The Arabian Nights Entertainments vol. 1

Part 6 out of 7

said he to his scholars, "I find Agib is a little insolent
gentleman; I will shew you how to mortify him, so that he shall
never torment you any more. Nay, I believe it will make him leave
the school. When he comes again to-morrow, place yourselves round
him, and let one of you call out, "Come, let us play, but upon
condition, that every one who desires to play shall tell his own
name, and the names of his father and mother; they who refuse
shall be esteemed bastards, and not be suffered to play in our

Next day when they were gathered together, they failed not to
follow their master's instructions. They placed themselves round
Agib, and one of them called out, "Let us begin a play, but on
condition that he who cannot tell his own name, and that of his
father and mother, shall not play at all." They all cried out,
and so did Agib, "We consent." Then he that spoke first asked
every one the question, and all fulfilled the condition except
Agib, who answered, "My name is Agib, my mother is called the
lady of beauty, and my father Shumse ad Deen Mahummud, vizier to
the sultan."

At these words all the children cried out, "Agib, what do you
say? That is not the name of your father, but your grandfather."
"A curse on you," said he in a passion. "What! dare you say that
the vizier is not my father?" "No, no," cried they with great
laughter, "he is your grandfather, and you shall not play with
us. Nay we will take care how we come into your company." Having
spoken thus, they all left him, scoffing him, and laughing among
themselves, which mortified Agib so much that he wept.

The schoolmaster who was near, and heard all that passed, came
up, and speaking to Agib, said, "Agib, do not you know that the
vizier is not your father, but your grandfather, and the father
of your mother the lady of beauty? We know not the name of your
father any more than you do. We only know that the sultan was
going to marry your mother to one of his grooms, a humpback
fellow; but a genie lay with her. This is hard upon you, but
ought to teach you to treat your schoolfellows with less

Agib being nettled at this, ran hastily out of the school. He
went directly sobbing to his mother's chamber, who being alarmed
to see him thus grieved, asked the reason. He could not answer
for tears, so great was his mortification, and it was long ere he
could speak plain enough to repeat what had been said to him, and
had occasioned his sorrow.

When he came to himself. "Mother," said he "for the love of God
be pleased to tell me who is my father?" "My son," she replied,
"Shumse ad Deen Mahummud, who every day caresses you so kindly,
is your father." "You do not tell me truth," returned Agib; "he
is your father, and none of mine. But whose son am I?" At this
question, the lady of beauty calling to mind her wedding night,
which had been succeeded by a long widowhood, began to shed
tears, repining bitterly at the loss of so handsome a husband as
Buddir ad Deen.

Whilst the lady of beauty and Agib were both weeping, the vizier
entered, who demanded the reason of their sorrow. The lady told
him the shame Agib had undergone at school, which so much
affected the vizier that he joined his tears with theirs, and
judging from this that the misfortune which had happened to his
daughter was the common discourse of the town, he was mortified
to the quick.

Being thus afflicted, he went to the sultan's palace, and falling
prostrate at his feet, most humbly intreated permission to make a
journey in search of his nephew Buddir ad Deen Houssun. For he
could not bear any longer that the people of the city should
believe a genie had disgraced his daughter.

The sultan was much concerned at the vizier's affliction,
approved his resolution, and gave him leave to travel. He caused
a passport also to be written for him, requesting in the
strongest terms all kings and princes in whose dominions Buddir
ad Deen might sojourn, to grant that the vizier might conduct him
to Cairo.

Shumse ad Deen, not knowing how to express his gratitude to the
sultan, fell down before him a second time, while the floods of
tears he shed bore sufficient testimony to his feelings. At last,
having wished the sultan all manner of prosperity, he took his
leave and returned to his house, where he disposed every thing
for his journey; and the preparations were carried on with so
much diligence, that in four days after he left the city,
accompanied with his daughter the lady of beauty, and his
grandson Agib.

They travelled nineteen days without intermission; but on the
twentieth, arriving at a pleasant mead, a small distance from the
gate of Damascus, they halted, and pitched their tents upon the
banks of a river which fertilizes the vicinity, and runs through
the town, one of the pleasantest in Syria, once the capital of
the caliphs; and celebrated for its elegant buildings, the
politeness of its inhabitants, and the abundance of its

The vizier declared he would stay in that pleasent place two
days, and pursue his journey on the third. In the mean time he
gave his retinue leave to go to Damascus; and almost all of them
made use of it: some influenced by curiosity to see a city they
had heard so much of, and others by the opportunity of vending
the Egyptian goods they had brought with them, or buying stuffs,
and the rarities of the country. The beautiful lady desiring her
son Agib might share in the satisfaction of viewing that
celebrated city, ordered the black eunuch, who acted in quality
of his governor, to conduct him thither.

Agib, in magnificent apparel, went with the eunuch, who had a
large cane in his hand. They had no sooner entered the city, than
Agib, fair and glorious as the day, attracted the eyes of the
people. Some got out of their houses to gain a nearer and
narrower view of him; others put their heads out of the windows,
and those who passed along the street were not satisfied in
stopping to look upon him, but kept pace with him, to prolong the
pleasure of the agreeable sight: in fine, there was not a person
that did not admire him, and bestow a thousand benedictions on
the father and mother that had given being to so fine a child. By
chance the eunuch and he passed by the shop of Buddir ad Deen
Houssun, and there the crowd was so great, that they were forced
to halt.

The pastry-cook who had adopted Buddir ad Deen Houssun had died
some years before, and left him his shop and all his property,
and he conducted the pastry trade so dexterously, that he had
gained great reputation in Damascus. Buddir ad Deen seeing so
great a crowd before his door, who were gazing so attentively
upon Agib and the black eunuch, stepped out to see them himself.

Having cast his eyes upon Agib, Buddir ad Deen found himself
moved, he knew not how, nor for what reason. He was not struck
like the people with the brilliant beauty of the boy; another
cause unknown to him gave rise to the uneasiness and emotion he
felt. It was the force of blood that wrought in this tender
father; who, laying aside his business, made up to Agib, and with
an engaging air, said to him: "My little lord, who hast won my
soul, be so kind as to come into my shop, and eat a bit of such
fare as I have; that I may have the pleasure of admiring you at
my ease." These words he pronounced with such tenderness, that
tears trickled from his eyes. Little Agib was moved when he saw
his emotion; and turning to the eunuch, said, "This honest man
speaks in such an affectionate manner, that I cannot avoid
complying with his request; let us step into his house, and taste
his pastry." "It would be a fine thing truly," replied the slave,
"to see the son of a vizier go into a pastry-cook's shop to eat;
do not imagine that I will suffer any such thing." "Alas! my
lord," cried Buddir ad Deen, "it is cruelty to trust the conduct
of you in the hands of a person who treats you so harshly." Then
applying himself to the eunuch, "My good friend," continued he,
"pray do not hinder this young lord from granting me the favour I
ask; do not put such mortification upon me: rather do me the
honour to walk in along with him, and by so doing, you will let
the world know, that, though your outside is brown like a
chestnut, your inside is as white. Do you know," continued he,
"that I am master of the secret to make you white, instead of
being black as you are?" This set the eunuch a laughing, and then
he asked what that secret was. "I will tell you," replied Buddir
ad Deen, who repeated some verses in praise of black eunuchs,
implying, that it was by their ministry that the honour of
princes and of all great men was secured. The eunuch was so
charmed with these verses, that, without further hesitation, he
suffered Agib to go into the shop, and went in with him himself.

Buddir ad Deen Houssun was overjoyed at having obtained what he
had so passionately desired, and, falling again to the work he
had discontinued "I was making," said he, "cream-tarts; and you
must, with submission, eat of them. I am persuaded you will find
them good; for my own mother, who made them incomparably well,
taught me, and the people send to buy them of me from all
quarters of the town." This said, he took a cream-tart out of the
oven, and after strewing upon it some pomegranate kernels and
sugar, set it before Agib, who found it very delicious.

Another was served up to the eunuch, and he gave the same

While they were both eating, Buddir ad Deen viewed Agib very
attentively; and after looking upon him again and again, it came
into his mind that possibly he might have such a son by his
charming wife, from whom he had been so soon and so cruelly
separated; and the very thought drew tears from his eyes. He
intended to have put some questions to little Agib about his
journey to Damascus; but the child had no time to gratify his
curiosity, for the eunuch pressing him to return to his
grandfather's tent, took him away as soon as he had done eating.
Buddir ad Deen Houssun, not contented with looking after him,
shut up his shop immediately, and followed him.

Buddir ad Deen Houssun ran after Agib and the eunuch, and
overtook them before they had reached the gate of the city. The
eunuch perceiving he followed them, was extremely surprised: "You
impertinent fellow," said he, with an angry tone, "what do you
want?" "My dear friend," replied Buddir ad Deen, "do not trouble
yourself; I have a little business out of town, and I must needs
go and look after it." This answer, however, did not at all
satisfy the eunuch, who turning to Agib, said, "This is all owing
to you; I foresaw I should repent of my complaisance; you would
needs go into the man's shop; it was not wisely done in me to
give you leave." "Perhaps," replied Agib, "he has real business
out of town, and the road is free to every body." While this
passed they kept walking together, without looking behind them,
till they came near the vizier's tents, upon which they turned
about to see if Buddir ad Deen followed them. Agib, perceiving he
was within two paces of him, reddened and whitened alternately,
according to the different emotions that affected him. He was
afraid the grand vizier his grandfather should come to know he
had been in the pastry shop, and had eaten there. In this dread,
he took up a large stone that lay at his foot and throwing it at
Buddir ad Deen, hit him in the forehead, and wounded him so that
his face was covered with blood. The eunuch gave Buddir ad Deen
to understand, he had no reason to complain of a mischance that
he had merited and brought upon himself.

Buddir ad Deen turned towards the city staunching the blood of
the wound with his apron, which he had not put off. "I was a
fool," said he within himself, "for leaving my house, to take so
much pains about this brat; for doubtless he would never have
used me after this manner, if he had not thought I had some ill
design against him." When he got home, he had his wound dressed,
and softened the sense of his mischance by the reflection that
there was an infinite number of people upon the earth, who were
yet more unfortunate than he.

Buddir ad Deen kept on the pastry-trade at Damascus, and his
uncle Shumse ad Deen Mahummud went from thence three days after
his arrival. He went by way of Emaus, Hanah, and Halep; then
crossed the Euphrates, and after passing through Mardin,
Moussoul, Singier, Diarbeker, and several other towns, arrived at
last at Bussorah. Immediately after his arrival he desired
audience of the sultan, who was no sooner informed of his quality
than he admitted him to his presence, received him very
favourably, and inquired the occasion of his journey to Bussorah.
"Sire," replied the vizier "I come to know what is become of the
son of my brother, who has had the honour to serve your majesty."
"Noor ad Deen Ali," said the sultan, "has been long dead; as for
his son, all I can tell you of him is, that he disappeared
suddenly, about two months after his father's death, and nobody
has seen him since, notwithstanding all the inquiry I ordered to
be made. But his mother, who is the daughter of one of my
viziers, is still alive." Shumse ad Deen Mahummud desired leave
of the sultan to take her to Egypt; and having obtained
permission, without waiting till the next day, inquired after her
place of abode, and that very hour went to her house, accompanied
with his daughter and his grandson.

