When it was the Four Hundred and Seventy-first Night,
She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when the gaoler told his case to Al-Hajjaj, the Governor cried, "Woe to thee! Didst thou hear him say aught?" Answered the gaoler, "Yes! whilst the blacksmith was hammering his irons, he ceased not to look up heavenwards and say, 'Is not the whole Creation and the Empire thereof His?'" Rejoined Al-Hajjaj, "Dost thou not know that He, on whom he called in thy presence, delivered him in thine absence?" And the tongue of the case recited on this theme,
"O Lord, how many a grief from me hast driven * Nor can I sit or stand without Thy hold: How many many things I cannot count, * Thou sav'st from many many and manifold!"
And they also tell a tale of
THE BLACKSMITH WHO COULD HANDLE FIRE WITHOUT HURT.
It reached the ears of a certain pious man that there abode in such a town a blacksmith, who could put his hand into the fire and pull out the iron red-hot, without the flames doing him aught of hurt.[FN#482] So he set out for the town in question and asked for the blacksmith; and, when the man was shown to him, he watched him at work and saw him do as had been reported to him. He waited till he had made and end of his day's work; then, going up to him, saluted him with the salam and said, "I would be thy guest this night." Replied the smith, "With gladness and goodly gree!" and carried him to his place, where they supped together and lay down to sleep. The guest watched, but saw no sign in his host of praying through the night or of special devoutness and said in his mind, "Haply he hideth himself from me." So he lodged with him a second and a third night, but found that he did not exceed the devotions prescribed by the law and custom of the Prophet and rose but little in the dark hours to pray. At last he said to him, "O my brother, I have heard of the gift with which Allah hath favoured thee and have seen the truth of it with mine eyes. Moreover, I have taken note of thine assiduity in religious exercises, but find in thee no such piety as distinguisheth those who work saintly miracles: whence, then, cometh this to thee?" "I will tell thee," answered the smith, "Know that I was once passionately enamoured of a slave-girl and ofttimes sued her for love-liesse, but could not prevail upon her, because she still held fast by her chastity. Presently there came a year of drought and hunger and hardship; food failed and there befel a sore famine. As I was sitting one day at home, somebody knocked at the door; so I went out and behold, she was standing there; and she said to me, 'O my brother, I am sorely an-hungered and I lift mine eyes to thee, beseeching thee to feed me for Allah's sake!' Quoth I, 'Wottest thou not how I love thee and what I have suffered for thy sake? Now I will not give thee one bittock of bread except thou yield thy person to me.' Quoth she, 'Death, but not disobedience to the Lord!' Then she went away and returned after two days with the same prayer for food as before. I made her a like answer, and she entered and sat down in my house being nigh upon death. I set food before her, whereupon her eyes brimmed with tears and she cried, 'Give me meat for the love of Allah, to whom belong Honour and Glory!' But I answered, 'Not so, by Allah, except thou yield thyself to me.' Quoth she, 'Better is death to me than the wrath and wreak of Allah the Most Highest;' and she rose and left the food untouched"—And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased to say her permitted say.
When it was the Four Hundred and Seventy-second Night,
She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when the man set food before her, the woman said, "Give me meat for the love of Allah to whom be Honour and Glory!' But I answered, 'Not so, by Allah, except thou yield to me thy person.' Quoth she, 'Better is death than the wrath and wreak of Allah;' and she rose and left the food untouched and went away repeating these couplets,
'O Thou, the One, whose grace doth all the world embrace; * Thine ears have heard, Thine eyes have seen my case! Privation and distress have dealt me heavy blows; * The woes that weary me no utterance can trace. I am like one athirst who eyes the landscape's eye, * Yet may not drink a draught of streams that rail and race. My flesh would tempt me by the sight of savoury food * Whose joys shall pass away and pangs maintain their place.'
She then disappeared for two days, when she again came and knocked at the door; so I went out to her, and lo! hunger had taken away her voice; but, after a rest she said, 'O my brother, I am worn out with want and know not what to do, for I cannot show my face to any man but to thee. Say, wilt thou feed me for the love of Allah Almighty?' But I answered, 'Not so, except thou yield to me thy person.' And she entered my house and sat down. Now I had no food ready; but, when the meat was dressed and I laid it in a saucer, behold, the grace of Almighty Allah entered into me and I said to myself, 'Out on thee! This woman, weak of wit and faith, hath refrained from food till she can no longer, for stress of hunger; and, while she refuseth time after time, thou canst not forbear from disobedience to the Lord!' And I said, 'O my God, I repent to Thee of that which my flesh purposed!' Then I took the food and carrying it to her, said, 'Eat, for no harm shall betide thee: this is for the love of Allah, to whom belong Honour and Glory!' Then she raised her eyes to heaven and said, 'O my God, if this man say sooth, I pray Thee forbid fire to harm him in this world and the next, for Thou over all things art Omnipotent and Prevalent in answering the prayer of the penitent!' Then I left her and went to put out the fire in the brasier.[FN#483] Now the season was winter and the weather cold, and a live coal fell on my body: but by the decree of Allah (to whom be Honour and Glory!) I felt no pain and it became my conviction that her prayer had been answered. So I took the coal in my hand, and it burnt me not; and going in to her, I said, 'Be of good cheer, for Allah hath granted thy prayer!'"—And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased saying her permitted say.
When it was the Four Hundred and Seventy-third Night,
She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that the blacksmith continued: "So I went in to her and said, 'Be of good cheer, for Allah hath granted thy prayer!' Then she dropped the morsel from her hand and said, 'O my God, now that Thou hast shown me my desire of him and hast granted me my prayer for him, take Thou my soul, for Thou over all things art Almighty!' And straightway He took her soul to Him, the mercy of Allah be upon her!" And the tongue of the case extemporised and spake on this theme,
"She prayed: the Lord of grace her prayer obeyed; * And spared the sinner, who for sin had prayed: He showed her all she prayed Him to grant; * And Death (as prayed she) her portion made: Unto his door she came and prayed for food, * And sued his ruth for what her misery made: He leant to error following his lusts, * And hoped to enjoy her as her wants persuade; But he knew little of what Allah willed; * Nor was Repentance, though unsought, denayed. Fate comes to him who flies from Fate, O Lord, * And lot and daily bread by Thee are weighed."
And they also tell of
THE DEVOTEE TO WHOM ALLAH GAVE A CLOUD FOR SERVICE AND THE DEVOUT KING.
There was once, among the children of Israel, a man of the devout, for piety acclaimed and for continence and asceticism enfamed, whose prayers were ever granted and who by supplication obtained whatso he wanted; and he was a wanderer in the mountains and was used to pass the night in worship. Now Almighty Allah had subjected to him a cloud which travelled with him wherever he went, and poured on him its water-treasures in abundance that he might make his ablutions and drink. After a long time when things were thus, his fervour somewhat abated, whereupon Allah took the cloud away from him and ceased to answer his prayers. On this account, great was his grief and long was his woe, and he ceased not to regret the time of grace and the miracle vouchsafed to him and to lament and bewail and bemoan himself, till he saw in a dream one who said to him, "An thou wouldest have Allah restore to thee thy cloud, seek out a certain King, in such a town, and beg him to pray for thee: so will Allah (be He extolled and exalted!) give thee back thy cloud and bespread it over thee by virtue of his pious prayers." And he began repeating these couplets,
"Wend to that pious prayerful Emir, * Who can with gladness thy condition cheer; An he pray Allah, thou shalt win thy wish; * And heavy rain shall drop from welkin clear. He stands all Kings above in potent worth; * Nor to compare with him doth aught appear: Near him thou soon shalt hap upon thy want, * And see all joy and gladness draw thee near: Then cut the wolds and wilds unfounted till * The goal thou goest for anigh shalt speer!"
So the hermit set out for the town named to him in the dream; and, coming thither after long travel, enquired for the King's palace which was duly shown to him. And behold, at the gate he found a slave-officer sitting on a great chair and clad in gorgeous gear; so he stood to him and saluted him; and he returned his salam and asked him, "What is thy business?" Answered the devotee, "I am a wronged man, and come to submit my case to the King." Quoth the officer, "Thou hast no access to him this day; for he hath appointed unto petitioners and enquirers one day in every seven" (naming the day), "on which they may go in to him; so wend thy ways in welfare till then." The hermit was vexed with the King for thus veiling himself from the folk and said in thought, "How shall this man be a saint of the saints of Allah (to whom belong Majesty and Might!) and he on this wise?" Then he went away and awaited the appointed day. "Now" (quoth he)"when it came, I repaired to the palace, where I found a great number of folk at the gate, expecting admission; and I stood with them, till there came out a Wazir robed in gorgeous raiment and attended by guards and slaves, who said, 'Let those, who have petitions to present, enter.' So I entered with the rest and found the King seated facing his officers and grandees who were ranged according to their several ranks and degrees. The Wazir took up his post and brought forward the petitioners, one by one, till it came to my turn, when the King looked on me and said, 'Welcome to the 'Lord of the Cloud'! Sit thee down till I make leisure for thee.' I was confounded at his words and confessed his dignity and superiority; and, when the King had answered the petitioners and had made an end with them, he rose and dismissed his Wazirs and Grandees; then, taking my hand he led me to the door of the private palace, where we found a black slave, splendidly arrayed, with helm on head, and on his right hand and his left, bows and coats of mail. He rose to the King; and, hastening to obey his orders and forestall his wishes, opened the door. We went in, hand in hand, till we came to a low wicket, which the King himself opened and led me into a ruinous place of frightful desolation and thence passed into a chamber, wherein was naught but a prayer-carpet, an ewer for ablution and some mats of palm-leaves. Here the King doffed his royal robes and donned a coarse gown of white wool and a conical bonnet of felt. Then he sat down and making me sit, called out to his wife, 'Ho, such an one!' and she answered from within saying, 'Here am I.' Quoth he, 'Knowest thou who is our guest to-day?' Replied she, 'Yes, it is the Lord of the Cloud.' The King said, 'Come forth: it mattereth not for him.' And behold, there entered a woman, as she were a vision, with a face that beamed like the new moon; and she wore a gown and veil of wool."-And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased to say her permitted say.
