Islamic Sufism Spirituality

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Well written article by Ruhaifa Samir about Superstitions. Source http://perceptions.org.pk/blog/2012/01/safar-bad-omens-and-superstitions-by-ruhaifa-samir/

I have been known to live in a bubble – I know only those things that are relevant to me and mine; it’s only when I happen to chance by a switched-on TV, or converse with someone who has chanced by it, that I find out that all is not well in the world. At one point, some two years ago, I decided to leave the safety of my bubble and learn about what has happened and is happening in the world by enrolling into a painful two-year Masters program in International Relations (hence, the lack of blogging on my part!) Having finished with it just recently, I realized my bubble is a lot more comfortable and hence I returned to it, settling very happily into the misery-free vacuum inside!

However, just last week I was rudely awakened by a fact that compelled me to venture out again – to explore a terrain more horrid than the wars that have rocked the world! I discovered about Safar, evil omens and bad luck! And how dear-and-near are still caught in the web Shaytan so carefully and cunningly weaves around us! The web of “tou-iss-main-kya-harj-hai?” (so-what’s-the-harm-in-it web!)

I found out in conversation with my mother, that a very near relative (who has mashAllah left a lot of her bida’as since she has found the deen), sacrifices a goat the 13th of every Safar in order to ward off evil and bad luck. “Whaa?!” was the syllable that emitted from my mouth on hearing something so ridiculous! My mom gave me a puzzled look and repeated what she had said, commenting, “You know that people believe Safar to be a month of bad omens, right?” Well, I didn’t, so it was time to go knocking at some doors!

Here is what my limited research revealed: The month of Safar is considered to be full of misfortune and calamities and one must recite Surah Muzammil 313 times in order to be saved from them. The first to the thirteenth of Safar is ill-fortune and evil; however, the person who distributes food or money on the 13th of Safar will be saved from its ill-fortune. Also, whoever commences any important venture, business etc. during this month will have bad luck. One must instead make 365 balls of flour and toss them into the sea or rivers in order to counter bad omens and to increase Rizq! Also, a nikah performed in this month would not be successful or result in an unhappy marriage. The list goes on, but here’s enough to fuel your imagination! It almost sounds like a bad chain letter, only a million times more dangerous as it can destroy our Iman and Aqeedah!

Now, you’d wonder why Safar has been singled out so? A little more research revealed that this concept actually goes back to the days of Jahiliyya! The Arabs were a warring nation; small arguments and disputes would turn into feuds and wars that lasted not only for years, but sometimes spanned even generations. However, even back then, the Arabs observed the sacred months of Rajab, Dhul Q’ada, Dhul Hijja, and Muharram, and would abstain from fighting in them. They would however be waiting impatiently for Safar; for as soon as Safar rolled about, the men would proceed to settle scores with their rivals, heading out for battles while leaving their houses empty (hence the name Safar as the word Safar means empty or vacant). As a result of the resumption of killings and fighting in the month of Safar, the Arabs started regarding it as a month of ill-fate and bad luck. History, sadly, reveals that man loves to blame, and even though the Arabs went off in a killing-spree, it was poor Safar which bore the brunt of the blame!

The advent of Islam however changed this mind-set. Allah Subhana Wa Ta’la told the Arabs and the entire Muslim Ummah that “…whatever of misfortune befalls you, it is because of what your hands have earned.

And He pardons much.” (Surah Ash-Shura, Ayah 30). No person, animal or object, no day, month or year can cause harm to anyone! We are responsible for whatever happens to us, ourselves!

Also, how can any day or month be unlucky or be a portent of bad omens when in fact months and years are formed by the alternation of days and nights which Allah has appointed for our convenience and to help us organize ourselves?

“And We have appointed the night and the day as two Ayat (signs etc.). Then, We have obliterated the sign of the night (with darkness) while We have made the sign of the day illuminating, that you may seek bounty from your Lord, and that you may know the number of the years and the reckoning. And We have explained everything (in detail) with full explanation.” (Surah Al-Isra, Ayah 12)

Considering any time, hour, day, month or year to be unlucky is a great sin as Allah the Exalted says: “ The son of Adam hurts me for he abuses Time though I am Time: in My Hands are all things, and I cause the revolution of day and night.”(Sahih Bukhari)

The Prophet (SAW) also negated all superstitions and beliefs of the Jahiliyah period concerning the month of Safar. Abu Hurayrah (RA) narrates that the Messenger of Allah (SAW) said: “(There is) no ‘Adwa (no contagious disease is conveyed without Allah’s permission), nor is there any bad omen (from birds), nor is there any Haamah, nor is there any (bad omen in the month of) Safar… ” (Bukhari and Muslim).

What is really sad now is that despite having the Quran and the teachings of the Prophet before us, such sentiments of superstitions have crept back into our society. And this is where you and I come in. As conscious Muslims we need to make it a point to shun all superstitions that we come across and direct others to do so too, not only regarding the month of Safar but also otherwise. We must understand that all conditions which befalls us, good or bad, favourable, or unfavourable are from Allah (as a result of our actions).

We need to remember that the most unfortunate person is actually he who disobeys Allah’s commandments such as one who does not perform the five daily Salah, not someone who has his path crossed by a black cat or one who weds in the month of Safar. We must not let unimportant and baseless matters of superstitions occupy us so much that we forget to do what Allah has commanded us. Rather, we should remember to keep things in perspective and follow and believe only that which has been revealed by Allah and taught by our Prophet, in order to gain success in this world and the next.

“Whatever of good reaches you, is from Allah, but whatever of evil befalls you, is from yourself…” (Surah An-Nisa, Ayah79).

May Allah grant us the courage and perseverance to follow what is right and reject what is wrong! Ameen!

 

Table of Content – The Arabian Nights

 

The Story of King Shahryar

 

The Tale of the Bull and the Ass

 

The Fisherman and the Jinni

 

The Tale of the Ensorceled Prince

 

The Porter and the Three Ladies of Baghdad

 

The First Kalandar’s Tale

 

The Second Kalandar’s Tale

 

The Third Kalandar’s Tale

 

The Eldest Lady’s Tale

 

The Tale of the Three Apples

 

Tale of Nur Al-Din Ali and His Son Badr Al-Din Hasan

 

The City of Many-Columned Iram and Abdullah Son of Abi Kilabah

 

The Sweep and the Noble Lady

 

The Man Who Stole the Dish of Gold Wherin the Dog Ate

 

The Ruined Man Who Became Rich Again Through a Dream

 

The Ebony Horse

 

The Angel of Death With the Proud and the Devout Man

 

Sindbad the Seaman and Sindbad the Landsman

 

First Voyage of Sindbad Hight the Seaman

 

The Second Voyage of Sindbad the Seaman

 

The Third Voyage of Sindbad the Seaman

 

The Fourth Voyage of Sindbad the Seaman

 

The Fifth Voyage of Sindbad the Seaman

 

The Sixth Voyage of Sindbad the Seaman

 

The Seventh Voyage of Sindbad the Seaman

 

The Lady and Her Five Suitors

 

Khalifah The Fisherman of Baghdad

 

Abu Kir the Dyer and Abu Sir the Barber

 

The Sleeper and the Walker

 

Story of the Larrikin and the Cook

 

Alladin; or the Wonderful Lamp

 

Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves

 

Conclusion

 
NOW during this time Scheherazade had borne the King three boy children, so when she had made an end of the story, she rose to her feet and kissing ground before him, said, “O King of the Time and unique one of the Age and the Tide, I am thine handmaid, and these thousand nights and a night have I entertained thee with stories of folk gone before and admonitory instances of the men of yore. May I then make bold to crave a boon of thy Highness?” He replied, “Ask, O Scheherazade, and it shall be granted to thee.” Whereupon she cried out to the nurses and the eunuchs, saying, “Bring me my children.” So they brought them to her in haste, and they were three boy children, one walking, one crawling, and one suckling. She took them, and setting them before the King, again kissed the ground and said: “O King of the Age, these are thy children, and I crave that thou release me from the doom of death, as a dole to these infants. For an thou kill me, they will become motherless and will find none among women to rear them as they should he reared.”

When the King heard this, he wept, and straining the boys to his bosom, said: “By Allah, O Scheherazade, I pardoned thee before the coming of these children, for that I found thee chaste, pure, ingenuous, and pious! Allah bless thee and thy father and thy mother and thy root and thy branch! I take the Almighty to witness against me that I exempt thee from aught that can harm thee.” So she kissed his hands and feet and rejoiced with exceeding joy, saying, “The Lord make thy life long and increase thee in dignity and majesty!” presently adding: “Thou marveledst at that which befell thee on the part of women; yet there betided the Kings of the Chosroes before thee greater mishaps and more grievous than that which hath befallen thee; and indeed I have set forth unto thee that which happened to caliphs and kings and others with their women, but the relation is longsome and hearkening groweth tedious, and in this is all-sufficient warning for the man of wits and admonishment for the wise.”

Then she ceased to speak, and when King Shahryar heard her speech and profited by that which she said, he summoned up his reasoning powers and cleansed his heart and caused his understanding revert and turned to Allah Almighty and said to himself: “Since there befell the Kings of the Chosroes more than that which hath befallen me, never whilst I live shall I cease to blame myself for the past. As for this Scheherazade, her like is not found in the lands, so praise be to Him who appointed her a means for delivering His creatures from oppression and slaughter!” Then he arose from his seance and kissed her head, whereat she rejoiced, she and her sister Dunyazade, with exceeding joy.

When the morning morrowed, the king went forth and sitting down on the throne of the kingship, summoned the lords of his land, whereupon the chamberlains and nabobs and captains of the host went in to him and kissed ground before him. He distinguished the Wazir, Scheherazade’s sire, with special favor and bestowed on him a costly and splendid robe of honor and entreated him with the utmost kindness, and said to him: “Allah protect thee for that thou gavest me to wife thy noble daughter, who hath been the means of my repentance from slaying the daughters of folk. Indeed I have found her pure and pious, chaste and ingenuous, and Allah hath vouchsafed me by her three boy children, wherefore praised be He for his passing favor.” Then he bestowed robes of honor upon his wazirs and emirs and chief officers, and he set forth to them briefly that which had betided him with Scheherazade and how he had turned from his former ways and repented him of what he had done and purposed to take the Wazir’s daughter, Scheherazade, to wife and let draw up the marriage contract with her. When those who were present heard this, they kissed the ground before him and blessed him and his betrothed Scheherazade, and the Wazir thanked her. Then Shahryar made an end of his sitting in all weal, whereupon the folk dispersed to their dwelling places and the news was bruited abroad that the King purposed to marry the Wazir’s daughter, Scheherazade.

Then he proceeded to make ready the wedding gear, and presently he sent after his brother, King Shah Zaman, who came, and King Shahryar went forth to meet him with the troops. Furthermore, they decorated the city after the goodliest fashion, and diffused scents from censers and burnt aloes wood and other perfumes in all the markets and thoroughfares, and rubbed themselves with saffron, what while the drums beat and the flutes and pipes sounded and mimes and mountebanks played and plied their arts and the King lavished on them gifts and largess. And in very deed it was a notable day. When they came to the palace, King Shahryar commanded to spread the tables with beasts roasted whole and sweetmeats and all manner of viands, and bade the crier cry to the folk that they should come up to the Divan and eat and drink, and that this should be a means of reconciliation between him and them. So high and low, great and small, came up unto him, and they abode on that wise, eating and drinking seven days with their nights.

Then the King shut himself up with his brother and related to him that which had betided him with the Wazir’s daughter, Scheherazade, during the past three years, and told him what he had heard from her of proverbs and parables, chronicles and pleasantries, quips and jests, stories and anecdotes, dialogues and histories and elegies and other verses. Whereat King Shah Zaman marveled with the uttermost marvel and said: “Fain would I take her younger sister to wife, so we may be two brothers german to two sisters german, and they on like wise be sisters to us; for that the calamity which befell me was the cause of our discovering that which befell thee, and all this time of three years past I have taken no delight in woman, save that I lie each night with a damsel of my kingdom, and every morning I do her to death. But now I desire to marry thy wife’s sister, Dunyazade.”

When King Shahryar heard his brother’s words, he rejoiced with joy exceeding and arising forthright, went in to his wife, Scheherazade, and acquainted her with that which his brother purposed, namely that he sought her sister, Dunyazade in wedlock, whereupon she answered: “O King of the Age, we seek of him one condition; to wit, that he take up his abode with us, for that I cannot brook to be parted from my sister an hour, because we were brought up together and may not endure separation each from other. If he accept this pact, she is his handmaid.” King Shahryar returned to his brother and acquainted him with that which Scheherazade had said, and he replied: “Indeed, this is what was in my mind, for that I desire nevermore to be parted from thee one hour. As for the kingdom, Allah the Most High shall send to it whomso He chooseth, for that I have no longer a desire for the kinship.” When King Shahryar heard his brother’s words, he rejoiced exceedingly and said: “Verily, this is what I wished, O my brother. So Alhamdolillah- praised be Allah- who hath brought about union between us.”

Then he sent after the kazis and ulema, captains and notables, and they married the two brothers to the two sisters. The contracts were written out and the two Kings bestowed robes of honor of silk and satin on those who were present, whilst the city was decorated and the rejoicings were renewed. The King commanded each emir and wazir and chamberlain and nabob to decorate his palace, and the folk of the city were gladdened by the presage of happiness and contentment. King Shahryar also bade slaughter sheep and set up kitchens and made bride feasts and fed all comers, high and low; and he gave alms to the poor and needy and extended his bounty to great and small. Then the eunuchs went forth, that they might perfume the hammam for the brides, so they scented it with rose-water and willow-flower water and pods of musk and fumigated it with Kakili eagle wood and ambergris. Then Scheherazade entered, she and her sister Dunyazade, and they cleansed their heads and clipped their hair.

When they came forth of the hammam bath, they donned raiment and ornaments such as men were wont prepare for the Kings of the Chosroes; and among Scheherazade’s apparel was a dress purfled with red gold and wrought with counterfeit presentments of birds and beasts. And the two sisters encircled their necks with necklaces of jewels of price, in the like whereof Iskandar rejoiced not, for therein were great jewels such as amazed the wit and dazzled the eye. And the imagination was bewildered at their charms, for indeed each of them was brighter than the sun and the moon. Before them they lighted brilliant flambeaux of wax in candelabra of gold, but their faces outshone the flambeaux, for that they had eyes sharper than unsheathed swords and the lashes of their eyelids bewitched all hearts. Their cheeks were rosy red and their necks and shapes gracefully swayed and their eyes wantoned like the gazelle’s. And the slave girls came to meet them with instruments of music. Then the two Kings entered the hammam bath, and when they came forth, they sat down on a couch set with pearls and gems, whereupon the two sisters came up to them and stood between their hands, as they were moons, bending and leaning from side to side in their beauty and loveliness.

Presently they brought forward Scheherazade and displayed her, for the first dress, in a red suit, whereupon King Shahryar rose to look upon her and the wits of all present, men and women, were bewitched for that she was even as saith of her one of her describers:

A sun on wand in knoll of sand she showed,
Clad in her cramoisy-hued chemisette.
Of her lips’ honeydew she gave me drink
And with her rosy cheeks quencht fire she set.

Then they attired Dunyazade in a dress of blue brocade and she became as she were the full moon when it shineth forth. So they displayed her in this, for the first dress, before King Shah Zaman, who rejoiced in her and well-nigh swooned away for love longing and amorous desire. Yea, he was distraught with passion for her whenas he saw her, because she was as saith of her one of her describers in these couplets:

She comes appareled in an azure vest,
Ultramarine as skies are deckt and dight.
I view’d th’ unparalleled sight, which showed my eyes
A summer moon upon a winter night.

Then they returned to Scheherazade and displayed her in the second dress, a suit of surpassing goodliness, and veiled her face with her hair like a chin veil. Moreover, they let down her side locks, and she was even as saith of her one of her describers in these couplets:

O hail to him whose locks his cheeks o’ershade,
Who slew my life by cruel hard despite.
Said I, “Hast veiled the morn in night?” He said,
“Nay I but veil moon in hue of night.”

Then they displayed Dunyazade in a second and a third and a fourth dress, and she paced forward like the rising sun, and swayed to and fro in the insolence of beauty, and she was even as saith the poet of her in these couplets:

The sun of beauty she to all appears
And, lovely coy, she mocks all loveliness.
And when he fronts her favor and her smile
A-morn, the sun of day in clouds must dress.

Then they displayed Scheherazade in the third dress and the fourth and the fifth, and she became as she were a ban branch snell or a thirsting gazelle, lovely of face and perfect in attributes of grace, even as saith of her one in these couplets:

She comes like fullest moon on happy night,
Taper of waist with shape of magic might.
She hath an eye whose glances quell mankind,
And ruby on her cheeks reflects his light.
Enveils her hips the blackness of her hair-
Beware of curls that bite with viper bite!
Her sides are silken-soft, that while the heart
Mere rock behind that surface ‘scapes our sight.
From the fringed curtains of her eyne she shoots
Shafts that at furthest range on mark alight.

Then they returned to Dunyazade and displayed her in the fifth dress and in the sixth, which was green, when she surpassed with her loveliness the fair of the four quarters of the world, and outvied with the brightness of her countenance the full moon at rising tide, for she was even as saith of her the poet in these couplets:

A damsel ’twas the tirer’s art had decked with snare and sleight,
And robed with rays as though the sun from her had borrowed light.
She came before us wondrous clad in chemisette of green,
As veiled by his leafy screen Pomegranate hides from sight.
And when he said, “How callest thou the fashion of thy dress?”
She answered us in pleasant way with double meaning dight:
“We call this garment crevecoeur, and rightly is it hight,
For many a heart wi’ this we brake and harried many a sprite.”

Then they displayed Scheherazade in the sixth and seventh dresses and clad her in youth’s clothing, whereupon she came forward swaying from side to side and coquettishly moving, and indeed she ravished wits and hearts and ensorceled all eyes with her glances. She shook her sides and swayed her haunches, then put her hair on sword hilt and went up to King Shahryar, who embraced her as hospitable host embraceth guest, and threatened her in her ear with the taking of the sword, and she was even as saith of her the poet in these words:

Were not the murk of gender male,
Than feminines surpassing fair,
Tirewomen they had grudged the bride,
Who made her beard and whiskers wear!

Thus also they did with her sister Dunyazade, and when they had made an end of the display, the King bestowed robes of honor on all who were present and sent the brides to their own apartments. Then Scheherazade went in to King Shahryar and Dunyazade to King, Shah Zaman, and each of them solaced himself with the company of his beloved consort and the hearts of the folk were comforted.

When morning morrowed, the Wazir came in to the two Kings and kissed ground before them, wherefore they thanked him and were large of bounty to him. Presently they went forth and sat down upon couches of kingship, whilst all the wazirs and emirs and grandees and lords of the land presented themselves and kissed ground. King Shahryar ordered them dresses of honor and largess, and they prayed for the permanence and prosperity of the King and his brother.

Then the two sovereigns appointed their sire-in-law, the Wazir, to be Viceroy in Samarkand, and assigned him five of the chief emirs to accompany him, charging them attend him and do him service. The Minister kissed the ground and prayed that they might be vouchsafed length of life. Then he went in to his daughters, whilst the eunuchs and ushers walked before him, and saluted them and farewelled them. They kissed his hands and gave him joy of the kingship and bestowed on him immense treasures, after which he took leave of them and setting out, fared days and nights till he came near Samarkand, where the townspeople met him at a distance of three marches and rejoiced in him with exceeding joy. So he entered the city and they decorated the houses, and it was a notable day. He sat down on the throne of his kingship and the wazirs did him homage and the grandees and emirs of Samarkand, and all prayed that he might be vouchsafed justice and victory and length of continuance. So he bestowed on them robes of honor and entreated them with distinction, and they made him Sultan over them.

As soon as his father-in-law had departed for Samarkand, King Shahryar summoned the grandees of his realm and made them a stupendous banquet of all manner of delicious meats and exquisite sweetmeats. He also bestowed on them robes of honor and guerdoned them, and divided the kingdoms between himself and his brother in their presence, whereat the folk rejoiced. Then the two Kings abode, each ruling a day in turn, and they were ever in harmony each with other, while on similar wise their wives continued in the love of Allah Almighty and in thanksgiving to Him. And the peoples and the provinces were at peace and the preachers prayed for them from the pulpits, and their report was bruited abroad and the travelers bore tidings of them to all lands.

In due time King Shahryar summoned chroniclers and copyists and bade them write all that had betided him with his wife, first and last. So they wrote this and named it The Stories of the Thousand Nights and a Night. The book came to thirty volumes, and these the King laid up in his treasury. And the two brothers abode with their wives in all pleasaunce and solace of life and its delights, for that indeed Allah the Most High had chanced their annoy into joy, and on this wise they continued till there took them the Destroyer of delights and the Severer of societies, the Desolator of dwelling places and Gamerer of graveyards, and they were translated to the ruth of Almighty Allah. Their houses fell waste and their palaces lay in ruins and the kings inherited their riches.

Then there reigned after them a wise ruler, who was just, keen-witted, and accomplished, and loved tales and legends, especially those which chronicle the doings of sovereigns and sultans, and he found in the treasury these marvelous stories and wondrous histories, contained in the thirty volumes aforesaid. So he read in them a first book and a second and a third and so on to the last of them, and each book astounded and delighted him more than that which preceded it, till he came to the end of them. Then he admired whatso he had read therein of description and discourse and rare traits and anecdotes and moral instances and reminiscences, and bade the folk copy them and dispread them over all lands and climes, wherefore their report was bruited abroad and the people named them The Marvels and Wonders of the Thousand Nights and a Night. This is all that hath come down to us of the origin of this book, and Allah is All-knowing. So Glory he to Him Whom the shifts of Time waste not away, nor doth aught of chance or change affect His sway, Whom one case diverteth not from other case and Who is sole in the attributes of perfect grace. And prayer and peace he upon the Lord’s Pontiff and Chosen One among His creatures, our lord MOHAMMED, the Prince of mankind, through whom we supplicate Him for a goodly and a godly.
 


Table of Content – The Arabian Nights

 
KNOW, O my brothers, that when I had been awhile on shore after my fourth voyage, and when, in my comfort and pleasures and merrymakings and in my rejoicing over my large gains and profits, I had forgotten all I had endured of perils and sufferings, the carnal man was again seized with the longing to travel and to see foreign countries and islands. Accordingly I bought costly merchandise suited to my purpose and, making it up into bales, repaired to Bassorah, where I walked about the river quay till I found a fine tall ship, newly builded, with gear unused and fitted ready for sea. She pleased me, so I bought her and, embarking my goods in her, hired a master and crew, over whom I set certain of my slaves and servants as inspectors. A number of merchants also brought their outfits and paid me freight and passage money. Then, after reciting the fatihah, we set sail over Allah’s pool in all joy and cheer, promising ourselves a prosperous voyage and much profit.

We sailed from city to city and from island to island and from sea to sea viewing the cities and countries by which we passed, and selling and buying in not a few, till one day we came to a great uninhabited island, deserted and desolate, whereon was a white dome of biggest bulk half buried in the sands. The merchants landed to examine this dome, leaving me in the ship, and when they drew near, behold, it was a huge roc’s egg. They fell a-beating it with stones, knowing not what it was, and presently broke it open, whereupon much water ran out of it and the young roc appeared within. So they pulled it forth of the shell and cut its throat and took of it great store of meat. Now I was in the ship and knew not what they did, but presently one of the passengers came up to me and said, “O my lord, come and look at the egg that we thought to be a dome.” So I looked, and seeing the merchants beating it with stones, called out to them: “Stop, stop! Do not meddle with that egg, or the bird roc will come out and break our ship and destroy us.” But they paid no heed to me and gave not over smiting upon the egg, when behold, the day grew dark and dun and the sun was hidden from us, as if some great cloud had passed over the firmament. So we raised our eyes and saw that what we took for a cloud was the roc poised between us and the sun, and it was his wings that darkened the day. When he came and saw his egg broken, he cried a loud cry, whereupon his mate came flying up and they both began circling about the ship, crying out at us with voices louder than thunder. I called to the rais and crew, “Put out to sea and seek safety in flight, before we be all destroyed!” So the merchants came on board and we cast off and made haste from the island to gain the open sea.

When the rocs saw this, they flew off, and we crowded all sail on the ship, thinking to get out of their country, but presently the two reappeared and flew after us and stood over us, each carrying in its claws a huge boulder which it had brought from the mountains. As soon as the he-roc came up with us, he let fall upon us the rock he held in his pounces, but the master put about ship, so that the rock missed her by some small matter and plunged into the waves with such violence that the ship pitched high and then sank into the trough of the sea, and the bottom the ocean appeared to us. Then the she-roc let fall her rock, which was bigger than that of her mate, and as Destiny had decreed, it fell on the poop of the ship and crushed it, the rudder flying into twenty pieces. Whereupon the vessel foundered and all and everything on board were cast into the main. As for me, I struggled for sweet life till Almighty Allah threw in my way one of the planks of the ship, to which I clung and bestriding it, fell a-paddling with my feet.

Now the ship had gone down hard by an island in the midst of the main, and the winds and waves bore me on till, by permission of the Most High, they cast me up on the shore of the island, at the last gasp for toil and distress and half-dead with hunger and thirst. So I landed more like a corpse than a live man, and throwing myself down on the beach, lay there awhile till I began to revive and recover spirits, when I walked about the island, and found it as it were one of the garths and gardens of Paradise. Its trees, in abundance dight, bore ripe-yellow fruit for freight, its streams ran clear and bright, its flowers were fair to scent and to sight, and its birds warbled with delight the praises of Him to whom belong Permanence and All-might. So I ate my fill of the fruits and slaked my thirst with the water of the streams till I could no more, and I returned thanks to the Most High and glorified Him, after which I sat till nightfall hearing no voice and seeing none inhabitant. Then I lay down, well-nigh dead for travail and trouble and terror, and slept without surcease till morning, when I arose and walked about under the trees till I came to the channel of a draw well fed by a spring of running water, by which well sat an old man of venerable aspect, girt about with a waistcloth made of the fiber of palm fronds. Quoth I to myself. “Haply this Sheikh is of those who were wrecked in the ship and hath made his way to this island.”

So I drew near to him and saluted him, and he returned my salaam by signs, but spoke not, and I said to him, “O nuncle mine, what causeth thee to sit here?” He shook his head and moaned and signed to me with his hand as who should say, “Take me on thy shoulders and carry me to the other side of the well channel.” And quoth I in my mind: “I will deal kindly with him and do what he desireth. It may be I shall win me a reward in Heaven, for he may be a paralytic.” So I took him on my back, and carrying him to the place whereat he pointed, said to him, “Dismount at thy leisure.” But he would not get off my back, and wound his legs about my neck. I looked at them, and seeing that they were like a buffalo’s hide for blackness and roughness, was affrighted and would have cast him off, but he clung to me and gripped my neck with his legs till I was well-nigh choked, the world grew black in my sight and I fell senseless to the ground like one dead.

But he still kept his seat and raising his legs, drummed with his heels and beat harder than palm rods my back and shoulders, till he forced me to rise for excess of pain. Then he signed to me with his hand to carry him hither and thither among the trees which bore the best fruits, and if ever I refused to do his bidding or loitered or took my leisure, he beat me with his feet more grievously than if I had been beaten with whips. He ceased not to signal with his hand wherever he was minded to go, so I carried him about the island, like a captive slave, and he dismounted not night or day. And whenas he wished to sleep, he wound his legs about my neck and leaned back and slept awhile, then arose and beat me, whereupon I sprang up in haste, unable to gainsay him because of the pain he inflicted on me. And indeed I blamed myself and sore repented me of having taken compassion on him, and continued in this condition, suffering fatigue not to be described, till I said to myself: “I wrought him a weal and he requited me with my ill. By Allah, never more will I do any man a service so long as I live!” And again and again I besought the Most High that I might die, for stress of weariness and misery.

And thus I abode a long while till one day I came with him to a place wherein was abundance of gourds, many of them dry. So I took a great dry gourd and cutting open the head, scooped out the inside and cleaned it, after which I gathered grapes from a vine which grew hard by and squeezed them into the gourd till it was full of the juice. Then I stopped up the mouth and set it in the sun, where I left it for some days until it became strong wine, and every day I used to drink of it, to comfort and sustain me under my fatigues with that froward and obstinate fiend. And as often as I drank myself drunk, I forgot my troubles and took new heart. One day he saw me and signed to me with his hand, as who should say, “What is that?” Quoth I, “It is an excellent cordial, which cheereth the heart and reviveth the spirits.” Then, being heated with wine, I ran and danced with him among the trees, clapping my hands and singing and making merry, and I staggered under him by design.

When he saw this, he signed to me to give him the gourd that he might drink, and I feared him and gave it him. So he took it, and draining it to the dregs, cast it on the ground, whereupon he grew frolicsome and began to clap hands and jig to and fro on my shoulders, and he made water upon me so copiously that all my dress was drenched. But presently, the fumes of the wine rising to his head, he became helplessly drunk and his side muscles and limbs relaxed and he swayed to and fro on my back. When I saw that he had lost his senses for drunkenness, I put my hand to his legs and, loosing them from my neck, stooped down well-nigh to the ground and threw him at full length. Then I took up a great stone from among the trees and coming up to him, smote him therewith on the head with all my might and crushed in his skull as he lay dead-drunk. Thereupon his flesh and fat and blood being in a pulp, he died and went to his deserts, The Fire, no mercy of Allah be upon him!

I then returned, with a heart at ease, to my former station on the seashore, and abode in that island many days, eating of its fruits and drinking of its waters and keeping a lookout for passing ships, till one day, as I sat on the beach recalling all that had befallen me and saying, “I wonder if Allah will save me alive and restore me to my home and family and friends!” behold, a ship was making for the island through the dashing sea and clashing waves. Presently it cast anchor and the passengers landed, so I made for them, and when they saw me all hastened up to me and gathering round me, questioned me of my case and how I came thither. I told them all that had betided me, whereat they marveled with exceeding marvel and said: “He who rode on thy shoulder is called the Sheikh-al-Bahr or Old Man of the Sea, and none ever felt his legs on neck and came off alive but thou, and those who die under him he eateth. So praised be Allah for thy safety!” Then they set somewhat of food before me, whereof I ate my fill, and gave me somewhat of clothes, wherewith I clad myself anew and covered my nakedness. After which they took me up into the ship and we sailed days and nights till Fate brought us to a place called the City of Apes, builded with lofty houses, all of which gave upon the sea, and it had a single gate studded and strengthened with iron nails.

Now every night as soon as it is dusk the dwellers in this city used to come forth of the gates and, putting out to sea in boats and ships, pass the night upon the waters in their fear lest the apes should come down on them from the mountains. Hearing this, I was sore troubled, remembering what I had before suffered from the ape kind. Presently I landed to solace myself in the city, but meanwhile the ship set sail without me, and I repented of having gone ashore, and calling to mind my companions and what had befallen me with the apes, first and after, sat down and fell aweeping and lamenting. Presently one of the townsfolk accosted me and said to me, “O my lord, meseemeth thou art a stranger to these parts?” “Yes,” answered I, “I am indeed a stranger and a poor one, who came hither in a ship which cast anchor here, and I landed to visit the town. But when I would have gone on board again, I found they had sailed without me.” Quoth he, “Come and embark with us, for if thou lie the night in the city, the apes will destroy thee.” “Hearkening and obedience,” replied I, and rising, straightway embarked with him in one of the boats, whereupon they pushed off from shore, and anchoring a mile or so from the land, there passed the night. At daybreak they rowed back to the city, and landing, went each about his business. Thus they did every night, for if any tarried in the town by night the apes came down on him and slew him. As soon as it was day, the apes left the place and ate of the fruits of the gardens, then went back to the mountains and slept there till nightfall, when they again came down upon the city.

Now this place was in the farthest part of the country of the blacks, and one of the strangest things that befell me during my sojourn in the city was on this wise. One of the company with whom I passed the night in the boat asked me: “O my lord, thou art apparently a stranger in these parts. Hast thou any craft whereat thou canst work?” and I answered: “By Allah, O my brother, I have no trade nor know I any handicraft, for I was a merchant and a man of money and substance and had a ship of my own, laden with great store of goods and merchandise. But it foundered at sea and all were drowned excepting me, who saved myself on a piece of plank which Allah vouchsafed to me of His favor.”

Upon this he brought me a cotton bag and giving it to me, said: “Take this bag and fill it with pebbles from the beach and go forth with a company of the townsfolk to whom I will give a charge respecting thee. Do as they do and belike thou shalt gain what may further thy return voyage to thy native land.” Then he carried me to the beach, where I filled my bag with pebbles large and small, and presently we saw a company of folk issue from the town, each bearing a bag like mine, filled with pebbles. To these he committed me, commending me to their care, and saying: “This man is a stranger, so take him with you and teach him how to gather, that he may get his daily bread, and you will earn your reward and recompense in Heaven.” “On our head and eyes be it!” answered they, and bidding me welcome, fared on with me till we came to a spacious wady, full of lofty trees with trunks so smooth that none might climb them.

Now sleeping under these trees were many apes, which when they saw us rose and fled from us and swarmed up among the branches, whereupon my companions began to pelt them with what they had in their bags, and the apes fell to plucking of the fruit of the trees and casting them at the folk. I looked at the fruits they cast at us and found them to be Indian or coconuts, so I chose out a great tree full of apes, and going up to it, began to pelt them with stones, and they in return pelted me with nuts, which I collected, as did the rest. So that even before I had made an end of my bagful of pebbles, I had gotten great plenty of nuts. And as soon as my companions had in like manner gotten as many nuts as they could carry, we returned to the city, where we arrived at the fag end of day. Then I went in to the kindly man who had brought me in company with the nut-gatherers and gave him all I had gotten, thanking him for his kindness, but he would not accept them, saying, “Sell them and make profit by the price,” and presently he added (giving me the key of a closet in his house): “Store thy nuts in this safe place and go thou forth every morning and gather them as thou hast done today, and choose out the worst for sale and supplying thyself; but lay up the rest here, so haply thou mayst collect enough to serve thee for thy return home.” “Allah requite thee!” answered I, and did as he advised me, going out daily with the coconut gatherers, who commended me to one another and showed me the best-stocked trees. Thus did I for some time, till I had laid up great store of excellent nuts, besides a large sum of money, the price of those I had sold. I became thus at my ease and bought all I saw and had a mind to, and passed my time pleasantly, greatly enjoying my stay in the city, till as I stood on the beach one day a great ship steering through the heart of the sea presently cast anchor by the shore and landed a company of merchants, who proceeded to sell and buy and barter their goods for coconuts and other commodities.

Then I went to my friend and told him of the coming of the ship and how I had a mind to return to my own country, and he said, ” ‘Tis for thee to decide.” So I thanked him for his bounties and took leave of him. Then, going to the captain of the ship, I agreed with him for my passage and embarked my coconuts and what else I possessed. We weighed anchor the same day and sailed from island to island and sea to sea, and whenever we stopped, I sold and traded with my coconuts, and the Lord requited me more than I erst had and lost.

Amongst other places, we came to an island abounding in cloves and cinnamon and pepper, and the country people told me that by the side of each pepper bunch groweth a great leaf which shadeth it from the sun and casteth the water off it in the wet season; but when the rain ceaseth, the leaf turneth over and droopeth down by the side of the bunch. Here I took in great store of pepper and cloves and cinnamon, in exchange for coconuts, and we passed thence to the Island of Al-Usirat, whence cometh the Comorin aloes wood, and thence to another island, five days’ journey in length, where grows the Chinese lign aloes, which is better than the Comorin. But the people of this island are fouler of condition and religion than those of the other, for that they love fornication and wine bibbing, and know not prayer nor call to prayer.

Thence we came to the pearl fisheries, and I gave the divers some of my coconuts and said to them, “Dive for my luck and lot!” They did so and brought up from the deep bright great store of large and priceless pearls, and they said to me, “By Allah, O my master, thy luck is a lucky!” Then we sailed on, with the blessing of Allah (Whose name be exalted!), and ceased not sailing till we arrived safely at Bassorah. There I abode a little and then went on to Baghdad, where I entered my quarter and found my house and forgathered with my family and saluted my friends, who gave me joy of my safe return, and I laid up all my goods and valuables in my storehouses. Then I distributed alms and largess and clothed the widow and the orphan and made presents to my relations and comrades, for the Lord had requited me fourfold that I had lost. After which I returned to my old merry way of life and forgot all I had suffered in the great profit and gain I had made.

Such, then, is the history of my fifth voyage and its wonderments, and now to supper, and tomorrow, come again and I will tell you what befell me in my sixth voyage, for it was still more wonderful than this. (Saith he who telleth the tale): Then he called for food, and the servants spread the table, and when they had eaten the evening meal, he bade give Sindbad the Porter a hundred golden dinars and the landsman returned home and lay him down to sleep, much marveling at all he had heard. Next morning, as soon as it was light, he prayed the dawn prayer, and, after blessing Mohammed the Cream of all creatures, betook himself to the house of Sindbad the Seaman and wished him a good day. The merchant bade him sit, and talked with him till the rest of the company arrived. Then the servants spread the table, and when they had well eaten and drunken and were mirthful and merry, Sindbad the Seaman began in these words the narrative of…
 


Table of Content – The Arabian Nights

 
KNOW, O my brothers and friends and companions all, that I abode some time, after my return from my fifth voyage, in great solace and satisfaction and mirth and merriment, joyance and enjoyment, and I forgot what I had suffered, seeing the great gain and profit I had made, till one day as I sat making merry and enjoying myself with my friends, there came in to me a company of merchants whose case told tales of travel, and talked with me of voyage and adventure and greatness of pelf and lucre. Hereupon I remembered the days of my return abroad, and my joy at once more seeing my native land and forgathering with my family and friends, and my soul yearned for travel and traffic. So, compelled by Fate and Fortune, I resolved to undertake another voyage, and, buying me fine and costly merchandise meet for foreign trade, made it up into bales, with which I journeyed from Baghdad to Bassorah.

Here I found a great ship ready for sea and full of merchants and notables, who had with them goods of price, so I embarked my bales therein. And we left Bassorah in safety and good spirits under the safeguard of the King, the Preserver, and continued our voyage from place to place and from city to city, buying and selling and profiting and diverting ourselves with the sight of countries where strange folk dwell. And Fortune and the voyage smiled upon us till one day, as we went along, behold, the captain suddenly cried with a great cry and cast his turban on the deck. Then he buffeted his face like a woman and plucked out his beard and fell down in the waist of the ship well-nigh fainting for stress of grief and rage, and crying, “Oh, and alas for the ruin of my house and the orphanship of my poor children!” So all the merchants and sailors came round about him and asked him, “O master, what is the matter?” For the light had become night before, their sight. And he answered, saying: “Know, O folk, that we have wandered from our course and left the sea whose ways we wot, and come into a sea whose ways I know not, and unless Allah vouchsafe us a means of escape, we are all dead men. Wherefore pray ye to the Most High that He deliver us from this strait. Haply amongst you is one righteous whose prayers the Lord will accept.” Then he arose and clomb the mast to see an there were any escape from that strait. And he would have loosed the sails, but the wind redoubled upon the ship and whirled her round thrice and drave her backward, whereupon her rudder brake and she fell off toward a high mountain.

With this the captain came down from the mast, saying: “There is no Majesty and there is no Might save in Allah, the Glorious, the Great, nor can man prevent that which is foreordained of Fate! By Allah, we are fallen on a place of sure destruction, and there is no way of escape for us, nor can any of us be saved!” Then we all fill a-weeping over ourselves and bidding one another farewell for that our days were come to an end, and we had lost an hopes of life. Presently the ship struck the mountain and broke up, and all and everything on board of her were plunged into the sea. Some of the merchants were drowned and others made shift to reach the shore and save themselves upon the mountain, I amongst the number. And when we got ashore, we found a great island, or rather peninsula, whose base was strewn with wreckage and crafts and goods and gear cast up by the sea from broken ships whose passengers had been drowned, and the quantity confounded count and calculation. So I climbed the cliffs into the inward of the isle and walked on inland till I came to a stream of sweet water that welled up at the nearest foot of the mountains and disappeared in the earth under the range of hills on the opposite side. But all the other passengers went over the mountains to the inner tracts, and, dispersing hither and thither, were confounded at what they saw and became like madmen at the sight of the wealth and treasures wherewith the shores were strewn.

As for me, I looked into the bed of the stream aforesaid and saw therein great plenty of rubies, and great royal pearls and all kinds of jewels and precious stones, which were as gravel in the bed of the rivulets that ran through the fields, and the sands sparkled and glittered with gems and precious ores. Moreover, we found in the island abundance of the finest lign aloes, both Chinese and Comorin. And there also is a spring of crude ambergris, which floweth like wax or gum over the stream banks, for the great heat of the sun, and runneth down to the seashore, where the monsters of the deep come up and, swallowing it, return into the sea. But it burneth in their bellies, so they cast it up again and it congealeth on the surface of the water, whereby its color and quantities are changed, and at last the waves cast it ashore, and the travelers and merchants who know it collect it and sell it. But as to the raw ambergris which is not swallowed, it floweth over the channel and congealeth on the banks, and when the sun shineth on it, it melteth and scenteth the whole valley with a musk-like fragrance. Then when the sun ceaseth from it, it congealeth again. But none can get to this place where is the crude ambergris, because of the mountains which enclose the island on all sides and which foot of man cannot ascend.

We continued thus to explore the island, marveling at the wonderful works of Allah and the riches we found there, but sore troubled for our own case, and dismayed at our prospects. Now we had picked up on the beach some small matter of victual from the wreck and husbanded it carefully eating but once every day or two, in our fear lest it should fail us and we die miserably of famine and affright. Moreover, we were weak for colic brought on by seasickness and low diet, and my companions deceased, one after other, till there was but a small company of us left. Each that died we washed and shrouded in some of the clothes and linen cast ashore by the tides, and after a little, the rest of my fellows perished one by one, till I had buried the last of the party and abode alone on the island, with but a little provision left, I who was wont to have so much. And I wept over myself, saying: “Would Heaven I had died before my companions and they had washed me and buried me! It had been better than I should perish and none wash me and shroud me and bury me. But there is no Majesty and there is no Might save in Allah, the glorious, the Great!” Now after I had buried the last of my party and abode alone on the island, I arose and dug me a deep grave on the seashore, saying to myself: “Whenas I grow weak and know that death cometh to me, I will cast myself into the grave and die there, so the wind may drift the sand over me and cover me and I be buried therein.”

Then I fell to reproaching myself for my little wit in leaving my native land and betaking me again to travel after all I had suffered during my first five voyages, and when I had not made a single one without suffering more horrible perils and more terrible hardships than in its forerunners, and having no hope of escape from my present stress. And I repented me of my folly and bemoaned myself, especially as I had no need of money, seeing that I had enough and could not spend what I had- no, nor a half of it in all my life. However, after a while Allah sent me a thought, and I said to myself: “By God, needs must this stream have an end as well as a beginning, ergo an issue somewhere, and belike its course may lead to some inhabited place. So my best plan is to make me a little boat big enough to sit in, and carry it and, launching it on the river, embark therein and drop down the stream. If I escape, I escape, by God’s leave, and if I perish, better die in the river than here.” Then, sighing for myself, I set to work collecting a number of pieces of Chinese and Comorin aloes wood and I bound them together with ropes from the wreckage. Then I chose out from the broken-up ships straight planks of even size and fixed them firmly upon the aloes wood, making me a boat raft a little narrower than the channel of the stream, and I tied it tightly and firmly as though it were nailed. Then I loaded it with the goods, precious ores and jewels, and the union pearls which were like gravel, and the best of the ambergris crude and pure, together with what I had collected on the island and what was left me of victual and wild herbs. Lastly I lashed a piece of wood on either side, to serve me as oars, and launched it, and embarking, did according to the saying of the poet:

Fly, fly with life whenas evils threat,
Leave the house to tell of its builder’s fate!
Land after land shalt thou seek and find,
But no other life on thy wish shall wait.
Fret not thy soul in thy thoughts o’ night,
All woes shall end or sooner or late.
Whoso is born in one land to die,
There and only there shall gang his pit.
Nor trust great things to another wight,
Soul hath only soul for confederate.

My boat raft drifted with the stream, I pondering the issue of my affair, and the drifting ceased not till I came to the place where it disappeared beneath the mountain. I rowed my conveyance into the place, which was intensely dark, and the current carried the raft with it down the underground channel. The thin stream bore me on through a narrow tunnel where the raft touched either side and my head rubbed against the roof, return therefrom being impossible. Then I blamed myself for having thus risked my life, and said, “If this passage grow any straiter, the raft will hardly pass, and I cannot turn back, so I shall inevitably perish miserably in this place.” And I threw myself down upon my face on the raft, by reason of the narrowness of the channel, whilst the stream ceased not to carry me along, knowing not night from day for the excess of the gloom which encompassed me about and my terror and concern for myself lest I should perish. And in such condition my course continued down the channel, which now grew wider and then straiter. Sore a-weary by reason of the darkness which could be felt, I feel asleep as I lay prone on the craft, and I slept knowing not an the time were long or short.

When I awoke at last, I found myself in the light of Heaven and opening my eyes, I saw myself in a broad of the stream and the raft moored to an island in the midst of a number of Indians and Abyssinians. As soon as these blackamoors saw that I was awake, they came up to me and bespoke me in their speech. But I understood not what they said and thought that this was a dream and a vision which had betided me for stress of concern and chagrin. But I was delighted at my escape from the river. When they saw I understood them not and made them no answer, one of them came forward and said to me in Arabic: “Peace be with thee, O my brother! Who art thou, and whence faredst thou hither? How camest thou into this river, and what manner of land lies behind yonder mountains, for never knew we anyone make his way thence to us?” Quoth I: “And upon thee be peace and the ruth of Allah and His blessing! Who are ye, and what country is this?” “O my brother,” answered he, “we are husbandmen and tillers of the soil, who came out to water our fields and plantations, and finding thee asleep on this raft, laid hold of it and made it fast by us, against thou shouldst awake at thy leisure. So tell us how thou camest hither.” I answered, “For Allah’s sake, O my lord, ere I speak give me somewhat to eat, for I am starving, and after ask me what thou wilt.”

So he hastened to fetch me food and I ate my fill, till I was refreshed and my fear was calmed by a good bellyful and my life returned to me. Then I rendered thanks to the Most High for mercies great and small, glad to be out of the river and rejoicing to be amongst them, and I told them all my adventures from first to last, especially my troubles in the narrow channel. They consulted among themselves and said to one another, “There is no help for it but we carry him with us and present him to our King, that he may acquaint him with his adventures.” So they took me, together with raft boat and its lading of moneys and merchandise, jewels, minerals, and golden gear, and brought me to their King, who was King of Sarandib, telling him what had happened. Whereupon he saluted me and bade me welcome. Then he questioned me of my condition and adventures through the man who had spoken Arabic, and I repeated to him my story from beginning to end, whereat he marveled exceedingly and gave me joy of my deliverance. After which I arose and fetched from the raft great store of precious ores and jewels and ambergris and lip aloes and presented them to the King, who accepted them and entreated me with the utmost honor, appointing me a lodging in his own palace. So I consorted with the chief of the islanders, and they paid me the utmost respect. And I quitted not the royal palace.

Now the Island Sarandib lieth under the equinoctial line, its night and day both numbering twelve hours. It measureth eighty leagues long by a breadth of thirty and its width is bounded by a lofty mountain and a deep valley. The mountain is conspicuous from a distance of three days, and it containeth many kinds of, rubies and other minerals, and spice trees of all sorts. The surface is covered with emery, wherewith gems are cut and fashioned; diamonds are in its rivers and pearls are in its valleys. I ascended that mountain and solaced myself with a view of its marvels, which are indescribable, and afterward I returned to the King. Thereupon all the travelers and merchants who came to the place questioned me of the affairs of my native land and of the Caliph Harun al-Rashid and his rule, and I told them of him and of that wherefor he was renowned, and they praised him because of this, whilst I in turn questioned them of the manners and customs of their own countries and got the knowledge I desired.

One day the King himself asked me of the fashions and form of government of my country, and I acquainted him with the circumstance of the Caliph’s sway in the city of Baghdad and the justice of his rule. The King marveled at my account of his appointments and said: “By Allah, the Caliph’s ordinances are indeed wise and his fashions of praiseworthy guise, and thou hast made me love him by what thou tellest me. Wherefore I have a mind to make him a present and send it by thee.” Quoth I: “Hearkening and obedience, O my lord. I will bear thy gift to him and inform him that thou art his sincere lover and true friend.” Then I abode with the King in great honor and regard and consideration for a long while till one day, as I sat in his palace, I heard news of a company of merchants that were fitting out ship for Bassorah, and said to myself, “I cannot do better than voyage with these men.” So I rose without stay or delay and kissed the King’s hand and acquainted him with my longing to set out with the merchants, for that I pined after my people and mine own land. Quoth he, “Thou art thine own master, yet if it be thy will to abide with us, on our head and eyes be it, for thou gladdenest us with thy company.” “By Allah, O my lord,” answered I, “thou hast indeed overwhelmed me with thy favors and well-doings, but I weary for a sight of my friends and family and native country.”

When he heard this, he summoned the merchants in question and commended me to their care, paying my freight and passage money. Then he bestowed on me great riches from his treasuries and charged me with a magnificent present for the Caliph Harun al-Rashid. Moreover, he gave me a sealed letter, saying, “Carry this with thine own hand to the Commander of the Faithful, and give him many salutations from us!” “Hearing and obedience,” I replied. The missive was written on the skin of the khawi (which is finer than lamb parchment and of yellow color), with ink of ultramarine, and the contents were as follows: “Peace be with thee from the King of Al-Hind, before whom are a thousand elephants and upon whose palace crenelles are a thousand jewels. But after (laud to the Lord and praises to His Prophet!) we send thee a trifling gift, which be thou pleased to accept. Thou art to us a brother and a sincere friend, and great is the love we bear for thee in heart. Favor us therefore with a reply. The gift besitteth not thy dignity, but we beg of thee, O our brother, graciously to accept it, and peace be with thee.” And the present was a cup of ruby a span high, the inside of which was adorned with precious pearls; and a bed covered with the skin of the serpent which swalloweth the elephant, which skin hath spots each like a dinar and whoso sitteth upon it never sickeneth; and a hundred thousand miskals of Indian lign aloes and a slave girl like a shining moon.

Then I took leave of him and of all my intimates and acquaintances in the island, and embarked with the merchants aforesaid. We sailed with a fair wind, committing ourselves to the care of Allah (be He extolled and exalted!), and by His permission arrived at Bassorah, where I passed a few days and nights equipping myself and packing up my bales. Then I went on to Baghdad city, the House of Peace, where I sought an audience of the Caliph and laid the King’s presents before him. He asked me whence they came, and I said to him, “By Allah, O Commander of the Faithful, I know not the name of the city nor the way thither!” He then asked me, “O Sindbad, is this true which the King writeth?” and I answered, after kissing the ground: “O my lord, I saw in his kingdom much more than he hath written in his letter. For state processions a throne is set for him upon a huge elephant eleven cubits high, and upon this he sitteth having his great lords and officers and guests standing in two ranks, on his right hand and on his left. At his head is a man hending in hand a golden javelin and behind him another with a great mace of gold whose head is an emerald a span long and as thick as a man’s thumb. And when he mounteth horse there mount with him a thousand horsemen clad in gold brocade and silk, and as the King proceedeth a man precedeth him, crying, ‘This is the King of great dignity, of high authority!’ And he continueth to repeat his praises in words I remember not, saying at the end of his panegyric, ‘This is the King owning the crown whose like nor Solomon nor the Mihraj ever possessed.’ Then he is silent and one behind him proclaimeth, saying, ‘He will die! Again I say he will die!’ and the other addeth, ‘Extolled be the perfection of the Living who dieth not!’ Moreover, by reason of his justice and ordinance and intelligence, there is no kazi in his city, and all his lieges distinguish between truth and falsehood.” Quoth the Caliph: “How great is this King! His letter hath shown me this, and as for the mightiness of his dominion thou hast told us what thou hast eyewitnessed. By Allah, he hath been endowed with wisdom, as with wide rule.”

Then I related to the Commander of the Faithful all that had befallen me in my last voyage, at which he wondered exceedingly and bade his historians record my story and store it up in his treasuries, for the edification of all who might see it. Then he conferred on me exceeding great favors, and I repaired to my quarter and entered my home, where I warehoused all my goods and possessions. Presently my friends came to me and I distributed presents among my family and gave alms and largess, after which I yielded myself to joyance and enjoyment, mirth and merrymaking, and forgot all that I had suffered.

Such, then, O my brothers, is the history of what befell me in my sixth voyage, and tomorrow, Inshallah! I will tell you the story of my seventh and last voyage, which is still more wondrous and marvelous than that of the first six. (Saith he who telleth the tale): Then be bade lay the table, and the company supped with him, after which he gave the porter a hundred dinars, as of wont, and they all went their ways, marveling beyond measure at that which they had heard. Sindbad the Landsman went home and slept as of wont. Next day he rose and prayed the dawn prayer and repaired to his namesake’s house, where, after the company was all assembled, the host began to relate…
 


Table of Content – The Arabian Nights

 
KNOW, O company, that after my return from my sixth voyage, which brought me abundant profit, I resumed my former life in all possible joyance and enjoyment and mirth and making merry day and night. And I tarried sometime in this solace and satisfaction, till my soul began once more to long to sail the seas and see foreign countries and company with merchants and hear new things. So, having made up my mind, I packed up in bales a quantity of precious stuffs suited for sea trade and repaired with them from Baghdad city to Bassorah town, where I found a ship ready for sea, and in her a company of considerable merchants. I shipped with them and, becoming friends, we set forth on our venture in health and safety, and sailed with a wind till we came to a city called Madinat-al-Sin.

But after we had left it, as we fared on in all cheer and confidence, devising of traffic and travel, behold, there sprang up a violent head wind and a tempest of rain fell on us and drenched us and our goods. So we covered the bales with our cloaks and garments and drugget and canvas, lest they be spoiled by the rain, and betook ourselves to prayer and supplication to Almighty Allah, and humbled ourselves before Him for deliverance from the peril that was upon us. But the captain arose and, tightening his girdle, tucked up his skirts, and after taking refuge with Allah from Satan the Stoned, clomb to the masthead, whence he looked out right and left, and gazing at the passengers and crew, fell to buffeting his face and plucking out his beard. So we cried to him, “O Rais, what is the matter?” and he replied, saying: “Seek ye deliverance of the Most High from the strait into which we have fallen, and bemoan yourselves and take leave of one another. For know that the wind hath gotten the mastery of us, and hath driven us into the uttermost of the seas world.” Then he came down from the masthead and opening his sea chest, pulled but a bag of blue cotton, from which he took a powder like ashes. This he set in a saucer wetted with a little water, and after waiting a short time, smelt and tasted it. And then he took out of the chest a booklet, wherein he read awhile, and said, weeping:

“Know, O ye passengers, that in this book is a marvelous matter, denoting that whoso cometh hither shall surely die, without hope of escape. For that this ocean is called the Sea of the Clime of the King, wherein is the sepulcher of our lord Solomon, son of David (on both be peace!), and therein are serpents of vast bulk and fearsome aspect. And what ship soever cometh to these climes, there riseth to her a great fish out of the sea and swalloweth her up with all and everything on board her.” Hearing these words from the captain, great was our wonder, but hardly had he made an end of speaking when the ship was lifted out of the water and let fall again, and we applied to praying the death prayer and committing our souls to Allah.

Presently we heard a terrible great cry like the loud-pealing thunder whereat we were terror-struck and became as dead men, giving ourselves up for lost. Then, behold, there came up to us a huge fish, as big as a tall mountain, at whose sight we became wild for affright and, weeping sore, made ready for death, marveling at its vast size and gruesome semblance. When lo! a second fish made its appearance, than which we had seen naught more monstrous. So we bemoaned ourselves of our lives and farewelled one another. But suddenly up came a third fish bigger than the two first, whereupon we lost the power of thought and reason and were stupefied for the excess of our fear and horror. Then the three fish began circling round about the ship and the third and biggest opened his mouth to swallow it, and we looked into its mouth and, behold, it was wider than the gate of a city and its throat was like a long valley. So we besought the Almighty and called for succor upon His Apostle (on whom be blessing and peace!), when suddenly a violent squall of wind arose and smote the ship, which rose out of the water and settled upon a great reef, the haunt of sea monsters, where it broke up and fell asunder into planks, and all and everything on board were plunged into the sea.

As for me, I tore off all my clothes but my gown, and swam a little way, till I happened upon one of the ship’s planks, whereto I clung and bestrode it like a horse, whilst the winds and the waters sported with me and the waves carried me up and cast me down. And I was in most piteous plight for fear and distress and hunger and thirst. Then I reproached myself for what I had done and my soul was weary after a life of ease and comfort, and I said to myself: “O Sindbad, O Seaman, thou repentest not and yet thou art ever suffering hardships and travails, yet wilt thou not renounce sea travel, or an thou say, ‘I renounce,’ thou liest in thy renouncement. Endure then with patience that which thou sufferest, for verily thou deservest all that betideth thee!” And I ceased not to humble myself before Almighty Allah and weep and bewail myself, recalling my former estate of solace and satisfaction and mirth and merriment and joyance. And thus I abode two days, at the end of which time I came to a great island abounding in trees and streams. There I landed and ate of the fruits of the island and drank of its waters, till I was refreshed and my life returned to me and my strength and spirits were restored and I recited:

“Oft when thy case shows knotty and tangled skein,
Fate downs from Heaven and straightens every ply.
In patience keep thy soul till clear thy lot,
For He who ties the knot can eke untie.”

Then I walked about till I found on the further side a great river of sweet water, running with a strong current, whereupon I called to mind the boat raft I had made aforetime and said to myself: “Needs must I make another. Haply I may free me from this strait. If I escape, I have my desire and I vow to Allah Almighty to foreswear travel. And if I perish, I shall be at peace and shall rest from toil and moil.” So I rose up and gathered together great store of pieces of wood from the trees (which were all of the finest sandalwood, whose like is not albe’ I knew it not), and made shift to twist creepers and tree twigs into a kind of rope, with which I bound the billets together and so contrived a raft. Then saying, “An I be saved, ’tis of God’s grace,” I embarked thereon and committed myself to the current, and it bore me on for the first day and the second and the third after leaving the island whilst I lay in the raft, eating not and drinking, when I was athirst, of the water of the river, till I was weak and giddy as a chicken for stress of fatigue and famine and fear.

At the end of this time I came to a high mountain, whereunder ran the river, which when I saw, I feared for my life by reason of the straitness I had suffered in my former journey, and I would fain have stayed the raft and landed on the mountainside. But the current overpowered me and drew it into the subterranean passage like an archway, whereupon I gave myself up for lost and said, “There is no Majesty and there is no Might save in Allah, the Glorious, the Great!” However, after a little the raft glided into open air and I saw before me a wide valley, whereinto the river fell with a noise like the rolling of thunder and a swiftness as the rushing of the wind. I held onto the raft, for fear of falling off it, whilst the waves tossed me right and left, and the craft continued to descend with the current, nor could I avail to stop it nor turn it shoreward till it stopped me at a great and goodly city, grandly edified and containing much people. And when the townsfolk saw me on the raft, dropping down with the current, they threw me out ropes, which I had not strength enough to hold. Then they tossed a net over the craft and drew it ashore with me, whereupon I fell to the ground amidst them, as I were a dead man, for stress of fear and hunger and lack of sleep.

After a while, there came up to me out of the crowd an old man of reverend aspect, well stricken in years, who welcomed me and threw over me abundance of handsome clothes, wherewith I covered my nakedness. Then he carried me to the hammam bath and brought me cordial sherbets and delicious perfumes. Moreover, when I came out, he bore me to his house, where his people made much of me and, seating me in a pleasant place, set rich food before me, whereof I ate my fill and returned thanks to God the Most High for my deliverance. Thereupon his pages fetched me hot water, and I washed my hands, and his handmaids brought me silken napkins, with which I dried them and wiped my mouth. Also the Sheikh set apart for me an apartment in a part of his house, and charged his pages and slave girls to wait upon me and do my will and supply my wants. They were assiduous in my service, and I abode with him in the guest chamber three days, taking my ease of good eating and good drinking and good scents till life returned to me and my terrors subsided and my heart was calmed and my mind was eased.

On the fourth day the Sheikh, my host, came in to me and said: “Thou cheerest us with thy company, O my son, and praised be Allah for thy safety! Say, wilt thou now come down with me to the beach and the bazaar and sell thy goods and take their price? Belike thou mayest buy thee wherewithal to traffic. I have ordered my servants to remove thy stock in trade from the sea, and they have piled it on the shore.” I was silent awhile and said to myself, “What mean these words, and what goods have I?” Then said he: “O my son, be not troubled nor careful, but come with me to the market, and if any offer for thy goods what price contenteth thee, take it. But an thou be not satisfied, I lay em up for thee in my warehouse, against a fitting occasion for sale.” So I bethought me of my case and said to myself, “Do his bidding and see what are these goods!” and I said to him: “O my nuncle the Sheikh I hear and obey. I may not gainsay thee in aught, for Allah’s blessing is on all thou dost.”

Accordingly he guided me to the market street, where I found that he had taken in pieces the raft which carried me and which was of sandalwood, and I heard the broker crying it for sale. Then the merchants came and opened the gate of bidding for the wood and bid against one another till its price reached a thousand dinars, when they left bidding and my host said to me: “Hear, O my son, this is the current price of thy goods in hard times like these. Wilt thou sell them for this, or shall I lay them up for thee in my storehouses till such time as prices rise?” “O my lord,” answered I, “the business is in thy hands. Do as thou wilt.” Then asked he: “Wilt thou sell the wood to me, O my son, for a hundred gold pieces over and above what the merchants have bidden for it?” and I answered, “Yes, I have sold it to thee for monies received.” So he bade his servants transport the wood to his storehouses, and, carrying me back to his house, seated me, and counted out to me the purchase money. After which he laid it in bags and, setting them in a privy place, locked them up with an iron padlock and gave me its key.

