The Arabian Nights, Volume II of IV by Edward Forster and Antoine Galland

THE

ARABIAN NIGHTS.

VOL. II.

THE

ARABIAN NIGHTS.

IN FOUR VOLUMES,

TRANSLATED

BY

EDWARD FORSTER, M. A.

THE FOURTH EDITION.

VOL. II.

LONDON:

PRINTED FOR WILLIAM MILLER, ALBEMARLE-STREET,

Reprinted by Assignment, for

THOMAS TEGG, NO. 111, CHEAPSIDE.

1815.

W. Lewis, Printer, St. John’s Square, London.

THE

ARABIAN NIGHTS.

THE HISTORY

OF THE LITTLE HUNCHBACK.

In the city of Casgar, which is situated near the farther extremity of Great Tartary, there formerly lived a tailor, who had the good fortune to possess a very beautiful wife, between whom and her husband there existed the strongest mutual affection. One day, while the tailor was at work in his shop, a little hunchbacked fellow came and sat down at the door, and began playing on a tymbal, which he accompanied with his voice. The tailor was much pleased with his performance, and resolved to carry him home, that he might entertain his wife, who would equally, he thought, with himself, be amused in the evening with his pleasant and humorous songs. He immediately therefore made the proposal to the little hunchback, who readily accepted the invitation; and the tailor directly shut up his shop, and took him home with him.

They were no sooner arrived than the tailor’s wife, who had already set out the table, as it was near supper time, placed upon it a very nice dish of fish, which she had been dressing. They all three then sat down; but in eating, the little hunchback had the misfortune to swallow a large fish-bone, which stuck fast in his throat, and almost instantly killed him, before the tailor or his wife could apply any relief. They were both most dreadfully frightened at this accident; for, as it happened in their house, they had great reason to fear it might come to the knowledge of some of the officers of justice, who would punish them as murderers; the husband, however, thought of an expedient to get rid of the dead body.

He recollected, that there lived in his neighbourhood, a physician, who was a Jew; and he formed a plan, which he directly began to put in execution. He and his wife took up the body, one by the head and the other by the feet, and carried it to the physician’s house. They knocked at the door, which was at the bottom of a steep and narrow flight of stairs that led to his apartment. A maid servant immediately came down, without even staying for a light; and opening the door, asked them what they wanted. “I will thank you to go and tell your master,” said the tailor, “that we have brought him a patient, who is very ill, and for whom we request his advice. Stop,” added he, holding out a piece of money in his hand, “give him this in advance, that he may be assured we do not intend he should lose his labour for nothing.” While the servant went back to inform her master, the Jewish physician, of this good news, the tailor and his wife quickly carried the body of the little hunchback up stairs, left him close to the door, and returned home as fast as possible.

In the mean time the servant went and told the physician, that a man and a woman were waiting for him at the door, and requested him to go down to see a sick person whom they had brought for that purpose. She then gave him the money she had received from the tailor. Transported with joy at the idea of being paid beforehand, he conceived it must be a most excellent patient, that they had brought him; and one who ought not to be neglected. “Bring a light directly,” cried he to the girl, “and follow me.”—“Having said this, he ran towards the staircase in such a hurry, that he did not wait for the light, and encountering little hunchback, he gave him such a blow with his foot, as sent him from the top of the stairs to the bottom; and he had some difficulty to prevent himself from following him. “Why don’t you come with the light?” he called out to the servant. She at last appeared, and they went down stairs. When the physician found that what had rolled down stairs turned out to be a dead man, he was so alarmed at the sight, that he invoked Moses, Aaron, Joshua, Esdras, and all the other prophets of the law to his assistance. “Wretch, that I am,” exclaimed he, “why did I not wait for the light? why did I go down in the dark? I have completely killed the sick man, whom they brought to me. I am the cause of his death, and if the good ass [1] of Esdras does not come to my assistance, I am a lost man. Alas, alas, they will come and drag me hence as a murderer.”

Notwithstanding the perplexity he was in, he had the precaution to shut his door, for fear, that as any one passed along the street, they might perchance discover the unfortunate accident, of which he believed himself to be the cause. He immediately took up the body, and carried it into his wife’s apartment, who was near fainting when she saw him come in with his fatal load. “Alas,” she cried, “we are quite lost, if we cannot find some means of getting rid of this dead man before to-morrow morning. We shall inevitably forfeit our lives, if we keep him till day breaks. What a misfortune! how could you kill this man?”—“Never mind, in this dilemma, how it happened,” said the Jew, “our only business at present is how to remedy so dreadful a calamity.”

The physician and his wife then consulted together upon the best means of ridding themselves of the body during the night. The husband pondered a long time, but could think of no stratagem likely to extricate them from this embarrassment; but his wife was more fertile in invention, and said, “A thought occurs to me. Let us take the carcase up to the terrace of our house, and let him down the chimney, into that of our neighbour’s, the mussulman.”

This mussulman was one of the sultan’s purveyors; and it was his office to furnish oil, butter, and all other articles of a similar kind. His warehouse for these things was in his dwelling-house, where the rats and mice used to make great havoc and destruction.

The Jewish physician having approved of his wife’s plan, they took the little hunchback and carried him to the roof of the house, and having first fastened a cord under his arms, they let him gently down the chimney into the purveyor’s apartment. They managed this so adroitly, that he remained standing on his feet against the wall, exactly as if he were alive. As soon as they found they had landed him, they drew up the cords, and left him precisely in the situation I have related. They had hardly gone down from the terrace, and retired to their chamber, when the purveyor went into his. He was just returned from a wedding feast, which he had been invited to partake of on that evening; and he had a lantern in his hand. He was very much surprised at seeing, by means of this light, a man standing up in the chimney: but as he was naturally of a brave and courageous disposition, and as he thought it was a thief, he seized hold of a large stick, with which he directly ran at little hunchback, “Ah, ah,” he cried, “I thought it was the rats and mice who eat my butter and tallow; and it is you, who come down the chimney, and rob me. I don’t think you will ever wish to visit me again.” In saying this he attacked hunchback, and gave him many hard blows. The body at last fell down, with its face on the ground. The purveyor then redoubled his blows; but at length remarking, that the body he struck did not make the least motion, he stopped to observe it. Perceiving then that it was a dead man, fear succeeded to rage. “What have I done, miserable wretch that I am!” he exclaimed. “Alas I have carried my vengeance too far. Good God, have pity upon me, or my life is gone. I wish all the butter and oil were destroyed a thousand times over, before they had caused me to commit so criminal an action.” He remained pale and confounded; and imagined he already saw the officers of justice coming to conduct him to his punishment: he knew not what course to follow.

While the sultan of Casgar’s purveyor was beating the little hunchback, he did not perceive his hump; the instant he did, he poured out an hundred imprecations on it. “Oh, you rascal of a hunchback, you dog of deformity? would to God you had robbed me of all my fat and grease before I had found you here. I should not then have got into the scrape I have, and be hanged to you, and your rascally hump. O ye stars, which shine in the heavens,” he cried, “shed your light to lead me out of the imminent danger in which I am.” Having said this, he took the body of the hunchback upon his shoulders, went out of his chamber, and walked into the street, where he set it upright against a shop, and having done this, he made the best of the way to his house, without once looking behind him.

A little while before day-break, a Christian merchant who was very rich, and who furnished the palace of the sultan with most things which were wanted there, having passed the night in revelry and debauchery, was just come from home in his way to a bath. Although he was much intoxicated, he had still sufficient recollection to know, that the night was far advanced, and that the people would very soon be called to early prayers. It was for this reason that he was making all the haste he could in order to arrive at the bath, for fear any mussulman, as he was going to mosque, should meet him, and order him to prison as a drunkard. When he was at the end of the street, however, he stopped, for some occasion or other, close to the shop against which the sultan’s purveyor had placed little hunchback’s body, which at the very first touch fell directly against the merchant’s back. The latter took him for a robber, that was attacking him; and therefore knocked him down with his fist, with which he struck him on the head. He immediately repeated his blows, and began calling out, “Thief, thief.”

The guard, belonging to that quarter of the city, came directly on hearing his cries; and seeing that it was a Christian who was beating a mussulman, (for little hunchback was of our religion,) “What business have you,” he said, “to ill-treat a mussulman in that manner?”—“He wanted to rob me,” answered the merchant, “and he attacked me behind in order to seize me by my throat.”—“You have revenged yourself pretty well,” replied the guard, taking hold of the merchant’s arm, and pulling him away, “let him go therefore.” At the same time he held out his hand to the hunchback, to assist him in getting up; but observing that he was dead, “Oh, oh,” he cried, “is it thus then, that a Christian has the impudence to assassinate a mussulman.” Having said this, he arrested the Christian merchant, and carried him before the magistrate of the police, from whence they sent him to prison, till the judge had risen, and was ready to examine the accused. In the mean time the merchant became completely sober; and the more he reflected upon this adventure, the less could he comprehend how a single blow with the fist was capable of taking away the life of a man.

Upon the report of the guard, and after having seen the body, which they had brought with them, the judge examined the Christian merchant, who could not deny the crime, although he in fact was not guilty of it. As the little hunchback belonged to the sultan, for he was one of his buffoons, the judge determined not to put the Christian to death, till he had learnt the will of the prince. He went, therefore, to the palace, in order to give an account of what had passed to the sultan; who having heard the whole story, replied, “I have no mercy to show towards a Christian who kills a mussulman; go and do your duty.” At these words the judge of the police went back, and ordered a gibbet to be erected; and then sent some criers through the city to make known, that a Christian was going to be hanged for having killed a mussulman.

At last they took the merchant out of prison, and conducted him on foot to the gallows. The executioner having fastened the cord round the merchant’s neck, was just going to draw him up into the air, when the sultan’s purveyor, making his way through the crowd, approached the executioner, and called out, “Stop, stop, do not be in a hurry; it is not he who has committed the murder; I have done it.” The judge of the police, who attended the execution, immediately interrogated the purveyor, who gave him a long and minute detail of the manner in which he had killed the little hunchback; and he concluded by saying, that he had carried the body to the place where the Christian merchant had found it. “You are going,” added he, “to sacrifice an innocent person, since he could not kill a man that was not alive. It is enough for me to have slain a mussulman, without having to charge my conscience with the murder of a Christian, who is not criminal.”

When the purveyor of the sultan of Casgar had thus publicly accused himself of being the author of the hunchback’s death, the judge could not do otherwise than act with justice towards the merchant. “Let the Christian merchant go,” said he to the executioner, “and hang this man in his place, since it is evident, by his own confession, that he is the guilty person. The executioner immediately released the merchant, and put the rope round the neck of the purveyor; and at the very instant that he was going to complete the punishment, he heard the voice of the Jewish physician, who desired them to stop the execution that instant, that he might come and take his place at the foot of the gallows.

“Sir,” said he, as soon as he was come before the judge, “this mussulman, whom you are about to deprive of his life, does not deserve to die; I alone am the guilty wretch. About the middle of last night, a man and a woman, who are total strangers to me, came and knocked at my door, with a sick person, whom they brought with them: my servant went instantly to the door without waiting for a light, and having first received a piece of money from one of them, she came to me and said, that they wished I would come down and look at the sick person. While she was bringing me this message, they brought the patient up to the top of the stairs, and then disappeared. I went directly out, without waiting till my servant had lighted a candle; and meeting with the sick man in the dark, I gave him an unintentional kick, and he fell from the top to the bottom of the staircase. I then discovered that he was dead, and that he was a mussulman, and the very same little hunchback whose murderer you now wish to punish. My wife and myself took the body and carried it to the roof of our home, whence we let it down into that of our neighbour, the purveyor, whose life you are now going most unjustly to take away; as we were the persons who placed the body in his apartment, by lowering it down the chimney. When the purveyor discovered him, he took him for a thief, and treated him as such. He knocked him down, and believed he had killed him; but this is not the fact, as you may now be convinced by my confession. I alone am the author of the murder; and although it was unintentional, I am resolved to expiate my crime, and not charge my conscience with the death of two mussulmen, by suffering you to take away the life of the sultan’s purveyor, whose innocence I thus clearly prove to you. Dismiss him then, if you please, and put me in his place; since no one but myself was the cause of the hunchback’s death.

As soon as the judge was convinced that the Jewish physician was the true murderer, he ordered the executioner to take him, and set the purveyor at liberty. The cord was now placed round the neck of the physician, and he had hardly a moment to live, when the voice of the tailor was heard, who entreated the executioner not to proceed, while he made his way to the judge of the police, to whom, on his approach, he said, “You have been very near, sir, causing the death of three innocent persons; but if you will have the patience to listen to me, you shall be informed of the true murderer of the hunchback. If his death ought to be expiated by that of another person, mine is the one to be taken.

“As I was at work in my shop yesterday evening, a little before dark, and in a disposition well suited to enjoy any amusement, this little hunchback came up to it half drunk, and sat down. He immediately began to sing, and went on for some time, when I proposed to him to come and pass the evening at my house. He no sooner agreed to it, than I conducted him thither. We sat down to table almost directly, and I helped him to a little piece of fish; in eating of which a bone stuck fast in his throat, and in spite of every thing that my wife and I could do to relieve him, he died in a very short time. We were much afflicted at his death; and for fear of being taken up on account of it, we carried the body to the door of the Jewish physician. I knocked, and told the servant, who opened it, to go back to her master as soon as possible, and request him from us to come down, to see a patient, whom we had brought to him; and that he might not refuse coming, I charged her to put into his own hand a piece of money, which I gave her for that purpose. She was no sooner gone up, than I carried the little hunchback to the top of the stairs, and laid him on the first step: having done this, my wife and myself made the best of our way home. When the physician came out in order to go down, he stumbled against the hunchback, and rolled him down from the top to the bottom, which made him suppose he was the cause of his death. Since, however,” added he, “the case is as it is, let the physician go, and take my life instead of his.”

The judge of the police, and all the spectators, were filled with astonishment at the various strange events that the death of the little hunchback seemed to have given rise to. “Let the physician then depart,” said the judge, “and hang the tailor, since he confesses the crime. I must candidly own, that this adventure is a very extraordinary one, and is worthy of being written in letters of gold.” When the executioner had set the physician at liberty, he put the cord round the tailor’s neck.

While all this was passing, and the executioner was preparing to hang the tailor, the sultan of Casgar, who never passed any length of time without seeing the little hunchback, his buffoon, ordered him into his presence; when one of the attendants replied, “Little hunchback, sire, whom your majesty is so desirous to see, after having got drunk yesterday, escaped from the palace, contrary to his usual custom, in order to wander about the city; and this morning he was found dead. They have brought a man before the judge of the police, who was accused of his murder, and the judge immediately ordered a gibbet to be erected. At the very moment they were going to hang the accused person, another man came up to the gallows, and then a third, who each accused themselves, and declared the former to be innocent of the murder. All this took up some time, and the judge is at this moment in the very act of examining this third man, who says that he is the real murderer.”

On hearing this, the sultan of Casgar sent one of his attendants to the place of execution, “Go,” he cried, “with all possible speed, and tell the judge instantly to bring all the accused persons before me; and order them also to bring the body of poor little hunchback, whom I wish once more to see.” The officer instantly went, and arrived at the very moment that the executioner began to draw the cord, in order to hang the tailor. He called out to them as loud as he could to suspend the execution. As the hangman knew the officer, he durst not proceed, but let the tailor live. The officer, having now come up to the judge, declared the will of the sultan. The judge obeyed, and proceeded to the palace with the tailor, the Jew, the purveyor, and the Christian merchant, and ordered four of his people to carry the body of the hunchback.

As soon as they were come into the presence of the sultan, the judge prostrated himself at his feet; and when he got up, he gave a faithful and accurate detail of every thing that related to the adventure of little hunchback. The sultan thought it so very singular, that he commanded his own historian to write it down, with all its particulars: then addressing himself to those who were present, he said, “Have any one of you ever heard a more wonderful adventure than this, which is now happened to the hunchback, my buffoon?” The Christian merchant, having first prostrated himself so low at the sultan’s feet, that his head touched the ground, then spoke as follows: “Powerful monarch, I think I am acquainted with a still more surprising history than that which you have just heard recited; and if your majesty will grant me permission, I will relate it. The circumstances are of such a nature, that no person can hear them without being affected at the narrative.” The sultan having permitted him to speak, he began his story in these words:

THE STORY

TOLD BY THE CHRISTIAN MERCHANT.

Before I begin, sire, the account which your majesty has consented to listen to, I must, if you please, just remark, that I have not the honour of being born in any spot within the limits of your empire. I am a stranger: a native of Cairo, in Egypt, of Coptic parents, and by religion a Christian. My father was by profession a broker, and had amassed a considerable fortune, which, when he died, he left to me. I followed his example, and pursued the same line of business. One day, when I was in the public grain market at Cairo, which is frequented by the dealers in all sorts of grain, a young merchant, very well made, handsomely dressed, and mounted upon an ass, accosted me. He saluted me, and opening a handkerchief, in which he had a sample of sesamè, he showed it to me, and inquired how much a large measure of grain of a similar quality was worth. I examined the sample, which the young merchant had put into my hands, and told him, that, according to the present price, a large measure was worth a hundred drachms of silver. “Look then,” he said, “for a merchant who will buy it at that price, and come to the gate, called Victory, where you will see a khan, separate from every other house, and I will wait for you there.” Having said this, he went away, and left me the sample of sesamè, which I showed to different merchants on the spot, who all said, they would take as much as I would sell them, at one hundred and ten drachms of silver a measure; and at this rate I should gain ten drachms for each measure sold.

Pleased with so much profit, I went directly to the Victory gate, where the merchant was waiting for me. He carried me into his warehouse, which was full of sesamè. I had it measured, and there were about one hundred and fifty large measures. I then loaded it upon asses and went and sold it for five thousand drachms [2] of silver. “Of this sum,” said the young man to me, “you have a right, according to our agreement, to five hundred drachms, after the rate of ten drachms a measure; what remains belongs to me, but as I have no immediate want of it, go in and put it by for me, till I shall come and demand it of you.” I told him, it should be ready at any time, that he should wish to come for it, or send any one to demand it. I kissed his hand, when he left me; and went home, very well satisfied with his generosity.

A whole month passed without my seeing him; at the end of which time he appeared. “Where,” he asked me, “are the four thousand five hundred drachms of silver, which you owe me?”—“They are all ready,” I replied, “and I will immediately count them out to you.” As he was mounted upon an ass, I requested him to alight, and do me the honour to eat with me before he received his money. “No,” he answered, “I have not time at present, I have some urgent business, which requires my presence, and cannot stay; but, in coming back, I will call for my money; be so good as to have it ready for me.” Having said this, he went away. I waited for him a long time, but it was to no purpose, for he did not return till a month after. “This young merchant,” thought I to myself, “places a great deal of confidence in me, to leave the sum of four thousand five hundred drachms of silver in my hands, without knowing any thing of me. No one besides himself would surely act thus, for fear I should run away with the money.” At the end of the third month, I saw him come back, mounted upon the same ass, but much more magnificently dressed than he was before.

As soon as I perceived the young man, I went out to meet him. I entreated him to alight, and asked, whether he wished me to count out the money which I had of his. “Never mind that,” he replied, in a lively and contented manner, “I am in no hurry. I know it is in good hands: and I will come and take it when I shall have spent all I now have, and nothing more remains. Adieu,” added he, “and expect me again at the end of the week.” At these words, he gave his ass a cut with his whip, and was out of sight in a moment. “Vastly well;” said I to myself, “he has told me to expect him in a week, and yet if I may judge from the tenor of his conversation, I may not see him this age. Why should not I in the mean time make some use of his money? it will be of considerable advantage to me.”

I was not mistaken in my conjecture, for a whole year passed before I heard any thing of the young man. At the end of this time he again appeared, and as richly dressed as he had been the last time he came; but there seemed to me to be something or other which affected his spirits. I entreated him so far to honour me, as to come into my house. “I agree to it for this once,” he replied, “but it is only on condition, that you put yourself to no additional trouble or expence on my account.”—“I will do exactly as you please,” I said, “if you will favor me by coming in.” He immediately alighted, and entered my house. I then gave orders for the refreshments I wished to be procured, and while they were getting ready, we entered into conversation; and when the repast was served, we sat down to table. The very first morsel he took, I observed it was with his left hand, and I continued all the time to be much astonished at never seeing him make use of his right. I knew not what to think of it. “From the very first moment,” I said to myself, “I have known this merchant, I have always seen him behave with the greatest politeness; and it is impossible that he can act thus out of contempt for me. What can be the reason of his making no use of his right hand?” This matter continued to puzzle me extremely.

When the repast was over, and my servants had cleared every thing away, and left the room, we went and sat down on a sofa. I then offered, as a sort of relish, a very excellent kind of lozenge. Still he took it with his left hand. “I entreat you, sir,” at last I cried, “to pardon the liberty I take in asking you, how it happens, that you always make use of your left hand, and never of the right: some accident surely has happened to it?” At this he gave a deep sigh, and instead of answering me, he drew out his right arm from his robe, under which he had till now quite concealed it; when I saw, to my utter astonishment, that his hand was cut off. “You were much shocked, without doubt,” he said, “at seeing me eat with my left hand; but you now see I could not do otherwise.”—“May I inquire,” I answered, “how you had the misfortune to lose your right hand?” At this request he began to shed tears; after some time, however, he told me his history, which I am now going to repeat.

“I must in the first place inform you,” said the young man, “that I am a native of Bagdad. My father was extremely rich, and one of the most eminent men, both as to rank and quality, in that city. I had hardly begun to enter into the society of the world, when I was struck with the accounts which many people, who had travelled in that country, gave of the wonderful and extraordinary things in Egypt, and particularly at Grand Cairo. Their conversation made a deep impression on my mind; and I became excessively anxious to make a journey there. But my father, who was still alive, would not give me permission. He at length died, and as his death left me master of my own actions, I resolved to go to Cairo. I directly employed a large sum of money in the purchase of different sorts of the fine stuffs and manufactures of Bagdad and Moussoul, and began my travels.

“When I arrived at Cairo, I stopped at a khan, which they call the khan of Mesrour. I took up my abode there, and also hired a warehouse, in which I placed the bales of merchandize that I had brought with me on camels. When I had arranged this business, I retired to my apartment, in order to rest myself, and recover from the fatigue of my journey. In the mean time my servants, to whom I had given some money for that purpose, went and bought some provisions, and began to dress them. After I had satisfied my hunger, I went to see the castle, mosques, the public places, and every thing else, that was worthy of notice.

“The next morning, I dressed myself very neatly, and after taking from my bales a few very beautiful and rich stuffs, for the purpose of carrying them to a bezestein, [3] to know what they would offer me for them, I gave them to some of my slaves, and we went to the bezestein of the Circassians. I was instantly surrounded by a multitude of brokers and criers, who were soon informed of my arrival. I gave a specimen of my different stuffs to several criers, who went and showed them all over the bezestein; but I was offered by no merchant not even so much as the original cost of the merchandize, and the expenses of the carriage. This vexed me very much, and the criers were witness to my resentment and vexation. “If you will depend upon us,” they said, “we will show you a way to lose nothing by your stuffs.” I asked them what mode I ought to follow, in order to sell my goods to advantage. “Distribute them,” said they, “among different merchants, who will sell them in small quantities, and you may come twice every week, namely, on Mondays and Thursdays, and receive the money, for which they have been sold. By this method you will make some profit, instead of losing any thing, and the merchants also will have an advantage in the business. In the mean time, you will have opportunity and leisure to walk about and view the town, and to go upon the Nile.”

“I followed their advice, and carried them with me to my warehouse, from which I took out all my goods; and returning to the bezestein, I distributed them among the several merchants whom they pointed out to me as the most trusty and creditable. The merchants gave me a receipt in due form, properly signed and witnessed, with the condition, that I should make no demand for the first month.

“Having thus arranged all my business, I gave myself up entirely to pleasure and gaiety. I contracted a friendship with several young men about my own age, who contributed very much to make my time pass agreeably. When the first month had elapsed, I began to call upon my merchants regularly twice every week, accompanied by a proper public officer, to examine their books, and a money-changer to ascertain the goodness and different value of the various sorts of money they paid me. In this manner I constantly brought away, on those days, a considerable sum of money, which I took with me to the khan of Mesrour, where I lodged. This, however, did not prevent me from going, on the intermediate days of the week, to pass the morning sometimes with one merchant, and sometimes with another; and I was thus much pleased with their conversation, and with seeing what passed in the bezestein.

“One Monday, while I was sitting in one of these merchant’s shops, whose name was Bedreddin, a lady of distinction, as I easily conjectured both by her air and dress, and also by a female slave neatly attired, who followed her, entered the same shop, and sat down close to me. Her external appearance, joined to a certain natural grace in every thing she did, prejudiced me very much in her favour, and excited a great desire in me to know more of her than I did. I know not whether she perceived that I took a pleasure in beholding her, or whether my attention pleased her or not; but she lifted up the thick crape that hung over the muslin, which concealed the lower part of her face, and thus gave me an opportunity of seeing her black eyes, that quite charmed me. She at last completed her conquest, and made me quite in love with her, by the pleasant tone of her voice, and by her obliging and modest manner, when she addressed herself to the merchant, and inquired after his health, since she had seen him last.

“After she had conversed some time upon indifferent subjects, she told him that she was in search of a particular sort of stuff, with a gold ground: and that she came to his shop, because it contained the best assortment of goods of any in the bezestein; and that if he had such a thing, he would much oblige her by shewing it to her. Bedreddin opened a good many different pieces, and having fixed upon one, she stopped and asked the price of it. He said, he could afford to sell it her for eleven hundred drachms of silver. ‘I will agree to give you that sum,’ she replied, ‘though I have not the money about me; but I hope you will give me credit for it till to-morrow, and suffer me to carry the stuff home, and I will not fail to send you eleven hundred drachms, for which we have agreed, in the course of to-morrow.’ ‘Madam,’ answered the merchant, ‘I would give you credit with the greatest pleasure, and you should have full permission to take the stuff home with you, if it belonged to me; but it is the property of this young man, whom you see there, and this is one of the days fixed upon to give an account of the money for which his goods are sold.’—‘How comes it,’ cried the lady, ‘that you treat me in this manner? Am I not in the habit of coming to your shop? And every time I have bought any stuffs, you have desired me to carry them home, without first paying for them; and have I ever failed sending you the money on the following day?’ The merchant agreed to it. ‘It is all very true, madam,’ he answered, ‘but to-day I have occasion for the money.’—‘Well then,’ she cried, throwing it down, ‘take your stuff, and may God confound you, and all of your fellow merchants, for you are all alike, and have no regard for any one but yourselves.’ Having said this, she rose up in a passion and went away extremely piqued against Bedreddin.

“When I saw that the lady was gone, I began to feel very much interested about her, and before she was too far off, I called her back, and said, ‘Do me, madam, the favour to return, and perhaps I shall find a way to accommodate and satisfy both yourself and the merchant.’ She came back, but made me understand it was entirely on my account. ‘Sir,’ said I, at this moment, to the merchant, ‘how much do you say it is that you wish to receive for this stuff, which belongs to me?’—‘Eleven hundred drachms of silver,’ he replied, ‘nor can I possibly let it go for less.’ ‘Give it then,’ said I, ‘to the lady, and permit her to carry it home. I will give you one hundred drachms for your profit, and give you an order to take this sum out of the account of the other merchandize which you have of mine.’ I immediately wrote the order, signed it, and put it into the hands of Bedreddin. Then presenting the stuff to the lady, I said, ‘You have now, madam, full power to take it away with you, and with respect to the money, you may send it to-morrow, or the next day, or if you will do me the honour to accept of the stuff, it is quite at your service.’—‘This,’ replied the lady, ‘is very far from my intention. You have behaved with so much politeness, and in so obliging a manner, that I should be unworthy of appearing in the society of men, if I did not prove my gratitude to you. May God increase your fortune, suffer you to live a long time after I am gone; open the gates of heaven at your death; and may all the city publish the report of your generosity!’

“This speech gave me courage, and I said to her, ‘Suffer me then, madam, only to see your face, as a return for the favour you say I have done you. This will repay me, even with usury.’ At these words, she turned herself towards me, and lifting up the muslin which covered her face, she displayed a countenance most wonderfully beautiful. I was so much struck with it, that I could think of nothing to express what I felt at the sight. I was unable to take my eyes off, but she quickly covered her face again, for fear any one should perceive her, and after drawing down her long crape veil, she took up the piece of stuff, and went out from the shop, leaving me in a very different state from what I was in before her arrival. My mind continued greatly troubled, and strongly disordered for some length of time. Before I left the merchant, I asked him if he knew who the lady was; and he told me she was the daughter of an emir, who left her, at his death, an immense fortune.

“I had no sooner returned to the khan of Mesrour, than my people brought up supper; but I was unable to eat the least morsel. Nor could I close my eyes during the whole night, which appeared to me of more than ordinary length. As soon as it was day I got up, with the hopes of again beholding the object who thus disturbed my repose: and with the wish, should I be so fortunate of pleasing her, I dressed myself still nicer than I had done the day before. I then returned to the shop of Bedreddin.

“I had not been there a great length of time before I saw the lady approach, followed by her slave. She was much more magnificently dressed than on the preceding day. Paying no attention to the merchant, she addressed herself only to me. ‘You see, sir,’ she said, ‘that I have kept my word with you very exactly. I promised yesterday to do so, and have now come on purpose to bring you the amount of what you had the goodness to trust me, without knowing any thing of me. This is an act of generosity I shall never forget.’—‘There was not the least necessity, madam,’ I replied, ‘for you at all to hurry yourself.’ I was perfectly easy with respect to my money, and am sorry for the trouble you have given yourself.’—‘It would not, however, have been just in me to have abused your good nature,’ she replied. In saying this, she put the money into my hands, and sat down near me.

“Taking the advantage which this opportunity of conversing with her gave me, I declared the love I felt for her; but she got up and left me so hastily, that I believed she was offended at the confession I made. I followed her with my eyes, as long as I could see her; and when she was quite out of sight, I took my leave of the merchant, and left the bezestein without knowing where I went. I was meditating upon this adventure, when I felt some person pull me behind; I instantly turned round to see who it was, and recognized the young slave belonging to the lady by whom my whole mind was absorbed. This sight delighted me. ‘My mistress,’ said she, ‘who is the young lady that spoke to you in the shop of the merchant, wishes to speak a few words to you, if you will have the goodness to follow me.’ I instantly went with her, and in truth found her mistress waiting for me in the shop of a money-changer.

“She directly invited me to sit down near her, and began the conversation by saying, ‘Be not, my dear sir, surprised that I quitted you just now so abruptly: but I did not think it prudent, before that merchant, to give any thing like a favourable answer to the acknowledgment you made of my having inspired you with sentiments of affection. Far, however, from being offended at the confession, I own to you, it afforded me great pleasure to hear you say, that I was not indifferent to you; and I esteem myself happy in having acquired the regard of a man of your worth and merit. I know not what impression the sight of me may have made upon you, but with respect to myself, I can assure you, that I felt, on the very first moment I saw you, a very great inclination towards you. Ever since yesterday morning I have thought of nothing but what you said, and my haste and anxiety to discover you this morning was so great, that it ought to be sufficient to convince you, that you by no means displease me. ‘Madam,’ I exclaimed, transported with love, and filled with delight, ‘nothing I could possibly hear, could give me half so much pleasure as what you have now had the goodness to say to me. It is impossible for any one to feel a stronger regard than I have done for you, from the first happy moment I set my eyes upon you. They were quite dazzled with so many charms, and my heart yielded without the least resistance.’—‘Let us not then,’ she said, interrupting me, ‘lose any time in useless speeches, I do not doubt your sincerity, and you shall immediately be convinced of mine. Will you do me the honour of visiting my house? Or, if you had rather, I will accompany you.’—‘Madam,’ replied I, ‘I am quite a stranger in this city, and have only lodgings at a khan, which is by no means a proper place to receive a lady of your rank and quality. It will surely be much better for you to have the goodness to acquaint me with your residence; where I shall be delighted to have the honour of waiting upon you.’ The lady consented to this plan. ‘On Thursday next,’ said she, ‘which is the day after to-morrow, come directly after mid-day prayers into the street, called Devotion-street. You have only to inquire for the house of Abon Schamma, surnamed Bercour, and formerly chief of the emirs; at that place you will find me.’ Having said this, we separated, and I passed the whole of the next day with the greatest impatience.

“When Thursday came, I got up very early, and dressed myself in the handsomest robe I had. I put a purse, containing fifty pieces of gold, into my pocket, and I set out mounted upon an ass, which I had ordered the day before, and accompanied by the man of whom I had hired it. When we were come into Devotion-street, I desired the owner of the ass to inquire whereabout the house, which I was seeking after, was: some person immediately pointed it out, and he then conducted me to it. I alighted at the door, rewarded the man very liberally, and dismissed him; desiring him at the same time to observe well the house at which he left me, and not to fail to return for me the next morning, in order to take me back to the khan of Mesrour.

“I knocked at the door; when two little slaves, as white as snow, very neatly dressed, immediately came and opened it. ‘Come in, sir, if you please,’ they said, ‘our mistress has been waiting very impatiently for you. For two whole days she has never once ceased talking of you.’ I went into a court, and observed a pavilion, raised about seven steps from the ground, and surrounded with some trellis-work, which divided it from a very beautiful garden. Besides some trees, which served at the same time both for embellishment and shelter from the rays of the sun, there was an infinite number of others, which were loaded with all kinds of fruit. I was charmed with the warbling of a great many birds, which mingled their notes with the murmurs of a fountain, that threw its water to a vast height, in the midst of a parterre, enamelled with flowers. The fountain also was a very pleasing sight. Four large gilt dragons were seen at the four angles of the reservoir, which was exactly square: and these dragons threw up the water in great abundance, and clearer and more brilliant than rock chrystal. This place was so full of beauties, that it gave me a very high idea of the conquest I had made. The two little slaves desired me to go into a saloon, that was magnificently furnished; and while one of them was gone to inform her mistress of my arrival, the other remained with me, and pointed out all the beauties of the saloon.

“I had not been long in this place, before the lady, whom I was so much in love with, made her appearance, adorned with the finest diamonds and pearls, but she appeared still more brilliant from the lustre of her eyes than from that of her jewels. Her figure, which was now no longer concealed by her walking dress, as when I met her in the city, seemed to me to be the finest and most striking in the whole world. I can never express to you the delight we experienced at again beholding each other; indeed the strongest description would do injustice to our feelings. I can only say, that after the first compliments were over, we both sat down on a sofa, where we conversed together with the greatest satisfaction imaginable. They then served up the most delicate and exquisite dishes. We sat down to table, and after our repast, we recommenced our conversation, which lasted till the evening set in. They then brought us some most excellent wine, and also some dried fruits well adapted to excite a desire for drinking; and we drank to the sound of instruments on which some slaves played, and accompanied at the same time with their voices. The lady of the house also sung herself, and by this completely confirmed her conquest, and rendered me the most passionate of lovers. In short, I passed the whole night in a series of all kinds of delightful pleasures.

“The next morning, having first very slily put the purse with fifty pieces of gold in it, which I had brought with me, under her pillow, I got up and bid her adieu. Before I went, she asked me when I would return again. ‘I promise you, madam,’ I replied, ‘to come back this evening.’ She seemed delighted with my answer, conducted me herself to the door, and, at parting, she conjured me not to forget my promise.

“The same man, who had brought me the day before, was now waiting for me with his ass. I immediately mounted, and returned to the khan of Mesrour. In dismissing the man, I told him I would not pay him, but that he might come again with his ass after dinner, at the hour I fixed.

“As soon as I was returned to my khan, my first business was to go and purchase a nice lamb and several sorts of cakes, which I sent as a present to the lady by a porter. I then transacted my more important affairs, till the owner of the ass arrived, when I went with him to the lady’s house. She received me with as much joy as on the day before, and regaled me in quite as magnificent a style. When I left her the next morning, I put, as before, a purse, containing fifty pieces of gold, under the pillow, and returned to the khan of Mesrour.

“I continued thus to visit the lady every day, and each time I left a purse, with fifty pieces of gold in it. I pursued this plan, till the merchants to whom I had given my merchandise to dispose of, and whom I visited regularly twice a week, had nothing more of mine in their hands; I then found myself without any money, or the least chance of obtaining any.

“In this horrid state, I was ready to give myself up to despair. I went out of my khan, without knowing what I was about, and walked towards the castle, where there was a great multitude of people collected to be present at a spectacle which was given by the sultan of Egypt. When I came to the spot where the crowd was collected, I mixed with the thickest part of it; and by chance I found myself near a gentleman very well mounted, and very handsomely dressed. To the pummel of his saddle there was fastened a little bag half open, from which a green string hung out. By touching the outside of the bag, I thought I discovered, that the green string, which hung down, belonged to a purse, that was within side. At the very moment I was forming this opinion, a porter, carrying a large bundle of wood, passed so close to him on the other side of his horse, that he was obliged to turn towards him in order to prevent the wood from touching him, and tearing his dress. The devil at this moment tempted me; and laying hold of the string with one hand, while with the other I enlarged the opening of the bag, I drew out the purse without being perceived by any one. It was very heavy, and I did not doubt, but it was filled either with gold or silver.

“The porter was no sooner gone past but the person on horseback, who seemed to have had some suspicion of my intention, while his head was turned away, instantly put his hand into the bag, and missing the purse, he gave me such a blow, that I fell to the ground. They, who saw this violent attack, directly began to take my part; some seized the bridle of his horse to stop him, and asked him what he meant by thus knocking me down; and how he durst thus ill treat a mussulman. ‘What business is this of yours?’ he answered in an angry tone.—‘I know what I am about; he is a thief.’ At these words I got up; when, on seeing me, every one took my part, and said he asserted a falsehood; for it was very improbable, that a young man of my appearance and manner could be guilty of so infamous an action as he laid to my charge. In short, they kept persisting in my innocence; and while they were holding his horse, in order to favour my escape, unfortunately for me one of the officers of the police came by, accompanied by some of his men. He came up to us, and inquired what had happened.—Every one immediately accused the man on horseback with having used me ill, under the pretence that I had robbed him.

“The officer of the police, however, was by no means satisfied with this account. He asked the gentleman on horseback, if he suspected any one besides me of having robbed him. The latter replied in the negative; and informed the officer of the reasons which he had for believing that he was not mistaken in his suspicions. After having attentively listened to him, the officer ordered his attendants to arrest and search me. They instantly obeyed; and one of them discovering the purse, held it publicly up to view. This disgrace was too much for me to bear, and I fainted away. The officer of the police then desired them to bring the purse to him.

“As soon as the officer had taken the purse, he asked the man on horseback, if that was his, and how much money there was in it? The latter immediately knew it to be the same which had been taken from him; and assured the officer there were twenty sequins in it. The judge instantly opened it, and finding exactly that sum in it, he returned it. After this he ordered me before him:—‘Young man,’ said he, ‘confess the truth; acknowledge that it was you who stole the purse; and do not wait till I order you to the torture, to make you confess.’ Holding down my head, I reflected within myself, that if I denied the fact, as the purse was found upon me, they could only consider it as a falsehood and an evasion; to avoid therefore being doubly punished, both as a liar and a thief, I raised my head, and acknowledged that I had taken it. I had no sooner made this confession, than the officer, having first taken down the evidence, ordered my right hand to be cut off. This sentence was executed upon the spot, and excited the compassion of all the spectators: and I observed the accuser himself was not less affected than the rest. The judge indeed wished to punish me still farther by cutting off one of my feet, but I begged the person, from whom I had taken the purse, to intercede for me with the judge to omit that part of the sentence; he did so, and obtained his request.

The officer was no sooner gone on, than the injured person came up to me.—‘I am convinced,’ said he to me, and at the same time offered the purse, ‘that necessity alone compelled you to commit so disgraceful an action, and one so unworthy a young man of your appearance. Here is this fatal purse, take it; and I am truly sorry for the misfortune it has occasioned you.’ Having said this, he left me; and as I was very weak and faint from the quantity of blood I had lost, some people, who lived in that neighbourhood, were so kind and compassionate as to take me home with them, and give me a glass of wine. They also dressed my arm, and put my hand, which had been cut off, in a piece of linen cloth, and I fastened it to my girdle.

“When I had got back to the khan of Mesrour, I did not find that assistance there which I stood so much in need of. It was, however, I thought, hazarding a great deal to go and present myself to the young lady.—‘She will not,’ said I to myself, ‘wish to see me any more, when she shall have been informed of the infamous action I have been guilty of.’ I nevertheless determined to pursue this plan; and as soon as the crowd, who had followed me, were dispersed, I went by the most unfrequented streets to her house. When I arrived, I found myself so weak and worn out from pain and fatigue, that I instantly threw myself on a sofa; taking care to keep my right arm under my robe, as I was anxious she should not see the state in which it was.

“In the mean time, the lady, being informed of my arrival, and that I seemed very ill, came to me in the greatest haste, and seeing me pale and faint, ‘My dear soul,’ she cried, ‘what is the matter with you?’ I dissembled the real cause, and in answer told her, that I had a most violent head-ache, which very much tormented me. At this she appeared much afflicted.—‘Sit down,’ she replied, for I had risen to receive her, ‘and tell me how this has happened to you. You were very well the last time I had the pleasure of seeing you here. There is surely something else, which you conceal from me. Tell me, I beg of you, what it is.’ As I remained silent, instead of answering her, the tears fell from my eyes.—‘I cannot comprehend,’ added she, ‘what can possibly cause you so much affliction.—Have I unintentionally given you any cause? Do you come to tell me you no longer love me?’—‘It is not that, madam,’ I replied, ‘and even a suspicion of the sort augments my misery still more.’

“I could not make up my mind to discover the true cause of my illness to her. When the evening approached, supper was served up. She entreated me to eat, but as I could only make use of my left hand, I requested her to excuse me, saying, I had no appetite.—‘It would return,’ said she, if you would unfold to me what you so obstinately conceal. Your dislike doubtless arises from the pain you suffer by remaining silent.’—‘Alas, madam,’ I replied, ‘it is very necessary for me to make that determination, and to adhere to it.’ I had no sooner said this, than she poured me out a glass of wine, and presenting it to me, ‘Drink this,’ she replied, ‘it will give you both strength and courage.’ I then held out my left hand, and took the glass.

“I had no sooner received the glass than my tears flowed afresh, and my sighs increased.—‘Why do you lament and sigh so bitterly?’ said the lady to me. ‘Why do you take the glass in your left hand rather than your right?’—‘Alas, madam,’ I replied, ‘excuse me, I entreat you; for I have a swelling on my right hand.’—‘Show me this tumour,’ said she, ‘and I will open it for you.’ I still excused myself by saying it was not yet in a state proper for that operation; I then drank all the contents of the glass, which was a very large one. The strength of the wine, joined to my fatigue, and the low state in which I was, soon made me very drowsy, and I fell into a profound sleep, that lasted till the next morning.

“While I was in this state, the lady wishing to know what accident had happened to my right hand, lifted up my robe, which concealed it, and saw, as you may conjecture, with the greatest astonishment, that it was cut off, and that I had got it with me, wrapped up in a linen cloth. She had now no difficulty in comprehending why I so strongly resisted all the entreaties she made me; and she passed the night in thinking of the disgrace that had happened to me; not doubting but that my love for her had been the cause of it.

“When I awoke the next morning, I perceived by her countenance that she was very much afflicted. She did not, however, utter a word to me on the subject, that she might not give me any pain. She desired some thick jelly made from chickens, that she had ordered on purpose for me, to be served up. She obliged me both to eat and drink, in order, as she said, to recruit my strength, of which I had so much need. I then wished to take my leave of her, but she took hold of my robe and detained me.—‘I will not suffer you,’ she said, ‘to go from hence; for although you will not tell me so, I am persuaded that I am the cause of the misfortune which has happened to you. The poignant grief which I feel will not suffer me to live long; but before I die, I must execute a design which I meditate in your favour.’ Having said this, she ordered some of her people to go for an officer of justice, and some witnesses, and made him draw up a bequest of all her fortune to me. Having then dismissed them, after paying them handsomely for their trouble, she opened a large chest, where all the purses that I had ever brought her since the commencement of our connection had been placed. ‘There they all are,’ said she to me, ‘just as you left them; I have not touched one of them. Here is the key, take it, for they belong to you.’ I thanked her for her kindness and generosity.—‘I do not,’ added she, ‘reckon this as any thing in comparison with what I intend to do for you. Nor shall I be satisfied till I die, to prove to you how much I love you.’ I conjured her, by every tie of love, to give up so dreadful a resolution; but I was unable to divert her thoughts from it; the sorrow and chagrin she felt at seeing me so maimed, brought on a serious illness, which at the end of five or six weeks terminated in her death.

“After mourning for her loss as much as became me, I took possession of all her fortune, and every thing, which, as she had informed me, belonged to her; and the sesamè, which you sold for me, was part of her property.”

When the young man of Bagdad had finished his relation, he added, “What you have now heard ought to be a sufficient excuse for my having eaten in your company with my left hand. I am much obliged to you for the trouble you have taken on my account. I cannot enough applaud your fidelity and probity; and as I have, thank God, a very plentiful fortune, although I have expended a great deal, I must beg, that you will accept as a present the small sum for which you sold the sesamè, and which you now are in my debt for. I have besides another proposal to make to you. Being unable to remain with any comfort or satisfaction to myself at Cairo, after the melancholy accident I have mentioned, I am resolved to leave it, and never to return again. If you like to accompany me, we will trade in common together, and we will divide the profits we make into equal shares.”

When the young man of Bagdad (said the Christian merchant) had concluded his history, I said to him, “I return you, sir, my most grateful thanks for the present you have done me the favour to make me; and with respect to the proposal of travelling with you, I accept it with all my heart; and assure you, that your interest will be always as much my concern as my own.”

We fixed a day for our departure, and when it came we began our journey. We passed through Syria and Mesopotamia; we travelled over Persia, and after visiting for some time many cities, we at length came, Sire, to your capital. After some little time, the young man informed me, that he was very desirous, and, in fact, had taken the resolution of going back into Persia, and of settling there. We then made up our accounts, and separated, perfectly satisfied with each other. He departed, and I remained in this city, where I have the honour of being employed in the service of your majesty. This is the history which I had to recount to you, and does it not seem to your majesty much more surprising than that of the little hunchback?

The sultan of Casgar was very angry with the Christian merchant. “Thou art very bold and impudent,” said he to the merchant, “to dare to make a comparison between the recital of a history so trifling and unworthy my attention with that of my hunchback. Dost thou flatter thyself, that thou canst persuade me that the stale adventures of a young debauchee are more wonderful than those of my buffoon? I will in truth hang all four of you to revenge his death.”

At these words the terrified purveyor threw himself at the sultan’s feet: “Sire,” he cried, “I entreat your majesty to suspend your just wrath, and to listen to me; and if the narrative I shall have the honour to lay before your majesty, shall seem to you more interesting than that of little hunchback, that you will do us the favour to extend your pardon to us all.”—“Speak,” said the sultan, “I grant thy request.” The purveyor then began as follows:

THE STORY

TOLD BY THE PURVEYOR OF THE SULTAN OF CASGAR.

I was yesterday, Sire, invited by a man of great respectability and fortune to the wedding of one of his daughters. I did not fail to be at his house by the appointed hour, and found a large company composed of the best inhabitants of the city, and of various professions. When the ceremony was over, the feast, which was very magnificent, was served up. We sat down to table, and each person eat what was most agreeable to his taste. Amongst other things, there was a dish dressed with garlic, which was so very excellent, that every one was anxious to get a little of it. We could not, however, but remark, that one of the guests did not seem desirous of eating any of it, although the dish stood directly before him. We invited him to help himself to some, as we did; but he requested us not to press him to eat any.—“I shall be very careful,” said he, “how I touch a ragout dressed with garlic. I have not yet forgotten what was the consequence of it to me the last time I tasted one.” We then requested him to inform us what had been the cause of such an aversion for garlic, as he seemed to have. The master of the house, however, called out, without giving him time to answer our inquiries, “Is it thus you honour my table? This ragout is delicious; do not, therefore, pretend not to eat of it; you must do me that favour like the rest of the company.”—“Sir,” replied his guest, who was a merchant of Bagdad, “do not suppose that I act thus out of any notions of false delicacy. I certainly will obey your commands, if you insist upon it: but it must only be on condition, that after eating of it you will permit me to wash my hands forty times with alkali, forty times with the ashes of the same plant from which that is procured, and as many times with soap. I hope you will not take my mode of procedure ill, but it is in consequence of an oath I have taken, and which I do not wish to break, never to eat a ragout with garlic, but on those conditions.”

As the master of the house would not dispense with the merchant’s eating some of the ragout, he ordered his servants to get some basons ready, containing a solution of alkali, ashes of the same plant, and soap, that the merchant might wash himself as often as he pleased. After having given these orders, he said to the merchant, “Come then, now do as we do, and eat; neither the alkali, the ashes of the plant, nor the soap shall be deficient.”

Although the merchant was enraged at this sort of violence that was done to him, he put out his hand, and took a small quantity of the ragout, which he put to his mouth with fear and trembling, and eat with a repugnance which very much astonished us all. But what we remarked with still greater surprise was, that he had only four fingers, and no thumb, and till this moment no person had noticed this circumstance, although he had eaten of several other dishes. The master of the house then spoke, “You seem to have lost your thumb,” said he, “how did such an accident happen? There must probably have been some singular circumstances connected with the occasion of it; and you will afford this company a great pleasure, if you will relate them.”

“Sir,” replied the guest, “it is not only on my right hand that I have no thumb, my left is also in the same state. He held out his left hand at the same time, that we might be convinced he spoke the truth. “Nor is this all,” he added, “I have lost the great toe from each of my feet. I have been maimed in this manner through a most unheard of adventure, and which, if you will have the patience to listen to it, I have no objection to relate; and I think it will not excite your astonishment more than it will your compassion. First of all, however, permit me to wash my hands.” Having said this, he got up from table, and after washing his hands one hundred and twenty times, he sat down again, and related his history in the following terms:

“You must know, gentlemen, that my father lived at Bagdad, during the reign of the caliph Haroun Alraschid, where I also was born; and he was reckoned one of the richest merchants in that city. But as he was a man very fond of pleasure, and one who loved dissipation of every sort, he very much neglected his affairs, and instead therefore of inheriting a large fortune at his death, I encountered great difficulties, and was obliged to make use of the greatest economy to pay the debts he left behind him. With great attention, however, and care, I at last discharged them all, and my small fortune then began to assume a favorable appearance.

“One morning, when I was opening my shop, a lady, mounted upon a mule, accompanied by a eunuch, and followed by two slaves, passed close to my door, and stopped. The eunuch directly assisted her to alight, by taking hold of her hand; he then said to her, ‘I am afraid, madam, you have arrived too soon; you see, there is no one yet come to the bezestein. If you had believed what I said, you would not have had the trouble of waiting.’ She looked every where about, and finding that there was, in fact, no other shop open but mine, she came up, and saluting me, requested permission to sit down in it, till the other merchants were arrived. I returned such an answer as became me.

“When the lady had entered my shop, and sat down, as she observed there was no one to be seen in the bezestein, except the eunuch and myself, she took off her veil, in order to enjoy the air. I had never seen any one before so beautiful, and to see, and to be passionately in love, were with me one and the same thing. I kept my eyes constantly fixed upon her, and I thought she looked as if my attention was not unpleasing to her, for she gave me full opportunity, during the whole time, of beholding her; and she did not put down her veil, till the fear of any one’s approach obliged her.

“After she had adjusted her dress, as it was before, she informed me that she was come with the intention of looking at some of the finest and richest kinds of stuff, which she described to me; and inquired, whether I had any such. ‘Alas, madam,’ I said, ‘I am but a young merchant, who have not long begun business, and am not yet sufficiently rich to trade so largely; and it is a great mortification to me to have none of the things for which you come into the bezestein. But to save you the trouble of going from shop to shop, I will, as soon as the merchants come, if you please, go and get whatever you wish from them. They will tell me exactly the lowest price, and you will thus be enabled, without having the trouble of seeking any farther, to execute all your commissions.’ To this she consented, and I entered into conversation with her, which lasted a long time, as I made her believe, that those merchants who had the stuffs she wanted were not yet come.

“I was not less charmed with her wit and understanding than I had been with her person; I was, however, at last compelled to deprive myself of the pleasure of her conversation, and I went to inquire for the stuffs she wanted. When she had fixed upon those she wished to have, I informed her, that they came to five thousand drachms of silver. I then made them up into a parcel, and gave them to the eunuch, who put them under his arm. She immediately got up, and after taking leave of me, she went away. I followed her with my eyes till she was got to the gate of the bezestein, nor did I leave off gazing at her till she mounted her mule.

“The lady was no sooner out of sight, than I recollected, that my love had caused me to be guilty of a great fault. It had indeed so wholly engrossed my attention, that I not only omitted taking the money for the goods, but had even neglected to inquire who she was, and where she lived. This led me immediately to reflect, that I was accountable for a very large sum of money to several merchants, who would not perhaps have the patience to wait. I then went and excused myself to them, in the best way I could, telling them I knew the lady very well. I returned home as much in love as ever, although very much embarrassed by the idea of so heavy a debt.

“I requested my creditors to wait eight days for their money, which they agreed to do. On the eighth morning they did not fail to come and request payment; but I again begged them to grant me the favor of a little farther delay, in which they had the goodness to acquiesce; but on the very next morning I saw the lady coming along on the same mule, with the same number of persons attending her, and exactly at the same hour as at first.

“She came directly to my shop. ‘I have made you wait,’ she said, ‘a little for your money, on account of the stuffs which I had the other day; but I have at last brought it you. Carry it to a money-changer, and see that it is all good, and the right sum.’ The eunuch, who had the money, went with me to a money-changer’s; the sum was exactly correct, and all good silver. After this, I had the happiness of a long conversation with the lady, till all the shops in the bezestein were open. Although we conversed only upon common topics, she nevertheless gave a certain turn to whatever she said, that threw a grace and novelty over the whole discourse, and convinced me I was not mistaken, when, from the first time I saw her, I thought that she possessed much wit and good sense.

“As soon as the merchants were come, and had opened their shops, I took what I was indebted to each of those from whom I had purchased the stuffs on credit, and I had now no difficulty in getting others from them, which the lady had desired to see. I carried back with me as many as came to a thousand pieces of gold, all of which she took away with her, not only without paying for them, but without saying a word on the subject, or even informing me who she was, or where she lived. What astonished me the most was, that she ran no risk, and hazarded nothing, while I remained without the least security, and without any chance of being indemnified in case I should not see her again. ‘She has paid me, it is true,’ I said to myself, ‘a very large sum of money; but she has left me with a debt which is much more considerable. Is it possible she can intend to cheat me, and has thus, by paying me for the first quantity, only enticed me on to my more certain ruin? The merchants themselves do not know her, and depend only upon me for payment.’

“My love was not so powerful as to prevent me from making these distressing reflections. My fears kept increasing from day to day for one entire month, which passed on without my having any intelligence whatever of the lady. The merchants, at last, began to grow very impatient, and in order to satisfy them, I was going to sell off every thing I had; when, one morning, I saw her coming exactly with the same attendants as before. ‘Take your weights,’ she said to me, ‘and weigh the gold I have brought you.’ These few words put an end to all my fears, and redoubled my love.

“Before she began to count out the gold, she addressed several questions to me: and, among other things, she asked me if I were married. I told her I was not, nor ever had been. Giving then the gold to the eunuch, she said to him, ‘Come, let us have your assistance to settle our affairs.’ The eunuch could not help smiling, and taking me aside, he made me weigh the gold. While I was thus employed, the eunuch whispered in my ear as follows: ‘I have only to look at you, to be perfectly convinced you are desperately in love with my mistress; and I am only surprised that you have not sufficient courage to discover your passion to her. She loves you, if possible, to a still greater excess. Don’t suppose that she is in want of any of your stuffs; she only comes here, because you have inspired her with the most violent passion, and this was the reason of her asking you whether you were married. You have only to make known your sentiments by speech, and if you wish it, she will not stop short even of marrying you.’—‘It is true,’ I replied to the eunuch, ‘that I felt the sensations of love arise in my breast the very first moment I beheld your lady, but I never thought of aspiring to the hope of having pleased her. I am wholly her own, and shall not fail to remember the good office you have done me.’

“As soon as I had finished weighing the gold, and while I was putting it back into the bag, the eunuch went to the lady and said, that I was very well satisfied. This was the particular expression they had agreed upon between themselves. The lady, who was seated, immediately got up, and went away, telling me first, that she would send back the eunuch, and that I must do exactly as he directed.

“I then went to all the merchants to whom I was indebted, and paid them. After this, I waited with the greatest impatience for the arrival of the eunuch, but it was some days before he made his appearance. At length, however, he arrived.

“I conducted myself in the most kind and friendly manner towards him; and made many inquiries after the health of his mistress: ‘You certainly are,’ he said, ‘the happiest lover in all the world: she is absolutely dying for love of you. It is impossible you can be more anxious to see her, than she is for your company: and if she were able to follow her own inclinations, and act as she likes, she would instantly come to you, and gladly pass every moment of her future life with you.’—‘From her noble air and manner,’ I replied, ‘I have concluded, she is a lady of great rank and consequence.’—‘Nor are you deceived in this opinion;’ said the eunuch, ‘she is the favourite of Zobeidè, the caliph’s wife, who is the more strongly attached to her, as she brought her up from her earliest infancy; and her confidence in her is so great, that she employs her in every commission she wishes to have executed. From the desire which she has of being married, she has told her mistress, Zobeidè, that she has cast her eyes upon you; and has asked her consent to the match. Zobeidè has agreed to it, but has requested, in the first instance, to see you, that she may judge whether her favorite has made a good choice; and in case she approves of you, she will herself be at the expense of the wedding. You may be sure, therefore, that your happiness is certain. As you have pleased the favorite, you will equally please her mistress, whose sole wish is to afford her pleasure; and who has not the least desire of putting any restraint upon her inclination. The only thing, therefore, to be done, is to go to the palace; and this was the reason of my coming here. You must now tell me on what you will resolve.’—‘My resolution is already taken,’ I replied, ‘and I am ready to follow you, when, and wherever you choose to conduct me.’—‘That is well,’ said the eunuch, ‘but you must recollect, that no man is permitted to enter the apartments in the palace belonging to the ladies; and that you can be introduced there only by such means as will keep it a profound secret. The favourite has taken her measures for the purpose; and you must, on your part, do every thing to facilitate it; but, above all things, you must be discreet, or it may cost you your life.’

“I assured him that I would do every thing exactly as he ordered me. ‘You must then,’ he added, ‘this evening, at the very close of day, go to the mosque, which the lady Zobeidè has ordered to be built on the banks of the Tigris; and you must wait there till we come to you.’ I agreed to every thing he wished, and waited with the greatest impatience till the day was passed. When the evening commenced, I set out, and went to prayers, which began an hour and a half before sun-set, at the appointed mosque; and remained there till the very last.

“Almost immediately after prayers, I saw a boat come to shore, in which all the rowers were eunuchs. They landed, and brought a great number of chests into the mosque. This being done, they all went away, except one, whom I soon recognised to be the same that had accompanied the lady; and who had spoken with me that very morning. Directly after I saw the lady herself come in. I went up to her, and was informing her, that I was ready to obey all her orders, when she said, ‘We have no time to lose in conversation.’ She then opened one of the chests and ordered me to get in. ‘It is,’ she added, ‘absolutely necessary, both for your safety and mine. Fear nothing, and leave me to manage every thing.’ I had gone too far to recede at this moment: I did, therefore, as she desired, and she immediately shut down the top of the chest and locked it. The eunuch, who was in her confidence, then called the other eunuchs, who had brought the chests, and ordered them to be carried on board the boat again. The lady and the eunuch then embarked, and they began to row towards the apartments of Zobeidè.

“While I was in this situation, I had leisure to make the most serious reflections; and considering the danger I was in, I repented most heartily of having exposed myself to it. I both swore and prayed, but one was now as equally useless, and out of season, as the other.

“The boat came to shore exactly before the gate of the caliph’s palace: they landed the chests, which were all carried to the apartment of the officer of the eunuchs, who keeps the key of that belonging to the ladies, and who never permits any thing to be carried in, without having first examined it. The officer was gone to bed; it was therefore necessary to wake him and make him get up. He was, however, excessively out of humor at having his rest thus disturbed and broken in upon; he quarrelled with the favorite, because she returned so late: ‘You shall not finish your business so soon as you think,’ said he to her, ‘for not one of these chests shall pass, till I have opened and examined them most narrowly.’ He at the same time commanded the eunuch to bring them to him one after the other, that he might open them. They began by taking that in which I was shut up, and set it down before him. At this I was more terrified than I can express, and thought the last moment of my life was approaching.

“The favorite, who had the key, declared she would not give it him, nor suffer that chest to be opened. ‘You very well know,’ she said, ‘that I do not bring any thing in here, but what is for our mistress, Zobeidè. This chest is filled with very valuable articles, that have been intrusted to me by some merchants, who are just arrived. There are also a great many bottles of water from the fountain of Zemsem, at Mecca; [4] and if any one of them should happen to be broken, all the other things will be spoiled, and you will have to be answerable for them. The wife of the Commander of the Faithful too will know how to punish your insolence.’ She spoke this in so peremptory a tone, that the officer had not courage to persist in his resolution of opening either the chest in which I was, or any of the others, ‘Get along then,’ he angrily cried out, ‘go.’ The door of the ladies’ apartment was immediately opened, and the chests were all carried in.

“They were scarcely deposited there, before I suddenly heard the cry of ‘Here’s the caliph; the caliph is come.’ These words increased my fears to a still greater degree, and I was almost ready to die on the spot. It was in fact the caliph himself. ‘What have you got in those chests?’ said he to the Favourite.—‘Commander of the Faithful,’ she replied, ‘they are some stuffs lately arrived, which your majesty’s lady wished to have shewn to her.’—‘Open them,’ said he, ‘and let me see them also.’—She endeavoured to excuse herself, by saying they were only fit for females, and that it would deprive Zobeidè of the pleasure of seeing them before any one else.—‘Open them, I tell you,’ he answered, ‘I command you.’—She still remonstrated, and said, ‘that the queen would be very angry, if she did as his majesty ordered.’—‘No, no,’ he replied, ‘I will promise you, that she shall not reproach you: only open them, and do not make me wait so long.’

“It was then absolutely necessary to obey: my fears were again excited, and I tremble, even now, every time I think of it. The caliph seated himself, and the Favourite ordering all the chests, one after the other, to be brought, opened them, and displayed the stuffs before him. In order to prolong the business as much as possible, she pointed out to him the peculiar beauties of each individual stuff, in hopes of tiring his patience quite out; but she did not succeed. As the Favourite was not less anxious than myself not to have that chest opened in which I was, she did not hurry in having them brought to her. There now remained only one to examine. ‘Come,’ said the caliph, ‘let us make haste and finish: we have now only to see what is in that chest.’ At this instant I knew not whether I was alive or dead; nor could I possibly hope to escape so great a danger.

“When the Favourite saw that the caliph was determined she should open the chest in which I was, she said, ‘Your majesty must absolutely excuse me, and must do me the favour not to see what is in that chest: there are some things which I cannot shew except in the presence of the queen, my mistress.’—‘Well, then,’ replied the caliph, ‘I am content: let them carry the chests in.’—The eunuchs immediately took them up and placed them in her chamber, where I again began, as it were, to breathe.

“As soon as the eunuchs, who brought the chests in, were retired, she quickly opened that in which I was a prisoner. ‘Come out,’ she cried, and showing me a staircase, which led to a chamber above, ‘Go up, and wait for me there.’ She had hardly shut the door after me, when the caliph came in, and sat down upon the very chest in which I had been locked up. The motive of this visit was a certain fit of curiosity, which did not in the least relate to me. This prince only wished to ask the Favourite some questions as to what she had seen and heard in the city. They conversed a long time together: he at last left her, and went back to his own apartment.

“She was no sooner at liberty, than she came into the apartment in which I was, and made a thousand excuses for the alarms she had caused me. ‘My anxiety and fear,’ she said, ‘was not less than your own: of this you ought not to doubt, since I suffered both for you, from my great regard for you, and for myself, on account of the great danger I ran from a discovery. Any other, in my place, would not, I think, have had the address and courage to extricate themselves from so delicate a situation. It required not less boldness than presence of mind; or rather, it was necessary to feel the love for you I do, to get out of such an embarrassment; but compose yourself now, there is nothing more to fear.’ After we had entertained ourselves some time with mutual proofs of our affection, ‘But,’ she said, ‘you want repose; you are to sleep here, and I will not fail to present you to my mistress, Zobeidè, some time to-morrow. This is a very easy matter, as the caliph is with her only at night.’ Encouraged by this account, I slept with the greatest tranquillity; or, if my rest was at all interrupted, it was by the pleasant ideas that arose in my mind from the thoughts of possessing a lady of so much understanding and beauty.

“The next morning, before the Favourite of Zobeidè introduced me to her mistress, she instructed me how I ought to conduct myself in her presence. She informed me almost word for word what Zobeidè would ask me, and dictated such answers as I should make to her. She then led me into a hall, where every thing was very magnificent, very rich, and very appropriate. I had not been long there, before twenty female slaves, of a certain age, all dressed in rich and uniform habits, came out from the cabinet of Zobeidè, and immediately ranged themselves before the throne in two equal rows, with the greatest modesty and propriety. They were followed by twenty other female slaves, very young, and dressed exactly like the first, with the difference only, that their dress were much gayer. Zobeidè appeared in the midst of the latter with the most majestic air. She was so loaded with precious stones and jewels, that she could scarcely walk. She went immediately and seated herself upon the throne. I must not forget to mention, that her favourite lady accompanied her, and remained standing close on her right hand, while the female slaves were crowded altogether at a greater distance on both sides the throne.

“As soon as the consort of the caliph was seated, the slaves, who came in first, made a sign for me to approach. I advanced in the midst of two ranks, which they formed for that purpose, and prostrated myself, till my head touched the carpet which was under the feet of the princess. She ordered me to rise, and honoured me so far as to ask my name, my family, and the state of my fortune; in my answers to all of which I gave her perfect satisfaction. I was confident of this, not only from her manner, but she herself gave evident proofs of it, by a thousand kind things she had the condescension to say to me, ‘I have great satisfaction,’ said she, ‘in finding that my daughter, (this was the title by which she distinguished her Favourite), for as such I shall ever regard her, after the care I have taken of her education, has made such a choice. I entirely approve of it, and agree to your marriage. I will myself give orders for the preparations necessary in this affair. But before the ceremony takes place, I have occasion for my daughter for the next ten days, and during this time, I will take an opportunity of speaking to the caliph, and obtain his consent; till this period has passed, you shall remain here, and shall be well taken care of.’

“I spent these ten days in the female apartments, and during the whole of this time, I was deprived of the pleasure of seeing the Favourite, even for one moment: but I was so well treated through her orders, that I had great reason to be satisfied in every other respect.

“Zobeidè in the mean time informed the caliph of the determination she had taken to marry her Favourite; and this prince not only left her at liberty to act as she pleased in this matter, but even gave a large sum of money to the Favourite, as his share towards the formation of her establishment. The intermediate time at length elapsed, and Zobeidè had got a proper contract of marriage prepared, with all the necessary forms. Preparations for the nuptials were made; musicians and dancers of both sexes were ordered to hold themselves in readiness, and even nine days were spent, in which the greatest joy and festivity reigned through the palace. The tenth was the day appointed for the concluding ceremony of the marriage; the Favourite was conducted to a bath on one side, and I to one on the other. In the evening I sat down to table, and they served me with all sorts of dishes and ragouts; and among other things, there was a ragout made with garlic, similar to that you have now forced me to eat of. I found it so excellent, that I hardly touched any other dish. But, unfortunately for me, when I rose from table, I satisfied myself with only wiping my hands, instead of well washing them; this was a negligence that I believe I had never been before guilty of.

“As it was now night, they supplied the place of day-light by a grand illumination in all the ladies’ apartments. Instruments of music resounded through the building; they danced, they played a thousand sports, and all the palace re-echoed with exclamations of joy and pleasure. They introduced my bride and myself into a large hall, where we were seated upon two thrones. The females, who attended on her, changed her dress several times, as was the general practice on these occasions; and they also painted her face in different ways, according to a custom, peculiar to the day of marriage. Every time they thus changed her dress, they presented her to me.

