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The Book of the Thousand Nights and a Night, Volume 10 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


His Excellency Yacoub Artin Pasha,
Minister of Instruction, Etc. Etc. Etc. Cairo.

My Dear Pasha,
During the last dozen years, since we first met at Cairo,
you have done much for Egyptian folk-lore and you can do much
more. This volume is inscribed to you with a double purpose;
first it is intended as a public expression of gratitude for your
friendly assistance; and, secondly, as a memento that the samples
which you have given us imply a promise of further gift. With
this lively sense of favours to come I subscribe myself

Ever yours friend and fellow worker,

Richard F. Burton

London, July 12, 1886.

Contents of the Tenth Volume

169. Ma'aruf the Cobbler and His Wife Fatimah
Terminal Essay
Appendix I.--
1. Index to the Tales and Proper Names
2. Alphabetical Table of the Notes (Anthropological, &c.)
3. Alphabetical Table of First lines--
a. English
b. Arabic
4. Table of Contents of the Various Arabic Texts--
a. The Unfinished Calcutta Edition (1814-1818)
b. The Breslau Text
c. The Macnaghten Text and the Bulak Edition
d. The same with Mr. Lane's and my Version
Appendix II--
Contributions to the Bibliography of the Thousand and
One Nights and their Imitations, By W. F. Kirby

The Book Of The


There dwelt once upon a time in the God-guarded city of Cairo a
cobbler who lived by patching old shoes.[FN#1] His name was
Ma'aruf[FN#2] and he had a wife called Fatimah, whom the folk had
nicknamed "The Dung;"[FN#3] for that she was a whorish, worthless
wretch, scanty of shame and mickle of mischief. She ruled her
spouse and abused him; and he feared her malice and dreaded her
misdoings; for that he was a sensible man but poor-conditioned.
When he earned much, he spent it on her, and when he gained
little, she revenged herself on his body that night, leaving him
no peace and making his night black as her book;[FN#4] for she
was even as of one like her saith the poet:--

How manifold nights have I passed with my wife * In the saddest
plight with all misery rife:
Would Heaven when first I went in to her * With a cup of cold
poison I'd ta'en her life.

One day she said to him, "O Ma'aruf, I wish thee to bring me this
night a vermicelli-cake dressed with bees' honey."[FN#5] He
replied, "So Allah Almighty aid me to its price, I will bring it
thee. By Allah, I have no dirhams to-day, but our Lord will make
things easy."[FN#6] Rejoined she,--And Shahrazad perceived the
dawn of day and ceased to say her permitted say.

When it was the Nine Hundred and Ninetieth Night,

She resumed, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that Ma'aruf
the Cobbler said to his spouse, "By Allah, I have no dirhams
to-day, but our Lord will make things easy to me!" She rejoined,
"I wot naught of these words; look thou come not to me save with
the vermicelli and bees' honey; else will I make thy night black
as thy fortune whenas thou fellest into my hand." Quoth he,
"Allah is bountiful!" and going out with grief scattering itself
from his body, prayed the dawn-prayer and opened his shop. After
which he sat till noon, but no work came to him and his fear of
his wife redoubled. Then he arose and went out perplexed as to
how he should do in the matter of the vermicelli-cake, seeing he
had not even the wherewithal to buy bread. Presently he came to
the shop of the Kunafah-seller and stood before it, whilst his
eyes brimmed with tears. The pastry-cook glanced at him and said,
"O Master Ma'aruf, why dost thou weep? Tell me what hath befallen
thee." So he acquainted him with his case, saying, "My wife would
have me bring her a Kunafah; but I have sat in my shop till past
mid-day and have not gained even the price of bread; wherefore I
am in fear of her." The cook laughed and said, "No harm shall
come to thee. How many pounds wilt thou have?" "Five pounds,"
answered Ma'aruf. So the man weighed him out five pounds of
vermicelli-cake and said to him, "I have clarified butter, but no
bees' honey. Here is drip-honey,[FN#7] however, which is better
than bees' honey; and what harm will there be, if it be with
drip-honey?" Ma'aruf was ashamed to object, because the
pastry-cook was to have patience with him for the price, and
said, "Give it me with drip-honey." So he fried a vermicelli-cake
for him with butter and drenched it with drip-honey, till it was
fit to present to Kings. Then he asked him, "Dost thou want
bread[FN#8] and cheese?"; and Ma'aruf answered, "Yes." So he gave
him four half dirhams worth of bread and one of cheese, and the
vermicelli was ten nusfs. Then said he, "Know, O Ma'aruf, that
thou owest me fifteen nusfs; so go to thy wife and make merry and
take this nusf for the Hammam;[FN#9] and thou shalt have credit
for a day or two or three till Allah provide thee with thy daily
bread. And straiten not thy wife, for I will have patience with
thee till such time as thou shalt have dirhams to spare." So
Ma'aruf took the vermicelli-cake and bread and cheese and went
away, with a heart at ease, blessing the pastry-cook and saying,
"Extolled be Thy perfection, O my Lord! How bountiful art Thou!"
When he came home, his wife enquired of him, "Hast thou brought
the vermicelli-cake?"; and, replying "Yes," he set it before her.
She looked at it and seeing that it was dressed with
cane-honey,[FN#10] said to him, "Did I not bid thee bring it with
bees' honey? Wilt thou contrary my wish and have it dressed with
cane-honey?" He excused himself to her, saying, "I bought it not
save on credit;" but said she, "This talk is idle; I will not eat
Kunafah save with bees' honey." And she was wroth with it and
threw it in his face, saying, "Begone, thou pimp, and bring me
other than this !" Then she dealt him a buffet on the cheek and
knocked out one of his teeth. The blood ran down upon his breast
and for stress of anger he smote her on the head a single blow
and a slight; whereupon she clutched his beard and fell to
shouting out and saying, "Help, O Moslems!" So the neighbours
came in and freed his beard from her grip; then they reproved and
reproached her, saying, "We are all content to eat Kunafah with
cane-honey. Why, then, wilt thou oppress this poor man thus?
Verily, this is disgraceful in thee!" And they went on to soothe
her till they made peace between her and him. But, when the folk
were gone, she sware that she would not eat of the vermicelli,
and Ma'aruf, burning with hunger, said in himself, "She sweareth
that she will not eat; so I will e'en eat." Then he ate, and when
she saw him eating, she said, "Inshallah, may the eating of it be
poison to destroy the far one's body."[FN#11] Quoth he, "It shall
not be at thy bidding," and went on eating, laughing and saying,
"Thou swarest that thou wouldst not eat of this; but Allah is
bountiful, and to-morrow night, an the Lord decree, I will bring
thee Kunafah dressed with bees' honey, and thou shalt eat it
alone." And he applied himself to appeasing her, whilst she
called down curses upon him; and she ceased not to rail at him
and revile him with gross abuse till the morning, when she bared
her forearm to beat him. Quoth he, "Give me time and I will bring
thee other vermicelli-cake." Then he went out to the mosque and
prayed, after which he betook himself to his shop and opening it,
sat down; but hardly had he done this when up came two runners
from the Kazi's court and said to him, "Up with thee, speak with
the Kazi, for thy wife hath complained of thee to him and her
favour is thus and thus." He recognised her by their description;
and saying, "May Allah Almighty torment her!" walked with them
till he came to the Kazi's presence, where he found Fatimah
standing with her arm bound up and her face-veil besmeared with
blood; and she was weeping and wiping away her tears. Quoth the
Kazi, "Ho man, hast thou no fear of Allah the Most High? Why hast
thou beaten this good woman and broken her forearm and knocked
out her tooth and entreated her thus?" And quoth Ma'aruf, "If I
beat her or put out her tooth, sentence me to what thou wilt; but
in truth the case was thus and thus and the neighbours made peace
between me and her." And he told him the story from first to
last. Now this Kazi was a benevolent man; so he brought out to
him a quarter dinar, saying, "O man, take this and get her
Kunafah with bees' honey and do ye make peace, thou and she."
Quoth Ma'aruf, "Give it to her." So she took it and the Kazi made
peace between them, saying, "O wife, obey thy husband; and thou,
O man, deal kindly with her.[FN#12]" Then they left the court,
reconciled at the Kazi's hands, and the woman went one way,
whilst her husband returned by another way to his shop and sat
there, when, behold, the runners came up to him and said, "Give
us our fee." Quoth he, "The Kazi took not of me aught; on the
contrary, he gave me a quarter dinar." But quoth they "'Tis no
concern of ours whether the Kazi took of thee or gave to thee,
and if thou give us not our fee, we will exact it in despite of
thee." And they fell to dragging him about the market; so he sold
his tools and gave them half a dinar, whereupon they let him go
and went away, whilst he put his hand to his cheek and sat
sorrowful, for that he had no tools wherewith to work. Presently,
up came two ill-favoured fellows and said to him, "Come, O man,
and speak with the Kazi; for thy wife hath complained of thee to
him." Said he, "He made peace between us just now." But said
they, "We come from another Kazi, and thy wife hath complained of
thee to our Kazi." So he arose and went with them to their Kazi,
calling on Allah for aid against her; and when he saw her, he
said to her, "Did we not make peace, good woman?" Whereupon she
cried, "There abideth no peace between me and thee." Accordingly
he came forward and told the Kazi his story, adding, "And indeed
the Kazi Such-an-one made peace between us this very hour."
Whereupon the Kazi said to her, "O strumpet, since ye two have
made peace with each other, why comest thou to me complaining?"
Quoth she, "He beat me after that;" but quoth the Kazi, "Make
peace each with other, and beat her not again, and she will cross
thee no more." So they made peace and the Kazi said to Ma'aruf,
"Give the runners their fee." So he gave them their fee and going
back to his shop, opened it and sat down, as he were a drunken
man for excess of the chagrin which befel him. Presently, while
he was still sitting, behold, a man came up to him and said, "O
Ma'aruf, rise and hide thyself, for thy wife hath complained of
thee to the High Court[FN#13] and Abu Tabak[FN#14] is after
thee." So he shut his shop and fled towards the Gate of
Victory.[FN#15] He had five nusfs of silver left of the price of
the lasts and gear; and therewith he bought four worth of bread
and one of cheese, as he fled from her. Now it was the winter
season and the hour of mid-afternoon prayer; so, when he came out
among the rubbish-mounds the rain descended upon him, like water
from the mouths of water-skins, and his clothes were drenched. He
therefore entered the 'Adiliyah,[FN#16] where he saw a ruined
place and therein a deserted cell without a door; and in it he
took refuge and found shelter from the rain. The tears streamed
from his eyelids, and he fell to complaining of what had betided
him and saying, "Whither shall I flee from this whore? I beseech
Thee, O Lord, to vouchsafe me one who shall conduct me to a far
country, where she shall not know the way to me!" Now while he
sat weeping, behold, the wall clave and there came forth to him
therefrom one of tall stature, whose aspect caused his body-pile
to bristle and his flesh to creep, and said to him, "O man, what
aileth thee that thou disturbest me this night? These two hundred
years have I dwelt here and have never seen any enter this place
and do as thou dost. Tell me what thou wishest and I will
accomplish thy need, as ruth for thee hath got hold upon my
heart." Quoth Ma'aruf, "Who and what art thou?"; and quoth he, "I
am the Haunter[FN#17] of this place." So Ma'aruf told him all
that had befallen him with his wife and he said, "Wilt thou have
me convey thee to a country, where thy wife shall know no way to
thee?" "Yes," said Ma'aruf; and the other, "Then mount my back."
So he mounted on his back and he flew with him from after
supper-tide till daybreak, when he set him down on the top of a
high mountain--And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased
saying her permitted say.

