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

Part 5 out of 7

thousand dinars and a letter that Num had written, giving him to
know that she was become the Khalif's slave. He gave the letter
to Nimeh, who knew her hand and fell down in a swoon. When he
came to himself, he opened the letter and found these words
written therein: "From the slave despoiled of her delight,[FN#83]
her whose reason hath been beguiled and who is separated from the
beloved of her heart. Thy letter hath reached me and hath
dilated my bosom and rejoiced my heart, even as saith the poet:

The letter reached me, never may the fingers fail thee aught,
That traced its characters, until with sweetest scent
they're fraught!
'Twas as unto his mother's arms when Moses was restored Or as to
blind old Jacob's hands when Joseph's coat was

When he read these verses, his eyes ran over with tears and the
old woman said to him, "What ails thee to weep, O my son? May
God never make thine eye to shed tears!" "O my lady," answered
the Persian, "how should my son not weep, seeing that this is his
slave-girl and he her lord Nimeh ben er Rebya of Cufa? Indeed,
her recovery depends on her seeing him, for nought ails her but
the love of him. So, O my lady, take these thousand dinars to
thyself (and thou shalt have of me yet more than this) and look
on us with eyes of compassion; for we know not how to bring this
affair to a happy issue but through thee." Then she said to
Nimeh, "Art thou indeed her lord?" "Yes," answered he, and she,
"Thou sayst truly; for she ceases not to name thee." Then he
told her all that had passed from first to last, and she said, "O
youth, thou shalt owe thy reunion with her to none but me." So
she mounted at once and returning to Num, looked in her face and
smiled, saying, "O my daughter, it is just that thou weep and
fall sick for thy separation from thy master Nimeh ben er Rebya
of Cufa." Quoth Num, "Verily, the veil has been withdrawn for
thee and the truth revealed to thee." "Be of good cheer,"
rejoined the old woman, "and take heart, for I will surely bring
you together, though it cost me my life." Then she returned to
Nimeh and said to him, "I have seen thy slave-girl and find that
she longs for thee yet more than thou for her; for the Commander
of the Faithful is minded to foregather with her, but she refuses
herself to him. But if thou be stout of heart and firm of
courage, I will bring you together and venture myself for you and
make shift to bring thee to her in the Khalif's palace; for she
cannot come forth." And Nimeh answered, "God requite thee with
good!" Then she went back to Num and said to her, "Thy lord is
indeed dying of love for thee and would fain see thee and
foregather with thee. What sayst thou?" "And I also," answered
Num, "am dying for his sight." So the old woman took a parcel of
women's clothes and ornaments and repairing to Nimeh, said to
him, "Come apart with me into a privy place." So he brought her
into the room behind the shop, where she painted him and decked
his wrists and plaited his hair, after which she clad him in a
slave-girl's habit and adorned him after the fairest fashion of
woman's adornment, till he was as one of the houris of Paradise;
and when she saw him thus, she exclaimed, "Blessed be God, the
most excellent Creator! By Allah, thou art handsomer than the
damsel! Now, walk with thy left shoulder forward and swing thy
buttocks." So he walked before her, as she bade him; and when
she saw he had caught the trick of women's gait, she said to him,
"Expect me to-morrow night, when, God willing, I will come and
carry thee to the palace. When thou seest the chamberlains and
the eunuchs, fear not, but bow thy head and speak not with any,
for I will ward thee from their speech; and with God is success."
Accordingly, on the morrow she returned at the appointed hour and
carrying him to the palace, entered and he after her. The
chamberlain would have stayed him, but the old woman said to him,
"O most ill-omened of slaves, this is the handmaid of Num, the
Khalif's favourite. How darest thou stay her?" Then said she,
"Enter, O damsel!" And they went on, till they drew near the
door leading to the inner court of the palace, when the old woman
said to him, "O Nimeh, take courage and enter and turn to the
left. Count five doors and enter the sixth, for it is that of
the place prepared for thee. Fear nothing, and if any speak to
thee, answer not neither stop." Then she went up with him to the
door, and the chamberlain on guard hailed her, saying, "What
damsel is that?" Quoth the old woman, "Our lady hath a mind to
buy her." And he said, "None may enter save by leave of the
Commander of the Faithful; so go thou back with her. I cannot
let her pass, for thus am I commanded." "O chief chamberlain,"
replied the old woman, "use thy reason. Thou knowest that Num,
the Khalif's slave-girl, of whom he is enamoured, is but now
restored to health and the Commander of the Faithful hardly yet
credits her recovery. Now she is minded to buy this girl; so
oppose thou not her entrance, lest it come to Num's knowledge and
she be wroth with thee and suffer a relapse and this bring thy
head to be cut off." Then said she to Nimeh, "Enter, O damsel;
pay no heed to what he says and tell not the princess that he
opposed thine entrance." So Nimeh bowed his head and entered,
but mistook and turned to his right, instead of his left, and
meaning to count five doors and enter the sixth, counted six
and entering the seventh, found himself in a place carpeted
with brocade and hung with curtains of gold-embroidered silk.
Here and there stood censers of aloes-wood and ambergris and
sweet-scented musk, and at the upper end was a couch covered with
brocade, on which he seated himself, marvelling at the exceeding
magnificence of the place and knowing not what was appointed to
him in the secret purpose of God. As he sat musing on his case,
the Khalif's sister entered, followed by her handmaid, and seeing
him seated there took him for a slave-girl and said to him, "What
art thou, O damsel, and who brought thee hither?" He made no
reply and she continued, "If thou be one of my brother's
favourites and he be wroth with thee, I will intercede with him
for thee." But he answered her not a word; so she said to her
maid, "Stand at the door and let none enter." Then she went up
to Nimeh and looking at him, was amazed at his beauty and said to
him, "O lady, tell me who thou art and how thou camest here; for
I have never seen thee in the palace." Still he answered not,
whereat she was angered and putting her hand to his bosom, found
no breasts and would have unveiled him, that she might know who
he was; but he said to her, "O my lady, I am thy slave and cast
myself on thy protection; do thou protect me." "No harm shall
come to thee," said she; "but tell me who thou art and who
brought thee into this my lodging." "O princess," answered he,
"I am known as Nimeh ben er Rebya of Cufa, and I have ventured my
life for my slave-girl Num, whom El Hejjaj took by sleight and
sent hither." "Fear not," rejoined the princess; "no harm shall
befall thee." Then, calling her maid, she said to her, "Go to
Num's chamber and bid her to me."

Meanwhile, the old woman went to Num's bed-chamber and said to
her, "Has thy lord come to thee?" "No, by Allah!" answered Num,
and the other said, "Belike he hath gone astray and entered some
chamber other than thine." "There is no power and no virtue but
in God the Most High, the Supreme!" exclaimed Num. "Our last
hour is come and we are all lost." As they sat, pondering, in
came the princess's maid and saluting Num, said to her, "My lady
bids thee to her entertainment." "I hear and obey," answered the
damsel, and the old woman said, "Belike thy lord is with the
Khalif's sister and the veil has been done away." So Num rose
and betook herself to the princess, who said to her, "Here is thy
lord sitting with me; it seems he has gone astray; but, please
God, neither thou nor he has any cause for fear." When Num heard
this, she took heart and went up to Nimeh, who rose to meet her,
and they embraced and fell down in a swoon. As soon as they came
to themselves, the princess said to them, "Sit down and let us
take counsel for your deliverance from this your strait." And
they answered, "O our lady, we hear and obey: it is thine to
command." "By Allah," quoth she, "no harm shall befall you from
us!" Then she called for meat and drink, and they sat down and
ate till they had enough, after which they sat drinking. The cup
went round amongst them and their cares ceased from them; but
Nimeh said, "Would I knew how this will end!" "O Nimeh," quoth
the princess, "dost thou love thy slave Num?" "O my lady,"
answered he, "it is my passion for her that has brought me thus
in peril of my life." Then she said to the damsel, "O Num, dost
thou love thy lord Nimeh?" And she replied, "O my lady, it is
the love of him that has wasted my body and brought me to evil
case." "By Allah," rejoined the princess, "since ye love each
other thus, may he not live who would sunder you! Take heart and
be of good cheer." At this they both rejoiced, and Num, calling
for a lute, tuned it and preluded enchantingly, then sang the
following verses:

Whenas, content with nothing less, the spies our sev'rance
sought, Allbe no debt of blood they had 'gainst me or thee
in aught,
Whenas they poured upon our ears the hurtling din of war, Whilst
helpers and protectors failed and succour came there nought,
I fought the railers with my tears, my spirit and thine eyes;
Yea, with the torrent, fire and sword, to fend them off I

Then she gave the lute to Nimeh, saying, "Sing thou to us." So
he took it and playing a lively measure, sang these verses:

The moon were like thee at its full, were it of freckles free,
And did it never brook eclipse, the sun would favour thee.
Indeed, I marvel, (but in love how many a marvel is! Therein are
passion and desire and cares and ecstasy,)
Short seems the distance, when I fare towards my love's abode;
But when I journey from her sight, the way is long to me.

When he had made an end of his song, Num filled the cup and gave
it to him, and he drank it off; then she filled again and gave
the cup to the princess, who took it and emptied it; after which
she in her turn took the lute and sang as follows:

Mourning and grief possess my heart and in my breast The ardour
of desire abideth as a guest.
The wasting of my frame, alas! is manifest And all my soul is
sick with passion and unrest.

Then she filled the cup and gave it to Num, who drank it off and
taking the lute, sang the following verses:

O thou, upon whom I bestowed my soul and thou rack'dst it to
death And I would have ta'en it again, but could not release
it i' faith,
Relent to a lover forlorn; vouchsafe him, I pray, ere he die,
What may from perdition redeem, for this is the last of his

They ceased not to sing and make merry and drink to the sweet
sound of the strings, full of mirth and joyance and good cheer,
till, behold, in came the Commander of the Faithful. When they
saw him, they rose and kissed the ground before him; and he,
seeing Num with the lute in her hand, said to her, "O Num,
praised be God who hath done away from thee pain and affliction!"
Then he looked at Nimeh (who was still disguised as a woman) and
said to the princess, "O my sister, what damsel is this by Num's
side?" "O Commander of the Faithful," answered she, "she is one
of thy slave-girls and the bosom friend of Num, who will neither
eat nor drink without her." And she repeated the words of the

Two opposites, dissevered still in charms and straitly knit, And
each one's beauty brightlier shows against its opposite.

"By the Great God," said the Khalif, "she is as handsome as Num,
and to-morrow, I will appoint her a separate chamber beside that
of Num and send her furniture and linen and all that befits her,
in honour of Num." Then, the princess called for food and set it
before her brother, who ate and filling a cup, signed to Num to
sing. So she took the lute, after drinking two cups, and sang
the following verses:

Whenas my cup-companion hath poured me out of wine Three foaming
cups, brimmed over with nectar from the vine,
I trail my skirts in glory all night, as if o'er thee, Commander
of the Faithful, the empery were mine.

The Khalif was delighted and filling another cup, gave it to Num
and bade her sing again. So she drank off the cup, and sweeping
the strings of the lute, sang as follows:

O thou, the noblest man of men that live in this our day, Whose
equal none may boast himself in power and mightiness,
O all unpeered in pride of place, to whom munificence Is as a
birthright, Lord and King, whom all in all confess,
Thou, that dost lord it, sovran-wise, o'er all the kings of earth
And without grudging or reproach, giv'st bountiful largesse,
God have thee ever in His guard, despite thine every foe, And be
thy fortune ever bright with victory and success!

When the Khalif heard this, he exclaimed, "By Allah, it is good!
By Allah, it is excellent! Verily, God hath been good to thee, O
Num! How sweet is thy voice and how clear thy speech!" They
passed the time thus in mirth and good cheer, till midnight, when
the Khalif's sister said to him, "O Commander of the Faithful,
give ear to a tale I have read in books of a certain man of
rank." "And what is this tale?" asked he. "Know," said she,
"that there lived once in the city of Cufa, a youth called Nimeh
ben er Rebya, and he had a slave-girl whom he loved and who loved
him. They had been reared in one bed; but when they grew up and
mutual love took possession of them, fate smote them with its
calamities and decreed separation unto them. For designing folk
enticed her by sleight forth of his house and stealing her away
from him, sold her to one of the Kings for ten thousand dinars.
Now the girl loved her lord even as he loved her; so he left
house and home and fortune and setting out in quest of her, made
shift, at the peril of his life, to gain access to her; but they
had not been long in company, when in came the King, who had
bought her of her ravisher, and hastily bade put them to death,
without waiting to enquire into the matter, as was just. What
sayest thou, O Commander of the Faithful, of this King's
conduct?" "This was indeed a strange thing," answered the
Khalif; "it behoved the King to use his power with clemency, and
he should have considered three things in their favour; first,
that they loved one another; secondly, that they were in his
house and under his hand; and thirdly, that it behoves a King to
be deliberate in judging between the folk, and how much more so
when he himself is concerned! Wherefore the King in this did
unkingly." Then said his sister, "O my brother by the Lord of
heaven and earth, I conjure thee, bid Num sing and give ear to
that she shall sing!" And he said, "O Num, sing to me." So she
played a lively measure and sang the following verses:

Fortune hath played the traitor; indeed, 'twas ever so,
Transpiercing hearts and bosoms and kindling care and woe
And parting friends in sunder, that were in union knit, So down
their cheeks thou seest the tears in torrents flow.
They were, and I was with them, in all delight of life, And
fortune did unite us full straitly whiles ago.
So gouts of blood, commingled with tears, both night and day I'll
weep, my sore affliction for loss of thee to show.