“When all these ceremonies were finished, they conducted us into the bridal chamber, where we were no sooner left by ourselves than I approached my bride to embrace her. But instead of returning my transports, she forcibly repulsed me, and called out in the most lamentable and violent manner; so much so, that the women all rushed into the apartment, desirous of learning the reason of her screams. As for myself, my astonishment was so great, that I stood quite motionless, without having even power to ask the cause of all this. ‘What can possibly have happened to you,’ they said to my bride, ‘in the short time since we left you? inform us pray, that we may help you.’—‘Take away,’ she cried, ‘instantly take from my sight that infamous man.’—‘Alas, madam,’ I exclaimed, ‘how can I possibly have deservedly incurred your anger?’—‘You are a villain,’ said she, in the greatest rage. ‘You have eaten of garlic, and have not washed your hands. Do you think I will suffer a man, who can be guilty of so dirty and so filthy a negligence, to approach and stifle me with his embraces. Lay him on the ground,’ she added, speaking to the women, ‘and bring me a whip.’—They immediately threw me down; and while some held me by the arms, and others by the feet, my wife, who had been very diligently attended to, beat me without the least mercy, as long as she had any strength remaining. She then said to the females, ‘Take him to an officer of the police, and order him to cut off that hand with which he fed himself with the garlic ragout.’

“At these words I exclaimed, ‘Merciful God! I have been beaten and whipped, and, to complete my misfortune, I am still farther punished by having my hand cut off; and all for what? Because, truly, I have eaten of a ragout made with garlic, and have forgotten to wash my hands! What a trifling cause for such anger and revenge. Plague on the garlic ragout; I wish that the cook that made it, and the slave that served it up, were all at the bottom of the sea.’

“Every one of the women, however, who were present, and had seen me already so severely punished, pitied me very much, when they heard the Favourite talk of having my hand cut off. ‘My dear sister, and my good lady,’ said they to her, ‘do not carry your resentment so far. It is true, that he is a man who does not understand how to conduct himself, and who seems ignorant of your rank, and the respect that is due to you. We entreat you, however, not to take any farther notice of the fault he has committed, but to pardon him.’—‘I am not yet satisfied,’ she cried, ‘I wish to teach him how to live; and that he should bear such powerful marks of his ill-breeding, that he will never forget, as long as he lives, the having eaten garlic without remembering to wash his hands after it.’ They were not discouraged by this refusal; they threw themselves at her feet, and kissing her hand, ‘My good lady,’ they cried, ‘in the name of God, moderate your anger, and grant us the favour we ask of you.’ She did not answer them a single word; but got up, and after abusing me again, went out of the apartment. All the women followed her, and left me quite alone, in the greatest affliction imaginable.

“I remained here ten days, without ever seeing a soul except an old slave, who brought me something by way of food. I asked her for some information about the Favourite. ‘She is very ill,’ she said, ‘on account of the poisonous odour you made her breathe. Why did you not take care to wash your hands after eating of that diabolical ragout?’—‘Is it possible then,’ I answered, ‘that the delicacy and sensibility of these ladies is so great; and that they can be so vindictive for so slight a fault.’ I nevertheless still loved my wife in spite of her cruelty: and could not help pitying her.

“One day the old slave said to me, ‘Your bride is cured, she is gone to the bath, and she told me, that she intended to come and visit you to-morrow. Have therefore a little patience; and endeavour to accommodate yourself to her humour. She is very wise, and, indeed, very reasonable: and is moreover very much beloved by all the females that are in the service of Zobeidè, our respectable mistress.’

“My wife, in fact, came to see me the next day: and she immediately said to me, ‘You must necessarily think me very good to come and see you again, after the offence you have given me; but I cannot bring myself to be reconciled to you, till I have punished you as you deserve, for not washing your hands after having eaten of the ragout with garlic.’ She had no sooner said this, than she called to the women, who instantly entered, and laid me down upon the ground, according to her orders; and after they had bound me, she took a razor, and had the barbarity to cut off my two thumbs, and two great toes, with her own hands. One of the women immediately applied a certain root to stop the blood; but this did not prevent me from fainting, in consequence of both the quantity I lost, before the remedy took effect, and the great pain I suffered.

“When I recovered from my fainting fit, they gave me some wine, in order to recruit my strength and spirits. ‘Ah, madam,’ I then said to my wife, ‘if it should ever fall to my lot again to partake of a ragout with garlic, I swear to you, that instead of once, I will wash my hands one hundred and twenty times; with alkali, with the ashes of the plant from which alkali is made, and with soap.’—‘Well then,’ replied my wife, ‘on this condition I will forget what has passed, and live with you as my husband.’

“‘This is the reason,’ continued the merchant of Bagdad, addressing himself to all the company, ‘why I refused to eat of the garlic ragout which was before me.’

“The women not only applied the root to my wounds, as I have before said, to stop the blood, but they also put some balsam of Mecca to them, which was certain of being unadulterated, since it came from the caliph’s own store. Through the virtue of this excellent balsam I was perfectly cured in a very few days. After this, my wife and I lived together as happily as if I had never tasted the garlic ragout. As, however, I had always been in the habit of enjoying my liberty, I began to grow excessively weary of being constantly shut up in the palace of the caliph; I did not, nevertheless, give my wife any reason to suspect that this was the case, for fear of displeasing her. At last, however, she perceived it; nor indeed did she wish to leave the palace less anxiously than myself. Gratitude alone kept her near Zobeidè. She possessed, however, both courage and ingenuity; and she so well represented to her mistress the constraint I felt myself under, in not being able to live in the city, and associate with men in a similar condition to myself, as I had always been accustomed to do, that this excellent princess had more gratification in depriving herself of the pleasure of having her Favourite near her, than in not complying with what we both equally wished.

“It was on this account that, about a month after our marriage, I one day perceived my wife come in, followed by many eunuchs, each of whom carried a bag of money. When they were retired, my wife said to me, ‘You have not, it is true, remarked to me the uneasiness and langour which so long a residence in the palace has caused you; but I have nevertheless perceived it; and I have fortunately found out a method to satisfy you. My mistress Zobeidè has permitted us to leave the palace, and here are fifty thousand sequins, which she has presented us with, that we may begin to live comfortably and commodiously in the city. Take ten thousand, and go and purchase a house.’

“I very soon found one for this sum, and after furnishing it most magnificently, we went to live there. We took with us a great number of slaves of both sexes, and we dressed them in the handsomest manner possible. In short, we began to live the most pleasant kind of life; but, alas! it was not of long duration. At the end of a year my wife was taken ill, and a very few days put a period to her existence.

“I should certainly have married again, and continued to live in the most honourable manner at Bagdad; but the desire I felt to see the world, inspired me with other views. I sold my house; and after purchasing different sorts of merchandize, I attached myself to a caravan, and travelled into Persia. From thence I took the road to Samarcand, and at last came and established myself in this city.

“This, sire,” said the purveyor to the sultan of Casgar, “is the history which the merchant of Bagdad related to the company where I was yesterday.”—“And it truly comprises some very extraordinary things,” replied the sultan, “but yet it is not comparable to that of my little hunchback.” The Jewish physician then advanced, and prostrated himself before the throne of the prince; and in getting up, he said to him, “If your majesty will have the goodness to listen to me, I flatter myself, that you will be very well satisfied with the history I shall have the honour to relate.”—“Speak, then,” said the sultan, “but, if it be not more wonderful than that of the hunchback, do not hope I shall suffer thee to live.

THE STORY

TOLD BY THE JEWISH PHYSICIAN.

While I was studying medicine at Damascus, sire, and had even began to practise that admirable science with considerable reputation, a slave came to inquire for me; and desired me to go to the house of the governor of the city, to visit a person who was ill. I accordingly went; and was introduced into a chamber, where I perceived a very well made young man, but apparently very much depressed, from the pain he suffered; I saluted him, and went and sat down by his side. He returned no answer to my salutation; but expressed to me by his eyes, that he understood me, and was grateful for my kindness. “Will you do me the favour, sir,” I said to him, “to put out your hand, that I may feel your pulse?” When, instead of giving me his right hand, as is the usual custom, he presented his left to me. This astonished me very much. “Surely,” said I to myself, “it is a mark of great ignorance of the world, not to know, that it is the constant custom always to present the right hand to a physician.” I nevertheless felt his pulse, wrote a prescription, and then took my leave.

I continued to visit him successively for nine days: and every time that I wished to feel his pulse, he still presented his left hand to me. On the tenth day he appeared to be so much recovered, that I told him he had no more occasion for me, or indeed for any thing else but to go to the bath. The governor of Damascus, who was present, in order to prove how very well he was satisfied with my abilities and conduct, made me put on a very rich robe in his presence, and appointed me on the spot physician to the hospital of the city, and physician in ordinary to his house, where I might go whenever I pleased, as there was constantly a place provided at his table for me.

The young man also gave me many proofs of his friendship, and requested me to accompany him to the bath. I did so; and when we were gone in, and his slaves had undressed him, I perceived that he had lost his right hand. I even remarked, that it had not been long cut off; that this was in fact the cause of his disease, which he had concealed from me; and that while the most proper applications were used to cure his arm as quickly as possible, they only called me in to prevent any bad consequences arising from a fever which had come on. I was both astonished and afflicted to see him in that condition. Nor could my countenance conceal the state of my mind. The young man remarked it, and said to me, “Do not be surprised at seeing me without my right hand, I will one day inform you how it happened, and you will then hear a most wonderful and strange adventure.”

When we came from the bath, we sat down to table, and began to converse together. He asked me, if he might, without endangering his health, take a walk out of the city to the garden of the governor; I replied, that it would be very beneficial to him to go into the air. “If so,” said he, “and you will like to accompany me, I will there relate my history.” I told him I was at his disposal for the rest of the day. He immediately ordered his people to prepare a slight collation, and we set out for the garden of the governor. We walked two or three times round the garden, and after seating ourselves on a carpet, which his people spread under a tree, that formed a delightful shade, the young man thus began the relation of his history.

“I was born at Moussoul; and am of a family which is one of the most considerable in that city. My father was the eldest of ten children, whom my grandfather, when he died, left living and all married. But amongst this number of brothers, my father was the only one who had any offspring; and he had no other child besides myself. He took great care of my education, and had me taught every thing which a boy in my situation of life ought to be acquainted with.

“I was grown up, and began to associate with the world, when one Friday I went to the noon-day prayers, in the great mosque of Moussoul, with my father and my uncles. After the prayers were over, every one retired, excepting my father and my uncles, who seated themselves on the carpet which covered the whole floor of the mosque. I sat down with them, and discoursing on various topics, the conversation insensibly turned on travels. They praised the beauties and peculiarities of some kingdoms, and of their principal towns; but one of my uncles said, that if one might believe the account of an infinity of travellers, there was not in the world a more beautiful country than Egypt, on the banks of the Nile, which all universally agreed in praising. What he related of it gave me such vast ideas, that I from that moment formed the wish of travelling thither. All that my other uncles could say, in giving the preference to Bagdad and the Tigris, calling Bagdad the true abode of the mussulman religion, and the metropolis of all the cities in the world, did not make half so much impression on me. My father maintained the same opinion with that brother who had spoken in favor of Egypt, which caused me very great pleasure. ‘Let people say what they will,’ cried he, ‘he who has not seen Egypt, has not seen the greatest wonder in the world. The earth is all gold, that is to say, so fertile, that it enriches the inhabitants beyond conception. All the women enchant, either by their beauty or their agreeable manners. If you mention the Nile, what river can be more delightful? What water was ever so pure and delicious? The mud that remains after its overflowings enriches the ground, which produces, without any trouble, a thousand times more than other countries do with all the labor that it costs to cultivate them. Hear what a poet, who was obliged to quit Egypt, addressed to the natives of that country: ‘Your Nile heaps riches on you every day; it is for you alone that it travels so far; alas! at leaving you, my tears will flow as abundantly as its waters; you will continue to enjoy its pleasures, whilst I, contrary to my inclinations, am condemned to deprive myself of them.’

“‘If,’ continued my father, ‘you cast your eyes on the island, which is formed by the two largest branches of the Nile, what a variety of verdure will gratify them! What a beautiful enamel of all kinds of flowers! What a prodigious quantity of cities, towns, canals, and a thousand other pleasing objects! If you turn on the other side, looking towards Ethiopia, how many different subjects for admiration! I can only compare the verdure of so many meadows, watered by the various canals in the island, to the brilliancy of emeralds set in silver. Is not Cairo the largest, the richest, the most populous city in the universe? How magnificent the edifices, as well private as public! If you go to the pyramids, you are lost in astonishment! you remain speechless at the sight of those enormous masses of stone, which lose their lofty summits in the clouds: you are forced to confess, that the Pharaohs, who employed so many men, and such immense riches in the construction of them, surpassed all the monarchs who have succeeded them, not only in Egypt, but over the whole world, in magnificence and invention, by leaving monuments so worthy of them. These monuments, which are so ancient, that the learned are at a loss to fix the period of their erection, still brave the ravages of time? and will remain for ages. I pass over in silence the maritime towns of the kingdom of Egypt, such as Damietta, Rosetta, and Alexandria, where so many nations traffic for various kinds of grain and stuffs, and a thousand other things for the comfort and pleasure of mankind. I speak of it from knowing the place; I spent some years of my youth there, which I shall ever esteem the happiest of my life.’

“My uncles had nothing to say in reply to my father, and agreed to all he had said about the Nile, Cairo, and the whole of the kingdom of Egypt. As for me, my imagination was so filled with it, that I could not sleep all night. A short time after, my uncles also evinced how much they had been struck with my father’s discourse. They all proposed to him to travel together into Egypt: he accepted the proposal, and, as they were rich merchants, they resolved to take with them such goods as they might dispose of with profit. I heard of their preparations for the journey, and I went to my father to entreat him, with tears in my eyes, to permit me to accompany them, and to allow me a stock of merchandise to sell on my own account. ‘You are too young,’ said he, ‘to undertake such a journey; the fatigue would be too much for you; besides which, I am persuaded you would be a loser by your bargains. This speech did not diminish my desire of travelling; I engaged my uncles to intercede for me with my father, and they at length obtained his permission, that I should go as far as Damascus, where they would leave me, whilst they continued their journey into Egypt. ‘The city of Damascus,’ said my father, ‘has its beauties; and he must be satisfied that I give him leave to go thus far.’ However strong my inclination was to see Egypt after the accounts I heard, I was obliged to relinquish the thought; for he was my father, and I submitted to his will.

“I set off from Moussoul with my father and my uncles. We traversed Mesopotamia, crossed the Euphrates, and arrived at Aleppo, where we remained a few days, and from thence proceeded to Damascus, the first appearance of which agreeably surprised me. We all lodged in the same khan. I here saw a large and well fortified city, populous, and inhabited by civilized people. We passed some days in visiting those delightful gardens, which adorn the suburbs, as we may see from this spot, and we agreed, that what was said of Damascus was true, that it was in the midst of Paradise. After staying some time, my uncles began to think of proceeding on their journey, having first taken care to dispose of my merchandize, which they did so advantageously, that I gained a profit of five per cent. This produced a considerable sum for me, the possession of which quite delighted me.

“My father and my uncles left me at Damascus, and continued their journey. After their departure, I was very careful not to spend my money in useless things. I, however, hired a magnificent house; it was built entirely of marble, and ornamented with paintings, and there was a garden attached, in which were some very fine mountains. I furnished it, not indeed so expensively as the magnificence of the place required, but at least sufficiently so for a young man of my condition. It had formerly belonged to one of the principal grandees of the city, named Modoun Abdaltaham, and it was then the property of a rich jeweller, to whom I paid only two scherifs [5] a month for the use of it. I had a numerous retinue of servants, and lived well. I sometimes invited my acquaintance to dine with me, and occasionally partook of entertainments at their houses; thus I passed my time at Damascus during the absence of my father. I had no passion to disturb my repose, and the society of agreeable people was my only pleasure and occupation.

“One day, when I was sitting at the door of my house, enjoying the fresh air, a lady very well dressed, and of a good figure, came towards me, and asked me if I did not sell stuffs; and saying this, walked into my house. When I saw she was gone in, I got up and shut the door, and ushered her into a room, where I entreated her to be seated. ‘Madam,’ said I, ‘I have had some stuffs, which were worthy of being shewn to you, but I have not any at present, for which I am extremely sorry.’ She took off the veil which concealed her face, and discovered to my eyes a countenance, the beauty of which made me experience sensations I had till then been a stranger to. ‘I do not want any stuffs,’ replied she, ‘I come to see you, and to pass the evening in your company if you do not disapprove it; I only require a slight collation.’

“Delighted with my good fortune, I immediately gave orders for my people to bring us several kinds of fruit, and some bottles of wine. We were served quickly, and we eat and drank, and regaled ourselves till midnight; in short, I had never passed a night so agreeably before. The next morning I was going to put ten scherifs into her hand; but she withdrew it quickly, and said, ‘I did not come to see you from interested motives; you wound my delicacy. Far from receiving money from you, I insist on your accepting some from me, otherwise I will never see you more.’ At the same time she took ten scherifs out of her purse, and forced me to accept them. ‘Expect me in three days,’ said she, ‘after the sun is set.’ She then took her leave, and I felt that she carried away my heart with her.

“At the expiration of three days, she did not fail to return at the appointed hour, and I received her with the joy of a man who impatiently expected her. We passed the evening and night as we had the former one, and the next day, when she left me, she again promised to return in three days, but would not depart till she had obliged me as before to take ten scherifs.

“Having returned the third time, and being both heated with wine, she said to me, ‘My dear love, what do you think of me? Am I not handsome and pleasing?’—‘Madam,’ replied I, ‘these questions, I think, are very useless; all the proofs of affection I give you, ought to convince you I love you; I am enchanted to see and possess you; you are my queen, my sultana; you form the sole happiness of my life.’—‘Ah!’ resumed she, ‘I am sure you would change your tone, if you were to see a lady of my acquaintance, who is younger and handsomer than I am; she has such lively spirits, that she would make the most melancholy laugh. I must bring her to you; I have spoken to her about you, and from what I said, she is dying with impatience to see you. She begged me to procure her this gratification, but I did not dare to comply with her request, till I had mentioned it to you.’—‘Madam,’ said I, ‘you will do as you please; but say what you will about your friend, I defy all her attractions to have any power over my heart, which is so devotedly yours, that nothing can ever alter my attachment.’—‘Take care,’ replied she, ‘I warn you, that I am going to put your heart to a great trial.’

“The subject was then dropped, and the following morning at her departure, instead of ten scherifs she gave me fifteen, which she obliged me to accept. ‘Remember,’ said she, ‘that in two days you will have a new guest; prepare to give her a good reception; we will come at the usual hour after sun-set.’

“I had the room ornamented, and prepared an elegant collation against the day that they were to come; I waited for them with great impatience, and they at length arrived towards the close of the evening. They both unveiled; and if I had been surprised with the beauty of the first, I had much more reason to be so with that of her friend. She had regular features, and perfectly formed; a glowing complexion, and eyes of such brilliancy, that I could scarcely sustain their lustre. I thanked her for the honour she conferred on me, and entreated her to excuse me, if I did not receive her in the style she deserved. ‘No compliments,’ said she, ‘I ought to bestow them on you, for having allowed me to accompany my friend hither; but as you are so good as to suffer me to remain, let us waive all ceremony, and think of nothing but amusing ourselves.’

“As I had given orders for the collation to be served as soon as the ladies arrived, we shortly sat down to table. I was opposite to my new guest, who did not cease to look and smile at me. I could not resist her winning glances, and she made herself mistress of my heart without any resistance. But while inspiring me with love, she felt the flame herself; and far from practising any restraint, she said a number of tender things to me.

“The other lady, who observed us, at first only laughed. ‘I told you,’ said she, addressing herself to me, ‘that you would be charmed with my friend, and I perceive you would have already violated the oath you made me to remain constant.’ ‘Madam,’ replied I, laughing as she had done, ‘you would have reason to complain, if I were remiss in politeness towards a lady whom you love, and have done me the honour to bring here; both of you would reproach me with not knowing how to perform the honours of my house.’

“We continued drinking, but in proportion as we became heated with wine, the new lady and I exchanged glances with so little precaution that her friend conceived a violent jealousy, of which she soon gave us a fatal proof. She got up and went out, saying, that she should soon return; but a few minutes after, the lady who had remained with me changed countenance; she fell into strong convulsions, and shortly after expired in my arms, whilst I was calling my servants to assist me in relieving her. I went out immediately, and inquired for the other lady; my people told me that she had opened the street door, and had gone away. I then began to suspect, and nothing could be more just than my suspicions, that she had occasioned the death of her friend. In fact, she had had the address and the wickedness to put a strong poison into the last cup, which she herself had presented to her.

“I was extremely afflicted at this accident. ‘What shall I do?’ said I to myself. ‘What will become of me?’ As I considered that I had no time to lose, I ordered my people to raise up, by the light of the moon, and as quietly as possible, one of the largest pieces of marble with which the court of my house was paved, and to dig a grave, where they interred the body of the young lady. After the marble was replaced, I put on a travelling dress, and taking all the money I was possessed of, I locked up every thing, even the door of my house, on which I put my own seal; I went to the jeweller, who was the proprietor, paid him what rent I was in his debt, and a year in advance besides; and giving him the key, begged him to keep it for me: ‘A very important affair,’ said I, ‘obliges me to be absent for some time; I am under the necessity of going to my uncle’s at Cairo.’ I then took my leave of him; instantly mounted my horse, and set off with my people, who were waiting for me.

“I had a good journey, and arrived at Cairo without any unpleasant interruption. I found my uncles, who were astonished to see me. I said to them, by way of excuse, that I was tired of waiting for them; and that, receiving no intelligence of them, my uneasiness had induced me to undertake the journey. They received me very kindly, and promised to intercede with my father, that he should not be displeased at my quitting Damascus, without his permission. I lodged in the same khan with them, and saw every thing that was worthy of attention in Cairo.

“As they had sold all their merchandize, they talked of returning to Moussoul, and were already beginning to make preparations for their departure; but as I had not seen all that I wished in Egypt, I left my uncles, and went to lodge in a quarter very distant from their khan, and did not make my appearance till they had set off. They sought me in the city for a considerable time; but not being able to find me, they supposed, that, touched with remorse at coming to Egypt against the will of my father, I had returned to Damascus without acquainting them, and they left Cairo in the hopes of meeting me there, where I could join them, and return home.

“I remained then at Cairo after their departure, and lived there three years to gratify my curiosity in examining all the wonders of Egypt. During that time I took care to send my rent to the jeweller; always desiring him to keep my house for me, as it was my intention to return to Damascus, and reside there for some years. I did not meet with any adventure at Cairo, worthy of being related; but you will, no doubt, be very much surprised to hear what befel me, on my return to Damascus.

“When I arrived in this city, I dismounted at the jeweller’s, who received me with joy, and would accompany me to my house, to shew me, that no one had been in it during my absence. In fact, the seal was still entire on the lock. I entered, and found every thing in the state I had left it.

“In cleaning and sweeping the room where I had regaled the two ladies, one of my servants found a golden necklace in the form of a chain, in which, from space to space, were ten pearls very large and perfect. He brought it me, and I knew it to be that which I had seen on the neck of the young lady who was poisoned. I supposed that it had got loose, and had fallen without my perceiving it. I could not look at it without shedding tears, as it brought to my recollection so amiable a person, whom I had seen expire in such a cruel manner. I wrapped it up, and put it carefully in my bosom.

“I passed some days in recovering from the fatigue of my journey; after which I began to visit those with whom I had been formerly acquainted. I gave myself up to all kinds of pleasure, and insensibly spent all my money. Reduced to this situation, instead of selling my goods, I resolved to dispose of the necklace; but I was so little acquainted with the value of pearls, that I had but bad success, as you will hear.

“I went to the bezestein, where I called aside one of the criers, and shewing him the necklace told him I wished to sell it, and begged him to shew it to the principal jewellers. The crier was surprised at seeing such an elegant ornament. ‘Ah, what a beautiful thing!’ cried he, after having admired it for some time. ‘Our merchants have never seen any thing so rich and costly; I shall give them great pleasure, and you need not doubt their setting a high price on it, and bidding against each other.’ He led me into a shop, which I found to be that of the owner of my house. ‘Wait for me here,’ said the crier, ‘I shall soon return and bring you an answer.’

“Whilst he with great secrecy was going about to the different merchants to shew the necklace, I seated myself near the jeweller, who was very glad to see me; and we entered into conversation together on various subjects. The crier returned, and taking me aside, instead of telling me that the necklace was esteemed worth two thousand scherifs at the least, he assured me, that no one would give me more than fifty. ‘They tell me,’ added he, ‘that the pearls are false; determine whether you will let it go at that price.’ As I believed what he said, and was in want of money, ‘Go,’ said I, ‘I depend on what you say, and those who are better acquainted with these matters than I am; deliver it, and bring me the money directly.’

“The crier had, in fact, been sent to offer me fifty scherifs by one of the richest jewellers in the bezestein, who had only mentioned this price to sound me, and see if I knew the worth of what I wanted to sell. No sooner therefore was he made acquainted with my answer, than he took the crier with him to an officer of the police, to whom, shewing the necklace, he said, ‘Sir, this is a necklace that has been stolen from me, and the thief, disguised as a merchant, has had the effrontery to offer it for sale, and is now actually in the bezestein. He is content to receive fifty scherifs for jewels that are worth two thousand: nothing can be a stronger proof of his being a thief.’

“The officer of the police sent immediately to arrest me; and when I appeared before him, he asked me if the necklace he had in his hand was not that which I had offered for sale in the bezestein; I replied in the affirmative. ‘And is it true,’ continued he, ‘that you would dispose of it for fifty scherifs?’ I confessed it was. ‘Well then,’ said he, in a sneering tone, ‘let him have the bastinado, he will soon tell us, in his fine merchant’s dress, that he is nothing better than a rank thief; let him be beaten till he owns it.’ The violence of the blows made me tell a lie; I confessed, contrary to truth, that I had stolen the necklace, and immediately the officer of police ordered my hand to be cut off.

“This occasioned a great noise in the bezestein, and I was scarcely returned to my house, when the owner of it came to me, ‘My son,’ said he, ‘you seem to be a young man so prudent and well educated, how is it possible, that you should have committed an action so unworthy of yourself as that which I have just heard related? You told me the amount of your property, and I doubt not it was what you said. Why did not you ask me for money? I would willingly have lent you some; but after what has passed I cannot allow you to remain any longer in my house; resolve what you will do; for you must seek another lodging.’ I was extremely mortified at these words, and entreated the jeweller, with tears in my eyes, to suffer me to stay in his house three days longer, which he granted.

“‘Alas,’ cried I, ‘what a misfortune! What an affront! How can I venture to return to Moussoul? All that I can say to my father, will never persuade him that I am innocent.’ Three days after this accident befel me, I saw, with the utmost astonishment, a number of the attendants of the police officer come into my house, attended by my landlord and the merchant, who had falsely accused me of having stolen the necklace from him. I asked them what they wanted; but instead of replying, they bound me with cords, and poured forth the most abusive language, telling me, that the necklace belonged to the governor of Damascus, who had lost it about three years before; and that at the same time one of his daughters had disappeared. Judge of the state I was in at this intelligence; I however determined how to act. ‘I will tell the truth,’ thought I; ‘the governor shall decide, whether he will pardon me, or commit me for execution.’

“When I was conducted before him, I observed, that he looked on me with an eye of compassion, which I conceived to be a favourable omen. He ordered me to be unbound, and then addressing the merchant, who was my accuser, and the landlord of my house, ‘Is that,’ said he to them, ‘the young man who offered for sale the pearl necklace?’ They immediately answered that I was. When he added, ‘I am convinced, that he did not steal the necklace; and I am very much surprised, that such injustice should have been practised on him.’ Encouraged by this speech, ‘My lord,’ I cried, ‘I swear to you that I am innocent. I am persuaded also, that the necklace did not ever belong to my accuser, whom I never saw before, and whose horrible perfidy is the cause of the disagreeable treatment I have met with. It is true that I confessed the theft; but I made this avowal against my conscience, urged by the torments I was made to suffer, and for a reason which I am ready to relate, if you will have the goodness to listen to me.’—‘I know enough already,’ replied the governor, ‘to be able to render you immediately part of the justice which is your due. Let the false accuser be taken from hence,’ continued he, ‘and let him undergo the same punishment which he caused to be inflicted on this young man, whose innocence is well known to me.’

“The order of the governor was instantly put in execution. The merchant was led out, and punished as he deserved. After which the governor, having desired all who were present to withdraw, thus addressed me: ‘My son, relate to me, without fear, in what manner this necklace fell into your hands, and disguise nothing from me.’ I then discovered to him all that had happened; and owned, that I preferred passing for a thief to revealing this tragical adventure. ‘Great God,’ exclaimed the governor, as soon as I had done speaking, ‘thy judgments are incomprehensible, and we must submit without murmuring: I receive, with entire submission, the blow which thou hast been pleased to strike.’ Then addressing himself to me, ‘My son,’ added he, ‘having heard the account of your misfortune, for which I am extremely sorry, I will now relate mine. Know, then, that I am the father of the two ladies you have been speaking of.

“‘The first lady, who had the effrontery to seek you, even in your own house, was the eldest of all my daughters. I had married her, at Cairo, to her cousin, the son of my brother. Her husband died, and she returned here, corrupted by a thousand vices, which she had learnt in Egypt. Before her arrival, the youngest, who died in so deplorable a manner in your arms, was very prudent, and had never given me any reason to complain of her morals. Her eldest sister formed a very close friendship with her, and by insensible degrees rendered her as wicked as herself.

“‘The day following that on which the youngest died, as I did not see her when I sat down to table, I inquired for her of the eldest, who had returned home; but instead of making any reply she began to weep so bitterly, that I conceived an unlucky presage. I pressed her to inform me of what I wished to know.

“‘Father,’ replied she, sobbing, ‘I can tell you nothing more than that my sister yesterday put on her best dress, and her beautiful pearl necklace, and went out; since which she has not appeared.’ I had my daughter searched for over the city, but could learn no tidings of her unhappy fate. In the mean time my eldest daughter, who no doubt began to repent of her jealous fit, did not cease weeping and bewailing the death of her sister: she even deprived herself of all kinds of nourishment, and by that means put a period to her existence.

“‘This alas!’ continued the governor, ‘is the condition of man. These are the evils to which he is exposed. But, my son, as we are both equally unfortunate, let us unite our sorrows, and never abandon each other. I will bestow my third daughter on you in marriage: she is younger than her sisters, and does not at all resemble them in her conduct. She is even more beautiful than they were, and I can assure you, that she is of a disposition to make you happy. My house shall be your home, and after my death you and she will be my only heirs.’—‘My lord,’ said I, ‘I am quite confused by your kindness, and shall never be able to testify my gratitude.’—‘Enough,’ interrupted he, ‘let us not waste time in useless conversation.’ Saying this, he had some witnesses called, and I married his daughter without any farther ceremony.

“He was not satisfied with punishing the merchant who had falsely accused me; he also confiscated all his property, which was very considerable, to my use. In short, as you come now from the governor, you may have observed in what high estimation he holds me. I must add too, that a man, who was sent expressly by my uncles to seek me in Egypt, having discovered, in passing through this city, that I resided here, yesterday gave me letters from them. They inform me of the death of my father, and invite me to go to Moussoul to take possession of his inheritance; but as my alliance and friendship with the governor attach me to him, and do not suffer me to think of quitting him, I have sent back the express, empowering my uncles legally to transfer all that belongs to me. After what you have heard I trust you will pardon me the incivility I have been guilty of, during my illness, of presenting you my left hand instead of my right.’

“This,” said the Jewish physician to the sultan of Casgar, “is what the young man of Moussoul related to me. I remained at Damascus as long as the governor lived; after his death, as I was in the prime of my life, I had the curiosity to travel. I traversed all Persia, and went into India; at last I came to establish myself in your capital, where I exercise, with credit to myself, the profession of physician.”

The sultan of Casgar thought this story entertaining; “I confess,” said he to the Jew, “what thou hast been relating is extraordinary; but to speak frankly, the story of the hunchback is still more so, and much more comical; so do not flatter thyself with the hope of being reprieved any more than the others; I shall have you all four hanged.”—“A moment’s grace, Sire,” cried the tailor, advancing, and prostrating himself at the feet of the sultan; since your majesty likes pleasant stories, that which I shall tell you, will not, I think, displease you.”—“I will listen to thee also,” replied the sultan, “but do not entertain any hopes that I shall suffer thee to live, unless thou canst recount some adventure more diverting than that of the hunchback.” The tailor then, as if he had been sure of his business, boldly began his recital in these words:

THE STORY

TOLD BY THE TAILOR.

A tradesman, Sire, of this city, did me the honor, two days since, of inviting me to an entertainment, which he gave yesterday morning to his friends: I repaired to his house at an early hour, and found about twenty people assembled.

We were waiting for the master of the house, who was gone out on some sudden business, when we saw him arrive, accompanied by a young stranger very neatly dressed, and of a good figure, but lame. We all rose, and to do honor to the master of the house, we begged the young man to sit with us on the sofa. He was just going to sit down, when perceiving a barber, who was one of the company, he abruptly stepped back; and was going away. The master of the house, surprised at this, stopped him. “Where are you going?” said he, “I bring you here to do me the honor of being present at an entertainment I am going to give my friends, and you are scarcely entered before you want to go away!”—“In the name of God, sir,” replied the stranger, “I entreat you not to detain me, but suffer me to depart. I cannot behold without horror that abominable barber, who is sitting there; although he is born in a country where the complexion of the people is white, yet he bears the colour of an Ethiopian; but his mind is of a still deeper and more horrible die than his visage.”

We were all very much surprised at this speech, and began to conceive a very bad opinion of the barber, without knowing whether the young stranger had any just reason for speaking of him in such terms. We even went so far as to declare that we would not suffer at our table a man of whom we had heard so shocking a character. The master of the house begged the stranger to acquaint us with the occasion of his hatred to the barber. “Gentlemen,” said the young man, “you must know, that this barber was the cause of my being lame; and also of the most cruel affair, which befel me, that you can possibly conceive; for this reason I have made a vow to quit instantly any place where he may be; and even not to reside in any town where he lives: for this reason I left Bagdad, where he was, and undertook so long a journey to come and settle myself in this city, where, being in the centre of Great Tartary, I flattered myself I should be secure of never beholding him again. However, contrary to my hopes and expectations, I find him here; this obliges me, gentlemen, to deprive myself of the honor of partaking of your feast. I will this day leave your city, and go to hide myself, if I can, in some place where he can never again offend my sight.” In saying this, he was going to leave us, but the master of the house still detained him, and entreated him to relate to us the cause of the aversion he had against the barber, who all this time kept his eyes fixed on the ground, and was silent. We joined our entreaties to those of the master of the house, and at last the young man, yielding to our wishes, seated himself on the sofa, and began his history in these words; having first turned his back towards the barber, lest he should see him.

“My father, who lived in Bagdad, was of a rank to aspire to the highest offices of state; but he preferred leading a quiet and tranquil life to all the honors he might deserve. I was his only child, and when he died, I had completed my education, and was of an age to dispose of the large possessions he had bequeathed me. I did not dissipate them in folly, but made such use of them as procured me the esteem of every one.

“I had not yet felt any tender passion, and far from being at all sensible to love, I will confess, perhaps to my shame, that I carefully avoided the society of women. One day, as I was walking in a street I saw a great number of ladies coming towards me; in order to avoid them, I turned into a little street that was before me, and sat down on a bench that was placed near a door. I was opposite to a window, where there was a number of very fine flowers, and my eyes were fixed on them, when the window opened and a lady appeared, whose beauty dazzled me. She cast her eyes on me, and watering the flowers, with a hand whiter than alabaster, she looked at me with a smile, which inspired me with as much love for her as I had hitherto had aversion towards the rest of her sex. After having watered her flowers, and bestowed on me another look full of charms, which completed the conquest of my heart, she shut the window, and left me in a state of pain and uncertainty which I cannot describe.

“I should have remained thus a considerable time, had not the noise I heard in the street brought me to my senses again. I turned my head as I got up, and saw, that it was one of the first cadis of the city, mounted on a mule, and accompanied by five or six of his people: he alighted at the door of the house where the young lady had opened the window, and went in, which made me suppose he was her father.

“I returned home in a state very different from that in which I had left it: agitated by a passion so much the more violent from its being the first attack. I went to bed with a raging fever, which caused great affliction in my household. My relations, who loved me, alarmed by so sudden an indisposition, came quickly to see me, and importuned me to acquaint them of the cause, but I was very careful to keep it secret. My silence increased their alarms, nor could the physicians dissipate their fears for my safety, because they knew nothing of my disease, which was only increased by the medicines they administered.

“My relations began to despair of my life, when an old lady of their acquaintance, being informed of my illness, arrived; she considered me with a great deal of attention, and after she had thoroughly examined me, she discovered, I know not by what chance, the cause of my disorder. She took them aside, and begged them to leave her alone with me, and to order my people to retire.

“The room being cleared, she seated herself near my pillow. ‘My son,’ said she, ‘you have hitherto persisted in concealing the cause of your illness; nor do I require you to confess it; I have sufficient experience to penetrate into this secret, and I am sure you will not disown what I am going to declare. It is love which occasions your indisposition. I can probably assist your cure, provided you will tell me who is the happy lady that has been able to wound a heart so insensible as yours; for you have the reputation of not liking the ladies, and I have not been the last to perceive it; however, what I foresaw is at last come to pass, and I shall be delighted if I can be of any service in releasing you from your pain.’

“The old lady having finished this speech, waited to hear my answer; but although it had made a strong impression on me, I did not dare to open my heart to her. I only turned towards her, and uttered a deep sigh, without saying a word. ‘Is it shame,’ continued she, ‘that prevents you from speaking, or is it want of confidence in my power to relieve you? Can you doubt the effects of my promise? I could mention to you an infinite number of young people of your acquaintance, who have endured the same pain that you do; and for whom I have obtained consolation.’

“In short, the good lady said so many things to me, that at length I broke silence, and declared to her the cause of my pain. I acquainted her with the place where I had seen the object that had given birth to it; and related all the circumstances of the adventure. ‘If you succeed,’ continued I, ‘and procure me the happiness of seeing this enchanting beauty, and of expressing to her the passion with which I burn, you may rely on my gratitude.’—‘My son,’ replied the old lady, ‘I know the person you mention; she is, as you justly suppose, the daughter of the principal cadi in this city. I am not surprised that you should love her; she is the most beautiful, as well as most amiable lady in Bagdad; but what grieves me is, she is very haughty, and difficult of access. You know, that many of our officers of justice are very exact, in making women observe the harsh laws which subject them to so irksome a restraint; they are still more strict in their own families, and the cadi you saw is himself alone more rigid on this point than all the others put together. As they are continually preaching to their daughters the enormity of the crime of showing themselves to men, the poor things are in general so cautious of being guilty of it, that, when necessity obliges them to walk in the streets, they make no use of their eyes, but to guide them on their way; I do not say, that this is absolutely the case with the daughter of the principal cadi; yet I am much afraid of having as great obstacles to overcome on her side, as on her father’s. Would to Heaven you loved any other lady! I should not have so many difficulties, as I foresee, to surmount. I will nevertheless employ all my address; but it will require time to succeed. At any rate take courage, and place confidence in me.’

“The old lady left me, and as I reflected with anxiety on all the obstacles she had represented to me, the fear that she would not succeed possessed me, and increased my disease. She returned the following day, and I soon read in her countenance, that she had no favourable intelligence to announce. She said, ‘My son, I was not mistaken; I have more to surmount than merely the vigilance of a father; you love an insensible object, who delights in letting those burn with unrequited passion, who suffer themselves to be charmed with her beauty; she will not allow them the least relief; she listened to me with pleasure, whilst I talked to her only of the pain she made you suffer; but no sooner did I open my mouth, to persuade her to allow you an interview, than she cast an angry look at me, and said, ‘You are very insolent to attempt to make such a proposition; and I desire you will never see me more, if it be only to hold such conversations as this!

“‘But let not that afflict you,’ continued the old lady, ‘I am not easily discouraged, and provided you do not lose your patience, I hope at last to accomplish my design.’ Not to protract my narration (said the young man) I will only say, that this good messenger made several fruitless attempts in my favor, with the haughty enemy of my peace. The vexation I endured, increased my disorder to such a degree, that the physicians gave me over. I was, therefore, considered as a man who was at the point at death, when the old lady came to give me new life.

“That no one might hear her, she whispered in my ear; ‘Think of the present you will make me for the good news I bring you.’ These words produced a wonderful effect; I raised myself in my bed, and replied with transport, ‘The present will not be deficient; what have you to tell me?’—‘My dear sir,’ resumed she, ‘you will not die this time, and I shall soon have the pleasure of seeing you in perfect health, and well satisfied with me; yesterday being Monday, I went to the lady you are in love with, and found her in very good humour; I at first put on a mournful countenance, uttered an abundance of sighs, and shed some tears. ‘My good mother,’ said she, ‘what is the matter? Why are you in such affliction?’—‘Alas! my dear and honorable lady,’ replied I, ‘I am just come from the young gentleman I spoke to you of the other day; it is all over with him; he is at the point of death, and all for love of you; it is a great pity, I assure you, and you are very cruel.’—‘I do not know,’ said she, ‘why you should accuse me of being the cause of his death: how can I have contributed to his illness?’—‘How?’ replied I, ‘did I not tell you, that he seated himself before your window, just as you opened it to water your flowers? He beheld this prodigy of beauty, these charms, which your mirror reflects every day; from that moment he has languished for you, and his disease is so augmented, that he is now reduced to the pitiable state I have had the honor of describing to you. You may remember, madam,’ continued I, ‘how rigorously you treated me lately, when I was going to tell you of his illness, and propose to you a method of relieving him from his dangerous condition; I returned to him after I left you, and he no sooner perceived, from my countenance, that I did not bring a favorable account, than his malady redoubled its violence. From that time, madam, he has been in the most imminent danger of death; and I do not know, whether you could now save his life, even if you were inclined to take pity on him.’

“‘This was what I said to her,’ added the old lady. ‘The fear of your death staggered her, and I saw her face change colour. ‘Is what you say to me quite true,’ said she, ‘and does his illness proceed only from his love of me?’—‘Ah, madam,’ replied I, ‘it is but too true: would to heaven it were false!’—‘And do you really think,’ resumed she, ‘that the hope of seeing and speaking to me could contribute to diminish the peril of his situation?’—‘It very likely may,’ said I, ‘and if you desire me, I will try this remedy.’—‘Well then,’ replied she, sighing, ‘let him hope that he may see me; but he must not expect any other favors, unless he aspires to marry me, and my father gives his consent!’—‘Madam,’ said I, ‘you are very good; I will go directly to this young gentleman, and announce to him, that he will have the pleasure of seeing and conversing with you.’—‘I do not know,’ said she, ‘that I can fix a more convenient time to do him this favor than on Friday next, during the mid-day prayer. Let him observe when my father goes out to attend at the mosque; and then let him come immediately before this house, if he is well enough to go abroad. I shall see him arrive, from my window, and will come down to let him in. We will converse together while the prayer lasts, and he will retire before my father returns.’

“‘This is Tuesday,’ continued the old lady, ‘between this and Friday you will be sufficiently recovered to encounter this interview.’ Whilst the good lady was talking, I felt my disorder diminish, or rather by the time she had concluded her discourse, I found myself quite recovered. ‘Take this,’ said I, giving her my purse, which was quite full, ‘to you alone I owe my cure; I think this money better employed than all I have given to the physicians, who have done nothing but torment me during my illness.’

“The lady having left me, I found myself sufficiently strong to get up. My relations, delighted to see me so much better, congratulated me on my recovery, and took their leave.

“Friday morning being arrived, the old lady came whilst I was dressing, and making choice of the handsomest dress my wardrobe contained. ‘I do not ask you,’ said she, ‘how you find yourself; the occupation you are engaged in sufficiently convinces me of what I am to think; but will not you bathe before you go to the principal cadi’s?’—‘That would take up too much time,’ replied I, ‘I shall content myself with sending for a barber to shave my head and beard.’ I then ordered one of my slaves to seek one who was expert in his business, as well as expeditious.

“The slave brought me this unlucky barber, who is here present. After having saluted me, he said, ‘Sir, by your countenance you seem to be unwell.’ I replied, that I was recovering from a very severe illness. ‘I wish God may preserve you from all kinds of evils,’ continued he, ‘and may his grace accompany you every where.’—‘I hope he will grant this wish,’ said I, ‘for which I am much obliged to you.’—‘As you are now recovering from illness,’ resumed he, ‘I pray God that he will preserve you in health. Now tell me what is your pleasure; I have brought my razors and my lancets; do you wish me to shave or to bleed you?’—‘Did I not tell you,’ returned I, ‘that I am recovering from illness? You may suppose, then, that I did not send for you to bleed me. Be quick and shave me, and do not lose time in talking, for I am in a hurry, and have an appointment precisely at noon.’

“The barber employed a great deal of time in undoing his apparatus and preparing his razors; instead of putting some water into his bason, he drew out of his case a very nice astrolabe, went out of my room, and walked into the middle of the court, with a sedate step, to take the height of the sun. He returned with the same gravity, and on entering the chamber, ‘You will, no doubt, be glad to learn, sir,’ said he, ‘that this Friday is the eighteenth day of the moon of Safar, in the year six hundred and fifty three, [6] since the retreat of our great prophet from Mecca to Medina, and in the year seven thousand three hundred and twenty, [7] of the epoch of the great Iskander with the two horns; and that the conjunction of Mars and Mercury signifies, that you cannot choose a better time than the present day and present hour to be shaved. But, on the other side, this conjunction forms a bad presage for you. It demonstrates to me, that you in this day will encounter a great danger; not indeed of losing your life, but of an inconvenience which will remain with you all your days; you ought to be obliged to me for advertising you to be careful of this misfortune; I should be sorry that it befel you.’

“Judge, gentlemen, of my vexation, at having fallen in the way of this chattering and ridiculous barber: what a mortifying delay for a lover, who was preparing for a tender meeting with his mistress! I was quite exasperated. ‘I care very little,’ said I angrily, ‘either for your advice or your predictions: I did not send for you to consult you on astrology; you came here to shave me; therefore either perform your office or take yourself away, that I may send for another barber.’

“‘Sir,’ replied he, in a tone so phlegmatic that I could scarcely contain myself, ‘What reason have you to be angry? Do not you know, that all barbers are not like me, and that you would not find another such, even if you had him made on purpose. You only asked for a barber, and in my person are united the best barber of Bagdad, an experienced physician, a profound chemist, a never-failing astrologer, a finished grammarian, a perfect rhetorician, a subtle logician; a mathematician, thoroughly accomplished in geometry, arithmetic, astronomy, and in all the refinements of algebra; an historian, who is acquainted with the history of all the kingdoms in the universe. Besides these sciences, I am well instructed in all the points of philosophy; and have my memory well stored with all our laws and all our traditions. I am a poet, an architect; but what am I not? There is nothing in nature concealed from me. Your late honored father, to whom I pay a tribute of tears every time I think of him, was fully convinced of my merit. He loved me, caressed me, and never ceased quoting me in all companies, as the first man in the whole world. My gratitude and friendship for him attaches me to you; and urges me to take you under my protection, and insure you from all the misfortunes with which the planets may threaten you.’

“At this speech, notwithstanding my anger, I could not help laughing. ‘When do you mean to have done, impertinent chatterer,’ cried I, ‘and when do you intend to begin shaving me?’

“‘Sir,’ replied the barber, ‘you do me an injury by calling me a chatterer: every one, on the contrary, bestows on me the honorable appellation of silent. I had six brothers, whom you might with some reason have termed chatterers, and that you may be acquainted with them, the eldest was named Bacbouc, the second Bakbarah, the third Bakbac, the fourth Alcouz, the fifth Alnaschar, and the sixth Shacabac. These were indeed most tiresome talkers, but I, who am the youngest of the family, am very grave and concise in my discourses.’

“Place yourselves in my situation, gentlemen; what could I do with so cruel a tormentor? ‘Give him three pieces of gold,’ said I to the slave who overlooked the expenses of my house, ‘and send him away, that I may be at peace; I will not be shaved to-day.’—‘Sir!’ cried the barber, at hearing this, ‘what am I to understand, sir, by these words? It was not I who came to seek you; it was you who ordered me to come; and that being the case, I swear by the faith of a musselman, that I will not quit your house till I have shaved you. If you do not know my worth, it is no fault of mine; your late honored father was more just to my merits. Every time, when he sent for me to bleed him, he used to make me sit down by his side, and then it was delightful to hear the clever things I entertained him with. I kept him in continual admiration; I enchanted him; and when I had done, ‘Ah!’ cried he, ‘you are an inexhaustible fund of science; no one can approach the profoundness of your knowledge.’—‘My dear sir,’ I used to reply, ‘you do me more honor than I deserve. If I say a good thing, I am indebted to you for the favorable hearing you are so good as to grant me: it is your liberality that inspires me with those sublime ideas which have the good fortune to meet your approbation.’ One day, when he was quite charmed with an admirable discourse I had just concluded, ‘Give him,’ cried he, ‘an hundred pieces of gold, and put him on one of my richest robes!’ I received this present immediately; and at the same instant I drew out his horoscope, which I found to be one of the most fortunate in the world. I carried the proofs of my gratefulness still farther, for I cupped him instead of bleeding him with a lancet.’

“He did not stop here; he began another speech which lasted a full half hour. Fatigued with hearing him, and vexed at finding the time pass without my getting forward, I knew not what more to say. ‘No indeed,’ at length I exclaimed, ‘it is not possible that there should exist, in the whole world, a man who takes greater delight in enraging people.’

“I then thought I might succeed better by gentle means. ‘In the name of God,’ I said to him, ‘leave off your fine speeches, and finish with me quickly: I have an affair of the greatest importance, which obliges me to go out, as I have already told you.’ At these words he began to laugh. ‘It would be very praiseworthy,’ said he, ‘if our minds were always wise and prudent; however, I am willing to believe, that, when you put yourself in a passion with me, it was your late illness which occasioned this change in your temper; on this account, therefore, you are in need of some instructions, and you cannot do better than follow the example of your father and your grandfather: they used to come and consult me in all their affairs; and I may safely say, without vanity, that they were always the better for my advice. Let me tell you, sir, that a man scarcely ever succeeds in any enterprise, if he has not recourse to the opinions of enlightened persons: no man becomes clever, says the proverb, unless he consults a clever man. I am entirely at your service, and you have only to command me.’

“‘Cannot I then persuade you,’ interrupted I, ‘to desist from these long speeches, which tend to no purpose but to distract my head, and prevent me from keeping my appointment: shave me directly, or leave my house.’ In saying this I arose, and angrily struck my foot against the ground.

“When he saw that I was really exasperated with him, ‘Sir,’ said he, ‘do not be angry; we are going to begin directly.’ In fact he washed my head, and began to shave me; but he had not made four strokes with his razor, when he stopped to say, ‘Sir, you are hasty; you should abstain from these gusts of passion, which only come from the devil. Besides which, I deserve that you should have some respect for me on account of my age, my knowledge, and my striking virtues.’

“‘Go on shaving me,’ said I, interrupting him again, ‘and speak no more,’—‘That is to say,’ replied he, ‘that you have some pressing affair on your hands; I’ll lay a wager that I am not mistaken.’—‘Why I told you so two hours ago,’ returned I, ‘you ought to have shaved me long since.’—‘Moderate your ardor,’ replied he, ‘perhaps you have not considered well of what you are going to do; when one does any thing precipitately, it is almost always a source of repentance. I wish you would tell me what this affair is, that you are in such haste about, and I will give you my opinion on it: you have plenty of time, for you are not expected till noon, and it will not be noon these three hours.’—‘That is nothing to me,’ said I, ‘people of honor, who keep their word, are always before the time appointed. But I perceive that in reasoning thus with you, I am imitating the faults of chattering barbers; finish shaving me quickly.’

“The more anxious I was for dispatch, the less so was he to obey me. He left his razor to take up his astrolabe; and when he put down his astrolabe he took up his razor.

“He got his astrolabe a second time, and left me half shaved to go and see what o’clock it was precisely. He returned. ‘Sir,’ said he, ‘I was certain I was not mistaken; it wants three hours to noon, I am well assured, or all the rules of astronomy are false.’—‘Gracious Heaven!’ cried I, ‘my patience is exhausted, I can hold out no longer. Cursed barber, ill-omen’d barber, I can hardly refrain from falling upon thee and strangling thee.’—‘Softly sir,’ said he coolly, and without showing any emotion and anger, ‘you seem to have no fear of bringing on your illness again; do not be so passionate and you shall be shaved in a moment.’ Saying this he put the astrolabe in his case, took his razor, which he sharpened on the strop that was fastened to his girdle, and began to shave me; but whilst he was shaving he could not help talking. ‘If you would, sir,’ said he, ‘inform me what this affair is, that will engage you at noon, I would give you some advice, which you might find serviceable.’ To satisfy him, I told him that some friends expected me at noon to regale me, and rejoice with me on my recovery.

“No sooner had the barber heard me mention a feast, than he exclaimed, ‘God bless you on this day as well as on every other; you bring to my mind, that yesterday I invited four or five friends to come and regale with me to-day; I had forgotten it, and have not made any preparations for them.’—‘Let not that embarrass you,’ said I; ‘although I am going out, my table is always well supplied, and I make you a present of all that is intended for it to-day; I will also give you as much wine as you want, for I have some excellent in my cellar; but then you must be quick in finishing to shave me; and remember that instead of making you presents to hear you talk, as my father did, I give them to you to be silent.’

“He was not content to rely on my word. ‘May God recompense you,’ cried he, ‘for the favor you do me; but show me directly these provisions, that I may judge if there will be enough to regale my friends handsomely; for I wish them to be satisfied with the good cheer I shall give them.’—‘I have,’ said I, ‘a lamb, six capons, a dozen of fowls, and sufficient for four courses.’ I gave orders to a slave to produce all that, together with four large jugs of wine. ‘This is well,’ replied the barber, ‘but we shall want some fruit, and something for sauce to the meat.’ I desired what he wanted to be given him. He left off shaving me to examine each thing separately, and as this examination took up nearly half an hour, I stamped and swore; but I might amuse myself as I pleased, the rascal did not hurry a bit the more. At length, however, he again took up the razor and shaved for a few minutes, then stopping suddenly, ‘I should never have supposed, sir,’ said he, ‘that you had been of so liberal a turn; I begin to discover, that your late father, of honored memory, lives a second time in you; certainly I did not deserve the favors you heap on me; and I assure you, that I shall retain an eternal sense of the obligation; for, sir, that you may know it in future, I will tell you that I have nothing but what I get from generous people like yourself, in which I resemble Zantout, who rubs people at the bath, and Sali, who sells little burnt peas about the streets, and Salouz, who sells beans and Akerscha, who sells herbs, and Abou Mekares, who waters the streets to lay the dust, and Cassem, who belongs to the caliph’s guard: all these people give no reception to melancholy; they are neither sorrowful nor quarrelsome; better satisfied with their fortune than the caliph himself in the midst of his court, they are always gay and ready to dance and sing; and they have each their peculiar dance and song, with which they entertain the whole city of Bagdad; but what I esteem the most in them is, that they are none of them great talkers any more than your slave, who has the honor of speaking to you. Here, sir, I will give you the song and the dance of Zantout, who rubs the people at the bath; look at me, and you will see an exact imitation.’

“The barber sung the song and danced the dance of Zantout, and notwithstanding all I could say to make him cease his buffoonery, he would not stop till he had imitated in the same way all those he had mentioned. After that, ‘Sir,’ said he, ‘I am going to invite all these good people to my house, and if you will take my advice, you will be of our party, and leave your friends, who are perhaps great talkers, and will only disturb you by their tiresome conversations, and will make you relapse into an illness still worse than that from which you are just recovered; instead of which, at my house, you will only enjoy pleasure.’

“Notwithstanding my anger, I could not avoid laughing at his folly. ‘I wish,’ said I, ‘that I had no other engagement, and I would gladly accept your proposal; I would with all my heart make one of your jolly set, but I must entreat you to excuse me, I am too much engaged to-day; I shall be more at liberty another day, and we will have this party: finish shaving me, and hasten to return, for perhaps your friends are already arrived.’—‘Sir,’ replied he, ‘do not refuse me the favor I ask of you. Come and amuse yourself with the good company I shall have; if you had once been with such people, you would have been so pleased with them, that you would give up your friends for them.’—‘Say no more about it,’ said I; ‘I cannot be present at your feast.’

“I gained nothing by gentleness. ‘Since you will not come with me,’ replied the barber, ‘you must allow me then to accompany you. I will go home with the provisions you have given me; my friends shall eat of them if they like; and I will return immediately. I cannot commit such an incivility as to suffer you to go alone; you deserve this piece of complaisance on my part.’—‘Good heaven,’ exclaimed I, on hearing this,’ am I then condemned to bear this whole day so tormenting a creature! In the name of the great God,’ said I to him, ‘finish your tiresome speeches; go to your friends; eat and drink, and entertain yourselves, and leave me at liberty to go to mine. I will go alone, and do not want any one to accompany me; and indeed if you must know the truth, the place where I am going is not one in which you can be received; I only can be admitted.’—‘You are joking, sir,’ replied he, ‘if your friends have invited you to an entertainment, what reason can prevent me from accompanying you? You will give them great pleasure, I am sure, by taking with you a man like me, who has the art of entertaining a company and making them merry. Say what you will, sir, I am resolved to go in spite of you.’

“These words, gentlemen, threw me into the greatest embarrassment. ‘How can I possibly contrive to get rid of this infernal barber,’ thought I to myself. ‘If I continue obstinately to contradict him, our contest will never be finished. I have already waited till they have called the people to noon prayers for the first time,’ and as it was now almost the moment to set out, I determined, therefore, not to answer him a single word, and to appear as if I agreed to every thing he said. He finished shaving me, and he had no sooner done, than I said to him, ‘Take some of my people with you to carry these provisions home; then return here; I will wait, and not go without you.’

“He then went out, and I finished dressing myself as quickly as possible. I only waited till they called to prayers for the last time, when I hastened to commence my expedition; but this malicious barber, who seemed aware of my intentions, was satisfied with accompanying my people only within sight of his own house, and seeing them go in. He afterwards concealed himself at the corner of the street, to observe and follow me. In short, when I got to the door of the cadi, I turned round, and perceived him at the end of the street. This sight put me into the greatest rage.

“The cadi’s door was half open, and when I went in, I saw the old lady who was waiting for me, and who, as soon as she had shut the door, conducted me to the apartment of the young lady with whom I was so much in love. But I had hardly began to enter into any conversation with her, before we heard a great noise in the street. The young lady ran to the window, and looking through the blinds, perceived that it was the cadi, her father, who was already returning from prayers. I looked out at the same time, and saw the barber seated exactly opposite, and on the same bench from whence I had beheld the lady the first time.

“I had now two subjects for alarm, the arrival of the cadi, and the presence of the barber. The young lady dissipated my fears on the first, by telling me, that her father very rarely came up into her apartment; and as she had foreseen, that such an interruption might take place, she had prepared the means for my escape, in case of necessity; but the indiscretion of that unlucky barber caused me great uneasiness, and you will soon perceive that this disquietude was not without foundation.

“As soon as the cadi was returned home he himself inflicted the bastinado on a slave who had deserved it. The slave uttered loud cries, which were distinguishable even in the street. The barber thought I was the person whom they were treating ill, and that these were my cries. Fully persuaded of this, he began to call out as loud as he could, to tear his clothes, throw dust upon his head, and call for help to all the neighbours, who soon ran out to him. They inquired what was the matter, and what assistance they could give him. ‘Alas!’ cried he, ‘they are assassinating my master, my dear lord,’ and without saying another word, he ran to my house, crying out in the same way, and returned, followed by all my servants armed with sticks. They knocked furiously at the door of the cadi, who sent a slave to know what the noise was about; but the slave, quite frightened, returned to his master, ‘My lord,’ said he, ‘above ten thousand men will come into your house by force, and are already beginning to break open the door.’

“The cadi ran himself to the door, and inquired what they wanted. His venerable appearance did not inspire my people with any respect, and they insolently addressed him, ‘Cursed cadi! you dog! for what reason are you going to murder our master? What has he done to you?’—‘My good people,’ replied the cadi, ‘why should I murder your master, whom I do not know, and who has never offended me? My door is open, you may come in and search my house.’—‘You have given him the bastinado,’ said the barber, ‘I heard his cries not a minute ago.’—‘But,’ replied the cadi, ‘as I said before, in what can your master have offended me, that I should ill-treat him thus? Is he in my house? and if he is, how could he get in, or who could have introduced him?’—‘You will not make me believe you, with your great beard, you wicked cadi,’ resumed the barber, ‘I know what I say. Your daughter loves our master, and appointed a meeting in your house during the mid-day prayers; you no doubt received information of it, and returned quickly; you surprised him here, and ordered your slaves to give him the bastinado; but this wicked action shall not remain unpunished; the caliph shall be informed of it, and will execute a severe and speedy sentence on you. Give him his liberty, and let him come out directly, otherwise we will go in and take him from you to your shame.’—‘There is no occasion to say so much about it,’ said the cadi, ‘nor to make such a bustle; if what you say is true, you have only to go in and search for him; I give you full permission.’ The cadi had scarcely spoken these words, when the barber and my people burst into the house, like a set of furious madmen, and began to seek for me in every corner.

“As I heard every thing the barber said to the cadi, I endeavoured to find out some place to conceal myself in. I was unable to discover any other than a large empty chest, into which I immediately got, and shut the lid down upon me. After the barber had searched every other place, he did not fail coming into the apartment where I was. He went directly to the chest, and opened it; and as soon as he perceived that I was in it, he took it up and carried it away upon his head. He descended from the top of the staircase, which was very high, into a court, through which he quickly passed, and at last reached the street-door.

“As he was carrying me along the street, the lid of the chest unfortunately opened: I had not resolution enough to bear the shame and disgrace of being thus exposed to the populace who followed us; I jumped down, therefore, into the street in such a hurry, that I hurt myself violently, and have been lame ever since. I did not at first perceive the full extent of my misfortune; I therefore made haste to get up and run away from the people who were laughing at me. At the same time, I scattered a handful or two of gold and silver, with which I had filled my purse, and while they were stopping to pick it up, I made my escape by passing through several private streets. But the cursed barber, taking advantage of the trick which I had made use of to get rid of the crowd, followed me so closely, that he never once lost sight of me; and all the time he continued calling aloud, ‘Stop, sir, why do you run so fast? You know not how much I have felt for you, on account of the ill usage you have received from the cadi; and well I might, as you have been so generous to me and my friends, and we are under such obligations to you. Did I not truly inform you, that you would endanger your life through your obstinacy in not suffering me to accompany you? All this has happened to you through your own fault; and I know not what would have become of you, if I had not obstinately determined to follow you, and observe which way you went. Where then, my lord, are you running? Pray wait for me.’

“It was in this manner that the unlucky barber kept calling out to me all through the street. He was not satisfied with having scandalized me so completely in the quarter of the town where the cadi resided, but seemed to wish that the whole city should become acquainted with my disgrace. This put me into such a rage, that I could have stopped and strangled him, but that would only have increased my distraction. I therefore went another way to work. As I perceived, that by his calling out, the eyes of every one were attracted towards me, some looking out of the windows, and others stopping in the street to stare at me; I went into a khan, [8] the master of which was known to me. I found him indeed at the door, where the noise and uproar had brought him. ‘In the name of God,’ I cried, ‘do me the favor to prevent that mad fellow from following me in here.’ He not only promised me to do so, but he kept his word; although it was not without great difficulty: for the obstinate barber attempted to force an entrance in spite of him. Nor did he retire before he uttered a thousand abusive words: and he continued to tell every one he met, till he reached his own house, the very great service he pretended to have done me.

“It was thus that I got rid of this tiresome man. The master of the khan then entreated me to give him an account of my adventure. I did so; after which I asked him, in my turn, to let me have an apartment in his house till I was quite cured. ‘You will be much better accommodated, sir,’ he said, ‘in your own house.’—‘I do not wish to return there,’ I answered, ‘for that detestable barber will not fail to find me out, I shall then be pestered with him every day; and it would absolutely kill me with vexation, to have him constantly before my eyes. Besides, after what has happened to me this day, I am determined not to remain any longer in this city. I will wander wherever my ill-stars may direct me.’ In short, as soon as I was cured, I took as much money as I thought would be sufficient for my journey, and gave the remainder of my fortune to my relations.

“I then set out from Bagdad, gentlemen, and arrived here. I had every reason, at least to hope that I should not have met with this mischievous barber, in a country so distant from my own; and I now discover him in your company. Be not therefore surprised at my anxiety and eagerness to retire. You may judge of the painful sensations the sight of this man causes me, by whose means I became lame, and was reduced to the dreadful necessity of giving up my relations, my friends, and my country.”

Having made this speech, the lame young man got up and went out. The master of the house conducted him to the door, assuring him, that it gave him great pain to have been the cause, though innocently, of so great a mortification.

When the young man was gone, (continued the tailor,) we still remained very much astonished at his history. We cast our eyes towards the barber, and told him, that he had done wrong; if what we had just heard was true. “Gentlemen,” answered he, raising his head, which he had till now kept towards the ground, “the silence, which I have imposed upon myself, while this young man was telling you his story, ought to prove to you, that he has advanced nothing that was not the fact; notwithstanding, however, all that he has told you, I still maintain that I ought to have done what I did; and I leave you yourselves to judge of it. Was he not thrown into a situation of great danger, and without my assistance would he so fortunately have escaped from it? He may, indeed, think himself very happy to have got free from it with only a lame leg. Was I not exposed to a much greater danger, in order to get him from a house where I thought he was so ill treated? Has he then reason to complain of me, and to attack me with so many injurious reproaches? You see what we get by serving ungrateful people. He accuses me of being a chatterer: it is mere calumny. Of seven brothers, of whom our family consists, I am the very one who speaks least, and yet who possesses the most wit. In order to convince you of it, Gentlemen, I have only to relate their history and my own to you. I entreat you to favour me with your attention.

THE HISTORY

OF THE BARBER.

During the reign of the Caliph Mostanser Billah, [9] a prince so famous for his great liberality towards the poor, there were ten robbers, who very much infested the roads in the neighbourhood of Bagdad; and were for a long time guilty of great depredations and horrible cruelties. The caliph having been informed of this great outrage, ordered the judge of the police some days before the feast of Bairam to come to him: and commanded him, under pain of death, to bring them all ten before him. The judge of the police was very active; and sent out so many of his men into the country, that the ten robbers were taken on the very day of the feast. I happened to be walking at that time on the banks of the Tigris, where I observed ten very well dressed men, who embarked on board a boat. I should have known that they had been robbers, if I had paid any attention to the guard who accompanied them: but I observed only the robbers themselves; and thinking that they were men, who were going to enjoy themselves and pass this day in festivity, I got into the boat at the same time with them, without saying a word; in hopes that they would suffer me to accompany them. We rowed down the Tigris, and they made us land at the caliph’s palace. By this time, I had an opportunity of recollecting myself; and perceiving that I had formed a wrong opinion of my companions. When we got out of the boat, we were surrounded by a fresh party of the guards belonging to the judge of the police, who bound us and carried us before the caliph. I suffered myself to be bound like the rest, still without saying a word: for what use would it have been to me, either to have remonstrated, or to have made any resistance? It would only have been the cause of my being ill-treated by the guards, who would have paid no attention to me; for they are brutes, who will not hear reason. I was, in fact, with the robbers, and that was quite enough for them to believe, that I really was one.