When it was the Nine Hundred and Ninety-first Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that the Marid
having taken up Ma'aruf the Cobbler, flew off with him and set
him down upon a high mountain and said to him, "O mortal, descend
this mountain and thou wilt see the gate of a city. Enter it, for
therein thy wife cannot come at thee." He then left him and went
his way, whilst Ma'aruf abode in amazement and perplexity till
the sun rose, when he said to himself, "I will up with me and go
down into the city: indeed there is no profit in my abiding upon
this highland." So he descended to the mountain-foot and saw a
city girt by towering walls, full of lofty palaces and
gold-adorned buildings which was a delight to beholders. He
entered in at the gate and found it a place such as lightened the
grieving heart; but, as he walked through the streets the
townsfolk stared at him as a curiosity and gathered about him,
marvelling at his dress, for it was unlike theirs. Presently, one
of them said to him, "O man, art thou a stranger?" "Yes." "What
countryman art thou?" "I am from the city of Cairo the
Auspicious." "And when didst thou leave Cairo?" "I left it
yesterday, at the hour of afternoon-prayer." Whereupon the man
laughed at him and cried out, saying, "Come look, O folk, at this
man and hear what he saith!" Quoth they, "What doeth he say?";
and quoth the townsman, "He pretendeth that he cometh from Cairo
and left it yesterday at the hour of afternoon-prayer!" At this
they all laughed and gathering round Ma'aruf, said to him, "O
man, art thou mad to talk thus? How canst thou pretend that thou
leftest Cairo at mid-afternoon yesterday and foundedst thyself
this morning here, when the truth is that between our city and
Cairo lieth a full year's journey?" Quoth he, "None is mad but
you. As for me, I speak sooth, for here is bread which I brought
with me from Cairo, and see, 'tis yet new." Then he showed them
the bread and they stared at it, for it was unlike their country
bread. So the crowd increased about him and they said to one
another, "This is Cairo bread: look at it;" and he became a
gazing-stock in the city and some believed him, whilst others
gave him the lie and made mock of him. Whilst this was going on,
behold, up came a merchant riding on a she-mule and followed by
two black slaves, and brake a way through the people, saying, "O
folk, are ye not ashamed to mob this stranger and make mock of
him and scoff at him?" And he went on to rate them, till he drave
them away from Ma'aruf, and none could make him any answer. Then
he said to the stranger, "Come, O my brother, no harm shall
betide thee from these folk. Verily they have no shame."[FN#18]
So he took him and carrying him to a spacious and richly-adorned
house, seated him in a speak-room fit for a King, whilst he gave
an order to his slaves, who opened a chest and brought out to him
a dress such as might be worn by a merchant worth a
thousand.[FN#19] He clad him therewith and Ma'aruf, being a
seemly man, became as he were consul of the merchants. Then his
host called for food and they set before them a tray of all
manner exquisite viands. The twain ate and drank and the merchant
said to Ma'aruf, "O my brother, what is thy name?" "My name is
Ma'aruf and I am a cobbler by trade and patch old shoes." "What
countryman art thou?" "I am from Cairo." "What quarter?" "Dost
thou know Cairo?" "I am of its children.[FN#20] I come from the
Red Street.[FN#21]" "And whom dost thou know in the Red Street?"
"I know such an one and such an one," answered Ma'aruf and named
several people to him. Quoth the other, "Knowest thou Shaykh
Ahmad the druggist?[FN#22]" "He was my next neighbour, wall to
wall." "Is he well?" "Yes." "How many sons hath he?" "Three,
Mustafa, Mohammed and Ali." "And what hath Allah done with them?"
"As for Mustafa, he is well and he is a learned man, a
professor[FN#23]: Mohammed is a druggist and opened him a shop
beside that of his father, after he had married, and his wife
hath borne him a son named Hasan." "Allah gladden thee with good
news!" said the merchant; and Ma'aruf continued, "As for Ali, he
was my friend, when we were boys, and we always played together,
I and he. We used to go in the guise of the children of the
Nazarenes and enter the church and steal the books of the
Christians and sell them and buy food with the price. It chanced
once that the Nazarenes caught us with a book; whereupon they
complained of us to our folk and said to Ali's father:--An thou
hinder not thy son from troubling us, we will complain of thee to
the King. So he appeased them and gave Ali a thrashing; wherefore
he ran away none knew whither and he hath now been absent twenty
years and no man hath brought news of him." Quoth the host, "I am
that very Ali, son of Shaykh Ahmad the druggist, and thou art my
playmate Ma'aruf."[FN#24] So they saluted each other and after
the salam Ali said, "Tell me why, O Ma'aruf, thou camest from
Cairo to this city." Then he told him all that had befallen him
of ill-doing with his wife Fatimah the Dung and said, "So, when
her annoy waxed on me, I fled from her towards the Gate of
Victory and went forth the city. Presently, the rain fell heavy
on me; so I entered a ruined cell in the Adiliyah and sat there,
weeping; whereupon there came forth to me the Haunter of the
place, which was an Ifrit of the Jinn, and questioned me. I
acquainted him with my case and he took me on his back and flew
with me all night between heaven and earth, till he set me down
on yonder mountain and gave me to know of this city. So I came
down from the mountain and entered the city, when people crowded
about me and questioned me. I told them that I had left Cairo
yesterday, but they believed me not, and presently thou camest up
and driving the folk away from me, carriedst me this house. Such,
then, is the cause of my quitting Cairo; and thou, what object
brought thee hither?" Quoth Ali, "The giddiness[FN#25] of folly
turned my head when I was seven years old, from which time I
wandered from land to land and city to city, till I came to this
city, the name whereof is Ikhtiyan al-Khatan.[FN#26] I found its
people an hospitable folk and a kindly, compassionate for the
poor man and selling to him on credit and believing all he said.
So quoth I to them:--I am a merchant and have preceded my packs
and I need a place wherein to bestow my baggage. And they
believed me and assigned me a lodging. Then quoth I to them:--Is
there any of you will lend me a thousand dinars, till my loads
arrive, when I will repay it to him; for I am in want of certain
things before my goods come? They gave me what I asked and I went
to the merchants' bazar, where, seeing goods, I bought them and
sold them next day at a profit of fifty gold pieces and bought
others.[FN#27] And I consorted with the folk and entreated them
liberally, so that they loved me, and I continued to sell and
buy, till I grew rich. Know, O my brother, that the proverb
saith, The world is show and trickery: and the land where none
wotteth thee, there do whatso liketh thee. Thou too, an thou say
to all who ask thee, I'm a cobbler by trade and poor withal, and
I fled from my wife and left Cairo yesterday, they will not
believe thee and thou wilt be a laughing-stock among them as long
as thou abidest in the city; whilst, an thou tell them, An Ifrit
brought me hither, they will take fright at thee and none will
come near thee; for they will say, This man is possessed of an
Ifrit and harm will betide whoso approacheth him. And such public
report will be dishonouring both to thee and to me, because they
ken I come from Cairo." Ma'aruf asked:--"How then shall I do?";
and Ali answered, "I will tell thee how thou shalt do, Inshallah!
To-morrow I will give thee a thousand dinars and a she-mule to
ride and a black slave, who shall walk before thee and guide thee
to the gate of the merchants' bazar; and do thou go into them. I
will be there sitting amongst them, and when I see thee, I will
rise to thee and salute thee with the salam and kiss thy hand and
make a great man of thee. Whenever I ask thee of any kind of
stuff, saying, Hast thou brought with thee aught of such a kind?
do thou answer, "Plenty.[FN#28]" And if they question me of thee,
I will praise thee and magnify thee in their eyes and say to
them, Get him a store-house and a shop. I also will give thee out
for a man of great wealth and generosity; and if a beggar come to
thee, bestow upon him what thou mayst; so will they put faith in
what I say and believe in thy greatness and generosity and love
thee. Then will I invite thee to my house and invite all the
merchants on thy account and bring together thee and them, so
that all may know thee and thou know them,"--And Shahrazad
perceived the dawn of day and ceased to say her permitted say.

When it was the Nine Hundred and Ninety-second Night,

She continued, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that the
merchant Ali said to Ma'aruf, "I will invite thee to my house and
invite all the merchants on thy account and bring together thee
and them, so that all may know thee and thou know them, whereby
thou shalt sell and buy and take and give with them; nor will it
be long ere thou become a man of money." Accordingly, on the
morrow he gave him a thousand dinars and a suit of clothes and a
black slave and mounting him on a she-mule, said to him, "Allah
give thee quittance of responsibility for all this,[FN#29]
inasmuch as thou art my friend and it behoveth me to deal
generously with thee. Have no care; but put away from thee the
thought of thy wife's misways and name her not to any." "Allah
requite thee with good!" replied Ma'aruf and rode on, preceded by
his blackamoor till the slave brought him to the gate of the
merchants' bazar, where they were all seated, and amongst them
Ali, who when he saw him, rose and threw himself upon him,
crying, "A blessed day, O Merchant Ma'aruf, O man of good works
and kindness[FN#30]!" And he kissed his hand before the merchants
and said to them, "Our brothers, ye are honoured by
knowing[FN#31] the merchant Ma'aruf." So they saluted him, and
Ali signed to them to make much of him, wherefore he was
magnified in their eyes. Then Ali helped him to dismount from his
she-mule and saluted him with the salam; after which he took the
merchants apart, one after other, and vaunted Ma'aruf to them.
They asked, "Is this man a merchant?;" and he answered, "Yes; and
indeed he is the chiefest of merchants, there liveth not a
wealthier than he; for his wealth and the riches of his father
and forefathers are famous among the merchants of Cairo. He hath
partners in Hind and Sind and Al-Yaman and is high in repute for
generosity. So know ye his rank and exalt ye his degree and do
him service, and wot also that his coming to your city is not for
the sake of traffic, and none other save to divert himself with
the sight of folk's countries: indeed, he hath no need of
strangerhood for the sake of gain and profit, having wealth that
fires cannot consume, and I am one of his servants." And he
ceased not to extol him, till they set him above their heads and
began to tell one another of his qualities. Then they gathered
round him and offered him junkets[FN#32] and sherbets, and even
the Consul of the Merchants came to him and saluted him; whilst
Ali proceeded to ask him, in the presence of the traders, "O my
lord, haply thou hast brought with thee somewhat of such and such
a stuff?"; and Ma'aruf answered,"Plenty." Now Ali had that day
shown him various kinds of costly clothes and had taught him the
names of the different stuffs, dear and cheap. Then said one of
the merchants, "O my lord, hast thou brought with thee yellow
broad cloth?": and Ma'aruf said, "Plenty"! Quoth another, "And
gazelles' blood red[FN#33]?"; and quoth the Cobbler, "Plenty";
and as often as he asked him of aught, he made him the same
answer. So the other said, "O Merchant Ali had thy countryman a
mind to transport a thousand loads of costly stuffs, he could do
so"; and Ali said, "He would take them from a single one of his
store-houses, and miss naught thereof." Now whilst they were
sitting, behold, up came a beggar and went the round of the
merchants. One gave him a half dirham and another a
copper,[FN#34] but most of them gave him nothing, till he came to
Ma'aruf who pulled out a handful of gold and gave it to him,
whereupon he blessed him and went his ways. The merchants
marvelled at this and said, "Verily, this is a King's bestowal
for he gave the beggar gold without count, and were he not a man
of vast wealth and money without end, he had not given a beggar a
handful of gold." After a while, there came to him a poor woman
and he gave her a handful of gold; whereupon she went away,
blessing him, and told the other beggars, who came to him, one
after other, and he gave them each a handful of gold, till he
disbursed the thousand dinars. Then he struck hand upon hand and
said, "Allah is our sufficient aid and excellent is the Agent!"
Quoth the Consul, "What aileth thee, O Merchant Ma'aruf?"; and
quoth he, "It seemeth that the most part of the people of this
city are poor and needy; had I known their misery I would have
brought with me a large sum of money in my saddle-bags and given
largesse thereof to the poor. I fear me I may be long
abroad[FN#35] and 'tis not in my nature to baulk a beggar; and I
have no gold left: so, if a pauper come to me, what shall I say
to him?" Quoth the Consul, "Say, Allah will send thee thy daily
bread[FN#36]!"; but Ma'aruf replied, "That is not my practice and
I am care-ridden because of this. Would I had other thousand
dinars, wherewith to give alms till my baggage come!" "Have no
care for that," quoth the Consul and sending one of his
dependents for a thousand dinars, handed them to Ma'aruf, who
went on giving them to every beggar who passed till the call to
noon-prayer. Then they entered the Cathedral-mosque and prayed
the noon-prayers, and what was left him of the thousand gold
pieces he scattered on the heads of the worshippers. This drew
the people's attention to him and they blessed him, whilst the
merchants marvelled at the abundance of his generosity and
openhandedness. Then he turned to another trader and borrowing of
him other thousand ducats, gave these also away, whilst Merchant
Ali looked on at what he did, but could not speak. He ceased not
to do thus till the call to mid-afternoon prayer, when he entered
the mosque and prayed and distributed the rest of the money. On
this wise, by the time they locked the doors of the bazar,[FN#37]
he had borrowed five thousand sequins and given them away, saying
to every one of whom he took aught, "Wait till my baggage come
when, if thou desire gold I will give thee gold, and if thou
desire stuffs, thou shalt have stuffs; for I have no end of
them." At eventide Merchant Ali invited Ma'aruf and the rest of
the traders to an entertainment and seated him in the upper end,
the place of honour, where he talked of nothing but cloths and
jewels, and whenever they made mention to him of aught, he said,
"I have plenty of it." Next day, he again repaired to the
market-street where he showed a friendly bias towards the
merchants and borrowed of them more money, which he distributed
to the poor: nor did he leave doing thus twenty days, till he had
borrowed threescore thousand dinars, and still there came no
baggage, no, nor a burning plague.[FN#38] At last folk began to
clamour for their money and say, "The merchant Ma'aruf's baggage
cometh not. How long will he take people's monies and give them
to the poor?" And quoth one of them, "My rede is that we speak to
Merchant Ali." So they went to him and said, "O Merchant Ali,
Merchant Ma'aruf's baggage cometh not." Said he, "Have patience,
it cannot fail to come soon." Then he took Ma'aruf aside and said
to him, "O Ma'aruf, what fashion is this? Did I bid thee
brown[FN#39] the bread or burn it? The merchants clamour for
their coin and tell me that thou owest them sixty thousand
dinars, which thou hast borrowed and given away to the poor. How
wilt thou satisfy the folk, seeing that thou neither sellest nor
buyest?" Said Ma'aruf, "What matters it[FN#40]; and what are
threescore thousand dinars? When my baggage shall come, I will
pay them in stuffs or in gold and silver, as they will." Quoth
Merchant Ali, "Allah is Most Great! Hast thou then any baggage?";
and he said, "Plenty." Cried the other, "Allah and the
Hallows[FN#41] requite thee thine impudence! Did I teach thee
this saying, that thou shouldst repeat it to me? But I will
acquaint the folk with thee." Ma'aruf rejoined, "Begone and prate
no more! Am I a poor man? I have endless wealth in my baggage and
as soon as it cometh, they shall have their money's worth two for
one. I have no need of them." At this Merchant Ali waxed wroth
and said, "Unmannerly wight that thou art, I will teach thee to
lie to me and be not ashamed!" Said Ma'aruf, "E'en work the worst
thy hand can do! They must wait till my baggage come, when they
shall have their due and more." So Ali left him and went away,
saying in himself, "I praised him whilome and if I blame him now,
I make myself out a liar and become of those of whom it is said:-
-Whoso praiseth and then blameth lieth twice."[FN#42] And he knew
not what to do. Presently, the traders came to him and said, "O
Merchant Ali, hast thou spoken to him?" Said he, "O folk, I am
ashamed and, though he owe me a thousand dinars, I cannot speak
to him. When ye lent him your money ye consulted me not; so ye
have no claim on me. Dun him yourselves, and if he pay you not,
complain of him to the King of the city, saying:--He is an
impostor who hath imposed upon us. And he will deliver you from
the plague of him." Accordingly, they repaired to the King and
told him what had passed, saying, "O King of the age, we are
perplexed anent this merchant, whose generosity is excessive; for
he doeth thus and thus, and all he borroweth, he giveth away to
the poor by handsful. Were he a man of naught, his sense would
not suffer him to lavish gold on this wise; and were he a man of
wealth, his good faith had been made manifest to us by the coming
of his baggage; but we see none of his luggage, although he
avoucheth that he hath baggage-train and hath preceded it. Now
some time hath past, but there appeareth no sign of his
baggage-train, and he oweth us sixty thousand gold pieces, all of
which he hath given away in alms." And they went on to praise him
and extol his generosity. Now this King was a very covetous man,
a more covetous than Ash'ab[FN#43]; and when he heard tell of
Ma'aruf's generosity and openhandedness, greed of gain got the
better of him and he said to his Wazir, "Were not this merchant a
man of immense wealth, he had not shown all this munificence. His
baggage-train will assuredly come, whereupon these merchants will
flock to him and he will scatter amongst them riches galore. Now
I have more right to this money than they; wherefore I have a
mind to make friends with him and profess affection for him, so
that, when his baggage cometh whatso the merchants would have had
I shall get of him; and I will give him my daughter to wife and
join his wealth to my wealth." Replied the Wazir, "O King of the
age, methinks he is naught but an impostor, and 'tis the impostor
who ruineth the house of the covetous;"--And Shahrazad perceived
the dawn of day and ceased saying her permitted say.

