mule and gone home; so he too mounted and followed him. Now when
he entered the house, he saw the bales ready bound and asked what
they were; whereupon his wife told him what had chanced between
Ala al-Din and the sons of the merchants; and he cried, "O my
son, Allah's malison on travel and stranger-hood! Verily Allah's
Apostle (whom the Lord bless and preserve!) hath said, 'It is of
a man's happy fortune that he eat his daily bread in his own
land', and it was said of the ancients, 'Leave travel, though but
for a mile.'" Then quoth he to his son, "Say, art thou indeed
resolved to travel and wilt thou not turn back from it?" Quoth
the other, "There is no help for it but that I journey to Baghdad
with merchandise, else will I doff clothes and don dervish gear
and fare a-wandering over the world." Shams al-Din rejoined, "I
am no penniless pauper but have great plenty of wealth;" then he
showed him all he owned of monies and stuffs and stock-in-trade
and observed, "With me are stuffs and merchandise befitting every
country in the world." Then he showed him among the rest, forty
bales ready bound, with the price, a thousand dinars, written on
each, and said, "O my son take these forty loads, together with
the ten which thy mother gave thee, and set out under the
safeguard of Almighty Allah. But, O my child, I fear for thee a
certain wood in thy way, called the Lion's Copse,[FN#39] and a
valley highs the Vale of Dogs, for there lives are lost without
mercy." He said, "How so, O my father?"; and he replied, "Because
of a Badawi bandit named Ajlan." Quoth Ala al-Din, "Such is
Allah's luck; if any share of it be mine, no harm shall hap to
me." Then they rode to the cattle bazar, where behold, a
cameleer[FN#40] alighted from his she mule and kissing the
Consul's hand, said to him, "O my lord, it is long, by Allah,
since thou hast employed us in the way of business." He replied,
"Every time hath its fortune and its men,[FN#41] and Allah have
truth on him who said,

'And the old man crept o'er the worldly ways * So bowed, his
beard o'er his knees down flow'th:
Quoth I, 'What gars thee so doubled go?' * Quoth he (as to me his
hands he show'th)
'My youth is lost, in the dust it lieth; * And see, I bend me to
find my youth.'"[FN#42]

Now when he had ended his verses, he said, "O chief of the
caravan, it is not I who am minded to travel, but this my son."
Quoth the cameleer, "Allah save him for thee." Then the Consul
made a contract between Ala al-Din and the man, appointing that
the youth should be to him as a son, and gave him into his
charge, saying, "Take these hundred gold pieces for thy people."
More-over he bought his son threescore mules and a lamp and a
tomb-covering for the Sayyid Abd al-Kadir of Gilan[FN#43] and
said to him, "O my son, while I am absent, this is thy sire in my
stead: whatsoever he biddeth thee, do thou obey him." So saying,
he returned home with the mules and servants and that night they
made a Khitmah or perfection of the Koran and held a festival--in
honour of the Shaykh Abd al-Kadir al-Jilani. And when the morrow
dawned, the Consul gave his son ten thousand dinars, saying, "O
my son, when thou comest to Baghdad, if thou find stuffs easy of
sale, sell them; but if they be dull, spend of these dinars."
Then they loaded the mules and, taking leave of one another, all
the wayfarers setting out on their journey, marched forth from
the city. Now Mahmud of Balkh had made ready his own venture for
Baghdad and had moved his bales and set up his tents without the
walls, saying to himself, "Thou shalt not enjoy this youth but in
the desert, where there is neither spy nor marplot to trouble
thee." It chanced that he had in hand a thousand dinars which he
owed to the youth's father, the balance of a business-transaction
between them; so he went and bade farewell to the Consul, who
charged him, "Give the thousand dinars to my son Ala al-Din;" and
commended the lad to his care, saying, "He is as it were thy
son." Accordingly, Ala al-Din joined company with Mahmud of
Balkh.--And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased to say
her permitted say.

