The Arabian Nights Entertainments vol. 2
Part 5 out of 7
order. After he had changed his clothes, and been well treated,
he was introduced to the grand vizier, who lead sent for him.
Marzavan being a young man of good address, the minister received
him with great politeness; and was induced, from the just and
pertinent answers he returned to the questions put to him, to
regard him with great esteem. Finding by degrees that he
possessed great variety and extent of information, he said to
him, "From what I can understand, I perceive you are no common
man; you have travelled much: would to God you had discovered
some remedy for a malady which has been long a source of great
affliction at this court."
Marzavan replied, if he knew what malady it was, he might perhaps
find a remedy applicable to it.
The grand vizier then related to him the story of prince Kummir
al Zummaun. He concealed nothing relating to his birth, which had
been so earnestly desired, his education, the wish of the king
his father to see him early married, his resistance and
extraordinary aversion from marriage, his disobeying his father
in full council, his imprisonment, his extravagancies in prison,
which were afterwards changed into a violent passion for some
unknown lady, who, he pretended, had exchanged a ring with him,
though, for his part, he verily believed there was no such person
in the world.
Marzavan gave great attention to all the grand vizier said, and
was infinitely rejoiced to find that, by means of his shipwreck,
he had so fortunately lighted on the person he was seeking. He
saw no reason to doubt that the prince was the man whom the
princess of China so ardently loved, and that this princess was
equally the object of his passion. Without explaining himself
farther to the vizier, he desired to see the prince, that he
might be better able to judge of his disorder and its cure.
"Follow me," said the grand vizier, "and you will find the king
with him, who has already desired I should introduce you."
On entering the prince's chamber, the first thing Marzavan
observed was the prince upon his bed languishing, and with his
eyes shut. Notwithstanding his condition, and regardless of the
presence of the king his father, who was sitting by him, he could
not avoid exclaiming, "Heavens! was there ever a greater
resemblance?" He meant to the princess of China; for it seems the
princess and the prince were much alike.
This exclamation of Marzavan excited the prince's curiosity; he
opened his eyes and looked at him. Marzavan, who had a ready wit,
seized that opportunity, and made his compliment in extempore
verse; but in such a disguised manner, that neither the king nor
the grand vizier under stood his meaning. He represented so
exactly what had happened to him with the princess of China, that
the prince had no reason to doubt he knew her, and could give him
tidings of her. His countenance immediately brightened up with
After Marzavan had finished his compliment in verse, which
surprised Kummir al Zummaun so agreeably, the prince took the
liberty of making a sign to the king his father, to give his
place to Marzavan, and allow him to sit by him.
The king, overjoyed at this alteration, which inspired him with
hopes of his son's speedy recovery, quitted his place, and taking
Marzavan by the hand, led him to it, obliging him to sit. He then
demanded of him who he was, and whence he had come? And upon
Marzavan's answering he was a subject of China, and came from
that kingdom, the king exclaimed, "Heaven grant you may be able
to recover my son from this profound melancholy; I shall be
eternally obliged to you, and all the world shall see how
handsomely I will reward you." Having said thus, he left the
prince to converse at full liberty with the stranger, whilst he
went and rejoiced with the grand vizier on this happy incident.
Marzavan leaning down to the prince, addressed him in a low
voice: "Prince, it is time you should cease to grieve. The lady,
for whom you suffer, is the princess Badoura, daughter of Gaiour,
king of China. This I can assure your highness from what she has
told me of her adventure, and what I have learned of yours. She
has suffered no less on your account than you have on hers." Here
he related all that he knew of the princess's story, from the
night of their extraordinary interview.
He omitted not to acquaint him how the king had treated those who
had failed in their endeavours to cure the princess of her
indisposition. "But your highness is the only person," added he,
"that can cure her effectually, and you may present yourself
without fear. However, before you undertake so long a voyage, I
would have you perfectly recovered, and then we will take what
measures may be necessary. Think then immediately of the recovery
of your health."
This account had a marvellous effect on the prince. The hopes of
speedily fulfilling his desires so much relieved him, that he
felt he had strength sufficient to rise, and begged permission of
his father to dress himself, with such an air as gave him
Shaw Zummaun, without inquiring into the means he had used to
produce this wonderful effect, could not refrain from embracing
Marzavan, and soon after went out of the prince's chamber with
the grand vizier, to publish the agreeable tidings. He ordered
public rejoicings for several days together, gave great largesses
to his officers and the people, and alms to the poor, and caused
the prisoners to be set at liberty throughout his kingdom The joy
was soon general in the capital, and in every part of his
Kummir al Zummaun, though extremely weakened by almost continual
privation of sleep and long abstinence, soon recovered his
health. When he found himself in a condition to undertake the
voyage, he took Marzavan aside, and said, "Dear Marzavan, it is
now time to perform the promise you have made me. My impatience
to behold the charming princess, and to relieve her of the
torments she is now suffering on my account, is such, that if we
do not shortly depart, I shall relapse into my former
indisposition. One thing still afflicts me," continued he, "and
that is the difficulty I shall find, from his tender affection
for me, to obtain my father's permission to travel into a distant
country. You observe he scarcely allows me to be a moment out of
At these words the prince wept. Marzavan then replied, "I foresaw
this difficulty, and I will take care it shall not obstruct us.
My principal design in this voyage was to cure the princess of
China of her malady, and this on account of the mutual affection
which we have borne to each other from our birth, as well as from
the zeal and affection I otherwise owe her. I should therefore be
wanting in my duty to her, if I did not use my best endeavours to
effect her cure and yours. This is then the mode I have devised
to obtain the king your father's consent. You have not stirred
abroad for some time, therefore request his permission to go upon
a hunting party with me. He will no doubt comply. When you have
obtained his leave, obtain two fleet coursers for each of us to
be got ready, one to mount, the other to change, and leave the
rest to me."
The following day the prince did as he had been instructed. He
acquainted the king he was desirous of taking the air, and, if he
pleased, would go and hunt for two or three days with Marzavan.
The king gave his consent, but wished him not to be absent more
than one night, since too much exercise at first might impair his
health and a longer absence would make him uneasy. He then
ordered him to choose the best horses in the royal stable, and
took particular care that nothing should be wanting for his
accommodation. When all was ready, he embraced the prince, and
having recommended to Marzavan to be careful of him, he let him
go. Kummir al Zummaun and Marzavan were soon mounted, when, to
amuse the two grooms who led the spare horses, they made as if
they were going to hunt, and under this pretence got as far from
the city and out of the high road as was possible. When night
began to approach, they alighted at a caravanserai or inn, where
they supped, and slept till about midnight; when Marzavan
awakened the prince, and desired his highness to let him have his
dress, and to take another for himself, which was brought in his
baggage. Thus equipped, they mounted the fresh horses, and after
Marzavan had taken one of the grooms' horses by the bridle, they
left the caravanserai.
At day-break they found themselves in a forest, where four roads
met. Here Marzavan, desiring the prince to wait for him a little,
went into the wood. He then cut the throat of the groom's horse,
and after having torn the suit which the prince had taken off,
and besmeared it with blood, threw it into the highway.
The prince inquired his reason for what he had done. He replied,
he was sure that when the king his father found he did not
return, and should learn that he had departed without the grooms,
he would suspect something wrong, and immediately send in quest
of them. "they who may come this way, finding this bloody habit,
will conclude you are devoured by wild beasts, and that I have
escaped to avoid the king's anger. The king, concluding you are
dead, will stop further pursuit, and we may have leisure to
continue our journey without fear of being followed." "I must
confess," continued Marzavan, "it is a violent way of proceeding,
to alarm a fond father with the death of his son, but his joy
will be the greater when he shall hear you are alive and happy."
"Breve Marzavan," replied the prince, "I cannot but approve such
an ingenious stratagem, or sufficiently admire your conduct: you
place me under fresh obligations to you."
The prince and Marzavan being well provided for their expenses,
continued their journey both by land and sea, and found no other
obstacle but the length of the time which it necessarily took up.
They arrived at length at the capital of China, where Marzavan,
instead of going to his house, carried the prince to a public
inn. They remained there incognito three days, to rest themselves
after the fatigue of the voyage; during which time Marzavan
caused an astrologer's habit to be made for the prince. The three
days being expired, they went together to the bath, where the
prince put on his astrologer's dress: from thence Marzavan
conducted him to the neighbourhood of the king of China's palace,
where he left him, to go and inform his mother of his arrival.
Kummir al Zummaun, instructed by Marzavan what he was to do, came
next morning to the gate of the king's palace, and cried aloud,
"I am an astrologer, and am come to cure the illustrious princess
Badoura, daughter of the most high and mighty monarch Gaiour king
of China, on the conditions proposed by his majesty, to marry her
if I succeed, or else to lose my life for my fruitless and
Besides the guards and porters at the gate, this incident drew
together a great number of people about the prince. There had no
physician, astrologer, or magician appeared for a long time on
this account, being deterred by the many tragical examples of ill
success that appeared before; it was therefore thought there
remained no more of these professions in the world, or none so
mad as those that had already forfeited their lives.
The prince's appearance, his noble air, and blooming youth, made
every one who saw him pity him. "What mean you, sir," said some
that were nearest to him, "thus to expose a life of such
promising expectations to certain death? Cannot the heads you see
on all the gates of this city deter you from such an undertaking?
In the name of God consider what you do! abandon this rash
attempt, and depart."
The prince continued firm, notwithstanding all these
remonstrances; and as he saw no one coming to introduce him, he
repeated the same cry with a boldness that made every body
tremble. They all then exclaimed, "Let him alone, he is resolved
to die; God have mercy on his youth and his soul!"" He then
proceeded to cry a third time in the same manner, when the grand
vizier came in person, and introduced him to the king of China.
As soon as the prince came into the presence, he bowed and kissed
the ground. The king, who, among all that had hitherto
presumptuously exposed their lives on this occasion, had not
before seen one worthy of his attention, felt real compassion for
Kummir al Zummaun, on account of the danger to which he exposed
himself. "Young man," said he, "I can hardly believe that at this
age you can have acquired experience enough to dare attempt the
cure of my daughter. I wish you may succeed, and would give her
to you in marriage with all my heart, and with the greatest joy,
more willingly than I should have done to others that have
offered themselves before you; but I must declare to you at the
same time, though with great concern, that if you fail,
notwithstanding your noble appearance and your youth, you must
lose your head."
