"'Cleave to fair Patience! Patience 'gendereth weal': * Such is the rede to us all sages deal: How oft I plained the lowe of grief and love * Mid passions cast my soul in sore unheal. How oft I waked and drained the bitter cup * And watched the stars, nor sleep mine eyes would seal! Enough it were an deal you grace to me * In writ a-morn and garred no hope to feel. But Thoughts which probed its depths would sear my heart * And start from eye-brows streams that ever steal: Nor cease I suffering baleful doom and nights * Wakeful, and heart by sorrows rent piece-meal: But Allah purged my soul from love of you * When all knew secrets cared I not reveal. I march to-morrow from your country and * Haply you'll speed me nor fear aught unweal; And, when in person you be far from us, * Would heaven we knew who shall your news reveal. Who kens if home will e'er us two contain * In dearest life with union naught can stain!"
When Marjanah had made an end of her song, the Prince said to her, "Brava, O damsel! Indeed, thou sayest a thing which had occurred to my mind and my tongue was near to speaking it." Then he signed to the fourth damsel, who was a Cairene, by name Sitt al-Husn, and bade her tune her lute and sing to him upon the same theme. So the Lady of Beauty tuned her lute and sang these couplets,
"Patience is blest for weal comes after woe * And all things stated time and ordinance show; Haps the Sultan, hight Fortune, prove unjust * Shifting the times, and man excuse shall know: Bitter ensueth sweet in law of change * And after crookedness things straightest grow. Then guard thine honour, nor to any save * The noble knowledge of the hid bestow: These be vicissitudes the Lord commands * Poor men endure, the sinner and the low."
When Al-Abbas heard her make an end of her verses, they pleased him and he said to her, "Brava, O Sitt al-Husn! Indeed, thou hast done away with anxiety from my heart and hast banished the things which had occurred to my thought." Then he sighed and signing to the fifth damsel, who was from the land of the Persians and whose name was Marziyah (now she was the fairest of them all and the sweetest of speech and she was like unto a lustrous star, a model of beauty and loveliness and perfection and brightness and justness of shape and symmetric grace and had a face like the new moon and eyes as they were gazelle's eyes) and said to her, "O Marziyah, come forward and tune thy lute and sing to us on the same theme, for indeed we are resolved upon faring to the land of Al-Yaman." Now this maiden had met many of the monarchs and had foregathered with the great; so she tuned her lute and sang these couplets,
"Friend of my heart why leave thou lone and desolate these eyne? * Fair union of our lots ne'er failed this sitting-stead of mine! And ah! who dwellest singly in the heart and sprite of me, * (Be I thy ransom!) desolate for loss of friend I pine! By Allah! O thou richest form in charms and loveliness, * Give alms to lover who can show of patience ne'er a sign! Alms of what past between us tway (which ne'er will I divulge) * Of privacy between us tway that man shall ne'er divine: Grant me approval of my lord whereby t' o'erwhelm the foe * And let my straitness pass away and doubtful thoughts malign: Approof of thee (an gained the meed) for me high rank shall gain * And show me robed in richest weed to eyes of envy fain."
When she had ended her song, all who were in the assembly wept for the daintiness of her delivery and the sweetness of her speech and Al-Abbas said to her, "Brava, O Marziyah! Indeed, thou bewilderest the wits with the beauty of thy verse and the polish of thy speech."[FN#412] All this while Shafikah abode gazing about her, and when she beheld the slave-girls of Al-Abbas and considered the charms of their clothing and the subtlety of their senses and the delicacy of their delivery her reason flew from her head. Then she sought leave of Al-Abbas and returning to her mistress Mariyah, sans letter or reply, acquainted her with what she had espied of the damsels and described to her the condition wherein he was of honour and delight, majesty, venerance and loftiness of rank. Lastly, she enlarged upon what she had seen of the slave-girls and their case and that which they had said and how they had incited Al-Abbas anent returning to his own country by the recitation of songs to the sound of the strings. When the Princess heard this her slave-girl's report, she wept and wailed and was like to leave the world. Then she took to her pillow and said, "O Shafikah, I will inform thee of a something which is not hidden from Allah the Most High, and 'tis that thou watch over me till the Almighty decree the accomplishment of His destiny, and when my days are ended, take thou the necklace and the mantle with which Al-Abbas gifted me and return them to him. I deem not he will survive me, and if the Lord of All-might determine against him and his days come to an end, do thou give one charge to shroud us and entomb us both in one tomb." Then her case changed and her colour waxed wan; and when Shafikah saw her mistress in this plight, she repaired to her mother and told her that the lady Mariyah refused meat and drink. Asked the Queen, "Since when hath this befallen her?" and Shafikah answered, "Since yesterday's date;" whereat the mother was confounded and betaking herself to her daughter, that she might inquire into her case, lo and behold! found her as one dying. So she sat down at her head and Mariyah opened her eyes and seeing her mother sitting by her, sat up for shame before her. The Queen questioned her of her case and she said, "I entered the Hammam and it stupefied me and prostrated me and left in my head an exceeding pain; but I trust in Allah Al-mighty that it will cease." When her mother went out from her, Mariyah took to chiding the damsel for that which she had done and said to her, "Verily, death were dearer to me than this; so discover thou not my affair to any and I charge thee return not to the like of this fashion." Then she fainted and lay swooning for a whole hour, and when she came to herself, she saw Shafikah weeping over her; whereupon she pluckt the necklace from her neck and the mantle from her body and said to the damsel, "Lay them in a damask napkin and bear them to Al-Abbas and acquaint him with that wherein I am for the stress of severance and the strain of forbiddance." So Shafikah took them and carried them to Al-Abbas, whom she found in readiness to depart, being about to take horse for Al-Yaman. She went in to him and gave him the napkin and that which was therein, and when he opened it and saw what it contained, namely, the mantle and the necklace, his chagrin was excessive and his eyes turned in his head[FN#413] and his rage shot out of them. When Shafikah saw that which betided him, she came forward and said to him, "O bountiful lord, verily my mistress returneth not the mantle and the necklace for despite; but she is about to quit the world and thou hast the best right to them." Asked he, "And what is the cause of this?" and Shafikah answered, "Thou knowest. By Allah, never among the Arabs nor the Ajams nor among the sons of the kings saw I a harder of heart than thou! Can it be a slight matter to thee that thou troublest Mariyah's life and causest her to mourn for herself and quit the world for the sake of thy youth?[FN#414] Thou wast the cause of her acquaintance with thee and now she departeth this life on thine account, she whose like Allah Almighty hath not created among the daughters of the kings." When Al-Abbas heard from the damsel these words, his heart burned for Mariyah and her case was not light to him, so he said to Shafikah, "Canst thou bring me in company with her; so haply I may discover her concern and allay whatso aileth her?" Said she, "Yes, I can do that, and thine will be the bounty and the favour." So he arose and followed her, and she preceded him, till they came to the palace. Then she opened and locked behind them four-and-twenty doors and made them fast with padlocks; and when he came to Mariyah, he found her as she were the downing sun, strown upon a Taif rug of perfumed leather,[FN#415] surrounded by cushions stuffed with ostrich down, and not a limb of her quivered. When her maid saw her in this state, she offered to cry out; but Al-Abbas said to her, "Do it not, but have patience till we discover her affair; and if Allah (be He extolled and exalted!) have decreed her death, wait till thou have opened the doors to me and I have gone forth. Then do what seemeth good to thee." So saying, he went up to the Princess and laying his hand upon her bosom, found her heart fluttering like a doveling and the life yet hanging to her breast.[FN#416] So he placed his hand on her cheek, whereat she opened her eyes and beckoning to her maid, said to her by signs, "Who is this that treadeth my carpet and transgresseth against me?"[FN#417] "O my lady," cried Shafikah, "this is Prince Al-Abbas, for whose sake thou forsakest the world." When Mariyah heard speak of Al-Abbas, she raised her hand from under the coverlet and laying it upon his neck, inhaled awhile his scent. Then she sat up and her complexion returned to her and they abode talking till a third part of the night was past. Presently, the Princess turned to her handmaid and bade her fetch them somewhat of food, sweetmeats, and fruits, fresh and dry. So Shafikah brought what she desired and they ate and drank and abode on this wise without lewdness, till night went and light came. Then said Al-Abbas, "Indeed, the morn breaketh. Shall I hie to my sire and bid him go to thy father and seek thee of him in wedlock for me, in accordance with the book of Allah Almighty and the practice of His Apostle (whom may He save and assain!) so we may not enter into transgression?" And Mariyah answered, saying, "By Allah, 'tis well counselled of thee!" So he went away to his lodging and naught befel between them; and when the day lightened, she recited these couplets,
"O friends, morn-breeze with Morn draws on amain: * A Voice[FN#418] bespeaks us, gladding us with 'plain. Up to the convent where our friend we'll sight * And wine more subtile than the dust[FN#419] we'll drain; Whereon our friend spent all the coin he owned * And made the nursling in his cloak contain;[FN#420] And, when we oped the jar, light opalline * Struck down the singers in its search waylain. From all sides flocking came the convent-monks * Crying at top o' voices, 'Welcome fain!' And we carousing sat, and cups went round, * Till rose the Venus-star o'er Eastern plain. No shame in drinking wine, which means good cheer * And love and promise of prophetic strain![FN#421] Ho thou, the Morn, our union sundering, * These joyous hours to fine thou dost constrain. Show grace to us until our pleasures end, * And latest drop of joy fro' friends we gain: You have affection candid and sincere * And Love and joy are best of Faiths for men."