When it was the Nine Hundred and Ninety-third Night,

She pursued, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when the
Wazir said to the King, "Methinks he is naught but an impostor,
and 'tis the impostor who ruineth the house of the covetous;" the
King said, "O Wazir, I will prove him and soon know if he be an
impostor or a true man and whether he be a rearling of Fortune or
not." The Wazir asked, "And how wilt thou prove him?"; and the
King answered, "I will send for him to the presence and entreat
him with honour and give him a jewel which I have. An he know it
and wot its price, he is a man of worth and wealth; but an he
know it not, he is an impostor and an upstart and I will do him
die by the foulest fashion of deaths." So he sent for Ma'aruf,
who came and saluted him. The King returned his salam and seating
him beside himself, said to him, "Art thou the merchant Ma'aruf?"
and said he, "Yes." Quoth the King, "The merchants declare that
thou owest them sixty thousand ducats. Is this true?" "Yes,"
quoth he. Asked the King, "Then why dost thou not give them their
money?"; and he answered, "Let them wait till my baggage come and
I will repay them twofold. An they wish for gold, they shall have
gold; and should they wish for silver, they shall have silver; or
an they prefer for merchandise, I will give them merchandise; and
to whom I owe a thousand I will give two thousand in requital of
that wherewith he hath veiled my face before the poor; for I have
plenty." Then said the King, "O merchant, take this and look what
is its kind and value." And he gave him a jewel the bigness of a
hazel-nut, which he had bought for a thousand sequins and not
having its fellow, prized it highly. Ma'aruf took it and pressing
it between his thumb and forefinger brake it, for it was brittle
and would not brook the squeeze. Quoth the King, "Why hast thou
broken the jewel?"; and Ma'aruf laughed and said, "O King of the
age, this is no jewel. This is but a bittock of mineral worth a
thousand dinars; why dost thou style it a jewel? A jewel I call
such as is worth threescore and ten thousand gold pieces and this
is called but a piece of stone. A jewel that is not of the
bigness of a walnut hath no worth in my eyes and I take no
account thereof. How cometh it, then, that thou, who art King,
stylest this thing a jewel, when 'tis but a bit of mineral worth
a thousand dinars? But ye are excusable, for that ye are poor
folk and have not in your possession things of price." The King
asked, "O merchant, hast thou jewels such as those whereof thou
speakest?"; and he answered, "Plenty." Whereupon avarice overcame
the King and he said, "Wilt thou give me real jewels?" Said
Ma'aruf, "When my baggage-train shall come, I will give thee no
end of jewels; and all that thou canst desire I have in plenty
and will give thee, without price." At this the King rejoiced and
said to the traders, "Wend your ways and have patience with him,
till his baggage arrive, when do ye come to me and receive your
monies from me." So they fared forth and the King turned to his
to his Wazir and said to him, Pay court to Merchant Ma'aruf and
take and give with him in talk and bespeak him of my daughter,
Princess Dunya, that he may wed her and so we gain these riches
he hath." Said the Wazir, "O King of the age, this man's fashion
misliketh me and methinks he is an impostor and a liar: so leave
this whereof thou speakest lest thou lose thy daughter for
naught." Now this Minister had sued the King aforetime to give
him his daughter to wife and he was willing to do so, but when
she heard of it she consented not to marry him. Accordingly, the
King said to him, "O traitor, thou desirest no good for me,
because in past time thou soughtest my daughter in wedlock, but
she would none of thee; so now thou wouldst cut off the way of
her marriage and wouldst have the Princess lie fallow, that thou
mayst take her; but hear from me one word. Thou hast no concern
in this matter. How can he be an impostor and a liar, seeing that
he knew the price of the jewel, even that for which I bought it,
and brake it because it pleased him not? He hath jewels in
plenty, and when he goeth in to my daughter and seeth her to be
beautiful she will captivate his reason and he will love her and
give her jewels and things of price: but, as for thee, thou
wouldst forbid my daughter and myself these good things." So the
Minister was silent, for fear of the King's anger, and said to
himself, "Set the curs on the cattle[FN#44]!" Then with show of
friendly bias he betook himself to Ma'aruf and said to him, "His
Highness the King loveth thee and hath a daughter, a winsome lady
and a lovesome, to whom he is minded to marry thee. What sayst
thou?" Said he, "No harm in that; but let him wait till my
baggage come, for marriage-settlements on Kings' daughters are
large and their rank demandeth that they be not endowed save with
a dowry befitting their degree. At this present I have no money
with me till the coming of my baggage, for I have wealth in
plenty and needs must I make her marriage-portion five thousand
purses. Then I shall need a thousand purses to distribute amongst
the poor and needy on my wedding-night, and other thousand to
give to those who walk in the bridal procession and yet other
thousand wherewith to provide provaunt for the troops and
others[FN#45]; and I shall want an hundred jewels to give to the
Princess on the wedding-morning[FN#46] and other hundred gems to
distribute among the slavegirls and eunuchs, for I must give each
of them a jewel in honour of the bride; and I need wherewithal to
clothe a thousand naked paupers, and alms too needs must be
given. All this cannot be done till my baggage come; but I have
plenty and, once it is here, I shall make no account of all this
outlay." The Wazir returned to the King and told him what Ma'aruf
said, whereupon quoth he, "Since this is his wish, how canst thou
style him impostor and liar?" Replied the Minister, "And I cease
not to say this." But the King chid him angrily and threatened
him, saying, "By the life of my head, an thou cease not this
talk, I will slay thee! Go back to him and fetch him to me and I
will manage matters with him myself." So the Wazir returned to
Ma'aruf and said to him, "Come and speak with the King." "I hear
and I obey," said Ma'aruf and went in to the King, who said to
him, "Thou shalt not put me off with these excuses, for my
treasury is full; so take the keys and spend all thou needest and
give what thou wilt and clothe the poor and do thy desire and
have no care for the girl and the handmaids. When the baggage
shall come, do what thou wilt with thy wife, by way of
generosity, and we will have patience with thee anent the
marriage-portion till then, for there is no manner of difference
betwixt me and thee; none at all." Then he sent for the Shaykh
Al-Islam[FN#47] and bade him write out the marriage-contract
between his daughter and Merchant Ma'aruf, and he did so; after
which the King gave the signal for beginning the wedding
festivities and bade decorate the city. The kettle drums beat and
the tables were spread with meats of all kinds and there came
performers who paraded their tricks. Merchant Ma'aruf sat upon a
throne in a parlour and the players and gymnasts and
effeminates[FN#48] and dancing-men of wondrous movements and
posture-makers of marvellous cunning came before him, whilst he
called out to the treasurer and said to him, "Bring gold and
silver." So he brought gold and silver and Ma'aruf went round
among the spectators and largessed each performer by the handful;
and he gave alms to the poor and needy and clothes to the naked
and it was a clamorous festival and a right merry. The treasurer
could not bring money fast enough from the treasury, and the
Wazir's heart was like to burst for rage; but he dared not say a
word, whilst Merchant Ali marvelled at this waste of wealth and
said to Merchant Ma'aruf, "Allah and the Hallows visit this upon
on thy head-sides[FN#49]! Doth it not suffice thee to squander
the traders' money, but thou must squander that of the King to
boot?" Replied Ma'aruf, "'Tis none of thy concern: whenas my
baggage shall come, I will requite the King manifold." And he
went on lavishing money and saying in himself, "A burning plague!
What will happen will happen and there is no flying from that
which is fore-ordained." The festivities ceased not for the space
of forty days, and on the one-and-fortieth day, they made the
bride's cortege and all the Emirs and troops walked before her.
When they brought her in before Ma'aruf, he began scattering gold
on the people's heads, and they made her a mighty fine
procession, whilst Ma'aruf expended in her honour vast sums of
money. Then they brought him in to Princess Dunya and he sat down
on the high divan; after which they let fall the curtains and
shut the doors and withdrew, leaving him alone with his bride;
whereupon he smote hand upon hand and sat awhile sorrowful and
saying, "There is no Majesty and there is no Might save in Allah,
the Glorious, the Great!" Quoth the Princess, "O my lord, Allah
preserve thee! What aileth thee that thou art troubled?" Quoth
he, "And how should I be other than troubled, seeing that thy
father hath embarrassed me and done with me a deed which is like
the burning of green corn?" She asked, "And what hath my father
done with thee? Tell me!"; and he answered, "He hath brought me
in to thee before the coming of my baggage, and I want at very
least an hundred jewels to distribute among thy handmaids, to
each a jewel, so she might rejoice therein and say, My lord gave
me a jewel on the night of his going in to my lady. This good
deed would I have done in honour of thy station and for the
increase of thy dignity; and I have no need to stint myself in
lavishing jewels, for I have of them great plenty." Rejoined she,
"Be not concerned for that. As for me, trouble not thyself about
me, for I will have patience with thee till thy baggage shall
come, and as for my women have no care for them. Rise, doff thy
clothes and take thy pleasure; and when the baggage cometh we
shall get the jewels and the rest." So he arose and putting off
his clothes sat down on the bed and sought love-liesse and they
fell to toying with each other. He laid his hand on her knee and
she sat down in his lap and thrust her lip like a tit-bit of meat
into his mouth, and that hour was such as maketh a man to forget
his father and his mother. So he clasped her in his arms and
strained her fast to his breast and sucked her lip, till the
honey-dew ran out into his mouth; and he laid his hand under her
left-armpit, whereupon his vitals and her vitals yearned for
coition. Then he clapped her between the breasts and his hand
slipped down between her thighs and she girded him with her legs,
whereupon he made of the two parts proof amain and crying out, "O
sire of the chin-veils twain[FN#50]!" applied the priming and
kindled the match and set it to the touch-hole and gave fire and
breached the citadel in its four corners; so there befel the
mystery[FN#51] concerning which there is no enquiry: and she
cried the cry that needs must be cried.[FN#52]--And Shahrazad
perceived the dawn of day and ceased to say her permitted say.

