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The Arabian Nights Entertainments Volume 1 by Anonymous

Part 2 out of 12

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lead, and having speedily shut the vessel, Genie, cries he, now
it is your turn to beg my favour, and to choose which way I shall
put thee to death; but not so, it is better that I should throw
you into the sea, whence I took you; and then I will build a
house upon the bank, where I will dwell, to give notice to all
fishermen, who come to throw in their nets, to beware of such a
wicked genie as thou art, who hast made an oath to kill him who
shall set thee at liberty.

The genie, enraged at these expressions, did all he could to get
out of the vessel again, but it was not possible for him to do
it; for the impression of Solomon's seal prevented him; so,
perceiving that the fisherman had got the advantage of him, he
thought fit to dissemble his anger. Fisherman, says he, in a
pleasant tone, take heed you do not what you say; for what I
spoke before was only by way of jest, and you are to take it no
otherwise. O genie! replies the fisherman, thou who wast but a
moment ago the greatest of all genies, and now art the least of
them, thy crafty discourse will signify nothing to thee, but to
the sea thou shalt return: If thou hadst staid in the sea so long
as thou hast told me, thou mayst very well stay there till the
day of judgment. I begged thee, in God's name, not to take away
my life, and thou didst reject my prayers; I am obliged to treat
you in the same manner.

The genie omitted nothing that could prevail upon the fisherman:
Open the vessel, says he, give me my liberty, I pray thee, and I
promise to satisfy thee to thy own content. Thou art a mere
traitor, replies the fisherman, I should deserve to lose my life,
if I be such a fool as to trust thee; thou wilt not fail to treat
me in the same manner as a certain Grecian king treated the
physician Douban. It is a story I have a mind to tell thee,
therefore listen to it.


There was in the country of Zouman, in Persia, a king whose
subjects were originally Greeks. This king was all over leprous,
and his physicians in vain endeavoured his cure; and when they
were at their wits end what to prescribe him, a very able
physician, called Douban, arrived at his court.

This physician had learned his science in Greek, Persian,
Turkish, Arabian, Latin, Syrian, and Hebrew books; and, besides
that he was an expert philosopher, he fully understood the good
and bad qualities of all sorts of plants and drugs. As soon as he
was informed of the king's distemper, and understood that his
physicians had given him over, he clad himself the best he could,
and found a way to present himself to the king: Sir, says he, I
know that all your majesty's physicians have not been able to
cure you of the leprosy; but if you will do me the honour to
accept my service, I will engage myself to cure you without
drenches or external applications.

The king listened to what he said, and answered, if you are able
to perform what you promise, I will enrich you and your
posterity; and, besides the presents I shall make you, you shall
be my chief favourite. Do you assure me, then, that you will cure
me of my leprosy, without making me take any potion, or applying
any external medicine? Yes, sir, replies the physician, I promise
myself success, through God's assistance, and to-morrow I will
make trial of it.

The physician returned to his quarters, and made a mallet, hollow
within, and at the handle he put in his drugs: He made also a
ball in such a manner as suited his purpose, with which, next
morning, he went to present himself before the king, and, falling
down at his feet, kissed the very ground. Here Scheherazade,
perceiving day, acquainted the sultan with it, and held her

I wonder, sister, says Dinarzade, where you learn so many things.
You will hear a great many others to-morrow, re-*
045.txt---------------------------- plies Scheherazade, if the
sultan, my master, will be pleased to prolong my life further,
Schahriar, who longed as much as Dinarzade to hear the sequel of
the story of Douban the physician, did not order the sultaness to
be put to death that day.


The twelfth night was pretty far advanced, when Dinarzade called,
and says, Sister, you owe us the continuation of the agreeable
history of the Grecian king and the physician Douban. I am very
willing to pay my debt, replies Scheherazade, and resumed the
story as follows.

Sir, the fisherman, speaking always to the genie, whom he kept
shut up in his vessel, went on thus: The physician Douban rose
up, and, after a profound reverence, says to the king, he judged
it meet that his majesty should take horse, and go to the place
where he used to play at the mell. The king did so, and when he
arrived there, the physician came to him with the mell, and says
to him, Sir, exercise yourself with this mell, and strike the
ball with it until you find your hands and your body in a sweat.
When the medicine I have put in the handle of the mell is heated
with your hand, it will penetrate your whole body; and as soon as
you shall sweat, you may leave off the exercise, for then the
medicine will have had its effect. As soon as you are returned to
your palace, go into the bath, and cause yourself to be well
washed and rubbed; then go to bed, and, when you rise to-morrow,
you will find yourself cured.

The king took the mell, and struck the ball, which was returned
by his officers that played with him; he struck it again, and
played so long, till his hand and his whole body were in a sweat,
and then the medicine shut up in the handle of the mell had its
operation, as the physician said. Upon this the king left off
play, returned to his palace, entered the bath, and observed very
exactly what his physician had prescribed him.

He was very well after; and next morning, when he arose, he
perceived, with as much wonder as joy, that his leprosy was
cured, and his body as clean as if he had never been attacked
with that distemper. As soon as he was dressed, he came into the
hall of public audience, where he mounted his throne, and showed
himself to his courtiers, who, longing to know the success of the
new medicine, came thither betimes, and, when they saw the king
perfectly cured, did all of them express a mighty joy for it. The
physician Douban, entering the hall, bowed himself before the
throne wiih his face to the ground. The king, perceiving him,
called him, made him sit down by his side, showed him to the
assembly, and gave him all the commendation he deserved. His
majesty did not stop here; but, as he treated all his court that
day, he made him to eat at his table atone with him. At these
words Scheherazade, perceiving day, broke off her story. Sister,
says Dinarzade, I know not what the conclusion of this story will
be, but I find the beginning very surprising. That which is to
come is yet better, answered the sultaness, and I am certain you
will not deny it, if the sultan gives me leave to make an end of
it to-morrow night. Shahriar consented, and rose very well
satisfied with what he had heard.

The Thirteenth Night.

Dinarzade, willing to keep the sultan in ignorance of her design,
cried out, as if she had started out of her sleep, 0 dear sister,
I have had a troublesome dream, and nothing will sooner make me
forget it than the remainder of the story of the Grecian king and
the doctor Douban. I conjure you, by the love you always bore me,
not to defer it a moment longer. I shall not be wanting, good
sister, to ease your mind; and, if my sovereign will permit me, I
will go on. Schahriar, being charmed with the agreeable manner of
Scheherazade's telling her story, says to her, You will oblige me
no less than Dinarzade, therefore continue.

The Grecian king (says the fisherman to the genie) was not
satisfied with having admitted the physician Douban to his table,
but towards night, when he was about dismissing the company, he
caused him to be clad in a long rich robe, like unto those which
his favourites usually wore in his presence; and, besides that,
he ordered him two thousand sequins. The next day, and the day
following, he was very familiar with him. In short, this prince,
thinking that he could never enough acknowledge the obligations
he lay under to that able physician, bestowed every day new
favours upon him. But this king had a grand vizier that was
avaricious, envious, and naturally capable of all sorts of
mischief; he could not see, without envy, the presents that were
given to the physician, whose other merits had begun to make him
jealous, and therefore he resolved to lessen him in the king's
esteem. To effect this, he went to the king, and told him in
private that he had some advice to give him which was of the
greatest concernment. The king having asked what it was, Sir,
said he, it is very dangerous for a monarch to put confidence in
a man whose fidelity he never tried. Though you heap favours upon
the physician Douban, and show him all the familiarity that may
be, your majesty does not know but he may be a traitor at the
same time, and came on purpose to this court to kill you. From
whom have you this, answered the king, that you dare tell it me?
Consider to whom you speak, and that you advance a thing which I
shall not easily believe. Sir, replied the vizier, I am very well
informed of what I have had the honour to represent to your
majesty, therefore do not let your dangerous confidence grow to a
further height; if your majesty be asleep, be pleased to awake;
for I do once more repeat it, that the physician Douban did not
leave the heart of Greece, his country, nor come hither to settle
himself at your court, but to execute that horrid design which I
have just now hinted to you.

No, no, vizier, replies the king, I am certain that this man,
whom you treat as a villain and a traitor, is one of the best and
most virtuous men in the world; and there is no man I love so
much. You know by what medicine, or rather by what miracle, he
cured me of my leprosy; if he had a design upon my life, why did
he save me? He needed only to have left me to my disease; I could
not have escaped; my life was already half gone; forbear, then,
to fill me with any unjust suspicions. Instead of listening to
you, I tell you, that from this day forward I will give that
great man a pension of a thousand sequins per month for his life;
nay, though I did share with him all my riches and dominions, I
should never pay him enough for what he has done me; I perceive
it to be his virtue that raises your envy; but do not think that
I will be unjustly possessed with prejudice against him; I
remember too well what a vizier said to King Sinbad, his master,
to prevent his putting to death the prince his son. But, sir,
says Scheherazade, day-light appears, which forbids me to go

I am very well pleased that the Grecian king, says Dinarzade, had
so much firmness of spirit as to reject the false accusation of
his vizier. If you commend the firmness of that prince to-day,
says Scheherazade, you will as much condemn his weakness
to-morrow, if the sultan be pleased to allow me time to finish
this story. The sultan, being curious to hear wherein the Grecian
king discovered his weakness, did further delay the death of the

The Fourteenth Night.

An hour before day, Dinarzade awaked her sister, and says to her,
you will certainly be as good as your word, madam, and tell us
out the story of the fisherman. To assist your memory, I will
tell you where you left off; it was where the Grecian king
maintained the innocence of his physician Douban against his
vizier. I remember it, says Scheherazade, and am ready to give
you satisfaction.

Sir, continues she, addressing herself to Schahriar, that which
the Grecian king said about King Sinbad raised the vizier's
curiosity, who says to him, Sir, I pray your majesty to pardon
me, if I have the boldness to demand of you what the vizier of
King Sinbad said to his master to divert him from cutting off the
prince his son. The Grecian king had the complaisance to satisfy
him: That vizier, says he, after having represented to King
Sinbad that he ought to beware lest, on the accusation of a
mother-in-law, he should commit an action which he might
afterwards repent of, told him this story.


A certain man had a fair wife, whom he loved so dearly that he
could scarcely allow her to be out of his sight. One day, being
obliged to go abroad about urgent affairs, he came to a place
where all sorts of birds were sold, and there bought a parrot,
which not only spoke very well, but could also give an account of
every thing that was done before it. He brought it in a cage to
his house, prayed his wife to put it in the chamber, and to take
care of it, during a journey he was obliged to undertake, and
then went out.

At his return, he took care to ask the parrot concerning what had
passed in his absence, and the bird told him things that gave him
occasion to upbraid his wife. She thought some of her slaves had
betrayed her, but all of them swore they had been faithful to
her; and they all agreed that it must have been the parrot that
had told tales.

