The Book of the Thousand Nights and a Night, Volume 4
Richard F. Burton

Part 2 out of 7

thy wife make us music that we may be gladdened and pleasured;
for to some folk music is meat, to others medicine and to others
refreshing as a fan." Now these four Dervishes were none other
than the Caliph Harun al-Rashid, his Wazir Ja'afar the Barmecide,
Abu al-Nowás al-Hasan son of Háni[FN#72] and Masrur the sworder;
and the reason of their coming to the house was that the Caliph,
being heavy at heart, had summoned his Minister and said, "O
Wazir! it is our will to go down to the city and pace its
streets, for my breast is sore straitened." So they all four
donned dervish dress and went down and walked about, till they
came to that house where, hearing music, they were minded to know
the cause. They spent the night in joyance and harmony and
telling tale after tale until morning dawned, when the Caliph
laid an hundred gold pieces under the prayer-carpet and all
taking leave of Ala al-Din, went their way. Now when Zubaydah
lifted the carpet she found beneath it the hundred dinars and she
said to her husband, "Take these hundred dinars which I have
found under the prayer-carpet; assuredly the Dervishes when about
to leave us laid them there, without our knowledge." So Ala
al-Din took the money and, repairing to the market, bought
therewith meat and rice and clarified butter and all they
required. And when it was night, he lit the wax-candles and said
to his wife, "The mendicants, it is true, have not brought the
ten thousand dinars which they promised me; but indeed they are
poor men." As they were talking, behold, the Dervishes knocked at
the door and she said, "Go down and open to them." So he did her
bidding and bringing them up, said to them, "Have you brought me
the ten thousand dinars you promised me?" They answered, "We have
not been able to collect aught thereof as yet; but fear nothing:
Inshallah, tomorrow we will compound for thee some
alchemical-cookery. But now bid thy wife play us her very best
pieces and gladden our hearts for we love music." So she took her
lute and made them such melody that had caused the hardest rocks
to dance with glee; and they passed the night in mirth and
merriment, converse and good cheer, till morn appeared with its
sheen and shone, when the Caliph laid an hundred gold pieces
under the prayer-carpet and all, after taking leave of Ala
al-Din, went their way. And they ceased not to visit him thus
every night for nine nights; and each morning the Caliph put an
hundred dinars under the prayer carpet, till the tenth night,
when they came not. Now the reason of their failure to come was
that the Caliph had sent to a great merchant, saying to him,
"Bring me fifty loads of stuffs, such as come from Cairo,"--And
Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased saying her
permitted say.

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

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that the Prince
of True Believers said to that merchant, "Bring me fifty loads of
stuffs such as come from Cairo, and let each one be worth a
thousand dinars, and write on each bale its price; and bring me
also a male Abyssinian slave." The merchant did the bidding of
the Caliph who committed to the slave a basin and ewer of gold
and other presents, together with the fifty loads; and wrote a
letter to Ala al-Din as from his father Shams al-Din and said to
him, "Take these bales and what else is with them, and go to such
and such a quarter wherein dwelleth the Provost of the merchants
and say, 'Where be Ala al-Din Abu al Shamat?' till folk direct
thee to his quarter and his house." So the slave took the letter
and the goods and what else and fared forth on his errand. Such
was his case; but as regards Zubaydah's cousin and first husband,
he went to her father and said to him, "Come let us go to Ala
al-Din and make him divorce the daughter of my uncle." So they
set out both together and, when they came to the street in which
the house stood, they found fifty he mules laden with bales of
stuffs, and a blackamoor riding on a she mule. So they said to
him, "Whose loads are these?" He replied, "They belong to my lord
Ala al-Din Abu al-Shamat; for his father equipped him with
merchandise and sent him on a journey to Baghdad-city; but the
wild Arabs came forth against him and took his money and goods
and all he had. So when the ill news reached his father, he
despatched me to him with these loads, in lieu of those he had
lost; besides a mule laden with fifty thousand dinars, a parcel
of clothes worth a power of money, a robe of sables[FN#73] and a
basin and ewer of gold." Whereupon the lady's father said, "He
whom thou seekest is my son-in-law and I will show thee his
house." Meanwhile Ala al-Din was sitting at home in huge concern,
when lo! one knocked at the door and he said, "O Zubaydah, Allah
is all-knowing! but I fear thy father hath sent me an officer
from the Kazi or the Chief of Police." Quoth she, "Go down and
see what it is." So he went down; and, opening the door, found
his father-in-law, the Provost of the merchants with an
Abyssinian slave, dusky complexioned and pleasant of favour,
riding on a mule. When the slave saw him he dismounted and kissed
his hands, and Ala al-Din said, "What dost thou want?" He
replied, "I am the slave of my lord Ala al-Din Abu al-Shamat, son
of Shams al-Din, Consul of the merchants for the land of Egypt,
who hath sent me to him with this charge." Then he gave him the
letter and Ala al-Din opening it found written what

"Ho thou my letter! when my friend shall see thee, * Kiss thou
the ground and buss his sandal-shoon:
Look thou hie softly and thou hasten not, * My life and rest are
in those hands so boon.

"After hearty salutations and congratulations and high estimation
from Shams al-Din to his son, Abu al-Shamat. Know, O my son, that
news hath reached me of the slaughter of thy men and the plunder
of thy monies and goods; so I send thee herewith fifty loads of
Egyptian stuffs, together with a suit of clothes and a robe of
sables and a basin and ewer of gold. Fear thou no evil, and the
goods thou hast lost were the ransom of thy life; so regret them
not and may no further grief befall thee. Thy mother and the
people of the house are doing well in health and happiness and
all greet thee with abundant greetings. Moreover, O my son, it
hath reached me that they have married thee, by way of
intermediary, to the lady Zubaydah the lutist and they have
imposed on thee a marriage-settlement of ten thousand dinars;
wherefore I send thee also fifty thousand dinars by the slave
Salím."[FN#75] Now when Ala al-Din had made an end of reading the
letter, he took possession of the loads and, turning to the
Provost, said to him, "O my father-in-law, take the ten thousand
dinars, the marriage-settlement of thy daughter Zubaydah, and
take also the loads of goods and dispose of them, and thine be
the profit; only return me the cost price." He answered, "Nay, by
Allah, I will take nothing; and, as for thy wife's settlement, do
thou settle the matter with her." Then, after the goods had been
brought in, they went to Zuhaydah and she said to her sire, "O my
father, whose loads be these?" He said, "These belong to thy
husband, Ala al-Din: his father hath sent them to him instead of
those whereof the wild Arabs spoiled him. Moreover, he hath sent
him fifty thousand dinars with a parcel of clothes, a robe of
sables, a she mule for riding and a basin and ewer of gold. As
for the marriage-settlement that is for thy recking." Thereupon
Ala al-Din rose and, opening the money box, gave her her
settlement and the lady's cousin said, "O my uncle, let him
divorce to me my wife;" but the old man replied, "This may never
be now; for the marriage tie is in his hand." Thereupon the young
man went out, sore afflicted and sadly vexed and, returning home,
fell sick, for his heart had received its death blow; so he
presently died. But as for Ala al-Din, after receiving his goods
he went to the bazar and buying what meats and drinks he needed,
made a banquet as usual--against the night, saying to Zubaydah,
"See these lying Dervishes; they promised us and broke their
promises." Quoth she, "Thou art the son of a Consul of the
merchants, yet was thy hand short of half a dirham; how then
should it be with poor Dervishes?" Quoth he, "Almighty Allah hath
enabled us to do without them; but if they come to us never again
will I open the door to them." She asked, "Why so, whenas their
coming footsteps brought us good luck; and, moreover, they put an
hundred dinars under the prayer carpet for us every night?
Perforce must thou open the door to them an they come." So when
day departed with its light and in gloom came night, they lighted
the wax candles and he said to her, "Rise, Zubaydah, make us
music;" and behold, at this moment some one knocked at the door,
and she said, "Go and look who is at the door." So he went down
and opened it and seeing the Dervishes, said, "Oh, fair welcome
to the liars! Come up." Accordingly they went up with him and he
seated them and brought them the tray of food; and they ate and
drank and became merry and mirthful, and presently said to him,
"O my lord, our hearts have been troubled for thee: what hath
passed between thee and thy father-in-law?" He answered, "Allah
compensated us beyond and above our desire." Rejoined they, "By
Allah, we were in fear for thee".--And Shahrazad perceived the
dawn of day and ceased to say her permitted say.

When it was the Two Hundred and and Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that the
Dervishes thus addressed Ala al-Din, "By Allah, we were in fear
for thee and naught kept us from thee but our lack of cash and
coin." Quoth he, "Speedy relief hath come to me from my Lord; for
my father hath sent me fifty thousand dinars and fifty loads of
stuffs, each load worth a thousand dinars; besides a riding-mule,
a robe of sables, an Abyssinian slave and a basin and ewer of
gold. Moreover, I have made my peace with my father-in-law and my
wife hath become my lawful wife by my paying her settlement; so
laud to Allah for that!" Presently the Caliph rose to do a
necessity; whereupon Ja'afar bent him towards Ala al-Din and
said, "Look to thy manners, for thou art in the presence of the
Commander of the Faithful " Asked he, "How have I failed in good
breeding before the Commander of the Faithful, and which of you
is he?" Quoth Ja'afar, "He who went out but now to make water is
the Commander of the Faithful, Harun al-Rashid, and I am the
Wazir Ja'afar; and this is Masrur the executioner and this other
is Abu Nowas Hasan bin Hani.. And now, O Ala al-Din, use thy
reason and bethink thee how many days' journey it is between
Cairo and Baghdad." He replied, "Five and forty days' journey;"
and Ja'afar rejoined, "Thy baggage was stolen only ten days ago;
so how could the news have reached thy father, and how could he
pack thee up other goods and send them to thee five-and-forty
days' journey in ten days' time?" Quoth Ala al-Din, "O my lord
and whence then came they?" "From the Commander of the Faithful,"
replied Ja'afar, "of his great affection for thee." As they were
speaking, lo! the Caliph entered and Ala al-Din rising, kissed
the ground before him and said, "Allah keep thee, O Prince of the
Faithful, and give thee long life; and may the lieges never lack
thy bounty and beneficence!" Replied the Caliph, "O Ala al-Din,
let Zubaydah play us an air, by way of house-warming[FN#76] for
thy deliverance." Thereupon she played him on the lute so rare a
melody that the very stones shook for glee, and the strings cried
out for present ecstasy, "O Loving One!" They spent the night
after the merriest fashion, and in the morning the Caliph said to
Ala al-Din, "Come to the Divan to-morrow." He answered,
"Hearkening and obedience, O Commander of the Faithful; so Allah
will and thou be well and in good case!" On the morrow he took
ten trays and, putting on each a costly present, went up with
them to the palace; and the Caliph was sitting on the throne
when, behold, Ala al-Din appeared at the door of the Divan,
repeating these two couplets,

"Honour and Glory wait on thee each morn! * Thine enviers' noses
in the dust be set!
Ne'er cease thy days to be as white as snow; * Thy foeman's days
to be as black as jet!"

"Welcome, O Ala Al-Din!" said the Caliph, and he replied, "O
Commander of the Faithful, the Prophet (whom Allah bless and
assain!)[FN#77] was wont to accept presents; and these ten trays,
with what is on them, are my offering to thee." The Caliph
accepted his gift and, ordering him a robe of honour, made him
Provost of the merchants and gave him a seat in the Divan. And as
he was sitting behold, his father-in-law came in and, seeing Ala
al-Din seated in his place and clad in a robe of honour, said to
the Caliph, "O King of the age, why is this man sitting in my
place and wearing this robe of honour?" Quoth the Caliph, "I have
made him Provost of the merchants, for offices are by investiture
and not in perpetuity, and thou art deposed." Answered the
merchant, "Thou hast done well, O Commander of the Faithful, for
he is ours and one of us. Allah make the best of us the managers
of our affairs! How many a little one hath become great!" Then
the Caliph wrote Ala al-Din a Firman[FN#78] of investiture and
gave it to the Governor who gave it to the crier,[FN#79] and the
crier made proclamation in the Divan saying, "None is Provost of
the merchants but Ala al-Din Abu al-Shamat, and his word is to be
heard, and he must be obeyed with due respect paid, and he
meriteth homage and honour and high degree!" Moreover, when the
Divan broke up, the Governor went down with the crier before Ala
Al-Din!" and the crier repeated the proclamation and they carried
Ala al-Din through the thoroughfares of Baghdad, making
proclamation of his dignity. Next day, Ala al-Din opened a shop
for his slave Salim and set him therein, to buy and sell, whilst
he himself rode to the palace and took his place in the Caliph's
Divan.--And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased saying
her permitted say.

