The Book of the Thousand Nights and a Night, Volume 1
Richard F. Burton

Part 2 out of 9

gave him the third of the merchant's blood. And Shahrazad
perceived the dawn of day and ceased saying her permitted say.
Then quoth Dunyazad, "O. my sister, how pleasant is thy tale, and
how tasteful; how sweet and how grateful!" She replied, "And what
is this compared with that I could tell thee, the night to come,
if I live and the King spare me?"[FN#59] Then thought the King,
"By Allah, I will not slay her until I hear the rest of her tale,
for truly it is wondrous." So they rested that night in mutual
embrace until the dawn. After this the King went forth to his
Hall of Estate, and the Wazir and the troops came in and the
court was crowded, and the King gave orders and judged and
appointed and deposed, bidding and forbidding during the rest of
the day. Then the Divan broke up, and King Shahryar entered his

When it was the Third Night,

And the King had had his will of the Wazir's daughter, Dunyazad,
her sister, said to her, "Finish for us that tale of thine;" and
she replied, "With joy and goodly gree! It hath reached me, O
auspicious King, that when the third old man told a tale to the
Jinni more wondrous than the two preceding, the Jinni marvelled
with exceeding marvel, and, shaking with delight, cried, Lo! I
have given thee the remainder of the merchant's punishment and
for thy sake have I released him." Thereupon the merchant
embraced the old men and thanked them, and these Shaykhs wished
him joy on being saved and fared forth each one for his own city.
Yet this tale is not more wondrous than the fisherman's story."
Asked the King, "What is the fisherman's story?" And she answered
by relating the tale of


It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that there was a Fisher
man well stricken in years who had a wife and three children, and
withal was of poor condition. Now it was his custom to cast his
net every day four times, and no more. On a day he went forth
about noontide to the sea shore, where he laid down his basket;
and, tucking up his shirt and plunging into the water, made a
cast with his net and waited till it settled to the bottom. Then
he gathered the cords together and haled away at it, but found it
weighty; and however much he drew it landwards, he could not pull
it up; so he carried the ends ashore and drove a stake into the
ground and made the net fast to it. Then he stripped and dived
into the water all about the net, and left not off working hard
until he had brought it up. He rejoiced thereat and, donning his
clothes, went to the net, when he found in it a dead jackass
which had torn the meshes. Now when he saw it, he exclaimed in
his grief, "There is no Majesty, and there is no Might save in
Allah the Glorious, the Great!" Then quoth he, "This is a strange
manner of daily bread;" and he began re citing in extempore

O toiler through the glooms of night in peril and in pain * Thy
toiling stint for daily bread comes not by might and main!
Seest thou not the fisher seek afloat upon the sea * His bread,
while glimmer stars of night as set in tangled skein.
Anon he plungeth in despite the buffet of the waves * The while
to sight the bellying net his eager glances strain;
Till joying at the night's success, a fish he bringeth home *
Whose gullet by the hook of Fate was caught and cut in
When buys that fish of him a man who spent the hours of night *
Reckless of cold and wet and gloom in ease and comfort fain,
Laud to the Lord who gives to this, to that denies his wishes *
And dooms one toil and catch the prey and other eat the

Then quoth he, "Up and to it; I am sure of His beneficence,
Inshallah!" So he continued:--

When thou art seized of Evil Fate, assume * The noble soul's long
suffering: 'tis thy best:
Complain not to the creature; this be plaint * From one most
Ruthful to the ruthlessest.

The Fisherman, when he had looked at the dead ass, got it free of
the toils and wrung out and spread his net; then he plunged into
the sea, saying, "In Allah's name!" and made a cast and pulled at
it, but it grew heavy and settled down more firmly than the first
time. Now he thought that there were fish in it, and he made it
fast, and doffing his clothes went into the water, and dived and
haled until he drew it up upon dry land. Then found he in it a
large earthen pitcher which was full of sand and mud; and seeing
this he was greatly troubled and began repeating these

Forbear, O troubles of the world, * And pardon an ye nill
I went to seek my daily bread * I find that breadless I must
For neither handcraft brings me aught * Nor Fate allots to me a
How many fools the Pleiads reach * While darkness whelms the
wise and ware.

So he prayed pardon of Allah and, throwing away the jar, wrung
his net and cleansed it and returned to the sea the third time to
cast his net and waited till it had sunk. Then he pulled at it
and found therein potsherds and broken glass; whereupon he began
to speak these verses:--

He is to thee that daily bread thou canst nor loose nor bind *
Nor pen nor writ avail thee aught thy daily bread to find:
For joy and daily bread are what Fate deigneth to allow; * This
soil is sad and sterile ground, while that makes glad the
The shafts of Time and Life bear down full many a man of worth *
While bearing up to high degree wights of ignoble mind.
So come thou, Death! for verily life is not worth a straw * When
low the falcon falls withal the mallard wings the wind:
No wonder 'tis thou seest how the great of soul and mind * Are
poor, and many a loser carle to height of luck designed.
This bird shall overfly the world from east to furthest west *
And that shall win her every wish though ne'er she leave the

Then raising his eyes heavenwards he said, "O my God![FN#62]
verily Thou wottest that I cast not my net each day save four
times[FN#63]; the third is done and as yet Thou hast vouchsafed
me nothing. So this time, O my God, deign give me my daily
bread." Then, having called on Allah's name,[FN#64] he again
threw his net and waited its sinking and settling; whereupon he
haled at it but could not draw it in for that it was entangled at
the bottom. He cried out in his vexation "There is no Majesty and
there is no Might save in Allah!" and he began reciting:--

Fie on this wretched world, an so it be * I must be whelmed by
grief and misery:
Tho' gladsome be man's lot when dawns the morn * He drains the
cup of woe ere eve he see:
Yet was I one of whom the world when asked * "Whose lot is
happiest?" oft would say "'Tis he!"

Thereupon he stripped and, diving down to the net, busied him
self with it till it came to land. Then he opened the meshes and
found therein a cucumber shaped jar of yellow copper,[FN#65]
evidently full of something, whose mouth was made fast with a
leaden cap, stamped with the seal ring of our Lord Sulayman son
of David (Allah accept the twain!). Seeing this the Fisherman
rejoiced and said, "If I sell it in the brass bazar 'tis worth
ten golden diners." He shook it and finding it heavy continued,
"Would to Heaven I knew what is herein. But I must and will open
it and look to its contents and store it in my bag and sell it in
the brass market." And taking out a knife he worked at the lead
till he had loosened it from the jar; then he laid the cup on the
ground and shook the vase to pour out whatever might be inside.
He found nothing in it; whereat he marvelled with an exceeding
marvel. But presently there came forth from the jar a smoke which
spired heavenwards into aether (whereat he again marvelled with
mighty marvel), and which trailed along earth's surface till
presently, having reached its full height, the thick vapour
condensed, and became an Ifrit, huge of bulk, whose crest touched
the clouds while his feet were on the ground. His head was as a
dome, his hands like pitchforks, his legs long as masts and his
mouth big as a cave; his teeth were like large stones, his
nostrils ewers, his eyes two lamps and his look was fierce and
lowering. Now when the Fisherman saw the Ifrit his side muscles
quivered, his teeth chattered, his spittle dried up and he became
blind about what to do. Upon this the Ifrit looked at him and
cried, "There is no god but the God, and Sulayman is the prophet
of God;" presently adding, "O Apostle of Allah, slay me not;
never again will I gainsay thee in word nor sin against thee in
deed."[FN#66] Quoth the Fisherman, "O Marid,[FN#67] diddest thou
say, Sulayman the Apostle of Allah; and Sulayman is dead some
thou sand and eight hundred years ago,[FN#68] and we are now in
the last days of the world! What is thy story, and what is thy
account of thyself, and what is the cause of thy entering into
this cucur bit?" Now when the Evil Spirit heard the words of the
Fisher man, quoth he; "There is no god but the God: be of good
cheer, O Fisherman!" Quoth the Fisherman, "Why biddest thou me to
be of good cheer?" and he replied, "Because of thy having to die
an ill death in this very hour." Said the Fisherman, "Thou
deservest for thy good tidings the withdrawal of Heaven's
protection, O thou distant one![FN#69] Wherefore shouldest thou kill
me and what thing have I done to deserve death, I who freed thee
from the jar, and saved thee from the depths of the sea, and
brought thee up on the dry land?" Replied the Ifrit, "Ask of me
only what mode of death thou wilt die, and by what manner of
slaughter shall I slay thee." Rejoined the Fisherman, "What is my
crime and wherefore such retribution?" Quoth the Ifrit, "Hear my
story, O Fisherman!" and he answered, "Say on, and be brief in
thy saying, for of very sooth my life breath is in my
nostrils."[FN#70] Thereupon quoth the Jinni, "Know, that I am one
among the heretical Jann and I sinned against Sulayman, David son
(on the twain be peace!) I together with the famous Sakhr al
Jinni;"[FN#71] whereupon the Prophet sent his minister, Asaf son
of Barkhiya, to seize me; and this Wazir brought me against my
will and led me in bonds to him (I being downcast despite my
nose) and he placed me standing before him like a suppliant. When
Sulayman saw me, he took refuge with Allah and bade me embrace
the True Faith and obey his behests; but I refused, so sending
for this cucurbit[FN#72] he shut me up therein, and stopped it
over with lead whereon he impressed the Most High Name, and gave
his orders to the Jann who carried me off, and cast me into the
midmost of the ocean. There I abode an hundred years, during
which I said in my heart, "Whoso shall release me, him will I
enrich for ever and ever." But the full century went by and, when
no one set me free, I entered upon the second five score saying,
"Whoso shall release me, for him I will open the hoards of the
earth." Still no one set me free and thus four hundred years
passed away. Then quoth I, "Whoso shall release me, for him will
I fulfil three wishes." Yet no one set me free. Thereupon I waxed
wroth with exceeding wrath and said to myself, "Whoso shall
release me from this time forth, him will I slay and I will give
him choice of what death he will die; and now, as thou hast
released me, I give thee full choice of deaths." The Fisherman,
hearing the words of the Ifrit, said, "O Allah! the wonder of it
that I have not come to free thee save in these days!" adding,
"Spare my life, so Allah spare thine; and slay me not, lest Allah
set one to slay thee." Replied the Contumacious One, "There is no
help for it; die thou must; so ask me by way of boon what manner
of death thou wilt die." Albeit thus certified the Fisherman
again addressed the Ifrit saying, "Forgive me this my death as a
generous reward for having freed thee;" and the Ifrit, "Surely I
would not slay thee save on account of that same release." "O
Chief of the Ifrits," said the Fisherman, "I do thee good and
thou requitest me with evil! in very sooth the old saw lieth not
when it saith:--

We wrought them weal, they met our weal with ill; * Such, by my
life! is every bad man's labour:
To him who benefits unworthy wights * Shall hap what inapt to
Ummi Amir's neighbor.[FN#73]"

Now when the Ifrit heard these words he answered, "No more of
this talk, needs must I kill thee." Upon this the Fisherman said
to himself, "This is a Jinni; and I am a man to whom Allah hath
given a passably cunning wit, so I will now cast about to com
pass his destruction by my contrivance and by mine intelligence;
even as he took counsel only of his malice and his
frowardness."[FN#74] He began by asking the Ifrit, "Hast thou
indeed resolved to kill me?" and, receiving for all answer, "Even
so," he cried, "Now in the Most Great Name, graven on the seal
ring of Sulayman the Son of David (peace be with the holy
twain!), an I question thee on a certain matter wilt thou give me
a true answer?" The Ifrit replied "Yea;" but, hearing mention of
the Most Great Name, his wits were troubled and he said with
trembling, "Ask and be brief." Quoth the Fisherman, "How didst
thou fit into this bottle which would not hold thy hand; no, nor
even thy foot, and how came it to be large enough to contain the
whole of thee?" Replied the Ifrit, "What! cost not believe that I
was all there?" and the Fisherman rejoined, "Nay! I will never
believe it until I see thee inside with my own eyes." And
Shahrazad per ceived the dawn of day and ceased to say her
permitted say.