Upon this, the wife bethought herself of a way how, she might
remove her husband's jealousy, and at the same time revenge
herself on the parrot, which she effected thus: Her husband being
gone another journey, she commanded a slave, in the night time,
to turn a hand-mill under the parrot's cage; she ordered another
to throw water, in form of rain, over the cage; and a third to
take a glass, and turn it to the right and to the left before the
parrot, so as the reflections of the candle might shine on its
face. The slaves spent great part of the night in doing what
their mistress commanded them, and acquitted themselves very

Next night the husband returned, and examined the parrot again
about what had passed during his absence. The bird answered, Good
master, the lightning, thunder, and rain, did so much disturb me
all night, that I cannot tell how much I suffered by it. The
husband, who knew that there had been neither thunder, lightning,
nor rain that night, fancied that the parrot, not having told him
the truth in this, might also have lied to him in the other; upon
which he took it out of the cage, and threw it with so much force
to the ground that he killed it; yet afterwards he understood, by
his neighbours, that the poor parrot had not lied to him when it
gave him an account of his wife's base conduct, which made him
repent that he had killed it. Scheherazade stopped here, because
she saw it was day.

All that you tell us, sister, says Dinarzade is so curious, that
nothing can be more agreeable. I shall be willing to divert you,
answers Scheherazade, if the sultan, my master, will allow me
time to do it. Schahriar, who took as much pleasure to hear the
sultaness as Dinarzade, rose, and went about his affairs, without
ordering the vizier to cut her off.

The Fifteenth Night.

Dinarzade was punctual this night, as she had been the former, to
awake her sister, and begged of her, as usual, to tell her a
story. I am going to do it, sister, says Scheherazade; but the
sultan interrupted her, for fear she should begin a new story,
and bid her finish the discourse between the Grecian king and his
vizier about his physician Douban. Sir, says Scheherazade, I will
obey you, and went on with the story as follows.

When the Grecian king, says the fisherman to the genie, had
finished the story of the parrot; and you, vizier, adds he,
because of the hatred you bear to the physician Douban, who never
did you any hurt, you would have me cut him off; but I will take
care of that, for fear I should repent it, as the husband did the
killing of his parrot.

The mischievous vizier was too much concerned to effect the ruin
of the physician Douban to stop here. Sir, says he, the death of
the parrot was but a trifle, and I believe his master did not
mourn for him long. But why should your fear of wronging an
innocent man hinder your putting this physician to death? Is it
not enough that he is accused of a design against your life to
authorize you to take away his? When the business in question is
to secure the life of a king, bare suspicion ought to pass for
certainty; and it is better to sacrifice the innocent than to
spare the guilty. But, sir, this is not an uncertain thing; the
physician Douban has certainly a mind to assassinate you. It is
not envy which makes me his enemy; it is only the zeal and
concern I have for preserving your majesty's life, that make me
give you my advice in a matter of this importance. If it be
false, I deserve to be punished in the same manner as a vizier
was formerly punished. What had that vizier done, says the
Grecian king, to deserve punishment? I will inform your majesty
of that, says the vizier, if you will be pleased to hear me.


There was a king, says the vizier, who had a son that loved
hunting mightily. He allowed him to divert himself that way very
often, but gave orders to his grand vizier to attend him
constantly, and never to lose sight of him.

One hunting day, the huntsman having roused a deer, the prince
who thought the vizier followed him, pursued the game so far, and
with so much earnestness, that he was left quite alone. He
stopped, and finding that he had lost his way, endeavoured to
return the same way he came, to find out the vizier, who had not
been careful enough to find him, and so wandered further.

Whilst he rode up and down without keeping any road, he met, by
the way-side, a handsome lady, who wept bitterly. He stopped his
horse, asked who she was, how she came to be alone in that place,
and what she wanted? I am, says she, daughter of an Indian king;
as I was taking the air on horseback in the country, I grew
sleepy, fell from my horse, who is got away, and I know not what
is become of him. The young prince, taking compassion on her,
asked her to get up behind him, which she willingly accepted.

As they passed by the ruins of a house, the lady signified a
desire to alight on some occasion. The prince stopped his horse,
and suffered her to alight; then he alighted himself, and went
near the ruins with his horse in his hand: But you may judge how
much he was surprised, when he heard the lady within it say these
words, "Be glad, my children, I bring you a handsome young man,
and very fat;" and other voices which answered immediately,
"Mamma, where is he, that we may eat him presently, for we are
very hungry."

The prince heard enough to convince him of his danger, and then
he perceived that the lady, who called herself daughter to an
Indian king, was a hogress, wife to one of those savage demons
called hogress, who live in remote places, and make use of a
thousand wiles to surprise and devour passengers; so that the
prince, being thus frightened, mounted his horse as soon as he

The pretended princess appeared that very moment, and perceiving
that she had missed her prey, she cries, Fear nothing, prince!
Who are you? Whom do you seek? I have lost my way, replies he,
and am seeking it. If you have lost your way, says she, recommend
yourself to God, he will deliver you out of your perplexity. Then
the prince lift up his eyes towards Heaven. But, sir, says
Scheherazade, I am obliged to break off, for day appears.

I long mightily, says Dinarzade, to know what became of that
young prince, I tremble for him. I will deliver you from your
uneasiness to-morrow, answers the sultaness, if the sultan will
allow me to live till then. Schahriar, willing to hear an end of
this adventure, prolonged Scheherazade's life for another day.

The Sixteenth Night.

Dinarzade had such a mighty desire to hear out the story of the
young prince, that she awaked that night sooner than ordinary,
and said, Sister, pray go on with the story you began yesterday:
I am much concerned for the young prince, and ready to die for
fear that he was eaten up by the hogress and her children.
Schahriar having signified that he had the same fear, the
sultaness replies, Well, Sir, I will satisfy you immediately.

After the counterfeit Indian princess had bid the young prince
recommend himself to God, he could not believe she spoke
sincerely, but thought she was sure of him, and therefore lifting
up his hands to Heaven, said, Almighty Lord, cast thine eyes upon
me, and deliver me from this enemy. After this prayer, the
hogress entered the ruins again, and the prince rode off with all
possible haste. He happily found his way again, and arrived safe
and sound at his father's court, to whom he gave a particular
account of the danger he had been in through the vizier's
neglect; upon which the king, being incensed against that
minister, ordered him to be strangled that very moment.

Sir, continues the Grecian king's vizier, to return to the
physician Douban, if you do not take care, the confidence you put
in him will be fatal to you: I am very well assured that he is a
spy sent by your enemies to attempt your majesty's life. He has
cured you, you will say: But, alas! who can assure you of that?
He has perhaps cured you only in appearance, and not radically;
who knows but the medicines he has given you may in time have
pernicious effects?

The Grecian king, who had naturally very little sense, was not
able to discover the wicked design of his vizier, nor had he
firmness enough to persist in his first opinion. This discourse
staggered him: Vizier, says he, thou art in the right; he may be
come on purpose to take away my life, which he may easily do by
the very smell of some of his drugs. We must consider what is fit
for us to do in this case.

When the vizier found the king in such a temper as he would have
him, Sir, says he, the surest and speediest method you can take
to secure your life, is to send immediately for the physician
Douban, and order his head to be cut off as soon as he comes. In
truth, says the king, I believe that is the way we must take to
prevent his design. When he had spoken thus, he called for one of
his officers, and ordered him to go for the physician; who,
knowing nothing of the king's design, came to the palace in

Know ye, says the king, when he saw him, why I sent for you? No,
Sir, answered he; I wait till your majesty be pleased to inform
me. I sent for you, replied the king, to rid myself of you by
taking your life.

No man can express the surprise of the physician, when he heard
the sentence of death pronounced against him. Sir, says he, why
would your majesty take away my life? What crime have I
committed? I am informed by good hands, replies the king, that
you come to my court only to attempt my life; but, to prevent
you, I will be sure of yours. Give the blow, says he to the
executioner, who was present, and deliver me from a perfidious
wretch, who came hither on purpose to assassinate me.

When the physician heard this cruel order, he readily judged that
the honours and presents he had received from the king had
procured him enemies, and that the weak prince was imposed upon.
He repented that he had cured him of his leprosy, but it was now
too late. Is it thus, replies the physician, that you reward me
for curing you? The king would not hearken to him, but ordered
the executioner a second time to strike the fatal blow. The
physician then had recourse to his prayers: Alas! sir, cries he,
prolong my days, and God will prolong yours; do not put me to
death, lest God treat you in the same manner. The fisherman broke
off his discourse here, to apply it to the genie. Well, genie,
says he, you see that what passed then betwixt the Grecian king
and his physician Douban is acted just now betwixt us.

The Grecian king, continues he, instead of having regard to the
prayers of the physician, who begged him for God's sake to spare
him, cruelly replied to him, No, no; I must of necessity cut you
off, otherwise you may take away my life with as much subtleness
as you cured me. The physician, melting into tears, and bewailing
himself sadly for being so ill rewarded by the king, prepared for
death. The executioner bound up his eyes, tied his hands, and
went to draw his scimitar.

Then the courtiers, who were present, being moved with
compassion, begged the king to pardon him, assuring his majesty
that he was not guilty of the crime laid to his charge, and that
they would answer for his innocence; but the king was inflexible,
and answered them so, as they dared not to say any more of the

The physician being on his knees, his eyes tied up, and ready to
receive the fatal blow, addressed himself once more to the king:
Sir, says he, since your majesty will not revoke the sentence of
death, I beg, at least, that you will give me leave to return to
my house, to give orders about my burial, to bid farewell to my
family, to give alms, and to bequeath my books to those who are
capable of making good use of them. I have one in particular I
would present to your majesty; it is a very precious book, and
worthy to be laid up very carefully in your treasury. Well,
replies the king, why is that book so precious as you talk of?
Sir, says the physician, because it contains an infinite number
of curious things, of which the chief is, that when you have cut
off my head, if your majesty will give yourself the trouble to
open the book at the sixth leaf, and read the third line of the
left page, my head will answer all the questions you ask it. The
king, being curious to see such a wonderful thing, deferred his
death till next day, and sent him home under a strong guard.

The physician, during that time, put his affairs in order; and
the report being spread, that an unheard-of prodigy was to happen
after his death, the viziers, emirs, officers of the guard, and,
in a word, the whole court, repaired next day to the hall of
audience, that they might be witnesses of it.