"Sir," replied the prince, "I have infinite obligations to your
majesty for the honour you design me, and the great goodness you
shew to a stranger; but I desire your majesty to believe I would
not have come from so remote a country as I have done, the name
of which perhaps may be unknown in your dominions, if I had not
been certain of the cure I propose. What would not the world say
of my fickleness, if, after such great fatigues and so many
dangers as I have undergone in the pursuit, I should abandon this
generous enterprise? Even your majesty would lose that esteem you
have conceived for me. If I perish, I shall die with the
satisfaction of not having forfeited your good opinion. I beseech
your majesty therefore to keep me no longer from displaying the
certainty of my art, by the proof I am ready to afford."
The king now commanded the eunuch, who had the custody of the
princess, to introduce Kummir al Zummaun into her apartment: but
before he would let him go, reminded him once more that he was at
liberty to renounce his design; but the prince paid no regard to
this, and with astonishing resolution and eagerness followed the
When they had entered a long gallery, at the end of which was the
princess's apartment, the prince, who saw himself so near the
objets of his wishes, who had occasioned him so many tears,
pushed on, and got before the eunuch.
The eunuch redoubling his pace, with difficulty got up to him,
"Wither so fast?"" cried he, taking him by the arm; "you cannot
get in without me; and it should seem you have a great desire for
death, thus to run to it headlong. Not one of all those many
astrologers and magicians I have introduced before made such
haste as yourself, to a place whence I fear you will come but too
"Friend," replied the prince, looking earnestly on the eunuch,
and continuing his pace, "this was because none of the
astrologers you speak of were so confident in their art as I am:
they were certain indeed they should die, if they did not
succeed, .but they had no certainty of their success. On this
account they had reason to tremble on approaching this spot,
where I am sure to find my happiness." He had just spoken these
words when he reached the door. The eunuch opened it, and
introduced him into a great hall, whence was an entrance into the
princess's apartment, divided from it only by a piece of
The prince stopped before he entered, speaking more softly to the
eunuch for fear of being heard by the princess. "To convince
you," said he; "there is neither presumption, nor whim, nor
youthful conceit in my undertaking, I leave it to your choice
whether I shall cure the princess in her presence, or where we
are, without going any farther, or seeing her?"
The eunuch was amazed to hear the prince talk to him with such
confidence: he left off jeering, and said seriously to him, "It
is no matter where it is done, provided it be effected: cure her
how you will, if you succeed you will gain immortal honour, not
only in this court, but over all the world."
The prince replied, "It will be best then to cure her without
seeing her, that you may be witness of my skill; notwithstanding
my impatience to see a princess of her rank, who is to be my
wife, yet out of respect to you, I will deprive myself of that
pleasure for a little while." Being furnished with every thing
proper for an astrologer to carry about him, he took pen, ink,
and paper our of his pocket, and wrote the following billet to
"The impassioned Kummir al Zummaun cannot recite the
inexpressible pain he has endured since that fatal night in which
your charms deprived him of the liberty which he had resolved to
preserve. He only tells you that he devoted his heart to you in
your charming slumbers; those obstinate slumbers which hindered
him from beholding the brightness of your piercing eyes,
notwithstanding all his endeavours to oblige you to open them. He
presumed to present you with his ring as a token of his passion;
and to take yours in exchange, which he encloses. If you
condescend to return his as a reciprocal pledge of love, he will
esteem himself the happiest of mankind. If not, the sentence of
death, which your refusal must draw upon him, will be received
with resignation, since he will perish on account of his love for
When the prince had finished his billet, he folded it up, and
enclosed in it the princess's ring. "There, friend," said he to
the eunuch, "carry this to your mistress; if it does not cure her
as soon as she reads it, and sees what it contains, I give you
leave to tell every body, that I am the most ignorant and
impudent astrologer that ever existed."
The eunuch entering the princess of China's apartment, gave her
the packet, saying, "The boldest astrologer that ever lived is
arrived here, and pretends, that on reading this letter and
seeing what it encloses, you will be cured; I wish he may prove
neither a liar nor an impostor."
The princess Badoura took the billet, and opened it with
indifference: but when she saw the ring, she had not patience to
read it through: she rose hastily, broke the chain that held her,
ran to the door and opened it. They immediately recognized each
other, tenderly embraced, and without being able to speak for
excess of joy, looked at one another, wondering how they met
again after their first interview. The princess's nurse, who ran
to the door with her, made them come into her apartment, where
the princess Badoura gave the prince her ring, saying, "Take it,
I cannot keep it without restoring yours; which I will never part
with; neither can it be in better hands."
The eunuch went immediately to inform the king of China of what
had happened: "Sir," said he, "all the astrologers and doctors
who have hitherto pretended to cure the princess were fools
compared with the present. He made use neither of schemes nor
conjurations, of perfumes, nor any thing else, but cured her
without seeing her." The monarch was agreeably surprised at this
intelligence, and going to the princess's apartment, he embraced
her, and afterwards the prince, and taking his hand joined it to
the princess's, saying, "Happy stranger, whoever you are, I will
keep my word, and give you my daughter for your wife; though, by
what I see in you, it is impossible for me to believe you are
really what you pretend, and would have me take you to be."
Kummir al Zummaun thanked the king in the most humble
expressions, that he might the better shew his gratitude. "As for
my condition," said he, "I must own I am not an astrologer, as
your majesty has guessed; I only put on the habit of one, that I
might succeed the more easily in my ambition to be allied to the
most potent monarch in the world. I was born a prince, and the
son of a king and of a queen; my name is Kummir al Zummaun; my
father is Shaw Zummaun, who now reigns over the islands that are
well known by the name of the Islands of the Children of
Khaledan." He then related to him his history, and how wonderful
had been the origin of his love; that the princess's was
altogether as marvellous; and that both were confirmed by the
exchange of the two rings.
When the prince had done speaking, the king said to him, "This
history is so extraordinary, it deserves to be known to
posterity; I will take care it shall; and the original being
deposited in my royal archives, I will spread copies of it
abroad, that my own kingdoms and the kingdoms around me may know
The marriage was solemnized the same day, and the rejoicings were
universal all over the empire of China. Nor was Marzavan
forgotten: the king gave him an honourable post in his court, and
a promise of further advancement.
The prince and princess enjoyed the fulness of their wishes in
the sweets of marriage; and the king kept continual feastings for
several months, to manifest his joy on the occasion.
In the midst of these pleasures Kummir al Zummaun dreamt one
night that he saw his father on his bed at the point of death,
and heard him thus address his attendants: "My son, to whom I
gave birth; my son, whom I so tenderly loved whom I bred with so
much fondness, so much care, has abandoned me, and is himself the
cause of my death." He awoke with a profound sigh, which alarmed
the princess, who asked him the cause.
"Alas! my love," replied the prince, "perhaps at the very moment
while I am speaking, the king my father is no more." He then
acquainted her with his melancholy dream, which occasioned him so
much uneasiness. The princess, who studied to please him in every
thing, went to her father the next day, kissed his hand, and thus
addressed him: "I have a favour to beg of your majesty, and I
beseech you not to deny me; but that you may not believe I ask it
at the solicitation of the prince my husband, I assure you
beforehand he knows nothing of my request: it is, that you will
grant me your permission to go with him and visit his father."
"Daughter," replied the king, "though I shall be sorry to part
with you for so long a time as a journey to a place so distant
will require, yet I cannot disapprove of your resolution; it is
worthy of yourself: go, child, I give you leave, but on condition
that you stay no longer than a year in Shaw Zummaun's court. I
hope the king will agree to this, that we shall alternately see,
he his son and his daughter-in-law, and I my daughter and my son-
The princess communicated the king of China's consent to her
husband, who was transported to receive it, and returned her
thanks for this new token of her love.
The king of China gave orders for preparations to be made for
their departure; and when all things were ready, he accompanied
the prince and princess several days' journey on their way; they
parted at length with much affliction on both sides: the king
embraced them; and having desired the prince to be kind to his
daughter, and to love her always with the same tenderness he now
did, he left them to proceed, and to divert himself, hunted as he
returned to his capital.
When the prince and princess had recovered from their grief, they
comforted themselves with considering how glad Shaw Zummaun would
be to see them, and how they should rejoice to see the king.
After travelling about a month, they one day entered a plain of
great extent, planted at convenient distances with tall trees,
forming an agreeable shade. The day being unusually hot, the
prince thought it best to encamp there, and proposed it to
Badoura, who, having the same wish, the more readily consented.
They alighted in one of the finest spots; a tent was presently
set up; the princess, rising from the shade under which she had
sat down, entered it. The prince then ordered his attendants to
pitch their tents, and went himself to give directions. The
princess, weary with the fatigues of the journey, bade her women
untie her girdle, which they laid down by her; and she falling
asleep, they left her alone.
Kummir al Zummaun having seen all things in order, came to the
tent where the princess was sleeping: he entered, and sat down
without making any noise, intending to repose himself; but
observing the princess's girdle lying by her, he took it up, and
looked at the diamonds and rubies one by one. In viewing it he
observed a little purse hanging to it, sewed neatly on the stuff,
and tied fast with a riband; he felt it, and found it contained
something solid. Desirous to know what it was, he opened the
purse, and took out a cornelian, engraven with unknown figures
and characters. "This cornelian," said the prince to himself,
"must be something very valuable, or my princess would not carry
it with so much care." It was Badoura's talisman, which the queen
of China had given her daughter as a charm, that would keep her,
as she said, from any harm as long as she had it about her.
The prince, the better to look at the talisman, took it out to
the light, the tent being dark; and while he was holding it up in
his hand, a bird darted down from the air and snatched it away
One will easily conceive the concern and grief of the prince,
when he saw the bird fly away with the talisman. He was more
troubled than words can express, and cursed his unseasonable
curiosity, by which his dear princess had lost a treasure, that
was so precious, and so valued by her.
The bird having got its prize, settled on the ground not far off,
with the talisman in its mouth. The prince drew near it, hoping
it would drop it; but as he approached, the bird took wing, and
settled again on the ground further off. Kummir al Zummaun
followed, and the bird took a further flight: the prince being
very dexterous at a mark, thought to kill it with a stone, and
still pursued; the further it flew, the more eager he grew in
pursuing, keeping it always in view. Thus the bird drew him along
from hill to valley, and valley to hill, all the day, every step
leading him out of the way from the plain where he had left his
camp and the princess Badoura: and instead of perching at night
on a bush, where he might probably have taken it, roosted on a
high tree, safe from his pursuit. The prince, vexed to the heart
at having taken so much pains to no purpose, thought of
returning; "But," said he to himself, "which way shall I return?
Shall I go down the hills and valleys which I have passed overt'
Shall I wander in darkness? and will my strength bear me out? How
shall I dare appear before my princess without her talisman?"
