The Arabian Nights Entertainments vol. 1

Part 7 out of 7

Judge, and the angels shall testify the truth before your face?
All the power you are now invested with, and which makes almost
the whole world tremble, will not prevent your being condemned
and punished for your violent and unjust proceedings." Here
Fetnah ceased her complaints, her sighs and tears putting a stop
to her utterance.

This was enough to make the caliph reflect. He plainly perceived,
that if what he had heard was true, his favourite must be
innocent, and that he had been too hasty in giving such orders
against Ganem and his family. Being resolved to be rightly
informed in an affair which so nearly concerned him in point of
equity, on which he valued himself, he immediately returned to
his apartment, and that moment ordered Mesrour to repair to the
dark tower, and bring Fetnah before him.

By this command, and much more by the caliph's manner of
speaking, the chief of the eunuchs guessed that his master
designed to pardon his favourite, and take her to him again. He
was overjoyed at the thought, for he respected Fetnah, and had
been much concerned at her disgrace; therefore flying instantly
to the tower, "Madam," said he to the favourite, with such an air
as expressed his satisfaction, "be pleased to follow me; I hope
you will never more return to this melancholy abode: the
commander of the faithful wishes to speak with you, and I draw
from this a happy omen."

Fetnah followed Mesrour, who conducted her into the caliph's
closet. She prostrated herself before him, and so continued, her
face bathed in tears. "Fetnah," said the caliph, without bidding
her rise, "I think you charge me with violence and injustice. Who
is he, that, notwithstanding the regard and respell he had for
me, is in a miserable condition? Speak freely, you know the
natural goodness of my disposition, and that I love to do

By these words the favourite was convinced that the caliph had
heard what she had said, and availed herself of so favourable an
opportunity to clear Ganem. "Commander of the true believers,"
said she, "if I have let fall any word that is not agreeable to
your majesty, I most humbly beseech you to forgive me; but he
whose innocence and wretched state you desire to be informed of
is Ganem, the unhappy son of Abou Ayoub, late a rich merchant of
Damascus. He saved my life from a grave, and afforded me a
sanctuary in his house. I must own, that, from the first moment
he saw me, he perhaps designed to devote himself to me, and
conceived hopes of engaging me to admit his love. I guessed at
this, by the eagerness which he shewed in entertaining me, and
doing me all the good offices I so much wanted under the
circumstances I was then in; but as soon as he heard that I had
the honour to belong to you, ‘Ah, madam,' said he, ‘that which
belongs to the master is forbidden to the slave.' From that
moment, I owe this justice to his virtue to declare, his
behaviour was always suitable to his words. You, commander of the
true believers, well know with what rigour you have treated him,
and you will answer for it before the tribunal of God."

The caliph was not displeased with Fetnah for the freedom of
these words; "But may I," said he, "rely on the assurance you
give me of Ganem's virtue?" "Yes," replied Fetnah, "you may. I
would not for the world conceal the truth from you; and to prove
to you that I am sincere, I must make a confession, which perhaps
may displease you, but I beg pardon of your majesty beforehand."
"Speak, daughter," said Haroon al Rusheed, "I forgive you all,
provided you conceal nothing from me." "Well, then," replied
Fetnah, "let me inform you, that Ganem's respectful behaviour,
joined to all the good offices he did me, gained him my esteem. I
went further yet: you know the tyranny of love: I felt some
tender inclination rising in my breast. He perceived it; but far
from availing himself of my frailty, and notwithstanding the
flame which consumed him, he still remained steady in his duty,
and all that his passion could force from him were the words I
have already repeated to your majesty, ‘That which belongs to the
master is forbidden to the slave.'"

This ingenuous confession might have provoked any other man than
the caliph; but it completely appeased that prince. He commanded
her to rise, and making her sit by him, "Tell me your story,"
said he, "from the beginning to the end." She did so, with
artless simplicity, passing slightly over what regarded Zobeide,
and enlarging on the obligations she owed to Ganem; but above
all, she highly extolled his discretion, endeavouring by that
means to make the caliph sensible that she had been under the
necessity of remaining concealed in Ganem's house, to deceive
Zobeide. She concluded with the young merchant's escape, which
she plainly told the caliph she had compelled him to, that he
might avoid his indignation.