When it was the Two Hundred and Fifty-fourth Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that Ala al-Din
joined company with Mahmud of Balkh who, before beginning the
march, charged the youth's cook to dress nothing for him, but
himself provided him and his company with meat and drink. Now he
had four houses, one in Cairo, another in Damascus, a third in
Aleppo and a fourth in Baghdad. So they set out and ceased not
journeying over waste and wold till they drew near Damascus when
Mahmud sent his slave to Ala al-Din, whom he found sitting and
reading. He went up to him and kissed his hands, and Ala al-Din
having asked him what he wanted, he answered, "My master saluteth
thee and craveth thy company to a banquet at his place." Quoth
the youth, "Not till I consult my father Kamal al-Din, the
captain of the caravan." So he asked advice of the
Makaddam,[FN#44] who said, "Do not go." Then they left Damascus
and journeyed on till they came to Aleppo, where Mahmud made a
second entertainment and sent to invite Ala al-Din; but he
consulted the Chief Cameleer who again forbade him. Then they
marched from Aleppo and fared on, till there remained between
them and Baghdad only a single stage. Here Mahmud prepared a
third feast and sent to bid Ala al-Din to it: Kamal-al-Din once
more forbade his accepting it, but he said, "I must needs go." So
he rose and, slinging a sword over his shoulder, under his
clothes, repaired to the tent of Mahmud of Balkh, who came to
meet him and saluted him. Then he set before him a sumptuous
repast and they ate and drank and washed hands. At last Mahmud
bent towards Ala al-Din to snatch a kiss from him, but the youth
received the kiss on the palm of his hand and said to him, "What
wouldest thou be at?" Quoth Mahmud, "In very sooth I brought thee
hither that I might take my pleasure with thee in this jousting
ground, and we will comment upon the words of him who saith,

'Say, canst not come to us one momentling, * Like milk of ewekin
or aught glistening
And eat what liketh thee of dainty cake, * And take thy due of
fee in silverling,
And bear whatso thou wilt, without mislike, * Of spanling,
fistling or a span long thing?'"

Then Mahmud of Balkh would have laid hands on Ala al-Din to
ravish him; but he rose and baring his brand, said to him, "Shame
on thy gray hairs! Hast thou no fear of Allah, and He of
exceeding awe?[FN#45] May He have mercy on him who saith,

'Preserve thy hoary hairs from soil and stain, * For whitest
colours are the easiest stained!'"

