The Book Of The Thousand Nights And One Night, Volume II

Part 5 out of 7

whilst the old woman cried out in Persian, and before I could
think, a damsel ran up, with a nimble and agile step. She had
tucked up her trousers to her knees, so that I saw a pair of legs
that confounded mind and eye, for they were like columns of
alabaster, adorned with anklets of gold, set with jewels. As says
the poet, describing her:

O thou who barest thy leg for lovers to look upon, That by the
sight of the leg the rest they may infer,
Who passest the cup around midst thy gallants, brisk and free,
Nought seduces the folk but the cup[FN#136] and the

She had seemingly been engaged in work of some kind, for she had
tucked the end of her shift within the ribbon of her trousers and
thrown the skirt of her robe over her arm. Her sleeves were
rolled up to the elbows, so that I could see her white wrists and
forearms, on which were two pairs of bracelets, with clasps of
great pearls and round her neck was a collar of precious stones.
Her ears were adorned with pendants of pearls and on her head she
wore a kerchief of brocade, embroidered with jewels of price.
When I saw her I was confounded at her beauty, for she was like
the shining sun. Then she said, with clear and dulcet speech,
never heard I sweeter, "O my mother, is this he who cometh to
read the letter?" "It is," replied the old woman; and she put out
her hand to me with the letter. Now she was standing about half a
rod within the door; so I stretched out my hand and put my head
and shoulders within the door, thinking to draw near her and read
the letter, when behold, before I knew what she would be at, the
old woman thrust her head into my back and pushed me forward,
with the letter in my hand, so that before I could think, I found
myself in the vestibule. Then she entered, swiftlier than the
blinding lightning, and had but to shut the door. When the damsel
saw me in the vestibule, she came up to me and straining me to
her bosom, threw me to the floor, then knelt upon my breast and
kneaded my belly with her hands, till I lost my senses. Then she
took me by the hand and led me unable to resist, for the violence
of her pressure, through seven vestibules, whilst the old woman
went before us with the lighted candle, till we came to a great
saloon, with four daises, in which a horseman might play at ball.
Here she released me, saying, "Open thine eyes." So I opened
them, still giddy for the excess of her pressing and pummelling,
and saw that the whole place was built of the finest alabaster
and hung and carpeted with stuffs of silk and brocade, with
cushions and divans of the same. Therein also were two benches of
brass and a couch of red gold set with pearls and jewels,
befitting none save kings like unto thee. Then said she, "O Aziz,
which wouldst thou rather, life or death?" "Life," answered I;
and she said, "If life be liefer to thee, thou must marry me."
Quoth I, "It were odious to me to marry the like of thee." "If
thou marry me," rejoined she, "thou wilt at least be safe from
the daughter of Delileh the crafty." "And who is she?" asked I.
She laughed and replied, "How comes it that thou knowest her not,
seeing that to-day thou hast companied with her a year and four
months, may God the Most High destroy her and afflict her with
one worse than herself! By Allah, there lives not a more
perfidious than she! How many hath she not slain before thee and
what deeds hath she not done! Nor can I understand how thou hast
been so long in her company, yet hath she not killed thee nor
done thee any hurt." When I heard this, I marvelled exceedingly
and said, "Who made thee to know of her, O my lady?" "I know of
her," said she, "as the age knows of its calamities: but now I
would fain have thee tell me all that has passed between you,
that I may know the cause of thy deliverance from her." So I told
her all that had happened, including the story of my cousin
Azizeh. When she heard of the latter's death, her eyes ran over
with tears and she smote hand upon hand and cried out, "God have
mercy on her, for she lost her youth in His service, and may He
replace her to thee! By Allah, O Aziz, it was she who was the
cause of thy preservation from the daughter of Delileh and but
for her, thou hadst been lost! Now she is dead and I fear for
thee from the other's perfidy and mischief; but my heart is full
and I cannot speak." "By Allah," quoth I, "all this happened,
even as thou sayest!" And she shook her head and said, "There
lives not this day the like of Azizeh." "And when she was dying,"
continued I, "she bade me repeat to my mistress these two words,
'Faith is fair and perfidy foul.'" When she heard this, she
exclaimed, "By Allah, O Aziz, it was this that saved thee from
dying by her hand: and now my heart is at ease for thee from her
for she will never slay thee and thy cousin preserved thee, both
in her lifetime and after her death. By Allah, I have desired
thee this many a day, but could not get at thee till now and
except by a trick, which succeeded with thee for thou art
inexperienced and knowest not the malice of women nor the wiles
of old women." "No, by Allah!" rejoined I. Then said she to me,
"Be of good cheer and take comfort; the dead is in the mercy of
God and the living shall be fairly entreated. Thou art a handsome
youth, and I do not desire thee but according to the ordinance of
God and of His prophet, on whom be peace and salvation! Whatever
thou desirest of money and stuff, thou shalt have without stint,
and I will not impose any toil on thee, for there is with me
always bread baked and water in the pitcher. All I ask of thee is
that thou do with me even as the cock does." "And what is it the
cock does?" asked I. At this she laughed and clapped her hands
and fell over on her back for excess of laughter: then she sat up
and said, "O light of my eyes, dost thou not know what the cock's
business is?" "No, by Allah!" replied I; and she said, "The
cock's business is to eat and drink and tread." I was abashed at
her words and said, "Is that the cock's business?" "Yes,"
answered she; "and all I ask of thee now is to gird thy loins and
strengthen thy resolution and swive thy best." Then she clapped
her hands and cried out, saying, "O my mother, bring hither those
who are with thee." Whereupon in came the old woman, carrying a
veil of silk and accompanied by four lawful witnesses, who
saluted me and sat down. Then she lighted four candles, whilst
the young lady covered herself with the veil and deputed one of
the witnesses to execute the contract on her behalf. So they drew
up the marriage contract and she acknowledged to have received
the whole of her dowry, both precedent and contingent, and to be
indebted to me in the sum of ten thousand dirhems. Then he gave
the witnesses their fee and they withdrew whence they came;
whereupon she put off her clothes and abode in a shift of fine
silk, laced with gold, after which she took me by the hand and
carried me up to the couch, saying, "There is no blame in what is
lawful." She lay down on her back and drawing me on to her
breast, heaved a sigh and followed it up with an amorous gesture.
Then she pulled up the shift above her breasts, and when I saw
her thus, I could not choose but thrust into her, after I had
sucked her lips, whilst she moaned and made a show of bashfulness
and wept without tears. And indeed the case reminded me of the
saying of the poet:

When I drew up her shift and discovered the terrace-roof of her
kaze, I found it as strait as my humour or eke my worldly
So I drove it incontinent in, halfway; and she heaved a sigh.
"For what dost thou sigh?" quoth I. "For the rest of it,
sure," she says.

Then said she, "O my beloved, to it and do thy best, for I am
thine handmaid. My life on thee, give it me, all of it, that I
may take it in my hand and thrust it into my entrails!" And she
ceased not to excite me with sobs and sighs and amorous gestures,
in the intervals of kissing and clipping, till we attained the
supreme felicity and the term of our desires. We lay together
till the morning, when I would have gone out; but she came up to
me, laughing, and said, "Thinkest thou that going out of the bath
is the same as going in?[FN#138] Verily, I believe thou deemest
me to be the like of the daughter of Delileh. Beware of such a
thought, for thou art my husband by contract and according to
law. If thou be drunken, return to thy right mind and know that
this house is opened but one day in every year. Go down and look
at the great door." So I went down and found the door locked and
nailed up and returned and told her so. "Know, O Aziz," said she,
"that we have in this house flour and grain and fruits and
pomegranates and sugar and meat and sheep and fowls and so forth,
enough to serve us for many years; and henceforth, the door will
not be opened till after the lapse of a whole year, nor shalt
thou find thyself without till then." Quoth I, "There is no power
and no virtue but in God!" "And what can this irk thee," rejoined
she, "seeing thou knowest the cock's craft, of which I told
thee?" Then she laughed and I laughed too, and I conformed to
what she said and abode with her, plying the cock's craft, eating
and drinking and cricketing, twelve whole months, during which
time she conceived by me and brought me a son. At the end of the
year, I heard the door opened and men came in with manchets and
flour and sugar. Thereupon, I would have gone out, but my wife
said, "Wait till nightfall and go out as thou camest in." So I
waited till the hour of evening-prayer, and was about to go forth
in fear and trembling, when she stopped me, saying, "By Allah, I
will not let thee go, except thou swear to return this night
before the closing of the door." I agreed to this, and she made
me take a solemn oath by sword and Koran and the oath of divorce
to boot that I would return to her. Then I left her and going
straight to the garden, found the door open as usual; whereat I
was angry and said to myself, "I have been absent a whole year
and come here at unawares and find the place open as of wont! I
wonder, is the damsel still in her old case? Algates I must enter
and see, before I go to my mother, more by token that it is now
nightfall." So I entered and making for the pavilion, found the
daughter of Delileh sitting there with her head on her knee and
her hand to her cheek. Her colour was changed and her eyes
sunken; but when she saw me, she exclaimed, "Praised be God for
thy safety!" and would have risen, but fell down for joy. I was
abashed before her and hung my head; but presently went up to
her, and kissing her, said, "How knewest thou that I should come
to thee to-night?" "I knew it not," replied she. "By Allah, this
whole year past I have not tasted sleep, but have watched every
night, expecting thee, from the day thou wentest out from me and
I gave thee the new suit of clothes, and thou didst promise me to
go to the bath and come back! So I abode awaiting thee that night
and a second and a third; but thou camest not till now, and I
ever expecting thy coming, for this is the way of lovers. And now
I would have thee tell me what has been the cause of thine
absence this year long." So I told her all that had happened: and
when she knew that I was married, her colour paled. "I have come
to thee to-night," added I; "but I must leave thee before day."
Quoth she, "Doth it not suffice her to have tricked thee into
marrying her and kept thee prisoner with her a whole year, but
she must make thee take the oath of divorce to return to her
before morning and not allow thee to divert thyself with thy
mother or me nor suffer thee to pass one night with either of us,
away from her? How, then, must it be with one from whom thou hast
been absent a whole year, and I knew thee before she did? But may
God have compassion on thy cousin Azizeh, for there befell her
what never befell any and she endured what never any endured else
and died, oppressed and rejected of thee; yet was it she
protected thee against me. Indeed, I thought thou didst love me,
so let thee take thine own way; else had I not let thee go safe
and sound, when I had it in my power to hold thee in duresse and
destroy thee." Then she wept and waxed wroth and shuddered in my
face and looked at me with angry eyes. When I saw this, I was
terrified at her and trembled in every nerve, for she was like a
dreadful ghoul and I like a bean over the fire. Then said she,
"Thou art of no use to me, now thou art married and hast a child,
nor art thou any longer fit for my company. I care only for
bachelors and not for married men; for they profit us nothing.
Thou hast sold me for yonder stinking nosegay; but by Allah, I
will make the baggage's heart ache for thee, for thou shalt not
live either for me or for her!" Then she gave a loud cry, and ere
I could think, up came ten damsels and threw me on the ground;
whereupon she rose and taking a knife, said, "I will slaughter
thee like a he-goat; and that will be less than thy desert, for
thy behaviour to me and to thy cousin before me." When I found
myself at the mercy of her women, with my cheeks stained with
dust, and saw her sharpen the knife, I made sure of death and
cried out to her for mercy. But she only redoubled in inhumanity
and ordered the maids to bind my hands behind me, which they did,
and throwing me on my back, sat down on my stomach and held my
head. Then two of them sat on my shins, whilst other two held my
hands, and she bade a third pair beat me. So they beat me till I
lost my senses and my voice failed. When I revived, I said to
myself, "It were easier and better for me to have my throat cut
than to be beaten thus!" And I remembered how my cousin used to
say to me, "God keep thee from her mischief!" and cried out and
wept, till my voice failed and I remained without breath or
motion. Then she sharpened the knife and said to the girls,
"Uncover him." With this God inspired me to repeat to her the
two words my cousin had bequeathed me, and I said, "O my lady,
dost thou not know that faith is fair and perfidy foul?" When
she heard this, she cried out and said, "God pity thee, Azizeh,
and give thee Paradise in exchange for thy wasted youth! Verily,
she served thee in her lifetime and after her death, and now
she has saved thee alive out of my hands with these two words.
Nevertheless, I cannot leave thee thus, but I must e'en set my
mark on thee, to spite yonder shameless baggage, who has kept
thee from me." Then she called out to the damsels and bade them
bind my feet with cords and sit on me. They did her bidding,
whilst I lay insensible, and she fetched a pan of copper and
setting it on a brazier, poured into it oil of sesame, in which
she fried cheese.[FN#139] Then she came up to me and unfastening
my trousers, tied a cord round my cullions and giving it to two
of her women, bade them pull at it. They did so, and I swooned
away and was for excess of pain in a world other than this. Then
she came with a steel scalpel and cut off my yard, so that I
remained like a woman: after which she seared the wound with the
boiling oil and rubbed it with a powder, and I the while
unconscious. When I came to myself, the blood had ceased to flow;
so she bade the damsels unbind me and gave me a cup of wine to
drink. Then said she to me, "Go now to her whom thou hast married
and who grudged me a single night, and the mercy of God be on thy
cousin Azizeh, who discovered not her secret! Indeed she was the
cause of thy preservation, for hadst thou not repeated those
words to me, I had surely slain thee. Rise and go to whom thou
wilt, for thou hadst nothing of mine, save what I have cut off,
and now I have no part in thee, nor have I any further care or
occasion for thee: so begone about thy business and bless thy
cousin's memory!" With that, she gave me a push with her foot,
and I rose, hardly able to walk, and went little by little, till
I came to the door of my wife's house I found it open, so I threw
myself within it and fell down in a swoon; whereupon my wife came
out and lifting me up, carried me into the saloon and found that
I was like unto a woman. Then I fell into a deep sleep; but when
I awoke, I found myself thrown down at the gate of the garden. I
rose, groaning for pain and misery, and made my way to my
mother's house, where I found her weeping for me and saying, "O
my son, would I knew where thou art!" So I drew near and threw
myself upon her, and when she saw me, she knew that I was ill,
for my face was at once pale and livid. Then I called to mind my
cousin and all the kind offices she had been wont to do me and
knew that she had indeed loved me; so I wept for her and my
mother wept also. Presently, she said to me, "O my son, thy
father is dead." At this my anguish redoubled, and I wept till I
lost my senses. When I came to myself, I looked at the place
where Azizeh had been used to sit and wept anew, till I all but
fainted for excess of grief; and I ceased not to weep and lament
thus till midnight, when my mother said to me, "Thy father has
been dead these ten days." "I shall never think of any one but my
cousin Azizeh," answered I; "and indeed I deserve all that hath
befallen me, in that I abandoned her who loved me so dear." "What
hath befallen thee?" asked my mother. So I told her all that had
happened, and she wept awhile, then rose and set meat and drink
before me. I ate a little and drank, after which I repeated my
story to her, and she exclaimed, "Praised be God that she did but
this to thee and forbore to slay thee!" Then she tended me and
medicined me till I regained my health: and when my recovery was
complete, she said to me, "O my son, I will now bring out to thee
that which thy cousin committed to me in trust for thee; for it
is thine. She made me swear not to give it thee, till I should
see thee recalling her to mind and weeping over her and thine
affections severed from other than her; and now I see these
conditions fulfilled in thee." So she arose and opening a chest,
took out the piece of linen, with the figures of gazelles worked
thereon, which I had given Azizeh; and I opened it and found
written therein the following verses:

