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

Part 3 out of 7

lover.' Then she kissed Kemerezzeman again and again between the
eyes and repeated the following ode:

Ah me, what ails the censurer that he at thee should flite? How
shall I be consoled for thee, and thou a sapling slight?
Thou of the black and languorous eye, that casteth far and wide
Charms, whose sheer witchery compels to passion's utmost
Whose looks, with Turkish languor fraught, work havoc in the
breast, Leaving such wounds as ne'er were made of falchion
in the fight,
Thou layst on me a heavy load of passion and desire, On me that
am too weak to bear a shift upon me dight.
My love for thee, as well thou know'st, my very nature is, And
that for others which I feign dissembling but and sleight.
An if my heart were like to thine, I'd not refuse; alack! 'Tis
but my body's like thy waist, worn thin and wasted quite.
Out on him for a moon that's famed for beauty far and near, That
for th' exemplar of all grace men everywhere do cite!
The railers say, "Who's this for love of whom thou art
distressed?" And I reply, "An if ye can, describe the lovely
O learn to yield, hard heart of his, take pattern by his shape!
So haply yet he may relent and put away despite.
Thou, that my prince in beauty art, a steward[FN#26] hast, whose
rule Aggrieves me and a chamberlain[FN#27] that doth me foul
He lies who says, "All loveliness in Joseph was comprised." How
many a Joseph is there not within thy beauty bright!
The Jinn do fear me, whenas I confront them face to face; But
when I meet with thee, my heart doth tremble for affright.
I feign aversion unto thee, for fear of slanderous tongues; The
more I feign, the more my love to madness I excite.
Black hair and smooth and glistening brows, eyes languorous and
soft, As of the maids of Paradise, and slender shape and

When Dehnesh heard this, he shook for delight and was filled with
admiration and said, 'Thou hast indeed done well in praise of him
whom thou lovest! Needs must I do my endeavour, in my turn, to
celebrate my mistress, to the best of my power, and recite
somewhat in her honour.' Then he went up to the lady Budour and
kissing her between the eyes, looked at her and at Maimouneh and
recited the following verses, for all he had no skill in poetry:

They chide my passion for my fair in harsh and cruel guise; But,
of their ignorance, forsooth, they're neither just nor wise.
Vouchsafe thy favours to the slave of love, for, an he taste Of
thine estrangement and disdain, assuredly he dies.
Indeed, for very stress of love, I'm drenched with streaming
tears, That, like a rivulet of blood, run ever from mine
No wonder 'tis what I for love endure; the wonder is That any,
since the loss of thee, my body recognize.
Forbidden be thy sight to me, if I've a thought of doubt Or if my
heart of passion tire or feign or use disguise!

And also the following:

I feed mine eyes on the places where we met long ago; Far distant
now is the valley and I'm forslain for woe.
I'm drunk with the wine of passion and the teardrops in mine eyes
Dance to the song of the leader of the camels, as we go.
I cease not from mine endeavour to win to fortune fair; Yet in
Budour, Suada,[FN#28] all fortune is, I know.
Three things I reckon, I know not of which to most complain; Give
ear whilst I recount them and be you judge, I trow.
Firstly, her eyes, the sworders; second, the spearman, her shape,
And thirdly, her ringlets that clothe her in armour,[FN#29]
row upon row.
Quoth she (and indeed I question, for tidings of her I love, All
whom I meet, or townsman or Bedouin, high or low)
Quoth she unto me, "My dwelling is in thy heart; look there And
thou shalt see me." I answer, "And where is my heart?

When Maimouneh heard this, she said, 'Thou hast done well, O
Dehnesh! But tell me, which of the two is the handsomer?' And
he answered, 'My mistress Budour is certainly handsomer than thy
beloved.' 'Thou liest, O accursed one!' cried Maimouneh. 'Nay,
my beloved is more beautiful than thine!' And they ceased not to
gainsay each other, till Maimouneh cried out at Dehnesh and would
have laid violent hands on him; but he humbled himself to her and
softening his speech, said to her, 'Let us leave talking, for we
do but contradict each other, and rather seek one who shall judge
fairly between us, whether of the two is fairer, and let us abide
by his sentence.' 'I agree to this,' answered she and smote the
earth with her foot, whereupon there came up a one-eyed Afrit,
hump-backed and scurvy, with eyes slit endlong in his face. On
his head were seven horns and four locks of hair falling to his
heels; his hands were like pitchforks, his legs like masts and he
had claws like a lion and hoofs like those of the wild ass. When
he saw Maimouneh, he kissed the earth before her and standing
with his hands clasped behind him, said, 'What is thy will, O
king's daughter?' 'O Keshkesh,' answered she, 'I would have thee
judge between me and this accursed Dehnesh.' And she made known
to him the whole matter, whereupon he looked at the prince and
princess and saw them lying asleep, embraced, each with an arm
about the other's neck, alike in beauty and grace and equal in
goodliness. The Marid gazed long and fixedly upon them,
marvelling at their beauty, and repeated the following verses:

Cleave fast to her thou lov'st and let the envious rail amain,
For calumny and envy ne'er to favour love were fain.
Lo, the Compassionate hath made no fairer thing to see Than when
one couch in its embrace enfoldeth lovers twain,
Each to the other's bosom clasped, clad in their own delight,
Whilst hand with hand and arm with arm about their necks
If in thy time thou find but one to love thee and be true, I rede
thee cast the world away and with that one remain.
Lo, when two hearts are straitly knit in passion and desire, But
on cold iron smite the folk that chide at them in vain.
Thou that for loving censures the votaries of love, Canst thou
assain a heart diseased or heal a cankered brain?
O Lord, O Thou Compassionate, I prithee, ere we die, Though only
for a single day, unite us two again!

Then he turned to Maimouneh and Dehnesh and said to them, 'By
Allah, if you will have the truth, they are equal in beauty and
grace and perfection, nor is there any difference between them
but that of sex. But I have another idea, and it is that we wake
each of them in turn, without the other's knowledge, and
whichever is more enamoured of the other shall be held the lesser
in beauty and grace.' 'This is a good counsel,' answered
Maimouneh, and Dehnesh said, 'I consent to this.' Then Dehnesh
changed himself to a flea and bit Kemerezzeman on the neck,
whereupon the prince awoke with a start and rubbed the place of
the bite, because of the smart. Then turning sideways, he found
lying by him something, whose breath was more fragrant than musk,
and whose body was softer than cream. At this he marvelled
greatly and sitting up, looked at this that lay beside him and
saw it to be a young lady like the moon, as she were a splendid
pearl, or a shining sun, five feet high, with a shape like the
letter I, high-bosomed and rosy-checked; even as saith of her the

Four things there are, which ne'er unite, except it be To shed my
heart's best blood and take my soul by storm.
And these are night-black locks and brow as bright as day, Cheeks
ruddy as the rose and straight and slender form.

And also quoth another:

She shineth forth, a moon, and bends, a willow-wand, And
breathes, pure ambergris, and gazes, a gazelle.
It seems as if grief loved my heart and when from her
Estrangement I endure, possession to it fell.

She was clad in a shift of Venetian silk, without drawers, and
wore on her head a kerchief embroidered with gold and jewels; her
ears were hung with earrings, that shone like stars, and round
her neck was a collar of great pearls, past the competence of any
king. When he saw this, his reason was confounded and natural
heat began to stir in him; God awoke in him the desire of coition
and he said, 'What God wills, shall be, and what He will not,
shall not be!' So saying, he put out his hand and turning her
over, loosed the collar of her shift, laying bare her bosom, with
its breasts like globes of ivory; whereat his inclination for her
redoubled and he desired her with an exceeding desire. Then he
shook her and moved her, essaying to waken her and saying, 'O my
beloved, awake and look on me; I am Kemerezzeman.' But she awoke
not, neither moved her head, for Dehnesh made her sleep heavy.
With this, he considered awhile and said to himself, 'If I guess
aright, this is she to whom my father would have married me and I
have refused these three years past; but, God willing, as soon as
it is day, I will say to him, "Marry me to her that I may enjoy
her," nor will I let half the day pass ere I possess her and take
my fill of her beauty and grace.' Then he bent over Budour, to
kiss her, whereat Maimouneh trembled and was confounded and
Dehnesh was like to fly for joy. But, as Kemerezzeman was about
to kiss her, he was ashamed before God and turned away his head,
saying to his heart, 'Have patience.' Then he considered awhile
and said, 'I will be patient, lest my father have brought this
young lady and made her lie by my side, to try me with her,
charging her not to be lightly awakened, whenas I would fain
arouse her, and bidding her tell him all that I do to her.
Belike, he is hidden somewhere whence he can see all I do with
this young lady, himself unseen; and to-morrow he will flout me
and say, "How comes it that thou feignest to have no mind to
marry and yet didst kiss and clip yonder damsel?" So I will
forbear her, lest I be shamed before my father; and it were well
that I look not on her nor touch her at this present, except to
take from her somewhat to serve as a sign of remembrance and a
token between us.' Then he lifted her hand and took from her
little finger a ring worth much money, for that its beazel was of
precious jewels and around it were graven the following verses:

Think not that I have forgotten thy sometime promises, Though long
thou hast protracted thy cruelty, ywis.
Be generous, O my master, vouchsafe me of thy grace, So it to me
be given thy lips and cheeks to kiss.
Never, by Allah, never will I abandon thee, Though thou
transgress thy limits in love and go amiss!

Then he put the ring on his own little finger, and turning his
back to her, went to sleep. When Maimouneh saw this, she was
glad and said, 'Saw ye how my beloved Kemerezzeman forbore
this young lady? Verily, this was of the perfection of his
excellences; for see how he looked on her and noted her beauty
and grace, yet clipped her not neither kissed her nor put his
hand to her, but turned his back to her and slept.' 'It is
well,' answered they; 'we saw how perfectly he bore himself.'
Then Maimouneh changed herself into a flea and entering Budour's
clothes, crept up her leg and bit her four finger-breadths below
the navel; whereupon she opened her eyes and sitting up in bed,
saw a youth lying beside her and breathing heavily in his sleep,
the loveliest of God's creatures, with eyes that put to shame
the fair maids of Paradise, mouth like Solomon's seal, whose
water was sweeter to the taste and more efficacious than
triacle,[FN#30] lips the colour of coral and cheeks like
blood-red anemones, even as saith one, describing him:

From Zeyneb[FN#31] and Newar[FN#32] my mind is drawn away By the
rose of a cheek, whereo'er a whisker's myrtles stray.
I'm fallen in love with a fawn, a youngling tunic-clad, And joy
no more in love of bracelet-wearing may.
My mate in banquet-hall and closet's all unlike To her with whom
within my harem's close I play:
O thou that blames me, because I flee from Hind[FN#33] And
Zeyneb, my excuse is clear as break of day.
Would'st have me be a slave, the bondsman of a slave, One
cloistered and confined behind a wall alway?[FN#34]

