The Arabian Nights Entertainments vol. 1

Part 3 out of 7

Here you see me, alone, wounded, destitute of help, and in a
strange country. I durst not take the high road, fearing I might
fall again into the hands of these robbers. When I had bound up
my wound, which was not dangerous, I walked on the rest of the
day, and arrived at the foot of

mountain, where I perceived a passage into a cave; I went in, and
staid there that night with little satisfaction, after I had
eaten some fruits that I had gathered by the way.

I continued my journey for several days following, without
finding any place of abode: but after a month's time, I came to a
large town well inhabited, and situated so much the more
advantageously, as it was surrounded by several streams, so that
it enjoyed perpetual spring.

The pleasant objects which then presented themselves to my view
afforded me some joy, and suspended for a time the sorrow with
which I was overwhelmed. My face, hands, and feet were black and
sun-burnt; and, by my long journey, my boots were quite worn out,
so that I was forced to walk bare-footed; and besides, my clothes
were all in rags I entered the town to inform myself where I was,
and addressed myself to a tailor that was at work in his shop;
who, perceiving by my air that I was a person of more note than
my outward appearance bespoke, made me sit down by him, and asked
me who I was, from whence I came, and what had brought me
thither? I did not conceal anything that had befallen me, nor
made I any scruple to discover my quality.

The tailor listened to me with attention; but after had done
speaking, instead of giving me any consolation, he augmented my
sorrow: "Take heed," said he, "how you discover to any person
what you have related to me; for the prince of this country is
the greatest enemy your father has, and he will certainly do you
some mischief, should he hear of your being in this city." I made
no doubt of the tailor's sincerity, when he named the prince: but
since that enmity which is between my father and him has no
relation to my adventures, I pass it over in silence.

I returned the tailor thanks for his advice, expressed himself
disposed to follow his counsel, and assured him that his favours
should never be forgotten. He ordered something to be brought for
me to eat, and offered me at the same time a lodging in his
house, which I accepted. Some days after, finding me tolerably
well recovered of the fatigue I had endured by a long and tedious
journey, and reflecting that most princes of our religion applied
themselves to some art or calling that might be serviceable to
them upon occasion, he asked me, if I had learned any whereby I
might get a livelihood, and not be burdensome to others? I told
him that I understood the laws, both divine and human; that I was
a grammarian and poet; and above all, that I could write with
great perfection. "By all this," said he, "you will not be able,
in this country, to purchase yourself one morsel of bread;
nothing is of less use here than those sciences; but if you will
be advised by me, dress yourself in a labourer's habit; and since
you appear to be strong, and of a good constitution, you shall go
into the next forest and cut fire-wood, which you may bring to
the market to be sold; and I can assure you this employment will
turn to so good an account that you may live by it, without
dependence upon any man; and by this means you will be in a
condition to wait for the favourable minute, when heaven shall
think fit to dispel those clouds of misfortune that thwart your
happiness, and oblige you to conceal your birth; I will take care
to supply you with a rope and a hatchet."

The fear of being known, and the necessity I was under of getting
a livelihood, made me agree to this proposal, notwithstanding the
meanness and hardships that attended it. The day following the
tailor brought me a rope. a hatchet, and a short coat, and
recommended me to some poor people who gained their bread after
the same manner, that they might take me into their company. They
conducted me to the wood, and the first day I brought in as much
upon my head as procured me half a piece of gold, of the money of
that country; for though the wood was not far distant from the
town, yet it was very scarce, by reason that few would be at the
trouble of fetching it for themselves. I gained a good sum of
money in a short time, and repaid my tailor what he had advanced
to me

I continued this way of living for a whole year. One day, having
by chance penetrated farther into the wood than usual, I happened
to light on a pleasant spot, where I began to cut; and in pulling
up the root of a tree, I espied an iron ring, fastened to a trap
door of the same metal. I took away the earth that covered it,
and having lifted it up, discovered a flight of stairs, which I
descended with my axe in my hand.

When I had reached the bottom, I found myself in a palace, and
felt great consternation, on account of a great light which
appeared as clear in it as if it had been above ground in the
open air. I went forward along a gallery, supported by pillars of
jasper, the base and capitals of messy gold: but seeing a lady of
a noble and graceful air, extremely beautiful, coming towards me,
my eyes were taken off from every other objets.

Being desirous to spare the lady the trouble of coming to me, I
hastened to meet her; and as I was saluting her with a low
obeisance, she asked me, "What are you, a man or a genie?" "A
man, madam," said I; "I have no correspondence with genies." "By
what adventure," said she, fetching a deep sigh, "are you come
hither? I have lived here twenty-five years, and you are the:
first man I have beheld in that time."

Her great beauty, which had already smitten me, and the sweetness
and civility wherewith she received me, emboldened me to say,
"Madam, before I have the honour to satisfy your curiosity, give
me leave to tell you, that I am infinitely gratified with this
unexpected meeting, which offers me an occasion of consolation in
the midst of my affliction; and perhaps it may give me an
opportunity of making you also more happy than you are." I
related to her by what strange accident she beheld me, the son of
a sultan, in such a condition as I appeared in her presence; and
how fortune had directed that I should discover the entrance into
that magnificent prison where I had found her, according to
appearance, in an unpleasant situation.

"Alas! prince," said she, sighing once more, "you have just cause
to believe this rich and pompous prison cannot be otherwise than
a most wearisome abode: the most charming place in the world
being no way delightful when we are detained there contrary to
our will. It is not possible but you have heard of the sultan of
the isle of Ebene, so called from that precious wood which it
produces in abundance; I am the princess his daughter.

"The sultan, my father, had chosen for me a husband, a prince who
was my cousin; but on my wedding-night, in the midst of the
rejoicings of the court and capital, before I was conducted to my
husband, a genie took me away. I fainted with alarm, and when I
recovered, found myself in this place. I was long inconsolable,
but time and necessity have accustomed me to see and receive the
genie. Twenty-five years I have continued in this place, where, I
must confess, I have all that I can wish for necessary to life,
and also every thing that can satisfy a princess fond of dress
and splendour.

"Every ten days," continued the princess, "the genie comes
hither, and remains with me one night, which he never exceeds;
and the excuse he makes for it is, that he is married to another
wife, who would grow jealous if she should know his infidelity.
Meanwhile, if I have occasion for him by day or night, as soon as
I touch a talisman, which is at the entrance into my chamber, the
genie appears. It is now the fourth day since he was here, and I
do not expect him before the end of six more; so, if you please,
you may stay five days, and I will endeavour to entertain you
according to your quality and merit." I thought myself too
fortunate, to have obtained so great a favour without asking, to
refuse so obliging an offer. The princess made me go into a bath,
the most commodious, and the most sumptuous imaginable; and when
I came forth, instead of my own clothes I found another very
costly suit, which I did not esteem so much for its richness, as
because it made me appear worthy to be in her company. We sat
down on a sofa covered with rich tapestry, with cushions of the
rarest Indian brocade; and some time after she covered a table
with several dishes of delicate meats. We ate, and passed the
remaining part of the day with much satisfaction, as also the
evening, together.

The next day, as she contrived every means to please me, she
brought in, at dinner, a bottle of old wine, the most excellent
that ever was tasted, and out of complaisance drank some part of
it with me. When my head grew warm with the agreeable liquor,
"Fair princess," said I, "you have been too long thus buried
alive; follow me, enjoy the real day, of which you have been
deprived so many years, and abandon this artificial though
brilliant glare." "Prince," replied she, with a smile, "leave
this discourse; if you out of ten days will grant me nine, and
resign the last to the genie, the fairest day would be nothing in
my esteem." "Princess," said I, "it is the fear of the genie that
makes you speak thus; for my part, I value him so little, that I
will break in pieces his talisman, with the conjuration that is
written about it. Let him come, I will expect him; and how brave
or redoubtable soever he be, I will make him feel the weight of
my arm: I swear solemnly that I will extirpate all the genies in
the world, and him first." The princess, who knew the
consequence, conjured me not to touch the talisman. "For that
would be the means," said she, "of ruining both you and me; I
know what belongs to genies better than you." The fumes of the
wine did not suffer me to hearken to her reasons; but I gave the
talisman a kick with my foot, and broke it in several pieces.

The talisman was no sooner broken than the palace began to shake,
and seemed ready to fall, with a hideous noise like thunder,
accompanied with flashes of lightning, and alternate darkness.
This terrible noise in a moment dispelled the fumes of my wine,
and made me sensible, but too late, of the folly I had committed.
"Princess," cried I, "what means all this?" She answered, without
any concern for her own misfortune, "Alas! you are undone, if you
do not fly immediately."

I followed her advice, but my fears were so great, that I forgot
my hatchet and cords. I had scarcely reached the stairs by which
I had descended, when the enchanted palace opened at once, and
made a passage for the genie: he asked the princess in great
anger, "What has happened to you, and why did you call me?" "A
violent spasm," said the princess, "made me fetch this bottle
which you see here, out of which I drank twice or thrice, and by
mischance made a false step, and fell upon the talisman, which is
broken, and that is all."

At this answer, the furious genie told her, "You are a false
woman, and speak not the truth; how came that axe and those cords
there?" "I never saw them till this moment," said the princess.
"Your coming in such an impetuous manner has, it may be, forced
them up in some place as you came along, and so brought them
hither without your knowing it."

The genie made no other answer but what was accompanied with
reproaches and blows, of which I heard the noise. I could not
endure to hear the pitiful cries of the princess so cruelly
abused. I had already taken off the suit she had presented to me,
and put on my own, which I had laid on the stairs the day before,
when I came out of the bagnio: I made haste upstairs, the more
distracted with sorrow and compassion, as I had been the cause of
so great a misfortune; and by sacrificing the fairest princess on
earth to the barbarity of a merciless genie, I was becoming the
most criminal and ungrateful of mankind. "It is true," said I,
"she has been a prisoner these twenty-five years; but, liberty
excepted she wanted nothing that could make her happy. My folly
has put an end to her happiness, and brought upon her the cruelty
of an unmerciful devil." I let down the trap-door, covered it
again with earth, and returned to the city with a burden of wood,
which I bound up without knowing what I did, so great was my
trouble and sorrow.

My landlord, the tailor, was very much rejoiced to see me: "Your
absence," said he, "has disquieted me much, as you had entrusted
me with the secret of your birth, and I knew not what to think; I
was afraid somebody had discovered you; God be praised for your
return." I thanked him for his zeal and affection, but not a word
durst I say of what had passed, nor of the reason why I came back
without my hatchet and cords.

I retired to my chamber, where I reproached myself a thousand
times for my excessive imprudence: "Nothing," said I, "could have
paralleled the princess's good fortune and mine, had I forborne
to break the talisman."