Such was the case with Mariyah; but as regards Al-Abbas, he betook himself to his father's camp, which was pitched on the Green Meadow, by the Tigris-side, and none might thread his way between the tents, for the dense network of the tent ropes. When the Prince reached the first of the pavilions, the guards and servants came out to meet him from all sides and walked in his service till he drew near the sitting-place of his sire, who knew of his approach. So he issued forth his marquee and coming to meet his son, kissed him and made much of him. Then they returned together to the royal pavilion and when they had seated themselves therein and the guards had taken up their station in attendance on them, the King said to Al-Abbas, "O my son, get ready thine affair, so we may go to our own land, for that the lieges in our absence are become as they were sheep lacking shepherd." Al-Abbas looked at his father and wept till he fainted, and when he recovered from his fit, he improvised and recited these couplets,
"I embraced him,[FN#422] and straight I waxt drunk wi' the smell * Of a fresh young branch wont in wealth to dwell. Yea, drunken, but not by the wine; nay, 'twas * By draughts from his lips that like wine-cups well: For Beauty wrote on his cheek's fair page * 'Oh, his charms! take refuge fro' danger fell!'[FN#423] Mine eyes, be easy, since him ye saw; * Nor mote nor blearness with you shall mell: In him Beauty showeth fro' first to fine * And bindeth on hearts bonds unfrangible: An thou kohl thyself with his cheek of light * Thou'll find but jasper and or in stelle:[FN#424] The chiders came to reproach me when * For him longing and pining my heart befel: But I fear not, I end not, I turn me not * From his life, let tell-tale his tale e'en tell: By Allah, forgetting ne'er crossed my thought * While by life-tie bound, or when ends my spell: An I live I will live in his love, an I die * Of love and longing, I'll cry, ''Tis well!'"
Now when Al-Abbas had ended his verses, his father said to him, "I seek refuge for thee with Allah, O my son! Hast thou any want thou art powerless to win, so I may endeavour for thee therein and lavish my treasures in its quest." Cried Al-Abbas, "O my papa, I have, indeed, an urgent need, on whose account I came forth of my motherland and left my people and my home and affronted perils and horrors and became an exile, and I trust in Allah that it may be accomplished by thy magnanimous endeavour." Quoth the King, "And what is thy want?" and quoth Al-Abbas, "I would have thee go and ask for me to wife Mariyah, daughter of the King of Baghdad, for that my heart is distracted with love of her." Then he recounted to his father his adventure from first to last. When the King heard this from his son, he rose to his feet and calling for his charger of parade, took horse with four-and-twenty Emirs of the chief officers of his empire. Then he betook himself to the palace of the King of Baghdad who, when he saw him coming, bade his chamberlains open the doors to them and going down himself to meet them, received him with all honour and hospitality and carried him and his into the palace; then causing make ready for them carpets and cushions, sat down upon his golden throne and seated the guest by his side upon a chair of gold, framed in juniper-wood set with pearls and jewels. Presently he bade bring sweetmeats and confections and scents and commanded to slaughter four and-twenty head of sheep and the like of oxen and make ready geese and chickens and pigeons stuffed and boiled, and spread the tables; nor was it long before the meats were served up in vessels of gold and silver. So they ate their sufficiency and when they had eaten their fill, the tables were removed and the wine-service set on and the cups and flagons ranged in ranks, whilst the Mamelukes and the fair slave-girls sat down, with zones of gold about their waists, studded with all manner pearls, diamonds, emeralds, rubies and other jewels. Moreover, the king bade fetch the musicians; so there presented themselves before him twenty damsels with lutes and psalteries[FN#425] and viols, and smote upon instruments of music playing and performing on such wise that they moved the assembly to delight. Then said Al-Aziz to the King of Baghdad, "I would fain speak a word to thee; but do thou not exclude from us those who are present. An thou consent unto my wish thine is ours and on thee shall be whatso is on us;[FN#426] and we will be to thee a mighty forearm against all unfriends and foes." Quoth Ins bin Kays, "Say what thou wilt, O King, for indeed thou excellest in speech and in whatso thou sayest dost hit the mark." So Al-Aziz said to him, "I desire that thou marry thy daughter Mariyah to my son Al-Abbas, for thou knowest what he hath of beauty and loveliness, brightness and perfect grace and his frequentation of the valiant and his constancy in the stead of cut-and-thrust." Said Ins bin Kays, "By Allah, O King, of my love for Mariyah, I have appointed her mistress of her own hand; accordingly, whomsoever she chooseth of the folk, to him will I wed her." Then he arose to his feet and going in to his daughter, found her mother with her; so he set out to them the case and Mariyah said, "O my papa, my wish followeth thy word and my will ensueth thy will; so whatsoever thou chooseth, I am obedient to thee and under thy dominion." Therewith the King knew that Mariyah inclined to Al-Abbas; he therefore returned forthright to King Al-Aziz and said to him, "May Allah amend the King! Verily, the wish is won and there is no opposition to that thou commandest." Quoth Al-Aziz, "By Allah's leave are wishes won. How deemest thou, O King, of fetching Al-Abbas and documenting the marriage-contract between Mariyah and him?" and quoth Ins bin Kays, "Thine be the rede." So Al-Aziz sent after his son and acquainted him with that which had passed; whereupon Al-Abbas called for four-and-twenty mules and ten horses and as many camels and loaded the mules with fathom-long pieces of silk and rugs of leather and boxes of camphor and musk and the camels and horses with chests of gold and silver. Eke, he took the richest of the stuffs and wrapping them in wrappers of gold, purfled silk, laid them on the heads of porters,[FN#427] and they fared on with the treasures till they reached the King of Baghdad's palace, whereupon all who were present dismounted in honour of Al-Abbas and escorting him in a body to the presence of Ins bin Kays, displayed to the King all that they had with them of things of price. The King bade carry all this into the store rooms of the Harim and sent for the Kazis and the witnesses, who wrote out the contract and married Mariyah to Al-Abbas, whereupon the Prince commanded slaughter one thousand head of sheep and five hundred buffaloes. So they spread the bride-feast and bade thereto all the tribes of the Arabs, men of tents and men of towns, and the banquet continued for the space of ten days. Then Al-Abbas went into Mariyah in a commendable and auspicious hour and lay with her and found her a pearl unthridden and a goodly filly no rider had ridden;[FN#428] wherefore he rejoiced and was glad and made merry, and care and sorrow ceased from him and his life was pleasant and trouble departed and he ceased not abiding with her in most joyful case and in the most easeful of life, till seven days were past, when King Al-Aziz resolved to set out and return to his realm and bade his son seek leave of his father-in-law to depart with his wife to his own country. So Al-Abbas spoke of this to King Ins, who granted him the permission he sought; whereupon he chose out, a red camel,[FN#429] taller and more valuable than the rest of the camels, and loading it with apparel and ornaments, mounted Mariyah in a litter thereon. Then they spread the ensigns and the standards, whilst kettledrums beat and the trumpets blared, and set out upon the homewards way. The King of Baghdad rode forth with them and companied them three days' journey on their route, after which he farewelled them and returned with his troops to Baghdad. As for King Al-Aziz and his son, they fared on night and day and gave not over going till there remained but three days' journey between them and Al-Yaman, when they despatched three men of the couriers to the Prince's mother to report that they were bringing with them Mariyah, the King's daughter of Baghdad, and returning safe and laden with spoil. When the Oueen-mother heard this, her wit took wings for joy and she adorned the slave-girls of Al-Abbas after the finest fashion. Now he had ten hand-maids, as they were moons, whereof his father had carried five with him to Baghdad, as hath erst been set forth, and the remaining five abode with his mother. When the dromedary-posts[FN#430] came, they were certified of the approach of Al-Abbas, and when the sun easted and their flags were seen flaunting, the Prince's mother came out to meet her son; nor on that day was there great or small, boy or grey-beard, but went forth to greet the king. Then the kettle-drums of glad tidings beat and they entered in the utmost of pomp and the extreme of magnificence; so that the tribes and the townspeople heard of them and brought them the richest of gifts and the rarest of presents and the Prince's mother rejoiced with joy exceeding. They butchered beasts and spread mighty bride-feasts for the people and kindled fires,[FN#431] that it might be visible afar to townsman and tribesman that this was the house of hospitality and the stead of the wedding-festival, to the intent that, if any passed them by, it should be of his own sin against himself. So the folk came to them from all districts and quarters and in this way they abode days and months. Presently the Prince's mother bade fetch the five slave-girls to that assembly; whereupon they came and the ten damsels met. The queen seated five of them on her son's right hand and the other five on his left and the folk gathered about them. Then she bade the five who had remained with her speak forth somewhat of poesy, so they might entertain therewith the seance and that Al-Abbas might rejoice thereat. Now she had clad them in the costliest of clothes and adorned them with trinkets and ornaments and moulded work of gold and silver and collars of gold, wrought with pearls and gems. So they paced forward, with harps and lutes and zithers and recorders and other instruments of music before them, and one of them, a damsel who came from the land of China and whose name was Ba'uthah, advanced and screwed up the strings of her lute. Then she cried out from the top of her head and recited these couplets,
"Indeed your land returned, when you returned, * To whilom light which overgrew its gloom: Green grew the land that was afore dust-brown. * And fruits that failed again showed riping bloom: And clouds rained treasures after rain had lacked, * And plenty poured from earth's re-opening womb. Then ceased the woes, my lords, that garred us weep, * With tears like dragons' blood, our severance-doom, Whose length, by Allah, made me yeam and pine, * Would Heaven, O lady mine, I were thy groom!"