When he heard this, he was moved to great delight, and his sister
said to him, "O my brother, he who decideth in aught against
himself, it behoveth him to abide by it and do according to his
word; and thou hast by this judgment decided against thyself."
Then said she, "O Nimeh, stand up, and do thou likewise, O Num!"
So they stood up and she continued, "O Commander of the Faithful,
she who stands before thee is Num, whom El Hejjaj ben Yousuf eth
Thekefi stole and sent to thee, falsely pretending in his letter
to thee that he had bought her for ten thousand dinars. This
other is her lord, Nimeh ben er Rebya; and I beseech thee, by the
honour of thy pious forefathers and by Hemzeh and Akil and
Abbes,[FN#85] to pardon them and bestow them one on the other,
that thou mayst earn the recompense in the next world of thy
just dealing with them; for they are under thy hand and have
eaten of thy meat and drunken of thy drink; and behold, I make
intercession for them and beg of thee the boon of their lives."
"Thou sayst sooth," replied the Khalif, "I did indeed give
judgment as thou sayst, and I use not to go back on my word."
Then said he, "O Num, is this thy lord?" And she answered, "Yes,
O Commander of the Faithful." "No harm shall befall you," said
he; "I give you to one another." Then he said to the young man,
"O Nimeh, who told thee where she was and taught thee how to get
at her?" "O Commander of the Faithful," replied he, "give ear to
my story; for by the virtue of thy pious forefathers, I will hide
nothing from thee!" And he told him all that had passed between
himself and the Persian physician and the old woman and how she
had brought him into the palace and he had mistaken one door for
another; whereat the Khalif wondered exceedingly and said, "Fetch
me the Persian." So they fetched him and he made him one of his
chief officers. Moreover, he bestowed on him robes of honour and
ordered him a handsome present, saying, "Him, who has shown such
good sense and skill in his ordinance, it behoves us to make one
of our chief officers." He also loaded Nimeh and Num with gifts
and honours and rewarded the old woman; and they abode with him
in joy and content and all delight of life seven days; at the end
of which time Nimeh craved leave to return to Cufa with his
slave-girl. The Khalif gave leave and they departed accordingly
and arrived in due course at Cufa, where Nimeh foregathered with
his father and mother, and they abode in the enjoyment of all the
delights and comforts of life, till there came to them the
Destroyer of Delights and the Sunderer of Companies.'

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

The princes wondered mightily at Behram's story and said, 'By
Allah, this is indeed a rare story!' They passed the night thus,
and next morning, Amjed and Asaad mounted and riding to the
palace, sought an audience of the King, who received them with
honour. As they sat talking, of a sudden they heard the
townsfolk crying aloud and shouting to one another and calling
for help, and the chamberlain came in to the King and said to
him, 'Some King hath encamped before the city, he and his army,
with arms displayed, and we know not who they are nor what they
seek.' The King took counsel with his Vizier and Asaad, and
Amjed said, 'I will go out to him and learn the cause of his
coming.' So he took horse and riding forth the city, repaired to
the stranger's camp, where he found the King and with him many
soldiers and mounted officers. When the guards saw him, they
knew him for an ambassador from the King of the city; so they
took him and brought him to their King. Amjed kissed the ground
before him; but lo, the King was a queen, who wore a chin-band
over her face, and she said to Amjed, 'Know that I have no design
on your city and am only come hither in quest of a beardless
slave of mine, whom if I find with you, I will do you no hurt;
but if I find him not, then shall there befall sore battle
between you and me.' 'O Queen,' asked Amjed, 'what is thy
slave's name and what like is he?' Said she, 'His name is Asaad
and he is of such and such a favour. My name is Merjaneh, and
this slave came to my town in company of Behram, a Magian, who
refused to sell him to me; so I took him by force, but the Magian
fell upon him by night and took him away by stealth.' When Amjed
heard this he knew that it was his brother Asaad whom she sought
and said to her, 'O Queen of the age, praised be God who hath
brought us relief! Know that he whom thou seekest is my
brother.' Then he told her their story and all that had befallen
them in the land of exile, and acquainted her with the cause of
their departure from the Islands of Ebony, whereat she marvelled
and rejoiced to have found Asaad. So she bestowed a dress of
honour upon Amjed, and he returned to the King and told him what
had passed, at which they all rejoiced and the King and the two
princes went forth to meet Queen Merjaneh. They were admitted to
her presence and sat down to converse with her, but as they were
thus engaged, behold, a cloud of dust arose and grew, till it
covered the landscape. Presently, it lifted and discovered an
army, in numbers like the swollen sea, armed cap-a-pie, who,
making for the city with naked swords, encompassed it as the ring
encompasses the little finger. When Amjed and Asaad saw this,
they exclaimed, 'We are God's and to Him we return. What is this
great army? Doubtless, these are enemies; and except we agree
with this Queen Merjaneh to resist them, they will take the town
from us and slay us. There is nothing for us but to go out to
them and see who they are.' So Amjed mounted and passing through
Queen Merjaneh's camp, came to the approaching army and was
admitted to the presence of their King, to whom he delivered his
message, after kissing the earth before him. Quoth the King, 'I
am called King Ghaiour, lord of the Islands and the Seas and the
Seven Castles, and am come out in quest of my daughter Budour, of
whom fortune hath bereft me; for she left me and returned not to
me, nor have I heard any news of her or her husband Kemerezzeman.
Have ye any tidings of them?' When Amjed heard this, he knew
that this King was none other than his grandfather, his mother's
father, and kissing the earth before him, told him that he was
the son of his daughter Budour; whereupon Ghaiour threw himself
upon him and they both fell a-weeping. Then said Ghaiour,
'Praised be God, O my son, for safety, since I have foregathered
with thee!' And Amjed told him that his daughter Budour and her
husband Kemerezzeman were well and abode in a city called the
City of Ebony. Moreover, he related to him how his father, being
wroth with him and his brother, had commanded his treasurer to
put them to death, but that the latter had taken pity on them and
let them go with their lives. Quoth King Ghaiour, 'I will go
back with thee and thy brother to your father and make your peace
with him.' Amjed kissed the ground before him and the King
bestowed a dress of honour upon him, after which he returned,
smiling, to the King of the city of the Magians and told him what
he had learnt, at which he wondered exceedingly. Then he
despatched guest-gifts of sheep and horses and camels and
provender and so forth to King Ghaiour and the like to Queen
Merjaneh and told her what had chanced, whereupon quoth she, 'I
too will accompany you with my troops and will do my endeavour to
make peace [between the princes and their father.]' At this
moment, there arose another cloud of dust and spread, till it
covered the prospect and darkened the day; and under it, they
heard shouts and cries and neighing of horses and saw the sheen
of swords and the glint of lance-points. When this new host drew
near the city and saw the two other armies, they beat their drums
and the King of the Magians exclaimed, 'This is indeed a blessed
day! Praised be God who hath made us of accord with these two
armies! If it be His will, He will give us peace with yon other
also.' Then said he to Amjed and Asaad, 'Go forth and bring us
news of them, for they are a mighty host, never saw I a
mightier.' So they opened the city gates, which the King had
shut for fear of the surrounding troops, and Amjed and Asaad went
forth and coming to the new host, found that it was the army of
the King of the Ebony Islands, led by their father, King
Kemerezzeman in person. When they came before him, they kissed
the earth and wept; but, when he saw them, he threw himself upon
them, weeping sore, and strained them long to his breast. Then
he excused himself to them and told them how sore desolation he
had suffered for their loss; and they acquainted him with King
Ghaiour's arrival, whereupon he mounted with his chief officers
and proceeded to the King of China's camp, he and his sons. As
they drew near, one of the princes rode forward and informed King
Ghaiour of Kemerezzeman's coming, whereupon he came out to meet
him and they joined company, marvelling at these things and
how Fortune had ordered their encounter in that place. Then
the townsfolk made them banquets of all manner of meats and
confections and brought them sheep and horses and camels and
fodder and other guest-gifts and all that the troops needed.
Presently, behold, yet another cloud of dust arose and spread
till it covered the landscape, whilst the earth shook with the
tramp of horse and the drums sounded like the storm-winds. After
awhile, the dust lifted and discovered an army clad in black and
armed cap-a-pie, and in their midst rode a very old man clad
also in black, whose beard flowed down over his breast. When the
King of the city saw this great host, he said to the other Kings,
'Praised be God the Most High, by whose leave ye are met here,
all in one day, and proved all known one to the other! But what
vast army is this that covers the country?' 'Have no fear of
them,' answered they; 'we are here three Kings, each with a great
army, and if they be enemies, we will join thee in doing battle
with them, were three times their number added to them.' As they
were talking, up came an envoy from the approaching host, making
for the city. They brought him before the four Kings and he
kissed the earth and said, 'The King my master comes from the
land of the Persians; many years ago he lost his son and is
seeking him in all countries. If he find him with you, well and
good; but if he find him not, there will be war between him and
you, and he will lay waste your city.' 'That shall he not,'
rejoined Kemerezzeman; 'but how is thy master called in the land
of the Persians?' 'He is called King Shehriman, lord of the
Khalidan Islands,' answered the envoy; 'and he hath levied these
troops in the lands traversed by him, whilst seeking his son.'
When Kemerezzeman heard his father's name, he gave a great cry
and fell down in a swoon; then, presently coming to himself, he
wept sore and said to Amjed and Asaad, 'Go, O my sons, with the
messenger: salute your grandfather, King Shehriman, and give him
glad tidings of me, for he mourns my loss and even now wears
black for my sake.' Then he told the other Kings all that had
befallen him in his youth, at which they all wondered and
mounting with him, repaired to his father, whom he saluted, and
they embraced and fell down in a swoon, for excess of joy. When
they revived, Kemerezzeman acquainted his father with all his
adventures, and the other Kings saluted Shehriman. Then they
married Merjaneh to Asaad and sent her back to her kingdom,
charging her not to leave them without news of her. Moreover,
Amjed took Bustan, Behram's daughter, to wife, and they all set
out for the City of Ebony. When they arrived there, Kemerezzeman
went in to his father-in-law, King Armanous, and told him all
that had befallen him and how he had found his sons; whereat
Armanous rejoiced and gave him joy of his safe return. Then King
Ghaiour went in to his daughter, Queen Budour, and satisfied his
longing for her company, and they all abode a month's space in
the City of Ebony; after which the King of China and his daughter
returned to their own country with their company, taking prince
Amjed with them, whom, as soon as Ghaiour was settled again in
his kingdom, he made king in his stead. Moreover, Kemerezzeman
made Asaad king in his room over the Ebony Islands, with the
consent of his grandfather, King Armanous, and set out himself,
with his father, King Shehriman, for the Islands of Khalidan.
The people of the capital decorated the city in their honour and
they ceased not to beat the drums for glad tidings a whole month;
nor did Kemerezzeman leave to govern in his father's room, till
there overtook them the Destroyer of Delights and the Sunderer of

"O Shehrzad," said King Shehriyar, "this is indeed a right
wonderful story!" "O King," answered she, "it is not more
wonderful than that of Alaeddin Abou esh Shamat." "What is
that?" asked he, and she said, "I have heard tell, O august King,


