them and tell them that thou hast come on business of the Caliph. Thou must also say thou hast heard that Damascus is a very fine city and a hospitable, and add, I will go in to visit it and if it prove favourable to me I will remain and marry to establish between myself and its inhabitants relationship and friendship, and I would like you to seek for me a man of high position and noble origin who hath a beautiful cousin that I may marry. Attaf then said to Ja'afar, O my lord, we know one who hath a daughter of noble origin, that man is such-and-such an one, ask her of him for betrothal and say to him, Here is her dowry, which is all that thou hast in the chests. Then produce a purse of a thousand dinars and distribute them among those present, and display the characteristic of the Barmekys, and take out a piece of silken stuff and order them to draw up the marriage contract immediately. If they sign it, declare to them that thou wilt not enter the city because thou art pressed and thy bride will come to thee. Should thou do thus, thou wilt accomplish what thou desirest, God willing, then leave instantly and order that the tents be struck, the camels loaded, and set out for thine own country in peace. Know that all I shall do for you is little for the rights of friendship and devotedness. Ja'afar sprang up to kiss the hand of Attaf, but was prevented, then he thanked him and praised him and passed the night with him. The next morning at break of day he arose, made his ablutions, and having recited his morning prayer, accompanied his host to the outside of the city. Attaf ordered a great tent to be pitched and that everything necessary should be carried to it; of horses, camels, mules, slaves, mamelukes, chests containing all kinds of articles for distribution, and boxes holding purses of gold and silver. He dressed his guest in a robe worthy of a Wazir, and set up for him a throne and sent some slaves to the Naib of Damascus to announce the arrival of Ja'afar on business of the Caliph. As soon as the Naib of Damascus was informed of that, he went out accompanied by the notables of the city and of his government and met the Wazir Ja'afar, and kissing the ground between his hands, said to him, O my lord, why didst thou not inform me sooner in order that we might be prepared for thine arrival. Ja'afar said, That was not necessary, may God augment thy wealth, I have not come but with the intention to visit this city; I desire to stay in it for some time and I would also marry in it. I have learned that the Amir 'Amr has a daughter of noble descent, I wish thou wouldst cause her to be brought before thee and that thou betroth her to me. The Naib of Damascus said, Hearing is obeying. Her husband hath divorced her and desireth to go to al-Hejaz on the pilgrimage, and after her 'iddah hath expired and there remaineth not any impediment the betrothal can take place. At the proper time the Naib of Damascus caused to be present the father of the lady and spoke to him of what the Wazir Ja'afar had said and that he should betroth his daughter, so that there was nothing more for the father to say than, I hear and I obey. The Rawi says that Ja'afar ordered to be brought the dress of honour and the gold from the purses to be thrown out for distribution and commanded the presence of the Kady and witnesses; and, when they arrived, he bade them write the marriage contract. Then he brought forward and presented the ten chests and the ten purses of gold, the dowry of the bride, and all those present, high and low, and rich and poor gave him their best wishes and congratulations. After the father of the lady had taken the dowry he ordered the Kady to draw up the contract and presented to him a piece of satin; he also called for sugar-water to drink and set before them the table of viands, and they ate and washed their hands. Afterwards they served sweet dishes and fruits; and when that was finished and the contract passed, the Naib of Damascus said to the Wazir, O my lord, I will prepare a house for thy residence and for the reception of thy wife. Ja'afar said, That cannot be; I am here on a commission of the Commander of the Faithful, and I wish to take my wife with me to Baghdad and only there can I have the bridal ceremonies. The father of the lady said, Enter unto thy bride and depart when thou wilt. Ja'afar replied, I cannot do that, but I wish thee to make up the trousseau of thy daughter and have it ready so as to depart this very day. We only wait, said the father of the bride, for the Naib of Damascus to retire, to do what the Wazir commands. He answered, With love and good will; and the lady's father set about getting together the trousseau and making her ready. He took her out and got her trousseau, mounted her upon a Hodaj, and when she arrived at Ja'afar's camp her people made their adieus and departed. When Ja'afar had ridden to some distance from Damascus and had arrived at Tiniat el 'Iqab he looked behind him and perceived in the distance in the direction of Damascus a horseman galloping towards him; so he stopped his attendants and when the rider had come near them Ja'afar looked at him and behold it was Attaf. He had come out after him and cried, Hasten not, O my brother. And when he came up he embraced him and said, O my lord, I have found no rest without thee, O my brother Abu 'l-Hasan, it would have been better for me never to have seen thee nor known thee, for now I cannot support thine absence. Ja'afar thanked him and said to him, I have not been able to act against what thou hast prescribed for me and provided, but we pray God to bring near our reunion and never more separate us. He is Almighty to do what He willeth. After that Ja'afar dismounted and spread a silken carpet and they sat down together, and Attaf laid a tablecloth with duck, chicken, sweets and other delicacies, of which they ate and he brought out dry fruits and wine. They drank for an hour of the day when they remounted their horses and Attaf accompanied Ja'afar a way on the journey, when Ja'afar said to him, Every departer must return, and he pressed him to his breast and kissed him and said to him, O my brother Abu 'l-Hasan, do not interrupt the sending of thy letters; but make known to me about thyself, and thy condition as if I were present with thee. Then they bade each other adieu and each went on his way. When the young wife noticed that the camels had stopped on their march as well as their people, she put out her head from the Hodaj and saw her cousin dismounting with Ja'afar and they eating and drinking together and then in company to the end of the road where they bade adieu exchanging a recitation of poetry. So she said, The one, Wallahy, is my cousin Attaf and the other the man whom I saw seated under the window, and upon whom I sprinkled the water. Doubtless he is the friend of my cousin. He hath been seized with love for me, and complaining to my cousin, hath given him a description of me and of my house; and the devotedness of his character and the greatness of his soul must have impelled him to divorce me and to take steps to marry me to that man. The Rawi says that Attaf in bidding good-bye to Ja'afar left him joyful in the possession of the young lady for whom he was on the point of ruin by his love, and in having made the friendship of Attaf whom he intended to reward in gratitude for what he had done by him. So glad was he to have the young wife that everything that had taken place with Er-Rashid had passed out of his mind. In the meanwhile she was crying and lamenting over what had happened to her, her separation from her cousin and from her parents and her country, and bemoaning what she did and what she had been; and her scalding tears flowed while she recited these verses:—
I weep for these places and these beauties; blame not the lover if some day he's insane: For the places the dear ones inhabit. O praise be to God! how sweet is their dwelling! God protect the past days while with you, my dear friends, and in the same house may happiness join us!
On finishing this recitation she wept and lamented and recited again:—
I'm astonished at living without you at the troubles that come upon us: I wish for you, dear absent ones, my wounded heart is still with you.
Then, still crying and lamenting, she went on:—
O you to whom I gave my soul, return; from you I wish'd to pluck it, but could not succeed: Then pity the rest of a life that I've sacrificed for thee, before the hour of death my last look I will take: If all of thee be lost astonished I'll not be; my astonishment would be that his lot will be to another.