Who moved thee, fairest one, to use this rigour of disdain And
slay, with stress of love, the souls that sigh for thee in
If thou recall me not to mind beyond our parting-day, God knows
the thought of thee with me for ever shall remain!
Thou smitest me with cruel words, that yet are sweet to me: Wilt
thou one day, though but in dreams, to look upon me deign?
I had not thought the ways of Love were languishment and woe And
stress of soul until, alas! to love thee I was fain.
I knew not weariness till I the captive of thine eyes Became and
all my soul was bound in passion's fatal chain.
Even my foes have ruth on me and pity my distress: But thou, O
heart of steel, wilt ne'er have mercy on my pain.
By God, although I die, I'll ne'er forget thee, O my hope, Nor
comfort take, though life itself for love should waste and

When I read these verses, I wept sore and buffeted my face; then
I unfolded the scroll, and there fell from it another. I opened
it and found these words written therein: "Know, O my cousin,
that I acquit thee of my blood and I beseech God to make accord
between thee and her whom thou lovest: but if aught befall thee
through the daughter of Delileh the crafty, return thou not to
her neither resort to any other woman and bear thine affliction
patiently, for were not the ordained term of thy life a long one,
thou hadst perished long ago: but praised be God, who hath
appointed my last day before thine! My peace be upon thee;
preserve the cloth with the gazelles figured thereon and let it
not leave thee, for it used to keep me company, whenas thou wert
absent from me; but I conjure thee, by Allah, if thou chance to
fall in with her who wrought these gazelles and it be in thy
power to foregather with her, hold aloof from her and do not let
her approach thee nor marry her; and if thou happen not on her
and find no way to her, look thou company not with any other of
her sex. Know that she who wrought these gazelles is the daughter
of the King of the Camphor Islands and every year she works a
like cloth and despatches it to far countries, that her report
and the beauty of her broidery, which none in the world can
match, may be bruited abroad, As for thy beloved, the daughter of
Delileh, this cloth came to her hand, and she used to ensnare
folk with it, showing it to them and saying, 'I have a sister who
wrought this.' But she lied in this saying, may God bring her to
shame! This, then, is my parting counsel to thee, and I have not
charged thee thus, but because I know that, after my death, the
world will be straitened on thee and belike, by reason of this,
thou wilt leave thy native land and wander in foreign countries,
and hearing of her who wrought these figures, be minded to
foregather with her. Then wilt thou remember me and it shall not
avail thee nor wilt thou know my value till after my death."

When I had read the scroll and understood what was written
therein, I fell again to weeping, and my mother wept because I
did; and I ceased not to gaze upon it and weep till nightfall. I
abode thus a whole year, at the end of which time the merchants,
with whom I am in this caravan, prepared to set out from my
native town, and my mother counselled me to equip myself and
journey with them, so haply I might find forgetfulness and my
sorrow cease from me, saying, "Take comfort and put away from
thee this mourning and travel for a year or two or three, till
the caravan returns, when peradventure thy breast may be dilated
and thy heart lightened." She ceased not to persuade me thus,
till I provided myself with merchandise and set out with the
caravan. But all the time of my journey, my tears have never
ceased flowing; and at every station where we halt, I open this
piece of linen and look on these gazelles and call to mind my
cousin Azizeh and weep for her as thou hast seen, for indeed she
loved me very dearly and died, oppressed and rejected of me; I
did her nought but ill and she did me nought but good. When these
merchants return from their journey, I shall return with them, by
which time I shall have been a whole year absent; yet is my
sorrow greater than ever and my grief and affliction were but
increased by my visit to the Islands of Camphor and the Castle of
Crystal. The islands in question are seven in number and are
ruled by a king, Shehriman by name, who hath a daughter called
Dunya; and I was told that it was she who wrought these gazelles
and that this thou seest was of her broidery. When I knew this,
yearning redoubled on me and I became a prey to consuming languor
and drowned in the sea of melancholy thought; and I wept over
myself, for that I was become even as a woman, without manly gear
like other men, and that there was no recourse for me. From the
day of my departure from the Camphor Islands, I have been
tearful-eyed and sorrowful-hearted, and I know not whether it
will be given me to return to my native land and die by my mother
or not, for I am weary of the world.'

When the young merchant had made an end of telling his story, he
wept and groaned and complained and gazed upon the figures
wrought on the piece of linen, whilst the tears streamed down his
cheeks and he repeated the following verses:

'Needs must thy sorrow have an end,' quoth many an one 'and cease
And I, Needs must your chiding end and let me be at peace.'
'After awhile,' say they; and I, 'Who will ensure me life, O
fools, until the hands of grief their grip of me release?'

And also these:

God knows that, since my severance from thee, full sore I've
wept, So sore that needs my eyes must run for very tears in
'Have patience,' quoth my censurers, 'and thou shalt win them
yet.' And I, 'O thou that blamest me, whence should I
patience get?'

Then said he, 'This, O prince, is my story: hast thou ever heard
a stranger one?' Taj el Mulouk marvelled greatly at the young
merchant's tale and said to him, 'By Allah, thou hast suffered
that which never befell any but thyself, but thou hast life
appointed to thee, which thou must needs fulfil; and now I would
fain have thee tell me how thou sawest the lady who wrought these
gazelles.' 'O my lord,' answered Aziz, 'I got me access to her by
a stratagem, and it was this. When I entered her city with the
caravan, I went forth and wandered about the gardens [till I came
to one walled in and] abounding in trees, whose keeper was a
venerable old man of advanced age. I asked him to whom the garden
belonged, and he replied, "To the lady Dunya, the king's
daughter. We are now beneath her palace," added he; "and when she
is minded to divert herself, she opens the private door and walks
in the garden and breathes the fragrance of the flowers." So I
said to him, "Favour me by allowing me to sit in the garden till
she comes; haply I may be fortunate enough to catch a sight of
her as she passes." "There can be no harm in that," answered he.
So I gave him money and said to him, "Buy us something to eat."
He took the money joyfully and opening the door, admitted me into
the garden and carried me to a pleasant spot, where he bade me
sit down and await his return. Then he brought me fruit and
leaving me, returned after awhile with a roasted lamb, of which
we ate till we had enough, my heart yearning the while for a
sight of the princess. Presently, as we sat, the postern opened
and the keeper said to me, "Rise and hide thyself." I did so; and
behold a black eunuch put out his head through the wicket and
said, "O elder, is there any one with thee?" "No," answered he;
and the eunuch said, "Shut the garden gate." So the keeper shut
the gate, and the lady Dunya came in by the private door. When I
saw her, methought the moon had risen above the horizon and was
shining; so I looked at her a long while and longed for her, as a
man athirst longs for water. After a time she withdrew and shut
the door; whereupon I left the garden and sought my lodging,
knowing that I could not win to her and that I was no mate for
her, more by token that I was become like unto a woman, having no
manly gear, and she was a king's daughter and I but a merchant;
so how could I have access to the like of her or to any other
woman? Accordingly, when my companions made ready for departure,
I too made ready and set out with them, and we journeyed till we
arrived at this place, where we met with thee. This then is my
story, and peace be on thee!'

When Taj el Mulouk heard the young merchant's account of the
princess Dunya and her beauty, fires raged in his bosom and his
heart and thought were occupied with love for her; passion and
longing were sore upon him and he knew not what to do. Then he
mounted his horse and taking Aziz with him, returned to his
father's capital, where he assigned the merchant a house and
supplied him with all that he needed in the way of meat and drink
and clothing. Then he left him and returned to his palace, with
the tears running down his cheeks, for report [whiles] stands in
stead of sight and very knowledge. He abode thus till his father
came in to him and finding him pale-faced, lean of body and
tearful eyed, knew that some chagrin had betided him and said to
him, 'O my son, acquaint me with thy case and tell me what hath
befallen thee, that thy colour is changed and thy body wasted.'
So he told him all that had passed and how he had heard from
Aziz of the princess Dunya and had fallen in love with her on
hearsay, without having set eyes on her. 'O my son,' said the
King, 'she is the daughter of a king whose country is far
distant from ours: so put away this thought from thee and go
into thy mother's palace. There are five hundred damsels like
moons, and whichsoever of them pleaseth thee, take her; or else
we will seek thee in marriage some one of the kings' daughters,
fairer than the lady Dunya.' 'O my father,' answered Taj el
Mulouk, 'I desire none other, for she it is who wrought the
gazelles that I saw, and I must have her; else I will flee into
the deserts and waste places and slay myself for her sake.' Then
said his father, 'O my son, have patience with me, till I send
to her father and demand her hand in marriage, as I did with thy
mother. It may be that God will bring thee to thy desire; and if
her father will not consent, I will shake his kingdom under him
with an army, whose van shall be upon him, whilst the rear is yet
with me.' Then he sent for Aziz and said to him, 'O my son, dost
thou know the way to the Camphor Islands?' 'Yes,' answered he;
and the King said, 'It is my wish that thou accompany my Vizier
thither.' 'I hear and obey, O King of the age,' replied Aziz;
whereupon the King summoned his Vizier and said to him, 'Devise
me some plan, whereby my son's affair may be rightly managed, and
go to the King of the Camphor Islands and demand his daughter in
marriage for Tej el Mulouk.' 'I hear and obey,' answered the
Vizier. Then Taj el Mulouk returned to his dwelling place and his
longing redoubled and impatience and unease were sore upon him;
and when the night darkened upon him, he wept and sighed and
complained and repeated the following verses:

The shadows darken and my tears flow aye without avail, Whilst in
my heart the fires of love rage on and never fail.
Question the nights of me, and they will testify to thee That I
in all their endless hours do nought but weep and wait.
Wakeful for love-longing and grief, I lie and watch the stars All
night, what while upon my cheeks the tears fall down like
Lowly and helpless I abide, for such as lovers be Have, as it
were, nor kith nor kin to help them in their bale.