The physician Douban was soon brought in, and advanced to the
foot of the throne, with a great book in his hand; there he
called for a bason, upon which he laid the cover that the book
was wrapped in, and presenting the book to the king, Sir, says
he, take that book, if you please, and as soon as my head is cut
off, order that it may be put into the bason upon the cover of
the book; as soon as it is put there, the blood will stop; then
open the book, and my head will answer your questions. But, Sir,
says he, permit me once more to implore your majesty's clemency;
for God's sake grant my request, I protest to you that I am
innocent. Your prayers, answers the king, are vain; and if it
were for nothing but to hear your head speak after your death, it
is my will you should die. As he said this, he took the book out
of the physician's hand, and ordered the executioner to do his

The head was so dexterously cut off, that it fell into the bason,
and was no sooner laid upon the cover of the book than the blood
stopped; then, to the great surprise of the king, and all the
spectators, it opened its eyes, and said, Sir, will your majesty
be pleased to open the book? The king opened it, and finding that
one leaf was, as it were, glued to another, that he might turn it
with more ease, he put his finger to his mouth, and wet it with
spittle. He did so till he came to the sixth leaf, and finding no
writing on the place where he was bid to look for it, Physician,
says he to the head, here is nothing written. Turn over some more
leaves, replies the head. The king continued to turn over,
putting always his finger to his mouth, until the poison, with
which each leaf was imbued, came to have its effect; the prince
finding himself, all of a sudden, taken with an extraordinary
fit, his eye-sight failed, and he, fell down at the foot of his
throne in great convulsions. At these words Scheherazade,
perceiving day, gave the sultan notice of it, and forbore
speaking. Ah! dear sister, says Dinarzade, how grieved am I that
you have not time to finish this story! I should be inconsolable
if you lose your life to-day. Sister, replies the sultaness, that
must be as the sultan pleases; but I hope he will be so good as
to suspend my death till to-morrow. And accordingly Schahriar,
far from ordering her death that day, expected next night with
much impatience; so earnest was he to hear out the story of the
Grecian king, and the sequel of that of the fisherman and the

The Seventeenth Night.

Though Dinarzade was very curious to hear the rest of the story
of the Grecian king, she did not awake that night so soon as
usual, so that it was almost day before she called upon the
sultaness; and then said, I pray you, sister, to continue the
wonderful story of the Greek king; but make haste, I beseech you,
for it will speedily be day.

Scheherazade resumed the story where she left off the day before.
Sir, says she to the sultan, when the physician Douban, or rather
his head, saw that the poison had taken effect, and that the king
had but a few moments to live: Tyrant, it cried, now you see how
princes are treated, who, abusing, their authority, cut off
innocent men: God punishes, soon or late, their injustice and
cruelty. Scarcely had the head spoken these words, when the king
fell down dead, and the head itself lost what life it had.

Sir, continues Scheherazade, such was the end of the Grecian
king, and the physician Douban; I must return now to the story of
the fisherman and the genie; but it is not worth while to begin
it now, for it is day. The sultan, who always observed his hours
regularly, could stay no longer, but got up; and having a mind to
hear the sequel of the story of the genie and, the fisherman, he
bid the sultaness prepare to tell it him next night.

The Eighteenth Night.

Dinarzade made amends this night for last night's neglect; she
awaked long before day, and calling upon Scheherazade, Sister,
says she, if you be not asleep, pray give us the rest of the
story of the fisherman and the genie; you know the sultan desires
to hear it as well as I.

I shall soon satisfy his curiosity and yours, answers the
sultaness; and then, addressing herself to Schahriar, Sir,
continued she, as soon as the fisherman had concluded the history
of the Greek king and his physician Douban, he made the
application to the genie, whom he still kept shut up in the
vessel. If the Grecian king, says he, would have suffered him to
live; but he rejected his most humble prayers; and it is the same
with thee, O genie. Could I have prevailed with thee to grant me
the favour I demanded, I should now have had pity upon thee; but
since, notwithstanding the extreme obligation thou wast under to
me for having set thee at liberty, thou didst persist in thy
design to kill me, I am obliged in my turn to be as hard-hearted
to thee.

My good friend fisherman, replies the genie, I conjure thee once
more not to be guilty of so cruel a thing; consider that it is
not good to avenge one's self, and that, on the other hand, it is
commendable to do good for evil; do not treat me as Imama treated
Ateca formerly. And what did Imama to Ateca, replies the
fisherman? Ho! says the genie, if you have a mind to know it,
open the vessel; do you think that I can be in a humour to tell
stories in so strait a prison? I will tell you as many as you
please when you let me out. No, says the fisherman, I will not
let thee out, it is in vain to talk of it; I am just going to
throw you into the bottom of the sea. Hear me one word more,
cries the genie, I promise to do thee no hurt; nay, so far from
that, I will show thee a way how thou mayst become exceeding

The hope of delivering himself from poverty prevailed with the
fisherman. I could listen to thee says he, were there any credit
to be given to thy word; swear to me by the great name of God,
that you will faithfully perform what you promise, and I will
open the vessel; I do not believe you will dare to break such an

The genie swore to him, and the fisherman immediately took off
the covering of the vessel. At that very instant the smoke came
out, and the genie having resumed his form as before, the first
thing he did was to kick the vessel into the sea. This action
frightened the fisherman: Genie, says he, what is the meaning of
that; will not you keep the oath you made, just now? And must I
say to you as the physician Douban said to the Grecian king,
Suffer me to live, and God will prolong your days.

The genie laughed at the fisherman's fear, and answered, No,
fisherman, be not afraid, I only did it to divert myself, and to
see if thou wouldst be alarmed at it: But, to persuade thee that
I am in earnest, take thy net and follow me. As he spoke these
words, he walked before the fisherman, who, having taken up his
nets, followed him, but with some distrust: They passed by the
town, and came to the top of a mountain, from whence they
descended into a vast plain, which brought them to a great pond
that lay betwixt four hills,

When they came to the side of the pond, the genie says to the
fisherman, Cast in thy nets, and take fish; the fisherman did not
doubt to catch some, because he saw a great number in the pond;
but he was extremely surprised when he found they were of four
colours; that is to say, white, red, blue, and yellow. He threw
in his nets, and brought out one of each colour; having never
seen the like, he could not but admire them, and, judging that he
might get a considerable sum for them, he was very joyful. Carry
these fish, says the genie to him, and present them to the
sultan; he will give you more money for them than ever you had in
your life. You may come every day to fish in this pond, and I
give thee warming not to throw in thy nets above once a day;
otherwise you will repent it. Take heed, and remember my advice;
if you follow it exactly, you will find your account in it.
Having spoken thus, he struck his foot upon the ground, which
opened, and shut again after it had swallowed up the genie.

The fisherman, being resolved to follow the genie's advice
exactly, forebore casting in his nets a second time; but returned
to the town very well satisfied with his fish, and making a
thousand reflections upon his adventure. He went straight to the
sultan's palace to present him his fish. But, sir, says
Scheherazade, I perceive day, and must stop here.

Dear sister, says Dinarzade, how surprising are the last events
you have told us? I have much ado to believe that any thing you
have to say can be more surprising. Sister, replies the
sultaness, if the sultan, my master, will let me live till
to-morrow, I am persuaded you will find the sequel of the history
of the fisherman more wonderful than the beginning of it, and
incomparably more diverting. Schahriar, being curious to know if
the remainder of the story of the fisherman would be such as the
sultaness said, put off the execution of the cruel law one day

The Nineteenth Night.

Towards morning, Dinarzade called the sultaness, and said, Dear
sister, my pendulum tells me it will be day speedily, therefore
pray continue the history of the fisherman; I am extremely
impatient to know what the issue of it was. Scheherazade, having
demanded leave of Schahriar, resumed her discourse as follows:
Sir, I leave it to your majesty to think how much the sultan was
surprised when he saw the four fishes which the fisherman
presented him. He took them up one after another, and beheld them
with attention; and after having admired them a long time, take
these fishes, says he to his prime vizier, and carry them to the
fine cook-maid that the emperor of the Greeks has sent me. I
cannot imagine but they must be as good as they are fine.

The vizier carried them himself to the cook, and, delivering them
into her hands, Look ye, says he, there are four fishes newly
brought to the sultan, he orders you to dress them; and, having
said so, he returned to the sultan his master, who ordered him to
give the fisherman four hundred pieces of gold of the coin of
that country, which he did accordingly.

The fisherman, who had never seen so much cash in his lifetime,
could scarcely believe his own good fortune, but thought it must
needs be a dream, until he found it to be real, when he provided
necessaries for his family with it.

But, sir, says Scheherazade, having told you what happened to the
fisherman, I must acquaint you next with what befel the sultan's
cook-maid, whom we shall find in a mighty perplexity. As soon as
she had gutted the fishes, she put them upon the fire in a
frying-pan with oil, and when she thought them fried enough on
one side, she turned them upon the other; but, O monstrous
prodigy! scarcely were they turned, when the wall of the kitchen
opened, and in comes a young lady of wonderful beauty and comely
size. She was clad in flowered satin, after the Egyptian manner,
with pendants in her ears, necklace of large pearl, and bracelets
of gold, garnished with rubies, with a rod of myrtle in her hand.
She came towards the frying-pan, to the great amazement of the
cook-maid, who continued immovable at this sight, and, striking
one of the fishes with the end of the rod, says, "Fish, fish, art
thou in thy duty?" The fish having answered nothing, she repeated
these words, and then the four fishes lift up their heads
altogether, and said to her, "Yes, yes, if you reckon, we reckon;
if you pay your debts, we pay ours; if you fly, we overcome, and
are content." As soon as they had finished these words, the lady
overturned the frying-pan, and entered again into the open part
of the wall, which shut immediately, and became as it was before.

The cook-maid was mightily frightened at this, and, coming a
little to herself, went to take up the fishes that fell upon the
earth, but found them blacker than coal, and not fit to be
carried to the sultan. She was grievously troubled at it, and
fell a-weeping most bitterly: Alas! says she, what will become of
me? If I tell the sultan what I have seen, I am sure he will not
believe me, but will be mightily enraged against me.

Whilst she was thus bewailing herself, in comes the grand vizier,
and asked her if the fishes were ready? She told him all that had
happened, which, we may easily imagine, astonished him mightily;
but, without speaking a word to the sultan, he invented an excuse
that satisfied him, and sending immediately for the fisherman,
bid him bring four more such fish; for a misfortune had befallen
the other, that they were not fit to be carried to the sultan.
The fisherman, without saying any thing of what the genie had
told him, in order to excuse himself from bringing them that very
day, told the vizier he had a great way to go for them, but would
certainly bring them to-morrow.

Accordingly the fisherman went away by night, and, coming to the
pond, threw in his nets betimes next morning, took four such
fishes as the former, and brought them to the vizier at the hour
appointed. The minister took them himself, carried them to the
kitchen, and shutting himself up all alone with the cook-maid,
she gutted them, and put them on the fire, as she had done the
four others the day before; when they were fried on the one side,
and she had turned them upon the other, the kitchen-wall opened,
and the same lady came in with the rod in her hand, struck one of
the fishes, spoke to it as before, and all four gave her the same
answer. But, sir, says Scheherazade, day appears, which obliges
me to break off. What I have told you is indeed singular, but if
I be alive to-morrow, I will tell you other things which are yet
better worth your hearing. Schahriar, conceiving that the sequel
must be very curious, resolved to hear her next night.

The Twentieth Night.