When it was the Two Hundred and Sixtieth Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that Ala al-Din
rode to the palace and took his place in the Caliph's Divan. Now
it came to pass one day, when he sat in his stead as was his
wont, behold, one said to the Caliph, "O Commander of the
Faithful, may thy head survive such an one the cup-companion!;
for he is gone to the mercy of Almighty Allah, but be thy life
prolonged!"[FN#80] Quoth the Caliph, "Where is Ala al-Din Abu
al-al-Shamat?" So he went up to the Commander of the Faithful,
who at once clad him in a splendid dress of honour and made him
his boon-companion; appointing him a monthly pay and allowance of
a thousand dinars. He continued to keep him company till, one
day, as he sat in the Divan, according to his custom attending
upon the Caliph, lo and behold! an Emir came up with sword and
shield in hand and said, "O Commander of the Faithful, may thy
head long outlive the Head of the Sixty, for he is dead this
day;" whereupon the Caliph ordered Ala al-Din a dress of honour
and made him Chief of the Sixty, in place of the other who had
neither wife nor son nor daughter. So Ala al-Din laid hands on
his estate and the Caliph said to him, "Bury him in the earth and
take all he hath left of wealth and slaves and handmaids."[FN#81]
Then he shook the handkerchief[FN#82] and dismissed the Divan,
whereupon Ala al-Din went forth, attended by Ahmad al-Danaf,
captain of the right, and Hasan Shúmán, captain of the left,
riding at his either stirrup, each with his forty men.[FN#83]
Presently, he turned to Hasan Shuman and his men and said to
them, "Plead ye for me with the Captain Ahmad al-Danaf that he
please to accept me as his son by covenant before Allah." And
Ahmad assented, saying, "I and my forty men will go before thee
to the Divan every morning." Now after this Ala al-Din continued
in the Caliph's service many days; till one day it chanced that
he left the Divan and returning home, dismissed Ahmad al-Danaf
and his men and sat down with his wife Zubaydab, the lute-player,
who lighted the wax candles and went out of the room upon an
occasion. Suddenly he heard a loud shriek; so he rose up and
running in haste to see what was the matter, found that it was
his wife who had cried out. She was lying at full length on the
ground and, when he put his hand to her breast, he found her
dead. Now her father's house faced that of Ala al-Din, and he,
hearing the shriek, came in and said, "What is the matter, O my
lord Ala al-Din?" He replied, "O my father, may thy head outlive
thy daughter Zubaydah! But, O my father, honour to the dead is
burying them." So when the morning dawned, they buried her in the
earth and her husband and father condoled with and mutually
consoled each other. Thus far concerning her; but as regards Ala
al-Din he donned mourning dress and declined the Divan, abiding
tearful-eyed and heavy-hearted at home. After a while, the Caliph
said to Ja'afar, "O Watir, what is the cause of Ala al-Din's
absence from the Divan?" The Minister answered, "O Commander of
the Faithful, he is in mourning for his wife Zubaydah; and is
occupied in receiving those who come to console him;" and the
Caliph said, "It behoveth us to pay him a visit of condolence."
"I hear and I obey," replied Ja'afar. So they took horse, the
Caliph and the Minister and a few attendants, and rode to Ala
al-Din's house and, as he was sitting at home, behold, the party
came in upon him; whereupon he rose to receive them and kissed
the ground before the Caliph, who said to him, "Allah make good
thy loss to thee!" Answered Ala Al-Din, "May Allah preserve thee
to us, O Commander of the Faithful!" Then said the Caliph, "O Ala
al-Din, why hast thou absented thyself from the Divan?" And he
replied, "Because of my mourning for my wife, Zubaydah, O
Commander of the Faithful." The Caliph rejoined, "Put away grief
from thee: verily she is dead and gone to the mercy of Almighty
Allah and mourning will avail thee nothing; no, nothing." But Ala
al-Din said "O Commander of the Faithful, I shall never leave
mourning for her till I die and they bury me by her side." Quoth
the Caliph, "In Allah is compensation for every decease, and
neither device nor riches can deliver from death; and divinely
gifted was he who said,

'All sons of woman, albe long preserved, * Are borne upon the
bulging bier some day.[FN#84]
How then shall 'joy man joy or taste delight, * Upon whose cheeks
shall rest the dust and clay?'"

When the Caliph had made an end of condoling with him, he charged
him not to absent himself from the Divan and returned to his
palace. And Ala Al-Din, after a last sorrowful night, mounted
early in the morning and, riding to the court, kissed the ground
before the Commander of the Faithful who made a movement if
rising from the throne[FN#85] to greet and welcome him; and bade
him take his appointed place in the Divan, saying, "O Ala al-Din,
thou art my guest to-night." So presently he carried him into his
serraglio and calling a slave-girl named Kút al-Kulúb, said to
her, "Ala al-Din had a wife called Zubaydah, who used to sing to
him and solace him of cark and care; but she is gone to the mercy
of Almighty Allah, and now I would have thee play him an air upon
the lute,"--And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased
saying her permitted say.

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

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that the Caliph
said to the damsel Kut al-Kulub, "I would have thee play him upon
the lute an air, of fashion sweet and rare, that he may be
solaced of his cark and care." So she rose and made sweet music;
and the Caliph said to Ala al-Din, "What sayst thou of this
damsel's voice?" He replied, "Verily, O Commander of the
Faithful, Zubaydah's voice was the finer; but she is skilled in
touching the lute cunningly and her playing would make a rock
dance with glee." The Caliph asked, "Doth she please thee?'' and
he answered, "She doth, O Commander of the Faithful;" whereupon
the King said, "By the life of my head and the tombs of my
forefathers, she is a gift from me to thee, she and her waiting-
women!" Ala al-Din fancied that the Caliph was jesting with him;
but, on the morrow, the King went in to Kut al-Kulub and said to
her, "I have given thee to Ala Al-Din, whereat she rejoiced, for
she had seen and loved him. Then the Caliph returned from his
serraglio palace to the Divan; and, calling porters, said to
them, "Set all the goods of Kut al-Kulub and her waiting-women in
a litter, and carry them to Ala al-Din's home." So they conducted
her to the house and showed her into the pavilion, whilst the
Caliph sat in the hall of audience till the dose of day, when the
Divan broke up and he retired to his harem. Such was his case;
but as regards Kut al-Kulub, when she had taken up her lodging in
Ala al-Din's mansion, she and her women, forty in all, besides
the eunuchry, she called two of these caponised slaves and said
to them, "Sit ye on stools, one on the right and another on the
left hand of the door; and, when Ala al-Din cometh home, both of
you kiss his hands and say to him, "Our mistress Kut al-Kulub
requesteth thy presence in the pavilion, for the Caliph hath
given her to thee, her and her women." They answered, "We hear
and obey;" and did as she bade them. So, when Ala al-Din
returned, he found two of the Caliph's eunuchs sitting at the
door and was amazed at the matter and said to himself, "Surely,
this is not my own house; or else what can have happened?" Now
when the eunuchs saw him, they rose to him and, kissing his
hands, said to him, "We are of the Caliph's household and slaves
to Kut al-Kulub, who saluteth thee, giving thee to know that the
Caliph hath bestowed her on thee, her and her women, and
requesteth thy presence." Quoth Ala al-Din, "Say ye to her, 'Thou
art welcome; but so long as thou shalt abide with me, I will not
enter the pavilion wherein thou art, for what was the master's
should not become the man's;' and furthermore ask her, 'What was
the sum of thy day's expenditure in the Caliph's palace?'" So
they went in and did his errand to her, and she answered, "An
hundred dinars a day;" whereupon quoth he to himself, "There was
no need for the Caliph to give me Kut al-Kulub, that I should be
put to such expense for her; but there is no help for it." So she
abode with him awhile and he assigned her daily an hundred dinars
for her maintenance; till, one day, he absented himself from the
Divan and the Caliph said to Ja'afar, "O Watir, I gave not Kut
al-Kulub unto Ala al-Din but that she might console him for his
wife; why, then, doth he still hold aloof from us?" Answered
Ja'afar, "O Commander of the Faithful, he spake sooth who said,
'Whoso findeth his fere, forgetteth his friends.'" Rejoined the
Caliph, "Haply he hath not absented himself without excuse, but
we will pay him a visit." Now some days before this, Ala al-Din
had said to Ja'afar, "I complained to the Caliph of my grief and
mourning for the loss of my wife Zubaydah and he gave me Kut
al-Kulub;" and the Minister replied, "Except he loved thee, he
had not given her to thee. Say hast thou gone in unto her, O Ala
al-Din?" He rejoined, "No, by Allah! I know not her length from
her breadth." He asked "And why?" and he answered, "O Wazir, what
befitteth the lord befitteth not the liege." Then the Caliph and
Ja'afar disguised themselves and went privily to visit Ala
al-Din; but he knew them and rising to them kissed the hands of
the Caliph, who looked at him and saw signs of sorrow in his
face. So he said to him, "O Al-Din, whence cometh this sorrow
wherein I see thee? Hast thou not gone in unto Kut al-Kulub?" He
replied, "O Commander of the Faithful, what befitteth the lord
befitteth not the thrall. No, as yet I have not gone in to visit
her nor do I know her length from her breadth; so pray quit me of
her." Quoth the Caliph, "I would fain see her and question her of
her case;" and quoth Ala al-Din, "I hear and I obey, O Commander
of the Faithful." So the Caliph went in,--And Shahrazad perceived
the dawn of day and ceased to say her permitted say.

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

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that the Caliph
went in to Kut al-Kulub, who rose to him on sighting him and
kissed the ground between his hands; when he said to her, "Hath
Ala al-Din gone in unto thee?" and she answered, "No, O Commander
of the Faithful, I sent to bid him come, but he would not." So
the Caliph bade carry her back to the Harim and saying to Ala
Al-Din, "Do not absent thyself from us," returned to his palace.
Accordingly, next morning, Ala Al-Din, mounted and rode to the
Divan, where he took his seat as Chief of the Sixty. Presently
the Caliph ordered his treasurer to give the Wazir Ja'afar ten
thousand dinars and said when his order was obeyed, "I charge
thee to go down to the bazar where handmaidens are sold and buy
Ala Al-Din, a slave-girl with this sum." So in obedience to the
King, Ja'afar took Ala al-Din and went down with him to the
bazar. Now as chance would have it, that very day, the Emir
Khálid, whom the Caliph had made Governor of Baghdad, went down
to the market to buy a slave-girl for his son and the cause of
his going was that his wife, Khátún by name, had borne him a son
called Habzalam Bazázah,[FN#86] and the same was foul of favour
and had reached the age of twenty, without learning to mount
horse; albeit his father was brave and bold, a doughty rider
ready to plunge into the Sea of Darkness.[FN#87] And it happened
that on a certain night he had a dream which caused
nocturnal-pollution whereof he told his mother, who rejoiced and
said to his father, "I want to find him a wife, as he is now ripe
for wedlock." Quoth Khálid, "The fellow is so foul of favour and
withal-so rank of odour, so sordid and beastly that no woman
would take him as a gift." And she answered, "We will buy him a
slave-girl." So it befell, for the accomplishing of what Allah
Almighty had decreed, that on the same day, Ja'afar and Ala
al-Din, the Governor Khálid and his son went down to the market
and behold, they saw in the hands of a broker a beautiful girl,
lovely faced and of perfect shape, and the Wazir said to him, "O
broker, ask her owner if he will take a thousand dinars for her."
And as the broker passed by the Governor with the slave, Hahzalam
Bazazah cast at her one glance of the eyes which entailed for
himself one thousand sighs; and he fell in love with her and
passion got hold of him and he said, "O my father, buy me yonder
slave-girl." So the Emir called the broker, who brought the girl
to him, and asked her her name. She replied, "My name is
Jessamine;" and he said to Hahzalam Bazazah, "O my son, as she
please thee, do thou bid higher for her." Then he asked the
broker, "What hath been bidden for her?" and he replied, "A
thousand dinars." Said the Governor's son, "She is mine for a
thousand pieces of gold and one more;" and the broker passed on
to Ala al-Din who bid two thousand dinars for her; and as often
as the Emir's son bid another dinar, Ala al-Din bid a thousand.
The ugly youth was vexed at this and said, "O broker! who is it
that outbiddeth me for the slave-girl?" Answered the broker, "It
is the Wazir Ja'afar who is minded to buy her for Ala al-Din Abu
al-Shamat." And Ala al-Din continued till he brought her price up
to ten thousand dinars, and her owner was satisfied to sell her
for that sum. Then he took the girl and said to her, "I give thee
thy freedom for the love of Almighty Allah;" and forthwith wrote
his contract of marriage with her and carried her to his house.
Now when the broker returned, after having received his
brokerage, the Emir's son summoned him and said to him, "Where is
the girl?" Quoth he, "She was bought for ten thousand dinars by
Ala al-Din, who hath set her free and married her." At this the
young man was greatly vexed and cast down and, sighing many a
sigh, returned home, sick for love of the damsel; and he threw
himself on his bed and refused food, for love and longing were
sore upon him. Now when his mother saw him in this plight, she
said to him, "Heaven assain thee, O my son! What aileth thee?"
And he answered, "Buy me Jessamine, O my mother." Quoth she,
"When the flower-seller passeth I will buy thee a basketful of
jessamine." Quoth he, "It is not the jessamine one smells, but a
slave-girl named Jessamine, whom my father would not buy for me."
So she said to her husband, "Why and wherefore didest thou not
buy him the girl?" and he replied, "What is fit for the lord is
not fit for the liege and I have no power to take her: no less a
man bought her than Ala Al-Din, Chief of the Sixty." Then the
youth's weakness redoubled upon him, till he gave up sleeping and
eating, and his mother bound her head with the fillets of
mourning. And while in her sadness she sat at home, lamenting
over her son, behold, came in to her an old woman, known as the
mother of Ahmad Kamákim[FN#88] the arch-thief, a knave who would
bore through a middle wall and scale the tallest of the tall and
steal the very kohl off the eye-ball.[FN#89] From his earliest
years he had been given to these malpractices, till they made him
Captain of the Watch, when he stole a sum of money; and the Chief
of Police, coming upon him in the act, carried him to the Caliph,
who bade put him to death on the common execution-ground.[FN#90]
But he implored protection of the Wazir whose intercession the
Caliph never rejected, so he pleaded for him with the Commander
of the Faithful who said, "How canst thou intercede for this pest
of the human race?" Ja'afar answered, "O Commander of the
Faithful, do thou imprison him; whoso built the first jail was a
sage, seeing that a jail is the grave of the living and a joy for
the foe." So the Caliph bade lay him in bilboes and write
thereon, "Appointed to remain here until death and not to be
loosed but on the corpse washer's bench;" and they cast him
fettered into limbo. Now his mother was a frequent visitor to the
house of the Emir Khálid, who was Governor and Chief of Police;
and she used to go in to her son in jail and say to him, "Did I
not warn thee to turn from thy wicked ways?''[FN#91] And he would
always answer her, "Allah decreed this to me; but, O my mother,
when thou visitest the Emir's wife make her intercede for me with
her husband." So when the old woman came into the Lady Khatun,
she found her bound with the fillets of mourning and said to her,
"Wherefore dost thou mourn?" She replied, "For my son Habzalam
Bazazah;" and the old woman exclaimed, "Heaven assain thy son!;
what hath befallen him?" So the mother told her the whole story,
and she said, "What thou say of him who should achieve such a
feat as would save thy son?" Asked the lady, "And what feat wilt
thou do?" Quoth the old woman, "I have a son called Ahmad
Kamakim, the arch-thief, who lieth chained in jail and on his
bilboes is written, 'Appointed to remain till death'; so do thou
don thy richest clothes and trick thee out with thy finest jewels
and present thyself to thy husband with an open face and smiling
mien; and when he seeketh of thee what men seek of women, put him
off and baulk him of his will and say, 'By Allah, 'tis a strange
thing! When a man desireth aught of his wife he dunneth her till
she doeth it; but if a wife desire aught of her husband, he will
not grant it to her.' Then he will say, 'What dost thou want?';
and do thou answer, 'First swear to grant my request.' If he
swear to thee by his head or by Allah, say to him, 'Swear to me
the oath of divorce', and do not yield to him, except he do this.
And whenas he hath sworn to thee the oath of divorce, say to him,
'Thou keepest in prison a man called Ahmad Kamakim, and he hath a
poor old mother, who hath set upon me and who urgeth me in the
matter and who saith, 'Let thy husband intercede for him with the
Caliph, that my son may repent and thou gain heavenly guerdon.'"
And the Lady Khatun replied, "I hear and obey." So when her
husband came into her--And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day
and ceased saying her permitted say.