While I was thus giving myself over to melancholy thoughts, the
tailor came in and said, "An old man, whom I do not know, brings
your hatchet and cords, which he found in his way as he tells me,
and says he understood from your comrades that you lodge here;
come out and speak to him, for he will deliver them to none but

At these words I changed colour, and fell a trembling. While the
tailor was asking me the reason, my chamber-door opened, and the
old man, having no patience to stay, appeared to us with my
hatchet and cords. This was the genie, the ravisher of the fair
princess of the isle of Ebene, who had thus disguised himself,
after he had treated her with the utmost barbarity. "I am a
genie," said he, speaking to me, "son of the daughter of Eblis,
prince of genies: is not this your hatchet, and are not these
your cords?"

After the genie had put the question to me, he gave me no time to
answer, nor was it in my power, so much had his terrible aspect
disordered me. He grasped me by the middle, dragged me out of the
chamber, and mounting into the air, carried me up to the skies
with such swiftness, that I was not able to take notice of the
way he conveyed me. He descended again in like manner to the
earth, which on a sudden he caused to open with a stroke of his
foot, and sunk down at once, when I found myself in the enchanted
palace, before the fair princess of the isle of Ebene. But, alas!
what a spectacle was there! I saw what pierced me to the heart;
this poor princess was quite naked, weltering in her blood, and
laid upon the ground, more like one dead than alive, with her
cheeks bathed in tears.

"Perfidious wretch!" said the genie to her, pointing at me, "is
not this your gallant?" She cast her languishing eyes upon me,
and answered mournfully, "I do not know him, I never saw him till
this moment." "What!" said the genie, "he is the cause of thy
being in the condition thou art justly in; and yet darest thou
say thou cost not know him?" "If I do not know him," said the
princess, "would you have me lie on purpose to ruin him?" "Oh
then," said the genie, pulling out a cimeter and presenting it to
the princess, "if you never saw him before, take this, and cut
off his head." "Alas," replied the princess, "how is it possible
that I should execute such an act? My strength is so far spent
that I cannot lift up my arm; and if I could, how should I have
the heart to take away the life of an innocent man, and one whom
I do not know?" "This refusal," said the genie to the princess,
"sufficiently informs me of your crime." Upon which, turning to
me, "And thou," said he, "dost thou not know her?"

I should have been the most ungrateful wretch, and the most
perfidious of all mankind, if I had not strewn myself as faithful
to the princess as she had been to me, who had been the cause of
her misfortunes. I therefore answered the genie, "How should I
know her, when I never saw her till now?" "If it be so," said he,
"take the cimeter and cut off her head: on this condition I will
set thee at liberty, for then I shall be convinced that thou hast
never seen her till this moment, as thou gayest." "With all my
heart," replied I, and took the cimeter in my hand.

Do not think, madam, that I drew near to the fair princess of the
isle of Ebene to be the executioner of the genie's barbarity. I
did it only to demonstrate by my behaviour, as much as possible,
that as she had strewn her resolution to sacrifice her life for
my sake, I would not refuse to sacrifice mine for hers. The
princess, notwithstanding her pain and suffering, understood my
meaning; which she signified by an obliging look, and made me
understand her willingness to die for me; and that she was
satisfied to see how ready I was also to die for her. Upon this I
stepped back, and threw the cimeter on the ground. "I should for
ever," said I to the genie, "be hateful to all mankind were I to
be so base as to murder, not only a person whom I do not know,
but a lady like this, who is already on the point of expiring: do
with me what you please, since I am in your power; I cannot obey
your barbarous commands."

"I see," said the genie, "that you both out-brave me, and insult
my jealousy; but both of you shall know by my treatment of you of
what I am capable." At these words the monster took up the
cimeter and cut off one of her hands, which left her only so much
life as to give me a token with the other that she bade me for
ever adieu. For the blood she had lost before, and that which
gushed out then, did not permit her to live above one or two
moments after this barbarous cruelty; the sight of which threw me
into a fit. When I was come to myself again, I expostulated with
the genie, why he made me languish in expectation of death:
"Strike," cried I, "for I am ready to receive the mortal blow,
and expect it as the greatest favour you can show me." But
instead of agreeing to that, "Behold," said he, "how genies treat
their wives whom they suspect of unfaithfulness; she has received
thee here, and were I certain that she had put any further
affront upon me, I would put thee to death this minute: but I
will content myself with transforming thee into a dog, ape, lion,
or bird; take thy choice of any of these, I will leave it to

These words gave me some hopes of being able to appease him: "O
genie," said I, "moderate your passion, and since you will not
take away my life, give it me generously. I shall always remember
your clemency, if you pardon me, as one of the best men in the
world pardoned one of his neighbours that bore him a mortal
hatred. The genie asked me what had passed between those two
neighbours, and said, he would have patience till he heard the
story, which I related to him; and I believe, madam, you will not
be displeased if I now repeat it.

The Story of the Envious Man, and of him that he Envied.

In a considerable town two persons dwelt in adjoining houses. One
of them conceived such a violent hatred against the other, that
the hated party resolved to remove to a distance, being persuaded
that their being neighbours was the only cause of this animosity;
for though he had done him several pieces of service, he found
that his hatred was not diminished; he therefore sold his house,
with what goods he had left, and retired to the capital city of a
kingdom which was not far distant. Here he bought a little spot
of ground, which lay about half a league from the city; where he
had a convenient house, with a garden, and a pretty spacious
court, wherein there was a deep well, which was not in use.

The honest man having made this purchase put on a dervise's
habit, intending to lead a retired life, and caused several cells
to be made in the house, where in a short time he established a
numerous society of dervises. He soon came to be publicly known
by his virtue, through which he acquired the esteem of many
people, as well of the commonalty as of the chief of the city. In
short, he was much honoured and courted by all ranks. People came
from afar to recommend themselves to his prayers; and all who
visited him, published what blessings they received through his

The great reputation of this honest man having spread to the town
from whence he had come, it touched the envious man so much to
the quick, that he left his house and affairs with a resolution
to ruin him. With this intent he went to the new convent of
dervises, of which his former neighbour was the head, who
received him with all imaginable tokens of friendship. The
envious man told him that he was come on purpose to communicate a
business of importance, which he could not do but in private; and
"that nobody may hear us, let us," said he, "take a walk in your
court; and seeing night begins to draw on, command your dervises
to retire to their cells." The chief of the dervises did as he
was required.

When the envious man saw that he was alone with this good man, he
began to tell him his errand, walking side by side in the court,
till he saw his opportunity; and getting the good man near the
brink of the well, he gave him a thrust, and pushed him into it,
without being seen by any one. Having done thus, he returned, got
out at the gate of the convent without being known, and reached
his own house well satisfied with his journey, being fully
persuaded that the object of his hatred was no more; but he found
himself mistaken.

This old well was inhabited by fairies and genies, which happened
luckily for the relief of the head of the convent; for they
received and supported him, and carried him to the bottom, so
that he got no hurt. He perceived that there was something
extraordinary in his fall, which must otherwise have cost him his
life; but he neither saw nor felt anything. He soon heard a
voice, however, which said, "Do you know what honest man this is,
to whom we have done this piece of service?" Another voice
answered, "No." To which the first replied, "Then I will tell
you. This man out of charity, the purest ever known, left the
town he lived in, and has established himself in this place, in
hopes to cure one of his neighbours of the envy he had conceived
against him; he had acquired such a general esteem, that the
envious man, not able to endure it, came hither on purpose to
ruin him; and he would have accomplished his design, had it not
been for the assistance we have given this honest man, whose
reputation is so great, that the sultan, who keeps his residence
in the neighbouring city, was to pay him a visit to-morrow, to
recommend the princess his daughter to his prayers."

Another voice asked, "What need had the princess of the dervise's
prayers?" To which the first answered, "You do not know, it
seems, that she is possessed by genie Maimoun, the son of Dimdim,
who is fallen in love with her. But I well know how this good
head of the dervises may cure her; the thing is very easy, and I
will explain it to you. He has a black cat in his convent, with a
white spot at the end of her tail, about the bigness of a small
piece of Arabian money; let him only pull seven hairs out of the
white spot, burn them, and smoke the princess's head with the
fume, she will not only be immediately cured, but be so safely
delivered from Maimoun, the son of Dimdim, that he will never
dare to approach her again."

The head of the dervises remembered every word of the
conversation between the fairies and the genies, who remained
silent the remainder of the night. The next morning, as soon as
daylight appeared, and he could discern the nature of his
situation, the well being broken down in several places, he saw a
hole, by which he crept out with ease.

The other dervises, who had been seeking for him, were rejoiced
to see him; he gave them a brief account of the wickedness of the
man to whom he had given so kind a reception the day before, and
retired into his cell. Shortly after the black cat, which the
fairies and the genies had mentioned the night before, came to
fawn upon her master, as she was accustomed to do; he took her
up, and pulled seven hairs from the white spot that was upon her
tail, and laid them aside for his use when occasion should serve.

Soon after sunrise the sultan, who would leave no means untried
that he thought likely to restore the princess to perfect health,
arrived at the gate of the convent. He commanded his guards to
halt, whilst he with his principal officers went in. The dervises
received him with profound respect.

The sultan called their chief aside, and said, "Good Sheik, you
may probably be already acquainted with the cause of my visit."
"Yes, Sir," replied he gravely, "if I do not mistake, it is the
disease of the princess which procures me this unmerited honour."
"That is the real case," replied the sultan. "You will give me
new life if your prayers, as I hope they may, restore my
daughter's health." "Sir," said the good man, "if your majesty
will be pleased to let her come hither, I am in hopes, through
God's assistance and favour, that she will be effectually cured."

The prince, transported with joy, sent immediately for his
daughter, who soon appeared with a numerous train of ladies and
eunuchs, but veiled, so that her face was not seen. The chief of
the dervises caused a pall to be held over her head, and he had
no sooner thrown the seven hairs upon the burning coals, than the
genie Maimoun, the son of Dimdim, uttered a great cry, and
without being seen, left the princess at liberty; upon which, she
took the veil from her face, and rose up to see where she was,
saying, "Where am I, and who brought me hither?" At these words
the sultan, overcome with excess of joy, embraced his daughter,
and kissed her eyes; he also kissed the chief of the dervises'
hands, and said to his officers, "What reward does he deserve
that has thus cured my daughter?" They all cried, "He deserves
her in marriage." "That is what I had in my thoughts," said the
sultan; "and I make him my son-in-law from this moment." Some
time after the prime vizier died, and the sultan conferred the
place on the dervise. The sultan himself also died without heirs
male; upon which the religious orders and the militia consulted
together, and the good man was declared and acknowledged sultan
by general consent.

The honest dervise, having ascended the throne of his father-in-
law, as he was one day in the midst of his courtiers on a march,
espied the envious man among the crowd that stood as he passed
along, and calling one of the viziers that attended him,
whispered him in his ear, "Go, bring me that man you see there;
but take care you do not frighten him." The vizier obeyed, and
when the envious man was brought into his presence, the sultan
said, "Friend, I am extremely glad to see you." Upon which he
called an officer, "Go immediately," said he, "and cause to be
paid to this man out of my treasury, one hundred pieces of gold:
let him have also twenty loads of the richest merchandize in my
storehouses, and a sufficient guard to conduit him to his house."
After he had given this charge to the officer, he bade the
envious man farewell, and proceeded on his march.

