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

Part 4 out of 7

When it was the Three Hundred and First Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that Abu
Mohammed Lazybones thus spake to the Caliph: "O Prince of True
Believers, listen to my story, for it is a marvellous and its
particulars are wondrous; were it graven with graver-needles upon
the eye-corners it were a warner to whose would be warned." Quoth
Al-Rashid, "Let us hear all thou hast to say, O Abu Mohammed!"
So he began "Know then, O Commander of the Faithful (Allah
prolong to thee glory and dominion!), the report of the folk;
that I am known as the Lazybones and that my father left me
nothing, is true; for he was, as thou hast said, nothing but a
barber-cupper in a Hammam. And I throughout my youth was the
idlest wight on the face of the earth; indeed, so great was my
sluggishness that, if I lay at full length in the sultry season
and the sun came round upon me, I was too lazy to rise and remove
from the sun to the shade. And thus I abode till I reached my
fifteenth year, when my father deceased in the mercy of Allah
Almighty and left me nothing. However, my mother used to go out
a-charing and feed me and give me to drink, whilst I lay on my
side. Now it came to pass that one day she came in to me with
five silver dirhams, and said to me, 'O my son, I hear that
Shaykh Abú al-Muzaffar[FN#231] is about to go a voyage to China.'
(Now this Shaykh was a good and charitable man who loved the
poor.) 'So come, my son, take these five silver bits; and let us
both carry them to him and beg him to buy thee therewith somewhat
from the land of China; so haply thou mayst make a profit of it
by the bounty of Allah, whose name be exalted!' I was too idle to
move for her; but she swore by the Almighty that, except I rose
and went with her, she would bring me neither meat nor drink nor
come in to me, but would leave me to die of hunger and thirst.
Now when I heard her words, O Commander of the Faithful, I knew
she would do as she threatened for her knowledge of my
sluggishness; so I said to her, 'Help me to sit up.' She did so,
and I wept the while and said to her, 'Bring me my shoes.'
Accordingly, she brought them and I said, 'Put them on my feet.'
She put them on my feet and I said, 'Lift me up off the ground.'
So she lifted me up and I said, 'Support me, that I may walk.' So
she supported me and I continued to fare a foot, at times
stumbling over my skirts, till we came to the river bank, where
we saluted the Shaykh and I said to him, 'O my uncle, art thou
Abu al-Muzaffar?' 'At thy service,' answered he, and I, 'Take
these dirhams and with them buy me somewhat from the land of
China: haply Allah may vouchsafe me a profit of it.' Quoth the
Shaykh to his companions, 'Do ye know this youth?' They answered,
'Yes, he is known as Abu Mohammed Lazybones, and we never saw him
stir from his house till this moment.' Then said he to me, 'O my
son, give me the silver with the blessing of Almighty Allah!' So
he took the money, saying, 'Bismillah in the name of Allah!' and
I returned home with my mother. Presently Shaykh Abu al-Muzaffar
set sail, with a company of merchants, and stayed not till they
reached the land of China, where he and his bought and sold; and,
having won what they wished, set out on their homeward voyage.
When they had been three days at sea, the Shaykh said to his
company, 'Stay the vessel!' They asked, 'What dost thou want?'
and he answered, 'Know that I have forgotten the commission
wherewith Abu Mohammed Lazybones charged me; so let us turn back
that we may lay out his money on somewhat whereby he may profit.'
They cried, 'We conjure thee, by Allah Almighty turn not back
with us; for we have traversed a long distance and a sore, and
while so doing we have endured sad hardship and many terrors.'
Quoth he, 'There is no help for it but we return;' and they said,
'Take from us double the profit of the five dirhams, and turn us
not back.' He agreed to this and they collected for him an ample
sum of money. Thereupon they sailed on, till they came to an
island wherein was much people; when they moored thereto and the
merchants went ashore, to buy thence a stock of precious metals
and pearls and jewels and so forth. Presently Abu al-Muzaffar saw
a man seated, with many apes before him, and amongst them one
whose hair had been plucked off; and as often as their owner's
attention was diverted from them, the other apes fell upon the
plucked one and beat him and threw him on their master; whereupon
the man rose and bashed them and bound them and punished them for
this; and all the apes were wroth with the plucked ape on this
account and funded him the more. When Shaykh Abu al-Muzaffar saw
this, he felt for and took compassion upon the plucked ape and
said to his master, 'Wilt thou sell me yonder monkey?' Replied
the man, 'Buy,' and Abu al-Muzaffar rejoined, 'I have with me
five dirhams, belonging to an orphan lad. Wilt thou sell it me
for that sum?' Answered the monkey-merchant, 'It is a bargain;
and Allah give thee a blessing of him!' So he made over the beast
and received his money; and the Shaykh's slaves took the ape and
tied him up in the ship. Then they loosed sail and made for
another island, where they cast anchor; and there came down
divers, who plunged for precious stones, pearls and other gems;
so the merchants hired them to dive for money and they dived. Now
when the ape saw them doing this, he loosed himself from his
bonds and, jumping off the ship's side, plunged with them,
whereupon quoth Abu al-Muzaffar, 'There is no Majesty and there
is no Might, save in Allah, the Glorious, the Great! The monkey
is lost to us with the luck of the poor fellow for whom we bought
him.' And they despaired of him; but, after a while, the company
of divers rose to the surface, and behold, among them was the
ape, with his hands full of jewels of price, which he threw down
before Abu al-Muzaffar. The Shaykh marvelled at this and said,
'There is much mystery in this monkey!' Then they cast off and
sailed till they came to a third island, called the Isle of the
Zunúj,[FN#232] who are a people of the blacks, which eat the
flesh of the sons of Adam. When the blacks saw them, they boarded
them in dug-outs[FN#233] and, taking all in the vessel, pinioned
them and carried them to their King, who bade slaughter certain
of the merchants. So they slaughtered them by cutting their
throats and ate their flesh; and the rest of the traders passed
the night in bonds and were in sore concern. But when it was
midnight, the ape arose and going up to Abu al-Muzaffar, loosed
his bonds; and, as the others saw him free, they said, 'Allah
grant our deliverance may be at thy hands, O Abu al-Muzaffar!'
But he replied, 'Know that he who delivered me, by leave of Allah
Almighty, was none other than this monkey'"--And Shahrazad
perceived the dawn of day and ceased to say her permitted say.

When it was the Three Hundred and Second Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that Abu
al-Muzaffar declared, "None loosed me, by leave of Allah
Al-mighty, save this monkey and I buy my release of him at a
thousand dinars!" whereupon the merchants rejoined, 'And we
likewise, each and every, will pay him a thousand dinars if he
release us.' With this the ape arose and went up to them and
loosed their bonds one by one, till he had freed them all, when
they made for the vessel and boarding her, found all safe and
nothing missing from her. So they cast off and set sail; and
presently Abu al-Muzaffar said to them, 'O merchants, fulfil your
promise to the monkey.' 'We hear and we obey,' answered they; and
each one paid him one thousand dinars, whilst Abu al-Muzaffar
brought out to him the like sum of his own monies, so that a
great heap of coin was collected for the ape. Then they fared on
till they reached Bassorah-city where their friends came out to
meet them; and when they had landed, the Shaykh said, 'Where is
Abu Mohammed Lazybones?' The news reached my mother, who came to
me as I lay asleep and said to me, 'O my son, verily the Shaykh
Abu al-Muzaffar hath come back and is now in the city; so rise
and go thou to him and salute him and enquire what he hath
brought thee; it may be Allah Almighty have opened to thee the
door of fortune with somewhat.' Quoth I, 'Lift me from the ground
and prop me up, whilst I go forth and walk to the river bank.'
After which I went out and walked on, stumbling over my skirts,
till I met the Shaykh, who exclaimed at sight of me, 'Welcome to
him whose money hath been the means of my release and that of
these merchants, by the will of Almighty Allah.' Then he
continued, 'Take this monkey I bought for thee and carry him home
and wait till I come to thee.' So I took the ape and went off,
saying in my mind, 'By Allah, this is naught but rare
merchandise!' and led it home, where I said to my mother,
'Whenever I lie down to sleep, thou biddest me rise and trade;
see now this merchandise with thine own eyes.' Then I sat me down
and as I sat, up came the slaves of Abu al-Muzaffar and said to
me, 'Art thou Abu Mohammed Lazybones?' 'Yes' answered I; and
behold, Abu al-Muzaffar appeared behind them. So I rose up to him
and kissed his hands: and he said, 'Come with me to my home.'
'Hearkening and obedience,' answered I and accompanied him to his
house, where he bade his servants bring me what money the monkey
had earned for me. So they brought it and he said to me, 'O my
son, Allah hath blessed thee with this wealth, by way of profit
on thy five dirhams.' Then the slaves set down the treasure in
chests, which they had carried on their heads, and Abu
al-Muzaffar gave me the keys saying, 'Go before the slaves to thy
house; for in sooth all this wealth is thine.' So I returned to
my mother, who rejoiced in this and said to me, 'O my son, Allah
hath blessed thee with all these riches; so put off thy laziness
and go down to the bazar and sell and buy.' At once I shook off
my dull sloth, and opened a shop in the bazar, where the ape used
to sit on the same divan with me eating with me when I ate and
drinking when I drank. But, every day, he was absent from dawn
till noon, when he came back bringing with him a purse of a
thousand dinars, which he laid by my side, and sat down; and he
ceased not so doing for a great while, till I amassed much
wealth, wherewith, O Commander of the Faithful, I purchased
houses and lands, and I planted gardens and I bought me white
slaves and negroes and concubines. Now it came to pass one day,
as I sat in my shop, with the ape sitting at my side on the same
carpet, behold, he began to turn right and left, and I said to
myself, 'What aileth the beast?' Then Allah made the ape speak
with a ready tongue, and he said to me, 'O Abu Mohammed!' Now
when I heard him speak, I was sore afraid; but he said to me,
'Fear not; I will tell thee my case. I am a Marid of the Jinn and
came to thee because of thy poor estate; but today thou knowest
not the amount of thy wealth; and now I have need of thee and if
thou do my will, it shall be well for thee.' I asked, 'What is
it?' and he answered, 'I have a mind to marry thee to a girl like
the full moon.' Quoth I, 'How so?'; and quoth he, 'Tomorrow don
thou thy richest dress and mount thy mule, with the saddle of
gold and ride to the Haymarket. There enquire for the shop of the
Sharif[FN#234] and sit down beside him and say to him, 'I come to
thee as a suitor craving thy daughter's hand.' 'If he say to
thee, 'Thou hast neither cash nor rank nor family'; pull out a
thousand dinars and give them to him, and if he ask more, give
him more and tempt him with money.' Whereto I replied, 'To hear
is to obey; I will do thy bidding, Inshallah!' So on the next
morning I donned my richest clothes, mounted my she mule with
trappings of gold and rode to the Haymarket where I asked for the
Sharif's shop, and finding him there seated, alighted and saluted
him and seated myself beside him"--And Shahrazad perceived the
dawn of day and ceased saying her permitted say.

When it was the Three Hundred and Third Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that Abu
Mohammed Lazybones continued: "So I alighted and, saluting him,
seated myself beside him, and my Mamelukes and negro-slaves stood
before me. Said the Sharif, 'Haply, thou hast some business with
us which we may have pleasure of transacting?' Replied I, 'Yes, I
have business with thee.' Asked he, 'And what is it?'; and I
answered, 'I come to thee as a suitor for thy daughter's hand.'
So he said, 'Thou hast neither cash nor rank nor family;'
whereupon I pulled him out a purse of a thousand dinars, red
gold, and said to him, 'This is my rank[FN#235] and my family;
and he (whom Allah bless and keep!) hath said, The best of ranks
is wealth. And how well quoth the poet,

'Whoso two dithams hath, his lips have learnt * Speech of all
kinds with eloquence bedight:
Draw near[FN#236] his brethren and crave ear of him, * And him
thou seest haught in pride-full height:
Were 't not for dirhams wherein glories he, * Hadst found him
'mid man kind in sorry plight.
When richard errs in words they all reply, * "Sooth thou hast
spoken and hast said aright!"
When pauper speaketh truly all reply * 'Thou liest;' and they
hold his sayings light.[FN#237]
Verily dirhams in earth's every stead * Clothe men with rank and
make them fair to sight
Gold is the very tongue of eloquence; * Gold is the best of arms
for might who'd fight!'