The widow of Noor ad Deen Ali resided still in the same place
where her husband had lived. It was a stately fabric, adorned
with marble pillars: but Shumse ad Deen did not stop to view it.
At his entry he kissed the gate, and the piece of marble upon
which his brother's name was written in letters of gold. He asked
to speak with his sister-in-law, and was told by her servants,
that she was in a small building covered by a dome, to which they
directed in the middle of a very spacious court. This tender
mother used to spend the greatest part of the day and night in
that room which she had built as a representation of the tomb of
her son Buddir ad Deen Houssun, whom she supposed to be dead
after so long an absence. She was pouring tears over his memorial
when Shumse ad Deen entering, found her buried in the deepest

He made his compliment, and after beseeching her to suspend her
tears and sighs, informed her he had the honour to be her
brother-in-law, and acquainted her with the reason of his journey
from Cairo to Bussorah.

Shumse ad Deen Mahummud, after acquainting his sister-in-law with
all that had passed at Cairo on his daughter's wedding-night, and
informing her of the surprise occasioned by the discovery of the
paper sewed up in Buddir ad Deen's turban, presented to her Agib
and the beautiful lady.

The widow of Noor ad Deen, who had still continued sitting like a
woman dejected, and weaned from the affairs of this world, no
sooner understood by his discourse that her dear son, whom she
lamented so bitterly, might still be alive, than she arose, and
repeatedly embraced the beautiful lady and her grandchild Agib;
and perceiving in the youth the features of Buddir ad Deen, drops
tears different from what she had been so long accustomed to
shed. She could not forbear kissing the youth, who, for his part,
received her embraces with all the demonstrations of joy he was
capable of shewing. "Sister," said Shumse ad Deen, "it is time to
dry your tears, and suppress your sighs; you must think of going
with us to Egypt. The sultan of Bussorah gives me leave to carry
you thither, and I doubt not you will consent. I am in hopes we
shall at last find out your son my nephew; and if we do, the
history of him, of you, of my own daughter, and of my own
adventures, will deserve to be committed to writing, and
transmitted to posterity."

The widow of Noor ad Deen heard this proposal with pleasure, and
ordered preparations to be made for her departure. While they
were making, Shumse ad Deen desired a second audience, and after
taking leave of the sultan, who dismissed him with ample marks of
respect, and gave him a considerable present for himself, and
another of great value for the sultan of Egypt, he set out from
Bussorah once more for the city of Damascus.

When he arrived in the neighbourhood of Damascus, he ordered his
tents to be pitched without the gate, at which he designed to
enter the city; and gave out he would tarry there three days, to
give his suit rest, and buy up curiosities to present to the
sultan of Egypt.

While he was employed in selecting the finest stuffs which the
principal merchants had brought to his tents, Agib begged the
black eunuch his governor to carry him through the city, in order
to see what he had not had leisure to view before; and to inquire
what was become of the pastry cook whom he had wounded. The
eunuch complying with his request, went along with him towards
the city, after leave obtained of the beautiful lady his mother.

They entered Damascus by the Paradise-gate, which lay next to the
tents of the vizier They walked through the great squares and the
public places where the richest goods were sold, and took a view
of the superb mosque at the hour of prayer, between noon and sun-
set. When they passed by the shop of Buddir ad Deen Houssun, whom
they still found employed in making cream tarts, "I salute you
sir," said Agib; "do you know me? Do you remember you ever saw me
before?" Buddir ad Deen hearing these words, fixed his eyes upon
him, and recognizing him (such was the surprising effect of
paternal love!), felt the same emotion as when he saw him first;
he was confused, and instead of making any answer, continued a
long time without uttering a word. At length, recovering himself,
"My lord," said he, "be so kind as to come once more with your
governor into my house, and taste a cream-tart. I beg your
lordship's pardon, for the trouble I gave you in following you
out of town; I was at that time not myself, I did not know what I
did. You drew me after you, and the violence of the attraction
was so soft, that I could not withstand it."

Agib, astonished at what Buddir ad Deen said, replied: "There is
an excess in the kindness you express, and unless you engage
under oath not to follow me when I go from hence, I will not
enter your house. If you give me your promise, and prove a man of
your word, I will visit you again to-morrow, since the vizier my
grandfather, is still employed in buying up rarities for a
present to the sultan of Egypt." "My lord," replied Buddir ad
Deen, "I will do whatever you would have me." This said, Agib and
the eunuch went into the shop.

Presently after, Buddir ad Deen set before them a cream-tart,
that was full as good as what they had eaten before; "Come," said
Agib, "sit down by me, and eat with us." Buddir ad Deen sat down,
and attempted to embrace Agib, as a testimony of the joy he
conceived upon sitting by him. But Agib pushed him away, desiring
him not to be too familiar. Buddir ad Deen obeyed, and repeated
some extempore verses in praise of Agib: he did not eat, but made
it his business to serve his guests. When they had done, he
brought them water to wash, and a very white napkin to wipe their
hands. Then he filled a large china cup with sherbet, and put
snow into it; and offering it to Agib, "This," said he, "is
sherbet of roses; and I am sure you never tasted better." Agib
having drunk of it with pleasure, Buddir ad Deen took the cup
from him, and presented it to the eunuch, who drank it all off at

In fine, Agib and his governor having fared well, returned thanks
to the pastry-cook for their good entertainment, and moved
homewards, it being then late. When they arrived at the tents of
Shumse ad Deen Mahummud, Agib's grandmother received him with
transports of joy: her son ran always in her mind, and in
embracing Agib, the remembrance of him drew tears from her eyes.
"Ah, my child!" said she, "my joy would be perfect, if I had the
pleasure of embracing your father as I now embrace you." She made
Agib sit by her, and put several questions to him, relating to
the walk he had been taking with the eunuch; and when he
complained of being hungry, she gave him a piece of cream-tart,
which she had made for herself, and was indeed very good: she
likewise gave some to the eunuch.

Agib no sooner touched the piece of cream-tart that had been set
before him, than he pretended he did not like it, and left it
uncut; and Shubbaunee (which was the eunuch's name) did the same.
The widow of Noor ad Deen Ali observed with regret that her
grandson did not like the tart. "What!" said she, "does my child
thus despise the work of my hands? Be it known to you, no one in
the world can make such besides myself and your father, whom I
taught." "My good mother," replied Agib, "give me leave to tell
you, if you do not know how to make better, there is a pastry-
cook in this town that outdoes you. We were at his shop, and ate
of one much better than yours."

On hearing this, the grandmother, frowning upon the eunuch, said,
"How now, Shubbaunee, was the care of my grandchild committed to
you, to carry him to eat at pastry-shops like a beggar?" "Madam,"
replied the eunuch, "it is true, we did stop a little while and
talked with the pastry-cook, but we did not eat with him."
"Pardon me," said Agib, "we went into his shop, and there ate a
cream-tart." Upon this, the lady, more incensed against the
eunuch than before, rose in a passion from the table, and running
to the tent of Shumse ad Deen, informed him of the eunuch's
crime; and that in such terms, as tended more to inflame the
vizier than to dispose him to excuse it.

The vizier who was naturally passionate, did not fail on this
occasion to display his anger. He went forthwith to his sister-
in-law's tent, and said to the eunuch, "Wretch, have you the
impudence to abuse the trust I repose in you?" Shubbaunee, though
sufficiently convicted by Agib's testimony, denied the fact
still. But the child persisting in what he had affirmed,
"Grandfather," said he, "I can assure you we not only ate, but
that so very heartily, that we have no occasion for supper:
besides, the pastry-cook treated us also with a great bowl of
sherbet." "Well," cried Shumse ad Deen, "after all this, will you
continue to deny that you entered the pastry-cook's house, and
ate there?" Shubbaunee had still the impudence to swear it was
not true. "Then you are a liar," said the vizier "I believe my
grandchild; but after all, if you can eat up this cream-tart I
shall be persuaded you have truth on your side."

Though Shubbaunee had crammed himself up to the throat before, he
agreed to stand that test, and accordingly took a piece of tart;
but his stomach rising against it, he was obliged to spit it out
of his mouth. Yet he still pursued the lie, and pretended he had
over-eaten himself the day before, and had not recovered his
appetite. The vizier irritated with all the eunuch's frivolous
presences, and convinced of his guilt, ordered him to be soundly
bastinadoed. In undergoing this punishment, the poor wretch
shrieked out aloud, and at last confessed the truth; "I own,"
cried he, "that we did eat a cream-tart at the pastry cook's, and
that it was much better than that upon the table."

The widow of Noor ad Deen thought it was out of spite to her, and
with a desire to mortify her, that Shubbaunee commended the
pastry-cook's tart; and accordingly said, "I cannot believe the
cook's tarts are better than mine; I am resolved to satisfy
myself upon that head. Where does he live? Go immediately and buy
me one of his tarts." The eunuch repaired to Buddir ad Deen's
shop, and said, "Let me have one of your cream-tarts; one of our
ladies wants to taste them." Buddir ad Deen chose one of the
best, and gave it to the eunuch.

Shubbaunee returned speedily to the tents, gave the tart to Noor
ad Deen's widow, who, snatching it greedily, broke a piece off;
but no sooner put it to her mouth, than she cried out and swooned
away. The vizier was extremely surprised at the accident; he
threw water upon her face, and was very active in recovering her.
As soon as she came to herself, "My God!" cried she, "it must
needs be my son, my dear Buddir ad Deen who made this tart."

When the vizier Shumse ad Deen heard his sister-in-law say, that
the maker of the tart, brought by the eunuch, must needs be her
son, he was overjoyed; but reflecting that his joy might prove
groundless, and the conjecture of Noor ad Deen's widow be false,
"Madam," said he, "do you think there may not be a pastry-cook in
the world, who knows how to make cream-tarts as well as your
son?" "I own," replied she, "there may be pastry-cooks that can
make as good tarts as he; but as I make them in a peculiar
manner, and only my son was let into the secret, it must
absolutely be he that made this. Come, my brother," added she in
a transport, "let us call up mirth and joy; we have at last found
what we have been so long looking for." "Madam," said the vizier
answer, "I entreat you to moderate your impatience, for we shall
quickly know the truth. All we have to do, is to bring the
pastry-cook hither; and then you and my daughter will readily
distinguish whether he be your son or not. But you must both be
concealed so as to have a view of Buddir ad Deen while he cannot
see you; for I would not have our interview and mutual discovery
happen at Damascus. My design is to delay the discovery till we
return to Cairo."

This said, he left the ladies in their tent, and retired to his
own; where he called for fifty of his men, and said to them:
"Take each of you a stick in your hands, and follow Shubbaunee,
who will conduct you to a pastry-cook in this city. When you
arrive there, break and dash in pieces all you find in the shop:
if he demand the reason of your outrage, only ask him in return
if it was not he that made the cream-tart that was brought from
his house. If he answer in the affirmative, seize his person,
fetter him, and bring him along with you; but take care you do
not beat him, nor do him the least harm. Go, and lose no time."

The vizier's orders were immediately executed. The detachment,
conducted by the black eunuch, went with expedition to Buddir ad
Deen's house, broke in pieces the plates, kettles, copper pans,
and all the other moveables and utensils they met with, and
inundated the sherbet-shop with cream and comfits. Buddir ad
Deen, astonished at the sight, said with a pitiful tone, "Pray,
good people, why do you serve me so? What is the matter? What
have I done?" "Was it not you," said they, "that sold this eunuch
the cream-tart?" "Yes," replied he, "I am the man; and who says
any thing against it? I defy any one to make a better." Instead
of giving him an answer, they continued to break all round them,
and the oven itself was not spared.