When it Was the Nine Hundred and Ninety-fourth Night,

She resumed, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that while
the Princess Dunya cried the cry which must be cried, Merchant
Ma'aruf abated her maidenhead and that night was one not to be
counted among lives for that which it comprised of the enjoyment
of the fair, clipping and dallying langue fourree and futtering
till the dawn of day, when he arose and entered the Hammam
whence, after donning a suit for sovrans suitable he betook
himself to the King's Divan. All who were there rose to him and
received him with honour and worship, giving him joy and invoking
blessings upon him; and he sat down by the King's side and asked,
"Where is the treasurer?" They answered, "Here he is, before
thee," and he said to him, "Bring robes of honour for all the
Wazirs and Emirs and dignitaries and clothe the therewith." The
treasurer brought him all he sought and he sat giving to all who
came to him and lavishing largesse upon every man according to
his station. On this wise he abode twenty days, whilst no baggage
appeared for him nor aught else, till the treasurer was
straitened by him to the uttermost and going in to the King, as
he sat alone with the Wazir in Ma'aruf's absence, kissed ground
between his hands and said, "O King of the age, I must tell thee
somewhat, lest haply thou blame me for not acquainting thee
therewith. Know that the treasury is being exhausted; there is
none but a little money left in it and in ten days more we shall
shut it upon emptiness." Quoth the King, "O Wazir, verily my
son-in-law's baggage-train tarrieth long and there appeareth no
news thereof." The Minister laughed and said , Allah be gracious
to thee, O King of the age! Thou art none other but heedless with
respect to this impostor, this liar. As thy head liveth, there is
no baggage for him, no, nor a burning plague to rid us of him!
Nay, he hath but imposed on thee without surcease, so that he
hath wasted thy treasures and married thy daughter for naught.
How long therefore wilt thou be heedless of this liar?" Then
quoth the King, "O Wazir, how shall we do to learn the truth of
his case?"; and quoth the Wazir, "O King of the age, none may
come at a man's secret but his wife; so send for thy daughter and
let her come behind the curtain, that I may question her of the
truth of his estate, to the intent that she may make question of
him and acquaint us with his case." Cried the King, "There is no
harm in that; and as my head liveth, if it be proved that he is a
liar and an impostor, I will verily do him die by the foulest of
deaths!" Then he carried the Wazir into the sitting-chamber and
sent for his daughter, who came behind the curtain, her husband
being absent, and said, "What wouldst thou, O my father?" Said he
"Speak with the Wazir." So she asked, "Ho thou, the Wazir, what
is thy will?"; and he answered, "O my lady, thou must know that
thy husband hath squandered thy father's substance and married
thee without a dower; and he ceaseth not to promise us and break
his promises, nor cometh there any tidings of his baggage; in
short we would have thee inform us concerning him." Quoth she,
"Indeed his words be many, and he still cometh and promiseth me
jewels and treasures and costly stuffs; but I see nothing." Quoth
the Wazir, "O my lady, canst thou this night take and give with
him in talk and whisper to him:--Say me sooth and fear from me
naught, for thou art become my husband and I will not transgress
against thee. So tell me the truth of the matter and I will
devise thee a device whereby thou shalt be set at rest. And do
thou play near and far[FN#53] with him in words and profess love
to him and win him to confess and after tell us the facts of his
case." And she answered, "O my papa, I know how I will make proof
of him." Then she went away and after supper her husband came in
to her, according to his wont, whereupon Princess Dunya rose to
him and took him under the armpit and wheedled him with winsomest
wheedling (and all-sufficient[FN#54] are woman's wiles whenas she
would aught of men); and she ceased not to caress him and beguile
him with speech sweeter than the honey till she stole his reason;
and when she saw that he altogether inclined to her, she said to
him, "O my beloved, O coolth of my eyes and fruit of my vitals,
Allah never desolate me by less of thee nor Time sunder us twain
me and thee! Indeed, the love of thee hath homed in my heart and
the fire of passion hath consumed my liver, nor will I ever
forsake thee or transgress against thee. But I would have thee
tell me the truth, for that the sleights of falsehood profit not,
nor do they secure credit at all seasons. How long wilt thou
impose upon my father and lie to him? I fear lest thine affair be
discovered to him, ere we can devise some device and he lay
violent hands upon thee? So acquaint me with the facts of the
case for naught shall befal thee save that which shall begladden
thee; and, when thou shalt have spoken sooth, fear not harm shall
betide thee. How often wilt thou declare that thou art a merchant
a man of money and hast a luggage-train? This long while past
thou sayest, My baggage! my baggage! but there appeareth no sign
of thy baggage, and visible in thy face is anxiety on this
account. So an there be no worth in thy words, tell me and I will
contrive thee a contrivance whereby by thou shalt come off safe,
Inshallah!" He replied, "I will tell thee the truth, and then do
thou whatso thou wilt." Rejoined she, "Speak and look thou speak
soothly; for sooth is the ark of safety, and beware of lying, for
it dishonoureth the liar and God-gifted is he who said:--

'Ware that truth thou speak, albe sooth when said * Shall cause
thee in threatened fire to fall:
And seek Allah's approof, for most foolish he * Who shall anger
his Lord to make friends with thrall."

He said, "Know, then, O my lady, that I am no merchant and have
no baggage, no, nor a burning plague; nay, I was but a cobbler in
my own country and had a wife called Fatimah the Dung, with whom
there befel me this and that." And he told her his story from
beginning to end; whereat she laughed and said, "Verily, thou art
clever in the practice of lying and imposture!" Whereto he
answered, "O my lady, may Allah Almighty preserve thee to veil
sins and countervail chagrins!" Rejoined she, "Know, that thou
imposedst upon my sire and deceivedst him by dint of thy deluding
vaunts, so that of his greed for gain he married me to thee. Then
thou squanderedst his wealth and the Wazir beareth thee a grudge
for this. How many a time hath he spoken against thee to my
father, saying, Indeed, he is an impostor, a liar! But my sire
hearkened not to his say, for that he had sought me in wedlock
and I consented not that he be baron and I femme. However, the
time grew longsome upon my sire and he became straitened and said
to me, Make him confess. So I have made thee confess and that
which was covered is discovered. Now my father purposeth thee a
mischief because of this; but thou art become my husband and I
will never transgress against thee. An I told my father what I
have learnt from thee, he would be certified of thy falsehood and
imposture and that thou imposest upon Kings' daughters and
squanderest royal wealth: so would thine offence find with him no
pardon and he would slay thee sans a doubt: wherefore it would be
bruited among the folk that I married a man who was a liar, an
impostor, and this would smirch mine honour. Furthermore an he
kill thee, most like he will require me to wed another, and to
such thing I will never consent; no, not though I die![FN#55] So
rise now and don a Mameluke's dress and take these fifty thousand
dinars of my monies, and mount a swift steed and get thee to a
land whither the rule of my father doth not reach. Then make thee
a merchant and send me a letter by a courier who shall bring it
privily to me, that I may know in what land thou art, so I may
send thee all my hand can attain. Thus shall thy wealth wax great
and if my father die, I will send for thee, and thou shalt return
in respect and honour; and if we die, thou or I and go to the
mercy of God the Most Great, the Resurrection shall unite us.
This, then, is the rede that is right: and while we both abide
alive and well, I will not cease to send thee letters and monies.
Arise ere the day wax bright and thou be in perplexed plight and
perdition upon thy head alight!" Quoth he, "O my lady, I beseech
thee of thy favour to bid me farewell with thine embracement;"
and quoth she, "No harm in that."[FN#56] So he embraced her and
knew her carnally; after which he made the Ghusl-ablution; then,
donning the dress of a white slave, he bade the syces saddle him
a thoroughbred steed. Accordingly, they saddled him a courser and
he mounted and farewelling his wife, rode forth the city at the
last of the night, whilst all who saw him deemed him one of the
Mamelukes of the Sultan going abroad on some business. Next
morning, the King and his Wazir repaired to the sitting-chamber
and sent for Princess Dunya who came behind the curtain; and her
father said to her, "O my daughter, what sayst thou?" Said she,
"I say, Allah blacken thy Wazir's face, because he would have
blackened my face in my husband's eyes!" Asked the King, "How
so?"; and she answered, "He came in to me yesterday; but, before
I could name the matter to him, behold, in walked Faraj the Chief
Eunuch, letter in hand, and said:--Ten white slaves stand under
the palace window and have this letter, saying:--Kiss for us the
hands of our lord, Merchant Ma'aruf, and give him this letter,
for we are of his Mamelukes with the baggage, and it hath reached
us that he hath wedded the King's daughter, so we are come to
acquaint him with that which befel us by the way. Accordingly I
took the letter and read as follows:--From the five hundred
Mamelukes to his highness our lord Merchant Ma'aruf. But further.
We give thee to know that, after thou quittedst us, the
Arabs[FN#57] came out upon us and attacked us. They were two
thousand horse and we five hundred mounted slaves and there befel
a mighty sore fight between us and them. They hindered us from
the road thirty days doing battle with them and this is the cause
of our tarrying from thee."--And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of
day and ceased saying her permitted say.

When it was the Nine Hundred and Ninety-fifth Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that Princess
Dunya said to her sire, "My husband received a letter from his
dependents ending with:--The Arabs hindered us from the road
thirty days which is the cause of our being behind time. They
also took from us of the luggage two hundred loads of cloth and
slew of us fifty Mamelukes. When the news reached my husband, he
cried, Allah disappoint them! What ailed them to wage war with
the Arabs for the sake of two hundred loads of merchandise? What
are two hundred loads? It behoved them not to tarry on that
account, for verily the value of the two hundred loads is only
some seven thousand dinars. But needs must I go to them and
hasten them. As for that which the Arabs have taken, 'twill not
be missed from the baggage, nor doth it weigh with me a whit, for
I reckon it as if I had given it to them by way of an alms. Then
he went down from me, laughing and taking no concern for the
wastage of his wealth nor the slaughter of his slaves. As soon as
he was gone, I looked out from the lattice and saw the ten
Mamelukes who had brought him the letter, as they were moons,
each clad in a suit of clothes worth two thousand dinars, there
is not with my father a chattel to match one of them. He went
forth with them to bring up his baggage and hallowed be Allah who
hindered me from saying to him aught of that thou badest me, for
he would have made mock of me and thee, and haply he would have
eyed me with the eye of disparagement and hated me. But the fault
is all with thy Wazir,[FN#58] who speaketh against my husband
words that besit him not." Replied the King, "O my daughter, thy
husband's wealth is indeed endless and he recketh not of it; for,
from the day he entered our city, he hath done naught but give
alms to the poor. Inshallah, he will speedily return with the
baggage, and good in plenty shall betide us from him." And he
went on to appease her and menace the Wazir, being duped by her
device. So fared it with the King; but as regards Merchant
Ma'aruf he rode on into waste lands, perplexed and knowing not to
what quarter he should betake him; and for the anguish of parting
he lamented and in the pangs of passion and love-longing he
recited these couplets:--

Time falsed our Union and divided who were one in tway; * And the
sore tyranny of Time doth melt my heart away:
Mine eyes ne'er cease to drop the tear for parting with my dear;
* When shall Disunion come to end and dawn the Union-day?
O favour like the full moon's face of sheen, indeed I'm he * Whom
thou didst leave with vitals torn when faring on thy way.
Would I had never seen thy sight, or met thee for an hour; *
Since after sweetest taste of thee to bitters I'm a prey.
Ma'aruf will never cease to be enthralled by Dunya's[FN#59]
charms * And long live she albe he die whom love and longing
O brilliance, like resplendent sun of noontide, deign them heal *
His heart for kindness[FN#60] and the fire of longing love
Would Heaven I wot an e'er the days shall deign conjoin our lots,
* Join us in pleasant talk o' nights, in Union glad and gay:
Shall my love's palace hold two hearts that savour joy, and I *
Strain to my breast the branch I saw upon the
sand-hill[FN#61] sway?
O favour of full moon in sheen, never may sun o' thee * Surcease
to rise from Eastern rim with all-enlightening ray!
I'm well content with passion-pine and all its bane and bate *
For luck in love is evermore the butt of jealous Fate.