Then he swooned away and did not recover his senses till the
morning, when there came to him one of his father's servants and
standing at his head, summoned him to the King's presence. So he
went with him, and his father seeing that his pallor had
increased, exhorted him to patience and promised him union with
her he loved. Then he equipped Aziz and the Vizier for the
journey and gave them presents for the princess's father; and
they set out and fared on night and day, till they drew near the
Camphor Islands, when the Vizier called a halt on the banks of a
stream and despatched a messenger to acquaint the King of his
arrival. The messenger had not long been gone, when they saw,
advancing towards them, the King's chamberlains and amirs, who
met them at a parasang's distance from the city and escorted them
to the royal presence. They laid before the King the gifts with
which they were charged and enjoyed his hospitality three days.
On the fourth day the Vizier rose and going in to the King, stood
before him and acquainted him with the object of his visit;
whereat he was perplexed and knew not what answer to make him,
for that his daughter was averse from men and did not desire to
marry. So he bowed his head awhile, then raised it and calling
one of his eunuchs, said to him, 'Go to thy mistress, the
princess Dunya, and repeat to her what thou hast heard and tell
her this Vizier's errand.' So the eunuch went out and returning
after a while, said to the King, 'O King of the age, when I went
to the lady Dunya and told her what I had heard, she was
exceeding wroth and made at me with a staff, meaning to break my
head; whereupon I fled from her, and she said to me, 'If my
father force me to marry, him whom I wed I will kill.' Then said
the King to the Vizier and Aziz, 'Salute the King your master and
tell him what ye have heard and that my daughter is averse from
men and hath no mind to marry.' So they returned, without having
accomplished the object of their journey, and fared on till they
rejoined the King and told him what had passed; whereupon he
commanded the chief to summon the troops for war. But the Vizier
said to him, 'O King, do not this, for the King is not at fault,
seeing that, when his daughter learnt our business, she sent to
say that, if her father forced her to marry, she would kill her
husband and herself after him: so the refusal comes from her.'
When the King heard this, he feared for Taj el Mulouk and said,
'If I make war on the King of the Camphor Islands and carry off
his daughter, she will kill herself and it will profit me
nothing.' So he told his son how the case stood, and he said, 'O
my father, I cannot live without her; so I will go to her and
cast about to get me access to her, though I die in the attempt.'
'How wilt thou go to her?' asked his father; and he answered, 'In
the disguise of a merchant.' Then said the King, 'If thou must go
and there is no help for it, take with thee Aziz and the Vizier.'
He agreed to this, and the King took money from his treasuries
and made ready for him merchandise, to the value of a hundred
thousand dinars; and when the night came Taj el Mulouk went to
Aziz's lodging and passed the night there, heart-smitten and
taking no delight in food nor sleep; for melancholy was heavy
upon him and he was agitated with longing for his beloved. So he
besought the Creator to unite him with her and wept and groaned
and complained, repeating the following verses:

Shall union after estrangement betide us, perchance, some day?
Shall I ever make moan of my passion to thee, I wonder, and
'How oft have I called thee to mind, whilst the night in its
trances slept! Thou hast made me waken, whilst all but I in
oblivion lay.

Then he wept sore and Aziz wept with him, for that he remembered
his cousin; and they both ceased not to do thus till the morning,
when Taj el Mulouk rose and went in to his mother in his
travelling dress. She asked him of his case, and he told her what
was to do; so she gave him fifty thousand dinars and bade him
farewell, offering up prayers for his safety and for his union
with his beloved. Then he left her and betaking himself to his
father, asked his leave to depart. The King granted him leave and
presenting him with other fifty thousand dinars, let pitch a tent
for him without the city, in which they abode two days, then set
out on their journey. And Taj el Mulouk delighted in Aziz's
company and said to him, 'O my brother, I can never bear to be
parted from thee.' 'Nor I from thee,' replied Aziz; 'and fain
would I die at thy feet: but, O my brother, my heart is concerned
for my mother.' 'When we have attained our wish,' said the
prince, 'all will be well.' As for the Vizier, he exhorted Taj el
Mulouk to patience, whilst Aziz entertained him with talk and
recited verses to him and diverted him with stories and
anecdotes; and so they fared on day and night for two whole
months, till the way became tedious to the prince and the fires
of passion redoubled on him. So he repeated the following verses:

Long is the road and restlessness and grief redouble aye, Whilst
in my breast the fires of love rage ever night and day
O thou, the goal of all my hopes, sole object of my wish, I swear
by Him, the Most High God, who moulded man from clay,
For love of thee I bear a load of longing and desire, Such as the
mountains of Es Shumm might ne'er withal away!
Indeed, O lady of my world,[FN#140] love slayeth me outright; No
breath of life in me is left, my fainting spright to stay
But for the hope of union with thee, that lures me on, My weary
body had no strength to furnish forth the way.

When he had finished, he wept and Aziz wept with him, from a
lacerated heart, till the Vizier was moved to pity by their
weeping and said to the prince, 'O my lord, take courage and be
of good cheer; all will yet be well.' 'O Vizier,' said Taj el
Mulouk, 'indeed I am weary of the length of the way. Tell me how
far we are distant yet from the city.' 'But a little way,'
replied Aziz. Then they continued their journey, traversing
valleys and plains and hills and stony wastes, till one night, as
Taj el Mulouk was asleep, he dreamt that his beloved was with him
and that he embraced her and pressed her to his bosom; and he
awoke, trembling and delirious with emotion, and repeated the
following verses:

My heart is maddened for love and my tears for ever flow, And
longing is ever upon me and unrelenting woe.
My plaint is, for tears, as the mourning of women bereft of
young, And I moan, when the darkness gathers, as the
turtles, sad and low.
Yet, if the breezes flutter from the land where thou dost dwell,
Their wafts o'er the earth, sun-weaned, a grateful coolness
Peace be on thee, my beloved, as long as the cushat flies, As
long as the turtles warble, as long as the zephyrs blow!

When he had finished, the Vizier came to him and said, 'Rejoice;
this is a good sign: so comfort thyself and be of good cheer, for
thou shalt surely compass thy desire.' And Aziz also came to him
and exhorted him to patience and applied himself to divert him,
talking with him and telling him stories. So they pressed on,
night and day, other two months, till, one day, at sunrise, there
appeared to them some white thing in the distance and Taj el
Mulouk said to Aziz, 'What is yonder whiteness?' 'O my lord,'
answered he, 'that is the Fortress of Crystal and the city that
thou seekest.' At this the prince rejoiced, and they fared
forward till they drew near the city, to the exceeding joy of Taj
el Mulouk, whose grief and anxiety ceased from him. They entered,
in the guise of merchants, the King's son being habited as a
merchant of importance, and repaired to a great khan, known as
the Merchants' Lodging. Quoth Taj el Mulouk to Aziz, 'Is this the
resort of the merchants?' 'Yes,' replied he; 'it is the khan in
which I lodged when I was here before.' So they alighted there
and making their beasts kneel down, unloaded them and laid up
their goods in the warehouses. They abode four days, resting; at
the end of which time, the Vizier proposed that they should hire
a large house. To this they assented and hired a spacious house,
fitted up for festivities, where they took up their abode, and
the Vizier and Aziz studied to devise some plan of conduct
for Taj el Mulouk, whilst the latter remained in a state of
perplexity, knowing not what to do. The Vizier could think
of nothing but that he should set up as a merchant in the
stuff-market; so he turned to the prince and Aziz and said to
them, 'If we tarry thus, we shall not compass our desire nor
attain our aim; but I have bethought me of somewhat, in which, if
it please God, we shall find our advantage.' 'Do what seemeth
good to thee,' replied Taj el Mulouk; 'indeed there is a blessing
on the aged, more by token that thou art versed in the conduct
of affairs: so tell me what is in thy mind.' 'It is my counsel,'
rejoined the Vizier, 'that we hire thee a shop in the stuff-
bazaar, where thou mayst sit to sell and buy. Every one, great
and small, hath need of silken and other stuffs; so if thou be
patient and abide in thy shop, thine affairs will prosper, if
it please God, especially as thou art comely of aspect. Moreover,
I would have thee make Aziz thy factor and set him within the
shop, to hand thee the pieces of stuffs and silks.' When Taj el
Mulouk heard this, he said, 'This is a good counsel.' So he took
out a handsome suit of merchant's clothes, and putting it on, set
out for the bazaar, followed by his servants, to one of whom he
had given a thousand dinars, wherewith to fit up the shop. When
they came to the stuff-market and the merchants saw Taj el
Mulouk's beauty and grace, they were confounded and some said,
'Sure Rizwan hath opened the gates of Paradise and left them
unguarded, so that this passing lovely youth hath come out.' And
others, 'Belike this is one of the angels.' They asked for the
shop of the overseer of the market, and the merchants directed
them to it. So they repaired thither and saluted him, and he and
those who were with him rose to them and seated them and made
much of them because of the Vizier, whom they saw to be a man of
age and reverend aspect; and seeing Aziz and Taj el Mulouk in his
company, they said to one another, 'Doubtless this old man is
the father of these two youths.' Then said the Vizier, 'Which of
you is the overseer of the market?' 'This is he,' answered they;
whereupon he came forward and the Vizier, observing him, saw him
to be an old man of grave and dignified carriage, with slaves and
servants, white and black. He greeted them in the friendliest
manner and was lavish in his attentions to them: then he made
them sit by his side and said to them, 'Have you any business
which we may have the pleasure of transacting?' 'Yes,' answered
the Vizier. 'I am an old man, stricken in years, and have with
me these two youths, with whom I have travelled through many
towns and countries, tarrying a whole year in every city (of
importance) on our way, that they might take their pleasure in
viewing it and come to know its people. Now I have chosen to make
a stay in this your town; so I would fain have thee allot me a
handsome shop in the best situation, wherein I may establish
them, that they may traffic and learn to buy and sell and give
and take, whilst they divert themselves with the sight of the
place and acquire the uses of its people.' 'Good,' said the
overseer, and looking at the two youths, rejoiced in them and
conceived a great affection for them. Now he was a great lover of
bewitching glances, preferring the commerce of boys to that of
girls and inclining to their love. So he said in himself, 'These
be fine purchase; glory to Him who created and fashioned them out
of vile water!'[FN#141] and rising, stood before them like a
servant, to do them honour. Then he went out and made ready for
them a shop in the midst of the market, than which there was no
larger nor better in the bazaar, for it was spacious and
handsomely decorated and fitted with shelves of ebony and ivory;
after which he delivered the keys to the Vizier, who was dressed
as an old merchant, saying, 'Take them, O my lord, and may God
make it a blessed abiding-place to thy sons!' The Vizier took the
keys, and they returned to the khan and caused their servants to
transport to the shop all their goods and stuffs and valuables,
of which they had great plenty, worth treasures of money. Next
morning, the Vizier carried the two young men to the bath, where
they washed and put on rich clothes and perfumed themselves to
the utmost therein. Now each of them was passing fair to look
upon, and the bath enhanced their charms to the utmost, even as
says the poet:

Good luck to him who in the bath doth serve him as his squire,
Handling a body 'gotten sure 'twixt water and the fire!
With skilful hands he showeth forth the marvels of his craft, In
that he gathers very musk[FN#142] from what is like

When the overseer heard that they had gone to the bath, he sat
down to await them, and presently they came up to him, like two
gazelles, with red cheeks and black eyes and shining faces, as
they were two lustrous moons or two fruit-laden saplings. When he
saw them, he rose and said to them, 'May your bath profit you
ever!' Whereupon Taj el Mulouk replied, with the sweetest of
speech, 'May God be bountiful to thee, O my father! Why didst
thou not come with us and bathe in our company?' Then they both
bent over his hands and kissing them, walked before him to the
shop, to do him honour and show their respect for him, for that
he was chief of the merchants and the market, as well as their
sense of his kindness in giving them the shop. When he saw their
hips quivering, emotion and longing redoubled on him and he could
not contain himself, but puffed and snorted and devoured them
with his eyes, repeating the following verses:

The heart in them studies the chapter of worship unshared sheer
No proofs of more gods to worship than one it readeth here.
No wonder it is they tremble by reason of their weight; How much
is there not of motion in that revolving sphere!

And also these:

Two fair ones walking on the earth mine eyes did late espy; Two
that I needs must love although they walked upon mine eye.

When they heard this, they begged him to enter the bath with them
a second time. He could hardly believe his ears and hastening
thither, went in with them. The Vizier had not yet left the bath;
so when he heard of the overseer's coming, he came out and
meeting him in the outer room of the bath, invited him to enter.
He refused, but Taj el Mulouk took him by one hand and Aziz by
the other and carried him into a cabinet, the impure old man
submitting to them, whilst his emotion increased on him. Then Taj
el Mulouk swore that none but he should wash him and Aziz that
none but he should pour water on him. He would have refused,
albeit this was what he desired; but the Vizier said to him,
'They are thy sons; let them wash thee and bathe thee.' 'God
preserve them to thee!' exclaimed the overseer. 'By Allah, thy
coming and theirs hath brought blessing and fortune upon our
city!' and he repeated the following verses:

Thou cam'st, and the mountains about us grew green And glittered,
with flowers for the bridegroom beseen;
Whilst earth and her creatures cried, 'Welcome to thee, Thrice
welcome, that comest in glory and sheen!'

