The Book of the Thousand Nights and a Night, Volume 3
Richard F. Burton

Part 4 out of 8

righteous intention wherewith thou hast reminded me of the world
to come and hast directed me into the right way!" Then he and
his wife worked hard at knocking down the dates, till nothing was
left on the palm-tree, whilst the hedgehog, finding whereof to
eat, rejoiced and filled his den with the fruit, storing it up
for his subsistence and saying in his mind, "When the pigeon and
his wife have need of their provision, they will seek it of me
and covet what I have, relying upon thy devoutness and
abstinence; and, from what they have heard of my counsels and
admonitions, they will draw near unto me. Then will I make them
my prey and eat them, after which I shall have the place and all
that drops from the date-tree to suffice me." presently, having
shaken down the fruits, the pigeon and his wife descended from
the tree-top and finding that the hedgehog had removed all the
dates to his own place, said to him, "O hedgehog! thou pious
preacher and of good counsel, we can find no sign of the dates
and know not on what else we shall feed." Replied the hedgehog,
"Probably the winds have carried them away; but the turning from
the provisions to the Provider is of the essence of salvation,
and He who the mouth-corners cleft, the mouth without victual
hath never left." And he gave not over improving the occasion to
them on this wise, and making a show of piety and cozening them
with fine words and false until they put faith in him and
accepted him and entered his den and had no suspicion of his
deceit. Thereupon he sprang to the door and gnashed his teeth,
and the wood-pigeon, seeing his perfidy manifested, said to him,
"What hath to-night to do with yester-night? Knowest thou not
that there is a Helper for the oppressed? Beware of craft and
treachery, lest that mishap befal thee which befel the sharpers
who plotted against the merchant." "What was that?" asked the
hedgehog. Answered the pigeon:--I have heard tell this tale of

The Merchant and the Two Shapers

In a city called Sindah there was once a very wealthy merchant,
who made ready his camel-loads and equipped himself with goods
and set out with his outfit for such a city, purposing to sell it
there. Now he was followed by two sharpers, who had made up into
bales what merchandise they could get; and, giving out to the
merchant that they also were merchants, wended with him by the
way. So halting at the first halting-place they agreed to play
him false and take all he had; but at the same time, each
inwardly plotted foul play to the other, saying in his mind, "If
I can cheat my comrade, times will go well with me and I shall
have all these goods for myself." So after planning this
perfidy, one of them took food and putting therein poison,
brought it to his fellow; the other did the same and they both
ate of the poisoned mess and they both died. Now they had been
sitting with the merchant; so when they left him and were long
absent from him, he sought for tidings of them and found the
twain lying dead; whereby he knew that they were sharpers who had
plotted to play him foul, but their foul play had recoiled upon
themselves. So the merchant was preserved and took what they
had. Then quoth the Sultan, "O Shahrazad, verily thou hast
aroused me to all whereof I was negligent! So continue to edify
me with these fables." Quoth she:--It hath reached me, O King,
that men tell this tale of


A certain man had a monkey and that man was a thief, who never
entered any of the street-markets of the city wherein he dwelt,
but he made off with great profit. Now it came to pass one day
that he saw a man offering for sale worn clothes, and he went
calling them in the market, but none bid for them and all to whom
he showed them refused to buy of him. Presently the thief who
had the monkey saw the man with the ragged clothes set them in a
wrapper and sit down to rest for weariness; so he made the ape
sport before him to catch his eye and, whilst he was busy gazing
at it, stole the parcel from him. Then he took the ape and made
off to a lonely place, where he opened the wrapper and, taking
out the old clothes, folded them in a piece of costly stuff.
This he carried to another bazar and exposed for sale together
with what was therein, making it a condition that it should not
be opened, and tempting the folk with the lowness of the price he
set on it. A certain man saw the wrapper and its beauty pleased
him; so he bought the parcel on these terms and carried it home,
doubting not that he had done well. When his wife saw it she
asked, "What is this?" and he answered, "It is costly stuff,
which I have bought at lowest price, meaning to sell it again and
take the profit." Rejoined she, "O dupe, would this stuff be
sold under its value, unless it had been stolen? Dost thou not
know that whoso buyeth aught without examining it, falleth into
error and becometh like unto the weaver?" Quoth he, "And what is
the story of the weaver?"; and quoth she:--I have heard this take

The Foolish Weaver

There was once in a certain village a weaver who worked hard but
could not earn his living save by overwork. Now it chanced that
one of the richards of the neighbourhood made a marriage feast
and invited the folk thereto: the weaver also was present and
found the guests, who wore rich gear, served with delicate viands
and made much of by the house-master for what he saw of their
fine clothes. So he said in his mind, "If I change this my craft
for another craft easier to compass and better considered and
more highly paid, I shall amass great store of money and I shall
buy splendid attire, so I may rise in rank and be exalted in
men's eyes and become even with these." Presently, he beheld one
of the mountebanks, who was present at the feast, climbing up to
the top of a high and towering wall and throwing himself down to
the ground and alighting on his feet. Whereupon the waver said
to himself, "Needs must I do as this one hath done, for surely I
shall not fail of it." So he arose and swarmed upon the wall and
casting himself down, broke his neck against the ground and died
forthright. "Now I tell thee this that thou sayst get thy living
by what way thou knowest and thoroughly understandest, lest
peradventure greed enter into thee and thou lust after what is
not of thy condition." Quoth the woman's husband, "Not every
wise man is saved by his wisdom, nor is every fool lost by his
folly. I have seen it happen to a skilful charmer, well versed
in the ways of serpents, to be struck by the fangs of a
snake[FN#172] and killed, and others prevail over serpents who
had no skill in them and no knowledge of their ways." And he
went contrary to his wife and persisted in buying stolen goods
below their value till he fell under suspicion and perished
therefor: even as perished the sparrow in the tale of


There was once upon a time a sparrow, that used every day to
visit a certain king of the birds and ceased not to wait upon him
in the mornings and not to leave him till the evenings, being the
first to go in and the last to go out. One day, a company of
birds chanced to assemble on a high mountain and one of them said
to another, "Verily, we are waxed many, and many are the
differences between us, and there is no help for it but we have a
king to look into our affairs; so shall we all be at one and our
differences will disappear." Thereupon up came that sparrow and
counselled them to choose for King the peacock (that is, the
prince he used to visit). So they chose the peacock to their
King and he, become their sovereign, bestowed largesse upon them
and made the sparrow his secretary and Prime Minister. Now the
sparrow was wont by times to quit his assiduous serve in the
presence and look into matters in general. So one day he
absented himself at the usual time, whereat the peacock was sore
troubled; and, while things stood thus, he returned and the
peacock said to him, "What hath delayed thee, and thou the
nearest to me of all my servants and the dearest of all my
dependents?" replied the sparrow, "I have seen a thing which is
doubtful to me and whereat I am affrighted." Asked the peacock,
"What was it thou sawest?"; and the sparrow answered, "I saw a
man set up a net, hard by my nest, peg down its pegs, strew grain
in its midst and withdraw afar off. And I sat watching what he
would do when behold, fate and fortune drave thither a crane and
his wife, which fell into the midst of the net and began to cry
out; whereupon the fowler rose up and took them. This troubled
me, and such is the reason for my absence from thee, O King of
the Age, but never again will I abide in that nest for fear of
the net." Rejoined the peacock, "Depart not thy dwelling, for
against fate and lot forethought will avail the naught." And the
sparrow obeyed his bidding and said, "I will forthwith arm myself
with patience and forbear to depart in obedience to the King."
So he ceased not taking care of himself, and carrying food to his
sovereign, who would eat what sufficed him and after feeding
drink his water and dismiss the sparrow. Now one day as he was
looking into matters, lo and behold! he saw two sparrows fighting
on the ground and said in his mind, "How can I, who am the King's
Wazir, look on and see sparrows fighting in my neighbourhood? By
Allah, I must make peace between them!" So he flew down to
reconcile them; but the fowler cast the net over the whole number
and the sparrow happened to be in their very midst. Then the
fowler arose and took him and gave him to his comrade, saying,
"Take care of him, " I never saw fatter or finer." But the
sparrow said to himself, "I have fallen into that which I feared
and none but the peacock inspired me with false confidence. It
availed me naught to beware of the stroke of fate and fortune,
since even he who taketh precaution may never flee from destiny.
And how well said the poet in this poetry,

"Whatso is not to be shall ne'er become; *
No wise! and that to be must come to pass;
Yea it shall come to pass at time ordained, *
And th' Ignoramus[FN#173] aye shall cry 'Alas!'"

Whereupon quoth the King, "O Shahrazad, recount me other of these
tales!"; and quoth she, "I will do so during the coming night, if
life be granted to by the King whom Allah bring to honour!"--And
Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased to say her
permitted say.

When it was the One Hundred and Fifty-third Night,

She said:--I will relate the


It hath reached me, O august King, that in days of yore and in
times and ages long gone before, during the Caliphate of Harun
al-Rashid, there was a merchant who named his son Abu
al-Hasan[FN#174] Ali bin Tahir; and the same was great of goods
and grace, while his son was fair of form and face and held in
favour by all folk. He used to enter the royal palace without
asking leave, for all the Caliph's concubines and slave-girls
loved him, and he was wont to be companion with Al-Rashid in his
cups and recite verses to him and tell him curious tales and
witty. Withal he sold and bought in the merchants' bazar, and
there used to sit in his shop a youth named Ali bin Bakkar, of
the sons of the Persian Kings[FN#175] who was formous of form and
symmetrical of shape and perfect of figure, with cheeks red as
roses and joined eyebrows; sweet of speech, laughing-lipped and
delighting in mirth and gaiety. Now it chanced one day, as the
two sat talking and laughing behold, there came up ten damsels
like moons, every one of them complete in beauty and loveliness,
and elegance and grace; and amongst them was a young lady riding
on a she-mule with a saddle of brocade and stirrups of gold. She
wore an outer veil of fine stuff, and her waist was girt with a
girdle of gold-embroidered silk; and she was even as saith the

"Silky her skin and silk that zoned waist; *
Sweet voice; words not o'er many nor too few:
Two eyes quoth Allah 'Be,' and they became; *
And work like wine on hearts they make to rue:
O love I feel! grow greater every night: *
O solace! Doom-day bring our interview."

And when the cortege reached Abu al-Hasan's shop, she alighted
from her mule, and sitting down on the front board,[FN#176]
saluted him, and he returned her salam. When Ali bin Bakkar saw
her, she ravished his understanding and he rose to go away; but
she said to him, "Sit in thy place. We came to thee and thou
goest away: this is not fair!" Replied he, "O my lady, by Allah,
I flee from what I see; for the tongue of the case saith,

'She is a sun which towereth high a-sky; *
So ease thy heart with cure by Patience lent:
Thou to her skyey height shalt fail to fly; *
Nor she from skyey height can make descent.'"