When it was the Four Hundred and Seventy-fourth Night,
She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that 'when the King called to his wife, she came forth from the inner room; and her face beamed like the new moon; and she wore a gown and a veil of wool. Then said the King, 'O my brother, dost thou desire to hear our story or that we should pray for thee and dismiss thee?' Answered the hermit; 'Nay, I wish to hear the tale of you twain, for that to me were preferable.' Said the King, 'My forefathers handed down the throne, one to the other, and it descended from great one to great one, in unbroken succession, till the last died and it came to me. Now Allah had made this hateful to me, for I would fain have gone awandering over earth and left the folk to their own affairs; but I feared lest they should fall into confusion and anarchy and misgovernment so as to swerve from divine law, and the union of the Faith be broken up. Wherefore, abandoning my own plans, I took the kingship and appointed to every head of them a regular stipend; and donned the royal robes; and posted slave-officers at the doors, as a terror to the dishonest and for the defence of honest folk and the maintenance of law and limitations. Now when free of this, I entered this place and, doffing my royal habit, donned these clothes thou seest; and this my cousin, the daughter of my father's brother, hath agreed with me to renounce the world and helpeth me to serve the Lord. So we are wont to weave these palm-leaves and earn, during the day, a wherewithal to break our fast at nightfall; and we have lived on this wise nigh upon forty years. Abide thou with us (so Allah have mercy on thee!) till we sell our mats; and thou shalt sup and sleep with us this night and on the morrow wend thy ways with that thou wishest, Inshallah!' So he tarried with them till the end of the day, when there came a boy five years old who took the mats they had made and carrying them to the market, sold them for a carat;[FN#484] and with this bought bread and beans and returned with them to the King. The hermit broke his fast and lay down to sleep with them; but in the middle of the night they both arose and fell to praying and weeping. When daybreak was near, the King said, "O my God, this Thy servant beseecheth Thee to return him his cloud; and to do this Thou art able; so, O my God, let him see his prayer granted and restore him his cloud." The Queen amen'd to his orisons and behold, the cloud grew up in the sky; whereupon the King gave the hermit joy and the man took leave of them and went away, the cloud companying him as of old. And whatsoever he required of Allah after this, in the names of the pious King and Queen, He granted it without fail and the man made thereon these couplets,
"My Lord hath servants fain of piety; * Hearts in the Wisdom- garden ranging free: Their bodies' lusts at peace, and motionless * For breasts that bide in purest secresy. Thou seest all silent, awesome of their Lord, * For hidden things unseen and seen they see."
And they tell a tale of
THE MOSLEM CHAMPION AND THE CHRISTIAN DAMSEL.
The Commander of the Faithful, Omar bin al-Khattb (whom Allah accept!), once levied for holy war an army of Moslems, to encounter the foe before Damascus, and they laid close siege to one of the Christians' strongholds. Now there were amongst the Moslems two men, brothers, whom Allah had gifted with fire and bold daring against the enemy; so that the commander of the besieged fortress said to his chiefs and braves, "Were but yonder two Moslems ta'en or slain, I would warrant you against the rest of their strain." Wherefore they left not to set for them all manner of toils and snares and ceased not to manoeuvre and lie in wait and ambush for them, till they took one of them prisoner and slew the other, who died a martyr. They carried the captive to the Captain of the fort, who looked at him and said, "Verily, to kill this man were indeed a pity; but his return to the Moslem would be a calamity."—And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased saying her permitted say.
When it was the Four Hundred and Seventy-fifth Night,
She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when the enemy carried their Moslem captive before the Captain of the fort, the Christian looked at him and said, "Verily to kill this man were a pity indeed; but his return to the Moslem would be a calamity. Oh that he might be brought to embrace the Nazarene Faith and be to us an aid and an arm!" Quoth one of his Patrician Knights, "O Emir, I will tempt him to abjure his faith, and on this wise: we know that the Arabs are much addicted to women, and I have a daughter, a perfect beauty, whom when he sees, he will be seduced by her." Quoth the Captain, "I give him into thy charge." So he carried him to his place and clad his daughter in raiment, such as added to her beauty and loveliness. Then he brought the Moslem into the room and set before him food and made the fair girl stand in his presence, as she were a handmaid obedient to her lord and awaiting his orders that she might do his bidding. When the Moslem saw the evil sent down upon him, he commended himself to Allah Almighty and closing his eyes, applied himself to worship and to reciting the Koran. Now he had a pleasant voice and a piercing wit; and the Nazarene damsel presently loved him with passionate love and pined for him with extreme repine. This lasted seven days, at the end of which she said to herself, "Would to Heaven he would admit me into the Faith of Al-Islam!" And the tongue of her case recited these couplets,
"Wilt turn thy face from heart that's all thine own, * This heart thy ransom and this soul thy wone? I'm ready home and kin to quit for aye, * And every Faith for that of sword[FN#485] disown: I testify that Allah hath no mate: * This proof is stablished and this truth is known. Haply shall deign He union grant with one * Averse, and hearten heart love-overthrown; For ofttimes door erst shut, is opened wide, * And after evil case all good is shown."
At last her patience failed her and her breast was straitened and she threw herself on the ground before him, saying, "I conjure thee by thy Faith, that thou give ear to my words!" Asked he, "What are they?" and she answered, "Expound unto me Al-Islam." So he expounded to her the tenets of the Faith, and she became a Moslemah, after which she was circumcised[FN#486] and he taught her to pray. Then said she to him, "O my brother, I did but embrace Al-Islam for thy sake and to win thy favours." Quoth he, "The law of Al-Islam forbiddeth sexual commerce save after a marriage before two legal witnesses, and a dowry and a guardian are also requisite. Now I know not where to find witnesses or friend or parapherne; but, an thou can contrive to bring us out of this place, I may hope to make the land of Al-Islam, and pledge myself to thee that none other than thou in all Al-Islam shall be wife to me." Answered she, "I will manage that"; and, calling her father and mother, said to them, "Indeed this Moslem's heart is softened and he longeth to enter the faith, so I will grant him that which he desireth of my person; but he saith: 'It befitteth me not to do this in a town where my brother was slain. Could I but get outside it my heart would be solaced and I would do that which is wanted of me.' Now there is no harm in letting me go forth with him to another town, and I will be a surety to you both and to the Emir for that which ye wish of him." Therefore her father went to their Captain and told him this, whereat he joyed with exceeding joy and bade him carry them forth to a village that she named. So they went out and made the village where they abode the rest of their day, and when night fell, they got ready for the march and went their way, even as saith the poet,
"'The time of parting,' cry they, 'draweth nigh': * 'How oft this parting-threat?' I but reply: I've naught to do but cross the wild and wold * And, mile by mile, o'er fountless wastes to fly, If the beloved seek another land * Sons of the road, whereso they wend, wend I. I make desire direct me to their side, * The guide to show me where the way doth lie."
And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased to say her permitted say.
When it was the Four Hundred and Seventy-sixth Night,
She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that the prisoner and the lady abode in the village the rest of their day and, when night fell, made ready for the march and went upon their way; and travelled all night without stay or delay. The young Moslem, mounting a swift blood-horse and taking up the maiden behind him, ceased not devouring the ground till it was bright morning, when he turned aside with her from the highway and, alighting, they made the Wuzu-ablution and prayed the dawn-prayer. Now as they were thus engaged behold, they heard the clank of swords and clink of bridles and men's voices and tramp of horse; whereupon he said to her, "Ho, such an one, the Nazarenes are after us! What shall we do?: the horse is so jaded and broken down that he cannot stir another step." Exclaimed she, "Woe to thee! art thou then afraid and affrighted?" "Yes," answered he; and she said, "What didst thou tell me of the power of thy Lord and His readiness to succour those who succour seek? Come, let us humble ourselves before Him and beseech Him: haply He shall grant us His succour and endue us with His grace, extolled and exalted be He!" Quoth he, "By Allah, thou sayest well!" So they began humbling themselves and supplicating Almighty Allah and he recited these couplets,
"Indeed I hourly need thy choicest aid, * And should, though crown were placed upon my head: Thou art my chiefest want, and if my hand * Won what it wisheth, all my wants were sped. Thou hast not anything withholdest Thou; * Like pouring rain Thy grace is showered: I'm shut therefrom by sins of me, yet Thou, * O Clement, deignest pardon-light to shed. O Care-Dispeller, deign dispel my grief! * None can, save Thou, dispel a grief so dread."
Whilst he was praying and she was saying, "Amen," and the thunder of horse-tramp nearing them, lo! the brave heard the voice of his dead brother, the martyr, speaking and saying, "O my brother, fear not, nor grieve! for the host whose approach thou hearest is the host of Allah and His Angels, whom He hath sent to serve as witnesses to your marriage. Of a truth Allah hath made His Angels glorify you and He bestoweth on you the meed of the meritorious and the martyrs; and He hath rolled up the earth for you as it were a rug so that, by morning, you will be in the mountains of Al-Medinah. And thou, when thou foregatherest with Omar bin al-Khattab (of whom Allah accept!) give him my salutation and say to him: 'Allah abundantly requite thee for Al-Islam, because thou hast counselled faithfully and hast striven diligently.'" Thereupon the Angels lifted up their voices in salutation to him and his bride, saying, "Verily, Almighty Allah appointed her in marriage to thee two thousand years before the creation of your father Adam (with whom be peace evermore!)." Then joy and gladness and peace and happiness came upon the twain; confidence was confirmed and established was the guidance of the pious pair. So when dawn appeared, they prayed the accustomed prayer and fared forward. Now it was the wont of Omar, son of Al-Khattab (Allah accept him!), to rise for morning-prayer in the darkness before dawn and at times he would stand in the prayer-niche with two men behind him, and begin reciting the Chapter entitled "Cattle"[FN#487] or that entitled "Women,"[FN#488] whereupon the sleeper awoke and he who was making his Wuzu-ablution accomplished it and he who was afar came to prayer; nor had he made an end of the first bow, ere the mosque was full of folk; then he would pray his second bow quickly, repeating a short chapter. But, on that morning he hurried over both first and second inclinations, repeating in each a short chapter; then, after the concluding salutation, turning to his companions, he said to them, "Come, let us fare forth to meet the bride and bridegroom"; at which they wondered, not understanding his words. But he went out and they followed him, till they came to the gate of the city, where they met the young Moslem who, when the day broke and the standards of Al-Medinah appeared to him, had pushed forward for the gate closely followed by his bride. There he was met by Omar who bade make a marriage feast; and the Moslems came and ate. Then the young Moslem went in unto his bride and Almighty Allah vouchsafed him children,—And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased saying her permitted say.