Overwhelmed with such thoughts, and tired with the pursuit, sleep
came upon him, and he lay down under a tree, where he passed the
He awoke the next morning before the bird had left the tree, and
as soon as he saw it on the wing, followed it again the whole of
that day, with no better success than he had done the last,
eating nothing but herbs and fruits as he went. He did the same
for ten days together, pursuing the bird, and keeping it in view
from morning to night, lying always under the tree where it
roosted. On the eleventh day, the bird continued flying, and
Kummir al Zummaun pursuing it, came near a great city. When the
bird had reached the walls, it flew over them, and the prince saw
no more of it; so that he despaired of ever recovering the
princess Badoura's talisman.
The prince, whose grief was beyond expression, went into the
city, which was built on the seaside, and had a fine port; he
walked up and down the streets without knowing where he was, or
where to stop. At last he came to the port, in as great
uncertainty as ever what he should do. Walking along the shore,
he perceived the gate of a garden open, and an old gardener at
work in it; the good man looking up, saw he was a stranger and a
Moosulmaun, and asked him to come in, and shut the door after
Kummir al Zummaun entered, and demanded of the gardener why he
was so cautious? "Because," replied the old man, "I see you are a
stranger newly arrived; and this city is inhabited for the most
part by idolaters, who have a mortal aversion to us Moosulmauns,
and treat a few of us that are here with great barbarity. I
suppose you did not know this, and it is a miracle that you have
escaped as you have thus far: these idolaters being very apt to
fall upon strangers, or draw them into a snare. I bless God, who
has brought you into a place of safety."
Kummir al Zummaun thanked the honest gardener for his advice, and
the security he offered him in his house; he would have said
more, but the good man interrupted him, saying, "Let us leave
complimenting; you are weary, and must want to refresh yourself.
Come in, and rest." He conducted him into his little hut; and
after the prince had eaten heartily of what he set before him,
with a cordiality that charmed him, he requested him to relate
how he had come there.
The prince complied; and when he had finished his story, without
concealing any part of it, asked him which was the nearest route
to his father's territories; saying, "It is in vain for me to
think of finding my princess where I left her, after wandering
eleven days from the spot by so extraordinary an adventure. Ah!"
continued he, "how do I know she is alive?" and saying this, he
burst into tears. The gardener replied, "There was no possibility
of his going thither by land, the ways were so difficult, and the
journey so long; besides, there was no accommodation for his
subsistence; or, if there were, he must necessarily pass through
the countries of so many barbarous nations, that he would never
reach his father's. It was a year's journey from the city where
he then was to any country inhabited only by Moosulmauns; that
the quickest passage for him would be to go to the isle of Ebene,
whence he might easily transport himself to the isles of the
children of Khaledan; that a ship sailed from the port every year
to Ebene, and he might take that opportunity of returning to
those islands. "The ship departed," said he, "but a few days ago;
if you had come a little sooner, you might have taken your
passage in it. You must wait till it makes the voyage again, and
if you will stay with me and accept of my house, such as it is,
you shall be as welcome to it as to your own."
The prince was glad he had met with such an asylum, in a place
where he had no acquaintance. He accepted the offer, and lived
with the gardener till the time arrived that the ship was to sail
to the isle of Ebene. He spent the interval in working by day in
the garden, and passing the night in sighs, tears, and
complaints, thinking of his dear princess Badoura. We must leave
him in this place, to return to the princess, whom we left asleep
in her tent.
The princess slept a long time, and when she awoke, wondered that
the prince was not with her; she called her women, and asked if
they knew where he was. They told her they saw him enter the
tent, but did not see him go out. While they were talking to her,
she took up her girdle, found her little purse open, and that the
talisman was gone. She did not doubt but that the prince had
taken it to see what it was, and that he would bring it back with
him. She waited for him impatiently till night, and could not
imagine what made him stay away from her so long.
When it was quite dark, and she could hear no tidings of him, she
fell into violent grief: she cursed the talisman, and him that
made it; and, had not she been restrained by duty, would have
cursed the queen her mother, who had given her such a fatal
present. She was the more troubled, because she could not imagine
how her talisman should have caused the prince's separation from
her; she did not however lose her judgment, and came to a
courageous resolution, not common with persons of her sex.
Only herself and her women knew of the prince's absence; for his
men were reposing or asleep in their tents. The princess, fearing
they would betray her, if they had any knowledge of this
circumstance, moderated her grief, and forbade her women to say
or do any thing that might create the least suspicion. She then
laid aside her own habit, and put on one of Kummir al Zummaun's.
She was so much like him, that the next day, when she came
abroad, the male attendants took her for the prince.
She commanded them to pack up their baggage and begin their
march; and when all things were ready, she ordered one of her
women to go into her litter, she herself mounting on horseback,
and riding by her side.
She travelled several months by land and sea; the princess
continuing the journey under the name of Kummir al Zummaun. They
touched at Ebene in their way to the isles of the children of
Khaledan, and went to the capital of the island, where a king
reigned, whose name was Armanos. The persons who first landed,
giving out that the ship carried prince Kummir al Zummaun, who
was returning from a long voyage, and was forced in by a storm,
the news of his arrival was soon carried to court.
King Armanos, accompanied by his courtiers' went immediately to
wait on the prince, and met the princess just as she was landing,
and going to the palace that had been prepared for her. He
received her as the son of a king, who was his friend, and with
whom he always kept up a good understanding: he conducted her to
the palace, where an apartment was prepared for her and all her
attendants; though she would fain have excused herself. He shewed
her all possible honour, and entertained her three days together
with extraordinary magnificence. At the end of this time king
Armanos understanding that the princess intended proceeding on
her voyage, charmed with the air and qualities of such an
accomplished prince, as he supposed her, took an opportunity when
she was alone, and spoke to her in this manner: "You see, prince,
that I am old, and to my great mortification have not a son to
whom I may leave my crown. Heaven has only blest me with one
daughter, whose beauty cannot be better matched than with a
prince of your rank and accomplishments. Instead of going home,
stay and accept my crown, which I will resign in your favour. It
is time for me to rest, and nothing could be a greater pleasure
to me in my retirement, than to see my people ruled by so worthy
a successor to my throne."
The king's offer to bestow his only daughter in marriage, and
with her his kingdom, on the princess Badoura, put her into
unexpected perplexity. She thought it would not become a princess
of her rank to undeceive the king, and to own that she was not
prince Kummir al Zummaun, whose part she had hitherto acted so
well. She was also afraid to decline the honour he offered her,
lest, being so much bent upon the conclusion of the marriage, his
kindness might turn to aversion, and he might attempt something
even against her life.
These considerations, added to the prospect of obtaining a
kingdom for the prince her husband, in case she found him again,
determined her to accept the proposal of king Armanos, and marry
his daughter. After having stood silent for some minutes, she
with blushes, which the king took for a sign of modesty,
answered, "I am infinitely obliged to your majesty for your good
opinion of me, for the honour you do me, and the great favour you
offer, which I cannot pretend to merit, and dare not refuse."
"But," continued she, "I cannot accept this great alliance on any
other condition, than that your majesty will assist me with your
counsels, and that I do nothing without having first obtained
The marriage treaty being thus concluded, the ceremony was put
off till the next day. In the mean time princess Badoura gave
notice to her officers, who still took her for their prince, of
what she was about to do, that they might not be surprised,
assuring them the princess Badoura consented. She talked also to
her women, and charged them to continue to keep the secret she
had entrusted to them.
The king of the isle of Ebene, rejoicing that he had found a son-
in-law so much to his satisfaction, next morning summoned his
council, and acquainted them with his design of marrying his
daughter to prince Kummir al Zummaun, whom he introduced to them,
and told them he resigned the crown to him, and required them to
acknowledge him for their king, and swear fealty to him. Having
said this, he descended from his throne, and the princess
Badoura, by his order, ascended it. As soon as the council broke
up, the new king was proclaimed through the city, rejoicings were
appointed for several days, and couriers despatched over all the
kingdom, to see the same ceremonies observed with the usual
demonstrations of joy.
At night there were extraordinary feastings at the palace, and
the princess Haiatalnefous was conducted to the princess Badoura,
whom every body took for a man, dressed like a royal bride: the
wedding was solemnized with the utmost splendour: they were left
together, and retired to bed. In the morning, while the princess
Badoura went to receive the compliments of the nobility in the
hall of audience, where they congratulated her on her marriage
and accession to the throne, king Armanos and his queen went to
the apartment of their daughter to inquire after her health.
Instead of answering, she held down her head, and by her looks
they saw plainly enough that she was disappointed.
King Armanos, to comfort the princess Haiatalnefous, bade her not
be troubled. "Prince Kummir al Zummaun," said he, "when he landed
here might think only of going to his father's court. Though we
have engaged him to stay by arguments, with which he ought to be
well satisfied, yet it is probable he grieves at being so
suddenly deprived of the hopes of seeing either his father or any
of his family. You must wait till those first emotions of filial
love are over; he will then conduct himself towards you as a good
husband ought to do."
The princess Badoura, under the name and character of Kummir al
Zummaun, the king of Ebene, spent the whole day in receiving the
compliments of the courtiers and the nobility of the. kingdom who
were in and about the city, and in reviewing the regular troops
of her household; and entered on the administration of affairs
with so much dignity and judgment, that she gained the general
applause of all who were witnesses of her conduct.
It was evening before she returned to queen Haiatalnefous's
apartment, and she perceived by the reception she gave her, that
the bride was not at all pleased with the preceding night. She
endeavoured to dissipate her grief by a long conversation, in
which she employed all the wit she had (and she possessed a good
share), to persuade her she loved her entirely. She then gave her
time to go to bed, and while she was undressing she went to her
devotions; her prayers were so long, that queen Haiatalnefous was
asleep before they were ended. She then left off, and lay down
softly by the new queen, without waking her, and was as much
afflicted at being forced to act a part which did not belong to
her, as in the loss of her dear Kummir al Zummaun, for whom she:
ceased not to sigh. She rose as soon as it was day, before
Haiatalnefous was awake; and, being dressed in her royal robes as
king, went to council.
King Armanos, as he had done the day before, came early to visit
the queen his daughter, whom he found in tears; he wanted nothing
more to be informed of the cause of her trouble. Provoked at the
contempt, as he thought, put upon his daughter, of which he could
not imagine the reason: "Daughter," said he, "have patience for
another night. I raised your husband to the throne, and can pull
him down again, and drive him thence with shame, unless he shews
you proper regard. His treatment of you has provoked me so much,
I cannot tell to what my resentment may transport me; the affront
is as great to me as to you."