Some days after this the Sheikh said to me, “O my son, I have somewhat to propose to thee, wherein I trust thou wilt do my bidding.” Quoth I, “What is it?” Quoth he: “I am a very old man, and have no son, but I have a daughter who is young in years and fair of favor and endowed with abounding wealth and beauty. Now I have a mind to marry her to thee, that thou mayest abide with her in this our country. And I will make, thee master of all I have in hand, for I am an old man and thou shalt stand in my stead.” I was silent for shame and made him no answer, whereupon he continued: “Do my desire in this, O my son, for I wish but thy weal. And if thou wilt but as I say, thou shalt have her at once and be as my son, and all that is under my hand or that cometh to me shall be thine. If thou have a mind to traffic and travel to thy native land, none shall hinder thee, and thy property will be at thy sole disposal. So do as thou wilt.” “By Allah, O my uncle,” replied I, “thou art become to me even as my father, and I am a stranger and have undergone many hardships, while for stress of that which I have suffered naught of judgment or knowledge is left to me. It is for thee, therefore, to decide what I shall do.”

Hereupon he sent his servants for the kazi and the witnesses and married me to his daughter, making for us a noble marriage feast and high festival. When I went in to her, I found her perfect in beauty and loveliness and symmetry and grace, clad in rich raiment and covered with a profusion of ornaments and necklaces and other trinkets of gold and silver and precious stones, worth a mint of money, a price none could pay. She pleased me, and we loved each other, and I abode with her in all solace and delight of life till her father was taken to the mercy of Allah Almighty. So we shrouded him and buried him, and I laid hands on the whole of his property and all his servants and slaves became mine. Moreover, the merchants installed me in his office, for he was their sheikh and their chief, and none of them purchased aught but with his knowledge and by his leave. And now his rank passed on to me.

When I became acquainted with the townsfolk, I found that at the beginning of each month they were transformed, in that their faces changed and they became like unto birds and they put forth wings wherewith they flew unto the upper regions of the firmament; and none remained in the city save the women and children. And I said in my mind, “When the first of the month cometh, I will ask one of them to carry me with them, whither they go.” So when the time came and their complexion changed and their forms altered, I went in to one of the townsfolk and said to him: “Allah upon thee! Carry me with thee, that I might divert myself with the rest and return with you.” “This may not be,” answered he. But I ceased not to solicit him, and I importuned him till he consented. Then I went out in his company, without telling any of my family or servants or friends, and he took me on his back and flew up with me so high in air that I heard the angels glorifying God in the heavenly dome, whereat I wondered and exclaimed: “Praised be Allah! Extolled be the perfection of Allah!”

Hardly had I made an end of pronouncing the tasbih- praised be Allah!- when there came out a fire from Heaven and all but consumed the company. Whereupon they fied from it and descended with curses upon me and, casting me down on a high mountain, went away exceeding wroth with me, and left me there alone. As I found myself in this plight, I repented of what I had done and reproached myself for having undertaken that for which I was unable, saying: “There is no Majesty and there is no Might save in Allah, the Glorious, the Great! No sooner am I delivered from one affliction than I fall into a worse.” And I continued in this case, knowing not whither I should go, when lo! there came up two young men, as they were moons, each using as a staff a rod of red gold. So I approached them and saluted them; and when they returned my salaam, I said to them: Allah upon you twain. Who are ye, and what are ye?” Quoth they, “We are of the servants of the Most High Allah, abiding in this mountain,” and giving me a rod of red gold they had with them, went their ways and left me.

I walked on along the mountain ridge, staying my steps with the staff and pondering the case of the two youths, when behold, a serpent came forth from under the mountain, with a man in her jaws whom she had swallowed even to below his navel, and he was crying out and saying, “Whoso delivereth me, Allah will deliver him from all adversity!” So I went up to the the serpent and smote her on the head with the golden staff, whereupon she cast the man forth of her mouth. Then I smote her a second time, and she turned and fled, whereupon he came up to me and said, “Since my deliverance from yonder serpent hath been at thy hands I will never leave thee, and thou shalt be my comrade on this mountain.” “And welcome,” answered I. So we fared on along the mountain till we fell in with a company of folk, and I looked and saw amongst them the very man who had carried me and cast me down there. I went up to him and spake him fair, excusing to him and saying, “O my comrade, it is not thus that friend should deal with friend.” Quoth he, “It was thou who well-nigh destroyed us by thy tasbih and thy glorifying God on my back.” Quoth I, “Pardon me, for I had no knowledge of this matter, but if thou wilt take me with thee, I swear not to say a word.”

So he relented and consented to carry me with him, but he made an express condition that so long as I abode on his back, I should abstain from pronouncing the tasbih or otherwise glorifying God. Then I gave the wand of gold to him whom I had delivered from the serpent and bade him farewell, and my friend took me on his back and flew with me as before, till he brought me to the city and set me down in my own house. My wife came to meet me and, saluting me, gave me joy of my safety and then said: “Beware of going forth hereafter with yonder folk, neither consort with them, for they are brethren of the devils, and know not how to mention the name of Allah Almighty, neither worship they Him.” “And how did thy father with them?” asked I, and she answered: “My father was not of them, neither did he as they. And as now he is dead, methinks thou hadst better sell all we have and with the price buy merchandise and journey to thine own country and people, and I with thee; for I care not to tarry in this city, my father and my mother being dead.” So I sold all the Sheikh’s property piecemeal, and looked for one who should be journeying thence to Bassorah that I might join myself to him.

And while thus doing I heard of a company of townsfolk who had a mind to make the voyage but could not find them a ship, so they bought wood and built them a great ship, wherein I took passage with them, and paid them all the hire. Then we embarked, I and my wife, with all our movables, leaving our houses and domains and so forth, and set sail, and ceased not sailing from island to island and from sea to sea, with a fair wind and a favoring, till we arrived at Bassorah safe and sound. I made no stay there, but freighted another vessel and, transferring my goods to her, set out forthright for Baghdad city, where I arrived in safety, and entering my quarter and repairing to my house, forgathered with my family and friends and familiars and laid up my goods in my warehouses.

When my people, who, reckoning the period of my absence on this my seventh voyage, had found it to be seven and twenty years and had given up all hope of me, heard of my return, they came to welcome me and to give me joy of my safety. And I related to them all that had befallen me, whereat they marveled with exceeding marvel. Then I foreswore travel and vowed to Allah the Most High I would venture no more by land or sea, for that this seventh and last voyage had surfeited me of travel and adventure, and I thanked the Lord (be He praised and glorified!), and blessed Him for having restored me to my kith and kin and country and home. “Consider, therefore, O Sindbad, O Landsman,” continued Sindbad the Seaman, “what sufferings I have undergone and what perils and hardships I have endured before coming to my present state.” “Allah upon thee, O my Lord!” answered Sindbad the, Landsman. “Pardon me the wrong I did thee.” And they ceased not from friendship and fellowship, abiding in all cheer and pleasures and solace of life till there came to them the Destroyer of delights and the Sunderer of Societies, and the Shatterer of palaces and the Caterer for Cemeteries; to wit, the Cup of Death, and glory be to the Living One who dieth not! And there is a tale touching…
 


Table of Content – The Arabian Nights

 
A WOMAN of the daughters of the merchants was married to a man who was a great traveler. It chanced once that he set out for a far country and was absent so long that his wife, for pure ennui, fell in love with a handsome young man of the sons of the merchants, and they loved each other with exceeding love. One day the youth quarreled with another man, who lodged a complaint against him with the Chief of Police, and he cast into prison. When the news came to the merchant’s wife his mistress, she well-nigh lost her wits. Then she arose and donning her richest clothes, repaired to the house of the Chief of Police. She saluted him and presented a written petition to this purport: “He thou hast clapped in jail is my brother Such-and-such, who fell out with Such-a-one, and those who testified against him bore false witness. He hath been wrongfully imprisoned, and I have none other to come in to me nor to provide for my support, therefore I beseech thee of thy grace to release him.” When the magistrate had read the paper, he cast his eyes on her and fell in love with her forthright, so he said to her: “Go into the houses till I bring him before me. Then I will send for thee and thou shalt take him.” “O my lord,” replied she, “I have none to protect me save Almighty Allah! I am a stranger and may not enter any man’s abode.” Quoth the Wali, “I will not let him go except thou come to my home and I take my will of thee.” Rejoined she, “If it must be so, thou must needs come to my lodging and sit and sleep the siesta and rest thewhole day there.” “And where is thy abode?” asked he, and she answered, “In such a place,” and appointed him for such a time.

Then she went out from him, leaving his heart taken with love of her, and she repaired to the Kazi of the city, to whom she said, “O our lord the Kazi!” He exclaimed, “Yes!” and she continued, “Look into my case, and thy reward be with Allah the Most High!” Quoth he, “Who hath wronged thee?” and quoth she, “O my lord, I have a brother and I have none but that one, and it is on his account that I come to thee, because the Wali hath imprisoned him for a criminal and men have borne false witness against him that he is a wrongdoer, and I beseech thee to intercede for him with the Chief of Police.”

When the Kazi looked on her, he fell in love with her forthright and said to her: “Enter the house and rest awhile with my handmaids whilst I send to the Wali to release thy brother. If I knew the money fine which is upon him, I would pay it out of my own purse, so I may have my desire of thee, for thou pleaseth me with thy sweet speech.” Quoth she, “If thou, O my lord, do thus, we must not blame others.” Quoth he, “An thou wilt not come in, wend thy ways.” Then said she, “An thou wilt have it so, O our lord, it will be privier and better in my place than in thine, for here are slave girls and eunuchs and goers-in and comers-out, and indeed I am a woman who wotteth naught of this fashion, but need compelleth.” Asked the Kazi, “And where is thy house?” and she answered, “In such a place,” and appointed him for the same day and time as the Chief of Police.

Then she went out from him to the Wazir, to whom she preferred her petition for the release from prison of her brother, who was absolutely necessary to her. But he also required her of herself, saying, “Suffer me to have my will of thee and I will set thy brother free.” Quoth she: “An thou wilt have it so, be it in my house, for there it will be privier both for me and for thee. It is not far distant, and thou knowest that which behooveth us women of cleanliness and adornment.” Asked he, “Where is thy house?” “In such a place,” answered she, and appointed him for the same time as the two others.

Then she went out from him to the King of the city and told him her story and sought of him her brother’s release. “Who imprisoned him?” enquired he, and she replied, “‘Twas thy Chief of Police.” When the King heard her speech, it transpierced his heart with the arrows of love and he bade her enter the palace with him, that he might send to the Kazi and release her brother. Quoth she: “O King, this thing is easy to thee, whether I will or nill, and if the King will indeed have this of me, it is of my good fortune. But if he come to my house, he will do me the more honor by setting step therein, even as saith the poet:

“O my friends, have ye seen or have ye heard
Of his visit whose virtues I hold so high?”

Quoth the King, “We will not cross thee in this.” So she appointed him for the same time as the three others, and told him where her house was.

Then she left him, and betaking herself to man which was a carpenter, said to him: “I would have thee make me a cabinet with four compartments one above other, each with its door for locking up. Let me know thy hire and I will give it thee.” Replied he: “My price will be four dinars. But, O noble lady and well-protected, if thou wilt vouchsafe me thy favors, I will ask nothing of thee. Rejoined she, “An there be no help but that thou have it so, then make thou five compartments with their padlocks.” And she appointed him to bring it exactly on the day required. Said he, “It is well. Sit down, O my lady, and I will make it for thee forthright, and after I will come to thee at my leisure.” So she sat down by him whilst he fell to work on the cabinet, and when he had made an end of it, she chose to see it at once carried home and set up in the sitting chamber. Then she took four gowns and carried them to the dyer, who dyed them each of a different color, after which she applied herself to making ready meat and drink, fruits, flowers, and perfumes.

Now when the appointed trysting day came, she donned her costliest dress and adorned herself and scented herself, then spread the sitting room with various kinds of rich carpets, and sat down to await who should come. And behold, the Kazi was the first to appear, devancing rest, and when she saw him, she rose to her feet and kissed the ground before him, then, taking him by the hand, made him sit down by her on the couch and lay with him and fell to jesting and toying with him. By and by he would have her do his desire, but she said, “O my lord, doff thy clothes and turban and assume this yellow cassock and this headkerchief, whilst I bring thee meat and drink, and after thou shalt win thy will.” So saying, she took his clothes and turban and clad him in the cassock and the kerchief. But hardly she done this when lo! there came a knocking at the door. Asked he, “Who is that rapping at the door?” and she answered, “My husband.” Quoth the Kazi, “What is to be done, and where shall I go?” Quoth she, “Fear nothing. I will hide thee in this cabinet,” and he, “Do as seemeth good to thee.”

So she took him by the hand and pushing him into the lowest compartment, locked the door upon him. Then she went to the house door, where she found the Wali, so she bussed ground before him and taking his hand, brought him into the saloon, where, she made him sit down and said to him: “O my lord, this house is thy house, this place is thy place, and I am thy handmaid. Thou shalt pass all this day with me, wherefore do thou doff thy clothes and don this red gown, for it is a sleeping gown.” So she took away his clothes and made him assume the red gown and set on his head an old patched rag she had by her. After which she sat by him on the divan and she sported with him while he toyed with her awhile, till he put out his hand to her. Whereupon she said to him: “O our lord, this day is thy day and none shall share in it with thee. But first, of thy favor and benevolence, write me an order for my brother’s release from gaol, that my heart may be at ease.” Quoth he, “Hearkening and obedience. On my head and eyes be it!” and wrote a letter to his treasurer, saying: “As soon as this communication shall reach thee, do thou set Such-a-one, free, without stay or delay, neither answer the bearer a word.” Then he sealed it and she took it from him, after which she began to toy again with him on the divan when, behold, someone knocked at the door. He asked, “Who is that?” and she answered, “My husband.” “What shall I do?” said he, and she, “Enter this cabinet, till I send him away and return to thee.” So she clapped him into the second compartment from the bottom and padlocked the door on him, and meanwhile the Kazi heard all they said.

Then she went to the house door and opened it, whereupon lo! the Wazir entered. She bussed the ground before him and received him with all honor and worship, saying: “O my lord, thou exaltest us by thy coming to our house. Allah never deprive us of the light of thy countenance!” Then she seated him on the divan and said to him, “O my lord, doff thy heavy dress and turban and don these lighter vestments.” So he put off his clothes and turban and she clad him in a blue cassock and a tall red bonnet, and said to him: “Erst thy garb was that of the wazirate, so leave it to its own time and don this light gown, which is better fitted for carousing and making merry and sleep.” Thereupon she began to play with him and he with her, and he would have done his desire of her, but she put him off, saying, “O my lord, this shall not fail us.” As they were talking there came a knocking at the door, and the Wazir asked her, “Who is that?” to which she answered, “My husband.” Quoth he, “What is to be done?” Qhoth she, “Enter this cabinet, till I get rid of him and come back to thee, and fear thou nothing.”

So she put him in the third compartment and locked the door on after which she went out and opened the house door when lo and behold! in came the King. As soon as she saw him she kissed ground before him, and taking him by the hand, led him into the saloon and seated him on the divan at the upper end. Then said she to him, “Verily, O King, thou dost us high honor, and if we brought thee to gift the world and all that therein is, it would not be worth a single one of thy steps usward.” And when he had taken his seat upon the divan she said, “Give me leave to speak one word.” “Say what thou wilt.” answered he, and she said, “O my lord, take thine ease and doff thy dress and turban.” Now his clothes were worth a thousand dinars, and when he put them off she clad him in a patched gown, worth at the very most ten dirhams, and fell to talking and jesting with him, all this while the folk in the cabinet hearing everything that passed, but not daring to say a word. Presently the King put his hand to her neck and sought to do his design of her, when she said, “This thing shall not fail us, but I had first promised myself to entertain thee in this sitting chamber, and I have that which shall content thee.” Now as they were speaking, someone knocked at the door and he asked her, “Who is that?” “My husband,” answered she, and he, “Make him go away of his own goodwill, or I will fare forth to him and send him away perforce.” Replied she, “Nay, O my lord, have patience till I send him away by my skillful contrivance.” “And I, how shall I do!” inquired the King. Whereupon she took him by the hand and making him enter the fourth compartment of the cabinet, locked it upon him.

Then she went out and opened the house door, when behold, the carpenter entered and saluted her. Quoth she, “What manner of thing is this cabinet thou hast made me?” “What aileth it, O my lady?” asked he, and she answered, “The top compartment is too strait.” Rejoined he, “Not so,” and she, “Go in thyself and see. It is not wide enough for thee.” Quoth he, “It is wide enough for four.” and entered the fifth compartment, whereupon she locked the door on him. Then she took the letter of the Chief of Police and carried it to the Treasurer, who, having read and understood it, kissed it and delivered her lover to her. She told him all she had done and he said, “And how shall we act now?” She answered, “We will remove hence to another city, for after this work there is no tarrying for us here.”

So the twain packed up what goods they had and, loading them on camels, set out forthright for another city. Meanwhile, the five abode each in his compartment of the cabinet without eating or drinking three whole days, during which time they held their water until at last the carpenter could retain his no longer, so he staled on the King’s head, and the King urined on the Wazir’s head, and the Wazir piddled on the Wall, and the Wali pissed on the head of the Kazi. Whereupon the Judge cried out and said: “What nastiness is this? Doth not what strait we are in suffice us, but you must make water upon us?” The Chief of Police recognized the Kazi’s voice and answered, saying aloud, “Allah increase thy reward, O Kazi!” And when the Kazi heard him he knew him for the Wali. Then the Chief of Police lifted up his voice and said, “What means this nastiness?” and the Wazir answered, saying, “Allah increase thy reward, O Wali!” whereupon he knew him to be the Minister. Then the Wazir lifted up his voice and said, “What means this nastiness?” But when the King heard and recognized his Minister’s voice, he held his peace and concealed his affair.

Then said the Wazir: “May Allah damn this woman for her dealing with us! She hath brought hither all the chief officers of the state, except the King. Quoth the King, “Hold your peace, for I was the first to fall into the toils of this lewd strumpet.” Whereat cried the carpenter: “And I, what have I done? I made her a cabinet for four gold pieces, and when I came to seek my hire, she tricked me into entering this compartment and locked the door on me.” And they fell to talking with one another, diverting the King and doing away his chagrin. Presently the neighbors came up to the house and, seeing it deserted, said one to other: “But yesterday our neighbor, the wife of Such-a-one, was in it, but now no sound is to be heard therein nor is soul to be seen. Let us break open the doors and see how the case stands, lest it come to the ears of the Wali or the King and we be cast into prison and regret not doing this thing before.”

So they broke open the doors and entered the saloon, where they saw a large wooden cabinet and heard men within groaning for hunger and thirst. Then said one of them, “Is there a Jinni in this cabinet?-and his fellow, “Let us heap fuel about it and burn it with fire.” When the Kazi heard this, he bawled out to them, “Do it not!” And they said to one another, ” Verily the Jinn make believe to be mortals and speak with men’s voices.” Thereupon the Kazi repeated somewhat of the Sublime Koran and said to the neighbors, “Draw near to the cabinet wherein we are.” So they drew near, and he said, “I am So-and-so the Kazi, and ye are Such-a-one and Such-a-one, and we are here a company.” Quoth the neighbors, “Who brought you here?” And he told them the whole case from beginning to end. Then they fetched a carpenter, who opened the five doors and let out Kazi, Wazir, Wali, King, and carpenter in their queer disguises; and each, when he saw how the others were accoutered, fell a-laughing at them. Now she had taken away all their clothes, so every one of them sent to his people for fresh clothes and put them on and went out, covering himself therewith from the sight of the folk. Consider, therefore, what a trick this woman played off upon the folk!

And I have heard tell also a tale of…
 


Table of Content – The Arabian Nights

 
THERE was once in tides of yore and in ages and times long gone before in the city of Baghdad a fisherman, Khalifah hight, a pauper wight, who had never once been married in all his days. It chanced one morning that he took his net and went with it to the river as was his wont, with the view of fishing before the others came. When he reached the bank, he girt himself and tucked up his skirts. Then stepping into the water, he spread his net and cast it a first cast and a second, but it brought up naught. He ceased not to throw it till he had made ten casts, and still naught came up therein, wherefore his breast was straitened and his mind perplexed concerning his case and he said: “I crave pardon of God the Great, there is no god but He, the Living, the Eternal, and unto Him I repent. There is no Majesty and there is no Might save in Allah, the Glorious, the Great! Whatso He willeth is and whatso He nilleth is not! Upon Allah (to Whom belong Honor and Glory!) dependeth daily bread! When as He giveth to His servant, none denieth him; and when as He denieth a servant, none giveth to him.” And of the excess of his distress, he recited these two couplets:

“An Fate afflict thee, with grief manifest,
Prepare thy patience and make broad thy breast;
For of His grace the Lord of all the worlds
Shall send to wait upon unrest sweet Rest.”

Then he said in his mind, “I will make this one more cast, trusting in Allah, so haply He may not disappoint my hope.” And he rose, and casting into the river the net as far as his arm availed, gathered the cords in his hands and waited a full hour, after which he pulled at it and, finding it heavy, handled it gently and drew it in, little by little, till he got it ashore, when lo and behold! he saw in it a one-eyed, lame-legged ape. Seeing this, quoth Khalifah: “There is no Majesty and there is no Might save in Allah Verily, we are Allah’s and to Him we are returning! What meaneth this heartbreaking, miserable ill luck and hapless fortune? What is come to me this blessed day? But all this is of the destinies of Almighty Allah!” Then he took the ape and tied him with a cord to a tree which grew on the riverbank, and grasping a whip he had with him, raised his arm in the air, thinking to bring down the scourge upon the quarry, when Allah made the ape speak with a fluent tongue, saying: “O Khalifah, hold thy hand and beat me not, but leave me bounden to this tree and go down to the river and cast thy net, confiding in Allah; for He will give thee thy daily bread.”

Hearing this, Khalifah went down to the river, and casting his net, let the cords run out. Then he pulled it in and found it heavier than before, so he ceased not to tug at it till he brought it to land, when, behold, there was another ape in it, with front teeth wide apart, kohl-darkened eyes, and hands stained with henna dyes; and he was laughing, and wore a tattered waistcloth about his middle. Quoth Khalifah, “Praised be Allah Who hath changed the fish of the river into apes!” Then, going up to the first ape, who was still tied to the tree, he said to him: “See, O unlucky, how fulsome was the counsel thou gavest me! None but thou made me light on this second ape; and for that thou gavest me good morrow with thy one eye and thy lameness, I am become distressed and weary, without dirham or dinar.”

So saying, he hent in hand a stick and flourishing it thrice in the air, was about to come down with it upon the lame ape, when the creature cried out for mercy and said to him: “I conjure thee, by Allah, spare me for the sake of this my fellow, and seek of him thy need; for he will guide thee to thy desire!” So he held his hand from him, and throwing down the stick, went up to and stood by the second ape, who said to him: “O Khalifah, this my speech will profit thee naught except thou hearken to what I say to thee; but an thou do my bidding and cross me not, I will be the cause of thine enrichment.” Asked Khalifah, “And what hast thou to say to me that I may obey thee therein?” The ape answered, “Leave me bound on the bank and hie thee down to the river, then cast thy net a third time, and after I will tell thee what to do.”

So he took his net, and going down to the river, cast it once more and waited awhile. Then he drew it in, and finding it heavy, labored at it and ceased not his travail till he got it ashore, when he found in it yet another ape. But this one was red, with a blue waistcloth about his middle; his hands and feet were stained with henna and his eyes blackened with kohl When Khalifah saw this, he exclaimed: “Glory to God the Great! Extolled be the perfection of the Lord of Dominion! Verily, this is a blessed day from first to last Its ascendant was fortunate in the countenance of the first ape, and the scroll is known by its superscription! Verily, today is a day of apes. There is not a single fish left in the river, and we are come out today but to catch monkeys!”

Then he turned to the third ape and said, “And what thing thou also, O unlucky?” Quoth the ape, “Dost thou not know me, O Khalifah!” and quoth he, “Not I!” The ape cried, “I am the ape of Abu al-Sa’adat the Jew, the shroff.” Asked Khalifah, “And what dost thou for him?” and the ape answered, “I give him good morrow at the first of the day, and he gaineth five ducats; and again at the end of the day, I give him good even, and he gaineth other five ducats.” Whereupon Khalifah turned to the first ape and said to him: “See, O unlucky, what fine apes other folk have! As for thee, thou givest me good morrow with thy one eye and thy lameness and thy ill-omened phiz, and I become poor and bankrupt and hungry!” So saying, he took the cattle stick, and flourishing it thrice in the air, was about to come down with it on the first ape, when Abu al-Sa’adat’s ape said to him: “Let him be, O Khalifah. Hold thy hand and come hither to me, that I may tell thee what to do.”

So Khalifah threw down the stick, and walking up to him,’cried, ‘And what hast thou to say to me, O monarch of all monkeys?” Replied the ape: “Leave me and the other two apes here, and take thy not and cast it into the river; and whatever cometh up, bring it to me, and I will tell thee what shall gladden thee.” He replied, “I hear and obey,” and took the net and gathered it on his shoulder, reciting these couplets:

“When straitened is my breast I will of my Creator pray,
Who may and can the heaviest weight lighten in easiest way,
For ere man’s glance can turn or close his eye by God His grace
Waxeth the broken whole and yieldeth jail its prison prey.
Therefore with Allah one and all of thy concerns commit,
Whose grace and favor men of wit shall nevermore gainsay.”

Now when Khalifah had made an end of his verse, he went down to the river, and casting his net, waited awhile. After which he drew it up and found therein a fine young fish, with a big head, a tail like a ladle, and eyes like two gold pieces. When Khalifah saw this fish, he rejoiced, for he had never in his life caught its like, so he took it, marveling, and carried it to the ape of Abu al-Sa’adat the Jew, as ’twere he had gotten possession of the universal world. Quoth the ape, “O Khalifah, what wilt thou do with this, and with thine ape?” and quoth the fisherman: “I will tell thee, O monarch of monkeys, all I am about to do. Know then that first, I will cast about to make away with yonder accursed, my ape, and take thee in his stead, and give thee every day to eat of whatso thou wilt.” Rejoined the ape: “Since thou hast made choice of me, I will tell thee how thou shalt do wherein, if it please Allah Almighty, shall be the mending of thy fortune. Lend thy mind, then, to what I say to thee and ’tis this! Take another cord and tie me also to a tree, where leave me and go to the midst of the dike and cast thy net into the Tigris. Then after waiting awhile, draw it up and thou shalt find therein a fish than which thou never sawest a finer in thy whole life. Bring it to me and I will tell thee how thou shalt do after this.”

So Khalifah rose forthright, and casting his net into the Tigris, drew up a great catfish the bigness of a lamb. Never had he set eyes on its like, for it was larger than the first fish. He carried it to the ape, who said to him: “Gather thee some green grass and set half of it in a basket; lay the fish therein and cover it with the other moiety. Then, leaving us here tied, shoulder the basket and betake thee to Baghdad. If any bespeak thee or question thee by the way, answer him not, but fare on till thou comest to the market street of the money-changers, at the upper end whereof thou wilt find the shop of Master Abu al-Sa’adat the Jew, Sheikh of the shroffs, and wilt see him sitting on a mattress, with a cushion behind him and two collers, one for gold and one for silver, before him, while around him stand his Mamelukes and Negro slaves and servant lads. Go up to him and set the basket before him, saying: ‘O Abu al-Sa’adat, verily I went out today to fish and cast my net in thy name, and Allah Almighty sent me this fish.’ He will ask, ‘Hast thou shown it to any but me?’ and do thou answer, ‘No, by Allah!’ Then will he take it of thee and give thee a dinar. Give it him back and he will give thee two dinars; but do thou return them also, and so do with everything he may offer thee; and take naught from him, though he give thee the fish’s weight in gold.

Then will he say to thee, ‘Tell me what thou wouldst have, and do thou reply, ‘By Allah, I will not sell the fish save for two words!’ He will ask, ‘What are they?’ And do thou answer, ‘Stand up and say, “Bear witness, O ye who are present in the market, that I give Khalifah the fisherman my ape in exchange for his ape, and that I barter for his lot my lot and luck for his luck.” This is the price of the fish, and I have no need of gold.’ If he do this, I will every day give thee good morrow and good even, and every day thou shalt gain ten dinars of good gold; whilst this one-eyed, lame-legged ape shall daily give the Jew good morrow, and Allah shall afflict him every day with an avanie which he must needs pay, nor will he cease to be thus afflicted till he is reduced to beggary and hath naught. Hearken then to my words, so shalt thou prosper and be guided aright.”

Quoth Khalifah: “I accept thy counsel, O monarch of all the monkeys! But as for this unlucky, may Allah never bless him! I know not what to do with him.” Quoth the ape, “Let him go into the water, and let me go also.” “I hear and obey,” answered Khalifah, and unbound the three apes, and they went down into the river. Then he took up the catfish, which he washed, then laid it in the basket upon some green grass, and covered it with other, and lastly, shouldering his load, set out with the basket upon his shoulder and ceased not faring till he entered the city of Baghdad. And as he threaded the streets the folk knew him and cried out to him, saying, “What hast thou there, O Khalifah?” But he paid no heed to them and passed on till he came to the market street of the money-changers and fared between the shops, as the ape had charged him, till he found the Jew seated at the upper end, with his servants in attendance upon him, as he were a King of the Kings of Khorasan. He knew him at first sight; so he went up to him and stood before him, whereupon Abu al-Sa’adat raised his eyes and recognizing him, said: “Welcome, O Khalifah! What wantest thou, and what is thy need? If any have missaid thee or spited thee, tell me and I will go with thee to the Chief of Police, who shall do thee justice on him.” Replied Khalifah: “Nay, as thy head liveth, O chief of the Jews, none hath missaid me. But I went forth this morning to the river and, casting my net into the Tigris on thy luck, brought up this fish.”

Therewith he opened the basket and threw the fish before the Jew, who admired it and said, the Pentateuch and the Ten Commandments, I dreamt last night that the Virgin came to me and said, ‘Know, O Abu al-Sa’adat, that I have sent thee a pretty present!’ And doubtless ’tis this fish.” Then he turned to Khalifah and said to him, “By thy faith, hath any seen it but I?” Khalifah replied, “No, by Allah, and by Abu Bakr the Veridical, none hath seen it save thou, O chief of the Jews!” Whereupon the Jew turned to one of his lads and said to him: “Come, carry this fish to my house and bid Sa’adah dress it and fry and broil it, against I make an end of my business and hie me home.” And Khalifah said, “Go, O my lad, let the master’s wife fry some of it and broil the rest.” Answered the boy, “I hear and I obey, O my lord,” and, taking the fish, went away with it to the house.

Then the Jew put out his hand and gave Khalifah the fisherman a dinar, saying, “Take this for thyself, O Khalifah, and spend it on thy family.” When Khalifah saw the dinar on his palm, he took it, saying, “Laud to the Lord of Dominion!” as if he had never seen aught of gold in his life, and went somewhat away. But before he had gone far, he was minded of the ape’s charge and turning back, threw down the ducat, saying: “Take thy gold and give folk back their fish! Dost thou make a laughingstock of folk?” The Jew, hearing this, thought he was jesting, and offered him two dinars upon the other, but Khalifah said: “Give me the fish, and no nonsense. How knewest thou I would sell it at this price?” Whereupon the Jew gave him two more dinars and said, “Take these five ducats for thy fish and leave greed.” So Khalifah hent the five dinars in hand and went away, rejoicing, and gazing and marveling at the gold and saying: “Glory be to God! There is not with the Caliph of Baghdad what is with me this day!”

Then he ceased not faring on till he came to the end of the market street, when he remembered the words of the ape and his charge, and returning to the Jew, threw him back the gold. Quoth he: “What aileth thee, O Khalifah? Dost thou want silver in exchange for gold?” Khalifah replied: “I want nor dirhams nor dinars. I only want thee to give me back folk’s fish.” With this the Jew waxed wroth and shouted out at him, saying: “O Fisherman, thou bringest me a fish not worth a sequin and I give thee five for it, yet art thou not content! Art thou Jinn-mad? Tell me for how much thou wilt sell it.” Answered Khalifah, “I will not sell it for silver nor for gold, only for two sayings thou shalt say me.”

When the Jew heard speak of the “two sayings,” his eyes sank into his head, he breathed hard and ground his teeth for rage, and said to him, “O nail paring of the Moslems, wilt thou have me throw off my faith for the sake of thy fish, and wilt thou debauch me from my religion and stultify my belief and my conviction which I inherited of old from my forebears?” Then he cried out to the servants who were in waiting and said: “Out on you! Bash me this unlucky rogue’s neck and bastinado him soundly!” So they came down upon him with blows and ceased not beating him till he fell beneath the shop, and the Jew said to them, “Leave him and let him rise.” Whereupon Khalifah jumped up as if naught ailed him, and the Jew said to him: “Tell me what price thou asketh for this fish and I will give it thee; for thou hast gotten but scant good of us this day.” Answered the fisherman, “Have no fear for me, O master, because of the beating, for I can eat ten donkeys’ rations of stick.”

The Jew laughed at his words and said, “Allah upon thee, tell me what thou wilt have and by the right of my faith, I will give it thee!” The fisherman replied, “Naught from thee will remunerate me for this fish save the two words whereof I spake.” And the Jew said, “Meseemeth thou wouldst have me become a Moslem.” Khalifah rejoined: “By Allah, O Jew, an thou Islamize, ’twill nor advantage the Moslems nor damage the Jews. And in like manner, an thou hold to thy misbelief ’twill nor damage the Moslems nor advantage the Jews. But what I desire of thee is that thou rise to thy feet and say: ‘Bear witness against me, O people of the market, that I barter my ape for the ape of Khalifah the fisherman and my lot in the world for his lot and my luck for his luck’.” Quoth the Jew, “If this be all thou desirest, ’twill sit lightly upon me.” So he rose without stay or delay and standing on his feet, repeated the required words. After which he turned to the fisherman and asked him, “Hast thou aught else to ask of me?” “No,” answered he, and the Jew said, “Go in peace!”

Hearing this Khalifah sprung to his feet forthright, took up his basket and net, and returned straight to the Tigris, where he threw his net and pulled it in. He found it heavy and brought it not ashore but with travail, when he found it full of fish of all kinds. Presently up came a woman with a dish, who gave him a dinar, and he gave her fish for it, and after her a eunuch, who also bought a dinar’s worth of fish, and so forth till he had sold ten dinars’ worth. And he continued to sell ten dinars’ worth of fish daily for ten days, till he had gotten a hundred dinars.

Now Khalifah the fisherman had quarters in the Passage of the Merchants, and as he lay one night in his lodging much bemused with hashish, he said to himself: “O Khalifah, the folk all know thee for a poor fisherman, and now thou hast gotten a hundred golden dinars. Needs must the Commander of the Faithful, Harun al-Rashid, hear of this from someone, and haply he will be wanting money and will send for thee and say to thee: ‘I need a sum of money and it hath reached me that thou hast an hundred dinars, so do thou lend them to me those same.’ I shall answer, ‘O Commander of the Faithful, I am a poor man, and whoso told thee that I had a hundred dinars lied against me, for I have naught of this.’ Thereupon be will commit me to the Chief of Police, saying, ‘Strip him of his clothes and torment him with the bastinado till he confess and give up the hundred dinars in his possession.’ Wherefore, meseemeth to provide against this predicament, the best thing I can do is to rise forthright and bash myself with the whip, so to use myself to beating.” And his hashish said to him, “Rise, doff thy dress.”

So he stood up, and putting off his clothes, took a whip he had by him and set handy a leather pillow. Then he fell to lashing himself, laying every other blow upon the pillow and roaring out the while-: “Alas! Alas! By Allah, ’tis a false saying, O my lord, and they have lied against me, for I am a poor fisherman and have naught of the goods of the world!” The noise of the whip falling on the pillow and on his person resounded in the still of night and the folk heard it, and amongst others the merchants, and they said: “Whatever can ail the poor fellow, that he crieth and we hear the noise of blows falling on him? ‘Twould seem robbers have broken in upon him and are tormenting him.” Presently they all came forth of their lodgings at. the noise of the blows and the crying, and repaired to Khalifah’s room, but they found the door locked and said one to other: “Belike the robbers have come in upon him from the back of the adjoining saloon. It behooveth us to climb over by the roofs.”

So they clomb over the roofs, and coming down through the skylight, saw him naked and flogging himself, and asked him, “What aileth thee, O Khalifah?” He answered: “Know, O folk, that I have gained some dinars and fear lest my case be carried up to the Prince of True Believers, Harun al-Rashid, and he send for me and demand of me those same gold pieces; whereupon I should deny, and I fear that if I deny, he will torture me, so I am torturing myself, by way of accustoming me to what may come.” The merchants laughed at him and said: “Leave this fooling. May Allah not bless thee and the dinars thou hast gotten! Verily thou hast disturbed us this night and hast troubled our hearts.”

So Khalifah left flogging himself and slept till the morning, when he rose and would have gone about his business, but bethought him of his hundred dinars and said in his mind: “An I leave them at home, thieves will steal them, and if I put them in a belt about my waist, peradventure someone will see me and lay in wait for me till he come upon me in some lonely place and slay me and take the money. But I have a device that should serve me well, right well.” So he jumped up forthright and made him a pocket in the collar of his gabardine, and tying the hundred dinars up in a purse, laid them in the collar pocket. Then he took his net and basket and staff and went down to the Tigris, where he made a cast, but brought up naught. So he removed from that place to another and threw again, but once more the net came up empty. And he went on removing from place to place till he had gone half a day’s journey from the city, ever casting the net, which kept bringing up naught. So he said to himself, “By Allah, I will throw my net a-stream but this once more, whether ill come of it or weal!”

Then he hurled the net with all his force, of the excess of his wrath, and the purse with the hundred dinars flew out of his collar pocket and, lighting in midstream, was carried away by the strong current. Whereupon he threw down the net, and doffing his clothes, left them on the bank and plunged into the water after the purse. He dived for it nigh a hundred times, till his strength was exhausted and he came up for sheer fatigue, without chancing on it. When he despaired of finding the purse, he returned to the shore, where he saw nothing but staff, net, and basket and sought for his clothes but could light on no trace of them. So he said in himself: “O vilest of those wherefor was made the byword: ‘The pilgrimage is not perfected save by copulation with the camel!”‘ Then he wrapped the net about him, and taking staff in one hand and basket in other, went trotting about like a camel in rut, running right and left and backward and forward, disheveled and dusty, as he were a rebel Marid let loose from Solomon’s prison.

So far for what concerns the fisherman Khalifah; but as regards the Caliph Harun al-Rashid, he had a friend, a jeweler called Ibn al-Kirnas, and all the traders, brokers, and middlemen knew him for the Caliph’s merchant. Wherefore there was naught sold in Baghdad by way of rarities and things of price or Mamelukes or handmaidens but was first shown to him. As he sat one day in his shop, behold, there came up to him the Sheikh of the brokers, with a slave girl whose like seers never saw, for she was of passing beauty and loveliness, symmetry and perfect grace, and among her gifts that she knew all arts and sciences and could make verses and play upon all manner musical instruments. So Ibn al-Kirnas bought her for five thousand golden dinars and clothed her with other thousand. After which he carried her to the Prince of True Believers, with whom she lay the night, and who made trial of her in every kind of knowledge and accomplishment and found her versed in all sorts of arts and sciences, having no equal in her time. Her name was Kut al-Kulub and she was even as saith the poet:

I fix my glance on her, whene’er she wends,
And nonacceptance of my glance breeds pain.
She favors graceful-necked gazelle at gaze,
And “Graceful as gazelle” to say we’re fain.

On the morrow the Caliph sent for Ibn al-Kirnas, the jeweler, and bade him receive ten thousand dinars to her price. And his heart was taken up with the slave girl Kut al-Kulub and he forsook the Lady Zubaydah bint al-Kasim, for all she was the daughter of his father’s brother, and he abandoned all his favorite concubines and abode a whole month without stirring from Kut al-Kulub’s side save to go to the Friday prayers and return to her all in haste. This was grievous to the lords of the realm and they complained thereof to the Wazir Ja’afar the Barmecide, who bore with the Commander of the Faithful and waited till the next Friday, when he entered the cathedral mosque and, forgathering with the Caliph, related to him all that occurred to him of extraordinary stories anent seld-seen love and lovers, with intent to draw out what was in his mind.

Quoth the Caliph, “By Allah, O Ja’afar, this is not of my choice, but my heart is caught in the snare of love and wot I not what is to be done!” The Wazir Ja’afar replied: “O Commander of the Faithful, thou knowest how this girl Kut al-Kulub is become at thy disposal and of the number of thy servants, and that which hand possesseth soul coveteth not. Moreover, I will tell thee another thing, which is that the highest boast of kings and princes is in hunting and the pursuit of sport and victory; and if thou apply thyself to this, perchance it will divert thee from her, and it may be thou wilt forget her.” Rejoined the Caliph: “Thou sayest well, O Ja’afar. Come let us go a-hunting forthright, without stay or delay.” So soon as Friday prayers were prayed, they left the mosque, and at once mounting their she-mules, rode forth to the chase, occupied with talk, and their attendants outwent them.

Presently the heat became overhot and Al-Rashid said to his Wazir, “O Ja’afar, I am sore athirst.” Then he looked around, and espying a figure in the distance on a high mound, asked Ja’afar, “Seest thou what I see?” Answered the Wazir: “Yes; O Commander of the Faithful. I see a dim figure on a high mound. Belike he is the keeper of a garden or of a cucumber plot, and in whatso wise water will not be lacking in his neighborhood,” presently adding, “I will go to him and fetch thee some.” But Al-Rashid said: “My mule is swifter than thy mule, so do thou abide here, on account of the troops, whilst I go myself to him and get of this person drink and return.” So saying, he urged his she-mule, which started off like racing wind or railing water, and in the twinkling of an eye made the mound, where he found the figure he had, seen to be none other than Khalifah the fisherman, naked and wrapped in the net.

And indeed he was horrible to behold, as to and fro he rolled with eyes for very redness like cresset gleam and dusty hair in disheveled trim, as he were, Ifrit or a lion grim. Al-Rashid saluted him and he returned his salutation, but he was wroth, and fires might have been lit at his breath. Quoth the Caliph, “O man, hast thou any water?” and quote Khalifah: “How, thou, art thou blind, or Jinnmad? Get thee to the river Tigris, for ’tis behind this mound.” So Al-Rashid went around the mound, and going down to the river, drank and watered his mule. Then without a moment’s delay he returned to Khalifah and said to him, “What aileth thee, O man, to stand here, and what is thy calling.?” The fisherman cried: “This is a stranger and sillier question than that about the water! Seest thou not the gear of my craft on my shoulder?” Said the Caliph, “Belike thou art a fisherman?” and he replied, “Yes.” Asked Al-Rashid, “Where is thy gabardine, and where are thy waistcloth and girdle, and where be the rest of thy raiment?”

Now these were the very things which had been taken from Khalifah, like for like, so when he heard the Caliph name them, he got into his head that it was he who had stolen his clothes from the riverbank, and coming down from the top of the mound, swiftlier than the blinding levin, laid hold of the mule’s bridle, saying, “Hark ye, man, bring me back my things and leave jesting and joking.” Al-Rashid replied, “By Allah, I have not seen thy clothes, nor know aught of them!” Now the Caliph had large cheeks and a small mouth, so Khalifah said to him: “Belike thou art by trade a singer, or a piper on pipes? But bring me back my clothes fairly and without more ado, or I will bash thee with this my staff till thou bepiss thyself and befoul thy clothes.” When Al-Rashid saw the staff in the fisherman’s hand and that he had the vantage of him, he said to himself, “By Allah, I cannot brook from this mad beggar half a blow of that staff!” Now he had on a satin gown, so he pulled it off and gave it to Khalifah, saying, “O man, take this in place of thy clothes.” The fisherman took it and turned it about and said, “My clothes are worth ten of this painted aba cloak,” and rejoined the Caliph, “Put it on till I bring thee thy gear.”

So Khalifah donned the gown, but finding it too long for him, took a knife he had with him tied to the handle of his basket, and cut off nigh a third of the skirt, so that it fell only beneath his knees. Then he turned to Al-Rashid and said to him, “Allah upon thee, O piper, tell me what wage thou gettest every month from thy master, for thy craft of piping.” Replied the Caliph, “My wage is ten dinars a month,” and Khalifah continued: “By Allah, my poor fellow, thou makest me sorry for thee! Why, I make thy ten dinars every day! Hast thou a mind to take service with me, and I will teach thee the art of fishing and share my gain with thee? So shalt thou make five dinars a day and be my slavey and I will protect thee against thy master with this staff.” Quoth Al-Rashid, “I will well,” and quoth Khalifah: “Then get off thy she-ass and tie her up, so she may serve us to carry the fish hereafter, and come hither, that I may teach thee to fish forthright.”

So Al-Rashid alighted, and hobbling his mule, tucked his skirts into his girdle, and Khalifah said to him, “O piper, lay hold of the net thus and put it over thy forearm thus and cast it into the Tigris thus.” Accordingly the Caliph took heart of grace and, doing as the fisherman showed him, threw the net and pulled at it, but could not draw it up. So Khalifah came to his aid and tugged at it with him, but the two together could not hale it up. Whereupon said the fisherman: “O piper of ill-omen, for the first time I took thy gown in place of my clothes, but this second time I will have thine ass and will beat thee to boot till thou bepiss and beskit thyself, an I find my net torn.” Quoth Al-Rashid, “Let the twain of us pull at once.” So they both pulled together, and succeeded with difficulty in hauling that net ashore, when they found it full of fish of all kinds and colors, and Khalifah said to Al-Rashid: “By Allah, O piper, thou art foul of favor but an thou apply thyself to fishing, thou wilt make a mighty fine fisherman. But now ’twere best thou bestraddle thine ass and make for the market and fetch me a pair of frails, and I will look after the fish till thou return, when I and thou will load it on thine ass’s back. I have scales and weights and all we want, so we can take them with us, and thou wilt have nothing to do but to hold the scales and punch the price. For here we have fish worth twenty dinars. So be fast with the frails and loiter not.”

Answered the Caliph, “I hear and obey” and mounting, left him with his fish, and spurred his mule, in high good humor, and ceased not laughing over his adventure with the fisherman till he came up to Ja’afar, who said to him, “O Commander of the Faithful, belike when thou wentest down to drink, thou foundest a pleasant flower garden and enteredst and tookest thy pleasure therein alone?” At this Al-Rashid fell a laughing again and all the Barmecides rose and kissed the ground before him, saying: “O Commander of the Faithful, Allah make joy to endure for thee and do away annoy from thee! What was the cause of thy delaying when thou faredst to drink, and what hath befallen thee?” Quoth the Caliph, “Verily, a right wondrous tale and a joyous adventure and a wondrous hath befallen me.

And he repeated to them what had passed between himself and the fisherman and his words, “Thou stolest my clothes!” and how he had given him his gown and how he had cut off a part of it, finding it too long for him. Said Ja’afar, “By Allah, O Commander of the Faithful, I had it in mind to beg the gown of thee, but now I will go straight to the fisherman and buy it of him.” The Caliph replied, “By Allah, he hath cut off a third part of the skirt and spoilt it! But, O Ja’afar, I am tired with fishing in the river, for I have caught great store of fish, which I left on the bank with my master Khalifah, and he is watching them and waiting for me to return to him with a couple of frails and a matchet. Then we are to go, I and he, to the market and sell the fish and share the price.” Ja’afar rejoined, “O Commander of the Faithful, I will bring you a purchaser for your fish.” And Al-Rashid retorted: “O Ja’afar, by the virtue of my holy forefathers, whoso bringeth me one of the fish that are before Khalifah, who taught me angling, I will give him for it a gold dinar!” So the crier proclaimed among the troops that they should go forth and buy fish for the Caliph, and they all arose and made for the riverside.

Now while Khalifah was expecting the Caliph’s return with the two frails, behold, the Mamelukes swooped down upon him like vultures and took the fish and wrapped them in gold-embroidered kerchiefs, beating one another in their eagerness to get at the fisherman Whereupon quoth Khalifah, “Doubtless these are the fish of Paradise!” and hending two fish right hand and left, plunged into the water up to his neck and fell a-saying, “O Allah, by the virtue of these fish, let Thy servant the piper, my partner, came to me at this very moment.” And suddenly up to him came a black slave which was the chief of the Caliph’s Negro eunuchs. He had tarried behind the rest, by reason of his horse having stopped to make water by the way, and finding that naught remained of the fish, little or much, looked right and left till he espied Khalifah standing in the stream with a fish in either hand, and said to him, “Come hither, O Fisherman!” But Khalifah replied, “Begone and none of your impudence!” So the eunuch went up to him and said, “Give me the fish and I will pay thee their price.” Replied the fisherman: “Art thou little of wit? I will not sell them.” Therewith the eunuch drew his mace upon him, and Khalifah cried out, saying: “Strike not, O loon! Better largess than the mace.”

So saying, he threw the two fishes to the eunuch, who took them and laid them in his kerchief. Then he put hand in pouch, but found not a single dirham, and said to Khalifah: “O fisherman, verily thou art out of luck for, by Allah, I have not a silver about me! But come tomorrow to the palace of the Caliphate and ask for the eunuch Sandal, whereupon the castratos will direct thee to me, and by coming thither thou shalt get what falleth to thy lot and therewith wend thy ways.” Quoth Khalifah, “Indeed, this is a blessed day, and its blessedness was manifest from the first of it!”

Then he shouldered his net and returned to Baghdad, and as he passed through the streets, the folk saw the Caliph’s gown on him and stared at him till he came to the gate of his quarter, by which was the shop of the Caliph’s tailor. When the man saw him wearing dress of the apparel of the Caliph, worth a thousand dinars, he said to him, “O Khalifah, whence hadst thou that gown?” Replied the fisherman: “What aileth thee to be impudent? I had it of one whom I taught to fish and who is become my apprentice. I forgave him the cutting off of his hand for that he stole my clothes and gave me this cape in their place.” So the tailor knew that the Caliph had come upon him as he was fishing and jested with him and given him the gown.

Such was his case, but as regards Harun al-Rashid, he had gone out a-hunting and a-fishing only to divert his thoughts from the damsel Kut al-Kulub. But when Zubaydah heard of her and of the Caliph’s devotion to her, the lady was fired with the jealousy which the more especially fireth women, so that she refused meat and drink and rejected the delights of sleep, and awaited the Caliph’s going forth on a journey or what not, that she might set a snare for the damsel. So when she learnt that he was gone hunting and fishing, she bade her women furnish the palace fairly and decorate it splendidly and serve up viands and confections. And amongst the rest she made a China dish of the daintiest sweetmeats that can be made, wherein she had put bhang.

Then she ordered one of her eunuchs go to the damsel Kut al-Kulub and bid her to the banquet, saying: “The Lady Zubaydah bint alKasim, the wife of the Commander of the Faithful, hath drunken medicine today, and having heard tell of the sweetness of thy singing, longeth to divert herself with somewhat of thine art.” Kut al-Kulub replied, “Hearing and obedience are due to Allah and the Lady Zubaydah,” and rose without stay or delay, unknowing what was hidden for her in the secret purpose. Then she took with her what instruments she needed and, accompanying the eunuch, ceased not faring till she stood in the presence of the Princess. When she entered she kissed the ground before her again and again, then rising to her feet, said: “Peace be on the Lady of the exalted seat and the presence whereto none may avail, daughter of the house Abbasi and scion of the Prophet’s family! May Allah fulfill thee of peace and prosperity in the days and the years!”

Then she stood with the rest of the women and eunuchs, and presently the Lady Zubaydah raised her eyes and considered her beauty and loveliness. She saw a damsel with cheeks smooth as rose and breasts like granado, a face moon-bright, a brow flower-white, and great eyes black as night. Her eyelids were languor-dight and her face beamed with light, as if the sun from her forehead arose and the murks of the night from the locks of her brow. And the fragrance of musk from her breath strayed, and flowers bloomed in her lovely face inlaid. The moon beamed from her forehead and in her slender shape the branches swayed. She was like the full moon shining in the nightly shade. Her eyes wantoned, her eyebrows were like a bow arched, and her lips of coral molded. Her beauty amazed all who espied her and her glances amated all who eyed her. Glory be to Him Who formed her and fashioned her and perfected her!

Quoth the Lady Zubaydah: “Well come, and welcome and fair cheer to thee, O Kut al-Kulub! Sit and divert us with thine art and the goodliness of thine accomplishments.” Quoth the damsel, “I hear and I obey,” and rose and exhibited tricks of sleight of hand and legerdemain and all manner pleasing arts, till the Princess came near to fall in love with her and said to herself, “Verily, my cousin Al-Rashid is not to blame for loving her!” Then the damsel kissed ground before Zubaydah and sat down, whereupon they set food before her. Presently they brought her the drugged dish of sweetmeats and she ate thereof, and hardly had it settled in her stomach when her head fell backward and she sank on the ground sleeping. With this, the lady said to her women, “Carry her up to one of the chambers, till I summon her,” and they replied, “We hear and we obey. Then said she to one of her eunuchs, “Fashion me a chest and bring it hitherto to me!” And shortly afterward she bade make the semblance of a tomb and spread the report that Kut al-Kulub had choked and died, threatening her familiars that she would smite the neck of whoever should say, “She is alive.”

Now, behold, the Caliph suddenly returned from the chase, and the first inquiry he made was for the damsel. So there came to him one of his eunuchs, whom the Lady Zubaydah had charged to declare she was dead if the Caliph should ask for her and, kissing ground before him, said: “May thy head live, O my lord! Be certified that Kut al-Kulub choked in eating and is dead.” Whereupon cried Al-Rashid, “God never gladden thee with good news, O thou bad slave!” and entered the palace, where he heard of her death from everyone and asked, “Where is her tomb?” So they brought him to the sepulcher and showed him the pretended tomb, saying, “This is her burial place.” The Caliph, weeping sore for her, abode by the tomb a full hour, after which he arose and went away, in the utmost distress and the deepest melancholy.

So the Lady Zubaydah saw that her plot had succeeded, and forthright sent for the eunuch and said, “Hither with the chest!” He set it before her, when she bade bring the damsel, and locking her up therein, said to the eunuch: “Take all pains to sell this chest, and make it a condition with the purchaser that he buy it locked. Then give alms with its price.” So he took it and went forth to do her bidding.

Thus fared it with these, but as for Khalifah the fisherman, when morning morrowed and shone with its light and sheen, he said to himself, “I cannot do aught better today than visit the eunuch who bought the fish of me, for he appointed me to come to him in the palace of the Caliphate.” So he went forth of his lodging, intending for the palace, and when he came thither, he found Mamelukes, Negro slaves, and eunuchs standing and sitting, and looking at them, behold, seated amongst them was the eunuch who had taken the fish of him, with the white slaves waiting on him. Presently, one of the Mameluke lads called out to him, whereupon the eunuch turned to see who he was and lo! it was the fisherman. Now when Khalifah was ware that he saw him and recognized him, he said to him: “I have not failed thee, O my little Tulip! On this wise are men of their word.” Hearing his address, Sandal the eunuch laughed and replied, “By Allah, thou art right, O Fisherman,” and put his hand to his pouch, to give him somewhat. But at that moment there arose a great clamor. So he raised his head to see what was to do, and finding that it was the Wazir Ja’afar the Barmecide coming forth from the Caliph’s presence, he rose to him and forewent him, and they walked about conversing for a longsome time.

Khalifah the fisherman waited awhile, then, growing weary of standing, and finding that the eunuch took no heed of him, he set himself in his way and beckoned to him from afar, saying, “O my lord Tulip, give me my due and let me go!” The eunuch heard him, but was ashamed to answer him because of the Minister’s presence, so he went on talking with Ja’afar and took no notice whatever of the fisherman. Whereupon quoth Khalifah: “O slow o’ pay! May Allah put to shame all churls and all who take folk’s goods and are niggardly with them! I put myself under thy protection, O my lord Bran-belly, to give me my due and let me go!” The eunuch heard him, but was ashamed to answer him before Ja’afar, and the Minister saw the fisherman beckoning and talking to him, though he knew not what he was saying. So he said to Sandal, misliking his behavior, “O Eunuch, what would yonder beggar with thee?” Sandal replied, “Dost thou not know him, O my lord the Wazir?” and Ja’afar answered: “By Allah I know him not! How should I know a man I have never seen but at this moment?”

Rejoined the Eunuch: “O my lord, this is the fisherman whose fish we seized on the banks of the Tigris. I came too late to get any and was ashamed to return to the Prince of True Believers emptyhanded when all the Mamelukes had some. Presently I espied the fisherman standing in midstream, calling on Allah, with four fishes in his hands, and said to him, ‘Give me what thou hast there and take their worth.’ He handed me the fish and I put my hand into my pocket, purposing to gift him with somewhat, but found naught therein and said, ‘Come to me in the palace, and I will give thee wherewithal to aid thee in thy poverty.’ So he came to me today and I was putting hand to pouch, that I might give him somewhat, when thou camest forth and I rose to wait on thee and was diverted with thee from him, till he grew tired of waiting. And this is the whole story how he cometh to be standing here.”

The Wazir, hearing this account, smiled and said: “O Eunuch, how is it that this fisherman cometh in his hour of need and thou satisfiest him not? Dost thou not know him, O chief of the eunuchs?” “No,” answered Sandal, and Ja’afar said. “This is the master of the Commander of the Faithful, and his partner and our lord the Caliph hath arisen this morning strait of breast, heavy of heart, and troubled in thought, nor is there aught will broaden his breast save this fisherman. So let him not go till I crave the Caliph’s pleasure concerning him and bring him before him. Perchance Allah will relieve him of his oppression and console him for the loss of Kut al-Kulub by means of the fisherman’s presence, and he will give him wherewithal to? better himself, and thou wilt be the cause of this.” Replied Sandal: “O my lord, do as thou wilt, and may Allah Almighty long continue thee a pillar of the dynasty of the Commander of the Faithful, whose shadow Allah perpetuate and prosper it, root and branch!”

Then the Wazir Ja’afar rose up and went in to the Caliph, and Sandal ordered the Mamelukes not to leave the fisherman, whereupon Khalifah cried: “How goodly is thy bounty, O Tulip! The seeker is become the sought. I come to seek my due, and they imprison me for debts in arrears!” When Ja’afar came into the presence of the Caliph, he found him sitting with his head bowed earthward, breast straitened and mind melancholy, humming the verses of the poet:

My blamers instant bid that I for her become consoled,
But I, what can I do, whose heart declines to be controlled?
And how can I in patience bear the loss of lovely maid
When fails me patience for a love that holds with firmest hold!
Ne’er I’ll forget her nor the bowl that ‘twixt us both went round
And wine of glances maddened me with drunkenness ensouled.

Whenas Ja’afar stood in the presence, he said: “Peace be upon thee, O Commander of the Faithful, Defender of the honor of the Faith and descendant of the uncle of the Prince of the Apostles, Allah assain him and save him and his family one and an!” The Caliph raised his head and answered, “And on thee be. peace and the mercy of Allah and His blessings!” Quoth Ja’afar, “With leave of the Prince of True Believers, his servant would speak without restraint.” Asked the Caliph: “And when was restraint put upon thee in speech, and thou the Prince of Wazirs? Say what thou wilt.” Answered Ja’afar: “When I went out, O my lord, from before thee, intending for my house, I saw standing at the door thy master and teacher and partner, Khalifah the fisherman, who was aggrieved at thee and complained of thee, saying: ‘Glory be to God! I taught him to fish and he went away to fetch me a pair of frails, but never came back. And this is not the way of a good partner or of a good apprentice.’ So, if thou hast a mind to partnership, well and good; and if not, tell him, that he may take to partner another.”

Now when the Caliph heard these words, he smiled and his straitness of breast was done away with and he said, “My life on thee, is this the truth thou sayest, that the fisherman standeth at the door?” and Ja’afar replied, “By thy life, O Commander of the Faithful, he standeth at the door.” Quoth the Caliph: “O Ja’afar, by Allah, I will assuredly do my best to give him his due! If Allah at my hands send him misery, he shall have it, and if prosperity, he shall have it.” Then he took a piece of paper, and cutting it in pieces, said to the Wazir: “O Ja’afar, write down with thine own hand twenty sums of money, from one dinar to a thousand, and the names of all kinds of offices and dignities from the least appointment to the Caliphate; also twenty kinds of punishment, from the hightest beating to death.” “I hear and I obey, O Commander of the Faithful,” answered Ja’afar, and did as he was bidden.

Then said the Caliph: “O Ja’afar, I swear by my holy forefathers and by my kinship to Hamzah and Akil, that I mean to summon the fisherman and bid him take one of these papers, whose contents none knoweth save thou and I. And whatsoever is written in the paper which he shall choose, I will give it to him. Though it be the Caliphate, I will divest myself thereof and invest him therewith and grudge it not to him. And on the other hand, if there be written therein hanging or mutilation or death, I will execute it upon him. Now go and fetch him to me.” When Ja’afar heard this, he said to himself: “There is no Majesty and there is no Might save in Allah, the Glorious, the Great’ It may be somewhat will fall to this poor wretch’s lot that will bring about his destruction and I shall be the cause. But the Caliph hath sworn, so nothing remains now but to bring him in, and naught will happen save whatso Allah willeth.” Accordingly he went out to Khalifah the fisherman and laid hold of his hand, to carry him in to the Caliph, whereupon his reason fled and he said in himself: “What a stupid I was to come after yonder ill-omened slave, Tulip, whereby he hath brought me in company with Bran-belly!” Ja’afar fared on with him, with Mamelukes before and behind, whilst he said, “Doth not arrest suffice, but these must go behind and before me, to hinder my making off?” till they had traversed seven vestibules, when the Wazir said to him: “Mark my words, O Fisherman! Thou standest before the Commander of the Faithful and Defender of the Faith!”