As soon as we were come before the caliph, he ordered these ten rascals to be punished. “Strike off,” said he, “the heads of these ten robbers. The executioner immediately ranged us in a line within reach of his arm, and fortunately I was the very last. He then, beginning with the first, struck off the heads of the ten robbers; but when he came to me he stopped. The caliph observing, that the executioner did not cut off my head, called out in anger, “Have I not ordered thee to cut off the heads of the ten robbers? Why then hast thou cut off only nine?”—“Commander of the Faithful,” replied the executioner, “God forbid, that I should not execute your majesty’s orders. You may see here ten bodies on the ground, and as many heads, which I have cut off.” He then counted them. When the caliph himself saw that the executioner was right, he looked at me with astonishment; and finding that I did not possess the countenance of a robber,—“My good old man,” said he, “by what accident were you found among these wretches, who deserved a thousand deaths?”—“Commander of the Faithful,” I replied, “I will tell you the absolute truth: I this morning saw these ten persons, whose punishment is an illustrious proof of your majesty’s justice, get into a boat: being fully persuaded, that they were people, who were going to enjoy themselves in a party to celebrate this day, which is the most distinguished of our religion, I embarked with them.”

The caliph could not help laughing at my adventure; and, quite contrary to the lame young man, who treated me as a babbler, he admired my discretion and power of keeping silence. “Commander of the Faithful,” said I to him, “let not your majesty be astonished, if I hold my tongue upon any occasion, when another person would have been most anxious to have spoken. I make it my particular study to practise silence, and it is from the possession of this virtue, that I have acquired the glorious title of the silent man. I am called thus, in order to distinguish me from six brothers of mine. It is an art, which my philosophy has taught me; in short, this virtue is the cause of all my glory and my happiness.”—“I heartily rejoice,” answered the caliph, smiling, “that they have bestowed a title upon you, of which you make so excellent a use. But inform me what sort of men your brothers were: did they at all resemble you?”—“Not in the least;” I answered, “they were every one chatterers; and in person there was the greatest difference between us. The first was hunch-backed; the second was toothless; the third had but one eye; the fourth was quite blind; the fifth had his ears cut off: the sixth was hare-lipped. The various adventures which happened to them would enable your majesty to judge of their characters, if I might have the honour to relate them.” As I thought the caliph wished for nothing better than to hear them, I went on without waiting for his answer.

THE STORY

OF THE BARBER’S FIRST BROTHER.

My eldest brother, Sire, who was called Bacbouc the hunchback, was a tailor by trade. As soon as his apprenticeship was finished, he hired a shop, which happened to be opposite a mill; and as he had not yet got a great deal of business, he found some difficulty in getting a livelihood. The miller, on the contrary, was very comfortably off; and had also a very beautiful wife. As my brother was one morning working in his shop, he happened to look up and perceived the window of the mill open, and the miller’s wife looking into the street. He thought her so very handsome, that he was quite enchanted with her; she, however, paid not the least attention to him, but shut the window, and did not make her appearance any more that day.

In the mean time the poor tailor did nothing but lift up his head, and kept looking towards the mill all the time he was at work. The consequence was, that he pricked his fingers very often, and his work was not that day so neat and regular as usual. When the evening came, and he was forced to shut up his shop, he had hardly resolution to set about it, because he still hoped he should again see the miller’s wife. It was, however, at length absolutely necessary for him to shut it up and retire to his small house, where he passed a very bad night. The next morning he got up very early, and ran to his shop; so impatient was he to behold his mistress. But he was not more fortunate than the day before, for the miller’s wife looked out only for one instant during the whole day. That instant, however, was quite sufficient to render him the most amorous of men. On the third he had, indeed, more reason to be satisfied, for the miller’s wife accidentally cast her eyes upon him, and actually surprised him attentively surveying her; this readily informed her of what passed in his bosom.

She had no sooner thus got acquainted with his sentiments, than she resolved, instead of being angry or vexed at it, to amuse herself with my brother. She looked at him with a smiling air, which he returned in the same manner, but so humourously, that she was obliged to shut the window as quick as possible, for fear her loud fits of laughter should make him suppose she was turning him into ridicule. Bacbouc was so innocent, that he interpreted this conduct in his own favour; and flattered himself, that she had looked upon him with pleasure.

The miller’s wife then resolved to gratify her inclination for humour at my brother’s expence. She happened to have a piece of handsome stuff, which she had for a long time intended to have made into a dress. She wrapped it up therefore in a beautiful handkerchief, embroidered with silk, and sent it to the tailor by a young female slave of hers. This slave being instructed for the purpose, came to his shop, and said, “My mistress sends her salutations to you, and desires you to make a dress out of this piece of stuff that I have brought, according to the pattern that is along with it. She very often alters her dress, and you will be very well pleased with her custom. My brother did not for a moment doubt but that the miller’s wife was in love with him. He thought that she had given him this employment so soon after what had passed between them, only to show that she was well acquainted with the state of his heart, and to assure him of the progress he had made in her affections. Impressed with this good opinion of himself, he desired the slave to tell her mistress, that he would put aside every other business for hers, and that the dress should be ready by the next morning. He worked, in short, with so much diligence and assiduity, that the dress was finished that very day.

The next morning the young slave came to see if the dress was finished. Bacbouc immediately gave it her, neatly folded up, and said, “I have too great an interest to oblige your mistress to neglect her dress; and I wish, by my diligence, to persuade her to employ no one else but myself.” The slave then walked a few steps, as if she was going away; but suddenly turning back, she said in a low voice to my brother, “I had nearly forgotten, by the by, to execute one of my commissions; my mistress charged me to make her compliments to you, and to ask you how you had passed the night; as for her, she, poor lady, is so much in love with you that she has not slept a wink.”—“Tell her,” answered my poor simpleton of a brother, in a transport, “that my passion for her is so violent, I have not closed my eyes these four nights.” After this kind speech from the miller’s wife, he flattered himself she would not let him languish a long time in expectation only of her favors.

The slave had not left my brother above a quarter of an hour, before he saw her return with a piece of satin. “My mistress,” said she, “is quite satisfied with her dress, which fits her as well as possible; but as it is very handsome, and she is desirous of wearing it only with a new pair of drawers, she entreats you to make her a pair as soon as possible, out of this piece of satin.”—“It is sufficient,” answered Bacbouc, “it shall be done before I leave my shop to-day; and you have only to come and fetch it in the evening.” The miller’s wife showed herself very often to my brother from the window, and was prodigal of her charms in order to encourage him to work. It was quite a treat to see him stitching. The drawers were soon made, and the slave came to take them; but she brought the tailor no money, either for what he had laid out in the trimmings for both the dress and the drawers, or to pay him for making of either. In the mean time this unfortunate lover, who thus diverted them, without knowing he was made a fool of, had eaten nothing the whole of that day; and was obliged to borrow some money to purchase a supper.

The day following, as soon as he was come to his shop, the young slave came to him, and told him the miller wished to speak to him. “My mistress,” added she, “has shown him your work, and has said so much in your favor, that he also wants you to work for him. She has acted thus, because she wishes that the intercourse and connection which thus will be formed between you and him, should be a means of enabling you both to succeed in what you so much desire. My brother was easily persuaded of this, and went with the slave to the mill. The miller gave him a good reception, and showing him a piece of cloth, “I have occasion,” said he, “for some shirts, and wish you to make me twenty out of this piece of cloth: if there be any remain you will bring it back.”

My brother was obliged to work for five or six days before he finished the twenty shirts for the miller; who, immediately after, gave him another piece of cloth to make him as many pair of drawers. When they were finished, Bacbouc carried them to the miller, who asked him what was his demand for his trouble. My brother upon this said, that he should be satisfied with twenty drachms of silver. The miller immediately called the young slave, and ordered her to bring the scales, to see if the money he was going to pay was weight. The slave, who knew her part, looked at my brother angrily, to make him understand, that he would spoil every thing if he received the money. He understood her very well; and therefore refused to take any of the silver, although he was so much in want of it, that he had been obliged to borrow some in order to purchase the thread, with which he had made the shirts and the drawers. When he left the miller, he came directly to me, and entreated me to lend him a trifle to buy some food, telling me that his customers did not pay him. I gave him some copper money which I had in my purse, upon which he lived for some days. It is true, he eat only broth, nor even with that did he ever get a sufficient meal.

My brother one day went into the miller’s, who was busy about his mill; and thinking my brother might come to ask for his money, he offered it him: but the young slave, who was present, again, by signs to him, prevented his accepting any, and made him tell the miller in answer, that he did not come on that account, but only to inquire after his health. The miller thanked him for his kindness, and gave him an outside robe to make. Bacbouc brought it home the next day: when the miller took out his purse: but the young slave coming in at that moment, looked at my brother, who then said to the miller; “There is no hurry, neighbour, we will settle the business another time.” Thus the poor dupe returned to his shop with three great evils; he was in love, he was hungry, and he was pennyless.

The miller’s wife was both avaricious and wicked. She was not satisfied with preventing my brother from receiving what was due to him, but she excited her husband to revenge himself for the love which the tailor professed for her; the means which they took were the following. The miller invited Bacbouc one evening to supper; and after having treated him with but indifferent fare, he thus addressed him: “It is too late, brother, for you to return home; you had much better, therefore, sleep here.” After having thus spoken, he showed him a place where there was a bed; and having left him there, he returned, and went with his wife to the room where they were accustomed to sleep. In the middle of the night the miller came back to my brother, he called out to him, “are you asleep, neighbour? My mule is taken suddenly ill, and I have a great deal of corn to grind; you will therefore do me a very great favor if you would turn the mill in his place.” To prove to him that he was a man willing to oblige him, he answered that he was ready to render him this service if he would only show him how he was to set about it. The miller then fastened him by the middle of his body, like a mule, to make him turn the mill; and immediately giving him a good cut upon the loins with the whip, “Get on neighbour,” he cried. “Why do you strike me?” answered my brother.—“It is only to encourage you;” replied the miller, “for without that my mule will not stir a step.” Bacbouc was astonished at this treatment; nevertheless he durst not complain of it. When he had gone five or six rounds, he wished to rest himself, but the miller immediately gave him a dozen sharp cuts with the whip; calling out, “Courage neighbour, don’t stop, I entreat you: you must go on without taking breath, otherwise you will spoil my flour.”

The miller thus obliged my brother to turn the mill during the rest of the night. And as soon as daylight appeared, he went away without unfastening him, and returned to his wife’s chamber. Bacbouc remained some time in this situation. At last the young slave came, who untied him; “Alas! how my good mistress and myself have pitied you,” cried the cunning slave, “we are not at all to blame for what you have suffered; we have had no share in the wicked trick which her husband has played you.” The unfortunate Bacbouc answered not a word, so much was he fatigued and bruised with the beating. He got, however, back to his own house, and firmly resolved to think no more of the miller’s wife. The recital of this history, continued the barber, made the caliph laugh, “Go,” said he to me, “return home; they shall give you something, by my order, to console you for having lost the festivities which you expected.”—“Commander of the Faithful,” replied I, “I entreat your majesty not to think of giving me any thing till I have related the histories of my other brothers.” The caliph having shown, by his silence, that he was disposed to listen to me, I continued as follows:

THE HISTORY

OF THE BARBER’S SECOND BROTHER.

My second brother, who was called Bakbarah, the toothless, walking one day through the city, met an old woman in a retired street. She thus accosted him. “I have,” said she, “a word to say to you, if you will stay a moment.” He immediately stopped, and asked her what she wished. “If you have time to go with me,” she replied, “I will carry you to a most magnificent palace, where you shall see a lady more beautiful than the day. She will receive you with a great deal of pleasure; and will treat you with a collation and excellent wine. I have no occasion, I believe, to say any more.”—“But is what you tell me,” replied my brother, “true?”—“I am not given to lying,” replied the old woman. “I propose nothing to you but what is the fact. You must, however, pay attention to what I require of you. You must be prudent, speak little, and you must comply with every thing.” Bakbarah having agreed to the conditions, she walked on before, and he followed her. They arrived at the gate of a large palace, where there were a great number of officers and servants. Some of them wished to stop my brother, but the old woman no sooner spoke to them, than they let him pass. She then turned to my brother and said, “Remember, that the young lady to whose house I have brought you, is fond of mildness and modesty; nor does she like being contradicted. If you satisfy her in this, there is no doubt but you will obtain from her whatever you wish.” Bakbarah thanked her for this advice, and promised to profit by it.

She then carried him into a very beautiful apartment, which formed part of a square building. It corresponded with the magnificence of the palace: there was a gallery all round it; and in the midst of it was a very fine garden. The old woman made him sit down on a sofa that was handsomely furnished; and desired him to wait there a moment, till she went to inform the young lady of his arrival.

As my brother had never before been in so superb a place, he immediately began to observe all the beautiful things that were in sight; and judging of his good fortune by the magnificence he beheld, he could hardly contain his joy. He almost immediately heard a great noise, which came from a long troop of slaves, who were enjoying themselves, and came towards him, bursting out at the same time into violent fits of laughter. In the midst of them he perceived a young lady of most extraordinary beauty, whom he discovered to be their mistress, by the attention they paid her. Bakbarah, who expected merely a private conversation with the lady, was very much surprised at the arrival of so large a company. In the mean time, the slaves putting on a serious air, approached him; and when the young lady was near the sofa, my brother, who had risen up, made a most profound reverence. She took the seat of honor, and then, having requested him to resume his, she said to him in a smiling manner:—“I am delighted to see you, and wish you every thing you can yourself desire.”—“Madam,” replied Bakbarah, “I cannot wish a greater honor than that of appearing before you.”—“You seem to me,” she replied, “of so good-humoured a disposition, that we shall pass our time very agreeably together.

She immediately ordered a collation, to be served up; and they covered the table with baskets of various fruits and sweetmeats. She then sat down at the table along with my brother and the slaves. As it happened that he was placed directly opposite to her, as soon as he opened his mouth to eat, she observed he had no teeth; she remarked this to her slaves, and they all laughed immoderately at it. Bakbarah, who from time to time raised his head to look at the lady, and saw that she was laughing, imagined it was from the pleasure she felt at being in his company; and flattered himself, therefore, that she would soon order the slaves to retire, and that he should enjoy her conversation in private. The lady easily guessed his thoughts, and took a pleasure in continuing a delusion which seemed so agreeable to him: she said a thousand soft tender things to him; she presented the best of every thing to him with her own hand.

When the collation was finished, she arose from table: ten slaves instantly took some musical instruments, and began to play and sing; the others to dance. In order to make himself the more agreeable, my brother also began dancing, and the young lady herself partook of the amusement. After they had danced for sometime, they all sat down to take breath. The lady ordered them to bring her a glass of wine, then cast a smile at my brother, to intimate that she was going to drink his health. He instantly rose up and stood while she drank. As soon as she had finished, instead of returning the glass, she had it filled again, and presented it to my brother, that he might pledge her.

Bakbarah took the glass, and in receiving it from the young lady, he kissed her hand; then drank to her, standing the whole time, to show his gratitude for the favor she had done him. After this, the young lady made him sit down by her side, and began to give him signs of affection. She put her arm round his neck, and frequently gave him gentle pats with her hand. Delighted with these favors, he thought himself the happiest man in the world; he also was tempted to begin to play in the same manner with this charming person, but he durst not take this liberty before the slaves, who had their eyes upon him, and who continued to laugh at this trifling. The young lady still kept giving him such gentle taps; at last she began to apply them so forcibly, that he grew angry at it. He reddened, and got up to sit further from so rude a playfellow. At this moment, the old woman who had brought my brother there, looked at him in such a way as to make him understand that he was wrong, and had forgotten the advice she had before given him. He acknowledged his fault; and to repair it, he again approach the young lady, pretending that he had not gone to a distance through anger. She then took hold of him by the arm, and drew him towards her; making him again sit down close by her, and continuing to bestow a thousand pretended caresses on him. Her slaves, whose only aim was to divert her, began to take a part in the sport. One of them gave poor Bakbarah a fillip on the nose with all her strength; another pulled his ears almost off, while the rest kept giving him slaps; which passed the limits of raillery and fun.

My brother bore all this with the most exemplary patience: he even affected an air of gaiety; and looked at the old woman with a forced smile. “You were right,” said he, “when you said that I should find a very fine, agreeable, and charming young lady. How much am I obliged to you for it!”—“Oh, this is nothing yet,” replied the old woman, “let her alone, and you will see a very different thing by and by.”—The young lady then spoke: “You are a brave man,” said she to my brother, “and I am delighted at finding in you so much kindness and complaisance towards all my little fooleries, and that you possess a disposition so conformable to mine.”—“Madam,” replied Bakbarah, ravished with this speech, “I am no longer myself, but am entirely at your disposal; you have full power to do with me as you please.”—“You afford me the greatest happiness,” added the lady, “by showing so much submission to my inclination. I am perfectly satisfied with you; and I wish that you should be equally so with me. Bring,” cried she to the attendants, “perfumes and rose-water.” At these words two slaves went out and instantly returned, one with a silver vase, in which there was exquisite aloe-wood, with which she perfumed him, and the other with rose-water, which she sprinkled over his face and hands. My brother could not contain himself for joy, at seeing himself so handsomely and honorably treated.

When this ceremony was finished, the young lady commanded the slaves, who had before sung and played, to recommence their concerts. They obeyed, and while this was going on, the lady called another slave, and ordered her to take my brother with her, saying, “you know what to do, and when you have finished, return with him to me.” Bakbarah, who heard this order given, immediately got up, and going towards the old woman, who had also risen to accompany the slave, he requested her to tell him what they wished him to do. “Our mistress,” replied she, in a whisper, “is extremely curious; and she wishes to see how you would look disguised as a female; this slave, therefore, has orders to take you with her, to paint your eyebrows, shave your mustachios, and dress you like a woman.”—“You may paint my eyebrows,” said my brother, “as much as you please; to that I readily agree, because I can wash them again; but as to shaving me, that, mind you, I will by no means suffer. How do you think I dare appear without my mustachios?”—“Take care,” answered the woman, “how you oppose any thing that is required of you. You will quite spoil your fortune, which is going on as prosperously as possible. She loves you, and wishes to make you happy. Will you, for the sake of a paltry mustachio, forego the most delicious favors any man can possibly enjoy?”

Bakbarah at length yielded to the old woman’s arguments; and, without saying another word, he suffered the slave to conduct him to an apartment, where they painted his eyebrows red. They shaved his mustachios, and were absolutely going to shave his beard. But the easiness of my brother’s temper did not carry him quite so far as to suffer that. “Not a single stroke,” he exclaimed, “shall you take at my beard.” The slave represented to him, that it was of no use to have cut off his mustachios, if he would not also agree to lose his beard: that a hairy countenance did not at all coincide with the dress of a woman; and that she was astonished, that a man who was on the very point of possessing the most beautiful woman in Bagdad, should care for his beard. The old woman also joined with the slave, and added fresh reasons; she threatened my brother with being quite in disgrace with her mistress. In short, she said so much, that he at last permitted them to do what they wished.

As soon as they had dressed him like a woman, they brought him back to the young lady, who burst into so violent a fit of laughter at the sight of him, that she fell down on the sofa in which she was sitting. The slaves all began to clap their hands, so that my brother was put quite out of countenance. The young lady then got up, and continuing to laugh all the time, said, “After the complaisance you have shown to me, I should be guilty of a crime not to bestow my whole heart upon you; but it is necessary that you should do one thing more for love of me; it is only to dance before me as you are.” He obeyed; and the young lady and the slaves danced with him, laughing all the while, as if they were crazy. After they had danced for some time, they all threw themselves upon the poor wretch, and gave him so many blows, both with their hands and feet, that he fell down almost fainting. The old woman came to his assistance, and without giving him time to be angry at such ill-treatment, she whispered in his ear, “Console yourself, for you are now arrived at the conclusion of your sufferings, and are about to receive the reward for them. You have only one thing more to do,” added she, “and that is a mere trifle. You must know that my mistress makes it her custom, whenever she has drank a little, as she has done to-day, not to suffer any one she loves to come near her, unless they are stripped to their shirt. When they are in this situation, she takes advantage of a short distance, and begins running before them through the gallery, and from room to room, till they have caught her. This is one of her fancies. Now, at whatever distance from you she may start, you, who are so light and active, can easily overtake her. Undress yourself, therefore, quickly, and remain in your shirt, and do not make any difficulty about it.”

My brother had already carried his complying humour too far to stop at this. The young lady at the same time took off her robe in order to run with greater ease, and remained only in her drawers. When they were both ready to begin the race, the lady took the advantage of about twenty paces, and then started with wonderful celerity. My brother followed her with all his strength; but not without exciting the risibility of the slaves, who kept clapping their hands all the time. The young lady, instead of losing any of the advantage she had first taken, kept continually gaining ground of my brother. She ran round the gallery two or three times, then turned off down a long dark passage, where she saved herself by a turn of which my brother was ignorant. Bakbarah, who kept constantly following her, lost sight of her in this passage; and he was also obliged to run much slower, because it was so dark. He at last perceived a light, towards which he made all possible haste; he went out through a door, which was instantly shut upon him.

You may easily imagine what was his astonishment, at finding himself in the middle of a street inhabited by curriers. Nor were they less surprised at seeing him in his shirt, his eyebrows painted red, and without either beard or mustachios. They began to clap their hands, to hoot at him; and some even ran after him, and kept lashing him with strips of their leather. They then stopped him, and set him on an ass, which they accidentally met with, and led him through the city, exposed to the laughter and shouts of the mob.

To complete his misfortune, they led him through the street where the judge of the police lived, and this magistrate immediately sent to inquire into the cause of the uproar. The curriers informed him that they saw my brother, exactly in the state he then was, come out of the gate leading to the apartments of the women belonging to the grand vizier, which opened into their street. The judge then ordered the unfortunate Bakbarah, upon the spot, to receive a hundred strokes upon the soles of his feet, to be conducted without the city, and forbid him ever to enter it again.

This, Commander of the Faithful, said I to the caliph Mostanser Billah, is the history of my second brother, which I wished to relate to your majesty. He knew not, poor fellow, that the ladies of our great and powerful lords amuse themselves by making such fun as this with any young man, who is silly enough to trust himself in their hands.

The barber then went on without any interruption to the history of his third brother.

THE HISTORY

OF THE BARBER’S THIRD BROTHER.

Commander of the Faithful (said he to the caliph) my third brother, who was called Bakbac, was quite blind, and his destiny was so wretched, he was reduced to beg, and passed his life in going from door to door, asking charity. He had been accustomed to walk through the streets alone for so long a time, that he had no occasion for any one to lead him. He always used to knock at the different doors, and never to answer till they came and opened them.

He happened one day to knock at the door of a house, the master of which was quite alone. “Who is there?” he called out. My brother made no answer, but knocked a second time. Again did the master of the house inquire who was at the door, but no one answered. He then came down, opened the door, and asked my brother what he wanted. “That you will bestow something upon me for the love of God,” answered Bakbac.—“You seem to me to be blind,” said the master of the house. “Alas, it is true,” replied my brother, “Hold out your hand,” cried the other. My brother, supposing it was to receive something, immediately put his hand out; but the master of the house only took hold of it to assist him in going up-stairs to his apartment. Bakbac imagined it was for the purpose of giving him some food; as that had often happened to him at other houses. When they were both in the chamber, the master of the house let my brother’s hand go, and sat down in his place; he then again asked him what it was he wanted. “I have already told you,” replied Bakbac, “that I request a trifle of you, for the love of God.”—“My good blind man,” answered the master, “all I can do for you is to wish that God would restore your sight to you.”—“You might have told me that at the door,” said my brother, and spared me the difficulty of coming up-stairs.”—“And why, good innocent man as you are,” replied the other, “did you not answer me after you had knocked the first time, and when I asked you what you wanted? What is the reason you give people the trouble of coming down to open the door, when they speak to you?”—“What then do you mean to do for me?” said Bakbac.—“I tell you again,” replied the master, “that I have nothing to give you?”—“Help me at least to go down again, as you brought me up,” said my brother.”—“The staircase is before you,” answered he, “and if you wish it, you may go down alone.” My brother then began to descend, but missing his step about half way down, he fell to the bottom, and bruised his head and strained his loins very much. He got up, but not without pain, and went away muttering at and abusing the master of the house, who did nothing but laugh at his fall.

As he was going from the house, two of his companions, who were also blind, happened to pass by, and knew his voice. They stopped to ask him what success he had met with: on which he told them what had just befallen him; and added, that he had received nothing during the whole day. “I conjure you,” continued he, “to accompany me home, that I may, in your presence, take some of the money which we have in store among us, to buy something for my supper.” The two blind men agreed to it, and he conducted them home.

It is necessary in this place to observe, that the man of the house in which my brother had been so ill-treated, was a thief, and by nature both cunning and malicious. He had overheard, by means of his window, what Bakbac had said to his comrades; he therefore came down stairs and followed them; and went with them, unobserved, into an old woman’s house, where my brother lodged. As soon as they were seated, Bakbac said to the other two, “We must shut the door, brothers, and take care that there is no stranger among us.” At these words the robber was very much embarrassed; but perceiving a rope that hung from a beam in the middle of the room, he took hold of it, and suspended himself in the air while the blind men shut the door and felt all round the room with their sticks. When this ceremony was concluded, and they were again seated, he let go the rope and sat down by the side of my brother, without making any noise. The latter thinking there was no one besides his blind companions thus addressed them: “As you have made me, comrades, the banker for all the money we three have collected for a long time past, I wish to prove to you that I am not unworthy of the trust you have reposed in me. The last time we reckoned, you know we had ten thousand drachms, and we put them into ten bags: I will now show you that I have not touched one of them.” Having said this, he put his hands among some old rags and clothes, and drew out the ten bags, one after the other; and giving them to his companions, “Here,” said he, “are all the bags, and you may judge by the weight, that they are quite full; or you may count them if you like it better.” They answered that they were perfectly satisfied with his honesty. He then opened one of the bags, and took out ten drachms, and the other two blind men did the same.

After this my brother replaced the bags in the same spot. One of the blind men then said, there was no occasion for them to spend any thing for supper that night, as he had received, from the charity of some good people, sufficient provisions for all three; he instantly took out of his wallet some bread, cheese, and fruit, and put all of them upon a table. They then began to eat; and the robber, who sat on the right hand of my brother, chose the best, and eat of every thing with them: but in spite of all the precaution he used to avoid making the least noise, Bakbac heard him chew, and instantly exclaimed, “We are lost; there is a stranger among us.” While he was saying this he stretched out his hand, and seized the robber by the arm. He then threw himself upon him; calling out Thief! and giving him many blows with his fist. The other blind men also instantly called out, and beat the robber, who on his part defended himself as well as he could. As he was both strong and active, and had the advantage of seeing where he placed his blows, he laid about him most furiously, first on one and then the other, whenever he was able, and called out “Thieves, robbers,” more clamorously than his enemies.

The neighbours immediately assembled at the noise, broke open the door, and had much difficulty to separate the combatants. Having at last put an end to the fray, they inquired the cause of their disagreement. “Gentlemen,” cried my brother, who had not yet let the robber go, “this man, whom I have got hold of is a thief, who came in here with us for the purpose of robbing us of the little money we possess.” The robber, who as soon as he saw the people enter, had shut his eyes, and pretended to be blind, said, “He is a liar, gentlemen; and I swear by the name of God, and by the life of the caliph, that I am one of their companions and associates, and that they refuse to give me the share which belongs to me. They all three set themselves against me, and I demand justice.” The neighbours, who did not wish to interfere with their disputes, carried them all four before the judge of the police.

When they were come before this magistrate, the robber, still pretending to be blind, without waiting till they were interrogated, said, “Since you, my lord, have been appointed to administer justice in behalf of the caliph, whose power may God prosper, I will declare to you that we are all equally culpable. But as we have pledged ourselves under an oath, not to reveal any thing except we receive the bastinado, if you wish to be informed of our crime, you have only to order it to be given to us; and you may begin with me.” My brother now wished to speak, but they compelled him to hold his tongue. They then began to bastinado the robber.

He had the resolution to bear twenty or thirty strokes; and then pretending to be overcome with pain, he first opened one eye, and soon after the other; calling out at the same time for mercy, and begging the judge of the police to order them to remit his punishment. At seeing the robber with both eyes open, the judge was very much astonished. “Scoundrel,” he cried, “what does this strange thing mean?”—“My lord,” replied the robber, “I will discover a most important secret, if you will have the goodness to pardon me; and as a pledge that you will keep your word, give me the ring you have on your finger, and which you often use as a seal. I am then ready to reveal the whole mystery to you.”

The judge ordered his people to stop the punishment, and promised to pardon him. “Upon the faith of this promise,” replied the robber, “I now declare to you, my lord, that both my companions and myself are possessed of most excellent eye-sight. We all four feign blindness, in order to have the power of entering houses without molestation, and even penetrating into the apartments of the women, whose weakness we sometimes take advantage of. I moreover confess to you, that we have collected in common, at least ten thousand drachms by this cunning trick. This morning I demanded of my companions two thousand five hundred drachms, which came to my share; but because I declared I would break off all connection with them and retire, and from fear that I should discover their artifice, they refused to give them me; on my continuing to insist upon my share, they all fell upon me, and ill-treated me in a violent manner, as I can prove by the people who have brought us before you. I wait here for you to administer justice, my lord, and that you will make them deliver up the two thousand five hundred drachms, which are my due. And if you wish that my comrades should acknowledge the truth of what I advance, order them to receive three times as many blows as you have given me, and you will see them open their eyes as I did.”

My brother and the other two blind men wished to convince the judge of this infamous imposture, but he would not hear a word. “Rascals,” cried he, “is it thus then that you counterfeit blindness, and go about deceiving people, under pretence of exciting their charity, and are thus enabled to be guilty of such wicked actions?”—“He is an impostor,” exclaimed my brother, “it is false, that we are able to see at all, and we are ready to take God to witness of it.”

Whatever my brother could say, was nevertheless useless; both he and his companions received two hundred strokes of the bastinado. The judge every moment expected them to open their eyes, and attributed to their great obstinacy, what it was impossible for them to do. During the whole of this time, the robber kept saying to the blind men, “My good fellows, open your eyes, and do not wait till you almost die under the punishment.” Then addressing himself to the judge of the police, he added, “I see very well, my lord, that they will carry their obstinacy so far, that they will never open their eyes; they are without doubt anxious to avoid the shame of reading their own condemnation in the countenances of those who surround them. It is better to pardon them now, and send some one with me to take the ten thousand drachms they have concealed.”

The judge did not intend to neglect doing this; he therefore commanded one of his people to accompany the robber, and they brought the ten bags back with them. He then ordered two thousand five hundred drachms to be counted out and given to the robber, and kept the remainder for himself. With respect to my brother and his companions, he was satisfied with ordering them into banishment, which punishment he thought light enough. I was no sooner informed of what had happened to Bakbac, than I sought him out. He related his misfortune to me, and I brought him privately back into the city. I should have been able, I have no doubt, to have proved the innocence of my brother before the judge of the police, and to have had the robber punished as he deserved, but I dared not undertake it for fear of bringing some misfortune upon my own head.

This is the conclusion of the melancholy adventure of my third brother, who was blind. The caliph did not laugh less at this than he had done at those he had before heard. He again ordered me to receive something more; but without waiting till they had done so, I began the history of my fourth brother.

THE HISTORY

OF THE BARBER’S FOURTH BROTHER.

The name by which my fourth brother was called, was Alcouz. He lost his eye in the manner I shall have the honour to relate to your majesty. He was a butcher by trade! and as he had a particular talent in bringing up rams, and teaching them to fight, he from this circumstance acquired the friendship and knowledge of some of the principal people; who were much amused with these sorts of combats, and who even kept rams for this very purpose at their own houses. He had, besides, a very good business; and there was always in his shop the finest and most beautiful meat that was to be found in the market; because he was very rich, and did not spare expense in order to have the best.

As he was one day in his shop, an old man, who had a very long and white beard, came in to purchase six pounds of meat; he then paid his money and went away. My brother observed, that his money was very beautiful, new, and well coined. He resolved, therefore, to lay it by in a separate part of his closet. During five months the same old man came regularly every day for the same quantity of meat, and paid for it with the same sort of money, which my brother as regularly continued to lay by.

At the end of five months, Alcouz, having an inclination to make a purchase of a certain quantity of sheep, resolved to pay for them out of this particular money; the therefore went to his box, and opened it; but he was in the greatest astonishment, when he discovered, instead of his money, only a parcel of leaves cut round. He immediately began to beat himself, and made so great a noise, that he brought all his neighbours about him; whose surprise was as great as his own, when he informed them of what had passed. “I wish to God,” cried my brother, with tears in his eyes, “that this treacherous old man would at this instant make his appearance with his hypocritical face.” He had hardly spoken these words, when he saw him coming along at a distance. He ran in the greatest hurry to meet him, and having seized hold of him; “Mussulmen,” he vociferated with all his force, “assist me; only listen to the shameful trick that this infamous man has played me.” He then related to a large crowd of people, who had collected round him, the same story he had before done to his neighbours. When he had finished his tale, the old man, without the least emotion, quietly answered, You would do much better to let me go, and by this action make reparation for the affront you have thus offered me before so many people; lest I should return you the compliment in a more serious manner, which I should be sorry to do.”—“And what have you, pray, to say against me?” replied my brother, “I am an honest man in my business, and I fear you not.”—“You wish, then, that I should make it public,” returned the old man, in the same tone of voice. “Learn then,” added he, addressing himself to the people, “that instead of selling the flesh of sheep, as he ought to do, this man sells human flesh.”—“You are an impostor,” cried my brother.”—“No, no,” answered the other; for at this very moment I am speaking, there is a man with his throat cut, hanging up on the outside of your shop like a sheep. Let them go there, and we shall soon know, whether I have spoken the truth.”

Before my brother had opened the box where the leaves were, he had that morning killed a sheep, and had dressed and exposed it on the outside of his shop as usual. He therefore protested that what the old man had said was false; but in spite of all his protestations, the credulous mob, enraged at the idea of a man’s being guilty of so shocking a crime, wished to be assured of the fact on the spot. They therefore obliged my brother to let the old man go, and laid hold of him instead, and ran like fury to his shop, where they saw a man with his throat cut; and hung up exactly as the accuser had stated: for this old man was, in fact, a magician, and had deceived the eyes of all the people, as he had formerly done my brother, when he made him take the leaves he had given him, for real good money.

At sight of this, one of those who held Alcouz gave him a great blow with his fist, and at the same time said, “Is it thus then, rascal, that you make us eat human flesh?” The old man also, who had not left them, immediately gave him another blow, that knocked out one of his eyes. Every one, who could get near him, was not deficient in beating him. Nor were they satisfied with ill-treating him in this manner; they conducted him before the judge of the police, before whom they produced the pretended carcase, which they had taken down and brought with them, as a proof of the accused person’s guilt. “My lord,” said the old magician to him, “you see before you a man, who is so barbarous as to kill men, and sell their flesh for that of sheep. The public expect that you will punish him in an exemplary manner.” The judge of the police attended to what my brother had to say with great patience, but the story of the money, changed into leaves, appeared so little worthy of belief, that he treated my brother as an impostor; and choosing to give credit to his own eyes, he ordered him to receive five hundred blows. After this, having obliged him to discover where his money was, he took the whole of it from him, and condemned him to perpetual banishment, after having exposed him for three successive days, mounted on a camel, to all the city.

At the time that this dreadful adventure happened to Alcouz, my fourth brother, I was absent from Bagdad. He retired to a very obscure part, where he remained concealed till the wounds his punishment produced, were healed. It was chiefly on the back that he had been so beaten. As soon as he was able to walk he travelled, during the night and through unfrequented roads, to a city where he was known to no one! there he took a lodging, from whence he hardly ever stirred. Tired, however, at last of living so recluse a life, he one day went to walk in the suburbs of the town, when he suddenly heard a great noise of horsemen coming along behind him. He happened just at this instant to be near the door of a large house; and as he was apprehensive of every body, after what had passed, he fancied that these horsemen were in pursuit of him in order to arrest him. He therefore opened the door for the purpose of concealing himself. After having shut it again, he went into a large court, where he had no sooner appeared than two domestics came up to him and seized him by the collar, saying, “God be praised that you have come of your own free will, to give yourself up. You have disturbed us so much for these last three nights, we have been unable to sleep; and you have spared our lives only because we have prevented your base intention of taking them.”

You may easily imagine that my brother was not a little surprised at this sort of welcome. “My good friends,” said he to them, “I really know not what you wish of me; you without doubt take me for another person.”—“No, no,” replied they, “we are not ignorant that you and your comrades are free-booters. You were not satisfied with having robbed our master of all he possessed, and reducing him to beggary, but even wished to take his life. Let us see if you have not the knife about you, which you had in your hand when we pursued you last night.” Having said this, they began to search him, and perceived that he had a knife. “So, so,” cried they in taking it, “and have you the assurance still to deny that you are a robber?”—“What,” then answered my brother, “cannot a man carry a knife in his pocket, without being a thief? Listen to my story,” added he, “and instead of having a bad opinion of me, you will even be affected at my misfortunes.” So far, however, were they from listening to it, that they immediately fell upon him, trod upon him, pulled off his clothes, tore his shirt; and then observing the scars upon his back, “Ah, rascal,” they cried, redoubling their blows, “do you wish to make us believe you are an honest man, when your back is so covered with scars?”—“Alas,” cried my brother, “my sins must be very great, since, after having been once before so unjustly treated, I am served so a second time without being the least culpable.”

The two servants paid no attention to my brother’s complaints; but carried him before the judge of the police. “How dare you,” said the judge, “break into people’s houses, and pursue them with a knife in your hand?”—“My lord,” answered poor Alcouz, “I am one of the most innocent men in the world. I shall be undone, if you will not do me the favour patiently to listen to me. No person is more worthy of compassion than I am.”—“Sir,” cried one of the domestics at this instant, “will you listen for a moment to a robber, who breaks into people’s houses, pillages them, and murders the inhabitants? If you refuse to give us credit, look at his back, and that will prove enough.” When he had said this, they uncovered my brother’s back, and showed it to the judge, who immediately ordered him to receive upon the spot a hundred strokes, with a leathern strap, on his shoulders, without inquiring any farther into the matter: he then commanded him to be led through the city upon a camel, with a crier going before him, calling out, “this is the way they punish those who forcibly break into houses.”

When this ceremony was over, they set him down without the town, and forbad him ever to enter it again. Some people, who accidentally met him after this second disgraceful event, informed me where he was. I directly set out to find him, and then brought him secretly to Bagdad, where I did every thing, as far as I was able, to assist him.

The caliph Mostanser Billah (continued the barber), did not laugh so much at this history as at the others; for he had the goodness of heart to commiserate the unfortunate Alcouz. He then wished to give me something, and send me away; but without giving them time to obey his orders, I said, “You may now have observed, most sovereign lord and master, that I speak very little. Since your majesty has had the goodness to listen to me thus far, and as you express a wish to hear the adventures of my two other brothers, I hope and trust they will not afford you less amusement than what you have already heard. You may then make a most complete history of them, which will not be unworthy of being placed amongst your archives.”

THE HISTORY

OF THE BARBER’S FIFTH BROTHER.

I have the honour to inform you, that the name of my fifth brother was Alnaschar, who, while he lived with my father, was excessively idle: instead of working for his bread, he was not ashamed of demanding sufficient for his support every evening, and to live upon it the next day. Our father at last died at a very advanced period of life, and all he left us consisted of seven hundred drachms of silver. We divided it equally among us, and each took one hundred for his share. Alnaschar, who had never before been in possession of so much money at a time, found himself very much embarrassed with the disposal of it. He debated a long time in his own mind on this subject, and at last determined to lay it out in the purchase of glasses, bottles, and other glass articles, which he went to get at a large wholesale merchant’s. He put the whole of his stock into an open basket, and fixed upon a very small shop, where he sat down with the basket before him; and, leaning his back against the wall, waited for customers to buy his merchandise.

While he was remaining in this attitude, with his eyes fixed upon his basket, he began to meditate; and in the midst of his reverie, he pronounced the following speech sufficiently loud for a tailor, who was his neighbour, to hear him. “This basket,” said he, “cost me one hundred drachms, and that is all I am worth in the world. In selling its contents by retail, I shall do well in making two hundred drachms: and of these two hundred which I shall employ again in glass ware, I shall make four hundred drachms. By continuing this traffic, I shall, in process of time, amass the sum of four thousand drachms. With these four thousand, I shall easily make eight. And as soon as I am worth ten thousand, I will leave off selling glass ware and turn jeweller. I will then deal in diamonds, pearls, and all sorts of precious stones. When I shall be in possession of as much wealth as I wish, I will purchase a beautiful house, large estates, eunuchs, slaves, and horses. I will entertain handsomely and largely, and shall make some noise in the world. I will make all the musicians and dancers, both male and female, who live in the city, come to my house. Nor will I remain satisfied, till I have realized, if it shall please God, one hundred thousand drachms. And when I shall become thus rich, I shall think myself equal to a prince; and I will send and demand the daughter of the grand vizier in marriage, and represent to him that I have heard most astonishing reports of the beauty, wisdom, wit, and every other good quality of his daughter: and in short, that I will bestow upon her, the very night of our nuptials, a thousand pieces of gold. If the vizier should be so ill-bred as to refuse me his daughter, though I know that will not be the case, I will go and take her away before his face, and bring her home in spite of him.

As soon as I shall have married the grand vizier’s daughter, I will purchase ten very young and well-made black eunuchs for her. I will dress myself like a prince; and will parade through the town, mounted on a fine horse, the saddle of which shall be of pure gold, and the caparisons of gold stuff, relieved with diamonds and pearls. I will be accompanied by slaves, who shall go both before and behind me, and will thus proceed to the palace of the vizier, with the eyes of all fixed upon me, both nobles and others, who will make me the most profound reverence as I go along. When I shall have dismounted at the grand vizier’s, and come to the bottom of the staircase, I will ascend between my people, ranged in two rows to the right and left; and the grand vizier, in receiving me for his son-in-law, shall give me his place, and seat himself before me, in order to show me the more respect. If all this should happen, as I hope it will, two of my men shall have a purse, each containing one thousand pieces of gold, which I had ordered them to bring. I will then take one of them, and in presenting it to the grand vizier will say, “Behold the thousand pieces of gold, which I have promised you on the first night of my marriage.” Then offering him the other, I will add, “This is not all; to show you that I am a man of my word, and to prove that I give you more than I promise, receive this other purse of equal value.” After such an act as this, my generosity will be the conversation of all the world.

I will then return home with the same pomp. My wife shall send some officer to compliment me on my visit to her father. I will bestow a beautiful robe of honor on the officer, and send him back with a rich present. If in return she shall wish to make me a present, I will refuse it; and dismiss the person who brings it. I will not, moreover, permit her to leave her apartments upon any account whatever, without first consulting me; and, whenever I wish to go to her, it shall always be in a way that shall impress her with the greatest respect for me. In short, no house shall be so well regulated as mine. I will always appear magnificently dressed; and, whenever I wish to pass the evening with her, I will sit in the most honorable seat, where I will affect a grave and solemn air; nor will I turn my head to the right or left. I will speak but little: and while my wife, beautiful as the moon at the full, presents herself before me in all her splendor, I will pretend not to see her. Her women, who will be standing round her, shall say, “My dear lord and master, behold your spouse, the humblest of your slaves, before you. She is waiting for you to caress her; and is much mortified that you do not deign to take the least notice of her. She is greatly fatigued at standing thus long before you; at least, then, give her leave to sit down.” I will not answer a word to this speech, at which their surprise and grief would be much augmented. They will then throw themselves at my feet; and after they shall have remained there a considerable time, entreating and begging me to yield to them, I will at last lift up my head, and casting upon her a sort of negligent unmeaning glance, will then return to my former state. Thinking, perhaps, that my wife may not either be well or properly dressed, they will lead her back to her room, in order to change her habit; and, in the mean time, I will return to my apartment and put on a more magnificent dress than I had before. They will then return a second time; will address the same speech; and I shall again have the pleasure of not looking at my wife, till they shall have prayed and entreated me as long and earnestly as before. And I will thus begin, on the very first day of my marriage, to teach her how she may expect to be treated, during the remainder of her life.

After the various ceremonies of our nuptials are over, continued Alnaschar, I will take a purse from the hands of one of the attendants, containing five hundred pieces of gold, which I will give to the female attendants, that they may leave me alone with my spouse. As soon as they shall have retired, my wife shall go to bed first. I will immediately follow her, and will be the whole night with my back turned towards her, and will not utter a single syllable. The next morning she will not fail to complain to her mother, the lady of the grand vizier, of my pride and neglect; and this will very much delight me. Her mother will then come to see me, and out of respect take and kiss my hands, and say to me, “My lord,” for she will not dare to call me son-in-law, through fear of displeasing me, by speaking with so much familiarity, “I entreat you, my lord, not to despise my child in such a manner, nor keep her at such a distance; I assure you she will always endeavor to please you, and I know her whole heart is devoted to you.” Although my mother-in-law shall address me so respectfully and kindly, I will not answer her a word, but remain as grave and solemn as ever. She will then throw herself at my feet, and after kissing them many times, will say, “My lord, is it possible you suspect the prudence of my daughter; I assure you, I have never suffered her to go out of my sight; and you are the first man who has ever seen her face. Forbear to inflict so great a mortification upon her, and do her the favor to look at and speak to her; and thus strengthen her good intention of endeavoring to satisfy and please you in every thing.”

All this shall have no effect upon me; which my mother-in-law observing, she will then take a glass of wine, and putting it into my wife’s hand, will say, “Go, and present him this glass of wine yourself; he will not, perhaps, have the cruelty to refuse it from so beautiful a hand.” My wife will then take the glass, and stand up before me, trembling all the time. When she observes that I do not incline myself towards her, and that I persist in taking not the least notice of her, she will address me, with her eyes bathed in tears, in these words; “My heart, my dear soul, my amiable lord, I conjure you, by the favors which heaven has so plentifully bestowed upon you, to have the goodness to take this glass of wine from the hand of the humblest of your slaves.” I shall, however, take care neither to look at, nor speak to her. “My charming husband,” will she continue to say, redoubling her tears, and carrying the glass of wine close to my mouth, “I will not cease entreating you till I obtain the favor of your drinking it.” At last, tired and worn out with her solicitations and prayers, I will throw a most terrible glance at her, and will give her a good blow on her cheek, at the same time pushing her so violently from me with my foot, that she shall fall down at the bottom of the sofa.

My brother was so entirely absorbed in these chimerical visions, that he represented the action with his foot, as if it were a reality; and he unfortunately struck his basket of glass ware so violently, that he sent it from one end of his shop into the street, where it was all broken to pieces.

His neighbour, the tailor, who had heard the whole of his extravagant speech, burst out into a fit of laughter when he saw the basket overturned. “Oh, you cruel wretch!” said he to my brother, “ought you not expire with shame at ill-treating a young wife in such a manner, when she has given you no reason for complaint? You must be hard-hearted indeed to pay no attention to the tears, and be insensible to the charms, of so amiable a lady. If I were in the place of your father-in-law, the grand vizier, I would order you a hundred strokes with a leathern strap, and send you round the city, with the praise you so well merit.”

This most unfortunate accident brought my brother to his senses, and knowing that it was his own insupportable pride that had caused it, he beat his breast, tore his garments, and sobbed so violently and loud, that all the neighbourhood soon assembled; and the people who were going by to mid-day prayers, stopped to inquire the cause of all this bustle: and, as this happened to be on a Friday, there were more people than usual. Some pitied Alnaschar, others laughed at his folly. The vanity, however, which he had before possessed, was now entirely annihilated, as well as his property; and he continued weeping at his hard and cruel fate, when a lady of considerable consequence passed by, mounted on a mule very richly caparisoned. The state in which she saw my brother excited her compassion. She asked who he was, and the reason of his crying so violently. They only said, that he was a poor man who had laid out the little money he possessed in a basket of glass ware; and that the basket had fallen down, and all his glass was broken. The lady immediately turned to a eunuch who accompanied her, and ordered him to give my brother what money he had with him. The eunuch obeyed, and put a purse, containing five hundred pieces of gold, into my brother’s hand. Alnaschar was ready to expire with joy at sight of it. He bestowed a thousand blessings on the lady; and after shutting up his shop, where it was now useless for him to stay, he went home.

He made many serious reflections on the good fortune which had so unexpectedly happened to him; and while he was thus employed, he heard some person knock at his door. Before he opened it, he asked who was there; and perceiving it was a female voice, he opened it. “My son,” said she, addressing my brother, “I have a favor to request of you. It is now the time for prayers, and I wish to wash myself, in order to be fit to offer them. Suffer me I entreat you, to come into your house, and afford me a bason of water.” My brother looked at her, and saw she was rather advanced in years; and although he did not know her, he nevertheless acceded to what she wished. He gave her a vessel full of water, and then resumed his seat. He was again quite absorbed with his adventure; he took his gold and put it into a sort of long and narrow purse, adapted to the purpose of carrying it at his girdle. The old woman, in the mean time, said her prayers; and when she had finished, she approached my brother, and prostrated herself twice at his feet, so low, that her forehead touched the ground, as if she was praying to God; then getting up, she wished my brother all manner of prosperity, and thanked him for his kindness.

As she was but very meanly dressed, and humbled herself so much before him, he thought that she meant to ask charity, and he offered her, therefore, two pieces of gold. The old woman drew back with as much surprise as if my brother had done her an injury. “Good God,” cried she, “what do you mean by this? Is it possible, sir, that you can take me for one of those poor wretches who make a practice of impudently going into people’s houses and demanding charity? Put back your money, for I have no necessity for it, God be praised. I belong to a young lady in this city of most incomparable beauty, and so rich, that she does not let me want for any thing.”

My brother was not cunning enough to perceive the address of the old woman, who refused the two pieces of gold only to dupe him the more. He asked her, if she could not procure him the honor of seeing this lady. “Certainly,” answered she, “and you may even easily be able to marry her; and, in becoming master of her person, you will get possession of all her fortune: take your money and follow me. Delighted with having so unexpectedly received such a large sum of money, and of finding, almost immediately after, a beautiful and rich wife, he lost all recollection of every thing else. He took the five hundred pieces of gold, and suffered the old woman to conduct him.

She went on before, and he followed her till they came to the door of a large house, at which she knocked. He came up to her just as a young female Greek slave opened the door. The old woman made him go in first; he passed through a well paved court, and she then introduced him into a hall, the furniture of which confirmed him in the high opinion he had conceived of the mistress of the house. While the old woman went to inform the young lady of his arrival, he sat down; and as it was rather warm, he took off his turban, and laid it by the side of him. The lady of the house immediately made her appearance, and he was much more struck with her beauty than with the magnificence and richness of her dress. He rose up the moment he perceived her. The lady requested him, with a pleasing air, to resume his place, and seated herself by his side. She expressed great joy at seeing him: and, after some kind compliments, she said to him, “We are not here sufficiently at our ease; come, give me your hand.” At the same instant holding out her own, she led him to a distant apartment, where they remained some time in conversation; she then left him with a promise of returning in a few moments. He waited some time, when, instead of the lady, a large black slave entered, with a scimitar in his hand, and casting a most terrible look at my brother, “What business have you here?” he cried, in a haughty tone. At this sight, Alnaschar was seized with so violent a fright, he could not make any answer. The black immediately stripped him, took away his gold, and wounded him with his scimitar in several parts of his flesh. The poor unfortunate man fell down on the ground, where he remained without motion, though he did not lose his senses. The black slave, thinking he had killed him, asked for some salt, of which the Greek slave brought him a large dish. They then rubbed it over my brother’s wounds, and although the pain he felt was almost intolerable, he had the presence of mind to show no signs of life. The black slave and the young Greek now went away, and the old woman, who had caught my brother in this snare, came and took him by the legs and drew him towards a trap-door, which she opened. She then threw him in, and he perceived that he was in a subterraneous place, in which there were the bodies of different people who had been murdered. It was some time, however, before he knew this, as the violence of the fall had stunned him, and took away his senses. The salt with which his wounds had been rubbed, was what preserved his life; he soon after felt himself sufficiently strong to sit up; and at the end of two days he opened the trap-door in the night, and observing a place in a court, in which he could conceal himself, he remained there till day-break. He then saw the detestable old woman come out; she opened the street-door, and went in search of more prey. As soon as she was gone too far to observe him, he let himself out of this cut-throat house and fled to mine. He then informed me of the numerous adventures he had encountered in so short a space of time.

At the end of a month he was quite cured of his wounds, by means of the infallible remedies I made him apply. He then resolved to revenge himself on the old woman who had so cruelly deceived him. For this purpose, he took a purse large enough to hold five hundred pieces of money, but instead of gold, he filled it with bits of glass.

My brother then tied the purse round his girdle, and disguised himself as an old woman. After which he took a scimitar, and concealed it under his dress. He went out early one morning, and soon met the old hag, who was already walking about the city, seeking to entrap some one or other. Alnaschar accosted her, and feigning the voice of a woman, he said, “Can you do me the favor to lend me a money balance? I am a Persian, and but just arrived in this city. I have brought five hundred pieces of gold from my own country, and I wish to see if they are weight.”—“My good woman,” replied the other, “you could not have addressed yourself to a more proper person than me. You need only follow me and I will take you to the house of my son, who is a money-changer, and he will take a pleasure in weighing the gold for you himself, and save you the trouble. Do not let us lose any time, for fear he should be gone to his shop.” My brother followed her to the same house where she had introduced him the first time, and the door was opened by the Greek slave.

The old woman conducted my brother into the hall, where she bid him wait a moment while she went to find her son. The pretended son then appeared, in the form of that villainous black slave. “Come, my old woman,” he called out, “get up, and follow me.” Having spoken this, he walked on before, to the place where he wished to murder him. Alnaschar got up, and followed the black slave; and as he was going along he drew his scimitar from under his robe, and gave him such a blow on the hind part of the neck, that he cut his head completely off. He then took it up in one hand, and with the other he drew the body after him to the subterraneous building, where he lodged both of them in safety. The Greek slave, who was used to this business, directly after brought a bason of salt; but when she saw Alnaschar with the scimitar in his hand, and without the veil that had concealed his face, she let the bason fall and ran away: but my brother being able to run faster, soon overtook her, and made her head fly from her shoulders. At hearing this noise, the wicked old woman ran to see what was the matter, when Alnaschar seized her, before she had time to make her escape. “Wretch,” he exclaimed, “dost thou not know me?”—“Alas, sir,” she tremblingly answered, “I do not remember to have ever seen you before; who are you?”—“I am the person into whose house you came the other day, to request leave to wash yourself, and say your hypocritical prayers. Do you not recollect it?” She instantly fell down on her knees, and implored his pardon, but he cut her into four pieces.

The lady alone remained, who knew nothing at all of what was passing. My brother went to look after her, and discovered her in a chamber. When she saw him enter she was near fainting. She prayed him to spare her life, and he had the generosity to grant it. “How can you, madam,” he asked, “live with such infamous wretches as those on whom I have now so justly revenged myself?”—“I was,” she answered, “the wife of a very worthy merchant, and that wicked old woman, of whose treachery I was ignorant, sometimes came to see me. “Madam,” said she one day to me, “we are going to have a gay and splendid wedding at our house, and you will enjoy a great deal of pleasure there, if you will honor us with your company.” I suffered myself to be prevailed upon to go; and for this purpose I dressed myself in my richest habit, and took a hundred pieces of gold with me. I followed her till she came to this house, where I saw this black, who detained me here by force; and it is now three years that I have been here, though very much against my inclination.”—“From the manner in which this black proceeded, he must have amassed,” replied my brother, “great wealth.”—“So much so,” she answered “that if you could carry it away, you would never be poor again. Follow me, and I will shew it you.” She conducted Alnaschar into a room, where in truth he saw so many coffers filled with gold, that he could not conceal his astonishment. “Go,” she cried, “and bring here a sufficient number of persons to carry all this away.”

My brother did not wait to be told a second time; he went away, and was absent only till he collected ten men together. He brought them back with him, and was much astonished to find the door of the house open; but his astonishment was still greater, when on going into the room where he had seen the coffers, he could not discover a single one. The lady had been both more cunning and more diligent than he had, and she and the coffers had entirely vanished during my brother’s absence. That he might not return with empty hands, he ordered the men to take, instead of the coffers, whatever moveables they could find in the chambers and different apartments, whence he took much more than was sufficient to repay him the value of his five hundred pieces of gold, of which they had robbed him. But in going away from the house, my brother forgot to shut the door; and the neighbours, who knew my brother, and had observed the porters both come and go, went and informed the judge of the whole business, which appeared to them of a very suspicious nature.

Alnaschar passed the night quite at his ease; but early the next morning, as he was going out, he encountered twenty men belonging to the police, who immediately seized him. “You must come with us,” they cried, “our master wants to speak with you.” My brother begged them to have a moment’s patience, and offered them a sum of money if they would permit him to escape; but instead of paying any attention to what he said, they bound him, and compelled him to go with them. In the street they met with an old friend of my brother’s, who stopped them to know the reason of their taking him in this manner. He also proposed to give them a considerable sum to suffer him to escape, and report to the judge that they were unable to find him. But he could not succeed with them, and they carried Alnaschar before the judge of the police.

As soon as he came into his presence, the magistrate said to him, “I desire you to inform me from what place you got all that furniture which you had brought home yesterday.”—“Sir,” replied Alnaschar, “I am ready to tell you the whole truth, but permit me, in the first place, to implore your clemency; and I request of you to give me your word, that nothing shall happen to me.”—“I do so,” said the judge. My brother then related, without disguise, every circumstance that had happened to him, from the time the old woman first came to his house to request leave to say her prayers, till he returned to the chamber in which he had left the young lady, but whom he could not find there, after having killed the black, the Greek slave, and the old woman. With regard to what he had carried home, he entreated the judge to suffer him to keep, at least, a part of it, to recompense him for the five hundred pieces of gold, of which they had robbed him.

The judge immediately sent some of his people to my brother’s house to bring away every thing he had, without promising to give him any part; and as soon as the things were deposited in his warehouse, he ordered my brother instantly to leave the city, and never to return again on forfeiture of his life; because he was fearful, if my brother remained there, he would go and complain of his injustice to the caliph. Alnaschar in the mean time obeyed the order without a murmur; he departed from the city, and fled for refuge to another town. But on his road he encountered some robbers, who took every thing from him, and stripped him as bare as my hand. I was no sooner informed of this new misfortune than I took some clothes with me, and went to find him out: after consoling him as well as it was in my power, I brought him back with me, and made him enter the city quite privately, and I took as much care of him as of my other brothers.

THE HISTORY

OF THE BARBER’S SIXTH BROTHER.

The history of my sixth brother is the only one that now remains to be told; and he was called Schacabac, the hare-lipped. He was at first sufficiently industrious to employ the hundred drachms of silver, which came to his share, in common with me and his other brothers, in a very advantageous manner; but, at length, by reverse of fortune, he was reduced to the necessity of begging his bread. In this occupation he acquitted himself with great address; and his chief aim was to procure admission, by bribing the officers and domestics into the houses of the great, and by having access to their persons, to excite their compassion.

He one day passed by a very magnificent building, through the door of which he observed a spacious court, where he saw a vast number of servants. He went up to one of them, and inquired of them, to whom the house belonged. “My good man,” answered the domestic, “where can you come from to ask such a question? Any one you met would tell you it belonged to a Barmecide.” [10] My brother, to whom the liberal and generous dispositions of the Barmecides were well known, addressed himself to the porters, for there were more than one, and requested to afford him some charity. “Come in,” answered they, “no one prevents you, and speak to our master, he will send you back well satisfied.”

My brother did not expect so much kindness; and after returning many thanks to the porters, he, with their permission, entered the palace, which was so large, that it took him some time to find the apartment belonging to the Barmecide. He at length came to a large square building, in a very beautiful style of architecture, into which he entered by a vestibule that led to a fine garden, the walks of which were formed of stones of different colours, very pleasant to the eye. The apartments which surrounded this building on the ground floor, were almost all open, and shaded only by some large curtains, in order to keep off the sun, and which they drew aside to admit the fresh air when the heat began to subside.

My brother would have been most highly delighted in so pleasant a spot had his mind been sufficiently at ease to have enjoyed it. He advanced still further, and entered a hall which was very richly furnished, and ornamented with foliage, painted in azure and gold. He perceived a venerable old man, whose beard was long and white, sitting on a sofa, and in the most distinguished place. Hence he judged it was the master of the house. In fact, it was the Barmecide himself, who told him, in an obliging manner, that he was welcome, and asked him what he wished. “My lord,” answered my brother, in a lamentable tone, in order to excite his pity, “I am a poor man who stands very much in need of the assistance of such powerful and generous persons as you.” He could not have done better than address himself to the person he did, for he was possessed of a thousand amiable qualities.

The Barmecide was much astonished at my brother’s answer; and putting both his hands to his breast, as if to tear his habit, as a mark of commiseration; “is it possible,” he cried, “that I should live at Bagdad, and that such a man as you should be so much distressed as you say you are? I cannot suffer this.” At this exclamation, my brother thinking he was going to give him a singular proof of his liberality, wished him every blessing. “It shall never be said,” replied the Barmecide, “that I abandon you; nor do I intend that you shall again leave me.”—“Sir,” replied my brother, “I swear to you that I have not even eaten any thing this day.”—“What,” cried the Barmecide, “is it true, that at this late hour you have not yet broken your fast? Alas, poor man, he will die with hunger! Here, boy,” added he, raising his voice, “bring us, instantly, a bason of water, that we may wash our hands.”

Although no boy made his appearance, and my brother observed neither bason nor water, the Barmecide nevertheless began to rub his hands, as if some one held the water for him, and while he was doing this, he said to my brother, “come close, and wash along with me.” Schacabac by this supposed, that the Barmecide was fond of fun, and as he himself liked a little raillery, and was not ignorant of the submission the rich expected from the poor, he approached him and did the same.

“Come,” said the Barmecide, “now bring us something to eat, and mind you do not keep us waiting.” He had no sooner said this, than he began, although nothing had been brought to eat, as if he had taken something in his plate, and pretended to put it to his mouth and chew it, calling out at the same time to my brother, “Eat, I entreat you, my guest; make yourself quite at home. Eat, I beg of you: you seem, for a hungry man, to have but a very poor appetite.”—“Pardon me, my lord,” replied Schacabac, imitating his motions at the same time very accurately, “You see I lose no time, and understand my business very well.”—“What think you of this bread?” said the Barmecide, “don’t you find it excellent?”—“In truth, my lord,” answered my brother, who in fact saw neither bread nor meat, “I never eat any thing more white or delicate.”—“Eat your fill then,” rejoined the Barmecide, “the slave who made this excellent bread cost me, I assure you, five hundred pieces of gold.” Then continuing to praise the female slave who was his baker, and boasting of his bread, which my brother only devoured in idea, he said, “Boy, bring us another dish. Come, my friend,” he continued to my brother, though no other boy appeared, “taste this fresh dish, and tell me if you have ever eaten any boiled mutton and barley better dressed than this.”—“Oh, it is admirable,” answered my brother, “I therefore, you see, help myself very plentifully.”—“It affords me great pleasure,” added the Barmecide, “to see you; and I entreat you not to suffer any of these dishes to be taken away, since you find them so much to your taste.” He presently called for a goose with sweet sauce, and dressed with vinegar, honey, dried raisins, grey peas, and dried figs; this was brought in the same manner as the mutton had been. “This goose is nice and fat,” said the Barmecide; “here, take only a wing and a thigh, for you must nurse your appetite, as there are many more things yet to come.” In short, he called for many other dishes of different kinds, of which my brother, all the time dying with hunger, continued to pretend to eat. But what he boasted the most of, was a lamb that had been fatted with pistachio nuts, and which he ordered, and was served in the same manner as the other dishes had been. “Now this,” said he, “is a dish you never meet with any where but at my table, and I wish you to eat your fill of it.” As he said this, he pretended to take a piece in his hand, and putting it to my brother’s mouth, “take and eat this,” he said, “and you will not think ill of my judgment in boasting of this dish.” My brother held his head forward, opened his mouth, pretended to take the piece and to chew and swallow it with the greatest pleasure. “I was quite sure,” said the Barmecide, “you would think it excellent.”—“Nothing can be more so,” replied Schacabac. “In short, no table can be more deliciously served than yours.”—“Now bring me the ragout,” said the other, “and I do not think you will be less pleased with that than with the lamb. Well, what do you think of it?”—“It is wonderful,” answered my brother; “we at the same time have in this the flavor of amber, cloves, nutmegs, ginger, pepper, and sweet herbs; and yet they are all so well balanced, that the presence of one does not prevent the flavor of the rest. How delicious it is!”—“Do justice to it then,” cried the Barmecide, “and eat heartily I beg. Holloh, boy,” cried he, raising his voice, “bring us a fresh ragout.”—“Oh, no, if you please,” said Schacabac, “for in truth, my lord, I cannot indeed eat any more.”

“Let the desert, then,” said the Barmecide, “be served, and the fruit brought.” He then waited a few moments, in order to give the servants time to change the dishes, then resuming his speech, he said, “Taste these almonds, they are just gathered and very good.” They then both pretended to take the skin off the almonds, and eat them. The Barmecide, after this, invited my brother to partake of many other things. “Here are, you see,” he said, “all sorts of fruits, cakes, dried comfits, and preserves; take what you like.” Then stretching out his hand, as if he was going to give him something, “take this lozenge,” he said, “it is excellent to assist digestion.” Schacabac pretended to take and eat it. “Here is no want of musk in this, my lord?”—“I have these lozenges made at home,” said the Barmecide, “and for these, as well as every thing else in my house, nothing is spared.” He still continued to persuade my brother to eat. “For a man,” he said, “who was almost starving when he came here, you have really eaten hardly any thing.”—“My lord,” replied Schacabac, whose jaws were weary of chewing nothing, “I assure you I am so full, that I cannot eat a morsel more.”

“Well, then,” cried the Barmecide, “after having eaten so heartily it is necessary to drink [11] a little. You have no objection to good wine?”—“My lord,” replied my brother, “if you will excuse me, I never drink wine, because it is forbidden me.”—“Oh, you are too scrupulous,” said the other, “come, come, do as I do.”—“To oblige you then,” replied Schacabac, “I will; for I observe you do not like that any thing should be omitted in our feast. But as I am not in the habit of drinking wine, I am fearful of being guilty of some fault against good breeding, and even against the respect that is due to you. It is for this reason, that I still entreat you to excuse my drinking any wine; I shall be well satisfied with water.”—“No, no,” said the Barmecide, you must drink wine.” At the same time he ordered some to be brought. But the wine, like the dinner and desert, never in reality appeared. He then pretended to pour some out, and drank the first glass. After that, he poured out another glass for my brother, and presenting it to him, “Come, drink my health,” he cried, “and tell me if you think the wine good.”

My brother took the ideal glass, and first holding it up, and looking to see if it were of a good bright colour, he put it to his nose, in order to examine if it had an agreeable perfume; he then, making a most profound reverence to the Barmecide, to show that he took the liberty to drink his health, drank it off; accompanied at the same time with proofs of receiving great pleasure from the draught. “My lord,” he said, “I find this wine excellent; but it does not seem to me quite strong enough.”—“You have only to speak,” replied the other, “if you wish for any stronger. I have various sorts in my cellar. We will see if this will suit you better.” He then pretended to pour out some of another sort for himself, and also some for my brother. He did this so frequently, that Schacabac, pretending that the wine had got into his head, feigned to be drunk. He raised his hand, and gave the Barmecide such a violent blow, that he knocked him down. He was going to strike him a second time, but the Barmecide, holding out his hand to avoid the blow, called out, “Are you mad?” My brother then recollecting himself, said, “My lord, you had the goodness to receive your slave into your house, and to make a great feast for him: you ought to have been satisfied with having made him eat, and not compelled him to drink wine. I told you at first that I should be guilty of some disrespect; I am very sorry for it, and ask you a thousand pardons.”

He had hardly finished this speech, before the Barmecide, instead of putting himself in a great passion, and being very angry, burst into a violent fit of laughter. “I have searched for a long time,” said he, “for a person of your disposition. I not only pardon the blow you have given me, but from this moment I wish to look upon you as one of my friends, and that you shall make no other house than mine your home. You have had the complaisance to accommodate yourself to my humor, and the patience to carry on the pleasantry to the end; but we will now eat in reality.” Having said this, he clapped his hands, when several slaves instantly appeared, whom he ordered to set out the table and serve dinner up. His commands were quickly obeyed, and my brother was now in reality treated with all the same dishes he had before partaken of in idea. As soon as the table was cleared, they brought some wine; and a number of beautiful female slaves, most richly dressed, appeared, and began to sing some pleasant airs to the sound of instruments. Schacabac had in the end every reason to be satisfied with the kindness and civility of the Barmecide, who took a great fancy to him, and treated him in the most familiar manner; he gave him also a handsome dress from his own wardrobe.