Now when the Sharif heard these my words and understood my verse,
he bowed his head awhile groundwards then raising it, said, 'If
it must be so, I will have of thee other three thousand gold
pieces.' 'I hear and I obey,' answered I, and sent one of my
Mamelukes home for the money. As soon as he came back with it, I
handed it to the Sharif who, when he saw it in his hands, rose,
and bidding his servants shut his shop, invited his brother
merchants of the bazar the wedding; after which he carried me to
his house and wrote out my contract of marriage with his daughter
saying to me, 'After ten days, I will bring thee to pay her the
first visit.' So I went home rejoicing and, shutting myself up
with the ape, told him what had passed; and he said 'Thou hast
done well.' Now when the time appointed by the Sharif drew near,
the ape said to me, 'There is a thing I would have thee do for
me; and thou shalt have of me (when it is done) whatso thou
wilt.' I asked, 'What is that?' and he answered, 'At the upper
end of the chamber wherein thou shalt meet thy bride, the
Sharif's daughter, stands a cabinet, on whose door is a
ring-padlock of copper and the keys under it. Take the keys and
open the cabinet in which thou shalt find a coffer of iron with
four flags, which are talismans, at its corners; and in its midst
stands a brazen basin full of money, wherein is tied a white cock
with a cleft comb; while on one side of the coffer are eleven
serpents and on the other a knife. Take the knife and slaughter
the cock; cut away the flags and upset the chest, then go back to
the bride and do away her maidenhead. This is what I have to ask
of thee.' 'Hearkening and obedience,' answered I, and betook
myself to the house of the Sharif. So as soon as I entered the
bride-chamber, I looked for the cabinet and found it even as the
ape had described it. Then I went in unto the bride and marvelled
at her beauty and loveliness and stature and symmetrical-grace,
for indeed they were such as no tongue can set forth. I rejoiced
in her with exceeding joy; and in the middle of the night, when
my bride slept, I rose and, taking the keys, opened the cabinet.
Then I seized the knife and slew the cock and threw down the
flags and upset the coffer, whereupon the girl awoke and, seeing
the closet open and the cock with cut throat, exclaimed, 'There
is no Majesty and there is no Might save in Allah, the Glorious,
the Great! The Marid hath got hold of me!' Hardly had she made an
end of speaking, when the Marid swooped down upon the house and,
snatching up the bride, flew away with her; whereupon there arose
a mighty clamour and behold, in came the Sharif, buffetting his
face and crying, 'O Abu Mohammed, what is this deed thou hast
done? Is it thus thou requiitest us? I made this talisman in the
cabinet fearing for my daughter from this accursed one who, for
these six years, hath sought to steal-away the girl, but could
not. But now there is no more abiding for thee with us, so wend
thy ways.' Thereupon I went forth and returned to my own house,
where I made search for the ape but could not find him nor any
trace of him; whereby I knew that it was he who was the Marid,
and that he had carried off my wife and had tricked me into
destroying the talisman and the cock, the two things which
hindered him from taking her, and I repented, rending my raiment
and cuffing my face. And there was no land but was straitened
upon me; so I made for the desert forthright and ceased not
wandering on till night overtook me, for I knew not whither I was
going. And whilst I was deep in sad thought behold, I met two
serpents, one tawny and the other white, and they were fighting
to kill each other. So I took up a stone and with one cast slew
the tawny serpent, which was the aggressor; whereupon the white
serpent glided away and was absent for a while, but presently she
returned accompanied by ten other white serpents which glided up
to the dead serpent and tore her in pieces, so that only the head
was left. Then they went their ways and I fell prostrate for
weariness on the ground where I stood; but as I lay, pondering my
case lo! I heard a Voice though I saw no one and the Voice
versified with these two couplets,

'Let Fate with slackened bridle fare her pace, * Nor pass the
night with mind which cares an ace
Between eye-closing and its opening, * Allah can foulest change
to fairest case.'

Now when I heard this, O Commander of the Faithful, great concern
get hold of me and I was beyond measure troubled, and behold, I
heard a Voice from behind me extemporise these couplets,

'O Moslem! thou whose guide is Alcorán, * Joy in what brought
safe peace to thee, O man.
Fear not what Satan haply whispered thee, * And in us see a

Then said I, 'I conjure thee, by the truth of Him thou wore
shippest, let me know who thou art!' Thereupon the Invisible
Speaker assumed the form of a man and said, 'Fear not; for the
report of thy good deed hath reached us, and we are a people of
the true-believing Jinn. So, if thou lack aught, let us know it
that we may have the pleasure of fulfilling thy want.' Quoth I,
'Indeed I am in sore need, for I am afflicted with a grievous
affliction and no one was ever afflicted as I am!' Quoth he,
'Perchance thou art Abu Mohammed Lazybones?' and I replied,
'Yes.' He rejoined, 'I, O Abu Mohammed, am the brother of the
white serpent, whose foe thou slewest, we are four brothers by
one father and mother, and we are all indebted to thee for thy
kindness. And know thou that he who played this trick on thee in
the likeness of an ape, is a Marid of the Marids of the Jinn; and
had he not used this artifice, he had never been able to get the
girl; for he hath loved her and had a mind to take her this long
while, but he was hindered of that talisman; and had it remained
as it was, he could never have found access to her. However, fret
not thyself for that; we will bring thee to her and kill the
Marid; for thy kindness is not lost upon us.' Then he cried out
with a terrible outcry"--And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day
and ceased to say her permitted say.

When it was the Three Hundred and fourth Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that the Ifrit
continued, "'Verily thy kindness is not lost upon us.' Then he
cried out with a terrible outcry in a horrible voice, and behold,
there appeared a troop of the Jinn, of whom he enquired
concerning the ape; and one of them said, 'I know his abiding-
place;' and the other asked 'Where abideth he?' Said the speaker
'He is in the City of Brass whereon sun riseth not.' Then said
the first Jinni to me, 'O Abu Mohammed, take one of these our
slaves, and he will carry thee on his back and teach thee how
thou shalt get back the girl; but know that this slave is a Marid
of the Marids and beware, whilst he is carrying thee, lest thou
utter the name of Allah, or he will flee from thee and thou wilt
fall and be destroyed.' 'I hear and obey,' answered I and chose
out one of the slaves, who bent down and said to me, 'Mount.' So
I mounted on his back, and he flew up with me into the firmament,
till I lost sight of the earth and saw the stars as they were the
mountains of earth fixed and firm[FN#238] and heard the angels
crying, 'Praise be to Allah,' in heaven while the Marid held me
in converse, diverting me and hindering me from pronouncing the
name of Almighty Allah.[FN#239] But, as we flew, behold, One clad
in green raiment,[FN#240] with streaming tresses and radiant
face, holding in his hand a javelin whence flew sparks of fire,
accosted me, saying, 'O Abu Mohammed, say:--There is no god but
the God and Mohammed is the Apostle of God; or I will smite thee
with this javelin.' Now already I felt heart-broken by my forced
silence as regards calling on the name of Allah; so I said,
'There is no god but the God, and Mohammed is the Apostle of God.
Whereupon the shining One smote the Marid with his javelin and he
melted away and became ashes; whilst I was thrown from his back
and fell headlong towards the earth, till I dropped into the
midst of a dashing sea, swollen with clashing surge. And behold I
fell hard by a ship with five sailors therein, who seeing me,
made for me and took me up into the vessel; and they began to
speak to me in some speech I knew not; but I signed to them that
I understood not their speech. So they fared on till the last of
the day, when they cast out a net and caught a great fish and
they broiled it and gave me to eat; after which they ceased not
sailing on till they reached their city and carried me to their
King and set me in his presence. So I kissed ground before him,
and he bestowed on me a dress of honour and said to me in Arabic
(which he knew well), 'I appoint thee one of my officers.'
Thereupon I asked him the name of the city, and he replied, 'It
is called Hanád[FN#241] and is in the land of China.' Then he
committed me to his Wazir, bidding him show me the city, which
was formerly peopled by Infidels, till Almighty Allah turned them
into stones; and there I abode a month's space, diverting myself
with viewing the place, nor saw I ever greater plenty of trees
and fruits than there. And when this time had past, one day, as I
sat on the bank of a river, behold, there accosted me a horseman,
who said to me, 'Art thou not Abu Mohammed Lazybones?' 'Yes,'
answered I; whereupon, he said, 'Fear not, for the report of thy
good deed hath reached us.' Asked I, 'Who art thou?' and he
answered, 'I am a brother of the white serpent, and thou art hard
by the place where is the damsel whom thou seekest.' So saying,
he took off his clothes and clad me therein, saying, 'Fear not,
for the slave who perished under thee was one of our slaves.'
Then the horseman took me up behind him and rode on with me to a
desert place, when he said, 'Dismount now and walk on between
these two mountains, till thou seest the City of Brass;[FN#242]
then halt afar off and enter it not, ere I return to thee and
tell thee how thou shalt do.' 'To hear is to obey,' replied I
and, dismounting from behind him, walked on till I came to the
city, the walls whereof I found of brass. Then I began to pace
round about it, hoping to find a gate, but found none; and
presently as I persevered, behold, the serpent's brother rejoined
me and gave me a charmed sword which should hinder any from
seeing me,[FN#243] then went his way. Now he had been gone but a
little while, when lo! I heard a noise of cries and found myself
in the midst of a multitude of folk whose eyes were in their
breasts; and seeing me quoth they, 'Who art thou and what cast
thee into this place?' So I told them my story, and they said,
'The girl thou seekest is in this city with the Marid; but we
know not what he hath done with her. Now we are brethren of the
white serpent,' adding, 'Go thou to yonder spring and note where
the water entereth, and enter thou with it; for it will bring
thee into the city.' I did as they bade me, and followed the
water-course, till it brought me to a Sardab, a vaulted room
under the earth, from which I ascended and found myself in the
midst of the city. Here I saw the damsel seated upon a throne of
gold, under a canopy of brocade, girt round by a garden full of
trees of gold, whose fruits were jewels of price, such as rubies
and chrysolites, pearls and coral. And the moment she saw me, she
knew me and accosted me with the Moslem salutation, saying, 'O my
lord, who guided thee hither?' So I told her all that had passed,
and she said, 'Know, that the accursed Marid, of the greatness of
his love for me, hath told me what bringeth him bane and what
bringeth him gain; and that there is here a talisman by means
whereof he could, an he would, destroy the city and all that are
therein; and whoso possesseth it, the Ifrits will do his
commandment in everything. It standeth upon a pillar'--Whereat I
asked her, 'And where is the pillar?' and she answered, 'It is in
such a place.' 'And what manner of thing may the talisman be?'
said I: said she, 'It is in the semblance of a vulture[FN#244]
and upon it is a writing which I cannot read. So go thou thither
and seize it, and set it before thee and, taking a chafing dish,
throw into it a little musk, whereupon there will arise a smoke
which will draw the Ifrits to thee, and they will all present
themselves before thee, nor shall one be absent; also they shall
be subject to thy word and, whatsoever thou biddest them, that
will they do. Arise therefore and fall to this thing, with the
blessing of Almighty Allah.' I answered, 'Hearkening and
obedience' and, going to the column, did as she bade me, where-
upon the Ifrits all presented themselves before me saying, 'Here
are we, O our lord! Whatsoever thou biddest us, that will we do.'
Quoth I, 'Bind the Marid who brought the damsel hither from her
home.' Quoth they, 'We hear and obey,' and off they flew and
bound that Marid in straitest bonds and returned after a while,
saying, 'We have done thy bidding.' Then I dismissed them and,
repairing to my wife, told her what had happened and said to her,
'O my bride, wilt thou go with me?' 'Yes,' answered she. So I
carried her forth of the vaulted chamber whereby I had entered
the city and we fared on, till we fell in with the folk who had
shown me the way to find her." And Shahrazad perceived the dawn
of day and ceased saying her permitted say.