There lived once in Cairo, of old time, a merchant named
Shemseddin, who was of the best and truest-spoken of the traders
of the city and had great store of money and goods and slaves and
servants, white and black and male and female. Moreover, he was
Provost of the Merchants of Cairo and had a wife, whom he loved
and who loved him; but he had lived with her forty years, yet had
not been blessed with son or daughter by her. One Friday, as he
sat in his shop, he noted that each of the merchants had a son or
two or more, sitting in shops like their fathers. Presently, he
entered the bath and made the Friday ablution; after which he
came out and took the barber's glass, saying, 'I testify that
there is no god but God and that Mohammed is His Apostle!' Then
he looked at his beard and seeing that the white hairs in it
outnumbered the black, bethought himself that hoariness is the
harbinger of death. Now his wife knew the time of his coming and
had washed and made ready for him; so when he came in to her, she
said, 'Good even;' but he replied, 'I see no good.' Then she
called for the evening meal and said to her husband, 'Eat, O my
lord.' Quoth he, 'I will eat nothing,' and pushing the table away
with his foot, turned his back to her. 'Why dost thou thus?' said
she. 'What has vexed thee?' And he answered, 'Thou art the cause
of my vexation.' 'How so?' asked she. 'This morning,' replied he,
'when I opened my shop, I saw that each of the other merchants
had a son or two or more, and I said to myself, "He who took thy
father will not spare thee." Now the night I wedded thee, thou
madest me swear that I would never take a second wife nor a
concubine, Abyssinian or Greek or other, nor would lie a night
from thee: and behold, thou art barren, and swiving thee is like
boring into the rock.' 'God is my witness,' rejoined she, 'that
the fault lies with thee, for that thy seed is thin.' 'And how is
it with him whose seed is thin?' asked he, and she, 'He cannot
get women with child nor beget children.' 'What thickens seed?'
asked he. 'Tell me and I will try it: haply, it will thicken
mine.' Quoth she, 'Enquire for it of the druggists.' They slept
that night and arose on the morrow, repenting each of having
spoken angrily to the other. Then he went to the market and
accosting a druggist, said to him, 'Hast thou wherewithal to
thicken the seed?' 'I had it, but am spent of it,' answered the
druggist; 'ask my neighbour.' So Shemseddin made the round of the
bazaar, till he had asked every one; but they all laughed at him
and he returned to his shop and sat down, troubled. Now there was
in the market a man called Sheikh Mohammed Semsem, who was syndic
of the brokers and was given to the use of opium and bang and
hashish. He was poor and used to wish Shemseddin good morrow
every day; so he came to him according to his wont and saluted
him. The merchant returned his salute, and the other, seeing him
vexed, said to him, 'O my lord, what hath crossed thee?' Quoth
Shemseddin, 'These forty years have I been married to my wife,
yet hath she borne me neither son nor daughter; and I am told
that the cause of my failure to get her with child is the
thinness of my seed; so I have been seeking wherewithal to
thicken it, but found it not.' 'I have a thickener,' said Sheikh
Mohammed; 'but what wilt thou say to him who makes thy wife
conceive by thee, after forty years' barrenness? 'An thou do
this,' answered the merchant, 'I will largely reward thee.' 'Then
give me a dinar,' rejoined the broker, and Shemseddin said, 'Take
these two dinars.' He took them and said, 'Give me also yonder
bowl of porcelain.' So he gave it him, and the broker betook
himself to a hashish-seller, of whom he bought two ounces of
concentrated Turkish opium and equal parts of Chinese cubebs,
cinnamon, cloves, cardamoms, white pepper, ginger and mountain
lizard[FN#86] and pounding them all together, boiled them in
sweet oil; after which he added three ounces of frankincense and
a cupful or coriander-seed and macerating the whole, made it into
a paste with Greek honey. Then he put the electuary in the bowl
and carried it to the merchant, to whom he delivered it, saying,
'This is the seed-thickener, and the manner of using it is this.
Make the evening-meal of mutton and house-pigeon, plentifully
seasoned and spiced; then take of this electuary with a spoon
and wash it down with a draught of boiled date-wine.' So the
merchant bought mutton and pigeons and sent them to his wife,
bidding her dress them well and lay up the electuary till he
should call for it. She did as he bade her and he ate the
evening-meal, after which he called for the bowl and ate of the
electuary. It liked him well, so he ate the rest and lay with his
wife. That very night she conceived by him and after three
months, her courses ceased and she knew that she was with child.
When the days of her pregnancy were accomplished, the pangs
of labour took her and they raised cries of joy. The midwife
delivered her with difficulty [of a son], then, taking the new-
born child, she pronounced over him the names of Mohammed and Ali
and said, 'God is Most Great!' Moreover, she called in his ear
the call to prayer; then swathed him and gave him to his mother,
who took him and put him to her breast; and he sucked his full
and slept. The midwife abode with them three days, till they had
made the mothering-cakes and sweetmeats; and they distributed
them on the seventh day. Then they sprinkled salt[FN#87] and the
merchant, going in to his wife, gave her joy of her safe delivery
and said, 'Where is the gift of God?' So they brought him a babe
of surpassing beauty, the handiwork of the Ever-present Orderer
of all things, whoever saw him would have deemed him a yearling
child, though he was but seven days old. Shemseddin looked on his
face and seeing it like a shining full moon, with moles on both
cheeks, said to his wife, 'What hast thou named him?' 'If it were
a girl,' answered she, 'I had named her; but it is a boy, so none
shall name him but thou.' Now the people of that time used to
name their children by omens; and whilst the merchant and his
wife were taking counsel of the name, they heard one say to his
friend, 'Harkye, my lord Alaeddin!' So the merchant said, 'We
will call him Alaeddin Abou esh Shamat.'[FN#88] Then he committed
the child to the nurses, and he drank milk two years, after which
they weaned him and he grew up and throve and walked upon the
earth. When he came to seven years old, they put him in a chamber
under the earth, for fear of the evil eye, and his father said,
'He shall not come out, till his beard grows.' And he gave him in
charge to a slave-girl and a black slave; the former dressed him
his meals and the latter carried them to him. Then his father
circumcised him and made him a great feast; after which he
brought him a doctor of the law, who taught him to write and
repeat the Koran and other parts of knowledge, till he became an
accomplished scholar. One day, the slave, after bringing him the
tray of food, went away and forgot to shut the trap-door after
him: so Alaeddin came forth and went in to his mother, with whom
was a company of women of rank. As they sat talking, in came he
upon them, as he were a drunken white slave,[FN#89] for the
excess of his beauty; and when they saw him, they veiled their
faces and said to his mother, 'God requite thee, O such an one!
How canst thou let this strange slave in upon us? Knowest thou
not that modesty is a point of the Faith?' 'Pronounce the name of
God,'[FN#90] answered she. 'This is my son, the darling of my
heart and the son of the Provost Shemseddin.' Quoth they, 'We
never knew that thou hadst a son:' and she, 'His father feared
the evil eye for him and shut him up in a chamber under the
earth, nor did we mean that he should come out, before his beard
was grown; but it would seem as if the slave had unawares left
the door open, and he hath come out.' The women gave her joy of
him, and he went out from them into the courtyard, where he
seated himself in the verandah.[FN#91] Presently, in came the
slaves with his father's mule, and he said to them, 'Whence comes
this mule?' Quoth they, 'Thy father rode her to the shop, and we
have brought her back.' 'And what is my father's trade?' asked
he. And they replied, 'He is Provost of the merchants of Cairo
and Sultan of the Sons of the Arabs.' Then he went in to his
mother and said to her, 'O my mother, what is my father's trade?'
Said she, 'He is a merchant and Provost of the merchants of Cairo
and Sultan of the Sons of the Arabs. His slaves consult him not
in selling aught whose price is less than a thousand dinars, but
sell it at their own discretion; nor doth any merchandise, little
or much, enter or leave Cairo, without passing through his hands;
for, O my son, God the Most Great hath given thy father wealth
past count.' 'Praised be God,' exclaimed he, 'that I am son of
the Sultan of the Sons of the Arabs and that my father is Provost
of the merchants! But why, O my mother, did you put me in the
underground chamber and leave me prisoner there?' 'O my son,'
answered she, 'we did this for fear of (men's) eyes, for it is
true that the evil eye hath power to harm and the most part of
the sojourners in the tombs are of its victims.' 'O my mother,'
rejoined he, 'where is a place of refuge against destiny? Verily,
taking care estoppeth not fate nor is there any escape from that
which is written. He who took my grandfather will not spare
myself nor my father; for, though he live to-day, he shall not
live to-morrow. And when my father dies and I come forth and say,
"I am Alaeddin, son of Shemseddin the merchant," none of the
people will believe me, but the aged will say, "Never in our
lives saw we a son or a daughter of Shemseddin." Then the
Treasury will come down and take my father's estate; and may
Allah have mercy on him who saith, "The noble dies and his wealth
passes away and the meanest of men take his women." So do thou, O
my mother, speak to my father, that he take me with him to the
market and set me up in a shop with merchandise and teach me to
buy and sell and give and take.' 'O my son,' answered his mother,
'when thy father returns, I will tell him this.' So when the
merchant came home, he found his son sitting with his mother and
said to her, 'Why hast thou brought him forth of the underground
chamber?' 'O my cousin,' answered she, 'it was not I that brought
him out; but the servants forgot to shut the door and left it
open; so he came forth and came in to me, as I sat with a company
of women of rank.' And she went on to repeat to him what the boy
had said; and Shemseddin said to the latter, 'O my son, to-
morrow, God willing, I will take thee with me to the market; but
I would have thee know that the commerce of the markets and the
shops demands good manners and an accomplished carriage in all
conditions.' So Alaeddin passed the night, rejoicing in his
father's promise; and on the morrow the merchant carried him to
the bath and clad him in a suit worth much money. As soon as they
had broken their fast and drunken sherbets, Shemseddin mounted
his mule and rode to the market, followed by his son; but when
the market-folk saw their Provost making towards them, followed
by a youth as he were a piece of the moon on its fourteenth
night, they said, one to another, 'See yonder boy behind the
Provost of the merchants. Verily, we thought well of him; but he
is like the leek, grayheaded and green at the heart.' And Sheikh
Mohammed Semsem before mentioned, the Deputy of the market, said,
'O merchants, never will we accept the like of him for our
chief.' Now it was the custom, when the Provost came from his
house and sat down in his shop of a morning, for the Deputy of
the market and the rest of the merchants to go in a body to his
ship and recite to him the opening chapter of the Koran, after
which they wished him good morrow and went away, each to his
shop. Shemseddin seated himself in his shop as usual, but the
merchants come not to him as of wont; so he called the Deputy and
said to him, 'Why come not the merchants together as usual?' 'I
know not how to tell thee,' answered Mohammed Semsem; 'for they
have agreed to depose thee from the headship of the market and to
recite the first chapter to thee no more.' 'And why so?' asked
Shemseddin. 'What boy is this that sits beside thee,' asked the
Deputy, 'and thou a man of years and chief of the merchants? Is
he a slave or akin to thy wife? Verily, I think thou lovest him
and inclinest [unlawfully] to the boy.' With this, the Provost
cried out at him, saying, 'God confound thee, hold thy peace!
This is my son.' 'Never knew we that thou hadst a son,' rejoined
the Deputy; and Shemseddin answered, 'When thou gavest me the
seed-thickener, my wife conceived and bore this youth, whom I
reared in a chamber under the earth, for fear of the evil eye,
nor was it my purpose that he should come forth, till he could
take his beard in his hand. However, his mother would not agree
to this, and he would have me bring him to the market and stock
him a shop and teach him to sell and buy.' So the Deputy returned
to the other merchants and acquainted them with the truth of
the case, whereupon they all arose and going in a body to
Shemseddin's shop, stood before him and recited the first chapter
of the Koran to him; after which they gave him joy of his son and
said to him, 'God prosper root and branch! But even the poorest
of us, when son or daughter is born to him, needs must he make a
pot of custard and bid his friends and acquaintances; yet thou
hast not done this.' Quoth he, 'This is your due from me; be our
rendezvous in the garden.' So next morning, he sent the carpet-
layer to the pavilion in the garden and bade him furnish it.
Moreover, he sent thither all that was needful for cooking, such
as sheep and butter and so forth, and spread two tables, one in
the saloon and another in the upper chamber. Then he and his son
girded themselves, and he said to the latter, 'O my son, when a
graybeard enters, I will meet him and carry him into the upper
chamber and seat him at the table; and do thou, in like manner,
receive the beardless youths and seat them at the table in the
saloon.' 'O my father,' asked Alaeddin, 'why dost thou spread two
tables, one for men and another for youths?' 'O my son,' answered
Shemseddin, 'the beardless boy is ashamed to eat with men.' And
his son was content with this answer. So when the merchants
arrived, Shemseddin received the men and seated them in the upper
chamber, whilst Alaeddin received the youths and seated them in
the saloon. Then the servants set on food and the guests ate and
drank and made merry, whilst the attendants served them with
sherbets and perfumed them with the fragrant smoke of scented
woods; and the elders fell to conversing of matters of science
and tradition. Now there was amongst them a merchant called
Mehmoud of Balkh, a Muslim by profession but at heart a Magian, a
man of lewd life, who had a passion for boys. He used to buy
stuffs and merchandise of Alaeddin's father; and when he saw the
boy, one look at his face cost him a thousand sighs and Satan
dangled the jewel before his eyes, so that he was taken with
desire and mad passion for him and his heart was filled with love
of him. So he arose and made for the youths, who rose to receive
him. At this moment, Alaeddin, being taken with an urgent
occasion, withdrew to make water; whereupon Mehmoud turned to the
other youths and said to them, 'If ye will incline Alaeddin's
mind to journeying with me, I will give each of you a dress worth
much money.' Then he returned to the men's party; and when
Alaeddin came back, the youths rose to receive him and seated him
in the place of honour. Presently, one of them said to his
neighbour, 'O my lord Hassan, tell me how thou camest by the
capital on which thou tradest.' 'When I came to man's estate,'
answered Hassan, 'I said to my father, "O my father, give me
merchandise." "O my son," answered he, "I have none by me: but go
thou to some merchant and take of him money and traffic with it
and learn to buy and sell and give and take." So I went to one of
the merchants and borrowed of him a thousand dinars, with which I
bought stuffs and carrying them to Damascus, sold them there at a
profit of two for one. Then I bought Syrian stuffs and carrying
them to Aleppo, disposed of them there at a like profit; after
which I bought stuffs of Aleppo and repaired with them to
Baghdad, where I sold them with the same result; nor did I cease
to buy and sell, till I was worth nigh ten thousand dinars.' Each
of the others told a like tale, till it came to Alaeddin's turn,
when they said to him, 'And thou, O my lord Alaeddin?' Quoth he,
'I was brought up in a chamber underground and came forth from it
but this week and I do but go to the shop and return home.' 'Thou
art used to abide at home,' rejoined they, 'and knowest not the
delight of travel, for travel is for men only.' 'I reck not of
travel,' answered he, 'and value ease above all things.'
Whereupon quoth one to the other, 'This youth is like the fish:
when he leaves the water he dies.' Then they said to him, 'O
Alaeddin, the glory of the sons of the merchants is not but in
travel for the sake of gain.' Their talk angered him and he left
them, weeping-eyed and mourning-hearted, and mounting his mule,
returned home. When his mother saw him thus, she said to him,
'What ails thee to weep, O my son?' And he answered, 'All the
sons of the merchants made mock of me and said to me, "There is
no glory for a merchant's son save in travel for gain."' 'O my
son,' rejoined she, 'hast thou a mind for travel?' 'Yes,' said
he. 'And whither wilt thou go?' asked she. 'To the city of
Baghdad,' answered he; 'for there folk make a profit of two to
one on their goods.' 'O my son,' said she, 'thy father is a very
rich man, and if he provide thee not with merchandise, I will do
so of my own monies.' Quoth he, 'The best of favours is that
which is quickly bestowed; if it is to be, now is the time for
it.' So she called the servants and sent them for packers; then
opening a store-house, brought out ten loads of stuffs, which the
packers made up into bales for him. Meanwhile Shemseddin missed
his son and enquiring after him, was told that he had mounted and
gone home; so he too mounted and followed him. When he entered
the house, he saw the bales packed ready and asked what they
were; whereupon his wife told him what had passed between
Alaeddin and the young merchants and he said, 'O my son, may God
curse foreign travel! Verily, the Prophet (whom God bless and
preserve) hath said, "It is of a man's good fortune that he have
his livelihood in his own land;" and it was said of the ancients,
"Leave travel, though but for a mile."' Then he said to his son,
'Art thou indeed resolved to travel and wilt thou not turn back
from it?' 'Needs must I journey to Baghdad with merchandise,'
answered Alaeddin, 'else will I put off my clothes and don a
dervish's habit and go a-wandering over the world.' Quoth
Shemseddin, 'I am no lackgood, but have great plenty of wealth
and with me are stuffs and merchandise befitting every country in
the world.' Then he showed him his goods and amongst the rest,
forth bales ready packed, with the price, a thousand dinars,
written on each, and said to him, 'Take these forty loads,
together with those thy mother gave thee, and set out under the
safeguard of God the Most High. But, O my son, I fear for thee a
certain wood in thy way, called the Lion's Copse, and a valley
called the Valley of Dogs, for there lives are lost without
mercy.' 'How so?' asked Alaeddin. 'Because of a Bedouin
highwayman, hight Ajlan,' answered his father, 'who harbours
there.' Quoth Alaeddin, 'Fortune is with God; if any part in it
be mine, no harm will befall me.' Then they rode to the cattle
market, where a muleteer alighted from his mule and kissing the
Provost's hand, said to him, 'O my lord, by Allah, it is long
since thou hast employed me to carry merchandise for thee!'
'Every time hath its fortune and its men,' answered Shemseddin;
'and may God have mercy on him who said:

An old man went walking the ways of the world, So bowed and so
bent that his beard swept his knee.
"What makes thee go doubled this fashion?" quoth I. He answered
(and spread out his hands unto me),
"My youth hath escaped me; 'tis lost in the dust, And I bend me
to seek it, where'er it may be."

O captain,'[FN#92] added he, 'it is not I, but this my son that
is minded to travel.' 'God preserve his to thee!' said the
muleteer. Then Shemseddin made a contract between Alaeddin and
the muleteer, appointing that the former should be to the latter
as a son, and gave him into his charge, saying, 'Take these
hundred dinars for thy men.' Moreover, he bought his son
threescore mules and a lamp and covering of honour for the tomb
of Sheikh Abdulcadir el Jilani[FN#93] and said to him, 'O my son,
I am leaving thee, and this is thy father in my stead: whatsoever
he biddeth thee, do thou obey him.' So saying, he returned home
with the mules and servants and they made recitations of the
Koran and held a festival that night in honour of the Sheikh
Abdulcadir. On the morrow, Shemseddin gave his son ten thousand
dinars, saying, 'O my son, when thou comest to Baghdad, if thou
find stuffs brisk of sale, sell them; but if they be dull, spend
of these dinars.' Then they loaded the mules and taking leave of
their friends, set out on their journey.

Now Mehmoud of Balkh had made ready his own venture for Baghdad
and set up his tents without the city, saying in himself, 'I
shall not enjoy this youth but in the desert, where there is
neither spy not spoil-sport to trouble me.' It chanced that he
had in hand a thousand dinars of Shemseddin's monies, the balance
of a dealing between them; so he went to the Provost and bade him
farewell; and he said to him, 'Give the thousand dinars to my son
Alaeddin,' and commended the latter to his care, saying, 'He is
as it were thy son.' Accordingly, Alaeddin joined company with
Mehmoud, who charged the youth's cook to dress nothing for him,
but himself provided him and his company with meat and drink. Now
he had four houses, one at Cairo, another at Damascus, a third at
Aleppo and a fourth at Baghdad. So they set out and journeyed
over deserts and plains, till they drew near Damascus, when
Mehmoud sent his servant to Alaeddin, whom he found reading. He
went up to him and kissed his hands, and Alaeddin asked him what
he sought. 'My master salutes thee,' answered the slave, 'and
craves thy company to a banquet in his house.' Quoth the youth,
'I must consult my father Kemaleddin, the captain of the
caravan.' So he consulted the muleteer, who said, 'Do not go.'
Then they left Damascus and journeyed on till they came to
Aleppo, where Mehmoud made a second entertainment and sent to bid
Alaeddin; but the muleteer again forbade him. Then they departed
Aleppo and fared on, till they came within a day's journey of
Baghdad. Here Mehmoud repeated his invitation a third time and
Kemaleddin once more forbade Alaeddin to accept it; but the
latter said, 'I must needs go.' So he rose and girding on a sword
under his clothes, repaired to the tent of Mehmoud of Balkh, who
came to meet him and saluted him. Then he set a sumptuous repast
before him, and they ate and drank and washed their hands.
Presently, Mehmoud bent towards Alaeddin, to kiss him, but the
youth received the kiss on his hand and said to him, 'What wilt
thou do?' Quoth Mehmoud, 'I brought thee hither that I might do
delight with thee in this jousting-ground, and we will comment
the words of him who saith:

Can't be thou wilt with us a momentling alight, Like to an
ewekin's milk or what not else of white,
And cat what liketh thee of dainty wastel-bread And take what
thou mayst get of silver small and bright
And bear off what thou wilt, sans grudging or constraint,
Spanling or full-told span or fistling filled outright?'

Then he would have laid hands on Alaeddin; but he rose and
drawing his sword, said to him, 'Shame on thy gray hairs! Hast
thou no fear of God, and He of exceeding great might?[FN#94] May
He have mercy on him who saith:

Look thou thy hoariness preserve from aught that may it stain,
For whiteness still to take attaint is passing quick and

This merchandise,' added he, 'is a trust from God and may not be
sold. If I sold it to other than thee for gold, I would sell it
thee for silver: but, by Allah, O filthy one, I will never again
company with thee!' Then he returned to Kemaleddin and said to
him, 'Yonder man is a lewd fellow and I will no longer consort
with him nor suffer his company by the way.' 'O my son,' replied
the muleteer, 'did I not forbid thee to go with him? But if we
part company with him, I fear destruction for ourselves; so let
us still make one caravan.' But Alaeddin said, 'It may not be: I
will never again travel with him.' So he loaded his beasts and
journeyed onward, he and his company, till they came to a valley,
where Alaeddin would have halted, but the muleteer said to him,
'Do not halt here; rather let us fare forward and quicken our
pace, so haply we may reach Baghdad before the gates are
closed, for they open and shut them with the sun, for fear the
schismatics should take the city and throw the books of learning
into the Tigris.' 'O my father,' replied Alaeddin, 'I came not to
Baghdad with this merchandise, for the sake of traffic, but to
divert myself with the sight of foreign lands.' And Kemaleddin
rejoined, 'O my son, we fear for thee and for thy goods from the
wild Arabs.' But he answered, 'Harkye, sirrah, art thou master or
servant? I will not enter Baghdad till the morning, that the
townsfolk may see my merchandise and know me.' 'Do as thou wilt,'
said the muleteer; 'I have given thee good counsel, and thou must
judge for thyself.' Then Alaeddin bade them unload the mules and
pitch the tent; so they did his bidding and abode there till the
middle of the night, when the youth went out to do an occasion
and seeing something gleaming afar off, said to Kemaleddin, 'O
captain, what is yonder glittering?' The muleteer sat up and
considering it straitly, knew it for the glint of spear-heads and
Bedouin swords and harness. Now this was a troop of Bedouins
under a chief called Ajlan Abou Naib, Sheikh of the Arabs, and
when the neared the camp and saw the baggage, they said, one to
another, 'O night of booty!' Quoth Kemaleddin, 'Avaunt, O meanest
of Arabs!' But Abou Naib smote him with his javelin in the
breast, that the point came out gleaming from his back, and he
fell down dead at the tent-door. Then cried the water-carrier,
'Avaunt, O foulest of Arabs!' and one of them smote him with a
sword upon the shoulder, that it issued shining from the tendons
of the throat and he also fell slain. Then the Bedouins fell upon
the caravan from all sides and slew the whole company except
Alaeddin, after which they loaded the mules with the spoil and
made off. Quoth Alaeddin to himself, 'Thy dress and mule will be
the death of thee.' So he put off his cassock and threw it over
the back of a mule, remaining in his shirt and drawers alone;
after which he went to the door of the tent and finding there a
pool of blood from the slain, rolled himself in it, till he was
as a slain man, drowned in his blood. Meanwhile Ajlan said to his
men, 'O Arabs, was this caravan bound from Egypt for Baghdad or
from Baghdad for Egypt?' 'It was bound from Egypt for Baghdad,'
answered they. 'Then,' said he, 'return to the slain, for
methinks the owner of the caravan is not dead.' So they turned
back and fell to larding the slain with lance and sword-thrusts,
[lest any life were left in them,] till they came to Alaeddin,
who had laid himself among the dead bodies. Quoth they, 'Thou
dost but feign thyself dead, but we will make an end of thee.' So
one of the Bedouins drew his javelin and should have plunged
it into his breast. But he cried out, 'Save me, O my lord
Abdulcadir!' and behold, he saw a hand turn the lance away from
his breast to that of the muleteer, so that it pierced the latter
and spared himself. Then the Bedouins made off; and when Alaeddin
saw that the birds were flown with their purchase, he rose and
set off running; but Abou Naib looked back and said, 'O Arabs, I
see somewhat moving.' So one of the Bedouins turned back and
spying Alaeddin running, called out to him, saying, 'Flight shall
not avail thee, and we after thee;' and he smote his mare with
his fist and pricked after him. Then Alaeddin, seeing before him
a watering tank and a cistern beside it, climbed up into a niche
in the cistern and stretching himself along, feigned sleep and
said, 'O gracious Protector, cover me with the veil of Thy
protection, that may not be torn away!' Presently, the Bedouin
came up to the cistern and standing in his stirrups put out one
hand to lay hold of Alaeddin; but he said 'Save me, O my lady
Nefiseh![FN#95] Now is thy time!' And behold, a scorpion stung
the Bedouin in the palm and he cried out, saying, 'Help, O Arabs!
I am stung;' and fell off his mare. His comrades came up to him
and set him on horseback again, saying, 'What hath befallen
thee?' Quoth he, 'A scorpion stung me.' And they departed,
leaving Alaeddin in the niche.

Meanwhile, Mehmoud of Balkh loaded his beasts and fared on till
he came to the Valley of Dogs, where he found Alaeddin's men
lying slain. At this he rejoiced and went on till he reached the
reservoir. Now his mule was athirst and turned aside to drink,
but took fright at Alaeddin's shadow in the water and started;
whereupon Mehmoud raised his eyes and seeing Alaeddin lying in
the niche, stripped to his shirt and trousers, said to him, 'Who
hath dealt thus with thee and left thee in this ill plight?' 'The
Bedouins,' answered Alaeddin, and Mehmoud said, 'O my son, the
mules and the baggage were thy ransom; so do thou comfort thyself
with the saying of the poet:

So but a man may win to save his soul alive from death, But as
the paring of his nail his wealth he reckoneth.

But now, O my son,' continued he, 'come down and fear no hurt.'
So he came down from the niche and Mehmoud mounted him on a mule
and fared on with him, till they reached Baghdad, where he
brought him to his own house and bade his servants carry him to
the bath, saying to him, 'O my son, the goods and money were the
ransom of thy life; but, if thou wilt harken to me, I will give
thee the worth of that thou hast lost, twice told.' When he came
out of the bath, Mehmoud carried him into a saloon with four
estrades, decorated with gold, and let bring a tray of all manner
meats. So they ate and drank and Mehmoud turned to Alaeddin and
would have taken a kiss of him; but he received it upon his hand
and said, 'Dost thou persist in thy evil designs upon me? Did I
not tell thee that, were I wont to sell this merchandise to other
than thee for gold, I would sell it thee for silver?' Quoth
Mehmoud, 'I will give thee neither mule nor clothes nor
merchandise save at this price; for I am mad for love of thee,
and God bless him who said:

Abou Bilal his saw of an object of love, Which from one of his
elders himself did derive
"The lover's not healed of the pangs of desire By clips nor by
kisses, excepting he swive."

