'O bibber of liquor, art not ashamed * To drink what Allah forbade thee drain? Put it far from thee and approach it not; * It holds what Allah forbade as bane.'
And quoth another to the same purport,
'I drank the sin till my reason fled: * Ill drink that reason to loss misled!'
As for the advantages that be therein, it disperseth stone and gravel from the kidneys and strengtheneth the viscera and banisheth care, and moveth to generosity and preserveth health and digestion; it conserveth the body, expelleth disease from the joints, purifieth the frame of corrupt humours, engendereth cheerfulness, gladdeneth the heart of man and keepeth up the natural heat: it contracteth the bladder, enforceth the liver and removeth obstructions, reddeneth the cheeks, cleareth away maggots from the brain and deferreth grey hairs. In short, had not Allah (to whom be honour and glory!) forbidden it,[FN#407] there were not on the face of the earth aught fit to stand in its stead. As for gambling by lots, it is a game of hazard such as diceing, not of skill." Q "What wine is best?" "That which is pressed from white grapes and kept eighty days or more after fermentation: it resembleth not water and indeed there is nothing on the surface of the earth like unto it." Q "What sayest thou of cupping?" "It is for him who is over full of blood and who hath no defect therein; and whoso would be cupped, let it be during the wane of the moon, on a day without cloud, wind or rain and on the seventeenth of the month. If it fall on a Tuesday, it will be the more efficacious, and nothing is more salutary for the brain and eyes and for clearing the intellect than cupping."—And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased saying her permitted say.
When it was the Four Hundred and Fifty-third Night,
She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when the damsel enumerated the benefits of cupping, quoth the doctor, "What is the best time for cupping?" "One should be cupped 'on the spittle,' that is, in the morning before eating, for this fortifieth the wit and the memory. It is reported of the Prophet that, when anyone complained to him of a pain in the head or legs, he would bid him be cupped and after cupping not eat salt food, fasting, for it engendereth scurvy; neither eat sour things as curded milk[FN#408] immediately after cupping." Q "When is cupping to be avoided?" "On Sabbaths or Saturdays and Wednesdays; and let him who is cupped on these days blame none but himself. Moreover, one should not be cupped in very hot weather nor in very cold weather; and the best season for cupping is springtide." Quoth the doctor, "Now tell me of carnal copulation." Hereupon Tawaddud hung her head, for shame and confusion before the Caliph's majesty; then said, "By Allah, O Commander of the Faithful, it is not that I am at fault, but that I am ashamed; though, indeed, the answer is on the edge of my tongue." Said the Caliph; "Speak, O damsel," whereupon said she, "Copulation hath in it many and exceeding virtues and praiseworthy qualities, amongst which are, that it lighteneth a body full of black bile and calmeth the heat of love and induceth affection and dilateth the heart and dispelleth the sadness of solitude; and the excess of it is more harmful in summer and autumn than in spring and winter." Q "What are its good effects?" "It banisheth trouble and disquiet, calmeth love and wrath and is good for ulcers, especially in a cold and dry humour; on the other hand excess of it weakeneth the sight and engendereth pains in the legs and head and back: and beware, beware of carnal connection with old women, for they are deadly. Quoth the Iman Ali[FN#409] (whose face Allah honour!), 'Four things kill and ruin the body: entering the Hammam on a full stomach; eating salt food; copulation on a plethora of blood and lying with an ailing woman; for she will weaken thy strength and infect thy frame with sickness; and an old woman is deadly poison.' And quoth one of them, 'Beware of taking an old woman to wife, though she be richer in hoards than Krn'"[FN#410] Q "What is the best copulation?" "If the woman be tender of years, comely of shape, fair of face, swelling of breast and of noble race, she will add to thee strength and health of body; and let her be even as saith a certain poet describing her,
'Seeing thy looks wots she what thou desir'st, * By inspiration; wants nor word nor sign; And, when thou dost behold her rarest grace, * The charms of every garden canst decline.'
Q "At what time is copulation good?" "If by night, after food digested and if by day, after the morning meal." Q "What are the most excellent fruits?" "Pomegranate and citron." Q "Which is the most excellent of vegetables?" "Endive.[FN#411]" Q "Which of sweet-scented flowers?" "Rose and Violet." Q "How is the seed of man secreted?" "There is in man a vein which feedeth all the other veins. Now water is collected from the three hundred and sixty veins and, in the form of red blood, entereth the left testicle, where it is decocted, by the heat of temperament inherent in the son of Adam, into a thick, white liquid, whose odour is as that of the palm-spathe." Q "What flying thing is it that emitteth seed and menstruateth?" "The flitter-mouse,[FN#412] that is the bat." Q "What is that which, when confined and shut out from the air liveth, and when let out to smell the air dieth?" "The fish." Q "What serpent layeth eggs?" "The Su'ban or dragon.[FN#413]" With this the physician waxed weary with much questioning, and held his peace, when Tawaddud said to the Caliph, "O Commander of the Faithful, he hath questioned me till he is tired out and now I will ask him one question, which if he answer not, I will take his clothes as lawful prize."—And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased to say her permitted say.
When it was the Four Hundred and Fifty-fourth Night,
She continued, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when the damsel said to the Commander of the Faithful, "Verily he hath questioned me till he is tired out, and now I will ask him one question, which if he answer not I will take his clothes as lawful prize," the Caliph cried, "Ask on." So quoth she to the physician, "What is that thing which resembleth the earth in roundness, whose resting-place and whose spine are hidden from men's eyes; little of price and estimation; narrow of chest and shackled as to throat though it be nor runaway slave nor pestilent thief; thrust through and through, though not in fray, and wounded, though not in fight: time eateth its vigour and water wasteth it away; now it is beaten without blemish, and then made to serve without stint; united after separation; submissive, but not to him who caresseth it; pregnant without child in belly; drooping, yet not leaning on its side; becoming dirty yet purifying itself; cleaving to its fere, yet changing; copulating without a yard, wrestling without arms: resting and taking its ease; bitten, yet not crying out: now more complaisant than a cup-companion and then more troublesome than summer-heat; leaving its mate by night and embracing her by day and having its abode in the corners of the mansions of the noble?" The physician was silent awhile in perplexity and his colour changed and he bowed his head and made no reply; whereupon she said to him, "Ho, sir doctor, speak or doff thy dress." At this, he rose and said, "O Commander of the Faithful, bear witness against me that this damsel is more learned than I in medicine and what else, and that I cannot cope with her." And he put off his clothes and fled forth. Quoth the Caliph to Tawaddud, "Ree us thy riddle," and she replied, "O Commander of the Faithful, it is the button and the button-loop.[FN#414]"—Then she undertook the astronomers and said, "Let him of you who is an astronomer rise and come forward." So the astronomer advanced and sat down before her; and, when she saw him, she laughed and said, "Art thou the astronomer, the mathematician, the scribe?" "Yes," answered he. Quoth she, "Ask of what thou wilt; success resteth with Allah." So he said, "Tell me of the sun and its rising and setting." And she replied: "Know that the sun riseth from the shadows in the Eastern hemisphere and setteth in the shadows of the Western, and each hemisphere compriseth one hundred and eighty degrees. Quoth Allah Almighty, 'I swear by the Lord of the East and of the West.'[FN#415] And again, 'He it is who hath ordained the sun to shine by day, and the moon for a light by night; and hath appointed her station that ye might know the number of years and the computation of time.'[FN#416] The moon is Sultan of the night and the sun Sultan of the day, and they vie with each other in their courses and follow without overtaking each other. Quoth Almighty Allah, 'It is not expedient that the sun overtake the moon in her course; neither doth the night outstrip the day, but each of these luminaries moveth in a peculiar orbit.'"[FN#417] Q "When the day cometh, what becometh of the night; and what of the day, when the night cometh?" "He causeth the night to enter in upon the day, and He causeth the day to enter in upon the night."[FN#418] Q "Enumerate to me the mansions of the moon?"[FN#419] "They number eight-and-twenty, to wit, Sharatn, Butayn, Suray, Dabarn, Hak'ah, Han'ah, Zir'a, Nasrah, Tarf, Jabhah, Zubrah, Sarfah, 'Aww, Simk, Ghafar, Zubn, Ikll, Kalb, Shaulah, Na'am, Baldah, Sa'ad al-Zbih, Sa'ad al-Bul'a, Sa'ad al-Su'd, Sa'ad al-Akhbiyah, Fargh the Former and Fargh the Latter; and Risha. They are disposed in the order of the letters of the Abjad-hawwaz or older alphabet,[FN#420] according to their numerical power, and in them are secret virtues which none knoweth save Allah (extolled and exalted be He!) and the stablished in science. They are divided among the twelve Signs of the Zodiac, two Mansions and a third of a Mansion to each Sign. Thus Sharatan, Butayn and one-third of Sury, belong to Aries, the other two-thirds of Sury, Dabaran and two-thirds of Hak'ah to Taurus, the other third of Hak'ah, Han'ah and Zira'a to Gemini; Nasrah, Tarf and a third of Jabhah to Cancer, the other two-thirds of Jabhah, Zubrah and two-thirds of Sarfah to Leo; the other third of Sarfah, 'Aww and Simk to Virgo; Ghafar, Zubni and one-third of Ikll to Libra; the other two-thirds of Iklil, Kalb and two-thirds of Shaulah to Scorpio; the other third of Shaulah, Na'im and Baldah to Sagittarius; Sa'ad al-Zbih, Sa'ad al-Bul'a and one-third of Sa'ad al-Su'ud to Capricorn, the other two-thirds of Sa'ad al-Su'dd, Sa'ad al-Akhbiyah and two-thirds of Fargh the Former to Aquarius, the other third of Fargh the Former, Fargh the Latter and Risha to Pisces."—And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased saying her permitted say.