When it was the Three Hundred and Fifth Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that he
continued on this wise: "And we fared on till we fell in with the
folk who had shown me the way to her. So I said to them, 'Point
me out a path which shall lead me to my home,' and they did
accordingly, and brought us a-foot to the sea-shore and set us
aboard a vessel which sailed on before us with a fair wind, till
we reached Bassorah-city. And when we entered the house of my
father-in-law and her people saw my wife, they rejoiced with
exceeding joy. Then I fumigated the vulture with musk and lo! the
Ifrits flocked to me from all sides, saying, 'At thy service what
wilt thou have us do?' So I bade them transport all that was in
the City of Brass of monies and noble metals and stones of price
to my house in Bassorah, which they did; and I then ordered them
to bring me the ape. They brought him before me, abject and
contemptible, and I said to him, 'O accursed, why hast thou dealt
thus perfidiously with me?' Then I com mended the Ifrits to shut
him in a brazen vessel[FN#245] so they put him in a brazen
cucurbite and sealed it with lead. But I abode with my wife in
joy and delight; and now, O Commander of the Faithful, I have
under my hand precious things in such measure and rare jewels and
other treasure and monies on such wise as neither reckoning may
express nor may limits comprise; and, if thou lust after wealth
or aught else, I will command the Jinn at once to do thy desire.
But all this is of the bounty of Almighty Allah." Thereupon the
Commander of the Faithful wondered greatly and bestowed on him
imperial gifts, in exchange for his presents, and entreated him
with the favour he deserved. And men also tell the tale of the


It is told that Harun al-Rashid, in the days before he became
jealous of the Barmecides, sent once for one of his guards, Salih
by name, and said to him, "O Sálih, go to Mansúr[FN#246] and say
to him: 'Thou owest us a thousand thousand dirhams and we require
of thee immediate payment of this amount.' And I command thee, O
Salih, unless he pay it between this hour and sundown, sever his
head from his body and bring it to me." "To hear is to obey,"
answered Salih and, going to Mansur, acquainted him with what the
Caliph had said, whereupon quoth he, "I am a lost man, by Allah;
for all my estate and all my hand owneth, if sold for their
utmost value, would not fetch a price of more than an hundred
thousand dirhams. Whence then, O Salih, shall I get the other
nine hundred thousand?" Salih replied, "Contrive how thou mayst
speedily acquit thyself, else thou art a dead man; for I cannot
grant thee an eye-twinkling of delay after the time appointed me
by the Caliph; nor can I fail of aught which the Prince of True
Believers hath enjoined on me. Hasten, therefore, to devise some
means of saving thyself ere the time expire." Quoth Mansur, "O
Salih, I beg thee of thy favour to bring me to my house, that I
may take leave of my children and family and give my kinsfolk my
last injunctions." Now Salih relateth: "So I went with him to his
house where he fell to bidding his family farewell, and the house
was filled with a clamour of weeping and lamentations and calling
for help on Almighty Allah. Thereupon I said to him, 'I have
bethought me that Allah may haply vouchsafe thee relief at the
hands of the Barmecides. Come, let us go to the house of Yáhyá
bin Khálid.' So we went to Yahya's house, and Mansur told him his
case, whereat he was sore concerned and bowed him groundwards for
a while, then raising his head, he called his treasurer and said
to him, 'How much have we in our treasury?' 'A matter of five
thousand dirhams,' answered the treasurer, and Yahya bade him
bring them and sent a messenger to his son, Al-Fazl, saying, 'I
am offered for sale a splendid estate which may never be laid
waste; so send me somewhat of money.' Al-Fazl sent him a thousand
thousand dirhams, and he despatched a mes senger with a like
message to his son Ja'afar, saying, 'We have a matter of much
moment and for it we want money;' whereupon Ja'afar at once sent
him a thousand thousand dirhams; nor did Yahya leave sending to
his kinsmen of the Barmecides, till he had collected from them a
great sum of money for Mansur. But Salih and the debtor knew not
of this; and Mansur said to Yahya, 'O my lord, I have laid hold
upon thy skirt, for I know not whither to look for the money but
to thee, in accordance with thy wonted generosity; so discharge
thou the rest of my debt for me and make me thy freed slave.'
Thereupon Yahya hung down his head and wept; then he said to a
page, 'Harkye, boy, the Commander of the Faithful gave our slave-
girl Danánír a jewel of great price: go thou to her and bid her
send it to us.' The page went out and presently returned with the
jewel, whereupon quoth Yahya, 'O Mansur, I bought this jewel of
the merchant for the Commander of the Faithful, at a price of two
hundred thousand dinars,[FN#247] and he gave it to our slave-girl
Dananir, the lute-player; and when he sees it with thee, he will
know it and spare thy blood and do thee honour for our sake; and
now, O Mansur, verily thy money is complete.' (Salih continued)
So I took the money and the jewel and carried them to al-Rashid
together with Mansur, but on the way I heard him repeat this
couplet, applying it to his own case,

‘'Twas not of love that fared my feet to them; * 'Twas that I
feared me lest they shoot their shafts!'

Now when I heard this, I marvelled at his evil nature and his
depravity and mischief-making and his ignoble birth and
provenance and, turning upon him, I said, 'There is none on the
face of the earth better or more righteous than the Barmecides,
nor any baser nor more wrongous than thou; for they bought thee
off from death and delivered thee from destruction, giving thee
what should save thee; yet thou thankest them not nor praises"
them, neither acquittest thee after the manner of the noble; nay,
thou meetest their benevolence with this speech.' Then I went to
Al-Rashid and acquainted him with all that had passed" And
Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased to say her
permitted say.

When it was the Three Hundred and Sixth Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that Salih con
tinued: "So I acquainted the Commander of the Faithful with all
that passed and Al-Rashid marvelled at the generosity and
benevolence of Yahya and the vileness and ingratitude of Mansur,
and bade restore the jewel to Yahya, saying, 'Whatso we have
given it befitteth us not to take again.' After that Salih
returned to Yahya and acquainted him with the tale of Mansur and
his ill-conduct; whereupon replied he, 'O Salih, when a man is in
want, sick at heart and sad of thought, he is not to be blamed
for aught that falleth from him; for it cometh not from the
heart;' and on this wise he took to seeking excuse for Mansur.
But Salih wept and exclaimed, 'Never shall the revolving heavens
bring forth into being the like of thee, O Yahya! Alas, and well-
away, that one of such noble nature and generosity should be laid
in the dust!' And he repeated these two couplets,

'Haste to do kindness thou cost intend; * Thou canst not always
on boons expend:
How many from bounty themselves withheld, * Till means of bounty
had come to end!'"

And men tell another tale of the


There was between Yáhyá bin Khálid and Abdullah bin Málik al-
Khuzá'i,[FN#248] an enmity which they kept secret; the reason of
the hatred being that Harun al-Rashid loved Abdullah with
exceeding love, so that Yahya and his sons were wont to say that
he had bewitched the Commander of the Faithful. And thus they
abode a long while, with rancour in their hearts, till it fell
out that the Caliph invested Abdullah with the government of
Armenia[FN#249] and despatched him thither. Now soon after he had
settled himself in his seat of government, there came to him one
of the people of Irak, a man of good breeding and excellent parts
and abundant cleverness; but he had lost his money and wasted his
wealth and his estate was come to ill case; so he forged a letter
to Abdullah bin Malik in the name of Yahya bin Khálid and set out
therewith for Armenia. Now when he came to the Governor's gate,
he gave the letter to one of the Chamberlains, who took it and
carried it to his master. Abdullah opened it and read it and,
considering it attentively, knew it to be forged; so he sent for
the man, who presented himself before him and called down
blessings upon him and praised him and those of his court. Quoth
Abdullah to him, "What moved thee to weary thyself on this wise
and bring me a forged letter? But be of good heart; for we will
not disappoint thy travail." Replied the other, "Allah prolong
the life of our lord the Wazir! If my coming annoy thee, cast not
about for a pretext to repel me, for Allah's earth is wide and He
who giveth daily bread still liveth. Indeed, the letter I bring
thee from Yahya bin Khalid is true and no forgery." Quoth
Abdullah, "I will write a letter to my agent[FN#250] at Baghdad
and command him enquire concerning this same letter. If it be
true, as thou sayest, and genuine and not forged by thee, I will
bestow on thee the Emirship of one of my cities; or, if thou
prefer a present, I will give thee two hundred thousand dirhams,
besides horses and camels of price and a robe of honour. But, if
the letter prove a forgery, I will order thou be beaten with two
hundred blows of a stick and thy beard be shaven." So Abdullah
bade confine him in a chamber and furnish him therein with all he
needed, till his case should be made manifest. Then he despatched
a letter to his agent at Baghdad, to the following effect: "There
is come to me a man with a letter purporting to be from Yahya bin
Khálid. Now I have my suspicions of this letter: therefore delay
thou not in the matter, but go thyself and look carefully into
the case and let me have an answer with all speed, in order that
we may know what is true and what is untrue." When the letter
reached Baghdad, the agent mounted at once,--And Shahrazad
perceived the dawn of day and ceased to say her permitted say.

When it was the Three Hundred and Seventh Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that the agent
of Abdullah, son of Malik al-Khuza'i, on receipt of the letter at
Baghdad, mounted at once and repaired to the house of Yahya bin
Khálid, whom he found sitting with his officers and boon-
companions. After the usual salute he gave him the letter and
Yahya read it and said to the agent, "Come back to me tomorrow
for my written answer." Now when the agent had gone away, Yahya
turned to his companions and said, "What doth he deserve who
forgeth a letter in my name and carrieth it to my foe?" They
answered all and each, saying this and that, and every one
proposing some kind of punishment; but Yahya said, "Ye err in
that ye say and this your counsel is of the baseness of your
spirits and the meanness of your minds. Ye all know the close
favour of Abdullah with the Caliph and ye weet of what is between
him and us of anger and enmity; and now Almighty Allah hath made
this man the means of reconciliation between us; and hath fitted
him for such purpose and hath appointed him to quench the fire of
ire in our hearts, which hath been growing these twenty years;
and by his means our differences shall be adjusted. Wherefore it
behoveth me to requite such man by verifying his assertion and
amending his estate; so I will write him a letter to Abdullah son
of Malik, praying that he may use him with increase of honour and
continue to him his liberality." Now when his companions heard
what he said, they called down blessings on him and marvelled at
his generosity and the greatness of his magnanimity. Then he
called for paper and ink and wrote Abdullah a letter in his own
hand, to the following effect: "In the name of Allah, the
Compassionating' the Compassionate! Of a truth thy letter hath
reached me (Allah give thee long life!) and I am glad to hear of
thy safety and am pleased to be assured of thine immunity and
prosperity. It was thy thought that a certain worthy man had
forged a letter in my name and that he was not the bearer of any
message from the same; but the case is not so, for the letter I
myself wrote, and it was no forgery; and I hope, of thy courtesy
and consideration and the nobility of thy nature, that thou wilt
gratify this generous and excellent man of his hope and wish, and
honour him with the honour he deserveth and bring him to his
desire and make him the special-object of thy favour and
munificence. Whatso thou dost with him, it is to me that thou
dost the kindness, and I am thankful to thee accordingly." Then
he superscribed the letter and after sealing it, delivered it to
the agent, who despatched it to Abdullah. Now when the Governor
read it, he was charmed with its contents, and sending for the
man, said to him, "Whichever of the two promised boons is the
more acceptable to thee that will I give thee." The man replied,
"The money gift were more acceptable to me than aught else,"
whereupon Abdullah ordered him two hundred thousand dirhams and
ten Arab horses, five with housings of silk and other five with
richly ornamented saddles, used in state processions; besides
twenty chests of clothes and ten mounted white slaves and a
proportionate quantity of jewels of price. Moreover, he bestowed
on him a dress of honour and sent him to Baghdad in great
splendour. So when he came thither, he repaired to the door of
Yahya's house, before he went to his own folk, and craved
permission to enter and have audience. The Chamberlain went in to
Yahya and said to him, "O my lord, there is one at the door who
craveth speech of thee; and he is a man of apparent wealth,
courteous in manner, comely of aspect and attended by many
servants." Then Yahya bade admit him; and, when he entered and
kissed the ground before him, Yahya asked him, "Who art thou?" He
answered, "Hear me, O my lord, I am he who was done dead by the
tyranny of fortune, but thou didst raise me to life again from
the grave of calamities and exalt me to the paradise of my
desires. I am the man who forged a letter in thy name and carried
it to Abdullah bin Malik al-Khuza'i." Yahya asked, "How hath he
dealt with thee and what did he give thee?"; and the man
answered, "He hath given me, thanks to thy hand and thy great
liberality and benevolence and to thy comprehensive kindness and
lofty magnanimity and thine all-embracing generosity, that which
hath made me a wealthy man and he hath distinguished me with his
gifts and favours. And now I have brought all that he gave me and
here it is at thy door; for it is thine to decide and the command
is in thy hand." Rejoined Yahya, "Thou hast done me better
service than I did thee and I owe thee a heavy debt of gratitude
and every gift the white hand[FN#251] can give, for that thou
hast changed into love and amity the hate and enmity that were
between me and a man whom I respect and esteem. Wherefore I will
give thee the like of what Abdullah bin Malik gave thee." Then he
ordered him money and horses and chests of apparel, such as
Abdullah had given him; and thus that man's fortune was restored
to him by the munificence of these two generous ones. And folk
also relate the tale of the


