When it was the Four Hundred and Ninety-second Night,
She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that the Queen continued: "When Bulukiya saw the host in fight, he felt sore affright and was perplexed about his case; but whilst he hesitated, behold, they caught sight of him and held their hands one from other and left fighting. Then a troop of them came up to him, wondering at his make, and one of the horsemen said to him, 'What art thou and whence camest thou hither and whither art wending; and who showed thee the way that thou hast come to our country?' Quoth he, 'I am of the sons of Adam and am come out, distracted for the love of Mohammed (whom Allah bless and preserve!); but I have wandered from my way.' Quoth the horseman, 'Never saw we a son of Adam till now, nor did any ever come to this land.' And all marvelled at him and at his speech. 'But what are ye, O creatures?' asked Bulukiya; and the rider replied, 'We are of the Jnn.' So he said, 'O Knight, what is the cause of the fighting amongst you and where is your abiding place and what is the name of this valley and this land?' He replied, 'Our abiding- place is the White Country; and, every year, Allah Almighty commandeth us to come hither and wage war upon the unbelieving Jann.' Asked Bulukiya, 'And where is the White Country?' and the horseman answered, 'It is behind the mountain Kaf, and distant seventy-five years journey from this place which is termed the Land of Shaddd son of 'd: we are here for Holy War; and we have no other business, when we are not doing battle, than to glorify God and hallow him. More over, we have a ruler, King Sakhr highs, and needs must thou go with us to him, that he may look upon thee for his especial delight.' Then they fared on (and he with them) till they came to their abiding place; where he saw a multitude of magnificent tents of green silk, none knoweth their number save Allah the Most High, and in their midst a pavilion of red satin, some thousand cubits in compass, with cords of blue silk and pegs of gold and silver. Bulukiya marvelled at the sight and accompanied them as they fared on and behold, this was the royal pavilion. So they carried him into the presence of King Sakhr, whom he found seated upon a splendid throne of red gold, set with pearls and studded with gems; the Kings and Princes of the Jann being on his right hand, and on his left his Councillors and Emirs and Officers of state, and a multitude of others. The King seeing him bade introduce him, which they did; and Bulukiya went up to him and saluted him after kissing the ground before him. The King returned his salute and said, 'Draw near me, O mortal!' and Bulukiya went close up to him. Hereupon the King, commanding a chair to be set for him by his royal side, bade him sit down and asked him 'Who art thou?'; and Bulukiya answered, 'I am a man, and one of the Children of Israel.' 'Tell me thy story,' cried King Sakhr, 'and acquaint me with all that hath befallen thee and how thou camest to this my land.' So Bulukiya related to him all that had occurred in his wanderings from beginning to end."—And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased saying her permitted say.
When it was the Four Hundred and Ninety-third Night,
She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that the Queen continued: "When Bulukiya related to Sakhr what befell him in his wanderings, he marvelled thereat. Then he bade the servants bring food and they spread the tables and set on one thousand and five hundred platters of red gold and silver and copper, some containing twenty and some fifty boiled camels, and others some fifty head of sheep; at which Bulukiya marvelled with exceeding marvel. Then they ate and he ate with them, till he was satisfied and returned thanks to Allah Almighty; after which they cleared the tables and set on fruits, and they ate thereof, glorifying the name of God and invoking blessings on His prophet Mohammed (whom Allah bless and preserve!) When Bulukiya heard them make mention of Mohammed, he wondered and said to King Sakhr, 'I am minded to ask thee some questions.' Rejoined the King, 'Ask what thou wilt,' and Bulukiya said, 'O King, what are ye and what is your origin and how came ye to know of Mohammed (whom Allah assain and save!) that ye draw near to him and love him?' King Sakhr answered, 'O Bulukiya, of very sooth Allah created the fire in seven stages, one above the other, and each distant a thousand years journey from its neighbour. The first stage he named Jahannam[FN#525] and appointed the same for the punishment of the transgressors of the True-believers, who die unrepentant; the second he named Laz and appointed for Unbelievers: the name of the third is Jahm and is appointed for Gog and Magog.[FN#526] The fourth is called Sa'r and is appointed for the host of Iblis. The fifth is called Sakar and is prepared for those who neglect prayer. The sixth is called Hatamah and is appointed for Jews and Christians. The seventh is named Hwiyah and is prepared for hypocrites. Such be the seven stages.' Quoth Bulukiya, 'Haply Jahannam hath least of torture for that it is the uppermost.' 'Yes,' quoth King Sakhr, 'the most endurable of them all is Jahannam; natheless in it are a thousand mountains of fire, in each mountain seventy thousand cities of fire, in each city seventy thousand castles of fire, in each castle seventy thousand houses of fire, in each house seventy thousand couches of fire and in each couch seventy thousand manners of torment. As for the other hells, O Bulukiya, none knoweth the number of kinds of torment that be therein save Allah Most Highest.' When Bulukiya heard this, he fell down in a fainting-fit, and when he came to himself, he wept and said, 'O King what will be my case?' Quoth Sakhr, 'Fear not, and know thou that whoso loveth Mohammed (whom Allah bless and keep!) the fire shall not burn him, for he is made free therefrom for his sake; and whoso belongeth to his Faith the fire shall fly him. As for us, the Almighty Maker created us of the fire for the first that he made in Jahannam were two of His host whom he called Khalt and Malt. Now Khalt was fashioned in the likeness of a lion, with a tail like a tortoise twenty years' journey in length and ending in a member masculine; while Malt was like a pied wolf whose tail was furnished with a member feminine. Then Almighty Allah commanded the tails to couple and copulate and do the deed of kind, and of them were born serpents and scorpions, whose dwelling is in the fire, that Allah may there with torment those whom He casteth therein; and these increased and multiplied. Then Allah commanded the tails of Khalit and Malit to couple and copulate a second time, and the tail of Malit conceived by the tail of Khalit and bore fourteen children, seven male and seven female, who grew up and intermarried one with the other. All were obedient to their sire, save one who disobeyed him and was changed into a worm which is Iblis (the curse of Allah be upon him!). Now Iblis was one of the Cherubim, for he had served Allah till he was raised to the heavens and cherished[FN#527] by the especial favour of the Merciful One, who made him chief of the Cherubim.'"—And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased to say her permitted say.
When it was the Four Hundred and Ninety-fourth Night,
She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that the Queen continued: "'Iblis served God and became chief of Cherubim. When, however, the Lord created Adam (with whom be peace!), He commanded Iblis to prostrate himself to him, but he drew back; so Allah Almighty expelled him from heaven and cursed him.[FN#528] This Iblis had issue and of his lineage are the devils; and as for the other six males, who were his elders, they are the ancestors of the true believing Jann, and we are their descendants. Such, O Bulukiya is our provenance.[FN#529]' Bulukiya marvelled at the King's words and said, 'O King, I pray thee bid one of thy guards bear me back to my native land.' 'Naught of this may we do,' answered Sakhr, 'save by commandment of Allah Almighty; however, an thou desire to leave us and return home, I will mount thee on one of my mares and cause her carry thee to the farthest frontiers of my dominions, where thou wilt meet with the troops of another King, Barkhiy highs, who will recognize the mare at sight and take thee off her and send her back to us; and this is all we can do for thee, and no more.' When Bulukiya heard these words he wept and said, 'Do whatso thou wilt.' So King Sakhr caused bring the mare and, setting Bulukiya on her back, said to him, 'Beware lest thou alight from her or strike her or cry out in her face; for if thou do so she will slay thee; but abide quietly riding on her back till she stop with thee; then dismount and wend thy ways.' Quoth Bulukiya, 'I hear and I obey;' he then mounted and setting out, rode on a long while between the rows of tents; and stinted not riding till he came to the royal kitchens where he saw the great cauldrons, each holding fifty camels, hung up over the fires which blazed fiercely under them. So he stopped there and gazed with a marvel ever increasing till King Sakhr thinking him to be anhungered, bade bring him two roasted camels; and they carried them to him and bound them behind him on the mare's crupper. Then he took leave of them and fared on, till he came to the end of King Sakhr's dominions, where the mare stood still and Bulukiya dismounted and began to shake the dust of the journey from his raiment. And behold, there accosted him a party of men who, recognising the mare, carried her and Bulukiya before their King Barakhiya. So he saluted him, and the King returned his greeting and seated him beside himself in a splendid pavilion, in the midst of his troops and champions and vassal Princes of the Jann ranged to right and left; after which he called for food and they ate their fill and pronounced the Alhamdolillah. Then they set on fruits, and when they had eaten thereof, King Barakhiya, whose estate was like that of King Sakhr, asked his guest, 'When didst thou leave King Sakhr?' And Bulukiya answered, 'Two days ago.' Quoth Barakhiya, 'Dost thou know, how many days' journey thou hast come in these two days?' Quoth he, 'No,' and the King rejoined, 'Thou hast come a journey of threescore and ten months.'"—And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased saying her permitted say.