When the princess saw him, a transport of passion and longing
seized her and she said to herself, 'Alas my shame! This is a
strange youth and I know him not. How comes he lying in one bed
with me?' Then she looked at him again and noting his beauty and
grace, said, 'By Allah, he is a comely youth and my heart is
well-nigh torn in sunder with longing for him. But alas, how am
I shamed by him! By Allah, had I known it was he who sought my
hand of my father, I had not rejected him, but had married him
and enjoyed his loveliness!' Then she gazed in his face and
said, 'O my lord and light of mine eyes, awake from sleep and
enjoy my beauty and grace.' And she moved him with her hand; but
Maimouneh let down sleep upon him (as it were a curtain) and
pressed on his head with her wings, so that he awoke not. The
princess went on to shake him and say, 'My life on thee, give ear
unto me! Awake and look on the narcissus and the tender green
and enjoy my body and my secret charms and dally with me and
touzle me from now till break of day! I conjure thee by Allah, O
my lord, sit up and lean against the pillow and sleep not!'
Still he made her no answer, but breathed heavily in his sleep.
'Alas! Alas!' continued she. 'Thou art proud in thy beauty and
grace and lovely looks! But if thou art handsome, so am I; what
then is this thou dost? Have they lessoned thee to flout me or
has the wretched old man, my father, made thee swear not to speak
to me to-night?' But he opened not his mouth neither awoke,
whereat her passion redoubled and God inflamed her heart with
love of him. She stole one glance at him that cost her a
thousand sighs: her heart fluttered and her entrails yearned and
she exclaimed, 'Speak to me, O my lord! O my friend, my beloved,
answer me and tell me thy name, for indeed thou hast ravished my
wit!' Still he abode drowned in sleep and answered her not a
word, and she sighed and said, 'Alas! Alas! why art thou so
self-satisfied?' Then she shook him and turning his hand over,
saw her ring on his little finger, whereat she cried out and
said, with a sigh of passion, 'Alack! Alack! By Allah, thou art
my beloved and lovest me! Yet meseems thou turnest away from me
out of coquetry, for all thou camest to me whilst I was asleep
and knew not what thou didst, and tookest my ring. But I will
not pull it off thy finger.' So saying, she opened the bosom of
his shirt and kissed him and put her hand to him, seeking
somewhat that she might take as a token, but found nothing. Then
she put her hand into his breast, and for the smoothness of his
body, it slipped down to his navel and thence to his yard,
whereupon her heart ached and her entrails quivered and desire
was sore upon her, for that women's lust is fiercer than that of
men, and she was confounded. Then she took his ring from his
finger and put it on her own and kissed his mouth and hands, nor
did she leave any part of him unkissed; after which she took him
to her breast and laying one of her hands under his neck and the
other under his armpit, fell asleep by his side. Then said
Maimouneh to Dehnesh, 'O accursed one, sawst thou how prudishly
and coquettishly my beloved bore himself and what ardour of
passion thy mistress showed to him? There can be no doubt that
my beloved is handsomer than thine; nevertheless I pardon thee.'
Then she wrote him a patent of manumission and said to Keshkesh,
'Help Dehnesh to take up his mistress and carry her back to her
own place, for the night wanes apace and there is but little left
of it.' 'I hear and obey,' answered Keshkesh. So the two
Afrits lifted up the Princess Budour and flying away with her,
carried her back to her own place and laid her on her bed, whilst
Maimouneh abode alone with Kemerezzeman, gazing upon him as he
slept, till the night was all but spent, when she went her way.

At break of day, the prince awoke from sleep and turned right and
left, but found not the young lady by him and said in himself,
'What is this? It would seem as if my father would fain incline
me to marriage with the young lady, that was with me, and have
now taken her away by stealth, to the intent that my desire for
marriage may redouble.' Then he called out to the eunuch who
slept at the door, saying, 'Out on thee, O accursed one, arise
forthright!' So the eunuch arose, dazed with sleep, and
brought him basin and ewer, whereupon Kemerezzeman entered the
draught-house and did his need; then, coming out, made his
ablutions and prayed the morning-prayer, after which he sat
telling his beads. Then he looked up, and seeing the eunuch
standing waiting upon him, said to him, 'Out on thee, O Sewab!
Who was it came hither and took away the young lady from beside
me, whilst I slept?' 'O my lord, what young lady?' asked the
eunuch. 'She that lay with me last night,' replied Kemerezzeman.
The eunuch was troubled at his words and said to him, 'By Allah,
there has been with thee neither young lady nor other! How
should she have come in to thee, when the door was locked and I
asleep before it? By Allah, O my lord, neither man nor woman has
come in to thee!' 'Thou liest, O pestilent slave!' exclaimed
the prince. 'Dost thou also presume to hoodwink me and wilt thou
not tell me what is come of the young lady who lay with me last
night and who took her away?' The eunuch was affrighted at him
and answered, 'By Allah, O my lord, I have seen neither girl nor
boy!' His words only angered Kemerezzeman and he said to him, 'O
accursed one, my father hath taught thee deceit! Come hither.'
So the eunuch came up to him, and the prince seized him by the
collar and threw him to the ground. He let fly a crack of wind,
and Kemerezzeman, kneeling upon him, kicked him and throttled
him, till he fainted away. Then he tied him to the well-rope,
and lowering him into the well, plunged him into the water, then
drew him up and plunged him in again. Now it was hard winter
weather, and Kemerezzeman ceased not to lower the eunuch into the
water and pull him up again, whilst he screamed and called for
help. Quoth the prince, 'By Allah, O accursed one, I will not
draw thee up out of the well, till thou tell me the story of the
young lady and who it was took her away, whilst I slept.' 'O my
lord,' answered the eunuch, seeing death staring him in the face,
'let me go and I will tell thee the truth.' So Kemerezzeman
pulled him up out of the well, all but dead for cold and wet and
torture and beating and fear of drowning. His teeth chattered
and he shook like the reed in the hurricane and his clothes were
drenched and his body befouled and torn by the rough slimy sides
of the well. When Kemerezzeman saw him in this sorry plight, he
relented towards him; and as soon as the eunuch found himself on
dry land, he said to him, 'O my lord, let me go and put off my
clothes and wring them out and spread them in the sun to dry and
don others; after which I will return to thee forthwith and tell
thee the truth of the matter.' 'O wretched slave,' answered the
prince, 'hadst thou not seen death face to face, thou hadst never
confessed; but go now and do thy will, and after return speedily
and tell me the truth.' So the eunuch went out, hardly crediting
his escape, and gave not over running and stumbling, in his
haste, till he came in to King Shehriman, whom he found sitting
talking with his Vizier of Kemerezzeman's case and saying, 'I
slept not last night, for anxiety concerning my son Kemerezzeman,
and indeed I fear lest some harm befall him in that old tower.
What good was there in imprisoning him?' 'Have no care for him,'
answered the Vizier. 'By Allah, no hurt will befall him! Leave
him in prison for a month, till his humour yield and his spirit
be broken and he return to his senses.' As he spoke, in came the
eunuch, in the aforesaid plight, and said to the King, who was
troubled at sight of him, 'O our lord the Sultan, thy son's wits
are fled and he has gone mad; he has dealt with me thus and thus,
so that I am become as thou seest, and says, "A young lady lay
with me this night and stole away whilst I slept. Where is she?"
And insists on my telling him where she is and who took her away.
But I have seen neither girl nor boy; the door was locked all
night, for I slept before it, with the key under my head, and
opened to him in the morning with my own hand.' When the King
heard this, he cried out, saying, 'Alas, my son!' And he was
sore enraged against the Vizier, who had been the cause of all
this, and said to him, 'Go, bring me news of my son and see what
hath befallen his wit.' So the Vizier rose and hastened with the
slave to the tower, tumbling over his skirts, in his fear of the
King's anger. The sun had now risen and when he came in to
Kemerezzeman, he found him sitting on the couch, reading the
Koran; so he saluted him and sitting down by his side, said to
him, 'O my lord, this wretched slave brought us news that
disquieted and alarmed us and incensed the King.' 'And what,'
asked Kemerezzeman, 'hath he told you of me, to trouble my
father? In good sooth, he hath troubled none but me.' 'He came
to us in a sorry plight,' answered the Vizier, 'and told us of
thee a thing which God forfend and a lie which it befits not to
repeat, may God preserve thy youth and sound wit and eloquent
tongue and forbid aught of foul to come from thee!' 'O Vizier,'
said the prince, 'what did this pestilent slave say of me?' 'He
told us,' replied the Vizier, 'thou hadst taken leave of thy wits
and would have it that a young lady lay with thee last night and
wast instant with him to tell thee whither she had gone and didst
torture him to that end.' When Kemerezzeman heard this, he was
sore enraged and said to the Vizier, 'It is manifest to me that
you taught the eunuch to do as he did and forbade him to tell me
what became of the young lady. But thou, O Vizier, art more
reasonable than the eunuch; so do thou tell me forthright whither
went the young lady that lay in my bosom last night; for it was
you who sent her and bade her sleep in my arms, and we lay
together till day; but when I awoke, I found her not. So where
is she now?' 'O my lord Kemerezzeman,' said the Vizier, 'the
name of God encompass thee! By Allah, we sent none to thee last
night, but thou layest alone, with the door locked on thee and
the eunuch sleeping before it, nor did there come to thee a
young lady or any other. Stablish thy reason, O my lord, and
return to thy senses and occupy thy mind no longer [with vain
imaginations].' 'O Vizier,' rejoined Kemerezzeman, incensed at
his words, 'the young lady in question is my beloved, the fair
one with the black eyes and red cheeks, whom I held in my arms
all last night.' The Vizier wondered at his words and said to
him, 'Didst thou see this damsel with thine eyes and on wake,
or in sleep?' 'O wretched old man,' answered Kemerezzeman,
'thinkest thou I saw her with my ears? Indeed, I saw her with my
very eyes and on wake and touched her with my hand and watched by
her half the night, gazing my fill on her beauty and grace and
elegance and lovely looks. But thou hadst schooled her and
charged her to speak no word to me; so she feigned sleep and I
lay by her side till morning, when I awoke and found her gone.'
'O my lord Kemerezzeman,' rejoined the Vizier, 'surely thou
sawest this in thy sleep; it must have been a delusion of dreams
or a hallucination caused by eating various kinds of food or a
suggestion of the accursed devils.' 'O pestilent old man,' cried
the prince, 'wilt thou too make a mock of me and tell me this was
an illusion of dreams, when this eunuch confessed to the young
lady, saying, "I will return to thee forthwith and tell thee all
about her?"' So saying, he sprang up and laying hold of the
Vizier's long beard, twisted his hand in it and tugging him off
the couch, threw him on the floor. It seemed to the Vizier as
though his soul departed his body for the violent plucking at his
beard, and Kemerezzeman fell to kicking him and pummelling his
breast and sides and cuffing him on the nape, till he had
well-nigh made an end of him. Then said the Vizier in himself,
'I must save myself from this madman by telling him a lie, even
as did the eunuch; else he will kill me, for he is mad beyond a
doubt.' So he said to Kemerezzeman, 'O my lord, bear me not
malice, for indeed thy father charged me to conceal from thee
this affair of the young lady; but now I am weak and weary and
sore with beating; for I am an old man and lack strength to
endure blows. So have a little patience with me and I will tell
thee all.' When the prince heard this, he left beating him
and said, 'Why couldst thou not tell me without blows and
humiliation? Rise now, unlucky old man that thou art, and tell
me her story.' Quoth the Vizier, 'Dost thou ask of the young
lady with the fair face and perfect shape?' 'Yes,' answered
Kemerezzeman. 'Tell me who it was laid her by my side and took
her away by night, and let me know whither she is gone, that I
may go to her. If my father did this to try me, with a view to
our marriage, I consent to marry her and be quit of this trouble;
for he only dealt thus with me, because I refused to marry. I
say again, I consent to marry: so tell this to my father, O
Vizier, and advise him to marry me to her, for I will have none
other and my heart loveth her alone. Go now to my father and
counsel him to hasten our marriage and bring me his answer
forthright.' 'It is well,' rejoined the Vizier, and went out
from him, hardly crediting his escape. Then he set off running
and stumbling as he went, for excess of affright and agitation,
till he came in to the King, who said to him, 'O Vizier, what has
befallen thee and who has maltreated thee and how comes it that I
see thee thus confounded and terrified?' 'O King,' answered the
Vizier, 'I bring thee news.' 'What is it?' asked Shehriman, and
the Vizier said, 'Know that thy son Kemerezzeman's wits are gone
and that madness hath betided him.' When the King heard this,
the light in his face became darkness and he said, 'Expound to me
the nature of my son's madness.' 'O my lord,' answered the
Vizier, 'I hear and obey.' Then he told him all that had passed
and the King said to him, 'O most ill-omened of Viziers and
filthiest of Amirs, know that the reward I will give thee in
return for this thy news of my son's madness shall be the cutting
off of thy bead and the forfeiture of thy goods; for thou hast
caused my son's disorder by the wicked and sinister counsel thou
hast given me first and last. By Allah, if aught of mischief or
madness have befallen him, I will nail thee upon the dome [of the
palace] and make thee taste the bitterness of death!' Then
rising, he betook himself with the Vizier to the tower, and when
Kemerezzeman saw him, he came down to him in haste from the couch
on which he sat and kissing his hands, drew back and stood before
him awhile, with his eyes cast down and his hands clasped behind
him. Then he raised his head and repeated the following verses,
whilst the tears streamed down his cheeks:

If I have borne myself blameworthily to you Or if I've made
default in that which is your due,
I do repent my fault; so let your clemency Th' offender
comprehend, who doth for pardon sue.