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

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that the
Governor came in to his wife, who spoke to him as she had been
taught and made him swear the divorce-oath before she would yield
to his wishes. He lay with her that night and, when morning
dawned, after he had made the Ghusl-ablution and prayed the dawn-
prayer, he repaired to the prison and said, "O Ahmad Kamakim, O
thou arch-thief, dost thou repent of thy works?"; whereto he
replied, "I do indeed repent and turn to Allah and say with heart
and tongue, 'I ask pardon of Allah.'" So the Governor took him
out of jail and carried him to the Court (he being still in
bilboes) and, approaching the Caliph, kissed ground before him.
Quoth the King, "O Emir Khálid, what seekest thou?"; whereupon he
brought forward Ahmad Kamakim, shuffling and tripping in his
fetters, and the Caliph said to him, "What! art thou yet alive, O
Kamakim?" He replied, "O Commander of the Faithful, the miserable
are long-lived." Quoth the Caliph to the Emir, "Why hast thou
brought him hither?"; and quoth he, "O Commander of the Faithful,
he hath a poor old mother cut off from the world who hath none
but this son and she hath had recourse to thy slave, imploring
him to intercede with thee to strike off his chains, for he
repenteth of his evil courses; and to make him Captain of the
Watch as before." The Caliph asked Ahmad Kamakim, "Doss thou
repent of thy sins?" "I do indeed repent me to Allah, O Commander
of the Faithful," answered he; whereupon the Caliph called for
the blacksmith and made him strike off his irons on the corpse-
washer's bench.[FN#92] Moreover, he restored him to his former
office and charged him to walk in the ways of godliness and
righteousness. So he kissed the Caliph's hands and, being
invested with the uniform of Captain of the Watch, he went forth,
whilst they made proclamation of his appointment. Now for a long
time he abode in the exercise of his office, till one day his
mother went in to the Governor's wife, who said to her, "Praised
be Allah who hath delivered thy son from prison and restored him
to health and safety! But why dost thou not bid him contrive some
trick to get the girl Jessamine for my son Hahzalam Bazazah?"
"That will I," answered she and, going out from her, repaired to
her son. She found him drunk with wine and said to him, "O my
son, no one caused thy release from jail but the wife of the
Governor, and she would have thee find some means to slay Ala
al-Din Abu al-Shamat and get his slave-girl Jessamine for her son
Habzalam Bazazah." He answered, "That will be the easiest of
things; and I must needs set about it this very night." Now this
was the first night of the new month, and it was the custom of
the Caliph to spend that night with the Lady Zubaydah, for the
setting free of a slave-girl or a Mameluke or something of the
sort. Moreover, on such occasions he used to doff his
royal-habit, together with his rosary and dagger-sword and
royal-signet, and set them all upon a chair in the sitting-
saloon: and he had also a golden lanthorn, adorned with three
jewels strung on a wire of gold, by which he set great store; and
he would commit all these things to the charge of the eunuchry,
whilst he went into the Lady Zubaydah's apartment. So arch-thief
Ahmad Kamakin waited till midnight, when Canopus shone bright,
and all creatures to sleep were dight whilst the Creator veiled
them with the veil of night. Then he took his drawn sword in his
right and his grappling hook in his left and, repairing to the
Caliph's sitting-saloon planted his scaling ladder and cast his
grapnel on to the side of the terrace-roof; then, raising the
trap-door, let himself down into the saloon, where he found the
eunuchs asleep. He drugged them with hemp-fumes;[FN#93] and,
taking the Caliph's dress; dagger, rosary, kerchief, signet-ring
and the lanthorn whereupon were the pearls, returned whence he
came and betook himself to the house of Ala al-Din, who had that
night celebrated his wedding festivities with Jessamine and had
gone in unto her and gotten her with child. So arch-thief Ahmad
Kamakim climbed over into his saloon and, raising one of the
marble slabs from the sunken part of the floor,[FN#94] dug a hole
under it and laid the stolen things therein, all save the
lanthorn, which he kept for himself. Then he plastered down the
marble slab as it before was, and returning whence he came, went
back to his own house, saying, "I will now tackle my drink and
set this lanthorn before me and quaff the cup to its
light."[FN#95] Now as soon as it was dawn of day, the Caliph went
out into the sitting-chamber; and, seeing the eunuchs drugged
with hemp, aroused them. Then he put his hand to the chair and
found neither dress nor signet nor rosary nor dagger-sword nor
kerchief nor lanthorn; whereat he was exceeding wroth and donning
the dress of anger, which was a scarlet suit,[FN#96] sat down in
the Divan. So the Wazir Ja'afar came forward and kissing the
ground before him, said, "Allah avert all evil from the Commander
of the Faithful!" Answered the Caliph, "O Wazir, the evil is
passing great!" Ja'afar asked, "What has happened?" so he told
him what had occurred; and, behold, the Chief of Police appeared
with Ahmad Kamakim the robber at his stirrup, when he found the
Commander of the Faithful sore enraged. As soon as the Caliph saw
him, he said to him, "O Emir Khálid, how goes Baghdad?" And he
answered, "Safe and secure." Cried he "Thou liest!" "How so, O
Prince of True Believers?" asked the Emir. So he told him the
case and added, "I charge thee to bring me back all the stolen
things." Replied the Emir, "O Commander of the Faithful, the
vinegar worm is of and in the vinegar, and no stranger can get at
this place."[FN#97] But the Caliph said, "Except thou bring me
these things, I will put thee to death." Quoth he, "Ere thou slay
me, slay Ahmad Kamakim, for none should know the robber and the
traitor but the Captain of the Watch." Then came forward Ahmad
Kamakim and said to the Caliph, "Accept my intercession for the
Chief of Police, and I will be responsible to thee for the thief
and will track his trail till I find him; but give me two Kazis
and two Assessors for he who did this thing feareth thee not, nor
cloth he fear the Governor nor any other." Answered the Caliph,
"Thou shalt have what thou wantest; but let search be made first
in my palace and then in those of the Wazir and the Chief of the
Sixty." Rejoined Ahmad Kamakim, "Thou sayest well, O Commander of
the Faith ful; belike the man that did this ill deed be one who
hath been reared in the King's household or in that of one of his
officers." Cried the Caliph, "As my head liveth, whosoever shall
have done the deed I will assuredly put him to death, be it mine
own son!" Then Ahmad Kamakim received a written warrant to enter
and perforce search the houses;--And Shahrazad perceived the dawn
of day and ceased to say her permitted say.

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

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that Ahmad
Kamakim got what he wanted, and received a written warrant to
enter and perforce search the houses; so he fared forth, taking
in his hand a rod[FN#98] made of bronze and copper, iron and
steel, of each three equal-parts. He first searched the palace of
the Caliph, then that of the Wazir Ja'afar; after which he went
the round of the houses of the Chamberlains and the Viceroys till
he came to that of Ala al-Din. Now when the Chief of the Sixty
heard the clamour before his house, he left his wife Jessamine
and went down and, opening the door, found the Master of Police
without in the midst of a tumultuous crowd. So he said, "What is
the matter, O Emir Khálid?" Thereupon the Chief told him the case
and Ala al-Din said, "Enter my house and search it." The Governor
replied, "Pardon, O my lord; thou art a man in whom trust is
reposed and Allah forfend that the trusty turn traitor!" Quoth
Ala al-Din, "There is no help for it but that my house be
searched." So the Chief of Police entered, attended by the Kazi
and his Assessors; whereupon Ahmad Kamakim went straight to the
depressed floor of the saloon and came to the slab, under which
he had buried the stolen goods and let the rod fall upon it with
such violence that the marble broke in sunder and behold
something glittered underneath. Then said he, "Bismillah; in the
name of Allah! Mashallah; whatso Allah willeth! By the blessing
of our coming a hoard hath been hit upon, wait while we go down
into this hiding-place and see what is therein." So the Kazi and
Assessors looked into the hole and finding there the stolen
goods, drew up a statement[FN#99] of how they had discovered them
in Ala al-Din's house, to which they set their seals. Then, they
bade seize upon Ala al-Din and took his turban from his head, and
officially registered all his monies and effects which were in
the mansion. Meanwhile, arch-thief Ahmad Kamakim laid hands on
Jessamine, who was with child by Ala al-Din, and committed her to
his mother, saying, "Deliver her to Khatun, the Governor's lady:"
so the old woman took her and carried her to the wife of the
Master of Police. Now as soon as Habzalam Bazazah saw her, health
and heart returned to him and he arose without stay or delay and
joyed with exceeding joy and would have drawn near her; but she
plucks a dagger from her girdle and said, "Keep off from me, or I
will kill thee and kill myself after." Exclaimed his mother, "O
strumpet, let my son have his will of thee!" But Jessamine
answered "O bitch, by what law is it lawful for a woman to marry
two men; and how shall the dog be admitted to the place of the
lion?" With this, the ugly youth's love-longing redoubled and he
sickened for yearning and unfulfilled desire; and refusing food
returned to his pillow. Then said his mother to her, "O harlot,
how canst thou make me thus to sorrow for my son? Needs must I
punish thee with torture, and as for Ala al-Din, he will
assuredly be hanged." "And I will die for love of him," answered
Jessamine. Then the Governor's wife arose and stripped her of her
jewels and silken raiment and, clothing her in petticoat-trousers
of sack-cloth and a shift of hair-cloth, sent her down into the
kitchen and made her a scullery-wench, saying, "The reward for
thy constancy shall be to break up fire-wood and peel onions and
set fire under the cooking-pots." Quoth she, "I am willing to
suffer all manner of hardships and servitude, but I will not
suffer the sight of thy son." However, Allah inclined the hearts
of the slave-girls to her and they used to do her service in the
kitchen. Such was the case with Jessamine; but as regards Ala
al-Din they carried him, together with the stolen goods, to the
Divan where the Caliph still sat upon his throne. And behold, the
King looked upon his effects and said, "Where did ye find them?"
They replied, "In the very middle of the house belonging to Ala
al-Din Abu al-Shamat;" whereat the Caliph was filled with wrath
and took the things, but found not the lanthorn among them and
said, "O Ala al-Din, where is the lanthorn?" He answered "I stole
it not, I know naught of it; I never saw it; I can give no
information about it!" Said the Caliph, "O traitor, how cometh it
that I brought thee near unto me and thou hast cast me out afar,
and I trusted in thee and thou betrayest me?" And he commanded to
hang him. So the Chief of Police took him and went down with him
into the city, whilst the crier preceded them proclaiming aloud
and saying, "This is the reward and the least of the reward he
shall receive who doth treason against the Caliphs of True
Belief!" And the folk flocked to the place where the gallows
stood. Thus far concerning him; but as regards Ahmad al-Danaf,
Ala al-Din's adopted father, he was sitting making merry with his
followers in a garden, and carousing and pleasuring when lo! in
came one of the water-carriers of the Divan and, kissing the hand
of Ahmad al-Danaf, said to him, "O Captain Ahmad, O Danaf! thou
sittest at thine ease with water flowing at thy feet,[FN#100] and
thou knowest not what hath happened." Asked Ahmad, "What is it?"
and the other answered, "They have gone down to the gallows with
thy son Ala al-Din, adopted by a covenant before Allah!" Quoth
Ahmad, "What is the remedy here, O Hasan Shuuman, and what sayst
thou of this?" He replied, "Assuredly Ala al-Din is innocent and
this blame hath come to him from some one enemy."[FN#101] Quoth
Ahmad, "What counsellest thou?" and Hasan said, "We must rescue
him, Inshallah!" Then he went to the jail and said to the gaolor,
"Give us some one who deserveth death." So he gave him one that
was likest of men to Ala al-Din Abu al-Shamat; and they covered
his head and carried him to the place of execution between Ahmad
al-Danaf and Ali al-Zaybak of Cairo.[FN#102] Now they had brought
Ala al-Din to the gibbet, to hang him, but Ahmad al-Danaf came
forward and set his foot on that of the hangman, who said, "Give
me room to do my duty." He replied, "O accursed, take this man
and hang him in Ala al-Din's stead; for he is innocent and we
will ransom him with this fellow, even as Abraham ransomed
Ishmael with the ram."[FN#103] So the hangman seized the man and
hanged him in lieu of Ala al-Din; whereupon Ahmad and Ali took
Ala al-Din and carried him to Ahmad's quarters and, when there,
Ala al-Din turned to him and said, "O my sire and chief, Allah
requite thee with the best of good!" Quoth he, "O Ala al-Din"--
And Shahrazed perceived the dawn of day and ceased saying her
permitted say.

