Supplemental Nights, Volume 2
Richard F. Burton

Part 4 out of 8

of the far and near alike you ever careless grew.
Hadst thou (dear maid) been doomed like me to woes, forsure hadst
felt * The lowe of love and Laza-hell which paring doth
Yet soon shalt suffer torments such as those from thee I bear *
And storm of palpitation-pangs in vitals thine shall brew:
Yea, thou shalt taste the bitter smack of charges false and foul,
* And public make the privacy best hid from meddling crew;
And he thou lovest shall approve him hard of heart and soul * And
heedless of the shifts of Time thy very life undo.
Then hear the fond Salam I send and wish thee every day * While
swayeth spray and sparkleth star all good thy life ensue!

When Al-Abbas had made an end of his verses, he folded the scroll
and gave it to the nurse, who took it and carried it to Mariyah.
When she came into the Princess's presence, she saluted her; but
Mariyah returned not her salutation and she said, "O my lady, how
hard is thy heart that thou grudgest to return the salam! Accept
this letter, because 'tis the last that shall come to thee from
him." Quoth Mariyah, "Take my warning and never again enter my
palace, or 'twill be the cause of thy destruction; for I am
certified that thou purposest my disgrace. So get thee gone from
me." And she bade beat the nurse who went forth fleeing from her
presence, changed of colour and 'wildered of wits, and gave not
over going till she came to the house of Al-Abbas. When the
Prince saw her in this plight, he became like a sleeper awakened
and cried to her, "What hath befallen thee? Acquaint me with thy
case." She replied, "Allah upon thee, nevermore send me to
Mariyah, and do thou protect me, so the Lord protect thee from
the fires of Gehenna!" Then she related to him that which had
betided her with Mariyah which when Al-Abbas heard, there took
him the pride and high spirit of the generous and this was
grievous to him. The love of Mariyah fled forth of his heart and
he said to the nurse, "How much hadst thou of Mariyah every
month?" Quoth she, "Ten dinars" and quoth he, "Be not concerned."
Then he put hand to pouch and bringing out two hundred ducats,
gave them to her and said,"Take this wage for a whole year and
turn not again to serve anyone of the folk. When the twelvemonth
shall have passed away, I will give thee a two years' wage, for
that thou hast wearied thyself with us and on account of the
cutting off the tie which bound thee to Mariyah." Also he gifted
her with a complete suit of clothes and raising his head to her,
said, "When thou toldest me that which Mariyah had done with
thee, Allah uprooted the love of her from out my heart, and never
again will she occur to my thought; so extolled be He who turneth
hearts and eyes! 'Twas she who was the cause of my coming out
from Al-Yaman, and now the time is past for which I engaged with
my folk and I fear lest my father levy his forces and ride forth
in quest of me, for that he hath no child other than myself nor
can he brook to be parted from me; and in like way 'tis with my
mother." When the nurse heard his words, she asked him, "O my
lord, and which of the kings is thy sire?" He answered, saying,
"My father is Al-Aziz, lord of Al-Yaman, and Nubia and the
Islands[FN#392] of the Banu Kahtan, and the Two
Sanctuaries[FN#393] (Allah of All-might have them in His
keeping!), and whenever he taketh horse, there ride with him an
hundred and twenty and four thousand horsemen, each and every
smiters with the sword, besides attendants and servants and
followers, all of whom give ear to my word and obey my bidding."
Asked the nurse, "Why, then, O my lord, didst thou conceal the
secret of thy rank and lineage and passedst thyself off for a
foreigner and a wayfarer? Alas for our disgrace before thee by
reason of our shortcoming in rendering thee thy due! What shall
be our excuse with thee, and thou of the sons of the kings?" But
he rejoined, "By Allah, thou hast not fallen short! Indeed, 'tis
incumbent on me to requite thee, what while I live, though from
thee I be far distant." Then he called his man Amir and said to
him, "Saddle the steeds." When the nurse heard his words and
indeed she saw that Amir brought him the horses and they were
resolved upon departure, the tears ran down upon her cheeks and
she said to him, "By Allah, thy separation is saddening to me, O
coolth of the eye!" Then quoth she, "Where is the goal of thine
intent, so we may know thy news and solace ourselves with thy
report?" Quoth he, "I go hence to visit 'Akil, the son of my
paternal uncle, for that he hath his sojourn in the camp of
Kundah bin Hisham, and these twenty years have I not seen him nor
hath he seen me; so I purpose to repair to him and discover his
news and return. Then will I go hence to Al-Yaman, Inshallah!" So
saying, he took leave of the nurse and her husband and set out,
intending for 'Akil, the son of his father's brother. Now there
was between Baghdad and 'Akil's abiding-place forty days'
journey; so Al-Abbas settled himself on the back of his steed and
his servant Amir mounted also and they fared forth on their way.
Presently, Al-Abbas turned right and left and recited these

"I'm the singular knight and my peers I slay! * I lay low the foe
and his whole array:
I fare me to visit my friend Al-Akil, * And in safety and
Allah-lauds,[FN#394] shorten the way;
And roll up the width of the wold while still * Hears 'Amir my
word or in earnest or play.[FN#395]
I spring with the spring of a lynx or a pard * Upon whoso dareth
our course to stay;
O'erthrow him in ruin and abject shame, * Make him drain the
death-cup in fatal fray.
My lance is long with its steely blade; * A brand keen-grided,
thin-edged I sway:
With a stroke an it fell on a towering hill * Of the hardest
stone, this would cleave in tway:
I lead no troops, nor seek aid save God's, * The creating Lord
(to whom laud alway!)
On Whom I rely in adventures all * And Who pardoneth laches of
freeman and thrall."