When the King heard this, he embraced his son and kissing him
between the eyes, made him sit by his side on the couch; then
turned to the Vizier and looking on him with angry eyes, said to
him, 'O dog of a Vizier, why didst thou tell me that my son was
mad and make my heart quake for him?' Then he turned to the
prince and said to him, 'O my son, what is to-day called?' 'O my
father,' answered he, 'to-day is Saturday and to-morrow Sunday:
then come Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.' 'O
my son, O Kemerezzeman,' exclaimed the King, 'praised be God for
the preservation of thy reason! What is this present month
called in Arabic?'

'Dhoulcaadeh,' answered Kemerezzeman, 'and it is followed by
Dhoulhejjeh; then comes Muherrem, then Sefer, then Rebia the
First and Rebia the Second, the two Jumadas, Rejeb, Shaaban,
Ramazan and Shewwal.' At this the King rejoiced exceedingly and
spat in the Vizier's face, saying, 'O wicked old man, how canst
thou pretend that my son is mad? None is mad but thou.' The
Vizier shook his head and would have spoken, but bethought
himself to wait awhile and see what befell. Then the King said
to Kemerezzeman, 'O my son, what is this thou sayest to the
eunuch and the Vizier of a fair damsel that lay with thee last
night? What damsel is this of whom thou speakest?' Kemerezzeman
laughed at his father's words and replied, 'O my father, I can
bear no more jesting; so mock me not with another word, for my
humour is soured by that you have done with me. Let it suffice
thee to know that I consent to marry, but on condition that thou
give me to wife her with whom I lay yesternight; for I am assured
that it was thou sentest her to me and madest me in love with
her, then tookest her away from beside me before the dawn.' 'O
my son,' rejoined the King, 'the name of God encompass thee and
preserve thy wit from madness! What young lady is this of whom
thou talkest? By Allah, O my son, I know nothing of the affair,
and I conjure thee, tell me if it be a delusion of sleep or a
hallucination caused by food? Doubtless, thou layest down to
sleep last night, with thy mind occupied with marriage and
troubled with the thought of it (may God curse marriage and the
hour in which it occurred to me and him who counselled it!) and
dreamtest that a handsome young lady embraced thee and didst
fancy thou sawst her on wake; but all this, O my son, is but an
illusion of dreams.' 'Leave this talk,' replied Kemerezzeman,
'and swear to me by God, the All-wise Creator, the Humbler of the
mighty and the Destroyer of the Chosroes, that thou knowest
nothing of the young lady nor of her abiding-place.' 'By the
virtue of the Most High God,' said the King, 'the God of Moses
and Abraham, I know nothing of all this and it is assuredly but
an illusion of dreams that thou hast seen in sleep.' Quoth the
prince, 'I will give thee a proof that it was not a dream. Come,
let me put a case to thee: did it ever happen to any to dream
that he was fighting a sore battle and after to awake and find in
his hand a sword besmeared with blood?' 'No, by Allah, O my
son,' answered the King, 'this hath never been.' 'I will tell
thee what happened to me,' rejoined Kemerezzeman. 'Meseemed I
awoke from sleep in the middle of the past night and found a
young lady lying by my side, whose shape and favour were as mine.
I embraced her and turned her about with my hand and took her
ring, which I put on my finger, and she pulled off my ring and
put it on her finger. Then I went to sleep by her side, but
refrained from her and was ashamed to kiss her on the mouth,
deeming that thou hadst sent her to me, with intent to tempt me
with her and incline me to marriage, and misdoubting thee to be
hidden somewhere whence thou couldst see what I did with her. At
point of day, I awoke and found no trace of her, nor could I come
at any news of her, and there befell me what thou knowest of with
the eunuch and the Vizier. How then can this have been a dream
and a delusion, seeing that the ring is a reality? I should
indeed have deemed it a dream but for her ring on my finger.
Here it is: look at it, O King, and see what is its worth.' So
saying, he handed the ring to his father, who examined it and
turned it over, then said to his son, 'Verily, there hangs some
mighty mystery by this ring and some strange secret. What befell
thee last night is indeed a mysterious affair and I know not how
this intruder came in upon us. None is the cause of all this
trouble save the Vizier; but I conjure thee, O my son, to take
patience, so haply God may do away this affliction from thee and
bring thee complete relief: as quoth one of the poets:

It may be Fate at last shall draw its bridle-rein And bring us
happy chance; for Fortune changes still;
And things shall happen yet, despite the things fordone, To
further forth my hopes and bring me to my will.

And now, O my son,' added he, 'I am certified that thou art not
mad; but thy case is a strange one, none can unravel it for thee
but God the Most High.' 'By Allah, O my father,' cried the
prince, 'deal kindly with me and seek out this damsel and hasten
her coming to me; else I shall die of grief.' And he repeated
the following verses, in a voice that betrayed the ardour of his

An if thy very promise of union prove untrue, Let but in sleep
thy favours the longing lover cheer.
"How can the phantom visit a lover's eyes," quoth they, "From
which the grace of slumber is banned and banished sheer?"

And he sighed and wept and groaned aloud from a wounded heart,
whilst the tears streamed from his eyes. Then turning to his
father, with submission and despondency, he said to him, 'By
Allah, O my father, I cannot endure to be parted from her even
for an hour.' The King smote hand upon hand and exclaimed,
'There is no power and no virtue but in God, the Most High, the
Sublime! There is no device can profit us in this affair!' Then
he took his son by the hand and carried him to the palace, where
Kemerezzeman lay down on the bed of languor and the King sat at
his head, weeping and mourning over him and leaving him not night
or day, till at last the Vizier came in to him and said, 'O King
of the age and the time, how long wilt thou remain shut up with
thy son and deny thyself to thy troops? Verily, the order of thy
realm is like to be deranged, by reason of thine absence from
thy grandees and officers of state. It behoves the man of
understanding, if he have various wounds in his body, to apply
him (first) to heal the most dangerous; so it is my counsel to
thee that thou transport the prince to the pavilion overlooking
the sea and shut thyself up with him there, setting apart
Monday and Thursday in every week for state receptions and the
transaction of public business. On these days let thine Amirs
and Viziers and Chamberlains and deputies and captains and
grandees and the rest of the troops and subjects have access to
thee and submit their affairs to thee, and do thou their needs
and judge between them and give and take with them and command
and forbid. The rest of the week thou shalt pass with thy son
Kemerezzeman, and thus do till God vouchsafe you both relief.
Think not, O King, that thou art exempt from the shifts of
fortune and the strokes of calamity; for the wise man is still on
his guard, as well saith the poet:

Thou madest fair thy thought of Fate, whenas the days were fair,
And fearedst not the unknown ills that they to thee might
The nights were fair and calm to thee; thou wast deceived by
them, For in the peace of night is born full many a
troublous thing.
O all ye children of mankind, to whom the Fates are kind, Let
caution ever have a part in all your reckoning.'

The King was struck with the Vizier's words and deemed his
counsel wise and timely, fearing lest the order of the state be
deranged; so he rose at once and bade carry his son to the
pavilion in question, which was built (upon a rock) midmost the
water and was approached by a causeway, twenty cubits wide. It
had windows on all sides, overlooking the sea; its floor was of
variegated marble and its roof was painted in the richest colours
and decorated with gold and lapis-lazuli. They furnished it for
Kemerezzeman with embroidered rugs and carpets of the richest
silk and hung the walls with choice brocades and curtains
bespangled with jewels. In the midst they set him a couch of
juniper-wood, inlaid with pearls and jewels, and he sat down
thereon, like a man that had been sick twenty years; for the
excess of his concern and passion for the young lady had wasted
his charms and emaciated his body, and he could neither eat nor
drink nor sleep. His father seated himself at his head, mourning
sore for him, and every Monday and Thursday he gave his Viziers
and Amirs and grandees and officers and the rest of his subjects
leave to come in to him in the pavilion. So they entered and did
their several service and abode with him till the end of the day,
when they went their ways and he returned to his son, whom he
left not night nor day; and on this wise did he many days and

To return to the Princess Budour. When the two Afrits carried
her back to her palace and laid her on her bed, she slept on till
daybreak, when she awoke and sitting up, looked right and left,
but saw not the youth who had lain in her bosom. At this, her
heart was troubled, her reason fled and she gave a great cry,
whereupon all her damsels and nurses and serving-women awoke and
came in to her; and the chief of them said to her, 'What ails
thee, O my lady?' 'O wretched old woman,' answered the princess,
'where is my beloved, the handsome youth that lay last night in
my bosom? Tell me where he is gone.' When the old woman heard
this, the light in her eyes became darkness and she was sore in
fear of her mischief and said to her, 'O my lady Budour, what
unseemly words are these?' 'Out on thee, pestilent crone that
thou art!' cried the princess. 'Where is my beloved, the goodly
youth with the shining face and the slender shape, the black eyes
and the joined eyebrows, who lay with me last night from dusk
until near daybreak?' 'By Allah, O my lady,' replied the old
woman, 'I have seen no young man nor any other; but I conjure
thee, leave this unseemly jesting, lest we be all undone.
Belike, it may come to thy father's ears and who shall deliver us
from his hand?' 'I tell thee,' rejoined Budour, 'there lay a
youth with me last night, one of the fairest-faced of men.' 'God
preserve thy reason!' exclaimed the nurse. 'Indeed, no one lay
with thee last night.' The princess looked at her hand and
seeing her own ring gone and Kemerezzeman's ring on her finger in
its stead, said to the nurse, 'Out on thee, thou accursed
traitress, wilt thou lie to me and tell me that none lay with me
last night and forswear thyself to me?' 'By Allah,' replied the
nurse, 'I do not lie to thee nor have I sworn falsely!' Her
words incensed the princess and drawing a sword she had by her,
she smote the old woman with it and slew her; whereupon the
eunuch and the waiting-women cried out at her and running to her
father, acquainted him with her case. So he went to her
forthright and said to her, 'O my daughter, what ails thee?' 'O
my father,' answered she, 'where is the young man that lay with
me last night?' Then her reason left her and she cast her eyes
right and left and rent her dress even to the skirt. When the
King saw this, he bade the women lay hands on her; so they seized
and bound her, then putting a chain of iron about her neck, made
her fast to the window and there left her. As for her father,
the world was straitened upon him, when he saw what had befallen
her, for that he loved her and her case was not a little thing to
him. So he summoned the doctors and astrologers and magicians
and said to them, 'Whoso cureth my daughter of her disorder, I
will marry him to her and give him half my kingdom; but whoso
cometh to her and cureth her not, I will strike off his head and
hang it over her palace-gate.' Accordingly, all who went in to
her, but failed to cure her, he beheaded and hung their heads
over her palace-gate, till he had beheaded forty physicians and
crucified as many astrologers on her account; wherefore all the
folk held aloof from her, for all the physicians failed to cure
her malady and her case was a puzzle to the men of science and
the magicians. And as her longing and passion redoubled and love
and distraction were sore upon her, she poured forth tears and
repeated the following verses:

My longing after thee, my moon, my foeman is; The thought of thee
by night doth comrade with me dwell.
I pass the darksome hours, and in my bosom flames A fire, for
heat that's like the very fire of hell.
I'm smitten with excess of ardour and desire; By which my pain is
grown an anguish fierce and fell.

Then she sighed and repeated these also:

My peace on the beloved ones, where'er they light them down! I
weary for the neighbourhood of those I love, full sore.
My salutation unto you,--not that of taking leave, But greetings
of abundant peace, increasing evermore!
For, of a truth, I love you dear and love your land no less; But
woe is me! I'm far away from that I weary for.