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

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that Calamity
Ahmad cried, "O Ala al-Din, what is this deed thou hast done? The
mercy of Allah be on him who said, 'Whoso trusteth thee betray
him not, e'en if thou be a traitor.' Now the Caliph set thee in
high place about him and styled thee 'Trusty' and 'Faithful'; how
then couldst thou deal thus with him and steal his goods?" "By
the Most Great Name, O my father and chief," replied Ala al-Din,
"I had no hand in this, nor did I such deed, nor know I who did
it." Quoth Ahmad, "Of a surety none did this but a manifest enemy
and whoso doth aught shall be requited for his deed; but, O Ala
al-Din, thou canst sojourn no longer in Baghdad, for Kings, O my
son, may not pass from one thing to another, and when they go in
quest of a man, ah! longsome is his travail." "Whither shall I
go, O my chief?" asked Ala al-Din; and he answered, "O my son, I
will bring thee to Alexandria, for it is a blessed place; its
threshold is green and its sojourn is agreeable." And Ala al-Din
rejoined, "I hear and I obey, O my chief." So Ahmad said to Hasan
Shuuman, "Be mindful and, when the Caliph asketh for me, say, 'He
is gone touring about the provinces'." Then, taking Ala al-Din,
he went forth of Baghdad and stayed not going till they came to
the outlying vineyards and gardens, where they met two Jews of
the Caliph's tax-gatherers, riding on mules. Quoth Ahmad Al-Danaf
to these, "Give me the black-mail."[FN#104] and quoth they, "Why
should we pay thee black mail?" whereto he replied, "Because I am
the watchman of this valley." So they gave him each an hundred
gold pieces, after which he slew them and took their mules, one
of which he mounted, whilst Ala al-Din bestrode the other. Then
they rode on till they came to the city of Ayás[FN#105] and put
up their beasts for the night at the Khan. And when morning
dawned, Ala al-Din sold his own mule and committed that of Ahmad
to the charge of the door-keeper of the caravanserai, after which
they took ship from Ayas port and sailed to Alexandria. Here they
landed and walked up to the bazar and behold, there was a broker
crying a shop and a chamber behind it for nine hundred and fifty
dinars. Upon this Ala al-Din bid a thousand which the broker
accepted, for the premises belonged to the Treasury; and the
seller handed over to him the keys and the buyer opened the shop
and found the inner parlour furnished with carpets and cushions.
Moreover, he found there a store-room full of sails and masts,
cordage and seamen's chests, bags of beads and cowrie[FN#106]-
shells, stirrups, battle-axes, maces, knives, scissors and such
matters, for the last owner of the shop had been a dealer in
second-hand goods.[FN#107]ook his seat in the shop and Ahmad
al-Danaf said to him, "O my son, the shop and the room and that
which is therein are become thine; so tarry thou here and buy and
sell; and repine not at thy lot for Almighty Allah blesseth
trade." After this he abode with him three days and on the fourth
he took leave of him, saying, "Abide here till I go back and
bring thee the Caliph's pardon and learn who hath played thee
this trick." Then he shipped for Ayas, where he took the mule
from the inn and, returning to Baghdad met Pestilence Hasan and
his followers, to whom said he, "Hath the Caliph asked after
me?"; and he replied, "No, nor hast thou come to his thought." So
he resumed his service about the Caliph's person and set himself
to sniff about for news of Ala al-Din's case, till one day he
heard the Caliph say to the Watir, "See, O Ja'afar, how Ala
al-Din dealt with me!" Replied the Minister, "O Commander of the
Faithful, thou hast requited him with hanging and hath he not met
with his reward?" Quoth he, "O Wazir, I have a mind to go down
and see him hanging;" and the Wazir answered, "Do what thou wilt,
O Commander of the Faithful." So the Caliph, accompanied by
Ja'afar, went down to the place of execution and, raising his
eyes, saw the hanged man to be other than Ala al-Din Abu
al-Shamat, surnamed the Trusty, and said, "O Wazir, this is not
Ala al-Din!" "How knowest thou that it is not he?" asked the
Minister, and the Caliph answered, "Ala al-Din was short and this
one is tall " Quoth Ja'afar, "Hanging stretcheth." Quoth the
Caliph, "Ala al-Din was fair and this one's face is black." Said
Ja'afar "Knowest thou not, O Commander of the Faithful, that
death is followed by blackness?" Then the Caliph bade take down
the body from the gallows tree and they found the names of the
two Shaykhs, Abu Bakr and Omar, written on its heels[FN#108]
whereupon cried the Caliph, "O Wazir, Ala al Din was a Sunnite,
and this fellow is a Rejecter, a Shi'ah." He answered, "Glory be
to Allah who knoweth the hidden things, while we know not whether
this was Ala al-Din or other than he." Then the Caliph bade bury
the body and they buried it; and Ala al-Din was forgotten as
though he never had been. Such was his case; but as regards
Habzalam Bazazah, the Emir Khálid's son, he ceased not to
languish for love and longing till he died and they joined him to
the dust. And as for the young wife Jessamine, she accomplished
the months of her pregnancy and, being taken with labour-pains,
gave birth to a boy-child like unto the moon. And when her fellow
slave-girls said to her, "What wilt thou name him?" she answered,
"Were his father well he had named him; but now I will name him
Aslán."[FN#109] She gave him suck for two successive years, then
weaned him, and he crawled and walked. Now it so came to pass
that one day, whilst his mother was busied with the service of
the kitchen, the boy went out and, seeing the stairs, mounted to
the guest-chamber.[FN#110] And the Emir Khálid who was sitting
there took him upon his lap and glorified his Lord for that which
he had created and fashioned then closely eyeing his face, the
Governor saw that he was the likest of all creatures to Ala
al-Din Abu al-Shamat. Presently, his mother Jessamine sought for
him and finding him not, mounted to the guest-chamber, where she
saw the Emir seated, with the child playing in his lap, for Allah
had inclined his heart to the boy. And when the child espied his
mother, he would have thrown himself upon her; but the Emir held
him tight to his bosom and said to Jessamine, "Come hither, O
damsel." So she came to him, when he said to her, "Whose son is
this?"; and she replied, "He is my son and the fruit of my
vitals." "And who is his father?" asked the Emir; and she
answered, "His father was Ala al-Din Abu al-Shamat, but now he is
become thy son." Quoth Khálid, "In very sooth Ala al-Din was a
traitor." Quoth she, "Allah deliver him from treason! the Heavens
forfend and forbid that the 'Trusty' should be a traitor!" Then
said he, "When this boy shall grow up and reach man's estate and
say to thee, 'Who is my father?' say to him, 'Thou art the son of
the Emir Khálid, Governor and Chief of Police.'" And she
answered, "I hear and I obey." Then he circumcised the boy and
reared him with the goodliest rearing, and engaged for him a
professor of law and religious science, and an expert penman who
taught him to read and write; so he read the Koran twice and
learnt it by heart and he grew up, saying to the Emir, "O my
father!" Moreover, the Governor used to go down with him to the
tilting-ground and assemble horsemen and teach the lad the
fashion of fight and fray, and the place to plant lance-thrust
and sabre-stroke; so that by the time he was fourteen years old,
he became a valiant wight and accomplished knight and gained the
rank of Emir. Now it chanced one day that Aslan fell in with
Ahmad Kamakim, the arch-thief, and accompanied him as cup-
companion to the tavern[FN#111] and behold, Ahmad took out the
jewelled lanthorn he had stolen from the Caliph and, setting it
before him, pledged the wine cup to its light, till he became
drunken. So Aslan said to him, "O Captain, give me this
lanthorn;" but he replied, "I cannot give it to thee." Asked
Aslan, "Why not?"; and Ahmad answered, "Because lives have been
lost for it." "Whose life?" enquired Aslan; and Ahmad rejoined,
"There came hither a man who was made Chief of the Sixty; he was
named Ala al-Din Abu al-Shamat and he lost his life through this
lanthorn." Quoth Aslan, "And what was that story, and what
brought about his death?" Quoth Ahmad Kamakim, "Thou hadst an
elder brother by name Hahzalam Bazazah, and when he reached the
age of sixteen and was ripe for marriage, thy father would have
bought him a slave-girl named Jessamine." And he went on to tell
him the whole story from first to last of Habzalam Bazazah's
illness and what befell Ala al-Din in his innocence. When Aslan
heard this, he said in thought, "Haply this slave-girl was my
mother Jessamine, and my father was none other than Ala al-Din
Abu al-Shamat." So the boy went out from him sorrowful, and met
Calamity Ahmad, who at sight of him exclaimed, "Glory be to Him
unto whom none is like!" Asked Hasan the Pestilence, "Whereat
dost thou marvel, O my chief?" and Ahmad the Calamity replied,
"At the make of yonder boy Aslan, for he is the likest of human
creatures to Ala al-Din Abu al-Shamat." Then he called the lad
and said to him, "O Aslan what is thy mother's name?"; to which
he replied, "She is called the damsel Jessamine;" and the other
said, "Harkye, Aslan, be of good cheer and keep thine eyes cool
and clear; for thy father was none other than Ala al-Din Abu
al-Shamat: but, O my son, go thou in to thy mother and question
her of thy father." He said, "Hearkening and obedience," and,
going in to his mother put the question; whereupon quoth she,
"Thy sire is the Emir Khálid!" "Not so," rejoined he, "my father
was none other than Ala al-Din Abu al Shamat." At this the mother
wept and said, "Who acquainted thee with this, O my son?" And he
answered "Ahmad al-Danaf, Captain of the Guard." So she told him
the whole story, saying, "O my son, the True hath prevailed and
the False hath failed:[FN#112] know that Ala al-Din Abu al-Shamat
was indeed thy sire, but it was none save the Emir Khálid who
reared thee and adopted thee as his son. And now, O my child,
when thou seest Ahmad al-Danaf the captain, do thou say to him,
'I conjure thee, by Allah, O my chief, take my blood-revenge on
the murderer of my father Ala al-Din Abu al-Shamat!'" So he went
out from his mother,--And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and
ceased to say her permitted say.