Presently the Wazir Ja'afar coming up to the Hodaj said to the young wife, O mistress of the Hodaj, thou hast killed us. When she heard this address she called to him with dejection and humility, We ought not to talk to thee for I am the cousin-wife of thy friend and companion Attaf, prince of generosity and devotion. If there be in thee any feeling of the self-denial of a man thou wilt do for him that which, in his devotion, he hath done for thee. When Ja'afar heard these words he became troubled and taking in the magnitude of the situation he said to the young lady, O thou! thou art then his cousin-wife? and said she, Yes! it is I whom thou sawest on such a day when this and that took place and thy heart attached itself to me. Thou hast told him all that. He divorced me, and while waiting for the expiration of my 'iddah diverted thee that such and such was the cause of all my trouble. Now I have explained to thee my situation: do thou the action of a man. When Ja'afar heard these words he uttered a loud cry and said, We are from God and to Him we return. O thou! thou art now to me an interdiction and hast become a sacred deposit until thy return to where it may please thee. Then said Ja'afar to a servant, Take good care of thy mistress. After which they set foward and travelled on day and night. Now Er-Rashid, after the departure of Ja'afar, became uneasy and sorrowful at his absence. He lost patience and was tormented with a great desire to see him again, while he regretted the conditions he had imposed as impossible to be complied with and obliging him to the extremity of tramping about the country like a vagabond, and forcing him to abandon his native land. He had sent envoys after him to search for him in every place, but he had never received any news of him, and was cast into great embarrassment by reason of his absence. He was always waiting to hear of him, and when Ja'afar had approached Baghdad and he, Er-Rashid, had received the good tidings of his coming, he went forth to meet him, and as soon as they came together they embraced each other, and the Caliph became content and joyful. They entered together into the palace and the Prince of True Believers seating Ja'afar at his side, said to him, Relate to me thy story where thou hast been during thine absence and what thou hast come upon. So Ja'afar told him then all that had happened from the time he left him until the moment of finding himself between his hands. Er-Rashid was greatly astonished and said, Wallahy, thou hast made me sorrowful for thine absence, and hast inspired me with great desire to see thy friend. My opinion is that thou divorce this young lady and put her on the road homeward accompanied by someone in whom thou hast confidence. If thy friend have an enemy he shall be our enemy, and if he have a friend he also shall be ours; after which we will make him come to us, and we shall see him and have the pleasure of hearing him and pass the time with him in joy. Such a man must not be neglected, we shall learn, by his generosity, bounty and useful things. Ja'afar answered, To hear is obedience. Then Ja'afar apportioned to the young lady a spacious house and servants and a handsome enclosure; and he treated with generosity those who had come with her as suite and followers. He also sent to her sets of furniture, mattresses and every thing else she might need, while he never intruded upon her and never saw her. He sent her his salutation and reassuring words that she should be returned to her cousin; and he made her a monthly allowance of a tousand dinars, besides the cost of her living. So far as to Ja'afar; but as to Attaf, when he had bidden adieu to Ja'afar and had returned to his country, those who were jealous of him took steps to ruin him with the Naib of Damascus, to whom they said, O our lord, what is it that hath made thee neglect Attaf? Dost thou not know that the Wazir was his friend and that he went out after him to bid him adieu after our people had returned, and accompanied him as far as Katifa, when Ja'afar said to him, Hast thou need of anything O Attaf? he said Yes. Of what? asked the Wazir, and he answered, That thou send me an imperial rescript removing the Naib of Damascus. Now this was promised to him, and the most prudent thing is that thou invite him to breakfast before he takes you to supper; success is in the opportunity and the assaulted profiteth by the assaulter. The Naib of Damascus replied, Thou has spoken well, bring him to me immediately. The Naib of Damascus replied, Thou hast spoken well, bring him to me immediately. The Rawi says that Attaf was in his own house, ignorant that anyone owed him grudge, when suddenly in the night he was surrounded and seized by the people of the Naib of Damascus armed with swords and clubs. They beat him until he was covered with blood, and they dragged him along until they set him in presence of the Pasha of Damascus who ordered the pillage of his house and of his slaves and his servants and all his property and they took everything, his family and his domestics and his goods. Attaf asked, What is my crime? and he answered, O scoundrel, thou art an ignorant fellow of the rabble, dost dispute with the Naibat of Damascus? Then the Swordman was ordered to strike his neck, and the man came forward and, cutting off a piece of his robe, with it blindfolded his eyes, and was about to strike his neck when one of the Emirs arose and said, Be not hasty, O my lord, but wait, for haste is the whisper of Satan, and the proverb saith: Man gaineth his ends by patience, and error accompanieth the hasty man. Then he continued, Do not press the matter of this man; perhaps he who hath spoken of him lieth and there is nobody without jealousy; so have patience, for thou mayest have to regret the taking of his life unjustly. Do not rest easy upon what may come to thee on the part of the Wazir Ja'afar, and if he learn what thou hast done by this man be not sure of thy life on his part. He will admit of no excuse for he was his friend and companion. When the Naib of Damascus heard that he awoke from his slumber and conformed to the words of the Emir. He ordered that Attaf should be put in prison, enchained and with a padlock upon his neck, and bade them, after severely tightening the bonds, illtreat him. They dragged him out, listening neither to his prayers nor his supplications; and he cried every night, doing penance to God and praying to Him for deliverance from his affliction and his misfortune. In that condition he remained for three months. But one night as he woke up he humiliated himself before God and walked about his prison, where he saw no one; then, looking before him, he espied an opening leading from the prison to the outside of the city. He tried himself against his chain and succeeded in opening it; then, taking it from his neck, he went out from the gaol running at full speed. He concealed himself in a place, and darkness protected him until the opening of the city gate, when he went out with the people and hastening his march he arrived at Aleppo and entered the great mosk. There he saw a crod of strangers on the point of departure and Attaf asked them whither they were going, and they answered, To Baghdad. Whereupon he cried, And I with you. They said, Upon the earth is our weight, but upon Allah is our nourishment. Then they went on their march until they arrived at Koufa after a travel of twenty days, and then continued journeying till they came to Baghdad. Here Attaf saw a city of strong buildings, and very rich in elegant palaces reaching to the clouds, a city containing the learned and the ignorant, and the poor and the rich, and the virtuous and the evil doer. He entered the city in a miserable dress, rags upon his shoulders, and upon his head a dirty, conical cap, and his hair had become long and hanging over his eyes and his entire condition was most wretched. He entered one of the mosks. For two days he had not eaten. He sat down, when a vagabond entered the mosk and seating himself in front of Attaf threw off from his shoulder a bag from which he took out bread and a chicken, and bread again and sweets and an orange, and olive and date-cake and cucumbers. Attaf looked at the man and at his eating, which was as the table of 'Isa son of Miriam (upon whom be peace!). For four months he had not had a sufficient meal and he said to himself, I would like to have a mouthful of this good cheer and a piece of this bread, and then cried for very hunger. The fellow looked at him and said, Bravo! why dost thou squint and do what strangers do? By the protection of God, if you weep tears enough to fill the Jaxartes and the Bactrus and the Dajlah and the Euphrates and the river of Basrah and the stream of Antioch and the Orontees and the Nile of Egypt and the Salt Sea and the ebb and the flow of the Ocean, I will not let thee taste a morsel. But, said the buffoon, if thou wish to eat of chicken and white bread and lamb and sweets and mutton patties, go thou to the house of Ja'afar son of Yahya the Barmeky, who hath received hospitality from a Damascus man named Attaf. He bestoweth charity in honour of him in this manner, and he neither getteth up nor sitteth down without speaking of him. Now when Attaf heard these words from the buffoon he looked up to heaven and said, O Thou whose attributes are inscrutable, bestow thy benefits upon thy servant Attaf. Then he recited this couplet:—
Confide thy affairs to thy Creator; set aside thy pains and dismiss thy thoughts.
Then Attaf went to a paper-seller and got from him a piece of paper and borrowed an inkstand and wrote as follows:—From thy brother Attaf whom God knoweth. Let him who hath possessed the world not flatter himself, he will some day be cast down and will lose it in his bitter fate. If thou see me thou wilt not recognise me for my poverty and my misery; and, because of the change in situation and the reverses of the times, my soul and body are reduced by hunger, by the long journey I have made, until at last I have come to thee. And peace be with thee. Then he folded the paper and returning the pencase to its owner asked for the house of Ja'afar, and when it was shown to him he went there and stood at a distance before it. The doorkeepers saw him standing, neither commencing nor repeating a word, and nobody spoke to him, but as he was thus standing embarassed, an eunuch dressed in a striped robe and golden belt passed by him. Attaf remained, motionless before him, then went up to him, kissed his hands and said to him, O my lord, the Apostle of Allah (upon whom be peace and salutation) hath said, The medium of a good deed is like him who did it, and he who did it belongeth to the dwellers in heaven. The man said to him, What is thy need? and said he, I desire of thy goodness to send in this paper to thy lord and say to him, Thy brother Attaf is standing at the door. When the servant heard his words he got into a great and excessive rage so that his eyes swelled in his head and he asked, O cursed one, thou art then the brother of the Wazir Ja'afar! and as he had in his hand a rod with a golden end, he struck Attaf with it in the face and his blood flowed and he fell full length to the ground in his weakness from weeping and from receiving the blow. The Rawi says that God hath placed the instinct of good in the heart of some domestics, even as he hath placed that of evil in the heart of others. Another of the domestics was raised up against his companion by good will to Attaf and reproved him for striking the stranger and was answered, Didst thou not hear, O brother, that he pretended to be the brother of the Wazir Ja'afar? and the second one said, O man of evil, son of evil, slave of evil, O cursed one, O hog! is Ja'afar one of the prophets? is he not a dog of the earth like ourselves? Men are all brethren, of one father and one mother, of Adam and of Eve; and the poet hath said:—
Men by comparison all are brethren, their father is Adam their mother is Eve;
but certain people are preferable to others. Then he came up to Attaf and made him be seated and wiped off the blood from his face and washed him and shook off the dust that was upon him and said, O my brother, what is thy need? and said he, My need is the sending of this paper to Ja'afar. The servant took the paper from his hand and going in to Ja'afar the Barmeky found there the officers of the Governor and the Barmekys standing at his service on his right and on his left; and Ja'afar the Wazir who held in his hand a cup of wine was reciting poetry and playing and saying, O you all here assembled, the absent from the eye is not like the present in the heart; he is my brother and my friend and my benefactor, Attaf of Damascus, who was continuous in his generosity and his bounty and his benfactions to me; who for me divorced his cousin-wife and gave her to me. He made me presents of horses and slaves and damsels and stuffs in quantities that I might furnish her dower; and, if he had not acted thus, I should certainly have been ruined. He was my benefactor without knowing who I was, and generous to me without any idea of profiting by it. The Rawi says that when the good servant heard these words from his lord he rejoiced and coming forward he kneeled down before him and presented the paper. When Ja'afar read it he was in a state of intoxication and not being able to discern what he was doing he fell on his face to the floor while holding the paper and the glass in his hand, and he was wounded in the forehead so his blood ran and he fainted and the paper fell from his grasp. When the servant saw that he hastened to depart fearing the consequence; and the Wazir Ja'afar's friends seated their lord and staunched the blood. They exclaimed, There is no power and strength but in God the High, the Mighty. Such is the character of servants; they trouble the life of kings in their pleasures and annoy them in their humours: Wallahy, the writer of this paper merits nothing less than to be handed over to the Wali who shall give him five hundred lashes and put him in prison. Thereupon the Wazir's doorkeeper went out and asked for the owner of the paper, when Attaf answered, 'Tis I, O my lord. Then they seized him and sent him to the Wali and ordered him to give one hundred blows of the stick to the prisoner and to write upon his chain "for life." Thus they did with Attaf and carried him to the prison where he remained for two months when a child was born to Harun er-Rashid, who then ordered that alms should be distributed, and good done to all, and bade liberate all that were in prison and among those that were set free was Attaf. When he found himself out of gaol, beaten and famished and naked, he looked up to heaven and exclaimed, Thanks be to thee, O Lord, in every situation, and crying said, It must be for some fault committed by me in the past, for God had taken me into favour and I have said repaid Him in disobedience; but I pray to Him for pardon for having gone too far in my debauchery. Then he recited these verses:—
O God! the worshipper doth what he should not do; he is poor, depending on Thee: In the pleasures of life he forgetteth himself, in his ignorance, pardon Thou his faults.
