As he had finished his lines the lion rose,—And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased to say her permitted say.
When it was the Three Hundred and Seventy-fourth Night,
She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that as Uns al- Wujud ended his lines, the lion arose and stalked slowly up to him, with eyes tear-railing and licked him with his tongue, then walked on before him, signing to him as though saying, "Follow me." So he followed him, and the beast ceased not leading him on for a while till he brought him up a mountain, and guided him to the farther side, where he came upon the track of a caravan over the desert, and knew it to be that of Rose-in-Hood and her company. Then he took the trail and, when the lion saw that he knew the track for that of the party which escorted her, he turned back and went his way; whilst Uns al-Wujud walked along the foot-marks day and night, till they brought him to a dashing sea, swollen with clashing surge. The trail led down to the sandy shore and there broke off; whereby he knew that they had taken ship and had continued their journey by water. So he lost hope of finding his lover and with hot tears he repeated these couplets,
"Far is the fane and patience faileth me; * How can I seek them[FN#47] o'er the abyssmal sea; Or how be patient, when my vitals burn * For love of them, and sleep waxed insomny? Since the sad day they left the home and fled, * My heart's consumed by love's ardency: Sayhun, Jayhun,[FN#48] Euphrates-like my tears, * Make flood no deluged rain its like can see: Mine eyelids chafed with running tears remain, * My heart from fiery sparks is never free; The hosts of love and longing pressed me * And made the hosts of patience break and flee. I've risked my life too freely for their love; * And risk of life the least of ills shall be. Allah ne'er punish eye that saw those charms * Enshrined, and passing full moon's brilliancy! I found me felled by fair wide-opened eyes, * Which pierced my heart with stringless archery: And soft, lithe, swaying shape enraptured me * As sway the branches of the willow-tree: Wi' them I covet union that I win, * O'er love-pains cark and care, a mastery. For love of them aye, morn and eve I pine, * And doubt all came to me from evil eyne."
And when his lines were ended he wept, till he swooned away, and abode in his swoon a long while; but as soon as he came to himself, he looked right and left and seeing no one in the desert, he became fearful of the wild beasts; so he clomb to the top of a high mountain, where he heard the voice of a son of Adam speaking within a cave. He listened and lo! they were the accents of a devotee, who had forsworn the world and given himself up to pious works and worship. He knocked thrice at the cavern-door, but the hermit made him no answer, neither came forth to him; wherefore he groaned aloud and recited these couplets.
"What pathway find I my desire t'obtain, * How 'scape from care and cark and pain and bane? All terrors join to make me old and hoar * Of head and heart, ere youth from me is ta'en: Nor find I any aid my passion, nor * A friend to lighten load of bane and pain. How great and many troubles I've endured! * Fortune hath turned her back I see unfain. Ah mercy, mercy on the lover's heart, * Doomed cup of parting and desertion drain! A fire is in his heart, his vitals waste, * And severance made his reason vainest vain. How dread the day I came to her abode * And saw the writ they wrote on doorway lain! I wept, till gave I earth to drink my grief; * But still to near and far[FN#49] I did but feign: Then strayed I till in waste a lion sprang * On me, and but for flattering words had slain: I soothed him: so he spared me and lent me aid, * He too might haply of love's taste complain. O devotee, that idlest in thy cave, * Meseems eke thou hast learned Love's might and main; But if, at end of woes, with them I league, * Straight I'll forget all suffering and fatigue."
Hardly had he made an end of these verses when, behold! the door of the cavern opened and he heard one say, "Alas, the pity of it!"[FN#50] So he entered and saluted the devotee, who returned his salam and asked him, "What is thy name?" Answered the young man, "Uns al-Wujud." "And what caused thee to come hither?" quoth the hermit. So he told him his story in its entirety, omitting naught of his misfortunes; whereat he wept and said, "O Uns al- Wujud, these twenty years have I passed in this place, but never beheld I any man here, until yesterday, when I heard a noise of weeping and lamentation and, looking forth in the direction of the sound, saw many people and tents pitched on the sea-shore; and the party at once proceeded to build a ship, in which certain of them embarked and sailed over the waters. Then some of the crew returned with the ship and breaking it up, went their way; and I suspect that those who embarked in the ship and returned not, are they whom thou seekest. In that case, O Uns al-Wujud, thy grief must needs be great and sore and thou art excusable, though never yet was lover but suffered love-longing." Then he recited these couplets,
"Uns al-Wujud, dost deem me fancy-free, * When pine and longing slay and quicken me? I have known love and yearning from the years * Since mother-milk I drank, nor e'er was free. Long struggled I with Love, till learnt his might; * Ask thou of him, he'll tell with willing gree. Love-sick and pining drank I passion-cup, * And well-nigh perished in mine agony. Strong was I, but my strength to weakness turned, * And eye-sword brake through Patience armoury: Hope not to win love-joys, without annoy; * Contrary ever links with contrary. But fear not change from lover true; be true * Unto thy wish, some day thine own 'twill be. Love hath forbidden to his votaries * Relinquishment as deadliest heresy."
The eremite, having ended his verse, rose and, coming up to Uns al-Wujud, embraced him,—And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased saying her permitted say.
When it was the Three Hundred and Seventy-fifth Night,
She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that the eremite having ended his verse, rose and coming up to Uns al-Wujud embraced him, and they wept together, till the hills rang with their cries and they fell down fainting. When they revived, they swore brotherhood[FN#51] in Allah Almighty; after which said Uns al-Wujud, "This very night will I pray to God and seek of Him direction[FN#52] anent what thou shouldst do to attain thy desire." Thus it was with them; but as regards Rose-in-Hood, when they brought her to the mountain and set her in the castle and she beheld its ordering, she wept and exclaimed, "By Allah, thou art a goodly place, save that thou lackest in thee the presence of the beloved!"[FN#53] Then seeing birds in the island, she bade her people set snares for them and put all they caught in cages within the castle; and they did so. But she sat at a lattice and bethought her of what had passed, and desire and passion and distraction redoubled upon her, till she burst into tears and repeated these couplets,
"O to whom now, of my desire complaining sore, shall I * Bewail my parting from my fere compelld thus to fly? Flames rage within what underlies my ribs, yet hide them I * In deepest secret dreading aye the jealous hostile spy: I am grown as lean, attenuate as any pick of tooth,[FN#54] * By sore estrangement, absence, ardour, ceaseless sob and sigh. Where is the eye of my beloved to see how I'm become * Like tree stripped bare of leafage left to linger and to die. They tyrannised over me whom they confined in place * Whereto the lover of my heart may never draw him nigh: I beg the Sun for me to give greetings a thousandfold, * At time of rising and again when setting from the sky, To the beloved one who shames a full moon's loveliness, * When shows that slender form that doth the willow-branch outvie. If Rose herself would even with his cheek, I say of her * 'Thou art not like it if to me my portion thou deny:'[FN#55] His honey-dew of lips is like the grateful water draught * Would cool me when a fire in heart upflameth fierce and high: How shall I give him up who is my heart and soul of me, * My malady my wasting cause, my love, sole leach of me?"
Then, as the glooms of night closed around her, her yearning increased and she called to mind the past and recited also these couplets,
"'Tis dark: my transport and unease now gather might and main, * And love-desire provoketh me to wake my wonted pain: The pang of parting takes for ever place within my breast, * And pining makes me desolate in destitution lain. Ecstasy sore maltreats my soul and yearning burns my sprite, * And tears betray love's secresy which I would lief contain: I weet no way, I know no case that can make light my load, * Or heal my wasting body or cast out from me this bane. A hell of fire is in my heart upflames with lambent tongue * And Laza's furnace-fires within my liver place have ta'en. O thou, exaggerating blame for what befel, enough * I bear with patience whatsoe'er hath writ for me the Pen! I swear, by Allah, ne'er to find aught comfort for their loss; * "Tis oath of passion's children and their oaths are ne'er in vain. O Night! Salams of me to friends and let to them be known * Of thee true knowledge how I wake and waking ever wone."
Meanwhile, the hermit said to Uns al-Wujud, "Go down to the palm- grove in the valley and fetch some fibre."[FN#56] So he went and returned with the palm-fibre, which the hermit took and, twisting into ropes, make therewith a net,[FN#57] such as is used for carrying straw; after which he said, "O Uns al-Wujud, in the heart of the valley groweth a gourd, which springeth up and drieth upon its roots. Go down there and fill this sack therewith; then tie it together and, casting it into the water, embark thereon and make for the midst of the sea, so haply thou shalt win thy wish; for whoso never ventureth shall not have what he seeketh." "I hear and obey," answered Uns al-Wujud. Then he bade the hermit farewell after the holy man had prayed for him; and, betaking himself to the sole of the valley, did as his adviser had counselled him; made the sack, launched it upon the water, and pushed from shore. Then there arose a wind, which drave him out to sea, till he was lost to the eremite's view; and he ceased not to float over the abysses of the ocean, one billow tossing him up and another bearing him down (and he beholding the while the dangers and marvels of the deep), for the space of three days. At the end of that time Fate cast him upon the Mount of the Bereft Mother, where he landed, giddy and tottering like a chick unfledged, and at the last of his strength for hunger and thirst; but, finding there streams flowing and birds on the branches cooing and fruit-laden trees in clusters and singly growing, he ate of the fruits and drank of the rills. Then he walked on till he saw some white thing afar off, and making for it, found that it was a strongly fortified castle. So he went up to the gate and seeing it locked, sat down by it; and there he sat for three days when behold, the gate opened and an eunuch came out, who finding Uns al-Wujud there seated, said to him, "Whence camest thou and who brought thee hither?" Quoth he, "From Ispahan and I was voyaging with merchandise when my ship was wrecked and the waves cast me upon the farther side of this island." Whereupon the eunuch wept and embraced him, saying, "Allah preserve thee, O thou friendly face! Ispahan is mine own country and I have there a cousin, the daughter of my father's brother, whom I loved from my childhood and cherished with fond affection; but a people stronger than we fell upon us in foray and taking me among other booty, cut off my yard[FN#58] and sold me for a castrato, whilst I was yet a lad; and this is how I came to be in such case."—And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased to say her permitted say.