When it was the Fourth Night,

Her sister said to her, "Please finish us this tale, an thou be
not sleepy!" so she resumed:--It hath reached me, O auspicious
King, that when the Fisherman said to the Ifrit, "I will never
and nowise believe thee until I see thee inside it with mine own
eyes;" the Evil Spirit on the instant shook[FN#75] and became a
vapour, which condensed, and entered the jar little and little,
till all was well inside when lo! the Fisherman in hot haste took
the leaden cap with the seal and stoppered therewith the mouth of
the jar and called out to the Ifrit, saying, "Ask me by way of
boon what death thou wilt die! By Allah, I will throw thee into
the sea[FN#76] be fore us and here will I build me a lodge; and
whoso cometh hither I will warn him against fishing and will
say:--In these waters abideth an Ifrit who giveth as a last
favour a choice of deaths and fashion of slaughter to the man who
saveth him!" Now when the Ifrit heard this from the Fisherman and
saw him self in limbo, he was minded to escape, but this was
prevented by Solomon's seal; so he knew that the Fisherman had
cozened and outwitted him, and he waxed lowly and submissive and
began humbly to say, "I did but jest with thee." But the other an
swered, "Thou liest, O vilest of the Ifrits, and meanest and
filthiest!" and he set off with the bottle for the sea side; the
Ifrit calling out "Nay! Nay!" and he calling out "Aye! Aye !"
There upon the Evil Spirit softened his voice and smoothed his
speech and abased himself, saying, "What wouldest thou do with
me, O Fisherman?" "I will throw thee back into the sea," he
answered; "where thou hast been housed and homed for a thousand
and eight hundred years; and now I will leave thee therein till
Judgment day: did I not say to thee:--Spare me and Allah shall
spare thee; and slay me not lest Allah slay thee? yet thou spurn
east my supplication and hadst no intention save to deal un
graciously by me, and Allah hath now thrown thee into my hands
and I am cunninger than thou." Quoth the Ifrit, "Open for me and
I may bring thee weal." Quoth the Fisherman, "Thou liest, thou
accursed! my case with thee is that of the Wazir of King Yunan
with the sage Duban."[FN#77] "And who was the Wazir of King Yunan
and who was the sage Duban; and what was the story about them?"
quoth the Ifrit, whereupon the Fisherman began to tell

The Tale of the Wazir and the Sage Duban.

Know, O thou Ifrit, that in days of yore and in ages long gone
before, a King called Yunan reigned over the city of Fars of the
land of the Roum.[FN#78] He was a powerful ruler and a wealthy,
who had armies and guards and allies of all nations of men; but
his body was afflicted with a leprosy which leaches and men of
science failed to heal. He drank potions and he swallowed pow
ders and he used unguents, but naught did him good and none among
the host of physicians availed to procure him a cure. At last
there came to his city a mighty healer of men and one well
stricken in years, the sage Duban highs. This man was a reader of
books, Greek, Persian, Roman, Arabian, and Syrian; and he was
skilled in astronomy and in leechcraft, the theorick as well as
the practick; he was experienced in all that healeth and that
hurteth the body; conversant with the virtues of every plant,
grass and herb, and their benefit and bane; and he understood
philosophy and had compassed the whole range of medical science
and other branches of the knowledge tree. Now this physician
passed but few days in the city, ere he heard of the King's
malady and all his bodily sufferings through the leprosy with
which Allah had smitten him; and how all the doctors and wise men
had failed to heal him. Upon this he sat up through the night in
deep thought and, when broke the dawn and appeared the morn and
light was again born, and the Sun greeted the Good whose beauties
the world adorn,[FN#79] he donned his handsomest dress and going
in to King Yunan, he kissed the ground before him: then he prayed
for the endurance of his honour and prosperity in fairest
language and made himself known saying, "O King, tidings have
reached I me of what befel thee through that which is in thy
person; and how the host of physicians have proved themselves
unavailing to abate it; and lo! I can cure thee, O King; and yet
will I not make thee drink of draught or anoint thee with
ointment." Now when King Yunan heard his words he said in huge
surprise, "How wilt thou do this? By Allah, if thou make me whole
I will enrich thee even to thy son's son and I will give thee
sumptuous gifts; and whatso thou wishest shall be thine and thou
shalt be to me a cup companion[FN#80] and a friend." The King
then robed him with a dress of honour and entreated him
graciously and asked him, "Canst thou indeed cure me of this
complaint without drug and unguent?" and he answered, "Yes! I
will heal I thee without the pains and penalties of medicine."
The King marvelled with exceeding marvel and said, "O physician,
when shall be this whereof thou speakest, and in how many days
shall it take place? Haste thee, O my son!" He replied,"I hear
and I obey; the cure shall begin tomorrow." So saying he went
forth from the presence, and hired himself a house in the city
for the better storage of his books and scrolls, his medicines
and his aromatic roots. Then he set to work at choosing the
fittest drugs and simples and he fashioned a bat hollow within,
and furnished with a handle without, for which he made a ball;
the two being prepared with consummate art. On the next day when
both were ready for use and wanted nothing more, he went up to
the King; and, kissing the ground between his hands bade him ride
forth on the parade ground[FN#81] there to play at pall and mall.
He was accompanied by his suite, Emirs and Chamberlains, Wazirs
and Lords of the realm and, ere he was seated, the sage Duban
came up to him, and handing him the bat said, "Take this mall and
grip it as I do; so! and now push for the plain and leaning well
over thy horse drive the ball with all thy might until thy palm
be moist and thy body perspire: then the medicine will penetrate
through thy palm and will permeate thy person. When thou hast
done with playing and thou feelest the effects of the medicine,
return to thy palace, and make the Ghusl ablation[FN#82] in the
Hammam bath, and lay thee down to sleep; so shalt thou be come
whole; and now peace be with thee!" Thereupon King Yunan took the
bat from the Sage and grasped it firmly; then, mounting steed, he
drove the ball before him and gallopped after it till he reached
it, when he struck it with all his might, his palm gripping the
bat handle the while; and he ceased not malling the ball till his
hand waxed moist and his skin, perspiring, imbibed the medicine
from the wood. Then the sage Duban knew that the drugs had
penetrated his person and bade him return to the palace and enter
the Hammam without stay or delay; so King Yunan forthright
returned and ordered them to clear for him the bath. They did so,
the carpet spreaders making all haste, and the slaves all hurry
and got ready a change of raiment for the King. He entered the
bath and made the total ablution long and thoroughly; then donned
his clothes within the Hammam and rode therefrom to his palace
where he lay him down and slept. Such was the case with King
Yunan, but as regards the sage Duban, he returned home and slept
as usual and when morning dawned he repaired to the palace and
craved audience. The King ordered him to be admitted; then,
having kissed the ground between his hands, in allusion to the
King he recited these couplets with solemn intonation:--

Happy is Eloquence when thou art named her sire * But mourns
she whenas other man the title claimed.
O Lord of fairest presence, whose illuming rays * Clear off the
fogs of doubt aye veiling deeds high famed,
Ne'er cease thy face to shine like Dawn and rise of Morn * And
never show Time's face with heat of ire inflamed!
Thy grace hath favoured us with gifts that worked such wise * As
rain clouds raining on the hills by words enframed:
Freely thou lavishedst thy wealth to rise on high * Till won from
Time the heights whereat thy grandeur aimed.

Now when the Sage ceased reciting, the King rose quickly to his
feet and fell on his neck; then, seating him by his side he bade
dress him in a sumptuous dress; for it had so happened that when
the King left the Hammam he looked on his body and saw no trace
of leprosy: the skin was all clean as virgin silver. He joyed
thereat with exceeding joy, his breast broadened[FN#83] with
delight and he felt thoroughly happy. Presently, when it was full
day he entered his audience hall and sat upon the throne of his
kingship whereupon his Chamberlains and Grandees flocked to the
presence and with them the Sage Duban. Seeing the leach the King
rose to him in honour and seated him by his side; then the food
trays furnished with the daintiest viands were brought and the
physician ate with the King, nor did he cease companying him all
that day. Moreover, at nightfall he gave the physician Duban two
thousand gold pieces, besides the usual dress of honour and other
gifts galore, and sent him home on his own steed. After the Sage
had fared forth King Yunan again expressed his amazement at the
leach's art, saying, "This man medicined my body from without nor
anointed me with aught of ointments: by Allah, surely this is
none other than consummate skill! I am bound to honour such a man
with re wards and distinction, and take him to my companion and
my friend during the remainder of my days." So King Yunan passed
the night in joy and gladness for that his body had been made
whole and had thrown off so pernicious a malady. On the morrow
the King went forth from his Serraglio and sat upon his throne,
and the Lords of Estate stood about him, and the Emirs and Wazirs
sat as was their wont on his right hand and on his left. Then he
asked for the Sage Duban, who came in and kissed the ground
before him, when the King rose to greet him and, seating him by
his side, ate with him and wished him long life. Moreover he
robed him and gave him gifts, and ceased not con versing with him
until night approached. Then the King ordered him, by way of
salary, five dresses of honour and a thousand dinars.[FN#84] The
physician returned to his own house full of gratitude to the
King. Now when next morning dawned the King repaired to his
audience hall, and his Lords and Nobles surrounded him and his
Chamberlains and his Ministers, as the white en closeth the black
of the eye.[FN#85] Now the King had a Wazir among his Wazirs,
unsightly to look upon, an ill omened spectacle; sor did,
ungenerous, full of envy and evil will. When this Minister saw
the King place the physician near him and give him all these
gifts, he jaloused him and planned to do him a harm, as in the
saying on such subject, "Envy lurks in every body;" and the say
ing, "Oppression hideth in every heart: power revealeth it and
weakness concealeth it." Then the Minister came before the King
and, kissing the ground between his hands, said, "O King of the
age and of all time, thou in whose benefits I have grown to
manhood, I have weighty advice to offer thee, and if I withhold
it I were a son of adultery and no true born man; wherefore an
thou order me to disclose it I will so do forthwith." Quoth the
King (and he was troubled at the words of the Minister), "And
what is this counsel of thine?" Quoth he, "O glorious monarch,
the wise of old have said:--Whoso regardeth not the end, hath not
Fortune to friend; and indeed I have lately seen the King on far
other than the right way; for he lavisheth largesse on his enemy,
on one whose object is the decline and fall of his king ship: to
this man he hath shown favour, honouring him with over honour and
making of him an intimate. Wherefore I fear for the King's life."
The King, who was much troubled and changed colour, asked, "Whom
cost thou suspect and anent whom doest thou hint?" and the
Minister answered, "O King, an thou be asleep, wake up! I point
to the physician Duban." Rejoined the King, "Fie upon thee! This
is a true friend who is favoured by me above all men, because he
cured me with some thing which I held in my hand, and he healed
my leprosy which had baffled all physicians; indeed he is one
whose like may not be found in these days--no, not in the whole
world from furthest east to utmost west! And it is of such a man
thou sayest such hard sayings. Now from this day forward I allot
him a settled solde and allowances, every month a thousand gold
pieces; and, were I to share with him my realm 'twere but a
little matter. Perforce I must suspect that thou speakest on this
wise from mere envy and jealousy as they relate of the King
Sindibad."--And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day, and ceased
saying her permitted say. Then quoth Dunyazad, "O my sister, how
pleasant is thy tale, and how tasteful, how sweet, and how
grateful!" She replied, "And where is this compared with what I
could tell thee on the coming night if the King deign spare my
life?" Then said the King in himself, "By Allah, I will not slay
her until I hear the rest of her tale, for truly it is wondrous."
So they rested that night in mutual embrace until the dawn. Then
the King went forth to his Hall of Rule, and the Wazir and the
troops came in, and the audience chamber was thronged and the
King gave orders and judged and appointed and deposed and bade
and forbade during the rest of that day till the Court broke up,
and King Shahryar returned to his palace.

When It Was The Fifth Night,

Her sister said, "Do you finish for us thy story if thou be not
sleepy," and she resumed:--It hath reached me, O auspicious King
and mighty Monarch, that King Yunan said to his Minister, "O
Wazir, thou art one whom the evil spirit of envy hath possessed
because of this physician, and thou plottest for my putting him
to death, after which I should repent me full sorely, even as
repented King Sindibad for killing his falcon." Quoth the Wazir,
Pardon me, O King of the age, how was that?" So the King began
the story of

King Sindibad and his Falcon.