Then they fell a-faring night and day, and as they went, behold,
they sighted a camp of the camps of the Arabs. So Al-Abbas
enquired thereof and was told that it was the camp of the Banu
Zohrah. Now there were around them herds and flocks, such as
filled the earth, and they were enemies to Al-Akil, the cousin of
Al-Abbas, upon whom they made daily raids and took his cattle,
wherefore he used to pay them tribute every year because he
lacked power to cope wth them. When Al-Abbas came to the skirts
of the camp, he dismounted from his destrier and his servant Amir
also dismounted; and they set down the provaunt and ate their
sufficiency and rested an hour of the day. Then said the Prince
to his page, "Fetch water from the well and give the horses to
drink and draw up a supply for us in thy bag,[FN#396] by way of
provision for the road." So Amir took the water-skin and made for
the well; but, when he came there, behold, two young men slaves
were leading gazelles, and when they saw him, they said to him,
"Whither wendest thou, O youth, and of which of the Arabs art
thou?" Quoth he, "Harkye, lads, fill me my water-skin, for that I
am a stranger astray and a farer of the way, and I have a comrade
who awaiteth me." Quoth the thralls, "Thou art no wayfarer, but a
spy from Al-Akil's camp." Then they took him and carried him to
their king Zuhayr bin Shabib; and when he came before him, he
said to him, "Of which of the Arabs art thou?" Quoth Amir, "I am
a wayfarer." So Zuhayr said, "Whence comest thou and whither
wendest thou?" and Amir replied, "I am on my way to Al-Akil."
When he named Al-Akil, those who were present were excited; but
Zuhayr signed to them with his eyes and asked him, "What is thine
errand with Al-Akil?" and he answered, "We would fain see him, my
friend and I." As soon as Zuhayr heard his words, he bade smite
his neck;' but his Wazir said to him, "Slay him not, till his
friend be present." So he commanded the two slaves to fetch his
friend; whereupon they repaired to Al-Abbas and called to him,
saying, "O youth, answer the summons of King Zuhayr." He
enquired, "What would the king with me?" and they replied, "We
know not." Quoth he, "Who gave the king news of me?" and quoth
they, "We went to draw water, and found a man by the well. So we
questioned him of his case, but he would not acquaint us
therewith, wherefore we carried him willy-nilly to King Zuhayr,
who asked him of his adventure and he told him that he was going
to Al-Akil. Now Al-Akil is the king's enemy and he intendeth to
betake himself to his camp and make prize of his offspring, and
cut off his traces." Said Al-Abbas, "And what hath Al-Akil done
with King Zuhayr?" They replied. "He engaged for himself that he
would bring the King every year a thousand dinars and a thousand
she-camels, besides a thousand head of thoroughbred steeds and
two hundred black slaves and fifty hand-maids; but it hath
reached the king that Al-Akil purposeth to give naught of this;
wherefore he is minded to go to him. So hasten thou with us, ere
the King be wroth with thee and with us." Then said Al-Abbas to
them, "O youths, sit by my weapons and my stallion till I
return." But they said, "By Allah, thou prolongest discourse with
that which beseemeth not of words! Make haste, or we will go with
thy head, for indeed the King purposeth to slay thee and to slay
thy comrade and take that which is with you." When the Prince
heard this, his skin bristled with rage and he cried out at them
with a cry which made them tremble. Then he sprang upon his horse
and settling himself in the saddle, galloped till he came to the
King's assembly, when he shouted at the top of his voice, saying,
"To horse, O horsemen!" and couched his spear at the pavilion
wherein was Zuhayr. Now there were about the King a thousand
smiters with the sword; but Al-Abbas charged home upon them and
dispersed them from around him; and there abode none in the tent
save Zuhayr and his Wazir. Then Al-Abbas came up to the door of
the tent wherein were four-and-twenty golden doves; so he took
them, after he had tumbled them down with the end of his lance.
Then he called out saying, "Ho, Zuhayr! Doth it not suffice thee
that thou hast abated Al-Akil's repute, but thou art minded to
abate that of those who sojourn round about him? Knowest thou not
that he is of the lieutenants of Kundah bin Hisham of the Banu
Shayban, a man renowned for prowess? Indeed, greed of his gain
hath entered into thee and envy of him hath gotten the mastery of
thee. Doth it not suffice thee that thou hast orphaned his
children[FN#397] and slain his men? By the virtue of Mustafa, the
Chosen Prophet, I will make thee drain the cup of death!" So
saying. he bared his brand and smiting Zuhayr on his
shoulder-blade caused the steel issue gleaming from his throat
tendons; then he smote the Wazir and clove his crown asunder. As
he was thus, behold, Amir called out to him and said, "O my lord,
come help me, or I be a dead man!" So Al-Abbas went up to him
guided by his voice, and found him cast down on his back and
chained with four chains to four pickets of iron.[FN#398] He
loosed his bonds and said to him, "Go in front of me, O Amir." So
he fared on before him a little, and presently they looked, and,
behold, horsemen were making to Zuhayr's succour, and they
numbered twelve thousand riders led by Sahl bin Ka'ab bestriding
a coal-black steed. He charged upon Amir, who fled from him, then
upon Al-Abbas, who said, "O Amir, hold fast to my horse and guard
my back." The page did as he bade him, whereupon Al-Abbas cried
out at the folk and falling upon them, overthrew their braves and
slew of them some two thousand riders, whilst not one of them
knew what was to do nor with whom he fought. Then said one of
them to other, "Verily, the King is slain; so with whom do we
wage war? Indeed ye flee from him; but 'twere better ye enter
under his banners, or not one of you will be saved." Thereupon
all dismounted and doffing that which was upon them of war-gear,
came before Al-Abbas and proffered him allegiance and sued for
his protection. So he withheld his brand from them and bade them
gather together the spoils. Then he took the riches and the
slaves and the camels, and they all became his lieges and his
retainers, to the number (according to that which is reported) of
fifty thousand horses. Furthermore, the folk heard of him and
flocked to him from all sides; whereupon he divided the loot
amongst them and gave largesse and dwelt thus three days, and
there came gifts to him. After this he bade march for Al-Akil's
abiding place; so they fared on six days and on the seventh they
sighted the camp. Al-Abbas bade his man Amir precede him and give
Al-Akil the good news of his cousin's coming; so he rode on to
the camp and, going in to Al-Akil, acquainted him with the glad
tidings of Zuhayr's slaughter and the conquest of his
clan.[FN#399] Al-Akil rejoiced in the coming of Al-Abbas and the
slaughter of his enemy and all in his camp rejoiced also and cast
robes of honour upon Amir; while Al-Akil bade go forth to meet
Al-Abbas, and commanded that none, great or small, freeman or
slave, should tarry behind. So they did his bidding and going
forth all, met Al-Abbas at three parasangs[FN#400] distance from
the camp; and when they met him, they dismounted from their
horses and Al-Akil and he embraced and clapped palm to
palm.[FN#401] Then rejoicing in the coming of Al-Abbas and the
killing of their foeman, they returned to the camp, where tents
were pitched for the new-comers and skin-rugs spread and game
slain and beasts slaughtered and royal guest-meals spread; and
after this fashion they abode twenty days in the enjoyment of all
delight of life. On this wise fared it with Al-Abbas and his
cousin Al-Akil; but as regards King Al-Aziz, when his son left
him, he was desolated for him with exceeding desolation, both he
and his mother; and when tidings of him tarried long and the
tryst-time passed without his returning, the king caused public
proclamation to be made, commanding all his troops to get ready
to mount and ride forth in quest of his son Al-Abbas, at the end
of three days, after which no cause of hindrance or excuse would
be admitted to any. So on the fourth day, the king bade muster
the troops who numbered four-and-twenty thousand horse, besides
servants and followers. Accordingly, they reared the standards
and the kettle-drums beat the general and the king set out with
his power intending for Baghdad; nor did he cease to press
forward with all diligence, till he came within half a day's
journey of the city, when he bade his army encamp on the Green
Meadow. There they pitched the tents, till the lowland was
straitened with them, and set up for the king a pavilion of green
brocade, purfled with pearls and precious stones. When Al-Aziz
had sat awhile, he summoned the Mamelukes of his son Al-Abbas,
and they were five-and-twenty in number besides ten slave-girls,
as they were moons, five of whom the king had brought with him
and other five he had left with the prince's mother. When the
Mamelukes came before him, he cast over each and every of them a
mantle of green brocade and bade them mount similar horses of one
and the same fashion and enter Baghdad and ask after their lord
Al-Abbas. So they rode into the city and passed through the
market-streets and there remained in Baghdad nor old man nor boy
but came forth to gaze on them and divert himself with the sight
of their beauty and loveliness and the seemliness of their
semblance and the goodliness of their garments and horses, for
all were even as moons. They gave not over going till they came
to the palace,[FN#402] where they halted, and the king looked at
them and seeing their beauty and the brilliancy of their apparel
and the brightness of their faces, said, "Would Heaven I knew of
which of the tribes these are!" And he bade the Eunuch bring him
news of them. The castrato went out to them and questioned them
of their case, whereto they replied, "Return to thy lord and
enquire of him concerning Prince Al-Abbas, an he have come unto
him, for that he left his sire King Al-Aziz a full-told year ago,
and indeed longing for him troubleth the King and he hath levied
a division of his army and his guards and is come forth in quest
of his son, so haply he may light upon tidings of him." Quoth the
Eunuch, "Is there amongst you a brother of his or a son?" and
quoth they, "Nay, by Allah, but we are all his Mamelukes and the
purchased of his money, and his sire Al-Aziz hath sent us to make
enquiry of him. Do thou go to thy lord and question him of the
Prince and return to us with that which he shall answer thee."
Asked the Eunuch, "And where is King Al-Aziz?" and they answered,
"He is encamped in the Green Meadow."[FN#403] The Eunuch returned
and told the king, who said, "Indeed we have been unduly
negligent with regard to Al-Abbas. What shall be our excuse with
the King? By Allah, my soul suggested to me that the youth was of
the sons of the kings!" His wife, the Lady Afifah, saw him
lamenting for his neglect of Al-Abbas, and said to him, "O King,
what is it thou regrettest with this mighty regret?" Quoth he,
"Thou knowest the stranger youth, who gifted us with the rubies?"
Quoth she, "Assuredly;" and he, "Yonder youths, who have halted
in the palace court, are his Mamelukes, and his father, King
Al-Aziz, lord of Al-Yaman, hath pitched his camp on the Green
Meadow; for he is come with his army to seek him, and the number
of his troops is four-and-twenty thousand horsemen." Then he went
out from her, and when she heard his words, she wept sore for him
and had compassion on his case and sent after him, counselling
him to summon the Mamelukes and lodge them in the palace and
entertain them. The king hearkened to her rede and despatching
the Eunuch for the Mamelukes, assigned unto them a lodging and
said to them, "Have patience, till the King give you tidings of
your lord Al-Abbas." When they heard his words, their eyes ran
over with a rush of tears, of their mighty longing for the sight
of their lord. Then the King bade the Oueen enter the private
chamber opening upon the throne-room and let down the curtain
before the door, so she might see and not be seen. She did this
and he summoned them to his presence; and, when they stood before
him, they kissed ground to do him honour, and showed forth their
courtly breeding and magnified his dignity. He ordered them to
sit, but they refused, till he conjured them by their lord
Al-Abbas: accordingly they sat down and he bade set before them
food of various kinds and fruits and sweetmeats. Now within the
Lady Afifah's palace was a souterrain communicating with the
pavilion of the Princess Mariyah: so the Queen sent after her and
she came to her, whereupon she made her stand behind the curtain
and gave her to know that Al-Abbas was son to the King of
Al-Yaman and that these were his Mamelukes: she also told her
that the Prince's father had levied his troops and was come with
his army in quest of him and that he had pitched his camp on the
Green Meadow and had despatched these Mamelukes to make enquiry
of their lord. Then Mariyah abode looking upon them and upon
their beauty and loveliness and the goodliness of their raiment,
till they had eaten their fill of food and the tables were
removed; whereupon the King recounted to them the story of
Al-Abbas and they took leave of him and went their ways. So
fortuned it with the Mamelukes; but as for the Princess Mariyah,
when she returned to her palace, she bethought herself concerning
the affair of Al-Abbas repenting her of what she had done; and
the love of him took root in her heart. And, when the night
darkened upon her, she dismissed all her women and bringing out
the letters, to wit, those which Al-Abbas had written her, fell
to reading them and weeping. She left not weeping her night long,
and when she arose in the morning. she called a damsel of her
slave-girls, Shafikah by name, and said to her, "O damsel, I
purpose to discover to thee mine affair and I charge thee keep my
secret, which is that thou betake thyself to the house of the
nurse, who used to serve me, and fetch her to me, for that I have
grave need of her." Accordingly, Shafikah went out and repairing
to the nurse's house, entered and found her clad in clothing
other and richer than what she had whilome been wont to wear. So
she saluted her and asked her, "Whence hadst thou this dress,
than which there is no goodlier?" Answered the nurse, "O
Shafikah, thou deemest that I have seen no good save of thy
mistress; but, by Allah, had I endeavoured for her destruction, I
had acted righteously, seeing that she did with me what she did
and bade the Eunuch beat me, without offence by me offered: so
tell her that he, on whose behalf I bestirred myself with her,
hath made me independent of her and her humours, for he hath
habited me in this habit and given me two hundred and fifty
dinars and promised me the like every year and charged me to
serve none of the folk." Quoth Shafikah, "My mistress hath a need
for thee; so come thou with me and I will engage to restore thee
to thy dwelling in safety and satisfaction." But quoth the nurse,
"Indeed her palace is become unlawful and forbidden to me[FN#404]
and never again will I enter therein, for that Allah (extolled
and exalted be He!) of His favour and bounty hath rendered me
independent of her." Presently Shafikah returned to her mistress
and acquainted her with the nurse's words and that wherein she
was of prosperity; whereupon Mariyah confessed her unmannerly
dealing with her and repented when repentance profited her not;
and she abode in that her case days and nights, whilst the fire
of longing flamed in her heart. On this wise happened it to her;
but as regards Al-Abbas, he tarried with his cousin Al-Akil
twenty days, after which he made ready for the journey to Baghdad
and bidding bring the booty he had taken from King Zuhayr,
divided it between himself and his cousin. Then he sent out
a-marching Baghdad-wards and when he came within two days'
journey of the city, he summoned his servant Amir and said to
him, "Mount thy charger and forego me with the caravan and the
cattle." So Amir took horse and fared on till he came to Baghdad,
and the season of his entering was the first of the day; nor was
there in the city little child or old greybeard but came forth to
divert himself with gazing on those flocks and herds and upon the
beauty of those slave-girls; and their wits were wildered at what
they saw. Soon afterwards the news reached the king that the
young man Al-Abbas, who had gone forth from him, was come back
with booty and rarities and black slaves and a conquering host
and had taken up his sojourn without the city, whilst his servant
Amir was presently come to Baghdad, so he might get ready for his
lord dwelling-places wherein he should take up his abode. When
the King heard these tidings of Amir, he sent for him and caused
bring him before him; and when he entered his presence, he kissed
the ground and saluted with the salam and showed his fine
breeding and greeted him with the goodliest of greetings. The
King bade him raise his head and, this done, questioned him of
his lord Al-Abbas; whereupon he acquainted him with his
adventures and told him that which had betided him with King
Zuhayr and of the army that was become at his command and of the
spoil he had secured. He also gave him to know that Al-Abbas was
to arrive on the morrow, and with him more than fifty thousand
cavatiers, obedient to his orders. When the king heard his words,
he bade decorate Baghdad and commanded the citizens to equip
themselves with the richest of their apparel, in honour of the
coming of Al-Abbas. Furthermore, he sent to give King Al-Aziz the
glad tidings of his son's return and informed him of all which he
had heard from the Prince's servant. When the news reached King
Al-Aziz, he joyed with exceeding joy in the approach of his son
and straightway took horse, he and all his host, while the
trumpets blared and the musicians played, so that the earth
quaked and Baghdad also trembled, and it was a notable day. When
Mariyah beheld all this, she repented in all possible penitence
of that which she had done against Al-Abbas and the fires of
desire raged in her vitals. Meanwhile, the troops[FN#405] sallied
forth of Baghdad and went out to meet those of Al-Abbas, who had
halted in a garth called the Green Island. When he espied the
approaching host, he strained his sight and, seeing horsemen
coming and troops and footmen he knew not, said to those about
him, "Among yonder troops are flags and banners of various kinds;
but, as for the great green standard that ye see, 'tis the
standard of my sire, the which is reserved to him and never
displayed save over his head, and thus I know that he himself is
come out in quest of me." And he was certified of this, he and
his troops. So he fared on towards them and when he drew near
them, he knew them and they knew him; whereupon they lighted down
from their horses and saluting him, gave him joy of his safety
and the folk flocked to him. When he came to his father, they
embraced and each greeted other a long time, whilst neither of
them could utter a word, for the greatness of that which betided
them of joy in reunion. Then Al-Abbas bade the folk take horse;
so they mounted and his Mamelukes surrounded him and they entered
Baghdad on the most splendid wise and in the highest honour and
glory. Now the wife of the shopkeeper, that is, the nurse, came
out, with the rest of those who flocked forth, to divert herself
with gazing upon the show, and when she saw Al-Abbas and beheld
his beauty and the beauty of his host and that which he had
brought back with him of herds and slave-girls, Mamelukes and
negroes, she improvised and recited these couplets,

"Al-Abbas from the side of Akil is come; * Caravans and steeds he
hath plundered:
Yea; horses he brought of pure blood, whose necks * Ring with
collars like anklets wher'er they are led.
With domed hoofs they pour torrent-like, * As they prance through
dust on the level stead:
And bestriding their saddles come men of war, * Whose fingers
play on the kettle drum's head:
And couched are their lances that bear the points * Keen grided,
which fill every soul with dread:
Who wi' them would fence draweth down his death * For one deadly
lunge soon shall do him dead:
Charge, comrades, charge ye and give me joy, * Saying, 'Welcome
to thee, O our dear comrade!'
And who joys at his meeting shall 'joy delight * Of large gifts
when he from his steed shall 'light."