When it was the Three Hundred and Seventy-sixth Night,
She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that the eunuch who came forth from the castle, where Rose-in-Hood was confined, told Uns al-Wujud all his tale and said:—"The raiders who captured me cut off my yard and sold me for a castrato; and this is how I came to be in such case."[FN#59] And after saluting him and wishing him long life, the eunuch carried him into the courtyard of the castle, where he saw a great tank of water, surrounded by trees, on whose branches hung cages of silver, with doors of gold, and therein birds were warbling and singing the praises of the Requiting King. And when he came to the first cage he looked in and lo! a turtle dove, on seeing him, raised her voice and cried out, saying, "O Thou Bounty-fraught!" Whereat he fell down fainting and after coming to himself, he sighed heavily and recited these couplets,
"O turtle dove, like me art thou distraught? * Then pray the Lord and sing 'O Bounty-fraught!' Would I knew an thy moan were sign of joy, * Or cry of love-desire in heart inwrought,— An moan thou pining for a lover gone * Who left thee woe begone to pine in thought,— Or if like me hast lost thy fondest friend, * And severance long desire to memory brought? O Allah, guard a faithful lover's lot * I will not leave her though my bones go rot!"
Then, after ending his verses, he fainted again; and, presently reviving he went on to the second cage, wherein he found a ringdove. When it saw him, it sang out, "O Eternal, I thank thee!" and he groaned and recited these couplets,
"I heard a ringdove chanting plaintively, * 'I thank Thee, O Eternal for this misery!' Haply, perchance, may Allah, of His grace, * Send me by this long round my love to see. Full oft[FN#60] she comes with honeyed lips dark red, * And heaps up lowe upon love's ardency. Quoth I (while longing fires flame high and fierce * In heart, and wasting life's vitality, And tears like gouts of blood go railing down * In torrents over cheeks now pale of blee), 'None e'er trod earth that was not born to woe, * But I will patient dree mine agony, So help me Allah! till that happy day * When with my mistress I unite shall be: Then will I spend my good on lover-wights, * Who're of my tribe and of the faith of me; And loose the very birds from jail set free, * And change my grief for gladdest gree and glee!'"
Then he went on to the third cage, wherein he found a mockingbird[FN#61] which, when it saw him, set up a song, and he recited the following couplets,
"Pleaseth me yon Hazar of mocking strain * Like voice of lover pained by love in vain. Woe's me for lovers! Ah how many men * By nights and pine and passion low are lain! As though by stress of love they had been made * Morn-less and sleep-less by their pain and bane. When I went daft for him who conquered me * And pined for him who proved of proudest strain, My tears in streams down trickled and I cried * 'These long-linkt tears bind like an adamant-chain:' Grew concupiscence, severance long, and I * Lost Patience' hoards and grief waxed sovereign: If Justice bide in world and me unite * With him I love and Allah veil us deign, I'll strip my clothes that he my form shall sight * With parting, distance, grief, how poor of plight!"
Then he went to the fourth cage, where he found a Bulbul[FN#62] which, at sight of him, began to sway to and fro and sing its plaintive descant; and when he heard its complaint, he burst into tears and repeated these couplets.
"The Bulbul's note, whenas dawn is nigh, * Tells the lover from strains of strings to fly: Complaineth for passion Uns al-Wujud, * For pine that would being to him deny. How many a strain do we hear, whose sound * Softens stones and the rock can mollify: And the breeze of morning that sweetly speaks * Of meadows in flowered greenery. And scents and sounds in the morning-tide * Of birds and zephyrs in fragrance vie; But I think of one, of an absent friend, * And tears rail like rain from a showery sky; And the flamy tongues in my breast uprise * As sparks from gleed that in dark air fly. Allah deign vouchsafe to a lover distraught * Someday the face of his dear to descry! For lovers, indeed, no excuse is clear, * Save excuse of sight and excuse of eye."
Then he walked on a little and came to a goodly cage, than which was no goodlier there, and in it a culver of the forest, that is to say, a wood-pigeon,[FN#63] the bird renowned among birds as the minstrel of love-longing, with a collar of jewels about its neck marvellous fine and fair. He considered it awhile and, seeing it absently brooding in its cage, he shed tears and repeated these couplets,
"O culver of copse,[FN#64] with salams I greet; * O brother of lovers who woe must weet! I love a gazelle who is slender-slim, * Whose glances for keenness the scymitar beat: For her love are my heart and my vitals a-fire, * And my frame consumes in love's fever-heat. The sweet taste of food is unlawful for me, * And forbidden is slumber, unlawfullest sweet. Endurance and solace have travelled from me, * And love homes in my heart and grief takes firm seat: How shall life deal joy when they flee my sight * Who are joy and gladness and life and sprite?"
As soon as Uns al-Wujud had ended his verse,—And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased saying her permitted say.
When it was the Three Hundred and Seventy-seventh Night,
She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that as soon as Uns al-Wujud had ended his verse, the wood-culver awoke from its brooding and cooed a reply to his lines and shrilled and trilled with its thrilling notes till it all but spake with human speech;[FN#65] and the tongue of the case talked for it and recited these couplets,
"O lover, thou bringest to thought a tide * When the strength of my youth first faded and died; And a friend of whose form I was 'namoured, * Seductive and dight with beauty's pride; Whose voice, as he sat on the sandhill-tree, * From the Nay's[FN#66] sweet sound turned my heart aside; A fowler snared him in net, the while * 'O that man would leave me at large!' he cried; I had hoped he might somewhat of mercy show * When a hapless lover he so espied; But Allah smite him who tore me away, * In his hardness of heart, from my lover's side; But aye my desire for him groweth more, * And my heart with the fires of disjunction is fried: Allah guard a true lover, who strives with love, * And hath borne the torments I still abide! And, seeing me bound in this cage, with mind * Of ruth, release me my love to find."
Then Uns al-Wujud turned to his companion, the Ispahahi, and said, "What palace is this? Who built it and who abideth in it?" Quoth the eunuch, "The Wazir of a certain King built it to guard his daughter, fearing for her the accidents of Time and the incidents of Fortune, and lodged her herein, her and her attendants; nor do we open it save once in every year, when their provision cometh to them." And Uns al-Wujud said to himself, "I have gained my end, though I may have long to wait." Such was his case; but as regards Rose-in-Hood, of a truth she took no pleasure in eating or drinking, sitting or sleeping; but her desire and passion and distraction redoubled on her, and she went wandering about the castle-corners, but could find no issue; wherefore she shed tears and recited these couplets,
"They have cruelly ta'en me from him, my beloved, * And made me taste anguish in prison ta'en: They have fired my heart with the flames of love, * Barred all sight of him whom to see I'm fain: In a lofty palace they prisoned me * On a mountain placed in the middle main. If they'd have me forget him, right vain's their wish, * For my love is grown of a stronger strain. How can I forget him whose face was cause * Of all I suffer, of all I 'plain? The whole of my days in sorrow's spent, * And in thought of him through the night I'm lain. Remembrance of him cheers my solitude, * While I lorn of his presence and lone remain. Would I knew if, after this all, my fate * To oblige the desire of my hear will deign."
When her verses were ended, she ascended to the terrace-roof of the castle after donning her richest clothes and trinkets and throwing a necklace of jewels around her neck. Then binding together some dresses of Ba'albak[FN#67] stuff by way of rope, she tied them to the crenelles and let herself down thereby to the ground. And she fared on over wastes and waterless wilds, till she came to the shore, where she saw a fisherman plying here and there over the sea, for the wind had driven him on to the island. When he saw her, he was affrighted[FN#68] and pushed off again, flying from her; but she cried out and made pressing signs to him to return, versifying with these couplets,
"O fisherman no care hast thou to fear, * I'm but an earth-born maid in mortal sphere; I pray thee linger and my prayer grant * And to my true unhappy tale give ear: Pity (so Allah spare thee!) warmest love; * Say, hast thou seen him-my beloved fere? I love a lovely youth whose face excels * Sunlight, and passes moon when clearest clear: The fawn, that sees his glance, is fain to cry * 'I am his thrall' and own himself no peer: Beauty hath written, on his winsome cheek, * Rare lines of pregnant sense for every seer; Who sights the light of love his soul is saved; * Who strays is Infidel to Hell anear: An thou in mercy show his sight, O rare![FN#69] * Thou shalt have every wish, the dearest dear, Of rubies and what likest are to them * Fresh pearls and unions new, the seashell's tear: My friend, thou wilt forsure grant my desire * Whose heart is melted in love's hottest fire.
When the fisherman heard her words, he wept and made moan and lamented; then, recalling what had betided himself in the days of his youth, when love had the mastery over him and longing and desire and distraction were sore upon him and the fires of passion consumed him, replied with these couplets,
"What fair excuse is this my pining plight, * With wasted limbs and tears' unceasing blight; And eyelids open in the nightly murk, * And heart like fire-stick[FN#70] ready fire to smite; Indeed love burdened us in early youth, * And true from false coin soon we learned aright: Then did we sell our soul on way of love, * And drunk of many a well[FN#71] to win her sight; Venturing very life to gain her grace, * And make high profit perilling a mite. 'Tis Love's religion whoso buys with life * His lover's grace, with highest gain is dight."