When it was the Four Hundred and Ninety-fifth Night,
She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that the Queen continued: "Barakhiya said to Bulukiya, 'In two days thou hast come a journey of threescore and ten months; moreover when thou mountedst the mare, she was affrighted at thee, knowing thee for a son of Adam, and would have thrown thee; so they bound on her back these two camels by way of weight to steady her.' When Bulukiya heard this, he marvelled and thanked Allah Almighty for safety. Then said the King, 'Tell me thy adventures and what brought thee to this our land.' So he told him his story from first to last, and the King marvelled at his words, and kept Bulukiya with him two months." Upon this Hasib Karim al-Din after he had marvelled at her story, again besought the Serpent-queen saying, "I pray thee of thy goodness and graciousness command one of thy subjects conduct me to the surface of the earth, that I may return to my family;" but she answered, "O Hasib, I know that the first thing thou wilt do, after seeing the face of the earth will be to greet thy family and then repair to the Hammam bath and bathe; and the moment thou endest thine ablutions will see the last of me, for it will be the cause of my death." Quoth Hasib, "I swear that I will never again enter the Hammam bath so long as I live, but when washing is incumbent on me, I will wash at home." Rejoined the Queen, "I would not trust thee though thou shouldst swear to me an hundred oaths; for such abstaining is not possible, and I know thee to be a son of Adam for whom no oath is sacred. Thy father Adam made a covenant with Allah the most High, who kneaded the clay whereof He fashioned him forty mornings and made His angels prostrate themselves to him; yet after all his promise did he forget and his oath violate, disobeying the commandment of his Lord." When Hasib heard this, he held his peace and burst into tears; nor did he leave weeping for the space of ten days, at the end of which time he said to the Queen, "Prithee acquaint me with the rest of Bulukiya's adventures." Accordingly, she began again as follows: "Know, O Hasib, that Bulukiya, after abiding two months with King Barakhiya, farewelled him and fared on over wastes and deserts nights and days' till he came to a high mountain which he ascended. On the summit he beheld seated a great Angel glorifying the names of God and invoking blessings on Mohammed. Before him lay a tablet covered with characters, these white and those black,[FN#530] whereon his eyes were fixed, and his two wings were outspread to the full, one to the western and the other to the eastern horizon. Bulukiya approached and saluted the Angel, who returned his salam adding, 'Who art thou and whence comest thou and whither wendest thou and what is thy story?' Accordingly, he repeated to him his history, from first to last, and the Angel marvelled mightily thereat, whereupon Bulukiya said to him, 'I pray thee in return acquaint me with the meaning of this tablet and what is writ thereon; and what may be thine occupation and thy name.' Replied the Angel, 'My name is Michael, and I am charged with the shifts of night and day; and this is my occupation till the Day of Doom.' Bulukiya wondered at his words and at his aspect and the vastness of his stature and, taking leave of him, fared onwards, night and day, till he came to a vast meadow over which he walked observing that it was traversed by seven streams and abounded in trees. He was struck by its beauty and in one corner thereof he saw a great tree and under it four Angels. So he drew near to them and found the first in the likeness of a man, the second in the likeness of a wild beast, the third in the likeness of a bird and the fourth in the likeness of a bull, engaged in glorifying Almighty Allah, and saying, 'O my God and my Master and my Lord, I conjure Thee, by Thy truth and by the decree of Thy Prophet Mohammed (on whom be blessings and peace!) to vouchsafe Thy mercy and grant Thy forgiveness to all things created in my likeness; for Thou over all things art Almighty!' Bulukiya marvelled at what he heard but continued his journey till he came to another mountain and ascending it, found there a great Angel seated on the summit, glorifying God and hallowing Him and invoking blessings on Mohammed (whom Allah assain and save!), and he saw that Angel continually opening and shutting his hands and bending and extending his fingers. He accosted him and saluted him; whereupon the Angel returned his salam and enquired who he was and how he came thither. So Bulukiya acquainted him with his adventures including his having lost the way; and besought him to tell him, in turn, who he was and what was his function and what mountain was that. Quoth the Angel, 'Know, O Bulukiya, that this is the mountain Kaf, which encompasseth the world; and all the countries the Creator hath made are in my grasp. When the Almighty is minded to visit any land with earthquake or famine or plenty or slaughter or prosperity, He biddeth me carry out His commands and I carry them out without stirring from my place; for know thou that my hands lay hold upon the roots of the earth,' "—And Shahrazed perceived the dawn of day and ceased to say her permitted say.
When it was the Four Hundred and Ninety-sixth Night,
She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that the Queen continued: "When the angel said, 'And know thou that my hands lay hold upon the roots of the earth,' he asked, 'And hath Allah created other worlds than this within the mountain Kaf?' The Angel answered, 'Yes, He hath made a world white as silver, whose vastness none knoweth save Himself, and hath peopled it with Angels, whose meat and drink are His praise and hallowing and continual blessings upon His Prophet Mohammed (whom Allah bless and keep!). Every Thursday night[FN#531] they repair to this mountain and worship in congregation Allah until the morning, and they assign the future recompense of their lauds and litanies to the sinners of the Faith of Mohammed (whom Allah assain and save!) and to all who make the Ghusl ablution of Friday; and this is their function until the Day of Resurrection.' Asked Bulukiya, 'And hath Allah created other mountains behind the mountain Kaf?'; whereto he answered, 'Yes, behind this mountain is a range of mountains five hundred years' journey long, of snow and ice, and this it is that wardeth off the heat of Jahannam from the world, which verily would else be consumed thereby. Moreover, behind the mountain Kaf are forty worlds, each one the bigness of this world forty times told, some of gold and some of silver and others of carnelian. Each of these worlds hath its own colour, and Allah hath peopled them with angels, that know not Eve nor Adam nor night nor day, and have no other business than to celebrate His praises and hallow Him and make profession of His Unity and proclaim His Omnipotence and supplicate Him on behalf of the followers of Mohammed (whom Allah bless and keep!). And know, also, O Bulukiya, that the earths were made in seven stages, one upon another, and that Allah hath created one of His Angels, whose stature and attributes none knoweth but Himself and who beareth the seven stages upon his shoulders. Under this Angel Almighty Allah hath created a great rock, and under the rock a bull, and under the bull a huge fish, and under the fish a mighty ocean.[FN#532] God once told Isa (with whom be peace! ) of this fish, and he said, 'O Lord show me the fish, that I may look upon it.' So the Almighty commanded an angel to take Isa and show him the fish. Accordingly, he took him up and carried him (with whom be peace!) to the sea, wherein the fish dwelt, and said, 'Look, O Isa, upon the fish.' He looked but at first saw nothing, when, suddenly, the fish darted past like lightning. At this sight Isa fell down aswoon, and when he came to himself, Allah spake to him by inspiration, saying, 'O Isa, hast thou seen the fish and comprehended its length and its breadth?' He replied, 'By Thy honour and glory, O Lord, I saw no fish; but there passed me by a great bull, whose length was three days' journey, and I know not what manner of thing this bull is.' Quoth Allah, 'O Isa, this that thou sawest and which was three days in passing by thee, was but the head of the fish;[FN#533] and know that every day I create forty fishes like unto this.' And Isa hearing this marvelled at the power of Allah the Almighty. Asked Bulukiya, 'What hath Allah made beneath this sea which containeth the fish?'; and the Angel answered, 'Under the sea the Lord created a vast abyss of air, under the air fire, and under the fire a mighty serpent, by name Falak; and were it not for fear of the Most Highest, this serpent would assuredly swallow up all that is above it, air and fire and the Angel and his burden, without sensing it.'"—And Shahrazed perceived the dawn of day and ceased saying her permitted say.
When it was the Four Hundred and Ninety-seventh Night,
She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that the angel said to Bulukiya when describing the serpent, "'And were it not for fear of the Most Highest, this serpent would assuredly swallow up all that is above it, air and fire, and the Angel and his burden, without sensing it. When Allah created this serpent He said to it by inspiration, 'I will give thee somewhat to keep for me, so open thy mouth.' The serpent replied, 'Do whatso Thou wilt;' and opened his mouth and God placed Hell into his maw, saying, 'Keep it until the Day of Resurrection. When that time comes, the Almighty will send His angels with chains to bring Hell and bind it until the Day when all men shall meet; and the Lord will order Hell to go open its gates and there will issue therefrom sparks bigger than the mountains.' When Bulukiya heard these things he wept with sore weeping and, taking leave of the Angel, fared on westwards, till he came in sight of two creatures sitting before a great shut gate. As he drew near, he saw that one of the gatekeepers had the semblance of a lion and the other that of a bull; so he saluted them and they returned his salam and enquired who and whence he was and whither he was bound. Quoth he, 'I am of the sons of Adam, a wanderer for the love of Mohammed (whom Allah assain and save!) and I have strayed from my way.' Then he asked them what they were and what was the gate before which they sat, and they answered, 'We are the guardians of this gate thou seest and we have no other business than the praise and hallowing of Allah and the invocation of blessings on Mohammed (whom may He bless and keep!).' Bulukiya wondered and asked them, 'What is within the gate?'; and they answered, 'We wot not.' Then quoth he, 'I conjure you, by the truth of your glorious Lord, open to me the gate, that I may see that which is therein.' Quoth they, 'We cannot, and none may open this gate, of all created beings save Gabriel, the Faithful One, with whom be peace!' Then Bulukiya lifted up his voice in supplication to Allah, saying, 'O Lord, send me thy messenger Gabriel, the Faithful One, to open for me this gate that I may see what be therein;' and the Almighty gave ear unto his prayer and commanded the Archangel to descend to earth and open to him the gate of the Meeting-place of the Two Seas. So Gabriel descended and, saluting Bulukiya, opened the gate to him, saying, 'Enter this door, for Allah commandeth me to open to thee.' So he entered and Gabriel locked the gate behind him and flew back to heaven. When Bulukiya found himself within the gate, he looked and beheld a vast ocean, half salt and half fresh, bounded on every side by mountain ranges of red ruby whereon he saw angels singing the praises of the Lord and hallowing Him. So he went up to them and saluted them and having received a return of his salam, questioned them of the sea and the mountains. Replied they, 'This place is situate under the Arsh or empyreal heaven; and this Ocean causeth the flux and flow of all the seas of the world; and we are appointed to distribute them and drive them to the various parts of the earth, the salt to the salt and the fresh to the fresh,[FN#534] and this is our employ until the Day of Doom. As for the mountain ranges they serve to limit and to contain the waters. But thou, whence comest thou and whither art thou bound?' So he told them his story and asked them of the road. They bade him traverse the surface of the ocean which lay before him: so he anointed his feet with the juice of the herb he had with him, and taking leave of the angels, set out upon the face of the sea and sped on over the water nights and days; and as he was faring, behold, he met a handsome youth journeying along like himself, whereupon he greeted him and he returned his greeting. After they parted he espied four great Angels wayfaring over the face of the sea, and their going was like the blinding lightning; so he stationed himself in their road, and when they came up to him, he saluted them and said to them, 'I ask you by the Almighty, the Glorious, to tell me your names and whither are ye bound?' Replied the first Angel, 'My name is Gabriel and these my companions are called Isrfl and Mk'l and Azr'l. There hath appeared in the East a mighty dragon, which hath laid waste a thousand cities and devoured their inhabitants; wherefore Allah Almighty hath commanded us to go to him and seize him and cast him into Jahannam.' Bulukiya marvelled at the vastness of their stature and fared on, as before, days and nights, till he came to an island where he landed and walked about for a while,"—And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased to say her permitted say.
