วันอังคารที่ 13 พฤษภาคม พ.ศ. 2551

[10] "อาหรับราตรี"... 2

The Little Hunchback

In the kingdom of Kashgar, which is, as everybody knows, situated on the frontiers of Great Tartary, there
lived long ago a tailor and his wife who loved each other very much. One day, when the tailor was hard at
work, a little hunchback came and sat at the entrance of the shop, and began to sing and play his tambourine.
The tailor was amused with the antics of the fellow, and thought he would take him home to divert his wife.
The hunchback having agreed to his proposal, the tailor closed his shop and they set off together.

When they reached the house they found the table ready laid for supper, and in a very few minutes all three
were sitting before a beautiful fish which the tailor's wife had cooked with her own hands. But unluckily, the
hunchback happened to swallow a large bone, and, in spite of all the tailor and his wife could do to help him,
died of suffocation in an instant. Besides being very sorry for the poor man, the tailor and his wife were very
much frightened on their own account, for if the police came to hear of it the worthy couple ran the risk of
being thrown into prison for wilful murder. In order to prevent this dreadful calamity they both set about
inventing some plan which would throw suspicion on some one else, and at last they made up their minds that
they could do no better than select a Jewish doctor who lived close by as the author of the crime. So the tailor
picked up the hunchback by his head while his wife took his feet and carried him to the doctor's house. Then
they knocked at the door, which opened straight on to a steep staircase. A servant soon appeared, feeling her
way down the dark staircase and inquired what they wanted.

"Tell your master," said the tailor, "that we have brought a very sick man for him to cure; and," he added,
holding out some money, "give him this in advance, so that he may not feel he is wasting his time." The
servant remounted the stairs to give the message to the doctor, and the moment she was out of sight the tailor
and his wife carried the body swiftly after her, propped it up at the top of the staircase, and ran home as fast as
their legs could carry them.

Now the doctor was so delighted at the news of a patient (for he was young, and had not many of them), that
he was transported with joy.


"Get a light," he called to the servant, "and follow me as fast as you can!" and rushing out of his room he ran
towards the staircase. There he nearly fell over the body of the hunchback, and without knowing what it was
gave it such a kick that it rolled right to the bottom, and very nearly dragged the doctor after it. "A light! a
light!" he cried again, and when it was brought and he saw what he had done he was almost beside himself
with terror.

"Holy Moses!" he exclaimed, "why did I not wait for the light? I have killed the sick man whom they brought
me; and if the sacred Ass of Esdras does not come to my aid I am lost! It will not be long before I am led to
jail as a murderer."

Agitated though he was, and with reason, the doctor did not forget to shut the house door, lest some
passers-by might chance to see what had happened. He then took up the corpse and carried it into his wife's
room, nearly driving her crazy with fright.

"It is all over with us!" she wailed, "if we cannot find some means of getting the body out of the house. Once
let the sun rise and we can hide it no longer! How were you driven to commit such a terrible crime?"

"Never mind that," returned the doctor, "the thing is to find a way out of it."

For a long while the doctor and his wife continued to turn over in their minds a way of escape, but could not
find any that seemed good enough. At last the doctor gave it up altogether and resigned himself to bear the
penalty of his misfortune.

But his wife, who had twice his brains, suddenly exclaimed, "I have thought of something! Let us carry the
body on the roof of the house and lower it down the chimney of our neighbour the Mussulman." Now this
Mussulman was employed by the Sultan, and furnished his table with oil and butter. Part of his house was
occupied by a great storeroom, where rats and mice held high revel.

The doctor jumped at his wife's plan, and they took up the hunchback, and passing cords under his armpits
they let him down into the purveyor's bed-room so gently that he really seemed to be leaning against the wall.
When they felt he was touching the ground they drew up the cords and left him.

Scarcely had they got back to their own house when the purveyor entered his room. He had spent the evening
at a wedding feast, and had a lantern in his hand. In the dim light it cast he was astonished to see a man
standing in his chimney, but being naturally courageous he seized a stick and made straight for the supposed
thief. "Ah!" he cried, "so it is you, and not the rats and mice, who steal my butter. I'll take care that you don't
want to come back!"

So saying he struck him several hard blows. The corpse fell on the floor, but the man only redoubled his
blows, till at length it occurred to him it was odd that the thief should lie so still and make no resistance. Then,
finding he was quite dead, a cold fear took possession of him. "Wretch that I am," said he, "I have murdered a
man. Ah, my revenge has gone too far. Without tho help of Allah I am undone! Cursed be the goods which
have led me to my ruin." And already he felt the rope round his neck.

But when he had got over the first shock he began to think of some way out of the difficulty, and seizing the
hunchback in his arms he carried him out into the street, and leaning him against the wall of a shop he stole
back to his own house, without once looking behind him.

A few minutes before the sun rose, a rich Christian merchant, who supplied the palace with all sorts of
necessaries, left his house, after a night of feasting, to go to the bath. Though he was very drunk, he was yet
sober enough to know that the dawn was at hand, and that all good Mussulmen would shortly be going to
prayer. So he hastened his steps lest he should meet some one on his way to the mosque, who, seeing his

condition, would send him to prison as a drunkard. In his haste he jostled against the hunchback, who fell
heavily upon him, and the merchant, thinking he was being attacked by a thief, knocked him down with one
blow of his fist. He then called loudly for help, beating the fallen man all the while.

The chief policeman of the quarter came running up, and found a Christian ill-treating a Mussulman. "What
are you doing?" he asked indignantly.

"He tried to rob me," replied the merchant, "and very nearly choked me."

"Well, you have had your revenge," said the man, catching hold of his arm. "Come, be off with you!"

As he spoke he held out his hand to the hunchback to help him up, but the hunchback never moved. "Oho!" he
went on, looking closer, "so this is the way a Christian has the impudence to treat a Mussulman!" and seizing
the merchant in a firm grasp he took him to the inspector of police, who threw him into prison till the judge
should be out of bed and ready to attend to his case. All this brought the merchant to his senses, but the more
he thought of it the less he could understand how the hunchback could have died merely from the blows he
had received.

The merchant was still pondering on this subject when he was summoned before the chief of police and
questioned about his crime, which he could not deny. As the hunchback was one of the Sultan's private jesters,
the chief of police resolved to defer sentence of death until he had consulted his master. He went to the palace
to demand an audience, and told his story to the Sultan, who only answered,

"There is no pardon for a Christian who kills a Mussulman. Do your duty."

So the chief of police ordered a gallows to be erected, and sent criers to proclaim in every street in the city
that a Christian was to be hanged that day for having killed a Mussulman.

When all was ready the merchant was brought from prison and led to the foot of the gallows. The executioner
knotted the cord firmly round the unfortunate man's neck and was just about to swing him into the air, when
the Sultan's purveyor dashed through the crowd, and cried, panting, to the hangman,

"Stop, stop, don't be in such a hurry. It was not he who did the murder, it was I."

The chief of police, who was present to see that everything was in order, put several questions to the purveyor,
who told him the whole story of the death of the hunchback, and how he had carried the body to the place
where it had been found by the Christian merchant.

"You are going," he said to the chief of police, "to kill an innocent man, for it is impossible that he should
have murdered a creature who was dead already. It is bad enough for me to have slain a Mussulman without
having it on my conscience that a Christian who is guiltless should suffer through my fault."

Now the purveyor's speech had been made in a loud voice, and was heard by all the crowd, and even if he had
wished it, the chief of police could not have escaped setting the merchant free.

"Loose the cords from the Christian's neck," he commanded, turning to the executioner, "and hang this man in
his place, seeing that by his own confession he is the murderer."

The hangman did as he was bid, and was tying the cord firmly, when he was stopped by the voice of the
Jewish doctor beseeching him to pause, for he had something very important to say. When he had fought his
way through the crowd and reached the chief of police,

"Worshipful sir," he began, "this Mussulman whom you desire to hang is unworthy of death; I alone am
guilty. Last night a man and a woman who were strangers to me knocked at my door, bringing with them a
patient for me to cure. The servant opened it, but having no light was hardly able to make out their faces,
though she readily agreed to wake me and to hand me the fee for my services. While she was telling me her
story they seem to have carried the sick man to the top of the staircase and then left him there. I jumped up in
a hurry without waiting for a lantern, and in the darkness I fell against something, which tumbled headlong
down the stairs and never stopped till it reached the bottom. When I examined the body I found it was quite
dead, and the corpse was that of a hunchback Mussulman. Terrified at what we had done, my wife and I took
the body on the roof and let it down the chimney of our neighbour the purveyor, whom you were just about to
hang. The purveyor, finding him in his room, naturally thought he was a thief, and struck him such a blow that
the man fell down and lay motionless on the floor. Stooping to examine him, and finding him stone dead, the
purveyor supposed that the man had died from the blow he had received; but of course this was a mistake, as
you will see from my account, and I only am the murderer; and although I am innocent of any wish to commit
a crime, I must suffer for it all the same, or else have the blood of two Musselmans on my conscience.
Therefore send away this man, I pray you, and let me take his place, as it is I who am guilty."

On hearing the declaration of the Jewish doctor, the chief of police commanded that he should be led to the
gallows, and the Sultan's purveyor go free. The cord was placed round the Jew's neck, and his feet had already
ceased to touch the ground when the voice of the tailor was heard beseeching the executioner to pause one
moment and to listen to what he had to say.

"Oh, my lord," he cried, turning to the chief of police, "how nearly have you caused the death of three
innocent people! But if you will only have the patience to listen to my tale, you shall know who is the real
culprit. If some one has to suffer, it must be me! Yesterday, at dusk, I was working in my shop with a light
heart when the little hunchback, who was more than half drunk, came and sat in the doorway. He sang me
several songs, and then I invited him to finish the evening at my house. He accepted my invitation, and we
went away together. At supper I helped him to a slice of fish, but in eating it a bone stuck in his throat, and in
spite of all we could do he died in a few minutes. We felt deeply sorry for his death, but fearing lest we should
be held responsible, we carried the corpse to the house of the Jewish doctor. I knocked, and desired the
servant to beg her master to come down as fast as possible and see a sick man whom we had brought for him
to cure; and in order to hasten his movements I placed a piece of money in her hand as the doctor's fee.
Directly she had disappeared I dragged the body to the top of the stairs, and then hurried away with my wife
back to our house. In descending the stairs the doctor accidentally knocked over the corpse, and finding him
dead believed that he himself was the murderer. But now you know the truth set him free, and let me die in his

The chief of police and the crowd of spectators were lost in astonishment at the strange events to which the
death of the hunchback had given rise.

"Loosen the Jewish doctor," said he to the hangman, "and string up the tailor instead, since he has made
confession of his crime. Really, one cannot deny that this is a very singular story, and it deserves to be written
in letters of gold."

The executioner speedily untied the knots which confined the doctor, and was passing the cord round the neck
of the tailor, when the Sultan of Kashgar, who had missed his jester, happened to make inquiry of his officers
as to what had become of him.

"Sire," replied they, "the hunchback having drunk more than was good for him, escaped from the palace and
was seen wandering about the town, where this morning he was found dead. A man was arrested for having
caused his death, and held in custody till a gallows was erected. At the moment that he was about to suffer
punishment, first one man arrived, and then another, each accusing themselves of the murder, and this went on
for a long time, and at the present instant the chief of police is engaged in questioning a man who declares that

he alone is the true assassin."

The Sultan of Kashgar no sooner heard these words than he ordered an usher to go to the chief of police and to
bring all the persons concerned in the hunchback's death, together with the corpse, that he wished to see once
again. The usher hastened on his errand, but was only just in time, for the tailor was positively swinging in the
air, when his voice fell upon the silence of the crowd, commanding the hangman to cut down the body. The
hangman, recognising the usher as one of the king's servants, cut down the tailor, and the usher, seeing the
man was safe, sought the chief of police and gave him the Sultan's message. Accordingly, the chief of police
at once set out for the palace, taking with him the tailor, the doctor, the purveyor, and the merchant, who bore
the dead hunchback on their shoulders.

When the procession reached the palace the chief of police prostrated himself at the feet of the Sultan, and
related all that he knew of the matter. The Sultan was so much struck by the circumstances that he ordered his
private historian to write down an exact account of what had passed, so that in the years to come the
miraculous escape of the four men who had thought themselves murderers might never be forgotten.

The Sultan asked everybody concerned in the hunchback's affair to tell him their stories. Among others was a
prating barber, whose tale of one of his brothers follows.

Story of the Barber's Fifth Brother

As long as our father lived Alnaschar was very idle. Instead of working for his bread he was not ashamed to
ask for it every evening, and to support himself next day on what he had received the night before. When our
father died, worn out by age, he only left seven hundred silver drachmas to be divided amongst us, which
made one hundred for each son. Alnaschar, who had never possessed so much money in his life, was quite
puzzled to know what to do with it. After reflecting upon the matter for some time he decided to lay it out on
glasses, bottles, and things of that sort, which he would buy from a wholesale merchant. Having bought his
stock he next proceeded to look out for a small shop in a good position, where he sat down at the open door,
his wares being piled up in an uncovered basket in front of him, waiting for a customer among the passers-by.

In this attitude he remained seated, his eyes fixed on the basket, but his thoughts far away. Unknown to
himself he began to talk out loud, and a tailor, whose shop was next door to his, heard quite plainly what he
was saying.

"This basket," said Alnaschar to himself, "has cost me a hundred drachmas-- all that I possess in the world.
Now in selling the contents piece by piece I shall turn two hundred, and these hundreds I shall again lay out in
glass, which will produce four hundred. By this means I shall in course of time make four thousand drachmas,
which will easily double themselves. When I have got ten thousand I will give up the glass trade and become
a jeweller, and devote all my time to trading in pearls, diamonds, and other precious stones. At last, having all
the wealth that heart can desire, I will buy a beautiful country house, with horses and slaves, and then I will
lead a merry life and entertain my friends. At my feasts I will send for musicians and dancers from the
neighbouring town to amuse my guests. In spite of my riches I shall not, however, give up trade till I have
amassed a capital of a hundred thousand drachmas, when, having become a man of much consideration, I
shall request the hand of the grand-vizir's daughter, taking care to inform the worthy father that I have heard
favourable reports of her beauty and wit, and that I will pay down on our wedding day 3 thousand gold pieces.
Should the vizir refuse my proposal, which after all is hardly to be expected, I will seize him by the beard and
drag him to my house."

When I shall have married his daughter I will give her ten of the best eunuchs that can be found for her
service. Then I shall put on my most gorgeous robes, and mounted on a horse with a saddle of fine gold, and
its trappings blazing with diamonds, followed by a train of slaves, I shall present myself at the house of the
grand-vizir, the people casting down their eyes and bowing low as I pass along. At the foot of the grand-vizir's


staircase I shall dismount, and while my servants stand in a row to right and left I shall ascend the stairs, at the
head of which the grand-vizir will be waiting to receive me. He will then embrace me as his son-in-law, and
giving me his seat will place himself below me. This being done (as I have every reason to expect), two of my
servants will enter, each bearing a purse containing a thousand pieces of gold. One of these I shall present to
him saying, "Here are the thousand gold pieces that I offered for your daughter's hand, and here," I shall
continue, holding out the second purse, "are another thousand to show you that I am a man who is better than
his word." After hearing of such generosity the world will talk of nothing else.