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

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that Aslan went
out from his mother and, betaking himself to Calamity Ahmad,
kissed his hand. Quoth the captain, "What aileth thee, O Aslan?"
and quoth he, "I know now for certain that my father was Ali
al-Din Abu al-Shamat and I would have thee take my blood-revenge
on his murderer." He asked, "And who was thy father's murderer?"
whereto Aslan answered, "Ahmad Kamakim the arch-thief." "Who told
thee this?" enquired he, and Aslan rejoined, "I saw in his hand
the jewelled lanthorn which was lost with the rest of the
Caliph's gear, and I said to him, 'Give me this lanthorn!' but he
refused, saying, 'Lives have been lost on account of this'; and
told me it was he who had broken into the palace and stolen the
articles and deposited them in my father's house." Then said
Ahmad al-Danaf, "When thou seest the Emir Khálid don his harness
of war, say to him, 'Equip me like thyself and take me with
thee.' Then do thou go forth and perform some feat of prowess
before the Commander of the Faithful, and he will say to thee,
'Ask a boon of me, O Aslan!' And do thou make answer, 'I ask of
thee this boon, that thou take my blood-revenge on my father's
murderer.' If he say, 'Thy father is yet alive and is the Emir
Khálid, the Chief of the Police'; answer thou, 'My father was Ala
al-Din Abu al-Shamat, and the Emir Khálid hath a claim upon me
only as the foster-father who adopted me.' Then tell him all that
passed between thee and Ahmad Kamakim and say, 'O Prince of True
Believers, order him to be searched and I will bring the lanthorn
forth from his bosom.'" Thereupon said Aslan to him, "I hear and
obey;" and, returning to the Emir Khálid, found him making ready
to repair to the Caliph's court and said to him, "I would fain
have thee arm and harness me like thyself and take me with thee
to the Divan." So he equipped him and carried him thither. Then
the Caliph sallied forth of Baghdad with his troops and they
pitched tents and pavilions without the city; whereupon the host
divided into two parties and forming ranks fell to playing Polo,
one striking the ball with the mall, and another striking it back
to him. Now there was among the troops a spy, who had been hired
to slay the Caliph; so he took the ball and smiting it with the
bat drove it straight at the Caliph's face, when behold, Aslan
fended it off and catching it drove it back at him who smote it,
so that it struck him between the shoulders and he fell to the
ground. The Caliph exclaimed, "Allah bless thee, O Aslan!" and
they all dismounted and sat on chairs. Then the Caliph bade them
bring the smiter of the ball before him and said, "Who tempted
thee to do this thing and art thou friend or foe?" Quoth he, "I
am thy foe and it was my purpose to kill thee." Asked the Caliph
"And wherefore? Art not a Moslem?" Replied the spy; "No' I am a
Rejecter.''[FN#113] So the Caliph bade them put him to death and
said to Aslan, "Ask a boon of me." Quoth he, "I ask of thee this
boon, that thou take my blood-revenge on my father's murderer."
He said, "Thy father is alive and there he stands on his two
feet." "And who is he?" asked Aslan, and the Caliph answered, "He
is the Emir Khálid, Chief of Police." Rejoined Aslan, "O
Commander of the Faithful, he is no father of mine, save by right
of fosterage; my father was none other than Ala al-Din Abu al
Shamat." "Then thy father was a traitor," cried the Caliph.
"Allah forbid, O Commander of the Faithful," rejoined Aslan,
"that the 'Trusty' should be a traitor! But how did he betray
thee?" Quoth the Caliph, "He stole my habit and what was
therewith." Aslan retorted, "O Commander of the Faithful, Allah
forfend that my father should be a traitor! But, O my lord, when
thy habit was lost and found didst thou likewise recover the
lanthorn which was stolen from thee?" Answered the Caliph, "We
never got it back," and Aslan said, "I saw it in the hands of
Ahmad Kamakim and begged it of him; but he refused to give it me,
saying, 'Lives have been lost on account of this.' Then he told
me of the sickness of Habzalam Bazazah, son of the Emir Khálid,
by reason of his passion for the damsel Jessamine, and how he
himself was released from bonds and that it was he who stole the
habit and the lamp: so do thou, O Commander of the Faithful, take
my blood-revenge for my father on him who murdered him." At once
the Caliph cried, "Seize ye Ahmad Kamakim!" and they seized him,
whereupon he asked, "Where be the Captain, Ahmad al-Danaf?" And
when he was summoned the Caliph bade him search Kamakim; so he
put his hand into the thief's bosom and pulled out the lanthorn.
Said the Caliph, "Come hither, thou traitor: whence hadst thou
this lanthorn?" and Kamakim replied, "I bought it, O Commander of
the Faithful!" The Caliph rejoined, "Where didst thou buy it?"
Then they beat him till he owned that he had stolen the lanthorn,
the habit and the rest, and the Caliph said "What moved thee to
do this thing O traitor, and ruin Ala al-Din Abu al-Shamat, the
Trusty and Faithful?" Then he bade them lay hands on him and on
the Chief of Police, but the Chief said, "O Commander of the
Faithful, indeed I am unjustly treated thou badest me hang him,
and I had no knowledge of this trick, for the plot was contrived
between the old woman and Ahmad Kamakim and my wife. I crave
thine intercession,[FN#114] O Aslan." So Aslan interceded for him
with the Caliph, who said, "What hath Allah done with this
youngster's mother?" Answered Khálid, "She is with me," and the
Caliph continued, "I command that thou order thy wife to dress
her in her own clothes and ornaments and restore her to her
former degree, a lady of rank; and do thou remove the seals from
Ala al-Din's house and give his son possession of his estate." "I
hear and obey," answered Khálid; and, going forth, gave the order
to his wife who clad Jessamine in her own apparel; whilst he
himself removed the seals from Ala al-Din's house and gave Aslan
the keys. Then said the Caliph, "Ask a boon of me, O Aslan;" and
he replied, "I beg of thee the boon to unite me with my father."
Whereat the Caliph wept and said, "Most like thy sire was he that
was hanged and is dead; but by the life of my forefathers, whoso
bringeth me the glad news that he is yet in the bondage of this
life, I will give him all he seeketh!" Then came forward Ahmad
al-Danaf and, kissing the ground between his hands, said, "Grant
me indemnity, O Commander of the Faithful!" "Thou hast it,"
answered the Caliph; and Calamity Ahmad said, "I give thee the
good news that Ala al-Din Abu al-Shamat, the Trusty, the
Faithful, is alive and well." Quoth the Caliph "What is this thou
sayest?" Quoth Al-Danaf, "As thy head liveth I say sooth; for I
ransomed him with another, of those who deserved death; and
carried him to Alexandria, where I opened for him a shop and set
him up as a dealer in second hand goods." Then said the Prince of
True Believers,--And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and
ceased saying her permitted say.

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

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that the Caliph
ordered Calamity Ahmad, saying, "I charge thee fetch him to me;"
and the other replied, "To hear is to obey;" whereupon the Caliph
bade them give him ten thousand gold pieces and he fared forth
for Alexandria. On this wise it happed with Aslan; but as regards
his father, Ala al-Din Abu al-Shamat, he sold in course of time
all that was in his shop excepting a few things and amongst them
a long bag of leather. And happening to shake the bag there fell
out a jewel which filled the palm of the hand, hanging to a chain
of gold and having many facets but especially five, whereon were
names and talismanic characters, as they were ant-tracks. So he
rubbed each face; but none answered him[FN#115] and he said to
himself, "Doubtless it is a piece of variegated onyx;" and then
hung it up in the shop. And behold, a Consul[FN#116] passed along
the street; and, raising his eyes, saw the jewel hanging up; so
he seated himself over against the shop and said to Ala al-Din,
"O my lord, is the jewel for sale?" He answered, "All I have is
for sale." Thereupon the Frank said, "Wilt thou sell me that same
for eighty thousand dinars?" "Allah open!" replied Ala al-Din.
The Frank asked, "Wilt thou sell it for an hundred thousand
dinars?", and he answered, "I sell it to thee for a hundred
thousand dinars; pay me down the monies." Quoth the Consul, "I
cannot carry about such sum as its price, for there be robbers
and sharpers in Alexandria; but come with me to my ship and I
will pay thee the price and give thee to boot a bale of Angora
wool, a bale of satin, a bale of velvet and a bale of
broadcloth." So Ala al-Din rose and locked up his shop, after
giving the jewel to the Frank, and committed the keys to his
neighbour, saying, "Keep these keys in trust for me, whilst I go
with this Consul to his ship and return with the price of my
jewel. If I be long absent and there come to thee Ahmad al-Danaf,
the Captain who stablished me in this shop, give him the keys and
tell him where I am." Then he went with the Consul to his ship
and no sooner had he boarded it than the Prank set him a stool
and, making him sit down, said to his men, "Bring the money." So
they brought it and he paid him the price of the jewel and gave
him the four bales he had promised him and one over; after which
he said to him, "O my lord, honour me by accepting a bite or a
sup." And Ala al-Din answered, "If thou have any water, give me
to drink." So the Frank called for sherbets and they brought
drink drugged with Bhang, of which no sooner had Ala al-Din
drunk, than he fell over on his back; whereupon they stowed away
the chairs and shipped the shoving-poles and made sail. Now the
wind blew fair for them till it drove them into blue water, and
when they were beyond sight of land the Kaptán[FN#117] bade bring
Ala al-Din up out of the hold and made him smell the counter-drug
of Bhang; whereupon he opened his eyes and said, "Where am I?" He
replied, "Thou art bound and in my power and if thou hadst said,
Allah open! to an hundred thousand dinars for the jewel, I would
have bidden thee more." "What art thou?" asked Ala al-Din, and
the other answered, "I am a sea-captain and mean to carry thee to
my sweetheart." Now as they were talking, behold, a strip hove in
sight carrying forty Moslem merchants; so the Frank captain
attacked the vessel and made fast to it with grappling-irons;
then he boarded it with his men and took it and plundered it;
after which he sailed on with his prize, till he reached the city
of Genoa. There the Kaptan, who was carrying off Ala al-Din,
landed and repaired to a palace whose pastern gave upon the sea,
and behold, there came down to him a damsel in a chin-veil who
said, "Hast thou brought the jewel and the owner?" "I have
brought them both," answered he; and she said, "Then give me the
jewel." So he gave it to her; and, returning to the port, fired
his cannon to announce his safe return; whereupon the King of the
city, being notified of that Kaptan's arrival, came down to
receive him and asked him, "How hath been this voyage?" He
answered, "A right prosperous one, and while voyaging I have made
prize of a ship with one-and-forty Moslem merchants." Said the
King, "Land them at the port:" so he landed the merchants in
irons and Ala al-Din among the rest; and the King and the Kaptan
mounted and made the captives walk before them till they reached
the audience-chamber, when the Franks seated themselves and
caused the prisoners to pass in parade order, one by one before
the King who said to the first, "O Moslem, whence comest thou?"
He answered, "From Alexandria;" whereupon the King said, "O
headsman, put him to death." So the sworder smote him with the
sword and cut off his head: and thus it fared with the second and
the third, till forty were dead and there remained but Ala
al-Din, who drank the cup of his comrades' sighs and agony and
said to himself, "Allah have mercy on thee, O Ala al-Din Thou art
a dead man." Then said the King to him, "And thou, what
countryman art thou?" He answered, "I am of Alexandria," and the
King said, "O headsman, strike off his head." So the sworder
raised arm and sword, and was about to strike when behold, an old
woman of venerable aspect presented herself before the King, who
rose to do her honour, and said to him, "O King, did I not bid
thee remember, when the Captain came back with captives, to keep
one or two for the convent, to serve in the church?" The King
replied, "O my mother, would thou hadst come a while earlier! But
take this one that is left." So she turned to Ala al-Din and said
to him, "Say, wilt thou serve in the church, or shall I let the
King slay thee?" Quoth he, "I will serve in the church." So she
took him and carried him forth of the court and went to the
church, where he said to her, "What service must I do?" She
replied, "Thou must rise with the dawn and take five mules and go
with them to the forest and there cut dry fire-wood and saw it
short and bring it to the convent-kitchen. Then must thou take up
the carpets and sweep and wipe the stone and marble pavements and
lay the carpets down again, as they were; after which thou must
take two bushels and a half of wheat and bolt it and grind it and
knead it and make it into cracknels[FN#118] for the convent; and
thou must take also a bushel of lentils[FN#119] and sift and
crush and cook them. Then must thou fetch water in barrels and
fill the four fountains; after which thou must take three hundred
and threescore and six wooden bowls and crumble the cracknels
therein and pour of the lentil-pottage over each and carry every
monk and patriarch his bowl." Said Ala al-Din,[FN#120] "Take me
back to the King and let him kill me, it were easier to me than
this service." Replied the old woman, "If thou do truly and
rightly the service that is due from thee thou shalt escape
death; but, if thou do it not, I will let the King kill thee."
And with these words Ala al-Din was left sitting heavy at heart.
Now there were in the church ten blind cripples, and one of them
said to him, "Bring me a pot." So he brought it him and he cacked
and eased himself therein and said, "Throw away the ordure." He
did so, and the blind man said, "The Messiah's blessing be upon
thee, O servant of the church!" Presently behold, the old woman
came in and said to him, "Why hast thou not done thy service in
the church?" Answered he, "How many hands have I, that I should
suffice for all this work?" She rejoined, 'Thou fool, I brought
thee not hither except to work;" and she added, "Take, O my son,
this rod (which was of copper capped with a cross) and go forth
into the highway and, when thou meetest the governor of the city,
say to him, 'I summon thee to the service of the church, in the
name of our Lord the Messiah.' And he will not disobey thee. Then
make him take the wheat, sift, grind, bolt, knead, and bake it
into cracknels; and if any gainsay thee, beat him and fear none."
"To hear is to obey," answered he and did as she said, and never
ceased pressing great and small into his service; nor did he
leave to do thus for the space of seventeen years. Now one day as
he sat in church, lo! the old woman came to him and said, "Go
forth of the convent." He asked, "Whither shall I go?" and she
answered, "Thou canst pass the night in a tavern or with one of
thy comrades." Quoth he, "Why dost thou send me forth of the
church?" and quote she, "The Princess Husn Maryam, daughter of
Yohanná,[FN#121] King of this city, purposeth to visit the church
and it befitteth not that any abide in her way." So he made a
show of obeying her orders and rose up and pretended that he was
leaving the church; but he said in his mind, "I wonder whether
the Princess is like our women or fairer than they! At any rate I
will not go till I have had a look at her." So he hid himself in
a closet with a window looking into the church and, as he
watched, behold, in came the King's daughter. He cast at her one
glance of eyes that cost him a thousand sighs, for he found her
like the full moon when it cometh swimming out of the clouds; and
he saw with her a young lady,--And Shahrazad perceived the dawn
of day and ceased to say her permitted say.