When the troops entered Baghdad, each of them alighted in his
tent, whilst Al-Abbas encamped apart on a place near the Tigris
and issued orders to slaughter for the soldiers, each day, that
which should suffice them of oxen and sheep and to bake them
bread and spread the tables: so the folk ceased not to come to
him and eat of his banquet. Furthermore, all the country-people
flocked to him with presents and rarities and he requited them
many times the like of their gifts, so that the lands were filled
with his renown and the fame of him was bruited abroad among the
habitants of wold and town. Then, as soon as he rode to the house
he had bought, the shopkeeper and his wife came to him and gave
him joy of his safety; whereupon he ordered them three head of
swift steeds and thoroughbred and ten dromedaries and an hundred
head of sheep and clad them both in costly robes of honour.
Presently he chose out ten slave-girls and ten negro slaves and
fifty mares and the like number of she-camels and three hundred
of sheep, together with twenty ounces of musk and as many of
camphor, and sent all this to the King of Baghdad. When the
present came to Ins bin Kays, his wit fled for joy and he was
perplexed wherewith to requite him. Al-Abbas also gave gifts and
largesse and bestowed robes of honour upon noble and simple, each
after the measure of his degree, save only Mariyah; for to her
indeed he sent nothing. This was grievous to the Princess and it
irked her sore that he should not remember her; so she called her
slave-girl Shafikah and said to her, "Hie thee to Al-Abbas and
salute him and say to him, 'What hindereth thee from sending my
lady Mariyah her part of thy booty?'" So Shafikah betook herself
to him and when she came to his door, the chamberlains refused
her admission, until they should have got for her leave and
permission. When she entered, Al-Abbas knew her and knew that she
had somewhat of speech with him; so he dismissed his Mamelukes
and asked her, "What is thine errand, O hand-maid of good?"
Answered she, "O my lord, I am a slave-girl of the Princess
Mariyah, who kisseth thy hands and offereth her salutation to
thee. Indeed, she rejoiceth in thy safety and blameth thee for
that thou breakest her heart, alone of all the folk, because thy
largesse embraceth great and small, yet hast thou not remembered
her with anything of thy plunder, as if thou hadst hardened thy
heart against her." Quoth he, "Extolled be He who turneth hearts!
By Allah, my vitals were consumed with the love of her; and, of
my longing after her I came forth to her from my mother-land and
left my people and my home and my wealth, and it was with her
that began the hard-heartedness and the cruelty. Natheless, for
all this, I bear her no malice and there is no help but that I
send her somewhat whereby she may remember me; for that I sojourn
in her country but a few days, after which I set out for the land
of Al-Yaman." Then he called for a chest and thence bringing out
a necklace of Greek workmanship, worth a thousand dinars, wrapped
it in a mantle of Greek silk, set with pearls and gems and
purfled with red gold, and joined thereto a couple of caskets
containing musk and amber-gris. He also put off upon the girl a
mantle of Greek silk, striped with gold, wherein were divers
figures and portraitures depictured, never saw eyes its like.
Therewithal the girl's wit fled for joy and she went forth from
his presence and returned to her mistress. When she came in to
her, she acquainted her with that which she had seen of Al-Abbas
and that which was with him of servants and attendants and set
out to her the loftiness of his station and gave her that which
was with her. Mariyah opened the mantle, and when she saw that
necklace (and indeed the place was illumined with the lustre
thereof), she looked at her slave-girl and said to her, "By
Allah, O Shafikah, one look at him were dearer to me than all
that my hand possesseth! Oh, would Heaven I knew what I shall do,
when Baghdad is empty of him and I hear of him no news!" Then she
wept and calling for ink-case and paper and pen of brass, wrote
these couplets:

Longsome my sorrows are; my liver's fired with ecstasy; * And
severance-shaft hath shot me through whence sorest pangs I
And howso could my soul forget the love I bear to you? *
You-wards my will perforce returns nor passion sets me free:
I 'prison all desires I feel for fear of spies thereon * Yet
tears that streak my cheek betray for every eye to see.
No place of rest or joy I find to bring me life-delight; * No
wine tastes well, nor viands please however savoury:
Ah me! to whom shall I complain of case and seek its cure * Save
unto thee whose Phantom deigns to show me sight of thee?
Then name me not or chide for aught I did in passion-stress, *
With vitals gone and frame consumed by yearning-malady!
Secret I keep the fire of love which aye for severance burns; *
Sworn slave[FN#406] to Love who robs my rest and wakes me
And ceaseth not my thought to gaze upon your ghost by night, *
Which falsing comes and he I love still, still unloveth me.
Would Heaven ye wist the blight that I for you are doomed to bear
* For love of you, which tortures me with parting agony!
Then read between the lines I wrote, and mark and learn their
sense * For such my tale, and Destiny made me an outcast be:
Learn eke the circumstance of Love and lover's woe nor deign *
Divulge its mysteries to men nor grudge its secrecy.

Then she folded the scroll and givng it to her slave-girl, bade
her bear it to Al-Abbas and bring back his reply. So Shafikah
took the letter and carried it to the Prince, after the
doorkeeper had sought leave of him to admit her. When she came in
to him, she found with him five damsels, as they were moons, clad
in rich raiment and ornaments; and when he saw her, he said to
her, "What is thy need, O hand-maid of good?" Presently she put
out her hand to him with the writ, after she had kissed it, and
he bade one of his slave-girls receive it from her.[FN#407] Then
he took it from the girl and breaking the seal, read it and
comprehended its contents; whereupon he cried, "Verily, we be
Allah's and unto Him we shall return!" and calling for ink-case
and paper, wrote these improvised couplets:--

I wonder seeing how thy love to me * Inclined, while I in heart
from love declined:
Eke wast thou wont to say in verseful writ, * "Son of the
Road[FN#408] no road to me shall find!
How oft kings flocked to me with mighty men * And bales on back
of Bukhti[FN#409] beast they bind:
And noble steeds of purest blood and all * They bore of choicest
boons to me consigned;
Yet won no favour!" Then came I to woo * And the long tale o'
love I had designed,
I fain set forth in writ of mine, with words * Like strings of
pearls in goodly line aligned:--
Set forth my sev'rance, griefs, tyrannic wrongs, * And ill device
ill-suiting lover-kind.
How oft love-claimant, craving secrecy, * How oft have lovers
'plained as sore they pined,
How many a brimming bitter cup I've quaffed, * And wept my woes
when speech was vain as wind!
And thou:--"Be patient, 'tis thy bestest course * And choicest
medicine for mortal mind!"
Then unto patience worthy praise cleave thou; * Easy of issue and
be lief resigned:
Nor hope thou aught of me lest ill alloy * Or aught of dross
affect my blood refined:
Such is my speech. Read, mark, and learn my say! * To what thou
deemest ne'er I'll tread the way.

Then he folded the scroll and sealing it, entrusted it to the
damsel, who took it and bore it to her mistress. When the
Princess read the letter and mastered its meaning, she said,
"Meseemeth he recalleth bygones to me." Then she called for pens,
ink, and paper, and wrote these couplets:

Love thou didst show me till I learnt its woe * Then to the
growth of grief didst severance show:
I banisht joys of slumber after you * And e'en my pillow garred
my wake to grow.
How long in parting shall I pine with pain * While
severance-spies[FN#410] through night watch every throe?
I've left my kingly couch and self withdrew * Therefrom, and
taught mine eyelids sleep t'unknow:
'Twas thou didst teach me what I ne'er can bear: * Then didst
thou waste my frame with parting-blow.
By oath I swear thee, blame and chide me not: * Be kind to
mourner Love hath stricken low!
For parting-rigours drive him nearer still * To narrow home, ere
clad in shroud for clo':
Have ruth on me, since Love laid waste my frame, * 'Mid thralls
enrolled me and lit fires that flame.

Mariyah rolled up the letter and gave it to Shafikah, bidding her
bear it to Al-Abbas. Accordingly she took it and going with it to
his door, proceeded to enter; but the chamberlains and
serving-men forbade her, till they had obtained her leave from
the Prince. When she went into him, she found him sitting in the
midst of the five damsels before mentioned, whom his father had
brought for him; so she gave him the letter and he tare it open
and read it. Then he bade one of the damsels, whose name was
Khafifah and who came from the land of China, tune her lute and
sing anent separation. Thereupon she came forward and tuning her
lute, played thereon in four-and-twenty modes: after which she
returned to the first and sang these couplets,

"Our friends, when leaving us on parting-day, * Drave us in wolds
of severance-grief to stray:
When bound the camels' litters bearing them, * And cries of
drivers urged them on the way,
Outrusht my tears, despair gat hold of me * And sleep betrayed
mine eyes to wake a prey.
The day they went I wept, but showed no ruth * The severance-spy
and flared the flames alway:
Alas for lowe o' Love that fires me still! * Alack for pine that
melts my heart away!
To whom shall I complain of care, when thou * Art gone, nor fain
a-pillow head I lay?
And day by day Love's ardours grow on me, * And far's the tent
that holds my fondest may:
O Breeze o' Heaven, bear for me a charge * (Nor traitor-like my
troth in love betray!),
Whene'er thou breathest o'er the loved one's land * Greet him
with choice salam fro' me, I pray:
Dust him with musk and powdered ambergris * While time endures!
Such is my wish for aye."

When the damsel had made an end of her song, Al-Abbas swooned
away and they sprinkled on him musked rose-water, till he
recovered from his fainting-fit, when he called another damsel
(now there was on her of linen and raiment and ornaments that
which undoeth description, and she was a model of beauty and
brightness and loveliness and symmetry and perfect grace, such as
shamed the crescent moon, and she was a Turkish girl from the
land of the Roum and her name was Hafizah) and said to her, "O
Hafizah, close thine eyes and tune thy lute and sing to us upon
the days of severance." She answered him, "To hear is to obey"
and taking the lute, tightened its strings and cried out from her
head,[FN#411] in a plaintive voice, and sang these couplets,

"My friends! tears flow in painful mockery, * And sick my heart
from parting agony:
My frame is wasted and my vitals wrung * And love-fires grow and
eyes set tear-floods free:
And when the fire burns high beneath my ribs * With tears I
quench it as sad day I see.
Love left me wasted, baffled, pain-begone, * Sore frighted, butt
to spying enemy:
When I recal sweet union wi' their loves * I chase dear sleep
from the sick frame o' me.
Long as our parting lasts the rival joys * And spies with fearful
prudence gain their gree.
I fear me for my sickly, langourous frame * Lest dread of parting
slay me incontinently."

When Hafizah had ended her song, Al-Abbas cried to her, "Brava!
Verily, thou quickenest hearts from griefs." Then he called
another maiden of the daughters of Daylam by name Marjanah, and
said to her, "O Marjanah, sing to me upon the days of parting."
She said, "Hearing and obeying," and recited these couplets,

"'Cleave to fair Patience! Patience 'gendereth weal': * Such is
the rede to us all sages deal:
How oft I plained the lowe of grief and love * Mid passions cast
my soul in sore unheal.
How oft I waked and drained the bitter cup * And watched the
stars, nor sleep mine eyes would seal!
Enough it were an deal you grace to me * In writ a-morn and
garred no hope to feel.
But Thoughts which probed its depths would sear my heart * And
start from eye-brows streams that ever steal:
Nor cease I suffering baleful doom and nights * Wakeful, and
heart by sorrows rent piece-meal:
But Allah purged my soul from love of you * When all knew secrets
cared I not reveal.
I march to-morrow from your country and * Haply you'll speed me
nor fear aught unweal;
And, when in person you be far from us, * Would heaven we knew
who shall your news reveal.
Who kens if home will e'er us two contain * In dearest life with
union naught can stain!"

When Marjanah had made an end of her song, the Prince said to
her, "Brava, O damsel! Indeed, thou sayest a thing which had
occurred to my mind and my tongue was near to speaking it." Then
he signed to the fourth damsel, who was a Cairene, by name Sitt
al-Husn, and bade her tune her lute and sing to him upon the same
theme. So the Lady of Beauty tuned her lute and sang these

"Patience is blest for weal comes after woe * And all things
stated time and ordinance show;
Haps the Sultan, hight Fortune, prove unjust * Shifting the
times, and man excuse shall know:
Bitter ensueth sweet in law of change * And after crookedness
things straightest grow.
Then guard thine honour, nor to any save * The noble knowledge of
the hid bestow:
These be vicissitudes the Lord commands * Poor men endure, the
sinner and the low."