They thanked him for this, and Taj el Mulouk proceeded to wash
him, whilst Aziz poured water over him and he thought himself in
Paradise. When they had made an end of his service, he called
down blessings on them and sat talking with the Vizier, gazing
the while on the youths. Presently, the servants brought them
towels, and they dried themselves and donned their clothes. Then
they went out, and the Vizier said to the overseer, 'O my lord,
verily the bath is the Paradise of this world.' 'May God
vouchsafe it[FN#143] to thee,' replied the overseer, 'and health
to thy sons and guard them from the evil eye! Do you remember
aught that the poets have said in praise of the bath?' 'Yes,'
said Taj el Mulouk and repeated the following verses:

The life of the bath is the pleasantest part of life, Except that
the time of our sojourn there is slight.
A heaven, wherein 'tis irksome to us to bide: A hell, into which
we enter with delight.

'And I also,' said Aziz, 'remember some verses in praise of the
bath.' Quoth the overseer, 'Let us hear them.' So he repeated the

I know a house, wherein flowers from the sheer stone blow; Most
goodly, when the flames about it rage and glow.
Thou deem'st it hell, and yet, in truth, 'tis Paradise And most
that be therein are sun and moons, I trow.

His verses pleased the overseer and he wondered at their grace
and eloquence and said, 'By Allah, ye possess both beauty and
eloquence! But now listen to me.' And he chanted the following

O pleasaunce of hell-fire and paradise of pain! Bodies and souls
therein indeed are born again.
I marvel at a house, whose pleasantness for aye Doth flourish,
though the flames beneath it rage amain.
A sojourn of delight to those who visit it It is; the pools on
them their tears in torrents rain.

Then he fed his eyes on the gardens of their beauty and repeated
the following verses:

I went to the bath-keeper's house and entered his dwelling-place
And found no door-keeper there but met me with smiling face.
I sojourned awhile in his heaven[FN#144] and visited eke his
hell[FN#145] And thanked both Malik[FN#146] and
Rizwan[FN#147] for solace and kindly grace.

They were charmed with these verses, and the overseer invited
them to his house; but they declined and resumed to their own
lodging, to rest from the great heat of the bath. They took their
ease there and ate and drank and passed the night in the greatest
comfort and delight, till morning, when they arose from sleep and
making their ablutions, prayed the morning-prayer and drank the
morning-draught. As soon as the sun had risen and the markets and
shops were open, they went out to the bazaar and opened their
shop, which their servants had already furnished, after the
handsomest fashion, with prayer-rugs and silken carpets and a
pair of divans, each worth a hundred dinars. On each divan they
had spread a rug, garded with gold and fit for a king, and in the
midst of the shop stood a third seat of still greater elegance,
even as the case required. Taj el Mulouk sat down on one couch
and Aziz on another, whilst the Vizier seated himself on that in
the centre, and the servants stood before them. The people of the
city heard of them and crowded to them, so that they sold some of
their goods and the report of Taj el Mulouk's beauty and grace
spread throughout the place. Some days passed thus, and every day
the people flocked to them more and more, till the Vizier, after
exhorting the prince to keep his secret, commended him to Aziz's
care and went home, that he might be alone and cast about for
some device that might profit them.

Meanwhile, the two young men sat talking and the prince said to
Aziz, 'It may be some one will come from the Princess Dunya.' So
he abode in expectation of this days and nights, whilst his heart
was troubled and he knew neither sleep nor rest: for desire had
gotten the mastery of him and passion and longing were sore upon
him, so that he forewent the solace of sleep and abstained from
meat and drink; yet ceased he not to be like the full moon. One
day, as he sat in the shop, there came up an old woman, followed
by two slave-girls. She stopped before Taj el Mulouk and
observing his grace and elegance and symmetry, marvelled at his
beauty and sweated in her clothes, exclaiming, 'Glory to Him who
created thee out of vile water and made thee a ravishment to all
who look upon thee!' And she fixed her eyes on him and said,
'This is sure no mortal, but a noble angel.' Then she drew near
and saluted him, whereupon he returned her salute and (being
prompted thereto by Aziz) rose to his feet to receive her and
smiled in her face after which he made her sit down by his side
and fanned her, till she was rested and refreshed, when she
turned to him and said, 'O my son, O thou that art perfect in
graces and charms, art thou of this country?' 'By Allah, O my
lady,' answered he in the sweetest and pleasantest of voices, 'I
was never in this country in my life till now, nor do I sojourn
here save for my diversion.' 'May all honour and prosperity
attend thee!' rejoined she. 'What stuffs has thou brought with
thee? Show me something handsome; for the fair should bring
nothing but what is fair.' When he heard her words, his heart
fluttered and he knew not what she meant; but Aziz made a sign to
him, and he replied, 'I have everything thou canst desire, and
amongst the rest goods that befit none but kings and kings'
daughters; so tell me for whom thou seekest the stuff, that I may
show thee what will befit her.' This he said, that he might learn
the meaning of her words; and she rejoined, 'I want a stuff fit
for the Princess Dunya, daughter of King Shehriman.' When the
prince heard the name of his beloved, he rejoiced greatly and
said to Aziz, 'Give me such a bale.' So Aziz brought it and
opened it before Taj el Mulouk, who said to the old woman,
'Choose what will suit her; for these are goods only to be found
with me.' So she chose goods worth a thousand dinars and said,
'How much is this?' And ceased not the while to talk with him and
rub the inside of her thighs with the palm of her hand. 'Shall I
haggle with the like of thee about this paltry price?' answered
he. 'Praised be God who hath brought me acquainted with thee!'
'The name of God be upon thee!' exclaimed she. 'I commend thy
fair face to the protection of the Lord of the Daybreak! Fair
face and pleasant speech! Happy the woman who lies in thy bosom
and clasps thy waist in her arms and enjoys thy youth, especially
if she be fair and graceful like unto thee!' At this, Taj el
Mulouk laughed till he fell backward and said (in himself), 'O
Thou who fulfillest desires by means of dissolute old women! They
are indeed the accomplishers of desires!' Then said she, 'O my
son, what is thy name?' And he answered, 'My name is Taj el
Mulouk.'[FN#148] 'This is a name of kings and kings' sons,'
rejoined she; 'and thou art clad in a merchant's habit.' Quoth
Aziz, 'For the love his parents and family bore him and the value
they set on him, they named him thus.' 'Thou sayst sooth,'
replied the old woman. 'May God guard you both from the evil eye
and the malice of the enemy and the envious, though hearts be
broken by your charms!' Then she took the stuff and went away,
amazed at the prince's beauty and grace and symmetry, and going
in to the Princess Dunya, said to her, 'O my lady, I have brought
thee some handsome stuff.' 'Show it me,' said the princess. 'Here
it is,' answered the old woman; 'turn it over, O my treasure, and
examine it.' So the princess looked at the stuff and was amazed
at its beauty and said, 'O my nurse, this is indeed handsome
stuff! I have never seen its like in our city.' 'O my lady,'
replied the nurse, 'he who sold it me is handsomer still. It
would seem as if Rizwan had left the gates of Paradise open and
this youth had come out. I would he might sleep this night with
thee and lie between thy breasts! He hath come hither with these
stuffs for amusement's sake, and he is a ravishment to all who
set eyes on him.' The princess laughed at her words and said,
'Allah afflict thee, O pernicious old woman! Thou dotest and
there is no sense left in thee. Give me the stuff, that I may
look at it anew.' So she gave it her, and she examined it again
and seeing that though small, it was of great value, was moved to
admiration, for she had never in her life seen its like, and
exclaimed, 'By Allah, this is a handsome stuff.' 'O my lady,'
said the old woman, 'if thou sawest him who sold it to me, thou
wouldst know him for the handsomest of all that be upon the face
of the earth.' Quoth the princess, 'Didst thou ask him if he had
any need, that we might satisfy it?' The nurse shook her head and
answered, 'God keep thy sagacity! Assuredly he has a want, may
thy skill not fail thee. What man is free from wants?' 'Go back
to him,' rejoined the princess; 'salute him for me, and say to
him, "Our land and town are honoured by thy visit, and if thou
hast any need, we will fulfil it to thee, on our head and eyes."'
So the old woman returned to Taj el Mulouk, and when he saw her,
his heart leapt for joy and he rose to his feet and taking her
hand, seated her by his side. As soon as she was rested she told
him what the princess had said, whereat he rejoiced exceedingly;
his breast dilated and gladness entered his heart, and he said in
himself, 'Verily, I have gotten my desire.' Then said he to the
old woman, 'Belike thou wilt take her a message from me and bring
me her answer.' 'I hear and obey,' replied she. So he said to
Aziz, 'Bring me inkhorn and paper and a pen of brass.' Aziz
brought him what he sought, and he took the pen and wrote the
following verses: I send thee, O my hope, a letter, to complain
Of all my soul endures for parting and its pain.

Six lines it hath; the first, 'A fire is in my heart;' The next
line setteth forth my passion all in vain;
The third, 'My patience fails and eke my life doth waste;' The
fourth, 'All love with me for ever shall remain.'
The fifth, 'When shall mine eyes behold thee? And the sixth,
'When shall the day betide of meeting for us twain?

And by way of subscription he wrote these words, 'This letter is
from the captive of desire, prisoned in the hold of longing, from
which there is no deliverance but in union and intercourse with
her whom he loveth, after absence and separation: for he
suffereth grievous torment by reason of his severance from his
beloved.' Then his tears rushed out and he wrote the following

I write to thee, my love, and the tears run down as I write; For
the tears of my eyes, alack I cease never day or night.
Yet do I not despair; mayhap, of God His grace, The day shall
dawn for us of union and delight.

Then he folded the letter and sealed it and gave it to the old
woman, saying, 'Carry it to the lady Dunya.' 'I hear and obey,'
answered she; whereupon he gave her a thousand dinars and said to
her, 'O my mother, accept this, as a token of my affection.' She
took the letter and the money, calling down blessings on him, and
returned to the princess. When the latter saw her, she said to
her, 'O my nurse, what is it he asks, that we may fulfil his wish
to him?' 'O my lady,' replied the old woman, 'he sends thee this
letter by me, and I know not what is in it.' The princess took
the letter and reading it, exclaimed, 'Who and what is this
merchant that he should dare to write to me thus?' And she
buffeted her face, saying, 'What have we done that we should come
in converse with shopkeepers? Alas! Alas! By Allah, but that I
fear God the Most High, I would put him to death and crucify him
before his shop!' 'What is in the letter,' asked the old woman,
'to trouble thy heart and move thine anger thus? Doth it contain
a complaint of oppression or demand for the price of the stuff?'
'Out on thee!' answered the princess. 'There is none of this in
it, nought but words of love and gallantry. This is all through
thee: else how should this devil know me?' 'O my lady,' rejoined
the old woman, 'thou sittest in thy high palace and none may win
to thee, no, not even the birds of the air. God keep thee and
keep thy youth from blame and reproach! Thou art a princess, the
daughter of a king, and needest not reck of the barking of dogs.
Blame me not that I brought thee this letter, knowing not what
was in it; but it is my counsel that thou send him an answer,
threatening him with death and forbidding him from this idle
talk. Surely he will abstain and return not to the like of this.'
'I fear,' said the princess, 'that, if I write to him, he will
conceive hopes of me.' Quoth the old woman, 'When he reads thy
threats and menace of punishment, he will desist.' So the
princess called for inkhorn and paper and pen of brass and wrote
the following verses:

O thou who feignest thee the prey of love and wakefulness And
plainst of that thou dost endure for passion and distress
Thinkst thou, deluded one, to win thy wishes of the moon? Did
ever any of a moon get union and liesse?
I rede thee put away the thought of this thou seekst from thee,
For that therein but peril is for thee and weariness.
If thou to this thy speech return, a grievous punishment Shall
surely fall on thee from me and ruin past redress.
By Him, the Almighty God, I swear, who moulded man from clay, Him
who gave fire unto the sun and lit the moon no less
If thou offend anew, for sure, upon a cross of tree I'll have
thee crucified for all thy wealth and goodliness!