It is said of Al-Maamun that, among the Caliphs of the house of
Abbas, there was none more accomplished in all branches of
knowledge than he. Now on two days in each week, he was wont to
preside at conferences of the learned, when the lawyers and
theologians disputed in his presence, each sitting in his
several-rank and room. One day as he sat thus, there came into
the assembly a stranger, clad in ragged white clothes, who took
seat in an obscure place behind the doctors of the law. Then the
assembly began to speak and debate difficult questions, it being
the custom that the various propositions should be submitted to
each in turn, and that whoso bethought him of some subtle
addition or rare conceit, should make mention of it. So the
question went round till it came to the strange man, who spake in
his turn and made a goodlier answer than any of the doctors'
replies; and the Caliph approved his speech.----And Shahrazad
perceived the dawn of day and ceased saying her permitted say.

When it was the Three Hundred and Eighth Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that the Caliph
Al-Maamun approved his speech and ordered him to come up from
his low place to a high stead. Now when the second question came
to him, he made a still more notable answer, and Al-Maamun
ordered him to be preferred to a yet higher seat; and when the
third question reached him, he made answer more justly and
appropriately than on the two previous occasions, and Al-Maamun
bade him come up and sit near himself. Presently the discussion
ended when water was brought and they washed their hands after
which food was set on and they ate; and the doctors arose and
withdrew; but Al-Maamun forbade the stranger to depart with them
and, calling him to himself, treated him with especial-favour and
promised him honour and profit. Thereupon they made ready the
séance of wassail; the fair-faced cup-companions came and the
pure wine[FN#252] went round amongst them, till the cup came to
the stranger, who rose to his feet and spake thus, "If the
Commander of the Faithful permit me, I will say one word."
Answered the Caliph, "Say what thou wilt." Quoth the man "Verily
the Exalted Intelligence (whose eminence Allah increase!) knoweth
that his slave was this day, in the august assembly, one of the
unknown folk and of the meanest of the company; and the Commander
of the Faithful raised his rank and brought him near to himself,
little as were the wit and wisdom he displayed, preferring him
above the rest and advancing him to a station and a degree where
to his thought aspired not. But now he is minded to part him from
that small portion of intellect which raised him high from his
lowness and made him great after his littleness. Heaven forfend
and forbid that the Commander of the Faithful should envy his
slave what little he hath of understanding and worth and renown!
Now, if his slave should drink wine, his reason would depart far
from him and ignorance draw near to him and steal-away his good
breeding, so would he revert to that low and contemptible degree,
whence he sprang, and become ridiculous and despicable in the
eyes of the folk. I hope, therefore, that the August
Intelligence, of his power and bounty and royal-generosity and
magnanimity, will not despoil his slave of this jewel." When the
Caliph Al-Maamun heard his speech, he praised him and thanked him
and making him sit down again in his place, showed him high
honour and ordered him a present of an hundred thousand silver
pieces. Moreover he mounted him upon a horse and gave him rich
apparel; and in every assembly he was wont to exalt him and show
him favour over all the other doctors of law and religion till he
became the highest of them all in rank. And Allah is All
knowing.[FN#253] Men also tell a tale of


There lived once in the days of yore and the good old times long
gone before, in the land of Khorasan, a merchant called Majd
al-Dín, who had great wealth and many slaves and servants, white
and black, young and old; but he had not been blessed with a
child until he reached the age of threescore, when Almighty Allah
vouchsafed him a son, whom he named Alí Shár. The boy grew up
like the moon on the night of fulness; and when he came to man's
estate and was endowed with all kinds of perfections, his father
fell sick of a death-malady and, calling his son to him, said, "O
my son, the fated hour of my decease is at hand, and I desire to
give thee my last injunctions." He asked, "And what are they, O
my father?"; and he answered, "O my son, I charge thee, be not
over-familiar with any[FN#255] and eschew what leadeth to evil
and mischief. Beware lest thou sit in company with the wicked;
for he is like the blacksmith; if his fire burn thee not, his
smoke shall bother thee: and how excellent is the saying of the

'In thy whole world there is not one,
Whose friendship thou may'st count upon,
Nor plighted faith that will stand true,
When times go hard, and hopes are few.
Then live apart and dwell alone,
Nor make a prop of any one,
I've given a gift in that I've said,
Will stand thy friend in every stead:'

And what another saith,

'Men are a hidden malady; * Rely not on the sham in them:
For perfidy and treachery * Thou'lt find, if thou examine them.'

And yet a third saith,

'Converse with men hath scanty weal, except * To while away the
time in chat and prate:
Then shun their intimacy, save it be * To win thee lore, or
better thine estate.'

And a fourth saith,

'If a sharp-witted wight e'er tried mankind, * I've eaten that
which only tasted he:[FN#257]
Their amity proved naught but wile and guile, * Their faith I
found was but hypocrisy.'"

Quoth Ali, "O my father, I have heard thee and I will obey thee
what more shall I do?" Quoth he, "Do good whereas thou art able;
be ever kind and courteous to men and regard as riches every
occasion of doing a good turn; for a design is not always easily
carried out; and how well saith the poet,

"Tis not at every time and tide unstable, * We can do kindly acts
and charitable:
When thou art able hasten thee to act, * Lest thine endeavour
prove anon unable!'"

Said Ali, "I have heard thee and I will obey thee."--And
Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased to say her
permitted say.

When it was the Three Hundred and Ninth Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that the youth
replied, "I have heard thee and I will obey thee; what more?" And
his sire continued, "Be thou, O my son, mindful of Allah, so
shall He be mindful of thee. Ward thy wealth and waste it not;
for an thou do, thou wilt come to want the least of mankind. Know
that the measure of a man's worth is according to that which his
right hand hendeth: and how well saith the poet,[FN#258]

'When fails my wealth no friend will deign befriend, * And when
it waxeth all men friendship show:
How many a foe for wealth became my friend, * Wealth lost, how
many a friend became a foe!'"

Asked Ali, "What more?" And Majd al-Din answered, "O my son, take
counsel of those who are older than thou and hasten not to do thy
heart's desire. Have compassion on those who are below thee, so
shall those who are above thee have compassion on thee; and
oppress none, lest Allah empower one who shall oppress thee. How
well saith the poet,

'Add other wit to thy wit, counsel craving, * For man's true
course hides not from minds of two
Man is a mirror which but shows his face, * And by two mirrors he
his back shall view.'

And as saith another,[FN#259]

'Act on sure grounds, nor hurry fast,
To gain the purpose that thou hast
And be thou kindly to all men
So kindly thou'lt be called again;
For not a deed the hand can try,
Save 'neath the hand of God on high,
Nor tyrant harsh work tyranny,
Uncrushed by tyrant harsh as he.'

And as saith yet another,[FN#260]

'Tyrannize not, if thou hast the power to do so; for the
tyrannical-is in danger of revenges.
Thine eye will sleep while the oppressed, wakeful, will call down
curses on thee, and God's eye sleepeth not.'

Beware of wine-bibbing, for drink is the root of all evil: it
doeth away the reason and bringeth to contempt whoso useth it;
and how well saith the poet,

'By Allah, wine shall not disturb me, while my soul * Join body,
nor while speech the words of me explain:
No day will I be thralled to wine-skin cooled by breeze[FN#261] *
Nor choose a friend save those who are of cups unfair.'

This, then, is my charge to thee; bear it before thine eyes, and
Allah stand to thee in my stead." Then he swooned away and kept
silent awhile; and, when he came to himself, he besought pardon
of Allah and pronounced the profession of the Faith, and was
admitted to the mercy of the Almighty. So his son wept and
lamented for him and presently made proper preparation for his
burial; great and small walked in his funeral-procession and
Koran readers recited Holy Writ about his bier; nor did Ali Shar
omit aught of what was due to the dead. Then they prayed over him
and committed him to the dust and wrote these two couplets upon
his tomb,

'Thou west create of dust and cam'st to life, * And learned'st in
eloquence to place thy trust;
Anon, to dust returning, thou becamest * A corpse, as though
ne'er taken from the dust."

Now his son Ali Shar grieved for him with sore grief and mourned
him with the ceremonies usual among men of note; nor did he cease
to weep the loss of his father till his mother died also, not
long afterwards, when he did with her as he had done with his
sire. Then he sat in the shop, selling and buying and consorting
with none of Almighty Allah's creatures, in accordance with his
father's injunction. This wise he continued to do for a year, at
the end of which time there came in to him by craft certain
whoreson fellows and consorted with him, till he turned after
their example to lewdness and swerved from the way of
righteousness, drinking wine in flowing bowls and frequenting
fair women night and day; for he said to himself, "Of a truth my
father amassed this wealth for me, and if I spend it not, to whom
shall I leave it? By Allah, I will not do save as saith the poet,

'An through the whole of life * Thou gett'st and gain'st for
Say, when shalt thou enjoy * Thy gains and gotten pelf?'"

And Ali Shar ceased not to waste his wealth all whiles of the day
and all watches of the night, till he had made away with the
whole of his riches and abode in pauper case and troubled at
heart. So he sold his shop and lands and so forth, and after this
he sold the clothes off his body, leaving himself but one suit;
and, as drunkenness quitted him and thoughtfulness came to him,
he fell into grief and sore care. One day, when he had sat from
day-break to mid-afternoon without breaking his fast, he said in
his mind, "I will go round to those on whom I spent my monies:
perchance one of them will feed me this day." So he went the
round of them all; but, as often as he knocked at any one's door
of them, the man denied himself and hid from him, till his
stomach ached with hunger. Then he betook himself to the bazar of
the merchants,--And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and
ceased saying her permitted say.

When it was the Three Hundred and Tenth Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that Ali Shar
feeling his stomach ache with hunger, betook himself to the
merchants' bazar where he found a crowd of people assembled in
ring, and said to himself, "I wonder what causeth these folk to
crowd together thus? By Allah, I will not budge hence till I see
what is within yonder ring!" So he made his way into the ring and
found therein a damsel exposed for sale who was five feet
tall,[FN#262] beautifully proportioned, rosy of cheek and high of
breast; and who surpassed all the people of her time in beauty
and loveliness and elegance and grace; even as saith one,
describing her,

"As she willèd she was made, and in such a way that when * She
was cast in Nature's mould neither short nor long was she:
Beauty woke to fall in love with the beauties of her form, *
Where combine with all her coyness her pride and pudency:
The full moon is her face[FN#263]and the branchlet is her shape,
* And the musk-pod is her scent--what like her can there be?
'Tis as though she were moulded from water of the pearl, * And in
every lovely limblet another moon we see!"