It was late again before the princess Badoura came to queen
Haiatalnefous. She talked to her as she had done the night
before, and after the same manner went to her devotions, desiring
the queen to go to bed. But Haiatalnefous would not be so served;
she held her back, and obliged her to sit down. "Tell me, I
beseech you," said she, "what can you dislike in a princess of my
youth and beauty, who not only loves but adores you, and thinks
herself the happiest of women in having so amiable a prince for
her husband. Any body but me would be not merely offended but
shocked by the slight, or rather the unpardonable affront you
have put upon me, and abandon you to your evil destiny. However,
though I did not love you so well as I do, yet out of pure good-
nature and humanity, which makes me pity the misfortunes of
persons for whom I am less concerned, I cannot forbear telling
you, that the king my father is enraged against you for your
behaviour towards me, and to-morrow will make you feel the weight
of his just anger, if you continue to neglect me as you have
hitherto done. Do not therefore drive to despair a princess, who,
notwithstanding all your ill usage, cannot help loving you."
This address embarrassed the princess Badoura inexpressibly. She
did not doubt the truth of what Haiatalnefous had said. King
Armanos's coldness to her the day before had given her but too
much reason to see he was highly dissatisfied with her. The only
way to justify her conduit was, to communicate her sex to the
princess Haiatalnefous. But though she had foreseen she should be
under a necessity of making such a discovery to her, yet her
uncertainty as to the manner in which she would receive it, made
her tremble; but, considering that if Kummir al Zummaun was
alive, he must necessarily touch at the isle of Ebene in his way
to his father's kingdom, she ought to preserve herself for his
sake; and that it was impossible to do this, if she did not let
the princess Haiatalnefous know who and what she was, she
resolved to venture the experiment.
The princess Badoura stood as one who had been struck dumb, and
Haiatalnefous being impatient to hear what she could say, was
about to speak to her again, when she prevented her by these
words: "Lovely and too charming princess! I own I have been in
the wrong, and I condemn myself for it; but I hope you will
pardon me, and keep the secret I am going to reveal to you for my
She then opened her bosom, and proceeded thus: "See, princess, if
a woman like yourself does not deserve to be forgiven. I believe
you will be so generous, at least when you know my story, and the
afflicting circumstance that forced me to act the part I have
The princess Badoura having discovered her sex to the princess of
the isle of Ebene, she again prayed her to keep the secret, and
to pretend to be satisfied with her as a husband, till the
prince's arrival, which she hoped would be in a little time.
"Princess," replied Haiatalnefous, "your fortune is indeed
strange, that a marriage, so happy as yours, should be shortened
by so unaccountable an accident, after a passion so reciprocal
and full of wonders. Pray heaven you may soon meet with your
husband again, and assure yourself I will keep religiously the
secret committed to me. It will be to me the greatest pleasure in
the world to be the only person in the great kingdom of the isle
of Ebene who knows what and who you are, while you go on
governing the people as happily as you have begun. I only ask of
you at present to be your friend." Then the two princesses
tenderly embraced each other, and after a thousand expressions of
mutual friendship lay down to rest.
The two princesses having decided on a way to make belief that
the marriage had been consummated: queen Haiatalnefous's women
were deceived themselves next morning, and it deceived Armanos,
his queen, and the whole court. From this time the princess
Badoura rose in the king's esteem and affection, governing the
kingdom peaceably and prosperously.
While things passed as already mentioned in the court of the isle
of Ebene, prince Kummir al Zummaun remained in the city of
idolaters with the gardener, who had offered him his house for a
retreat till the ship should sail to convey him away.
One morning early, when the prince was as usual preparing to work
in the garden, the gardener prevented him, saying, "This day is a
great festival among the idolaters, and because they abstain from
all work themselves, to spend the time in their assemblies and
public rejoicings, they will not let the Moosulmauns labour; who,
to gain their favour, generally attend their shows, which are
worth seeing. You will therefore have nothing to do to-day: I
leave you here. As the time approaches, at which it is usual for
the ship to sail for the isle of Ebene, I will call on some of my
friends to know when it will depart, and secure you a passage."
The gardener put on his best apparel, and went out.
When the prince was alone, instead of going out to share in the
public joy of the city, his solitude brought to his mind, with
more than usual violence, the loss of his dear princess. He
walked up and down the garden sighing and lamenting, till the
noise which two birds made on a neighbouring tree led him to lift
up his head, to see what was the matter.
Kummir al Zummaun was surprised to observe that the birds were
fighting furiously: in a very little while, one of them fell down
dead at the foot of the tree; the victorious bird took wing
again, and flew away.
In an instant, two other large birds, that had beheld the battle
at a distance, came from the other side of the garden, and
pitched on the ground, one at the feet, and the other at the head
of the dead bird: they looked at it for some time, shaking their
heads in token of grief; after which they dug a grave with their
talons, and buried it.
When they had filled up the grave with the earth they had turned
up, they flew away, but returned in a few minutes, bringing with
them the bird that had committed the murder, one holding one of
its wings in its beak, and the other one of its legs; the
criminal all the while crying out in a doleful manner, and
struggling to escape. They carried it to the grave of the bird
which it had lately sacrificed to its rage, and there killed it
in just revenge for the murder it had committed. They opened its
belly, tore out the entrails, left the body on the spot unburied,
and flew away.
The prince had remained in astonishment all the time that he
stood beholding this singular spectacle. He now drew near the
tree where this scene had passed, and casting his eyes on the
scattered entrails of the bird that had been last killed, spied
something red hanging out of the stomach. He took it up, and
found it was his beloved princess Badoura's talisman, which had
cost him so much pain and sorrow, and so many sighs, since the
bird had snatched it out of his hand. "Ah, cruel!" said he to
himself; still looking on the bird, "thou took'st delight in
doing mischief, so I have the less reason to complain of that
which thou didst to me: but the greater it was, the more do I
wish well to those that revenged my quarrel, punishing thee for
the murder of one of their own kind."
It is impossible to express the prince's joy: "Dear princess,"
continued he to himself, "this happy minute, which restores to me
a treasure so precious to thee, is, without doubt, a presage of
our meeting again, and perhaps sooner than I think of. Thank
heaven who sent me this good fortune, and gives me hope of the
greatest felicity that my heart can desire."
Saying this, he kissed the talisman, wrapped it up in a riband,
and tied it carefully about his arm. He had been almost every
night a stranger to rest, the recollection of his misfortunes
keeping him awake, but this night he enjoyed calm repose: he rose
somewhat later the next morning than he used to do, and went to
the gardener for orders. The good man bade him root up an old
tree which bore no fruit.
Kummir al Zummaun took an axe and began his work. In cutting off
a branch of the root, he found his axe struck against something
that resisted the blow. He removed the earth, and discovered a
broad plate of brass, under which was a staircase of ten steps.
He went down, and at the bottom saw a cavity about six yards
square with fifty brass urns placed in order, each with a cover
over it. He opened them all, one after another, and found they
were all of them full of gold-dust. He came out of the cave,
rejoicing that he had found such a vast treasure, put the brass
plate on the staircase, and had the tree rooted up by the
The gardener had ascertained that the ship which was bound for
the isle of Ebene, would sail in a few days, but the exact time
was not yet fixed. His friend promised to let him know the day,
if he called upon him on the morrow; and while the prince was
rooting up the tree, he went to have his answer. He returned with
a joyful countenance, by which the prince guessed he brought him
good news. "Son," said the old man (so he always called him on
account of the difference of years between him and the prince)
"be joyful, and prepare to embark in three days; the ship will
then certainly sail; I have agreed with the captain for your
"In my present situation," replied Kummir al Zummaun, "you could
not bring me more agreeable intelligence; and in return, I have
also tidings that will be as welcome to you: come along with me,
and you shall see what good fortune heaven has in store for you."
The prince led the gardener to the place where he had rooted up
the tree, made him go down into the cave, shewed him what a
treasure he had discovered, thanking Providence for rewarding his
virtue, and the pains he had been at for so many years. "What do
you mean?" replied the gardener: "do you imagine I will take
these riches as mine? The property is yours: I have no right to
it. For fourscore years, since my father's death, I have done
nothing but dig in this garden, and could not discover this
treasure, which is a sign it was destined for you, since God has
permitted you to find it. It is better suited to a prince like
you than to me; I have one foot in the grave, and am in no want
of any thing. Providence has bestowed it upon you, just when you
are returning to that country, which will one day be your own,
where you will make good use of it."
Kummir al Zummaun would not be surpassed in generosity by the
gardener. They disputed for some time. At last the prince
solemnly protested, that he would have none of it, unless the
gardener would divide it with him. The good man, to please the
prince, consented; so they shared it between them, and each had
"Having thus divided it, son," said the gardener to the prince,
"it is not enough that you have got this treasure; we must now
contrive to carry it privately aboard, otherwise you will run the
risk of losing it. There are no olives in the isle of Ebene,
those that are exported hence are a good commodity there: you
know I have plenty of them, take what you will; fill fifty pots,
half with the gold-dust and half with olives, and I will get them
carried to the ship when you embark."
The prince followed this advice, and spent the rest of the day in
packing up the gold and the olives in the fifty pots, and fearing
the talisman, which he wore on his arm, might be lost again, he
carefully put it into one of the pots, with a particular mark to
distinguish it from the rest. When they were all ready to be
shipped, night coming on, the prince retired with the gardener,
and related to him the battle of the birds, with the circumstance
by which he had found the talisman. The gardener was equally
surprised and joyful to hear it on his account. Whether the old
man was quite worn out with age, or had exhausted himself too
much that day, the gardener had a very bad night; he grew worse
the next day, and on the third day, when the prince was to
embark, was so ill, that it was plain he was near his end. As
soon as day broke, the captain of the ship came with several
seamen to the gardener's; they knocked at the garden-door, which
the prince opened to them. They asked him for the passenger who
was to go with them. The prince answered, "I am he; the gardener
who agreed with you for my passage is sick, and cannot be spoken
with; come in, and let your men carry those pots of olives and my
baggage aboard for me; I will only take leave of the gardener,
and follow you."
The seamen took the pots and the baggage, and the captain bade
the prince make haste, the wind being fair.
When the captain and his men were gone, Kummir al Zummaun went to
the gardener to take his leave of him, and thanked him for all
his good offices; but found him in the agonies of death, and had
scarcely time to bid him rehearse the articles of his faith,
which all good Moosulmauns do before they die, before the
The prince being under the necessity of embarking immediately,
hastened to pay the last duty to the deceased. He washed his
body, buried him in his own garden, and having nobody to assist
him, it was almost evening before he had put him into the ground.