It is said (but Allah is All knowing![FN#86]) that there was a
King of the Kings of Fars, who was fond of pleasuring and
diversion, especially coursing end hunting. He had reared a
falcon which he carried all night on his fist, and whenever he
went a chasing he took with him this bird; and he bade make for
her a golden cuplet hung around her neck to give her drink
therefrom. One day as the King was sitting quietly in his palace,
behold, the high falcaner of the household suddenly addressed
him, "O King of the age, this is indeed a day fit for birding."
The King gave orders accordingly and set out taking the hawk on
fist; and they fared merrily forwards till they made a
Wady[FN#87] where they planted a circle of nets for the chase;
when lo! a gazelle came within the toils and the King cried,
"Whoso alloweth yon gazelle to spring over his head and loseth
her, that man will I surely slay." They narrowed the nets about
the gazelle when she drew near the King's station; and, planting
herself on her hind quarter, crossed her forehand over her
breast, as if about to kiss the earth before the King. He bowed
his brow low in acknowledgment to the beast; when she bounded
high over his head and took the way of the waste. Thereupon the
King turned towards his troops and seeing them winking and
pointing at him, he asked, "O Wazir, what are my men saying?" and
the Minister answered, "They say thou didst proclaim that whoso
alloweth the gazelle to spring over his head, that man shall be
put to death." Quoth the King, "Now, by the life of my head! I
will follow her up till I bring her back." So he set off
gallopping on the gazelle's trail and gave not over tracking till
he reached the foot hills of a mountain chain where the quarry
made for a cave. Then the King cast off at it the falcon which
presently caught it up and, swooping down, drove her talons into
its eyes, bewildering and blinding it;[FN#88] and the King drew
his mace and struck a blow which rolled the game over. He then
dismounted; and, after cutting the antelope's throat and flaying
the body, hung it to the pommel of his saddle. Now the time was
that of the siesta[FN#89] and the wold was parched and dry, nor
was any water to be found anywhere; and the King thirsted and his
horse also; so he went about searching till he saw a tree
dropping water, as it were melted butter, from its boughs.
Thereupon the King who wore gauntlets of skin to guard him
against poisons took the cup from the hawk's neck, and filling it
with the water set it before the bird, and lo! the falcon struck
it with her pounces and upset the liquid. The King filled it a
second time with the dripping drops, thinking his hawk was
thirsty; but the bird again struck at the cup with her talons and
overturned it. Then the King waxed wroth with the hawk and
filling the cup a third time offered it to his horse: but the
hawk upset it with a flirt of wings. Quoth the King, "Allah
confound thee, thou unluckiest of flying things! thou keepest me
from drinking, and thou deprivest thyself also, and the horse."
So he struck the falcon with his sword and cut off her wing; but
the bird raised her head and said by signs, "Look at that which
hangeth on the tree!" The King lifted up his eyes accordingly and
caught sight of a brood of vipers, whose poison drops he mistook
for water; thereupon he repented him of having struck off his
falcon's wing, and mounting horse, fared on with the dead
gazelle, till he arrived at the camp, his starting place. He
threw the quarry to the cook saying, Take and broil it," and sat
down on his chair, the falcon being still on his fist when
suddenly the bird gasped and died; whereupon the King cried out
in sorrow and remorse for having slain that falcon which had
saved his life. Now this is what occurred in the case of King
Sindibad; and I am assured that were I to do as thou desirest I
should repent even as the man who killed his parrot." Quoth the
Wazir, "And how was that?" And the King began to tell

The Tale of the Husband and the Parrot.[FN#90]

A certain man and a merchant to boot had married a fair wife, a
woman of perfect beauty and grace, symmetry and loveliness, of
whom he was mad-jealous, and who contrived successfully to keep
him from travel. At last an occasion compelling him to leave her,
he went to the bird market and bought him for one hundred gold
pieces a she parrot which he set in his house to act as duenna,
expecting her to acquaint him on his return with what had passed
during the whole time of his absence; for the bird was kenning
and cunning and never forgot what she had seen and heard. Now his
fair wife had fallen in love with a young Turk, [FN#91] who used
to visit her, and she feasted him by day and lay with him by
night. When the man had made his journey and won his wish he came
home; and, at once causing the Parrot be brought to him,
questioned her concerning the conduct of his consort whilst he
was in foreign parts. Quoth she, "Thy wife hath a man friend who
passed every night with her during thine absence." Thereupon the
husband went to his wife in a violent rage and bashed her with a
bashing severe enough to satisfy any body. The woman, suspecting
that one of the slave girls had been tattling to the master,
called them together and questioned them upon their oaths, when
all swore that they had kept the secret, but that the Parrot had
not, adding, "And we heard her with our own ears." Upon this the
woman bade one of the girls to set a hand mill under the cage and
grind therewith and a second to sprinkle water through the cage
roof and a third to run about, right and left, dashing a mirror
of bright steel through the livelong night. Next morning when the
husband returned home after being entertained by one of his
friends, he bade bring the Parrot before him and asked what had
taken place whilst he was away. "Pardon me, O my master," quoth
the bird, "I could neither hear nor see aught by reason of the
exceeding murk and the thunder and lightning which lasted
throughout the night." As it happened to be the summer tide the
master was astounded and cried, "But we are now in mid
Tammuz,[FN#92] and this is not the time for rains and storms."
"Ay, by Allah," rejoined the bird, "I saw with these eyes what my
tongue hath told thee." Upon this the man, not knowing the case
nor smoking the plot, waxed exceeding wroth; and, holding that
his wife had been wrongously accused, put forth his hand and
pulling the Parrot from her cage dashed her upon the ground with
such force that he killed her on the spot. Some days after wards
one of his slave girls confessed to him the whole truth,[FN#93]
yet would he not believe it till he saw the young Turk, his
wife's lover, coming out of her chamber, when he bared his blade
[FN#94] and slew him by a blow on the back of the neck; and he
did the same by the adulteress; and thus the twain, laden with
mortal sin, went straightways to Eternal Fire. Then the merchant
knew that the Parrot had told him the truth anent all she had
seen and he mourned grievously for her loss, when mourning
availed him not. The Minister, hearing the words of King Yu nan,
rejoined, 'O Monarch, high in dignity, and what harm have I done
him, or what evil have I seen from him that I should compass his
death? I would not do this thing, save to serve thee, and soon
shalt thou sight that it is right; and if thou accept my advice
thou shalt be saved, otherwise thou shalt be destroyed even as a
certain Wazir who acted treacherously by the young Prince." Asked
the King, "How was that?" and the Minister thus began

The Tale of the Prince and the Ogress.

A certain King, who had a son over much given to hunting and
coursing, ordered one of his Wazirs to be in attendance upon him
whithersoever he might wend. One day the youth set out for the
chase accompanied by his father's Minister; and, as they jogged
on together, a big wild beast came in sight. Cried the Wazir to
the King's son, "Up and at yon noble quarry!" So the Prince
followed it until he was lost to every eye and the chase got away
from him in the waste; whereby he was confused and he knew not
which way to turn, when lo! a damsel appeared ahead and she was
in tears. The King's son asked, "Who art thou?" and she answered,
"I am daughter to a King among the Kings of Hind, and I was
travelling with a caravan in the desert when drowsiness overcame
me, and I fell from my beast unwittingly whereby I am cut off
from my people and sore bewildered." The Prince, hearing these
words, pitied her case and, mounting her on his horse's crupper,
travelled until he passed by an old ruin [FN#95], when the damsel
said to him, "O my master, I wish to obey a call of nature": he
therefore set her down at the ruin where she delayed so long that
the King's son thought that she was only wasting time; so he
followed her without her knowledge and behold, she was a
Ghulah,[FN#96] a wicked Ogress, who was saying to her brood, "O
my children, this day I bring you a fine fat youth, [FN#97] for
dinner;" whereto they answered, "Bring him quick to us, O our
mother, that we may browse upon him our bellies full." The Prince
hearing their talk, made sure of death and his side muscles
quivered in fear for his life, so he turned away and was about to
fly. The Ghulah came out and seeing him in sore affright (for he
was trembling in every limb? cried, "Wherefore art thou afraid?"
and he replied, "I have hit upon an enemy whom I greatly fear."
Asked the Ghulah, "Diddest thou not say: - I am a King's son?"
and he answered, "Even so." Then quoth she, "Why cost not give
shine enemy something of money and so satisfy him?" Quoth he, "He
will not be satisfied with my purse but only with my life, and I
mortally fear him and am a man under oppression." She replied,
"If thou be so distressed, as thou deemest, ask aid against him
from Allah, who will surely protect thee from his ill doing and
from the evil whereof thou art afraid." Then the Prince raised
his eyes heavenwards and cried, "O Thou who answerest the
necessitous when he calleth upon Thee and dispellest his
distress; O my God ! grant me victory over my foe and turn him
from me, for Thou over all things art Almighty." The Ghulah,
hearing his prayer, turned away from him, and the Prince returned
to his father, and told him the tale of the Wazir; whereupon the
King summoned the Minister to his presence and then and there
slew him. Thou likewise, O King, if thou continue to trust this
leach, shalt be made to die the worst of deaths. He verily thou
madest much of and whom thou entreatedest as an intimate, will
work thy destruction. Seest thou not how he healed the disease
from outside thy body by something grasped in thy hand? Be not
assured that he will not destroy thee by something held in like
manner! Replied King Yunan, "Thou hast spoken sooth, O Wazir, it
may well be as thou hintest O my well advising Minister; and
belike this Sage hath come as a spy searching to put me to death;
for assuredly if he cured me by a something held in my hand, he
can kill me by a something given me to smell." Then asked King
Yunan, "O Minister, what must be done with him?" and the Wazir
answered, "Send after him this very instant and summon him to thy
presence; and when he shall come strike him across the neck; and
thus shalt thou rid thyself of him and his wickedness, and
deceive him ere he can I deceive thee." 'Thou hast again spoken
sooth, O Wazir," said the King and sent one to call the Sage who
came in joyful mood for he knew not what had appointed for him
the Compassionate; as a certain poet saith by way of

O Thou who fearest Fate, confiding fare * Trust all to Him who
built the world and wait:
What Fate saith "Be" perforce must be, my lord! * And safe art
thou from th undecreed of Fate.

As Duban the physician entered he addressed the King in these

An fail I of my thanks to thee nor thank thee day by day * For
whom com posed I prose and verse, for whom my say and lay?
Thou lavishedst thy generous gifts ere they were craved by me *
Thou lavishedst thy boons unsought sans pretext or delay:
How shall I stint my praise of thee, how shall I cease to laud *
The grace of thee in secresy and patentest display?
Nay; I will thank thy benefits, for aye thy favours lie * Light
on my thought and tongue, though heavy on my back they

And he said further on the same theme:--

Turn thee from grief nor care a jot! * Commit thy needs to Fate
and Lot!
Enjoy the Present passing well * And let the Past be clean forgot
For whatso haply seemeth worse * Shall work thy weal as Allah
Allah shall do whate'er He wills * And in His will oppose Him

And further still.--

To th' All wise Subtle One trust worldly things * Rest thee from
all whereto the worldling clings:
Learn wisely well naught cometh by thy will * But e'en as willeth
Allah, King of Kings.

And lastly.--

Gladsome and gay forget thine every grief * Full often grief the
wisest hearts outwore:
Thought is but folly in the feeble slave * Shun it and so be
saved evermore.

Said the King for sole return, "Knowest thou why I have summoned
thee?" and the Sage replied, "Allah Most Highest alone kenneth
hidden things!" But the King rejoined, "I summoned thee only to
take thy life and utterly to destroy thee." Duban the Wise
wondered at this strange address with exceeding wonder and asked,
"O King, and wherefore wouldest thou slay me, and what ill have I
done thee?" and the King answered, "Men tell me thou art a spy
sent hither with intent to slay me; and lo! I will kill thee ere
I be killed by thee;" then he called to his Sworder, and said,
"Strike me off the head of this traitor and deliver us from his
evil practices." Quoth the Sage, "Spare me and Allah will spare
thee; slay me not or Allah shall slay thee." And he repeated to
him these very words, even as I to thee, O Ifrit, and yet thou
wouldst not let me go, being bent upon my death. King Yunan only
rejoined, "I shall not be safe without slaying thee; for, as thou
healedst me by something held in hand, so am I not secure against
thy killing me by something given me to smell or otherwise." Said
the physician, "This then, O King, is thy requital and reward;
thou returnest only evil for good." The King replied, "There is
no help for it; die thou must and without delay." Now when the
physician was certified that the King would slay him without
waiting, he wept and regretted the good he had done to other than
the good. As one hath said on this subject:--

Of wit and wisdom is Maymunah[FN#98] bare * Whose sire in
wisdom all the wits outstrippeth:
Man may not tread on mud or dust or clay * Save by good sense,
else trippeth he and slippeth.