I shall return home with the same pomp as I set out, and my wife will send an officer to compliment me on
my visit to her father, and I shall confer on the officer the honour of a rich dress and a handsome gift. Should
she send one to me I shall refuse it and dismiss the bearer. I shall never allow my wife to leave her rooms on
any pretext whatever without my permission, and my visits to her will be marked by all the ceremony
calculated to inspire respect. No establishment will be better ordered than mine, and I shall take care always to
be dressed in a manner suitable to my position. In the evening, when we retire to our apartments, I shall sit in
the place of honour, where I shall assume a grand demeanour and speak little, gazing straight before me, and
when my wife, lovely as the full moon, stands humbly in front of my chair I shall pretend not to see her. Then
her women will say to me, "Respected lord and master, your wife and slave is before you waiting to be
noticed. She is mortified that you never deign to look her way; she is tired of standing so long. Beg her, we
pray you, to be seated." Of course I shall give no signs of even hearing this speech, which will vex them
mightily. They will throw themselves at my feet with lamentations, and at length I will raise my head and
throw a careless glance at her, then I shall go back to my former attitude. The women will think that I am
displeased at my wife's dress and will lead her away to put on a finer one, and I on my side shall replace the
one I am wearing with another yet more splendid. They will then return to the charge, but this time it will take
much longer before they persuade me even to look at my wife. It is as well to begin on my wedding-day as I
mean to go on for the rest of our lives.

The next day she will complain to her mother of the way she has been treated, which will fill my heart with
joy. Her mother will come to seek me, and, kissing my hands with respect, will say, "My lord" (for she could
not dare to risk my anger by using the familiar title of "son-in-law"), "My lord, do not, I implore you, refuse to
look upon my daughter or to approach her. She only lives to please you, and loves you with all her soul." But I
shall pay no more heed to my mother-in-law's words than I did to those of the women. Again she will beseech
me to listen to her entreaties, throwing herself this time at my feet, but all to no purpose. Then, putting a glass
of wine into my wife's hand, she will say to her, "There, present that to him yourself, he cannot have the
cruelty to reject anything offered by so beautiful a hand," and my wife will take it and offer it to me
tremblingly with tears in her eyes, but I shall look in the other direction. This will cause her to weep still
more, and she will hold out the glass crying, "Adorable husband, never shall I cease my prayers till you have
done me the favour to drink." Sick of her importunities, these words will goad me to fury. I shall dart an angry
look at her and give her a sharp blow on the cheek, at the same time giving her a kick so violent that she will
stagger across the room and fall on to the sofa.

"My brother," pursued the barber, "was so much absorbed in his dreams that he actually did give a kick with
his foot, which unluckily hit the basket of glass. It fell into the street and was instantly broken into a thousand

His neighbour the tailor, who had been listening to his visions, broke into a loud fit of laughter as he saw this

"Wretched man!" he cried, "you ought to die of shame at behaving so to a young wife who has done nothing
to you. You must be a brute for her tears and prayers not to touch your heart. If I were the grand-vizir I would
order you a hundred blows from a bullock whip, and would have you led round the town accompanied by a
herald who should proclaim your crimes."


The accident, so fatal to all his profits, had restored my brother to his senses, and seeing that the mischief had
been caused by his own insufferable pride, he rent his clothes and tore his hair, and lamented himself so
loudly that the passers-by stopped to listen. It was a Friday, so these were more numerous than usual. Some
pitied Alnaschar, others only laughed at him, but the vanity which had gone to his head had disappeared with
his basket of glass, and he was loudly bewailing his folly when a lady, evidently a person of consideration,
rode by on a mule. She stopped and inquired what was the matter, and why the man wept. They told her that
he was a poor man who had laid out all his money on this basket of glass, which was now broken. On hearing
the cause of these loud wails the lady turned to her attendant and said to him, "Give him whatever you have
got with you." The man obeyed, and placed in my brother's hands a purse containing five hundred pieces of
gold. Alnaschar almost died of joy on receiving it. He blessed the lady a thousand times, and, shutting up his
shop where he had no longer anything to do, he returned home.

He was still absorbed in contemplating his good fortune, when a knock came to his door, and on opening it he
found an old woman standing outside.

"My son," she said, "I have a favour to ask of you. It is the hour of prayer and I have not yet washed myself.
Let me, I beg you, enter your house, and give me water."

My brother, although the old woman was a stranger to him, did not hesitate to do as she wished. He gave her a
vessel of water and then went back to his place and his thoughts, and with his mind busy over his last
adventure, he put his gold into a long and narrow purse, which he could easily carry in his belt. During this
time the old woman was busy over her prayers, and when she had finished she came and prostrated herself
twice before my brother, and then rising called down endless blessings on his head. Observing her shabby
clothes, my brother thought that her gratitude was in reality a hint that he should give her some money to buy
some new ones, so he held out two pieces of gold. The old woman started back in surprise as if she had
received an insult. "Good heavens!" she exclaimed, "what is the meaning of this? Is it possible that you take
me, my lord, for one of those miserable creatures who force their way into houses to beg for alms? Take back
your money. I am thankful to say I do not need it, for I belong to a beautiful lady who is very rich and gives
me everything I want."

My brother was not clever enough to detect that the old woman had merely refused the two pieces of money
he had offered her in order to get more, but he inquired if she could procure him the pleasure of seeing this

"Willingly," she replied; "and she will be charmed to marry you, and to make you the master of all her wealth.
So pick up your money and follow me."

Delighted at the thought that he had found so easily both a fortune and a beautiful wife, my brother asked no
more questions, but concealing his purse, with the money the lady had given him, in the folds of his dress, he
set out joyfully with his guide.

They walked for some distance till the old woman stopped at a large house, where she knocked. The door was
opened by a young Greek slave, and the old woman led my brother across a well-paved court into a
well-furnished hall. Here she left him to inform her mistress of his presence, and as the day was hot he flung
himself on a pile of cushions and took off his heavy turban. In a few minutes there entered a lady, and my
brother perceived at the first glance that she was even more beautiful and more richly dressed than he had
expected. He rose from his seat, but the lady signed to him to sit down again and placed herself beside him.
After the usual compliments had passed between them she said, "We are not comfortable here, let us go into
another room," and passing into a smaller chamber, apparently communicating with no other, she continued to
talk to him for some time. Then rising hastily she left him, saying, "Stay where you are, I will come back in a

He waited as he was told, but instead of the lady there entered a huge black slave with a sword in his hand.
Approaching my brother with an angry countenance he exclaimed, "What business have you here?" His voice
and manner were so terrific that Alnaschar had not strength to reply, and allowed his gold to be taken from
him, and even sabre cuts to be inflicted on him without making any resistance. As soon as he was let go, he
sank on the ground powerless to move, though he still had possession of his senses. Thinking he was dead, the
black ordered the Greek slave to bring him some salt, and between them they rubbed it into his wounds, thus
giving him acute agony, though he had the presence of mind to give no sign of life. They then left him, and
their place was taken by the old woman, who dragged him to a trapdoor and threw him down into a vault
filled with the bodies of murdered men.

At first the violence of his fall caused him to lose consciousness, but luckily the salt which had been rubbed
into his wounds had by its smarting preserved his life, and little by little he regained his strength. At the end of
two days he lifted the trapdoor during the night and hid himself in the courtyard till daybreak, when he saw
the old woman leave the house in search of more prey. Luckily she did not observe him, and when she was
out of sight he stole from this nest of assassins and took refuge in my house.

I dressed his wounds and tended him carefully, and when a month had passed he was as well as ever. His one
thought was how to be revenged on that wicked old hag, and for this purpose he had a purse made large
enough to contain five hundred gold pieces, but filled it instead with bits of glass. This he tied round him with
his sash, and, disguising himself as an old woman, he took a sabre, which he hid under his dress.

One morning as he was hobbling through the streets he met his old enemy prowling to see if she could find
anyone to decoy. He went up to her and, imitating the voice of a woman, he said, "Do you happen to have a
pair of scales you could lend me? I have just come from Persia and have brought with me five hundred gold
pieces, and I am anxious to see if they are the proper weight."

"Good woman," replied the old hag, "you could not have asked anyone better. My son is a money-changer,
and if you will follow me he will weigh them for you himself. Only we must be quick or he will have gone to
his shop." So saying she led the way to the same house as before, and the door was opened by the same Greek

Again my brother was left in the hall, and the pretended son appeared under the form of the black slave.
"Miserable crone," he said to my brother, "get up and come with me," and turned to lead the way to the place
of murder. Alnaschar rose too, and drawing the sabre from under his dress dealt the black such a blow on his
neck that his head was severed from his body. My brother picked up the head with one hand, and seizing the
body with the other dragged it to the vault, when he threw it in and sent the head after it. The Greek slave,
supposing that all had passed as usual, shortly arrived with the basin of salt, but when she beheld Alnaschar
with the sabre in his hand she let the basin fall and turned to fly. My brother, however, was too quick for her,
and in another instant her head was rolling from her shoulders. The noise brought the old woman running to
see what was the matter, and he seized her before she had time to escape. "Wretch!" he cried, "do you know

"Who are you, my lord?" she replied trembling all over. "I have never seen you before."

"I am he whose house you entered to offer your hypocritical prayers. Don't you remember now?"

She flung herself on her knees to implore mercy, but he cut her in four pieces.

There remained only the lady, who was quite ignorant of all that was taking place around her. He sought her
through the house, and when at last he found her, she nearly fainted with terror at the sight of him. She begged
hard for life, which he was generous enough to give her, but he bade her to tell him how she had got into
partnership with the abominable creatures he had just put to death.

"I was once," replied she, "the wife of an honest merchant, and that old woman, whose wickedness I did not
know, used occasionally to visit me. "Madam," she said to me one day, "we have a grand wedding at our
house to-day. If you would do us the honour to be present, I am sure you would enjoy yourself." I allowed
myself to be persuaded, put on my richest dress, and took a purse with a hundred pieces of gold. Once inside
the doors I was kept by force by that dreadful black, and it is now three years that I have been here, to my
great grief."

"That horrible black must have amassed great wealth, remarked my brother.

"Such wealth," returned she, "that if you succeed in carrying it all away it will make you rich for ever. Come
and let us see how much there is."

She led Alnaschar into a chamber filled with coffers packed with gold, which he gazed at with an admiration
he was powerless to conceal. "Go," she said, "and bring men to carry them away."

My brother did not wait to be told twice, and hurried out into the streets, where he soon collected ten men.
They all came back to the house, but what was his surprise to find the door open, and the room with the chests
of gold quite empty. The lady had been cleverer than himself, and had made the best use of her time.
However, he tried to console himself by removing all the beautiful furniture, which more than made up for the
five hundred gold pieces he had lost.

Unluckily, on leaving the house, he forgot to lock the door, and the neighbours, finding the place empty,
informed the police, who next morning arrested Alnaschar as a thief. My brother tried to bribe them to let him
off, but far from listening to him they tied his hands, and forced him to walk between them to the presence of
the judge. When they had explained to the official the cause of complaint, he asked Alnaschar where he had
obtained all the furniture that he had taken to his house the day before.

"Sir," replied Alnaschar, "I am ready to tell you the whole story, but give, I pray you, your word, that I shall
run no risk of punishment."

"That I promise," said the judge. So my brother began at the beginning and related all his adventures, and how
he had avenged himself on those who had betrayed him. As to the furniture, he entreated the judge at least to
allow him to keep part to make up for the five hundred pieces of gold which had been stolen from him.

The judge, however, would say nothing about this, and lost no time in sending men to fetch away all that
Alnaschar had taken from the house. When everything had been moved and placed under his roof he ordered
my brother to leave the town and never more to enter it on peril of his life, fearing that if he returned he might
seek justice from the Caliph. Alnaschar obeyed, and was on his way to a neighbouring city when he fell in
with a band of robbers, who stripped him of his clothes and left him naked by the roadside. Hearing of his
plight, I hurried after him to console him for his misfortunes, and to dress him in my best robe. I then brought
him back disguised, under cover of night, to my house, where I have since given him all the care I bestow on
my other brothers.

The Story of the Barber's Sixth Brother

There now remains for me to relate to you the story of my sixth brother, whose name was Schacabac. Like the
rest of us, he inherited a hundred silver drachmas from our father, which he thought was a large fortune, but
through ill-luck, he soon lost it all, and was driven to beg. As he had a smooth tongue and good manners, he
really did very well in his new profession, and he devoted himself specially to making friends with the
servants in big houses, so as to gain access to their masters.


One day he was passing a splendid mansion, with a crowd of servants lounging in the courtyard. He thought
that from the appearance of the house it might yield him a rich harvest, so he entered and inquired to whom it

"My good man, where do you come from?" replied the servant. "Can't you see for yourself that it can belong
to nobody but a Barmecide?" for the Barmecides were famed for their liberality and generosity. My brother,
hearing this, asked the porters, of whom there were several, if they would give him alms. They did not refuse,
but told him politely to go in, and speak to the master himself.

My brother thanked them for their courtesy and entered the building, which was so large that it took him some
time to reach the apartments of the Barmecide. At last, in a room richly decorated with paintings, he saw an
old man with a long white beard, sitting on a sofa, who received him with such kindness that my brother was
emboldened to make his petition.

"My lord," he said, "you behold in me a poor man who only lives by the help of persons as rich and as
generous as you."

Before he could proceed further, he was stopped by the astonishment shown by the Barmecide. "Is it
possible," he cried, "that while I am in Bagdad, a man like you should be starving? That is a state of things
that must at once be put an end to! Never shall it be said that I have abandoned you, and I am sure that you, on
your part, will never abandon me."

"My lord," answered my brother, "I swear that I have not broken my fast this whole day."

"What, you are dying of hunger?" exclaimed the Barmecide. "Here, slave; bring water, that we may wash our
hands before meat!" No slave appeared, but my brother remarked that the Barmecide did not fail to rub his
hands as if the water had been poured over them.

Then he said to my brother, "Why don't you wash your hands too?" and Schacabac, supposing that it was a
joke on the part of the Barmecide (though he could see none himself), drew near, and imitated his motion.

When the Barmecide had done rubbing his hands, he raised his voice, and cried, "Set food before us at once,
we are very hungry." No food was brought, but the Barmecide pretended to help himself from a dish, and
carry a morsel to his mouth, saying as he did so, "Eat, my friend, eat, I entreat. Help yourself as freely as if
you were at home! For a starving man, you seem to have a very small appetite."

"Excuse me, my lord," replied Schacabac, imitating his gestures as before, "I really am not losing time, and I
do full justice to the repast."

"How do you like this bread?" asked the Barmecide. "I find it particularly good myself."

"Oh, my lord," answered my brother, who beheld neither meat nor bread, "never have I tasted anything so

"Eat as much as you want," said the Barmecide. "I bought the woman who makes it for five hundred pieces of
gold, so that I might never be without it."

After ordering a variety of dishes (which never came) to be placed on the table, and discussing the merits of
each one, the Barmecide declared that having dined so well, they would now proceed to take their wine. To
this my brother at first objected, declaring that it was forbidden; but on the Barmecide insisting that it was out
of the question that he should drink by himself, he consented to take a little. The Barmecide, however,
pretended to fill their glasses so often, that my brother feigned that the wine had gone into his head, and struck

the Barmecide such a blow on the head, that he fell to the ground. Indeed, he raised his hand to strike him a
second time, when the Barmecide cried out that he was mad, upon which my brother controlled himself, and
apologised and protested that it was all the fault of the wine he had drunk. At this the Barmecide, instead of
being angry, began to laugh, and embraced him heartily. "I have long been seeking," he exclaimed, "a man of
your description, and henceforth my house shall be yours. You have had the good grace to fall in with my
humour, and to pretend to eat and to drink when nothing was there. Now you shall be rewarded by a really
good supper."

Then he clapped his hands, and all the dishes were brought that they had tasted in imagination before and
during the repast, slaves sang and played on various instruments. All the while Schacabac was treated by the
Barmecide as a familiar friend, and dressed in a garment out of his own wardrobe.

