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Merchant and Genius, 11.
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THE FABLE OF THE ASS, THE Ox, AND THE LABOURER, 7
THE STORY OF THE MERCHANT AND TE GENIUS, 11
THE HISTORY OF THE FIRST OLD MAN AND THE HIND, 15
THE HISTORY OF THE SECOND OLD MAN AND THE TWO
BLACK DOGS, 18
THE HISTORY CF THE FISHERMAN, 21
THE HISTORY OF THE GREEK KING AND DOUBAN THE PHY-
THE HISTORY OF THE HUSBAND AND THE PARROT, . 6
THE HISTORY OF THE VIZIER WHO WAS PUNISHED, . 27
THE HISTORY OF THE YOUNG KING OF THE BLACK ISLES, ,.' 37
THE HISTORY OF THE THREE CALENDERS, SONS OF KINGS,
AND OF FIVE LADIES OF BAGDAD, 44
THE HISTORY OF THE FIRST CALENDER, TIE SON OF A KING, 56
THE HISTORY OF THE SECOND CALENDER, THE SON OF A KING, 61
THE HISTORY OF THE ENVIOUS MAN AND OF HIM WHO WAS
ENVIED, .... .... 67
THE HISTORY OF THE THIRD CALENDER, THE SON OF A KING, 77
THE HISTORY OF ZOBEIDE,. 94
THE HISTORY OF Am1IN 9, 97
THE HISTORY OF SINDBAD THE SAILOR, . 106
THE FIRST VOYAGE OF SINDBAD THE SAILOR, . 108
THE SECOND VOYAGE OF SINDBAD THE SAILOR, . 111
THE THIRD VOYAGE OF SINDBAD THE SAILOR, . 115
THE FOURTH VOYAGE OF SINDBAD THE SAILOR, 120
THE FIFTH VOYAGE OF SINDBAD THE SAILOR, . 126
THE SIXTH VOYAGE OF SINDBAD THE SAILOR O 130
THE SEVENTH VOYAGE OF SINDBAD THE SAILOR, 135
THE THREE APPLES, 140
THE HISTORY OF THE LADY WHO WAS MURDERED, AND OF
THE YOUNG MAN HER HUSBAND, 143
THE HISTORY OF NOUREDDIN ALI AND BEDREDDIN HASSAN, 146
THE HISTORY OF THE LITTLE HUNCHBACK, 17.
THE STORY TOLD BY THE PURVEYOR OF THE SULTAN OF CASGAR, 178
THE STORY TOLD BY THE JEWISH PHYSICIAN, 188
THE STORY TOLD BY THE TAILOR, 191
THE HISTORY OF THE BARBER, . 203
THE HISTORY OF THE BARBER'S FIRST BROTHER, 205
THE HISTORY OF THE BARBER'S SECOND BROTHER, 208
THE HISTORY OF THE BARBER'S THIRD BROTHER, . 212
THE HISTORY OF THE BARBER'S FOURTH BROTHER, . 216
THE HISTORY OF THE BARBER'S FIFTH BROTHER, . 219
THE HISTORY OF THE BARBER'S SIXTH BROTHER, . 227
THE HISTORY OF CAMARALZAMAN, PRINCE OF THE ISLE OF
THE CHILDREN OF KHALEDAN, AND OF BADOURA, PRIN-
CESS OF CHINA, 234
THE HISTORY OF PRINCE AMGIAD AND OF PRINCE ASSAD, 275
THE HISTORY OF NOUREDDIN AND THE BEAUTIFUL PERSIAN, 300
THE HISTORY OF BEDER, PRINCE OF PERSIA, AND OF GIAU-
HARE, PRINCESS OF THE KINGDOM OF SAMANDAL . 333
THE HISTORY OF GANEM, SON OF ABOUT AIBOU, THE SLAVE
OF LOVE, ... .... 372
THE HISTORY OF PRINCE ZEYN ALASNAM AND OF THE KING
OF THE GENII 402
THE HISTORY OF CODADAD AND HIS BROTHERS, AND OF THE
PRINCESS OF DERYABAR, 415
THE STORY OF THE SLEEPER AWAKENED, 434
THE HISTORY OF ALADDIN, OR THE WONDERFUL LAMP, 485
THE ADVENTURES OF THE CALIPH HAROUN ALRASCHID, 551
THE HISTORY OF BABA ABDALLA, THE BLIND MAN, . 553
THE HISTORY OF SIDI NOUMAN, . 559
THE HISTORY OF COGIA HASSAN ALHABBAL, 564
THE HISTORY OF ALI BABA, AND THE FORTY ROBBERS, 581
THE HISTORY OF ALI COGIA, A MERCHANT OF BAGDAD, 605
THE STORY OF THE ENCHANTED HORSE, 615
THE HISTORY OF PRINCE AHMED AND THE FAIRY PARI-BANOU, 632
THE STORY OF THE Two SISTERS WHO WERE JEALOUS OF THEIR
YOUNGER SISTER, 671
ARABIAN NIGHTS ENTERTAINMENTS.
IT is written in the chronicles of the Sassanians, those ancient
monarchs of Persia, who extended their empire over the continent
and islands of India, beyond the Ganges, and almost to China, that
there once lived an illustrious prince of that powerful house, who
was as much beloved by his subjects for his wisdom and prudence,
as he was feared by the surrounding states, from the report of his
bravery, and the reputation of his hardy and well-disciplined army.
This king died after a long and glorious reign, and Schahriar, his
eldest son, who was endowed with all the virtues of his father,
reigned in his stead. Not long after he ascended the throne, he
married a beautiful lady, and for ten years lived very happily with
her as his queen. But having discovered that she held secret inter-
course with one of his officers, he ordered them both to be executed,
and in his rage vowed, that in order to prevent the possibility of
such an occurrence in future, he would marry a wife every night,
and have her strangled in the morning.
The sultan failed not to observe the cruel law he had imposed
on himself, and ordered his grand vizier to bring him the daughter
of one of his generals. The vizier obeyed ; and the sultan next
morning delivered her into the hands of the vizier for execution,
and commanded him to procure another against the following night.
However repugnant these commands might be to the vizier, he was
obliged to submit. He then brought the sultan the daughter of a
subaltern officer, who, as usual, suffered death the next morning.
The next was the daughter of a citizen. And thus every day was
a maiden married, and every day a wife sacrificed.
The report of this unexampled inhumanity spread a universal
consternation through the city. In one place a wretched father
was in tears for the loss of his daughter, in another the air resounded
with the groans of tender mothers, who dreaded lest the same fate
should attend their offspring. In this manner, instead of the praises
and blessings with which, till now, they loaded their monarch, all
his subjects poured out imprecations on his head.
The grand vizier, who, as has been mentioned, was the unwilling
agent of this horrid injustice, had two daughters; the elder was
called Scheherazade, and the youngest Dinarzad6. The latter was
by no means deficient in merit ; but Scheherazade was possessed of
6 THE ARABIAN NIGHTS ENTERTAINMENTS.
a degree of courage beyond her sex. She had read much, and was
possessed of so great a memory that she never forgot anything once
learned. Besides this, her beauty was incomparable; and all these
valuable qualities were crowned by her virtuous disposition.
The vizier was passionately fond -of so deserving a daughter. As
they were conversing together one day, she addressed him in these
words : I have a favour to ask of you, my father; and I entreat
you not to refuse me." I will not refuse you," replied he, "pro-
vided the request be just and reasonable." It is impossible,"
added Scheherazade, "to be more just, as you will judge from the
motives I have in making it. My design is to put a stop to this
dreadful barbarity which the sultan exercises over the inhabitants
of this city. I wish to dispel the just apprehension which all
mothers entertain for the safety of their daughters." "Your inten-
tion, my child," said the vizier, "is very laudable; but the evil
which you wish to cure seems to me without a remedy; how would
you set about it?" Since, by your means," replied Scheherazade,
"the sultan celebrates a fresh marriage every day, I conjure you,
by the tender affection you have for me, to procure me the honour
of being his bride." This speech filled the vizier with horror, and
he imagined she had lost her senses to make so dangerous a request;
but to all his remonstrances she replied, "I am aware of the
danger I run, but it does not deter me from my purpose. If I die,
my death will be glorious; and if I succeed, I shall render my
country an important service." "Your obstinacy," replied he,
"excites my anger; why can you wish thus to rush to your own
destruction? They who do not look forward to the end of a dan-
gerous enterprise, know not how to bring it to a fortunate con-
clusion. The same thing will, I fear, happen to you which did to
the ass." "What happened to the ass?" replied Scheherazade.
" Listen to me," answered the vizier, "and I will relate the story."
4 t bhe of tOe t, te nn' tfbe ieThntrr.
A very rich merchant had several houses in the country, where
he bred a considerable number of cattle of various descriptions.
He understood the language of beasts; but obtained this privilege
only on the condition of not imparting what he heard to any one,
under the penalty of death.
He had put by chance an ox and an ass into the same stall; and
being one day seated near them, he heard the ox say to the ass:
"How happy do I think your lot, when I consider the repose you
enjoy, and the little labour you are required to perform. A servant
looks after you with great care, washes you, feeds you with fine
sifted barley, and gives you fresh and clean water; your greatest
task is to carry the merchant, our master, when he has occasion to
take a short journey ; but for that your whole life would be passed
in idleness. How different now is the manner in which they treat
me my condition is as unfortunate as yours is pleasant. They
FABLE OF THE ASS, THE OX, ETC. 7
yoke me to a plough, with which they make me turn up the ground
the whole day; while the labourer, who is constantly behind, con-
tinually urges me on with his goad. The weight and force of the
plough, too, chafes all the skin from my neck. When I have worked
from morning till night, they give me unwholesome dirty beans, or
even something worse; and to complete my misery, after having
been obliged to satisfy my hunger upon such uninviting food, I am
compelled to pass the night in a filthy stall. Have I not then
reason to envy your lot ?"
The ass suffered the ox to say what he pleased, without interrup-
tion; and when he had finished, addressed him in these words:
In truth, they are not much out when they call you an idiot,
since you pass your life just as they please, and cannot take thought
on your own behalf. What benefit, pray, do you derive from all
your indignities ? You even destroy yourself for the ease, pleasure,
and profit of those who do not thank you for it. Believe me, they
would not treat you thus, if you possessed as much courage as
strength. When they come to tie you to the manger, what resist-
ance, pray, do you ever make? Do you ever put them in mind of
your horns? Do you ever show your anger by stamping on the
ground with your feet? Why don't you terrify them with youl
bellowing? Nature has given you the means of making yourself
respected, and yet you neglect to use them. They bring you bad
beans and chaff; well, do not eat them, smell t them only, and
leave them. Thus, if you follow my plans yoa will soon perceive
a change, which you will thank me for." The ox took the advice
of the ass very kindly, and declared himself much obliged to him.
"My dear companion," added he, I will not fail to do as you bid
me, and you shall see how I acquit myself." After this conversation,
of which the merchant lost not a word, they were silent.
Early the next morning the labourer came for the ox, and yoked
him to the plough, and set him to work as usual. The latter, who
had not forgotten the advice he had received, was very unruly the
whole day; and at night, when the labourer attempted to fasten
him as usual to the stall, the malicious animal, instead of turning
his horns towards him for that purpose, began to be outrageous,
and ran roaring back; he even put down his horns to strike him;
in short, he did exactly as the ass had advised him. The day
following, when the man came, he found the manger still full of
beans and chaff, and the ox lying on the ground, with his legs
stretched out, and making a strange groaning. The labourer thought
him very ill, and that it would be useless to take him to work; he
therefore immediately went and informed the merchant of it.
The latter perceived that the bad advice of the ass had been
followed; and in order to punish him as he deserved, he told the
labourer to go and take the ass instead of the ox, and not fail to
give him plenty of exercise. The man obeyed; and the ass was
obliged to drag the plough the whole day, which tired him the more,
"because he was unaccustomed to it; besides which, he was so
handsomely beaten that he could scarcely support himself when he
0 THE ARABIAN NIGHTS ENTERTAINMENTS.
In the meantime the ox was very well satisfied; he ate all that
was in his rack, and rested the whole day. He was highly pleased
with himself for having followed the advice of the ass, and blessed
him a thousand times for the good he had procured him. As soon
as he saw him return, he did not fail to repeat his thanks. The ass
was so enraged at the treatment he had experienced, that he would
not answer a word. "My own imprudence," said he to himself,
" has alone brought this misfortune upon me. I lived happily,
everything was pleasant, I had all I wished for, and I may thank
myself only for this reverse. If I cannot contrive some trick to get
out of this scrape, my destruction is inevitable." In saying this,
his strength was so much exhausted that he fell down in his stall,
Here the grand vizier said to Scheherazade, You are, my child,
just like this ass, and would expose yourself to destruction. Trust
to me; and remain here in safety, without seeking your own ruin."
" Sir," replied Scheherazade, "the example which you have brought
does not alter my resolution, and I shall not cease importuning you
till I have obtained from you the favour of presenting me to the
sultan as his consort." The vizier, finding her persist in her request,
said, "Well, then, since you will remain thus obstinate, I shall be
obliged to treat you as the merchant I mentioned did his wife."