Hereupon the Sworder stepped forward and bound the Sage Duban's
eyes and bared his blade, saying to the King, "By thy leave;"
while the physician wept and cried, "Spare me and Allah will
spare thee, and slay me not or Allah shall slay thee," and began

I was kind and 'scaped not, they were cruel and escaped; * And my
kindness only led me to Ruination Hall,
If I live I'll ne'er be kind; if I die, then all be damned * Who
follow me, and curses their kindliness befal.

"Is this," continued Duban, "the return I meet from thee? Thou
givest me, meseems, but crocodile boon." Quoth the King,"What is
the tale of the crocodile?", and quoth the physician, "Impossible
for me to tell it in this my state; Allah upon thee, spare me, as
thou hopest Allah shall spare thee." And he wept with ex ceeding
weeping. Then one of the King's favourites stood up and said, "O
King! grant me the blood of this physician; we have never seen
him sin against thee, or doing aught save healing thee from a
disease which baffled every leach and man of science." Said the
King, "Ye wot not the cause of my putting to death this
physician, and this it is. If I spare him, I doom myself to
certain death; for one who healed me of such a malady by
something held in my hand, surely can slay me by something held
to my nose; and I fear lest he kill me for a price, since haply
he is some spy whose sole purpose in coming hither was to compass
my destruction. So there is no help for it; die he must, and then
only shall I be sure of my own life." Again cried Duban, "Spare
me and Allah shall spare thee; and slay me not or Allah shall
slay thee." But it was in vain. Now when the physician, O Ifrit,
knew for certain that the King would kill him, he said, "O King,
if there be no help but I must die, grant me some little delay
that I may go down to my house and release myself from mine
obligations and direct my folk and my neighbours where to bury me
and distribute my books of medicine. Amongst these I have one,
the rarest of rarities, which I would present to thee as an
offering: keep it as a treasure in thy treasury." "And what is in
the book?" asked the King and the Sage answered, "Things beyond
compt; and the least of secrets is that if, directly after thou
hast cut off my head, thou open three leaves and read three lines
of the page to thy left hand, my head shall speak and answer
every question thou deignest ask of it." The King wondered with
exceeding wonder and shaking[FN#99] with delight at the novelty,
said, "O physician, cost thou really tell me that when I cut off
thy head it will speak to me?" He replied, "Yes, O King!" Quoth
the King, "This is indeed a strange matter!" and forthwith sent
him closely guarded to his house, and Duban then and there
settled all his obligations. Next day he went up to the King's
audience hall, where Emirs and Wazirs, Chamberlains and Nabobs,
Grandees and Lords of Estate were gathered together, making the
presence chamber gay as a garden of flower beds. And lo! the
physician came up and stood before the King, bearing a worn old
volume and a little etui of metal full of powder, like that used
for the eyes.[FN#100] Then he sat down and said, "Give me a
tray." So they brought him one and he poured the powder upon it
and levelled it and lastly spake as follows: "O King, take this
book but do not open it till my head falls; then set it upon this
tray, and bid press it down upon the powder, when forthright the
blood will cease flowing. That is the time to open the book." The
King thereupon took the book and made a sign to the Sworder, who
arose and struck off the physician's head, and placing it on the
middle of the tray, pressed it down upon the powder. The blood
stopped flowing, and the Sage Duban unclosed his eyes and said,
"Now open the book, O King!" The King opened the book, and found
the leaves stuck together; so he put his finger to his mouth and,
by moistening it, he easily turned over the first leaf, and in
like way the second, and the third, each leaf opening with much
trouble; and when he had un stuck six leaves he looked over them
and, finding nothing written thereon, said, "O physician, there
is no writing here!" Duban re plied, "Turn over yet more;" and he
turned over three others in the same way. Now the book was
poisoned; and before long the venom penetrated his system, and he
fell into strong convulsions and he cried out, "The poison hath
done its work!" Whereupon the Sage Duban's head began to

There be rulers who have ruled with a foul tyrannic sway *
But they soon became as though they had never, never been:
Just, they had won justice: they oppressed and were oppress *
By Fortune, who requited them with ban and bane and teen:
So they faded like the morn, and the tongue of things repeats *
"Take this far that, nor vent upon Fortune's ways thy

No sooner had the head ceased speaking than the King rolled over
dead. Now I would have thee know, O Ifrit, that if King Yunan had
spared the Sage Duban, Allah would have spared him, but he
refused so to do and decreed to do him dead, wherefore Allah slew
him; and thou too, O Ifrit, if thou hadst spared me, Allah would
have spared thee. And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and
ceased saying her permitted say: then quoth Dunyazad, "O my
sister, how pleasant is thy tale, and how tasteful; how sweet,
and how grateful!" She replied, "And where is this compared with
what I could tell thee this coming night, if I live and the King
spare me?" Said the King in himself, "By Allah, I will not slay
her until I hear the rest of her story, for truly it is
wondrous." They rested that night in mutual embrace until dawn:
then the King went forth to his Darbar; the Wazirs and troops
came in and the audience hall was crowded; so the King gave
orders and judged and appointed and deposed and bade and forbade
the rest of that day, when the court broke up, and King Shahryar
entered his palace,

When it was the Sixth Night,

Her sister, Dunyazad, said to her,"Pray finish for us thy story;"
and she answered, "I will if the King give me leave." "Say on,"
quoth the King. And she continued:--It hath reached me, O
auspicious King, that when the Fisherman said to the Ifrit, "If
thou hadst spared me I would have spared thee, but nothing would
satisfy thee save my death; so now I will do thee die by jailing
thee in this jar and I will hurl thee into this sea." Then the
Marid roared aloud and cried, "Allah upon thee, O Fisher man,
don't! Spare me, and pardon my past doings; and, as I have been
tyrannous, so be thou generous, for it is said among sayings that
go current:--O thou who doest good to him who hath done thee
evil, suffice for the ill doer his ill deeds, and do not deal
with me as did Umamah to 'Atikah."[FN#101] Asked the Fisherman,
"And what was their case?" and the Ifrit answered, "This is not
the time for story telling and I in this prison; but set me free
and I will tell thee the tale." Quoth the Fisherman, "Leave this
language: there is no help but that thou be thrown back into the
sea nor is there any way for thy getting out of it for ever and
ever. Vainly I placed myself under thy protection,[FN#102] and I
humbled my self to thee with weeping, while thou soughtest only
to slay me, who had done thee no injury deserving this at thy
hands; nay, so far from injuring thee by any evil act, I worked
thee nought but weal in releasing thee from that jail of thine.
Now I knew thee to be an evil doer when thou diddest to me what
thou didst, and know, that when I have cast thee back into the
sea, I will warn whomsoever may fish thee up of what hath
befallen me with thee, and I will advise him to toss thee back
again; so shalt thou abide here under these waters till the End
of Time shall make an end of thee." But the Ifrit cried aloud,
"Set me free; this is a noble occasion for generosity and I make
covenant with thee and vow never to do thee hurt and harm; nay, I
will help thee to what shall put thee out of want." The Fisherman
accepted his promises on both conditions, not to trouble him as
before, but on the contrary to do him service; and, after making
firm the plight and swearing him a solemn oath by Allah Most
Highest he opened the cucurbit. Thereupon the pillar of smoke
rose up till all of it was fully out; then it thickened and once
more became an Ifrit of hideous presence, who forthright ad
ministered a kick to the bottle and sent it flying into the sea.
The Fisherman, seeing how the cucurbit was treated and making
sure of his own death, piddled in his clothes and said to
himself, "This promiseth badly;" but he fortified his heart, and
cried, "O Ifrit, Allah hath said[FN#103]: - Perform your
covenant; for the performance of your covenant shall be inquired
into hereafter. Thou hast made a vow to me and hast sworn an oath
not to play me false lest Allah play thee false, for verily he is
a jealous God who respiteth the sinner, but letteth him not
escape. I say to thee as said the Sage Duban to King Yunan,
"Spare me so Allah may spare thee!" The Ifrit burst into laughter
and stalked away, saying to the Fisherman, "Follow me;" and the
man paced after him at a safe distance (for he was not assured of
escape) till they had passed round the suburbs of the city.
Thence they struck into the uncultivated grounds, and crossing
them descended into a broad wilderness, and lo! in the midst of
it stood a mountain tarn. The Ifrit waded in to the middle and
again cried, "Follow me;" and when this was done he took his
stand in the centre and bade the man cast his net and catch his
fish. The Fisherman looked into the water and was much astonished
to see therein vari coloured fishes, white and red, blue and
yellow; however he cast his net and, hauling it in, saw that he
had netted four fishes, one of each colour. Thereat he rejoiced
greatly and more when the Ifrit said to him, "Carry these to the
Sultan and set them in his presence; then he will give thee what
shall make thee a wealthy man; and now accept my excuse, for by
Allah at this time I wot none other way of benefiting thee,
inasmuch I have lain in this sea eighteen hundred years and have
not seen the face of the world save within this hour. But I would
not have thee fish here save once a day." The Ifrit then gave him
God speed, saying, Allah grant we meet again;"[FN#104] and struck
the earth with one foot, whereupon the ground clove asunder and
swallowed him up. The Fisherman, much marvelling at what had
happened to him with the Ifrit, took the fish and made for the
city; and as soon as he reached home he filled an earthen bowl
with water and therein threw the fish which began to struggle and
wriggle about. Then he bore off the bowl upon his head and
repairing to the King's palace (even as the Ifrit had bidden him)
laid the fish before the presence; and the King wondered with
exceeding wonder at the sight, for never in his lifetime had' he
seen fishes like these in quality or in conformation. So he said,
"Give those fish to the stranger slave girl who now cooketh for
us," meaning the bond maiden whom the King of Roum had sent to
him only three days before, so that he had not yet made trial of
her talents in the dressing of meat. Thereupon the Wazir carried
the fish to the cook and bade her fry them[FN#105] saying, "O
damsel, the King sendeth this say to thee:--I have not treasured
thee, O tear o' me! save for stress time of me; approve, then, to
us this day thy delicate handiwork and thy savoury cooking; for
this dish of fish is a present sent to the Sultan and evidently a
rarity." The Wazir, after he had carefully charged her, returned
to the King, who commanded him to give the Fisherman four hundred
diners: he gave them accordingly, and the man took them to his
bosom and ran off home stumbling and falling and rising again and
deeming the whole thing to be a dream. However, he bought for his
family all they wanted and lastly he went to his wife in huge joy
and gladness. So far concerning him; but as regards the cookmaid,
she took the fish and cleansed them and set them in the frying
pan, basting them with oil till one side was dressed. Then she
turned them over and, behold, the kitchen wall crave asunder, and
therefrom came a young lady, fair of form, oval of face, perfect
in grace, with eyelids which Kohl lines enchase.[FN#106] Her
dress was a silken head kerchief fringed and tasseled with blue:
a large ring hung from either ear; a pair of bracelets adorned
her wrists; rings with bezels of priceless gems were on her
fingers; and she hent in hand a long rod of rattan cane which she
thrust into the frying pan, saying, "O fish! O fish! be ye
constant to your covenant?" When the cookmaiden saw this
apparition she swooned away. The young lady repeated her words a
second time and a third time, and at last the fishes raised their
heads from the pan, and saying in articulate speech "Yes! Yes!"
began with one voice to recite:--

Come back and so will I! Keep faith and so will I! * And if ye
fain forsake, I'll requite till quits we cry!