In the mean time the neighbours took the alarm, and surprised to
see fifty armed men committing such a disorder, asked the reason
of such violence; and Buddir ad Deen said once more to the
rioters, "Pray tell me what crime I have committed to deserve
this usage?" "Was it not you," replied they, "that made the
cream-tart you sold to the eunuch?" "Yes, yes, it was I," replied
he; "I maintain it is a good one. I do not deserve this
treatment." However, without listening to him, they seized his
person, and, snatching the cloth off his turban, tied his hands
with it behind his back, and, after dragging him by force out of
his shop, marched off.

The mob gathering, from compassion to Buddir ad Deen, took his
part; but officers from the governor of the city dispersed the
people, and favoured the carrying off of Buddir ad Deen, for
Shumse ad Deen Mahummud had in the mean time gone to the
governor's house to acquaint him with the order he had given, and
to demand the interposition of force to favour the execution; and
the governor, who commanded all Syria in the name of the sultan
of Egypt, was unwilling to refuse any thing to his master's

It was in vain for Buddir ad Deen to ask those who carried him
off, what fault had been found with his cream-tart: they gave him
no answer. In short, they conducted him to the tents, and made
him wait there till Shumse ad Deen returned from the governor of

Upon the vizier's return, the pretended culprit was brought
before him. "My lord," said Buddir ad Deen, with tears in his
eyes, "pray do me the favour to let me know wherein I have
displeased you." "Why, you wretch," exclaimed the vizier "was it
not you that made the cream-tart you sent me?" "I own I am the
man," replied Buddir ad Deen, "but pray what crime is that?" "I
will punish you according to your deserts," said Shumse ad Deen,
"it shall cost you your life, for sending me such a sorry tart."
"Ah!" exclaimed Buddir ad Deen, "is it a capital crime to make a
bad cream-tart?" "Yes," said the vizier "and you are to expect no
other usage from me."

While this interview lasted, the ladies, who were concealed
behind curtains, saw Buddir ad Deen, and recognized him,
notwithstanding he had been so long absent. They were so
transported with joy, that they swooned away; and when they
recovered, would fain have run up and fallen upon his neck, but
the promise they had made to the vizier of not discovering
themselves, restrained the tender emotions of love and of nature.

Shumse ad Deen having resolved to set out that night, ordered the
tents to be struck, and the necessary preparations to be made for
his journey. He ordered Buddir ad Deen to be secured in a sort of
cage, and laid on a camel. The vizier and his retinue began their
march, and travelled the rest of that night, and all the next
day, without stopping In the evening they halted, and Buddir ad
Deen was taken out of his cage, in order to be served with the
necessary refreshments, but still carefully kept at a distance
from his mother and his wife; and during the whole expedition,
which lasted twenty days, was served in the same manner.

When they arrived at Cairo, they encamped in the neighbourhood of
the city; Shumse ad Deen called for Buddir ad Deen, and gave
orders, in his presence, to prepare a stake. "Alas!" said Buddir
ad Deen, "what do you mean to do with a stake?" "Why, to impale
you," replied Shumse ad Deen, "and then to have you carried
through all the quarters of the town, that the people may have
the spectacle of a worthless pastry-cook, who makes cream-tarts
without pepper." This said, Buddir ad Deen cried out so
ludicrously, that Shumse ad Deen could hardly keep his
countenance: "Alas!" said he, "must I suffer a death as cruel as
it is ignominious, for not putting pepper in a cream-tart?"

"How," said Buddir ad Deen, "must I be rifled; must I be
imprisoned in a chest, and at last impaled, and all for not
putting pepper in a cream-tart? Are these the actions of
Moosulmauns, of persons who make a profession of probity,
justice, and good works?" With these words he shed tears, and
then renewing his complaint; "No," continued he, "never was a man
used so unjustly, nor so severely. Is it possible they should be
capable of taking a man's life for not putting pepper in a cream-
tart? Cursed be all cream-tarts, as well as the hour in which I
was born! Would to God l had died that minute!"

The disconsolate Buddir ad Deen did not cease his lamentations;
and when the stake was brought, cried out bitterly at the horrid
sight. "Heaven!" said he, "can you suffer me to die an
ignominious and painful death? And all this, for what crime? not
for robbery or murder, or renouncing my religion, but for not
putting pepper in a cream tart,"

Night being then pretty far advanced, the vizier ordered Buddir
ad Deen to be conveyed again to his cage, saying to him, "Stay
there till to-morrow; the day shall not elapse before I give
orders for your death." The chest or cage then was carried away
and laid upon the camel that had brought it from Damascus: at the
same time all the other camels were loaded again; and the vizier
mounting his horse, ordered the camel that carried his nephew to
march before him, and entered the city with all his suit. After
passing through several streets, where no one appeared, he
arrived at his palace, where he ordered the chest to be taken
down, but not opened till farther orders.

While his retinue were unlading the other camels, he took Buddir
ad Deen's mother and his daughter aside; and addressed himself to
the latter: "God be praised," said he, "my child, for this happy
occasion of meeting your cousin and your husband! You remember,
of course, what order your chamber was in on your wedding night:
go and put all things as they were then placed; and if your
memory do not serve you, I can aid it by a written account, which
I caused to be taken upon that occasion."

The beautiful lady went joyfully to execute her father's orders;
and he at the same time commanded the hall to be adorned as when
Buddir ad Deen Houssun was there with the sultan of Egypt's
hunch-backed groom. As he went over his manuscript, his domestics
placed every moveable in the described order. The throne was not
forgotten, nor the lighted wax candles. When every thing was
arranged in the hall, the vizier went into his daughter's chamber
and put in their due place Buddir ad Deen's apparel, with the
purse of sequins. This done, he said to the beautiful lady,
"Undress yourself, my child, and go to bed. As soon as Buddir ad
Deen enters your room, complain of his being from you so long,
and tell him, that when you awoke, you were astonished you did
not find him by you. Press him to come to bed again; and to-
morrow morning you will divert your mother-in-law and me, by
giving us an account of your interview." This said, he went from
his daughter's apartment, and left her to undress herself and go
to bed.

Shumse ad Deen Mahummud ordered all his domestics to depart the
hall, excepting two or three, whom he desired to remain. These he
commanded to go and take Buddir ad Deen out of the cage, to strip
him to his under vest and drawers, to conduct him in that
condition to the hall, to leave him there alone, and shut the
door upon him.

Buddir ad Deen, though overwhelmed with grief, was asleep so
soundly, that the vizier's domestics had taken him out of the
chest and stripped him before he awoke; and they carried him so
suddenly into the hall, that they did not give him time to see
where he was. When he found himself alone in the hall, he looked
round him, and the objects he beheld recalling to his memory the
circumstances of his marriage, he perceived, with astonishment,
that it was the place where he had seen the sultan's groom of the
stables. His surprise was still the greater, when approaching
softly the door of a chamber which he found open, he spied his
own raiments where he remembered to have left them on his wedding
night. "My God!" said he, rubbing his eyes, "am I asleep or

The beautiful lady, who in the mean time was diverting herself
with his astonishment, opened the curtains of her bed suddenly,
and bending her head forward, "My dear lord," said she, with a
soft, tender air, "what do you do at the door? You have been out
of bed a long time. I was strangely surprised when I awoke in not
finding you by me." Buddir ad Deen was enraptured; he entered the
room, but reverting to all that had passed during a ten years'
interval, and not being able to persuade himself that it could
all have happened in the compass of one night, he went to the
place where his vestments lay with the purse of sequins; and
after examining them very carefully, exclaimed, "By Allah these
are mysteries which I can by no means comprehend!" The lady, who
was pleased to see his confusion, said, once more, "My lord, what
do you wait for?" He stepped towards the bed, and said to her,
"Is it long since I left you?" "The question," answered she,
"surprises me. Did not you rise from me but now? Surely your mind
is deranged." "Madam," replied Buddir ad Deen, "I do assure you
my thoughts are not very composed. I remember indeed to have been
with you, but I remember at the same time, that I have since
lived ten years at Damascus. Now, if I was actually in bed with
you this night, I cannot have been from you so long. These two
points are inconsistent. Pray tell me what I am to think; whether
my marriage with you is an illusion, or whether my absence from
you is only a dream?" "Yes, my lord," cried she, "doubtless you
were light-headed when you thought you were at Damascus." Upon
this Buddir ad Deen laughed heartily, and said, "What a comical
fancy is this! I assure you, madam, this dream of mine will be
very pleasant to you. Do but imagine, if you please, that I was
at the gate of Damascus in my shirt and drawers, as I am here
now; that I entered the town with the halloo of a mob who
followed and insulted me; that I fled to a pastry cook who
adopted me, taught me his trade, and left me all he had when he
died; that after his death I kept a shop. In fine, I had an
infinity of other adventures, too tedious to recount: and all I
can say is, that it was well that I awoke, for they were going to
impale me!" "And for what," cried the lady, feigning
astonishment, "would they have used you so cruelly? Surely you
must have committed some enormous crime." "Not the least,"
replied Buddir ad Deen; "it was for nothing but a mere trifle,
the most ridiculous thing you can imagine. All the crime I was
charged with, was selling a cream-tart that had no pepper in it."
"As for that matter," said the beautiful lady laughing heartily,
"I must say they did you great injustice." "Ah!" replied he,
"that was not all. For this cursed cream-tart was every thing in
my shop broken to pieces, myself bound and fettered, and flung
into a chest, where I lay so close, that methinks I am there
still, but thanks be to God all was a dream."

Buddir ad Deen was not easy all night. He awoke from time to
time, and put the question to himself, whether he dreamed or was
awake. He distrusted his felicity; and, to be sure whether it was
true or not, looked round the room. "I am not mistaken," said he;
"this is the same chamber where I entered instead of the hunch-
backed groom of the stables; and I am now in bed with the fair
lady designed for him." Day-light, which then appeared, had not
yet dispelled his uneasiness, when the vizier Shumse ad Deen, his
uncle, knocked at the door, and at the same time went in to bid
him good morrow.

Buddir ad Deen was extremely surprised to see a man he knew so
well, and who now appeared with a different air from that with
which he pronounced the terrible sentence of death against him.
"Ah!" cried Buddir ad Deen, "it was you who condemned me so
unjustly to a kind of death, the thoughts of which make me
shudder, and all for a cream-tart without pepper." The vizier
fell a laughing, and to put him out of suspense, told him how, by
the ministry of a genie (for hunch-back's relation made him
suspect the adventure), he had been at his palace, and had
married his daughter instead of the sultan's groom of the
stables; then he acquainted him that he had discovered him to be
his nephew by the memorandum of his father, and pursuant to that
discovery had gone from Cairo to Bussorah in quest of him. "My
dear nephew," added he, embracing him with every expression of
tenderness, "I ask your pardon for all I have made you undergo
since I discovered you. I resolved to bring you to my palace
before I told you your happiness; which ought now to be so much
the dearer to you, as it has cost you so much perplexity and
distress. To atone for all your afflictions, comfort yourself
with the joy of being in the company of those who ought to be
dearest to you. While you are dressing yourself I will go and
acquaint your mother, who is beyond measure impatient to see you;
and will likewise bring to you your son, whom you saw at
Damascus, and for whom, without knowing him, you shewed so much

No words can adequately express the joy of Buddir ad Deen, when
he saw his mother and his son. They embraced, and shewed all the
transports that love and tenderness could inspire. The mother
spoke to Buddir ad Deen in the most moving terms; she mentioned
the grief she had felt for his long absence, and the tears she
had shed. Little Ajib, instead of flying his father's embraces,
as at Damascus, received them with all the marks of pleasure. And
Buddir ad Deen Houssun, divided between two objects so worthy of
his love, thought he could not give sufficient testimonies of his

While this passed, the vizier was gone to the palace, to give the
sultan an account of the happy success of his travels; and the
sultan was so moved with the recital of the story, that he
ordered it to be taken down in writing, and carefully preserved
among the archives of the kingdom. After Shumse ad Deen's return
to his palace, he sat down with his family, and all the household
passed the day in festivity and mirth.