Next morning the sultan prevented Dinarzade, and says to
Scheherazade, Madam, I pray you make an end of the story of the
fisherman; I am impatient to hear it. Upon which the sultaness
continued it thus:

Sir, after the four fishes had answered the young lady, she
overturned the frying-pan with her rod, and retired into the same
place of the wall from whence she came out. The grand vizier
being witness to what passed, This is too surprising and
extraordinary, says he, to be concealed from the sultan; I will
inform him of this prodigy; which he did accordingly, and gave
him a faithful account of all that had happened.

The sultan, being much surprised, was mighty impatient to see
this himself. To this end, he sent immediately for the fisherman,
and says to him, Friend, cannot you bring me four more such
fishes? The fisherman replied, If your majesty will be pleased to
allow me three days time, I will do it. Having obtained this
time, he went to the pond immediately, and, at the first throwing
in of his net, he took four such fishes, and brought them
presently to the sultan, who was the more rejoiced at it, as he
did not expect them so soon, and ordered him other four hundred
pieces of gold. As soon as the sultan had the fish, he ordered
them to be carried into the closet, with all that was necessary
for frying them; and having shut himself up there with his
vizier, that minister gutted them, put them in the pan upon the
fire, and when they were fried on one side, turned them upon the
other; then the wall of the closet opened; but, instead of the
young lady, there came out a black, in the habit of a slave, and
of a gigantic stature, with a great green baton in his hand. He
advanced towards the pan, and touching one of the fishes with his
baton, says to it with a terrible voice, "Fish, art thou in thy
duty?" At these words, the fishes raised up their heads, and
answered, "Yes, yes, we are: if you reckon, we reckon; if you pay
your debts, we pay ours; if you fly, we overcome, and are

The fish had no sooner finished these words, than the black threw
the pan into the middle of the closet, and reduced these fishes
to a coal. Having done this, he retired fiercely, and entering
again into the hole of the wall, it shut, and appeared just as it
was before.

After what I have seen, says the sultan to the vizier, it will
not be possible for me to be easy in my mind. These fish, without
doubt, signify something extraordinary, in which I have a mind to
be satisfied. He sent for the fisherman; and when he came, says
to him, Fisherman, the fishes you have brought us make me very
uneasy; where did you catch them? Sir, answers he, I fished for
them in a pond situate betwixt four hills, beyond the mountain
that we see from hence. Know you that pond, says the sultan to
the vizier? No, sir, replies the vizier, I never so much as heard
of it; and yet it is not sixty years since I hunted beyond that
mountain and thereabouts. The sultan asked the fisherman, how far
the pond might be from the palace? The fisherman answered, it was
not above three hours journey. Upon this assurance, and there
being day enough beforehand, the sultan commanded all his court
to take horse, and the fisherman served them for a guide. They
all ascended the mountain, and at the foot of it they saw, to
their great surprise, a vast plain, that nobody had observed till
then; and at last they came to the pond, which they found
actually to be situate betwixt four hills, as the fisherman had
said. The water of it was so transparent, that they observed all
the fishes to be like those which the fisherman had brought to
the palace.

The sultan staid upon the bank of the pond, and, after beholding
the fishes with admiration, he demanded of his emirs and all his
courtiers, if it was possible they had never seen this pond,
which was within so little a way of the town. They all answered,
that they had never so much as heard of it.

Since you all agree, says he, that you never heard of it, and as
I am no less astonished than you are, at this novelty I am
resolved not to return to my palace till I know how this pond
came hither, and why all the fish in it are of four colours.
Having spoken thus, he ordered his court to encamp, and
immediately his pavilion, and the tents of his household, were
planted upon the banks of the pond.

When night came, the sultan retired under his pavilion, and spoke
to the vizier by himself thus: Vizier, my mind is very uneasy:
this pond transported hither, the black that appeared to us in my
closet, and the fishes that we heard speak; all this does so much
whet my curiosity, that I cannot resist the impatient desire that
I have to be satisfied in it. To this end, I am resolved to
withdraw alone from the camp, and I order you to keep my absence
secret; stay in my pavilion, and to-morrow morning, when the
emirs and courtiers come to attend my levee, send them away, and
tell them, that I am somewhat indisposed, and have a mind to be
alone: and the following day tell them the same thing, till I

The grand vizier said several things to divert the sultan from
his design: He represented to him the danger to which he might be
exposed, and that all his labour might perhaps be in vain. But it
was to no purpose; the sultan was resolved on it, and would go.
He put on a suit fit for walking, and took his scimitar; and as
soon as he saw that all was quiet in the camp, he goes out alone,
and went over one of the hills without much difficulty; he found
the descent still more easy, and, when he came to the plain,
walked on till the sun rose, and then he saw before him, at a
considerable distance, a great building. He rejoiced at the
sight, in hopes to be informed there of what he had a mind to
know. When he came near, he found it was a magnificent palace, or
rather a very strong castle, of fine black polished marble, and
covered with fine steel, as smooth as a looking-glass. Being
mightily pleased that he had so speedily met with something
worthy his curiosity, he stopped before the front of the castle,
and considered it with abundance of attention.

He afterwards came up to the gate, which had two leaves, one of
them open: though he might have entered when he would, yet he
thought it best to knock. He knocked at first softly, "and waited
for some time; but seeing nobody, and supposing they had not
heard him, he knocked harder the second time; but neither seeing
nor hearing anybody, he knocked again and again; but nobody
appearing, it surprised him extremely; for he could not think
that a castle so well in repair was without inhabitants. If there
be nobody in it, says he to himself, I have nothing to fear, and
if there be, I have wherewith to defend me.

At last he entered, and when he came within the porch, he cries,
Is there nobody here to receive a stranger, who comes in for some
refreshment as he passes by? He repeated the same two or three
times; but, though he spoke very high, nobody answered.

This silence increased his astonishment; he came into a very
spacious court, and looking on every side to see if he could
perceive any body, he saw no living thing. But, sir, says
Scheherazade, day appears, and I must stop.

Ah! sister, says Dinarzade, you break off at the very best of the
story. It is true, answers the sultaness; but, sister, you see I
am forced to do so. If my lord the sultan pleases, you may hear
the rest to-morrow, Schahriar agreed to this, not so much to
please Dinarzade as to satisfy his own curiosity, being mightily
impatient to hear what adventure the prince met with in the

The Twenty-first Night.

Dinarzade, to make amends for her neglect the night before, never
laid eye together, and, when she thought it was time, awaked the
sultaness, saying to her, My dear sister, pray give us an account
of what happened in the fine castle where you left us yesterday.

Scheherazade forthwith resumed her story, and, addressing herself
to Schahriar, says, Sir, the sultan, perceiving nobody in the
court, entered the great halls, which were hung with silk
tapestry; the alcoves and sofas were covered with stuffs of
Mecca, and the porches with the richest stuffs of the Indies,
mixed with gold and silver. He came afterwards into an admirable
saloon, in the middle of which there was a great fountain, with a
lion of massy gold at each corner: Water issued at the mouths of
the four lions, and this water, as it fell, formed diamonds and
pearls, that very well answered a jet of water, which, springing
from the middle of the fountain, rose as high almost as the
bottom of a cupola painted after the Arabian manner.

The castle on three sides was encompassed by a garden, with
flower-pots, water-works, groves, and a thousand other fine
things concurring to embellish it; and what completed the beauty
of the place, was an infinite number of birds, which filled the
air with their harmonious notes, and always staid there; nets
being spread over the trees, and fastened to the palace, to keep
them in. The sultan walked a long time from apartment to
apartment, where he found every thing very grand and magnificent.
Being tired with walking, he sat down in an open closet, which
had a view over the garden, and there reflecting upon what he had
already seen, and did then see, all of a sudden he heard the
voice of one complaining, accompanied with lamentable cries. He
listened with attention, and heard distinctly these sad words: "O
fortune! thou who wouldst not suffer me longer to enjoy a happy
lot, and hast made me the most unfortunate man in the world,
forbear to persecute me, and by a speedy death, put an end to my
sorrows! Alas! is it possible that I am still alive after so many
torments as I have suffered?

The sultan, being affected with those pitiful complaints, rose
up, and made towards the place where he heard the voice; and when
he came to the gate of a great hall, he opened it, and saw a
handsome young man, richly habited, set upon a throne raised a
little above the ground. Melancholy was painted in his looks, The
sultan drew near, and saluted him: The young man returned him his
salute by a low bow with his head; but not being able to rise up,
he says to the sultan, My lord, I am very well satisfied that you
deserve I should rise to receive you, and do you all possible
honour; but I am hindered from doing so by a very sad reason, and
therefore hope you will not take it ill. My lord, replies the
sultan, I am very much obliged to you for having so good an
opinion of me: As to the reason of your not rising, whatever your
apology be, I heartily accept of it. Being drawn hither by your
complaints, and affected by your grief, I came to offer you my
help; would to God that it lay in my power to ease you of your
trouble; I would do my utmost to effect it. I flatter myself that
you would willingly tell me the history of your misfortunes; but
pray tell me first the meaning of the pond near the palace, where
the fishes are of four colours? what this castle is? how you came
to be here? and why you are alone?

Instead of answering these questions, the young man began to weep
bitterly. "Oh, how inconstant is fortune!" cried he: "She takes
pleasure to pull down those men she hath raised up. Where are
they who enjoy quietly the happiness which they hold of her, and
whose day is always clear and serene?"

The sultan, moved with compassion to see him in that condition,
prayed him forthwith to tell him the cause of his excessive
grief. Alas! my lord, replies the young man, how is it possible
but I should grieve? And why should not my eyes be inexhaustible
fountains of tears? At these words, lifting up his gown, he
showed the sultan that he was a man only from his head to the
girdle, and that the other half of his body was black marble.
Here Scheherazade broke off, and told the sultan that day

Schahriar was so much charmed with the story, and became so much
in love with Scheherazade, that he resolved to let her live a
month. He got up, however, as usual, without acquainting her with
his resolution.

The Twenty-second Night.

Dinarzade was so impatient to hear out the story, that she called
her sister next morning sooner than usual, and says to her,
Sister, pray continue the wonderful story you began, but could
not make an end of yesterday morning. I agree to it, replied the
sultaness; hearken then.

You may easily imagine, continues she, that the sultan was
strangely surprised when he saw the deplorable condition of the
young man. That which you show me, says he, as it fills me with
horror, whets my curiosity so, that I am impatient to hear your
history, which no doubt is very strange, and I am persuaded that
the pond and the fishes make some part of it; therefore I conjure
you to tell it me. You will find some comfort in it, since it is
certain that unfortunate people find some sort of ease in telling
their misfortunes. I will not refuse you that satisfaction,
replies the young man, though I cannot do it without renewing my
grief. But I give you notice beforehand, to prepare your ears,
your mind, and even your eyes, for things that surpass all that
the most extraordinary imagination can conceive.