Twenty years passed by, and my brother was still living with the Barmecide, looking after his house, and
managing his affairs. At the end of that time his generous benefactor died without heirs, so all his possessions
went to the prince. They even despoiled my brother of those that rightly belonged to him, and he, now as poor
as he had ever been in his life, decided to cast in his lot with a caravan of pilgrims who were on their way to
Mecca. Unluckily, the caravan was attacked and pillaged by the Bedouins, and the pilgrims were taken
prisoners. My brother became the slave of a man who beat him daily, hoping to drive him to offer a ransom,
although, as Schacabac pointed out, it was quite useless trouble, as his relations were as poor as himself. At
length the Bedouin grew tired of tormenting, and sent him on a camel to the top of a high barren mountain,
where he left him to take his chance. A passing caravan, on its way to Bagdad, told me where he was to be
found, and I hurried to his rescue, and brought him in a deplorable condition back to the town.

"This,"--continued the barber,--"is the tale I related to the Caliph, who, when I had finished, burst into fits of

"Well were you called `the Silent,'" said he; "no name was ever better deserved. But for reasons of my own,
which it is not necessary to mention, I desire you to leave the town, and never to come back."

"I had of course no choice but to obey, and travelled about for several years until I heard of the death of the
Caliph, when I hastily returned to Bagdad, only to find that all my brothers were dead. It was at this time that I
rendered to the young cripple the important service of which you have heard, and for which, as you know, he
showed such profound ingratitude, that he preferred rather to leave Bagdad than to run the risk of seeing me. I
sought him long from place to place, but it was only to-day, when I expected it least, that I came across him,
as much irritated with me as ever"-- So saying the tailor went on to relate the story of the lame man and the
barber, which has already been told.

"When the barber," he continued, "had finished his tale, we came to the conclusion that the young man had
been right, when he had accused him of being a great chatter-box. However, we wished to keep him with us,
and share our feast, and we remained at table till the hour of afternoon prayer. Then the company broke up,
and I went back to work in my shop.

"It was during this interval that the little hunchback, half drunk already, presented himself before me, singing
and playing on his drum. I took him home, to amuse my wife, and she invited him to supper. While eating
some fish, a bone got into his throat, and in spite of all we could do, he died shortly. It was all so sudden that
we lost our heads, and in order to divert suspicion from ourselves, we carried the body to the house of a
Jewish physician. He placed it in the chamber of the purveyor, and the purveyor propped it up in the street,
where it was thought to have been killed by the merchant.

"This, Sire, is the story which I was obliged to tell to satisfy your highness. It is now for you to say if we
deserve mercy or punishment; life or death?"

The Sultan of Kashgar listened with an air of pleasure which filled the tailor and his friends with hope. "I must
confess," he exclaimed, "that I am much more interested in the stories of the barber and his brothers, and of
the lame man, than in that of my own jester. But before I allow you all four to return to your own homes, and
have the corpse of the hunchback properly buried, I should like to see this barber who has earned your pardon.
And as he is in this town, let an usher go with you at once in search of him."

The usher and the tailor soon returned, bringing with them an old man who must have been at least ninety
years of age. "O Silent One," said the Sultan, "I am told that you know many strange stories. Will you tell
some of them to me?"

"Never mind my stories for the present," replied the barber, "but will your Highness graciously be pleased to
explain why this Jew, this Christian, and this Mussulman, as well as this dead body, are all here?"

"What business is that of yours?" asked the Sultan with a smile; but seeing that the barber had some reasons
for his question, he commanded that the tale of the hunch-back should be told him.

"It is certainly most surprising," cried he, when he had heard it all, "but I should like to examine the body." He
then knelt down, and took the head on his knees, looking at it attentively. Suddenly he burst into such loud
laughter that he fell right backwards, and when he had recovered himself enough to speak, he turned to the
Sultan. "The man is no more dead than I am," he said; "watch me." As he spoke he drew a small case of
medicines from his pocket and rubbed the neck of the hunchback with some ointment made of balsam. Next
he opened the dead man's mouth, and by the help of a pair of pincers drew the bone from his throat. At this the
hunch-back sneezed, stretched himself and opened his eyes.

The Sultan and all those who saw this operation did not know which to admire most, the constitution of the
hunchback who had apparently been dead for a whole night and most of one day, or the skill of the barber,
whom everyone now began to look upon as a great man. His Highness desired that the history of the
hunchback should be written down, and placed in the archives beside that of the barber, so that they might be
associated in people's minds to the end of time. And he did not stop there; for in order to wipe out the memory
of what they had undergone, he commanded that the tailor, the doctor, the purveyor and the merchant, should
each be clothed in his presence with a robe from his own wardrobe before they returned home. As for the
barber, he bestowed on him a large pension, and kept him near his own person.

The Adventures of Prince Camaralzaman and the Princess Badoura

Some twenty days' sail from the coast of Persia lies the isle of the children of Khaledan. The island is divided
into several provinces, in each of which are large flourishing towns, and the whole forms an important
kingdom. It was governed in former days by a king named Schahzaman, who, with good right, considered
himself one of the most peaceful, prosperous, and fortunate monarchs on the earth. In fact, he had but one
grievance, which was that none of his four wives had given him an heir.

This distressed him so greatly that one day he confided his grief to the grand-vizir, who, being a wise
counsellor, said: "Such matters are indeed beyond human aid. Allah alone can grant your desire, and I should
advise you, sire, to send large gifts to those holy men who spend their lives in prayer, and to beg for their
intercessions. Who knows whether their petitions may not be answered!"

The king took his vizir's advice, and the result of so many prayers for an heir to the throne was that a son was
born to him the following year.

Schahzaman sent noble gifts as thank offerings to all the mosques and religious houses, and great rejoicings
were celebrated in honour of the birth of the little prince, who was so beautiful that he was named
Camaralzaman, or "Moon of the Century."

Prince Camaralzaman was brought up with extreme care by an excellent governor and all the cleverest
teachers, and he did such credit to them that when he was grown up, a more charming and accomplished
young man was not to be found. Whilst he was still a youth the king, his father, who loved him dearly, had
some thoughts of abdicating in his favour. As usual he talked over his plans with his grand-vizir, who, though
he did not approve the idea, would not state all his objections.

"Sire," he replied, "the prince is still very young for the cares of state. Your Majesty fears his growing idle and
careless, and doubtless you are right. But how would it be if he were first to marry? This would attach him to
his home, and your Majesty might give him a share in your counsels, so that he might gradually learn how to
wear a crown, which you can give up to him whenever you find him capable of wearing it."

The vizir's advice once more struck the king as being good, and he sent for his son, who lost no time in
obeying the summons, and standing respectfully with downcast eyes before the king asked for his commands.

"I have sent for you," said the king, "to say that I wish you to marry. What do you think about it?"

The prince was so much overcome by these words that he remained silent for some time. At length he said:
"Sire, I beg you to pardon me if I am unable to reply as you might wish. I certainly did not expect such a
proposal as I am still so young, and I confess that the idea of marrying is very distasteful to me. Possibly I
may not always be in this mind, but I certainly feel that it will require some time to induce me to take the step
which your Majesty desires."

This answer greatly distressed the king, who was sincerely grieved by his objection to marriage. However he
would not have recourse to extreme measures, so he said: "I do not wish to force you; I will give you time to
reflect, but remember that such a step is necessary, for a prince such as you who will some day be called to
rule over a great kingdom."

From this time Prince Camaralzaman was admitted to the royal council, and the king showed him every mark
of favour.

At the end of a year the king took his son aside, and said: "Well, my son, have you changed your mind on the
subject of marriage, or do you still refuse to obey my wish?"

The prince was less surprised but no less firm than on the former occasion, and begged his father not to press
the subject, adding that it was quite useless to urge him any longer.

This answer much distressed the king, who again confided his trouble to his vizir.

"I have followed your advice," he said; "but Camaralzaman declines to marry, and is more obstinate than

"Sire," replied the vizir, "much is gained by patience, and your Majesty might regret any violence. Why not
wait another year and then inform the Prince in the midst of the assembled council that the good of the state
demands his marriage? He cannot possibly refuse again before so distinguished an assemblage, and in our
immediate presence."

The Sultan ardently desired to see his son married at once, but he yielded to the vizir's arguments and decided
to wait. He then visited the prince's mother, and after telling her of his disappointment and of the further
respite he had given his son, he added: "I know that Camaralzaman confides more in you than he does in me.
Pray speak very seriously to him on this subject, and make him realize that he will most seriously displease
me if he remains obstinate, and that he will certainly regret the measures I shall be obliged to take to enforce
my will."

So the first time the Sultana Fatima saw her son she told him she had heard of his refusal to marry, adding
how distressed she felt that he should have vexed his father so much. She asked what reasons he could have
for his objections to obey.

"Madam," replied the prince, "I make no doubt that there are as many good, virtuous, sweet, and amiable
women as there are others very much the reverse. Would that all were like you! But what revolts me is the
idea of marrying a woman without knowing anything at all about her. My father will ask the hand of the
daughter of some neighbouring sovereign, who will give his consent to our union. Be she fair or frightful,
clever or stupid, good or bad, I must marry her, and am left no choice in the matter. How am I to know that
she will not be proud, passionate, contemptuous, and recklessly extravagant, or that her disposition will in any
way suit mine?"

"But, my son," urged Fatima, "you surely do not wish to be the last of a race which has reigned so long and so
gloriously over this kingdom?"

"Madam," said the prince, "I have no wish to survive the king, my father, but should I do so I will try to reign
in such a manner as may be considered worthy of my predecessors."

These and similar conversations proved to the Sultan how useless it was to argue with his son, and the year
elapsed without bringing any change in the prince's ideas.

At length a day came when the Sultan summoned him before the council, and there informed him that not
only his own wishes but the good of the empire demanded his marriage, and desired him to give his answer
before the assembled ministers.

At this Camaralzaman grew so angry and spoke with so much heat that the king, naturally irritated at being
opposed by his son in full council, ordered the prince to be arrested and locked up in an old tower, where he
had nothing but a very little furniture, a few books, and a single slave to wait on him.

Camaralzaman, pleased to be free to enjoy his books, showed himself very indifferent to his sentence.

When night came he washed himself, performed his devotions, and, having read some pages of the Koran, lay
down on a couch, without putting out the light near him, and was soon asleep.

Now there was a deep well in the tower in which Prince Camaralzaman was imprisoned, and this well was a
favourite resort of the fairy Maimoune, daughter of Damriat, chief of a legion of genii. Towards midnight
Maimoune floated lightly up from the well, intending, according to her usual habit, to roam about the upper
world as curiosity or accident might prompt.

The light in the prince's room surprised her, and without disturbing the slave, who slept across the threshold,
she entered the room, and approaching the bed was still more astonished to find it occupied.

The prince lay with his face half hidden by the coverlet. Maimoune lifted it a little and beheld the most
beautiful youth she had ever seen.

"What a marvel of beauty he must be when his eyes are open!" she thought. "What can he have done to
deserve to be treated like this?"

She could not weary gazing at Camaralzaman, but at length, having softly kissed his brow and each cheek, she
replaced the coverlet and resumed her flight through the air.

As she entered the middle region she heard the sound of great wings coming towards her, and shortly met one

of the race of bad genii. This genie, whose name was Danhasch, recognised Maimoune with terror, for he
knew the supremacy which her goodness gave her over him. He would gladly have avoided her altogether, but
they were so near that he must either be prepared to fight or yield to her, so he at once addressed her in a
conciliatory tone:

"Good Maimoune, swear to me by Allah to do me no harm, and on my side I will promise not to injure you."

"Accursed genie!" replied Maimoune, "what harm can you do me? But I will grant your power and give the
promise you ask. And now tell me what you have seen and done to-night."

"Fair lady," said Danhasch, "you meet me at the right moment to hear something really interesting. I must tell
you that I come from the furthest end of China, which is one of the largest and most powerful kingdoms in the
world. The present king has one only daughter, who is so perfectly lovely that neither you, nor I, nor any other
creature could find adequate terms in which to describe her marvellous charms. You must therefore picture to
yourself the most perfect features, joined to a brilliant and delicate complexion, and an enchanting expression,
and even then imagination will fall short of the reality."

"The king, her father, has carefully shielded this treasure from the vulgar gaze, and has taken every precaution
to keep her from the sight of everyone except the happy mortal he may choose to be her husband. But in order
to give her variety in her confinement he has built her seven palaces such as have never been seen before. The
first palace is entirely composed of rock crystal, the second of bronze, the third of fine steel, the fourth of
another and more precious species of bronze, the fifth of touchstone, the sixth of silver, and the seventh of
solid gold. They are all most sumptuously furnished, whilst the gardens surrounding them are laid out with
exquisite taste. In fact, neither trouble nor cost has been spared to make this retreat agreeable to the princess.
The report of her wonderful beauty has spread far and wide, and many powerful kings have sent embassies to
ask her hand in marriage. The king has always received these embassies graciously, but says that he will never
oblige the princess to marry against her will, and as she regularly declines each fresh proposal, the envoys
have had to leave as disappointed in the result of their missions as they were gratified by their magnificent

"Sire," said the princess to her father, "you wish me to marry, and I know you desire to please me, for which I
am very grateful. But, indeed, I have no inclination to change my state, for where could I find so happy a life
amidst so many beautiful and delightful surroundings? I feel that I could never be as happy with any husband
as I am here, and I beg you not to press one on me."

"At last an embassy came from a king so rich and powerful that the King of China felt constrained to urge this
suit on his daughter. He told her how important such an alliance would be, and pressed her to consent. In fact,
he pressed her so persistingly that the princess at length lost her temper and quite forgot the respect due to her
father. "Sire," cried she angrily, "do not speak further of this or any other marriage or I will plunge this dagger
in my breast and so escape from all these importunities."

"The king of China was extremely indignant with his daughter and replied: "You have lost your senses and
you must be treated accordingly." So he had her shut in one set of rooms in one of her palaces, and only
allowed her ten old women, of whom her nurse was the head, to wait on her and keep her company. He next
sent letters to all the kings who had sued for the princess's hand, begging they would think of her no longer, as
she was quite insane, and he desired his various envoys to make it known that anyone who could cure her
should have her to wife.

"Fair Maimoune," continued Danhasch, "this is the present state of affairs. I never pass a day without going to
gaze on this incomparable beauty, and I am sure that if you would only accompany me you would think the
sight well worth the trouble, and own that you never saw such loveliness before."

The fairy only answered with a peal of laughter, and when at length she had control of her voice she cried,
"Oh, come, you are making game of me! I thought you had something really interesting to tell me instead of
raving about some unknown damsel. What would you say if you could see the prince I have just been looking
at and whose beauty is really transcendent? That is something worth talking about, you would certainly quite
lose your head."

"Charming Maimoune," asked Danhasch, "may I inquire who and what is the prince of whom you speak?"

"Know," replied Maimoune, "that he is in much the same case as your princess. The king, his father, wanted
to force him to marry, and on the prince's refusal to obey he has been imprisoned in an old tower where I have
just seen him."

"I don't like to contradict a lady," said Danhasch, "but you must really permit me to doubt any mortal being as
beautiful as my princess."

"Hold your tongue," cried Maimoune. "I repeat that is impossible."

"Well, I don't wish to seem obstinate," replied Danhasch, "the best plan to test the truth of what I say will be
for you to let me take you to see the princess for yourself."

"There is no need for that," retorted Maimoune; "we can satisfy ourselves in another way. Bring your princess
here and lay her down beside my prince. We can then compare them at leisure, and decide which is in the

Danhasch readily consented, and after having the tower where the prince was confined pointed out to him, and
making a wager with Maimoune as to the result of the comparison, he flew off to China to fetch the princess.

In an incredibly short time Danhasch returned, bearing the sleeping princess. Maimoune led him to the
prince's room, and the rival beauty was placed beside him.

When the prince and princess lay thus side by side, an animated dispute as to their respective charms arose
between the fairy and the genius. Danhasch began by saying:

"Now you see that my princess is more beautiful than your prince. Can you doubt any longer?"

"Doubt! Of course I do!" exclaimed Maimoune. "Why, you must be blind not to see how much my prince
excels your princess. I do not deny that your princess is very handsome, but only look and you must own that
I am in the right."