When she heard this, she smiled and asked Abu al-Hasan, "What is
the name of this young man?"; who answered, "He is a stranger;"
and she enquired, "What countryman is he?"; whereto the merchant
replied, "He is a descendant of the Persian Kings; his name is
Ali son of Bakkar and the stranger deserveth honour." Rejoined
she, "When my damsel comes to thee, come thou at once to us and
bring him with thee, that we may entertain him in our abode, lest
he blame us and say, 'There is no hospitality in the people of
Baghdad'; for niggardliness is the worst fault a man can have.
Thou hearest what I say to thee and, if thou disobey me, thou
wilt incur my displeasure and I will never again visit thee or
salute thee." Quoth Abu al-Hasan, "On my head and my eyes: Allah
preserve me from thy displeasure, fair lady!" Then she rose and
went her way. Such was her case; but as regards Ali bin Bakkar he
remained in a state of bewilderment. Now after an hour the damsel
came to Abu al-Hasan and said to him, "Of a truth my lady Shams
al-Nahar, the favourite of the Commander of the Faithful, Harun
al-Rashid, biddeth thee to her, thee and thy friend, my lord Ali
bin Bakkar." So he rose and, taking Ali with him, followed the
girl to the Caliph's palace, where she carried them into a
chamber and made them sit down. They talked together awhile, when
behold, trays of food were set before them, and they ate and
washed their hands. Then she brought them wine, and they drank
deep and made merry; after which she bade them rise and carried
them into another chamber, vaulted upon four columns, furnished
after the goodliest fashion with various kinds of furniture, and
adorned with decorations as it were one of the pavilions of
Paradise. They were amazed at the rarities they saw; and, as they
were enjoying a review of these marvels, suddenly up came ten
slave-girls, like moons, swaying and swimming in beauty's pride,
dazzling the sight and confounding the sprite; and they ranged
themselves in two ranks as if they were of the black-eyed Brides
of Paradise. And after a while in came other ten damsels, bearing
in their hands lutes and divers instruments of mirth and music;
and these, having saluted the two guests, sat down and fell to
tuning their lute-strings. Then they rose and standing before
them, played and sang and recited verses: and indeed each one of
them was a seduction to the servants of the Lord. Whilst they
were thus busied there entered other ten damsels like unto them,
high-bosomed maids and of an equal age, with black-eyes and
cheeks like the rose, joined eyebrows and looks languorous; a
very fascination to every faithful wight and to all who looked
upon them a delight; clad in various kinds of coloured silks,
with ornaments that amazed man's intelligence. They took up their
station at the door, and there succeeded them yet other ten
damsels even fairer than they, clad in gorgeous array, such as no
tongue can say; and they also stationed themselves by the
doorway. Then in came a band of twenty damsels and amongst them
the lady, Shams al-Nahar hight, as she were the moon among the
stars swaying from side to side, with luring gait and in beauty's
pride. And she was veiled to the middle with the luxuriance of
her locks, and clad in a robe of azure blue and a mantilla of
silk embroidered with gold and gems of price; and her waist was
girt with a zone set with various kinds of precious stones. She
ceased not to advance with her graceful and coquettish swaying,
till she came to the couch that stood at the upper end of the
chamber and seated herself thereon. But when Ali bin Bakkar saw
her, he versified with these verses,

"Source of mine evils, truly, she alone 's, *
Of long love-longing and my groans and moans;
Near her I find my soul in melting mood, *
For love of her and wasting of my bones."

And finishing his poetry he said to Abu al-Hasan, "Hadst thou
Dealt more kindly with me thou haddest forewarned me of these
things ere I came hither, that I might have made up my mind and
taken patience to support what hath befallen me." And he wept and
groaned and complained. Replied Abu al-Hasan, "O my brother, I
meant thee naught but good; but I feared to tell thee this, lest
such transport should betide thee as might hinder thee from
foregathering with her, and be a stumbling-block between thee and
her. But be of good cheer and keep thine eyes cool and
clear;[FN#177] for she to thee inclineth and to favour thee
designeth." Asked Ali bin Bakkar, "What is this young lady's
name?" Answered Abu al-Hasan, "She is hight Shams al-Nahar, one
of the favourites of the Commander of the Faithful, Harun
al-Rashid, and this is the palace of the Caliphate." Then Shams
al-Nahar sat gazing upon the charms of Ali bin Bakkar and he upon
hers, till both were engrossed with love for each other.
Presently she commanded the damsels, one and all, to be seated,
each in her rank and place, and all sat on a couch before one of
the windows, and she bade them sing; whereupon one of them took
up the lute and began caroling,

"Give thou my message twice * Bring clear reply in trice!
To thee, O Prince of Beau * -ty[FN#178] with complaint I rise:
My lord, as heart-blood dear * And Life's most precious prize!
Give me one kiss in gift * Or loan, if thou devise:
And if thou crave for more * Take all that satisfies.[FN#179]
Thou donn'st me sickness-dress * Thee with health's weed I

Her singing charmed Ali bin Bakkar, and he said to her, "Sing me
more of the like of these verses." So she struck the strings and
began to chaunt these lines,

"By stress of parting, O beloved one, *
Thou mad'st these eyelids torment- race to run:
Oh gladness of my sight and dear desire, *
Goal of my wishes, my religion!
Pity the youth whose eyne are drowned in tears *
Of lover gone distraught and clean undone."

When she had finished her verses, Shams al-Nahar said to another
damsel, "Let us hear something from thee!" So she played a lively
measure and began these couplets,

"His[FN#180] looks have made me drunken, not his wine; *
His grace of gait disgraced sleep to these eyne:
Dazed me no cup, but cop with curly crop; *
His gifts overcame me not the gifts of vine:
His winding locks my patience-clue unwound: *
His robed beauties robbed all wits of mine."

When Shams Al-Nahar heard this recital from the damsel, she
sighed heavily and the song pleased her. Then she bade another
damsel sing; so she took the lute and began chanting,

"Face that with Sol in Heaven lamping vies; *
Youth-tide's fair fountain which begins to rise;
Whose curly side-beard writeth writ of love, *
And in each curl concealeth mysteries:
Cried Beauty, 'When I met this youth I knew *
'Tis Allah's loom such gorgeous robe supplies.'"

When she had finished her song, Ali bin Bakkar said to the
slave-maiden nearest him, "Sing us somewhat, thou O damsel." So
she took the lute and began singing,

"Our trysting-time is all too short *
For this long coyish coquetry:
How long this 'Nay, Nay!' and 'Wait, wait?' *
This is not old nobility!
And now that Time deigns lend delight *
Profit of th' opportunity."

When she ended, Ali bin Bakkar followed up her song with flowing
tears; and, as Shams al-Nahar saw him weeping and groaning and
complaining, she burned with love-longing and desire; and passion
and transport consumed her. So she rose from the sofa and came to
the door of the alcove, where Ali met her and they embraced with
arms round the neck, and fell down fainting in the doorway;
whereupon the damsels came to them and carrying them into the
alcove, sprinkled rose-water upon them both. When they recovered,
they found not Abu al-Hasan who had hidden himself by the side of
a couch, and the young lady said, "Where is Abu al-Hasan?" So he
showed himself to her from beside the couch and she saluted him,
saying, "I pray Allah to give me the means of requiting thee, O
kindest of men!" Then she turned to Ali bin Bakkar and said to
him, "O my lord, passion hath not reached this extreme pass with
thee without my feeling the like; but we have nothing to do save
to bear patiently what calamity hath befallen us." Replied he,
"By Allah, O my lady, union with thee may not content me nor
gazing upon thee assuage the fire thou hast lighted, nor shall
leave me the love of thee which hath mastered my heart but with
the leaving of my life." So saying, he wept and the tears ran
down upon his cheeks like thridded pearls; and when Shams
al-Nahar saw him weep, she wept for his weeping. But Abu al-Hasan
exclaimed, "By Allah, I wonder at your case and am confounded at
your condition; of a truth, your affair is amazing and your
chance dazing. What! this weeping while ye are yet together: then
how will it be what time ye are parted and far separated?" And he
continued, "Indeed, this is no tide for weeping and wailing, but
a season for meeting and merry-making; rejoice, therefore, and
take your pleasure and shed no more tears!" Then Shams al-Nahar
signed to a slave-girl, who arose and presently returned with
handmaids bearing a table, whose dishes of silver were full of
various rich viands. They set the table before the pair and Shams
al-Nahar began to eat[FN#181] and to place tid-bits in the mouth
of Ali bin Bakkar; and they ceased not so doing till they were
satisfied, when the table was removed and they washed their
hands. Then the waiting-women fetched censers with all manner of
incense, aloe-wood and ambergris and mixed scents; and
sprinkling-flasks full of rose-water were also brought and they
were fumigated and perfumed. After this the slaves set on vessels
of graven gold, containing all kinds of sherbets, besides fruits
fresh and dried, that heart can desire and eye delight in; and
lastly one brought a flagon of carnelion full of old wine. Then
Shams al-Nahar chose out ten handmaids to attend on them and ten
singing women; and, dismissing the rest to their apartments, bade
some of those who remained strike the lute. They did as she bade
them and one of them began to sing,

"My soul to him who smiled back my salute, *
In breast reviving hopes that were no mo'e:
The hand o' Love my secret brought to light, *
And censor's tongues what lies my ribs below:[FN#182]
My tear-drops ever press twixt me and him, *
As though my tear-drops showing love would flow."

When she had finished her singing, Shams al-Nahar rose and,
filling a goblet, drank it off, then crowned it again and handed
it to Ali bin Bakkar;--And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day
and ceased saying her permitted say.

When it was the One Hundred and Fifty-fourth Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that Shams
al-Nahar filled a goblet and handed it to Ali bin Bakkar; after
which she bade another damsel sing; and she began singing these

"My tears thus flowing rival with my wine, *
Pouring the like of what fills cup to brink:[FN#183]
By Allah wot I not an run these eyne *
Wi' wine, or else it is of tears I drink."

And when she ended her recitation, Ali bin Bakkar drained his cup
and returned it to Shams al-Nahar. She filled it again and gave
it to Abu al-Hasan who tossed it off. Then she took the lute,
saying, "None shall sing over my cup save myself;" so she screwed
up the strings and intoned these verses,

"The tears run down his cheeks in double row, *
And in his breast high flameth lover-lowe:
He weeps when near, a-fearing to be far; *
And, whether far or near, his tear-drops flow."

And the words of another,

"Our life to thee, O cup-boy Beauty-dight! *
From parted hair to calves; from black to white:
Sol beameth from thy hands, and from thy lips *
Pleiads, and full Moon through thy collar's night,[FN#184]
Good sooth the cups, which made our heads fly round, *
Are those thine eyes pass round to daze the sight:
No wonder lovers hail thee as full moon *
Waning to them, for self e'er waxing bright:
Art thou a deity to kill and quicken, *
Bidding this fere, forbidding other wight?
Allah from model of thy form made Beau *
-ty and the Zephyr scented with thy sprite.
Thou art not of this order of human *
-ity but angel lent by Heaven to man."