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

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when Ala
al-Din looked at the King's daughter, he saw with her a young
lady to whom he heard her say, "Thy company hath cheered me, O
Zubaydah." So he looked straitly at the damsel and found her to
be none other than his dead wife, Zubaydah the Lutist. Then the
Princess said to Zubaydah, "Come, play us an air on the lute."
But she answered, "I will make no music for thee, till thou grant
my wish and keep thy word to me." Asked the Princess, "And what
did I promise thee?"; and Zubaydah answered, "That thou wouldst
reunite me with my husband Ala al-Din Abu al-Shamat, the Trusty,
the Faithful." Rejoined the Princess, "O Zubaydah, be of good
cheer and keep thine eyes cool and clear; play us a piece as a
thank-offering and an ear-feast for reunion with thy husband Ala
al-Din." "Where is he?" asked Zubaydah, and Maryam answered, "He
is in yonder closet listening to our words." So Zubaydah played
on the lute a melody which had made a rock dance for glee; and
when Ala al-Din heard it, his bowels yearned towards her and he
came forth from the closet and, throwing himself upon his wife
Zubaydah, strained her to his bosom. She also knew him and the
twain embraced and fell to the ground in a swoon. Then came
forward the Princess Husn Maryam and sprinkled rose water on
them, till they revived when she said to them, "Allah hath
reunited you." Replied Ala al-Din, "By thy kind of offices, O
lady." Then, turning to his wife, he said to her, "O Zubaydah,
thou didst surely die and we tombed thee in the tomb: how then
returnedst thou to life and camest thou to this place?" She
answered, "O my lord, I did not die; but an Aun[FN#122] of the
Jinn snatched me up and dew with me hither. She whom thou
buriedst was a Jinniyah, who shaped herself to my shape and
feigned herself dead; but when you entombed her she broke open
the tomb and came forth from it and returned to the service of
this her mistress, the Princess Husn Maryam. As for me I was
possessed[FN#123] and, when I opened my eyes, I found myself with
this Princess thou seest; so I said to her, 'Why hast thou
brought me hither?' Replied she, 'I am predestined to marry thy
husband, Ala al-Din Abu al-Shamat: wilt thou then, O Zubaydah,
accept me to co-consort, a night for me and a night for thee?'
Rejoined I, 'To hear is to obey, O my lady, but where is my
husband?' Quoth she, 'Upon his forehead is written what Allah
hath decreed to him; as soon as the writing which is there writ
is fulfilled to him, there is no help for it but he come hither,
and we will beguile the time of our separation from him with
songs and playing upon instruments of music, till it please Allah
to unite us with him.' So I abode all these days with her till
Allah brought us together in this church." Then Husn Maryam
turned to him and said, "O my lord, Ala al-Din, wilt thou be to
me baron and I be to thee femme?" Quoth he, "O my lady, I am a
Moslem and thou art a Nazarene; so how can I intermarry with
thee?" Quoth she, "Allah forbid that I should be an infidel! Nay,
I am a Moslemah; for these eighteen years I have held fast the
Faith of Al-Islam and I am pure of any creed other than that of
the Islamite." Then said he, "O my lady, I desire a return to my
native land;" and she replied, "Know that I see written on thy
forehead things which thou must needs accomplish, and then thou
shalt win to thy will. Moreover, be fief and fain, O Ala al-Din,
that there hath been born to thee a son named Aslan; who now
being arrived at age of discretion, sitteth in thy place with the
Caliph. Know also that Truth hath prevailed and that Falsehood
naught availed; and that the Lord hath withdrawn the curtain of
secrecy from him who stole the Caliph's goods, that is, Ahmad
Kamakim the arch-thief and traitor; and he now lieth bound and in
jail. And know further 'twas I who sent thee the jewel and had it
put in the bag where thou foundest it, and 'twas I who sent the
captain that brought thee and the jewel; for thou must know that
the man is enamoured of me and seeketh my favours and would
possess me; but I refused to yield to his wishes or let him have
his will of me; and I said him, 'Thou shalt never have me till
thou bring me the jewel and its owner.' So I gave him an hundred
purses and despatched him to thee, in the habit of a merchant,
whereas he is a captain and a war-man; and when they led thee to
thy death after slaying the forty captives, I also sent thee this
old woman to save thee from slaughter." Said he, "Allah requite
thee for us with all good! Indeed thou hast done well." Then Husn
Maryam renewed at his hands her profession of Al-Islam; and, when
he was assured of the truth of her speech, he said to her, O my
lady, tell me what are the virtues of this jewel and whence
cometh it?" She answered, "This jewel came from an enchanted
hoard, and it hath five virtues which will profit us in time of
need. Now my lady grandmother, the mother of my father, was an
enchantress and skilled in solving secrets and finding hidden
treasures from one of which came the jewel into her hands. And as
I grew up and reached the age of fourteen, I read the Evangel and
other books and I found the name of Mohammed (whom Allah bless
and preserve!) in the four books, namely the Evangel, the
Pentateuch, the Psalms and the Koran;[FN#124] so I believed in
Mohammed and became a Moslemah, being certain and assured that
none is worship worth save Allah Almighty, and that to the Lord
of all mankind no faith is acceptable save that of Al-Islam. Now
when my lady-grandmother fell sick, she gave me this jewel and
taught me its five virtues. Moreover, before she died, my father
said to her, 'Take thy tablets of geomancy and throw a figure,
and tell us the issue of my affair and what will befal-me.' And
she foretold him that the far off one[FN#125] should die, slain
by the hand of a captive from Alexandria. So he swore to kill
every prisoner from that place and told the Kaptan of this,
saying, 'There is no help for it but thou fall on the ships of
the Moslems and seize them and whomsoever thou findest of
Alexandria, kill him or bring him to me.' The Captain did his
bidding until he had slain as many in number as the hairs of his
head. Then my grandmother died and I took a geomantic tablet,
being minded and determined to know the future, and I said to
myself, 'Let me see who will wed me!' Whereupon I threw a figure
and found that none should be my husband save one called Ala
al-Din Abu al-Shamat, the Trusty, the Faithful. At this I
marvelled and waited till the times were accomplished and I
foregathered with thee." So Ala al-Din took her to wife and said
to her, "I desire to return to my own country." Quoth she, "If it
be so, rise up and come with me." Then she took him and, hiding
him in a closet of her palace, went in to her father, who said to
her, "O my daughter, my heart is exceeding heavy this day; sit
down and let us make merry with wine, I and thou." So she sat
down with him and he called for a table of wine; and she plied
him till he lost his wits, when she drugged a cup with Bhang and
he drank it off and fell upon his back. Then she brought Ala
al-Din out of the closet and said to him, "Come; verily thine
enemy lieth prostrate, for I made him drunk and drugged him; so
do thou with him as thou wilt." Accordingly Ala al-Din went to
the King and, finding him lying drugged and helpless, pinioned
him fast and manacled and fettered him with chains. Then he gave
him the counter-drug and he came to himself,--And Shahrazad
perceived the dawn of day and ceased saying her permitted say.

When it was the Two Hundred and Sixty-ninth Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that Ala al-Din
gave the antidote of Bhang to King Yohanna, father of Husn
Maryam, and he came to himself and found Ala al-Din and his
daughter sitting on his breast. So he said to her, "O my
daughter, dost thou deal thus with me?" She answered "If I be
indeed thy daughter, become a Moslem, even as I became a
Moslemah, for the truth was shown to me and I attested it; and
the false, and I deserted it. I have submitted myself unto Allah,
The Lord of the Three Worlds, and am pure of all faiths contrary
to that of Al-Islam in this world and in the next world.
Wherefore, if thou wilt become a Moslem, well and good; if not,
thy death were better than thy life." Ala al-Din also exhorted
him to embrace the True Faith; but he refused and was
contumacious; so Ala al-Din drew a dagger and cut his throat from
ear to ear.[FN#126] Then he wrote a scroll, setting forth what
had happened and laid it on the brow of the dead, after which
they took what was light of load and weighty of worth and turned
from the palace and returned to the church. Here the Princess
drew forth the jewel and, placing her hand upon the facet where
was figured a couch, rubbed it; and behold, a couch appeared
before her and she mounted upon it with Ala al-Din and his wife
Zubaydah, the lutist, saying, "I conjure thee by the virtue of
the names and talismans and characts engraver on this jewel, rise
up with us, O Couch!" And it rose with them into the air and
flew, till it came to a Wady wholly bare of growth, when the
Princess turned earthwards the facet on which the couch was
figured, and it sank with them to the ground. Then she turned up
the face where on was fashioned a pavilion and tapping it said,
"Let a pavilion be pitched in this valley;" and there appeared a
pavilion, wherein they seated themselves. Now this Wady was a
desert waste, without grass or water; so she turned a third face
of the jewel towards the sky, and said, "By the virtue of the
names of Allah, let trees upgrow here and a river flow beside
them!" And forthwith trees sprang up and by their side ran a
river plashing and dashing. They made the ablution and prayed and
drank of the stream; after which the Princess turned up the three
other facets till she came to the fourth, whereon was portrayed a
table of good, and said, "By the virtue of the names of Allah,
let the table be spread!" And behold, there appeared before them
a table, spread with all manner of rich meats, and they ate and
drank and made merry and were full of joy. Such was their case;
but as regards Husn Maryam's father, his son went in to waken him
and found him slain; and, seeing Ala al-Din's scroll, took it and
read it, and readily understood it. Then he sought his sister and
finding her not, betook himself to the old woman in the church,
of whom he enquired for her, but she said, "Since yesterday I
have not seen her." So he returned to the troops and cried out,
saying, "To horse, ye horsemen!" Then he told them what had
happened, so they mounted and rode after the fugitives, till they
drew near the pavilion. Presently Husn Maryam arose and looked up
and saw a cloud of dust which spread till it walled the view,
then it lifted and flew, and lo! stood disclosed her brother and
his troops, crying aloud, "Whither will ye fly, and we on your
track!" Then said she to Ala al-Din, "Are thy feet firm in
fight?" He replied, "Even as the stake in bran, I know not war
nor battle, nor swords nor spears." So she pulled out the jewel
and rubbed the fifth face, that on which were graven a horse and
his rider, and behold, straightway a cavalier appeared out of the
desert and ceased not to do battle with the pursuing host and
smite them with the sword, till he routed them and put them to
flight. Then the Princess asked Ala al-Din, "Wilt thou go to
Cairo or to Alexandria?"; and he answered, "To Alexandria." So
they mounted the couch and she pronounced over it the
conjuration, whereupon it set off with them and, in the twinkling
of an eye, brought them to Alexandria. They alighted without the
city and Ala al-Din hid the women in a cavern, whilst he went
into Alexandria and fetched them outer clothing, wherewith he
covered them. Then he carried them to his shop and, leaving them
in the "ben"[FN#127] walked forth to fetch them the morning-meal,
and behold he met Calamity Ahmad who chanced to be coming from
Baghdad. He saw him in the street and received him with open
arms, saluting him and welcoming him. Whereupon Ahmad al-Danaf
gave him the good news of his son Aslan and how he was now come
to the age of twenty: and Ala al-Din, in his turn, told the
Captain of the Guard all that had befallen him from first to
last, whereat he marvelled with exceeding marvel. Then he brought
him to his shop and sitting room where they passed the night; and
next day he sold his place of business and laid its price with
other monies. Now Ahmad al-Danaf had told him that the Caliph
sought him; but he said, "I am bound first for Cairo, to salute
my father and mother and the people of my house." So they all
mounted the couch and it carried them to Cairo the God-guarded;
and here they alighted in the street called Yellow,[FN#128] where
stood the house of Shams al-Din. Then Ala al-Din knocked at the
door, and his mother said, "Who is at the door, now that we have
lost our beloved for evermore?" He replied, " 'Tis I! Ala
al-Din!" whereupon they came down and embraced him. Then he sent
his wives and baggage into the house and entering himself with
Ahmad al-Danaf, rested there three days, after which he was
minded to set out for Baghdad. His father said, "Abide with me, O
my son;" but he answered; "I cannot bear to be parted from my
child Aslan." So he took his father and mother and fared forth
for Baghdad. Now when they came thither, Ahmad al-Danaf went in
to the Caliph and gave him the glad tidings of Ala al-Din's
arrival--and told him his story whereupon the King went forth to
greet him taking the youth Aslan, and they met and embraced each
other. Then the Commander of the Faithful summoned the arch-thief
Ahmad Kamakim and said to Ala al-Din, "Up and at thy foe!" So he
drew his sword and smote off Ahmad Kamakim's head. Then the
Caliph held festival for Ala al-Din and, summoning the Kazis and
witnesses, wrote the contract and married him to the Princess
Husn Maryam; and he went in unto her and found her an unpierced
pearl. Moreover, the Caliph made Aslan Chief of the Sixty and
bestowed upon him and his father sumptuous dresses of honour; and
they abode in the enjoyment of all joys and joyance of life, till
there came to them the Destroyer of delights and the Sunderer of
societies. But the tales of generous men are manifold and amongst
them is the story of


It is told of Hátim of the tribe of Tayy,[FN#129] that when he
died, they buried him on the top of a mountain and set over his
grave two troughs hewn out of two rocks and stone girls with
dishevelled hair. At the foot of the hill was a stream of running
water, and when wayfarers camped there, they heard loud crying
and keening in the night, from dark till daybreak; but when they
arose in the morning, they found nothing but the girls carved in
stone. Now when Zú 'l-Kurá'a,[FN#130] King of Himyar, going forth
of his tribe, came to that valley, he halted to pass the night
there,--And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased saying
her permitted say.