Being told in what a miserable state the ass was, he was curious
to know what passed between him and the ox; after supper, there-
fore, he went out by moonlight, accompanied by his wife, and sat
down near them; on his arrival, he heard the ass say to the ox,
"Tell me, brother, what you mean to do when the labourer brings
you food to-morrow ?" Mean to do ? replied the ox, why, what
you taught me." Take care," interrupted the ass, what you are
about, lest you destroy yourself; for in coming home yesterday
evening, I heard the merchant, our master, say what made me
tremble for you." "What did you hear ?" asked the latter; con-
ceal nothing from me, I entreat you." "Our master, replied the
ass, "addressed his labourer in these words : 'Since the ox can
neither eat nor support himself, I wish him to be killed to-morrow ;
we will give his flesh as an alms to the poor; and you shall carry
his skin, which will be useful, to the currier; do not, therefore, fail
to send for the butcher.' This is what I heard; and the interest I
take in your safety, and the friendship I have for you, induces me
to mention it, and offer you my opinion on the subject. At first,
when they bring you beans and chaff, get up, and begin eating
directly. Our master, by this, will suppose that you have recovered,
and will, without doubt, revoke the sentence for your death; in my
opinion, if you act otherwise, it is all over with you.
This speech produced the intended effect; the ox was much
troubled, and lowed with fear. The merchant, who had listened
to everything with great attention, burst into a fit of laughter that
quite surprised his wife. Tell me," said she, "what you laugh
at, that I may join in it." Be satisfied," he answered, "at hear-
ing me." No, no," she added, I wish to know the cause." "That
satisfaction, replied the husband, "I cannot afford you: I can
FABLE OF THE ASS, THE OX, ETC. 9
only tell you that I laughed at what the ass said to the ox ; the rest
is a secret which I must not reveal." And why not ?" asked his
wife. "Because, if I tell you, it will cost me my life." "You
trifle with me," added she; "this can never be true; and if you do
not immediately inform me what you laughed at, I swear by Allah
that we live together no longer."
In saying this, she went back to the house in a pet, shut herself
up, and cried the whole night. Her husband, finding that she con-
tinued in the same state the next day, said, How foolish it is to
afflict yourself in this way: do I not seriously tell you, that if I
were to yield to your foolish importunities, it would cost me my
life?" Whatever happens rests with God," said she; "but I
shall not alter my mind." He then sent for the parents and other
relations of his wife ; when they were all assembled, he explained
to them his motives for calling them together, and requested them
to use all their influence with his wife, and endeavour to convince
her of the folly of her conduct. She rejected them all, and said she
had rather die than give up this point to her husband. Each of her
parents urged every argument, and used every persuasion in their
power ; but they could make no impression either by their authority
or eloquence. When her children saw that nothing could alter her
resolution, they began to lament most bitterly; the merchant him-
self knew not what to do.
A little while afterwards he was sitting by chance at the door of
his house, considering whether he should not even sacrifice himself,
in order to save his wife, whom he so tenderly loved. This mer-
chant had fifty hens and only one cock, and also a very faithful
dog. While he was sitting at the door, meditating what plan to
pursue, he saw the dog run towards the cock, and heard him de-
scribe his wife's obstinacy and his own danger.
Our master is a fool," replied the cock; he has but one wife,
and cannot gain his point; while I have fifty, and do just as I
please." What would you do ? said the dog. "What ?" an-
swered the cock; "why, let him only go into the room where his wife
is, and, after shutting the door, take a good-sized stick and give
";er a smart thrashing. I will answer for it she. will soon know
better and not worry him to reveal what he ought to keep secret."
The merchant no sooner heard what the cock said, than he got up,
and taking rather a large stick, went to his wife, who was still
weeping. Having shut the door, he applied the remedy so effectually
that she soon exclaimed, "Enough, enough, my husband, leave me,
and I will never ask the question more." You deserve, my daugh-
ter," added the grand vizier, "to be treated like the merchant's
Do not, sir," answered Scheherazade, "think ill of me, if I
still persist in my sentiments. The history of this woman does not
shake my resolution. Pardon me, too, if I add, that your opposi-
tion will be useless; for if paternal tenderness should refuse the
request I make, I will present myself to the sultan." At length,
the vizier, overcome by his daughter's firmness, yielded to her en-
treaties; and, although he was much afflicted at not being able to
10 THE ARABIAN NIGHTS ENTERTAINMENTS.
conquer her resolution, he immediately went to Schahriar, and
announced to him that Scheherazade herself would be his bride on
the following night.
The sultan was much astonished at the sacrifice of the grand vizier.
" Is it possible," said he, that you can give up your own child ?"
" Sire," replied the vizier, she has herself made the offer. The
dreadful fate that hangs over her does not alarm her; and she pre-
fers, even to her existence, the honour of being the consort of your
majesty, though it be but for one night." "Vizier," said the
sultan, do not deceive yourself with any hopes; for be assured,
that in delivering Scheherazade into your charge to-morrow, it will
be with an order for her death; and if you disobey, your own head
will be the forfeit."
When the grand vizier carried this intelligence to Scheherazade,
she seemed as much rejoiced as if it had been of the most pleasant
character: she thanked her father for obliging her so greatly; and
observing him to be much afflicted, she consoled him by saying, that
she hoped he would be so far from repenting her marriage with the
sultan, that it would become a subject of joy to him for the re-
mainder of his life.
She now occupied herself with the manner in which she.should
appear before the sultan; but before she went to the palace, she
called her sister, Dinarzade, aside, and said, "I am in great want
of your assistance, my dear sister, in a very important affair; and
I hope you will not refuse me. My father is going to conduct me
to the palace as the wife of the sultan. Do not let this news alarm
you, but attend rather to what I say. As soon as I shall have presented
myself before the sultan, I shall entreat him to suffer you to sleep
in the bridal chamber that I may enjoy for the last time your com-
pany. If I obtain this favour, as I expect, remember to awaken
me to-morrow morning an hour before daybreak, and address some
such words as these to me:-' If you are not asleep, my sister, I
beg of you, till the morning appears, to recount to me one of those
delightful stories you know.' I will immediately begin to tell one:
and I flatter myself that by these means I shall free the kingdom
from the consternation in which it is." Dinarzade promised to do
with pleasure what she required.
When the hour of retiring approached, the grand vizier conducted
Scheherazade to the palace, and after introducing her to the sultan's
apartment, took his leave. They were no sooner alone, than the
sultan ordered her to take off her veil. He was charmed with her
beauty; but perceiving her in tears, he demanded the cause of them.
"Sire," answered Scheherazade, "I have a sister whom I tenderly
love, and whose attachment to me is equally strong; I earnestly
wish that she might be permitted to pass the night in this apart-
ment, that we may again see each other, and once more take a
tender farewell. Will you then consent, that I shall have the con-
solation of giving her this last proof of my affection ?" Schahriar
having agreed to it, they sent for Dinarzade, who came directly.
The sultan passed the night with Scheherazadb on an elevated
couch, as was the custom among the eastern monarchs, and
THE MERCHANT AND THE GENIUS. 11
Dinarzade slept at the foot of it, on a mattress prepared for the
Dinarzade, having awoke about an hour before day, did not fail
to do what her sister had ordered her. "My dear sister," she
said, "if you are not asleep, I entreat you, as it will soon be light,
to relate to me one of those delightful tales you know. It will,
alas, be the last time I shall receive that pleasure."
Instead of returning any answer to her sister, ScheherazadE ad-
dressed these words to the sultan:-"Will your majesty permit me
to indulge my sister in her request ?" "Freely," replied he. Sche-
herazadB then desired her sister to attend, and, addressing herself
to the sultan, began as follows.
ifo jftrlra df the ffelajant aib ftz otaills.
There was formerly, sire, a merchant, who was possessed of great
wealth, in land, merchandise, and ready money. He had a numer-
ous set of clerks, factors, and slaves; and, from the great extent of
his commercial transactions, he was from time to time obliged to
take various journeys, in order to arrange his affairs in person with
his correspondents. Having one day an affair of great importance
to settle at a considerable distance from home, he mounted his horse,
and with only a sort of cloak-bag behind him, in which he had put a
few biscuits and dates, he began his journey. This provision was
absolutely necessary, as he was obliged to pass over a desert, where
it was impossible to procure any kind of food. He arrived without
any accident at the place of his destination; and having finished
his business, he set out on his return.
On the fourth day of his journey, he felt himself so incommoded
by the sun, and the heated surface of the earth, that he turned out
of his road, in order to rest and refresh himself under some trees,
which he saw at a distance. At the foot of a large walnut-tree he
perceived a very transparent and cool fountain. He immediately
alighted, and tying his horse to a branch of the tree, sat down oi
its bank, having first taken some biscuits and dates from his little
store. While he was thus satisfying his hunger, he amused himself
with throwing about the stones of the fruit with considerable velo-
city. When he had finished his frugal repast, he washed his hands,
his face, and his feet, and repeated a prayer, like a good Mussulman.
He had hardly made an end, and was still on his knees, when he
saw a Genius, white with age, and of an enormous stature, advanc-
ing towards him, with a scimitar in his hand. As soon as he was
close to him, he said in a most terrible tone: "Get up, that I may
kill thee with this scimitar, as thou hast caused the death of my
son." He accompanied these words with a dreadful yell. The
merchant, alarmed by the horrible figure of this monster, as well as
the words he heard, replied in trembling accents: "Of what crime,
my good lord, alas, can I have been guilty towards you, to deserve
the loss of life?" "I have sworn to kill thee, as thou hast slain my
12 THE ARABIAN NIGHTS ENTERTAINMENTS.
son." "How could I have slain him ?" answered the merchant. I
do not know him, nor have I ever seen him." Didst thou not,"
replied the monster, "on thine arrival here, sit down, and take
some dates from thy wallet; and after eating them didst thou not
throw the stones about on all sides?" This is all true," replied
the merchant; I do not deny it." Well, then," said the other,
" I tell thee, thou hast killed my son; for while thou wast throwing
about the stones, my son passed by; one of them struck him in the
eye, and caused his death, and thus hast thou slain my son." "Ah,
sire, forgive me," cried the merchant. "I have neither forgiveness nor
mercy," added the monster; and is it not just that he who has
inflicted death should suffer it ? "I grant this; yet surely I have
not done so: and even if I have, I have done so innocently, and
therefore I entreat you to pardon me, and suffer me to live." "No,
n1o," cried the Genius, still persisting in his resolution, "I must
destroy thee, as thou hast done my son." At these words, he took
the merchant in his arms, and having thrown him with his face on
the ground, he lifted up his sabre, in order to strike off his head.
The merchant, in the meantime, bathed in tears, protested his
innocence, and lamenting his wife and children, tried the most per-
suasive means to avert his fate. The Genius, still holding up the
sabre, waited, however, till he had ended his complaints, though it
altered not his purpose. "All thy lamentations are vain," he cried;
" were thine eyes to weep blood, it would not prevent my killing
thee, as thou hast slain my son." Can nothing, then," replied the
merchant, soften you? Must you shed the blood of a poor inno-
cent being?" Yes," he added, I am resolved."
Scheherazade, at this instant, perceiving it was day, and know-
ing that the sultan rose early to his prayers, and then to hold a
council, broke off. "What a wonderful story," said Dinarzade,
"have you pitched upon !" "The conclusion," answered Schehera-
zade, is still more surprising, as you would confess, if the sultan
would suffer me to live another day, and in the morning permit me
to continue the relation." Schahriar, who had listened with much
pleasure to the narration, determined in his own mind to wait till
to-morrow, intending to order her execution after she had finished
her story. Having resolved to defer her death till the following
day, he arose, and having prayed, went to the council.
The grand vizier, in the meantime, was in a state of cruel sus-
pense. Unable to sleep, he passed the night in lamenting the ap-
proaching fate of his daughter, whose executioner he was compelled
to be. Dreading, therefore, in this melancholy situation, to meet
the sultan, how great was his surprise in seeing him enter the
council-chamber without giving him the horrible orders he ex-
The sultan spent the day, as usual, in regulating the affairs of his
kingdom, and on the approach of night, retired with Scheherazade
to his apartment. The next morning, before the day appeared,
Dinarzadi did not fail to remind her sister: "My dear sister,"
she said, if you are not asleep, I entreat you, before the morning
breaks, to continue your story." The sultan did not wait for Sche-
THE MERCHANT AND THE GENIUS. 13
herazade to ask permission, but said, "Finish the tale of the Genius
and the merchant: I am curious to hear the end of it."* Schehera-
zade immediately went on as follows.
When the merchant, sire, perceived that the Genius was about to
execute his purpose, he cried aloud, One word more, I entreat
you; have the goodness to grant me a little delay; give me only
time to go and take leave of my wife and children, and divide my
estates among them, as I have not yet made my will, that they may
not be obliged to have recourse to any legal process after my death;
and when 1 have done this, I promise to return to this spot, and sub
mit myself entirely to your pleasure." But if I grant you the re-
spite you demand," replied the Genius, I fear you will not return."
" If my oath will assure you of it," added the merchant, I swear
by the God of heaven and earth, that I will not fail to repair hither."
"What length of time do you require," said the Genius. It will
take me a full year to arrange everything, and enable me to bear
with composure the loss of life. I therefore promise you, that you
shall find me to-morrow twelvemonth under these trees, waiting to
deliver myself into your hands." Take thy God to witness of the
promise thou hast made me," said the other. "Again I swear,"
replied he, and you may rely on my oath." On this, the Genius
left him near the fountain, and immediately disappeared.
The merchant, having recovered from his fright, mounted his
horse, and continued his journey.-But if, on the one hand, he re-
joiced at escaping from the great peril he was in, he was, on the
other, much distressed when he recollected the fatal oath he had
taken. When he arrived at home, his wife and family received him
with signs of the greatest joy; but instead of returning their em-
braces, he wept so bitterly, that they supposed something very
extraordinary had happened. His wife inquired the cause of his
tears, and of his violent grief.-" We were rejoicing," she said, at
your return, and you alarm us all by the situation we see you in;
explain, I entreat you, the cause of your violent sorrow." Alas !"
he replied, "how should I feel otherwise, when I have only a year
to live ?" He then related to them what had passed, and that he had
given his word to return at the end of a year, to receive his death.