When it was the Four Hundred and Ninety-eighth Night,
She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that "Bulukiya landed on the island and walked about for a while, till he saw a comely young man with light shining from his visage, sitting weeping and lamenting between two built tombs. So he saluted him and he returned his salutation, and Bulukiya said to him, 'Who art thou and what are these two built tombs between which thou sittest, and wherefore this wailing?' He looked at him and wept with sore weeping, till he drenched his clothes with his tears; then said, 'Know thou, O my brother, mine is a marvellous story and a wondrous; but I would have thee sit by me and first tell me thy name and thine adventures and who thou art and what brought thee hither; after which I will, in turn, relate to thee my history.' So Bulukiya sat down by him and related to him all that had befallen him from his father's death,[FN#535] adding, 'Such is my history, the whole of it, and Allah alone knoweth what will happen to me after this.' When the youth heard his story, he sighed and said, 'O thou unhappy! How few things thou hast seen in thy life compared with mine. Know, O Bulukiya, that unlike thyself I have looked upon our lord Solomon, in his life, and have seen things past count or reckoning. Indeed, my story is strange and my case out of range, and I would have thee abide with me, till I tell thee my history and acquaint thee how I come to be sitting here.'" Hearing this much Hasib again interrupted the Queen of the Serpents and said to her, "Allah upon thee, O Queen, release me and command one of thy servants carry me forth to the surface of the earth, and I will swear an oath to thee that I will never enter the Hammam-bath as long as I live." But she said, "This is a thing which may not be nor will I believe thee upon thine oath." When he heard this, he wept and all the serpents wept on his account and took to interceding for him with their Queen, saying, "We beseech thee, bid one of us carry him forth to the surface of the earth, and he will swear thee an oath never to enter the bath his life long." Now when Yamlaykh (for such was the Queen's name) heard their appeal, she turned to Hasib and made him swear to her an oath; after which she bade a serpent carry him forth to the surface of the earth. The serpent made ready, but as she was about to go away with him, he turned to Queen Yamlaykha and said, "I would fain have thee tell me the history of the youth whom Bulukiya saw sitting between two tombs." So she said: "Know, O Hasib, that when Bulukiya sat down by the youth and told him his tale, from first to last, in order that the other might also recount his adventures and explain the cause of his sitting between the two tombs."—And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased saying her permitted say.
When it was the Four Hundred and Ninety-ninth Night,
She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that the Queen continued: "When Bulukiya ended his recount, the youth said, 'How few things of marvel hast thou seen in thy life, O unhappy! Now I have looked upon our lord Solomon while he was yet living and I have witnessed wonders beyond compt and conception.' And he began to relate
The Story of Janshah.[FN#536]
'Know, O my brother, that my sire was a King called Teghms, who reigned over the land of Kabul and the Banu Shahln, ten thousand warlike chiefs, each ruling over an hundred walled cities and a hundred citadels; and he was suzerain also over seven vassal princes, and tribute was brought to him from the broad lands between East and West. He was just and equitable in his rule and Allah Almighty had given him all this and had bestowed on him such mighty empire, yet had He not vouchsafed him a son (though this was his dearest wish) to inherit the kingdom after his decease. So one day it befell that he summoned the Olema and astrologers, the mathematicians and almanac-makers, and said, 'Draw me my horoscope and look if Allah will grant me a son to succeed me.' Accordingly, they consulted their books and calculated his dominant star and the aspects thereof; after which they said to him, 'Know, O King, that thou shalt be blessed with a son, but by none other than the daughter of the King of Khorsn.' Hearing this Teghmus joyed with exceeding joy and, bestowing on the astrologers and wizards treasure beyond numbering or reckoning, dismissed them. His chief Wazir was a renowned warrior, by name Ayn Zr, who was equal to a thousand cavaliers in battle; so him he summoned and, repeating to him what the astrologers had predicted, he said, 'O Wazir, it is my will that thou equip thee for a march to Khorasan and demand for me the hand of its King Bahrwan's daughter.' Receiving these orders the Wazir at once proceeded to get ready for the journey and encamped without the town with his troops and braves and retinue, whilst King Teghmus made ready as presents for the King of Khorasan fifteen hundred loads of silks and precious stones, pearls and rubies and other gems, besides gold and silver; and he also prepared a prodigious quantity of all that goeth to the equipment of a bride; then, loading them upon camels and mules, delivered them to Ayn Zar, with a letter to the following purport. 'After invoking the blessing of Heaven, King Teghmus to King Bahrwan, greeting. Know that we have taken counsel with the astrologers and sages and mathematicians, and they tell us that we shall have boon of a boy child, and that by none other than thy daughter. Wherefore I have despatched unto thee my Wazir Ayn Zar, with great store of bridal gear, and I have appointed him to stand in my stead and to enter into the marriage-contract in my name. Furthermore I desire that of thy favour thou wilt grant him his request without stay or delay; for it is my own, and all graciousness thou showest him, I take for myself; but beware of crossing me in this, for know, O King Bahrwan, that Allah hath bestowed upon me the Kingdom of Kabul, and hath given me dominion over the Banu Shahlan and vouchsafed me a mighty empire; and if I marry thy daughter, we will be, I and thou, as one thing in kingship; and I will send thee every year as much treasure as will suffice thee. And this is my desire of thee.' Then King Teghmus sealed the letter with his own ring and gave it to the Wazir, who departed with a great company and journeyed till he drew near the capital of Khorasan. When King Bahrwan heard of his approach, he despatched his principal Emirs to meet him,[FN#537] with a convoy of food and drink and other requisites, including forage for the steeds. So they fared forth with the train till they met the Wazir; then, alighting without the city, they exchanged salutations and abode there, eating and drinking, ten days; at the end of which time they mounted and rode on into the town, where they were met by King Bahrwan, who came out to greet the Wazir of King Teghmus and alighting, embraced him and carried him to his citadel. Then Ayn Zar brought out the presents and laid them before King Bahrwan, together with the letter of King Teghmus, which when the King read and understood, he joyed with joy exceeding and welcomed the Wazir, saying, 'Rejoice in winning thy wish; and know that if King Teghmus sought of me my life, verily I would give it to him.' Then he went in forthright to his daughter and her mother and his kinsfolk, and acquainting them with the King of Kabul's demand sought counsel of them, and they said, 'Do what seemeth good to thee.'—And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased to say her permitted say.
When it was the Five Hundredth Night,
She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that "King Bahrwan consulted his daughter and her mother and his kinsfolk and they said, 'Do what seemeth good to thee.' So he returned straightway to the Minister Ayn Zar and notified to him that his desire had been fulfilled; and the Wazir, abode with him two months, at the end of which time he said to him, 'We beseech thee to bestow upon us that wherefore we came, so we may depart to our own land.' 'I hear and obey,' answered the King. Then he prepared all the gear wanted for the wedding; and when this was done he assembled his Wazirs and all his Emirs and the Grandees of his realm and the monks and priests who tied the knot of marriage between his daughter and King Teghmus by proxy. And King Bahrwan bade decorate the city after the goodliest fashion and spread the streets with carpets. Then he equipped his daughter for the journey and gave her all manner of presents and rarities and precious metals, such as none may describe; and Ayn Zar departed with the Princess to his own country. When the news of their approach reached King Teghmus, he bade celebrate the wedding festivities and adorn the city; after which he went in unto the Princess and abated her maidenhead; nor was it long before she conceived by him and, accomplishing her months, bare a man-child like the moon on the night of its full. When King Teghmus knew that his wife had given birth to a goodly son, he rejoiced with exceeding joy and, summoning the sages and astrologers and mathematicians, said to them, 'I would that ye draw the horoscope of the newborn child with his ascendant and its aspects and acquaint me what shall befall him in his lifetime.' So they made their calculations and found them favourable; but, that he would, in his fifteenth year, be exposed to perils and hardships, and that if he survived, he would be happy and fortunate and become a greater king than his father and a more powerful. The King rejoiced greatly in this prediction and named the boy Janshah. Then he delivered him to the nurses, wet and dry, who reared him excellently well till he reached his fifth year, when his father taught him to read the Evangel and instructed him in the art of arms and lunge of lance and sway of sword, so that in less than seven years he was wont to ride a-hunting, and a-chasing; he became a doughty champion, perfect in all the science of the cavalarice and his father was delighted to hear of his knightly prowess. It chanced one day that King Teghmus and his son accompanied by the troops rode out for sport into the woods and wilds and hunted till mid afternoon of the third day, when the Prince started a gazelle of a rare colour, which fled before him. So he gave chase to it, followed by seven of King Teghmus's white slaves all mounted on swift steeds, and rode at speed after the gazelle, which fled before them till she brought them to the sea shore. They all ran at her to take her as their quarry, but she escaped from them and, throwing herself into the waves,"—And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased saying her permitted say.
When it was the Five Hundred and First Night,
She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that "when Janshah and the Mamelukes ran at the gazelle, to take her as their quarry, she escaped from them and, throwing herself into the waves, swam out to a fishing bark, that was moored near the shore, and sprang on board. Janshah and his followers dismounted and, boarding the boat, made prize of the gazelle and were minded to return to shore with her, when the Prince espied a great island in the offing and said to his merry men, 'I have a longing to visit yonder island.' They answered, 'We hear and obey,' and sailed on till they came to the island, where they landed and amused themselves with exploring the place. Then they again embarked and taking with them the gazelle, set out to return homeward, but the murk of evening overtook them and they missed their way on the main. Moreover a strong wind arose and crave the boat into mid-ocean, so that when they awoke in the morning, they found themselves lost at sea. Such was their case; but as regards King Teghmus, when he missed his son, he commanded his troops to make search for him in separate bodies; so they dispersed on all sides and a company of them, coming to the sea shore, found there the Prince's white slave whom he had left in charge of the horses. They asked him what was become of his master and the other six, and he told them what had passed whereupon they took him with them and returned to the King and acquainted him with what they had learnt. When Teghmus heard their report, he wept with sore weeping and cast the crown from his head, biting his hands for vexation. Then he rose forthright and wrote letters and despatched them to all the islands of the sea. Moreover he got together an hundred ships and filling them with troops, sent them to sail about in quest of Janshah, while he himself withdrew with his troops to his capital, where he abode in sore concern. As for Janshah's mother, when she heard of his loss she buffeted her face and began the mourning ceremonies for her son making sure that he was dead. Meanwhile, Janshah and his men ceased not driving before the wind and those in search of them cruised about for ten days till, finding no trace they returned and reported failure to the King. But a stiff gale caught the Prince's craft which went spooning till they made a second island, where they landed and walked about. Presently they came upon a spring of running water in the midst of the island and saw from afar a man sitting hard by it. So they went up to him and saluted him, and he returned their salam, speaking in a voice like the whistle[FN#538] of birds. Whilst Janshah stood marvelling at the man's speech he looked right and left and suddenly split himself in twain, and each half went a different way.[FN#539] Then there came down from the hills a multitude of men of all kinds, beyond count and reckoning; and they no sooner reached the spring, than each one divided into two halves and rushed on Janshah and his Mamelukes to eat them. When the voyagers saw this, they turned and fled seawards; but the cannibals pursued them and caught and ate three of the slaves, leaving only three slaves who with Janshah reached the boat in safety; then launching her made for the water and sailed nights and days without knowing whither their ship went. They killed the gazelle, and lived on her flesh, till the winds drove them to a third island which was full of trees and waters and flower-gardens and orchards laden with all fashion of fruits: and streams strayed under the tree shade: brief, the place was a Garden of Eden. The island pleased the Prince and he said to his companions, 'Which of you will land and explore?' Then said one of the slaves, 'That will I do'; but he replied, 'This thing may not be; you must all land and explore the place while I abide in the boat.' So he set them ashore,"— And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased to say her permitted say.