"There is no need for me to look longer," said Danhasch, "my first impression will remain the same; but of
course, charming Maimoune, I am ready to yield to you if you insist on it."

"By no means," replied Maimoune. "I have no idea of being under any obligation to an accursed genius like
you. I refer the matter to an umpire, and shall expect you to submit to his verdict."

Danhasch readily agreed, and on Maimoune striking the floor with her foot it opened, and a hideous,
hump-backed, lame, squinting genius, with six horns on his head, hands like claws, emerged. As soon as he
beheld Maimoune he threw himself at her feet and asked her commands.

"Rise, Caschcasch," said she. "I summoned you to judge between me and Danhasch. Glance at that couch, and
say without any partiality whether you think the youth or the maiden lying there the more beautiful."


Caschcasch looked at the prince and princess with every token of surprise and admiration. At length, having
gazed long without being able to come to a decision, he said

"Madam, I must confess that I should deceive you were I to declare one to be handsomer than the other. There
seems to me only one way in which to decide the matter, and that is to wake one after the other and judge
which of them expresses the greater admiration for the other."

This advice pleased Maimoune and Danhasch, and the fairy at once transformed herself into the shape of a
gnat and settling on Camaralzaman's throat stung him so sharply that he awoke. As he did so his eyes fell on
the Princess of China. Surprised at finding a lady so near him, he raised himself on one arm to look at her. The
youth and beauty of the princess at once awoke a feeling to which his heart had as yet been a stranger, and he
could not restrain his delight.

"What loveliness! What charms! Oh, my heart, my soul!" he exclaimed, as he kissed her forehead, her eyes
and mouth in a way which would certainly have roused her had not the genie's enchantments kept her asleep.

"How, fair lady!" he cried, "you do not wake at the signs of Camaralzaman's love? Be you who you may, he is
not unworthy of you."

It then suddenly occurred to him, that perhaps this was the bride his father had destined for him, and that the
King had probably had her placed in this room in order to see how far Camaralzaman's aversion to marriage
would withstand her charms.

"At all events," he thought, "I will take this ring as a remembrance of her."

So saying he drew off a fine ring which the princess wore on her finger, and replaced it by one of his own.
After which he lay down again and was soon fast asleep.

Then Danhasch, in his turn, took the form of a gnat and bit the princess on her lip.

She started up, and was not a little amazed at seeing a young man beside her. From surprise she soon passed
to admiration, and then to delight on perceiving how handsome and fascinating he was.

"Why," cried she, "was it you my father wished me to marry? How unlucky that I did not know sooner! I
should not have made him so angry. But wake up! wake up! for I know I shall love you with all my heart."

So saying she shook Camaralzaman so violently that nothing but the spells of Maimoune could have
prevented his waking.

"Oh!" cried the princess. "Why are you so drowsy?" So saying she took his hand and noticed her own ring on
his finger, which made her wonder still more. But as he still remained in a profound slumber she pressed a
kiss on his cheek and soon fell fast asleep too.

Then Maimoune turning to the genie said: "Well, are you satisfied that my prince surpasses your princess?
Another time pray believe me when I assert anything."

Then turning to Caschcasch: "My thanks to you, and now do you and Danhasch bear the princess back to her
own home."

The two genii hastened to obey, and Maimoune returned to her well.

On waking next morning the first thing Prince Camaralzaman did was to look round for the lovely lady he had

seen at night, and the next to question the slave who waited on him about her. But the slave persisted so
strongly that he knew nothing of any lady, and still less of how she got into the tower, that the prince lost all
patience, and after giving him a good beating tied a rope round him and ducked him in the well till the
unfortunate man cried out that he would tell everything. Then the prince drew him up all dripping wet, but the
slave begged leave to change his clothes first, and as soon as the prince consented hurried off just as he was to
the palace. Here he found the king talking to the grand-vizir of all the anxiety his son had caused him. The
slave was admitted at once and cried:

"Alas, Sire! I bring sad news to your Majesty. There can be no doubt that the prince has completely lost his
senses. He declares that he saw a lady sleeping on his couch last night, and the state you see me in proves how
violent contradiction makes him." He then gave a minute account of all the prince had said and done.

The king, much moved, begged the vizir to examine into this new misfortune, and the latter at once went to
the tower, where he found the prince quietly reading a book. After the first exchange of greetings the vizir

"I feel really very angry with your slave for alarming his Majesty by the news he brought him."

"What news?" asked the prince.

"Ah!" replied the vizir, "something absurd, I feel sure, seeing how I find you."

"Most likely," said the prince; "but now that you are here I am glad of the opportunity to ask you where is the
lady who slept in this room last night?"

The grand-vizir felt beside himself at this question.

"Prince!" he exclaimed, "how would it be possible for any man, much less a woman, to enter this room at
night without walking over your slave on the threshold? Pray consider the matter, and you will realise that you
have been deeply impressed by some dream."

But the prince angrily insisted on knowing who and where the lady was, and was not to be persuaded by all
the vizir's protestations to the contrary that the plot had not been one of his making. At last, losing patience, he
seized the vizir by the beard and loaded him with blows.

"Stop, Prince," cried the unhappy vizir, "stay and hear what I have to say."

The prince, whose arm was getting tired, paused.

"I confess, Prince," said the vizir, "that there is some foundation for what you say. But you know well that a
minister has to carry out his master's orders. Allow me to go and to take to the king any message you may
choose to send."

"Very well," said the prince; "then go and tell him that I consent to marry the lady whom he sent or brought
here last night. Be quick and bring me back his answer."

The vizir bowed to the ground and hastened to leave the room and tower.

"Well," asked the king as soon as he appeared, "and how did you find my son?"

"Alas, sire," was the reply, "the slave's report is only too true!"


He then gave an exact account of his interview with Camaralzaman and of the prince's fury when told that it
was not possible for any lady to have entered his room, and of the treatment he himself had received. The
king, much distressed, determined to clear up the matter himself, and, ordering the vizir to follow him, set out
to visit his son.

The prince received his father with profound respect, and the king, making him sit beside him, asked him
several questions, to which Camaralzaman replied with much good sense. At last the king said: "My son, pray
tell me about the lady who, it is said, was in your room last night."

"Sire," replied the prince, "pray do not increase my distress in this matter, but rather make me happy by giving
her to me in marriage. However much I may have objected to matrimony formerly, the sight of this lovely girl
has overcome all my prejudices, and I will gratefully receive her from your hands."

The king was almost speechless on hearing his son, but after a time assured him most solemnly that he knew
nothing whatever about the lady in question, and had not connived at her appearance. He then desired the
prince to relate the whole story to him.

Camaralzaman did so at great length, showed the ring, and implored his father to help to find the bride he so
ardently desired.

"After all you tell me," remarked the king, "I can no longer doubt your word; but how and whence the lady
came, or why she should have stayed so short a time I cannot imagine. The whole affair is indeed mysterious.
Come, my dear son, let us wait together for happier days."

So saying the king took Camaralzaman by the hand and led him back to the palace, where the prince took to
his bed and gave himself up to despair, and the king shutting himself up with his son entirely neglected the
affairs of state.

The prime minister, who was the only person admitted, felt it his duty at last to tell the king how much the
court and all the people complained of his seclusion, and how bad it was for the nation. He urged the sultan to
remove with the prince to a lovely little island close by, whence he could easily attend public audiences, and
where the charming scenery and fine air would do the invalid so much good as to enable him to bear his
father's occasional absence.

The king approved the plan, and as soon as the castle on the island could be prepared for their reception he
and the prince arrived there, Schahzaman never leaving his son except for the prescribed public audiences
twice a week.

Whilst all this was happening in the capital of Schahzaman the two genii had carefully borne the Princess of
China back to her own palace and replaced her in bed. On waking next morning she first turned from one side
to another and then, finding herself alone, called loudly for her women.

"Tell me," she cried, "where is the young man I love so dearly, and who slept near me last night?"

"Princess," exclaimed the nurse, "we cannot tell what you allude to without more explanation."

"Why," continued the princess, "the most charming and beautiful young man lay sleeping beside me last
night. I did my utmost to wake him, but in vain."

"Your Royal Highness wishes to make game of us," said the nurse. "Is it your pleasure to rise?"

"I am quite in earnest," persisted the princess, "and I want to know where he is."

"But, Princess," expostulated the nurse, "we left you quite alone last night, and we have seen no one enter
your room since then."

At this the princess lost all patience, and taking the nurse by her hair she boxed her ears soundly, crying out:
"You shall tell me, you old witch, or I'll kill you."

The nurse had no little trouble in escaping, and hurried off to the queen, to whom she related the whole story
with tears in her eyes.

"You see, madam," she concluded, "that the princess must be out of her mind. If only you will come and see
her, you will be able to judge for yourself."

The queen hurried to her daughter's apartments, and after tenderly embracing her, asked her why she had
treated her nurse so badly.

"Madam," said the princess, "I perceive that your Majesty wishes to make game of me, but I can assure you
that I will never marry anyone except the charming young man whom I saw last night. You must know where
he is, so pray send for him."

The queen was much surprised by these words, but when she declared that she knew nothing whatever of the
matter the princess lost all respect, and answered that if she were not allowed to marry as she wished she
should kill herself, and it was in vain that the queen tried to pacify her and bring her to reason.

The king himself came to hear the rights of the matter, but the princess only persisted in her story, and as a
proof showed the ring on her finger. The king hardly knew what to make of it all, but ended by thinking that
his daughter was more crazy than ever, and without further argument he had her placed in still closer
confinement, with only her nurse to wait on her and a powerful guard to keep the door.

Then he assembled his council, and having told them the sad state of things, added: "If any of you can succeed
in curing the princess, I will give her to him in marriage, and he shall be my heir."

An elderly emir present, fired with the desire to possess a young and lovely wife and to rule over a great
kingdom, offered to try the magic arts with which he was acquainted.

"You are welcome to try," said the king, "but I make one condition, which is, that should you fail you will
lose your life."

The emir accepted the condition, and the king led him to the princess, who, veiling her face, remarked, "I am
surprised, sire, that you should bring an unknown man into my presence."

"You need not be shocked," said the king; "this is one of my emirs who asks your hand in marriage."

"Sire," replied the princess, "this is not the one you gave me before and whose ring I wear. Permit me to say
that I can accept no other."

The emir, who had expected to hear the princess talk nonsense, finding how calm and reasonable she was,
assured the king that he could not venture to undertake a cure, but placed his head at his Majesty's disposal, on
which the justly irritated monarch promptly had it cut off.

This was the first of many suitors for the princess whose inability to cure her cost them their lives.

Now it happened that after things had been going on in this way for some time the nurse's son Marzavan

returned from his travels. He had been in many countries and learnt many things, including astrology.
Needless to say that one of the first things his mother told him was the sad condition of the princess, his
foster-sister. Marzavan asked if she could not manage to let him see the princess without the king's

After some consideration his mother consented, and even persuaded the eunuch on guard to make no
objection to Marzavan's entering the royal apartment.

The princess was delighted to see her foster-brother again, and after some conversation she confided to him all
her history and the cause of her imprisonment.

Marzavan listened with downcast eyes and the utmost attention. When she had finished speaking he said,

"If what you tell me, Princess, is indeed the case, I do not despair of finding comfort for you. Take patience
yet a little longer. I will set out at once to explore other countries, and when you hear of my return be sure that
he for whom you sigh is not far off." So saying, he took his leave and started next morning on his travels.

Marzavan journeyed from city to city and from one island and province to another, and wherever he went he
heard people talk of the strange story of the Princess Badoura, as the Princess of China was named.

After four months he reached a large populous seaport town named Torf, and here he heard no more of the
Princess Badoura but a great deal of Prince Camaralzaman, who was reported ill, and whose story sounded
very similar to that of the Princess Badoura.

Marzavan was rejoiced, and set out at once for Prince Camaralzaman's residence. The ship on which he
embarked had a prosperous voyage till she got within sight of the capital of King Schahzaman, but when just
about to enter the harbour she suddenly struck on a rock, and foundered within sight of the palace where the
prince was living with his father and the grand-vizir.

Marzavan, who swam well, threw himself into the sea and managed to land close to the palace, where he was
kindly received, and after having a change of clothing given him was brought before the grand-vizir. The vizir
was at once attracted by the young man's superior air and intelligent conversation, and perceiving that he had
gained much experience in the course of his travels, he said, "Ah, how I wish you had learnt some secret
which might enable you to cure a malady which has plunged this court into affliction for some time past!"

Marzavan replied that if he knew what the illness was he might possibly be able to suggest a remedy, on
which the vizir related to him the whole history of Prince Camaralzaman.

On hearing this Marzavan rejoiced inwardly, for he felt sure that he had at last discovered the object of the
Princess Badoura's infatuation. However, he said nothing, but begged to be allowed to see the prince.

On entering the royal apartment the first thing which struck him was the prince himself, who lay stretched out
on his bed with his eyes closed. The king sat near him, but, without paying any regard to his presence,
Marzavan exclaimed, "Heavens! what a striking likeness!" And, indeed, there was a good deal of resemblance
between the features of Camaralzaman and those of the Princess of China.

These words caused the prince to open his eyes with languid curiosity, and Marzavan seized this moment to
pay him his compliments, contriving at the same time to express the condition of the Princess of China in
terms unintelligible, indeed, to the Sultan and his vizir, but which left the prince in no doubt that his visitor
could give him some welcome information.

The prince begged his father to allow him the favour of a private interview with Marzavan, and the king was

only too pleased to find his son taking an interest in anyone or anything. As soon as they were left alone
Marzavan told the prince the story of the Princess Badoura and her sufferings, adding, "I am convinced that
you alone can cure her; but before starting on so long a journey you must be well and strong, so do your best
to recover as quickly as may be."

These words produced a great effect on the prince, who was so much cheered by the hopes held out that he
declared he felt able to get up and be dressed. The king was overjoyed at the result of Marzavan's interview,
and ordered public rejoicings in honour of the prince's recovery.

Before long the prince was quite restored to his original state of health, and as soon as he felt himself really
strong he took Marzavan aside and said:

"Now is the time to perform your promise. I am so impatient to see my beloved princess once more that I am
sure I shall fall ill again if we do not start soon. The one obstacle is my father's tender care of me, for, as you
may have noticed, he cannot bear me out of his sight."

"Prince," replied Marzavan, "I have already thought over the matter, and this is what seems to me the best
plan. You have not been out of doors since my arrival. Ask the king's permission to go with me for two or
three days' hunting, and when he has given leave order two good horses to be held ready for each of us. Leave
all the rest to me."

Next day the prince seized a favourable opportunity for making his request, and the king gladly granted it on
condition that only one night should be spent out for fear of too great fatigue after such a long illness.

Next morning Prince Camaralzaman and Marzavan were off betimes, attended by two grooms leading the two
extra horses. They hunted a little by the way, but took care to get as far from the towns as possible. At
night-fall they reached an inn, where they supped and slept till midnight. Then Marzavan awoke and roused
the prince without disturbing anyone else. He begged the prince to give him the coat he had been wearing and
to put on another which they had brought with them. They mounted their second horses, and Marzavan led
one of the grooms' horses by the bridle.

By daybreak our travellers found themselves where four cross roads met in the middle of the forest. Here
Marzavan begged the prince to wait for him, and leading the groom's horse into a dense part of the wood he
cut its throat, dipped the prince's coat in its blood, and having rejoined the prince threw the coat on the ground
where the roads parted.

In answer to Camaralzaman's inquiries as to the reason for this, Marzavan replied that the only chance they
had of continuing their journey was to divert attention by creating the idea of the prince's death. "Your father
will doubtless be plunged in the deepest grief," he went on, "but his joy at your return will be all the greater."