Then she wept till her eyes grew weak and her cheeks pale and
withered: and thus she abode three years. Now she had a
foster-brother, by name Merzewan, who was absent from her all
this time, travelling in far countries. He loved her with an
exceeding love, passing that of brothers; so when he came back,
he went in to his mother and asked for his foster-sister the
princess Budour. 'Alas, my son,' answered she, 'thy sister has
been smitten with madness and has passed these three years, with
an iron chain about her neck; and all the physicians and men of
science have failed of curing her.' When he heard this, he said,
'I must needs go in to her; peradventure I may discover what ails
her, and be able to cure her.' 'So be it,' replied his mother;
'but wait till to-morrow, that I may make shift for thee.' Then
she went to the princess's palace and accosting the eunuch in
charge of the door, made him a present and said to him, 'I have a
married daughter, who was brought up with thy mistress and is
sore concerned for what has befallen her, and I desire of thy
favour that my daughter may go in to her and look on her awhile,
then return whence she came, and none shall know it.' 'This may
not be, except by night,' replied the eunuch, 'after the King has
visited the princess and gone away; then come thou and thy
daughter.' She kissed the eunuch's hand and returning home,
waited till the morrow at nightfall, when she dressed her son in
woman's apparel and taking him by the hand, carried him to the
palace. When the eunuch saw her, he said, 'Enter, but do not
tarry long.' So they went in and when Merzewan saw the princess
in the aforesaid plight, he saluted her, after his mother had
taken off his woman's attire: then pulling out the books he had
brought with him and lighting a candle, he began to recite
certain conjurations. The princess looked at him and knowing
him, said to him, 'O my brother, thou hast been absent on thy
travels and we have been cut off from news of thee.' 'True,'
answered he; 'but God has brought me back in safety and I am now
minded to set out again; nor has aught delayed me but the sad
news I hear of thee; wherefore my heart ached for thee and I came
to thee, so haply I may rid thee of thy malady.' 'O my brother,'
rejoined she, 'thinkest thou it is madness ails me?' 'Yes,'
answered he, and she said, 'Not so, by Allah! It is even as says
the poet:

Quoth they, "Thou'rt surely mad for him thou lov'st;" and I
replied, "Indeed the sweets of life belong unto the raving
Lo, those who love have not, for that, the upper hand of fate;
Only the madman 'tis, I trow, o'ercometh time and space.
Yes, I am mad; so bring me him for whom ye say I'm mad; And if he
heal my madness, spare to blame me for my case."'

Then she told him that she was in love, and he said, 'Tell me thy
story and what befell thee: peradventure God may discover to me a
means of deliverance for thee.' 'Know then,' said she, 'that one
night I awoke from sleep, in the last watch of the night, and
sitting up, saw by my side the handsomest of youths, as he were a
willow-wand or an Indian cane, the tongue fails to describe him.
Me-thought this was my father's doing to try me, for that he had
consulted me, when the kings sought me of him in marriage, and I
had refused. It was this idea that withheld me from arousing
him, for I thought that if I did aught or embraced him, he would
most like tell my father. When I awoke in the morning, I found
his ring on my finger in place of my own, which he had taken;
and, O my brother, my heart was taken with him at first sight;
and for the violence of my passion and longing, I have never
since known the taste of sleep and have no occupation save
weeping and repeating verses night and day. This, then, O my
brother, is the story of the cause of my (pretended) madness.'
Then she poured forth tears and repeated the following verses:

Love has banished afar my delight; they are fled With a fawn that
hath hearts for a pasturing-stead.
To him lovers' blood is a trifle, for whom My soul is a-wasting
for passion and dread.
I'm jealous for him of my sight and my thought; My heart is a spy
on my eyes and my head.
His eyelashes dart at us death-dealing shafts; The hearts that
they light on are ruined and dead.
Whilst yet there is left me a share in the world, Shall I see
him, I wonder, or ever I'm sped?
I fain would conceal what I suffer for him; 'Tis shown to the spy
by the tears that I shed.
When near, his enjoyment is distant from me: But his image is
near, when afar he doth tread.

'See then, O my brother,' added she, 'how thou mayest aid me in
this my affliction.' Merzewan bowed his head awhile, marvelling
and knowing not what to do, then raised it and said to her, 'I
believe all thou hast said to be true, though the case of the
young man passes my imagination: but I will go round about all
countries and seek for what may heal thee; peradventure God shall
appoint thy deliverance to be at my hand. Meanwhile, take
patience and be not disquieted.' So saying, he took leave of
her, after he had prayed that she might be vouchsafed constancy,
and left her repeating the following verses:

Thine image in my thoughts fares as a pilgrim aye, For all thy
stead and mine are distant many a day.
The wishes of my heart do bring thee near to me For 'gainst the
speed of thought what is the levin's ray?
Depart thou not, that art the lustre of mine eyes; Yea, when
thou'rt far removed, all void of light are they.

He returned to his mother's house, where he passed the night, and
on the morrow, after furnishing himself for his journey, he set
out and travelled from city to city and from island to island for
a whole month. Everywhere he heard talk of the princess Budour's
madness, till he came to a city named Teyreb and seeking news of
the townsfolk, so haply he might light on a cure for his
foster-sister's malady, heard that Kemerezzeman, son of King
Shehriman, was fallen sick and afflicted with melancholy madness.
He enquired the name of this prince's capital and was told that
it stood on the Islands of Khalidan and was distant thence a
whole month's journey by sea and six by land. So he took passage
in a ship that was bound thither, and they sailed with a
favouring breeze for a whole month, till they came in sight of
the city and there remained for them but to enter the harbour;
when there came out on them a tempestuous wind which carried away
the masts and rent the canvas, so that the sails fell into the
sea and the ship foundered, with all on board. Each looked to
himself, and as for Merzewan, the current carried him under the
King's palace, wherein was Kemerezzeman. As fate would have it,
it was the day on which the King gave audience to his grandees
and officers, and he was sitting, with his son's head in his lap,
whilst an eunuch whisked away the flies. The prince had not
spoken, neither had he eaten nor drunk for two days, and he was
grown thinner than a spindle. Now the Vizier was standing near
the window giving on the sea and raising his eyes, saw Merzewan
at the last gasp for struggling with the waves; whereupon his
heart was moved to pity for him and he drew near to the King and
said to him, 'O King, I crave thy leave to go down to the court
of the pavilion and open the water-gate, that I may rescue a man
who is at the point of drowning in the sea and bring him forth of
peril into deliverance; peradventure, on this account, God may
ease thy son of his affliction.' 'O Vizier,' replied Shehriman,
enough is that which has befallen my son through thee and on
thine account. Belike, if thou rescue this drowning man, he will
look on my son and come to know our affairs and exult over me;
but I swear by Allah, that, if he come hither and see my son and
after go out and speak of our secrets to any, I will assuredly
strike off thy head before his; for thou art the cause of all
that hath befallen us, first and last. Now do as thou wilt.'
The Vizier rose and opening the postern, descended to the
causeway; then walked on twenty steps and came to the sea, where
he saw Merzewan nigh unto death. So he put out his hand to him
and catching him by the hair of his head, drew him ashore, in a
state of unconsciousness, with belly full of water and eyes
starting from his head. The Vizier waited till he came to
himself, when he pulled off his wet clothes and clad him in a
fresh suit, covering his head with one of his servants' turbans;
after which he said to him, 'I have been the means of saving thee
from drowning: do not thou requite me by causing my death and
thine own.' 'How so?' asked Merzewan; and the Vizier answered,
'Thou art now about to go up and pass among Amirs and Viziers,
all silent and speaking not, because of Kemerezzeman, the King's
son.' When Merzewan heard the name of Kemerezzeman, he knew that
this was he of whom he came in search, but he feigned ignorance
and said to the Vizier, 'And who is Kemerezzeman?' Quoth the
Vizier, 'He is the King's son and lies sick on his couch,
restless, eating not nor drinking neither sleeping night nor day;
indeed he is nigh upon death and we have lost hope of his
recovery. Beware lest thou look too long on him or on any place
other than that where thou settest thy feet: else thou art a lost
man and I also.' 'O Vizier,' said Merzewan, 'I conjure thee by
Allah, tell me of thy favour, the cause of this youth's malady.'
'I know none,' answered the Vizier, 'save that, three years ago,
his father pressed him to marry, but he refused; whereat the King
was wroth and imprisoned him. On the morrow, he would have it
that he had had, for a bedfellow, the night before, a young lady
of surpassing beauty, beggaring description, with whom he had
exchanged rings; but we know not the meaning of all this. So by
Allah, O my son, when thou comest up into the palace, look not on
the prince, but go thy way; for the King's heart is full of anger
against me.' 'By Allah,' said Merzewan in himself, 'this is he
whom I sought!' Then he followed the Vizier up to the palace,
where the latter seated himself at the prince's feet; but
Merzewan must needs go up to Kemerezzeman and stand before him,
gazing on him. At this, the Vizier was like to die of affright
and signed to Merzewan to go his way; but he feigned not to see
him and gave not over gazing upon Kemerezzeman, till he was
assured that it was indeed he of whom he was in search. Then,
'Glory be to God,' cried he, 'who hath made his shape even as her
shape and his complexion as her complexion and his cheek as her
cheek!' At this Kemerezzeman opened his eyes and gave ear to his
speech; and when Merzewan saw him listening, he repeated the
following verses:

I see thee full of song and plaint and ecstasy amain, And to the
setting forth in words of charms I find thee fain.
Can it be love hath wounded thee or art thou shot with shafts?
For sure these fashions but belong unto a smitten swain.
Ho, pour me out full cups of wine and sing me eke, in praise Of
Tenam, Suleyma, Rebaeb,[FN#35] a glad and lovesome strain!
Yea, let the grape-vine's sun[FN#36] go round, whose mansion is
its jar, Whose East the cupbearer and West my thirsty mouth
I feign.
I'm jealous of the very clothes she dights upon her side, For
that upon her body soft and delicate they've lain;
And eke I'm envious of the cups that touch her dainty lips, When
to the kissing-place she sets them ever and again.
Think not that I in anywise with sword am done to death; 'Tis by
the arrows of a glance, alack! that I am slain.
Whenas we met again, I found her fingers dyed with red, As 'twere
the juice of tragacanth had steeped them in its stain.
Said I to her, "Thou'st dyed thy palms,[FN#37] whilst I was far
away. This then is how the slave of love is 'quited for his
Quoth she (and cast into my heart the flaming fires of love,
Speaking as one who hath no care love's secret to contain),
"No, by thy life, this is no dye I've used! So haste thou not To
heap accusings on my head and slander me in vain.
For, when I saw thee get thee gone upon our parting day, My eyes,
for very dreariment, with tears of blood did rain.
I wiped them with my hand, and so my fingers with my blood Were
all to-reddened and do yet their ruddy tint retain."
Had I for very passion wept, or e'er my mistress did, I should,
before repentance came, have solaced heart and brain;
But she before my weeping wept; her tears drew mine and so Quoth
I, "Unto the precedent the merit doth pertain."
Chide not at me for loving her, for by Love's self I swear, My
heart with anguish for her sake is well-nigh cleft in twain.
I weep for one whose face is decked by Beauty's self; there's
none, Arab or foreigner, to match with her, in hill or
The lore of Locman[FN#38] hath my love and Mary's chastity, with
Joseph's loveliness to boot and David's songful vein;
Whilst Jacob's grief to me belongs and Jonah's dreariment, Ay,
and Job's torment and despite and Adam's plight of bane.
Slay ye her not, although I die for love of her, but ask, How
came it lawful unto her to shed my blood in vain.

When Kemerezzeman heard these verses, they brought refreshment
and healing to his heart, and he sighed and turning his tongue in
his mouth, said to the King, 'O my father, let this young man
come and sit by my side.' The King, hearing these words from his
son, rejoiced exceedingly, though at the first he had been wroth
with Merzewan and thought in himself to have stricken off his
head: but when he heard Kemerezzeman speak, his anger left him
and he arose and drawing Merzewan to him, made him sit down by
his son and said to him, 'Praised be God for thy safety!' 'May
God bless thee,' answered Merzewan, 'and preserve thy son to
thee!' Then said the King, 'From what country comest thou?'
'From the Islands of the Inland Sea,' replied he, 'the kingdom of
King Ghaiour, lord of the Islands and the seas and the Seven
Palaces.' Quoth the King, 'Maybe thy coming shall be blessed to
my son and God vouchsafe to heal him of his malady.' 'God
willing,' rejoined Merzewan, 'all shall yet be well.' Then
turning to Kemerezzeman, he said to him in his ear, unheard of
the King and his court, 'Be of good cheer, O my lord, and take
heart and courage. As for her for whose sake thou art thus, ask
not of her condition on thine account. Thou keptest thy secret
and fellest sick, but she discovered hers and they said she was
mad; and she is now in prison, with an iron chain about her neck,
in most piteous case; but, God willing, the healing of both of
you shall be at my hand.' When Kemerezzeman heard this, his life
returned to him and he took heart and courage and signed to his
father to help him sit up; at which the King was like to lose his
reason for joy and lifting him up, set two pillows for him
to lean upon. Then, of his fear for his son, he shook the
handkerchief of dismissal and all the Amirs and Viziers withdrew;
after which he bade perfume the palace with saffron and decorate
the city, saying to Merzewan, 'By Allah, O my son, thou hast a
lucky and a blessed aspect!' And he made much of him and called
for food, which when they brought, Merzewan said to the prince,
'Come, eat with me.' So he obeyed him and ate with him, while
the King called down blessings on Merzewan and said, 'How
auspicious is thy coming, O my son!' When he saw Kemerezzeman
eat, his joy redoubled and he went out and told the prince's
mother and the people of the palace. Then he let call abroad the
good news of the prince's recovery and proclaimed the decoration
of the city: so the people rejoiced and decorated the city and it
was a day of high festival. Merzewan passed the night with
Kemerezzeman, and the King also slept with them, in the excess of
his joy for his son's recovery. Next morning, when the King had
gone away and the two young men were left alone, Kemerezzeman
told Merzewan his story from first to last and the latter said to
him, 'I know her with whom thou didst foregather; her name is the
princess Budour and she is daughter to King Ghaiour.' Then he
told him all that had befallen the princess and acquainted him
with the excessive love she bore him, saying, 'All that befell
thee with thy father hath befallen her with hers, and thou art
without doubt her beloved, even as she is thine; so brace up thy
resolution and take heart, for I will bring thee to her and unite
you both anon and deal with you even as saith the poet:

Though to the lover adverse be the fair And drive him with her
rigours to despair,
Yet will I soon unite them, even as I The pivot of a pair of
scissors were.