And when he ended his verse, he moored his boat to the beach and said to her, "Embark, so may I carry thee whither thou wilt." Thereupon she embarked and he put off with her; but they had not gone far from land, before there came out a stern-wind upon the boat and drove it swiftly out of sight of shore. Now the fisherman knew not whither he went, and the strong wind blew without ceasing three days, when it fell by leave of Allah Almighty, and they sailed on and ceased not sailing till they came in sight of a city sitting upon the sea-shore,—And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased to say her permitted say.
When it was the Three Hundred and Seventy-eighth Night,
She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when the fisherman's craft, carrying Rose-in-Hood, made the city sitting upon the sea-shore, the man set about making fast to the land. Now the King of the city was a Prince of pith and puissance named Dirbas, the Lion; and he chanced at that moment to be seated, with his son, at a window in the royal palace giving upon the sea; and happening to look out seawards, they saw the fishing- boat make the land. They observed it narrowly and espied therein a young lady, as she were the full moon overhanging the horizon- edge, with pendants in her ears of costly balass-rubies and a collar of precious stones about her throat. Hereby the King knew that this must indeed be the daughter of some King or great noble and, going forth of the sea-gate of the palace, went down to the boat, where he found the lady asleep and the fisherman busied in making fast to shore. So he went up to her and aroused her, whereupon she awoke, weeping; and he asked her, "Whence comest thou and whose daughter art thou and what be the cause of thy coming hither?"; and she answered, "I am the daughter of Ibrahim, Wazir to King Shamikh; and the manner of my coming hither is wondrous and the cause thereof marvellous." And she told him her whole story first and last, hiding naught from him; then she groaned aloud and recited these couplets,
"Tear-drops have chafed mine eyelids and rail down in wondrous wise, * For parting pain that fills my sprite and turns to springs mine eyes, For sake of friend who ever dwells within my vitals homed, * And I may never win my wish of him in any guise. He hath a favour fair and bright, and brilliant is his face, * Which every Turk and Arab wight in loveliness outvies: The Sun and fullest Moon lout low whenas his charms they sight, * And lover-like they bend to him whene'er he deigneth rise. A wondrous spell of gramarye like Kohl bedecks his eyne, * And shows thee bow with shaft on string make ready ere it flies: O thou, to whom I told my case expecting all excuse, * Pity a lover-wight for whom Love-shafts such fate devise! Verily, Love hath cast me on your coast despite of me * Of will now weak, and fain I trust mine honour thou wilt prize: For noble men, whenas perchance alight upon their bounds, * Grace-worthy guests, confess their worth and raise to dignities. Then, O thou hope of me, to lovers' folly veil afford * And be to them reunion cause, thou only liefest lord!"
And when she had ended her verses, she again told the King her sad tale and shed plenteous tears and recited these couplets bearing on her case,
"We lived till saw we all the marvels Love can bear; * Each month to thee we hope shall fare as Rajab[FN#72] fare: Is it not wondrous, when I saw them march amorn * That I with water o' eyes in heart lit flames that flare? That these mine eyelids rain fast dropping gouts of blood? * That now my cheek grows gold where rose and lily were? As though the safflower hue, that overspread my cheeks, * Were Joseph's coat made stain of lying blood to wear."
Now when the King heard her words he was certified of her love and longing and was moved to ruth for her; so he said to her, "Fear nothing and be not troubled; thou hast come to the term of thy wishes; for there is no help but that I win for thee thy will and bring thee to thy desire." And he improvised these couplets,
"Daughter of nobles, who thine aim shalt gain; * Hear gladdest news nor fear aught hurt of bane! This day I'll pack up wealth, and send it on * To Shmikh, guarded by a champion-train; Fresh pods of musk I'll send him and brocades, * And silver white and gold of yellow vein: Yes, and a letter shall inform him eke * That I of kinship with that King am fain: And I this day will lend thee bestest aid, * That all thou covetest thy soul assain. I, too, have tasted love and know its taste * And can excuse whoso the same cup drain."[FN#73]
Then, ending his verse, he went forth to his troops and summoned his Wazir; and, causing him to pack up countless treasure, commanded him carry it to King Shamikh and say to him, "Needs must thou send me a person named Uns al-Wujud;" and say moreover "The King is minded to ally himself with thee by marrying his daughter to Uns al-Wujud, thine officer. So there is no help but thou despatch him to me, that the marriage may be solemnized in her father's kingdom." And he wrote a letter to King Shamikh to this effect, and gave it to the Minister, charging him strictly to bring back Uns al-Wujud and warning him, "An thou fail thou shalt be deposed and degraded." Answered the Wazir, "I hear and obey;" and, setting out forthright with the treasures, in due course arrived at the court of King Shamikh whom he saluted in the name of King Dirbas and delivered the letter and the presents. Now when King Shamikh read the letter and saw the name of Uns al-Wujud, he burst into tears and said to the Wazir "And where, or where, is Uns al-Wujud?; he went from us and we know not his place of abiding; only bring him to me, and I will give thee double the presents thou hast brought me." And he wept and groaned and lamented, saying these couplets,
"To me restore my dear; * I want not wealth untold: Nor crave I gifts of pearls * Or gems or store of gold: He was to us a moon * In beauty's heavenly fold. Passing in form and soul; * With roe compare withhold! His form a willow-wand, * His fruit, lures manifold; But willow lacketh power * Men's hearts to have and hold. I reared him from a babe * On cot of coaxing roll'd; And now I mourn for him * With woe in soul ensoul'd."
Then, turning to the Wazir who had brought the presents and the missive, he said, "Go back to thy liege and acquaint him that Uns al-Wujud hath been missing this year past, and his lord knoweth not whither he is gone nor hath any tidings of him." Answered the Minister of King Dirbas, "O my lord, my master said to me, 'An thou fail to bring him back, thou shalt be degraded from the Wazirate and shall not enter my city. How then can I return without him?'" So King Shamikh said to his Wazir Ibrahim, "Take a company and go with him and make ye search for Uns al-Wujud everywhere." He replied, "Hearkening and obedience;" and, taking a body of his own retainers, set out accompanied by the Wazir of King Dirbas seeking Uns al-Wujud.—And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased saying her permitted say.
When it was the Three Hundred and Seventy-ninth Night,
She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that Ibrahim, Wazir to King Shamikh, took him a body of his retainers and, accompanied by the Minister of King Dirbas, set out seeking Uns al-Wujud. And as often as they fell in with wild Arabs or others they asked of the youth, saying, "Tell us have ye seen a man whose name is so and so and his semblance thus and thus?" But they all answered, "We know him not." Still they continued their quest, enquiring in city and hamlet and seeking in fertile plain and stony hall and in the wild and in the wold, till they made the Mountain of the Bereaved Mother; and the Wazir of King Dirbas said to Ibrahim, "Why is this mountain thus called?" He answered, "Once of old time, here sojourned a Jinniyah, of the Jinn of China, who loved a mortal with passionate love; and, being in fear of her life from her own people, searched all the earth over for a place, where she might hide him from them, till she happened on this mountain and, finding it cut off from both men and Jinn, there being no access to it, carried off her beloved and lodged him therein. There, when she could escape notice of her kith and kin, she used privily to visit him, and continued so doing till she had borne him a number of children; and the merchants, sailing by the mountain, in their voyages over the main, heard the weeping of the children, as it were the wailing of a woman bereft of her babes, and said, 'Is there here a mother bereaved of her children?' For which reason the place was named the Mountain of the Bereaved Mother." And the Wazir of King Dirbas marvelled at his words. Then they landed and, making for the castle, knocked at the gate which was opened to them by an eunuch, who knew the Wazir Ibrahim and kissed his hands. The Minister entered and found in the courtyard, among the serving- men, a Fakir, which was Uns al-Wujud, but he knew him not and said, "Whence cometh yonder wight?" Quoth they, "He is a merchant, who hath lost his goods, but saved himself; and he is an ecstatic."[FN#74] So the Wazir left him and went on into the castle, where he found no trace of his daughter and questioned her women, who answered, "We wot not how or whither she went; this place misliked her and she tarried in it but a short time." Whereupon he wept sore and repeated these couplets,
"Ho thou, the house, whose birds were singing gay, * Whose sills their wealth and pride were wont display! Till came the lover wailing for his love, * And found thy doors wide open to the way; Would Heaven I knew where is my soul that erst * Was homed in house, whose owners fared away! 'Twas stored with all things bright and beautiful, * And showed its porters ranged in fair array: They clothed it with brocades a bride become;[FN#75] * Would I knew whither went its lords, ah, say!"
After ending his verses he again shed tears, and groaned and bemoaned himself, exclaiming, "There is no deliverance from the destiny decreed by Allah; nor is there any escape from that which He hath predestined!" Then he went up to the roof and found the strips of Ba'albak stuff tied to the crenelles and hanging down to the ground, and thus it was he knew that she had descended thence and had fled forth, as one distracted and demented with desire and passion. Presently, he turned and seeing there two birds, a gor-crow and an owl he justly deemed this an omen of ill; so he groaned and recited these couplets,
"I came to my dear friends' door, of my hopes the goal, * Whose sight mote assuage my sorrow and woes of soul: No friends found I there, nor was there another thing * To find, save a corby-crow and an ill-omened owl. And the tongue o' the case to me seemed to say, * 'Indeed This parting two lovers fond was cruel and foul! So taste thou the sorrow thou madest them taste and live * In grief: wend thy ways and now in thy sorrow prowl!'"