When it was the Five Hundred and Second Night,
She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that "the Prince set them ashore, and they searched the island, East and West, but found no one; then they fared on inland to the heart thereof, till they came to a Castle compassed about with ramparts of white marble, within which was a palace of the clearest crystal and, set in its centre a garden containing all manner fruits beyond description, both fresh and dry, and flowers of grateful odour and trees and birds singing upon the boughs. Amiddlemost the garden was a vast basin of water, and beside it a great open hall with a raised dais whereon stood a number of stools surrounding a throne of red gold, studded with all kinds of jewels and especially rubies and seeing the beauty of the Castle and of the Garden they entered and explored in all directions, but found no one there, so after rummaging the Castle they returned to Janshah and told him what they had seen. When he heard their report, he cried, 'Needs must I solace myself with a sight of it;' so he landed and accompanied them to the palace, which he entered marvelling at the goodliness of the place. They then visited every part of the gardens and ate of the fruits and continued walking till it waxed dark, when they returned to the estrade and sat down, Janshah on the throne in the centre and the three others on the stools ranged to the right and left. Then the Prince, there seated, called to mind his separation from his father's throne-city[FN#540] and country and friends and kinsfolk; and fell a-weeping and lamenting over their loss whilst his men wept around him. And as they were thus sorrowing behold, they heard a mighty clamour, that came from seaward and looking in the direction of the clamour saw a multitude of apes, as they were swarming locusts. Now the castle and the island belonged to these apes, who, finding the strangers' boat moored to the strand, had scuttled it and after repaired to the palace, where they came upon Janshah and his men seated." Here the Serpent- queen again broke off her recital saying, "All this, O Hasib, was told to Bulukiya by the young man sitting between the two tombs." Quoth Hasib, "And what did Janshah do with the apes?"; so the Queen resumed her tale: "He and his men were sore affrighted at the appearance of the apes, but a company of them came up to the throne whereon he sat and, kissing the earth before him, stood awhile in his presence with their paws upon their breasts in posture of respect. Then another troop brought to the castle gazelles which they slaughtered and skinned; and roasting pieces of the flesh till fit for food they laid them on platters of gold and silver and spreading the table, made signs to Janshah and his men to eat. The Prince and his followers came down from their seats and ate, and the apes ate with them, till they were satisfied, when the apes took away the meat and set on fruits of which they partook and praised Allah the most Highest. Then Janshah asked the apes by signs what they were and to whom the palace belonged, and they answered him by signals, 'Know ye that this island belonged of yore to our lord Solomon, son of David (on both of whom be peace!), and he used to come hither once every year for his solace,'"—And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased saying her permitted say.
When it was the Five Hundred and Third Night,
She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when Janshah asked the apes by signs to whom the palace belonged, they answered him by signals, "'Of a truth this place belonged of yore to our lord Solomon, son of David (on both of whom be peace!), who used to come hither once every year for his solace, and then wend his ways.' Presently the apes continued, 'And know, O King, that thou art become our Sultan and we are thy servants; so eat and drink, and whatso thou ever bid us, that will we do.' So saying, they severally kissed the earth between the hands of Janshah and all took their departure. The Prince slept that night on the throne and his men on the stools about him, and on the morrow, at daybreak, the four Wazirs or Captains of the apes presented themselves before him, attended by their troops, who ranged themselves about him, rank after rank, until the place was crowded. Then the Wazirs approached and exhorted him by signs to do justice amongst them and rule them righteously; after which the apes cried out to one another and went away, all save a small party which remained in presence to serve him. After awhile, there came up a company of apes with huge dogs in the semblance of horses, each wearing about his head a massive chain; and signed to Janshah and his three followers to mount and go with them. So they mounted, marvelling at the greatness of the dogs, and rode forth, attended by the four Wazirs and a host of apes like swarming locusts, some riding on dogs and others afoot till they came to the sea-shore. Janshah looked for the boat which brought him and finding it scuttled turned to the Wazirs and asked how this had happened to it; whereto they answered, 'Know, O King, that, when thou camest to our island, we kenned that thou wouldst be Sultan over us and we feared lest ye all flee from us, in our absence; and embark in the boat, so we sank it.' When Janshah heard this, he turned to his Mamelukes and said to them, 'We have no means of escaping from these apes, and we must patiently await the ordinance of the Almighty.' Then they fared on inland and ceased not faring till they came to the banks of a river, on whose other side rose a high mountain, whereon Janshah saw a multitude of Ghuls. So he turned to the apes and asked them, 'What are these Ghuls?' and they answered, 'Know, O King, that these Ghuls are our mortal foes and we come hither to do battle with them.' Janshah marvelled to see them riding horses, and was startled at the vastness of their bulk and the strangeness of their semblance; for some of them had heads like bulls and others like camels. As soon as the Ghuls espied the army of the apes, they charged down to the river bank and standing there, fell to pelting them with stones as big as maces; and between them there befell a sore fight. Presently, Janshah, seeing that the Ghuls were getting the better of the apes, cried out to his men, saying, 'Unease your bows and arrows and shoot at them your best shafts and keep them off from us.' They did so and slew of the Ghuls much people, when there fell upon them sore dismay and they turned to flee; but the apes, seeing Janshah's prowess, forded the river and headed by their Sultan chased the Ghuls, killing many of them in the pursuit, till they reached the high mountain where they disappeared. And while exploring the said mountain Janshah found a tablet of alabaster, whereon was written, 'O thou who enterest this land, know that thou wilt become Sultan over these apes and that from them there is no escape for thee, except by the passes that run east and west through the mountains. If thou take the eastern pass, thou wilt fare through a country swarming with Ghuls and wild beasts, Marids and Ifrits, and thou wilt come, after three months' journeying, to the ocean which encompasseth the earth; but, if thou travel by the western pass, it will bring thee, after four months' journeying, to the head of the Wady of Emmets.[FN#541] When thou hast followed the road, that leads through this mountain, ten days,' "—And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased to say her permitted say.
When it was the Five Hundred and Fourth Night,
She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that Janshah read this much upon the tablet and found, at the end of the inscription, "'Then thou wilt come to a great river, whose current is so swift that it blindeth the eyes. Now this river drieth up every Sabbath,[FN#542] and on the opposite bank lies a city wholly inhabited by Jews, who the faith of Mohammed refuse; there is not a Moslem among the band nor is there other than this city in the land. Better therefore lord it over the apes, for so long as thou shalt tarry amongst them they will be victorious over the Ghuls. And know also that he who wrote this tablet was the lord Solomon, son of David (on both be peace!).' When Janshah read these words, he wept sore and repeated them to his men. Then they mounted again and, surrounded by the army of the apes who were rejoicing in their victory, returned to the castle. Here Janshah abode, Sultaning over them, for a year and a half. And at the end of this time, he one day commanded the ape-army to mount and go forth a hunting with him, and they rode out into the woods and wilds, and fared on from place to place, till they approached the Wady of Emmets, which Janshah knew by the description of it upon the alabaster tablet. Here he bade them dismount and they all abode there, eating and drinking a space of ten days, after which Janshah took his men apart one night and said, 'I purpose we flee through the Valley of Emmets and make for the town of the Jews; it may be Allah will deliver us from these apes and we will go God's ways.' They replied, 'We hear and we obey:' so he waited till some little of the night was spent then, donning his armour and girding his sword and dagger and such like weapons, and his men doing likewise, they set out and fared on westwards till morning. When the apes awoke and missed Janshah and his men, they knew that they had fled. So they mounted and pursued them, some taking the eastern pass and others that which led to the Wady of Emmets, nor was it long before the apes came in sight of the fugitives, as they were about to enter the valley, and hastened after them. When Janshah and his men saw them, they fled into the Emmet-valley; but the apes soon overtook them and would have slain them, when behold, there rose out of the earth a multitude of ants like swarming locusts, as big as dogs, and charged home upon the apes. They devoured many of their foes, and these also slew many of the ants; but help came to the emmets: now an ant would go up to an ape and smite him and cut him in twain, whilst ten apes could hardly master one ant and bear him away and tear him in sunder. The sore battle lasted till the evening but the emmets were victorious. In the gloaming Janshah and his men took to flight and fled along the sole of the Wady."—And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased saying her permitted say.