After this the young lady upset the frying pan and went forth by
the way she came in and the kitchen wall closed upon her. When
the cook maiden recovered from her fainting fit, she saw the four
fishes charred black as charcoal, and crying out, "His staff
brake in his first bout,"[FN#107] she again fell swooning to the
ground. Whilst she was in this case the Wazir came for the fish
and looking upon her as insensible she lay, not knowing Sunday
from Thursday, shoved her with his foot and said, "Bring the fish
for the Sultan!" Thereupon recovering from her fainting fit she
wept and in formed him of her case and all that had befallen her.
The Wazir marvelled greatly and exclaiming, "This is none other
than a right strange matter!", he sent after the Fisherman and
said to him, "Thou, O Fisherman, must needs fetch us four fishes
like those thou broughtest before." Thereupon the man repaired to
the tarn and cast his net; and when he landed it, lo! four fishes
were therein exactly like the first. These he at once carried to
the Wazir, who went in with them to the cook maiden and said, "Up
with thee and fry these in my presence, that I may see this
business." The damsel arose and cleansed the fish, and set them
in the frying pan over the fire; however they remained there but
a little while ere the wall crave asunder and the young lady
appeared, clad as before and holding in hand the wand which she
again thrust into the frying pan, saying, "O fish! O fish! be ye
constant to your olden covenant?" And behold, the fish lifted
their heads, and repeated "Yes! Yes!" and recited this couplet:

Come back and so will I! Keep faith and so will I! * But if ye
fain forsake, I'll requite till quits we cry!

And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased saying her
permitted say.

When it was the Seventh Night,

She continued, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when
the fishes spoke, and the young lady upset the frying pan with
her rod, and went forth by the way she came and the wall closed
up, the Wazir cried out, "This is a thing not to be hidden from
the King." So he went and told him what had happened, where upon
quoth the King, "There is no help for it but that I see this with
mine own eyes." Then he sent for the Fisherman and commended him
to bring four other fish like the first and to take with him
three men as witnesses. The Fisherman at once brought the fish:
and the King, after ordering them to give him four hundred gold
pieces, turned to the Wazir and said, "Up and fry me the fishes
here before me!" The Minister, replying "To hear is to obey,"
bade bring the frying pan, threw therein the cleansed fish and
set it over the fire; when lo! the wall crave asunder, and out
burst a black slave like a huge rock or a remnant of the tribe
Ad[FN#108] bearing in hand a branch of a green tree; and he cried
in loud and terrible tones, "O fish! O fish! be ye all constant
to your antique covenant?" whereupon the fishes lifted their
heads from the frying pan and said, "Yes! Yes ! we be true to our
vow;" and they again recited the couplet:

Come back and so will I! Keep faith and so will I! * But if ye
fain forsake, I'll requite till quits we cry!

Then the huge blackamoor approached the frying pan and upset it
with the branch and went forth by the way he came in. When he
vanished from their sight the King inspected the fish; and
finding them all charred black as charcoal, was utterly
bewildered and said to the Wazir, "Verily this is a matter
whereanent silence cannot be kept, and as for the fishes,
assuredly some marvellous adventure connects with them." So he
bade bring the Fisherman and asked him, saying "Fie on thee,
fellow! whence came these fishes?" and he answered, "From a tarn
between four heights lying behind this mountain which is in sight
of thy city." Quoth the King, "How many days' march?" Quoth he,
"O our lord the Sultan, a walk of half hour." The King wondered
and, straight way ordering his men to march and horsemen to
mount, led off the Fisherman who went before as guide, privily
damning the Ifrit. They fared on till they had climbed the
mountain and descended unto a great desert which they had never
seen during all their lives; and the Sultan and his merry men
marvelled much at the wold set in the midst of four mountains,
and the tarn and its fishes of four colours, red and white,
yellow and blue. The King stood fixed to the spot in wonderment
and asked his troops and all present, "Hath any one among you
ever seen this piece of water before now?" and all made answer,
"O King of the age never did we set eyes upon it during all our
days." They also questioned the oldest inhabitants they met, men
well stricken in years, but they replied, each and every, "A
lakelet this we never saw in this place." Thereupon quoth the
King, "By Allah I will neither return to my capital nor sit upon
the throne of my forbears till I learn the truth about this tarn
and the fish therein." He then ordered his men to dismount and
bivouac all around the mountain; which they did; and summoning
his Wazir, a Minister of much experience, sagacious, of
penetrating wit and well versed in affairs, said to him, "'Tis in
my mind to do a certain thing whereof I will inform thee; my
heart telleth me to fare forth alone this night and root out the
mystery of this tarn and its fishes. Do thou take thy seat at my
tent door, and say to the Emirs and Wazirs, the Nabobs and the
Chamberlains, in fine to all who ask thee:--The Sultan is ill at
ease, and he hath ordered me to refuse all admittance;[FN#109]
and be careful thou let none know my design." And the Wazir could
not oppose him. Then the King changed his dress and ornaments
and, slinging his sword over his shoulder, took a path which led
up one of the mountains and marched for the rest of the night
till morning dawned; nor did he cease wayfaring till the heat was
too much for him. After his long walk he rested for a while, and
then resumed his march and fared on through the second night till
dawn, when suddenly there appeared a black point in the far
distance. Hereat he rejoiced and said to himself, "Haply some one
here shall acquaint me with the mystery of the tarn and its
fishes." Presently drawing near the dark object he found it a
palace built of swart stone plated with iron; and, while one leaf
of the gate stood wide open, the other was shut, The King's
spirits rose high as he stood before the gate and rapped a light
rap; but hearing no answer he knocked a second knock and a third;
yet there came no sign. Then he knocked his loudest but still no
answer, so he said, "Doubtless 'tis empty." Thereupon he mustered
up resolution and boldly walked through the main gate into the
great hall and there cried out aloud, "Holla, ye people of the
palace! I am a stranger and a wayfarer; have you aught here of
victual?" He repeated his cry a second time and a third but still
there came no reply; so strengthening his heart and making up his
mind he stalked through the vestibule into the very middle of the
palace and found no man in it. Yet it was furnished with silken
stuffs gold starred; and the hangings were let down over the door
ways. In the midst was a spacious court off which set four open
saloons each with its raised dais, saloon facing saloon; a canopy
shaded the court and in the centre was a jetting fount with four
figures of lions made of red gold, spouting from their mouths
water clear as pearls and diaphanous gems. Round about the palace
birds were let loose and over it stretched a net of golden wire,
hindering them from flying off; in brief there was everything but
human beings. The King marvelled mightily thereat, yet felt he
sad at heart for that he saw no one to give him account of the
waste and its tarn, the fishes, the mountains and the palace
itself. Presently as he sat between the doors in deep thought
behold, there came a voice of lament, as from a heart grief spent
and he heard the voice chanting these verses:--

I hid what I endured of him[FN#110] and yet it came to light, *
And nightly sleep mine eyelids fled and changed to sleepless
Oh world! Oh Fate! withhold thy hand and cease thy hurt and
harm * Look and behold my hapless sprite in colour and
Wilt ne'er show ruth to highborn youth who lost him on the way *
Of Love, and fell from wealth and fame to lowest basest
Jealous of Zephyr's breath was I as on your form he breathed *
But whenas Destiny descends she blindeth human sight[FN#111]
What shall the hapless archer do who when he fronts his foe * And
bends his bow to shoot the shaft shall find his string
When cark and care so heavy bear on youth[FN#112] of generous
soul * How shall he 'scape his lot and where from Fate his
place of flight?

Now when the Sultan heard the mournful voice he sprang to his
feet; and, following the sound, found a curtain let down over a
chamber door. He raised it and saw behind it a young man sitting
upon a couch about a cubit above the ground; and he fair to the
sight, a well shaped wight, with eloquence dight; his forehead
was flower white, his cheek rosy bright, and a mole on his cheek
breadth like an ambergris mite; even as the poet cloth indite:--

A youth slim waisted from whose locks and brow * The world in
blackness and in light is set.
Throughout Creation's round no fairer show * No rarer sight thine
eye hath ever met:
A nut brown mole sits throned upon a cheek * Of rosiest red
beneath an eye of jet.[FN#113]

The King rejoiced and saluted him, but he remained sitting in his
caftan of silken stuff pureed with Egyptian gold and his crown
studded with gems of sorts; but his face was sad with the traces
of sorrow. He returned the royal salute in most courteous wise
adding, "O my lord, thy dignity demandeth my rising to thee; and
my sole excuse is to crave thy pardon."[FN#114] Quoth the King,
"Thou art excused, O youth; so look upon me as thy guest come
hither on an especial object. I would thou acquaint me with the
secrets of this tarn and its fishes and of this palace and thy
loneliness therein and the cause of thy groaning and wailing."
When the young man heard these words he wept with sore
weeping;[FN#115] till his bosom was drenched with tears and began

Say him who careless sleeps what while the shaft of Fortune flies
* How many cloth this shifting world lay low and raise to
Although thine eye be sealed in sleep, sleep not th' Almighty's
eyes * And who hath found Time ever fair, or Fate in
constant guise?

Then he sighed a long fetched sigh and recited:--

Confide thy case to Him, the Lord who made mankind; * Quit cark
and care and cultivate content of mind;
Ask not the Past or how or why it came to pass: * All human
things by Fate and Destiny were designed!

The King marvelled and asked him, "What maketh thee weep, O young
man?" and he answered, "How should I not weep, when this is my
case!" Thereupon he put out his hand and raised the skirt of his
garment, when lo! the lower half of him appeared stone down to
his feet while from his navel to the hair of his head he was man.
The King, seeing this his plight, grieved with sore grief and of
his compassion cried, "Alack and well away! in very sooth, O
youth, thou heapest sorrow upon my sorrow. I was minded to ask
thee the mystery of the fishes only: whereas now I am concerned
to learn thy story as well as theirs. But there is no Majesty and
there is no Might save in Allah, the Glorious, the Great![FN#116]
Lose no time, O youth, but tell me forthright thy whole tale."
Quoth he, "Lend me thine ears, thy sight and thine insight;" and
quoth the King, "All are at thy service!" Thereupon the youth
began, "Right wondrous and marvellous is my case and that of
these fishes; and were it graven with gravers upon the eye
corners it were a warner to whoso would be warned." "How is
that?" asked the King, and the young man began to tell

The Tale of the Ensorcelled Prince.