'This may never be,' replied Alaeddin. 'Take back thy dress and
thy mule and open the door, that I may go out.' So he opened the
door, and Alaeddin went forth and walked on, with the dogs
yelping at his heels, till he saw the door of a mosque open and
going in, took shelter in the vestibule. Presently, he espied a
light approaching and examining it, saw that it came from a pair
of lanterns borne by two slaves before two merchants, an old man
of comely aspect and a youth. He heard the latter say to the
other, 'O my uncle, I conjure thee by Allah, give me back my
wife!' The old man replied, 'Did I not warn thee, many a time,
when the oath of divorce was always in thy mouth, as it were thy
Koran?' Then he turned and seeing Alaeddin, as he were a piece of
the moon, said to him, 'Who art thou, O my son?' Quoth he, 'I am
Alaeddin, son of Shemseddin, Provost of the merchants at Cairo. I
besought my father for merchandise; so he packed me fifty loads
of goods and gave me ten thousand dinars, wherewith I set out for
Baghdad; but when I came to the Lion's Copse, the Bedouins fell
upon me and took all I had. So I entered this city, knowing not
where to pass the night, and seeing this place, I took shelter
here.' 'O my son,' said the old man, 'what sayst thou to a
thousand dinars and a suit of clothes and a mule worth other two
thousand?' 'To what end wilt thou give me this?' asked Alaeddin,
and the other answered, 'This young man, whom thou seest, is
the only son of my brother and I have an only daughter called
Zubeideh the Lutanist, who is endowed with beauty and grace. I
married her to him and he loves her, but she hates him. Now he
took an oath of triple divorcement and broke it.[FN#96] As soon
as she heard of this, she left him, and he egged on all the folk
to intercede with me to restore her to him; but I told him that
this could not lawfully be done but by an intermediate marriage,
and we have agreed to make some stranger the intermediary, so
none may taunt him with this affair. So, as thou art a stranger,
come with us and we will marry thee to her; thou shalt lie with
her to-night and on the morrow divorce her, and we will give thee
what I said.' 'By Allah,' quoth Alaeddin to himself, 'it were
better to pass the night with a bride on a bed in a house, than
in the streets and vestibules!' So he went with them to the Cadi,
who, as soon as he saw Alaeddin, was moved to love of him and
said to the old man, 'What is your will?' Quoth he, 'We wish to
marry this young man to my daughter, as an intermediary, and the
contract is to be for ten thousand dinars, dowry precedent, for
which he shall give us a bond. If he divorce her in the morning,
we will give him a thousand dinars and a mule and dress worth
other two thousand; but if he divorce her not, he shall pay down
the ten thousand dinars, according to the bond.' The Cadi drew up
the marriage contract to this effect and the lady's father took a
bond for the dowry. Then he took Alaeddin and clothing him anew,
carried him to his daughter's house, where he left him at the
door, whilst he himself went in to the young lady and gave her
the bond, saying, 'Take the bond of thy dowry, for I have married
thee to a handsome youth by name Alaeddin Abou esh Shamat; so do
thou use him with all consideration.' Then he left her and went
to his own lodging. Now the lady's cousin had an old waiting-
woman, to whom he had done many a kindness and who used to visit
Zubeideh; so he said to her, 'O my mother, if my cousin Zubeideh
see this handsome young man, she will never after accept of me;
so I would fain have thee contrive to keep them apart.' 'By thy
youth,' answered she, 'I will not suffer him to approach her!'
Then she went to Alaeddin and said to him, 'O my son, I have a
warning to give thee, for the love of God the Most High, and do
thou follow my advice, for I fear for thee from this damsel: let
her lie alone and handle her not nor draw near to her.' 'Why
so?' asked he, and she answered, 'Because her body is full of
elephantiasis and I fear lest she infect thy fair youth.' Quoth
he, 'I have no need of her.' Moreover, she went to the lady and
said the like to her of Alaeddin; and she replied, 'I have no
need of him, but will let him lie alone, and on the morrow he
shall go his way.' Then she called a slave-girl and said to her,
'Take him the tray of food, that he may sup.' So the maid carried
him the tray of food and set it before him, and he ate his fill;
after which he sat down and fell to reciting the chapter called
Ya-sin[FN#97] in a sweet voice. The lady listened to him and
found his voice as melodious as the psalms of David, which when
she heard, she exclaimed, 'Beshrew the old hag that told me that
he was affected with leprosy! Surely, that is a lie against him,
for this is not the voice of one who hath such a disease.' Then
she took a lute of Indian workmanship and tuning it, sang the
following verses, in a voice, whose music would stay the birds in

I am enamoured of a fawn with black and languorous eyes; The
willow-branches, as he goes, are jealous of him still.
Me he rejects and others 'joy his favours in my stead. This is
indeed the grace of God He gives to whom He will.

As soon as he had finished his recitation, he sang the following
verse in reply:

My salutation to the shape that through the wede doth show And to
the roses in the cheeks' full-flowering meads that blow!

When she heard this, her inclination for him redoubled and she
rose and lifted the curtain; and Alaeddin, seeing her, repeated
these verses:

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

Thereupon she came forward, swinging her hips and swaying
gracefully from side to side with a shape the handiwork of Him
whose bounties are hidden, and each of them stole a glance at the
other, that cost them a thousand regrets. Then, for that the
arrows of her glances overcame his heart, he repeated the
following verses:

The moon of the heavens she spied and called to my thought The
nights of our loves in the meadows under her shine.
Yea, each of us saw a moon, but, sooth to say, It was her
eyes[FN#98] that I saw and she saw mine.[FN#99]

Then she drew near him, and when there remained but two paces
between them, he repeated these verses:

She took up three locks of her hair and spread them out one night
And straight three nights discovered at once unto my sight.
Then did she turn her visage up to the moon of the sky And showed
me two moons at one season, both burning clear and bright.

Then said he to her, 'Keep off from me, lest thou infect me.'
Whereupon she uncovered her wrist to him, and he saw that it was
cleft [like a peach] and its whiteness was as the whiteness of
silver. Then said she, 'Hold off from me, thou, for thou art
stricken with leprosy, and belike thou wilt infect me.' 'Who told
thee I was a leper?' asked he, and she said, 'The old woman.'
Quoth he, 'It was she told me that thou wast afflicted with
elephantiasis.' So saying, he bared his arms and showed her that
his skin was like virgin silver, whereupon she pressed him to her
bosom and they clipped one another. Then she took him and lying
down on her back, did off her trousers, whereupon that which his
father had left him rose up [in rebellion] against him and he
said, 'To it, O elder of yards, O father of nerves!' And putting
his hands to her flanks, set the nerve of sweetness to the mouth
of the cleft and thrust on to the wicket-gate. His passage was by
the gate of victories [or openings] and after this he entered the
Monday market and those of Tuesday and Wednesday and Thursday and
finding the carpet after the measure of the estrade, he plied [or
turned] the box within its sheath [or cover] till he came to [the
end of] it.[FN#100] When it was morning, he exclaimed, 'Alas for
delight that is not fulfilled! The raven[FN#101] takes it and
flies away!' 'What means this saying?' asked she, and he
answered, 'O my lady, I have but this hour to abide with thee.'
Quoth she, 'Who saith so?' and he, 'Thy father made me give him a
bond to pay ten thousand dinars to thy dowry; and except I pay it
this very day, they will lay me in prison therefor in the Cadi's
house; and now my hand lacketh one para of the sum.' 'O my lord,'
said she, 'is the marriage bond in thy hand or in theirs?' 'In
mine,' answered he, 'but I have nothing.' Quoth she, 'The matter
is easy; fear nothing. Take these hundred dinars; if I had more,
I would give thee what thou lackest; but my father, for his love
of my cousin, hath transported all his good, even to my trinkets,
from my lodging to his. But when they send thee a serjeant of the
court and the Cadi and my father bid thee divorce, answer thou,
"By what code is it right that I should marry at nightfall and
divorce in the morning?" Then kiss the Cadi's hand and give him a
present, and in like manner kiss the Assessors' hands and give
each of them half a score dinars. So they will all speak with
thee and if they say to thee, "Why dost thou not divorce her and
take the thousand dinars and the mule and suit of clothes,
according to contract?" do thou answer, "Every hair of her head
is worth a thousand dinars to me and I will never put her away,
neither will I take a suit of clothes nor aught else." If the
Cadi say to thee, "Then pay down the dowry," do thou reply, "I am
straitened at this present;" whereupon he and the Assessors will
deal friendly with thee and allow thee time to pay.' Whilst they
were talking, the Cadi's officer knocked at the door; so Alaeddin
went down and the man said to him, 'The Cadi cites thee to answer
thy father-in-law's summons.' Alaeddin gave him five dinars and
said to him, 'O serjeant, by what code am I bound to marry at
night and divorce next morning?' 'By none of ours,' answered the
serjeant; 'and if thou be ignorant of the law, I will act as
thine advocate.' Then they went to the court and the Cadi said to
Alaeddin, 'Why dost thou not divorce the woman and take what
falls to thee by the contract?' With this he went up to the Cadi
and kissing his hand, put in it fifty dinars and said, 'O our
lord the Cadi, by what code is it right that I should marry at
night and divorce in the morning in my own despite?' 'Divorce on
compulsion,' replied the Cadi, 'is sanctioned by no school of the
Muslims.' Then said the lady's father, 'If thou wilt not divorce,
pay me the ten thousand dinars, her dowry.' Quoth Alaeddin, 'Give
me three days' time.' But the Cadi said, 'Three days is not
enough; he shall give thee ten.' So they agreed to this and bound
him to pay the dowry or divorce after ten days. Then he left them
and taking meat and rice and butter and what else of food he
needed, returned to his wife and told her what had passed;
whereupon she said, 'Between night and day, wonders may happen:
and God bless him who saith:

Be mild what time thou'rt ta'en with anger and despite And
patient, if there fall misfortune on thy head.
Indeed, the nights are quick and great with child by time And of
all wond'rous things are hourly brought to bed.

Then she rose and made ready food and brought the tray, and they
ate and drank and made merry awhile. Presently, Alaeddin besought
her to let him hear some music; so she took the lute and played a
measure, that would have made the very rock dance for delight,
and the strings cried out, in ecstasy, 'O Loving One!'[FN#102]
after which she passed into a livelier measure. As they were thus
passing the time in mirth and delight, there came a knocking at
the door and Zubeideh said to Alaeddin, 'Go and see who is at the
door.' So he went down and finding four dervishes standing
without, said to them, 'What do you want?' 'O my lord,' answered
they, 'we are foreign dervishes, the food of whose souls is music
and dainty verse, and we would fain take our pleasure with thee
this night. On the morrow we will go our way, and with God the
Most High be thy reward; for we adore music and there is not one
of us but hath store of odes and songs and ballads.' 'I must
consult [my wife],' answered he and returned and told Zubeideh,
who said, 'Open the door to them.' So he went down again and
bringing them up, made them sit down and welcomed them. Then he
brought them food, but they would not eat and said, 'O my lord,
our victual is to magnify God with out hearts and hear music with
our ears: and God bless him who saith:

We come for your company only, and not for your feasts; For
eating for eating's sake is nought but a fashion of beasts.

Just now,' added they, 'we heard pleasant music here; but when we
knocked, it ceased; and we would fain know whether the player was
a slave-girl, white of black, or a lady.' 'It was this my wife,'
answered he and told them all that had befallen him, adding, 'My
father-in-law hath bound me to pay a dowry of ten thousand dinars
for her and they have given me ten days' time.' 'Have no care and
think nought but good,' said one of the dervishes; 'for I am head
of the convent and have forty dervishes under my hand. I will
gather thee from them the ten thousand dinars and thou shalt pay
thy father-in-law the dowry. But now bid thy wife make us music,
that we may be heartened and solaced, for to some music is food,
to others medicine and to others refreshment.'[FN#103] Now
these four dervishes were none other than the Khalif Haroun er
Reshid and his Vizier Jaafer the Barmecide and Abou Nuwas ben
Hani[FN#104] and Mesrour the headsman; and the reason of their
coming thither was that the Khalif, being heavy at heart, had
called his Vizier and signified to him his wish to go forth and
walk about the city, to divert himself. So they all four donned
dervish habits and went out and walked about, till they came to
Zubeideh's house and hearing music, were minded to know the
cause. They spent the night in mirth and harmony and discourse,
till the morning, when the Khalif laid a hundred dinars under the
prayer-carpet and taking leave of Alaeddin, went his way, he and
his companions. Presently, Zubeideh lifted the carpet and finding
the hundred dinars, gave them to her husband, saying, 'Take these
hundred dinars that I have found under the prayer-carpet; the
dervishes must have laid them there, without our knowledge.' So
he took the money and repairing to the market, bought meat and
rice and butter and so forth. When it was night, he lighted the
candled and said to Zubeideh, 'The dervishes have not brought the
ten thousand dinars that they promised me: but indeed they are
poor men.' As they were talking, the dervishes knocked at the
door and she said, 'Go down and open to them.' So he went down
and bringing them up, said to them, 'Have you brought me the ten
thousand dinars?' 'We have not been able to get aught thereof as
yet,' answered they, 'but fear nothing: to-morrow, God willing,
we will make an alchymic operation for thee. But now bid thy wife
play her best to us and gladden our hearts, for we love music.'
So she made them music, that would have caused the very rocks to
dance; and they passed the night in mirth and converse and good
cheer, till the morning appeared with its light and shone, when
they took leave of Alaeddin and went their way, after laying
other hundred dinars under the carpet. They continued to visit
him thus every night for nine nights, and each morning the Khalif
put a hundred dinars under the prayer-carpet, till the tenth
night, when they came not. Now the reason for their failure to
come was that the Khalif had sent to a great merchant, saying to
him, 'Bring me fifty loads of stuffs, such as come from Cairo,
each worth a thousand dinars, and write on each bale its price;
and bring me also a male Abyssinian slave.' The merchant did the
bidding of the Khalif, who write a letter to Alaeddin, as from
his father Shemseddin, and committed it to the slave, together
with the fifty loads and a basin and ewer of gold and other
presents, saying to him, 'Take these bales and what else and go
to such and such a quarter and enquire for Alaeddin Abou esh
Shamat, at the house of the Provost of the merchants.' So the
slave took the letter and the goods and went out on his errand.