When it was the Four Hundred and Fifty-fifth Night,
She said, it hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when the damsel enumerated the Mansions and distributed them into their Signs, the astronomer said, "Thou hast replied aright; now tell me of the planets and their natures, also of their sojourn in the Zodiacal Signs, their aspects, auspicious and sinister, their houses, ascendants and descendants. She answered, "The sitting is narrow for so large a matter, but I will say as much as I can. Now the planets number seven; which are, the Sun, the Moon, Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn. The Sun, hot-dry, sinister in conjunction, favourable in opposition, abideth thirty days in each Sign. The Moon, cold-moist and favourable of aspect, tarrieth in each Sign two days and a third of another day. Mercury is of a mixed nature, favourable in conjunction with the favourable, and sinister in conjunction with the sinister aspects, and abideth in each sign seventeen days and a half day. Venus, temperate and favourable, abideth in each sign five-and-twenty days. Mars is sinister and woneth in each sign ten months. Jupiter is auspicious and abideth in each sign a year. Saturn, cold-dry and sinister, tarrieth in each sign thirty months. The house of the Sun is Leo, her ascendant is Aries, and her descendant Aquarius. The Moon's house is Cancer, his ascendant Taurus, his descendant Scorpio and his sinister aspect Capricorn. Saturn's house is Capricorn-Aquarius, his ascendant Libra, his descendant Aries and his sinister aspects Cancer and Leo. Jupiter's house is Pisces-Sagittarius, his ascendant Cancer, his descendant Capricorn and his sinister aspects Gemini and Leo. Venus's house is Taurus, her ascendant Pisces, her descendant Libra, and her sinister aspects Aries and Scorpio. Mercury's house is Gemini-Virgo, his ascendant Virgo, his descendant Pisces, and his sinister aspect Taurus. Mars' house is Aries-Scorpio, his ascendant Capricorn, his descendant Cancer and his sinister aspect Libra." Now when the astronomer saw her acuteness and comprehensive learning and heard her fair answers, he bethought him for a sleight to confound her before the Commander of the Faithful, and said to her, "O damsel, tell me, will rain fall this month?" At this she bowed her head and pondered so long, that the Caliph thought her at a loss for an answer and the astronomer said to her, "Why dost thou not speak?" Quoth she, "I will not speak except the Commander of the Faithful give me leave." So the Caliph laughed and said, "How so?" Cried she "I would have thee give me a sword, that I may strike off his head, for he is an Infidel, an Agnostic, an Atheist.[FN#421]" At this, loud laughed the Caliph and those about him laughed, and she continued "O astronomer, there are five things that none knoweth save Allah Almighty;" and she repeated the verset; "'Aye! Allah!—with Him is the knowledge of the hour and He causeth the rain to descend at His own appointed time —and He knoweth what is in the wombs of females—but no soul knoweth what it shall have gotten on the morrow; neither wotteth any soul in what land it shall die: Verily Allah is knowing, informed of all.'"[FN#422] Quoth the astronomer, "Thou hast said well, and I, by Allah, thought only to try thee." Rejoined she, "Know that the almanack-makers have certain signs and tokens, referring to the planets and constellations relative to the coming in of the year; and folk have learned something by experience." Q "What be that?" "Each day hath a planet that ruleth it: so if the first day in the year fall on First Day (Sunday) that day is the Sun's and this portendeth (though Allah alone is All-knowing!) oppression of kings and sultans and governors and much miasma and lack of rain; and that people will be in great tumult and the grain-crop will be good, except lentils, which will perish, and the vines will rot and flax will be dear and wheat cheap from the beginning of Tbah to the end of Barmaht.[FN#423] And, in this year there will be much fighting among kings, and there shall be great plenty of good in this year, but Allah is All-knowing!" Q "What if the first day fall on Second Day (Monday)?" "That day belongeth to the Moon and portendeth righteousness in administrators and officials and that it will be a year of much rain and grain-crops will be good, but linseed will decay and wheat will be cheap in the month Kiyhk;[FN#424] also the plague will rage and the sheep and goats will die, grapes will be plentiful and honey scarce and cotton cheap; and Allah is omniscient!"—And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased to say her permitted say.
When it was the Four Hundred and Fifty-sixth Night,
She said, it hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when the damsel ended her notice of Second Day the astronomer said to her "Now tell me what will occur if New Year's day fall on Third Day (Tuesday)." She replied, "That is Mars' day and portendeth death of great men and much destruction and deluge of blood and dearness of grain; lack of rain and scarcity of fish, which will anon be in excess and anon fail. Lentils and honey in this year will be cheap and linseed dear and only barley will thrive, to the exception of all other cereals: great will be the fighting among kings and death will be in the blood and there will be much mortality among asses." Q "What if it fall on Fourth Day?" "That is Mercury's day and portendeth great tumult among the folk and much enmity and, though rains be moderate, rotting of some of the green crops; also that there will be sore mortality among cattle and young children and much fighting by sea; that wheat will be dear from Barmdah to Misra[FN#425] and other grains cheap; thunder and lightning will abound and honey will be dear, palm- trees will thrive and bear abundantly and flax and cotton will be plentiful, while radishes and onions will be dear; but Allah is All-knowing!" Q "What if it fall on Fifth Day?" "That is Jupiter's day and portendeth equity in Wazirs and righteousness in Kazis and Fakirs and the Ministers of religion; and that good will be plentiful: rains and fruit and trees and grain will abound, and flax, cotton, honey, grapes and fish be cheap; and Allah is Omniscient!" Q "What if it fall on Meeting Day or Friday?" "That day appertaineth to Venus and portendeth oppression in the chiefs of the Jinn and talk of forgery and back-biting; there will be much dew; the autumn crops will be good in the land and there will be cheapness in one town and not in another: ungraciousness will be rife by land and sea; linseed will be dear, also wheat, in Htr, but cheap in Amshr; honey will be dear and grapes and water-melons will rot; and Allah is Omniscient!" Q "What if it fall on the Sabbath (Saturday)?" "That is Saturn's day and portendeth the preferment of slaves and Greeks and those in whom there is no good, neither in their neighbourhood; there will be great drought and dearth; clouds will abound and death will be rife among the sons of Adam and woe to the people of Egypt and Syria from the oppression of the Sultan and failure of blessing upon the green crops and rotting of grain; and Allah is All-knowing!"[FN#426] Now with this, the astronomer hung his head very low, and she said to him, "O astronomer, I will ask thee one question, which if thou answer not, I will take thy clothes." "Ask," replied he. Quoth she, "Where is Saturn's dwelling-place?"; and he answered, "In the seventh heaven." Q "And that of Jupiter?" "In the sixth heaven." Q "And that of Mars?" "In the fifth heaven." Q "And that of the Sun?" "In the fourth heaven." Q "And that of Venus?" "In the third heaven." Q "And that of Mercury?" "In the second heaven." Q "And that of the Moon?" "In the first heaven." Quoth she, "Well answered; but I have one more question to ask thee;" and quoth he, "Ask!" Accordingly she said, "Now tell me concerning the stars, into how many parts are they divided." But he was silent and answered nothing; and she cried to him, "Put off thy clothes." So he doffed them and she took them; after which the Caliph said to her, "Tell us the answer to thy question." She replied: "O Commander of the Faithful, the stars are divided into three parts, whereof one-third is hung in the sky of the earth,[FN#427] as it were lamps, to give light to the earth, and a part is used to shoot the demons withal, when they draw near by stealth to listen to the talk in heaven. Quoth Allah Almighty, 'Verily, we have dight the sky of the earth with the adornment of the stars; and have appointed them for projectiles against every rebellious Satan.'[FN#428] And the third part is hung in air to illuminate the seas and give light to what is therein." Quoth the astronomer, "I have one more question to ask, which if she answer, I will avow myself beaten." "Say on," answered she.—And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased saying her permitted say.