And when he ended his verses he said to Mahmud of Balkh, "Verily
this merchandise[FN#46] is a trust from Allah and may not be
sold. If I sold this property to other than thee for gold, I
would sell it to thee for silver; but by Allah, O filthy villain,
I will never again company with thee; no, never!" Then he
returned to Kamal-Al-Din the guide and said to him, "Yonder man
is a lewd fellow, and I will no longer consort with him nor
suffer his company by the way." He replied, "O my son, did I not
say to thee, 'Go not near him'? But if we part company with him,
I fear destruction for ourselves; so let us still make one
caravan." But Ala al-Din cried, "It may not be that I ever again
travel with him." So he loaded his beasts and journeyed onwards,
he and his company, till they came to a valley, where Ala al-Din
would have halted, but the Cameleer said to him, "Do not halt
here; rather let us fare forwards and press our pace, so haply we
make Baghdad before the gates are closed, for they open and shut
them with the sun, in fear lest the Rejectors[FN#47] should take
the city and throw the books of religious learning into the
Tigris." But Ala al Din replied to him, "O my father, I came not
forth from home with this merchandise, or travelled hither for
the sake of traffic, but to divert myself with the sight of
foreign lands and folks;" and he rejoined, "O my son, we fear for
thee and for thy goods from the wild Arabs." Whereupon the youth
answered "Harkye, fellow, art thou master or man? I will not
enter Baghdad till the morning, that the sons of the city may see
my merchandise and know me." "Do as thou wilt," said the other "I
have given thee the wisest advice, but thou art the best judge of
thine own case." Then Ala al-Din bade them unload the mule; and
pitch the tent; so they did his bidding and abode there till the
middle of the night, when he went out to obey a call of nature
and suddenly saw something gleaming afar off. So he said to
Kamal-al-Din, "O captain, what is yonder glittering?" The
Cameleer sat up and, considering it straitly, knew it for the
glint of spear heads and the steel of Badawi weapons and swords.
And lo and behold! this was a troop of wild Arabs under a chief
called Ajlan Abu Naib, Shaykh of the Arabs, and when they neared
the camp and saw the bales and baggage, they said one to another,
"O night of loot!" Now when Kamal-al-Din heard these their words
he cried, "Avaunt, O vilest of Arabs!" But Abu Naib so smote him
with his throw spear in the breast, that the point came out
gleaming from his back, and he fell down dead at the tent door.
Then cried the water carrier,[FN#48] "Avaunt, O foulest of
Arabs!" and one of them smote him with a sword upon the shoulder,
that it issued shining from the tendons of the throat, and he
also fell down dead. (And all this while Ala Al-Din stood looking
on.) Then the Badawin surrounded and charged the caravan from
every side and slew all Ala al-Din's company without sparing a
man: after which they loaded the mules with the spoil and made
off. Quoth Ala al-Din to himself, "Nothing will slay thee save
thy mule and thy dress!"; so he arose and put off his gown and
threw it over the back of a mule, remaining in his shirt and bag
trousers only; after which he looked towards the tent door and,
seeing there a pool of gore flowing from the slaughtered,
wallowed in it with his remaining clothes till he was as a slain
man drowned in his own blood. Thus it fared with him; but as
regards the Shaykh of the wild Arabs, Ajlan, he said to his
banditti, "O Arabs, was this caravan bound from Egypt for Baghdad
or from Baghdad for Egypt?"--And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of
day and ceased saying her permitted say.

When it was the Two Hundred and Fifty-fifth Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when the
Badawi asked his banditti, "O Arabs, was this caravan bound from
Egypt for Baghdad or from Baghdad for Egypt?"; they answered,
"'Twas bound from Egypt for Baghdad;" and he said, "Return ye to
the slain, for methinks the owner of this caravan is not dead."
So they turned back to the slain and fell to prodding and
slashing them with lance and sword till they came to Ala al-Din,
who had thrown himself down among the corpses. And when they came
to him, quoth they, "Thou dost but feign thyself dead, but we
will make an end of thee," and one of the Badawin levelled his
javelin and would have plunged it into his breast when he cried
out, "Save me, O my lord Abd al-Kadir, O Saint of Gilan!" and
behold, he saw a hand turn the lance away from his breast to that
of Kamal-al-Din the cameleer, so that it pierced him and spared
himself.[FN#49] Then the Arabs made off; and, when Ala al-Din saw
that the birds were flown with their god send, he sat up and
finding no one, rose and set off running; but, behold! Abu Naib
the Badawi looked back and said to his troop, "I see somewhat
moving afar off, O Arabs!" So one of the bandits turned back and,
spying Ala al-Din running, called out to him, saying, "Flight
shall not forward thee and we after thee;" and he smote his mare
with his heel and she hastened after him. Then Ala al-Din seeing
before him a watering tank and a cistern beside it, climbed up
into a niche in the cistern and, stretching himself at full
length, feigned to be asleep and said, "O gracious Protector,
cover me with the veil of Thy protection which may not be torn
away!" And lo! the Badawi came up to the cistern and, standing in
his stirrup irons put out his hand to lay hold of Ala al-Din; but
he said, "O my lady Nafisah[FN#50]! Now is thy time!" And behold,
a scorpion stung the Badawi in the palm and he cried out, saying,
"Help, O Arabs! I am stung;" and he alighted from his mare's
back. So his comrades came up to him and mounted him again,
asking, "What hath befallen thee?" whereto he answered, "A young
scorpion[FN#51] stung me." So they departed, with the caravan.
Such was their case; but as regards Ala al-Din, he tarried in the
niche, and Mahmud of Balkh bade load his beasts and fared
forwards till he came to the Lion's Copse where he found Ala
al-Din's attendants all lying slain. At this he rejoiced and went
on till he reached the cistern and the reservoir. Now his mule
was athirst and turned aside to drink, but she saw Ala al-Din's
shadow in the water and shied and started; whereupon Mahmud
raised his eyes and, seeing Ala al-Din lying in the niche,
stripped to his shirt and bag trousers, said to him, "What man
this deed to thee hath dight and left thee in this evil plight?"
Answered Ala alDin, "The Arabs," and Mahmud said, "O my son, the
mules and the baggage were thy ransom; so do thou comfort thyself
with his saying who said,