When they heard this melancholy tale, they were in despair.
The wife uttered the most lamentable groans, tearing her hair, and
beating her breast ; the children made the house resound with their
grief; while the father, overcome by affection, mingled his tears
The next day, the merchant began to settle his affairs, and, first
of all,. to pay his debts. He made many presents to his different
friends, and large donations to the poor. He set at liberty many of
his slaves of both sexes ; divided his property among his children ;
appointed guardians for such as were young; and besides returning
In the original work, there are continual interruptions to the stories by the
supposed appearance of daylight, which obliged the sultan to rise, aud attend to
the affairs of the state. As these interruptions would have recurred many hundred
times, and thus unpleasantly have broken in upon the unity and continued interest
so essential to tales of this nature, they have been omitted.
14 THE ARABIAN NIGHTS ENTERTAINMENTS.
to his wife all the fortune she brought him, he added as much more
as the law would permit.
The year soon passed away, and he was compelled to depart. He
took in his wallet the garment he wished to be buried in ; but when
he attempted to take leave of his wife and children, his grief quite
overcame him. They could not bear his loss, and almost resolved
to accompany him, and all perish together. Compelled at length
to tear himself away from objects so dear, he set out, and arrived at
the destined spot, on the very day he had promised. He got off
his horse, and seating himself by the side of the fountain, with
such sorrowful sensations as may easily be imagined, he awaited the
arrival of the Genius.
While he was kept in this cruel suspense, there appeared an old
man leading a hind, who came near to him. Having saluted each
other, the old man said, May I ask of you, brother, what brought
you to this desert place, which is so full of evil Genii that there is
no safety. From the appearance of these trees, one might suppose
it was inhabited; but it is, in fact, a solitude, where it is dangerous
to stay long."
The merchant satisfied the old man's curiosity, and related his
adventure. He listened with astonishment to the account, and
having heard it, he said, Surely nothing in the world can be more
surprising; and you have kept your oath inviolable In truth, I
should like to be a witness to your interview with the Genius."
Having said this, he sat down near the merchant, and while they
were talking, another old man, followed by two black dogs, came
in sight. As soon as he was near enough he saluted them, and in-
quired the reason of their stay in that place. The first old man
related the adventure of the merchant, exactly as he had told it;
and added, that this was the appointed day, and that he was there-
fore determined to remain in order to see the event. The second
old man, thinking it also very curious, resolved to do the same; and
sitting down, joined in the conversation.
Soon they perceived towards the plain, a thick vapour or smoke,
like a column of dust raised by the wind. This vapour approached
them, and then suddenly disappearing, they saw the Genius, who,
without noticing them, went toward the merchant with his scimitar
in his hand; and taking him by the arm, "Get up," said he, that
I may kill thee, as thou hast slain my son." Both the merchant
and the two old men were struck with terror, they began to weep
and fill the air with their lamentations.
When the old man who conducted the hind, saw the Genius lay
hold of the merchant, and about to murder him without mercy, he
threw himself at the monster's feet, and, kissing them, said, "Prince
of the Genii, I humbly entreat you to suspend your rage, and do
me the favour to listen to me. I wish to relate my own history, and
that of the hind, which you see ; and if you find it more wonderful
and surprising than the adventure of this merchant, whose life you
wish to take, may I not hope that you will at least remit a-half of
the punishment of this unfortunate man ?" After meditating ome
time, the Genius answered, "Well then, I agree to it."
THE FIRST OLD MAN AND THE HIND. 15
(Gje j|:barg of 14z tird lb |jfmlvbl a|5x fnb
The hind, whom you see here, is my cousin; nay more, she is my
wife. When I married her, she was only twelve years old, and she
ought, therefore, not only to look upon me as her relation and
husband, but even as her father.
We lived together thirty years without having any children;
this, however, was no drawback upon my kindness and regard.
Still my desire of offspring was so great, that for this purpose, and
for this only, I purchased a female slave, who bore me a son, of
great promise and expectation. Soon after, my wife became infected
with jealousy, and consequently took a great aversion to both
mother and child; yet she so well concealed her sentiments, that I
became acquainted with them, alas, too late.
In the meantime my son grew up; and he was about ten years
old when I was obliged to make a journey. I recommended both
the slave and the child to my wife before my departure, as I had
no distrust of her; and prayed her to take great care of them during
my absence, which would not be less than a-year. During this
time she endeavoured to satiate her hatred. She applied herself
to the study of magic; and when she was sufficiently skilled in that
diabolical art to execute the horrible design she meditated, the
wretch carried my son to a distant place. When there, by her
enchantments, she changed him into a calf, gave him to my steward,
and ordered him to bring him up as a calf, which she said she had
bought. She was not, however, satisfied with this infamous action,
but metamorphosed the slave into a cow, which she also sent to my
Immediately on my return, I inquired after my child and his
mother. Your slave is dead," said she, and it is now more than
two months since I have beheld your son; nor do I know what is
become of him." I was sensibly affected at the death of the slave;
but as my son had only disappeared, I flattered myself that he
would soon be found. Eight months, however, passed, and he did
not return ; nor could I learn any tidings of him. In order to
celebrate the festival of the great Bairam, which was approaching,
I ordered my steward to bring me the fattest cow I possessed, for a
sacrifice. He obeyed my commands, and the cow he brought me
was my own slave, the unfortunate mother of my son. Having
bound her, I was about to make the sacrifice, when at the very
instant she lowed most sorrowfully, and the tears even fell from
her eyes. This sec@-ed to me so extraordinary, that I could not
but feel compassion lur her, and was unable to give the fatal blow.
I therefore ordered her to be taken away, and another brought.
My wife, who was present, seemed angry at my compassion, and
opposed an order which defeated her malice. "What are you about,
my husband?" said she, "why not sacrifice this cow? Your
steward has not a more beautiful one, nor one more proper for the
purpose." Wishing to oblige my wife, I again approached the
cow ; and struggling with y piy, which sus'er dd the sacriic,
16 THE ARABIAN NIGHTS ENTERTAINMENTS.
1 was again going to give the mortal blow, when the victim a second
time disarmed me by her redoubled tears and meanings. I then
delivered the instruments into the hands of my steward. "Take
them," I cried, "and make the sacrifice yourself; the lamentations
and tears of the animal have overcome me."
The steward was less compassionate, and sacrifced her. On
taking off-the skin we found hardly anything but ronets, though she
appeared very fat. "Take her away," said I to the steward, truly
chagrined, I give her to you to do as you please with; regale both
yourself and whomsoever you wish; and if you have a very fat calf,
bring it in her place." I did not inquire what he did with the cow,
but he had not been gone long before I saw a remarkably fine calf
brought. Although I was ignorant that this calf was my own son,
yet I felt a sensation of pity arise in my breast at first sight. As
soon, also, as he perceived me, he made so great an effort to come
to me that be broke his cord. He lay down at my feet, with his
head on the ground, as if he endeavoured to excite my compassion,
and not have the cruelty to take away his life: striving in this
manner to make me comprehend that he was my son.
I was still more surprised and affected by this action than I had
been by the tears of the cow. I felt a kind of tender pity, which
interested me much for him; or, to speak more correctly, my blood
guided me to what was my duty. "Go back," I cried, "and take
all possible care of this calf, and in its room bring another directly."
My wife, however, continued to demand his sacrifice so obstinately,
that I was compelled to yield. I bound the calf, and taking the fatal
knife, was going to bury it in the throat of my son, when he turned
his eyes, filled with tears, so persuasively upon me, that I had no
power to execute my intention. The knife fell from my hand, and
I told my wife I was determined to have another calf; but promised,
for the sake of appeasing her, to sacrifice this calf at the feast of
Bairam on the following year.
The next morning my steward desired to speak with me in private.
"I am come," said he, "to give you some information, which, I
trust, will afford you pleasure. I have a daughter, who has some
little knowledge of magic; and as I was bringing the calf back
yesterday, which you were unwilling to sacrifice, I observed that
she smiled at seeing it, and the next moment began to weep. I
inquired of her the cause of these two contrary emotions. 'My
dear father,' she answered, 'that calf, which you bring back, is the
son of our master; I smiled with joy at seeing him still alive, and
wept at the recollection of his mother, who was yesterday sacrificed
in the shape of a cow. These two metamorphoses have been con-
trived by the enchantments of our master's wife, who hated both
the mother and the child.' This," continued the steward, "is
what my daughter said, and I come to report it to you." Imagine,
0 Genius, my surprise at hearing these words: I immediately set
out with my steward, to speak to his daughter myself. On my
arrival, I went first to the stable, where my son had been placed;
he could not return my caresses, but he received them in a way
which convinced me that he was really my son.
THE FIRST OLD MAN AND THE HIND. 17
When the daughter of the steward made her appearance, I asked
her if she could restore him to his former shape. "Yes," replied
she, "I can." "Ah," exclaimed I, "if you can perform such a
miracle, I will make you the mistress of all I possess." She then
answered with a smile, "You are our master, and I know how
much we are bound to you; but I must mention, that I can restore
your son to his own form only on two conditions; first, that you
bestow him upon me for my husband, and secondly, that I may be
permitted to punish her who changed him into a calf." "To the
first," I replied, "I agree with all my heart; I will still do more,
I will give you, for your own separate use, a considerable sum of
money, independent of what I destined for my son. I agree also
to that which regards my wife; I only entreat you to spare her
life." "I will treat her, then," she said, "in the same manner as
she has treated your son." To this I gave my consent, provided
she first restored my son to me.
The damsel then took a vessel full of water, and pronouncing over
it some words I did not understand, she thus addressed herself to
the calf : "0 calf, if thou hast been created by the all-powerful
Sovereign of the world, as thou now appearest, retain that form;
but if thou art a man, and hast been changed by enchantment into a
calf, resume, by permission of thy divine Creator, thy natural
figure !" In saying this, she threw the water over him, and he in-.
stantly regained his own form.
"My child my dear child," I immediately exclaimed, and em-
braced him with a transport I could not restrain, "it is the Al-
mighty who hath sent this damsel to us, to destroy the horrible
charm with which you were surrounded. I am sure your gratitude
will induce you to accept her for a wife, as I have already promised
for you." He joyfully consented; but before they were united, the
damsel changed my wife into this hind, which you see here. I
wished her to have this form in preference to any other more un-
pleasant, that we might see her, without repugnance, in our family.
Since this, my son has become a widower, and is now travelling.
Many years have passed since I have heard anything of him; I
have therefore now set out with a view to gain some information ;
and as I did not like to trust my wife to the care of any one during
my search, I thought proper to carry her along with me. This is
the history of myself and this hind : can anything be more wonder-
ful? "I agree with you," said the Genius, "and in consequence, I
grant one-half of my pardon to this merchant."
"As soon as the first old man, sire, had finished his history,"
continued the sultana, the second, who led the two black dogs,
said to the Genius, 'I will relate to you what has happened to me
and these two dogs which you see, and I am sure you will find my
history still more astonishing than that which you have heard.
But when I have told it, will you grant to this merchant another
half of his pardon?' 'Yes,' answered the Genius, 'provided your
history surpasses that of the hind.' This being settled, the second
old man began as follows,"
18 THE ARABIAN NIGHTS ENTERTAINMENTS.
Vzz Jl)Itk Dxgap
Great Prince of the Genii, you must know, that these two black
dogs, which you see here, and myself, are three brothers. Our
father left us, when he died, one thousand sequins each. With this
sum we all embarked in the same profession, namely, as merchants.
Soon after we had opened our warehouse, my eldest brother, who
is now one of these dogs, resolved to travel, and carry on his busi-
ness in foreign countries. With this view he sold all his goods, and
bought such other sorts of merchandise as were adapted to the
different countries he proposed visiting.
He set out, and was absent a whole year. At the end of this
time, a poor man, who seemed to me to be asking charity, presented
himself at my warehouse. Is it possible you do not know me ?"
he asked. On looking attentively at him, I recognized his persork
"Ah, my brother," I cried, embracing him, how should I possibly
know you in this state?" I made him come in directly, and in-
quired both after his health and the success of his voyage. "Do
not ask me," he replied; "in beholding me you see the whole. To
enter into a detail of all the misfortunes that I have suffered in the
last year, and which have reduced me to the state you see, would
only be to renew my affliction."
I instantly shut up my shop, and neglecting everything else, I
took him to the bath, and dressed him in the best apparel my ward-
robe afforded. I examined the state of my business, and finding by
my accounts that I had just doubled my capital, that is, that I was
now worth two thousand sequins, I presented him with the half.
" Let this, my brother," I said, "make you forget your losses." He
joyfully accepted the thousand sequins, again settled his affairs, and
we lived together as before.
Some time after this, my second brother, who is the other of
these black dogs, wished also to dispose of his property. Both his
elder brother and myself tried everything in our power to dissuade
him from it, but in vain. He sold all, and with the money he
bought such merchandise as he wished for his journey. He took his
departure, and joined a caravan. At the end of a year he also
returned in the same condition as his brother had done. I furnished
him with clothes; and as I had gained another thousand sequins, I
gave them to him. He directly bought a shop, and continued to
exercise his business.
One day both my brothers came to me, and proposed that I should
make a voyage with them, for the purpose of traffic. "You have
travelled," said I, at once rejecting the scheme, "and what have
you gained ? Who will insure that I shall be more fortunate than
you ?" In vain did they use every argument they thought could
.induce me to try my fortune. I still refused to consent to their
"design. They returned, however, so often to the subject, that, after
having withstood their solicitations for five years, I at length yielded.