When it was the Four Hundred and Fifty-seventh Night,
She continued, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that the astronomer said, "Now tell me what four contraries are based upon other four contraries?" Replied she, "The four qualities of Caloric and Frigoric, Humidity and Siccity; for of heat Allah created fire, whose nature is hot-dry; of dryness, earth, which is cold-dry; of cold, water which is cold-wet; of moisture, air, which is hot-wet. Moreover, He created twelve Signs of the Zodiac, Aries, Taurus, Gemini, Cancer, Leo, Virgo, Libra, Scorpio, Sagittarius, Capricorn, Aquarius and Pisces; and appointed them of the four humours; three fiery, Aries, Leo, and Sagittarius; three earthly, Taurus, Virgo, and Capricorn; three airy, Gemini, Libra and Aquarius; and three watery, Cancer, Scorpio and Pisces." Hereupon the astronomer rose, and saying, "Bear witness against me that she is more learned than I," away he went beaten. Then quoth the Caliph, "Where is the philosopher[FN#429]?"; at which one rose hastily and came forward and said to Tawaddud, "What is Time and what be its limits, and its days, and what things bringeth it?" Replied she, "Time is a term applied to the hours of the night and day, which are but the measures of the courses of the sun and moon in their several heavens, even as Allah Almighty telleth us when he saith, 'A sign to them also is the Night, from which we strip off the day, and lo! they are plunged in darkness, and the Sun runneth to her place of rest; this is the ordinance of the Sublime, the All-knowing.'"[FN#430] Q "How cometh unbelief to the son of Adam?" "It is reported of the Apostle (whom Allah bless and preserve!) that he said, 'Unbelief in a man runneth as the blood runneth in his veins, when he revileth the world and Time and night and the Hour.' And again, 'Let none of you revile Time, for Time is God; neither revile the world, for she saith, 'May Allah not aid him who revileth me!;' neither revile the hour, for, 'The Hour is surely coming, there is no doubt thereof';[FN#431] neither revile the earth, for it is a portent, according to the saying of the Most High, 'Out of the ground have we created you, and into the same will we cause you to return, and we will bring you forth yet thence another time.'"[FN#432] Q "What are the five that ate and drank, yet came not out of loins nor womb?" "Adam and Simeon[FN#433] and Salih's she-camel[FN#434] and Ishmael's ram and the bird that Abu Bakr the Truth-teller saw in the cave.[FN#435]" Q "Tell me of five that are in Paradise and are neither humans, Jinns nor angels?" "Jacob's wolf and the Seven Sleepers' dog and Esdras's ass and Salih's camel and Duldul the mule of the Prophet (upon whom be blessings and peace!)." Q "What man prayed a prayer neither on earth nor in heaven?" "Solomon, when he prayed on his carpet, borne by the wind." Q "Ree me this riddle:—A man once looked at a handmaid during dawn-prayer, and she was unlawful to him; but, at noonday she became lawful to him: by mid-afternoon,, she was again unlawful, but at sundown, she was lawful to him: at supper time she was a third time unlawful, but by daybreak, she became once more lawful to him." "This was a man who looked at another's slave-girl in the morning, and she was then unlawful to him; but at midday he bought her, and she became lawful to him: at mid-afternoon he freed her, and she became unlawful to him; but at sundown he married her and she was again lawful to him. At nightfall he divorced her and she was then a third time unlawful to him; but, next morning at daybreak, he took her back, and she became once more lawful to him." Q "Tell me what tomb went about with him that lay buried therein?" "Jonah's whale, when it had swallowed him." Q "What spot of lowland is it, upon which the sun shone once, but will never again shine till Judgment-Day?" "The bottom of the Red Sea, when Moses smote it with his staff, and the sea clave asunder in twelve places, according to the number of the tribes;[FN#436] then the sun shone on the bottom and will do so nevermore until Judgment-Day." And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased to say her permitted say.
When it was the Four Hundred and Fifty-eighth Night,
She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that the philosopher then addressed the damsel saying, "What was the first skirt that trailed over the face of the earth?" She replied, "That of Hagar, out of shame before Sarah; and it became a custom among the Arabs." Q "What is that which breatheth without life?" "Quoth Almighty Allah, 'By the morning when it breatheth!'"[FN#437] Q "Ree me this riddle:—A number of pigeons came to a high tree and lighted, some on the tree and others under it. Said those on the tree to those on the ground, 'If one of you come up to us, ye will be a third part of us all in number; and if one of us descend to you, we shall be like unto you in number,' How many pigeons were there in all?" "Twelve: seven alighted on the tree and five beneath; and, if one go up, those above would be eight to four; and, if one go down, both would be six and Allah is all-knowing."[FN#438] With this the philosopher put off his clothes and fled: whereupon the next contest took place, for she turned to the Olema present and said, "Which of you is the rhetorician that can discourse of all arts and sciences?" There came forward a sage hight Ibrahim bin Siyyr and said to her, "Think me not like the rest." Quoth she, "It is the more assured to me that thou wilt be beaten, for that thou art a boaster; and Allah will help me to victory over thee, that I may strip thee of thy clothes. So, if thou sentest one to fetch thee wherewithal to cover thyself, 'twould be well for thee." Cried he, "By Allah, I will assuredly conquer thee and make thee a byword among the peoples, generation after generation!" Rejoined she, "Do penance in advance for thy broken oath." Then he asked, "What five things did Allah create before he made man?"; and she answered, "Water and earth and light and darkness and the fruits of the earth." Q "What did Allah create with the hand of omnipotence?" "The 'Arsh, throne of God or the empyreal heaven and the tree Tb[FN#439] and Adam and the garden of Eden; these Allah created with the hand of His omnipotence; but to all other created things He said, 'Be,'—and they were." Q "Who is thy father in Al-Islam?" "Mohammed, whom Allah bless and preserve!" Q "Who was the father in Al-Islam of Mohammed?" "Abraham, the Friend of God." Q "What is the Faith of Al-Islam?" "The professing that there is no god but the God and that Mohammed is the apostle of God." Q "What is thy first and thy last?" "My first is man's seed in the shape of foul water and my last filthy carrion: the first of me is dust and the last of me is dust. Quoth the poet,
'Of dust was I created, and man did I become, * In question ever ready and aye fluent in reply, Then, I unto the dust return'd, became of it again, * For that, in very deed, of dust at first create was I.'"
He continued, "What thing was it, whose first state was wood and its last life?" "Moses' staff,[FN#440] when he cast it on the valley-ground and it became, by permission of Allah, a writhing serpent." Q "What is the meaning of the word of the Lord, 'And I have other occasion for it?'"[FN#441] "He, Moses, was wont to plant his staff in the ground, and it would flower and fruit and shade him from the heat and from the cold. Moreover, it would carry him when he was weary, and whilst he slept, guard his sheep from lions and wild beasts." Q "What woman was born of a man alone and what man of a woman alone?" "Eve of Adam and Jesus of Mary.[FN#442]" Q "Tell me of the four fires, what fire eateth and drinketh; what fire eateth but drinketh not; what fire drinketh but eateth not and what other neither eateth nor drinketh?" "The fire of the world eateth but drinketh not; the fire which eateth and drinketh is Hell-fire; the fire of the sun drinketh but eateth not, and the fire of the moon neither eateth nor drinketh." Q "Which is the open door and which the shut?" "The Traditional Ordinances are the open door, the Koranic the shut door." Q "Of what doth the poet speak, when he saith,
'And dweller in the tomb whose food is at his head, * When he eateth of that meat, of words he waxeth fain: He riseth and he walketh and he talketh without tongue; * And returneth to the tomb where his kith and kin are lain. No living wight is he, yet, in honour he abides; * Nor dead yet he deserveth that Allah him assain.'"
She replied, "The reed-pen."[FN#443] Quoth he "What doth the poet refer to in these verses,
'Two vests in one; blood flowing easiest wise; * Rosy red ears and mouth wide open lies; It hath a cock-like form, its belly pecks * And, if you price it, half a dirham buys.'"
She replied, "The ink-case." Quoth he, "And in these,
'Ho say to men of wisdom, wit and lore * To sapient, reverend, clever counsellor: Tell me what was't you saw that bird bring forth * When wandering Arab-land and Ajam o'er? No flesh it beareth and it hath no blood, * Nor down nor any feathers e'er it wore. 'Tis eaten cooked and eke 'tis eaten cold; * 'Tis eaten buried 'neath the flames that roar: It showeth twofold colours, silver white * And yellow brighter than pure golden ore: 'Tis not seen living or we count it dead: * So ree my riddle rich in marvel-store!'"
She replied, "Thou makest longsome the questioning anent an egg worth a mite." Q "And this?,
'I waved to and fro and he waved to and fro, * With a motion so pleasant, now fast and now slow; And at last he sunk down on my bosom of snow; * 'Your lover friend?'"
"No friend, my fan;"[FN#444] said she. Q "How many words did Allah speak to Moses?" "It is related of the Apostle that he said, 'God spoke to Moses fifteen hundred and fifteen words.'" Q "Tell me of fourteen things that speak to the Lord of the Worlds?" "The seven heavens and the seven earths, when they say, 'We come obedient to Thy command.'"[FN#445]—And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased saying her permitted say.
When it was the Four Hundred and Fifty-ninth Night,
She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when the damsel made the answer, the philosopher continued, "Tell me of Adam and how he was first created?" and she said, "Allah created Adam of clay: the clay He made of foam and the foam of the sea, the sea of darkness, darkness of light, light of a fish, the fish of a rock, the rock of a ruby, the ruby of water, and the water He created by His Omnipotence according to His saying (exalted be His name!), 'His commandment when He willeth aught, is but to say, BE,—and IT IS.'"[FN#446] Q "What is meant by the poet in these verses,
'And eater lacking mouth and even maw; * Yet trees and beasts to it are daily bread: Well fed it thrives and shows a lively life, * But give it water and you do it dead?'"
"This," quoth she, "is Fire." "And in these;" he asked,
"Two lovers barred from every joy and bliss, * Who through the livelong night embracing lie: They guard the folk from all calamities, * But with the rising sun apart they fly?"
She answered, "The leaves of a door." Quoth he, "Tell me of the gates of Gehenna?" Quoth she, "They are seven in number and their names are comprised in these two couplets,
'Jahannam, next Laz, and third Hatm; * Then count Sa'r and Sakar eke, five-fold, Sixth comes Jahm and Hwiyah the seventh; * Here are seven Hells in four lines briefly told.'"