When she had done speaking, the caliph said to her, "I believe
all you have told me; but why was it so long before you let me
hear from you? Was there any need of staying a whole month after
my return, before you sent me word where you were?" "Commander of
the true believers," answered Fetnah, "Ganem went abroad so very
seldom, that you need not wonder we were not the first that heard
of your return. Besides, Ganem, who took upon him to deliver the
letter I wrote to Nouron Nihar, was a long time before he could
find an opportunity of putting it into her own hands."

"It is enough, Fetnah," replied the caliph; "I acknowledge my
fault, and would willingly make amends for it, by heaping favours
on the young merchant of Damascus. Consider, therefore, what I
can do for him. Ask what you think fit, and I will grant it."
Hereupon the favourite fell down at the caliph's feet, with her
face to the ground; and rising again, said, "Commander of the
true believers, after returning your majesty thanks for Ganem, I
most humbly entreat you to cause it to be published throughout
your do minions, that you pardon the son of Abou Ayoub, and that
he may safely come to you." "I must do more," rejoined the
prince, "in requital for having saved your life, and the respect
he has strewn for me, to make amends for the loss of his fortune.
In short, to repair the wrong I have done to himself and his
family, I give him to you for a husband." Fetnah had no words
expressive enough to thank the caliph for his generosity: she
then withdrew into the apartment she had occupied before her
melancholy adventure. The same furniture was still in it, nothing
had been removed; but that which pleased her most was, to find
Ganem's chests and bales, which Mesrour had received the caliph's
orders to convey thither.

The next day Haroon al Rusheed ordered the grand vizier, to cause
proclamation to be made throughout all his dominions, that he
pardoned Ganem the son of Abou Ayoub; but this proved of no
effect, for a long time elapsed without any news of the young
merchant. Fetnah concluded, that he had not been able to survive
the pain of losing her. A dreadful uneasiness seized her mind;
but as hope is the last thing which forsakes lovers, she
entreated the caliph to give her leave to seek for Ganem herself;
which being granted, she took a purse containing a thousand
pieces of gold, and went one morning out of the palace, mounted
on a mule from the caliph's stables, very richly caparisoned.
Black eunuchs attended her, with a hand placed on each side of
the mule's back.

Thus she went from mosque to mosque, bestowing her alms among the
devotees of the Mahummedan religion, desiring their prayers for
the accomplishment of an affair, on which the happiness of two
persons, she told them, depended. She spend the whole day and the
thousand pieces of gold in giving alms at the mosques, and
returned to the palace in the evening.

The next day she took another purse of the same value, and in the
like equipage as the day before, went to the square of the
jewellers' shops, and stopping at the gateway without alighting,
sent one of her black eunuchs for the syndic or chief of them.
The syndic, who was a most charitable man, and spent above two-
thirds of his income in relieving poor strangers, sick or in
distress, did not make Fetnah wait, knowing by her dress that she
was a lady belonging to the palace. "I apply myself to you," said
she, putting the purse into his hands, "as a person whose piety
is celebrated throughout the city. I desire you to distribute
that gold among the poor strangers you relieve, for I know you
make it your business to assist those who apply to your charity.
I am also satisfied that you prevent their wants, and that
nothing is more grateful to you, than to have an opportunity of
relieving their misery." "Madam," answered the syndic, "I shall
obey your commands with pleasure; but if you desire to exercise
your charity in person, and will be pleased to step to my house,
you will there see two women worthy of your compassion; I met
them yesterday as they were coming into the city; they were in a
deplorable condition, and it moved me the more, because I thought
they were persons of rank. Through all the rags that covered
them, notwithstanding the impression the sun has made on their
faces, I discovered a noble air, not to be commonly found in
those people I relieve. I carried them both to my house, and
delivered them to my wife, who was of the same opinion with me.
She caused her slaves to provide them good beds, whilst she
herself led them to our warm bath, and gave them clean linen. We
know not as yet who they are, because we wish to let them take
some rest before we trouble them with our questions."