When I had finished the recital of this story to the genie, the
murderer of the princess of the isle of Ebene, I made an
application of it to himself: "O genie!" said I, "this bountiful
sultan was not satisfied with merely overlooking the design of
the envious man to take away his life, but also treated him
kindly, and sent him back loaded with the favours I have
enumerated." In short, I employed all my eloquence to persuade
him to imitate so good an example, and to grant me pardon; but it
was impossible to move his compassion.

"All that I can do for thee," said he, "is, to grant thee thy
life; but do not flatter thyself that I will allow thee to return
safe and well; I must let thee feel what I am able to do by my
enchantments." So saying, he seized me violently, and carried me
through the arched roof of the subterraneous palace, which opened
to give him passage; he ascended with me into the air to such a
height, that the earth appeared like a little white cloud; he
then descended again like lightning, and alighted upon the summit
of a mountain.

Here he took up a handful of earth, and pronouncing, or rather
muttering, some words which I did not understand, threw it upon
me. "Quit," said he, "the form of a man, and take that of an
ape." He instantly disappeared, and left me alone, transformed
into an ape, and overwhelmed with sorrow in a strange country,
not knowing whether I was near or far from my father's dominions.

I descended the mountain, and entered a plain level country,
which took me a month to travel over, and then I came to the sea-
side. It happened at the time to be perfectly calm, and I espied
a vessel about half a league from the shore: unwilling to lose so
good an opportunity, I broke off a large branch from a tree,
carried it into the sea, and placed myself astride upon it, with
a stick in each hand to serve me for oars.

I launched out in this posture, and rowed towards the ship. When
I had approached sufficiently near to be seen, I exhibited to the
seamen and passengers on the deck an extraordinary spectacle, and
all of them regarded me with astonishment. In the meantime I got
on board, and laying hold of a rope, jumped upon the deck, but
having lost my speech I found myself in great perplexity: and
indeed the risk I ran was not less than when I was at the mercy
of the genie.

The merchants, being both superstitious and scrupulous, thought
if they received me on board I should be the occasion of some
misfortune to them during their voyage. On this account one of
them said, "I will destroy him with a blow of this handspike;"
another, "I will shoot an arrow through his body;" and a third,
"Let us throw him into the sea." Some one of them would not have
failed to carry his threat into execution had I not gone to the
captain, thrown myself at his feet, and taken hold of his skirt
in a supplicating posture. This action, together with the tears
which he saw gush from my eyes, moved his compassion. He took me
under his protection, threatened to be revenged on any one that
would do me the least hurt, and loaded me with a thousand
caresses. On my part, though I had not power to speak, I showed
by my gestures every mark of gratitude in my power.

The wind that succeeded the calm was not strong, but favourable;
it continued to blow in the same direction for fifty days, and
brought us safe to the port of a city, well peopled, and of great
trade, the capital of a powerful state, where we came to anchor.

Our vessel was instantly surrounded with an infinite number of
boats full of people, who came to congratulate their friends on
their safe arrival, or to inquire for those they had left behind
them in the country from whence they had come, or out of
curiosity to see a ship that had performed so long a voyage.

Amongst the rest, some officers came on board, desiring in the
name of the sultan to speak with the merchants. The merchants
appearing, one of the officers told them, "The sultan our master
hath commanded us to acquaint you, that he rejoices in your safe
arrival, and beseeches each of you to take the trouble to write a
few lines upon this roll. That you may understand the design of
this request, you must know that we had a prime vizier, who
besides possessing great abilities for the management of public
affairs could write in the highest perfection. This minister a
few days since died. The event has greatly affected the sultan;
and since he can never behold his writing without admiration, he
has made a solemn vow, not to give the place to any one who
cannot write equally well. Many have presented specimens of their
skill; but to this day, no one in the empire has been judged
worthy to supply the vizier's place."

Those of the merchants who thought they could write well enough
to aspire to this high dignity, wrote one after another what they
thought fit. After they had done, I advanced, and took the roll
out of the gentleman's hand; but all the people, especially the
merchants, cried out, that I would tear it, or throw it into the
sea, till they saw how properly I held the roll, and made a sign
that I would write in my turn: their apprehensions then changed
into wonder. However, as they had never seen an ape that could
write, and could not be persuaded that I was more ingenious than
others of my kind, they wished to take the roll out of my hand;
but the captain took my part once more. "Let him alone," said he,
"allow him to write. If he only scribbles the paper, I promise
you that I will immediately punish him. If, on the contrary, he
writes well, as I hope he will, because I never saw an ape so
clever and ingenious, and so quick of apprehension, I declare
that I will adopt him as my son." Perceiving that no one opposed
my design, I took the pen, and wrote six sorts of hands used
among the Arabians, and each specimen contained an extemporary
distich or quatrain in praise of the sultan. My writing not only
excelled that of the merchants, but was such as they had not
before seen in that country. When I had done, the officers took
the roll, and carried it to the sultan.

The sultan took little notice of any of the writings, except
mine, which pleased him so much that he said to the officers,
"Take the finest horse in my stable, with the richest trappings,
and a robe of the most sumptuous brocade to put on the person who
wrote the six hands, and bring him thither." At this command the
officers could not forbear laughing. The sultan was incensed at
their rudeness, and would have punished them had they not
explained: "Sir," said they, "we humbly beg your majesty's
pardon: these hands were not written by a man, but by an ape."
"What do you say?" exclaimed the sultan. "Those admirable
characters, are they not written by the hands of a man?" "No,
Sir," replied the officers; "we assure your majesty that it was
an ape, who wrote them in our presence." The sultan was too much
surprised at this account not to desire a sight of me, and
therefore said, "Do what I command you, and bring me speedily
that wonderful ape."

The officers returned to the vessel and shewed the captain their
order, who answered, "The sultan's command must be obeyed."
Whereupon they clothed me with the rich brocade robe, and carried
me ashore, where they set me on horseback, whilst the sultan
waited for me at his palace with a great number of courtiers,
whom he gathered together to do me the more honour.

The procession commenced; the harbour, the streets, the public
places, windows, terraces, palaces, and houses, were filled with
an infinite number of people of all ranks, who flocked from every
part of the city to see me; for the rumour was spread in a
moment, that the sultan had chosen an ape to be his grand vizier,
and after having served for a spectacle to the people, who could
not forbear to express their surprise by redoubling their shouts
and cries, I arrived at the sultan's palace.

I found the prince on his throne in the midst of the grandees; I
made my obeisance three times very low, and at last kneeled and
kissed the ground before him, and afterwards took my seat in the
posture of an ape. The whole assembly viewed me with admiration,
and could not comprehend how it was possible that an ape should
so well understand how to pay the sultan his due respect; and he
himself was more astonished than any. In short, the usual
ceremony of the audience would have been complete, could I have
added speech to my behaviour; but apes never speak, and the
advantage I had of having been a man did not now yield me that

The sultan dismissed his courtiers, and none remained by him but
the chief of the eunuchs, a little young slave, and myself. He
went from his chamber of audience into his own apartment, where
he ordered dinner to be brought. As he sat at table he made me a
sign to approach and eat with them: to shew my obedience I kissed
the ground, arose, and placed myself at the table, and ate with
discretion and moderation.

Before the table was cleared, I espied a standish, which I made a
sign to have brought me; having got it, I wrote upon a large
peach some verses expressive of my acknowledgment to the sultan;
who having read them after I had presented the peach to him, was
still more astonished. When the things were removed, they brought
him a particular liquor, of which he caused them to give me a
glass. I drank, and wrote upon the glass some new verses, which
explained the state I was reduced to, after many sufferings. The
sultan read these likewise, and said, "A man that was capable of
doing so much would be above the greatest of his species."

The sultan caused to be brought to him a chessboard, and asked me
by a sign if I understood that game, and would play with him? I
kissed the ground, and laying my hand upon my head, signified
that I was ready to receive that honour. He won the first game,
but I won the second and third; and perceiving he was somewhat
displeased at my success, I made a quatrain to satisfy him; in
which I told him that two potent armies had been fighting
furiously all day, but that they concluded a peace towards the
evening, and passed the remaining part of the night very amicably
together upon the field of battle.

So many circumstances appearing to the sultan beyond whatever had
either been seen or known of the cleverness or sense of apes, he
determined not to be the only witness of these prodigies himself,
but having a daughter, called the Lady of Beauty, on whom the
chief of the eunuchs, then present, waited; "Go," said the sultan
to him, "and bid your lady come hither: I am desirous she should
share my pleasure."

The eunuch went, and immediately brought the princess, who had
her face uncovered; but she had no sooner come into the room,
than she put on her veil, and said to the sultan, "Sir, your
majesty must needs have forgotten yourself; I am surprised that
your majesty has sent for me to appear among men." "How,
daughter!" said the sultan, "you do not know what you say: there
is no one here, but the little slave, the eunuch your governor,
and myself, who have the liberty to see your face; and yet you
lower your veil, and blame me for having sent for you." "Sir,"
said the princess, "your majesty shall soon understand that I am
not in the wrong. That seeming ape is a young prince, son of a
powerful sultan, and has been metamorphosed into an ape by
enchantment. A genie, son of the daughter of Eblis, has
maliciously done him this wrong, after having cruelly taken away
the life of the princess of the isle of Ebene."

The sultan, astonished at this declaration, turned towards me,
and speaking no more by signs, but in plain words, asked me, if
what his daughter said was true? Finding I could not speak, I put
my hand to my head' to signify that what the princess spoke was
correct. Upon this the sultan said again to his daughter, "How do
you know that this prince has been transformed by enchantments
into an ape?" "Sir," replied the Lady of Beauty, "your majesty
may remember that when I was past my infancy I had an old lady
who waited on me; she was a most expert magician, and taught me
seventy rules of magic, by virtue of which I can, in the
twinkling of an eye, transport your capital into the midst of the
sea, or beyond mount Caucasus. By this science I know all
enchanted persons at first sight: I know who they are, and by
whom they have been enchanted; therefore do not be surprised if I
should forthwith relieve this prince, in spite of the
enchantments, from that which prevents his appearing in your
sight in his natural form." "Daughter," said the sultan, "I did
not believe you to have understood so much." "Sir," replied the
princess, "these things are curious and worth knowing; but I
think I ought not to boast of them." "Since it is so," said the
sultan, "you can dispel the prince's enchantment." "Yes, sir,"
said the princess, "I can restore him to his original shape." "Do
it then," said the sultan, "you cannot do me a greater pleasure;
for I will have him to be my vizier, and he shall marry you."
"Sir," said the princess, "I am ready to obey you in all that you
should be pleased to command me."

The princess, the Lady of Beauty, went into her apartment, and
brought thence a knife, which had some Hebrew words engraven on
the blade: she made the sultan, the master of the eunuchs, the
little slave, and myself, descend into a private court of the
palace, and there left us under a gallery that went round it. She
placed herself in the middle of the court, where she made a great
circle, and within it she wrote several words in Arabian
characters, some of them ancient.