Quoth he "To what doth the poet refer when he saith,
'She wears a pair of ringlets long let down * Behind her, as she comes and goes at speed, And eye that never tastes of sleep nor sheds * A tear, for ne'er a drop it hath at need; That never all its life wore stitch of clothes; * Yet robes mankind in every-mode of weed?'"
Quoth she, "A needle." Q "What is the length and what the breadth of the bridge Al-Sirt?" "Its length is three thousand years' journey, a thousand in descent and a thousand in ascent and a thousand level: it is sharper than a sword and finer than a hair."—And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased to say her permitted say.
When it was the Four Hundred and Sixtieth Night,
She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when the damsel had described to him Al-Sirat, the philosopher said, "Inform me how many intercessions with Allah hath the Prophet for each soul?"[FN#447] "Three." Q "Was Abu Bakr the first who embraced Al-Islam?" "Yes." Q "Yet Ali became a Moslem before him?" "Ali came to the Prophet, when he was a boy of seven years old, for Allah vouchsafed him knowledge of the way of salvation in his tender youth, so that he never prostrated himself to idols." Quoth he, "Tell me which is the more excellent, Ali or Abbs?" Now she knew that, in propounding this question, Ibrahim was laying a trap for her; for if she said, "Ali is more excellent than Abbas," she would lack excuse with the Caliph for undervaluing his ancestor; so she bowed her head awhile, now reddening, then paling, and lastly said, "Thou askest me of two excellent men, each having his own excellence. Let us return to what we were about." When the Caliph Harun al-Rashid heard her, he stood up and said, "Thou hast spoken well, by the Lord of the Ka'abah, O Tawaddud!" Then quoth Ibrahim the rhetorician, "What meaneth the poet when he saith,
'Slim-wasted one, whose taste is sweetest-sweet, * Likest a lance whereon no head we scan: And all the lieges find it work them weal, * Eaten of afternoon in Ramazan.'"
She answered, "The sugar-cane;" and he said, "Tell me of many things." Asked she, "What are they?" and he said, "What is sweeter than honey; what is sharper than the sword; what is swifter than poison; what is the delight of a moment and what the contentment of three days; what is the pleasantest of days; what is the joy of a week; what is that debt the worst debtor denieth not; what is the prison of the tomb; what is the joy of the heart; what is the snare of the soul; what is death-in-life; what is the disease that may not be healed; what is the shame that may not be wiped off; what is the beast that woneth not in cultivated fields, but lodgeth in waste places and hateth the sons of Adam and hath in him somewhat of the make of seven strong and violent beasts?" Quoth she, "Hear what I shall say in reply; then put off thy clothes, that I may explain to thee;" and the Caliph said, "Expound, and he shall doff his clothes." So she said, "Now that, which is sweeter than honey, is the love of pious children to their two parents; that, which is sharper than the sword, is the tongue; that, which is swifter than poison, is the Envier's eye; the delight of a moment is carnal copulation and the contentment of three days is the depilatory for women; the pleasantest of days is that of profit on merchandise; the joy of a week is the bride; the debt, which the worst debtor denieth not, is death; the prison of the tomb is a bad son; the joy of the heart is a woman obedient to her husband (and it is said also that, when fleshmeat descendeth upon the heart, it rejoiceth therein); the snare of the soul is a disobedient slave; death-in-life is poverty; the disease that may not be healed is an ill-nature, and the shame that may not be wiped away is an ill daughter; lastly, the beast that woneth not in cultivated fields, but lodgeth in waste places and hateth the sons of Adam and hath in him somewhat of the make of seven strong and violent beasts, is the locust, whose head is as the head of a horse, its neck as the neck of the bull, its wings as the wings of the vulture, its feet as the feet of the camel, its tail as the tail of the serpent, its belly as the belly of the scorpion and its horns as the horns of the gazelle." The Caliph was astounded at her quickness and understanding, and said to the rhetorician, "Doff thy clothes." So he rose up and cried, "I call all who are present in this assembly to witness that she is more learned than I and every other learned man." And he put off his clothes and gave them to her, saying, "Take them and may Allah not bless them to thee!" So the Caliph ordered him fresh clothes and said, "O Tawaddud, there is one thing left of that for which thou didst engage, namely, chess." And he sent for experts of chess and cards[FN#448] and trictrac. The chess-player sat down before her, and they set the pieces, and he moved and she moved; but, every move he made she speedily countered,—And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased saying her permitted say.
When it was the Four Hundred and Sixty-first Night,
She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when the damsel was playing chess with the expert in presence of the Commander of the Faithful, Harun al-Rashid, whatever move he made was speedily countered by her, till she beat him and he found himself checkmated. Quoth he, "I did but lead thee on, that thou mightest think thyself skilful: but set up again, and thou shalt see." So they placed the pieces a second time, when he said in himself, "Open thine eyes or she will beat thee." And he fell to moving no piece, save after calculation, and ceased not to play, till she said, "Thy King is dead!—Checkmate." When he saw this he was confounded at her quickness and understanding; but she laughed and said, "O professor, I will make a wager with thee on this third game. I will give thee the queen and the right-hand castle and the left-hand knight; if thou beat me, take my clothes, and if I beat thee, I will take thy clothes." Replied he, "I agree to this;" and they replaced the pieces, she removing queen, castle and knight.[FN#449] Then said she, "Move, O master." So he moved, saying to himself, "I cannot but beat her, with such odds," and planned a combination; but, behold, she moved on, little by little, till she made one of her pawns[FN#450] a queen and pushing up to him pawns and other pieces, to take off his attention, set one in his way and tempted him to take it. Accordingly, he took it and she said to him, "The measure is meted and the loads equally balanced.[FN#451] Eat till thou are over-full; naught shall be thy ruin, O son of Adam, save thy greed. Knowest thou not that I did but tempt thee, that I might finesse thee? See: this is check-mate!" adding, "So doff off thy clothes." Quoth he, "Leave me my bag-trousers, so Allah repay thee;" and he swore by Allah that he would contend with none, so long as Tawaddud abode in the realm of Baghdad. Then he stripped off his clothes and gave them to her and went away. Thereupon came the backgammon-player, and she said to him, "If I beat thee, this day, what wilt thou give me?" Quoth he, "I will give thee ten suits of brocade of Constantinople, figured with gold, and ten suits of velvet and a thousand gold pieces; and if I beat thee, I ask nothing but that thou write me an acknowledgment of my victory." Quoth she, "To it, then, and do thy best." So they played, and he lost and went away, chattering in Frankish jargon and saying, "By the bounty of the Commander of the Faithful, there is not her like in all the regions of the world!" Then the Caliph summoned players on instruments of music and asked her, "Dost thou know aught of music?"; when she answered, "Even so!" He bade bring a worn lute, polished by use, whose owner forlorn and lone was by parting trodden down; and of which quoth one, describing it
"Allah watered a land, and upsprang a tree * Struck root deep down, and raised head a-sky: The birds o'ersang it when green its wood; * And the Fair o'ersing now the wood is dry."
So they brought the lute in a bag of red satin, with tassels of saffron-coloured silk: and she opened the bag, and took it out and behold on it was graven,
"Oft hath a tender bough made lute for maid, * whose swift sweet lays at feast men's hearts invade: She sings; it follows on her song, as though * The Bulbuls[FN#452] taught her all the modes she played."
She laid her lute in her lap and with bosom inclining over it, bent to it with the bending of a mother who suckleth her child; then she preluded in twelve different modes, till the whole assembly was agitated with delight, like a waving sea, and she sang the following,
"Cut short this strangeness, leave unruth of you; * My heart shall love you aye, by youth of you! Have ruth on one who sighs and weeps and moans, * Pining and yearning for the troth of you."
The Caliph was ravished and exclaimed, "Allah bless thee and be merciful to him who taught thee!": whereupon she rose and kissed the ground before him. Then he sent for money and paid her master Abu al-Husn an hundred thousand gold pieces to her price; after which he said to her, "O Tawaddud, ask a boon of me!" Replied she, "I ask of thee that thou restore me to my lord who sold me." "'Tis well," answered the Caliph and restored her to her master and gave her five thousand dinars for herself. Moreover, he appointed Abu al-Husn one of his cup-companions for a permanence,—And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased to say her permitted say.
When it was the Four Hundred and Sixty-second Night,
She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that the Caliph gave the damsel five thousand dinars for herself and restored her to her master whom he appointed one of his cup-companions for a permanence and assigned him a monthly stipend of a thousand dinars so long as he should live; and he abode with the damsel Tawaddud in all solace and delight of life. Marvel then, O King, at the eloquence of this damsel and the hugeness of her learning and understanding and her perfect excellence in all branches of art and science; and consider the generosity of the Commander of the Faithful, Harun al-Rashid, in that he gave her master this money and said to her, "Ask a boon of me;" and she besought him to restore her to her lord. So he restored her to him and gave her five thousand dinars for herself and made him one of his boon-companions. Where is such generosity to be found after the Abbaside Caliphs?—May Allah Almighty have mercy upon them, one and all! And they tell a tale of
THE ANGEL OF DEATH WITH THE PROUD KING AND THE DEVOUT MAN.