When it was the Four Hundred and Seventy-seventh Night,
She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that Omar (on whom be peace!) bade make a marriage-feast; and the Moslems came and ate. Then the young Moslem went in unto his bride and Almighty Allah vouchsafed him children, who fought in the Lord's way and preserved genealogies, for they gloried therein. And how excellent is what is said on such theme,
"I saw thee weep before the gates and 'plain, * Whilst only curious wight reply would deign: Hath eye bewitcht thee, or hath evil lot * 'Twixt thee and door of friend set bar of bane? Wake up this day, O wretch, persist in prayer, * Repent as wont repent departed men. Haply shall wash thy sins Forgiveness-showers; * And on thine erring head some ruth shall rain: And prisoner shall escape despite his bonds; * And slave from thraldom freedom shall attain."
And they ceased not to be in all solace and delight of life, till there came to them the Destroyer of delights and the Sunderer of societies. And a tale is told by Sdi Ibrahim bin Al-Khawws[FN#489](on whom be the mercy of Allah!) concerning himself and
THE CHRISTIAN KING'S DAUGHTER AND THE MOSLEM.
"My spirit urged me, once upon a time, to go forth into the country of the Infidels; and I strove with it and struggled to put away from me this inclination; but it would not be rejected. So I fared forth and journeyed about the land of the Unbelievers and traversed it in all its parts; for divine grace enveloped me and heavenly protection encompassed me, so that I met not a single Nazarene but he turned away his eyes and drew off from me, till I came to a certain great city at whose gate I found a gathering of black slaves, clad in armour and bearing iron maces in their hands. When they saw me, they rose to their feet and asked me, 'Art thou a leach?'; and I answered, 'Yes.' Quoth they, 'Come speak to our King,' and carried me before their ruler, who was a handsome personage of majestic presence. When I stood before him, he looked at me and said, 'Art a physician, thou?' 'Yes,' quoth I; and quoth he to his officers, 'Carry him to her, and acquaint him with the condition before he enter.' So they took me out and said to me, 'Know that the King hath a daughter, and she is stricken with a sore disease, which no doctor hath been able to cure: and no leach goeth in to her and treateth, without healing her, but the King putteth him to death. So bethink thee what thou seest fitting to do.' I replied, 'The King drove me to her; so carry me to her.' Thereupon they brought me to her door and knocked; and behold, I heard her cry out from within, saying, 'Admit to me the physician, lord of the wondrous secret!' And she began reciting,
'Open the door! the leach now draweth near; * And in my soul a wondrous secret speer: How many of the near far distant are![FN#490] * How many distant far are nearest near! I was in strangerhood amidst you all: * But willed the Truth[FN#491] my solace should appear. Joined us the potent bonds of Faith and Creed; * We met as dearest fere greets dearest fere: He sued for interview whenas pursued * The spy, and blamed us envy's jibe and jeer: Then leave your chiding and from blame desist, * For fie upon you! not a word I'll hear. I care for naught that disappears and fleets; * My care's for Things nor fleet nor disappear.'
And lo! a Shaykh, a very old man, opened the door in haste and said to me, 'Enter.' So I entered and found myself in a chamber strewn with sweet-scented herbs and with a curtain drawn across one corner, from behind which came a sound of groaning and grame, weak as from an emaciated frame. I sat down before the curtain and was about to offer my salam when I bethought me of his words (whom Allah save and assain!), 'Accost not a Jew nor a Christian with the salam salutation;[FN#492] and, when ye meet them in the way, constrain them to the straitest part thereof.' So I withheld my salutation, but she cried out from behind the curtain, saying, 'Where is the salutation of Unity and Indivisibility, O Khawwas?' I was astonished at her speech and asked, 'How knowest thou me?'; whereto she answered, 'When the heart and thoughts are whole, the tongue speaketh eloquently from the secret recesses of the soul. I begged Him yesterday to send me one of His saints, at whose hands I might have deliverance, and behold, it was cried to me from the dark places of my house, 'Grieve not; for we soon will send thee Ibrahim the Basket-maker.' Then I asked her, 'What of thee?' and she answered, 'It is now four years since there appeared to me the Manifest Truth, and He is the Relator and the Ally, and the Uniter and the Sitter-by; whereupon my folk looked askance upon me with an evil eye and taxed me with insanity and suspected me of depravity, and there came not in to me doctor but terrified me, nor visitor but confounded me.' Quoth I, 'And who led thee to the knowledge of what thou wottest?' Quoth she, 'The manifest signs and visible portents of Allah; and, when the path is patent to thee, thou espiest with thine own eyes both proof and prover.' Now whilst we were talking, behold, in came the old man appointed to guard her and said, 'What doth thy doctor?'; and she replied, 'He knoweth the hurt and hath hit upon the healing.'"—And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased to say her permitted say.
When it was the Four Hundred and Seventy-eighth Night,
She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that "when the Shaykh, her guardian, went in to her he said, 'What doth thy doctor?'; and she replied, 'He knoweth the hurt and hath hit upon the healing.' Hereupon he manifested joy and gladness and accosted me with a cheerful countenance, then went and told the King, who enjoined to treat me with all honour and regard. So I visited her daily for seven days, at the end of which time she said to me, 'O Abu Ishak, when shall be our flight to the land of Al-Islam?' 'How canst thou go forth,' replied I, 'and who would dare to aid thee?' Rejoined she, 'He who sent thee to me, driving thee as it were;' and I observed, 'Thou sayest sooth.' So when the morrow dawned, we fared forth by the city-gate and all eyes were veiled from us, by commandment of Him who when He desireth aught, saith to it, 'Be,' and it becometh;[FN#493] so that I journeyed with her in safety to Meccah, where she made a home hard by the Holy House of Allah and lived seven years; till the appointed day of her death. The earth of Meccah was her tomb, and never saw I any more steadfast in prayer and fasting than she; Allah send down upon her His mercies and have compassion on him who saith,
'When they to me had brought the leach (and surely showed * The signs of flowing tears and pining malady), The face-veil he withdrew from me, and 'neath it naught * Save breath of one unsouled, unbodied, could he see. Quoth he, 'This be a sickness Love alone shall cure; * Love hath a secret from all guess of man wide free.' Quoth they, 'An folk ignore what here there be with him * Nature of ill and eke its symptomology, How then shall medicine work a cure?' At this quoth I * 'Leave me alone; I have no guessing specialty.'"
And they tell a tale of
THE PROPHET AND THE JUSTICE OF PROVIDENCE.
A certain Prophet[FN#494] made his home for worship on a lofty mountain, at whose foot was a spring of running water, and he was wont to sit by day on the summit, that no man might see him, calling upon the name of Allah the Most Highest and watching those who frequented the spring. One day, as he sat looking upon the fountain, behold, he espied a horseman who came up and dismounted thereby and taking a bag from his neck, set it down beside him, after which he drank of the water and rested awhile, then he rode away, leaving behind him the bag which contained gold pieces. Presently up came another man to drink of the spring, who saw the bag and finding it full of money took it up; then, after satisfying his thirst, he made off with it in safety. A little after came a woodcutter wight with a heavy load of fuel on his back, and sat down by the spring to drink, when lo! back came the first horseman in great trouble and asked him, "Where is the bag which was here?" and when he answered, "I know nothing of it," the rider drew his sword and smote him and slew him. Then he searched his clothes, but found naught; so he left him and wended his ways. Now when the Prophet saw this, he said, "O Lord, one man hath taken a thousand dinars and another man hath been slain unjustly." But Allah answered him, saying, "Busy thyself with thy devotions, for the ordinance of the universe is none of thine affair. The father of this horseman had violently despoiled of a thousand dinars the father of the second horseman; so I gave the son possession of his sire's money. As for the woodcutter, he had slain the horseman's father, wherefore I enabled the son to obtain retribution for himself." Then cried the Prophet, "There is none other god than Thou! Glory be to Thee only! Verily, Thou art the Knower of Secrets."[FN#495]—And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased saying her permitted say.
When it was the Four Hundred and Seventy-ninth Night,
She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when the Prophet was bidden by inspiration of Allah to busy himself with his devotions and learned the truth of the case, he cried, "There is none other god but Thou! Glory be to Thee only! Verily, Thou and Thou alone wottest hidden things." Furthermore, one of the poets hath made these verses on the matter,
"The Prophet saw whatever eyes could see, * And fain of other things enquired he; And, when his eyes saw things misunderstood, * Quoth he, 'O Lord, this slain from sin was free. This one hath won him wealth withouten work; * Albe appeared he garbed in penury. And that in joy of life was slain, although * O man's Creator free of sin he be.' God answered ''Twas his father's good thou saw'st * Him take; by heirship not by roguery; Yon woodman too that horseman's sire had slain; * Whose son avenged him with just victory: Put off, O slave of Me, this thought for I * In men have set mysterious secrecy! Bow to Our Law and humble thee, and learn * For good and evil issues Our decree.'"[FN#496]
And a certain pious man hath told us the tale of
THE FERRYMAN OF THE NILE AND THE HERMIT.