When Ali bin Bakkar and Abu al-Hasan and those present heard
Shams al-Nahar's song, they were like to fly for joy, and sported
and laughed; but while they were thus enjoying themselves lo! up
came a damsel, trembling for fear and said, "O my lady, the
Commander of the Faithful's eunuchs are at the door, Afif and
Masrur and Marjan[FN#185] and others whom wot I not." When they
heard this they were like to die with fright, but Shams al-Nahar
laughed and said, "Have no fear!" Then quoth she to the damsel,
"Keep answering them whilst we remove hence." And she caused the
doors of the alcove to be closed upon Ali and Abu al-Hasan, and
let down the curtains over the entrance (they being still
within); after which she shut the door of the saloon and went out
by the privy wicket into the flower-garden, where she seated
herself on a couch she had there and made one of the damsels
knead her feet.[FN#186] Then she dismissed the rest of her women
to their rooms and bade the portress admit those who were at the
door; whereupon Masrur entered, he and his company of twenty with
drawn swords. And when they saluted her, she asked, "Wherefore
come ye?"; whereto they answered, "The Commander of the Faithful
saluteth thee. Indeed he is desolated for want of thy sight; he
letteth thee know that this be to him a day of joy and great
gladness and he wisheth to seal his day and complete his pleasure
with thy company at this very hour. So say, wilt go to him or
shall he come to thee?" Upon this she rose and, kissing the
earth, replied, "I hear and I obey the commandment of the Prince
of True Believers!" Then she summoned the women guards of her
household and other slave-damsels, who lost no time in attending
upon her and made a show of obeying the Caliph's orders. And
albeit everything about the place was in readiness, she said to
the eunuchs, "Go to the Commander of the Faithful and tell him
that I await him after a little space, that I may make ready for
him a place with carpets and other matters." So they returned in
haste to the Caliph, whilst Shams al-Nahar, doffing her outer
gear, repaired to her lover, Ali bin Bakkar, and drew him to her
bosom and bade him farewell, whereat he wept sore and said, "O my
lady, this leave-taking will cause the ruin of my very self and
the loss of my very soul; but I pray Allah grant me patience to
support the passion wherewith he hath afflicted me!" Replied she,
"By Allah, none shall suffer perdition save I; for thou wilt fare
forth to the bazar and consort with those that shall divert thee,
and thy life will be sound and thy love hidden forsure; but I
shall fall into trouble and tristesse nor find any to console me,
more by token that I have given the Caliph a tryst, wherein haply
great peril shall betide me by reason of my love for thee and my
longing for thee and my grief at being parted from thee. For with
what tongue shall I sing and with what heart shall I present
myself before the Caliph? and with what speech shall I company
the Commander of the Faithful in his cups? and with what eyes
shall I look upon a place where thou art absent? and with what
taste shall I drink wine of which thou drinkest not?" Quoth Abu
al-Hasan, "Be not troubled but take patience and be not remiss in
entertaining the Commander of the Faithful this night, neither
show him any neglect, but be of good heart." Now at this
juncture, behold, up came a damsel, who said to Shams al-Nahar,
"O my lady, the Caliph's pages are come." So she hastily rose to
her feet and said to the maid, "Take Abu al-Hasan and his friend
and carry them to the upper balcony[FN#187] giving upon the
garden and there leave them till darkness come on; when do thou
contrive to carry them forth." Accordingly the girl led them up
to the balcony and, locking the door upon them both, went her
way. As they sat looking on the garden lo! the Caliph appeared
escorted by near an hundred eunuchs, with drawn swords in hand
and girt about with a score of damsels, as they were moons, all
clad in the richest of raiment and on each one's head was a crown
set with jewels and rubies; while each carried a lighted
flambeau. The Caliph walked in their midst, they encompassing him
about on all sides, and Masrur and Afif and Wasif[FN#188] went
before him and he bore himself with a graceful gait. So Shams
al-Nahar and her maidens rose to receive him and, meeting him at
the garden-door, kissed ground between his hands; nor did they
cease to go before him till they brought him to the couch whereon
he sat down, whilst all the waiting-women who were in the garden
and the eunuchs stood before him and there came fair handmaids
and concubines holding in hand lighted candles and perfumes and
incense and instruments of mirth and music. Then the Sovereign
bade the singers sit down, each in her place, and Shams al-Nahar
came up and, seating herself on a stool by the side of the
Caliph's couch, began to converse with him; all this happening
whilst Abu al-Hasan and Ali bin Bakkar looked on and listened,
unseen of the King. Presently the Caliph fell to jesting and
toying with Shams al-Nahar and both were in the highest spirits,
glad and gay, when he bade them throw open the garden pavilion.
So they opened the doors and windows and lighted the tapers till
the place shone in the season of darkness even as the day. Then
the eunuchs removed thither the wine-service and (quoth Abu
al-Hasan) "I saw drinking-vessels and rarities whose like mine
eyes never beheld, vases of gold and silver and all manner of
noble metals and precious stones, such as no power of description
can describe, till indeed it seemed to me I was dreaming, for
excess of amazement at what I saw!" But as for Ali bin Bakkar,
from the moment Shams al-Nahar left him, he lay strown on the
ground for stress of love and desire; and, when he revived, he
fell to gazing upon these things that had not their like and
saying to Abu al-Hasan, "O my brother, I fear lest the Caliph see
us or come to know of our case; but the most of my fear is for
thee. For myself, of a truth I know that I am about to be lost
past recourse, and the cause of my destruction is naught but love
and longing and excess of desire and distraction, and disunion
from my beloved after union with her; but I beseech Allah to
deliver us from this perilous predicament." And they ceased not
to look out of the balcony on the Caliph who was taking his
pleasure, till the banquet was spread before him, when he turned
to one of the damsels and said to her, "O Gharam,[FN#189] let us
hear some of thine enchanting songs." So she took the lute and
tuning it, began singing,

"The longing of a Bedouin maid, whose folks are far away, *
Who yearns after the willow of the Hejaz and the
Whose tears, when she on travellers lights, might for their water
serve * And eke her her passion, with its heat, their
bivouac-fire purvey,--
Is not more fierce nor ardent than my longing for my love, *
Who deems that I commit a crime in loving him

Now when Shams al-Nahar heard these verses she slipped off the
stool whereon she sat and fell to the earth fainting and became
insensible to the world around her; upon which the damsels came
and lifted her up. And when Ali bin Bakkar saw this from the
balcony he also slipped down senseless, and Abu al-Hasan said,
"Verily Fate hath divided love-desire equally upon you
twain!"[FN#192] As he spoke lo! in came the damsel who had led
them up to the balcony and said to him, "O Abu al-Hasan, arise
thou and thy friend and come down, for of a truth the world hath
waxed strait upon us and I fear lest our case be discovered or
the Caliph become aware of you; unless you descend at once we are
dead ones." Quoth he, "And how shall this youth descend with me
seeing that he hath no strength to rise?" Thereupon the damsel
began sprinkling rose-water on Ali bin Bakkar till he came to his
senses, when Abu al-Hasan lifted him up and the damsel made him
lean upon her. So they went down from the balcony and walked on
awhile till the damsel opened a little iron door, and made the
two friends pass through it, and they came upon a bench by the
Tigris' bank. Thereupon the slave-girl clapped her hands[FN#193]
and there came up a man with a little boat to whom said she,
"Take up these two young men and land them on the opposite side."
So both entered the boat and, as the man rowed off with them and
they left the garden behind them, Ali bin Bakkar looked back
towards the Caliph's palace and the pavilion and the grounds; and
bade them farewell with these two couplets,

"I offered this weak hand as last farewell, *
While to heart-burning fire that hand is guided:
O let not this end union! Let not this *
Be last provision for long road provided!"

Thereupon the damsel said to the boatman, "Make haste with them
both." So he plied his oars deftly (the slave-girl being still
with them);--And Shahrazad perceived the dawning day and ceased
saying her permitted say.

When it was the One Hundred and Fifty-fifth Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that the boatman
rowed them towards the other bank till they reached it and
landed, whereupon she took leave of them, saying, "It were my
wish not to abandon you, but I can go no farther than this." Then
she turned back, whilst Ali bin Bakkar lay prostrate on the
ground before Abu al-Hasan and by no manner of means could he
rise, till his friend said to him, "Indeed this place is not sure
and I fear lest we lose our lives in this very spot, by reason of
the lewd fellows who infest it and highwaymen and men of
lawlessness." Upon this Ali bin Bakkar arose and walked a little
but could not continue walking. Now Abu al-Hasan had friends in
that quarter; so he made search for one of them, in whom he
trusted, and who was of his intimates, and knocked at the door.
The man came out quickly and seeing them, bade them welcome and
brought them into his house, where he seated them and talked with
them and asked them whence they came. Quoth Abu al-Hasan, "We
came out but now, being obliged thereto by a person with whom I
had dealings and who hath in his hands dirhams of mine. And it
reached me that he designed to flee into foreign parts with my
monies; so I fared forth to-night in quest of him, taking with me
for company this youth, Ali bin Bakkar; but, when we came hoping
to see the debtor, he hid from us and we could get no sight of
him. Accordingly we turned back, empty-handed without a doit, but
it was irksome to us to return home at this hour of the night; so
weeting not whither to go, we came to thee, well knowing thy
kindness and wonted courtesy." "Ye are welcome and well come!"
answered the host, and studied to do them honour; so the twain
abode with him the rest of their night and as soon as the
daylight dawned, they left him and made their way back without
aught of delay to the city. When they came to the house of Abu
al-Hasan, he conjured his comrade to enter; so they went in and
lying down on the bed, slept awhile. As soon as they awoke, Abu
al-Hasan bade his servants spread the house with rich carpets,
saying in his mind, "Needs must I divert this youth and distract
him from thinking of his affliction, for I know his case better
than another." Then he called for water for Ali bin Bakkar who,
when it was brought, rose up from his bed and making his
ablutions, prayed the obligatory prayers which he had omitted for
the past day and night[FN#194]; after which he sat down and began
to solace himself by talking with his friend. When Abu al-Hasan
saw this, he turned to him and said, "O my lord, it were fitter
for thy case that thou abide with me this night, so thy breast
may be broadened and the distress of love-longing that is upon
thee be dispelled and thou make merry with us, so haply the fire
of thy heart may thus be quenched." Ali replied, "O my brother,
do what seemeth good to thee; for I may not on any wise escape
from what calamity hath befallen me; so act as thou wilt."
Accordingly, Abu al-Hasan arose and bade his servants summon some
of the choicest of his friends and sent for singers and musicians
who came; and meanwhile he made ready meat and drink for them; so
they sat eating and drinking and making merry through the rest of
the day till nightfall. Then they lit the candles, and the cups
of friendship and good fellowship went round amongst them and the
time passed pleasantly with them. Presently, a singing-woman took
the lute and began singing,

"I've been shot by Fortune, and shaft of eye *
Down struck me and parted from fondest friend:
Time has proved him foe and my patience failed, *
Yet I ever expected it thus would end."

When Ali bin Bakkar heard her words, he fell to the earth in a
swoon and ceased not lying in his fainting fit till day-break;
and Abu al-Hasan despaired of him. But, with the dawning, he came
to himself and sought to go home; nor could his friend hinder
him, for fear of the issue of his affair. So he made his servants
bring a she-mule and, mounting Ali thereon, carried him to his
lodgings, he and one of his men. When he was safe at home, Abu
al-Hasan thanked Allah for his deliverance from that sore peril
and sat awhile with him, comforting him; but Ali could not
contain himself, for the violence of his love and longing. So Abu
al-Hasan rose to take leave of him and return to his own
place.--And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased to say
her permitted say.

When it was the One Hundred and Fifty-sixth Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when Abu
al-Hasan rose to take leave of him, Ali son of Bakkar exclaimed,
"O my brother, leave me not without news." "I hear and obey,"
replied the other; and forthwith went away and, repairing to his
shop, opened it and sat there all day, expecting news of Shams
al-Nahar. But none came. He passed the night in his own house
and, when dawned the day, he walked to Ali bin Bakkar's lodging
and went in and found him thrown on his bed, with his friends
about him and physicians around him prescribing something or
other, and the doctors feeling his pulse. When he saw Abu
al-Hasan enter he smiled, and the visitor, after saluting him,
enquired how he did and sat with him till the folk withdrew, when
he said to him, "What plight is this?" Quoth Ali bin Bakkar, "It
was bruited abroad that I was ill and my comrades heard the
report; and I have no strength to rise and walk so as to give him
the lie who noised abroad my sickness, but continue lying strown
here as thou seest. So my friends came to visit me; say, however,
O my brother, hast thou seen the slave-girl or heard any news of
her?" He replied, "I have not seen her, since the day we parted
from her on Tigris' bank;" and he presently added, "O my brother,
beware thou of scandal and leave this weeping." Rejoined Ali, "O
my brother, indeed, I have no control over myself;" and he sighed
and began reciting,

"She gives her woman's hand a force that fails the hand of me, *
And with red dye on wrist she gars my patience fail and
And for her hand she fears so sore what shafts her eyes
discharge, * She's fain to clothe and guard her hand with
mail-ring panoply:[FN#195]
The leach in ignorance felt my pulse the while to him I cried, *
'Sick is my heart, so quit my hand which hath no malady:'
Quoth she to that fair nightly vision favoured me and fled, *
'By Allah picture him nor add nor 'bate in least degree!'
Replied the Dream, 'I leave him though he die of thirst,'
I cry, * 'Stand off from water-pit and say why this
Rained tear-pearls her Narcissus-eyes, and rose on cheek belit *
She made my sherbet, and the lote with bits of hail she

And when his recital was ended he said, "O Abu al-Hasan, I am
smitten with an affliction from which I deemed myself in perfect
surety, and there is no greater ease for me than death." Replied
he, "Be patient, haply Allah will heal thee!" Then he went out
from him and repairing to his shop opened it, nor had he sat
long, when suddenly up came the handmaid who saluted him. He
returned her salam and looking at her, saw that her heart was
palpitating and that she was in sore trouble and showed signs of
great affliction: so he said to her, "Thou art welcome and well
come! How is it with Shams al-Nahar?" She answered, "I will
presently tell thee, but first let me know how doth Ali bin
Bakkar." So he told her all that had passed and how his case
stood, whereat she grieved and sighed and lamented and marvelled
at his condition. Then said she, "My lady's case is still
stranger than this; for when you went away and fared homewards, I
turned back, my heart beating hard on your account and hardly
crediting your escape. On entering I found her lying prostrate in
the pavilion, speaking not nor answering any, whilst the
Commander of the Faithful sat by her head not knowing what ailed
her and finding none who could make known to him aught of her
ailment. She ceased not from her swoon till midnight, when she
recovered and the Prince of the Faithful said to her, 'What harm
hath happened to thee, O Shams al-Nahar, and what hath befallen
thee this night?' Now when she heard the Caliph's words she
kissed his feet and said, 'Allah make me thy ransom, O Prince of
True Believers! Verily a sourness of stomach lighted a fire in my
body, so that I lost my senses for excess of pain, and I know no
more of my condition.' Asked the Caliph, 'What hast thou eaten
to-day?'; and she answered, 'I broke my fast on something I had
never tasted before.' Then she feigned to be recovered and
calling for a something of wine, drank it, and begged the
Sovereign to resume his diversion. So he sat down again on his
couch in the pavilion and the sitting was resumed, but when she
saw me, she asked me how you fared. I told her what I had done
with you both and repeated to her the verses which Ali bin Bakkar
had composed at parting-tide, whereat she wept secretly, but
presently held her peace. After awhile, the Commander of the
Faithful ordered a damsel to sing, and she began reciting,

'Life has no sweet for me since forth ye fared; *
Would Heaven I wot how fare ye who forsake:
'Twere only fit my tears were tears of blood, *
Since you are weeping for mine absence sake.'