When she had finished and prepared the circle as she thought fit,
she placed herself in the centre of it, where she began
incantations, and repeated verses of the Koraun. The air grew
insensibly dark, as if it had been night, and the whole world
were about to be dissolved: we found ourselves struck with
consternation, and our fear increased when we saw the genie, the
son of the daughter of Eblis, appear suddenly in the shape of a
lion of a gigantic size.

As soon as the princess perceived this monster, "Dog," said she,
"instead of creeping before me, dare you present yourself in this
shape, thinking to frighten me?" "And thou," replied the lion,
"art thou not afraid to break the treaty which was solemnly made
and confirmed between us by oath, not to wrong or do one another
any injury?" "Wretch," replied the princess, "I justly may
reproach thee with having done so." The lion answered fiercely,
"Thou shalt quickly have thy reward for the trouble thou hast
given me:" with that he opened his monstrous jaws, and sprang
forward to devour her; but she, being on her guard, stepped back,
got time to pull out one of her hairs, and by pronouncing three
or four words, changed it into a sharp sword, with which she cut
the lion in two through the middle.

The two parts of the lion disappeared, while the head changed
into a large scorpion. Immediately the princess turned herself
into a serpent, and fought the scorpion, who, finding himself
worsted, took the shape of an eagle, and flew away: but the
serpent at the same time took also the shape of an eagle, that
was black and much stronger, and pursued him, so that we lost
sight of them both.

Some time after they had disappeared, the ground opened before
us, and out of it came forth a black and white cat, with her hair
standing on end, and mewing in a frightful manner; a black wolf
followed close after her, and gave her no time to rest. The cat,
being thus hard pressed, changed into a worm, and being near a
pomegranate accidentally fallen from a tree on the side of a
canal which was deep, but not broad, pierced the pomegranate in
an instant, and hid itself, but the pomegranate swelled
immediately, and became as big as a gourd, which, mounting up to
the roof of the gallery, rolled there for some time backward and
forward; it then fell down again into the court, and broke into
several pieces.

The wolf had in the meanwhile transformed itself into a cock, and
now fell to picking up the seeds of the pomegranate one after
another; but finding no more, he came towards us with his wings
spread, making a great noise, as if he would ask us whether there
were any more seed. There was one lying on the brink of the
canal, which the cock perceiving as he went back, ran speedily
thither; but just as he was going to pick it up, the seed rolled
into the river, and turned into a little fish.

The cock leaped into the river, turned into a pike, and pursued
the small fish; they continued both under water above two hours,
and we knew not what was become of them, but suddenly we heard
terrible cries, which made us tremble, and a little while after
we saw the genie and princess all in flames. They threw flashes
of fire out of their mouths at each other, till they came to
close combat; then the two fires increased, with a thick burning
smoke which mounted so high that we had reason to apprehend it
would set the palace on fire. But we very soon had a more
pressing occasion of fear, for the genie having got loose from
the princess, came to the gallery where we stood, and blew flames
of fire upon us. We must all have perished had not the princess,
running to our assistance, forced him to retire, and defend
himself against her; yet, notwithstanding all her exertions, she
could not hinder the sultan's beard from being burnt, and his
face scorched, the chief of the eunuchs from being stifled, and a
spark from entering my right eye, and making it blind. The sultan
and I expected but death, when we heard a cry of "Victory!
Victory!" and instantly the princess appeared in her natural
shape, but the genie was reduced to a heap of ashes.

The princess approached us, and hastily called for a cup-full of
water, which the young slave, who had received no hurt, brought
her. She took it, and after pronouncing some words over it, threw
it upon me, saying, "If thou art become an ape by enchantment,
change thy shape, and take that of a man which thou hadst
before." These words were hardly uttered, when I again became a
man, in every respect as I was before my transformation,
excepting the loss of my eye.

I was prepared to return the princess my thanks, but she
prevented me by addressing herself to her father: "Sir, I have
gained the victory over the genie, as your majesty may see; but
it is a victory that costs me dear; I have but a few minutes to
live, and you will not have the satisfaction to make the match
you intended; the fire has pierced me during the terrible combat,
and I find it is gradually consuming me. This would not have
happened, had I perceived the last of the pomegranate seeds, and
swallowed it, as I did the others when I was changed into a cock:
the genie had fled thither as to his last intrenchment, and upon
that the success of the combat depended, which would have been
successful, and without danger to me. This oversight obliged me
to have recourse to fire, and to fight with those mighty arms as
I did, between heaven and earth, in your presence; for, in spite
of all his redoubtable art and experience, I made the genie know
that I understood more than he; I have conquered and reduced him
to ashes, but I cannot escape death, which is approaching."

The sultan suffered the princess, the Lady of Beauty, to go on
with the recital of her combat, and when she had done, addressed
her in a tone that sufficiently testified his grief; "My
daughter," said he, "you see in what condition your father is;
alas! I wonder that I am yet alive! Your governor, the eunuch, is
dead, and the prince whom you have delivered from his enchantment
has lost one of his eyes." He could say no more, for his tears,
sighs, and sobs, deprived him of the power of utterance.

Suddenly the princess exclaimed, "I burn! I burn!" She found that
the fire had at last seized upon her vital parts, which made her
still cry "I burn!" until death had put an end to her intolerable
pains. The effect of that fire was so extraordinary, that in a
few moments she was wholly reduced to ashes, as the genie had

I cannot tell you, madam, how much I was grieved at so dismal a
spectacle; I had rather all my life have continued an ape or a
dog, than to have seen my benefactress thus miserably perish. The
sultan being afflicted all that can be imagined, cried piteously,
and beat himself on his head and breast, until being quite
overcome with grief, he fainted away, which made me fear for his
life. In the mean time, the eunuchs and officers came running at
the sultan's lamentations, and with much difficulty brought him
to himself. It was not necessary that the prince or myself should
relate the circumstances of the adventure, to convince them of
the affliction it had occasioned us. The two heaps of ashes, to
which the princess and the genie had been reduced, were a
sufficient demonstration. The sultan was hardly able to stand,
but was under the necessity of being supported to his apartment.

When the knowledge of this tragical event had spread through the
palace and the city, all the people bewailed the misfortune of
the princess, the Lady of Beauty, and commiserated the sultan's
affliction. Public mourning was observed for seven days, and many
ceremonies were performed. The ashes of the genie were thrown
into the air, but those of the princess were collected into a
precious urn, to be preserved, and the urn was deposited in a
superb mausoleum, constructed for that purpose on the spot where
the princess had been consumed.

The grief of the sultan for the loss of his daughter confined him
to his chamber for a whole month. Before he had fully recovered
his strength he sent for me: "Prince," said he, "attend to the
commands I now give you; your life must answer if you do not
carry them into execution." I assured him of exalt obedience;
upon which he went on thus: "I have constantly lived in perfect
felicity, but by your arrival all the happiness I possessed has
vanished; my daughter is dead, her governor is no more, and it is
only through a miracle that I am myself yet alive You are the
cause of all these misfortunes, under which it is impossible that
I should be comforted; depart hence therefore in peace, without
farther delay, for I must myself perish if you remain any longer.
I am persuaded that your presence brings misfortune with it.
Depart, and take care never to appear again in my dominions. No
consideration whatever shall hinder me from making you repent
your temerity should you violate my injunction." I was going to
speak, but he prevented me by words full of anger; and I was
obliged to quit the palace, rejected, banished, an outcast from
the world. Before I left the city I went into a bagnio, here I
caused my beard and eyebrows to be shaved, and put on a
calender's habit. I began my journey, not so much deploring my
own miseries, as the death of the two fair princesses, of which I
have been the occasion. I passed through many countries without
making myself known; at last I resolved to come to Bagdad, in
hopes of getting myself introduced to the commander of the
faithful, to move his compassion by relating to him my
unfortunate adventures. I arrived this evening, and the first man
I met was this calender, our brother, who spoke before me. You
know the remaining part, madam, and the cause of my having the
honour to be here.

When the second calender had concluded his story, Zobeide, to
whom he had addressed his speech, said, "It is well, you are at
liberty." But instead of departing, he also petitioned the lady
to shew him the same favour vouchsafed to the first calender, and
went and sat down by him.

The History of the Third Calender.

My story, most honourable lady, very much differs from what you
have already heard. The two princes who have spoken before me
have each lost an eye by the pure effects of their destiny, but
mine I lost through my own fault, and by hastening to seek my own
misfortune, as you shall hear by the sequel of the story.

My name is Agib, and I am the son of a sultan who was called
Cassib. After his death I took possession of his dominions, and
continued in the city where he had resided. It is situated on the
sea-coast, has one of the finest and safest harbours in the
world, an arsenal capable of fitting out for sea one hundred and
fifty men of war, besides merchantmen and light vessels. My
kingdom is composed of several fine provinces upon the main land,
besides a number of valuable islands, which lie almost in sight
of my capital.

My first object was to visit the provinces: I afterwards caused
my whole fleet to be fitted out, and went to my islands to gain
the hearts of my subjects by my presence, and to confirm them in
their loyalty. These voyages gave me some taste for navigation,
in which I took so much pleasure, that I resolved to make some
discoveries beyond my own territories; to which end I caused ten
ships to be fitted out, embarked, and set sail.

Our voyage was very pleasant for forty days successively, but on
the forty-first night the wind became contrary, and withal so
boisterous that we were near being lost: about break of day the
storm abated, the clouds dispersed, and the weather became fair.
We reached an island, where we remained two days to take in fresh
provisions; and then put off again to sea. After ten days' sail
we were in hopes of seeing land, for the tempests we had
experienced had so much abated my curiosity, that I gave orders
to steer back to my own coast; but I perceived at the same time
that my pilot knew not where we were. Upon the tenth day, a
seaman being sent to look out for land from the mast head, gave
notice that on starboard and larboard he could see nothing but
sky and sea, but that right a-head he perceived a great

The pilot changed colour at this account, and throwing his turban
on the deck with one hand, and beating his breast with the other,
cried, "Oh, Sir, we are all lost; not one of us can escape; and
with all my skill it is not in my power to effect our
deliverance." Having spoken thus, he lamented like a man who
foresaw unavoidable ruin; his despondence threw the whole ship's
crew into consternation. I asked him what reason he had thus to
despair? He exclaimed, "The tempest has brought us so far out of
our course, that to-morrow about noon we shall be near the black
mountain, or mine of adamant, which at this very minute draws all
your fleet towards it, by virtue of the iron in your ships; and
when we approach within a certain distance, the attraction of the
adamant will have such force, that all the nails will be drawn
out of the sides and bottoms of the ships, and fasten to the
mountain, so that your vessels will fall to pieces and sink.