"I was once a ferryman on the Nile and used to ply between the eastern and the western banks. Now one day, as I sat in my boat, there came up to me an old man of a bright and beaming countenance, who saluted me and I returned his greeting; and he said to me, 'Wilt thou ferry me over for the love of Allah Almighty?' I answered, 'Yes,' and he continued, 'Wilt thou moreover give me food for Allah's sake?'; to which again I answered, 'With all my heart.' So he entered the boat and I rowed him over to the eastern side, remarking that he was clad in a patched gown and carried a gourd-bottle and a staff. When he was about to land, he said to me, 'I desire to lay on thee a heavy trust.' Quoth I, 'What is it?' Quoth he, 'It hath been revealed to me that my end is nearhand and that to-morrow about noon thou wilt come and find me dead under yonder tree. Wash me and wrap me in the shroud thou wilt see under my head and after thou hast prayed over me, bury me in this sandy ground and take my gown and gourd and staff, which do thou deliver to one who shall come and demand them of thee.' I marvelled at his words, and I slept there. On the morrow I awaited till noon the event he had announced, and then I forgot what he had said till near the hour of afternoon-prayer, when I remembered it and hastening to the appointed place, found him under the tree, dead, with a new shroud under his head, exhaling a fragrance of musk. So I washed him and shrouded him and prayed over him, then dug a hole in the sand and buried him, after I had taken his ragged gown and bottle and staff, with which I crossed the Nile to the western side and there nighted. As soon as morning dawned and the city gate opened, I sighted a young man known to me as a loose fellow, clad in fine clothes and his hands stained with Henna, who said to me, 'Art thou not such an one?' 'Yes,' answered I; and he said, 'Give me the trust.' Quoth I, 'What is that?' Quoth he, 'The gown, the gourd and the staff.' I asked him, 'Who told thee of them?' and he answered, 'I know nothing save that I spent yesternight at the wedding of one of my friends singing and carousing till daylight, when I lay me down to sleep and take my rest; and behold, there stood by me a personage who said, 'Verily Allah Almighty hath taken such a saint to Himself and hath appointed thee to fill his place; so go thou to a certain person (naming the ferryman), and take of him the dead man's gown and bottle and staff, for he left them with him for thee.' So I brought them out and gave them to him; whereupon he doffed his clothes and, donning the gown, went his way and left me.[FN#497] And when the glooms closed around me, I fell a-weeping; but, that night, while sleeping I saw the Lord of Holiness (glorified and exalted be He!) in a dream saying, 'O my servant, is it grievous to thee that I have granted to one of My servants to return to Me? Indeed, this is of My bounty, that I vouchsafe to whom I will, for I over all things am Almighty.' So I repeated these couplets,
'Lover with loved[FN#498] loseth will and aim! * All choice (an couldst thou know) were sinful shame. Or grant He favour and with union grace, * Or from thee turn away, He hath no blame. An from such turning thou no joy enjoy * Depart! the place for thee no place became. Or canst His near discern not from His far? * Then Love's in vain and thou'rt a-rear and lame. If pine for Thee afflict my sprite, or men * Hale me to death, the rein Thy hand shall claim! So turn Thee to or fro, to me 'tis one; * What Thou ordainest none shall dare defame: My love hath naught of aim but Thine approof * And if Thou say we part I say the same.'"
And of the tales they tell is one concerning
THE ISLAND KING AND THE PIOUS ISRAELITE.
There was once a notable of the Children of Israel, a man of wealth who had a pious and blessed son. When his last hour drew nigh, his son sat down at his head and said to him, "O my lord, give me an injunction." Quoth the father, "O dear son, I charge thee, swear not by Allah or truly or falsely." Then he died and certain lewd fellows of the Children of Israel heard of the charge he had laid on his son and began coming to the latter and saying, "Thy father had such and such monies of mine, and thou knowest it; so give me what was entrusted to him or else make oath that there was no trust." The good son would not disobey his sire's injunction, so gave them all they claimed; and they ceased not to deal thus with him, till his wealth was spent and he fell into straitest predicament. Now the young man had a pious and blessed wife, who had borne him two little sons; so he said to her, "The folk have multiplied their demands on me and, while I had the wherewithal to free myself of debt, I rendered it freely; but naught is now left us, and if others make demands upon me, we shall be in absolute distress, I and thou; our best way were to save ourselves by fleeing to some place, where none knoweth us, and earn our bread among the lower of the folk." Accordingly, he took ship with her and his two children, knowing not whither he should wend; but, "When Allah judgeth, there is none to reverse His judgment;"[FN#499] and quoth the tongue of the case,
"O flier from thy home when foes affright! * Whom led to weal and happiness such flight, Grudge not this exile when he flees abroad * Where he on wealth and welfare may alight. An pearls for ever did abide in shell, * The kingly crown they ne'er had deckt and dight."
The ship was wrecked, yet the man saved himself on a plank and his wife and children also saved themselves, but on other planks. The waves separated them and the wife was cast up in one country and one of the boys in another. The second son was picked up by a ship, and the surges threw the father on a desert island, where he landed and made the Wuzu-ablution. Then he called the prayer-call,—And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased to say her permitted say.
When it was the Four Hundred and Eightieth Night,
She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when the man landed upon the island, he made the Wuzu-ablution to free himself from the impurities of the sea and called the call to prayer and stood up to his devotions, when, behold, there came forth of the sea, creatures of various kinds and prayed with him. When he had finished, he went up to a tree and stayed his hunger with its fruits; after which he found a spring of water and drank thereof and praised Allah, to whom be honour and glory! He abode thus three days and whenever he stood up to pray, the sea-creatures came out and prayed in the same manner as he prayed. Now after the third day, he heard a voice crying aloud and saying, "O thou just man, and pious, who didst so honour thy father and revere the decrees of thy Lord, grieve not, for Allah (be He extolled and exalted!) shall restore to thee all which left thy hand. In this isle are hoards and monies and things of price which the Almighty willeth thou shalt inherit, and they are in such a part of this place. So bring thou them to light; and verily, we will send ships unto thee; and do thou bestow charity on the folk and bid them to thee." So he sought out that place, and the Lord discovered to him the treasures in question. Then ships began resorting to him, and he gave abundant largesse to the crews, saying to them, "Be sure ye direct the folk unto me and I will give them such and such a thing and appoint to them this and that." Accordingly, there came folk from all parts and places, nor had ten years passed over him ere the island was peopled and the man became its King.[FN#500] No one came to him but he entreated him with munificence, and his name was noised abroad, through the length and breadth of the earth. Now his elder son had fallen into the hands of a man who reared him and taught him polite accomplishments; and, in like manner, the younger was adopted by one who gave him a good education and brought him up in the ways of merchants. The wife also happened upon a trader who entrusted to her his property and made a covenant with her that he would not deal dishonestly by her, but would aid her to obey Allah (to whom belong Majesty and Might!); and he used to make her the companion of his voyages and his travels. Now the elder son heard the report of the King and resolved to visit him, without knowing who he was; so he went to him and was well received by the King, who made him his secretary. Presently the other son heard of the King's piety and justice and was also taken into his service as a steward. Then the brothers abode awhile, neither knowing the other, till it chanced that the merchant, in whose home was their mother, also hearing of the King's righteous and generous dealing with the lieges, freighted a ship with rich stuffs and other excellent produce of the land, and taking the woman with him, set sail for the island. He made it in due course and landing, presented himself with his gift before the King; who rejoiced therein with exceeding joy and ordered him a splendid return-present. Now, there were, among the gifts, certain aromatic roots of which he would have the merchant acquaint him with the names and uses; so he said to him, "Abide with us this night."—And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased saying her permitted say.
When it was the Four Hundred and Eighty-first Night,
She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when the King said, "Abide with us this night," the merchant replied, "We have in the ship one to whom I have promised to entrust the care of her to none save myself; and the same is a holy woman whose prayers have brought me weal and I have felt the blessing of her counsels." Rejoined the King, "I will send her some trusty men, who shall pass the night in the ship and guard her and all that is with her." The merchant agreed to this and abode with the King, who called his secretary and steward and said to them, "Go and pass the night in this man's ship and keep it safe, Inshallah!" So they went up into the ship and seating themselves, this on the poop and that on the bow, passed a part of the night in repeating the names of Allah (to whom belong Majesty and Might!). Then quoth one to the other, "Ho, such an one! The King bade us keep watch and I fear lest sleep overtake us; so, come, let us discourse of stories of fortune and of the good we have seen and the trials of life." Quoth the other, "O my brother, as for my trials Fate parted me from my mother and a brother of mine, whose name was even as thine; and the cause of our parting was this. My father took ship with us from such a place, and the winds rose against us and were contrary, so that the ship was wrecked and Allah broke our fair companionship." Hearing this the first asked, "What was the name of thy mother, O my brother?"; and the second answered, "So and so." Thereat brother threw himself upon brother saying, "By Allah, thou art my very brother!" And each fell to telling the other what had befallen him in his youth, whilst the mother heard all they said, but held her peace and in patience possessed her soul. Now when it was morning, one said to the other, "Come, brother, let us go to my lodging and talk there;" and the other said, "'Tis well." So they went away and presently, the merchant came back and finding the woman in great trouble, said to her, "What hath befallen thee and why this concern?" Quoth she, "Thou sentest to me yesternight men who tempted me to evil, and I have been in sore annoy with them." At this, he was wroth and, repairing to the King, reported the conduct of his two trusty wights. The King summoned the twain forthwith, as he loved them for their fidelity and piety; and, sending for the woman, that he might hear from her own lips what she had to say against them, thus bespake her, "O woman, what hath betided thee from these two men in whom I trust?" She replied, "O King, I conjure thee by the Almighty, the Bountiful One, the Lord of the Empyrean, bid them repeat the words they spoke yesternight." So he said to them, "Say what ye said and conceal naught thereof." Accordingly, they repeated their talk, and lo! the King rising from his throne, gave a great cry and threw himself upon them, embracing them and saying, "By Allah, ye are my very sons!" Therewith the woman unveiled her face and said, "And by Allah, I am their very mother." So they were united and abode in all solace of life and its delight till death parted them; and so glory be to Him who delivereth His servant when he restoreth to Him, and disappointeth not his hope in Him and his trust! And how well saith the poet on the subject,
"Each thing of things hath his appointed tide * When 'tis, O brother, granted or denied. Repine not an affliction hit thee hard; * For woe and welfare aye conjoint abide: How oft shall woman see all griefs surround * Yet feel a joyance thrill what lies inside! How many a wretch, on whom the eyes of folk * Look down, shall grace exalt to pomp and pride! This man is one long suffering grief and woe; * Whom change and chance of Time hath sorely tried: The World divided from what held he dearest, * After long union scattered far and wide; But deigned his Lord unite them all again, * And in the Lord is every good descried. Glory to Him whose Providence rules all * Living, as surest proofs for us decide. Near is the Near One; but no wisdom clearer * Shows him, nor distant wayfare brings Him nearer."