You must know, my lord, continued he, that my father, who was
called Mahmoud, was king of this country. This is the kingdom of
the Black Isles, which takes its name from the four little
neighbouring mountains; for those mountains were formerly isles:
The capital where the king my father had his residence, was where
that pond you now see is. The sequel of my history will inform
you of all those changes.

The king my father died when he was seventy years of age: I had
no sooner succeeded him, but I married; and the lady I chose to
share the royal dignity with me was my cousin. I had all the
reason imaginable to be satisfied in her love to me; and, for my
part, I had so much tenderness for her, that nothing was
comparable to the good understanding betwixt us, which lasted
five years, at the end of which time I perceived the queen my
cousin had no more delight in me.

One day, while she was at bath, I found myself sleepy after
dinner, and lay down upon a sofa; two of her ladies, who were
then in my chamber, came and sat down, one at my head, and the
other at my feet, with fans in their hands to moderate the heat,
and to hinder the flies from troubling me in my sleep. They
thought I was fast, and spoke very low; but I only shut my eyes,
and heard every word they said.

One of them says to the other, Is not the queen much in the wrong
not to love such an amiable prince as this? Ay, certainly,
replies the other; for my part I do not understand it, and I know
not how she goes out every night, and leaves him alone: is it
possible that he does not perceive it? Alas! says the first, how
would you have him to perceive it? She mixes every evening in his
drink the juice of a certain herb, which makes him sleep so sound
all night, that she has time to go where she pleases, and as day
begins to appear, the comes and lies down by him again, and wakes
him by the smell of something she puts under his nose.

You may guess, my lord, how much I was surprised at this
discourse, and with what sentiments it inspired me; yet, whatever
emotions it made within me, I had command enough over myself to
dissemble it, and feigned myself to awake, without having heard
one word of it.

The queen returned from the bath; we supped together, and, before
we went to bed, she presented me with a cup of water such as I
was accustomed to drink; but, instead of putting it to my mouth,
I went to a window that stood open, and threw out the water so
privately that she did not perceive it, and put the cup again
into her hands, to persuade her I had drunk it.

We went to bed together, and soon after, believing that I was
asleep, though I was not, she got up with so little precaution,
that she said, so loud as I could hear distinctly, Sleep, and may
you never awake again. She dressed herself speedily, and went out
of the chamber. As Scheherazade spoke these words, she saw day
appear, and stopped.

Dinarzade had heard, her sister with a great deal of pleasure;
and Shahriar thought the history of the king of the Black Isles
so worthy of his curiosity, that he rose up full of impatience
for the rest of it.

The Twenty-third Night.

An hour before day, Dinarzade, being awake, failed not to call
upon the sultaness, and said, Pray, dear sister, go on with the
history of the young king of the Black Islands. Scheherazade,
calling to mind where she left off, resumed ths story thus:

As soon as the queen my wife went out, continues the king of the
Black Islands, I got up, dressed me in haste, took my scimitar,
and followed her so quick that I soon heard the sound of her feet
before me, and then walked softly after her, for fear of being
heard. She passed through several gates, which opened upon her
pronouncing some magical words; and the last she opened was that
of the garden, which she entered: I stopped at the gate, that she
might not perceive me, As she crossed a plot, and looking after
her as far as I could in the night, I perceived that she entered
a little wood, whose walks were guarded by thick palisadoes. I
went thither by another way, and slipping behind the palisadoes
of a long walk, I saw her walking there with a man.

I gave good heed to their discourse, and heard her say thus; I do
not deserve, says the queen to her gallant, to be upbraided by
you for want of diligence; you know very well what hinders me;
but if all the marks of love that I have already given you be not
enough, I am ready to give you greater marks of it: You need but
command me; you know my power. I will, if you desire it, before
sun-rising, change this great city, and this fine palace, into
frightful ruins, which shall be inhabited by nothing but wolves,
owls, and ravens. Would you have me to transport all the stones
of those walls, so solidly built, beyond mount Caucasus, and out
of the bounds of the habitable world? Speak but the word, and all
those places shall be changed.

As the queen finished these words, her gallant and she came to
the end of the walk, turned to enter another, and passed before
me. I had already drawn my scimitar, and her gallant being next
me, I struck him in the neck, and made him fall to the ground. I
thought I had killed him, and therefore retired speedily without
making myself known to the queen, whom I had a mind to spare,
because she was my kinswoman.

In the mean time, the blow I had given her gallant was mortal,
but she preserved his life by the force of her enchantments, in
such a manner, however, that he could not be said to be either
dead or alive. As I crossed the garden to return to the palace, I
heard the queen cry out lamentably, and, judging by that how much
she was grieved, I was pleased that I had spared her life.

When I returned to her apartment, I went to bed, and being
satisfied with having punished the villain that did me the
injury, I went to sleep; and when I awaked next morning, found
the queen lying by me. Scheherazade was obliged to stop here,
because she saw day.

O Heaven! sister, says Dinarzade, how it troubles me that you can
say no more! Sister, replies the sultaness, you ought to have
awaked me sooner; it is your fault. I will make amends next
night, replies Dinarzade; for I doubt not but the sultan will be
as willing to hear out the story as I am; and I hope he will be
so good as to let you live one day more.

The Twenty-fourth Night.

Dinarzade was actually as good as her word; she called the
sultaness very early, saying, Dear sister, if you be not asleep,
pray make an end of the agreeable history of the king of the
Black Isles; I am ready to die with impatience to know how he
came to be changed into marble. You shall hear it, replies
Scheherazade, if the sultan will give me leave.

I found the queen lying by me, then, says the king of the Black
Islands; I cannot tell you whether she slept or not; but I got up
without making any noise, and went to my closet, where I made an
end of dressing myself. I afterwards went and held my council,
and, at my return, the queen was clad in mourning, her hair
hanging about her eyes, and part of it pulled off. She presented
herself before me, and said, Sir, I come to beg your majesty not
to be surprised to see me in this condition; three afflicting
pieces of news that I have just now received all at once are the
cause of my heavy grief, of which the tokens you see are but very
faint resemblances. Alas! what is that news, madam, said I? The
death of the queen, my dear mother, said she; that of the king my
father killed in battle; and that of one of my brothers, who is
fallen headlong into it.

I was not ill pleased that she made use of this pretext to hide
the true cause of her grief, and I thought she had not suspected
me to have killed her gallant. Madam, said I, I am so far from
blaming your grief, that I assure you I am willing to bear what
share of it is proper for me. I should very much wonder if you
were insensible of so great a loss. Mourn on, your tears are so
many proofs of your good-nature; but I hope, however, that time
and reason will moderate your grief.

She retired into her apartment, where, giving herself wholly up
to sorrow, she spent a whole year in mourning and afflicting
herself. At the end of that time, she begged leave of me to build
a burying-place for herself within the bounds of the palace,
where she would continue, she told me, to the end of her days. I
agreed to it, and she built a stately palace, with a cupola, that
may be seen here, and she called it the Palace of Tears. When it
was finished, she caused her gallant to be brought thither from
the place that she made him to be carried the same night that I
wounded him; she had hindered his dying by the drink she gave
him, and carried to him herself every day after he came to the
Palace of Tears.

Yet, with all her enchantments, she could not cure the wretch; he
was not only unable to walk, and to help himself, but had also
lost the use of his speech, and gave no sign of life but only by
his looks. Though the queen had no other consolation but to see
him, and to say to him all that her foolish passion could inspire
her with, yet every day she made him two long visits; I was very
well informed of all this, but pretended to know nothing of it.

One day I went out of curiosity to the Palace of Tears to see how
the princess employed herself, and, going to a place where she
could not see me, I heard her speak thus to her gallant: I am
afflicted to the highest degree to see you in this condition; I
am as sensible as you are yourself of the tormenting grief you
endure; but, dear soul, I always speak to you, and you do not
answer me. How long will you be silent? speak only one word:
Alas! the sweetest moments of my life are those I spend here in
partaking of your grief. I cannot live at a distance from you,
and would prefer the pleasure of always seeing you to the empire
of the universe.

At these words, which were several times interrupted by her sighs
and sobs, I lost all patience; and, discovering myself, came up
to her, and said, Madam, you have mourned enough, it is time to
give over this sorrow which dishonours us both; you have too much
forgotten what you owe to me and to yourself. Sir, says she, if
you have any kindness or complaisance left for me, I beseech you
to put no force upon me; allow me to give myself up to mortal
grief; it is impossible for time to lessen it.

When I saw that my discourse, instead of bringing her to her
duty, served only to increase her rage, I gave over and retired.
She continued every day to visit her gallant, and for two long
years gave herself up to excessive grief.

I went a second time to the Palace of Tears while she was there;
I hid myself again, and heard her speak thus to her gallant: It
is now three years since you spoke one word to me; you return no
answer to the marks of love I give you by my discourse and
groans. Is it from want of sense, or out of contempt? O tomb!
have you abated that excessive love he had for me? Have you shut
those eyes that showed me so much love, and were all my joy? No,
no, I believe nothing of it. Tell me rather by what miracle you
became intrusted with the rarest treasure that ever was in the

I must confess, my lord, I was enraged at these words; for, in
short, this gallant so much doted upon, this adored mortal, was
not such a one as you would imagine him to have been; he was a
black Indian, a native of that country. I say, I was so enraged
at this discourse, that I discovered myself all of a sudden, and
addressing the tomb in my turn, O tomb! cried I, why do you not
swallow up that monster in nature, or rather why do you not
swallow up the gallant and his mistress?

I had scarcely finished these words, when the queen, who sat by
the black, rose up like a fury. Ah, cruel man! says she, thou art
the cause of my grief; do not you think but I know it. I have
dissembled it but too long; it is thy barbarous hand which hath
brought the object of my love to this lamentable condition; and
you are so hard-hearted as to come and insult a despairing lover.
Yes, said I, in a rage, it is I who chastized that monster
according to his desert; I ought to have treated thee in the same
manner; I repent now that I did not do it; thou hast abused my
goodness too long. As I spoke these words, I drew out my
scimitar, and lifted up my hand to punish her; but she,
steadfastly beholding me, said, with a jeering smile, Moderate
thy anger. At the same time she pronounced words I did not
understand, and afterwards added, By virtue of my enchantments, I
command thee immediately to become half marble and half man.
Immediately, my lord, I became such as you see me, already a dead
man among the living, and a living man among the dead. Here
Scheherazade, perceiving day, broke off her story.

Upon which Dinarzade says, Dear sister, I am exceedingly
obligated to the sultan, for it is to his goodness I owe the
extraordinary pleasure I have in your stories. My sister, replies
the sultaness, if the sultan will be so good as to suffer me to
live till to-morrow, I shall tell you a thing that will afford as
much satisfaction as any thing you have yet heard. Though
Schahriar had not resolved to defer the death of Scheherazade a
month longer, he could not have ordered her to be put to death
that day.