As soon as he had done, he ran to the water-side, carrying with
him the key of the garden, designing, if he had time, to give it
to the landlord; otherwise to deposit it in some trusty person's
hand before a witness, that he might have it after he was gone.
When he reached the port, he was told the ship had sailed several
hours, and was already out of sight. It had waited three hours
for him, and the wind standing fair, the captain durst not stay
It is easy to imagine that Kummir al Zummaun was exceedingly
grieved at being forced to remain longer in a country where he
neither had, nor wished to have, any acquaintance; to think that
he must wait another year for the opportunity he had lost. But
the greatest affliction of all was, his having parted with the
princess Badoura's talisman, which he now considered lost. The
only course left him was to return to the garden from whence he
had come, to rent it of the landlord and continue to cultivate it
by himself, deploring his misery and misfortunes. He hired a boy
to assist him to do some part of the drudgery: that he might not
lose the other half of the treasure which came to him by the
death of the gardener, who died without heirs, he put the gold-
dust into fifty other jars, which he filled up with olives, to be
ready against the ship's return.
While the prince was beginning another year of labour, sorrow,
and impatience, the ship having a fair wind, continued her voyage
to the isle of Ebene, and happily arrived at the capital.
The palace being by the sea side, the new king, or rather the
princess Badoura, espying the ship as she was entering into the
port, with all her flags, asked what vessel it was: she was
answered, that it came annually from the city of the idolaters,
and was generally richly laden.
The princess, who always had Kummir al Zummaun in her mind,
imagined that the prince might be aboard; and resolved to visit
the ship and meet him, without discovering herself; but to
observe him, and take proper measures for their making themselves
mutually known. Under pretence of inquiring what merchandize was
on board, and having the first sight of the goods, she commanded
a horse to be brought, which she mounted, accompanied by several
officers in waiting, and arrived at the port, just as the captain
came ashore. She ordered him to be brought before her, asked
whence he had come, how long he had been on his voyage, and what
good or bad fortune he had met with: if he had no stranger of
quality aboard, and particularly with what his ship was laden.
The captain gave a satisfactory answer to all her demands; and as
to passengers, assured her there were none but merchants in his
ship, who used to come every year, and bring rich stuffs from
several parts of the world to trade with, the finest linens
painted and plain, diamonds, musk, ambergris, camphire, civet,
spices, drugs, olives, and many other articles.
The princess Badoura loved olives extremely when she heard the
captain speak of them, "Land them," said she, "I will take them
off your hands; as to the other goods, tell the merchants to
bring them to me, and let me see them before they dispose of, or
shew them to any one."
The captain taking her for the king of the isle of Ebene,
replied, "Sire, there are fifty great jars of olives, but they
belong to a merchant whom I was forced to leave behind. I gave
him notice myself that I stayed for him, and waited a long time,
but he not coming, and the wind offering, I was afraid of losing
the opportunity, and so set sail." The princess answered, "No
matter, bring them ashore; we will nevertheless make a bargain
The captain sent the boat, which in a little time returned with
the olives. The princess demanded how much the fifty jars might
be worth in the isle of Ebene? "Sir," replied the captain, "the
merchant is very poor, and your majesty will do him a singular
favour if you give him one thousand pieces of silver."
"To satisfy him," said the princess, "and because you tell me he
is poor, I will order you one thousand pieces of gold for him,
which do you take care to give him." The money was accordingly
paid, and the jars carried to the palace.
Night drawing on the princess withdrew into the inner palace, and
went to the princess Haiatalnefous's apartment, ordering the
olives to be brought thither. She opened one jar to let the
princess Haiatalnefous taste them, and poured them into a dish.
Great was her astonishment, when she found the olives were
mingled with gold-dust. "What can this mean!" said she, "It is
wonderful beyond comprehension." Her curiosity increasing from so
extraordinary an adventure, she ordered Haiatalnefous's women to
open and empty all the jars in her presence; and her wonder was
still greater, when she saw that the olives in all of them were
mixed with gold-dust; but when she saw her talisman drop out, she
was so surprised that she fainted away. Haiatalnefous and her
women brought the princess to herself, by throwing cold water in
her face. When she recovered, she took the talisman, and kissed
it again and again; but not being willing that the princess
Haiatalnefous's women, who were ignorant of her disguise, should
hear what she said, and it growing late, she dismissed them.
"Princess," said she to Haiatalnefous, as soon as they were gone,
"you who have heard my story, doubtless, guessed it was at the
sight of the talisman that I fainted. This is that talisman, and
the fatal cause of my dosing my husband; but as it was that which
caused our separation, so I foresee it will be the means of our
The next day, as soon as it was light, she sent for the captain
of the ship; and when he came, spoke to him thus: "I want to know
something more of the merchant to whom the olives belong, that I
bought of you yesterday. I think you told me you left him behind
in the city of the idolaters; can you tell me what is his
"Yes," replied the captain, "I can speak from my own knowledge. I
agreed for his passage with a very old gardener, who told me I
should find him in his garden, where he worked under him. He
shewed me the place, and for that reason I told your majesty he
was poor. I went thither to call him. I told him what haste I was
in, spoke to him myself in the garden, and cannot be mistaken in
"If what you say is true," replied the princess, "you must set
sail this very day for the city of idolaters, and bring me that
gardener's man, who is my debtor; else I will not only confiscate
all your goods and those of your merchants, but your life and
theirs shall answer for his. I have ordered my seal to be put on
the warehouses where their goods are deposited, which shall not
be taken off till your return: this is all I have to say to you;
go and do as I command you."
The captain could make no reply to this order, the disobeying of
which must have proved of such loss to him and his merchants. He
acquainted them with it; and they hastened him away as fast as
they could, after he had laid in a stock of provisions and fresh
water for his voyage.
They were so diligent, that he set sail the same day. He had a
prosperous voyage to the city of the idolaters, where he arrived
in the night. When he was got as near the city as he thought
convenient, he would not cast anchor, but lay to off shore; and
going into his boat, with six of his stoutest seamen, landed a
little way off the port, whence he went directly to the garden of
Kummir al Zummaun.
Though it was about midnight when he came there, the prince was
not asleep. His separation from the fair princess of China his
wife afflicted him as usual. He cursed the minute in which his
curiosity tempted him to touch the fatal girdle.
Thus was he passing those hours which are devoted to rest, when
he heard somebody knock at the garden-door: he ran hastily to it;
but he had no sooner opened it than the captain and his seamen
took hold of him, and carried him to the boat, and so on ship-
board. As soon as he was safely lodged, they set sail, and made
the best of their way to the isle of Ebene.
Hitherto Kummir al Zummaun, the captain, and his men, had not
said a word to one another; at last the prince asked the captain,
whom he knew again, why they had taken him away by force? The
captain in his turn demanded of the prince, whether he was not a
debtor of the king of Ebene? "I the king of Ebene's debtor!"
replied the prince in amazement; "I do not know him, and have
never set foot in his kingdom." The captain answered, "You should
know that better than I; you will talk to him yourself in a
little while; till then stay here and have patience."
The captain was not long on his voyage back to the isle of Ebene.
Though it was night when he cast anchor in the port, he landed
immediately, and taking his prisoner with him, hastened to the
palace, where he demanded to be introduced to the king.
The princess Badoura had withdrawn into the inner palace, but as
soon as she heard of the captain's return, she came out to speak
to him. Immediately as she cast her eyes on the prince, for whom
she had shed so many tears, she recognized him in his gardener's
habit. As for the prince, who trembled in the presence of a king,
as he thought her, to whom he was to answer for an imaginary
debt, it could not enter into his thoughts, that the person whom
he so earnestly desired to see stood before him. If the princess
had followed the dictates of her inclination, she would have run
to him, and, by embracing, discovered herself to him; but she put
a constraint on herself, believing that it was for the interest
of both that she should act the king a little longer before she
made herself known. She contented herself for the present to put
him into the hands of an officer, who was then in waiting,
charging him to take care of him, and use him well, till the next
When the princess Badoura had provided for Kummir al Zummaun, she
turned to the captain, whom she was now to reward for the
important service he had done her. She commanded another officer
to go immediately to take the seal off the warehouse which
contained his goods, and gave him a rich diamond, worth much more
than the expense he had been at in both his voyages. She also
bade him keep the thousand pieces of gold she had given for the
olives, telling him she would make up the account with the
merchant whom he had brought with him.
This done, she returned to the princess of the isle of Ebene's
apartment, to whom she communicated her joy, praying her to keep
the secret still. She told how she intended to manage the
discovering of herself to Kummir al Zumrnaun, and resignation of
the kingdom to him; adding, there was so vast a distance between
a gardener, as he would appear to the public, and a great prince,
that it might be dangerous to raise him at once from the lowest
condition of the people to the highest honour, however justice
might require it should be done. The princess of the isle of
Ebene was so far from betraying her, that she rejoiced with her,
and entered into the design.
The next morning the princess of China ordered Kummir al Zummaun
to be conducted early to the bath, and then to be appareled in
the robes of an emir or governor of a province. She commanded him
to be introduced into the council, where his fine person and
majestic air drew upon him the eyes of all the lords present.
The princess Badoura herself was charmed to see him look as
lovely as ever, and her pleasure inspired her to speak the more
warmly in his praise. When she spoke to the council, having
ordered the prince to take his seat among the emirs, she
addressed them thus: "My lords, Kummir al Zummaun, whom I have
advanced to the same dignity with yourselves, is not unworthy of
the place assigned him. I have known enough of him in my travels
to answer for him, and I can assure you he will make his merit
known to all of you, as well by his velour, as by a thousand
other brilliant qualities, and the extent of his genius."
The prince was extremely amazed to hear the king of the isle of
Ebene, whom he was far from taking for a woman, much less for his
dear princess, name him, and declare that he knew him, while he
thought himself certain he had never seen him before. He was much
more surprised when he heard him praise him so highly. Those
praises however from the mouth of majesty did not disconcert him,
though he received them with such modesty, as shewed that he
deserved them. He prostrated himself before the throne of the
king, and rising again, said, "Sire, I want words to express my
gratitude to your majesty for the honour you have done me; I
shall do all in my power to render myself worthy of your royal
From the council-board the prince was conducted to a palace,
which the princess Badoura had ordered to be fitted up for him;
where he found officers and domestics ready to obey his commands,
a stable full of fine horses, and every thing suitable to the
quality of an emir. When he was in his closet, the steward of his
household brought him a strong box full of gold for his expenses.
The less he could conceive whence his happiness proceeded, the
more he wondered, but he never once imagined that he owed it to
the princess of China.