The Barmecide found my brother possessed of so much knowledge of various sorts, that in the course of a few days he entrusted him with the care of all his house and other affairs; and my brother acquitted himself of his charge during the time it lasted, which was twenty years, to the complete satisfaction of his employer. At the end of this period, the generous Barmecide, worn out with old age, paid the common debt of nature; and as he did not leave any heirs, they confiscated all his fortune to the use of the prince. They even took from my brother every thing he had saved. Finding himself thus reduced to the state he was in at first, he joined a caravan of pilgrims, going to Mecca, with the intention of making, by means of their charitable disposition, the same pilgrimage. During their journey, the caravan was unfortunately attacked and plundered by a party of Bedouin [12] Arabs, who were more numerous than the pilgrims.

My brother thus became the slave of a Bedouin, who for many days continually gave him the bastinado, in order to induce him to get himself ransomed. Schacabac protested to him, that it was all to no purpose for him to ill-treat him in this manner. “I am your slave,” said he, “and you may dispose of me as you like; but I declare to you, that I am in the most extreme poverty, and that it is not in my power to ransom myself.” My brother tried every expedient to convince him of his wretched condition: he endeavored to soften him by his tears, but the Bedouin was inexorable; and through revenge, at finding himself disappointed of a considerable sum of money, which he fully expected to receive, he absolutely took his knife and slit up the lips of my brother, and by this inhuman act, he endeavoured to repay himself for the loss he supposed himself to have suffered.

This Bedouin had a wife who was rather handsome; and he very soon after left my brother with her, when he went on his excursions. At these times, his wife left no means untried to console him for the rigour of his situation. She even gave him to understand she was in love with him; but he dared not return her passion, for fear he should have reason to repent of it: he, therefore, took every precaution to avoid being alone with her, whenever she seemed to wish it. She, at length, became so much accustomed to joke, and amuse herself with the hard-hearted Schacabac, whenever she met him, that she one day forgot herself, and did it in the presence of her husband. My poor brother, without in the least thinking he was observed, for so his ill-luck would have it, returned her pleasantries. The Bedouin immediately imagined that they passed their time, during his absence, in a way not very consistent with his honor. This suspicion put him into the greatest rage; he threw himself upon my brother, and after mutilating him in the most barbarous manner, he carried him on a camel to the top of a high desert mountain, where he left him. The road to Bagdad happened to pass over this very mountain, and some travellers, who accidentally met him there, informed me where he was to be found. I made all the haste I could to the place; and I found the unfortunate Schacabac in the most deplorable condition it was possible to be in. I afforded him every assistance and aid he stood in need of, and brought him back with me into the city.

This was what I related to the caliph Mostanser Billah (added the barber.) The prince very much applauded my conduct, by reiterated fits of laughter. “This must be the reason,” he said to me, “that they have given you, and so justly, the name of ‘Silent,’ and no one can say you do not deserve it. Nevertheless, I have some private reasons for wishing you to leave the town; I, therefore, order you immediately to quit the city. Go, and never let me hear of you again.” I yielded to necessity, and travelled for many years in distant parts. I at length was informed, that the caliph was dead; I returned, therefore, to Bagdad, where I did not find one of my brothers alive. It was on my return to this city, that I rendered to this lame young man the important service which you have been informed of. You are also witnesses of his great ingratitude, and of the injurious manner in which he has treated me. Instead of acknowledging his great obligations to me, he has chosen rather to wander at a distance from his own country in order to avoid me. As soon as I discovered that he had left Bagdad, and although no person could give me any information of the road he had taken, or into what country he had travelled, I did not hesitate a moment, but instantly set out to seek him. I passed on from province to province for a considerable length of time; and I accidentally met him to-day at a time I least expected it. And least of all did I expect to find him so irritated against me.

Having in this manner related the history of the lame young man and the barber of Bagdad to the sultan of Casgar, the tailor went on as follows:

When the barber had finished his story, we plainly perceived the young man was not wrong in accusing him of being a great chatterer. We nevertheless wished that he should remain with us and partake of the feast which the master of the house had prepared for us. We then sat down at table, and continued to enjoy ourselves till the time of the last prayers before sun-set. All the company then separated; and I returned to my shop, where I remained, till it was time to shut it up, and go to my house.

It was during this interval, that the little hunchback, who was half drunk, came before my shop; when he sat down and sung, and played on the symbal. I thought that by taking him home with me, I should afford some entertainment to my wife; and it was for this reason only, that I invited him. My wife gave us a dish of fish for supper, to which I helped the little hunchback, who immediately began to eat, without taking sufficient care to avoid the bones, and instantly fell down senseless before us. We tried every thing in our power to relieve him, but without effect; and then, in order to free ourselves from the embarrassment into which this melancholy accident had thrown us, and the great fright it caused us, we did not hesitate a moment to carry the body out of our house, and induce the Jewish physician to receive it in the manner your majesty has heard. The Jewish physician let it down into the apartment of the purveyor, and the purveyor carried it into the street, where the merchant thought he had killed him. This, Sire, (added the tailor,) is what I wished to say to your majesty in my justification. It is for you to determine, whether we are worthy of your clemency, or your anger; whether we deserve to live or die.”

The sultan of Casgar’s countenance expressed so much satisfaction and content, that it gave new life to the tailor and his companions. “I cannot deny,” he said, “that I am more astonished at the history of the lame young man, of the barber, and with the adventures of his brothers, than at any thing in the history of my buffoon. But before I send you all four back to your own houses, and even before I order the burial of the little hunchback, I wish to see this barber, who has been the cause of your pardon. And since he is now in my capital, it will not be difficult to satisfy my curiosity.” He immediately ordered one of his attendants to go and find him out, and to take the tailor with him, who knew where he most probably was.

The officer and tailor were not long absent, and brought back the barber with them, whom they presented to the sultan. He appeared like a man of about ninety. His beard and eyebrows were as white as snow; his ears hung down a considerable length, and his nose was very long. The sultan could scarcely refrain from laughter at the sight of him. “Man of silence,” said he to the barber, “I understand that you are acquainted with many wonderful histories, I wish very much that you would relate one of them to me.”—“Sire,” replied the barber, “for the present, we will, if it please your majesty, not speak of the histories which I may know; but I most humbly entreat you to permit me to ask one question: and that is, for what reason this Christian, this Jew, this mussulman, and this hunchback, whom I see extended on the ground, are in your majesty’s presence.” The sultan smiled at the liberty the barber took, and said, “Of what consequence can that be to you?”—“Sire,” returned the barber, “it is of consequence to me to make this inquiry; namely, that your majesty may know, that I am not that great talker which some people pretend; but a man who has very justly acquired the title of the Silent.”

The sultan of Casgar had the complaisance to satisfy the barber’s great curiosity. He desired the adventures of the little hunchback to be related to him, since he seemed so very anxious to hear it. When the barber had heard the whole story, he shook his head, as if he meant it to be understood, that he thought there was something which he could not well comprehend. “Truly,” he exclaimed, “This is a very wonderful history: but I should vastly like to examine this little hunchback a little more closely.” He then went near to him, and sat down on the ground. He took his head between his knees, and after examining him very attentively, he suddenly burst out into a violent fit of laughter; and with so little restraint, that he absolutely fell backwards, without at all considering that he was in the presence of the sultan of Casgar. He then got up laughing heartily the whole time. “You may very well say,” he at length cried, “that no one dies without a cause. If ever a history deserved to be written in letters of gold, it is this of the hunchback.”

This speech made every one look upon the barber as a buffoon; or like an old man who had lost his senses.

“Man of silence,” said the sultan, “answer me: what is the reason of your clamorous laughter?” “Sire,” replied the barber, “I swear, by your majesty’s good nature, that this hunchback fellow is not dead; there is still some life in him; and I wish to be considered as a fool and a madman, if I do not instantly prove it to you.” Having said this, he produced a box, in which there were various medicines, and which he always carried about with him, to use as occasion might require. He opened it, and taking out a phial, containing a sort of balsam, he rubbed some of it, for a length of time, on the neck of the hunchback. He then drew out of a case an iron instrument suited to the purpose, with which he set open his jaws; and by these means he was enabled to put a small pair of pincers into the hunchback’s throat, and drew out the fish-bone, which he held up and showed to all who were present. Almost immediately after this the hunchback gave a sneeze, stretched out his hands and feet, opened his eyes, and gave many other proofs of being alive.

The sultan of Casgar, and all who were witness to this excellent operation, were less surprised at seeing the hunchback brought to life, although he had passed a night and almost a whole day without the least apparent sign of animation, than they were at the merit and skill of the barber, whom they now began to regard, in spite of all his faults, as a very great personage. The sultan was so filled with joy and admiration, that he ordered the history of the hunchback, as well as that of the barber, to be instantly committed to writing; that the knowledge of it, which so well deserved to be preserved, might never be forgotten. He was not satisfied with this; but in order that the tailor, the Jewish physician, the purveyor, and the Christian merchant might ever remember with pleasure the adventures which the accident of the hunchback had caused them, he presented each of them with a very rich robe, which he made them put on in his presence, before he dismissed them. And he bestowed upon the barber a large pension; and retained him ever afterwards near his person.

The sultana Scheherazadè thus finished this long series of adventures, to which the supposed death of the hunchback had given rise. She was now silent. Her sister Dinarzadè, observing, that she had done speaking, said to her, “My dear princess, my sultana, I am much the more delighted with the story you have just finished, because it was brought to a conclusion by so unexpected an incident. I really thought the little hunchback was quite dead.”—“This surprise has also afforded me pleasure,” said Schahriar, “as well as the adventures of the barber’s brothers.”—“The history of the lame young man of Bagdad has also very much diverted me,” rejoined Dinarzadè.—“I am highly satisfied, my dear sister,” replied Scheherazadè, “at having been able thus to entertain the sultan, our lord and master, as well as yourself; and since I have had the good fortune not to weary his majesty, if he will have the goodness to prolong my life still further, I will have the honour to relate to him the history of the amours of Aboulhassan Ali Ebn Becar, and of Schemselnihar, the favourite of the caliph Haroun Alraschid, which is not less worthy of his attention, and yours also, than the history of the hunchback.” The sultan of India, who was well satisfied at every thing Scheherazadè had hitherto related, was determined not to forego the pleasure of hearing this other history, which she promised. He now therefore arose and went to prayers, and then sat in council; and the next morning Dinarzadè did not fail to remind her sister of her promise, which she was thus prepared to fulfil.

THE HISTORY

OF ABOULHASSAN ALI EBN BECAR, AND OF SCHEMSELNIHAR, THE FAVORITE OF THE CALIPH HAROUN ALRASCHID.

During the reign of the caliph Haroun Alraschid, there lived a druggist at Bagdad, whose name was Aboulhassen Ebn Thaher. He was a man of considerable wealth; and was also very well made, and reckoned an agreeable person. He possessed more understanding and more politeness than generally falls to the lot of people of his profession. His notions of rectitude, his sincerity, and the liveliness of his disposition, made him beloved, and sought after by every one. The caliph, who was well acquainted with his merit, placed the most implicit confidence in him. He esteemed him so highly, that he reposed in him the sole care of procuring for his favorite ladies every thing they had occasion for. He chose their dresses, the furniture of their apartments, and their jewellery, in all of which departments he gave proofs of a most excellent taste.

His various good qualities, and the favor of the caliph, caused the sons of the emirs, and other officers of the highest rank, to frequent his house; and it, in this manner, became the rendezvous of all the nobles of the court. Among other young men, who made almost a daily practice of going there, was one whom Ebn Thaher esteemed above all the rest, and with whom he contracted a most intimate friendship. This young nobleman’s name was Aboulhassan Ali Ebn Becar; and he derived his origin from an ancient royal family of Persia. This family still continued extant at Bagdad, from the time that the mussulman arms made a conquest of that kingdom. Nature seemed to have taken a pleasure in combining in this young prince every mental endowment, and personal accomplishment. He possessed a countenance of the most finished beauty, his figure was fine, his air elegant and easy, and the expression of his face so engaging, that no one could see him without instantly loving him. Whenever he spoke, he used the most appropriate and pure words, added to a certain turn of expression equally novel and agreeable. There was something even in the tone of his voice that charmed all who heard him. To complete the whole, as his understanding and judgment were of the first rank, so all his thoughts and expressions were most admirable and just. He was moreover so very reserved and modest, that he advanced nothing till he had taken every possible precaution to avoid any suspicion of prefering his own opinion, or sentiment, to that of another. Being a young man in every respect such as I have described him to you, it is not to be wondered at, that Ebn Thaher distinguished him in a particular manner from the other young noblemen of the court, whose vices, for the most part, served only as a foil to his virtues.

As this prince was one day at the house of Ebn Thaher, they observed a lady come to the door, mounted upon a black and white mule, and surrounded by ten female slaves, who accompanied her on foot. They were all very handsome, at least as far as could be judged from their air, and through the veils that covered their faces. The lady herself had on a rose-coloured girdle, at least four fingers in width, upon which were fastened diamonds and pearls of the largest size; and it was no difficult matter to conjecture, that her beauty surpassed that of her attendants, as much as the moon at the full exceeds the crescent of two days old. She came here for the purpose of executing some commission; and as it was necessary to speak to Ebn Thaher, she went into his shop, which was very large and commodious. He received her with every mark of respect, begged her to be seated, and conducted her by the hand to the most honourable place.

The prince of Persia, in the mean time, did not choose to let such an excellent opportunity of showing his politeness and his gallantry escape him; he placed a cushion, covered with cloth of gold, for the lady to rest upon: then immediately retired, that she might sit down. After this he made his compliments by kissing the carpet under her feet, got up, and stood before her at the end of the sofa. As she felt herself quite at home with Ebn Thaher, she took off her veil, and displayed in the eyes of the prince of Persia a beauty so extraordinary, that it pierced him to the bottom of his heart. Nor could the lady on her part help looking at the prince, whose person made an equal impression on her. “I beg of you, sir,” she said to him in an obliging manner, “to be seated.” The prince of Persia obeyed, and sat down on the edge of the sofa. He kept his eyes constantly fixed upon her, and swallowed large draughts of the delicious poison of love. She soon perceived what passed in his mind, and this discovery completed her own passion. She then got up and went to Ebn Thaher, and after having informed him, in a whisper, of the motive of her visit, she inquired of him what was the name and country of the prince of Persia. “Madam,” replied Ebn Thaher, “this young nobleman, of whom you are speaking, is called Aboulhassan Ali Ebn Becar, and is of the blood royal of Persia.”

The lady was delighted to find that the man she was so passionately in love with, was of such an high rank. “You mean, without doubt, I suppose,” replied she, “that he is descended from the kings of Persia.”—“I do, madam,” returned Ebn Thaher, “the last kings of Persia are his ancestors; and since the conquest of that kingdom, the princes of his family have always been held in estimation at the court of our caliphs.”—“You will afford me a great pleasure,” said the lady, “if you will make me acquainted with this young nobleman. When I shall send this female to you,” added she, pointing to one of her slaves, “to request you to come and see me, I beg you will bring him with you; I very much wish that he should see the splendour and magnificence of my palace, that he may both see and publish to the world, that avarice does not hold her court among people of quality at Bagdad. You understand, and attend to what I say to you. Pray do not fail: if you do, I shall be very angry with you, and will never come and see you again as long as I live.”

Ebn Thaher possessed too much penetration not to understand, by this speech, what were the sentiments of the lady. “God preserve me, my princess,” replied he, “from giving you any cause to be offended with me. To execute your orders will ever be a law to me.” Having received this answer, the lady took her leave of Ebn Thaher with an inclination of her head; and after casting a most obliging look at the prince of Persia, she mounted her mule, and departed.

Distractedly in love with this lady, he continued looking at her as long as she was in sight; and even after he had lost sight of her, it was a long time before he took his eyes from the way she went. Ebn Thaher then remarked to him, that he was observed by some people, who were ready to laugh at seeing him in that attitude. “Alas!” said the prince to him, “you, and all the world, would have compassion upon me, if you knew that this beautiful lady, who has just left your house, had carried away by far the better part of me; and that what remains cannot live separate. Tell me, I conjure you,” added he, “who this tyrannical lady is, that compels people thus to love her, without giving them time to think on the subject.”—“My lord,” replied Ebn Thaher, it is the famous [13] Schemselnihar, the first favorite of our sovereign master, the caliph.”—“She is indeed called so,” said the prince, “with the greatest justice and propriety, since she is more beautiful than the cloudless meridian sun.”—“It is true,” replied Ebn Thaher, “and the Commander of the Faithful loves her, or, I might rather say, adores her. He has expressly commanded me to furnish her with every thing she wishes, and even to anticipate her thoughts, if it were possible, in any thing she may desire.”

He entered into this conversation with the prince, to prevent his falling in love, where the event must be unfortunate; but this in fact only served to inflame him the more. “I cannot doubt,” cried he, “charming Schemselnihar, that I shall not be suffered to raise my thoughts to you. I nevertheless feel, although without any hopes of being beloved by you, that it will not be in my power to cease from adoring you. I will continue to love you then, and will bless my fate, that I am become the slave of an object the most beautiful that the sun illumines.”

Whilst the prince of Persia was thus consecrating his heart to the beautiful Schemselnihar, this lady, as she went home, continued to think upon the means she should pursue, in order to see and converse with freedom with this prince. She was no sooner returned to the palace, than she sent back to Ebn Thaher that particular female slave, whom she had pointed out to him, and in whom she placed the most implicit confidence, to request him to come and see her without delay; and to bring the prince of Persia along with him. The slave arrived at the shop of Ebn Thaher at the very time he was conversing with the prince, and while he was using the strongest arguments to endeavour to persuade him to give up his love for the favorite of the caliph. When the slave saw them together, she said, “My most honorable mistress, Schemselnihar, the first favorite of the Commander of the Faithful, entreats you both to come to the palace, where she expects you.” Ebn Thaher, in order to show how ready he was to obey her, instantly got up, without answering the slave one word, and followed her, though not without considerable repugnance. As for the prince, he followed her without at all reflecting on the danger he ran from making this visit. The presence of Ebn Thaher, who had free admission to the Favorite, made him perfectly easy on that subject. They both then followed the slave, who walked a little before them. They went into the palace of the caliph soon after her, and joined her at the door of the smaller palace, appropriated to Schemselnihar, which was already open. She introduced them into a large hall, where she bagged them to be seated.

The prince of Persia thought himself in one of those delightful palaces, which are promised to us in the other world. He had hitherto seen nothing that at all equalled the magnificence of the place where he now was. The carpets, cushions, and other furniture of the sofas, together with the furniture, ornaments, and architecture, were most exceeding rich and beautiful. They had not long remained in this place, before a black slave, properly dressed, set out a table, covered with the most delicate dishes; the delicious smell of which afforded them a strong proof of the excellence of the seasoning: while they were eating, the slave, who had conducted them here, did not leave them: she took great care to invite them to eat of those ragouts and dishes she knew to be best; in the mean time, other slaves poured out some excellent wine, with which they finished their repast. When this was over, they presented to the prince of Persia, and to Ebn Thaher, each a separate bason, and a beautiful golden vase, full of water, to wash their hands. They afterwards brought them some perfume of aloes in a portable vessel, which was also of gold, with which they scented their beards and dress. Nor was the perfumed water forgotten. It was brought in a golden vase, enriched with diamonds and rubies, made expressly for this purpose, and it was poured into both their hands, with which they rubbed their beards, and their whole faces, as was the usual custom. They then sat down again in their places, but they were no sooner there, than the slave requested them to get up, and follow her. She opened a door, which led from the hall where they were, and they entered a very large saloon, most wonderfully constructed. It was a dome of an agreeable form, supported by an hundred columns of marble, as white as alabaster. The pedestals and capitals of these columns were each ornamented with quadrupeds, and birds of various species, worked in gold. The carpet of this wonderful saloon was composed of a single piece of cloth of gold, upon which were worked bunches of roses in red and white silk; the dome itself was painted in arabesque, and afforded a view of a multitude of charming objects. There was a small sofa between each column, ornamented in the same manner, together with large vases of porcelain, of crystal, of jasper, of jet, of porphyry, of agate, and other valuable materials, all enriched with gold, and inlaid with precious stones. The spaces between the columns contained also large windows, with balconies of a proper height, and furnished in the same style of elegance with the sofas, from whence you looked into the most delicious garden in the world. Its walks were formed of small stones of various colours, which represented the carpet of the saloon under the dome; and, in this manner, while they looked on the floor, either in the saloon or garden, it seemed as if the dome and the garden, with all their beauties, formed one splendid whole. The view from every point was terminated at the end of the walks by two canals of water, as transparent as rock crystal, which preserved the same circular figure as the dome. One of these canals was raised above the other, and from the higher, the water fell in a large body into the lower one. On their banks, at certain distances, were placed some beautiful bronze and gilt vases, all furnished with shrubs and flowers. These walks also separated from each other large spaces, which were planted with lofty and thick trees, in the midst of which a thousand birds warbled the most melodious sounds; and diversified the scene by their various flights, and by the battles they fought while in the air; sometimes in sport, and at others in a more serious and cruel manner.

The prince of Persia and Ebn Thaher stopped a long time to examine the great magnificence of this place. They expressed strong marks of surprise and admiration at every thing that struck them, particularly the prince of Persia, who had never before seen any thing at all comparable to it. Ebn Thaher too, although he had been before in this enchanting spot, could not refrain from admiring its beauties, which always appeared with an air of novelty. In short, they had not ceased from their admiration of these singular things, with which they were so agreeably taken up, when they suddenly perceived a company of females most richly dressed. They were all sitting down on the outside, at some distance from the dome, each on a seat made of Indian plantain wood, enriched with silver inlaid in compartments, with a musical instrument in their hands waiting only for the appointed signal, to begin to play on them.

They both went and placed themselves in one of the balconies, from whence they had a direct view of them; and on looking towards the right hand, they saw below a large court, with an entrance into the garden up a flight of steps. The whole of this court was surrounded with very elegant apartments. The slave had left them, and, as they were by themselves, they conversed together for some time. “I do not doubt,” said the prince of Persia to Ebn Thaher, “that you, who are a sedate and wise man, look with very little satisfaction upon all these exhibitions of magnificence and power. In my eyes nothing in the whole world can be more surprising; and when I add to this the reflection, that it is the splendid abode of the too amiable Schemselnihar, and that the first monarch of the world makes it the place of his retirement, I confess to you, that I think myself the most unfortunate of men. It seems to me, that there cannot exist a more cruel fate than mine; to love an object completely in the power of my rival, and in the very spot where that rival is so powerful, that I am not, even at this very instant, secure of my life.”

To this speech of the prince of Persia, Ebn Thaher thus answered: “I wish to God, sir, that I could give you as perfect an assurance of the happy issue of your attachment, as I can of the safety of your person. Although this superb palace belongs to the caliph, it was erected expressly for Schemselnihar, and is called the Palace of continual pleasures, and although it makes a part, as it were, of his own, yet be assured, this lady here enjoys most perfect liberty. She is not surrounded by eunuchs, who watch her minutest actions. These buildings are appropriated solely to her use, and she has the absolute disposal of the whole, as she thinks proper. She goes out, and walks about the city wherever she pleases, without asking leave of any one; she returns at her own time, and the caliph never comes to visit her, without first sending Mesrour, the chief of the eunuchs, to give her notice of it, and to prepare for his reception. Your mind, therefore, ought not to be disturbed, but remain in a tranquil state; be attentive, therefore, to a concert, which I perceive Schemselnihar is going to treat us with.”

At the very instant Ebn Thaher had done speaking, the prince of Persia and he both observed the slave, who was the confidant of the Favorite, come and order the females, that were seated in front of them, to sing and play on their several instruments. They all immediately began a sort of prelude, and after playing thus for some time, one of them sung alone, and accompanied herself on a lute, most admirably. As she had been informed of the subject upon which she was to sing, the words of her song were in such perfect unison with the feelings of the prince of Persia, that he could not help applauding her at the conclusion of the couplet. “Is it possible,” he cried, “that you can have the faculty of penetrating the inmost thoughts of others, and that thus the knowledge you have of what passes in my heart, has enabled you to give my feelings utterance, by the sound of your delightful voice? I could not myself have expressed them in more appropriate terms.” To this speech the female answered not a word. She went on, and sung several other stanzas, which so much affected the prince, that he repeated some of them with tears in his eyes, whence it was sufficiently evident to whom he made the application. When she had finished all the couplets, she and her companions stood up and sang altogether some words to the following effect, that the full moon was about to rise in all its splendour, and going soon to approach the sun. The meaning of which was, that Schemselnihar was about to appear, and that the prince of Persia would immediately have the pleasure of seeing her.

In fact, Ebn Thaher and the prince, looking towards one side of the court, observed the confidential slave approach, followed by ten black females, who with difficulty carried a large throne of massive silver, most elegantly wrought, which the slave made them place at a certain distance from the prince and Ebn Thaher. After this, the black slaves retired behind some trees at the end of a walk. Then twenty most beautiful females, richly and uniformly dressed, advanced in two rows, singing and playing on different instruments, and ranged themselves on each side of the throne.

The prince of Persia and Ebn Thaher beheld all these things with the greatest possible attention, eager and curious to know in what it would end. At last, they saw come out of the same door, whence the ten black slaves, who had brought the throne, and the twenty other slaves had come, ten other females equally beautiful and handsomely adorned as the former. They stopped at the door, waiting some moments for the Favorite, who then issued forth, and placed herself in the midst of them. It was very easy to distinguish her from the rest, as well by her person and majestic air, as by a sort of mantle of very light materials enriched with azure and gold, which she wore fastened to her shoulders, over the other parts of her dress, which was the most appropriate, best made, and most magnificent you can imagine. The diamonds, pearls, and rubies, which ornamented her person, were not scattered in a confused manner. They were few in number, properly arranged, and of inestimable value. She advanced with a degree of majesty which did not ill represent the sun in its course, in the midst of clouds, which received its rays without diminishing its splendour. She then proceeded, and seated herself upon the silver throne that they had brought for that purpose.

As soon as the prince of Persia perceived Schemselnihar, he had eyes for nothing else. “We cease our inquiries,” said he to Ebn Thaher, “after the object of our search, when it appears before us; and we no longer are in a state of doubt, when the truth is evident. Look at this divine beauty; she is the origin of all my evils; evils, indeed, which I bless, however severe, and however lasting they may become. At sight of this object I am no longer myself: my restless soul revolts against its master, and I feel that it strives to abandon me. Go, then, my soul, I give thee leave; but let thy flight be for the advantage and preservation of this weak frame. It is you, too cruel Ebn Thaher, who are the cause of my disorder. You imagined it would afford me pleasure to bring me here; and I perceive, that I am come here only to court my destruction. Pardon me,” he added, recovering himself a little, “I deceive myself, for I was determined to come, and can only complain of myself.” At these words, he wept most violently. “I am very glad,” said Ebn Thaher, “that you at last do me justice. When I told you, that Schemselnihar was the first Favorite of the caliph, I did so for the express purpose of preventing this direful and fatal passion, which you seem to take a pleasure in nourishing in your heart. Every thing you see here ought to make you endeavour to disengage yourself, and to excite only sentiments of gratitude and respect for the honour Schemselnihar has been willing to do you, in ordering me to introduce you here. Recollect yourself then; recall your wandering reason, and put yourself in a state to appear before her, in a way her kindness and condescension deserves. See, she approaches. If this affair was to come over again, I would, in truth, act very differently; but the thing is done, and I trust in God that we shall not repent it. I have nothing more to say,” added he, “but that love is a traitor, who will involve you in such an abyss, you can never again extricate yourself.

Ebn Thaher had no time to say any more, as Schemselnihar now came up. She placed herself on the throne, and saluted them both by an inclination of her hand. Her eyes, however, were fixed upon the prince, and they both spoke a language intermingled with sighs, by which, in a short time, they understood more than they would have done in an age from actual conversation. The more Schemselnihar looked at the prince, the more did his looks tend to confirm her opinion, that she was not indifferent to him; and being thus already convinced of his passion, Schemselnihar thought herself the happiest being in the whole world. She at length took her eyes off him, to give orders for the females, who had sung before, to approach. They rose up, and while they were walking forward, the black slaves came from the walk, where they had remained, and brought their seats, and placed them near the balcony in the window, where the prince of Persia and Ebn Thaher were. The manner in which all these were arranged, together with the Favorite’s throne, and the females, who were on each side of her, formed a semicircle before them.

When those who had before been seated, had again, by the permission of Schemselnihar, who gave them a sign for that purpose, taken their places, this charming Favorite fixed upon one of her women to sing. After employing a little time in tuning her lute, she sung a song, of which the sense of the words was as follows: When two lovers, who are dotingly fond of each other, are attached by a passion without bounds; when their hearts, although in two bodies, form but one; and when any obstacle opposes their mutual desires, they may, with tears in their eyes, say, “If we love each other, because each finds the other amiable, ought we to incur displeasure? Fate alone is to blame, not ourselves.”

Schemselnihar evidently showed, both by her eyes and actions, that she thought these words applicable to herself and the prince, and that he was no longer master of himself. He got up, and advancing towards the balustrade, which served him to lean upon, he contrived to catch the attention of one of the females who sung. And as she was not far from him, he said to her, “Attend to me, and do me the favor to accompany with your lute the song I am now going to sing you.” He then sung an air, the tender and impassioned words of which perfectly expressed the violence of his love. As soon as it was finished, Schemselnihar, following his example, said to one of her women, “Attend to me also, and accompany my voice.” She then sung in a manner that increased, to a still greater degree, the flame that burnt in the heart of the prince of Persia; who only answered her by another air still more tender than the one he sung before.

These two lovers having thus declared their mutual affection by their songs, Schemselnihar at length completely yielded to the strength of hers. She got up from her throne, almost forgetting what she did, and proceeded towards the door of the saloon. The prince, who was aware of her intention, instantly rose also, and hurried to meet her. They met at the very door, where they seized each other’s hands, and embraced with so much transport, that they both fainted on the spot. They would have fallen to the ground, if the female attendants, who followed Schemselnihar, had not prevented them. They supported and led them to a sofa; and it was only by throwing some perfumed water over them, and applying various stimulants, that they returned to their senses.

The first thing Schemselnihar did, as soon as they had recovered, was to look round on all sides; and not seeing Ebn Thaher, she eagerly inquired where he was. The fact was, Ebn Thaher had retired out of respect to her, while the slaves were employed in attending their mistress; for he was really afraid, and not without reason, that some unfortunate consequence would arise from this adventure. As soon as he heard that Schemselnihar asked for him, he came forward and presented himself before her.

She seemed highly satisfied at the appearance of Ebn Thaher, and expressed her joy in these obliging terms. “I know not by what means, Ebn Thaher, I can ever repay the obligations I am under to you; but for you, I should never have become acquainted with the prince of Persia, nor have gained the affections of the most amiable being in the world. Be assured, however, that I shall not die ungrateful; and that my gratitude shall, if possible, equal the benefit I have received through your means.” Ebn Thaher could only answer this flattering speech by an inclination of the head, and by wishing the Favorite the attainment of every thing she could desire.

Schemselnihar then turned towards the prince of Persia, who was seated by her side, and looking at him, though not without feeling confused after what had passed between them; “I cannot, sir,” she said to him, “but be perfectly assured that you love me; and, however strong your passion for me may be, you cannot, I think, doubt that mine is equally violent. Do not, however, let us delusively flatter ourselves; whatever unison there may be between your sentiments and mine, I can look forwards only to pain, disappointment, and misery for each. And no remedy, alas, remains to befriend us in our misfortunes, but perfect constancy in love, entire submission to the will of Heaven, and patient expectation of whatever it may please to decree as our destiny.” “Madam,” replied the prince of Persia, “you would do me the greatest injustice in the world, if you could for a moment doubt the constancy and fidelity of my heart. My affection is so completely blended with my soul, that it forms in fact a part of my very existence; nay, I shall even preserve it beyond the grave. Neither misery, torments, nor obstacles of any kind, can ever be capable of lessening my love for you.” At the conclusion of this speech his tears flowed in abundance; nor could Schemselnihar restrain hers.

Ebn Thaher took this opportunity to speak to the Favorite, “Madam,” said he, “permit me to say, that instead of thus remaining overwhelmed in misery, you ought rather to feel the greatest joy in finding yourselves so fortunately in each other’s society. I really do not understand the motives for your grief. If it be so great now, what must you feel when necessity shall compel you to separate. But why do I say shall compel you: we have already been a long time here; and it is now necessary, as you must be aware, madam, for us to take our departure.” “Alas,” replied Schemselnihar, “how cruel you are! Have not you, who so well know the cause of my tears, any pity for the unfortunate situation in which you see me. O miserable destiny, why am I compelled to submit to so severe a restriction, as to be for ever unable to obtain and enjoy what absorbs my whole affection?”

As however she was well persuaded that Ebn Thaher had said nothing but what was dictated by friendship, she was by no means angry at his speech; she even profited from it; for she directly made a sign to the slave, her confidant, who immediately went out, and soon returned with a small collation of various fruits upon a silver table, which she placed between the Favorite and the prince of Persia. Schemselnihar chose what she thought was the best, and presented it to the prince, entreating him to eat it for her sake. He took it, and instantly carried it to his mouth; taking care, that the very part which had felt the pressure of her fingers, should first touch his lips. The prince, in his turn, then presented something to Schemselnihar, who directly took and eat it in the same manner. Nor did she forget to invite Ebn Thaher to partake with them: but as he knew he was now staying longer in a place than was perfectly safe, he would rather have returned home; and he eat therefore only through complaisance. As soon as the things were taken away, they brought some water in a vase of gold, and a silver bason, in which they both washed their hands at the same time. After this they returned to their seats, and then three of the ten black females brought each of them a cup, formed of beautiful rock crystal, and filled with the most exquisite wine, upon a golden waiter, which they placed before Schemselnihar, the prince of Persia, and Ebn Thaher.

In order to be more by themselves, Schemselnihar retained near her only the ten black slaves, and the other ten females, who were skilled in music and singing. After she had dismissed all the other attendants, she took one of the cups, and holding it in her hand, she sung some of the most tender words, which one of the females accompanied with her lute. When this was finished, she drank the wine. She then took one of the other cups, and, presenting it to the prince, requested him to drink it for love of her, in the same manner she had done hers. He received it with the greatest transport of love and joy. But before he drank it, he sung in his turn an air, accompanied by the instrument of another female; and in singing it, the tears fell in abundance from his eyes: the words, also, which he sung, expressed the idea, that he himself was ignorant whether it was the wine that he was drinking, or his own tears. Schemselnihar then presented the third cup to Ebn Thaher, who thanked her for the honor and attention she showed him.

When this was over, the Favorite took a lute from one of her slaves, and accompanied her own voice in so impassioned a manner, that she was absolutely carried beyond herself; and the prince of Persia, with his eyes intently fixed upon her, remained perfectly motionless, like one enchanted. In the midst of these scenes the trusty slave of the Favorite came in quite alarmed, and told her mistress, that Mesrour, and two other officers, together with many eunuchs, who accompanied them, were at the door, and desired to speak to her as from the caliph. When the prince of Persia and Ebn Thaher heard what the slave said, they changed colour; and trembled, as if their discovery had actually taken place. Schemselnihar however, who perceived them, soon dispelled their fears.

After having endeavoured to quiet their alarm, she charged her confidential slave to go and keep Mesrour and the two officers of the caliph in conversation, while she prepared herself to receive them; and said, she would then send to her to introduce them. She directly ordered all the windows of the saloon to be shut, and the paintings on silk, which were in the garden, to be taken down; and after having again assured the prince and Ebn Thaher, that they might remain therein perfect safety, she opened the door that led to the garden, went out, and shut it after her. In spite, however, of every assurance which she had given them, that they were quite secure from discovery, they could not avoid feeling very much alarmed all the time they were alone.

As soon as Schemselnihar was in the garden, with the women who attended her, she made them take away all the seats, on which the females, who had formed the concert, had sat near the window, from whence the prince and Ebn Thaher had heard them. When she saw that every thing was in the state she wished, she sat down on the silver throne; and then sent to inform her confidential slave, that she might introduce the chief of the eunuchs, and his two under officers.

They appeared, followed by twenty black eunuchs, all properly dressed; each having a scimitar by his side, and a large golden belt round his body, four fingers in breadth. As soon as they perceived the Favorite, although they were at a considerable distance, they made a most profound reverence, which she returned them from her throne. When they approached nearer, she got up, and went towards Mesrour, who walked first. She asked him what intelligence he brought; to which he replied, “The Commander of the Faithful, madam, by whose order I am come, has charged me to say to you, that he cannot live any longer without the pleasure of beholding you. He purposes, therefore, to pay you a visit this evening; and I am come in order to inform you of it, that you may prepare for his reception. He hopes, madam, that you will feel as much joy at receiving him, as he does impatience to be with you.”

When the Favorite observed that Mesrour had finished his speech, she prostrated herself on the ground, to show the submission with which she received the commands of the caliph. When she got up, she said to him, “I beg you will inform the Commander of the Faithful, that it will ever be my glory to fulfil the commands of his majesty, and that his slave will endeavour to receive him with all the respect that is due to him.” She at the same time gave orders to her confidential slave, to make all the necessary preparations in the palace for the caliph’s reception, by means of the black females, who were kept for this purpose. Then taking leave of the chief of the eunuchs, she said to him, “You must see, that it will take some little time to make the necessary preparations; go, therefore, I beg of you, and arrange matters so that the caliph may not be very impatient, and that he may not arrive so soon as to find us quite in confusion.”

The chief of the eunuchs then retired with his attendants; and Schemselnihar returned to the saloon, very much afflicted at the necessity she was under, of sending the prince of Persia back sooner than she intended. She went to him with tears in her eyes, which very much increased the alarm of Ebn Thaher, who seemed to conjecture from it some unfortunate event. “I see, madam,” said the prince to her, “that you come for the purpose of announcing to me, that we are compelled to separate. Provided, however, that I have nothing farther to dread, I trust that Heaven will grant me patience, which I have so much need of, to enable me to support your absence.” “Alas, my love, my dear soul,” cried the too tender Schemselnihar, interrupting him, “how happy do I find yours, when I compare it with my more wretched fate. You doubtless suffer greatly from my absence, but that is your only grief; you can derive consolation from the hopes of seeing me again: but I, just Heaven, to what a painful task am I compelled! I am not only deprived of the enjoyment of the only being I love, but am obliged to bear the sight of one whom you have rendered hateful to me. Will not the caliph’s arrival constantly bring to my recollection the necessity of your departure? And absorbed as I shall be continually with your dear image, how shall I be able to express to that prince any signs of joy at his presence, which was hitherto always accompanied on my part, as he often remarked, with pleasure sparkling in my eyes. When I address him, my mind will be distracted; and the least possible indulgence I shall grant to his affection, will plunge a poniard into my very soul. Can I possibly derive the least pleasure from his kind words and caresses? How dreadful the idea. Judge then, my prince, to what torments I shall be exposed, when you have left me.” The tears, which ran in streams from her eyes, and the convulsive sobs of her bosom, prevented her further utterance. The prince of Persia wished to make a reply, but he had not sufficient strength of mind. His own grief, added to what he saw his mistress suffer, took from him all power of speech.

Ebn Thaher, whose only object was to get out of the palace, was obliged to console them, and beg them to have a little patience. At this moment, the confidential slave broke in upon them; “Madam,” she cried, “you have no time to lose; the eunuchs are beginning to assemble, and you know the caliph, therefore, will very soon be here.”—“Oh Heavens!” exclaimed the Favorite, “how cruel is the separation! Hasten,” she cried to the slave, “and conduct them to the gallery, which on one side looks towards the garden, and on the other over the Tigris: and when night shall have thrown the greatest obscurity over the face of the earth, let them out of the gate that is on the back part of the palace, that they may retire in perfect safety.” At these words she embraced the prince of Persia, without having the power of saying another word; and then went to meet the caliph, with her mind in such a disordered state as may easily be imagined.

In the mean time the confidential slave conducted the prince and Ebn Thaher to the gallery, where Schemselnihar had ordered her: as soon as she had introduced them into it she left them there, and in going away she shut the doors after her: having first assured them that they had nothing to fear; and that she would come at the proper time and let them out.

The slave, however, was no sooner gone, than both the prince and Ebn Thaher forgot the assurances she had given them, that they had nothing to be alarmed at. They examined all round the gallery; and were extremely frightened when they found there was not a single place by which they could escape, in case the caliph, or any of his officers, should take it into their heads to come there.

A sudden light, which they saw through the blinds on the side towards the garden, induced them to go and examine from whence it came. It was in fact caused by the flames of an hundred flambeaux of white wax, which an equal number of young eunuchs carried in their hands. These eunuchs were followed by more than an hundred others, who were older, all of whom formed a part of the guards that were always on duty at the apartments of the females belonging to the caliph. They were dressed and armed with scimitars, in the same way as those I have before mentioned. The caliph himself walked after these, between Mesrour, the chief of the eunuchs, who was on his right hand, and Vassif, the second in command, who was on his left.

Schemselnihar waited for the caliph at the entrance of one of the walks, accompanied by twenty very beautiful females, who wore necklaces and ear-rings made of large diamonds, and whose heads were also profusely ornamented with the same materials. They all sung to the sound of their instruments, and formed a most delightful concert. The favorite no sooner saw the caliph appear, than she advanced towards him, and prostrated herself at his feet. But at the very instant of doing it, she said to herself, “If your mournful eyes, O prince of Persia, were witness to what I am now compelled to do, you would be able to judge of the severity of my lot. It is before you alone, that I wish thus to humble myself; my heart would not then feel the least repugnance.”

The caliph was delighted to see Schemselnihar. “Rise, madam,” he cried, as he approached her, “and come near to me. I have felt myself but ill at ease at having been deprived for so long a time of the pleasure of beholding you.” Having thus spoken, he took her by the hand, and addressing the most kind and obliging things to her, he seated himself on the throne of silver, which she had ordered to be brought, as she did on a seat before him; and the other twenty females formed an entire circle round them, sitting down on other seats; while the hundred young eunuchs, who carried the flambeaux, dispersed themselves at certain distances from each other all over the garden; and the caliph, in the mean time, enjoyed at his ease the freshness of the evening air.

When the caliph had sat down, he looked round him, and observed, with great satisfaction, that the garden was illuminated with a multitude of other lights besides those which the eunuchs carried. He took notice, however, that the saloon was shut up; at which he seemed surprised, and asked the reason of it. It was, in fact, done so on purpose to astonish him; for he had no sooner spoken, than all the windows at once suddenly opened, and he saw it lighted up both within side and without, in a much more extensive and magnificent manner than he had ever done before. “Charming Schemselnihar,” he cried at this sight, “I understand your meaning: you wish me to acknowledge, that the night may be made as beautiful as the day. And after what I now see, I cannot deny it.”

Let us now return to the prince of Persia and Ebn Thaher, whom we left shut up in the gallery. Although in that disagreeable situation, the latter could not help admiring every thing that passed, and of which he was a spectator, “I am not a young man,” he cried, “and have, in the course of my life, been witness to many beautiful sights; but I really think I never saw any spectacle so surprising or grand as this is. Nothing that has been related even of enchanted palaces, at all equals the exhibitions we have now before our eyes. What a profusion of magnificence and richness!”

None of these brilliant objects, however, seemed to have any effect upon the prince of Persia: he derived not that pleasure from them which Ebn Thaher did. His eyes were only intent upon watching Schemselnihar; and the presence of the sultan plunged him into the greatest affliction. “Dear Ebn Thaher,” he cried, “I wish to God I had a mind sufficiently at ease to be interested like yourself in every thing that is admirable around us. But I am, alas, in a very different state; and all these objects serve but to increase my torment. How can I possibly see the caliph alone with her I doat on, and not die in despair? Ought an affection so tender and indelible as mine to be disturbed by so powerful a rival? Heavens! how extraordinary and cruel is my destiny. Not an instant ago I thought myself the happiest and most fortunate lover in the world, and at this moment I feel a stroke on my heart that will, at last, be the death of me. No, I cannot, my dear Ebn Thaher, resist it. My patience is worn out; my misfortune completely overwhelms me, and my courage sinks under it.” In pronouncing these last words, he observed something going on in the garden, which obliged him to be silent and give his attention.

The fact was, that the caliph had commanded one of the females that was near, to take her lute and sing. The words she sung were very tender and impassioned; and the caliph, being persuaded that she sung them by Schemselnihar’s order, who had often given him similar proofs of her affection, interpreted them in favor of himself. But, at this moment, it was very far from the intention of Schemselnihar. She, in her heart, applied them to her dear Ali Ebn Becar, the prince of Persia; and the misery she felt at having, in his place, an object before her whose presence she could not endure, took such an effect upon her, that she fainted. She fell back in her chair, which had no arms to it; and would have fallen on the ground if some of her women had not quickly ran to her assistance. They carried her away, and took her into the saloon.

Ebn Thaher, who was in the gallery, surprised by this accident, turned his head towards the prince of Persia, when, instead of seeing him leaning against the blinds, and looking out as well as himself, he was extremely astonished to find him stretched motionless at his feet. He judged by this of the strength of his love for Schemselnihar, and could not help wondering at this strange effect of sympathy, which distressed him the more, on account of the place they were then in. However, he did all he could to recover the prince, but without success. Ebn Thaher was in this embarrassing situation, when the confidant of Schemselnihar opened the door of the gallery and ran in, quite out of breath, and like one who did not know what course to pursue. “Come instantly,” cried she, “that I may let you out. Every thing here is in such confusion, that I believe this is the last day we have to live.”—“Alas!” replied Ebn Thaher, in a tone which bespoke his grief, “how can we depart? Pray come hither, and see what a state the prince of Persia is in.” When the slave saw that he had fainted, she ran immediately to get some water, without losing time in conversation, and returned in a few moments.

At length the prince of Persia, after they had sprinkled water on his face, began to recover. When Ebn Thaher saw symptoms of returning life, he said to him, “Prince, we both run a great risk of losing our lives by remaining here any longer; make an effort then, and let us fly as quick as possible.” He was so weak that he could not get up without assistance. Ebn Thaher and the confident gave him their hands, and, supporting him on each side, they got to a little iron gate, which opened on the Tigris. They went out by this gate, and proceeded to the edge of a small canal, which communicated with the river. The confidential slave clapped her hands, and instantly a little boat appeared, rowed by one man, and came towards them. Ali Ebn Becar and his companion embarked in it, and the slave remained on the bank of the canal. As soon as the prince was seated in the boat, he stretched out one hand towards the palace, and placing the other on his heart, “Dear object of my soul,” cried he, in a feeble voice, “receive from this hand the pledge of my faith, while with my other I assure you, that my heart will ever preserve the flame with which it now burns.”

In the mean time the boatman rowed with all his strength, and the confidant walked on the bank of the canal to accompany the prince of Persia and Ebn Thaher till they arrived in the current of the Tigris. Then, as she could not go any farther, she took her leave of them and retired.

The prince of Persia continued extremely weak: Ebn Thaher said all he could to console him, and exhort him to take courage. “Remember,” said he, “that when we disembark, we shall still have a long way to go before we arrive at my house; for to conduct you to yours, which is so much farther, at this hour, and in the state you now are, would, I think, be very imprudent. We might also run a risk of meeting the watch-guard.” They at length got out of the boat, but the prince was so feeble, that he could not walk, which very much increased Ebn Thaher’s embarrassment. He recollected, that he had a friend in the neighbourhood, and he, with great difficulty, dragged the prince thither. His friend received them very cordially, and when he had made them sit down, he asked them from whence they came at that late hour. Ebn Thaher replied, “I learned this evening that a man, who owes me a considerable sum of money, intended to set out on a very long journey; I lost no time, but went in search of him, and in my way I met this young lord, whom you see, and to whom I am under a thousand obligations; as he knows my debtor, he did me the favor to accompany me. We had some difficulty to accomplish our purpose, and bring our gentleman to a right understanding of the business. However, at last we succeeded, and this is the reason of our having staid so late with him. As we were returning, at a few steps from hence, this young lord, for whom I have the utmost regard, felt himself suddenly seized with illness, which induced me to take the liberty of knocking at your door. I flattered myself, that you would have the goodness to do us the favor of giving us a lodging for this night.”

The friend of Ebn Thaher easily swallowed this fable, told them they were welcome, and offered the prince of Persia, whom he did not know, every assistance in his power. But Ebn Thaher, taking upon himself to answer for the prince, said, that his illness was of a nature only to require repose. His friend, also, understood by this speech, that they both wanted rest. He, therefore, conducted them to an apartment, where he left them at liberty to lie down.

The prince of Persia no sooner dropt asleep, than his repose was so disturbed by the most distressing dreams, representing Schemselnihar fainting at the feet of the caliph, that his affliction did not at all subside. Ebn Thaher, who was excessively impatient to get to his own house, not doubting that his family were in the utmost distress, because he made it a rule never to sleep from home, got up and departed very early, after taking leave of his friend, who had risen by day-break to go to early prayers. They at length arrived at Ebn Thaher’s house, when the prince of Persia, who had exerted himself very much to walk so far, threw himself upon a sofa; feeling as much fatigued as if he had been a long journey. As he was not in a state to go home, Ebn Thaher ordered an apartment to be prepared for him: and that none of his people might be uneasy about him, he sent to inform them where he was. In the mean time, he begged the prince to endeavor to make his mind easy; and order every thing about him as he pleased. “I accept, with pleasure,” replied the prince of Persia, “the obliging offers you make; but that I may not be any embarrassment to you, I entreat you to do every thing as if I were not with you. I cannot think of staying here a moment if my presence is to be any restraint upon you.”

As soon as Ebn Thaher had time to recollect himself, he informed his family of every thing that had passed in the palace of Schemselnihar, and finished this recital, by returning thanks to God for having delivered him from the danger he had escaped. The principal domestics belonging to the prince of Persia came to receive their orders from him at Ebn Thaher’s, and soon after several of his friends arrived, who had become acquainted with his indisposition. His friends passed the greatest part of the day with him; and, although their conversation could not entirely banish the sorrowful reflections which occasioned his illness, yet at least it was thus far of advantage, that it gave him some relaxation.

Towards the close of the day he wished to take his leave of Ebn Thaher, but this faithful friend found him still so weak, that he made him remain till the following day. In the mean time, to dissipate his gloom, he gave him, in the evening, a concert of vocal and instrumental music; but this only served to recall to the prince’s memory the one he had enjoyed the preceding night, and only increased his grief instead of assuaging it, so that the next day his indisposition seemed to be augmented. Finding this to be the case, Ebn Thaher no longer opposed the prince’s wish of returning to his own house. He undertook the care of having him conveyed there, and also accompanied him; when he found himself alone with him in his apartment, he represented to him, in strong terms, the necessity of making one great effort to overcome a passion which could not terminate happily either for him or the Favorite. “Ah! dear Ebn Thaher,” cried the prince, “it is easy for you to give this advice: but how difficult is the task for me to follow it! I see, and confess the importance of it, without being able to profit from it. I have already said it; the love I have for Schemselnihar will accompany me to the grave.” When Ebn Thaher perceived that he could make no impression on the mind of the prince, he took his leave, with the intention of retiring, but the prince prevented him. “Obliging Ebn Thaher,” said he to him, “if I have declared to you, that it is not in my power to follow your prudent counsel, I entreat you not to be angry with me, and desist, on that account, from giving me proofs of your friendship. You could not give me a stronger one than to inform me of the fate of my beloved Schemselnihar, if you should hear any tidings of her. The uncertainty I am under respecting her situation, and the dreadful apprehensions I feel on account of her fainting, make me continue in the languid state you so much reproach me for.”—“My lord,” replied Ebn Thaher, “you may surely hope that her fainting has not been productive of any bad consequences, and that her confidential slave will shortly come to acquaint me how the affair terminated. As soon as I know the detail, I will not fail to come and communicate it to you.”

Ebn Thaher left the prince with this hope, and returned home, where he expected all the rest of the day to see the confidant of Schemselnihar arrive, but in vain. She did not make her appearance even on the morrow. The uneasiness he felt to learn the state of the prince’s health, did not allow him to remain any longer without seeing him; and he went to him with the design of exhorting him to have patience. He found him on the bed, and quite as ill as ever; he was also surrounded by his friend, and several physicians, who were exerting all their professional skill to endeavor to discover the cause of his disease. As soon as he perceived Ebn Thaher, he cast a smiling look on him, which denoted two things; one, that he was rejoiced to see him; the other, how deceived his physicians were in their conjectures on his disease, the cause of which they could not guess.

The physicians and the friends retired, one after the other, so that Ebn Thaher remained alone with the patient. He approached his bed, to inquire how he had been since he last saw him. “I must own to you,” replied the prince of Persia, “that my love, which every day acquires increased strength, and the uncertainty of the destiny of the lovely Schemselnihar, heighten my disease every moment; and reduce me to a state which afflicts my relations and friends, and baffles the skill of the physicians, who cannot understand it. You little imagine,” added he, “how much I suffer at seeing so many people, who constantly importune me, and whom I cannot dismiss without incivility. You are the only one whose company affords me any comfort; but do not disguise any thing from me, I conjure you. What news do you bring of Schemselnihar? Have you seen her confidant? What did she say to you?” Ebn Thaher answered, that he had not seen her: and he had no sooner communicated this sorrowful intelligence to the prince, than the tears came in his eyes; he could make no reply, for his heart was full. “Prince,” then resumed Ebn Thaher, “allow me to say, that you are too ingenious in tormenting yourself. In the name of God, dry your tears; some of your people might come in at this moment, and you are well aware how cautious you ought to be to conceal your sentiments, which might be discovered by that means.” Whatever this judicious counsellor might urge, was ineffectual to stop the prince’s tears, which he could not restrain. “Wise Ebn Thaher,” cried he, when he had regained the power of speech, “I can prevent my tongue from revealing the secret of my heart, but I have no power over my tears, while I have so much reason to fear for Schemselnihar. If this adorable and only object of my desires were no longer in this world, I should not survive her one moment.”—“Do not harbour so afflicting a thought,” replied Ebn Thaher, “Schemselnihar still lives; you must not doubt it. If she has not sent you any account of herself, it is probably because she has not been able to find an opportunity, and I hope this day will not pass without your hearing of her.” He added many other consoling speeches, and then he took his leave.

Ebn Thaher was scarcely returned to his house, when the confidant of Schemselnihar arrived. She had a sorrowful air, from which he conceived an unfavorable presage. He inquired after her mistress. “First,” said she, “give me some intelligence of yourselves, for I was in great anxiety on your account, seeing you depart with the prince of Persia in such a state as he appeared to be.” Ebn Thaher related to her all she wished to know; and when he had concluded his narrative, the slave began hers: “If the prince of Persia,” said she, “suffers on my mistress’s account, she does not endure less pain for him. After I had quitted you,” continued she, “I returned to the saloon, where I found Schemselnihar, who had not yet recovered from her fainting fit, notwithstanding all the remedies that had been applied. The caliph was seated next to her, showing every symptom of real grief. He inquired of all the women, and of me in particular, if we had any knowledge of the cause of her indisposition; but we all kept the secret, and we replied quite contrary to what we knew to be the fact. We were, however, all in tears to see her suffer so long, and we omitted nothing that we thought might relieve her. It was full midnight when she came to herself. The caliph, who had had the patience to wait for this moment, showed great joy, and asked Schemselnihar what could have occasioned this illness. As soon as she heard his voice, she made an effort to sit up; and having kissed his feet, before he had time to prevent her, “Sire,” said she, “I ought to complain of Heaven for not suffering me to expire at the feet of your majesty, to convince you by that, how sincerely I am penetrated by the sense of all your goodness to me.”

“I am well persuaded that you love me,” replied the caliph, “but I command you to take care of yourself for my sake; you have probably made some exertion to-day, which has been the cause of this indisposition; you must be more careful, and I beg you to avoid a repetition of any thing that may be injurious. I am happy to see you in a better state, and I advise you to pass the night here, instead of returning to your apartment, lest the motion should be hurtful to you.” He then ordered some wine to be brought, of which he made her take a small quantity, to give her strength, after which he took his leave of her, and retired to his chamber.

“As soon as the caliph was gone, my mistress made signs to me to draw near. She anxiously inquired after you. I assured her, that you had long since quitted the palace, and I set her mind at ease on that subject. I took care not to mention the fainting of the prince of Persia, for fear she should relapse into the same state, from which we had with so much difficulty recovered her. But my precaution was useless, as you will shortly hear. ‘O, prince,’ cried she, ‘then, from this time I renounce all pleasures, so long as my eyes shall be deprived of the gratification of beholding you; if I understand your heart, I only follow your example. You will not cease your tears, until you have rejoined me; and it is but just, that I should weep and lament, until you are restored to my prayers.’ On concluding these words, which she pronounced in a manner that denoted the violence of her love, she fainted a second time in my arms.

“My companions and I were a long while in restoring her to her senses again; at length, life returned; I then said to her, ‘Are you resolved, madam, to suffer yourself to die, and to make us die with you? I conjure you, in the name of the prince of Persia, for whom you are so interested, to endeavour to preserve your life. Pray be persuaded, and make those efforts, which you owe to yourself, to your love for the prince, and to our attachment to you.’—‘I am much obliged to you,’ returned she, ‘for your care, your attention, and your advice. But, alas! how can they be serviceable to me? We are not permitted to flatter ourselves with any hope; and it is only in the bosom of the grave, that we may expect a period to our torments.’

“One of my companions wished to give a turn to these melancholy ideas, by singing a little air to her lute; but she desired her to be silent, and ordered her with the rest to quit the room. She detained only me, to spend the night with her. Heavens! what a night it was; she passed it in tears and lamentations, and calling continually on the name of the prince of Persia, she complained of the cruelty of her fate, which had destined her for the caliph, whom she could not love; and not to be united to the prince of Persia, of whom she was so passionately enamoured.

“The next day, as it was not convenient for her to remain in the saloon, I assisted to remove her into her own apartment, where she was no sooner arrived, than all the physicians of the palace came to see her, by order of the caliph; and it was not long before he himself made his appearance. The remedies prescribed by the physicians for Schemselnihar, had no effect; for they were ignorant of the cause of her illness; and the restraint she felt in the presence of the caliph, only increased the disease. She has, however, enjoyed a little rest this night, and as soon as she awoke, she charged me to come in search of you, to obtain some intelligence of the prince of Persia.”—“I have already informed you of the state he is in,” replied Ebn Thaher, “so return to your mistress, and assure her that the prince of Persia expected to hear from her with as much impatience as she could feel on his account. Exhort her, above all, to moderate and conquer her feelings, lest some word should escape her lips before the caliph, which might prove the destruction of us all.”—“As for me,” resumed the slave, “I am in constant apprehension, from the little command she has over herself; I took the liberty of telling her what I thought on that subject, and I am persuaded she will not take it amiss if I speak to her on your part also.”

Ebn Thaher, who had but just left the prince of Persia, did not judge it proper to return again so soon, and neglect some important business, which he found would engage him at home; he did not go till the close of day. The prince was alone, and was not better than in the morning. “Ebn Thaher,” said he, when he saw him enter the room, “you have, no doubt, many friends; but these friends do not know your worth, which I am better acquainted with, by witnessing the zeal, the care, and the pains you take, when an opportunity offers of obliging them. I am quite confused at all you do for me, and it is done with so much friendship and affection, that I shall never be able to acquit myself towards you.”

“Prince,” replied Ebn Thaher, “let us drop that subject, I beg; I am not only ready to lose one of my eyes to preserve one of yours, but even to sacrifice my life for you; but this is not the business I am come upon; I come to tell you, that Schemselnihar sent her confidential slave to me, to inquire how you are, and at the same time to give you some information respecting her. You may imagine, that I did not say any thing but what must confirm her belief of the excess of your love for her mistress, and of the constancy with which you adore her.” Ebn Thaher then gave him an exact detail of every thing the slave had told him. The prince heard it with all the different emotions of fear, jealousy, tenderness, and compassion, which such a relation was likely to inspire; and made on each circumstance such reflections, either of an afflicting or consoling nature, as so passionate a lover could be capable of.

The conversation lasted so long, that the night being far advanced, the prince of Persia made Ebn Thaher remain at his house. The next morning, as this faithful friend was returning home, he saw a woman coming towards him, whom he soon recognised to be the confidential slave of Schemselnihar: when she came up to him, “My mistress,” said she, “salutes you, and I come from her to beg you to deliver this letter to the prince of Persia.” The friendly Ebn Thaher took the letter, and returned to the prince, accompanied by the confidant.

When they had got there, he begged her to remain a few minutes in the anti-chamber, and wait for him. As soon as the prince saw him, he anxiously inquired what news he had to announce. “The best you can possibly wish,” replied Ebn Thaher, “you are beloved as tenderly as you love. The confidant of Schemselnihar is in your anti-chamber; she brings you a letter from your mistress, and only waits your orders to present herself before you.”—“Let her come in,” cried the prince, in a transport of joy; and saying this he raised himself in his bed to receive her.

As the attendants of the prince had left the room when Ebn Thaher entered it, that he might be alone with their master, Ebn Thaher went to open the door himself, and desire the confidant to come in. The prince recollected her, and received her in a very obliging manner. “My lord,” said she, “I know all the pains you have suffered, since I had the honour of conducting you to the boat, which waited to take you back; but I hope, that the letter I bring you will contribute to your recovery.” She then presented to him the letter; he took it, and after having kissed it several times, he opened it, and read the following words:

SCHEMSELNIHAR TO ALI EBN BECAR, PRINCE OF PERSIA.

“The person who will deliver this letter to you, will give you an account of me better than I can myself; for I know nothing, since I ceased beholding you. Deprived of your presence, I seek to continue the illusion, and converse with you by means of these ill-formed lines, which afford me some pleasure, while I am prevented the happiness of speaking to you.

“Patience, they say, is the remedy for all evils: yet those I suffer are increased instead of relieved by it. Although your image is indelibly engraven on my heart, my eyes nevertheless wish again to behold the original; and their sight will forsake them, if they remain deprived of that gratification for any length of time. Dare I flatter myself, that yours experience the same impatience to see me? Yes, I may; they have sufficiently proved it to me by their tender glances. Happy would Schemselnihar be, happy would you be, prince, if my wishes, which are conformable to yours, were not opposed by insurmountable obstacles! These obstacles occasion me an affliction so much the more poignant, as they are the cause of sorrow to you.

“These sentiments, which my fingers trace, and in expressing of which I feel such inconceivable pleasure, that I cannot repeat them too often, proceed from the bottom of my heart; from that incurable wound you have made in it; a wound which I bless a thousand times, notwithstanding the cruel sufferings I endure in your absence. I should little heed all that opposes our love, were I only permitted to see you occasionally without restraint. You would then be mine; and what more could I desire?

“Do not imagine that my words convey more than I feel. Alas! whatever expressions I may use, I shall still think much more than I can ever say. My eyes, which never cease looking for you, and incessantly weep till they shall behold you again; my afflicted heart which seeks but you; my sighs which escape my lips, whenever I think on you, and that is continually; my imagination which never reflects any object but my beloved prince; the complaints I utter to Heaven of the rigour of my fate; in short, my melancholy, my uneasiness, my sufferings from which I have had no respite since I lost sight of you, are all sufficient pledges of the truth of what I write.

“Am I not truly unfortunate to be born to love, love, without indulging the hope of possessing the object of my affections? This distracting reflection overpowers me to such a degree, that I should die, were I not persuaded that you love me. But this sweet consolation counteracts my despair, and attaches me to life. Tell me that you love me still. I will preserve your letter with precious care; I will read it a thousand times a-day; and I shall then bear my sorrows with less impatience. I pray that heaven may no longer be irritated against us, and may grant us an opportunity of telling each other, without restraint, the tender affection we feel, and that we will never cease to love. Farewell.

“I salute Ebn Thaher, to whom we each have so many obligations.”

The prince of Persia was not satisfied with reading this letter only once; he thought he had not bestowed sufficient attention on it; he read it again more deliberately, and while thus engaged he alternately uttered deep sighs and wept; he then would burst into transports of joy and tenderness, according to the different emotions he experienced from the contents of the letter. In short, he could not withdraw his eyes from the characters, traced by so dear a hand, and he was going to read it a third time, when Ebn Thaher represented to him, that the slave had no time to lose, and that he must prepare an answer. “Alas!” cried the prince, “how can I reply to so obliging and kind a letter? In what terms shall I describe the state of my soul? My mind is agitated by a thousand distressing thoughts, and my sentiments are destroyed, before I have time to express them by others, which in their turn are erased as soon as formed. While my body is so much in unison with the situation of my mind, how shall I be able to hold the paper and guide the cane to form the letters?”

Saying this, he drew from a little writing-case, which was near him, some paper, a cut cane, and an ink-horn; but before he began to write, he gave the letter of Schemselnihar to Ebn Thaher, and begged him to hold it open whilst he wrote, that by occasionally casting his eyes over it, he might be better enabled to answer it. He took up the writing-cane to begin; but the tears, which flowed from his eyes on the paper, frequently obliged him to stop to allow them a free current. He at length finished his letter, and giving it to Ebn Thaher, “Do me the favor to read it,” said he, “and see, if the agitation my spirits are in, has allowed me to write a proper answer.” Ebn Thaher took it, and read as follows:

THE PRINCE OF PERSIA TO SCHEMSELNIHAR.

“I was plunged in the deepest affliction, when your letter was delivered into my hands. At the sight of it alone I was transported with a joy I cannot express; but on reading the lines, which your beautiful hand had traced, my eyes were sensible of greater pleasure than that which they lost when yours so suddenly closed on the evening you fell senseless at my rival’s feet. The words contained in your obliging letter, are so many luminous rays that enliven the obscurity in which my soul was enveloped. They convince me how much you suffer for me, and also prove, that you are not ignorant of what I endure for you, and thus console me in my pain. At one moment they cause my tears to flow in abundant streams; at another, they inflame my heart with an unextinguishable fire, which supports it, and prevents my expiring with grief. I have not tasted one instant’s repose since our too cruel separation. Your letter alone procured me some relief from my misery. I preserved an uninterrupted silence till it was placed in my hands; but that has restored speech to me. I was wrapped in the most profound melancholy; but that has inspired me with a joy, which instantly proclaimed itself in my eyes and countenance. My surprise at receiving a favor so unmerited on my part, was so great, that I knew not how to express myself to testify my gratitude. In short, after having kissed it many times, as the precious pledge of your goodness, I perused and re-perused it till I was quite lost in the excess of my happiness. You tell me to say, that I love you still; ah! had my love for you been less passionate, less tender than that which occupies my whole soul, could I have done otherwise than adore you after all the proofs you give me of so uncommon an affection? Yes, I love you, my dearest life; and shall, to the end of my existence, glory in the pure flame which you have kindled in my heart. I will never complain of the vivid fire which consumes it; and, however rigorous the pains which your absence occasions may be, I will support them with constancy and firmness, encouraged by the hope of beholding you again. Would to God it were to-day, and that, instead of sending you this letter, I might be permitted to present myself before you, and assure you that I die for love of you. My tears prevent me from adding any more. Farewell.”

Ebn Thaher could not read the last lines without shedding tears himself. He returned the letter to the prince, assuring him it needed no correction. The prince folded it up, and when he had sealed it: “I beg you to approach,” said he to the confidential slave, who had retired a little; “this is the answer I have written to the letter of your dear mistress. I entreat you to take it to her, and to salute her from me.” The slave took the letter, and retired with Ebn Thaher, who, after he had walked with her some way, left her and returned to his house, where he began to make some serious reflections on the love intrigue in which he found himself so unfortunately and deeply engaged. He considered that the prince of Persia and Schemselnihar, notwithstanding the strong interest they had in concealing their connection, behaved with so little discretion, that it could not long remain a secret. He drew from thence all the unfavorable conclusions which must naturally suggest themselves to a man of good sense. “If Schemselnihar,” thought he, “was not a lady of such high rank, I would exert myself to the utmost of my abilities to make her and her lover happy; but as she is the favorite of the caliph, no one can aspire to obtain her with impunity who has gained his affections. His anger will first fall on Schemselnihar; the prince will not escape with life; and I shall be involved in his misfortune. But I have my honor, my peace of mind, my family, and my property to take care of; I must then, while it is in my power, endeavour to extricate myself from so perilous a situation.”