Then he descended from the castle-roof, weeping, and bade the servants fare forth and search the mount for their mistress; so they sought for her, but found her not. Such was their case; but as regards Uns al-Wujud, when he was certified that Rose-in-Hood was indeed gone, he cried with a great cry and fell down in a fainting-fit, nor came to himself for a long time, whilst the folk deemed that his spirit had been withdrawn by the Compassionating One; and that he was absorbed in contemplation of the splendour, majesty and beauty of the Requiting One. Then, despairing of finding Uns al-Wujud, and seeing that the Wazir Ibrahim was distracted for the loss of his daughter, the Minister of King Dirbas addressed himself to return to his own country, albeit he had not attained the object of his journey, and while bidding his companion adieu, said to him, "I have a mind to take the Fakir with me; it may be Allah Almighty will incline the King's heart to me by his blessing, for that he is a holy man; and thereafter, I will send him to Ispahan, which is near our country." "Do as thou wilt," answered Ibrahim. So they took leave of each other and departed, each for his own mother land, the Wazir of King Dirbas carrying with him Uns al-Wujud,—And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased to say her permitted say.
When it was the Three Hundred and Eightieth Night,
She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that the Wazir of King Dirbas carried with him Uns al-Wujud who was still insensible. They bore him with them on mule-back (he unknowing if he were carried or not) for three days, when he came to himself and said, "Where am I?" "Thou art in company with the Minister of King Dirbas," replied they and went and gave news of his recovering to the Wazir, who sent him rose-water and sherbet of sugar, of which they gave him to drink and restored him. Then they ceased not faring on till they drew near King Dirbas's capital and the King, being advised of his Wazir's coming, wrote to him, saying, "If Uns al-Wujud be not with thee, come not to me ever." Now when the Wazir read the royal mandate, it was grievous to him, for he knew not that Rose-in-Hood was with the King, nor why he had been sent in quest of Uns al-Wujud, nor the King's reason for desiring the alliance; whilst Uns al-Wujud also knew not whither they were bearing him or that the Wazir had been sent in quest of him; nor did the Wazir know that the Fakir he had with him was Uns al-Wujud himself. And when the Minister saw that the sick man was whole, he said to him, "I was despatched by the King on an errand, which I have not been able to accomplish. So, when he heard of my return, he wrote to me, saying, 'Except thou have fulfilled my need enter not my city.'" "And what is the King's need?" asked Uns al-Wujud. So the Wazir told him the whole tale, and he said, "Fear nothing, but go boldly to the King and take me with thee; and I will be surety to thee for the coming of Uns al-Wujud." At this the Wazir rejoiced and cried, "Is this true which thou sayest?" "Yes," replied he; whereupon the Wazir mounted and carried him to King Dirbas who, after receiving their salutations said to him, "Where is Uns al-Wujud?" Answered the young man, "O King, I know where he is." So the King called him to him and said, "Where?" Returned Uns al-Wujud, "He is near-hand and very near; but tell me what thou wouldst with him, and I will fetch him into thy presence." The King replied, "With joy and good gree, but the case calleth for privacy." So he ordered the folk to withdraw and, carrying Uns al-Wujud into his cabinet, told him the whole story; whereupon quoth the youth, "Robe me in rich raiment, and I will forthright bring Uns al-Wujud to thee." So they brought him a sumptuous dress, and he donned it and said, "I am Uns al-Wujud, the World's Delight, and to the envious a despite"; and presently he smote with his glances every sprite, and began these couplets to recite,
"My loved one's name in cheerless solitude aye cheereth me * And driveth off my desperance and despondency: I have no helper[FN#76] but my tears that ever flow in fount, * And as they flow, they lighten woe and force my grief to flee. My longing is so violent naught like it ere was seen; * My love- tale is a marvel and my love a sight to see: I spend the night with lids of eye that never close in sleep, * And pass in passion twixt the Hells and Edens heavenly. I had of patience fairish store, but now no more have I; * And love's sole gift to me hath been aye-growing misery: My frame is wasted by the pain of parting from my own, * And longing changed my shape and form and made me other be. Mine eyelids by my torrent tears are chafed, and ulcerate, * The tears, whose flow to stay is mere impossibility. My manly strength is sore impaired for I have lost my heart; * How many griefs upon my griefs have I been doomed to dree! My heart and head are like in age with similar hoariness * By loss of Beauty's lord,[FN#77] of lords the galaxy: Despite our wills they parted us and doomed us parted wone, * While they (our lords) desire no more than love in unity. Then ah, would Heaven that I wot if stress of parting done, * The world will grant me sight of them in union fain and free— Roll up the scroll of severance which others would unroll— * Efface my trouble by the grace of meeting's jubilee! And shall I see them homed with me in cup-company, * And change my melancholic mood for joy and jollity?"
And when he had ended his verses the King cried aloud, "By Allah, ye are indeed a pair of lovers true and fain and in Beauty's heaven of shining stars a twain: your story is wondrous and your case marvellous." Then he told him all that had befalled Rose-in- Hood; and Uns al-Wujud said, "Where is she, O King of the age?" "She is with me now," answered Dirbas and, sending for the Kazi and the witnesses, drew up the contract of marriage between her and him. Then he honoured Uns al-Wujud with favours and bounties and sent to King Shamikh acquainting him with what had befallen, whereat this King joyed with exceeding joy and wrote back the following purport. "Since the ceremony of contract hath been performed at thy court, it behoveth that the marriage and its consummation be at mine." Then he made ready camels, horses and men and sent them in quest of the pair; and when the embassy reached King Dirbas, he gave the lovers much treasure and despatched them to King Shamikh's court with a company of his own troops. The day of their arrival was a notable day, never was seen a grander; for the King gathered together all the singing- women and players on instruments of music and made wedding banquets and held high festival seven days; and on each day he gave largesse to the folk and bestowed on them sumptuous robes of honour. Then Uns al-Wujud went in to Rose-in-Hood and they embraced and sat weeping for excess of joy and gladness, whilst she recited these couplets,
"Joyance is come, dispelling cark and care; * We are united, enviers may despair. The breeze of union blows, enquickening * Forms, hearts and vitals, fresh with fragrant air: The splendour of delight with scents appears, * And round us[FN#78] flags and drums show gladness rare. Deem not we're weeping for our stress of grief;* It is for joy our tears as torrents fare: How many fears we've seen that now are past! * And bore we patient what was sore to bear: One hour of joyance made us both forget * What from excess of terror grey'd our hair."
And when the verses were ended, they again embraced and ceased not from their embrace, till they fell down in a swoon,—And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased saying her permitted say.
When it was the Three Hundred and Eighty-first Night,
She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that Uns al- Wujud and Rose-in-Hood embraced when they foregathered and ceased not from their embrace, till they fell down in a swoon for the delight of reunion; and when they came to themselves, Uns al- Wujud recited these couplets,
"How joyously sweet are the nights that unite, * When my dearling deigns keep me the troth she did plight; When union conjoins us in all that we have, * And parting is severed and sundered from sight, To us comes the world with her favour so fair, * After frown and aversion and might despight! Hath planted her banner Good Fortune for us, * And we drink of her cup in the purest delight. We have met and complained of the pitiful Past, * And of nights a full many that doomed us to blight. But now, O my lady, the Past is forgot; * The Compassionate pardon the Past for unright! How sweet is existence, how glad is to be! * This union my passion doth only incite."
And when he ended his verses they once more embraced, drowned in the sea of passion; and lay down together in the private apartment carousing and conversing and quoting verses and telling pleasant tales and anecdotes. On this wise seven days passed over them whilst they knew not night from day and it was to them, for very stress of gaiety and gladness, pleasure and possession, as if the seven days were but one day with ne'er a morrow. Not did they know the seventh day,[FN#79] but by the coming of the singers and players on instruments of music; whereat Rose-in-Hood beyond measure wondered and improvised these couplets,
"In spite of enviers' jealousy, at end * We have won all we hoped of the friend: We've crowned our meeting with a close embrace * On quilts where new brocades with sendal blend; On bed of perfumed leather, which the spoils * Of downy birds luxuriously distend. But I abstain me from unneeded wine, * When honey-dews of lips sweet musk can lend: Now from the sweets of union we unknow * Time near and far, if slow or fast it wend, The seventh night hath come and gone, O strange! * How went the nights we never reckt or kenned; Till, on the seventh wishing joy they said, * 'Allah prolong the meet of friend with friend!'"
When she had finished her song, Uns al-Wujud kissed her, more than an hundred times, and recited these couplets,
"O day of joys to either lover fain! * The loved one came and freed from lonely pain: She blest me with all inner charms she hath; * And companied with inner grace deep lain: She made me drain the wine of love till I, * Was faint with joys her love had made me drain: We toyed and joyed and on each other lay; * Then fell to wine and soft melodious strain: And for excess of joyance never knew, * How went the day and how it came again. Fair fall each lover, may he union win * And gain of joy like me the amplest gain; Nor weet the taste of severance' bitter fruit * And joys assain them as they us assain!"