The prince and his companion now continued their journey by land and sea, and as they had brought plenty of
money to defray their expenses they met with no needless delays. At length they reached the capital of China,
where they spent three days in a suitable lodging to recover from their fatigues.

During this time Marzavan had an astrologer's dress prepared for the prince. They then went to the baths, after
which the prince put on the astrologer's robe and was conducted within sight of the king's palace by
Marzavan, who left him there and went to consult his mother, the princess's nurse.

Meantime the prince, according to Marzavan's instructions, advanced close to the palace gates and there
proclaimed aloud:

"I am an astrologer and I come to restore health to the Princess Badoura, daughter of the high and mighty


King of China, on the conditions laid down by His Majesty of marrying her should I succeed, or of losing my
life if I fail."

It was some little time since anyone had presented himself to run the terrible risk involved in attempting to
cure the princess, and a crowd soon gathered round the prince. On perceiving his youth, good looks, and
distinguished bearing, everyone felt pity for him.

"What are you thinking of, sir," exclaimed some; "why expose yourself to certain death? Are not the heads
you see exposed on the town wall sufficient warning? For mercy's sake give up this mad idea and retire whilst
you can."

But the prince remained firm, and only repeated his cry with greater assurance, to the horror of the crowd.

"He is resolved to die!" they cried; "may heaven have pity on him!"

Camaralzaman now called out for the third time, and at last the grand-vizir himself came out and fetched him

The prime minister led the prince to the king, who was much struck by the noble air of this new adventurer,
and felt such pity for the fate so evidently in store for him, that he tried to persuade the young man to
renounce his project.

But Camaralzaman politely yet firmly persisted in his intentions, and at length the king desired the eunuch
who had the guard of the princess's apartments to conduct the astrologer to her presence.

The eunuch led the way through long passages, and Camaralzaman followed rapidly, in haste to reach the
object of his desires. At last they came to a large hall which was the ante-room to the princess's chamber, and
here Camaralzaman said to the eunuch:

"Now you shall choose. Shall I cure the princess in her own presence, or shall I do it from here without seeing

The eunuch, who had expressed many contemptuous doubts as they came along of the newcomer's powers,
was much surprised and said:

"If you really can cure, it is immaterial when you do it. Your fame will be equally great."

"Very well," replied the prince: "then, impatient though I am to see the princess, I will effect the cure where I
stand, the better to convince you of my power." He accordingly drew out his writing case and wrote as
follows--"Adorable princess! The enamoured Camaralzaman has never forgotten the moment when,
contemplating your sleeping beauty, he gave you his heart. As he was at that time deprived of the happiness of
conversing with you, he ventured to give you his ring as a token of his love, and to take yours in exchange,
which he now encloses in this letter. Should you deign to return it to him he will be the happiest of mortals, if
not he will cheerfully resign himself to death, seeing he does so for love of you. He awaits your reply in your

Having finished this note the prince carefully enclosed the ring in it without letting the eunuch see it, and gave
him the letter, saying:

"Take this to your mistress, my friend, and if on reading it and seeing its contents she is not instantly cured,
you may call me an impudent impostor."

The eunuch at once passed into the princess's room, and handing her the letter said:

"Madam, a new astrologer has arrived, who declares that you will be cured as soon as you have read this letter
and seen what it contains."

The princess took the note and opened it with languid indifference. But no sooner did she see her ring than,
barely glancing at the writing, she rose hastily and with one bound reached the doorway and pushed back the
hangings. Here she and the prince recognised each other, and in a moment they were locked in each other's
arms, where they tenderly embraced, wondering how they came to meet at last after so long a separation. The
nurse, who had hastened after her charge, drew them back to the inner room, where the princess restored her
ring to Camaralzaman.

"Take it back," she said, "I could not keep it without returning yours to you, and I am resolved to wear that as
long as I live."

Meantime the eunuch had hastened back to the king. "Sire," he cried, "all the former doctors and astrologers
were mere quacks. This man has cured the princess without even seeing her." He then told all to the king,
who, overjoyed, hastened to his daughter's apartments, where, after embracing her, he placed her hand in that
of the prince, saying:

"Happy stranger, I keep my promise, and give you my daughter to wife, be you who you may. But, if I am not
much mistaken, your condition is above what you appear to be."

The prince thanked the king in the warmest and most respectful terms, and added: "As regards my person,
your Majesty has rightly guessed that I am not an astrologer. It is but a disguise which I assumed in order to
merit your illustrious alliance. I am myself a prince, my name is Camaralzaman, and my father is
Schahzaman, King of the Isles of the Children of Khaledan." He then told his whole history, including the
extraordinary manner of his first seeing and loving the Princess Badoura.

When he had finished the king exclaimed: "So remarkable a story must not be lost to posterity. It shall be
inscribed in the archives of my kingdom and published everywhere abroad."

The wedding took place next day amidst great pomp and rejoicings. Marzavan was not forgotten, but was
given a lucrative post at court, with a promise of further advancement.

The prince and princess were now entirely happy, and months slipped by unconsciously in the enjoyment of
each other's society.

One night, however, Prince Camaralzaman dreamt that he saw his father lying at the point of death, and
saying: "Alas! my son whom I loved so tenderly, has deserted me and is now causing my death."

The prince woke with such a groan as to startle the princess, who asked what was the matter.

"Ah!" cried the prince, "at this very moment my father is perhaps no more!" and he told his dream.

The princess said but little at the time, but next morning she went to the king, and kissing his hand said:

"I have a favour to ask of your Majesty, and I beg you to believe that it is in no way prompted by my husband.
It is that you will allow us both to visit my father-in-law King Schahzaman."

Sorry though the king felt at the idea of parting with his daughter, he felt her request to be so reasonable that
he could not refuse it, and made but one condition, which was that she should only spend one year at the court

of King Schahzaman, suggesting that in future the young couple should visit their respective parents

The princess brought this good news to her husband, who thanked her tenderly for this fresh proof of her

All preparations for the journey were now pressed forwards, and when all was ready the king accompanied the
travellers for some days, after which he took an affectionate leave of his daughter, and charging the prince to
take every care of her, returned to his capital.

The prince and princess journeyed on, and at the end of a month reached a huge meadow interspersed with
clumps of big trees which cast a most pleasant shade. As the heat was great, Camaralzaman thought it well to
encamp in this cool spot. Accordingly the tents were pitched, and the princess entering hers whilst the prince
was giving his further orders, removed her girdle, which she placed beside her, and desiring her women to
leave her, lay down and was soon asleep.

When the camp was all in order the prince entered the tent and, seeing the princess asleep, he sat down near
her without speaking. His eyes fell on the girdle which, he took up, and whilst inspecting the precious stones
set in it he noticed a little pouch sewn to the girdle and fastened by a loop. He touched it and felt something
hard within. Curious as to what this might be, he opened the pouch and found a cornelian engraved with
various figures and strange characters.

"This cornelian must be something very precious," thought he, "or my wife would not wear it on her person
with so much care."

In truth it was a talisman which the Queen of China had given her daughter, telling her it would ensure her
happiness as long as she carried it about her.

The better to examine the stone the prince stepped to the open doorway of the tent. As he stood there holding
it in the open palm of his hand, a bird suddenly swooped down, picked the stone up in its beak and flew away
with it.

Imagine the prince's dismay at losing a thing by which his wife evidently set such store!

The bird having secured its prey flew off some yards and alighted on the ground, holding the talisman it its
beak. Prince Camaralzaman advanced, hoping the bird would drop it, but as soon as he approached the thief
fluttered on a little further still. He continued his pursuit till the bird suddenly swallowed the stone and took a
longer flight than before. The prince then hoped to kill it with a stone, but the more hotly he pursued the
further flew the bird.

In this fashion he was led on by hill and dale through the entire day, and when night came the tiresome
creature roosted on the top of a very high tree where it could rest in safety.

The prince in despair at all his useless trouble began to think whether he had better return to the camp. "But,"
thought he, "how shall I find my way back? Must I go up hill or down? I should certainly lose my way in the
dark, even if my strength held out." Overwhelmed by hunger, thirst, fatigue and sleep, he ended by spending
the night at the foot of the tree.

Next morning Camaralzaman woke up before the bird left its perch, and no sooner did it take flight than he
followed it again with as little success as the previous day, only stopping to eat some herbs and fruit he found
by the way. In this fashion he spent ten days, following the bird all day and spending the night at the foot of a
tree, whilst it roosted on the topmost bough. On the eleventh day the bird and the prince reached a large town,


and as soon as they were close to its walls the bird took a sudden and higher flight and was shortly completely
out of sight, whilst Camaralzaman felt in despair at having to give up all hopes of ever recovering the talisman
of the Princess Badoura.

Much cast down, he entered the town, which was built near the sea and had a fine harbour. He walked about
the streets for a long time, not knowing where to go, but at length as he walked near the seashore he found a
garden door open and walked in.

The gardener, a good old man, who was at work, happened to look up, and, seeing a stranger, whom he
recognised by his dress as a Mussulman, he told him to come in at once and to shut the door.

Camaralzaman did as he was bid, and inquired why this precaution was taken.

"Because," said the gardener, "I see that you are a stranger and a Mussulman, and this town is almost entirely
inhabited by idolaters, who hate and persecute all of our faith. It seems almost a miracle that has led you to
this house, and I am indeed glad that you have found a place of safety."

Camaralzaman warmly thanked the kind old man for offering him shelter, and was about to say more, but the
gardener interrupted him with:

"Leave compliments alone. You are weary and must be hungry. Come in, eat, and rest." So saying he led the
prince into his cottage, and after satisfying his hunger begged to learn the cause of his arrival.

Camaralzaman told him all without disguise, and ended by inquiring the shortest way to his father's capital.
"For," added he, "if I tried to rejoin the princess, how should I find her after eleven days' separation. Perhaps,
indeed, she may be no longer alive!" At this terrible thought he burst into tears.

The gardener informed Camaralzaman that they were quite a year's land journey to any Mahomedan country,
but that there was a much shorter route by sea to the Ebony Island, from whence the Isles of the Children of
Khaledan could be easily reached, and that a ship sailed once a year for the Ebony Island by which he might
get so far as his very home.

"If only you had arrived a few days sooner," he said, "you might have embarked at once. As it is you must
now wait till next year, but if you care to stay with me I offer you my house, such as it is, with all my heart."

Prince Camaralzaman thought himself lucky to find some place of refuge, and gladly accepted the gardener's
offer. He spent his days working in the garden, and his nights thinking of and sighing for his beloved wife.

Let us now see what had become during this time of the Princess Badoura.

On first waking she was much surprised not to find the prince near her. She called her women and asked if
they knew where he was, and whilst they were telling her that they had seen him enter the tent, but had not
noticed his leaving it, she took up her belt and perceived that the little pouch was open and the talisman gone.

She at once concluded that her husband had taken it and would shortly bring it back. She waited for him till
evening rather impatiently, and wondering what could have kept him from her so long. When night came
without him she felt in despair and abused the talisman and its maker roundly. In spite of her grief and anxiety
however, she did not lose her presence of mind, but decided on a courageous, though very unusual step.

Only the princess and her women knew of Camaralzaman's disappearance, for the rest of the party were
sleeping or resting in their tents. Fearing some treason should the truth be known, she ordered her women not
to say a word which would give rise to any suspicion, and proceeded to change her dress for one of her

husband's, to whom, as has been already said, she bore a strong likeness.

In this disguise she looked so like the prince that when she gave orders next morning to break up the camp
and continue the journey no one suspected the change. She made one of her women enter her litter, whilst she
herself mounted on horseback and the march began.

After a protracted journey by land and sea the princess, still under the name and disguise of Prince
Camaralzaman, arrived at the capital of the Ebony Island whose king was named Armanos.

No sooner did the king hear that the ship which was just in port had on board the son of his old friend and ally
than he hurried to meet the supposed prince, and had him and his retinue brought to the palace, where they
were lodged and entertained sumptuously.

After three days, finding that his guest, to whom he had taken a great fancy, talked of continuing his journey,
King Armanos said to him:

"Prince, I am now an old man, and unfortunately 1 have no son to whom to leave my kingdom. It has pleased
Heaven to give me only one daughter, who possesses such great beauty and charm that I could only give her
to a prince as highly born and as accomplished as yourself. Instead, therefore, of returning to your own
country, take my daughter and my crown and stay with us. I shall feel that I have a worthy successor, and
shall cheerfully retire from the fatigues of government."

The king's offer was naturally rather embarrassing to the Princess Badoura. She felt that it was equally
impossible to confess that she had deceived him, or to refuse the marriage on which he had set his heart; a
refusal which might turn all his kindness to hatred and persecution.

All things considered, she decided to accept, and after a few moments silence said with a blush, which the
king attributed to modesty:

"Sire, I feel so great an obligation for the good opinion your Majesty has expressed for my person and of the
honour you do me, that, though I am quite unworthy of it, I dare not refuse. But, sire, I can only accept such
an alliance if you give me your promise to assist me with your counsels."

The marriage being thus arranged, the ceremony was fixed for the following day, and the princess employed
the intervening time in informing the officers of her suite of what had happened, assuring them that the
Princess Badoura had given her full consent to the marriage. She also told her women, and bade them keep
her secret well.

King Armanos, delighted with the success of his plans, lost no time in assembling his court and council, to
whom he presented his successor, and placing his future son-in-law on the throne made everyone do homage
and take oaths of allegiance to the new king.

At night the whole town was filled with rejoicings, and with much pomp the Princess Haiatelnefous (this was
the name of the king's daughter) was conducted to the palace of the Princess Badoura.

Now Badoura had thought much of the difficulties of her first interview with King Armanos' daughter, and
she felt the only thing to do was at once to take her into her confidence.

Accordingly, as soon as they were alone she took Haiatelnefous by the hand and said:

"Princess, I have a secret to tell you, and must throw myself on your mercy. I am not Prince Camaralzaman,
but a princess like yourself and his wife, and I beg you to listen to my story, then I am sure you will forgive

my imposture, in consideration of my sufferings."

She then related her whole history, and at its close Haiatelnefous embraced her warmly, and assured her of her
entire sympathy and affection.

The two princesses now planned out their future action, and agreed to combine to keep up the deception and
to let Badoura continue to play a man's part until such time as there might be news of the real Camaralzaman.

Whilst these things were passing in the Ebony Island Prince Camaralzaman continued to find shelter in the
gardeners cottage in the town of the idolaters.

Early one morning the gardener said to the prince:

"To-day is a public holiday, and the people of the town not only do not work themselves but forbid others to
do so. You had better therefore take a good rest whilst I go to see some friends, and as the time is near for the
arrival of the ship of which I told you I will make inquiries about it, and try to bespeak a passage for you." He
then put on his best clothes and went out, leaving the prince, who strolled into the garden and was soon lost in
thoughts of his dear wife and their sad separation.

As he walked up and down he was suddenly disturbed in his reverie by the noise two large birds were making
in a tree.

Camaralzaman stood still and looked up, and saw that the birds were fighting so savagely with beaks and
claws that before long one fell dead to the ground, whilst the conqueror spread his wings and flew away.
Almost immediately two other larger birds, who had been watching the duel, flew up and alighted, one at the
head and the other at the feet of the dead bird. They stood there some time sadly shaking their heads, and then
dug up a grave with their claws in which they buried him.

As soon as they had filled in the grave the two flew off, and ere long returned, bringing with them the
murderer, whom they held, one by a wing and the other by a leg, with their beaks, screaming and struggling
with rage and terror. But they held tight, and having brought him to his victim's grave, they proceeded to kill
him, after which they tore open his body, scattered the inside and once more flew away.

The prince, who had watched the whole scene with much interest, now drew near the spot where it happened,
and glancing at the dead bird he noticed something red lying near which had evidently fallen out of its inside.
He picked it up, and what was his surprise when he recognised the Princess Badoura's talisman which had
been the cause of many misfortunes. It would be impossible to describe his joy; he kissed the talisman
repeatedly, wrapped it up, and carefully tied it round his arm. For the first time since his separation from the
princess he had a good night, and next morning he was up at day-break and went cheerfully to ask what work
he should do.