And her name was Zumurrud--the Smaragdine. So when Ali Shar saw
her, he marvelled at her beauty and grace and said, "By Allah, I
will not stir hence till I see how much this girl fetcheth, and
know who buyeth her!" So he took standing-place amongst the
merchants, and they thought he had a mind to buy her, knowing the
wealth he had inherited from his parents. Then the broker stood
at the damsel's head and said, "Ho, merchants! Ho, ye men of
money! Who will open the gate of biddings for this damsel, the
mistress of moons, the union pearl, Zumurrud the curtain-maker,
the sought of the seeker and the delight of the desirous? Open
the biddings' door and on the opener be nor blame nor reproach
for evermore." Thereupon quoth one merchant, "Mine for five
hundred dinars;" "And ten," quoth another. "Six hundred," cried
an old man named Rashíd al-Din, blue of eye[FN#264] and foul of
face. "And ten," cried another. "I bid a thousand," rejoined
Rashid al-Din; whereupon the rival merchants were tongue-tied,
and held their peace and the broker took counsel with the girl's
owner, who said, "I have sworn not to sell her save to whom she
shall choose: so consult her." Thereupon the broker went up to
Zumurrud and said to her, "O mistress of moons this merchant hath
a mind to buy thee." She looked at Rashid al-Din and finding him
as we have said, replied, "I will not be sold to a gray-beard,
whom decrepitude hath brought to such evil plight. Allah inspired
his saying who saith,

'I craved of her a kiss one day; but soon as she beheld * My
hoary hairs, though I my luxuries and wealth display'd;
She proudly turned away from me, showed shoulders, cried aloud:--
* 'No! no! by Him, whose hest mankind from nothingness hath
For hoary head and grizzled chin I've no especial-love: * What!
stuff my mouth with cotton[FN#265] ere in sepulchre I'm

Now when the broker heard her words he said, "By Allah, thou art
excusable, and thy price is ten thousand gold pieces!" So he told
her owner that she would not accept of old man Rashid al-Din, and
he said, "Consult her concerning another." Thereupon a second man
came forward and said, "Be she mine for what price was offered by
the oldster she would have none of;" but she looked at him and
seeing that his beard was dyed, said "What be this fashion lewd
and base and the blackening of the hoary face?" And she made a
great show of wonderment and repeated these couplets,

"Showed me Sir Such-an-one a sight and what a frightful sight! *
A neck by Allah, only made for slipper-sole to smite[FN#266]
A beard the meetest racing ground where gnats and lice contend, *
A brow fit only for the ropes thy temples chafe and
O thou enravish" by my cheek and beauties of my form, * Why so
translate thyself to youth and think I deem it right?
Dyeing disgracefully that white of reverend aged hairs, * And
hiding for foul purposes their venerable white!
Thou goest with one beard and comest back with quite another, *
Like Punch-and-Judy man who works the Chinese shades by

And how well saith another'

Quoth she, 'I see thee dye thy hoariness:'[FN#269] * 'To hide, O
ears and eyes! from thee,' quoth I:
She roared with laugh and said, 'Right funny this; * Thou art so
lying e'en

Now when the broker heard her verse he exclaimed, "By Allah thou
hast spoken sooth!" The merchant asked what she said: so the
broker repeated the verses to him; and he knew that she was in
the right while he was wrong and desisted from buying her. Then
another came forward and said, "Ask her if she will be mine at
the same price;" but, when he did so, she looked at him and
seeing that he had but one eye, said, "This man is one-eyed; and
it is of such as he that the poet saith,[FN#270]

'Consort not with the Cyclops e'en a day; * Beware his falsehood
and his mischief fly:
Had this monocular a jot of good, * Allah had ne'er brought
blindness to his eye!'"

Then said the broker, pointing to another bidder, "Wilt thou be
sold to this man?" She looked at him and seeing that he was short
of stature[FN#271] and had a beard that reached to his navel,
cried, "This is he of whom the poet speaketh,

'I have a friend who hath a beard * Allah to useless length
'Tis like a certain[FN#272] winter night, * Longsome and
darksome, drear and cold.'"

Said the broker, "O my lady, look who pleaseth thee of these that
are present, and point him out, that I may sell thee to him." So
she looked round the ring of merchants, examining one by one
their physiognomies, till her glance fell on Ali Shar,--And
Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased to say her
permitted say.

When it was the Three Hundred and Eleventh Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when the
girl's glance fell on Ali Shar, she cast at him a look with
longing eyes, which cost her a thousand sighs, and her heart was
taken with him; for that he was of favour passing fair and
pleasanter than zephyr or northern air; and she said, "O broker,
I will be sold to none but to this my lord, owner of the handsome
face and slender form whom the poet thus describeth,

'Displaying that fair face * The tempted they assailed
Who, had they wished me safe * That lovely face had veiled!'

For none shall own me but he, because his cheek is smooth and the
water of his mouth sweet as Salsabil;[FN#273] his spittle is a
cure for the sick and his charms daze and dazzle poet and proser,
even as saith one of him,

'His honey dew of lips is wine; his breath * Musk and those
teeth, smile shown, are camphor's hue:
Rizwán[FN#274] hath turned him out o' doors, for fear * The
Houris lapse from virtue at the view
Men blame his bearing for its pride, but when * In pride the full
moon sails, excuse is due.'

Lord of the curling locks and rose red cheeks and ravishing look
of whom saith the poet,

'The fawn-like one a meeting promised me * And eye expectant
waxed and heart unstirred:
His eyelids bade me hold his word as true; * But, in their
languish,[FN#275] can he keep his word?'

And as saith another,

'Quoth they, 'Black letters on his cheek are writ! * How canst
thou love him and a side-beard see?'
Quoth I, 'Cease blame and cut your chiding short; * If those be
letters 'tis a forgery:'
Gather his charms all growths of Eden garth * Whereto those
Kausar[FN#276]-lips bear testimony.'"

When the broker heard the verses she repeated on the charms of
Ali Shar, he marvelled at her eloquence, no less than at the
brightness of her beauty; but her owner said to him, "Marvel not
at her splendour which shameth the noonday sun, nor that her
memory is stored with the choicest verses of the poets; for
besides this, she can repeat the glorious Koran, according to the
seven readings,[FN#277] and the august Traditions, after
ascription and authentic transmission; and she writeth the seven
modes of handwriting[FN#278] and she knoweth more learning and
knowledge than the most learned. Moreover, her hands are better
than gold and silver; for she maketh silken curtains and selleth
them for fifty gold pieces each; and it taketh her but eight days
to make a curtain." Exclaimed the broker, "O happy the man who
hath her in his house and maketh her of his choicest treasures!";
and her owner said to him, "Sell her to whom she will." So the
broker went up to Ali Shar and, kissing his hands, said to him,
"O my lord, buy thou this damsel, for she hath made choice of
thee."[FN#279] Then he set forth to him all her charms and
accomplishments, and added, "I give thee joy if thou buy her, for
this be a gift from Him who is no niggard of His giving."
Whereupon Ali bowed his head groundwards awhile, laughing at
himself and secretly saying, "Up to this hour I have not broken
my fast; yet I am ashamed before the merchants to own that I have
no money wherewith to buy her." The damsel, seeing him hang down
his head, said to the broker, "Take my hand and lead me to him,
that I may show my beauty to him and tempt him to buy me; for I
will not be sold to any but to him." So the broker took her hand
and stationed her before Ali Shar, saying, "What is thy good
pleasure, O my lord?" But he made him no answer, and the girl
said to him, "O my lord and darling of my heart, what aileth thee
that thou wilt not bid for me? Buy me for what thou wilt and I
will bring thee good fortune." So he raised his eyes to her and
said, "Is buying perforce? Thou art dear at a thousand dinars."
Said she, "Then buy me, O my lord, for nine hundred." He cried,
"No," and she rejoined, "Then for eight hundred;" and though he
again said, "Nay," she ceased not to abate the price, till she
came to an hundred dinars. Quoth he, "I have not by me a full
hundred." So she laughed and asked, "How much dost thou lack of
an hundred?" He answered, "By Allah, I have neither an hundred
dinars, nor any other sum; for I own neither white coin nor red
cash, neither dinar nor dirham. So look out thou for another and
a better customer." And when she knew that he had nothing, she
said to him, "Take me by the hand and carry me aside into a by-
lane, as if thou wouldst examine me privily." He did so and she
drew from her bosom a purse containing a thousand dinars, which
she gave him, saying, "Pay down nine hundred to my price and let
the hundred remain with thee by way of provision." He did as she
bid him and, buying her for nine hundred dinars, paid down the
price from her own purse and carried her to his house. When she
entered it, she found a dreary desolate saloon without carpets or
vessels; so she gave him other thousand dinars, saying, "Go to
the bazar and buy three hundred dinars' worth of furniture and
vessels for the house and three dinars' worth of meat and
drink."--And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased
saying her permitted say.

When it was the Three Hundred and Twelfth Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King that quoth the
slave-girl, "Bring us meat and drink for three dinars,
furthermore a piece of silk, the size of a curtain, and bring
golden and silvern thread and sewing silk of seven colours." Thus
he did, and she furnished the house and they sat down to eat and
drink; after which they went to bed and took their pleasure one
of the other. And they lay the night embraced behind the curtain
and were even as saith the poet,[FN#280]

"Cleave fast to her thou lovestand let the envious rail amain,
For calumny and envy ne'er to favour love were fain.
Lo, whilst I slept, in dreams I saw thee lying by my side And,
from thy lips the sweetest, sure, of limpid springs did
Yea, true and certain all I saw is, as I will avouch, And 'spite
the envier, thereto I surely will attain.
There is no goodlier sight, indeed, for eyes to look upon, Than
when one couch in its embrace enfoldeth lovers twain.
Each to the other's bosom clasped, clad in their twinned delight,
Whilst hand with hand and arm with arm about their necks
Lo, when two hearts are straitly knit in passion and desire, But
on cold iron smite the folk who chide at them in vain.
Thou, that for loving censurest the votaries of love, Canst thou
assain a heart diseased or heal-a cankered brain?
If in thy time thou kind but one to love thee and be true, I rede
thee cast the world away and with that one remain."

So they lay together till the morning and love for the other
waxed firmly fixed in the heart of each. And on rising, Zumurrud
took the curtain and embroidered it with coloured silks and
purpled it with silver and gold thread and she added thereto a
border depicting round about it all manner of birds and beasts;
nor is there in the world a feral but she wrought his semblance.
This she worked in eight days, till she had made an end of it,
when she trimmed it and glazed and ironed it and gave it to her
lord, saying, "Carry it to the bazar and sell it to one of the
merchants at fifty dinars; but beware lest thou sell it to a
passer-by, as this would cause a separation between me and thee,
for we have foes who are not unthoughtful of us." "I hear and I
obey," answered he and, repairing to the bazar, sold the curtain
to a merchant, as she bade him; after which he bought a piece of
silk for another curtain and gold and silver and silken thread as
before and what they needed of food, and brought all this to her,
giving her the rest of the money. Now every eight days she made a
curtain, which he sold for fifty dinars, and on this wise passed
a whole year. At the end of that time, he went as usual to the
bazar with a curtain, which he gave to the broker; and there came
up to him a Nazarene who bid him sixty dinars for it; but he
refused, and the Christian continued bidding higher and higher,
till he came to an hundred dinars and bribed the broker with ten
ducats. So the man returned to Ali Shar and told him of the
proffered price and urged him to accept the offer and sell the
article at the Nazarene's valuation, saying, "O my lord, be not
afraid of this Christian for that he can do thee no hurt." The
merchants also were urgent with him; so he sold the curtain to
the Christian, albeit his heart misgave him; and, taking the
money, set off to return home. Presently, as he walked, he found
the Christian walking behind him; so he said to him, "O
Nazarene,[FN#281] why dost thou follow in my footsteps?" Answered
the other "O my lord, I want a something at the end of the
street, Allah never bring thee to want!"; but Ali Shar had barely
reached his place before the Christian overtook him; so he said
to him, "O accursed, what aileth thee to follow me wherever I
go?" Replied the other, "O my lord, give me a draught of water,
for I am athirst; and with Allah be thy reward!"[FN#282] Quoth
Ali Shar to himself, "Verily, this man is an Infidel who payeth
tribute and claimeth our protection[FN#283] and he asketh me for
a draught of water; by Allah, I will not baulk him!"--And
Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased to say her
permitted say.