Know then, O my lord, that whilome my sire was King of this city,
and his name was Mahmud, entitled Lord of the Black Islands, and
owner of what are now these four mountains. He ruled three score
and ten years, after which he went to the mercy of the Lord and I
reigned as Sultan in his stead. I took to wife my cousin, the
daughter of my paternal uncle,[FN#117] and she loved me with such
abounding love that whenever I was absent she ate not and she
drank not until she saw me again. She cohabited with me for five
years till a certain day when she went forth to the Hammam bath;
and I bade the cook hasten to get ready all requisites for our
supper. And I entered this palace and lay down on the bed where I
was wont to sleep and bade two damsels to fan my face, one
sitting by my head and the other at my feet. But I was troubled
and made restless by my wife's absence and could not sleep; for
although my eyes were closed my mind and thoughts were wide
awake. Presently I heard the slave girl at my head say to her at
my feet, "O Mas'udah, how miserable is our master and how wasted
in his youth and oh! the pity of his being so be trayed by our
mistress, the accursed whore!''[FN#118] The other replied, "Yes
indeed: Allah curse all faithless women and adulterous; but the
like of our master, with his fair gifts, deserveth something
better than this harlot who lieth abroad every night." Then quoth
she who sat by my head, "Is our lord dumb or fit only for
bubbling that he questioneth her not!" and quoth the other, "Fie
on thee! cloth our lord know her ways or cloth she allow him his
choice? Nay, more, cloth she not drug every night the cup she
giveth him to drink before sleep time, and put Bhang[FN#119] into
it? So he sleepeth and wotteth not whither she goeth, nor what
she doeth; but we know that after giving him the drugged wine,
she donneth her richest raiment and perfumeth herself and then
she fareth out from him to be away till break of day; then she
cometh to him, and burneth a pastile under his nose and he
awaketh from his deathlike sleep." When I heard the slave girl's
words, the light became black before my sight and I thought night
would never-fall. Presently the daughter of my uncle came from
the baths; and they set the table for us and we ate and sat
together a fair half hour quaffing our wine as was ever our wont.
Then she called for the particular wine I used to drink before
sleeping and reached me the cup; but, seeming to drink it
according to my wont, I poured the contents into my bosom; and,
lying down, let her hear that I was asleep. Then, behold, she
cried, "Sleep out the night, and never wake again: by Allah, I
loathe thee and I loathe thy whole body, and my soul turneth in
disgust from cohabiting with thee; and I see not the moment when
Allah shall snatch away thy life!" Then she rose and donned her
fairest dress and perfumed her person and slung my sword over her
shoulder; and, opening the gates of the palace, went her ill way.
I rose and followed her as she left the palace and she threaded
the streets until she came to the city gate, where she spoke
words I understood not, and the padlocks dropped of themselves as
if broken and the gate leaves opened. She went forth (and I after
her without her noticing aught) till she came at last to the
outlying mounds[FN#120] and a reed fence built about a round
roofed hut of mud bricks. As she entered the door, I climbed upon
the roof which commanded a view of the interior, and lo! my fair
cousin had gone in to a hideous negro slave with his upper lip
like the cover of a pot, and his lower like an open pot; lips
which might sweep up sand from the gravel-floor of the cot. He
was to boot a leper and a paralytic, lying upon a strew of sugar
cane trash and wrapped in an old blanket and the foulest rags and
tatters. She kissed the earth before him, and he raised his head
so as to see her and said, "Woe to thee! what call hadst thou to
stay away all this time? Here have been with me sundry of the
black brethren, who drank their wine and each had his young lady,
and I was not content to drink because of thine absence." Then
she, "O my lord, my heart's love and coolth of my eyes [FN#121]
knowest thou not that I am married to my cousin whose very look I
loathe, and hate myself when in his company? And did not I fear
for thy sake, I would not let a single sun arise before making
his city a ruined heap wherein raven should croak and howlet
hoot, and jackal and wolf harbour and loot; nay I had removed its
very stones to the back side of Mount Kaf." [FN#122] Rejoined the
slave, Thou liest, damn thee! Now I swear an oath by the velour
and honour of blackamoor men (and deem not our manliness to be ;
the poor manliness of white men), from today forth if thou stay
away till this hour, I will not keep company with thee nor will I
glue my body with thy body and strum and belly bump Dost play
fast and loose with us, thou cracked pot, that we may satisfy thy
dirty lusts? stinkard! bitch! vilest of the vile whites!" When I
heard his words, and saw with my own eyes what passed between
these two wretches, the world waxed dark be fore my face and my
soul knew not in what place it was. But , my wife humbly stood up
weeping before and wheedling the slave, and saying, O my beloved,
and very fruit of my heart, there is none left to cheer me but
thy dear self; and, if thou cast me off who shall take me in, O
my beloved, O light of my eyes?" And she ceased not weeping and
abasing herself to him until he deigned be reconciled with her.
Then was she right glad and stood up and doffed her clothes, even
to her petticoat trousers, and said, 0 my master what hast thou
here for thy handmaiden to eat? Uncover the basin," he grumbled,
"and thou shalt find t the bottom the broiled bones of some rats
we dined on, pick at them, and then go to that slop pot where
thou shalt find some leavings of beer [FN#123] which thou mayest
drink." So she ate and drank and washed her hands, and went and
lay down by the side of the slave, upon the cane trash and,
stripping herself stark naked, she crept in with him under his
foul coverlet and his rags and tatters. When I saw my wife, my
cousin, the daughter of my uncle, do this deed[FN#124] I clean
lost my wits, and climbing down from the roof, I entered and took
the sword which she had with her and drew it, determined to cut
down the twain. I first struck at the slave's neck and thought
that the death decree had fallen on him:"And Shahrazad perceived
the dawn of day and ceased to say her permitted say.

When it was the Eighth Night,

She continued, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that the
young ensorcelled Prince said to the King, "When I smote the
slave with intent to strike off his head, I thought that I had
slain him; for he groaned a loud hissing groan, but I had cut
only the skin and flesh of the gullet and the two arteries! It
awoke the daughter of my uncle, so I sheathed the sword and fared
forth for the city; and, entering the palace, lay upon my bed and
slept till morning when my wife aroused me and I saw that she had
cut off her hair and had donned mourning garments. Quoth she:--O
son of my uncle, blame me not for what I do; it hath just reached
me that my mother is dead, and my father hath been killed in holy
war, and of my brothers one hath lost his life by a snake sting
and the other by falling down some precipice; and I can and
should do naught save weep and lament. When I heard her words I
refrained from all reproach and said only:--Do as thou list; I
certainly will not thwart thee. She continued sorrowing, weeping
and wailing one whole year from the beginning of its circle to
the end, and when it was finished she said to me.--I wish to
build me in thy palace a tomb with a cupola, which I will set
apart for my mourning and will name the House of
Lamentations.[FN#125] Quoth I again:--Do as thou list! Then she
builded for herself a cenotaph wherein to mourn, and set on its
centre a dome under which showed a tomb like a Santon's
sepulchre. Thither she carried the slave and lodged him; but he
was exceeding weak by reason of his wound, and unable to do her
love service; he could only drink wine and from the day of his
hurt he spake not a word, yet he lived on because his appointed
hour[FN#126] was not come. Every day, morning and evening, my
wife went to him and wept and wailed over him and gave him wine
and strong soups, and left not off doing after this manner a
second year; and I bore with her patiently and paid no heed to
her. One day, however, I went in to her unawares; and I found her
weeping and beating her face and crying:--Why art thou absent
from my sight, O my heart's delight? Speak to me, O my life; talk
with me, O my love? Then she recited these verses:--

For your love my patience fails and albeit you forget * I may
not, nor to other love my heart can make reply:
Bear my body, bear my soul wheresoever you may fare * And
where you pitch the camp let my body buried lie:
Cry my name above my grave, and an answer shall return * The
moaning of my bones responsive to your cry.[FN#127]

Then she recited, weeping bitterly the while:--

The day of my delight is the day when draw you near * And the
day of mine affright is the day you turn away:
Though I tremble through the night in my bitter dread of death *
When I hold you in my arms I am free from all affray

Once more she began reciting:--

Though a morn I may awake with all happiness in hand *
Though the world all be mine and like Kisra-kings[FN#128] I
To me they had the worth of the winglet of the gnat * When I fail
to see thy form, when I look for thee in vain

When she had ended for a time her words and her weeping I said to
her--O my cousin, let this thy mourning suffice, for in pouring
forth tears there is little profit! Thwart me not, answered she,
in aught I do, or I will lay violent hands on myself! So I held
my peace and left her to go her own way; and she ceased not to
cry and keen and indulge her affliction for yet another year. At
the end of the third year I waxed aweary of this lonesome
mourning, and one day I happened to enter the cenotaph when vexed
and angry with some matter which had thwarted me, and suddenly I
heard her say:--O my lord, I never hear thee vouch safe a single
word to me! Why cost thou not answer me, O my master? and she
began reciting:--

O thou tomb! O, thou tomb! be his beauty set in shade? * Hast
thou darkened that countenance all sheeny as the noon?
O thou tomb! neither earth nor yet heaven art to me * Then how
cometh it in thee are conjoined my sun and moon?

When I heard such verses as these rage was heaped upon my rage I
cried out:--Well away! how long is this sorrow to last? and I
began repeating:--

O thou tomb! O thou tomb! be his horrors set in blight? * Hast
thou dark ened his countenance that sickeneth the soul?
O thou tomb! neither cess pool nor pipkin art to me * Then how
cometh it in thee are conjoined soil and coal?

When she heard my words she sprang to her feet crying.--Fie upon
thee, thou cur! all this is of thy doings; thou hast wounded my
heart s darling and thereby worked me sore woe and thou hast
wasted his youth so that these three years he hath lain abed more
dead than alive! In my wrath I cried:--O thou foulest of harlots
and filthiest of whores ever futtered by negro slaves who are
hired to have at thee![FN#129] Yes indeed it was I who did this
good deed; and snatching up my sword I drew it and made at her to
cut her down. But she laughed my words and mine intent to scorn
crying: To heel, hound that thou art! Alas[FN#130] for the past
which shall no more come to pass nor shall any one avail the dead
to raise. Allah hath indeed now given into my hand him who did to
me this thing, a deed that hath burned my heart with a fire which
died not and a flame which might not be quenched! Then she stood
up; and, pronouncing some words to me unintelligible, she said:--
By virtue of my egromancy become thou half stone and half man;
whereupon I became what thou seest, unable to rise or to sit, and
neither dead nor alive. Moreover she ensorcelled the city with
all its streets and garths, and she turned by her gramarye the
four islands into four mountains around the tarn whereof thou
questionest me; and the citizens, who were of four different
faiths, Moslem, Nazarene, Jew and Magian, she transformed by her
enchantments into fishes; the Moslems are the white, the Magians
red, the Christians blue and the Jews yellow.[FN#131] And every
day she tortureth me and scourgeth me with an hundred stripes,
each of which draweth floods of blood and cutteth the skin of my
shoulders to strips; and lastly she clotheth my upper half with a
hair cloth and then throweth over them these robes." Hereupon the
young man again shed tears and began reciting:--

In patience, O my God, I endure my lot and fate; * I will bear at
will of Thee whatsoever be my state:
They oppress me; they torture me; they make my life a woe * Yet
haply Heaven's happiness shall compensate my strait:
Yea, straitened is my life by the bane and hate o' foes * But
Mustafa and Murtaza[FN#132] shall ope me Heaven's gate.

After this the Sultan turned towards the young Prince and said,
"O youth, thou hast removed one grief only to add another grief;
but now, O my friend, where is she; and where is the mausoleum
wherein lieth the wounded slave?" "The slave lieth under yon
dome," quoth the young man, "and she sitteth in the chamber
fronting yonder door. And every day at sunrise she cometh forth,
and first strippeth me, and whippeth me with an hundred strokes
of the leathern scourge, and I weep and shriek; but there is no
power of motion in my lower limbs to keep her off me. After
ending her tormenting me she visiteth the slave, bringing him
wine and boiled meats. And to morrow at an early hour she will be
here." Quoth the King, "By Allah, O youth, I will as suredly do
thee a good deed which the world shall not willingly let die, and
an act of derring do which shall be chronicled long after I am
dead and gone by." Then the King sat him by the side of the young
Prince and talked till nightfall, when he lay down and slept;
but, as soon as the false dawn[FN#133] showed, he arose and
doffing his outer garments[FN#134] bared his blade and hastened
to the place wherein lay the slave. Then was he ware of lighted
candles and lamps, and the perfume of incenses and unguents, and
directed by these, he made for the slave and struck him one
stroke killing him on the spot: after which he lifted him on his
back and threw him into a well that was in the palace. Presentry
he returned and, donning the slave's gear, lay down at length
within the mausoleum with the drawn sword laid close to and along
his side. After an hour or so the accursed witch came; and, first
going to her husband, she stripped off his clothes and, taking a
whip, flogged him cruelly while he cried out, "Ah! enough for me
the case I am in! take pity on me, O my cousin!' But she replied,
"Didst thou take pity on me and spare the life of my true love on
whom I coated?" Then she drew the cilice over his raw and
bleeding skin and threw the robe upon all and went down to the
slave with a goblet of wine and a bowl of meat broth in her
hands. She entered under the dome weeping and wailing,
"Well-away!" and crying, "O my lord! speak a word to me! O my
master! talk awhile with me!" and began to recite these

How long this harshness, this unlove, shall bide? * Suffice thee
not tear floods thou hast espied?
Thou cost prolong our parting purposely * And if wouldst please
my foe, thou'rt satisfied!