The gardener told him to cut down an old fruit tree which had quite died away, and Camaralzaman took an
axe and fell to vigorously. As he was hacking at one of the roots the axe struck on something hard. On
pushing away the earth he discovered a large slab of bronze, under which was disclosed a staircase with ten
steps. He went down them and found himself in a roomy kind of cave in which stood fifty large bronze jars,
each with a cover on it. The prince uncovered one after another, and found them all filled with gold dust.
Delighted with his discovery he left the cave, replaced the slab, and having finished cutting down the tree
waited for the gardener's return.

The gardener had heard the night before that the ship about which he was inquiring would start ere long, but
the exact date not being yet known he had been told to return next day for further information. He had gone
therefore to inquire, and came back with good news beaming in his face.

"My son," said he, "rejoice and hold yourself ready to start in three days' time. The ship is to set sail, and I
have arranged all about your passage with the captain

"You could not bring me better news," replied Camaralzaman, "and in return I have something pleasant to tell
you. Follow me and see the good fortune which has befallen you."

He then led the gardener to the cave, and having shown him the treasure stored up there, said how happy it
made him that Heaven should in this way reward his kind host's many virtues and compensate him for the
privations of many years.

"What do you mean?" asked the gardener. "Do you imagine that I should appropriate this treasure? It is yours,
and I have no right whatever to it. For the last eighty years I have dug up the ground here without discovering
anything. It is clear that these riches are intended for you, and they are much more needed by a prince like
yourself than by an old man like me, who am near my end and require nothing. This treasure comes just at the
right time, when you are about to return to your own country, where you will make good use of it."

But the prince would not hear of this suggestion, and finally after much discussion they agreed to divide the
gold. When this was done the gardener said:

"My son, the great thing now is to arrange how you can best carry off this treasure as secretly as possible for
fear of losing it. There are no olives in the Ebony Island, and those imported from here fetch a high price. As
you know, I have a good stock of the olives which grew in this garden. Now you must take fifty jars, fill each
half full of gold dust and fill them up with the olives. We will then have them taken on board ship when you

The prince took this advice, and spent the rest of the day filling the fifty jars, and fearing lest the precious
talisman might slip from his arm and be lost again, he took the precaution of putting it in one of the jars, on
which he made a mark so as to be able to recognise it. When night came the jars were all ready, and the prince
and his host went to bed.

Whether in consequence of his great age, or of the fatigues and excitement of the previous day, I do not know,
but the gardener passed a very bad night. He was worse next day, and by the morning of the third day was
dangerously ill. At daybreak the ship's captain and some of his sailors knocked at the garden door and asked
for the passenger who was to embark.

"I am he," said Camaralzaman, who had opened the door. "The gardener who took my passage is ill and
cannot see you, but please come in and take these jars of olives and my bag, and I will follow as soon as I
have taken leave of him."

The sailors did as he asked, and the captain before leaving charged Camaralzaman to lose no time, as the wind
was fair, and he wished to set sail at once.

As soon as they were gone the prince returned to the cottage to bid farewell to his old friend, and to thank him
once more for all his kindness. But the old man was at his last gasp, and had barely murmured his confession
of faith when he expired.

Camaralzaman was obliged to stay and pay him the last offices, so having dug a grave in the garden he
wrapped the kind old man up and buried him. He then locked the door, gave up the key to the owner of the
garden, and hurried to the quay only to hear that the ship had sailed long ago, after waiting three hours for

It may well be believed that the prince felt in despair at this fresh misfortune, which obliged him to spend

another year in a strange and distasteful country. Moreover, he had once more lost the Princess Badoura's
talisman, which he feared he might never see again. There was nothing left for him but to hire the garden as
the old man had done, and to live on in the cottage. As he could not well cultivate the garden by himself, he
engaged a lad to help him, and to secure the rest of the treasure he put the remaining gold dust into fifty more
jars, filling them up with olives so as to have them ready for transport.

Whilst the prince was settling down to this second year of toil and privation, the ship made a rapid voyage and
arrived safely at the Ebony Island.

As the palace of the new king, or rather of the Princess Badoura, overlooked the harbour, she saw the ship
entering it and asked what vessel it was coming in so gaily decked with flags, and was told that it was a ship
from the Island of the Idolaters which yearly brought rich merchandise.

The princess, ever on the look out for any chance of news of her beloved husband, went down to the harbour
attended by some officers of the court, and arrived just as the captain was landing. She sent for him and asked
many questions as to his country, voyage, what passengers he had, and what his vessel was laden with. The
captain answered all her questions, and said that his passengers consisted entirely of traders who brought rich
stuffs from various countries, fine muslins, precious stones, musk, amber, spices, drugs, olives, and many
other things.

As soon as he mentioned olives, the princess, who was very partial to them, exclaimed:

"I will take all you have on board. Have them unloaded and we will make our bargain at once, and tell the
other merchants to let me see all their best wares before showing them to other people."

"Sire," replied the captain, "I have on board fifty very large pots of olives. They belong to a merchant who
was left behind, as in spite of waiting for him he delayed so long that I was obliged to set sail without him."

"Never mind," said the princess, "unload them all the same, and we will arrange the price."

The captain accordingly sent his boat off to the ship and it soon returned laden with the fifty pots of olives.
The princess asked what they might be worth.

"Sire," replied the captain, "the merchant is very poor. Your Majesty will not overpay him if you give him a
thousand pieces of silver."

"In order to satisfy him and as he is so poor," said the princess, "I will order a thousand pieces of gold to be
given you, which you will be sure to remit to him."

So saying she gave orders for the payment and returned to the palace, having the jars carried before her. When
evening came the Princess Badoura retired to the inner part of the palace, and going to the apartments of the
Princess Haiatelnefous she had the fifty jars of olives brought to her. She opened one to let her friend taste the
olives and to taste them herself, but great was her surprise when, on pouring some into a dish, she found them
all powdered with gold dust. "What an adventure! how extraordinary!" she cried. Then she had the other jars
opened, and was more and more surprised to find the olives in each jar mixed with gold dust.

But when at length her talisman was discovered in one of the jars her emotion was so great that she fainted
away. The Princess Haiatelnefous and her women hastened to restore her, and as soon as she recovered
consciousness she covered the precious talisman with kisses.

Then, dismissing the attendants, she said to her friend:


"You will have guessed, my dear, that it was the sight of this talisman which has moved me so deeply. This
was the cause of my separation from my dear husband, and now, I am convinced, it will be the means of our

As soon as it was light next day the Princess Badoura sent for the captain, and made further inquiries about
the merchant who owned the olive jars she had bought.

In reply the captain told her all he knew of the place where the young man lived, and how, after engaging his
passage, he came to be left behind.

"If that is the case," said the princess, "you must set sail at once and go back for him. He is a debtor of mine
and must be brought here at once, or I will confiscate all your merchandise. I shall now give orders to have all
the warehouses where your cargo is placed under the royal seal, and they will only be opened when you have
brought me the man I ask for. Go at once and obey my orders."

The captain had no choice but to do as he was bid, so hastily provisioning his ship he started that same
evening on his return voyage.

When, after a rapid passage, he gained sight of the Island of Idolaters, he judged it better not to enter the
harbour, but casting anchor at some distance he embarked at night in a small boat with six active sailors and
landed near Camaralzaman's cottage.

The prince was not asleep, and as he lay awake moaning over all the sad events which had separated him from
his wife, he thought he heard a knock at the garden door. He went to open it, and was immediately seized by
the captain and sailors, who without a word of explanation forcibly bore him off to the boat, which took them
back to the ship without loss of time. No sooner were they on board than they weighed anchor and set sail.

Camaralzaman, who had kept silence till then, now asked the captain (whom he had recognised) the reason for
this abduction.

"Are you not a debtor of the King of the Ebony Island?" asked the captain.

"I? Why, I never even heard of him before, and never set foot in his kingdom!" was the answer.

"Well, you must know better than I," said the captain. "You will soon see him now, and meantime be content
where you are and have patience."

The return voyage was as prosperous as the former one, and though it was night when the ship entered the
harbour, the captain lost no time in landing with his passenger, whom he conducted to the palace, where he
begged an audience with the king.

Directly the Princess Badoura saw the prince she recognised him in spite of his shabby clothes. She longed to
throw herself on his neck, but restrained herself, feeling it was better for them both that she should play her
part a little longer. She therefore desired one of her officers to take care of him and to treat him well. Next she
ordered another officer to remove the seals from the warehouse, whilst she presented the captain with a costly
diamond, and told him to keep the thousand pieces of gold paid for the olives, as she would arrange matters
with the merchant himself.

She then returned to her private apartments, where she told the Princess Haiatelnefous all that had happened,
as well as her plans for the future, and begged her assistance, which her friend readily promised.

Next morning she ordered the prince to be taken to the bath and clothed in a manner suitable to an emir or


governor of a province. He was then introduced to the council, where his good looks and grand air drew the
attention of all on him.

Princess Badoura, delighted to see him looking himself once more, turned to the other emirs, saying:

"My lords, I introduce to you a new colleague, Camaralzaman, whom I have known on my travels and who, I
can assure you, you will find well deserves your regard and admiration."

Camaralzaman was much surprised at hearing the king--whom he never suspected of being a woman in
disguise--asserting their acquaintance, for he felt sure he had never seen her before. However he received all
the praises bestowed on him with becoming modesty, and prostrating himself, said:

"Sire, I cannot find words in which to thank your Majesty for the great honour conferred on me. I can but
assure you that I will do all in my power to prove myself worthy of it."

On leaving the council the prince was conducted to a splendid house which had been prepared for him, where
he found a full establishment and well-filled stables at his orders. On entering his study his steward presented
him with a coffer filled with gold pieces for his current expenses. He felt more and more puzzled by such
good fortune, and little guessed that the Princess of China was the cause of it.

After a few days the Princess Badoura promoted Camaralzaman to the post of grand treasurer, an office which
he filled with so much integrity and benevolence as to win universal esteem.

He would now have thought himself the happiest of men had it not been for that separation which he never
ceased to bewail. He had no clue to the mystery of his present position, for the princess, out of compliment to
the old king, had taken his name, and was generally known as King Armanos the younger, few people
remembering that on her first arrival she went by another name.

At length the princess felt that the time had come to put an end to her own and the prince's suspense, and
having arranged all her plans with the Princess Haiatelnefous, she informed Camaralzaman that she wished
his advice on some important business, and, to avoid being disturbed, desired him to come to the palace that

The prince was punctual, and was received in the private apartment, when, having ordered her attendants to
withdraw, the princess took from a small box the talisman, and, handing it to Camaralzaman, said: "Not long
ago an astrologer gave me this talisman. As you are universally well informed, you can perhaps tell me what
is its use."

Camaralzaman took the talisman and, holding it to the light, cried with surprise, "Sire, you ask me the use of
this talisman. Alas! hitherto it has been only a source of misfortune to me, being the cause of my separation
from the one I love best on earth. The story is so sad and strange that I am sure your Majesty will be touched
by it if you will permit me to tell it you."

"I will hear it some other time," replied the princess. "Meanwhile I fancy it is not quite unknown to me. Wait
here for me. I will return shortly."

So saying she retired to another room, where she hastily changed her masculine attire for that of a woman,
and, after putting on the girdle she wore the day they parted, returned to Camaralzaman.

The prince recognised her at once, and, embracing her with the utmost tenderness, cried, "Ah, how can I thank
the king for this delightful surprise?"

"Do not expect ever to see the king again," said the princess, as she wiped the tears of joy from her eyes, "in
me you see the king. Let us sit down, and I will tell you all about it."

She then gave a full account of all her adventures since their parting, and dwelt much on the charms and noble
disposition of the Princess Haiatelnefous, to whose friendly assistance she owed so much. When she had done
she asked to hear the prince's story, and in this manner they spent most of the night.

Next morning the princess resumed her woman's clothes, and as soon as she was ready she desired the chief
eunuch to beg King Armanos to come to her apartments.

When the king arrived great was his surprise at finding a strange lady in company of the grand treasurer who
had no actual right to enter the private apartment. Seating himself he asked for the king.

"Sire," said the princess, "yesterday I was the king, to-day I am only the Princess of China and wife to the real
Prince Camaralzaman, son of King Schahzaman, and I trust that when your Majesty shall have heard our story
you will not condemn the innocent deception I have been obliged to practise."

The king consented to listen, and did so with marked surprise.

At the close of her narrative the princess said, "Sire, as our religion allows a man to have more than one wife,
I would beg your Majesty to give your daughter, the Princess Haiatelnefous, in marriage to Prince
Camaralzaman. I gladly yield to her the precedence and title of Queen in recognition of the debt of gratitude
which I owe her."

King Armanos heard the princess with surprise and admiration, then, turning to Camaralzaman, he said, "My
son, as your wife, the Princess Badoura (whom I have hitherto looked on as my son-in-law), consents to share
your hand and affections with my daughter, I have only to ask if this marriage is agreeable to you, and if you
will consent to accept the crown which the Princess Badoura deserves to wear all her life, but which she
prefers to resign for love of you."

"Sire," replied Camaralzaman, "I can refuse your Majesty nothing."

Accordingly Camaralzaman was duly proclaimed king, and as duly married with all pomp to the Princess
Haiatelnefous, with whose beauty, talents, and affections he had every reason to be pleased.

The two queens lived in true sisterly harmony together, and after a time each presented King Camaralzaman
with a son, whose births were celebrated throughout the kingdom with the utmost rejoicing.

Noureddin and the Fair Persian

Balsora was the capital of a kingdom long tributary to the caliph. During the time of the Caliph
Haroun-al-Raschid the king of Balsora, who was his cousin, was called Zinebi. Not thinking one vizir enough
for the administration of his estates he had two, named Khacan and Saouy.

Khacan was kind, generous, and liberal, and took pleasure in obliging, as far as in him lay, those who had
business with him. Throughout the entire kingdom there was no one who did not esteem and praise him as he

Saouy was quite a different character, and repelled everyone with whom he came in contact; he was always
gloomy, and, in spite of his great riches, so miserly that he denied himself even the necessaries of life. What
made him particularly detested was the great aversion he had to Khacan, of whom he never ceased to speak
evil to the king.

One day, while the king amused himself talking with his two vizirs and other members of the council, the
conversation turned on female slaves. While some declared that it sufficed for a slave to be beautiful, others,
and Khacan was among the number, maintained that beauty alone was not enough, but that it must be
accompanied by wit, wisdom, modesty, and, if possible, knowledge.

The king not only declared himself to be of this opinion, but charged Khacan to procure him a slave who
should fulfil all these conditions. Saouy, who had been of the opposite side, and was jealous of the honour
done to Khacan, said, "Sire, it will be very difficult to find a slave as accomplished as your Majesty desires,
and, if she is to be found, she will be cheap if she cost less than 10,000 gold pieces."

"Saouy," answered the king, "you seem to find that a very great sum. For you it may be so, but not for me."

And forthwith he ordered his grand treasurer, who was present, to send 10,000 gold pieces to Khacan for the
purchase of the slave.

As soon, then, as Khacan returned home he sent for the dealers in female slaves, and charged them directly
they had found such a one as he described to inform him. They promised to do their utmost, and no day
passed that they did not bring a slave for his inspection but none was found without some defect.

At length, early one morning, while Khacan was on his way to the king's palace, a dealer, throwing himself in
his way, announced eagerly that a Persian merchant, arrived late the previous evening, had a slave to sell
whose wit and wisdom were equal to her incomparable beauty.

Khacan, overjoyed at this news, gave orders that the slave should be brought for his inspection on his return
from the palace. The dealer appearing at the appointed hour, Khacan found the slave beautiful beyond his
expectations, and immediately gave her the name of "The Fair Persian."