Two or three days after, the princess Badoura, that he might be
nearer her person and in a more distinguished post, made him high
treasurer, which office had lately become vacant. He conducted
himself in his new charge with so much integrity, yet obliging
every body, that he not only gained the friendship of the great,
but also the affections of the people, by his uprightness and
Kummir al Zummaun had been the happiest man in the world, to see
himself in so high favour with a foreign king as he conceived,
and increasing in the esteem of all his subjects, if he had had
his princess with him. In the midst of his good fortune he never
ceased lamenting her, and grieved that he could hear no tidings
of her, especially in a country which she must necessarily have
visited in her way to his father's court after their separation.
He would have mistrusted something, had the princess still gone
by the name of Kummir al Zummaun, which she took with his habit;
but on her accession to the throne, she had changed it, and taken
that of Armanos, in honour of the old king her father-in-law.
The princess desiring that her husband should owe the discovery
of her to herself alone, resolved to put an end to her own
torments and his; for she had observed, that as often as she
discoursed with him about the affairs of office, he heaved such
deep sighs, as could be addressed to nobody but her. While she
herself lived in such a constraint, that she could endure it no
The princess Badoura had no sooner formed her resolution in
concert with the princess Haiatalnefous, than she the same day
took Kummir al Zummaun aside, saying, "I must talk with you about
an affair which requires much consideration, and on which I want
your advice. As I do not see how it can be done so conveniently
as in the night, come hither in the evening, and leave word at
home not to be waited for; I will take care to provide you a
Kummir al Zummaun came punctually to the palace at the hour
appointed by the princess; she took him with her into the inner
apartment, and having told the chief eunuch, who prepared to
follow her, that she had no occasion for his service, conducted
him into a different apartment from that of the princess
Haiatalnefous, where she used to sleep.
When the prince and princess entered the chamber, she shut the
door, and taking the talisman out of a little box, gave it to
Kummir al Zummaun, saying, "It is not long since an astrologer
presented me with this talisman; you being skilful in all things,
may perhaps tell me its use."
Kummir al Zummaun took the talisman, and drew near a lamp to view
it. As soon as he recollected it, with an astonishment which gave
the princess great pleasure, "Sire," said he to the prince, "your
majesty asked me the use of this talisman. Alas! its only purpose
is to kill me with grief and despair, if I do not quickly find
the most charming and lovely princess in the world to whom it
belonged, whose loss it occasioned me by a strange adventure, the
recital of which will move your majesty to pity such an
unfortunate husband and lover as I am."
"You shall tell me the particulars another time," replied the
princess; "I know something of them already: remain here a
little, and I will soon return to you."
At these words she went into her closet, put off her royal
turban, and in a few minutes dressed herself in her female
attire; and having the girdle round her, which she had on the day
of their separation, re-entered the chamber.
Kummir al Zummaun immediately recognized his dear princess, ran
to her, and tenderly embraced her, exclaiming, "How much am I
obliged to the king who has so agreeably surprised me!" "Do not
expect to see the king any more," replied the princess, embracing
him in her turn, with tears in her eyes: "you see him in me; sit
down, and I will explain this enigma to you."
They seated themselves, and the princess related the plan she had
formed in the plain where they were encamped the last time they
were together, as soon as she perceived she waited for him to no
purpose; how she went through with it till she arrived at the
isle of Ebene, where she had been obliged to marry the princess
Haiatalnefous, and accept of the crown, which king Armanos
offered her as a condition of the marriage: how the princess,
whose merit she highly extolled, had obliged her to make
declaration of her sex: and how she found the talisman in the
pots of olives mingled with the gold-dust, which she had bought,
and how this circumstance had proved the cause of her sending for
him from the city of the idolaters.
When she had concluded her adventure, she obliged the prince to
tell her by what means the talisman had occasioned their
separation. He satisfied her inquiries; after which, it growing
late, they retired to rest.
The princess Badoura and Kummir al Zummaun rose next morning as
soon as it was light, but the princess would no more put on her
royal robes as king; she dressed herself in her female attire,
and then sent the chief eunuch to king Armanos, her father-in-
law, to desire he would oblige her by coming to her apartment.
When the king entered the chamber, he was amazed at seeing a lady
who was unknown to him, and the high treasurer with her, who was
not by etiquette permitted to come within the inner palace. He
sat down, and asked where the king was.
The princess answered, "Yesterday I was king, but to-day I am
only princess of China, wife to the true prince Kummir al
Zummaun. If your majesty will have patience to hear our
adventures, I hope you will not condemn me for putting an
innocent deceit upon you." The king bade her go on, and heard her
narrative from beginning to end with astonishment. The princess
on finishing said to him, "Sir, though women do not easily comply
with the liberty assumed by men to have several wives; yet if
your majesty will consent to give your daughter the princess
Haiatalnefous in marriage to the prince, I will with all my heart
yield up to her the rank and quality of queen, which of right
belongs to her, and content myself with the second place. If this
precedence were not her due, I would resign it to her, after the
obligation I have to her for keeping my secret so generously. If
your majesty refer it to her consent, I am sure of that, having
already consulted her; and I will pass my word that she will be
very well satisfied."
King Armanos listened to the princess with astonishment, and when
she had done, turned to Kummir al Zummaun, saying, "Son, since
the princess Badoura your wife, whom I have all along thought to
be my son-in-law, through a deceit of which I cannot complain,
assures me, that she will divide your bed with my daughter; I
would know if you are willing to marry her, and accept of the
crown, which the princess Badoura would deservedly wear, if she
did not quit it out of love to you." "Sir," replied Kummir al
Zummaun, "though I desire nothing so earnestly as to see the king
my father, yet the obligations I have to your majesty and the
princess Haiatalnefous are so weighty, I can refuse her nothing."
The prince was then proclaimed king, and married the same day
with all possible demonstrations of joy; and had every reason to
be well pleased with the princess Haiatalnefous's beauty, wit,
and love for him.
The two queens lived together afterwards on the same friendly
terms and in the same cordiality as they had done before, both
being contented with Kummir al Zummaun's equal carriage towards
The next year each brought him a son at the same time, and the
births of the two princes were celebrated with extraordinary
rejoicings: the first, whom the princess Badoura was delivered
of, was named Amgiad (most illustrious); and the other, born of
queen Haiatalnefous, Assad (most virtuous).
The Story of the Princes Amgiad and Assad.
The two princes were brought up with great care; and, when they
were old enough, had the same governor, the same instructors in
the arts and sciences, and the same master for each exercise. The
affection which from their infancy they conceived for each other
occasioned an uniformity of manners and inclination, which
increased it. When they were of an age to have separate
households, they loved one another so tenderly, that they begged
the king to let them live together. He consented, and they had
the same domestics, the same equipages, the same apartment, and
the same table. Kummir al Zummaun had formed so good an opinion
of their capacity and integrity, that he made no scruple of
admitting them into his council at the age of eighteen, and
letting them, by turns, preside there, while he took the
diversion of hunting, or amused himself with his queens at his
houses of pleasure.
The princes being equally handsome, the two queens loved them
with incredible tenderness; but the princess Badoura had a
greater kindness for prince Assad, queen Haiatalnefous's son,
than for her own; and queen Haiatalnefous loved Amgiad, the
princess Badoura's son, better than her own son Assad.
The two queens thought at first this inclination was nothing but
a regard which proceeded from an excess of their own friendship
for each other, which they still preserved: but as the two
princes advanced in years, that friendship grew into a violent
love, when they appeared in their eyes to possess graces that
blinded their reason. They knew how criminal their passion was,
and did all they could to resist it; but the familiar intercourse
with them, and the habit of admiring, praising, and caressing
them from their infancy, which they could not restrain when they
grew up, inflamed their desires to such a height as to overcome
their reason and virtue. It was their and the princes' ill-
fortune, that the latter being used to be so treated by them, had
not the least suspicion of their infamous passion.
The two queens had not concealed from each other this passion,
but had not the boldness to declare it to the princes they loved;
they at last resolved to do it by a letter, and to execute their
wicked design, availed themselves of the king's absence, when he
was gone on a hunting party for three or four days.
Prince Amgiad presided at the council on the day of his father's
departure, and administered justice till two or three o'clock in
the afternoon. As he returned to the palace from the council-
chamber, an eunuch took him aside, and gave him a letter from
queen Haiatalnefous. Amgiad took it, and read it with horror.
"Traitor," said he, to the eunuch. as soon as he had perused it
through, "is this the fidelity thou owest thy master and thy
king?" At these words he drew his sabre and cut off his head.
Having done this in a transport of anger he ran to the princess
Badoura his mother, shewed her the letter, told her the contents
of it, and from whom it came. Instead of hearkening to him, she
fell into a passion, and said, "Son, it is all a calumny and
imposture; queen Haiatalnefous is a very discreet princess, and
you are very bold to talk to me against her." The prince, enraged
at his mother, exclaimed, "You are both equally wicked, and were
it not for the respect I owe my father, this day should have been
the last of Haiatalnefous's life."
Queen Badoura might have imagined by the example of her son
Amgiad, that prince Assad, who was not less virtuous, would not
receive more favourably a declaration of love, similar to that
which had been made to his brother. Yet that did not hinder her
persisting in her abominable design; she, the next day, wrote him
a letter, which she entrusted to an old woman who had access to
the palace, to convey to him.
The old woman watched her opportunity to put it into his hands as
he was coming from the council-chamber, where he presided that
day in his turn. The prince took it, and reading it, fell into
such a rage, that, without giving himself time to finish it, he
drew his sabre and punished the old woman as she deserved. He ran
immediately to the apartment of his mother queen Haiatalnefous,
with the letter in his hand: he would have shewn it to her, but
she did not give him time, crying out, "I know what you mean; you
are as impertinent as your brother Amgiad: be gone, and never
come into my presence again."
Assad stood as one thunder-struck at these words, so little
expected. He was so enraged, that he had like to have given fatal
demonstrations of his anger; but he contained himself, and
withdrew without making any reply, fearing if he stayed he might
say something unworthy the greatness of his soul. Amgiad had not
mentioned to him the letter which he had received the preceding
day; and finding by what his mother had said to him that she was
altogether as criminal as queen Haiatalnefous, he went to his
brother, to chide him for not communicating the hated secret to
him, and to mingle his own sorrow with his.
The two queens, rendered desperate by finding in the two princes
such virtue as should have made them look inwardly on themselves,
renounced all sentiments of nature and of mothers and conspired
together to destroy them. They made their women believe the two
princes had attempted their virtue: they counterfeited the matter
to the life by their tears, cries, and curses; and lay in the
same bed, as if the resistance they pretended to have made had
reduced them almost to death's-door.