"This mountain," continued the pilot, "is inaccessible. On the
summit there is a dome of fine brass, supported by pillars of the
same metal, and on the top of that dome stands a horse, likewise
of brass, with a rider on his back, who has a plate or lead fixed
to his breast, upon which some talismanic characters are
engraver. Sir, the tradition is, that this statue is the chief
cause why so many ships and men have been lost and sunk in this
place, and that it will ever continue to be fatal to all those
who have the misfortune to approach, until it shall be thrown

The pilot having finished his discourse, began to weep afresh,
and all the rest of the ship's company did the same. I had no
other thought but that my days were there to terminate. In the
mean time every one began to provide for his own safety, and to
that end took all imaginable precaution; and being uncertain of
the event, they all made one another their heirs, by virtue of a
will, for the benefit of those that should happen to be saved.

The next morning we distinctly perceived the black mountain.
About noon we were so near, that we found what the pilot had
foretold to be true; for all the nails and iron in the ships flew
towards the mountain, where they fixed, by the violence of the
attraction, with a horrible noise; the ships split asunder, and
their cargoes sunk into the sea. All my people were drowned, but
God had mercy on me, and permitted me to save myself by means of
a plank, which the wind drove ashore just at the foot of the
mountain. I did not receive the least hurt, and my good fortune
brought me to a landing place, where there were steps that led up
to the summit of the mountain.

At the sight of these steps, for there was not a space of ground
either on the right or left whereon a man could set his foot, I
gave thanks to God; and recommended myself to his holy
protection, as I began to ascend the steps, which were so narrow,
that had the wind raged it would have thrown me into the sea.
But, at last, I reached the top, without accident. I went into
the dome, and kneeling on the ground, gave God thanks for his

I passed the night under the dome. In my sleep an old grave man
appeared to me, and said, "Hearken, Agib; as soon as thou art
awake dig up the ground under thy feet: thou wilt find a bow of
brass, and three arrows of lead, that are made under certain
constellations, to deliver mankind from the many calamities that
threaten them. Shoot the three arrows at the statue, and the
rider will fall into the sea, but the horse will fall by thy
side; thou must bury it in the place where thou findest the bow
and arrows: this being done, the sea will swell and rise to the
foot of the dome. When it has come so high, thou wilt perceive a
boat with one man holding an oar in each hand; this man is also
of metal, but different from that thou hast thrown down; step on
board, but without mentioning the name of God, and let him
conduct thee. He will in ten days' time bring thee into another
sea, where thou shalt find an opportunity to return to thy
country, provided, as I have told thee, thou dost not mention the
name of God during the whole voyage."

This was the substance of the old man's discourse. When I awoke I
felt much comforted by the vision, and did not fail to observe
everything that he had commanded me. I took the bow and arrows
out of the ground, shot at the horseman, and with the third arrow
I overthrew him; he fell into the sea, and the horse fell by my
side; I buried it in the place whence I took the bow and arrows.
In the mean time, the sea swelled and rose up by degrees. When it
came as high as the foot of the dome upon the top of the
mountain, I saw, afar off, a boat rowing towards me, and I
returned God thanks that everything succeeded according to my

At last the boat made land, and I perceived the man was made of
metal, as I had dreamt. I stept aboard, and took great heed not
to pronounce the name of God, neither spoke I one word. I sat
down, and the man of metal began to row off from the mountain. He
rowed without ceasing till the ninth day, when I saw some
islands, which gave me hopes that I should escape all the danger
that I feared. The excess of my joy made me forget what I was
forbidden: "Blessed be God," said I; "God be praised."

I had no sooner spoken these words, than the boat sunk with the
man of metal, leaving me upon the surface. I swam the remaining
part of the day towards that land which appeared nearest. A very
dark night succeeded, and not knowing where I was, I swam at
random. My strength at last began to fail, and I despaired of
being able to save myself, but the wind began to blow hard, and a
wave vast as a mountain threw me on a flat, where it left me, and
retreated. I made haste ashore, fearing another wave might wash
me back. The first thing I did was to strip, wring the water out
of my clothes, and lay them on the dry sand, which was still warm
from the heat of the day.

Next morning the sun dried my clothes; I put them on, and went
forward to discover what sort of country I was in. I had not
walked far before I found I was upon a desert, though a very
pleasant, island, as it displayed several sorts of trees and wild
shrubs bearing fruit; but I perceived it was far from the
continent, which much diminished the joy I felt at having escaped
the danger of the seas. Nevertheless, I recommended myself to God
and prayed him to dispose of me according to his will.
Immediately after, I saw a vessel coming from the main land,
before the wind, directly towards the island. I doubted not but
they were coming to anchor there; and being uncertain what sort
of people they might be, whether friends or foes, I thought it
not safe to be seen. I got up into a very thick tree, from whence
I might safely view them. The vessel came into a little creek,
where ten slaves landed, carrying a spade and other instruments
for digging up the ground. They went towards the middle of the
island, where I saw them stop, and dig for a considerable time,
after which I thought I perceived them lift up a trap door. They
returned again to the vessel, and unloaded several sorts of
provisions and furniture, which they carried to the place where
they had been digging: they then descended, which made me suppose
it led to a subterraneous dwelling.

I saw them once more go to the ship, and return soon after with
an old man, who led in his hand a handsome lad of about fourteen
or fifteen years of age. They all descended when the trap door
had been opened. After they had again come up, they let down the
trap door, covered it over with earth, and returned to the creek
where the ship lay, but I saw not the young man in their company.
This made me believe that he had staid behind in the
subterraneous place, a circumstance which exceedingly surprised

The old man and the slaves went on board, and getting the vessel
under weigh, steered their course towards the main land. When I
perceived they had proceeded to such a distance that I could not
be seen by them, I came down from the tree, and went directly to
the place where I had seen the ground broken. I removed the earth
by degrees, till I came to a stone that was two or three feet
square. I lifted it up, and found that it covered the head of a
flight of stairs, which were also of stone. I descended, and at
the bottom found myself in a large room, furnished with a carpet,
a couch covered with tapestry, and cushions of rich stuff, upon
which the young man sat, with a fan in his hand. These things,
together with fruits and flower-pot standing about him, I saw by
the light of two wax tapers. The young man, when he perceived me
was considerably alarmed; but to quiet his apprehensions, I said
to him as I entered, "Whoever you are, Sir, do not fear; a
sultan, and the son of a sultan, as I am, is not capable of doing
you any injury: on the contrary, it is probable that your good
destiny may have brought me hither to deliver you out of this
tomb, where it seems you have been buried alive, for reasons to
me unknown. But what surprises me (for you must know that I have
been witness to all that hath passed since your coming into this
island), is, that you suffered yourself to be entombed in this
place without any resistance."

The young man felt assured at these words, and with a smiling
countenance requested me to take a seat by him. When I had
complied, he said "Prince, I am to acquaint you with what will
surprise you by its singularity.

"My father is a merchant jeweller, who, by his industry and
professional skill, has acquired considerable property. He has
many slaves, and also agents, whom he employs as supercargoes in
his own ships, to maintain his correspondence at the several
courts, which he furnishes with precious stones.

"He had been long married without having issue, when it was
intimated to him in a dream that he should have a son, though his
life would be but short; at which he was much concerned when he
awoke. Some days after, my mother acquainted him that she was
with child, and what she supposed to be the time of her
conception agreed exactly with the day of his dream. At the end
of nine months she was brought to bed of me; which occasioned
great joy in the family.

"My father, who had observed the very moment of my birth,
consulted astrologers about my nativity; and was answered, ‘Your
son shall live happily till the age of fifteen, when his life
will be exposed to a danger which he will hardly be able to
escape. But if his good destiny preserve him beyond that time, he
will live to a great age. It will be' (said they) ‘when the
statue of brass, that stands upon the summit of the mountain of
adamant, shall be thrown into the sea by prince Agib, son of king
Cassib; and, as the stars prognosticate, your son will be killed
fifty days afterwards by that prince.'

"My father took all imaginable care of my education until this
year, which is the fifteenth of my age. He had notice given him
yesterday, that the statue of brass had been thrown into the sea
about ten days ago. This news alarmed him much.

"Upon the prediction the astrologers, he sought by all means
possible to falsify my horoscope, and to preserve my life. He
took the precaution to form this subterranean habitation to hide
me in, till the expiration of the fifty days after the throwing
down of the statue; and therefore, as it is ten days since this
happened, he came hastily hither to conceal me, and promised at
the end of forty days to return and fetch me away. For my own
part I am sanguine in my hopes, and cannot believe that prince
Agib will seek for me in a place under ground, in the midst of a
desert island."

While the jeweller's son was relating this story, I laughed at
the astrologers who had foretold that I should take away his
life; for I thought myself so far from being likely to verify
their prediction, that he had scarcely done speaking, when I told
him with great joy, "Dear Sir, trust in the goodness of God, and
fear nothing; consider it as a debt you had to pay; but that you
are acquitted of it from this hour. I rejoice that after my
shipwreck I came so fortunately hither to defend you against all
who would attempt your life. I will not leave you till the forty
days have expired, of which the foolish astrologers have made you
apprehensive; and in the mean while I will do you all the service
in my power: after which, with leave of your father and yourself,
I shall have the benefit of getting to the main land in your
vessel; and when I am returned into my kingdom, I will remember
the obligations I owe you, and endeavour to demonstrate my
gratitude by suitable acknowedgments."

This discourse encouraged the jeweller's son, and inspired him
with confidence. I took care not to inform him I was the very
Agib whom he dreaded, lest I should alarm his fears, and used
every precaution not to give him any cause to suspect who I was.
We passed the time in various conversation till night came on. I
found the young man of ready wit, and partook with him of his
provisions, of which he had enough to have lasted beyond the
forty days, though he had had more guests than myself. After
supper we conversed for some time; and at last retired to bed.

The next morning, when he arose, I held the basin of water to
him; I also provided dinner, and at the proper time placed it on
the table: after we had dined I invented a play for our
amusement, not only for that day, but for those that followed. I
prepared supper after the same manner as I had done the dinner;
and having supped, we retired to bed as before. We had sufficient
time to contrast mutual friendship and esteem for each other. I
found he loved me; and I on my part regarded him with so much
affection, that I often said to myself, "Those astrologers who
predicted to his father that his son should die by my hand were
impostors; for it is not possible that I could commit so base a
crime." In short, madam, we spent thirty-nine days in the
pleasantest manner possible in this subterraneous abode.

The fortieth day appeared: and in the morning, when the young man
awoke, he said to me with a transport of joy that he could not
restrain, "Prince, this is the fortieth day, and I am not dead,
thanks to God and your good company. My father will not fail to
make you, very shortly, every acknowledgment of his gratitude for
your attentions, and will furnish you with every necessary
accommodation for your return to your kingdom: but," continued
he, "while we are waiting his arrival, I beg you will provide me
some warm water in that portable bath, that I may wash my body
and change my dress, to receive my father with the more respect."

I set the water on the fire, and when it was hot poured it into
the moveable bath; the youth went in, and I both washed and
rubbed him. At last he came out, and laid himself down in his bed
that I had prepared. After he had slept a while, he awoke, and
said, "Dear prince, pray do me the favour to fetch me a melon and
some sugar, that I may eat some to refresh me."