Being a man of great wisdom and learning, he perceived in the short conversation he had with her that he
would seek in vain another slave to surpass her in any of the qualities required by the king, and therefore
asked the dealer what price the merchant put upon her.

"Sir," was the answer, "for less than 10,000 gold pieces he will not let her go; he declares that, what with
masters for her instruction, and for bodily exercises, not to speak of clothing and nourishment, he has already
spent that sum upon her. She is in every way fit to be the slave of a king; she plays every musical instrument,
she sings, she dances, she makes verses, in fact there is no accomplishment in which she does not excel."

Khacan, who was better able to judge of her merits than the dealer, wishing to bring the matter to a
conclusion, sent for the merchant, and said to him, "It is not for myself that I wish to buy your slave, but for
the king. Her price, however, is too high."

"Sir," replied the merchant, "I should esteem it an honour to present her to his Majesty, did it become a
merchant to do such a thing. I ask no more than the sum it has cost me to make her such as she is."

Khacan, not wishing to bargain, immediately had the sum counted out, and given to the merchant, who before
withdrawing said:

"Sir, as she is destined for the king, I would have you observe that she is extremely tired with the long
journey, and before presenting her to his Majesty you would do well to keep her a fortnight in your own
house, and to see that a little care is bestowed upon her. The sun has tanned her complexion, but when she has
been two or three times to the bath, and is fittingly dressed, you will see how much her beauty will be

Khacan thanked the merchant for his advice, and determined to follow it. He gave the beautiful Persian an
apartment near to that of his wife, whom he charged to treat her as befitting a lady destined for the king, and
to order for her the most magnificent garments.

Before bidding adieu to the fair Persian, he said to her: "No happiness can be greater than what I have
procured for you; judge for yourself, you now belong to the king. I have, however, to warn you of one thing. I
have a son, who, though not wanting in sense, is young, foolish, and headstrong, and I charge you to keep him
at a distance."

The Persian thanked him for his advice, and promised to profit by it.

Noureddin--for so the vizir's son was named--went freely in and out of his mother's apartments. He was
young, well-made and agreeable, and had the gift of charming all with whom he came in contact. As soon as
he saw the beautiful Persian, though aware that she was destined for the king, he let himself be carried away
by her charms, and determined at once to use every means in his power to retain her for himself. The Persian
was equally captivated by Noureddin, and said to herself: "The vizir does me too great honour in buying me
for the king. I should esteem myself very happy if he would give me to his son."

Noureddin availed himself of every opportunity to gaze upon her beauty, to talk and laugh with her, and never
would have left her side if his mother had not forced him.

Some time having elapsed, on account of the long journey, since the beautiful Persian had been to the bath,
five or six days after her purchase the vizir's wife gave orders that the bath should be heated for her, and that
her own female slaves should attend her there, and after-wards should array her in a magnificent dress that
had been prepared for her.

Her toilet completed, the beautiful Persian came to present herself to the vizir's wife, who hardly recognised
her, so greatly was her beauty increased. Kissing her hand, the beautiful slave said: "Madam, I do not know
how you find me in this dress that you have had prepared for me; your women assure me that it suits me so
well that they hardly knew me. If it is the truth they tell me, and not flattery, it is to you I owe the

"My daughter," answered the vizir's wife, "they do not flatter you. I myself hardly recognised you. The
improvement is not due to the dress alone, but largely to the beautifying effects of the bath. I am so struck by
its results, that I would try it on myself."

Acting forthwith on this decision she ordered two little slaves during her absence to watch over the beautiful
Persian, and not to allow Noureddin to enter should he come.

She had no sooner gone than he arrived, and not finding his mother in her apartment, would have sought her
in that of the Persian. The two little slaves barred the entrance, saying that his mother had given orders that he
was not to be admitted. Taking each by an arm, he put them out of the anteroom, and shut the door. Then they
rushed to the bath, informing their mistress with shrieks and tears that Noureddin had driven them away by
force and gone in.

This news caused great consternation to the lady, who, dressing herself as quickly as possible, hastened to the
apartment of the fair Persian, to find that Noureddin had already gone out. Much astonished to see the vizir's
wife enter in tears, the Persian asked what misfortune had happened.

"What!" exclaimed the lady, "you ask me that, knowing that my son Noureddin has been alone with you?"

"But, madam," inquired the Persian, "what harm is there in that?"

"How! Has my husband not told you that you are destined for the king?"

"Certainly, but Noureddin has just been to tell me that his father has changed his mind and has bestowed me
upon him. I believed him, and so great is my affection for Noureddin that I would willingly pass my life with

"Would to heaven," exclaimed the wife of the vizir, "that what you say were true; but Noureddin has deceived
you, and his father will sacrifice him in vengeance for the wrong he has done."

So saying, she wept bitterly, and all her slaves wept with her.

Khacan, entering shortly after this, was much astonished to find his wife and her slaves in tears, and the
beautiful Persian greatly perturbed. He inquired the cause, but for some time no answer was forthcoming.
When his wife was at length sufficiently calm to inform him of what had happened, his rage and mortification
knew no bounds. Wringing his hands and rending his beard, he exclaimed:

"Wretched son! thou destroyest not only thyself but thy father. The king will shed not only thy blood but
mine." His wife tried to console him, saying: "Do not torment thyself. With the sale of my jewels I will obtain
10,000 gold pieces, and with this sum you will buy another slave."

"Do not suppose," replied her husband, "that it is the loss of the money that affects me. My honour is at stake,
and that is more precious to me than all my wealth. You know that Saouy is my mortal enemy. He will relate
all this to the king, and you will see the consequences that will ensue."

"My lord," said his wife, "I am quite aware of Saouy's baseness, and that he is capable of playing you this
malicious trick. But how can he or any one else know what takes place in this house? Even if you are
suspected and the king accuses you, you have only to say that, after examining the slave, you did not find her
worthy of his Majesty. Reassure yourself, and send to the dealers, saying that you are not satisfied, and wish
them to find you another slave."

This advice appearing reasonable, Khacan decided to follow it, but his wrath against his son did not abate.
Noureddin dared not appear all that day, and fearing to take refuge with his usual associates in case his father
should seek him there, he spent the day in a secluded garden where he was not known. He did not return home
till after his father had gone to bed, and went out early next morning before the vizir awoke, and these
precautions he kept up during an entire month.

His mother, though knowing very well that he returned to the house every evening, dare not ask her husband
to pardon him. At length she took courage and said:

"My lord, I know that a son could not act more basely towards his father than Noureddin has done towards
you, but after all will you now pardon him? Do you not consider the harm you may be doing yourself, and
fear that malicious people, seeking the cause of your estrangement, may guess the real one?"

"Madam," replied the vizir, "what you say is very just, but I cannot pardon Noureddin before I have mortified
him as he deserves."

"He will be sufficiently punished," answered the lady, "if you do as I suggest. In the evening, when he returns
home, lie in wait for him and pretend that you will slay him. I will come to his aid, and while pointing out that
you only yield his life at my supplications, you can force him to take the beautiful Persian on any conditions
you please." Khacan agreed to follow this plan, and everything took place as arranged. On Noureddin's return
Khacan pretended to be about to slay him, but yielding to his wife's intercession, said to his son:


"You owe your life to your mother. I pardon you on her intercession, and on the conditions that you take the
beautiful Persian for your wife, and not your slave, that you never sell her, nor put her away."

Noureddin, not hoping for so great indulgence, thanked his father, and vowed to do as he desired. Khacan was
at great pains frequently to speak to the king of the difficulties attending the commission he had given him,
but some whispers of what had actually taken place did reach Saouy's ears.

More than a year after these events the minister took a chill, leaving the bath while still heated to go out on
important business. This resulted in inflammation of the lungs, which rapidly increased. The vizir, feeling that
his end was at hand, sent for Noureddin, and charged him with his dying breath never to part with the
beautiful Persian.

Shortly afterwards he expired, leaving universal regret throughout the kingdom; rich and poor alike followed
him to the grave. Noureddin showed every mark of the deepest grief at his father's death, and for long refused
to see any one. At length a day came when, one of his friends being admitted, urged him strongly to be
consoled, and to resume his former place in society. This advice Noureddin was not slow to follow, and soon
he formed little society of ten young men all about his own age, with whom he spent all his time in continual
feasting and merry-making.

Sometimes the fair Persian consented to appear at these festivities, but she disapproved of this lavish
expenditure, and did not scruple to warn Noureddin of the probable consequences. He, however, only laughed
at her advice, saying, that his father had always kept him in too great constraint, and that now he rejoiced at
his new-found liberty.

What added to the confusion in his affairs was that he refused to look into his accounts with his steward,
sending him away every time he appeared with his book.

"See only that I live well," he said, "and do not disturb me about anything else."

Not only did Noureddin's friends constantly partake of his hospitality, but in every way they took advantage
of his generosity; everything of his that they admired, whether land, houses, baths, or any other source of his
revenue, he immediately bestowed on them. In vain the Persian protested against the wrong he did himself; he
continued to scatter with the same lavish hand.

Throughout one entire year Noureddin did nothing but amuse himself, and dissipate the wealth his father had
taken such pains to acquire. The year had barely elapsed, when one day, as they sat at table, there came a
knock at the door. The slaves having been sent away, Noureddin went to open it himself. One of his friends
had risen at the same time, but Noureddin was before him, and finding the intruder to be the steward, he went
out and closed the door. The friend, curious to hear what passed between them, hid himself behind the
hangings, and heard the following words:

"My lord," said the steward, "I beg a thousand pardons for interrupting you, but what I have long foreseen has
taken place. Nothing remains of the sums you gave me for your expenses, and all other sources of income are
also at end, having been transferred by you to others. If you wish me to remain in your service, furnish me
with the necessary funds, else I must withdraw."

So great was Noureddin's consternation that he had not a word to say in reply.

The friend, who had been listening behind the curtain, immediately hastened to communicate the news to the
rest of the company.

"If this is so," they said, "we must cease to come here."


Noureddin re-entering at that moment, they plainly saw, in spite of his efforts to dissemble, that what they had
heard was the truth. One by one they rose, and each with a different excuse left the room, till presently he
found himself alone, though little suspecting the resolution his friends had taken. Then, seeing the beautiful
Persian, he confided to her the statement of the steward, with many expressions of regret for his own

"Had I but followed your advice, beautiful Persian," he said, "all this would not have happened, but at least I
have this consolation, that I have spent my fortune in the company of friends who will not desert me in an
hour of need. To-morrow I will go to them, and amongst them they will lend me a sum sufficient to start in
some business."

Accordingly next morning early Noureddin went to seek his ten friends, who all lived in the same street.
Knocking at the door of the first and chief, the slave who opened it left him to wait in a hall while he
announced his visit to his master. "Noureddin!" he heard him exclaim quite audibly. "Tell him, every time he
calls, that I am not at home." The same thing happened at the second door, and also at the third, and so on
with all the ten. Noureddin, much mortified, recognised too late that he had confided in false friends, who
abandoned him in his hour of need. Overwhelmed with grief, he sought consolation from the beautiful

"Alas, my lord," she said, "at last you are convinced of the truth of what I foretold. There is now no other
resource left but to sell your slaves and your furniture."

First then he sold the slaves, and subsisted for a time on the proceeds, after that the furniture was sold, and as
much of it was valuable it sufficed for some time. Finally this resource also came to an end, and again he
sought counsel from the beautiful Persian.

"My lord," she said, "I know that the late vizir, your father, bought me for 10,000 gold pieces, and though I
have diminished in value since, I should still fetch a large sum. Do not therefore hesitate to sell me, and with
the money you obtain go and establish yourself in business in some distant town."

"Charming Persian," answered Noureddin, "how could I be guilty of such baseness? I would die rather than
part from you whom I love better than my life."

"My lord," she replied, "I am well aware of your love for me, which is only equalled by mine for you, but a
cruel necessity obliges us to seek the only remedy."

Noureddin, convinced at length of the truth of her words, yielded, and reluctantly led her to the slave market,
where, showing her to a dealer named Hagi Hassan, he inquired her value.

Taking them into a room apart, Hagi Hassan exclaimed as soon as she had unveiled, "My lord, is not this the
slave your father bought for 10,000 pieces?"

On learning that it was so, he promised to obtain the highest possible price for her. Leaving the beautiful
Persian shut up in the room alone, he went ont to seek the slave merchants, announcing to them that he had
found the pearl among slaves, and asking them to come and put a value upon her. As soon as they saw her
they agreed that less than 4,000 gold pieces could not be asked. Hagi Hassan, then closing the door upon her,
began to offer her for sale--calling out: "Who will bid 4,000 gold pieces for the Persian slave?"

Before any of the merchants had bid, Saouy happened to pass that way, and judging that it must be a slave of
extraordinary beauty, rode up to Hagi Hassan and desired to see her. Now it was not the custom to show a
slave to a private bidder, but as no one dared to disobey the vizir his request was granted.


As soon as Saouy saw the Persian he was so struck by her beauty, that he immediately wished to possess her,
and not knowing that she belonged to Noureddin, he desired Hagi Hassan to send for the owner and to
conclude the bargain at once.

Hagi Hassan then sought Noureddin, and told him that his slave was going far below her value, and that if
Saouy bought her he was capable of not paying the money. "What you must do," he said, "is to pretend that
you had no real intention of selling your slave, and only swore you would in a fit of anger against her. When I
present her to Saouy as if with your consent you must step in, and with blows begin to lead her away."

Noureddin did as Hagi Hassan advised, to the great wrath of Saouy, who riding straight at him endeavoured to
take the beautiful Persian from him by force. Noureddin letting her go, seized Saouy's horse by the bridle,
and, encouraged by the applause of the bystanders, dragged him to the ground, beat him severely, and left him
in the gutter streaming with blood. Then, taking the beautiful Persian, he returned home amidst the
acclamations of the people, who detested Saouy so much that they would neither interfere in his behalf nor
allow his slaves to protect him.

Covered from head to foot with mire and streaming with blood he rose, and leaning on two of his slaves went
straight to the palace, where he demanded an audience of the king, to whom he related what had taken place in
these words:

"May it please your Majesty, I had gone to the slave market to buy myself a cook. While there I heard a slave
being offered for 4,000 pieces. Asking to see her, I found she was of incomparable beauty, and was being sold
by Noureddin, the son of your late vizir, to whom your Majesty will remember giving a sum of 10,000 gold
pieces for the purchase of a slave. This is the identical slave, whom instead of bringing to your Majesty he
gave to his own son. Since the death of his father this Noureddin has run through his entire fortune, has sold
all his possessions, and is now reduced to selling the slave. Calling him to me, I said: "Noureddin, I will give
you 10,000 gold pieces for your slave, whom I will present to the king. I will interest him at the same time in
your behalf, and this will be worth much more to you than what extra money you might obtain from the
merchants." "Bad old man," he exclaimed, "rather than sell my slave to you I would give her to a Jew." "But,
Noureddin," I remonstrated, "you do not consider that in speaking thus you wrong the king, to whom your
father owed everything." This remonstrance only irritated him the more. Throwing himself on me like a
madman, he tore me from my horse, beat me to his heart's content, and left me in the state your Majesty sees."

So saying Saouy turned aside his head and wept bitterly.

The king's wrath was kindled against Noureddin. He ordered the captain of the guard to take with him forty
men, to pillage Noureddin's house, to rase it to the ground, and to bring Noureddin and the slave to him. A
doorkeeper, named Sangiar, who had been a slave of Khacan's, hearing this order given, slipped out of the
king's apartment, and hastened to warn Noureddin to take flight instantly with the beautiful Persian. Then,
presenting him with forty gold pieces, he disappeared before Noureddin had time to thank him.