When she had ended her song, all who were present were delighted and Al-Abbas rejoiced in this. Then he bade the second damsel sing somewhat on the same theme. So she came forward and tightening the strings of her harp, which was of balass ruby,[FN#432] raised her voice in a plaintive air and improvised these couplets,
"Brought the Courier glad news of our absentees,[FN#433] * To please us through those who had wrought us unease: Cried I, 'My life ransom thee, messenger man, * Thou hast kept thy faith and thy boons are these.' An the nightlets of union in you we joyed * When fared you naught would our grief appease; You sware that folk would to folk be true, * And you kept your oaths as good faith decrees. To you made I oath true lover am I * Heaven guard me when sworn from all perjuries: I fared to meet you and loud I cried, * 'Aha, fair welcome when come you please!" And I joyed to meet you and when you came, * Deckt all the dwelling with tapestries, And death in your absence to us was dight, * But your presence bringeth us life and light."
When she had made an end of her verse, Al-Abbas bade the third damsel (who came from Samarkand of Ajam-land and whose name was Rummanah) sing, and she answered, "To hear is to obey." Then she took the zither and crying out from the midst of her head, recited and sang these couplets,[FN#434]
"My watering mouth declares thy myrtle-cheek my food to be * And cull my lips thy side-face rose, who lily art to me! And twixt the dune and down there shows the fairest flower that blooms * Whose fruitage is granado's fruit with all granado's blee.[FN#435] Forget my lids of eyne their sleep for magic eyes of him; * Naught since he fared but drowsy charms and languorous air I see.[FN#436] He shot me down with shaft of glance from bow of eyebrow sped: * What Chamberlain[FN#437] betwixt his eyes garred all my pleasure flee? Haply shall heart of me seduce his heart by weakness' force * E'en as his own seductive grace garred me love-ailment dree. For an by him forgotten be our pact and covenant * I have a King who never will forget my memory. His sides bemock the bending charms of waving Tamarisk,[FN#438] * And in his beauty-pride he walks as drunk with coquetry: His feet and legs be feather-light whene'er he deigns to run * And say, did any ride the wind except 'twere Solomon?"[FN#439]
Therewith Al-Abbas smiled and her verses pleased him. Then he bade the fourth damsel come forward and sing (now she was from the Sundown-land[FN#440] and her name was Balakhsha); so she came forward and taking the lute and the zither, tuned the strings and smote them in many modes; then she returned to the first and improvising, sang these couplets,
"When to the seance all for pleasure hied * Thy lamping eyes illumined its every side; While playing round us o'er the wine-full bowl * Those necklace-pearls old wine with pleasure plied,[FN#441] Till wits the wisest drunken by her grace * Betrayed for joyance secrets sages hide; And, seen the cup, we bade it circle round * While sun and moon spread radiance side and wide. We raised for lover veil of love perforce * And came glad tidings which new joys applied: Loud sang the camel-guide; won was our wish * Nor was the secret by the spy espied: And, when my days were blest by union-bliss * And to all-parting Time was aid denied, Each 'bode with other, clear of meddling spy * Nor feared we hate of foe or neighbour-pride. The sky was bright, friends came and severance fared * And Love-in-union rained boons multiplied: Saying 'Fulfil fair union, all are gone * Rivals and fears lest shaming foe deride:' Friends now conjoined are: wrong passed away * And meeting-cup goes round and joys abide: On you be Allah's Peace with every boon * Till end the dooming years and time and tide."
When Balakhsha had ended her verse, all present were moved to delight and Al-Abbas said to her, "Brava, O damsel!" Then he bade the fifth damsel come forward and sing (now she was from the land of Syria and her name was Rayhanah; she was passing of voice and when she appeared in an assembly, all eyes were fixed upon her), so she came forward and taking the viol (for she was used to play upon all instruments) recited and sang these couplets,
"Your me-wards coming I hail to sight; * Your look is a joy driving woe from sprite: With you love is blest, pure and white of soul; * Life's sweet and my planet grows green and bright: By Allah, you-wards my pine ne'er ceased * And your like is rare and right worthy hight. Ask my eyes an e'er since the day ye went * They tasted sleep, looked on lover-wight: My heart by the parting-day was broke * And my wasted body betrays my plight: Could my blamers see in what grief am I, * They had wept in wonder my loss, my blight! They had joined me in shedding torrential tears * And like me a-morn had shown thin and slight: How long for your love shall your lover bear * This weight o'er much for the hill's strong height? By Allah what then for your sake was doomed * To my heart, a heart by its woes turned white! An showed I the fires that aye flare in me, * They had 'flamed Eastern world and earth's Western site. But after this is my love fulfilled * With joy and gladness and mere delight; And the Lord who scattered hath brought us back * For who doeth good shall of good ne'er lack."
When King Al-Aziz heard the damsel's song, both words and verses pleased him and he said to Al-Abbas, "O my son, verily long versifying hath tired these damsels, and indeed they make us yearn after the houses and the homesteads with the beauty of their songs. These five have adorned our meeting with the charm of their melodies and have done well in that which they have said before those who are present; so we counsel thee to free them for the love of Allah Almighty." Quoth Al-Abbas, "There is no command but thy command;" and he enfranchised the ten damsels in the assembly; whereupon they kissed the hands of the King and his son and prostrated themselves in thanksgiving to the Lord of All-might. Then they put off that which was upon them of ornaments and laying aside the lutes and other instruments of music, kept to their houses like modest women and veiled, and fared not forth.[FN#442] As for King Al-Aziz, he lived after this seven years and was removed to the mercy of Almighty Allah; when his son Al-Abbas bore him forth to burial as beseemeth kings and let make for him perlections and professional recitations of the Koran. He kept up the mourning for his father during four successive weeks, and when a full-told month had elapsed he sat down on the throne of the kingship and judged and did justice and distributed silver and gold. He also loosed all who were in the jails and abolished grievances and customs dues and righted the oppressed of the oppressor; so the lieges prayed for him and loved him and invoked on him endurance of glory and continuance of kingship and length of life and eternity of prosperity and happiness. The troops submitted to him, and the hosts from all parts of the kingdom, and there came to him presents from each and every land: the kings obeyed him and many were his warriors and his grandees, and his subjects lived with him the most easeful of lives and the most delightsome. Meanwhile, he ceased not, he and his beloved, Queen Mariyah, in the most enjoyable of life and the pleasantest, and he was vouchsafed by her children; and indeed there befel friendship and affection between them and the longer their companionship was prolonged, the more their love waxed, so that they became unable to endure each from other a single hour, save the time of his going forth to the Divan, when he would return to her in the liveliest that might be of longing. And after this fashion they abode in all solace of life and satisfaction till there came to them the Destroyer of delights and the Severer of societies. So extolled be the Eternal whose sway endureth for ever and aye, who never unheedeth neither dieth nor sleepeth! This is all that hath come down to us of their tale, and so the Peace!