Then they went forth and distributed to the folk alms and presents of money and raiment and rare gifts and other tokens of generosity; after which Rose-in-Hood bade clear the bath for her[FN#80] and, turning to Uns al-Wujud said to him, "O coolth of my eyes, I have a mind to see thee in the Hammam, and therein we will be alone together." He joyfully consented to this, and she let scent the Hammam with all sorts of perfumed woods and essences, and light the wax-candles. Then of the excess of her contentment she recited these couplets,
"O who didst win my love in other date * (And Present e'er must speak of past estate); And, oh! who art my sole sufficiency, * Nor want I other friends with me to mate: Come to the Hammam, O my light of eyes, * And enter Eden through Gehenna-gate! We'll scent with ambergris and aloes-wood * Till float the heavy clouds with fragrant freight; And to the World we'll pardon all her sins * And sue for mercy the Compassionate; And I will cry, when I descry thee there, * 'Good cheer, sweet love, all blessings on thee wait!'"[FN#81]
Whereupon they arose and fared to the bath and took their pleasure therein; after which they returned to their palace and there abode in the fulness of enjoyment, till there came to them the Destroyer of Delights and the Sunderer of societies; and glory be to Him who changeth not neither ceaseth, and to whom everything returneth! And they also tell a tale of
ABU NOWAS WITH THE THREE BOYS AND THE CALIPH HARUN AL-RASHID[FN#82]
Abu Nowas one day shut himself up and, making ready a richly-furnished feast, collected for it meats of all kinds and of every colour that lips and tongue can desire. Then he went forth, to seek a minion worthy of such entertainment, saying, "Allah, my Lord and my Master, I beseech Thee to send me one who befitteth this banquet and who is fit to carouse with me this day!" Hardly had he made an end of speaking when he espied three youths handsome and beardless, as they were of the boys of Paradise,[FN#83] differing in complexion but fellows in incomparable beauty; and all hearts yearned with desire to the swaying of their bending shapes, even to what saith the poet,
"I passed a beardless pair without compare * And cried, 'I love you, both you ferly fir!' 'Money'd?' quoth one: quoth I, 'And lavish too;' * Then said the fair pair, 'Pere, c'est notre affaire.'"
Now Abu Nowas was given to these joys and loved to sport and make merry with fair boys and cull the rose from every brightly blooming check, even as saith the bard,
Full many a reverend Shaykh feels sting of flesh, * Loves pretty faces, shows at Pleasure's depot: Awakes in Mosul,[FN#84] land of purity; * And all the day dreams only of Aleppo.[FN#85]
So he accosted them with the salutation, and they returned his greeting with civility and all honour and would have gone their several ways, but he stayed them, repeating these couplets,
"Steer ye your steps to none but me * Who hath a mine of luxury:- Old wine that shines with brightest blee * Made by the monk in monastery; And mutton-meat the toothsomest * And birds of all variety. Then eat of these and drink of those * Old wines that bring you jollity: And have each other, turn by turn, * Shampooing this my tool you see."[FN#86]
Thereupon the youths were beguiled by his verses and consented to his wishes,—And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased to say her permitted say.
When it was the Three hundred and Eighty-second Night,
She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when Abu Nowas beguiled the youths with his wishes, saying, "We hear and obey;" and accompanied him to his lodging, where they found all ready that he had set forth in his couplets. They sat down and ate and drank and made merry awhile, after which they appealed to Abu Nowas to decide which of them was handsometh of face and shapliest of form. So he pointed to one of them and, having kissed him twice over, recited the following verses,
"I'll ransom that beauty-spot with my soup; * Where's it and where is a money-dole?[FN#87] Praise Him who hairless hath made that cheek * And bid Beauty bide in that mole, that mole!"
Then he pointed to another and, kissing his lips, repeated these couplets,
"And loveling weareth on his cheek a mole * Like musk, which virgin camphor ne'er lets off it: My peepers marvel such a contrast seeing; * And cried the Mole to me, 'Now bless the Prophet.'"[FN#88]
Then he pointed to the third and, after kissing him half a score times repeated these couplets,
"Melted pure gold in silvern bowl to drain * The youth, whose fingers wore a winey stain: He with the drawers[FN#89] served one cup of wine, * And served his wandering eyes the other twain. A loveling, of the sons of Turks,[FN#90] a fawn * Whose waist conjoins the double Mounts Honayn.[FN#91] Could Eve's corrupting daughers[FN#92] tempt my heart * Content with two-fold lure 'twould bear the bane. Unto Diyar-I-Bakr ('maid-land '[FN#93] this one lures; * That lures to two-mosqued cities of the plain."[FN#94]
Now each of the youths had drunk two cups, and when it came to the turn of Abu Nowas, he took the goblet and repeated these couplets,
"Drink not strong wine save at the slender dearling's hand; * Each like to other in all gifts the spirt grace: For wine can never gladden toper's heart and soul, * Unless the cup-boy show a bright and sparkling face."
Then he drank off his cup and the bowl went round, and when it came to Abu Nowas again, joyance got the mastery of him and he repeated these couplets,
"For cup-friends cup succeeding cup assign, * Brimming with grape-juice, brought in endliess line, By hand of brown-lipped[FN#95] Beauty who is sweet * At wake as apple or musk finest fine.[FN#96] Drink not the wine except from hand of fawn * Whose cheek to kiss is sweeter than the wine."
Presently the drink got into his noddle, drunkenness mastered him and he knew not hand from head, so that he lolled from side to side in joy and inclined to the youths one and all, anon kissing them and anon embracing them leg overlying leg. And he showed no sense of sin or shame, but recited these couplets,
"None wotteth best joyance but generous youth * When the pretty ones deign with him company keep: This sings to him, sings to him that, when he wants * A pick-me-up[FN#97] lying there all of a heap: And when of a loveling he needeth a kiss, * He takes from his lips or a draught or a nip; Heaven bless them! How sweetly my day with them sped; * A wonderful harvest of pleasure I reap: Let us drink our good liquor both watered and pure, * And agree to swive all who dare slumber and sleep."
While they were in this deboshed state behold, there came a knocking at the door; so they bade him who knocked enter, and behold, it was the Commander of the Faithful, Harun al-Rashid. When they saw him, they all rose and kissed ground before him; and Abu Nowas threw off the fumes of the wine for awe of the Caliph, who said to him, "Holla, Abu Nowas!" He replied, "Adsum, at thy service, O Commander of the Faithful, whom Allah preserve!" The Caliph asked, "What state is this?" and the poet answered, "O Prince of True Believers, my state indubitably dispenseth with questions." Quoth the Caliph, "O Abu Nowas, I have sought direction of Allah Almighty and have appointed thee Kazi of pimps and panders." Asked he, "Dost thou indeed invest me with that high office, O Commander of the Faithful?"; and the Caliph answered "I do;" whereupon Abu Nowas rejoined, "O Commander of the Faithful, hast thou any suit to prefer to me?" Hereat the Caliph was wroth and presently turned away and left them, full of rage, and passed the night sore an-angered against Abu Nowas, who amid the party he had invited spent the merriest of nights and the jolliest and joyousest. And when day-break dawned and the star of morn appeared in sheen and shone, he broke up the sitting and, dismissing the youths, donned his court-dress and leaving his house set out for the palace of the Caliph. Now it was the custom of the Commander of the Faithful, when the Divan broke up, to withdraw to his sitting-saloon and summon thither his poets and cup-companions and musicians, each having his own place, which he might not overpass. So it happened that day, he retired to his saloom, and the friends and familiars came and seated themselves, each in his rank and degree. Presently, in walked Abu Nowas and was about to take his usual seat, when the Caliph cried to Masrur, the sworder, and bade him strip the poet of his clothes and bind an ass's packsaddle on his back and a halter about his head and a crupper under his rump and lead him round to all the lodgings of the slave-girls, —And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased saying her permitted say.
When it was the Three hundred and Eighty-third Night,
She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that the Caliph commanded Masrur, the sworder, to strip Abu Nowas of his court-suit and bind an ass's packsaddle on his back and a halter about his head, and a crupper under his rump and lead him round to all the lodgings of the slave-girls, and the chambers of the Harim, that the women might make mock of him; then cut off his head and bring it to him. "Hearkening and obedience," replied Masrur and, doing with Abu Nowas as the Caliph had bidden him, led him round all the chambers whose number equalled the days of the year; but Abu Nowas was a funny fellow, so he made all the girls laugh with his buffooneries and each gave him something whereby he returned not save with a pocketful of money. And while this was going on behold, Ja'afar the Barmecide, who had been absent on an important business for the Commander of the Faithful, entered and recognising the poet, albeit in this plight, said to him, "Holla, Abu Nowas!" He said, "Here at thy service, O our lord." Ja'afar asked, "What offence hast thou committed to bring this punishment on thee?" Thereupon he answered, "None whatsoever, except that I made our lord the Caliph a present of the best of my poetry and he presented me, in return, with the best of his raiment." When the Prince of True Believers head this, he laughed, from a heart full of wrath,[FN#98] and pardoned Abu Nowas, and also gave him a myriad of money. And they also recount the tale of
ABDALLAH BIN MA'AMAR WITH THE MAN OF BASSORAH AND HIS SLAVE-GIRL.
A certain man of Bassorah once bought a slave-girl and reared and educated her right well. Moreover, he loved her very dearly and spent all his substance in pleasuring and merry-making with her, til he had naught left and extreme poverty was sore upon him. So she said to him, "O my master, sell me; for thou needest my price and it maketh my heart ache to see thy sorry and want-full plight. If thou vend me and make use of my value, 'twill be better for thee than keeping me by thee, and haply Almighty Allah will ample thee and amend thy fortune." He agreed to this for the straitness of his case, and carried her to the bazar, where the broker offered her for sale to the Governor of Bassorah, by name Abdallah bin Ma'amar al-Taymi, and she pleased him. So he bought her, for five hundred dinars and paid the sum to her master; but when he book the money and was about to go away, the girl burst into tears and repeated these two couplets,
"May coins though gainest joy in heart instil; * For me remaineth naught save saddest ill: I say unto my soul which sorely grieves, * 'Thy friend departeth an thou will nor nill.'"