But when my lady heard this verse she fell back on the sofa in a
swoon,"--And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased
saying her permitted say.

When it was the One Hundred and Fifty-seventh Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that the
slave-girl continued to Abu al-Hasan, "But when my lady heard
this verse, she fell back on the sofa in a swoon, and I seized
her hand and sprinkled rose-water on her face, till she revived,
when I said to her, 'O my lady, expose not thyself and all thy
palace containeth. By the life of thy beloved, be thou patient!'
She replied, 'Can aught befal me worse than death which indeed I
seek, for by Allah, my ease is therein?' Whilst we were thus
talking, another damsel sang these words of the poet,

'Quoth they, 'Maybe that Patience lend thee ease!' *
Quoth I, 'Since fared he where is Patience' place?
Covenant he made 'twixt me and him, to cut *
The cords of Patience at our last embrace!'[FN#197]

And as soon as she had finished her verse Shams al-Nahar swooned
away once more, which when the Caliph saw, he came to her in
haste and commanded the wine to be removed and each damsel to
return to her chamber. He abode with her the rest of the night,
and when dawned the day, he sent for chirurgeons and leaches and
bade them medicine her, knowing not that her sickness arose from
love and longing. I tarried with her till I deemed her in a way
of recovery, and this is what kept me from thee. I have now left
her with a number of her body-women, who were greatly concerned
for her, when she bade me go to you two and bring her news of Ali
bin Bakkar and return to her with the tidings." When Abu al-Hasan
heard her story, he marvelled and said, "By Allah, I have
acquainted thee with his whole case; so now return to thy
mistress; and salute her for me and diligently exhort her to have
patience and say to her, 'Keep thy secret!'; and tell her that I
know all her case which is indeed hard and one which calleth for
nice conduct." She thanked him and taking leave of him, returned
to her mistress. So far concerning her; but as regards Abu
al-Hasan, he ceased not to abide in his shop till the end of the
day, when he arose and shut it and locked it and betaking himself
to Ali bin Bakkar's house knocked at the door. One of the
servants came out and admitted him; and when Ali saw him, he
smiled and congratulated himself on his coming, saying, "O Abu
al-Hasan, thou hast desolated me by thine absence this day; for
indeed my soul is pledged to thee during the rest of my time."
Answered the other, "Leave this talk! Were thy healing at the
price of my hand, I would cut it off ere thou couldst ask me;
and, could I ransom thee with my life, I had already laid it down
for thee. Now this very day, Shams al-Nahar's handmaid hath been
with me and told me that what hindered her coming ere this was
the Caliph's sojourn with her mistress; and she acquainted me
with everything which had betided her." And he went on to repeat
to him all that the girl had told him of Shams al-Nahar; at which
Ali bin Bakkar lamented sore and wept and said to him, "Allah
upon thee, O my brother, help me in this affliction and teach me
what course I shall take. Moreover, I beg thee of thy grace to
abide with me this night, that I may have the solace of thy
society." Abu al-Hasan agreed to this request, replying that he
would readily night there; so they talked together till even-tide
darkened, when Ali bin Bakkar groaned aloud and lamented and wept
copious tears, reciting these couplets,

"Thine image in these eyne, a-lip thy name, *
My heart thy home; how couldst thou disappear?
How sore I grieve for life which comes to end, *
Nor see I boon of union far or near."

And these the words of another,

"She split my casque of courage with eye-swords that sorely
smite; * She pierced my patience' ring-mail with her shape
like cane-spear light:
Patched by the musky mole on cheek was to our sight displayed *
Camphor set round with ambergris, light dawning through the
Her soul was sorrowed and she bit carnelion stone with pearls *
Whose unions in a sugared tank ever to lurk unite:[FN#199]
Restless she sighed and smote with palm the snows that clothe her
breast, * And left a mark whereon I looked and ne'er beheld
such sight,
Pens, fashioned of her coral nails with ambergris for ink, *
Five lines on crystal page of breast did cruelly indite:
O swordsmen armed with trusty steel! I bid you all beware *
When she on you bends deadly glance which fascinates the
And guard thyself, O thou of spear! whenas she draweth near *
To tilt with slender quivering shape, likest the nut-brown

And when Ali bin Bakkar ended his verse, he cried out with a
great cry and fell down in a fit. Abu al-Hasan thought that his
soul had fled his body and he ceased not from his swoon till day-
break, when he came to himself and talked with his friend, who
continued to sit with him till the forenoon. Then he left him and
repaired to his shop; and hardly had he opened it, when lo! the
damsel came and stood by his side. As soon as he saw her, she
made him a sign of salutation which he returned; and she
delivered to him the greeting message of her mistress and asked,
"How doth Ali bin Bakkar?" Answered he, "O handmaid of good, ask
me not of his case nor what he suffereth for excess of
love-longing; he sleepeth not by night neither resteth he by day;
wakefulness wasteth him and care hath conquered him and his
condition is a consternation to his friend." Quoth she, "My lady
saluteth thee and him, and she hath written him a letter, for
indeed she is in worse case than he; and she entrusted the same
to me, saying, 'Do not return save with the answer; and do thou
obey my bidding.' Here now is the letter, so say, wilt thou wend
with me to him that we may get his reply?" "I hear and obey,"
answered Abu al-Hasan, and locking his shop and taking with him
the girl he went, by a way different from that whereby he came,
to Ali bin Bakkar's house, where he left her standing at the door
and walked in.--And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and
ceased to say her permitted say.

When it was the One Hundred and Fifty-eighth Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that Abu
al-Hasan went with the girl to the house of Ali son of Bakkar,
where he left her standing at the door and walked in to his great
joy. And Abu al-Hasan said to him, "The reason of my coming is
that such an one hath sent his handmaid to thee with a letter,
containing his greeting to thee and mentioning therein that the
cause of his not coming to thee was a matter that hath betided
him. The girl standeth even now at the door: shall she have leave
to enter?"; and he signed to him that it was Shams al-Nahar's
slave-girl. Ali understood his signal and answered, "Bring her
in," and when he saw her, he shook for joy and signed to her,
"How doth thy lord?; Allah grant him health and healing!" "He is
well," answered she and pulling out the letter gave it to him. He
took it and kissing it, opened and read it; after which he handed
it to Abu al-Hasan, who found these verses written therein,

"This messenger shall give my news to thee; *
Patience what while my sight thou canst not see:
A lover leav'st in love's insanity, *
Whose eyne abide on wake incessantly:
I suffer patience-pangs in woes that none *
Of men can medicine;--such my destiny!
Keep cool thine eyes; ne'er shall my heart forget, *
Nor without dream of thee one day shall be.
Look what befel thy wasted frame, and thence *
Argue what I am doomed for love to dree!

"And afterwards[FN#200]: Without fingers[FN#201] I have written
to thee, and without tongue I have spoken to thee * to resume my
case, I have an eye wherefrom sleeplessness departeth not * and a
heart whence sorrowful thought stirreth not * It is with me as
though health I had never known * nor in sadness ever ceased to
wone * nor spent an hour in pleasant place * but it is as if I
were made up of pine and of the pain of passion and chagrin *
Sickness unceasingly troubleth * and my yearning ever redoubleth
* desire still groweth * and longing in my heart still gloweth *
I pray Allah to hasten our union * and dispel of my mind the
confusion * And I would fain thou favour me * with some words of
thine * that I may cheer my heart in pain and repine * Moreover,
I would have thee put on a patience lief, until Allah vouchsafe
relief * And His peace be with thee."[FN#202] When Ali bin Bakkar
had read this letter he said in weak accents and feeble voice,
"With what hand shall I write and with what tongue shall I make
moan and lament? Indeed she addeth sickness to my sickness and
draweth death upon my death!" Then he sat up and taking in hand
ink-case and paper, wrote the following reply, "In the name of
Allah, the Compassionating, the Compassionate![FN#203] Thy letter
hath reached me, O my lady, and hath given ease to a sprite worn
out with passion and love-longing, and hath brought healing to a
wounded heart cankered with languishment and sickness; for indeed
I am become even as saith the poet,

'Straitened bosom; reveries dispread; *
Slumberless eyelids; body wearied;
Patience cut short; disunion longsomest; *
Reason deranged and heart whose life is fled!'

And know that complaining is unavailing; but it easeth him whom
love-longing disordereth and separation destroyeth and, with
repeating, 'Union,' I keep myself comforted and how fine is the
saying of the poet who said,

'Did not in love-plight joys and sorrows meet, *
How would the message or the writ be sweet?'"

When he had made an end of this letter, he handed it to Abu
al-Hasan, saying, "Read it and give it to the damsel." So he took
it and read it and its words stirred his soul and its meaning
wounded his vitals. Then he committed it to the girl, and when
she took it Ali bin Bakkar said to her, "Salute thy lady for me
and acquaint her with my love and longing and how passion is
blended with my flesh and my bones; and say to her that in very
deed I need a woman who shall snatch me from the sea of
destruction and save me from this dilemma; for of a truth Fortune
oppresseth me with her vicissitudes; and is there any helper to
free me from her turpitudes?" And he wept and the damsel wept for
his weeping. Then she took leave of him and went forth and Abu
al-Hasan went out with her and farewelled her. So she ganged her
gait and he returned to his shop, which he opened and sat down
there, as was his wont;--And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day
and ceased saying her permitted say.

When it was the One Hundred and Fifty-ninth Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that Abu
al-Hasan farewelled the slave-girl and returned to his shop which
he opened and sat down there according to his custom; but as he
tarried, he found his heart oppressed and his breast straitened,
and he was perplexed about his case. So he ceased not from
melancholy the rest of that day and night, and on the morrow he
betook himself to Ali bin Bakkar, with whom he sat till the folk
withdrew, when he asked him how he did. Ali began to complain of
desire and to descant upon the longing and distraction which
possessed him, and repeated these words of the poet.

"Men have 'plained of pining before my time, *
Live and dead by parting been terrified:
But such feelings as those which my ribs immure *
I have never heard of, nor ever espied."

And these of another poet,

"I have borne for thy love what never bore *
For his fair, Kays the 'Daft one'[FN#204] hight of old:
Yet I chase not the wildlings of wold and wild *
Like Kays, for madness is manifold."