And when he ended his verses, he wept with sore weeping, for
indeed the ways were walled up before his face and death seemed
to him better than dreeing life, and he walked on like a drunken
man for stress of distraction, and stayed not till noontide, when
he came to a little town and saw a plougher hard by, ploughing
with a yoke of bulls. Now hunger was sore upon him; and he went
up to the ploughman and said to him, "Peace be with thee!"; and
he returned his salam and said to him, "Welcome, O my lord! Art
thou one of the Sultan's Mamelukes?" Quoth Ma'aruf, "Yes;" and
the other said "Alight with me for a guest-meal." Whereupon
Ma'aruf knew him to be of the liberal and said to him, "O my
brother, I see with thee naught with which thou mayst feed me:
how is it, then, that thou invitest me?" Answered the husbandman,
"O my lord, weal is well nigh.[FN#62] Dismount thee here: the
town is near hand and I will go and fetch thee dinner and fodder
for thy stallion." Rejoined Ma'aruf, "Since the town is near at
hand, I can go thither as quickly as thou canst and buy me what I
have a mind to in the bazar and eat." The peasant replied, "O my
lord, the place is but a little village[FN#63] and there is no
bazar there, neither selling nor buying. So I conjure thee by
Allah, alight here with me and hearten my heart, and I will run
thither and return to thee in haste." Accordingly lie dismounted
and the Fellah left him and went off to the village, to fetch
dinner for him whilst Ma'aruf sat awaiting him. Presently he said
in himself, "I have taken this poor man away from his work; but I
will arise and plough in his stead, till he come back, to make up
for having hindered him from his work.[FN#64]" Then he took the
plough and starting the bulls, ploughed a little, till the share
struck against something and the beasts stopped. He goaded them
on, but they could not move the plough; so he looked at the share
and finding it caught in a ring of gold, cleared away the soil
and saw that it was set centre-most a slab of alabaster, the size
of the nether millstone. He strave at the stone till he pulled it
from its place, when there appeared beneath it a souterrain with
a stair. Presently he descended the flight of steps and came to a
place like a Hammam, with four daises, the first full of gold,
from floor to roof, the second full of emeralds and pearls and
coral also from ground to ceiling; the third of jacinths and
rubies and turquoises and the fourth of diamonds and all manner
other preciousest stones. At the upper end of the place stood a
coffer of clearest crystal, full of union-gems each the size of a
walnut, and upon the coffer lay a casket of gold, the bigness of
a lemon. When he saw this, he marvelled and rejoiced with joy
exceeding and said to himself, "I wonder what is in this casket?"
So he opened it and found therein a seal-ring of gold, whereon
were graven names and talismans, as they were the tracks of
creeping ants. He rubbed the ring and behold, a voice said,
"Adsum! Here am I, at thy service, O my lord! Ask and it shall be
given unto thee. Wilt thou raise a city or ruin a capital or kill
a king or dig a river-channel or aught of the kind? Whatso thou
seekest, it shall come to pass, by leave of the King of
All-might, Creator of day and night." Ma'aruf asked, "O creature
of my lord, who and what art thou?"; and the other answered, "I
am the slave of this seal-ring standing in the service of him who
possesseth it. Whatsoever he seeketh, that I accomplish for him,
and I have no excuse in neglecting that he biddeth me do; because
I am Sultan over two-and-seventy tribes of the Jinn, each
two-and-seventy thousand in number every one of which thousand
ruleth over a thousand Marids, each Marid over a thousand Ifrits,
each Ifrit over a thousand Satans and each Satan over a thousand
Jinn: and they are all under command of me and may not gainsay
me. As for me, I am spelled to this seal-ring and may not thwart
whoso holdeth it. Lo! thou hast gotten hold of it and I am become
thy slave; so ask what thou wilt, for I hearken to thy word and
obey thy bidding; and if thou have need of me at any time, by
land or by sea rub the signet-ring and thou wilt find me with
thee. But beware of rubbing it twice in succession, or thou wilt
consume me with the fire of the names graven thereon; and thus
wouldst thou lose me and after regret me. Now I have acquainted
thee with my case and--the Peace!"--And Shahrazad perceived the
dawn of day and ceased to say her permitted say.

When it was the Nine Hundred and Ninety-sixth Night,

She continued, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when
the Slave of the Signet-ring acquainted Ma'aruf with his case,
the Merchant asked him, "What is thy name?" and the Jinni
answered, "My name is Abu al-Sa'adat.[FN#65]" Quoth Ma'aruf, "O
Abu al-Sa'adat what is this place and who enchanted thee in this
casket?"; and quoth he, "O my lord, this is a treasure called the
Hoard of Shaddad son of Ad, him who the base of 'Many-columned
Iram laid, the like of which in the lands was never made.[FN#66]'
I was his slave in his lifetime and this is his seal-ring, which
he laid up in his treasure; but it hath fallen to thy lot."
Ma'aruf enquired, "Canst thou transport that which is in this
hoard to the surface of the earth?"; and the Jinni replied, "Yes!
Nothing were easier." Said Ma'aruf, "Bring it forth and leave
naught." So the Jinni signed with his hand to the ground, which
clave asunder, and he sank and was absent a little while.
Presently, there came forth young boys full of grace, and fair of
face bearing golden baskets filled with gold which they emptied
out and going away, returned with more; nor did they cease to
transport the gold and jewels, till ere an hour had sped they
said, "Naught is left in the hoard." Thereupon out came Abu
al-Sa'adat and said to Ma'aruf, "O my lord, thou seest that we
have brought forth all that was in the hoard." Ma'aruf asked,
"Who be these beautiful boys?" and the Jinni answered, "They are
my sons. This matter merited not that I should muster for it the
Marids, wherefore my sons have done thy desire and are honoured
by such service. So ask what thou wilt beside this." Quoth
Ma'aruf, "Canst thou bring me he-mules and chests and fill the
chests with the treasure and load them on the mules?" Quoth Abu
al-Sa'adat, "Nothing easier," and cried a great cry; whereupon
his sons presented themselves before him, to the number of eight
hundred, and he said to them, "Let some of you take the semblance
of he-mules and others of muleteers and handsome Mamelukes, the
like of the least of whom is not found with any of the Kings; and
others of you be transmewed to muleteers, and the rest to
menials." So seven hundred of them changed themselves into
bat-mules and other hundred took the shape of slaves. Then Abu
al-Sa'adat called upon his Marids, who presented themselves
between his hands and he commanded some of them to assume the
aspect of horses saddled with saddles of gold crusted with
jewels. And when Ma'aruf saw them do as he bade he cried, "Where
be the chests?" They brought them before him and he said, "Pack
the gold and the stones, each sort by itself." So they packed
them and loaded three hundred he-mules with them. Then asked
Ma'aruf, "O Abu al-Sa'adat, canst thou bring me some loads of
costly stuffs?"; and the Jinni answered, "Wilt thou have Egyptian
stuffs or Syrian or Persian or Indian or Greek?" Ma'aruf said,
"Bring me an hundred loads of each kind, on five hundred mules;"
and Abu al-Sa'adat, "O my lord accord me delay that I may dispose
my Marids for this and send a company of them to each country to
fetch an hundred loads of its stuffs and then take the form of
he-mules and return, carrying the stuffs." Ma'aruf enquired,
"What time dost thou want?"; and Abu al-Sa'adat replied, "The
time of the blackness of the night, and day shall not dawn ere
thou have all thou desirest." Said Ma'aruf, "I grant thee this
time," and bade them pitch him a pavilion. So they pitched it and
he sat down therein and they brought him a table of food. Then
said Abu al-Sa'adat to him, "O my lord, tarry thou in this tent
and these my sons shall guard thee: so fear thou nothing; for I
go to muster my Marids and despatch them to do thy desire." So
saying, he departed, leaving Ma'aruf seated in the pavilion, with
the table before him and the Jinni's sons attending upon him, in
the guise of slaves and servants and suite. And while he sat in
this state behold, up came the husband man, with a great
porringer of lentils[FN#67] and a nose-bag full of barley and
seeing the pavilion pitched and the Mamelukes standing, hands
upon breasts, thought that the Sultan was come and had halted on
that stead. So he stood openmouthed and said in himself, "Would I
had killed a couple of chickens and fried them red with clarified
cow-butter for the Sultan!" And he would have turned back to kill
the chickens as a regale for the Sultan; but Ma'aruf saw him and
cried out to him and said to the Mamelukes, "Bring him hither."
So they brought him and his porringer of lentils before Ma'aruf,
who said to him, "What is this?" Said the peasant, "This is thy
dinner and thy horse's fodder! Excuse me, for I thought not that
the Sultan would come hither; and, had I known that, I would have
killed a couple of chickens and entertained him in goodly guise."
Quoth Ma'aruf, "The Sultan is not come. I am his son-in-law and I
was vexed with him. However he hath sent his officers to make his
peace with me, and now I am minded to return to city. But thou
hast made me this guest-meal without knowing me, and I accept it
from thee, lentils though it be, and will not eat save of thy
cheer." Accordingly he bade him set the porringer amiddlemost the
table and ate of it his sufficiency, whilst the Fellah filled his
belly with those rich meats. Then Ma'aruf washed his hands and
gave the Mamelukes leave to eat; so they fell upon the remains of
the meal and ate; and, when the porringer was empty, he filled it
with gold and gave it to the peasant, saying, "Carry this to thy
dwelling and come to me in the city, and I will entreat thee with
honour." Thereupon the peasant took the porringer full of gold
and returned to the village, driving the bulls before him and
deeming himself akin to the King. Meanwhile, they brought Ma'aruf
girls of the Brides of the Treasure,[FN#68] who smote on
instruments of music and danced before him, and he passed that
night in joyance and delight, a night not to be reckoned among
lives. Hardly had dawned the day when there arose a great cloud
of dust which presently lifting, discovered seven hundred mules
laden with stuffs and attended by muleteers and baggage-tenders
and cresset-bearers. With them came Abu al-Sa'adat, riding on a
she-mule, in the guise of a caravan-leader, and before him was a
travelling-litter, with four corner-terminals[FN#69] of
glittering red gold, set with gems. When Abu al-Sa'adat came up
to the tent, he dismounted and kissing the earth, said to
Ma'aruf, "O my lord, thy desire hath been done to the uttermost
and in the litter is a treasure-suit which hath not its match
among Kings' raiment: so don it and mount the litter and bid us
do what thou wilt." Quoth Ma'aruf, "O Abu al-Sa'adat, I wish thee
to go to the city of Ikhtiyan al-Khatan and present thyself to my
father-in-law the King; and go thou not in to him but in the
guise of a mortal courier;" and quoth he, "To hear is to obey."
So Ma'aruf wrote a letter to the Sultan and sealed it and Abu
al-Sa'adat took it and set out with it; and when he arrived, he
found the King saying, "O Wazir, indeed my heart is concerned for
my son-in-law and I fear lest the Arabs slay him. Would Heaven I
wot whither he was bound, that I might have followed him with the
troops! Would he had told me his destination!" Said the Wazir,
"Allah be merciful to thee for this thy heedlessness! As thy head
liveth, the wight saw that we were awake to him and feared
dishonour and fled, for he is nothing but an impostor, a liar."
And behold, at this moment in came the courier and kissing ground
before the King, wished him permanent glory and prosperity and
length of life. Asked the King, "Who art thou and what is thy
business?" "I am a courier," answered the Jinni, "and thy
son-in-law who is come with the baggage sendeth me to thee with a
letter, and here it is!" So he took the letter and read therein
these words, "After salutations galore to our uncle[FN#70] the
glorious King! Know that I am at hand with the baggage-train: so
come thou forth to meet me with the troops." Cried the King,
"Allah blacken thy brow, O Wazir! How often wilt thou defame my
son-in-law's name and call him liar and impostor? Behold, he is
come with the baggage-train and thou art naught but a traitor."
The Minister hung his head ground-wards in shame and confusion
and replied, "O King of the age, I said not this save because of
the long delay of the baggage and because I feared the loss of
the wealth he hath wasted." The King exclaimed, "O traitor, what
are my riches! Now that his baggage is come he will give me great
plenty in their stead." Then he bade decorate the city and going
in to his daughter, said to her, "Good news for thee! Thy husband
will be here anon with his baggage; for he hath sent me a letter
to that effect and here am I now going forth to meet him." The
Princess Dunya marvelled at this and said in herself, "This is a
wondrous thing! Was he laughing at me and making mock of me, or
had he a mind to try me, when he told me that he was a pauper?
But Alhamdolillah, Glory to God, for that I failed not of my duty
to him!" On this wise fared it in the palace; but as regards
Merchant Ali, the Cairene, when he saw the decoration of the city
and asked the cause thereof, they said to him, "The baggage-train
of Merchant Ma'aruf, the King's son-in-law, is come." Said he,
"Allah is Almighty! What a calamity is this man![FN#71] He came
to me, fleeing from his wife, and he was a poor man. Whence then
should he get a baggage-train? But haply this is a device which
the King's daughter hath contrived for him, fearing his disgrace,
and Kings are not unable to do anything. May Allah the Most High
veil his fame and not bring him to public shame!"--And Shahrazad
perceived the dawn of day and ceased saying her permitted say.