And he went on to comfort and hearten Kemerezzeman and urged him
to eat and drink, cheering him and diverting him with talk and
song and stories, till he ate food and drank wine and life and
strength returned to him. In good time he became free of his
disorder and stood up and sought to go to the bath. So Merzewan
took him by the hand and carried him to the bath, where they
washed their bodies and made them clean. When his father heard
of this, in his joy he freed the prisoners and gave alms to the
poor; moreover he bestowed splendid dresses of honour upon his
grandees and let decorate the city seven days. Then said
Merzewan to Kemerezzeman, 'Know, O my lord, that the sole object
of my journey hither was to deliver the princess Budour from her
present strait; and it remains but for us to devise how we may
get to her, since thy father cannot brook the thought of parting
with thee. So it is my counsel that tomorrow thou ask his leave
to go a-hunting, saying, "I have a mind to divert myself with
hunting in the desert and to see the open country and pass the
night there." Then do thou take with thee a pair of saddle-bags
full of gold and mount a swift hackney and I will do the like;
and we will take each a spare horse. Suffer not any servant to
follow us, for as soon as we reach the open country, we will go
our ways.' Kemerezzeman rejoiced mightily in this plan and said,
'It is good.' Then he took heart and going in to his father,
sought his leave to go out to hunt, saying as Merzewan had taught
him. The King consented and said, 'O my son, a thousandfold
blessed be the day that restores thee to health! I will not
gainsay thee in this; but pass not more than one night in the
desert and return to me on the morrow; for thou knowest that life
is not good to me without thee, and indeed I can hardly as yet
credit thy recovery, because thou art to me as he of whom quoth
the poet:

Though Solomon his carpet were mine both day and night, Though
the Choeroes' empire, yea, and the world were mine,
All were to me in value less than a midge's wing, Except mine
eyes still rested upon that face of thine.'

Then he equipped the prince and Merzewan for the excursion,
bidding make them ready four horses, together with a dromedary to
carry the money and a camel for the water and victuals; and
Kemerezzeman forbade any of his attendants to follow him. His
father bade him farewell and pressed him to his breast and kissed
him, saying, 'I conjure thee by Allah, be not absent from me more
than one night, wherein sleep will be denied me, for I am even as
saith the poet:

Thy presence with me is my heaven of delight And my hell of
affliction the loss of thy sight.
My soul be thy ransom! If love be my crime For thee, my offence,
of a truth, is not light.
Doth passion blaze up in thy heart like to mine? I suffer the
torments of hell day and night.'

'O my father,' answered Kemerezzeman, 'God willing, I will lie
but one night abroad.' Then he took leave of him, and he and
Merzewan mounted and taking with them the dromedary and camel,
rode out into the open country. They drew not bridle from the
first of the day till nightfall, when they halted and ate and
drank and fed their beasts and rested awhile; after which they
again took horse and fared on three days, till they came to a
spacious wooded tract. Here they alighted and Merzewan, taking
the camel and one of the horses, slaughtered them and cut the
flesh off their bones. Then he took from Kemerezzeman his shirt
and trousers and cassock and tearing them in shreds, smeared them
with the horse's blood and cast them down in the fork of the
road. Then they ate and drank and taking horse set forward
again. 'O my brother,' said Kemerezzeman, 'what is this thou
hast done and how will it profit us?' 'Know,' answered Merzewan,
'that thy father, when he finds that we have outstayed the night
for which we had his leave, will mount and follow in our track
till he comes hither; and when he sees the blood and thy clothes
torn and bloodied, he will deem thee to have been slain of
highway robbers or wild beasts; so he will give up hope of thee
and return to his city, and by this devise we shall gain our
end.' 'By Allah,' said Kemerezzeman, 'this is indeed a rare
device! Thou hast done well.' Then they fared on days and
nights and Kemerezzeman did nought but weep and complain, till
they drew near their journey's end, when he rejoiced and repeated
the following verses:

Wilt thou be harsh to a lover, who's never unmindful of thee, And
wilt thou now cast him away to whom thou wast fain
May I forfeit the favour of God, if I ever was false to thy love!
Abandonment punish my crime, if I've broken the vows that I
But no, I've committed no crime, that calleth for rigour from
thee; Or, if in good sooth I'm at fault, I bring thee
repentance therefor.
Of the marvels of Fortune it is that thou shouldst abandon me
thus; But Fortune to bring to the light fresh marvels will
never give o'er.

When he had made an end of these verses, Merzewan said to him,
'See, yonder are King Ghaiour's Islands.' Whereat Kemerezzeman
rejoiced with an exceeding joy and thanked him for what he had
done and strained him to his bosom and kissed him between the
eyes. They entered the city and took up their lodging at a khan,
where they rested three days from the fatigues of the journey;
after which Merzewan carried Kemerezzeman to the bath and
clothing him in a merchant's habit, provided him with a geomantic
tablet of gold, a set of astrological instruments and an
astrolabe of silver, plated with gold. Then he said to him, 'Go,
O my lord, stand before the King's palace and cry out, "I am the
mathematician, I am the scribe, I am he that knows the Sought and
the Seeker, I am the skilled physician, I am the accomplished
astrologer. Where then is he that seeketh?" When the King hears
this, he will send after thee and carry thee in to his daughter
the princess Budour, thy mistress: but do thou say to him, "Grant
me three days' delay, and if she recover, give her to me to wife,
and if not, deal with me as with those who came before me." If
he agree to this, as soon as thou art alone with her, discover
thyself to her; and when she knows thee, her madness will cease
from her and she will be made whole in one night. Then do thou
give her to eat and drink, and her father, rejoicing in her
recovery, will marry thee to her and share his kingdom with thee,
according to the condition he hath imposed on himself: and so
peace be on thee.' 'May I never lack thine excellence!' replied
Kemerezzeman, and taking the instruments aforesaid, sallied forth
of the khan and took up his station before King Ghaiour's palace,
where he began to cry out, saying, 'I am the scribe, I am the
mathematician, he that knows the Sought and the Seeker, I am he
who makes calculations for marriage contracts, who draws
horoscopes, interprets dreams and traces the magical characters
by which hidden treasures are discovered! Where then is the
seeker?' When the people of the city heard this, they flocked to
him, for it was long since they had seen a scribe or an
astrologer, and stood round him, wondering at his beauty and
grace and perfect symmetry. Presently one of them accosted him
and said, 'God on thee, O fair youth with the eloquent tongue,
cast not thyself into perdition, in thy desire to marry the
princess Budour! Do but look on yonder heads hung up; they are
all those of men who have lost their lives in this same venture.'
He paid no heed to them, but cried out at the top of his voice,
saying, 'I am the doctor, the scribe! I am the astrologer, the
mathematician!' And all the townsfolk forbade him from this, but
he heeded them not, saying in himself, 'None knoweth desire save
he who suffereth it.' Then he began again to cry his loudest,
saying, 'I am the scribe, I am the mathematician, I am the
astrologer!' till all the townsfolk were wroth with him and said
to him, 'Thou art but a silly self-willed boy! Have pity on
thine own youth and tender years and beauty and grace.' But he
cried all the more, 'I am the astrologer, I am the mathematician!
Is there any one that seeketh?' As he was thus crying and the
people remonstrating with him, King Ghaiour heard his voice and
the clamour of the folk and said to his Vizier, 'Go down and
bring me yon astrologer.' So the Vizier went down and taking
Kemerezzeman from the midst of the crowd, carried him up to the
King, before whom he kissed the earth, repeating the following

Eight elements of high renown are all comprised in thee; By them
may Fortune never cease thy bounder slave to be!
Munificence and knowledge sure, glory and piety, Fair fluent
speech and eloquence and might and victory.

When the King saw him, he made him sit down by his side and said
to him, 'By Allah, O my son, an thou be not an astrologer,
venture not thy life nor submit thyself to my condition; for I
have bound myself to strike off the head of whoso goeth in to my
daughter and healeth her not of her disorder; but him who healeth
her I will marry to her. So let not thy beauty and grace delude
thee; for, by Allah, if thou cure her not, I will assuredly cut
off thy head!' 'I knew of this condition before I came hither,'
answered Kemerezzeman, 'and am ready to abide by it.' Then King
Ghaiour took the Cadis to witness against him and delivered him
to an eunuch, saying, 'Carry this fellow to the lady Budour.' So
the eunuch took him by the hand and led him along the gallery;
but Kemerezzeman out-went him and pushed on before, whilst the
eunuch ran after him, saying, 'Out on thee! Hasten not to
destroy thyself. By Allah, never yet saw I astrologer so eager
for his own destruction: thou knowest not the calamities that
await thee.' But Kemerezzeman turned away his face and repeated
the following verses:

A learned man, I'm ignorant before thy beauties bright; Indeed, I
know not what I say, confounded at thy sight.
If I compare thee to the sun, thou passest not away, Whilst the
sun setteth from the sky and fails anon of light.
Perfect, indeed, thy beauties are; they stupefy the wise Nor ev'n
the eloquent avail to praise thy charms aright.

The eunuch stationed Kemerezzeman behind the curtain of the
princess's door and the prince said to him, 'Whether of the two
wilt thou liefer have me do, cure thy lady from here or go in and
cure her within the curtain?' The eunuch marvelled at his words
and answered, 'It were more to thine honour to cure her from
here.' So Kemerezzeman sat down behind the curtain and taking
out pen and inkhorn and paper, wrote the following: 'This is the
letter of one whom passion torments and whom desire consumes and
sorrow and misery destroy; one who despairs of life and looks for
nothing but death, whose mourning heart has neither comforter nor
helper, whose sleepless eyes have none to succour them against
affliction, whose day is passed in fire and his night in torment,
whose body is wasted for much emaciation and there comes to him
no messenger from his beloved:

I write with a heart devoted to thee and the thought of thee And
an eyelid, wounded for weeping tears of the blood of me.
And a body that love and affliction and passion and long desire
Have clad with the garment of leanness and wasted utterly.
I plain me to thee of passion, for sore hath it baffled me Nor is
there a corner left me where patience yet may be.
Wherefore, have mercy, I prithee, show favour unto me, For my
heart, my heart is breaking for love and agony.

The cure of hearts is union with the beloved and whom his love
maltreateth, God is his physician. If either of us have broken
faith, may the false one fail of his desire! There is nought
goodlier than a lover who is faithful to a cruel beloved one.'
Then, for a subscription, he wrote, 'From the distracted and
despairing lover, him whom love and longing disquiet, from the
captive of passion and transport, Kemerezzeman, son of Shehriman,
to the peerless beauty, the pearl of the fair Houris, the Lady
Budour, daughter of King Ghaiour. Know that by night I am
wakeful and by day distraught, consumed with ever-increasing
wasting and sickness and longing and love, abounding in sighs,
rich in floods of tears, the prisoner of passion, the slain of
desire, the debtor of longing, the boon-companion of sickness, he
whose heart absence hath seared. I am the sleepless one, whose
eyes close not, the slave of love, whose tears run never dry, for
the fire of my heart is still unquenched and the flaming of my
longing is never hidden.' Then in the margin he wrote this
admired verse:

Peace from the stores of the grace of my Lord be rife On her in
whose hand are my heart and soul and life!