When Al-Abbas heard her make an end of her verses, they pleased
him and he said to her, "Brava, O Sitt al-Husn! Indeed, thou hast
done away with anxiety from my heart and hast banished the things
which had occurred to my thought." Then he sighed and signing to
the fifth damsel, who was from the land of the Persians and whose
name was Marziyah (now she was the fairest of them all and the
sweetest of speech and she was like unto a lustrous star, a model
of beauty and loveliness and perfection and brightness and
justness of shape and symmetric grace and had a face like the new
moon and eyes as they were gazelle's eyes) and said to her, "O
Marziyah, come forward and tune thy lute and sing to us on the
same theme, for indeed we are resolved upon faring to the land of
Al-Yaman." Now this maiden had met many of the monarchs and had
foregathered with the great; so she tuned her lute and sang these

"Friend of my heart why leave thou lone and desolate these eyne?
* Fair union of our lots ne'er failed this sitting-stead of
And ah! who dwellest singly in the heart and sprite of me, * (Be
I thy ransom!) desolate for loss of friend I pine!
By Allah! O thou richest form in charms and loveliness, * Give
alms to lover who can show of patience ne'er a sign!
Alms of what past between us tway (which ne'er will I divulge) *
Of privacy between us tway that man shall ne'er divine:
Grant me approval of my lord whereby t' o'erwhelm the foe * And
let my straitness pass away and doubtful thoughts malign:
Approof of thee (an gained the meed) for me high rank shall gain
* And show me robed in richest weed to eyes of envy fain."

When she had ended her song, all who were in the assembly wept
for the daintiness of her delivery and the sweetness of her
speech and Al-Abbas said to her, "Brava, O Marziyah! Indeed, thou
bewilderest the wits with the beauty of thy verse and the polish
of thy speech."[FN#412] All this while Shafikah abode gazing
about her, and when she beheld the slave-girls of Al-Abbas and
considered the charms of their clothing and the subtlety of their
senses and the delicacy of their delivery her reason flew from
her head. Then she sought leave of Al-Abbas and returning to her
mistress Mariyah, sans letter or reply, acquainted her with what
she had espied of the damsels and described to her the condition
wherein he was of honour and delight, majesty, venerance and
loftiness of rank. Lastly, she enlarged upon what she had seen of
the slave-girls and their case and that which they had said and
how they had incited Al-Abbas anent returning to his own country
by the recitation of songs to the sound of the strings. When the
Princess heard this her slave-girl's report, she wept and wailed
and was like to leave the world. Then she took to her pillow and
said, "O Shafikah, I will inform thee of a something which is not
hidden from Allah the Most High, and 'tis that thou watch over me
till the Almighty decree the accomplishment of His destiny, and
when my days are ended, take thou the necklace and the mantle
with which Al-Abbas gifted me and return them to him. I deem not
he will survive me, and if the Lord of All-might determine
against him and his days come to an end, do thou give one charge
to shroud us and entomb us both in one tomb." Then her case
changed and her colour waxed wan; and when Shafikah saw her
mistress in this plight, she repaired to her mother and told her
that the lady Mariyah refused meat and drink. Asked the Queen,
"Since when hath this befallen her?" and Shafikah answered,
"Since yesterday's date;" whereat the mother was confounded and
betaking herself to her daughter, that she might inquire into her
case, lo and behold! found her as one dying. So she sat down at
her head and Mariyah opened her eyes and seeing her mother
sitting by her, sat up for shame before her. The Queen questioned
her of her case and she said, "I entered the Hammam and it
stupefied me and prostrated me and left in my head an exceeding
pain; but I trust in Allah Al-mighty that it will cease." When
her mother went out from her, Mariyah took to chiding the damsel
for that which she had done and said to her, "Verily, death were
dearer to me than this; so discover thou not my affair to any and
I charge thee return not to the like of this fashion." Then she
fainted and lay swooning for a whole hour, and when she came to
herself, she saw Shafikah weeping over her; whereupon she pluckt
the necklace from her neck and the mantle from her body and said
to the damsel, "Lay them in a damask napkin and bear them to
Al-Abbas and acquaint him with that wherein I am for the stress
of severance and the strain of forbiddance." So Shafikah took
them and carried them to Al-Abbas, whom she found in readiness to
depart, being about to take horse for Al-Yaman. She went in to
him and gave him the napkin and that which was therein, and when
he opened it and saw what it contained, namely, the mantle and
the necklace, his chagrin was excessive and his eyes turned in
his head[FN#413] and his rage shot out of them. When Shafikah saw
that which betided him, she came forward and said to him, "O
bountiful lord, verily my mistress returneth not the mantle and
the necklace for despite; but she is about to quit the world and
thou hast the best right to them." Asked he, "And what is the
cause of this?" and Shafikah answered, "Thou knowest. By Allah,
never among the Arabs nor the Ajams nor among the sons of the
kings saw I a harder of heart than thou! Can it be a slight
matter to thee that thou troublest Mariyah's life and causest her
to mourn for herself and quit the world for the sake of thy
youth?[FN#414] Thou wast the cause of her acquaintance with thee
and now she departeth this life on thine account, she whose like
Allah Almighty hath not created among the daughters of the
kings." When Al-Abbas heard from the damsel these words, his
heart burned for Mariyah and her case was not light to him, so he
said to Shafikah, "Canst thou bring me in company with her; so
haply I may discover her concern and allay whatso aileth her?"
Said she, "Yes, I can do that, and thine will be the bounty and
the favour." So he arose and followed her, and she preceded him,
till they came to the palace. Then she opened and locked behind
them four-and-twenty doors and made them fast with padlocks; and
when he came to Mariyah, he found her as she were the downing
sun, strown upon a Taif rug of perfumed leather,[FN#415]
surrounded by cushions stuffed with ostrich down, and not a limb
of her quivered. When her maid saw her in this state, she offered
to cry out; but Al-Abbas said to her, "Do it not, but have
patience till we discover her affair; and if Allah (be He
extolled and exalted!) have decreed her death, wait till thou
have opened the doors to me and I have gone forth. Then do what
seemeth good to thee." So saying, he went up to the Princess and
laying his hand upon her bosom, found her heart fluttering like a
doveling and the life yet hanging to her breast.[FN#416] So he
placed his hand on her cheek, whereat she opened her eyes and
beckoning to her maid, said to her by signs, "Who is this that
treadeth my carpet and transgresseth against me?"[FN#417] "O my
lady," cried Shafikah, "this is Prince Al-Abbas, for whose sake
thou forsakest the world." When Mariyah heard speak of Al-Abbas,
she raised her hand from under the coverlet and laying it upon
his neck, inhaled awhile his scent. Then she sat up and her
complexion returned to her and they abode talking till a third
part of the night was past. Presently, the Princess turned to her
handmaid and bade her fetch them somewhat of food, sweetmeats,
and fruits, fresh and dry. So Shafikah brought what she desired
and they ate and drank and abode on this wise without lewdness,
till night went and light came. Then said Al-Abbas, "Indeed, the
morn breaketh. Shall I hie to my sire and bid him go to thy
father and seek thee of him in wedlock for me, in accordance with
the book of Allah Almighty and the practice of His Apostle (whom
may He save and assain!) so we may not enter into transgression?"
And Mariyah answered, saying, "By Allah, 'tis well counselled of
thee!" So he went away to his lodging and naught befel between
them; and when the day lightened, she recited these couplets,

"O friends, morn-breeze with Morn draws on amain: * A
Voice[FN#418] bespeaks us, gladding us with 'plain.
Up to the convent where our friend we'll sight * And wine more
subtile than the dust[FN#419] we'll drain;
Whereon our friend spent all the coin he owned * And made the
nursling in his cloak contain;[FN#420]
And, when we oped the jar, light opalline * Struck down the
singers in its search waylain.
From all sides flocking came the convent-monks * Crying at top o'
voices, 'Welcome fain!'
And we carousing sat, and cups went round, * Till rose the
Venus-star o'er Eastern plain.
No shame in drinking wine, which means good cheer * And love and
promise of prophetic strain![FN#421]
Ho thou, the Morn, our union sundering, * These joyous hours to
fine thou dost constrain.
Show grace to us until our pleasures end, * And latest drop of
joy fro' friends we gain:
You have affection candid and sincere * And Love and joy are best
of Faiths for men."

Such was the case with Mariyah; but as regards Al-Abbas, he
betook himself to his father's camp, which was pitched on the
Green Meadow, by the Tigris-side, and none might thread his way
between the tents, for the dense network of the tent ropes. When
the Prince reached the first of the pavilions, the guards and
servants came out to meet him from all sides and walked in his
service till he drew near the sitting-place of his sire, who knew
of his approach. So he issued forth his marquee and coming to
meet his son, kissed him and made much of him. Then they returned
together to the royal pavilion and when they had seated
themselves therein and the guards had taken up their station in
attendance on them, the King said to Al-Abbas, "O my son, get
ready thine affair, so we may go to our own land, for that the
lieges in our absence are become as they were sheep lacking
shepherd." Al-Abbas looked at his father and wept till he
fainted, and when he recovered from his fit, he improvised and
recited these couplets,

"I embraced him,[FN#422] and straight I waxt drunk wi' the smell
* Of a fresh young branch wont in wealth to dwell.
Yea, drunken, but not by the wine; nay, 'twas * By draughts from
his lips that like wine-cups well:
For Beauty wrote on his cheek's fair page * 'Oh, his charms! take
refuge fro' danger fell!'[FN#423]
Mine eyes, be easy, since him ye saw; * Nor mote nor blearness
with you shall mell:
In him Beauty showeth fro' first to fine * And bindeth on hearts
bonds unfrangible:
An thou kohl thyself with his cheek of light * Thou'll find but
jasper and or in stelle:[FN#424]
The chiders came to reproach me when * For him longing and pining
my heart befel:
But I fear not, I end not, I turn me not * From his life, let
tell-tale his tale e'en tell:
By Allah, forgetting ne'er crossed my thought * While by life-tie
bound, or when ends my spell:
An I live I will live in his love, an I die * Of love and
longing, I'll cry, ''Tis well!'"