Out of several melons that remained I took the best, and laid it
on a plate; and as I could not find a knife to cut it with, I
asked the young man if he knew where there was one. "There is
one," said he, "upon this cornice over my head:" I accordingly
saw it there, and made so much haste to reach it, that, while I
had it in my hand, my foot being entangled in the carpet, I fell
most unhappily upon the young man, and the knife pierced his

At this spectacle I cried out with agony. I beat my head, my
face, and breast; I tore my clothes; I threw myself on the ground
with unspeakable sorrow and grief! "Alas!" I exclaimed, "there
were only some hours wanting to have put him out of that danger
from which he sought sanctuary here; and when I thought the
danger past, then I became his murderer, and verified the
prediction. But, O Lord!" said I, lifting up my face and my hands
to heaven, "I intreat thy pardon, and if I be guilty of his
death, let me not live any longer."

After this misfortune I would have embraced death without any
reluctance, had it presented itself to me. But what we wish,
whether it be good or evil, will not always happen according to
our desire. Nevertheless, considering that all my tears and
sorrows would not restore the young man to life, and, the forty
days being expired, I might be surprised by his father, I quitted
the subterranean dwelling, laid down the great stone upon the
entrance, and covered it with earth.

I had scarcely done, when, casting my eyes upon the sea towards
the main land, I perceived the vessel coming to fetch away the
young man. I began then to consider what I had best do. I said to
myself, "If I am seen by the old man, he will certainly seize me,
and perhaps cause me to be massacred by his slaves, when he has
discovered that his son is killed: all that I can allege to
justify myself will not convince him of my innocence. It is
better then to withdraw while it is in my power, than to expose
myself to his resentment."

There happened to be near a large tree thick with leaves, which I
ascended in hopes of concealment, and was no sooner fixed in a
place where I could not be perceived, than I saw the vessel come
to the creek where she lay the first time.

The old man with his slaves landed immediately, and advanced
towards the subterranean dwelling, with a countenance that shewed
some hope; but when they saw the earth had been newly removed,
they changed colour, particularly the old man. They lifted up the
stone, and went down; they called the young man by his name, but
he not answering, their fears increased. They proceeded to seek
him; and at length found him lying upon the bed with the knife in
his heart, for I had not power to take it out. At this sight they
cried out lamentably, which increased my sorrow: the old man fell
down in a swoon. The slaves, to give him air, brought him up in
their arms, and laid him at the foot of the tree where I was
concealed; but notwithstanding all the pains they took to recover
him, the unfortunate father continued a long while insensible,
and made them more than once despair of his life; but at last he
came to himself. The slaves then brought up his son's corpse,
dressed in his best apparel, and when they had made a grave they
buried it. The old man, supported by two slaves, and his face
covered with tears, threw the first earth upon the body, after
which the slaves filled up the grave.

This being done, all the furniture was brought up, and, with the
remaining provisions, put on board the vessel. The old man,
overcome with sorrow, and not being able to stand, was laid upon
a litter, and carried to the ship, which stood out to sea, and in
a short time was out of sight.

After the old man and his slaves were gone, I was left alone upon
the island. I lay that night in the subterranean dwelling, which
they had shut up, and when the day came, I walked round the
island, and stopped in such places as I thought most proper for

I led this wearisome life for a whole month. At the expiration of
this time I perceived that the sea had receded; that the island
had increased in dimensions; the main land too seemed to be
drawing nearer. In fact, the water sunk so low, that there
remained between me and the continent but a small stream, which I
crossed, and the water did not reach above the middle of my leg.
I walked so long a way upon the slime and sand that I was very
weary: at last I got upon more firm ground, and when I had
proceeded some distance from the sea, I saw a good way before me
something that resembled a great fire, which afforded me some
comfort; for I said to myself, I shall find here some persons, it
not being possible that this fire should kindle of itself. As I
drew nearer, however, I found my error, and discovered that what
I had taken for a fire was a castle of red copper, which the
beams of the sun made to appear at a distance like flames.

I stopped in the neighbourhood of the castle, and sat down to
admire its noble structure, and to rest myself. Before I had
taken such a view of this magnificent building as it deserved, I
saw ten handsome young men coming along, as if they had been
taking a walk; but what surprised me was, that they were all
blind of the right eye. They were accompanied by an old man, who
was very tall, and of a venerable aspect.

I could not suppress my astonishment at the sight of so many half
blind men in company, and every one deprived of the same eye. As
I was conjecturing by what adventure these men could come
together, they approached, and seemed glad to see me. After the
first salutations, they inquired what had brought me thither. I
told them my story would be somewhat tedious, but if they would
take the trouble to sit down, 1 would satisfy their curiosity.
They did so, and I related to them all that had happened to me
since I had left my kingdom, which filled them with astonishment.

After I had concluded my account, the young gentlemen prayed me
to accompany them into the castle. I accepted their offer, and we
passed through a great many halls, ante-chambers, bed-chambers,
and closets, very well furnished, and came at last into a
spacious hall, where there were ten small blue sofas set round,
separate from one another, on which they sat by day and slept at
night. In the middle of this circle stood an eleventh sofa, not
so high as the rest, but of the same colour, upon which the old
man before-mentioned sat down, and the young gentlemen occupied
the other ten. But as each sofa could only contain one man, one
of the young men said to me, "Comrade, sit down upon that carpet
in the middle of the room, and do not inquire into anything that
concerns us, nor the reason why we are all blind of the right
eye; be content with what you see, and let not your curiosity
extend any farther."

The old man having sat a short time, arose, and went out; but he
returned in a minute or two, brought in supper, distributed to
each man separately his proportion, and likewise brought me mine,
which I ate apart, as the rest did; and when supper was almost
ended, he presented to each of us a cup of wine.

They thought my story so extraordinary, that they made me repeat
it after supper, and it furnished conversation for a good part of
the night. One of the gentlemen observing that it was late, said
to the old man, "You do not bring us that with which we may
acquit ourselves of our duty." At these words the old man arose,
and went into a closet, and brought out thence upon his head ten
basins, one after another, all covered with blue stuff; he placed
one before every gentleman, together with a light.

They uncovered their basins, which contained ashes, coal-dust,
and lamp-black; they mixed all together, and rubbed and bedaubed
their faces with it in such a manner as to make themselves look
very frightful. After having thus blackened themselves, they wept
and lamented, beating their heads and breasts, and crying
continually, "This is the fruit of our idleness and debauches."

They continued this strange employment nearly the whole of the
night, and when they left off, the old man brought them water,
with which they washed their faces and hands; they changed all
their clothes, which were spoiled, and put on others; so that
they exhibited no appearance of what they had been doing.

You may judge how uneasy I felt all this time. I wished a
thousand times to break the silence which had been imposed upon
me, and ask questions; nor was it possible for me to sleep that

The next day, soon after we had arisen, we went out to walk, and
then I said to them, "Gentlemen, I declare to you, that I must
renounce the law which you prescribed to me last night, for I
cannot observe it. You are men of sense, you have convinced me
that you do not want understanding; yet, I have seen you do such
actions as none but madmen could be capable of. Whatever
misfortune befalls me, I cannot forbear asking, why you bedaubed
your faces with black? How it has happened that each of you has
but one eye? Some singular circumstance must certainly be the
cause; therefore I conjure you to satisfy my curiosity." To these
pressing instances they answered only, that it was no business of
mine to make such inquiries, and that I should do well to hold my

We passed that day in conversation upon indifferent subjects; and
when night was come and every man had supped, the old man brought
in the blue basins, and the young gentlemen as before bedaubed
their faces, wept and beat themselves, crying, "This is the fruit
of our idleness and debauches," and continued the same actions
the following night. At last, not being able to resist my
curiosity, I earnestly prayed them to satisfy me, or to shew me
how to return to my own kingdom; for it was impossible for me to
keep them company any longer, and to see every night such an odd
exhibition, without being permitted to know the reason.

One of the gentlemen answered on behalf of the rest, "Do not
wonder at our conduit in regard to yourself, and that hitherto we
have not granted your request: it is out of kindness, to save you
the pain of being reduced to the same condition with ourselves.
If you have a mind to try our unfortunate destiny, you need but
speak, and we will give you the satisfaction you desire." I told
them I was resolved on it, let what would be the consequence.
"Once more," said the same gentleman, "we advise you to restrain
your curiosity: it will cost you the loss of your right eye." "No
matter," I replied; "be assured that if such a misfortune befall
me, I will not impute it to you, but to myself."

He farther represented to me, that when I had lost an eye I must
not hope to remain with them, if I were so disposed, because
their number was complete, and no addition could be made to it. I
told them, that it would be a great satisfaction to me never to
part from such agreeable gentlemen, but if there were a necessity
for it, I was ready to submit; and let it cost me what it would,
I begged them to grant my request.

The ten gentlemen perceiving that I was so fixed in my
resolution, took a sheep, killed it, and after they had taken off
the skin, presented me with a knife, telling me it would be
useful to me on an occasion which they would soon explain. "We
must sew you in this skin," said they, "and then leave you; upon
which a bird of a monstrous size, called a roc, will appear in
the air, and taking you for a sheep, will pounce upon you, and
soar with you to the sky: but let not that alarm you; he will
descend with you again, and lay you on the top of a mountain.
When you find yourself on the ground, cut the skin with your
knife, and throw it off. As soon as the roc sees you, he will fly
away for fear, and leave you at liberty. Do not stay, but walk on
till you come to a spacious castle, covered with plates of gold,
large emeralds, and other precious stones: go up to the gate,
which always stands open, and walk in. We have each of us been in
that castle; but will tell you nothing of what we saw, or what
befell us there; you will learn by your own experience. All that
we can inform you is, that it has cost each of us our right eye,
and the penance which you have been witness to, is what we are
obliged to observe in consequence of having been there. The
history of each of us is so full of extraordinary adventures,
that a large volume would not contain them. But we cannot explain
ourselves farther."

When the gentleman had thus spoken, I wrapt myself in the sheep's
skin, held fast the knife which was given me; and after the young
gentlemen had been at the trouble to sew the skin about me, they
retired into the hall, and left me alone. The roc they spoke of
soon arrived; he pounced upon me, took me in his talons like a
sheep, and carried me up the summit of the mountain.

When I found myself on the ground, I cut the skin with the knife,
and throwing it off, the roc at the sight of me flew sway. This
roc is a white bird, of a monstrous size; his strength is such,
that he can lift up elephants from the plains, and carry them to
the tops of mountains, where he feeds upon them.

Being impatient to reach the castle, I lost no time; but made so
much haste, that I got thither in half a day's journey, and I
must say that I found it surpassed the description they had given
me of its magnificence.

The gate being open, I entered a square court, so large that
there were round it ninety-nine gates of wood of sanders and
aloes, and one of gold, without reckoning those of several superb
staircases, that led to apartments above, besides many more which
I could not see. The hundred doors I spoke of opened into gardens
or store-houses full of riches, or into apartments which
contained many things wonderful to be seen.