SHAHRAZAD AND SHAHRYAR.[FN#443]
King Sjajruar marveled at this history[FN#444] and said, "By Allah, verily, injustice slayeth its folk!"[FN#445] And he was edified by that, wherewith Shahrazad bespoke him and sought help of Allah the Most High. Then said he to her, "Tell me another of thy tales, O Shahrazad; supply me with a pleasant story and this shall be the completion of the story-telling."Shahrazad replied, "With love and gladness! I will tell thee a tale the like of which has never been heard before. It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that a man once declared to his mates, 'I will set forth to you a means of security against annoy.' A friend of mine once related to me and said, "We attained to security against annoy, and the origin of it was other than this; that is, it was the following'"[FN#446]
TALE OF THE TWO KINGS AND THE WAZIR'S DAUGHTERS[FN#447]
I overtravelled whileome lands and climes and towns and visited the cities of high renown and traversed the ways of dangers and hardships. Towards the last of my life, I entered a city of the cities of China,[FN#448] wherein was a king of the Chosroes and the Tobbas[FN#449] and the Caesars.[FN#450] Now that city had been peopled with its inhabitants by means of justice and equity; but its then king was a tyrant dire who despoiled lives and souls at his desire; in fine, there was no warming oneself at his fire, [FN#451] for that indeed he oppressed the believing band and wasted the eland. Now he had a younger brother, who was king in Sarmarkand of the Persians, and the two kings sojourned a while of time, each in his own city and stead, till they yearned unto each other and the elder king despatched his Wazir to fetch his younger brother. When the Minister came to the King of Samarkand and acquainted him with his errand, he submitted himself to the bidding of his brother and answered, "To hear is to obey." Then he equipped himself and made ready for wayfare and brought forth his tents and pavilions. A while after midnight, he went in to his wife, that he might farewell her, and found her with a strange man, lying by her in one bed. So he slew them both and dragging them out by the feet, cast them away and set forth on his march. When he came to his brother's court, the elder king rejoiced in him with joy exceeding and lodged him in the pavilion of hospitality beside his own palace. Now this pavilion overlooked a flower-garden belonging to the elder brother and there the younger abode with him some days. Then he called to mind that which his wife had done with him and remembered her slaughter and bethought him how he was a king, yet was not exempt from the shifts of Time; and affected him with exceeding affect, so that it drave him to abstain from meat and drink, or, if he ate anything, it profited him naught. When his brother saw him on such wise, he deemed that this had betided him by reason of severance from his folk and family, and said to him, "Come, let us fare forth a-coursing and a-hunting." But he refused to go with him; so the elder brother went to the chase, while the younger abode in the pavilion aforesaid. Now, as he was diverting himself by looking out upon the flower-garden from the latticed window of the palace, behold, he saw his brother's wife and with her ten black slaves and ten slave-girls. Each slave laid hold of a damsel and another slave came forth and did the like with the queen; and when they had their wills one of other they all returned whence they came. Hereat there betided the King of Samarkand exceeding surprise and solace and he was made whole of his malady, little by little. After a few days, his brother returned, and finding him cured of his complaint, said to him, "Tell me, O my brother, what was the cause of thy sickness and thy pallor, and what is the reason of the return of health to thee and of rosiness to thy face after this?" So he acquainted him with the whole case and this was grievous to him; but they hid their affair and agreed to leave the kingship and fare forth a-pilgrimaging and adventuring at hap-hazard, for they deemed that there had befallen none the like of what had befallen them. Accordingly, they went forth and as they journeyed, they saw by the way a woman imprisoned in seven chests, whereon were five padlocks, and sunken deep in the midst of the salt sea, under the guardianship of an Ifrit; yet for all this that woman issued out of the ocean and opened those padlocks and coming forth of those chests, did what she would with the two brothers, after she had practised upon the Ifrit. When the two kings saw that woman's fashion and how she circumvented the Ifrit, who had lodged her in the abyss of the main, they turned back to their kingdoms and the younger betook himself to Samarkand, whilst the elder returned to China and contrived for himself a custom in the slaughter of damsels, which was, his Wazir used to bring him every night a girl, with whom he lay that night, and when he arose in the morning, he gave her to the Minister and bade him do her die. After this fashion he abode a long time, and the commons cried out by reason of that grievous affair into which they were fallen and feared the wrath of Allah Almighty, dreading lest He destroy them by means of this. still the king persisted in that practice and in his blameworthy intent of the killing of damsels and the despoilment of maidens concealed by veils,[FN#452] wherefore the girls sought succor of the Lord of All-might, and complained to Him of the tyranny of the eking and of his oppression. Now the king's Wazir had two daughters, sisters german, the elder of whom had read the books and made herself mistress of the sciences and studied the writings of the sages and the stories of the cup- companions,[FN#453] and she was a maiden of abundant lore and knowledge galore and wit than which naught can be more. She heard that which the folk suffered from that king in his misuage of their children; whereupon ruth for them gat hold of her and jealousy and she besought Allah Almighty that He would bring the king to renounce that his new accursed custom,[FN#454] and the Lord answered her prayer. Then she consulted her younger sister and said to her, "I mean to devise a device for freeing the children of folk; to wit, I will go up to the king and offer myself to marry him, and when I come to his presence, I will send to fetch thee. When thou comest in to me and the king had his carnal will of me, do thou say to me, 'O my sister, let me hear a story of thy goodly stories, wherewith we may beguile the waking hours of our night, till the dawn, when we take leave of each other; and let the king hear it likewise!'" The other replied, "'Tis well; forsure this contrivance will deter the king from this innovation he practiseth and thou shalt be requited with favour exceeding and recompense abounding in the world to come, for that indeed thou perilest thy life and wilt either perish or win to thy wish." So she did this and Fortune favoured her and the Divine direction was vouchsafed to her and she discovered her design to her sire, the Wazir, who thereupon forbade her, fearing her slaughter. However, she repeated her words to him a second time and a third, but he consented not. Then he cited to her a parable, which should deter her, and she cited to him a parable of import contrary to his, and the debate was prolonged between them and the adducing of instances, till her father saw that he was powerless to turn her from her purpose and she said to him, "There is no help but that I marry the King, so haply I may be a sacrifice for the children of the Moslems: either I shall turn him from this his heresy or I shall die." When the Minister despaired of dissuading her, he went up to the king and acquainted him with the case, saying, "I have a maiden daughter and she desireth to give herself in free gift to the King." Quoth the King, "How can thy soul consent to this, seeing that thou knowest I abide but a single night with a girl and when I arise on the morrow, I do her dead, and 'tis thou who slayest her, and again and again thou hast done this?" Quoth the Wazir, "Know, O king, that I have set forth all this to her, yet consented she not to aught, but needs must she have thy company and she chooseth to come to thee and present herself before thee, albeit I have cited to her the sayings of the sages; but she hath answered me with more than that which I said to her and contrariwise." Then quoth the king, "Suffer her visit me this night and to-morrow morning come thou and take her and kill her; and by Allah, an thou slay her not, I will slay thee and her also!" the Minister obeyed the king's bidding and going out from the presence returned home. When it was night, he took his elder daughter and carried her up to the king; and when she came before him she wept;[FN#455] whereupon he asked her, "What causeth thee to weep? Indeed, 'twas thou who willedst this." She answered, "I weep not but of longing after my little sister; for that, since we grew up, I and she, I have never been parted from her till this day; so, an it please the King to send for her, that I may look on her, and listen to her speech and take my fill of her till the morning, this were a boon and an act of kindness of the King." So he bade fetch the damsel and she came. Then there befel that which befel of his union with the elder sister,[FN#456] and when he went up to his couch, that he might sleep, the younger sister said to her elder, "Allah upon thee, O my sister, an thou be not asleep, tell us a tale of thy goodly tales, wherewith me may beguile the watches of our night, ere day dawn and parting." Said she, "With love and gladness;" and fell to relating to her, whilst the king listened. Her story was goodly and delectable, and whilst she was in the middle of telling it, the dawn brake. Now the king's heart clave to the hearing of the rest of the story; so he respited her till the morrow; and, when it was the next night, she told him a tale concerning the marvels of the land and the wonders of Allah's creatures which was yet stranger and rarer than the first. In the midst of the recital, appeared the day and she was silent from the permitted say. So he let her live till the following night, that he might hear the end of the history and after that slay her. On this wise it fortuned with her; but as regards the people of the city, they rejoiced and were glad and blessed the Wazir's daughters, marvelling for that three days had passed and that the king had not put his bride to death and exulting in that he had returned to the ways of righteousness and would never again burthen himself with blood-guilt against any of the maidens of the city. Then, on the fourth night, she related to him a still more extraordinary adventure, and on the fifth night she told him anecdotes of Kings and Wazirs and Notables. Brief, she ceased not to entertain him many days and nights, while the king said to himself, "Whenas I shall have heard the end of the tale, I will do her die," and the people redoubled their marvel and admiration. Also, the folk of the circuits and cities heard of this thing, to wit, that the king had turned from his custom and from that which he had imposed upon himself and had renounced his heresy, wherefor they rejoiced and the lieges