It is related, O auspicious King, that one of the olden monarchs was once minded to ride out in state with the Officers of his realm and the Grandees of his retinue and display to the folk the marvels of his magnificence. So he ordered his Lords and Emirs equip them therefor and commanded his keeper of the wardrobe to bring him of the richest of raiment, such as befitted the King in his state; and he bade them bring his steeds[FN#453] of the finest breeds and pedigrees every man heeds; which being done, he chose out of the raiment what rejoiced him most and of the horses that which he deemed best; and, donning the clothes, together with a collar set with margarites and rubies and all manner jewels, mounted and set forth in state, making his destrier prance and curvet among his troops and glorying in his pride and despotic power. And Iblis came to him and, laying his hand upon his nose, blew into his nostrils the breath of hauteur and conceit, so that he magnified and glorified himself and said in his heart, "Who among men is like unto me?" And he became so puffed up with arrogance and self-sufficiency, and so taken up with the thought of his own splendour and magnificence, that he would not vouchsafe a glance to any man. Presently, there stood before him one clad in tattered clothes and saluted him, but he returned not his salam; whereupon the stranger laid hold of his horse's bridle. "Lift thy hand," cried the King, "thou knowest not whose bridle-rein it is whereof thou takest hold." Quoth the other, I have a need of thee." Quoth the King, "Wait till I alight and then name thy need." Rejoined the stranger, "It is a secret and I will not tell it but in thine ear." So the King bowed his head to him and he said, "I am the Angel of Death and I purpose to take thy soul." Replied the King, "Have patience with me a little, whilst I return to my house and take leave of my people and children and neighbours and wife." "By no means so," answered the Angel; "thou shalt never return nor look on them again, for the fated term of thy life is past." So saying, he took the soul of the King (who fell off his horse's back dead) and departed thence. Presently the Death Angel met a devout man, of whom Almighty Allah had accepted, and saluted him. He returned the salute, and the Angel said to him, "O pious man, I have a need of thee which must be kept secret." "Tell it in my ear," quoth the devotee; and quoth the other, "I am the Angel of Death." Replied the man, "Welcome to thee! and praised be Allah for thy coming! I am aweary of awaiting thine arrival; for indeed long hath been thine absence from the lover which longeth for thee." Said the Angel, "If thou have any business, make an end of it;" but the other answered, saying, "There is nothing so urgent to me as the meeting with my Lord, to whom be honour and glory!" And the Angel said "How wouldst thou fain have me take thy soul? I am bidden to take it as thou willest and choosest." He replied, "Tarry till I make the Wuzu-ablution and pray; and, when I prostrate myself, then take my soul while my body is on the ground."[FN#454] Quoth the Angel, "Verily, my Lord (be He extolled and exalted!) commanded me not to take thy soul but with thy consent and as thou shouldst wish; so I will do thy will." Then the devout man made the minor ablution[FN#455] and prayed: and the Angel of Death took his soul in the act of prostration and Almighty Allah transported it to the place of mercy and acceptance and forgiveness. And they tell another tale of
THE ANGEL OF DEATH AND THE RICH KING.
A certain King had heaped up coin beyond count and gathered store of all precious things, which Allah the Most Highest hath created. So, in order that he might take his pleasure whenas he should find leisure to enjoy all this abounding wealth he had collected, he built him a palace wide and lofty such as befitteth and beseemeth Kings; and set thereto strong doors and appointed, for its service and its guard, servants and soldiers and doorkeepers to watch and ward. One day, he bade the cooks dress him somewhat of the goodliest of food and assembled his household and retainers and boon-companions and servants to eat with him, and partake of his bounty. Then he sat down upon the sofa of his kingship and dominion; and, propping his elbow upon the cushion, addressed himself, saying, "O soul, thou hast gathered together all the wealth of the world; so now take thy leisure therein and eat of this good at thine ease, in long life and prosperity ever rife!"—And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased saying her permitted say.
When it was the Four Hundred and Sixty-third Night,
She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that hardly had the King made an end of saying to himself, "Eat of this weal at thine ease, in long life and prosperity ever rife!" when a man clad in tattered raiment, with an asker's wallet hanging at his neck, as he were one who came to beg food, knocked with the door-ring a knock so loud and terrible that the whole palace shook as with quake of earth and the King's throne trembled. The servants were affrighted and rushed to the door, and when they saw the man who had knocked they cried out at him, saying, "Woe to thee! what manner of unmannerly fashion be this? Wait till the King eateth and we will then give thee of what is left." Quoth he, "Tell your lord to come out and speak with me, for I have of him a pressing need and a matter to heed." They cried, "Away, fool! who art thou that we should bid our lord come forth to thee?" But he said, "Tell him of this." So they went in and told the King, who said, "Did ye not rebuke him and draw upon him and threaten him!" Now as he spoke, behold, there came another knock at the gate, louder than the first knock, whereupon the servants sprang at the stranger with staves and weapons, to fall upon him and slay him; but he shouted at them, saying, "Bide in your steads, for I am the Angel of Death." Hereat their hearts quaked and their wits forsook them; their understandings were in confusion, their side-muscles quivered in perturbation and their limbs lost the power of motion. Then said the King to them, "Tell him to take a substitute[FN#456] in my place and one to relieve me in this case." But the Angel answered, saying, "I will take no substitute, and I come not but on thine account, to cause separation between thee and the goods thou hast gathered together and the riches thou hast heaped up and entreasured." When the King heard this, he wept and groaned, saying, "Allah curse the treasure which hath deluded and undone me and diverted me from the service of my Lord! I deemed it would profit me, but to-day it is a regret for me and a calamity to me, and behold, I go forth, empty-handed of it, and leave it to my foes." Thereupon Allah caused the Treasure to speak out and it said, "Wherefore cursest thou me?[FN#457] Curse thyself, for Allah created both me and eke thyself of the dust and appointed me to be in thine hand, that thou mightest provide thee with me a viaticum for the next world and give alms with me to the poor and the needy and the sick; and build mosques and hospices and bridges and aqueducts, so might I be an aidance unto thee in the world to come. But thou didst garner me and hoard me up and on thine own vanities bestowedst me, neither gavest thou thanks for me, as was due, but wast ungrateful to me; and now thou must leave me to thy foes and thou hast naught save thy regretting and thy repenting. But what is my sin, that thou shouldest revile me?" Then the Angel of Death took the King's soul as he sat on his throne before he ate of the food, and he fell down dead. Quoth Allah Almighty, "While they were rejoicing for that which had been given them, we suddenly laid hold on them; and, behold, they were seized with despair."[FN#458] And they tell another tale of
THE ANGEL OF DEATH AND THE KING OF THE CHILDREN OF ISRAEL.
There was a puissant despot among the Kings of the Ban Isrl, who sat one day upon the throne of his kingship, when he saw come in to him, by the gate of the hall, a man of forbidding aspect and horrible presence. The King was affrighted at his sudden intrusion and his look terrified him; so he sprang up before him and said, "Who art thou, O man? Who gave thee leave to come in to me and who invited thee to enter my house?" Quoth the stranger, "Verily the Lord of the House sent me to thee, nor can any doorkeeper exclude me, nor need I leave to come in to Kings; for I reck not of a Sultan's majesty neither of the multitude of his guards. I am he from whom no tyrant is at rest, nor can any man escape from my grasp: I am the Destroyer of delights and the Sunderer of societies." Now when the King heard this a palsy crept over him[FN#459] and he fell on his face in a swoon; but presently coming to himself, he asked, "Art thou then the Angel of Death?"; and the stranger answered, "Yes." "I conjure thee, by Allah," quoth the King, "grant me one single day's respite, that I may pray pardon of my sins and ask absolution of my Lord and restore to their rightful owners the monies which are in my treasures, so I may not be burdened with the woe of a reckoning nor with the misery of punishment therefor." Replied the Angel, "Well-away! well-away! this may be in no way."—And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased to say her permitted say.
When it was the Four Hundred and Sixty-fourth Night,
She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that quoth the Death-messenger to the King, "Well-away, well-away! this may be in no way. How can I grant thee a reprieve when the days of thy life are counted and thy breaths numbered and thy moments fixed and written?" "Grant me an hour," asked the King; but the Angel answered saying, "The hour was in the account and hath sped, and thou unheeding aught; and hath fled, and thou taking no thought: and now thy breathings are accomplished, and there remaineth to thee but one breath." Quoth the King, "Who will be with me when I am transported to my tomb?" Quoth the Angel, "Naught will be with thee but thy works good or evil." "I have no works," said the King; and the Angel, "Doubtless thy long home will be in hell-fire and thy doom the wrath of the Almighty." Then he seized the soul of the King, and he fell off his throne and dropped on the earth dead. And there arose a mighty weeping and wailing and clamour of keening for him among the people of his court, and had they known that to which he went of the wrath of his Lord, their weeping for him had been sorer and their wailing louder and more abounding. And a story is told of
ISKANDAR ZU AL-KARNAYN[FN#460] AND A CERTAIN TRIBE OF POOR FOLK.