Then he raised the great curtain and Khalifah’s eyes fell on the Caliph, who was seated on his couch, with the lords of the realm standing in attendance upon him. As soon as he knew him, he went up to him and said: “Well come, and welcome to thee, O piper! ‘Twas not right of thee to make thyself a fisherman and go away, leaving me sitting to guard the fish, and never to return! For, before I was aware, there came up Mamelukes on beasts of all manner colors, and snatched away the fish from me, I standing alone. And this was all of thy fault, for hadst thou returned with the frails forthright, we had sold a hundred dinars’ worth of fish. And now I come to seek my due, and they have arrested me. But thou, who hath imprisoned thee also in this place?” The Caliph smiled, and raising a corner of the curtain, put forth his head and said to the fisherman, “Come hither and take thee one of these papers.” Quoth Khalifah the fisherman: “Yesterday thou wast a fisherman, and today thou hast become an astrologer, but the more trades a man hath, the poorer he waxeth.” Thereupon Ja’afar said: “Take the paper at once, and do as the Commander of the Faithful biddeth thee, without prating.”

So he came forward and put forth his hand saying, “Far be it from me that this piper should ever again be my knave and fish with me!” Then, taking the paper, he handed it to the Caliph, saying: “O piper, what hath come out for me therein? Hide naught thereof.” So Al-Rashid received it and passed it on to Ja’afar and said to him, “Read what is therein.” He looked at it and said, “There is no Majesty and there is no Might save in Allah, the Glorious, the Great!” Said the Caliph: “Good news, O Ja’afar? What seest thou therein?” Answered the Wazir: “O Commander of the Faithful there came up from the paper, ‘Let the Fisherman receive a hundred blows with a stick.'” So the Caliph commanded to beat the Fisherman and they gave him a hundred sticks, after which he rose, saying: “Allah damn this, O Branbelly! Are jail and sticks part of the game?”

Then said Ja’afar: ” O Commander of the Faithful, this poor devil is come to the river, and how shall he go away thirsting? We hope that among the alms deeds of the Commander of the Faithful he may have leave to take another paper, so haply somewhat may come out wherewithal he may succor his poverty.” Said the Caliph: “By Allah, O Ja’afar, if he take another paper and death be written therein, I will assuredly kill him, and thou wilt be the cause.” Answered Ja’afar, “If he die he will be at rest.” But Khalifah the fisherman said to him: “Allah ne’er, gladden thee with good news! Have I made Baghdad strait upon you, that ye seek to slay me?” Quoth Ja’afar, “Take thee a paper, and crave the blessing of Allah Almighty!”

So he put out his hand, and taking a paper, gave it to Ja’afar, who read it and was silent. The Caliph asked, “Why art thou silent, O son of Yahya?” and he answered: “O Commander of the Faithful, there hath come out on this paper, ‘Naught shall be given to the fisherman.”‘ Then said the Caliph: “His daily bread will not come from us. Bid him fare forth from before our face.” Quoth Ja’afar: “By the claims of thy pious forefathers, let him take a third paper. It may be it will bring him alimony,” and quoth the Caliph, “Let him take one and no more.”

So he put out his hand and took a third paper, and behold, therein was written, “Let the Fisherman be given one dinar.” Ja’afar cried to him, “I sought good fortune for thee, but Allah willed not to thee aught save this dinar.” And Khalifah answered: “Verily, a dinar for every hundred sticks were rare good luck. May Allah not send thy body health!” The Caliph laughed at him and Ja’afar took him by the hand and led him out. When he reached the door, Sandal the eunuch saw him and said to him: “Hither, O Fisherman! Give us portion of that which the Commander of the Faithful hath bestowed on thee whilst jesting with thee.” Replied Khalifah: “By Allah, O Tulip, thou art right! Wilt thou share with me, O nigger? Indeed, I have eaten stick to the tune of a hundred blows and have earned one dinar, and thou art but too welcome to it.” So saying, he threw him the dinar and went out, with the tears flowing down the plain of his cheeks.

When the eunuch saw him in this plight, he knew that he had spoken sooth and called to the lads to fetch him back. So they brought him back and Sandal, putting his hand to his pouch, pulled out a red purse, whence he emptied a hundred golden dinars into the fisherman’s hand, saying, “Take this gold in payment of thy fish, and wend thy ways.” So Khalifah, in high good humor, took the hundred ducats and the Caliph’s one dinar and went his way, and forgot the beating.

Now as Allah willed it for the furthering of that which He had decreed, he passed by the mart of the handmaidens, and seeing there a mighty ring where many folks were forgathering, said to himself, “What is this crowd?” So he brake through the merchants and others, who said, “Make wide the way for Skipper Rapscallion, and let him pass.” Then he looked, and behold, he saw a chest, with a eunuch seated thereon and an old man standing by it,-and the Sheikh was crying: “O merchants, O men of money, who will hasten and hazard his coin for this chest of unknown contents from the palace of the Lady Zubaydah bint al-Kasim, wife of the Commander of the Faithful? How much shall I say for you? Allah bless you all!” Quoth one of the merchants; “By Allah, this is a risk! But I will say one word, and no blame to me. Be it mine for twenty dinars.” Quoth another, “Fifty,” and they went on bidding, one against other, till the price reached a hundred ducats.

Then said the crier, “Will any of you bid more, O merchants?” And Khalifah the fisherman said, “Be it mine for a hundred dinars and one dinar.” The merchants, hearing these words, thought he was jesting and laughed at him, saying, “O Eunuch, sell it to Khalifah for a hundred dinars and one dinar!” Quoth the eunuch: “By Allah, I will sell it to none but him! Take it, O Fisherman. The Lord bless thee in it, and here with thy gold.” So Khalifah pulled out the ducats and gave them to the eunuch, who, the bargain being duly made, delivered to him the chest and bestowed the price in alms on the spot, after which he returned to the palace and acquainted the Lady Zubaydah with what he had done, whereat she rejoiced. Meanwhile the fisherman hove the chest on shoulder, but could not carry it on this wise for the excess of its weight, so he lifted it onto his head and thus bore it to the quarter where he lived. Here he set it down, and being weary, sat awhile bemusing what had befallen him and saying in himself, “Would Heaven I knew what is in this chest!”

Then he opened the door of his lodging and haled the chest till he got it into his closet, after which he strove to open it, but failed. Quoth he: “What folly possessed me to buy this chest? There is no help for it but to break it open and see what is herein.” So he applied himself to the lock, but could not open it, and said to himself, “I will leave it till tomorrow.” Then he would have stretched him out to sleep, but could find no room, for the chest filled the whole closet. So he got upon it and lay him down. But when he had lain awhile, behold, he felt something stir under him, whereat sleep forsook him and his reason fled. So he arose and cried: “Meseems there be Jinns in the chest. Praise to Allah Who suffered me not to open it! For had I done so, they had risen against me in the dark and slain me, and from them would have befallen me naught of good.”

Then he lay down again, when lo! the chest moved a second time, more than before, whereupon he sprang to his feet and said: “There it goes again. But this is terrible!” And he hastened to look for the lamp, but could not find it and had not the wherewithal to buy another. So he went forth and cried out, “Ho, people of the quarter!” Now the most part of the folk were asleep, but they awoke at his crying and asked, “What aileth thee, O Khalifah?” He answered, “Bring me a lamp, for the Jinn are upon me.” They laughed at him and gave him a lamp, wherewith he returned to his closet. Then he smote the lock of the chest with a stone and broke it, and opening it, saw a damsel like a houri lying asleep within. Now she had been drugged with bhang, but at that moment she threw up the stuff and awoke. Then she opened her eyes, and feeling herself confined and cramped, moved. At this sight quoth Khalifah, “By Allah, O my lady, whence art thou?” and quoth she, “Bring me jessamine, and narcissus.” And Khalifah answered, “There is naught here but henna flowers.”

Thereupon she came to herself, and considering Khalifah, said to him, “What art thou?” presently adding, “And where am I?” He said, “Thou art in my lodging.” Asked she, “Am I not in the palace of the Caliph Harun al-Rashid?” And quoth he: “What manner of thing is Al-Rashid? O madwoman, Thou art naught but my slave girl. I bought thee this very day for a hundred dinars and one dinar, and brought thee home, and thou wast asleep in this here chest.” When she heard these words she said to him, “What is thy name?” Said he: “My name is Khalifah. How comes my star to have grown propitious, when I know my ascendant to have been otherwise?” She laughed and cried: “Spare me this talk! Hast thou anything to eat?” Replied he: “No, by Allah, nor yet to drink! I have not eaten these two days, and am now in want of a morsel.” She asked, “Hast thou no money?” and he said: “Allah keep this chest which hath beggared me. I gave all I had for it and am become bankrupt.”

The damsel laughed at him and said: “Up with thee and seek of thy neighbors somewhat for me to eat, for I am hungry.” So he went forth and cried out, “Ho, people of the quarter!” Now the folk were asleep, but they awoke and asked, “What aileth thee, O Khalifah?” Answered he, “O my neighbors, I am hungry and have nothing to eat.” So one came down to him with a bannock and another with broken meats and a third with a bittock of cheese and a fourth with a cucumber, and so on till his lap was full and he returned to his closet and laid the whole between her hands, saying, “Eat.” But she laughed at him, saying: “How can I eat of this when I have not a mug of water whereof to drink? I fear to choke with a mouthful and die.” Quoth he, “I will fill thee this pitcher.” So he took the pitcher, and going forth, stood ‘m the midst of the street and cried out, saying, “Ho, people of the quarter!” Quoth they, “What calamity is upon thee tonight, O Khalifah!” And he said, “Ye gave me food and I ate, but now I am athirst, so give me to drink.”

Thereupon one came down to him with a mug and another with an ewer and a third with a gugglet, and he filled his pitcher, and bearing it back, said to the damsel, “O my lady, thou lackest nothing now.” Answered she, “True, I want nothing more at this present.” Quoth he, “Speak to me and say me thy story.” And quoth she: “Fie upon thee! An thou knowest me not, I will tell thee who I am. I am Kut al-Kulub, the Caliph’s handmaiden, and the Lady Zubaydah was jealous of me, so she drugged me with bhang and set me in this chest,” presently adding: “Alhamdolillah- praised be God- for that the matter hath come to easy issue and no worse! But this befell me not save for thy good luck, for thou wilt certainly get of the Caliph Al-Rashid money galore, that will be the means of thine enrichment.” Quoth Khalifah, “Is not Al-Rashid he in whose palace I was imprisoned?” “Yes,” answered she, and he said: “By Allah, never saw I more niggardly wight than he, that piper little of good and wit! He gave me a hundred blows with a stick yesterday and but one dinar, for all I taught him to fish and made him my partner, but he played me false.” Replied she: “Leave this unseemly talk, and open thine eyes and look thou bear thyself respectfully whenas thou seest him after this, and thou shalt win thy wish.”

When he heard her words, it was if he had been asleep and awoke, and Allah removed the veil from his judgment, because of his good luck, and he answered, “O my head and eyes!” Then said he to her, “Sleep, in the name of Allah.” So she lay down and fell asleep (and he afar from her) till the morning, when she sought of him ink case and paper, and when they were brought, wrote to Ibn al-Kirnas, the Caliph’s friend, acquainting him with her case and how at the end of all that had befallen her she was with Khalifah the fisherman, who had bought her. Then she gave him the scroll, saying-“Take this and hie thee to the jewel market and ask for the shop of Ibn al-Kirnas the Jeweler and give him this paper, and speak not.” “I hear and I obey,” answered Khalifah, and going with the scroll to the market, inquired for the shop of Ibn al-Kirnas. They directed him thither, and on entering it he saluted the merchant, who returned his salaam with contempt and said to him, “What dost thou want?” Thereupon he gave him the letter and he took it, but read it not, thinking the fisherman a beggar who sought an alms of him, and said to one of his lads, “Give him half a dirham.” Quoth Khalifah: “I want no alms. Read the paper.”

So Ibn al-Kirnas took the letter and read it, and no sooner knew its import than he kissed it and laid it on his head. Then he arose and said to Khalifah, “O my brother, where is thy house?” Asked Khalifah: “What wantest thou with my house? Wilt thou go thither and steal my slave girl?” Then Ibn al-Kirnas answered: “Not so. On the contrary, I will buy thee somewhat whereof you may eat, thou and she.” So he said, “My house is in such a quarter,” and the merchant rejoined: “Thou hast done well. May Allah not give thee health, O unlucky one!” Then he called out to two of his slaves and said to them: “Carry this man to the shop of Mohsin the shroff and say to him, ‘O Mohsin, give this man a thousand dinars of gold,’ then bring him back to me in haste.”

So they carried him to the money-changer, who paid him the money, and returned with him to their master, whom they found mounted on a dapple she-mule worth a thousand dinars, with Mamelukes and pages about him, and by his side another mule like his own, saddled and bridled. Quoth the jeweler to Khalifah, “Bismillah, mount this mule.” Replied he, “I won’t, for by Allah, I fear she throw me,” and quoth Ibn al-Kirnas, “By God, needs must thou mount.” So he came up, and mounting her, face to crupper, caught hold of her tail and cried out, whereupon she threw him on the ground and they laughed at him. But he rose and said, “Did I not tell thee I would not mount this great jenny-ass?” Thereupon Ibn al-Kirnas left him in the market, and repairing to the Caliph, told him of the damsel, after which he returned and removed her to his own house.

Meanwhile Khalifah went home to look after the handmaid and found the people of the quarter forgathering and saying: “Verily, Khalifah is today in a terrible pickle! Would we knew whence he can have gotten this damsel!” Quoth one of them: “He is a mad pimp. Haply he found her lying on the road drunken, and carried her to his own house, and his absence showeth that he knoweth his offense.” As they were talking, behold, up came Khalifah, and they said to him: “What a plight is thine, O unhappy! Knowest thou not what is come to thee?” He replied, “No, by Allah!” and they said: “But just now there came Mamelukes and took away thy slave girl whom thou stolest, and sought for thee, but found thee not.” Asked Khalifah, “And how came they to take my slave girl?” and quoth one, “Had he fallen in their way, they had slain him.”

But he, so far from heeding them, returned running to the shop of Ibn al-Kirnas, whom he met riding, and said to him: “By Allah, ’twas not right of thee to wheedle me and meanwhile send thy Mamelukes to take my slave girl!” Replied the jeweler, “O idiot, come with me, and hold thy tongue.” So he took him and carried him into a house handsomely builded, where he found the damsel seated on a couch of gold, with ten slave girls like moons round her. Sighting her, Ibn al-Kirnas kissed ground before her, and she said, “What hast thou done with my new master, who bought me with all he owned?” He replied, “O my lady, I gave him a thousand golden dinars,’ and related to her Khalifah’s history from first to last, whereat she laughed and said: “Blame him not, for he is but a common wight. These other thousand dinars are a gift from me to him, and Almighty Allah willing, he shall win of the Caliph what shall enrich him.”

As they were talking, there came a eunuch from the Commander of the Faithful in quest of Kut al-Kulub, for when he knew that she was in the house of Ibn al-Kirnas, he could not endure, the severance, but bade bring her forthwith. So she repaired to the Palace, taking Khalifah with her, and going into the presence, kissed ground before the Caliph, who rose to her, saluting and welcoming her, and asked her how she had fared with him who had brought her. She replied: “He is a man, Khalifah the fisherman hight, and there he standeth at the door. He telleth me that he hath an account to settle with the Commander of the Faithful, by reason of a partnership between him and the Caliph in fishing.” Asked Al-Rashid, “Is he at the door?” and she answered, “Yes.” So the Caliph sent for him and he kissed ground before him and wished him endurance of glory and prosperity. The Caliph marveled at him and laughed at him, and said to him, “O Fisherman, wast thou in very deed my partner yesterday?” Khalifah took his meaning, and heartening his heart and summoning spirit, replied: “By Him who bestowed upon thee the succession to thy cousin, I know her not in anywise and have had no commerce with her save by way of sight and speech!”

Then he repeated to him all that had befallen him since he last saw him, whereat the Caliph laughed and his breast broadened and he said to Khalifah, “Ask of us what thou wilt, O thou who bringest to owners their own!” But he was silent, so the Caliph ordered him fifty thousand dinars of gold and a costly dress of honor such as great sovereigns don, and a she-mule, and gave him black slaves of the Sudan to serve him, so that he became as he were one of the kings of that time. The Caliph was rejoiced at the recovery of his favorite and knew that all this was the doing of his cousin-wife, the Lady Zubaydah, wherefore he, was sore enraged against her and held aloof from her a great while, visiting her not, neither inclining to pardon her. When she was certified of this, she was sore concerned for his wrath, and her face, that was wont to be rosy, waxed pale and wan till, when her patience was exhausted, she sent a letter to her cousin, the Commander of the Faithful, making her excuses to him and confessing her offenses, and ending with these verses:

I long once more the love that was between us to regain,
That I may quench the fire of grief and bate the force of bane.
O lord of me, have ruth upon the stress my passion deals,
Enough to me is what you doled of sorrow and of pain.
‘Tis life to me an deign you keep the troth you deigned to plight,
‘Tis death to me an troth you break and fondest vows profane.
Given I’ve sinned a sorry sin, yet grant me ruth, for naught,
By Allah, sweeter is than friend who is of pardon fain.

When the Lady Zubaydah’s letter reached the Caliph, and reading it, he saw that she confessed her offense and sent her excuses to him therefor, he said to himself, “Verily, all sins doth Allah forgive-aye, Gracious, Merciful is He!” And he returned her an answer expressing satisfaction and pardon and forgiveness for what was past, whereat she rejoiced greatly.

As for Khalifah the fisherman, the Caliph assigned him a monthly solde of fifty dinars, and took him into especial favor, which would lead to rank and dignity, honor and worship. Then he kissed ground before the Commander of the Faithful and went forth with stately gait. When he came to the door, the eunuch Sandal, who had given him the hundred dinars, saw him, and knowing him, said to him, “O Fisherman, whence all this?” So he told him all that had befallen him, first and last, whereat Sandal rejoiced, because he had been the cause of his enrichment, and said to him, “Wilt thou not give me largess of this wealth which is now become thine?” So Khalifah put hand to pouch and taking out a purse containing a thousand dinars, gave it to the eunuch, who said, “Keep thy coins, and Allah bless thee therein!” and marveled at his manliness and at the liberality of his soul, for all his late poverty.

Then, leaving the eunuch, Khalifah mounted his she-mule and rode, with the slaves’ hands on her crupper, till he came to his lodging at the khan, whilst the folk stared at him in surprise for that which had betided him of advancement. When he alighted from his beast, they accosted him and inquired the cause of his change from poverty to prosperity, and he told them an that had happened to him from incept to conclusion. Then he bought a fine mansion and laid out thereon much money, till it was perfect in all points. And he took up his abode therein and was wont to recite thereon these two couplets:

Behold a house that’s like the Dwelling of Delight,
Its aspect heals the sick and banishes despite.
Its sojourn for the great and wise appointed is,
And Fortune fair therein abideth day and night.

Then, as soon as he was settled in his house, he sought him in marriage the daughter of one of the chief men of the city, a handsome girl, and went in unto her and led a life of solace and satisfaction, joyaunce and enjoyment; and he rose to passing affluence and exceeding prosperity. So when he found himself in this fortunate condition, he offered up thanks to Allah (extolled and excelled be He!) for what He had bestowed on him of wealth exceeding and of favors ever succeeding, praising his Lord with the praise of the grateful. And thereafter Khalifah continued to pay frequent visits to the Caliph Harun al-Rashid, with whom he found acceptance and who ceased not to overwhelm him with boons and bounty. And he abode in the enjoyment of the utmost honor and happiness and joy and gladness, and in riches more than sufficing and in rank ever rising- brief, a sweet life and a savory, pure as pleasurable, till there came to him die Destroyer of delights and the Sunderer of societies. And extolled be the perfection of Him to whom belong glory and permanence and He is the Living, the Eternal, who shall never die!

And amongst the tales they, tell is one of…
 


Table of Content – The Arabian Nights

 
THERE dwelt once, in Alexander city, two men, of whom one was a dyer, by name of Abu Kir, and the other a barber, Abu Sir, and they were neighbors in the market street, where their shops stood side by side. The dyer was a swindler and a liar, an exceeding wicked wight, as if indeed his head temples were hewn out of a boulder rock or fashioned of the threshold of a Jewish synagogue, nor was he ashamed of any shameful work he wrought amongst the folk. It was his wont, when any brought him cloth for staining, first to require of him payment under pretense of buying dyestuffs therewith. So the customer would give him the wage in advance and wend his ways, and the dyer would spend all he received on meat and drink, after which he would sell the cloth itself as soon as ever its owner turned his back and waste its worth in eating and drinking not else, for he ate not but of the daintiest and most delicate viands nor drank but of the best of that which doth away the wit of man. And when the owner of the cloth came to him, he would say to him, “Return to me tomorrow before sunrise and thou shalt find thy stuff dyed.”

So the customer would go away, saying to himself, “One day is near another day,” and return next day at the appointed time, when the dyer would say to him: “Come tomorrow. Yesterday I was not at work, for I had with me guests and was occupied with doing what their wants required till they went, but tomorrow before sunrise come and take thy cloth dyed.” So he would fare forth and return on the third day, when Abu Kir would say to him: “Indeed yesterday I was excusable, for my wife was brought to bed in the night, and all day I was busy with manifold matters, but tomorrow, without fail, come and take thy cloth dyed.” When the man came again at the appointed time, he would put him off with some other pretense, it mattered little what, and would swear to him, as often as he came, till the customer lost patience and said, “How often wilt thou say to me, ‘Tomorrow?’ Give me my stuff, I will not have it dyed.” Whereupon the dyer would make answer: “By Allah, O my brother, I am abashed at thee, but I must tell the truth and may Allah harm all who harm folk in their goods!” The other would exclaim, “Tell me what hath happened,” and Abu Kir would reply: “As for thy stuff, I dyed that same on matchless wise and hung it on the drying rope, but ’twas stolen and I know not who stole it.” If the owner of the stuff were of the kindly he would say, “Allah will compensate me,” and if he were of the ill-conditioned, he would haunt him with exposure and insult, but would get nothing of him, though he complained of him to the judge.

He ceased not doing thus till his report was noised abroad among the folk and each used to warn other against Abu Kir, who became a byword amongst them. So they all held aloof from him and none would be entrapped by him save those who were ignorant of his character; but for all this, he failed not daily to suffer insult and exposure from Allah’s creatures. By reason of this his trade became slack, and he used to go to the shop of his neighbor the barber Abu Sir and sit there, facing the dyery and with his eyes on the door. Whenever he espied anyone who knew him not standing at the dyery door with a piece of stuff in his hand, he would leave the barber’s booth and go up to him saying, “What seekest thou, O thou?” and the man would reply, “Take and dye me this thing.” So the dyer would ask, “What color wilt thou have it?” For, with all his knavish tricks, his hand was in all manner of dyes. But he was never true to anyone, wherefore poverty had gotten the better of him. Then he would take the stuff and say, “Give me my wage in advance, and come tomorrow and take the stuff.” So the stranger would advance him the money and wend his way, whereupon Abu Kir would carry the cloth to the market street and sell it and with its price buy meat and vegetables and tobacco and fruit and what not else he needed. But whenever he saw anyone who had given him stuff to dye standing at the door of his shop, he would not come forth to him or even show himself to him.

On this wise he abode years and years, till it fortuned one day that he received cloth to dye from a man of wrath, and sold it and spent the proceeds. The owner came to him every day, but found him not in his shop; for whenever he espied anyone who had claim against him, he would flee from him into the shop of the barber, Abu Sir. At last that angry man, finding that he was not to be seen and growing weary of such work, repaired to the kazi, and bringing one of his sergeants to the shop, nailed up the door, in presence of a number of Moslems, and sealed it, for that he saw therein naught save some broken pans of earthenware, to stand him instead of his stuff. After which the sergeant took the key, saying to the neighbors, “Tell him to bring back this man’s cloth, then come to me and take his shop-key,” and went his way, he and the man.

Then said Abu Sir to Abu Kir: “What ill business is this? Whoever bringeth thee aught, thou losest it for him. What hath become of this angry man’s stuff.?” Answered the dyer, “O my neighbor, ’twas stolen from me.” “Prodigious!” exclaimed the barber. “Whenever anyone giveth thee aught, a thief stealeth it from thee! Art thou then the meeting place of every rogue upon town? But I doubt me thou liest, so tell me the truth.” Replied Abu Kir, “O my neighbor, none hath stolen aught from me.” Asked Abu Sir, “What then dost thou with the people’s property?” and the dyer answered, “Whenever anyone giveth me aught to dye, I sell it and spend the price.” Quoth Abu Sir, “Is this permitted thee of Allah?” and quoth Abu Kir, “I do this only out of poverty, because business is slack with me and I am poor and have nothing.” And he went on to complain to him of the dullness of his trade and his lack of means.

Abu Sir in like manner lamented the little profit of his own calling, saying: “I am a master of my craft and have not my equal in this city, but no one cometh to me to be polled, because I am a pauper. And I loathe this art and mystery, O my brother.” Abu Kir replied: “And I also loathe my own craft, by reason of its slackness. But, O my brother, what call is there for our abiding in this town? Let us depart from it, I and thou, and solace ourselves in the lands of mankind, carrying in our hands our crafts which are in demand all the world over. So shall we breathe the air, and rest from this grievous trouble.” And he ceased not to command travel to Abu Sir till the barber became wishful to set out, so they agreed upon their route. When they agreed to travel together, Abu Kir said to Abu Sir: “O my neighbor, we are become brethren and there is no difference between us, so it behooveth us to recite the fatihah that he of us who gets work shall of his gain feed him who is out of work, and whatever is left, we will lay in a chest. And when we return to Alexandria, we will divide it fairly and equally.” “So be it,” replied Abu Sir, and they repeated the opening chapter of the Koran on this understanding.

Then Abu Sir locked up his shop and gave the key to its owner, whilst Abu Kir left his door locked and sealed and let the key lie with the kazi’s sergeant. After which they took their baggage and embarked on the morrow in a galleon upon the salt sea. They set sail the same day and fortune attended them, for, of Abu Sir’s great good luck, there was not a barber in the ship, albeit it carried a hundred and twenty men, besides captain and crew. So when they loosed the sails, the barber said to the dyer: “O my brother, this is the sea, and we shall need meat and drink. We have but little provaunt with us and haply the voyage will be long upon us, wherefore methinks I will shoulder my budget and pass among the passengers, and maybe someone will say to me, ‘Come hither, O barber, and shave me,’ and I will shave him for a scone or a silver bit or a draught of water. So shall we profit by this, I and thou too.” “There’s no harm in that,” replied the dyer, and laid down his head and slept, whilst the barber took his gear and water tasse, and throwing over his shoulder a rag to serve as napkin (because he was poor), passed among the passengers.

Quoth one of them, “Ho, master, come and shave me.” So he shaved him, and the man gave him a half-dirham, whereupon quoth Abu Sir: “O my brother, I have no use for this bit. Hadst thou given me a scone, ’twere more blessed to me in this sea, for I have a shipmate, and we are short of provision.” So he gave him a loaf and a slice of cheese and filled him the tasse with sweet water. The barber carried all this to Abu Kir and said, “Eat the bread and cheese and drink the water.” Accordingly he ate and drank, whilst Abu Sir again took up his shaving gear and, tasse in hand and rag on shoulder, went round about the deck among the passengers. One man he shaved for two scones and another for a bittock of cheese, and he was in demand, because there was no other barber on board. Also he bargained with everyone who said to him, “Ho, master, shave me!” for two loaves and a half-dirham, and they gave him whatever he sought, so that by sundown he had collected thirty loaves and thirty silvers with store of cheese and olives and botargos. And besides these he got from the passengers whatever he asked for and was soon in possession of things galore.

Amongst the rest, he shaved the captain, to whom he complained of his lack of victual for the voyage, and the skipper said to him, “That art welcome to bring thy comrade every night and sup with me, and have no care for that so long as ye sail with us.” Then he returned to the dyer, whom he found asleep. So he roused him, and when Abu Kir awoke, he saw at his head an abundance of bread and cheese and olives and botargos and said, “Whence gottest thou all this?” “From the bounty of Allah Almighty,” replied Abu Sir. Then Abu Kir would have fallen to, but the barber said to him: “Eat not of this, O my brother, but leave it to serve us another time. For know that I shaved the captain and complained to him of our lack of victual, whereupon quoth he: ‘Welcome to thee! Bring thy comrade and sup both of ye with me every night.’ And this night we sup with him for the first time.”

But Abu Kir replied, “My head goeth round with seasickness and I cannot rise from my stead, so let me sup off these things and fare thou alone to the captain.” Abu Sir replied, “There is no harm in that,” and sat looking at the other as he ate, and saw him hew off gobbets as the quarryman heweth stone from the hill quarries and gulp them down with the gulp of an elephant which hath not eaten for days, bolting another mouthful ere he had swallowed the previous one and glaring the while at that which was before him with the glowering of a Ghul, and blowing as bloweth the hungry bull over his beans and bruised straw. Presently up came a sailor and said to the barber, “O craftsmaster, the captain biddeth thee come to supper and bring thy comrade.” Quoth the barber to the dyer, “Wilt thou come with us?” but quoth he, “I cannot walk.” So the barber went by himself and found the captain sitting before a tray whereon were a score or more of dishes, and all the company were awaiting him and his mate.

When the captain saw him, he asked, “Where is thy friend?” and Abu Sir answered, “O my lord, he is seasick.” Said the skipper, “That will do him no harm, his sickness will soon pass off, but do thou carry him his supper and come back, for we tarry for thee.” Then he set apart a porringer of kababs and putting therein some of each dish, till there was enough for ten, gave it to Abu Sir, saying, “Take this to thy chum.” He took it and carried it to the dyer, whom he found grinding away with his dog teeth at the food which was before him, as he were a camel, and heaping mouthful on mouthful in his hurry. Quoth Abu Sir, “Did, I not say to thee, ‘Eat not of this’? Indeed the captain is a kindly man. See what he hath sent thee, for that I told him thou wast seasick.” “Give it here,” cried the dyer. So the barber gave him the platter, and he snatched it from him and fell upon his food, ravening for it and resembling a grinning dog or a raging lion or a roc pouncing on a pigeon or one well-nigh dead for hunger who, seeing meat, falls ravenously to eat.

Then Abu Sir left him, and going back to the captain, supped and enjoyed himself and drank coffee with him, after which he returned to Abu Kir and found that he had eaten all that was in the porringer and thrown it aside, empty. So he took it up and gave it to one of the captain’s servants, then went back to Abu Kir and slept till the morning. On the morrow he continued to shave, and all he got by way of meat and drink he gave to his shipmate, who ate and drank and sat still, rising not save to do what none could do for him, and every night the barber brought him a full porringer from the captain’s table.

They fared thus twenty days until the galleon cast anchor in the harbor of a city, whereupon they took leave of the skipper, and landing, entered the town and hired them a closet in a khan. Abu Sir furnished it, and buying a cooking pot and a platter and spoons and what else they needed, fetched meat and cooked it. But Abu Kir fell asleep the moment he entered the caravanserai and awoke not till Abu Sir aroused him and set the tray of food before him. When he awoke, he ate, and saying to Abu Sir, “Blame me not, for I am giddy,” fell asleep again. Thus he did forty days, whilst every day the barber took his gear, and making the round of the city, wrought for that which fell to his lot, and returning, found the dyer asleep and aroused him. The moment he awoke he fell ravenously upon the food, eating as one who cannot have his fill nor be satisfied, after which he went asleep again.

On this wise he passed other forty days, and whenever the barber said to him, “Sit up and be comfortable and go forth and take an airing in the city, for ’tis a gay place and a pleasant and hath not its equal among the cities,” he would reply, “Blame me not, for I am giddy.” Abu Sir cared not to hurt his feelings nor give him hard words, but on the forty-first day, he himself fell sick and could not go abroad, so he engaged the porter of the khan to serve them both, and he did the needful for them and brought them meat and drink whilst Abu Kir would do nothing but eat and sleep. The man ceased not to wait upon them on this wise for four days, at the end of which time the barbees malady redoubled on him, till he lost his senses for stress of sickness; and Abu Kir, feeling the sharp pangs of hunger, arose and sought in his comrade’s clothes, where he found a thousand silver bits. He took them and, shutting the door of the closet upon Abu Sir, fared forth without telling any, and the doorkeeper was then at market and thus saw him not go out.

Presently Abu Kir betook himself to the bazaar and clad himself in costly clothes, at a price of five hundred half-dirhams. Then he proceeded to walk about the streets and divert himself by viewing the city, which he found to be one whose like was not among cities. But he noted that all its citizens were clad in clothes of white and blue, without other color. Presently he came to a dyer’s, and seeing naught but blue in his shop, pulled out to him a kerchief and said, “O master, take this and dye it and win thy wage.” Quoth the dyer, “The cost of dyeing this will be twenty dirhams,” and quoth Abu Kir, “In our country we dye it for two.” “Then go and dye it in your own country! As for me, my price is twenty dirhams and I will not bate a tittle thereof.” “What color wilt thou dye it?” “I will dye it blue.” “But I want it dyed red.” “I know not how to dye red.” “Then dye it green.” “I know not how to dye it green.” “Yellow.” “Nor yet yellow.” Thereupon Abu Kir went on to name the different tints to him, one after other, till the dyer said: “We are here in this city forty master dyers, not one more nor one less, and when one of us dieth, we teach his son the craft. If he leave no son, we abide lacking one, and if he leave two sons, we teach one of them the craft, and if he die, we teach his brother. This our craft is strictly ordered, and we know how to dye but blue and no other tint whatsoever.”

Then said Abu Kir: “Know that I too am a dyer, and wot how to dye all colors, and I would have thee take me into thy service on hire, and I will teach thee everything of my art, so thou mayst glory therein over all the company of dyers.” But the dyer answered, “We never admit a stranger into our craft.” Asked Abu Kir, “And what if I open a dyery for myself?” whereto the other answered, “We will not suffer thee to do that on any wise.” Whereupon he left him, and going to a second dyer, made him the like proposal, but he returned him the same answer as the first. And he ceased not to go from one to other till he had made the round of the whole forty masters, but they would not accept him either to master or apprentice. Then he repaired to the Sheikh of the dyers and told what had passed, and he said, “We admit no strangers into our craft.”

Hereupon Abu Kir became exceeding wroth, and going up to the King of that city, made complaint to him, saying, “O King of the Age, I am a stranger and a dyer by trade,” and he told him whatso had passed between himself and the dyers of the town, adding: “I can dye various kinds of red, such as rose-color and jujubel-color and various kinds of green, such as grass-green and pistachio-green and olive and parrot’s wing, and various kinds of black, such as coal-black and kohl-black, and various shades of yellow, such as orange and lemon-color,” and went on to name to him the rest of the colors. Then said he, “O King of the Age, all the dyers in thy city cannot turn out of hand any one of these tints, for they know not how to dye aught but blue. Yet they will not admit me amongst them, either to master or apprentice.” Answered the King: “Thou sayst sooth for that matter, but I will open to thee a dyery and give thee capital, and have thou no care anent them; for whoso offereth to do thee let or hindrance, I will hang him over his shop door.”

Then he sent for builders and said to them, “Go round about the city with this master dyer, and whatsoever place pleaseth him, be it shop or khan or what not, turn out its occupier and build him a dyery after his wish. Whatsoever he biddeth you, that do ye, and oppose him not in aught.” And he clad him in a handsome suit and gave him two white slaves to serve him, and a horse with housings of brocade and a thousand dinars, saying, “Expend this upon thyself against the building be completed.” Accordingly Abu Kir donned the dress, and mounting the horse, became as he were an emir. Moreover the King assigned him a house, and bade furnish it, so they furnished it for him and he took up his abode therein. On the morrow he mounted and rode through the city, whilst the architects went before him, and he looked about him till he saw a place which pleased him and said, “This stead is seemly,” whereupon they turned out the owner and carried him to the King, who gave him as the price of his holding, what contented him and more.

Then the builders fell to work, whilst Abu Kir said to them, “Build thus and thus and do this and that,” till they built him a dyery that had not its like. Whereupon he presented himself before the King and informed him that they had done building the dyery and that there needed but the price of the dyestuffs and gear to set it going. Quoth the King, “Take these four thousand dinars to thy capital and let me see the first fruits of thy dyery.” So he took the money and went to the market where, finding dyestuffs plentiful and well-nigh worthless, he bought all he needed of materials for dyeing; and the King sent him five hundred pieces of stuff, which he set himself to dye of all colors, and then he spread them before the door of his dyery.

When the folk passed by the shop, they saw a wonder sight whose like they had never in their lives seen, so they crowded about the entrance, enjoying the spectacle and questioning the dyer and saying, “O master, what are the names of these colors?” Quoth he, “This is red and that yellow and the other green,” and so on, naming the rest of the colors. And they fell to bringing him longcloth and saying to him, “Dye it for us like this and that, and take what hire thou seekest.” When he had made an end of dyeing the King’s stuffs, he took them and went up with them to the Divan, and when the King saw them he rejoiced in them and bestowed abundant bounty on the dyer. Furthermore, all the troops brought him stuffs, saying, “Dye for us thus and thus,” and he dyed for them to their liking, and they threw him gold and silver. After this his fame spread abroad, and his shop was called the Sultan’s Dyery. Good came in to him at every door and none of the other dyers could say a word to him, but they used to come to him kissing his hands and excusing themselves to him for past affronts they had offered him and saying, “Take us to thine apprentices.” But he would none of them, for he had become the owner of black slaves and handmaids and had amassed store of wealth.

On this wise fared it with Abu Kir, but as regards Abu Sir, after closet door had been locked on him and his money had been stolen, he abode prostrate and unconscious for three successive days, at the end of which the concierge of the khan, chancing to look at the door, observed that it was locked, and bethought himself that he had not seen and heard aught of the two companions for some time. So he said in his mind: “Haply they have made off without paying rent, or perhaps they are dead, or what is to do with them?” And he waited till sunset, when he went up to the door and heard the barber groaning within. He saw the key in the lock, so he opened the door, and entering, found Abu Sir lying groaning, and said to him: “No harm to thee. Where is thy friend?” Replied Abu Sir: “By Allah, I came to my senses only this day and called out, but none answered my call. Allah upon thee, O my brother, look for the purse under my head and take from it five half-dirhams and buy me somewhat nourishing, for I am sore a-hungered.” The porter put out his hand, and taking the purse, found it empty and said to the barber, “The purse is empty, there is nothing in it.” Whereupon Abu Sir knew that Abu Kir had taken that which was therein and had fled, and he asked the porter, “Hast thou not seen my friend?” Answered the doorkeeper, “I have not seen him for these three days, and indeed methought you had departed, thou and he.” The barber cried, “Not so, but he coveted my money and took it and fled, seeing me sick.”

Then he fell a-weeping and a-wailing, but the doorkeeper said to him, “No harm shall befall thee, and Allah will requite him his deed.” So he went away and cooked him some broth, whereof he ladled out a plateful and brought it to him. Nor did he cease to tend him and maintain him with his own moneys for two months’ space, when the barber sweated and the Almighty made him whole of his sickness. Then he stood up and said to the porter: “An ever the Most High Lord enable me, I will surely requite thee thy kindness to me. But none requiteth save the Lord of His bounty!” Answered the porter: “Praised be He for thy recovery! I dealt not thus with am but of desire for the face of Allah the Bountiful.”

Then the barber went forth of the khan and threaded the market streets of the town till Destiny brought him to the bazaar wherein was Abu Kir’s dyery, and he saw the varicolored stuffs dispread before the shop and a jostle of folk crowding to look upon them. So he questioned one of the townsmen and asked him, “What place is this, and how cometh it that I see the folk crowding together?” whereto the man answered, saying: “This is the Sultan’s Dyery, which he set up for a foreigner, Abu Kir high! And whenever he dyeth new stuff, we all flock to him and divert ourselves by gazing upon his handiwork, for we have no dyers in our land who know how to stain with these colors. And indeed there befell him with the dyers who are in the city that which befell.” And he went on to tell him all that had passed between Abu Kir and the master dyers and how he had complained of them to the Sultan, who took him by the hand and built him that dyery and gave him this and that- brief, he, recounted to him all that had occurred.

At this the barber rejoiced and said in himself: “Praised be Allah Who hath prospered him, so that he is become a master of his craft! And the man is excusable, for of a surety he hath been diverted from thee by his work and hath forgotten thee; but thou actedst kindly by him and entreatedst him generously what time he was out of work, so when he seeth thee, he will rejoice in thee and entreat thee generously, even as thou entreatedst him.” According he made for the door of the dyery, and saw Abu Kir seated on a high mattress spread upon a bench beside the doorway, clad in royal apparel and attended by four blackamoor slaves and four white Mamelukes all robed in the richest of raiment. Moreover, he saw the workmen, ten Negro slaves, standing at work; for when Abu Kir bought them, he taught them the craft of dyeing, and he himself sat amongst his cushions as he were a grand wazir or a mighty monarch, putting his hand to naught but only saying to the men, “Do this and do that.” So the barber went up to him and stood before him, deeming he would rejoice in him when he saw him and salute him and entreat him with honor and make much of him. But when eye fell upon eye, the dyer said to him: “O scoundrel how many a time have I bidden thee stand not at the door of the workshop? Hast thou a mind to disgrace me with the folk, thief that thou art? Seize him.”

So the blackamoors ran at him and laid hold of him, and the dyer rose up from his seat and said, “Throw him.” Accordingly they threw him down and Abu Kir took a stick and dealt him a hundred strokes on the back, after which they turned him over and he beat him other hundred blows on his belly. Then he said to him: “O scoundrel, O villain, if ever again I see thee standing at the door of this dyery, I will forthwith send thee to the King, and he will commit thee to the Chief of Police, that he may strike thy neck. Begone, may Allah not bless thee!” So Abu Sir departed from him, brokenhearted by reason of the beating and shame that had betided him, whilst the bystanders asked Abu Kir, “What hath this man done?” He answered: “The fellow is a thief, who stealeth the stuffs of folk. He hath robbed me of cloth, how many a time! And I still said to myself, ‘Allah forgive him!’ He is a poor man, and I cared not to deal roughly with him, so I used to give my customers the worth of their goods and forbid him gently, but he would not be forbidden. And if he come again, I will send him to the King, who will put him to death and rid the people of his mischief.” And the bystanders fell to abusing the barber after his back was turned.

Such was the behavior of Abu Kir, but as regards Abu Sir, he returned to the khan, where he sat pondering that which the dyer had done by him, and he remained seated till the burning of the beating subsided, when he went out and walked about the markets of the city. Presently he bethought him to go to the hammam bath, so he said to one of-the townsfolk, “O my brother, which is the way to the baths?” Quoth the man, “And what manner of thing may the baths be?” and quoth Abu Sir, “‘Tis a place where people wash themselves and do away their dirt and defilements, and it is of the best of the good things of the world.” Replied the townsman, “Get thee to the sea,” but the barber rejoined, “I want the hammam baths.” Cried the other: “We know not what manner of thing is the hammam, for we all resort to the sea. Even the King, when he would wash, betaketh himself to the sea.”

When Abu Sir was assured that there was no bath in the city and that the folk knew not the baths nor the fashion thereof, he betook himself to the King’s Divan and, kissing ground between his hands, called down blessings on him and said: “I am a stranger and a bathman by trade, and I entered thy city and thought to go to the hammam, but found not one therein. How cometh a city of this comely quality to lack a hammam, seeing that the bath is of the highest of the delights of this world?” Quoth the King, “What manner of thing is the hammam?” So Abu Sir proceeded to set forth to him the quality of the bath, saying, “Thy capital will not be a perfect city till there be a hammam therein.” “Welcome to thee!” said the King and clad him in a dress that had not its like and gave him a horse and two blackamoor slaves, presently adding four handmaids and as many white Mamelukes. He also appointed him a furnished house and honored him yet more abundantly than he had honored the dyer.

After this he sent builders with him, saying to them, “Build him a hammam in what place soever shall please him.” So he took them and went with them through the midst of the city till he saw a stead that suited him. He pointed it out to the builders and they set to work, whilst he directed them, and they wrought till they builded him a hammam that had not its like. Then he bade them paint it, and they painted it rarely, so that it was a delight to the beholders. After which Abu Sir went up to the King and told him that they had made an end of building and decorating the hammam, adding, “There lacketh naught save the furniture.” The King gave him ten thousand dinars wherewith he furnished the bath and ranged the napkins on the ropes, and all who passed by the door stared at it and their mind was confounded at its decorations. So the people crowded to this spectacle, whose like they had never in their lives seen, and solaced themselves by staring at it and saying, “What is this thing?” To which Abu Sir replied, “This is a hammam,” and they marveled thereat. Then he heated water and set the bath a-working, and he made a jetting fountain in the great basin, which ravished the wit of an who saw it of the people of the city.

Furthermore, he sought of the King ten Mamelukes not yet come to manhood, and he gave him ten boys like moons, whereupon Abu Sir proceeded to shampoo them, saying, “Do in this wise with the bathers.” Then he burnt perfumes and sent out a crier to cry aloud in the city, saying, “O creatures of Allah, get ye to the baths which be called the Sultan’s Hammam!” So the lieges came thither and Abu Sir bade the slave boys wash their bodies. The folk went down into the tank and coming forth, seated themselves on the raised pavement whilst the boys shampooed them, even as Abu Sir had taught them. And they continued to enter the hammam and do their need therein gratis and go out, without paying, for the space of three days.

On the fourth day the barber invited the King, who took horse with his grandees and rode to the baths, where he put off his clothes and entered. Then Abu Sir came in to him and rubbed his body with the bag gloves, peeling from his skin dirt rolls like lampwicks and showing them to the King, who rejoiced therein, and clapping his hand upon his limbs, heard them ring again for very smoothness and cleanliness. After which thorough washing Abu Sir mingled rosewater with the water of the tank and the King went down therein. When he came forth, his body was refreshed and he felt a lightness and liveliness such as he had never known in his life. Then the barber made him sit on the dais and the boys proceeded to shampoo him, whilst the censers fumed with the finest lign aloes.

Then said the King, “O master, is this the hammam?” and Abu Sir said, “Yes.” Quoth the King; “As my head liveth, my city is not become a city indeed but by this bath,” presently adding, “But what pay takest thou for each person?” Quoth Abu Sir, “That which thou biddest will I take,” whereupon the King cried, “Take a thousand gold pieces for everyone who washeth in thy hammam.” Abu Sir, however, said: “Pardon, O King of the Age! All men are not alike, but there are amongst them rich and poor, and if I take of each a thousand dinars, the hammam will stand empty, for the poor man cannot pay this price.” Asked the King, “How then wilt thou do for the price?” and the barber answered: “I will leave it to their generosity. Each who can afford aught shall pay that which his soul grudgeth not to give, and we will take from every man after the measure of his means. On this wise will the folk come to us, and he who is wealthy shall give according to his station and he who is wealthless shall give what he can afford. Under such condition the hammam will still be at work and prosper exceedingly. But a thousand dinars is a monarch’s gift, and not every man can avail to this.”

The lords of the realm confirmed Abu Sir’s words, saying: “This is the truth, O King of the Age! Thinkest thou that all folk are like unto thee, O glorious King?” The King replied: “Ye say sooth, but this man is a stranger and poor, and ’tis incumbent on us to deal generously with him, for that he hath made in our city this hammam whose like we have never in our lives seen and without which our city were not adorned nor hath gotten importance. Wherefore, an we favor him with increase of fee, ’twill not be much.” But the grandees said: “An thou wilt guerdon him, be generous with thine own moneys, and let the King’s bounty be extended to the poor by means of the low price of the hammam, so the lieges may bless thee. But as for the thousand dinars, we are the lords of thy land, yet do our souls grudge to pay it, and how then should the poor be pleased to afford it?” Quoth the King: “O my Grandees, for this time let each of you give him a hundred dinars and a Mameluke, a slave girl, and a blackamoor,” and quoth they: “‘Tis well. We will give it, but after today whoso entereth shall give him only what he can afford, without grudging.” “No harm in that,” said the King, and they gave him the thousand gold pieces and three chattels.

Now the number of the nobles who were washed with the King that day was four hundred souls, so that the total of that which they gave him was forty thousand dinars, besides four hundred Mamelukes and a like number of Negroes and slave girls. Moreover, the King gave him ten thousand dinars, besides ten white slaves and ten handmaidens and a like number of blackamoors, whereupon, coming forward, Abu Sir kissed the ground before him and said: “O auspicious Sovereign, lord of justice, what place will contain me all these women and slaves?” Quoth the King: “O weak o’ wit, I bade not my nobles deal thus with thee but that we might gather together unto thee wealth galore; for maybe thou wilt bethink thee of thy country and family and repine for them and be minded to return to thy mother land- so shalt thou take from our country muchel of money to maintain thyself withal, what while thou livest in thine own country.” And quoth Abu Sir: “O King of the Age (Allah advance thee!), these white slaves and women and Negroes befit only kings, and hadst thou ordered me ready money, it were more profitable to me than this army; for they must eat and drink and dress, and whatever betideth me of wealth, it will not suffice for their support.”

The King laughed and said: “By Allah, thou speaketh sooth! They are indeed a mighty host, and thou hast not the wherewithal to maintain them; but wilt thou sell them to me for a hundred dinars a head?” Said Abu Sir, “I sell them to thee at that price.” So the King sent to his treasurer for the coin and he brought it and gave Abu Sir the whole of the price without abatement and in full tale, after which the King restored the slaves to their owners, saying, “Let each of you who knoweth his slaves take them, for they are a gift from me to you.” So they obeyed his bidding and took each what belonged to him, whilst Abu Sir said to the King: “Allah ease thee, O King of the Age, even as thou hast eased me of these Ghuls, whose bellies none may fill save Allah!” The King laughed, and said he spake sooth. Then, taking the grandees of his realm from the hammam, returned to his palace. But the barber passed the night in counting out his gold and laying it up in bags and sealing them, and he had with him twenty black slaves and a like number of Mamelukes and four slave girls to serve him.

Now when morning morrowed, he opened the hammam and sent out a crier to cry, saying: “Whoso entereth the baths and washeth shall give that which he can afford and which his generosity requireth him to give.” Then he seated himself by the pay chest and customers flocked in upon him, each putting down that which was easy to him, nor had eventide evened ere the chest was full of the good gifts of Allah the Most High. Presently the Queen desired to go to the hammam, and when this came to Abu Sir’s knowledge, he divided the day on her account into two parts, appointing that between dawn and noon to men and that between midday and sundown to women. As soon as the Queen came, he stationed a handmaid behind the pay chest, for he had taught four slave girls the service of the hammam, so that they were become expert bathwomen and tirewomen. When the Queen entered, this pleased her, and her breast waxed broad, and she laid down a thousand dinars.

Thus his report was noised abroad in the city, and all who entered the bath he entreated with honor, were they rich or poor. Good came in upon him at every door, and he made acquaintance with the royal guards and got him friends and intimates. The King himself used to come to him one day in every week, leaving with him a thousand dinars, and the other days were for rich and poor alike; and he was wont to deal courteously with the folk and use them with the utmost respect. It chanced that the King’s sea captain came in to him one day in the bath, so Abu Sir did off his dress and going in with him, proceeded to shampoo him, and entreated him with exceeding courtesy. When he came forth, he made him sherbet and coffee, and when he would have given him somewhat, he swore that he would not accept from him aught. So the captain was under obligation to him, by reason of his exceeding kindness and courtesy, and was perplexed how to requite the bathman his generous dealing.

Thus fared it with Abu Sir, but as regards Abu Kir, hearing an the people recounting wonders of the baths and saying, “Verily, this hammam is the Paradise of this world! Inshallah, O Such-a-one, thou shalt go with us tomorrow to this delightful bath,” he said to himself, “Needs must I fare like the rest of the world, and see this bath that hath taken folk’s wits.” So he donned his richest dress, and mounting a she-mule and bidding the attendance of four white slaves and four blacks, walking before and behind him, he rode to the hammam. When he alighted at the door, he smelt the scent of burning aloes wood and found people going in and out and the benches full of great and small. So he entered the vestibule, and saw Abu Sir, who rose to him and rejoiced in him, but the dyer said to him: “Is this the way of well-born men? I have opened me a dyery and am become master dyer of the city and acquainted with the King and have risen to prosperity and authority, yet camest thou not to me nor askest of me nor saidst, ‘Where’s my comrade?’ For my part, I sought thee in vain and sent my slaves and servants to make search for thee in all the khans and other places, but they knew not whither thou hadst gone, nor could anyone give me tidings of thee.”

Said Abu Sir, “Did I not come to thee, and didst thou not make me out a thief and bastinado me and dishonor me before the world?” At this Abu Kir made a show of concern and asked: “What manner of talk is this? Was it thou whom I beat?” and Abu Sir answered, “Yes, ’twas I.” Whereupon Abu Kir swore to him a thousand oaths that he knew him not and said: “There was a fellow like thee, who used to come every day and steal the people’s stuff, and I took thee for him.” And he went on to pretend penitence, beating hand upon hand and saying: “There is no Majesty and there is no Might save in Allah, the Glorious, the Great. Indeed we have sinned against thee, but would that thou hadst discovered thyself to and said, ‘I am Such-a-one!’ Indeed the fault is with thee, for that thou madest not thyself known unto me, more especially seeing that I was distracted for much business.” Replied Abu Sir: “Allah pardon thee, O my comrade! This was foreordained in the secret purpose, and reparation is with Allah. Enter and put off thy clothes and bathe at thine ease.” Said the dyer, “I conjure thee, by Allah, O my brother, forgive me!” and said Abu Sir: “Allah acquit thee of blame and forgive thee! Indeed this thing was decreed to me from an eternity.”

Then asked Abu Kir, “Whence gottest thou this high degree?” and answered Abu Sir: “He who prospered thee prospered me, for I went up to the King and described to him the fashion of the hammam, and he bade me build one.” And the dyer said: “Even as thou art beknown of the King, so also am I, and, Inshallah- God willing- I will make him love and favor thee more than ever, for my sake. He knoweth not that thou art my comrade, but I will acquaint him of this and commend thee to him.” But Abu Sir said: “There needeth no commendation, for He who moveth man’s heart to love still liveth, and indeed the King and all his Court affect me and have given me this and that.” And he told him the whole tale, and said to him: “Put off thy clothes behind the chest and enter the hammam, and I will go in with thee and rub thee down with the glove.” So he doffed his dress, and Abu Sir, entering the bath with him, soaped him and gloved him and then dressed him and busied himself with his service till he came forth, when he brought him dinner and sherbets, whilst all the folk marveled at the honor he did him.

Then Abu Kir would have given him somewhat, but he swore that he would not accept aught from him, and said to him: “Shame upon such doing! Thou art my comrade, and there is no diference between us.” Then Abu Kir observed: “By Allah, O my comrade, this is a mighty fine hammam of thine, but there lacketh somewhat in its ordinance.” Asked Abu Sir, “And what is that?” and Abu Kir answered: “It is the depilatory, to wit, the paste compounded of yellow arsenic and quicklime which removeth the hair with comfort. Do thou prepare it, and next time the King cometh, present it to him, teaching him how he shall cause the hair to fall off by such means, and he will love thee with exceeding love and honor thee.” Quoth Abu Sir, “Thou speaketh sooth, and Inshallah, I will at once make it.”

Then Abu Kir left him and mounted his mule, and going to the King, said to him, “I have a warning to give thee, O King of the Age!” “And what is thy warning?” asked the King, and Abu Kir answered, “I hear that thou hast built a hamman.” Quoth the King: “Yes. There came to me a stranger and I builded the baths for even as I builded the dyery for thee, and indeed ’tis a mighty fine hammam and an ornament to my city,” and he went on to describe to him the virtues of the bath. Quoth the dyer, “Hast thou entered therein?” and quoth the King, “Yes.” Thereupon cried Abu Kir: “Alhamdolillah- praised be God- who saved thee from the mischief of yonder villian and foe of the Faith- I mean the bathkeeper!” The King inquired, “And what of him?” and Abu Kir replied: “Know, O King of the Age, that an thou enter the hammam again after this day, thou wilt surely perish.” “How so?” said the King, and the dyer said: “This bathkeeper is thy foe and the foe of the Faith, and he induced thee not to stablish this bath but because he designed therein to poison thee. He hath made for thee somewhat, and he will present it to thee when thou enterest the hammam, saying, ‘This is a drug which, if one apply to his parts below the waist, will remove the hair with comfort.” Now it is no drug, but a drastic dreg and a deadly poison, for the Sultan of the Christians hath promised this obscene fellow to release to him his wife and children an he will kill thee. For they are prisoners in the hands of that Sultan. I myself was captive with him in their land, but I opened a dyery and dyed for them various colors, so that they conciliated the King’s heart to me and he bade me ask a boon of him. I sought of him freedom and he set me at liberty, whereupon I made my way to this city, and seeing yonder man in the hammam, said to him, ‘How didst thou effect thine escape and win free with thy wife and children?’ Quoth he: ‘We ceased not to be in captivity, I and my wife and children, till one day the King of the Nazarenes held a Court whereat I was present, amongst a number of others. And as I stood amongst the folk, I heard them open out on the kings and name them, one after other, till they came to the name of the King of this city, whereupon the King of the Christians cried out “Alas!” and said, “None vexeth me in the world, but the King of such a city! Whosoever will contrive me his slaughter I will give him all. he shall ask.” So I went up to him and said, “An I compass for thee his slaughter, wilt thou set me free, me and my wife and my children?” The King replied, “Yes, and I will give thee to boot whatso thou shalt desire.” So we agreed upon this, and he sent me in a galleon to this city, where I presented myself to the King and he built me this hammam.

“‘Now, therefore, I have naught to do but to slay him and return to the King of the Nazarenes, that I may redeem my children and my wife and ask a boon of him.’ Quoth I: ‘And how wilt thou go about to kill him?’ and quoth he, ‘By the simplest of all devices, for I have compounded him somewhat wherein is poison, so when he cometh to the bath, I shall say to him “Take this paste and anoint therewith thy parts below the waist for it will cause the hair to drop off.” So he will take it and apply it to himself, and the poison will work in him a day and a night, till it reacheth his heart and destroyeth him. And meanwhile I shall have made off and none will know that it was I slew him.’ When I heard this,” added Abu Kir, “I feared for thee, my benefactor, wherefore I have told thee of what is doing.

As soon as the King heard the dyer’s story, he was wroth with exceeding wrath and said to him, “Keep this secret.” Then he resolved to visit the hammam, that he might dispel doubt by supplying certainty, and when he entered, Abu Sir doffed his dress, and betaking himself as of wont to the service of the King, proceeded to glove him, after which he said to him, “O King of the Age, I have made a drug which assisteth in plucking out the lower hair.” Cried the King, “Bring it to me.” So the barber brought it to him and the King, finding it nauseous of smell, was assured that it was poison, wherefore he was incensed and called out to his guards, saying, “Seize him!” Accordingly they seized him, and the King donned his dress and returned to his palace; boiling with fury, whilst none knew the cause of his indignation, for, of the excess of his wrath he had acquainted no one therewith and none dared ask him.

Then he repaired to the audience chamber, and causing Abu Sir to be brought before him with his elbows pinioned, sent for his sea captain and said to him: “Take this villian and set him in a sack with two quintals of lime unslaked and tie its mouth over his head. Then lay him in a cockboat and row out with him in front of my palace, where thou wilt see me sitting at the lattice. Do thou say to me, ‘Shall I cast him in?’ and if I answer, ‘Cast him!’ throw the sack into the sea, so the quicklime may be slacked on him to the intent that he shall die drowned and burnt.” “Hearkening and obeying,” quoth the captain, and taking Abu Sir from the presence, carried him to an island facing the King’s palace, where he said to him: “Ho, thou, I once visited thy hammam and thou entreatedst me with honor and accomplishedst all my needs and I had great pleasure of thee. Moreover, thou swarest that thou wouldst take no pay of me, and I love thee with a great love. So tell me how the case standeth between thee and the King, and what abominable deed thou hast done with him that he is wroth with thee and hath commanded me that thou shouldst die this foul death.”

Answered Abu Sir, “I have done nothing, nor weet I of any crime I have committed against him which merited this!” Rejoined the captain: “Verily, thou wast high in rank with the King, such as none ever won before thee, and all who are prosperous are envied. Haply someone was jealous of thy good fortune and threw out certain hints concerning thee to the King, by reason whereof he is become enraged against thee with rage so violent. But be of good cheer, no harm shall befall thee. For even as thou entreatedst me generously, without acquaintanceship between me and thee, so now I will deliver thee. But an I release thee, thou must abide with me on this island till some galleon sail from our city to thy native land, when I will send thee thither therein.”

Abu Sir kissed his hand and thanked him for that, after which the captain fetched the quicklime and set it in a sack, together with a great stone, the size of a man, saying, “I put my trust in Allah!” Then he gave the barber a net, saying: “Cast this net into the sea, so haply thou mayest take somewhat of fish. For I am bound to supply the King’s kitchen with fish every day, but today I have been distracted from fishing by this calamity which hath befallen thee, and I fear lest the cook’s boys come to me in quest of fish and find none. So, an thou take aught, they will find it and thou wilt veil my face, whilst I go and play off my practice in front of the palace and feign to cast thee into the sea.” Answered Abu Sir: “I will fish the while. Go thou, and God help thee!” So the captain set the sack in the boat and paddled till it came under the palace, where he saw the King seated at the lattice and said to him, “O King of the Age, shall I cast him in?” “Cast him!” cried the King, and signed to him with his hand, when lo and behold! something flashed like levin and fell into the sea. Now that which had fallen into the water was the King’s seal ring, and the same was enchanted in such way that when the King was wroth with anyone and was minded to slay him, he had but to sign to him with his right hand, whereon was the signet ring, and therefrom issued a flash of lightning, which smote the object, and thereupon his head fell from between his shoulders. And the troops obeyed him not, nor did he overcome the men of might, save by means of the ring. So when it dropped from his finger, he concealed the matter and kept silence, for that he dared not say, “My ring is fallen into the sea,” for fear of the troops, lest they rise against him and slay him.