Then he cried again and said to himself, What shall I do? If I set out for my country I may not reach it; if I arrive there, there will be no safety for my life on teh part of the Naib, and if I remain here nobody knoweth me among the beggars and I cannot be for them of any use nor for myself as an aid or an intermediate. As for me, I had hope in that man, that he would raise me from my poverty. The affair hath turned out contrary to my expectations, and the poet was right when he said:—
O friend, I've run o'er the world west and east; all that I met with was pain and fatigue: I've frequented the men of the age, but never have found e'en a friend grateful not even to me.
Once more he cried and exclaimed, God give me the grace of patience. After that he got up and walked away, and entered one of the mosks and staid there until afternoon. His hunger increased and he said, By Thy magnanimity and Thy majesty I shall ask nothing of anyone but of Thee. He remained in the mosk until it became dark when he went out for something, saying to himself, I have heard a call from the Prophet (on whom be the blessing and peace of Allah!) which said, God forbiddeth sleep in the Sanctuary and forbiddeth it to His worshippers. Then he arose, and went out from the mosk to some distance when he entered a ruined building after walking an hour, and here he stumbled in the darkness and fell upon his face. He saw something before him that he had struck with his foot and felt it move, and this was a lad that had been slain and a knife was in his side. Attaf rose up from off the body, his clothes stained with blood; he stood motionless and embarrassed, and while in that situation the Wali and his policemen stood at the door of the ruin and Attaf said to them, Come in and search. They entered with their torches and found the body of the murdered lad and the knife in him and the miserable Attaf standing at the head with his clothes stained with blood. When a man with a scarf saw him he arrested him and said to him, O Wretch, 'tis thou killedst him. Attaf said, Yes. Then said the Wali, Pinion him and take him to prison until we make our report to the Wazir Ja'afar. If he orders his death we will execute him. They did as ordered, and the next day the man with the scarf wrote to the Wazir, We went into a ruin and found there a man who had killed a lad and we interrogated him and he confessed that it was he who had done the deed, what are thine orders? The Wazir commanded them to put him to death; so they took Attaf from the prison to the place of execution and cut off a piece of his garment and with it bandaged his eyes. The Sworder said, O my lord, shall I strike his neck? and the Wali said, Strike! He brandished the sword which whistled and glittered in the air and was about to strike, when a cry from behind, Stop thy hand! was heard, and it was the voice of the Wazir Ja'afar who was out on a promenade. The Wali went to him and kissed the earth before him and the Wazir said to him, What is this great gathering here? He answered, 'Tis the execution of a young man of Damascus whom we found yesterday in a ruin; he had killed a lad of noble blood and we found the knife with him and his clothes spotted with blood. When I said to him, Is it thou that killedst him? he replied Yes three times. To-day I sent to thee my written report and thine Excellency ordered his death, saying, Let the sentence of God be executed, and now I have brought him out that his neck may be struck. Ja'afar said, Oh, hath a man of Damascus come into our country to find himself in a bad condition? Wallahy, that shall never be! Then he ordered that he should be brought to him. The Wazir did not recognise him, for Attaf's air of ease and comfort had disappeared; so Ja'afar said to him, From what country art thou, O young man, and he answered, I am a man from Damascus. From the city or from the villages? Wallahy, O my lord, from Damascus city where I was born. Ja'afar asked, Didst thou happen to known there a man named Attaf? I know when thou wast his friend and he lodged thee in such-and-such a house and thou wentest out to such-and-such a garden; and I know when thou didst marry his cousin-wife, I know when he bade adieu to thee at Katifa where thou drankest with him. Ja'afar said, Yes, all that is true, but what became of him after he left me? He said, O my Lord, there happened to him this and that and he related to him everything from the time he quitted him up to the moment of his standing before him and then recited these verses:—
This age, must it make me its victim, and thou at the same time art living: wolves are seeking to devour me while thou the lion art here. Every thirsty one that cometh his thirst is quenched by thee: can it be that I thirst while thou art still our refuge?
When he had finished the verses he said, O my lord, I am Attaf, and then recalled all that had taken place between them from first to last. While he was thus speaking a great cry was heard, and it came from a Sheikh who was saying, This is not humanity. They looked at the speaker, who was an old man with trimmed beard dyed with henna, and upon him was a blue kerchief. When Ja'afar saw him he asked him what was the matter, and he exclaimed, Take away the young man from under the sword, for there is no fault in him: he hath killed no one nor doth he know anything of the dead youth. Nobody but myself is the killer. The Wazir said, Then 'tis thou that killed him? and he answered. Yes.—Why didst thou kill him? hast thou not the fear of God in killing a Hashimy child? The old man said, He was my servant, serving me in the house and working with me at my trade. Every day he took from me some quarter-pieces of money and went to work for another man called Shumooshag, and to work with Nagish, and with Gasis, and with Ghubar, and with Gushir, and every day working with someone. They were jealous of my having him. 'Odis the sweeper and Abu Butran the stoker, and everyone wanted to have him. In vain I corrected him, but he would not abide corrected and ceased not to do thus until I killed him in the ruin, and I have delivered myself from the torment he gave me. That is my story. I kept silent until I saw thee when I made myself known at the time thou savest the head of this young man from the sword. Here I am standing before you: strike my neck and take life for life. Pray do no harm to this young man, for he hath committed no fault. The Wazir said, Neither to thee nor to him. Then he ordered to be brought the parents of the dead lad and reconciled them with the old man, whom he pardoned. He mounted Attaf upon a horse and took him to his house; then he entered the palace of the Caliph and kissed the earth before him and said, Behold Attaf, he who was my host at Damascus, and of whom I have related his treatment of me and his kindness and generosity, and how he preferred me to himself. Er-Rashid said, Bring him in to me immediately. He presented him to the Caliph in the miserable state in which he had found him; and when he entered, he made his salutations in the best manner and with the most eloquent language. Er-Rashid answered and said to him, What is this state in which I find you? and Attaf wept and made his complaint in these verses:—
Troubles, poverty and distant sojourn far away from the dear ones, and a crushing desire to see them: The soul is in them, they became like their fellows, thus the enigma remains in the world; While the generous is stricken with misfortune and grief, where's the miser that finds not good fortune therein?
When Attaf had finished he conversed with the Caliph about his history and all his life from beginning to end; and Er-Rashid cried and suffered at what had happened to him after the loss of his riches, nor did he cease to weep with Ja'afar until the close of Attaf's story. The Sheikh who had killed the lad and had been liberated by Ja'afar came in and Er-Rashid laughed at seeing him. Then he caused Attaf to be seated and made him repeat his story. And when Attaf had finished speaking the Caliph looked at Ja'afar and said, The proverb goeth:—
Good for good, to the giver the merit remains; evil for evil, the doer's most cruel.