When it was the Two Hundred and Seventieth Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when Zu 'l-
Kura'a passed by the valley he righted there, and, when he drew
near the mountain, he heard the keening and said, "What lamenting
is that on yonder hill?" They answered him, saying, "Verily this
be the tomb of Hatim al-Táyy, over which are two troughs of stone
and stone figures of girls with dishevelled hair; and all who
camp in this place by night hear this crying and keening." So he
said jestingly, "O Hatim of Tayy! we are thy guests this night,
and we are lank with hunger." Then sleep overcame him, but
presently he awoke in affright and cried out, saying, "Help, O
Arabs! Look to my beast!" So they came to him, and finding his
she-camel struggling and struck down, they stabbed her in the
throat and roasted her flesh and ate. Then they asked him what
had happened and he said, "When I closed my eyes, I saw in my
sleep Hatim of Tayy who came to me sword in hand and cried, 'Thou
comest to us and we have nothing by us.' Then he smote my she-
camel with his sword, and she had surely died even though ye had
not come to her and slaughtered her."[FN#131] Now when morning
dawned the King mounted the beast of one of his companions and,
taking the owner up behind him, set out and fared on till midday,
when they saw a man coming towards them, mounted on a camel and
leading another, and said to him, "Who art thou?" He answered, "I
am Adi,[FN#132] son of Hatim of Tayy; where is Zu 'l-Kura'a, Emir
of Himyar?" Replied they, "This is he;" and he said to the
prince, "Take this she-camel in place of thy beast which my
father slaughtered for thee." Asked Zu 'l Kura'a, "Who told thee
of this?" and Adi answered, "My father appeared to me in a dream
last night and said to me, 'Harkye, Adi; Zu 'l Kura'a King of
Himyar, sought the guest-rite of me and I, having naught to give
him, slaughtered his she-camel, that he might eat: so do thou
carry him a she-camel to ride, for I have nothing.'" And Zu
'l-Kura'a took her, marvelling at the generosity of Hatim of Tayy
alive and dead. And amongst instances of generosity is the


It is told of Ma'an bin Záidah that, being out one day a-chasing
and a-hunting, he became athirst but his men had no water with
them; and while thus suffering behold, three damsels met him
bearing three skins of water;--And Shahrazad perceived the dawn
of day and ceased to say her permitted say.

When it was the Two Hundred and Seventy-first Night,[FN#134]

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that three girls
met him bearing three skins of water; so he begged drink of them,
and they gave him to drink. Then he sought of his men somewhat to
give the damsels but they had no money; so he presented to each
girl ten golden piled arrows from his quiver. Whereupon quoth one
of them to her friend, "Well-a-day! These fashions pertain to
none but Ma'an bin Zaidah! so let each one of us say somewhat of
verse in his praise." Then quoth the first,

"He heads his arrows with piles of gold, * And while shooting his
foes is his bounty doled:
Affording the wounded a means of cure, * And a sheet for the
bider beneath the mould!"

And quoth the second,

"A warrior showing such open hand, * His boons all friends and
all foes enfold:
The piles of his arrows of or are made, * So that battle his
bounty may not withhold!"

And quoth the third,

"From that liberal-hand on his foes he rains * Shafts aureate-
headed and manifold:
Wherewith the hurt shall chirurgeon pay, * And for slain the
shrouds round their corpses roll'd."[FN#135]

And there is also told a tale of


Now Ma'an bin Záidah went forth one day to the chase with his
company, and they came upon a herd of gazelles; so they separated
in pursuit and Ma'an was left alone to chase one of them. When he
had made prize of it he alighted and slaughtered it; and as he
was thus engaged, he espied a person[FN#136] coming forth out of
the desert on an ass. So he remounted and riding up to the new-
comer, saluted him and asked him, "Whence comest thou?" Quoth
he, "I come from the land of Kuzá'ah, where we have had a two
years' dearth; but this year it was a season of plenty and I
sowed early cucumbers.[FN#137] They came up before their time, so
I gathered what seemed the best of them and set out to carry them
to the Emir Ma'an bin Zaidah, because of his well-known
beneficence and notorious munificence." Asked Ma'an, "How much
dost thou hope to get of him?"; and the Badawi answered, "A
thousand dinars." Quoth the Emir, "What if he say this is too
much?" Said the Badawi, "Then I will ask five hundred dinars."
"And if he say, too much?" "Then three hundred!" "And if he say
yet, too much?" "Then two hundred!" "And if he say yet, too
much?" "Then one hundred!" "And if he say yet, too much?" "Then,
fifty!" "And if he say yet, too much?" "Then thirty!" "And if he
say still, too much?" asked Ma'an bin Zaidah. Answered the
Badawi, "I will make my ass set his four feet in his Honour's
home[FN#138] and return to my people, disappointed and empty-
handed." So Ma'an laughed at him and urged his steed till he came
up with his suite and returned to his place, when he said to his
chamberlain, "An there come to thee a man with cucumbers and
riding on an ass admit him to me." Presently up came the Badawi
and was admitted to Ma'an's presence; but knew not the Emir for
the man he had met in the desert, by reason of the gravity and
majesty of his semblance and the multitude of his eunuchs and
attendants, for he was seated on his chair of state with his
officers ranged in lines before him and on either side. So he
saluted him and Ma'an said to him "What bringeth thee, O brother
of the Arabs?" Answered the Badawi, "I hoped in the Emir, and
have brought him curly cucumbers out of season." Asked Ma'an,
"And how much dost thou expect of us?" "A thousand dinars,"
answered the Badawi. "This is far too much," quoth Ma'an. Quoth
he, "Five hundred." "Too much!" "Then three hundred." "Too much!"
"Two hundred." "Too much!" "One hundred." "Too much!" "Fifty."
"Too much!" At last the Badawi came down to thirty dinars; but
Ma'an still replied, "Too much!" So the Badawi cried, "By Allah,
the man who met me in the desert brought me bad luck! But I will
not go lower than thirty dinars." The Emir laughed and said
nothing; whereupon the wild Arab knew that it was he whom he had
met and said, "O my lord, except thou bring the thirty dinars,
see ye, there is the ass tied ready at the door and here sits
Ma'an, his honour, at home." So Ma'an laughed, till he fell on
his back; and, calling his steward, said to him, "Give him a
thousand dinars and five hundred and three hundred and two
hundred and one hundred and fifty and thirty; and leave the ass
tied up where he is." So the Arab to his amazement, received two
thousand one hundred and eighty dinars, and Allah have mercy on
them both and on all generous men! And I have also heard, O
auspicious King, a tale of


There was once a royal-city in the land of Roum, called the City
of Labtayt wherein stood a tower which was always shut. And
whenever a King died and another King of the Greeks took the
Kingship after him, he set on the tower a new and strong lock,
till there were four-and-twenty locks upon the gate, according to
the number of the Kings. After this time, there came to the
throne a man who was not of the old royal-house, and he had a
mind to open these locks, that he might see what was within the
tower. The grandees of his kingdom forbade him this and pressed
him to desist and reproved him and blamed him; but he persisted
saying, "Needs must this place be opened." Then they offered him
all that their hands possessed of monies and treasures and things
of price, if he would but refrain; still he would not be
baulked,--And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased
saying her permitted say.

When it was the Two Hundred and Seventy-second Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that the
grandees offered that King all their hands possessed of monies
and treasures if he would but refrain; still he would not be
baulked and said "There is no help for it but I open this tower."
So he pulled off the locks and entering, found within the tower
figures of Arabs on their horses and camels, habited in
turbands[FN#140] hanging down at the ends, with swords in
baldrick-belts thrown over their shoulders and bearing long
lances in their hands. He found there also a scroll which he
greedily took and read, and these words were written therein,
"Whenas this door is opened will conquer this country a raid of
the Arabs, after the likeness of the figures here depicted;
wherefore beware, and again beware of opening it." Now this city
was in Andalusia; and that very year Tárik ibn Ziyád conquered
it, during the Caliphate of Al-Walíd son of Abd al-Malik[FN#141]
of the sons of Umayyah; and slew this King after the sorriest
fashion and sacked the city and made prisoners of the women and
boys therein and got great loot. Moreover, he found there immense
treasures; amongst the rest more than an hundred and seventy
crowns of pearls and jacinths and other gems of price; and he
found a saloon, wherein horsemen might throw the spears, full of
vessels of gold and silver, such as no description can comprise.
Moreover, he found there the table of food for the Prophet of
Allah, Solomon, son of David (peace with both of them!), which is
extant even now in a city of the Greeks, it is told that it was
of grass-green emerald with vessels of gold and platters of
jasper. Likewise he found the Psalms written in the old
Ionian[FN#142] characters on leaves of gold bezel'd with jewels;
together with a book setting forth the properties of stones and
herbs and minerals, as well as the use of characts and talismans
and the canons of the art of alchymy; and he found a third volume
which treated of the art of cutting and setting rubies and other
precious stones and of the preparation of poisons and theriacks.
There found he also a mappa mundi figuring the earth and the seas
and the different cities and countries and villages of the world;
and he found a vast saloon full of hermetic powder, one drachm of
which elixir would turn a thousand drachms of silver into fine
gold; likewise a marvellous mirror, great and round, of mixed
metals, which had been made for Solomon, son of David (on the
twain be peace!) wherein whoso looked might see the counterfeit
presentment of the seven climates of the world; and he beheld a
chamber full of Brahmini[FN#143] jacinths for which no words can
suffice. So he despatched all these things to Walid bin Abd
al-Malik, and the Arabs spread all over the cities of Andalusia
which is one of the finest of lands. This is the end of the story
of the City of Labtayt. And a tale is also told of


The Caliph Hishám bin Abd al-Malik bin Marwan, was hunting one
day, when he sighted an antelope and pursued it with his dogs. As
he was following the quarry, he saw an Arab youth pasturing sheep
and said to him, "Ho boy, up and after yonder antelope, for it
escapeth me!" The youth raised his head to him and replied, "O
ignorant of what to the deserving is due, thou lookest on me with
disdain and speakest to me with contempt; thy speaking is that of
a tyrant true and thy doing what an ass would do." Quoth Hisham,
"Woe to thee, dost thou not know me?" Rejoined the youth, "Verily
thine unmannerliness hath made thee known to me, in that thou
spakest to me, without beginning by the salutation."[FN#144]
Repeated the Caliph, "Fie upon thee! I am Hisham bin Abd
al-Malik." "May Allah not favour thy dwelling-place," replied the
Arab, "nor guard thine abiding place! How many are thy words and
how few thy generous deeds!" Hardly had he ended speaking, when
up came the troop from all sides and surrounded him as the white
encircleth the black of the eye, all and each saying, "Peace be
with thee, O Commander of the Faithful!" Quoth Hisham, "Cut short
this talk and seize me yonder boy." So they laid hands on him;
and when he saw the multitude of Chamberlains and Wazirs and
Lords of State, he was in nowise concerned and questioned not of
them, but let his chin drop on his breast and looked where his
feet fell, till they brought him to the Caliph[FN#145] when he
stood before him, with head bowed groundwards and saluted him not
and spoke him not. So one of the eunuchs said to him, "O dog of
the Arabs, what hindereth thy saluting the Commander of the
Faithful?" The youth turned to him angrily and replied, "O
packsaddle of an ass, it was the length of the way that hindered
me from this and the steepness of the steps and the profuseness
of my sweat." Then said Hisham (and indeed he was exceeding
wroth), "O boy, verily thy days are come to their latest hour;
thy hope is gone from thee and thy life is past out of thee." He
answered, "By Allah, O Hisham, verily an my life-term be
prolonged and Fate ordain not its cutting short, thy words irk me
not, be they long or short." Then said the Chief Chamberlain to
him, "Doth it befit thy degree, O vilest of the Arabs, to bandy
words with the Commander of the Faithful?" He answered promptly,
"Mayest thou meet with adversity and may woe and wailing never
leave thee! Hast thou not heard the saying of Almighty Allah?,
'One day, every soul shall come to defend itself.'"[FN#146]
Hereupon Hisham rose, in great wrath, and said, "O headsman,
bring me the head of this lad; for indeed he exceedeth in talk,
such as passeth conception." So the sworder took him and, making
him kneel on the carpet of blood, drew his sword above him and
said to the Caliph, "O Commander of the Faithful, this thy slave
is misguided and is on the way to his grave; shall I smite off
his head and be quit of his blood?" "Yes," replied Hisham. He
repeated his question and the Caliph again answered in the
affirmative. Then he asked leave a third time; and the youth,
knowing that, if the Caliph assented yet once more, it would be
the signal of his death, laughed till his wisdom-teeth showed;
whereupon Hisham's wrath redoubled and he said to him, "O boy,
meseems thou art mad; seest thou not that thou art about to
depart the world? Why then dost thou laugh in mockery of
thyself?" He replied, "O Commander of the Faithful, if a larger
life-term befell me, none can hurt me, great or small; but I have
bethought me of some couplets, which do thou hear, for my death
cannot escape thee." Quoth Hisham, "Say on and be brief;" so the
Arab repeated these couplets,

"It happed one day a hawk pounced on a bird, * A wildling sparrow
driven by destiny;
And held in pounces spake the sparrow thus, * E'en as the hawk
rose ready home to hie:--
'Scant flesh have I to fill the maw of thee * And for thy lordly
food poor morsel I.
Then smiled the hawk in flattered vanity * And pride, so set the
sparrow free to fly.