His mind was occupied with thoughts of this nature for the whole of that day. The following morning he went to the prince of Persia, with the intention of making one last effort to induce him to conquer his unfortunate passion. In fact, he represented to him what he had before mentioned, to no effect; that he would do much better to exert all his courage to overcome this attachment to Schemselnihar, than to suffer himself to be led away to destruction by its means; that his love for her was of a more dangerous nature to himself, as his rival was so powerful. “In short, my lord,” added he, “if you will take my advice, you will endeavour to overcome your affection; otherwise you run the risk of causing the destruction of Schemselnihar, whose life ought to be dearer to you than your own. I give you this counsel as a friend; and some day you will thank me for it.”

The prince listened to Ebn Thaher with evident impatience; nevertheless he allowed him to finish what he wished to say; but when he had concluded, he said, “Ebn Thaher, do you suppose that I can cease loving Schemselnihar, who returns my affection with so much tenderness? She does not hesitate to expose her life for me, and can you imagine, that the care of preserving mine should occupy me a single moment? No; whatever misfortunes may be the consequence, I will love Schemselnihar to my latest breath.”

Ebn Thaher, offended with the obstinacy of the prince, left him abruptly, and returned home: where, recollecting his reflections on the preceding day, he began to consider very seriously what course he should pursue.

While he was thus occupied, a jeweller, an intimate friend of his, came to see him. This jeweller had observed, that the confidential slave of Schemselnihar had been with Ebn Thaher more frequently than usual: and that he had been almost incessantly with the prince of Persia, whose indisposition was known to every one, although the cause was not; all this had created some suspicions in the jeweller’s mind. As Ebn Thaher appeared to be absorbed in thought, he supposed that some important affair occasioned it; and thinking he had hit on it, he asked him what business the slave of Schemselnihar had with him. Ebn Thaher was a little confused at this question; but not choosing to confess the truth, he replied, that it was only for some trifling thing that she came to him so often. “You do not speak sincerely,” resumed the jeweller, “and by your dissimulation you will make me suspect, that this trifle is of a nature more important than I had at first supposed it.”

Ebn Thaher, finding that his friend pressed him so closely, said, “It is true; this affair is of the utmost importance. I had determined to keep it a secret; but as I know you take a lively interest in every thing that concerns me, I will entrust you with the truth, rather than suffer you to make conclusions for which there is no foundation. I do not enjoin you to secrecy, for you will be sensible, from what I am going to relate, how impossible it would be to keep such a promise.” After this preface, he related to him the amours of Schemselnihar and the prince of Persia. “You are aware,” added he, at the conclusion, “in what estimation I am held by the nobles and ladies of highest rank both in the court and city. What a disgrace for me, if this story becomes known! But what do I say? It would be absolute destruction to my whole family as well as to myself; this consideration embarrasses me the most: but I have resolved how to act: I owe it to my safety, and I must be firm. I am going with the greatest diligence to call in my debts, and satisfy those who are my creditors; and after I have secured all my property, I will retire to Balsora, where I will remain till the storm I see gathering over my head is passed. The friendship I feel for Schemselnihar, and for the prince of Persia, makes me very anxious on their account; I pray God to make them sensible of the danger to which they expose themselves, and to preserve them. But if their luckless destiny condemns their attachment to be known to the caliph, I at least shall be sheltered from his resentment; for I do not suspect them of sufficient malice to entangle me in their misfortune. Their ingratitude would be of the blackest die, if they acted thus; they would then repay with baseness the services I have done them, and the good advice I have given, particularly to the prince of Persia, who might still withdraw them from the precipice, if he were willing, and save his mistress as well as himself. It would be easy for him to leave Bagdad, as I shall; and absence would insensibly eradicate a passion which will only increase while he remains in this city.”

The jeweller heard this recital from Ebn Thaher with very great astonishment. “What you have now told me,” said he, “is of so much consequence, that I cannot comprehend how Schemselnihar and the prince of Persia could be so imprudent as to give way to such a violent passion. Whatever inclination they might feel for each other, instead of yielding to its influence, they ought to have resisted it with firmness, and made a better use of their reason. Could they be blind to the dreadful consequences of their connection? How sadly are they mistaken, if they suppose it can remain secret! I foresee, as well as yourself, the fatal termination of this affair. But you are prudent and wise, and I entirely approve the resolution you have formed; it is only by putting it in execution, that you can escape the direful events you so justly fear.” After this conversation, the jeweller arose, and took his leave of Ebn Thaher; but before he left him, the latter entreated him by the friendship which united them, not to reveal to any one what he had related to him. “Be easy on that score,” replied the jeweller, “I will keep the secret at the peril of my life.”

Two days after this, the jeweller happened to pass by the shop of Ebn Thaher, and observing that it was shut up, he concluded he had put in execution the design he had communicated to him. To be quite sure, however, he inquired of a neighbour, if he knew why it was not open. The neighbour replied, that he knew no more than that Ebn Thaher had set off on a journey. This was all the jeweller required; and the first person he thought of, was the prince of Persia. “Unhappy prince,” thought he, “how grieved you will be to learn this intelligence! By what means will you now be able to hold any intercourse with Schemselnihar? I fear despair will put a period to your existence. I feel compassion for you; and must endeavour to replace the loss of so timid a friend.”

The business which had led him out was not of immediate consequence; he therefore neglected that, and although he only knew the prince from having sold him some jewellery, he nevertheless went to his house. He requested one of the servants he met at the door, to tell his master that he wanted to speak to him on an affair of the greatest importance. The servant soon returned to the jeweller, and introduced him into the apartment of the prince, whom he found reclining on a sofa, with his head on the cushion. The prince, recollecting that he had seen him before, got up to receive him and give him welcome; and, after having begged him to sit down, he asked him, if he could render him any service; or if he came on business which related to him. “Prince,” replied the jeweller, “although I have not the honor to be much known to you, yet the zealous desire I have of serving you, has made me take the liberty of coming to acquaint you of a circumstance which concerns you; I hope you will pardon this freedom, as it proceeds from a good intention.”

After this preface, the jeweller began his story, and proceeded thus: “Prince, you will allow me the honor of telling you, that the conformity of our minds, together with some affairs we had to transact with each other, has given rise to a firm friendship which exists between Ebn Thaher and myself. I know his acquaintance with you, and that he has, till now, exerted himself to serve you to the utmost of his ability; this I learned from his own lips, for we never practise concealment with each other. I just now passed by his shop, and was surprised to find it shut up. I inquired the reason of one of his neighbours, who told me, that Ebn Thaher had taken his leave of him, and of the other neighbours, two days since; at the same time offering them his services at Balsora, whither he said he was going on an affair of considerable importance. I was not thoroughly satisfied with this answer; and the interest I feel in whatever concerns him, induced me to come to ask you, if you knew any thing particular about this sudden departure.”

At this speech, to which the jeweller had given that turn he thought most likely to forward his design, the prince of Persia changed colour, and looked al the jeweller with an air which evidently proved how much he was afflicted at this intelligence. “What you tell me,” said he, “astonishes me; I could not have met with a more mortifying occurrence. Yes,” cried he, the tears flowing from his eyes, “I have no hope left, if what you tell me is true! Ebn Thaher, who was my only consolation and support, forsakes me! I no longer seek to live after so cruel a blow!”

The jeweller had heard enough to be fully convinced of the violence of the prince’s love, with which Ebn Thaher had already acquainted him. Simple friendship does not express itself in such strong language; love, alone, is capable of inspiring sentiments so animated.

The prince remained for some minutes absorbed in the most distracting reflections. He at length raised his head, and addressing one of his attendants, “Go,” said he, “to Ebn Thaher’s house; speak to some of his servants, and inquire if it be true, that he is set off for Balsora. Run there instantly; and return as quickly as possible, that I may learn what you have heard.” While the servant was gone, the jeweller endeavoured to converse with the prince on indifferent subjects, but he seemed totally inattentive; his mind was lost in thought. Sometimes he could not persuade himself, that Ebn Thaher was really gone; then he felt convinced of it, when he recollected the conversation he had held with his friend the last time he had seen him, and the abrupt manner in which he left him.

At length, the servant of the prince returned, and said, that he had spoken with one of the people belonging to Ebn Thaher, who assured him, that he was no longer in Bagdad, and that he had set off two days since for Balsora. “As I was coming out of the house of Ebn Thaher,” continued the servant, “a well dressed female slave accosted me; and having asked me, if I had not the honor of being one of your attendants, she said, that she wanted to speak to you, and begged me at the same time to allow her to come with me. She is in the antichamber, and, I believe, has a letter to deliver from some person of consequence.” The prince immediately desired that she might be admitted; not doubting that it was the confidential slave of Schemselnihar, whom, in fact, she proved to be.

The jeweller knew her again from having met her sometimes at Ebn Thaher’s, who told him who she was. She could not have arrived at a more seasonable time, to prevent the prince from giving way to despair. She saluted him, as he did in return. The jeweller had risen as soon as she entered, and had withdrawn a little to leave them at liberty to converse together. The slave, after having remained some time with the prince, took her leave, and went away. She left him quite different from what he was before, his eyes appeared more sparkling, and his countenance more cheerful, which led the jeweller to suppose, that the good slave had been saying something favorable to his attachment.

The jeweller, having resumed his place near the prince, said to him smiling, “I see, prince, you have some important affairs at the palace of the caliph.” The prince, surprised and alarmed at this speech, replied, “What induces you to think, that I have any affairs at the palace of the caliph?”—“I conclude so,” resumed the jeweller, “from the slave who has just left you.”—“And to whom do you suppose this slave belongs?” inquired the prince.—“To Schemselnihar, the Favorite of the caliph,” replied the jeweller. “I know this slave,” continued he, “and her mistress also, who has sometimes done me the honor of coming to my shop to buy jewellery. I know, moreover, that this slave is admitted into all the secrets of Schemselnihar; I have seen her for some days past, continually walking about the streets with a pensive air, from which, I imagine, she is now concerned in something of consequence, which relates to her mistress.”

These words of the jeweller confused the prince of Persia. He would not talk to me thus, thought he, if he did not suspect, or rather if he did not know, my secret. He remained silent for some minutes, not knowing how to act. At length he spoke, and said to the jeweller, “You tell me some things, which lead me to think you know still more than you say. It is very necessary to my peace of mind, that I should know the whole; I entreat you, therefore, to conceal nothing from me.”

The jeweller, who could not desire a better opportunity, then gave him an exact detail of the conversation he had had with Ebn Thaher; and thus let him know, that he was apprised of the intercourse that subsisted between him and Schemselnihar; he did not omit telling him, that Ebn Thaher, alarmed at the danger which his office of confidant placed him in, had imparted to him the design he had formed, of quitting Bagdad for Balsora, where he intended to remain until the storm, which he dreaded, was appeased. “This he has put in execution,” continued the jeweller, “and I am surprised how he could prevail on himself to abandon you in the state which he described you to be in. As for me, prince, I confess to you, that I was moved with compassion for your sufferings, and I come to offer you my services; and if you will do me the honor to accept them, I promise to observe the same fidelity towards you as Ebn Thaher has done; and engage, moreover, to continue more firm and constant. I am ready to sacrifice my life and honor in your service; and, that you may have no doubts of my sincerity, I swear by every thing most sacred in our holy religion, to preserve your secret inviolably. Be assured, then, prince, that in me you will find a friend equal to the one you have lost.”

This speech afforded the prince of Persia great consolation, and reconciled him to the voluntary banishment of Ebn Thaher. “I feel great satisfaction,” said he, “in finding in you so good a substitute for the loss I have suffered. I cannot sufficiently express how much I think myself indebted to you; and, I trust, that God will amply recompense your generosity. I accept, therefore, with great pleasure, the kind offer you have made me. Should you suppose,” continued the prince, “that Schemselnihar’s confidential slave has just been talking to me of you? She told me, that it was you who advised Ebn Thaher to leave Bagdad. These were the very last words she said, as she left me; and she seemed thoroughly persuaded of their truth. She did you, however, great injustice; and, after every thing you have now informed me of, I have no doubt but she was completely deceived.”—“Prince,” replied the jeweller, “I have had the honor to give you both a literal and a faithful narrative of the conversation that took place between Ebn Thaher and myself. It is true, that when he told me of his intention of retiring to Balsora, I did not oppose his design: I even told him, I thought him both prudent and wise; but this ought not to prevent you from putting your whole confidence in me; for I am ready to afford you all my services; and to exert myself most warmly and indefatigably in your cause. If you think otherwise, and decline my interference, I will, nevertheless, as I have most solemnly sworn, religiously preserve your secret.”—“I have already told you,” replied the prince, “that I place not the least confidence in any thing the slave has said. It is her zeal only that has raised these suspicions in her mind, and which have not, in fact, the least foundation. You ought, therefore, like myself, to excuse her on that account.”

They continued their conversation for some time longer, and consulted together about the best and most suitable means of keeping open a correspondence between the prince and Schemselnihar. The first thing they settled was, that it was necessary to undeceive the confidant, who was so unjustly prejudiced against the jeweller. The prince took upon himself the task of explaining this matter the first time she came to him; and also to desire her, whenever she brought any more letters, or had any message from her mistress, to carry them directly to the jeweller. In fact, they thought it improper, that she should make her appearance at the prince’s house so often; because she might by those means, perhaps, cause a discovery of what it was so much the interest of all parties to conceal. The jeweller then got up; and after having again assured the prince he might place an entire confidence in him, took his leave.

As the jeweller was going from the prince of Persia’s, he observed a letter in the street, which some one seemed to have dropped. As it was not sealed, he unfolded it, and found it written in the following terms:

SCHEMSELNIHAR TO THE PRINCE OF PERSIA.

“I am now about to inform you, by means of my slave, of a circumstance which gives me no less affliction than it will occasion you. By losing Ebn Thaher we truly suffer a great deal; but do not let this, my dear prince, prevent you from taking care of yourself. If the friend, in whom we trusted, has abandoned us through a dread of the consequences, let us consider it as an evil we could not avoid; we must, therefore, console ourselves under the misfortune. I own to you, that Ebn Thaher has forsaken us at a time when his presence and aid is most necessary; but let us fortify ourselves with patience under this most unexpected event; nor let our affection fail us even for an instant. Strengthen your mind against this disastrous event. Remember, we seldom obtain what we wish, without difficulty. Do not then let this damp our courage; let us hope, that Heaven will be favorable; and, after all our numerous sufferings, we shall at last arrive at the full and happy completion of our wishes. Farewell.”

While the jeweller had been engaged with his visit to the prince of Persia, the confidant had had time to return to the palace, and inform her mistress of the unpleasant intelligence of Ebn Thaher’s departure. Schemselnihar had in consequence immediately written the foregoing letter, and sent her slave back to carry it to the prince without delay; and the confidant, as she went along, had accidentally dropped it.

The jeweller was much pleased at finding it, as it afforded him an excellent method of justifying himself in the mind of the confidant, and bringing the matter to the point he wished. As he finished reading it, he perceived the slave herself, who was looking about with great distress and anxiety to recover it. He directly folded it up, and put it in his bosom, but the confidant, having observed his motions, ran up to him; “Sir,” said she, “I have dropped the letter, which you had just now in your hand; I beg you to have the goodness to return it me.” The jeweller pretended not to hear her, and continued walking on, till he got home, without answering a word: he did not shut the door after him, that the confidant, who still followed him, might, if she pleased, come in. This she did not fail to do, and when she had reached his apartment, she said to him, “Sir, you can make no use of the letter you have found, and you would have no difficulty in giving it me again, if you knew from whom it came, and to whom it is addressed. Give me leave to tell you also, that you do not act justly by detaining it.”

Before he returned any answer to the slave, the jeweller made her sit down; he then said to her, “Is it not true, that the letter in question is from Schemselnihar, and that it is addressed to the prince of Persia?” The slave, who did not expect this question, changed colour; “This inquiry seems to embarrass you,” continued he, “but understand that indiscreet curiosity is not my motive for asking this; I could have given you the letter in the street, but I wished to induce you to follow me here, because I am desirous of explaining my motives to you. Tell me, is it just to impute a disastrous event to any one who has not in the most distant manner contributed to it. This, however, is exactly what you did, when you told the prince of Persia, that I advised Ebn Thaher to leave Bagdad for his own security. I will not, however, lose time in justifying myself to you; it is enough that the prince of Persia is fully persuaded of my innocence in this point. I will only say, that instead of having aided Ebn Thaher in his departure, I am extremely mortified at it; not so much through my friendship for him, as through compassion for the situation in which he left the prince, whose intercourse with Schemselnihar he made me acquainted with. As soon as I was certain that Ebn Thaher was no longer in Bagdad, I ran and presented myself to the prince, with whom you found me; I informed him of this news, and, at the same time, offered him the same services which Ebn Thaher had afforded him. I have succeeded in my design, and provided you place as much confidence in me as you did in Ebn Thaher, it will be your own fault if I am not equally useful. Give an account to your mistress of what I have now said to you, and assure her, that though I may lose my life by engaging in so dangerous an enterprise, I shall never repent having sacrificed myself for two lovers so worthy of each other.”

The confidential slave listened to what the jeweller said with great satisfaction. She requested him to pardon her for the bad opinion she had entertained of him, which arose merely from the zeal she felt for Schemselnihar’s interests. “I much rejoice,” added she, “that the Favorite and the prince of Persia have been so fortunate as to find in you so proper a person to supply the place of Ebn Thaher: and I will not fail to give my mistress a favorable account of the strong inclination you have to serve her.

After the confidant had thus expressed the pleasure it afforded her to find the jeweller so disposed to be useful to Schemselnihar and the prince of Persia, he took the letter out of his bosom and gave it her. “Take it,” he cried, “and carry it immediately to the prince; and then come back this way, that I may see the answer which he sends. And do not also forget to give him an account of our conversation.” The slave took the letter, and carried it to the prince of Persia, who answered it without any delay. She then returned to the jeweller’s, to show him the answer, which contained these words:

THE PRINCE OF PERSIA TO SCHEMSELNIHAR.

“Your dear letter has produced a great effect upon me: but yet not so great as I could wish. You endeavour to console me for the loss of Ebn Thaher. Alas! however sensible I may be of it, this is only the least part of the evils I endure. You know these evils; and you know, that your presence can alone cure them. When, alas, will the period arrive, in which I can enjoy that dear leisure without the dread of being again deprived of it? How distant does it appear to me! Rather, perhaps, we ought not to flatter ourselves, that we shall ever meet again. You tell me to take care of myself. I will obey you, since I have made every inclination of my heart subservient to you. Farewell.”

When he had read this letter, the jeweller returned it to the confidant, who, as she was departing, said to him; “I am going, sir, to induce my mistress to place the same confidence in you which she did in Ebn Thaher. To-morrow you will have some intelligence from me.” And he saw her, in fact, arrive the very next day with great satisfaction marked in her countenance. “The sight of you alone,” said he, “proves to me, that you found Schemselnihar in the disposition of mind you wished.”—“It is true,” she answered, “and you shall hear the manner in which I brought it about. I found her yesterday,” continued the confidant, “waiting for me with the greatest impatience. I put the letter of the prince into her hand, and she read it, while her eyes were bathed in tears. As I perceived she was going to give herself up to her accustomed grief, ‘Madam,’ said I, ‘it is, without doubt, the departure of Ebn Thaher which so much afflicts you: but permit me to conjure you, in the name of God, not to alarm yourself any more on that subject. We have found another like himself, who has offered to engage in your service with equal zeal, and what is of more consequence, with greater courage!’ I then mentioned you to her,” continued the slave, “and told her the motives which induced you to go to the prince of Persia. In short, I assured her, that you would ever preserve the secret intercourse between her and the prince inviolable, and that you were determined to aid their attachment with all your power. She appeared greatly consoled at this speech, ‘What obligation,’ she exclaimed, ‘ought we to feel ourselves under to the excellent man you have mentioned! I wish to know him, to see him, to hear from his own lips what you have now told me; and to thank him for his almost unheard-of generosity towards persons who have not the slightest reason to expect him to interest himself in so fervent a manner. His sight will afford me pleasure; and I will omit nothing that I think will confirm him in his good opinions and intentions. Do not neglect to go to him to-morrow morning and bring him here.’ You must therefore, sir, if you please, take the trouble to go with me to her palace.”

This speech of the confidant’s very much embarrassed the jeweller. “Your mistress,” he replied, “must permit me to say, that she has not thought sufficiently of what she has required of me. The free access which Ebn Thaher had to the caliph, gave him admission every where; and the officers and attendants, who knew him, suffered him to go backwards and forwards to the palace of Schemselnihar without molestation. But how dare I enter it! You must yourself see that the thing is impossible. I entreat you, therefore, to explain to Schemselnihar the reasons which ought to prevent me from giving her this satisfaction, and represent to her all the unpleasant consequences that might happen from it. And if she will consider the matter again in the slightest degree, she will easily see, that she exposes me to a very great danger without the least use.”

The confidential slave endeavoured to encourage the jeweller. “Do you suppose,” she said, “that Schemselnihar is so regardless as to expose you, from whom she expects a continuance of the most important services, to the least danger, in ordering you to come to her? Recollect yourself; and you will find, there is not even the appearance of danger. Both my lady and myself are too much interested in this affair to engage you in it without due consideration. You may, therefore, very safely trust me to conduct you: and after it is all finished, you will readily enough acknowledge, that your alarms are without any foundation.”

The jeweller yielded to the arguments of the confidant; and got up to follow her. In spite, however, of all the courage he piqued himself upon possessing, his fears so far got the better of him, that he trembled from head to foot. “From the state which I perceive you are in,” cried she, “I am sure you had better remain at home, and Schemselnihar pursue some other mode of seeing you: and I have no doubt, from the great desire she feels, that she will come and find you out herself. This being the case, sir, do not go out; for I am convinced it will not be long before you will see her arrive.” The confidant was not wrong in her conjectures; for she had no sooner informed Schemselnihar of the fright of the jeweller, than the latter instantly made preparations to go to his house.

He received her with every mark of the most profound respect. As soon as she had sat down, for she was a little fatigued with her walk, she took off her veil, and discovered so much beauty to the eyes of the jeweller, that he instantly confessed, in his own mind, how excusable it was in the prince of Persia to have devoted his heart to the Favorite of the caliph. She then accosted the jeweller in the kindest manner, and said to him, “I could not possibly become acquainted with the great interest you take in the welfare of the prince of Persia and myself, without instantly forming the design of thanking you in person; and I am truly grateful to Heaven for having so soon, and so well, supplied the great loss we suffered in Ebn Thaher.”

Schemselnihar added many other obliging things in her speech to the jeweller; and then returned to her palace. The jeweller himself instantly went, and gave the prince of Persia an account of this visit; who, when he saw him arrive, called out, “I have been waiting for you with the greatest impatience. The confidential slave has brought me a letter from her mistress: but this letter has afforded me no comfort. Although the amiable Schemselnihar may endeavour to give me every encouragement, yet I dare not indulge my hopes, and my patience is quite exhausted. I know not what plan to follow. The departure of Ebn Thaher has thrown me into despair. He was my support; and, in losing him, I have lost every thing; for in the free access he had to Schemselnihar, I did flatter myself with some hopes.”

At these words, which the prince uttered in a very expressive manner, and so rapidly that the jeweller had no opportunity of putting in a word before, he said, “No one, prince, can take a greater interest in your misfortunes than I do; and if you will have the patience to listen to me, you will find, that I can afford you some comfort. At this speech the prince held his tongue, and was attentive, “I very clearly see,” added the jeweller, “that the only means of satisfying you, is to enable you to converse with and see Schemselnihar without any restraint. This is a satisfaction I wish to procure you; and I will set about it to-morrow. It will not, I trust, be necessary to expose you to the risk of going to the palace of Schemselnihar? you know, from experience, how dangerous a plan that is. I am acquainted with a much more proper place for this interview; and where you will both be in safety.” When the jeweller had finished this speech, the prince embraced him with the greatest transport.

“You reanimate, by this delightful promise,” he exclaimed, “an unfortunate lover, who felt himself already condemned to death. From what I already hear, I am sure I have fully repaired the loss of Ebn Thaher. Whatever you undertake will, I know, be done well; and I give myself entirely up to your direction.”

After the prince had thanked the jeweller for the zeal he had shown in his service, the latter returned home; where the confidential slave of Schemselnihar came the next morning to seek him. He informed her, that he had given the prince of Persia some hopes of seeing Schemselnihar very soon. “I am come expressly,” she cried, “to concert some measures with you for that purpose. It appears to me,” she added, “that this very house is well adapted for their meeting.”—“I should not have the least objection to their coming here,” replied the jeweller, “but I think they will be much more at liberty in another house which I have, and which is inhabited by no one. I will immediately have it handsomely furnished to receive them.”—“This being the case,” rejoined the slave, “nothing more remains to be done, but to get the Favorite to agree to it. I will go and speak to her on the subject, and will return in a very short time, and give you her answer.”

It was not long before she came back; and she told the jeweller, that Schemselnihar would not fail to be at the appointed place towards the close of the day. She at the same time put a purse into his hands, and told him, it was to procure an excellent collation. The jeweller directly carried the slave to the house where the lovers were to meet, that she might know where it was, and be able to conduct her mistress thither: and, as soon as they parted, he went to borrow from his friends some gold and silver plate, some carpets, some very rich cushions, and other furniture, with which he ornamented the house in the most magnificent manner. When he had got every thing in readiness, he went to the prince of Persia.

Imagine to yourself the joy of the prince, when the jeweller informed him, that he was come for the purpose of conducting him to a house which was prepared on purpose for his and Schemselnihar’s reception. This intelligence made him forget all his vexations, all his disappointments, and all his sufferings. He put on a most magnificent dress, and went out, without even one attendant, with the jeweller, who led him through many unfrequented streets to his house, in order that no one might observe them, where he introduced him, and where they remained in conversation till the arrival of Schemselnihar.

They did not wait a great while for this too doting fair-one. She arrived directly after prayers at sun-set, accompanied by her confidential and two other slaves. It would be useless to attempt to express to you the excess of joy these two lovers evinced at the sight of each other; the delineation is almost impossible. They sat down upon a sofa, and at first looked at each other without being able to utter a single word, so much were their minds absorbed in mutual contemplation. But the use of their speech was no sooner returned, than they made ample amends for their former silence. They expressed themselves in so tender and affecting a manner, that even the jeweller, the confidant, and the two slaves, could not refrain from shedding tears. It was necessary, however, for the jeweller to dry his tears, and to think about the collation, which he set before them with his own hands. The lovers eat and drank but very slightly; after which they returned to the sofa, and Schemselnihar asked the jeweller, if he happened to have a lute, or any other instrument. The jeweller, who took care to provide every thing which he thought might afford them pleasure, immediately brought a lute. The Favorite spent a few moments in tuning it, and then began to sing.

While Schemselnihar was thus delighting the prince of Persia, by expressing her love for him in words which she composed at the moment, they suddenly heard a great noise; and a slave, whom the jeweller had brought with him, instantly rushed in, frightened to death, and said, that some people were forcing the door; that he had demanded of them who it was, when, instead of returning any answer, they redoubled their blows. The jeweller, greatly alarmed, left Schemselnihar and the prince of Persia to go and inform himself of the truth of this bad news. He went as far as the court, when, through the obscurity of the place, he observed a troop of men, armed with scimitars, who had already forced the door, and were coming directly towards him. The jeweller got up close to the wall, as quickly as possible, and, without being observed, he saw them pass by, to the number of ten.

As he thought he could be of no use in assisting the prince of Persia and Schemselnihar, he contented himself with lamenting their sad situation, and took flight as fast as possible. He ran out of his own house, and went for safety to that of a neighbour, who was not yet retired for the night; not doubting, that this unforeseen and violent attack was made by order of the caliph, who had by some means been informed of the place of appointment between the Favorite and the prince of Persia. The house, to which he fled for safety, was not so far distant, but that he heard the noise they made at his own; and this noise continued till midnight. Then, as every thing appeared to him to be silent, he requested his neighbour to lend him a sabre, and, armed in this manner, he sallied forth. He went to the door of his own house; and, entering the court, perceived, with great alarm, a man, who demanded who he was. He instantly recognised the voice of his slave. “How have you been able,” cried the jeweller, “to escape being taken by the guard?”—“Sir,” replied the slave, “I concealed myself in the corner of the court, and I came out as soon as the noise had ceased. But it was not the guard that broke in your house; they were robbers, who, for some days past, have infested this quarter of the city, and pillaged almost every one. They have, without doubt, remarked, that some rich furniture has been brought here; and this was certainly their object.”

The jeweller thought the conjecture of his slave too probable. He examined the house, and found, in fact, that the robbers had taken away the beautiful furniture of the apartment in which he had received Schemselnihar and her lover; and had carried off all the gold and silver plate, not leaving an individual thing behind them. At this sight he was quite in despair. “Oh, heavens!” he exclaimed, “I am undone, without the chance of redress or recovery. What will my friends say, and what excuse can I make them, when I shall inform them the thieves have broken open my house, and robbed me of every thing they had so generously lent me? How can I ever compensate them for the loss they have suffered through me? Besides, what can have become of Schemselnihar and the prince of Persia? This affair will make a great noise, and it infallibly must reach the ears of the caliph. He will be informed of this assignation, and I shall be the victim of his rage.” The slave, who was very much attached to his master, tried to console him. With regard to Schemselnihar,” he said, “there is no doubt but that the robbers would be contented with despoiling her of her valuables, and you may be assured she will return to her palace with her slaves: and the same will probably be the fate of the prince of Persia. You have every reason, therefore, to hope, that the caliph will remain in total ignorance of this adventure. As for the loss which your friends have suffered, it is a misfortune you cannot help, nor were able to avoid. They very well know, that the robbers are here in great numbers, and that they have had the boldness to pillage, not only the houses I have mentioned to you, but many others belonging to the principal noblemen of the court; and they are not ignorant, that in spite of the orders which have been issued, to seize them, not one of them has hitherto been taken, notwithstanding all the exertions and diligence that have been used. You will make them every recompense in returning to your friends the full value of the things you have been robbed of, and you will then still have, God be praised, a tolerable fortune remaining.”

While they were waiting till it was day-light, the jeweller made the slave mend the door of the house that had been forced, as well as he could. After this, he went back with his slave to that he commonly lived in; making the most melancholy reflections all the way he walked along. “Ebn Thaher,” said he to himself, “has been wiser than I have: he has foreseen this misfortune, into which I have blindly run headlong. I wish to God I had never taken any part in an intrigue which may perhaps cost me my life.”

It was hardly day when the report of this house having been broken open and pillaged spread itself through the city, and was the cause of a great number of the jeweller’s friends and neighbours assembling at his habitation; the most part of whom, under the pretext of expressing their sorrow for this accident, only came to hear the account more at large. He did not omit to thank them for the kindness of their inquiries: and he had, at least, the consolation of finding, that no one mentioned either the prince of Persia or Schemselnihar, which led him to hope, that they were returned home, or had retired to some place of safety.

When the jeweller was again alone, his people served up a repast; but he could not eat any thing. It was now about mid-day; when one of his slaves came and informed him, there was a man at the door, whom he did not know, who said, he wanted to speak with him. As the jeweller did not wish to admit an entire stranger into his house, he got up and went to speak to him at the door. “Although you do not know me,” said the man, “I am not unacquainted with you, and I am come to you upon a most important affair.” At these words the jeweller requested him to come into the house. “By no means,” replied the stranger, “you must, if you please, take the trouble to go with me to your other house.”—“How came you to know,” answered the jeweller, “that I have any other house besides this?”—“I am very well acquainted with that,” said the stranger; “and therefore you have only to follow me, and fear nothing; I have something to communicate to you that will give you pleasure.” The jeweller then went with him, but informed him, by the way, in what manner his house had been robbed, and that it was not in a state in which to receive any one.

When they had arrived opposite to the house, and the stranger saw that the door was half broken, he said to the jeweller, “I see, indeed, that you have spoken the truth; I will conduct you, then, to a place where we shall be better accommodated.” Having said this, they continued walking on, nor did they stop during the remainder of the day. Fatigued with the distance they had come, vexed at seeing night so near at hand, and wondering at the silence which the stranger kept respecting the place they were going to, the jeweller began to lose all his patience, when they arrived at an open place, which led down to the Tigris. As soon as they were on the banks of that river they embarked in a small boat, and passed over to the other side. The stranger then conducted the jeweller down a long street, where he had never before been; and, after passing through I know not how many unfrequented lanes, he stopped at a door, which he opened. He desired the jeweller to go in, shut the door after him, and fastened it with a large iron bar. He then conducted him into an apartment, where there were ten other men, who were not less strangers to the jeweller than the one who had brought him there.

These ten men received the jeweller without much ceremony. They desired him to sit down, which he did. He had, indeed, great occasion for a seat, for he was not only fatigued and out of breath from his long walk, but the alarm with which he was seized at finding himself with people apparently fully adequate to inspire it, was so great, that he was hardly able to stand. As they only waited for the chief, before they went to supper, it was served up, when he made his appearance. They first washed their hands, and compelled the jeweller to do the same, and also to sit down at table with them. After supper was over, they asked him, if he was aware with whom he was conversing. The jeweller answered he was not, and did not even know either the quarter of the city or the place he was in. “Relate to us, then,” they said, “your adventure of last night, and do not conceal any thing from us.” The jeweller was much astonished at this speech, and answered, “You are, probably, gentlemen, already acquainted with it.”—“True,” replied they, “the young man and young lady who were with you yesterday evening, have related it to us; but we wish, nevertheless, to know it from your own lips.”

Nothing more was wanting to make the jeweller understand, that he was now speaking to the very robbers who had broken open and pillaged his house. “Gentlemen,” said he, “I am in great distress about that young man and young lady, can you give me any information concerning them?”—“Be in no fear,” answered they, “on their account; they are in a place of safety, and are quite well.” Having said this, they pointed out two small apartments to him, in which they assured him they were kept separate. “They informed us,” added the strangers, “that you were the only person who were acquainted with their affairs and interested about them. As soon, therefore, as we knew that, we took all possible care of them on your account. So far from having made use of the least violence towards them, we have, on the contrary, done them every service in our power, and no one has ever wished to treat them ill: we assure you, also, of the same treatment, and you may place the fullest confidence in us.”

Encouraged by this speech, and delighted to find that Schemselnihar and the prince of Persia were in safety, at least with respect to their lives and persons, the jeweller endeavoured to engage the robbers still further in their service. He praised and flattered them, and returned them a thousand thanks. “I acknowledge, gentlemen,” said he to them, “that I have not the honor of knowing you; but it is a very great happiness to me, that you are not unacquainted with me, and I cannot sufficiently thank you for the gratification this acquaintance on your part has procured me. Not to mention a word of the great humanity and kindness of this action, I see very clearly, that it is only among men such as you, that a secret can be faithfully kept, where there is any danger of a discovery to be dreaded; and if there be any enterprise of a more difficult nature than common, you well know how to carry it through, by your alacrity, your courage, and your intrepidity. Relying upon these qualifications, to which you have so just a claim, I shall make no difficulty in relating my history to you, and also that of the two persons whom you found at my house, with all the distinctness and truth you can require.”

After the jeweller had taken all these precautions to interest the robbers about every thing he was going to reveal to them, that he thought might be of advantage, he gave them a complete detail, without omitting a single circumstance of the attachment and adventures of the prince of Persia and Schemselnihar, from the very beginning till the meeting he had procured them at his house.

The robbers were in the greatest astonishment at what they heard. “What,” they cried, when the jeweller had concluded his narration, “is it possible, that this young man is the illustrious Ali Ebn Becar, prince of Persia, and this lady the beautiful and celebrated Schemselnihar?” The jeweller swore that he had told them nothing but the strict and literal truth; and added, that they ought not to think it strange, that persons of their rank were very unwilling to make themselves known.

Upon this assurance, the robbers all went, one after the other, and threw themselves at the feet of Schemselnihar and the prince of Persia, entreating them to grant them a pardon; and protesting, that nothing which had happened should have taken place if they had known the rank of the guests before they had broken open the jeweller’s house. “And we will now endeavour,” they added, “to make some reparation for the fault we have committed.” They then returned to the jeweller, “We are very sorry,” said they to him, “that we are unable to restore every thing we have taken from you, as some part of it is no longer at our disposal; we beg of you, therefore, to be satisfied with the plate and silver articles, which we will immediately return to you.”

The jeweller thought himself very fortunate at the favor they, by these means, did him. When, therefore, the robbers had restored what they promised, they requested the prince of Persia and Schemselnihar to come, and informed them, as well as the jeweller, that they were ready to conduct them back to a certain place, from whence each might return to his own house; but before they did this, they wished to engage each of them, by an oath, not to discover them. The prince of Persia, Schemselnihar, and the jeweller, all said they were ready to pledge their words; but if the robbers particularly wished it, they would swear solemnly to preserve the whole transaction a most profound secret. The robbers, upon this, perfectly satisfied with their oath, went out with them.

As they were going along, the jeweller, feeling much disturbed at not seeing either the confidant or the other two slaves, went up to Schemselnihar, and requested her to inform him, if she knew what was become of them. “I know nothing about them,” she replied; “all I can tell you is, that they carried us with them from your house, that we were conducted across the river, and at last led to the house where you found us.”

This was all the conversation which the jeweller had with Schemselnihar; they then suffered themselves to be escorted by the robbers, together with the prince, and they soon came to the side of the river. The robbers immediately took a boat, embarked with them, and landed them on the opposite bank.

At the instant in which the prince of Persia, Schemselnihar, and the jeweller, were getting on shore, they heard a great noise, caused by the horse-patrole coming towards them, who arrived at the moment they were landed, and while the robbers were rowing back to the other side with all strength.

The officer of the guard demanded of the prince, Schemselnihar, and the jeweller, where they were coming from at that late hour, and who they were. As they were all in a state of considerable alarm, and therefore fearful of saying any thing that might lead them into difficulties, they remained silent. It was, however, absolutely necessary to make some answer; and this the jeweller took upon himself, as his mind was not quite so disturbed. “Sir,” he replied, “let me, in the first place, assure you, that we are people of character, who live in the city. The men, who are in the boat from whence we have just landed, are robbers, who last night broke open the house where we were. They despoiled it of every thing, and carried us with them. During the whole of this time, we made use of every means in our power, by persuasion and entreaties, and have at last succeeded in obtaining our liberty, and in consequence of this, they brought us to this spot. Nay, they even did more, and restored to us a part of the plunder they had taken, and which we now have with us.” He then showed to the officer the parcel of plate the robbers had returned to him.

The commander of the patrole was by no means satisfied with this answer of the jeweller. He went up both to him and the prince of Persia, “Tell me,” said he to them, looking in their faces, “the strict truth; who is this lady? How came you acquainted with her, and in what quarter of the city do you live?”

These questions very much embarrassed them, and they knew not what answer to make. Schemselnihar, however, got over the difficulty. She took the officer aside, and no sooner spoke to him, than he got off his horse, and showed her every mark of great respect and honor. He directly also ordered some of his attendants to bring two boats.

When these were come, the officer desired Schemselnihar to embark in one, and the prince and jeweller went into the other. Two of his attendants were also in each, with orders to conduct them wherever they wished to go. The two boats then began to steer a different course: and we will now only attend to that in which the prince of Persia and the jeweller were.

The prince, in order to save the persons whom the officer had ordered to conduct them home, some trouble, told them he would take the jeweller home with him, and informed them of the part of the city where he lived. Upon this information, the attendants rowed the boat towards the shore, close to the caliph’s palace. The prince of Persia and the jeweller, although they durst not discover it, were in the greatest possible alarm. Notwithstanding they had heard the order which the officer had given, they nevertheless were fully persuaded they were going to be conducted to the guard-house for the night, and that they should be brought before the caliph in the morning.

This was, however, by no means the intention of their conductors: for as soon as they had landed; as they were obliged to return to their party, they transferred them to an officer belonging to the caliph’s guard, who sent two soldiers with them to attend them by land to the prince of Persia’s house, which was at a considerable distance from the river. They at length arrived there, but so worn out with labor and fatigue they could scarcely move.

In addition to this excess of weariness, the prince of Persia felt so much afflicted at the unfortunate and unpleasant interruption he and Schemselnihar had experienced, and which seemed for ever to annihilate even the hope of another interview, that in sitting down on the sofa he absolutely fainted. While most of his people were employed in assisting to recover him, the rest surrounded the jeweller, and requested him to inform them what had happened to the prince, whose absence had occasioned them the greatest anxiety.

The jeweller, who took good care to discover nothing to them they ought not to know, told them, that the adventure was a very extraordinary one; but that he had not, at that time, sufficient leisure to give them the relation, and that they would be of greater use in assisting the prince. The latter fortunately returned at this moment to his senses, and those persons, therefore, who had so recently asked the questions, went to a distance, and showed the greatest respect; and, at the same time, evinced much joy that his fainting fit had lasted but a short time.

Although the prince of Persia had recovered his recollection, he remained in such a weak state, that he could not open his lips for the purpose of speaking. He answered only by signs, even to his relations, who spoke to him. He continued in the same situation on the next morning, when the jeweller took his leave of him. The prince answered him only by a motion of his eye; at the same moment he took him by the hand; and, as he observed, that he was incumbered with the bundle of plate which the robbers had returned to him, he made a sign to one of his attendants to take and carry it home for him.

His family had expected the return of the jeweller with the greatest impatience, during the whole of the day he had gone out with the man who had called to inquire for him, and of whom they were entirely ignorant; and, when the time in which he ought to have returned was elapsed, they were convinced some accident even worse than the robbery had happened to him. His wife, his children, and servants, were all in the greatest alarm, and were still in tears when he arrived. Their joy at seeing him was great for the moment, but it was soon accompanied with pain and regret at finding him so much altered in so short a time. The excessive fatigue of the preceding days and having passed the whole of the night without sleep, and in the midst of alarms, were the causes of this change, and many of his people, for the moment, hardly knew him again. As he felt himself very much weakened, he remained two whole days at home without once stirring out; during which time he saw only his most intimate friends, to whom he had ordered free admission.

On the third day, the jeweller, who felt his strength re-established, thought that a walk in the open air would assist his recovery. He went, therefore, to the shop of a rich merchant, with whom he had been upon a friendly footing for some length of time. As he got up to take his leave and go away, he perceived a female, who made him a sign, and he instantly recognised her as the confidential slave of Schemselnihar. This sight affected him with such a mixture of joy and alarm, that he went out of the shop without noticing her. She, however, followed him, as he was convinced she would, because the place they were then in was not proper for conversation. As he walked rather quickly, the confidant could not overtake him, and, therefore, from time to time called out to him to stop. He heard her perfectly well, but after what had happened to him, he did not choose to speak to her in public, through the dread of giving rise to any suspicion that he had any acquaintance with Schemselnihar. For it was very well known all over Bagdad, that this slave belonged to the Favorite, and that she employed her upon every occasion. He continued to walk at the same rate till he came to a mosque, which was but little frequented, and where he knew there would not be any one at this time. The slave followed him into the mosque, and they had there an opportunity of a long conversation without any interruption.

Both the jeweller and the confidant of Schemselnihar felt great pleasure in again seeing each other, after the singular adventure of the robbers; and the fear each was in for the other, not to mention the alarm they all were in on their own accounts. The jeweller wished the confidential slave to inform him, in the first instance, by what means she and the two slaves had been able to make their escape, and if she had gained any intelligence of Schemselnihar since he had seen her. The confidant herself, however, was so very eager to learn what had happened to him since their unexpected separation, that he was obliged to satisfy her. “This,” said he, when he finished his relation, “is all that you wished to know from me; now, therefore, I beg of you, inform me, in your turn, what I before desired you.”

“As soon as I saw the robbers make their appearance,” said the confidant, “I took them for some soldiers belonging to the caliph’s guard; imagining that the caliph had been informed of the excursions of Schemselnihar, and that he had sent them with orders to kill her, the prince of Persia, and all of us. I, therefore, instantly ran up to the terrace on the top of your house, while the robbers went into the apartment where the prince and Schemselnihar were; the other two slaves also made haste to follow my example. We continued going on from the terrace of one house to another, till we came to one belonging to some people of good character, who received us with great kindness, and with whom we passed the night.

“The next morning, after thanking the master of the house for the favor he had done us, we returned to Schemselnihar’s palace. When we arrived, we were in the greatest confusion; and felt the more distressed, as we were entirely ignorant of the destiny of these two unfortunate lovers. The other female attendants of Schemselnihar were much surprised at seeing us return without their mistress. We told them we had previously agreed among ourselves, that we had left her at the house of a lady, who was one of her friends; and that she would send for us again, to accompany her back, when she intended to return. With this excuse they were quite satisfied.

“In the mean time, I passed the day in the greatest uneasiness. When night came on, I opened the small private gate, and saw a boat upon the canal that branched off from the river, and terminated at the gate. I called out to the boatman, and begged him to row on each side of the river, and look if he could not see a lady; and, if he met with one, to bring her over.

“We waited (for the two slaves were with me, and as much distressed as myself,) in expectation of his return till midnight, when the same boat came back, with two other men in it and a woman, who was lying down in the stern. When the boat reached the shore, the two men assisted the lady in getting up and landing. I immediately discovered her to be Schemselnihar; and my joy at seeing and finding her again was greater than I can possibly express to you. I instantly gave her my hand, to assist her in getting out of the boat, and she had no little need of my assistance, for it was with difficulty that she supported herself; as soon as she was on shore, she whispered in my ear, and in a tone which evinced her sufferings, desired me to go and get a purse, containing a thousand pieces of gold, and give it to the two soldiers who accompanied her. I then gave her in charge to the two slaves to help her along, and after desiring the soldiers to wait a moment, I ran for the purse, and returned with it almost instantly. I gave it to them, paid the boatman, and then shut the gate.

“I soon overtook Schemselnihar, who had not yet reached her apartment. We lost no time in undressing and putting her to bed, where she continued all night in such a state, as if her soul was on the eve of quitting its habitation.

“The next day her other attendants expressed a great desire to see her; but I told them she had returned home very much fatigued, and had great want of repose to recruit her strength. In the mean time, the other two slaves and myself afforded her all the assistance and comfort we could devise, and which she could possibly expect from our zeal. At first she seemed determined not to eat any thing, and we should have despaired of her life, if we had perceived that the wine we from time to time gave her, did not very much support and strengthen her. At length, by means of our repeated entreaties, and even prayers, we got her to eat something.

“As soon as I saw that she was able to speak without injury to herself, for she had hitherto done nothing but shed tears, mixed with sighs and groans, I requested her to do me the favor of informing me by what fortunate accident she escaped from the power of the robbers. ‘Why do you ask me,’ she replied, with a profound sigh, ‘to bring to my recollection a subject that causes me so much affliction? I wish to God the robbers had taken my life, instead of preserving me. My evils would then have been at an end: but now my sufferings will, I know, long continue to torment me.’

“‘Madam,’ I answered, ‘I beg of you not to refuse me. You cannot be ignorant, that the unhappy sometimes derive a degree of consolation from a relation even of their most painful adventures. What I request, then, will be of service to you, if you will have the goodness to comply.’

“‘Listen then,’ she said, ‘to a narrative of circumstances the most distressing that can possibly happen to any one so much in love as I am, and who thought herself almost at the completion of her wishes. When I saw the robbers enter, with a sabre in one hand and a poniard in the other, I concluded the very last moment of my existence was at hand, and that the prince of Persia was in equal danger. I did not indeed lament my own death from the satisfaction I felt, that we should die together. Instead, however, of instantly falling upon us, and plunging their weapons into our hearts, as I fully expected, two of the robbers were ordered to guard us, while the others were engaged in packing up whatever they could find in the room where we were, and in the other apartments. When they had done this, and had taken all the plunder upon their shoulders, they went out, and made us go with them.

“‘While we were on the way, one of those, who accompanied us, demanded our names. I told him, that I was a dancer. He asked the same question of the prince, who said, that he was a citizen.

“‘When we had arrived at their dwelling, we experienced new alarms. They first collected round me, and after examining my dress, and the valuable jewels with which I was adorned, they seemed very much to doubt my rank. ‘A dancing girl,’ said they, ‘is not likely to be dressed like you. Tell us truly who you are.’

“‘As they found I was not inclined to give them any answer, they put the same question to the prince of Persia. ‘Inform us,’ they cried, ‘who you are. We see well enough, that you are not a common person, as you wish us to believe by your former answer.’ He, however, gave them no greater satisfaction than I had done. He only told them, that he had come on a visit to a certain jeweller, whose name he mentioned, in order to amuse himself, and that the house where they found us belonged to him.

“‘I know that jeweller,’ cried one of the robbers, who seemed to have some authority among them; ‘and I am under some obligations to him, although he is not perhaps aware of it: I know, also, that he has another house. To-morrow I will make it my business to bring him hither, and we will not release you till we know from him who you are. In the mean time, be assured that no harm shall be done to you.’

“‘The jeweller was brought here the next day, and as he thought to oblige us, and in fact he did so, he informed the robbers precisely who we were. They immediately came and begged my pardon, and I believe they did the same to the prince, who was in another apartment. They protested to me, at the same time, that if they had known that the house where they discovered us belonged to the jeweller, they would not have broken it open. They then took us all three, and conducted us to the banks of the Tigris; they made us go on board a boat, by which we crossed the water; but, at the very instant of landing, a party of the guard came up to us on horseback.

“‘I took the commander aside, told him my name, and also that on the evening before, as I was visiting one of my friends, the robbers met and stopped me, and then carried me with them; and that it was not till I had informed them who I was, that they would release me. That on my account, also, they set at liberty the two persons he then saw with me, because I assured them I knew who they were. The officer of the guard immediately alighted, as a mark of his respect, and after expressing his joy at being able to oblige me in any thing, he ordered two boats to come to the shore, into one of which he put me and two of his people, whom you saw, and who escorted me hither. The prince of Persia and the jeweller embarked in the other with two more of his soldiers, who went with and conducted them safely home.

“‘I hope,’ added Schemselnihar, with her eyes swimming in tears, as she finished this account, ‘that no fresh misfortune has happened to them since our separation, and I firmly believe, that the grief and distress of the prince is equal to mine. The jeweller, who has served us with so much zeal and affection, deserves, at least, to be recompensed for the loss he has sustained through his friendship for us; do not, therefore, fail to take him to-morrow morning, as from me, two purses with a thousand pieces of gold in each; and gain, at the same time, some intelligence from him concerning the prince of Persia.’

“When my good mistress had concluded her story, I endeavoured, on her giving me this last order, to obtain some information of the prince of Persia, to persuade her to make use of every method to conquer her feelings after the danger she had just encountered, and from which she had escaped only, as it were, by a miracle. ‘Make no reply,’ she called out, ‘but do as I command you.’

“I was, therefore, obliged to hold my tongue, and immediately set out to obey her orders. I first proceeded to your house, where I did not find you; and, from the uncertainty whether I should meet with you at the place where they told me you were gone, I was on the point of going to the prince of Persia’s, but was afraid to make the attempt. I left the two purses, as I went past, with a person of my acquaintance. If you will wait here a little while for me, I will go and fetch them.”

The confidential slave then departed, but returned to the mosque, where she had left the jeweller, almost directly. “Here,” said she, giving him the two purses, “take these, and make a compensation to your friends for their losses.”—“There is much more,” replied the jeweller, “than is necessary for that purpose: but I dare not refuse the present, which so kind and generous a lady wishes to make to the humblest of her slaves. I beg you to assure her, that I shall for ever preserve the recollection of her kindness.” He then made an agreement with the confidant, that she should come and inquire for him at the house where she had first met him, whenever she had any thing to communicate from Schemselnihar, or wished to gain any intelligence of the prince of Persia. After this they separated.

The jeweller returned home very well satisfied, not only with the ample sum of money he had received for the purpose of making up the loss his friends had suffered, but also from the idea, that he was sure no person in Bagdad knew that the prince of Persia and Schemselnihar had been discovered in his other house, which had been robbed. It is true, he had acquainted the robbers themselves with it, but he was tolerably secure of their secrecy, from its being mutual. Besides, they, he thought, did not mix sufficiently with the world to fear any danger from them, even if they did divulge it. The next morning he saw those friends, to whom he was under such obligations, and he had no difficulty in giving them perfect satisfaction. And, after all, he had enough money remaining to furnish his other house again very properly. He did this, and sent some of his domestics to inhabit it. While thus employed, he quite forgot the danger which he had so lately escaped from; and in the evening he went to visit the prince of Persia.

The officers and attendants of the prince, who received him, told him he arrived very opportunely, for that the prince, since he left him, was in such a state as to alarm them for his life; and that they had not been able to get him to speak a single word. They introduced him into his chamber without making the least noise; and, he found the prince lying in his bed, with his eyes shut, and in a state which very much excited his compassion. He saluted him, took him by the hand, and exhorted him to keep up his spirits.

The prince of Persia perceived that it was the jeweller who spoke to him; he opened his eyes, and gave him such a look as plainly evinced how much he was afflicted, and how much more he now suffered than when he first saw Schemselnihar. He took hold of him, and pressed his hand as a mark of his friendship; and, at the same time said, though in the most feeble tone of voice, how much he felt himself obliged to him for the trouble he took in coming to see so unfortunate and wretched a being as he was.

“Talk not, I beseech you, prince,” said the jeweller, “of the obligations you are under to me. I wish, most earnestly, that the good offices which I endeavor to do you were attended with more success. Let us only think of your health. From the state you are now in, I fear you suffer yourself to be too much depressed, and that you do not take so much nourishment as is absolutely necessary.”

The attendants who were in waiting, seized this opportunity to inform the jeweller, that they had tried every method in their power to induce him to eat something, but all their efforts were ineffectual, and that the prince had taken nothing for a great length of time. This compelled the jeweller to request the prince of Persia to suffer his servants to bring some nourishment for him to take, and after much entreaty he at length obtained his consent.

When the prince of Persia had eaten, through the persuasions of the jeweller, much more than he had hitherto done, he ordered his people to retire, that he might be alone with him. And after they were gone out, he addressed these words to him: “Added to the misfortune which overwhelms me, I feel very great pain for the loss that you have suffered from your regard to me; and, it is but just, that I should think of some means to recompense you: but in the first place, after requesting you most earnestly to pardon me, I entreat you to inform me, if you have heard any thing of Schemselnihar, after I was compelled to separate myself from her.”

As the jeweller had before received the whole account from Schemselnihar’s confidential slave, he now related what he knew of her arrival at her own palace, and of the state she had been in from that moment, till she felt herself so much better as to be able to send her confidant to get some intelligence of him.

To this speech of the jeweller the prince answered only by his sighs and tears. He then made an effort to get up; he called his people, and went himself to the room where he kept his valuables, and ordered it to be opened; he then made them take out many pieces of rich furniture and plate, and ordered them to be carried to the jeweller’s.

The jeweller wished to decline accepting the present of the prince of Persia; but although he represented to him, that Schemselnihar had already sent him much more than sufficient to replace every thing that his friends had lost, the prince nevertheless would be obeyed. The only thing, therefore, the jeweller could do, was to acknowledge how much he felt confused at his great liberality, and to assure him, he could not be sufficiently thankful for his kindness. He then wished to take his leave; but the prince desired him to remain, and they passed the greatest part of the night in conversation.

The jeweller saw the prince again the next morning before he went away, when the latter made him sit down near him. “You know very well,” said he, “that there must be an end to every thing. The sole object and end of a lover is to obtain possession of her he loves, without restraint: if he once loses sight of this hope, it is certain, that he can no longer wish to live. This, you must be well convinced, is the miserable situation in which I am. Twice, when I have fancied myself at the very consummation of my wishes, at that very instant have I been torn from the object of my affections in the most cruel manner. I have now, therefore, only to think of death. I would myself be the cause of its immediate presence, but that my religion prevents my becoming a self-murderer. I feel, however, that I have no occasion to hasten its approach; because I am well convinced I shall not have long to expect it.” With these words he concluded his speech, and then gave full scope to his tears, nor did he endeavour to suppress his sighs and his lamentations.

The jeweller, who knew not what better method to pursue, to lead his attention from this hopeless and despairing train of thinking, than by recalling Schemselnihar to his recollection, and holding out some slight ray of hope, told him, that he was afraid the confidant was already come; and it would not, therefore, be right that he should lose any time in going home. “I permit you to go,” said the prince, “but if you see her, I entreat you to urge her to assure Schemselnihar, that if I die, as I expect will very soon be the case, I shall adore her with my last breath, nor will my affection cease even in the tomb.”

The jeweller then returned home, and remained there, in hopes that the slave would soon make her appearance. She, in fact, arrived a few hours after; but bathed in tears, and in the greatest disorder. Greatly alarmed at seeing her in this condition, the jeweller eagerly inquired what was the matter.

“We are all undone,” cried she; “Schemselnihar, the prince of Persia, you, myself, every one of us are lost. Listen to the terrible news I learnt yesterday, when I left you and returned to the palace.

“Schemselnihar had ordered one of the two slaves, who were with us at your house, to be punished for some fault or other. Enraged at this ill-treatment, this slave, finding a door of the palace open, ran out, and we have no doubt but that she went and told every thing to one of the eunuchs of our guard, who has afforded her a retreat.

“Nor is this all: the other slave, her companion, is also fled, and has taken refuge in the palace of the caliph, to whom, we have every reason to believe, she has revealed all she knew; and what confirms this opinion is, that the caliph sent this morning twenty eunuchs to bring Schemselnihar to his palace. I found the means to steal away, and to come and give you information of all this. I know not what has passed, but I conjecture nothing good. Whatever it may be, I entreat you to be quite secret.

The confidant then added, that she thought it would be proper to go, without losing a moment, and find the prince of Persia, and to inform him of the whole affair, that he might hold himself in readiness for any turn the event might take; and also that he might be true and faithful to the common cause. She said not another word, but suddenly went away, without even waiting for an answer.

And what indeed could the jeweller have answered in the state this speech put him in! He remained motionless, like a person stunned by a blow. He was nevertheless aware, that the business required decisive and prompt measures. He, therefore, made all the haste he could to the prince of Persia’s, and as soon as he saw him, he accosted him in a way that instantly showed he was the messenger of bad news. “Prince,” he cried, “arm yourself with patience, constancy, and courage; prepare for an attack, the most dreadful you have ever encountered.”

“Tell me,” exclaimed the prince, “in two words, what has happened, and do not thus keep me in suspense. I am ready to die, if it be necessary.”

The jeweller then related to him every thing he had heard from the confidential slave. “You see,” added he, “that your destruction is inevitable. Get up then, and endeavour instantly to save yourself. The time is precious. You ought not to expose yourself to the rage of the caliph, still less to confess any thing, although you should be in the midst of torments.”

Very little more would at this moment have actually destroyed the prince, so much was he already broken down by affliction, sorrow, and terror. He at length recollected himself, and inquired of the jeweller what plan he advised him to pursue in so critical a conjuncture, and when he had only an instant to take advantage of it. “There is nothing to be done,” replied the jeweller, “but to get on horse-back as soon as possible, take the road to Anbar, and endeavour to arrive there before daylight to-morrow. Let as many of your people accompany you as you think necessary, and some good horses, and suffer me to save myself with you.”

The prince of Persia, who knew of no better method to pursue, gave orders to have prepared barely as much as was necessary for the journey; carried some money and jewels with him, and after taking leave of his mother, set out, and hastened as much as possible to get at a distance from Bagdad, in company with the jeweller, and the attendants he had chosen.

They travelled the rest of the day, and most of the following night, without making any stop on the road, till about two or three hours before day, when the fatigue of so long a journey, and the absolute inability of their horses to proceed, compelled them to alight, and take some little repose.

They had hardly had time to breathe, before they were attacked by a considerable troop of robbers. They defended themselves for some time with the greatest courage, till all the attendants of the prince were killed: the prince and the jeweller then laid down their arms, and yielded at discretion. The robbers gave them their lives; and after taking their horses and baggage, they rifled and even stripped their persons, and then retiring with their plunder, left them in the same place.

The robbers were no sooner at some distance, than the prince said to the jeweller, who was in the utmost distress, “Well, what think you of our late adventure, and the state we are now left in? Do you not rather wish that I had remained at Bagdad waiting there for my death, in what manner soever it might have been inflicted!”—“Prince,” replied the jeweller, “we must submit to the decrees of the Almighty. It is his will that we should suffer affliction upon affliction. Our business is not to murmur, but to receive every thing, whether good or evil, from his hands with absolute submission. Let us not, however, stop here; but proceed, and endeavour to find out some place, where we shall be able to obtain relief under our misfortune.”

“Let me alone,” cried the prince of Persia, “and suffer me to end my days in this place; for of what consequence is it where I breathe my last. Perhaps, at the very instant we are now speaking, Schemselnihar is herself no more; and it is neither my wish nor even in my power, to live a moment after her.” The jeweller at length, with much intreaty, persuaded him to move. They walked on for a long time, and at last came to a mosque, which they found open. They went in, and passed the rest of the night there.

At day-break, there was only one person came into the mosque. He said his prayers, and when he had finished them, as he was going out he perceived the prince of Persia and the jeweller, who were seated in one corner. He went up to them, and saluted them with great civility. “You seem to me,” he said to them, “if I may judge from your appearance, to be strangers.” The jeweller, who took upon himself to speak, answered, “You are not wrong in your supposition. Last night, in coming along the road from Bagdad, we were robbed, as you may conjecture from the state we are in; and we have great need of assistance, but know not to whom to apply.”—“If you will take the trouble,” replied the stranger, “to come to my house, I will very readily give you all the help and assistance in my power.”

On hearing this obliging offer, the jeweller turned towards the prince of Persia, and whispered in his ear, that he thought this man did not know either of them, and that they had some reason to think it possible another might come, who would recognise them. “We ought not, therefore,” said he, “to refuse the favor which this good man does us.”—“You are master,” replied the prince, “I agree to every thing you wish.”

As the stranger saw the prince and the jeweller consulting together, he thought that they made some difficulty in accepting the proposal he had made them. He asked, therefore, on what they had determined, “We are ready to follow you,” replied the jeweller, “but what affords us the greatest distress is, that we are almost naked, and are therefore ashamed to appear in this condition.” Fortunately, however, the man had sufficient clothes about him, to be able to bestow enough on them to cover them in their way to his house. And they were no sooner arrived, than their host ordered some clothes to be brought for each of them; and, as he naturally imagined that they were greatly in want of food, and would also be much more at ease by themselves, he sent a female slave with a variety of dishes. They scarcely, however, touched any thing, particularly the prince, who was reduced to such a languid state, and was so worn out, that the jeweller felt considerable alarms for his life.

Their host visited them several times during the day; but he left them early in the evening, as he knew they stood in great need of repose. The jeweller, however, was obliged, almost immediately, to call him again, to help him in attending on the prince of Persia, who, he thought, was very near dying. He perceived that his respiration was difficult and rapid, and from this he judged he had only a few moments to live. He went up to him, when the prince said, “It is, as you must perceive, all over with me; and I am well satisfied, that you should be a witness to the last sigh I shall ever breathe; I resign my life with much satisfaction, nor need I inform you why I do so. You know it. All the regret I feel is, that I do not breathe my last in the arms of my dearest mother, who has always shown the tenderest affection for me; and for whom, I trust, my respect has ever been such as was proper. She will suffer much, from not having the melancholy consolation of closing my eyes, and even of burying me with her own hands. Tell her, I beg of you, the pain I suffer; and request her, as from me, to have my body conveyed to Bagdad, chat she may water my grave with her tears, and may afford me the benefit of her prayers.” He did not forget the master of the house where he was; and thanked him for the generous reception he had given him, and after requesting that his body might be preserved in his house, till they came to bury it, he expired.

The day after the death of the prince of Persia, the jeweller took advantage of a large caravan, which happened at that time to be going to Bagdad; where he arrived in safety. He immediately went to his own house, and having changed his dress, he proceeded to that of the deceased prince of Persia, where they were all much alarmed at not seeing the prince himself come back with him. He desired the attendants to inform the prince’s mother, that he wished to speak to her; and it was not long before they introduced him into a hall, where she was surrounded by many of her females. “Madam,” said the jeweller on entering, but in a tone and manner that evidently proved he was the messenger of ill news, “may God preserve you, and heap abundance of his favors upon you. You are not ignorant, that the Almighty disposes of us as he pleases.”

The lady gave the jeweller no time to say more, “Ah,” she exclaimed, “you come to announce the death of my son!” She instantly uttered the most melancholy cries, which, together with those made by her women, renewed the grief, and made the tears of the jeweller flow afresh. She continued to suffer these torments, and remained a long time overcome by affliction, before she would permit the jeweller to go on with what he had to say. She at length suppressed for a time her lamentations and tears, and begged him to continue his account, and not to conceal any circumstance of this melancholy separation. He satisfied her; and when he had concluded, she asked him if the prince her son had not charged him with any thing in particular to say to her, when he was at the extremity of his life. He assured her, that he only expressed the greatest regret at breathing his last at a distance from her, and that the only thing he wished was, that she would take care and have his body brought to Bagdad. Early, therefore, the next morning, she set out, accompanied by all her women, and a considerable part of her slaves.

When the jeweller, who had been detained by the mother of the prince of Persia, had seen her take her departure, he returned home in the most melancholy state of mind: his eyes cast down, and himself deeply regretting the death of so accomplished and amiable a prince, in the very flower of his age.

As he was walking along, meditating thus within himself, a woman came up and stopped directly before him. He lifted his eyes, and perceived the confidential slave of Schemselnihar, dressed in mourning, and her eyes bathed in tears. The sight renewed his affliction to a great degree, and without even opening his lips to speak to her, he continued walking on, till he came to his own house, to which the confidant followed him, and entered at the same time.

They both sat down, and the jeweller began the conversation, by asking her, sighing deeply at the same time, if she had already been informed of the death of the prince of Persia, and if it was for him that she wept. “Alas, no,” she answered: “is then this charming prince dead? He has not indeed long survived his adorable Schemselnihar. Lovely spirits,” added she, addressing the departed lovers, “in whatever place you may be, you are now sufficiently satisfied in being able, for the future, to love each other without any obstacle. Your bodies were an invincible hindrance to your wishes, and Heaven has only freed you from them to enable you to be united in soul.”

The jeweller, who was hitherto ignorant of the death of Schemselnihar, and who had not as yet attended to the circumstance of the confidant’s being in mourning, felt an additional pang when he learnt this intelligence. “Schemselnihar dead too!” he exclaimed. “Is she no more?”—“Such indeed is her fate,” replied her slave, renewing her tears. “It is for her that I am in mourning. The circumstances attending her death are singular, and it is proper that you should be made acquainted with them. But previous to my giving you a narrative of this, I beg of you to inform me of every thing relative to the death of the prince of Persia, whose loss I shall continue all my life to lament, as well as that of my dear and amiable mistress of Schemselnihar.

The jeweller satisfied the confidant in every particular she wished to know, and as soon as he had finished his account, beginning from the time she left him to the moment in which the prince’s mother began her journey for the purpose of bringing her son’s body to Bagdad, she went on as follows: “I have already told you how the caliph sent for Schemselnihar to his own palace. It was true, as we had reason to believe, that the caliph had been informed of the attachment and meeting between Schemselnihar and the prince of Persia by the two slaves, whom he had separately questioned. You may already perhaps imagine, that he was in the greatest rage with the Favorite; and that he showed strong marks of jealousy and revenge against the prince of Persia. By no means. He thought not for an instant about him. He only pitied Schemselnihar. Nay, he attributed, as it is thought, what had happened only to himself, and to the permission which he had given her to go freely about the city, unaccompanied by any eunuchs. At least we cannot form any other conjecture, from the extraordinary manner in which he conducted himself towards her from first to last; as you shall hear.

“The caliph received her with an open countenance, and when he perceived the traces of that grief with which she was overwhelmed, but which nevertheless did not in the least diminish her beauty, for she appeared before him without any symptoms either of surprise or fear. ‘Schemselnihar,’ said he to her, with his usual accustomed goodness, ‘I cannot bear that you should appear before me with a countenance so strongly impressed by sorrow. You know with what ardour I have always loved you: You must be convinced of its sincerity by all the proofs I have given you of it. I am not changed; for I still love you more than ever. You have some enemies, and these enemies have made some ill reports of the manner in which you conduct yourself; every thing, however, that they can say of you, has not made the least impression upon my mind. Drive away then this melancholy, and dispose yourself to entertain me this evening with something as amusing and diverting as you used to do.’ He continued to say many other obliging things to her, and then conducted her into a magnificent apartment near his own; where he requested her to wait for him.