And this tale is told of
ABU AL-HASAN AND ABU JA'AFAR THE LEPER.[FN#501]
"I had been many times to Meccah (Allah increase its honour!) and the folk used to follow me for my knowledge of the road and remembrance of the water-stations. It happened one year that I was minded to make the pilgrimage to the Holy House and visitation of the Tomb of His Prophet (on whom be blessing and peace!) and I said in myself, 'I well know the way and will fare alone.' So I set out and journeyed till I came to Al-Kadisyah[FN#502] and, entering the mosque there, saw a man suffering from black leprosy seated in the prayer-niche. Quoth he on seeing me, 'O Abu al-Hasan, I crave thy company to Meccah.' Quoth I to myself, 'I fled from all my companions, and how shall I company with lepers?' So I said to him, 'I will bear no man company'; and he was silent at my words. Next day I walked on alone, till I came to Al-Akabah,[FN#503] where I entered the mosque and found the leper seated in the prayer-niche. So I said to myself, 'Glory be to Allah! how hath this fellow preceded me hither?' But he raised his head to me and said with a smile, 'O Abu al-Hasan, He doth for the weak that which surpriseth the strong!' I passed that night confounded at what I had seen; and, as soon as morning dawned, set out again by myself; but when I came to Arafat[FN#504] and entered the mosque, behold, there was the leper seated in the niche! So I threw myself upon him and kissing his feet said, 'O my lord, I crave thy company.' But he answered, 'This may in no way be.' Then I began weeping and wailing at the loss of his converse, when he said, 'Spare thy tears which will avail thee naught!'"-And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased to say her permitted say.
When it was the Four Hundred and Eighty-second Night,
She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that Abu al-Hasan continued: "Now when I saw the leper-man seated in the prayer-niche, I threw myself upon him and said, 'O my lord, I crave thy company;' and fell to kissing his feet. But he answered, 'This may in no way be!' Then I began weeping and wailing at the loss of his company when he said, 'Spare thy tears which will avail thee naught!'; and he recited these couplets,
'Why dost thou weep when I depart and thou didst parting claim; * And cravest union when we ne'er shall reunite the same? Thou lookedest on nothing save my weakness and disease; * And saidst 'Nor goes nor comes, or night or day, this sickly frame. Seest not how Allah (glorified His glory ever be!) * Deigneth to grant His slave's petition wherewithal he came. If I, to eyes of men be that and only that they see, * And this my body show itself so full of grief and grame, And have I naught of food that shall supply me to the place * Where crowds unto my Lord resort impelled by single aim, I have a high Creating Lord whose mercies aye are hid; * A Lord who hath none equal and no fear is known to Him. So fare thee safe and leave me lone in strangerhood to wone * For He, the only One, consoles my loneliness so lone.'
Accordingly, I left him; but every station I came to, I found he had foregone me, till I reached Al-Medinah, where I lost sight of him and could hear no tidings of him. Here I met Abu Yazd al-Bustmi and Abu Bakr al-Shibli and a number of other Shaykhs and learned men, to whom with many complaints, I told my case and they said, 'Heaven forbid that thou shouldst gain his company after this! He was Abu Ja'afar the leper, in whose name folk at all times pray for rain and by whose blessing-prayers their end attain.' When I heard their words, my desire for his company redoubled and I implored the Almighty to reunite me with him. Whilst I was standing on Arafat,[FN#505] one pulled me from behind, so I turned and behold, it was my man. At this sight I cried out with a loud cry and fell down in a fainting fit; but, when I came to myself he had disappeared from my sight. This increased my yearning for him and the ceremonies were tedious to me and I prayed Almighty Allah to give me sight of him; nor was it but a few days after, when lo! one pulled me from behind, and I turned and it was he again. Thereupon he said, 'Come, I conjure thee and ask thy want of me.' So I begged him to pray for me three prayers; first, that Allah would make me love poverty; secondly, that I might never lie down at night upon provision assured to me; and thirdly, that He would vouchsafe me to look upon His bountiful Face. So he prayed for me as I wished, and departed from me. And indeed Allah hath granted me what the devotee asked in prayer: to begin with He hath made me so love poverty that, by the Almighty! there is naught in the world dearer to me than it, and secondly since such a year, I have never lain down to sleep upon assured provision; withal hath He never let me lack aught. As for the third prayer, I trust that He will vouchsafe me that also, even as He hath granted the two precedent, for right Bountiful and Beneficent is His Godhead, and Allah have mercy on him who said:[FN#506]-
Garb of Fakir, renouncement, lowliness; His robe of tatters and of rags his dress;
And pallor ornamenting brow as though 'Twere wanness such as waning crescents show.
Wasted him prayer a-through the long-lived night, And flooding tears ne'er cease to dim his sight.
Memory of Him shall cheer his lonely room: Th' Almighty nearest is in nightly gloom.
The Refuge helpeth such Fakir in need; Help e'en the cattle and the winged breed:
Allah for sake of him of wrath is fain, And for the grace of him shall fall the rain;
And if he pray one day for plague to stay, 'Twill stay, and 'bate man's wrong and tyrants slay.
While folk are sad, afflicted one and each, He in his mercy's rich, the generous leach:
Bright shines his brow; an thou regard his face Thy heart illumined shines by light of grace.
O thou who shunnest souls of worth innate Departs thee (woe to thee!) of sins the weight.
Thou thinkest to overtake them, while thou bearest Follies, which slay thee whatso way thou farest.
Didst wot their worth thou hadst all honour showed, And tears in streamlets from thine eyes had flowed.
To catarrh-troubled men flowers lack their smell; And brokers ken for how much clothes can sell;
So haste and with thy Lord reunion sue, And haply Fate shall lend thee aidance due,
Rest from rejection and estrangement-stress, And Joy thy wish and will shall choicely bless.
His court wide open for the suer is dight:— One, very God, the Lord, th' Almighty might.'"
And they also tell a tale of
THE QUEEN OF THE SERPENTS.[FN#507]
There was once, in days of yore and in ages and times long gone before, a Grecian sage called Daniel, who had disciples and scholars and the wise men of Greece were obedient to his bidding and relied upon his learning. Withal had Allah denied him a man child. One night, as he lay musing and weeping over the lack of a son who might inherit his lore, he bethought him that Allah (extolled and exalted be He!) heareth the prayer of those who resort to Him and that there is no doorkeeper at the door of His bounties and that He favoureth whom He will without compt and sendeth no supplicant empty away; nay He filleth their hands with favours and benefits. So he besought the Almighty, the Bountiful, to vouchsafe him a son to succeed him, and to endow him abundantly with His beneficence. Then he returned home and carnally knew his wife who conceived by him the same night.—And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased saying her permitted say.
When it was the Four Hundred and Eighty-third Night,
She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that the Grecian sage returned home and knew his wife who conceived by him the same night. A few days after this he took ship for a certain place, but the ship was wrecked and he saved himself on one of her planks, while only five leaves remained to him of all the books he had. When he returned home, he laid the five leaves in a box and locking it, gave the key to his wife (who then showed big with child), and said to her, "Know that my decease is at hand and that the time draweth nigh for my translation from this abode temporal to the home which is eternal. Now thou art with child and after my death wilt haply bear a son: if this be so, name him Hsib Karm al-Dn[FN#508] and rear him with the best of rearing. When the boy shall grow up and shall say to thee, 'What inheritance did my father leave me?'' give him these five leaves, which when he shall have read and understood, he will be the most learned man of his time." Then he farewelled her and heaving one sigh, departed the world and all that is therein—the mercy of Allah the Most Highest be upon Him! His family and friends wept over him and washed him and bore him forth in great state and buried him; after which they wended their ways home. But few days passed ere his widow bare a handsome boy and named him Hasib Karim al-Din, as her husband charged her; and immediately after his birth she summoned the astrologers, who calculated his ascendants and drawing his horoscope, said to her, "Know, O woman! that this birth will live many a year; but that will be after a great peril in the early part of his life, wherefrom can he escape, he will be given the knowledge of all the exact sciences." So saying they went their ways. She suckled him two years,[FN#509] then weaned him, and when he was five years old, she placed him in a school to learn his book, but he would read nothing. So she took him from school and set him to learn a trade; but he would not master any craft and there came no work from his hands. The mother wept over this and the folk said to her, "Marry him: haply he will take heart for his wife and learn him a trade." So she sought out a girl and married him to her; but, despite marriage and the lapse of time, he remained idle as before, and would do nothing. One day, some neighbours of hers, who were woodcutters, came to her and said, "Buy thy son an ass and cords and an axe and let him go with us to the mountain and we will all of us cut wood for fuel. The price of the wood shall be his and ours, and he shall provide thee and his wife with his share." When she heard this, she joyed with exceeding joy and bought her son an ass and cords and hatchet; then, carrying him to the woodcutters, delivered him into their hands and solemnly committed him to their care. Said they, "Have no concern for the boy, our Lord will provide for him: he is the son of our Shaykh." So they carried him to the mountain, where they cut firewood and loaded their asses therewith; then returned to the city and, selling what they had cut, spent the monies on their families. This they did on the next day and the third and ceased not for some time, till it chanced one day, a violent storm of rain broke over them, and they took refuge in a great cave till the downfall should pass away. Now Hasib Karim al-Din went apart from the rest into a corner of the cavern and sitting down, fell to smiting the floor with his axe. Presently he noted that the ground sounded hollow under the hatchet; so he dug there awhile and came to a round flagstone with a ring in it. When he saw this, he was glad and called his comrades the woodcutters,—And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased to say her permitted say.