And when her master heard this, he groaned and replied in these couplets,
"Albeit this thy case lack all resource, * Nor findeth aught but death's doom, pardon still; Evening and morning, thoughts of thee will dole * Comfort to heart all woes and griefs full fill: Peace be upon thee! Meet we now no more * Nor pair except at Ibn Ma'amar's will."
Now when Abdullah bin Ma'amar heard these verses and saw their affection, he exclaimed, "By Allah, I will not assist fate in separating you; for it is evident to me that ye two indeed love each other. So take the money and the damsel, O man, and Allah bless thee in both; for verily parting be grievous to lovers." So they kissed his hand and going away, ceased not to dwell together, till death did them part; and glory be to Him whom death over-taketh not! And amonst stories is that of
THE LOVERS OF THE BANU[FN#99] OZRAH
There was once, among the Banu Ozrah, a handsome and accomplished man, who was never a single day out of love, and it chanced that he became enamoured of a beauty of his own tribe and sent her many messages; but she ceased not to entreat him with cruelty and disdain; till, for stress of love and longing and desire and distraction, he fell sick of a sore sickness and took to his pillow and murdered sleep. His malady redoubled on him and his torments increased and he was well nigh dead when his case became known among the folk and his passion notorious;—And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased to say her permitted say.
When it was the Three Hundred and Eighty-fourth Night,
She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that the man took to his pillow and murdered sleep. So his case became known and his passion notorious; and his infirmity grew upon him and his pains redoubled until he was well nigh dead. His family and hers were urgent with her to visit him, but she refused, till he was at the point of death when, being told of this, she relented towards him and vouchsafed him a visit. As soon as he saw her, his eyes ran over with tears and he repeated from a broken heart,
"An, by thy life, pass thee my funeral train, * A bier upborne upon the necks of four, Wilt thou not follow it, and greet the grave * Where shall my corpse be graved for evermore?"
Hearing this, she wept with sore weeping and said to him, "By Allah, I suspected not that passion had come to such a pass with thee, as to cast thee into the arms of death! Had I wist of this, I had been favourable to thy wish, and thou shouldst have had thy will." At this his tears streamed down even as the clouds rail rain, and he repeated this verse,
"She drew near whenas death was departing us, * And deigned union grant when twas useless all."
Then he groaned one groan and died. So she fell on him, kissing him and weeping and ceased not weeping until she swooned away; and when she came to herself, she charged her people to bury her in his grave and with streaming eyes recited these two couplets,
"We lived on earth a life of fair content; * And tribe and house and home of us were proud; But Time in whirling flight departed us, * To join us now in womb of earth and shroud.[FN#100]"
Then she fell again to weeping, nor gave over shedding tears and lamenting till she fainted away; and she lay three days, senseless. Then she died and was buried in his grave. This is one of the strange chances of love.[FN#101] And I have heard related a tale of the
WAZIR OF AL-YAMAN AND HIS YOUNG BROTHER
It is said that Badr al-Din, Wazir of Al-Yaman, had a young brother of singular beauty and kept strait watch over him; so he applied himself to seek a tutor for him and, coming upon a Shaykh of dignified and reverend aspect, chaste and religious, lodged him in a house next his own. This lasted a long time, and he used to come daily from his dwelling to that of Shib[FN#102] Badr al-Din and teach the young brother. After a while, the old man's heart was taken with love for the youth, and longing grew upon him and his vitals were troubled, till one day, he bemoaned his case to the boy, who said, "What can I do, seeing that I may not leave my brother night or day? and thou thyself seest how careful he is over me." Quoth the Shaykh, "My lodging adjoineth thine; so there will be no difficulty, when thy brother sleepeth, to rise and, entering the privy, feign thyself asleep. Then come to the parapet[FN#103] of the terrace-roof and I will receive thee on the other side of the wall; so shalt thou sit with me an eye-twinkling and return without thy brother's knowledge." "I hear and obey," answered the lad; and the tutor began to prepare gifts suitable to his degree. Now when a while of the night was past, he entered the water-closet and waited until his brother lay down on his bed and took patience till he was drowned in sleep, when he rose and going to the parapet of the terrace-roof, found standing there to await him the old man, who gave him his hand and carried him to the sitting-chamber, where he had made ready various dainties for his entertainment, and they sat down to carouse. Now it was the night of the full moon and, as they sat with the wine-cup going round, her rays shone upon them, and the governor fell to singing. But, whilst they were thus in joy and jollity and mirth and merriment, such as confoundeth the wit and the sight and defieth description, lo! the Wazir awoke and, missing his brother, arose in affright and found the door open. So he went up to the roof and hearing a noise of talk, climbed over the parapet to the adjoining terrace and saw a light shining from the lodging. He looked in from behind the wall, and espied his brother and his tutor sitting at carouse; but the Shaykh became aware of him and sang cup in hand, to a lively measure these couplets,
"He made me drain his wine of honeyed lips, * Toasting with cheeks which rose and myrtle smother: Then nighted in embrace, cheek to my cheek, * A loveling midst mankind without another. When the full moon arose on us and shone * Pray she traduce us not to the big brother."
And it proved the perfect politeness of the Wazir Badr al-Din that, when he heard this, he said, "By Allah, I will not betray you!" And he went away and left them to their diversions. They also tell a tale concerning
THE LOVES OF THE BOY AND GIRL AT SCHOOL
A free boy and a slave-girl once learnt together in school, and the boy fell passionately in love with the girl.—And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased saying her permitted say.
When it was the Three Hundred and Eighty-Fifth Night,
She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that the lad fell passionately in love with the slave-lass: so one day, when the other boys were heedless, he took her tablet[FN#104] and wrote on it these two couplets,
"What sayest thou of him by sickness waste, * Until he's clean distraught for love of thee? Who in the transport of his pain complains, * Nor can bear load of heart in secrecy?"
Now when the girl took her tablet, she read the verses written thereon and understanding them, wept for ruth of him; then she wrote thereunder these two couplets,
"An if we behold a lover love-fordone * Desiring us, our favours he shall see: Yea, what he wills of us he shall obtain, * And so befal us what befalling be."
Now it chanced that the teacher came in on them and taking the tablet, unnoticed, read what was written thereon. So he was moved to pity of their case and wrote on the tablet beneath those already written these two couplets addressed to the girl,
"Console thy lover, fear no consequence; * He is daft with loving lowe's insanity; But for the teacher fear not aught from him; * Love-pain he learned long before learnt ye."
Presently it so happened that the girl's owner entered the school about the same time and, finding the tablet, read the above verses indited by the boy, the girl and the schoolmaster; and wrote under them these two couplets,
"May Allah never make you parting dree * And be your censurer shamed wearily! But for the teacher ne'er, by Allah, eye * Of mine beheld a bigger pimp than he!"
Then he sent for the Kazi and witnesses and married them on the spot. Moreover, he made them a wedding-feast and treated them with exceeding munificence; and they ceased not abiding together in joy and happiness, till there came to them the Destroyer of delights and the Severer of societies. And equally pleasant is the story of
AL-MUTALAMMIS AND HIS WIFE UMAYMAH
It is related Al-Mutalammis[FN#105] once fled from Al-Nu'uman bin Munzir[FN#106] and was absent so long that folk deemed him dead. Now he had a beautiful wife, Umaymah by name, and her family urged her to marry again; but she refused, for that she loved her husband Al-Mutalammis very dearly. However, they were urgent with her, because of the multitude of her suitors, and importuned with her till at last she consented, albe reluctantly; and they espoused her to a man of her own tribe. Now on the night of the wedding, Al-Mutalammis came back and, hearing in the camp a noise of pipes and tabrets and seeing signs of a wedding festival, asked some of the children what was the merry-making, to which they replied, "They have married Umaymah wife of Al-Mutalammis, to such an one, and he goes in to her this night." When he heard this, he planned to enter the house amongst the mob of women and saw the twain seated on the bridal couch.[FN#107] By and by, the bridegroom came up to her, whereupon she sighed heavily and weeping, recited this couplet,
"Would Heaven I knew (but many are the shifts of joy and woe) * In what far distant land thou art, my Mutalammis, oh!"
Now Al-Mutalammis was a renowned poet; so he answered her saying;
"Right near at hand, Umaymah mine! when'er the caravan * Halted, I never ceased for thee to pine, I would thou know."
When the bridegroom heard this, he guess how the case stood and went forth from them in hast improvising,
"I was in bestest luck, but now my luck goes contrary: * A hospitable house and room contain your loves, you two!"
And he returned not but left the twain to their privacy. So Al- Mutalammis and his wife abode together in all comfort and solace of life and in all its joys and jollities till death parted them. And glory be to Him at whose command the earth and the heavens shall arise! And among other tales is that of
THE CALIPH HARUM AL-RASHID AND QUEEN ZUBAYDAH IN THE BATH
The Caliph Harun al-Rashid loved the Lady Zubaydah with exceeding love and laid out for her a pleasaunce, wherein he made a great tank and set thereabouts a screen of trees and led thither water from all sides; hence the trees grew and interlaced over the basin so densely, that one could go in and wash, without being seen of any, for the thickness of the leafage. It chanced, one day, that Queen Zubaydah entered the garden and, coming to the swimming-bath,—And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased to say her permitted say.