returned to the capital and took up there abode therein, after they had departed thence; and they were constant in prayer to Allah Almighty that He would stablish the king in his present stead." "And this, said Shahrazad, "is the end of that which my friend related to me." Quoth Shahryar,[FN#457] "O Shahrazad, finish for us the tale thy friend told thee, inasmuch as it resembleth the story of a King whom I knew; but fain would I hear that which betided the people of this city and what they said of the affair of the King, so I may return from the case wherein I was." She replied, "With love and gladness!" Know, O auspicious king and lord of right rede and praiseworthy meed and prowest of deed, that, when the folk heard how the king had put away from him his malpractice and returned from his unrighteous wont, they rejoiced in this with joy exceeding and offered up prayers for him. Then they talked one with other of the cause of the slaughter of the maidens, and the wise said, "Women are not all alike, nor are the fingers of the hand alike." Now when King Shahryar heard this story he came to himself and awakening from his drunkenness,[FN#458] said, "By Allah, this story is my story and this case is my case, for that indeed I was in reprobation and danger of judgment till thou turnedst me back from this into the right way, extolled be the Causer of causes and the Liberator of necks!" presently adding, "Indeed, O Shahrazad, thou hast awakened me to many things and hast aroused me from mine ignorance of the right." Then said she to him, "O chief of the kings, the wise say, 'The kingship is a building, whereof the troops are the base, and when the foundation is strong, the building endureth;' wherefore it behoveth the king to strengthen the foundation, for that they say, 'Whenas the base is weak, the building falleth.' In like fashion it befitteth the king to care for his troops and do justice among his lieges, even as the owner of the garden careth for his trees and cutteth away the weeds that have no profit in them; and so it befitteth the king to look into the affairs of his Ryots and fend off oppression from them. As for thee, O king, it behoveth thee that thy Wazir be virtuous and experienced in the requirements of the people and the peasantry; and indeed Allah the Most High hath named his name[FN#459] in the history of Musa (on whom be the Peace!) when he saith, 'And make me a Wazir of my people, Aaron.' Now could a Wazir have been dispensed withal, Moses son of Imran had been worthier than any to do without a Minister. As for the Wazir, the Sultan discovereth unto him his affairs, private and public; and know, O king, that the likeness of thee with the people is that of the leach with the sick man; and the essential condition of the Minister is that he be soothfast in his sayings, reliable in all his relations, rich in ruth for the folk and in tenderness of transacting with them. Verily, it is said, "O king, that good troops be like the druggist; if his perfumes reach thee not, thou still smellest the fragrance of them; and bad entourage be like the blacksmith; if his sparks burn thee not, thou smellest his evil smell. So it befitteth thee to take to thyself a virtuous Wazir, a veracious counsellor, even as thou takest unto thee a wife displayed before thy face, because thou needest the man's righteousness for thine own right directing, seeing that, if thou do righteously, the commons will do right, and if thou do wrongously, they will also do wrong." When the King heard this, drowsiness overcame him and he slept and presently awaking, called for the candles; so they were lighted and he sat down on his couch and seating Shahrazad by him, smiled in her face. She kissed the ground before him and said, "O king of the age and lord of the time and the years, extolled be the Forgiving, the Bountiful, who hath sent me to thee, of His grace and good favour, so I have incited thee to longing after Paradise; for verily this which thou wast wont do was never done of any of the kings before thee. then laud be to the Lord who hath directed thee into the right way, and who from the paths of frowardness hath diverted thee! as for women, Allah Almighty maketh mention of them also when He saith in His Holy Book, 'Truly, the men who resign themselves to Allah[FN#460] and the women who resign themselves, and the true-believing men and the true-believing women and the devout men and the devout women and truthful men and truthful women, and long-suffering men and long-suffering women, and the humble men and the humble women, and charitable men and charitable women, and the men who fast and the women who fast, and men who guard their privities and women who guard their privities, and men who are constantly mindful of Allah and women who are constantly mindful, for them Allah hath prepared forgiveness and a rich reward.'[FN#461] as for that which hath befallen thee, verily, it hath befallen many kings before thee and their women have falsed them, for all they were more majestical of puissance than thou, and mightier of kingship and had troops more manifold. If I would, I could relate to thee, O king, concerning the wiles of women, that whereof I should not make an end all my life long; and indeed, in all these my nights that I have passed before thee, I have told thee many tales of the wheedling of women and of their craft; but soothly the things abound on me;[FN#462] so, an thou please, O king, I will relate to thee somewhat of that which befel olden kings of perfidy from their women and of the calamities which overtook them by reason of these deceivers."" Asked the king, "How so? Tell on;" and she answered, "Hearkening and obedience. It hath been told me, O king, that a man once related to a company the following tale:"
THE CONCUBINE AND THE CALIPH.[FN#463]
One day of the days, as I stood at the door of my house, and the heat was excessive, behold, I saw a fair woman approaching, and with her a slave-girl carrying a parcel. They gave not over going till they came up to me, when the woman stopped and asked me, "Hast thou a draught of water?" answered I, "Yes, enter the vestibule, O my lady, so thou mayest drink." Accordingly she came in and I went up into the house and fetched two gugglets of earthenware, smoked with musk[FN#464] and full of cold water. She took one of them and discovered her face, the better to drink; whereupon I saw that she was as the rising moon or the resplendent sun and said to her, "O my lady, wilt thou not come up into the house, so thou mayst rest thyself till the air cool and afterwards fare thee to thine own place?" quoth she, "Is there none with thee?" and quoth I, "Indeed I am a bachelor and have none belonging tome, nor is there a wight in the site;[FN#465] whereupon she said, "An thou be a stranger, thou art he in quest of whom I was going about." So she went up into the house and doffed her walking-dress and I found her as she were the full moon. I brought her what I had by me of food and drink and said to her, "O my lady, excuse me: this is all that is ready;" and said she, "This is right good[FN#466] and indeed 'tis what I sought." Then she ate and gave the slave-girl that which was left; after which I brought her a casting-bottle of musked rose-water, and she washed her hands and abode with me till the season of mid-afternoon prayer, when she brought out of the parcel she had with her a shirt and trousers and an upper garment[FN#467] and a gold-worked kerchief and gave them to me; saying, "Know that I am one of the concubines of the Caliph, and we be forty concubines, each of whom hath a cicisbeo who cometh to her as often as she would have him; and none is without a lover save myself, wherefore I came forth this day to get me a gallant and now I have found thee. thou must know that the Caliph lieth each night with one of us, whilst the other nine- and-thirty concubines take their ease with the nine-and-thirty masculines, and I would have thee company on such a day, when do thou come up to the palace of the Caliph and sit awaiting me in such a place, till a little eunuch come out to thee and say to thee a certain watch-word which is, 'Art thou Sandal?' Answer 'Yes,' and wend thee with him." Then she took leave of me and I of her, after I had strained her to my bosom and thrown my arms round her neck and we had exchanged kisses awhile. So she fared forth and I abode patiently expecting the appointed day, till it came, when I arose and went out, intending for the trysting place; but a friend of mine met me by the way and made me go home with him. I accompanied him and when I came up into his sitting- chamber he locked the door on me and walked out to fetch what we might eat and drink. He was absent until midday, then till the hour of mid-afternoon prayer, whereat I was chagrined with sore concern. Then he was missing until sundown, and I was like to die of vexation and impatience; and indeed he returned not and I passed my night on wake, nigh upon death, for the door was locked on me, and my soul was like to depart my body on account of the assignation. At daybreak, my friend returned and opening the door, came in, bringing with him meat-pudding[FN#468] and fritters and bees' honey, and said to me, "By Allah, thou must needs excuse me, for that I was with a company and they locked the door on me and have let me go but this very moment." I returned him no reply; however, he set before me that which was with him and I ate a single mouthful and went out running at speed so haply I might overtake the rendezvous which had escaped me. when I came to the palace, I saw over against it eight-and- thirty gibbets set up, whereon were eight-and-thirty men crucified, and under them eight-and-thirty[FN#469] concubines as they were moons. So I asked the cause of the crucifixion of the men and concerning the women in question, and it was said unto me, "The men thou seest crucified the Caliph found with yonder damsels, who be his bed-fellows." When I heard this, I prostrated myself in thanksgiving to Allah and said, "The Almighty require thee with all good, O my friend!" for had he not invited me and locked me up in his house that night, I had been crucified with these men, wherefore Alhamdolillah—laud to the Lord! "On this wise" (continued Shahrazad), "none is safe from the calamities of the world and the vicissitudes of Time, and in proof of this, I will relate unto thee yet another story still rarer and stranger than this. Know, O king, that one said to me: A friend of mine, a merchant, told me the following tale:
THE CONCUBINE OF AL-MAAMUN[FN#470]