The vizier Jaaffier having thus concluded the story of Buddir ad
Deen, told the caliph that this was what he had to relate to his
majesty. The caliph found the story so surprising, that without
farther hesitation he granted his slave Rihan's pardon; and to
console the young man for the grief of having unhappily deprived
himself of a woman whom he had loved so tenderly, married him to
one of his slaves, bestowed liberal gifts upon him, and
maintained him till he died.


There was formerly at Damascus a merchant, who had by care and
industry acquired great wealth, on which he lived in a very
honourable manner. His name was Abou Ayoub, and he had one son
and a daughter. The son was called Ganem, but afterwards surnamed
Love's slave. His person was graceful, and the excellent
qualities of his mind had been improved by able masters. The
daughter's name was Alcolom, signifying Ravisher of hearts,
because her beauty was so perfect that whoever saw her could not
avoid loving her.

Abou Ayoub died, and left immense riches: a hundred loads of
brocades and other silks that lay in his warehouse were the least
part. The loads were ready made up, and on every bale was written
in large characters, "For Bagdad."

Mahummud, the son of Soliman, surnamed Zinebi, reigned at that
time at Damascus, the capital of Syria. His kinsman, Haroon al
Rusheed, had bestowed that kingdom on him as his tributary.

Soon after the death of Abou Ayoub, Ganem conversed with his
mother about their domestic affairs, and concerning the loads of
merchandize in the warehouse, asked her the meaning of what was
written upon each bale. "My son," answered his mother, "your
father used to travel sometimes into one province, and sometimes
into another; and it was customary with him, before he set out,
to write the name of the city he designed to repair to on every
bade. He had provided all things to take a journey to Bagdad, and
was on the point of setting out, when death"----She had not power
to finish; the lively remembrance of the loss of her husband
would not permit her to say more, and drew from her a shower of

Ganem could not see his mother so sensibly affected, without
being equally so himself. They continued some time silent; but at
length he recovered himself, and as soon as he found his mother
calm enough to listen to him, said, "Since my father designed
these goods for Bagdad, I will prepare myself to perform that
journey; and I think it will be proper for me to hasten my
departure, for fear those commodities should perish, or that we
should lose the opportunity of selling them to the best

Abou Ayoub's widow, who tenderly loved her son, was much
concerned at this resolution, and replied, "My dear child, I
cannot but commend you for designing to follow your father's
example; but consider, that you are too young, inexperienced, and
unaccustomed to the fatigue of travelling. Besides, can you think
of leaving me, and adding to that sorrow with which I am already
oppressed? Is it not better to sell those goods to the merchants
of Damascus, and take up with a moderate profit, than expose
yourself to the danger of perishing?"

It was in vain for her to oppose Ganem's resolution by the
strongest arguments; they had no weight with him. An inclination
to travel, and to accomplish himself by a thorough knowledge of
the world, urged him to set out, and prevailed over all his
mother's remonstrances, her entreaties, and even her tears. He
went to the market where slaves were sold, and bought such as
were able-bodied, hired a hundred camels, and having provided all
other necessaries, entered upon his journey, with five or six
merchants of Damascus, who were going to trade at Bagdad.

Those merchants, attended by their slaves, and accompanied by
several other travellers, made up such a considerable caravan,
that they had nothing to fear from the Bedouin Arabs, who make it
their only profession to range the country; and attack and
plunder the caravans when they are not strong enough to repulse
them. They had no other difficulty to encounter, than the usual
fatigues of a long journey, which were easily forgotten when they
came in sight of the city of Bagdad, where they arrived in

They alighted at the most magnificent and most frequented khan in
the city; but Ganem chose to be lodged conveniently, and by
himself. He only left his goods there in a warehouse for their
greater security, and hired a spacious house in the
neighbourhood, richly furnished, having a garden which was very
delightful, on account of its many waterworks and shady groves.

Some days after this young merchant had been settled in his
house, and perfectly recovered of the fatigue of his journey, he
dressed himself richly, and repaired to the public place, where
the merchants met to transact business. A slave followed him,
carrying a parcel of fine stuffs and silks.

The merchants received Ganem very courteously, and their syndic,
or chief, to whom he first made application, bought all his
parcel, at the price set down in the ticket annexed to every
piece of stuff. Ganem continued his trade so successfully, that
he every day sold all the goods he exposed.

He had but one bale left, which he had caused to be carried from
the warehouse to his own house; he then went to the public
rendezvous, where he found all the shops shut. This seemed
somewhat extraordinary to him and having asked the cause, he was
told, that one of the first merchants, whom he knew, was dead,
and that all his brother traders were gone to his funeral.

Ganem inquired for the mosque, where prayer was to be said, and
whence the body was to be conducted to the grave; and having been
informed, sent back his slave with the goods, and walked towards
the mosque. He got thither before the prayers were ended, which
were said in a hall hung with black satin. The corpse was taken
up, and followed by the kindred, the merchants, and Ganem, to the
place of burial, which was at some distance without the city. It
was a stone structure, in form of a dome, purposely built to
receive the bodies of all the family of the deceased, and being
very small, they had pitched tents around, that all the company
might be sheltered during the ceremony. The monument was opened,
and the corpse laid in it, after which it was shut up. Then the
imam, and other ministers of the mosque, sat down in a ring on
carpets, in the largest tent, and recited the rest of the
prayers. They also read the Fateah, or introductory chapter of
the Koraun, appointed for the burial of the dead. The kindred and
merchants sat round, in the same manner, behind the ministers.

It was near night before all was ended: Ganem who had not
expected such a long ceremony, began to be uneasy, and the more
so, when he saw meat served up, in memory of the deceased,
according to the custom of the Mahummedans. He was also told that
the tents had been set up not only against the heat of the sun,
but also against the evening dew, because they should not return
to the city before the next morning. These words perplexed Ganem.
"I am a stranger," said he to himself, "and have the reputation
of being a rich merchant; thieves may take the opportunity of my
absence, and rob my house. My slaves may be tempted by so
favourable an opportunity; they may run away with all the gold I
have received for my goods, and whither shall I go to look for
them?" Full of these thoughts, he ate a few mouthfuls hastily,
and slipped away from the company.

He made all possible haste; but, as it often happens that the
more a man hurries the less he advances, he went astray in the
dark, so that it was near midnight when he came to the city gate;
which, to add to his misfortune, was shut. This was a fresh
affliction to him, and he was obliged to look for some convenient
place in which to pass the rest of the night till the gate was
opened. He went into a burial-place, so spacious, that it reached
from the city to the very place he had left. He advanced to some
high walls, which enclosed a small field, being the mausoleum of
a family, and in which there was a palm-tree. Ganem, finding that
the burial-place where the palm-tree grew was open, went into it,
and shut the door after him. He lay down on the grass and tried
to sleep; but his uneasiness at being absent from home would not
permit him. He got up, and after having passed before the door
several times, opened it, without knowing why, and immediately
perceived at a distance a light, which seemed to come towards
him. He was startled at the sight, closed the door, which had
nothing to secure it but a latch, and got up as fast as he could
to the top of the palm-tree; looking upon that as the safest
retreat under his present apprehensions.

No sooner was he up, than by the help of the light which had
alarmed him, he plainly perceived three men, whom, by their
habit, he knew to be slaves, enter into the burial-place. One of
them advanced with a lantern, and the two others followed him,
loaded with a chest, between five and six feet long, which they
carried on their shoulders. They set it down, and then one of the
three slaves said to his comrades, "Brethren, if you will be
advised by me, we will leave the chest here, and return to the
city." "No, no," replied another, "that would not be executing
our mistress's orders; we may have cause to repent not doing as
we were commanded. Let us bury the chest, since we are enjoined
so to do." The two other slaves complied. They began to break
ground with the tools they had brought for that purpose. When
they had made a deep trench, they put the chest into it, and
covered it with the earth they had taken out, and then departed.

Ganem, who from the top of the palm-tree had heard every word the
slaves had spoken, could not tell what to think of the adventure.
He concluded that the chest must contain something of value, and
that the person to whom it belonged had some particular reasons
for causing it to be buried in the cemetery. He resolved
immediately to satisfy his curiosity, came down from the palm-
tree, the departure of the slaves having dissipated his fear, and
fell to work upon the pit, plying his hands and feet so well,
that in a short time he uncovered the chest, but found it secured
by a padlock. This new obstacle to the satisfying of his
curiosity was no small mortification to him, yet he was not
discouraged, but the day beginning then to appear, he saw several
great stones about the burial-place. He picked out one, with
which he easily knocked off the padlock, and then with much
impatience opened the chest. Ganem was strangely surprised, when,
instead of money, he discovered a young lady of incomparable
beauty. Her fresh and rosy complexion, and her gentle regular
breathing, satisfied him she was alive, but he could not conceive
why, if she were only asleep, she had not awaked at the noise he
made in forcing off the padlock. Her habit was so costly, with
bracelets and pendants of diamonds, and a necklace of pearls, so
large, that he made not the least doubt of her being one of the
principal ladies of the court. At the sight of so beautiful an
object, not only compassion and natural inclination to relieve
persons in danger, but something more powerful, which Ganem could
not then account for, prevailed on him to afford the unfortunate
beauty all the assistance in his power.

He first shut the gate of the burial-place, which the slaves had
left open; then, returning, took the lady in his arms, and laid
her on the soft earth which he had thrown off the chest. As soon
as she was exposed to the air, she sneezed, and, by the motion in
turning her head, there came from her mouth a liquor, with which
her stomach seemed to have been loaded; then opening and rubbing
her eyes, she with such a voice as charmed Ganem, whom she did
not see, cried out, "Zohorob Bostan, Shijher al Mirjaun, Casabos
Souccar, Nouron Nihar, Nagmatos Sohi, Nonzbetos Zaman, why do you
not answer? where are you?" These were the names of six female
slaves that used to wait on her. She called them, and wondered
that nobody answered; but at length looking about, and perceiving
she was in a burial-place, was seized with fear. "What," cried
she, much louder than before, "are the dead raised? Is the day of
judgment come? What a wonderful change is this from evening to

Ganem did not think fit to leave the lady any longer in her
perplexity, but presented himself before her with all possible
respect, and in the most courteous manner. "Madam," said he, "I
am not able to express my joy at having happened to be here to do
you the service I have, and to offer you all the assistance you
may need under your present circumstances."

In order to persuade the lady to repose confidence in him, he, in
the first place, told her who he was, and what accident had
brought him to that place. Next he acquainted her with the coming
of the three slaves, and how they had buried the chest. The lady,
who had covered her face with her veil as soon as Ganem appeared,
was extremely sensible of the obligations she owed him. "I return
thanks to God," said she "for having sent so worthy a person as
you are to deliver me from death; but since you have begun so
charitable a work, I conjure you not to leave it imperfect. Let
me beg of you to go into the city, and provide a muleteer, to
come with his mule, and carry me to your house in this chest;
for, should I go with you on foot, my dress being different from
that of the city ladies, some one might take notice of it, and
follow me, which it highly concerns me to prevent. When I shall
be in your house, I will give you an account of myself; and in
the mean time be assured that you have not obliged an ungrateful

Before the young merchant left the lady, he drew the chest out of
the pit, which he filled up with earth, laid her again in the
chest, and shut it in such a manner, that it did not look as if
the padlock had been forced off; but for fear of stifling her, he
did not put it quite close, leaving room for the admittance of
air. Going out of the burial-place, he drew the door after him;
and the city gate being then open, soon found what he sought. He
returned with speed to the burial place, and helped the muleteer
to lay the chest across his mule, telling him, to remove all
cause of suspicion, that he came to that place the night before,
with another muleteer, who, being in haste to return home, had
laid down the chest where he saw it.