Fetnah, without knowing why, felt a curiosity to see them. The
syndic would have conducted her to his house, but she would not
give him the trouble, and was satisfied that a slave should shew
her the way. She alighted at the door, and followed the syndic's
slave, who was gone before to give notice to his mistress, she
being then in the chamber with Jalib al Koolloob and her mother,
for they were the persons the syndic had been speaking of to

The syndic's wife being informed by the slave, that a lady from
the palace was in her house, was hastening to meet her; but
Fetnah, who had followed the slave, did not give her time: on her
coming into the chamber, the syndic's wife prostrated herself
before her, to express the respect she had for all who belonged
to the caliph. Fetnah raised her up, and said, "My good lady, I
desire you will let me speak with those two strangers that
arrived at Bagdad last night." "Madam," answered the syndic's
wife, "they lie in those beds you see by each other." The
favourite immediately drew near the mother's, and viewing her
carefully, "Good woman," said she, "I come to offer you my
assistance: I have considerable interest in this city, and may be
of service to you and your companion." "Madam," answered Ganem's
mother, "I perceive by your obliging offers, that Heaven has not
quite forsaken us, though we had cause to believe it had, after
so many misfortunes as have befallen us." Having uttered these
words, she wept so bitterly that Fetnah and the syndic's wife
could not forbear letting fall some tears.

The caliph's favourite having dried up hers, said to Ganem's
mother, "Be so kind as to tell us your misfortunes, and recount
your story. You cannot make the relation to any persons better
disposed to use all possible means to comfort you." "Madam,"
replied Abou Ayoub's disconsolate widow, "a favourite of the
commander of the true believers, a lady whose name is Fetnah, is
the occasion of all our misfortunes." These words were like a
thunderbolt to the favourite; but suppressing her agitation and
concern, she suffered Ganem's mother to proceed in the following
manner: "I am the widow of Abou Ayoub, a merchant of Damascus; I
had a son called Ganem, who, coming to trade at Bagdad, has been
accused of carrying off Fetnah. The caliph caused search to be
made for him every where, to put him to death; but not finding
him, he wrote to the king of Damascus, to cause our house to be
plundered and razed, and to expose my daughter and myself three
days successively, naked, to the populace, and then to banish us
out of Syria for ever. But how unworthy soever our usage has
been, I should be still comforted were my son alive, and I could
meet with him. What a pleasure would it be for his sister and me
to see him again! Embracing him we should forget the loss of our
property, and all the evils we have suffered on his account.
Alas! I am fully persuaded he is only the innocent cause of them;
and that he is no more guilty towards the caliph than his sister
and myself."

"No doubt of it," said Fetnah, interrupting her there, "he is no
more guilty than you are; I can assure you of his innocence; for
I am that very Fetnah, you so much complain of; who, through some
fatality in my stars, have occasioned you so many misfortunes. To
me you must impute the loss of your son, if he is no more; but if
I have occasioned your misfortune, I can in some measure relieve
it. I have already justified Ganem to the caliph; who has caused
it to be proclaimed throughout his dominions, that he pardons the
son of Abou Ayoub; and doubt not he will do you as much good as
he has done you injury. You are no longer his enemies. He waits
for Ganem, to requite the service he has done me, by uniting our
fortunes; he gives me to him for his consort, therefore look on
me as your daughter, and permit me to vow eternal duty and
affection." "Having so said, she bowed down on Ganem's mother,
who was so astonished that she could return no answer. Fetnah
held her long in her arms, and only left her to embrace the
daughter, who, sitting up, held out her arms to receive her.

When the caliph's favourite had strewn the mother and daughter
all tokens of affection, as Ganem's wife, she said to them, "The
wealth Ganem had in this city is not lost, it is in my apartment
in the palace; but I know all the treasure of the world cannot
comfort you without Ganem, if I may judge of you by myself. Blood
is no less powerful than love in great minds; but why should we
despair of seeing him again? We shall find him; the happiness of
meeting with you makes me conceive fresh hopes. Perhaps this is
the last day of your sufferings, and the beginning of a greater
felicity than you enjoyed in Damascus, when Ganem was with you."