The Twenty-fifth Night.

Towards the end of the night, Dinarzade cried, Sister, if I do
not trespass too much upon your complaisance, I would pray you to
finish the history of the king of the Black Islands.
Scheherazade, having awaked upon her sister's call, prepared to
give the satisfaction she required, and began thus:

The king, half marble half man, continued his history to the
sultan thus: After this cruel magician, unworthy of the name of a
queen, had metamorphosed me thus, and brought me into this hall
by another enchantment, she destroyed my capital, which was very
flourishing and full of people; she abolished the houses, the
public places, and markets, and made a pond and desert field of
it, which you may have seen; the fishes of four colours in the
pond are the four sorts of people, of different religions, that
inhabited the place. The white are the Mussulmen; the red, the
Persians, who worshipped the fire; the blue, the Christians; and
the yellow, the Jews. The four little hills were the four islands
that gave name to this kingdom. I learned all this from the
magician, who, to add to my affliction, told me with her own
mouth these effects of her rage. But this is not all; her revenge
was not satisfied with the destruction of my dominions, and the
metamorphosis of my person; she comes every day, and gives me,
over my naked shoulders, an hundred blows with ox pizzles, which
makes me all over blood; and, when she has done so, covers me
with a coarse stuff of goats hair, and throws over it this robe
of brocade that you see, not to do me honour, but to mock me.

At this part of the discourse, the king could not withhold his
tears; and the sultan's heart was so pierced with the relation,
that he could not speak one word to comfort him. A little time
after, the young king, lifting up his ryes to heaven, cried out,
Mighty Creator of all things, I submit myself to your judgments,
and to the decrees of your providence; I endure my calamities
with patience, since it is your will it should be so; but I hope
your infinite goodness will reward me for it.

The sultan, being much moved by the recital of so strange a
story, and animated to avenge this unfortunate prince, says to
him, Tell me whither this perfidious magician retires, and where
her unworthy gallant may be, who is buried before his death? My
lord, replies the prince, her gallant, as I have already told
you, is in the Palace of Tears, in a tomb in form of a dome, and
that palace joins to this castle on the side of the gate. As to
the magician, I cannot precisely tell whither she retires; but
every day at sun-rising she goes to see her gallant, after having
executed her bloody vengeance upon me, as I have told you: and
you see I am not in a condition to defend myself against so great
cruelty. She carries him the drink with which she has hitherto
prevented his dying, and always complains of his never speaking
to her since he was wounded.

Oh, unfortunate prince, says the sultan, you can never enough be
bewailed! Nobody can be more sensibly touched with your condition
than I am; never did such an extraordinary misfortune befal any
man; and those who write your history will have the advantage to
relate a passage that surpasses all that has ever yet been
recorded. There is nothing wanting but one thing, the revenge
which is due to you, and I will omit nothing that can be done to
procure it.

While the sultan discoursed upon this subject with the young
prince, he told him who he was, and for what end he entered the
castle, and thought on a plan of revenge, which he communicated
to him. They agreed upon the measures they were to take for
effecting their design, but deferred the execution of it till the
next day. In the mean time, the night being far spent, the sultan
took some rest, but the poor young prince passed the night
without sleep as usual, having never slept since he was
enchanted; but he conceived some hopes of being speedily
delivered from his misery.

Next morning the sultan got up before day, and, in order to
execute his design, he hid in a corner his upper garment, that
would have been cumbersome to him, and went to the Palace of
Tears. He found it illuminated with an infinite number of
flambeaux of white wax, and a delicious scent issued from several
boxes of fine gold, of admirable workmanship, all ranged in
excellent order. As soon as he saw the bed where the black lay,
lie drew his scimitar, killed the wretch without resistance,
dragged his corpse into the court of the castle, and threw it
into a well. After this he went and lay down in the black's bed,
took his scimitar with him under the counterpane, and lay there
to execute what he had designed.

The magician arrived in a little time; she first went into the
chamber where her husband, the king of the Black Islands, was;
stripped him, and beat him with bull pizzles in a most barbarous
manner. The poor prince filled the palace with his lamentations
to no purpose; and conjured her, in the most affecting manner
that could be, to take pity on him; but the cruel woman would not
give over till she had given him an hundred blows. You had no
compassion on my lover, said she, and you are to expect none from
me. Scheherazade, perceiving day, stopped, and could go no

O heaven! says Dinarzade, sister, this was a barbarous
enchantress indeed. But must we stop here? Will you not tell us
whether she received the chastisement she deserved? My dear
sister, says the sultaness, I desire nothing more than to
acquaint you with it to-morrow; but you know that depends on the
sultan's pleasure. After what Schahriar had heard, he was far
from any design to put Scheherazade to death; on the contrary,
says he to himself, I will not take away her life till she has
finished this surprising story, though it should last for two
months. It shall always be in my power to keep the oath I have

The Twenty-sixth Night.

As soon as Dinarzade thought it was time to call the sultaness,
she says to her, How much should I be obliged to you, dear
sister, if you would tell us what passed in the Palace of Tears.
Schahriar having signified that he was as curious to know it as
Dinarzade, the sultaness resumed the story of the young enchanted
prince as follows:

Sir, after the enchantress had given the king her husband an
hundred blows with bull pizzles, she put on again his covering of
goat hair, and his brocade gown over all; she went afterwards to
the Palace of Tears, and, as she entered the same, she renewed
her tears and lamentations; then approaching the bed, where she
thought her gallant was, What cruelty, cries she, was it to
disturb the contentment of so tender and passionate a lover as I
am! O thou who reproachest me that I am too inhuman, when I make
thee feel the effects of my resentment! cruel prince! does not
thy barbarity surpass my vengeance? Ah, traitor! in attempting
the life of the object whom I adore, hast thou not robbed me of
mine? Alas! says she, addressing herself to the sultan, while she
thought she spoke to the black, my soul, my life, will you always
be silent? Are you resolved to let me die, without giving me so
much comfort as to tell me that you love me? My soul! speak one
word to me at least, I conjure you.

The sultan, making as if he had awakened out of a deep sleep, and
counterfeiting the language of the blacks, answers the queen with
a grave tone, 'There is no force nor power but in God alone, who
is almighty.' At these words, the enchantress, who did not expect
them, gave a great shout, to signify her excessive joy. My dear
lord, says she, do not I deceive myself? is it certain that I
hear you, and that you speak to me? Unhappy wretch, said the
sultan, art thou worthy that I should answer thy discourse? Alas!
replies the queen, why do you reproach me thus? The cries,
replied he, the groans and tears of thy husband, whom thou
treatest every day with so much indignity and barbarity, hinder
me to sleep night and day. I should have been cured long ago, and
have recovered the use of my speech, hadst thou disenchanted him.
This is the cause of my silence, which you complain of. Very
well, says the enchantress, to pacify you, I am ready to do what
you will command me; would you that I restore him as he was? Yes,
replies the sultan, make haste to set him at liberty, that I be
no more disturbed with his cries.

The enchantress went immediately out of the Palace of Tears; she
took a cup of water, and pronounced words over it, which caused
it to boil as if it had been on the fire. She went afterwards to
the hall to the young king her husband, and threw the water upon
him, saying, 'If the Creator of all things did form thee so as
thou art at present, or if he be angry with thee, do not change;
but if thou art in that condition merely by virtue of my
enchantments, resume thy natural shape, and become what thou wast
before.' She had scarcely spoken these words, when the prince,
finding himself restored to his former condition, rose up freely
with all imaginable joy, and returned thanks to God. The
enchantress then said to him, Get thee gone from this castle, and
never return here on pain of death. The young king, yielding to
necessity, went away from the enchantress without replying a
word, and retired to a remote place, where he immediately
expected the success of the design which the sultan had begun so
happily. Meanwhile the enchantress returned to the Palace of
Tears, and, supposing that she still spoke to the black, says,
Dear lover, I have done what you ordered; let nothing now hinder
you to give me that satisfaction of which I have been deprived so

The sultan continued to counterfeit the language of the blacks.
That which you have just now done, said he, signifies nothing to
my cure; you have only eased me of part of my disease; you must
cut it up by the roots. My lovely black, replies she, what do you
mean by the roots? Unfortunate woman, replies the sultan, do you
not understand that I mean the town and its inhabitants, and the
four islands, which thou hast destroyed by thy enchantments?

The fishes, every night at midnight, raise their heads out of the
pond, and cry for vengeance against thee and me. This is the true
cause of the delay of my cure. Go speedily, restore things as
they were, and at thy return I will give thee my hand, and thou
shalt help me to rise.

The enchantress, filled with hopes from these words, cried out in
a transport of joy, My heart, my soul, you shall soon be restored
to your health; for I will immediately do what you command me.
Accordingly she went that moment, and when she came to the brink
of the pond, she took a little water in her hand, and sprinkling
it--Here Scheherazade saw day, and stopped.

Dinarzade says to the sultaness, Sister, I am much rejoiced to
hear that the young king of the Black Islands was disenchanted,
and I already consider the town and the inhabitants as restored
to their former state; but I long to know what will become of the
enchantress. Have a little patience, replies the sultaness, and
you shall have the satisfaction you desire to-morrow, if the
sultan, my lord, will consent to it. Schahriar, having resolved
on it already, as was said before, rose up, and went about his

The Twenty-seventh Night.

At the usual hour Dinarzade called upon the sultaness thus: Dear
sister, pray tell us what was the fate of the magician queen, as
you promised us; upon which Scheherazade went on thus: The
enchantress had no sooner sprinkled the water, and pronounced
some words over the fishes and the pond, than the city was
restored that very minute. The fishes became men, women, and
children; Mahometans, Christians, Persians, or Jews, freemen or
slaves, ns they were before; every one having recovered their
natural form. The houses and shops were immediately filled with
their inhabitants, who found all things as they were before the
enchantment. The sultan's numerous retinue, who found themselves
encamped in the largest square, were astonished to see
themselves, in an instant, in the middle of a large, fine, and
well-peopled city.

To return to the enchantress: As soon as she had made this
wonderful change, she returned with all diligence to the Palace
of Tears, that she might reap the fruits of it. My dear lord,
cries she, as she entered, I come to rejoice with you for the
return of your health; I have done all that you required of me;
then pray rise, and give me your hand. Come near, says the
sultan, still counterfeiting the language of the blacks. She did
so. You are not near enough, replies he; come nearer. She obeyed.
Then he rose up, and seized her by the arm so suddenly, that she
had not time to know who it was, and with a blow of his scimitar
cut her in two, so that the one half fell one way, and the other
another. This being done, he left the carcase upon the place,
and, going out of the Palace of Tears, he went to seek the young
king of the Black Isles, who waited for him with a great deal of
impatience; and when he found him, Prince, says he, embracing
him, rejoice, you have nothing to fear now; your cruel enemy is

The young prince returned thanks to the sultan in such a manner
as showed that he was thoroughly sensible of the kindness that he
had done him, and, in acknowledgment, wished him a long life and
all happiness. You may henceforward, says the sultan, dwell
peaceably in your capital, unless you will go to mine, which is
so near, where you shall be very welcome, and have as much honour
and respect as if you were at home. Potent monarch, to whom I am
so much indebted, replies the king, you think then that you are
very near your capital. Yes, says the sultan, I know it, it is
not above four or five hours journey. It will take you a whole
years journey, says the prince; I do believe, indeed, that you
came hither from your capital in the time you spoke of, because
mine was enchanted; but, since the enchantment is taken off,
things are changed: However, this shall not hinder me to follow
you, were it to the utmost corner of the earth. You are my
deliverer, and that I may give you proofs of my acknowledging
this during my whole life, I am willing to accompany you, and to
leave my kingdom without regret.