When it was the Four Hundred and Eighty-fourth Night,
She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when Hasib Karim al-Din saw the flagstone with the ring, he was glad and called his comrades the woodcutters, who came to him and, finding it was fact, soon pulled up the stone and discovered under it a trap-door, which, being opened, showed a cistern full of bees' honey.[FN#510] Then said they to one another, "This is a large store and we have nothing for it but to return to the city and fetch vessels wherein to carry away the honey, and sell it and divide the price, whilst one of us stands by the cistern, to guard it from outsiders." Quoth Hasib, "I will stay and keep watch over it till you bring your pots and pans." So they left him on guard there and, repairing to the city, fetched vessels, which they filled with honey and loading their asses therewith, carried them to the streets and sold the contents. They returned on the morrow and thus they did several days in succession, sleeping in the town by night and drawing off the stuff by day, whilst Hasib abode on guard by it till but little remained, when they said one to other, "It was Hasib Karim al-Din found the honey, and tomorrow he will come down to the city and complain against us and claim the price of it, saying, Twas I found it;' nor is there escape for us but that we let him down into the cistern, to bale out the rest of the honey, and leave him there; so will he die of hunger, and none shall know of him." They all fell in with this plot as they were making for the place; and, when they reached it, one said to him, "O Hasib, go down into the pit and bale out for us the rest of the honey." So he went down and passed up to them what remained of the honey, after which he said to them, "Draw me up, for there is nothing left." They made him no answer; but, loading their asses, went off to the city and left him alone in the cistern. Thereupon he fell to weeping and crying, "There is no Majesty and there is no Might save in Allah, the Glorious, the Great!" Such was his case; but as regards his comrades, when they reached the city and sold the honey, they repaired to Hasib's mother, weeping, and said to her, "May thy head outlive thy son Hasib!" She asked, "What brought about his death?" and they answered, "We were cutting wood on the mountain- top, when there fell on us a heavy downfall of rain and we took shelter from it in a cavern; and suddenly thy son's ass broke loose and fled into the valley, and he ran after it, to turn it back, when there came out upon them a great wolf, who tore thy son in pieces and ravined the ass." When the mother heard this, she beat her face and strewed dust on her head and fell to mourning for her son; and she kept life and soul together only by the meat and drink which they brought her every day. As for the woodcutters they opened them shops and became merchants and spent their lives in eating and drinking and laughing and frolicking. Meanwhile Hasib Karim al-Din, who ceased not to weep and call for help, sat down upon the cistern edge when behold, a great scorpion fell down on him; so he rose and killed it. Then he took thought and said, "The cistern was full of honey; how came this scorpion here?" Accordingly he got up and examined the well right and left, till he found a crevice from which the scorpion had fallen and saw the light of day shining through it. So he took out his woodman's knife and enlarged the hole, till it was big as a window, then he crept through it and, after walking for some time, came to a vast gallery, which led him to a huge door of black iron bearing a padlock of silver wherein was a key of gold. He stole up to the door and, looking through the chink, saw a great light shining within; so he took the key and, opening the door, went on for some time, till he came to a large artificial lake, wherein he caught sight of something that shimmered like silver. He walked up to it and at last he saw, hard by a hillock of green jasper and on the hill top, a golden throne studded with all manner gems,—And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased saying her permitted say.
When it was the Four Hundred and Eighty-fifth Night,
She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when Hasib reached the hillock he found it of green jasper surmounted by a golden throne studded with all manner gems, round which were set many stools, some of gold, some of silver and others of leek green emerald. He clomb the hillock and, counting the stools, found them twelve thousand in number; then he mounted the throne which was set on the centre and, seating himself thereon, fell to wondering at the lake and the stools, and he marvelled till drowsiness overcame him and he drops asleep. Presently, he was aroused by a loud snorting and hissing and rustling, so he opened his eyes; and, sitting up, saw each stool occupied by a huge serpent, an hundred cubits in length. At this sight, great fear get hold of him; his spittle dried up for the excess of his dread and he despaired of life, as all their eyes were blazing like live coals. Then he turned towards the lake and saw that what he had taken for shimmering water was a multitude of small snakes, none knoweth their compt save Allah the Most High. After awhile, there came up to him a serpent as big as a mule, bearing on its back a tray of gold, wherein lay another serpent which shone like crystal and whose face was as that of a woman[FN#511] and who spake with human speech. And as soon as she was brought up to Hasib, she saluted him and he returned the salutation. There upon, one of the serpents seated on the stools came up and, lifting her off the tray, set her on one of the seats and she cried out to the other serpents in their language, whereupon they all fell down from their stools and did her homage. But she signed to them to sit and they did so. Then she addressed Hasib, saying, "Have no fear of us, O youth; for I am the Queen of the Serpents and their Sultnah." When he heard her speak on this wise, he took heart and she bade the serpents bring him somewhat of food.[FN#512] So they brought apples and grapes and pomegranates and pistachio-nuts and filberts and walnuts and almonds and bananas and set them before him, and the Queen-serpent said, "Welcome, O youth! What is thy name?" Answered he, "Hasib Karim al-Din;" and she rejoined, "O Hasib, eat of these fruits, for we have no other meat and fear thou have nothing from us at all." Hearing this, he ate his fill and praised Allah Almighty; and presently they took away the trays from before him, and the Queen said, "Tell me, O Hasib, whence thou art and how camest thou hither and what hath befallen thee." So he told her his story from first to last, the death of his father; his birth; his being sent to school where he learnt nothing; his becoming a wood cutter; his finding the honey- cistern; his being abandoned therein; his killing the scorpion; his widening the crevice; his finding the iron door and his coming upon the Queen, and he ended his long tale with saying, "These be my adventures from beginning to end and only Allah wotteth what will betide me after all this!" Quoth the Queen, after listening to his words, "Nothing save good shall betide thee:"—And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased to say her permitted say.
When it was the Four Hundred and Eighty-sixth Night,
She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when the Serpent-queen had heard his story she said, "Nothing save good shall betide thee: but I would have thee, O Hasib, abide with me some time, that I may tell thee my history and acquaint thee with the wondrous adventures which have happened to me." "I hear and obey thy hest," answered he; and she began to tell in these words,
The Adventures of Bulukiya.
"Know thou, O Hasib, there was once in the city of Cairo a King of the Banu Isra'l, a wise and a pious, who was bent double by poring over books of learning, and he had a son named Bulkiy. When he grew old and weak and was nigh upon death, his Grandees and Officers of state came up to salute him, and he said to them, 'O folk, know that at hand is the hour of my march from this world to the next, and I have no charge to lay on you, save to commend to your care my son Bulukiya.' Then said he, 'I testify that there is no god save the God;' and, heaving one sigh, departed the world the mercy of Allah be upon him! They laid him out and washed him and buried him with a procession of great state. Then they made his son Bulukiya Sultan in his stead; and he ruled the kingdom justly and the people had peace in his time. Now it befell one day that he entered his father's treasuries, to look about him, and coming upon an inner compartment and finding the semblance of a door, opened it and passed in. And lo! he found himself in a little closet, wherein stood a column of white marble, on the top of which was a casket of ebony; he opened this also and saw therein another casket of gold, containing a book. He read the book and found in it an account of our lord Mohammed (whom Allah bless and preserve!) and how he should be sent in the latter days[FN#513] and be the lord of the first Prophets and the last. On seeing the personal description Bulukiya's heart was taken with love of him, so he at once assembled all the notables of the Children of Israel, the Cohens or diviners, the scribes and the priests, and acquainted them with the book, reading portions of it to them and, adding, 'O folk, needs must I bring my father out of his grave and burn him.' The lieges asked, 'Why wilt thou burn him?'; and he answered, 'Because he hid this book from me and imparted it not to me.' Now the old King had excerpted it from the Torah or Pentateuch and the Books of Abraham; and had set it in one of his treasuries and concealed it from all living. Rejoined they, 'O King, thy father is dead; his body is in the dust and his affair is in the hands of his Lord; thou shalt not take him forth of his tomb.' So he knew that they would not suffer him to do this thing by his sire and leaving them he repaired to his mother, to whom said he, 'O my mother, I have found, in one of my father's treasuries, a book containing a description of Mohammed (whom Allah bless and keep!), a prophet who shall be sent in the latter days; and my heart is captivated with love of him. Wherefore am I resolved to wander over the earth, till I foregather with him; else I shall die of longing for his love.' Then he doffed his clothes and donned an Aba gown of goat's hair and coarse sandals, saying, 'O my mother, forget me not in thy prayers.' She wept over him and said, 'What will become of us after thee?'; but Bulukiya answered, 'I can endure no longer, and I commit my affair and thine to Allah who is Almighty.' Then he set out on foot Syria wards without the knowledge of any of his folk, and coming to the sea board found a vessel whereon he shipped as one of the crew. They sailed till he made an island, where Bulukiya landed with the crew, but straying away from the rest he sat down under a tree and sleep got the better of him. When he awoke, he sought the ship but found that she had set sail without him, and in that island he saw serpents as big as camels and palm trees, which repeated the names of Allah (be He extolled and exalted!) and blessed Mohammed (whom the Lord assain and save!), proclaiming the Unity and glorifying the Glorious; whereat he wondered."—And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased saying her permitted say.