As I sat one day in my shop, there came up to me a fair woman, as she were the moon at its rising, and with her a hand-maid. Now I was a handsome man in my time; so that lady sat down on my shop[FN#471] and buying stuffs of me, paid the price and went her ways. I asked the girl anent her and she answered, "I know not her name." Quoth I, "Where is her abode?" Quoth she, "In heaven;" and I, "She is presently on the earth; so when doth she ascend to heaven and where is the ladder by which she goeth up?"[FN#472] the girl retorted, "She hath her lodging in a palace between two rivers,[FN#473] that is, in the palace of Al- Maamun al-Hakim bi-Amri 'llah."[FN#474] Then said I, "I am a dead man, without a doubt;" but she replied, "Have patience, for needs must she return to thee and buy other stuffs of thee." I asked, "And how cometh it that the Commander of the Faithful trusteth her to go out?" and she answered, "He loveth her with exceeding love and is wrapped up in her and crosseth her not." Then the slave-girl went away, running after her mistress; whereupon I left the shop and followed them, so I might see her abiding-place. I kept them in view all the way, till she disappeared from mine eyes, when I returned to my place, with heart a-fire. Some days after, she came to me again and bought stuffs of me: I refused to take the price and she cried, "We have no need of thy goods." Quoth I, "O my lady, accept them from me as a gift;" but quoth she, "Wait till I try thee and make proof of thee." Then she brought out of her pocket a purse and gave me therefrom a thousand dinars, saying, "Trade with this till I return to thee." So I took the purse and she went away and returned not till six months had passed. Meanwhile, I traded with the money and sold and bought and made other thousand dinars profit on it. At last she came to me again and I said to her, "Here is thy money and I have gained with it other thousand ducats;" and she, "Let it lie by thee and take these other thousand dinars. As soon as I have departed from thee, go thou to Al-Rauzah, the Garden-holm, and build there a goodly pavilion, and when the edifice is accomplished, give me to know thereof. As soon as she was gone, I betook myself to Al-Rauzah and fell to building the pavilion, and when it was finished, I furnished it with the finest of furniture and sent to tell her that I had made an end to the edifice; whereupon she sent back to me, saying, "Let him meet me to-morrow about day-break at the Zuwaylah gate and bring with him a strong ass." I did as she bade and, betaking myself to the Zuwaylah gate, at the appointed time, found there a young man on horseback, awaiting her, even as I awaited her. As we stood, behold, up she came, and with her a slave-girl. When she saw that young man, she asked him, "Art thou here?" and he answered, "Yes, O my lady." Quoth she, "To- day I am invited by this man: wilt thou wend with us?" and quoth he, "Yes." then said she, "Thou hast brought me hither against my will and parforce. Wilt thou go with us in any case?"[FN#475] He cried, "Yes, yes," and we fared on, all three, until we came to Al-Rauzah and entered the pavilion. The dame diverted herself awhile with viewing its ordinance and furniture, after which she doffed her walking-dress and sat down with the young man in the goodliest and chiefest place. Then I fared forth and brought them what they should eat at the first of the day; presently I again went out and fetched them what they should eat at the end of the day and brought for the twain wine and dessert and fruits and flowers. After this fashion I abode in their service, standing on my feet, and she said not unto me, "Sit," nor "Take, eat" nor "Take, drink," while she and the young man sat toying and laughing, and he feel to kissing her and pinching her and hopping over the ground[FN#476] and laughing. They remained thus awhile and presently she said, "Hitherto we have not become drunken; let me pour out." So she took the cup, and crowning it, gave him to drink and plied him with wine, till he lost his wits, when she took him up and carried him into a closet. Then she came out, with the head of that youth in her hand, while I stood silent, fixing not mine eyes on her eyes neither questioning her of the case; and she asked me, "Take it and throw it in the river." I accepted her commandment and she arose and stripping herself of her clothes, took a knife and cut the dead man's body in pieces, which she laid in three baskets, and said to me, "Throw them into the river." I did her bidding and when I returned, she said to me, "Sit, so I may relate to thee yonder fellow's case, lest thou be affrighted at what accident hath befallen him. Thou must know that I am the Caliph's favourite concubine, nor is there any higher in honour with him than I; and I am allowed six nights in each month, wherein I go down into the city and tarry with my whilome mistress who reared me; and when I go down thus, I dispose of myself as I will. Now this young man was the son of certain neighbors of my mistress, when I was a virgin girl. One day, my mistress was sitting with the chief officers of the palace and I was alone in the house, and as the night came on, I went up to the terrace-roof in order to sleep there, but ere I was ware, this youth came up from the street and falling upon me knelt on my breast. He was armed with a dagger and I could not get free of him till he had taken my maidenhead by force; and this sufficed him not, but he must needs disgrace me with all the folk for, as often as I came down from the palace, he would stand in wait for me by the way and futtered me against my will and follow me wheresoever I went. This, then, is my story, and as for thee, thou pleasest me and thy patience pleaseth me and thy good faith and loyal service, and there abideth with me none dearer than thou." Then I lay with her that night and there befel what befel between us till the morning, when she gave me abundant wealth and took to meeting me at the pavilion six days in every month. After this wise we passed a whole year, at the end of which she cut herself off from me a month's space, wherefore fire raged in my heart on her account. When it was the next month, behold , a little eunuch presented himself to me and said, "I am a messenger to thee from Such-an- one, who giveth thee to know that the Commander of the Faithful hath ordered her to be drowned, her those who are with her, six- and-twenty slave-girls, on such a day at Dayr al-Tin,[FN#477] for that they have confessed of lewdness, one against other and she sayeth to thee, 'Look how thou mayest do with me and how thou mayest contrive to deliver me, even an thou gather together all my money and spend it upon me, for that this be the time of manhood.'"[FN#478] Quoth I, "I know not this woman; belike it is other than I to whom this message is sent; so beware, O Eunuch, lest thou cast me into a cleft." Quoth he, "Behold, I have told thee that I had to say," and went away, leaving me in sore concern on her account. Now when the appointed day came, I arose and changing my clothes and favour, donned sailor's apparel; then I took with me a purse full of gold and buying a right good breakfast, accosted a boatman at Dayr al-Tin and sat down and ate with him; after which I asked him, "Wilt thou hire me thy boat?" Answered he, "The Commander of the Faithful hath commanded me to be here;" and he told me the tale of the concubines and how the Caliph purposed to drown them that day. When I heard this from him, I brought out to him ten gold pieces and discovered to him my case, whereupon he said to me, "O my brother, get thee empty gourds, and when thy mistress cometh, give me to know of her and I will contrive the trick." So I kissed his hand and thanked him and, as I was walking about, waiting, up came the guards and eunuchs escorting the women, who were weeping and shrieking and farewelling one another. The Castratos cried out to us, whereupon we came with the boat, and they said to the sailor, "Who be this?" Said he, "This is my mate whom I have brought to help me, so one of us may keep the boat whilst another doth your service." Then they brought out to us the women, one by one, saying "Throw them in by the Island;" and we replied, "'Tis well." Now each of them was shackled and they had made fast about her neck a jar of sand. We did as the neutrals bade us and ceased not to take the women, one after other, and cast them in, till they gave us my mistress and I winked to my mate. So we took her and carried her out and cast her into mid-stream, where I threw to her the empty gourds[FN#479] and said to her, "Wait for me at the mouth of the Canal."[FN#480] now there remained one woman after her: so we took her and drowned her and the eunuchs went away, whilst we dropped down the river till we came to where I saw my mistress awaiting me. we haled her into the canoe and returned to our pavilion. Then I rewarded the sailor and he took his boat and went away; whereupon quoth she to me, "Thou art indeed the friend ever faithful found for the shifts of Fortune."[FN#481] and I sojourned with her some days; but the shock wrought upon her so that she sickened and fell to wasting away and redoubled in weakness till she died. I mourned for her and buried her; after which I removed all that was in the pavilion and abandoned the building. Now she had brought to that pavilion a little coffer of copper and laid it in a place whereof I knew not; so, when the Inspector of Inheritances[FN#482] came, he rummaged the house and found the coffer. Presently he opened it and seeing it full of jewels and seal-rings, took it, and me with it, and ceased not to put me to the question with beating and torment till I confessed the whole affair. Thereupon they carried me to the Caliph and I told him all that had passed between me and her; and he said to me, "O man, depart this city, for I release thee on account of thy courage and because of thy constancy in keeping thy secret and thy daring in exposing thyself to death." So I arose forthwith and fared from his city; and this is what befel me.
Variants and Analogues of Some of the Tales in Volumes XI. and XII.
By. W. A. Clouston.
Author of "Popular Tales and Fictions: Their Mirgations and Transformations," Etc.
Variants and Analogues of Some of the Tales in Volumes XI and XII
By W. A. Clouston.
THE SLEEPER AND THE WAKER—Vol. XI. p. 1.
Few if the stories in the "Arabian Nights" which charmed our marvelling boyhood were greater favourites than this one, under the title of "Abou Hassan; or, the Sleeper Awakened." What recked we in those days whence it was derived?—the story—the story was the thing! As Sir R. F. Burton observes in his first note, this is "the only one of the eleven added by Galland, whose original has been discovered in Arabic;"[FN#483] and it is probable that Galland heard it recited in a coffee-house during his residence in Constantinople. The plot of the Induction to Shakspeare's comedy of "The Taming of the Shrew" is similar to the adventure of Abu al-Hasan the Wag, and is generally believed to have been adapted from a story entitled "The Waking Man's Fortune" in Edward's collection of comic tales, 1570, which were retold somewhat differently in "Goulart's Admirable and Memorable Histories," 1607; both versions are reprinted in Mr. Hazlitt's "Shakspeare Library," vol. iv., part I, pp. 403-414. In Percy's "Reliques of Ancient English Poetry" we find the adventure told in a ballad entitled "The Frolicksome Duke; or, the Tinker's Good Fortune," from the Pepys collection: "whether it may be thought to have suggested the hint to Shakspeare or is not rather of latter date," says Percy, "the reader must determine:"
Now as fame does report, a young duke keeps a court, One that pleases his fancy with frolicksome sport: But amongst all the rest, here is one, I protest, Which will make you to smile when you hear the true jest: A poor tinker he found lying drunk on the ground, As secure in a sleep as if laid in a swownd.