Then she folded the letter and giving it to the old woman, said,
'Carry this to him and bid him desist from this talk.' 'I hear
and obey,' replied she, and taking the letter, returned,
rejoicing, to her own house, where she passed the night and in
the morning betook herself to the shop of Taj el Mulouk, whom she
found expecting her. At sight of her, he well-nigh lost his
reason for delight, and when she came up to him, he rose to his
feet and seated her by his side. Then she brought out the letter
and gave it to him, saying, 'Read this. When the princess read
thy letter, she was angry; but I coaxed her and jested with her
till I made her laugh, and she had pity on thee and has returned
thee an answer.' He thanked her and bade Aziz give her a thousand
dinars: then he read her letter and fell to weeping sore, so that
the old woman's heart was moved to pity for him and his tears and
complaints grieved her. So she said to him, 'O my son, what is
there in this scroll, that makes thee weep?' 'She threatens me
with death and crucifixion,' replied he, 'and forbids me to write
to her: but if I write not, my death were better than my life. So
take thou my answer to her letter and let her do what she will.'
'By the life of thy youth,' rejoined the old woman, 'needs must I
venture my life for thee, that I may bring thee to thy desire and
help thee to win that thou hast at heart!' And he said, 'Whatever
thou dost, I will requite thee therefor, and do thou determine of
it; for thou art versed in affairs and skilled in all fashions of
intrigue: difficult matters are easy to thee: and God can do all
things.' Then he took a scroll and wrote therein the following

My love with slaughter threatens me, woe's me for my distress!
But death is foreordained; to me, indeed, 'twere happiness;
Better death end a lover's woes than that a weary life He live,
rejected and forlorn, forbidden from liesse.
Visit a lover, for God's sake, whose every helper fails, And with
thy sight thy captive slave and bondman deign to bless!
Have ruth upon me, lady mine, for loving thee; for all, Who love
the noble, stand excused for very passion's stress.

Then he sighed heavily and wept, till the old woman wept also and
taking the letter, said to him, 'Take heart and be of good cheer,
for it shall go hard but I bring thee to thy desire.' Then she
rose and leaving him on coals of fire, returned to the princess,
whom she found still pale with rage at Taj el Mulouk's first
letter. The nurse gave her his second letter, whereupon her anger
redoubled and she said, 'Did I not say he would conceive hopes of
us?' 'What is this dog,' replied the old woman, 'that he should
conceive hopes of thee?' Quoth the princess, 'Go back to him and
tell him that, if he write to me again, I will have his head cut
off.' 'Write this in a letter,' answered the nurse, 'and I will
take it to him, that his fear may be the greater.' So she took a
scroll and wrote thereon the following verses:

Harkye thou that letst the lessons of the past unheeded lie, Thou
that lookst aloft, yet lackest power to win thy goal on
Thinkest thou to reach Es Suha,[FN#149] O deluded one, although
Even the moon's too far to come at, shining in the middle
How then dar'st thou hope my favours and aspire to twinned
delight And my spear-straight shape and slender in thine
arms to girdle sigh?
Leave this purpose, lest mine anger fall on thee some day of
wrath, Such as e'en the parting-places shall with white for
terror dye.

Then she folded the letter and gave it to the old woman, who took
it and returned to Taj el Mulouk. When he saw her, he rose to his
feet and exclaimed, 'May God not bereave me of the blessing of
thy coming!' Quoth she, 'Take the answer to thy letter.' He took
it and reading it, wept sore and said, 'Would some one would slay
me now, for indeed death were easier to me than this my state!'
Then he took pen and inkhorn and paper and wrote the following

O my hope, have done with rigour; lay disdain and anger by, Visit
one who, drowned in passion, doth for love and longing sigh.
Think not, under thine estrangement, that my life I will endure.
Lo, my soul, for very severance from thy sight, is like to

Then he folded the letter and gave it to the old woman, saying,
'Grudge it not to me, though I have wearied thee to no purpose.'
And he bade Aziz give her other thousand dinars, saying, 'O my
mother, needs must this letter result in perfect union or
complete separation.' 'O my son,' replied she, 'by Allah, I
desire nought but thy weal; and it is my wish that she be thine,
for indeed thou art the resplendent moon and she the rising sun.
If I do not bring you together, there is no profit in my life:
these ninety years have I lived in the practice of wile and
intrigue; so how should I fail to unite two lovers, though in
defiance of law?' Then she took leave of him, after comforting
his heart, and returned to the palace. Now she had hidden the
letter in her hair: so she sat down by the princess and rubbing
her head, said, 'O my lady, maybe thou wilt comb out my hair: for
it is long since I went to the bath.' The princess bared her arms
to the elbow and letting down the old woman's hair, began to comb
it, when out dropped the letter and Dunya seeing it, asked what
it was. Quoth the nurse, 'This paper must have stuck to me, as I
sat in the merchant's shop: give it me, that I may return it to
him; belike it contains some reckoning of which he hath need.'
But the princess opened it, and reading it, cried out, 'This is
one of thy tricks, and hadst thou not reared me, I would lay
violent hands on thee forthright! Verily God hath afflicted me
with this merchant: but all that hath befallen me with him is of
thy contrivance. I know not whence this fellow can have come:
none but he would venture to affront me thus, and I fear lest
this my case get wind, the more that it concerns one who is
neither of my rank nor of my peers.' 'None would dare speak of
this,' rejoined the old woman, 'for fear of thine anger and awe
of thy father; so there can be no harm in sending him an answer.'
'O my nurse,' said the princess, 'verily this fellow is a devil.
How can he dare to use such language to me and not dread the
Sultan's wrath? Indeed, I am perplexed about his case: if I order
him to be put to death, it were unjust; and if I leave him, his
presumption will increase.' 'Write him a letter,' rejoined the
old woman; 'it may be he will desist.' So she called for pen and
ink and paper and wrote the following verses:

Again and again I chide thee, yet folly ever again Lures thee:
how long, with my writing, in verse shall I bid thee
Whilst thou but growest in boldness for all forbidding? But I No
grace save to keep thy secret, unto thy prayers may deign.
Conceal thy passion nor ever reveal it; for, an thou speak, I
will surely show thee no mercy nor yet my wrath contain.
If to thy foolish daring thou turn thee anew, for sure, The raven
of evil omen shall croak for thee death and bane;
And slaughter shall come upon thee ere long, and under the earth
To seek for a place of abiding, God wot, thou shalt be fain.
Thy people, O self-deluder, thou'lt leave in mourning for thee;
Ay, all their lives they shall sorrow for thee, fordone and

Then she folded the letter and committed it to the old woman, who
took it and returning to Taj el Mulouk, gave it to him. When he
read it, he knew that the princess was hard-hearted and that he
should not win to her; so he complained to the Vizier and
besought his advice. Quoth he, 'Nothing will profit thee save
that thou write to her and invoke the wrath of God upon her.' And
he said to Aziz, 'O my brother, do thou write to her in my name,
according to thy knowledge.' So Aziz took a scroll and wrote the
following verses:

O Lord, by the Five Elders, deliver me, I pray, And her, for whom
I suffer, in like affliction lay!
Thou knowest that I weary in raging flames of love; Whilst she I
love is cruel and saith me ever nay.
How long shall I be tender to her, despite my pain? How long
shall she ride roughshod o'er my weakness night and day?
In agonies I wander of never-ceasing death And find nor friend
nor helper, O Lord, to be my stay.
Full fain would I forget her; but how can I forget, When for
desire my patience is wasted all away?
Thou that forbidst my passion the sweets of happy love, Art thou
then safe from fortune, that shifts and changes aye?
Art thou not glad and easeful and blest with happy life, Whilst
I, for thee, an exile from folk and country stray?

Then he folded the letter and gave it to Taj el Mulouk, who read
the verses and was pleased with them. So he handed the letter to
the old woman, who took it and carried it to the princess. When
she read it, she was greatly enraged and said, 'All that has
befallen me comes from this pernicious old woman!' Then she cried
out to the damsels and eunuchs, saying, 'Seize this accursed old
trickstress and beat her with your slippers!' So they beat her
till she swooned away; and when she revived, the princess said to
her, 'By Allah, O wicked old woman, did I not fear God the Most
High, I would kill thee!' Then she bade them beat her again, and
they did so, till she fainted a second time, whereupon the
princess ordered them to drag her forth and throw her without the
palace. So they dragged her along on her face and threw her down
before the gate. When she came to herself, she rose and made the
best of her way home, walking and resting by turns. She passed
the night in her own house and in the morning, she went to Taj el
Mulouk and told him what had passed, at which he was distressed
and said, 'O my mother, this that has befallen thee is grievous
to us; but all things are according to fate and destiny.' 'Take
comfort and be of good cheer,' replied she; 'for I will not give
over striving, till I have brought thee and her together and made
thee to enjoy the vile baggage who hath tortured me with
beating.' Quoth the prince, 'Tell me the reason of her aversion
to men.' 'It arose from what she saw in a dream,' answered the
old woman. 'And what was this dream?' asked the prince. 'One
night,' replied she, 'as she lay asleep, she saw a fowler spread
his net upon the ground and scatter grain round it. Then he sat
down hard by, and all the birds in the neighbourhood flocked to
the net. Amongst the rest she saw a pair of pigeons, male and
female; and whilst she was watching the net, the male bird's foot
caught in it and he began to struggle, whereupon all the other
birds took fright and flew away. But presently his mate came back
and hovered over him, then alighted on the net, unobserved by the
fowler, and fell to picking and pulling at the mesh in which the
male bird's foot was entangled with her beak, till she released
him and they flew away together. Then the fowler came up and
mended his net and seated himself afar off. After awhile, the
birds came back and the female pigeon was caught in the net,
whereupon all the other birds took fright and flew away; and the
male pigeon flew away with the rest and did not return to his
mate. Then came the fowler and took the female pigeon and killed
her. So the princess awoke, troubled by her dream, and said, "All
males are worthless, like this pigeon: and men in general are
wanting in goodness to women."' When the old woman had made an
end of her story, the prince said to her, 'O my mother, I desire
to have one look at her, though it be my death; so do thou
contrive me some means of seeing her.' 'Know then,' answered she,
'that she hath under her palace windows a pleasure-garden, to
which she resorts once in every month by the private door. In ten
days, the time of her thus going forth will arrive; so when she
is about to visit the garden, I will come and tell thee, that
thou mayst go thither and meet her. And look thou quit not the
garden, for haply, if she sees thy beauty and grace, her heart
will be taken with love of thee, and love is the most potent
means of union.' 'I hear and obey,' replied Taj el Mulouk. Then
he and Aziz left the shop, and taking the old woman with them,
showed her where they lodged. Then said the prince to Aziz, 'I
have no further need of the shop, having fulfilled my purpose of
it; so I give it to thee with all that is in it; for that thou
hast come abroad with me and hast left thy country for my sake.'
Aziz accepted his gift and they sat conversing awhile, the prince
questioning the young merchant of the strange passages of his
life and the latter acquainting him with the particulars thereof.
Presently, they went to the Vizier and acquainting him with Taj
el Mulouk's purpose, asked him what they should do. 'Let us go to
the garden,' answered he. So they donned their richest clothes
and went forth, followed by three white slaves, to the garden,
which they found thick with trees and abounding in rills. At the
gate, they saw the keeper sitting; so they saluted him and he
returned their salute. Then the Vizier gave him a hundred dinars,
saying, 'Prithee, take this spending-money and fetch us something
to eat; for we are strangers and I have with me these two lads,
whom I wish to divert.' The gardener took the money and said to
them, 'Enter and take your pleasure in the garden, for it is all
yours; and sit down till I bring you what you require.' So he
went to the market, and the Vizier and his companions entered the
garden. In a little while, the gardener returned with a roasted
lamb and bread as white as cotton, which he placed before them,
and they ate and drank; after which he set on sweetmeats, and
they ate of them, then washed their hands and sat talking.
Presently the Vizier said to the gardener, 'Tell me about this
garden: is it thine or dost thou rent it?' 'It does not belong to
me,' replied he, 'but to the Princess Dunya, the King's
daughter.' 'What is thy wage?' asked the Vizier, and the gardener
answered, 'One dinar every month and no more.' Then the Vizier
looked round about the garden and seeing in its midst a pavilion,
lofty but old and dilapidated, said to the keeper, 'O elder, I am
minded to do here a good work, by which thou shalt remember me.'
'O my lord,' rejoined the other, 'what is that?' 'Take these
three hundred dinars,' answered the Vizier. When the keeper heard
speak of the dinars, he said, 'O my lord, do what thou wilt.' So
the Vizier gave him the money, saying, 'God willing, we will work
a good work in this place.' Then they left the garden and
returned to their lodging, where they passed the night. Next day,
the Vizier sent for a plasterer and a painter and a skilful
goldsmith, and furnishing them with all the tools and materials
that they required, carried them to the garden, where he bade
them plaster the walls of the pavilion and decorate it with
various kinds of paintings. Then he sent for gold and ultramarine
and said to the painter, 'Paint me on the wall, at the upper end
of the saloon, a fowler, with his nets spread and birds lighted
round them and a female pigeon fallen into the net and entangled
therein by the bill. Let this fill one compartment of the wall,
and on the other paint the fowler seizing the pigeon and setting
the knife to her throat, whilst the third compartment of the
picture must show a great hawk seizing the male pigeon, her mate,
and digging his talons into him.' The painter did as the Vizier
bade him, and when he and the other workmen had finished, they
took their hire and went away. Then the Vizier and his companions
took leave of the gardener and returned to their lodging, where
they sat down to converse. And Taj el Mulouk said to Aziz, 'O my
brother, recite me some verses: haply it may dilate my breast and
dispel my sad thoughts and assuage the fire of my heart.' So Aziz
chanted the following verses:

All that they fable lovers feel of anguish and despite, I in
myself comprise, and so my strength is crushed outright;
And if thou seekst a watering-place, see, from my streaming eyes,
Rivers of tears for those who thirst run ever day and night.
Or, if thou fain wouldst look upon the ruin passion's hands Can
wreak on lovers, let thy gaze upon my body light.