On this wise it befell the King. But as regards Abu Sir, after the captain had left him on the island he took the net and casting it into the sea, presently drew it up full of fish, nor did he cease to throw it and pull it up full till there was a great mound of fish before him. So he said in himself, “By Allah, this long while I have not eaten fish!” and chose himself a large fat fish, saying, “When the captain cometh back, I will bid him fry it for me, so I may dine on it.” Then he cut its throat with a knife he had with him, but the knife stuck in its gills, and there he saw the King’s signet ring, for the fish had swallowed it and Destiny had driven it to that island, where it had fallen into the net. He took the ring and drew it on his little finger, not knowing its peculiar properties. Presently up came two of the cook’s boys in quest of fish, and seeing Abu Sir, said to him, “O man, whither is the captain gone?” “I know not,” said he, and signed to them with his right hand, when, behold, the heads of both underlings dropped off from between their shoulders. At this Abu Sir was amazed and said, “Would I wot who slew them!”

And their case was grievous to him, and he was still pondering it when the captain suddenly returned, and seeing the mound of fishes and two man lying dead and the seal ring on Abu Sir’s finger, said to him: “O my brother, move not thy hand whereon is the signet ring, else thou wilt kill me.” Abu Sir wondered at this speech and kept his hand motionless, whereupon the captain came up to him and said, “Who slew these two men?” “By Allah, O my brother, I wot not!” “Thou sayest sooth, but tell me, whence hadst thou that ring?” “I found it in this fish’s gills.” “True,” said the captain, “for I saw it fall flashing from the King’s palace and disappear in the sea, what time he signed toward thee, saying, ‘Cast him in.’ So I cast the sack into the water, and it was then that the ring slipped from his finger and fell into the sea, where this fish swallowed it, and Allah drave it to thee, so that thou madest it thy prey, for this ring was thy lot. But kennest thou its property?”

Said Abu Sir, “I knew not that it had any properties peculiar to it,” and the captain said: “Learn, then, that the King’s troops obey him not save for fear of this signet ring, because it is spelled, and when he was wroth with anyone and had a mind to kill he would sign at him therewith and his head would drop from between his shoulders, for there issued a flash of lightning from the ring and its ray smote the object of his wrath, who died forthright.” At this, Abu Sir rejoiced with exceeding joy and said to the captain, “Carry me back to the city,” and he said, “That will I, now that I no longer fear for thee from the King, for wert thou to sip at him with thy hand, purposing to kill him, his head would fall down between thy hands. And if thou be minded to slay him and all his host, thou mayst slaughter them without let or hindrance.”

So saying, he embarked him in the boat and bore him back to the city, so Abu Sir landed, and going up to the palace, entered the council chamber, where he found the King seated facing his officers, in sore cark and care by reason of the seal ring and daring not tell any of his folk anent its loss. When he saw Abu Sir, he said to him: “Did we not cast thee into the sea? How hast thou contrived to come forth of it?” Abu Sir replied: “O King of the Age, whenas thou badest throw me into the sea, thy captain carried me to an island and asked me of the cause of thy wrath against me, saying, ‘What hast thou done with the King, that he should decree thy death?’ I answered, ‘By Allah, I know not that I have wrought him any wrong!’ Quoth he: ‘Thou wast high in rank with the King, and haply someone envied thee and threw out certain hints concerning thee to him, so that he is become incensed against thee. But when I visited thee in thy hammam, thou entreatedst me honorably, and I will requite thee thy hospitality to me by setting thee free and sending thee back to thine own land.’ Then he set a great stone in the sack in my stead and cast it into the seat, but when thou signedst to him to throw me in, thy seal ring dropped from thy finger into the main, and a fish swallowed it.

“Now I was on the island a-fishing, and this fish came up in the net with others, whereupon I took it, intending to broil it. But when I opened its belly, I found the signet ring therein, so I took it and put it on my finger. Presently up came two of the servants of the kitchen, questing fish, and I signed to them with my hand, knowing not the property of the seal ring, and their heads fell off. Then the captain came back, and seeing the ring on my finger, acquainted me with its spell. And, behold, I have brought it back to thee, for that thou dealtest kindly by me and entreatedst me with the utmost honor, nor is that which thou hast done me of kindness lost upon me. Here is thy ring, take it! But an I have done with thee aught deserving of death, tell me my crime and slay me and thou shalt be absolved of sin in shedding my blood.”

So saying, he pulled the ring from his finger and gave it to the King, who, seeing Abu Sir’s noble conduct, took the ring and put it on and felt life return to him afresh. Then he rose to his feet, and embracing the barber, said to him: “O man, thou art indeed of the flower of the well-born! Blame me not, but forgive me the wrong I have done thee. Had any but thou gotten hold of this ring, he had never restored it to me.” Answered Abu Sir: “O King of the Age, an thou wouldst have me forgive thee, tell me what was my fault which drew down thine anger upon me, so that thou commandedst to do me die.” Rejoined the King: “By Allah, ’tis clear to me that thou art free and guiltless in all things of offense, since thou hast done this good deed. Only the dyer denounced thee to me in such and such words,” and he told him all that Abu Kir had said. Abu Sir replied: “By Allah, O King of the Age, I know no King of the Nazarenes, nor during my days have ever journeyed to a Christian country, nor did it ever come into my mind to kill thee. But this dyer was my comrade and neighbor in the city of Alexandria, where life was straitened upon us. Therefore we departed thence, to seek our fortunes, by reason of the narrowness of our means at home, after we had recited the opening chapter of the Koran together, pledging ourselves that he who got work should feed him who lacked work. And there befell me with him such-and-such things.”

Then he went on to relate to the King all that had betided him with Abu Kir the dyer: how he had robbed him of his dirhams and had left him alone and sick in the khan closet, and how the door keeper had fed him of his own moneys till Allah recovered him of his sickness, when he went forth and walked about the city with his budget, as was his wont, till his espied a dyery, about which the folk were crowding; so he looked at the door, and seeing Abu Kir seated on a bench there, went in to salute him, whereupon he accused him of being a thief and beat him a grievous beating- brief, he told him his whole tale, from first to last, and added: “O King of the Age, ’twas he who counseled me to make the depilatory and present it to thee, saying: ‘The hammam is perfect in all things but that it lacketh this.’ And know, O King of the Age, that this drug is harmless and we use it in our land, where ’tis one of the requisites bath, but I had forgotten it. So when the dyer visited the hammam, I entreated him with honor and he reminded me of it, and enjoined me to make it forthwith. But do thou send after the porter of such a khan and the workmen of the dyery and question them all of that which I have told thee.”

Accordingly the King sent for them and questioned them one and all and they acquainted him with the truth of the matter. Then he summoned the dyer, saying, “Bring him barefooted, bareheaded, and with elbows pinioned!” Now he was sitting in his house, rejoicing in Abu Sir’s death, but ere he could be ware, the King’s guards rushed in upon him and cuffed him on the nape, after which they bound him and bore him into the presence, where he saw Abu Sir seated by the King’s side and the doorkeeper of the khan and workmen of the dyery standing before him. Quoth the doorkeeper to him: “Is not this thy comrade whom thou robbedst of his silvers and leftest with me sick in the closet doing such-and-such by him?” And the workmen said to him, “Is not this he whom thou badest us seize and beat?” Therewith Abu Kir’s baseness was made manifest to the King, and he was certified that he merited torture yet sorer than the torments of Munkar and Nakir. So he said to his guards: “Take him and parade him about the city and the markets; then set him in a sack and cast him into the sea.” Whereupon quoth Abu Sir: “O King of the Age, accept my intercession for him, for I pardon him all he hath done with me.” But quoth the King: “An thou pardon him all his offenses against thee, I cannot pardon him his offenses against me.” And he cried out, saying, “Take him.”

So they took him and paraded him about the city, after which they set him in a sack with quicklime and cast him into the sea, and he died, drowned and burnt. Then said the King to the barber, “O Abu Sir, ask of me what thou wilt and it shall be given thee.” And he answered, saying, “I ask of thee to send me back to my own country, for I care no longer to tarry here.” Then the King gifted him great store of gifts, over and above that which he had whilom bestowed on him, and amongst the rest a galleon freighted with goods. And the crew of this galleon were Mamelukes, so he gave him these also, after offering to make him his Wazir, whereto the barber consented not. Presently he farewelled the King and set sail in his own ship manned by his own crew, nor did he cast anchor till he reached Alexandria and made fast to the shore there. They landed, and one of his Mamelukes, seeing a sack on the beach, said to Abu Sir: “O my lord, there is a great heavy sack on the seashore, with the mouth tied up, and I know not what therein.”

So Abu Sir came up, and opening the sack, found therein the remains of Abu Kir, which the sea had borne thither. He took it forth, and burying it near Alexandria, built over the grave a place of visitation. After this Abu Sir abode awhile, till Allah took him to Himself, and they buried him hard by the tomb of his comrade Abu Kir, wherefore that place was called Abu Kir and Abu Sir, but it is now known as Abu Kir only. This, then, is that which hath reached us of their history, and glory be to Him Who endureth forever and aye and by Whose will enterchange the night and the day.

And of the stories they tell is one anent…
 


Table of Content – The Arabian Nights

 
IT hath reached me, O auspicious King, that there was once at Baghdad, in the caliphate of Harun al-Rashid, a man and a merchant who had a son Abu al-Hasan al-Khali’a by name. The merchant died leaving great store of wealth to his heir, who divided it into two equal parts, whereof he laid up one and spent of the other half. And he fell to companying with Persians and with the sons of the merchants, and he gave himself up to good drinking and good eating till all the wealth he had with him was wasted and wantoned. Whereupon he betook himself to his friends and comrades and cup companions and expounded to them his case, discovering to them the failure of that which was in his hand of wealth. But not one of them took heed of him or even deigned answer him.

So he returned to his mother (and indeed his spirit was broken) and related to her that which had happened to him and what had befallen him from his friends, how they had neither shared with him nor requited him with speech. Quoth she: “O Abu al-Hasan, on this wise are the sons of this time: And thou have aught, they draw thee near to them, and if thou have naught, they put thee away from them.” And she went on to condole with him, what while he bewailed himself and his tears flowed and he repeated these lines:

“An wane my wealth, no man will succor me,
When my wealth waxeth all men friendly show.
How many a friend for wealth showed friendliness
Who, when my wealth departed, turned to foe!”

Then he sprang up, and going to the place wherein was the other half of his goods, took it and lived with it well. And he sware that he would never again consort with a single one of those he had known, but would company only with the stranger, nor entertain even him but one night, and that when it morrowed, he would never know him more. Accordingly he fell to sitting every eventide on the bridge over Tigris and looking at each one who passed by him. And if he saw him to be a stranger, he made friends with him and carried him to his house, where he conversed and caroused with him all night till morning. Then he dismissed him, and would never more salute him with the salaam nor ever more drew near unto him, neither invited him again.

Thus he continued to do for the space of a full year, till one day while he sat on the bridge, as was his wont, expecting who should come to him so he might take him and pass the night with him, behold, up came the Caliph and Masrur, the Sworder of his vengeance, disguised in merchants’ dress, according to their custom. So Abu al-Hasan looked at them, and rising, because he knew them not, asked them: “What say ye? Will ye go with me to my dwelling place, so ye may eat what is ready and drink what is at hand; to wit, platter bread and meat cooked and wine strained?” The Caliph refused this, but he conjured him and said to him: “Allah upon thee, O my lord. Go with me, for thou art my guest this night, and balk not my hopes of thee!” And he ceased not to press him till he consented, whereat Abu al-Hasan rejoiced, and walking on before him, gave not over talking with him till they came to his house and he carried the Caliph into the saloon.

Al-Rashid entered a hall such as an thou sawest it and gazedst upon its walls, thou hadst beheld marvels, and hadst thou looked narrowly at its water conduits, thou wouldst have seen a fountain cased with gold. The Caliph made his man abide at the door, and as soon as he was seated, the host brought him somewhat to eat. So he ate, and Abu al-Hasan ate with him, that eating might be grateful to him. Then he removed the tray and they washed their hands and the Commander of the Faithful sat down again. Whereupon Abu al-Hasan set on the drinking vessels, and seating himself by his side, fell to filling and giving him to drink and entertaining him with discourse. And when they had drunk their sufficiency the host called for a slave girl like a branch of ban, who took a lute and sang to it these two couplets:

“O thou aye dwelling in my heart,
Whileas thy form is far from sight,
Thou art my sprite by me unseen,
Yet nearest near art thou, my sprite.”

His hospitality pleased the Caliph, and the goodliness of his manners, and he said to him: “O youth, who art thou? Make me acquainted with thyself, so I may requite thee thy kindness.” But Abu al-Hasan smiled and said: ‘O my lord, far be it, alas! that what is past should again come to pass and that I company with thee at other time than this time!” The Prince of True Believers asked: “Why so? And why wilt thou not acquaint me with thy case?” and Abu al-Hasan answered, “Know, O my lord, that my story is strange and that there is a cause for this affair.” Quoth Al-Rashid, “And what is the cause?” and quoth he, “The cause hath a tail.” The Caliph laughed at his words and Abu al-Hasan said, “I will explain to thee this saying by the tale of the larrikin and the cook. So hear thou, O my lord, the…
 


Table of Content – The Arabian Nights

 
ONE of the ne’er do-wells found himself one fine morning without aught, and the world was straitened upon him and patience failed him. So he lay down to sleep, and ceased not slumbering till the sun stang him and the foam came out upon his mouth, whereupon he arose, and he was penniless and had not even so much as a single dirham. Presently he arrived at the shop of a cook, who had set his pots and pans over the fire and washed his saucers and wiped his scales and swept his shop and sprinkled it. And indeed his fats and oils were clear and clarified and his spices fragrant, and he himself stood behind his cooking pots ready to serve customers. So the larrikin, whose wits had been sharpened by hunger, went in to him and saluting him, said to him, “Weigh me half a dirham’s worth of meat and a quarter of a dirham’s worth of boiled grain, and the like of bread.” So the kitchener weighed it out to him and the good-for-naught entered the shop, whereupon the man set the food before him and he ate till he had gobbled up the whole and licked the saucers and sat perplexed, knowing not how he should do with the cook concerning the price of that he had eaten, and turning his eyes about upon everything in the shop.

And as he looked, behold, he caught sight of an earthen pan lying arsy-versy upon its mouth, so he raised it from the ground and found under it a horse’s tail, freshly cut off and the blood oozing from it, whereby he knew that the cook adulterated his meat with horseflesh. When he discovered this default, he rejoiced therein, and washing his hands, bowed his head and went out. And when the kitchener saw that he went and gave him naught, he cried out, saying, “Stay, O pest, O burglar!” So the larrikin stopped and said to him, “Dost thou cry out upon me and call to me with these words, O comute?” Whereat the cook was angry, and coming down from the shop, cried: “What meanest thou by thy speech, O low fellow, thou that devourest meat and millet and bread and kitchen and goest forth with ‘the peace be on thee!’ as it were the thing had not been and down naught for it?” Quoth the lackpenny, “Thou liest, O accursed son of a cuckold!” Whereupon the cook cried out, and laying hold of his debtor’s collar, said, “O Moslems, this fellow is my first customer this day, and he hath eaten my food and given me naught.”

So the folk gathered about them and blamed the ne’er-do-well and said to him, “Give him the price of that which thou hast eaten.” Quoth he, “I gave him a dirham before I entered the shop,” and quoth the cook: “Be everything I sell this day forbidden to me, if he gave me so much as the name of a coin! By Allah, he gave me naught, but ate my food and went out and would have made off, without aught said.” Answered the larrikin, “I gave thee a dirham,” and he reviled the kitchener, who returned his abuse, whereupon he dealt him a buffet and they gripped and grappled and throttled each other. When the folk saw them fighting, they came up to them and asked them, “What is this strife between you, and no cause for it?” and the lackpenny answered, “Ay, by Allah, but there is a cause for it, and the cause hath a tail!” Whereupon cried the cook: “Yea, by Allah, now thou mindest me of thyself and thy dirham! Yes, he gave me a dirham, and but a quarter of the coin is spent. Come back and take the rest of the price of thy dirham.” For he understood what was to do, at the mention of the tail.

“And I, O my brother,” added Abu al-Hasan, “my story hath a cause, which I will tell thee.” The Caliph laughed at his speech and said: “By Allah, this is none other than a pleasant tale! Tell me thy story and the cause.”

Replied the host: “With love and goodly gree! Know, O my lord, that my name is Abu al-Hasan al-Khali’a and that my father died and left me abundant wealth, of which I made two parts. One I laid up, and with the other I betook myself to enjoying the pleasures of friendship and conviviality and consorting with intimates and boon companions and the sons of the merchants, nor did I leave one but I caroused with him and he with me. And I lavished all my money on comrades and good cheer, till there remained with me naught. Whereupon I betook myself to the friends and fellow topers upon whom I wasted my wealth, so perhaps they might provide for my case, but when I visited them and went round about to them all, I found no vantage in one of them, nor would any so much as break a bittock of bread in my face. So I wept for myself, and repairing to my mother, complained to her of my case. Quoth she: ‘Such are friends. An thou have aught, they frequent thee and devour thee, but an thou have naught, they cast thee off and chase thee away.’ Then I brought out the other half of my money and bound myself by an oath that I would never more entertain any save one single night, after which I would never again salute him nor notice him. Hence my saying to thee: ‘Far be it, alas! that what is past should again come to pass, for I will never again company with thee after this night.”‘

When the Commander of the Faithful heard this, he laughed a loud laugh and said: “By Allah, O my brother, thou art indeed excused in this matter, now that I know the cause and that the cause hath a tail. Nevertheless, Inshallah, I will not sever myself from thee.” Replied Abu al-Hasan: “O my guest, did I not say to thee, ‘Far be it, alas! that what is past should again come to pass?’ For indeed I will never again forgather with any!” Then the Caliph rose and the host set before him a dish of roast goose and a bannock of first bread, and sitting down, fell to cutting off morsels and morseling the Caliph therewith. They gave not over eating till they were filled, when Abu al-Hasan brought basin and ewer and potash and they washed their hands. Then he lighted three wax candles and three lamps, and spreading the drinking cloth, brought strained wine, clear, old, and fragrant, whose scent was as that of virgin musk. He filled the first cup and saying, “O my boon companion, be ceremony laid aside between us by thy leave! Thy slave is by thee, may I not be afflicted with thy loss!” drank if off and filled a second cup, which he handed to the Caliph with due reverence.

His fashion pleased the Commander of the Faithful, and the goodliness of his speech, and he said to himself, “By Allah, I will assuredly requite him for this!” Then Abu al-Hasan filled the cup again and handed it to the Cahph, reciting these two couplets:

“Had we thy coming known, we would for sacrifice
Have poured thee out heart’s blood or blackness of the eyes.
Ay, and we would have spread our bosoms in thy way,
That so thy feet might fare on eyelids, carpet-wise.”

When the Caliph heard his verses, he took the cup from his hand and kissed it and drank it off and returned it to Abu al-Hasan, who made him an obeisance and filled and drank. Then he filled again, and kissing the cup thrice, recited these lines:

“Your presence honoreth the base,
And we confess the deed of grace.
An you absent yourself from us,
No freke we find to fill your place.”

Then he gave the cup to the Caliph, saying: “Drink it in health and soundness! It doeth away malady and bringeth remedy and setteth the runnels of health to flow free.” So they ceased not carousing and conversing till middle night, when the Caliph said to his host, “O my brother, hast thou in thy heart a concupiscence thou wouldst have accomplished, or a contingency thou wouldst avert?” Said he: “By Allah, there is no regret in my heart save that I am not empowered with bidding and forbidding, so I might manage what is in my mind!” Quoth the Commander of the Faithful, “By Allah, and again by Allah, O my brother, tell me what is in thy mind!” And quoth Abu al-Hasan: “Would Heaven I might be Caliph for one day and avenge myself on my neighbors, for that in my vicinity is a mosque, and therein four sheikhs, who hold it a grievance when there cometh a guest to me, and they trouble me with talk and worry me in words and menace me that they will complain of me to the Prince of True Believers, and indeed they oppress me exceedingly. And I crave of Allah the Most High power for one day, that I may beat each and every of them with four hundred lashes, as well as the imam of the mosque, and parade them round about the city of Baghdad and bid cry before them: ‘This is the reward and the least of the reward of whoso exceedeth in talk and vexeth the folk and turneth their joy to annoy.’ This is what I wish, and no more.”

Said the Caliph: “Allah grant thee that thou seekest! Let us crack one last cup and rise ere the dawn draw near, and, tomorrow night I will be with thee again.” Said Abu al-Hasan, “Far be it!” Then the Caliph crowned a cup, and putting therein a piece of Cretan bhang, gave it to his host and said to him, “My life on thee, O my brother, drink this cup from my hand!” and Abu al-Hasan answered, “Ay, by thy life, I will drink it from thy hand.” So he took it and drank it off, but hardly had it settled in his stomach when his head forewent his heels and he fell to the ground like one slain. Whereupon the Caliph went out and said to his slave Masrur: “Go in to yonder young man, the housemaster, and take him up and bring him to me at the palace. And when thou goest out, shut the door.” So saying, he went away, whilst Masrur entered, and taking up Abu al-Hasan, shut the door behind him, and made after his master till he reached with him the palace what while the night drew to an end and the cocks began crowing, and set him down before the Commander of the Faithful, who laughed at him.

Then he sent for Ja’afar the Barmecide and when he came before him, said to him, “Note thou yonder young man,” pointing to Abu al-Hasan, “and when thou shalt see him tomorrow seated in my place of estate and on the throne of my caliphate and clad in my royal clothing, stand thou in attendance upon him, and enjoin the emirs and grandees and the folk of my household and the officers of my realm to be upon their feet, as in his service, and obey him in whatso he shall bid them do. And thou, if he speak to thee of aught, do it, and hearken unto his say and gainsay him not in anything during this coming day.” Ja’afar acknowledged the order with “Hearkening and obedience” and withdrew, whilst the Prince of True Believers went in to the palace women, who came up to him, and he said to them: “When this sleeper shall awake tomorrow, kiss ye the ground between his hands, and do ye wait upon him and gather round about him and clothe him in the royal clothing and serve him with the service of the caliphate, and deny not aught of his estate, but say to him, ‘Thou art the Caliph.”‘ Then he taught them what they should say to him and how they should do with him, and withdrawing to a retired room, let down a curtain before himself and slept.

Thus fared it with the Caliph, but as regards Abu al-Hasan, he gave not over snoring in his sleep till the day brake clear and the rising of the sun drew near, when a woman in waiting came up to him and said to him, “O our lord, the morning prayer!” Hearing these words, he laughed, and opening his eyes, turned them about the palace and found himself in an apartment whose walls were Painted with gold and lapis lazuli and its ceiling dotted and starred with red gold. Around it were sleeping chambers with curtains of gold-embroidered silk let down over their doors, and all about vessels of gold and porcelain and crystal and furniture and carpets dispread and lamps burning before the niche wherein men prayed, and slave girls and eunuchs and Mamelukes and black slaves and boys and pages and attendants.

When he saw this, he was bewildered in his wit and said: “By Allah either I am dreaming a dream, or this is Paradise and the Abode of Peace!” And he shut his eyes and would have slept again. Quoth one of the eunuchs, “O my lord, this is not of thy wont, O Commander of the Faithful!” Then the rest of the handmaids of the palace came up to him and lifted him into a sitting posture, when he found himself upon a mattress raised a cubit’s height from the ground and all stuffed with floss silk. So they seated him upon it and propped his elbow with a pillow, and he looked at the apartment and its vastness and saw those eunuchs and slave girls in attendance upon him and standing about his head, whereupon he laughed at himself and said, “By Allah, ’tis not as I were on wake, yet I am not asleep!” And in his perplexity he bowed his chin upon his bosom, and then opened his eyes, little by little, smiling, and saying, “What is this state wherein I find myself?” Then he arose and sat up, whilst the damsels laughed at him privily, and he was bewildered in his wit, and bit his finger, and as the bite pained him, he cried “Oh!” and was vexed. And the Caliph watched him whence he saw him not, and laughed.

Presently Abu al-Hasan turned to a damsel and called to her, whereupon she answered, “At thy service, O Prince of True Believers!” Quoth he, “What is thy name?” and quoth she, “Shajarat al-Durr.” Then he said to her, “By the protection of Allah, O damsel, am I Commander of the Faithful?” She replied, “Yes, indeed, by the protection of Allah thou in this time art Commander of the Faithful.” Quoth he, “By Allah, thou liest, O thousandfold whore!” Then he glanced at the chief eunuch and called to him, whereupon he came to him and kissing the ground before him, said, “Yes, O Commander of the Faithful.” Asked Abu al-Hasan, “Who is Commander of the Faithful?” and the eunuch answered “Thou.” And Abu al-Hasan said, “Thou Hest, thousandfold he-whore that thou art!” Then he turned to another eunuch and said to him, “O my chief, by the protection of Allah, am I Prince of the True Believers?” Said he: “Ay, by Allah, O my lord, thou art in this time Commander of the Faithful and Viceregent of the Lord of the Three Worlds.”

Abu al-Hasan laughed at himself and doubted of his reason and was bewildered at what he beheld, and said: “In one night do I become Caliph? Yesterday I was Abu al-Hasan the Wag, and today I am Commander of the Faithful.” Then the Chief Eunuch came up to him and said: “O Prince of True Believers (the name of Allah encompass thee!), thou art indeed Commander of the Faithful and Viceregent of the Lord of the Three Worlds!” And the slave girls and eunuchs flocked round about him, till he arose and abode wondering at his case. Hereupon the eunuch brought him a pair of sandals wrought with raw silk and green silk and purfled with red gold, and he took them and after examining them, set them in his sleeve. Whereat the castrato cried out and said: “Allah! Allah! O my lord, these are sandals for the treading of thy feet, so thou mayst wend to the wardrobe.” Abu al-Hasan was confounded, and shaking the sandals from his sleeve, put them on his feet, whilst the Caliph died of laughter at him. The slave forewent him to the chapel of ease, where he entered, and doing his job, came out into the chamber, whereupon the slave girls brought him a basin of gold and a ewer of silver and poured water on his hands, and he made the wuzu ablution. Then they spread him a prayer carpet and he prayed.

Now he knew not how to pray, and gave not over bowing and prostrating for twenty inclinations, pondering in himself the while and saying: “By Allah, I am none other than the Commander of the Faithful in very truth! This is assuredly no dream, for all these things happen not in a dream.” And he was convinced and determined in himself that he was Prince of True Believers, so he pronounced the salaam and finished his prayers, whereupon the Mamelukes and slave girls came round about him with bundled suits of silken and linen stuffs and clad him in the costume of the caliphate and gave the royal dagger in his hand.

Then the chief eunuch came in and said, “O Prince of True Believers, the Chamberlain is at the door craving permission to enter.” Said he, “Let him enter!” whereupon he came in, and after kissing ground, offered the salutation, “Peace be upon thee, O Commander of the Faithful!” At this Abu al-Hasan rose and descended from the couch to the floor, whereupon the official exclaimed: “Allah! Allah! O Prince of True Believers, wottest thou not that all men are thy lieges and under thy rule and that it is not meet for the Caliph to rise to any man?” Presently the eunuch went out before him, and the little white slaves behind him, and they ceased not going till they raised the curtain and brought him into the hall of judgment and the throne room of the caliphate. There he saw all curtains and the forty doors and Al-‘Ijli and Al-Rakashi the poet, and ‘Ibdan and Jadim and Abu Ishak the cup companion, and beheld swords drawn and the lions compassing the throne as the white of the eye encircleth the black, and gilded glaives and death-dealing bows and Ajams and Arabs and Turks and Daylamites and folk and peoples and emirs and wazirs and captains and grandees and lords of the land and men of war in band, and in very sooth there appeared the might of the House of Abbas and the majesty of the Prophet’s family.

So he sat down upon the throne of the caliphate and set the dagger on his lap, whereupon all present came up to kiss ground between his hands and called down on him length of life and continuance of weal. Then came forward Ja’afar the Barmecide and, kissing the ground, said: “Be the wide world of Allah the treading of thy feet, and may Paradise be thy dwelling place and the fire the home of thy foes! Never may neighbor defy thee, nor the lights of fire die out for thee, O Caliph of all cities and ruler of all countries!” Therewithal Abu al-Hasan cried out at him and said, “O dog of the sons of Barmak, go down forthright, thou and the chief of the city police, to such a place in such a street, and deliver a hundred dinars of gold to the mother of Abu al-Hasan the Wag, and bear her my salutation. Then go to such a mosque and take the four Sheikhs and the imam and scourge each of them with a thousand lashes and mount them on beasts, face to tail, and parade them round about all the city and banish them to a place other than this city. And bid the crier make cry before them, saying: ‘This is the reward and the least of the reward of whoso multiplieth words and molesteth his neighbors and damageth their delights and stinteth their eating and drinking!'”

Ja’afar received the command and answered “With obedience,” after which he went down from before Abu al-Hasan to the city and did all he had ordered him to do. Meanwhile, Abu al-Hasan abode in the caliphate, taking and giving, bidding and forbidding and carrying out his command till the end of the day, when he gave leave and permission to withdraw, and the emirs and officers of state departed to their several occupations and he looked toward the Chamberlain and the rest of the attendants and said, “Begone!” Then the eunuchs came to him, and calling down on him length of life and continuance of weal, walked in attendance upon him and raised the curtain, and he entered the pavilion of the harem, where he found candles lighted and lamps burning and singing women smiting on instruments, and ten slave girls, high-bosomed maids. When he saw this, he was confounded in his wit and said to himself, “By Allah, I am in truth Commander of the Faithful!” presently adding: “Or haply these are of the Jann, and he who was my guest yesternight was one of their kings who saw no way to requite my favors save by commanding his Ifrits to address me as Prince of True Believers. But an these be of the Jann, may Allah deliver me in safety from their mischief!”

As soon as he appeared, the slave girls rose to him, and carrying him up on to the dais, brought him a great tray bespread with the richest viands. So he ate thereof with all his might and main, till he had gotten his fill, when he called one of the handmaids and said to her, “What is thy name?” Replied she, “My name is Miskah,” and he said to another, “What is thy name?” Quoth she, “My name is Tarkah.” Then he asked a third, “What is thy name?” who answered, “My name is Tohfah.” And he went on to question the damsels of their names, one after other, till he had learned the ten, when he rose from that place and removed to the wine chamber. He found it every way complete, and saw therein ten great trays, covered with all fruits and cates and every sort of sweetmeats. So he sat down and ate thereof after the measure of his competency, and finding there three troops of singing girls, was amazed, and made the girls eat.

Then he sat and the singers also seated themselves, whilst the black slaves and the white slaves and the eunuchs and pages and boys stood, and of the slave girls some sat and others stood. The damsels sang and warbled all varieties of melodies and the place rang with the sweetness of the songs, whilst the pipes cried out and the lutes with them wailed, till it seemed to Abu al-Hasan that he was in Paradise, and his heart was heartened and his breast broadened. So he sported, and joyaunce grew on him and he bestowed robes of honor on the damsels and gave and bestowed, challenging this girl and kissing that and toying with a third, plying one with wine and morseling another with meat, till nightfall.

All this while the Commander of the Faithful was diverting himself with watching him and laughing, and when night fell he bade one of the slave girls drop a piece of bhang in the cup and give it to Abu al-Hasan to drink. So she did his bidding and gave him the cup, which no sooner had he drunk than his head forewent his feet. Therewith the Caliph came forth from behind the curtain laughing, and calling to the attendant who had brought Abu al-Hasan to the palace, said to him, “Carry this man to his own place.” So Masrur took him up, and carrying him to his own house, set him down in the saloon. Then he went forth from him, and shutting the saloon door upon him, returned to the Caliph, who slept till the morrow.

As for Abu al-Hasan, he gave not over slumbering till Almighty Allah brought on the morning, when he recovered from the drug and awoke, crying out and saying: “Ho, Tuffahah! Ho, Rahat al-Kulub! Ho, Miskah! Ho, Tohfah!” And he ceased not calling upon the palace handmaids till his mother heard him summoning strange damsels, and rising, came to him and said: “Allah’s name encompass thee! Up with thee, O my son, O Abu al-Hasan! Thou dreamest.” So he opened his eyes, and finding an old woman at his head, raised his eyes and said to her, “Who art thou?” Quoth she, “I am thy mother,” and quoth he: “Thou liest! I am the Commander of the Faithful the Viceregent of Allah.” Whereupon his mother shrieked aloud and said to him: “Heaven preserve thy reason! Be silent, O my son, and cause not the loss of our lives and the wasting of thy wealth, which will assuredly befall us if any hear this talk and carry it to the Caliph.”

So he rose from his sleep, and finding himself in his own saloon and his mother by him, had doubts of his wit, and said to her: “By Allah, O my mother, I saw myself in a dream in a palace, with slave girls and Mamelukes about me and in attendance upon me, and I sat upon the throne of the Caliphate and ruled. By Allah, O my mother, this is what I saw, and in very sooth it was no dream!” Then he bethought himself awhile and said: “Assuredly, I am Abu al-Hasan al-Khali’a, and this that I saw was only a dream when I was made Caliph and bade and forbade.” Then he bethought himself again and said: “Nay, but ’twas not a dream, and I am none other than the Caliph, and indeed I gave gifts and bestowed honor robes.” Quoth his mother to him: “O my son, thou sportest with thy reason. Thou wilt go to the madhouse and become a gazingstock. Indeed, that which thou hast seen is only from the Foul Fiend, and it was an imbroglio of dreams, for at times Satan sporteth with men’s wits in all manner of ways.”

Then said she to him, “O my son, was there anyone with thee yesternight?” And he reflected and said: “Yes, one lay the night with me and I acquainted him with my case and told him my tale. Doubtless, he was of the devils, and I, O my mother, even as thou sayst truly, am Abu al-Hasan al-Khali’a.” She rejoined: “O my son, rejoice in tidings of all good, for yesterday’s record is that there came the Wazir Ja’afar the Barmecide and his many, and beat the Sheikhs of the mosque and the imam, each a thousand lashes, after which they paraded them round about the city, making proclamation before them and saying, ‘This is the reward and the least of the reward of whoso faileth in goodwill to his neighbors and troubleth on them their lives!’ And he banished them from Baghdad. Moreover, the Caliph sent me a hundred dinars and sent to salute me.”

Whereupon Abu al-Hasan cried out and said to her: “O ill-omened crone, wilt thou contradict me and tell me that I am not the Prince of True Believers? ‘Twas I who commanded Ja’afar the Barmecide to beat the Sheikhs and parade them about the city and make proclamation before them, and ’twas I, very I, who sent thee the hundred dinars and sent to salute thee, and I, O beldam of ill luck, am in very deed the Commander of the Faithful, and thou art a liar, who would make me out an idiot.” So saying, he rose up and fell upon her and beat her with a staff of almond wood, till she cried out “Help, O Moslems!” And he increased the beating upon her till the folk heard her cries, and coming to her, found Abu al-Hasan bashing his mother and saying to her: “Old woman of ill omen, am I not the Commander of the Faithful? Thou hast ensorceled me!” When the folk heard his words, they said, “This man raveth,” and doubted not of his madness.

So they came in upon him, and seizing him, pinioned his elbows, and bore him to the bedlam. Quoth the superintendant, “What aileth this youth?” and quoth they, “This is a madman, afflicted of the Jinn.” “By Allah,” cried Abu al-Hasan, “they lie against me! I am no madman, but the Commander of the Faithful.” And the superintendent answered him, saying, “None lieth but thou, O foulest of the Jinn-maddened!” Then he stripped him of his clothes, and clapping on his neck a heavy chain, bound him to a high lattice and fell to beating him two bouts a day and two a-nights, and he ceased not abiding on this wise the space of ten days. Then his mother came to him and said: “O my son, O Abu al-Hasan, return to thy right reason, for this is the Devil’s doing.” Quoth he: “Thou sayest sooth, O my mother, and bear thou witness of me that I repeat me of that talk and turn me from my madness. So do thou deliver me, for I am nigh upon death.” Accordingly his mother went out to the superintendent and procured his release, and he returned to his own house.

Now this was at the beginning of the month, and when it ended, Abu al-Hasan longed to drink liquor and, returning to his former habit, furnished his saloon and made ready food and bade bring wine. Then, going forth to the bridge, he sat there, expecting one whom he should converse and carouse with, according to his custom. As he sat thus, behold, up came the Caliph and Masrur to him, but Abu al-Hasan saluted them not and said to Al-Rashid, “No friendly welcome to thee, O King of the Jann!” Quoth Al-Rashid, “What have I done to thee?” and quoth Abu al-Hasan, “What more couldst thou do than what thou hast done to me, O foulest of the Jann? I have been beaten and thrown into bedlam, where all said I was Jinn-mad, and this was caused by none save thyself. I brought thee to my house and fed thee with my best, after which thou dist empower thy Satans and Marids to disport themselves with my wits from morning to evening. So avaunt and aroynt thee and wend thy ways!”

The Caliph smiled and, seating himself by his side, said to him, “O my brother, did I not tell thee that I would return to thee?” Quoth Abu al-Hasan, “I have no need of thee, and as the byword sayeth in verse:

“Fro’ my friend, ’twere meeter and wiser to part,
For what eye sees not born shall ne’er sorrow heart.”
And indeed, O my brother, the night thou camest to me and we conversed and caroused together, I and thou, ’twas as if the Devil came to me and troubled me that night.” Asked the Caliph, “And who is he, the Devil?” and answered Abu al-Hasan, “He is none other than thou.” Whereat the Caliph laughed and coaxed him and spake him fair, saying: “O my brother, when I went out from thee, I forgot the door and left it open, and perhaps Satan came in to thee.” Quoth Abu al-Hasan: “Ask me not of that which hath betided me. What possessed thee to leave the door open, so that the Devil came in to me and there befell me with him this and that?” And he related to him all that had betided him, first and last (and in repetition is no fruition), what while the Caliph laughed and hid his laughter.

Then said he to Abu al-Hasan: “Praised be Allah who hath done away from thee whatso irked thee, and that I see thee once more in weal!” And Abu al-Hasan said: “Never again will I take thee to cup companion or sitting comrade, for the proverb saith, ‘Whoso stumbleth on a stone and thereto returneth, upon him be blame and reproach.’ And thou, O my brother, nevermore will I entertain thee nor company with thee, for that I have not found thy heel propitious to me.” But the Caliph coaxed him and said, “I have been the means of thy winning to thy wish anent the imam and the Sheikhs.” Abu al-Hasan replied, “Thou hast,” and Al-Rashid continued, “And haply somewhat may betide which shall gladden thy heart yet more.” Abu al-Hasan asked, “What dost thou require of me?” and the Commander of the Faithful answered: “Verily, I am thy guest. Reject not the guest.” Quoth Abu al-Hasan: “On condition that thou swear to me by the characts on the seal of Solomon, David’s son (on the twain be the peace!) that thou wilt not suffer thine Ifrits to make fun of me.” He replied, “To hear is to obey!”

Whereupon the wag took him and brought him into the saloon and set food before him and entreated him with friendly speech. Then he told him all that had befallen him, whilst the Caliph was like to die of stifled laughter. After which Abu al-Hasan removed the tray of food, and bringing the wine service, filled a cup and cracked it three times, then gave it to the Caliph, saying: “O boon companion mine, I am thy slave, and let not that which I am about to say offend thee, and be thou not vexed, neither do thou vex me.” And he recited these verses:

“Hear one that wills thee well! Lips none shall bless
Save those who drink for drunk and all transgress.
Ne’er will I cease to swill while night falls dark
Till lout my forehead low upon my tass.
In wine like liquid sun is my delight
Which clears all care and gladdens allegresse.”

When the Caliph heard these his verses and saw how apt he was at couplets, he was delighted with exceeding delight, and taking the cup, drank it off, and the twain ceased not to converse and carouse till the wine rose to their heads. Then quoth Abu al-Hasan to the Caliph: “O boon companion mine, of a truth I am perplexed concerning my affair, for meseemed I was Commander of the Faithful and ruled and gave gifts and largess, and in very deed, O my brother, it was not a dream.” Quoth the Caliph, “These were the imbroglios of sleep,” and crumbling a bit of bhang into the cup, said to him, “By my life, do thou drink this cup,” and said Abu al-Hasan, “Surely I will drink it from thy hand.” Then he took the cup and drank it off, and no sooner had it settled in his stomach than his head fell to the ground before his feet. Now his manners and fashions pleased the Caliph, and the excellence of his composition and his frankness, and he said in himself, “I will assuredly make him my cup companion and sitting comrade.” So he rose forthright, and saying to Masrur, “Take him up,” returned to the palace.

Accordingly, the eunuch took up Abu al-Hasan, and carrying him to the palace of the caliphate, set him down before Al-Rashid, who bade the slaves and slave girls compass him about, whilst he himself hid in a place where Abu al-Hasan could not see him. Then he commanded one of the handmaidens to take the lute and strike it over the wag’s head, whilst the rest smote upon their instruments. So they played and sang, till Abu al-Hasan awoke at the last of the night and heard the symphony of lutes and tambourines and the sound of the flutes and the singing of the slave girls, whereupon he opened eyes, and finding himself in the palace, with the handmaids and eunuchs about him, exclaimed: “There is no Majesty and there is no Might save in Allah, the Glorious, the Great! Come to my help this night, which meseems more unlucky than the former! Verily, I am fearful of the madhouse and of that which I suffered therein the first time, and I doubt not but the Devil is come to me again, as before. O Allah, my Lord, put thou Satan to shame!” Then he shut his eyes and laid his head in his sleeve, and fell to laughing softly and raising his head betimes, but still found the apartment lighted and the girls singing.

Presently one of the eunuchs sat down at his head and said to him, “Sit up, O Prince of True Believers, and look on thy palace and thy slave girls.” Said Abu al-Hasan: “Under the veil of Allah, am I in truth Commander of the Faithful, and dost thou not lie? Yesterday I rode not forth, neither ruled, but drank and slept, and this eunuch cometh to make me rise.” Then he sat up and recalled to thought that which had betided him with his mother and how he had beaten her and entered the bedlam, and he saw the marks of the beating wherewith the superintendant had beaten him, and was perplexed concerning his affair and pondered in himself, saying, “By Allah, I know not how my case is nor what is this that betideth me!” Then, gazing at the scene around him, he said privily, “All these are of the Jann in human shape, and I commit my case to Allah.”

Presently he turned to one of the damsels and said to her, “Who am I?” Quoth she, “Thou art the Commander of the Faithful,” and quoth he: “Thou liest, O calamity! If I be indeed the Commander of the Faithful, bite my finger.” So she came to him and bit it with all her might, and he said to her, “It doth suffice.” Then he asked the chief eunuch, “Who am I?” and he answered, “Thou art the Commander of the Faithful.” So he left him and returned to his wonderment. Then, turning to a little white slave, said to him, “Bite my ear,” and he bent his head low down to him and put his ear to his mouth. Now the Mameluke was young and lacked sense, so he closed his teeth upon Abu al-Hasan’s ear with all his might, till he came near to sever it. And he knew not Arabic, so as often as the wag said to him, “It doth suffice,” he concluded that he said, “Bite like a vice,” and redoubled his bite and made his teeth meet in the ear, whilst the damsels were diverted from him with hearkening to the singing girls, and Abu al-Hasan cried out for succor from the boy and the Caliph lost his senses for laughter.

Then he dealt the boy a cuff, and he let go his ear, whereupon all present fell down with laughter and said to the little Mameluke, “Art mad that thou bitest the Caliph’s ear on this wise?” And Abu al-Hasan cried to them: “Sufficeth ye not, O ye wretched Jinns, that which hath befallen me? But the fault is not yours. The fault is of your chief, who transmewed you from Jinn shape to mortal shape. I seek refuge against you this night by the Throne Verse and the Chapter of Sincerity and the Two Preventives!” So saying, the wag put off his clothes till he was naked, with prickle and breech exposed, and danced among the slave girls. They bound his hands and he wantoned among them, while they died of laughing at him and the Caliph swooned away for excess of laughter.

Then he came to himself, and going forth the curtain to Abu al-Hasan, said to him: “Out on thee, O Abu al-Hasan! Thou slayest me with laughter.” So he turned to him, and knowing him, said to him, “By Allah, ’tis thou slayest me and slayest my mother and slewest the Sheikhs and the imam of the mosque!” After which he kissed ground before him and prayed for the permanence of his prosperity and the endurance of his days. The Caliph at once robed him in a rich robe and gave him a thousand dinars, and presently he took the wag into especial favor and married him and bestowed largess on him and lodged him with himself in the palace and made him of the chief of his cup companions, and indeed he was preferred with him above them, and the Caliph advanced him over them all, so that he sat with him and the Lady Zubaydah bint al-Kasim, whose treasuress, Nuzhat al-Fuad hight, was given to him in marriage.

After this Abu al-Hasan the wag abode with his wife in eating and drinking and all delight of life, till whatso was with them went the way of money, when he said to her, “Harkye, O Nuzhat al-Fuad!” Said she, “At thy service,” and he continued, “I have it in mind to play a trick on the Caliph, and thou shalt do the like with the Lady Zubaydah, and we will take of them at once, to begin with, two hundred dinars and two pieces of silk.” She rejoined, “As thou willest, but what thinkest thou to do?” And he said: “We will feign ourselves dead, and this is the trick. I will die before thee and lay myself out, and do thou spread over me a silken napkin and loose my turban over me and tie my toes and lay on my stomach a knife and a little salt. Then let down thy hair and betake thyself to thy mistress Zubaydah, tearing thy dress and slapping thy face and crying out. She will ask thee, ‘What aileth thee?’ and do thou answer her, ‘May thy head outlive Abu al-Hasan the wag, for he is dead.’ She will mourn for me and weep and bid her new treasuress give thee a hundred dinars and a piece of silk and will say to thee, ‘Go, lay him out and carry him forth.’ So do thou take of her the hundred dinars and the piece of silk and come back, and when thou returnest to me, I will rise up and thou shalt lie down in my place, and I will go to the Caliph and say to him, ‘May thy head outlive Nuzhat al-Fuad,’ and rend my raiment and pluck out my beard. He will mourn for thee and say to his treasurer, ‘Give Abu al-Hasan a hundred dinars and a piece of silk.’ Then he will say to me, ‘Go, lay her out and carry her forth,’ and I will come back to thee.”

Therewith Nuzhat al-Fuad rejoiced and said, “Indeed, this is an excellent device.” Then Abu al-Hasan stretched himself out forthright and she shut his eyes and tied his feet and covered him with the napkin and did whatso her lord had bidden her. After which she tare her gear and bared her head and letting down her hair, went in to the Lady Zubaydah, crying out and weeping. When the Princess saw her in this state, she cried: “What plight is this? What is thy story, and what maketh thee weep?” And Nuzhatal-Fuad answered, weeping and loud-wailing the while: “O my lady, may thy head live and mayst thou survive Abu al-Hasan al-Khali’a, for he is dead!” The Lady Zubaydah mourned for him and said, “Alas, poor Abu al-Hasan the wag!” and she shed tears for him awhile. Then she bade her treasuress give Nuzhat al-Fuad a hundred dinars and a piece of silk and said to her, “O Nuzhat al-Fuad, go, lay him out and carry him forth.”

So she took the hundred dinars and the piece of silk and returned to her dwelling, rejoicing, and went in to her spouse and acquainted him what had befallen, whereupon he arose and rejoiced and girdled his middle and danced and took the hundred dinars and the piece of silk and laid them up. Then he laid out Nuzhat al-Fuad and did with her as she had done with him, after which he rent his raiment and plucked out his beard and disordered his turban and ran out, nor ceased running till he came in to the Caliph, who was sitting in the judgment hall, and he in this plight, beating his breast. The Caliph asked him, “What aileth thee, O Abu al-Hasan?” and he wept and answered, “Would Heaven thy cup companion had never been, and would his hour had never come!” Quoth the Caliph, “Tell me thy case,” and quoth Abu al-Hasan, “O my lord, may thy head outlive Nuzhat al-Fuad!” The Caliph exclaimed, “There is no god but God,” and smote hand upon hand. Then he comforted Abu al-Hasan and said to him, “Grieve not, for we will bestow upon thee a bedfellow other than she.” And he ordered the treasurer to give him a hundred dinars and a piece of silk. Accordingly the treasurer did what the Caliph bade him, and Al-Rashid said to him, “Go, lay her out and carry her forth and make her a handsome funeral.”

So Abu al-Hasan took that which he had given him and returning to his house, rejoicing, went in to Nuzhat al-Fuad and said to her, “Arise, for our wish” is won.” Hereat she arose and he laid before her the hundred ducats and the piece of silk, whereat she rejoiced, and they added the gold to the gold and the silk to the silk and sat talking and laughing each to other.

Meanwhile, when Abu al-Hasan fared forth the presence of the Caliph and went to lay out Nuzhat al-Fuad, the Commander of the Faithful mourned for her, and dismissing the Divan, arose and betook himself, leaning upon Masrur, the Sworder of his vengeance, to the Lady Zubaydah, that he might condole with her for her handmaid. He found her sitting weeping and awaiting his coming, so she might condole with him for his boon companion Abu al-Hasan the wag. So he said to her, “May thy head outlive thy slave girl Nuzhat al-Fuad!” and said she: “O my lord, Allah preserve my slave girl! Mayst thou live and long survive thy boon companion Abu al-Hasan al-Khali’a, for he is dead.” The Caliph smiled and said to his eunuch: “O Masrur, verily women are little of wit. Allah upon thee, say, was not Abu al-Hasan with me but now?” Quoth the Lady Zubaydah, laughing from a heart full of wrath: “Wilt thou not leave thy jesting? Sufficeth thee not that Abu al-Hasan is dead, but thou must put to death my slave girl also and bereave us of the twain, and style me little of wit?” The Caliph answered, “Indeed, ’tis Nuzhat al-Fuad who is dead.” And the Lady Zubaydah said: “Indeed he hath not been with thee, nor hast thou seen him, and none was with me but now save Nuzhat al-Fuad, and she sorrowful, weeping, with her clothes torn to tatters. I exhorted her to patience and gave her a hundred dinars and a piece of silk, and indeed I was awaiting thy coming, so I might console thee for thy cup companion Abu al-Hasan al-Khali’a, and was about to send for thee.” The Caliph laughed and said, “None is dead save Nuzhat al-Fuad,” and she, “No, no, good my lord; none is dead but Abu al-Hasan the wag.”

With this the Caliph waxed wroth, and the hashimi vein started out from between his eyes and throbbed, and he cried out to Masrur and said to him, “Fare thee forth to the house of Abu al-Hasan the wag, and see which of them is dead.” So Masrur went out, running, and the Caliph said to the Lady Zubaydah, “Wilt thou lay me a wager?” And said she, “Yes, I will wager, and I say that Abu al-Hasan is dead.” Rejoined the Caliph: “And I wager and say that none is dead save Nuzhat al-Fuad, and the stake between me and thee shall be the Garden of Pleasaunce against thy palace and the Pavilion of Pictures.” So they agreed upon this and sat awaiting Masrur’s return with the news.

As for the eunuch, he ceased not running till he came to the by-street wherein was the stead of Abu al-Hasan al-Khali’a. Now the wag was comfortably seated and leaning back against the lattice, and chancing to look round, saw Masrur running along the street and said to Nuzhat al-Fuad, “Meseemeth the Caliph, when I went forth from him, dismissed the Divan and went in to the Lady Zubaydah to condole with her, whereupon she arose and condoled with him, saying, ‘Allah increase thy recompense for the loss of Abu al-Hasan al-Khali’a!’ And he said to her, ‘None is dead save Nuzhat al-Fuad, may thy head outlive her!’ Quoth she, ”Tis not she who is dead, but Abu al-Hasan al-Khali’a, thy boon companion.’ And quoth he, ‘None is dead save Nuzhat al-Fuad.’ And they waxed so obstinate that the Caliph became wroth and they laid a wager, and he hath sent Masrur the Sworder to see who is dead. Now, therefore, ’twere best that thou lie down, so he may sight thee and go and acquaint the Caliph and confirm my saying.”

So Nuzhat al-Fuad stretched herself out and Abu al-Hasan covered her with her mantilla and sat weeping at her head. Presently, Masrur, the eunuch, suddenly came in to him and saluted him, and seeing Nuzhat al-Fuad stretched out, uncovered her face and said: “There is no god but God! Our sister Nuzhat al-Fuad is dead indeed. How sudden was the stroke of Destiny! Allah have ruth on thee and acquit thee of all charge!” Then he returned and related what had passed before the Caliph and the Lady Zubaydah, and he laughing as he spoke. “O accursed one,” cried the Caliph: “this is no time for laughter! Tell us which is dead of them.” Masrur replied: “By Allah, O my lord, Abu al-Hasan is well, and none is dead but Nuzhat al-Fuad.” Quoth the Caliph to Zubaydah, “Thou hast lost thy pavilion in thy play,” and he jeered at her. and said, “O Masrur, tell her what thou sawest.”

Quoth the eunuch: “Verily, O my lady, I ran without ceasing till I came in to Abu al-Hasan in his house, and found Nuzhat al-Fuad lying dead and Abu al-Hasan sitting tearful at her head. I saluted him and condoled with him and sat down by his side and uncovered the face of Nuzhat al-Fuad and saw her dead and her face swollen. So I said to him, ‘Carry her out forthwith, so we may pray over her.’ He replied, ”Tis well,’ and I left him to lay her out and came hither, that I might tell you the news.” The Prince of True Believers laughed and said, “Tell it again and again to thy lady Little-wits.” When the Lady Zubaydah heard Masrur’s words and those of the Caliph she was wroth and said, “None is little of wit save he who believeth a black slave.” And she abused Masrur, whilst the Commander of the Faithful laughed; and the eunuch, vexed at this, said to the Caliph, “He spake sooth who said, ‘Women are little of wits and lack religion.”‘

Then said the Lady Zubaydah to the Caliph: “O Commander of the Faithful, thou sportest and jestest with me, and this slave hoodwinketh me, the better to please thee. But I will send and see which of them be dead.” And he answered, saying, “Send one who shall see which of them is dead.” So the Lady Zubaydah cried out to an old duenna, and said to her: “Hie thee to the house of Nuzhat al-Fuad in haste and see who is dead, and loiter not.” And she used hard words to her. So the old woman went out running, whilst the Prince of True Believers and Masrur laughed, and she ceased not running till she came into the street. Abu al-Hasan saw her, and knowing her, said to his wife: “O Nuzhat al-Fuad, meseemeth the Lady Zubaydah hath sent to us to see who is dead and hath not given credit to Masrur’s report of thy death. Accordingly she hath dispatched the old crone, her duenna, to discover the truth. So it behooveth me to be dead in my turn for the sake of thy credit with the Lady Zubaydah.”

Hereat he lay down and stretched himself out, and she covered him and bound his eyes and feet and sat in tears at his head. Presently the old woman came in to her and saw her sitting at Abu al-Hasan’s head, weeping and recounting his fine qualities; and when she saw the old trot, she cried out and said to her: “See what hath befallen me! Indeed Abu al-Hasan is dead and hath left me lone and lorn!” Then she shrieked out and rent her raiment and said to the crone, “O my mother, how very good he was to me!” Quoth the other, “Indeed thou art excused, for thou wast used to him and he to thee.”

Then she considered what Masrur had reported to the Caliph and the Lady Zubaydah and said to her, “Indeed, Masrur goeth about to cast discord between the Caliph and the Lady Zubaydah.” Asked Nuzhat al-Fuad, “And what is the cause of discord, O my mother?” and the other replied: “O my daughter, Masrur came to the Caliph and the Lady Zubaydah and gave them news of thee that thou wast dead and that Abu al-Hasan was well.” Nuzhat al-Fuad said to her: “O naunty mine, I was with my lady just now and she gave me a hundred dinars and a piece of silk, and now see my case and that which hath befallen me! Indeed I am bewildered, and how shall I do, and I lone and lorn? Would Heaven I had died and he had lived!” Then she wept and with her wept the old woman, who, going up to Abu al-Hasan and uncovering his face, saw his eyes bound and swollen for the swathing. So she covered him again and said, “Indeed, O Nuzhat al-Fuad, thou art afflicted in Abu al-Hasan!”

Then she condoled with her, and going out from her, ran along the street till she came into the Lady Zubaydah and related to her the story, and the Princess said to her, laughing: “Tell it over again to the Caliph, who maketh me out little of wit, and lacking of religion, and who made this ill-omened liar of a slave presume to contradict me.” Quoth Masrur, “This old woman lieth, for I saw Abu al-Hasan well and Nuzhat al-Fuad it was who lay dead.” Quoth the duenna, “‘Tis thou that liest, and wouldst fain cast discord-between the Caliph and the Lady Zubaydah.” And Masrur cried, “None lieth but thou, O old woman of ill omen, and thy lady believeth thee, and she must be in her dotage.” Whereupon the Lady Zubaydah cried out at him, and in very sooth she was enraged with him and with his speech and shed tears.

Then said the Caliph to her: “I lie and my eunuch lieth, and thou liest and thy waiting-woman lieth, so ’tis my rede we go, all four of us together, that we may see which of us telleth the truth.” Masrur said: “Come, let us go, that I may do to this ill-omened old woman evil deeds and deal her a sound drubbing for her lying.” And the duenna answered him: “O dotard, is thy wit like into my wit? Indeed thy wit is as the hen’s wit.” Masrur was incensed at her words and would have laid violent hands on her, but the Lady Zubaydah pushed him away from her and said to him, “Her truthspeaking will presently be distinguished from thy truth-speaking and her leasing from thy leasing.” Then they all four arose, laying wagers one with other, and went forth afoot from the palace gate and hied on till they came in at the gate of the street where Abu al-Hasan al-Khali’a dwelt.

He saw them, and said to his wife, Nuzhat al-Fuad: “Verily, all that is sticky is not a pancake they cook, nor every time shall the crock escape the shock. It seemeth the old woman hath gone and told her lady and acquainted her with our case and she hath disputed with Masrur, the eunuch, and they have laid wagers each with other about our death and are come to us, all four, the Caliph and the eunuch and the Lady Zubaydah and the old trot.” When Nuzhat al-Fuad heard this, she started up from her outstretched posture and asked, “How shall we do?” whereto he answered, “We will both feign ourselves dead together and stretch ourselves out and hold out breath.” So she hearkened unto him and they both lay down on the place where they usually slept the siesta and bound their feet and shut their eyes and covered themselves with the veil and held their breath.

Presently up came the Caliph, Zubaydah, Masrur, and the old woman, and entering, found Abu al-Hasan the wag and wife both stretched out as dead, which when the Lady saw, she wept and said: “They ceased not to bring ill news of my slave girl till she died. Methinketh Abu al-Hasan’s death was grievous to her and that she died after him.” Quoth the Caliph: “Thou shalt not prevent me with thy prattle and prate. She certainly died before Abu al-Hasan, for he came to me with his raiment rent and his beard plucked out, beating his breast with two bits of unbaked brick, and I gave him a hundred dinars and a piece of silk and said too him, ‘Go, bear her forth, and I will give thee a bedfellow other than she and handsomer, and she shall be instead of her.’ But it would appear that her death was no light matter to him and he died after her, so it is I who have beaten thee and gotten thy stake.” The Lady Zubaydah answered him in words galore, and the dispute between them waxed sore.

At last the Caliph sat down at the heads of the pair and said: “By the tomb of the Apostle of Allah (whom may He save and assain!) and the sepulchers of my fathers and forefathers, whoso will tell me which of them died before the other, I will willingly give him a thousand dinars!” When Abu al-Hasan heard the Caliph’s words, he sprang up in haste and said: “I died first, O Commander of the Faithful! Here with the thousand dinars, and acquit thee of thine oath and the swear thou sworest.” Nuzhat al-Fuad rose also and stood up before the Caliph and the Lady Zubaydah, who both rejoiced in this and in their safety, and the Princess chid her slave girl. Then the Caliph and Zubaydah gave them joy of their well-being and knew that this death was a trick to get the gold, and the Lady said to Nuzhat al-Fuad: “Thou shouldst have sought of me that which thou neededst, without this fashion, and not have burned my heart for thee.” And she, “Verily, I was ashamed, O my lady.”

As for the Caliph, he swooned away for laughing and said, “O Abu al-Hasan, thou wilt never cease to be a wag and do peregrine things and prodigious!” Quoth he: “O Commander of the Faithful, this trick I played off for that the money which thou gavest me was exhausted, and I was ashamed to ask of thee again. When I was single, I could never keep money in hand, but since thou marriedst me to this damsel, if I possessed even thy wealth, I should lay it waste. Wherefore when all that was in my hand was spent, I wrought this sleight so I might get of thee the hundred dinars and the piece of silk, and all this is an alms from our lord. But now make haste to give me the thousand dinars and acquit thee of thine oath.” The Caliph and the Lady Zubaydah laughed and returned to the palace, and he gave Abu al-Hasan the thousand dinars saying, “Take them as a douceur for thy perservation from death,” whilst her mistress did the like with Nuzhat al-Fuad, honoring her with the same words. Moreover, the Caliph increased the wag in his solde and supplies, and he and his wife ceased not to live in joy and contentment till there came to them the Destroyer of delights and Severer of societies, the Plunderer of palaces, and the Gamerer of graves.