Fetnah would have proceeded, but the syndic of the jewellers
coming in interrupted her: "Madam," said he to her, "I come from
seeing a very moving object, it is a young man, whom a camel-
driver had just carried to an hospital: he was bound with cords
on a camel, because he had not strength enough to sit. They had
already unbound him, and were carrying him into the hospital,
when I happened to pass by. I went up to the young man, viewed
him attentively, and fancied his countenance was not altogether
unknown to me. I asked him some questions concerning his family
and his country; but all the answers I could get were sighs and
tears. I took pity on him, and being so much used to sick people,
perceived that he had need to have particular care taken of him.
I would not permit him to be put into the hospital; for I am too
well acquainted with their way of managing the sick, and am
sensible of the incapacity of the physicians. I have caused him
to be brought to my own house, by my slaves; and they are now in
a private room where I placed him, putting on some of my own
linen, and treating him as they would do myself."

Fetnah's heart beat at these words of the jeweller, and she felt
a sudden emotion, for which she could not account: "Shew me,"
said she to the syndic, "into the sick man's room; I should be
glad to see him." The syndic conducted her, and whilst she was
going thither, Ganem's mother said to Jalib al Koolloob, "Alas!
daughter, wretched as that sick stranger is, your brother, if he
be living, is not perhaps in a more happy condition."

The caliph's favourite coming into the chamber of the sick
stranger, drew near the bed, in which the syndic's slaves had
already laid him. She saw a young man, whose eyes were closed,
his countenance pale, disfigured, and bathed in tears. She gazed
earnestly on him, her heart beat, and she fancied she beheld
Ganem; but yet she would not believe her eyes. Though she found
something of Ganem in the objets she beheld, yet in other
respects he appeared so different, that she durst not imagine it
was he that lay before her. Unable, however, to withstand the
earnest desire of being satisfied, "Ganem," said she, with a
trembling voice, "is it you I behold?" Having spoken these words,
she stopped to give the young man time to answer, but observing
that he seemed insensible; "Alas! Ganem," added she, "it is not
you that I address! My imagination being overcharged with your
image, has given to a stranger a deceitful resemblance. The son
of Abou Ayoub, however indisposed, would know the voice of
Fetnah." At the name of Fetnah, Ganem (for it was really he)
opened his eyes, sprang up, and knowing the caliph's favourite;
"Ah! madam," said he, "by what miracle" He could say no more;
such a sudden transport of joy seized him that he fainted away.
Fetnah and the syndic did all they could to bring him to himself;
but as soon as they perceived he began to revive, the syndic
desired the lady to withdraw, lest the sight of her should
heighten his disorder.

The young man having recovered, looked all around, and not seeing
what he sought, exclaimed, "What is become of you, charming
Fetnah? Did you really appear before my eyes, or was it only an
illusion?" "No, sir," said the syndic, "it was no illusion. It
was I that caused the lady to withdraw, but you shall see her
again, as soon as you are in a condition to bear the interview.
You now stand in need of rest, and nothing ought to obstruct your
taking it. The situation of your affairs is altered, since you
are, as I suppose, that Ganem, in favour of whom the commander of
the true believers has caused a proclamation to be made in
Bagdad, declaring, that he forgives him what is passed. Be
satisfied, for the present, with knowing so much; the lady, who
just now spoke to you, will acquaint you with the rest, therefore
think of nothing but recovering your health; I will contribute
all in my power towards it." Having spoke these words, he left
Ganem to take his rest, and went himself to provide for him such
medicines as were proper to recover his strength, exhausted by
hard living and toil.

During this time Fetnah was in the room with Jalib al Koolloob
and her mother, where almost the same scene was acted over again;
for when Ganem's mother understood that the sick stranger whom
the syndic had brought into his house was Ganem himself, she was
so overjoyed, that she also swooned away, and when, with the
assistance of Fetnah and the syndic's wife, she was again come to
herself, she would have arisen to go and see her son; but the
syndic coming in, hindered her, representing that Ganem was so
weak and emaciated, that it would endanger his life to excite in
him those emotions, which must be the consequence of the
unexpected sight of a beloved mother and sister. There was no
occasion for the syndic's saying any more to Ganem's mother; as
soon as she was told that she could not converse with her son,
without hazarding his life, she ceased insisting to go and see
him. Fetnah then said, "Let us bless Heaven for having brought us
all together. I will return to the palace to give the caliph an
account of these adventures, and tomorrow morning I will return
to you." This said, she embraced the mother and the daughter, and
went away. As soon as she came to the palace, she sent Mesrour to
request a private audience of the caliph, which was immediately
granted; and being brought into the prince's closet, where he was
alone, she prostrated herself at his feet, with her face on the
ground, according to custom. He commanded her to rise, and having
made her sit down, asked whether she had heard any news of Ganem?
"Commander of the true believers," said she, "I have been so
successful, that I have found him, and also his mother and
sister." The caliph was curious to know how she had discovered
them in so short a time, and she satisfied his inquiries, saying
so many things in commendation of Ganem's mother and sister, he
desired to see them as well as the young merchant.