When it was the Four Hundred and Eighty-seventh Night,
She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that "when Bulukiya saw the serpents glorifying God and proclaiming the Unity, he wondered with extreme wonder. When they saw him, they flocked to him and one of them said to him, 'Who and whence art thou and whither goest thou. and what is thy name?' Quoth he, 'My name is Bulukiya; I am of the Children of Israel and, being distracted for love of Mohammed (whom Allah bless and keep!), I come in quest of him. But who are ye, O noble creatures?' Answered they, 'We are of the dwellers in the Jahannam-hell; and Almighty Allah created us for the punishment of Kafirs.' 'And how came ye hither?' asked he, and the Serpents answered, 'Know, O Bulukiya, that Hell[FN#514] of the greatness of her boiling, breatheth twice a year, expiring in the summer and inspiring in the winter, and hence the summer heat and winter cold. When she exhaleth, she casteth us forth of her maw, and we are drawn in again with her inhaled breath.' Quoth Bulukiya, 'Say me, are there greater serpents than you in Hell?'; and they said, 'Of a truth we are cast out with the expired breath but by reason of our smallness; for in Hell every serpent is so great, that were the biggest of us to pass over its nose it would not feel us.[FN#515]' Asked Bulukiya, 'Ye sing the praises of Allah and invoke blessings on Mohammed, whom the Almighty assain and save! Whence wot ye of Mohammed?'; and they answered, 'O Bulukiya, verily his name is written on the gates of Paradise; and, but for him, Allah had not created the worlds[FN#516] nor Paradise, nor heaven nor hell nor earth, for He made all things that be, solely on his account, and hath conjoined his name with His own in every place; wherefore we love Mohammed, whom Allah bless and preserve!' Now hearing the serpents' converse did but inflame Bulukiya's love for Mohammed and yearning for his sight; so he took leave of them; and, making his way to the sea-shore, found there a ship made fast to the beach; he embarked therein as a seaman and sailed nor ceased sailing till he came to another island. Here he landed and walking about awhile found serpents great and small, none knoweth their number save Almighty Allah, and amongst them a white Serpent, clearer than crystal, seated in a golden tray borne on the back of another serpent as big as an elephant. Now this, O Hasib, was the Serpent-queen, none other than myself." Quoth Hasib, "And what answer didst thou make him?" Quoth she, "Know, O Hasib, that when I saw Bulukiya, I saluted him with the salam, and he returned my salutation, and I said to him, 'Who and what art thou and what is thine errand and whence comest thou and whither goest thou?' Answered he, 'I am of the Children of Israel; my name is Bulukiya, and I am a wanderer for the love of Mohammed, whose description I have read in the revealed scriptures, and of whom I go in search. But what art thou and what are these serpents about thee?' Quoth I, 'O Bulukiya, I am the Queen of the Serpents; and when thou shalt foregather with Mohammed (whom Allah assain and save!) bear him my salutation.' Then Bulukiya took leave of me and journeyed till he came to the Holy City which is Jerusalem. Now there was in that stead a man who was deeply versed in all sciences, more especially in geometry and astronomy and mathematics, as well as in white magic[FN#517] and Spiritualism; and he had studied the Pentateuch and the Evangel and the Psalms and the Books of Abraham. His name was Affan; and he had found in certain of his books, that whoso should wear the seal ring of our lord Solomon, men and Jinn and birds and beasts and all created things would be bound to obey him. Moreover, he had discovered that our lord Solomon had been buried in a coffin which was miraculously transported beyond the Seven Seas to the place of burial;"—And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased to say her permitted say.
When it was the Four Hundred and Eighty-eighth Night,
She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that "Affan had found in certain books that none, mortal or spirit, could pluck the seal ring from the lord Solomon's finger; and that no navigator could sail his ship upon the Seven Seas over which the coffin had been carried. Moreover, he had found out by reading that there was a herb of herbs and that if one express its juice and anoint therewith his feet, he should walk upon the surface of any sea that Allah Almighty had created without wetting his soles, but none could obtain this herb, without he had with him the Serpent-queen. When Bulukiya arrived at the Holy City, he at once sat down to do his devotions and worship the Lord; and, whilst he was so doing, Affan came up and saluted him as a True Believer. Then seeing him reading the Pentateuch and adoring the Almighty, he accosted him saying, 'What is thy name, O man; and whence comest thou and whither goest thou?' He answered, 'My name is Bulukiya; I am from the city of Cairo and am come forth wandering in quest of Mohammed, whom Allah bless and preserve!' Quoth Affan, 'Come with me to my lodging that I may entertain thee.' 'To hear is to obey,' replied Bulukiya So the devotee took him by the hand and carried him to his house where he entreated him with the utmost honour and presentry said to him, 'Tell me thy history, O my brother, and how thou camest by the knowledge of Mohammed (whom Allah assain and save!) that thy heart hath been taken with love of him and compelled thee to fare forth and seek him; and lastly tell me who it was directed thee in this road.' So he related to him his tale in its entirety; whereupon Affan, who well nigh lost his wits for wonder, said to him, 'Make tryst for me with the Queen of the Serpents and I will bring thee in company with Mohammed, albeit the date of his mission is yet far distant. We have only to prevail upon the Queen and carry her in a cage to a certain mountain where the herbs grow; and, as long as she is with us, the plants as we pass them will parley with human speech and discover their virtues by the ordinance of Allah the Most High. For I have found in my books that there is a certain herb and all who express its juice and anoint therewith their feet shall walk upon whatsoever sea Almighty Allah hath made, without wetting sole. When we have found the magical herb, we will let her go her way; and then will we anoint our feet with the juice and cross the Seven Seas, till we come to the burial place of our lord Solomon. Then we will take the ring off his finger and rule even as he ruled and win all our wishes; we will enter the Main of Murks[FN#518] and drink of the Water of Life, and so the Almighty will let us tarry till the End of Time and we shall foregather with Mohammed, whom Allah bless and preserve!' Hearing these words Bulukiya replied, 'O Affan, I will make tryst for thee with the Serpent-queen and at once show thee her abiding place.' So Affan made him a cage of iron; and, providing himself with two bowls, one full of wine and the other of milk, took ship with Bulukiya and sailed till they came to the island, where they landed and walked upon it. Then Affan set up the cage, in which he laid a noose and withdrew after placing in it the two bowls; when he and Bulukiya concealed themselves afar off. Presently, up came the Queen of the Serpents (that is, myself) and examined the cage. When she (that is I) smelt the savour of the milk, she came down from the back of the snake which bore her tray and, entering the cage, drank up the milk. Then she went to the bowl of wine and drank of it, whereupon her head became giddy and she slept. When Affan saw this, he ran up and locking the cage upon her, set it on his head and made for the ship, he and Bulukiya. After awhile she awoke and finding herself in a cage of iron on a man's head and seeing Bulukiya walking beside the bearer, said to him, 'This is the reward of those who do no hurt to the sons of Adam.' Answered he, 'O Queen, have no fear of us, for we will do thee no hurt at all. We wish thee only to show us the herb which, when pounded and squeezed yieldeth a juice, and this rubbed upon the feet conferreth the power of walking dryshod upon what sea soever Almighty Allah hath created; and when we have found that, we will return thee to thy place and let thee wend thy way.' Then Affan and Bulukiya fared on for the hills where grew the herbs; and, as they went about with the Queen, each plant they passed began to speak and avouch its virtues by permission of Allah the Most High. As they were thus doing and the herbs speaking right and left, behold, a plant spoke out and said, 'I am the herb ye seek, and all who gather and crush me and anoint their feet with my juice, shall fare over what sea soever Allah Almighty hath created and yet ne'er wet sole.' When Affan heard this, he set down the cage from his head and, gathering what might suffice them of the herb, crushed it and filling two vials with the juice kept them for future use; and with what was left they anointed their feet. Then they took up the Serpent-queen's cage and journeyed days and nights, till they reached the island, where they opened the cage and let out her that is me. When I found myself at liberty, I asked them what use they would make of the juice; and they answered, 'We design to anoint our feet and to cross the Seven Seas to the burial place of our lord Solomon[FN#519] and take the seal ring from his finger.' Quoth I, 'Far, far is it from your power to possess yourselves of the ring!' They enquired, 'Wherefore?' and I replied, 'Because Almighty Allah vouchsafed unto our lord Solomon the gift of this ring and distinguished him thereby, for that he said to him, 'O Lord, give me a kingdom which may not be obtained after me; for Thou verily art the Giver of kingdoms.[FN#520]' 'So that ring is not for you.' And I added, 'Had ye twain taken the herb, whereof all who eat shall not die until the First Blast,[FN#521] it had better availed you than this ye have gotten; for ye shall nowise come at your desire thereby.' Now when they heard this, they repented them with exceeding penitence and went their ways."—And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased saying her permitted say.