When it was the Nine Hundred and Ninety-seventh Night,

She pursued, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when
Merchant Ali asked the cause of the decorations, they told him
the truth of the case; so he blessed Merchant Ma'aruf and cried,
"May Allah Almighty veil his fame and not bring him to public
shame!" And all the merchants rejoiced and were glad for that
they would get their monies. Then the King assembled his troops
and rode forth, whilst Abu al-Sa'adat returned to Ma'aruf and
acquainted him with the delivering of the letter. Quoth Ma'aruf,
"Bind on the loads;" and when they had done so, he donned the
treasure-suit and mounting the litter became a thousand times
greater and more majestic than the King. Then he set forward;
but, when he had gone half-way, behold, the King met him with the
troops, and seeing him riding in the Takhtrawan and clad in the
dress aforesaid, threw himself upon him and saluted him, and
giving him joy of his safety, greeted him with the greeting of
peace. Then all the Lords of the land saluted him and it was made
manifest that he had spoken the truth and that in him there was
no lie. Presently he entered the city in such state procession as
would have caused the gall-bladder of the lion to burst[FN#72]
for envy and the traders pressed up to him and kissed his hands,
whilst Merchant Ali said to him, "Thou hast played off this trick
and it hath prospered to thy hand, O Shaykh of Impostors! But
thou deservest it and may Allah the Most High increase thee of
His bounty!"; whereupon Ma'aruf laughed. Then he entered the
palace and sitting down on the throne said, "Carry the loads of
gold into the treasury of my uncle the King and bring me the
bales of cloth." So they brought them to him and opened them
before him, bale after bale, till they had unpacked the seven
hundred loads, whereof he chose out the best and said, "Bear
these to Princess Dunya that she may distribute them among her
slavegirls; and carry her also this coffer of jewels, that she
may divide them among her handmaids and eunuchs." Then he
proceeded to make over to the merchants in whose debt he was
stuffs by way of payment for their arrears, giving him whose due
was a thousand, stuffs worth two thousand or more; after which he
fell to distributing to the poor and needy, whilst the King
looked on with greedy eyes and could not hinder him; nor did he
cease largesse till he had made an end of the seven hundred
loads, when he turned to the troops and proceeded to apportion
amongst them emeralds and rubies and pearls and coral and other
jewels by handsful, without count, till the King said to him,
"Enough of this giving, O my son! There is but little left of the
baggage." But he said, "I have plenty." Then indeed, his good
faith was become manifest and none could give him the lie; and he
had come to reck not of giving, for that the Slave of the
Seal-ring brought him whatsoever he sought. Presently, the
treasurer came in to the King and said, "O King of the age, the
treasury is full indeed and will not hold the rest of the loads.
Where shall we lay that which is left of the gold and jewels?"
And he assigned to him another place. As for the Princess Dunya
when she saw this, her joy redoubled and she marvelled and said
in herself, "Would I wot how came he by all this wealth!" In like
manner the traders rejoiced in that which he had given them and
blessed him; whilst Merchant Ali marvelled and said to himself,
"I wonder how he hath lied and swindled, that he hath gotten him
all these treasures[FN#73]? Had they come from the King's
daughter, he had not wasted them on this wise! But how excellent
is his saying who said:--

When the Kings' King giveth, in reverence pause * And venture not
to enquire the cause:
Allah gives His gifts unto whom He will, * So respect and abide
by His Holy Laws!"

So far concerning him; but as regards the King, he also marvelled
with passing marvel at that which he saw of Ma'aruf's generosity
and open-handedness in the largesse of wealth. Then the Merchant
went in to his wife, who met him, smiling and laughing-lipped and
kissed his hand, saying, "Didst thou mock me or hadst thou a mind
to prove me with thy saying:--I am a poor man and a fugitive from
my wife? Praised be Allah for that I failed not of my duty to
thee! For thou art my beloved and there is none dearer to me than
thou, whether thou be rich or poor. But I would have thee tell me
what didst thou design by these words." Said Ma'aruf, "I wished
to prove thee and see whether thy love were sincere or for the
sake of wealth and the greed of worldly good. But now 'tis become
manifest to me that thine affection is sincere and as thou art a
true woman, so welcome to thee! I know thy worth." Then he went
apart into a place by himself and rubbed the seal-ring, whereupon
Abu al-Sa'adat presented himself and said to him, "Adsum, at thy
service! Ask what thou wilt." Quoth Ma'aruf, "I want a
treasure-suit and treasure-trinkets for my wife, including a
necklace of forty unique jewels." Quoth the Jinni, "To hear is to
obey," and brought him what he sought, whereupon Ma'aruf
dismissed him and carrying the dress and ornaments in to his
wife, laid them before her and said, "Take these and put them on
and welcome!" When she saw this, her wits fled for joy, and she
found among the ornaments a pair of anklets of gold set with
jewels of the handiwork of the magicians, and bracelets and
earrings and a belt[FN#74] such as no money could buy. So she
donned the dress and ornaments and said to Ma'aruf, "O my lord, I
will treasure these up for holidays and festivals." But he
answered, "Wear them always, for I have others in plenty." And
when she put them on and her women beheld her, they rejoiced and
bussed his hands. Then he left them and going apart by himself,
rubbed the seal-ring whereupon its slave appeared and he said to
him, "Bring me an hundred suits of apparel, with their ornaments
of gold." "Hearing and obeying," answered Abu al-Sa'adat and
brought him the hundred suits, each with its ornaments wrapped up
within it. Ma'aruf took them and called aloud to the slave-girls,
who came to him and he gave them each a suit: so they donned them
and became like the black-eyed girls of Paradise, whilst the
Princess Dunya shone amongst them as the moon among the stars.
One of the handmaids told the King of this and he came in to his
daughter and saw her and her women dazzling all who beheld them;
whereat he wondered with passing wonderment. Then he went out and
calling his Wazir, said to him, "O Wazir, such and such things
have happened; what sayst thou now of this affair?" Said he, "O
King of the age, this be no merchant's fashion; for a merchant
keepeth a piece of linen by him for years and selleth it not but
at a profit. How should a merchant have generosity such as this
generosity, and whence should he get the like of these monies and
jewels, of which but a slight matter is found with the Kings? So
how should loads thereof be found with merchants? Needs must
there be a cause for this; but, an thou wilt hearken to me, I
will make the truth of the case manifest to thee." Answered the
King, "O Wazir, I will do thy bidding." Rejoined the Minister,
"Do thou foregather with thy son-in-law and make a show of affect
to him and talk with him and say:--O my son-in-law, I have a mind
to go, I and thou and the Wazir but no more, to a flower-garden
that we may take our pleasure there. When we come to the garden,
we will set on the table wine, and I will ply him therewith and
compel him to drink; for, when he shall have drunken, he will
lose his reason and his judgment will forsake him. Then we will
question him of the truth of his case and he will discover to us
his secrets, for wine is a traitor and Allah-gifted is he who

When we drank the wine, and it crept its way * To the place of
Secrets, I cried, "O stay!"
In my fear lest its influence stint my wits * And my friends spy
matters that hidden lay.

When he hath told us the truth we shall ken his case and may deal
with him as we will; because I fear for thee the consequences of
this his present fashion: haply he will covet the kingship and
win over the troops by generosity and lavishing money and so
depose thee and take the kingdom from thee." "True," answered the
King.--And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased to say
her permitted say.

When it was the Nine Hundred and Ninety-eighth Night,

She resumed, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when the
Wazir devised this device the King said to him, "Thou hast spoken
sooth!"; and they passed the night on this agreement. And when
morning morrowed the King went forth and sat in the
guest-chamber, when lo, and behold! the grooms and serving-men
came in to him in dismay. Quoth he, "What hath befallen you?";
and quoth they, "O King of the age, the Syces curried the horses
and foddered them and the he-mules which brought the baggage;
but, when we arose in the morning, we found that thy son-in-law's
Mamelukes had stolen the horses and mules. We searched the
stables, but found neither horse nor mule; so we entered the
lodging of the Mamelukes and found none there, nor know we how
they fled." The King marvelled at this, unknowing that the horses
and Mamelukes were all Ifrits, the subjects of the Slave of the
Spell, and asked the grooms, "O accursed how could a thousand
beasts and five hundred slaves and servants flee without your
knowledge?" Answered they, "We know not how it happened," and he
cried, "Go, and when your lord cometh forth of the Harim, tell
him the case." So they went out from before the King and sat down
bewildered, till Ma'aruf came out and, seeing them chagrined
enquired of them, "What may be the matter?" They told him all
that had happened and he said, "What is their worth that ye
should be concerned for them? Wend your ways." And he sat
laughing and was neither angry nor grieved concerning the case;
whereupon the King looked in the Wazir's face and said to him,
"What manner of man is this, with whom wealth is of no worth?
Needs must there be a reason for this?" Then they talked with him
awhile and the King said to him, "O my son-in-law, I have a mind
to go, I, thou and the Wazir, to a garden, where we may divert
ourselves." "No harm in that," said Ma'aruf. So they went forth
to a flower-garden, wherein every sort of fruit was of kinds
twain and its waters were flowing and its trees towering and its
birds carolling. There they entered a pavilion, whose sight did
away sorrow from the soul, and sat talking, whilst the Minister
entertained them with rare tales and quoted merry quips and
mirth-provoking sayings and Ma'aruf attentively listened, till
the time of dinner came, when they set on a tray of meats and a
flagon of wine. When they had eaten and washed hands, the Wazir
filled the cup and gave it to the King, who drank it off; then he
filled a second and handed it to Ma'aruf, saying, "Take the cup
of the drink to which Reason boweth neck in reverence." Quoth
Ma'aruf, "What is this, O Wazir?"; and quoth he, "This is the
grizzled[FN#75] virgin and the old maid long kept at home,[FN#76]
the giver of joy to hearts, whereof saith the poet:--

The feet of sturdy Miscreants[FN#77] went trampling heavy tread,
* And she hath ta'en a vengeance dire on every Arab's head.
A Kafir youth like fullest moon in darkness hands her round *
Whose eyne are strongest cause of sin by him inspirited.

And Allah-gifted is he who said:--

'Tis as if wine and he who bears the bowl, * Rising to show her
charms for man to see,[FN#78]
Were dancing undurn-Sun whose face the moon * Of night adorned
with stars of Gemini.
So subtle is her essence it would seem * Through every limb like
course of soul runs she.

And how excellent is the saying of the poet:--

Slept in mine arms full Moon of brightest blee * Nor did that sun
eclipse in goblet see:
I nighted spying fire whereto bow down * Magians, which bowed
from ewer's lip to me.

And that of another:--

It runs through every joint of them as runs * The surge of health
returning to the sick.

And yet another:--

I marvel at its pressers, how they died * And left us aqua vitae-
-lymph of life!

And yet goodlier is the saying of Abu Nowas:--

Cease then to blame me, for thy blame doth anger bring * And with
the draught that maddened me come med'cining:
A yellow girl[FN#79] whose court cures every carking care; * Did
a stone touch it would with joy and glee upspring:
She riseth in her ewer during darkest night * The house with
brightest, sheeniest light illumining:
And going round of youths to whom the world inclines[FN#80] *
Ne'er, save in whatso way they please, their hearts shall
From hand of coynted[FN#81] lass begarbed like yarded lad,[FN#82]
* Wencher and Tribe of Lot alike enamouring,
She comes: and say to him who dares claim lore of love *
Something hast learnt but still there's many another thing.

But best of all is the saying of Ibn al-Mu'tazz[FN#83]:--

On the shady woody island[FN#84] His showers Allah deign * Shed
on Convent hight Abdun[FN#85] drop and drip of railing rain:
Oft the breezes of the morning have awakened me therein * When
the Dawn shows her blaze,[FN#86] ere the bird of flight was
And the voices of the monks that with chants awoke the walls *
Black-frocked shavelings ever wont the cup amorn to
'Mid the throng how many fair with languour-kohl'd eyes[FN#88] *
And lids enfolding lovely orbs where black on white was
In secret came to see me by shirt of night disguised * In terror
and in caution a-hurrying amain!
Then I rose and spread my cheek like a carpet on his path * In
homage, and with skirts wiped his trail from off the plain.
But threatening disgrace rose the Crescent in the sky * Like the
paring of a nail yet the light would never wane:
Then happened whatso happened: I disdain to kiss and tell * So
deem of us thy best and with queries never mell.

And gifted of God is he who saith:--

In the morn I am richest of men * And in joy at good news I start
For I look on the liquid gold[FN#89] * And I measure it out by
the cup.