Though Haroon al Rusheed was passionate, and in his heat
sometimes guilty of cruel actions; yet he was just, and the most
generous prince in the world, when the storm of anger was over,
and he was made sensible of the wrong he had done. Having
therefore no longer cause to doubt but that he had unjustly
persecuted Ganem and his family, and had publicly wronged them,
he resolved to make them public satisfaction. "I am overjoyed,"
said he to Fetnah, "that your search has proved so successful; it
is a real satisfaction to me, not so much for your sake as for my
own. I will keep the promise I have made you. You shall marry
Ganem, and I here declare you are no longer my slave; you are
free. Go back to that young merchant, and as soon as he has
recovered his health, you shall bring him to me with his mother
and sister."

The next morning early Fetnah repaired to the syndic of the
jewellers, being impatient to hear of Ganem's health, and tell
the mother and daughter the good news she had for them. The first
person she met was the syndic, who told her that Ganem had rested
well that night; and that his disorder proceeding altogether from
melancholy, the cause being removed, he would soon recover his

Accordingly the son of Abou Ayoub was speedily much amended.
Rest, and the good medicines he had taken, but above all the
different situation of his mind, had wrought so good an effect,
that the syndic thought he might without danger see his mother,
his sister, and his mistress, provided he was prepared to receive
them; because there was ground to fear, that, not knowing his
mother and sister were at Bagdad, the sight of them might
occasion too great surprise and joy. It was therefore resolved,
that Fetnah should first go alone into Ganem's chamber, and then
make a sign to the two other ladies to appear, when she thought
it was proper.

Matters being so ordered, the syndic announced Fetnah's coming to
the sick man, who was so transported to see her, that he was
again near fainting away, "Well, Ganem," said she, drawing near
to his bed, "you have again found your Fetnah, whom you thought
you had lost for ever." "Ah! madam," exclaimed he, eagerly
interrupting her, "what miracle has restored you to my sight? I
thought you were in the caliph's palace; he has doubtless
listened to you. You have dispelled his jealousy, and he has
restored you to his favour."

"Yes, my dear Ganem," answered Fetnah, "I have cleared myself
before the commander of the true believers, who, to make amends
for the wrong he has done you, bestows me on you for a wife."
These last words occasioned such an excess of joy in Ganem, that
he knew not for a while how to express himself, otherwise than by
that passionate silence so well known to lovers. At length he
broke out in these words: "Beautiful Fetnah, may I give credit to
what you tell me? May I believe that the caliph really resigns
you to Abou Ayoub's son?" "Nothing is more certain," answered the
lady. "The caliph, who before caused search to be made for you,
to take away your life, and who in his fury caused your mother
and your sister to suffer a thousand indignities, desires now to
see you, that he may reward the respect you had for him; and
there is no question but that he will load your family with

Ganem asked, what the caliph had done to his mother and sister,
which Fetnah told him; and he could not forbear letting fall some
tears at the relation, notwithstanding the thoughts which arose
in his mind at the prospect of being married to his mistress. But
when Fetnah informed him, that they were actually in Bagdad, and
in the same house with him, he appeared so impatient to see them,
that the favourite could no longer defer giving him the
satisfaction; and accordingly called them in. They were at the
door waiting for that moment. They entered, went up to Ganem, and
embracing him in their turns, kissed him a thousand times. What
tears were shed amidst those embraces! Ganem's face was bathed
with them, as well as his mother's and sisters; and Fetnah let
fall abundance. The syndic himself and his wife were so moved at
the spectacle, that they could not forbear weeping, nor
sufficiently admire the secret workings of Providence which had
brought together into their house four persons, whom fortune had
so cruelly persecuted.