Then she wept again and said, "O my lord! speak to me, talk with
me!" The King lowered his voice and, twisting his tongue, spoke
after the fashion of the blackamoors and said "'lack! 'lack!
there be no Ma'esty and there be no Might save in Allauh, the
Gloriose, the Great!" Now when she heard these words she shouted
for joy, and fell to the ground fainting; and when her senses
returned she asked, "O my lord, can it be true that thou hast
power of speech?" and the King making his voice small and faint
answered, "O my cuss! cost thou deserve that I talk to thee and
speak with thee?" "Why and wherefore?" rejoined she; and he
replied "The why is that all the livelong day thou tormentest thy
hubby; and he keeps calling on 'eaven for aid until sleep is
strange to me even from evenin' till mawnin', and he prays and
damns, cussing us two, me and thee, causing me disquiet and much
bother: were this not so, I should long ago have got my health;
and it is this which prevents my answering thee." Quoth she,
"With thy leave I will release him from what spell is on him;"and
quoth the King, "Release him and let's have some rest!" She
cried, "To hear is to obey;" and, going from the cenotaph to the
palace, she took a metal bowl and filled it with water and spake
over it certain words which made the contents bubble and boil as
a cauldron seetheth over the fire. With this she sprinkled her
husband saying, "By virtue of the dread words I have spoken, if
thou becamest thus by my spells, come forth out of that form into
shine own former form." And lo and behold! the young man shook
and trembled; then he rose to his feet and, rejoicing at his
deliverance, cried aloud, "I testify that there is no god but the
God, and in very truth Mohammed is His Apostle, whom Allah bless
and keep!" Then she said to him, "Go forth and return not hither,
for if thou do I will surely slay thee;" screaming these words in
his face. So he went from between her hands; and she returned to
the dome and, going down to the sepulchre, she said, "O my lord,
come forth to me that I may look upon thee and thy goodliness!"
The King replied in faint low words, "What[FN#135] thing hast
thou done? Thou hast rid me of the branch but not of the root."
She asked, "O my darling! O my negro ring! what is the root?" And
he answered, "Fie on thee, O my cuss! The people of this city and
of the four islands every night when it's half passed lift their
heads from the tank in which thou hast turned them to fishes and
cry to Heaven and call down its anger on me and thee; and this is
the reason why my body's baulked from health. Go at once and set
them free then come to me and take my hand, and raise me up, for
a little strength is already back in me." When she heard the
King's words (and she still supposed him to be the slave) she
cried joyously, O my master, on my head and on my eyes be thy
commend, Bismillah[FN#136]!'' So she sprang to her feet and, full
of joy and gladness, ran down to the tarn and took a little of
its water n the palm of her hand--And Shahrazad perceived the
dawn of day and ceased to say her permitted say.

When it Was the Ninth Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when the
young woman, the sorceress, took in hand some of the tarn water
and spake over it words not to be understood, the fishes lifted
their heads and stood up on the instant like men, the spell on
the people of the city having been removed. What was the lake
again became a crowded capital; the bazars were thronged with
folk who bought and sold; each citizen was occupied with his own
calling and the four hills became islands as they were whilome.
Then the young woman, that wicked sorceress, returned to the King
and (still thinking he was the negro) said to him, O my love!
stretch forth thy honoured hand that I may assist thee to rise."
"Nearer to me," quoth the King in a faint and feigned tone. She
came close as to embrace him when he took up the sword lying hid
by his side and smote her across the breast, so that the point
showed gleaming behind her back. Then he smote her a second time
and cut her in twain and cast her to the ground in two halves.
After which he fared forth and found the young man, now freed
from the spell, awaiting him and gave him joy of his happy
release while the Prince kissed his hand with abundant thanks.
Quoth the King, "Wilt thou abide in this city or go with me to my
capital?" Quoth the youth, "O King of the age, wottest thou not
what journey is between thee and thy city?" "Two days and a
half," answered he, whereupon said the other, "An thou be
sleeping, O King, awake! Between thee and thy city is a year's
march for a well girt walker, and thou haddest not come hither in
two days and a half save that the city was under enchantment. And
I, O King, will never part from thee; no, not even for the
twinkling of an eye." The King rejoiced at his words and said,
"Thanks be to Allah who hath bestowed thee upon me! From this
hour thou art my son and my only son, for that in all my life I
have never been blessed with issue." Thereupon they embraced and
joyed with exceeding great joy; and, reaching the palace, the
Prince who had been spell bound informed his lords and his
grandees that he was about to visit the Holy Places as a pilgrim,
and bade them get ready all things necessary for the occasion.
The preparations lasted ten days, after which he set out with the
Sultan, whose heart burned in yearning for his city whence he had
been absent a whole twelvemonth. They journeyed with an escort of
Mamelukes[FN#137] carrying all manners of precious gifts and
rarities, nor stinted they wayfaring day and night for a full
year until they approached the Sultan's capital, and sent on
messengers to announce their coming. Then the Wazir and the whole
army came out to meet him in joy and gladness, for they had given
up all hope of ever seeing their King; and the troops kissed the
ground before him and wished him joy of his safety. He entered
and took seat upon his throne and the Minister came before him
and, when acquainted with all that had be fallen the young
Prince, he congratulated him on his narrow escape. When order was
restored throughout the land the King gave largesse to many of
his people, and said to the Wazir, "Hither the Fisherman who
brought us the fishes!" So he sent for the man who had been the
first cause of the city and the citizens being delivered from
enchantment and, when he came in to the presence, the Sultan
bestowed upon him a dress of honour, and questioned him of his
condition and whether he had children. The Fisherman gave him to
know that he had two daughters and a son, so the King sent for
them and, taking one daughter to wife, gave the other to the
young Prince and made the son his head treasurer. Furthermore he
invested his Wazir with the Sultanate of the City in the Black
Islands whilome belonging to the young Prince, and dispatched
with him the escort of fifty armed slaves together with dresses
of honour for all the Emirs and Grandees. The Wazir kissed hands
and fared forth on his way; while the Sultan and the Prince abode
at home in all the solace and the delight of life; and the
Fisherman became the richest man of his age, and his daughters
wived with Kings, until death came to them. And yet, O King!
this is not more wondrous than the story of

The Porter and the Three Ladies of Baghdad.

Once upon a time there was a Porter in Baghdad, who was a
bachelor and who would remain unmarried. It came to pass on a
certain day, as he stood about the street leaning idly upon his
crate, behold, there stood before him an honourable woman in a
mantilla of Mosul[FN#138] silk, broidered with gold and bordered
with brocade; her walking shoes were also purfled with gold and
her hair floated in long plaits. She raised her face veil[FN#139]
and, showing two black eyes fringed with jetty lashes, whose
glances were soft and languishing and whose perfect beauty was
ever blandishing, she accosted the Porter and said in the suavest
tones and choicest language, "Take up thy crate and follow me."
The Porter was so dazzled he could hardly believe that he heard
her aright, but he shouldered his basket in hot haste saying in
himself, "O day of good luck! O day of Allah's grace!" and walked
after her till she stopped at the door of a house. There she
rapped, and presently came out to her an old man, a Nazarene, to
whom she gave a gold piece, receiving from him in return what she
required of strained wine clear as olive oil; and she set it
safely in the hamper, saying "Lift and follow." Quoth the Porter,
"This, by Allah, is indeed an auspicious day, a day propitious
for the granting of all a man wisheth." He again hoisted up the
crate and followed her; till she stopped at a fruiterer's shop
and bought from him Shami[FN#140] apples and Osmani quinces and
Omani[FN#141] peaches, and cucumbers of Nile growth, and Egyptian
limes and Sultani oranges and citrons; besides Aleppine jasmine,
scented myrtle berries, Damascene nenuphars, flower of
privet[FN#142] and camomile, blood red anemones, violets, and
pomegranate bloom, eglantine and narcissus, and set the whole in
the Porter's crate, saying, "Up with it." So he lifted and
followed her till she stopped at a butcher's booth and said, "Cut
me off ten pounds of mutton." She paid him his price and he
wrapped it in a banana leaf, whereupon she laid it in the crate
and said "Hoist, O Porter." He hoisted accordingly, and followed
her as she walked on till she stopped at a grocer's, where she
bought dry fruits and pistachio kernels, Tihamah raisins, shelled
almonds and all wanted for dessert, and said to the Porter, "Lift
and follow me." So he up with his hamper and after her till she
stayed at the confectioner's, and she bought an earthen platter,
and piled it with all kinds of sweetmeats in his shop, open
worked tarts and fritters scented with musk and "soap cakes," and
lemon loaves and melon preserves,[FN#143] and "Zaynab's combs,"
and "ladies' fingers," and "Kazi's tit-bits" and goodies of every
description; and placed the platter in the Porter's crate.
Thereupon quoth he (being a merry man), "Thou shouldest have told
me, and I would have brought with me a pony or a she camel to
carry all this market stuff." She smiled and gave him a little
cuff on the nape saying, "Step out and exceed not in words for
(Allah willing!) thy wage will not be wanting." Then she stopped
at a perfumer's and took from him ten sorts of waters, rose
scented with musk, grange Lower, waterlily, willow flower, violet
and five others; and she also bought two loaves of sugar, a
bottle for perfume spraying, a lump of male in cense, aloe wood,
ambergris and musk, with candles of Alex' andria wax; and she put
the whole into the basket, saying, "Up with thy crate and after
me." He did so and followed until she stood before the
greengrocer's, of whom she bought pickled safflower and olives,
in brine and in oil; with tarragon and cream cheese and hard
Syrian cheese; and she stowed them away in the crate saying to
the Porter, "Take up thy basket and follow me." He did so and
went after her till she came to a fair mansion fronted by a
spacious court, a tall, fine place to which columns gave strength
and grace: and the gate thereof had two leaves of ebony inlaid
with plates of red gold. The lady stopped at the door and,
turning her face veil sideways, knocked softly with her knuckles
whilst the Porter stood behind her, thinking of naught save her
beauty and loveliness. Presently the door swung back and both
leaves were opened, whereupon he looked to see who had opened it;
and behold, it was a lady of tall figure, some five feet high; a
model of beauty and loveliness, brilliance and symmetry and
perfect grace. Her forehead was flower white; her cheeks like the
anemone ruddy bright; her eyes were those of the wild heifer or
the gazelle, with eyebrows like the crescent moon which ends
Sha'aban and begins Ramazan;[FN#144] her mouth was the ring of
Sulayman,[FN#145] her lips coral red, and her teeth like a line
of strung pearls or of camomile petals. Her throat recalled the
antelope's, and her breasts, like two pomegranates of even size,
stood at bay as it were,[FN#146] her body rose and fell in waves
below her dress like the rolls of a piece of brocade, and her
navel[FN#147] would hold an ounce of benzoin ointment. In fine
she was like her of whom the poet said:--

On Sun and Moon of palace cast thy sight * Enjoy her flower like
face, her fragrant light:
Thine eyes shall never see in hair so black * Beauty encase a
brow so purely white:
The ruddy rosy cheek proclaims her claim * Though fail her name
whose beauties we indite:
As sways her gait I smile at hips so big * And weep to see the
waist they bear so slight.

When the Porter looked upon her his wits were waylaid, and his
senses were stormed so that his crate went nigh to fall from his
head, and he said to himself, "Never have I in my life seen a day
more blessed than this day!" Then quoth the lady portress to the
lady cateress, "Come in from the gate and relieve this poor man
of his load." So the provisioner went in followed by the portress
and the Porter and went on till they reached a spacious ground
floor hall,[FN#148] built with admirable skill and beautified
with all manner colours and carvings; with upper balconies and
groined arches and galleries and cupboards and recesses whose
curtains hung before them. In the midst stood a great basin full
of water surrounding a fine fountain, and at the upper end on the
raised dais was a couch of juniper wood set with gems and pearls,
with a canopy like mosquito curtains of red satin silk looped up
with pearls as big as filberts and bigger. Thereupon sat a lady
bright of blee, with brow beaming brilliancy, the dream of
philosophy, whose eyes were fraught with Babel's gramarye[FN#149]
and her eye brows were arched as for archery; her breath breathed
ambergris and perfumery and her lips were sugar to taste and
carnelian to see. Her stature was straight as the letter
I[FN#150] and her face shamed the noon sun's radiancy; and she
was even as a galaxy, or a dome with golden marquetry or a bride
displayed in choicest finery or a noble maid of Araby.[FN#151]
Right well of her sang the bard when he said:--

Her smiles twin rows of pearls display * Chamomile-buds or rimey
Her tresses stray as night let down * And shames her light the
dawn o' day.