Thereupon quoth Abu al-Hasan, "Never did I see or hear of one
like unto thee in thy love! When thou sufferest all this
transport and sickness and trouble being enamoured of one who
returneth thy passion, how would it be with thee if she whom thou
lovest were contrary and contumelious, and thy case were
discovered through her perfidy?" "And Ali the son of Bakkar"
(says Abu al-Hasan) "was pleased with my words and he relied upon
them and he thanked me for what I had said and done. I had a
friend" (continued Abu al-Hasan), "to whom I discovered my affair
and that of Ali and who knew that we were intimates; but none
other than he was acquainted with what was betwixt us. He was
wont to come to me and enquire how Ali did and after a little, he
began to ask me about the damsel; but I fenced him off, saying,
'She invited him to her and there was between him and her as much
as can possibly take place, and this is the end of their affair;
but I have devised me a plan and an idea which I would submit to
thee.'" Asked his friend, "And what is that?" Answered Abu
al-Hasan, "I am a person well known to have much dealing among
men and women, and I fear, O my brother, lest the affair of these
twain come to light and this lead to my death and the seizure of
my goods and the rending of my repute and that of my family.
Wherefore I have resolved to get together my monies and make
ready forthright and repair to the city of Bassorah and there
abide, till I see what cometh of their case, that none may know
of me; for love hath lorded over both and correspondence passeth
between them. At this present their go-between and confidante is
a slave-girl who hath till now kept their counsel, but I fear
lest haply anxiety get the better of her and she discover their
secret to some one and the matter, being bruited abroad, might
bring me to great grief and prove the cause of my ruin; for I
have no excuse to offer my accusers." Rejoined his friend, "Thou
hast acquainted me with a parlous affair, from the like of which
the wise and understanding will shrink with fear. Allah avert
from thee the evil thou dreadest with such dread and save thee
from the consequences thou apprehendest! Assuredly thy recking is
aright." So Abu al-Hasan returned to his place and began ordering
his affairs and preparing for his travel; nor had three days
passed ere he made an end of his business and fared forth
Bassorah-wards. His friend came to visit him three days after but
finding him not, asked of him from the neighbours who answered,
"He set out for Bassorah three days ago, for he had dealings with
its merchants and he is gone thither to collect monies from his
debtors; but he will soon return." The young man was confounded
at the news and knew not whither to wend; and he said in his
mind, "Would I had not parted from Abu al-Hasan!" Then he
bethought him of some plan whereby he should gain access to Ali
bin Bakkar; so he went to his lodging, and said to one of his
servants, "Ask leave for me of thy lord that I may go in and
salute him." The servant entered and told his master and
presently returning, invited the man to walk in. So he entered
and found Ali bin Bakkar thrown back on the pillow and saluted
him. Ali returned his greeting and bade him welcome; whereupon
the young man began to excuse himself for having held aloof from
him all that while and added, "O my lord, between Abu al-Hasan
and myself there was close friendship, so that I used to trust
him with my secrets and could not sever myself from him an hour.
Now it so chanced that I was absent three days' space on certain
business with a company of my friends; and, when I came back and
went to him, I found his shop locked up; so I asked the
neighbours about him and they replied, 'He is gone to Bassorah.'
Now I know he had no surer friend than thou; so, by Allah, tell
me what thou knowest of him." When Ali bin Bakkar heard this, his
colour changed and he was troubled and answered, "I never heard
till this day of his departure and, if the case be as thou
sayest, weariness is come upon me." And he began repeating,

"For joys that are no more I wont to weep, *
While friends and lovers stood by me unscattered;
This day when disunited me and them *
Fortune, I weep lost loves and friendship shattered."

Then he hung his head ground-wards in thought awhile and
presently raising it and looking to one of his servants, said,
"Go to Abu al-Hasan's house and enquire anent him whether he be
at home or journeying abroad. If they say, 'He is abroad'; ask
whither he be gone." The servant went out and returning after a
while said to his master, "When I asked for Abu al-Hasan, his
people told me that he was gone on a journey to Bassorah; but I
saw a damsel standing at the door who, knowing me by sight,
though I knew her not, said to me, 'Art thou not servant to Ali
bin Bakkar?' 'Even so,' answered I; and she rejoined, 'I bear a
message for him from one who is the dearest of all folk to him.'
So she came with me and she is now standing at the door." Quoth
Ali bin Bakkar, "Bring her in." The servant went out to her and
brought her in, and the man who was with Ali looked at her and
found her pretty. Then she advanced to the son of Bakkar and
saluted him.--And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased
to say her permitted say,

When it was the One Hundred and Sixtieth Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when the
slave-girl came in to Ali bin Bakkar, she advanced to him and
saluted him and spake with him secretly; and from time to time
during the dialogue he exclaimed with an oath and swore that he
had not talked and tattled of it. Then she took leave of him and
went away. Now Abu al-Hasan's friend was a jeweller,[FN#205] and
when she was gone, he found a place for speech and said to Ali
bin Bakkar, "Doubtless and assuredly the Caliph's household have
some demand upon thee or thou hast dealings therewith?" "Who told
thee of this?" asked Ali; and the jeweller answered, "I know it
by yonder damsel who is Shams al-Nahar's slave-girl; for she came
to me a while since with a note wherein was written that she
wanted a necklace of jewels; and I sent her a costly collar." But
when Ali bin Bakkar heard this, he was greatly troubled, so that
the jeweller feared to see him give up the ghost, yet after a
while he recovered himself and said, "O my brother, I conjure
thee by Allah to tell me truly how thou knowest her." Replied he,
"Do not press this question upon me;" and Ali rejoined, "Indeed,
I will not turn from thee till thou tell me the whole truth."
Quoth the jeweller, "I will tell thee all, on condition that thou
distrust me not, and that my words cause thee no restraint; nor
will I conceal aught from thee by way of secret but will discover
to thee the truth of the affair, provided that thou acquaint me
with the true state of thy case and the cause of thy sickness."
Then he told him all that had passed from first to last between
Abu al-Hasan and himself, adding, "I acted thus only out of
friendship for thee and of my desire to serve thee;" and assured
him that he would keep his secret and venture life and good in
his service. So Ali in turn told him his story and added, "By
Allah, O my brother, naught moved me to keep my case secret from
thee and from others but my fear lest folk should lift the veils
of protection from certain persons." Rejoined the jeweller, "And
I desired not to foregather with thee but of the great affection
I bear thee and my zeal for thee in every case, and my compassion
for the anguish thy heart endureth from severance. Haply I may be
a comforter to thee in the room of my friend, Abu al-Hasan,
during the length of his absence: so be thou of good cheer and
keep thine eyes cool and clear." Thereupon Ali thanked him and
repeated these couplets,

"An say I, 'Patient I can bear his faring,' *
My tears and sighings give my say the lie;
How can I hide these tears that course adown *
This plain, my cheek, for friend too fain to fly?"

Then he was silent awhile, and presently said to the jeweller
"Knowest thou what secret the girl whispered to me?" Answered he,
"Not I, by Allah, O my lord!" Quoth Ali, "She fancied that I
directed Abu al-Hasan to go to Bassorah and that I had devised
this device to put a stop to our correspondence and consorting. I
swore to her that this was on nowise so; but she would not credit
me and went away to her mistress, persisting in her injurious
suspicions; for she inclined to Abu al-Hasan and gave ear to his
word." Answered the young jeweller, "O my brother, I understood
as much from the girl's manner; but I will win for thee thy wish,
Inshallah!" Rejoined Ali bin Bakkar, "Who can be with me in this
and how wilt thou do with her, when she shies and flies like a
wildling of the wold?" Cried the jeweller "By Allah, needs must I
do my utmost to help thee and contrive to scrape acquaintance
with her without exposure or mischief!" Then he asked leave to
depart and Ali bin Bakkar said, "O my brother, mind thou keep my
counsel;" and he looked at him and wept. The jeweller bade him
good-bye and fared forth.--And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of
day and ceased saying her permitted say.

When it was the One Hundred and Sixty-first Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that the
jeweller bade him good-bye and fared forth not knowing what he
should do to win for him his wishes; and he ceased not walking,
while over-musing the matter, till he spied a letter lying in the
road. He took it up and looked at its direction and
superscription, then read it and behold, it ran:--"From the least
worthy of lovers to the most worthy of beloveds." So he opened it
and found these words written therein,

"A messenger from thee came bringing union-hope, *
But that he erred somehow with me the thought prevailed;
So I rejoiced not; rather grew my grief still more; *
Weeting my messenger of wits and wit had failed.

"But afterwards: Know, O my lord! that I ken not the reason why
our correspondence between thee and me hath been broken off: but,
if the cruelty arise from thy part, I will requite it with
fidelity, and if thy love have departed, I will remain constant
to my love of the parted, for I am with thee even as says the

'Be proud; I'll crouch! Bully; I'll bear! Despise; I'll pray! *
Go; I will come! Speak; I will hear! Bid; I'll obey!'"

As he was reading lo! up came the slave-girl, looking right and
left, and seeing the paper in the jeweller's hand, said to him,
"O my master, this letter is one I let fall." He made her no
answer, but walked on, and she walked behind him, till he came to
his house, when he entered and she after him, saying, "O my
master, give me back this letter, for it fell from me." Thereon
he turned to her and said, "O handmaid of good, fear not neither
grieve, for verily Allah the Protector loveth those who protect;
but tell me in truthful way thy case, as I am one who keepeth
counsel. I conjure thee by an oath not to hide from me aught of
thy lady's affairs; for haply Allah shall help me to further her
wishes and make easy by my hand that which is hard." When the
slave-girl heard these words she said, "O my lord, indeed a
secret is not lost whereof thou art the secretist; nor shall any
affair come to naught for which thou strivest. Know that my heart
inclineth to thee and would interest thee with my tidings, but do
thou give me the letter." Then she told him the whole story,
adding, "Allah is witness to whatso I say." Quoth he, "Thou hast
spoken truly, for I am acquainted with the root of the matter."
Then he told her his tale of Ali bin Bakkar and how he had
learned his state of mind; and related to her all that had passed
from first to last, whereat she rejoiced; and they two agreed
that she should take the letter and carry it to Ali and return
and acquaint the jeweller with all that happened. So he gave her
the letter and she took it and sealed it up as it was before,
saying, "My mistress Shams al-Nahar gave it to me sealed; and
when he hath read it and given me its reply, I will bring it to
thee." Then she took leave and repaired to Ali bin Bakkar, whom
she found waiting, and gave him the letter. He read it and
writing a paper by way of reply, gave it to her; and she carried
it to the jeweller, who tore asunder the seal[FN#206] and read it
and found written therein these two couplets,

"The messenger, who kept our commerce hid, *
Hath failed, and showeth wrath without disguise;[FN#207]
Choose one more leal from your many friends *
Who, truth approving, disapproves of lies.