Afterwards the Caliph said to Ja'afar, Tell me what thou didst for thy brother Attaf before he came to thee, and he answered, O Commander of the Faithful, he came upon me suddenly, and I now prepare for him three millions of gold, and the like of it in horses, and in slaves, and in boys, and in dresses; and the Caliph said, From me the same. Here endeth the last leaf of the writ, but the Wari says that two days afterwards Ja'afar restored to his friend Attaf his beloved cousin-wife, saying to him, I have divorced her and now I deliver over to thee intact the precious deposit that thou didst place in my hands. Already hath the order from the Caliph been despatched to Damascus enjoining the arrest of the Naib, to place him in irons and imprison him until further notice. Attaf passed several months in Baghdad enjoying the pleasures of the city in company with his friend Ja'afar and Er-Rashid. He would have liked to have stayed there all his life, but numerous letters from his relations and his friends praying him to return to Damascus, he thought it his duty to do so, and asked leave of the Caliph, who granted it, not without regrets and fears for his future condition. Er-Rashid appointed him Wali of Damascus and gave him the imperial rescript; and a great escort of horses, mules and dromedaries, with abundant magnificent presents accompanied him as far as Damascus, where he was received with great pomp. All the city was illuminated as a mark of joy for the return of Attaf, so loved and respected by all classes of the people, and above all by the poor who had wept incessantly for him in his absence. As to the Naib, a second decree of the Caliph ordered his being put to death for his oppression of the people, but by the generous intercession of Attaf Er-Rashid contented himself with commuting the sentence to banishment. Attaf governed his people many years with justice and prosperity, protector of his happy subjects and in the enjoyment of the delights and pleasures of life, until the Angel of Death overtook him and summoned him to Paradise.
HISTORY OF PRINCE HABIB AND WHAT BEFEL HIM WITH THE LADY DURRAT AL-GHAWWAS.
Here we begin to indite the history of Sultan Habib and of what befel him with Durrat al-Ghawwas.[FN#378]
It is related (but Allah is All-knowing of His unknown and All- cognisant of what took place and forewent in the annals of folk!) that there was, in days of yore and in times and tides long gone before, a tribe of the tribes of the Arabs hight Banu Hilal[FN#379] whose head men were the Emir Hilal and the Emir Salamah.[FN#380] Now this Emir Salamah had well nigh told out his tale of days without having been blessed with boon of child; withal he was a ruler valiant, masterful, a fender of his foes and a noble knight of portly presence. He numbered by the thousand horsemen the notablest of cavaliers and he came to overrule three-score-and-six tribes of the Arabs. One chance night of the nights as he lay sleeping in the sweetness of slumber, a Voice addressed him saying, "Rise forthright and know thy wife, whereby she shall conceive under command of Allah Almighty." Being thus disturbed of his rest the Emir sprang up and compressed his spouse Kamar al-Ashraf;[FN#381] she became pregnant by that embrace and when her days came to an end she bare a boy as the full moon of the fulness-night who by his father's hest was named Habib.[FN#382] And as time went on his sire rejoiced in him with joy exceeding and reared him with fairest rearing and bade them teach him Koran-reading together with the glorious names of Almighty Allah and instruct him in writing and in all the arts and sciences. After this he bestowed robes of honour and gifts of money and raiment upon the teachers who had made the Sultan[FN#383] Habib, when he reached the age of seventeen, the most intelligent and penetrating and knowing amongst the sons of his time. And indeed men used to admire at the largeness of his understanding and were wont to say in themselves, "There is no help but that this youth shall rise to dignity (and what dignity!) whereof men of highmost intellect shall make loud mention." For he could write the seven caligraphs[FN#384] and he could recite traditions and he could improvise poetry; and, on one occasion when his father bade him versify impromptu, that he might see what might come thereof, he intoned,
"O my sire, I am lord of all lere man knows or knew— * Have enformed my vitals with lore and with legend true; Nor cease I repeat what knowledge this memory guards * And my writ as ruby and pearl doth appear to view."
So the Emir Salamah his sire marvelled at the elegance of his son's diction; and the Notables of the clan, after hearing his poetry and his prose, stood astounded at their excellence; and presently the father clasped his child to his breast and forthright summoned his governor, to whom there and then he did honour of the highmost. Moreover he largessed him with four camels carrying loads of gold and silver and he set him over one of his subject tribes of the Arabs; then said he to him, "Indeed thou hast done well, O Shaykh; so take this good and fare therewith to such a tribe and rule it with justice and equity until the day of thy death." Replied the governor, "O King of the Age, I may on no wise accept thy boons, for that I am not of mankind but of Jinn-kind; nor have I need of money or requirement of rule. Know thou, O my lord, that erst I sat as Kazi amongst the Jinns and I was enthroned amid the Kings of the Jann, whenas one night of the nights a Voice[FN#385] addressed me in my sleep saying, 'Rise and hie thee to the Sultan Habib son of the Emir Salamah ruler of the tribes of the Arabs subject to the Banu Hilal and become his tutor and teach him all things teachable; and, if thou gainsay going, I will tear thy soul from thy body.' Now when I saw this marvel-vision in my sleep, I straightway arose and repairing to thy son did as I was bidden."[FN#386] But as the Emir Salamah heard the words of this Shaykh he bowed him down and kissing his feet cried, "Alhamdolillah—laud to the Lord, who hath vouchsafed thee to us of His bounty; and indeed thy coming to us was of good omen, O Judge of the Jann." "Where is thy son?" quoth the governor, and quoth the father, "Ready, aye ready;" then he summoned his child and when the Shaykh looked upon his pupil he wept with sore weeping and cried, "Parting from thee, O Habib, is heavy upon us," presently adding, "Ah! were ye to wot all that shall soon befal this youth after my departure and when afar from me!"[FN#387] Those present in the assembly at once asked saying,
"And what shall, O Shaykh, to us fall forthright?" * Quoth he, "Sore marvels shall meet your sight: No heart have I to describe it you." * Then approached Habib the same tutor-wight; And clasping the youth to the breast of him, * Kissed his cheek a- shrieking the shrillest shright.[FN#388]
Whereupon all about them were perturbed and were amated and amazed at the action of the Shaykh when, vanishing from their view, he could nowhere be seen. Then the Emir Salamah addressed the lieges saying, "Ho ye Arabs, who wotteth what presently shall betide my son? would Heaven I had one to advise him!" Hereupon said his Elders and Councillors, "We know of none." But the Sultan Habib brooded over the disappearance of his governor and bespake his sire weeping bitter tears the while, "O my father, where be he who brought me up and enformed me with all manner knowledge?" and the Emir replied, "O my son, one day of the days he farewelled us and crying out with a loud cry evanished from our view and we have seen him no more." Thereupon the youth improvised and said,
"Indeed I am scourged by those ills whereof I felt affray, ah! * By parting and thoughts which oft compelled my soul to say, 'Ah!' Oh saddest regret in vitals of me that ne'er ceaseth, nor * Shall minished be his love that still on my heart doth prey, ah! Where hath hied the generous soul my mind with lere adorned? * And alas! what hath happened, O sire, to me, and well-away, ah!"
Hereat the Emir Salamah shed tears (as on like wise did all present) and quoth he to his son, "O Habib, we have been troubled by his action," and quoth the youth, "How shall I endure severance from one who fostered me and brought me to honour and renown and who raised my degree so high?" Then began he to improvise saying,
"Indeed this pine in my heart grows high, * And in eyeballs wake doth my sleep outvie: You marched, O my lords, and from me hied far * And you left a lover shall aye outcry: I wot not where on this earth you be * And how long this patience when none is nigh: Ye fared and my eyeballs your absence weep, * And my frame is meagre, my heart is dry."