When it was the Three Hundred and Eighty-sixth Night
She said, It hath reached me, "O auspicious King, that Queen Zubaydah entered the garden one day and, coming to the swimming- bath, gazed upon its goodliness; and the sheen of the water and the overshading of the trees pleased her. Now it was a day of exceeding heat; so she doffed her clothes and, entering the tank, which was not deep enough to cover the whole person, fell to pouring the water over herself from an ewer of silver. It also happened that the Caliph heard she was in the pool; so he left his palace and came down to spy upon her through the screen of the foliage. He stood behind the trees and espied her mother- nude, showing everything that is kept hidden. Presently, she became aware of him and turning, saw him behind the trees and was ashamed that he should see her naked. So she laid her hands on her parts, but the Mount of Venus escaped from between them, by reason of its greatness and plumpness; and the Caliph at once turned and went away, wondering and reciting this couplet,
"I looked on her with loving eyne * And grew anew my old repine:"
But he knew not what to say next; so he sent for Abu Nowas and said to him, "Make me a piece of verse commencing with this line." "I hear and obey," replied the poet and in an eye- twinkling extemporised these couplets,
"I looked on her with longing eyne * And grew anew my old repine For the gazelle, who captured me * Where the two lotus-trees incline: There was the water poured on it * From ewer of the silvern mine; And seen me she had hidden it * But twas too plump for fingers fine. Would Heaven that I were on it, * An hour, or better two hours, li'en."[FN#108]
Thereupon the Commander of the Faithful smiled and made him a handsome present and he went away rejoicing. And I have heard another story of
HARUN AL-RASHID AND THE THREE POETS
The Prince of True Believers, Caliph Harun al-Rashid, was exceeding restless one night; so he rose and walked about his palace, till he happened upon a handmaid overcome with wine. Now he was prodigiously enamoured of this damsel; so he played with her and pulled her to him, whereupon her zone fell down and her petticoat-trousers were loosed and he besought her of amorous favour. But she said to him, "O Commander of the Faithful wait till to-morrow night, for I am unprepared for thee, knowing not of thy coming." So he left her and went away. But, when the morrow showed its light and the sun shone bright, he sent a page to her saying, "The Commander of the Faithful is about to visit thine apartment;" but she replied, "Day doth away with the promise of night." So he said to his courtiers, "Make me somewhat of verse, introducing these words, The Promise of Night is effaced by Day.'" Answered they, "We hear and obey," and Al- Rakshi[FN#109] came forward and recited the following couplets,
"By Allah, couldst thou but feel my pain, * Thy rest had turned and had fled away. Hath left me in sorrow and love distraught, * Unseen and unseeing, that fairest may: She promised me grace, then jilted and said, * The promise of night is effaced by day!'"
Then Abu Mus'ab came forward and recited these couplets,
"When wilt thou be wise and love-heat allay * That from food and sleeping so leads astray? Suffices thee not ever weeping eye, * And vitals on fire when thy name they say? He must smile and laugh and in pride must cry * The promise of Night is effaced by Day.'"
Last came Abu Nowas and recited the following couplets,
"As love waxt longer less met we tway * And fell out, but ended the useless fray; One night in the palace I found her fou'; * Yet of modesty still there was some display: The veil from her shoulders had slipt; and showed * Her loosened trousers Love's seat and stay: And rattled the breezes her huge hind cheeks * And the branch where two little pomegranates lay: Quoth I, Give me tryst;' whereto quoth she * To-morrow the fane shall wear best array:' Next day I asked her, Thy word?' Said she * The promise of Night is effaced by Day.'"
The Caliph bade give a myriad of money each to Al-Rakashi and Abu Mus'ab, but bade strike off the head of Abu Nowas, saying, "Thou wast with us yesternight in the palace." Said he, "By Allah, I slept not but in my own house! I was directed to what I said by thine own words as to the subject of the verse; and indeed quoth Almighty Allah (and He is the truest of all speakers): As for poets (devils pursue them!) dost thou not see that they rove as bereft of their senses through every valley and that they say that which they do not?'"[FN#110] So the Caliph forgave him and gave him two myriads of money. And another tale is that of
MUS'AB BIN AL-ZUBAYR AND AYISHAH HIS WIFE
It is told of Mus'ab bin al-Zubayr[FN#111] that he met in Al- Medinah Izzah, who was one of the shrewdest of women, and said to her, "I have a mind to marry Ayishah[FN#112] daughter of Talhah, and I should like thee to go herwards and spy out for me how she is made." So she went away and returning to Mus'ab, said, "I have seen her, and her face is fairer than health; she hath large and well-opened eyes and under them a nose straight and smooth as a cane; oval cheeks and a mouth like a cleft pomegranate, a neck as a silver ewer and below it a bosom with two breasts like twin- pomegranates and further down a slim waist and a slender stomach with a navel therein as it were a casket of ivory, and back parts like a hummock of sand; and plumply rounded thighs and calves like columns of alabaster; but I saw her feet to be large, and thou wilt fall short with her in time of need." Upon this report he married her,—And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased saying her permitted say.
When it was the Three Hundred and Eighty-seventh Day
She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when Izzah this wise reported of Ayishah bint Talhah, Mus'ab married her and went in to her. And presently Izzah invited Ayishah and the women of the tribe Kuraysh to her house, when Ayishah sang these two couplets with Mus'ab standing by,
"And the lips of girls, that are perfume sweet; * So nice to kiss when with smiles they greet: Yet ne'er tasted I them, but in thought of him; * And by thought the Ruler rules worldly seat."
The night of Mus'ab's going in unto her, he departed not from her, till after seven bouts; and on the morrow, a freewoman of his met him and said to him, "May I be thy sacrifice! Thou art perfect, even in this." And a certain woman said, "I was with Ayishah, when her husband came in to her, and she lusted for him; so he fell upon her and she snarked and snorted and made use of all wonder of movements and marvellous new inventions, and I the while within hearing. So, when he came out from her, I said to her, How canst thou do thus with thy rank and nobility and condition, and I in thy house?' Quoth she, Verily a woman should bring her husband all of which she is mistress, by way of excitement and rare buckings and wrigglings and motitations.[FN#113] What dislikest thou of this?' And I answered I would have this by nights.' Rejoined she, Thus is it by day and by night I do more than this; for when he seeth me, desire stirreth him up and he falleth in heat; so he putteth it out to me and I obey him, and it is as thou seest.'" And there also hath reached me an account of
ABU AL-ASWAD AND HIS SLAVE-GIRL
Abu al-Aswad bought a native-born slave-girl, who was blind of an eye, and she pleased him; but his people decried her to him; whereat he wondered and, turning the palms of his hands upwards,[FN#114] recited these two couplets,
"They find me fault with her where I default ne'er find, * Save haply that a speck in either eye may show: But if her eyes have fault, of fault her form hath none, * Slim-built above the waist and heavily made below."
And this is also told of
HARUN AL-RASHID AND THE TWO SLAVE-GIRLS
The Caliph Harun al-Rashid lay one night between two slave-girls, one from Al-Medinah and the other from Cufa and the Cufite rubbed his hands, whilst the Medinite rubbed his feet and made his concern[FN#115] stand up. Quoth the Cufite, "I see thou wouldst keep the whole of the stock-in-trade to thyself; give me my share of it." And the other answered, "I have been told by Mlik, on the authority of Hishm ibn Orwah,[FN#116] who had it of his (grand) father, that the Prophet said, Whoso quickeneth the dead, the dead belongeth to him and is his.' But the Cufite took her unawares and, pushing her away, seized it all in her own hand and said, "Al-A'amash telleth us, on the authority of Khaysamah, who had it of Abdallah bin Mas'ud, that the Prophet declared, Game belongeth to him who taketh it, not to him who raiseth it.'" And this is also related of
THE CALIPH HARUN AL-RASHID AND THE THREE SLAVE-GIRLS
The Caliph Harun al-Rashid once slept with three slave-girls, a Meccan, a Medinite and an Irakite. The Medinah girl put her hand to his yard and handled it, whereupon it rose and the Meccan sprang up and drew it to herself. Quoth the other, "What is this unjust aggression? A tradition was related to me by Mlik[FN#117] after Al-Zuhri, after Abdallah ibn Slim, after Sa'd bin Zayd, that the Apostle of Allah (whom Allah bless and keep!) said: Whoso enquickeneth a dead land, it is his.' And the Meccan answered, "It is related to us by Sufyn, from Abu Zand, from Al-A'araj, from Abu Horayrah, that the Apostle of Allah said: The quarry is his who catcheth it, not his who starteth it.'" But the Irak girl pushed them both away and taking it to herself, said, "This is mine, till your contention be decided." And they tell a tale of
THE MILLER AND HIS WIFE
There was a miller, who had an ass to turn his mill; and he was married to a wicked wife, whom he loved, while she hated him because she was sweet upon a neighbour, who misliked her and held aloof from her. One night, the miller saw, in his sleep, one who said to him, "Dig in such a spot of the ass's round in the mill, and thou shalt find a hoard." When he awoke, he told his wife the vision and bade her keep the secret; but she told her neighbour,—And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased to say her permitted say.