And among tales they tell is one touching…
 


Table of Content – The Arabian Nights

 
IT hath reached me, O King of the Age, that there dwelt in a city of the cities of China a man which was a tailor, withal a pauper, and he had one son, Aladdin hight. Now this boy had been from his babyhood a ne’er-do-well, a scapegrace. And when he reached his tenth year, his father inclined to teach him his own trade, and, for that he was overindigent to expend money upon his learning other work or craft or apprenticeship, he took the lad into his shop that he might be taught tailoring. But, as Aladdin was a scapegrace and a ne’er-do-well and wont to play at all times with the gutter boys of the quarter, he would not sit in the shop for a single day. Nay, he would await his father’s leaving it for some purpose, such as to meet a creditor, when he would run off at once and fare forth to the gardens with the other scapegraces and low companions, his fellows. Such was his case- counsel and castigation were of no avail, nor would he obey either parent in aught or learn any trade. And presently, for his sadness and, sorrowing because of his son’s vicious indolence, the tailor sickened and died.

Aladdin continued in his former ill courses, and when his mother saw that her spouse had deceased and that her son was a scapegrace and good for nothing at all, she sold the shop and whatso was to be found therein and fell to spinning cotton yarn. By this toilsome industry she fed herself and found food for her son Aladdin the scapegrace, who, seeing himself freed from bearing the severities of his sire, increased in idleness and low habits. Nor would he ever stay at home save at meal hours while his miserable wretched mother lived only by what her hands could spin until the youth had reached his fifteenth year. It befell one day of the days that as he was sitting about the quarter at play with the vagabond boys, behold, a dervish from the Maghrib, the Land of the Setting Sun, came up and stood gazing for solace upon the lads. And he looked hard at Aladdin and carefully considered his semblance, scarcely noticing his companions the while. Now this dervish was a Moorman from Inner Morocco, and he was a magician who could upheap by his magic hill upon hill, and he was also an adept in astrology. So after narrowly considering Aladdin, he said in himself, “Verily, this is the lad I need and to find whom I have left my natal land.” Presently he led one of the children apart and questioned him anent the scapegrace saying, “Whose son is he?” And he sought all information concerning his condition and whatso related to him.

After this he walked up to Aladdin, and drawing him aside, asked, “O my son, haply thou art the child of Such-a-one the tailor?” and the lad answered, “Yes, O my lord, but ’tis long since he died.” The Maghrabi, the magician, hearing these words, threw himself upon Aladdin and wound his arms around his neck and fell to bussing him, weeping the while with tears trickling a-down his cheeks. But when the lad saw the Moorman’s case, he was seized with surprise thereat and questioned him, saying, “What causeth thee weep, O my lord, and how camest thou to know my father?” “How canst thou, O my son,” replied the Moorman, in a soft voice saddened by emotion, “question me with such query after informing me that thy father and my brother is deceased? For that he was my brother german, and now I come from my adopted country and after long exile I rejoiced with exceeding joy in the hope of looking upon him once more and condoling with him over the past. And now thou hast announced to me his demise. But blood hideth not from blood, and it hath revealed to me that thou art my nephew, son of my brother, and I knew thee amongst all the lads, albeit thy father, when I parted from him, was yet unmarried.”

Then he again clasped Aladdin to his bosom, crying: “O my son, I have none to condole with now save thyself. And thou standest in stead of thy sire, thou being his issue and representative and ‘whoso leaveth issue dieth not,’ O my child!” So saying, the magician put hand to purse, and pulling out ten gold pieces, gave them to the lad, asking, “O my son, where is your house and where dwelleth she, thy mother and my brother’s widow?” Presently Aladdin arose with him and showed him the way to their home, and meanwhile quoth the wizard: “O my son, take these moneys and give them to thy mother, greeting her from me, and let her know that thine uncle, thy father’s brother, hath reappeared from his exile and that Inshallah- God willing- on the morrow I will visit her to salute her with the salaam and see the house wherein my brother was homed and look upon the place where he lieth buried.” Thereupon Aladdin kissed the Maghrabi’s hand, and after running in his joy at fullest speed to his mother’s dwelling entered to her clean contrariwise to his custom, inasmuch as he never came near her save at mealtimes only.

And when he found her, the lad exclaimed in his delight: “O my mother, I give thee glad tidings of mine uncle who hath returned from his exile, and who now sendeth me to salute thee.” “O my son,” she replied, “meseemeth thou mockest me! Who is this uncle, and how canst thou have an uncle in the bonds of life?” He rejoined: “How sayest thou, O my mother, that I have no living uncles nor kinsmen, when this man is my father’s own brother? Indeed he embraced me and bussed me, shedding tears the while, and bade me acquaint thee herewith.” She retorted, “O my son, well I wot thou haddest an uncle, but he is now dead, nor am I ware that thou hast other eme.”

The Moroccan magician fared forth next morning and fell to finding out Aladdin, for his heart no longer permitted him to part from the lad. And as he was to-ing and fro-ing about the city highways, he came face to face with him disporting himself, as was his wont, amongst the vagabonds and the scapegraces. So he drew near to him, and taking his hand, embraced him and bussed him. Then pulled out of his poke two dinars and said: “Hie thee to thy mother and give her these couple of ducats and tell her that thine uncle would eat the evening meal with you. So do thou take these two gold pieces and prepare for us a succulent supper. But before all things, show me once more the way to your home.” “On my head and mine eyes be it, O my uncle,” replied the lad and forewent him, pointing out the street leading to the house. Then the Moorman left him and went his ways and Aladdin ran home and, giving the news and the two sequins to his parent, said, “My uncle would sup with us.”

So she arose straightway and, going to the market street, bought all she required. Then, returning to her dwelling, she borrowed from the neighbors whatever was needed of pans and platters, and so forth, and when the meal was cooked and suppertime came she said to Aladdin: “O my child, the meat is ready, but peradventure thine uncle wotteth not the way to our dwelling. So do thou fare forth and meet him on the road.” He replied, “To hear is to obey,” and before the twain ended talking a knock was heard at the door. Aladdin went out and opened, when, behold, the Maghrabi, the magician, together with a eunuch carrying the wine and the dessert fruits. So the lad led them in and the slave went about his business. The Moorman on entering saluted his sister-in-law with the salaam, then began to shed tears and to question her, saying, “Where be the place whereon my brother went to sit?” She showed it to him, whereat he went up to it and prostrated himself in prayer and kissed the floor, crying: how scant is my satisfaction and how luckless is my lot, for that I have lost thee, O my brother, O vein of my eye!” And after such fashion he continued weeping and wailing till he swooned away for excess of sobbing and lamentation, wherefor Aladdin’s mother was certified of his soothfastness. So, coming up to him, she raised him from the floor and said, “What gain is there in slaying thyself?”

As soon as he was seated at his ease, and before the food trays were served up, he fell to talking with her and saying: “O wife of my brother, it must be a wonder to thee how in all thy days thou never sawest me nor learnst thou aught of me during the lifetime of my brother who hath found mercy. Now the reason is that forty years ago I left this town and exiled myself from my birthplace and wandered forth over all the lands of Al-Hind and Al-Sind and entered Egypt and settled for a long time in its magnificent city, which is one of the world wonders, till at last I fared to the regions of the setting sun and abode for a space of thirty years in the Moroccan interior. Now one day of the days, O wife of my brother, as I was sitting alone at home, I fell to thinking of mine own country and of my birthplace and of my brother (who hath found mercy). And my yearning to see him waxed excessive and I bewept and bewailed my strangerhood and distance from him. And at last my longings drave me homeward until I resolved upon traveling to the region which was the falling place of my head and my homestead, to the end that I might again see my brother. Then quoth I to myself: ‘O man, how long wilt thou wander like a wild Arab from thy place of birth and native stead? Moreover, thou hast one brother and no more, so up with thee and travel and look upon him ere thou die, for who wotteth the woes of the world and the changes of the days? ‘Twould be saddest regret an thou lie down to die without beholding thy brother. And Allah (laud be to the Lord!) hath vouchsafed thee ample wealth, and belike he may be straitened and in poor case, when thou wilt aid thy brother as well as see him.’

“So I arose at once and equipped me for wayfare and recited the fatihah. Then, whenas Friday prayers ended, I mounted and traveled to this town, after suffering manifold toils and travails which I patiently endured whilst the Lord (to Whom be honor and glory!) veiled me with the veil of His protection. So I entered, and whilst wandering about the streets the day before yesterday I beheld my brother’s son Aladdin disporting himself with the boys and, by God the Great, O wife of my brother, the moment I saw him this heart of mine went forth to him (for blood yearneth unto blood!), and my soul felt and informed me that he was my very nephew. So I forgot all my travails and troubles at once on sighting him, and I was like to fly for joy. But when he told me of the dear one’s departure to the ruth of Allah Almighty, I fainted for stress of distress and disappointment. Perchance, however, my nephew hath informed thee of the pains which prevailed upon me. But after a fashion I am consoled by the sight of Aladdin, the legacy bequeathed to us by him who hath found mercy for that ‘whoso leaveth issue is not wholly dead.'”

And when he looked at his sister-in-law, she wept at these his words, so he turned to the lad, that he might cause her to forget the mention of her mate, as a means of comforting her and also of completing his deceit, and asked him, saying: “O my son Aladdin, what hast thou learned in the way of work, and what is thy business? Say me, hast thou mastered any craft whereby to earn a livelihood for thyself and for thy mother?” The lad was abashed and put to shame and he hung down his head and bowed his brow groundward. But his parent spake out: “How, forsooth? By Allah, he knoweth nothing at all, a child so ungracious as this I never yet saw- no, never! All the day long he idleth away his time with the sons of the quarter, vagabonds like himself, and his father (O regret of me!) died not save of dolor for him. And I also am now in piteous plight. I spin cotton and toil at my distant night and day, that I may earn me a couple of scones of bread which we eat together. This is his condition, O my brother-in-law, and, by the life of thee, he cometh not near me save at mealtimes, and none other. Indeed, I am thinking to lock the house door, nor ever open to him again, but leave him to go and seek a livelihood whereby he can live, for that I am now grown a woman in years and have no longer strength to toil and go about for a maintenance after this fashion. O Allah, I am compelled to provide him with daily bread when I require to be provided!”

Hereat the Moorman turned to Aladdin and said: “Why is this, O son of my brother, thou goest about in such ungraciousness? ‘Tis a disgrace to thee and unsuitable for men like thyself. Thou art a youth of sense, O my son, and the child of honest folk, so ’tis for thee a shame that thy mother, a woman in years, should struggle to support thee. And now that thou hast grown to man’s estate, it becometh thee to devise thee some device whereby thou canst live, O my child. Look around thee and Alhamdolillah- praise be to Allah- in this our town are many teachers of all manner of crafts, and nowhere are they more numerous. So choose thee some calling which may please thee to the end that I stablish thee therein, and when thou growest up, O my son, thou shalt have some business whereby to live. Haply thy father’s industry may not be to thy liking, and if so it be, choose thee some other handicraft which suiteth thy fancy. Then let me know and I will aid thee with all I can, O my son.” But when the Maghrabi saw that Aladdin kept silence and made him no reply, he knew that the lad wanted none other occupation than a scapegrace life, so he said to him: “O son of my brother, let not my words seem hard and harsh to thee, for if despite all I say thou still dislike to learn a craft, I will open thee a merchant’s store furnished with costliest stuffs and thou shalt become famous amongst the folk and take and give and buy and sell and be well known in the city.”

Now when Aladdin heard the words of his uncle the Moorman, and the design of making him a khwajah- merchant and gentleman- he joyed exceedingly, knowing that such folk dress handsomely and fare delicately. So he looked at the Maghrabi smiling and drooping his head groundward and saying with the tongue of the case that he was content. The Maghrabi the magician, looked at Aladdin and saw him smiling whereby he understood that the lad was satisfied to become a trader. So he said to him: “Since thou art content that I open thee a merchant’s store and make thee a gentleman, do thou, O son of my brother, prove thyself a man and Inshallah- God willing- tomorrow I will take thee to the bazaar in the first place have a fine suit of clothes cut out for thee, such gear as merchants wear; and secondly, I will look after a store for thee and keep my word.”

Now Aladdin’s mother had somewhat doubted the Moroccan being her brother-in-law, but as soon as she heard his promise of opening a merchant’s store for her son and setting him up with stuffs and capital and so forth, the woman decided and determined in her mind that this Maghrabi was in very sooth her husband’s brother, seeing that no stranger man would do such goodly deed by her son. So she began directing the lad to the right road and teaching him to cast ignorance from out his head and to prove himself a man. Moreover, she bade him ever obey his excellent uncle as though he were his son, and to make up for the time he had wasted in frowardnes with his fellows. After this she arose and spread the table, then served up supper, so all sat down and fell to eating and drinking while the Maghrabi conversed with Aladdin upon matters of business and the like, rejoicing him to such degree that he enjoyed no sleep that night. But when the Moorman saw that the dark hours were passing by, and the wine was drunken, he arose and sped to his own stead. But ere going he agreed to return next morning and take Aladdin and look to his suit of merchant’s clothes being cut out for him.

And as soon as it was dawn, behold, the Maghrabi rapped at the door, which was opened by Aladdin’s mother. The Moorman, however, would not enter, but asked to take the lad with him to the market street. Accordingly Aladdin went forth to his uncle and, wishing him good morning, kissed his hand, and the Moroccan took him by the hand and fared with him to the bazaar. There he entered a clothier’s shop containing all kinds of clothes, and called for a suit of the most sumptuous, whereat the merchant brought him out his need, all wholly fashioned and ready sewn, and the Moorman said to the lad, “Choose, O my child, whatso pleaseth thee.” Aladdin rejoiced exceedingly, seeing that his uncle had given him his choice, so he picked out the suit most to his own liking and the Moroccan paid to the merchant the price thereof in ready money. Presently he led the lad to the hammam baths, where they bathed. Then they came out and drank sherbets, after which Aladdin arose and, donning his new dress in huge joy and delight, went up to his uncle and kissed his hand and thanked him for his favors.

The Maghrabi, the magician, after leaving the hammam with Aladdin, took him and trudged with him to the merchants’ bazaar, and having diverted him by showing the market and its sellings and buyings, and to him: “O my son, it besitteth thee to become familiar with the folk, especially with the merchants, so thou mayest learn of them merchant craft, seeing that the same hath now become thy calling.” Then he led him forth and showed him the city and its cathedral mosques, together with all the pleasant sights therein, and lastly made him enter a cook’s shop. Here dinner was served to them on platters of silver and they dined well and ate and drank their sufficiency, after which they went their ways. Presently the Moorman pointed out to Aladdin the pleasaunces and noble buildings, and went in with him to the Sultan’s palace and diverted him with displaying all the apartments, which were mighty fine and grand, and led him finally to the khan of stranger merchants, where he himself had his abode. Then the Moroccan invited sundry traders which were in the caravanserai, and they came and sat down to supper, when he notified to them that the youth was his nephew, Aladdin by name. And after they had eaten and drunken and night had fallen, he rose up, and taking the lad with him, led him back to his mother, who no sooner saw her boy as he were one of the merchants than her wits took flight and she waxed sad for very gladness.

Then she fell to thanking her false connection, the Moorman, for all his benefits and said to him: “O my brother-in-law, I can never say enough though I expressed my gratitude to thee during the rest of thy days and praised thee for the good deeds thou hast done by this my child.” Thereupon quoth the Moroccan: “O wife of my brother, deem this not mere kindness of me, for that the lad is mine own son, and ’tis incumbent on me to stand in the stead of my brother, his sire. So be thou fully satisfied!” And quoth she: “I pray Allah by the honor of the Hallows, the ancients and the moderns, that He preserve thee and cause thee continue, O my brother-in-law, and prolong for me thy life. So shalt thou be a wing overshadowing this orphan lad, and he shall ever be obedient to thine orders, nor shall he do aught save whatso thou biddest him thereunto.”

The Maghrabi replied: “O wife of my brother, Aladdin is now a man of sense and the son of goodly folk, and I hope to Allah that he will follow in the footsteps of his sire and cool thine eyes. But I regret that, tomorrow being Friday, I shall not be able to open his shop, as ’tis meeting day when all the merchants, after congregational prayer, go forth to the gardens and pleasaunces. On the Sabbath, however, Inshallah!- an it please the Creator- we will do our business. Meanwhile tomorrow I will come to thee betimes and take Aladdin for a pleasant stroll to the gardens and pleasaunces without the city, which haply he may hitherto not have beheld. There also he shall see the merchants and notables who go forth to amuse themselves, so shall he become acquainted with them and they with him.”

The Maghrabi went away and lay that night in his quarters, and early next morning he came to the tailor’s house and rapped at the door. Now Aladdin (for stress of his delight in the new dress he had donned and for the past day’s enjoyment in the hammam and in eating and drinking and gazing at the folk, expecting futhermore his uncle to come at dawn and carry him off on pleasuring to the gardens) had not slept a wink that night, nor-closed his eyelids, and would hardly believe it when day broke. But hearing the knock at the door, he went out at once in hot haste, like a spark of fire, and opened and saw his uncle, the magician, who embraced him and kissed him. Then, taking his hand, the Moorman said to him as they fared forth together, “O son of my brother, this day will I show thee a sight thou never sawest in all thy life,” and he began to make the lad laugh and cheer him with pleasant talk. So doing, they left the city gate, and the Moroccan took to promenading with Aladdin amongst the gardens and to pointing out for his pleasure the mighty fine pleasaunces and the marvelous high-builded pavilions. And whenever they stood to stare at a garth or a mansion or a palace, the Maghrabi would say to his companion, “Doth this please thee, O son of my brother?”

Aladdin was nigh to fly with delight at seeing sights he had never seen in all his born days, and they ceased not to stroll about and solace themselves until they waxed a-weary, then they entered a mighty grand garden which was near-hand, a place that the heart delighted and the sight belighted, for that its swift-running rills flowed amidst the flowers and the waters jetted from the jaws of lions molded in yellow brass like unto gold. So they took seat over against a lakelet and rested a little while, and Aladdin enjoyed himself with joy exceeding and fell to jesting with his uncle and making merry with him as though the magician were really his father’s brother.

Presently the Maghrabi arose, and loosing his girdle, drew forth from thereunder a bag full of victual, dried fruits and so forth, saying to Aladdin: “O my nephew, haply thou art become a-hungered, so come forward and eat what thou needest.” Accordingly the lad fell upon the food and the Moorman ate with him, and they were gladdened and cheered by rest and good cheer. Then quoth the magician: “Arise, O son of my brother, an thou be reposed, and let us stroll onward a little and reach the end of our walk.” Thereupon Aladdin arose and the Moroccan paced with him from garden to garden until they left all behind them and reached the base of a high and naked hill, when the lad, who during all his days had never issued from the city gate and never in his life had walked such a walk as this, said to the Maghrabi: “O uncle mine, whither are we wending? We have left the gardens behind us one and all and have reached the barren hill country. And if the way be still long, I have no strength left for walking. Indeed I am ready to fall with fatigue. There are no gardens before us, so let us hark back and return to town.” Said the magician: “No, O my son. This is right road, nor are the gardens ended, for we are going to look at one which hath ne’er its like amongst those of the kings, and all thou hast beheld are naught in comparison therewith. Then gird thy courage to walk. Thou art now a man, Alhamdolillah- praise be to Allah!”

Then the Maghrabi fell to soothing Aladdin with soft words and telling him wondrous tales, lies as well as truth, until they reached the site intended by the African magician, who had traveled from the sunset land to the regions of China for the sake thereof. And when they made the place, the Moorman said to Aladdin: “O son of my brother, sit thee down and take thy rest, for this is the spot we are now seeking and, Inshallah, soon will I divert thee by displaying marvel matters whose like not one in the world ever saw, nor hath any solaced himself with gazing upon that which thou art about to behold. But when thou art rested, arise and seek some wood chips and fuel sticks which be small and dry, wherewith we may kindle a fire. Then will I show thee, O son of my brother, matters beyond the range of matter.” Now when the lad heard these words, he longed to look upon what his uncle was about to do and, forgetting his fatigue, he rose forthright and fell to gathering small wood chips and dry sticks, and continued until the Moorman cried to him, “Enough, O son of my brother!”

Presently the magician brought out from his breast pocker a casket, which he opened, and drew from it all he needed of incense. Then he fumigated and conjured and adjured, muttering words none might understand. And the ground straightway clave asunder after thick gloom and quake of earth and bellowings of thunder. Hereat Aladdin was startled and so affrighted that he tried to fly, but when the African magician saw his design, he waxed wroth with exceeding wrath, for that without the lad his work would profit him naught, the hidden hoard which he sought to open being not to be opened save by means of Aladdin. So, noting this attempt to run away, the magician arose, and raising his hand, smote Aladdin on the head a buffet so sore that well-nigh his back teeth were knocked out, and he fell swooning to the ground. But after a time he revived by the magic of the magician, and cried, weeping the while: “O my uncle, what have I done that deserveth from thee such a blow as this?” Hereat the Maghrabi fell to soothing him, and said: “O my son, ’tis my intent to make thee a man. Therefore do thou not gainsay me, for that I am thine uncle and like unto thy father. Obey me, therefore, in all I bid thee, and shortly thou shalt forget all this travail and toil whenas thou shalt look upon the marvel matters I am about to show thee.”

And soon after the ground had cloven asunder before the Moroccan, it displayed a marble slab wherein was fixed a copper ring. The Maghrabi, striking a geomantic table, turned to Aladdin and said to him: “An thou do all I shall bid thee, indeed thou shalt become wealthier than any of the kings. And for this reason, O my son, I struck thee, because here lieth a hoard which is stored in thy name, and yet thou designedst to leave it and to levant. But now collect thy thoughts, and behold how I opened earth by my spells and adjurations. Under yon stone wherein the ring is set lieth the treasure wherewith I acquainted thee. So set thy hand upon the ring and raise the slab, for that none other amongst the folk, thyself excepted, hath power to open it, nor may any of mortal birth save thyself set foot within this enchanted treasury which hath been kept for thee. But ’tis needful that thou learn of me all wherewith I would charge thee, nor gainsay e’en a single syllable of my words. All this, O my child, is for thy good, the hoard being of immense value, whose like the kings of the world never accumulated, and do thou remember that ’tis for thee and me.”

So poor Aladdin forgot his fatigue and buffet and tear-shedding, and he was dumbed and dazed at the Maghrabi’s words and rejoiced that he was fated to become rich in such measure that not even the sultans would be richer than himself. Accordingly he cried: “O my uncle, bid me do all thou pleasest, for I will be obedient unto thy bidding.” The Maghrabi replied: “O my nephew, thou art to me as my own child and even dearer, for being my brother’s son and for my having none other kith and kin except thyself. And thou, O my child, art my heir and successor.” So saying, he went up to Aladdin and kissed him and said: “For whom do I intend these my labors? Indeed, each and every are for thy sake, O my son, to the end that I may leave thee a rich man and one of the very greatest. So gainsay me not in all I shall say to thee, and now go up to yonder ring and uplift it as I bade thee.” Aladdin answered: “O uncle mine, this ring is overheavy for me. I cannot raise it single-handed, so do thou also come forward and lend me strength and aidance toward uplifting it, for indeed I am young in years.” The Moorman replied: “O son of my brother, we shall find it impossible to do aught if I assist thee, and all our efforts would be in vain. But do thou set thy hand upon the ring and pull it up, and thou shalt raise the slab forthright, and in very sooth I told thee that none can touch it save thyself. But whilst haling at it cease not to pronounce thy name and the names of thy father and mother, so ’twill rise at once to thee, nor shalt thou feel its weight.”

Thereupon the lad mustered up strength and girt the loins of resolution and did as the Moroccan had bidden him, and hove up the slab with all ease when he pronounced his name and the names of his parents, even as the magician had bidden him. And as soon as the stone was raised he threw it aside, and there appeared before him a sardab, a souterrain, whereunto led a case of some twelve stairs, and the Maghrabi said: “O Aladdin, collect thy thoughts and do whatso I bid thee to the minutest detail, nor fail in aught thereof. Go down with all care into yonder vault until thou reach the bottom, and there shalt thou find a space divided into four halls, and in each of these thou shalt see four golden jars and others of virgin or and silver. Beware, however, lest thou take aught therefrom or touch them, nor allow thy gown or its skirts even to brush the jars or the walls. Leave them and fare forward until thou reach the fourth hall, without lingering for a single moment on the way. And if thou do aught contrary thereto, thou wilt at once be transformed and become a black stone. When reaching the fourth hall, thou wilt find therein a door, which do thou open, and pronouncing the names thou spakest over the slab, enter therethrough into a garden adorned everywhere with fruit-bearing trees. This thou must traverse by a path thou wilt see in front of thee measuring some fifty cubits long beyond which thou wilt come upon an open saloon, and herein a ladder of some thirty rungs. Thou shalt there find a lamp hanging from its ceiling, so mount the ladder and take that lamp and place it in thy breast pocket after pouring out its contents. Nor fear evil from it for thy clothes, because its contents are not common oil. And on return thou art allowed to pluck from the trees whoso thou pleasest, for all is thine so long as the lamp is in thy hand.”

Now when the Moorman ended his charge to Aladdin, he drew off a seal ring and put it upon the lad’s forefinger, saying: “O my son, verily this signet shall free thee from all hurt and fear which may threaten thee, but only on condition that thou bear in mind all I have told thee. So arise straightway and go down the stairs, strengthening thy purpose and girding the loins of resolution. Moreover, fear not, for thou art now a man and no longer a child. And in shortest time, O my son, thou shalt will thee immense riches and thou shalt become the wealthiest of the world.”

Accordingly, Aladdin arose and descended into the souterrain, where he found the four jars, each containing four jars of gold, and these he passed by as the Moroccan had bidden him, with the utmost care and caution. Thence he fared into the garden and walked along its length until he entered the saloon, where he mounted the ladder and took the lamp, which he extinguished, pouring out the oil which was therein, and placed it in his breast pocket. Presently, descending the ladder, he returned to the garden, where he fell to gazing at the trees, whereupon sat birds glorifying with loud voices their Great Creator. Now he had not observed them as he went in, but all these trees bare for fruitage costly gems. Moreover, each had its own kind of growth and jewels of its peculiar sort and these were of every color, green and white, yellow, red, and other such brilliant hues, and the radiance flashing from these gems paled the rays of the sun in forenoon sheen. Furthermore the size of each stone so far surpassed description that no King of the Kings of the World owned a single gem equal to the larger sort, nor could boast of even one half the size of the smaller kind of them. Aladdin walked amongst the trees and gazed upon them and other things which surprised the sight and bewildered the wits, and as he considered them, he saw that in lieu of common fruits the produce was of mighty fine jewels and precious stones, such as emeralds and diamonds, rubies, spinels, and balases, pearls and similar gems, astounding the mental vision of man.

And forasmuch as the lad had never beheld things like these during his born days, nor had reached those years of discretion which would teach him the worth of such valuables (he being still but a little lad), he fancied that all these jewels were of glass or crystal. So he collected them until he had filled his breast pockets, and began to certify himself if they were or were not common fruits, such as grapes, figs, and suchlike edibles. But seeing them of glassy substance, he, in his ignorance of precious stones and their prices, gathered into his breast pockets every kind of growth the trees afforded, and having failed of his purpose in finding them food, he said in his mind, “I will collect a portion of these glass fruits for playthings at home.” So he fell to plucking them in quantities and cramming them in his pokes and breast pockets till these were stuffed full. After which he picked others which he placed in his waist shawl and then, girding himself therewith, carried off all he availed to, purposing to place them in the house by way of ornaments and, as hath been mentioned, never imagining that they were other than glass.

Then he hurried his pace in fear of his uncle, the Maghrabi, until he had passed through the four halls and lastly on his return reached the souterrain, where he cast not a look at the jars of gold, albeit he was able and allowed to take of the contents on his way back. But when he came to the souterrain stairs and clomb the steps till naught remained but the last, and finding this higher than an the others, he was unable alone and unassisted, burthened moreover as he was, to mount it. So he said to the Maghrabi, “O my uncle, lend me thy hand and aid me to climb.” But the Moorman answered: “O my son, give me the lamp and lighten thy load. Belike ’tis that weighteth thee down.” The lad rejoined: “O my uncle, ’tis not the lamp downweigheth me at all, but do thou lend me a hand, and as soon as I reached ground I will give it to thee.” Hereat the Moroccan, the magician, whose only object was the lamp and none other, began to insist upon Aladdin giving it to him at once. But the lad (forasmuch as he had placed it at the bottom of his breast pocket and his other pouches, being full of gems, bulged outward) could not reach it with his fingers to hand it over, so the wizard after much vain persistency in requiring what his nephew was unable to give fell to raging with furious rage and to demanding the lamp, whilst Aladdin could not get at it. Yet had the lad promised truthfully that he would give it up as soon as he might reach ground, without lying thought or ill intent. But when the Moorman saw that he would not hand it over, he waxed wroth with wrath exceeding and cut off all his hopes of winning it. So he conjured and adjured and cast incense a-middlemost the fire, when forthright the slab made a cover of itself, and by the might of magic lidded the entrance. The earth buried the stone as it was aforetime, and Aladdin, unable to issue forth, remained underground.

Now the sorcerer was a stranger and, as we have mentioned, no uncle of Aladdin’s, and he had misrepresented himself and preferred a lying claim, to the end that he might obtain the lamp by means of the lad for whom this hoard had been upstored. So the accursed heaped the earth over him and left him to die of hunger. For this Maghrabi was an African of Afrikiyah proper, born in the inner Sunset Land, and from his earliest age upward he had been addicted to witchcraft and had studied and practiced every manner of occult science, for which unholy lore the city of Africa is notorious. And he ceased not to read and hear lectures until he had become a past master in all such knowledge. And of the abounding skill in spells and conjurations which he had acquired by the perusing and the lessoning of forty years, one day of the days he discovered by devilish inspiration that there lay in an extreme city of the cities of China, named Al-Kal’as, an immense hoard, the like whereof none of the kings in this world had ever accumulated. Moreover, that the most marvelous article in this enchanted treasure was a wonderful lamp, which whoso possessed could not possibly be surpassed by any man upon earth, either in high degree or in wealth and opulence, nor could the mightiest monarch of the universe attain to the all-sufficiency of this lamp with its might of magical means. When the Maghrabi assured himself by his science and saw that this hoard could be opened only by the presence of a lad named Aladdin, of pauper family and abiding in that very city, and learnt how taking it would be easy and without hardships, he straightway and without stay or delay equipped himself for a voyage to China (as we have already told), and be did what he did with Aladdin fancying that he would become Lord of the Lamp. But his attempt and his hopes were baffled and his work was clean wasted. Whereupon, determining to do the lad die, he heaped up the earth over him by gramarye to the end that the unfortunate might perish, reflecting that “The live man hath no murtherer.” Secondly, he did so with the design that, as Aladdin could not come forth from underground, he would also be impotent to bring out the lamp from the souterrain. So presently he wended his ways and retired to his own land, Africa, a sadder man and disappointed of all his expectations.

Such was the case with the wizard, but as regards Aladdin, when the earth was heaped over him, he began shouting to the Moorman, whom he believed to be his uncle, and praying him to lend a hand that he might issue from the souterrain and return to earth’s surface. But however loudly he cried, none was found to reply. At that moment he comprehended the sleight which the Moroccan had played upon him, and that the man was no uncle, but a liar and a wizard. Then the unhappy despaired of life, and learned to his sorrow that there was no escape for him, so he fell to beweeping with sore weeping the calamity had befallen him. And after a little while he stood up and descended the stairs to see if Allah Almighty had lightened his grief load by leaving a door of issue. So he turned him to the right and to the left, but he saw naught save darkness and four walls closed upon him, for that the magician had by his magic locked all the doors and had shut up even the garden wherethrough the lad erst had passed, lest it offer him the means of issuing out upon earth’s surface, and that he might surely die. Then Aladdin’s weeping waxed sorer and his wailing louder whenas he found all the doors fast shut, for he had thought to solace himself awhile in the garden. But when he felt that all were locked, he fell to shedding tears and lamenting like unto one who hath lost his every hope, and he returned to sit upon the stairs of the flight whereby he had entered the souterrain.

But it is a light matter for Allah (be He exalted and extolled!) whenas He designeth aught to say, “Be,” and it becometh, for that He createth joy in the midst of annoy. And on this wise it was with Aladdin. Whilst the Maghrabi, the magician, was sending him down into the souterrain, he set upon his finger by way of gift a seal ring and said: “Verily this signet shall save thee from every strait an thou fall into calamity and ill shifts of time, and it shall remove from thee all hurt and harm, and aid thee with a strong arm whereso thou mayest be set.” Now this was by Destiny of God the Great, that it might be the means of Aladdin’s escape. For whilst he sat wailing and weeping over his case and cast away all hope of life, and utter misery overwhelmed him, he rubbed his hands together for excess of sorrow, as is the wont of the woeful. Then, raising them in supplication to Allah, he cried, “I testify that there is no God save Thou alone, the Most Great, the Omnipotent, the All-conquering, Quickener of the dead, Creator of man’s need and Granter thereof, Resolver of his difficulties and duress and Bringer of joy, not of annoy. Thou art my sufficiency and Thou art the Truest of Trustees. And I bear my witness that Mohammed is Thy servant and Thine Apostle, and I supplicate Thee, O my God, by his favor with Thee to free me from this my foul plight.”

And whilst implored the Lord and was chafing his hands in the soreness of his sorrow for that had befallen him of calamity, his fingers chanced to rub the ring, when, lo and behold! forthright its familiar rose upright before him and cried: “Adsum! Thy slave between thy hands is come! Ask whatso thou wantest, for that I am the thrall of him on whose hand is the ring, the signet of my lord and master.” Hereat the lad looked at him and saw standing before him a Marid like unto an Ifrit of our lord Solomon’s Jinns. He trembled at the terrible sight, but, hearing the Slave of the Ring say, “Ask whatso thou wantest. Verily, I am thy thrall seeing that the signet of my lord be upon thy finger,” he recovered his spirits and remembered the Moorman’s saying when giving him the ring. So he rejoiced exceedingly and became brave and cried, “Ho, thou slave of the Lord of the Ring, I desire thee to set me upon the face of the earth.” And hardly had he spoken this speech when suddenly the ground clave asunder and he found himself at the door of the hoard and outside it in full view of the world. Now for three whole days he had been sitting in the darkness of the treasury underground, and when the sheen of day and the shine of sun smote his face he found himself unable to keep his eyes open; so he began to unclose the lids a little and to close them a little until his eyeballs regained force and got used to the light and were purged of the noisome murk. Withal he was astounded at finding himself without the hoard door whereby he had passed in when it was opened by the Maghrabi, the magician, especially as the adit had been lidded and the ground had been smoothed, showing no sign whatever of entrance.

Thereat his surprise increased until he fancied himself in another place, nor was his mind convinced that the stead was the same until he saw the spot whereupon they had kindled the fire of wood chips and dried sticks, and where the African wizard had conjured over the incense. Then he turned him rightward and leftward and sighted the gardens from afar and his eyes recognized the road whereby he had come. So he returned thanks to Allah Almighty, Who had restored him to the face of earth and had freed him from death after he had cut off all hopes of life. Presently he arose and walked along the way to the town, which now he knew well, until he entered the streets and passed on to his own home. Then he went in to his mother, and on seeing her, of the overwhelming stress of joy at his escape and the memory of past affright and the hardships he had borne and the pangs of hunger, he fell to the ground before his parent in a fainting fit. Now his mother had been passing sad since the time of his leaving her, and he found her moaning and crying about him. However, on sighting him enter the house she joyed with exceeding joy, but soon was overwhelmed with woe when he sank upon the ground swooning before her eyes. Still, she did not neglect the matter or treat it lightly, but at once hastened to sprinkle water upon his face, and after she asked of the neighbors some scents which she made him snuff up. And when he came round a little, he prayed her to bring him somewhat of food saying, “O my mother, ’tis now three days since I ate anything at all.” Thereupon she arose and brought him what she had by her, then, setting it before him, said: “Come forward, O my son. Eat and be cheered, and when thou shalt have rested, tell me what hath betided and affected thee, O my child. At this present I will not question thee, for thou art aweary in very deed.” Aladdin ate and drank and was cheered, and after he had rested and had recovered spirits he cried:

“Ah, O my mother, I have a sore grievance against thee for leaving me to that accursed wight who strave to compass my destruction and designed to take my life. Know thou that I beheld death with mine own eyes at the hand of this damned wretch, whom thou didst to be my uncle, and had not Almighty Allah rescued me from him, I and thou, O my mother, had been cozened by the excess of this accursed’s promises to work my welfare, and by the great show of affection which he manifested to us. Learn, O my mother, that this fellow is a sorcerer, a Moorman, an accursed, a liar, a traitor, a hypocrite, nor deem I that the devils under the earth are damnable as he. Allah abase him in his every book! Hear then, O my mother, what this abominable one did, and all that I shall tell thee will be soothfast and certain. See how the damned villain brake every promise he made, certifying that he would soon work all good with me. And do thou consider the fondness which he displayed to me and the deeds which he did by me, and all this only to win his wish, for his design was to destroy me. And Alhamdolillah- laud to the Lord- for my deliverance. Listen and learn, O my mother, how this accursed entreated me.”

Then Aladdin informed his mother of all that had befallen him, weeping the for stress of gladness- how the Maghrabi had led him to a hill wherein was hidden the hoard and how he had conjured and fumigated, adding: “After which, O my mother, mighty fear gat hold of me when the hill split and the earth gaped before me by his wizardry. And I trembled with terror at the rolling of thunder in mine ears and the murk which fell upon us when he fumigated and muttered spells. Seeing these horrors, I in mine affright desiped to fly, but when he understood mine intent, he reviled me and smote me a buffet so sore that it caused me swoon. However, inasmuch as the treasury was to be opened only by means of me, O my mother, he could not descend therein himself, it being in my name and not in his. And for that he is an ill-omened magician, he understood that I was necessary to him and this was his need of me.” Aladdin acquainted his mother with all that had befallen him from the Maghrabi, the magician, and said:

“After he had buffeted me, he judged it advisable to soothe me in order that he might send me down into the enchanted treasury, and first he drew from his finger a ring, which he placed upon mine. So I descended and found four halls all full of gold and silver, which counted as naught, and the accursed had charged me not to touch aught thereof. Then I entered a mighty fine flower garden everywhere bedecked with tall trees whose foilage and fruitage bewildered the wits, for all, O my mother, were of varicolored glass, and lastly I reached the hall wherein hung this lamp. So I took it straightway and put it out and poured forth its contents.” And so saying, Aladdin drew the lamp from his breast pocket and showed it to his mother, together with the gems and jewels which he had brought from the garden. And there were two large bag pockets full of precious stones, whereof not one was to be found amongst the kings of the world. But the lad knew naught anent their worth, deeming them glass or crystal. And presently he resumed:

“After this, O mother mine, I reached the hoard door carrying the lamp and shouted to the accursed sorcerer which called himself my uncle to lend me a hand and hale me up, I being unable to mount of myself the last step for the overweight of my burthen. But he would not and said only, ‘First hand me the lamp!’ As, however, I had placed it at the bottom of my breast pocket and the other pouches bulged out beyond it, I was unable to get at it and said, ‘O my uncle, I cannot reach thee the lamp, but I will give it to thee when outside the treasury.’ His only need was the lamp, and he designed, O my mother, to snatch it from me and after that slay me, as indeed he did his best to do by heaping the earth over my head. Such then is what befell me from this foul sorcerer.” Hereupon Aladdin fell to abusing the magician in hot wrath and with a burning heart, and crying: “Wellaway! I take refuge from this damned wight, the forswearer the wrongdoer, the forswearer, the lost to all humanity, the archtraitor, the hyprocrite, the annihilator of ruth and mercy.” When Aladdin’s mother heard his words and what had befallen him from the Maghrabi, the magician, she said: “Yea, verily, O my son, he is a miscreant, a hypocrite who murthereth the folk by his magic. But ’twas the grace of Allah Almighty, O my child, that saved thee from the tricks and the treachery of this accursed sorcerer whom I deemed to be truly thine uncle.”

Then, as the lad had not slept a wink for three days and found himself nodding, he sought his natural rest, his mother doing on like wise, nor did he awake till about noon on the second day. As soon as he shook off slumber he called for somewhat of food, being sore a-hungered, but said his mother: “O my son, I have no victual for thee, inasmuch as yesterday thou atest all that was in the house. But wait patiently a while. I have spun a trifle of yarn which I will carry to the market street and sell it and buy with what it may be worth some victual for thee.” “O my mother,” said he, “keep your yarn and sell it not, but fetch me the lamp I brought hither that I may go vend it, and with its price purchase provaunt, for that I deem ’twill bring more money than the spinnings.” So Aladdin’s mother arose and fetched the lamp for her son, but while so doing she saw that it was dirty exceedingly, so that said: “O my son, here is the lamp, but ’tis very foul. After we shall have washed it and polished it ’twill sell better.” Then, taking a handful of sand, she began to rub therewith, but she had only begun when appeared to her one of the Jann, whose favor was frightful and whose bulk was horrible big, and he was gigantic as one of the Jababirah. And forthright he cried to her: “Say whatso thou wantest of me. Here am I, thy slave and slave to whoso holdeth the lamp, and not I alone, but all the Slaves of the Wonderful Lamp which thou hendest in hand.”

She quaked and terror was sore upon her when she looked at that frightful form, and her tongue being tied, she could not return aught reply, never having been accustomed to espy similar semblances. Now her son was standing afar off, and he had already seen the Jinni of the ring which he had rubbed within the treasury, so when he heard the slave speaking to his parent, he hastened forward, and snatching the lamp from her hand, said: “O Slave of the Lamp, I am a-hungered, and ’tis my desire that thou fetch me somewhat to eat, and let it be something toothsome beyond our means.” The Jinni disappeared for an eye twinkle and returned with a mighty fine tray and precious of price, for that ’twas all in virginal silver, and upon it stood twelve golden platters of meats manifold and dainties delicate, with bread snowier than snow; also two silvern cups and as many black jacks full of wine clear-strained and long-stored. And after setting all these before Aladdin, he vanished from vision.

Thereupon the lad went and sprinkled rose-water upon his mother’s face and caused her snuff up perfumes pure and pungent, and said to her when she revived: “Rise, O mother mine, and let us eat of these meats wherewith Almighty Allah hath eased our poverty.” But when she saw that mighty fine silvern tray she fell to marveling at the matter, and quoth she: “O my son, who be this generous, this beneficent one who hath abated our hunger pains and our penury? We are indeed under obligation to him, and meseemeth ’tis the Sultan who, hearing of our mean condition and our misery, hath sent us this food tray.” Quoth he: “O my mother, this be no time for questioning. Arouse thee and let us eat, for we are both a-famished.” Accordingly they sat down to the tray and fell to feeding, when Aladdin’s mother tasted meats whose like in all her time she had never touched. So they devoured them with sharpened appetites and all the capacity engendered by stress of hunger. And secondly, the food was such that marked the tables of the kings. But neither of them knew whether the tray was or was not valuable, for never in their born days had they looked upon aught like it.

As soon as they had finished the meal (withal leaving victual enough for supper and eke for the next day), they arose and washed their hands and sat at chat, when the mother turned to her son and said: “Tell me, O my child, what befell thee from the slave, the Jinni, now that Alhamdolillah- laud to the Lord!- we have eaten our full of the good things wherewith He hath favored us and thou hast no pretext for saying to me, ‘I am a-hungered.”‘ So Aladdin related to her all that took place between him and the slave what while she had sunk upon the ground a-swoon for sore terror, and at this she, being seized with mighty great surprise, said: “‘Tis true, for the Jinns do present themselves before the sons of Adam, but I, O my son, never saw them in all my life, and meseemeth that this be the same who saved thee when thou wast within the enchanted hoard.” “This is not he, O my mother. This who appeared before thee is the Slave of the Lamp!” “Who may this be, O my son?” “This be a slave of sort and shape other than he. That was the familiar of the ring, and this his fellow thou sawest was the Slave of the Lamp thou hendest in hand.” And when his parent heard these words she cried: “There! there! So this accursed, who showed himself to me and went nigh unto killing me with affright, is attached to the lamp.” “Yes,” he replied, and she rejoined: “Now I conjure thee, O my son, by the milk wherewith I suckled thee, to throw away from thee this lamp and this ring, because they can cause us only extreme terror, and I especially can never a-bear a second glance at them. Moreover, all intercourse with them is unlawful, for that the Prophet (whom Allah save and assain!) warned us against them with threats.”

He replied: “Thy commands, O my mother, be upon my head and mine eyes, but as regards this saying thou saidest, ’tis impossible that I part or with lamp or with ring. Thou thyself hast seen what good the slave wrought us whenas we were famishing, and know, O my mother, that the Maghrabi, the liar, the magician, when sending me down into the hoard, sought nor the silver nor the gold wherewith the four halls were fulfilled, but charged me to bring him only the lamp (naught else), because in very deed he had learned its priceless value. And had he not been certified of it, he had never endured such toil and trouble, nor had he traveled from his own land to our land in search thereof, neither had he shut me up in the treasury when he despaired of the lamp which I would not hand to him. Therefore it besitteth us, O my mother, to keep this lamp and take all care thereof, nor disclose its mysteries to any, for this is now our means of livelihood and this it is shall enrich us. And likewise as regards the ring, I will never withdraw it from my finger, inasmuch as but for this thou hadst nevermore seen me on life- nay, I should have died within the hoard underground. How then can I possibly remove it from my finger? And who wotteth that which may betide me by the lapse of time, what trippings or calamities or injurious mishaps wherefrom this ring may deliver me? However, for regard to thy feelings I will stow away the lamp, nor ever suffer it to be seen of thee hereafter.” Now when his mother heard his words and pondered them, she knew they were true and said to him: “Do, O my son, whatso thou willest. For my part, I wish never to see them nor ever sight that frightful spectacle I erst saw.”

Aladdin and his mother continued eating of the meats brought them by the Jinni for two full told days till they were finished. But when he learned that nothing of food remained for them, he arose and took a platter of the platters which the slave had brought upon the tray. Now they were all of the finest gold, but the lad knew naught thereof, so he bore it to the bazaar and there, seeing a man which was a Jew, a viler than the Satans, offered it to him for sale. When the Jew espied it, he took the lad aside that none might see him, and he looked at the platter and considered it till he was certified that it was of gold refined. But he knew not whether Aladdin was acquainted with its value or he was in such matters a raw laddie, so he asked him, “For how much, O my lord, this platter?” and the other answered, “Thou wottest what be its worth.” The Jew debated with himself as to how much he should offer, because Aladdin had returned him a craftsmanlike reply, and he thought of the smallest valuation. At the same time he feared lest the lad, haply knowing its worth, should expect a considerable sum. So he said in his mind, “Belike the fellow is an ignoramus in such matters, nor is ware of the price of the platter.” Whereupon he pulled out of his pocket a dinar, and Aladdin eyed the gold piece lying in his palm and, hastily taking it, went his way, whereby the Jew was certified of his customer’s innocence of all such knowledge, and repented with entire repentance that he had given him a golden dinar in lieu of a copper carat, a bright-polished groat.

However, Aladdin made no delay, but went at once to the baker’s, where he bought him bread and changed the ducat. Then, going to his mother, he gave her the scones and the remaining small coin and said, “O my mother, hie thee and buy thee all we require.” So she arose and walked to the bazaar and laid in the necessary stock, after which they ate and were cheered. And whenever the price of the platter was expended, Aladdin would take another and carry it to the accursed Jew, who brought each and every at a pitiful price; and even this he would have minished but, seeing how he had paid a dinar for the first, he feared to offer a lesser sum, lest the lad go and sell to some rival in trade and thus he lose his usurious gains. Now when all the golden platters were sold, there remained only the silver tray whereupon they stood, and for that it was large and weighty, Aladdin brought the Jew to his house and produced the article when the buyer, seeing its size, gave him ten dinars, and these being accepted, went his ways.

Aladdin and his mother lived upon the sequins until they were spent, then he brought out the lamp and rubbed it, and straightway appeared the slave who had shown himself aforetime. And said the lad: “I desire that thou bring me a tray of food like unto that thou broughtest me erewhiles, for indeed I am famisht.” Accordingly, in the glance of an eye the slave produced a similar tray supporting twelve platters of the most sumptuous, furnished with requisite cates, and thereon stood clean bread and sundry glass bottles of strained wine. Now Aladdin’s mother had gone out when she knew he was about to rub the lamp, that she might not again look upon the Jinni; but after a while she returned, and when she sighted the tray covered with silvern platters and smelt the savor of the rich meats diffused over the house, she marveled and rejoiced. Thereupon quoth he: “Look, O my mother! Thou badest me throw away the lamp. See now its virtues,” and quoth she, “O my son, Allah increase his weal, but I would not look upon him.” Then the lad sat down with his parent to the tray and they ate and drank until they were satisfied, after which they removed what remained for use on the morrow.

As soon as the meats had been consumed, Aladdin arose and stowed away under his clothes a platter of the platters and went forth to find the Jew, purposing to sell it to him, but by fiat of Fate he passed by the shop of an ancient jeweler, an honest man and a pious who feared Allah. When the Sheikh saw the lad, he asked him, saying: “O my son, what dost thou want? For that times manifold have I seen thee passing hereby and having dealings with a Jewish man, and I have espied thee handing over to him sundry articles. Now also I fancy thou hast somewhat for sale and thou seekest him as a buyer thereof. But thou wottest not, O my child, that the Jews ever hold lawful to them the good of Moslems, the confessors of Allah Almighty’s unity, and always defraud them, especially this accursed Jew with whom thou hast relations and into whose hands thou hast fallen. If then, O my son, thou have aught thou wouldest sell, show the same to me and never fear, for I will give thee its full price, by the truth of Almighty Allah.”

Thereupon Aladdin brought out the platter, which when the ancient goldsmith saw, he took and weighed it in his scales and asked the lad, saying, “Was it the fellow of this thou soldest to the Jew?” “Yes, its fellow and its brother,” he answered, and quoth the old man, “What price did he pay thee?” Quoth the lad, “One dinar.” The ancient goldsmith, hearing from Aladdin how the Jew used to give only one dinar as the price of the platter, cried, “Ah! I take refuge from this accursed who cozeneth the servants of Allah Almighty!” Then, looking at the lad, he exclaimed: “O my son, verily yon tricksy Jew hath cheated thee and laughed at thee, this platter being pure silver and virginal. I have weighed it and found it worth seventy dinars, and, if thou please to take its value,-take it.” Thereupon the Sheikh counted out to him seventy gold pieces, which he accepted, and presently thanked him for his kindness in exposing the Jew’s rascality.

And after this, whenever the price of a platter was expended, he would bring another, and on such wise he and his mother were soon in better circumstances. Yet they ceased not to live after their olden fashion as middle-class folk, without spending on diet overmuch or squandering money. But Aladdin had now thrown off the ungraciousness of his boyhood. He shunned the society of scapegraces and he began to frequent good men and true, repairing daily to the market street of the merchants and there companying with the great and small of them, asking about matters of merchandise and learning the price of investments and so forth. He likewise frequented the bazaars of the goldsmiths and the jewelers, where he would sit and divert himself by inspecting their precious stones and by noting how jewels were sold and bought therein. Accordingly, he presently became ware that the tree truits wherewith he had filled his pockets what time he entered the enchanged treasury were neither glass nor crystal, but gems rich and rare, and he understood that he had acquired immense wealth such as the kings never can possess. He then considered all the precious stones which were in the jewelers’ quarter, but found that their biggest was not worth his smallest.

On this wise he ceased not every day repairing to the bazaar and making himself familiar with the folk and winning their loving will, and inquiring anent selling and buying, giving and taking, the dear and the cheap, until one day of the days when, after rising at dawn and donning his dress he went forth, as was his wont, to the jewelers’ bazaar and as he passed along it he heard the crier crying as follows: “By command of our magnificent master, the King of the Time and the Lord of the Age and the Tide, let all the folk lock up their shops and stores and retire within their houses, for that the Lady Badr al-Budur, daughter of the Sultan, designeth to visit the hammam. And whoso gainsayeth the order shall be punished with death penalty, and be his blood upon his own neck!” But when Aladdin heard the proclamation, he longed to look upon the King’s daughter and said in his mind, “Indeed all the lieges talk of her beauty and loveliness, and the end of my desires is to see her.” Then Aladdin fell to contriving some means whereby he might look upon the Princess Badr al-Budur, and at last judged best to take his station behind the hammam door, whence he might see her face as she entered. Accordingly, without stay or delay he repaired to the baths before she was expected and stood a-rear of the entrance, a place whereat none of the folk happened to be looking.

Now when the Sultan’s daughter had gone the rounds of the city and its main streets and had solaced herself by sight-seeing, she finally reached the hammam, and whilst entering she raised her veil and Aladdin saw her favor, he said: “In very truth her fashion magnifieth her Almighty Fashioner, and glory be to Him Who created her and adorned her with this beauty and loveliness.” His strength was struck down from the moment he saw her and his thoughts were distraught. His gaze was dazed, the love of her gat hold of the whole of his heart, and when he returned home to his mother, he was as one in ecstasy. His parent addressed him, but he neither replied nor denied, and, when she set before him the morning meal he continued in like case, so quoth she: “O my son, what is’t may have befallen thee? Say me, doth aught ail thee? Let me know what ill hath betided thee, for, unlike thy custom, thou speakest not when I bespeak thee.” Thereupon Aladdin (who used to think that all women resembled his mother and who, albeit he had heard of the charms of Badr al-Budur, daughter of the Sultan, yet knew not what “beauty” and “loveliness” might signify) turned to his parent and exclaimed, “Let me be!” However, she persisted in praying him to come forward and eat, so he did her bidding, but hardly touched food. After which he lay at full length on his bed all the night through in cogitation deep until morning morrowed.

The same was his condition during the next day, when his mother was perplexed for the case of her son and unable to learn what had happened to him. So, thinking that belike he might be ailing, she drew near him and asked him, saying: “O my son, an thou sense aught of pain or suchlike, let me know, that I may fare forth and fetch thee the physician. And today there be in this our city a leech from the land of the Arabs whom the Sultan hath sent to summon, and the bruit abroad reporteth him to be skillful exceedingly. So, an be thou ill, let me go and bring him to thee.” Aladdin, hearing his parent’s offer to summon the mediciner, said: “O my mother, I am well in body and on no wise ill. But I ever thought that all women resembled thee until yesterday, when I beheld the Lady Badr al-Budur, daughter of the Sultan, as she was faring for the baths.”

Then he related to her all and everything that had happened to him, adding: “Haply thou also hast heard the crier a-crying: ‘Let no man open shop or stand in street that the Lady Badr al-Budur may repair to the hammam without eye seeing her.’ But I have looked upon her even as she is, for she raised her veil at the door, and when I viewed her favor and beheld that noble work of the Creator, a sore fit of ecstasy, O my mother, fell upon me for love of her, and firm resolve to win her hath opened its way into every limb of me, nor is repose possible for me except I win her. Wherefor I purpose asking her to wife from the Sultan, her sire, in lawful wedlock.” When Aladdin’s mother heard her son’s words, she belittled his wits and cried: “O my child, the name of Allah upon thee! Meseemeth thou hast lost thy senses. But be thou rightly guided, O my son, nor be thou as the men Jinn-maddened!” He replied: “Nay, O mother of mine, I am not out of my mind, nor am I of the maniacs, nor shall this thy saying alter one jot of what is in my thoughts. For rest is impossible to me until I shall have won the dearling of my heart’s core, the beautiful Lady Badr al-Budur. And now I am resolved to ask her of her sire the Sultan.”

She rejoined: “O my son, by my life upon thee, speak not such speech, lest any overhear thee and say thou be insane. So cast away from thee such nonsense! Who shall undertake a matter like this, or make such request to the King? Indeed, I know not how, supposing thy speech to be soothfast, thou shalt manage to crave such grace of the Sultan, or through whom thou desirest to propose it.” He retorted: “Through whom shall I ask it, O my mother, when thou art present? And who is there fonder and more faithful to me than thyself? So my design is that thou thyself shalt proffer this my petition.” Quoth she: “O my son, Allah remove me far therefrom! What! Have I lost my wits, like thyself? Cast the thought away, and a long way, from thy heart. Remember whose son thou art, O my child, the orphan boy of a tailor, the poorest and meanest of the tailors toiling in this city; and I, thy mother, am also come of pauper folk and indigent. How then durst thou ask to wife the daughter of the Sultan, whose sire would not deign marry her with the sons of the kings and the sovereigns, except they were his peers in honor and grandeur and majesty, and were they but one degree lower, he would refuse his daughter to them.” Aladdin took patience until his parent had said her say, when quoth he: “O my mother, everything thou hast called to mind is known to me. Moreover, ’tis thoroughly well known to me that I am the child of pauper parents, withal do not these words of thee divert me from my design at all, at all. Nor the less do I hope of thee, an I be thy son and thou truly love me, that thou grant me this favor. Otherwise thou wilt destroy me, and present death hovereth over my head except I win my will of heart’s dearling. And I, O my mother, am in every case thy child.”

Hearing these words, his parent wept of her sorrow for him and said: “O my child! Yes, in very deed I am thy mother, nor have I any son or life’s blood of my liver except thyself, and the end of my wishes is to give thee a wife and rejoice in thee. But suppose that I would seek a bride of our likes and equals, her people will at once ask an thou have any land or garden, merchandise or handicraft, wherewith thou canst support her, and what is the reply I can return? Then, if I cannot possibly answer the poor like ourselves, how shall I be bold enough, O my son, to ask for the daughter of the Sultan of China land, who hath no peer or behind or before him? Therefore do thou weigh this matter in thy mind. Also who shall ask her to wife for the son of a snip? Well indeed I wot that my saying aught of this kind will but increase our misfortunes, for that it may be the cause of our incurring mortal danger from the Sultan- peradventure even death for thee and me.

“And, as concerneth myself, how shall I venture upon such rash deed and perilous, O my son? And in what way shall I ask the Sultan for his daughter to be thy wife, and indeed how ever shall I even get access to him? And should I succeed therein, what is to be my answer an they ask me touching thy means? Haply the King will hold me to be a madwoman. And lastly, suppose that I obtain audience of the Sultan, what offering is there I can submit to the King’s majesty? ‘Tis true, O my child, that the Sultan is mild and merciful, never rejecting any who approach him to require justice or ruth or protection, nor any who pray him for a present, for he is liberal and lavisheth favor upon near and far. But he dealeth his boons to those deserving them, to men who have done some derring-do in battle under his eyes or have rendered as civilians great service to his estate. But thou! Do thou tell me what feat thou hast performed in his presence or before the public that thou meritest from him such grace? And secondly, this boon thou ambitionest is not for one of our condition, nor is it possible that the King grant to thee the bourne of thine aspiration. For whoso goeth to the Sultan and craveth of him a favor, him it besitteth to take in hand somewhat that suiteth the royal majesty, as indeed I warned thee aforetime. How, then, shalt thou risk thyself to stand before the Sultan and ask his daughter in marriage when thou hast with thee naught to offer him of that which beseemeth his exalted station?”

Hereto Aladdin replied: “O my mother, thou speakest to the point and hast reminded me aright, and ’tis meet that I revolve in mind the whole of thy remindings. But, O my mother, the love of Princess Badr al-Budur hath entered into the core of my heart, nor can I rest without I win her. However, thou hast also recalled to me a matter which I forgot, and ’tis this emboldeneth me to ask his daughter of the King. Albeit thou, O my mother, declarest that I have no gift which I can submit to the Sultan, as is the wont of the world, yet in very sooth I have an offering and a present whose equal, O my mother, I hold none of the kings to possess- no, even aught like it. Because verily that which I deemed glass or crystal was nothing but precious stones, and I hold that all the kings of the world have never possessed anything like one of the smallest thereof. For by frequenting the jeweler folk I have learned that they are the costliest gems, and these are what I brought in my pockets from the hoard, whereupon, an thou please, compose thy mind.

“We have in our house a bowl of China porcelain, so arise thou and fetch it, that I may fill it with these jewels, which thou shalt carry as a gift to the King, and thou shalt stand in his presence and solicit him for my requirement. I am certified that by such means the matter will become easy to thee, and if thou be unwilling, O my mother, to strive for the winning of my wish as regards the Lady Badr al-Budur, know thou that surely I shall die. Nor do thou imagine that this gift is of aught save the costliest of stones, and be assured, O my mother, that in my many visits to the jewelers’ bazaar I have observed the merchants selling for sums man’s judgment may not determine jewels whose beauty is not worth one quarter-carat of what we possess, seeing which I was certified that ours are beyond all price. So arise, O my mother, as I bade thee, and bring me the porcelain bowl aforesaid, that I may arrange therein some of these gems, and we will see what semblance they show.”

So she brought him the china bowl, saying in herself, “I shall know what to do when I find out if the words of my child concerning these jewels be soothfast or not.” And she set it before her son, who pulled the stones out of his pockets and disposed them in the bowl, and ceased not arranging therein gems of sorts till such time as he had filled it. And when it was brimful, she could not fix her eyes firmly upon it; on the contrary, she winked and blinked for the dazzle of the stones and their radiance and excess of lightninglike glance, and her wits were bewildered thereat. Only she was not certified of their value being really of the enormous extent she had been told. Withal she reflected that possibly her son might have spoken aright when he declared that their like was not to be found with the kings. Then Aladdin turned to her and said: “Thou hast-seen, O my mother, that this present intended for the Sultan is magnificent, and I am certified that it will procure for thee high honor with him, and that he will receive thee with all respect. And now, O my mother, thou hast no excuse, so compose thy thoughts and arise. Take thou this bowl, and away with it to the palace.”