Now whilst the Emir Salamah was sitting in his seat of dignity and the Sultan Habib was improvising poetry and shedding tears in presence of his sire, they heard a Voice which announced itself and its sound was audible whilst its personality was invisible. Thereupon the youth shed tears and cried, "O father mine, I need one who shall teach me horsemanship and the accidents of edge and point and onset and offset and spearing and spurring in the Maydan; for my heart loveth knightly derring-do to plan, such as riding in van and encountering the horseman and the valiant man." And the while they were in such converse behold, there appeared before them a personage rounded of head, long of length and dread, with turband wide dispread, and his breadth of breast was armoured with doubled coat of mail whose manifold rings were close-enmeshed after the model of Daud[FN#389] the Prophet (upon whom be The Peace!). Moreover he hent in hand a mace erst a block cut out of the live hard rock, whose shock would arrest forty braves of the doughtiest; and he was baldrick'd with an Indian blade that quivered in the grasp, and he bestrode, with a Samhari[FN#390] lance at rest, a bay destrier of black points whose peer was not amongst the steeds of the Arabs. Then he took his station standing as a vassal between the Emir Salamah's hands and he addressed a general salam and he greeted all that stood a-foot or were seated. His salute they repealed and presently the pages hastened forwards and aided him alight from his charger's back; and after waiting for a full-told hour that he might take somewhat of repose, the stranger-knight and doughty wight advanced and said, "Ho thou the Emir, I came hither to fulfil the want whereof thou expressedst a wish; and, if such prove thy pleasure, I will teach thy son fray and fight and prowess in the plain of sword-stroke and lance-lunge. But ere so doing I would fain test thy skill in cavalarice; so do thou, O Emir, be first to appear as champion and single combatant in the field when I will show thee what horsemanship is." "Hearkening and obeying," replied the Emir, "and if thou desire the duello with us we will not baulk thee thereof." Hereat his Shaykhs and Chieftains sprang up and cried to him, "O Emir, Allah upon thee, do not meet in fight this cavalier for that thou wottest not an he be of mankind or of Jinn-kind; so be thou not deceived by his sleights and snares." "Suffer me this day," quoth the Emir, "to see the cavalarice of this cavalier, and, if over me he prevail, know him to be a knight with whom none may avail." Speaking thus the Emir arose and hied him to his tent where he bade the slaves bring forth the best of his habergeons; and, when all these were set before him, he took from them a Davidian suit of manifold rings and close-meshed, which he donned, and he baldrick'd himself with a scymitar of Hindi steel, hadst thou smitten therewith a cliff it had cleft it in twain or hadst thou stricken a hill it had been laid level as a plain; and he hent in hand a Rudaynian lance[FN#391] of Khatt Hajar, whose length was thirty ells and upon whose head sat a point like unto a basilisk's tongue; and lastly he bade his slaves bring him his courser which in the race was the fleetest-footed of all horses. Then the two combatants took the plain accompanied by the tribesmen nor did one of them all, or great or small, remain in camp for desire to witness the fight of these champions who were both as ravening lions. But first the stranger-knight addressed his adversary and speaking with free and eloquent tongue quoth he, "I will encounter thee, O Emir Salamah, with the encountering of the valiant; so have thou a heed of me for I am he hath overthrown the Champions some and all." At these words each engaged his foeman and the twain forwards pressed for a long time, and the Raven of cut-and-thrust croaked over the field of fight and they exchanged strokes with the Hindi scymitar and they thrust and foined with the Khatti spear and more than one blade and limber lance was shivered and splintered, all the tribesmen looking on the while at both. And they ceased not to attack and retire and to draw near and draw off and to heave and fence until their forearms ailed and their endeavour failed. Already there appeared in the Emir Salamah somewhat of weakness and weariness; natheless when he looked upon his adversary's skill in the tourney and encounter of braves he saw how to meet all the foeman's sword-strokes with his targe: however at last fatigue and loss of strength prevailed over him and he knew that he had no longer the force to fight; so he stinted his endeavour and withdrew from brunt of battle. Hereat the stranger- knight alighted and falling at the Emir's feet kissed them and cried, "O Sovran of the Age, I came not hither to war with thee but rather with the design of teaching thy son, the Sultan Habib, the complete art of arms and make him the prow cavalier of his day." Replied Salamah, "In very sooth, O horseman of the age, thou hast spoken right fairly in thy speech; nor did I design with thee to fight nor devised I the duello or from steed to alight;[FN#392] nay, my sole object was my son to incite that he might learn battle and combat aright, and the charge of the heroic Himyarite[FN#393] to meet with might." Then the twain dismounted and each kissed his adversary; after which they returned to the tribal camp and the Emir bade decorate it and all the habitations of the Arab clans with choicest decoration, and they slaughtered the victims and spread the banquets and throughout that day the tribesmen ate and drank and fed the travellers and every wayfarer and the mean and mesquin and all the miserables. Now as soon as the Sultan Habib was informed concerning that cavalier how he had foiled his father in the field of fight, he repaired to him and said, "Peace be with him who came longing for us and designing our society! Who art thou, Ho thou the valorous knight and foiler of foemen in fight?" Said the other, "Learn thou, O Habib, that Allah hath sent me theewards." "And, say me, what may be thy name?" "I am hight Al-'Abbus,[FN#394] the Knight of the Grim Face." "I see thee only smiling of countenance whilst thy name clean contradicteth thy nature;" quoth the youth. Presently the Emir Salamah committed his son to the new governor saying, "I would thou make me this youth the Brave of his epoch;" whereto the knight replied, "To hear is to obey, first Allah then thyself and to do suit and service of thy son Habib." And when this was determined youth and governor went forth to the Maydan every day and after a while of delay Habib became the best man of his age in fight and fray. Seeing this his teacher addressed him as follows. "Learn, O Sultan Habib, that there is no help but thou witness perils and affrights and adventures, wherefor is weak the description of describers and thou shalt say in thyself, 'Would heaven I had never sighted such and I were of these same free.' And thou shalt fall into every hardship and horror until thou be united with the beautiful Durrat al-Ghawwas, Queen-regnant over the Isles of the Sea. Meanwhile to affront all the perils of the path thou shalt fare forth from thy folk and bid adieu to thy tribe and patrial stead; and, after enduring that which amateth man's wit, thou shalt win union with the daughter of Queen Kamar al-Zaman."[FN#395] But when Habib heard these words concerning the "Pearl of the Diver" his wits were wildered and his senses were agitated and he cried to Al-Abbus, "I conjure thee by Allah say me, is this damsel of mankind or of Jinn-kind." Quoth the other, "Of Jinn-kind, and she hath two Wazirs, one of either race, who overrule all her rulers, and a thousand islands of the Isles of the Sea are subject to her command, while a host of Sayyids and Sharifs[FN#396] and Grandees hath flocked to woo her, bringing wealthy gifts and noble presents, yet hath not any of them won his wish of her but all returned baffled and baulked of their will." Now the Sultan Habib hearing this from him cried in excess of perturbation and stress of confusion, "Up with us and hie we home where we may take seat and talk over such troublous matter and debate anent its past and its future." "Hearkening and obedience," rejoined the other; so the twain retired into privacy in order to converse at ease concerning the Princess, and Al-Abbus began to relate in these words—
The History of Durrat al-Ghawwas.
Whilome there was a Sovran amongst the Kings of the Sea, hight Sabur, who reigned over the Crystalline Isles,[FN#397] and he was a mighty ruler and a generous, and a masterful potentate and a glorious. He loved women and he was at trouble to seek out the fairest damsels; yet many of his years had gone by nor yet had he been blessed with boon of boy. So one day of the days he took thought and said in himself, "To this length of years I have attained and am well nigh at life's end and still am I childless: what then will be my case?" Presently, as he sat upon his throne of kingship, he saw enter to him an Ifrit fair of face and form, the which was none other than King 'Atrus[FN#398] of the Jann, who cried, "The Peace be upon thee, Ho thou the King! and know that I have come to thee from my liege lord who affecteth thee. In my sleep it befel that I heard a Voice crying to me, 'During all the King's days never hath he been vouchsafed a child, boy or girl; so now let him accept my command and he shall win to his wish. Let him distribute justice and largesse and further the rights of the wronged and bid men to good and forbid them from evil and lend not aid to tyranny or to innovation in the realm and persecute not the unfortunate, and release from gaol all the prisoners he retaineth.' At these words of the Voice I awoke astartled by my vision and I hastened to thee without delay and I come with design to inform thee, O King of the Age, that I have a daughter, hight Kamar al- Zaman, who hath none like her in her time, and no peer in this tide, and her I design giving thee to bride. The Kings of the Jann have ofttimes asked her in marriage of me but I would have none of them save a ruler of men like thyself and Alhamdolillah—glory be to God, who caused thy Highness occur to my thought, for that thy fame in the world is goodly fair and thy works make for righteousness. And haply by the blessing of these thou shalt beget upon my daughter a man child, a pious heir and a virtuous." Replied the King, "Ho thou who comest to us and desirest our weal, I accept thine offer with love and good will." Then Sabur, the King of the Crystalline Isles, bade summon the Kazi and witnesses, and quoth the Ifrit, "I agree to what thou sayest, and whatso thou proposest that will I not oppose." So they determined upon the dowry and bound him by the bond of marriage with the daughter of Al-'Atrus, King of the Jinns, who at once sent one of his Flying Jann to bring the bride. She arrived forthright when they dressed and adorned her with all manner ornaments, and she came forth surpassing all the maidens of her era. And when King Sabur went in unto her he found her a clean maid: so he lay that night with her and Almighty Allah so willed that she conceived of him. When her days and months of pregnancy were sped, she was delivered of a girl-babe as the moon, whom they committed to wet-nurses and dry-nurses, and when she had reached her tenth year, they set over her duennas who taught her Koran-reading and writing and learning and belles-lettres; brief, they brought her up after the fairest of fashions. Such was the lot[FN#399] of Durrat al-Ghawwas, the child of Kamar al-Zaman, daughter to King 'Atrus by her husband King Sabur. But as regards the Sultan Habib and his governor Al-Abbus, the twain ceased not wandering from place to place in search of the promised damsel until one day of the days when the youth entered his father's garden and strolled the walks adown amid the borders[FN#400] and blossoms of basil and of rose full blown and solaced himself with the works of the Compassionate One and enjoyed the scents and savours of the flowers there bestrown; and, while thus employed, behold, he suddenly espied the maiden, Durrat al-Ghawwas hight, entering therein as she