When it was the Five Hundred and Fifth Night,
She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that "in the gloaming Janshah and his men took to flight and fled along the sole of the Wady till the morning. With the break of day, the apes were up and at them, which when the Prince saw, he shouted to his men, 'Smite with your swords.' So they bared their blades and laid on load right and left, till there ran at them an ape, with tusks like an elephant, and smote one of the Mamelukes and cut him in sunder. Then the apes redoubled upon Janshah and he fled with his followers into the lower levels of the valley, where he saw a vast river and by its side a mighty army of ants. When the emmets espied Janshah they pushed on and surrounded him, and one of the slaves fell to smiting them with his sword and cutting them in twain; whereupon the whole host set upon him and slew him. At this pass, behold, up came the apes from over the mountain and fell in numbers upon Janshah; but he tore off his clothes and, plunging into the river, with his remaining servant, struck out for the middle of the stream. Presently, he caught sight of a tree on the other bank; so he swam up to it and laying hold of one of its branches, hung to it and swung himself ashore, but as for the last Mameluke the current carried him away and dashed him to pieces against the mountain. Thereupon Janshah fell to wringing his clothes and spreading them in the sun to dry, what while there befell a fierce fight between the apes and the ants, until the apes gave up the pursuit and returned to their own land. Meanwhile, Janshah, who abode alone on the river-bank, could do naught but shed tears till nightfall, when he took refuge in a cavern and there passed the dark hours, in great fear and feeling desolate for the loss of his slaves. At daybreak awaking from his sleep he set out again and fared on nights and days, eating of the herbs of the earth, till he came to the mountain which burnt like fire, and thence he made the river which dried up every Sabbath. Now it was a mighty stream and on the opposite bank stood a great city, which was the capital of the Jews mentioned in the tablet. Here he abode till the next Sabbath, when the river dried up and he walked over to the other side and entered the Jew city, but saw none in the streets. So he wandered about till he came to the door of a homestead, which he opened and entering, espied within the people of the house sitting in silence and speaking not a syllable. Quoth he, 'I am a stranger and anhungered;' and they signed to him, as to say, 'Eat and drink, but speak not.'[FN#543] So he ate and drank and slept that night and, when morning dawned, the master of the house greeted him and bade him welcome and asked him, 'Whence comest thou and whither art thou bound?' At these words Janshah wept sore and told him all that had befallen him and how his father was King of Kabul; whereat the Jew marvelled and said, 'Never heard we of that city, but we have heard from the merchants of the caravans that in that direction lieth a land called Al-Yaman.' 'How far is that land from this place?' asked Janshah, and the Jew answered, 'The Cafilah merchants pretend that it is a two years and three months' march from their land hither.' Quoth Janshah, 'And when doth the caravan come?' Quoth the Jew, 'Next year 'twill come.' "—And Shahrazed perceived the dawn of day and ceased to say her permitted say.
When it was the Five Hundred and Sixth Night,
She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when the Jew was questioned anent the coming of the caravan, he replied, "'Next year 'twill come.' At these words the Prince wept sore and fell a-sorrowing for himself and his Mamelukes; and lamenting his separation from his mother and father and all which had befallen him in his wanderings. Then said the Jew, 'O young man, do not weep, but sojourn with us till the caravan shall come, when we will send thee with it to thine own country.' So he tarried with the Jew two whole months and every day he went out walking in the streets for his solace and diversion. Now it chanced one day, whilst he paced about the main thoroughfares, as of wont, and was bending his steps right and left, he heard a crier crying aloud and saying, 'Who will earn a thousand gold pieces and a slave- girl of surpassing beauty and loveliness by working for me between morning and noontide?' But no one answered him and Janshah said in his mind, 'Were not this work dangerous and difficult, he would not offer a thousand diners and a fair girl for half a day's labour.' Then he accosted the crier and said, 'I will do the work;' so the man carried him to a lofty mansion where they found one who was a Jew and a merchant, seated on an ebony chair, to whom quoth the crier, standing respectfully before him, 'O merchant, I have cried every day these three months, and none hath answered, save this young man.' Hearing his speech the Jew welcomed Janshah, led him into a magnificent sitting-room and signalled to bring food. So the servants spread the table and set thereon all manner meats, of which the merchant and Janshah ate, and washed their hands. Then wine was served up and they drank; after which the Jew rose and bringing Janshah a purse of a thousand diners and a slave-girl of rare beauty, said to him, 'Take maid and money to thy hire.' Janshah took them and seated the girl by his side when the trader resumed, 'To-morrow to the work!'; and so saying he withdrew and Janshah slept with the damsel that night. As soon as it was morning, the merchant bade his slaves clothe him in a costly suit of silk whenas he came out of the Hammam-Bath. So they did as he bade them and brought him back to the house, whereupon the merchant called for harp and lute and wine and they drank and played and made merry till the half of the night was past, when the Jew retired to his Harim and Janshah lay with his slave-girl till the dawn. Then he went to the bath and on his return, the merchant came to him and said, 'Now I wish thee to do the work for me.' 'I hear and obey,' replied Janshah. So the merchant bade his slaves bring two she- mules and set Janshah on one, mounting the other himself. Then they rode forth from the city and fared on from morn till noon, when they made a lofty mountain, to whose height was no limit. Here the Jew dismounted, ordering Janshah to do the same; and when he obeyed the merchant gave him a knife and a cord, saying, 'I desire that thou slaughter this mule.' So Janshah tucked up his sleeves and skirts and going up to the mule, bound her legs with the cord, then threw her and cut her throat; after which he skinned her and lopped off her head and legs and she became a mere heap of flesh. Then said the Jew, 'Slit open the mule's belly and enter it and I will sew it up on thee. There must thou abide awhile and whatsoever thou seest in her belly, acquaint me therewith.' So Janshah slit the mule's belly and crept into it, whereupon the merchant sewed it up on him and withdrew to a distance,"—And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased saying her permitted say.
When it was the Five Hundred and Seventh Night,
She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that "the merchant sewed up the mule's belly on Janshah and, withdrawing to a distance, hid himself in the skirts of the mountain. After a while a huge bird swooped down on the dead mule and snatching it up, flew up with it to the top of the mountain, where it set down the quarry and would have eaten it; but Janshah, feeling the bird begin to feed, slit the mule's belly and came forth. When the bird saw him, it took fright at him and flew right away; whereupon he stood up and looking right and left, saw nothing but the carcasses of dead men, mummied by the sun, and exclaimed, 'There is no Majesty and there is no Might save in Allah, the Glorious, the Great!' Then he looked down the precipice and espied the merchant standing at the mountain-foot, looking for him. As soon as the Jew caught sight of him, he called out to him, 'Throw me down of the stones which are about thee, that I may direct thee to a way whereby thou mayst descend.' So Janshah threw him down some two hundred of the stones, which were all rubies,[FN#544] chrysolites and other gems of price; after which he called out to him, saying, 'Show me the way down and I will throw thee as many more.' But the Jew gathered up the stones and, binding them on the back of the mule, went his way without answering a word and left Janshah alone on the mountain-top. When the Prince found himself deserted, he began to weep and implore help of Heaven, and thus he abode three days; after which he rose and fared on over the mountainous ground two month's space, feeding upon hill-herbs; and he ceased not faring till he came to its skirts and espied afar off a Wady full of fruitful trees and birds harmonious, singing the praises of Allah, the One, the Victorious. At this sight he joyed with great joy and stayed not his steps till, after an hour or so, he came to a ravine in the rocks, through which the rain torrents fell into the valley. He made his way down the cleft till he reached the Wady which he had seen from the mountain-top and walked on therein, gazing right and left, nor ceased so doing until he came in sight of a great castle, towering high in air. As he drew near the gates he saw an old man of comely aspect and face shining with light standing thereat with a staff of carnelian in his hand, and going up to him, saluted him. The Shaykh returned his salam and bade him welcome, saying, 'Sit down, O my son.' So he sat down at the door of the castle and the old man said to him, 'How camest thou to this land, untrodden by son of Adam before thee, and whither art thou bound?' When Janshah heard his words he wept bitterly at the thought of all the hardships he had suffered and his tears choked his speech. Quoth the Shaykh, 'O my son, leave weeping; for indeed thou makest my heart ache.' So saying, he rose and set somewhat of food before him and said to him, 'Eat.' He ate and praised Allah Almighty; after which the old man besought him saying, 'O my son, I would have thee tell me thy tale and acquaint me with thine adventures.' So Janshah related to him all that had befallen him, from first to last, whereat the Shaykh marvelled with exceeding marvel. Then said the Prince, 'Prithee inform me who is the lord of this valley and to whom doth this great castle belong?' Answered the old man, 'Know, O my son, this valley and all that is therein and this castle with all it containeth belong to the lord Solomon, son of David (on both be peace!). As for me, my name is Shaykh Nasr,[FN#545] King of the Birds; for thou must know that the lord Solomon committed this castle to my charge,'"—And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased to say her permitted say.
When it was the Five Hundred and Eighth Night,
She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that "Shaykh Nasr pursued, 'Thou must know that the lord Solomon com misted this castle to my charge and taught me the language of birds and made me ruler over all the fowls which be in the world; wherefore each and every come hither once in the twelvemonth, and I pass them in review: then they depart; and this is why I dwell here.' When Janshah heard this, he wept sore and said to the Shaykh, 'O my father, how shall I do to get back to my native land?' Replied the old man, 'Know, O my son, that thou art near to the mountain Kaf, and there is no departing for thee from this place till the birds come, when I will give thee in charge to one of them, and he will bear thee to thy native country. Meanwhile tarry with me here and eat and drink and divert thyself with viewing the apartments of this castle.' So Janshah abode with Shaykh Nasr, taking his pleasure in the Wady and eating of its fruits and laughing and making merry with the old man, and leading a right joyous life till the day appointed for the birds to pay their annual visit to the Governor. Thereupon the Shaykh said to him, 'O Janshah, take the keys of the castle and solace thyself with exploring all its apartments and viewing whatever be therein, but as regards such a room, beware and again beware of opening its door; and if thou gainsay me and open it and enter there, through nevermore shalt thou know fair fortune.' He repeated this charge again and again with much instance; then he went forth to meet the birds, which came up, kind by kind, and kissed his hands. Such was his case; but as regards Janshah, he went round about the castle, opening the various doors and viewing the apartments into which they led, till he came to the room which Shaykh Nasr had warned him not to open or enter. He looked at the door and its fashion pleased him, for it had on it a padlock of gold, and he said to himself, 'This room must be goodlier than all the others; would Heaven I wist what is within it, that Shaykh Nasr should forbid me to open its door! There is no help but that I enter and see what is in this apartment; for whatso is decreed unto the creature perforce he must fulfil.' So he put out his hand and unlocked the door and entering, found himself before a great basin; and hard by it stood a little pavilion, builded all of gold and silver and crystal, with lattice-windows of jacinth. The floor was paved with green beryl and balas rubies and emeralds and other jewels, set in the ground-work mosaic-fashion, and in the midmost of the pavilion was a jetting fountain in a golden basin, full of water and girt about with figures of beasts and birds, cunningly wrought of gold and silver and casting water from their mouths. When the zephyr blew on them, it entered their ears and therewith the figures sang out with birdlike song, each in its own tongue. Beside the fountain was a great open saloon with a high dais whereon stood a vast throne of carnelian, inlaid with pearls and jewels, over which was spread a tent of green silk fifty cubits in width and embroidered with gems fit for seal rings and purfled with precious metals. Within this tent was a closet containing the carpet of the lord Solomon (on whom be peace!); and the pavilion was compassed about with a vast garden full of fruit trees and streams; while near the palace were beds of roses and basil and eglantine and all manner sweet-smelling herbs and flowers. And the trees bore on the same boughs fruits fresh and dry and the branches swayed gracefully to the wooing of the wind. All this was in that one apartment and Janshah wondered thereat till he was weary of wonderment; and he set out to solace himself in the palace and the garden and to divert himself with the quaint and curious things they contained. And first looking at the basin he saw that the gravels of its bed were gems and jewels and noble metals; and many other strange things were in that apartment."—And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased saying her permitted say.