Meanwhile the lady's first husband went to her father and said to
him, 'Come, let us go to Alaeddin and make him divorce my
cousin.' So they set out, and when they came to the street in
which Zubeideh's house stood, they found fifty mules, laden with
stuffs, and a black slave riding on a she-mule. So they said to
him, 'Whose goods are these?' 'They belong to my lord Alaeddin
Abou esh Shamat,' answered he. 'His father equipped him with
merchandise and sent him on a journey to Baghdad; but the
Bedouins fell on him and took all he had. So when the news of his
despoilment reached his father, he despatched me to him with
these fifty loads, in place of those he had lost, besides a mule
laden with fifth thousand dinars and a parcel of clothes worth
much money and a cloak of sables and a basin and ewer of gold.'
When the old merchant heard this, he said, 'He whom thou seekest
is my son-in-law and I will show thee his house.' Now Alaeddin
was sitting in great concern, when one knocked at the door, and
he said, 'O Zubeideh, God is all-knowing! Thy father hath surely
sent me an officer from the Cadi or the Chief of the Police.' 'Go
down,' said she, 'and see what it is.' So he went down and
opening the door, found his father-in-law, with an Abyssinian
slave, dusky-hued and pleasant of favour, riding on a mule. When
the slave saw him, he alighted and kissed his hands: and Alaeddin
said, 'What dost thou want?' Quoth he, 'I am the slave of my load
Alaeddin Abou esh Shamat, son of Shemseddin, Provost of the
merchants of Cairo, who has sent me to him with this charge.'
Then he gave him the letter and Alaeddin, opening it, read what

Harkye, my letter, when my beloved sees thee, Kiss thou the earth
before him and his shoes.
Look thou go softly and hasten not nor hurry, For in his hands
are my life and my repose.

Then after the usual salutations from Shemseddin to his son, the
letter proceeded thus: 'Know, O my son, that news hath reached me
of the slaughter of thy men and the plunder of thy baggage; so I
send thee herewith fifty loads of Egyptian stuffs, together with
a suit of clothes and a cloak of sables and an ewer and basin of
gold. Fear no evil and be not anywise troubled, for, O my son,
the goods thou hast lost were the ransom of thy life. Thy mother
and the people of the house are well and in good case and send
thee many greetings. Moreover, O my son, I hear that they have
married thee, by way of intermediation, to the lady Zubeideh the
Lutanist and have imposed on thee a dowry of ten thousand dinars;
wherefore I send thee also fifty thousand dinars by thy slave
Selim, the bearer of these presents, whereout thou mayest pay the
dowry and provide thyself with the rest.' When Alaeddin had made
an end of reading the letter, he took possession of the goods and
turning to the old merchant, said to him, 'O my father-in-law,
take the ten thousand dinars, thy daughter's dowry, and take also
the loads of goods and dispose of them, and thine be the profit;
only return me the cost-price.' 'Nay, by Allah,' answered he, 'I
will take nothing; and as for thy wife's dowry, do thou settle it
with her.' Then they went in to Zubeideh, after the goods had
been brought in, and she said to her father, 'O my father, whose
goods are these?' 'They belong to thy husband Alaeddin,' answered
he; 'his father hath sent them to him in place of those of which
the Bedouins spoiled him. Moreover, he hath sent him fifty
thousand dinars and a parcel of clothes and a cloak of sables and
a riding mule and an ewer and basin of gold. As for the dower,
that is thine affair.' Thereupon Alaeddin rose and opening the
chest [of money] gave her her dowry. Then said the lady's cousin,
'O my uncle, let him divorce to me my wife;' but the old man
replied, 'This may never be now, for the marriage-tie is in his
hand.' With this the young man went out, sore afflicted, and
returning home, fell sick, for he had received his death-blow; so
he took to his bed and presently died. But as for Alaeddin, he
went to the market and buying what victual he needed, made a
banquet as usual against the night, saying to Zubeideh, 'See
these lying dervishes; they promised us and broke their promise.'
Quoth she, 'Thou art the son of a Provost of the merchants yet
did thy hand lack of a para; how then should it be with poor
dervishes?' 'God the Most High hath enabled us to do without
them,' answered Alaeddin; 'but never again will I open the door
to them.' 'Why so,' asked she, 'seeing that their coming brought
us good luck, and moreover, they put a hundred dinars under the
prayer-carpet for us every night? So needs must thou open to
them, if they come.' So when the day departed with its light and
the night came, they lighted the candles and he said to her,
'Come, Zubeideh, make us music.' At this moment some one knocked
at the door, and she said, 'Go and see who is at the door.' So he
went down and opened it and seeing the dervishes, said, 'Welcome
to the liars! Come up.' Accordingly, they went up with him, and
he made them sit down and brought them the tray of food. So they
ate and drank and made merry and presently said to him, 'O my
lord, our hearts have been troubled for thee: what hath passed
between thee and thy father-in-law?' 'God hath compensated us
beyond our desire,' answered he. 'By Allah,' rejoined they, 'we
were in fear for thee and nought kept us from thee but our lack
of money.' Quoth he, 'My Lord hath vouchsafed me speedy relief;
for my father hath sent me fifty thousand dinars and fifty loads
of stuffs, each worth a thousand dinars, besides an Abyssinian
slave and a riding mule and a suit of clothes and a basin and an
ewer of gold. Moreover, I have made my peace with my father-in-
law and my wife is confirmed to me; so praised be God for this!'
Presently the Khalif rose to do an occasion; whereupon Jaafer
turned to Alaeddin and said to him, 'Look to thy manners, for
thou art in the presence of the Commander of the Faithful.' 'How
have I failed in good breeding before the Commander of the
Faithful,' asked he, 'and which of you is he?' Quoth Jaafer, 'He
who went out but now is the Commander of the Faithful and I am
the Vizier Jaafer: this is Mesrour the headsman, and this other
is Abou Nuwas ben Hani. And now, O Alaeddin, use thy reason and
bethink thee how many days' journey it is from Cairo hither.'
'Five-and-forty days' journey,' answered he, and Jaafer rejoined,
'Thy baggage was stolen but ten days ago; so how could the news
have reached thy father, and how could he pack thee up other
goods and send them to thee five-and-forty days' journey in ten
days' time?' 'O my lord,' said Alaeddin, 'and whence then came
they?' 'From the Commander of the Faithful,' replied Jaafer, 'of
his much affection for thee.' As he spoke, the Khalif entered and
Alaeddin, rising, kissed the ground before him and said, 'God
keep thee, O Commander of the Faithful, and give thee long life,
so the folk may not lack thy bounty and beneficence!' 'O
Alaeddin,' replied the Khalif, 'let Zubeideh play us an air, by
way of thank-offering for thy deliverance.' So she played him
the rarest of measures on the lute, till the very stones shook
for delight and the strings cried out for ecstasy, 'O Loving
One!'[FN#105] They spent the night after the merriest fashion,
and in the morning, the Khalif said to Alaeddin, 'Come to the
Divan to-morrow.' 'I hear and obey, O Commander of the Faithful,'
answered he, 'so it please God and thou be well and in good
case.' So on the morrow he took ten trays and putting a costly
present on each, went up with them to the palace. As the Khalif
was sitting on the throne, Alaeddin appeared at the door of the
Divan, repeating the following verses:

Good fortune and glory still wait on thy days And rubbed in the
dust be thine envier's nose!
May the days never stint to be white unto thee And black with
despite be the days of thy foes!

'Welcome, O Alaeddin!' sad the Khalif, and he replied, 'O
Commander of the Faithful, the Prophet (whom God bless and
preserve) accepted presents; and these ten trays, with what is on
them, are my present to thee.' The Khalif accepted his gift and
ordering him a robe of honour, made him Provost of the merchants
and gave him a seat in the Divan. Presently, his father-in-law
came in, and seeing Alaeddin seated in his place and clad in a
robe of honour, said to the Khalif, 'O King of the age, why is
this man sitting in my place and wearing this robe of honour?'
Quoth the Khalif, 'I have made him Provost of the merchants, and
thou art deposed; for offices are by investiture and not in
perpetuity.' 'Thou hast done well, O Commander of the Faithful,'
answered the merchant; 'for he is art and part of us. May God
make the best of us the orderers of our affairs! How many a
little one hath become great!' Then the Khalif wrote Alaeddin a
patent [of investiture] and gave it to the Master of Police, who
gave it to the crier and the latter made proclamation in the
Divan, saying, 'None is Provost of the merchants but Alaeddin
Abou esh Shamat, and it behoves all to give heed to his words and
pay him respect and honour and consideration!' Moreover, when the
Divan broke up, the Master of the Police took Alaeddin and
carried him through the thoroughfares of Baghdad, whilst the
crier went before him, making proclamation of his dignity. Next
day, Alaeddin opened a shop for his slave Selim and set him
therein, to buy and sell, whilst he himself rode to the palace
and took his place in the Khalif's Divan.

One day, as he sat in his place, one said to the Khalif, 'O
Commander of the Faithful, may thy head survive such an one the
boon-companion! He is gone to the mercy of God the Most High, but
may thy life be prolonged!' Quoth the Khalif, 'Where is Alaeddin
Abou esh Shamat?' So he went up to the Commander of the Faithful,
who clad him in a splendid dress of honour and made him his boon-
companion in the dead man's room, appointing him a monthly wage
of a thousand dinars. He continued to fill his new office till,
one day, as he sat in the Divan, according to his wont, an Amir
came up with a sword and shield in his hand and said, 'O
Commander of the Faithful, mayst thou outlive the Chief of the
Sixty, for he is this day dead;' whereupon the Khalif ordered
Alaeddin a dress of honour and made him Chief of the Sixty, in
place of the dead man, who had neither wife nor child. So
Alaeddin laid hands on his estate, and the Khalif said to him,
'Bury him in the earth and take all he hath left of wealth and
slaves, male and female.' Then he shook the handkerchief and
dismissed the Divan, whereupon Alaeddin went forth, attended by
Ahmed ed Denef, captain of the right hand, and Hassan Shouman,
captain of the left hand troop of the Khalif's guard, riding at
his either stirrup, each with his forty men. Presently, he turned
to Hassan Shouman and his men and said to them, 'Plead ye for me
with Captain Ahmed ed Denef, that he accept me as his son before
God.' And Ahmed ed Denef assented, saying, 'I and my forty men
will go before thee to the Divan every day.'

After this, Alaeddin abode in the Khalif's service many days;
till one day it chanced that he left the Divan and returning
home, dismissed Ahmed ed Denef and his men and sat down with his
wife, who lighted the candles and went out of the room upon an
occasion. Presently, he heard a great cry and running in haste to
see what was the matter, found that it was his wife who had cried
out. She was lying prone on the groudn and when he put his hand
to her breast, he found her dead. Now her father's house faced
that of Alaeddin, and he, hearing her cry out, came in and said,
'What is the matter, O my lord Alaeddin?' 'O my father,' answered
he, 'may thy head outlive thy daughter Zubeideh! But the honour
we owe the dead is to bury them.' So, on the morrow, they buried
her in the earth and her husband and father condoled with each
other. Moreover, Alaeddin put on mourning apparel and absented
himself from the Divan, abiding tearful-eyed and sorrowful-
hearted. After awhile, the Khalif said to Jaafer, 'O Vizier, what
is the cause of Alaeddin's absence from the Divan?' 'O Commander
of the Faithful,' answered Jaafer, 'he is in mourning for his
wife Zubeideh;' and the Khalif said, 'It behoves us to pay him a
visit of condolence.' 'I hear and obey,' replied Jaafer. So they
took horse and riding to Alaeddin's house, came in upon him with
their attendants, as he sat at home; whereupon he rose to receive
them and kissed the earth before the Khalif, who said to him,
'May God abundantly make good thy loss to thee!' 'May He preserve
thee to us, O Commander of the Faithful!' answered Alaeddin. Then
said the Khalif, 'O Alaeddin, why hast thou absented thyself from
the Divan?' And he replied, 'Because of my mourning for my wife
Zubeideh, O Commander of the Faithful.' 'Put away grief from
thee,' rejoined the prince. 'She is dead and gone to the mercy of
God the Most High, and mourning will avail thee nothing.' But
Alaeddin said, 'O Commander of the Faithful, I shall never leave
mourning for her till I die and they bury me by her side.' Quoth
Haroun, 'With God is compensation for every loss, and neither
wealth nor device can deliver from death. God bless him who said:

Every son of woman, how long soe'er his life be, Must one day be
carried upon the bulging bier.
How shall he have pleasure in life or hold it goodly, He unto
whose cheeks the dust must soon adhere?'

Then, when he had made an end of condoling with him, he charged
him not to absent himself from the Divan and returned to his
palace. On the morrow, Alaeddin mounted and riding to the court,
kissed the ground before the Khalif, who rose from the throne, to
greet and welcome him, and bade him take his appointed place in
the Divan saying, 'O Alaeddin, thou art my guest to-night.' So
presently he carried him into his seraglio and calling a slave-
girl named Cout el Culoub, said to her, 'Alaeddin had a wife
called Zubeideh, who used to sing to him and solace him of care
and trouble; but she is gone to the mercy of God the Most High,
and now I desire that thou play him an air of thy rarest fashion
on the lute, that he may be diverted from his grief and
mourning.' So she rose and made rare music; and the Khalif said
to Alaeddin, 'What sayst thou of this damsel's voice?' 'O
Commander of the Faithful', answered he, 'Zubeideh's voice was
the finer; but she is rarely skilled in touching the lute, and
her playing would make a rock dance.' 'Doth she please thee?'
asked the Khalif. 'Yes, O Commander of the Faithful,' answered
Alaeddin, and Haroun said, 'By the life of my head and the tombs
of my forefathers, she is a gift from me to thee, she and her
waiting-women!' Alaeddin thought that the Khalif was jesting with
him; but, on the morrow, he went in to Cout el Culoub and said to
her, 'I have given thee to Alaeddin;' whereat she rejoiced, for
she had seen and loved him. Then the Khalif returned to the Divan
and calling porters, said to them, 'Set Cout el Culoub and her
waiting-women in a litter and carry them, together with her
goods, to Alaeddin's house.' So they did as he bade them and left
her in the upper chamber of Alaeddin's house, whilst the Khalif
sat in the hall of audience till the close of the day, when the
Divan broke up and he retired to his harem.