The duke said to his men, William, Richard, and Ben, Take him home to my palace, we'll sport with him then. O'er a horse he was laid, and with care soon convey'd To the palace, altho' he was poorly arrai'd; Then they stript off his cloaths, both his shirt, shoes, and hose, And they put him in bed for to take his repose.
Having pull'd off his shirt, which was all over durt, They did give him clean holland, this was no great hurt: On a bed of soft down, like a lord of renown, They did lay him to sleep the drink out of his crown. In the morning when day, then admiring[FN#484] he lay, For to see the rich chamber both gaudy and gay.
Now he lay something late, in his rich bed of state, Till at last knights and squires they on him did wait; And the chamberling bare, then did likewise declare, He desired to know what apparel he'd ware: The poor tinker amaz'd, on the gentleman gaz'd, And admired how he to this honour was rais'd.
Tho' he seem'd something mute, yet he chose a rich suit, Which he straitways put on without longer dispute; With a star on his side, which the tinker offt ey'd, And it seem'd for to swell him no little with pride; For he said to himself, Where is Joan my sweet wife? Sure she never did see me so fine in her life.
From a convenient place, the right duke his good grace Did observe his behavior in every case. To a garden of state, on the tinker they wait, Trumpets sounding before him: thought he this is great: Where an hour or two, pleasant walks he did view, With commanders and squires in scarlet in blew.
A find dinner was drest, both for him and his guests, He was placed at the table above all the rest, In a rich chair, or bed, lin'd with fine crimson red, With a rich golden canopy over his head: As he sat at his meat, the musick play'd sweet, With the choicest of singing his joys to compleat.
While the tinker did dine, he had plenty of wine. Rich canary with sherry and tent superfine, Like a right honest soul, faith, he took off his bowl, Till at last he began for to tumble and roul From his chair to the floor, where he sleeping did snore, Being seven times drunker than ever before.
Then the duke did ordain, they should strip him amain, And restore him his old leather garments again: 'Twas a point next the worst, yet perform it they must, And they carry'd him strait, where they found him at first; Then he slept all the night, as indeed well he might, But when he did waken, his joys took their flight.
For his glory to him so pleasant did seem, That he thought it to be but a meer golden dream; Till at length he was brought to the duke, where he sought For a pardon as fearing he had set him at nought; But his highness he said, Thou'rt a jolly bold blade, Such a frolick before I think never was plaid.
Then his highness bespoke him a new suit and cloak, Which he gave for the sake of this frolicksome joak; Nay, and five hundred pound, with ten acres of ground Thou shalt never, said he, range the counteries round, Crying old brass to mend, for I'll be thy good friend, Nay, and Joan thy sweet wife shall my duchess attend.
Then the tinker reply'd, What! must Joan my sweet bride Be a lady in chariots of pleasure to ride? Must we have gold and land ev'ry day at command? Then I shall be a squire I well understand: Well I thank your good grace, and your love I embrace, I was never before in so happy a case.
The same story is also cited in the "Anatomy of Melancholy," part 2, memb. 4, from Ludovicus Vives in Epist.[FN#485] and Pont. Heuter in Rerum Burgund., as follows:
"It is reported of Philippus Bonus, that good Duke of Burgundy, that the said duke, at the marriage of Eleonora, sister to the King of Portugal, at Bruges in Flanders, which was solemnized in the deep of winter, when as by reason of the unseasonable (!) weather he could neither hawk nor hunt, and was now tyred with cards, dice, &c., and such other domestical sports, or to see ladies dance, with some of his courtiers, he would in the evening walk disguised all about the town. It so fortuned as he was walking late one night, he found a country fellow dead drunk, snorting on a bulk; he caused his followers to bring him to his palace, and there stripping him of his old clothes, and attiring him after the court fashion, when he waked, he and they were all ready to attend upon his excellency, persuading him that he was some great duke. The poor fellow, admiring how he came there, was served in state all the day long; after supper he saw them dance, heard musick, and the rest of those court-like pleasures; but late at night, when he was well-tipled, and again fast asleep they put on his old robes, and so conveyed him to the place where they first found him. Now the fellow had not made them so good sport the day before, as he did when he returned to himself; all the jest was to see how he looked upon it. In conclusion, after some little admiration, the poor man told his friends he had seen a vision, constantly beleeved it, would not otherwise be perswaded; and so the jest ended."
I do not think that this is a story imported from the East: the adventure is just as likely to have happened in Bruges as in Baghdad; but the exquisite humor of the Arabian tale is wanting- -even Shakspeare's Christopher Sly is not to be compared with honest Abu al-Hasan the Wag.
This story of the Sleeper and the Waker recalls the similar device practised by the Chief of the Assassins—that formidable, murderous association, the terror of the Crusades—on promising novices. Von Hammer, in his "History of the Assassins," end of Book iv., gives a graphic description of the charming gardens into which the novices were carried while insensible from hashish:
In the center of the Persian as well as the Assyrian territory of the Assassins, that is to say, both at Alamut and Massiat, were situated, in a space surrounded by walls, splendid gardens—true Eastern paradises. There were flower-beds and thickets of fruit-trees, intersected by canals, shady walks, and verdant glades, where the sparkling stream bubbled at every step; bowers of roses and vineyards; luxurious halls and porcelain kiosks, adorned with Persian carpets and Grecian stuffs, where drinking-vessels of gold, silver, and crystal glittered on trays of the same costly materials; charming maidens and handsome boys of Muhammed's Paradise, soft as the cushions on which they reposed, and intoxicating as the wine which they presented. The music of the harp was mingled with the songs of birds, and the melodious tones of the songstress harmonized with the murmur of the brooks. Everything breathed pleasure, rapture, and sensuality. A youth, was deemed worthy by his strength and resolution to be initiated into the Assassin service, was invited to the table and conversation of the grand master, or grand prior; he was then intoxicated with hashish and carried into the garden, which on awaking he believed to be Paradise; everything around him, the houris in particular, contributing to confirm the delusion. After he had experienced as much of the pleasures of Paradise, which the Prophet has promised to the faithful, as his strength would admit; after quaffing enervating delight from the eyes of the houris and intoxicating wine from the glittering goblets; he sank into the lethargy produced by debility and the opiate, on awakening from which, after a few hours, he again found himself by the side of his superior. The latter endeavored to convince him that corporeally he had not left his side, but that spiritually he had been wrapped into Paradise and had there enjoyed a foretaste of the bliss which awaits the faithful who devote their lives to the service of the faith and the obedience of their chiefs.
THE TEN WAZIRS; OR, THE HISTORY OF KING AZADBAKHT AND HIS SON Vol. XI. p. 37.
The precise date of the Persian original of this romance ("Bakhtyar Nama") has not been ascertained, but it was probably composed before the beginning of the fifteenth century, since there exists in the Bodleian Library a unique Turki version, in the Uygur language and characters, which was written in 1434. Only three of the tales have hitherto been found in other Asiatic storybooks. The Turki version, according to M. Jaubert, who gives an account of the MS. and a translation of one of the tales in the Journal Asiatique, tome x. 1827, is characterised by "great sobriety of ornament and extreme simplicity of style, and the evident intention on the part of the translator to suppress all that may not have appeared to him sufficiently probable, and all that might justly be taxed with exaggeration;" and he adds that "apart from the interest which the writing and phraseology of the work may possess for those who study the history of languages, it is rather curious to see how a Tatar translator sets to work to bring within the range of his readers stories embellished in the original with descriptions and images familiar, doubtless, to a learned and refined nation like the Persians, for foreign to shepherds."
At least three different versions are known to the Malays- -different in the frame, or leading story, if not in the subordinate tales. One of those is described in the second volume of Newbold's work on Malacca, the frame of which is similar to the Persian original and its Arabian derivative, excepting that the name of the king is Zadbokhtin and that of the minister's daughter (who is nameless in the Persian) is Mahrwat. Two others are described in Van den Berg's account of Malay, Arabic, Javanese and other MSS. published at Batavia, 1877: p. 21, No. 132 is entitled "The History of Ghulam, son of Zadbukhtan, King of Adan, in Persia," and the frame also corresponds with our version, with the important difference that the robber-chief who had brought up Ghulam, "learning that he had become a person of consequence, came to his residence to visit him, but finding him imprisoned, he was much concerned, and asked the king's pardon on his behalf, telling him at the same time how he had formerly found Ghulam in the jungle; from which the king knew that Ghulam was his son." The second version noticed by Van den Berg (p. 32, No. 179), though similar in title to the Persian original, "History of Prince Bakhtyar," differs very materially in the leading story, the outline of which is as follows: This prince, when his father was put to flight by a younger brother, who wished to dethrone him, was born in a jungle, and abandoned by his parents. A merchant named Idris took charge of him and brought him up. Later on he became one of the officers of state with his own father, who had in the meanwhile found another kingdom, and decided with fairness, the cases brought before him. He was, however, put in prison on account of a supposed attempt on the king's life, and would have been put to death had he not stayed the execution by telling various beautiful stories. Even the king came repeatedly to listen to him. At one of these visits Bakhtyar's foster-father Idris was present, and related to his adopted son how he had found him in the jungle. The king, on hearing this, perceived that it was his son who had been brought up by Idris, recognised Bakhtyar as such, as made over to him the kingdom."—I have little doubt that this romance is of Indian extraction.