And how goodly is the saying of the poet:--

By Allah, this is th' only alchemy * All said of other science
false we see!
Carat of wine on hundredweight of woe * Transmuteth gloomiest
grief to joy and glee.

And that of another:--

The glasses are heavy when empty brought * Till we charge them
all with unmixed wine.
Then so light are they that to fly they're fain * As bodies
lightened by soul divine.

And yet another:--

Wine-cup and ruby-wine high worship claim; * Dishonour 'twere to
see their honour waste:
Bury me, when I'm dead, by side of vine * Whose veins shall
moisten bones in clay misplaced;
Nor bury me in wold and wild, for I * Dread only after death no
wine to taste."[FN#90]

And he ceased not to egg him on to the drink, naming to him such
of the virtues of wine as he thought well and reciting to him
what occurred to him of poetry and pleasantries on the subject,
till Ma'aruf addressed himself to sucking the cup-lips and cared
no longer for aught else. The Wazir ceased not to fill for him
and he to drink and enjoy himself and make merry, till his wits
wandered and he could not distinguish right from wrong. When the
Minister saw that drunkenness had attained in him to utterest and
the bounds transgressed, he said to him, "By Allah, O Merchant
Ma'aruf, I admire whence thou gottest these jewels whose like the
Kings of the Chosroes possess not! In all our lives never saw we
a merchant that had heaped up riches like unto thine or more
generous than thou, for thy doings are the doings of Kings and
not merchants' doings. Wherefore, Allah upon thee, do thou
acquaint me with this, that I may know thy rank and condition."
And he went on to test him with questions and cajole him, till
Ma'aruf, being reft of reason, said to him, "I'm neither merchant
nor King," and told him his whole story from first to last. Then
said the Wazir, "I conjure thee by Allah, O my lord Ma'aruf, show
us the ring, that we may see its make." So, in his drunkenness,
he pulled off the ring and said, "Take it and look upon it." The
Minister took it and turning it over, said, "If I rub it, will
its slave appear?" Replied Ma'aruf, "Yes. Rub it and he will
appear to thee, and do thou divert thyself with the sight of
him." Thereupon the Wazir rubbed the ring and behold forthright
appeared the Jinni and said, "Adsum, at thy service, O my lord!
Ask and it shall be given to thee. Wilt thou ruin a city or raise
a capital or kill a king? Whatso thou seekest, I will do for
thee, sans fail." The Wazir pointed to Ma'aruf and said, "Take up
yonder wretch and cast him down in the most desolate of desert
lands, where he shall find nothing to eat nor drink, so he may
die of hunger and perish miserably, and none know of him."
Accordingly, the Jinni snatched him up and flew with him betwixt
heaven and earth, which when Ma'aruf saw, he made sure of
destruction and wept and said, "O Abu al-Sa'adat, whither goest
thou with me?" Replied the Jinni, "I go to cast thee down in the
Desert Quarter,[FN#91] O ill-bred wight of gross wits. Shall one
have the like of this talisman and give it to the folk to gaze
at? Verily, thou deservest that which hath befallen thee; and but
that I fear Allah, I would let thee fall from a height of a
thousand fathoms, nor shouldst thou reach the earth, till the
winds had torn thee to shreds." Ma'aruf was silent[FN#92] and did
not again bespeak him till he reached the Desert Quarter and
casting him down there, went away and left him in that horrible
place.--And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased saying
her permitted say.

When it was the Nine Hundred and Ninety-ninth Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that the Slave
of the Seal-ring took up Ma'aruf and cast him down in the Desert
Quarter where he left him and went his ways. So much concerning
him; but returning to the Wazir who was now in possession of the
talisman, he said to the King, "How deemest thou now? Did I not
tell thee that this fellow was a liar, an impostor, but thou
wouldst not credit me?" Replied the King, "Thou wast in the
right, O my Wazir, Allah grant thee weal! But give me the ring,
that I may solace myself with the sight." The Minister looked at
him angrily and spat in his face, saying, "O lack-wits, how shall
I give it to thee and abide thy servant, after I am become thy
master? But I will spare thee no more on life." Then he rubbed
the seal-ring and said to the Slave, "Take up this ill-mannered
churl and cast him down by his son-in-law the swindler-man." So
the Jinni took him up and flew off with him, whereupon quoth the
King to him, "O creature of my Lord, what is my crime?" Abu
al-Sa'adat replied, "That wot I not, but my master hath commanded
me and I cannot cross whoso hath compassed the enchanted ring."
Then he flew on with him, till he came to the Desert Quarter and,
casting him down where he had cast Ma'aruf left him and returned.
The King hearing Ma'aruf weeping, went up to him and acquainted
him with his case; and they sat weeping over that which had
befallen them and found neither meat nor drink. Meanwhile the
Minister, after driving father-in-law and son-in-law from the
country, went forth from the garden and summoning all the troops
held a Divan, and told them what he had done with the King and
Ma'aruf and acquainted them with the affair of the talisman,
adding, "Unless ye make me Sultan over you, I will bid the Slave
of the Seal-ring take you up one and all and cast you down in the
Desert Quarter where you shall die of hunger and thirst." They
replied, "Do us no damage, for we accept thee as Sultan over us
and will not anywise gainsay thy bidding." So they agreed, in
their own despite, to his being Sultan over them, and he bestowed
on them robes of honour, seeking all he had a mind to of Abu
al-Sa'adat, who brought it to him forthwith. Then he sat down on
the throne and the troops did homage to him; and he sent to
Princess Dunya, the King's daughter, saying, "Make thee ready,
for I mean to come in unto thee this night, because I long for
thee with love." When she heard this, she wept, for the case of
her husband and father was grievous to her, and sent to him
saying, "Have patience with me till my period of widowhood[FN#93]
be ended: then draw up thy contract of marriage with me and go in
to me according to law." But he sent back to say to her, "I know
neither period of widowhood nor to delay have I a mood; and I
need not a contract nor know I lawful from unlawful; but needs
must I go in unto thee this night." She answered him saying, "So
be it, then, and welcome to thee!"; but this was a trick on her
part. When the answer reached the Wazir, he rejoiced and his
breast was broadened, for that he was passionately in love with
her. He bade set food before all the folk, saying, "Eat; this is
my bride-feast; for I purpose to go in to the Princess Dunya this
night." Quoth the Shaykh al-Islam, "It is not lawful for thee to
go in unto her till her days of widowhood be ended and thou have
drawn up thy contract of marriage with her." But he answered, "I
know neither days of widowhood nor other period; so multiply not
words on me." The Shaykh al-Islam was silent,[FN#94] fearing his
mischief, and said to the troops, "Verily, this man is a Kafir, a
Miscreant, and hath neither creed nor religious conduct." As soon
as it was evenfall, he went in to her and found her robed in her
richest raiment and decked with her goodliest adornments. When
she saw him, she came to meet him, laughing and said, "A blessed
night! But hadst thou slain my father and my husband, it had been
more to my mind." And he said, "There is no help but I slay
them." Then she made him sit down and began to jest with him and
make show of love caressing him and smiling in his face so that
his reason fled; but she cajoled him with her coaxing and cunning
only that she might get possession of the ring and change his joy
into calamity on the mother of his forehead:[FN#95] nor did she
deal thus with him but after the rede of him who said[FN#96]:--

I attained by my wits * What no sword had obtained,
And return wi' the spoils * Whose sweet pluckings I gained.

When he saw her caress him and smile upon him, desire surged up
in him and he besought her of carnal knowledge; but, when he
approached her, she drew away from him and burst into tears,
saying, "O my lord, seest thou not the man looking at us? I
conjure thee by Allah, screen me from his eyes! How canst thou
know me what while he looketh on us?" When he heard this, he was
angry and asked, "Where is the man?"; and answered she, "There he
is, in the bezel of the ring! putting out his head and staring at
us." He thought that the Jinni was looking at them and said
laughing, "Fear not; this is the Slave of the Seal-ring, and he
is subject to me." Quoth she, "I am afraid of Ifrits; pull it off
and throw it afar from me." So he plucked it off and laying it on
the cushion, drew near to her, but she dealt him a kick, her foot
striking him full in the stomach[FN#97], and he fell over on his
back senseless; whereupon she cried out to her attendants, who
came to her in haste, and said to them, "Seize him!" So forty
slavegirls laid hold on him, whilst she hurriedly snatched up the
ring from the cushion and rubbed it; whereupon Abu al-Sa'adat
presented himself, saying, "Adsum, at thy service O my mistress."
Cried she, "Take up yonder Infidel and clap him in jail and
shackle him heavily." So he took him and throwing him into the
Prison of Wrath[FN#98] returned and reported, "I have laid him in
limbo." Quoth she, "Whither wentest thou with my father and my
husband?"; and quoth he, "I cast them down in the Desert
Quarter." Then cried she, "I command thee to fetch them to me
forthwith." He replied, "I hear and I obey," and taking flight at
once, stayed not till he reached the Desert Quarter, where he
lighted down upon them and found them sitting weeping and
complaining each to other. Quoth he, "Fear not, for relief is
come to you"; and he told them what the Wazir had done, adding,
"Indeed I imprisoned him with my own hands in obedience to her,
and she hath bidden me bear you back." And they rejoiced in his
news. Then he took them both up and flew home with them; nor was
it more than an hour before he brought them in to Princess Dunya,
who rose and saluted sire and spouse. Then she made them sit down
and brought them food and sweetmeats, and they passed the rest of
the night with her. On the next day she clad them in rich
clothing and said to the King, "O my papa, sit thou upon thy
throne and be King as before and make my husband thy Wazir of the
Right and tell thy troops that which hath happened. Then send for
the Minister out of prison and do him die, and after burn him,
for that he is a Miscreant, and would have gone in unto me in the
way of lewdness, without the rites of wedlock and he hath
testified against himself that he is an Infidel and believeth in
no religion. And do tenderly by thy son-in-law, whom thou makest
thy Wazir of the Right." He replied, "Hearing and obeying, O my
daughter. But do thou give me the ring or give it to thy
husband." Quoth she, "It behoveth not that either thou or he have
the ring. I will keep the ring myself, and belike I shall be more
careful of it than you. Whatso ye wish seek it of me and I will
demand it for you of the Slave of the Seal-ring. So fear no harm
so long as I live and after my death, do what ye twain will with
the ring." Quoth the King, "This is the right rede, O my
daughter," and taking his son-in-law went forth to the Divan. Now
the troops had passed the night in sore chagrin for Princess
Dunya and that which the Wazir had done with her, in going in to
her after the way of lewdness, without marriage-rites, and for
his ill-usage of the King and Ma'aruf, and they feared lest the
law of Al-Islam be dishonoured, because it was manifest to them
that he was a Kafir. So they assembled in the Divan and fell to
reproaching the Shaykh al-Islam, saying, "Why didst thou not
forbid him from going in to the Princess in the way of lewdness?"
Said he, "O folk, the man is a Miscreant and hath gotten
possession of the ring and I and you may not prevail against him.
But Almighty Allah will requite him his deed, and be ye silent,
lest he slay you." And as the host was thus engaged in talk,
behold the King and Ma'aruf entered the Divan.--And Shahrazad
perceived the dawn of day and ceased to say her permitted say.