It is related that Iskandar Zu al-Karnayn[FN#461] once came, in his journeyings, upon a tribe of small folk, who owned naught of the weals of the world and who dug their graves over against the doors of their houses and were wont at all times to visit them and sweep the earth from them and keep them clean and pray at them and worship Almighty Allah at them; and they had no meat save grasses and the growth of the ground. So Iskandar sent a man to summon their King, but he refused to come, saying, "I have no need of him." Thereupon Iskandar went to him and said, "How is it with you and what manner of men are ye?; for I see with you forsooth naught of gold or silver, nor find I with you aught of the weals of the world." Answered the King, "None hath his fill of the weals of the world." Iskandar then asked "Why do you dig your graves before your house-doors?"; and the King answered, "That they may be the prospective of our eye-glances; so we may look on them and ever renew talk and thought of death, neither forget the world to come; and on this wise the love of the world be banished from our hearts and we be not thereby distracted from the service of our Lord, the Almighty." Quoth Iskandar, "Why do ye eat grasses?"; and the other replied, "Because we abhor to make our bellies the tombs of animals and because the pleasure of eating outstrippeth not the gullet." Then putting forth his hand he brought out a skull of a son of Adam and, laying it before Iskandar, said, "O Zu al-Karnayn, Lord of the Two Horns, knowest thou who owned this skull?" Quoth he, "Nay;" and quoth the other, "He who owned this skull was a King of the Kings of the world, who dealt tyrannously with his subjects, specially wronging the weak and wasting his time in heaping up the rubbish of this world, till Allah took his sprite and made the fire his abiding-site; and this is his head." He then put forth his hand and produced another skull and, laying it before Iskandar, said to him, "Knowest thou this?" "No," answered the conqueror; and the other rejoined, "This is the skull of another King, who dealt justly by his lieges and was kindly solicitous for the folk of his realm and his dominions, till Allah took his soul and lodged him in His Garden and made high his degree in Heaven." Then laying his hands on Iskandar's head he said, "Would I knew which of these two art thou." Whereupon Iskandar wept with sore weeping and straining the King to his bosom cried, "If thou be minded to company with me, I will commit to thee as Wazir the government of my affairs and share with thee my kingdom." Cried the other, "Well-away, well-away! I have no mind to this." "And why so?" asked Iskandar, and the King answered, "Because all men are thy foes by reason of the wealth and the worlds thou hast won: while all men are my true friends, because of my contentment and pauperdom, for that I possess nothing, neither covet aught of the goods of life; I have no desire to them nor wish for them, neither reck I aught save contentment." So Iskandar pressed him to his breast and kissed him between the eyes and went his way.[FN#462] And among the tales they tell is one concerning
THE RIGHTEOUSNESS OF KING ANUSHIRWAN.[FN#463]
It is told of Anushirwan, the Just King, that once upon a time he feigned himself sick, and bade his stewards and intendants go round about the provinces of his empire and the quarters of his dominion and seek him out a mud-brick thrown away from some ruined village, that he might use it as medicine, informing his intimates that the leaches had prescribed this to him. So they went the round of the provinces of his reign and of all the lands under his sway and said to him on return, "In all the realm we have found nor ruined site nor castaway mud-brick." At this Anushirwan rejoiced and rendered thanks to the Lord, saying, "I was but minded to try my kingdom and prove mine empire, that I might know if any place therein remained ruined and deserted, so I might rebuild and repeople it; but, since there be no place in it but is inhabited, the affairs of the reign are best-conditioned and its ordinance is excellent; and its populousness[FN#464] hath reached the pitch of perfection."—And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased saying her permitted say.
When it was the Four Hundred and Sixty-fifth Night,
She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when the high officials returned and reported, "We have found in the empire nor ruined site nor rotten brick," the Just King thanked his God and said, "Verily the affairs of the realm are best-conditioned and its ordinance is excellent and its populousness hath reached the pink of perfection." And ken thou, O King, continued Shahrazad, that these olden Kings strave not and toiled not for the peopling of their possessions, but because they knew that the more populous a country is, the more abundant is that which is desired therein; and because they wist the saying of the wise and the learned to be true without other view, namely, "Religion dependeth on the King, the King on the troops, the troops on the treasury, the treasury on the populousness of the country and its prosperity on the justice done to the lieges." Wherefore they upheld no one in tyranny or oppression; neither suffered their dependants and suite to work injustice, knowing that kingdoms are not established upon tyranny, but that cities and places fall into ruin when oppressors are set as rulers over them, and their inhabitants disperse and flee to other governments; whereby ruin falleth upon the realm, the imports fail, the treasuries become empty and the pleasant lives of the subjects are perturbed; for that they love not a tyrant and cease not to offer up successive prayers against him; so that the King hath no ease of his kingdom, and the vicissitudes of fortune speedily bring him to destruction. And they tell a tale concerning
THE JEWISH KAZI AND HIS PIOUS WIFE.
Among the Children of Israel one of the Kazis had a wife of surpassing beauty, constant in fasting and abounding in patience and long-suffering; and he, being minded to make the pilgrimage to Jerusalem, appointed his own brother Kazi in his stead, during his absence, and commended his wife to his charge. Now this brother had heard of her beauty and loveliness and had taken a fancy to her. So no sooner was his brother gone than he went to her and sought her love-favours; but she denied him and held fast to her chastity. The more she repelled him, the more he pressed his suit upon her; till, despairing of her and fearing lest she should acquaint his brother with his misconduct whenas he should return, he suborned false witnesses to testify against her of adultery; and cited her and carried her before the King of the time who adjudged her to be stoned. So they dug a pit, and seating her therein stoned her, till she was covered with stones, and the man said, "Be this hole her grave!" But when it was dark a passer-by, making for a neighbouring hamlet, heard her groaning in sore pain; and, pulling her out of the pit, carried her home to his wife, whom he bade dress her wounds. The peasant woman tended her till she recovered and presently gave her her child to be nursed; and she used to lodge with the child in another house by night. Now a certain thief saw her and lusted after her. So he sent to her seeking her love-favours, but she denied herself to him; wherefore he resolved to slay her and, making his way into her lodging by night (and she sleeping), thought to strike at her with a knife; but it smote the little one and killed it. Now when he knew his misdeed, fear overtook him and he went forth the house and Allah preserved from him her chastity. But as she awoke in the morning, she found the child by her side with throat cut; and presently the mother came and seeing her boy dead, said to the nurse, "Twas thou didst murther him." Therewith she beat her a grievous beating and purposed to put her to death; but her husband interposed and delivered the woman, saying, "By Allah, thou shalt not do on this wise." So the woman, who had somewhat of money with her, fled forth for her life, knowing not whither she should wend. Presently, she came to a village, where she saw a crowd of people about a man crucified to a tree-stump, but still in the chains of life. "What hath he done?" she asked, and they answered, "He hath committed a crime, which nothing can expiate but death or the payment of such a fine by way of alms." So she said to them, "Take the money and let him go;" and, when they did so, he repented at her hands and vowed to serve her, for the love of Almighty Allah till death should release him. Then he built her a cell and lodged her therein; after which he betook himself to woodcutting and brought her daily her bread. As for her, she was constant in worship, so that there came no sick man or demoniac to her, but she prayed for him and he was straightway healed.—And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased to say her permitted say.
When it was the Four Hundred and Sixty-sixth Night,
She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when the woman's cell was visited by folk (and she constant in worship), it befel by decree of the Almighty that He sent down upon her husband's brother (the same who had caused her to be stoned), a cancer in the face, and smote the villager's wife (the same who had beaten her) with leprosy, and afflicted the thief (the same who had murthered the child) with palsy. Now when the Kazi returned from his pilgrimage, he asked his brother of his wife, and he told him that she was dead, whereat he mourned sore and accounted her with her Maker. After awhile, very many folk heard of the pious recluse and flocked to her cell from all parts of the length and breadth of the earth; whereupon said the Kazi to his brother, "O my brother, wilt thou not seek out yonder pious woman? Haply Allah shall decree thee healing at her hands!" and he replied, "O my brother, carry me to her" Moreover, the husband of the leprous woman heard of the pious devotee and carried his wife to her, as did also the people of the paralytic thief; and they all met at the door of the hermitage. Now she had a place wherefrom she could look out upon those who came to her, without their seeing her; and they waited till her servant came, when they begged admittance and obtained permission. Presently she saw them all and recognized them; so she veiled and cloaked face and body and went out and stood in the door, looking at her husband and his brother and the thief and the peasant-woman; but they could not recognize her. Then said she to them, "Ho folk, ye shall not be relieved of what is with you till ye confess your sins; for, when the creature confesseth his sins the Creator relenteth towards him and granteth him that wherefore he resorteth to him." Quoth the Kazi to his brother, "O my brother, repent to Allah and persist not in thy frowardness, for it will be more helpful to thy relief." And the tongue of the case spake this speech,
"This day oppressor and oppressed meet, * And Allah sheweth secrets we secrete: This is a place where sinners low are brought; * And Allah raiseth saint to highest seat. Our Lord and Master shows the truth right clear, * Though sinner froward be or own defeat: Alas[FN#465] for those who rouse the Lord to wrath, * As though of Allah's wrath they nothing weet! O whoso seekest honours, know they are * From Allah, and His fear with love entreat."
(Saith the relator), Then quoth the brother, "Now I will tell the truth: I did thus and thus with thy wife;" and he confessed the whole matter, adding, "And this is my offence." Quoth the leprous woman, "As for me, I had a woman with me and imputed to her that of which I knew her to be guiltless, and beat her grievously; and this is my offence." And quoth the paralytic, "And I went in to a woman to kill her, after I had tempted her to commit adultery and she had refused; and I slew a child that lay by her side; and this is my offence." Then said the pious woman, "O my God, even as Thou hast made them feel the misery of revolt, so show them now the excellence of submission, for Thou over all things art Omnipotent!" And Allah (to whom belong Majesty and Might!) made them whole. Then the Kazi fell to looking on her and considering her straitly, till she asked him why he looked so hard and he said, "I had a wife and were she not dead, I had said thou art she." Hereupon, she made herself known to him and both began praising Allah (to whom belong Majesty and Might!) for that which He had vouchsafed them of the reunion of their loves; but the brother and the thief and the villager's wife joined in imploring her forgiveness. So she forgave them one and all, and they worshipped Allah in that place and rendered her due service, till Death parted them. And one of the Sayyids[FN#466] hath related this tale of
THE SHIPWRECKED WOMAN AND HER CHILD.