THE SECOND OLD MAN AND THE TWO BLACK DOGS. 19
When it became necessary to prepare for the voyage, and we were
consulting on the sort of merchandise to be bought, I discovered that
they had consumed their capital, and that nothing remained of the
thousand sequins I had given to each. I did not, however, reproach
them; on the contrary, as my capital was increased to six thousand
sequins, I divided the half with them, and said, "We must, my
brothers, risk only three thousand sequins, and endeavour to conceal
the other in some secure place, that if our voyage be not more suc-
cessful than those you have already made, we shall, with this sum,
be able to console ourselves and begin our former profession. I will
give one thousand sequins to each, and keep one myself; and I will
conceal the other three thousand in a corner of my house." We
purchased our goods, embarked in a vessel, which we ourselves
freighted, and set sail with a favourable wind. After sailing about
a month, we arrived, without any accident, at a port, where we
landed, and had a most advantageous sale for our merchandise. I,
in particular, sold mine so well, that I gained ten for one. We then
purchased the produce of that country, in order to traffic with it in
About the time that we were ready to embark on our return, I
accidentally met on the sea-shore a female, of a very fine figure, but
poorly dressed. She accosted me by kissing my hand, and entreated
me most earnestly to permit her to go with me, and take her for my
wife. I started many difficulties to such a plan; but at length she
said so much to persuade me that I ought not to regard her poverty,
and that I should be well satisfied with her conduct, I was quite
overcome. I directly procured proper dresses for her, and after
marrying her in due form, she embarked with me, and we set sail.
During our voyage, I found my wife possessed of so many good
qualities, that I loved her every day more and more. In the mean-
time, my two brothers, who had not traded so advantageously as
myself, and who were jealous of my prosperity, began to feel ex-
ceedingly envious. They even went so far as to conspire against
my life; for one night, while my wife and I were asleep, they threw
us into the sea.
My wife proved to be a fairy, consequently possessed of super-
natural power; you may therefore imagine she was not hurt. As
for myself, I should certainly have perished without her aid. I had
hardly, however, fallen into the water before she took me up, and
transported me into an island. As soon as it was day, the fairy thus
addressed me :-" You may observe, my husband, that in saving
your life, I have not ill rewarded the good you have done me. You
must know, that I am a fairy, and being upon the shore when you
were about to sail, I felt a great inclination for you. I wished to
try the goodness of your heart, and for this purpose I presented
myself before you in the disguise you saw. You acted most gener-
ously, and I am therefore delighted in finding an occasion of show-
ing my gratitude: but I am enraged against your brothers, nor
shall I be satisfied till I have taken their lives."
I listened with astonishment to the discourse of the fairy, and
thanked her, as well as I was able, for the great obligation she had
20 THE ARABIAN NIGHTS ENTERTAINMENTS.
conferred on me. "But, madam," said I to her, "I must entreat
you to pardon my brothers; for although I have the greatest reason
to complain of their conduct, yet I am not so cruel as to wish their
destruction." I related to her what I had done for each of them,
but my account only increased her anger. "I must instantly fly
after these ungrateful wretches," cried she, "and bring them to a
just punishment; I will sink their vessel, and precipitate them to
the bottom of the sea." No, beautiful lady," replied I, "moder-
ate your indignation, and do not execute so dreadful an intention;
remember they arN still my brothers, and that we are bound to re-
turn good for evil "
I appeased the fairy by these words; and no sooner had I pro-
nounced them, than she transported me in an instant from the
island, where we were, to the top of my own house, which was
terraced, and then disappeared. I descended, opened the doors,
and dug up the three thousand sequins which I had hidden. I
afterwards repaired to my shop, opened it, and received the congrat-
ulations of the merchants in the neighbourhood on my arrival.
When I returned home, I perceived these two black dogs, which
came towards me with a submissive air. I could not imagine what
this meant, but the fairy, who soon appeared, satisfied my curiosity.
"My dear husband," said she, "be not surprised at seeing these
two dogs in your house; they are your brothers." My blood ran
cold on hearing this, and I inquired by what power they had been
transformed into that state. "It is I," replied the fairy, "who
have done it; at least it is one of my sisters, to whom I gave the
commission, and she has also sunk their ship; you will lose the
merchandise it contained, but I shall recompense you in some other
way; as to your brothers, I have condemned them to remain under
this form for ten years, as a punishment for their perfidy." Then
informing me where I might hear of her, she disappeared.
The ten years are now completed, and I am travelling in search
of her. As I was passing this way, I met this merchant and the
good old man who is leading his hind, and here I staid. This, 0
Prince of the Genii, is my history; does it not appear to you of a
most extraordinary nature ?" Yes," replied the Genius, I con-
fess it is most wonderful, and therefore I remit the second part of
the merchant's punishment." Having said this, he disappeared, to
the great joy of the whole party.
The merchant did not omit to bestow many thanks upon his liber-
ators. They rejoiced with him at being out of danger, and then
bidding him adieu, each went his own way. The merchant re-
turned home to his wife and children, and spent the remainder of
his days with them in tranquillity. "But, sire," added Schehera-
zade, however beautiful those tales which I have related to your
majesty may be, they are not equal to that of the fisherman." Dinar-
zade, observing that the sultan made no answer, said, Since there
is still some time, my sister, pray recount his history; the sultan, I
hope, will not object to it." Schahriar consented to it, and Sche-
herazade went on as follows.
THE FISHERMAN. 21
There was formerly, sire, an aged fisherman, who was so poor
that he could barely obtain food for himself, his wife, and three
children, of which his family consisted. He went out early every
morning to his employment; and he had imposed a rule upon him-
self never to cast his nets above four times a day.
One morning he set out before the moon had disappeared: when
he had got to the sea-shore, he undressed himself, and threw his
nets. In drawing them to land, he perceived a considerable resist-
ance, and began to imagine he should have an excellent haul, at
which he was much pleased. But the moment after, finding that,
instead of fish, he had got nothing but the carcase of an ass in his
nets, he was much vexed and afflicted at having had so bad a draught.
When he had mended his nets, which the weight of the ass had torn in
many places, he threw them a second time. He again found con-
siderable resistance in drawing them up, and again he thought they
were filled with fish; how great, then, was his disappointment in
discovering only a large pannier or basket, filled with sand and
He threw them a third time, and brought up only stones, shells,
and filth. It is impossible to describe his despair, which almost
deprived him of his senses. The day now began to break, and, like
a good Mussulman, he did not neglect his prayers. When he had
finished, he threw his nets for the fourth time. Again he supposed
he had caught a great quantity of fish, as he drew them with as
much difficulty as before. He nevertheless found none; but dis-
covered a vase of yellow copper, which seemed, from its weight, to
be filled with something; and he observed that it was shut up and
fastened with lead, on which there was the impression of a seal.
"" I will sell this to a founder," said he, with joy, and with the
money I shall get for it I will purchase a measure of corn."
He examined the vase on all sides; he shook it, in order to dis-
cover whether its contents would rattle. He could hear nothing ;
and this, together with the impression of the seal on the lead, made
him think it was filled with something valuable. In order to find
this out, he took his knife, and got it open without much difficulty.
He directly turned the top downwards, and was much surprised to
find nothing come out; he then set it down before him, and while
he was attentively observing it, there issued from it so thick a
smoke that he was obliged to step back a few paces. This smoke,
by degrees, rose almost to the clouds, and spread itself over both
the water and the shore, appearing like a thick fog. The fisherman,
as may easily be imagined, was a good deal surprised at this sight.
When the smoke had all come out from the vase, it again collected
itself, and became a solid body, and then took the shape of a Genius,
twice as large as any of the giants. At the appearance of so enor-
mous a monster, the fisherman wished to run away, but his fears
were so great, he was unable to move.
22 THE ARABIAN NIGHTS ENTERTAINMENTS.
Solomon, Solomon," cried the Genius, great prophet, pardon,
I pray. I never more will oppose thy will, but will obey all thy
The fisherman, sire, had no sooner heard these words spoken by
the Genius than he regained his courage, and said, Proud spirit,
what is this thou sayest? Solomon has been dead more than eight-
teen hundred years.-Inform me, I pray, of thine history, and on
what account thou wast shut up in this vase."
To this speech, the Genius, looking disdainfully at the fisherman,
answered, Thou art very bold to call me a proud spirit; speak to
me more civilly, before I kill thee." And for what reason, pray,
will you kill me?" answered the fisherman; "have you already
forgotten that I have set you at liberty?" I remember it very
well," returned he; "but that shall not prevent my destroying
thee, and I will only grant thee one favour." "And pray, what is
that ?" said the fisherman. It is," replied the Genius, "to per-
mit thee to choose the manner of thy death." But in what, added
the other, have I offended you ? Is it thus thou wouldst recom-
pense me for the good I have done thee ?" "I can treat thee no
otherwise," said the Genius ; "and to convince thee of it, attend
to my history.
I am one of those spirits who rebelled against the sovereignty
of God. All the other Genii acknowledged the great Solomon, the
prophet of God, and submitted to him. Sacar and myself were the
only ones who were above humbling ourselves. In order to revenge
himself, this powerful monarch charged Assaf, the son of Barakhia,
his first minister, to come and seize me. This was done ; and Assaf
took and brought me, in spite of myself, before the throne of the
king, his master.
Solomon, the son of David, commanded me to quit my mode of
life, acknowledge his authority, and submit to his laws. I haughtily
refused to obey him, and rather exposed myself to his resentment
than take the oath of fidelity and submission which he required of
me. In order, therefore, to punish me, he enclosed me in this
copper vase; and, to prevent my forcing my way out, he put upon
the leaden cover the impression of his seal, on which the great
name of God is engraven. This done, he gave the vase to one of
those Genii who obeyed him, and ordered him to cast me into the
sea; which, to my great sorrow, was performed directly.
"During the first period of my captivity, I swore that if any one
delivered me before the first hundred years were passed, I would
make him rich. The time elapsed, and no one assisted me : during
the second century, I swore that if any released me, I would dis-
cover to him all the treasures of the earth; still I was not more
fortunate. During the third, I promised to make my deliverer a
most powerful monarch, to be always hovering near him, and to
grant him every day any three requests he chose. This age too,
like the former, passed away, and I remained in the same situation.
Enraged, at last, to be so long a prisoner, I swore that I would,
without mercy, kill whoever should in future release me, and that
the only favour I would grant him should be, to choose what man-
THE FISHERMAN. 23
ner of death he pleased. Since, therefore, thou hast come here
to-day, and hast delivered me, fix upon whatever kind of death
The fisherman was much afflicted at this speech. "How un-
fortunate," he exclaimed, "amil, to come here and render so great
a service to such an ungrateful object ? Consider, I entreat you,
your injustice, and revoke so unreasonable an oath." "No,"
answered the Genius, "thy death is certain; determine only how
I shall kill thee." The fisherman was in great distress at finding
him thus resolved on his death. He still endeavoured to appease
the Genius. Alas !" he cried, have pity on me, in consideration
of what I have done for thee." "I have already told thee," re-
plied the Genius, that it is for that very reason that I am obliged
to take thy life. Let us lose no time, your arguments will not
alter my resolution. Make haste and tell me how you wish to
Necessity is the spur to invention; and the fisherman thought of
a stratagem. "Since then," said he, "I cannot escape death, I
submit to the will of God; but before I choose the sort of death, I
conjure you, by the great name of God, which is graven upon the
seal of the prophet Solomon, the son of David, answer me truly to
a question I am going to put to you." The Genius trembled at this
adjuration, and felt that he should be compelled to answer positively.
He then said to the fisherman, "Ask what thou wilt, and make
The Genius had no sooner promised to speak the truth than the
fisherman said to him, "I wish to know whether you really were
in that vase; dare you swear it by the great name of God ?"
" Yes," answered the Genius, "I swear by the great name of God
that I most certainly was." "In truth," replied the fisherman,
" I cannot believe you. This vase cannot contain one of your feet;
how then can it hold your whole body? "I swear to thee, not-
withstanding," replied he, that I was there just as thou seest me.
Wilt thou not believe me after the solemn oath I have taken ?"
" No, truly," added the fisherman, "I shall not believe you unless
I were to see it."
Immediately the form of the Genius began to change into smoke,
and extended itself, as before, over both the shore and the sea;
and then, collecting itself, began to enter the vase, and continued
to do so, in a slow and equal manner, till nothing remained without.
A voice immediately issued forth, saying, "Now, then, thou in-
credulous fisherman, dost thou believe me now I am in the vase?"
But, instead of answering the Genius, he immediately took the
leaden cover, and put it on the vase. "Genius," he cried, "it is
now your turn to ask pardon, and choose what sort of death is most
agreeable to you. But no; it is better that I should throw you
again into the sea, and I will build, on the very spot where you are
cast, a house upon the shore, in which I will live, to warn all
fishermen that shall come and throw their nets, not to fish up so
wicked a Genius as thou art, who makest an oath to kill the man
who shall set thee at liberty.'
24 THE ARABIAN NIGHTS ENTERTAINMENTS.
At this offensive speech, the enraged Genius tried every method
to get out of the vase, but in vain; for the impression of the seal of
Solomon, the prophet, the son of David, prevented him. Knowing
then that the fisherman had the advantage over him, he began to
conceal his rage. "Take care," said he, in a softened tone, "what
you are about, fisherman. Whatever I did was merely in joke,
and you ought not to take it seriously." "0 Genius," answered
the fisherman, "you who were a moment ago the greatest of all the
Genii, are now the most insignificant; and do not suppose that your
flattering speeches will be of any use to you. You shall assuredly
return to the sea; and if you passed all the time there which you
have stated, you may as well remain till the day of judgment. I
entreated you, in the name of God, not to take my life, and you
rejected my prayers; I now reject yours, likewise."