When it was the Five Hundred and Ninth Night,
She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that "Janshah saw many strange things and admirable in that apartment. Then he entered the pavilion and mounting the throne, fell asleep under the tent set up thereover. He slept for a time and, presently awaking, walked forth and sat down on a stool before the door. As he sat, marvelling at the goodliness of that place, there flew up from mid sky three birds, in dove-form but big as eagles, and lighted on the brink of the basin, where they sported awhile. Then they put off their feathers and became three maidens,[FN#546] as they were moons, that had not their like in the whole world. They plunged into the basin and swam about and disported themselves and laughed, while Janshah marvelled at their beauty and loveliness and the grace and symmetry of their shapes. Presently, they came up out of the water and began walking about and taking their solace in the garden; and Janshah seeing them land was like to lose his wits. He rose and followed them, and when he overtook them, he saluted them and they returned his salam; after which quoth he, 'Who are ye, O illustrious Princesses, and whence come ye?' Replied the youngest damsel, 'We are from the invisible world of Almighty Allah and we come hither to divert ourselves.' He marvelled at their beauty and said to the youngest, 'Have ruth on me and deign kindness to me and take pity on my case and on all that hath befallen me in my life.' Rejoined she, 'Leave this talk and wend thy ways'; whereat the tears streamed from his eyes, and he sighed heavily and repeated these couplets,
'She shone out in the garden in garments all of green, * With open vest and collars and flowing hair beseen: 'What is thy name?' I asked her, and she replied, 'I'm she * Who roasts the hearts of lovers on coals of love and teen.' Of passion and its anguish to her made my moan; * 'Upon a rock,' she answered, 'thy plaints are wasted clean.' 'Even if thy heart,' I told her, 'be rock in very deed, * Yet hath God made fair water well from the rock, I ween.'[FN#547]
When the maidens heard his verses, they laughed and played and sang and made merry. Then he brought them somewhat of fruit, and they ate and drank and slept with him till the morning, when they donned their feather-suits, and resuming dove shape flew off and went their way. But as he saw them disappearing from sight, his reason well nigh fled with them, and he gave a great cry and fell down in a fainting fit and lay a-swooning all that day. While he was in this case Shaykh Nasr returned from the Parliament of the Fowls and sought for Janshah, that he might send him with them to his native land, but found him not and knew that he had entered the forbidden room. Now he had already said to the birds, 'With me is a young man, a mere youth, whom destiny brought hither from a distant land; and I desire of you that ye take him up and carry him to his own country.' And all answered, 'We hear and we obey.' So he ceased not searching for Janshah till he came to the forbidden door and seeing it open he entered and found the Prince lying a-swoon under a tree. He fetched scented waters and sprinkled them on his face, whereupon he revived and turned."— And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased to say her permitted say.
When it was the Five Hundred and Tenth Night,
She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that "when Shaykh Nasr saw Janshah lying a-swoon under the tree he fetched him somewhat of scented waters and sprinkled them on his face. Thereupon he revived and turned right and left, but seeing none by him save the Shaykh, sighed heavily and repeated these couplets,
'Like fullest moon she shines on happiest night, * Soft sided fair, with slender shape bedight. Her eye-babes charm the world with gramarye; * Her lips remind of rose and ruby light. Her jetty locks make night upon her hips; * Ware, lovers, ware ye of that curl's despight! Yea, soft her sides are, but in love her heart * Outhardens flint, surpasses syenite: And bows of eyebrows shower glancey shafts * Despite the distance never fail to smite. Then, ah, her beauty! all the fair it passes; * Nor any rival her who see the light.'
When Shaykh Nasr heard these verses, he said, 'O my son, did I not warn thee not to open that door and enter that room? But now, O my son, tell me what thou sawest therein and acquaint me with all that betided thee.' So Janshah related to him all that had passed between him and the three maidens, and Shaykh Nasr, who sat listening in silence said, 'Know, O my son, that these three maidens are of the daughters of the Jann and come hither every year for a day, to divert themselves and make merry until mid afternoon, when they return to their own country.' Janshah asked, 'And where is their country?'; and the old man answered, 'By Allah, O my son, I wot not:' presently adding, 'but now take heart and put away this love from thee and come with me, that I may send thee to thine own land with the birds.' When Janshah heard this, he gave a great cry and fell down in a trance; and presently he came to himself, and said, 'O my father indeed I care not to return to my native land: all I want is to foregather with these maidens and know, O my father, that I will never again name my people, though I die before thee.' Then he wept and cried, 'Enough for me that I look upon the face of her I love, although it be only once in the year!' And he sighed deeply and repeated these couplets,
'Would Heaven the Phantom[FN#548] spared the friend at night * And would this love for man were ever dight! Were not my heart afire for love of you, * Tears ne'er had stained my cheeks nor dimmed my sight. By night and day, I bid my heart to bear * Its griefs, while fires of love my body blight.'
Then he fell at Shaykh Nasr's feet and kissed them and wept sore, crying, 'Have pity on me, so Allah take pity on thee and aid me in my strait so Allah aid thee!' Replied the old man, 'By Allah O my son, I know nothing of these maidens nor where may be their country; but, O my son, if thy heart be indeed set on one of them, tarry with me till this time next year for they will assuredly reappear; and, when the day of their coming draweth near, hide thyself under a tree in the garden. As soon as they have alighted and doffed their feather-robes and plunged into the lake and are swimming about at a distance from their clothes, seize the vest of her whom thy soul desireth. When they see thee, they will come a bank and she, whose coat thou hast taken, will accost thee and say to thee with the sweetest of speech and the most witching of smiles, 'Give me my dress, O my brother, that I may don it and veil my nakedness withal.' But if thou yield to her prayer and give her back the vest thou wilt never win thy wish: nay, she will don it and fly away to her folk and thou wilt nevermore see her again Now when thou hast gained the vest, clap it under thine armpit and hold it fast, till I return from the Parliament of the Fowls, when I will make accord between thee and her and send thee back to thy native land, and the maiden with thee. And this, O my son, is all I can do for thee, nothing more.' "—And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased saying her permitted say.
When it was the Five Hundred and Eleventh Night,
She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that "quoth Shaykh Nasr to Janshah, 'Hold fast the feather-robe of her thy soul desireth and give it not back to her till I return from the Parliament of the Fowls. And this, O my son, is all I can do for thee, nothing more.' When Janshah heard this, his heart was solaced and he abode with Shaykh Nasr yet another year, counting the days as they passed until the day of the coming of the birds. And when at last the appointed time arrived the old man said to him, 'Do as I enjoined thee and charged thee with the maidens in the matter of the feather-dress, for I go to meet the birds;' and Janshah replied, 'I hear and I obey, O my father.' Then the Shaykh departed whilst the Prince walked into the garden and hid himself under a tree, where none could see him. Here he abode a first day and a second and a third, but the maidens came not; whereat he was sore troubled and wept and sighed from a heart hard tried; and he ceased not weeping and wailing till he fainted away. When he came to himself, he fell to looking now at the basin and now at the welkin, and anon at the earth and anon at the open country, whilst his heart grieved for stress of love-longing. As he was in this case, behold, the three doves appeared in the firmament, eagle-sized as before, and flew till they reached the garden and lighted down beside the basin. They turned right and left; but saw no one, man or Jann; so they doffed their feather-suits and became three maidens. Then they plunged into the basin and swam about, laughing and frolicking; and all were mother-naked and fair as bars of virgin silver. Quoth the eldest, 'O my sister, I fear lest there be some one lying ambushed for us in the pavilion. Answered the second, 'O sister, since the days of King Solomon none hath entered the pavilion, be he man or Jann;' and the youngest added, laughing, 'By Allah, O my sisters, if there be any hidden there, he will assuredly take none but me.' Then they continued sporting and laughing and Janshah's heart kept fluttering for stress of passion: but he hid behind the tree so that he saw without being seen. Presently they swam out to the middle of the basin leaving their clothes on the bank. Hereupon he sprang to his feet, and running like the darting levee to the basin's brink, snatched up the feather-vest of the youngest damsel, her on whom his heart was set and whose name was Shamsah the Sun-maiden. At this the girls turned and seeing him, were affrighted and veiled their shame from him in the water. Then they swam near the shore and looking on his favour saw that he was bright faced as the moon on the night of fullness and asked him, 'Who art thou and how camest thou hither and why hast thou taken the clothes of the lady Shamsah?'; and he answered, 'Come hither to me and I will tell you my tale.' Quoth Shamsah, 'What deed is this, and why hast thou taken my clothes, rather than those of my sisters?' Quoth he, 'O light of mine eyes, come forth of the water, and I will recount thee my case and acquaint thee why I chose thee out.' Quoth she, 'O my lord and coolth of my eyes and fruit of my heart, give me my clothes, that I may put them on and cover my nakedness withal; then will I come forth to thee.' But he replied, 'O Princess of beautiful ones, how can I give thee back thy clothes and slay myself for love longing? Verily, I will not give them to thee, till Shaykh Nasr, the king of the birds, shall return.' Quoth she, 'If thou wilt not give me my clothes withdraw a little apart from us, that my sisters may land and dress themselves and lend me somewhat wherewithal to cover my shame.' 'I hear and obey,' answered he, and walked away from them into the pavilion, whereupon the three Princesses came out and the two elder, donning their dress, gave Shamsah somewhat thereof, not enough to fly withal, and she put it on and came forth of the water, and stood before him, as she were the rising full moon or a browsing gazelle. Then Shamsah entered the pavilion, where Janshah was still sitting on the throne; so she saluted him and taking seat near him, said, 'O fair of face, thou hast undone thyself and me; but tell us thy adventures that we may ken how it is with thee.' At these words he wept till he drenched his dress with his tears; and when she saw that he was distracted for love of her, she rose and taking him by the hand, made him sit by her side and wiped away the drops with her sleeve; and said she, 'O fair of face, leave this weeping and tell us thy tale.' So he related to her all that had befallen him and described to her all he had seen,"—And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased to say her permitted say.