'If thereby man can save his head from death, * His good is worth
him but a slice of nail!'

But now, O my son, come down and fear no hurt." Thereupon he
descended from the cistern-niche and Mahmud mounted him on a
mule, and they fared on till they reached Baghdad, where he
brought him to his own house and carried him to the bath, saying
to him, "The goods and money were the ransom of thy life, O my
son; but, if thou wilt hearken to me, I will give thee the worth
of that thou hast lost, twice told." When he came out of the
bath, Mahmud carried him into a saloon decorated with gold with
four raised floors, and bade them bring a tray with all manner of
meats. So they ate and drank and Mahmud bent towards Ala al-Din
to snatch a kiss from him; but he received it upon the palm of
his hand and said, "What, dost thou persist in thy evil designs
upon me? Did I not tell thee that, were I wont to sell this
merchandise to other than thee for gold, I would sell it thee for
silver?" Quoth Mahmud, "I will give thee neither merchandise nor
mule nor clothes save at this price; for I am gone mad for love
of thee, and bless him who said,

'Told us, ascribing to his Shaykhs, our Shaykh * Abu Bilal, these
words they wont to utter:[FN#52]
Unhealed the lover wones of love desire, * By kiss and clip, his
only cure's to futter!'"

Ala al-Din replied, "Of a truth this may never be, take back thy
dress and thy mule and open the door that I may go out." So he
opened the door, and Ala al-Din fared forth and walked on, with
the dogs barking at his heels, and he went forwards through the
dark when behold, he saw the door of a mosque standing open and,
entering the vestibule, there took shelter and concealment; and
suddenly a light approached him and on examining it he saw that
it came from a pair of lanthorns borne by two slaves before two
merchants. Now one was an old man of comely face and the other a
youth; and he heard the younger say to the elder, "O my uncle,, I
conjure thee by Allah, give me back my cousin!" The old man
replied, "Did I not forbid thee, many a time, when the oath of
divorce was always in thy mouth, as it were Holy Writ?" Then he
turned to his right and, seeing Ala al-Din as he were a slice of
the full moon, said to him, "Peace be with thee! who art thou, O
my son?" Quoth he, returning the salutation of peace, "I am Ala
al-Din, son of Shams al-Din, Consul of the merchants for Egypt. I
besought my father for merchandise; so he packed me fifty loads
of stuffs and goods."--And Shahrazed perceived the dawn of day
and ceased to say her permitted say.