Ganem, who, since his arrival at Bagdad, had minded nothing but
his business, was still unacquainted with the power of love, and
now felt its first attacks. It had not been in his power to look
upon the young lady without being dazzled; and the uneasiness he
felt at following the muleteer at a distance, and the fear lest
any accident might happen by the way that should deprive him of
his conquest, taught him to unravel his thoughts. He was more
than usually delighted, when, being arrived safe at home, he saw
the chest unloaded. He dismissed the muleteer, and having caused
a slave to shut the door of his house, opened the chest, helped
the lady out, gave her his hand, and conducted her to his
apartment, lamenting how much she must have endured in such close
confinement. "If I have suffered," said she, "I have satisfaction
sufficient in what you have done for me, and in the pleasure of
seeing myself out of danger."

Though Ganem's apartment was very richly furnished, the lady did
not so much regard its appearance, as she did the handsome
presence and engaging mien of her deliverer, whose politeness and
obliging behaviour heightened her gratitude. She sat down on a
sofa, and to give the merchant to understand how sensible she was
of the service done her, took off her veil. Ganem on his part was
sensible of the favour so lovely a lady did in uncovering her
face to him, or rather felt he had already a most violent passion
for her. Whatever obligations she owed him, he thought himself
more than requited by so singular a favour.

The lady dived into Ganem's thoughts, yet was not at all alarmed,
because he appeared very respectful. He, judging she might have
occasion to eat, and not willing to trust any but himself with
the care of entertaining so charming a guest, went out with a
slave to an eating-house, to give directions for an
entertainment. From thence he went to a fruiterer, where he chose
the finest and best fruit; buying also the choicest wine, and the
same bread that was eaten at the caliph's table.

As soon as he returned home, he with his own hands made a pyramid
of the fruit he had bought, and serving it up himself to the lady
in a large dish, of the finest china-ware, "Madam," said he, "be
pleased to make choice of some of this fruit, while a more solid
entertainment, and more worthy yourself, is preparing." He would
have continued standing before her, but she declared she would
not touch any thing, unless he sat down and ate with her. He
obeyed; and when they had eaten a little, Ganem observing that
the lady's veil, which she laid down by her on a sofa, was
embroidered along the edge with golden letters, begged her
permission to look on the embroidery. The lady immediately took
up the veil, and delivered it to him, asking him whether he could
read? "Madam," replied he, with a modest air, "a merchant would
be ill-qualified to manage his business if he could not at least
read and write." "Well, then," said she, "read the words which
are embroidered on that veil, which gives me an opportunity of
telling you my story."

Ganem took the veil, and read these words, "I am yours, and you
are mine, thou descendant from the prophet's uncle." That
descendant from the prophet's uncle was the caliph Haroon al
Rusheed, who then reigned, and was descended from Abbas,
Mahummud's uncle.

When Ganem perceived these words, "Alas! madam," said he, in a
melancholy tone, "I have just saved your life, and this writing
is my death! I do not comprehend all the mystery; but it
convinces me I am the most unfortunate of men. Pardon, madam, the
liberty I take, but it was impossible for me to see you without
giving you my heart. You are not ignorant yourself, that it was
not in my power to refuse it you, and that makes my presumption
excusable. I proposed to myself to touch your heart by my
respectful behaviour, my care, my assiduity, my submission, my
constancy; and no sooner have I formed the flattering design,
than I am robbed of all my hopes. I cannot long survive so great
a misfortune. But, be that as it will, I shall have the
satisfaction of dying entirely yours. Proceed, madam, I conjure
you, and give me full information of my unhappy fate."

He could not utter those words without letting fall some tears.
The lady was moved; but was so far from being displeased at the
declaration he made, that she felt secret joy; for her heart
began to yield. However, she concealed her feelings, and as if
she had not regarded what Ganem had said. "I should have been
very cautious," answered she, "of strewing you my veil, had I
thought it would have given you so much uneasiness; but I do not
perceive that what I have to say to you can make your condition
so deplorable as you imagine."

"You must understand," proceeded she, "in order to acquaint you
with my story, that my name is Fetnah (which signifies
disturbance), which was given me at my birth, because it was
judged that the sight of me would one day occasion many
calamities. Of this you cannot be ignorant, since there is nobody
in Bagdad but knows that the caliph, my sovereign lord and yours,
has a favourite so called.

"I was carried into his palace in my tenderest years, and I have
been brought up with all the care that is usually taken with such
persons of my sex as are destined to reside there. I made no
little progress in all they took the pains to teach me; and that,
with some share of beauty, gained me the affection of the caliph,
who allotted me a particular apartment adjoining to his own. That
prince was not satisfied with such a mark of distinction; he
appointed twenty women to wait on me, and as many eunuchs; and
ever since he has made me such considerable presents, that I saw
myself richer than any queen in the world. You may judge by what
I have said, that Zobeide, the caliph's wife and kinswoman, could
not but be jealous of my happiness. Though Haroon has all the
regard imaginable for her, she has taken every possible
opportunity to ruin me.

"Hitherto I had secured myself against all her snares, but at
length I fell under the last effort of her jealousy; and, had it
not been for you, must now have been exposed to inevitable death.
I question not but she had corrupted one of my slaves, who last
night, in some lemonade, gave me a drug, which causes such a dead
sleep, that it is easy to dispose of those who have taken it; for
that sleep is so profound, that nothing can dispel it for the
space of seven or eight hours. I have the more reason to judge
so, because naturally I am a very bad sleeper, and apt to wake at
the least noise.

"Zobeide, the better to put her design in execution, has availed
herself of the absence of the caliph, who went lately to put
himself at the head of his troops, to chastise some neighbouring
kings, who have formed a league of rebellion. Were it not for
this opportunity, my rival, outrageous as she is, durst not have
presumed to attempt any thing against my life. I know not what
she will do to conceal this action from the caliph, but you see
it highly concerns me that you should keep my secret. My life
depends on it. I shall be safe in your house as long as the
caliph is from Bagdad. It concerns you to keep my adventure
private; for should Zobeide know the obligation I owe you, she
would punish you for having saved me.

"When the caliph returns, I shall not need to be so much upon my
guard. I shall find means to acquaint him with all that has
happened, and I am fully persuaded he will be more earnest than
myself to requite a service which restores me to his love."

As soon as Haroon al Rusheed's beautiful favourite had done
speaking, Ganem said, "Madam, I return you a thousand thanks for
having given me the information I took the liberty to desire of
you; and I beg of you to believe, that you are here in safety;
the sentiments you have inspired are a pledge of my secrecy.

"As for my slaves, they may perhaps fail of the fidelity they owe
me, should they know by what accident and in what place I had the
happiness to find you. I dare assure you, however, that they will
not have the curiosity to inquire. It is so natural for young men
to purchase beautiful slaves, that it will be no way surprising
to them to see you here, believing you to be one, and that I have
bought you. They will also conclude that I have some particular
reasons for bringing you home as they saw I did. Set your heart,
therefore, at rest, as to that point, and remain satisfied that
you shall be served with all the respect that is due to the
favourite of so great a monarch as our sovereign the caliph. But
great as he is, give me leave, madam, to declare, that nothing
can make me recall the present I have made you of my heart. I
know, and shall never forget, ‘that what belongs to the master is
forbidden to the slave;' but I loved you before you told me that
you were engaged to the caliph; it is not in my power to overcome
a passion which, though now in its infancy, has all the force of
a love strengthened by a perfect of situation. I wish your august
and most fortunate lover may avenge you of the malice of Zobeide,
by calling you back to him; and when you shall be restored to his
wishes, that you may remember the unfortunate Ganem, who is no
less your conquest than the caliph. Powerful as that prince is, I
flatter myself he will not be able to blot me out of your
remembrance. He cannot love you more passionately than I do; and
I shall never cease to love you into whatever part of the world I
may go to expire, after having lost you."

Fetnah perceived that Ganem was under the greatest of
afflictions, and his situation affected her; but considering the
uneasiness she was likely to bring upon herself, by prosecuting
the conversation on that subject, which might insensibly lead her
to discover the inclination she felt for him; "I perceive," said
she, "that this conversetion gives you too much uneasiness; let
us change the subject, and talk of the infinite obligation I owe
you. I can never sufficiently express my gratitude, when I
reflect that, without your assistance, I should never again have
beheld the light of the sun."

It was happy for them both, that somebody just then knocked at
the door; Ganem went to see who it was, and found it to be one of
his slaves come to acquaint him that the entertainment was ready.
Ganem, who, by way of precaution, would have none of his slaves
come into the room where Fetnah was, took what was brought, and
served it up himself to his beautiful guest, whose soul was
ravished to behold what attention he paid her.

When they had eaten, Ganem took away, as he had covered the
table; and having delivered all things at the door of the
apartment to his slaves, "Madam," said he to Fetnah, "you may now
perhaps desire to take some rest; I will leave you, and when you
have reposed yourself, you shall find me ready to receive your

Having thus spoken, he left her, and went to purchase two women-
slaves. He also bought two parcels, one of fine linen, and the
other of all such things as were proper to make up a toilet fit
for the caliph's favourite. Having conducted home the two women-
slaves, he presented them to Fetnah, saying, "Madam, a person of
your quality cannot be without two waiting-maids, at least, to
serve you; be pleased to accept of these."

Fetnah, admiring Ganem's attention, said, "My lord, I perceive
you are not one that will do things by halves: you add by your
courtesy to the obligations I owe you already; but I hope I shall
not die ungrateful, and that heaven will soon place me in a
condition to requite all your acts of generosity."

When the women-slaves were withdrawn into a chamber adjoining, he
sat down on the sofa, but at some distance from Fetnah, in token
of respect. He then began to discourse of his passion. "I dare
not so much as hope," said he, "to excite the least sensibility
in a heart like yours, destined for the greatest prince in the
world. Alas! it would be a comfort to me in my misfortune, if I
could but flatter myself, that you have not looked upon the
excess of my love with indifference." "My lord," answered Fetnah
"Alas! madam," said Ganem, interrupting her at the word lord,
"this is the second time you have done me the honour to call me
lord; the presence of the women-slaves hindered me the first time
from taking notice of it to you: in the name of God, madam, do
not give me this title of honour; it does not belong to me; treat
me, I beseech you, as your slave: I am, and shall never cease to
be so."

"No, no," replied Fetnah, interrupting him in her turn, "I shall
be cautious how I treat with such disrespect a man to whom I owe
my life. I should be ungrateful, could I say or do any thing that
did not become you. Leave me, therefore, to follow the dictates
of my gratitude, and do not require of me, that I should
misbehave myself towards you, in return for the benefits I have
received. I shall never be guilty of such conduct; I am too
sensible of your respectful behaviour to abuse it; and I will not
hesitate to own, that I do not regard your care with
indifference. You know the reasons that condemn me to silence."