were the moon; and naught could be lovelier than she of all earth supplies, gracious as a Huriyah of the Virgins of Paradise, to whose praise no praiser could avail on any wise. But when the Sultan Habib cast upon her his eyes he could no longer master himself and his wits were bewildered from the excitement of his thoughts; so he regarded her with a long fixed look and said in himself, "I fear whenas she see me that she will vanish from my sight." Accordingly, he retired and clomb the branches of a tree in a stead where he could not be seen and whence he could see her at his ease. But as regards the Princess, she ceased not to roam about the Emir Salamah's garden until there approached her two score of snow-white birds each accompanied by a handmaid of moon-like beauty. Presently they settled upon the ground and stood between her hands saying, "Peace be upon thee, O our Queen and Sovran Lady." She replied, "No welcome to you and no greeting; say me, what delayed you until this hour when ye know that I am longing to meet the Sultan Habib, the dear one, son of Salamah, and I long to visit him for that he is the dearling of my heart. Wherefor I bade you accompany me and ye obeyed not, and haply ye have made mock of me and of my commandment." "We never gainsay thy behest," replied they, "or in word or in deed;" and they fell to seeking her beloved. Hearing this the Sultan Habib's heart was solaced and his mind was comforted and his thoughts were rightly directed and his soul was reposed; and when he was certified of her speech, he was minded to appear before her; but suddenly fear of her prevailed over him and he said to his thoughts, "Haply she will order one of the Jinns to do me die; so 'twere better to have patience and see what Allah shall purpose for me of His Almighty will." But the Princess and her attendants ceased not wandering about the garden from site to site and side to side till they reached the place wherein the Sultan Habib lay in lurking; when Durrat al-Ghawwas there stood still and said in herself, "Now I came not from my capital save on his account, and I would see and be seen by him even as the Voice informed me of him, O ye handmaidens; and peradventure hath the same informed him of me." Then the Princess and her suite, drawing still nearer to his place of concealment, found a lakelet in the Arab's garden brimful of water amiddlemost whereof stood a brazen lion, through whose mouth the water entered to issue from his tail. Hereat the Princess marvelled and said to her bondswomen, "This be none other than a marvellous lake, together with the lion therein; and when, by the goodwill of Almighty Allah, I shall have returned home, I will let make a lakelet after this fashion, and in it set a lion of brass." Thereupon she ordered them to doff their dress and go down to the piece of water and swim about; but they replied, "O our lady, to hear is to obey thy commandment, but we will not strip nor swim save with thee." Then she also did off her dress and all stripped themselves and entered the lakelet in a body, whereupon the Sultan Habib looked through the leaves to solace himself with the fair spectacle and he ejaculated, "Blessed be the Lord the best of Creators!" And when the handmaids waxed aweary of swimming, the Princess commanded them to come forth the water, and said, "Whenas Heaven willeth that the desire of my heart be fulfilled in this garden, what deem ye I should do with my lover?" and quoth they, "'Twould only add to our pleasure and gladness." Quoth she, "Verily my heart assureth me that he is here and hidden amongst the trees of yon tangled brake;" and she made signs with her hand whither Habib lay in lurking-place; and he, espying this, rejoiced with joy galore than which naught could be more, and exclaimed, "There is no Majesty and there is no Might save in Allah, the Glorious, the Great; what meaneth this lady? Indeed, I fear to stay in this stead lest she come hither and draw me forth and put me to shame; and 'twere better that of mine own accord I come out of my concealment and accost her and suffer her to do all she designeth and desireth." So he descended from the topmost of the tree wherein he had taken refuge and presented himself before the Princess Durrat Al-Ghawwas, who drew near and cried to him, "O Habib, O welcome to Habib! and is it thus that we have travailed with love of thee and longing for thee, and where hast thou been all this time, O my dearling, and O coolth of my eyes and O slice of my liver?" Replied he, "I was in the head of yonder huge tree to which thou pointedst with thy finger." And as they looked each at other she drew nearer to him and fell to improvising,
"Thou hast doomed me, O branchlet of Ban, to despair * Who in worship and honour was wont to fare,— Who lived in rule and folk slaved for me * And hosts girded me round every hest to bear!"
And anon quoth the Sultan Habib, "Alhamdolillah—laud be to the Lord, who deigned show me thy face and thy form! Can it be thou kennest not what it was that harmed me and sickened me for thy sake, O Durrat al-Ghawwas?" Quoth she, "And what was it hurt thee and ailed thee?" "It was the love of thee and longing for thee!" "And who was the first to tell thee and make thee ware of me?" He replied saying, "One day it so befel, as I was amongst my family and my tribe, a Jinni Al-Abbus hight became my governor and taught me the accidents of thrust and cut and cavalarice; and ere he left he commended thy beauty and loveliness and foretold to me all that would pass between thee and me. So I was engrossed with affection for thee ere my eyes had sight of thee, and thenceforwards I lost all the pleasures of sleep, nor were meat and eating sweet to me, nor were drink and wine, draughts a delight to me: so Alhamdolillah—praise be to Allah, who deigned conjoin me in such union with my heart's desire!" Hereat the twain exchanged an embrace so long that a swoon came upon them and both fell to the ground in a fainting fit, but after a time the handmaidens raised them up and besprinkled their faces with rose-water which at once revived them. All this happened, withal the Emir Salamah wotted naught of what had befallen his son the Sultan Habib nor did his mother weet that had betided her child; and the husband presently went in to his spouse and said, "Indeed this boy hath worn us out: we see that o' nights he sleepeth not in his own place and this day he fared forth with the dawn and suffered us not to see a sight of him." Quoth the wife, "Since the day he went to Al-Abbus, thy boy fell into cark and care;" and quoth the husband, "Verily our son walked about the garden and Allah knoweth that therefrom is no issue anywhither. So there shalt thou find him and ask him of himself." And they talked over this matter in sore anger and agitation. Meanwhile as the Sultan Habib sat in the garden with the handmaids waiting upon him and upon the Princess Durrat al-Ghawwas, there suddenly swooped upon them a huge bird which presently changed form to a Shaykh seemly of aspect and semblance who approached and kissing their feet humbled himself before the lover and his beloved. The youth marvelled at such action of the Shaykh, and signalled to the Princess as to ask, "Who may be this old man?" and she answered in the same way, "This is the Wazir who caused me forgather with thee;" presently adding to the Shaykh, "What may be thy need?" "I came hither for the sake of thee," he replied, "and unless thou fare forthright to thy country and kingdom the rule of the Jann will pass from thy hand; for that the Lords of the land and Grandees of the realm seek thy loss and not a few of the nobles have asked me saying, O Wazir, where is our Queen? I answered, She is within her palace and to-day she is busied with some business. But such pretext cannot long avail, and thou, unless thou return with me to the region of thy reign there shall betray thee some one of the Marids and the hosts will revolt against thee and thy rule will go to ruin and thou wilt be degraded from command and sultanate." "What then is thy say and what thy bidding?" enquired she, and he replied, "Thou hast none other way save departure from this place and return to thy realm." Now when these words reached the ear of Durrat al-Ghawwas, her breast was straitened and she waxed sorrowful with exceeding sorrow for severance from her lover whom she addressed in these words, "What sayest thou anent that thou hast heard? In very sooth I desire not parting from thee and the ruin of my reign as little do I design; so come with me, O dearling of my heart, and I will make thee liege lord over the Isles of the Sea and sole master thereof." Hereat the Sultan Habib said in his soul, "I cannot endure parting from my own people; but as for thee thy love shall never depart from thee:" then he spake aloud, "An thou deign hear me, do thou abandon that which thou purposest and bid thy Wazir rule over the Isles and thy patrial stead; so shall we twain, I and thou, live in privacy for all time and enjoy the most joyous of lives." "That may never be," was her only reply; after which she cried to the Wazir saying, "Carry me off that I fare to my own land." Then after farewelling her lover, she mounted the Emir-Wazir's back[FN#401] and bade him bear her away, whereat he took flight and the forty handmaidens flew with him, towering high in air. Presently, the Sultan Habib shed bitter tears; his mother hearing him weeping sore as he sat in the garden went to her husband and said, "Knowest thou not what calamity hath befallen thy son that I hear him there groaning and moaning"" Now when the parents entered the garden, they found him spent with grief and the tears trickled adown his cheeks like never-ceasing rain-showers;[FN#402] so they summoned the pages who brought cucurbits of rosewater wherewith they besprinkled his face. But as soon as he recovered his senses and opened his eyes, he fell to weeping with excessive weeping and his father and mother likewise shed tears for the burning of their hearts and asked him, "O Habib, what calamity hath come down to thee and who of his mischief hath overthrown thee? Inform us of the truth of thy case." So he related all that had betided between him and Durrat-al-Ghawwas, and his mother wept over him while his father cried, "O Habib, do thou leave this say and this thy desire cast away that the joys of meat and drink and sleep thou may enjoy alway." But he made answer, "O my sire, I will not slumber upon this matter until I shall sleep the sleep of death." "Arise thou, O my child," rejoined the Emir, "and let us return homewards,"[FN#403] but the son retorted, "Verily I will not depart from this place wherein I was parted from the dearling of my heart." So the sire again urged him saying, "These words do thou spare nor persist in this affair because therefrom for thee I fear;" and he fell to cheering him and comforting his spirits. After a while the Sultan Habib arose and fared homewards beside his sire who kept saying to him, "Patience, O my child, the while I assist thee in thy search for this young lady and I send those who shall bring her to thee." "O my father," rejoined the son, "I can no longer endure parting from her; nay, 'tis my desire that thou load me sundry camels with gold and silver and plunder and moneys that I may go forth to seek her: and if I win to my wish and Allah vouchsafe me length of life I will return unto you; but an the term of my days be at hand then the behest be to Allah, the One, the Omnipotent. Let not your breasts be straitened therefor and do ye hold and believe that if I abide with you and see not the beloved of my soul I shall perish of my pain while you be standing by to look upon my death. So suffer me to wayfare and attain mine aim; for from the day when my mother bare me 'twas written to my lot that I journey over wild and wold and that I see and voyage over the seas seven-fold." Hereupon he fell to improvising these verses,
"My heart is straitened with grief amain * And my friends and familiars have wrought me pain; And whene'er you're absent I pine, and fires * In my heart beweep what it bears of bane: O ye, who fare for the tribe's domain, * Cry aloud my greetings to friends so fain!"