When it was the Thousandth Night,

She continued, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when
the troops sorely chagrined sat in the Divan talking over the
ill-deeds done by the Wazir to their Sovran, his son-in-law and
his daughter, behold, the King and Ma'aruf entered. Then the King
bade decorate the city and sent to fetch the Wazir from the place
of duresse. So they brought him, and as he passed by the troops,
they cursed him and abused him and menaced him, till he came to
the King, who commanded to do him dead by the vilest of deaths.
Accordingly, they slew him and after burned his body, and he went
to Hell after the foulest of plights; and right well quoth one of

The Compassionate show no ruth to the tomb where his bones shall
lie * And Munkar and eke Nakir[FN#99] ne'er cease to abide

The King made Ma'aruf his Wazir of the Right and the times were
pleasant to them and their joys were untroubled. They abode thus
five years till, in the sixth year, the King died and Princess
Dunya made Ma'aruf Sultan in her father's stead, but she gave him
not the seal-ring. During this time she had conceived by him and
borne him a boy of passing loveliness, excelling in beauty and
perfection, who ceased not to be reared in the laps of nurses
till he reached the age of five, when his mother fell sick of a
deadly sickness and calling her husband to her, said to him, "I
am ill." Quoth he, "Allah preserve thee, O dearling of my heart!"
But quoth she, "Haply I shall die and thou needest not that I
commend to thy care thy son: wherefore I charge thee but be
careful of the ring, for thine own sake and for the sake of this
thy boy." And he answered, "No harm shall befal him whom Allah
preserveth!" Then she pulled off the ring and gave it to him, and
on the morrow she was admitted to the mercy of Allah the Most
High,[FN#100] whilst Ma'aruf abode in possession of the kingship
and applied himself to the business of governing. Now it chanced
that one day, as he shook the handkerchief[FN#101] and the troops
withdrew to their places that he betook himself to the
sitting-chamber, where he sat till the day departed and the night
advanced with murks bedight. Then came in to him his
cup-companions of the notables according to their custom, and sat
with him by way of solace and diversion, till midnight, when they
craved permission to withdraw. He gave them leave and they
retired to their houses; after which there came in to him a
slave-girl affected to the service of his bed, who spread him the
mattress and doffing his apparel, clad him in his sleeping-gown.
Then he lay down and she kneaded his feet, till sleep overpowered
him; whereupon she withdrew to her own chamber and slept. But
suddenly he felt something beside him in the bed and awaking
started up in alarm and cried, "I seek refuge with Allah from
Satan the stoned!" Then he opened his eyes and seeing by his side
a woman foul of favour, said to her, "Who art thou?" Said she,
"Fear not, I am thy wife Fatimah al-Urrah." Whereupon he looked
in her face and knew her by her loathly form and the length of
her dog-teeth: so he asked her, "Whence camest thou in to me and
who brought thee to this country?" "In what country art thou at
this present?" "In the city of Ikhtiyan al-Khatan. But thou, when
didst thou leave Cairo?" "But now." "How can that be?" "Know,"
said she, "that, when I fell out with thee and Satan prompted me
to do thee a damage, I complained of thee to the magistrates, who
sought for thee and the Kazis enquired of thee, but found thee
not. When two days were past, repentance gat hold upon me and I
knew that the fault was with me; but penitence availed me not,
and I abode for some days weeping for thy loss, till what was in
my hand failed and I was obliged to beg my bread. So I fell to
begging of all, from the courted rich to the contemned poor, and
since thou leftest me, I have eaten of the bitterness of beggary
and have been in the sorriest of conditions. Every night I sat
beweeping our separation and that which I suffered, since thy
departure, of humiliation and ignominy, of abjection and misery."
And she went on to tell him what had befallen her, whilst he
stared at her in amazement, till she said, "Yesterday, I went
about begging all day but none gave me aught; and as often as I
accosted any one and craved of him a crust of bread, he reviled
me and gave me naught. When night came, I went to bed supperless,
and hunger burned me and sore on me was that which I suffered:
and I sat weeping when, behold, one appeared to me and said, O
woman why weepest thou? Said I, erst I had a husband who used to
provide for me and fulfil my wishes; but he is lost to me and I
know not whither he went and have been in sore straits since he
left me. Asked he, What is thy husband's name? and I answered,
His name is Ma'aruf. Quoth he, I ken him. Know that thy husband
is now Sultan in a certain city, and if thou wilt, I will carry
thee to him. Cried I, I am under thy protection: of thy bounty
bring me to him! So he took me up and flew with me between heaven
and earth, till he brought me to this pavilion and said to me:--
Enter yonder chamber, and thou shalt see thy husband asleep on
the couch. Accordingly I entered and found thee in this state of
lordship. Indeed I had not thought thou wouldst forsake me, who
am thy mate, and praised be Allah who hath united thee with me!"
Quoth Ma'aruf, "Did I forsake thee or thou me? Thou complainedst
of me from Kazi to Kazi and endedst by denouncing me to the High
Court and bringing down on me Abu Tabak from the Citadel: so I
fled in mine own despite." And he went on to tell her all that
had befallen him and how he was become Sultan and had married the
King's daughter and how his beloved Dunya had died, leaving him a
son who was then seven years old. She rejoined, "That which
happened was fore-ordained of Allah; but I repent me and I place
myself under thy protection beseeching thee not to abandon me,
but suffer me eat bread, with thee by way of an alms." And she
ceased not to humble herself to him and to supplicate him till
his heart relented towards her and he said, "Repent from mischief
and abide with me, and naught shall betide thee save what shall
pleasure thee: but, an thou work any wickedness, I will slay thee
nor fear any one. And fancy not that thou canst complain of me to
the High Court and that Abu Tabak will come down on me from the
Citadel; for I am become Sultan and the folk dread me: but I fear
none save Allah Almighty, because I have a talismanic ring which
when I rub, the Slave of the Signet appeareth to me. His name is
Abu al-Sa'adat, and whatsoever I demand of him he bringeth to me.
So, an thou desire to return to thine own country, I will give
thee what shall suffice thee all thy life long and will send thee
thither speedily; but, an thou desire to abide with me, I will
clear for thee a palace and furnish it with the choicest of silks
and appoint thee twenty slave-girls to serve thee and provide
thee with dainty dishes and sumptuous suits, and thou shalt be a
Queen and live in all delight till thou die or I die. What sayest
thou of this?" "I wish to abide with thee," she answered and
kissed his hand and vowed repentance from frowardness.
Accordingly he set apart a palace for her sole use and gave her
slave-girls and eunuchs, and she became a Queen. The young Prince
used to visit her as he visited his sire; but she hated him for
that he was not her son; and when the boy saw that she looked on
him with the eye of aversion and anger, he shunned her and took a
dislike to her. As for Ma'aruf, he occupied himself with the love
of fair handmaidens and bethought him not of his wife Fatimah the
Dung, for that she was grown a grizzled old fright, foul-favoured
to the sight, a bald-headed blight, loathlier than the snake
speckled black and white; the more that she had beyond measure
evil entreated him aforetime; and as saith the adage, "Ill-usage
the root of desire disparts and sows hate in the soil of hearts;"
and God-gifted is he who saith:--

Beware of losing hearts of men by thine injurious deed; * For
when Aversion takes his place none may dear Love restore:
Hearts, when affection flies from them, are likest unto glass *
Which broken, cannot whole be made,--'tis breached for

And indeed Ma'aruf had not given her shelter by reason of any
praiseworthy quality in her, but he dealt with her thus
generously only of desire for the approval of Allah Almighty.--
Here Dunyazad interrupted her sister Shahrazad, saying, "How
winsome are these words of thine which win hold of the heart more
forcibly than enchanters' eyne; and how beautiful are these
wondrous books thou hast cited and the marvellous and singular
tales thou hast recited!" Quoth Shahrazad, "And where is all this
compared with what I shall relate to thee on the coming night, an
I live and the King deign spare my days?" So when morning
morrowed and the day brake in its sheen and shone, the King arose
from his couch with breast broadened and in high expectation for
the rest of the tale and saying, "By Allah, I will not slay her
till I hear the last of her story;" repaired to his Durbar while
the Wazir, as was his wont, presented himself at the Palace,
shroud under arm. Shahriyar tarried abroad all that day, bidding
and forbidding between man and man; after which he returned to
his Harim and, according to his custom went in to his wife

When it was the Thousand and First Night,

Dunyazad said to her sister, "Do thou finish for us the History
of Ma'aruf!" She replied, "With love and goodly gree, an my lord
deign permit me recount it." Quoth the King, "I permit thee; for
that I am fain of hearing it." So she said:--It hath reached me,
O auspicious King, that Ma'aruf would have naught to do with his
wife by way of conjugal duty. Now when she saw that he held aloof
from her bed and occupied himself with other women, she hated him
and jealousy gat the mastery of her and Iblis prompted her to
take the seal-ring from him and slay him and make herself Queen
in his stead. So she went forth one night from her pavilion,
intending for that in which was her husband King Ma'aruf; and it
chanced by decree of the Decreer and His written destiny, that
Ma'aruf lay that night with one of his concubines; a damsel
endowed with beauty and loveliness, symmetry and a stature all
grace. And it was his wont, of the excellence of his piety, that,
when he was minded to have to lie with a woman, he would doff the
enchanted seal-ring from his finger, in reverence to the Holy
Names graven thereon, and lay it on the Pillow, nor would he don
it again till he had purified himself by the Ghusl-ablution.
Moreover, when he had lain with a woman, he was used to order her
go forth from him before daybreak, of his fear for the seal-ring;
and when he went to the Hammam he locked the door of the pavilion
till his return, when he put on the ring, and after this, all
were free to enter according to custom. His wife Fatimah the Dung
knew of all this and went not forth from her place till she had
certified herself of the case. So she sallied out, when the night
was dark, purposing to go in to him, whilst he was drowned in
sleep, and steal the ring, unseen of him. Now it chanced at this
time that the King's son had gone out, without light, to the
Chapel of Ease for an occasion, and sat down over the marble
slab[FN#103] of the jakes in the dark, leaving the door open.
Presently, he saw Fatimah come forth of her pavilion and make
stealthily for that of his father and said in himself, "What
aileth this witch to leave her lodging in the dead of the night
and make for my father's pavilion? Needs must there be some
reason for this:" so he went out after her and followed in her
steps unseen of her. Now he had a short sword of watered steel,
which he held so dear that he went not to his father's Divan,
except he were girt therewith; and his father used to laugh at
him and exclaim, "Mahallah![FN#104] This is a mighty fine sword
of thine, O my son! But thou hast not gone down with it to battle
nor cut off a head therewith." Whereupon the boy would reply, "I
will not fail to cut off with it some head which
deserveth[FN#105] cutting." And Ma'aruf would laugh at his words.
Now when treading in her track, he drew the sword from its sheath
and he followed her till she came to his father's pavilion and
entered, whilst he stood and watched her from the door. He saw
her searching about and heard her say to herself, "Where hath he
laid the seal-ring?"; whereby he knew that she was looking for
the ring and he waited till she found it and said, "Here it is."
Then she picked it up and turned to go out; but he hid behind the
door. As she came forth, she looked at the ring and turned it
about in her grasp. But when she was about to rub it, he raised
his hand with the sword and smote her on the neck; and she cried
a single cry and fell down dead. With this Ma'aruf awoke and
seeing his wife strown on the ground, with her blood flowing, and
his son standing with the drawn sword in his hand, said to him,
"What is this, O my son?" He replied, "O my father, how often
hast thou said to me, Thou hast a mighty fine sword; but thou
hast not gone down with it to battle nor cut off a head. And I
have answered thee, saying, I will not fail to cut off with it a
head which deserveth cutting. And now, behold, I have therewith
cut off for thee a head well worth the cutting!" And he told him
what had passed. Ma'aruf sought for the seal-ring, but found it
not; so he searched the dead woman's body till he saw her hand
closed upon it; whereupon he took it from her grasp and said to
the boy, "Thou art indeed my very son, without doubt or dispute;
Allah ease thee in this world and the next, even as thou hast
eased me of this vile woman! Her attempt led only to her own
destruction, and Allah-gifted is he who said:--

When forwards Allah's aid a man's intent, * His wish in every
case shall find consent:
But an that aid of Allah be refused, * His first attempt shall do
him damagement."

Then King Ma'aruf called aloud to some of his attendants, who
came in haste, and he told them what his wife Fatimah the Dung
had done and bade them to take her and lay her in a place till
the morning. They did his bidding, and next day he gave her in
charge to a number of eunuchs, who washed her and shrouded her
and made her a tomb[FN#106] and buried her. Thus her coming from
Cairo was but to her grave, and Allah-gifted is he who

We trod the steps appointed for us: and he whose steps are
appointed must tread them.
He whose death is decreed to take place in our land shall not die
in any land but that.

And how excellent is the saying of the poet:--

I wot not, whenas to a land I fare, * Good luck pursuing, what my
lot shall be.
Whether the fortune I perforce pursue * Or the misfortune which
pursueth me.

After this, King Ma'aruf sent for the husbandman, whose guest he
had been, when he was a fugitive, and made him his Wazir of the
Right and his Chief Counsellor.[FN#108] Then, learning that he
had a daughter of passing beauty and loveliness, of qualities
nature-ennobled at birth and exalted of worth, he took her to
wife; and in due time he married his son. So they abode awhile in
all solace of life and its delight and their days were serene and
their joys untroubled, till there came to them the Destroyer of
delights and the Sunderer of societies, the Depopulator of
populous places and the Orphaner of sons and daughters. And glory
be to the Living who dieth not and in whose hand are the Keys of
the Seen and the Unseen!"


Now, during this time, Shahrazad had borne the King three boy
children: so, when she had made an end of the story of Ma'aruf,
she rose to her feet and kissing ground before him, said, "O King
of the time and unique one[FN#109] of the age and the tide, I am
thine handmaid and these thousand nights and a night have I
entertained thee with stories of folk gone before and admonitory
instances of the men of yore. May I then make bold to crave a
boon of Thy Highness?" He replied, "Ask, O Shahrazad, and it
shall be granted to thee.[FN#110]" Whereupon she cried out to the
nurses and the eunuchs, saying, "Bring me my children." So they
brought them to her in haste, and they were three boy children,
one walking, one crawling and one sucking. She took them and
setting them before the King, again kissed the ground and said,
"O King of the age, these are thy children and I crave that thou
release me from the doom of death, as a dole to these infants;

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