When it was the Three hundred and Eighty-eighth Night
She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that the miller's wife told the secret to the neighbour whom she loved, thinking to win his favour; and he agreed with her to come to her by night. So he came and they dug in the mill and found the treasure and took it forth. Then he asked her, "How shall we do with this?" and she answered; "We will divide it into two halves and will share it equally between us, and do thou leave thy wife and I will cast about to rid me of my husband. Then shalt thou marry me and, when we are conjoined, we will join the two halves of the treasure one to other, and all will be in our hands." Quoth he, "I fear lest Satan seduce thee and thou take some other man other than myself; for gold in the house is like the sun in the world. I reck, therefore, it were right that the money be all in my hands, so thou give thy whole mind to getting free of thy husband and coming to me." Quoth she, "I fear even as thou fearest, nor will I yield up my part to thee; for it was I directed thee to it." When he heard this, greed of gain prompted him to kill her; so he slew her and threw her body into the empty hoard-hole; but day overtook him and hindered him from covering it up; he therefore took the money and went his way. Now after a while the miller awoke and, missing his wife, went into the mill, where he fastened the ass to the beam and shouted to it. It went on a little, then stopped; whereupon he beat it grievously; but the more he bashed it, the more it drew back; for it was affrighted at the dead woman and could not go forward. Thereupon the Miller, unknowing what hindered the donkey, took out a knife and goaded it again and again, but still it would not budge. Then he was wroth with it, knowing not the cause of its obstinacy, and drove the knife into its flanks, and it fell down dead. But when the sun rose, he saw his donkey lying dead and likewise his wife in the place of the treasure, and great was his rage and sore his wrath for the loss of his hoard and the death of his wife and his ass. All this came of his letting his wife into his secret and not keeping it to himself.[FN#118] And I have heard this tale of
THE SIMPLETON AND THE SHARPER
A certain simpleton was once walking along, haling his ass after him by the halter, when a pair of sharpers saw him and one said to his fellow, "I will take that ass from yonder wight." Asked the other, "How wilt thou do that?" "Follow me and I will show thee how," answered the first. So the cony-catcher went up to the ass and, loosing it from the halter, gave the beast to his fellow; then he haltered his own head and followed Tom Fool till he knew the other had got clean off with the ass, when he stood still. The oaf haled at the halter, but the rascal stirred not; so he turned and seeing the halter on a man's neck, said to him, "What art thou?" Quoth the sharper, "I am thine ass and my story is a wonderous one and tis this. Know that I have a pious old mother and come in to her one day, drunk; and she said to me: O my son, repent to the Almighty of these thy transgressions.' But I took my staff and beat her, whereupon she cursed me and Allah changed me into an ass and caused me fall into thy hands, where I have remained till this moment. However, to-day, my mother called me to mind and her heart yearned towards me; so she prayed for me and the Lord restored me to my former shape amongst the sons of Adam." Cried the silly one, "There is no Majesty and there is no Might save in Allah, the Glorious, the Great! Allah upon thee, O my brother, acquit me of what I have done with thee in the way of riding and so forth." Then he let the cony-catcher go and returned home, drunken with chagrin and concern as with wine. His wife asked him, "What aileth thee and where is the donkey?"; and he answered, "Thou knowest not what was this ass; but I will tell thee." So he told her the story, and she exclaimed, "Alack and alas for the punishment we shall receive from Almighty Allah! How could we have used a man as a beast of burden, all this while? And she gave alms by way of atonement and prayed pardon of Heaven.[FN#119] Then the man abode awhile at home, idle and feckless, till she said to him, "How long wilt thou sit at home doing naught? Go to the market and buy us an ass and ply thy work with it." Accordingly, he went to the market and stopped by the ass-stand, where behold, he saw his own ass for sale. So he went up to it and clapping his mouth to its ear, said to it, "Woe to thee, thou ne'er-do-well! Doubtless thou hast been getting drunk again and beating thy mother! But, by Allah, I will never buy thee more."[FN#120] and he left it and went away. And they tell a tale concerning
THE KAZI ABU YUSUF WITH HARUN AL-RASHID AND QUEEN ZUBAYDAH
The Caliph Harun al-Rashid went up one noon-tide to his couch, to lie down; and mounting, found upon the bed-clothes semen freshly emitted; whereat he was startled and troubled with sore trouble. So he called the Lady Zubaydah and said to her, "What is that spilt on the bed?" She looked at it and replied, "O Commander of the Faithful, it is semen." Quoth he, "Tell me truly what this meaneth or I will lay violent hands on thee forthright." Quoth she, "By Allah, O Commander of the Faithful, indeed I know not how it came there and I am guiltless of that whereof you suspectest me." So he sent for the Kazi Ab Ysuf and acquainted him of the case. The Judge raised his eyes to the ceiling and, seeing a crack therein, said to the Caliph, "O Commander of the Faithful, in very sooth the bat hath seed like that of a man,[FN#121] and this is bat's semen." Then he called for a spear and thrust it into the crevice, whereupon down fell the bat. In this manner the Caliph's suspicions were dispelled,—And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased saying her permitted say.
When it was the Three hundred and Eighty-ninth Night
She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when the Kazi Abu Yusuf took the spear and thrust it into the crevice, down fell the bat, and thus the Caliph's suspicions were dispelled and the innocence of Zubaydah was made manifest; whereat she gave loud and liberal vent to her joy and promised Abu Yusuf a magnificent reward. Now there were with her certain delicious fruits, out of their season, and she knew of others in the garden; so she asked Abu Yusuf, "O Imam of the Faith, which wouldst thou rather have of the two kinds of fruits, those that are here or those that are not here?" And he answered, "Our code forbiddeth us to pronounce judgement on the absent; whenas they are present, we will give our decision." So she let bring the two kinds of fruits before him; and he ate of both. Quoth she, "What is the difference between them?" and quoth he, "As often as I think to praise one kind, the adversary putteth in its claim." The Caliph laughed at his answer[FN#122] and made him a rich present; and Zubaydah also gave him what she had promised him, and he went away, rejoicing. See, then the virtues of this Imm and how his hands were manifest the truth and the innocence of the Lady Zubaydah. And amongst other stories is that of
THE CALIPH AL-HAKIM[FN#123] AND THE MERCHANT
The Caliph Al-Hkim bi-Amri'llah was riding out in state procession one day, when he passed along a garden, wherein he saw a man, surrounded by negro-slaves and eunuchs. He asked him for a draught of water, and the man gave him to drink, saying, "Belike, the Commander of the Faithful will honour me by alighting in this my garden." So the Caliph dismounted and with his suite entered the garden; whereupon the said man brought out to them an hundred rugs and an hundred leather mats and an hundred cushions; and set before them an hundred dishes of fruits, an hundred bowls of sweetmeats and an hundred jars of sugared sherbets; at which the Caliph marvelled with much amaze and said to his host, "O man, verily this thy case is wondrous: didst thou know of our coming and make this preparation for us?" He replied, "No by Allah, O Commander of the Faithful, I knew not of thy coming and I am a merchant of the rest of thy subjects; but I have an hundred concubines; so, when the Commander of the Faithful honoured me by alighting with me, I sent to each of them, bidding her send me her morning-meal in the garden. So they sent me each of her furniture and the surplus of her meat and drink: and every day each sendeth me a dish of meat and another of cooling marinades, also a platter of fruits and a bowl of sweetmeats and a jar of sherbet. This is my noon-day dinner, nor have I added aught thereto for thee." Then the Commander of the Faithful, Al-Hakim bi-Amri'llah prostrated himself in thanksgiving to the Almighty (extolled and exalted be His name!) and said, "Praise be Allah, who hath been so bountiful to one of our lieges, that he entertaineth the Caliph and his host, without making ready for them; nay, he feedeth them with the surplusage of his day's provision!" Then he sent for all the dirhams in the treasury, that had been struck that year (and they were in number three thousand and seven hundred thousand); nor did he mount until the money came, when he gave it to the merchant, saying, "Use this as thy state may require; and thy generosity deserveth more than this." Then he took horse and rode away. And I have heard a story concerning
KING KISRA ANUSHIRWAN[FN#124] AND THE VILLAGE DAMSEL
The Just King, Kisr Anshirwn, one day rode forth to the chase and, in pursuit of a deer, became separated from his suite. Presently, he caught sight of a hamlet near hand and being sore athirst, he made for it and presenting himself at the door of a house that lay by the wayside, asked for a draught of water. So a damsel came out and looked at him; then, going back into the house, pressed the juice from a single sugar-cane into a bowl and mixed it with water; after which she strewed on the top some scented stuff, as it were dust, and carried it tot he King. Thereupon he seeing in it what resembled dust, drank it, little by little, till he came to the end; when said he to her, "O damsel, the drink is good, and how sweet it had been but for this dust in it that troubleth it." Answered she, "O guest, I put in that powder for a purpose;" and he asked, "And why didst thou thus?"; so she replied, "I saw thee exceedingly thirsty and feared that thou wouldst drain the whole at one draught and that this would thee mischief; and but for this dust that troubled the drink so hadst thou done." The Just King wondered at her words, knowing that they came of her wit and good sense, and said to her, "From how many sugar canes didst thou express this draught?" "One," answered she; whereat Anushirwan marvelled and, calling for the register of the village taxes, saw that its assessment was but little and bethought him to increase it, on his return to his palace, saying in himself, "A village where they get this much juice out of one sugar-cane, why is it so lightly taxed?" He then left the village and pursued his chase; and, as he came back at the end of the day, he passed alone by the same door and called again for drink; whereupon the same damsel came out and, knowing him at a look, went in to fetch him water. It was some time before she returned and Anushirwan wondered thereat and said to her, "Why hast thou tarried?"—And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased to say her permitted say.