When it was the Two Hundred and Fifty-sixth Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that Ala al-Din
continued, "So he packed me fifty loads of goods and gave me ten
thousand dinars, wherewith I set out for Baghdad; but when I
reached the Lion's Copse, the wild Arabs came out against me and
took all my goods and monies. So I entered the city knowing not
where to pass the night and, seeing this place, I took shelter
here." Quoth the old man, "O my son, what sayest thou to my
giving thee a thousand dinars and a suit of clothes and a mule
worth other two thousand?" Ala al-Din asked, "To what end wilt
thou give me these things, O my uncle?" and the other answered,
'This young man who accompanieth me is the son of my brother and
an only son; and I have a daughter called Zubaydah[FN#53] the
lutist, an only child who is a model of beauty and loveliness, so
I married her to him. Now he loveth her, but she loatheth him;
and when he chanced to take an oath of triple divorcement and
broke it, forthright she left him. Whereupon he egged on all the
folk to intercede with me to restore her to him; but I told him
that this could not lawfully be save by an intermediate marriage,
and we have agreed to make some stranger the intermediary[FN#54]
in order that none may taunt and shame him with this affair. So,
as thou art a stranger, come with us and we will marry thee to
her; thou shalt lie with her to-night and on the morrow divorce
her and we will give thee what I said." Quoth Ala al-Din to
himself, "By Allah, to bide the night with a bride on a bed in a
house is far better than sleeping in the streets and vestibules!"
So he went with them to the Kazi whose heart, as soon as he saw
Ala al-Din, was moved to love him, and who said to the old man,
"What is your will?" He replied, "We wish to make this young man
an intermediary husband for my daughter; but we will write a bond
against him binding him to pay down by way of marriage-settlement
ten thousand gold pieces. Now if after passing the night with her
he divorce her in the morning, we will give him a mule and dress
each worth a thousand dinars, and a third thousand of ready
money; but if he divorce her not, he shall pay down the ten
thousand dinars according to contract." So they agreed to the
agreement and the father of the bride-to-be received his bond for
the marriage-settlement. Then he took Ala al-Din and, clothing
him anew, carried him to his daughter's house and there he left
him standing at the door, whilst he himself went in to the young
lady and said, "Take the bond of thy marriage-settlement, for I
have wedded thee to a handsome youth by name Ala al-Din Abu
al-Shamat: so do thou use him with the best of usage." Then he
put the bond into her hands and left her and went to his own
lodging. Now the lady's cousin had an old duenna who used to
visit Zubaydah, and he had done many a kindness to this woman, so
he said to her, "O my mother, if my cousin Zubaydah see this
handsome young man, she will never after accept my offer; so I
would fain have thee contrive some trick to keep her and him
apart." She answered, "By the life of thy youth,[FN#55] I will
not suffer him to approach her!" Then she went to Ala al-Din and
said to him, "O my son, I have a word of advice to give thee, for
the love of Almighty Allah and do thou accept my counsel, as I
fear for thee from this young woman: better thou let her lie
alone and feel not her person nor draw thee near to her." He
asked, "Why so?"; and she answered, "Because her body is full of
leprosy and I dread lest she infect thy fair and seemly youth."
Quoth he, "I have no need of her." Thereupon she went to the lady
and said the like to her of Ala al-Din, and she replied, "I have
no need of him, but will let him lie alone, and on the morrow he
shall gang his gait." Then she called a slave-girl and said to
her, "Take the tray of food and set it before him that he may
sup." So the handmaid carried him the tray of food and set it
before him and he ate his fill: after which he sat down and
raised his charming voice and fell to reciting the chapter called
Y. S.[FN#56] The lady listened to him and found his voice as
melodious as the psalms of David sung by David himself,[FN#57]
which when she heard, she exclaimed, "Allah disappoint the old
hag who told me that he was affected with leprosy! Surely this is
not the voice of one who hath such a disease; and all was a lie
against him."[FN#58] Then she took a lute of India-land
workmanship and, tuning the strings, sang to it in a voice so
sweet its music would stay the birds in the heart of heaven; and
began these two couplets,

"I love a fawn with gentle white black eyes, * Whose walk the
willow-wand with envy kills:
Forbidding me he bids for rival-mine, * 'Tis Allah's grace who
grants to whom He wills!"

And when he heard her chant these lines he ended his recitation
of the chapter, and began also to sing and repeated the following

"My Salam to the Fawn in the garments concealed, * And to roses
in gardens of cheek revealed."