Ganem was enraptured at this declaration; he wept for joy, and
not being able to find expressions significant enough, in his own
opinion, to return Fetnah thanks, was satisfied with telling her,
that as she knew what she owed to the caliph, he, on his part,
was not ignorant "that what belongs to the master is forbidden to
the slave."

Night drawing on, he rose up to fetch a light, which he brought
in himself, as also a collation.

They both sat down at table, and at first complimented each other
on the fruit as they presented it reciprocally. The excellence of
the wine insensibly drew them both to drink; and having drunk two
or three glasses, they agreed that neither should take another
glass without first singing some air. Ganem sung verses ex
tempore, expressive of the vehemence of his passion; and Fetnah,
encouraged by his example, composed and sung verses relating to
her adventure, and always containing something which Ganem might
take in a sense favourable to himself; except in this, she most
exactly observed the fidelity due to the caliph. The collation
continued till very late, and the night was far advanced before
they thought of parting. Ganem then withdrew to another
apartment, leaving Fetnah where she was, the women slaves he had
bought coming in to wait upon her.

They lived together in this manner for several days. The young
merchant went not abroad, unless upon of the utmost consequence,
and even for that took the time when the lady was reposing; for
he could not prevail upon himself to lose a moment that might be
spent in her company. All his thoughts were taken up with his
dear Fetnah, who, on her side, gave way to her inclination,
confessed she had no less affection for him than he had for her.
However, fond as they were of each other, their respect for the
caliph kept them within due bounds, which still heightened their

Whilst Fetnah, thus snatched from the jaws of death, passed her
time so agreeably with Ganem, Zobeide was not without some
apprehensions in the palace of Haroon al Rusheed.

No sooner had the three slaves, entrusted with the execution of
her revenge, carried away the chest, without knowing what it
contained, or so much as the least curiosity to inquire (being
used to pay a blind obedience to her commands), than she was
seized with a tormenting uneasiness; a thousand perplexing
thoughts disturbed her rest; sleep fled from her eyes, and she
spent the night in contriving how to conceal her crime. "My
consort," said she, "loves Fetnah more than ever he did any of
his favourites. What shall I say to him at his return, when he
inquires of me after her?" Many contrivances occurred to her, but
none were satisfactory. Still she met with difficulties, and knew
not where to fix. There lived with her a lady advanced in years,
who had bred her up from her infancy. As soon as it was day, she
sent for her, and having entrusted her with the secret, said, "My
good mother, you have always assisted me with your advice; if
ever I stood in need of it, it is now, when the business before
you is to still my thoughts, distracted by a mortal anxiety, and
to show me some way to satisfy the caliph."

"My dear mistress," replied the old lady, "it had been much
better not to have run yourself into the difficulties you labour
under; but since the thing is done, the best consolation is to
think no more of it. All that must now be thought of, is how to
deceive the commander of the believers; and I am of opinion, that
you should immediately cause a wooden image resembling a dead
body to be carved. We will shroud it up in linen, and when shut
up in a coffin, it shall be buried in some part of the palace;
you shall then immediately cause a marble mausoleum to be built,
in the form of a dome, over the burial place, and erect a tomb,
which shall be covered with embroidered cloth, and set about with
great candlesticks and large wax tapers. There is another thing,"
added the old lady, "which ought not to be forgotten; you must
put on mourning, and cause the same to be done by your own and
Fetnah's women, your eunuchs, and all the officers of the palace.
When the caliph returns, and sees you all and the palace in
mourning, he will not fail to ask the occasion of it. You will
then have an opportunity of insinuating yourself into his favour,
by saying, it was out of respect to him that you paid the last
honours to Fetnah, snatched away by sudden death. You may tell
him, you have caused a mausoleum to be built, and, in short, that
you have paid all the last honours to his favourite, as he would
have done himself had he been present. His passion for her being
extraordinary, he will certainly go to shed tears upon her grave;
and perhaps," added the old woman, ‘`he will not believe she is
really dead. He may, possibly, suspect you have turned her out of
the palace through jealousy, and look upon all the mourning as an
artifice to deceive him, and prevent his making inquiries after
her. It is likely he will cause the coffin to be taken up and
opened, and it is certain he will be convinced of her death, as
soon as he shall see the figure of a dead body buried. He will be
pleased with all you shall have done, and express his gratitude.
As for the wooden image, I will myself undertake to have it cut
by a carver in the city, who shall not know the purpose for which
it is designed. As for your part, madam, order Fetnah's woman,
who yesterday gave her the lemonade, to give out, among her
companions, that she has just found her mistress dead in her bed;
and in order that they may only think of lamenting, without
offering to go into her chamber, let her add, she has already
acquainted you with the circumstance, and that you have ordered
Mesrour to cause her to be buried."

As soon as the old lady had spoken, Zobeide took a rich diamond
ring out of her casket, and putting it on her finger, and
embracing her in a transport of joy, said, "How infinitely am I
beholden to you, my good mother! I should never have thought of
so ingenious a contrivance. It cannot fail of success, and I
begin to recover my peace. I leave the care of the wooden figure
to you, and will go myself to order the rest."

The wooden image was got ready with as much expedition as Zobeide
could have wished, and then conveyed by the old lady herself into
Fetnah's bed-chamber, where she dressed it like a dead body, and
put it into a coffin. Then Mesrour, who was himself deceived by
it, caused the coffin and the representation of Fetnah to be
carried away, and buried with the usual ceremonies in the place
appointed by Zobeide, the favourite's women weeping and
lamenting, she who had given her the lemonade setting them an
example by her cries and lamentations.

That very day Zobeide sent for the architect of the palace, and,
according to orders, the mausoleum was finished in a short time.
Such potent princesses as the consort of a monarch, whose power
extended from east to west, are always punctually obeyed in
whatsoever they command. She soon put on mourning with all the
court; so that the news of Fetnah's death was quickly spread over
the city.

Ganem was one of the last who heard of it; for, as I have before
observed, he hardly ever went abroad. Being, however, at length
informed of it, "Madam," said he to the caliph's fair favourite,
"you are supposed in Bagdad to be dead, and I do not question but
that Zobeide herself believes it. I bless heaven that I am the
cause, and the happy witness of your being alive; would to God,
that, taking advantage of this false report, you would share my
fortune, and go far from hence to reign in my heart! But whither
does this pleasing transport carry me? I do not consider that you
are born to make the greatest prince in the world happy; and that
only Haroon al Rusheed is worthy of you. Supposing you could
resolve to give him up for me, and that you would follow me,
ought I to consent? No, it is my part always to remember, ‘that
what belongs to the master is forbidden to the slave.'"

The lovely Fetnah, though moved by the tenderness of the passion
he expressed, yet prevailed with herself not to encourage it. "My
lord," said she to him, "we cannot obstruct the momentary triumph
of Zobeide. I am not surprised at the artifice she uses to
conceal her guilt: but let her go on; I flatter myself that
sorrow will soon follow her triumph. The caliph will return, and
we shall find the means privately to inform him of all that has
happened. In the mean time let us be more cautious than ever,
that she may not know I am alive. I have already told you the
consequences to be apprehended from such a discovery."

At the end of three months the caliph returned to Bagdad with
glory, having vanquished all his enemies. He entered the palace
with impatience to embrace Fetnah; but was amazed to see all the
officers in mourning; and his concern was redoubled when,
approaching the apartment of Zobeide, he beheld that princess
coming to meet him in mourning with all her women. He immediately
asked her the cause, with much agitation. "Commander of the
believers," answered Zobeide, "I am in mourning for your slave
Fetnah; who died so suddenly that it was impossible to apply any
remedy to her disorder." She would have proceeded, but the caliph
did not give her time, being so agitated at the news, that he
uttered a feeble exclamation, and fainted. On recovering himself,
he, with a feeble voice, which sufficiently expressed his extreme
grief, asked where his dear Fetnah had been buried. "Sir," said
Zobeide, "I myself took care of her funeral, and spared no cost
to make it magnificent. I have caused a marble mausoleum to be
built over her grave, and will attend you thither if you desire."

The caliph would not permit Zobeide to take that trouble, but
contented himself to have Mesrour to conduct him. He went thither
just as he was, in his camp dress. When he saw the tomb, the wax-
lights round it, and the magnificence of the mausoleum, he was
amazed that Zobeide should have performed the obsequies of her
rival with so much pomp; and being naturally of a jealous temper,
suspected his wife's generosity and fancied his mistress might
perhaps be yet alive; that Zobeide, taking advantage of his long
absence, might have turned her out of the palace, ordering those
she had entrusted to conduct her, to convey her so far off that
she might never more be heard of. This was all he suspected; for
he did not think Zobeide wicked enough to have attempted the life
of his favourite.

The better to discover the truth himself, he ordered the tomb to
be removed, and caused the grave and the coffin to be opened in
his presence; but when he saw the linen wrapped round the wooden
image, he durst not proceed any farther. This devout caliph
thought it would be a sacrilegious act to suffer the body of the
dead lady to be touched; and this scrupulous fear prevailed over
his love and curiosity. He doubted not of Fetnah's death. He
caused the coffin to be shut up again, the grave to be filled,
and the tomb to be made as it was before.

The caliph thinking himself obliged to pay some respect to the
grave of his favourite, sent for the ministers of religion, the
officers of the palace, and the readers of the Koraun; and,
whilst they were collecting together, he remained in the
mausoleum, moistening with his tears the marble that covered the
phantom of his mistress. When all the persons he had sent for
were come, he stood before the tomb, and recited long prayers;
after which the readers of the Koraun read several, chapters.

The same ceremony was performed every day for a whole month,
morning and evening, the caliph being always present, with the
grand vizier, and the principal officers of the court, all of
them in mourning, as well as the caliph himself, who all the time
ceased not to honour the memory of Fetnah with his tears, and
would not hear of any business.

The last day of the month, the prayers and reading of the Koraun
lasted from morning till break of day the next morning. The
caliph, being tired with sitting up so long, went to take some
rest in his apartment, and fell asleep upon a sofa, between two
of the court ladies, one of them sitting at the bed's-head, and
the other at the feet, who, whilst he slept, were working some
embroidery, and observed a profound silence.

She who sat at the bed's-head, and whose name was Nouron-Nihar,
perceiving the caliph was asleep, whispered to the other, called
Nagmatos Sohi,"There is great news! The commander of the
believers our master will be overjoyed when he awakes, and hears
what I have to tell him; Fetnah is not dead, she is in perfect
health." "O heavens!" cried Nagmatos Sohi, in a transport of joy,
"is it possible, that the beautiful, the charming, the
incomparable Fetnah should be still among the living?" She
uttered these words with so much vivacity, and so loud, that the
caliph awoke. He asked why they had disturbed his rest? "Alas! my
sovereign lord," answered the slave, "pardon me this
indiscretion; I could not without transport hear that Fetnah is
still alive; it caused such emotion in me, as I could not
suppress." "What then is become of her," demanded the caliph, "if
she is not dead?" "Chief of the believers," replied the other, "I
this evening received a note from a person unknown, written with
Fetnah's own hand; she gives me an account of her melancholy
adventure, and orders me to acquaint you with it. I thought fit,
before I fulfilled my commission, to let you take some few
moments' rest, believing you must stand in need of it, after your
fatigue; and----"

"Give me that note," said the caliph, interrupting her eagerly,
"you were wrong to defer delivering it to me."