As soon, then, as the fair Persian had put on her veil they fled together, and had the good fortune to get out of
the town without being observed. At the mouth of the Euphrates they found a ship just about to start for
Bagdad. They embarked, and immediately the anchor was raised and they set sail.

When the captain of the guard reached Noureddin's house he caused his soldiers to burst open the door and to
enter by force, but no trace was to be found of Noureddin and his slave, nor could the neighbours give any
information about them. When the king heard that they had escaped, he issued a proclamation that a reward of
1,000 gold pieces would be given to whoever would bring him Noureddin and the slave, but that, on the
contrary, whoever hid them would be severely punished. Meanwhile Noureddin and the fair Persian had
safely reached Bagdad. When the vessel had come to an anchor they paid five gold pieces for their passage
and went ashore. Never having been in Bagdad before, they did not know where to seek a lodging. Wandering


along the banks of the Tigris, they skirted a garden enclosed by a high wall. The gate was shut, but in front of
it was an open vestibule with a sofa on either side. "Here," said Noureddin, "let us pass the night," and
reclining on the sofas they soon fell asleep.

Now this garden belonged to the Caliph. In the middle of it was a vast pavilion, whose superb saloon had
eighty windows, each window having a lustre, lit solely when the Caliph spent the evening there. Only the
door-keeper lived there, an old soldier named Scheih Ibrahim, who had strict orders to be very careful whom
he admitted, and never to allow any one to sit on the sofas by the door. It happened that evening that he had
gone out on an errand. When he came back and saw two persons asleep on the sofas he was about to drive
them out with blows, but drawing nearer he perceived that they were a handsome young man and beautiful
young woman, and decided to awake them by gentler means. Noureddin, on being awoke, told the old man
that they were strangers, and merely wished to pass the night there. "Come with me," said Scheih Ibrahim, "I
will lodge you better, and will show you a magnificent garden belonging to me." So saying the doorkeeper led
the way into the Caliph's garden, the beauties of which filled them with wonder and amazement. Noureddin
took out two gold pieces, and giving them to Scheih Ibrahim said

"I beg you to get us something to eat that we may make merry together." Being very avaricious, Scheih
Ibrahim determined to spend only the tenth part of the money and to keep the rest to himself. While he was
gone Noureddin and the Persian wandered through the gardens and went up the white marble staircase of the
pavilion as far as the locked door of the saloon. On the return of Scheih Ibrahim they begged him to open it,
and to allow them to enter and admire the magnificence within. Consenting, he brought not only the key, but a
light, and immediately unlocked the door. Noureddin and the Persian entering, were dazzled with the
magnificence they beheld. The paintings and furniture were of astonishing beauty, and between each window
was a silver arm holding a candle.

Scheih Ibrahim spread the table in front of a sofa, and all three ate together. When they had finished eating
Noureddin asked the old man to bring them a bottle of wine.

"Heaven forbid," said Scheih Ibrahim, "that I should come in contact with wine! I who have four times made
the pilgrimage to Mecca, and have renounced wine for ever."

"You would, however, do us a great service in procuring us some," said Noureddin. "You need not touch it
yourself. Take the ass which is tied to the gate, lead it to the nearest wine-shop, and ask some passer-by to
order two jars of wine; have them put in the ass's panniers, and drive him before you. Here are two pieces of
gold for the expenses."

At sight of the gold, Scheih Ibrahim set off at once to execute the commission. On his return, Noureddin said:
"We have still need of cups to drink from, and of fruit, if you can procure us some." Scheih Ibrahim
disappeared again, and soon returned with a table spread with cups of gold and silver, and every sort of
beautiful fruit. Then he withdrew, in spite of repeated invitations to remain.

Noureddin and the beautiful Persian, finding the wine excellent, drank of it freely, and while drinking they
sang. Both had fine voices, and Scheih Ibrahim listened to them with great pleasure-- first from a distance,
then he drew nearer, and finally put his head in at the door. Noureddin, seeing him, called to him to come in
and keep them company. At first the old man declined, but was persuaded to enter the room, to sit down on
the edge of the sofa nearest the door, and at last to draw closer and to seat himself by the beautiful Persian,
who urged him so persistently to drink her health that at length he yielded, and took the cup she offered.

Now the old man only made a pretence of renouncing wine; he frequented wine-shops like other people, and
had taken none of the precautions Noureddin had proposed. Having once yielded, he was easily persuaded to
take a second cup, and a third, and so on till he no longer knew what he was doing. Till near midnight they
continued drinking, laughing, and singing together.

About that time the Persian, perceiving that the room was lit by only one miserable tallow candle, asked
Scheih Ibrahim to light some of the beautiful candles in the silver arms.

"Light them yourself," answered the old man; "you are younger than I, but let five or six be enough."

She did not stop, however, till she had lit all the eighty, but Scheih Ibrahim was not conscious of this, and
when, soon after that, Noureddin proposed to have some of the lustres lit, he answered:

"You are more capable of lighting them than I, but not more than three."

Noureddin, far from contenting himself with three, lit all, and opened all the eighty windows.

The Caliph Haroun-al-Raschid, chancing at that moment to open a window in the saloon of his palace looking
on the garden, was surprised to see the pavilion brilliantly illuminated. Calling the grand-vizir, Giafar, he said
to him:

"Negligent vizir, look at the pavilion, and tell me why it is lit up when I am not there."

When the vizir saw that it was as the Caliph said, he trembled with fear, and immediately invented an excuse.

"Commander of the Faithful," he said, "I must tell you that four or five days ago Scheih Ibrahim told me that
he wished to have an assembly of the ministers of his mosque, and asked permission to hold it in the pavilion.
I granted his request, but forgot since to mention it to your Majesty."

"Giafar," replied the Caliph, "you have committed three faults-- first, in giving the permission; second, in not
mentioning it to me; and third, in not investigating the matter more closely. For punishment I condemn you to
spend the rest of the night with me in company of these worthy people. While I dress myself as a citizen, go
and disguise yourself, and then come with me."

When they reached the garden gate they found it open, to the great indignation of the Caliph. The door of the
pavilion being also open, he went softly upstairs, and looked in at the half-closed door of the saloon. Great
was his surprise to see Scheih Ibrahim, whose sobriety he had never doubted, drinking and singing with a
young man and a beautiful lady. The Caliph, before giving way to his anger, determined to watch and see who
the people were and what they did.

Presently Scheih Ibrahim asked the beautiful Persian if anything were wanting to complete her enjoyment of
the evening.

"If only," she said, "I had an instrument upon which I might play."

Scheih Ibrahim immediately took a lute from a cup-board and gave it to the Persian, who began to play on it,
singing the while with such skill and taste that the Caliph was enchanted. When she ceased he went softly
downstairs and said to the vizir:

"Never have I heard a finer voice, nor the lute better played. I am determined to go in and make her play to

"Commander of the Faithful," said the vizir, "if Scheih Ibrahim recognises you he will die of fright."

"I should be sorry for that," answered the Caliph, "and I am going to take steps to prevent it. Wait here till I


Now the Caliph had caused a bend in the river to form a lake in his garden. There the finest fish in the Tigris
were to be found, but fishing was strictly forbidden. It happened that night, however, that a fisherman had
taken advantage of the gate being open to go in and cast his nets. He was just about to draw them when he saw
the Caliph approaching. Recognising him at once in spite of his disguise, he threw himself at his feet
imploring forgiveness.

"Fear nothing," said the Caliph, "only rise up and draw thy nets."

The fisherman did as he was told, and produced five or six fine fish, of which the Caliph took the two largest.
Then he desired the fisherman to change clothes with him, and in a few minutes the Caliph was transformed
into a fisherman, even to the shoes and the turban. Taking the two fish in his hand, he returned to the vizir,
who, not recognising him, would have sent him about his business. Leaving the vizir at the foot of the stairs,
the Caliph went up and knocked at the door of the saloon. Noureddin opened it, and the Caliph, standing on
the threshold, said:

"Scheih Ibrahim, I am the fisher Kerim. Seeing that you are feasting with your friends, I bring you these fish."

Noureddin and the Persian said that when the fishes were properly cooked and dressed they would gladly eat
of them. The Caliph then returned to the vizir, and they set to work in Scheih Ibrahim's house to cook the fish,
of which they made so tempting a dish that Noureddin and the fair Persian ate of it with great relish. When
they had finished Noureddin took thirty gold pieces (all that remained of what Sangiar had given him) and
presented them to the Caliph, who, thanking him, asked as a further favour if the lady would play him one
piece on the lute. The Persian gladly consented, and sang and played so as to delight the Caliph.

Noureddin, in the habit of giving to others whatever they admired, said, "Fisherman, as she pleases you so
much, take her; she is yours."

The fair Persian, astounded that he should wish to part from her, took her lute, and with tears in her eyes sang
her reproaches to its music.

The Caliph (still in the character of fisherman) said to him, "Sir, I perceive that this fair lady is your slave.
Oblige me, I beg you, by relating your history."

Noureddin willingly granted this request, and recounted everything from the purchase of the slave down to the
present moment.

"And where do you go now?" asked the Caliph.

"Wherever the hand of Allah leads me," said Noureddin.

"Then, if you will listen to me," said the Caliph, "you will immediately return to Balsora. I will give you a
letter to the king, which will ensure you a good reception from him."

"It is an unheard-of thing," said Noureddin, "that a fisherman should be in correspondence with a king."

"Let not that astonish you," answered the Caliph; "we studied together, and have always remained the best of
friends, though fortune, while making him a king, left me a humble fisherman."

The Caliph then took a sheet of paper, and wrote the following letter, at the top of which he put in very small
characters this formula to show that he must be implicitly obeyed:--"In the name of the Most Merciful God.

"Letter of the Caliph Haroun-al-Raschid to the King of Balsora.


"Haroun-al-Raschid, son of Mahdi, sends this letter to Mohammed Zinebi, his cousin. As soon as Noureddin,
son of the Vizir Khacan, bearer of this letter, has given it to thee, and thou hast read it, take off thy royal
mantle, put it on his shoulders, and seat him in thy place without fail. Farewell."

The Caliph then gave this letter to Noureddin, who immediately set off, with only what little money he
possessed when Sangiar came to his assistance. The beautiful Persian, inconsolable at his departure, sank on a
sofa bathed in tears.

When Noureddin had left the room, Scheih Ibrahim, who had hitherto kept silence, said: "Kerim, for two
miserable fish thou hast received a purse and a slave. I tell thee I will take the slave, and as to the purse, if it
contains silver thou mayst keep one piece, if gold then I will take all and give thee what copper pieces I have
in my purse."

Now here it must be related that when the Caliph went upstairs with the plate of fish he ordered the vizir to
hasten to the palace and bring back four slaves bearing a change of raiment, who should wait outside the
pavilion till the Caliph should clap his hands.

Still personating the fisherman, the Caliph answered: "Scheih Ibrahim, whatever is in the purse I will share
equally with you, but as to the slave I will keep her for myself. If you do not agree to these conditions you
shall have nothing."

The old man, furious at this insolence as he considered it, took a cup and threw it at the Caliph, who easily
avoided a missile from the hand of a drunken man. It hit against the wall, and broke into a thousand pieces.
Scheih Ibrahim, still more enraged, then went ont to fetch a stick. The Caliph at that moment clapped his
hands, and the vizir and the four slaves entering took off the fisherman's dress and put on him that which they
had brought.

When Scheih Ibrahim returned, a thick stick in his hand, the Caliph was seated on his throne, and nothing
remained of the fisherman but his clothes in the middle of the room. Throwing himself on the ground at the
Caliph's feet, he said: "Commander of the Faithful, your miserable slave has offended you, and craves

The Caliph came down from his throne, and said: "Rise, I forgive thee." Then turning to the Persian he said:
"Fair lady, now you know who I am; learn also that I have sent Noureddin to Balsora to be king, and as soon
as all necessary preparations are made I will send you there to be queen. Meanwhile I will give you an
apartment in my palace, where you will be treated with all honour."

At this the beautiful Persian took courage, and the Caliph was as good as his word, recommending her to the
care of his wife Zobeida.

Noureddin made all haste on his journey to Balsora, and on his arrival there went straight to the palace of the
king, of whom he demanded an audience. It was immediately granted, and holding the letter high above his
head he forced his way through the crowd. While the king read the letter he changed colour. He would
instantly have executed the Caliph's order, but first he showed the letter to Saouy, whose interests were
equally at stake with his own. Pretending that he wished to read it a second time, Saouy turned aside as if to
seek a better light; unperceived by anyone he tore off the formula from the top of the letter, put it to his
mouth, and swallowed it. Then, turning to the king, he said:

"Your majesty has no need to obey this letter. The writing is indeed that of the Caliph, but the formula is
absent. Besides, he has not sent an express with the patent, without which the letter is useless. Leave all to me,
and I will take the consequences."

The king not only listened to the persuasions of Saouy, but gave Noureddin into his hands. Such a severe
bastinado was first administered to him, that he was left more dead than alive; then Saouy threw him into the
darkest and deepest dungeon, and fed him only on bread and water. After ten days Saouy determined to put an
end to Noureddin's life, but dared not without the king's authority. To gain this end, he loaded several of his
own slaves with rich gifts, and presented himself at their head to the king, saying that they were from the new
king on his coronation.

"What!" said the king; "is that wretch still alive? Go and behead him at once. I authorise you."

"Sire," said Saouy, "I thank your Majesty for the justice you do me. I would further beg, as Noureddin
publicly affronted me, that the execution might be in front of the palace, and that it might be proclaimed
throughout the city, so that no one may be ignorant of it."

The king granted these requests, and the announcement caused universal grief, for the memory of Noureddin's
father was still fresh in the hearts of his people. Saouy, accompanied by twenty of his own slaves, went to the
prison to fetch Noureddin, whom he mounted on a wretched horse without a saddle. Arrived at the palace,
Saouy went in to the king, leaving Noureddin in the square, hemmed in not only by Saouy's slaves but by the
royal guard, who had great difficulty in preventing the people from rushing in and rescuing Noureddin. So
great was the indignation against Saouy that if anyone had set the example he would have been stoned on his
way through the streets. Saouy, who witnessed the agitation of the people from the windows of the king's
privy chambers, called to the executioner to strike at once. The king, however, ordered him to delay; not only
was he jealous of Saouy's interference, but he had another reason. A troop of horsemen was seen at that
moment riding at full gallop towards the square. Saouy suspected who they might be, and urged the king to
give the signal for the execution without delay, but this the king refused to do till he knew who the horsemen

Now, they were the vizir Giafar and his suite arriving at full speed from Bagdad. For several days after
Noureddin's departure with the letter the Caliph had forgotten to send the express with the patent, without
which the letter was useless. Hearing a beautiful voice one day in the women's part of the palace uttering
lamentations, he was informed that it was the voice of the fair Persian, and suddenly calling to mind the
patent, he sent for Giafar, and ordered him to make for Balsora with the utmost speed-- if Noureddin were
dead, to hang Saouy; if he were still alive, to bring him at once to Bagdad along with the king and Saouy.

Giafar rode at full speed through the square, and alighted at the steps of the palace, where the king came to
greet him. The vizir's first question was whether Noureddin were still alive. The king replied that he was, and
he was immediately led forth, though bound hand and foot. By the vizir's orders his bonds were immediately
undone, and Saouy was tied with the same cords. Next day Giafar returned to Bagdad, bearing with him the
king, Saouy, and Noureddin.

When the Caliph heard what treatment Noureddin had received, he authorised him to behead Saouy with his
own hands, but he declined to shed the blood of his enemy, who was forthwith handed over to the executioner.
The Caliph also desired Noureddin to reign over Balsora, but this, too, he declined, saying that after what had
passed there he preferred never to return, but to enter the service of the Caliph. He became one of his most
intimate courtiers, and lived long in great happiness with the fair Persian. As to the king, the Caliph contented
himself with sending him back to Balsora, with the recommendation to be more careful in future in the choice
of his vizir.