And his eyes ran over with tears and he repeated these verses

Who loves not the necks and the eyes of the fair and pretends,
forsooth, To know the delight of the world, God wot, he
speaks not the truth
For in love is a secret meaning that none may win to know Save he
who has loved indeed and known its wrath and ruth.
May God not lighten my heart of passion for her I love Nor ease
my eyelids, for love, of wakefulness in my youth!

Then he sang the following:

Avicenna pretends, in his writings renowned, That the lover's
best medicine is song and sweet sound
And dalliance with one of his sex like his love And drinking,
with waters and fruits all around.
I took me another, to heal me for thee, And fate was propitious
and grace did abound
Yet I knew love a mortal disease, against which Avicenna his
remedy idle I found.

Taj el Mulouk was pleased with his verses and wondered at his
eloquence and the excellence of his recitation, saying, 'Indeed
thou hast done away from me somewhat of my concern.' Then said
the Vizier, 'Of a truth there occurred to those of times past
what astounds those who hear it.' 'If thou canst recall any fine
verse of this kind,' quoth the prince, 'I prithee let us hear it
and keep the talk in vogue.' So the Vizier chanted the following

Methought thy favours might be bought and thou to give consent To
union won by gifts of gold and grace and blandishment:
And eke, for ignorance, I deemed thy love an easy thing, Thy love
in which the noblest souls for languor are forspent;
Until I saw thee choose one out and gratify that one With sweet
and subtle favours. Then, to me 'twas evident
Thy graces never might be won by any artifice; So underneath my
wing my head I hid incontinent
And in the nest of passion made my heart's abiding-place, Wherein
my morning and my night for evermore are pent.

Meanwhile the old woman remained shut up in her house till it
befell that the princess was taken with a desire to divert
herself in the garden. Now this she had been wont to do only in
company with her nurse; so she sent for her and spoke her fair
and made her peace with her, saying, 'I wish to go forth to the
garden, that I may divert myself with the sight of its trees and
fruits and gladden my heart with its flowers.' 'I hear and obey,'
replied the old woman; 'but let me first go to my house and
change my dress, and I will be with thee anon.' 'Go,' said the
princess; 'but be not long absent from me.' So the old woman left
her and repairing to Taj el Mulouk, said to him, 'Don thy richest
clothes and go to the gardener and salute him and make shift to
hide thyself in the garden.' 'I hear and obey,' answered he; and
she agreed with him upon a signal to be made by her to him and
returned to the princess. As soon as she was gone, the Vizier and
Aziz rose and dressed Taj el Mulouk in a right costly suit of
kings' raiment, worth five thousand dinars, and girt his middle
with a girdle of gold set with jewels. Then he repaired to the
garden and found the keeper seated at the gate. As soon as the
latter saw him, he sprang to his feet and received him with all
respect and consideration and opening the gate, said, 'Enter and
take thy pleasure in the garden.' Now the gardener knew not that
the princess was to visit the garden that day: but Taj el Mulouk
had been there but a little while, when he heard a noise and ere
he could think, out came the eunuchs and damsels by the private
door. When the gardener saw this, he came up to the prince and
said to him, 'O my lord, what is to be done? The Princess Dunya,
the King's daughter, is here.' 'Fear not,' replied the prince;
'no harm shall befall thee: for I will conceal myself somewhere
about the garden.' So the gardener exhorted him to the utmost
prudence and went away. Presently, the princess entered the
garden, attended by her damsels and the old woman, who said to
herself, 'If these eunuchs abide with us, we shall not attain our
object.' So she said to the princess, 'O my lady, I have somewhat
to say to thee that will be for thy heart's ease.' 'Say on,'
replied the princess. 'O my lady,' said the old woman, 'thou hast
no present need of these eunuchs; send them away, for thou wilt
not be able to divert thyself at thine ease, whilst they are with
us.' 'Thou art right,' rejoined the princess. So she dismissed
the eunuchs and began to walk about, whilst Taj el Mulouk fed his
eyes on her beauty and grace, without her knowledge, and fainted
every time he looked at her, by reason of her surpassing
loveliness. The old woman held her in converse and drew her on
till they reached the pavilion, which the Vizier had caused to be
decorated afresh, when the princess entered and looking round,
perceived the picture of the fowler and the birds; whereupon she
exclaimed, 'Glory be to God! This is the very presentment of what
I saw in my dream.' She continued to gaze at the painting, full
of admiration, and presently she said, 'O my nurse, I have been
wont to blame and dislike men, by reason of my having seen in my
dream the female pigeon abandoned by her mate; but now see how
the male pigeon was minded to return and set her free; but the
hawk met him and tore him in pieces.' The old woman, however,
feigned ignorance and ceased not to hold her in converse, till
they drew near the place where the prince lay hidden, whereupon
she signed to him to come out and walk under the windows of the
pavilion. He did so: and presently the princess, chancing to look
out, saw him and noting his beauty and symmetry, said to the old
woman, 'O my nurse, whence comes yonder handsome youth?' 'I know
nothing of him,' replied the old woman, 'except that I think he
must be some great king's son, for he attains the utmost extreme
of beauty and grace.' The princess fell passionately in love with
him; the spells that bound her were dissolved and her reason was
overcome by his beauty and elegance. So she said to the old
woman, 'O my nurse this is indeed a handsome youth.' 'Thou art in
the right O my lady!' replied the nurse and signed to Taj el
Mulouk to go home. So he went away, not daring to cross her
though desire flamed in him and he was distraught for love and
longing, and taking leave of the gardener, returned to his
lodging, where he told the Vizier and Aziz all that had passed.
They exhorted him to patience, saying, 'Did not the old woman
know that there was an object to be gained by thy departure, she
had not signed to thee to return home.'

Meanwhile, desire and passion redoubled upon the princess, and
she was overcome with love-longing and said to the old woman, 'I
know not how I shall foregather with this youth, but through
thee.' 'God be my refuge from Satan the Accursed!' exclaimed the
old woman. 'Thou that art averse from men! How comes it that thou
art thus afflicted with love of this young man? Though, by Allah,
none is worthy of thy youth but he!' 'O my nurse,' said the
princess, 'help me to foregather with him, and thou shalt have of
me a thousand dinars and a dress worth as much more: but if thou
aid me not to come at him, I shall assuredly die.' 'Go to thy
palace,' replied the nurse, 'and leave me to devise means for
bringing you together. I will risk my life to content you both.'
So the princess returned to her palace, and the old woman betook
herself to Taj el Mulouk, who rose to receive her and entreated
her with respect and honour, making her sit by his side. Then
said she, 'The device hath succeeded,' and told him all that had
passed between the princess and herself. 'When is our meeting to
be?' asked he. 'To-morrow,' replied the old woman. So he gave her
a thousand dinars and a dress of equal value, and she took them
and returned to the princess, who said to her, as soon as she saw
her, 'O my nurse, what news of my beloved?' 'I have discovered
where he lives,' replied she, 'and will bring him to thee
to-morrow.' At this the princess was glad and gave her a thousand
dinars and a dress worth as much more, with which she returned to
her own house, where she passed the night. Next morning, she went
to Taj el Mulouk and dressing him in women's clothes, said to
him, 'Follow me and sway from side to side, as thou goest, and do
not hasten in thy walk nor take heed of any that speaks to thee.'
Then she went out and walked on, followed by the prince, whom she
continued to lesson and hearten by the way, that he might not be
afraid, till they came to the palace gate. She entered and the
prince after her, and she led him through doors and vestibules,
till they had passed six doors. As they approached the seventh
door, she said to him, 'Take courage and when I call out to thee
and say, "Pass, O damsel!" do not hesitate, but hasten on. When
thou art in the vestibule, thou wilt see on thy left a gallery,
with doors along it: count five doors and enter the sixth, for
therein is thy desire.' 'And whither wilt thou go?' asked the
prince. 'Nowhere,' answered she; 'except that I may drop behind
thee and the chief eunuch may detain me, whilst I talk with him.'
Then they went up to the door, where the chief eunuch was
stationed, and he, seeing Taj el Mulouk with her, dressed as a
slave-girl, said to the old woman, 'What girl is this with
thee?' Quoth she, 'This is a slave-girl of whom the Princess
Dunya has heard that she is skilled in different arts, and she
hath a mind to buy her.' 'I know no slave-girl,' rejoined the
eunuch, 'nor any one else; and none shall enter here without
being searched by me, according to the King's orders.' At this
the old woman feigned to be angry and said, 'I thought thee a man
of sense and good breeding: but, if thou be changed, I will let
the princess know of it and how thou hinderest her slave-girl.'
Then she cried out to Taj el Mulouk, saying, 'Pass on, O damsel!'
So he passed on into the vestibule, whilst the eunuch was silent
and said nothing. Then the prince counted five doors and entered
the sixth, where he found the Princess Dunya standing awaiting
him. As soon as she saw him, she knew him and pressed him to her
bosom, and he returned her embrace. Then the old woman came in to
them, having made a pretext to dismiss the princess's attendants
for fear of discovery, and the princess said to her, 'Do thou
keep the door.' So she and Taj el Mulouk abode alone together and
passed the night in kissing and embracing and twining leg with
leg. When the day drew near, she left him and shutting the door
upon him, passed in to another apartment, where she sat down
according to her wont, whilst her women came in to her, and she
attended to their affairs and conversed with them awhile. Then
she said to them, 'Leave me now, for I wish to be alone.' So they
withdrew and she betook herself to Taj el Mulouk, and the old
woman brought them food, of which they ate and after fell again
to amorous dalliance, till the dawn. Then the princess left him,
and locked the door as before; and they ceased not to do thus for
a whole month.