The slave immediately presented to him the note, which he opened
with much impatience, and in it Fetnah gave a particular account
of all that had befallen her, but enlarged a little too much on
the attentions of Ganem. The caliph, who was naturally jealous,
instead of being provoked at the inhumanity of Zobeide, was more
concerned at the infidelity he fancied Fetnah had been guilty of
towards him. "Is it so?" said he, after reading the note; "the
perfidious wretch has been four months with a young merchant, and
has the effrontery to boast of his attention to her. Thirty days
are past since my return to Bagdad, and she now thinks of sending
me news of herself. Ungrateful creature! whilst I spend the days
in bewailing her, she passes them in betraying me. Go to, let us
take vengeance of a bold woman, and that bold youth who affronts
me." Having spoken these words, the caliph rose, and went into a
hall where he used to appear in public, and give audience to his
court. The first gate was opened, and immediately all the
courtiers, who were waiting without, entered. The grand vizier,
came in, and prostrated himself before the throne. Then rising,
he stood before his master, who, in a tone which denoted he would
be instantly obeyed, said to him, "Jaaffier, your presence is
requisite, for putting in execution an important affair I am
about to commit to you. Take four hundred men of my guards with
you, and first inquire where a merchant of Damascus lives whose
name is Ganem, the son of Abou Ayoub. When you have learnt this,
repair to his house, and cause it to be razed to the foundations;
but first secure Ganem, and bring him hither, with my slave
Fetnah, who has lived with him these four months. I will punish
her, and make an example of that insolent man, who has presumed
to fail in respell to me."

The grand vizier, having received this positive command, made a
low prostration to the caliph, having his hand on his head, in
token that he would rather lose it than disobey him, and
departed. The first thing he did, was to send to the syndic of
the dealers in foreign stuffs and silks, with strict orders to
find out the house of the unfortunate merchant. The officer he
sent with these orders brought him back word, that he had
scarcely been seen for some months, and no man knew what could
keep him at home, if he was there. The same officer likewise told
Jaaffier where Ganem lived.

Upon this information, that minister, without losing time, went
to the judge of the police, whom he caused to bear him company,
and attended by a great number of carpenters and masons, with the
necessary tools for razing a house, came to Ganem's residence;
and finding it stood detached

from any other, he posted his soldiers round it, to prevent the
young merchant's making his escape.

Fetnah and Ganem had just dined: the lady was sitting at a window
next the street; hearing a noise, she looked out through the
lattice, and seeing the grand vizier, approach with his
attendants, concluded she was their object as well as Ganem. She
perceived her note had been received, but had not expected such a
consequence, having hoped that the caliph would have taken the
matter in a different light. She knew not how long the prince had
been returned from his campaign, and though she was acquainted
with his jealous temper, yet apprehended nothing on that account.
However, the sight of the grand vizier, and the soldiers made her
tremble, not indeed for herself, but for Ganem: she did not
question clearing herself, provided the caliph would but hear
her. As for Ganem, whom she loved less out of gratitude than
inclination, she plainly foresaw that his incensed rival might be
apt to condemn him, on account of his youth and person. Full of
this thought, she turned to the young merchant and said, "Alas!
Ganem, we are undone." Ganem looked through the lattice, and was
seized with dread, when he beheld the caliph's guards with their
naked cimeters, and the grand vizier, with the civil magistrate
at the head of them. At this sight he stood motionless, and had
not power to utter one word. "Ganem," said the favourite, "there
is no time to be lost; if you love me, put on the habit of one of
your slaves immediately, and disfigure your face and arms with
soot. Then put some of these dishes on your head; you may be
taken for a servant belonging to the eating house, and they will
let you pass. If they happen to ask you where the master of the
house is, answer, without any hesitation, that he is within."
"Alas! madam," answered Harem, concerned for himself than for
Fetnah, "you only take care of me, what will become of you?" "Let
not that trouble you," replied Fetnah, "it is my part to look to
that. As for what you leave in this house, I will take care of
it, and I hope it will be one day faithfully restored to you,
when the caliph's anger shall be over; but at present avoid his
fury. The orders he gives in the heat of passion are always
fatal." The young merchant's affliction was so great, that he
knew not what course to pursue, and would certainly have suffered
himself to be seized by the caliph's soldiers, had not Fetnah
pressed him to disguise himself. He submitted to her persuasions,
put on the habit of a slave, daubed himself with soot, and as
they were knocking at the door, all they could do was to embrace
each other tenderly. They were both so overwhelmed with sorrow,
that they could not utter a word. Thus they parted. Ganem went
out with some dishes on his head: he was taken for the servant of
an eating-house, and no one offered to stop him. On the contrary,
the grand vizier, who was the first that met him, gave way and
let him pass, little thinking that he was the man he looked for.
Those who were behind the grand vizier, made way as he had done,
and thus favoured his escape He soon reached one of the gates,
and got clear of the city.

Whilst he was making the best of his way from the grand vizier,
that minister came into the room where Fetnah was sitting on a
sofa, and where there were many chests full of Ganem's clothes,
and of the money he had made of his goods.

As soon as Fetnah saw the grand vizier, come into the room, she
fell upon her face, and continuing in that posture, as it were to
receive her death; "My lord," said she, "I am ready to undergo
the sentence passed against me by the commander of the believers;
you need only make it known to me." "Madam," answered Jaaffier,
falling also down till she had raised herself, "God forbid any
man should presume to lay profane hands on you. I do not intend
to offer you the least harm. I have no farther orders, than to
intreat you will be pleased to go with me to the palace, and to
conduct you thither, with the merchant that lives in this house."
"My lord," replied the favourite, "let us go; I am ready to
follow you. As for the young merchant, to whom I am indebted for
my life, he is not here, he has been gone about a month since to
Damascus, whither his business called him, and has left these
chests you see under my care, till he returns. I conjure you to
cause them to be carried to the palace, and order them to be
secured, that I may perform the promise I made him to take all
possible care of them."

"You shall be obeyed," said Jaaffier, and immediately sent for
porters, whom he commanded to take up the chests, and carry them
to Mesrour.

As soon as the porters were gone, he whispered the civil
magistrate, committing to him the care of seeing the house razed,
but first to cause diligent search to be made for Ganem, who, he
suspected, might be hidden, notwithstanding what Fetnah had told
him. He then went out, taking her with him, attended by the two
slaves who waited on her. As for Ganem's slaves, they were not
regarded; they ran in among the crowd, and it was not known what
became of them.

No sooner was Jaaffier out of the house, than the masons and
carpenters began to demolish it, and did their business so
effectually, that in a few hours none of it remained. But the
civil magistrate, not finding Ganem, after the strictest search,
sent to acquaint the grand vizier, before that minister reached
the palace. "Well," said Haroon al Rusheed, seeing him come into
his closet, "have you executed my orders?" "Yes," answered
Jaaffier "the house Ganem lived in is levelled with the ground,
and I have brought you your favourite Fetnah; she is at your
closet door, and I will call her in, if you command me. As for
the young merchant, we could not find him, though every place has
been searched, and Fetnah affirms that he has been gone a month
to Damascus."

Never was passion equal to that of the caliph, when he heard that
Ganem had made his escape. As for his favourite, believing that
she had been false to him, he would neither see nor speak to her.
"Mesrour," said he to the chief of the eunuchs, who was then
present, "take the ungrateful and perfidious Fetnah, and shut her
up in the dark tower." That tower was within the precinct of the
palace, and commonly served as a prison for the favourites who
any way offended the caliph.

Mesrour being used to execute his sovereign's orders, however
unjust, without making any answer, obeyed this with some
reluctance. He signified his concern to Fetnah, who was the more
grieved because she had assured herself, that the caliph would
not refuse to speak to her. She was obliged to submit to her hard
fate, and to follow Mesrour, who conducted her to the dark tower,
and there left her.

In the mean time, the enraged caliph dismissed his grand vizier,
and only hearkening to his passion, wrote the following letter
with his own hand to the king of Syria, his cousin and tributary,
who resided at Damascus.

"This letter is to inform you, that a merchant of Damascus, whose
name is Ganem, the son of Abou Ayoub, has seduced the most
amiable of my women slaves, called Fetnah, and is fled. It is my
will, that when you have read my letter, you cause search to be
made for Ganem, and secure him. When he is in your power, you
shall cause him to be loaded with irons, and for three days
successively let him receive fifty strokes of the bastinado. Then
let him be led through all parts of the city by a crier,
proclaiming, ‘This is the smallest punishment the commander of
the believers inflicts on him that offends his lord, and
debauches one of his slaves.' After that you shall send him to me
under a strong guard. It is my will that you cause his house to
be plundered; and after it has been razed, order the materials to
be carried out of the city into the middle of the plain. Besides
this, if he has father, mother, sister, wives, daughters, or
other kindred, cause them to be stripped; and when they are
naked, expose them three days to the whole city, forbidding any
person on pain of death to afford them shelter. I expect you will
without delay execute my command."

The caliph having written this letter, dispatched it by an
express, ordering him to make all possible speed, and to take
pigeons along with him, that he might the sooner hear what had
been done by Mahummud Zinebi.

The pigeons of Bagdad have this peculiar quality, that from
wherever they may be carried to, they return to Bagdad as soon as
they are set at liberty, especially when they have young ones. A
letter rolled up is made fast under their wing, and by that means
advice is speedily received from such places as it is desired.

The caliph's courier travelled night and day, as his master's
impatience required; and being come to Damascus, went directly to
king Zinebi's palace, who sat upon his throne to receive the
caliph's letter. The courier having delivered it, Mahummud
looking at it, and knowing the hand, stood up to shew his
respect, kissed the letter, and laid it on his head, to denote he
was ready submissively to obey the orders it contained. He opened
it, and having read it, immediately descended from his throne,
and without losing time, mounted on horseback with the principal
officers of his household. He sent for the civil magistrate; and
went directly to Ganem's house, attended by all his guards.

Ganem's mother had never received any letter from him since he
had left Damascus; but the other merchants with whom he went to
Bagdad were returned, and all of them told her they had left her
son in perfect however, seeing he did not return, she could not
but be persuaded that he was dead, and was so fully convinced of
this in her imagination, that she went into mourning. She
bewailed Ganem as if she had seen him die, and had herself closed
his eyes: never mother expressed greater sorrow; and so far was
she from seeking any comfort, that she delighted in indulging her
grief. She had caused a dome to be built in the middle of the
court belonging to her house, in which she placed a tomb. She
spent the greatest part of the days and nights in weeping under
that dome, as if her son had been buried there: her daughter bore
her company, and mixed her tears with hers.

It was now some time since they had thus devoted themselves to
sorrow, and the neighbourhood, hearing their cries and
lamentations, pitied such tender relations, when king Mahummud
Zinebi knocked at the door, which being opened by a slave
belonging to the family, he hastily entered the house, inquiring
for Ganem, the son of Abou Ayoub.

Though the slave had never seen king Zinebi, she guessed by his
retinue that he must be one of the principal officers of
Damascus. "My lord," said she, "that Ganem you inquire for is
dead; my mistress, his mother, is in that monument, lamenting
him." The king, not regarding what was said by the slave, caused
all the house to be diligently searched by his guards for Ganem.
He then advanced towards the monument, where he saw the mother
and daughter sitting on a mat, and their faces appeared to him
bathed in tears. These poor women immediately veiled themselves,
as soon as they beheld a man at the door of the dome; but the
mother, knowing the king of Damascus, got up, and ran to cast
herself at his feet. "My good lady," said he, "I was looking for
your son, Ganem, is he here?" "Alas! sir," cried the mother, "it
is a long time since he has ceased to be: would to God I had at
least put him into his coffin with my own hands, and had had the
comfort of having his bones in this monument! O my son, my dear
son!" She would have said more, but was oppressed with such
violent sorrow that she was unable to proceed.