The Genius tried every argument to move the fisherman's pity,
but in vain. "I conjure you to open the vase," said he; "if you
give me my liberty again, you shall have reason to be satisfied with
my gratitude." "You are too treacherous for me to trust you,"
returned the fisherman; "I should deserve to lose my life if I had
the imprudence to put it in your power a second time. You would
most likely treat me as a Greek king treated Douban the physician.
Listen, and I will tell you the story."
d Zx lf)Isq of f1e Onetk 3n1g, mTb T rr zhai
In the country of Zouman, in Persia, there lived a king, whose
subjects were originally Greeks. This king was sorely afflicted
with a leprosy, and his physicians had unsuccessfully tried every
remedy they were acquainted with, when a very ingenious physician,
called Douban, arrived at the court.
He had acquired his profound learning by studying different
authors in the Greek, Latin, Persian, Arabic, Turkish. Syriac, and
Hebrew languages; and besides having a consummate knowledge
of philosophy, he was well acquainted with the good and bad pro-
perties of all kinds of plants and drugs.
As soon as he was informed of the king's illness, and that the
physicians had given him up, he dressed himself as -neatly as pos-
sible, and obtained permission to be presented to the king. "Sire,"
said he, "I know that all the physicians who have attended your
majesty, have been unable to remove your leprosy; but if you will
do me the honour to accept of my services, I will engage to cure
you without either internal doses, or outward applications." The
king, pleased with this proposition, replied, If you are really so
skilful as you pretend, I promise to confer affluence on ybu and
your posterity; and without reckoning the presents you will have,
you shall be my first favourite; but do you assure me, then, that
you will remove my leprosy without making me swallow any potion,
or applyiy. g any remedy externally?" "Yes, sire," replied the
THE GREEK KING AND THE PHYSICIAN. 25
physician, "I flatter myself I shall succeed, with the help of God;
and to-morrow I will begin my operations."
Douban returned to his house, and made a sort of racket or bat,
with a hollow in the handle, to admit the drug he meant to use;
that being done, on the following day he presented himself before
the king, and having made a profound reverence, told him that he
must ride on horseback to the place where he was accustomed to
play at bowls. The king did as he was desired; and when he had
reached the bowling-green, the physician approached him, and
putting into his hand the bat which he had prepared, Sire," said
he, "z exercise yourself with striking that bowl about with this bat
till you find yourself in a profuse perspiration. When the remedy
I have enclosed in its handle is warmed by your hand, it will pene-
trate through your whole body; you may then leave off, for the
drug will have taken effect; and when you return to your palace,
get into a warm bath, and be well rubbed and washed; then go to
bed, and to-morrow you will be quite cured."
The king took the bat, and spurred his horse after the bowl till
he struck it; it was sent back again to him by the officers who
were playing with him, and he struck it again; and thus the' game
continued for a considerable time, till he found his hand as well as
his whole body in a perspiration, which made the remedy in the bat
operate as the physician had said; the king then left the game,
returned to the palace, bathed, and observed very punctually all
the directions that had been given him.
He soon found the good effects of the prescription; for when he
arose the next morning, he perceived, with equal surprise and joy,
that his leprosy was entirely cured, and that his body was as clear
as if he had never been attacked by that malady. As soon as he
was dressed, he went into the audience-room, where he mounted his
throne and received the congratulations of all his courtiers, who had
assembled on that day, partly to gratify their curiosity, and partly
to testify their joy.
Douban entered, and went to prostrate himself at the foot of the
throne, with his face towards the ground. The king, seeing him,
called to him, and made him sit by his side; and showing him to
the assembly, gave him in that public way all the praise he so well
deserved; nay, he did not stop here, for there being a grand enter-
tainment at court on that day, he placed him at his own table to
dine only with him.
The Greek king (proceeded the fisherman), was not satisfied with
admitting the physician to his own table; towards evening, -when
the courtiers were about to depart, he put on him a long rich robe,
resembling that which the courtiers usually wore in his presence,
and, in addition, made him a present of two thousand sequins. The
following days he did nothing but caress him; in short, this prince,
thinking he could never repay the obligations he owed to so skilful
a physician, was continually conferring on him some fresh proof of
The king had a grand vizier who was avaricious, envious, and
capable of every species of crime. He observed, not without pain,
26 THE ARABIAN NIGHTS ENTERTAINMENTS.
the presents which had been bestowed upon the physician. To
accomplish his ruin, he went to him, and said in private that he had
some intelligence of the greatest moment to communicate. The
king asked him what it was. "Sire," replied he, "it is very
dangerous for a monarch to place any confidence in a man of whose
fidelity he is not assured. In overwhelming the physician Douban
with your favours, and bestowing all this kindness and regard upon
him, you know not but he may be a traitor, who has introduced
himself to the court in order to assassinate you." "What is this
you dare tell me?" answered the king. "Recollect to whom you
speak, and that you advance an assertion to which I shall not easily
give credit." Sire," added the vizier, "I am accurately informed
of what I have the honour to represent to you; do not therefore
continue to repose such a dangerous confidence in him. If your
majesty is, as it were, in a dream, it is time to awake; for I again
repeat, that the physician Douban has not travelled from the farther
part of Greece, his own country, but for the horrible design I have
No, no, vizier," interrupted the king ; I am sure this man,
whom you consider as a hypocrite and traitor, is one of the most
virtuous and best of men. You know by what remedy, or rather
by what miracle, he cured me of my leprosy; and if he had sought
my life, why did he thus save it. Cease, then, from endeavouring to
instil unjust suspicions. From this very day I bestow upon him a
pension of one thousand sequins a month for the rest of his life;
and were I to share all my riches, and even my kingdoms with
him, I could never sufficiently repay what he has done for me. I
see what it is, his virtue excites your envy; but do not suppose that
I shall suffer myself to be prejudiced against him. I well remember
what a vizier said to King Sinbad, who, at the instigation of his
mother-in-law, was about to give orders for the death of his son."
9Jh 9 Isfarg onr f jt ansbr ixb m fli MA abot
There lived once a good man who had a beautiful wife, of whom
he was so passionately fond that he could scarcely bear to have
her out of his sight. One day, when some particular business
obliged him to leave her, he went to a place where they s4d all
sorts of birds; he purchased a parrot, which was not only highly
accomplished in the art of talking, but also possessed the rare gift
of telling everything that was done in its presence. The husband
took it home in a cage to his wife, and begged of her to keep it in
her chamber, and take great care of it during his absence; after
this he set out on his journey.
On his return, he did not fail to interrogate the parrot on what
had passed while he was away; and the bird very expertly related
a few circumstances which occasioned the husband to reprimand
his wife. She supposed that some of her slaves had exposed her,
but they all assured her they were faithful, and agreed in charging
THE VIZIER WHO WAS PUNISHED. 27
the parrot with the crime. Desirous of being convinced of the
truth of this matter, the wife advised a method of quieting the
suspicions of her husband, and at the same time of revenging her-
self on the parrot, if he were the culprit. The next time the hus-
band was absent, she ordered one of her slaves, during the night,
to turn a handmill under the bird's cage, and another to throw
water over it like rain, and a third to wave a looking-glass before
the parrot by the light of a candle. The slaves were employed the
greatest part of the night in doing what their mistress had ordered
them, and succeeded to her satisfaction.
The following day, when the husband returned, he again applied
to the parrot to be informed of what had taken place. The bird
replied, My dear master, the lightning, the thunder, and the
rain, have so disturbed me the whole night, that I cannot tell you
how much I have suffered." The husband, who knew there had
been no storm that night, became convinced that the parrot did
not always relate facts ; and that having told an untruth in this
particular, he had also deceived him with respect to his wife : being
therefore extremely enraged with it, he took the bird out of the
cage, and, dashing it on the floor, killed it. He, however, after-
wards learnt from his neighbours, that the poor parrot had told
no falsehood in reference to his wife's conduct, which made him
repent of having destroyed it.
When the Greek king," said the fisherman to the Genius, had
finished the story of the parrot," he added, You, vizier, through
envy of Douban, who has done you no evil, wish me to order his
death, but I will take good care lest, like the husband who killed
his parrot, I should afterwards repent." Sire," replied the vizier,
"(the loss of the parrot was of little importance, nor do I think his
master could long have regretted it. But when the life of a king is
in question, a bare suspicion ought to be equal to a certainty. But
this, sire, by no means rests on an uncertainty. The physician,
Douban, positively wishes to assassinate you. It is not envy that
makes me hostile to him, it is the interest alone that I take in
your majesty's preservation. If my information is false, I deserve
the same punishment that a certain vizier underwent formerly."
"WVhat had that vizier done worthy of chastisement ?" said the
Greek king. I will tell your majesty," answered the vizier, if
you will have the goodness to listen."
There was formerly a king, whose son was passionately fond of
hunting. His father, therefore, often indulged him in this diversion;
but at the same time gave positive orders to his grand vizier always
to accompany, and never lose sight of him.
One hunting morning, the prickers roused a stag, and the prince
set off in pursuit, thinking that the vizier was following him. He
galloped so long, and his eagerness carried him so far, that he at
28 THE ARABIAN NIGHTS ENTERTAINMENTS.
last found himself quite alone. He immediately stopped, and
observing that he had lost his way, he endeavoured to return back
by the same, in order to join the vizier, who had not been suffi-
ciently attentive in following him. He was, however, unable to find
it ; and riding about on all sides, without getting into the right
track, he by chance met a lady, not ill made, who was weeping
most bitterly. The prince immediately checked his horse, and
inquired of her who she was, what she did alone in that place, and
whether he could assist her. I am," she answered, the daugh-
ter of an Indian king. In riding out into the country, I was over-
come with sleep, and fell from my horse. He has run away, and I
know not what has become of him." The young prince was sorry
for her misfortune, and proposed to take her up behind him, an
offer which she accepted.
As they passed by an old ruined building, the lady made some
excuse to alight; the prince therefore stopped, and suffered her to
get down. He also alighted, and walked towards the building,
holding his horse by the bridle. Imagine, then, what was his
astonishment when he heard the female pronounce these words
from within the walls: "Rejoice, my children, I have brought you a
very nice fat youth." And directly afterwards other voices answered,
Where is he, mamnma? Let us eat himn instantly, for wue are very
The prince had heard enough to convince him of the danger he
was in: he plainly perceived that she, who represented herself as
the daughter of an Indian king, was no other than the wife of one
of those savage demons called Ogres, who live in desert places, and
make use of a thousand wiles to surprise and devour the unfortunate
passengers. He trembled with fear, and instantly mounted his
The pretended princess at that moment made her appearance,
on which the young prince lifted up his hands towards heaven, and
said, Cast thine eyes upon me, 0 all-powerful Lord, and deliver
me from this my enemy !" At this prayer, the Ogre went back to
the ruin, and the prince rode off as fast as possible. He fortunately
discovered the right roaJ, and arrived safely at home, and related
to his father the great danger he had encountered through the
neglect of the grand vizier. The king was so enraged at him, that
he ordered this minister to be instantly strangled.
"Sire," continued the vizier of the Greek king, to return to
the physician Douban; if you do not take care, the confidence you
place in him will turn out unfortunate. I well know that he is a
spy, sent by your enemies to attempt your majesty's life. He has
cured you, you say; but who can tell that? He has perhaps only
cured you in appearance, and not radically; and who can tell
whether this remedy in the end will not produce the most pernicious
The Greek king was naturally rather weak, and had not pene-
tration enough to discover the wicked intention of his vizier, nor
sufficient firmness to persist in his first opinion. This conversation
staggered him. "You are right, vizier," said he, "he may be
THE GREEK KING AND THE PHYSICIAN. 29
come for the express purpose of taking my life, which he can easily
accomplish, even by the mere smell of some of his drugs. We must
consider what is to be done in this conjuncture."
When the vizier perceived the king in the disposition he wished,
he said to him, "The best and most certain means, sire, to ensure
your repose, and put your person in safety, is instantly to send to
Douban, and on his appearance, order him to be beheaded.'
"Indeed," replied the king, "I think I ought to prevent his
designs." Having said this, he called one of his officers, and ordered
him to find the physician, who, without knowing what the king
wished, hastened to the palace.
"Knowest thou," said the king as soon as he saw him, "why I
sent for thee here ? "No, sire," answered Douban, and I wait till
your majesty pleases to instruct me." "I have ordered thee to come,"
replied the king, to free myself from thy snares, by taking thy life."
It is impossible to express the astonishment of Douban at hearing
the sentence of his death. "For what reason, sire," replied he,
"does your majesty condemn me to death? What crime have I
been guilty of?" "I have been well informed," added the king,
" that you are a spy, and that you have come to my court in order
to take away my life; but to prevent that, I will first deprive you
of yours. Strike," added he to an officer who was by, "and deliver
me from a treacherous wretch, who has introduced himself here only
to assassinate me."
At hearing this, the physician at once surmised that the honours
and riches which had been heaped upon him had excited some
enemies against him, and that the king, through weakness, had
suffered himself to be guided by them; nor was he wrong. He
began to repent having cured him; but that feeling came too late.
" Is it thus," he cried, "that you recompense the good I have done
you?" The king, however, paid no attention, and desired the
officer, a second time, to execute his orders. The physician had
then recourse to prayers. "Ah, sire," he cried, if you prolong
my life, God will prolong yours; do not kill me, lest God should
treat you after the same manner."
"You see, then," said the fisherman, breaking off his story in
this place, and addressing himself to the Genius, "that what has
passed between the Greek king and the physician Douban, is
exactly the same as what has happened between us."