And also these:

Vouchsafe thy converse unto me some little, so, perchance, Thou
mayst have ruth on me or else my heart be set at ease.
Yea, for the transport of my love and longing after thee, Of all
I've suffered I make light and all my miseries.
God guard a folk whose dwelling-place is far removed from mine,
The secret of whose love I've kept in many lands and seas!
But fate, at last, hath turned on me a favourable face And on my
loved one's threshold-earth hath cast me on my knees.
Budour beside me in the bed I saw and straight my moon, Lit by
her sun, shone bright and blithe upon my destinies.[FN#39]

Then by way of subscription, he wrote the following verses:

Ask of my letter what my pen hath written, and the scroll Will
tell the passion and the pain that harbour in my soul.
My hand, what while my tears rain down, writes and desire makes
moan Unto the paper by the pen of all my weary dole.
My tears roll ever down my cheeks and overflow the page; Nay, I'd
ensue them with my blood, if they should cease to roll.

And at the end he added this other verse:

I send thee back herewith the ring I took whilere of thee, Whenas
we companied; so send me that thou hadst of me.

Then he folded up Budour's ring inside the letter and sealing it,
gave it to the eunuch, who went in with it to the princess. She
took it from him and opening it, found in it her own ring. Then
she read the letter and when she understood its purport and knew
that her beloved stood behind the curtain, her reason fled and
her breast dilated for joy; and she repeated the following

Long, long have I bewailed the sev'rance of our loves, With tears
that from my lids streamed down like burning rain,
And vowed that, if the days should reunite us two, My lips should
never speak of severance again.
Joy hath o'erwhelmed me so that, for the very stress Of that
which gladdens me, to weeping I am fain.
Tears are become to you a habit, O my eyes, So that ye weep as
well for gladness as for pain.

Then she rose and setting her feet to the wall, strained with all
her might upon the iron collar, till she broke it from her neck
and snapped the chains; then going forth, she threw herself on
Kemerezzeman and kissed him on the mouth, like a pigeon billing.
And she embraced him with all the stress of her love and longing
and said to him, 'O my lord, do I wake or sleep and has God
indeed vouchsafed us reunion after separation? Praised be He who
hath reknit our loves, after despair!' When the eunuch saw this,
he ran to King Ghaiour and kissing the earth before him, said, 'O
my lord, know that this is indeed the prince and paragon of
astrologers; for he hath cured thy daughter from behind the
curtain, without going in to her.' 'Look to it well,' said the
King; 'is this news true?' 'O my lord,' answered the eunuch,
'come and see for thyself how she hath found strength to break
the iron chains and is come forth to the astrologer, kissing and
embracing him.' So the King arose and went in to his daughter,
who, when she saw him, rose and covered her face, reciting the
following verses:

I love not the toothstick; 'tis hateful to me, For I, when I name
it, say, "Other than thee."[FN#40]
But I love, notwithstanding, the capparis-tree, For, whenas I
name it I say, "Thee I see."[FN#41]

The King was transported for joy at her recovery and kissed her
between the eyes, for he loved her very dearly; then turning to
Kemerezzeman, he asked him who he was and whence he came. The
prince told him his name and rank and that he was the son of King
Shehriman, and related to him the whole story from beginning to
end; whereat Ghaiour marvelled and said, 'Verily, your story
deserves to be recorded in books and read after you, generation
after generation.' Then he summoned Cadis and witnesses
forthright and married the two lovers; after which he bade
decorate the city seven days long. So they decorated the city
and held high festival, and all the troops donned their richest
clothes, whilst the drums beat and the criers announced the glad
tidings. Then they spread the tables with all manner meats and
unveiled the princess before Kemerezzeman, and behold, each was
like unto the other in beauty and elegance and amorous grace. So
the King rejoiced in the issue of her affair and in her marriage
and praised God for that He had made her to fall in love with a
goodly youth of the sons of the kings. Then Kemerezzeman went in
to her and lay with her that night and took his will of her,
whilst she in like manner fufilled her desire of him and enjoyed
his beauty and grace; and they clipped each other till the
morning. On the morrow, the King made a banquet and spreading
the tables with the richest meats, kept open house a whole month
to all comers from the Islands of the Inner and the Outer Seas.
Now, when Kemerezzeman had thus attained his desire and had
tarried awhile with the princess Budour, he bethought him of his
father and saw him in a dream, saying, 'O my son, is it thus thou
dealest with me?' and reciting the following verses:

The moon o' the dark by his neglect my spirit doth appal And to
the watching of his stars hath made my eyelids thrall.
But soft, my heart! It may be yet he will return to thee; And
patience, soul, beneath the pain he's smitten thee withal!

Kemerezzeman awoke in the morning, afflicted and troubled at what
he had seen, whereupon the princess questioned him and he told
her his dream. Then they both went in to King Ghaiour and
telling him what had passed, besought his leave to depart. He
gave the prince the leave he sought; but the princess said,
'O my father, I cannot endure to be parted from him.' Quoth
Ghaiour, 'Then go thou with him,' and gave her leave to be
absent a whole year, charging her to visit him once in every year
thereafterward. So she kissed his hand and Kemerezzeman did the
like; after which he proceeded to equip them for the journey,
furnishing them with horses and dromedaries of choice and a
litter for his daughter, besides mules and camels laden with
victual and all manner of travelling gear. Moreover, he
gave them slaves and eunuchs to serve them and bestowed on
Kemerezzeman ten splendid suits of cloth of gold, embroidered
with jewels, together with a treasury[FN#42] of money and ten
riding horses and as many she-camels. When the day of departure
arrived, the King accompanied them to the farthest limits of his
islands, where, going in to his daughter Budour in the litter, he
kissed her and strained her to his bosom, weeping and repeating
the following verses:

O thou that seekest parting, stay thy feet, For sure embraces are
a lover's right.
Softly, for fortune's nature is deceit And parting is the end of

Then, leaving her, he kissed her husband and commended his
daughter to his care; after which he bade him farewell and giving
the signal for departure, returned to his capital with his
troops. The prince and princess and their suite fared on without
stopping a whole month, at the end of which time they came to a
spacious champaign, abounding in pasturage, where they alighted
and pitched their tents. They ate and drank and rested, and
the princess Budour lay down to sleep. Presently, Kemerezzeman
went in to her and found her lying asleep, in a shift of
apricot-coloured silk, that showed all it should have covered,
and a coif of cloth of gold embroidered with pearls and jewels.
The breeze raised her shift and showed her breasts and navel and
a belly whiter than snow, each one of whose dimples contained an
ounce of benzoin ointment.[FN#43] At this sight, his love and
passion for her redoubled, and he recited the following verses:

If, whilst within my entrails the fires of hell did stir And
flames raged high about me, 'twere spoken in my ear,
"Which wilt thou have the rather, a draught of water cold Or
sight of her thou lovest?" I'd say, "The sight of her."

Then he put his hand to the ribbon of her trousers and drew it
and loosed it, for that his soul lusted after her, when he saw a
jewel, red as dragon's blood,[FN#44] made fast to the band. He
untied and examined it and seeing two lines of writing graven
thereon, in a character not to be read, marvelled and said in
himself, 'Except she set great store by this, she had not tied it
to the ribbon of her trousers nor hidden it in the most private
place about her person, that she might not be parted from it. I
wonder what she doth with it and what is the secret that is in
it.' So saying, he took it and went without the tent to look at
it in the light; but as he was examining it, a bird swooped down
on him and snatching it from his hand, flew off with it and
lighted on the ground at a little distance. Fearing to lose the
talisman, he ran after the bird; but it flew on before him,
keeping just out of his reach, and drew him on from place to
place and from hill to hill, till the night came on and the air
grew dark, when it roosted on a high tree. Kemerezzeman stopped
under the tree, confounded and faint for hunger and weariness,
and giving himself up for lost, would have turned back, but knew
not the way, for the darkness had overtaken him. So he
exclaimed, 'There is no power and no virtue but in God the Most
High, the Supreme!' and lying down under the tree, slept till
the morning, when he awoke and saw the bird also awake and fly
away. He arose and walked after it, and it flew on little by
little before him, after the measure of his going; at which he
smiled and said, 'By Allah, this is a strange thing! Yesterday,
the bird flew before me as fast as I could run; and to-day,
knowing that I am tired and cannot run, it flieth after the
measure of my walking. By Allah, this is wonderful! But,
whether it lead me to my death or to my life, I must needs follow
it, wherever it goeth, for it will surely not abide save in some
inhabited land. So he followed the bird, eating of the fruits
of the earth and drinking of its waters, for ten days' space, and
every night the bird roosted on a tree. At the end of this time,
he came in sight of an inhabited city, whereupon the bird darted
off like the glance of the eye and entering the town, was lost to
view: and Kemerezzeman marvelled at this and exclaimed, 'Praised
be God, who hath brought me hither in safety!' Then he sat down
by a stream and washed his hands and feet and face and rested
awhile: and recalling his late easy and pleasant life of union
with his beloved and contrasting it with his present plight of
trouble and weariness and hunger and strangerhood and severance,
the tears streamed from his eyes and he repeated the following

I strove to hide the load that love on me did lay; In vain, and
sleep for me is changed to wake alway.
Whenas wanhope doth press my heart both night and day, I cry
aloud, "O Fate, hold back thy hand, I pray.
For all my soul is sick with dolour and dismay!"
If but the Lord of Love were just indeed to me, Sleep had not
fled mine eyes by his unkind decree.
Have pity, sweet, on one that is for love of thee Worn out and
wasted sore; once rich and great was he,
Now beggared and cast down by love from his array.
The railers chide at thee full sore; I heed not, I, But stop my
ears to them and give them back the lie.
"Thou lov'st a slender one," say they; and I reply, "I've chosen
her and left all else beneath the sky."
Enough; when fate descends, the eyes are blinded aye.

As soon as he was rested, he rose and walked on, little by
little, till he came to the city-gate and entered, knowing not
whither he should go. He traversed the city from end to end,
without meeting any of the townsfolk, entering by the land-gate
and faring on till he came out at the sea-gate, for the city
stood on the sea-shore. Presently, he found himself among the
orchards and gardens of the place and passed among the trees,
till he came to a garden-gate and stopped before it, whereupon
the keeper came out to him and saluted him. The prince returned
his greeting and the other bade him welcome, saying, 'Praised be
God that thou hast come off safe from the people of the city!
Quick, come into the garden, ere any of the townsfolk see thee.'
So Kemerezzeman entered the garden, amazed, and said to the
keeper, 'Who and what then are the people of this city?' 'Know,'
answered the other,' that the people of this city are all
Magians: but, God on thee, tell me how and why thou camest
hither.' Accordingly, Kemerezzeman told him all that had
befallen him, at which the gardener marvelled greatly and said,
'Know, O my son, that from this place to the cities of Islam is
four months' journey by sea and a whole year by land. We have a
ship that sails yearly hence with merchandise to the Ebony
Islands, which are the nearest Muslim country, and thence to the
Khalidan Islands, the dominions of King Shehriman.' Kemerezzeman
considered awhile and concluding that he could not do better than
abide with the gardener and become his assistant, said to him,
'Wilt thou take me into thy service, to help thee in this
garden?' 'Willingly,' answered the gardener and clothing him in
a short blue gown, that reached to his knees, taught him to lead
the water to the roots of the trees. So Kemerezzeman abode with
him, watering the trees and hoeing up the weeds and weeping
floods of tears; for he had no rest day or night, by reason of
his strangerhood and separation from his beloved, and he ceased
not to repeat verses upon her, amongst others the following:

Ye made us a promise of yore; will ye not to your promise be
true? Ye spoke us a word aforetime; as ye spoke to us, will
ye not do?
We waken, whilst ye are asleep, according to passion's decree; So
have ye the vantage of us, for watchers and sleepers are
We vowed to each other, whilere, that we would keep secret our
loves; But the breedbate possessed you to speak, and you
spoke and revealed what none knew.
Beloved in pleasure and pain, chagrin and contentment alike,
Whate'er may betide, ye alone are the goal that my wishes
There's one that still holdeth a heart, a heart sore tormented of
mine; Ah, would she'd have ruth on my plight and pity the
soul that she slew!
Not every one's eye is as mine, worn wounded and cankered with
tears, And hearts that are, even as mine, the bondslaves of
passion, are few.
Ye acted the tyrant with me, saying, "Love is a tyrant, I trow."
Indeed, ye were right, and the case has proved what ye said
to be true.
Alack! They've forgotten outright a passion-distraught one,
whose faith Time 'minisheth not, though the fires in his
entrails rage ever anew.
If my foeman in love be my judge, to whom shall I make my
complaint? To whom of injustice complain, to whom for
redress shall I sue?
Were it not for my needing of love and the ardour that burns in
my breast, I had not a heart love-enslaved and a soul that
for passion must rue.