"To proceed: Verily, I have not entered upon perfidy * nor have I
abandoned fidelity * I have not used cruelty * neither have I out
off lealty * no covenant hath been broken by me * nor hath
love-tie been severed by me * I have not parted from penitence *
nor have I found aught but misery and ruin after severance * I
know nothing of that thou avouchest * nor do I love aught but
that which thou lovest * By Him who knoweth the secret of hidden
things none discover *I have no desire save union with my lover *
and my one business is my passion to conceal * albeit with sore
sickness I ail. * This is the exposition of my case and now all
hail!" When the jeweller read this letter and learnt its contents
he wept with sore weeping, and the slave-girl said to him, "Leave
not this place till I return to thee; for he suspecteth me of
such and such things, in which he is excusable; so it is my
desire to bring about a meeting between thee and my mistress,
Shams al-Nahar, howsoever I may trick you to it. For the present
I left her prostrate, awaiting my return with the reply." Then
she went away and the jeweller passed the night with a troubled
mind. And when day dawned he prayed his dawn-prayer and sat
expecting the girl's coming; and behold, she came in to him
rejoicing with much joy and he asked her, "What news, O damsel?"
She answered, "After leaving thee I went to my mistress and gave
her the letter written by Ali bin Bakkar; and, when she read it
and understood it, she was troubled and confounded; but I said to
her, 'O my lady, have no fear of your affair being frustrated by
Abu al-Hasan's disappearance, for I have found one to take his
place, better than he and more of worth and a good man to keep
secrets.' Then I told her what was between thyself and Abu
al-Hasan and how thou camest by his confidence and that of Ali
bin Bakkar and how that note was dropped and thou camest by it;
and I also showed her how we arranged matters betwixt me and
thee." The jeweller marvelled with much wonder, when she resumed,
"And now my mistress would hear whatso thou sayest, that she may
be assured by thy speech of the covenants between thee and him;
so get thee ready to go with me to her forthwith." When the
jeweller heard the slave-girl's words, he saw that the proposed
affair was grave and a great peril to brave, not lightly to be
undertaken or suddenly entered upon, and he said to her, "O my
sister, verily, I am of the ordinary and not like unto Abu
al-Hasan; for he being of high rank and of well-known repute, was
wont to frequent the Caliph's household, because of their need of
his merchandise. As for me, he used to talk with me and I
trembled before him the while. So, if thy mistress would speak
with me, our meeting must be in some place other than the
Caliph's palace and far from the abode of the Commander of the
Faithful; for my common sense will not let me consent to what
thou proposest." On this wise he refused to go with her and she
went on to say that she would be surety for his safety, adding,
"Take heart and fear no harm!" and pressed him to courage till he
consented to accompany her; withal, his legs bent and shivered
and his hands quivered and he exclaimed, "Allah forbid that I
should go with thee! Indeed, I have not strength to do this
thing!" Replied she, "Hearten thy heart, if it be hard for thee
to go to the Caliph's palace and thou canst not muster up courage
to accompany me, I will make her come to thee; so budge not from
thy place till I return to thee with her." Then the slave-girl
went away and was absent for a while, but a short while, after
which she returned to the jeweller and said to him, "Take thou
care that there be with thee none save thyself, neither man-slave
nor girl-slave." Quoth he, "I have but a negress, who is in years
and who waiteth on me."[FN#208] So she arose and locked the door
between his negress and the jeweller and sent his man-servants
out of the place; after which she fared forth and presently
returned, followed by a lady who, entering the house, filled it
with the sweet scent of her perfumes. When the jeweller saw her,
he sprang up and set her a couch and a cushion; and she sat down
while he seated himself before her. She abode awhile without
speaking till she had rested herself, when she unveiled her face
and it seemed to the jeweller's fancy as if the sun had risen in
his home. Then she asked her slave-girl, "Is this the man of whom
thou spakest to me?" "Yes," answered she; whereupon the lady
turned to the jeweller and said to him, "How is it with thee?"
Replied he, "Right well! I pray Allah for thy preservation and
that of the Commander of the Faithful." Quoth she, "Thou hast
moved us to come to thee and possess thee with what we hold
secret." Then she questioned him of his household and family; and
he disclosed to her all his circumstance and his condition and
said to her, "I have a house other than this; and I have set it
apart for gathering together my friends and brethren; and there
is none there save the old negress, of whom I spoke to thy
handmaid." She asked him on what wise he came first to know how
the affair began and the matter of Abu al-Hasan and the cause of
his way-faring: accordingly he told her all he knew and how he
had advised the journey. Thereupon she bewailed the loss of Abu
al-Hasan and said to the jeweller, "Know, O such an one,[FN#209]
that men's souls are active in their lusts and that men are still
men; and that deeds are not done without words nor is end ever
reached without endeavour. Rest is won only by work."--And
Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased to say her
permitted say.

When it was the One Hundred and Sixty-second Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that Shams
al-Nahar thus addressed the jeweller, "Rest is gained only by
work and success is gendered only by help of the generous. Now I
have acquainted thee with our affair and it is in thy hand to
expose us or to shield us; I say no more, because thy generosity
requireth naught. Thou knowest that this my handmaiden keepeth my
counsel and therefore occupieth high place in my favour; and I
have selected her to transact my affairs of importance. So let
none be worthier in thy sight than she and acquaint her with
thine affair; and be of good cheer, for on her account thou art
safe from all fear, and there is no place shut upon thee but she
shall open it to thee. She shall bring thee my messages to Ali
bin Bakkar and thou shalt be our intermediary." So saying, she
rose, scarcely able to rise, and fared forth, the jeweller faring
before her to the door of her house, after which he returned and
sat down again in his place, having seen of her beauty and heard
of her speech what dazzled him and dazed his wit, and having
witnessed of her grace and courtesy what bewitched his sprite. He
sat musing on her perfections till his mind waxed tranquil, when
he called for food and ate enough to keep soul and body together.
Then he changed his clothes and went out; and, repairing to the
house of the youth Ali bin Bakkar, knocked at the door. The
servants hastened to admit him and walked before him till they
had brought him to their master, whom he found strown upon his
bed. Now when he saw the jeweller, he said to him, "Thou hast
tarried long from me, and that hath heaped care upon my care."
Then he dismissed his servants and bade the doors be shut; after
which he said to the jeweller, "By Allah, O my brother, I have
not closed my eyes since the day I saw thee last; for the
slave-girl came to me yesterday with a sealed letter from her
mistress Shams al-Nahar;" and went on to tell him all that had
passed with her, adding, "By the Lord, I am indeed perplexed
concerning mine affair and my patience faileth me: for Abu
al-Hasan was a comforter who cheered me because he knew the
slave-girl." When the jeweller heard his words, he laughed; and
Ali said, "Why dost thou laugh at my words, thou on whose coming
I congratulated myself and to whom I looked for provision against
the shifts of fortune?" Then he sighed and wept and repeated
these couplets,[FN#210]

"Full many laugh at tears they see me shed *
Who had shed tears an bore they what I bore;
None feeleth pity for th' afflicted's woe, *
Save one as anxious and in woe galore:
My passion, yearning, sighing, thought, repine *
Are for me cornered in my heart's deep core:
He made a home there which he never quits, *
Yet rare our meetings, not as heretofore:
No friend to stablish in his place I see; *
No intimate but only he and --he."

Now when the jeweller heard these lines and understood their
significance, he wept also and told him all that had passed
betwixt himself and the slave-girl and her mistress since he left
him. And Ali bin Bakkar gave ear to his speech, and at every word
he heard his colour shifted from white to red and his body grew
now stronger and then weaker till the tale came to an end, when
he wept and said, "O my brother, I am a lost man in any case:
would mine end were nigh, that I might be at rest from all this!
But I beg thee, of thy favour, to be my helper and comforter in
all my affairs till Allah fulfil whatso be His will; and I will
not gainsay thee with a single word." Quoth the jeweller,
"Nothing will quench thy fire save union with her whom thou
lovest; and the meeting must be in other than this perilous
place. Better it were in a house of mine where the girl and her
mistress met me; which place she chose for herself, to the intent
that ye twain may there meet and complain each to other of what
you have suffered from the pangs of love." Quoth Ali bin Bakkar,
"O good Sir, do as thou wilt and with Allah be thy reward!; and
what thou deemest is right do it forthright: but be not long in
doing it, lest I perish of this anguish." "So I abode with him
(said the jeweller) that night conversing with him till the
morning morrowed,"--And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and
ceased saying her permitted say.

When it was the One Hundred and Sixty-third Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that the
jeweller continued:--"So I abode with him that night conversing
with him till the morning morrowed, when I prayed the
dawn-prayers and, going out from him, returned to my house.
Hardly had I settled down when the damsel came up and saluted me;
and I returned her salutation and told her what had passed
between myself and Ali bin Bakkar, and she said, 'Know that the
Caliph hath left us and there is no one in our place and it is
safer for us and better.' Replied I, 'Sooth thou sayest; yet is
it not like my other house which is both fitter and surer for
us;' and the slave-girl rejoined 'Be it as thou seest fit. I am
now going to my lady and will tell her what thou sayest and
acquaint her with all thou hast mentioned.' So she went away and
sought her mistress and laid the project before her, and
presently returned and said to me, 'It is to be as thou sayest:
so make us ready the place and expect us.' Then she took out of
her breast-pocket a purse of dinars and gave this message, 'My
lady saluteth thee and saith to thee, 'Take this and provide
therewith what the case requireth.' But I swore that I would
accept naught of it; so she took the purse and returning to her
mistress, told her, 'He would not receive the money, but gave it
back to me.' 'No matter,' answered Shams al-Nahar. As soon as the
slave-girl was gone" (continued the jeweller), "I arose and
betook myself to my other house and transported thither all that
was needful, by way of vessels and furniture and rich carpets;
and I did not forget china vases and cups of glass and gold and
silver; and I made ready meat and drink required for the
occasion. When the damsel came and saw what I had done, it
pleased her and she bade me fetch Ali bin Bakkar; but I said,
'None shall bring him save thou.' Accordingly she went to him and
brought him back perfectly dressed and looking his best. I met
him and greeted him and then seated him upon a divan befitting
his condition, and set before him sweet-scented flowers in vases
of china and vari-coloured glass.[FN#211] Then I set on a tray of
many-tinted meats such as broaden the breast with their sight,
and sat talking with him and diverting him, whilst the slave-girl
went away and was absent till after sundown-prayers, when she
returned with Shams al-Nahar, attended by two maids and none
else. Now as soon as she saw Ali bin Bakkar and he saw her, he
rose and embraced her, and she on her side embraced him and both
fell in a fit to the ground. They lay for a whole hour
insensible; then, coming to themselves, they began mutually to
complain of the pains of separation. Thereupon they drew near to
each other and sat talking charmingly, softly, tenderly; after
which they somewhat perfumed themselves and fell to thanking me
for what I had done for them. Quoth I, 'Have ye a mind for food?'
'Yes,' quoth they. So I set before them a small matter of food
and they ate till they were satisfied and then washed their
hands; after which I led them to another sitting-room and brought
them wine. So they drank and drank deep and inclined to each
other; and presently Shams al-Nahar said to me, 'O my master,
complete thy kindness by bringing us a lute or other instrument
of mirth and music that the measure of our joy may be fully
filled.' I replied, 'On my head and eyes!' and rising brought her
a lute, which she took and tuned; then laying it in her lap she
touched it with a masterly touch, at once exciting to sadness and
changing sorrow to gladness; after which she sang these two

'My sleeplessness would show I love to bide on wake; *
And would my leanness prove that sickness is my make:
And tear-floods course adown the cheeks they only scald; *
Would I knew union shall disunion overtake!'

Then she went on to sing the choicest and most affecting poesy to
many and various modes, till our senses were bewitched and the
very room danced with excess of delight and surprise at her sweet
singing; and neither thought nor reason was left in us. When we
had sat awhile and the cup had gone round amongst us, the damsel
took the lute and sang to a lively measure these couplets,

'My love a meeting promised me and kept it faithfully, *
One night as many I shall count in number and degree:
O Night of joyance Fate vouchsafed to faithful lovers tway, *
Uncaring for the railer loon and all his company!
My lover lay the Night with me and clipt me with his right, *
While I with left embraced him, a-faint for ecstasy;
And hugged him to my breast and sucked the sweet wine of his
lips, * Full savouring the honey-draught the honey-man sold
to me.'

Whilst we were thus drowned in the sea of gladness" (continued
the jeweller) "behold, there came in to us a little maid
trembling and said, 'O my lady, look how you may go away for the
folk have found you out and have surrounded the house; and we
know not the cause of this!' When I heard her words, I arose
startled and lo! in rushed a slave-girl who cried, 'Calamity hath
come upon you.' At the same moment the door was burst open and
there rushed in upon us ten men masked in kerchiefs with hangers
in their hands and swords by their sides, and as many more behind
them. When I saw this, the world was straitened on me for all its
wideness, and I looked to the door but saw no issue; so I sprang
from the terrace into the house of one of my neighbours and there
hid myself. Thence I found that folk had entered my lodgings and
were making a mighty hubbub; and I concluded that the Caliph had
got wind of us and had sent his Chief of the Watch to seize us
and bring us before him. So I abode confounded and ceased not
remaining in my place, without any possibility of quitting it
till midnight. And presently the house-master arose, for he had
heard me moving, and he feared with exceeding great fear of me;
so he came forth from his room with drawn brand in hand and made
at me, saying, 'Who is this in my house?' Quoth I, 'I am thy
neighbour the jeweller;' and he knew me and retired. Then he
fetched a light and coming up to me, said, 'O my brother, indeed
that which hath befallen thee this night is no light matter to
me.' I replied, 'O my brother, tell me who was in my house and
entered it breaking in my door; for I fled to thee not knowing
what was to do.' He answered, 'Of a truth the robbers who
attacked our neighbours yesterday and slew such an one and took
his goods, saw thee on the same day bringing furniture into this
house; so they broke in upon thee and stole thy goods and slew
thy guests.' Then we arose" (pursued the jeweller), "I and he,
and repaired to my house, which we found empty without a stick
remaining in it; so I was confounded at the case and said to
myself, 'As for the gear I care naught about its loss, albeit I
borrowed part of the stuff from my friends and it hath come to
grief; yet is there no harm in that, for they know my excuse in
the plunder of my property and the pillage of my place. But as
for Ali bin Bakkar and the Caliph's favourite concubine, I fear
lest their case get bruited abroad and this cause the loss of my
life.' So I turned to my neighbour and said to him, 'Thou art my
brother and my neighbour and wilt cover my nakedness; what then
dost thou advise me to do?' The man answered, 'What I counsel
thee to do is to keep quiet and wait; for they who entered thy
house and took thy goods have murdered the best men of a party
from the palace of the Caliphate and have killed not a few of the
watchmen: the government officers and guards are now in quest of
them on every road and haply they will hit upon them, whereby thy
wish will come about without effort of thine.'" The jeweller
hearing these words returned to his other house, that wherein he
dwelt,--and Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased to say
her permitted say.