When it was the Four Hundred and Eighty-ninth Night,
She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that "when Bulukiya and Affan heard these words, they repented them with exceeding penitence and went their ways. Such was their case; but as regards myself" (continued the Serpent-queen) "I went in quest of my host and found it fallen in piteous case, the stronger of them having grown weak in my absence and the weaker having died. When they saw me, they rejoiced and flocking about me, asked, 'What hath befallen thee, and where hast thou been?' So I told them what had passed, after which I gathered my forces to "ether and repaired with them to the mountain Kaf, where I was wont to winter, summer-freshing in the place where thou now seest me, O Hasib Karim al-Din. This, then, is my story and what befell me." Thereupon Hasib marvelled at her words and said to her, "I beseech thee, of thy favour, bid one of thy guards bear me forth to the surface of the earth, that I may go to my people." She replied, "O Hasib, thou shalt not have leave to depart from us till winter come, and needs must thou go with us to the Mountain Kaf and solace thyself with the sight of the hills and sands and trees and birds magnifying the One God, the Victorious; and look upon Marids and Ifrits and Jinn, whose number none knoweth save Almighty Allah." When Hasib heard this, he was sore chafed and chagrined: then he said to her, "Tell me of Affan and Bulukiya; when they departed from thee and went their way, did they cross the Seven Seas and reach the burial-place of our lord Solomon or not; and if they did had they power to take the ring or not?" Answered she, "Know, that when they left me, they anointed their feet with the juice; and, walking over the water, fared on from sea to sea, diverting themselves with the wonders of the deep, nor ceased they faring till they had traversed the Seven Seas and came in sight of a mountain, soaring high in air, whose stones were emeralds and whose dust was musk; and in it was a stream of running water. When they made it they rejoiced, saying each to the other, 'Verily we have won our wish'; and they entered the passes of the mountain and walked on, till they saw from afar a cavern surmounted by a great dome, shining with light. So they made for the cavern, and entering it beheld therein a throne of gold studded with all manner jewels, and about it stools whose number none knoweth save Allah Almighty. And they saw lying at full length upon the throne our lord Solomon, clad in robes of green silk inwoven with gold and broidered with jewels and precious minerals: his right hand was passed over his breast and on the middle finger was the seal ring whose lustre outshone that of all other gems in the place. Then Affan taught Bulukiya adjurations and conjurations galore and said to him, 'Repeat these conjurations and cease not repeating until I take the ring.' Then he went up to the throne; but, as he drew near unto it lo' c mighty serpent came forth from beneath it and cried out at him with so terrible a cry that the whole place trembled and sparks flew from its mouth, saying, 'Begone, or thou art a dead man' But Affan busied himself with his incantations and suffered himself not to be startled thereby. Then the serpent blew such a fiery blast at him, that the place was like to be set on fire, and said to him, Woe to thee! Except thou turn back, I will consume thee' Hearing these words Bulukiya left the cave, but Affan, who suffered himself not to be troubled, went up to the Prophet: then he put out his hand to the ring and touched it and strove to draw it off the lord Solomon's finger; and behold, the serpent blew on him once more and he became a heap of ashes. Such was his case; but as regards Bulukiya he fell down in a swoon."— And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased to say her permitted say.
When it was the Four Hundred and Ninetieth Night,
She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that the Queen continued: "When Bulukiya saw Affan burnt up by the fire and become a heap of ashes, he fell down in a swoon. Thereupon the Lord (magnified be His Majesty!) bade Gabriel descend earthwards and save him ere the serpent should blow on him. So Gabriel descended without delay and, finding Affan reduced to ashes and Bulukiya in a fit, aroused him from his trance and saluting him asked, 'How camest thou hither?' Bulukiya related to him his history from first to last, adding, 'Know that I came not hither but for the love of Mohammed (whom Allah assain and save!), of whom Affan informed me that his mission would take place at the End of Time; moreover that none should foregather with him but those who endured to the latter days by drinking of the Water of Life through means of Solomon's seal. So I companied him hither and there befell him what befell; but I escaped the fire and now it is my desire that thou inform me where Mohammed is to be found.' Quoth Gabriel, 'O Bulukiya, go thy ways, for the time of Mohammed's coming is yet far distant.' Then he ascended up to heaven forthright, and Bulukiya wept with sore weeping and repented of that which he had done, calling to mind my words, whenas I said to them, 'Far is it from man's power to possess himself of the ring.' Then he descended from the mountain and returned in exceeding confusion to the sea shore and passed the night there, marvelling at the mountains and seas and islands around him. When morning dawned, he anointed his feet with the herb-juice and descending to the water, set out and fared on over the surface of the seas days and nights, astonied at the terrors of the main and the marvels and wonders of the deep, till he came to an island as it were the Garden of Eden. So he landed and, finding himself in a great and pleasant island, paced about it and saw with admiration that its dust was saffron and its gravel carnelian and precious minerals; its hedges were of jessamine, its vegetation was of the goodliest of trees and of the brightest of odoriferous shrubs; its brushwood was of Comorin and Sumatran aloes-wood and its reeds were sugar-canes. Round about it were roses and narcissus and amaranths and gilly-flowers and chamomiles and white lilies and violets, and other flowers of all kinds and colours. Of a truth the island was the goodliest place, abounding in space, rich in grace, a compendium of beauty material and spiritual. The birds warbled on the boughs with tones far sweeter than chaunt of Koran and their notes would console a lover whom longings unman. And therein the gazelle frisked free and fain and wild cattle roamed about the plain. Its trees were of tallest height; its streams flowed bright; its springs welled with waters sweet and light; and all therein was a delight to sight and sprite. Bulukiya marvelled at the charms of the island but knew that he had strayed from the way he had first taken in company with Affan. He wandered about the place and solaced him with various spectacles until nightfall, when he climbed into a tree to sleep; but as he sat there, musing over the beauty of the site, behold, the sea became troubled and there rose up to the surface a great beast, which cried out with a cry so terrible that every living thing upon the isle trembled. As Bulukiya gazed upon him from the tree and marvelled at the bigness of his bulk, he was presently followed unexpectedly by a multitude of other sea beasts in kind manifolds, each holding in his fore-paw a jewel which shone like a lamp, so that the whole island became as light as day for the lustre of the gems. After awhile, there appeared, from the heart of the island, wild beasts of the land, none knoweth their number save Allah the Most High; amongst which Bulukiya noted lions and panthers and lynxes and other ferals; and these land beasts flocked down to the shore; and, foregathering with the sea beasts, conversed with them till daybreak, when they separated and each went his own way. Thereupon Bulukiya, terrified by what he had seen, came down from the tree and, making the sea shore, anointed his feet with the magical juice, and set out once more upon the surface of the water. He fared on days and nights over the Second Sea, till he came to a great mountain skirting which ran a Wady without end, the stones whereof were magnetic iron and its beasts, lions and hares and panthers. He landed on the mountain foot and wandered from place to place till nightfall, when he sat down sheltered by one of the base hills on the sea side, to eat of the dried fish thrown up by the sea. Presently, he turned from his meal and behold, a huge panther was creeping up to rend and ravin him; so he anointed his feet in haste with the juice and, descending to the surface of the water, fled walking over the Third Sea, in the darkness, for the night was black and the wind blew stark. Nor did he stay his course till he reached another island, whereon he landed and found there trees bearing fruits both fresh and dry.[FN#522] So he took of these fruits and ate and praised Allah Almighty; after which he walked for solace; about the island till eventide."—And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased saying her permitted say.
When it was the Four Hundred and Ninety-first Night,
She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that "Bulukiya (continued the Queen) walked for solace about the island till eventide, when he lay down to sleep. As soon as day brake, he began to explore the place and ceased not for ten days, after which he again made the shore and anointed his feet and, setting out over the Fourth Sea, walked upon it many nights and days, till he came to a third island of fine white sand without sign of trees or grass. He walked about it awhile but, finding its only inhabitants sakers which nested in the sand, he again anointed his feet and trudged over the Fifth Sea, walking night and day till he came to a little island, whose soil and hills were like crystal. Therein were the veins wherefrom gold is worked; and therein also were marvellous trees whose like he had never seen in his wanderings, for their blossoms were in hue as gold. He landed and walked about for diversion till it was nightfall, when the flowers began to shine through the gloom like stars. Seeing this sight, he marvelled and said, 'Assuredly, the flowers of this island are of those which wither under the sun and fall to the earth, where the winds smite them and they gather under the rocks and become the Elixir[FN#523] which the folk collect and thereof make gold.' He slept there all that night and at sunrise he again anointed his feet and, descending to the shore, fared on over the Sixth Sea nights and days, till he came to a fifth island. Here he landed and found, after walking an hour or so, two mountains covered with a multitude of trees, whose fruits were as men's heads hanging by the hair, and others whose fruits were green birds hanging by the feet; also a third kind, whose fruits were like aloes, if a drop of the juice fell on a man it burnt like fire; and others, whose fruits wept and laughed, besides many other marvels which he saw there. Then he returned to the sea shore and, finding there a tall tree, sat down beneath it till supper time when he climbed up into the branches to sleep. As he sat considering the wonderful works of Allah behold, the waters became troubled, and there rose therefrom the daughters of the sea, each mermaid holding in her hand a jewel which shone like the morning. They came ashore and, foregathering under the trees, sat down and danced and sported and made merry whilst Bulukiya amused himself with watching and wondering at their gambols, which were prolonged till the morning, when they returned to the sea and disappeared. Then he came down and, anointing his feet, set out on the surface of the Seventh Sea, over which he journeyed two whole months, without getting sight of highland or island or broadland or lowland or shoreland, till he came to the end thereof. And so doing he suffered exceeding hunger, so that he was forced to snatch up fishes from the surface of the sea and devour them raw, for stress of famine. In such case he pushed on till in early forenoon he came to the sixth island, with trees a-growing and rills a flowing, where he landed and walked about, looking right and left, till he came to an apple tree and put forth his hand to pluck of the fruit, when lo! one cried out to him from the tree, saying, 'An thou draw near to this tree and cut of it aught, I will cut thee in twain.' So he looked and saw a giant forty cubits high, being the cubit of the people of that day; whereat he feared with sore fear and refrained from that tree. Then said he to the giant, 'Why cost thou forbid me to eat of this tree?' Replied the other, 'Because thou art a son of Adam and thy father Adam forgot the covenant of Allah and sinned against Him and ate of the tree.' Quoth Bulukiya, 'What thing art thou and to whom belongeth this island, with its trees, and how art thou named?' Quoth the tall one, 'My name is Sharhiy and trees and island belong to King Sakhr;[FN#524] I am one of his guards and in charge of his dominion,' presently adding, 'But who art thou and whence comest thou hither?' Bulukiya told him his story from beginning to end and Sharahiya said, 'Be of good cheer,' and brought him to eat. So he ate his fill and, taking leave of the giant, set out again and ceased not faring on over the mountains and sandy deserts for ten days; at the end of which time he saw, in the distance, a dust cloud hanging like a canopy in air; and, making towards it, he heard a mighty clamour, cries and blows and sounds of mellay. Presently he reached a great Wady, two months' journey long; and, looking whence the shouts came, he saw a multitude of horse men engaged in fierce fight and the blood running from them till it railed like a river. Their voices were thunderous and they were armed with lance and sword and iron mace and bow and arrow, and all fought with the utmost fury. At this sight he felt sore affright"—And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased to say her permitted say.