Now when Al-Abbas had ended his verses, his father said to him,
"I seek refuge for thee with Allah, O my son! Hast thou any want
thou art powerless to win, so I may endeavour for thee therein
and lavish my treasures in its quest." Cried Al-Abbas, "O my
papa, I have, indeed, an urgent need, on whose account I came
forth of my motherland and left my people and my home and
affronted perils and horrors and became an exile, and I trust in
Allah that it may be accomplished by thy magnanimous endeavour."
Quoth the King, "And what is thy want?" and quoth Al-Abbas, "I
would have thee go and ask for me to wife Mariyah, daughter of
the King of Baghdad, for that my heart is distracted with love of
her." Then he recounted to his father his adventure from first to
last. When the King heard this from his son, he rose to his feet
and calling for his charger of parade, took horse with
four-and-twenty Emirs of the chief officers of his empire. Then
he betook himself to the palace of the King of Baghdad who, when
he saw him coming, bade his chamberlains open the doors to them
and going down himself to meet them, received him with all honour
and hospitality and carried him and his into the palace; then
causing make ready for them carpets and cushions, sat down upon
his golden throne and seated the guest by his side upon a chair
of gold, framed in juniper-wood set with pearls and jewels.
Presently he bade bring sweetmeats and confections and scents and
commanded to slaughter four and-twenty head of sheep and the like
of oxen and make ready geese and chickens and pigeons stuffed and
boiled, and spread the tables; nor was it long before the meats
were served up in vessels of gold and silver. So they ate their
sufficiency and when they had eaten their fill, the tables were
removed and the wine-service set on and the cups and flagons
ranged in ranks, whilst the Mamelukes and the fair slave-girls
sat down, with zones of gold about their waists, studded with all
manner pearls, diamonds, emeralds, rubies and other jewels.
Moreover, the king bade fetch the musicians; so there presented
themselves before him twenty damsels with lutes and
psalteries[FN#425] and viols, and smote upon instruments of music
playing and performing on such wise that they moved the assembly
to delight. Then said Al-Aziz to the King of Baghdad, "I would
fain speak a word to thee; but do thou not exclude from us those
who are present. An thou consent unto my wish thine is ours and
on thee shall be whatso is on us;[FN#426] and we will be to thee
a mighty forearm against all unfriends and foes." Quoth Ins bin
Kays, "Say what thou wilt, O King, for indeed thou excellest in
speech and in whatso thou sayest dost hit the mark." So Al-Aziz
said to him, "I desire that thou marry thy daughter Mariyah to my
son Al-Abbas, for thou knowest what he hath of beauty and
loveliness, brightness and perfect grace and his frequentation of
the valiant and his constancy in the stead of cut-and-thrust."
Said Ins bin Kays, "By Allah, O King, of my love for Mariyah, I
have appointed her mistress of her own hand; accordingly,
whomsoever she chooseth of the folk, to him will I wed her." Then
he arose to his feet and going in to his daughter, found her
mother with her; so he set out to them the case and Mariyah said,
"O my papa, my wish followeth thy word and my will ensueth thy
will; so whatsoever thou chooseth, I am obedient to thee and
under thy dominion." Therewith the King knew that Mariyah
inclined to Al-Abbas; he therefore returned forthright to King
Al-Aziz and said to him, "May Allah amend the King! Verily, the
wish is won and there is no opposition to that thou commandest."
Quoth Al-Aziz, "By Allah's leave are wishes won. How deemest
thou, O King, of fetching Al-Abbas and documenting the
marriage-contract between Mariyah and him?" and quoth Ins bin
Kays, "Thine be the rede." So Al-Aziz sent after his son and
acquainted him with that which had passed; whereupon Al-Abbas
called for four-and-twenty mules and ten horses and as many
camels and loaded the mules with fathom-long pieces of silk and
rugs of leather and boxes of camphor and musk and the camels and
horses with chests of gold and silver. Eke, he took the richest
of the stuffs and wrapping them in wrappers of gold, purfled
silk, laid them on the heads of porters,[FN#427] and they fared
on with the treasures till they reached the King of Baghdad's
palace, whereupon all who were present dismounted in honour of
Al-Abbas and escorting him in a body to the presence of Ins bin
Kays, displayed to the King all that they had with them of things
of price. The King bade carry all this into the store rooms of
the Harim and sent for the Kazis and the witnesses, who wrote out
the contract and married Mariyah to Al-Abbas, whereupon the
Prince commanded slaughter one thousand head of sheep and five
hundred buffaloes. So they spread the bride-feast and bade
thereto all the tribes of the Arabs, men of tents and men of
towns, and the banquet continued for the space of ten days. Then
Al-Abbas went into Mariyah in a commendable and auspicious hour
and lay with her and found her a pearl unthridden and a goodly
filly no rider had ridden;[FN#428] wherefore he rejoiced and was
glad and made merry, and care and sorrow ceased from him and his
life was pleasant and trouble departed and he ceased not abiding
with her in most joyful case and in the most easeful of life,
till seven days were past, when King Al-Aziz resolved to set out
and return to his realm and bade his son seek leave of his
father-in-law to depart with his wife to his own country. So
Al-Abbas spoke of this to King Ins, who granted him the
permission he sought; whereupon he chose out, a red
camel,[FN#429] taller and more valuable than the rest of the
camels, and loading it with apparel and ornaments, mounted
Mariyah in a litter thereon. Then they spread the ensigns and the
standards, whilst kettledrums beat and the trumpets blared, and
set out upon the homewards way. The King of Baghdad rode forth
with them and companied them three days' journey on their route,
after which he farewelled them and returned with his troops to
Baghdad. As for King Al-Aziz and his son, they fared on night and
day and gave not over going till there remained but three days'
journey between them and Al-Yaman, when they despatched three men
of the couriers to the Prince's mother to report that they were
bringing with them Mariyah, the King's daughter of Baghdad, and
returning safe and laden with spoil. When the Oueen-mother heard
this, her wit took wings for joy and she adorned the slave-girls
of Al-Abbas after the finest fashion. Now he had ten hand-maids,
as they were moons, whereof his father had carried five with him
to Baghdad, as hath erst been set forth, and the remaining five
abode with his mother. When the dromedary-posts[FN#430] came,
they were certified of the approach of Al-Abbas, and when the sun
easted and their flags were seen flaunting, the Prince's mother
came out to meet her son; nor on that day was there great or
small, boy or grey-beard, but went forth to greet the king. Then
the kettle-drums of glad tidings beat and they entered in the
utmost of pomp and the extreme of magnificence; so that the
tribes and the townspeople heard of them and brought them the
richest of gifts and the rarest of presents and the Prince's
mother rejoiced with joy exceeding. They butchered beasts and
spread mighty bride-feasts for the people and kindled
fires,[FN#431] that it might be visible afar to townsman and
tribesman that this was the house of hospitality and the stead of
the wedding-festival, to the intent that, if any passed them by,
it should be of his own sin against himself. So the folk came to
them from all districts and quarters and in this way they abode
days and months. Presently the Prince's mother bade fetch the
five slave-girls to that assembly; whereupon they came and the
ten damsels met. The queen seated five of them on her son's right
hand and the other five on his left and the folk gathered about
them. Then she bade the five who had remained with her speak
forth somewhat of poesy, so they might entertain therewith the
seance and that Al-Abbas might rejoice thereat. Now she had clad
them in the costliest of clothes and adorned them with trinkets
and ornaments and moulded work of gold and silver and collars of
gold, wrought with pearls and gems. So they paced forward, with
harps and lutes and zithers and recorders and other instruments
of music before them, and one of them, a damsel who came from the
land of China and whose name was Ba'uthah, advanced and screwed
up the strings of her lute. Then she cried out from the top of
her head and recited these couplets,

"Indeed your land returned, when you returned, * To whilom light
which overgrew its gloom:
Green grew the land that was afore dust-brown. * And fruits that
failed again showed riping bloom:
And clouds rained treasures after rain had lacked, * And plenty
poured from earth's re-opening womb.
Then ceased the woes, my lords, that garred us weep, * With tears
like dragons' blood, our severance-doom,
Whose length, by Allah, made me yeam and pine, * Would Heaven, O
lady mine, I were thy groom!"

When she had ended her song, all who were present were delighted
and Al-Abbas rejoiced in this. Then he bade the second damsel
sing somewhat on the same theme. So she came forward and
tightening the strings of her harp, which was of balass
ruby,[FN#432] raised her voice in a plaintive air and improvised
these couplets,

"Brought the Courier glad news of our absentees,[FN#433] * To
please us through those who had wrought us unease:
Cried I, 'My life ransom thee, messenger man, * Thou hast kept
thy faith and thy boons are these.'
An the nightlets of union in you we joyed * When fared you naught
would our grief appease;
You sware that folk would to folk be true, * And you kept your
oaths as good faith decrees.
To you made I oath true lover am I * Heaven guard me when sworn
from all perjuries:
I fared to meet you and loud I cried, * 'Aha, fair welcome when
come you please!"
And I joyed to meet you and when you came, * Deckt all the
dwelling with tapestries,
And death in your absence to us was dight, * But your presence
bringeth us life and light."

When she had made an end of her verse, Al-Abbas bade the third
damsel (who came from Samarkand of Ajam-land and whose name was
Rummanah) sing, and she answered, "To hear is to obey." Then she
took the zither and crying out from the midst of her head,
recited and sang these couplets,[FN#434]

"My watering mouth declares thy myrtle-cheek my food to be * And
cull my lips thy side-face rose, who lily art to me!
And twixt the dune and down there shows the fairest flower that
blooms * Whose fruitage is granado's fruit with all
granado's blee.[FN#435]
Forget my lids of eyne their sleep for magic eyes of him; *
Naught since he fared but drowsy charms and languorous air I
He shot me down with shaft of glance from bow of eyebrow sped: *
What Chamberlain[FN#437] betwixt his eyes garred all my
pleasure flee?
Haply shall heart of me seduce his heart by weakness' force *
E'en as his own seductive grace garred me love-ailment dree.
For an by him forgotten be our pact and covenant * I have a King
who never will forget my memory.
His sides bemock the bending charms of waving Tamarisk,[FN#438] *
And in his beauty-pride he walks as drunk with coquetry:
His feet and legs be feather-light whene'er he deigns to run *
And say, did any ride the wind except 'twere

Therewith Al-Abbas smiled and her verses pleased him. Then he
bade the fourth damsel come forward and sing (now she was from
the Sundown-land[FN#440] and her name was Balakhsha); so she came
forward and taking the lute and the zither, tuned the strings and
smote them in many modes; then she returned to the first and
improvising, sang these couplets,

"When to the seance all for pleasure hied * Thy lamping eyes
illumined its every side;
While playing round us o'er the wine-full bowl * Those
necklace-pearls old wine with pleasure plied,[FN#441]
Till wits the wisest drunken by her grace * Betrayed for joyance
secrets sages hide;
And, seen the cup, we bade it circle round * While sun and moon
spread radiance side and wide.
We raised for lover veil of love perforce * And came glad tidings
which new joys applied:
Loud sang the camel-guide; won was our wish * Nor was the secret
by the spy espied:
And, when my days were blest by union-bliss * And to all-parting
Time was aid denied,
Each 'bode with other, clear of meddling spy * Nor feared we hate
of foe or neighbour-pride.
The sky was bright, friends came and severance fared * And
Love-in-union rained boons multiplied:
Saying 'Fulfil fair union, all are gone * Rivals and fears lest
shaming foe deride:'
Friends now conjoined are: wrong passed away * And meeting-cup
goes round and joys abide:
On you be Allah's Peace with every boon * Till end the dooming
years and time and tide."

When Balakhsha had ended her verse, all present were moved to
delight and Al-Abbas said to her, "Brava, O damsel!" Then he bade
the fifth damsel come forward and sing (now she was from the land
of Syria and her name was Rayhanah; she was passing of voice and
when she appeared in an assembly, all eyes were fixed upon her),
so she came forward and taking the viol (for she was used to play
upon all instruments) recited and sang these couplets,

"Your me-wards coming I hail to sight; * Your look is a joy
driving woe from sprite:
With you love is blest, pure and white of soul; * Life's sweet
and my planet grows green and bright:
By Allah, you-wards my pine ne'er ceased * And your like is rare
and right worthy hight.
Ask my eyes an e'er since the day ye went * They tasted sleep,
looked on lover-wight:
My heart by the parting-day was broke * And my wasted body
betrays my plight:
Could my blamers see in what grief am I, * They had wept in
wonder my loss, my blight!
They had joined me in shedding torrential tears * And like me
a-morn had shown thin and slight:
How long for your love shall your lover bear * This weight o'er
much for the hill's strong height?
By Allah what then for your sake was doomed * To my heart, a
heart by its woes turned white!
An showed I the fires that aye flare in me, * They had 'flamed
Eastern world and earth's Western site.
But after this is my love fulfilled * With joy and gladness and
mere delight;
And the Lord who scattered hath brought us back * For who doeth
good shall of good ne'er lack."

When King Al-Aziz heard the damsel's song, both words and verses
pleased him and he said to Al-Abbas, "O my son, verily long
versifying hath tired these damsels, and indeed they make us
yearn after the houses and the homesteads with the beauty of
their songs. These five have adorned our meeting with the charm
of their melodies and have done well in that which they have said
before those who are present; so we counsel thee to free them for
the love of Allah Almighty." Quoth Al-Abbas, "There is no command
but thy command;" and he enfranchised the ten damsels in the
assembly; whereupon they kissed the hands of the King and his son
and prostrated themselves in thanksgiving to the Lord of
All-might. Then they put off that which was upon them of
ornaments and laying aside the lutes and other instruments of
music, kept to their houses like modest women and veiled, and
fared not forth.[FN#442] As for King Al-Aziz, he lived after this
seven years and was removed to the mercy of Almighty Allah; when
his son Al-Abbas bore him forth to burial as beseemeth kings and
let make for him perlections and professional recitations of the
Koran. He kept up the mourning for his father during four
successive weeks, and when a full-told month had elapsed he sat
down on the throne of the kingship and judged and did justice and
distributed silver and gold. He also loosed all who were in the
jails and abolished grievances and customs dues and righted the
oppressed of the oppressor; so the lieges prayed for him and
loved him and invoked on him endurance of glory and continuance
of kingship and length of life and eternity of prosperity and
happiness. The troops submitted to him, and the hosts from all
parts of the kingdom, and there came to him presents from each
and every land: the kings obeyed him and many were his warriors
and his grandees, and his subjects lived with him the most
easeful of lives and the most delightsome. Meanwhile, he ceased
not, he and his beloved, Queen Mariyah, in the most enjoyable of
life and the pleasantest, and he was vouchsafed by her children;
and indeed there befel friendship and affection between them and
the longer their companionship was prolonged, the more their love
waxed, so that they became unable to endure each from other a
single hour, save the time of his going forth to the Divan, when
he would return to her in the liveliest that might be of longing.
And after this fashion they abode in all solace of life and
satisfaction till there came to them the Destroyer of delights
and the Severer of societies. So extolled be the Eternal whose
sway endureth for ever and aye, who never unheedeth neither dieth
nor sleepeth! This is all that hath come down to us of their
tale, and so the Peace!