“The wretched Schemselnihar was sensibly affected at so many proofs of the caliph’s concern for her person: but the more she felt herself under obligations to him, the more was her bosom penetrated with grief at being separated, perhaps for ever, from the prince of Persia, without whom she was convinced she could not exist.

“This interview between the caliph and Schemselnihar,” continued the confidant, “took place while I was coming to speak to you; and I learnt the particulars of it from my companions, who were present. As soon, however, as I left you, I hastened back to Schemselnihar, and was witness to what passed in the evening. I found my mistress in the apartment I have mentioned; and as she was very sure I was come from your house, she desired me to approach her; and, without being overheard by any one, she said to me, ‘I am much obliged to you for the service you have just now rendered me: I feel that it will be the last.’ This was all she uttered, and I was not in a place where I could say any thing by way of endeavouring to afford her consolation.

The caliph in the evening entered Schemselnihar’s palace to the sound of instruments, which were touched by the females belonging to the Favorite, when a collation was instantly served up. The caliph took Schemselnihar by the hand, and made her sit near him upon a sofa. To comply with this action had such a violent effect upon her feelings, that in a few moments after we saw her expire. She was in fact hardly seated, before she fell backwards. The caliph thought that she had only fainted, nor had we at first any other idea. We gave her every assistance in our power; but she never breathed again. This then was the manner in which we suffered our great loss.

“The caliph honored her with his tears, which he was unable to restrain; and before he retired to his apartment he gave orders that all the musical instruments should be absolutely destroyed, which was accordingly done. I remained near the body the whole night, and both washed and prepared it for burial with my own hands, almost bathing it with my tears. It was the next day interred, by the command of the caliph, in a magnificent tomb, which he had before ordered to be built in a spot that Schemselnihar had herself chosen. And since,” added the slave, “you have told me the body of the prince of Persia is to be brought to Bagdad, I am determined that it shall be placed in the same tomb with that of the Favorite.”

The jeweller was very much astonished at this resolution of the confidant. “You do not surely recollect,” said he, “that the caliph will never suffer it.”—“You may believe the thing impossible,” replied she, “but I assure you, it is not. And you will agree with me, when I have informed you that the caliph has given their freedom to all the slaves that belonged to Schemselnihar, with a pension to each of them sufficient to support themselves; and that he has moreover appointed me to take care of, and watch her tomb, with a considerable salary both for its repair and my subsistence. Besides, the caliph, who is not ignorant of the mutual attachment of Schemselnihar and the prince of Persia, as I have already told you, and who is not now offended or hurt at it, will never have any objection to it.” In answer to this, the jeweller had nothing to say; he only requested the confidant to conduct him to the tomb, that he might offer up his prayers there. When he arrived, he was greatly surprised at seeing a crowd of people of both sexes, who had collected there from all parts of Bagdad. He could not even get near it; and could only pray at some distance. When he had finished his prayers, he said to the confidant in a satisfactory tone of voice, “I do not now think it impossible to accomplish what you so properly planned. We have only to make known the various facts we are acquainted with, concerning the Favorite and the prince of Persia, and particularly the death of the latter, which took place almost at the same instant with that of Schemselnihar.” Before his body arrived, all Bagdad agreed in demanding, that they should not be separated in the grave. The scheme succeeded, and on the day in which it was known the body would arrive, a multitude of people went out even twenty miles to meet it.”

The confidant waited at the gate of the city, where she presented herself before the mother of the prince of Persia, and requested her in the name of all the inhabitants, who so ardently desired it, to allow the bodies of the two lovers, whose hearts formed but one, from the commencement of their attachment to the last moment of their lives, to be united in one tomb. The lady agreed to it; and the body was carried to the tomb of Schemselnihar, an immense number of people of all ranks following it; and then placed by her side. From that time all the inhabitants of Bagdad, and even strangers from all parts of the world, where mussulmen are known, have never ceased from feeling a great veneration for that tomb, and going to offer up their prayers at its foot.

“This, sire,” said Scheherazadè in this place, “is what I had to relate to your majesty concerning the amours of the beautiful Schemselnihar, the Favorite of the caliph Haroun Alraschid, and the amiable Ali Ebn Becar, prince of Persia.”

When Dinarzadè perceived the sultana, her sister, had concluded her speech, she thanked her most kindly for the pleasure she had afforded her by the recital of so interesting a history: “If the sultan,” replied Scheherazadè, “would suffer me to live till to-morrow, I would relate to him the history of prince Camaralzaman, [14] which he would find still more agreeable.” She was then silent; and Schahriar, who could not yet determine to give orders for her death, deferred it, in order to listen to the new story, which the sultana began to relate, on the following night.

THE HISTORY

OF THE AMOURS OF CAMARALZAMAN, PRINCE OF THE ISLE OF THE CHILDREN OF KHALEDAN, AND OF BADOURA, PRINCESS OF CHINA.

About twenty days sail from the coast of Persia, sire, there is, in the open sea, an island, which is called the Isle of the Children of Khaledan. This island is divided into several large provinces, with many large flourishing and well-peopled towns scattered over them, and forms altogether a very powerful kingdom. It was formerly governed by a king, named Schahzaman, who had four wives, as was the custom; all daughters of kings, and sixty concubines.

Schahzaman esteemed himself the happiest sovereign on the whole face of the earth, on account of the tranquillity and prosperity of his reign. One thing alone affected his happiness; he was already far advanced in years, and he had no children, notwithstanding he had so great a number of wives. He could not account in any way for this circumstance; and in the moments of his affliction he considered it as the greatest misfortune that could befal him, to die without leaving a successor to the throne, who was descended from him. He, for a considerable time, concealed the tormenting anxiety that preyed upon him; and he suffered so much the more as he endeavoured to assume an air of cheerfulness. At length he broke silence; and one day having complained of his misfortune in the bitterest terms of sorrow, in a private conversation he had with his grand vizier, he asked him if he knew of any means to remedy so great an evil.

“If what your majesty requires,” replied this wise minister, “depended on the common interference of human wisdom, you might soon have the gratification you so ardently desire; but I confess, my experience and knowledge is not equal to solve what you ask; to God alone you must apply in such cases; in the midst of our prosperity, which often makes us forget what we owe him, he sometimes mortifies us on some interesting point, that we may turn our thoughts to him, acknowledge his universal power, and ask of him that which we cannot obtain but by his interference. You have amongst your subjects some men, who devote themselves to the particular profession of knowing and serving him, and lead a life of penance and hardship for the love of him: my advice is, that your majesty should bestow alms on them, and request them to join their prayers to yours; perhaps amongst so great a number, one may be sufficiently pure and acceptable to God, to obtain from him the completion of your wishes.”

The King approved this advice, for which he thanked his grand vizier. He ordered alms to a considerable amount to be presented to each of these communities of people, consecrated to God; he then desired the superiors of them to come to him, and after having regaled them with a repast suited to their frugal manner of living, he declared his intention, and begged them to acquaint the devotees of it also, who were under their authority.

Schahzaman obtained from Heaven what he so much desired, and which was soon evident by the pregnancy of one of his wives, who, at the expiration of nine months, presented him with a son. To testify his gratitude, he sent fresh presents to the societies of devout mussulmen, which were worthy of his dignity and greatness; and the birth of the prince was celebrated by public rejoicings for a whole week, not only in his capital but throughout his extensive dominions. The young prince was taken to him immediately on his birth, and he thought him so very beautiful, that he gave him the name of Camaralzaman, which means the moon of the age.

Prince Camaralzaman was educated with all possible attention, and when he had reached a proper age, the sultan appointed him a prudent governor and able preceptors. These persons, distinguished by their superior understandings, found in him a docile and intelligent disposition, capable of receiving all the instruction they wished to give him, either for the forming of his morals, or the cultivation of his mind, in such acquirements as a prince in his situation ought to be possessed of. And, when of a more advanced age, he learned various exercises with the same degree of facility; and acquitted himself with so much grace and address, that he charmed every beholder, but more particularly the sultan his father.

When the prince had attained the age of fifteen years, Schahzaman, who loved him with the greatest tenderness, and of which he gave him every day new and stronger proofs, conceived the design of bestowing on him the most striking mark of his affection, by descending from the throne himself, and raising his son to that distinguished situation. He communicated it to his grand vizier: “I fear,” said he, “that in the idleness of youth, my son will lose not only those advantages which nature has bestowed on him, but also such as he has so successfully acquired by the good education I have given him. As I am now advanced to an age to make me think of retiring from the world, I have almost resolved to give up the government to him, and to pass the rest of my days in the satisfaction of seeing him reign. I have laboured a long time, and I now want repose.”

The grand vizier would not then represent to the sultan all the reasons that might dissuade him from putting this design into execution; on the contrary, he appeared to concur in his wish. “Sire,” replied he, “the prince is still too young, I think, to be charged at so early a period with a burden so heavy as that of governing a powerful state. Your majesty is fearful that he may be corrupted, if suffered to lead a life of inactivity and indolence, and indeed with reason; but to remedy that evil, would it not in your opinion be more proper to marry him first? Marriage is likely to render his affections steady, and to prevent his entering into dissipation; added to that, your majesty might allow him admittance to your councils, by which he would learn by degrees to sustain the brilliancy and weight of your crown with dignity; and when sufficiently qualified, and you by experience found him equal to the undertaking, you might still resign it in his favor.”

Schahzaman thought this advice from his prime minister very reasonable and prudent; he therefore summoned his son, prince Camaralzaman, to attend him as soon as the grand vizier had taken his leave.

The prince, who hitherto had only seen the sultan at certain stated hours, without requiring a summons, was rather surprised al this order. Instead, therefore, of presenting himself before him in his usual free manner, he saluted him with great respect, and stopped as soon as he was in his presence, fixing his eyes on the ground.

The sultan perceived the restraint of the prince; “My son,” said he, in a tone intended to inspire him with confidence, “do you know on what account I sent for you?”—“Sire,” replied the prince, modestly, “God alone can penetrate into the recesses of the heart: I shall learn the reason from your majesty’s lips with the greatest pleasure.”—“I did it to acquaint you,” resumed the sultan, “that I wish you to marry: what do you think of it?”

Prince Camaralzaman heard these words with great concern. He was quite disconcerted; a cold damp arose on his face; and he knew not how to reply. After some moments passed in silence he said, “Sire, I entreat you to pardon me, if I appear confused at the declaration your majesty has just made; I did not expect it at my very youthful age. I do not even know, whether I shall ever be able to submit myself to the bonds of marriage, for I am well aware of the embarrassment and trouble occasioned by women; besides which, I have frequently read in our authors of their arts, their cunning, and their perfidy. Perhaps I may not always remain of this opinion; at any rate I feel, that I should require a considerable length of time to induce me to agree to what your majesty requires of me.”

This answer of the prince extremely afflicted the sultan his father. This monarch felt real grief at finding in his son so great a repugnance to matrimony. He did not, however, think proper to treat it as disobedience, nor to make use of the authority of a parent; he contented himself with saying, “I will not use any undue influence over you on this subject; I give you time to think of it, and to consider, that a prince, destined as you are to govern a large kingdom, ought in the first place to turn his thoughts to provide a successor in his own family. In giving yourself this satisfaction you will afford me a very great one, who shall love to see myself live over again in you and in the children, who are to prolong my race.”

Schahzaman said no more to prince Camaralzaman. He allowed him free entrance to the councils of state, and in every other respect gave him reason to be satisfied with his conduct towards him. At the expiration of a year he took him aside; “Well, my son,” said he, “have you remembered to make your reflections on the design I formed last year, of marrying you? Will you still refuse me the joy I should experience from your compliance with my wishes, and do you intend that I should die without experiencing this satisfaction?”

The prince appeared less discontented than on the former occasion, and did not long hesitate to reply with firmness in these words, “I have not, sire, omitted to reflect upon the subject; I gave it all the attention which it deserves; but, after having maturely considered it; I am still more confirmed in my resolution to live without any matrimonial engagement. In fact, the numberless evils which women have from time immemorial been the occasion of in the universe, as I have been well informed by our histories, and the daily accounts I hear of their cunning and malice, are the motives which determine me never to have any connexion with them. Therefore your majesty will pardon me, if I dare to assure you, that any arguments you may use, to endeavour to persuade me to marry, will be fruitless.” Here he ceased, and left the presence of the sultan in an abrupt manner, without even waiting for him to return an answer.

Any other monarch besides Schahzaman would with difficulty have restrained himself from using violence, after the rude and obstinate way in which the prince, his son, had expressed himself, and would have ordered him some punishment; but he tenderly loved him, and wished to employ every gentle means of persuasion before he had recourse to more rigid methods. He communicated this new cause of sorrow which Camaralzaman had given to him, to his prime minister. “I have followed your advice,” said he, “but my son is still more adverse to matrimony than he was the first time I spoke to him on the subject; and he explained himself in such a determined manner, that I needed all my reason and moderation to restrain my anger. Fathers who pray for children as ardently as I did, are madmen and fools, who seek to deprive themselves of that repose and quiet which they might otherwise have tranquilly enjoyed. Tell me, I entreat you, by what means I can reclaim a mind so rebellious to my desires.”

“Sire,” replied the grand vizier, “a great many things are accomplished through the medium of patience; perhaps this may not be of a nature to be conquered by such means; but your majesty will not have to reproach yourself with being too precipitate, if you consent to allow the prince another year to form his determination. If, during this interval, he does not return to his duty, you will have a much greater satisfaction in the consciousness of having employed no method, but that of paternal kindness, to obtain his consent. If, on the contrary, he persists in his obstinacy, then, when the year is expired, I think your majesty will be fully justified in declaring to him, before the whole council, that the good of the state requires his marriage. It is not possible that he should be wanting in respect towards you before an assembly of enlightened and celebrated men, which you honour with your presence.”

The sultan, who so passionately and ardently wished to see his son married, that so long a delay appeared ages to him, had some difficulty in consenting to wait so much longer. He, however, was persuaded by the arguments of the grand vizier, which he could neither contradict nor disapprove.

When the prime minister had retired, the sultan Schahzaman went to the apartment of the mother of prince Camaralzaman, to whom he had long since imparted the ardent desire he had of marrying his son. When he had related to her the painful disappointment he had just met with from his second refusal, and also the indulgence he still intended to grant him by the advice of his grand vizier, he added, “I know, madam, that he has more confidence in you than in me, that you converse with him, and that he listens to you with more familiarity; I entreat you, therefore, to take an opportunity to speak to him seriously on this subject; and to make him sensible, that if he persists in his obstinacy, he will oblige me at last to have recourse to extremities, which I should be sorry to adopt, and which would make him repent of his disobedience.”

Fatima, for this was the name of the prince’s mother, informed Camaralzaman, the first time she had any conversation with him, that she had been acquainted with his fresh refusal to marry, which he had testified to the sultan; and expressed herself much chagrined at his having occasioned his father so great a cause for anger. “Madam,” replied Camaralzaman, “do not, I entreat you, renew my grief on this affair; I fear, that in my present state of mind, I might be guilty of saying something disrespectful to you.” Fatima knew by this answer, that the wound was too recent to continue the subject; she therefore dropped it for the present.

Some time after this, Fatima thought she had met with an opportunity of renewing it, and with more prospect of success in obtaining a hearing. “My son,” said she, “if it be not painful to you, pray tell me what are the reasons that have given you so great an aversion to marriage. If you have none stronger than the art and wickedness of women, believe me, you could not have chosen any more weak or unreasonable. I will not undertake the defence of artful women, for that there are numbers of that description, I am well persuaded; but it is the most flagrant injustice to accuse the whole sex of this crime. Surely my son, you do not form your opinion from the few examples which your books mention, and who have, I confess, occasioned great disorder and confusion in the world; such, I will not attempt to justify; but why, on the other hand, do not you remark also, the many monarchs, sultans, and inferior princes, whose tyranny, barbarity, and cruelty excite the deepest horror in those histories, which I have read as well as yourself. For one woman, who has been guilty of such crimes, you will find a thousand of these barbarians and tyrants. And do you think the poor women who have the misfortune to be married to these wretches, and who are, perhaps, good and prudent wives, can be very happy?”

“Madam,” replied Camaralzaman, “I do not doubt, that there is in the world a great number of prudent, good, and virtuous women, of gentle dispositions and good morals. Would to God they all resembled you! But what deters me is the doubtful choice a man is obliged to make, when marrying; or rather the dread, that he is often deprived of the liberty of making that choice himself.

“Let us suppose,” continued he, “that I had consented to form a matrimonial engagement, as the sultan my father so impatiently wishes; what wife would he give me? a princess, in all probability, whom he would request of some neighbouring prince, and who would, no doubt, think it a great honor. Handsome or ugly, she must be received; but even supposing she excels every other princess in beauty, who can ensure that her mind will be equal to her person? That she will be gentle, obliging, affable, and engaging? that her conversation will not be frivolous; of dress, of ornaments, of appearance, and a thousand other trifles, which must create contempt in a man of good sense? In a word, that she is not proud, haughty, irascible, disdainful, and one who will ruin a whole kingdom by her frivolous expenses in dresses, jewels, trinkets, or in tasteless and empty magnificence.

“Now you see, madam, on one subject only, how many things there are to give rise to my antipathy to matrimony; but even if this princess be so perfect and so accomplished, that she is irreproachable on all these points, I have a great number of reasons still stronger than any I have expressed, to make me continue in the same opinion, and adhere to my resolution.”

“What, my son!” exclaimed Fatima, “can you add more objections to those you have already stated? I was going to answer you, and refute your arguments with one word.”—“That need not prevent you, madam,” replied the prince, “I shall probably have some reply to make to your answers.”

“I was going to say, my son,” resumed Fatima, “that it is easy for a prince, who should have the misfortune to marry a princess, such as you describe, to leave her, and also to adopt such measures as might prevent her ruining the state.”

“Well, madam,” said prince Camaralzaman, “and do you not consider what a cruel mortification it must be to a prince to be under the necessity of having recourse to such extremities? Is it not much better both for his peace of mind, and for his reputation, not to expose himself to it?”

“But, my son,” replied Fatima, “from the way you treat this matter, I conclude that you intend to be the last king of the race from which you are descended; and which has so gloriously filled the throne of the island of the children of Khaledan.”

“Madam,” continued the prince, “I have no wish of surviving the king my father. Even should I die before him, he ought not to be surprised, since there are so many examples of children dying before their parents. But it is always glorious for a race of kings to finish with a prince so worthy of being a sovereign as I should endeavour to be, by imitating my predecessors and him, with whom the line began.”

After this, Fatima frequently had conversations of the same nature with the prince, her son: and she left no means untried, by which she hoped to eradicate his aversion. But he confuted all the reasons she could produce, by others equally strong, to which she knew not what to reply; and he remained unshaken in his determination.

The year passed on, and prince Camaralzaman, to the great regret of the sultan Schahzaman, did not show the least appearance of having altered his sentiments. At length one day, when the grand council met, and the first vizier, the other viziers, the principal officers of the crown, and the generals of the army were assembled, the sultan thus addressed the prince: “It is now a long time, my son, since I expressed to you the anxious desire I have of seeing you married: and I expected from you a greater attention to the wishes of a father who required of you nothing but what was reasonable. After so long a resistance on your part, which has entirely exhausted my patience, I now repeat the same thing to you, in the presence of my council. It is not only, that by persisting in your refusal, you disoblige your father, but the welfare of my dominions requires your compliance, and all these nobles join with me in requesting it. Declare your sentiments before them, that from the answer you make me, I may know what measures to adopt.

Prince Camaralzaman answered with so little temper, or rather with so much warmth, that the sultan, justly irritated by the behaviour of his son before the full council, exclaimed, “What, undutiful son! have you the insolence to speak thus to your father and your sultan?” He immediately ordered him to be arrested by the officers present, and to be conducted to an ancient tower which had been long neglected, where he was confined, with only a bed and very little furniture, a few books, and one slave to attend him.

Camaralzaman, satisfied with having the liberty of amusing himself with his books, looked on his imprisonment with indifference. Towards evening, he washed himself, repeated his prayers, and after having read some chapters in the Koran with the same tranquillity as if he had been in his own apartment in the palace of the sultan, he lay down without extinguishing his lamp, which he left by his bed’s side, and fell asleep.

In this tower there was a well, which, during the day, formed a retreat for a fairy, called Maimounè, the daughter of Damriat, the king or chief of a legion of Genii. It was about midnight when Maimounè lightly darted to the top of the well, to prepare for her nightly excursion, as was her usual custom, and wander about the world, wherever curiosity might lead her. She was much surprised to see a light in the chamber of Camaralzaman. She entered it; and without being stopped by the slave, who was stationed at the door, she approached the bed, the magnificence of which attracted her attention, but her surprise was much increased, at observing that somebody was in it.

Camaralzaman’s face was half concealed by the covering of the bed. Maimounè raised it a little, and beheld the handsomest youth she had ever seen in any part of the habitable world, through all of which she had frequently traversed. “What brilliancy,” said she to herself, “or rather what a prodigy of beauty must those eyes display, when no longer concealed, as they now are, by such well-formed eye-lids! What cause can he have given to be treated in a manner so unworthy of his rank?” for she had already heard of his disgrace, and did not doubt who it was.

Maimounè could not cease admiring the beauty of prince Camaralzaman; at length, however, having gently kissed him on the cheek, and on the middle of his forehead, without waking him, she replaced the covering as it was before, and took her flight through the air. When she had risen very high towards the middle region, she was suddenly struck with the sound of wings, which inclined her to fly to the quarter from whence it came. On approaching she found it to be a Genius, who occasioned the noise; but one of those who had rebelled against God. Maimounè was, on the contrary, one of those, whom the great Solomon had compelled to acknowledge his power.

This Genius, who was named Danhasch, and who was the son of Schamhourasch, recognised Maimounè, though not without very great terror. In fact, he knew that she possessed considerable superiority over him, in consequence of her submission to God. He would fain, therefore, have avoided this meeting, but he found he was so close to her, that he must either encounter a battle, or submit.

Danhasch was the first to speak; “Good Maimounè,” said he, in a supplicating tone, “swear to me, by the great name of God, that you will not hurt me, and I promise you on my part not to annoy you.”

“Cursed Genius,” cried Maimounè, “what harm canst thou do to me? I fear thee not. But I will grant thee this favor, and I make the oath thou requirest. Now tell me whence thou comest, what thou hast seen, and what thou hast done this night?”—“Beautiful lady,” replied Danhasch, “we meet opportunely for you to hear something wonderful. Since you wish it, I will tell you that I come from the extremity of China, where its coast overlooks the farthest islands of this hemisphere. But, charming Maimounè,” interrupted Danhasch, who trembled with fear in the presence of this fairy, and had some difficulty in speaking before her, “you promise at least to forgive me, and to permit me to depart, when I shall have satisfied your curiosity?”

“Go on, go on, wretch,” replied Maimounè, “and fear nothing. Dost thou think I am as perfidious as thyself, and that I am capable of breaking the terrible oath I have taken? take care only to relate nothing but what is true; otherwise I will cut thy wings, and shall treat thee as thou deservest.”

Danhasch felt a little relieved by these words of Maimounè; “my dear lady,” continued he, “I will tell you nothing but what is very true; have but the goodness to listen to me. The country of China, from whence I come, is one of the largest and most powerful kingdoms in the world; and attached to it are the most extreme isles of this hemisphere, of which I spoke just now. The present king is named Gaiour, who has an only daughter, the most beautiful creature that ever was beheld on earth, since this world has been a world. Neither you, nor I, nor the genii of your party, nor of mine, nor all mankind put together, can find proper terms, words sufficiently expressive, or eloquence suited to convey the most distant idea of what she is in reality. Her hair is of a fine brown, and of such a length, that it reaches below her feet, and in such abundance, that when she wears it in curls on her head, it resembles a fine bunch of grapes, of which the fruit is of an extraordinary size. Under her hair appears her well-formed forehead, as smooth as the finest polished mirror; her eyes even with it, a brilliant black, and full of fire; the nose, neither too long nor too short; the mouth small and tinted with vermillion; her teeth are like two rows of pearls, which surpass the finest in whiteness; and when she opens her mouth to speak, she utters a sweet and agreeable voice, and expresses herself in words which prove the liveliness of her wit. The most beautiful alabaster is not whiter than her bosom. In short, by this feeble sketch, you may easily suppose, that there is not a more perfect beauty in the world.

“Whoever is not well acquainted with the king her father would imagine, from the various proofs of affection he is continually giving her, that he is enamoured of her. The most tender lover was never known to do so much for the most beloved mistress, as he has done for his daughter. In fact, the most violent jealousy never invented so much, as his care to render her inaccessible to every one, except the fortunate person who is destined to marry her; and that she might not feel the retreat irksome, to which he has confined her, he has had seven palaces built for her, which surpass in magnificence every thing that was ever heard of.

“The first palace is composed of rock crystal, the second of bronze, the third of the finest steel, the fourth of another kind of bronze, more precious than either the first or steel, the fifth of touchstone, the sixth of silver, and the seventh of massive gold. He has furnished them in the most sumptuous style, each in a manner appropriate to the materials of which it is built. Nor has he forgotten to embellish the gardens, which are attached to them, with every thing that can delight the senses; smooth lawns, or pastures enamelled with flowers; fountains, canals, cascades; groves thickly planted with trees, through which the rays of the sun never penetrate, and all differently disposed in each garden. In short, King Gaiour’s paternal love alone has induced him to incur this enormous expence.

“The fame of this princess’s incomparable beauty has induced the most powerful of the neighbouring kings to demand her in marriage by the most solemn embassies. The King of China received all their proposals with the same degree of ceremony; but as he had determined not to marry the princess except with her own entire consent; and as she did not approve of any of the offers made her, the ambassadors returned unsuccessful with respect to the purport of their mission, yet all highly gratified by the civilities and attentions they had received.

“Sire,” would the princess say to the king of China, “you wish to marry me, and you think by so doing to make me happy. I know your motive, and feel obliged to you for your kindness. But where should I find such superb palaces and such delicious gardens, unless in the territories of your majesty? Added to which, by your goodness, I am under no restraint, and I receive the same honors as are paid to your own person. These are advantages which I should not enjoy in any other part of the world, whatever prince I might be united to. Husbands ever will be masters, and I am not of a disposition to brook command.”

“After several fruitless embassies, one at last arrived from a king, who was richer and more powerful than any who had before applied. The king of China proposed him to his daughter, and enlarged on all the advantages which would result from such an alliance. The princess entreated him to dispense with her compliance, urging the same reasons as on former occasions.

“He pressed her to accede; but instead of obeying, she forgot the respect due to the king, her father, and angrily replied, ‘Sire, speak to me no more of this, nor of any other marriage; if you persist in your importunities, I will plunge a dagger in my heart, and thus free myself from them.’

“The king of China, extremely irritated against the princess, replied, ‘My daughter, you are mad, and as such I must treat you.’ In fact, he had her confined to an apartment in one of his palaces, and allowed her only ten old women to associate with and attend on her, the principal of whom was her nurse. Then, that the neighbouring kings, who had sent embassies to request her, might not entertain any farther prospects of obtaining her, he dispatched envoys to announce to them all her absolute determination against marriage. And as he supposed that she really had lost her senses, he commanded the same envoys to make known in each court, that, if there were any physician sufficiently skilful to restore her, he should obtain her in marriage as a recompense.

“Beautiful Maimounè,” continued Danhasch, “things are at present in this situation, and I do not fail to go regularly every day to contemplate this wonderful beauty, whom I should grieve to injure in the slightest degree, notwithstanding my natural malicious inclinations. I entreat you to come and see her; it is well worth the trouble. When you are convinced by your own eyes that I do not tell an untruth, I am sure you will feel obliged to me for having shown you a princess, who has no equal in beauty. I am ready to conduct you to her, and you have only to command.”

Instead of replying to Danhasch, Maimounè burst into a loud fit of laughter, which continued for some time, and which very much astonished Danhasch, who did not know to what cause to attribute it. Having at last however composed herself, she said, “Yes, yes, thou thinkest to impose on me. I thought thou wast going to tell me of something very surprising and extraordinary, and thou talkest to me only of a blear-eyed wench. Fye, fye! What wouldst thou say then, wretch, if thou hadst seen the beautiful prince I have just been looking at, and whom I love as he deserves? He indeed is rather different. Thou wouldst be mad for love of him.

“Amiable Maimounè,” replied Danhasch, “may I inquire who this prince can be, whom you speak of?”—“Know,” said the fairy, “that nearly the same thing has happened to him as to the princess thou hast been talking of. The king his father would marry him by force; after long and repeated importunities he has frankly declared, that he would not agree to it. For this reason he is at this moment imprisoned in an ancient tower, where I take up my abode, and where I have had an opportunity of admiring him.”

“I will not absolutely contradict you,” resumed Danhasch, “but, my dear lady, you will give me leave, until I have seen your prince, to think, that no mortal, either male or female, can equal, or even approach the beauty of my princess.”—“Peace, wretch,” replied Maimounè, “I tell thee again that thou art wrong.”—“I will not obstinately oppose you,” added Danhasch; “the only means of convincing you whether I speak truth or not, is to accept the proposal I have made you to come and see my princess, and afterwards to show me your prince.”—“There is no occasion for me to take so much trouble,” said Maimounè, “there is another method, by which we can both be satisfied; that is to bring thy princess and place her by the side of my prince on his bed. We can then easily compare them with each other, and thus settle our dispute.”

Danhasch consented to do as the fairy desired, and was going instantly to set off for China, but Maimounè stopped him; “Stay,” said she, “come with me first, that I may show thee the tower where thou art to bring thy princess.” They flew together to the tower, and when Maimounè had shown it to Danhasch, she said, “Now go and fetch thy princess; be quick, and thou wilt find me here. But listen, I intend thou shalt pay me a forfeit if my prince turns out to be handsomer than thy princess. I will also pay thee one, if thy princess is the most beautiful.”

Danhasch, having quitted the Fairy, flew to China, and returned with inconceivable swiftness, bearing the beautiful princess along with him fast asleep. Maimounè received her, and introduced her into the chamber of prince Camaralzaman, where they placed her on the bed by his side.

When the prince and princess were thus close to each other, a grand contest arose on the pre-eminence of their beauty, between the Genius and the Fairy. They stood for some time admiring and comparing them in silence. Danhasch was the first to speak: “Now you are convinced,” said he to Maimounè, “I told you that my princess was more beautiful than your prince. Have you any doubts remaining?”

“How! any doubts?” cried Maimounè, “Yes, truly I doubt it. Thou must be blind not to see, that my prince is infinitely superior to thy princess. She is beautiful, I confess; but do not hurry thyself: compare them well one with the other, without prejudice, and then thou wilt see that it is as I say.”

“Were I to compare them for any length of time,” replied Danhasch, “I should think no otherwise than I do. I saw what I now see from the first glance, and time would show me no more than what is now visible to my eyes. This, however, will not prevent me from giving up my judgment to yours, charming Maimounè, if you wish it.”—“It shall not be so,” interrupted the Fairy. “I will never suffer a cursed Genius, such as thou art, to show me favor. I will submit the contest to an arbitrator, and if thou dost not consent, I win the cause by your refusal.”

Danhasch, who was ready to show any degree of complaisance to Maimounè, had no sooner consented, than the fairy struck the ground with her foot. The earth opened, and instantly a hideous Genius appeared, who was hunchbacked, lame, and blind with one eye; having six horns on his head, and his hands and feet hooked. As soon as he was out, and the ground had closed again, he perceived Maimounè, and threw himself at her feet; and kneeling on one knee, he asked what she desired of his very humble services.

“Rise, Caschcasch,” said she, for this was the name of the Genius, “I sent for you hither to be judge in a dispute, which exists between me and this cursed Danhasch. Cast your eye on that bed, and tell us impartially, which appears to you the most beautiful, the young man, or the young lady?”

Caschcasch looked very attentively at the prince and princess, and showed every mark of great surprise and admiration. After having examined them very accurately for a long time, without being able to make up his mind; “Madam,” said he to Maimounè, “I confess to you, that I should deceive you, and betray myself, if I were to tell you, that I thought one of them more handsome than the other. The more I examine them, the more each seems to me to have separately that sovereign perfection of beauty which they jointly possess: and neither has the least defect, which we can assert the other to be free from, and consequently superior. If there be, in truth, any difference between them, there seems to be only one mode of discovering that difference. And this mode is, to wake them one after the other, and to agree, that the person who feels for the other the most violent love, and proves it by the strongest and most ardent expressions, as well as by the general conduct, shall be considered in some point or other to be less beautiful.”

The proposal of Caschcasch was approved of, both by Maimounè and Danhasch. Maimounè then changed herself into a flea, and jumped upon the neck of Camaralzaman. She gave him so sharp a bite, that he awoke, and put his hand to the place, but he caught nothing, for Maimounè, prepared for this, had jumped away, and taking her original form, invisible, however, like the other two Genii, to all but themselves, stood by in order to witness what was going forward.

In drawing back his hand, the prince let it fall upon that of the princess of China. He opened his eyes and expressed great surprise at seeing a lady by the side of him; and one, too, who possessed such beauty. He lifted his head up and supported it on his elbow, in order the better to observe her. The great youth of the princess, joined to her incomparable beauty, kindled in an instant a flame in his heart, to which he had hitherto been a stranger, and excited sensations which he had till now looked upon with aversion.

A passion of the most animated kind now occupied his soul; and he could not help exclaiming, “What beauty! what charms! Oh my heart, my soul,” and saying this, he kissed her forehead, her cheeks, and her lips, with so little precaution, that it must have broken her slumbers, if she had not, through the enchantment of Danhasch, slept more soundly than usual.

“What, my beautiful creature,” said the prince, “will not these marks of the love of Camaralzaman disturb your repose? Whoever you may be, he is not unworthy of your affection.” He was then going to wake her in good earnest, but he suddenly stopped himself, “There cannot be a doubt,” he exclaimed, “but that this is the person to whom the sultan, my father, wished to marry me. He has been much to blame, not to let me see her sooner; I should not then have offended him, both by my disobedience, and my public behaviour towards him; and he would thus have spared himself the contusion which I have caused him.” Prince Camaralzaman repented most heartily of the fault he had been guilty of; and was again upon the point of waking the princess of China, “perhaps indeed,” added he, “the sultan, my father, wished to surprise me; and has therefore sent this lady to ascertain whether I really have so great an aversion to marriage as I have always shown. Who knows if he may not have brought her here himself, and may even now be concealed, in order to see how I conduct myself, and make me ashamed of my former dissimulation. This second fault would be much worse than my first; I will therefore satisfy myself with this ring in remembrance of her.”

The princess of China had a very beautiful ring on her finger; and as the prince concluded his speech, he drew it quietly, and put one of its own in its place. He then turned his back, and it was not long before, through the enchantment of the Genii, he fell into as deep a sleep as he was in at first.

As soon as prince Camaralzaman’s eyes were completely closed, Danhasch, in his turn, transformed himself into a flea, and bit the princess directly under her lip. She awoke suddenly, and starting up opened her eyes: how great was her astonishment at finding herself in bed with a man. From surprise, she passed to admiration; and from admiration to excess of joy, which was very apparent as soon as she saw that it was a young, handsome, and well-made man.

“What!” she exclaimed, “are you the person, whom the king, my father, has destined for my husband? How unfortunate am I at not having known this before! I should then never have been deprived for so long a time of a husband, whom it is impossible not to love with my whole soul. Awake, and rouse yourself; it but ill becomes a husband to sleep thus soundly on the very first night of his nuptials.”

Having said this, the princess shook prince Camaralzaman by the arm in so violent a manner, that he must have awoke, if Maimounè had not at that very instant heightened his sleep by means of enchantment. She shook him in this manner several times; then, as she found she could not prevent him from sleeping, she called out, “What can possibly have happened to you? What rival, jealous of our mutual happiness, has had recourse to magic; and thus thrown you into this insurmountable fit of stupefaction, from whence it seems almost impossible you should ever be roused.” She then took hold of his hand, and tenderly kissing it, she perceived the ring which he had on his finger. It appeared so like her own, that she was convinced it was the very same; and at the same moment observed, that she herself had on a different one. She could not comprehend how this exchange had been effected; but she did not for an instant doubt, that it was a sure proof of her marriage. Fatigued with the useless efforts she had made to wake him; and satisfied, as she thought, that he could not leave her; “Since I am unable to rouse you out of your sleep,” she cried, “I will continue no longer to attempt to interrupt it. We shall see each other again.” Then kissing his cheek as she pronounced these last words, she lay down, and in a short time fell asleep.”

When Maimounè perceived that she might speak without any danger of waking the princess of China; “Well, wretch,” she said to Danhasch, “hast thou observed, then, and art thou convinced, that thy princess is less beautiful than my prince? Get along, I forgive thee the wager thou hast lost; but another time, believe me, when I assert any thing.” Then turning towards Caschcasch, “As for you,” added she, “I thank you. Do you and Danhasch take the princess, and carry her to her bed, where he brought her from.” Danhasch and Caschcasch executed the orders of Maimounè, while the latter retired to her well.

When prince Camaralzaman awoke the next morning, he looked on each side of him to see if the lady, whom he had found by him in the night, was still there; but when he perceived she was gone, he said to himself, “It is as I suspected; the king, my father, wished to surprise me: I am, however, happy that I was aware of it.” He then called the slave, who was still asleep, and desired him to make haste and dress himself, without saying a word to him on what account he was in such a hurry. The slave brought a bason and water; the prince then washed himself, and after saying his prayers, he took a book and continued to read for some time.

After he had thus finished his usual occupations, Camaralzaman called the slave towards him, “Come here,” he said, “and be sure you do not tell me a falsehood. Inform me how the lady, who slept with me last night, came here, and who brought her.”

“Prince,” replied the slave, in the greatest astonishment, “of what lady are you speaking?”—“Of her, I tell you,” answered the prince, “who either came or was brought here, and who passed the night with me.”—“Prince,” returned the slave, “I swear to you, that I know nothing about the matter. How could any lady possibly get in, as I slept at the door?”—“Thou art a lying rascal,” replied the prince, “and art in league with some one to vex and distress me.” Saying this he gave him a blow, and knocked him down; then, after having trampled on him, he tied the rope of the well round his body, and let him down into it, and plunged him several times in the water: “I will drown thee,” cried he, “if thou dost not immediately acquaint me who the lady is, and who brought her.”

The poor slave extremely embarrassed, and half in and half out of the water, thought the prince had certainly lost his senses through grief, and that he could only escape by telling an untruth. “Prince,” said he, in a supplicating tone, “grant me my life, I conjure you, and I promise to tell you exactly how the matter stands.”

The prince drew up the slave, and commanded him to speak. When he was out of the well, “Prince,” said the slave, trembling, “You must be sensible that I cannot satisfy you in the state I am now in; allow me time to change my dress.”—“I grant it thee,” replied the prince, “but be quick; and take care thou dost not disguise the truth from me.”

The slave went out, and after having fastened the door on the prince, he ran to the palace, wet as he was. The king was engaged in conversation with his grand vizier; and was complaining of the restless night he had passed in consequence of the disobedience and ill-judged rashness of the prince his son, in thus opposing his will.

The minister endeavoured to console him, and convince him, that the prince, by his disrespectful behaviour, had justly merited the punishment he endured; “Sire,” said he, “your majesty ought not to repent of having arrested him. If you will have the patience to suffer him to remain in prison, you may be assured that he will lose this youthful impetuosity, and that he will at length submit to whatever you may require of him.”

The grand vizier had just uttered these words, when the slave presented himself before king Schahzaman: “Sire,” said he, “I am sorry to be obliged to announce to your majesty a piece of intelligence that will no doubt occasion you great sorrow. What the prince says of a lady, who slept with him last night, together with the manner in which he treated me, as your majesty may perceive, too plainly prove that he is not in his senses.” He then gave a detail of every thing that prince Camaralzaman had said, and of the excesses he had committed on his person, in terms which confirmed the truth of the account.

The king, who was not prepared for this new cause for affliction, exclaimed to the grand vizier, “This is, indeed, an incident of the most distressing nature, and very different from the hopes you flattered me with just now. Go, lose not a moment, and examine yourself the whole of this affair, and then come and inform me of what you discover.” The grand vizier immediately obeyed. When he entered the chamber of the prince, he found him seated with a book in his hand, which he was reading with apparent composure. He saluted him: and seating himself by his side, “I am very angry with the slave that attends you,” said he, “for having alarmed your father by the intelligence he has just now brought him.”—“What is this intelligence,” inquired the prince, “that has occasioned my father so much alarm? I have much more reason to complain of my slave.”

“Prince,” replied the vizier, “Heaven avert that what he has just said of you be true! The tranquil state in which I find you, and in which may God preserve you, convinces me there is no truth in his report.”—“Perhaps,” replied the prince, “he has not explained himself properly; but as you are here, I am glad to have an opportunity of asking you, who must know something about the matter, where the lady is who slept with me last night.”

The grand vizier was quite astonished at this inquiry. “Prince,” said he, “do not be surprised at the astonishment you see me in at this question. How can it be possible, not only that any lady, but that any man whatever, could have penetrated into this place in the night, to which there is no other entrance but by the door, and even then he must trample over your slave, who was guarding it? I entreat you to collect your thoughts, and I am persuaded you will find it is only a dream that has left a strong impression on your mind.”

“I shall pay no attention to your arguments,” resumed the prince, in a more elevated tone of voice: “I will absolutely know what is become of this lady; I am here in a situation to make you obey me.” This firmness of speech and manner embarrassed the grand vizier more than can be expressed; and he now only thought of the best means to extricate himself. He tried the prince with gentle means, and asked him, in the most humble and conciliating manner, if he had himself seen the lady.

“Yes, yes,” replied the prince, “I saw her, and soon perceived that you had instructed her in ways to tempt me. She played the part you allotted her vastly well; not to say a word, to pretend to sleep, and to take herself away, as soon as I fell asleep again. You know it all, I dare say; she has not failed giving you an account of the whole transaction.”—“Prince,” resumed the grand vizier, “I swear to you, that all you have been relating was unknown to me, and that neither the king, your father, nor I, sent you the lady you mention; we should never have had such an idea. Allow me once more to say, that this lady could only appear to you in a dream.”

“You come to mock me too,” cried the prince angrily, “and to tell me that what I have seen was only a dream!” He then seized him by the beard, and beat him most unmercifully, till his strength quite failed him. The poor grand vizier bore all this treatment from prince Camaralzaman very respectfully. “Here am I,” said he to himself, “precisely in the same situation as the slave; happy shall I be, if, like him, I can escape from so great a danger.”’ While the prince was still employed in beating him, he cried, “I entreat you, prince, to listen to me for one moment.” The prince, tired of this occupation, suffered him to speak.

“I own to you, prince,” said the grand vizier, as soon as he had liberty to speak, “that your suspicions are not unfounded; but you well know, that a minister is compelled to execute the orders of the king his master. If you will have the goodness to suffer me to go, I am ready to take any message to him with which you will entrust me.”—“I give you leave to go,” replied the prince. “Tell my father that I will marry the lady whom he sent, or brought me, and who slept with me last night. Be expeditious, and bring me the answer.” The grand vizier made a profound reverence on quitting him; but he could hardly be satisfied of his safety, till he was out of the tower, and had fastened the door after him. He presented himself before king Schahzaman with an air of sorrow which alarmed him. “Well,” said the monarch, “in what state did you find my son?”—

“Sire,” replied the vizier, “what the slave related to your majesty is but too true.” He then gave him an account of the conversation he had had with Camaralzaman, of the rage the prince had been in, when he attempted to convince him that the lady he spoke of could not possibly have slept with him, of the cruel treatment he had met with from him, and of the excuse by which he had escaped from his fury.

Schahzaman, who was the more grieved at this circumstance, as he had always loved the prince with the greatest tenderness, wished to investigate the truth of it himself: he repaired to the tower, and took the grand vizier with him. Prince Camaralzaman received his father with the greatest respect. The king sat down, and having made the prince sit next him, he asked him many questions, to which he replied with perfect good sense, and from time to time he looked at the vizier, as if to say, that the prince, his son, was not deranged in his intellects as he had asserted; but that he must himself be deficient in this respect.

At length the king mentioned the lady. “My son,” said he, “I beg you to tell me who this lady is, who they say slept with you last night.”—“Sire,” replied Camaralzaman, “I entreat your majesty not to add to the vexation I have already encountered on this subject; rather do me the favor to bestow her on me in marriage. Whatever aversion I may hitherto have evinced against women, this young and beautiful lady has so charmed me, that I feel no difficulty in avowing my weakness. I am ready to receive her from your hands, with the deepest sense of my obligation to you.”

King Schahzaman was thunder-struck at this answer from the prince, which, as it appeared to him, was so inconsistent with the good sense he had shown in former answers. “You speak to me in a way, my son,” said he, “that astonishes me beyond measure. I swear to you, by the crown which is to adorn your brow when I shall be no more, that I know nothing of the lady you talk of. I have not been accessary to her visit, if any one has been with you; but, how is it possible that she should have penetrated into this tower without my consent? as to what my grand vizier said to you, he only invented a story to appease you. It must have been a dream; recollect yourself, I conjure you, and be careful to ascertain the fact.”

“Sire,” resumed the prince, “I should be for ever unworthy of the goodness of your majesty, if I refused to give faith to the solemn assurance you have given me; but I request you to have the patience to listen to me, and then judge, if what I shall have the honor of relating to you can be a dream.”

Prince Camaralzaman then told the king, his father, in what manner he had waked in the night. He gave him an exaggerated description of the beauty and charms of the lady he had found by his side, confessed the love which had so instantaneously inflamed his breast, and related all his fruitless endeavours to awaken her. He did not even conceal what had made him awake; and that he fell asleep again after he had made the exchange of his ring for that of the lady. When he concluded, he took the ring from his finger, and presented it to the king, “Sire,” added he, “mine is not unknown to you, for you have seen it several times. After this, I hope you will be convinced that I have not lost my senses, as they would fain persuade you is the case.”

The king was so fully convinced of the truth of what the prince had recounted to him, that he had nothing to reply. Added to which, his astonishment was so excessive, that he remained a considerable time incapable of uttering a single word.

The prince took advantage from these moments of silent wonder. “Sire,” continued he, “the passion I feel for this charming person, whose precious image is so deeply engraven on my heart, has already risen to so violent a pitch, that I am sure I have not strength to endure it. I humbly supplicate you to feel compassion for the state I am in, and to procure me the unspeakable happiness of possessing and calling her mine.”

“After what I have now heard, my son,” replied king Schahzaman, “and what I see by this ring, I can no longer doubt the reality of your love, and that you did absolutely see the lady who gave birth to it. Would to God I knew her! You should be gratified this very day, and I should be the happiest of fathers. But where am I to seek her? How, and by what means, could she enter here, without either my consent or knowledge? Why did she come only to sleep with you, to show you her beauty, to inflame you with love while she slept, and disappear as soon as you fell asleep again? I cannot comprehend this strange adventure, and if Heaven does not assist us, it will be the means of reducing both you and me to the grave.” He then took the prince by the hand, and added, in a mournful accent, “Come, my son, let us go and mingle our lamentations together; you, for loving without hope; I, for seeing your affliction, without possessing the means of relieving it.”

Schahzaman took the prince out of his prison, and conducted him to the palace, where the prince, quite in despair at feeling so violent a passion for an unknown lady, instantly took to his bed. The king shut himself up from all society for several days, to weep with his son, and desisted entirely from attending to the usual concerns of his kingdom.

His prime minister, who was the only one to whom he had allowed free entrance, came one day to represent to him, that his whole court, as well as the people, began to murmur at not seeing him, as usual, administering justice, as was his daily custom; and that he would not be answerable for the discontents and disorders that might arise in consequence of his seclusion. “I entreat your majesty,” continued he, “to pay some attention to these complaints. I am persuaded, that your presence only serves to nourish the affliction of the prince, as his presence increases yours; but you must not suffer every thing to go to decay. Allow me to propose to you, to remove with the prince to the castle on the little island, that is at a short distance from the port, and to have an audience twice a-week only. This avocation will oblige you to quit the prince occasionally, while the beauty of the spot, the delicious air, and the charming prospects of the surrounding country, will enable him to support these short absences with more patience.”

The king approved of this advice, and as soon as the castle, which had not been inhabited for some time, was furnished and prepared for his reception, he removed thither with the prince, whom he never left, excepting for the two stipulated audiences. He passed the rest of the time by the side of his pillow, sometimes endeavouring to console him, and sometimes sharing his affliction.

While these things were passing in the capital of king Schahzaman, the two Genii, Danhasch and Caschcasch, had reconducted the princess of China to the palace, where the king, her father, had confined her, and placed her in her bed.

The next morning, when she awoke, the princess of China looked about on each side of her, and when she perceived that prince Camaralzaman was no longer near her, she called her women, in a voice which made them all run quickly to her, and surround her. Her nurse approached her pillow, and asked her what she desired, and if any thing had befallen her.

“Tell me,” replied the princess, “what is become of the young man who slept with me last night, and whom I love so tenderly.”—“My princess,” said the nurse, “we cannot comprehend your meaning, unless you explain yourself more clearly.”—“The fact is,” resumed the princess, “that a young man of the most beautiful and elegant form that can be conceived, slept by my side last night; I caressed him for a considerable time, and did all I could to wake him, without effect. I ask you where he is?”

“No doubt you do this to joke us, my princess,” replied the nurse; “will you please to rise now?”—“I speak seriously,” said the princess, “and I will know where he is.”—“But, my dear princess,” rejoined the nurse, “you were alone when we put you to bed last night; and no one has entered this place to sleep with you, at least that we know of.”

The princess of China’s patience was quite exhausted, she seized her nurse’s head, and gave her repeated slaps and blows. “Thou shalt tell me, thou old witch,” cried she, “or I will murder thee.” The nurse exerted herself to get out of her hands; she at length succeeded, and instantly ran to find the queen of China, the mother of the princess. She presented herself before her, with tears in her eyes, and her face swelled and disfigured: this excited great surprise in the queen, who inquired what was the cause of her being in such a condition.

“Madam,” said the nurse, “you see the effects of the treatment I have just received from the princess; she would have destroyed me entirely if I had not escaped as I did.” She then related to her the cause of her anger, and subsequent violent behaviour, at which the queen was no less surprised than afflicted. “You see, madam,” added she, “that the princess is out of her senses. You may judge of it yourself, if you will take the trouble of coming to see her.”

The queen of China was too tenderly attached to her daughter, not to feel extremely interested in what she had just heard from the nurse; and immediately went to the princess. She seated herself next her, when she got into the apartment where she was confined; and, after having inquired if she was in good health, she asked her what subject for discontent she had with her nurse, to induce her to treat her so cruelly as she had done. “Indeed, my daughter,” said she, “you acted wrong, and a princess of your rank ought never to suffer herself to be so led away by passion, as to commit such excesses.”

“Madam,” replied the princess, “I plainly perceive that your majesty also is come to mock me; but I solemnly declare, that I shall have neither peace nor rest till I have married the amiable and charming youth who slept with me last night. You certainly must know who he is; and I beg you to let him come again.”

“My dear daughter,” replied the queen, “you astonish me; and I cannot understand what you mean.” The princess forgot the respect she owed to her mother, and answered, “Madam, the king, my father, and you have persecuted me for some time, to compel me to marry, when I had no wish of changing my state; this wish has at length taken possession of my breast, and I will absolutely either marry the young man I told you of, or kill myself.”

The queen attempted to succeed by gentle methods. “You well know, my dear child,” said she, “that you are alone in your chamber, and that no man can possibly enter it. But instead of listening to, the princess interrupted her, and was guilty of such extravagant excesses, that the queen was obliged to leave her to indulge her grief, and acquaint the king with what had happened.

The king of China wished to be personally convinced of the truth of this business. He, therefore, immediately repaired to the apartment of the princess, and asked her if what he had been informed of was true. “Sire,” replied she, “let us not talk of that; only do me the favor to suffer the husband, who slept with me last night, to return to me.”

“What!” exclaimed the king, “has any one slept with you the last night?”—“How can you ask me, sire, if any one slept with me?” interrupted the princess, without allowing him time to continue; “your majesty cannot be ignorant of it. He is the handsomest young man that was ever beheld under heaven. I entreat you to send him to me again; do not refuse me, I conjure you. That your majesty may not entertain any doubts of my having seen this youth,” added she, “of my having slept with him, caressed him, used every effort to awaken him, without success, look, if you please, at this ring.” She held out her hand, and the king of China knew not what to think, when he perceived that it was the ring of a man. But as he could not comprehend the least what she said, and he had confined her originally because she was mad, he had now thought her still worse than before. So without saying any thing more to her, lest he should enrage her to commit violence on her own person, or on any one who might approach her, he had her chained and more closely confined, and ordered, that no one, except her nurse, should attend her, and that a strong guard should be placed at her door.

The king of China, quite inconsolable for the misfortune that had befallen the princess, his daughter, which he believed to be madness, considered what methods should be taken to effect her recovery. He assembled his council, and after having made known the state in which she was, he added, “If any one who is here present, is sufficiently skilful to undertake her cure, and succeeds, I will bestow her on him in marriage; and will make him the heir of my crown and dominions.”

The desire of possessing so beautiful a princess, together with the hope of governing, at some future period, so large and powerful a kingdom as that of China, made a strong impression on the mind of an emir, who was present, although he was already far advanced in years. As he was well-skilled in magic, he flattered himself he should succeed; and, therefore, offered his services to the king. “I consent,” replied the monarch, “but I must first inform you, that it is on condition of your losing your head if you do not succeed: it would not be fair that you should be able to acquire so great and enviable a recompense without any risk on your part. What I propose to you will, in the same way, be proposed to all who shall present themselves after you, in case you do not agree to the condition, or do not succeed.”

The emir accepted the proposal, and the king himself conducted him to the apartment of his daughter. The princess covered her face as soon as she perceived the emir. “Sire,” said she, “your majesty surprises me, by bringing into my presence a man who is unknown to me, and to whom, as you well know, our holy religion forbids me to expose myself.”—“My daughter,” replied the king, “do not suffer your delicacy to be wounded by his presence; he is one of my emirs, who requests you in marriage.”—“Sire,” resumed she, “This is not the husband you have already bestowed on me, whose faith is pledged to me by the ring I wear: be not offended if I refuse to accept any other.

The emir expected to find the princess committing violent actions, and saying extravagant things. He was much surprised to find her collected and tranquil; and to hear her utter such good sense; he therefore was soon convinced, that she had no other madness than a strong attachment to some object who had engaged her love. He did not, however, dare to explain his real sentiments to the king, for he could not have endured the idea, that his daughter had bestowed her heart on any other than the man whom he should present to her. “But,” said the emir, prostrating himself at the feet of the king, “Sire, after what I have just heard from the lips of the princess, it would be useless for me to undertake to cure her. I have no remedies that can be of any service to her disease; my life, therefore, is at the disposal of your majesty.” The king, irritated by this avowal of inability from the emir, and by the trouble he had occasioned him, ordered his head to be struck off.

Some days after this, that he might not have to reproach himself with having neglected any thing that could conduce to the recovery of the princess, this monarch ordered it to be proclaimed in his capital, that if there were any physician, astrologer, or magician, inhabiting it, who was sufficiently experienced in his profession to restore her to her senses, he might present himself for that purpose, on the before-mentioned condition of losing his head if he failed in the attempt. He sent an order to have the same proclamation published in all the principal towns in his dominions, and also in the courts of the neighbouring princes.

The first who presented himself was an astrologer and magician, whom the king ordered to be conducted to the prison of the princess by an eunuch. The astrologer drew out from a little bag he had brought under his arm, an astrolabe, a small globe, a chafing-dish, various kinds of drugs proper for fumigation, a copper vessel, together with several other things; and he desired to have some fire.

The princess of China asked the meaning of all this apparatus. “Princess,” said the eunuch, “it is to conjure the evil spirit, that possesses you, to confine him in this copper vessel, and throw him into the sea.”

“Cursed astrologer,” cried the princess, “know, that I want none of these preparations; I am perfectly in my senses, and it is thou who art mad. If thy power extends thus far, bring me only him I love, and thou wilt serve and oblige me beyond expression.”—“If that is the case,” replied the astrologer, “I can be of no use, princess; the king, your father, can alone give you relief.” He then replaced in his bag all that he had taken out, truly mortified at having so inconsiderately undertaken to cure an imaginary disease.

When the eunuch had re-conducted the astrologer before the king of China, he did not wait for the eunuch to speak to the king, but he addressed himself immediately to him. “Sire,” said he, in a firm tone, “your majesty published it to the world, and confirmed me also in opinion, that the princess, your daughter, was mad; and I had no doubt of being able to restore her to her senses by means of the secrets I am acquainted with; but I was not long with her before I was convinced, that her only malady is violent love; and my art does not extend so far as to cure love-sickness; your majesty can prescribe the remedy better than any one, if you will please to give her the husband she wishes.” The king, enraged by what he supposed to be insolence in the astrologer, immediately commanded his head to be struck off.

But, not to weary your majesty with so many repetitions, I will only say, that, what with astrologers, physicians, and magicians, one hundred and fifty successively presented themselves, and shared the same fate; and their heads were ranged over each gate of the city.

The nurse of the princess of China had a son, named Marzavan, the foster-brother of the princess, whom she had nursed and brought up with her. Their friendship, during their infancy, had been so intimate, that they treated each other as brother and sister as long as they lived together; and even after their more advanced age, obliged them to be separated.

Among the various sciences which Marzavan had cultivated from his earliest youth, his inclination had led him more particularly to the study of judicial astrology, geomancy, and other secret sciences; in all of which he had made considerable proficiency. Not satisfied with the information he could obtain from the masters, under whose tuition he was, he began to travel as soon as he felt himself sufficiently strong to bear the fatigue. There was no one celebrated for learning in any science or art that he did not seek, even in the most distant countries; and continued to associate with them, until he had gained from them all the information and intelligence he required.

After an absence of several years, Marzavan at length returned to the capital of China. The heads which he observed ranged over the gate at which he entered the city surprised him very much. As soon as he was arrived at his house, he inquired the reason of their being placed there; but, above all, he was anxious to be informed of the health of the princess, his foster-sister, whom he had not forgotten. As the answer to his first question implied that to his second also, he was soon made acquainted with what occasioned him much pain; but he waited for his mother, the princess’s nurse, to give him full information of the whole affair. Although she was so much engaged in her attendance on the princess, yet she had no sooner learnt the arrival of her beloved son, than she contrived to steal away to embrace and pass a few moments with him. After having related to him, with tears in her eyes, the pitiable state the princess was reduced to, and the reason why the king of China had ordered her to be thus treated, Marzavan asked her, if she could not procure him a secret interview, without the knowledge of the king. The nurse meditated for some minutes; she then said, “I cannot say any thing to such a proposition at present; but expect me to-morrow at this hour, and I will give you an answer.”

As no one except the nurse had access to the apartment of the princess, without first obtaining permission of the eunuch who commanded the guard at the door, the nurse, knowing that he had been only lately appointed to that office, and was ignorant of what had previously taken place at court, addressed herself to him. “You know,” said she, “that I have nursed and brought up the princess from her earliest infancy; but, perhaps, you do not also know, that I nursed a daughter of my own at the same time, who was of the same age. She is lately married, and the princess, who still does her the honor of feeling attached to her, desires to see her; but she wishes an interview could be contrived without any one seeing her come in or go out.”

The nurse was going to add more, but the eunuch stopped her. “Enough,” said he, “I will always, with the greatest pleasure, do every thing in my power to oblige the princess: you may either tell your daughter to come, or go yourself to conduct her hither at night, after the king has retired; the door shall be open to you.” As soon as night came on, the nurse went to her son Marzavan. She disguised him in woman’s clothes, so that no one could have discovered him to be the other sex, and took him with her. The eunuch, who had no suspicion that he was not her daughter, opened the door and let them both go in.

Before she presented Marzavan to the princess, the nurse went to her. “Madam,” said she, “this is not a woman, whom you see; it is my son Marzavan, who is just arrived from his travels, and whom I have found means to introduce into your chamber, disguised by this dress. I hope you will not refuse him the honor of paying his respects to you.”

At the name of Marzavan the princess expressed great joy. “Come forward, brother,” cried she to Marzavan, “and take off that veil; it is not forbidden to a brother and sister to see each other uncovered.” Marzavan saluted her with great respect, but without allowing him time to say any thing, “I am delighted,” continued the princess, “to see you again in good health, after an absence of so many years, during which time no one ever received any intelligence from you, nay, not even your good mother.”

“I am infinitely obliged to you for your kindness, my princess,” replied Marzavan. “I expected and hoped on my arrival to receive better accounts of you than those I have heard, and which I witness the truth of with the greatest affliction. I feel very happy, however, that after the repeated failure of so many others, I am arrived in time to administer the remedy you are in need of for your disorder. If I should derive no other advantage of my studies and travels than that of being instrumental to your recovery; I should deem it sufficient recompense.”

As he uttered these words, Marzavan drew out a book and other things he had furnished himself with, which he supposed would be necessary, from the accounts his mother had given him of the indisposition of the princess. She no sooner perceived these preparations than she exclaimed, “What, brother, are you too of the number of those who imagine that I am mad? Listen to me, and be undeceived.”

The princess then related to Marzavan all her history, without omitting the most trifling circumstance, nor even that of the ring, which had been exchanged for hers, and which she showed him. “I have disguised nothing from you,” continued she, “in what I have told you; I acknowledge, that there is something mysterious, which I cannot comprehend, and leads them all to suppose, that I am not in my right senses; but they pay no attention to the other circumstances, which are exactly as I have related.”

When the princess had ceased speaking, Marzavan, who was filled with wonder and astonishment, remained for some time with his eyes fixed on the ground, and unable to pronounce a syllable. At length raising his head, he said, “If, princess, what you have now told me be true, as indeed I am persuaded it is, I do not despair of procuring you the gratification you so anxiously desire. I only entreat you to arm yourself with patience for some time longer, until I shall have visited those countries which I have not yet been in; when you hear of my return, be assured, that he, for whom you now sigh with so much love and tenderness, will not be very distant from you.” Having said this, Marzavan took his leave of the princess, and set out on the following day.

Marzavan travelled from city to city, from province to province, and from island to island. Wherever he went, he heard of nothing but the princess Badoura, (thus was the princess of China called) and of her extraordinary history. At the expiration of four months our traveller arrived at Torf, a large and populous maritime town, where he no longer heard of the princess Badoura, but every one was talking of prince Camaralzaman, who was said to be ill; and whose history was nearly similar to that of the princess of China. Marzavan experienced a transport of joy that cannot be described; he inquired in what part of the world this prince resided, and he was told the place. There were two ways to it, one by land, and the other by sea, the latter of which was the shortest. Marzavan chose this, and embarked in a merchant vessel, which had a good voyage till within sight of the capital of the kingdom of Schahzaman. But, unfortunately, through the unskilfulness of the pilot, as the vessel was entering the harbour, it struck on a rock, went to pieces, and sunk just in sight of the castle in which prince Camaralzaman passed his life, and where his father, king Schahzaman, was at that moment conversing with his grand vizier.

Marzavan could swim extremely well; he therefore did not hesitate to throw himself into the sea, and he steered his course to the castle of king Schahzaman, where he was received, and every assistance given him, according to the orders of the grand vizier, who had received the king’s commands so to do. He had his dress changed, and was treated with the greatest kindness: when he had recovered from his fatigue, he was conducted before the grand vizier, who had desired to see him.

As Marzavan was a youth of a good person and engaging air, this minister treated him with the utmost civility on receiving him, and soon conceived a great esteem for him, from the sensible and proper answers he made to all the questions he asked him; he discovered almost insensibly, that he had numberless sources of information; at length he could not refrain from saying to him, “I plainly perceive, from conversing with you, that you are not a man of common understanding; would to God, that in the course of your travels, you had learned some secret that could cure a young man, whose illness has plunged this court in the deepest affliction for some time past.”

Marzavan replied, that if he were made acquainted with the disease which the person was labouring under, perhaps he might be able to find a remedy for it. The grand vizier then explained to Marzavan the state in which prince Camaralzaman was; taking up his history from the very beginning. He concealed nothing from him; his so much wished-for birth, his education, the desire of king Schahzaman to see him married at an early age, the extraordinary aversion the prince had shown to enter into an engagement of so serious a nature, his behaviour before the council, his subsequent imprisonment, the extravagant excesses he committed in prison, which had suddenly changed into a violent love for an unknown lady, for which there was no other foundation than a ring, which, as the prince pretended, had belonged to this lady, who, perhaps, was not in existence; in short, the vizier related every circumstance with the most faithful exactness.

This account gave Marzavan great joy, because, in consequence of his shipwreck, he had so fortunately met with the object of his search and inquiry. He felt convinced, beyond any doubt, that prince Camaralzaman was the person, with whom the princess of China was so deeply enamoured, and that this princess was no less the object of the prince’s ardent vows. He did not mention his thoughts to the grand vizier; he only said to him, that if he saw the prince, he should be better able to judge what remedies it might be necessary to administer. “Follow me,” said the vizier, “you will find the king with him, who has already expressed a wish of seeing you.”

The first thing that met the eyes of Marzavan, when he entered the chamber, was the figure of the prince lying in his bed, with a languishing air, and his eyes closed. Notwithstanding the situation in which he found him, and regardless of king Schahzaman, who was seated by the side of the bed, as well as of the prince, whom such an exclamation might have alarmed and agitated, he cried, “Heavens! nothing on earth can bear a stronger resemblance.” He meant the resemblance of the princess of China; for, in fact, there was a great similitude in their features.

These words of Marzavan excited the curiosity of prince Camaralzaman, who opened his eyes and looked at him. Marzavan, who had great quickness of invention, took advantage of this moment, and instantly repeated some extempore complimentary verses, although in so mysterious a sense, that the king and grand vizier did not comprehend the meaning of them. He so well explained what had happened to him with the princess of China, that the prince entertained no doubt of his knowing her, and being able to give him some information respecting her; and he felt a degree of joy at the hope of hearing of her, that soon displayed itself in his eyes and countenance. When Marzavan had finished his compliment, the prince took the liberty of making signs to his father to rise from his seat, and permit Marzavan to take his place.

The king, delighted to see in his son a change which flattered him with hope, arose, and taking Marzavan by the hand, obliged him to sit down in the place he had just quitted. He asked him who he was, and from whence he came; and after Marzavan had replied, that he was a subject of the king of China, and that he was then come from his dominions; “God grant,” said the king to him, “that you may restore my son to health, and divert his mind from the profound melancholy in which it is absorbed; my obligations to you will be without bounds, and the proofs of my gratitude shall be so extensive, that the whole world shall know, that no service was ever before so largely recompensed.” As he concluded these words, he left the prince at liberty to converse with Marzavan, whilst he was rejoicing with his grand vizier at so fortunate an occurrence.

Marzavan approached very close to prince Camaralzaman, and speaking to him in a low voice; “Prince,” said he, “the time is come that you should cease to afflict yourself so piteously. The lady for whom you suffer, is well known to me; she is the princess Badoura, daughter to the king of China, whose name is Gaiour. I am certain of the fact from what she has herself related to me of her adventure, and from what I have already learned of yours. The princess does not suffer less from love of you, than you do from your affection towards her.” He then related all that he knew of the history of the princess, since the fatal night of their almost incredible interview: he did not omit also to inform him of the punishment inflicted, by order of the king of China, on all those who undertook to cure the princess Badoura of her supposed madness, when they failed of success. “You are the only one,” continued he, “who can accomplish her perfect recovery, and you may, therefore, present yourself for that purpose, without fear of incurring the dreadful penalty. But before you can undertake so long a journey, you must be in good health yourself; we will then take the necessary measures for the performance of it. Endeavour, therefore, to regain your strength as quickly as possible.”

This discourse of Marzavan instantly produced a wonderful effect: prince Camaralzaman was so comforted by the hope which had just been poured into his bosom, that he felt sufficiently strong to get up, and he entreated the king, his father, to permit him to dress himself, with an air and countenance which gave him inexpressible joy.