His mother rejoined: “O my son, ’tis true that the present is highpriced exceedingly and the costliest of the costly, also that according to thy word none owneth its like. But who would have the boldness to go and ask the Sultan for his daughter, the Lady Badr al-Budur? I indeed dare not say to him, ‘I want thy daughter!’ when he shall ask me, ‘What is thy want?’ For know thou, O my son, that my tongue will be tied. And granting that Allah assist me and I embolden myself to say to him, ‘My wish is to become a connection of thine through the marriage of thy daughter the Lady Badr al-Budur, to my son Aladdin,’ they will surely decide at once that I am demented and will thrust me forth in disgrace and despised. I will not tell thee that I shall thereby fall into danger of death, for ’twill not be I only, but thou likewise. However, O my son, of my regard for thine inclination I needs must embolden myself and hie thither. Yet, O my. child, if the King receive me and honor me on account of the gift and inquire of me what thou desirest, and in reply I ask of him that which thou desirest in the matter of thy marriage with his daughter, how shall I answer him and he ask me, as is man’s wont, ‘What estates hast thou, and what income?’ And perchance, O my son, he will question me of this before questioning me of thee.”

Aladdin replied: “‘Tis not possible that the Sultan should make such demand what time he considereth the jewels and their magnificence, nor is it meet to think of such things as these, which may never occur. Now do thou but arise and set before him this present of precious stones and ask of him his daughter for me, and sit not yonder making much of the difficulty in thy fancy. Ere this thou hast learned, O mother mine, that the lamp which we possess hath become to us a stable income, and that whatso I want of it the same is supplied to me. And my hope is that by means thereof I shall learn how to answer the Sultan should he ask me of that thou sayest.” Then Aladdin and his mother fell to talking over the subject all that night long, and when morning morrowed, the dame arose and heartened her heart, especially as her son had expounded to her some little of the powers of the lamp and the virtues thereof; to wit, that it would supply all they required of it. Aladdin, however, seeing his parent take courage when he explained to her the workings of the lamp, feared lest she might tattle to the folk thereof, so he said to her: “O my mother, beware how thou talk to any of the properties of the lamp and its profit, as this is our one great good. Guard thy thoughts lest thou speak overmuch concerning it before others, whoso they be. Haply we shall lose it and lose the boon fortune we possess and the benefits we expect, for that ’tis of him.” His mother replied, “Fear not therefor, O my son,” and she arose and took the bowl full of jewels, which she wrapped up in a fine kerchief, and went forth betimes that she might reach the Divan ere it became crowded.

When she passed into the palace, the levee not being fully attended, she saw the wazirs and sundry of the lords of the land going into the presence room, and after a short time, when the Divan was made complete by the Ministers and high officials and chieftains and emirs and grandees, the Sultan appeared, and the wazirs made their obeisance and likewise did the nobles and the notables. The King seated himself upon the throne of his kingship, and all present at the levee stood before him with crossed arms awaiting his commandment to sit, and when they received it, each took his place according to his degree. Then the claimants came before the Sultan, who delivered sentence, after his wonted way, until the Divan was ended, when the King arose and withdrew into the palace and the others all went their ways. And when Aladdin’s mother saw the throne empty and the King passing into his harem, she also wended her ways and returned home. But as soon as her son espied her, bowl in hand, he thought that haply something untoward had befallen her, but he would not ask of aught until such time as she had set down the bowl, when she acquainted him with that had occurred and ended by adding: “Alhamdolillah- laud to the Lord!- O my child, that I found courage enough and secured for myself standing place in the levee this day. And, albe’ I dreaded to bespeak the King yet (Inshallah!) on the morrow I will address him. Even today were many who, like myself, could not get audience of the Sultan. But be of good cheer, O my son, and tomorrow needs must I bespeak him for thy sake, and what happened not may happen.” When Aladdin heard his parent’s words, he joyed with excessive joy, and, although he expected the matter to be managed hour by hour, for excess of his love and longing to the Lady Badr al-Budur, yet he possessed his soul in patience.

They slept well that night, and betimes next morning the mother of Aladdin arose and went with her bowl to the King’s Court, which she found closed. So she asked the people and they told her that the Sultan did not hold a levee every day, but only thrice in the sennight, wherefor she determined to return home. And after this, whenever she saw the Court open she would stand before the King until the reception ended, and when it was shut she would go to make sure thereof, and this was the case for the whole month. The Sultan was wont to remark her presence at every levee, but on the last day when she took her station, as was her wont, before the Council, she allowed it to close, and lacked boldness to come forward and speak even a syllable. Now as the King, having risen, was making for his harem accompanied by the Grand Wazir, he turned to him and said: “O Wazir, during the last six or seven levee days I see yonder old woman present herself at every reception, and I also note that she always carrieth a something under her mantilla. Say me, hast thou, O Wazir, any knowledge of her and her intention?” “O my lord the Sultan,” said the other, “verily women be weakly of wits, and haply this goodwife cometh hither to complain before thee against her goodman or some of her people.” But this reply was far from satisfying the Sultan- nay, he bade the Wazir, in case she should come again, set her before him, and forthright the Minister placed hand on head and exclaimed, “To hear is to obey, O our lord the Sultan!”

Now one day of the days, when she did according to her custom, the Sultan cast his eyes upon her as she stood before him and said to his Grand Wazir: “This be the very woman whereof I spake to thee yesterday, so do thou straightway bring her before me, that I may see what be her suit and fulfill her need.” Accordingly the Minister at once introduced her, and when in the presence she saluted the King by kissing her finger tips and raising them to her brow, and, praying for the Sultan’s glory and continuance and the permanence of his prosperity, bussed ground before him. Thereupon quoth he: “O woman, for sundry days I have seen thee attend the levee sans a word said, so tell me an thou have any requirement I may grant.” She kissed ground a second time and after blessing him, answered: “Yea, verily, as thy head liveth, O King of the Age, I have a want. But first of all do thou deign grant me a promise of safety, that I may prefer my suit to the ears of our lord the Sultan, for haply thy Highness may find it a singular.” The King, wishing to know her need, and being a man of unusual mildness and clemency, gave his word for her immunity and bade forthwith dismiss all about him, remaining without other but the Grand Wazir. Then he turned toward his suppliant and said: “Inform me of thy suit. Thou hast the safeguard of Allah Almighty.” “O King of the Age,” replied she, “I also require of thee pardon,” and quoth he, “Allah pardon thee even as I do.”

Then quoth she: “O our lord the Sultan, I have a son, Aladdin hight, and he, one day of the days, having heard the crier commanding all men to shut shop and shun the streets for that the Lady Badr al-Budur, daughter of the Sultan, was going to the hammam, felt an uncontrollable longing to look upon her, and hid himself in a stead whence he could sight her right well, and that place was behind the door of the baths. When she entered, he beheld her and considered her as he wished, and but too well, for since the time he looked upon her, O King of the Age, unto this hour, life hath not been pleasant to him. And he hath required of me that I ask her to wife for him from thy Highness, nor could I drive this fancy from his mind, because love of her hath mastered his vitals and to such degree that he said to me, ‘Know thou, O mother mine, that an I win not my wish surely I shall die.’ Accordingly I hope that thy Highness will deign be mild and merciful and pardon this boldness on the part of me and my child and refrain to punish us therefor.”

When the Sultan heard her tale, he regarded her with kindness and, laughing aloud, asked her, “What may be that thou carriest, and what be in yonder kerchief?” And she, seeing the Sultan laugh in lieu of waxing wroth at her words, forthright opened the wrapper and set before him the bowl of jewels, whereby the audience hall was illumined as it were by lusters and candelabra. And he was dazed and amazed at the radiance of the rare gems, and he fell to marveling at their size and beauty and excellence and cried: “Never at all until this day saw I anything like these jewels for size and beauty and excellence, nor deem I that there be found in my Treasury a single one like them.” Then he turned to his Minister and asked: “What sayest thou, O Wazir? Tell me, hast thou seen in thy time such mighty fine jewels as these?” The other answered: “Never saw I such, O our lord the Sultan, nor do I think that there be in the treasures of my lord the Sultan the fellow of the least thereof.” The King resumed: “Now indeed whoso hath presented to me such jewels meriteth to become bridegroom to my daughter, Badr al-Budur, because, as far as I see, none is more deserving of her than he.” When the Wazir heard the Sultan’s words, he was tongue-tied with concern, and he grieved with sore grief, for the King had promised to give the Princess in marriage to his son. So after a little while he said: “O King of the Age, thy Highness deigned promise me that the Lady Badr al-Budur should be spouse to my son, so ’tis but right that thine Exalted Highness vouchsafe us a delay of three months, during which time, Inshallah! my child may obtain and present an offering yet costlier than this.” Accordingly the King, albeit he knew that such a thing could not be done, or by the Wazir or by the greatest of his grandees, yet of his grace and kindness granted him the required delay.

Then he turned to the old woman, Aladdin’s mother, and said: “Go to thy son and tell him I have pledged my word that my daughter shall be in his name. Only ’tis needful that I make the requisite preparations of nuptial furniture for her use, and ’tis only meet that he take patience for the next three months.” Receiving this reply, Aladdin’s mother thanked the Sultan and blessed him, then, going forth in hottest haste, as one flying for joy, she went home. And when her son saw her entering with a smiling face, he was gladdened at the sip of good news, especially because she had returned without delay, as on the past days, and had not brought back the bowl. Presently he asked her saying: “Inshallah, thou bearest me, O my mother, glad tidings, and peradventure the jewels and their value have wrought their work, and belike thou hast been kindly received by the King and he hath shown thee grace and hath given ear to thy request?” So she told him the whole tale, how the Sultan had entreated her well and had marveled at the extraordinary size of the gems and their surpassing water, as did also the Wazir, adding: “And he promised that his daughter should be thine. Only, O my child, the Wazir spake of a secret contract made with him by the Sultan before he pledged himself to me and, after speaking privily, the King put me off to the end of three months. Therefore I have become fearful lest the Wazir be evilly disposed to thee, and perchance he may attempt to change the Sultan’s mind.”

When Aladdin heard his mother’s words and how the Sultan had promised him his daughter, deferring, however, the wedding until after the third month, his mind was gladdened and he rejoiced exceedingly and said: Inasmuch as the King hath given his word after three months (well, it is a long time!), at all events my gladness is mighty great.” Then he thanked his parent, showing her how her good work had exceeded her toil and travail, and said to her: “By Allah, O my mother, hitherto I was as ’twere in my grave and therefrom thou hast withdrawn me. And I praise Allah Almighty because I am at this moment certified that no man in the world is happier than I, or more fortunate.” Then he took patience until two of the three months had gone by.

Now one day of the days his mother fared forth about sundown to the bazaar that she might buy somewhat of oil, and she found all the market shops fast shut and the whole city decorated, and the folk placing waxen tapers and flowers at their casements. And she beheld the soldiers and household troops and agas riding in procession, and flambeaux and lusters flaming and flaring, and she wondered at the marvelous sight and the glamour of the scene. So she went in to an ouman’s store which stood open still and bought her need of him and said: “By thy life, O uncle, tell me what be the tidings in town this day, that people have made all these decorations and every house and market street are adorned and the troops all stand on guard?” The oilman asked her, “O woman, I suppose thou art a stranger, and not one of this city?” and she answered, “Nay, I am thy townswoman.” He rejoined: “Thou a townswoman, and yet wottest not that this very night the son of the Grand Wazir goeth in to the Lady Badr al-Budur, daughter of the Sultan! He is now in the hammam, and all this power of soldiery is on guard and standing under arms to await his coming forth, when they will bear him in bridal procession to the palace, where the Princess expecteth him.”

As the mother of Aladdin heard these words, she grieved and was distraught in thought and perplexed how to inform her son of this sorrowful event, well knowing that the poor youth was looking, hour by hour, to the end of the three months. But she returned straightway home to him, and when she entered she said, “O my son, I would give thee certain tidings, yet hard to me will be the sorrow they shall occasion thee.” He cried, “Let me know what be thy news,” and she replied: “Verily the Sultan hath broken his promise to thee in the matter of the Lady Badr al-Budur, and this very night the Grand Wazir’s son goeth in to her. And for some time, O my son, I have suspected that the Minister would change the King’s mind, even as I told thee how he had spoken privily to him before me.” Aladdin asked: “How learnedst thou that the Wazir’s son is this night to pay his first visit to the Princess?” So she told him the whole tale, how when going to buy oil she had found the city decorated and the eunuch officials and lords of the land with the troops under arms awaiting the bridegroom from the baths, and that the first visit was appointed for that very night.

Hearing this, Aladdin was seized with a fever of jealousy brought on by his grief. However, after a short while he remembered the lamp and, recovering his spirits, said: “By thy life, O my mother, do thou believe that the Wazir’s son will not enjoy her as thou thinkest. But now leave we this discourse, and arise thou and serve up supper, and after eating let me retire to my own chamber and all will be well and happy.” After he had supped Aladdin retired to his chamber and, locking the door, brought out the lamp and rubbed it, whenas forthright appeared to him its familiar, who said: “Ask whatso thou wantest, for I am thy slave and slave to him who holdeth the lamp in hand, I and all the Slaves of the Lamp.” He replied: “Hear me! I prayed the Sultan for his daughter to wife and he plighted her to me after three months, but he hath not kept his word- nay, he hath given her to the son of the Wazir, and this very night the bridegroom will go in to her. Therefore I command thee (an thou be a trusty servitor to the lamp), when thou shalt see bride and bridegroom bedded together this night, at once take them up and bear them hither abed. And this be what I want of thee.” The Marid replied, “Hearing and obeying, and if thou have other service but this, do thou demand of me all thou desirest.” Aladdin rejoined, “At the present time I require naught save that I bade thee do.”

Hereupon the slave disappeared and Aladdin returned to pass the rest of the evening with his mother. But at the hour when he knew that the servitor would be coming, he arose and retired to his chamber, and after a little while, behold, the Marid came, bring to him the newly wedded couple upon their bridal bed. Aladdin rejoiced to see them with exceeding joy, then he cried to the slave, “Carry yonder gallowsbird hence and lay him at full length in the privy.” His bidding was done straightway, but before leaving him, the slave blew upon the bridegroom a blast so cold that it shriveled him, and the plight of the Wazir’s son became piteous. Then the servitor, returning to Aladdin, said to him, “An thou require aught else, inform me thereof,” and said the other, “Return a-morn, that thou mayest restore them to their stead,” whereto, “I hear and obey,” quoth the Marid, and evanished.

Presently Aladdin arose, hardly believing that the affair had been such a success for him, but whenas he looked upon the Lady Badr al-Budur lying under his own roof, albeit he had long burned with her love, yet he preserved respect for her and said: “O Princess of fair ones, think not that I brought thee hither to minish thy honor. Heaven forfend! Nay, ’twas only to prevent the wrong man enjoying thee, for that thy sire, the Sultan, promised thee to me. So do thou rest in peace.” When the Lady Badr al-Budur, daughter of the Sultan, saw herself in that mean and darksome lodging, and heard Aladdin’s words, she was seized with fear and trembling and waxed clean distraught, nor could she return aught of reply. Presently the youth arose, and stripping off his outer dress, placed a scimitar between them and lay upon the bed beside the Princess. And he did no villain deed, for it sufficed him to prevent the consummation of her nuptials with the Wazir’s son. On the other hand, the Lady Badr al-Budur passed a night the evilest of all nights, nor in her born days had she seen a worse. And the same was the case with the Minister’s son, who lay in the chapel of ease and who dared not stir for the fear of the Jinni which overwhelmed him.

As soon as it was morning the slave appeared before Aladdin without the lamp being rubbed, and said to him: “O my lord, an thou require aught, command me therefor, that I may do it upon my head and mine eyes.” Said the other: “Go, take up and carry the bride and bridegroom to their own apartment.” So the servitor did his bidding in an eye glance and bore away the pair and placed them in the palace as whilom they were and without their seeing anyone. But both died of affright when they found themselves being transported from stead to stead. And the Marid had barely time to set them down and wend his ways ere the Sultan came on a visit of congratulation to his daughter. And when the Wazir’s son heard the doors thrown open, he sprang straightway from his couch and donned his dress, for he knew that none save the King could enter at that hour. Yet it was exceedingly hard for him to leave his bed, wherein he wished to warm himself a trifle after his cold night in the watercloset which he had lately left. The Sultan went in to his daughter, Badr al-Budur, and, kissing her between the eyes, gave her good morning and asked her of her bridegroom and whether she was pleased and satisfied with him. But she returned no reply whatever and looked at him with the eye of anger, and although he repeated his words again and again, she held her peace, nor bespake him with a single syllable.

So the King quitted her and, going to the Queen, informed her of what had taken place, between him and his daughter, and the mother, unwilling to leave the Sultan angered with their child, said to him: “O King of the Age, this be the custom of most newly married couples, at least during their first days of marriage, for that they are bashful and somewhat coy. So deign thou excuse her, and after a little while she will again become herself and speak with the folk as before, whereas now her shame, O King of the Age, keepeth her silent. However, ’tis my wish to fare forth and see her.” Thereupon the Queen arose and donned her dress, then, going to her daughter, wished her good morning and kissed her between the eyes. Yet would the Princess make no answer at all, whereat quoth the Queen to herself: “Doubtless some strange matter hath occurred to trouble her with such trouble as this.” So she asked her, saying: “O my daughter, what hath caused this thy case? Let me know what hath betided thee that when I come and give thee good morniing, thou hast not a word to say to me.” Thereat the Lady Badr al-Budur raised her head and said: “Pardon me, O my mother, ’twas my duty to meet thee with all respect and worship, seeing that thou hast honored me by this visit. However, I pray thee to hear the cause of this my condition and see how the night I have just spent hath been to me the evilest of the nights. Hardly had we lain down, O my mother, than one whose form I wot not uplifted our bed and transported it to a darksome place, fulsome and mean.”

Then the Princess related to the Queen Mother all that had befallen her that night- how they had taken away her bridegroom, leaving her lone and lonesome, and how after a while came another youth who lay beside her in lieu of her bridegroom, after placing his scimitar between her and himself. “And in the morning,” she continued, “he who carried us off returned and bore us straight back to our own stead. But at once when he arrived hither he left us, and suddenly my sire, the Sultan, entered at the hour and moment of our coming and I had nor heart nor tongue to speak him withal, for the stress of the terror and trembling which came upon me. Haply such lack of duty may have proved sore to him, so I hope, O my mother, that thou wilt acquaint him with the cause of this my condition, and pardon me for not answering him and blame me not, accept my excuses.”

When the Queen heard these words of Princess Badr al-Budur, she said to her: “O my child, compose thy thoughts. An thou tell such tale before any, haply shall he say, ‘Verily, the Sultan’s daughter hath lost her wits.’ And thou hast done right well in not choosing to recount thine adventure to thy father, and beware, and again I say beware, O my daughter, lest thou inform him thereof.” The Princess replied: “O my mother, I have spoken to thee like one sound in senses, nor have I lost my wits. This be what befell me, and if thou believe it not because coming from me, ask my bridegroom.” To which the Queen replied: “Rise up straightway, O my daughter, and banish from thy thoughts such fancies as these. And robe thyself and come forth to glance at the bridal feasts and festivities they are making in the city for the sake of thee and thy nuptials, and listen to the drumming and the singing and look at the decorations all intended to honor thy marriage, O my daughter.”

So saying, the Queen at once summoned the tirewoman, who dressed and prepared the Lady Badr al-Budur, and presently she went in to the Sultan and assured him that their daughter had suffered during all her wedding night from swevens and nightmare, and said to him, “Be not severe with her for not answering thee.” Then the Queen sent privily for the Wazir’s son and asked of the matter, saying, “Tell me, are these words of the Lady Badr al-Budur soothfast or not?” But he, in his fear of losing his bride out of hand, answered, “O my lady, I have no knowledge of that whereof thou speakest.” Accordingly the mother made sure that her daughter had seen visions and dreams. The marriage feasts lasted throughout that day with almes and singers and the smiting of all manner instruments of mirth and merriment, while the Queen and the Wazir and his son strave right strenuously to enhance the festivities that the Princess might enjoy herself. And that day they left nothing of what exciteth to pleasure unrepresented in her presence, to the end that she might forget what was in her thoughts and derive increase of joyance.

Yet did naught of this take any effect upon her- nay, she sat in silence, sad of thought, sore perplexed at what had befallen her during the last night. It is true that the Wazir’s son had suffered even more he had passed his sleeping hours lying in the watercloset. He, however had falsed the story and had cast out remembrance of the night, in the first place for his fear of losing his bride and with her the honor of a connection which brought him such excess of consideration and for which men envied him so much, and secondly, on account of the wondrous loveliness of the Lady Badr al-Budur and her marvelous beauty.

Aladdin also went forth that day and looked at the merrymakings, which extended throughout the city as well as the palace, and he fell a-laughing, especially when he heard the folk prating of the high honor which had accrued to the son of the Wazir and the prosperity of his fortunes in having become son-in-law to the Sultan, and the high consideration shown by the wedding fetes. And he said in his mind: “Indeed ye wot not, O ye miserables, what befell him last night, that ye envy him!” But after darkness fell and it was time for sleep, Aladdin arose and, retiring to his chamber, rubbed the lamp, whereupon the slave incontinently appeared and was bidden to bring him the Sultan’s daughter, together with her bridegroom, as on the past night, ere the Wazir’s son could abate her maidenhead. So the Marid without stay or delay evanished for a little while until the appointed time, when he returned carrying the bed whereon lay the Lady Badr al-Budur and the Wazir’s son. And he did with the bridegroom as he had done before; to wit, he took him and laid him at full length in the jakes and there left him dried-up for excess of fear and trembling. Then Aladdin arose and, placing the scimitar between himself and the Princess, lay down beside her, and when day broke the slave restored the pair to their own place, leaving Aladdin filled with delight at the state of the Minister’s son.

Now when the Sultan woke up a-morn, he resolved to visit his daughter and see if she would treat him as on the past day. So, shaking off his sleep, he sprang up and arrayed himself in his raiment, and going to the apartment of the Princess, bade open the door. Thereat the son of the Wazir arose forthright and came down from his bed and began donning his dress whilst his ribs were wrung with cold. For when the King entered the slave had but just brought him back. The Sultan, raising the arras, drew near his daughter as she lay abed and gave her good morning. Then, kissing her between the eyes, he asked her of her case. But he saw her looking sour and sad, and she answered him not at all only glowering at him as one in anger, and her plight was pitiable. Hereat the Sultan waxed wroth with her for that she would not reply, and he suspected that something evil had befallen her, whereupon he bared his blade and cried to her, brand in hand, saying: “What be this hath betided thee? Either acquaint me with what happened or this very moment I will take thy life! Is such conduct the token of honor and respect I expect of thee, that I address thee and thou answerest me not a word?”

When the Lady Badr al-Budur saw her sire in high dudgeon and the naked glaive in his grip, she was freed from her fear of the past, so she raised her head and said to him: “O my beloved father, be not wroth with me, nor be hasty in thy hot passion, for I am excusable in what thou shalt see of my case. So do thou lend an ear to what occurred to me, and well I wot that after hearing my account of what befell to me during these two last nights, thou wilt pardon me, and thy Highness will be softened to pitying me even as I claim of thee affection for thy child.” Then the Princess informed her father of all that had betided her, adding: “O my sire, an thou believe me not, ask my bridegroom and he will recount to thy Highness the whole adventure. Nor did I know either what they would do with him when they bore him away from my side or where they would place him.” When the Sultan heard his daughter’s words, he was saddened and his eyes brimmed with tears, then he sheathed his saber and kissed her, saying: “O my daughter, wherefore didst thou not tell me what happened on the past night, that I might have guarded thee from this torture and terror which visited thee a second time? But now ’tis no matter. Rise and cast out all such care, and tonight I will set a watch to ward thee, nor shall any mishap again make thee miserable.”

Then the Sultan returned to his palace and straightway bade summon the Grand Wazir and asked him as he stood before him in his service: “O Wazir, how dost thou look upon this matter? Haply thy son hath informed thee of what occurred to him and to my daughter.” The Minister replied, “O King of the Age, I have not seen my son or yesterday or today.” Hereat the Sultan told him all that had afflicted the Princess, adding: “‘Tis my desire that thou at once seek tidings of thy son concerning the facts of the case. Peradventure of her fear my daughter may not be fully aware of what really befell her, withal I hold all her words to be truthful.” So the Grand Wazir arose, and going forth, bade summon his son and asked him anent all his lord had told him whether it be true or untrue. The youth replied: “O my father the Wazir, Heaven forbid that the Lady Badr al-Budur speak falsely. Indeed all she said was sooth, and these two nights proved to us the evilest of our nights instead of being nights of pleasure and marriage joys. But what befell me was the greater evil, because instead of sleeping abed with my bride, I lay in the wardrobe, a black hole, frightful, noisome of stench, truly damnable, and my ribs were bursten with cold.” In fine, the young man told his father the whole tale, adding as he ended it: “O dear father mine, I implore thee to speak with the Sultan that he may set me free from this marriage. Yes, indeed ’tis a high honor for me to be the Sultan’s son-in-law, and especially the love of the Princess hath gotten hold of my vitals, but I have no strength left to endure a single night like unto these two last.”

The Wazir, hearing the words of his son, was saddened and sorrowful exceedingly, for it was his desire to advance and promote his child by making him son-in-law to the Sultan. So he became thoughtful and perplexed about the affair and the device whereby to manage it, and it was sore grievous for him to break off the marriage, it having been a rare enjoyment to him that he had fallen upon such high good fortune. Accordingly he said: “Take patience, O my son, until we see what may happen this night, when we will set watchmen to ward you. Nor do thou give up the exalted distinction which hath fallen to none save to thyself.” Then the Wazir left him and, returning to the sovereign, reported that all told to him by the Lady Badr al-Budur was a true tale. Whereupon quoth the Sultan, “Since the affair is on this wise, we require no delay,” and he at once ordered all the rejoicings to cease and the marriage to be broken off. This caused the folk and the citizens to marvel at the matter, especially when they saw the Grand Wazir and his son leaving the palace in pitiable plight for grief and stress of passion, and the people fell to asking, “What hath happened, and what is the cause of the wedding being made null and void?”

Nor did any know aught of the truth save Aladdin, the lover who claimed the Princess’s hand, and he laughed in his sleeve. But even after the marriage was dissolved, the Sultan forgot nor even recalled to mind his promise made to Aladdin’s mother, and the same was the case with the Grand Wazir, while neither had any inkling of whence befell them that which had befallen. So Aladdin patiently awaited the lapse of the three months after which the Sultan had pledged himself to give him to wife his daughter. But soon as ever the term came, he sent his mother to the Sultan for the purpose of requiring him to keep his covenant. So she went to the palace, and when the King appeared in the Divan and saw the old woman standing before him, he remembered his promise to her concerning the marriage after a term of three months, and he turned to the Minister and said: “O Wazir, this be the ancient dame who presented me with the jewels and to whom we pledged our word that when the three months had elapsed we would summon her to our presence before all others.” So the Minister went forth and fetched her, and when she went in to the Sultan’s presence she saluted him and prayed for his glory and permanence of prosperity. Hereat the King asked her if she needed aught, and she answered: “O King of the Age, the three months’ term thou assignedst to me is finished, and this is thy time to my son Aladdin with thy daughter, the Lady Badr al-Budur.”

The Sultan was distraught at this demand, especially when he saw the old woman’s pauper condition, one of the meanest of her kind, and yet the offering she had brought to him was of the most magnificent, far beyond his power to pay the price. Accordingly he turned to the Grand Wazir and said: “What device is there with thee? In very sooth I did pass my word, yet meseemeth that they be pauper folk, and not persons of high condition.” The Grand Wazir, who was dying of envy and who was especially saddened by what had befallen his son, said to himself, “How shall one like this wed the King’s daughter and my son lose this highmost honor?” Accordingly he answered his sovereign, speaking privily: “O my lord, ’tis an easy matter to keep off a poor devil such as this, for he is not worthy that thy Highness give his daughter to a fellow whom none knoweth what he may be.” “By what means,” inquired the Sultan, “shall we put off the man when I pledged my promise, and the word of the kings is their bond?” Replied the Wazir: “O my lord, my rede is that thou demand of him forty platters made of pure sand gold and full of gems (such as the woman brought thee aforetime), with forty white slave girls to carry the platters and forty black eunuch slaves.” The King rejoined: “By Allah, O Wazir, thou hast spoken to the purpose, seeing that such thing is not possible, and by this way we shall be freed.”

Then quoth he to Aladdin’s mother: “Do thou go and tell thy son that I am a man of my word even as I plighted it to him, but on condition that he have power to pay the dower of my daughter. And that which I require of him is a settlement consisting of twoscore platters of virgin gold, all brimming with gems the like of those thou broughtest to me, and as many white handmaids to carry them and twoscore black eunuch slaves to serve and escort the bearers. An thy son avail hereto, I will marry him with my daughter.” Thereupon she returned home wagging her head and saying in her mind: “Whence can my poor boy procure these platters and such jewels? And granted that he return to the enchanted treasury and pluck them from the trees- which, however, I hold impossible- yet given that he bring them, whence shall he come by the girls and the blacks?” Nor did she leave communing with herself till she reached her home, where she found Aladdin awaiting her, and she lost no time in saying: “O my son, did I not tell thee never to fancy that thy power would extend to the Lady Badr al-Budur, and that such a matter is not possible to folk like ourselves?”

“Recount to me the news,” quoth he, so quoth she: “O my child, verily the Sultan received me with all honor according to his custom, and meseemeth his intentions toward us be friendly. But thine enemy is that accursed Wazir, for after I addressed the King in thy name as thou badest me say, ‘In very sooth the promised term is past,’ adding, “Twere well an thy Highness would deign issue commandment for the espousals of thy daughter the Lady Badr al-Budur to my son Aladdin,’ he turned to and addressed the Minister, who answered privily, after which the Sultan gave me his reply.” Then she enumerated the King’s demand and said: “O my son, he indeed expecteth of thee an instant reply, but I fancy that we have no answer for him.” When Aladdin heard these words, he laughed and said: “O my mother, thou affirmest that we have no answer and thou deemest the case difficult exceedingly, but compose thy thoughts and arise and bring me somewhat we may eat. And after we have dined, an the Compassionate be willing, thou shalt see my reply. Also the Sultan thinketh like thyself that he hath demanded a prodigious dower in order to divert me from his daughter, whereas the fact is that he hath required of me a matter far less than I expected. But do thou fare forth at once and purchase the provision and leave me to procure thee a reply.”

So she went out to fetch her needful from the bazaar and Aladdin retired to his chamber and, taking the lamp, rubbed it, when forthright appeared to him its slave and said, “Ask, O my lord, whatso thou wantest.” The other replied: “I have demanded of the Sultan his daughter to wife, and he hath required of me forty bowls of purest gold each weighing ten pounds and all to be filled with gems such as we find in the gardens of the hoard; furthermore, that they be borne on the heads of as many white handmaids, each attended by her black eunuch slave, also forty in full rate. So I desire that thou bring all these into my presence.” “Hearkening and obeying, O my lord,” quoth the slave and, disappearing for the space of an hour or so, presently returned bringing the platters and jewels, handmaids and eunuchs. Then, setting them before him, the Marid cried: “This be what thou demandest of me. Declare now an thou want any matter or service other than this.” Aladdin rejoined: “I have need of naught else, but an I do, I will summon thee and let thee know.”

The slave now disappeared, and after a little while, Aladdin’s mother returned home, and on entering the house, saw the blacks and the handmaids. Hereat she wondered and exclaimed, “All this proceedeth from the lamp which Allah perpetuate to my son!” But ere she doffed her mantilla Aladdin said to her: “O my mother, this be thy time. Before the Sultan enter his seraglio palace do thou carry to him what he required, and wend thou with it at once, so may he know that I avail to supply all he wanteth and yet more. Also that he is beguiled by his Grand wazir, and the twain imagined vainly that they would baffle me.” Then he arose forthright and opened the house door, when the handmaids and blackamoors paced forth in pairs, each girl with her eunuch besider her, until they crowded the quarter, Aladdin’s mother foregoing them. And when the folk of that ward sighted such mighty fine sight and marvelous spectacle, all stood at gaze and they considered the forms and figures of the handmaids, marveling at their beauty and loveliness, for each and every wore robes inwrought with gold and studded with jewels, no dress being worth less than a thousand dinars. They stared as intently at the bowls, and albeit these were covered with pieces of brocade, also orfrayed and dubbed with precious stones, yet the sheen outshot from them dulled the shine of sun.

Then Aladdin’s mother walked forward and all the handmaids and eunuchs paced behind her in the best of ordinance and disposition, and the citizens gathered to gaze at the beauty of the damsels, glorifying God the Most Great, until the train reached the palace and entered it accompanied by the tailor’s widow. Now when the agas and chamberlains and army officers beheld them, all were seized with surprise, notably by seeing the handmaids, who each and every would ravish the reason of an anchorite. And albeit the royal chamberlains and officials were men of family, the sons of grandees and emirs, yet they could not but especially wonder at the costly dresses of the girls and the platters borne upon their heads, nor could they gaze at them open-eyed by reason of the exceeding brilliance and radiance. Then the nabobs went in and reported to the King, who forthright bade admit them to the presence chamber, and Aladdin’s mother went in with them.

When they stood before the Sultan, all saluted him with every sign of respect and worship and prayed for his glory and prosperity. Then they set down from their heads the bowls at his feet and, having removed the brocade covers, rested with arms crossed behind them. The Sultan wondered with exceeding wonder, and was distraught by the beauty of the handmaids and their loveliness, which passed praise. And his wits were wildered when he considered the golden bowls brimful of gems which captured man’s vision, and he was perplexed at the marvel until he became like the dumb, unable to utter a syllable for the excess of his wonder. Also his sense was stupefied the more when he bethought him that within an hour or so all these treasures had been collected. Presently he commanded the slave girls to enter, with what loads they bore, the dower of the Princess, and when they had done his bidding, Aladdin’s mother came forward and said to the Sultan: “O my lord, this be not much wherewith to honor the Lady Badr al-Budur, for that she meriteth these things multiplied times manifold.”

Hereat the sovereign turned to the Minister and asked: “What sayest thou, O Wazir? Is not he who could produce such wealth in a time so brief, is he not, I say, worthy to become the Sultan’s son-in-law and take the King’s daughter to wife?” Then the Minister (although he marveled at these riches even more than did the Sultan), whose envy was killing him and growing greater hour by hour, seeing his liege lord satisfied with the moneys and the dower and yet being unable to fight against fact, made answer, “‘Tis not worthy of her.” Withal he fell to devising a device against the King, that he might withhold the Lady Badr al-Budur from Aladdin, and accordingly he continued: “O my liege, the treasures of the universe all of them are not worth a nail paring of thy daughter. Indeed thy Highness hath prized these things overmuch in comparison with her.”

When the King heard the words of his Grand Wazir, he knew that the speech was prompted by excess of envy, so, turning to the mother of Aladdin, he said: “O woman, go to thy son and tell him that I have accepted of him the dower and stand to my bargain, and that my daughter be his bride and he my son-in-law. Furthermore, bid him at once make act of presence that I may become familiar with him. He shall see naught from me save all honor and consideration, and this night shall be the beginning of the marriage festivities. Only, as I said to thee, let him come to me and tarry not.” Thereupon Aladdin’s mother returned home with the speed of the storm winds that she might hasten her utmost to congratulate her son, and she flew with joy at the thought that her boy was about to become son-in-law to the Sultan.

After her departure the King dismissed the Divan and, entering the palace of the Princess, bade them bring the bowls and the handmaids before him and before her, that she also might inspect them. But when the Lady Badr al-Budur considered the jewels, she waxed distraught and cried: “Meseemeth that in the treasuries of the world there be not found one jewel rivaling these jewels.” Then she looked at the handmaids and marveled at their beauty and loveliness, and knew that all this came from her new bridegroom, who had sent them in her service. So she was gladdened, albeit she had been grieved and saddened on account of her former husband, the Wazir’s son, and she rejoiced with exceeding joy when she gazed upon the damsels and their charms. Nor was her sire, the Sultan, less pleased and inspirited when he saw his daughter relieved of an her mourning and melancholy, and his own vanished at the sight of her enjoyment. Then he asked her: “O my daughter, do these things divert thee? Indeed I deem that this suitor of thine be more suitable to thee than the son of the Wazir, and right soon, Inshallah! O my daughter, thou shalt have fuller joy with him.”

Such was the case with the King, but as regards Aladdin, as soon as he saw his mother entering the house with face laughing for stress of joy he rejoiced at the sign of glad tidings and cried: “To Allah alone be lauds! Perfected is an I desired.” Rejoined his mother: “Be gladdened at my good news, O my son, and hearten thy heart and cool thine eyes for the winning of thy wish. The Sultan hath accepted thine offering- I mean the moneys and the dower of the Lady Badr al-Budur, who is now thine affianced bride. And this very night, O my child, is your marriage and thy first visit to her, for the King, that he might assure me of his word, hath proclaimed to the world thou art his son-in-law, and promised this night to be the night of going in. But he also said to me, ‘Let thy son come hither forthright that I may become familiar with him and receive him with all honor and worship.’ And now here am I, O my son, at the end of my labors. Happen whatso may happen, the rest is upon thy shoulders.”

Thereupon Aladdin arose and kissed his mother’s hand and thanked her, enhancing her kindly service. Then he left her and, entering his chamber, took the lamp and rubbed it, when, lo and behold! its slave appeared and cried: “Adsum! Ask whatso thou wantest.” The young man replied: “‘Tis my desire that thou take me to a hammam whose like is not in the world. Then fetch me a dress so costly and kingly that no royalty ever owned its fellow.” The Marid replied, “I hear and I obey,” and carried him to baths such as were never seen by the Kings of the Chosroes, for the building was all of alabaster and camelian, and it contained marvelous limnings which captured the sight, and the great hall was studded with precious stones. Not a soul was therein, but when Aladdin entered, one of the Jann in human shape washed him and bathed him to the best of his desire. Aladdin after having been washed and bathed, left the baths and went into the great hall, where he found that his old dress had been removed and replaced by a suit of the most precious and princely. Then he was served with sherbets and ambergrised coffee, and after drinking he arose and a party of black slaves came forward and clad him in the costliest of clothing, then perfumed and fumigated him. It is known that Aladdin was the son of a tailor, a pauper, yet now would none deem him to be such- nay, all would say: “This be the greatest that is of the progeny of the kings. Praise be to Him Who changeth and Who is not changed!”

Presently came the Jinni and, lifting him up, bore him to his home, and asked, “O my lord, tell me, hast thou aught of need?” He answered: “Yes, ’tis my desire that thou bring me eight and forty Mamelukes, of whom two dozen shall forego me and the rest follow me, the whole number with their war chargers and clothing and accouterments. And all upon them and their steeds must be of naught save of highest worth and the costliest, such as may not be found in treasuries of the kings. Then fetch me a stallion fit for the riding of the Chosroes and let his furniture, all thereof, be of gold crusted with the finest gems. Fetch me also eight and forty thousand dinars, that each white slave may carry a thousand gold pieces. ‘Tis now my intent to fare to the, Sultan, so delay thou not, for that without an these requisites whereof I bespake thee I may no visit him. Moreover, set before me a dozen slave girls unique in beauty and dight with the most magnificent dresses, that they wend with my mother to the royal palace, and let every handmaid be robed in raiment that befitteth Queen’s wearing.” The slave replied, “To hear is to obey,” and, disappearing for an eye twinkling, brought all he was bidden bring, and led by hand a stallion whose rival was not amongst the Arabian Arabs, and its saddlecloth was of splendid brocade gold-in-wrought.

Thereupon, without stay or delay, Aladdin sent for his mother and gave her the garments she should wear and committed to her charge the twelve slave girls forming her suite to the palace. Then he sent one of the Mamelukes whom the Jinni had brought to see if the Sultan had left the seraglio or not. The white slave went forth lighter than the lightning and, returned in like haste, said, “O my lord, the Sultan awaiteth thee!” Hereat Aladdin arose and took horse, his Mamelukes riding a-van and arear of him, and they were such that all must cry, “Laud to the Lord Who created them and clothed them with such beauty and loveliness!” And they scattered gold amongst the crowd in front of their master, who surpassed them all in comeliness and nor needest thou ask concerning the sons of the kings- praise be to the Bountiful, the Eternal! All this was of the virtues of the wonderful lamp, which whoso possessed, him it gifted with fairest favor and finest figure, with wealth and with wisdom. The folk admired Aladdin’s liberality and exceeding generosity, and all were distraught seeing his charms and elegance, his gravity and his good manners. They glorified the Creator for this noble creation, they blessed him each and every, and albeit they knew him for the son of Such-a-one, the tailor, yet no man envied him- nay, all owned that he deserved his great good fortune.

Now the Sultan had assembled the lords of the land and, informing them of the promise he had passed to Aladdin touching the marriage of his daughter, had bidden them await his approach and then go forth, one and all, to meet him and greet him. Hereupon the emirs and wazirs, the chamberlains, the nabobs and the army officers, took their stations expecting him at the palace gate. Aladdin would fain have dismounted at the outer entrance, but one of the nobles, whom the King had deputed for such duty, approached him and said, “O my lord, ’tis the royal command that thou enter riding thy steed, nor dismount except at the Divan door.” Then they all forewent him in a body and conducted him to the appointed place, where they crowded about him, these to hold his stirrup and those supporting him on either side whilst others took him by the hands and helped him dismount. After which all the emirs and nobles preceded him into the Divan and led him close up to the royal throne.

Thereupon the Sultan came down forthright from his seat of estate and, forbidding him to buss the carpet, embraced and kissed and seated him to the right of and beside himself. Aladdin did whatso is suitable in the case of the kings of salutation and offering of blessings, and said: “O our lord the Sultan, indeed the generosity of thy Highness demanded that thou deign vouchsafe to me the hand of thy daughter, the Lady Badr al-Budur, albeit I undeserve the greatness of such gift, I being but the humblest of thy slaves. I pray Allah grant thee prosperity and perpetuance, but in very sooth, O King, my tongue is helpless to thank thee for the fullness of the favor, passing all measure, which thou hast bestowed upon me. And I hope of thy Highness that thou wilt give me a piece of ground fitted for a pavilion which shall besit thy daughter, the Lady Badr al-Budur.” The Sultan was struck with admiration when he saw Aladdin in his princely suit and looked upon him and considered his beauty and loveliness, and noted the Mamelukes standing to serve him in their comeliness and seemlihed. And still his marvel grew when the mother of Aladdin approached him in costly raiment and sumptuous, clad as though she were a queen, and when he gazed upon the twelve handmaids standing before her with crossed arms and with all worship and reverence doing her service. He also considered the eloquence of Aladdin and his delicacy of speech, and he was astounded thereat, he and all his who were present at the levee.

Thereupon fire was kindled in the Grand Wazir’s heart for envy of Aladdin until he was like to die. And it was worse when the Sultan, after hearing the youth’s succession of prayers and seeing his high dignity of demeanor, respectful withal, and his eloquence and elegance of language, clasped him to his bosom and kissed him and cried, “Alas, O my son, that I have not enjoyed thy converse before this day!” He rejoiced in him with mighty great joy and straightway bade the music and the bands strike up. Then he arose and taking the yotith, led him into the palace, where supper had been prepared, and the eunuchs at once laid the tables. So the sovereign sat down and seated his son-in-law on his right side, and the wazirs and high officials and lords of the land took places each according to his degree, whereupon the bands played and a mighty fine marriage feast was dispread in the palace. The King now applied himself to making friendship with Aladdin and conversed with the youth, who answered him with all courtesy and eloquence, as though he had been bred in the palaces of the kings or he had lived with them his daily life. And the more the talk was prolonged between them, the more did the Sultan’s pleasure and delight increase, hearing his son-in-law’s readiness of reply and his sweet flow of language.

But after they had eaten and drunken and the trays were removed, the King bade summon the kazis and witnesses, who presently attended and knitted the knot and wrote out the contract writ between Aladdin and the Lady Badr al-Budur. And presently the bridegroom arose and would have fared forth, when his father-in-law withheld him and asked: “Whither away, O my child? The bride fetes have begun and the marriage is made and the tie is tied and the writ is written.” He replied: “O my lord the King, ’tis my desire to edify, for the Lady Badr al-Budur, a pavilion befitting her station and high degree, nor can I visit her before so doing. But, Inshallah! the building shall be finished within the shortest time, by the utmost endeavor of thy slave and by the kindly regard of thy Hihgness. And although I do (yes indeed!) long to enjoy the society of the Lady Badr al-Budur, yet ’tis incumbent of me first to serve her, and it becometh me to set about the work forthright.” “Look around thee, O my son,” replied the Sultan, “for what ground thou deemest suitable to thy design, and do thou take all things into thy hands. But I deem the best for thee will be yonder broad plain facing my palace, and if it please thee, build thy pavilion thereupon.” “And this,” answered Aladdin, “is the sum of my wishes, that I may be near-hand to thy Highness.

So saying, he farewelled the King and took horse, with his Mamelukes riding before him and behind him, and all the world blessed him and cried, “By Allah he is deserving,” until such time as he reached his home. Then he alighted from his stallion and repairing to his chamber, rubbed the lamp and behold, the slave stood before him and said, “Ask, O my lord, whatso thou wantest,” and Aladdin rejoined: “I require thee of a service grave and important which thou must do for me, and ’tis that thou build me with all urgency a pavillion fronting the palace of the Sultan. And it must be a marvel for it shall be provided with every requisite, such as royal furniture and so forth.” The slave replied, “To hear is to Obey,” and evanished, and before the next dawn brake returned to Aladdin and said: “O my lord, the pavilion is finished to the fullest of thy fancy, and if thou wouldst inspect it, arise forthright and fare with me.”

Accordingly he rose up, and the slave carried him in the space of an eye glance to the pavilion, which when looked upon it struck him with surprise at such building, all its stones being of jasper and alabaster, Sumaki marble and mosaicwork. Then the slave led him into the treasury, which was full of all manner of gold and silver and costly gems, not to be counted or computed, priced or estimated. Thence to another place, where Aladdin saw all requisites for the table, plates and dishes, spoons and ladles, basins and covers, cups and tasses, the whole of precious metal. Thence to the kitchen, where they found the kitcheners provided with their needs and cooking batteries, likewise golden and silvern. Thence to a warehouse piled up with chests full-packed of royal raiment, stuffs that captured the reason, such as gold-wrought brocades from India and China and kimcobs or orfrayed cloths. Thence to many apartments replete with appointments which beggar description. Thence to the stables containing coursers whose like was not to be met with amongst the kings of the universe. And lastly they went to the harness rooms all hung with housings, costly saddles, and other furniture, everywhere studded with pearls and precious stones. And all this was the work of one night.

Aladdin was wonder-struck and astounded by that magnificent display of wealth, which not even the mightiest monarch on earth could produce, and more so to see his pavilion fully provided with eunuchs and handmaids whose beauty would reduce a saint. Yet the Prime marvel of the pavilion was an upper kiosque or belvedere of four and twenty windows all made of emeralds and rubies and other gems, and one window remained unfinished at the requirement of Aladdin, that the Sultan might prove him impotent to complete it. When the youth had inspected the whole edifice, he was pleased and gladdened exceedingly. Then, turning to the slave, he said: “I require of thee still one thing which is yet wanting and whereof I had forgotten to tell thee.” “Ask, O my lord, thy want,” quoth the servitor, and quoth the other: “I demand of thee a carpet of the primest brocade all gold-inwrought which, when unrolled and outstretched, shall extend hence to the Sultan’s palace, in order that the Lady Badr al-Budur may, when coming hither, pace upon it and not tread common earth.” The slave departed for a short while and said on his return, “O my lord, verily that which thou demandest is here.” Then he took him and showed him a carpet, which wildered the wits, and it extended from palace to pavillion. And after this the servitor bore off Aladdin and set him down in his own home.

Now day was brightening, so the Sultan rose from his sleep and throwing open the casement, looked out and espied opposite his palace a palatial pavilion ready edified. Thereupon he fell to rubbing his eyes and opening them their widest and considering the scene, and he soon was certified that the new edifice was mighty fine, and grand enough to bewilder the wits. Moreover, with amazement as great he saw the carpet dispread between palace and pavilion. Like their lord, also the royal doorkeepers and the household, one and all, were dazed and amazed at the spectacle. Meanwhile the Wazir came in, and as he entered, espied the newly builded pavilion and the carpet, whereat he also wondered. And when he went in to the Sultan, the twain fell to talking on this marvelous matter with great surprise at a sight which distracted the gazer and attracted the heart. They said finally, “In very truth, of this pavilion we deem that none of the royalties could build its fellow,” and the King, turning to the Minister, asked him: “Hast thou seen now that Aladdin is worthy to be the husband of the Princess, my daughter? Hast thou looked upon and considered this right royal building, this magnificence of opulence, which thought of man cannot contain?” But the Wazir in his envy of Aladdin replied: “O King of the Age, indeed this foundation and this building and this opulence may not be save by means of magic, nor can any man in the world, be he the richest in good or the greatest in governance, avail to found and finish in a single night such edifice as this.” The Sultan rejoined: “I am surprised to see in thee how thou dost continually harp on evil opinion of Aladdin, but I hold that ’tis caused by thine envy and jealousy. Thou wast present when I gave him the ground at his own prayer for a place whereon he might build a pavilion wherein to lodge my daughter, and I myself favored him with a site for the same, and that too before thy very face. But however that be, shall one who could send me as dower for the Princess such store of such stones whereof the kings never obtained even a few, shall he, I say, be unable to edify an edifice like this?” When the Wazir heard the Sultan’s words, he knew that his lord loved Aladdin exceedingly, so his envy and malice increased. only, as he could do nothing against the youth, he sat silent, and impotent to return a reply.

But Aladdin, seeing that it was broad day and the appointed time had come for his repairing to the Place (where his wedding was being celebrated and the emirs and wazirs and grandees were gathered together about the Sultan to be present at the ceremony), arose and rubbed the lamp, and when its slave appeared and said, “O my lord, ask whatso thou wantest, for I stand before thee and at thy service,” said he: “I mean forthright to seek the palace, this day being my wedding festival, and I want thee to supply me with ten thousand dinars.” The slave evanished for an eye twinkling and returned bringing the moneys, when Aladdin took horse with his Mamelukes a-van and arear and passed on his way, scattering as he went gold pieces upon the lieges until all were fondly affected toward him and his dignity was enhanced. But when he drew near the palace, and the emirs and agas and army officers who were standing to await him noted his approach, they hastened straightway to the King and gave him the tidings thereof, whereupon the Sultan rose and met his son-in-law and, after embracing and kissing him, led him, still holding his hand, into his own apartment, where he sat down and seated him by his right side.

The city was all decorated and music rang through the palace and the singers sang until the King bade bring the noon meal, when the eunuchs and Mamelukes hastened to spread the tables and trays which are such as are served to the kings. Then the Sultan and Aladdin and the lords of the land and the grandees of the realm took their seats and ate and drank until they were satisfied. And it was a mighty fine wedding in city and palace, and the high nobles all rejoiced therein and the commons of the kingdom were equally gladdened, while the governors of provinces and nabobs of districts flocked from far regions to witness Aladdin’s marriage and its processions and festivities. The Sultan also marveled in his mind to look at Aladdin’s mother and recall to mind how she was wont to visit him in pauper plight while her son could command an this opulence and magnificence. And when the spectators who crowded the royal palace to enjoy the wedding feasts looked upon Aladdin’s pavilion and beauties of the building, they were seized with an immense surprise, that so vast an edifice as this could be reared on high during a single night, and they blessed the youth and cried: “Allah gladden him: By Allah, he deserveth all this! Allah bless his days!”

When dinner was done, Aladdin rose and, farewelling the Sultan, took horse with his Mamelukes and rode to his own pavilion, that he might prepare to receive therein his bride, the Lady Badr al-Budur. And as he passed, all the folk shouted their good wishes with one voice and their words were: “Allah gladden thee! Allah increase thy glory! Allah grant thee length of life!” while immense crowds of people gathered to swell the marriage procession, and they conducted him to his new home, he showering gold upon them during the whole time. When he reached his pavilion, he dismounted and walked in and sat him down on the divan, whilst his Mamelukes stood before him with arms afolded. Also after a short delay they brought him sherbets, and when these were drunk, he ordered his white slaves and handmaids and eunuchs and all who were in the pavilion to make ready for meeting the Lady Badr al-Budur. Moreover, as soon as midafternoon came and the air had cooled and the great heat of the sun was abated, the Sultan bade his army officers and emirs and wazirs go down into the maydan plain, whither he likewise rode. And Aladdin also took horse with his Mamelukes, he mounting a stallion whose like was not among the steeds of the, Arab al-Arba, and he showed his horsemanship in the hippodrome, and so played with the jarid that none could withstand him, while his bride sat gazing upon him from the latticed balcony of her bower and, seeing in him such beauty and cavalarice, she fell headlong in love of him and was like to fly for joy. And after they had ringed their horses on the maydan and each had displayed whatso he could of horsemanship, Aladdin proving himself the best man of all, they rode in a body to the Sultan’s palace and the youth also returned to his own pavilion.

But when it was evening, the wazirs and nobles took the bridegroom and, falling in, escorted him to the royal hamman (known as the Sultani), when he was bathed. and perfumed. As soon as he came out he donned a dress more magnificent than the former and took horse with the emirs and the soldier officers riding before him and forming a grand cortege, wherein four of the wazirs bore naked swords round about him. All the citizens and the strangers and the troops marched before him in ordered throng carrying wax candles and kettledrums and pipes and other instruments of mirth and merriment, until they conducted him to his pavilion. Here he alighted and, walking in, took his seat and seated the wazirs and emirs who had escorted him, and the Mamelukes brought sherbets and sugared drinks, which they also passed to the people who had followed in his train. It was a world of folk whose tale might not be told. Withal Aladdin bade his Mamelukes stand without the pavilion doors and shower gold upon the crowd.

When the Sultan returned from the maydan plain to his palace, he ordered the household, men as well as women, straightway to form a cavalcade for his daughter, with all ceremony, and bear her to her bridegroom’s pavilion. So the nobles and soldier officers who had followed and escorted the bridegroom at once mounted, and the handmaids and eunuchs went forth with wax candles and made a mighty fine procession for the Lady Badr al-Budur, and they paced on preceding her till they entered the pavilion of Aladdin, whose mother walked beside the bride. In front of the Princess also fared the wives of the wazirs and emirs, grandees and notables, and in attendance on her were the eight and forty slave girls presented to her aforetime by her bridegroom, each hending in hand a huge cierge scented with camphor and ambergris and set in a candlestick of gem-studded gold. And reaching Aladdin’s pavilion, they led her to her bower in the upper story and changed her robes and enthroned her. Then, as soon as the displaying was ended, they accompanied her to Aladdin’s apartments, and presently he paid her the first visit. Now his mother was with the bride, and when the bridegroom came up and did off her veil, the ancient dame fell to considering the beauty of the Princess and her loveliness, and she looked around at the pavilion, which was all litten up by gold and gems besides the manifold candelabra of precious metals encrusted with emeralds and jacinths, so she said in her mind: “Once upon a time I thought the Sultan’s palace mighty fine, but this pavilion is a thing apart. Nor do I deem that any of the greatest kings of Chosroes attained in his day to aught like thereof. Also am I certified that all the world could not build anything evening it.” Nor less did the Lady Badr al-Budur fall to gazing at the pavilion and marveling for its magnificence.

Then the tables were spread and they all ate and drank and were gladdened after which fourscore damsels came before them, each holding in hand an instrument of mirth and merriment. Then they deftly moved their finger tips and touched the strings, smiting them into song most musical most melancholy, till they rent the hearts of the hearers. Hereat the Princess increased in marvel, and quoth she to herself, “In all my life ne’er heard I songs like these,” till she forsook food, the better to listen. And at last Aladdin poured out for her wine and passed it to her with his own hand. So great joy and jubilee went round amongst them, and it was a notable night, such a one as Iskandar, Lord of the Two Horns, had never spent in his time. When they had finished eating and drinking and the tables were removed from before them, Aladdin arose and went in to his bride.

As soon as morning morrowed he left his bed, and the treasurer brought him a costly suit and a mighty fine, of the most sumptuous robes worn by the kings. Then, after drinking coffee flavored with ambergris, he ordered the horses be saddled and, mounting with his Mamelukes before and behind him, rode to the Sultan’s palace, and on his entering its court the eunuchs went in and reported his coming to their lord. When the Sultan heard of Aladdin’s approach, he rose up forthright to receive him and embraced and kissed him as though he were his own son. Then, seating him on his right, he blessed and prayed for him, as did the wazirs and emirs, the lords of the land and the grandees of the realm. Presently the King commanded bring the morning meal, which the attendants served up, and all broke their fast together, and when they had eaten and drunken their sufficiency and the tables were removed by the eunuchs, Aladdin turned to the Sultan and said: “O my lord, would thy Highness deign honor me this day at dinner in the house of the Lady Badr al-Budur, thy beloved daughter, and come accompanied by all thy Ministers and grandees of the reign?” The King replied (and he was delighted with his son-in-law), “Thou art surpassing in liberality, O my son!”

Then he gave orders to all invited and rode forth with them (Aladdin also riding beside him) till they reached the pavilion, and as he entered it and considered its construction, its architecture and its stonery, all jasper and camelian, his sight was dazed and his wits were amazed at such grandeur and magnificence of opulence. Then, turning to the Minister, he thus addressed him: “What sayest thou? Tell me, hast thou seen in all thy time aught like this amongst the mighties of earth’s monarchs for the abundance of gold and gems we are now beholding?” The Grand Wazir replied: “O my lord the King, this be a feat which cannot be accomplished by might of monarch amongst Adam’s sons, nor could the collected peoples of the universal world build a palace like unto this,- nay, even builders could not be found to make aught resembling it, save (as I said to thy Highness) by force of sorcery.” These words certified the King that his Minister spake not except in envy and jealousy of Aladdin, and would stablish in the royal mind that all this splendor was not made of man, but by means of magic and with the aid of the black art. So quoth he to him: “Suffice thee so much, O Wazir. Thou hast none other word to speak, and well I know what cause urgeth thee to say this say.”

Then Aladdin preceded the Sultan till he conducted him to the upper kiosque, where he saw its skylights, windows, and latticed casements and jalousies wholly made of emeralds and rubies and other costly gems, whereat his mind was perplexed and his wits were bewildered and his thoughts were distraught. Presently he took to strolling round the kiosque and solacing himself with these sights which captured the vision, till he chanced to cast a glance at the window which Aladdin by design had left unwrought and not finished like the rest. And when he noted its lack of completion, he cried, “Woe and wellaway for thee, O window, because of thine imperfection,” and, turning to his Minister, he asked, “Knowest thou the reason of leaving incomplete this window and its framework?” The Wazir said: “O my lord, I conceive that the want of finish in this window resulteth from thy Highness having pushed on Aladdin’s marriage, and he lacked the leisure to complete it.” Now at that time Aladdin had gone in to his bride, the Lady Badr al-Budur, to inform her of her father’s presence, and when he returned, the King asked him: “O my son, what is the reason why the window of this kiosque was not made perfect?” “O King of the Age, seeing the suddenness of my wedding,” answered he, “I failed to find artists for finishing it.” Quoth the Sultan, “I have a mind to complete it myself,” and quoth Aladdin: “Allah perpetuate thy glory, O thou the King. So shall thy memory endure in thy daughter’s pavilion.”

The Sultan forthright bade summon jewelers and goldsmiths, and ordered them he supplied from the treasury with all their needs of gold and gems and noble ores, and when they were gathered together, he commanded them to complete the work still wanting in the kiosque window. Meanwhile the Princess came forth to meet her sire, the Sultan, who noticed as she drew near her smiling face, so he embraced her and kissed her, then led her to the pavilion, and all entered in a body. Now this was the time of the noonday meal and one table had been spread for the sovereign, his daughter, and his son-in-law and a second for the wazirs, the lords of the land, the grandees of the realm, the chief officers of the host, the chamberlains and the nabobs. The King took seat between the Princess and her husband, and when he put forth his hand to the food and tasted it, he was struck with surprise by the flavor of the dishes and their savory and sumptuous cooking. Moreover, there stood before him the fourscore damsels, each and every saying to the full moon, “Rise that I may seat myself in thy stead!” All held instruments of mirth and merriment, and they tuned the same and deftly moved their finger tips and smote the srings into song most musical, most melodious, which expanded the mourner’s heart. Hereby the Sultan was gladdened, and time was good to him, and for high enjoyment he exclaimed, “In very sooth the thing is beyond the compass of King and Caesar.”

Then they fell to eating and drinking, and the cup went round until they had drunken enough, when sweetmeats and fruits of sorts and other such edibles were served, the dessert being laid out in a different salon, whither they removed and enjoyed of these pleasures their sufficiency. Presently the Sultan arose that he might see if the produce of his jewelers and goldsmiths favored that of the pavilion. So he went upstairs to them and inspected their work and how they had wrought, but he noted a mighty great difference, and his men were far from being able to make anything like the rest of Aladdin’s pavilion. They informed him how all the gems stored in the lesser Treasury had been brought to them and used by them, but that the whole had proved insufficient. Wherefor he bade open the greater Treasury, and gave the workmen all they wanted of him. Moreover, he allowed them, an it sufficed not, to take the jewels wherewith Aladdin had gifted him. They carried off the whole and pushed on their labors, but they found the gems fail them, albeit had they not finished half the part wanting to the kiosque window. Herewith the King commanded them to seize all the precious stones owned by the wazirs and grandees of the realm, but although they did his bidding, the supply still fell short of their requirements.

Next morning Aladdin arose to look at the jewelers’ work and remarked that they had not finished a moiety of what was wanting to the kiosque window. So he at once ordered them to undo all they had done and restore the jewels to their owners. Accordingly they pulled out the precious stones and sent the Sultan’s to the Sultan and the wazirs’ to the wazirs. Then the jewelers went to the King and told him of what Aladdin had bidden, so he asked them: “What said he to you, and what was his reason, and wherefore was he not content that the window be finished, and why did he undo the work ye wrought?” They answered, “O our lord, we know not at all, but he bade us deface whatso we had done.” Hereupon the Sultan at once called for his horse, and mounting, took the way pavillonward, when Aladdin, after dismissing the goldsmiths and jewelers had retired into his closet and had rubbed the lamp. Hereat straightway its servitor appeared to him and said: “Ask whatso thou wantest. Thy slave is between thy hands,” and said Aladdin, “‘Tis my desire that thou finish the window which was left unfinished.” The Marid replied, “On my head be it, and also upon mine eyes!” Then he vanished, and after a little while returned, saying, “O my lord, verily that thou commandedst me do is completed.” So Aladdin went upstairs to the kiosque and found the whole window in wholly finished state, and whilst he was he was still considering it, behold, a castrato came in to him and said: “O my lord, the Sultan hath ridden forth to visit thee and is passing through the pavilion gate.”