When it was the Five Hundred and Twelfth Night,
She continued, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that "the lady Shamsah said to Janshah, 'Tell us thy tale;' so he related to her all that had befallen him; and, after she had lent attentive ear she sighed and said, 'O my lord, since thou art so fondly in love with me, give me my dress, that I may fly to my folk, I and my sisters, and tell them what affection thou hast conceived for me, and after I will come back to thee and carry thee to thine own country.' When he heard this, he wept sore and replied, 'Is it lawful to thee before Allah to slay me wrongfully?' She asked, 'O my lord, why should I do such wrongous deed?'; and he answered, 'If I give thee thy gear thou wilt fly away from me, and I shall die forthright.' Princess Shamsah laughed at this and so did her sisters; then said she to him, 'Be of good cheer and keep thine eyes cool and clear, for I must needs marry thee.' So saying, she bent down to him and embraced him and pressing him to her breast kissed him between the eyes and on his cheeks. They clipped and clasped each other awhile, after which they drew apart and sat down on the throne. Then the eldest Princess went out into the garden and, plucking somewhat of fruits and flowers, brought them into the pavilion; and they ate and drank and laughed and sported and made merry. Now Janshah was singular in beauty and loveliness and slender shape and symmetry and grace, and the Princess Shamsah said to him, 'O my beloved, by Allah, I love thee with exceeding love and will never leave thee!' When he heard her words, his breast broadened and he laughed for joy till he showed his teeth; and they abode thus awhile in mirth and gladness and frolic. And when they were at the height of their pleasure and joyance, behold, Shaykh Nasr returned from the Parliament of the Fowls and came in to them; whereupon they all rose to him and saluted him and kissed his hands. He gave them welcome and bade them be seated. So they sat down and he said to Princess Shamsah, 'Verily this youth loveth thee with exceeding love; Allah upon thee, deal kindly with him, for he is of the great ones of mankind and of the sons of the kings, and his father ruleth over the land of Kabul and his reign compasseth a mighty empire.' Quoth she, 'I hear and I obey thy behest'; and, kissing the Shaykh's hands stood before him in respect. Quoth he, 'If thou say sooth, swear to me by Allah that thou wilt never betray him, what while thou abidest in the bonds of life.' So she swore a great oath that she would never betray Janshah, but would assuredly marry him, and added, 'Know, O Shaykh Nasr, that I never will forsake him.' The Shaykh believed in her oath and said to Janshah, 'Thanks be to Allah, who hath made you arrive at this understanding!' Hereupon the Prince rejoiced with exceeding joy, and he and Shamsah abode three months with Shaykh Nasr, feasting and toying and making merry."— And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased saying her permitted say.
When it was the Five Hundred and Thirteenth Night,
She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that, "Janshah and the lady Shamsah abode three months with Shaykh Nasr, feasting and toying and making merry. And at the end of that time she said to Janshah, 'I wish to go with thee to thy mother land, where thou shalt marry me and we will abide there.' 'To hear is to obey,' answered he and took counsel with Shaykh Nasr who said to him, 'Go thou home, I commend her to thy care.' Then said she, 'O Shaykh Nasr, bid him render me my feather-suit.' So the Shaykh bade Janshah give it to her, and he went straightways into the pavilion and brought it out for her. There upon she donned it and said to him, 'Mount my back and shut thine eyes and stop thine ears, so thou mayst not hear the roar of the revolving sphere; and keep fast hold of my feathers, lest thou fall off.' He did as she bade him and, as she stretched her wings to fly, Shaykh Nasr said, 'Wait a while till I describe to thee the land Kabul, lest you twain miss your way.' So she delayed till he had said his say and had bidden them farewell, commending the Prince to her care. She took leave of her sisters and bade them return to her folk and tell them what had befallen her with Janshah; then, rising into the air without stay or delay she flew off, like the wafts of the wind or the ramping leven. Her sisters also took flight and returning home delivered her message to their people. And she stayed not her course from the forenoon till the hour of mid- afternoon prayer (Janshah being still on her back), when she espied afar off a Wady abounding in trees and streams and she said to Janshah, 'I am thinking to alight in this valley, that we may solace ourselves amongst its trees and herbage and here rest for the night.' Quoth he, "Do what seemeth meet to thee!' So she swooped down from the lift and alighted in the Wady, when Janshah dismounted and kissing her between the eyes,[FN#549] sat with her awhile on the bank of a river there; then they rose and wandered about the valley, taking their pleasure therein and eating of the fruits of the trees, until nightfall, when they lay down under a tree and slept till the morning dawned. As soon as it was day, the Princess arose and, bidding Janshah mount, flew on with him till noon, when she perceived by the appearance of the buildings which Shaykh Nasr had described to her, that they were nearing the city Kabul. So she swooped down from the welkin and alighted in a wide plain, a blooming champaign, wherein were gazelles straying and springs playing and rivers flowing and ripe fruits growing. So Janshah dismounted and kissed her between the eyes; and she asked him, 'O my beloved and coolth of mine eyes, knowest thou how many days' journey we have come since yesterday?'; and he answered, 'No,' when she said, 'We have come thirty months' journey.' Quoth he, 'Praised be Allah for safety!' Then they sat down side by side and ate and drank and toyed and laughed. And whilst they were thus pleasantly engaged, behold, there came up to them two of the King's Mamelukes of those who had been of the Prince's company, one of them was he whom he had left with the horses, when he embarked in the fishing-boat and the other had been of his escort in the chase. As soon as they saw Janshah, both knew him and saluted him; then said they, 'With thy leave, we will go to thy sire and bear him the glad tidings of thy coming.' Replied the Prince, 'Go ye to my father and acquaint him with my case, and fetch us tents, for we will tarry here seven days to rest ourselves till he make ready his retinue to meet us, that we may enter in stateliest state.'"—And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased to say her permitted say.
When it was the Five Hundred and Fourteenth Night,
She continued, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that "Janshah said to the two Mamelukes, 'Go ye to my sire and acquaint him with my case and fetch us tents, for we will abide here seven days to rest ourselves, till he make ready his retinue to meet us that we may enter in the stateliest state.' So the officers hastened back to King Teghmus and said to him, 'Good news, O King of the age!' Asked he, 'What good tidings bring ye: is my son Janshah come back?'; and they answered, 'Yes, thy son Janshah hath returned from his strangerhood and is now near at hand in the Kirn mead.' Now when the King heard this, he joyed with great joy and fell down in a swoon for excess of gladness; then, coming to himself, he bade his Wazir give each of the Mamelukes a splendid suit of honour and a sum of money. The minister replied, 'I hear and obey,' and forthright did his bidding and said to them, 'Take this in turn for the good tidings ye bring, whether ye lie or say sooth.' They replied, 'Indeed we lie not, for but now we sat with him and saluted him and kissed his hands and he bade us fetch him tents, for that he would sojourn in the meadow seven days, till such time as the Wazirs and Emirs and Grandees should come out to meet him.' Quoth the King, 'How is it with my son?' and quoth they, 'He hath with him a Houri, as he had brought her out of Paradise.' At this, King Teghmus bade beat the kettledrums and sound the trumpets for gladness, and despatched messengers to announce the good news to Janshah's mother and to the wives of the Emirs and Wazirs and Lords of the realm: so the criers spread themselves about the city and acquainted the people with the coming of Prince Janshah. Then the King made ready, and, setting out for the Kirani meadow with his horsemen and footmen, came upon Janshah who was sitting at rest with the lady Shamsah beside him and, behold, all suddenly drew in sight. The Prince rose to his feet and walked forward to meet them; and the troops knew him and dismounted, to salute him and kiss his hands: after which he set out preceded by the men in single file till he came to his sire, who, at sight of his son threw himself from his horse's back and clasped him to his bosom and wept flooding tears of joy. Then they took horse again with the retinue riding to the right and left and fared forward till they came to the river banks; when the troops alighted and pitched their tents and pavilions and standards to the blare of trump and the piping of fife and the dub-a-dub of drum and tom-tom. Moreover the King bade the tent pitchers set up a pavilion of red silk for the Princess Shamsah, who put off her scanty raiment of feathers for fine robes and, entering the pavilion, there took seat. And as she sat in her beauty, behold, the King and his son Janshah came in to her, and when she saw Teghmus, she rose and kissed the ground before him. The King sat down and seating Janshah on his right hand and Princess Shamsah on his left, bade her welcome and said to his son, 'Tell me all that hath befallen thee in this thy long strangerhood.' So Janshah related to him the whole of his adventures from first to last, whereat he marvelled with exceeding marvel and turning to the Princess, said, 'Laud to Allah for that He hath caused thee to reunite me with my son! Verily this is of His exceeding bounty!'"[FN#550]—And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased saying her permitted say.
When it was the Five Hundred and Fifteenth Night,
She pursued, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that "King Teghmus said to the lady Shamsah, 'Laud to Allah for that He hath caused thee to reunite me with my son! Verily this is of His exceeding bounty.' And now I would have thee ask of me what thou wilt, that I may do it in thine honour.' Quoth she, 'I ask of thee that thou build me a palace in the midst of a flower garden, with water running under it.' And the King answered, 'I hear and obey.' And behold, up came Janshah's mother, attended by all the wives of the Wazirs and Emirs and nobles and city notables. When her son had sight of her, he rose and leaving the tent, went forth to meet her and they embraced a long while, whilst the Queen wept for excess of joy and with tears trickling from her eyes repeated the following verses,
'Joy so o'ercometh me, for stress of joy * In that which gladdeneth me I fain shed tears: Tears are become your nature, O my eyes, * Who weep for joyance as for griefs and fears.'