[FN#152]The third lady rising from the couch stepped forward with
grace ful swaying gait till she reached the middle of the saloon,
when she said to her sisters, "Why stand ye here? take it down
from this poor man's head!" Then the cateress went and stood
before him, and the portress behind him while the third helped
them, and they lifted the load from the Porter's head; and,
emptying it of all that was therein, set everything in its place.
Lastly they gave him two gold pieces, saying, "Wend thy ways, O
Porter." But he went not, for he stood looking at the ladies and
admiring what uncommon beauty was theirs, and their pleasant
manners and kindly dispositions (never had he seen goodlier); and
he gazed wistfully at that good store of wines and sweet scented
flowers and fruits and other matters. Also he marvelled with
exceeding marvel, especially to see no man in the place and
delayed his going; whereupon quoth the eldest lady, "What aileth
thee that goest not; haply thy wage be too little?" And, turning
to her sister the cateress, she said, "Give him another diner!"
But the Porter answered, "By Allah, my lady, it is not for the
wage; my hire is never more than two dirhams; but in very sooth
my heart and my soul are taken up with you and your condition. I
wonder to see you single with ne'er a man about you and not a
soul to bear you company; and well you wot that the minaret
toppleth o'er unless it stand upon four, and you want this same
fourth; and women's pleasure without man is short of measure,
even as the poet said:--

Seest not we want for joy four things all told * The harp and
lute, the flute and flageolet;
And be they companied with scents four fold * Rose, myrtle,
anemone and violet
Nor please all eight an four thou wouldst withold * Good wine and
youth and gold and pretty pet.

You be there and want a fourth who shall be a person of good
sense and prudence; smart witted, and one apt to keep careful
counsel." His words pleased and amused them much; and they
laughed at him and said, "And who is to assure us of that? We are
maidens and we fear to entrust our secret where it may not be
kept, for we have read in a certain chronicle the lines of one
Ibn al-Sumam:-

Hold fast thy secret and to none unfold * Lost is a secret when
that secret's told
An fail thy breast thy secret to conceal * How canst thou hope
another's breast shall hold?

And Abu Nowas[FN#153] said well on the same subject:--

Who trusteth secret to another's hand * Upon his brow deserveth
burn of brand!"

When the Porter heard their words he rejoined, "By your lives! I
am a man of sense and a discreet, who hath read books and perused
chronicles; I reveal the fair and conceal the foul and I act as
the poet adviseth:--

None but the good a secret keep * And good men keep it
It is to me a well shut house * With keyless locks and door

When the maidens heard his verse and its poetical application
addressed to them they said, "Thou knowest that we have laid out
all our monies on this place. Now say, hast thou aught to offer
us in return for entertainment? For surely we will not suf fer
thee to sit in our company and be our cup companion, and gaze
upon our faces so fair and so rare without paying a round
sum.[FN#155] Wottest thou not the saying:--

Sans hope of gain
Love's not worth a grain?"

Whereto the lady portress added, "If thou bring anything thou art
a something; if no thing, be off with thee, thou art a nothing;"
but the procuratrix interposed, saying, "Nay, O my sisters, leave
teasing him for by Allah he hath not failed us this day, and had
he been other he never had kept patience with me, so whatever be
his shot and scot I will take it upon myself." The Porter, over
joyed, kissed the ground before her and thanked her saying, "By
Allah, these monies are the first fruits this day hath given me."
Hearing this they said, "Sit thee down and welcome to thee," and
the eldest lady added, "By Allah, we may not suffer thee to join
us save on one condition, and this it is, that no questions be
asked as to what concerneth thee not, and frowardness shall be
soundly flogged." Answered the Porter, "I agree to this, O my
lady, on my head and my eyes be it! Lookye, I am dumb, I have no
tongue. Then arose the provisioneress and tightening her girdle
set the table by the fountain and put the flowers and sweet herbs
in their jars, and strained the wine and ranged the flasks in row
and made ready every requisite. Then sat she down, she and her
sisters, placing amidst them the Porter who kept deeming himself
in a dream; and she took up the wine flagon, and poured out the
first cup and drank it off, and likewise a second and a
third.[FN#156] After this she filled a fourth cup which she
handed to one of her sisters; and, lastly, she crowned a goblet
and passed it to the Porter, saying:--

"Drink the dear draught, drink free and fain * What healeth every
grief and pain."

He took the cup in his hand and, louting low, returned his best
thanks and improvised:--

Drain not the bowl save with a trusty friend * A man of worth
whose good old
For wine, like wind, sucks sweetness from the sweet * And stinks
when over stench It haply blow:"


Drain not the bowl; save from dear hand like thine * The cup
recall thy gifts; thou, gifts of wine."

After repeating this couplet he kissed their hands and drank and
was drunk and sat swaying from side to side and pursued:--

"All drinks wherein is blood the Law unclean * Doth hold save
one, the blood shed of the vine:
Fill! fill! take all my wealth bequeathed or won * Thou fawn! a
willing ransom for those eyne."

Then the cateress crowned a cup and gave it to the portress, who
took it from her hand and thanked her and drank. Thereupon she
poured again and passed to the eldest lady who sat on the couch,
and filled yet another and handed it to the Porter. He kissed the
ground before them; and, after drinking and thanking them, he
again began to recite :

"Here! Here! by Allah, here! * Cups of the sweet, the dear'
Fill me a brimming bowl * The Fount o' Life I speer

Then the Porter stood up before the mistress of the house and
said, "O lady, I am thy slave, thy Mameluke, thy white thrall, a,
thy very bondsman;" and he began reciting:--

"A slave of slaves there standeth at thy door * Lauding thy
generous boons and gifts galore
Beauty! may he come in awhile to 'joy * Thy charms? for Love
and I part nevermore!"

She said to him, "Drink; and health and happiness attend thy
drink." So he took the cup and kissed her hand and recited these
lines in sing song:

"I gave her brave old wine that like her cheeks * Blushed red or
flame from furnace flaring up:
She bussed the brim and said with many a smile * How durst thou
deal folk's cheek for folk to sup?
"Drink!" (said I) "these are tears of mine whose tinct * Is heart
blood sighs have boiled in the cup."

She answered him in the following couplet:--

"An tears of blood for me, friend, thou hast shed * Suffer me sup
them, by thy head and eyes!"

Then the lady took the cup, and drank it off to her sisters'
health, and they ceased not drinking (the Porter being in the
midst of them), and dancing and laughing and reciting verses and
singing ballads and ritornellos. All this time the Porter was
carrying on with them, kissing, toying, biting, handling,
groping, fingering; whilst one thrust a dainty morsel in his
mouth, and another slapped him; and this cuffed his cheeks, and
that threw sweet flowers at him; and he was in the very paradise
of pleasure, as though he were sitting in the seventh sphere
among the Houris[FN#157] of Heaven. They ceased not doing after
this fashion until the wine played tucks in their heads and
worsted their wits; and, when the drink got the better of them,
the portress stood up and doffed her clothes till she was mother
naked. However, she let down her hair about her body by way of
shift, and throwing herself into the basin disported herself and
dived like a duck and swam up and down, and took water in her
mouth, and spurted it all over the Porter, and washed her limbs,
and between her breasts, and inside her thighs and all around her
navel. Then she came up out of the cistern and throwing herself
on the Porter's lap said, "O my lord, O my love, what callest
thou this article?" pointing to her slit, her solution of
continuity. "I call that thy cleft," quoth the Porter, and she
rejoined, Wah! wah, art thou not ashamed to use such a word?" and
she caught him by the collar and soundly cuffed him. Said he
again, Thy womb, thy vulva;" and she struck him a second slap
crying, "O fie, O fie, this is another ugly word; is here no
shame in thee?" Quoth he, "Thy coynte;" and she cried, O thou!
art wholly destitute of modesty?" and thumped and bashed him.
Then cried the Porter, "Thy clitoris,"[FN#158] whereat the eldest
lady came down upon him with a yet sorer beating, and said, "No;"
and he said, " 'Tis so," and the Porter went on calling the same
commodity by sundry other names, but whatever he said they beat
him more and more till his neck ached and swelled with the blows
he had gotten; and on this wise they made him a butt and a
laughing stock. At last he turned upon them asking, And what do
you women call this article?" Whereto the damsel made answer,
"The basil of the bridges."[FN#159] Cried the Porter, "Thank
Allah for my safety: aid me and be thou propitious, O basil of
the bridges!" They passed round the cup and tossed off the bowl
again, when the second lady stood up; and, stripping off all her
clothes, cast herself into the cistern and did as the first had
done; then she came out of the water and throwing her naked form
on the Porter's lap pointed to her machine and said, "O light of
mine eyes, do tell me what is the name of this concern?" He
replied as before, "Thy slit;" and she rejoined, "Hath such term
no shame for thee?" and cuffed him and buffeted him till the
saloon rang with the blows. Then quoth she, "O fie! O fie! how
canst thou say this without blushing?" He suggested, "The basil
of the bridges;" but she would not have it and she said, "No!
no!" and stuck him and slapped him on the back of the neck. Then
he began calling out all the names he knew, "Thy slit, thy womb,
thy coynte, thy clitoris;" and the girls kept on saying, "No!
no!" So he said, "I stick to the basil of the bridges;" and all
the three laughed till they fell on their backs and laid slaps on
his neck and said, "No! no! that's not its proper name."
Thereupon he cried, "O my sisters, what is its name?" and they
replied, "What sayest thou to the husked sesame seed?" Then the
cateress donned her clothes and they fell again to carousing, but
the Porter kept moaning, "Oh! and Oh!" for his neck and
shoulders, and the cup passed merrily round and round again for a
full hour. After that time the eldest and handsomest lady stood
up and stripped off her garments, whereupon the Porter took his
neck in hand, and rubbed and shampoo'd it, saying, "My neck and
shoulders are on the way of Allah!"[FN#160] Then she threw
herself into the basin, and swam and dived, sported and washed;
and the Porter looked at her naked figure as though she had been
a slice of the moon[FN#161] and at her face with the sheen of
Luna when at full, or like the dawn when it brighteneth, and he
noted her noble stature and shape, and those glorious forms that
quivered as she went; for she was naked as the Lord made her.
Then he cried "Alack! Alack!"and began to address her, versifying
in these couplets:--

"If I liken thy shape to the bough when green * My likeness errs
and I sore mistake it;
For the bough is fairest when clad the most * And thou art
fairest when mother naked."

When the lady heard his verses she came up out of the basin and,
seating herself upon his lap and knees, pointed to her genitory
and said, "O my lordling, what be the name of this?" Quoth he,
"The basil of the bridges;" but she said, "Bah, bah!" Quoth he,
"The husked sesame;" quoth she, "Pooh, pooh!" Then said he, "Thy
womb;" and she cried, "Fie, Fie! art thou not ashamed of
thyself?" and cuffed him on the nape of the neck. And whatever
name he gave declaring " 'Tis so," she beat him and cried "No!
no!" till at last he said, "O my sisters, and what is its name?"
She replied, "It is entitled the Khan[FN#162] of Abu Mansur;"
whereupon the Porter replied, "Ha! ha! O Allah be praised for
safe deliverance! O Khan of Abu Mansur!" Then she came forth and
dressed and the cup went round a full hour. At last the Porter
rose up, and stripping off all his clothes, jumped into the tank
and swam about and washed under his bearded chin and armpits,
even as they had done. Then he came out and threw himself into
the first lady's lap and rested his arms upon the lap of the
portress, and reposed his legs in the lap of the cateress and
pointed to his prickle[FN#163] and said, "O my mistresses, what
is the name of this article?" All laughed at his words till they
fell on their backs, and one said, "Thy pintle!" But he replied,
"No!" and gave each one of them a bite by way of forfeit. Then
said they, "Thy pizzle!" but he cried "No," and gave each of them
a hug; And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased saying
her permitted say.

When it was the Tenth Night,

Quoth her sister Dunyazad, "Finish for us thy story;" and she
answered, "With joy and goodly greet" It hath reached me, O
auspicious King, that the damsels stinted not saying to the
Porter "Thy prickle, thy pintle, thy pizzle," and he ceased not
kissing and biting and hugging until his heart was satisfied, and
they laughed on till they could no more. At last one said, "O our
brother, what, then, is it called?" Quoth he, "Know ye not?"
Quoth they, "No!" "Its veritable name," said he, "is mule Burst


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