The lady rose up when she heard this, her inclination for him
redoubled and she lifted the curtain; and Ala al-Din, seeing her,
recited these two couplets,

"She shineth forth, a moon, and bends, a willow wand, * And
breathes out ambergris, and gazes, a gazelle.
Meseems as if grief loved my heart and when from her *
Estrangement I abide possession to it fell."[FN#59]

Thereupon she came forward, swinging her haunches and gracefully
swaying a shape the handiwork of Him whose boons are hidden; and
each of them stole one glance of the eyes that cost them a
thousand sighs. And when the shafts of the two regards which met
rankled in his heart, he repeated these two couplets,

"She 'spied the moon of Heaven, reminding me * Of nights when met
we in the meadows li'en:
True, both saw moons, but sooth to say, it was * Her very eyes I
saw, and she my eyne."

And when she drew near him, and there remained but two paces
between them, he recited these two couplets,

"She spread three tresses of unplaited hair * One night, and
showed me nights not one but four;
And faced the moon of Heaven with her brow, * And showed me two-
fold moons in single hour."

And as she was hard by him he said to her, "Keep away from me,
lest thou infect me." Whereupon she uncovered her wrist[FN#60] to
him, and he saw that it was cleft, as it were in two halves, by
its veins and sinews and its whiteness was as the whiteness of
virgin silver. Then said she, "Keep away from me, thou! for thou
art stricken with leprosy, and maybe thou wilt infect me." He
asked, "Who told thee I was a leper?" and she answered, "The old
woman so told me." Quoth he, "'Twas she told me also that thou
wast afflicted with white scurvy;" and so saying, he bared his
forearms and showed her that his skin was also like virgin
silver. Thereupon she pressed him to her bosom and he pressed her
to his bosom and the twain embraced with closest embrace, then
she took him and, lying down on her back, let down her petticoat
trousers, and in an instant that which his father had left him
rose up in rebellion against him and he said, "Go it, O Shayth
Zachary[FN#61] of shaggery, O father of veins!"; and putting both
hands to her flanks, he set the sugar-stick[FN#62] to the mouth
of the cleft and thrust on till he came to the wicket called
"Pecten." His passage was by the Gate of Victories[FN#63] and
therefrom he entered the Monday market, and those of Tuesday and
Wednesday and Thursday,[FN#64] and, finding the carpet after the
measure of the dais floor,[FN#65] he plied the box within its
cover till he came to the end of it. And when morning dawned he
cried to her, "Alas for delight which is not fulfilled! The
raven[FN#66] taketh it and flieth away!" She asked, "What meaneth
this saying?"; and he answered, "O my lady, I have but this hour
to abide with thee." Quoth she "Who saith so?" and quoth he, "Thy
father made me give him a written bond to pay ten thousand dinars
to thy wedding-settlement; and, except I pay it this very day,
they will imprison me for debt in the Kazi's house; and now my
hand lacketh one-half dirham of the sum." She asked, "O my lord,
is the marriage-bond in thy hand or in theirs?"; and he answered,
"O my lady, in mine, but I have nothing." She rejoined, "The
matter is easy; fear thou nothing. Take these hundred dinars: an
I had more, I would give thee what thou lackest; but of a truth
my father, of his love for my cousin, hath transported all his
goods, even to my jewellery from my lodging to his. But when they
send thee a serjeant of the Ecclesiastical Court,"--And Shahrazad
perceived the dawn of day and ceased to say her permitted say.