When it was the Three Hundred and Thirteenth Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that quoth Ali
Shar to himself, "This man is a tributary Unbeliever and he asked
me for a draught of water; by Allah, I will not baulk him!" So he
entered the house and took a gugglet of water; but the slave-girl
Zumurrud saw him and said to him, "O my love, hast thou sold the
curtain?" He replied, "Yes;" and she asked, "To a merchant or to
a passer-by? for my heart presageth a parting." And he answered,
"To whom but to a merchant?" Thereupon she rejoined, "Tell me the
truth of the case, that I may order my affair; and why take the
gugglet of water?" And he, To give the broker to drink," upon
which she exclaimed, There is no Majesty and there is no Might
save in Allah, the Glorious, the Great!"; and she repeated these
two couplets,[FN#284]

"O thou who seekest separation, act leisurely, and let not the
embrace of the beloved deceive thee!
Act leisurely; for the nature of fortune is treacherous, and the
end of every union is disjunction.

Then he took the gugglet and, going out, found the Christian
within the vestibule and said to him, "How comest thou here and
how darest thou, O dog, enter my house without my leave?"
Answered he, "O my lord, there is no difference between the door
and the vestibule, and I never intended to stir hence, save to go
out; and my thanks are due to thee for thy kindness and favour,
thy bounty and generosity." Then he took the mug and emptying it,
returned it to Ali Shar, who received it and waited for him to
rise up and to go; but he did not move. So Ali said to him, "Why
dost thou not rise and wend thy way?"; and he answered, "O my
lord, be not of those who do a kindness and then make it a
reproach, nor of those of whom saith the poet,[FN#285]

'They're gone who when thou stoodest at their door * Would for
thy wants so generously cater:
But stand at door of churls who followed them, * They'd make high
favour of a draught of water!'"

And he continued, "O my lord, I have drunk, and now I would have
thee give me to eat of whatever is in the house, though it be but
a bit of bread or a biscuit with an onion." Replied Ali Shar,
"Begone, without more chaffer and chatter; there is nothing in
the house." He persisted, "O my lord, if there be nothing in the
house, take these hundred dinars and bring us something from the
market, if but a single scone, that bread and salt may pass
between us."[FN#286] With this, quoth Ali Shar to himself, "This
Christian is surely mad; I will take his hundred dinars and bring
him somewhat worth a couple of dirhams and laugh at him." And the
Nazarene added, "O my lord, I want but a small matter to stay my
hunger, were it but a dry scone and an onion; for the best food
is that which doeth away appetite, not rich viands; and how well
saith the poet,

'Hunger is sated with a bone-dry scone, * How is it then[FN#287]
in woes of want I wone?
Death is all-justest, lacking aught regard * For Caliph-king and
beggar woe-begone.'"

Then quoth Ali Shar, "Wait here, while I lock the saloon and
fetch thee somewhat from the market;" and quoth the Christian,
"To hear is to obey." So Ali Shar shut up the saloon and, locking
the door with a padlock, put the key in his pocket: after which
he went to market and bought fried cheese and virgin honey and
bananas[FN#288] and bread, with which he returned to the house.
Now when the Christian saw the provision, he said, "O my lord,
this is overmuch; 'tis enough for half a score of men and I am
alone; but belike thou wilt eat with me." Replied Ali, "Eat by
thyself, I am full;" and the Christian rejoined, "O my lord, the
wise say, Whoso eateth not with his guest is a son of a whore."
Now when Ali Shar heard these words from the Nazarene, he sat
down and ate a little with him, after which he would have held
his hand;--And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased to
say her permitted say.

When it was the Three Hundred and Fourteenth Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that Ali Shar
sat down and ate a little with him, after which he would have
held his hand; but the Nazarene privily took a banana and peeled
it; then, splitting it in twain, put into one half concentrated
Bhang, mixed with opium, a drachm whereof would over throw an
elephant; and he dipped it in the honey and gave it to Ali Shar,
saying, "O my lord, by the truth of thy religion, I adjure thee
to take this." So Ali Shar, being ashamed to make him forsworn,
took it and swallowed it; but hardly had it settled well in his
stomach, when his head forwent both his feet and he was as though
he had been a year asleep. As soon as the Nazarene saw this, rose
to his feet as he had been a scald wolf or a cat-o'-mount[FN#289]
at bay and, taking the saloon key, left Ali Shar prostrate and
ran off to rejoin his brother. And the cause of his so doing was
that the Nazarene's brother was the same decrepit old man who
purposed to buy Zumurrud for a thousand dinars, but she would
none of him and jeered him in verse. He was an Unbeliever
inwardly, though a Moslem outwardly, and had called himself
Rashid al-Din;[FN#290] and when Zumurrud mocked him and would not
accept of him, he complained to his brother the aforesaid
Christian who played this sleight to take her from her master Ali
Shar; whereupon his brother, Barsum by name said to him, "Fret
not thyself about the business, for I will make shift to seize
her for thee, without expending either diner or dirham. Now he
was a skilful wizard, crafty and wicked; so he watched his time
and ceased not his practices till he played Ali Shar the trick
before related; then, taking the key, he went to his brother and
acquainted him with what had passed. Thereupon Rashid al-Din
mounted his she mule and repaired with his brother and his
servants to the house of Ali Shar, taking with him a purse of a
thousand dinars, wherewith to bribe the Chief of Police, should
he meet him. He opened the saloon door and the men who were with
him rushed in upon Zumurrud and forcibly seized her, threatening
her with death, if she spoke, but they left the place as it was
and took nothing therefrom. Lastly they left Ali Shar lying in
the vestibule after they had shut the door on him and laid the
saloon key by his side. Then the Christian carried the girl to
his own house and setting her amongst his handmaids and
concubines, said to her, "O strumpet, I am the old man whom thou
didst reject and lampoon; but now I have thee, without paying
diner or dirham." Replied she (and her eyes streamed with tears),
"Allah requite thee, O wicked old man, for sundering me and my
lord!" He rejoined, "Wanton minx and whore that thou art, thou
shalt see how I will punish thee! By the truth of the Messiah and
the Virgin, except thou obey me and embrace my faith, I will
torture thee with all manner of torture!" She replied, "By Allah,
though thou cut my flesh to bits I will not forswear the faith of
Al-Islam! It may be Almighty Allah will bring me speedy relief,
for He cloth even as He is fief, and the wise say: 'Better body
to scathe than a flaw in faith.'" Thereupon the old man called
his eunuchs and women, saying, "Throw her down!" So they threw
her down and he ceased not to beat her with grievous beating,
whilst she cried for help and no help came; then she no longer
implored aid but fell to saying, "Allah is my sufficiency, and He
is indeed all-sufficient!" till her groans ceased and her breath
failed her and she fell into a fainting-fit. Now when his heart
was soothed by bashing her, he said to the eunuchs, "Drag her
forth by the feet and cast her down in the kitchen, and give her
nothing to eat." And after quietly sleeping that night, on the
morrow the accursed old man sent for her and beat her again,
after which he bade the Castrato return her to her place. When
the burning of the blows had cooled, she said, "There is no god
but the God and Mohammed is the Apostle of God! Allah is my
sufficiency and excellent is my Guardian!" And she called for
succour upon our Lord Mohammed (whom Allah bless and keep!)--And
Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased saying her
permitted say.

When it was the Three Hundred and Fifteenth Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that Zumurrud
called for succour upon our Lord Mohammed (whom Allah bless and
keep!). Such was her case; but as regards Ali Shar, he ceased not
sleeping till next day, when the Bhang quitted his brain and he
opened his eyes and cried out, "O Zumurrud"; but no one answered
him. So he entered the saloon and found the empty air and the
fane afar;[FN#291] whereby he knew that it was the Nazarene who
had played him this trick. And he groaned and wept and lamented
and again shed tears, repeating these couplets,

"O Love thou'rt instant in thy cruellest guise; * Here is my
heart 'twixt fears and miseries:
Pity, O lords, a thrall who, felled on way * Of Love, erst
wealthy now a beggar lies:
What profits archer's art if, when the foe * Draw near, his
bowstring snap ere arrow {lies:
And when griefs multiply on generous man * And urge, what fort
can fend from destinies?
How much and much I warded parting, but * 'When Destiny descends
she blinds our eyes?'"

And when he had ended his verse, he sobbed with loud sobs and
repeated also these couplets,

"Enrobes with honour sands of camp her foot step wandering lone,
* Pines the poor mourner as she wins the stead where wont to
She turns to resting-place of tribe, and yearns thereon to view *
The spring-camp lying desolate with ruins overstrown
She stands and questions of the site, but with the tongue of case
* The mount replies, 'There is no path that leads to union,
'Tis as the lightning flash erewhile bright glittered o'er the
camp * And died in darkling air no more to be for ever

And he repented when repentance availed him naught, and wept and
rent his raiment. Then he hent in hand two stones and went round
about the city, beating his breast with the stones and crying "O
Zumurrud!" whilst the small boys flocked round him, calling out,
"A madman! A madman!" and all who knew him wept for him, saying,
"This is such an one: what evil hath befallen him?" Thus he
continued doing all that day and, when night darkened on him, he
lay down in one of the city lanes and sleet till morning On the
morrow, he went round about town with the stones till eventide,
when he returned to his saloon to pass therein the night.
Presently, one of his neighbours saw him, and this worthy old
woman said to him, "O my son, Heaven give thee healing! How long
hast thou been mad?" And he answered her with these two

"They said, Thou revest upon the person thou lovest. * And I
replied, The sweets of life are only for the mad.
Drop the subject of my madness, and bring her upon whom I rave *
If she cure my madness do not blame me."

So his old neighbour knew him for a lover who had lost his
beloved and said, "There is no Majesty and there is no Might,
save in Allah, the Glorious, the Great! O my son, I wish thou
wouldest acquaint me with the tale of thine affliction.
Peradventure Allah may enable me to help thee against it, if it
so please Him." So he told her all that had befallen him with
Barsum the Nazarene and his brother the wizard who had named
himself Rashid al-Din and, when she understood the whole case,
she said, "O my son, indeed thou hast excuse." And her eyes
railed tears and she repeated these two couplets,

"Enough for lovers in this world their ban and bane: * By Allah,
lover ne'er in fire of Sakar fries:
For, sure, they died of love-desire they never told * Chastely,
and to this truth tradition testifies."[FN#293]

And after she had finished her verse, she said, "O my son, rise
at once and buy me a crate, such as the jewel-pedlars carry; buy
also bangles and seal-rings and bracelets and ear-rings and other
gewgaws wherein women delight and grudge not the cash. Put all
the stock into the crate and bring it to me and I will set it on
my head and go round about, in the guise of a huckstress and make
search for her in all the houses, till I happen on news of her--
Inshallah!" So Ali Shar rejoiced in her words and kissed her
hands, then, going out, speedily brought her all she required;
whereupon she rose and donned a patched gown and threw over her
head a honey-yellow veil, and took staff in hand and, with the
basket on her head, began wandering about the passages and the
houses. She ceased not to go from house to house and street to
street and quarter to quarter, till Allah Almighty led her to the
house of the accursed Rashid al-Din the Nazarene where, hearing
groans within, she knocked at the door,--And Shahrazad perceived
the dawn of day and ceased to say her permitted say.