The king embraced Marzavan, to express his thanks, without inquiring the means by which so surprising a change was instantaneously effected; and immediately went out of the room with the grand vizier, to proclaim this agreeable intelligence. He ordered public rejoicings for several days; he distributed presents to his officers and the populace, gave alms to the poor, and had all prisoners set at liberty. In short, nothing but joy and mirth reigned in the capital, and which very soon spread its influence throughout the dominions of king Schahzaman.

Prince Camaralzaman, who felt extremely weakened by continual want of sleep, and by his long abstinence from almost all kinds of food, soon recovered his usual health. He no sooner found himself sufficiently re-established to be able to support the fatigue of so long a journey, than he took Marzavan in private, and said to him, “My dear Marzavan, it is now time to put in execution the promise you have made me. The impatience I feel to see this charming princess, and to put an end to the singular torments she endures for my sake, would soon, I plainly feel, reduce me to the state in which you first saw me, if we were not to set out, immediately. One circumstance alone afflicts me, and makes me fear there may be delay: that is, the tender affection of my father, who will never be able to grant me permission to leave him. This will drive me to despair, if you cannot devise some scheme to obviate it. You see that he will never suffer me to be out of his sight.” The prince could not refrain from tears as he pronounced these last words.

“Prince,” replied Marzavan, “I have before now foreseen the great obstacle you mention; it remains with me to act so that he will not prevent our going. The original intention of my journey was to procure remission of her grief and sufferings to the princess of China, which I owed to the mutual friendship that has united us almost from our birth, and to the zeal and affection with which it is my duty to serve her. I should fail in that duty were I to neglect any means of obtaining consolation for her, and for you at the same time, if I did not employ all the address I am capable of for that purpose. Hear, then, what I have conceived to obviate the difficulty of obtaining the king’s permission to accomplish what we both so earnestly desire. You have not yet been out, since I arrived here; express to him a wish to take some exercise, and ask his leave to go on a little hunting excursion, for two or three days, with me; there is no reason to suppose he will refuse you: when he has granted your request, you will give orders to have two good horses ready for each; one to ride on, the other for relay, and leave the rest to me.”

The next day, prince Camaralzaman watched his opportunity; he told the king, his father, how much he wished to take an airing, and begged him to allow him to hunt for a day or two with Marzavan. “I do not object to it,” replied the king, “provided, however, that you promise me, not to remain out longer than one night. Too much exercise at first might be injurious, and a longer absence would be painful to me.” The king gave orders for the best horses to be chosen for him, and took care himself, that nothing should be wanting for his expedition. When every thing was ready, he embraced him, and having earnestly recommended him to the care of Marzavan, he let him depart.

Prince Camaralzaman and Marzavan reached an open country, and, to deceive the two grooms that led the relay of horses, they pretended to hunt, and got as distant from the city as possible. At night they stopped at a caravansera, where they supped and slept till about midnight. Marzavan, who was the first to wake, called prince Camaralzaman, without waking the grooms. He begged him to give him his dress, and to put on another, which one of the grooms had brought for him. They each mounted the horses of relay, and Marzavan leading one of the groom’s horses by the bridle, they set out in a quick pace.

At day-break, the travellers found themselves in a forest, at a place where the road divided in four. At this spot Marzavan begged the prince to wait for him a moment, and rode into the thickest of the forest. He there killed the groom’s horse, tore the dress which the prince had on the preceding day, and dipped it in the blood: when he returned to the prince, he threw it into the middle of the road where it divided.

The prince asked Marzavan what was his design by so doing. “When the king, your father,” replied Marzavan, “perceives that you do not return to-night, as you promised, or learns from the grooms that we set out without them, while they were asleep, he will undoubtedly send people out different ways to search for us. Those who come this way, and find this bloody vest, will conclude, that some beast of prey has devoured you, and that I have made my escape, to avoid the king’s anger and resentment; he, thinking from their account, that you are no longer in existence, will desist from his researches after us, and thus afford us the opportunity of continuing our journey without interruption, and the fear of being pursued. It is true, that the stratagem is a violent one, to occasion so tender a parent the afflicting alarm of having lost a son whom he doatingly loves; but the joy of your father will be beyond all bounds, when he shall again discover you to be alive and happy.”—“Wise Marzavan,” cried the prince, “I cannot but approve so ingenious an invention, and feel additional obligations to you for having put it in execution.”

The prince and Marzavan, well supplied with valuable jewels to defray their expences, continued their travels by land and by sea, and met with no other obstacle than the length of time, which necessarily must elapse, before they could reach their place of destination.

They at length arrived at the capital of China, where Marzavan, instead of conducting the prince to his own house, made him alight at a public khan for the reception of travellers. They remained there three days, to recover from the fatigue of the journey; and during this interval, Marzavan had an astrologer’s dress made for the prince to disguise himself in. When the three days were expired, they went together to the bath, where Marzavan made the prince put on the astrologer’s dress, and when they left the bath, he conducted him within sight of the palace of the king of China, and there left him, to go and acquaint his mother, the nurse of princess Badoura, of his arrival, that she might prepare the princess for the interview.

The prince, instructed by Marzavan in what he was to do, and furnished with every implement necessary for his assumed dress and character, approached the gate of the palace; and stopping before it, cried out with a loud voice, in the hearing of the guard and porters, “I am an astrologer, and I come to complete the cure of the illustrious princess Badoura, daughter of the great and puissant monarch Gaiour, king of China, according to the conditions proposed by his majesty, to marry her, if I succeed; or to lose my life, if I fail.

The novelty of this address instantly assembled a multitude of people round prince Camaralzaman, besides the guard and porters belonging to the palace. In fact, it was a long time since either physician, astrologer, or magician had presented himself, after so many tragical examples of people who had failed in their enterprise. They supposed the race was extinct, or, at least, that there were no more so foolish as to expose themselves to almost certain death.

On observing the elegant figure of the prince, his noble air, and the extreme youth which was discernible in his countenance, every one present felt compassion for him. “What are you thinking of, sir?” said those, who were nearest to him; “what can be your motive for thus exposing to certain death, a life which seems to possess such flattering hopes? Have not the heads, which you have seen ranged at the top of the gates of the city, inspired you with horror? In the name of God, abandon this useless and fatal design, and withdraw.”

The prince remained firm, notwithstanding all these remonstrances, and instead of listening to the entreaties of these people, as he saw that no one appeared to introduce him, he repeated the same words as before, with an oath, which made every one shudder; and they all exclaimed, “He is resolved to die; may God have pity on his youth and on his soul!” He called out a third time, and the grand vizier then came himself, by order of the king of China.

This minister conducted him into the presence of the king. The prince no sooner perceived the monarch seated on his throne, than he prostrated himself, and kissed the earth before him. Of all those whose immeasurable presumption had brought their heads to his feet, the king had not yet seen one so worthy of his attention, and felt unfeigned compassion for Camaralzaman, when he considered the danger to which he exposed himself. He even conferred greater honour on him; he desired him to approach and seat himself by his side. “Young man,” said he, “I have some difficulty in believing, that at your youthful age you can have acquired sufficient experience to dare to undertake the cure of my daughter. I wish you may be able to succeed; I would bestow her on you in marriage, not only without repugnance, but, on the contrary, with the greatest possible pleasure and joy, whereas I should have felt truly unhappy, if any of those who have applied before you had obtained her. But I must declare to you, although it gives me pain to inform you of this condition, that if you fail, neither your youth, nor your noble and engaging appearance, can mitigate the penalty; and you must lose your head.”

“Sire,” replied prince Camaralzaman, “I have infinite obligations to your majesty for the honour you confer on me, and for the kindness you show to one who is an entire stranger to you. The country I come from is not so distant from your dominions, for its name to be unknown there, and therefore render me indifferent to the object I have in view. What would be said of my want of firmness, were I to abandon so generous and praiseworthy a design after having undergone so much danger and fatigue as I have already encountered? Would not your majesty lose that esteem which you already entertain for me? If I am to lose my life in the attempt, sire, I shall at least die with the satisfaction of not losing that esteem after having obtained it; I entreat you then not to let me remain any longer in my present state of impatience, but to let me prove the infallibility of my art by the means I am now ready to employ.”

The king of China commanded the eunuch, who was the guard of the princess Badoura, and was then present, to conduct prince Camaralzaman to the apartment of his daughter. But before he departed, he told him he was still at liberty to relinquish his enterprise. The prince, however, would not listen to him; he followed the eunuch with a resolution, or rather with an ardour, which astonished all.

Prince Camaralzaman went with the eunuch; and when they had reached a long gallery, at the end of which was the princess’s apartment, the prince finding himself so near the dear object which had made him shed so many tears, and heave so many fruitless sighs, hastened his pace and got before the eunuch; who also advanced quicker, and had some difficulty to overtake him: “Where are you a going so fast?” said he, taking hold of his arm. “You cannot get in without me. You must be very desirous to get rid of life, to run so eagerly into the arms of death. Not one of the astrologers I have seen and conducted, where you will arrive but too soon, have shown so much anxiety.”

“Friend,” said prince Camaralzaman, looking at the eunuch, and slackening his pace, “the reason is, that all the astrologers you speak of, were not so sure of their science as I am of mine; they were certain of losing their lives if they did not succeed, and they were not sure of success; they had, therefore, some reason to tremble as they approached the place where I am going, and where I am convinced I shall meet with happiness.” As he pronounced these words they reached the door. The eunuch opened it, and took the prince into a large room, which led to the chamber of the princess, and was divided from it only by a slight door. Before he entered, the prince stopped, and speaking in a tone of voice much lower than before, lest he should be heard in her apartment, “To convince you,” said he to the eunuch, “that neither presumption, caprice, nor the fire of youthful ardour, have stimulated me to this enterprise, I submit two ways to your choice: which do you prefer—that I should cure the princess while in her presence, or here, without going any farther, and without even seeing her?”

The eunuch was extremely astonished at the confidence with which the prince spoke to him: he ceased to insult him, and speaking seriously, “It does not matter,” said he, “whether it be here or there. In whatever manner you accomplish the business, you will acquire immortal glory, not only in this kingdom, but over all the habitable world.”—“Then,” replied the prince, “it is better that I cure her without seeing her, that you may be witness of my skill. Whatever may be my impatience to see a princess of such high rank, and who is to be my wife, I will nevertheless, to gratify you, deprive myself for some moments of so great a pleasure.” As he was furnished with every thing which was the distinguishing characteristic of an astrologer, he drew out his writing apparatus and some paper, and wrote the following note to the princess of China:

PRINCE CAMARALZAMAN TO THE PRINCESS OF CHINA.

“Adorable princess! the amorous prince Camaralzaman does not tell you of the inexpressible woes he has endured since the fatal night when your charms deprived him of that liberty which he had resolved to maintain to the end of his life. He only assures you, that he gave you his heart during your sweet sleep; a sleep that prevented his viewing the animated brilliancy of your eyes, notwithstanding all his efforts to induce you to open them. He even had the presumption to place his ring upon your finger, as a token of his love, and to take yours in exchange, which he sends you enclosed in this note. If you will condescend to return it him as a reciprocal pledge of yours, he will esteem himself the happiest and most fortunate of lovers. But should you not comply, your refusal will make him submit to the stroke of death with so much the more resignation, as he will receive it for the love he bears you. He awaits your answer in your anti-chamber.”

When prince Camaralzaman had finished this note, he made a small packet of it with the princess’s ring, which he enclosed in it, without letting the eunuch see what it contained; then giving it to him, he said, “Take this, friend, and carry it to your mistress. If she is not cured the moment she has read this note and seen its contents, I allow you to proclaim to the world, that I am the most worthless and impudent astrologer either of the past, the present, or the future age.”

The eunuch went into the princess’s chamber, and presenting the packet from prince Camaralzaman, he said to her, “Princess, an astrologer, who, if I am not mistaken, has more assurance than any who have yet appeared, is just arrived; and pretends, that you will be cured as soon as you read this note, and see what it encloses. I wish he may be neither a liar, nor an impostor.” The princess Badoura took the packet and opened it with the utmost indifference; but as soon as she saw the ring, she scarcely allowed herself time to read it. She got up precipitately, and with an extraordinary effort, broke the chain which confined her, ran to the door, and opened it. The princess instantly recollected the prince, as he did her. They ran into each other’s arms with the tenderest embraces, and without being able to utter a word from excess of joy; they looked at each other for a considerable time with emotions not to be described, and mingled with surprise at the singularity of their interview, after their former meeting, neither of which could they comprehend. The nurse, who had run out with the princess, made them go into the chamber, where the princess returned her ring to the prince, “Take it,” said she, “I could not keep it without returning yours, which I am resolved not to part with to the end of my life. They cannot either of them be better disposed of.”

The eunuch, in the mean time, was gone to acquaint the king of China what had passed. “Sire,” said he, “all the physicians, astrologers, and others, who have hitherto presented themselves to undertake the recovery of the princess, were only ignorant fools. This last has not made use either of magic books, or of conjurations of wicked spirits, or of perfumes, or other things, as they did; he has cured her without even seeing her.” He related the manner in which he had proceeded, and the king, most agreeably surprised, went immediately to the apartment of the princess, whom he tenderly embraced; he embraced the prince also, took hold of his hand, and joining it to that of the princess, “Happy stranger,” cried he, “whoever you may be, I keep my promise, and give you my daughter in marriage. But it is not possible to persuade me, that you are what you appear to be, and what you wished to make me believe.”

Prince Camaralzaman thanked the king in the most submissive terms, the better to express his gratitude. “As for what I am, sire,” continued he, “it is true, that I do not practise astrology for my profession, as your majesty very rightly judged; I only put on the habit of that character to ensure my success in deserving and obtaining an honorable alliance with the most powerful monarch in the universe. I am a prince by birth, the son of a king and a queen: my name is Camaralzaman, and my father is called Schahzaman, and reigns over the well-known islands of the Children of Khaledan.” He then related his adventures, and the miraculous origin of his love for the princess: that her affection for him was conceived at the same time, both of which were fully proved by the exchange of the two rings.

“So extraordinary a history,” cried the king, “deserves to be handed down to posterity. I will have it written; and after having deposited the original amongst the archives of my kingdom, I will make it public, that from my dominions it may pass to the neighbouring nations.” The ceremony of the nuptials was performed on that very day; and the most solemn festivities and rejoicings took place throughout the extensive dominions of China. Marzavan was not forgotten: the king granted him free access to the court; bestowing on him an honorable charge, with the promise of raising him, in future, to others more considerable.

Prince Camaralzaman and the princess Badoura each arrived at the summit of their wishes, enjoyed the blessings of the married state, and for several months the king of China did not cease from testifying his happiness by continual feasts and entertainments.

In the midst of these pleasures, prince Camaralzaman had a dream one night, in which he thought he saw king Schahzaman, his father, in bed, on the point of death, saying: “This son, whom I brought into the world, whom I have so tenderly cherished, has abandoned me, and he is the cause of my death.” He awoke with a deep sigh, which waked the princess also, and made her inquire what occasioned his unhappiness.

“Alas!” cried the prince, “perhaps at this very moment that I am speaking, the king, my father, breathes no more.” He then told her his reason for giving way to such melancholy thoughts. The princess, who had no object but to give him pleasure, and who knew that his earnest desire to revisit his father once more might diminish the satisfaction he felt at residing with her in a country so distant from his native home, said nothing at the time of her intentions, but on that very day she availed herself of an opportunity of speaking to the king of China in private. “Sire,” said she, respectfully kissing his hand, “I have a favor to request of your majesty; and I entreat you not to refuse it me. But lest you should imagine that the prince, my husband, has any part in my solicitations, I must first assure you, that he is not acquainted with my intention. It is to permit me to accompany him to see my father-in-law, king Schahzaman.”

“Whatever sorrow such a separation may occasion me,” replied the king, “I cannot disapprove such a resolution; it is worthy of you, notwithstanding the fatigue you must experience from so long a journey. Go, I give my consent; but it is only on condition that you remain no longer than one year at the court of king Schahzaman. He will not, I hope, object to this proposal, and that we should each see you by turns; he his son and daughter-in-law, and I my daughter and son-in-law.” The princess announced this consent to Camaralzaman, who was much rejoiced at it, and thanked her for this new proof of her affection towards him.

The king of China gave orders for the necessary preparations for the journey, and when every thing was ready he set out with them, and accompanied them for several days. They at length separated, not without many tears being shed on either side; the king embraced them tenderly, and after having begged the prince to continue to love his daughter with the same affection he then bore her, he left them to continue their journey, and returned himself to his capital, hunting by the way.

The prince and princess had no sooner dried their tears, than they anticipated the joy that king Schahzaman would experience in seeing and embracing them, and what they also would feel at being with him.

After they had been travelling about a month, they arrived on a plain of vast extent, planted from space to space with trees, which formed a very agreeable shade. As the heat on that day was excessive, prince Camaralzaman thought it expedient to encamp on it. He asked the princess Badoura if she had any objection to it, who, in reply, said, that she was at that moment going to make the same request of him. They immediately alighted in this beautiful spot; and as soon as their tents were pitched, the princess, who had been resting in the shade, retired to hers, while Camaralzaman went to give orders to the rest of the party. In order to be more at her ease, she took off her girdle, which her women placed by her side; she then fell asleep through fatigue, and her attendants left her.

When prince Camaralzaman had given all necessary orders, and made the requisite arrangements in the camp, he returned to the tent, and as he perceived that the princess had fallen asleep, he came in and sat down, without making any noise. While he was thus sitting, with the intention of sleeping himself also, the girdle of the princess caught his eye. He examined the different diamonds and rubies with which it was enriched, one by one; and he perceived a small silk purse, sewn neatly to the girdle, and tied with a piece of twist. On touching it, he felt that it contained something hard: curious to know what it was, he opened the purse, and took out a cornelian, upon which there were different figures and characters engraven, all of which were unintelligible to him. “This cornelian,” said he to himself, “must certainly be of very great value, or my princess would never carry it about with her, and take such great care not to lose it.” In fact, this cornelian was a talisman, which the queen of China had given to her daughter to ensure her happiness, which she would ever enjoy, as long as she wore this about her.

In order to examine this talisman the better, as the tent was rather dark, prince Camaralzaman went to the outside; when, as he was holding it in his hand, a bird made a sudden dart from the air upon it and carried it away.

Nothing could exceed the astonishment and grief of the prince, when he perceived the talisman thus unexpectedly taken from him by the bird. This accident, the most afflicting that could have befallen him, and occasioned to by an ill-timed curiosity, deprived the princess of a precious gift; this reflection rendered him for some minutes motionless.

The bird having flown away with his prize alighted on the ground at a little distance, with the talisman still in his beak. Prince Camaralzaman went towards him in the hope of his dropping it; but as soon as he approached, the bird flew a little way and then stopped again. The prince continued to pursue him; the bird then swallowed the talisman and took a longer flight. He again followed him, thinking to kill him with a stone. The farther the bird got from him, the more was Camaralzaman determined not to lose sight of him and obtain the talisman.

Over hills and valleys the bird drew the prince after him for the whole day, always getting farther from the spot where he had left the princess Badoura; and at the close of day, instead of perching in a bush, in which Camaralzaman might have surprised him during the night, he flew to the top of a high tree, where he was in safety.

The prince, extremely mortified at having taken so much useless trouble, deliberated whether he should return to his camp. “But,” thought he, “how shall I return? Shall I climb the hills and traverse the valleys over which I came? Shall I not lose my way in the dusk of the evening, and will my strength hold out? And even if I could, should I venture to present myself before the princess without her talisman?” Absorbed by these disconsolate reflections, and overcome with fatigue, with hunger, thirst, and sleep, he laid down and passed the night at the foot of the tree.

The next morning Camaralzaman was awake before the bird had quitted the tree, and he no sooner saw him take his flight than he got up to pursue him, and followed him the whole of that day with as little success as he had done on the preceding one, eating occasionally of the herbs and fruits he met with in his way. He did the same till the tenth day, always keeping his eye on the bird, and sleeping at night at the foot of the tree where it perched on its highest branches.

On the eleventh day, the bird constantly flying on, and Camaralzaman as constantly pursuing, they arrived at a large city. When the bird was near the walls, he rose very high above them, and bending his flight to the other side, the prince entirely lost sight of him, and with him the hope of ever recovering the talisman of the princess Badoura.

Afflicted as he was in so many ways, and hopeless of procuring relief to his sorrows, he entered the city, which was built on the sea-shore, with a very fine harbour. He walked for a considerable time along the streets, not knowing either where he was, or where to go; at length he arrived at the harbour. Still more uncertain what to do, he walked along the shore, till he came to the gate of a garden, which was open, when he stopped. The gardener, who was a good old man, engaged with his labour, happened to raise his head at the same moment; he had scarcely perceived him, and known him to be a stranger and a mussulman, before he invited him to go in quickly and shut the gate. Camaralzaman did as he desired, and going up to the gardener, asked him why he had made him take this precaution. “It is,” replied the gardener, “because I see that you are a stranger just arrived, and a mussulman; and this city is inhabited for the most part by idolaters, who have a mortal aversion against mussulmen, and treat even the few that are here very ill, who profess the religion of our prophet. You, I suppose, are ignorant of this circumstance, and I look on it as a miracle, that you should have proceeded so far as this without meeting with any disagreeable adventure. In fact, these idolaters are above all things attentive to observe mussulmen strangers who arrive; and to make them fall into some snare, if they are not aware of their wickedness. I praise God, that he has conducted you into a place of safety.”

Camaralzaman thanked this good man very gratefully for the retreat he so generously offered to shelter him from insult. He was going to say more, but the gardener interrupted him: “Let us have no more compliments,” said he, “you are fatigued, and you must want food; come and rest yourself. He took him into his little house, and after the prince had eaten a sufficiency of what the gardener had set before him, with a cordiality that quite won his heart, he begged of him to have the goodness to tell him the reason of his coming.

Camaralzaman satisfied his curiosity, and when he had finished his story, in which he disguised nothing, he asked, in his turn, by what means he might get back to the dominions of the king, his father; “For,” added he, “were I to attempt to rejoin the princess, how should I find her, after eleven days, that I have been separated from her by so extraordinary an adventure. How do I know even that she still exists?” At this sorrowful reflection he could not avoid bursting into tears.

In answer to what the prince had asked, the gardener told him, that the city he was then in, was a whole year’s journey distant from those countries where mussulmen lived, and which were governed by princes of their religion; but that by sea he might reach the isle of Ebony in a much shorter time; and that from thence it would be more easy to pass to the Islands of the Children of Khaledan: that every year a merchant ship sailed to the Isle of Ebony, and that he might avail himself of that opportunity to return from thence to the Islands of the Children of Khaledan. “If you had arrived some days sooner,” continued he, “you might have embarked in that which sailed this year. But if you will wait till that of next year sails, and like to live with me, I offer you my house, such as it is, with all my heart.”

Prince Camaralzaman esteemed himself very fortunate in having thus met with an asylum, in a place where he neither knew any one, nor had any interest to form acquaintances. He accepted the offer, and remained with the gardener; and while he waited the departure of a merchant vessel for the Isle of Ebony, he employed himself in working in the garden during the day; and the nights, when nothing prevented his thoughts from fixing on his dear princess Badoura, he passed in sighs, tears, and lamentations. We will leave him in this place to return to the princess Badoura, whom we left sleeping in her tent.

This princess slept for some time, and on waking was surprised that prince Camaralzaman was not with her. She called her women, and asked them if they knew where he was. Whilst they were assuring her that they had seen him go into the tent, but had not observed his quitting it, she perceived, on taking up her girdle, that the little bag was open, and that the talisman was no longer in it. She did not doubt that the prince had taken it out to examine it, and that he would bring it back. She expected him till night with the greatest impatience, and could not comprehend what could oblige him to be absent from her so long. When she perceived that night was come on, and that it was already quite dark, and yet he did not return, she gave herself up to the deepest affliction. She uttered a thousand curses, both on the talisman and on him who made it; and if respect had not restrained her tongue, she would even have indulged in imprecations against the queen, her mother, for having made her so fatal a present. Although she was distracted at this event, so much the more afflicting, as she could form no conception why the talisman should be the cause of the prince’s departure, she did not lose her presence of mind, but, on the contrary, formed a courageous design, not common with people of her sex.

None, but the princess and her women, knew of Camaralzaman’s disappearance; for at that time his people had all retired, and were sleeping in their tents. As she feared they might betray her if his absence came to their knowledge, she endeavoured to subdue her grief, and commanded her women not to say or do any thing that might create the slightest suspicion. She then changed her dress for one of Camaralzaman’s, whom she resembled so strongly, that his people supposed it to be him on the following morning, when she made her appearance, and commanded them to pack up the baggage, and proceed on their journey. When all was ready, she made one of her women take her place in the litter, and she herself mounted her horse, and they set off.

After a journey of several months by land, as well as by sea, the princess, who had continued the disguise of prince Camaralzaman, in order to reach the Islands of the Children of Khaledan, arrived at the capital of the Isle of Ebony, the reigning king of which was named Armanos. As those of her people, who disembarked the first to seek a lodging for her, had published in the town, that the vessel which was just arrived bore prince Camaralzaman, who was returning from a long voyage, and whom bad weather had obliged to make for this port, the intelligence soon reached the palace of the king.

King Armanos, accompanied by the greatest part of his court, immediately set out to receive the princess, and met her just as she had left the vessel, and was going to the lodging that was engaged for her. He received her as the son of a king who was his friend and ally, with whom he had always lived on terms of amity, and conducted her to his palace, where he lodged her and her whole suit, notwithstanding her earnest entreaties to be permitted to have a lodging to herself. He conferred upon her all the honors imaginable, besides regaling her for three days with extraordinary magnificence.

When the three days were expired, king Armanos finding that the princess, whom he still supposed to be prince Camaralzaman, talked of re-embarking, and continuing her voyage, and being quite charmed with a prince who appeared to him so handsome and well-made, and possessed of so much wit and knowledge, spoke to her in private. “Prince,” said he, “at the advanced age to which you see I am arrived, with little hope of living much longer, I endure the mortification of not having a son, to whom I can bequeath my kingdom. Heaven has bestowed on me one only daughter, who is possessed of such beauty as cannot be matched but with a prince of such high birth and such mental as well as personal accomplishments as distinguish you. Instead, therefore, of preparing to return to your own country, accept her from my hands, together with my crown, which I from this moment resign in your favor, and remain with us. It is now time for me to repose, after having borne the weight of it for so many years; I cannot do it with more satisfaction to myself, than at a period when I am likely to see my state governed by so worthy a successor.”

This generous offer of the king of the Island of Ebony, to give his only daughter in marriage to the princess Badoura, who, being a woman, could not accept her, and of giving up to her all his dominions, occasioned her a degree of embarrassment which she little expected. After having told the king that she was Camaralzaman, and having supported the character with so much plausibility, she thought it would be unworthy of a princess of her rank to undeceive him, and to declare, that instead of being the prince himself, she was only his wife. But if she refused him, she had just reason to fear, from the extreme desire he had evinced for the completion of the marriage, that he might change his friendship and good-will towards her into enmity and hatred, and might even attempt her life. Besides which, she could not be certain that she should find Camaralzaman at the court of king Schahzaman, his father.

These considerations, together with that of acquiring a kingdom for the prince, her husband, in case she should ever rejoin him, determined Badoura to accept the proposals of king Armanos. Having, therefore, remained for some minutes without speaking, she thus replied, her face being at the same time overspread with blushes, which the king attributed to her modesty, “Sire, I am under infinite obligations to your majesty, for the good opinion you have conceived of my person, and for the honor you do me, by conferring on me so great a favor, which I am by no means deserving of, yet dare not refuse. But, Sire,” added she, “I cannot accept so great an alliance, except on condition, that your majesty will assist me with your counsels; and that I undertake nothing that you shall not previously have approved of.”

The marriage being thus agreed on and concluded, the ceremony of the nuptials was postponed to the following day; and the princess Badoura took that opportunity of acquainting her officers, who still supposed her to be prince Camaralzaman, of what was to take place, that they might not be astonished at it; and she assured them, that the princess Badoura had given her consent. She spoke of it to her women also, charging them to continue faithful to the secret.

The king of the Island of Ebony, overjoyed at having acquired a son-in-law, with whom he was so well satisfied, assembled his council on the morrow, and declared, that he bestowed the princess, his daughter, in marriage, on prince Camaralzaman, whom he had taken with him, and seated next him; that he resigned his crown to him, and enjoined them to accept him as their king, and to pay him homage. When he had concluded, he descended from the throne, and made the princess Badoura ascend and take his place, where she received the oaths of fidelity and allegiance from the principal nobles, who were present.

At the conclusion of the council, the new king was solemnly proclaimed throughout the city; rejoicings for several days were ordered, and couriers dispatched to all parts of the kingdom, that the same ceremonies and the same demonstrations of joy might be observed.

In the evening, the whole palace was in festivity, and the princess Haiatalnefous, for this was the name of the daughter of the king of the Island of Ebony, was conducted to the princess Badoura, whom every one supposed to be a man, with a magnificence truly royal. The ceremonies being completed, they were left alone, and retired to rest.

The next morning, while the princess Badoura received the compliments of a large assembly of courtiers on her marriage and accession to the throne, king Armanos and his queen repaired to the apartment of the new queen, their daughter, to inquire how she passed the night. Instead of making any reply, she fixed her eyes on the ground, and by the expression of sorrow which overspread her countenance, plainly showed, that she was dissatisfied.

In order to console the princess Haiatalnefous, the king said to her, “My dear daughter, let not this afflict you; when prince Camaralzaman landed here, he only sought to return, as soon as possible, to king Schahzaman, his father. Although we have prevented him from putting his design in execution, by means, with which he must be well satisfied, we must nevertheless conclude, that he feels much disappointment at being so suddenly deprived even of the hope of ever seeing him again, or any one belonging to his family. You may, therefore, expect, when these emotions of filial tenderness are a little subsided, that he will behave towards you as a good husband.”

The princess Badoura, under the assumed name of Camaralzaman, and king of the island of Ebony, passed the whole of that day, not only in receiving the compliments of her court, but also in reviewing the regular troops belonging to the household, and in several other royal functions, with a dignity and ability which acquired her the approbation of all those who witnessed it.

The night was advanced, when she entered the apartment of queen Haiatalnefous, and she soon perceived, by the restraint with which the latter received her, that she recollected the preceding night. She endeavoured to dissipate her sadness by a long conversation, that she held with her, and in which she employed all her eloquence, of which she had a considerable share, to persuade her that she loved her excessively. She at last gave her time to go to bed, and during this interval, she began to say a prayer; but she remained so long thus employed, that Haiatalnefous fell asleep. She then ceased from praying, and lay down by her side, without waking her, as much afflicted at the necessity she was under of acting a character which did not become her, as the loss of her beloved Camaralzaman, whom she unceasingly lamented. She arose the next morning at break of day, before Haiatalnefous awoke, and went to the council, dressed in the royal robes.

King Armanos did not fail to see the queen, his daughter, again on that day, and he found her in tears. He required no further proof, to be satisfied of the cause of her affliction. Quite indignant at this affront, for such he conceived it, the cause of which he could not comprehend; “Daughter,” said he, “have patience for one night more; I have elevated your husband to my throne, but I shall find the means of abasing him, and of banishing him from hence with shame and ignominy, if he does not behave to you properly. In my present anger, at seeing you treated with such neglect, I do not know whether I shall be satisfied with so moderate a punishment. It is not to you, but to my person that he offers so unpardonable an affront.”

The princess Badoura returned to the chamber of Haiatalnefous as late that evening as on the preceding one. She conversed with her in the same manner, and was then going to say her prayer, while she went to bed; but Haiatalnefous prevented her, and obliged her to sit down again. “What!” said she, “I see you intend to treat me this night as you did the two former ones. Tell me, I entreat you, in what I can have displeased you; I, who not only love, but adore you, and esteem myself the happiest of all the princesses of my rank, for having so amiable a prince as you are for my husband? Any other besides me would have a good opportunity of revenge by abandoning you to your luckless fate for so indignant an affront to my person; but even did I not love you as I do, I am too compassionate for the misfortunes even of those who are totally indifferent to me, not to warn you, that the king, my father, is extremely irritated with your mode of proceeding; and that he only suspends his anger till to-morrow, when you will feel its just effects, if you continue this usage of me. I conjure you not to drive a princess to despair, who cannot avoid loving you.”

This speech occasioned inexpressible embarrassment to the princess Badoura. She could not doubt the sincerity of Haiatalnefous; the coolness which king Armanos had shown her on that day, fully proved his displeasure. The only method that occurred to her of justifying her conduct, was to confess her sex to Haiatalnefous. But although she had foreseen that she should be obliged to make this declaration, yet the uncertainty, whether this princess would take it in good part made her tremble. But at last, when she reflected that if prince Camaralzaman was still alive, he must necessarily stop at the Isle of Ebony, in his way to the dominions of Schahzaman, that she ought to preserve herself for him, and that she could only do it by discovering herself to the princess Haiatalnefous, she hazarded this confession.

As Badoura had remained silent and confused, Haiatalnefous, becoming impatient, was going to continue, when she prevented her by these words: “Too amiable and charming princess,” said she, “I confess I am in fault; and I freely condemn myself: but I hope you will pardon me; and that you will not violate the secret I am going to entrust you with for my justification.” At the same moment Badoura uncovered her bosom: “See, princess,” continued she, “if a woman and a princess, such as you are yourself, does not deserve your pardon; I am persuaded you will grant it with good-will when I shall have related to you my history; and above all, when you are made acquainted with the misfortune which has obliged me to act a deceitful part.”

When the princess Badoura had concluded her narration, and made herself known to the princess of the Isle of Ebony, she entreated her a second time not to betray her secret, and to agree to continue the deceit, and pretend, that she was really her husband, until the arrival of prince Camaralzaman, whom she hoped shortly to see again.

“Princess,” replied Haiatalnefous, “it would indeed be a singular destiny, if so happy an union as yours has been, should be of such short duration, after a mutual affection, conceived and preserved with so many miraculous adventures. I join my wishes to yours, that Heaven may soon re-unite you. Be assured, in the mean time, that I will most religiously preserve the secret you have entrusted me with. I shall feel the greatest pleasure at being the only person in the great kingdom of the Isle of Ebony, who really knows you, while you govern it with the wisdom you have displayed at the commencement of your reign. I asked you to love me, but now I declare to you that I shall be fully satisfied, if you do not refuse me your friendship.” After this conversation, the two princesses tenderly embraced, and with a thousand demonstrations of reciprocal friendship, they lay down to rest.

It was a custom in this island, that the consummation of royal marriages should be made known to the public. The princesses, however, found some means of overcoming this difficulty; and not only the female attendants of the princess Haiatalnefous were the next morning deceived, but also king Armanos, the queen, his consort, and his whole court. And from this time the princess Badoura continued to govern the kingdom in great tranquillity, to the complete satisfaction of the king and all his subjects.

While these things were in this situation in the Isle of Ebony between the princess Badoura and Haiatalnefous, king Armanos, the queen, the court, and the rest of the people in the kingdom, prince Camaralzaman was still in the city of idolaters, with the gardener, who had offered him a retreat.

One morning very early, while the prince was preparing to work in the garden, as was his usual custom, the good old gardener prevented him. “The idolaters,” said he to him, “have a grand festival to-day, and as they abstain from all kinds of labour, to pass it in public assemblies and rejoicings, they will not suffer mussulmen either to work; and the latter, to preserve peace and amity with them, enter into their amusements, and are present at the various spectacles, which are well worthy of notice: so you may allow yourself a little rest to-day. I shall leave you here, and as the time approaches for the merchant vessel, which I mentioned to you, to sail for the Island of Ebony; I am going to see some friends, and will inquire of them what day it is to set sail, and at the same time I will arrange matters for your embarking on it.” The gardener put on his best dress and went out.

When prince Camaralzaman found himself alone, instead of partaking of the public rejoicings which enlivened the whole city, the state of inactivity he remained in brought to his mind in stronger colours the sad recollection of his ever beloved princess. Absorbed by his melancholy reflections, he sighed and moaned as he walked along the garden; when the noise made by two birds, who had perched on a tree near him, attracting his attention, inclined him to lift up his head and stop.

Camaralzaman observed that these birds were fighting desperately, pecking each other with their beaks, and in a few minutes he saw one of them fall dead at the foot of a tree. The bird who remained conqueror resumed his flight, and soon disappeared.

At the same moment, two other birds of a larger size, who had seen the combat from a distance, arrived from a different quarter, and alighted, one at the head, the other at the feet of the deceased, looked at him for a considerable time, shaking their heads in a way which showed their grief, and then dug a grave for him with their claws, in which they buried him.

As soon as the birds had again filled the grave with the earth, they flew away, and a short time after returned, holding in their beaks, one by the wing and the other by a claw, the criminal bird, who uttered dreadful screams, and made violent efforts to escape. They brought him to the grave of the bird he had in his rage destroyed, and there, sacrificing him to the just punishment he merited for the cruel murder he had committed, they deprived him of life by pecking him with their beaks. They then tore open his body, drew out the entrails, and leaving the corpse on the ground, flew away.

Camaralzaman remained in silent admiration the whole time this surprising spectacle continued. He approached the tree where the scene had taken place, and casting his eyes on the entrails, which lay scattered on the ground, he perceived something red appearing out of the stomach of the bird that had been torn to pieces. He took up the mangled remains of the body, and taking out the red substance which had attracted his notice, he found it to be the talisman of the princess Badoura, his dear and tenderly beloved princess, which had cost him so much anxiety, pain, and regret, since this bird had flown away with it. “Cruel bird,” cried he, looking at it, “you delighted in evil actions, and I have no little cause to complain of the grief you have occasioned me. But in proportion to what I have suffered through you, so much do I wish well to those who have revenged my injuries by revenging the death of their companion.”

It is not possible to express the joy of prince Camaralzaman at this adventure. “Dearest princess,” he exclaimed again, “this fortunate moment, in which I thus redeem what is so valuable to you, is no doubt a happy presage that announces my meeting with you in the same unexpected manner, and perhaps even sooner than I dare to hope. Blessed be the day in which I taste such happiness, and which, at the same time, flatters me with the delightful prospect of the greatest pleasure I can enjoy.”

As he finished these words Camaralzaman kissed the talisman, and, wrapping it up carefully, tied it round his arm. During his extreme affliction he had passed almost every night without closing his eyes, and in the midst of tormenting reflections. He slept very tranquilly the whole of that which succeeded this happy event; and the next morning at break of day, putting on his working dress, he went to the gardener for his orders, who begged him to cut and root up a particular tree, which he pointed out to him, as being old and no longer bearing fruit.

Camaralzaman took an axe, and set to work. As he was cutting a part of the root, he struck something, which seemed to resist, and made a loud noise. He removed the earth and discovered a large plate of brass, under which he found a stair-case with ten steps. He immediately descended, and when he had reached the bottom, he saw himself in a sort of cave, or vault, about fifteen feet square, in which he counted fifty large bronze jars, ranged round it, each with a cover. He uncovered them all, one after the other, and found them filled with gold dust. He then left the vault, quite overjoyed at having discovered so rich a treasure; he replaced the plate over the staircase, and continued to root up the tree, while he waited for the gardener’s return.

The gardener had been informed on the preceding day, that the vessel, which sailed annually to the Isle of Ebony, was to depart in a very few days; but those who had given him this intelligence, could not acquaint him with the precise day; they promised, however, to do so on the morrow. He had been to gain the information he wanted, and returned with a countenance which displayed the joy he felt at being the bearer of such good news to Camaralzaman.” “My son,” said he to him, for by his great age he claimed the privilege of addressing the prince in such familiar terms, “rejoice, and hold yourself in readiness to embark in three days; the vessel will sail on that day without fail, and I have agreed with the captain about your passage and departure.”

“In my present situation,” replied Camaralzaman, “you could not announce to me any thing of so agreeable a nature. But, in return, I have to communicate to you also a piece of news, which will give you great pleasure. Take the trouble of following me, and you will see the good fortune that Heaven sends you.” Camaralzaman conducted the gardener to the spot, where he had rooted up the tree, and made him go down into the vault; when he had shown him the number of jars it contained, all filled with gold dust, he expressed his joy, that God had thus recompensed his virtue, and all the fatigue and pain he had undergone for so many years.

“What do you mean?” replied the gardener. “Do you suppose, then, that I will possess myself of all this treasure? No, it is all your own; I have no pretensions to any part of it. During eighty years that I have worked in this garden since my father’s death, I have never chanced to discover it. It is a sign that it was destined for you alone, since God permitted you to find it; it is more appropriate to a prince, like you, than to me, who am on the brink of the grave, and want nothing more. God sends it you very opportunely, at the time that you are about to return to the states which are to belong to you, and where you will make a good use of it.”

Prince Camaralzaman would not give up to the gardener in generosity, and they had a great contest on this point. He, at length, solemnly protested that he would not touch any of the gold, unless the gardener retained half for his share, to which he with some difficulty consented; and they divided the jars, twenty-five to each.

The division being made, “My son,” said the gardener, “this is not enough; we must now devise some plan for embarking these riches on the vessel, and taking them with you so secretly as not to give any suspicion of them, otherwise you might run a risk of losing them. There are no olives in the Isle of Ebony, and those, which are taken from here, are in great request. As you know I have a good provision of those I have gathered from my own garden, you must take the fifty jars, and fill them half way with the gold dust, and the other half with olives up to the top, and we will have them taken to the ship, when you yourself embark.

Camaralzaman adopted this advice, and employed himself the rest of the day in filling and arranging the fifty jars; and as he feared that he might lose the talisman of the princess Badoura by wearing it constantly on his arm, he had the precaution to put it in one of these jars, on which he set a mark to know it again. When he had completed his work, and the jars were ready for removal, as night was approaching, he went home with the gardener, and entering into conversation with him, related the battle of the two birds, and the circumstances attending this adventure, by which he had recovered the talisman of the princess Badoura; the gardener was not less surprised than rejoiced at this account, for his sake.

Whether it was on account of his great age, or that he had taken too much exercise on that day, the gardener passed a bad night; his illness increased on the following day, and on the third morning he found himself still worse. As soon as it was day, the captain of the vessel himself, together with some of his seamen, came and knocked at the garden gate. Camaralzaman opened it, and they inquired for the passenger who was to embark on board their vessel. “I am he,” replied the prince: “the gardener, who took my passage, is ill and cannot speak to you; however, pray come in and take away these jars of olives, together with my baggage, and I will follow you as soon as I have taken my leave of him.”

The seamen carried away his jars and baggage, and on leaving Camaralzaman desired him to follow them immediately; “The wind is fair,” added the captain, “and I only wait for you to set sail.”

As soon as the captain and seamen were gone, Camaralzaman returned to the gardener to bid him farewell, and thank him for all the good offices he had received from him; but he found him at the point of death, and he had scarcely obtained from him the profession of his faith, according to the custom of good mussulmen, on the article of death, than he saw him expire.

The prince being under the necessity of embarking immediately, used the utmost diligence in performing the last duties to the deceased. He washed the body, wrapped it in the sepulchral clothes, and having dug a grave in the garden, for as Mahometans were barely tolerated in the city of idolaters, they had no public cemetery, and buried it himself, which employed him till the close of the day. He then set out, without losing any more time, to embark; and to use great dispatch, he took the key of the garden with him, intending to deliver it to the proprietor; or, if he could not accomplish that, to give it to some trusty person, in the presence of witnesses, to remit it to him. But when he arrived at the harbour, he was informed that the ship had weighed anchor some time, and it was already out of sight. They added, that it had waited for him three full hours before it set sail.

As you may suppose, Sire, Camaralzaman was vexed and distressed to the utmost degree, at finding himself obliged to remain in a country, where he had no motive for wishing to form any acquaintance, and to wait another year before the opportunity he had just lost, would again present itself. What mortified him still more was, that he had parted with the talisman of the princess Badoura, which he now gave up for lost. He had no other method to pursue, but to return to the garden he had left, to rent it of the landlord to whom it belonged, and to continue the cultivation of it, while he deplored his misfortune. As he could not support the fatigue of all the labour it required, he hired a boy to assist him; and that he might not lose the other share of the treasure, which came to him by the death of the gardener, who had died without heirs, he put the gold dust into fifty other jars, and covered them with olives as he had done before, that he might take them with him, when the time came for him to embark.

While prince Camaralzaman was beginning another year of pain, sorrow, and impatience, the vessel continued its voyage with a favorable wind, and arrived without any misfortune al the capital of the Isle of Ebony.

As the palace was on the sea-shore, the new king, or rather the princess Badoura, who perceived the vessel, while sailing into port, with all its flags flying, inquired what ship it was, and was told, that it came every year from the city of idolaters at that season, and that it was in general laden with very rich merchandize.

The princess, who in the midst of all the state and splendor that surrounded her, had her mind constantly occupied with the idea of Camaralzaman, conceived, that he might have embarked on board that vessel, and the thought occurred to her of going to meet him when he landed, not intending to make herself known to him, for she was convinced he would not recognise her, but to observe him, and take the measures she thought most proper for their mutual discovery. Under pretence therefore of inspecting the merchandize, and even of being the first to see and to choose the most valuable for herself, she ordered a horse to be brought her. She went to the harbour, accompanied by several officers, who happened to be with her, and she arrived at the moment that the captain came on shore. She desired him to come to her, and inquired of him from whence he had sailed, how long he had been at sea, what good or unfortunate incidents he had met with during his voyage, if he had amongst his passengers any stranger of distinction, and above all with what his vessel was laden.

The captain gave satisfactory answers to all these questions; as for the passengers, he assured her there were none besides the merchants, who were accustomed to trade thither, and that they brought very rich stuffs from different countries, linens of the finest texture, painted as well as plain, precious stones, musk, ambergris, camphor, civet, spices, medicinal drugs, olives, and several other articles.

The princess Badoura happened to be passionately fond of olives. She had no sooner heard them mentioned, than she said to the captain, “I will take all you have on board; order them to be unladen immediately, that I may make the bargain for them. As for the other merchandize, you will inform the owners to bring me the most beautiful and valuable of their goods, before they show them to any one.”

“Sire,” replied the captain, who took her for the king of the Isle of Ebony, which in fact she was, in her feigned character, “there are fifty large jars of olives, but they belong to a merchant, who remained behind. I had informed him of my departure, and even waited for him some time. But as I found he did not come, and that his delay prevented my profiting by a favorable wind, I lost all patience, and set sail.”—“Let them be put ashore nevertheless,” replied the princess, “this shall not prevent our making the bargain.”

The captain sent his boat to the ship, and it soon returned, bringing the jars of olives. The princess inquired what the value of the fifty jars might be in the Isle of Ebony; “Sire,” replied the captain, “the merchant is very poor; your majesty will confer a great obligation on him by giving him a thousand pieces of silver.”—“That he may be perfectly satisfied,” said the princess, “and in consideration of his great poverty, you shall have a thousand pieces of gold counted out to you, which you will take care to give him.” She gave orders for the payment of this sum, and after she had desired the jars to be taken away, she returned to the palace.

As night approached, the princess Badoura retired to the interior palace, and went to the apartment of the princess Haiatalnefous, where she had the fifty jars of olives brought to her. She had opened one to taste them, and to eat of them herself; and poured some into a dish, when, conceive her astonishment, at finding the olives mixed with gold dust. “What a wonderful adventure!” exclaimed she. She immediately ordered the other jars to be opened, and emptied in her presence by the women of Haiatalnefous, and her surprise increased, as she perceived that the olives in each jar were mixed with the gold dust. But when that was emptied in which Camaralzaman had deposited the talisman, her emotions on seeing it were so strong, that she was quite overcome, and fainted away.

The princess Haiatalnefous and her women ran to her assistance, and by throwing water on her face, at length brought her to herself. When she had recovered her senses, she took up the talisman, and kissed it several times; but as she did not choose to say any thing before the princess’s women, who were ignorant of her disguise, and as it was time to retire to rest, she dismissed them. “Princess,” said she to Haiatalnefous, as soon as they were alone, “after what I have related to you of my adventures you no doubt guessed, that it was on beholding this talisman that I fainted. It is mine, and the fatal cause of the separation that has taken place between my beloved husband, prince Camaralzaman, and myself. It was the occasion of an event so painful for both, and I am certain it will be the means of our speedy re-union.”

The next morning, as soon as day had appeared, the princess Badoura sent for the captain of the vessel. When he was come, she said to him, “I beg you to give me a more satisfactory account of the merchant, to whom the olives belonged, that I bought yesterday. I think you told me, that you left him behind in the city of idolaters; can you inform me what was his occupation there?”

“Sire,” replied the captain, “I can acquaint your majesty with it, as I know it for certain. I had agreed about his passage with a gardener, who was extremely old, and he told me that I should find him in his garden, the situation of which he pointed out to me, where he worked under him; this made me say to your majesty, that he was poor. I went to this very garden to seek him, and tell him that I was going to embark, and spoke to him myself.”

“If this be the case,” said the princess, “you must set sail again to-day, and return to the city of idolaters, to search for this young gardener, and bring him here, for he is my debtor; if you refuse, I declare that I will confiscate not only all the goods which belong to you, and those of the merchants you have on board, but will also make your life and that of the merchants responsible for it. At this moment, they are going by my command to place the seal on the magazines where they are deposited, and which shall not be taken off until you have delivered into my hands the young man I require. This is what I had to say to you. Go, and obey my orders.”

The captain had nothing to reply to this command, the non-execution of which was to involve him and the merchants in so severe a punishment. He imparted it to them, and they were no less anxious than himself for the immediate departure of the vessel: he stored it with water and provisions for the voyage, which was done with so much expedition, that he set sail on that very day.

The ship had a very good voyage, and the captain managed so well, as to arrive by night at the city of idolaters. When he was as near land as he thought necessary, he did not cast anchor, but while the vessel lay to, he got into his boat, and rowed to shore at a spot a little distance from the harbour, from whence he went to the garden of Camaralzaman, accompanied by six of his most resolute seamen.

The prince was not asleep; his separation from the beautiful princess of China overwhelmed him as usual with affliction, and he detested and cursed the moment when he had suffered himself to be tempted by curiosity even to touch, much more to examine her girdle. He passed, in this manner, the hours which should have been dedicated to repose, when he heard a knocking at the gate of the garden. He went half dressed to open it, and he had scarcely presented himself, when the captain and sailors, without speaking a word, seized and conducted him by main force to the boat, and took him to the ship, which set sail again as soon as they had re-embarked.

Camaralzaman, who had till then preserved a profound silence, as well as the captain and seamen, now asked the captain, whose features he recollected, what reason he had for dragging him away with so much violence. “Are you not a debtor to the king of the Island of Ebony?” inquired the captain in his turn. “I a debtor to the king of the Island of Ebony!” exclaimed Camaralzaman, with amazement, “I do not know him, I never had any dealings with him, nor even ever set my foot in his dominions.”—“You must know that matter better than I can,” replied the captain, “but you will speak to him yourself; however, remain here quietly, and have patience.”

The vessel had as successful a voyage in conducting Camaralzaman to the Isle of Ebony, as it had experienced in going for him to the city of idolaters. Although night had closed when they got into port, the captain nevertheless did not delay going on shore to take prince Camaralzaman to the palace, where he requested to be presented to the king.

The princess Badoura, who had already retired into the inner palace, was no sooner informed of his return, and of the arrival of Camaralzaman, than she went out to speak to him. As soon as she had cast her eyes on her beloved prince, for whom she had shed so many tears since their separation, she instantly recognised him, even in his labourer’s dress. As for the prince, who trembled in the presence of a king, as he believed him to be, to whom he was to answer for an imaginary debt; he had not the least idea that he was then in her presence, whom he desired so ardently to rejoin. Had the princess followed her inclinations, she would have run to him, and discovered herself by her tender embraces; but she restrained her emotions, as she thought it for the interest of both that she should continue to sustain the character of king for some time longer, before she made herself known. She contented herself with recommending him particularly to the care of an officer, who was present, charging him to be attentive, and treat him well until the following day.

When the princess Badoura had ordered every thing that related to prince Camaralzaman, she turned towards the captain, to recompence him for the important service he had rendered her, by desiring another officer to go immediately and take off the seal which had been placed on his merchandise, as well as that of the merchants, and dismissed him with a present of a rich and precious diamond, which fully repaid him the expence of the second voyage. She told him also, that he might keep the thousand pieces of gold, which had been paid for the jars of olives, and that she should know how to settle the matter with the merchant he had just brought her.

She at length returned to the apartment of the princess of the Isle of Ebony, to whom she related the subject of her joy; begging her nevertheless not to disclose the secret, and entrusting her with the measures she thought it necessary to adopt, before she discovered herself to prince Camaralzaman, or acknowledged who he himself was. “There is,” added she, “so great a distance between the rank of a great prince as he is, and that of a gardener, that there might be some danger attending his passing from one of the lowest degrees of the people to the very highest, however justice might demand such an act.” Far from being faithless to her promise, the princess of the Isle of Ebony concurred with her in the design she had formed. She even assured her, that she would contribute all in her power to forward it, if she would inform her of what she wished her to do.

The next day the princess of China, under the name, habit, and authority of king of the Isle of Ebony, after taking care to have prince Camaralzaman conducted to the bath very early in the morning, and dressed in the robe of an emir, or governor of a province, introduced him into the council, where he attracted the attention of all the nobles, who were present, by his elegant and majestic air, and well-formed person.

The princess Badoura herself was charmed to see him again, as amiable as he had so often appeared to her; and she felt additional interest in extolling him to the council. After he had taken his place in the rank of emirs, according to her directions: “My lords,” said she, addressing the other emirs, “Camaralzaman, whom I this day present to you as your colleague, is not unworthy of the situation he occupies amongst you. I have had sufficient experience of his worth in my travels, to be able to answer for him; and I can assure you, that he will make himself known to, and admired by you, as much for his valour, and a thousand other good and amiable qualities, as by the superior greatness of his mind.

Camaralzaman was extremely surprised, when he heard the king of the Isle of Ebony, whom he little suspected to be a woman, much less his adored princess, call him by his name; and assure the assembly that he knew him, when he was himself convinced, that he had never met him in any place: he was still more astonished at the unexpected praise the king bestowed on him.

This praise, however, although pronounced by royal lips, did not disconcert him; he received it with a modesty that proved he deserved it, but that it did not excite his vanity. He prostrated himself before the throne of the king, and when he arose, he said, “Sire, I cannot find words to express my thanks to your majesty for the great honor you have conferred on me, much less for all your kindness. I will exert myself, to the utmost of my abilities, to deserve both the one and the other.”

When he left the council, the prince was conducted by an officer to a large mansion, which the princess Badoura had already ordered to be furnished, and prepared for his reception. He there found officers and servants ready to receive his commands, and a stable filled with very fine horses; the whole suited to the dignity of an emir, which had just been conferred on him; and when he went into his closet, his steward presented him with a coffer full of gold for his expenses. The less he was able to guess from what quarter this good fortune came, the greater was his surprise and admiration: but he never entertained the least suspicion that it was his own princess who was the cause of the whole.

At the end of two or three days, the princess Badoura, to afford Camaralzaman more frequent access to her person, as well as to raise him to higher distinction, bestowed on him the office of grand treasurer, which had become vacant. He acquitted himself in this new office with so much integrity, at the same time conferring obligations on every one, that he acquired not only the friendship of all the nobles about the court, but also won the hearts of the common people by his rectitude and generosity.

Camaralzaman would have been the happiest of men, to find himself in such high favour with a king, who, as he supposed, was an entire stranger to him, and thus to obtain the esteem of every one, which daily increased, had he possessed his princess also. But in the midst of all his splendour he never ceased lamenting her loss, and that he could gain no information respecting her in a country, where he concluded she must have passed some time, since he had been separated from her by an accident, so unfortunate for both. He might have suspected something, if the princess Badoura had retained the name of Camaralzaman, which she assumed with his dress. But when she ascended the throne, she changed it for that of Armanos, in compliment to the former king, her father-in-law. So that she was now known only by the name of King Armanos the younger, and there were only a few courtiers who remembered the name of Camaralzaman, which she bore on her first arrival at the Island of Ebony. Camaralzaman had not yet had sufficient intercourse with them to learn this circumstance; but he might in the end have been informed of it.

As the princess Badoura feared that it might so happen; and as she wished Camaralzaman to be indebted to her only for the discovery, she resolved at length to put an end to her own torments, and to those she well knew he suffered. In fact, she had remarked, that whenever she conversed with him on the affairs relating to his office, he frequently heaved deep sighs, which could only be silent addresses to her. She herself lived in a state of constant restraint, which she was determined to put a period to without further delay. Besides which, the friendship of the nobles, the zeal and affection of the people, every thing contributed to persuade her that the crown of the Island of Ebony might be placed on his head without any obstacle.

The princess Badoura had no sooner formed this resolution, in concert with the princess Haiatalnefous, than she spoke to prince Camaralzaman, in private, on the same day: “Camaralzaman,” said she, “I wish to converse with you on an affair, which will require some discussion, and on which I want your advice. As I think I cannot do it more conveniently than at night, come to me this evening; tell your people not to wait for you, and I will provide you with a bed.”

Camaralzaman did not fail to repair to the palace at the hour appointed by the princess. She took him with her into the inner palace, and having told the chief of the eunuchs, who was preparing to follow her, that she did not require his attendance, and that he had only to keep the door fastened, she conducted him into a different apartment from that of the princess Haiatalnefous, in which she was accustomed to sleep.

When the prince and princess were in a chamber, which contained a bed, and had fastened the door, the princess took the talisman out of a little box, and presented it to Camaralzaman: “It is not long since an astrologer gave me this talisman,” said she, “and as I know you to be well informed in every science, you perhaps can tell me its peculiar properties.” Camaralzaman took the talisman, and approached a light, to examine it. He no sooner recognised it, than, with a degree of surprise which delighted the princess, he exclaimed, “Ah, sire, your majesty asks me the properties of this talisman? Alas! its properties are such, as to make me die with grief and sadness, if I do not shortly find the most charming and amiable princess that was ever beheld under heaven, to whom this talisman belonged, and which was the cause of my losing her. The adventure was of so singular a nature, that the recital of it would excite your majesty’s compassion for a husband and a lover so unfortunate as I am, if you would have the patience to listen to it.”

“You will relate it to me some other time,” replied the princess, “but I am very happy,” added she, “to tell you, that I know something concerning it: wait for me here, I will return in a moment.”

Saying this, the princess went into a closet, where she took off the royal turban, and having in a few minutes put on a woman’s dress, together with the girdle she wore on the day of their separation, she returned to the chamber where she had left the prince.

Camaralzaman instantly knew his dear princess. He ran to her, and embracing her with the utmost tenderness, “Ah,” cried he, “how much I am obliged to the king for having surprised me so agreeably.”—“Do not expect to see the king again,” replied the princess, embracing him in her turn, and with tears in her eyes, “in me you behold the king: sit down, that I may explain to you this enigma.”

They seated themselves, and the princess related to Camaralzaman the resolution she had formed in the plain, where they had encamped together for the last time, when she discovered that she waited for him in vain; in what manner she had executed it until her arrival at the Isle of Ebony, where she had been obliged to marry the princess Haiatalnefous, and to accept the crown, which king Armanos had offered her in consequence of the marriage; that the princess, whose merits she spoke of in the most exaggerated terms, had received the declaration she had made of her sex in a favourable manner; and at last acquainted him with the adventure of the talisman, found in one of the jars of olives and gold dust, which she had purchased, and which had induced her to send for him to the city of idolaters.

When the princess Badoura had concluded, she begged the prince to inform her by what accident the talisman had occasioned his departure; he satisfied her curiosity, and when he had finished, he complained to her, in an affectionate manner, of her cruelty in making him languish so long a time. She gave him the reasons we have already heard, after which, as the night was far advanced, they went to bed.

They arose the next morning, as soon as it was day; the princess no longer wore the royal robe, but resumed her own dress, and when she was ready, she dispatched the chief of the eunuchs, to request king Armanos, her father-in-law, to take the trouble of coming to her apartment.

When king Armanos arrived, he was very much surprised to see a lady, who was totally unknown to him; and the grand treasurer, who was not allowed to enter the inner palace, any more than the other nobles belonging to the court. When he had taken his seat, he inquired for the king.

“Sire,” replied the princess, “yesterday I was king; to-day I am nothing more than the princess of China, the wife of the true prince Camaralzaman, who is the true son of king Schahzaman. If your majesty will have the patience to listen to our separate histories, I flatter myself you will not condemn me for having conceived and continued a deceit of so innocent a nature.” King Armanos granted her an audience, and listened to her with the utmost astonishment, from beginning to end.

When she had concluded the history of their adventures, “Sire,” added she, “although the liberty, granted by our religion to men to have several wives, is not very agreeable to our sex, yet if your majesty will consent to give the princess Haiatalnefous, your daughter, in marriage to prince Camaralzaman, I will cheerfully resign the rank and quality of queen, which properly belongs to her, and will myself be content with the second rank. Even if this preference were not her due, I should have insisted on her accepting it, after the obligation I am under to her, for having so generously kept the secret with which I entrusted her. If your majesty’s determination depends upon her consent, I have already obtained that, and am certain she will be happy.”

King Armanos listened with every mark of admiration to this discourse of the princess Badoura; and when she had finished speaking, he turned to prince Camaralzaman, “My son,” said he to him, “since the princess Badoura, your wife, whom I had hitherto considered as my son-in-law, in consequence of a deception which I know not how to complain of, has offered to share your bed with my daughter, I have nothing to do but to inquire if you also are willing to marry her, and will accept the crown, which the princess Badoura would well deserve to wear for the rest of her life, if she did not prefer resigning it through her love for you.”—“Sire,” replied Camaralzaman, “however strong my desire of seeing the king, my father, may be, the obligations I owe to your majesty and to the princess Haiatalnefous are so great and powerful, that I cannot refuse you any thing.”

Camaralzaman was proclaimed king, and married the same day with the greatest magnificence; and he was thoroughly satisfied with the beauty, wit, and affection of the princess Haiatalnefous.

The two queens continued to live together in the same friendship and union which they had hitherto done, and were each well contented with the equality which king Camaralzaman observed in his conduct towards them, in sharing his bed with them alternately.

They each presented him with a son in the same year, and nearly at the same period, and the birth of the two princes was celebrated by public rejoicings. Camaralzaman gave the name of Amgiad, or “the most glorious,” to the first, whom the queen Badoura had borne, and that of Assad, or “the most happy,” to him whom the queen Haiatalnefous had brought into the world.

THE HISTORY

OF PRINCE AMGIAD, AND OF PRINCE ASSAD.

These two princes were brought up with great care. And when they were of a proper age, they had each the same governor, and the same masters in all those sciences and branches of the polite arts which king Camaralzaman wished them to be skilled in. The same person also taught them both the same personal exercises. The great regard they showed for each other, even from their infancy, produced a certain uniformity in all their thoughts and actions, which in itself tended still to augment their friendship.

When they were far enough advanced in years for each of them to have a separate house and establishment, they were so strongly attached to each other, that they requested their father to suffer them to have but one between them. They obtained their wishes; and in this manner they had the same officers appointed for each, the same attendants, the same equipage, the same apartment, and the same table. Camaralzaman indeed insensibly placed so implicit a confidence both in their ability and their ideas of rectitude, that, when they were about nineteen years old, he did not hesitate to appoint them alternately to preside at the council, whenever he was for a few days engaged in hunting.

As these two princes were of equal beauty, both in face and person, and had always been esteemed so from their infancy, the two queens felt an almost incredible attachment to them; yet it nevertheless happened, that the princess Badoura had a greater affection for Assad, the son of queen Haiatalnefous, than she had for Amgiad, her own son: and in the same manner queen Haiatalnefous was much fonder of Amgiad than she was of her own son Assad.

The queens each thought at first that this affection only proceeded from the great friendship they had for each other. But as the princes advanced in age, this regard, which commenced in friendship, changed to a more tender feeling, and at length became the most violent love. The princes, indeed, appeared in their eyes possessed of so many accomplishments, that they were absolutely blinded and led away by their charms. All the infamy of their passion was well known to them, and they made the greatest efforts to resist it: but the freedom and familiarity with which they saw the princes every day, and the continued habit they always had of admiring them from their earliest infancy, of praising them, and of caressing them, which it was scarcely in their power to break themselves of, inflamed their passions to such a degree, that they could get no rest, and lost all their appetite. To heighten their misfortune, as well as that of the princes, the latter had not, so much were they ever accustomed to their manners, the slightest suspicion of this hateful and horrid attachment.

As the two queens had not entrusted each other with the secret of their passion, and as neither of them had the audacity openly to make a declaration of it in person to the prince whom she loved, they both agreed, though unknown to each other, to explain it by letter. And in order to execute this fatal design, they took advantage of the absence of king Camaralzaman, who was gone for a few days on a hunting party.

The day after the king’s departure, prince Amgiad presided at the council, and was employed two or three hours in the afternoon in hearing complaints and administering justice. As he came out from the council, and was going back to the palace, an eunuch took him aside, and gave him a letter from queen Haiatalnefous. Amgiad immediately opened it, and read its contents with the greatest degree of horror. “What,” cried he to the eunuch, the moment he had perused it, and drawing his sabre, “is this the fidelity you owe to your king and master?” And, in saying this, he struck off his head.

He had no sooner done this, than Amgiad went in the greatest possible rage to find his mother, queen Badoura, and with an air that plainly showed his anger, held out the letter to her, and informed her of the contents; first telling her from whom it came. Instead, however, of listening to him, the queen herself began to be angry. “Be assured, my son,” she replied, “that what you tell me is nothing but a calumnious falsehood. Queen Haiatalnefous is both prudent and wise, and indeed I consider it a great act of boldness in you to speak against her with so much insolence.” To this speech of the queen, the prince said, “You are both equally wicked, and were it not for the respect I owe to the king, my father, this day should be the last which Haiatalnefous has to live.”

From the manner in which prince Amgiad conducted himself, queen Badoura might easily judge what she had to expect from prince Assad, who was equally virtuous, and who would not, therefore, receive the similar declaration more favorably, which she intended to make to him. This, however, did not prevent her from pursuing her detestable plan; the next day, therefore, she wrote a letter to him, which she entrusted to an old woman, who had free admission into the palace.

This old woman chose the moment that prince Assad left the council, where he went to preside in turn, as a proper opportunity to execute her commission. The prince took the letter, and without even giving himself time to finish the perusal of it, he was so transported with rage, that he drew his sabre, and punished the old woman as she deserved. He then ran to the apartment of queen Haiatalnefous, his mother, with the letter in his hand. He was going to show it her, but she did not give him time, either for that, or even to open his lips. “I know what you want of me,” she cried, “but you are equally as impertinent as your brother Amgiad. Go, retire; and never again appear in my presence.”

Assad was in the utmost astonishment at these words, which he was totally unprepared for: and they put him into so violent a rage, that he was upon the point of showing the most direful marks of it; he, however, had the resolution to restrain himself, and retired without reply, lest any thing should escape him, unworthy of his own greatness of soul. As prince Amgiad had not mentioned his having received a letter the day before, Assad went to his brother to chide him for his silence, and to mingle his own grief with his; for from what his own mother said, he easily conjectured she was not less criminal than queen Badoura.

The two queens were driven almost to desperation at finding the princes possessed of so much virtue, which, instead of bringing them back to a sense of their duty, made them, in fact, renounce every natural and maternal feeling. They consulted together how they should be able to destroy their sons. They made their women believe, that the princes had themselves endeavoured to violate their persons; and attempted to pass off this trick for a reality by the tears they shed, as well as the lamentations and invectives they uttered. They went and slept in the same bed, as if the resistance they thus pretended to have made, had driven them to the greatest distress.

When king Camaralzaman returned the next day from the chase, he was in so great astonishment at finding the two queens in bed together, bathed in tears, and in a condition they so well knew how to feign, that it excited his compassion. He eagerly inquired of them what had happened to them.

To this question the cunning queens only answered by redoubling their sighs and groans, when, at length, after the greatest entreaty, queen Badoura broke silence, and said, “Considering, sire, the deep yet proper grief with which we are afflicted, we ought not even to expose ourselves to the light of the sun, after the outrage which the princes, your sons, with a brutality almost without example, have attempted. By a conspiracy, altogether unworthy of their illustrious birth, they have had the boldness and insolence during your absence to attempt our honour. We entreat your majesty not to make any further inquiries, our grief is sufficient to explain the rest.”