STORY OF KING DADBIN AND HIS WAZIRS.—Vol. XI. p. 68.
This agrees pretty closely with the Turki version of the same story (rendered into French by M. Jaubert), though in the latter the names of the characters are the same as in the Persian, King Dadin and the Wazirs Kamgar and Kardar. In the Persian story, the damsel is tied hands and feet and placed upon a camel, which is then turned into a dreary wilderness. "Here she suffered from the intense heat and from thirst; but she resigned herself to the will of Providence, conscious of her own innocence. Just then the camel lay down, and on the spot a fountain of delicious water suddenly sprang forth; the cords which bound her hands and feet dropped off; she refreshed herself by a draught of the water, and fervently returned thanks to Heaven for this blessing and her wonderful preservation." This two-fold miracle does not appear in the Turki and Arabian versions. It is not the cameleer of the King of Persia, but of King Dadin, who meets with the pious damsel in the wilderness. He takes her to his own house and one day relates his adventure to King Dadin, who expresses a wish to see such a prodigy of sanctity. The conclusion of the Persian story is quite dramatic: The cameleer, having consented, returned at once to his house, accompanied by the king, who waited at the door of the apartment where the daughter of Kamgar was engaged in prayer. When she had concluded he approached, and with astonishment recognised her. Having tenderly embraced her, he wept, and entreated her forgiveness. This she readily granted, but begged that he would conceal himself in the apartment while she should converse with Kardar, whom she sent for. When he arrived, and beheld her with a thousand expressions of fondness, he inquired how she had escaped, and told her that on the day the king had banished her into the wilderness, he had sent people to seek her and bring her to him. "How much better would it have been," he added, "had you followed my advice, and agreed to my proposal of poisoning the king, who, I said, would one day destroy you as he had done your father! But you rejected my advice, and declared yourself ready to submit to whatever Providence should decree. Hereafter you will pay more attention to my words. But now let us not think of what is past. I am your slave, and you are dearer to me than my own eyes." So saying, he attempted to clasp the daughter of Kamgar in his arms, when the king, who was concealed behind the hangings, rushed furiously on him and put him to death. After this he conducted the damsel to his palace, and constantly lamented his precipitancy in having killed her father.—This tale seems to have been taken from the Persian "Tuti Nama," or Parrot-book, composed by Nahkshabi about the year 1306;[FN#486] it occurs in the 51st Night of the India Office MS. 2573, under the title of "Story of the Daughter of the Vazir Khassa, and how she found safety through the blessing of her piety:" the name of the king is Bahram, and the Wazirs are called Khassa and Khalassa.
STORY OF AYLAN SHAH AND ABU TAMMAM—Vol. XI p. 82.
The catastrophe of this story forms the subject of the Lady's 37th tale in the text of the Turkish "Forty Vezirs," translated by Mr. E. J. W. Gibb. This is how it goes:
In the palace of the world there was a king, and that king had three vezirs, but there was rivalry between them. Two of them day and night incited the king against the third, saying, "He is a traitor." But the king believed them not. At length they promised two pages much gold, and instructed them thus: "When the king has lain down, ere he yet fall asleep, do ye feign to think him asleep, and while talking with each other, say at a fitting time, 'I have heard from such a one that yon vezir says this and that concerning the king, and that he hates him; many people say that vezir is an enemy to our king.'" So they did this, and when the king heard this, he said in his heart, "What those vezirs said is then true; when the very pages have heard it somewhat it must indeed have some foundation. Till now, I believed not those vezirs, but it is then true." And the king executed that vezir. The other vezirs were glad and gave the pages the gold they had promised. So they took it and went to a private place, and while they were dividing it one of them said, "I spake first; I want more." The other said, "If I had not said he was an enemy to our king, the king would not have killed him; I shall take more." And while they were quarrelling with one another the king passed by there, and he listened attentively to their words, and when he learned of the matter, he said, "Dost thou see, they have by a trick made us kill that hapless vezir." And he was repentant.
STORY OF KING SULAYMAN SHAH AND HIS NIECE.—Vol. XI. p. 97.
The Persian original has been very considerably amplified by the Arabian translator. In the "Bakhtyar Nama" there is not a word about the two brothers and their fair cousin, the attempted murder of the infant, and the adventures of the fugitive young prince. This story has also been taken from the "Tuti Nama" of Nakhshabu, Night the 50th of the Indian Office MS. 2573, where, under the title of "Story of the Daughter of the Kaysar of Roum, and her trouble by reason of her son," it is told somewhat as follows:
In former times there was a great king, whose army was numerous and whose treasury was full to overflowing; but, having no enemy to contend with, he neglected to pay his soldiers, in consequence of which they were in a state of destitution and discontent. At length one day the soldiers went to the prime minister and made their condition known to him. The vazir promised that he would speedily devise a plan by which they should have employment and money. Next morning he presented himself before the king, and said that it was widely reported the Kaysar of Rou, had a daughter unsurpassed for beauty—one who was fit only for such a great monarch as his Majesty; and suggested that it would be advantageous if an alliance were formed between two such great potentates. The notion pleased the king well, and he forthwith despatched to Roum an ambassador with rich gifts, and requested the Kaysar to grant him his daughter in marriage. But the Kaysar waxed wroth at this, and refused to give his daughter to the king. When the ambassador returned thus unsuccessful, the king, enraged at being made of no account, resolved to make war upon the Kaysar; so, opening the doors of his treasury, he distributed much money among his troops, and then, "with a woe-bringing host, and a blood-drinking army, he trampled Roum and the folk of Roum in the dust." And when the Kaysar was become powerless, he sent his daughter to the king, who married her according to the law of Islam.
Now that princess had a son by a former husband, and the Kaysar had said to her before she departed, "Beware that thou mention not thy son, for my love for his society is great, and I cannot part with him."[FN#487] But the princess was sick at heart for the absence of her son, and she was ever pondering how she should speak to the king about him, and in what manner she might contrive to bring him to her. It happened one day the king gave her a string of pearls and a casket of jewels. She said, "With my father is a slave who is well skilled in the science of jewels." The king replied, "If I should ask that slave of thy father, would he give him to me?" "Nay," said she, "for he holds him in the place of a son. But if the king desire him, I will send a merchant to Roum, and I myself will give him a token, and with pleasant wiles and fair speeches will bring him hither." Then the king sent for a clever merchant who knew Arabic eloquently and the language of Roum, and gave him goods for trading and sent him to Roum with the object of procuring the slave. But the daughter of the Kaysar said privily to the merchant, "That slave is my son; I have, for a good reason, said to the king that he is a slave; so thou must bring him as a slave, and let it be thy duty to take care of him." In due course the merchant brought the youth to the king's service; and when the king saw his fair face, and discovered in him many pleasing and varied accomplishments, he treated him with distinction and favour, and conferred on the merchant a robe of honour and gifts. His mother saw him from afar, and was pleased with receiving a secret salutation from him.
One day the eking had gone to the chase, and the palace remained void of rivals; so the mother called in her son, kissed his fair face, and told him the tale of her great sorrow. A chamberlain became aware of the secret and another suspicion fell upon him, and he said to himself, "The harem of the king is the sanctuary of security and the palace of protection. If I speak not of this, I shall be guilty of treachery and shall have wrought unfaithfulness." When the king returned from the chase, the chamberlain related to him what he had seen, and the eking was angry and said, "This woman hath deceived me with words and deeds, and has brought hither her desire by craft and cunning. This conjecture must be true, else why did she play such a trick? And why did she hatch such a plot? And why did she send the merchant?" Then the king, enraged, went into the harem, and the queen saw from his countenance that the occurrence of the night before had become known to him, and she said, "Be it not that I see the king angry?" He said, "How should I not be angry? Thou, by craft and trickery, and intrigue, and plotting, hast brought thy desire from Roum—what wantonness is this that thou hast done?" And then he thought to slay her, but he forbore, because of his great love for her. But he ordered the chamberlain to carry the youth to some obscure place, and straightway sever his head from his body. When the poor mother saw this, she well-nigh fell on her face, and her soul was near leaving her body. But she knew that sorry would not avail, and so she restrained herself.