Meanwhile, the Vizier and Aziz, when they found that the prince
did not return from the princess's palace all this while, gave
him up for lost and Aziz said to the Vizier, 'O my father, what
shall we do?' 'O my son,' answered he, 'this is a difficult
matter, and except we return to his father and tell him, he will
blame us.' So they made ready at once and setting out, journeyed
night and day along the valleys, in the direction of the Green
Country, till they reached King Suleiman's capital and presenting
themselves before him, acquainted him with what had befallen his
son and how they had heard no news of him, since he entered the
princess's palace. At this the King was greatly troubled and
regret was sore upon him, and he let call a holy war throughout
his realm. Then he encamped without the town with his troops and
took up his abode in his pavilion, whilst the levies came from
all parts of the kingdom; for his subjects loved him by reason of
his much justice and beneficence. As soon as his forces were
assembled, he took horse, with an army covering the country as
far as the eye could reach, and departed in quest of his son Taj
el Mulouk. Meanwhile, the latter sojourned with the princess half
a year's time, whilst every day they redoubled in mutual
affection and distraction and passion and love-longing and desire
so pressed upon Taj el Mulouk, that at last he opened his mind to
the princess and said to her, 'Know, O beloved of my heart and
entrails, that the longer I abide with thee, the more longing and
passion and desire increase on me, for that I have not yet
fulfilled the whole of my desire.' 'What then wouldst thou have,
O light of my eyes and fruit of my entrails?' asked she. 'If thou
desire aught beside kissing and embracing and entwining of legs,
do what pleases thee; for, by Allah, none hath any part in us.'
'It is not that I desire,' rejoined he; 'but I would fain
acquaint thee with my true history. I am no merchant, but a King,
the son of a King, and my father is the supreme King Suleiman
Shah, who sent his Vizier ambassador to thy father, to demand thy
hand for me in marriage, but thou wouldst not consent.' Then he
told her his story from first to last, nor is there any profit in
repeating it, and added, 'And now I wish to return to my father,
that he may send an ambassador to thy father, to demand thy hand
for me, so we may be at ease.' When she heard this, she rejoiced
greatly, because it fell in with her own wishes, and they passed
the night on this understanding. But by the decree of Fate, it
befell that sleep overcame them that night above all nights and
they slept till the sun had risen. Now at this hour, King
Shehriman was sitting on his chair of estate, with his amirs and
grandees before him, when the chief of the goldsmiths presented
himself before him carrying a large box, which he opened and
brought out therefrom a small casket worth a hundred thousand
dinars, for that which was therein of rubies and emeralds and
other jewels, beyond the competence of any King. When the King
saw this, he marveled at its beauty and turning to the chief
eunuch (him with whom the old woman had had to do, as before
related), said to him, 'O Kafour, take this casket to the
Princess Dunya.' The eunuch took the casket and repairing to the
princess's apartment, found the door shut and the old woman lying
asleep on the threshold; whereupon said he, 'Asleep at this
hour?' His voice aroused the old woman, who was terrified and
said to him, 'Wait till I fetch the key.' Then she went out and
fled for her life; but the eunuch, having his suspicions of her,
lifted the door off its hinges and entering, found the princess
and Taj el Mulouk lying asleep in each other's arms. At this
sight he was confounded and was about to return to the King, when
the princess awoke, and seeing him, was terrified and changed
colour and said to him, 'O Kafour, veil thou what God hath
veiled.' But he replied, 'I cannot conceal aught from the King;'
and locking the door on them, returned to Shehriman, who said to
him, 'Hast thou given the casket to the princess?' 'Here is the
casket,' answered the eunuch. 'Take it, for I cannot conceal
aught from thee. Know that I found a handsome young man in the
princess's arms, and they asleep in one bed.' The King commanded
them to be fetched and said to them, 'What manner of thing is
this!' and being violently enraged, seized a dagger and was about
to strike Taj el Mulouk with it, when the princess threw herself
upon him and said to her father, 'Slay me before him.' The King
reviled her and commanded her to be taken back to her chamber:
then he turned to Taj el Mulouk and said to him, 'Woe to thee!
Whence art thou? Who is thy father and what hath emboldened thee
to debauch my daughter?' 'Know, O King,' replied the prince,
'that if thou put me to death, thou wilt repent it, for it will
be thy ruin and that of all in thy dominions.' 'How so?' asked
the King. 'Know,' answered Taj el Mulouk, 'that I am the son of
King Suleiman Shah, and before thou knowest it, he will be upon
thee with his horse and foot.' When King Shehriman heard this, he
would have forborne to kill Taj el Mulouk and put him in prison,
till he should know the truth of his words; but his Vizier said
to him, 'O King of the age, it is my counsel that thou make haste
to slay this gallows-bird, that dares debauch kings' daughters.'
So the King said to the headsman, 'Strike off his head; for he is
a traitor.' Accordingly, the headsman took him and binding him
fast, raised his hand to the amirs, as if to consult them, a
first and a second time, thinking to gain time; but the King said
to him, 'How long wilt thou consult the amirs? If thou do so
again, I will strike off thine own head.' So the headsman raised
his hand, till the hair of his armpit appeared, and was about to
smite off Taj el Mulouk's head, when suddenly loud cries arose
and the people closed their strops; whereupon the King said to
him, 'Wait awhile,' and despatched one to learn the news.
Presently, the messenger returned and said, 'I see an army like
the stormy sea with its clashing billows; the earth trembles with
the tramp of their horses, and I know not the reason of their
coming.' When the King heard this, he was confounded and feared
lest his realm should be torn from him; so he turned to his
Vizier and said, 'Have not any of our troops gone forth to meet
this army?' But before he had done speaking, his chamberlains
entered with messengers from the approaching host, and amongst
them the Vizier who had accompanied Taj el Mulouk. They saluted
the King, who rose to receive them and bidding them draw near,
enquired the reason of their coming; whereupon the Vizier came
forward and said, 'Know that he who hath invaded thy realm is no
king like unto the Kings and Sultans of time past.' 'Who is he?'
asked Shehriman, and the Vizier replied, 'He is the lord of
justice and loyalty, the report of whose magnanimity the caravans
have blazed abroad, the Sultan Suleiman Shah, lord of the Green
Country and the Two Columns and the mountains of Ispahan, he who
loves justice and equity and abhors iniquity and oppression. He
saith to thee that his son, the darling of his heart and the
fruit of his loins, is with thee and in this thy city; and if he
find him in safety, his aim is won and thou shalt have praise and
thanks; but if he have disappeared from thy dominions or if aught
have befallen him, look thou for ruin and the laying waste of thy
realm; for this thy city shall become a desert, in which the
raven shall croak. Thus have I done my errand to thee and peace
be on thee!' When King Shehriman heard these words, his heart was
troubled and he feared for his kingdom: so he cried out for his
grandees and viziers and chamberlains and officers; and when they
appeared, he said to them, 'Out on you! Go down and search for
the young man!' Now the prince was still under the headsman's
hands, but he was changed by the fright he had undergone.
Presently, the Vizier, chancing to look aside, saw the prince on
the carpet of blood and knew him; so he threw himself upon him,
as did the other envoys. Then they loosed his bonds and kissed
his hands and feet, whereupon he opened his eyes and recognizing
his father's Vizier and his friend Aziz, fell down in a swoon,
for excess of delight in them. When King Shehriman saw that the
coming of the army was indeed on this youth's account, he was
confounded and feared greatly; so he went up to Taj el Mulouk and
kissing his head, said to him, with streaming eyes, 'O my son,
bear me not malice neither blame the sinner for his evil-doing:
but have compassion on my gray hairs and do not lay waste my
kingdom.' But Taj el Mulouk drew near unto him and kissing his
hand, replied, 'Fear not: no harm shall come to thee, for indeed
thou art to me as my father; but look that nought befall my
beloved, the lady Dunya.' 'O my lord,' replied the King, 'fear
not for her; nought but joy shall betide her.' And he went on to
excuse himself to him and made his peace with King Suleiman's
Vizier, to whom he promised much money, if he would conceal from
the King what he had seen. Then he bade his officers carry the
prince to the bath and clothe him in one of the best of his own
suits and bring him back speedily. So they carried him to the
bath and brought him back to the presence-chamber, after having
clad him in the suit that the King had set apart for him. When he
entered, the King rose to receive him and made all his grandees
stand in attendance on him. Then he sat down to converse with
Aziz and the Vizier and acquainted them with what had befallen
him; after which they told him how they had returned to his
father and given him to know of his son's perilous plight and
added, 'And indeed our coming hath brought thee relief and us
gladness.' Quoth he, 'Good fortune hath attended your every
action, first and last.'

Meanwhile, King Shehriman went in to his daughter, the Princess
Dunya, and found her weeping and lamenting for Taj el Mulouk.
Moreover, she had taken a sword and fixed the hilt in the earth,
with the point to her heart between her breasts; and she bent
over it, saying, 'Needs must I kill myself and not live after my
beloved.' When her father entered and saw her in this case, he
cried out, 'O princess of kings' daughters, hold thy hand and
have compassion on thy father and the people of thy realm!' Then
he came up to her and said, 'God forbid that an ill thing should
befall thy father for thy sake!' And he told her that her lover
was the son of King Suleiman Shah and sought her to wife and that
the marriage waited only for her consent; whereat she smiled and
said, 'Did I not tell thee that he was a king's son? By Allah, I
must let him crucify thee on a piece of wood worth two dirhems!'
'O my daughter,' answered the King, 'have mercy on me, so may God
have mercy on thee!' 'Harkye,' rejoined she, 'make haste and
bring him to me without delay.' The King replied, 'On my head and
eyes be it,' and returning in haste to Taj el Mulouk, repeated
her words in his ear. So he arose and accompanied the King to the
princess, who caught hold of him and embraced him in her father's
presence and kissed him, saying, 'Thou hast made me a weary
woman!' Then she turned to her father and said to him, 'Sawst
thou ever any do hurt to the like of this fair creature, more by
token that he is a king, the son of a king, and of the free-bon,
guarded against abominations?' Therewith Shehriman went out and
shutting the door on them with his own hand, returned to the
Vizier and the other envoys and bade them report to their King
that his son was in health and gladness and enjoying all delight
of life with his beloved. So they returned to King Suleiman and
acquainted him with this, whereat he rejoiced and exclaimed,
'Praised be God who hath brought my son to his desire!'

Meanwhile, King Shehriman despatched largesse of money and
victual to King Suleiman's troops, and choosing out a hundred
coursers and a hundred dromedaries and a hundred white slaves and
a hundred concubines and a hundred black slaves and a hundred
female slaves, sent them all to the King as a present. Then he
took horse, with his grandees and chief officers, and rode out of
the city in the direction of King Suleiman's camp. As soon as the
latter knew of his approach, he rose and advancing some paces to
meet him, took him in his arms and made him sit down beside
himself on the royal couch, where they conversed awhile frankly
and cheerfully. Then food was set before them, followed by
sweetmeats and fruits, and they ate till they were satisfied.
Presently, they were joined by Taj el Mulouk, richly dressed and
adorned, and when his father saw him, he rose and embraced him
and kissed him. Then the two kings seated him between them,
whilst all who were present rose to do him honour; and they sat
conversing awhile, after which quoth King Suleiman to King
Shehriman, 'I wish to have the contract between my son and thy
daughter drawn up in the presence of witnesses, that the marriage
may be made public, as of wont.' 'I hear and obey,' answered King
Shehriman and summoned the Cadi and the witnesses, who came and
drew up the marriage contract between the prince and princess.
Then they gave largesse of money and sweetmeats and burnt
perfumes and sprinkled essences. And indeed it was a day of joy
and festivity, and the grandees and soldiers rejoiced therein.
Then King Shehriman proceeded to equip his daughter; and Taj el
Mulouk said to his father, 'Of a truth, this young man Aziz is a
man of great worth and generosity and hath done me right noble
service, having wearied for me and travelled with me till he
brought me to my desire. Indeed, he ceased never to have patience
with me and exhort me to patience, till I accomplished my intent;
and he has now companied with us two whole years, cut off from
his native land. So now I purpose to equip him with merchandise,
that he may depart with a light heart; for his country is near at
hand.' 'It is well seen,' replied his father: so they made ready
a hundred loads of the richest and most costly stuffs, which Taj
el Mulouk presented to Aziz, saying, 'O my brother and my true
friend, take these loads and accept them from me, as a gift and
token of affection, and go in peace to thine own country.' Aziz
accepted the presents and kissing the earth before the prince and
his father, bade them farewell. Moreover, Taj el Mulouk mounted
and brought him three miles on his homeward way, after which Aziz
conjured him to turn back, saying, 'By Allah, O my lord, were it
not for my mother, I would never part from thee! But leave me not
without news of thee.' 'So be it,' replied Taj el Mulouk. Then
the prince returned to the city, and Aziz journeyed on, till he
came to his native town and repairing to his mother's house,
found that she had built him a monument in the midst of the
courtyard and used to visit it continually. When he entered, he
found her, with her hair dishevelled and spread over the tomb,
weeping and repeating the following verses:

Indeed, I'm very patient 'gainst all that can betide; Yet do I
lack of patience thine absence to abide.
Who is there can have patience after his friend and who Bows not
the head to parting, that comes with rapid stride?

Then sobs burst up out of her breast, and she repeated these
verses also:

What ails me? I pass by the graveyard, saluting the tomb of my
son, And yet no greeting he gives me and answer comes there
"How shall I give thee an answer, who lie in the grip of the
grave, The hostage of earth and corruption," replies the
beloved one.
"The dust hath eaten my beauties and I have forgotten thee, Shut
in from kindred and lovers and stars and moon and sun."

Then Aziz came in to her, and when she saw him, she fell down in
a swoon for joy. He sprinkled water on her, till she revived and
rising, took him in her arms and strained him to her bosom,
whilst he in like manner embraced her. Then they exchanged
greetings, and she asked the reason of his long absence,
whereupon he told her all that had befallen him from first to
last and how Taj el Mulouk had given him a hundred loads of
wealth and stuffs. At this she rejoiced, and Aziz abode with his
mother in his native town, weeping for what had befallen him with
the daughter of Delileh the Crafty, even her who had gelded him.

Meanwhile, Taj el Mulouk went in to his beloved, the Princess
Dunya, and did away her maidenhead. Then King Shehriman proceeded
to equip his daughter for her journey with her husband and
father-in-law and let bring them victual and gifts and rarities.
So they loaded their beasts and set forth, whilst Shehriman
brought them three days' journey on their way, till King Suleiman
begged him to return. So he took leave of them and turned back,
and Taj el Mulouk and his wife and father journeyed on, night and
day, with their troops, till they drew near the capital of the
Green Country. As soon as the news of their coming became known,
the folk decorated the city; so in they entered, and the King
sitting down on his chair of estate, with his son by his side,
gave alms and largesse and loosed those who were in bonds. Then
he held a second bridal for his son, and the sound of the
singing-women and players upon instruments of music ceased not
for a whole month, during which time the tire-women stinted not
to adorn the bride and display her in various dresses; and she
tired not of the unveiling nor did they weary of gazing on her.
Then Taj el Mulouk, after having companied awhile with his father
and mother, took up his sojourn with his wife, and they abode in
all delight of life and fair fortune, till there came to them the
Destroyer of Delights."