When it was the One Hundred and Sixty-fourth Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when the
jeweller heard these words he returned to his other house wherein
he dwelt, and said to himself, "Indeed this that hath befallen me
is what Abu al-Hasan feared and from which he fled to Bassorah.
And now I have fallen into it." Presently the pillage of his
pleasure-house was noised abroad among the folk, and they came to
him from all sides and places, some exulting in his misfortune
and others excusing him and condoling with his sorrow; whilst he
bewailed himself to them and for grief neither ate meat nor drank
drink. And as he sat, repenting him of what he had done, behold
one of his servants came in to him and said, "There is a person
at the door who asketh for thee; and I know him not." The
jeweller went forth to him and saluted him who was a stranger;
and the man whispered to him, "I have somewhat to say between our
two selves." Thereupon he brought him in and asked him, "What
hast thou to tell me?" Quoth the man, "Come with me to thine
other house;" and the jeweller enquired, "Dost thou then know my
other house?" Replied the other, "I know all about thee and I
know that also whereby Allah will dispel thy dolours." "So I said
to myself" (continued the jeweller) "'I will go with him whither
he will;' and went out and walked on till we came to my second
house; and when the man saw it he said to me, 'It is without door
or doorkeeper, and we cannot possibly sit in it; so come thou
with me to another place.' Then the man continued passing from
stead to stead (and I with him) till night overtook us. Yet I put
no question to him of the matter in hand and we ceased not to
walk on, till we reached the open country. He kept saying,
'Follow me,' and quickened his pace to a trot, whilst I trotted
after him heartening my heart to go on, until we reached the
river, where he took boat with me, and the boatman rowed us over
to the other bank. Then he landed from the boat and I landed
after him: and he took my hand and led me to a street which I had
never entered in all my days, nor do I know in what quarter it
was. Presently the man stopped at the door of a house, and
opening it entered and made me enter with him; after which he
locked the door with an iron padlock,[FN#212] and led me along
the vestibule, till he brought me in the presence of ten men who
were as though they were one and the same man; they being
brothers. We saluted them" (continued the jeweller) "and they
returned our greeting and bade us be seated; so we sat down. Now
I was like to die for excess of weariness; but they brought me
rose-water and sprinkled it on my face; after which they gave me
a sherbet to drink and set before me food whereof some of them
ate with me. Quoth I to myself, 'Were there aught harmful in the
food, they would not eat with me.' So I ate, and when we had
washed our hands, each of us returned to his place. Then they
asked me, 'Dost thou know us?' and I answered, 'No! nor in my
life have I ever seen you; nay, I know not even him who brought
me hither.' Said they, 'Tell us thy tidings and lie not at all.'
Replied I, 'Know then that my case is wondrous and my affair
marvellous; but wot ye anything about me?' They rejoined, 'Yes!
it was we took thy goods yesternight and carried off thy friend
and her who was singing to him.' Quoth I, 'Allah let down His
veil over you! Where be my friend and she who was singing to
him?' They pointed with their hands to one side and replied,
'Yonder, but, by Allah, O our brother, the secret of their case
is known to none save to thee, for from the time we brought the
twain hither up to this day, we have not looked upon them nor
questioned them of their condition, seeing them to be persons of
rank and dignity. Now this and this only it was that hindered our
killing them: so tell us the truth of their case and thou shalt
be assured of thy safety and of theirs.' When I heard this"
(continued the jeweller) "I almost died of fright and horror, and
I said to them, 'Know ye, O my brethren, that if generosity were
lost, it would not be found save with you; and had I a secret
which I feared to reveal, none but your breasts would conceal
it.' And I went on exaggerating their praises in this fashion,
till I saw that frankness and readiness to speak out would profit
me more than concealing facts; so I told them all that had
betided me to the very end of the tale. When they heard it, they
said, 'And is this young man Ali Bakkar-son and this lady Shams
al-Nahar?' I replied, 'Yes.' Now this was grievous to them and
they rose and made their excuses to the two and then they said to
me, 'Of what we took from thy house part is spent, but here is
what is left of it.' So speaking, they gave me back most of my
goods and they engaged to return them to their places in my
house, and to restore me the rest as soon as they could. My heart
was set at ease till they split into two parties, one with me and
the other against me; and we fared forth from that house and such
was my case. But as regards Ali bin Bakkar and Shams al-Nahar;
they were well-nigh dying for excess of fear, when I went up to
them and saluting them, asked, 'What happened to the damsel and
the two maids, and where be they gone?', and they answered only,
'We know nothing of them.' Then we walked on and stinted not till
we came to the river-bank where the barque lay; and we all
boarded it, for it was the same which had brought me over on the
day before. The boatman rowed us to the other side; but hardly
had we landed and taken seat on the bank to rest, when a troop of
horse swooped down on us like eagles and surrounded us on all
sides and places, whereupon the robbers with us sprang up in
haste like vultures, and the boat put back for them and took them
in and the boatman pushed off into mid-stream, leaving us on the
river bank, unable to move or to stand still. Then the chief
horseman said to us, 'Whence be ye!'; and we were perplexed for
an answer, but I said" (continued the jeweller), "'Those ye saw
with us are rogues; we know them not. As for us, we are singers,
and they intended taking us to sing for them, nor could we get
free of them, save by subtlety and soft words; so on this
occasion they let us go, their works being such as you have
seen.' But they looked at Shams al-Nahar and Ali bin Bakkar and
said to me, 'Thou hast not spoken sooth but, if thy tale be true,
tell us who ye are and whence ye are; and what be your place and
in what quarter you dwell.' I knew not what to answer them, but
Shams al-Nahar sprang up and approaching the Captain of the
horsemen spoke with him privily, whereupon he dismounted from his
steed and, setting her on horse-back, took the bridle and began
to lead his beast. And two of his men did the like with the
youth, Ali bin Bakkar, and it was the same with myself. The
Commandant of the troop ceased not faring on with us, till they
reached a certain part of the river bank, when he sang out in
some barbarous jargon[FN#213] and there came to us a number of
men with two boats. Then the Captain embarked us in one of them
(and he with us) whilst the rest of his men put off in the other,
and rowed on with us till we arrived at the palace of the
Caliphate where Shams al-Nahar landed. And all the while we
endured the agonies of death for excess of fear, and they ceased
not faring till they came to a place whence there was a way to
our quarter. Here we landed and walked on, escorted by some of
the horsemen, till we came to Ali bin Bakkar's house; and when we
entered it, our escort took leave of us and went their way. We
abode there, unable to stir from the place and not knowing the
difference between morning and evening; and in such case we
continued till the dawn of the next day. And when it was again
nightfall, I came to myself and saw Ali bin Bakkar and the women
and men of his household weeping over him, for he was stretched
out without sense or motion. Some of them came to me and
thoroughly arousing me said, 'Tell us what hath befallen our son
and say how came he in this plight?' Replied I, 'O folk, hearken
to me!'"--And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased
saying her permitted say.

When it was the One Hundred and Sixty-fifth Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that the
jeweller answered them, "'O folk, hearken to my words and give me
no trouble and annoyance! but be patient and he will come to and
tell you his tale for himself.' And I was hard upon them and made
them afraid of a scandal between me and them, but as we were
thus, behold, Ali bin Bakkar moved on his carpet-bed, whereat his
friends rejoiced and the stranger folk withdrew from him; but his
people forbade me to go away. Then they sprinkled rose-water on
his face and he presently revived and sensed the air; whereupon
they questioned him of his case, and he essayed to answer them
but his tongue could not speak forthright and he signed to them
to let me go home. So they let me go, and I went forth hardly
crediting my escape and returned to my own house, supported by
two men. When my people saw me thus, they rose up and set to
shrieking and slapping their faces; but I signed to them with my
hand to be silent and they were silent. Then the two men went
their way and I threw myself down on my bed, where I lay the rest
of the night and awoke not till the forenoon, when I found my
people gathered round me and saying, 'What calamity befel thee,
and what evil with its mischief did fell thee?' Quoth I 'Bring me
somewhat to drink.' So they brought me drink, and I drank of it
what I would and said to them, 'What happened, happened.'
Thereupon they went away and I made my excuses to my friends, and
asked if any of the goods that had been stolen from my other
house had been returned. They answered, 'Yes! some of them have
come back; by token that a man entered and threw them down within
the doorway and we saw him not.' So I comforted myself and abode
in my place two days, unable to rise and leave it; and presently
I took courage and went to the bath, for I was worn out with
fatigue and troubled in mind for Ali bin Bakkar and Shams
al-Nahar, because I had no news of them all this time and could
neither get to Ali's house nor, out of fear for my life, take my
rest in mine own. And I repented to Almighty Allah of what I had
done and praised Him for my safety. Presently my fancy suggested
to me to go to such and such a place and see the folk and solace
myself; so I went on foot to the cloth-market and sat awhile with
a friend of mine there. When I rose to go, I saw a woman standing
over against me; so I looked at her, and lo! it was Shams
al-Nahar's slave-girl. When I saw her, the world grew dark in my
eyes and I hurried on. She followed me, but I was seized with
affright and fled from her, and whenever I looked at her, a
trembling came upon me whilst she pursued me, saying. 'Stop, that
I may tell thee somewhat!' But I heeded her not and never ceased
walking till I reached a mosque, and she entered after me. I
prayed a two-bow prayer, after which I turned to her and,
sighing, said, 'What cost thou want?' She asked me how I did, and
I told her all that had befallen myself and Ali bin Bakkar and
besought her for news of herself. She answered, 'Know that when I
saw the robbers break open thy door and rush in, I was in sore
terror, for I doubted not but that they were the Caliph's
officers and would seize me and my mistress and we should perish
forthwith: so we fled over the roofs, I and the maids; and,
casting ourselves down from a high place, came upon some people
with whom we took refuge; and they received us and brought us to
the palace of the Caliphate, where we arrived in the sorriest of
plights. We concealed our case and abode on coals of fire till
nightfall, when I opened the river-gate and, calling the boatman
who had carried us the night before, said to him, 'I know not
what is become of my mistress; so take me in the boat, that we
may go seek her on the river: haply I shall chance on some news
of her. Accordingly he took me into the boat and went about with
me and ceased not wending till midnight, when I spied a barque
making towards the water gate, with one man rowing and another
standing up and a woman lying prostrate between them twain. And
they rowed on till they reached the shore when the woman landed,
and I looked at her, and behold, it was Shams al-Nahar. Thereupon
I got out and joined her, dazed for joy to see her after having
lost all hopes of finding her alive.'" --And Shahrazad perceived
the dawn of day and ceased saying her permitted say.