The sultan was exceedingly surprised to understand that he was so
far from his dominions, and could not imagine how it could be.
But the young king of the Black Islands convinced him so plainly,
that he could no more doubt of it. Then the sultan replied, it is
no matter; the trouble that I shall have to return to my own
country is sufficiently recompensed by the satisfaction I have
had to oblige you, and by acquiring you for a son; for since you
will do me the honour to attend me, and that I have no child, I
look upon you as one; and from this moment I appoint you my heir
and successor.

This discourse between the sultan and the king of the Black
Islands concluded with the most affectionate embraces; after
which the young prince was wholly taken up in making preparations
for his journey, which were finished in three weeks time, to the
regret of his court and subjects, who agreed to receive at his
hands one of his nearest kindred for king.

At last the sultan and the young prince began their journey with
an hundred camels laden with inestimable riches from the treasury
of the young king, followed by fifty handsome gentlemen on
horseback, perfectly well mounted and dressed. They had a very
happy journey; and when the sultan, who had sent courtiers to
give advice of his delay, and of the adventure which had
occasioned it, came near his capital, the principal officers he
had left there came to receive him, and to assure him that his
long absence had occasioned no alteration in his empire. The
inhabitants also came out in great crowds, receiving him with,
mighty acclamations, and made public rejoicings for several days,

Next day after his arrival, the sultan gave all his courtiers a
very ample account of all things which, contrary to his
expectation, had detained him so long. He acquainted them with
his having adopted the king of the four Black Islands, who was
willing to leave a great kingdom to accompany and live with him;
and in short, as an acknowledgment of their loyalty, he rewarded
each of them according to their rank.

As for the fisherman, as he was the first cause of the
deliverance of the young prince, the sultan gave him a plentiful
estate, which made him and his family happy the rest of their

Here Scheherazade made an end of the story of the fisherman and
the genie. Dinarzade signified that she had taken a great deal of
pleasure in it; and Schahriar having said the same thing, the
sultaness told that she knew another which was much finer; and if
the sultan would give her leave, she would tell it them next
morning, for day began to appear. Schahriar, bethinking himself
that he had granted the sultaness a month's reprieve, and being
curious, moreover, to know if this new story would be as
agreeable as she promised, got up with a design to hear it next

[Advertisement. The readers of the Tales were tired, in the
former editions, with the interruption Dinarzade gave them: This
defect is now remedied; and they will meet with no more
interruptions at the end of every night. It is sufficient to know
the design of the Arabian author who first made this collection;
and for this purpose we retained his method in the preceeding

There are of these Arabian Tales where neither Scheherazade,
Sultan Schahriar, Dinarzade, or any distinction by nights, is
mentioned; which shows that all the Arabians have not approved
the method which this author has used, and that a great number of
them have been fatigued with these repetitions. This, therefore,
being reformed in the following translation, the reader must be
acquainted that Scheherazade goes on always without being


In the reign of the caliph Haroun Alraschid, there was at Bagdad,
the place of their residence, a porter, who, notwithstanding his
mean and laborous business, was a fellow of wit and good-humour.
One morning, as he was at a place where he usually plied, with a
great basket, waiting for employment, a young handsome lady,
covered with a great muslin veil, came to him, and said with a
pleasant air, Hark ye, porter, take your basket, and follow me.
The porter, charmed with those few words pronounced in so
agreeable a manner, took his basket immediately, set it on his
head, and followed the lady, saying, "O happy day, a day of good

The lady stopped presently before a gate that was shut, and
knocked: a Christian, with a venerable long white beard, opened
the gate, and she put money into his hand, without speaking one
word; but the Christian, who knew what she wanted, went in, and
in a little time after brought a large jug of excellent wine.
Take this jug, says the lady to the porter, and put it in your
basket. This being done, she commanded him to follow her; and as
she went on, the porter says still, "O happy day! this is a day
of agreeable surprise and joy!"

The lady stopped at a fruit-shop, where she bought several sorts
of apples, apricots, peaches, quinces, lemons, citrons, oranges,
myrtles, sweet basil, lilies, jessamine, and some other sorts of
flowers and plants that smell well; she bid the porter put them
all into his basket, and follow her. As she went by a butcher's
stall, she made him weigh her twenty-five pounds of his best
meat, which she ordered the porter to put also in his basket.

At another shop, she took capers, cucumbers, and other herbs
preserved in vinegar; at another she bought pistachios, walnuts,
small nuts, almonds, kernels of pine-apples, and other fruits;
and of another she bought all sorts of confections. When the
porter had put all these things into his basket, and perceiving,
that it grew full, My good lady, says he, you ought to have given
me notice that you had so much provision to carry, and then I
would have got a horse, or rather a camel, to have carried them;
for if you buy ever so little more, I shall not be able to carry
it. The lady laughed at the fellow's pleasant humour, and ordered
him still to follow her.

Then she went to a druggist, where she furnished herself with all
manner of sweet-scented waters, cloves, musk, pepper, ginger, and
a great piece of ambergris, and several other Indian spices; this
quite filled the porter's basket, and she ordered him to follow
her. They walked till they came to a magnificent house, whose
front was adorned with fine columns, and which had a gate of
ivory: there they stopped, and the lady knocked softly.

While the young lady and the porter staid for the opening of the
gate, the porter had a thousand thoughts: he wondered that such a
line lady should come abroad to buy provisions; he concluded she
could not be a slave, her air being too noble for that, and
therefore he thought she must needs be a woman of quality. Just
as he was about to ask her some questions upon that head, another
lady came to open the gate, and appeared so beautiful to him,
that he was perfectly surprised, or rather so much struck with
her charms, that he was like to let the basket fall, for he had
never seen any beauty that came near her.

The lady, who brought the porter with her, perceiving his
disorder, and the occasion of it, diverted herself with it, and
took so much pleasure to examine his looks, that she forgot the
gate was opened. Upon this, the beautiful lady says to her, Pray
sister, come in, what do you stay for? Do you not see this poor
man so heavy loaded, that he is scarcely able to stand under it?

When she entered with the porter, the lady who opened the gate
shut it, and all three, after having gone through a very fine
porch, came into a very spacious court encompassed with an open
gallery, which had a communication with several apartments on a
floor, and was extremely magnificent. There was at the further
end of the court a sofa richly adorned, with a throne of amber in
the middle of it, supported by four columns of ebony, enriched
with diamonds and pearls of extraordinary size, and covered with
satin embroidered with Indian gold, of admirable workmanship. In
the middle of the court there was a great fountain faced with
white marble, and full of clear water, which fell into it
abundantly out of the mouth of a lion of brass.

The porter, though very heavily loaded, could not but admire the
magnificence of the house, and the excellent order that every
thing was placed in; but that which particularly captivated his
attention was a third lady, who seemed to be a greater beauty
than the second, and was set upon the throne just now mentioned:
she came down from it as soon as she saw the two former ladies,
and advanced towards them: He judged, by the respect which the
others showed her, that she was the chief, in which he was not
mistaken. This lady was called Zobeide, she who opened the gate
was called Safie, and Amine was the name of her who went out to
buy the provisions.

Zobeide says to the two ladies, when she came to them, Sisters,
do not you see that this honest man is like to sink under his
burden? why do not you ease him of it? Then Amine and Safie took
the basket, the one before and the other behind; Zobeide also
lent her hand, mid all three set it on the ground, then emptied
it; and when they had done, the beautiful Amine took out money,
and paid the porter liberally.

The porter, very well satisfied with the money he had received,
was to have taken up his basket and be gone; but he could not
tell how to think on it. Do what he could, he found himself
stopped by the pleasure of seeing three such beauties, who
appeared to him equally charming; for Amine, having now laid
aside her veil, was as handsome as either of them. That which
surprised him most was, that he saw never a man about the house;
yet most of the provisions he brought in, as dry fruits, and
several sorts of cakes and confections, were fit chiefly for
those who could drink and make merry.

Zobeide thought at first that the porter staid only to take his
breath; but perceiving that he staid too long, What do you wait
for, says she, are you not well enough paid? And turning to
Amine, says, Sister, give him something more, that he may depart
satisfied. Madam, replies the porter, it is not that which stays
me. I am over and above paid; I am sensible that I am unmannerly
to stay longer than I ought, but, I hope you will be so good as
to pardon me, if I tell you that I am astonished to see that
there is no man with three ladies of such extraordinary beauty;
and you know that a company of women without men is as melancholy
a thing as a company of men without women. To this he added
several very pleasing things to prove what he said, and did not
forget the Bagdad proverb, 'That one is never well at a table,
unless there be four in company. And so concluded, that as there
were but three, they had need of a fourth.'

The ladies fell a laughing at the porter's discourse, after which
Zobeide says to him, very gravely, Friend, you are a little too
bold; and though you do not deserve that I should enter into
particulars with you, yet I am willing to tell you we are three
sisters, who do our business so secretly that nobody knows any
thing of it. We have too great reason to be cautious of
acquainting indiscreet persons with it; and a good author that we
have read, says, 'Keep your secret, and do not reveal it to any
body.' He that reveals it is no longer master of it. If your own
breast cannot keep your secret, how do you think that another
person will keep it?

My ladies, replies the porter, by your very air I judged at first
you were persons of extraordinary merit, and I conceive that I am
not mistaken; though fortune has not given me wealth enough to
raise me above my mean profession, yet I have not failed to
cultivate my mind as much as I could by reading books of science
and history: And allow me, if you please, to tell you, that I
have also read in another author a maxim which I have always
happily practised: 'We do not conceal our secrets, says he, but
from such persons as are known to all the world to want
discretion, and would abuse the confidence we put in them; but we
make no scruple to discover them to prudent persons, because we
know they can keep them.' A secret with me is as sure as if it
were in a closet whose key is lost, and the door sealed up.

Zobeide, perceiving that the porter did not want sense, but
conceiving that he had a mind to have a share in their treat,
replies to him, smiling, You know that we are about to have a
treat, and you know also that we have been at a considerable
expense, and it is not just that you should have a share of it
without contributing towards it. The beautiful Safie seconded her
sister, and says to the porter, Friend, have you never heard that
which is commonly said, "If you bring any thing with you, you
shall be welcome; but if you bring nothing, you must get you gone
with nothing?"