So Aladdin at once went down and received his father-in-law. The Sultan, on sighting his son-in-law, cried to him: “Wherefore, O my child, hast thou wrought on this wise and sufferedst not the jewelers to complete the kiosque window, leaving in the pavilion an unfinished place?” Aladdin replied: “O King of the Age, I left it not imperfect save for a design of mine own, nor was I incapable of perfecting it, nor could I purpose that thy Highness should honor me with visiting a pavilion wherein was aught of deficiency. And that thou mayest know I am not unable to make it perfect, let thy Highness deign walk upstairs with me and see if anything remain to be done therewith or not.” So the Sultan went up with him and, entering the kiosque, fell to looking right and left, but he saw no default at all in any of the windows- nay, he noted that all were perfect. So he marveled at the sight and embraced Aladdin and kissed him, saying: “O my son, what be this singular feat? Thou canst work in a single night what in months the jewelers could not do. By Allah, I deem thou hast nor brother nor rival in this world.” Quoth Aladdin: “Allah prolong thy life and preserve thee to perpetuity! Thy slave deserveth not this encomium.” And quoth the King: “By Allah, O my child, thou meritest all praise for a feat whereof all the artists of the world were incapable.” Then the Sultan came down and entered the apartments of his daughter, the Lady Badr al-Budur, to take rest beside her, and he saw her joyous exceedingly at the glory and grandeur wherein she was. Then, after reposing awhile, he returned to his palace.

Now Aladdin was wont every day to thread the city streets with his Mamelukes riding a-van and arear of him showering rightward and leftward gold upon the folk, and all the world, stranger and neighbor, far and near, were fulfilled of his love for the excess of his liberality and generosity. Moreover, he increased the pensions of the poor Religious and the paupers, and he would distribute alms to them with his own hand, by which good deed he won high renown throughout the realm and most of the lords of the land and emirs would eat at his table, and men swore not at all save by his precious life. Nor did he leave faring to the chase and the maydan plain and the riding of horses and playing at javelin play in presence of the Sultan. And whenever the Lady Badr al-Budur beheld him disporting himself on the backs of steeds, she loved him much the more, and thought to herself that Allah had wrought her abundant good by causing to happen whatso happened with the son of the Wazir and by preserving her virginity intact for her true bridegroom, Aladdin. Aladdin won for himself day by day a fairer fame and a rarer report, while affection for him increased in the hearts of all the lieges and he waxed greater in the eyes of men.

Moreover, it chanced that in those days certain enemies took horse and attacked the Sultan, who armed and accoutered an army to repel them and made Aladdin commander thereof. So he marched with his men, nor ceased marching until he drew near the foe, whose forces were exceeding many, and presently when the action began, he bared his brand and charged home upon the enemy. Then battle and slaughter befell and violent was the hurly-burly, but at last Aladdin broke the hostile host and put all to flight, slaying the best part of them and pillaging their coin and cattle, property and possessions, and he despoiled them of spoils that could not be counted nor computed. Then he returned victorious after a noble victory and entered the capital, which had decorated herself in his honor, of her delight in him. And the Sultan went forth to meet him and giving him joy, embraced him and kissed him. And throughout the kingdom was held high festival with great joy and gladness. Presently the sovereign and his son-in-law repaired to the pavilion, where they were met by the Princess Badr al-Budur, who rejoiced in her husband and, after kissing him between the eyes, led him to her apartments. After a time the Sultan also came and they sat down while the slave girls brought them sherbets and confections, which they ate and drank. Then the Sultan commanded that the whole kingdom be decorated for the triumph of his son-in-law and his victory over the invader, and the subjects and soldiery and all the people knew only Allah in Heaven and Aladdin on earth, for that their love, won by his liberality, was increased by his noble horsemanship and his successful battling for the country and putting to flight the foe.

Such then was the high fortune of Aladdin, but as regards the Maghrabi, the magician, after returning to his native country he passed all this space of time in bewailing what he had borne of toil and travail to will the lamp, and mostly that his trouble had gone vain and that the morsel when almost touching his lips had flown from his grasp. He pondered all this and mourned and reviled Aladdin for the excess of his rage against him, and at times he would exclaim: “For this bastard’s death underground I am well satisfied, and hope only that some time or other I may obtain the lamp, seeing how ’tis yet safe.” Now one day of the days he struck a table of sand and dotted down the figures and carefully considered their consequence, then he transferred them to paper that he might study them and make sure of Aladdin’s destruction and the safety of the lamp preserved beneath the earth. Presently he firmly stablished the sequence of the figures, mothers as well as daughters, but still he saw not the lamp. Thereupon rage overrode him and he made another trial to be assured of Aladdin’s death, but he saw him not in the enchanted treasure.

Hereat his wrath still grew, and it waxed greater when he ascertained that the youth had issued from underground and was now upon earth’s surface alive and alert. Furthermore, that he had become owner of the lamp, for which he had himself endured such toil and travail and troubles as man may not bear save for so great an object. Accordingly quoth he to himself: “I have suffered sore pains and penalties which none else could have endured for the lamp’s sake in order that other than that I may carry it off, and this accursed hath taken it without difficulty. And who knoweth an he wot the virtues of the lamp, than whose owner none in the world should be wealthier? There is no help but that I work for his destruction.” He then struck another geomantic table and, examining the figures, saw that the lad had won for himself unmeasurable riches and had wedded the daughter of his King, so of his envy and jealousy he was fired with the flame of wrath, and rising without let or stay, he equipped himself and set forth for China land, where he arrived in due season.

Now when he had reached the King’s capital wherein was Aladdin, he alighted at one of the khans, and when he had rested from the weariness of wayfare, he donned his dress and went down to wander about the streets, where he never passed a group without hearing them prate about the pavilion and its grandeur and vaunt the beauty of Aladdin and his lovesomeness, his liberality and generosity, his fine manners and his good morals. Presently he entered an establishment wherein men were drinking a certain warm beverage, and going up to one of those who were loud in their lauds, he said to him, “O fair youth, who may be the man ye describe and commend?” “Apparently thou art a foreigner, O man,” answered the other, “and thou comest from a far country. But even this granted, how happeneth it thou hast not heard of the Emir Aladdin, whose renown, I fancy, hath filled the universe, and whose pavilion, known by report to far and near, is one of the wonders of the world? How, then, never came to thine ears aught of this or the name of Aladdin (whose glory and enjoyment Our Lord increase!) and his fame?” The Moorman replied: “The sum of my wishes is to look upon this pavilion, and if thou wouldest do me a favor, prithee guide me thereunto, for I am a foreigner.” The man rejoined, “To hear is to obey,” and, foregoing him, pointed out Aladdin’s pavilion, whereupon the Moroccan fell to considering it, and at once understood that it was the work of the lamp. So he cried: “Ah! Ah! needs must I dig a pit for this accursed, this son of a snip, who could not earn for himself even an evening meal. And if the Fates abet me, I will assuredly destroy his life and send his mother back to spinning at her wheel, e’en as she was wont erewhiles to do.”

So saying, he returned to his caravanserai in a sore state of grief and melancholy and regret bred by his envy and hate of Aladdin. He took his astrological gear and geomantic table to discover where might he the lamp, and he found that it was in the pavilion and not upon Aladdin’s person. So he rejoiced thereat with joy exceeding and exclaimed: “Now indeed ’twill he an easy task to take the life of this accursed and I see my way to getting the lamp.” Then he went to a coppersmith and said to him: “Do thou make me a set of lamps, and take from me their full price and more, only I would have thee hasten to finish them.” Replied the smith, “Hearing and obeying,” and fell a-working to keep his word. And when they were ready, the Moorman paid him what price he required, then, taking them, he carried them to the khan and set them in a basket. Presently he began wandering about the highways and market streets of the capital crying aloud: “Ho! Who will exchange old lamps for new lamps?” But when the folk heard him cry on this wise, they derided him and said, “Doubtless this man is Jinnmad, for that he goeth about offering new for old.” And a world followed him, and the children of the quarter caught him up from place to place, laughing at him the while, nor did he forbid them or care for their maltreatment. And he ceased not strolling about the streets till he came under Aladdin’s pavilion, where he shouted with his loudest voice, and the boys screamed at him: “A madman! A madman!”

Now Destiny had decreed that the Lady Badr al-Budur be sitting in her kiosque, whence she heard one crying like a crier, and the children bawling at him. Only she understood not what was going on, so she gave orders to one of her slave girls, saying, “Go thou and see who ’tis that crieth, and what be his cry.” The girl fared forth and looked on, when she beheld a man crying, “Ho! Who will exchange old lamps for new lamps?” and the little ones pursuing and laughing at him. And as loudly laughed the Princess when this strange case was told to her. Now Aladdin had carelessly left the lamp in his pavilion without hiding it and locking it up in his strongbox, and one of the slave girls who had seen it said: “O my lady, I think to have noticed in the apartment of my lord Aladdin an old lamp, so let us give it in change for a new lamp to this man, and see if his cry he truth or lie.” Whereupon the Princess said to the slave girl, “Bring the old lamp which thou saidst to have seen in thy lord’s apartment.”

Now the Lady Badr al-Budur knew naught of the lamp and of the specialities thereof which had raised Aladdin, her spouse, to such high degree and grandeur, and her only end and aim was to understand by experiment the mind of a man who would give in exchange the new for the old. So the handmaid fared forth and went up to Aladdin’s apartment and returned with the lamp to her lady, who, like all the others, knew nothing of the Maghrabi’s cunning tricks and his crafty device. Then the Princess bade an aga of the eunuchry go down and barter the old lamp for a new lamp. So he obeyed her bidding and, after taking a new lamp from the man, he returned and laid it before his lady, who looking at it and seeing that it was brand-new, fell to laughing at the Moorman’s wits.

But the Moroccan, when he held the article in hand and recognized it for the lamp of the enchanted treasury, at once placed it in his breast pocket and left all the other lamps to the folk who were bartering, of him. Then he went forth running till he was clear of the city, when he walked leisurely over the level grounds, and he took patience until night fell on him in desert ground, where was none other but himself. There he brought out the lamp, when suddenly appeared to him the Marid, who said: “Adsum! Thy slave between thy hands is come. Ask of me whatso thou wantest.” “‘Tis my desire,” the Moorman replied, “that thou upraise from its present place Aladdin’s pavilion, with its inmates and all that be therein, not forgetting myself, and set it down upon my own land, Africa. Thou knowest my town, and I want the building placed in the gardens hard by it.” The Marid slave replied: “Hearkening and obedience. Close thine eyes and open thine eyes, whenas thou shalt find thyself together with the pavilion in thine own country.” This was done, and in an eye twinkling the Moroccan and the pavilion, with all therein, were transported to the African land.

Such then was the work of the Maghrabi, the magician, but now let us return to the Sultan and his son-in-law. It was the custom of the King, because of his attachment to and his affection for his daughter, every morning when he had shaken off sleep to open the latticed casement and look out therefrom, that he might catch sight of her abode. So that day he arose and did as he was wont. But when he drew near the latticed casement of his palace and looked out at Aladdin’s pavilion, he saw naught- nay, the site was smooth as a well-trodden highway and like unto what it had been aforetime, and he could find nor edifice nor offices. So astonishment clothed him as with a garment, and his wits were wildered and he began to rub his eyes, lest they he dimmed or darkened, and to gaze intently. But at last he was certified that no trace of the pavilion remained, nor sign of its being, nor wist he the why and the wherefore of its disappearance. So his surprise increased and he smote hand upon hand and the tears trickled down his cheeks over his beard, for that he knew not what had become of his daughter.

Then he sent out officials forthright and summoned the Grand Wazir, who at once attended, and seeing him in this piteous plight, said: “Pardon, O King of the Age, may Allah avert from thee every ill! Wherefore art thou in such sorrow?” Exclaimed the sovereign, “Methinketh thou wettest not my case.” And quoth the Minister: “Oh no wise, O our lord. By Allah, I know of it nothing at all.” “Then,” resumed the Sultan, “’tis manifest thou hast not looked this day in the direction of Aladdin’s pavilion.” “True, O my lord,” quoth the Wazir. “It must still be locked and fast shut,” and quoth the King: “Forasmuch as thou hast no inkling of aught, arise and look out at the window and see Aladdin’s pavilion, whereof thou sayest ’tis locked and fast shut.” The Minister obeyed his bidding, but could not see anything, or pavilion or other place. So with mind and thoughts sore perplexed he returned to his liege lord, who asked him: “Hast now learned the reason of my distress, and noted yon locked-up palace and fast shut?” Answered the Wazir: “O King of the Age, erewhile I represented to thy Highness that this pavilion and these matters be all magical.” Hereat the Sultan, fired with wrath, cried, “Where be Aladdin?” and the Minister replied, “He hath gone a-hunting,” when the King commanded without stay or delay sundry of his agas and army officers to go and bring to him his son-in-law chained and with pinioned elbows.

So they fared forth until they found Aladdin, when they said to him: “O our lord Aladdin, excuse us, nor be thou wroth with us, for the King hath commanded that we carry thee before him pinioned and fettered, and we hope pardon from thee, because we are under the royal orders which we cannot gainsay.” Aladdin, hearing these words, was seized with surprise, and not knowing the reason of this, remained tonguetied for a time, after which he turned to them and asked: “O assembly, have you naught of knowledge concerning the motive of the royal mandate? Well I wot my soul to be innocent, and that I never sinned against King or against kingdom.” “O our lord,” answered they, “we have no inkling whatever.” So Aladdin alighted from his horse and said to them: “Do ye whatso the Sultan bade you do, for that the King’s command is upon the head and the eyes.” The agas, having bound Aladdin in bonds and pinioned his elbows behind his back, haled him in chains and carried him into the city. But when the lieges saw him pinioned and ironed, they understood that the Sultan purposed to strike off his head, and forasmuch as he was loved of them exceedingly, all gathered together and seized their weapons, then, swarming out of their houses, followed the soldiery to see what was to do. And when the troops arrived with Aladdin at the palace, they went in and informed the Sultan of this, whereat he forthright commanded the sworder to cut off the head of his son-in-law.

Now as soon as the subjects were aware of this order, they barricaded the gates and closed the doors of the palace and sent a message to the King saying: “At this very moment we will level thine abode over the heads of all it containeth, and over thine own, if the least hurt or harm befall Aladdin.” So the Wazir went in and reported to the Sultan: “O King of the Age, thy commandment is about to seal the roll of our lives, and ’twere more suitable that thou pardon thy son-in-law, lest there chance to us a sore mischance, for that the lieges do love him far more than they love us.” Now the Sworder had already dispread the carpet of blood and, having seated Aladdin thereon, had bandaged his eyes. Moreover, he had walked round him three several times awaiting the last orders of his lord, when the King looked out of the window and saw his subjects, who had suddenly attacked him, swarming up the walls intending to tear them down. So forthright he bade the Sworder stay his hand from Aladdin and commanded the crier fare forth to the crowd and cry aloud that he had pardoned his son-in-law and received him back into favor.

But when Aladdin found himself free and saw the Sultan seated on his throne, he went up to him and said: “O my lord, inasmuch as thy Highness hath favored me throughout my life, so of thy grace now deign let me know the how and the wherein I have sinned against thee.” “O traitor,” cried the King, “unto this present I knew not any sin of thine.” Then, turning to the Wazir, he said: “Take him and make him look out at the window, and after let him tell us where be his pavilion.” And when the royal order was obeyed, Aladdin saw the place level as a well-trodden road, even as it had been ere the base of the building was laid, nor was there the faintest trace of edifice. Hereat he was astonished and perplexed, knowing not what had occurred. But when he returned to the presence, the King asked him: “What is it thou hast seen? Where is thy pavilion, and where is my daughter, the core of my heart, my only child, than whom I have none other?” Aladdin answered, “O King of the Age, I wot naught thereof nor aught of what hath befallen,” and the Sultan rejoined: “Thou must know, O Aladdin, I have pardoned thee only that thou go forth and look into this affair and inquire for me concerning my daughter. Nor do thou ever show thyself in my presence except she be with thee, and if thou bring her not, by the life of my head I will cut off the head of thee.” The other replied: “To hear is to obey. Only vouchsafe me a delay and respite of some forty days, after which, an I produce her not, strike off my head and do with me whatso thou wishest.” The Sultan said to Aladdin: “Verily, I have granted thee thy request, a delay of forty days. But think not thou canst fly from my hand, for I would bring thee back even if thou wert above the clouds instead of being only upon earth’s surface.” Replied Aladdin: “O my lord the Sultan, as I said to thy Highness, an I fail to bring her within the term appointed, I will present myself for my head to he stricken off.”

Now when the folk and the lieges all saw Aladdin at liberty, they rejoiced with joy exceeding and were delighted for his release, but the shame of his treatment and bashfulness before his friends and the envious exultation of his foes had bowed down Aladdin’s head. So he went forth a wandering through the city ways, and he was perplexed concerning his case and knew not what had befallen him. He lingered about the capital for two days, in saddest state, wotting not what to do in order to find his wife and his pavilion, and during this time sundry of the folk privily brought him meat and drink. When the two days were done, he left the city to stray about the waste and open lands outlying the walls, without a notion as to whither he should wend. And he walked on aimlessly until the path led him beside a river, where, of the stress of sorrow that overwhelmed him, he abandoned himself to despair and thought of casting himself into the water. Being, however, a good Moslem who professed the unity of the Godhead, he feared Allah in his soul, and standing upon the margin, he prepared to perform the wuzu ablution.

But as he was bailing up the water in his right hand and rubbing his fingers, it so chanced that he also rubbed the ring. Hereat its Marid appeared, and said to him: “Adsum! Thy thrall between thy hands is come. Ask of me whatso thou wantest.” Seeing the Marid, Aladdin rejoiced with exceeding joy and cried: “O Slave, I desire of thee that thou bring before me my pavilion and therein my wife, the Lady Badr al-Budur, together with all and everything it containeth.” “O my lord,” replied the Marid, “’tis right hard upon me that thou demandest a service whereto I may not avail. This matter dependeth upon the Slave of the Lamp, nor dare I even attempt it.” Aladdin rejoined: “Forasmuch as the matter is beyond thy competence, I require it not of thee, but at least do thou take me up and set me down beside my pavilion in what land soever that may be.” The slave exclaimed, “Hearing and obeying, O my lord,” and uplifting him high in air, within the space of an eye glance set him down beside his pavilion in the land of Africa, and upon a spot facing his wife’s apartment.

Now this was at fall of night, yet one look enabled him to recognize his home, whereby his cark and care were cleared away and he recovered trust in Allah after cutting off all his hope to look upon his wife once more. Then he fell to pondering the secret and mysterious favors of the Lord (glorified he His omnipotence!), and how after despair had mastered him the ring had come to gladden him, and how when all his hopes were cut off, Allah had deigned bless him with the services of its slave. So he rejoiced and his melancholy left him. Then, as he had passed four days without sleep for the excess of his cark and care and sorrow and stress of thought, he drew near his pavilion and slept under a tree hard by the building, which (as we mentioned) had been set down amongst the gardens outlying the city of Africa. He slumbered till morning showed her face, and when awakened by the warbling of the small birds, he arose and went down to the bank of the river which flowed thereby into the city, and here he again washed hands and face and after finished his wuzu ablution. Then he prayed the dawn prayer, and when he had ended his orisons he returned and sat down under the windows of the Princess’s bower.

Now the Lady Badr al-Budur, of her exceeding sorrow for severance from her husband and her sire, the Sultan, and for the great mishap which had happened to her from the Maghrabi, the magician, the accursed, was wont to rise during the murk preceding dawn and to sit in tears, inasmuch as she could not sleep o’ nights and had forsworn meat and drink. Her favorite slave girl would enter her chamber at the hour of prayer salutation in order to dress her, and this time, by decree of Destiny, when she threw open the window to let her lady comfort and console herself by looking upon the trees and rills, and she herself peered out of the lattice, she caught sight of her master sitting below, and informed the Princess of this, saying: “O my lady! O my lady! Here’s my lord Aladdin seated at the foot of the wall!” So her mistress arose hurriedly and gazing from the casement, saw him, and her husband, raising his head, saw her, so she saluted him and he saluted her, both being like to fly for joy. Presently quoth she, “Up and come in to me by the private postern, for now the accursed is not here,” and she gave orders to the slave girl, who went down and opened for him. Then Aladdin passed through it and was met by his wife, when they embraced and exchanged kisses with all delight until they wept for overjoy.

After this they sat down, and Aladdin said to her: “O my lady, before all things ’tis my desire to ask thee a question. ‘Twas my wont to place an old copper lamp in such a part of my pavilion. What became of that same?” When the Princess heard these words, she sighed and cried, “O my dearling, ’twas that very lamp which garred us fall into this calamity!” Aladdin asked her, “How befell the affair?” and she answered by recounting to him all that passed, first and last, especially how they had given in exchange an old lamp for a new lamp, adding: “And next day we hardly saw one another at dawn before we found ourselves in this land, and he who deceived us and took the lamp by way of barter informed me that he had done the deed by might of his magic and by means of the lamp; that he is a Moorman from Africa; and that we are now in his native country.”

When the Lady Badr al-Budur ceased speaking, Aladdin resumed: “Tell me the intent of this accursed in thy respect, also what he sayeth to thee and what he his will of thee.” She replied: “Every day he cometh to visit me once and no more. He would woo me to his love, and he sueth that I take him to spouse in lieu of thee and that I forget thee and he consoled for the loss of thee. And he telleth me that the Sultan, my sire, hath cut off my husband’s head, adding that thou, the son of pauper parents, wast by him enriched. And he sootheth me with talk, but he never seeth aught from me save weeping and wailing, nor hath he heard from me one sugar-sweet word.” Quoth Aladdin: “Tell me where he hath placed the lamp, an thou know anything thereof,” and quoth she: “He beareth it about on his body alway, nor is it possible that he leave it for a single hour. Moreover, once when he related what I have now recounted to thee, he brought it out of his breast pocket and allowed me to look upon it.” When Aladdin heard these words, he joyed with exceeding joy and said: “O my lady, do thou lend ear to me. ‘Tis my design to go from thee forthright and to return only after doffing this my dress, so wonder not when thou see me changed, but direct one of thy women to stand by the private postern alway, and whenever she espy me coming, at once to open. And now I will devise a device whereby to slay this damned loon.”

Herewith he arose and, issuing from the pavilion door, walked till he met on the way a fellah, to whom he said, “O man, take my attire and give me thy garments.” But the peasant refused, so Aladdin stripped him of his dress perforce and donned it, leaving to the man his own rich gear by way of gift. Then he followed the highway leading to the neighboring city and entering it, went to the perfumers’ bazaar, where he bought of one some rarely potent bhang, the son of a minute, paying two dinars for two drachms thereof, and he returned in disguise by the same road till he reached the pavilion. Here the slave girl opened to him the private postern, wherethrough he went in to the Lady Badr al-Budur, and said: “Hear me! I desire of thee that thou dress and dight thyself in thy best and thou cast off all outer show and semblance of care. Also when the accursed, the Maghrabi, shall visit thee, do thou receive him with a ‘Welcome and fair welcome,’ and meet him with smiling face and invite him to come and sup with thee. Moreover, let him note that thou hast forgotten Aladdin, thy beloved, likewise thy father, and that thou hast learned to love him with exceeding love, displaying to him all manner joy and pleasure. Then ask him for wine, which must be red, and pledge him to his secret in a significant draught. And when thou hast given him two or three cups full and hast made him wax careless, then drop these drops into his cup and fill it up with wine. No sooner shall he drink of it than he will fall upon his back senseless as one dead.” Hearing these words, the Princess exclaimed: “‘Tis exceedingly sore to me that I do such deed, withal must I do it that we escape the defilement of this accursed who tortured me by severance from thee and from my sire. Lawful and right therefore is the slaughter of this accursed.”

Then Aladdin ate and drank with his wife what hindered his hunger, then, rising without stay or delay, fared forth the pavilion. So the Lady Badr al-Budur summoned the tirewoman, who robed and arrayed her in her finest raiment and adorned her and perfumed her. And as she was thus, behold, the accursed Maghrabi entered. He joyed much seeing her in such case and yet more when she confronted him, contrary to her custom, with a laughing face, and his love longing increased, and his desire to have her. Then she took him and, seating him beside her, said: “O my dearling, do thou (an thou be willing) come to me this night and let us sup together. Sufficient to me hath been my sorrow, for were I to sit mourning through a thousand years or even two thousand, Aladdin would not return to me from the tomb. And I depend upon thy say of yesterday; to wit, that my sire, the Sultan, slew him in his stress of sorrow for serverance from me.

“Nor wonder thou an I have changed this day from what I was yesterday, and the reason thereof is I have determined upon taking thee to friend and playfellow in lieu of and succession to Aladdin, for that now I have none other man but thyself. So I hope for thy presence this night, that we may sup together and we may carouse and drink somewhat of wine each with other, and especially ’tis my desire that thou cause me taste the wine of thy natal soil, the African land, because belike ’tis better than aught of the wine of China we drink. I have with me some wine, but ’tis the growth of my country and I vehemently wish to taste the wine produced by thine.”

When the Maghrabi saw the love lavisht upon him by the Lady Badr al-Budur, and noted her change from the sorrowful, melancholy woman she was wont to be, he thought that she had cut off her hope of Aladdin, and he joyed exceedingly and said to her: “I hear and obey, O my lady, whatso thou wishest and all thou biddest. I have at home a jar of our country wine, which I have carefully kept and stored deep in earth for a space of eight years, and I will now fare and fill from it our need and will return to thee in all haste.” But the Princess, that she might wheedle him the more and yet more, replied: “O my darling, go not thou, leaving me alone, but send one of the eunuchs to fill for us thereof, and do thou remain sitting beside me, that I may find in thee my consolation.” He rejoined: “O my lady, none wotteth where the jar be buried save myself, nor will I tarry from thee.” So saying, the Moorman went out, and after a short time he brought back as much wine as they wanted, whereupon quoth the Princess to him: “Thou hast been at pains and trouble to serve me, and I have suffered for thy sake, O my beloved.” Quoth he: “On no wise, O eyes of me. I hold myself enhonored by thy service.”

Then the Lady Badr al-Budur sat with him at table, and the twain fell to eating, and presently the Princess expressed a wish to drink, when the handmaid filled her a cup forthright and then crowned another for the Moroccan. So she drank to his long life and his secret wishes, and he also drank to her life. Then the Princess, who was unique in eloquence and delicacy of speech, fell to making a cup companion of him and beguiled him by addressing him in the sweetest terms of hidden meaning. This was done only that he might become more madly enamored of her, but the Maghrabi thought that it resulted from her true inclination for him, nor knew that it was a snare set up to slay him. So his longing for her increased, and he was dying of love for when he saw her address him in such tenderness of words and thoughts, and his head began to swim and an the world seemed as nothing in his eyes. But when they came to the last of the supper and the wine had mastered his brains and the Princess saw this in him, she said: “With us there be a custom throughout our country, but I know not an it be the usage of yours or not.” The Moorman replied, “And what may that be?” So she said to him: “At the end of supper each lover in turn taketh the cup of the beloved and drinketh it off.” And at once she crowned one with wine and bade the handmaid carry to him her cup, wherein the drink was blended with the bhang.

Now she had taught the slave girl what to do, and all the handmaids and eunuchs in the pavilion longed for the sorcerer’s slaughter and in that matter were one with the Princess. Accordingly the damsel handed him the cup and he, when he heard her words and saw her drinking from his cup and passing hers to him and noted all that show of love, fancied himself Iskandar, Lord of the Two Horns. Then said she to him, the while swaying gracefully to either side and putting her hand within his hand: “O my life, here is thy cup with me and my cup with thee, and on this wise do lovers drink from each other’s cups.” Then she bussed the brim and drained it to the dregs, and again she kissed its lip and offered it to him. Thereat he flew for joy and, meaning to do the like, raised her cup to his mouth and drank off the whole contents, without considering whether there was therein aught harmful or not. And forthright he rolled upon his back in deathlike condition and the cup dropped from his grasp, whereupon the Lady Badr al-Budur and the slave girls ran hurriedly and opened the pavilion door to their lord Aladdin, who, disguised as a fellah, entered therein.

He went up to the apartment of his wife, whom he found still sitting at table, and facing her lay the Maghrabi as one slaughtered. So he at once drew near to her and kissed her and thanked her for this. Then, rejoicing with joy exceeding, he turned to her and said: “Do thou with thy handmaids betake thyself to the inner rooms and leave me alone for the present, that I may take counsel touching mine affair.” The Princess hesitated not but went away at once, she and her women. Then Aladdin arose, and after locking the door upon them, walked up to the Moorman and put forth his hand to his breast pocket and thence drew the lamp, after which he unsheathed his sword and slew the villain. Presently he rubbed the lamp and the Marid slave appeared and said: “Adsum, O my lord! What is it thou wantest?” “I desire of thee,” said Aladdin, “that thou take up my pavilion from this country and transport it to the land of China and there set it down upon the site where it was whilom, fronting the palace of the Sultan.” The Marid replied, “Hearing and obeying, O my lord.”

Then Aladdin went and sat down with his wife and throwing his arms round her neck, kissed her and she kissed him, and they set in converse what while the Jinni transported the pavilion and all therein to the place appointed. Presently Aladdin bade the handmaids spread the table before him, and he and the Lady Badr al-Budur took seat thereat and fell to eating and drinking, in all joy and gladness, till they had their sufficiency, when, removing to the chamber of wine and cup converse, they sat there and caroused in fair companionship and each kissed other with all love liesse. The time had been long and longsome since they enjoyed aught of pleasure, so they ceased not doing, thus until the wine sun arose in their heads and sleep gat hold of them, at which time they went to their bed in all ease and comfort. Early on the next morning Aladdin woke and awoke his wife, and the slave girls came in and donned her dress and prepared her and adorned her whilst her husband arrayed himself in his costliest raiment, and the twain were ready to fly for joy at reunion after parting. Moreover, the Princess was especially joyous and gladsome because on that day she expected to see her beloved father.

Such was the case of Aladdin and the Lady Badr al-Budur, but as regards the Sultan, after he drove away his son-in-law he never ceased to sorrow for the loss of his daughter, and every hour of every day he would sit and weep for her as women weep, because she was his only child and he had none other to take to heart. And as he shook off sleep morning after morning he would hasten to the window and throw it open and peer in the direction where formerly stood Aladdin’s pavilion and pour forth tears until his eyes were dried up and their lids were ulcered. Now on that day he arose at dawn and, according to his custom, looked out, when lo and behold! he saw before him an edifice, so he rubbed his eyes and considered it curiously, when he became certified that it was the pavilion of his son-in-law. So he called for a horse without let or delay, and as soon as his beast was saddled, he mounted and made for the place, and Aladdin, when he saw his father-in-law approaching, went down and met him halfway, then, taking his hand, aided him to step upstairs to the apartment of his daughter. And the Princess, being as earnestly desirous to see her sire, descended and greeted him at the door of the staircase fronting the ground-floor hall. Thereupon the King folded her in his arms and kissed her, shedding tears of joy, and she did likewise, till at last Aladdin led them to the upper saloon, where they took seats and the Sultan fell to asking her case and what had betided her.

The Lady Badr al-Budur began to inform the Sultan of all which had befallen her, saying: “O my father, I recovered not life save yesterday when I saw my husband, and he it was who freed me from the thraldom of that Maghrabi, that magician, that accursed, than whom I believe there be none viler on the face of earth. And but for my beloved, I had never escaped him, nor hadst thou seen me during the rest of my days. But mighty sadness and sorrow gat about me, O my father, not only for losing thee but also for the loss of a husband under whose kindness I shall be all the length of my life, seeing that he freed me from that fulsome sorcerer.” Then the Princess began repeating to her sire everything that happened to her, and relating to him how the Moorman had tricked her in the guise of a lamp-seller who offered in exchange new for old, how she had given him the lamp whose worth she knew not, and how she had bartered it away only to laugh at the lampman’s folly.

“And next morning, O my father,” she continued, “we found ourselves and whatso the pavilion contained in Africa land, till such time as my husband came to us and devised a device whereby we escaped. And had it not been for Aladdin’s hastening to our aid, the accursed was determined to enjoy me perforce.” Then she told him of the bhang drops administered in wine to the African and concluded: “Then my husband returned to me, and how I know not, but we were shifted from Africa land to this place.” Aladdin in his turn recounted how, finding the wizard dead-drunken, he had sent away his wife and her women from the poluted place into the inner apartments; how he had taken the lamp from the sorcerer’s breast pocket, whereto he was directed by his wife; how he had slaughtered the villain; and finally how, making use of the lamp, he had summoned its slave and ordered him to transport the pavilion back to its proper site, ending his tale with: “And, if thy Highness have any doubt anent my words, arise with me and look upon the accursed magician.” The King did accordingly and, having considered the Moorman, bade the carcass be carried away forthright and burned and its ashes scattered in air.

Then he took to embracing Aladdin and, kissing him, said: “Pardon me, O my son, for that I was about to destroy thy life through the foul deeds of this damned enchanter, who cast thee into such pit of peril. And I may be excused, O my child, for what I did by thee, because I found myself forlorn of my daughter, my only one, who to me is dearer than my very kingdom. Thou knowest how the hearts of parents yearn unto their offspring, especially when like myself they have but one and none other to love.” And on this wise the Sultan took to excusing himself and kissing his son-in-law. Aladdin said to the Sultan: “O King of the time, thou didst naught to me contrary to Holy Law, and I also sinned not against thee, but all the trouble came from that Maghrabi, the impure, the magician.” Thereupon the Sultan bade the city be decorated, and they obeyed him and held high feast and festivities. He also commanded the crier to cry about the streets saying: “This day is a mighty great fate, wherein public rejoicings must be held throughout the realm, for a full month of thirty days, in honor of the Lady Badr al-Budur and her husband Aladdin’s return to their home.”

On this wise befell it with Aladdin and the Maghrabi, but withal the King’s son-in-law escaped not wholly from the accursed, albeit the body had been burnt and the ashes scattered in air. For the villain had a brother yet more villainous than himself, and a greater adept in necromancy, geomancy, and astromancy. And even as the old saw saith, “A bean and ’twas split,” so each one dwelt in his own quarter of the globe that he might fill it with his sorcery, his fraud, and his treason. Now one day of the days it fortuned that the Moorman’s brother would learn how it fared with him, so he brought out his sandboard and dotted it and produced the figures which, when he had considered and carefully studied them, gave him to know that the man he sought was dead and housed in the tomb. So he grieved and was certified of his disease, but he dotted a second time seeking to learn the manner of the death and where it bad taken place. So he found that the site was the China land and that the mode was the foulest of slaughter. Furthermore, that he who did him die was a young man Aladdin hight. Seeing this, he straightway arose and equipped himself for wayfare, then he set out and cut across the wilds and wolds and heights for the space of many a month until he reached China and the capital of the Sultan wherein was the slayer of his brother.

He alighted at the so-called strangers’ khan and, hiring himself a cell, took rest therein for a while, then he fared forth and wandered about the highways that he might discern some path which would aid him unto the winning of his ill-minded wish; to wit, of wreaking upon Aladdin blood revenge for his brother. Presently he entered a coffeehouse, a fine building which stood in the market place and which collected a throng of folk to play, some at the mankalah, others at the backgammon, and others at the chess and what not else. There he sat down and listened to those seated beside him, and they chanced to be conversing about an ancient dame and a holy, by name Fatimah, who dwelt away at her devotions in a hermitage without the town, and this she never entered save only two days each month. They mentioned also that she had performed many saintly miracles, which when the Maghrabi, the necromancer, heard he said in himself: “Now have I found that which I sought. Inshallah- God willing- by means of this crone will I will to my wish.”

The necromancer went up to the folk who were talking of the miracles performed by the devout old woman and said to one of them: “O my uncle, I heard you an chatting about the prodigies of a certain saintess named Fatimah. Who is she, and where may be her abode?” “Marvelous!” exclaimed the man. “How canst thou be in our city and yet never have heard about the miracles of the Lady Fatimah? Evidently, O thou poor fellow, thou art a foreigner, since the fastings of this devotee and her asceticism in worldly matters and the beauties of her piety never came to thine ears.” The Moorman rejoined: “‘Tis true, O my lord. Yes, I am a stranger, and came to this your city only yesternight. And I hope thou wilt inform me concerning the saintly miracles of this virtuous woman and where may be her wone, for that I have fallen into a calamity, and ’tis my wish to visit her and crave her prayers, so haply Allah (to Whom be honor and glory!) will, through her blessings, deliver me from mine evil.” Hereat the man recounted to him the marvels of Fatimah, the devotee, and her piety and the beauties of her worship, then, taking him by the hand, went with him without the city and showed him the way to her abode, a cavern upon a hillock’s head. The necromancer acknowledged his kindness in many words and, thanking him for his good offices, returned to his cell in the caravanserai.

Now by the fiat of Fate on the very next day Fatimah came down to the city, and the Maghrabi, the necromancer, happened to leave his hostelry a-morn, when he saw the folk swarming and crowding. Wherefore he went up to discover what was to do, and found the devotee standing a-middlemost the throng, and all who suffered from pain or sickness flocked to her soliciting a blessing, and praying for her prayers, and each and every she touched became whole of his illness. The Moroccan, the necromancer, followed her about until she returned to her antre. Then, awaiting till the evening evened, he arose and repaired to a vintner’s store, where he drank a cup of wine. After this he fared forth the city, and finding the devotee’s cavern, entered it and saw her lying prostrate with her back upon a strip of matting. So he came forward and mounted upon her belly, then he drew his dagger and shouted at her, and when she awoke and opened her eyes, she espied a Moorish man with an unsheathed poniard sitting upon her middle as though about to kill her.

She was troubled and sore terrified, but he said to her: “Hearken! And thou cry out or utter a word, I will slay thee at this very moment. Arise now and do all I bid thee.” Then he sware to her an oath that if she obeyed his orders, whatever they might be, he would not do her die. So saying, he rose up from off her and Fatimah also arose, when he said to her, “Give me thy gear and take thou my habit,” whereupon she gave him her clothing and head fillets, her face kerchief and her mantilla. Then quoth he, “‘Tis also requisite that thou anoint me with somewhat shall make the color of my face like unto thine.” Accordingly she went into the inner cavern, and bringing out a gallipot of ointment, spread somewhat thereof upon her palm and with it besmeared his face until its hue favored her own. Then she gave him her staff and, showing him how to walk and what to do when he entered the city, hung her rosary around his neck. Lastly she handed to him a mirror and said, “Now look! Thou differest from me in naught,” and he saw himself Fatimah’s counterpart as thou she had never gone or come. But after obtaining his every object he falsed his oath and asked for a cord, which she brought to him. Then he seized her and strangled her in the cavern, and presently, when she was dead, haled the corpse outside and threw it into a pit hard by and went back to sleep in her cavern. And when broke the day, he rose, and repairing to the town, took his stand under the walls of Aladdin’s pavilion.

Hereupon flocked the folk about him, all being certified that he was Fatimah, the devotee, and he fell to doing whatso she was wont to do. He laid hands on these in pain and recited for those a chapter of the Koran and made orisons for a third. Presently the thronging of the folk and the clamoring of the crowd were heard by the Lady Badr al-Budur, who said to her handmaidens. “Look what is to do, and what he the cause of this turmoil!” Thereupon the aga of the eunuchry fared forth to see what might be the matter and, presently returning, said: “O my lady, this clamor is caused by the Lady Fatimah, and if thou be pleased to command, I will bring her to thee. So shalt thou gain through her a blessing.” The Princess answered: “Go bring her, for since many a day I am always hearing of her miracles and her virtues, and I do long to see her and get a blessing by her intervention, for the folk recount her manifestations in many cases of difficulty.”

The aga went forth and brought in the Moroccan, the necromancer, habited in Fatimah’s clothing, and when the wizard stood before the Lady Badr al-Budur, he began at first sight to bless her with a string of prayers, nor did any one of those present doubt at all but that he was the devotee herself. The Princess arose and salaamed to him, then, seating him beside her, said: “O my Lady Fatimah, ’tis my desire that thou abide with me alway, so might I be blessed through thee, and also learn of thee the paths of worship and piety and follow thine example making for salvation.” Now all this was a foul deceit of the accursed African, and he designed furthermore to complete his guile, so he continued: “O my Lady, I am a poor woman and a religious that dwelleth in the desert, and the like of me deserveth not to abide in the palaces of the kings.” But the Princess replied: “Have no care whatever, O my Lady Fatimah. I will set apart for thee an apartment of my pavilion that thou mayest worship therein, and none shall ever come to trouble thee. Also thou shalt avail to worship Allah in my place better than in thy cavern.” The Moroccan rejoined: “Hearkening and obedience, O my lady. I will not oppose thine order, for that the commands of the children of the kings may not be gainsaid nor renounced. Only I hope of thee that my eating and my drinking and sitting may be within my own chamber, which shall be kept wholly private. Nor do I require or desire the delicacies of diet, but do thou favor me by sending thy handmaid every day with a bit of bread and a sup of water, and, when I feel fain of food, let me eat by myself in my own room.”

Now the accursed hereby purposed to avert the danger of haply raising his face kerchief at mealtimes, when his intent might be baffled by his beard and mustachios discovering him to be a man. The Princess replied: “O my Lady Fatimah, be of good heart, naught shall happen save what thou wishest. But now arise and let me show thee the apartment in the palace which I would prepare for thy sojourn with us.” The Lady Badr al-Budur arose, and taking the necromancer who had disguised himself as the devotee, ushered him in to the place which she had kindly promised him for a home, and said: “O my Lady Fatimah, here thou shalt dwell with every comfort about thee and in all privacy and repose, and the place shall be named after thy name.” Whereupon the Maghrabi acknowledged her kindness and prayed for her. Then the Princess showed him the jalousies and the jeweled kiosque with its four and twenty windows, and said to him, “What thinkest thou, O my Lady Fatimah, of this marvelous pavilion?” The Moorman replied: “By Allah, O my daughter, ’tis indeed passing fine and wondrous exceedingly, nor do I deem that its fellow is to be found in the whole universe. But alas for the lack of one thing which would enhance its beauty and decoration!” The Princess asked her: “O my Lady Fatimah, what lacketh it, and what be this thing would add to its adornment? Tell me thereof, inasmuch as I was wont to believe it wholly perfect.” The Moroccan answered: “O my lady, all it wanteth is that there he hanging from the middle of the dome the egg of a fowl called the roc, and were this done, the pavilion would lack its peer all the world over.” The Princess asked, “What he this bird, and where can we find her egg?” and the Moroccan answered, “O my lady, the roc is indeed a giant fowl which carrieth off camels and elephants in her pounces and flieth away with them, such is her stature and strength. Also this fowl is mostly found in Mount Kaf, and the architect who built this pavilion is able to bring thee one of her eggs.”

They then left such talk, as it was the hour for the noonday meal, and when the handmaid had spread the table, the Lady Badr alBudur sent down to invite the accursed African to eat with her. But he accepted not, and for a reason he would on no wise consent- nay, he rose and retired to the room which the Princess had assigned to him and whither the slave girls carried his dinner. Now when evening evened, Aladdin returned from the chase and met his wife, who salaamed to him, and he clasped her to his bosom and kissed her. Presently, looking at her face, he saw thereon a shade of sadness, and he noted that, contrary to her custom, she did not laugh, so he asked her: “What hath betided thee, O my dearling? Tell me, hath aught happened to trouble thy thoughts?” “Nothing whatever,” answered she. “But, O my beloved, I fancied that our pavilion lacked naught at all. However, O eyes of me, O Aladdin, were the dome of the upper story hung with an egg of the fowl called roc, there would be naught like it in the universe.” Her husband rejoined: “And for this trifle thou art saddened, when ’tis the easiest of all matters to me! So cheer thyself, and whatever thou wantest, ’tis enough thou inform me thereof, and I will bring it from the abysses of the earth in the quickest time and at the earliest hour.”

Aladdin, after refreshing the spirits of his Princess by promising her all she could desire, repaired straightway to his chamber and taking the lamp, rubbed it, when the Marid appeared without let or delay saying, “Ask whatso thou wantest.” Said the other: “I desire thee to fetch me an egg of the bird roc, and do thou hang it to the dome crown of this my pavilion.” But when the Marid heard these words, his face waxed fierce and he shouted with a mighty loud voice and a frightful, and cried: “O denier of kindly deeds, sufficeth it not for thee that I and all the Slaves of the Lamp are ever at thy service, but thou must also require me to bring thee our Liege Lady for thy pleasure, and hang her up at thy pavilion dome for the enjoyment of thee and thy wife? Now, by Allah, ye deserve, thou and she, that I reduce you to ashes this very moment and scatter you upon the air. But inasmuch as ye twain be ignorant of this matter, unknowing its inner from its outer significance, I will pardon you, for indeed ye are but innocents. The offense cometh from that accursed necromancer, brother to the Maghrabi, the magician, who abideth here representing himself to be Fatimah, the devotee, after assuming her dress and belongings and murthering her in the cavern. Indeed he came hither seeking to slay thee by way of blood revenge for his brother, and ’tis he who taught thy wife to require this matter of me.”

So saying, the Marid evanished. But when Aladdin heard these words, his wits fled his head and his joints trembled at the Marid’s terrible shout. But he empowered his purpose and, arising forthright, issued from his chamber and went into his wife’s. There he affected an ache of head, for that he knew how famous was Fatimah for the art and mystery of healing all such pains. And when the Lady Badr alBudur saw him sitting hand to head and complaining of unease, she asked him the cause and he answered, “I know of none other save that my head acheth exceedingly.” Hereupon she straightway bade summon Fatimah, that the devotee might impose her hand upon his head, and Aladdin asked her, “Who may this Fatimah be?” So she informed him that it was Fatimah, the devotee, to whom she had given a home in the pavilion. Meanwhile the slave girls had fared forth and summoned the Maghrabi, and when the accursed made act of presence, Aladdin rose up to him and, acting like one who knew naught of his purpose, salaamed to him as though he had been the real Fatimah and, kissing the hem of his sleeve, welcomed him and entreated him with honor, and said: “O my Lady Fatimah, I hope thou wilt bless me with a boon, for well I wot thy practice in the healing of pains. I have gotten a mighty ache in my head.” The Moorman, the accursed, could hardly believe that he heard such words, this being all that he desired. The necromancer, habited as Fatimah, the devotee, came up to Aladdin that he might place hand upon his head and heal his ache. So he imposed one hand and, putting forth the other under his gown, drew a dagger wherewith to slay him. But Aladdin watched him and, taking patience till he had wholly unsheathed the weapon, seized him with a forceful grip and, wrenching the dagger from his grasp, plunged it deep into his heart.

When the Lady Badr al-Budur saw him do on this wise, she shrieked and cried out: “What hath this virtuous and holy woman done that thou hast charged thy neck with the heavy burthen of her blood shed wrongfully? Hast thou no fear of Allah that thou killest Fatimah, this saintly woman, whose miracles are far-famed?” “No,” replied Aladdin, “I have not killed Fatimah. I have slain only Fatimah’s slayer, he that is the brother of the Maghrabi, the accursed, the magician, who carried thee off by his black art and transported my pavilion to the Africa land. And this damnable brother of his came to our city and wrought these wiles, murthering Fatimah and assuming her habit, only that he might avenge upon me his brother’s blood. And he also ’twas who taught thee to require of me a roc’s egg, that my death might result from such requirement. But an thou doubt my speech, come forward and consider the person I have slain.” Thereupon Aladdin drew aside the Moorman’s face kerchief and the Lady Badr al-Budur saw the semblance of a man with a full heard that well-nigh covered his features.

She at once knew the truth, and said to her husband, “O my beloved, twice have I cast thee into death risk!” But he rejoined: “No harm in that, O my lady. By the blessing of your loving eyes, I accept with all joy all things thou bringest me.” The Princess, hearing these words, hastened to fold him in her arms and kissed him, saying: “O my dearling, all this is for my love to thee and I knew naught thereof, but indeed I do not deem lightly of thine affection.” So Aladdin kissed her and strained her to his breast, and the love between them waxed but greater. At that moment the Sultan appeared, and they told him all that had happened, showing him the corpse of the Maghrabi, the necromancer, when the King commanded the body to be burned and the ashes scattered on air, even as had befallen the wizard’s brother.

And Aladdin abode with his wife, the Lady Badr al-Budur, in all pleasure and joyaunce of life, and thenceforward escaped every danger, and after a while, when the Sultan deceased, his son-in-law was seated upon the throne of the kingdom. And he commanded and dealt justice to the lieges so that all the folk loved him, and he lived with his wife in all solace and happiness until there came to him the Destroyer of delights and the Severer of societies.

And a tale is also told about…
 


Table of Content – The Arabian Nights

 
IN days of yore and in times and tides long gone before, there dwelt in a certain town of Persia two brothers, one named Kasim and the other Ali Baba, who at their father’s demise had divided the little wealth he had left to them with equitable division, and had lost no time in wasting and spending it all. The elder, however, presently took to himself a wife, the daughter of an opulent merchant, so that when his father-in-law fared to the mercy of Almighty Allah, he became owner of a large shop filled with rare goods and costly wares and of a storehouse stocked with precious stuffs, likewise of much gold that was buried in the ground. Thus was he known throughout the city as a substantial man. But the woman whom Ali Baba had married was poor and needy. They lived, therefore, in a mean hovel, and Ali Baba eked out a scanty livelihood by the sale of fuel which he daily collected in the jungle and carried about the town to the bazaar upon his three asses.

Now it chanced one day that Ali Baba had cut dead branches and dry fuel sufficient for his need, and had placed the load upon his beasts, when suddenly he espied a dust cloud spiring high in air to his right and moving rapidly toward him, and when he closely considered it, he descried a troop of horsemen riding on amain and about to reach him. At this sight he was sore alarmed, and fearing lest perchance they were a band of bandits who would slay him and drive off his donkeys, in his affright he began to run. But forasmuch as they were near-hand and he could not escape from out the forest, he drove his animals laden with the fuel into a byway of the bushes and swarmed up a thick trunk of a huge tree to hide himself therein. And he sat upon a branch whence he could descry everything beneath him whilst none below could catch a glimpse of him above, and that tree grew close beside a rock which towered high abovehead.

The horsemen, young, active, and doughty riders, came close up to the rock face and all dismounted, whereat Ali Baba took good note of them, and soon he was fully persuaded by their mien and demeanor that they were a troop of highwaymen who, having fallen upon a caravan, had despoiled it and carried off the spoil and brought their booty to this place with intent of concealing it safely in some cache. Moreover, he observed that they were forty in number. Ali Baba saw the robbers, as soon as they came under the tree, each unbridle his horse and hobble it. Then all took off their saddlebags, which proved to he full of gold and silver. The man who seemed to he the captain presently pushed forward, load on shoulder, through thorns and thickets, till he came up to a certain spot, where he uttered these strange words: “Open, Sesame!” And forthwith appeared a wide doorway in the face of the rock. The robbers went in, and last of all their chief, and then the portal shut of itself.

Long while they stayed within the cave whilst Ali Baba was constrained to abide perched upon the tree, reflecting that if he came down, peradventure the band might issue forth that very moment and seize him and slay him. At last he had determined to mount one of the horses and driving on his asses, to return townward, when suddenly the portal flew open. The robber chief was first to issue forth, then, standing at the entrance, he saw and counted his men as they came out, and lastly he spake the magical words, “Shut, Sesame!” whereat the door closed of itself. When all had passed muster and review, each slung on his saddlebags and bridled his own horse, and as soon as ready they rode off, led by the leader, in the direction whence they came. Ali Baba remained still perched on the tree and watched their departure, nor would he descend until what time they were clean gone out of sight, lest perchance one of them return and look around and descry him.

Then he thought within himself: “I too will try the virtue of those magical words and see if at my bidding the door will open and close.” So he called out aloud, “Open, Sesame!” And no sooner had he spoken than straightway the portal flew open and he entered within. He saw a large cavern and a vaulted, in height equaling the stature of a full-grown man, and it was hewn in the live stone and, lighted up with light that came through air holes and bull’s-eyes in the upper surface of the rock which formed the roof. He had expected to find naught save outer gloom in this robbers’ den, and he was surprised to see the whole room filled with bales of all manner stuffs, and heaped up from sole to ceiling with camelloads of silks and brocades and embroidered cloths and mounds on mounds of varicolored carpetings. Besides which, he espied coins golden and silvern without measure or account, some piled upon the ground and others bound in learthern bags and sacks. Seeing these goods and moneys in such abundance, Ali Bab determined in his mind that not during a few years only but for many generations thieves must have stored their gains and spoils in this place.

When he stood within the cave, its door had closed upon him, yet he was not dismayed, since he had kept in memory the magical words, and he took no heed of the precious stuffs around him, but applied himself only and wholly to the sacks of ashrafis. Of these he carried out as many as he judged sufficient burthen for the beasts, then he loaded them upon his animals, and covered his plunder with sticks and fuel, so none might discern the bags but might think that he was carrying home his usual ware. Lastly he called out, “Shut, Sesame!” and forthwith the door closed, for the spell so wrought that whensoever any entered the cave, its portal shut of itself behind him, and as he issued therefrom, the same would neither open nor close again till he had pronounced the words “Shut, Sesame!” Presently, having laden his asses, Ali Baba urged them before him with all speed to the city and reaching home, he drove them into the yard, and, shutting close the outer door, took down first the sticks and fuel and after the bags of gold, which he carried in to his wife.

She felt them, and finding them full of coin, suspected that Ali Baba had been robbing, and fell to berating and blaming him for that he should do so ill a thing. Quoth Ali Baba to his wife, “Indeed I am no robber, and rather do thou rejoice with me at our good fortune.” Hereupon he told her of his adventure, and began to pour the gold from the bags in heaps before her, and her sight was dazzled by the sheen and her heart delighted at his recital and adventures. Then she began counting the gold, whereat quoth Ali Baba: “O silly woman, how long wilt thou continue turning over the coin? Now let me dig a hole wherein to hide this treasure, that none may know its secret.” Quoth she: “Right is thy rede! Still would I weigh the moneys and have some inkling of their amount,” and he replied, “As thou pleasest, but see thou tell no man.” So she went off in haste to Kasim’s home to borrow weights and scales wherewith she might balance the ashrafis and make some reckoning of their value. And when she could not find Kasim, she said to his wife, “Lend me, I pray thee, thy scales for a moment.” Replied her sister-in-law, “Hast thou need of the bigger balance or the smaller?” and the other rejoined, “I need not the large scales, give me the little,” and her sister-in-law cried, “Stay here a moment whilst I look about and find thy want.”

With this pretext Kasim’s wife went aside and secretly smeared wax and suet over the pan of the balance, that she might know what thing it was Ali Baba’s wife would weigh, for she made sure that whatso it be, some bit thereof would stick to the wax and fat. So the woman took this opportunity to satisfy her curiosity, and Ali Baba’s wife, suspecting naught thereof, carried home the scales and began to weigh the gold, whilst Ali Baba ceased not digging. And when the money was weighed, they twain stowed it into the hole, which they carefully filled up with earth. Then the good wife took back the scales to her kinswoman, all unknowing that an ashrafi had adhered to the cup of the scales. But when Kasim’s wife espied the gold coin, she fumed with envy and wrath, saying to herself: “So ho! They borrowed my balance to weigh out ashrafis?” And she marveled greatly whence so poor a man as Ali Baba had gotten such store of wealth that he should he obliged to weigh it with a pair of scales.

Now after long pondering the matter, when her husband returned home at eventide, she said to him: “O man, thou deemest thyself a wight of wealth and substance, but lo! thy brother Ali Baba is an emir by the side of thee, and richer far than thou art. He hath such heaps of gold that he must needs weigh his moneys with scales, whilst thou, forsooth, art satisfied to count thy coin.” “Whence knowest thou this?” asked Kasim. And in answer his wife related all anent the pair of scales, and how she found an ashrafi stuck to them, and shewed him the gold coin, which bore the mark and superscription of some ancient king. No sleep had Kasim all that night by reason of his envy and jealousy and covetise, and next morning he rose betimes and going to Ali Baba, said: “O my brother, to all appearance thou art poor and needy, but in effect thou hast a store of wealth so abundant that perforce thou must weigh thy gold with scales.” Quoth Ali Baba: “What is this thou sayest? I understand thee not. Make clear thy purport.” And quoth Kasim, with ready rage: “Feign not that thou art ignorant of what I say, and think not to deceive me.” Then, showing him the ashrafi, he cried: “Thousands of gold coins such as these thou hast put by, and meanwhile my wife found this one stuck to the cup of the scales.” Then Ali Baba understood how both Kasim and his wife knew that he had store of ashrafis, and said in his mind that it would not avail him to keep the matter hidden, but would rather cause ill will and mischief, and thus he was induced to tell his brother every whit concerning the bandits and also of the treasure trove in the cave.

When he had heard the story, Kasim exclaimed: “I would fain learn of thee the certainty of the place where thou foundest the moneys, also the magical words whereby the door opened and closed. And I forewarn thee, an thou tell me not the whole truth, I will give notice of those ashrafis to the wah, then shalt thou forfeit all thy wealth and he disgraced and thrown into gaol.” Thereupon Ali Baba told him his tale, not forgetting the magical words, and Kasim, who kept careful heed of all these matters, next day set out, driving ten mules he had hired, and readily found the place which Ali Baba had described to him. And when he came to the aforesaid rock and to the tree whereon Ali Baba had hidden himself, and he had made sure of the door he cried in great joy, “Open, Sesame!” The portal yawned wide at once and Kasim went within and saw the piles of jewels and treasures lying ranged all around, and as soon as he stood amongst them the door shut after him, as wont to do. He walked about in ecstasy marveling at the treasures, and when weary of admiration, he gathered together bags of ashrafis, a sufficient load for his ten mules, and placed them by the entrance in readiness to he carried outside and set upon the beasts. But by the will of Allah Almighty he had clean forgotten the cabalistic words, and cried out, “Open, Barley!” Whereat the door refused to move. Astonished and confused beyond measure, he named the names of all manner of grains save sesame, which had slipped from his memory as though he had never heard the word, whereat in his dire distress he heeded not the ashrafis that lay heaped at the entrance, and paced to and fro, backward and forward, within the cave, sorely puzzled and perplexed. The wealth whose sight had erewhile filled his heart with joy and gladness was now the cause of bitter grief and sadness.

It came to pass that at noontide the robbers, returning by that way, saw from afar some mules standing beside the entrance, and much they marveled at what had brought the beasts to that place, for inasmuch as Kasim by mischance had faded to tether or hobble them, they had strayed about the jungle and were browsing hither and thither. However, the thieves paid scant regard to the estrays, nor cared they to secure them, but only wondered by what means they had wandered so far from the town. Then, reaching the cave, the captain and his troop dismounted, and going up to the door, repeated the formula, and at once it flew open.

Now Kasim had heard from within the cave the horse hoofs drawing nigh and yet nigher, and he fell down to the ground in a fit of fear, never doubting that it was the clatter of the banditti who would slaughter him without fail. Howbeit, he presently took heart of grace, and at the moment when the door flew open he rushed out hoping to make good his escape. But the unhappy ran full tilt against the captain, who stood in front of the band, and felled him to the ground, whereupon a robber standing near his chief at once bared his brand and with one cut clave Kasim clean in twain. Thereupon the robbers rushed into the cavern, and put back as they were before the bags of ashrafis which Kasim had heaped up at the doorway ready for taking away, nor recked they aught of those which Ali Baba had removed, so dazed and amazed were they to discover by what means the strange man had effected an entrance. All knew that it was not possible for any to drop through the skylights, so tall and steep was the rock’s face, withal slippery of ascent, and also that none could enter by the portal unless he knew the magical words whereby to open it. However, they presently quartered the dead body of Kasim and hung it to the door within the cavern, two parts to the right jamb and as many to the left, that the sight might be a warning of approaching doom for all who dared enter the cave. Then, coming out, they closed the hoard door and rode away upon their wonted work.

Now when night fell and Kasim came not home, his wife waxed uneasy in mind, and running round to Ali Baba, said: “O my brother, Kasim hath not returned. Thou knowest whither he went, and sore I fear me some misfortune hath betided him.” Ali Baba also divined that a mishap had happened to prevent his return. Not the less, however, he strove to comfort his sister-in-law with words of cheer, and said: “O wife of my brother, Kasim haply exerciseth discretion and, avoiding the city, cometh by a roundabout road and will he here anon. This I do believe is the reason why he tarrieth.” Thereupon, comforted in spirit, Kasim’s wife fared homeward and sat awaiting her husband’s return, but when half the night was spent and still he came not, she was as one distraught. She feared to cry aloud for her grief, lest haply the neighbors, hearing her, should come and learn the secret, so she wept in silence and upbraiding herself, fell to thinking: “Wherefore did I disclose this secret to him and beget envy and jealousy of Ali Baba? This be the fruit thereof, and hence the disaster that hath come down upon me.”