The Greek king, however, continued he, instead of regarding the
entreaties the physician urged in conjuring him, in the name of
God, to relent, exclaimed, No, no, you must die, or you will take
away my life." Douban in the meantime bathed in tears, com-
plained much at finding his important services so ill requited, and
at last prepared for death. The officer then put a bandage over his
eyes, tied his hands, and was going to draw his scimitar. The
courtiers, however, who were present, felt so much for him, that
they entreated the king to pardon him, assuring his majesty he
was not guilty, and that they would answer for his innocence. But
the king was inflexible, and spoke so peremptorily, that they dared
80 THE ARABIAN NIGrITS ENTERTAINMENTS.
The physician being on his knees, his eyes bandaged, and ready
to receive the stroke that was to terminate his life, once more
addressed the king. Since your majesty, sire, will not revoke the
order for my death, I entreat you at least to give me leave to return
home to arrange my funeral, take a last farewell of my family,
bestow some charity, and leave my books ,to those who will know
how to make a good use of them. There is one of them which 1
wish to make a present to your majesty. It is a very rare and
curious work, and worthy of being kept even in your treasury with
the greatest care." "What book can there be," replied the king,
"so valuable as you mention?" "Sire," answered the physician,
"it contains things of the most curious nature, and one of the
principal is, that when my head shall be struck off, if your majesty
will take the trouble to open the book at the sixth leaf, and read
the third line on the left-hand page, my head will answer every
question you wish to ask." The king was so desirous of seeing
such a wonderful thing, that he put off his death till the next day,
and sent him home under a strong guard.
The physician then arranged all his affairs, and as the news got
abroad that an unheard-of prodigy was to happen after his execution,
the viziers, emirs, officers of the guard, in short, all the court, flocked
the next day to the hall or audience to witness such an extraordinary
Douban the physician appeared directly after, and advanced to
the foot of the throne with a very large volume in his hand. He
then placed it on a vase, and unfolded the cover on which the book
was wrapped; and in presenting it he thus addressed the king:
" If it be your pleasure, sire, receive this book; and as soon
as my head shall be struck off, order one of your officers to
place it on the vase upon the cover of the book; as soon as it is
there, the blood will cease to flow: then open the book, and my
head shall answer all your questions. But, sire," added Douban,
"permit me once more to implore your mercy. Consider, I beg of
you, in the name of God, that I protest to you I am innocent."
" Thy prayers," answered the king, are useless, and were it only
to hear thy head speak after thy death, I should wish for thy exe-
cution." In saying this, he took the book from the hands of the
physician, and ordered the officer to do his duty.
The head was so adroitly cut off, that it fell into the vase, and it
had hardly been on the cover an instant before the blood stopped.
Then, to the astonishment of the king, and. all the spectators, it
opened its eyes, and said, "Will your majesty now open the book."
The king did so, and finding that the first leaf stuck to the second,
he put his finger to his mouth, and moistened it, in order to turn
it over more easily. He went on doing so till he came to the sixth
leaf; and observing nothing written upon the appointed page,
"' Physician," said he to the head, there is no writing." Turn
over then a few more leaves," replied the head. The king con-
tinued turning them over, still putting his finger frequently to his
mouth, till the poison, in which each leaf had been dipped, began
to produce its effect. The prince then felt himself suddenly agitated
THE FISHERMAN AND THE GENIUS. 81
in a most extraordinary manner; his sight failed him, and he fell'
at the foot of the throne in the greatest convulsions.
When the physician Douban, or rather his head, saw that the
poison had taken effect, and that the king had only a few minutes
to live, Tyrant," he exclaimed, "behold how those princes are
treated who abuse their power and sacrifice the innocent. God,
sooner or later, punishes their injustice and their cruelty." The
head had no sooner repeated these words than the king expired;
and, at the same time, the small portion of life that remained in the
head itself was wasted.
As soon as the fisherman had finished the history of the Greek
king and the physician Douban, he applied it to the Genius, whom
he still kept confined in the vase. If," said he, the Greek king
had permitted Douban to live, God would also have bestowed the
same benefit on him: but he rejected the humble prayers of the
physician; God therefore punished him. This, 0 Genius, is the
case with yourself. If I had been able to make you relent, and
could have obtained the favour I asked of you, I should have pitied
the state in which you now are; but since you persisted in your
determination to kill me, in spite of the obligation you were under
to me for setting.you at liberty, I ought, in my turn, to show no
mercy. In leaving you within this vase, and casting you into the
sea, I shall deprive you of the use of your existence till the end of
time. This is the revenge you yourself have taught me."
"Once more, my good friend," replied the Genius, "I entreat
you not to be guilty of so cruel an act ; remember that revenge is
not a part of virtue; on the contrary, it is praiseworthy to return
good for evil. Do not, then, serve me as Imma formerly treated
Ateca." "And how was that ?" asked the fisherman. "If you
wish to be informed of it, open this vase," answered the Genius;
"do you think that I am in the humour, while confined in this
narrow prison, to relate stories ? I will tell you as many as you
please when you shall have let me out." No, no," said the fisher-
man, I will not release you; it is better for me to cast you to the
bottom of the sea." "One word more, fisherman," cried the
Genius: "I will teach you how to become as rich as possible."
The hope of being no longer in want, at once disarmed the fisher-
man. "I would listen to you," he cried, "if I had the least
ground to believe you; swear to me by the great name of God that
you will faithfully observe what you say, and I will open the vase.
I do not believe that you will be sufficiently bold to violate such
an oath." The Genius did so; and the fisherman immediately took
off the covering. The smoke instantly issued from it, and the first
thing the Genius did, after he had resumed his usual form, was to
kick the vase into the sea, an action which rather alarmed the
fisherman. What do you mean, 0 Genius, by this ; do you not
intend to keep the oath you have taken? Or must I address the
same words to you which the physician Douban did to the Greek
king, Suffer me to live, and God will prolong your days ?"
The fear expressed by him made the Genius laugh. Be of good
heart, fisherman," answered he, I have thrown the vase into the
82 THE ARABIAN NIGHTS ENTERTAINMENTS.
sea only for diversion, and to see whether you would be alarmed:
but to show you that I intend to keep my word, take your nets and
follow me." They passed by the city and went over the top of a
mountain, from whence they descended into a vast plain, which
led them to a pond, situated between four small hills.
When they were arrived on the borders of the pond, the Genius
said to the fisherman, "Throw your nets, and catch fish." The
fisherman did not doubt that he should take some, for he saw a
great quantity in the pond; but how great was his surprise at find-
ing them of four different colours-white, red, blue, and yellow. He
threw his nets and caught four, one of each colour. As he had
never seen any similar to them, he could hardly cease admiring
them; and judging that he could dispose of them for a considerable
sum, he expressed great joy. Carry these fish to the palace,"
said the Genius, and present them to the sultan, and he will give
you more money than you ever handled in all your life. You may
come every day and fish in this pond, but beware of casting your
nets more than once each day: if you act otherwise, some evil will
befall you: therefore take care. This is my advice, and if you
follow it exactly you will do well." Having said this, he struck his
foot against the ground, which opened, and having sunk into it, the
earth closed as before.
The fisherman resolved to observe the advice and instructions of
the Genius in every point, and take care never to throw his nets a
second time. He went back to the town very well satisfied with
his success, and making a thousand reflections on his adventure.
He went directly and presented his fish at the sultan's palace.
I leave it to your majesty to imagine how much the sultan was
surprised when he saw the four fish brought him by the fisherman.
He took them one by one, and observed them most attentively;
and after admiring them a long time, he said to his first vizier,
Take these fish and carry them to that excellent cook which the
emperor of the Greeks sent me; I think they must be equally good
as they are beautiful."
The vizier took them, and delivered them into the hands of the
cook. Here are four fish," said he, "which have been presented
to the sultan; he commands you to dress them." He then returned
to the sultan his master, who desired him to give the fisherman
four hundred pieces of gold. The fisherman, who was never before
in possession of so large a sum of money at once, could not conceal
his joy, and thought it all a dream. He soon, however, proved it
to be a reality by the good purpose to which he applied the gold,
in relieving the wants of his family.
As soon as the cook had cleaned the fish which the vizier had
brought, she put them in a vessel, with some oil, over the fire to
fry. When she thought they were sufficiently done on one side,
she turned them. She had hardly done so, when, wonderful to
relate, the wall of the kitchen appeared to separate, and a beautiful
and majestic young damsel came out of the opening. She was
dressed in a satin robe, embroidered with flowers after the Egyptian
manner, and adorned with ear-rings and a necklace of large pearls,
THE FISHERMAN AND THE GENIUS. 88
and gold bracelets set with rubies; she held a rod of myrtle in her
hand. Approaching the vessel, to the great astonishment of the
cook, who remained motionless at the sight, and striking one of the
fish with her rod, she said, "Fish, fish, art thou doing thy duty?"
The fish answering not a word, she again repeated it, when the four
fish all raised themselves up, and said very distinctly, "Yes, yes,
if you reckon, we reckon; if you pay your debts, we pay ours; if
you fly, we conquer, and are content." As soon as they had spoken
these words, the damsel overturned the vessel, and went back
through the wall, which immediately closed up, and was in the
same state as before.
The cook, whom all these wonders alarmed, having in some
measure recovered from her fright, went to take up the fish, which
had fallen upon the hot ashes; but she found them blacker and
more burnt than the coals themselves, and not at all in a state to
send to the sultan. At this she was greatly distressed, and began
to cry with all her might. "Alas," said she, "what will beconr.
of me ? I am sure, when I relate to the sultan what I have seen,
that he will not believe me. How enraged also will he be with me !"
While she was in this distress, the grand vizier entered, and asked
if the fish were ready. The cook then related all ihat had taken
place, at which, as we may naturally suppose, he was much as-
tonished: but without telling the sultan anything about it, he
invented some excuse which satisfied him. He then sent directly
for the fisherman; to whom, when he was come, he said, "Bring
me four more fish, like those you brought before, for an accident
has happened which prevents their being served up to the sultan."
The fisherman did not tell him what the Genius had strictly advised
him to do, but pleaded the length of the way as an excuse for not
being able to procure any more that day; he promised, however, to
bring them the next morning.
The fisherman, in order to be in time, set out before it was day,
and went to the pond. He threw his nets, and drawing them out,
found four more fish, like those he had taken the day before, each
of a different colour. He returned directly, and brought them to
the grand vizier by the time he had promised. The minister took
them, and carried them into the kitchen, where he shut himself up
with only the cook, who prepared to dress them before him. She
put them on the fire as she had done the others on the preceding
day. When they were dressed on one side, she turned them, and
immediately the wall of the kitchen opened, and the same damsel
appeared, with her myrtle in her hand. She approached the vessel
in which the fish were, and striking one of them, addressed the
same words to it she had before done; when they all, raising their
heads, made the same answer. The damsel overturned the vessel
with her rod as she had done before, and went back through the
opening in the wall, where she had entered. The grand vizier
witnessed all that passed. "This is very surprising," he cried, -
"and too extraordinary to be kept secret from the sultan's ears.
I will myself go and inform him of this prodigy." He immediately,
therefore, went, and gave an exact relation of all that had passed.
84 rTiE ARABIAN NIGHTS ENTERTAINMENTS.
The sultan was much astonished, and became very anxious to see
this wonder. For this purpose he again sent for the fisherman:
"Friend," said he to him, when he came, "canst thou not bring
me four more fish of different colours?" "If your majesty,"
answered the fisherman, "will grant me three days, I can promise
to do so." He obtained the time he wished, and went again, for
the third time, to the pond. He was not less successful than before,
and he caught four fish of different colours the first time he threw
his nets. He neglected not to carry them directly to the sultan,
who expressed the greater pleasure at seeing them, as he did not
expect them so soon, and he ordered four hundred pieces of money
to be given to the fisherman.
As soon as the sultan had got the fish, he had them taken int'
his own cabinet, together with the different things that were neces-
sary to dress them. Here he shut himself up with the grand vizier,
who began to cook them, and put them on the fire in a proper vessel.
As soon as they were done on one side, he turned them on the other.
The wall of the cabinet immediately opened; but, instead of the
beautiful damsel, there appeared a black, who was in the habit of
a slave. This black was very large and gigantic, and held a large
green rod in his hand. He advanced to the vessel, and touching
one of the fish with his rod, he criea out in a terrible tone, "Fish,
fish, art thou doing thy duty?" At these words, the fish lifted up
their heads, and answered, "Yes, yes, we are: if you reckon, we
reckon; if you pay your debts, we pay ours; if you fly, we conquer,
and are content." The fish had scarcely said this, when the black
overturned the vessel into the middle of the cabinet, and reduced
the fish to the state of cinders. Having done so, he haughtily
retired through the opening of the wall, which instantly closed, and
appeared as perfect as before.
"After what I have seen," said the sultan to his grand vizier,
"it is in vain for me to think of remaining at ease. It is certain
that these fish signify something very extraordinary, which I wish
to discover." He sent for the fisherman, and when he arrived, he
said to him, "The fish thou hast brought me have caused me great
uneasiness; where dost thou catch them ?" I caught them, sire,"
answered he, "'in a pond, which is situated in the midst of four
small hills, beyond the mountain you may see from hence." Do
you know that pond ?" said the sultan to the vizier. "No, sire,"
answered he; "I have never even heard it mentioned, though I
have hunted in the vicinity of the mountain, and beyond it, near
sixty years." The sultan asked the fisherman about what distance
the pond was from the palace; he replied that it was not more than
three hours' journey. With this assurance, as there was still time
to arrive there before night, the sultan ordered his whole court to
get ready, while the fisherman served as a guide.