King Sjajruar marveled at this history[FN#444] and said, "By
Allah, verily, injustice slayeth its folk!"[FN#445] And he was
edified by that, wherewith Shahrazad bespoke him and sought help
of Allah the Most High. Then said he to her, "Tell me another of
thy tales, O Shahrazad; supply me with a pleasant story and this
shall be the completion of the story-telling."Shahrazad replied,
"With love and gladness! I will tell thee a tale the like of
which has never been heard before. It hath reached me, O
auspicious King, that a man once declared to his mates, 'I will
set forth to you a means of security against annoy.' A friend of
mine once related to me and said, "We attained to security
against annoy, and the origin of it was other than this; that is,
it was the following'"[FN#446]


I overtravelled whileome lands and climes and towns and visited
the cities of high renown and traversed the ways of dangers and
hardships. Towards the last of my life, I entered a city of the
cities of China,[FN#448] wherein was a king of the Chosroes and
the Tobbas[FN#449] and the Caesars.[FN#450] Now that city had
been peopled with its inhabitants by means of justice and equity;
but its then king was a tyrant dire who despoiled lives and souls
at his desire; in fine, there was no warming oneself at his fire,
[FN#451] for that indeed he oppressed the believing band and
wasted the eland. Now he had a younger brother, who was king in
Sarmarkand of the Persians, and the two kings sojourned a while
of time, each in his own city and stead, till they yearned unto
each other and the elder king despatched his Wazir to fetch his
younger brother. When the Minister came to the King of Samarkand
and acquainted him with his errand, he submitted himself to the
bidding of his brother and answered, "To hear is to obey." Then
he equipped himself and made ready for wayfare and brought forth
his tents and pavilions. A while after midnight, he went in to
his wife, that he might farewell her, and found her with a
strange man, lying by her in one bed. So he slew them both and
dragging them out by the feet, cast them away and set forth on
his march. When he came to his brother's court, the elder king
rejoiced in him with joy exceeding and lodged him in the pavilion
of hospitality beside his own palace. Now this pavilion
overlooked a flower-garden belonging to the elder brother and
there the younger abode with him some days. Then he called to
mind that which his wife had done with him and remembered her
slaughter and bethought him how he was a king, yet was not exempt
from the shifts of Time; and affected him with exceeding affect,
so that it drave him to abstain from meat and drink, or, if he
ate anything, it profited him naught. When his brother saw him
on such wise, he deemed that this had betided him by reason of
severance from his folk and family, and said to him, "Come, let
us fare forth a-coursing and a-hunting." But he refused to go
with him; so the elder brother went to the chase, while the
younger abode in the pavilion aforesaid. Now, as he was
diverting himself by looking out upon the flower-garden from the
latticed window of the palace, behold, he saw his brother's wife
and with her ten black slaves and ten slave-girls. Each slave
laid hold of a damsel and another slave came forth and did the
like with the queen; and when they had their wills one of other
they all returned whence they came. Hereat there betided the
King of Samarkand exceeding surprise and solace and he was made
whole of his malady, little by little. After a few days, his
brother returned, and finding him cured of his complaint, said to
him, "Tell me, O my brother, what was the cause of thy sickness
and thy pallor, and what is the reason of the return of health to
thee and of rosiness to thy face after this?" So he acquainted
him with the whole case and this was grievous to him; but they
hid their affair and agreed to leave the kingship and fare forth
a-pilgrimaging and adventuring at hap-hazard, for they deemed
that there had befallen none the like of what had befallen them.
Accordingly, they went forth and as they journeyed, they saw by
the way a woman imprisoned in seven chests, whereon were five
padlocks, and sunken deep in the midst of the salt sea, under the
guardianship of an Ifrit; yet for all this that woman issued out
of the ocean and opened those padlocks and coming forth of those
chests, did what she would with the two brothers, after she had
practised upon the Ifrit. When the two kings saw that woman's
fashion and how she circumvented the Ifrit, who had lodged her in
the abyss of the main, they turned back to their kingdoms and the
younger betook himself to Samarkand, whilst the elder returned to
China and contrived for himself a custom in the slaughter of
damsels, which was, his Wazir used to bring him every night a
girl, with whom he lay that night, and when he arose in the
morning, he gave her to the Minister and bade him do her die.
After this fashion he abode a long time, and the commons cried
out by reason of that grievous affair into which they were fallen
and feared the wrath of Allah Almighty, dreading lest He destroy
them by means of this. still the king persisted in that practice
and in his blameworthy intent of the killing of damsels and the
despoilment of maidens concealed by veils,[FN#452] wherefore the
girls sought succor of the Lord of All-might, and complained to
Him of the tyranny of the eking and of his oppression. Now the
king's Wazir had two daughters, sisters german, the elder of whom
had read the books and made herself mistress of the sciences and
studied the writings of the sages and the stories of the cup-
companions,[FN#453] and she was a maiden of abundant lore and
knowledge galore and wit than which naught can be more. She
heard that which the folk suffered from that king in his misuage
of their children; whereupon ruth for them gat hold of her and
jealousy and she besought Allah Almighty that He would bring the
king to renounce that his new accursed custom,[FN#454] and the
Lord answered her prayer. Then she consulted her younger sister
and said to her, "I mean to devise a device for freeing the
children of folk; to wit, I will go up to the king and offer
myself to marry him, and when I come to his presence, I will send
to fetch thee. When thou comest in to me and the king had his
carnal will of me, do thou say to me, 'O my sister, let me hear a
story of thy goodly stories, wherewith we may beguile the waking
hours of our night, till the dawn, when we take leave of each
other; and let the king hear it likewise!'" The other replied,
"'Tis well; forsure this contrivance will deter the king from
this innovation he practiseth and thou shalt be requited with
favour exceeding and recompense abounding in the world to come,
for that indeed thou perilest thy life and wilt either perish or
win to thy wish." So she did this and Fortune favoured her and
the Divine direction was vouchsafed to her and she discovered her
design to her sire, the Wazir, who thereupon forbade her, fearing
her slaughter. However, she repeated her words to him a second
time and a third, but he consented not. Then he cited to her a
parable, which should deter her, and she cited to him a parable
of import contrary to his, and the debate was prolonged between
them and the adducing of instances, till her father saw that he
was powerless to turn her from her purpose and she said to him,
"There is no help but that I marry the King, so haply I may be a
sacrifice for the children of the Moslems: either I shall turn
him from this his heresy or I shall die." When the Minister
despaired of dissuading her, he went up to the king and
acquainted him with the case, saying, "I have a maiden daughter
and she desireth to give herself in free gift to the King."
Quoth the King, "How can thy soul consent to this, seeing that
thou knowest I abide but a single night with a girl and when I
arise on the morrow, I do her dead, and 'tis thou who slayest
her, and again and again thou hast done this?" Quoth the Wazir,
"Know, O king, that I have set forth all this to her, yet
consented she not to aught, but needs must she have thy company
and she chooseth to come to thee and present herself before thee,
albeit I have cited to her the sayings of the sages; but she hath
answered me with more than that which I said to her and
contrariwise." Then quoth the king, "Suffer her visit me this
night and to-morrow morning come thou and take her and kill her;
and by Allah, an thou slay her not, I will slay thee and her
also!" the Minister obeyed the king's bidding and going out from
the presence returned home. When it was night, he took his elder
daughter and carried her up to the king; and when she came before
him she wept;[FN#455] whereupon he asked her, "What causeth thee
to weep? Indeed, 'twas thou who willedst this." She answered, "I
weep not but of longing after my little sister; for that, since
we grew up, I and she, I have never been parted from her till
this day; so, an it please the King to send for her, that I may
look on her, and listen to her speech and take my fill of her
till the morning, this were a boon and an act of kindness of the
King." So he bade fetch the damsel and she came. Then there
befel that which befel of his union with the elder
sister,[FN#456] and when he went up to his couch, that he might
sleep, the younger sister said to her elder, "Allah upon thee, O
my sister, an thou be not asleep, tell us a tale of thy goodly
tales, wherewith me may beguile the watches of our night, ere day
dawn and parting." Said she, "With love and gladness;" and fell
to relating to her, whilst the king listened. Her story was
goodly and delectable, and whilst she was in the middle of
telling it, the dawn brake. Now the king's heart clave to the
hearing of the rest of the story; so he respited her till the
morrow; and, when it was the next night, she told him a tale
concerning the marvels of the land and the wonders of Allah's
creatures which was yet stranger and rarer than the first. In
the midst of the recital, appeared the day and she was silent
from the permitted say. So he let her live till the following
night, that he might hear the end of the history and after that
slay her. On this wise it fortuned with her; but as regards the
people of the city, they rejoiced and were glad and blessed the
Wazir's daughters, marvelling for that three days had passed and
that the king had not put his bride to death and exulting in that
he had returned to the ways of righteousness and would never
again burthen himself with blood-guilt against any of the maidens
of the city. Then, on the fourth night, she related to him a
still more extraordinary adventure, and on the fifth night she
told him anecdotes of Kings and Wazirs and Notables. Brief, she
ceased not to entertain him many days and nights, while the king
said to himself, "Whenas I shall have heard the end of the tale,
I will do her die," and the people redoubled their marvel and
admiration. Also, the folk of the circuits and cities heard of
this thing, to wit, that the king had turned from his custom and
from that which he had imposed upon himself and had renounced his
heresy, wherefor they rejoiced and the lieges returned to the
capital and took up there abode therein, after they had departed
thence; and they were constant in prayer to Allah Almighty that
He would stablish the king in his present stead." "And this, said
Shahrazad, "is the end of that which my friend related to me."
Quoth Shahryar,[FN#457] "O Shahrazad, finish for us the tale thy
friend told thee, inasmuch as it resembleth the story of a King
whom I knew; but fain would I hear that which betided the people
of this city and what they said of the affair of the King, so I
may return from the case wherein I was." She replied, "With love
and gladness!" Know, O auspicious king and lord of right rede
and praiseworthy meed and prowest of deed, that, when the folk
heard how the king had put away from him his malpractice and
returned from his unrighteous wont, they rejoiced in this with
joy exceeding and offered up prayers for him. Then they talked
one with other of the cause of the slaughter of the maidens, and
the wise said, "Women are not all alike, nor are the fingers of
the hand alike." Now when King Shahryar heard this story he came
to himself and awakening from his drunkenness,[FN#458] said, "By
Allah, this story is my story and this case is my case, for that
indeed I was in reprobation and danger of judgment till thou
turnedst me back from this into the right way, extolled be the
Causer of causes and the Liberator of necks!" presently adding,
"Indeed, O Shahrazad, thou hast awakened me to many things and
hast aroused me from mine ignorance of the right." Then said she
to him, "O chief of the kings, the wise say, 'The kingship is a
building, whereof the troops are the base, and when the
foundation is strong, the building endureth;' wherefore it
behoveth the king to strengthen the foundation, for that they
say, 'Whenas the base is weak, the building falleth.' In like
fashion it befitteth the king to care for his troops and do
justice among his lieges, even as the owner of the garden careth
for his trees and cutteth away the weeds that have no profit in
them; and so it befitteth the king to look into the affairs of
his Ryots and fend off oppression from them. As for thee, O
king, it behoveth thee that thy Wazir be virtuous and experienced
in the requirements of the people and the peasantry; and indeed
Allah the Most High hath named his name[FN#459] in the history of
Musa (on whom be the Peace!) when he saith, 'And make me a Wazir
of my people, Aaron.' Now could a Wazir have been dispensed
withal, Moses son of Imran had been worthier than any to do
without a Minister. As for the Wazir, the Sultan discovereth
unto him his affairs, private and public; and know, O king, that
the likeness of thee with the people is that of the leach with
the sick man; and the essential condition of the Minister is that
he be soothfast in his sayings, reliable in all his relations,
rich in ruth for the folk and in tenderness of transacting with
them. Verily, it is said, "O king, that good troops be like the
druggist; if his perfumes reach thee not, thou still smellest the
fragrance of them; and bad entourage be like the blacksmith; if
his sparks burn thee not, thou smellest his evil smell. So it
befitteth thee to take to thyself a virtuous Wazir, a veracious
counsellor, even as thou takest unto thee a wife displayed before
thy face, because thou needest the man's righteousness for thine
own right directing, seeing that, if thou do righteously, the
commons will do right, and if thou do wrongously, they will also
do wrong." When the King heard this, drowsiness overcame him and
he slept and presently awaking, called for the candles; so they
were lighted and he sat down on his couch and seating Shahrazad
by him, smiled in her face. She kissed the ground before him and
said, "O king of the age and lord of the time and the years,
extolled be the Forgiving, the Bountiful, who hath sent me to
thee, of His grace and good favour, so I have incited thee to
longing after Paradise; for verily this which thou wast wont do
was never done of any of the kings before thee. then laud be to
the Lord who hath directed thee into the right way, and who from
the paths of frowardness hath diverted thee! as for women, Allah
Almighty maketh mention of them also when He saith in His Holy
Book, 'Truly, the men who resign themselves to Allah[FN#460] and
the women who resign themselves, and the true-believing men and
the true-believing women and the devout men and the devout women
and truthful men and truthful women, and long-suffering men and
long-suffering women, and the humble men and the humble women,
and charitable men and charitable women, and the men who fast and
the women who fast, and men who guard their privities and women
who guard their privities, and men who are constantly mindful of
Allah and women who are constantly mindful, for them Allah hath
prepared forgiveness and a rich reward.'[FN#461] as for that
which hath befallen thee, verily, it hath befallen many kings
before thee and their women have falsed them, for all they were
more majestical of puissance than thou, and mightier of kingship
and had troops more manifold. If I would, I could relate to
thee, O king, concerning the wiles of women, that whereof I
should not make an end all my life long; and indeed, in all these
my nights that I have passed before thee, I have told thee many
tales of the wheedling of women and of their craft; but soothly
the things abound on me;[FN#462] so, an thou please, O king, I
will relate to thee somewhat of that which befel olden kings of
perfidy from their women and of the calamities which overtook
them by reason of these deceivers."" Asked the king, "How so?
Tell on;" and she answered, "Hearkening and obedience. It hath
been told me, O king, that a man once related to a company the
following tale:"