Now when the Emir Salamah heard these his son's verses, he bade pack for him four camel loads of the rarest stuffs, and he largessed to him a she-dromedary laden with thrones of red gold; then he said to him, "Lo, O my son, I have given thee more than thou askedst." "O my father," replied Habib, "where are my steed and my sword and my spear?" Hereat the pages brought forward a mail-coat Davidian[FN#404] and a blade Maghrabian and a lance Khattian and Samharian, and set them between his hands; and the Sultan Habib donning the habergeon and drawing his sabre and sitting lance in rest backed his steed, which was of the noblest blood known to all the Arabs. Then quoth he, "O my father, is it thy desire to send with me a troop of twenty knights that they may escort me to the land of Al-Yaman and may anon bring me back to thee?" "My design," quoth the sire, "is to despatch those with thee who shall befriend thee upon the road;" and, when Habib prayed him do as he pleased, the Emir appointed to him ten knights, valorous wights, who dreaded naught of death however sudden and awesome. Presently, the youth farewelled his father and mother, his family and his tribe, and joining his escort, mounted his destrier when Salamah, his sire, said to his company, "Be ye to my son obedient in all he shall command you;" and said they, "Hearing and obeying." Then Habib and his many turned away from home and addressed them to the road when he began to improvise the following lines,
My longing grows less and far goes my cark * After flamed my heart with the love-fire stark; As I ride to search for my soul's desire * And I ask of those faring to Al-Irak."
On this wise it befel the Sultan Habib and his farewelling his father and mother; but now lend ear to what came of the knights who escorted him. After many days of toil and travail they waxed discontented and disheartened; and presently taking counsel one with other, they said, "Come, let us slay this lad and carry off the loads of stuffs and coin he hath with him; and when we reach our homes and be questioned concerning him, let us say that he died of the excess of his desire to Princess Durrat al-Ghawwas." So they followed this rede, while their lord wotted naught of the ambush laid for him by his followers. And having ridden through the day when the night of offence[FN#405] was dispread, the escort said, "Dismount we in this garden[FN#406] that here we may take our rest during the dark hours, and when morning shall morrow we will resume our road." The Sultan Habib had no mind to oppose them, so all alighted and in that garden took seat and whatso of victual was with them produced; after which they ate and drank their sufficiency and lay down to sleep all of them save their lord, who could not close eye for excess of love-longing. "O Habib, why and wherefore sleepest thou not?" they asked, and he answered, "O comrades mine, how shall slumber come to one yearning for his dearling, and verily I will lie awake nor enjoy aught repose until such time as I espy the lifeblood of my heart, Durrat al-Ghawwas." Thereupon they held their peace; and presently they held council one with other saying, "Who amongst us can supply a dose of Bhang that we may cast him asleep and his slaughter may be easy to us?" "I have two Miskals weight[FN#407] of that same," quoth one of them, and the others took it from him and presently, when occasion served, they put it into a cup of water and presented it to Habib. He hent that cup in hand and drank off the drugged liquid at a single draught; and presently the Bhang wrought in his vitals and its fumes mounted to his head, mastering his senses and causing his brain to whirl round, whereupon he sank into the depths of unconsciousness. Then quoth his escort, "As soon as his slumber is soundest and his sleep heaviest we will arise and slay him and bury him on the spot where he now sleepeth: then will we return to his father and mother, and tell them that of love-stress to his beloved and of excessive longing and pining for her he died." And upon this deed of treachery all agreed. So when dawned the day and showed its sheen and shone clear and serene the knights awoke and seeing their lord drowned[FN#408] in sleep they arose and sat in council, and quoth one of them, "Let us cut his throat from ear to ear;"[FN#409] and quoth another, "Nay, better we dig us a pit the stature of a man and we will cast him amiddlemost thereof and heap upon him earth so that he will die, nor shall any know aught about him." Hearing this said one of the retinue, whose name was Rabi'a,[FN#410] "But fear you naught from Almighty Allah and regard ye not the favours wherewith his father fulfilled you, and remember ye not the bread which ye ate in his household and from his family? Indeed 'twas but a little while since his sire chose you out to escort him that his son might take solace with you instead of himself, and he entrusted unto you his heart's core, and now ye are pleased to do him die and thereby destroy the life of his parents. Furthermore, say me doth your judgment decide that such ill-work can possibly abide hidden from his father? Now I swear by the loyalty[FN#411] of the Arabs there will not remain for us a wight or any who bloweth the fire alight, however mean and slight, who will receive us after such deed. So do ye at least befriend and protect your households and your clans and your wives and your children whom ye left in the tribal domain. But now you design utterly to destroy us, one and all, and after death affix to our memories the ill-name of traitors, and cause our women be enslaved and our children enthralled, nor leave one of us aught to be longed for." Quoth they jeeringly, "Bring what thou hast of righteous rede:" so quoth he, "Have you fixed your intent upon slaying him and robbing his good?" and they answered, "We have." However, he objected again and cried, "Come ye and hear from me what it is I advise you, albeit I will take no part[FN#412] in this matter;" presently adding, "Established is your resolve in this affair, and ye wot better than I what you are about to do. But my mind is certified of this much; do ye not transgress in the matter of his blood and suffer only his crime be upon you;[FN#413] moreover, if ye desire to lay hands upon his camels and his moneys and his provisions, then do ye carry them off and leave him where he lieth; then if he live, 'twere well, and if he die 'twill be even better and far better." "Thy rede is right and righteous," they replied. Accordingly they seized his steed and his habergeon and his sword and his gear of battle and combat, and they carried off all he had of money and means, and placing him naked upon the bare ground they drove away his camels. Presently asked one of other, "Whenas we shall reach the tribe what shall we say to his father and his mother?" "Whatso Rabi'a shall counsel us," quoth they, and quoth Rabi'a, "Tell them, 'We left not travelling with your son; and, as we fared along, we lost sight of him and we saw him nowhere until we came upon him a-swoon and lying on the road senseless: then we called to him by name but he returned no reply, and when we shook him with our hands behold, he had become a dried-up wand. Then seeing him dead we buried him and brought back to you his good and his belongings.'" "And if they ask you," objected one, "'In what place did ye bury him and in what land, and is the spot far or near,' what shall ye make answer; also if they say to you, 'Why did ye not bear his corpse with you,' what then shall be your reply?" Rabi'a to this rejoined "Do you say to them, 'Our strength was weakened and we waxed feeble from burn of heart and want of water, nor could we bring his remains with us.' And if they ask you, 'Could ye not bear him a-back; nay, might ye not have carried him upon one of the camels?' do ye declare that ye could not for two reasons, the first being that the body was swollen and stinking from the fiery air, and the second our fear for his father, lest seeing him rotten he could not endure the sight and his sorrow be increased for that he was an only child and his sire hath none other." All the men joined in accepting this counsel of Rabi'a, and each and every exclaimed, "This indeed is the rede that is most right." Then they ceased not wayfaring until they reached the neighbourhood of the tribe, when they sprang from their steeds and openly donned black, and they entered the camp showing the sorest sorrow. Presently they repaired to the father's tent, grieving and weeping and shrieking as they went; and when the Emir Salamah saw them in this case, crowding together with keening and crying for the departed, he asked them, "Where is he, my son?" and they answered, "Indeed he is dead." Right hard upon Salamah was this lie, and his grief grew the greater, so he scattered dust upon his head and plucked out his beard and rent his raiment and shrieked aloud saying, "Woe for my son, ah! Woe for Habib, ah! Woe for the slice of my liver, ah! Woe for my grief, ah! Woe for the core[FN#414] of my heart, ah!" Thereupon his mother came forth, and seeing her husband in this case, with dust on his head and his beard plucked out and his robe-collar[FN#415] rent, and sighting her son's steed she shrieked, "Woe is me and well-away for my child, ah!" and fainted swooning for a full-told hour. Anon when recovered she said to the knights who had formed the escort, "Woe to you, O men of evil, where have ye buried my boy?" They replied, "In a far-off land whose name we wot not, and 'tis wholly waste and tenanted by wild beasts," whereat she was afflicted exceedingly. Then the Emir Salamah and his wife and household and all the tribesmen donned garbs black-hued and ashes whereupon to sit they strewed, and ungrateful to them was the taste of food and drink, meat and wine; nor ceased they to beweep their loss, nor could they comprehend what had befallen their son and what of ill-lot had descended upon him from Heaven. Such then was the case of them; but as regards the Sultan Habib, he continued sleeping until the Bhang ceased to work in his brain, when Allah sent a fresh, cool wind which entered his nostrils and caused him sneeze, whereby he cast out the drug and sensed the sun-heat and came to himself. Hereupon he opened his eyes and sighted a wild and waste land, and he looked in vain for his companions the knights, and his steed and his sword and his spear and his coat of mail, and he found himself mother- naked, athirst, anhungered. Then he cried out in that Desert of desolation which lay far and wide before his eyes, and the case waxed heavy upon him, and he wept and groaned and complained of his case to Allah Almighty, saying, "O my God and my Lord and my Master, trace my lot an thou hast traced it upon the Guarded Tablet, for who shall right me save Thyself, O Lord of Might that is All-might and of Grandeur All-puissant and All-excellent!" Then he began improvising these verses,
"Faileth me, O my God, the patience with the pride o' me; * Life- tie is broke and drawing nigh I see Death-tide o' me: To whom shall injured man complain of injury and wrong * Save to the Lord (of Lords the Best!) who stands by side o'me."