When it was the Three Hundred and Sixteenth Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when the
old woman heard groans within the house, she knocked at the door,
whereupon a slave-girl came down and opening to her, saluted her.
Quoth the old woman, "I have these trifles for sale: is there any
one with you who will buy aught of them?" "Yes," answered the
damsel and, carrying her indoors, made her sit down; whereupon
all the slave-girls came round her and each bought something of
her. And as the old woman spoke them fair and was easy with them
as to price, all rejoiced in her, because of her kind ways and
pleasant speech. Meanwhile, she looked narrowly at the ins and
outs of the place to see who it was she had heard groaning, till
her glance fell on Zumurrud, when she knew her and she began to
show her customers yet more kindness. At last she made sure that
Zumurrud was laid prostrate; so she wept and said to the girls,
"O my children, how cometh yonder young lady in this plight?"
Then the slave-girls told her all what had passed, adding,
"Indeed this matter is not of our choice; but our master
commanded us to do thus, and he is now on a journey." She said,
"O my children, I have a favour to ask of you, and it is that you
loose this unhappy damsel of her bonds, till you know of your
lord's return, when do ye bind her again as she was; and you
shall earn a reward from the Lord of all creatures." "We hear and
obey," answered they and at once loosing Zumurrud, gave her to
eat and drink. Thereupon quoth the old woman, "Would my leg had
been broken, ere I entered your house!" And she went up to
Zumurrud and said to her, "O my daughter, Heaven keep thee safe;
soon shall Allah bring thee relief." Then she privily told her
that she came from her lord, Ali Shar, and agreed with her to be
on the watch for sounds that night, saying, "Thy lord will come
and stand by the pavilion-bench and whistle[FN#294] to thee; and
when thou hearest him, do thou whistle back to him and let
thyself down to him by a rope from the window, and he will take
thee and go away with thee." So Zumurrud thanked the old woman,
who went forth and returned to Ali Shar and told him what she had
done, saying, "Go this night, at midnight, to such a quarter, for
the accursed carle's house is there and its fashion is thus and
thus. Stand under the window of the upper chamber and whistle;
whereupon she will let herself down to thee; then do thou take
her and carry her whither thou wilt." He thanked her for her good
offices and with flowing tears repeated these couplets,

"Now with their says and saids[FN#295] no more vex me the chiding
race; * My heart is weary and I'm worn to bone by their
And tears a truthful legend[FN#296] with a long ascription-chain
* Of my desertion and distress the lineage can trace.
O thou heart-whole and free from dole and dolours I endure, * Cut
short thy long persistency nor question of my case:
A sweet-lipped one and soft of sides and cast in shapeliest mould
* Hath stormed my heart with honied lure and honied words of
No rest my heart hath known since thou art gone, nor ever close *
These eyes, nor patience aloe scape the hopes I dare to
Ye have abandoned me to be the pawn of vain desire, * In squalid
state 'twixt enviers and they who blame to face:
As for forgetting you or love 'tis thing I never knew; * Nor in
my thought shall ever pass a living thing but you."

And when he ended his verses, he sighed and shed tears and
repeated also these couplets,

"Divinely were inspired his words who brought me news of you; *
For brought he unto me a gift was music in mine ear:
Take he for gift, if him content, this worn-out threadbare robe,
* My heart, which was in pieces torn when parting from my

He waited till night darkened and, when came the appointed time,
he went to the quarter she had described to him and saw and
recognised the Christian's house; so he sat down on the bench
under the gallery. Presently drowsiness overcame him and he slept
(Glory be to Him who sleepeth not!?, for it was long since he had
tasted sleep, by reason of the violence of his passion, and he
became as one drunken with slumber. And while he was on this
wise,--And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased saying
her permitted say.

When it was the Three Hundred and Seventeenth Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that while he
lay asleep, behold, a certain thief, who had come out that night
and prowled about the skirts of the city to steal-somewhat,
happened by the decree of Destiny, on the Nazarene's house. He
went round about it, but found no way of climbing up into it, and
presently on his circuit he came to the bench, where he saw Ali
Shar asleep and stole his turband; and, as he was taking it
suddenly Zumurrud looked out and seeing the thief standing in the
darkness, took him for her lord; whereupon she let herself down
to him by the rope with a pair of saddle-bags full of gold. Now
when the robber saw that, he said to himself, "This is a wondrous
thing, and there must needs be some marvellous cause to it." Then
he snatched up the saddle-bags, and threw Zumurrud over his
shoulders and made off with both like the blinding lightening.
Quoth she, "Verily, the old woman told me that thou west weak
with illness on my account; and here thou art, stronger than a
horse." He made her no reply; so she put her hand to his face and
felt a beard like the broom of palm-frond used for the
Hammam,[FN#297] as if he were a hog which had swallowed feathers
and they had come out of his gullet; whereat she took fright and
said to him, "What art thou?" "O strumpet," answered he, "I am
the sharper Jawán[FN#298] the Kurd, of the band of Ahmad
al-Danaf; we are forty sharpers, who will all piss our tallow
into thy womb this night, from dusk to dawn." When she heard his
words, she wept and beat her face, knowing that Fate had gotten
the better of her and that she had no resource but resignation
and to put her trust in Allah Almighty. So she took patience and
submitted herself to the ordinance of the Lord, saying, "There is
no god but the God! As often as we escape from one woe, we fall
into a worse." Now the cause of Jawan's coming thither was this:
he had said to Calamity-Ahmad, "O Sharper-captain,[FN#299] I have
been in this city before and know a cavern without the walls
which will hold forty souls; so I will go before you thither and
set my mother therein. Then will I return to the city and
steal-somewhat for the luck of all of you and keep it till you
come; so shall you be my guests and I will show you hospitality
this day." Replied Ahmad al-Danaf, "Do what thou wilt." So Jawan
went forth to the place before them and set his mother in the
cave; but, as he came out he found a trooper lying asleep, with
his horse picketed beside him; so he cut his throat and, taking
his clothes and his charger and his arms, hid them with his
mother in the cave, where also he tethered the horse. Then he
betook himself to the city and prowled about, till he happened on
the Christian's house and did with Ali Shar's turband and
Zumurrud and her saddle-bags as we have said. He ceased not to
run, with Zumurrud on his back, till he came to the cavern, where
he gave her in charge of his mother, saying, "Keep thou watch
over her till I return to thee at first dawn of day," and went
his ways.--And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased to
say her permitted say.

When it was the Three Hundred and Eighteenth Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that quoth
Kurdish Jawan to his mother, "Keep thou watch over her till I
come back to thee at first dawn of day," and went his ways. Now
Zumurrud said to herself, "Why am I so heedless about saving my
life and wherefore await till these forty men come?: they will
take their turns to board me, till they make me like a water-
logged ship at sea." Then she turned to the old woman, Jawan's
mother, and said to her, "O my aunt, wilt thou not rise up and
come without the cave, that I may louse thee in the sun?"[FN#300]
Replied the old woman, "Ay, by Allah, O my daughter: this long
time have I been out of reach of the bath; for these hogs cease
not to carry me from place to place." So they went without the
cavern, and Zumurrud combed out her head hair and killed the lice
on her locks, till the tickling soothed her and she fell asleep;
whereupon Zumurrud arose and, donning the clothes of the murdered
trooper, girt her waist with his sword and covered her head with
his turband, so that she became as she were a man. Then, mounting
the horse after she had taken the saddle-bags full of gold, she
breathed a prayer, "O good Protector, protect me I adjure thee by
the glory of Mohammed (whom Allah bless and preserve!)," adding
these words in thought, "If I return to the city belike one of
the trooper's folk will see me, and no good will befal me." So
she turned her back on the town and rode forth into the wild and
the waste. And she ceased not faring forth with her saddle-bags
and the steed, eating of the growth of the earth and drinking of
its waters, she and her horse, for ten days and, on the eleventh,
she came in sight of a city pleasant and secure from dread, and
established in happy stead. Winter had gone from it with his cold
showers, and Prime had come to it with his roses and orange-
blossoms and varied flowers; and its blooms were brightly
blowing; its streams were merrily flowing and its birds warbled
coming and going. And she drew near the dwellings and would have
entered the gate when she saw the troops and Emirs and Grandees
of the place drawn up, whereat she marvelled seeing them in such
unusual-case and said to herself, "The people of the city are all
gathered at its gate: needs must there be a reason for this."
Then she made towards them; but, as she drew near, the soldiery
dashed forward to meet her and, dismounting all, kissed the
ground between her hands and said, "Aid thee Allah, O our lord
the Sultan!" Then the notables and dignitaries ranged themselves
before her in double line, whilst the troops ordered the people
in, saying, "Allah aid thee and make thy coming a blessing to the
Moslems, O Sultan of all creatures! Allah establish thee, O King
of the time and union-pearl of the day and the tide!" Asked
Zumurrud, "What aileth you, O people of this city?" And the Head
Chamberlain answered, "Verily, He hath given to thee who is no
niggard in His giving; and He hath been bountiful to thee and
hath made thee Sultan of this city and ruler over the necks of
all who are therein; for know thou it is the custom of the
citizens, when their King deceaseth leaving no son, that the
troops should sally forth to the suburbs and sojourn there three
days: and whoever cometh from the quarter whence thou hast come,
him they make King over them. So praised be Allah who hath sent
us of the sons of the Turks a well-favoured man; for had a lesser
than thou presented himself, he had been Sultan." Now Zumurrud
was clever and well-advised in all she did: so she said, "Think
not that I am of the common folk of the Turks! nay, I am of the
sons of the great, a man of condition; but I was wroth with my
family, so I went forth and left them. See these saddle-bags full
of gold which I have brought under me that, by the way, I might
give alms thereof to the poor and the needy." So they called down
blessings upon her and rejoiced in her with exceeding joy and she
also joyed in them and said in herself, "Now that I have attained
to this"--And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased
saying her permitted say.

When it was the Three Hundred and Nineteenth Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that quoth
Zumurrud to herself, "Now that I have attained to this case,
haply Allah will reunite me with my lord in this place, for He
can do whatso He willeth." Then the troops escorted her to the
city and, all dismounting, walked before her to the palace. Here
she alighted and the Emirs and Grandees, taking her under both
armpits,[FN#301] carried her into the palace and seated her on
the throne; after which they all kissed ground before her. And
when duly enthroned she bade them open the treasuries and gave
largesse to all the troops, who offered up prayers for the
continuance of her reign, and all the townsfolk accepted her rule
and all the lieges of the realm. Thus she abode awhile bidding
and forbidding, and all the people came to hold her in exceeding
reverence and heartily to love her, by reason of her continence
and generosity; for taxes she remitted and prisoners she released
and grievances she redressed; but, as often as she bethought her
of her lord, she wept and besought Allah to reunite her and him;
and one night, as she chanced to be thinking of him and calling
to mind the days she had passed with him, her eyes ran over with
tears and she versified in these two couplets,

"My yearning for thee though long is fresh, * And the tears which
chafe these eyelids increase
When I weep, I weep from the burn of love, * For to lover
severance is decease."[FN#302]

And when she had ended her verse, she wiped away her tears and
repairing to the palace, betook herself to the Harim, where she
appointed to the slave-girls and concubines separate lodgings and
assigned them pensions and allowances, giving out that she was
minded to live apart and devote herself to works of piety. So she
applied herself to fasting and praying, till the Emirs said,
"Verily this Sultan is eminently devout;" nor would she suffer
any male attendants about her, save two little eunuchs to serve
her. And on this wise she held the throne a whole year, during
which time she heard no news of her lord, and failed to hit upon
his traces, which was exceeding grievous to her; so, when her
distress became excessive, she summoned her Wazirs and
Chamberlains and bid them fetch architects and builders and make
her in front of the palace a horse-course, one parasang long and
the like broad. They hastened to do her bidding, and lay out the
place to her liking; and, when it was completed, she went down
into it and they pitched her there a great pavilion, wherein the
chairs of the Emirs were ranged in due order. Moreover, she bade
them spread on the racing-plain tables with all manners of rich
meats and when this was done she ordered the Grandees to eat. So
they ate and she said to them, "It is my will that, on seeing the
new moon of each month, ye do on this wise and proclaim in the
city that no man shall open his shop, but that all our lieges
shall come and eat of the King's banquet, and that whoso
disobeyeth shall be hanged over his own door."[FN#303] So they
did as she bade them, and ceased not so to do till the first new
moon of the second year appeared; when Zumurrud went down into
the horse-course and the crier proclaimed aloud, saying, "Ho, ye
lieges and people one and all, whoso openeth store or shop or
house shall straight way be hanged over his own door; for it
behoveth you to come in a body and eat of the King's banquet."
And when the proclamation became known, they laid the tables and
the subjects came in hosts; so she bade them sit down at the
trays and eat their fill of all the dishes. Accordingly they sat
down and she took place on her chair of state, watching them,
whilst each who was at meat said to himself, "Verily the King
looketh at none save me." Then they fell to eating and the Emirs
said to them, "Eat and be not ashamed; for this pleaseth the
King." So they ate their fill and went away, blessing the
Sovereign and saying, one to the other, "Never in our days saw we
a Sultan who loved the poor as doth this Sultan." And they wished
him length of life. Upon this Zumurrud returned to her palace,--
And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased to say her
permitted say.