When it was the One Hundred and Sixty-sixth Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that the
slave-girl went on telling the jeweller, "'I was dazed for joy to
see her, after having lost all hopes of finding her alive. When I
came up to her, she bade me give the man who had brought her
thither a thousand gold pieces; and we carried her in, I and the
two maids, and laid her on her bed; where she passed that night
in a sorely troubled state; and, when morning dawned, I forbade
the women and eunuchs to go in to her, or even to draw near her
for the whole of that day; but on the next she revived and
somewhat recovered and I found her as if she had come out of her
grave. I sprinkled rose-water upon her face and changed her
clothes and washed her hands and feet; nor did I cease to coax
her, till I brought her to eat a little and drink some wine,
though she had no mind to any such matter. As soon as she had
breathed the fresh air and strength began to return to her, I
took to upbraiding her, saying, 'O my lady, consider and have
pity on thyself; thou seest what hath betided us: surely, enough
and more than enough of evil hath befallen thee; for indeed thou
hast been nigh upon death. She said, 'By Allah, O good damsel, in
sooth death were easier to me than what hath betided me; for it
seemed as though I should be slain and no power could save me.
When the robbers took us from the jeweller's house they asked me,
Who mayest thou be? and hearing my answer, 'I am a singing girl,
they believed me. Then they turned to Ali bin Bakkar and made
enquiries about him, 'And who art thou and what is thy
condition?; whereto he replied, 'I am of the common kind. So they
took us and carried us along, without our resisting, to their
abode; and we hurried on with them for excess of fear; but when
they had us set down with them in the house, they looked hard at
me and seeing the clothes I wore and my necklaces and jewellery,
believed not my account of myself and said to me, 'Of a truth
these necklaces belong to no singing-girl; so be soothfast and
tell us the truth of thy case. I returned them no answer
whatever, saying in my mind, 'Now will they slay me for the sake
of my apparel and ornaments; and I spoke not a word. Then the
villains turned to Ali bin Bakkar, asking, 'And thou, who art
thou and whence art thou? for thy semblance seemeth not as that
of the common kind. But he was silent and we ceased not to keep
our counsel and to weep, till Allah softened the rogues' hearts
to pity and they said to us, 'Who is the owner of the house
wherein we were?' We answered, 'Such an one, the jeweller;
whereupon quoth one of them, 'I know him right well and I wot the
other house where he liveth and I will engage to bring him to you
this very hour. Then they agreed to set me in a place by myself
and Ali bin Bakkar in a place by himself, and said to us, 'Be at
rest ye twain and fear not lest your secret be divulged; ye are
safe from us. Meanwhile their comrade went away and returned with
the jeweller, who made known to them our case, and we joined
company with him; after which a man of the band fetched a barque,
wherein they embarked us all three and, rowing us over the river,
landed us with scant ceremony on the opposite bank and went their
ways. Thereupon up came a horse-patrol and asked us who we were;
so I spoke with the Captain of the watch and said to him, 'I am
Shams al-Nahar, the Caliph's favourite; I had drunken strong wine
and went out to visit certain of my acquaintance of the wives of
the Wazirs, when yonder rogues came upon me and laid hold of me
and brought me to this place; but when they saw you, they fled as
fast as they could. I met these men with them: so do thou escort
me and them to a place of safety and I will requite thee as I am
well able to do. When the Captain of the watch heard my speech,
he knew me and alighting, mounted me on his horse; and in like
manner did two of his men with Ali bin Bakkar. So I spoke to her'
(continued the handmaid) 'and blamed her doings, and bade her
beware, and said to her, 'O my lady, have some care for thy
life!' But she was angered at my words and cried out at me;
accordingly I left her and came forth in quest of thee, but found
thee not and dared not go to the house of Ali bin Bakkar; so
stood watching for thee, that I might ask thee of him and wot how
it goes with him. And I pray thee, of thy favour, to take of me
some money, for thou hast doubtless borrowed from thy friends
part of the gear and as it is lost, it behoveth thee to make it
good with folk.' I replied, 'To hear is to obey! go on;' and I
walked with her till we drew near my house, when she said to me,
'Wait here till I come back to thee.'"--And Shahrazad perceived
the dawn of day and ceased to say her permitted say.

When it was the One Hundred and Sixty-seventh Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that after the
slave-girl had addressed the jeweller, "'Wait here till I come
back to thee!' she went away and presently returned with the
money, which she put" (continued the jeweller) "into my hand,
saying, 'O my master, in what place shall we meet?' Quoth I, 'I
will start and go to my house at once and suffer hard things for
thy sake and contrive how thou mayst win access to him, for such
access is difficult at this present.' Said she, 'Let me know some
spot, where I shall come to thee,' and I answered, 'In my other
house, I will go thither forthright and have the doors mended and
the place made safe again, and henceforth we will meet there.'
Then she took leave of me and went her way, whilst I carried the
money home, and counting it, found it five thousand dinars. So I
gave my people some of it and to all who had lent me aught I made
good their loss, after which I arose and took my servants and
repaired to my other house whence the things had been stolen; and
I brought builders and carpenters and masons who restored it to
its former state. Moreover, I placed my negress-slave there and
forgot the mishaps which had befallen me. Then I fared forth and
repaired to Ali bin Bakkar's house and, when I reached it, his
slave-servants accosted me, saying, 'Our lord calleth for thee
night and day, and hath promised to free whichever of us bringeth
thee to him; so they have been wandering about in quest of thee
everywhere but knew not in what part to find thee. Our master is
by way of recovering strength, but at times he reviveth and at
times he relapseth; and whenever he reviveth he nameth thee, and
saith, 'Needs must ye bring him to me, though but for the
twinkling of an eye;' and then he sinketh back into his torpor.'
Accordingly" (continued the jeweller) "I accompanied the slave
and went in to Ali bin Bakkar; and, finding him unable to speak,
sat down at his head, whereupon he opened his eyes and seeing me,
wept and said, 'Welcome and well come!' I raised him and making
him sit up, strained him to my bosom, and he said, 'Know, O my
brother, that, from the hour I took to my bed, I have not sat up
till now: praise to Allah that I see thee again!' And I ceased
not to prop him and support him until I made him stand on his
feet and walk a few steps, after which I changed his clothes and
he drank some wine: but all this he did for my satisfaction.
Then, seeing him somewhat restored, I told him what had befallen
me with the slave-girl (none else hearing me), and said to him,
'Take heart and be of good courage, I know what thou sufferest.'
He smiled and I added, 'Verily nothing shall betide thee save
what shall rejoice thee and medicine thee.' Thereupon he called
for food, which being brought, he signed to his pages, and they
withdrew. Then quoth he to me, 'O my brother, hast thou seen what
hath befallen me?'; and he made excuses to me and asked how I had
fared all that while. I told him everything that had befallen me,
from beginning to end, whereat he wondered and calling his
servants, said, 'Bring me such and such things.' They brought in
fine carpets and hangings and, besides that, vessels of gold and
silver, more than I had lost, and he gave them all to me; so I
sent them to my house and abode with him that night. When the day
began to yellow, he said to me, 'Know thou that as to all things
there is an end, so the end of love is either death or
accomplishment of desire. I am nearer unto death, would I had
died ere this befel!; and had not Allah favoured us, we had been
found out and put to shame. And now I know not what shall deliver
me from this my strait, and were it not that I fear Allah, I
would hasten my own death; for know, O my brother, that I am like
bird in cage and that my life is of a surety perished, choked by
the distresses which have befallen me; yet hath it a period
stablished firm and an appointed term.' And he wept and groaned
and began repeating,

'Enough of tears hath shed the lover-wight, *
When grief outcast all patience from his sprite:
He hid the secrets which united us, *
But now His eye parts what He did unite!'"

When he had finished his verses, the jeweller said to him, "O my
lord, I now intend returning to my house." He answered, "There be
no harm in that; go and come back to me with news as fast as
possible, for thou seest my case." "So I took leave of him"
(continued the jeweller) "and went home, and hardly had I sat
down, when up came the damsel, choked with long weeping. I asked,
'What is the matter'?; and she answered, 'O my lord, know then
that what we feared hath befallen us; for, when I left thee
yesterday and returned to my lady, I found her in a fury with one
of the two maids who were with us the other night, and she
ordered her to be beaten. The girl was frightened and ran away;
but, as she was leaving the house, one of the door-porters and
guards of the gate met her and took her up and would have sent
her back to her mistress. However, she let fall some hints, which
were a disclosure to him; so he cajoled her and led her on to
talk, and she tattled about our case and let him know of all our
doings. This affair came to the ears of the Caliph, who bade
remove my mistress, Shams al-Nahar, and all her gear to the
palace of the Caliphate; and set over her a guard of twenty
eunuchs. Since then to the present hour he hath not visited her
nor hath given her to know the reason of his action, but I
suspect this to be the cause; wherefore I am in fear for my life
and am sore troubled, O my lord, knowing not what I shall do, nor
with what contrivance I shall order my affair and hers; for she
hath none by her more trusted or more trustworthy than
myself.'"--And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased
saying her permitted say.

When it was the One Hundred and Sixty-eighth Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that the
slave-girl thus addressed the jeweller, "'And in very sooth my
lady hath none by her more trusted or more trustworthy in matter
of secrecy than myself. So go thou, O my master, and speed thee
without delay to Ali bin Bakkar; and acquaint him with this, that
he may be on his guard and ward; and, if the affair be
discovered, we will cast about for some means whereby to save our
lives.' On this" (continued the jeweller), "I was seized with
sore trouble and the world grew dark in my sight for the
slave-girl's words; and when she was about to wend, I said to
her, 'What reckest thou and what is to be done?' Quoth she, 'My
counsel is that thou hasten to Ali bin Bakkar, if thou be indeed
his friend and desire to save him; thine be it to carry him this
news at once without aught of stay and delay, or regard for far
and near; and mine be it to sniff about for further news.' Then
she took her leave of me and went away: so I rose and followed
her track and, betaking myself to Ali bin Bakkar, found him
flattering himself with impossible expectations. When he saw me
returning to him so soon, he said, 'I see thou hast come back to
me forthwith and only too soon.' I answered, 'Patience, and cut
short this foolish connection and shake off the pre-occupation
wherein thou art, for there hath befallen that which may bring
about the loss of thy life and good.' Now when he heard this, he
was troubled and strongly moved; and he said to me, 'O my
brother, tell me what hath happened.' Replied I, 'O my lord, know
that such and such things have happened and thou art lost without
recourse, if thou abide in this thy house till the end of the
day.' At this, he was confounded and his soul well-nigh departed
his body, but he recovered himself and said to me, 'What shall I
do, O my brother, and what counsel hast thou to offer.' Answered
I, 'My advice is that thou take what thou canst of thy property
and whom of thy slaves thou trustest, and flee with us to a land
other than this, ere this very day come to an end.' And he said,
'I hear and I obey.' So he rose, confused and dazed like one in
epilepsy, now walking and now falling, and took what came under
his hand. Then he made an excuse to his household and gave them
his last injunctions, after which he loaded three camels and
mounted his beast; and I did likewise. We went forth privily in
disguise and fared on and ceased not our wayfare the rest of that
day and all its night, till nigh upon morning, when we unloaded
and, hobbling our camels, lay down to sleep. But we were worn
with fatigue and we neglected to keep watch, so that there fell
upon us robbers, who stripped us of all we had and slew our
slaves, when these would have beaten them off, leaving us naked
and in the sorriest of plights, after they had taken our money
and lifted our beasts and disappeared. As soon as they were gone,
we arose and walked on till morning dawned, when we came to a
village which we entered, and finding a mosque took refuge
therein for we were naked. So we sat in a corner all that day and
we passed the next night without meat or drink; and at day-break
we prayed our dawn-prayer and sat down again. Presently behold, a
man entered and saluting us prayed a two-bow prayer, after which
he turned to us and said, 'O folk, are ye strangers?' We replied,
'Yes: the bandits waylaid us and stripped us naked, and we came
to this town but know none here with whom we may shelter.' Quoth
he, 'What say ye? will you come home with me?' And" (pursued the
jeweller) "I said to Ali bin Bakkar, 'Up and let us go with him,
and we shall escape two evils; the first, our fear lest some one
who knoweth us enter this mosque and recognise us, so that we
come to disgrace; and the second, that we are strangers and have


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