When they had dried up their tears, Ganem drew them afresh, by
the recital of what he had suffered from the day he left Fetnah,
till the moment the syndic brought him to his house. He told
them, that having taken refuge in a small village, he there fell
sick; that some charitable peasants had taken care of him, but
finding he did not recover, a camel-driver had undertaken to
carry him to the hospital at Bagdad. Fetnah also told them all
the uneasiness of her imprisonment, how the caliph, having heard
her talk in the tower, had sent for her into his closet, and how
she had cleared herself. In conclusion, when they had related
what accidents had befallen them, Fetnah said, "Let us bless
Heaven, which has brought us all together again, and let us think
of nothing but the happiness that awaits us. As soon as Ganem has
recovered his health, he must appear before the caliph, with his
mother and sister; but I will go and make some provision for

This said, she went to the palace, and soon returned with a purse
containing a thousand pieces of gold, which she delivered to the
syndic, desiring him to buy apparel for the mother and daughter.
The syndic, who was a man of a good taste, chose such as were
very handsome, and had them made up with all expedition. They
were finished in three days, and Ganem finding himself strong
enough, prepared to go abroad; but on the day he had appointed to
pay his respects to the caliph, while he was making ready, with
his mother and sister, the grand vizier, Jaaffier came to the
syndic's house.

He had come on horseback, attended by a great number of officers.
"Sir," said he to Ganem, as soon as he entered, "I am come from
the commander of the true believers, my master and yours; the
orders I have differ much from those which I do not wish to
revive in your memory; I am to bear you company, and to present
you to the caliph, who is desirous to see you." Ganem returned no
other answer to the vizier's compliment, than by profoundly
bowing his head, and then mounted a horse brought from the
caliph's stables, which he managed very gracefully. The mother
and daughter were mounted on mules belonging to the palace, and
whilst Fetnah on another mule led them by a bye-way to the
prince's court, Jaaffier conducted Ganem, and brought him into
the hall of audience. The caliph was sitting on his throne,
encompassed with emirs, viziers, and. other attendants and
courtiers, Arabs, Persians, Egyptians, Africans, and Syrians, of
his own dominions, not to mention strangers.

When the vizier had conducted Ganem to the foot of the throne,
the young merchant paid his obeisance, prostrating himself with
his face to the ground, and then rising, made a handsome
compliment in verse, which, though the effusion of the moment,
met with the approbation of the whole court. After his
compliment, the caliph caused him to approach, and said, "I am
glad to see you, and desire to hear from your own mouth where you
found my favourite, and all that you have done for her." Ganem
obeyed, and appeared so sincere, that the caliph was convinced of
his veracity. He ordered a very rich vest to be given him,
according to the custom observed towards those who are admitted
to audience. After which he said to him, "Ganem, I will have you
live in my court." "Commander of the true believers," answered
the young merchant, "a slave has no will but his master's, on
whom his life and fortune depend." The caliph was highly pleased
with Ganem's reply, and assigned him a considerable pension. He
then descended from his throne, and causing only Ganem and the
grand vizier, follow him, retired into his own apartment.

Not questioning but that Fetnah was in waiting, with Abou Ayoub's
widow and daughter, he caused them to be called in. They
prostrated themselves before him: he made them rise; and was so
charmed by Jalib al Koolloob's beauty, that, after viewing her
very attentively, he said, "I am so sorry for having treated your
charms so unworthily, that I owe them such a satisfaction as may
surpass the injury I have done. I take you to wife; and by that
means shall punish Zobeide, who shall become the first cause of
your good fortune, as she was of your past sufferings. This is
not all," added he, turning towards Ganem's mother; "you are
still young, I believe you will not disdain to be allied to my
grand vizier, I give you to Jaaffier, and you, Fetnah, to Ganem.
Let a cauzee and witnesses be called, and the three contracts be
drawn up and signed immediately." Ganem would have represented to
the caliph, that it would be honour enough for his sister to be
one of his favourites; but he was resolved to marry her.

Haroon thought this such an extraordinary story, that he ordered
his historiographer to commit it to writing with all its
circumstances. It was afterwards laid up in his library, and many
copies being transcribed, it became public.

End of Volume 1.


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