"I was circuiting the Ka'abah one dark night, when I heard a plaintive voice, speaking from a contrite heart and saying, 'O Bountiful One, Thy past boon! Indeed, by my heart shall Thy covenant never be undone.' Hearing this voice, my heart fluttered so that I was like to die; but I followed the sound and behold, it came from a woman, to whom I said, 'Peace be with thee, O handmaid of Allah;' whereto she replied, 'And with thee be peace, and the mercy of Allah and His blessings!' Quoth I, 'I conjure thee, by Allah the Most Great, tell me what is the covenant to which thy heart is constant.' Quoth she, 'But that thou adjurest me by the Omnipotent, I would not tell thee my secrets. See what is before me.' So I looked and lo! there was a child lying asleep before her and breathing heavily in his slumber. Said she, "Know, that I set forth, being big with this boy, to make the pilgrimage to this House and took passage in a ship; but the waves rose against us and the winds blew contrary and the vessel broke up. I saved myself on a plank; and, on that bit of wood, I gave birth to this child; and while he lay on my bosom and the waves beating upon me,'"—And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased saying her permitted say.
When it was the Four Hundred and Sixty-seventh Night,
She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that the woman continued, "'Now while the boy lay on my bosom and the waves beat upon me, there swam up to me one of the sailors, who climbed on the plank and said, 'By Allah, I desired thee whilst thou wast yet in the ship, and now I have come at thee: so yield thy body to me, or I will throw thee into the sea.' Said I, 'Out on thee! hast thou no memory of that which thou hast seen and is it no warning to thee?' Quoth he, 'I have seen the like of this many a time and come off safe and care not.' Quoth I, 'O fellow, we are now in a calamity, whence we hope to be delivered by obedience to Allah and not by disobedience.' But he persisted with me, and I feared him and thought to put him off; so I said to him, 'Wait till this babe shall sleep'; but he took the child off my lap and threw him into the sea. Now when I saw this desperate deed, my heart sank and sorrow was sore upon me; so I raised my eyes heavenwards and said, 'O Thou that interposest between a man and his heart, intervene between me and this leonine brute; for Thou over all things art Omnipotent!' And by Allah, hardly had I spoken when a beast rose out of the sea and snatched him off the plank. When I saw myself alone my sorrows redoubled and my grief and longing for my child, and I recited,
'My coolth of eyes, the darling child of me * Is lost, and racked my heart with agony; My body wrecked, and red-hot coals of love * Burning my liver with sore pangs, I see. In this my sorrow shows no gleam of joy; * Save Thy high grace and my expectancy: Hast seen, O Lord, what unto me befel; * My son aye lost and parting pangs I dree: Take ruth on us and make us meet again; * For now my stay and only hope's in Thee!'
I abode in this condition a day and a night; and, when morning dawned, I caught sight of the sails of a vessel shining afar off, nor did the waves cease to drive me and the winds to waft me on, till I reached the ship, whose sails I had sighted. The sailors took me up and I looked and behold, my babe was amongst them: so I threw myself upon him and said, 'O folk, this is my child: how and whence came ye by him?' Quoth they, 'Whilst we were sailing along the seas the ship suddenly stood still and lo! that which stayed us was a beast, as it were a great city, and this babe on its back, sucking his thumbs. So we took him up.' Now when I heard this, I told them my tale and all that had betided me and returned thanks to my Lord for His goodness, and vowed to Him that never, whilst I lived, would I stir from His House nor swerve from His service; and since then I have never asked of Him aught but He hath given it me.' Now when she had made an end of her story (quoth the Sayyid), I put my hand to my alms-pouch and would have given to her, but she exclaimed, "Away from me, thou idle man! Have I not told thee of His mercies and the graciousness of His dealings and shall I take an alms from other than His hand?" And I could not prevail with her to accept aught of me: so I left her and went away, reciting these couplets
'How many boons conceals the Deity, * Eluding human sight in mystery: How many graces come on heels of stresses, * And fill the burning heart with jubilee: How many a sorrow in the morn appears, * And turns at night-tide into gladdest gree: If things go hard with thee some day, yet trust * Th' Eterne, th' Almighty God of Unity: And pray the Prophet that he intercede; * Through intercession every wish shalt see.'
And she left not the service of her Lord, cleaving unto His House, till death came to her." And a tale is also told by Mlik bin Dnr[FN#467] (Allah have mercy on him!) of
THE PIOUS BLACK SLAVE.
"We were once afflicted with drought at Bassorah and went forth sundry times to pray for rain, but saw no sign of our prayers being accepted. So I went, I and 'Itaa al-Salam and Sbit al-Banni and Naja al-Baka and Mohammed bin Wsi'a and Ayyb al-Sukhtiyni and Habb al-Farsi and Hassn bin Abi Sinn and 'Otbah al-Ghulm and Slih al-Muzani,[FN#468] till we reached the oratory,[FN#469] when the boys came out of the schools and we prayed for rain, but saw no sign of acceptance. So about mid-day the people went away and I and Sabit al-Banani tarried in the place of prayer till nightfall, when we saw a black of comely face, slender of shank[FN#470] and big of belly, approach us, clad in a pair of woollen drawers; if all he wore had been priced, it would not have fetched a couple of dirhams. He brought water and made the minor ablution, then, going up to the prayer-niche, prayed two inclinations deftly, his standing and bowing and prostration being exactly similar in both. Then he raised his glance heavenwards, and said, 'O my God and my Lord and Master, how long wilt Thou reject Thy servants in that which offereth no hurt to Thy sovereignty? Is that which is with Thee wasted or are the treasuries of Thy Kingdom annihilated? I conjure Thee, by Thy love to me forthwith to pour out upon us Thy rain-clouds of grace!' He spake and hardly had he made an end of speaking, when the heavens clouded over and there came a rain, as if the mouths of waterskins had been opened; and when we left the oratory, we were knee-deep in water,"—And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased to say her permitted say.
When it was the Four Hundred and Sixty-eighth Night,
She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that "hardly had he spoken when the heavens clouded over and there came a rain, as if the mouths of waterskins had been opened. And when we left the oratory we were knee-deep in water, and we were lost in wonder at the black. So I accosted him and said to him, 'Woe to thee, O black, art thou not ashamed of what thou saidst?' He turned to me and asked, 'What said I?'; and I, 'Thy saying to Allah, 'By Thy love of me;' and what giveth thee to know that He loveth thee?' Replied he, 'Away from me, O thou distracted by the world from the care of thine own soul. Where was I, when He gave me strength to profess the unity of the Godhead and vouchsafed unto me the knowledge of Him? How deemest thou that He aided me thus except of His love to me?' adding, 'Verily, His love to me is after the measure of my love to Him.' Quoth I, 'Tarry awhile with me, so may Allah have mercy on thee!' But he said, 'I am a chattel and the Book enjoineth me to obey my lesser master.' So we followed him afar off, till we saw him enter the house of a slave-broker. Now the first half of the night was past and the last half was longsome upon us, so we went away; but next morning, we repaired to the slave-dealer and said to him, 'Hast thou a lad to sell us for service?' He answered, 'Yes, I have an hundred lads or so and they are all for sale.' Then he showed us slave after slave; till he had shown us some seventy; but my friend was not amongst them, and the dealer said, 'These are all I have.' But, as we were going out from him we saw a ruinous hut behind his house and going in behold, we found the black standing there. I cried, ''Tis he, by the Lord of the Ka'abah!' and turning to the dealer, said to him, 'Sell me yonder slave.' Replied he, 'O Abu Yahya, this is a pestilent unprofitable fellow, who hath no concern by night but weeping and by day but repentance.' I rejoined, 'It is for that I want him.' So the dealer called him, and he came out, showing drowsiness. Quoth his master, 'Take him at thine own price, so thou hold me free of all his faults.' I bought him for twenty dinars and asked 'What is his name?' and the dealer answered 'Maymun, the monkey;' and I took him by the hand and went out with him, intending to go home; but he turned to me and said, 'O my lesser lord, why and wherefore didst thou buy me? By Allah, I am not fit for the service of God's creatures!' Replied I, 'I bought thee that I might serve thee myself; and on my head be it.' Asked he, 'Why so?' and I answered, 'Wast thou not in company with us yesterday in the place of prayer?' Quoth he, 'And didst thou hear me?'; and quoth I, 'It was I accosted thee yesterday and spoke with thee.' Thereupon he advanced till we came to a mosque, where he entered and prayed a two-bow prayer; after which he said, 'O my God and my Lord and Master, the secret that was between me and Thee Thou hast discovered unto Thy creatures and hast brought me to shame before the worldling. How then shall life be sweet to me, now that other than Thou hath happened upon that which is between Thee and me? I conjure Thee to take my soul to Thee forthright.[FN#471] So saying, he prostrated himself, and I awaited awhile without seeing him raise his head; so I shook him and behold, he was indeed dead, the mercy of Almighty Allah be upon him! I laid him out stretching his arms and legs and looked at him, and lo! he was smiling. Moreover, whiteness had got the better of blackness on his brow, and his face was radiant with light like a young moon. As we wondered at his case, the door opened and a young man came in to us and said, 'Peace be with you! May Allah make great our reward and yours for our brother Maymun! Here is his shroud: wrap him in it.' So saying, he gave us two robes, never had we seen the like of them, and we shrouded him therein. And now his tomb is a place whither men resort to pray for rain and ask their requirements of Allah (be He extolled and exalted!); and how excellently well saith the poet on this theme,
'The heart of Gnostic[FN#472] homed in heavenly Garth * Heaven decks, and Allah's porters aid afford. Lo! here they drink old wine commingled with * Tasnm,[FN#473] the wine of union with the Lord. Safe is the secret 'twixt the Friend and them; * Safe from all hearts but from that Heart adored.'"