Meanwhile, Cout el Culoub, having taken up her lodging in
Alaeddin's house, with her women, forty in all, besides eunuchs,
called two of the latter and said to them, 'Sit ye on stools, one
on the right and another on the left hand of the door; and when
Alaeddin comes home, kiss his hands and say to him, "Our mistress
Cout el Culoub bids thee to her in the upper chamber, for the
Khalif hath given her to thee, her and her women."' 'We hear and
obey,' answered they and did as she bade them. So, when Alaeddin
returned, he found two of the Khalif's eunuchs sitting at the
door and was amazed and said to himself, 'Surely, this is not my
own house; or else what can have happened?' When the eunuchs saw
him, they rose and kissing his hands, said to him, 'We are of the
Khalif's household and servants to Cout el Culoub, who salutes
thee, giving thee to know that the Khalif hath bestowed her on
thee, her and her women, and craves thy company.' Quoth Alaeddin,
'Say ye to her, "Thou art welcome; but so long as thou abidest
with me, I will not enter thy lodging, for it befits not that
what was the master's should become the servant's;" and ask her
also what was the sum of her day's expense in the Khalif's
palace.' So they went in to her and did his errand to her, and
she replied, 'A hundred dinars a day;' whereupon quoth he in
himself, 'There was no need for the Khalif to give me Cout el
Culoub, that I should be put to such an expense for her; but
there is no help for it.' So she abode with him awhile and he
assigned her daily a hundred dinars for her maintenance, till,
one day, he absented himself from the Divan and the Khalif said
to Jaafer, 'O Vizier, I gave Cout el Culoub unto Alaeddin, that
she might console him for his wife; but why doth he still hold
aloof from us?' 'O Commander of the Faithful,' answered Jaafer,
'he spoke sooth who said, "Whoso findeth his beloved, forgetteth
his friends."' 'Belike he hath excuse for his absence,' rejoined
the Khalif; 'but we will pay him a visit.' (Now some days before
this, Alaeddin had said to Jaafer, 'I complained to the Khalif of
my grief for the loss of my wife Zubeideh, and he gave me Cout el
Culoub.' And Jaafer replied, 'Except he loved thee, he had not
given her to thee.' Hast thou gone in to her?' 'No, by Allah!
answered Alaeddin. 'I know not her length from her breadth.' 'And
why?' asked Jaafer. 'O Vizier,' replied Alaeddin, 'what befits
the master befits not the servant.') Then the Khalif and Jaafer
disguised themselves and went privily to visit Alaeddin; but he
knew them and rising to them, kissed the hands of the Khalif, who
looked at him and read trouble in his face. So he said to him, 'O
Alaeddin, whence cometh this trouble in which I see thee? Hast
thou gone in to Cout el Culoub?' 'O Commander of the Faithful,'
answered he, 'what befits the master befits not the servant. No,
I have not gone in to her nor do I know her length from her
breadth; so do thou quit me of her.' Quoth the Khalif, 'I would
fain see her and question her of her case.' And Alaeddin replied,
'I hear and obey, O Commander of the Faithful.' So the Khalif
went in to Cout el Culoub, who rose and kissed the ground before
him, and said to her, 'Hath Alaeddin gone in to thee?' 'No, O
Commander of the Faithful,' answered she; 'I sent to bid him to
me, but he would not come.' So he bade carry her back to the
harem and saying to Alaeddin, 'Do not absent thyself from us,'
returned to his palace. Accordingly, next morning, Alaeddin
mounted and rode to the Divan, where he took his seat as Chief of
the Sixty. Presently the Khalif bade his treasurer give the
Vizier Jaafer ten thousand dinars and said to the latter, 'I
charge thee to go down to the slave-market and buy Alaeddin a
slave-girl with this sum.' So Jaafer took Alaeddin and went down
with him to the bazaar. As change would have it, that very day,
the Amir Khalid, Chief of the Baghdad Police, had gone down to
the market to buy a slave-girl for his son Hebezlem Bezazeh. Now
this son he had by his wife Khatoun, and he was foul of favour
and had reached the age of twenty, without learning to ride,
albeit his father was a valiant cavalier and a doughty champion
and delighted in battle and adventure. One night, he had a dream
of dalliance in sleep and told his mother, who rejoiced and told
his father, saying, 'Fain would I find him a wife, for he is now
apt for marriage.' Quoth Khalid, 'He is so foul of favour and
withal so evil of odour, so sordid and churlish, that no woman
would accept of him.' And she answered, 'We will buy him a slave-
girl.' So it befell, for the accomplishment of that which God the
Most High had decreed, that the Amir and his son went down, on
the same day as Jaafer and Alaeddin, to the market, where they
saw a beautiful girl, full of grace and symmetry, in the hands of
a broker, and the Vizier said to the latter, 'O broker, ask her
owner if he will take a thousand dinars for her.' The broker
passed by the Amir and his son with the slave and Hebezlem took
one look of her, that cost him a thousand sighs; and he fell
passionately in love with her and said, 'O my father, buy me
yonder slave-girl.' So the Amir called the broker, who brought
the girl to him, and asked her her name. 'My name is Jessamine,'
replied she; and he said to Hebezlem, 'O my son, an she please
thee, bid for her.' Then he asked the broker what had been bidden
for her and he replied, 'A thousand dinars.' 'She is mine for a
thousand and one,' said Hebezlem, and the broker passed on to
Alaeddin, who bid two thousand dinars for her; and as often as
Hebezlem bid another dinar, Alaeddin bid a thousand. The Amir's
son was vexed at this and said to the broker, 'Who is it that
bids against me for the slave-girl?' 'It is the Vizier Jaafer,'
answered the broker, 'who is minded to buy her for Alaeddin Abou
esh Shamat.' Alaeddin continued to bid for her till he brought
her price up to ten thousand dinars, and her owner sold her to
him for that sum. So he took the girl and said to her, 'I give
thee thy freedom for the love of God the Most High.' Then he
married her and carried her to his house. When the broker
returned, after having delivered the girl and received his
brokerage, Hebezlem called him and said to him, 'Where is the
girl?' Quoth he, 'She was bought for ten thousand dinars by
Alaeddin, who hath set her free and married her.' At this the
young man was greatly cast down and heaving many a sigh, returned
home, sick for love of the damsel. He threw himself on his bed
and refused food, and passion and love-longing were sore upon
him. When his mother saw him in this plight, she said to him,
'God keep thee, O my son! What ails thee?' And he answered, 'Buy
me Jessamine, O my mother.' 'When the flower-seller passes,' said
she, 'I will buy thee a basketful of jessamine.' Quoth he, 'It is
not the jessamine one smells I want, but a slave girl named
Jessamine, whom my father would not buy for me.' So she said to
her husband, 'Why didst thou not buy him the girl?' And he
replied, 'What is fit for the master is not fit for the servant,
and I have no power to take her; for no less a man bought her
than Alaeddin, Chief of the Sixty.' Then the youth's weakness
redoubled upon him, till he could neither sleep nor eat, and his
mother bound her head with the fillets of mourning. Presently, as
she sat at home, lamenting over her son, there came in to her an
old woman, known as the mother of Ahmed Kemakim the arch-thief, a
knave who would bore through the stoutest wall and scale the
highest and steal the very kohl from the eye. From his earliest
years he had been given to these foul practices, till they made
him captain of the watch, when he committed a robbery and the
Chief of the Police, taking him in the act, carried him to the
Khalif, who bade put him to death. But he sought protection of
the Vizier, whose intercession the Khalif never rejected; so he
pleaded for him with the Commander of the Faithful, who said,
'How canst thou intercede for a wretch who is the pest of the
human race?' 'O Commander of the Faithful,' replied Jaafer, 'do
thou imprison him; he who built the [first] prison was a sage,
seeing that a prison is the sepulchre of the live and a cause for
their enemies to exult.' So the Khalif bade lay him in chains and
write thereon, 'Appointed to remain until death and not to be
loosed but on the bench of the washer of the dead.' And they
fettered him and cast him into prison. Now his mother was a
frequent visitor to the house of the Master of the Police and
used to go in to her son in prison and say to him, 'Did I not
warn thee to turn from thy wicked ways?' 'God decreed this to
me,' would he answer; 'but, O my mother, when thou visitest the
Amir's wife, make her intercede for me with her husband.' So when
the old woman came in to the Lady Khatoun, she found her bound
with the fillets of mourning and said to her, 'Wherefore dost
thou mourn?' 'For my son Hebezlem Bezazeh,' answered she, and the
old woman exclaimed, 'God keep thy son! What hath befallen him?'
So Khatoun told her the whole story, and she said, 'What wouldst
thou say of him who should find means to save thy son?' 'And what
wilt thou do?' asked the lady. Quoth the old woman, 'I have a son
called Ahmed Kemakim the arch-thief, who lies chained in prison,
and on his fetters is written, "Appointed to remain till death."
So do thou don thy richest clothes and trinkets and present
thyself to thy husband with an open and smiling favour; and when
he seeks of thee what men use to seek of women, put him off and
say, "By Allah, it is a strange thing! When a man desires aught
of his wife, he importunes her till she satisfies him; but if a
wife desire aught of her husband, he will not grant it to her."
Then he will say, "What dost thou want?" And do thou answer,
"First swear to grant my request." If he swear to thee by his
head or by Allah, say to him, "Swear to me the oath of divorce,"
and so not yield to him, except he do this. Then, if he swear to
thee the oath of divorce, say to him, "Thou hast in prison a man
called Ahmed Kemakim, and he has a poor mother, who is instant
with me to urge thee to intercede for him with the Khalif, that
he may relent towards him and thou earn a reward from God."' 'I
hear and obey,' answered Khatoun. So when her husband came in to
her, she did as the old woman had taught her and extorted the
required oath from him, before she would yield to his wishes. He
lay with her that night and on the morrow, after he had made his
ablutions and prayed the morning prayers, he repaired to the
prison and said to Ahmed Kemakim, 'Harkye, O arch-thief, dost
thou repent of thy ill deeds?' 'I do indeed repent and turn to
God,' answered he, 'and say with heart and tongue, "I ask pardon
of Allah."' So he carried him, still chained, to the Divan and
kissed the earth before the Khalif, who said to him, 'O Amir
Khalid, what seekest thou?' Then he brought forward Ahmed
Kemakim, shuffling in his fetters, and the Khalif said to him, 'O
Kemakim, art thou yet alive?' 'O Commander of the Faithful,'
answered he, 'the wretched are long-lived.' Then said the Khalif
to the Amir, 'Why have thou brought him hither?' And he replied,
'O Commander of the Faithful, he hath a poor, desolate mother,
who hath none but him, and she hath had recourse to thy slave,
imploring him to intercede with thee to set him free and make him
Captain of the Watch as before; for he repenteth of his evil
courses.' Quoth the Khalif to Ahmed, 'Dost thou repent of thy
sins?' 'I do indeed repent to God, O Commander of the Faithful,'
answered he; whereupon the Khalif called for the blacksmith and
made him strike off his irons on the bench of the washer of the
dead. Moreover, he restored him to his former office and charged
him to walk in the way of good and righteousness. So he kissed
the Khalif's hands and donning the captain's habit, went forth,
whilst they made proclamation of his appointment.