I saw a door standing open just before me, through which I
entered into a large hall. Here I found forty young ladies of
such perfect beauty as imagination could not surpass: they were
all most sumptuously appareled. As soon as they saw me they
arose, and without waiting my salutations, said to me, with
demonstrations of joy, "Noble Sir, you are welcome." And one thus
addressed me in the name of the rest, "We have long been in
expectation of such a gentleman as you; your mien assures us,
that you are master of all the good qualities we can desire; and
we hope you will not find our company disagreeable or unworthy of

They obliged me, notwithstanding all the opposition I could make,
to sit down on a seat that was higher than their own; and when I
expressed my uneasiness, "That is your place," said they, "you
are at present our lord, master, and judge, and we are your
slaves, ready to obey your commands."

Nothing, madam, so much astonished me, as the solicitude and
eagerness of those fair ladies to do me all possible service. One
brought hot water to wash my feet, a second poured sweet scented
water on my hands; others brought me all kinds of necessaries,
and change of apparel; others again brought in a magnificent
collation; and the rest came with glasses in their hands to fill
me delicious wines, all in good order, and in the most charming
manner possible. I ate and drank; after which the ladies placed
themselves about me, and desired an account of my travels. I gave
them a full relation of my adventures, which lasted till night
came on.

When I had finished my narrative to the forty ladies, some of
them who sat nearest me staid to keep me company, whilst the
rest, seeing it was dark, rose to fetch tapers. They brought a
prodigious number, which by the wonderful light they emitted
exhibited the resemblance of day, and they disposed them with so
much taste as to produce the most beautiful effect possible.

Other ladies covered a table with dry fruits, sweetmeats, and
everything proper to relish the liquor; a side-board was set out
with several sorts of wine and other liquors. Some of the ladies
brought in musical instruments, and when everything was ready,
they invited me to sit down to supper. The ladies sat down with
me, and we continued a long while at our repast. They that were
to play upon the instruments and sing arose, and formed a most
charming concert. The others began a kind of ball, and danced two
and two, couple after couple, with admirable grace.

It was past midnight ere these amusements ended. At length one of
the ladies said to me, "You are doubtless wearied by the journey
you have taken to-day; it is time for you to retire to rest; your
lodging is prepared: but before you depart choose which of us you
like best to be your bedfellow." I answered, "That I knew not how
to make my own choice, as they were all equally beautiful, witty,
and worthy of my respects and service, and that I would not be
guilty of so much incivility as to prefer one before another."

The lady who had spoken to me before answered, "We are very well
satisfied of your civility, and find it is your fear to create
jealousy among us that occasions your diffidence; but let not
this hinder you. We assure you, that the good fortune of her whom
you choose shall cause no feeling of the kind; for we are agreed
among ourselves, that every one of us shall in her turn have the
same honour; and when forty days are past, to begin again;
therefore make your selection, and lose no time to take the
repose you need." I was obliged to yield to their entreaties, and
offered my hand to the lady who spoke, and who, in return, gave
me hers. We were conducted to a sumptuous apartment, where they
left us; and then every one retired to her own chamber.

I was scarcely dressed next morning, when the other thirty-nine
ladies came into my chamber, all in different dresses from those
they had worn the day before: they bade me good-morrow, and
inquired after my health. After which they conveyed me to a bath,
where they washed me themselves, and whether I would or no,
served me with everything I needed; and when I came out of the
bath, they made me put on another suit much richer than the

We passed the whole day almost constantly at table; and when it
was bed-time, they prayed me again to make choice of one of them
for my companion In short, madam, not to weary you with
repetitions, I must tell you that I continued a whole year among
those forty ladies, and received them into my bed one after
another: and during all the time of this voluptuous life, we met
not with the least kind of trouble. When the year was expired, I
was greatly surprised that these forty ladies, instead of
appearing with their usual cheerfulness to ask me how I did,
entered my chamber one morning all in tears. They embraced me
with great tenderness one after another, saying, "Adieu, dear
prince, adieu! for we must leave you." Their tears affected. I
prayed them to tell me the reason of their grief, and of the
separation they spoke of. "Fair ladies, let me know," said I, "if
it be in my power to comfort you, or if my assistance can be any
way useful to you." Instead of returning a direct answer,
"Would," said they, "we had never seen or known you! Several
gentlemen have honoured us with their company before you; but
never one of them had that comeliness, that sweetness, that
pleasantness of humour, and that merit which you possess; we know
not how to live without you." After they had spoken these words,
they began to weep bitterly. "My dear ladies," said I, "have the
kindness not to keep me any longer in suspense: tell me the cause
of your sorrow." "Alas!" said they, "what but the necessity of
parting from you could thus afflict us? Perhaps we shall never
see you more; but if it be your wish we should, and if you
possess sufficient self-command for the purpose, it is not
impossible but that we may again enjoy the pleasure of your
company." "Ladies," I replied, "I understand not what you mean;
pray explain yourselves more clearly."

"Well," said one of them, "to satisfy you, we must acquaint you
that we are all princesses, daughters of kings. We live here
together in the manner you have seen; but at the end of every
year we are obliged to be absent forty days upon indispensable
duties, which we are not permitted to reveal: and afterwards we
return again to this castle. Yesterday was the last of the year;
to day we must leave you, and this circumstance is the cause of
our grief. Before we depart we will leave you the keys of
everything, especially those of the hundred doors, where you will
find enough to satisfy your curiosity, and to relieve your
solitude during our absence. But for your benefit, and our own
personal interests, we recommend you to forbear opening the
golden door; for if you do we shall never see you again; and the
apprehension of this augments our grief. We hope, nevertheless,
that you will attend to our advice; your own peace, and the
happiness of your life, depends upon your compliance; therefore
take heed. If you suffer yourself to be swayed by a foolish
curiosity, you will do yourself a considerable injury. We conjure
you to avoid the indiscretion, and to give us the satisfaction
finding you here again at the end of forty days. We would
willingly take the key of the golden door with us; but that it
would be an affront to a prince like you to question your
discretion and firmness."

This speech of the fair princesses grieved me extremely. I
omitted not to declare how much their absence would afflict me. I
thanked then for their good advice, assuring them that I would
follow it, and expressed my willingness to perform what was much
more difficult, to secure the happiness of passing the rest of my
days with ladies of such beauty and accomplishments. We separated
with much tenderness, and after I had embraced them all, they
departed, and I remained alone in the castle.

The agreeableness of their company, their hospitality, their
musical entertainments, and other amusements, had so much
absorbed my attention during the whole year, that I neither had
time nor desire to see the wonders contained in this enchanted
palace. I did not even notice a thousand curious objects that
every day offered themselves to my view, so much was I charmed by
the beauty of those ladies, and the pleasure they seemed to take
in promoting my gratification. Their departure sensibly afflicted
me; and though their absence was to be only forty days, it seemed
to me an age to live without them.

I determined not to forget the important advice they had given
me, not to open the golden door; but as I was permitted to
satisfy my curiosity in everything else, I took the first of the
keys of the other doors, which were hung in regular order.

I opened the first door, and entered an orchard, which I believe
the universe could not equal. I could not imagine any thing to
surpass it, except that which our religion promises us after
death. The symmetry, the neatness, the admirable order of the
trees, the abundance and diversity of unknown fruits, their
freshness and beauty, delighted my senses.

Nor must I omit to inform you, that this delicious orchard was
watered in a very particular manner. There were channels so
artificially and proportionately dug, that they carried water in
considerable quantities to the roots of such trees as required
much moisture. Others conveyed it in smaller quantities to those
whose fruits were already formed: some carried still less to
those whose fruits were swelling, and others carried only so much
as was just requisite to water those which had their fruits come
to perfection, and only wanted to be ripened. They far exceeded
in size the ordinary fruits of our gardens. Lastly, those
channels that watered the trees whose fruit was ripe had no more
moisture than just what would preserve them from withering.

I should never have tired in examining and admiring so delightful
a place; nor have left it, had I not conceived a still higher
idea of the other things which I had not seen. I went out at last
with my mind filled with the wonders I had viewed: I shut the
door, and opened the next.

Instead of an orchard, I found here a flower garden, which was no
less extraordinary in its kind. It contained a spacious plot, not
watered so profusely as the former, but with greater niceness,
furnishing no more water than just what each flower required. The
roses, jessamines, violets, daffodils, hyacinths, anemonies,
tulips, pinks, lilies, and an infinite number of flowers, which
do not grow in other places but at certain times, were there
flourishing all at once, and nothing could be more delicious than
the fragrant smell which they emitted.

I opened the third door, and found a large aviary, paved with
marble of several fine and uncommon colours. The trellis work was
made of sandal wood and wood of aloes. It contained a vast number
of nightingales, gold-finches, canary birds, larks, and other
rare singing-birds, which I had never heard of; and the vessels
that held their seed and water were of the most precious jasper
or agate.

Besides, this aviary was so exceedingly neat, that, considering
its extent, I judged there must be not less than a hundred
persons to keep it clean; but all this while not one appeared,
either here or in the gardens I had before examined; and yet I
could not perceive a weed, or any thing superfluous or offensive
to sight. The sun went down, and I retired, charmed with the
chirping notes of the multitude of birds, who then began to perch
upon such places as suited them for repose during the night. I
went to my chamber, resolving on the following days to open all
the rest of the doors, excepting that of gold.

The next day I opened the fourth door. If what I had seen before
was capable of exciting my surprise, what I now beheld
transported me into perfect ecstacy. I entered a large court
surrounded with buildings of an admirable structure, the
description of which I will omit, to avoid prolixity.

This building had forty doors, all open, and through each of them
was an entrance into a treasury: several of these treasuries
contained as much wealth as the largest kingdoms. The first was
stored with heaps of pearls: and, what is almost incredible, the
number of those stones which are most precious, and as large as
pigeons' eggs, exceeded the number of those of the ordinary size.
In the second treasury, there were diamonds, carbuncles, and
rubies; in the third, emeralds; in the fourth, ingots of gold; in
the fifth, money; in the sixth, ingots of silver; and in the two
following, money. The rest contained amethysts, chrysolites,
topazes, opals, turquoises, and hyacinths, with all the other
stones known to us, without mentioning agate, jasper, cornelian,
and coral, of which there was a store house filled, not only with
branches, but whole trees.

Filled with astonishment and admiration at the view of all these
riches, I exclaimed, "If all the treasures of the kings of the
universe were gathered together in one place, they could not
equal the value of these. How fortunate am I to possess all this
wealth with so many admirable princesses! "

I will not tire you, madam, with a detail of all the other
objects of curiosity and value which I discovered on the
following day. I shall only say, that thirty-nine days afforded
me but just as much time as was necessary to open ninety-nine
doors, and to admire all that presented itself to my view, so
that there was only the hundredth door left, which I was
forbidden to open.

The fortieth day after the departure of those charming princesses
arrived, and had I but retained so much self-command as I ought
to have had, I should have been this day the happiest of all
mankind, whereas now I am the most unfortunate. They were to
return the next day, and the pleasure of seeing them again ought
to have restrained my curiosity: but through my weakness, which I
shall ever repent, I yielded to the temptations of the evil
spirit, who allowed me no rest till I had involved myself in the
misfortunes I have since suffered.