The king then ordered the two princes to be called, and would absolutely have killed them with his own hand, if old king Armanos, his father-in-law, who happened to be present, had not prevented him. “What, my son,” he cried out, “are you going to do? Do you wish to embrue your hands, nay your very palace, with your own blood? There are other means of punishing them, if they are really guilty of any crime.” In this manner he endeavoured to appease him, and entreated him thoroughly to examine, whether it was quite certain they had committed the crime which was laid to their charge.

It was no difficult task for Camaralzaman so far to get the better of his rage as to refrain from being the executioner of his own children. Having, however, ordered them to be arrested, he desired an emir, called Giondar, to come in the evening to him; and he then commanded him to conduct the princes to the outside of the city, in what part, and to any distance he pleased, and there to take their lives. As a proof also of having executed the orders he thus received, Giondar was not to return without their clothes.

Giondar continued travelling the whole night; and the next morning, as he got off his horse, he informed the princes, with tears in his eyes, of the order he had received. “This command, princes,” said he to them, “is most cruel; and to me it is a mortification of the most painful kind, to have been chosen for the executioner. I wish to God that I could avoid it.”—“Do your duty,” replied they, “we know well enough that you are not the cause of our death; and sincerely pardon you.” In saying this they embraced and took an eternal farewell of each other with so much tenderness and affection, that it was a long time before they could separate. Prince Assad was then the first, who prepared himself to receive his death from the hands of Giondar. “Begin with me,” said he, “that I may not have the grief of seeing my dear brother Amgiad expire.” Amgiad opposed this plan, and Giondar was unable, without again renewing his tears, to witness their amiable contest, which so evidently proved the sincerity and strength of their mutual affection.

This interesting dispute was at last terminated by their entreating Giondar to bind them both together, and place them in such a way, that they might both, as nearly as possible, receive their death at the same moment. “Do not refuse,” they said to him, “to afford two unfortunate brothers the consolation of dying together, who have, not excepting even their innocence in this affair, from their earliest infancy, possessed every thing in common.” Giondar granted the two princes what they wished. He bound them, and having placed them, as he thought, in the most convenient manner to strike off both their heads at one blow, he asked them if they had any request to make to him before their death. “There is only one thing,” answered the princes, “which we wish you to do; and that is, to assure the king, our father, upon your return, that we die innocent: but that we nevertheless do not impute to him the crime of shedding our blood. We know, indeed, that he is not acquainted with the truth of what we are accused.” Giondar promised not to fail doing what they desired, and at the same instant drew out his scimitar; his horse, who was fastened to a tree, alarmed at this action, and also at the glittering of the blade, broke his bridle, and began to gallop over the country at full speed.

This horse was very valuable, and also very richly caparisoned, and Giondar did not at all like the thoughts of losing him. Vexed, therefore, at this accident, instead of cutting off the heads of the princes, he threw down his scimitar and ran after his horse, endeavouring to catch him. The horse, who was both vigorous and playful, galloped about for some time just before Giondar, and led him, by the pursuit, close to a wood, into which he ran. The emir followed him; when the neighing of the horse disturbed a lion, who was asleep. The lion instantly roused himself, but instead of pursuing the horse, he ran directly at Giondar, as soon as he perceived him.

He then thought no more of his horse, but was in the greatest distress how to save his own life. He endeavoured to avoid the attack of the lion, who never lost sight of him, and kept pursuing him among the trees. “God,” said he to himself in this extremity, “would not have inflicted this punishment upon me, if the princes, whom I have been ordered to kill, were not innocent. Unfortunately, too, I have not my scimitar to defend myself with.”

During the absence of Giondar, the two princes experienced the most burning thirst, brought on by the fear of death, which they felt, notwithstanding their manly and generous resolution to submit to the cruel order of their father. Prince Amgiad then observed to his brother that they were not far from a spring of water, and proposed to him to unbind themselves and go and drink. “It is not worth the trouble, my brother,” said Assad, “to quench our thirst for the few moments we have to live: we shall have to support it only for a short time longer.” Without, however, paying any attention to this speech, Amgiad unbound both himself and his brother, though against the inclination of the latter. They went to the spring; and when they had thus refreshed themselves they heard the roaring of the lion, accompanied by the most piercing cries, issue from the wood into which Giondar had run after his horse. Amgiad instantly took up the scimitar which Giondar had thrown down. “Brother,” he cried out, “let us hasten to the assistance of the unfortunate Giondar; perhaps we may arrive in time to deliver him from the danger he seems to be in.”

The two princes lost no time; and they arrived at the very instant in which the lion had pulled Giondar down to the ground. No sooner did the animal observe prince Amgiad approaching with his scimitar in his hand, than he let his prey go and ran at him with the greatest fury. The prince waited to receive him with intrepidity and coolness, and gave him a blow, with so much strength and skill, that the lion fell instantly dead at his feet.

As soon as Giondar perceived that he was indebted for his life to the two princes, he threw himself at their feet, and thanked them for the great favor and assistance they had shown him, in a manner that evinced the strongest gratitude. “Princes,” said he to them when he got up, while his tears fell upon their hands, “God forbid, that I should ever attempt to take your lives after the essential help you have afforded me in saving my own. It shall never be said, that the emir Giondar was capable of such black ingratitude.”

“The service we have done you,” replied the princes, “ought by no means to prevent you from executing your orders. Go and take your horse; and let us return to the spot where you left us.” They had now no difficulty in catching the horse, whose alarm and spirit was much abated, and who stopped of himself. In spite, however, of every thing they could urge to Giondar, as they were returning towards the spring, either by entreaty or prayer, they could not persuade him to be the instrument of their death. “The only thing that I take the liberty to ask of you,” said he, “and which I beg you not to refuse, is to accommodate yourselves as well as you can with my clothes between you, and to let me have yours; and then to save yourselves at such a distance, that the king, your father, may never again even hear your names mentioned.”

The princes at length complied with all his wishes; and after having given him both their dresses, they put on as much as he could spare of his clothes. Giondar then obliged them to take whatever money he had about him, and departed.

After the emir had left the princes, he passed through the wood, where he dipped their clothes in the blood of the lion, and then continued his way to the capital of the Isle of Ebony. On his arrival, king Camaralzaman asked him if he had faithfully executed the orders he had received. “Sire,” replied Giondar, presenting the bloody habits of the two princes to him, “behold the proofs.”—“Inform me,” said the king, “in what manner they behaved on suffering the punishment I ordered to be inflicted on them.”—“They received it, sire,” answered Giondar, “with the most exemplary fortitude; and with such perfect resignation to the decrees of God, as fully proved the sincerity of their belief in their religion. Above all, they showed towards your majesty the greatest respect, and most entire submission to your order for their deaths. “We die innocent,” they exclaimed, “but we do not murmur at our fate. We receive our death from the hands of God, and we heartily forgive the king our father. We well know he is ignorant of the truth!” Camaralzaman was sensibly affected at the account given by Giondar. He then thought he would examine the clothes of his sons, and began by feeling in the pockets of Amgiad; where he found a letter, which he opened and read. No sooner did he discover, not only by the handwriting, but by a small lock of hair which was within side, that it came from queen Haiatalnefous, than he absolutely groaned aloud. He then, with trembling hands, examined those of prince Assad, and finding there the letter of queen Badoura, his astonishment had such a violent and sudden effect upon him, that he fainted.

Never did any one show greater signs of grief than did Camaralzaman when he recovered his senses. “What have you been guilty of, O barbarous father,” he exclaimed, “you have even destroyed your own offspring. Innocent sons! could not your sense, your modesty, your obedience, your entire submission to his wishes, nor even your virtues, defend you from his rage? Blind misguided parent, do you think that the earth ought even to bear you after so execrable a crime? I have brought this abomination on myself; and it is the punishment which God has inflicted upon me for not persevering in my hatred against women, which I possessed from my very birth. I will not, ye detestable women, wash away your crime with your blood; no, you are not even worthy of my anger: but may heaven itself pour destruction on my head if ever I see you again!”

The king kept his oath most religiously. He ordered, on the very same day, the two queens to be each conveyed to a separate apartment, where they always remained well guarded; and, during the rest of his life he never went near them.

While Camaralzaman was thus afflicting himself for the loss of the princes, his sons, of which he was himself the cause by his too precipitate conduct, the two princes wandered about the most desert places; endeavouring to avoid every trace of human habitations, for fear of meeting with any living being. They supported themselves upon herbs and wild fruits, and drank only bad rain water, which they found in the excavations and holes of rocks. And when night approached, they slept only by turns, in order to guard against wild beasts.

At the end of about a month, they came to the foot of a dreadfully steep mountain, composed entirely of a sort of black stone, and, as it appeared to them, quite inaccessible. At. length, however, they perceived a path; but they found it so narrow and difficult, that they durst not attempt to pursue it. Through the hopes of discovering another less rugged and steep, they kept coasting, as it were, round the foot of the mountain, for about five days. All the trouble, however, that they took, was to no purpose; and, they were compelled to return to the same path they had at first neglected. It appeared to them so absolutely impracticable, that they took a long time to consult whether they should attempt to ascend it or not. They, at last, encouraged each other, and began to mount.

The farther they advanced the higher and steeper the mountain seemed to be; and they were more than once tempted to abandon their enterprise. As soon as either perceived that the other was tired, he stopped; and they took breath together. Sometimes they were both so fatigued, that all their strength failed them; they then gave up all thoughts of proceeding, and expected to die through weariness, and the consequences of exertion. Then again in a little time, as their strength returned, they acquired fresh courage, animated each other, and resumed their way.

In spite, however, of all their diligence, their perseverance, and their exertions, they were unable to reach the summit while it was day. Night overtook them, and prince Assad found himself so fatigued and worn out, that he suddenly stopped. “My dear brother,” he said to Amgiad, “I can go no farther; but must die in this spot.”—“Let us rest ourselves here,” replied Amgiad, stopping at the same time, “as long as you please, and get fresh courage and strength. You may observe, that we have not much farther to ascend; and the moon will favor our progress.”

After having rested for above half an hour, Assad made a fresh effort; and they arrived at the summit of the mountain, where they again sat down for some time. Amgiad was the first to rise, and going a little forward, he observed a tree at a short distance. He went up, and found it to be a pomegranate-tree, the branches of which were almost borne down with the weight of the fruit. A fountain, or small stream, also washed the foot of the tree. He instantly ran to inform Assad of this good news, and led him to the border of the fountain under the tree. They refreshed themselves very much by eating a pomegranate, and then fell asleep.

The next morning when the princes awoke, Amgiad said to Assad, “Let us proceed, brother, on our way; I see this mountain is much less rugged and steep on this side than it was on the other, and we have now only to descend.” Assad, however, was so fatigued with the labors of the preceding day, that it required at least three days for him entirely to recover. They passed this time in conversation, as they had done on similar occasions; all their discourse, however, constantly related to the excessive and unnatural passions of their mothers, which had reduced them to so deplorable a state. “But,” said they, “if God has declared himself in our favor in so evident a manner, we ought to bear our misfortunes with patience, and to console ourselves with the hope that they will be one day at an end.”

The three days passed away, and the brothers then pursued their journey. As the mountain on this side did not form one regular descent, but was broken by some considerable surface of even ground several times before they could arrive at its base, it took them five days to reach the plain. They at length discovered a large city, the sight of which exceedingly delighted them, “Do you not think, my brother,” said Amgiad to Assad, “that it would be better for you to remain in some place without the town, where, on my return, I shall be able to find you, while I go and learn in what country we are, what is the name of the place, and what language is spoken there? When I come back, too, I will bring some fresh provisions with me. It is, therefore, I think, much the best that we do not go together, in case there should be any danger.”—“I highly approve of your opinion,” replied Assad, “it is both prudent and wise; but, my dear brother, if one of us must separate himself from the other for this purpose, I will never suffer you to be the person; you must permit me to undertake it. What agony should I not endure, were any accident to happen to you!”—“But, brother,” answered Amgiad, “ought not I to fear the very same thing on your account which you do for me? I entreat you, therefore, to suffer me to go; and do you wait patiently for me in this place.”—“I will never permit it,” said Assad, “and if any thing should happen to me, I shall, at least, have the consolation of knowing that you are in safety.” Amgiad was at length obliged to consent, and he sat down under some trees at the foot of the mountain.

Prince Assad took some money out of the purse, of which Amgiad had the charge, and continued his journey to the town. He had not walked far in the first street he came to, before he met with a venerable looking old man, well dressed, and with a cane in his hand. As he did not doubt but that he was a person of some consequence, and, therefore, one not likely to deceive him, he accosted him. “I shall be much obliged to you, sir,” said Assad, “if you will inform me which is the way to the market-place.”

The old man looked at the prince with a smiling countenance, and said to him, “My son, you seem to be a stranger; otherwise surely you would not put that question to me.”—“Yes, sir,” replied Assad, “I am indeed a stranger.”—“You are welcome,” added the old man, “and our country ought to esteem itself highly honored, that a young man of such an appearance as yours, takes the trouble to come and visit it. Pray inform me what business takes you to the public market-place?”—“Sir,” replied Assad, “it is near two months since my brother and I set out from a very distant country. We have been all this time on our journey, and arrived here only yesterday. My brother was so much fatigued with the length of the way, that he remains at the bottom of the mountain, while I am come to inquire about, and purchase some provisions for us both.”

“You could not possibly have arrived, my son,” replied the old man, “more opportunely, and I heartily rejoice at it, from my regard for you and your brother. I have this very day given a great entertainment to many of my friends, and there is a great quantity of provisions left untouched by any one. Come home, therefore, with me, and I will give you abundance to eat, and when you shall have satisfied yourself, I will add as much more as will be sufficient for yourself and brother for many days. You have no occasion, therefore, to take the trouble of going and spending your money in the market; travellers, you know, have seldom too much. Besides, while you are satisfying your hunger, I will inform you of all the peculiarities and customs of our city, which I am better able to do than most people. A person like me, who has been invested with all the most honorable offices with distinction and credit to himself, ought not to be ignorant of them. You may, indeed, think yourself particularly fortunate in having addressing yourself to me, in preference to any other person; for I am truly sorry to say, that all our inhabitants are not like myself; some of them, I assure you, are very wicked. Come then, and I will show you the difference between an honest man, as I am, and those who boast of their character without possessing any qualification to entitle them to a good one.”—“I am infinitely obliged to you,” answered prince Assad, “for the kindness and good intentions you express for me. I put myself entirely under your protection, and am ready to go wherever you please.”

The old man continued walking on, with the prince by his side, laughing in his sleeve all the time; and for fear Assad should perceive it, he conversed with him on many subjects, that he might continue to have the same good opinion of him he at first had formed. Among other things, he said, “I must confess to you, that it is a fortunate circumstance, that you addressed me in preference to any other person. I thank God that I have met you; you will know why I say this so earnestly when you have got to my house.”

The old man at length arrived at home, and introduced Assad into a large room, where he saw forty old men, sitting in a circle, round a lighted fire, to which they were paying their adorations. Prince Assad felt not less horror at thus seeing human beings, so far deprived of their reason, as to offer that reverence to the creature in preference to the Creator, than he experienced fear at seeing himself so deceived, and in such an abominable and wicked place.

While the prince stood quite motionless in the spot where he was, the artful old man, who had brought him, saluted the other forty. “Fervent and devout adorers of fire,” said he to them, “this is a most happy day for us. Where is Gazban?” added he, “let him come in.” As these words were spoken in a loud tone of voice, a black who heard them, without the room, immediately made his appearance. This black, who was in fact Gasban, no sooner perceived the disconsolate Assad, than he understood for what purpose he was called. He ran towards him, and with a blow that he gave him, knocked him down; he then bound his arms with the most surprising quickness. He had no sooner done this, than the old man called out, “Carry him below, and do not fail to tell my daughters, Bostana and Cavama, to take particular care, and give him enough of the bastinado every day, with only one piece of bread night and morning for him to subsist upon. This will be quite enough for his mere existence till the departure of the vessel for the blue sea, and the mountain of fire; we will offer him as a most acceptable sacrifice to our divinity.”

The old man had no sooner given these cruel orders, that Gazban seized Assad in the most rough and brutal manner, and made him go down under the room, and after leading him through several doors, they came to a dungeon, into which they descended by twenty steps, and in which the black fastened him by his legs to a large and very heavy chain. As soon as he had done this, Gazban went to inform the old man’s daughters; their father had, however, already spoken to them himself. “My daughters,” he said to them, “go down below, and bestow the bastinado in the manner you know that every mussulman, whom I make captive, ought to receive it; and do not spare him. You cannot, by any better means, evince, that you are true worshippers of fire.”

Bostana and Cavama, having been brought up with the greatest detestation of all mussulmen, accepted this office with joy. They immediately went down to the dungeon, and having stripped Assad, they beat him so inhumanly, that he was covered with blood, and at last fainted. After this merciless action, they placed a piece of bread and a jar of water by his side, and left him. It was a long time before the prince returned to his senses, and he then only shed torrents of tears, in deploring his miserable fate; consoling himself, however, with the idea, that this misfortune had not happened to his brother Amgiad.

In the mean time, prince Amgiad waited for his brother at the foot of the mountain till sun-set with the greatest impatience. When he found, that one, two, three, and even four hours of the night were gone, and that Assad did not make his appearance, he began to be in the greatest agitation, and even despair. He passed the night in this most distressing and anxious state, and as soon as day appeared, he set out towards the town. He was at first very much astonished at seeing so few mussulmen. He stopped the first he met, and asked him what was the name of the place. He was informed, it was called the city of the Magi, because the Magi, who were idolaters of fire, resided in great numbers in it, and that there were very few mussulmen. He inquired also how far they reckoned it to the Isle of Ebony; when he was told for answer, that by sea it was about four months voyage, and a year’s journey by land. The person, to whom he had addressed himself, after having satisfied him in these particulars, abruptly left him, and continued his road, as he was in haste.

Amgiad, who had not been more than six weeks in coming from the Isle of Ebony with his brother Assad, could not comprehend how they had come so far in so short a time, unless it were by enchantment, or that the road over the mountain which they had traversed was much shorter, though not at all frequented, on account of its difficulty and danger. In walking about the town, he stopped at the shop of a tailor, whom, by his dress, he knew to be a mussulman, as he had also known the former person whom he had accosted. After having made his compliments to him, he sat down and informed him of the cause of the great distress he was in.

When prince Amgiad had finished, the tailor said to him, “If your brother has fallen into the hands of any one of the Magi, you may make up your mind never to see him again. He is gone past recovery; and I advise you to console yourself, and only to endeavour to preserve yourself from the same disgraceful fate. To assist you in this, you may, if you please, remain with me; and I will inform you of all the cunning and artful tricks of the Magi, in order that you may be upon your guard against them, when you go out.” Amgiad was greatly afflicted at the loss of his brother. He accepted the tailor’s offer, and thanked him a thousand times for the kindness he showed him.

This prince did not go out of the house for a whole month except in company with the tailor. At the end of this time he risked going alone to the bath. As he returned, he passed through a street, where he did not see a single person, except a lady whom he met, and who came up to him.

This lady, observing him to be a handsome and well-made young man, and fresh from the bath, lifted up her veil, and asked him with a smiling countenance where he was going; casting at the same time a most enticing glance on him. Amgiad was unable to resist the appearance of so many charms, and in reply said, “I am going to my own house, or to yours, whichever you like best.”—“Sir,” answered the lady, with an engaging smile, “ladies of my rank and disposition never carry men home with them, they only accompany them to their houses.”

Amgiad was in the greatest embarrassment at this answer, which he did not in the least expect. He was afraid of taking the liberty to carry her to the house of his host, who would be much scandalized at it, and he should thus run the risk also of losing his protection, which was so necessary in a town where so many precautions were to be taken. The little experience, also, he had in the town, made him ignorant of any place to which he might carry her; he could not, however, resolve to let his good fortune escape him. In this uncertain state he determined to leave every thing to chance; and without answering the lady a word, he went on, and she followed him.

Prince Amgiad walked on for a long time from street to street, from one cross way to another, and from square to square. They were at last both greatly fatigued with walking so much, when they came down a street, which was terminated by a large door, belonging to a house of considerable appearance, with a bench, or seat, on each side of it. Amgiad sat down on one to take breath, and the lady, even more tired than he, sat down on the other.

“Is this your house?” said she to prince Amgiad, as soon as he was seated.—“You see it is, madam,” replied the prince.—“Why do you not then open the door?” added she, “What do you wait for?”—“My charming creature,” answered Amgiad, “it is because I have not the key. I left it with my slave, to whom I gave some commission; and he is not yet returned from executing it. And as I ordered him after that to go and purchase some provisions for a good dinner, I am afraid that we shall have to wait a considerable time.”

The difficulty in which the prince found himself in thus endeavoring to complete his adventure, began to damp his passion, and make him repent of his enterprise. He therefore made use of that evasive pretence, in hopes that the lady would take offence at it, and in her anger would leave him, to go and seek her fortune in some other place; but he was mistaken. “What an impertinent slave is yours,” said she, “to make you wait thus; I will chastise him myself as he deserves, if you do not punish him well when he comes back. It is not indeed quite the thing for me to remain here alone at the door with a man.” Having said this, she got up, and took a large stone, in order to break the lock, which, according to the custom of that country, was made of wood, and not very strong.

Amgiad knew not what to do, nor how to prevent her intention. “Madam,” he cried, “what are you going to do? Do me the favor to have a little more patience.”—“What are you afraid of?” said she. “Is not the house your own? There is no great harm in breaking a wooden lock; and its place is easily supplied.” She then broke the lock; and as soon as the door was open, she entered and walked on before. When the prince saw the house broken open, he gave himself up for lost. He hesitated whether he should go in, or endeavour to make his escape in order to free himself from a danger which seemed to him to be almost inevitable: and he was on the point of determining upon the latter plan, when the lady came back and found he was not going in. “What are you about,” she said, “that you do not come into your own house?”—“I am looking, madam,” he answered, “to see if my slave is returning; because I am afraid we shall find nothing ready.”—“Come, come,” added she, “we can wait much better within, than standing here in expectation of his arrival.”

The prince, though much against his will, then went into a very large and handsome paved court. From this they ascended by a few steps to a grand vestibule, where both he and the lady perceived a large open room handsomely furnished, and one table set out with numerous excellent dishes; another, covered with a variety of fine fruits; and a sideboard, well supplied with wine. When Amgiad saw these preparations, he no longer doubted that his destruction was near at hand. “It is all over with you, poor Amgiad,” said he to himself: “you will not long survive your dear brother Assad.” The lady, on the contrary, was delighted with this agreeable sight. “What, sir!” she cried, “you were fearful that nothing was ready; and you may now perceive, that your slave has even exceeded his orders, and done more than you thought? But, if I do not deceive myself, these preparations are for some other lady, and not intended for me. Well, never mind; let her come; I promise you, not to be jealous at it. The only favor that I ask of you is, that you will suffer me to wait upon you both.”

Amgiad could not help laughing at the pleasantry of the lady, notwithstanding the melancholy and painful sensations he felt. “Madam,” said he, totally absorbed in the afflicting reflections that preyed upon his mind, “I assure you, that you are much mistaken in your conjectures: this is only my common fare.” As he could not resolve to sit down at a table that had not been prepared for him, he was going to a sofa, but the lady prevented him. “What are you about?” she cried; “after having gone into the bath, you ought to be almost famished with hunger. Come, let us sit down at the table, and eat and enjoy ourselves.”

The prince was obliged to do as the lady liked. They therefore sat down, and began to eat. After the first mouthful or two, she took a bottle and glass, and poured out some wine. She drank the first glass to the health of Amgiad. Having done this, she filled the same glass again, and presented it to the prince, who did the same.

The more he reflected upon the adventure, the more astonished was he at finding not only that the master of the house did not make his appearance, but that not a single domestic was to be discovered, although the house itself was so handsome, and so richly furnished. “My happiness and good fortune will be extraordinary indeed,” said he to himself, “if the master should not make his appearance at all, and I should safely get out of this intrigue.” While these thoughts continued to be uppermost in his mind, as well as others of a more distressing nature, the lady continued to eat and to drink, from time to time obliging him also to do the same. They were already come to the fruit, when the master of the house arrived.

It was, in fact, the master of the horse to the king of the Magi, and whose name was Bahadar. This house belonged to him, but he had another, in which he commonly lived. He only made use of this, to receive three or four chosen friends in, and for this purpose every thing was brought from his other; and this was exactly what had been done that day by some of his people, who had left it only a few moments before Amgiad and the lady came there.

Bahadar himself arrived without any attendants, and in disguise, as was his usual custom, and he came rather before the time on which he had appointed to meet his friends. He was not a little surprised at finding the door of his house forced open. He went in, therefore, without making any noise; and as he heard some people talking and enjoying themselves in the eating room, he crept round by the wall, and put his head half into the room, to see who they were. And as he observed only a young man and a female, who were eating at the table, which had been prepared for himself and his friends, and that the mischief they had done was not so great as he expected, he resolved to divert himself with them.

The lady, who had her back turned towards the door, did not perceive Bahadar; but Amgiad saw him the very first instant, while he was in the act of drinking. At sight of him, he instantly changed colour, and fixed his eyes upon Bahadar, who made him a sign not to say a word, but to come and speak to him. Amgiad drank his glass, and got up. “Where are you going?” inquired the lady. “Remain here a moment, I beg of you, madam,” replied he, “I will be back instantly: a trifling business obliges me to go out.” The prince found Bahadar waiting for him in the vestibule; and they both went down into the court, that the lady might not hear their conversation.

When they were got into the court, Bahadar asked the prince by what means he came with the lady to his house; and why he had forced the door? “Sir,” replied Amgiad, “I must in your eyes appear very much to blame: but if you will have the patience to hear my story, I hope you will be convinced of my innocence.” He then went on, and related to Bahadar, in a few words, every thing as it exactly was, without disguising a single circumstance: and to prove to him that he was unable to commit so disgraceful an action as that of breaking open a house, he did not even conceal from him that he was a prince, or his motives for coming to the city of the Magi.

Bahadar, who was passionately fond of foreigners, was highly delighted at having an opportunity of obliging one of so high a rank and illustrious a quality as Amgiad. In fact, his air, his manners, his chosen and correct conversation, left no doubt of the perfect truth of his account. “Prince,” said he, “I am excessively happy, at thus finding an occasion of obliging you, from so accidental, singular, and pleasant a meeting as the present. So far from disturbing your festivity, I shall take a great pleasure in contributing all in my power to your satisfaction. Before I inform you any further on this subject, I must tell you, that I am master of the horse to the king, and that my name is Bahadar. I have another house, in which I commonly live, and this is the place where I sometimes come to enjoy myself without any ceremony with my friends. You have made your lady believe that you have a slave, though in fact you have none. I will be that slave; and that I may not distress you by this proposal, nor you wish to excuse yourself from having it so, I repeat again to you, that I particularly wish it, and you shall hereafter know my motives for this conduct.

“Go then, and again take your place, and continue to divert yourself; and when, after some time, I shall return, and shall present myself before you, dressed like a slave, quarrel well with me, and do not be afraid even of striking me. I will attend upon you all the time you are at table, and even till night. You shall both sleep here; and to-morrow morning you shall send the lady back in the most honorable manner. After this, I will endeavor to render you some services of greater consequence. Go, then, and lose no time.” Amgiad wished to make some reply, but Bahadar would not suffer it, and compelled him to go back directly to the lady.

Amgiad had scarcely returned to the room where he had left the lady, than the friends whom Bahadar had invited arrived. He requested them, as a favor, to excuse him from entertaining them at that time; giving them to understand, that they would approve of his conduct when they should know the cause, and which they should be informed of the first opportunity. They were no sooner gone, than he went out, and procured the habit of a slave, in which he dressed himself.

The prince rejoined the lady, highly delighted at having thus fortunately stumbled, as it were, upon a house belonging to a person of so much consequence, and one who treated him in this unpleasant situation so kindly. “Madam,” said he, as he again sat down to the table, “I beg you a thousand pardons for my incivility, and the bad humor in which I felt myself on account of my slave’s absence. The rascal shall pay for it well; I will let him see, that he shall not be absent so long a time with impunity.”—“Do not let this disturb you,” replied the lady, “it will only be so much the worse for him. If he commits any faults, he will suffer for it. Trouble yourself no more about him, but let us only think of enjoying ourselves.”

They continued at table with much more pleasure and delight than before, because Amgiad was no longer uneasy at any consequence that might have arisen from the indiscretion of the lady, who ought not to have forced the door, although it had even belonged to Amgiad. He did not now feel himself in a worse humor than the lady herself; and while they continued to drink more than they eat, they amused themselves with saying a thousand pleasant and humorous things, till the arrival of Bahadar, in his disguise.

He came in like a slave, who was much mortified at finding his master with company before he returned. He immediately threw himself at his feet, and kissing the ground, begged his pardon for being so late. And when he got up, he stood still with his hands crossed, and his eyes cast down, waiting for what he was commanded to do. “Impudent fellow,” cried Amgiad, in a tone and manner of voice as if he were in a great passion, “tell me, if there is in the whole world a worse slave than yourself? Where have you been? What have you been about, not to come back till this time of day?”—“My lord,” replied Bahadar, “I entreat your pardon; I am now come from executing the orders you gave me; and I did not think you would return so early.” “You are a rascal,” said the prince, “and I will give you a good beating, to teach you not to tell falsehoods, and be so negligent of your duty.” He then got up, took a stick, and gave him three or four very slight blows, after which he returned to the table.

The lady, however, was not satisfied with this trifling punishment. She got up in her turn, and taking the stick, she beat Bahadar so unmercifully, that the tears came into his eyes. Amgiad was excessively hurt at the liberty which she allowed herself; and the manner in which she had treated one of the first officers of the king. He kept calling out that she had beaten him quite enough, but she nevertheless went on striking him. “Let me alone,” she cried, “I wish to satisfy myself, and teach him not to be absent so long another time.” She continued to beat him with so much violence, that Amgiad was forced to get up, and take the stick out of her hands; which he had some difficulty in doing. When she found she could not longer beat him, she sat down in her place, and kept saying a thousand abusive things to him.

Bahadar dried his tears, and remained standing behind them to pour out their wine. As soon as he saw that they had finished both eating and drinking, he took away all the things, cleaned out the room, put every thing in its proper place; and when night came on, he lighted up the candles. Every time that he went out, or came in, the lady did not fail to scold at, threaten, and abuse him; all of which was done to the great discontent of Amgiad, who would willingly have prevented her, but was afraid of saying a word. When it was the proper time to retire to rest, Bahadar prepared a bed for them upon the sofa, and then went to another apartment, where he, in a very short time, fell asleep through the great fatigue he had undergone.

Amgiad and the lady continued in conversation for at least half an hour longer; and before they retired to rest, the latter having occasion to pass through the vestibule, heard Bahadar, who was already fast asleep, snore very loud. As she had observed that there was a scimitar hanging up in the room where they had been feasting, she went back and said to Amgiad, “I beg of you to do one thing for love of me.”—“What can I do to serve you?” replied the prince.—“Oblige me, by taking this scimitar,” added she, “and go and cut off the head of your slave.”

This proposal excited the greatest astonishment in the prince; and he had no doubt, but that the quantity of wine she had drank was the cause of it. “Madam,” he replied, “let us not regard my slave; he is not worthy of your thoughts: I have punished him, and so have you also; let this be sufficient. Besides, I am very well satisfied with him upon the whole, as he is not in general accustomed to be guilty of these faults.”—“That is of no consequence to me,” replied the enraged female, “I wish the rascal dead, and if he is not to be killed by your hands, he shall by mine.” Having said this, she took up the scimitar, drew it from the scabbard, and ran out, to put her diabolical design in execution.

Amgiad followed and overtook her in the vestibule, “You must be satisfied, madam,” he cried, “since you insist upon it. I am, however, determined, that no one but myself shall kill my slave.” As soon as she had given him the scimitar, he said, “Follow me, and do not make any noise for fear of waking him.” They went into the chamber where Bahadar was; but, instead of aiming the blow at him, Amgiad directed it at the lady, whose head fell upon Bahadar. If the noise made by the action of cutting off the lady’s head would not have disturbed his sleep, the head itself gave him a sufficient blow to rouse him. Astonished at seeing Amgiad standing by him with the bloody scimitar in his hand, and the headless body of the female upon the ground, Bahadar eagerly inquired the meaning of all this. The prince related every thing to him exactly as it had passed, and in conclusion, he added, “To prevent this enraged creature from taking your life, I could discover no other sure method than destroying her own.”

“Sir,” replied Bahadar, impressed with the greatest gratitude, “persons of your rank and generous character are not capable of giving aid to any actions of so wicked a nature. You are my preserver, and I cannot sufficiently thank you.” So great was his sense of the obligation, that he instantly embraced him. “Before the day breaks,” said he, “this body must be carried out. I will undertake to do this.” Amgiad, however, opposed it: and said that he would take that charge upon himself, as he had been the cause of her death. “A stranger in this place, like you, will not be so well able to manage it,” replied Bahadar. “Leave it to me, and do you retire to rest. If I do not return before day-break, you may be assured that the watch has surprised me. For fear this should happen, I will now make over to you, in writing, this house, and all it contains, and you may live here at your ease.”

As soon as Bahadar had written what was sufficient to transfer the house to Amgiad, and had put this deed of gift into his hands, he took the lady’s body and head, and inclosed them in a sack. He then threw it across his shoulders, and walked along, from street to street, towards the sea. He had not, however, proceeded very far, before he encountered the officer of the police, who was going his rounds in person. His attendants stopped Bahadar, and, opening the sack, discovered the body and head of the murdered lady. The magistrate, who knew the master of the horse notwithstanding his disguise, carried him home with him; as he durst not put a person of his high rank and dignity to death, without acquainting the king with it. The next morning, therefore, he took Bahadar into the royal presence. The king had no sooner been informed, from the report of the officer, of this cruel action, which, as appeared from all the circumstances, Bahadar had been guilty of, than he loaded him with abuse. “Is this the way,” he cried, “that you murder my subjects, in order to plunder them, and then throw their bodies into the sea, to prevent the discovery of your tyranny? Let them be freed from such a monster, and hang him.”

Notwithstanding the conscious innocence of Bahadar, he received the sentence of death with perfect resignation, and said not a word in his own justification. The judge reconducted him to prison, and while the gibbet was preparing, he sent criers to publish in all the quarters of the city, the justice, which was going to be executed at noon, on the grand master of the horse, for having committed murder.

Prince Amgiad, who ineffectually waited for Bahadar, was in inexpressible consternation, when he heard the crier proclaiming this sentence from the house in which he was. “If any one is to die for the death of so wicked a woman,” said he to himself, “it is not Bahadar who should suffer, but myself; and I cannot bear that the innocent should be punished for the guilty.” Without further deliberation, he went immediately to the spot, where the execution was to take place; and mingled with the crowd, which was collecting from all parts.

As soon as Amgiad saw the judge make his appearance, leading Bahadar to the gibbet, he went and presented himself before him: “My lord,” said he, “I come to declare to you, and assure you, that the master of the horse, whom you are going to lead to execution, is quite innocent of the death of the lady for which he is to suffer. It was I who committed this crime, if a crime indeed it can be called, to deprive a detestable woman of life, who was on the point of murdering the master of the horse; the thing happened thus.”

When prince Amgiad had informed the judge of the manner in which the lady had accosted him on his coming out of the bath; of her being the cause of his breaking into the house of Bahadar, and of all that had passed, until he found himself obliged to cut off her head to save the life of Bahadar, the judge suspended the execution, and took them both before the king.

The monarch desired to be informed of the whole affair by Amgiad himself; and in order to exculpate himself, as well as the master of the horse the better, he took advantage of the opportunity to relate the whole of his history, together with that of prince Assad, his brother, from the beginning up to the present time.

When the prince had concluded his narrative, the king said to him, “I am very much pleased, prince, that this affair has afforded me the opportunity of becoming acquainted with you: I not only grant you your life and pardon, together with that of the master of the horse, whose good intention towards you I commend and admire, and whom I re-establish in his office; but I also confer on you the dignity of grand vizier, to console you for the unjust, although excusable treatment you have experienced from the king, your father. As for prince Assad, I give you free permission to exercise all the authority you are invested with, to discover where he is.”

After Amgiad had thanked the king of the city of the Magi, and entered into his office of grand vizier, he made use of every method he could devise to find the prince, his brother. He proclaimed, by means of the public criers, in all quarters of the city, the promise of a considerable reward to any one who should bring Assad to him, or even give him information where he might be found. He employed people to make inquiries in all parts; but notwithstanding all his researches, he could obtain no intelligence of him.

Assad, in the mean time, was constantly chained down in the dungeon, where he had been confined through the artifice of the old man; and Bostana and Cavama, his daughters, continued to treat him in the same cruel and inhuman manner. The solemn festival of the idolaters of fire drew near: the vessel, which usually sailed to the mountain of fire, was equipped for that purpose, and a captain, named Behram, who was a zealous promoter of the religion of the Magi, undertook to lade it with merchandise. When it was ready to put to sea, Behram contrived for Assad to be placed in a case half full of merchandise, leaving sufficient space between the planks to admit air for him to breathe; and then had the case let down into the hold of the ship.

Before the vessel set sail, the grand vizier Amgiad, who had been informed that the worshippers of fire made it an annual custom to sacrifice a mussulman on the fiery mountain, and that Assad, who had probably fallen into their hands, might be the destined victim of this bloody ceremony, wished to inspect the vessel. He went in person, and ordered all the seamen and passengers to come on deck, while his people searched the vessel; but Assad was too well concealed to be discovered.

The search being concluded, the ship left the harbour, and when it was in the open sea, Behram took Assad out of his case, but kept him confined by a chain; fearing, that as he was not ignorant of the fate to which he was destined, he might, in despair, throw himself headlong into the sea.

After some days sail, the wind, which had hitherto been favorable, became suddenly contrary; and increased to such a violent degree, that it at length terminated in a furious tempest. The vessel not only lost its track, but Behram and the pilot did not know where they were; and were fearful every moment of dashing on a rock, and going to pieces. During the height of the storm, they discovered land, and Behram knew it to be the situation of the harbour and capital of queen Margiana, which occasioned him great vexation and sorrow.

The fact was, that queen Margiana, who was a mussulman, professed a mortal enmity to the idolaters of fire. She not only did not tolerate one in her dominions, but she would not even suffer any of their vessels to come into her port.

It was, however, totally out of the power of Behram to avoid making for the harbour of this city, unless he had exposed himself to the danger of being cast away on the dangerous rocks which lined the shore. In this extremity, he held a council with his pilot and seamen: “My lads,” said he, “you see the necessity we are reduced to. Of two things we must choose one; we must either be swallowed up by the waves, or take refuge with queen Margiana; but you well know her implacable hatred to our religion, and to all who profess it. She will not fail to seize our ship, and condemn us all to death, without mercy. I see but one remedy, which may perhaps succeed. I propose, that we take off the chains from the mussulman who is with us, and dress him as a slave. When queen Margiana sends for me to appear before her, and asks me what I trade in, I will tell her that I am a merchant who sells slaves, that I have sold all I had, with the exception of one only, whom I have reserved for myself, as a sort of secretary, because he can read and write. She will desire to see him; and as he is well-looking, and moreover is of her religion, she will be moved with compassion for him, and will, no doubt, propose to purchase him of me, on condition, however, that we shall remain in her harbour until the weather is fair. If you can mention a better plan, speak, and I will hear you.” The pilot and seamen applauded it very much, and it was put in practice.

Behram ordered prince Assad’s chains to be taken off; and had him neatly dressed as a slave who was in the office of writer, or secretary, to his ship, in which character he wished him to appear before the queen. Assad was scarcely dressed and prepared for his part, when the vessel entered the harbour, and cast anchor. As soon as queen Margiana, whose palace was situated near the sea, so that the garden extended along the shore, had perceived the ship at anchor in the port, she sent to the captain to come to her; and, that she might the sooner gratify her curiosity, she went to meet him in the garden.

Behram, who expected this summons, went on shore with prince Assad, having first exacted a promise from him, of confirming what he should say of his being a slave and secretary to the ship; they were conducted before the queen, and Behram, throwing himself at her feet, described to her the necessity he had been under of taking refuge in her harbour; he then told her, that he was a merchant dealing in slaves, and that Assad, whom he had brought with him, was the only one remaining; but that he kept him for himself in the capacity of secretary.

Margiana had felt a predilection for Assad from the first moment she cast her eyes on him; and she was delighted to hear that he was a slave. Determined, therefore, to purchase him at whatever price, she asked Assad his name. “Great queen,” replied he, with tears in his eyes, “Does your majesty wish to know the name I formerly bore, or that by which I am now called?”

“What, have you two names?” inquired the queen. “Alas!” resumed the prince, “I have indeed; I was formerly called Assad, or the most happy, but my name now is Motar, or one destined for sacrifice.”

Margiana, who could not understand the true meaning of this reply, supposed he applied it to his present state of slavery; and at the same time discovered he had a ready wit. “As you are a secretary,” said she afterwards, “I conclude you can write very well; let me see some of your writing.” Assad, who was provided with an ink-horn, which was fastened to his girdle, and some paper, for Behram had not forgotten these circumstances, the better to persuade the queen that he was in reality what she believed him to be, withdrew to a little distance, and wrote the following sentences, which bore some relation to his miserable condition.

The blind man avoids the ditch into which the clear-sighted stumbles. The ignorant man elevates himself to the highest dignities by speeches which signify nothing; while the wise man remains neglected as the dust, though possessed of the greatest eloquence. The mussulman is in the deepest misery, notwithstanding his riches, but the infidel triumphs in the midst of his prosperity. We must not hope that things will change; the Almighty decrees that they should remain in their present state.

Assad presented the paper to queen Margiana, who did not bestow less commendation on the morality of the sentences, than on the beauty of the writing; in short, nothing more was requisite to inflame her heart and make her feel unfeigned compassion for the unfortunate youth. She had no sooner finished reading it, than she addressed herself to Behram; “Choose which you will do,” said she, “either sell me this slave or give him to me; perhaps you may find it most to your advantage to do the latter.” Behram replied, in a very insolent manner, that he had no choice to make, for that he wanted his slave and should therefore keep him.

Margiana, irritated by this behaviour, said no more to Behram, but taking Assad by the arm, made him walk before her, till they reached the palace, when she sent to acquaint Behram, that she should confiscate all his property, and set fire to his vessel in the middle of the harbour if he attempted to pass the night there. He was obliged to return to his vessel truly mortified; and, to prepare with the utmost diligence for sailing, although the tempest had not entirely subsided.

The queen having, on her return to the palace, ordered supper to be instantly served, conducted prince Assad to her apartment, where she made him sit next her. Assad wished to decline it, saying that so great an honor was not to be conferred on a slave. “On a slave!” exclaimed the queen, “a moment since and you were one, but you are now no longer a slave. Sit down next me, I tell you, and relate your history to me; for I am certain, by what you wrote just now, as well as by the insolence of that merchant, that it must be very extraordinary.”

Prince Assad obeyed; and when he was seated, “Most powerful queen,” said he, “your majesty is not mistaken; my history is indeed extraordinary, and more so perhaps than you can imagine. The grief, the almost inconceivable torments I have undergone, and the cruel species of death to which I was destined, and from which you have delivered me with truly royal generosity, will convince you of the magnitude of your kind office, which will be indelibly impressed on my memory. But before I enter on this detail, which can only excite horror, you must permit me to begin from the earliest date of my misfortunes.”

After this preface, which very much increased the curiosity of Margiana, Assad began by acquainting her of his royal birth, together with that of his brother, prince Amgiad, of their reciprocal friendship, of the odious passion conceived for them by their mothers-in-law, which so suddenly changed into an implacable hatred, and thus became the origin of their singular adventures. He then told her of the anger of the king, his father, of the almost miraculous manner in which their lives had been preserved, and lastly, of the irreparable loss he had sustained in his brother, and the long and cruel imprisonment he was but just relieved from, only to be immolated on the fiery mountain.

When Assad had finished his relation, Margiana, more than ever irritated against the idolaters of fire, said to him, “Prince, notwithstanding the aversion I have always felt against the worshippers of fire, I have nevertheless conducted myself with great humanity towards them; but after the barbarous treatment you have experienced from them, and their execrable design of sacrificing you as a victim to the object of their idolatory, I henceforth declare implacable war against them.” She would have indulged her invectives still further on this subject, had not supper been served; and she sat down to table with prince Assad, charmed with his presence, and delighted to hear him; being already prejudiced in his favor by a rising flame, which she purposed to take an early opportunity of disclosing to him. “Prince,” said she, “you must now make up for all the fasting and bad meals which the pitiless worshippers of fire obliged you to endure. You want nourishment after so many sufferings.” Saying these and other words of the same nature, she helped him repeatedly both to eat and drink; the repast lasted a considerable time, and Assad drank some glasses more than he could well bear. When the table was cleared, Assad wished to breathe the fresh air, and took the opportunity of going out when the queen did not perceive him. He went down into the court, and seeing the gate of the garden open he entered it. Attracted by the various beauties of the spot, he walked about for some time. He at length went towards a fountain, which formed one of the principal ornaments of the garden, and washed his hands and face in it to refresh himself; then sitting down to rest himself on the lawn which bordered it, he insensibly fell asleep.

Night was approaching, and Behram, who did not wish to afford Margiana an opportunity of executing her menaces, had already weighed anchor, not a little vexed at having lost Assad, and being thus frustrated in his hope of sacrificing his victim. He endeavoured, however, to console himself with the reflection that the storm had ceased, and that a land-breeze favored his departure. As soon as he had got out of the harbour with the assistance of his boat, before he drew it up into the ship, “My lads,” said he to the sailors who were in it, “Stay a little and don’t come up yet; I am going to give you the casks to fetch water, and I will wait for you just off the shore.” The sailors, who did not know where they should be able to procure any, excused themselves from going; but Behram, while he was speaking with the queen in the garden, had remarked the fountain: “Go ashore at the garden of the palace,” said he, “get over the wall, which is not breast high, and you will find plenty of water in the bason that is in the middle of the garden.”

The sailors went on shore in the place described to them by Behram, and each having taken a cask on his shoulders, they easily got over the wall. As they approached the bason, they perceived a man lying asleep on the bank; and when they drew nearer they discovered him to be Assad. They divided into two parties; and whilst one set was filling the casks as quietly, and with the greatest dispatch possible, the other had surrounded Assad, and watched to secure him in case he should wake. He did not, however, disturb them, and when the casks were filled, and hoisted on the shoulders of those who were to carry them, the others seized him and took him away before he had time to recollect himself; they conveyed him over the wall, put him in the boat along with their casks, and rowed with all their strength to the ship. When they had nearly reached it, they cried out, with repeated bursts of joy, “Captain, order your hautboys and your drums, we bring you back your slave.”

Behram, who could not conceive how his seamen had been able to find and retake Assad, and who could not discern him in the boat, owing to the darkness of the night, waited with impatience for their coming on board to inquire what they meant; but when he saw the prince before him, he could not contain himself for joy; and without staying to be informed how they had managed to succeed in so valuable a capture, he put on his irons again, and ordering his boat to be hauled up as quickly as possible, he bent his course full sail towards the mountain of fire.

Margiana, in the mean time, was in the greatest alarm; she did not feel uneasy at first, when she perceived the absence of prince Assad, as she did not doubt he would soon return, she waited patiently for him; but finding that after a considerable time had elapsed, he did not make his appearance, she began to be very uneasy. She commanded her women to search for him, which they did, but to no purpose, and they could bring her no intelligence of him. Night came on, and she had him sought for with lights, but still as ineffectually.

In the state of impatience and alarm which Margiana experienced, she went herself to look for the prince by the light of flambeaux, and as she observed that the garden gate was open, she went in with her women, supposing he might be there. Passing near the fountain, she observed a slipper on the bank, which, when examined, she, as well as her women, knew to be one of those worn by the prince. This circumstance, added to the quantity of water spilt on the edge of the bason, led her to conclude that Behram might have taken him away by force. She immediately sent to inquire if his ship was still in the harbour; and as she was informed that he had sailed just before the night came on, that he had stopped for some time off the shore, and that his boat had been to fetch water from her garden, she instantly dispatched a messenger to the commander of ten ships of war, which were always kept in port fully equipped and ready to sail on the shortest notice, to acquaint him, that she intended to embark the following day, about an hour after sun-rise.

The commander was diligent in obeying her orders; she assembled the captains and other officers, the sailors and soldiers; and every thing was ready by the appointed hour. She embarked, and when her squadron got out to sea and was in full sail, she declared her intention to the commander, “You must use all expedition,” said she, “and pursue the merchant vessel which sailed from the harbour yesterday evening. I give it up as your prize, if you take it; but if you do not succeed, your life shall be the forfeit.”

The ten ships chased Behram’s vessel for two whole days, without being able to get within sight of it. On the third they discovered it at break of day; and by noon they had surrounded it so that it could not escape. The cruel Behram had no sooner perceived the ten vessels than he concluded it must be the squadron of queen Margiana in pursuit of him, and he immediately inflicted the bastinado on prince Assad; for he had continued that practice daily, from the time he had left the city of the Magi; and he now repeated his chastisement with more violence than usual. He was extremely embarrassed, when he found he was on the point of being surrounded on all sides. If he kept Assad, he proved himself culpable. If he deprived him of life, he was fearful that some mark might remain to discover his guilt. He had him unchained, and the prince was then made to go up from the hold of the ship, where he was confined, and appear before him. “It is thou,” said he, “who art the cause of our being pursued,” and, on saying this, he threw him into the sea.

Prince Assad could swim very well, and made use of his hands and feet with so much success, that, assisted by the waves, which bore him towards the shore, he had sufficient strength to hold out till he reached land. When he was in safety, the first thing he did was to return thanks to God for having delivered him from so great a peril, and again favoured his escape from the hands of the idolaters of fire. He then undressed himself, and having wrung the water from his clothes, he spread them on a rock to dry. This was soon effected, as well from the heat of the sun, as from that of the rock, which had received considerable warmth from the power of its rays.

He laid down for some time, deploring his miserable fate, ignorant of the country in which he was, and uncertain which way to go. He then took up his clothes, put them on, and without leaving the coast he began to proceed, and continued walking till he came to a road, which he followed. He pursued this path or road, for ten days, through a country that seemed to be without inhabitants: and in which he found nothing but wild fruits, and a few plants along the banks of the rivulets, on which he lived. He at last arrived at a town, which he immediately knew to be the city of the Magi, where he had been so ill used, and where his brother Amgiad was grand vizier. At this he was much rejoiced; but was determined to address himself to no one, whom he knew to be a worshipper of fire, but only to speak to mussulmen; for he remembered to have remarked a few of the latter as he came into the city the first time. As it was late, and he knew very well that all the shops were shut up, and that few people were abroad at that hour, he resolved to go into a burial-place, which was close to the town, and pass the night there, as there were many tombs in it that were built like mausoleums. In looking about he discovered one, of which the door was open. He went in, and determined to remain there.

We will now return to the vessel of Behram. It was not a great while after he had thrown Assad into the sea, before it was surrounded on all sides by the fleet of Margiana. He was first boarded by the ship in which the queen herself was; and as he was not able to make any resistance, Behram at her approach hauled down his sails as a mark of having surrendered.

Margiana immediately went on board the vessel, and asked Behram where the secretary was whom he had the audacity either to take away, or to make others carry him from her palace. “Queen,” replied Behram, “I swear to your majesty, that he is not on board my vessel: if you will order it to be searched you will then know my innocence.”

Margiana commanded the vessel to be searched with the greatest possible strictness; but he whom she was so desirous of finding, as much for the love she had for him, as from her natural goodness of disposition, could not be found. She was even on the point of killing Behram with her own hand; but she restrained herself, and was satisfied with confiscating the vessel and all its cargo, and putting him and all the sailors afloat in their open boat, with the chance of reaching the shore. Having landed, Behram and his crew went on, and happened to arrive at the city of the Magi on the very same night in which Assad had taken refuge in the burial-ground, and retired to the tomb. As the gate of the city was shut, he was also obliged to have recourse to the cemetery, and to find some tomb to wait in, till day appeared, and the gate was again open.

Unfortunately for Assad, Behram came to that in which he was. He went in, and saw a man asleep, with his head wrapped in his clothes. The prince awoke at the noise, and lifting up his head, demanded who was there. Behram immediately recognised him: “Ah, ah,” said he, “is it then you, who are the cause of my being ruined for the rest of my life. You have escaped being sacrificed this year, but you shall not evade it again on the following.” Having said this, he threw himself upon him, put his handkerchief into his mouth, to prevent his calling out, and then made his sailors bind him.

The next morning, as soon as the gate of the city was open, it was very easy for Behram to carry Assad back to the old man’s house, who had so completely deceived him by his cunning tricks; and by taking him through unfrequented streets, as few people were yet risen, he was sure of not being discovered. As soon as he arrived there, he took him into the same dungeon from whence he had before been brought, and then went and informed the old man of the unfortunate cause of his return, and the bad success of his voyage. The wicked wretch did not forget to impress his two daughters very strongly with the necessity of ill-treating the unfortunate prince in a still worse manner, if possible, than before.

Assad was extremely surprised at finding himself again in the same place where he had already suffered so much; and in expectation of the same tortures, from which he thought himself delivered for ever. He wept, and was lamenting the hardness of his destiny, when he saw Bostana enter the dungeon with a stick in her hand, a piece of bread, and a pitcher of water. He trembled at the sight of this merciless creature, and groaned aloud when he reflected upon the daily torments he was again to endure for another whole year, before he was to be led to his most horrible kind of death.

Bostana, however, did not treat the unfortunate Assad in so cruel a manner as she had done, when he was in this prison the former time. The lamentations, the complaints, and the continual prayers of the prince to spare him, joined to his tears, were at length so powerful, that Bostana could not avoid being softened by them, and even to mingle her tears with his. “Sir,” she said to Assad, as she again covered his shoulders, “I ask you a thousand pardons for the cruelty with which I have before treated you, and of which I have again made you feel the ill effects. Hitherto I have been afraid of disobeying my father, who is so unjustly enraged against you, and who is determined upon your destruction. But I now detest and abhor his barbarity. Console yourself, therefore, for your evils are at an end; and I am going to repair all my crimes, the enormity of which I am well aware of, by better treatment. You have hitherto looked upon me as an infidel; you must for the future regard me as a mussulman. I have already received much instruction from a female slave, who attends me; I hope that you will complete what she has begun. To prove to you my good intentions, I ask pardon of the true God for all my offences against, and ill treatment of, you; and I have full confidence, that he will discover to me the means of restoring you to your full liberty.”

This speech afforded prince Assad great consolation; he offered up his grateful thanks to God for instilling such kindness into the heart of Bostana, and converting her to the true religion. After first thanking her for the good opinion she had expressed for him, he neglected nothing that he thought would confirm her in her new opinions; not only by endeavoring to instruct her still further in the various doctrines of the mussulman religion, but even giving her a long and faithful account of himself, of all his misfortunes, and his illustrious descent. As soon as he was convinced of her firmness in the good resolutions she had taken, he asked her how she would be able to prevent her sister Cavama from becoming acquainted with this change; and also from using him so ill, when it should be her turn; “Let not that give you any pain,” replied Bostana, “I know very well how to manage, so that she shall give herself no further trouble about you.”

In fact, Bostana found some means of preventing Cavama, every time she expressed a wish to go into the dungeon. She herself, however, saw the prince very often; and instead of carrying only bread and water to him, as she was ordered, she brought him wine, and a variety of excellent food, which was prepared by twelve mussulman slaves, who attended on her. She frequently also partook of his repasts with him, and did every thing in her power to console him.

Some days after prince Assad’s return to the city of the Magi, Bostana happened to be at the door of her house, when she heard the public crier giving notice of something. As she could not understand what the crier said, because he was so far off, and as she observed him coming up towards the house, she went in, but left the door a little open and listened. She saw him walking on before the grand vizier, Amgiad, prince Assad’s brother, accompanied by several officers of state: and with a great multitude of people following them.

The crier had not gone many steps from the door before he made the following proclamation in a loud tone of voice; The most excellent and illustrious grand vizier, who is now present, comes in person to inquire after, and seek for, his dear brother, who has been separated from him for more than a year. His person and description are as follows. If any person has given him a lodging at his house, or knows where he is, his Excellency commands them to bring him to him, or to give him some information concerning him, and he promises to reward them handsomely. But if any one shall conceal and detain him, and he shall afterwards be discovered, his Excellency declares that he will punish such persons with death, together with their wives, their children, and all their family; and will also raze their houses to the ground.

Bostana no sooner heard these words than she instantly shut the door, and went to the dungeon, where Assad was. “Prince,” cried she in a joyful manner, “your misfortunes are at length terminated, follow me as quickly as possible.” Assad, whom she had released from his chains on the very first day that he had been brought back to the dungeon, followed her into the street, and when there, she instantly cried out, “Behold him, behold him.” The grand vizier, who had not proceeded far, turned round. Assad instantly recognised his brother, ran towards him, and fell into his arms. Amgiad too knew him from the first moment, and embraced him. He then made him mount the horse of one of his officers, who returned on foot, and conducted him in triumph to the palace, where he presented him to the king, who appointed him one of his viziers.

Bostana, who after this event did not wish to return to her father’s, whose house was razed to the ground the very same day, and did not leave prince Assad till he arrived at the palace, was sent to an apartment belonging to the queen. The old man, her father, and Behram, as well as all their families, being brought the next day before the king, he ordered them all to lose their heads. On this, they threw themselves at his feet, and implored his mercy. “You shall have no mercy shown you,” replied the king, “unless you renounce the adoration of fire, and embrace the mussulman religion.” By adopting this conduct, they saved their lives; and so also did Cavama, the sister of Bostana, and all their families.

In consideration of Behram’s being converted to a mussulman, and in order to give him some recompense for the loss he had before suffered, Amgiad made him one of his principal officers, and lodged him at his own house. A few days after, when Behram was made acquainted with the adventures of his benefactor Amgiad and his brother Assad, he proposed to fit out a vessel, and to carry them back to their father Camaralzaman. “There is no doubt,” he said, “but that the king is by this time convinced of your innocence, and is impatient to see you again. Should, however, that not be the case, it is very easy to be informed of it before you land, and then, should he still continue in his unjust prepossession, you will find no difficulty in returning.”

The two brothers accepted Behram’s offer. They mentioned their design to the king, who not only approved of it, but gave orders for the immediate equipment of a vessel. Behram hastened the preparations as much as possible; and when he was ready to set sail, the princes went and took leave of the king on the morning before they embarked. While they were paying their compliments, and thanking the monarch for all his kindness to them, they heard a great bustle and tumult through the whole city; and at the same moment an officer came, and said, that a very large army was approaching, and that no one could tell to whom it belonged.

Observing the alarm that this bad news gave the king, Amgiad said to him, “Although, Sire, I am now come for the purpose of resigning the office of grand vizier, with which you have honored me, I am, notwithstanding, ready to take upon myself the charge of rendering you any service in my power; and I entreat you to suffer me to go and see who this enemy is, that comes thus to attack you, in your very capital, without having first declared war.” The king begged he would, and he instantly set out with very few attendants.

It was not long before prince Amgiad discovered the army, which appeared so formidable, and continued to approach. The advanced guards, who had received their orders, gave him a favorable reception, and conducted him before a princess, who stopped, with her whole army, to hold a conference with him. Prince Amgiad made her a most profound reverence; and asked her, if she came as a friend or an enemy, and if she was an enemy, he requested to be informed what cause of complaint she had against the king, his master. “I come as a friend,” she replied, “and have no cause whatever for complaint against the king of the Magi. His dominions and mine are situated in such a manner, that it is almost impossible we can ever have any dispute together. I come only to require a slave, whose name is Assad, and who has been taken away from me by a captain belonging to this city, who is called Behram, and is the most insolent of men. And I trust your king will afford me justice, when he shall know that my name is Margiana.”

“Powerful queen,” replied Amgiad, “I am the brother of that slave whom you seem to search after with so much interest and concern. I had lost him, and have now recovered him. Come with me, and I will give him up to you, and will likewise have the honor to inform you of every other particular. The king, my master, will be delighted to see you.”

Queen Margiana then ordered her army to encamp in the spot where it then was, and accompanied prince Amgiad through the city to the palace, where he presented her to the king. When the monarch had received her in the way she deserved, prince Assad, who was present, and who knew her the moment she appeared, came and paid his compliments to her. She expressed great joy at seeing him again; when, at this very instant, some one entered, and announced to the king, that another army, much more powerful than the first, had made its appearance on the other side of the city. The king of the Magi seemed more alarmed now than he was when that belonging to Margiana came in sight, as the present appeared much the most numerous, if he might judge from the clouds of dust which its approach occasioned, and which seemed to spread itself through the whole air. “What will become of us, Amgiad?” he cried; “there is a fresh army approaching to overwhelm us.” The prince knew what the king meant; he therefore mounted his horse, and rode as fast as possible to meet this second army. He demanded of the first part of it which he encountered, to speak to their commander, and they conducted him before a king, as he instantly conjectured, from a crown, which he had upon his head. As soon as he perceived him, although at some distance, he alighted, and when he was come nearer, he prostrated himself on the ground, and asked what he wished of the king, his master.

“I am called Gaiour,” replied the monarch, “and am king of China. The desire of learning some intelligence of a daughter, named Badoura, whom many years since I gave in marriage to prince Camaralzaman, son of Schahzaman, king of the Islands of the Children of Khaledan, has been the cause of my leaving my dominions. I gave this prince leave to go and see his father, with the charge of coming to spend every other year with me, and bringing my daughter with him. I have, however, for a great length of time, been unable to hear any thing of them. Your king, therefore, will much oblige an afflicted father, if he can give him the least information on the subject.”

Prince Amgiad, who instantly knew by this speech, that it was his grandfather, kissed his hand with great tenderness, and said to him, “Your majesty will pardon this liberty, when you shall know, that I behave thus in order to pay my respects to you as mgrandfather. I am the son of Camaralzaman, at this time king of the Island of Ebony, and of queen Badoura, on whose account you are so much distressed; and I do not doubt, but that they are at this time in their dominions, in perfect health.” The king of China instantly embraced him in the most affectionate manner, so much was he delighted at thus seeing his grandson. And this very unexpected and happy meeting drew tears from the eyes of both. On asking what was the reason of his being thus in foreign country, prince Amgiad related his history, and that of his brother Assad. When it was finished, “My son,” replied the king of China, “it is not just, that two princes, so innocent as you are, should experience any further bad effects from your ill-treatment. Console yourself; I will carry back both you and your brother, and will make your peace. Go, and make my arrival known to your brother.”

While the king of China was ordering his army to encamp in the place, where prince Amgiad encountered him, the latter went back to give an account to the king of the Magi, who was waiting for him with the greatest impatience. The king was extremely surprised to hear that so powerful a monarch as the king of China had undertaken such a long and painful journey through the desire of gaining some intelligence of his daughter, and that he should be so near his capital. He immediately gave orders to have him handsomely treated, and made preparations to go and receive him in person.

In this interval, considerable clouds of dust seemed to arise from a third side of the city, and the news soon came, that a third army was approaching. This circumstance obliged the king to stop, and request Amgiad again to go and see what was the cause of it. The prince departed, and this time he took his brother Assad with him. They discovered, that this was the army of Camaralzaman, their father, who was come to search after them. He had shown signs of the greatest grief at having destroyed them, when the emir Giondar at last informed him in what manner he had preserved their lives. This made the king resolve to go and discover them, in whatever country they might be.

This afflicted father embraced the two princes with tears of joy, the first he had for a long time shed, which had not been tinged with the deepest affliction. The princes had no sooner informed him of the arrival of his father-in-law, the king of China, on the very same day, than he went with them, accompanied by a very few attendants, to see him in his camp. They had not proceeded far on their road, before they perceived a fourth army, which seemed to advance in perfect order, and to come from the side towards Persia. Camaralzaman desired his sons to go and see to whom that army belonged; and said that he would wait for them where he was. They departed immediately, and when they got up to it, they presented themselves to the king who commanded it. After saluting him with the greatest respect, they asked him his motive for coming thus near to the capital of the king of the Magi.

The grand vizier, who was present, took upon himself to return an answer. “The monarch, to whom you have addressed yourself,” he replied, “is called Schahzaman, king of the Islands of the Children of Khaledan, who has travelled for a great length of time, with all the attendants you see, in search of his son, prince Camaralzaman, who left his dominions many years ago, without making him acquainted with it. If you should happen to know any thing relative to him, you will afford the king the greatest possible pleasure by giving him the information.” To this speech the princes made no other reply than that they would come back in a little time with an answer. They then set off at full speed to Camaralzaman, to announce to him the cause of the arrival of the last army, and that it belonged to king Schahzaman, who was there in person.

Astonishment and joy, mixed with regret at having left the king, his father, without taking leave of him, had so powerful an effect upon Camaralzaman, that he absolutely fainted, as soon as he learnt that his father was so near him. He, at length, through the assistance of Amgiad and Assad, who did all they could to comfort him, returned to his senses: and when he thought he had acquired sufficient strength, he went and threw himself at his father’s feet. A more tender or affecting interview between a parent and son had hardly ever been witnessed. Schahzaman affectionately chided Camaralzaman for his unkindness in leaving him in so unfeeling and cruel a manner: and the latter showed the deepest regret and compunction at the fault, which love alone had been the cause of.

The three kings and queen Margiana continued three days at the court of the king of the Magi, who entertained them in the most magnificent and splendid manner. These three days were also remarkable for the marriage of prince Assad with queen Margiana, and prince Amgiad with Bostana, in consideration of the essential service she had afforded prince Assad. At length, the three kings and queen Margiana with her husband, each retired to their separate dominions. With respect to prince Amgiad, the king of the Magi, who was at a very advanced age, felt so strong an attachment to him, that he placed his crown upon his head. Amgiad then used all his endeavors to abolish the idolatrous worship of fire, and instead of it to establish the mussulman religion throughout his kingdom.

NOTES TO VOL. II.

Note 1. The Arabian author diverts himself in this place, at the expence of the Jews. This is the ass, which, according to the Mahometans, Esdras rode upon, when he returned from the Babylonian captivity to Jerusalem.

Note 2. In the French translation, which was adhered to in the text, there seems to be an error; 150 measures (the quantity the young man had) sold for 110 drachms, a measure, according to the Christian merchant, must amount to 16,500 drachms, whereas it is said to be only 5000; consequently the merchant’s profit, which is there stated to be only 500, at ten drachms the measure, is in fact 1500; so also the 4,530 drachms mentioned a little farther on, ought to be 15,000 drachms.

Note 3. The bezestein is a sort of covered marketplace for merchants, where the most valuable stuffs, jewels, &c. are sold.

Note 4. The fountain of Zemsem is at Mecca; and, according to the Mahometans, it is the very spring which God made to flow in favor of Hagar, when Abraham compelled her to go and find one. This water was drank through religious motives, and was frequently sent as presents to different princes, and their favorites.

Note 5. A scherif is the same as a sequin, each of which is nearly equal to ten shillings of our money.

Note 6. The year 653, means that year of the Hegira; an epoch, from which all the Mahometans reckon, and which corresponds to the year 1255 of the Christian æra. We may from hence conjecture, at least, that these tales were in existence in Arabic at that time.

Note 7. The Arabian author seems here to be in an error respecting the year 7320. The 653d year of the Hegira and the 1255 after the birth of Christ, corresponds with the 1557 of the epoch of the Seleucides, which is the same as that of Alexander the Great, and which is here denominated Iskander with the two horns, according to the Arabic mode of expression.

Note 8. The inns, or public places, where travellers and foreigners lodge, are called, “khans,” in most of the eastern nations: sometimes “caravanseras,” but these are chiefly, as their name seems to import, for the use of the caravans.

Note 9. Mostanser Billah was raised to the dignity of caliph in the 623d year of the Hegira, that is, in the year 1226 of the Christian æra. He was the 36th caliph of the race of the Abassides.

Note 10. See note 8 of the first volume.

Note 11. Almost all the eastern nations, and particularly all the Mahometans, are forbidden to drink wine after their meals.

Note 12. The Bedouins are a tribe of wandering Arabs, who live in the desert, and who constantly attack and plunder the caravans on their journey, if they are not sufficiently numerous and strong to resist them.

Note 13. The word “Schemselnihar,” in Arabic, signifies the Sun of the Day.

Note 14. The name of “Camaralzaman,” in Arabic, means the Moon of the Time, or the Moon of the Age.

END OF VOL. II.