And they complained to each other of all their hearts had suffered from the long separation. Then the King departed to his pavilion and Janshah carried his mother to his own tent, where they sat talking till there came up some of the lady Shamsah's attendants who said, The Princess is now walking hither in order to salute thee. When the Queen heard this, she rose and going to meet Shamsah, saluted her and seated her awhile by her side. Presently the Queen and her retinue of noble women, the spouses of the Emirs and Grandees, returned with Princess Shamsah to the tent occupied by her daughter-in-law and sat there. Meanwhile, King Teghmus gave great largesse to his levies and liege and rejoiced in his son with exceeding joy, and they tarried there ten days, feasting and merry making and living a most joyous life. At the end of this time, the King commanded a march and they all returned to the capital, so he took horse surrounded by all the troops with the Wazirs and Chamberlains to his right and left nor ceased they faring till they entered the city, which was decorated after the goodliest fashion; for the folk had adorned the houses with precious stuffs and jewellery and spread costly bro cedes under the hoofs of the horses. The drums beat for glad tidings and the Grandees of the kingdom rejoiced and brought rich gifts and the lookers-on were filled with amazement. Furthermore, they fed the mendicants and Fakirs and held high festival for the space of ten days, and the lady Shamsah joyed with exceeding joy whenas she saw this. Then King Teghmus summoned architects and builders and men of art and bade them build a palace in that garden. So they straightway proceeded to do his bidding; and, when Janshah knew of his sire's command he caused the artificers to fetch a block of white marble and carve it and hollow it in the semblance of a chest; which being done he took the feather- vest of Princess Shamsah wherewith she had flown with him through the air: then, sealing the cover with melted lead, he ordered them to bury the box in the foundations and build over it the arches whereon the palace was to rest. They did as he bade them, nor was it long before the palace was finished: then they furnished it and it was a magnificent edifice, standing in the midst of the garden, with streams flowing under its walls.[FN#551] Upon this the King caused Janshah's wedding to be celebrated with the greatest splendour and they brought the bride to the castle in state procession and went their ways. When the lady Shamsah entered, she smelt the scent of her feather-gear."— And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased to say her permitted say.
When it was the Five Hundred and Sixteenth Night,
She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that "when the lady Shamsah entered the new palace, she smelt the scent of her flying feather-gear and knew where it was and determined to take it. So she waited till midnight, when Janshah was drowned in sleep; then she rose and going straight to the place where the marble coffer was buried under the arches she hollowed the ground alongside till she came upon it; when she removed the lead where with it was soldered and, taking out the feather-suit, put it on. Then she flew high in air and perching on the pinnacle of the palace, cried out to those who were therein, saying, 'I pray you fetch me Janshah, that I may bid him farewell.' So they told him and he came out and, seeing her on the terrace roof of the palace, clad in her feather-raiment, asked her, 'Why hast thou done this deed?'; and she answered 'O my beloved and coolth of mine eyes and fruit of my heart, by Allah, I love thee passing dear and I rejoice with exceeding joy in that I have restored thee to thy friends and country and thou hast seen thy mother and father. And now, if thou love me as I love thee, come to me at Takni, the Castle of Jewels.' So saying, she flew away forthright to find her family and friends, and Janshah fell down fainting, being well-nigh dead for despair. They carried the news to King Teghmus, who mounted at once and riding to the palace, found his son lying senseless on the ground; whereat he wept knowing that the swoon was caused by the loss of his love, and sprinkled rose- water on his face.[FN#552] When the Prince came to himself and saw his sire sitting at his head, he wept at the thought of losing his wife and the King asked what had befallen him. So he replied, 'Know, O my father, that the lady Shamsah is of the daughters of the Jann and she hath done such and such' (telling him all that had happened); and the King said, 'O my son, be not troubled and thus concerned, for I will assemble all the merchants and wayfarers in the land and enquire of them anent that castle. If we can find out where it is, we will journey thither and demand the Princess Shamsah of her people, and we hope in Allah the Almighty that He will give her back to thee and thou shalt consummate thy marriage.' Then he went out and, calling his four Wazirs without stay or delay, bade them assemble all the merchants and voyagers in the city and question them of Takni, the Castle of Jewels, adding, 'Whoso knoweth it and can guide us thither, I will surely give him fifty thousand gold pieces.' The Wazirs accordingly went forth at once and did as the King bade them, but neither trader nor traveller could give them news of Takni, the Castle of Jewels; so they returned and told the King. Thereupon he bade bring beautiful slave-girls and concubines and singers and players upon instruments of music, whose like are not found but with the Kings: and sent them to Janshah, so haply they might divert him from the love of the lady Shamsah. Moreover, he despatched couriers and spies to all the lands and islands and climes, to enquire for Takni, the Castle of Jewels, and they made quest for it two months long, but none could give them news thereof. So they returned and told the King, whereupon he wept bitter tears and going in to his son found Janshah sitting amidst the concubines and singers and players on harp and zither and so forth, not one of whom could console him for the lady Shamsah. Quoth Teghmus, O my son, I can find none who knoweth this Castle of Jewels; but I will bring thee a fairer one than she.' When Janshah heard this his eyes ran over with tears and he recited these two couplets,
'Patience hath fled, but passion fareth not; * And all my frame with pine is fever-hot: When will the days my lot with Shamsah join? * Lo, all my bones with passion-lowe go rot!'
Now there was a deadly feud between King Teghmus and a certain King of Hind, by name Kafd, who had great plenty of troops and warriors and champions; and under his hand were a thousand puissant chieftains, each ruling over a thousand tribes whereof every one could muster four thousand cavaliers. He reigned over a thousand cities each guarded by a thousand forts and he had four Wazirs and under him ruled Emirs, Princes and Sovereigns; and indeed he was a King of great might and prowess whose armies filled the whole earth. Now King Teghmus had made war upon him and ravaged his reign and slain his men and of his treasures had made gain. But when it came to King Kafid's knowledge that King Teghmus was occupied with the love of his son, so that he neglected the affairs of the state and his troops were grown few and weak by reason of his care and concern for his son's state, he summoned his Wazirs and Emirs and said to them, 'Ye all know that whilom King Teghmus invaded our dominions and plundered our possessions and slew my father and brethren, nor indeed is there one of you, but he hath harried his lands and carried off his goods and made prize of his wives and slain some kinsmen of his. Now I have heard this day that he is absorbed in the love of his son Janshah, and that his troops are grown few and weak; and this is the time to take our blood revenge on him. So make ready for the march and don ye your harness of battle; and let nothing stay or delay you, and we will go to him and fall upon him and slay him and his son, and possess ourselves of his reign.'"—And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased saying her permitted say.
When it was the Five Hundred and Seventeenth Night,
She continued, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that "Kafid, King of Hind, commanded his troops and armies to mount and make for the dominions of King Teghmus, saying, 'Get ye ready for the march and don ye your harness of war; and let nothing stay or delay you; so we will go to him and fall upon him and slay him and his son and possess ourselves of his reign.' They all answered with one voice, saying, 'We hear and obey,' and fell at once to equipping themselves and levying troops; and they ceased not their preparations for three months and, when all was in readiness, they beat the drums and sounded the trumps and flew the flags and banners: then King Kafid set out at the head of his host and they fared on till they reached the frontiers of the land of Kabul, the dominions of King Teghmus, where they began to harry the land and do havoc among the folk, slaughtering the old and taking the young prisoners. When the news reached King Teghmus, he was wroth with exceeding wrath and assembling his Grandees and officers of state, said to them 'Know that Kafid hath come to our land and hath entered the realm we command and is resolved to fight us hand to hand, and he leadeth troops and champions and warriors, whose number none knoweth save Allah Almighty; what deme deem ye?' Replied they, 'O King of the age, let us go out to him and give him battle and drive him forth of our country; and thus deem we.' So he bade them prepare for battle and brought forth to them hauberks and cuirasses and helmets and swords and all manner of warlike gear, such as lay low warriors and do to death the champions of mankind. So the troops and braves and champions flocked together and they set up the standards and beat the drums and sounded the trumpets and clashed the cymbals and piped on the pipes; and King Teghmus marched out at the head of his army, to meet the hosts of Hind. And when he drew near the foe, he called a halt, and encamping with his host in the Zahrn Valley,[FN#553] hard by the frontier of Kabul despatched to King Kafid by messenger the following letter: 'Know that what thou hast done is of the doings of the villain rabble and wert thou indeed a King, the son of a King, thou hadst not done thus, nor hadst thou invaded my kingdom and slain my subjects and plundered their property and wrought upright upon them. Knowest thou not that all this is the fashion of a tyrant! Verily, had I known that thou durst harry my dominions, I had come to thee before thy coming and had prevented thee this long while since. Yet, even now, if thou wilt retire and leave mischief between us and thee, well and good; but if thou return not, meet me in the listed field and measure thyself with me in cut and thrust.' Lastly he sealed his letter and committed to an officer of his army and sent with him spies to spy him out news. The messenger fared forth with the missive and, drawing near the enemy's camp, he descried a multitude of tents of silk and satin, with pennons of blue sendal, and amongst them a great pavilion of red satin, surrounded by a host of guards. He ceased not to advance till he made this tent and found on asking that it was that of King Kafid, whom he saw seated on a chair set with jewels, in the midst of his Wazirs and Emirs and Grandees. So he brought out the letter and straightway there came up to him a company of guards, who took it from him and carried it to the King; and Kafid read it and wrote a reply to this purport: 'After the usual invocations, We let King Teghmus know that we mean to take our blood-revenge on thee and wash out our stain and waste thy reign and rend the curtain in twain and slay the old men and enslave the young men. But to-morrow, come thou forth to combat in the open plain, and to show thee thrust and fight will I deign.' Then he sealed the letter and delivered it to the messenger, who carried it to King Teghmus."—And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased to say her permitted say.