I opened that fatal door! But before I had moved my foot to
enter, a smell pleasant enough, but too powerful for my senses,
made me faint away. However, I soon recovered: but instead of
taking warning from this incident to close the door, and restrain
my curiosity, after waiting some time for the external air to
correct the effluvia of the place, I entered, and felt myself no
longer incommoded. I found myself in a spacious vaulted
apartment, the pavement of which was strewed with saffron. It was
illuminated by several large tapers which emitted the perfume of
aloes and ambergris, and were placed in candlesticks of solid
gold. This light was augmented by gold and silver lamps, burning
perfumed oils of various kinds.

Among the many objects that attracted my attention was a black
horse, of the most perfect symmetry and beauty that ever was
beheld. I approached in order the better to observe him, and
found he had on a saddle and bridle of massive gold, curiously
wrought. One part of his manger was filled with clean barley and
sesame, and the other with rose-water. I laid hold of his bridle,
and led him out to view him by daylight. I mounted, and
endeavoured to make him move: but finding he did not stir, I
struck him with a switch I had taken up in his magnificent
stable. He had no sooner felt the blow, than he began to neigh in
a most horrible manner, and extending his wings, which I had not
before perceived, flew up with me into the air. My thoughts were
fully in keeping my seat; and considering the fear that had
seized me, I sat well. At length he directed his course towards
the earth, and lighted upon the terrace of a castle, and, without
giving me time to dismount, shook me out of the saddle with such
force, as to throw me behind him, and with the end of his tail he
struck out my eye.

Thus it was I became blind of one eye. I then recollected the
predictions of the ten young gentlemen. The horse again took
wing, and soon disappeared. I got up much vexed at the misfortune
I had brought upon myself. I walked upon the terrace, covering my
eye with one of my hands, for it pained me exceedingly, and then
descended, and entered into a hall. I soon discoved by the ten
sofas in a circle, and the eleventh in the middle, lower than the
rest, that I was in the castle whence I had been carried by the

The ten young gentlemen were not in the hall when I entered; but
came in soon after, attended by the old man. They seemed not at
all surprised to see me, nor at the loss of my eye; but said, "We
are sorry that we cannot congratulate you on your return, as we
could wish; but we are not the cause of your misfortune." "I
should do you wrong," I replied, "to lay it to your charge; I
have only myself to accuse." "If," said they, "it be a subject of
consolation to the afflicted to know that others share their
sufferings, you have in us this alleviation of your misfortune.
All that has happened to you we have also endured; we each of us
tasted the same pleasures during a year; and we had still
continued to enjoy them, had we not opened the golden door, when
the princesses were absent. You have been no wiser than we, and
have incurred the same punishment. We would gladly receive you
into our company, to join with us in the penance to which we are
bound, and the duration of which we know not. But we have already
stated to you the reasons that render this impossible: depart,
therefore, and proceed to the court of Bagdad, where you will
meet with the person who is to decide your destiny." After they
had explained to me the road I was to travel, I departed.

On the road I caused my beard and eye-brows to be shaven, and
assumed a calender's habit. I have had a long journey, but at
last I arrived this evening, and met these my brother calenders
at the gate, being strangers as well as myself. We were mutually
surprised at one another, to see that we were all blind of the
same eye; but we had not leisure to converse long on the subject
of our misfortunes. We have only had time enough to bring us
hither, to implore those favours which you have been generously
pleased to grant us.

The third calender having finished this relation of his
adventures, Zobeide addressed him and his fellow calenders thus:
"Go wherever you think proper, you are at liberty." But one of
them answered, "Madam, we beg you to pardon our curiosity, and
permit us to hear the stories of those gentlemen who have not yet
spoken." Then the lady turned to the caliph, the vizier Jaaffier,
and Mesrour, and said to them, "It is now your turn to relate
your adventures, therefore speak."

The grand vizier who had all along been the spokesman, answered
Zobeide: "Madam, in order to obey you, we need only repeat what
we have already said. We are merchants of Moussol come to Bagdad
to sell our merchandize, which lies in the khan where we lodge.
We dined today with several other persons of our condition, at a
merchant's house of this city; who, after he had treated us with
choice dainties and excellent wines, sent for men and women
dancers, and musicians. The great noise we made brought in the
watch, who arrested some of the company, and we had the good
fortune to escape: but it being already late, and the door of our
khan shut up, we knew not whither to retire. We chanced as we
passed along this street to hear mirth at your house, which made
us determine to knock at your gate. This is all the account that
we can give you, in obedience to your commands."

Zobeide having heard this statement, seemed to hesitate what to
say, which the calenders perceiving, prayed her to grant the same
favour to the three Moussol merchants as she had done to them.
"Well then," said she, "you shall all be equally obliged to me; I
pardon you all, provided you immediately depart."

Zobeide having given this command in a tone that signified she
would be obeyed, the caliph, the vizier Mesrour, the three
calenders, and the porter departed, without saying one word: for
the presence of the seven slaves with their weapons awed them
into silence. As soon as they had quitted the house, and the gate
was closed after them, the caliph said to the calenders, without
making himself known, "You gentlemen, who are newly come to town,
which way do you design to go, since it is not yet day?" "It is
this," they replied, "that perplexes us." "Follow us," resumed
the caliph, "and we will convey you out of danger." He then
whispered to the vizier, "Take them along with you, and tomorrow
morning bring them to me; I will cause their history to be put in
writing, for it deserves a place in the annals of my reign."

The vizier Jaaffier took the three calenders along with him; the
porter went to his quarters, and the caliph and Mesrour returned
to the palace. The caliph went to bed, but could not sleep, being
perplexed by the extraordinary things he had seen and heard. But
above all, he was most concerned to know the history of Zobeide;
what reason she could have to be so severe to the two black
bitches, and why Amene had her bosom so scarred. Day began to
appear whilst he was thinking upon these things; he arose and
went to his council chamber, and sat upon his throne.

The grand vizier entered soon after, and paid his respects as
usual. "Vizier," said the caliph, "the affairs that we have to
consider at present are not very pressing; that of the three
ladies and the two black bitches is the most urgent: my mind
cannot rest till I am thoroughly satisfied, in all those matters
that have so much surprised me. Go, bring those ladies and the
calenders at the same time; make haste, and remember that I
impatiently expect your return."

The vizier who knew his master's quick and fiery temper, hastened
to obey, and went to the ladies, to whom he communicated, in a
civil way,. the orders with which he was charged, to bring them
before the caliph, without taking any notice of what had passed
the night before at their house.

The ladies put on their veils, and went with the vizier As he
passed his own house, he took along with him the three calenders,
who in the interval had learnt that they had seen and spoken with
the caliph, without knowing him. The vizier conducted them to the
palace with so much expedition, that the caliph was much pleased.
This prince, that he might observe proper decorum before the
officers of his court who were then present, ordered that the
ladies should be placed behind the hangings of the door which led
to his own chamber, and placed the three calenders near his
person, who, by their respectful behaviour, sufficiently evinced
that they were not ignorant before whom they had the honour to

When the ladies were thus disposed of, the caliph turned towards
them, and said, "When I acquaint you that I was last night in
your house, disguised in a merchant's habit, you may probably be
alarmed, lest you may have given me offence; you may perhaps
believe that I have sent for you for no other purpose than to
shew some marks of my resentment; but be not afraid; you may rest
assured that I have forgotten all that has past, and am well
satisfied with your conduct. I wish that all the ladies of Bagdad
had as much discretion as you evinced before me. I shall always
remember the moderation with which you acted, after the rudeness
of which we were guilty. I was then a merchant of Moussol, but am
at present Haroon al Rusheed, the fifth caliph of the glorious
house of Abbas, and hold the place of our great prophet. I have
only sent for you to know who you are, and to ask for what reason
one of you, after severely whipping the two black bitches, wept
with them? And I am no less curious to know, why another of you
has her bosom so full of scars."

Though the caliph pronounced these words very distinctly, the
three ladies heard him well enough, yet the vizier out of
ceremony, repeated them.

Zobeide, after the caliph by his address had encouraged her,
began thus:

The Story of Zobeide.

Commander of the faithful, the relation which I am about to give
your majesty is singularly extraordinary. The two black bitches
and myself are sisters by the same father and mother; and I shall
acquaint you by what strange accident they came to be
metamorphosed. The two ladies who live with me, and are now here,
are also my sisters by the father's side, but by another mother:
she that has the scars upon her breast is named Amene; the name
of the other is Safie, and my own Zobeide.

After our father's death, the property that he left was equally
divided among us, and as soon as these two sisters received their
portions, they left me to live with their mother. My other two
sisters and myself stayed with our mother, who was then alive,
and who when she afterwards died left each of us a thousand
sequins. As soon as we had received our portions, the two eldest
(for I am the youngest) married, and left me alone. Some time
after, my eldest sister's husband sold all that he had, and with
that money and my sister's portion they went both into Africa,
where her husband, by riotous living and debauchery' spent all;
and finding himself reduced to poverty, found a pretext for
divorcing my sister, and put her away.

She returned to this city, and having suffered incredible
hardships by the way, came to me in so lamentable a condition
that it would have moved the hardest heart to compassion to
behold her. I received her with every possible tenderness, and
inquiring into the cause of her distress, she told me with tears
how inhumanly her husband had behaved towards her. Her
misfortunes affected me: and I mingled my tears with hers. I took
her to a bath, clothed her with my own apparel, and thus
addressed her: "Sister, you are the elder, and I esteem you as my
mother: during your absence, God has blest the portion that fell
to my share, and the employment I follow of breeding silk-worms.
Assure yourself there is nothing I have but is at your service,
and as much at your disposal as my own."

We lived very comfortably together for some months. As we were
one day conversing about our third sister, and wondering we
received no intelligence of her, she came in as bad a condition
as the eldest: her husband had treated her after the same manner;
and I received her likewise with the same affection as I had done
the former.

Some time after, my two sisters, on presence that they would not
be chargeable to me, told me they intended to marry again. I
observed, that if putting me to expense was the only reason, they
might lay those thoughts aside, and be welcome to remain: for
what I had would be sufficient to maintain us all three, in a
manner answerable to our condition. "But," I added, "I rather
believe you wish to marry again; I shall feel much surprised if
such be the case. After the experience you have had of the little
satisfaction there is in wedlock, is it possible you dare venture
a second time? You know how rare it is to meet with a husband
perfectly virtuous and deserving. Believe what I say, and let us
live together as comfortably as we can." All my persuasion was in
vain; they were resolved to marry, and soon accomplished their
wishes. But after some months were past, they returned again, and
begged my pardon a thousand times for not following my advice.
"You are our youngest sister," said they, "but abundantly more
wise than we; if you will vouchsafe to receive us once more into
your house, and account us your slaves, we shall never commit a
similar fault again." My answer was, "Dear sisters, I have not
altered my mind with respect to you since we last parted: come
again, and take part of what I have." Upon this I embraced them,
and we lived together as before.

We continued thus a whole year in perfect love and harmony.


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