When Kummir al Zummaun returned to the palace from hunting, he
was much surprised to find them in bed together, in tears, acting
despondency so well, that he was touched with compassion. He
asked them with earnestness what had happened to them.
At this question, the dissembling queens wept and sobbed more
bitterly than before; and after he had pressed them again and
again to tell him, queen Badoura at last answered him: "Sir, our
grief is so well founded, that we ought not to see the light of
the sun, or live a day, after the violence that has been offered
us by the unparalleled brutality of the princes your sons. They
formed a horrid design, encouraged by your absence, and had the
boldness and insolence to attempt our honour. Your majesty will
excuse us from saying any more; you may guess the rest by our
The king sent for the two princes, and would have killed them
both with his own hand, had not old king Armanos his father-in-
law, who was present, held his hand: "Son," said he, "what are
you going to do? Will you stain your hands and your palace with
your own blood? There are other ways of punishing them, if they
are really guilty."
He endeavoured thus to appease him, and desired him to examine
whether they did indeed commit the crime of which they were
It was no difficult matter for Kummir al Zummaun to restrain
himself so far as not to butcher his own children. He ordered
them to be put under arrest, and sent for an emir called Jehaun-
dar, whom he commanded to conduct them out of the city, and put
them to death, at a great distance, and in what place he pleased,
but not to see him again, unless he brought their clothes with
him, as a token of his having executed his orders.
Jehaun-dar travelled with them all night, and early next morning
made them alight, telling them, with tears in his eyes, the
commands he had received. "Believe me, princes," said he, "it is
a trying duty imposed on me by your father, to execute this cruel
order: would to heaven I could avoid it!" The princes replied,
"Do your duty; we know well you are not the cause of our death,
and forgive you with all our hearts."
They then embraced, and bade each other a last adieu with so much
tenderness, that it was a long time before they could leave one
another's arms. Prince Assad was the first who prepared himself
for the fatal stroke. "Begin with me," said he "that I may not
have the affliction to see my dear brother Amgiad die." To this
Amgiad objected; and Jehaun-dar could not, without weeping more
than before, be witness of this dispute between them; which
shewed how perfect and sincere was their affection.
At last they determined the contest, by desiring Jehaun-dar to
tie them together, and put them in the most convenient posture
for him to give them the fatal stroke at one blow. "Do not refuse
the comfort of dying together to two unfortunate brothers, who
from their birth have shared every thing, even their innocence,"
said the generous princes.
Jehaun-dar granted their request; he tied them to each other,
breast to breast; and when he had placed them so that he thought
he might strike the blow with more certainty, asked them if they
had any thing to command him before they died.
"We have only one thing to desire of you," replied the princes,
"which is, to assure the king our father on your return, that we
are innocent; but that we do not charge him with our deaths,
knowing he is not well informed of the truth of the crime of
which we are accused."
Jehaun-dar promised to do what they desired and drew his sabre,
when his horse, being tied to a tree just by, started at the
sight of the sabre, which glittered against the sun, broke his
bridle, and ran away into the country.
He was a very valuable horse, and so richly caparisoned, that the
emir could not bear the loss of him. This accident so vexed him,
that instead of beheading the two princes, he threw away his
sabre, and ran after his horse.
The horse galloped on before him, and led him several miles into
a wood. Jehaun-dar followed him, and the horse's neighing roused
a lion that was asleep. The lion started up, and instead of
running after the horse, made directly towards Jehaun-dar, who
thought no more of his horse, but how to save his life. He ran
into the thickest of the wood, the lion keeping him in view,
pursuing him among the trees. In this extremity he said to
himself, "Heaven had not punished me in this manner, but to shew
the innocence of the princes whom I was commanded to put to
death; and now, to my misfortune, I have not my sabre to defend
While Jehaun-dar was gone, the two princes were seized with a
violent thirst, occasioned by the fear of death, notwithstanding
their noble resolution to submit to the king their father's cruel
Prince Amgiad told the prince his brother there was a spring not
far off. "Ah! brother," said Assad, "we have so little time to
live, what need have we to quench our thirst? We can bear it a
few minutes longer."
Amgiad taking no notice of his brother's remonstrance, unbound
himself, and the prince his brother. They went to the spring, and
having refreshed themselves, heard the roaring of the lion. They
also heard Jehaun-dar's dreadful cries in the wood, which he and
the horse had entered. Amgiad took up the sabre which lay on the
ground, saying to Assad, "Come, brother, let us go and save the
unfortunate Jehaun-dar; perhaps we may arrive soon enough to
deliver him from the danger to which he is now exposed."
The two princes ran to the wood, and entered it just as the lion
was going to fall on Jehaun-dar. The beast seeing prince Amgiad
advancing towards him with a sabre in his hand, left his prey,
and rushed towards him with great fury. The prince met him
intrepidly, and gave him a blow so forcibly and dexterously, that
it felled him to the ground.
When Jehaun-dar saw that he owed his life to the two princes, he
threw himself at their feet, and thanked them for the obligation,
in words which sufficiently testified his gratitude. "Princes,"
said he, rising up and kissing their hands, with tears in his
eyes, "God forbid that ever I should attempt any thing against
your lives, after you have so kindly and bravely saved mine. It
shall never he said, that the emir Jehaun-dar was guilty of such
"The service we have done you," answered the princes, "ought not
to prevent you from executing the orders you have received: let
us first catch your horse, and then return to the place where you
left us."--They were at no great trouble to take the horse, whose
mettle was abated with running. When they had restored him to
Jehaun-dar, and were come near the fountain, they begged of him
to do as their father had commanded; but all to no purpose. "I
only take the liberty to desire," said Jehaun-dar, "and I pray
you not to deny me, that you will divide my clothes between you,
and give me yours; and go to such a distance, that the king your
father may never hear of you more."
The princes were forced to comply with his request. Each of them
gave him his clothes, and covered themselves with what he could
spare them of his. He also gave them all the money he had about
him, and took his leave of them.
After the emir Jehaun-dar had parted from the princes, he passed
through the wood where Amgiad had killed the lion, in whose blood
he dipped their clothes: which having done, he proceeded on his
way to the capital of the isle of Ebene.
On his arrival there, Kummir al Zummaun inquired if he had done
as commanded? Jehaun-dar replied, "Behold, sir, the proofs of my
obedience;" giving him at the same time the princes' clothes.
"How did they bear their punishment?" Jehaun-dar answered, "With
wonderful constancy and resignation to the decrees of heaven,
which shewed how sincerely they made profession of their
religion: but particularly with great respect towards your
majesty, and an inconceivable submission to the sentence of
death. ‘We die innocent,' said they; ‘but we do not murmur: we
take our death from the hand of heaven, and forgive our father;
for we know he has not been rightly informed of the truth.'"
Kummir al Zummaun was sensibly touched at Jehaun-dar's relation.
A thought occurred to him to search the princes' pockets; he
began with prince Amgiad's where he found a letter open, which he
read. He no sooner recognized the hand-writing than he was
chilled with horror. He then, trembling, put his hand into that
of Assad, and finding there queen Badoura's letter, his horror
was so great, that he fainted.
Never was grief equal to Kummir all Zummaun's, when he recovered
from his fit: "Barbarous father," cried he, "what hast thou done?
Thou hast murdered thy own children, thy innocent children! Did
not their wisdom, their modesty, their obedience, their
submission to thy will in all things, their virtue, all plead in
their behalf? Blind and insensible father! dost thou deserve to
live after the execrable crime thou hast committed? I have
brought this abomination on my own head; and heaven chastises me
for not persevering in that aversion to women with which I was
born. And, oh ye detestable wives! I will not, no, I will not, as
ye deserve, wash off the guilt of your sins with your blood; ye
are unworthy of my rage: but I will never see you more!"
Kummir al Zummaun was a man of too much religion to break his
vow: he commanded the two queens to be lodged in separate
apartments that very day, where they were kept under strong
guards, and he never saw them again as long as he lived.
While the king of the isle of Ebene was afflicting himself for
the loss of his sons, of whose death he thought he had been the
author by his too rashly condemning them, the royal youths
wandered through deserts, endeavouring to avoid all places that
were inhabited, and shun every human creature. They lived on
herbs and wild fruits, and drank only rain-water, which they
found in the crevices of the rocks. They slept and watched by
turns at night, for fear of wild beasts.
When they had travelled about a month, they came to the foot of a
frightful mountain of black stones, and to all appearance
inaccessible. They at last espied a kind of path, but so narrow
and difficult that they durst not venture to follow it: this
obliged them to go along by the foot of the mountain, in hopes of
finding a more easy way to reach the summit, but could discover
nothing like a path, so they were forced to return to that which
they had neglected. They still thought it would be in vain for
them to attempt it. They deliberated for a long time what they
should do, and at last, encouraging one another, resolved to
The more they advanced the higher and steeper the mountain
appeared, which made them think several times of giving over
their enterprise. When the one was weary, the other stopped, and
they took breath together; sometimes they were both so tired,
that they wanted strength to proceed: then despairing of being
able to reach the top they thought they must lie down and die of
fatigue and weariness. A few minutes after, when they found they
recovered strength, they animated each other and went on.
Notwithstanding all their endeavours, their courage and
perseverance, they could not reach the summit that day; night
came on, and prince Assad was so spent, that he stopped and said
to Amgiad, "Brother, I can go no farther, I am just dying." "Let
us rest ourselves," replied prince Amgiad, "as long as you will,
and have a good heart: it is but a little way to the top, and the
moon befriends us."
They rested about half an hour, and then Assad making a new
effort, they ascended what remained of the way to the summit,
where they both at last arrived, and lay down. Amgiad rose first,
and advancing, saw a tree at a little distance. He went to it,
and found it was a pomegranate, with large fruit upon it, and he
perceived there was a spring at its foot: he ran to his brother
Assad to tell him the good news, and conduct him to the tree by
the fountain side. Here they refreshed themselves by eating each
a pomegranate, after which they fell asleep.
When they awoke the next morning, "Come, brother," said Amgiad to
Assad, "let us go on; I see the mountain is easier to be
travelled over on this side than the other, all our way now is
down hill." But Assad was so tired with the preceding day's
exertions, that he wanted three days' repose to recover himself.
They spent these days as they had done many before, in conversing
on their mothers' inordinate passion, which had reduced them to
such a deplorable state: but, said they, "Since heaven has so
visibly declared itself in our favour, we ought to bear our
misfortunes with patience, and comfort ourselves with hopes that
we shall see an end of them."