Now whilst the Sultan Habib was ranging with his eye-corners to the right and to the left, behold, he beheld a blackness rising high in air, and quoth he to himself, "Doubtless this dark object must be a mighty city or a vast encampment, and I will hie me thither before I be overheated by the sun-glow and I lose the power of walking and I die of distress and none shall know my fate." Then he heartened his heart for the improvising of such poetry as came to his mind, and he repeated these verses,
"Travel, for on the way all goodly things shalt find; * And wake from sleep and dreams if still to sleep inclined! Or victory win and rise and raise thee highmost high * And gain, O giddy pate, the food for which thy soul hath pined; Or into sorrow thou shalt fall with breast full strait * And ne'er enjoy the Fame that wooes the gen'rous mind, Nor is there any shall avail to hinder Fate * Except the Lord of Worlds who the Two Beings[FN#416] designed."
And when he had finished his verse, the Sultan Habib walked in the direction of that blackness nor left walking until he drew near the ridge; but after he could fare no farther and that walking distressed him (he never having been broken to travel afoot and barefoot withal), and his forces waxed feeble and his joints relaxed and his strong will grew weak and his resolution passed away. But whilst he was perplexed concerning what he should do, suddenly there alighted between his hands a snow-white fowl huge as the dome of a Hammam, with shanks like the trunk of a palm-tree. The Sultan Habib marvelled at the sight of this Rukh, and saying to himself, "Blessed be Allah the Creator!" he advanced slowly towards it and all unknown to the fowl seized its legs. Presently the bird put forth its wings (he still hanging on) and flew upwards to the confines of the sky, when behold, a Voice was heard saying, "O Habib! O Habib! hold to the bird with straitest hold, else 'twill cast thee down to earth and thou shalt be dashed to pieces limb from limb!" Hearing these words he tightened his grasp and the fowl ceased not flying until it came to that blackness which was the outline of Kaf the mighty mountain, and having set the youth down on the summit it left him and still flew onwards. Presently a Voice sounded in the sensorium of the Sultan Habib saying, "Take seat, O Habib; past is that which conveyed thee hither on thy way to Durrat al-Ghawwas;" and he, when the words met his ear, aroused himself and arose and, descending the mountain slope to the skirting plain, saw therein a cave. Hereat quoth he to himself, "If I enter this antre, haply shall I lose myself, and perish of hunger and thirst!" He then took thought and reflected, "Now death must come sooner or later, wherefore will I adventure myself in this cave." And as he passed thereinto he heard one crying with a high voice and a sound so mighty that its volume resounded in his ears. But right soon the crier appeared in the shape of Al-Abbus, the Governor who had taught him battle and combat; and, after greeting him with great joy, the lover recounted his love-adventure to his whilome tutor. The Jinni bore in his left a scymitar, the work of the Jann and in his right a cup of water which he handed to his pupil. The draught caused him to swoon for an hour or so, and when he came-to Al-Abbus made him sit up and bathed him and robed him in the rarest of raiment and brought him a somewhat of victual and the twain ate and drank together. Then quoth Habib to Al-Abbus, "Knowest thou not that which befel me with Durrat al-Ghawwas of wondrous matters?" and quoth the other, "And what may that have been?" whereupon the youth rejoined, "O my brother, Allah be satisfied with thee for that He willed thou appear to me and direct me and guide me aright to the dearling of my heart and the cooling of mine eyes." "Leave thou such foolish talk," replied Al-Abbus, "for where art thou and where is Durrat al-Ghawwas? Indeed between thee and her are horrors and perils and long tracts of land and seas wondrous, and adventures marvellous, which would amaze and amate the rending lions, and spectacles which would turn grey the sucking child or any one of man's scions." Hearing these words Habib clasped his governor to his breast and kissed him between the eyes, and the Jinni said, "O my beloved, had I the might to unite thee with her I would do on such wise, but first 'tis my desire to make thee forgather with thy family in a moment shorter than an eye- twinkling." "Had I longed for my own people," rejoined Habib, "I should never have left them, nor should I have endangered my days nor wouldst thou have seen me in this stead; but as it is I will never return from my wayfaring till such time as my hope shall have been fulfilled, even although my appointed life-term should be brought to end, for I have no further need of existence." To these words the Jinni made answer, "Learn thou, O Habib, that the cavern wherein thou art containeth the hoards of our Lord Solomon, David's son (upon the twain be The Peace!), and he placed them under my charge and he forbade me abandon them until such time as he shall permit me, and furthermore that I let and hinder both mankind and Jinn-kind from entering the Hoard; and know thou, O Habib, that in this cavern is a treasure-house and in the Treasury forty closets offsetting to the right and to the left. Now wouldst thou gaze upon this wealth of pearls and rubies and precious stones, do thou ere passing through the first door dig under its threshold, where thou shalt find buried the keys of all the magazines. Then take the first of them in hand and unlock its door, after which thou shalt be able to open all the others and look upon the store of jewels therein. And when thou shalt design to depart the Treasury thou shalt find a curtain hung up in front of thee and fastened around it eighty hooks of red gold;[FN#417] and do thou beware how thou raise the hanging without quilting them all with cotton." So saying he gave him a bundle of tree-wool he had by him, and pursued, "O Habib, when thou shalt have raised the curtain thou wilt discover a door with two leaves also of red gold, whereupon couplets are inscribed, and as regards the first distich an thou master the meaning of the names and the talismans, thou shalt be saved from all terrors and horrors, and if thou fail to comprehend them thou shalt perish in that Hoard. But after opening the door close it not with noise nor glance behind thee, and take all heed, as I fear for thee those charged with the care of the place[FN#418] and its tapestry. And when thou shalt stand behind the hanging thou shalt behold a sea clashing with billows dashing, and 'tis one of the Seven Mains which shall show thee, O Habib, marvels whereat thou shalt wonder, and whereof relaters shall relate the strangest relations. Then do thou take thy stand upon the sea-shore whence thou shalt descry a ship under way and do thou cry aloud to the crew who shall come to thee and bear thee aboard. After this I wot not what shall befal thee in this ocean, and such is the end of my say and the last of my speech, O Habib, and—The Peace!" Hereat the youth joyed with joy galore than which naught could be more and taking the hand Of Al-Abbus he kissed it and said, "O my brother, thou hast given kindly token in what thou hast spoken, and Allah requite thee for me with all weal, and mayest thou be fended from every injurious ill!" Quoth Al-Abbus, "O Habib, take this scymitar and baldrick thyself therewith, indeed 'twill enforce thee and hearten thy heart, and don this dress which shall defend thee from thy foes." The youth did as he was bidden; then he farewelled the Jinni and set forth on his way, and he ceased not pacing forward until he reached the end of the cavern and here he came upon the door whereof his governor had informed him. So he went to its threshold and dug thereunder and drew forth a black bag creased and stained by the lapse of years. This he unclosed and it yielded him a key which he applied to the lock and it forthwith opened and admitted him into the Treasury where, for exceeding murk and darkness, he could not see what he hent in hand. Then quoth he to himself, "What is to do? Haply Al-Abbus hath compassed my destruction!" And the while he sat on this wise sunken in thought, behold, he beheld a light gleaming from afar, and as he advanced its sheen guided him to the curtain whereof he had been told by the Jinni. But as he looked he saw above it a tablet of emerald dubbed with pearls and precious stones, while under it lay the hoard which lighted up the place like the rising sun. So he hastened him thither and found inscribed upon the tablet the following two couplets,