She spent the rest of the night in bitter tears, and early on the morrow hied in hottest hurry to Ali Baba and prayed that he would go forth in quest of his brother. So he strove to console her, and straightway set out with his asses for the forest. Presently, reaching the rock, he wondered to see stains of blood freshly shed, and not finding his brother or the ten mules, he forefelt a calamity from so evil a sign. He then went to the door and saying, “Open, Sesame!” he pushed in and saw the dead body of Kasim, two parts hanging to the right and the rest to the left of the entrance. Albeit he was affrighted beyond measure of affright, he wrapped the quarters in two cloths and laid them upon one of his asses, hiding them carefully with sticks and fuel that none might see them. Then he placed the bags of gold upon the two other animals and likewise covered them most carefully, and when all was made ready he closed the cave door with the magical words, and set him forth wending homeward with all ward and watchfulness. The asses with the load of ashrafis he made over to his wife, and bade her bury the bags with diligence, but he told her not the condition in which he had come upon his brother Kasim. Then he went with the other ass- to wit, the beast whereon was laid the corpse- to the widow’s house and knocked gently at the door.

Now Kasim had a slave girl shrewd and sharp-witted, Morgiana hight. She as softly undid the bolt and admitted Ali Baba and the ass into the courtyard of the house, when he let down the body from the beast’s back and said: “O Morgiana, haste thee and make thee ready to perform the rites for the burial of thy lord. I now go to tell the tidings to thy mistress, and I will quickly return to help thee in this matter.” At that instant Kasim’s widow, seeing her brother-in-law, exclaimed: “O Ali Baba, what news bringest thou of my spouse? Alas! I see grief tokens written upon thy countenance. Say quickly what hath happened.” Then he recounted to her how it had fared with her husband and how he had been slain by the robbers and in what wise he had brought home the dead body. Ali Baba pursued: “O my lady, what was to happen hath happened, but it behooveth us to keep this matter secret, for that our lives depend upon privacy.” She wept with sore weeping and made answer: “It hath fared with my husband according to the fiat of Fate, and now for thy safety’s sake I give thee my word to keep the affair concealed.” He replied: “Naught can avail when Allah hath decreed. Rest thee in patience until the days of thy widowhood be accomplisht, after which time I will take thee to wife, and thou shalt live in comfort and happiness. And fear not lest my first spouse vex thee or show aught of jealousy, for that she is kindly and tender of heart.” The widow, lamenting her loss noisily, cried, “Be it as e’en thou please.”

Then Ali Baba farewelled her, weeping and wailing for her husband, and joining Morgiana, took counsel with her how to manage the burial of his brother. So, after much consultation and many warnings, he left the slave girl and departed home driving his ass before him. As soon as Ali Baba had fared forth Morgiana went quickly to a druggist’s shop, and that she might the better dissemble with him and not make known the matter, she asked of him a drug often administered to men when diseased with dangerous distemper. He gave it saying: “Who is there in thy house that lieth so in as to require this medicine?” and said she: “My master Kasim is sick well nigh unto death. For many days he hath nor spoken nor tasted aught of food, so that almost we despair of his life.” Next day Morgiana went again and asked the druggist for more of medicine and essences such as are adhibited to the sick when at door of death, that the moribund may haply rally before the last breath. The man gave the potion and she, taking it, sighed aloud and wept, saying: “I fear me he may not have strength to drink this draught. Methinks all will be over with him ere I return to the house.”

Meanwhile Ali Baba was anxiously awaiting to hear sounds of wailing and lamentation in Kasim’s home, that he might at such signal hasten thither and take part in the ceremonies of the funeral. Early on the second day Morgiana went with veiled face to one Baba Mustafa, a tailor well shotten in years whose craft was to make shrouds and cerecloths, and as soon as she saw him open his shop she gave him a gold piece and said, “Do thou bind a bandage over thine eyes and come along with me.” Mustafa made as though he would not go, whereat Morgiana placed a second gold coin in his palm and entreated him to accompany her. The tailor presently consented for greed of gain, so, tying a kerchief tightly over his eyes, she led him by the hand to the house wherein lay the dead body of her master. Then, taking off the bandage in the darkened room, she bade him sew together the quarters of the corpse, limb to its limb, and casting a cloth upon the body, said to the tailor: “Make haste and sew a shroud according to the size of this dead man, and I will give thee therefor yet another ducat.” Baba Mustafa quickly made the cerecloth of fitting length and breadth, and Morgiana paid him the promised ashrafi, then, once more bandaging his eyes, led him back to the place whence she had brought him. After this she returned hurriedly home and with the help of Ali Baba washed the body in warm water and donning the shroud, laid the corpse upon a clean place ready for burial.

This done, Morgiana went to the mosque and gave notice to an imam that a funeral was awaiting the mourners in a certain household, and prayed that he would come to read the prayers for the dead, and the imam went back with her. Then four neighbors took up the bier and bore it on their shoulders and fared forth with the imam and others who were wont to give assistance at such obsequies. After the funeral prayers were ended four other men carried off the coffin, and Morgiana walked before it bare of head, striking her breast and weeping and wailing with exceeding loud lament, whilst Ali Baba and the neighbors came behind. In such order they entered the cemetery and buried him, then, leaving him to Munkar and Nakir- the Questioners of the Dead- all wended their ways. Presently the women of the quarter, according to the custom of the city, gathered together in the house of mourning and sat an hour with Kasim’s widow comforting and condoling, presently leaving her somewhat resigned and cheered. Ali Baba stayed forty days at home in ceremonial lamentation for the loss of his brother, so none within the town save himself and his wife (Kasim’s widow) and Morgiana knew aught the secret. And when the forty days of mourning were ended Ali Baba removed to his own quarters all the property belonging to the deceased and openly married the widow. Then he appointed his nephew, his brother’s eldest son, who had lived a long time with a wealthy merchant and was perfect of knowledge in all matters of trade, such as selling and buying, to take charge of the defunct’s shop and to carry on the business.

It so chanced one day when the robbers, as was their wont, came to the treasure cave that they marveled exceedingly to find nor sign nor trace of Kasim’s body, whilst they observed that much of gold had been carried off. Quoth the captain: “Now it behooveth us to make inquiry in this matter, else shall we suffer much of loss, and this our treasure, which we and our forefathers have amassed during the course of many years, will little by little be wasted and spoiled.” Hereto all assented and with single mind agreed that he whom they had slain had knowledge of the magical words whereby the door was made to open; moreover, that someone besides him had cognizance of the spell and had carried off the body, and also much of gold. Wherefore they needs must make diligent research and find out who the man ever might be. They then took counsel and determined that one amongst them, who should be sagacious and deft of wit, must don the dress of some merchant from foreign parts, then, repairing to the city, he must go about from quarter to quarter and from street to street and learn if any townsman had lately died, and if so where he wont to dwell, that with this clue they might be enabled to find the wight they sought. Hereat said one of the robbers: “Grant me leave that I fare and find out such tidings in the town and bring thee word anon, and if I fail of my purpose I hold my life in forfeit.”

Accordingly that bandit, after disguising himself by dress, pushed at night into the town, and next morning early he repaired to the market square and saw that none of the shops had yet been opened save only that of Baba Mustafa, the tailor, who, thread and needle in hand, sat upon his working stool. The thief bade him good day and said: “‘Tis yet dark. How canst thou see to sew?” Said the tailor: “I perceive thou art a stranger. Despite my years, my eyesight is so keen that only yesterday I sewed together a dead body whilst sitting in a room quite darkened.” Quoth the bandit thereupon to himself, “I shall get somewhat of my want from this snip,” and to secure a further clue he asked: “Meseemeth thou wouldst jest with me, and thou meanest that a cerecloth for a corpse was stitched by thee and that thy business is to sew shrouds.” Answered the tailor: “It mattereth not to thee. Question me no more questions.”

Thereupon the robber placed an ashrafi in his hand and continued: “I desire not to discover aught thou hidest, albeit my breast, like every honest man’s, is the grave of secrets, and this only would I learn of thee- in what house didst thou do that job? Canst thou direct me thither, or thyself conduct me thereto?” The tailor took the gold with greed and cried: “I have not seen with my own eyes the way to that house. A certain bondswoman led me to a place which I know right well, and there she bandaged my eyes and guided me to some tenement and lastly carried me into a darkened room where lay the dead body dismembered. Then she unbound the kerchief and bade me sew together first the corpse and then the shroud, which having done, she again blindfolded me and led me back to the stead whence she had brought me and left me there. Thou seest then I am not able to tell thee where thou shalt find the house.” Quoth the robber: “Albeit thou knowest not the dwelling whereof thou speakest, still canst thou take me to the place where thou wast blindfolded. Then I will bind a kerchief over thine eyes and lead thee as thou wast led. On this wise perchance thou mayest hit upon the site. An thou wilt do this favor by me, see, here another golden ducat is thine.” Thereupon the bandit slipped a second ashrafi into the tailor’s palm, and Baba Mustafa thrust it with the first into his pocket. Then, leaving his shop as it was, he walked to the place where Morgiana had tied the kerchief around his eyes, and with him went the robber, who, after binding on the bandage, led him by the hand.

Baba Mustafa, who was clever and keen-witted, presently striking the street whereby he had fared with the handmaid, walked on counting step by step, then, halting suddenly, he said, “Thus far I came with her,” and the twain stopped in front of Kasim’s house, wherein now dwelt his brother Ali Baba. The robber then made marks with white chalk upon the door, to the end that he might readily find it at some future time, and removing the bandage from the tailor’s eyes, said: “O Baba Mustafa, I thank thee for this favor, and Almighty Allah guerdon thee for thy goodness. Tell me now, I pray thee, who dwelleth in yonder house?” Quoth he: “In very sooth I wot not, for I have little knowledge concerning this quarter of the city.” And the bandit, understanding that he could find no further clue from the tailor, dismissed him to his shop with abundant thanks, and hastened back to the tryst place in the jungle where the band awaited his coming.

Not long after, it so fortuned that Morgiana, going out upon some errand, marveled exceedingly at seeing the chalk marks showing white in the door. She stood awhile deep in thought, and presently divined that some enemy had made the signs that he might recognize the house and play some sleight upon her lord. She therefore chalked the doors of all her neighbors in like manner and kept the matter secret, never entrusting it or to master or to mistress. Meanwhile the robber told his comrades his tale of adventure and how he had found the clue, so the captain and with him all the band went one after other by different ways till they entered the city, and he who had placed the mark on Ali Baba’s door accompanied the chief to point out the place. He conducted him straightway to the house and shewing the sign exclaimed, “Here dwelleth he of whom we are in search!” But when the captain looked around him, he saw that all the dwellings bore chalk marks after like fashion, and he wondered, saying: “By what manner of means knowest thou which house of all these houses that bear similar signs is that whereof thou spokest?” Hereat the robber guide was confounded beyond measure of confusion, and could make no answer. Then with an oath he cried: “I did assuredly set a sign upon a door, but I know not whence came all the marks upon the other entrances, nor can I say for a surety which it was I chalked.” Thereupon the captain returned to the market place and said to his men: “We have toiled and labored in vain, nor have we found the house we went forth to seek. Return we now to the forest, our rendezvous. I also will fare thither.”

Then all trooped off and assembled together within the treasure cave, and when the robbers had all met, the captain judged him worthy of punishment who had spoken falsely and had led them through the city to no purpose. So he imprisoned him in presence of them all, and then said he: “To him amongst you will I show special favor who shall go to town and bring me intelligence whereby we may lay hands upon the plunderer of our property.” Hereat another of the company came forward and said, “I am ready to go and inquire into the case, and ’tis I who will bring thee to thy wish.” The captain, after giving him presents and promises, dispatched him upon his errand, and by the decree of Destiny, which none may gainsay, this second robber went first to the house of Baba Mustafa the tailor, as had done the thief who had foregone him. In like manner he also persuaded the snip with gifts of golden coin that he be led hood-winked, and thus too he was guided to Ali Baba’s door. Here, noting the work of his predecessor, he affixed to the jamb a mark with red chalk, the better to distinguish it from the others, whereon still showed the white. Then hied he back in stealth to his company.

But Morgiana on her part also descried the red sign on the entrance, and with subtle forethought marked all the others after the same fashion, nor told she any what she had done. Meanwhile the bandit rejoined his band and vauntingly said: “O our captain, I have found the house and thereon put a mark whereby I shall distinguish it clearly from all its neighbors.” But, as aforetime, when the troop repaired thither, they saw each and every house marked with signs of red chalk. So they returned disappointed and the captain, waxing displeased exceedingly and distraught, clapped also this spy into gaol. Then said the chief to himself: “Two men have failed in their endeavor and have met their rightful meed of punishment, and I trow that none other of my band will essay to follow up their research. So I myself will go and find the house of this wight.”

Accordingly he fared along, aided by the tador Baba Mustafa, who had gained much gain of golden pieces in this matter, he hit upon the house of Ali Baba. And here he made no outward show or sign, but marked it on the tablet of his heart and impressed the picture upon the page of his memory. Then, returning to the jungle, he said to his men: “I have full cognizance of the place and have limned it clearly in my mind, so now there will be no difficulty in finding it. Go forth straightway and buy me and bring hither nineteen mules, together with one large leathern jar of mustard oil and seven and thirty vessels of the same kind clean empty. Without me and the two locked up in gaol ye number thirty-seven souls, so I will stow you away armed and accoutered each within his jar and will load two upon each mule, and upon the nineteenth mule there shall be a man in an empty jar on one side and on the other the jar full of oil. I for my part, in guise of an oil merchant, will drive the mules into the town, arriving at the house by night, and will ask permission of its master to tarry there until morning. After this we shall seek occasion during the dark hours to rise up and fall upon him and slay him.” Furthermore, the captain spake, saying: “When we have made an end of him we shall recover the gold and treasure whereof he robbed us and bring it back upon the mules.”

This counsel pleased the robbers, who went forthwith and purchased mules and huge leathern jars, and did as the captain had bidden them. And after a delay of three days, shortly before nightfall they arose, and oversmearing all the jars with oil of mustard, each hid him inside an empty vessel. The chief then disguised himself in trader’s gear and placed the jars upon the nineteen mules; to wit, the thirty-seven vessels, in each of which lay a robber armed and accoutered, and the one that was full of oil. This done, he drove the beasts before him, and presently he reached Ali Baba’s place at nightfall, when it chanced that the housemaster was strolling after supper to and fro in front of his home. The captain saluted him with the salaam and said: “I come from such-and-such a village with oil, and ofttimes have I been here a-selling oil, but now to my grief I have arrived too late and I am sore troubled and perplexed as to where I shall spend the night. An thou have pity on me, I pray thee grant that I tarry here in thy courtyard and ease the mules by taking down the jars and giving the beasts somewhat of fodder.” Albeit Ali Baba had heard the captain’s voice when perched upon the tree and had seen him enter the cave, yet by reason of the disguise he knew him not for the leader of the thieves, and granted his request with hearty welcome and gave him full license to halt there for the night. He then pointed out an empty shed wherein to tether the mules, and bade one of the slave boys go fetch grain and water. He also gave orders to the slave girl Morgiana, saying: “A guest hath come hither and tarrieth here tonight. Do thou busy thyself with all speed about his supper and make ready the guest bed for him.”

Presently, when the captain had let down all the jars and had fed and watered his mules, Ali Baba received him with all courtesy and kindness, and summoning Morgiana, said in his presence: “See thou fail not in service of this our stranger, nor suffer him to lack for aught. Tomorrow early I would fare to the hammam and bathe, so do thou give my slave boy Abdullah a suit of clean white clothes which I may put on after washing. Moreover, make thee ready a somewhat of broth overnight, that I may drink it after my return home.” Replied she, “I will have all in readiness as thou hast bidden.” So Ali Baba retired to his rest, and the captain, having supped, repaired to the shed and saw that all the mules had their food and drink for the night, and finding utter privacy, whispered to his men who were in ambush: “This night at midnight, when ye hear my voice, do you quickly open with your sharp knives the leathern jars from top to bottom, and issue forth without delay.” Then, passing through the kitchen, he reached the chamber wherein a bed had been dispread for him, Morgiana showing the way with a lamp. Quoth she, “An thou need aught beside, I pray thee command this thy slave, who is ever ready to obey thy say!” He made answer, “Naught else need I.” Then, putting out the light, he lay down on the bed to sleep awhile ere the time came to rouse his men and finish off the work.

Meanwhile Morgiana did as her master had bidden her. She first took out a suit of clean white clothes and made it over to Abdullah, who had not yet gone to rest. Then she placed the pigskin upon the hearth to boil the broth and blew the fire till it burnt briskly. After a short delay she needs must see an the broth be boiling, but by that time all the lamps had gone out and she found that the oil was spent and that nowhere could she get a light. The slave boy Abdullah observed that she was troubled and perplexed hereat, and quoth he to her: “Why make so much ado? In yonder shed are many jars of oil. Go now and take as much soever as thou listest.” Morgiana gave thanks to him for his suggestion, and Abdullah, who was lying at his ease in the hall, went off to sleep so that he might wake betimes and serve Ali Baba in the bath. So the handmaiden rose, and with oil can in hand walked to the shed where stood the leathern jars all ranged in rows.

Now as she drew nigh unto one of the vessels, the thief who was hidden therein, hearing the tread of footsteps, bethought him that it was of his captain, whose summons he awaited, so he whispered, “Is it now time for us to sally forth?” Morgiana started back affrighted at the sound of human accents, but inasmuch as she was bold and ready of wit, she replied, “The time is not yet come,” and said to herself: “These jars are not full of oil, and herein I perceive a manner of mystery. Haply the oil merchant hatcheth some treacherous plot against my lord, so Allah, the Compassionating, the Compassionate, protect us from his snares!” Wherefore she answered in a voice made like to the captain’s, “Not yet, the time is not come.” Then she went to the next jar and returned the same reply to him who was within, and soon to all the vessels, one by one. Then said she in herself: “Laud to the Lord! My master took this fellow in believing him to he an oil merchant, but lo! he hath admitted a band of robbers, who only await the signal to fall upon him and plunder the place and do him die.”

Then passed she on to the furthest jar and, finding it brimming with oil, filled her can. and returning to the kitchen, trimmed the lamp and lit the wicks. Then, bringing forth a large caldron, she set it upon the fire, and filling it with oil from out the jar, heaped wood upon the hearth and fanned it to a fierce flame, the readier to boil its contents. When this was done, she bailed it out in potfuls and poured it seething hot into the leathern vessels, one by one, while the thieves, unable to escape, were scalded to death and every jar contained a corpse. Thus did this slave girl by her subtle wit make a clean end of all, noiselessly and unknown even to the dwellers in the house. Now when she had satisfied herself that each and every of the men had been slain, she went back to the kitchen and, shutting to the door, sat brewing Ali Baba’s broth.

Scarce had an hour passed before the captain woke from sleep and, opening wide his window, saw that all was dark and silent. So he clapped his hands as a signal for his men to come forth, but not a sound was heard in return. After a while he clapped again and called aloud, but got no answer, and when he cried out a third time without reply, he was perplexed and went out to the shed wherein stood the jars. He thought to himself: “Perchance all are fallen asleep, whenas the time for action is now at hand, so I must e’en awaken them without stay or delay.” Then, approaching the nearest jar, he was startled by a smell of oil and seething flesh, and touching it outside, he felt it reeking hot. Then, going to the others one by one, he found all in like condition. Hereat he knew for a surety the fate which had betided his band and, fearing for his own safety, he clomb onto the wall, and thence dropping into a garden, made his escape in high dudgeon and sore disappointment. Morgiana awaited awhile to see the Captain return from the shed but he came not, whereat she knew that he had scaled the wall and had taken to flight, for that the street door was double-locked. And the thieves being all disposed of on this wise, Morgiana laid her down to sleep in perfect solace and ease of mind.

When two hours of darkness yet remained, Ali Baba awoke and went to the hammam, knowing naught of the night adventure, for the gallant slave girl had not aroused him, nor indeed had she deemed such action expedient, because had she sought an opportunity of reporting to him her plan, she might haply have lost her chance and spoiled the project. The sun was high over the horizon when Ali Baba walked back from the baths, and he marveled exceedingly to see the jars still standing under the shed, and said: “How cometh it that he, the oil merchant, my guest, hath not carried to the market his mules and jars of oil?” She answered: “Allah Almighty vouchsafe to thee sixscore years and ten of safety! I will tell thee in privacy of this merchant.” So Ali Baba went apart with his slave girl, who, taking him without the house, first locked the court door, then, showing him a jar, she said, “Prithee look into this and see if within there be oil or aught else.”

Thereupon, peering inside it, he perceived a man, at which sight he cried aloud and fain would have fled in his fright. Quoth Morgiana: “Fear him not. This man hath no longer the force to work thee harm, he lieth dead and stone-dead.” Hearing such words of comfort and reassurance, Ali Baba asked: “O Morgiana, what evils have we escaped, and by what means hath this wretch become the quarry of Fate?” She answered: “Alhamdolillah- praise be to Almighty Allah!- I will inform thee fully of the case. But hush thee, speak not aloud, lest haply the neighbors learn the secret and it end in our confusion. Look now into all the jars, one by one from first to last.” So Ali Baba examined them severally and found in each a man fully armed and accoutered, and all lay scalded to death. Hereat, speechless for sheer amazement, he stared at the jars, but presently, recovering himself, he asked, “And where is he, the oil merchant?” Answered she: “Of him also I will inform thee. The villain was no trader, but a traitorous assassin whose honeyed words would have ensnared thee to thy doom. And now I will tell thee what he was and what hath happened, but meanwhile thou art fresh from the hammam and thou shouldst first drink somewhat of this broth for thy stomach’s and thy health’s sake.” So Ali Baba went within and Morgiana served up the mess, after which quoth her master: “I fain would hear this wondrous story. Prithee tell it to me, and set my heart at ease.” Hereat the handmaid fell to relating whatso had betided in these words:

“O my master, when thou badest me boil the broth and retiredst to rest, thy slave in obedience to thy command took out a suit of clean white clothes and gave it to the boy Abdullah, then kindled the fire and set on the broth. As soon as it was ready I had need to light a lamp so that I might see to skim it, but all the oil was spent, and, learning this, I told my want to the slave boy Abdullah, who advised me to draw somewhat from the jars which stood under the shed. Accordingly I took a can and went to the first vessel, when suddenly I heard a voice within whisper with all caution, ‘Is it now time for us to sally forth?’ I was amazed thereat, and judged that the pretended merchant had laid some plot to slay thee, so I replied, ‘The time is not yet come.’ Then I went to the second jar and heard another voice, to which I made the like answer, and so on with all of them. I now was certified that these men awaited only some signal from their chief, whom thou didst take to guest within thy walls supposing him to he a merchant in oil, and that after thou receivedst him hospitably the miscreant had brought these men to murther thee and to plunder thy good and spoil thy house.

“But I gave him no opportunity to will his wish. The last jar I found full of od, and taking somewhat therefrom, I lit the lamp. Then, putting a large caldron upon the fire, I filled it up with oil which I brought from the jar and made a fierce blaze under it, and when the contents were seething hot, I took out sundry cansful with intent to scald them all to death, and going to each jar in due order, I poured within them, one by one, boiling oil. On this wise having destroyed them utterly, I returned to the kitchen, and having extinguished the lamps, stood by the window watching what might happen, and how that false merchant would act next. Not long after I had taken my station, the robber captain awoke and ofttimes signaled to his thieves. Then, getting no reply, he came downstairs and went out to the jars, and finding that all his men were slain, he fled through the darkness, I know not whither. So when he had clean disappeared I was assured that, the door being double-locked, he had scaled the wall and dropped into the garden and made his escape. Then with my heart at rest I slept.”

And Morgiana, after telling her story to her master, presently added: “This is the whole truth I have related to thee. For some days indeed have I had inkling of such matter, but withheld it from thee, deeming it inexpedient to risk the chance of its meeting the neighbors’ ears. Now, however, there is no help but to tell thee thereof. One day as I came to the house door I espied thereon a white chalk mark, and on the next day a red sign beside the white. I knew not the intent wherewith the marks were made, nevertheless I set others upon the entrances of sundry neighbors, judging that some enemy had done this deed, whereby to encompass my master’s destruction. Therefore I made the marks on all the other doors in such perfect conformity with those I found that it would be hard to distinguish amongst them. Judge now and see if these signs and all this villainy be not the work of the bandits of the forest, who marked our house that on such wise they might know it again. Of these forty thieves there yet remain two others concerning whose case I know naught, so beware of them, but chiefly of the third remaining robber, their captain, who fled hence alive. Take good heed and be thou cautious of him, for shouldst thou fall into his hands, he will in no wise spare thee, but will surely murther thee. I will do all that lieth in me to save from hurt and harm thy life and property, nor shall thy slave be found wanting in any service to my lord.”

Hearing these words, Ali Baba rejoiced with exceeding joyance and said to her: “I am well pleased with thee for this thy conduct, and say me what wouldst thou have me do in thy behalf. I shall not fail to remember thy brave deed so long as breath in me remaineth.” Quoth she: “It behooveth us before all things forthright to bury these bodies in the ground, that so the secret be not known to anyone.” Hereupon Ali Baba took with him his slave boy Abdullah into the garden and there under a tree they dug for the corpses of the thieves a deep pit in size proportionate to its contents, and they dragged the bodies (having carried off their weapons) to the fosse and threw them in. Then, covering up the remains of the seven and thirty robbers, they made the ground appear level and clean as it wont to be. They also hid the leathern jars and the gear and arms, and presently Ali Baba sent the mules by ones and twos to the bazaar and sold them all with the able aid of his slave boy Abdullah. Thus the matter was hushed up, nor did it reach the ears of any. However, Ali Baba ceased not to be ill at ease, lest haply the captain or the surviving two robbers should wreak their vengeance on his head. He kept himself private with all caution, and took heed that none learn a word of what had happened and of the wealth which he had carried off from the bandits’ cave.

Meanwhile the captain of the thieves, having escaped with his life, fled to the forest in hot wrath and sore irk of mind, and his senses were scattered and the color of his visage vanished like ascending smoke. Then he thought the matter over again and again, and at last he firmly resolved that he needs must take the life of Ali Baba, else he would lose all the treasure which his enemy, by knowledge of the magical words, would take away and turn to his own use. Furthermore, he determined that he would undertake the business singlehanded; and that after getting rid of Ali Baba, he would gather together another band of banditti and would pursue his career of brigandage, as indeed his forebears had done for many generations. So he lay down to rest that night, and rising early in the morning, donned a dress of suitable appearance, then, going to the city, alighted at a caravanserai, thinking to himself: “Doubtless the murther of so many men hath reached the wali’s ears, and Ali Baba hath been seized and brought to justice, and his house is leveled and his good is confiscated. The townfolk must surely have heard tidings of these matters.” So he straightway asked of the keeper of the khan, “What strange things have happened in the city during the last few days?” And the other told him all that he had seen and heard, but the captain could not learn a whit of that which most concerned him. Hereby he understood that Ali Baba was ware and wise, and that he had not only carried away such store of treasure, but he had also destroyed so many lives and withal had come off scatheless. Furthermore, that he himself must needs have all his wits alert not to fall into the hands of his foe and perish.

With this resolve the captain hired a shop in the bazaar, whither he bore whole bales of the finest stuffs and goodly merchandise from his forest treasure house, and presently he took his seat within the store and fell to doing merchant’s business. By chance his place fronted the booth of the defunct Kasim, where his son, Ali Baba’s nephew, now traded, and the captain, who called himself Khwajah Hasan, soon formed acquaintance and friendship with the shopkeepers around about him and treated all with profuse civilities. But he was especially gracious and cordial to the son of Kasim, a handsome youth and a well-dressed, and ofttimes he would sit and chat with him for a long while. A few days after, it chanced that Ali Baba, as he was sometimes wont to do, came to see his nephew, whom he found sitting in his shop. The captain saw and recognized him at sight, and one morning he asked the young man, saying, “Prithee tell me, who is he that ever and anon cometh to thee at thy place of sale?” Whereto the youth made answer, “He is my uncle, the brother of my father.” Whereupon the captain showed him yet greater favor and affection, the better to deceive him for his own devices, and gave him presents and made him sit at meat with him and fed him with the daintiest of dishes.

Presently Ali Baba’s nephew bethought him it was only right and proper that he also should invite the merchant to supper, but whereas his own house was small, and he was straitened for room and could not make a show of splendor, as did Khwajah Hasan, he took counsel with his uncle on the matter. Ali Baba replied to his nephew: “Thou sayest well. It behooveth thee to entreat thy friend in fairest fashion even as he hath entreated thee. On the morrow, which is Friday, shut thy shop, as do all merchants of repute. Then, after the early meal, take Khwajah Hasan to smell the air, and as thou walkest lead him hither unawares. Meanwhile I will give orders that Morgiana shall make ready for his coming the best of viands and all necessaries for a feast. Trouble not thyself on any wise, but leave the matter in my hands.” Accordingly on the next day- to wit, Friday- the nephew of Ali Baba took Khwajah Hasan to walk about the garden, and as they were returning he led him by the street wherein his uncle dwelt. When they came to the house, the youth stopped at the door and knocking, said: “O my lord, this is my second home. My uncle hath heard much of thee and of thy goodness meward, and desireth with exceeding desire to see thee, so shouldst thou consent to enter and visit him, I shall be truly glad and thankful to thee.” Albeit Khwajah Hasan rejoiced in heart that he had thus found means whereby he might have access to his enemy’s house and household, and although he hoped soon to attain his end by treachery, yet he hesitated to enter in and stood to make his excuses and walk away.

But when the door was opened by the slave porter, Ali Baba’s nephew seized his companion’s hand and after abundant persuasion led him in, whereat he entered with great show of cheerfulness as though much pleased and honored. The housemaster received him with all favor and worship and asked him of his welfare, and said to him: “O my lord, I am obliged and thankful to thee for that thou hast shewn favor to the son of my brother, and I perceive that thou regardest him with an affection even fonder than my own.” Khwajah Hasan replied with pleasant words and said: “Thy nephew vastly taketh my fancy and in him I am well pleased, for that although young in years yet he hath been endued by Allah with much of wisdom.”

Thus they twain conversed with friendly conversation, and presently the guest rose to depart and said: “O my lord, thy slave must now farewell thee, but on some future day- Inshallah- he will again wait upon thee.” Ali Baba, however, would not let him leave, and asked: “Whither wendest thou, O my friend? I would invite thee to my table, and I pray thee sit at meat with us and after hie thee home in peace. Perchance the dishes are not as delicate as those whereof thou art wont to eat, still deign grant me this request, I pray thee, and refresh thyself with my victual.” Quoth Khwajah Hasan: “O lord, I am beholden to thee for thy gracious invitation, and with pleasure would I sit at meat with thee, but for a special reason must I needs excuse myself. Suffer me therefore to depart, for I may not tarry longer, nor accept thy gracious offer.” Hereto the host made reply: “I pray thee, O my lord, tell me what may be the reason so urgent and weighty.” And Khwajah Hasan answered: “The cause is this. I must not, by order of the physician who cured me lately of my complaint, eat aught of food prepared with salt.” Quoth Ali Baba: “An this be all, deprive me not, I pray thee, of the honor thy company will confer upon me. As the meats are not yet cooked, I will forbid the kitchener to make use of any salt. Tarry here awhile, and I will return anon to thee.” So saying, Ali Baba went in to Morgiana and bade her not put salt into any one of the dishes, and she, while busied with her cooking, fell to marveling greatly at such order and asked her master, “Who is he that eateth meat wherein is no salt?” He answered: “What to thee mattereth it who he may be? Only do thou my bidding.” She rejoined: “‘Tis well. All shall be as thou wishest.” But in mind she wondered at the man who made such strange request, and desired much to look upon him.

Wherefore, when all the meats were ready for serving up, she helped the slave boy Abdullah to spread the table and set on the meal, and no sooner did she see Khwajah Hasan than she knew who he was, albeit he had disguised himself in the dress of a stranger merchant. Furthermore, when she eyed him attentively, she espied a dagger hidden under his robe. “So ho!” quoth she to herself. “This is the cause why the villain eateth not of salt, for that he seeketh an opportunity to slay my master, whose mortal enemy he is. Howbeit I will be beforehand with him and dispatch him ere he find a chance to harm my lord.” Now when Ali Baba and Khwajah Hasan had eaten their sufficiency, the slave boy Abdullah brought Morgiana word to serve the dessert, and she cleared the table and set on fruit fresh and dried in salvers, then she placed by the side of Ali Baba a small tripod for three cups with a flagon of wine, and lastly she went off with the slave boy Abdullah into another room, as though she would herself eat supper. Then Khwajah Hasan- that is, the captain of the robbers- perceiving that the coast was clear, exulted mightily, saying to himself: “The time hath come for me to take full vengeance. With one thrust of my dagger I will dispatch this fellow, then escape across the garden and wend my ways. His nephew will not adventure to stay my hand, for an he do but move a finger or toe with that intent, another stab with settle his earthly account. Still must I wait awhile until the slave boy and the cookmaid shall have eaten and lain down to rest them in the kitchen.”

Morgiana, however, watched him wistfully and divining his purpose, said in her mind: “I must not allow this villain advantage over my lord, but by some means I must make void his project and at once put an end to the life of him.” Accordingly the trusty slave girl changed her dress with all haste and donned such clothes as dancers wear. She veiled her face with a costly kerchief, around her head she bound a fine turban, and about her middle she tied a waistcloth worked with gold and silver, wherein she stuck a dagger whose hilt was rich in filigree and jewelry. Thus disguised, she said to the slave boy Abdullah: “Take now thy tambourine, that we may play and sing and dance in honor of our master’s guest.” So he did her bidding and the twain went into the room, the lad playing and the lass following. Then, making a low congee, they asked leave to perform and disport and play, and Ali Baba gave permission, saying, “Dance now and do your best that this our guest may he mirthful and merry.” Quoth Khwajah Hasan, “O my lord, thou dost indeed provide much pleasant entertainment.”

Then the slave boy Abdullah, standing by, began to strike the tambourine whilst Morgiana rose up and showed her perfect art and pleased them vastly with graceful steps and sportive motion. And suddenly, drawing the poniard from her belt, she brandished it and paced from side to side, a spectacle which pleased them most of all. At times also she stood before them, now clapping the sharp-edged dagger under armpit and then setting it against her breast. Lastly she took the tambourine from the slave boy Abdullah, and still holding the poniard in her right, she went round for largess as is the custom amongst merrymakers. First she stood before Ali Baba, who threw a gold coin into the tambourine, and his nephew likewise put in an ashrafi. Then Khwajah Hasan, seeing her about to approach him, fell to pulling out his purse, when she heartened her heart, and quick as the blinding levin she plunged the dagger into his vitals, and forthwith the miscreant fell back stone-dead.

Ali Baba was dismayed, and cried in his wrath: “O unhappy, what is this deed thou hast done to bring about my ruin?” But she replied: “Nay, O my lord, rather to save thee and not to cause thee harm have I slain this man. Loosen his garments and see what thou wilt discover thereunder.” So Ali Baba searched the dead man’s dress and found concealed therein a dagger.

Then said Morgiana: “This wretch was thy deadly enemy. Consider him well. He is none other than the oil merchant, the captain of the band of robbers. Whenas he came hither with intent to take thy life, he would not eat thy salt, and when thou toldest me that he wished not any in the meat, I suspected him, and at first sight I was assured that he would surely do thee die. Almighty Allah he praised, ’tis even as I thought.” Then Ali Baba lavished upon her thanks and expressions of gratitude, saying, “Lo, these two times hast thou saved me from his hand,” and falling upon her neck, he cried: “See, thou art free, and as reward for this thy fealty I have wedded thee to my nephew.” Then, turning to the youth, he said: “Do as I bid thee and thou shalt prosper. I would that thou marry Morgiana, who is a model of duty and loyalty. Thou seest now yon Khwajah Hasan sought thy friendship only that he might find opportunity to take my life, but this maiden with her good sense and her wisdom hath slain him and saved us.”

Ali Baba’s nephew straightway consented to marry Morgiana. After which the three, raising the dead body, bore it forth with all heed and vigilance and privily buried it in the garden, and for many years no one know aught thereof. In due time Ali Baba married his brother’s son to Morgiana with great pomp, and spread a bride feast in most sumptuous fashion for his friends and neighbors, and made merry with them and enjoyed singing and all manner of dancing and amusements. He prospered in every undertaking and Time smiled upon him and a new source of wealth was opened to him.

For fear of the thieves he had not once visited the jungle cave wherein lay the treasure since the day he had carried forth the corpse of his brother Kasim. But some time after, he mounted his hackney one morning and journeyed thither, with all care and caution, till finding no signs of man or horse, and reassured in his mind, he ventured to draw near the door. Then, alighting from his beast, he tied it up to a tree, and going to the entrance, pronounced the words which he had not forgotten, “Open, Sesame!” Hereat, as was its wont, the door flew open, and entering thereby he saw the goods and hoard of gold and silver untouched and lying as he had left them. So he felt assured that not one of all the thieves remained alive, and that save himself there was not a soul who knew the secret of the place. At once he bound in his saddlecloth a load of ashrafis such as his horse could bear and brought it home, and in after days he showed the hoard to his sons and sons’ sons and taught them how the door could he caused to open and shut. Thus Ali Baba and his household lived all their lives in wealth and joyance in that city where erst he had been a pauper, and by the blessing of that secret treasure he rose to high degree and dignities.
 


Table of Content – The Arabian Nights

 

In the Name of Allah,
the Compassionating, the Compassionate!

PRAISE BE TO ALLAH – THE BENEFICENT KING – THE CREATOR OF THE UNIVERSE – LORD OF THE THREE WORLDS – WHO SET UP THE FIRMAMENT WITHOUT PILLARS IN ITS STEAD – AND WHO STRETCHED OUT THE EARTH EVEN AS A BED – AND GRACE, AND PRAYER-BLESSING BE UPON OUR LORD MOHAMMED – LORD OF APOSTOLIC MEN – AND UPON HIS FAMILY AND COMPANION TRAIN -PRAYER AND BLESSINGS ENDURING AND GRACE WHICH UNTO THE DAY OF DOOM SHALL REMAIN – AMEN! – O THOU OF THE THREE WORLDS SOVEREIGN!

AND AFTERWARD. Verily the works and words of those gone before us have become instances and examples to men of our modern day, that folk may view what admonishing chances befell other folk and may therefrom take warning; and that they may peruse the annals of antique peoples and all that hath betided them, and be thereby ruled and restrained. Praise, therefore, be to Him who hath made the histories of the past an admonition unto the present! Now of such instances are the tales called "A Thousand Nights and a Night," together with their far-famed legends and wonders.

Therein it is related (but Allah it is All-knowing of His hidden things and All-ruling and All-honored and All-giving and All-gracious and All-merciful!) that in tide of yore and in time long gone before, there was a King of the Kings of the Banu Sasan in the islands of India and China, a Lord of armies and guards and servants and dependents. He left only two sons, one in the prime of manhood and the other yet a youth, while both were knights and braves, albeit the elder was a doughtier horseman than the younger. So he succeeded to the empire, when he ruled the land and lorded it is over his lieges with justice so exemplary that he was beloved by all the peoples of his capital and of his kingdom. His name was King Shahryar, and he made his younger brother, Shah Zaman hight, King of Samarkand in Barbarian land. These two ceased not to abide in their several realms and the law was ever carried out in their dominions. And each ruled his own kingdom with equity and fair dealing to his subjects, in extreme solace and enjoyment, and this condition continually endured for a score of years.

But at the end of the twentieth twelvemonth the elder King yearned for a sight of his younger brother and felt that he must look upon him once more. So he took counsel with his Wazir about visiting him, but the Minister, finding the project unadvisable, recommended that a letter be written and a present be sent under his charge to the younger brother, with an invitation to visit the elder. Having accepted this advice, the King forthwith bade prepare handsome gifts, such as horses with saddles of gem-encrusted gold; Mamelukes, or white slaves; beautiful handmaids, high-breasted virgins, and splendid stuffs and costly. He then wrote a letter to Shah Zaman expressing his warm love and great wish to see him, ending with these words: "We therefore hope of the favor and affection of the beloved brother that he will condescend to bestir himself and turn his face usward. Furthermore, we have sent our Wazir to make all ordinance for the march, and our one and only desire it is to see thee ere we die. But if thou delay or disappoint us, we shall not survive the blow. Wherewith peace be upon thee!"

Then King Shahryar, having sealed the missive and given it is to the Wazir with the offerings aforementioned, commanded him to shorten his skirts and strain his strength and make all expedition in going and returning. "Harkening and obedience!" quoth the Minister, who fell to making ready without stay and packed up his loads and prepared all his requisites without delay. This occupied him three days, and on the dawn of the fourth he took leave of his King and marched right away, over desert and hallway, stony waste and pleasant lea, without halting by night or by day. But whenever he entered a realm whose ruler was subject to his suzerain, where he was greeted with magnificent gifts of gold and silver and all manner of presents fair and rare, he would tarry there three days, the term of the guest rite. And when he left on the fourth, he would be honorably escorted for a whole day’s march.

As soon as the Wazir drew near Shah Zaman’s court in Samarkand he dispatched to report his arrival one of his high officials, who presented himself before the King and, kissing ground between his hands, delivered his message. Hereupon the King commanded sundry of his grandees and lords of his realm to fare forth and meet his brother’s Wazir at the distance of a full day’s journey. Which they did, greeting him respectfully and wishing him all prosperity and forming an escort and a procession. When he entered the city, he proceeded straightway to the palace, where he presented himself in the royal presence; and after kissing ground and praying for the King’s health and happiness and for victory over all his enemies, he informed him that his brother was yearning to see him, and prayed for the pleasure of a visit.

He then delivered the letter, which Shah Zaman took from his hand and read. It contained sundry hints and allusions which required thought, but when the King had fully comprehended its import, he said, "I hear and I obey the commands of the beloved brother!" adding to the Wazir, "But we will not march till after the third day’s hospitality." He appointed for the Minister fitting quarters of the palace and pitching tents for the troops, rationed them with whatever they might require of meat and drink and other necessaries. On the fourth day he made ready for wayfare and got together sumptuous presents befitting his elder brother’s majesty, and stablished his chief Wazir Viceroy of the land during his absence. Then he caused his tents and camels and mules to be brought forth and encamped, with their bales and loads, attendants and guards, within sight of the city, in readiness to set out next morning for his brother’s capital.

But when the night was half-spent he bethought him that he had forgotten in his palace somewhat which he should have brought with him, so he returned privily and entered his apartments, where he found the Queen, his wife, asleep on his own carpet bed embracing with both arms a black cook of loathsome aspect and foul with kitchen grease and grime. When he saw this the world waxed black before his sight and he said: "If such case happen while I am yet within sight of the city, what will be the doings of this damned whore during my long absence at my brother’s court?" So he drew his scimitar, and cutting the two in four pieces with a single blow, left them on the carpet and returned presently to his camp without letting anyone know of what had happened. Then he gave orders for immediate departure and set out at once and began his travel; but he could not help thinking over his wife’s treason, and he kept ever saying to himself: "How could she do this deed by me? How could she work her own death?" till excessive grief seized him, his color changed to yellow, his body waxed weak, and he was threatened with a dangerous malady, such a one as bringeth men to die. So the Wazir shortened his stages and tarried long at the watering stations, and did his best to solace the King.

Now when Shah Zaman drew near the capital of his brother, he dispatched vaunt-couriers and messengers of glad tidings to announce his arrival, and Shahryar came forth to meet him with his wazirs and emirs and lords and grandees of his realm, and saluted him and joyed with exceeding joy and caused the city to be decorated in his honor. When, however, the brothers met, the elder could not but see the change of complexion in the younger and questioned him of his case, whereto he replied: "’Tis caused by the travails of wayfare and my case needs care, for I have suffered from the change of water and air! But Allah be praised for reuniting me with a brother so dear and so rare!" On this wise he dissembled and kept his secret, adding: "O King of the Time and Caliph of the Tide, only toil and moil have tinged my face yellow with bile and hath made my eyes sink deep in my head."

Then the two entered the capital in all honor, and the elder brother lodged the younger in a palace overhanging the pleasure garden. And after a time, seeing his condition still unchanged, he attributed it is to his separation from his country and kingdom. So he let him wend his own ways and asked no questions of him till one day when he again said, "O my brother, I see thou art grown weaker of body and yellower of color." "O my brother," replied Shah Zaman, "I have an internal wound." Still he would not tell him what he had witnessed in his wife. Thereupon Shahryar summoned doctors and surgeons and bade them treat his brother according to the rules of art, which they did for a whole month. But their sherbets and potions naught availed, for he would dwell upon the deed of his wife, and despondency, instead of diminishing, prevailed, and leechcraft treatment utterly failed.

One day his elder brother said to him: "I am going forth to hunt and course and to take my pleasure and pastime. Maybe this would lighten thy heart." Shah Zaman, however, refused, saying: "O my brother, my soul yearneth for naught of this sort, and I entreat thy favor to stiffer me tarry quietly in this place, being wholly taken up with my malady." So King Shah Zaman passed his night in the palace, and next morning when his brother had fared forth, he removed from his room and sat him down at one of the lattice windows overlooking the pleasure grounds. And there he abode thinking with saddest thought over his wife’s betrayal, and burning sighs issued from his tortured breast.

And as he continued in this case lo! a postern of the palace, which was carefully kept private, swung open, and out of it is came twenty slave girls surrounding his brother’s wife, who was wondrous fair, a model of beauty and comeliness and symmetry and perfect loveliness, and who paced with the grace of a gazelle which panteth for the cooling stream. Thereupon Shah Zaman drew back from the window, but he kept the bevy in sight, espying them from a place whence he could not be espied. They walked under the very lattice and advanced a little way into the garden till they came to a jetting fountain a-middlemost a great basin of water. Then they stripped off their clothes, and behold, ten of them were women, concubines of the King, and the other ten were white slaves. Then they all paired off, each with each. But the Queen, who was left alone, presently cried out in a loud voice, "Here to me, O my lord Saeed!"

And then sprang with a drop leap from one of the trees a big slobbering blackamoor with rolling eyes which showed the whites, a truly hideous sight. He walked boldly up to her and threw his arms round her neck while she embraced him as warmly. Then he bussed her and winding his legs round hers, as a button loop clasps a button, he threw her and enjoyed her. On like wise did the other slaves with the girls till all had satisfied their passions, and they ceased not from kissing and clipping, coupling and carousing, till day began to wane, when the Mamelukes rose from the damsels’ bosoms and the blackamoor slave dismounted from the Queen’s breast. The men resumed their disguises and all except the Negro, who swarmed up the tree, entered the palace and closed the postern door as before.

Now when Shah Zaman saw this conduct of his sister-in-law, he said to himself: "By Allah, my calamity is lighter than this! My brother is a greater King among the Kings than I am, yet this infamy goeth on in his very palace, and his wife is in love with that filthiest of filthy slaves. But this only showeth that they all do it and that there is no woman but who cuckoldeth her husband. Then the curse of Allah upon one and all, and upon the fools who lean against them for support or who place the reins of conduct in their hands!" So he put away his melancholy and despondency, regret and repine, and allayed his sorrow by constantly repeating those words, adding, "’Tis my conviction that no man in this world is safe from their malice!"

When suppertime came, they brought him the trays and he ate with voracious appetite, for he had long refrained from meat, feeling unable to touch any dish, however dainty. Then he returned grateful thanks to Almighty Allah, praising Him and blessing Him, and he spent a most restful night, it having been long since he had savored the sweet food of sleep. Next day he broke his fast heartily and began to recover health and strength, and presently regained excellent condition. His brother came back from the chase ten days after, when he rode out to meet him and they saluted each other. And when King Shahryar looked at King Shah Zaman, he saw how the hue of health had returned to him, how his face had waxed ruddy, and how he ate with an appetite after his late scanty diet. He wondered much and said: "O my brother, I was no anxious that thou wouldst join me in hunting and chasing, and wouldst take thy pleasure and pastime in my dominion!" He thanked him and excused himself.

Then the two took horse and rode into the city, and when they were seated at their ease in the palace, the food trays were set before them and they ate their sufficiency. After the meats were removed and they had washed their hands, King Shahryar turned to his brother and said: "My mind is overcome with wonderment at thy condition. I was desirous to carry thee with me to the chase, but I saw thee changed in hue, pale and wan to view, and in sore trouble of mind too. But now, Alhamdolillah- glory be to God!- I see thy natural color hath returned to thy face and that thou art again in the best of case. It was my belief that thy sickness came of severance from thy family and friends, and absence from capital and country, so I refrained from troubling thee with further questions. But now I beseech thee to expound to me the cause of thy complaint and thy change of color, and to explain the reason of thy recovery and the return to the ruddy hue of health which I am wont to view. So speak out and hide naught!"

When Shah Zaman heard this, he bowed groundward awhile his head, then raised it and said: "I will tell thee what caused my complaint and my loss of color. But excuse my acquainting thee with the cause of its return to me and the reason of my complete recovery. Indeed I pray thee not to press me for a reply." Said Shahryar, who was much surprised by these words, "Let me hear first what produced thy pallor and thy poor condition." "Know, then, O my brother," rejoined Shah Zaman, "that when thou sentest thy Wazir with the invitation to place myself between thy hands, I made ready and marched out of my city. But presently I minded me having left behind me in the palace a string of jewels intended as a gift to thee. I returned for it alone, and found my wife on my carpet bed and in the arms of a hideous black cook. So I slew the twain and came to thee, yet my thoughts brooded over this business and I lost my bloom and became weak. But excuse me if I still refuse to tell thee what was the reason of my complexion returning."

Shahryar shook his head, marveling with extreme marvel, and with the fire of wrath flaming up from his heart, he cried, "Indeed, the malice of woman is mighty!" Then he took refuge from them with Allah and said: "In very sooth, O my brother, thou hast escaped many an evil by putting thy wife to death, and right excusable were thy wrath and grief for such mishap, which never yet befell crowned king like thee. By Allah, had the case been mine, I would not have been satisfied without slaying a thousand women, and that way madness lies! But now praise be to Allah Who hath tempered to thee thy tribulation, and needs must thou acquaint me with that which so suddenly restored to thee complexion and health, and explain to me what causeth this concealment." "O King of the Age, again I pray thee excuse my so doing!" "Nay, but thou must." "I fear, O my brother, lest the recital cause thee more anger and sorrow than afflicted me." "That were but a better reason," quoth Shahryar, "for telling me the whole history, and I conjure thee by Allah not to keep back aught from me."

Thereupon Shah Zaman told him all he had seen, from commencement to conclusion, ending with these words: "When I beheld thy calamity and the treason of thy wife, O my brother, and I reflected that thou art in years my senior and in sovereignty my superior, mine own sorrow was belittled by the comparison, and my mind recovered tone and temper. So, throwing off melancholy and despondency, I was able to eat and drink and sleep, and thus I speedily regained health and strength. Such is the truth and the whole truth." When King Shahryar heard this he waxed wroth with exceeding wrath, and rage was like to strangle him. But presently he recovered himself and said, "O my brother, I would not give thee the lie in this matter, but I cannot credit it till I see it with mine own eyes." "And thou wouldst look upon thy calamity," quoth Shah Zaman, "rise at once and make ready again for hunting and coursing, and then hide thyself with me. So shalt thou witness it and thine eyes shall verify it." "True," quoth the King. Whereupon he let make proclamation of his intent to travel, and the troops and tents fared forth without the city, camping within sight, and Shahryar sallied out with them and took seat a-midmost his host, bidding the slaves admit no man to him. When night came on, he summoned his Wazir and said to him, "Sit thou in my stead, and let none wot of my absence till the term of three days."

Then the brothers disguised themselves and returned by night with all secrecy to the palace, where they passed the dark hours. And at dawn they seated themselves at the lattice overlooking the pleasure grounds, when presently the Queen and her handmaids came out as before, and passing under the windows, made for the fountain. Here they stripped, ten of them being men to ten women, and the King’s wife cried out, "Where art thou, O Saeed?" The hideous blackamoor dropped from the tree straightway, and rushing into her arms without stay or delay, cried out, "I am Sa’ad al-Din Saood!" The lady laughed heartily, and all fell to satisfying their lusts, and remained so occupied for a couple of hours, when the white slaves rose up from the handmaidens’ breasts and the blackamoor dismounted from the Queen’s bosom. Then they went into the basin and after performing the ghusl, or complete ablution, donned their dresses and retired as they had done before.

When King Shahryar saw this infamy of his wife and concubines, he became as one distraught, and he cried out: "Only in utter solitude can man be safe from the doings of this vile world! By Allah, life is naught but one great wrong." Presently he added, "Do not thwart me, O my brother, in what I propose." And the other answered, "I will not." So he said: "Let us up as we are and depart forthright hence, for we have no concern with kingship, and let us overwander Allah’s earth, worshiping the Almighty till we find someone to whom the like calamity hath happened. And if we find none then will death be more welcome to us than life."

So the two brothers issued from a second private postern of the palace, and they never stinted wayfaring by day and by night until they reached a tree a-middle of a meadow hard by a spring of sweet water on the shore of the salt sea. Both drank of it and sat down to take their rest. And when an hour of the day had gone by, lo! they heard a mighty roar and uproar in the middle of the main as though the heavens were falling upon the earth, and the sea brake with waves before them and from it towered a black pillar, which grew and grew till it rose skyward and began making for that meadow. Seeing it, they waxed fearful exceedingly and climbed to the top of the tree, which was a lofty, whence they gazed to see what might be the matter. And behold, it was a Jinni, huge of height and burly of breast and bulk, broad of brow and black of blee, bearing on his head a coffer of crystal. He strode to land, wading through the deep, and coming to the tree whereupon were the two Kings, seated himself beneath it. He then set down the coffer on its bottom and out of it drew a casket with seven padlocks of steel, which he unlocked with seven keys of steel he took from beside his thigh, and out of it a young lady to come was seen, whiteskinned and of winsomest mien, of stature fine and thin, and bright as though a moon of the fourteenth night she had been, or the sun raining lively sheen. Even so the poet Utayyah hath excellently said:-

She rose like the morn as she shone through the night
And she gilded the grove with her gracious sight.
From her radiance the sun taketh increase when
She unveileth and shameth the moonshine bright.
Bow down all beings between her hands
As she showeth charms with her veil undight.
And she floodeth cities with torrent tears
When she flasheth her look of levin light.

The Jinni seated her under the tree by his side and looking at her, said: "O choicest love of this heart of mine! O dame of noblest line, whom I snatched away on thy bride night that none might prevent me taking thy maidenhead or tumble thee before I did, and whom none save myself hath loved or hath enjoyed. O my sweetheart! I would lief sleep a little while." He then laid his head upon the lady’s thighs, and, stretching out hip legs, which extended down to the sea, slept and snored and snarked like the roll of thunder. Presently she raised her head toward the treetop and saw the two Kings perched near the summit. Then she softly lifted off her lap the Jinni’s pate, which she was tired of supporting, and placed it upon the ground, then, standing upright under the tree, signed to the Kings, "Come ye down, ye two, and fear naught from this Ifrit." They were in a terrible fright when they found that she had seen them, and answered her in the same manner, "Allah upon thee and by thy modesty, O lady, excuse us from coming down!" But she rejoined by saying: "Allah upon you both that ye come down forthright. And if ye come not, I will rouse upon you my husband, this Ifrit, and he shall do you to die by the illest of deaths." And she continued making signals to them.

So, being afraid, they came down to her, and she rose before them and said, "Stroke me a strong stroke, without stay or delay, otherwise will I arouse and set upon you this Ifrit, who shall slay you straightway." They said to her: "O our lady, we conjure thee by Allah, let us off this work, for we are fugitives from such, and in extreme dread and terror of this thy husband. How then can we do it in such a way as thou desirest?" "Leave this talk. It needs must be so," quoth she, and she swore them by Him who raised the skies on high without prop or pillar that if they worked not her will, she would cause them to be slain and cast into the sea. Whereupon out of fear King Shahryar said to King Shah Zaman, "O my brother, do thou what she biddeth thee do." But he replied, "I will not do it till thou do it before I do." And they began disputing about futtering her.

Then quoth she to the twain: "How is it I see you disputing and demurring? If ye do not come forward like men and do the deed of kind, ye two, I will arouse upon you the Ifrit." At this, by reason of their sore dread of the Jinni, both did by her what she bade them do, and when they had dismounted from her, she said, "Well done!" She then took from her pocket a purse and drew out a knotted string whereon were strung five hundred and seventy seal rings, and asked, "Know ye what be these?" They answered her saying, "We know not!" Then quoth she: "These be the signets of five hundred and seventy men who have all futtered me upon the horns of this foul, this foolish, this filthy Ifrit. So give me also your two seal rings, ye pair of brothers."

When they had drawn their two rings from their hands and given them to her, she said to them: "Of a truth this Ifrit bore me off on my bride night, and put me into a casket and set the casket in a coffer, and to the coffer he affixed seven strong padlocks of steel and deposited me on the deep bottom of the sea that raves, dashing and clashing with waves, and guarded me so that I might remain chaste and honest, quotha! that none save himself might have connection with me. But I have lain under as many of my kind as I please, and this wretched Jinni wotteth not that Destiny may not be averted nor hindered by aught, and that whatso woman willeth, the same she fulfilleth however man nilleth. Even so saith one of them:

"Rely not on women,
Trust not to their hearts,
Whose joys and whose sorrows
Are hung to their parts!
Lying love they will swear thee
Whence guile ne’er departs.
Take Yusuf for sample,
‘Ware sleights and ‘ware smarts!
Iblis ousted Adam
(See ye not?) thro’ their arts."

Hearing these words, they marveled with exceeding marvel, and she went from them to the Ifrit, and taking up his head on her thigh as before, said to them softly, "Now wend your ways and bear yourselves beyond the bounds of his malice." So they fared forth saying either to other, "Allah! Allah!" and: "There be no Majesty and there be no Might save in Allah, the Glorious, the Great, and with Him we seek refuge from women’s malice and sleight, for of a truth it hath no mate in might. Consider, O my brother, the ways of this marvelous lady with an Ifrit, who is so much more powerful than we are. Now since there hath happened to him a greater mishap than that which befell us and which should bear us abundant consolation, so return we to our countries and capitals, and let us decide never to intermarry with womankind, and presently we will show them what will be our action."

Thereupon they rode back to the tents of King Shahryar, which they reached on the morning of the third day. And having mustered the wazirs and emirs, the chamberlains and high officials, he gave a robe of honor to his Viceroy and issued orders for an immediate return to the city. There he sat him upon his throne and, sending for the Chief Minister, the father of the two damsels who (Inshallah!) will presently be mentioned, he said, "I command thee to take my wife and smite her to death, for she hath broken her plight and her faith." So he carried her to the place of execution and did her die. Then King Shahryar took brand in hand and, repairing to the seraglio, slew all the concubines and their Mamelukes. He also sware himself by a binding oath that whatever wife he married he would abate her maidenhead at night and slay her next morning, to make sure of his honor. "For," said he, "there never was nor is there one chaste woman upon the face of earth."

Then Shah Zaman prayed for permission to fare homeward, and he went forth equipped and escorted and traveled till he reached his own country. Meanwhile Shahryar commanded his Wazir to bring him the bride of the night that he might go in to her. So he produced a most beautiful girl, the daughter of one of the emirs, and the King went in unto her at eventide. And when morning dawned, he bade his Minister strike off her head, and the Wazir did accordingly, for fear of the Sultan. On this wise he continued for the space of three years, marrying a maiden every night and killing her the next morning, till folk raised an outcry against him and cursed him, praying Allah utterly to destroy him and his rule. And women made an uproar and mothers wept and parents fled with their daughters till there remained not in the city a young person fit for carnal copulation.

Presently the King ordered his Chief Wazir, the same who was charged with the executions, to bring him a virgin, as was his wont, and the Minister went forth and searched and found none. So he returned home in sorrow and anxiety, fearing for his life from the King. Now he had two daughters, Scheherazade and Dunyazade, hight, of whom the elder had perused the books, annals, and legends of preceding kings, and the stories, examples, and instances of bygone men and things. Indeed it was said that she had collected a thousand books of histories relating to antique races and departed rulers. She had purused the works of the poets and knew them by heart, she had studied philosophy and the sciences, arts, and accomplishments. And she was pleasant and polite, wise and witty, well read and well bred. Now on that day she said to her father: "Why do I see thee thus changed and laden with cark and care? Concerning this matter quoth one of the poets:

"Tell whoso hath sorrow
Grief never shall last.
E’en as joy hath no morrow
So woe shall go past."

When the Wazir heard from his daughter these words, he related to her, from first to last, all that had happened between him and the King. Thereupon said she: "By Allah, O my father, how long shall this slaughter of women endure? Shall I tell thee what is in my mind in order to save both sides from destruction?" "Say on, O my daughter," quoth he, and quoth she: "I wish thou wouldst give me in marriage to this King Shahryar. Either I shall live or I shall be a ransom for the virgin daughters of Moslems and the cause of their deliverance from his hands and thine." "Allah upon thee!" cried he in wrath exceeding that lacked no feeding. "O scanty of wit, expose not thy life to such peril! How durst thou address me in words so wide from wisdom and unfar from foolishness? Know that one who lacketh experience in worldly matters readily falleth into misfortune, and whoso considereth not the end keepeth not the world to friend, and the vulgar say: ‘I was lying at mine ease. Naught but my officiousness brought me unease’." "Needs must thou," she broke in, "make me a doer of this good deed, and let him kill me an he will. I shall only die a ransom for others." "O my daughter," asked he, "and how shall that profit thee when thou shalt have thrown away thy life?" And she answered, "O my father, it must be, come of it what will!" The Wazir was again moved to fury and blamed and reproached her, ending with, "In very deed I fear lest the same befall thee which befell the bull and the ass with the husbandman." "And what," asked she, "befell them, O my father?" Whereupon the Wazir began…

 


Table of Content – The Arabian Nights

 

I would like to make clear all the visitors of my blog that I am not Rqaqi, Aamil, or Spiritual Healer. Any Raaqi you contact via my blog, know they do not represent this blog or me.

 

In my knowledge these are few dedicated places where you can get your spiritual healing according to Quran and Sunnah. I can recommend these places as in my knowledge they works according to Quran and Sunnah; but I cannot be made responsible either individually or severally for any untoward incidents.

 

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