He abode awhile in the exercise of his office, till, one day, his
mother went in to the wife of the Chief of the Police, who said
to her, 'Praised be God who hath delivered thy son from prison
and restored him to health and safety! But why dost thou not bid
him cast about to get the girl Jessamine for my son Hebezlem
Bezazeh?' 'That will I,' answered she and going out from her,
repaired to her son. She found him drunken and said to him, 'O my
son, none was the cause of thy release from prison but the wife
of the Master of Police, and she would have thee go about to kill
Alaeddin Abou esh Shamat and get his slave-girl Jessamine for her
son Hebezlem Bezazeh.' 'That will be the easiest of things,'
answered he, 'and I will set about it this very night.' Now this
was the first night of the new month, and it was the Khalif's
wont to pass that night with the Princess Zubeideh, for the
setting free of a male or female slave or what not else of the
like. On this occasion, he used to doff his royal habit and lay
it upon a chair in the sitting-chamber, together with his rosary
and dagger and royal signet and a golden lantern, adorned with
three jewels strung on a wire of gold, by which he set great
store, committing all these things to the charge of the eunuchs,
whilst he sent into the Lady Zubeideh's apartment. So Ahmed
Kemakim waited till midnight, when Canopus shone and all
creatures slept, whilst the Creator covered them with the curtain
[of the dark]. Then he took his naked sword in one hand and his
grappling iron in the other, and repairing to the Khalif's
pavilion, cast his grapnel on to the roof. It caught there and he
fixed his rope-ladder and climbed up to the roof; then, raising
the trap-door, let himself down into the saloon, where he found
the eunuchs asleep. So he drugged them with henbane and taking
the Khalif's dress and dagger and rosary and handkerchief and
signet-ring and lantern, returned whence he came and betook
himself to the house of Alaeddin, who had that night celebrated
his wedding festivities with Jessamine and had gone in to her and
gotten her with child. Ahmed climbed over into his saloon and
raising one of the marble slabs of the floor, dug a hole under it
and laid the stolen things therein, all save the lantern, which
he kept, saying in himself, 'I will set it before me, when I sit
at wine, and drink by its light.' Then he plastered down the
marble slab, as it was, and returning whence he came, went back
to his own house. As soon as it was day, the Khalif went out into
the sitting-chamber, and finding the eunuchs drugged with
henbane, aroused them. Then he put his hand to the chair and
found neither dress nor signet nor rosary nor dagger nor lantern;
whereat he was exceeding wroth and donning the habit of anger,
which was red, sat down in the Divan. So the Vizier Jaafer came
forward and kissing the earth before him, said, 'May God avert
the wrath of the Commander of the Faithful!' 'O Vizier,' answered
the Khalif, 'I am exceeding wroth!'[FN#106] 'What has happened?'
asked Jaafer; so he told him what had happened and when the Chief
of the Police appeared, with Ahmed Kemakim at his stirrup, he
said to him, 'O Amir Khalid, how goes Baghdad?' And he answered,
'It is safe and quiet.' 'Thou liest!' rejoined the Khalif. 'How
so, O Commander of the Faithful?' asked the Amir. So he told him
the case and added, 'I charge thee to bring me back all the
stolen things.' 'O Commander of the Faithful', replied the Amir,
'the vinegar-worm is of and in the vinegar, and no stranger can
get at this place.'[FN#107] But the Khalif said, 'Except thou
bring me these things, I will put thee to death.' Quoth Khalid,
'Ere thou slay me, slay Ahmed Kemakim, for none should know the
robber and the traitor but the captain of the watch.' Then came
forward Ahmed Kemakim and said to the Khalif, 'Accept my
intercession for the Master of Police, and I will be responsible
to thee for the thief and will follow his track till I find him;
but give me two Cadis and two Assessors, for he who did this
thing feareth thee not, nor doth he fear the Chief of the Police
nor any other.' 'Thou shalt have what thou seekest,' answered the
Khalif; 'but let search be made first in my palace and then in
those of the Vizier and the Chief of the Sixty.' 'Thou sayst
well, O Commander of the Faithful,' rejoined Ahmed; 'most like
the thief is one who had been reared in thy household or that of
one of thy chief officers.' 'As my head liveth,' said Haroun,
'whosoever shall appear to have done the deed, I will put him to
death, be it my very own son!' Then Ahmed Kemakim received a
written warrant to enter and search the houses and taking in his
hand a [divining] rod made of equal parts of bronze, copper, iron
and steel, went forth, attended by the Cadis and Assessors and
the Chief of the Police. He first searched the palace of the
Khalif, then that of the Vizier Jaafer; after which he went the
round of the houses of the chamberlains and officers, till he
came to that of Alaeddin. When the latter heard the clamour
before his house, he left his wife and opening the door, found
the Master of Police without, with a crowd of people. So he said,
'What is the matter, O Amir Khalid?' The Chief of the Police told
him the case and Alaeddin said, 'Enter my house and search it.'
'Pardon, O my lord,' replied the Amir; 'thou art a man in
authority,[FN#108] and God forbid that such should be guilty of
treason!' Quoth Alaeddin, 'Needs must my house be searched. So
they entered, and Ahmed Kemakim went straight to the saloon and
let the rod fall upon the slab, under which he had buried the
stolen goods, with such force that the marble broke in sunder and
discovered something that glistened underneath. Then said he, 'In
the name of God! what He willeth! Thanks to our coming, we have
lit upon a treasure. Let us go down into this hiding-place and
see what is therein.' So the Cadis and Assessors looked down into
the hole and finding there the stolen goods, drew up a statement
of how they had discovered them in Alaeddin's house, to which
they set their seals. Then they bade seize upon Alaeddin and took
his turban from his head, and making an inventory of all his
property and effects, [sealed them up]. Meanwhile, Ahmed Kemakim
laid hands on Jessamine, who was with child by Alaeddin, and
committed her to his mother, saying, 'Deliver her to the Lady
Khatoun.' So the old woman took her and carried her to the wife
of the Master of Police. As soon as Hebezlem saw her, health and
strength returned to him and he arose forthright, rejoicing
greatly, and would have drawn near her: but she pulled a dagger
from her girdle and said, 'Keep off from me, or I will kill thee
and myself after.' 'O strumpet,' exclaimed his mother, 'let my
son have his will of thee!' But Jessamine answered, 'O bitch, by
what code is it lawful for a woman to marry two husbands, and how
shall the dog take the lion's place?' With this Hebezlem's
passion redoubled and he sickened for unfulfilled desire and
refusing food, took to his bed again. Then said his mother to
her, 'O harlot, how canst thou make me thus to sorrow for my son?
Needs must I punish thee, and as for Alaeddin, he will assuredly
be hanged.' 'And I will die for love of him,' answered Jessamine.
Then Khatoun stripped her of her jewels and silken raiment and
clothing her in sackcloth drawers and a shift of hair-cloth, sent
her down into the kitchen and made her a scullery-wench, saying,
'Thy punishment shall be to split wood and peel onions and set
fire under the cooking pots.' Quoth she, 'I am willing to brook
all manner of hardship and servitude, but not thy son's sight.'
But God inclined the hearts of the slave-girls to her and they
used to do her service in the kitchen.

Meanwhile, they carried Alaeddin to the Divan and brought him,
together with the stolen goods, before the Khalif, who said,
'Where did ye find them?' 'Amiddleward Alaeddin's house,'
answered they; whereat the Khalif was filled with wrath and took
the things, but found not the lantern among them, and said to
Alaeddin, 'Where is the lantern?' 'I know nought of it,' answered
he; 'it was not I that stole it.' 'O traitor,' said the Khalif,
'how comes it that I brought thee near unto me and thou hast cast
me out, and I trusted in thee and thou hast betrayed me?' And he
commanded to hang him. So the Chief of the Police took him and
went down with him into the city, whilst the crier forewent them,
proclaiming aloud and saying, 'This is the reward and the least
of the reward of him who doth treason against the orthodox
Khalifs!' And the folk flocked to the gallows.

Meanwhile, Ahmed ed Denef, Alaeddin's adopted father, was
sitting, making merry with his followers in a garden, when in
came one of the water-carriers of the Divan and kissing Ahmed's
hand, said to him, 'O Captain, thou sittest at thine ease, with
water running at thy feet, and knowest not what has happened.'
'What is to do?' asked Ahmed, and the other answered, 'They have
gone down with thine adopted son, Alaeddin, to the gallows.'
'O Hassan Shouman,' said Ahmed, 'What sayst thou of this?'
'Assuredly, Alaeddin is innocent' replied his lieutenant; 'and
this is some enemy's practice against him.' Quoth Ahmed, 'What
counsellest thou?' And Hassan said, 'God willing, we must rescue
him.' Then he went to the prison and said to the gaoler, 'Give us
some one deserving of death.' So he gave him one that was likest
to Alaeddin and they covered his head and carried him to the
place of execution between Ahmed ed Denef and Ali ez Zibec of
Cairo. Now they had brought Alaeddin to the gibbet, to hang him,
but Ahmed ed Denef came forward and set his foot on that of the
hangman, who said, 'Give me room to do my office.' 'O accursed
one,' replied Ahmed, 'take this man and hang him in Alaeddin's
stead; for he is innocent and we will ransom him with this
fellow, even as Abraham ransomed Ishmael[FN#109] with the ram.'
So the hangman took the man and hanged him in Alaeddin's room.
Then Ahmed and Ali took Alaeddin and carried him to the house of
the former, to whom said he, 'O my father, may God abundantly
requite thee!' 'O Alaeddin,' said Ahmed, 'what is this thou hast
done? God's mercy on him who said, "Whoso trusteth in thee,
betray him not, though thou be a traitor." Now the Khalif set
thee in high place about him and styled thee "Trusty" and
"Faithful;" how then couldst thou deal thus with him and steal
his goods?' 'By the Most Great Name, O my father,' replied
Alaeddin, 'I had no hand in this, nor do I know who did it.'
Quoth Ahmed, 'Of a surety none did this but a manifest enemy and
whoso doth aught shall be requited for his deed; but, O Alaeddin,
thou canst tarry no longer in Baghdad, for kings, O my son, may
not be bought off and longsome is his travail whom they pursue.'
'Whither shall I go, O my father?' asked Alaeddin. 'O my son,'
answered Ahmed, 'I will bring thee to Alexandria, for it is a
blessed place; its environs are green and its sojourn pleasant.'
And Alaeddin said, 'I hear and obey, O my father.' So Ahmed said
to Hassan Shouman, 'Be mindful and when the Khalif asks for me,
say I am gone on a circuit of the provinces.' Then, taking
Alaeddin, he went forth of Baghdad and stayed not till they came
to the vineyards and gardens, where they met two Jews of the
Khalif's tax-gatherers, riding on mules, and Ahmed said to them,
'Give me the guard-money.'[FN#110] 'Why should we give thee
guard-money?' asked they. 'Because,' answered he, 'I am the
patrol of this valley.' So they gave him each a hundred dinars,
after which he slew them and took their mules, one of which he
mounted, whilst Alaeddin bestrode the other. Then they rode on,
till they came to the city of Ayas[FN#111] and put up for the
night at an inn. Next morning, Alaeddin sold his own mule and
committed that of Ahmed to the charge of the doorkeeper of the
inn, after which they took ship from the port of Ayas and sailed
to Alexandria. Here they landed and proceeded to the Bazaar,
where they found a broker crying a shop and a chamber behind it
for sale. The last bidding for the premises (which belonged to
the Treasury) was nine hundred and fifty dirhems;[FN#112] so
Alaeddin bid a thousand and his offer being accepted, took the
keys and opened the shop and room, which latter he found
furnished with carpets and cushions. Moreover, he found there a
storehouse full of sails and masts and ropes and chests and bags
of beads and shells and stirrups and axes and maces and knives
and scissors and what not else, for the last owner of the shop
had been a dealer in second-hand goods. So he took his seat in
the shop and Ahmed ed Denef said to him, 'O my son, the shop and
room and that which is therein are become thine; so abide thou
here and buy and sell and grudge not, neither repine; for God the
Most High blesseth trade.' After this he abode with him three
days and on the fourth he took leave of him, saying, 'O my son,
abide here till I bring thee the Khalif's pardon and learn who
hath played thee this trick.' Then he took ship for Ayas,
where he took the mule from the inn and returning to Baghdad,
foregathered with Hassan Shouman, to whom said he, 'Has the
Khalif asked for me?' 'No,' answered Hassan, 'nor hath thou come
to his thought.' So he resumed his service about the Khalif's
person and set himself to seek news of Alaeddin's case, till one
day he heard the Khalif say to the Vizier, 'See, O Jaafer, how
Alaeddin dealt with me!' 'O Commander of the Faithful,' replied
Jaafer, 'thou hast requited him with hanging, and it was what he
deserved.' Quoth Haroun, 'I have a mind to go down and see him
hanging.' And the Vizier answered, 'As thou wilt, O Commander of
the Faithful.' So the Khalif and Jaafer went down to the place of
execution, and the former, raising his eyes, saw the hanged man
to be other than Alaeddin and said to the Vizier, 'This is not
Alaeddin.' 'How knowest thou that it is not he?' asked the
Vizier, and the Khalif answered, 'Alaeddin was short and this
fellow is tall.' Quoth Jaafer, 'Hanging stretches a man.' 'But,'
rejoined the Khalif, 'Alaeddin was fair and this man's face is
black.' 'Knowest thou not, O Commander of the Faithful,' replied
Jaafer, 'that death (by hanging) causes blackness?' Then the
Khalif bade take down the body and they found the names of he
first two Khalifs, Abou Bekr and Omar, written on his heels;
whereupon quoth the Khalif, 'O Vizier, Alaeddin was a Sunnite,
and this fellow is a Shiyaite.'[FN#113] 'Glory be to God who
knowest the hidden things!' answered Jaafer. 'We know not whether
this was he or another.' Then the Khalif bade bury the body and
Alaeddin became altogether forgotten.

As for Hebezlem Bezazeh, the Amir Khalid's son, he ceased not to
languish for passion and desire, till he died and they buried
him; whilst Jessamine accomplished the months of her pregnancy
and being taken with the pains of labour, gave birth to a male
child like the moon. The serving-women said to her, 'What wilt
thou name him?' And she answered, 'Were his father alive, he had
named him; but now I will name him Aslan.' She gave him suck two
years, then weaned him, and he crawled and walked. One day,
whilst his mother was busied with the service of the kitchen, the
child went out and seeing the stairs, mounted to the guest-
chamber,[FN#114] where the Amir Khalid was sitting. When the
latter saw him, he took him in his lap and glorified his Lord for
that which He had created and fashioned forth; then eyeing him
straitly, he saw that he was the likest of all creatures to
Alaeddin Abou esh Shamat; and God informed his heart with love of
the boy. Presently, his mother Jessamine sought for him and
finding him not, mounted to the guest-chamber, where she saw the
Amir seated, with the child playing in his lap. The latter,
spying his mother, would have thrown himself upon her: but the
Amir held him back and said to Jessamine, 'Come hither, O
damsel.' So she came to him, and he said to her, 'Whose son is
this?' Quoth she, 'He is my son and the darling of my heart.'
'Who is his father?' asked the Amir; and she answered, 'His
father was Alaeddin Abou esh Shamat, but now he is become thy
son.' Quoth Khalid, 'Alaeddin was a traitor.' 'God deliver him
from treason!' replied she. 'God forbid that the Faithful should
be a traitor!' Then said he, 'When the boy grows up and says to


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