Zinebi was moved; for he was a prince of a mild nature, and had
much compassion for the sufferings of the unfortunate. "If Ganem
alone be guilty," thought he to himself, "why should the mother
and the daughter, who are innocent, be punished? Ah! cruel Haroon
al Rusheed! what a mortification do you put upon me, in making me
the executioner of your vengeance, obliging me to persecute
persons who have not offended you."

The guards whom the king had ordered to search for Ganem, came
and told him their search had been vain. He was fully convinced
of this; the tears of those two women would not leave him any
room to doubt. It distracted him to be obliged to execute the
caliph's order. "My good lady," said he to Ganem's mother, "quit
this monument with your daughter, it is no place of safety for
you." They went out, and he, to secure them against any insult,
took off his own robe, and covered them both with it, bidding
them keep close to him. He then ordered the populace to be let in
to plunder, which was performed with the utmost rapaciousness,
and with shouts which terrified Ganem's mother and sister the
more, because they knew not the reason. The rabble carried off
the richest goods, chests full of wealth, fine Persian and Indian
carpets, cushions covered with cloth of gold and silver, fine
China ware; in short, all was taken away, till nothing remained
but the bare walls of the house: and it was a dismal spectacle
for the unhappy ladies, to see all their goods plundered, without
knowing why they were so cruelly treated.

When the house was plundered, Mahummud ordered the civil
magistrate to raze the house and monument; and while that was
doing, he carried away the mother and daughter to his palace.
There it was he redoubled their affliction, by acquainting them
with the caliph's will. "He commands me," said he to them, "to
cause you to be stripped, and exposed naked for three days to the
view of the people. It is with the utmost reluctance that I
execute such a cruel and ignominious sentence." The king
delivered these words with such an air, as plainly made it appear
his heart was really pierced with grief and compassion. Though
the fear of being dethroned prevented his following the dictates
of his pity, yet he in some measure moderated the rigour of the
caliph's orders, by causing large shifts, without sleeves, to be
made of coarse horse-hair for Ganem's mother, and his sister.

The next day, these two victims of the caliph's rage were
stripped of their clothes, and their horse-hair shifts put upon
them; their head-dress was also taken away, so that their
dishevelled hair hung floating on their backs. The daughter had
the finest hair, and it hung down to the ground. In this
condition they were exposed to the people. The civil magistrate,
attended by his officers, were along with them, and they were
conducted through the city. A crier went before them, who every
now and then cried, "This is the punishment due to those who have
drawn on themselves the indignation of the commander of the

Whilst they walked in this manner along the streets of Damascus,
with their arms and feet naked, clad in such a strange garment,
and endeavouring to hide their confusion under their hair, with
which they covered their faces, all the people were dissolved in
tears; more especially the ladies, considering them as innocent
persons, as they beheld them through their lattice windows, and
being particularly moved by the daughter's youth and beauty, they
made the air ring with their shrieks, as they passed before their
houses. The very children, frightened at those shrieks, and at
the spectacle that occasioned them, mixed their cries with the
general lamentation. In short, had an enemy been in Damascus,
putting all to fire and sword, the consternation could not have
been greater.

It was near night when this dismal scene concluded. The mother
and daughter were both conducted back to king Mahummud's palace.
Not being used to walk bare-foot, they were so spent, that they
lay a long time in a swoon. The queen of Damascus, highly
afflicted at their misfortunes, notwithstanding the caliph's
prohibition to relieve them, sent some of her women to comfort
them, with all sorts of refreshments and wine, to recover their

The queen's women found them still in a swoon, and almost past
receiving any benefit by what they offered them. However, with
much difficulty they were brought to themselves. Ganem's mother
immediately returned them thanks for their courtesy. "My good
madam," said one of the queen's ladies to her, "we are highly
concerned at your affliction, and the queen of Syria, our
mistress, has done us a favour in employing us to assist you. We
can assure you, that princess is much afflicted at your
misfortunes, as well as the king her consort." Ganem's mother
entreated the queen's women to return her majesty a thousand
thanks from her and her daughter, and then directing her
discourse to the lady who spoke to her, "Madam," said she, "the
king has not told me why the chief of the believers inflicts so
many outrages on us: pray be pleased to tell us what crimes we
have been guilty of." "My good lady," answered the other, "the
origin of your misfortunes proceeds from your son Ganem. He is
not dead, as you imagine. He is accused of having seduced the
beautiful Fetnah, the best beloved of the caliph's favourites;
but having, by flight, withdrawn himself from that prince's
indignation, the punishment is fallen on you. All condemn the
caliph's resentment, but all fear him; and you see king Zinebi
himself dares not resist his orders, for fear of incurring his
displeasure. All we can do is to pity you, and exhort you to have

"I know my son," answered Ganem's mother; "I have educated him
carefully, and in that respect which is due to the commander of
the believers. He cannot have committed the crime he is accused
of; I dare answer for his innocence. But I will cease to murmur
and complain, since it is for him that I suffer, and he is not
dead. O Ganem!" added she, in a transport of affection and joy,
"my dear son Ganem! is possible that you are still alive? I am no
longer concerned for the loss of my fortune; and how harsh and
unjust soever the caliph's orders may be, I forgive him, provided
heaven has preserved my son. I am only concerned for my daughter;
her sufferings alone afflict me; yet I believe her to be so good
a sister as to follow my example."

On hearing these words, the young lady, who till then had
appeared insensible, turned to her mother, and clasping her arms
about her neck, "Yes, dear mother," said she, "I will always
follow your example, whatever extremity your love for my brother
may reduce us to."

The mother and daughter thus interchanging their sighs and tears,
continued a considerable time in such moving embraces. In the
mean time the queen's women, who were much affected at the
spectacle, omitted no persuasions to prevail with Ganem's mother
to take some sustenance. She ate a morsel out of complaisance,
and her daughter did the like.

The caliph having ordered that Ganem's kindred should be exposed
three days successively to the sight of the people, in the
condition already mentioned, the unhappy ladies afforded the same
spectacle the second time next day, from morning till night. But
that day and the following, the streets, which at first had been
full of people, were now quite empty. All the merchants, incensed
at the ill usage of Abou Ayoub's widow and daughter, shut up
their shops, and kept themselves close within their houses. The
ladies, instead of looking through their lattice windows,
withdrew into the back parts of their houses. There was not a
person to be seen in the public places through which those
unfortunate women were carried. It seemed as if all the
inhabitants of Damascus had abandoned their city.

On the fourth day, the king resolving punctually to obey the
caliph's orders, though he did not approve of them, sent criers
into all quarters of the city to make proclamation, strictly
commanding all the inhabitants of Damascus, and strangers, of
what condition soever, upon pain of death, and having their
bodies cast to the dogs to be devoured, not to receive Ganem's
mother and sister into their houses, or give them a morsel of
bread or a drop of water, and, in a word, not to afford them the
least support, or hold the least correspondence with them.

When the criers had performed what the king had enjoined them,
that prince ordered the mother and the daughter to be turned out
of the palace, and left to their choice to go where they thought
fit. As soon as they appeared, all persons fled from them, so
great an impression had the late prohibition made upon all. They
easily perceived that every body shunned them; but not knowing
the reason, were much surprised; and their amazement was the
greater, when coming into any street, or among any persons, they
recollected some of their best friends, who immediately retreated
with as much haste as the rest. "What is the meaning of this,"
said Ganem's mother; "do we carry the plague about us? Must the
unjust and barbarous usage we have received render us odious to
our fellow-citizens? Come, my child," added she, "let us depart
from Damascus with all speed; let us not stay any longer in a
city where we are become frightful to our very friends."

The two wretched ladies, discoursing in this manner, came to one
of the extremities of the city, and retired to a ruined house to
pass the night. Thither some Mussulmauns, out of charity and
compassion, resorted to them after the day was shut in. They
carried them provisions, but durst not stay to comfort them, for
fear of being discovered, and punished for disobeying the
caliph's orders.

In the mean time king Zinebi had let fly a pigeon to give the
caliph an account of his exact obedience. He informed him of all
that had been executed, and conjured him to direct what he would
have done with Ganem's mother and sister. He soon received the
caliph's answer in the same way, which was, that he should banish
them from Damascus for ever. Immediately the king of Syria sent
men to the old house, with orders to take the mother and
daughter, and to conduct them three days' journey from Damascus,
and there to leave them, forbidding them ever to return to the

Zinebi's men executed their commission, but being less exact
their master, in the strict performance of the caliph's orders,
they in pity gave the wretched ladies some small pieces of money,
and each of them a scrip, which they hung about their necks, to
carry their provisions.

In this miserable state they came to the first village. The
peasants' wives flocked about them, and, as it appeared through
their disguise that they were people of some condition, asked
them what was the occasion of their travelling in a habit that
did not seem to belong to them. Instead of answering the
question, they fell to weeping, which only served to heighten the
curiosity of the peasants, and to move their compassion. Ganem's
mother told them what she and her daughter had endured; at which
the good countrywomen were sensibly afflicted, and endeavoured to
comfort them. They treated them as well as their poverty would
permit, took off their horse-hair shifts, which were very uneasy
to them, and put on them others which they gave them, with shoes,
and something to cover their heads, and save their hair.

Having expressed their gratitude to those charitable women, Jalib
al Koolloob and her mother departed from that village, taking
short journeys towards Aleppo. They used at dusk to retire near
or into the mosques, where they passed the night on the mat, if
there was any, or else on the bare pavement; and sometimes rested
in the public places appointed for the use of travellers. As for
sustenance, they did not want, for they often came to places
where bread, boiled rice, and other provisions are distributed to
all travellers who desire it.

At length they came to Aleppo, but would not stay there, and
continuing their journey towards the Euphrates, crossed the
river, and entered Mesopotamia, which they traversed as far as
Moussoul. Thence, notwithstanding all they had endured, they
proceeded to Bagdad. That was the place they had fixed their
thoughts upon, hoping to find Ganem, though they ought not to
have fancied that he was in a city where the caliph resided; but
they hoped, because they wished it; their affection for him
increasing instead of diminishing, with their misfortunes. Their
conversation was generally about him, and they inquired for him
of all they met. But let us leave Jalib al Koolloob and her
mother, and return to Fetnah.

She was still confined closely in the dark tower, since the day
that had been so fatal to Ganem and herself. However,
disagreeable as her prison was to her, it was much less grievous
than the thoughts of Ganem's misfortune, the uncertainty of whose
fate was a killing affliction. There was scarcely a moment in
which she did not lament him.

The caliph was accustomed to walk frequently at night within the
enclosure of his palace, for he was the most inquisitive prince
in the world, and sometimes, by those night-walks, came to the
knowledge of things that happened in his court, which would
otherwise never have reached his ear. One of those nights, in his
walk, he happened to pass by the dark tower, and fancying he
heard somebody talk, stops, and drawing near the door to listen,
distinctly heard these words, which Fetnah, whose thoughts were
always on Ganem, uttered with a loud voice: "O Ganem, too
unfortunate Ganem! where are you at this time, whither has thy
cruel fate led thee? Alas! it is I that have made you wretched!
why did you not let me perish miserably, rather than afford me
your generous relief? What melancholy return have you received
for your care and respect? The commander of the faithful, who
ought to have rewarded, persecutes you; and in requital for
having always regarded me as a person reserved for his bed, you
lose your fortune, and are obliged to seek for safety in flight.
O caliph, barbarous caliph, how can you exculpate yourself, when
you shall appear with Ganem before the tribunal of the Supreme


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