And they recount another anecdote of
THE DEVOUT TRAY-MAKER AND HIS WIFE.
There was once, among the Children of Israel, a man of the worthiest, who was strenuous in the service of his Lord and abstained from things worldly and drave them away from his heart. He had a wife who was a helpmate meet for him and who was at all times obedient to him. They earned their living by making trays[FN#474] and fans, whereat they wrought all through the light hours; and, at nightfall, the man went out into the streets and highways seeking a buyer for what they had made. They were wont to fast continually by day[FN#475] and one morning they arose, fasting, and worked at their craft till the light failed them, when the man went forth, according to custom, to find purchasers for his wares, and fared on till he came to the door of the house of a certain man of wealth, one of the sons of this world, high in rank and dignity. Now the tray-maker was fair of face and comely of form, and the wife of the master of the house saw him and fell in love with him and her heart inclined to him with exceeding inclination; so, her husband being absent, she called her handmaid and said to her, "Contrive to bring yonder man to us." Accordingly the maid went out to him and and called him and stopped him as though she would buy what he held in hand.—And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased saying her permitted say.
When it was the Four Hundred and Sixty-ninth Night,
She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that the maid-servant went out to the man and asked him, "Come in; my lady hath a mind to buy some of thy wares, after she hath tried them and looked at them." The man thought she spoke truly and, seeing no harm in this, entered and sat down as she bade him; and she shut the door upon him. Whereupon her mistress came out of her room and, taking him by the gaberdine,[FN#476] drew him within and said, "How long shall I seek union of thee? Verily my patience is at an end on thine account. See now, the place is perfumed and provision prepared and the householder is absent this night, and I give to thee my person without reserve, I whose favours kings and captains and men of fortune have sought this long while, but I have regarded none of them." And she went on talking thus to him, whilst he raised not his eyes from the ground, for shame before Allah Almighty and fear of the pains and penalties of His punishment; even as saith the poet,
"'Twixt me and riding many a noble dame, * Was naught but shame which kept me chaste and pure: My shame was cure to her; but haply were * Shame to depart, she ne'er had known a cure."
The man strove to free himself from her, but could not; so he said to her, "I want one thing of thee." She asked, "What is that?": and he answered, "I wish for pure water that I may carry it to the highest place of thy house and do somewhat therewith and cleanse myself of an impurity, which I may not disclose to thee." Quoth she, "The house is large and hath closets and corners and privies at command." But he replied, "I want nothing but to be at a height." So she said to her slave-girl, "Carry him up to the belvedere on the house-terrace." Accordingly the maid took him up to the very top and, giving him a vessel of water, went down and left him. Then he made the ablution and prayed a two-bow prayer; after which he looked at the ground, thinking to throw himself down, but seeing it afar off, feared to be dashed to pieces by the fall.[FN#477] Then he bethought him of his disobedience to Allah, and the consequences of his sin; so it became a light matter to him to offer up his life and shed his blood; and he said, "O my God and my Lord, Thou seest that which is fallen on me; neither is my case hidden from Thee. Thou indeed over all things art Omnipotent and the tongue of my case reciteth and saith,
'I show my heart and thoughts to Thee, and Thou * Alone my secret's secrecy canst know. If I address Thee fain I cry aloud; * Or, if I'm mute, my signs for speech I show. O Thou to whom no second be conjoined! * A wretched lover seeks Thee in his woe. I have a hope my thoughts as true confirm; * And heart that fainteth as right well canst trow. To lavish life is hardest thing that be, * Yet easy an Thou bid me life forego; But, an it be Thy will to save from stowre, * Thou, O my Hope, to work this work hast power!'"
Then the man cast himself down from the belvedere; but Allah sent an angel who bore him up on his wings and brought him down to the ground, whole and without hurt or harm. Now when he found himself safe on the ground, he thanked and praised Allah (to whom belong Majesty and Might!) for His merciful protection of his person and his chastity; and he went straight to his wife who had long expected him, and he empty-handed. Then seeing him, she asked him why he had tarried and what was come of that he had taken with him and why he returned empty-handed; whereupon he told her of the temptation which had befallen him, and she said, "Alhamdolillah—praised be God-for delivering thee from seduction and intervening between thee and such calamity!" Then she added, "O man, the neighbours use to see us light our oven every night; and, if they see us fireless this night, they will know that we are destitute. Now it behoveth in gratitude to Allah, that we hide our destitution and conjoin the fast of this night to that of the past and continue it for the sake of Allah Almighty." So she rose and, filling the oven with wood, lighted it, to baffle the curiosity of her woman-neighbours, reciting these couplets,
"Now I indeed will hide desire and all repine; * And light up this my fire that neighbours see no sign: Accept I what befals by order of my Lord; * Haply He too accept this humble act of mine."
—And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased to say her permitted say.
When it was the Four Hundred and Seventieth Night,
She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that after the goodwife had lit the fire to baffle the curiosity of her women-neighbours, she and her husband made the Wuzu-ablution and stood up to pray, when behold, one of the neighbours' wives came and asked leave to take a fire-brand from the oven. "Do what thou wilt with the oven," answered they; but, when she came to the fire, she cried out, saying, "Ho, such an one (to the tray-maker's wife) take up thy bread ere it burn!" Quoth the wife to her husband, "Hearest thou what she saith?" Quoth he, "Go and look." So she went up to the oven, and behold, it was full of fine bread and white. She took up the scones and carried them to her husband, thanking Allah (to whom belong Majesty and Might!) for His abounding good and great bounty; and they ate of the bread and drank water and praised the Almighty. Then said the woman to her husband, "Come let us pray to Allah the Most Highest, so haply He may vouchsafe us what shall enable us to dispense with the weariness of working for daily bread and devote ourselves wholly to worshipping and obeying Him." The man rose in assent and prayed, whilst his wife said, "Amen," to his prayer, when the roof clove in sunder and down fell a ruby, which lit the house with its light. Hereat, they redoubled in praise and thanksgiving to Allah praying what the Almighty willed,[FN#478] and rejoiced at the ruby with great joy. And the night being far spent, they lay down to sleep and the woman dreamt that she entered Paradise and saw therein many chairs ranged and stools set in rows. She asked what the seats were and it was answered her, "These are the chairs of the prophets and those are the stools of the righteous and the pious." Quoth she, "Which is the stool of my husband such an one?"; and it was said to her, "It is this." So she looked and seeing a hole in its side asked, "What may be this hole?"; and the reply came, "It is the place of the ruby that dropped upon you from your house-roof." Thereupon she awoke, weeping and bemoaning the defect in her husband's stool among the seats of the Righteous; so she told him the dream and said to him, "Pray Allah, O man, that this ruby return to its place; for endurance of hunger and poverty during our few days here were easier than a hole in thy chair among the just in Paradise."[FN#479] Accordingly, he prayed to his Lord, and lo! the ruby flew up to the roof and away whilst they looked at it. And they ceased not from their poverty and their piety, till they went to the presence of Allah, to whom be Honour and Glory! And they also tell a tale of
AL-HAJJAJ AND THE PIOUS MAN.
Al-Hajjaj bin Yusuf al-Sakafi had been long in pursuit of a certain man of the notables, and when at last he was brought before him, he said, "O enemy of Allah, He hath delivered thee over to me;" and cried, "Hale him to prison and lay him by the heels in heavy fetters and build a closet over him, that he may not come forth of it nor any go into him." So they bore him to jail and summoned the blacksmith with the irons; and every time the smith gave a stroke with his hammer, the prisoner raised his eyes to heaven and said, "Is not the whole Creation and the Empire thereof His?"[FN#480] Then the gaolers built the cage[FN#481] over him and left him therein, lorn and lone, whereupon longing and consternation entered into him and the tongue of his case recited in extempore verse,
"O, Wish of wistful men, for Thee I yearn; * My heart seeks grace of one no heart shall spurn. Unhidden from thy sight is this my case; * And for one glance of thee I pine and burn. They jailed and tortured me with sorest pains: * Alas for lone one can no aid discern! But, albe lone, I find Thy name befriends * And cheers, though sleep to eyes shall ne'er return: An thou accept of me, I care for naught; * And only Thou what's in my heart canst learn!"
Now when night fell dark, the gaoler left his watchmen to guard him and went to his house; and on the morrow, when he came to the prison, he found the fetters lying on the ground and the prisoner gone; whereat he was affrighted and made sure of death. So he returned to his place and bade his family farewell, after which he took in his sleeve his shroud and the sweet herbs for his corpse, and went in to Al-Hajjaj. And as he stood before the presence, the Governor smelt the perfumes and asked, "What is that?" when the gaoler answered, "O my lord, it is I who have brought it." "And what moved thee to that?" enquired the Governor; whereupon he told him his case,—And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased saying her permitted say.