One day of the days, as I stood at the door of my house, and the
heat was excessive, behold, I saw a fair woman approaching, and
with her a slave-girl carrying a parcel. They gave not over
going till they came up to me, when the woman stopped and asked
me, "Hast thou a draught of water?" answered I, "Yes, enter the
vestibule, O my lady, so thou mayest drink." Accordingly she
came in and I went up into the house and fetched two gugglets of
earthenware, smoked with musk[FN#464] and full of cold water.
She took one of them and discovered her face, the better to
drink; whereupon I saw that she was as the rising moon or the
resplendent sun and said to her, "O my lady, wilt thou not come
up into the house, so thou mayst rest thyself till the air cool
and afterwards fare thee to thine own place?" quoth she, "Is
there none with thee?" and quoth I, "Indeed I am a bachelor and
have none belonging tome, nor is there a wight in the
site;[FN#465] whereupon she said, "An thou be a stranger, thou
art he in quest of whom I was going about." So she went up into
the house and doffed her walking-dress and I found her as she
were the full moon. I brought her what I had by me of food and
drink and said to her, "O my lady, excuse me: this is all that is
ready;" and said she, "This is right good[FN#466] and indeed 'tis
what I sought." Then she ate and gave the slave-girl that which
was left; after which I brought her a casting-bottle of musked
rose-water, and she washed her hands and abode with me till the
season of mid-afternoon prayer, when she brought out of the
parcel she had with her a shirt and trousers and an upper
garment[FN#467] and a gold-worked kerchief and gave them to me;
saying, "Know that I am one of the concubines of the Caliph, and
we be forty concubines, each of whom hath a cicisbeo who cometh
to her as often as she would have him; and none is without a
lover save myself, wherefore I came forth this day to get me a
gallant and now I have found thee. thou must know that the
Caliph lieth each night with one of us, whilst the other nine-
and-thirty concubines take their ease with the nine-and-thirty
masculines, and I would have thee company on such a day, when do
thou come up to the palace of the Caliph and sit awaiting me in
such a place, till a little eunuch come out to thee and say to
thee a certain watch-word which is, 'Art thou Sandal?' Answer
'Yes,' and wend thee with him." Then she took leave of me and I
of her, after I had strained her to my bosom and thrown my arms
round her neck and we had exchanged kisses awhile. So she fared
forth and I abode patiently expecting the appointed day, till it
came, when I arose and went out, intending for the trysting
place; but a friend of mine met me by the way and made me go home
with him. I accompanied him and when I came up into his sitting-
chamber he locked the door on me and walked out to fetch what we
might eat and drink. He was absent until midday, then till the
hour of mid-afternoon prayer, whereat I was chagrined with sore
concern. Then he was missing until sundown, and I was like to
die of vexation and impatience; and indeed he returned not and I
passed my night on wake, nigh upon death, for the door was locked
on me, and my soul was like to depart my body on account of the
assignation. At daybreak, my friend returned and opening the
door, came in, bringing with him meat-pudding[FN#468] and
fritters and bees' honey, and said to me, "By Allah, thou must
needs excuse me, for that I was with a company and they locked
the door on me and have let me go but this very moment." I
returned him no reply; however, he set before me that which was
with him and I ate a single mouthful and went out running at
speed so haply I might overtake the rendezvous which had escaped
me. when I came to the palace, I saw over against it eight-and-
thirty gibbets set up, whereon were eight-and-thirty men
crucified, and under them eight-and-thirty[FN#469] concubines as
they were moons. So I asked the cause of the crucifixion of the
men and concerning the women in question, and it was said unto
me, "The men thou seest crucified the Caliph found with yonder
damsels, who be his bed-fellows." When I heard this, I
prostrated myself in thanksgiving to Allah and said, "The
Almighty require thee with all good, O my friend!" for had he
not invited me and locked me up in his house that night, I had
been crucified with these men, wherefore Alhamdolillah--laud to
the Lord! "On this wise" (continued Shahrazad), "none is safe
from the calamities of the world and the vicissitudes of Time,
and in proof of this, I will relate unto thee yet another story
still rarer and stranger than this. Know, O king, that one said
to me: A friend of mine, a merchant, told me the following tale:


As I sat one day in my shop, there came up to me a fair woman, as
she were the moon at its rising, and with her a hand-maid. Now I
was a handsome man in my time; so that lady sat down on my
shop[FN#471] and buying stuffs of me, paid the price and went her
ways. I asked the girl anent her and she answered, "I know not
her name." Quoth I, "Where is her abode?" Quoth she, "In
heaven;" and I, "She is presently on the earth; so when doth she
ascend to heaven and where is the ladder by which she goeth
up?"[FN#472] the girl retorted, "She hath her lodging in a
palace between two rivers,[FN#473] that is, in the palace of Al-
Maamun al-Hakim bi-Amri 'llah."[FN#474] Then said I, "I am a
dead man, without a doubt;" but she replied, "Have patience, for
needs must she return to thee and buy other stuffs of thee." I
asked, "And how cometh it that the Commander of the Faithful
trusteth her to go out?" and she answered, "He loveth her with
exceeding love and is wrapped up in her and crosseth her not."
Then the slave-girl went away, running after her mistress;
whereupon I left the shop and followed them, so I might see her
abiding-place. I kept them in view all the way, till she
disappeared from mine eyes, when I returned to my place, with
heart a-fire. Some days after, she came to me again and bought
stuffs of me: I refused to take the price and she cried, "We
have no need of thy goods." Quoth I, "O my lady, accept them
from me as a gift;" but quoth she, "Wait till I try thee and make
proof of thee." Then she brought out of her pocket a purse and
gave me therefrom a thousand dinars, saying, "Trade with this
till I return to thee." So I took the purse and she went away
and returned not till six months had passed. Meanwhile, I traded
with the money and sold and bought and made other thousand dinars
profit on it. At last she came to me again and I said to her,
"Here is thy money and I have gained with it other thousand
ducats;" and she, "Let it lie by thee and take these other
thousand dinars. As soon as I have departed from thee, go thou
to Al-Rauzah, the Garden-holm, and build there a goodly pavilion,
and when the edifice is accomplished, give me to know thereof.
As soon as she was gone, I betook myself to Al-Rauzah and fell to
building the pavilion, and when it was finished, I furnished it
with the finest of furniture and sent to tell her that I had made
an end to the edifice; whereupon she sent back to me, saying,
"Let him meet me to-morrow about day-break at the Zuwaylah gate
and bring with him a strong ass." I did as she bade and,
betaking myself to the Zuwaylah gate, at the appointed time,
found there a young man on horseback, awaiting her, even as I
awaited her. As we stood, behold, up she came, and with her a
slave-girl. When she saw that young man, she asked him, "Art
thou here?" and he answered, "Yes, O my lady." Quoth she, "To-
day I am invited by this man: wilt thou wend with us?" and quoth
he, "Yes." then said she, "Thou hast brought me hither against
my will and parforce. Wilt thou go with us in any case?"[FN#475]
He cried, "Yes, yes," and we fared on, all three, until we came
to Al-Rauzah and entered the pavilion. The dame diverted herself
awhile with viewing its ordinance and furniture, after which she
doffed her walking-dress and sat down with the young man in the
goodliest and chiefest place. Then I fared forth and brought
them what they should eat at the first of the day; presently I
again went out and fetched them what they should eat at the end
of the day and brought for the twain wine and dessert and fruits
and flowers. After this fashion I abode in their service,
standing on my feet, and she said not unto me, "Sit," nor "Take,
eat" nor "Take, drink," while she and the young man sat toying
and laughing, and he feel to kissing her and pinching her and
hopping over the ground[FN#476] and laughing. They remained thus
awhile and presently she said, "Hitherto we have not become
drunken; let me pour out." So she took the cup, and crowning it,
gave him to drink and plied him with wine, till he lost his wits,
when she took him up and carried him into a closet. Then she
came out, with the head of that youth in her hand, while I stood
silent, fixing not mine eyes on her eyes neither questioning her
of the case; and she asked me, "Take it and throw it in the
river." I accepted her commandment and she arose and stripping
herself of her clothes, took a knife and cut the dead man's body
in pieces, which she laid in three baskets, and said to me,
"Throw them into the river." I did her bidding and when I
returned, she said to me, "Sit, so I may relate to thee yonder
fellow's case, lest thou be affrighted at what accident hath
befallen him. Thou must know that I am the Caliph's favourite
concubine, nor is there any higher in honour with him than I; and
I am allowed six nights in each month, wherein I go down into the
city and tarry with my whilome mistress who reared me; and when I
go down thus, I dispose of myself as I will. Now this young man
was the son of certain neighbors of my mistress, when I was a
virgin girl. One day, my mistress was sitting with the chief
officers of the palace and I was alone in the house, and as the
night came on, I went up to the terrace-roof in order to sleep
there, but ere I was ware, this youth came up from the street and
falling upon me knelt on my breast. He was armed with a dagger
and I could not get free of him till he had taken my maidenhead
by force; and this sufficed him not, but he must needs disgrace
me with all the folk for, as often as I came down from the
palace, he would stand in wait for me by the way and futtered me
against my will and follow me wheresoever I went. This, then, is
my story, and as for thee, thou pleasest me and thy patience
pleaseth me and thy good faith and loyal service, and there
abideth with me none dearer than thou." Then I lay with her that
night and there befel what befel between us till the morning,
when she gave me abundant wealth and took to meeting me at the
pavilion six days in every month. After this wise we passed a
whole year, at the end of which she cut herself off from me a
month's space, wherefore fire raged in my heart on her account.
When it was the next month, behold , a little eunuch presented
himself to me and said, "I am a messenger to thee from Such-an-
one, who giveth thee to know that the Commander of the Faithful
hath ordered her to be drowned, her those who are with her, six-
and-twenty slave-girls, on such a day at Dayr al-Tin,[FN#477] for
that they have confessed of lewdness, one against other and she
sayeth to thee, 'Look how thou mayest do with me and how thou
mayest contrive to deliver me, even an thou gather together all
my money and spend it upon me, for that this be the time of
manhood.'"[FN#478] Quoth I, "I know not this woman; belike it is
other than I to whom this message is sent; so beware, O Eunuch,
lest thou cast me into a cleft." Quoth he, "Behold, I have told
thee that I had to say," and went away, leaving me in sore
concern on her account. Now when the appointed day came, I
arose and changing my clothes and favour, donned sailor's
apparel; then I took with me a purse full of gold and buying a
right good breakfast, accosted a boatman at Dayr al-Tin and sat
down and ate with him; after which I asked him, "Wilt thou hire
me thy boat?" Answered he, "The Commander of the Faithful hath
commanded me to be here;" and he told me the tale of the
concubines and how the Caliph purposed to drown them that day.
When I heard this from him, I brought out to him ten gold pieces
and discovered to him my case, whereupon he said to me, "O my
brother, get thee empty gourds, and when thy mistress cometh,
give me to know of her and I will contrive the trick." So I
kissed his hand and thanked him and, as I was walking about,
waiting, up came the guards and eunuchs escorting the women, who
were weeping and shrieking and farewelling one another. The
Castratos cried out to us, whereupon we came with the boat, and
they said to the sailor, "Who be this?" Said he, "This is my mate
whom I have brought to help me, so one of us may keep the boat
whilst another doth your service." Then they brought out to us
the women, one by one, saying "Throw them in by the Island;" and
we replied, "'Tis well." Now each of them was shackled and they
had made fast about her neck a jar of sand. We did as the
neutrals bade us and ceased not to take the women, one after
other, and cast them in, till they gave us my mistress and I
winked to my mate. So we took her and carried her out and cast
her into mid-stream, where I threw to her the empty
gourds[FN#479] and said to her, "Wait for me at the mouth of the
Canal."[FN#480] now there remained one woman after her: so we
took her and drowned her and the eunuchs went away, whilst we
dropped down the river till we came to where I saw my mistress
awaiting me. we haled her into the canoe and returned to our
pavilion. Then I rewarded the sailor and he took his boat and
went away; whereupon quoth she to me, "Thou art indeed the friend
ever faithful found for the shifts of Fortune."[FN#481] and I
sojourned with her some days; but the shock wrought upon her so
that she sickened and fell to wasting away and redoubled in
weakness till she died. I mourned for her and buried her; after
which I removed all that was in the pavilion and abandoned the
building. Now she had brought to that pavilion a little coffer
of copper and laid it in a place whereof I knew not; so, when the
Inspector of Inheritances[FN#482] came, he rummaged the house and
found the coffer. Presently he opened it and seeing it full of
jewels and seal-rings, took it, and me with it, and ceased not to
put me to the question with beating and torment till I confessed
the whole affair. Thereupon they carried me to the Caliph and I
told him all that had passed between me and her; and he said to
me, "O man, depart this city, for I release thee on account of
thy courage and because of thy constancy in keeping thy secret
and thy daring in exposing thyself to death." So I arose
forthwith and fared from his city; and this is what befel me.