After having rested three days, the two brothers continued their
travels. As the mountain on that side was composed of several
shelves of extensive flat, they were five days in descending
before they came into the plain. They then discovered a large
city, at which they rejoiced: "Brother," said Amgiad to Assad,
"are not you of my opinion that you should stay in some place out
of the city, where I may find you again, while I go and inform
myself what country we are in, and when I come back I will bring
provisions with me? It may not be safe for us to go there
"Brother," replied Assad, "your plan is both safe and prudent,
and I approve of what you say but if one of us must part from the
other on that account, I will not suffer it shall be you; you
must allow me to go; for what shall I suffer, if any accident
should befall you?"
"But, brother," answered Amgiad, "the very accident you fear
would befall me, I have as much reason to fear would happen to
you: I entreat you to let me go, and do you remain here
patiently." "I will never consent to this," said Assad; "if any
ill happen to me, it will be some comfort to think you are safe."
Amgiad was forced to submit, and Assad going towards the city, he
stayed under the trees at the foot of the mountain.
Prince Assad took the purse of money which Amgiad had in charge,
and went forwards towards the city. He had not proceeded far in
the first street, before he met with a reverend old man with a
cane in his hand. He was neatly dressed, and the prince took him
for a man of note in the place, who would not put a trick upon
him, so he accosted him thus: "Pray, my lord, which is the way to
the market-place?" The old man looked at prince Assad smiling;
"Child," said he, "it is plain you are a stranger, or you would
not have asked that question."
"Yes, my lord, I am a stranger," replied Assad. The old man
answered, "You are welcome then; our country will be honoured by
the presence of so handsome a young man as you are: tell me what
business you have at the market-place."
"My lord," replied Assad, "it is near two months since my brother
and I set out from our own country: we have not ceased
travelling, and we arrived here but to-day; my brother, tired
with such a long journey, stays at the foot of the mountain, and
I am come to buy some provisions for him and myself."
"Son," said the old man, "you could not have come in a better
time, and I am glad of it for your and your brother's sake. I
made a feast today for some friends of mine: come along with me;
you shall eat as much as you please; and when you have done, I
will give you enough to last your brother and yourself several
days. Do not spend your money, when there is no occasion;
travellers are always in want of it: while you are eating I will
give you an account of our city, which no one can do better than
myself, who have borne all the honourable offices in it. It is
well for you that you happen to light upon me; for I must tell
you, all our citizens cannot so well assist and inform you. I can
assure you some of them are very wicked. Come, you shall see the
difference between a real honest man, as I am, and such as boast
of being so, and are not."
"I am infinitely obliged to you," replied Assad, "for your
kindness; I put myself entirely into your hands, and am ready to
go with you where you please."
The old man, as he walked along by his side, laughed inwardly, to
think he had got the prince in his clutches; and all the way,
lest he should perceive his dissimulation, talked of various
subjects, to preserve the favourable opinion Assad had of him.
Among other things, he said, "It must be confessed you were very
fortunate to have spoken to me, rather than to any one else: I
thank God I met with you; you will know why, when you come to my
At length they arrived at the residence of the old man, who
introduced Assad into a hall, where there were forty such old
fellows as himself, who made a circle round a flaming fire, which
they were adoring. The prince was not less struck with horror at
the sight of so many men mistakenly worshipping the creature for
the Creator, than he was with fear at finding himself betrayed
into so abominable a place.
While the prince stood motionless with astonishment, the old
cheat saluted the forty gray-headed men. "Devout adorers of
fire," said he to them, "this is a happy day for us; where is
Gazban? call him."
He spake these words aloud, when a negro who waited at the lower
end of the hall immediately came up to him. This black was
Gazban, who, as soon as he saw the disconsolate Assad, imagined
for what purpose he was called. He rushed upon him immediately,
threw him down, and bound his hands with wonderful activity. When
he had done, "Carry him down," said the old man, "and fail not to
order my daughters, Bostama and Cavama, to give him every day a
severe bastinado, with only a loaf morning and night for his
subsistence; this is enough to keep him alive till the next ship
departs for the blue sea and the fiery mountain, where he shall
be offered up an acceptable sacrifice to our divinity."
As soon as the old man had given the cruel order, Gazban hurried
prince Assad under the hall, through several doors, till they
came to a dungeon, down to which led twenty steps; there he left
him in chains of prodigious weight and bigness, fastened to his
feet. When he had done, he went to give the old man's daughters
notice: but their father had before sent for them, and given them
their instructions himself: "Daughters," said he to them, "go
down and give the Mussulmaun I just now brought in the bastinado:
do not spare him; you cannot better shew your zeal for the
worship of the fire."
Bostama and Cavama, who were bred up in their hatred to the
faithful, received this order with joy. They descended into the
dungeon that instant, stripped Assad, and bastinadoed him
unmercifully, till the blood issued out of his wounds and he was
almost dead. After this cruel treatment, they put a loaf of bread
and a pot of water by him, and retired.
Assad did not come to himself again for a long time; when he
revived, he burst out into a flood of tears, deploring his
misery. His comfort however was, that this misfortune had not
happened to his brother.
Amgiad waited for his brother till evening with impatience; as
two, three, or four of the clock in the morning arrived, and
Assad did not return, he was in despair. He spent the night in
extreme uneasiness; and as soon as it was day went to the city,
where he was surprised to see but very few Mussulmauns. He
accosted the first he met, and asked him the name of the place.
He was told it was the city of the Magicians, so called from the
great number of magicians, who adored the fire; and that it
contained but few Mussulmauns. Amgiad then demanded how far it
was to the isle of Ebene? He was answered, four months' voyage by
sea, and a year's journey by land. The man he talked to left him
hastily, having satisfied him as to these two questions.
Amgiad, who had been but six weeks coming from the isle of Ebene
with his brother Assad, could not comprehend how they had reached
this city in so short a time, unless it was by enchantment, or
that the way across the mountain was a much shorter one, but not
frequented because of its difficulty.
Going farther into the town, he stopped at a tailor's shop, whom
he knew to be a Mussulmaun by his dress. Having saluted him, he
sat down, and told him the occasion of the trouble he was in.
When prince Amgiad had done talking, the tailor replied, "If your
brother has fallen into the hands of some magicians, depend upon
it you will never see him more. He is lost past all recovery; and
I advise you to comfort yourself as well as you can, and to
beware of falling into the same misfortune: to which end, if you
will take my advice, you shall stay at my house, and I will tell
you all the tricks of these magicians, that you may take care of
yourself, when you go out." Amgiad, afflicted for the loss of his
brother, accepted the tailor's offer and thanked him a thousand
times for his kindness to him.
The Story of the Prince Amgiad and a Lady of the City of the
For a whole month prince Amgiad never went out of the tailor's
house without being accompanied by his host. At last he ventured
to go alone to the bath. As he was returning home, he met a lady
on the way. Seeing a handsome young man, she lifted up her veil,
asked him with a smiling air, and bewitching look, whither he was
going? Amgiad was overpowered by her charms, and replied, "Madam,
I am going to my own house, or, if you please, I will go to
"My lord," resumed the lady, with a smile, "ladies of my quality
never take men to their houses, they always accompany them to
Amgiad was much perplexed by this unexpected reply. He durst not
venture to take her home to his landlord's house, lest he should
give him offence, and thereby lose his protection, of which he
had so much need, in a city which required him to be always on
his guard. He knew so little of the town, that he could not tell
where to convey her, and he could not make up his mind to suffer
the adventure to go unimproved. In this uncertainty, he
determined to throw himself upon chance; and without making any
answer, went on, and the lady followed him. Amgiad led her from
street to street, from square to square, till they were both
weary with walking. At last they entered a street, at the end of
which was a closed gateway leading to a handsome mansion. On each
side of the gateway was a bench. Amgiad sat down on one of them,
as if to take breath: and the lady, more weary than he, seated
herself on the other.
When she had taken her seat, she asked him, whether that was his
house? "You see it, madam," said Amgiad. "Why do you not open the
gate then," demanded the lady; "what do you wait for?" "Fair
lady," answered Amgiad, "I have not the key; I left it with my
slave, when I sent him on an errand, and he cannot be come back
yet: besides, I ordered him afterwards to provide something good
for dinner; so that I am afraid we shall wait a long time for
The prince, meeting with so many obstacles to the satisfying of
his passion, began to repent of having proceeded so far, and
contrived this answer, in hopes that the lady would take the
hint, would leave him out of resentment, and seek elsewhere for a
lover; but he was mistaken.
"This is a most impertinent slave," said the lady, "to make us
wait so long. I will chastise him myself as he deserves, if you
do not, when he comes back. It is not decent that I should sit
here alone with a man." Saying this, she arose, and took up a
stone to break the lock, which was only of wood, and weak,
according to the fashion of the country.
Amgiad gave himself over for a lost man, when he saw the door
forced open. He paused to consider whether he should go into the
house or make off as fast as he could, to avoid the danger which
he believed was inevitable; and he was going to fly when the lady
Seeing he did not enter, she asked, "Why do not you come into
your house?" The prince answered, "I am looking to see if my
slave is coming, fearing we have nothing ready." "Come in, come
in," resumed she, we had better wait for him within doors than
Amgiad, much against his will, followed her into the house.
Passing through a spacious court, neatly paved, they ascended by
several steps into a grand vestibule, which led to a large open
hall very well furnished, where he and the lady found a table
ready spread with all sorts of delicacies, another heaped with
fruit, and a sideboard covered with bottles of wine.
When Amgiad beheld these preparations, he gave himself up for
lost. "Unfortunate Amgiad," said he to himself, "thou wilt soon
follow thy dear brother Assad."
The lady, on the contrary, transported at the sight, exclaimed,
"How, my lord, did you fear there was nothing ready? You see your
slave has done more than you expected. But, if I am not mistaken,
these preparations were made for some other lady, and not for me:
no matter, let her come, I promise you I will not be jealous; I
only beg the favour of you to permit me to wait on her and you."
Amgiad, greatly as he was troubled at this accident, could not
help laughing at the lady's pleasantry. "Madam," said he,
thinking of something else that tormented his mind, "there is
nothing in what you imagine; this is my common dinner, and no
extraordinary preparation, I assure you." As he could not bring
himself to sit down at a. table which was not provided for him,
he would have taken his seat on a sofa, but the lady would not
permit him. "Come, sir," said she, "you must be hungry after
bathing, let us eat and enjoy ourselves."
Amgiad was forced to comply: they both sat down, and began to
regale themselves. After having taken a little, the lady took a
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