To return to the princess Budour. When she awoke, she sought her
husband and found him not: then she saw the ribbon of her
trousers undone and the talisman missing and said to herself, 'By
Allah, this is strange! Where is my husband? It would seem as
if he had taken the talisman and gone away, knowing not the
secret that is in it. Whither can he have gone? It must have
been some extraordinary matter that drew him away, for he cannot
brook to leave me an hour. May God curse the talisman and its
hour!' Then she considered awhile and said in herself, 'If I go
out and tell the servants that my husband is lost, they will
covet me: I must use stratagem.' So she rose and donned some of
her husband's clothes and boots and spurs and a turban like his,
drawing the loose end across her face for a chin-band. Then
setting a slave-girl in her litter, she went forth the tent and
called to the servants, who brought her Kemerezzeman's horse; and
she mounted and bade load the beasts and set forward. So they
bound on the burdens and departed, none doubting but she was
Kemerezzeman, for she resembled him in face and form; nor did
they leave journeying, days and nights, till they came in sight
of a city overlooking the sea, when they halted to rest and
pitched their tents without the walls. The princess asked the
name of the place and was told, 'It is called the City of Ebony:
its king is named Armanous, and he hath a daughter called Heyat
en Nufous.' Presently, the King sent to learn who it was that
had encamped without his city; so the messenger, coming to the
tents, enquired of Budour's servants and was told that she was a
king's son, bound for the Khalidan Islands, who had strayed
from his road; whereupon he returned and told the King, who
straightway took horse and rode out, with his nobles, to meet the
strange prince. As he drew near the tents, the princess came to
meet him on foot, whereupon the King alighted and they saluted
each other. Then he carried her into the city and bringing her
to the palace, let spread a banquet and bade transport her
company and baggage to the guest-house, where they abode three
days; at the end of which time the King came in to Budour (Now
she had that day gone to the bath and her face shone as the moon
at its full, enchanting all beholders, and she was clad in robes
of silk, embroidered with gold and jewels) and said to her,
'Know, O my son, that I am a very old man and am grown unable for
the conduct of the state. Now God has blessed me with no child
save one daughter, who resembles thee in beauty and grace; so, O
my son, if this my country please thee and thou be willing to
make thine abode here, I will marry thee to my daughter and give
thee my kingdom and so be at rest.' When Budour heard this, she
bowed her head and her forehead sweated for shame, and she said
to herself, 'How shall I do, and I a woman? If I refuse and
depart, I cannot be safe but that he may send after me troops to
kill me; and if I consent, belike I shall be put to shame. I
have lost my beloved Kemerezzeman and know not what is come of
him; wherefore I see nothing for it but to hold my peace and
consent and abide here, till God accomplish what is to be.'
So she raised her head and made submission to King Armanous,
saying, 'I hear and obey,' whereat he rejoiced and bade make
proclamation, throughout the Ebony Islands, to hold high festival
and decorate the houses. Then he assembled his chamberlains and
Amirs and Viziers and other officers of state and the Cadis of
the city, and putting off the kingship, invested Budour therewith
and clad her in the royal robes. Moreover, the Amirs and
grandees went in to her and did her homage, nothing doubting but
that she was a young man, and all who looked on her berayed their
hose for the excess of her beauty and grace; then, after the lady
Budour had been made Sultan and the drums had been beaten, in
announcement of the joyful event, Armanous proceeded to equip his
daughter for marriage, and in a few days, they brought Budour in
to her, when they seemed as it were two moons risen at one time
or two suns foregathering. So they entered the bridal-chamber
and the doors were shut and the curtains let down upon them,
after the attendants had lighted the candles and spread the bed
for them. When Budour found herself alone with the princess
Heyat en Nufous, she called to mind her beloved Kemerezzeman and
grief was sore upon her. So she wept for his loss and absence
and repeated the following verses:

O ye who went and left my heart to pine alone fore'er, No spark
of life remains in me, since ye away did fare!
I have an eye that doth complain of sleeplessness alway; Tears
have consumed it; would to God that sleeplessness would
When ye departed, after you the lover did abide; But question of
him what of pain in absence he doth bear.
But for the ceaseless flood of tears my eyes pour forth, the
world Would at my burning all catch fire, yea, seas and
lands and air.
To God Most High I make my moan of dear ones loved and lost, That
on my passion have no ruth nor pity my despair.
I never did them wrong, except my love for them were such; But
into blest and curst in love men aye divided were.

When she had finished, she sat down beside the princess Heyat en
Nufous and kissed her on the mouth. Then, rising abruptly, she
made the ablution and betook herself to her devotions, nor did
she leave praying till Heyat en Nufous was asleep, when she slipt
into bed and lay with her back to her till morning; then rose and
went out. Presently, the old king and queen came in to their
daughter and asked her how she did, whereupon she told them what
had passed and repeated to them the verses she had heard.

Meanwhile, Budour seated herself upon the throne and all the
Amirs and captains and officers of state came in to her and
wished her joy of the kingship, kissing the earth before her and
calling down blessings upon her. She smiled on them and clad
them in robes of honour, augmenting the fiefs of the Amirs and
giving largesse to the troops; wherefore all the people loved her
and offered up prayers for the continuance of her reign, doubting
not but that she was a man. She sat all day in the hall of
audience, ordering and forbidding and dispensing justice,
releasing those who were in prison and remitting the customs
dues, till nightfall, when she withdrew to the apartment prepared
for her. Here she found Heyat en Nufous seated; so she sat down
by her and clapping her on the back, caressed her and kissed her
between the eyes, repeating the following verses:

The secret that I cherished my tears have public made; The
wasting of my body my passion hath bewrayed.
I hid my love and longing; but on the parting-day My plight,
alas! revealed it to spies; 'twas open laid.
O ye who have departed the camp, ye've left behind My body worn
with languor and spirit all decayed.
Within my heart's recesses ye have your dwelling-place; My tears
are ever running and lids with blood berayed.
For ever will I ransom the absent with my soul; Indeed, for them
my yearnings are patent and displayed.
I have an eye, whose pupil, for love of them, rejects Sleep and
whose tears flow ever, unceasing and unstayed.
My foes would have me patient for him; but God forbid That ever
of my hearing should heed to them be paid!
I baulked their expectation. Of Kemerezzeman Sometime I did
accomplish the joys for which I prayed.
He doth, as none before him, perfections all unite; No king of
bygone ages was in the like arrayed.
His clemency and bounty Ben Zaideh's[FN#45] largesse And
Muawiyeh's[FN#46] mildness have cast into the shade.
But that it would be tedious and verse sufficeth not To picture
forth his beauties, I'd leave no rhyme unmade.

Then she wiped away her tears and making the ablution, stood up
to pray; nor did she give over praying, till drowsiness overcame
Heyat en Nufous and she slept, whereupon Budour came and lay
beside her till the morning. At daybreak, she arose and prayed
the morning-prayer; then, going forth, seated herself on the
throne and passed the day in ordering and forbidding and
administering justice. Meanwhile, King Armanous went in to his
daughter and asked her how she did; so she told him all that had
passed and repeated to him the verses that Budour had recited,
adding, 'O my father, never saw I one more abounding in sense and
modesty than my husband, save that he doth nothing but weep and
sigh.' 'O my daughter,' answered her father, 'have patience with
him yet this third night, and if he go not in to thee and do away
thy maidenhead, we will take order with him and oust him from
the throne and banish him the country.' When the night came, the
princess Budour rose from the throne and betaking herself to the
bride-chamber, found the candles lighted and the princess Heyat
en Nufous sitting awaiting her; whereupon she bethought her of
her husband and recalling the early severance of their loves,
wept and sighed and groaned groan upon groan, repeating the
following verses:

I swear the tidings of my woes fills all the country-side, Like
the sun shining on the hills of Nejed far and wide.
His gesture speaks, but hard to tell the meaning of it is, And
thus my yearning without end is ever magnified.
I hate fair patience since the hour I fell in love with thee.
Hast seen a lover hating love at any time or tide?
One, in whose glances sickness lies, hath smitten me to death,
For looks are deadliest of the things, wherein doth sickness
He shook his clustered ringlets down and laid his chin-band by,
And beauty thus in him, at once both black and white, I
Sickness and cure are in his hands; for, to the sick of love, By
him alone who caused their dole can healing be applied.
The softness of his waist hath made his girdle mad for love And
of his hips, for jealousy, to rise he is denied.
His forehead, covered with his curls, is as a mirky night;
Unveiled, 'tis as a shining moon that thrusts the dark

When she had finished, she would have risen to pray, but Heyat en
Nufous caught her by the skirt, saying, 'O my lord, art thou not
ashamed to neglect me thus, after all the favour my father hath
done thee?' When Budour heard this, she sat down again and said,
'O my beloved, what is this thou sayest?' 'What I say,' answered
Heyat en Nufous, 'is that I never saw any so self-satisfied as
thou. Is every fair one so disdainful? I say not this to
incline thee to me, but only of my fear for thee from King
Armanous; for he purposes, an thou go not in to me to-night and
do away my maidenhead, to strip thee of the kingship on the
morrow and banish thee the realm; and belike his much anger may
lead him to kill thee. But I, O my lord, have compassion on thee
and give thee fair warning; and it is thine to decide.' At this,
Budour bowed her head in perplexity and said in herself, 'If I
refuse, I am lost, and if I obey, I am shamed. I am now queen of
all the Ebony Islands and they are under my rule and I shall
never again foregather with Kemerezzeman except it be in this
place; for there is no way for him to his native land but through
the Ebony Islands. Verily, I know not what to do, for I am no
man that I should arise and open this virgin girl; but I commit
my case to God, who orders all for the best.' Then she said to
Heyat en Nufous, 'O my beloved, it is in my own despite that I
have neglected thee and abstained from thee.' And she discovered
herself to her and told her her whole story, saying, 'I conjure
thee by Allah to keep my counsel, till God reunite me with my
beloved Kemerezzeman, and then let what will happen.' Her story
moved Heyat en Nufous to wonder and pity, and she prayed God to
reunite her with her beloved, saying, 'Fear nothing, O my sister,
but have patience till God accomplish that which is to be.' And
she repeated the following verses:

None keepeth counsel saving those who're trusty and discreet. A
secret's ever safely placed with honest folk and leal;
And secrets trusted unto me are in a locked-up house, Whose keys
are lost and on whose door is set the Cadi's seal.

'O my sister,' continued she, 'the breasts of the noble are the
graves of secrets, and I will not discover thine.' Then they
toyed and embraced and kissed and slept till near the call to
morning-prayer, when Heyat en Nufous arose and slaughtering a
young pigeon, besmeared herself and besprinkled her shift with
its blood. Then she put off her trousers and cried out,
whereupon her waiting-women hastened to her and raised cries of
joy. Presently, her mother came in to her aad asked her how she
did and tended her and abode with her till evening; whilst the
lady Budour repaired to the bath and after washing herself,
proceeded to the hall of audience, where she sat down on her
throne and dispensed justice among the folk. When King Armanous
heard the cries, he asked what was the matter and was informed of
the consummation of his daughter's marriage; whereat he rejoiced
and his breast dilated and he made a great banquet.

To return to King Shehriman. When Kemerezzeman and Merzewan
returned not at the appointed time, he passed the night without
sleep, restless and consumed with anxiety. The night was long
upon him and he thought the day would never dawn. He passed the
forenoon of the ensuing day in expectation of his son's coming,
but he came not; whereat his heart forebode separation and he was
distraught with fears for Kemerezzeman. He wept till his clothes
were drenched, crying out, 'Alas, my son!' and repeating the
following verses from an aching heart:

Unto the votaries of love I still was contrary, Till of its
bitter and its sweet myself perforce must taste.
I quaffed its cup of rigours out, yea, even to the dregs, And to
its freemen and its slaves myself therein abased.
Fortune aforetime made a vow to separate our loves; Now hath she
kept her vow, alack! and made my life a waste.