When the Vizier had made an end of the story of Taj el Mulouk and
the Princess Dunya, Zoulmekan said to him, "Of a truth, it is the
like of thee who lighten the mourning heart and are worthy to be
the companions of kings and to guide their policy in the right

Meanwhile, they ceased not from the leaguer of Constantinople;
and there they lay four whole years, till they yearned after
their native land and the troops murmured, being weary of siege
and vigil and stress of war by night and by day. Then King
Zoulmekan summoned Rustem and Behram and Terkash and bespoke them
thus, "Know that all these years we have lain here and have not
come by our intent and have gotten us but increase of trouble and
concern; for indeed we came, thinking to take our wreak for King
Omar ben Ennuman and behold, my brother Sherkan was slain; so is
our sorrow grown two sorrows and our affliction two afflictions.
All this came of the old woman Dhat ed Dewahi, for it was she who
slew the Sultan in his kingdom and carried off his wife, the
Princess Sufiyeh; nor did this suffice her, but she must put
another cheat on us and slay my brother Sherkan: and indeed I
have bound myself and sworn by the most solemn oaths to avenge
them of her. What say ye? Ponder my words and answer me." With
this, they bowed their heads and answered, "It is for the Vizier
Dendan to decide." So the Vizier came forward and said, "O King
of the age, it avails us nothing to tarry here, and it is my
counsel that we strike camp and return to our own country, there
to abide awhile and after return and fall upon the worshippers of
idols." "This is a good counsel," replied the King; "for indeed
the folk weary for a sight of their families, and I also am
troubled with yearning after my son Kanmakan and my brother's
daughter Kuzia Fekan, for she is in Damascus and I know not how
it is with her." So he bade the herald call the retreat after
three days, whereupon the troops rejoiced and blessed the Vizier
Dendan. Then they fell to preparing for the homeward march and on
the fourth day, they beat the drums and unfurled the banners and
the army set forth, the Vizier in the van and the King riding in
the mid-battle, with the Great Chamberlain by his side, and
journeyed night and day, till they reached Baghdad. The folk
rejoiced in their return, and care and hardship ceased from them,
whilst those who had stayed at home came forth to meet those who
had been so long absent and each amir betook him to his own
house. As for Zoulmekan, he went up to the palace and went into
his son Kanmakan, who had now reached the age of seven and used
to go down [into the tilting-ground] and ride. As soon as the
King was rested of his journey, he entered the bath with his son,
and returning, seated himself on his chair of estate, whilst the
Vizier Dendan took up his station before him and the amirs and
grandees of the realm entered and stood in attendance upon him.
Then he called for his comrade the stoker, who had befriended him
in his strangerhood; and when he came, the King rose to do him
honour and made him sit by his own side. Now he had acquainted
the Vizier with all the kindness and fair service that the stoker
had done him; so the Vizier and all the amirs made much of him.
The stoker had waxed fat and burly with rest and good living, so
that his neck was like an elephant's neck and his face like a
porpoise's belly. Moreover, he was grown dull of wit, for that he
had never stirred from his place; so at the first he knew not the
King by his aspect. But Zoulmekan came up to him smilingly and
saluted him after the friendliest fashion, saying, "How hast thou
made haste to forget me!" So the stoker roused himself and
looking steadfastly on Zoulmekan knew him: whereupon he sprang to
his feet and exclaimed. "O my friend, who hath made thee Sultan?"
Zoulmekan laughed at him and the Vizier, coming up to him,
expounded the whole story to him and said, "He was thy brother
and thy friend; and now he is King of the land and needs must
thou get great good of him. So I counsel thee, if he say to thee,
'Ask a boon of me,' ask not but for some great thing; for thou
art very dear to him." Quoth the stoker, "I fear lest, if I ask
of him aught, he may not choose to grant it or may not be able
thereto." "Have no care," answered the Vizier; "whatsoever thou
asketh, he will give thee." "By Allah," rejoined the stoker, "I
must ask of him a thing that is in my thought! Every night I
dream of it and implore God to vouchsafe it to me." "Take heart,"
said the Vizier. "By Allah, if thou askedst of him the government
of Damascus, in the room of his brother he would surely give it
thee." With this, the stoker rose to his feet and Zoulmekan
signed to him to sit; but he refused, saying, "God forfend! The
days are gone by of my sitting in thy presence." "Not so,"
answered the Sultan; "they endure even now. Thou wert the cause
that I am now alive, and by Allah, what thing soever thou askest
of me, I will give it to thee! But ask thou first of God, and
then of me." "O my lord," said the stoker, "I fear...," "Fear
not," quoth the Sultan. "I fear," continued he, "to ask aught and
that thou shouldst refuse it to me." At this the King laughed and
replied, "If thou askedst of me the half of my kingdom, I would
share it with thee: so ask what thou wilt and leave talking." "I
fear...," repeated the stoker. "Do not fear," said the King. "I
fear," went on the stoker, "lest I ask a thing and thou be not
able thereto." With this, the Sultan waxed wroth and said, "Ask
what thou wilt." Then said the stoker, "I ask, first of God and
then of thee, that thou write me a patent of mastership over all
the stokers in Jerusalem." The Sultan and all who were present
laughed and Zoulmekan said, "Ask somewhat other than this." "O my
lord," replied the stoker, "said I not I feared thou wouldst not
choose to grant me what I should ask or be not able thereto?"
Therewith the Vizier nudged him once and twice and thrice, and
every time he began, "I ask of thee..." Quoth the Sultan, "Ask
and be speedy." So he said, "I beseech thee to make me captain of
the scavengers in Jerusalem or Damascus." Then all those who were
present laughed, till they fell backward, and the Vizier beat
him. So he turned to the Vizier and said to him, "What art thou
that thou shouldst beat me? It is no fault of mine: didst thou
not bid me ask some considerable thing? Let me go to my own
country." With this, the Sultan knew that he was jesting and took
patience with him awhile; then turned to him and said, "O my
brother, ask of me some considerable thing, befitting our
dignity." So the stoker said, "O King of the age, I ask first of
God and then of thee, that thou make me Viceroy of Damascus in
the room of thy brother." "God granteth thee this," answered the
King. So the stoker kissed the ground before him, and he bade set
him a chair in his rank and put on him a viceroy's habit. Then he
wrote him a patent of investiture and sealing it with his own
seal, said to the Vizier, "None shall go with him but thou; and
when thou returnest, do thou bring with thee my brother's
daughter, Kuzia Fekan." "I hear and obey," answered the Vizier
and taking the stoker, went down with him and made ready for the
journey. Then the King appointed the stoker servants and officers
and gave him a new litter and princely equipage and said to the
amirs, "Whoso loves me, let him honour this man and give him
a handsome present." So they brought him every one his gift,
according to his competence; and the King named him Ziblcan,
[FN#150] and conferred on him the surname of honour of El
Mujahid.[FN#151] As soon as the new Viceroy's gear was ready, he
went up with the Vizier to the King, to take leave of him and ask
his permission to depart. The King rose to him and embracing him,
exhorted him to do justice among his subjects and deal fairly
with them and bade him make ready for war against the infidels
after two years Then they took leave of each other and King
Ziblcan, surnamed El Mujahid, set out on his journey, after the
amirs had brought him slaves and servants, even to five thousand
in number, who rode after him. The Grand Chamberlain also took
horse, as did Behram, captain of the Medes, and Rustem, captain
of the Persians, and Terkash, captain of the Arabs, and rode with
him three days' journey, to do him honour and take their leaves
of him. Then they returned to Baghdad and the Sultan Ziblcan and
the Vizier Dendan fared on, with their company, till they drew
near Damascus. Now news was come upon the wings of birds, to the
notables of Damascus that King Zoulmekan had made Sultan over
Damascus a Sultan called Ziblcan el Mujahid; so when he reached
the city, he found it decorated in his honour, and all the folk
came out to gaze on him. He entered Damascus in great state and
went up to the citadel, where he sat down upon his chair of
estate, whilst the Vizier Dendan stood in attendance on him, to
acquaint him with the ranks and stations of the amirs. Then the
grandees came in to him and kissed hands and called down
blessings on him. He received them graciously and bestowed on
them gifts and dresses of honour; after which he opened the
treasuries and gave largesse to the troops, great and small. Then
he governed and did justice and proceeded to equip the lady Kuzia
Fekan, daughter of King Sherkan, appointing her a litter of
silken stuff. Moreover, he furnished the Vizier Dendan also for
the return journey and would have made him a gift of money, but
he refused, saying, "Thou art near the time of the tryst with the
King, and haply thou wilt have need of money, or we may send to
seek of thee funds for the Holy War or what not." When the Vizier
was ready, the Viceroy brought Kuzia Fekan to him and made her
mount the litter, giving her ten damsels to do her service.
Moreover, he mounted, to bid the Vizier farewell, and they set
forward, whilst Ziblcan returned to Damascus and busied himself
in ordering the affairs of his government and making ready his
harness of war, against such time as King Zoulmekan should send
to him there for. Meanwhile the Vizier and his company fared
forward by easy stages, till they came, after a month's travel,
to Ruhbeh[FN#152] and thence pushed on, till they drew near
Baghdad. Then he despatched messengers, to inform King Zoulmekan
of his arrival; and he, when he heard this, took horse and rode
out to meet him. The Vizier would have dismounted to receive him,
but the King conjured him not to do so and spurred his steed,
till he came up to him. Then he questioned him of Ziblcan,
whereto the Vizier replied that he was well and that he had
brought with him his brother's daughter, Kuzia Fekan. At this the
King rejoiced and said to Dendan, "Go thou and rest thee of the
fatigue of the journey, and after three days come to me again."
"With all my heart," replied the Vizier and betook himself to his
own house, whilst the King went up to his palace and went in to
his brother's daughter, who was then a girl of eight years old.
When he saw her, he rejoiced in her and sorrowed sore for her
father. Then he let make for her clothes and gave her splendid
jewels and ornaments and bade lodge her with his son Kanmakan in
one place. So they both grew up, the brightest and bravest of the
people of their time; but Kuzia Fekan grew up possessed of good
sense and understanding and knowledge of the issues of events,
whilst Kanmakan grew up generous and freehanded, taking no
thought to the issue of aught. Now Kuzia Fekan used to ride
a-horseback and fare forth with her cousin into the open plain
and range at large with him in the desert; and they both learnt
to smite with swords and thrust with spears. So they grew up,
till each of them attained the age of twelve, when King
Zoulmekan, having completed his preparations and provisions for
the Holy War, summoned the Vizier Dendan and said to him, "Know
that I am minded to do a thing, which I will discover to thee,
and do thou with speed return me an answer thereon." "What is
that, O King of the age?" asked the Vizier. "I am resolved," said
the King, "to make my son Kanmakan king and rejoice in him in my
lifetime and do battle before him, till death overcome me. What
deemest thou of this?" The Vizier kissed the earth before the
King and replied, "O King and Sultan, lord of the age and the
time, this that is in thy mind is indeed good, save that it is
now no time to carry it out, for two reasons: the first, that thy
son Kanmakan is yet of tender age; and the second, that it is of
wont that he who makes his son king in his lifetime, lives but a
little thereafterward." "Know, O Vizier," rejoined the King,
"that we will make the Grand Chamberlain guardian over him, for
he is art and part of us and he married my sister, so that he is
to me as a brother." Quoth the Vizier, "Do what seemeth good to
thee: we will obey thine orders." Then the King sent for the
Grand Chamberlain and the grandees of the kingdom and said to
them, "Ye know that this my son Kanmakan is the first cavalier of
the age and that he hath no peer in jousting and martial
exercises; and now I appoint him to be Sultan over you in my
stead and I make his uncle, the Grand Chamberlain, guardian over
him." "O King of the age," replied the Chamberlain, "I am but an
offset of thy bounty." And the King said, "O Chamberlain, verily
this my son Kanmakan and my niece Kuzia Fekan are brothers'
children; so I marry them one to the other and I call those
present to witness thereof." Then he made over to his son such
treasures as beggar description and going in to his sister Nuzhet
ez Zeman told her what he had done, whereat she rejoiced greatly
and said, "Verily, they are both my children. May God preserve
thee to them many a year!" "O my sister," replied he, "I have
accomplished that which was in my heart of the world and I have
no fear for my son: yet it were well that thou shouldst have a
watchful eye to him and to his mother." And he went on to commend
to the Chamberlain and Nuzhet ez Zeman his son and niece and
wife. Thus did he nights and days till he [fell sick and] deeming
surely that he should drink the cup of death, took to his bed and
abode thus a whole year, whilst the Chamberlain took upon himself
the ordering of the people and the realm. At the end of this
time, the King summoned his son Kanmakan and the Vizier Dendan
and said to the former, "O my son, this Vizier shall be thy
father, when I am dead; for know that I am about to leave this
transitory house of life for that which is eternal. And indeed I
have fulfilled my lust of this world; yet there remaineth in my
heart one regret, which may God dispel at thy hands!" "What
regret is that, O my father?" asked his son. "O my son," answered
Zoulmekan, "it is that I die without having avenged thy
grandfather Omar ben Ennuman and thine uncle Sherkan on an old


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