When it was the Three Hundred and Twentieth Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that Queen
Zumurrud returned to her palace, rejoicing in her device and
saying to herself, "Inshallah, I shall surely by this means
happen on news of my lord Ali Shar." When the first day of the
second month came round, she did as before and when they had
spread the tables she came down from her palace and took place on
her throne and commanded the lieges to sit down and fall to. Now
as she sat on her throne, at the head of the tables, watching the
people take their places company by company and one by one,
behold her eye fell on Barsum, the Nazarene who had bought the
curtain of her lord; and she knew him and said in her mind, "This
is the first of my joy and the winning of my wish." Then Barsum
came up to the table and, sitting down with the rest to eat,
espied a dish of sweet rice, sprinkled with sugar; but it was far
from him, so he pushed up to it through the crowd and, putting
out his hand to it, seized it and set it before himself. His next
neighbour said to him, "Why dost thou not eat of what is before
thee? Is not this a disgrace to thee? How canst thou reach over
for a dish which is distant from thee? Art thou not ashamed?"
Quoth Barsum, "I will eat of none save this same." Rejoined the
other, "Eat then, and Allah give thee no good of it!" But another
man, a Hashish-eater, said, "Let him eat of it, that I may eat
with him." Replied his neighbour, "O unluckiest of Hashish-
eaters, this is no meat for thee; it is eating for Emirs. Let it
be, that it may return to those for whom it is meant and they eat
it." But Barsum heeded him not and took a mouthful of the rice
and put it in his mouth; and was about to take a second mouthful
when the Queen, who was watching him, cried out to certain of her
guards, saying, "Bring me yonder man with the dish of Sweet rice
before him and let him not eat the mouthful he hath read but
throw it from his hand."[FN#304] So four of the guards went up to
Barsum and haled him along on his face, after throwing the
mouthful of rice from his hand, and set him standing before
Zumurrud, whilst all the people left eating and said to one
another, By Allah, he did wrong in not eating of the food meant
for the likes of him." Quoth one, "For me I was content with this
porridge[FN#305] which is before me." And the Hashish-eater said,
"Praised be Allah who hindered me from eating of the dish of
sugared rice for I expected it to stand before him and was
waiting only for him to have his enjoyment of it, to eat with
him, when there befel him what we see." And the general said, one
to other, "Wait till we see what shall befal him." Now as they
brought him before Queen Zumurrud she cried, "Woe to thee, O blue
eyes! What is thy name and why comest thou to our country?" But
the accursed called himself out of his name having a white
turband[FN#306] on, and answered, "O King, my name is Ali; I work
as a weaver and I came hither to trade." Quoth Zumurrud, "Bring
me a table of sand and a pen of brass," and when they brought her
what she sought, she took the sand and the pen, and struck a
geomantic figure in the likeness of a baboon; then, raising her
head, she looked hard at Barsum for an hour or so and said to
him, "O dog, how darest thou lie to Kings? Art thou not a
Nazarene, Barsum by name, and comest thou not hither in quest of
somewhat? Speak the truth, or by the glory of the Godhead, I will
strike off thy head!" At this Barsum was confounded and the Emirs
and bystanders said, "Verily, this King understandeth geomancy:
blessed be He who hath gifted him!" Then she cried out upon the
Christian and said, 'Tell me the truth, or I will make an end of
thee!" Barsum replied, "Pardon, O King of the age; thou art right
as regards the table, for the far one[FN#307] is indeed a
Nazarene,--And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased
saying her permitted say.

When it was the Three Hundred and Twenty-first Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that Barsum
replied, "Pardon, O King of the age; thou art right as regards
the table, for thy slave is indeed a Nazarene." Whereupon all
present, gentle and simple, wondered at the King's skill in
hitting upon the truth by geomancy, and said, "Verily this King
is a diviner, whose like there is not in the world." Thereupon
Queen Zumurrud bade flay the Nazarene and stuff his skin with
straw and hang it over the gate of the race-course. Moreover, she
commended to dig a pit without the city and burn therein his
flesh and bones and throw over his ashes offal and ordure. "We
hear and obey," answered they, and did with him all she bade;
and, when the folk saw what had befallen the Christian, they
said, "Serve him right; but what an unlucky mouthful was that for
him!" And another said, "Be the far one's wife divorced if this
vow be broken: never again to the end of my days will I eat of
sugared rice!"; and the Hashish-eater cried "Praised be Allah,
who spared me this fellow's fate by saving me from eating of that
same rice!" Then they all went out, holding it thenceforth
unlawful to sit over against the dish of sweet rice as the
Nazarene had sat. Now when the first day of the third month came,
they laid the tables according to custom, and covered them with
dishes and chargers, and Queen Zumurrud came down and sat on her
throne, with her guards in attendance, as of wont, in awe of her
dignity and majesty. Then the townsfolk entered as before and
went round about the tables, looking for the place of the dish of
sweet rice, and quoth one to another, "Hark ye, O Hájí[FN#308]
Khalaf!"; and the other answered, "At thy service, O Hájí
Khálid." Said Khálid, "Avoid the dish of sweet rice and look thou
eat not thereof; for, if thou do, by early morning thou will be
hanged."[FN#309] Then they sat down to meat around the table;
and, as they were eating, Queen Zumurrud chanced to look from her
throne and saw a man come running in through the gate of the
horse-course; and having considered him attentively, she knew him
for Jawan the Kurdish thief who murdered the trooper. Now the
cause of his coming was this: when he left his mother, he went to
his comrades and said to them, "I did good business yesterday;
for I slew a trooper and took his horse. Moreover there fell to
me last night a pair of saddle-bags, full of gold, and a young
lady worth more than the money in pouch; and I have left all that
with my mother in the cave." At this they rejoiced and repaired
to the cavern at night-fall, whilst Jawan the Kurd walked in
front and the rest behind; he wishing to bring them the booty of
which he had boasted. But he found the place clean empty and
questioned his mother, who told him all that had befallen her;
whereupon he bit his hands for regret and exclaimed, "By Allah, I
will assuredly make search for the harlot and take her, wherever
she is, though it be in the shell of a pistachio-nut,[FN#310] and
quench my malice on her!" So he went forth in quest of her and
ceased not journeying from place to place, till he came to Queen
Zumurrud's city. On entering he found the town deserted and,
enquiring of some women whom he saw looking from the windows,
they told him that it was the Sultan's custom to make a banquet
for the people on the first of each month and that all the lieges
were bound to go and eat of it. Furthermore the women directed
him to the racing-ground, where the feast was spread. So he
entered at a shuffling trot; and, finding no place empty, save
that before the dish of sweet rice already noticed, took his seat
right opposite it and stretched out his hand towards the dish;
whereupon the folk cried out to him, saying, "O our brother, what
wouldst thou do?" Quoth he, "I would eat my fill of this dish."
Rejoined one of the people, "If thou eat of it thou wilt
assuredly find thyself hanged to-morrow morning." But Jawan said,
"Hold thy tongue and talk not so unpleasantly." Then he stretched
out his hand to the dish and drew it to him; but it so chanced
that the Hashish-eater of whom we have spoken, was sitting by
him; and when he saw him take the dish, the fumes of the Hashish
left his head and he fled from his place and sat down afar off,
saying, "I will have nothing to do with yonder dish." Then Jawan
the Kurd put out his hand (which was very like a raven's
claws,[FN#311] scooped up therewith half the dishful and drew out
his neave as it were a camel's hoof,--And Shahrazad perceived the
dawn of day and ceased to say her permitted say.

When it was the Three Hundred and Twenty-second Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that Jawan the
Kurd drew his neave from the dish as it were a camel's hoof and
rolled the lump of rice in the palm of his hand, till it was like
a big orange, and threw it ravenously into his mouth; and it
rolled down his gullet, with a rumble like thunder and the bottom
of the deep dish appeared where said mouthful had been. Thereupon
quoth to him one sitting by his side, "Praised be Allah for not
making me meat between thy hands; for thou hast cleared the dish
at a single mouthful;" and quoth the Hashish-eater, "Let him eat;
methinks he hath a hanging face." Then, turning to Jawan he
added, "Eat and Allah give thee small good of it." So Jawan put
out his hand again and taking another mouthful, was rolling it in
his palm like the first, when behold, the Queen cried out to the
guards saying, "Bring me yonder man in haste and let him not eat
the mouthful in his hand." So they ran and seizing him as he hung
over the dish, brought him to her, and set him in her presence,
whilst the people exulted over his mishap and said one to the
other, "Serve him right, for we warned him, but he would not take
warning. Verily, this place is bound to be the death of whoso
sitteth therein, and yonder rice bringeth doom to all who eat of
it." Then said Queen Zumurrud to Jawan, "What is thy name and
trade and wherefore comest thou to our city?" Answered he, "O our
lord the Sultan, my name is Othman; I work as a gardener and am
come hither in quest of somewhat I have lost." Quoth Zumurrud,
"Here with a table of sand!" So they brought it, and she took the
pen and drawing a geomantic scheme, considered it awhile, then
raising her head, exclaimed, "Woe to thee, thou loser! How darest
thou lie to Kings? This sand telleth me that of a truth thy name
is Jawan the Kurd and that thou art by trade a robber, taking
men's goods in the way of unright and slaying those whom Allah
hath forbidden to slay save for just cause." And she cried out
upon him, saying, "O hog, tell me the truth of thy case or I will
cut off thy head on the spot." Now when he heard these words, he
turned yellow and his teeth chattered; then, deeming that he
might save himself by truth-telling, he replied, "O King, thou
sayest sooth; but I repent at thy hands henceforth and turn to
Allah Almighty!" She answered, "It were not lawful for me to
leave a pest in the way of Moslems;" and cried to her guards,
"Take him and skin him and do with him as last month ye did by
his like." They obeyed her commandment; and, when the Hashish-
eater saw the soldiers seize the man, he turned his back upon the
dish of rice, saying, "'Tis a sin to present my face to thee!"
And after they had made an end of eating, they dispersed to their
several homes and Zumurrud returned to her palace and dismissed
her attendants. Now when the fourth month came round, they went
to the race-course and made the banquet, according to custom, and
the folk sat awaiting leave to begin. Presently Queen Zumurrud
entered and, sitting down on her throne, looked at the tables and
saw that room for four people was left void before the dish of
rice, at which she wondered. Now as she was looking around,
behold, she saw a man come trotting in at the gate of the horse-
course; and he stayed not till he stood over the food-trays; and,
finding no room save before the dish of rice, took his seat
there. She looked at him and knowing him for the accursed
Christian who called himself Rashid al-Din, said in her mind,
"How blessed is this device of the food,[FN#312] into whose toils
this infidel hath fallen" Now the cause of his coming was
extraordinary, and it was on this wise. When he returned from his
travels,--And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased
saying her permitted say.

When it was the Three Hundred and Twenty-third Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when the
accursed, who had called himself Rashid al-Din, returned from
travel, his household informed him that Zumurrud was missing and
with her a pair of saddle-bags full of money; on hearing which
ill tidings he rent his raiment and buffeted his face and plucked
out his beard. Then he despatched his brother Barsum in quest of
her to lands adjoining and, when he was weary of awaiting news of
him, he went forth himself, to seek for him and for the girl,
whenas fate led him to the city of Zumurrud. He entered it on the
first day of the month and finding the streets deserted and the
shops shut and women idling at the windows, he asked them the
reason why, and they told him that the King made a banquet on the
first of each month for the people, all of whom were bound to
attend it, nor might any abide in his house or shop that day; and
they directed him to the racing-plain. So he betook himself
thither and found the people crowding about the food, and there
was never a place for him save in front of the rice-dish now
well-known. Here then he sat and put forth his hand to eat
thereof, whereupon Zumurrud cried out to her guards, saying,
"Bring me him who sitteth over against the dish of rice." So they
knew him by what had before happened and laid hands on him and
brought him before Queen Zumurrud, who said to him, "Out on thee!
What is thy name and trade, and what bringeth thee to our city?"
Answered he, "O King of the age, my name is Rustam[FN#313] and I


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