When it was the Two Hundred and Fifty-seventh Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that the young
lady rejoined to Ala al-Din, "And when they send thee at an early
hour a serjeant of the Ecclesiastical-Court, and the Kazi and my
father bid thee divorce me, do thou reply, By what law is it
lawful and right that I should marry at nightfall and divorce in
the morning? Then kiss the Kazi's hand and give him a present,
and in like manner kiss the Assessors' hands and give each of
them ten gold pieces. So they will all speak with thee, and if
they ask thee, 'Why dost thou not divorce her and take the
thousand dinars and the mule and suit of clothes, according to
contract duly contracted?' do thou answer, 'Every hair of her
head is worth a thousand ducats to me and I will never put her
away, neither will I take a suit of clothes nor aught else.' And
if the Kazi say to thee, 'Then pay down the marriage-settlement,'
do thou reply, 'I am short of cash at this present;' whereupon he
and the Assessors will deal in friendly fashion with thee and
allow thee time to pay." Now whilst they were talking, behold,
the Kazi's officer knocked at the door; so Ala al-Din went down
and the man said to him, "Come, speak the Efendi,[FN#67] for thy
fatherinlaw summoneth thee." So Ala al-Din gave him five dinars
and said to him, "O Summoner, by what law am I bound to marry at
nightfall and divorce next morning?" The serjeant answered, "By
no law of ours at all, at all; and if thou be ignorant of the
religious law, I will act as thine advocate." Then they went to
the divorce court and the Kazi said to Ala al-Din, "Why dost thou
not put away the woman and take what falleth to thee by the
contract?" Hearing this he went up to the Kazi; and, kissing his
hand, put fifty dinars in it and said, "O our lord the Kazi, by
what law is it lawful and right that I should marry at nightfall
and divorce in the morning in my own despite?" The Kazi,
answered, "Divorce as a compulsion and by force is sanctioned by
no school of the Moslems." Then said the young lady's father, "If
thou wilt not divorce, pay me the ten thousand dinars, her
marriage-settlement." Quoth Ala al-Din, "Give me a delay of three
days;" but the Kazi, said, "Three days is not time enough; he
shall give thee ten." So they agreed to this and bound him after
ten days either to pay the dowry or to divorce her. And after
consenting he left them and taking meat and rice and clarified
butter[FN#68] and what else of food he needed, returned to the
house and told the young woman all that had passed; whereupon she
said, "'Twixt night and day, wonders may display; and Allah bless
him for his say:--

'Be mild when rage shall come to afflict thy soul; * Be patient
when calamity breeds ire;
Lookye, the Nights are big with child by Time, * Whose pregnancy
bears wondrous things and dire.'"

Then she rose and made ready food and brought the tray, and they
two ate and drank and were merry and mirthful. Presently Ala
al-Din besought her to let him hear a little music; so she took
the lute and played a melody that had made the hardest stone
dance for glee, and the strings cried out in present ecstacy, "O
Loving One!'';[FN#69] after which she passed from the adagio into
the presto and a livelier measure. As they thus spent their
leisure in joy and jollity and mirth and merriment, behold, there
came a knocking at the door and she said to him; "Go see who is
at the door." So he went down and opened it and finding four
Dervishes standing without, said to them, "What want ye?" They
replied, "O my lord, we are foreign and wandering religious
mendicants, the viands of whose souls are music and dainty verse,
and we would fain take our pleasure with thee this night till
morning cloth appear, when we will wend our way, and with
Almighty Allah be thy reward; for we adore music and there is not
one of us but knoweth by heart store of odes and songs and
ritornellos."[FN#70] He answered, "There is one I must consult;"
and he returned and told Zubaydah who said, "Open the door to
them." So he brought them up and made them sit down and welcomed
them; then he fetched them food, but they would not eat and said,
"O our lord, our meat is to repeat Allah's name in our hearts and
to hear music with our ears: and bless him who saith,

'Our aim is only converse to enjoy, * And eating joyeth only

And just now we heard pleasant music in thy house, but when we
entered, it ceased; and fain would we know whether the player was
a slave-girl, white or black, or a maiden of good family." He
answered, "It was this my wife," and told them all that had
befallen him, adding, "Verily my father-in-law hath bound me to
pay a marriage-settlement of ten thousand dinars for her, and
they have given me ten days' time." Said one of the Dervishes,
"Have no care and think of naught but good; for I am Shaykh of
the Convent and have forty Dervishes under my orders. I will
presently collect from them the ten thousand dinars and thou
shalt pay thy father-in-law the wedding settlement. But now bid
thy wife make us music that we may be gladdened and pleasured;

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