At this Hisham smiled and said, "By the truth of my kinship to
the Apostle of Allah (whom Allah bless and keep!), had he spoken
this speech at first and asked for aught except the Caliphase,
verily I would have given it to him. Stuff his mouth with
jewels,[FN#147] O eunuch and entreat him courteously;" so they
did as he bade them and the Arab went his way. And amongst
pleasant tales is that of


They relate that Ibrahím, son of al-Mahdí,[FN#148] brother of
Harun al-Rashid, when the Caliphate devolved to Al-Maamun, the
son of his brother Harun, refused to acknowledge his nephew and
betook himself to Rayy[FN#149]; where he claimed the throne and
abode thus a year and eleven months and twelve days. Meanwhile
his nephew, Al-Maamun, awaited his return to allegiance and his
accepting a dependent position till, at last, despairing of this,
he mounted with his horsemen and footmen and repaired to Rayy in
quest of him. Now when the news came to Ibrahim, he found nothing
for it but to flee to Baghdad and hide there, fearing for his
life; and Maamun set a price of a hundred thousand gold pieces
upon his head, to be paid to whoso might betray him. (Quoth
Ibrahim) "When I heard of this price I feared for my head"--And
Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased to say her
permitted say.

When it was the Two Hundred and Seventy-third Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that Ibrahim
continued, "Now when I heard of this price I feared for my head
and knew not what to do: so I went forth of my house in disguise
at mid-day, knowing not whither I should go. Presently I entered
a broad street which was no thoroughfare and said in my mind,
'Verily, we are Allah's and unto Him we are returning! I have
exposed my life to destruction. If I retrace my steps, I shall
arouse suspicion.' Then, being still in disguise I espied, at the
upper end of the street, a negro-slave standing at his door; so I
went up to him and said to him, 'Hast thou a place where I may
abide for an hour of the day?' 'Yes,' answered he, and opening
the door admitted me into a decent house, furnished with carpets
and mats and cushions of leather. Then he shut the door on me and
went away; and I misdoubted me he had heard of the reward offered
for me, and said to myself, 'He hath gone to inform against me.'
But, as I sat pondering my case and boiling like cauldron over
fire, behold, my host came back, accompanied by a porter loaded
with bread and meat and new cooking-pots and gear and a new jar
and new gugglets and other needfuls. He made the porter set them
down and, dismissing him, said to me, 'I offer my life for thy
ransom! I am a barber-surgeon, and I know it would disgust thee
to eat with me' because of the way in which I get my
livelihood;[FN#150] so do thou shift for thyself and do what thou
please with these things whereon no hand hath fallen.' (Quoth
Ibrahim), Now I was in sore need of food so I cooked me a pot of
meat whose like I remember not ever to have eaten; and, when I
had satisfied my want, he said to me, 'O my lord, Allah make me
thy ransom! Art thou for wine?; for indeed it gladdeneth the soul
and doeth away care.' 'I have no dislike to it,' replied I, being
desirous of the barber's company; so he brought me new flagons of
glass which no hand had touched and a jar of excellent wine, and
said to me, 'Strain for thyself, to thy liking;' whereupon I
cleared the wine and mixed me a most delectable draught. Then he
brought me a new cup and fruits and flowers in new vessels of
earthenware; after which he said to me, 'Wilt thou give me leave
to sit apart and drink of my own wine by myself, of my joy in
thee and for thee?' 'Do so,' answered I. So I drank and he drank
till the wine began to take effect upon us, when the barber rose
and, going to a closet, took out a lute of polished wood and said
to me, 'O my lord, it is not for the like of me to ask the like
of thee to sing, but it behoveth thine exceeding generosity to
render my respect its due; so, if thou see fit to honour thy
slave, thine is the high decision.' Quoth I (and indeed I thought
not that he knew me), 'How knowest thou that I excel in song?' He
replied, 'Glory be to Allah, our lord is too well renowned for
that! Thou art my lord Ibrahim, son of Al-Mahdi, our Caliph of
yesterday, he on whose head Al-Maamun hath set a price of an
hundred thousand dinars to be paid to thy betrayer: but thou art
in safety with me.' (Quoth Ibrahim), When I heard him say this,
he was magnified in my eyes and his loyalty and noble nature were
certified to me; so I complied with his wish and took the lute
and tuned it, and sang. Then I bethought me of my severance from
my children and my family and I began to say,

'Belike Who Yúsuf to his kin restored * And honoured him in goal,
a captive wight,
May grant our prayer to reunite our lots, * For Allah, Lord of
Worlds, hath all of might.'

When the barber heard this, exceeding joy took possession of him.
and he was of great good cheer; for it is said that when
Ibrahim's neighbours heard him only sing out, 'Ho, boy, saddle
the mule!' they were filled with delight. Then, being overborne
by mirth, he said to me, 'O my lord, wilt thou give me leave to
say what is come to my mind, albeit I am not of the folk of this
craft?' I answered, 'Do so; this is of thy great courtesy and
kindness.' So he took the lute and sang these verses,

'To our beloveds we moaned our length of night; * Quoth they,
'How short the nights that us benight!'
'Tis for that sleep like hood enveils their eyes * Right soon,
but from our eyes is fair of flight:
When night-falls, dread and drear to those who love, * We mourn;
they joy to see departing light:
Had they but dree'd the weird, the bitter dole * We dree, their
beds like ours had bred them blight.'

(Quoth Ibrahim), So I said to him, 'By Allah, thou hast shown me
a kindness, O my friend, and hast done away from me the pangs of
sorrow. Let me hear more trifles of thy fashion.' So he sang
these couplets,

'When man keeps honour bright without a stain, * Pair sits
whatever robe to robe he's fain!
She jeered at me because so few we are; * Quoth I:--'There's ever
dearth of noble men!'
Naught irks us we are few, while neighbour tribes * Count many;
neighbours oft are base-born strain:
We are a clan which holds not Death reproach, * Which A'mir and
Samúl[FN#151] hold illest bane:
Leads us our love of death to fated end; * They hate that ending
and delay would gain:
We to our neighbours' speech aye give the lie, * But when we
speak none dare give lie again.'

(Quoth Ibrahim), When I heard these lines, I was filled with huge
delight and marvelled with exceeding marvel. Then I slept and
awoke not till past night-fall, when I washed my face, with a
mind full of the high worth of this barber-surgeon and his
passing courtesy; after which I wakened him and, taking out a
purse I had by me containing a number of gold pieces, threw it to
him, saying, 'I commend thee to Allah, for I am about to go forth
from thee, and pray thee to expend what is in this purse on thine
requirements; and thou shalt have an abounding reward of me, when
I am quit of my fear.' (Quoth Ibrahim), But he resumed the bag to
me, saying, 'O my lord, paupers like myself are of no value in
thine eyes; but how, with due respect to my own generosity, can I
take a price for the boon which fortune hath vouchsafed me of thy
favour and thy visit to my poor abode? Nay, if thou repeat thy
words and throw the purse to me again I will slay myself.' So I
put in my sleeve[FN#152] the purse whose weight was irksome to
me."--And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased saying
her permitted say.

When it was the Two Hundred and Seventy-fourth Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that Ibrahim son
of Al-Mahdi continued, "So I put in my sleeve the purse whose
weight was irksome to me; and turned to depart, but when I came
to the house door he said, 'O my lord, of a truth this is a safer
hiding-place for thee than any other, and thy keep is no burden
to me; so do thou abide with me, till Allah be pleased grant thee
relief.' Accordingly, I turned back, saying, 'On condition that
thou spend of the money in this purse.' He made me think that he
consented to this arrangement, and I abode with him some days in
the utmost comfort; but, perceiving that he spent none of the
contents of the purse, I revolted at the idea of abiding at his
charge and thought it shame to be a burthen on him; so I left the
house disguised in women's apparel, donning short yellow walking-
boots[FN#153] and veil. Now as soon as I found myself in the
street, I was seized with excessive fear, and going to pass the
bridge behold, I came to a place sprinkled with water,[FN#154]
where a trooper, who been in my service, looked at me and knowing
me, cried out, saying, 'This is he whom Al-Maamun wanteth.' Then
he laid hold of me but the love of sweet life lent me strength
and I gave him and his horse a push which threw them down in that
slippery place, so that he became an example to those who will
take example; and the folk hastened to him. Meanwhile, I hurried
my pace over the bridge and entered a main street, where I saw
the door of a house open and a woman standing upon the threshold.
So I said to her, 'O my lady, have pity on me and save my life;
for I am a man in fear.' Quoth she, 'Enter and welcome;' and
carried me into an upper dining-room, where she spread me a bed
and brought me food, saying 'Calm thy fear, for not a soul shall
know of thee.' As she spoke lo! there came a loud knocking at the
door; so she went and opened, and suddenly, my friend, whom I had
thrown down on the bridge, appeared with his head bound up, the
blood running down upon his clothes and without his horse. She
asked, 'O so and so, what accident hath befallen thee?'; and he
answered, 'I made prize of the young man whom the Caliph seeketh
and he escaped from me;' whereupon he told her the whole story.
So she brought out tinder[FN#155] and, putting it into a piece of
rag bandaged his head; after which she spread him a bed and he
lay sick. Then she came up to me and said, 'Methinks thou art the
man in question?' 'Even so,' answered I, and she said, 'Fear not:
no harm shall befall thee,' and redoubled in kindness to me. So I
tarried with her three days, at the end of which time she said to
me, 'I am in fear for thee, lest yonder man happen upon thee and
betray thee to what thou dreadest; so save thyself by flight.' I
besought her to let me stay till nightfall, and she said, 'There
is no harm in that.' So, when the night came, I put on my woman's
gear and betook me to the house of a freed-woman who had once
been our slave. When she saw me she wept and made a show of
affliction and praised Almighty Allah for my safety. Then she
went forth, as if she would go to market intent on hospitable
thoughts, and I fancied all was right; but, ere long, suddenly I
espied Ibrahim al-Mosili[FN#156] for the house amongst his
troopers and servants, and led by a woman on foot; and looking
narrowly at her behold, she was the freed-woman, the mistress of
the house, wherein I had taken refuge. So she delivered me into
their hands, and I saw death face to face. They carried me, in my
woman's attire, to Al-Maamun who called a general-council and had
me brought before him. When I entered I saluted him by the title
of Caliph, saying, 'Peace be on thee, O Commander of the
Faithful!' and he replied, 'Allah give thee neither peace nor
long life.' I rejoined, 'According to thy good pleasure, O
Commander of the Faithful!; it is for the claimant of blood-
revenge[FN#157] to decree punishment or pardon; but mercy is
nigher to piety; and Allah hath set thy pardon above all other
pardon, even as He made my sin to excel all other sin. So, if
thou punish, it is of thine equity, and if thou pardon, it is of
thy bounty.' And I repeated these couplets,

'My sin to thee is great, * But greater thy degree:
So take revenge, or else * Remit in clemency:
An I in deeds have not* Been generous, generous be!

(Quoth Ibrahim), At this Al-Maamun raised his head to me and I
hastened to add these two couplets,

'I've sinned enormous sin, * But pardon in thee lies:
If pardon thou, 'tis grace; * Justice an thou chastise!'

Then Al-Maamun bowed his head and repeated,

'I am (when friend would raise a rage that mote * Make spittle
choke me, sticking in my throat)
His pardoner, and pardon his offense, * Fearing lest I should
live a friend without.'

(Quoth Ibrahim), Now when I heard these words I scented mercy,
knowing his disposition to clemency.[FN#158] Then he turned to
his son Al Abbas and his brother Abu Ishak and all his chief
officers there present and said to them, 'What deem ye of his
case?' They all counselled him to do me dead, but they differed
as to the manner of my death. Then said he to his Wazir Ahmad bin
al-Khálid, 'And what sayest thou, O Ahmad?' He answered, 'O
Commander of the Faithful, an thou slay him, we find the like of
thee who hath slain the like of him; but an thou pardon him, we
find not the like of thee that hath pardoned the like of him.'"--
And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased to say her
permitted say.

When it was the Two Hundred and Seventy-fifth Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when Al
Maamun, Prince of the Faithful, heard the words of Ahmad bin
al-Khálid, he bowed his head and began repeating,

"My tribe have slain that brother mine, Umaym, * Yet would shoot
back what shafts at them I aim:
If I deal-pardon, noble pardon 'tis; * And if I shoot, my bones
'twill only maim."[FN#159]

And he also recited,

"Be mild to brother mingling * What is wrong with what is right:

Kindness to him continue * Whether good or graceless wight:
Abstain from all reproaching, * An he joy or vex thy sprite:
Seest not that what thou lovest * And what hatest go unite?
That joys of longer life-tide * Ever fade with hair turned
That thorns on branches growing * For the plucks fruit catch thy


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