The porter, notwithstanding his rhetoric, must, in all
probability, have retired in confusion, if Amine had not taken
his part, and said to Zobeide and Safie, My dear sisters, I
conjure you to let him stay with us; I need not tell you that he
will divert us, you see well enough that he is capable of that: I
must needs tell you, that unless he had been very willing, as
well as nimble, and hardy enough to follow me, I could not have
done so much business in so little time; besides, should I repeat
to you all the obliging expressions he made to me by the way, you
would not he surprised at my protecting him.

At these words of Amine, the porter was so much transported with
joy, that he fell on his knees, kissed the ground at the feet of
that charming person, and, raising himself up, says, Most
beautiful lady, you began my good fortune to-day, and now you
complete it by this generous action; I cannot enough testify my
acknowledgment of it. As to what remains, my ladies, says he,
addressing himself to all the three sisters, since you do me so
great honour, do not think that I will abuse it, or look upon
myself as a person who deserves it. No, I shall always look upon
myself as one of your most humble slaves. When he had spoken
these words, he would have returned the money he had received;
but the grave Zobeide ordered him to keep it. That which we have
once given, says she, to reward those who have served us, we
never take again.

Zobeide would not take back the money from the porter, but said,
My friend, in consenting that you stay with us, I must forewarn
you, that it is not only on condition that you keep secret what
we have required of you, but also that you observe exactly the
rules of good manners and civility. In the mean time the charming
Amine put off the apparel she went abroad with, put on her
night-gown, that she might be more easy, and covered the table,
which she furnished with several sorts of meat, and upon a
sideboard she set bottles of wine and cups of gold. Soon after
the ladies took their places, and made the porter sit down by
them, who was overjoyed to see himself at the table with three
such admirable beauties. After they had ate a little, Amine, who
sat next the sideboard, took up a bottle and cup, filled out
wine, and drank first herself, according to the custom of the
Arabians; then she filled the cup to her sisters, who drank in
course as they sat; and at last she filled it the fourth time to
the porter, who, as he received it, kissed Amine's hand, and,
before he drank, sung a song to this purpose: That as the wind
brings along with it the sweet scents of the perfumed places
through which it passes, so the wine he was going to drink,
coming from her fair hands, received a more exquisite taste than
what it had of its own nature. This song pleased the ladies so
much, that each of them sung another in their turn. In short,
they were extraordinary merry all the time of dinner, which
lasted a long while, and nothing was wanting that could make it
agreeable. The day being almost spent, Safie spoke in the name of
the three ladies, and says to the porter, Arise, and be gone; it
is time for you to depart. But the porter, not willing to leave
so good company, cried, Alas! ladies, whither do you command me
to go in the condition I am in? I am quite beside myself by what
I have seen since I came hither, and having also drank above my
ordinary, I shall never find the way home: Allow me this night to
recover myself in any place where you please, for no less time is
necessary for me to come to myself; but, go when I will, I shall
leave the best part of myself behind me.

Amine pleaded a second time for the porter, saying, Sisters, he
is in the right; I am pleased with the request; he having already
diverted us so well; and if you will take my advice, or if you
love me as much as I think you do, let us keep him to pass away
the remaining part of the night. Sister, answered Zobeide, we can
refuse you nothing; and then, turning to the porter, said, We are
willing once more to grant your request; but upon this new
condition, that whatever we do in your presence, relating to
ourselves or any thing else, take heed that you do not once open
your mouth to ask the reason of it; for if you ask questions
about that which does not belong to you, you may come to know
that which will be no way pleasing to you: Beware, therefore, and
be not too curious to dive into the motives of our actions.

Madam, replies the porter, I promise to observe this condition
with such exactness, that you shall have no cause to reproach me
with the breaking of it, and far less to punish my indiscretion;
my tongue shall be immovable on this occasion, and my eye like a
looking-glass, which retains nothing of the object that is set
before it. And to show you, says Zobeide, with a serious
countenance, that what we demand of you is not a new thing among
us, rise up and read what is over our gate in the inside.

The porter went thither, and read these words, written in large
characters of gold: 'He who speaks of things that do not concern
him, shall hear of things that will not please him.' Returning
again to the three sisters, Ladies, says he, I give you my oath
that you will never hear me speak any thing which does not
concern me, or wherein you may have any concern.

This agreement being made, Amine brought in supper, and after the
room was set round with tapers that were mixed with aloes and
ambergris, which gave a most agreeable scent, as well as a
delicate light, she sat down at table with her sisters and the
porter. They began again to eat and drink, to sing and repeat
verses. The ladies took pleasure to inebriate the porter, under
pretext of causing him to drink their healths; and abundance of
witty sentences passed on both sides. In short, as they were all
in the best humour in the world, they heard one knocking at the

When the ladies heard the knocking, they all three got up to open
the gate; but Safie, to whom this office did particularly belong,
was the nimblest; which her other two sisters perceiving, sat
down till she came back to acquaint them who it could be that had
any business with them so late. Safie returning, said, Sisters,
we have here a very fine opportunity to pass a good part of the
night with much satisfaction, and if you be of the same mind with
me, we shall not let it slip. There are three calenders at our
gate, at least they appear to be such by their habit; but that
which you will most wonder at is, they are all three blind of the
right eye, have their heads, beards, and eye-brows shaved, and,
as they say, are but just come to Bagdad, where they never were
before; and it being night, and not knowing where to find any
lodging, they happened by chance to knock at this gate, and pray
us, for the love of Heaven, to have compassion on them, and
receive them into the house: They care not what place we put them
in; provided they may be under shelter, they would be satisfied
with a stable. They are young and handsome enough, and seem also
to be men of good sense; but I cannot, without laughing, think of
their pleasant and uniform figure. Here Safie fell a-laughing so
heartily, that it put the two sisters and the porter into the
same mood. My dear sisters, says she, are you content that they
come in? it is impossible but, with such persons as I have
already described them to be, we shall finish the day better than
we began it; they will afford us diversion enough, and put us to
no charge, because they desire shelter only for this night, and
resolve to leave us as soon as day appears.

Zobeide and Amine made some difficulty to grant Safie's request,
for reasons they knew well enough; but she having so great a
desire to obtain this favour, they could not refuse. Go then,
says Zobeide, and bring them in, but do not forget to acquaint
them that they must not speak of any thing which does not concern
them, and cause them to read what is written over the gate. Safie
ran out with a great deal of joy, and in a little while after
returned with the three calenders in company.

At their entrance they made a profound bow to the ladies. who
rose up to receive them; told them most obligingly that they were
very welcome, that they were glad to have met with an opportunity
to oblige them, and to contribute towards relieving them from the
fatigue of their journey, and at last invited them to sit down
with them.

The magnificence of the place, and the civility of the ladies,
made the calenders to conceive a mighty idea of their fine
land-ladies: But, before they sat down, having by chance cast
their eye upon the porter, whom they saw clad almost like one of
those other calenders with whom they are in controversy about
several points of discipline, because they neither shave their
beards nor eye-brows, one of them said, Look here, I believe we
have got one of our revolted Arabian brethren.

The porter, though half asleep, and having his head pretty warm
with wine, was affronted at these words; and, with a fierce look,
without stirring from his place, answered, Sit you down, and do
not meddle with what does not concern you. Have you not read the
inscription over the gate? Do not pretend to make people live
after your fashion, but follow ours.

Honest man, says the calender, do not put yourself into a
passion; we should be very sorry to give you the least occasion;
but, on the contrary, we are ready to receive your commands. Upon
which, to avoid all quarrels, the ladies interposed, and pacified
them. When the calenders were set at table, the ladies served
them with meat; and Safie, being most pleased with them, did not
let them want for drink.

After the calenders had ate and drunk liberally, they signified
to the ladies that they had a great desire to entertain them with
a concert of music, if they had any instruments in the house, and
would cause them to be brought them. They willingly accepted the
proffer, and fair Safie, going to fetch them, returned again in a
moment, and presented them with a flute of her own country
fashion, another of the Persian sort, and a tabor. Each man took
the instrument he liked, and all the three together began to play
a tune. The ladies, who knew the words of a merry song that
suited that air, joined the concert with their voices; but the
words of the song made them now and then stop, and fall into
excessive laughter.

At the height of this diversion, and when the company was in the
midst of their jollity, somebody knocks at the gate; Safie left
off singing, and went to see who it was. But, sir, says
Scheherazade to the sultan, it is fit your majesty should know
why this knocking happened so late at the ladies' house, and the
reason was this: The caliph Haroun Alraschid was accustomed to
walk abroad in disguise very often by night, that he might see
with his own eyes if every thing was quiet in the city, and that
no disorders were committed in it.

This night the caliph went out pretty early on his rambles,
accompanied with Giafar his grand vizier, and Mesrour the chief
of the eunuchs of his palace, all disguised in merchants' habits;
and passing through the street where the three ladies dwelt, he
heard the sound of the music, and great fits of laughter; upon
which he commanded the vizier to knock, because he would go in to
know the reason of that jollity. The vizier told him in vain that
it was some women a merry-making; that, without question, their
heads were warm with wine; and that it would not be proper he
should expose himself to be affronted by them; besides, it was
not yet an unlawful hour, and therefore he ought not to disturb
them in their mirth. No matter, said the caliph, I command you to
knock. So it was that the grand vizier Giafar knocked at the
ladies' gate by the caliph's order, because he himself would not
be known. Safie opened the gate, and the vizier perceived, by the
light that she held in her hand, that she was an incomparable
beauty. The vizier acted his part very well, and, with a very low
bow and respectful behaviour, said, Madam, we are three merchants
of Moussol, who arrived about ten days ago with rich merchandise,
which we have in a warehouse at a khan, or inn, where we have
also our lodging. We happened to-day to be with a merchant of
this city, who invited us to a treat at his house, where we had a
splendid entertainment; and the wine having put us in humour, he
sent for a company of dancers; night being come on, and the music
and dancers making a great noise, the watch came by in the mean
time, caused the gate to be opened, and some of the company to be
taken up; but we had the good fortune to escape by getting over a
wall. Now, says the vizier, being strangers, and somewhat
overcome with wine, we were afraid of meeting another, or perhaps
the same watch, before we got home to our khan, which lies a good
way from hence. Besides, when we come there, the gates will be
shut, and not opened till morning; wherefore, madam, hearing, as
we passed by this way, the sound of music, we supposed you were
not yet going to rest, and made bold to knock at your gate, to
beg the favour of lodging ourselves in the house till morning;
and if you think us worthy of your good company, we will
endeavour to contribute to your diversion what lies in our power,
to make some amends for the interruption we have given you; if
not, we only beg the favour of staying this night under your

While Giafar held this discourse, fair Safie had time to observe
the vizier and his two companions, who were said to be merchants

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