Variants and Analogues
Some of the Tales
Volumes XI. and XII.

By. W. A. Clouston.

Author of "Popular Tales and Fictions: Their Mirgations
and Transformations," Etc.


Variants and Analogues of Some of the Tales
in Volumes XI and XII

By W. A. Clouston.


Few if the stories in the "Arabian Nights" which charmed our
marvelling boyhood were greater favourites than this one, under
the title of "Abou Hassan; or, the Sleeper Awakened." What
recked we in those days whence it was derived?--the story--the
story was the thing! As Sir R. F. Burton observes in his first
note, this is "the only one of the eleven added by Galland, whose
original has been discovered in Arabic;"[FN#483] and it is
probable that Galland heard it recited in a coffee-house during
his residence in Constantinople. The plot of the Induction to
Shakspeare's comedy of "The Taming of the Shrew" is similar to
the adventure of Abu al-Hasan the Wag, and is generally believed
to have been adapted from a story entitled "The Waking Man's
Fortune" in Edward's collection of comic tales, 1570, which were
retold somewhat differently in "Goulart's Admirable and Memorable
Histories," 1607; both versions are reprinted in Mr. Hazlitt's
"Shakspeare Library," vol. iv., part I, pp. 403-414. In Percy's
"Reliques of Ancient English Poetry" we find the adventure told
in a ballad entitled "The Frolicksome Duke; or, the Tinker's Good
Fortune," from the Pepys collection: "whether it may be thought
to have suggested the hint to Shakspeare or is not rather of
latter date," says Percy, "the reader must determine:"

Now as fame does report, a young duke keeps a court,
One that pleases his fancy with frolicksome sport:
But amongst all the rest, here is one, I protest,
Which will make you to smile when you hear the true jest:
A poor tinker he found lying drunk on the ground,
As secure in a sleep as if laid in a swownd.

The duke said to his men, William, Richard, and Ben,
Take him home to my palace, we'll sport with him then.
O'er a horse he was laid, and with care soon convey'd
To the palace, altho' he was poorly arrai'd;
Then they stript off his cloaths, both his shirt, shoes, and
And they put him in bed for to take his repose.

Having pull'd off his shirt, which was all over durt,
They did give him clean holland, this was no great hurt:
On a bed of soft down, like a lord of renown,
They did lay him to sleep the drink out of his crown.
In the morning when day, then admiring[FN#484] he lay,
For to see the rich chamber both gaudy and gay.

Now he lay something late, in his rich bed of state,
Till at last knights and squires they on him did wait;
And the chamberling bare, then did likewise declare,
He desired to know what apparel he'd ware:
The poor tinker amaz'd, on the gentleman gaz'd,
And admired how he to this honour was rais'd.

Tho' he seem'd something mute, yet he chose a rich suit,
Which he straitways put on without longer dispute;
With a star on his side, which the tinker offt ey'd,
And it seem'd for to swell him no little with pride;
For he said to himself, Where is Joan my sweet wife?
Sure she never did see me so fine in her life.

From a convenient place, the right duke his good grace
Did observe his behavior in every case.
To a garden of state, on the tinker they wait,
Trumpets sounding before him: thought he this is great:
Where an hour or two, pleasant walks he did view,
With commanders and squires in scarlet in blew.

A find dinner was drest, both for him and his guests,
He was placed at the table above all the rest,
In a rich chair, or bed, lin'd with fine crimson red,
With a rich golden canopy over his head:
As he sat at his meat, the musick play'd sweet,
With the choicest of singing his joys to compleat.

While the tinker did dine, he had plenty of wine.
Rich canary with sherry and tent superfine,
Like a right honest soul, faith, he took off his bowl,
Till at last he began for to tumble and roul
From his chair to the floor, where he sleeping did snore,
Being seven times drunker than ever before.

Then the duke did ordain, they should strip him amain,
And restore him his old leather garments again:
'Twas a point next the worst, yet perform it they must,
And they carry'd him strait, where they found him at first;
Then he slept all the night, as indeed well he might,
But when he did waken, his joys took their flight.

For his glory to him so pleasant did seem,
That he thought it to be but a meer golden dream;
Till at length he was brought to the duke, where he sought
For a pardon as fearing he had set him at nought;
But his highness he said, Thou'rt a jolly bold blade,
Such a frolick before I think never was plaid.

Then his highness bespoke him a new suit and cloak,
Which he gave for the sake of this frolicksome joak;
Nay, and five hundred pound, with ten acres of ground
Thou shalt never, said he, range the counteries round,
Crying old brass to mend, for I'll be thy good friend,
Nay, and Joan thy sweet wife shall my duchess attend.

Then the tinker reply'd, What! must Joan my sweet bride
Be a lady in chariots of pleasure to ride?
Must we have gold and land ev'ry day at command?
Then I shall be a squire I well understand:
Well I thank your good grace, and your love I embrace,
I was never before in so happy a case.

The same story is also cited in the "Anatomy of Melancholy," part
2, memb. 4, from Ludovicus Vives in Epist.[FN#485] and Pont.
Heuter in Rerum Burgund., as follows:

"It is reported of Philippus Bonus, that good Duke of Burgundy,
that the said duke, at the marriage of Eleonora, sister to the
King of Portugal, at Bruges in Flanders, which was solemnized in
the deep of winter, when as by reason of the unseasonable (!)
weather he could neither hawk nor hunt, and was now tyred with
cards, dice, &c., and such other domestical sports, or to see
ladies dance, with some of his courtiers, he would in the evening
walk disguised all about the town. It so fortuned as he was
walking late one night, he found a country fellow dead drunk,
snorting on a bulk; he caused his followers to bring him to his
palace, and there stripping him of his old clothes, and attiring
him after the court fashion, when he waked, he and they were all
ready to attend upon his excellency, persuading him that he was
some great duke. The poor fellow, admiring how he came there,
was served in state all the day long; after supper he saw them
dance, heard musick, and the rest of those court-like pleasures;
but late at night, when he was well-tipled, and again fast asleep
they put on his old robes, and so conveyed him to the place where
they first found him. Now the fellow had not made them so good
sport the day before, as he did when he returned to himself; all
the jest was to see how he looked upon it. In conclusion, after
some little admiration, the poor man told his friends he had seen
a vision, constantly beleeved it, would not otherwise be
perswaded; and so the jest ended."

I do not think that this is a story imported from the East: the
adventure is just as likely to have happened in Bruges as in
Baghdad; but the exquisite humor of the Arabian tale is wanting-
-even Shakspeare's Christopher Sly is not to be compared with
honest Abu al-Hasan the Wag.

This story of the Sleeper and the Waker recalls the similar
device practised by the Chief of the Assassins--that formidable,
murderous association, the terror of the Crusades--on promising
novices. Von Hammer, in his "History of the Assassins," end of
Book iv., gives a graphic description of the charming gardens
into which the novices were carried while insensible from

In the center of the Persian as well as the Assyrian territory of
the Assassins, that is to say, both at Alamut and Massiat, were
situated, in a space surrounded by walls, splendid gardens--true
Eastern paradises. There were flower-beds and thickets of
fruit-trees, intersected by canals, shady walks, and verdant
glades, where the sparkling stream bubbled at every step; bowers
of roses and vineyards; luxurious halls and porcelain kiosks,
adorned with Persian carpets and Grecian stuffs, where
drinking-vessels of gold, silver, and crystal glittered on trays
of the same costly materials; charming maidens and handsome boys
of Muhammed's Paradise, soft as the cushions on which they
reposed, and intoxicating as the wine which they presented. The
music of the harp was mingled with the songs of birds, and the
melodious tones of the songstress harmonized with the murmur of
the brooks. Everything breathed pleasure, rapture, and
sensuality. A youth, was deemed worthy by his strength and
resolution to be initiated into the Assassin service, was invited
to the table and conversation of the grand master, or grand
prior; he was then intoxicated with hashish and carried into the
garden, which on awaking he believed to be Paradise; everything
around him, the houris in particular, contributing to confirm the
delusion. After he had experienced as much of the pleasures of
Paradise, which the Prophet has promised to the faithful, as his
strength would admit; after quaffing enervating delight from the
eyes of the houris and intoxicating wine from the glittering
goblets; he sank into the lethargy produced by debility and the
opiate, on awakening from which, after a few hours, he again
found himself by the side of his superior. The latter endeavored
to convince him that corporeally he had not left his side, but
that spiritually he had been wrapped into Paradise and had there
enjoyed a foretaste of the bliss which awaits the faithful who
devote their lives to the service of the faith and the obedience
of their chiefs.

Vol. XI. p. 37.

The precise date of the Persian original of this romance
("Bakhtyar Nama") has not been ascertained, but it was probably
composed before the beginning of the fifteenth century, since
there exists in the Bodleian Library a unique Turki version, in
the Uygur language and characters, which was written in 1434.
Only three of the tales have hitherto been found in other Asiatic
storybooks. The Turki version, according to M. Jaubert, who
gives an account of the MS. and a translation of one of the tales
in the Journal Asiatique, tome x. 1827, is characterised by
"great sobriety of ornament and extreme simplicity of style, and
the evident intention on the part of the translator to suppress
all that may not have appeared to him sufficiently probable, and
all that might justly be taxed with exaggeration;" and he adds
that "apart from the interest which the writing and phraseology
of the work may possess for those who study the history of
languages, it is rather curious to see how a Tatar translator
sets to work to bring within the range of his readers stories
embellished in the original with descriptions and images
familiar, doubtless, to a learned and refined nation like the
Persians, for foreign to shepherds."

At least three different versions are known to the Malays-
-different in the frame, or leading story, if not in the


Back to Full Books