They all ascended the mountain, and in going down on the other
side, they were much surprised by the appearance of a large plain,
which no one had ever before remarked. They at length arrived
at the pond, which they found situated exactly among four hills,
as the fisherman had reported. Its water was so transparent, that
THE FISHERMAN AND THE GENIUS. 85
they remarked all the fish to be of the same colours as those the
fisherman had brought to the palace.
The sultan halted on the side of the pond; and, after observing
the fish with signs of great admiration, he inquired of his emirs and
all his courtiers if it could be possible that they had never seen this
pond, which was so close to the city.-They all said they had never
heard it even mentioned. "Since you all agree, then," said he,
"that you have never heard it spoken of, and since I am not less
astonished than you are at this novelty, I am resolved not to return
to "-,y palace till I have discovered for what reason this pond is now
placAd here, and why there are fish of only four colours in it."
After having thus spoken, he ordered them to encamp around it:
his own pavilion, and the tents of his immediate household, were
pitched on the borders of the pond.
When the day closed, the sultan retired to his pavilion, and
entered into a particular conversation with his vizier. My mind,"
said he, "is much disturbed; this pond, suddenly placed here;
this black, who appeared to us in my cabinet; these fish, too,
whom we heard speak; all this so much excites my curiosity that I
cannot conquer my impatience to be satisfied. I shall go quite
alone from my camp, and order you to keep my departure a pro-
found secret. Remain in my pavilion, and when my emirs and
courtiers present themselves at the entrance to-morrow morning,
send them away, and say I have a slight indisposition, and wish to
remain alone. You will also continue to do so every day till my
The grand vizier endeavoured, by many arguments, to persuade
the sultan not to do as he intended. He represented the great
danger to which he exposed himself, and the unnecessary trouble
and difficulties he might thus encounter, and probably to no pur-
pose. All his eloquence, however, was exhausted, to no effect; the
sultan did not alter his resolution, but prepared to set out. He
put on a proper dress for walking, and armed himself with a sabre;
and as soon as he found that everything in the camp was quiet, he
departed, unaccompanied by any one.
He bent his course towards one of the small hills, which he as-
cended without much difficulty, and the descent on the other side was
still easier. He then pursued his way over a plain, till the sun rose.
He now perceived, in the distance before him, a large building, the
sight of which filled him with joy, from the hopes of being able to
gain some intelligence of what he wished to know. When he came
near, he remarked that it was a magnificent palace, or rather a
strong castle, built with polished black marble, and covered with
fine steel, so bright that it was like a mirror. Delighted with having
so soon met with something at least worthy his curiosity, he stopped
opposite the front, and considered it with much attention; he then
advanced towards the folding doors, one of which was open. Though
he might have gone in, he thought it better to knock. At first, he
knocked gently, and waited some time; but, finding no one appear,
he thought they might not have heard; he therefore knocked a
second time, much louder; still no one came. He redoubled his
86 THE ARABIAN NIGHTS ENTERTAINMENTS.
efforts, but in vain. At this he was much astonished, as he could
not imagine that a castle so well built as that was, could be de-
serted.-" If there be no person there," said the sultan to himself,
" I have nothing to fear; and if there be any one, I have arms to
defend myself with."
At last he entered, and when he was in the vestibule, he called
out, Is there no one here to receive a stranger, who is in want of
refreshment on his journey ?" He repeated it two or three times,
as loud as he could; still there was no answer. This silence in-
creased his astonishment. He passed on to a very spacious court,
and looking on all sides, he could not discover a living creature.
He then entered, and passed through some large halls, the carpets
of which were of silk, the recesses and sofas entirely covered with
the stuffs of Mecca, and the curtains before the doors of the richest
manufactures of India, embroidered with gold and silver. He went
on, and came to a most wonderful saloon, in the midst of which
there was a large reservoir, with a lion of massive gold at each
corner. Streams of water issued from the mouths of the four lions,
and in falling, appeared to break in a thousand diamonds and pearls,
which formed a good addition to a fountain that sprung from the
middle of the basin, and rose almost to the top of a dome, beauti-
fully painted in the arabesque style.
The castle was surrounded on three sides by a garden, which was
embellished with all kinds of flowers, fountains, groves, and many
other beauties; but what rendered this spot still more enchanting
was the multitude of birds, which filled the air with the sweetest
notes. This was their constant habitation, because there were nets
thrown entirely over the trees, which prevented their escape.
The sultan continued walking a long time from one apartment to
another, where everything was grand and magnificent. Being
rather fatigued, he sat down in an open cabinet, which looked into
the garden. Here he meditated upon all he had seen, when sud-
denly a plaintive voice, accompanied by the most heart-rending
cries, struck his ear. He listened attentively, and distinctly heard
these melancholy words:-" 0 fortune, thou hast not suffered me
long to enjoy my happy lot, but hast rendered me the most wretched
of men; cease, I entreat thee, thus to persecute me, and, by a
speedy death, put an end to my sufferings. Alas! is it possible I
can still exist, after all the torments I have suffered ?"
The sultan, much affected by these lamentable complaints, im-
mediately got up, and went towards the spot whence they issued.
He came to the entrance of a large hall; he drew the door-curtain
aside, and saw a young man seated upon a sort of throne, raised a
little from the ground. He appeared well made, and was very
richly dressed, but deep sorrow was impressed on his countenance.
The sultan approached, and saluted him. The youth returned the
compliment by bending his head very low, but did not rise. "I
am sure, sir," said he to the sultan, "I ought to get up to receive
you, and show you all possible respect, but a most powerful reason
prevents me ; you will not, therefore, I trust, take it ill." I feel
myself highly honoured, sir," replied the sultan, "by the good
THE KING OF THE BLACK ISLES. 87
opinion you express of me. Whatever may be your motive for not
rising, I willingly receive your apologies. Attracted by your com-
plaints, I come to offer you my assistance. I flatter myself you
will not object to relate the history of your sorrows to me. But,
in the first place, I beg of you to inform me what that pond which
is near this castle means, where there are fish of four different
colours ; how, also, this castle came here, and you thus in it, and
Instead of answering these questions, the young man began to weep
most bitterly. The sultan, touched with compassion at his situa-
tion, requested him again to relate the cause of such sorrow. Alas,
"my lord answered the youth, can I be otherwise than afflicted,
or can these eyes ever cease from shedding tears ?" At these words,
he lifted up his robe, and the sultan perceived he was a man only
to his waist, and that from thence to his feet he was changed into
You may easily imagine that the sultan was much surprised when
he saw the deplorable state of the young man. What you show
me," said he to him, fills me with horror, but at the same time
excites my curiosity. I am impatient to learn your history, which
must, no doubt, be very singular; and I am persuaded that the
pond and the fish have some connexion with it. I entreat you,
therefore, to relate it ; and you may find consolation by doing so,
for the unhappy often experience some relief in communicating
their sorrows." "I will not refuse you this satisfaction," replied
the young man, "although I cannot impart it without renewing
the most poignant grief."
Vpe !L)1ftoq of ile jZnm g of fie J6af |bled
I must first inform you (continued he), that my father, who was
called Mahmoud, was the king of this state. It is the kingdom of
the Black Isles, which takes its name from four small neighboring
mountains, that were formerly islands; and the capital where my
father resided was situated on the spot which is now occupied by
that pond. You will know how these changes took place as I pro-
ceed with my history.
The king, my father, died at the age of seventy years. I had no
sooner taken his place than I married, and the person whom I chose
to partake of the royal dignities with me was my cousin. I had
every reason to be satisfied with the proofs of affection I had re-
ceived from her, and, on my part, I returned them with equal
tenderness. Our happy union continued for five years, when I
began to perceive that the queen, my cousin, no longer loved me.
One day after dinner, when she was gone to bathe, I felt myself
inclined to sleep, and threw myself on a sofa; two of her women, who
happened to be in the room, seated themselves, one at my head and
the other at my feet, to fan me, as well for the purpose of refresh-
ing me, as to keep off the flies, which might have disturbed my
88 THE ARABIAN NIGIITT ENTERTAINMENTS.
slumbers. They then, supposing me asleep, began to talk softly,
but I had only closed my eyes, and so overheard their whole con-
Is it not a pity," said one of them to the other, "that the
queen does not love our king, who is such an amiable prince ?"
"Surely it is," replied the other; and I cannot conceive why she
goes out every night and leaves him; does he not perceive it ?"
" How should he perceive it ?" resumed the first; she mixes in
his drink, every night, the juice of a certain herb, which makes
him sleep all night, so profoundly that she has time to go wherever
she likes ; and when, at break of day she returns to him, she awakes
him by passing a particular scent under his nose."
You may judge, my lord, of the surprise which this discourse
occasioned, as well as the sentiments with which it inspired me:
nevertheless I had sufficient command over myself to suppress my
emotions; I pretended to awake without having heard the conver-
The queen returned from the bath; we supped together, and be-
fore we went to rest she presented me with a cup of water, which it
was usual for me to take; but instead of drinking it, I approached
a window that was open, and threw it out without her perceiving
me. I then returned the cup into her own hands, that she might
suppose I had drank the contents. We soon retired, and shortly
after, supposing that I was asleep, although I was not, she got up,
with so little precaution that she said aloud, Sleep, and mayest
thou never wake more." She dressed herself quickly, and left the
The queen had no sooner quitted me than I got up, and dressed
myself as speedily as possible, and taking my scimitar, I followed
her so closely that I heard her footsteps just before me, when,
regulating my steps by hers, I walked softly for fear of being heard.
She passed through several doors, which opened by virtue of some
magic words she pronounced; the last she opened was that of the
garden, which she entered. I stopped at this door, that she might
not see me, while she crossed a parterre; and following her with my
eyes, as well as the obscurity of the night would permit, I re-
marked that she went into a little wood, the walks of which were
enclosed by a thick hedge. I repaired thither by another way, and
hiding myself behind the hedge of one of the paths, I perceived that
she was walking with a man.
I did not fail to listen attentively to their discourse, from which
I learned that she was an enchantress. Having reached the end of
the walk they turned to enter another, and passed before me : I had
already drawn my scimitar, and. as the lover was next me, I struck
him on the neck, and he fell. I believed I had killed him, and
with this persuasion, I retired precipitately, without discovering
myself to the queen, whom I wished to spare, as she was my
Although her lover's wound was mortal, she yet contrived by her
enchantment to preserve in him that kind of existence which can be
called neither dead nor alive. When I reached my chamber, I
THE KING OF THE BLACK ISLES. 39
went again to bed, and feeling satisfied with the punishment I had
inflicted on the wretch who had offended me, I fell asleep. On
waking next morning, I found the queen by my side; I cannot say
whether she was asleep, or feigned it, but I got up without disturb-
ing her, and retired to my closet, where I finished dressing: I
afterwards attended the council; and on my return, the queen,
dressed in mourning, her hair dishevelled and torn, presented her-
self before me. "Sire," said she, I come to entreat your majesty
not to be displeased at the state in which you now see me. I have
just received intelligence of three events, which occasion the grief I
so strongly feel, but can ill express." "What are these events,
madam?" I inquired. "The death of the queen, my beloved
mother," replied she; "that of the king, my father, who was
killed in battle; and also of my brother, who fell down a pre-
I was not sorry that she had invented this pretext to conceal the
true cause of her affliction, and I imagined that she did not suspect
me of having been the murderer of her lover. Madam," said I,
I do not blame your sorrow. I should be much surprised if you
were not affected by such a loss; weep, for your tears are an un-
doubted proof of your good heart; I hope, nevertheless, that time
and reason will restore to you your wonted cheerfulness."
She retired to her apartment, where, abandoning herself to her
grief, she passed a whole year in weeping and bewailing the fate of
her lover. At the expiration of that time, she requested my per-
mission to build a mausoleum for herself in the centre of the palace,
where she said she wished to pass the remainder of her days. I did
not refuse her, and she erected a magnificent palace with a dome,
which may be seen from hence, and she called it the Palace of
W hen it was finished, she had her lover removed from the place
whither she had transported him on the night I wounded him, and
brought to this mausoleum. She had till that period preserved his
life by giving him certain potions, which she administered herself,
and continued to give him daily after his removal to the Palace of
Tears. All her enchantments, however, did not avail, for he was
not only unable to walk or stand, but had also lost the use of his
speech, and gave no signs of life but by looks.
Excited by my curiosity, I went one day to the Palace of Tears,
to know what was the occupation of the princess, and concealing
myself in a part where I could see and hear what passed, I heard
her address her lover in the tenderest manner. I avow to you, my
lord, that I was enraged at her words; for in truth this cherished
lover, was not at all what you would imagine. He was a black
Indian, one of the original inhabitants of this country. I was, as
I have said, so enraged at this speech, that I suddenly showed
myself, and addressing myself in a similar manner to the tomb, I
said, "Why dost thou not, 0 tomb, swallow up this monster, who
is even disgusting to human nature? or rather, why dost thou not
consume both the lover and the mistress."
I had hardly finished these words, when the queen, who was
40 THE ARABIAN NIGHTS ENTERTAINMENTS .
seated near the black, started up like a fury. "Ah, wrmetch !" said
she to me, it is thou who hast been the cause of my grief; think
not that I am ignorant of it. I have already dissembled too long.
It was thy barbarous hand which reduced the object of my affection
to the miserable state he now is in. And hast thou the cruelty to
come and insult my despair?" "Yes," cried I, interrupting her,
and transported with anger, I have chastised the monster as he
deserved, and I ought to treat thee in the same manner. I repent
not having already done it, for thou hast too long abused my good-
ness." In saying this, I drew my scimitar, and raised my arm to
punish her. Moderate thy rage," said she to me, with a disdainful
smile, and regarding my motions with a tranquil air; at the
same instant she pronounced some words which I did not understand,
and added, "By virtue of my enchantments, I command thee from
this moment to become half marble, and half man." Immediately,
my lord, I was changed to what you see me; already dead among
the living, and living among the dead.