Then he wiped away his tears and bade his troops make ready for a
long journey. So they all mounted and set forth, headed by the
Sultan, whose heart burnt with grief and anxiety for his son. He
divided the troops into six bodies, whom he despatched in as many
directions, giving them rendezvous for the morrow at the
cross-roads. Accordingly they scoured the country diligently all
that day and night, till at noon of the ensuing day they joined
company at the cross-roads. Here four roads met and they knew
not which the prince had followed, till they came to the torn
clothes and found shreds of flesh and blood scattered by the way
on all sides. When the King saw this, he cried out from his
inmost heart, saying, 'Alas, my son!' and buffeted his face and
tore his beard and rent his clothes, doubting not but his son was
dead. Then he gave himself up to weeping and wailing, and the
troops also wept for his weeping, being assured that the prince
had perished. They wept and lamented and threw dust on their
heads till they were nigh upon death, and the night surprised
them whilst they were thus engaged. Then the King repeated the
following verses, with a heart on fire for the torment of his

Blame not the mourner for the grief to which he is a prey, For
yearning sure sufficeth him, with all its drear dismay.
He weeps for dreariment and grief and stress of longing pain, And
eke his transport doth the fires, that rage in him, bewray.
Alas, his fortune who's Love's slave, whom languishment hath
bound Never to let his eyelids stint from weeping night and
He mourns the loss of one was like a bright and brilliant moon,
That shone out over all his peers in glorious array.
But Death did proffer to his lips a brimming cup to drink, What
time he left his native land, and now he's far away.
He left his home and went from us unto calamity; Nor to his
brethren was it given to him farewell to say.
Indeed, his loss hath stricken me with anguish and with woe; Yea,
for estrangement from his sight my wits are gone astray.
Whenas the Lord of all vouchsafed to him His Paradise, Upon his
journey forth he fared and passed from us for aye.

Then he returned with the troops to his capital, giving up his
son for lost and deeming that wild beasts or highwaymen had set
on him and torn him in pieces, and made proclamation that all in
the Khalidan Islands should don black in mourning for him.
Moreover, he built a pavilion in his memory, naming it House of
Lamentations, and here he was wont to spend his days, (with the
exception of Mondays and Thursdays, which he devoted to the
business of the state), mourning for his son and bewailing him
with verses, of which the following are some:

My day of bliss is that whereon thou drawest near to me, And
that, whereon thou turn'st away, my day of death and fear.
What though I tremble all the night and go in dread of death, Yet
thine embraces are to me than safety far more dear.

And again:

My soul redeem the absent, whose going cast a blight On hearts
and did afflict them with anguish and affright!
Let gladness then accomplish its purification-time,[FN#47] For,
by a triple divorcement,[FN#48] I've put away delight.

Meanwhile, the princess Budour abode in the Ebony Islands, whilst
the folk would point to her and say, 'Yonder is King Armanous's
son-in-law;' and every night she lay with Heyat en Nufous, to
whom she made moan of her longing for her husband Kemerezzeman,
weeping and describing to her his beauty and grace and yearning
to enjoy him, though but in a dream. And bytimes she would
repeat these verses:

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 censurer, "and thou shalt win them
yet," And I, "O thou that blamest me, whence should I
patience get?"

All this time, Kemerezzeman abode with the gardener, weeping and
repeating verses night and day, bewailing the seasons of
enjoyment and the nights of delight, whilst the gardener
comforted him with the assurance that the ship would set sail for
the land of the Muslims at the end of the year. One day, he saw
the folk crowding together and wondered at this; but the gardener
came in to him and said, 'O my son, give over work for to-day
neither water the trees; for it is a festival day, on which the
folk visit one another. So rest and only keep thine eye on the
garden, whilst I go look after the ship for thee; for yet but a
little while and I send thee to the land of the Muslims.' So
saying, he went out, leaving Kemerezzeman alone in the garden,
who fell to musing upon his condition, till his courage gave way
and the tears streamed from his eyes. He wept till he swooned
away, and when he recovered, he rose and walked about the garden
pondering what fate had done with him and bewailing his long
estrangement from those he loved. As he went thus, absorbed in
melancholy thought, his foot stumbled and he fell on his face,
striking his forehead against the stump of a tree. The blow cut
it open and his blood ran down and blent with his tears. He rose
and wiping away the blood, dried his tears and bound his forehead
with a piece of rag; then continued his melancholy walk about the
garden. Presently, he saw two birds quarrelling on a tree, and
one of them smote the other on the neck with its beak and cut off
its head, with which it flew away, whilst the slain bird's body
fell to the ground before Kemerezzeman. As it lay, two great
birds flew down and alighting, one at the head and the other at
the tail of the dead bird, drooped their wings over it and bowing
their heads towards it, wept; and when Kemerezzeman saw them thus
bewail their mate, he called to mind his wife and father and
wept also. Then he saw them dig a grave and bury the dead bird;
after which they flew away, but presently returned with the
murderer and alighting on the grave, stamped on him till they
killed him. Then they rent his belly and tearing out his
entrails, poured the blood on the grave. Moreover, they stripped
off his skin and tearing his flesh in pieces, scattered it hither
and thither. All this while Kemerezzeman was watching them and
wondering; but presently, chancing to look at the dead bird's
crop, he saw therein something gleaming. So he opened it and
found the talisman that had been the cause of his separation from
his wife. At this sight, he fell down in a swoon for joy; and
when he revived, he said, 'Praised be God! This is a good omen
and a presage of reunion with my beloved.' Then he examined the
jewel and passed it over his eyes; after which he bound it to his
arm, rejoicing in coming good, and walked about, awaiting the
gardener's return, till nightfall; when, as he came not, he lay
down and slept in his wonted place. At daybreak he rose and
girding himself with a cord of palm-fibre, took hoe and basket
and went out to his work in the garden. Presently, he came to a
carob-tree and struck the hoe into its roots. The blow resounded
[as if it had fallen on metal]; so he cleared away the earth and
discovered a trap-door of brass. He raised the trap and found a
winding stair, which he descended and came to an ancient vault of
the time of Aad and Themoud,[FN#49] hewn out of the rock. Round
the vault stood many brazen vessels of the bigness of a great
oil-jar, into one of which he put his hand and found it full of
red and shining gold; whereupon he said to himself, 'Verily, the
days of weariness are past and joy and solace are come!' Then he
returned to the garden and replacing the trap-door, busied
himself in tending the trees till nightfall, when the gardener
came back and said to him, 'O my son, rejoice in a speedy return
to thy native land, for the merchants are ready for the voyage
and in three days' time the ship will set sail for the City of
Ebony, which is the first of the cities of the Muslims; and
thence thou must travel by land six months' journey till thou
come to the Islands of Khalidan, the dominions of King Shehriman.'
At this Kemerezzeman rejoiced and repeated the following verses:

Forsake not a lover unused aversion from thee, Nor punish the
guiltless with rigour and cruelty.
Another, when absence was long, had forgotten thee And changed
from his faith and his case; not so with me.

Then he kissed the gardener's hand, saying, 'O my father, even as
thou hast brought me glad tidings, so I also have great good news
for thee,' and told him of his discovery in the garden; whereat
the gardener rejoiced and said, 'O my son, fourscore years have I
dwelt in this garden and have never chanced on aught; whilst
thou, who hast not sojourned with me a year, hast discovered
this thing; wherefore it is God's gift to thee, for the cesser
of thine ill fortune, and will aid thee to rejoin thy folk
and foregather with her thou lovest.' 'Not so,' answered
Kemerezzeman, 'it must be shared between us.' Then he carried
him to the underground chamber and showed him the gold, which was
in twenty jars. So he took ten and the gardener ten, and the
latter said to him, 'O my son, fill thyself jars with the olives
that grow in the garden, for they are not found but in our land
and are sought after; the merchants carry them to all parts and
they are called Asafiri[FN#50] olives. Lay the gold in the jars
and cover it with olives: then stop them and cover them and take
them with thee in the ship.' So Kemerezzeman took fifty jars and
laying in each somewhat of the gold, filled it up with olives.
At the bottom of one of the jars he laid the talisman, then
stopped and covered the jars and sat down to talk with the
gardener, making sure of speedy reunion with his own people and
saying in himself, 'When I come to the Ebony Islands, I will
journey thence to my father's country and enquire for my beloved
Budour. I wonder whether she turned back to her own land or
journeyed on to my father's country or whether there befell her
any accident by the way.' And he repeated the following verses:

Love in my breast they lit and passed away forthright: Far
distant is the land that holds my soul's delight.
Far, far from me the camp and those that dwell therein; No
visitation-place again shall us unite.
Patience and reason fled from me, when they fared forth; Sleep
failed me and despair o'ercame me, like a blight.
They left me, and with them departed all my joy; Tranquillity and
peace with them have taken flight.
They made mine eyes run down with tears of love laid waste; My
lids for lack of them brim over day and night.
Whenas my sad soul longs to see them once again And waiting and
desire are heavy on my spright,
Midmost my heart of hearts their images I trace, Love and
desireful pain and yearning for their sight.

Then he told the gardener what he had seen pass between the
birds, whereat he wondered; and they both lay down and slept till
the morning. The gardener awoke sick and abode thus two days;
but on the third day, his sickness increased on him, till they
despaired of his life and Kemerezzeman grieved sore for him.
Meanwhile, the captain and sailors came and enquired for the
gardener. Kemerezzeman told them that he was sick, and they
said, 'Where is the young man that is minded to go with us to the
Ebony Islands?' 'He is your servant,' answered the prince and
bade them carry the jars of olives to the ship. So they
transported them to the ship, saying, 'Make haste, for the wind
is fair;' and he answered, 'I hear and obey.' Then he carried
his victual on board and returning, to bid the gardener farewell,
found him in the agonies of death. So he sat down at his head
and closed his eyes, and his soul departed his body; whereupon he
laid him out and committed him to the earth to the mercy of God
the Most High. Then he went down to the port, to embark, but
found that the ship had already weighed anchor and set sail; nor
did she cease to cleave the waters, till she disappeared from
his sight. So he returned to the garden, sorrowful and
heavy-hearted, and sitting down, threw dust on his head and
buffeted his face. Then he rented the garden of its owner and
hired a man to help him tend the trees. Moreover, he went down
to the underground chamber and bringing up the rest of the gold,
stowed it in other fifty jars, which he filled up with olives.
Then he enquired of the ship and was told that it sailed but once
a year; at which his affliction redoubled and he mourned sore for
that which had befallen him, above all for the loss of the
princess Budour's talisman, and spent his nights and days weeping
and repeating verses.

Meanwhile, the ship sailed with a favouring wind, till it reached
the Ebony Islands. As fate would have it, the princess Budour
was sitting at a window overlooking the sea and saw the ship cast
anchor in the port. At this sight, her heart throbbed and she
mounted and riding down to the port, with her officers, halted by
the ship, whilst the sailors broke out the cargo and transported
the goods to the storehouses; after which she called the captain
and asked what he had with him. 'O King,' answered he, 'I have
with me drugs and cosmetics and powders and ointments and
plasters and rich stuffs and Yemen rugs and other costly
merchandise, not to be borne of mule or camel, and all manner
essences and spices and perfumes, civet and ambergris and camphor
and Sumatra aloes-wood, and tamarinds and Asafiri olives to boot,
such as are rare to find in this country.' When she heard talk
of Asafiri olives, her heart yearned for them and she said to the
captain, 'How much olives hast thou?' 'Fifty jars full,'
answered he. 'Their owner is not with us, but the King shall
take what he will of them.' Quoth she, 'Bring them ashore, that
I may see them.' So he called to the sailors, who brought her
the fifty jars; and she opened one and looking at the olives,
said to the captain, 'I will take the whole fifty and pay you
their value, whatever it may be.' 'By Allah, O my lord,'
answered he, 'they have no value in our country and the fifty
jars may be worth some hundred dirhems; but their owner tarried
behind us, and he is a poor man.' 'And what are they worth
here?' asked she. 'A thousand dirhems,' replied he. 'I will
take them at that price,' quoth she and bade carry the fifty jars
to the palace. When it was night, she called for a jar of olives
and opened it, there being none present but herself and the
princess Heyat en Nufous. Then, taking a dish, she turned into
it the contents of the jar, when behold there fell out into the
dish with the olives a heap of red gold and she said to Heyat en
Nufous, 'This is nought but gold!' So she sent for the rest of


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