As soon as this cruel enchantress, for she is unworthy of bearing
the title of queen, had thus transformed me, and by means of her
magic had conveyed me to this apartment, she destroyed my capital,
which was both flourishing and well inhabited; she annihilated the
palaces, public places, and markets; turned the whole place into a
lake, or pond, and rendered the country, as you may perceive, quite
a desert. The four sorts of fish which are in the pond are four
different classes of inhabitants who professed different religions,
.nd inhabited the capital. The white were Mussulmen; the red,
Persians, who worship fire; the blue, Christians; and the yellow,
Jews; the four little hills were four islands, whence the name of
the kingdom originated. I was informed of all this by the enchan-
tress, who herself related the effects of her rage. Nor was even
this all; she did not confine her fury to the destruction of my
empire, and to my enchantment, for she comes every day and gives
me a hundred blows with a thong, made of a bull's hide, upon my
shoulders, from whence she draws blood at every stroke. As soon
as she has finished this punishment, she covers me with a thick
stuff, made of goats' hair, and puts a robe of rich brocade over it,
not for the sake of honouring, but of mocking me.
"Inform me," cried the sultan, affected by the recital of so
strange a story, and eager to avenge such injuries, "inform me
where this perfidious enchantress resides, and where also is this
infamous lover, whom she has entombed before his death." My
lord, answered the prince, "he, as I have before mentioned, is at
the Palace of Tears, in a tomb formed like a dome; and this palace
has a communication with the castle on the side towards the
"No one, prince," replied the sultan, "deserves greater com-
miseration than yourself ; nor can any one be more sensible of your
misfortune than I am. One thing only is wanting, and that is for you
to be avenged; nor will I leave anything untried to accomplish it."
The sultan having first informed the prince who he was, and the
reason of his entering the castle, consulted with him on the best
THE KING OF THE BLACK ISLES. 41
means of affording him a just revenge; and a plan occurred to the
sultan, which he directly communicated. They then agreed upon
the steps it was necessary to take in order to ensure success; and
they deferred the execution of the plan till the following day. In
the meantime, as the night was far advanced, the sultan took some
repose. The young prince, as usual, passed his time in continual
watchfulness, for he was unable to sleep since his enchantment:
the hopes, however slight, which he cherished of being soon relieved
from his sufferings, constantly occupied his thoughts.
The sultan rose as soon as it was day; and having concealed his
robe and external dress, which might encumber him, he went to the
Palace of Tears. He found it illuminated by a multitude of torches
of white wax; and a delicious perfume, issuing from various beautiful
golden vases, regularly arranged, struck his senses. As soon as he
perceived the bed on which the black was laid, he drew his sabre,
and destroyed, without resistance, the little remains of life in this
wretch. He then dragged the body into the court of the castle,
and threw it into a well. Having done this, he returned, and lay
down in the black's place, hiding his sabre under the covering, and
remained there in order to complete what he projected. The
enchantress arrived soon after: her first business was to go into the
apartment where the king of the Black Isles, her husband, was.
She directly stripped him, and with her usual barbarity began to
inflict upon his shoulders the accustomed number of blows. The
poor prince filled the whole building with his cries, and conjured
her, in the most pathetic manner, to have pity on him: the wretch,
however, ceased not to beat him till she had completed the hundred.
"Thou hadst no compassion on my lover, said she, "expect there-
fore none from me." As soon as she had finished, she threw the
coarse garment made of goat-skin over him, and then the robe of
brocade. She next went to the Palace of Tears; and, on entering,
began to renew her lamentations. "Alas !" she exclaimed, address-
ing herself to the sultan, whom she took for the black, "wilt thou
always, light of my life, preserve this silence? Art thou resolved
to let me die without the consolation of hearing thee again declare
that thou lovest me. Utter at least one word, I conjure thee."
The sultan then, pretending to awake from a profound sleep, and
imitating the language of the blacks, answered the queen in a solemn
tone. There is no might, or power, but in God alone, who is all
powerful." At these words the enchantress, to whom they were
unexpected, gave a violent scream through excess of joy. "My
dear lord," she exclaimed, "do you deceive me? is what I hear
true ? Is it really you who speak ?" "Wretched woman," replied
the sultan, "art thou worthy of an answer?" "What!" cried the
queen, dost thou reproach me ? "The cries, the tears, the groans
of thy husband," answered the supposed black, "whom you every
day beat with so much indignity and barbarity, continually prevent
my rest; I should have been cured long since, and recovered the
use of my tongue, if you had disenchanted him. This, and this
only, is the cause of my silence, and of which you so continually
complain." "Well, then," said the enchantress, to satisfy you,
42 THE ARABIAN NIGHTS ENTERTAINMENTS.
I am ready to do what you command: do you wish him to re-assume
his first form ?" "Yes," replied the sultan; "and hasten to set
him free, that I may no longer be disturbed by his cries."
The queen immediately went out from the Palace of Tears; and
taking a vessel of water, she pronounced over it some words, which
caused it instantly to boil, as if it had been placed on a fire. She
proceeded to the apartment where the young king, her husband,
was. If the Creator of all things," said she, throwing the water
over him, "hath formed thee as thou now art, or if he is angry
with thee, do not change; but if thou art in that state by virtue
of my enchantment, re-assume thy natural form, and become the
same as before." She had hardly concluded, when the prince,
recovering his first shape, rose up, with all possible joy, and returned
thanks to God. "Go," said the enchantress, addressing him,
"hasten from this castle, and never return, lest it should cost thee
thy life." The young king yielded to necessity, and left the queen
without replying a word. He concealed himself in some secure spot,
where he immediately awaited the completion of the sultan's design,
the commencement of which had been so successful.
The enchantress then returned to the Palace of Tears; and on
entering, said to him whom she supposed to be the black, "I have
done, my love, what you ordered me: nothing, therefore, now pre-
vents your getting up." The sultan, still imitating the language of
the blacks, answered in rather a sharp tone, What you have yet
done is not sufficient for my cure. You have destroyed only a part
of the evil, but you must strike at the root." "What do you mean
by the root ?" answered she. "What can I mean," he cried, "but
the city and its inhabitants, and the four isles, which you have
destroyed by your magic? Every day towards midnight the fish
constantly raise their heads out of the pond, and call for vengeance
against us both. This is the real cause of the delay of my recovery.
Go quickly, and re-establish everything in its former site; and on
thy return I will give you my hand, and you shall assist me in
The queen, exulting in the expectations these words produced,
joyfully exclaimed, You shall soon then, my life, recover your
health, for I will instantly go and do what you have commanded."
She went the very next moment, and when she arrived on the border
of the pond, she took a little water in her hand, and scattered it
about. She had no sooner done so, and pronounced certain words
over the fish and the pond, than the city instantly appeared. The
fish became men, women, and children; Mahometans, Christians,
Persians, and Jews; freemen or slaves; in short, each took hip
natural form. The houses and shops became filled with inhabitants,
who found everything in the same situation and order in which they
were previous to the change. The officers and attendants of the
sultan, who were very numerous, and who were encamped directly
where the great place or square happened to be, were astonished at
finding themselves on a sudden in the midst of a large, well built,
and inhabited city.
As soon as she had completed this change, she hastened back to
THE KING OF THE BLACK ISLES. 49
the Palace of Tears, to enjoy the reward of her labours. "My dear
lord," she cried on entering, "I am returned to participate in the
pleasure of your renewed health, for I have done all you have
required of me; arise, and give me your hand." "Come near,
then," said the sultan, still imitating the manner of the blacks.
She did so. earer still," he cried. She obeyed. Then raising
himself up, he seized her so suddenly by the arms that she had no
opportunity of recognizing who it was; and with one stroke of his
sabre, he smote her in twain, the pieces falling on each side of him.
Having done this, he left the carcase in the same place, and went
to seek for the prince of the Black Isles, who waited with the
greatest impatience for him. Rejoice, prince," said he, embracing
him, "you have nothing more to fear, for your cruel enemy no
The young prince thanked the sultan in a way which proved that
his heart was truly penetrated with gratitude; and as a reward for
the important service he had rendered him, he wished him a long
life, and the greatest prosperity. "May you too live happily and
at peace in your capital," replied the sultan to him; "and should
you hereafter have a wish to visit mine, which is so near, I shall
receive you with the truest pleasure, and you shall be as highly
honoured and respected as in your own." Powerful monarch,"
answered the prince, "to whom I am so much indebted, do you
think you are very near your capital ?" Certainly," replied the
sultan, I think so, at least that I am not more than four or five
hours' journey." "It is a whole year's journey," added the prince,
"although I believe you might come here in the time you mention,
because mine was enchanted; but since it is no longer so, things
are changed. This, however, shall not prevent my following you,
were it necessary to go to the very extremity of the earth. You
are my liberator; and to show you every mark of my gratitude as
long as I live, I shall freely accompany you, and resign my kingdom
The sultan was extremely surprised to find that he was so distant
from his dominions, and could not comprehend how it happened;
but the young king of the Black Isles convinced him so fully of the
possibility, that he no longer doubted it. It matters not, then,"
resumed the sultan; "the trouble of returning to my dominions
will be sufficiently recompensed by the satisfaction arising from
having assisted you, and from having acquired a son in you; for, as
you will do me the honour to accompany me, I shall look upon you
as such; and having no children of my own, I from this moment
make you my heir and successor." This interview between the
sultan and the king of the Black Isles was terminated by the most
affectionate embraces, after which the young prince prepared for
his journey. In three weeks he was ready to depart, greatly re-
gretted by his court and subjects, who received from his hands a
near relation of his as their king.
At length the sultan and the prince, and the officers and attend-
ants of the sultan, set out with a hundred camels laden with ines-
timable riches, which had been selected from the treasury of the
44 THE ARABIAN NIGHTS ENTERTAINMENTS.
young king, who was accompanied by fifty handsome nobles, well
mounted and equipped. Their journey was a pleasant one; and
when the sultan, who had despatched couriers to give notice of his
arrival, and relate the reason of his delay, drew near to his capital,
the principal officers, whom he had left there, came to receive him,
and to assure him that his long absence had not occasioned any
change in his empire. The inhabitants, also, crowded to meet him,
and welcome him with acclamations and every demonstration of joy,
which lasted for several days.
The day after his arrival, the sultan assembled his courtiers, and
gave them an ample detail of the occurrences which, contrary to his
wishes, had delayed his return: he then declared to them his in-
tention of adopting the king of the four Black Isles, who had left a
large kingdom to accompany and live with him; and at last, to re-
ward the fidelity with which they served him, he bestowed presents
on all, according to their rank and station.
With regard to the fisherman, as he had been the first cause of
the deliverance of the young prince, the sultan overwhelmed him
with rewards, and made him and his family happy and comfortable
for the rest of their days.
tezt xstofrg of te Qrece Innlsbers,- o of ilng,
an of fij* Nfb ow f "qba
During the reign of the Caliph Haroun Alraschid there lived at
Bagdad a porter, who, notwithstanding his low and laborious pro-
fession, was nevertheless a man of wit and humour. One morning,
when he was standing with a large basket before him, in a place
where he usually waited for employment, a young lady of a fine
figure, covered with a large muslin veil, came up to him, and said
with a pleasing air, Porter, take up your basket and follow me."
The porter, delighted with these few words, pronounced in so
agreeable a manner, put it on his head, and went after the lady,
saying, Oh, happy day Oh, happy meeting "
The lady stopped at a closed door, and knocked. A venerable
Christian with a long white beard opened it, and she put some
money into his hands without saying a single word; but the Chris-
tian, who knew what she wanted, went in, and shortly after
brought out a large jar of excellent wine. Take this jar," said
the lady to the porter, and put it in the basket." This being
done, she desired him to follow her, and walked on; the porter still
exclaiming, Oh, day of happiness Oh, day of agreeable surprise
The lady stopped at the shop of a seller of fruits and flowers,
where she chose various sorts of apples, apricots, peaches, lemons,
citrons, oranges, myrtles, sweet basil, lilies, jessamine, and some
Calenders are privileged beggars or fakirs.
THE THREE CALENDERS AND FIVE LADIES. 45
other sweet-scented flowers and plants. She told the porter to put
all those things in his basket and follow her. Passing by a butcher's
shop, she ordered five and twenty pounds of his finest meat to be
weighed, which was also put into the porter's basket.
At another shop she bought some capers, small cucumbers, pars-
ley, and other herbs, pickled in vinegar: at another, some pista-
chios, walnuts, hazelnuts, almonds, kernels of the pine, and other
similar fruits : at a third she purchased all sorts of almond patties.
The porter, in putting all these things into his basket, said, "My
good lady, you should have told me that you intended buying so
many things, and I would have provided a horse, or rather a camel,
to carry them. I shall have more than I can lift if you add much
to what is already here." The lady laughed at this speech, and
again desired him to follow her.
She then went into a druggist's, where she furnished herself with
all sorts of sweet-scented waters, with cloves, nutmeg, pepper,
ginger, a large piece of ambergris, and several other Indian spices,
which completely filled the porter's basket, whom she still ordered
to follow her. He did so till they arrived at a magnificent house,
the front of which was ornamented with handsome columns, and at
the entrance was a door of ivory. Here they stopped, and the lady
gave a gentle knock at the door. While they waited for it to be
opened, the porter's mind was filled with a thousand different
thoughts. He was surprised that a lady, dressed as this was,
should perform the office of the housekeeper, for he conceived it
impossible for her to be a slave. Her air was so noble that he sup-
posed her free, if not a person of distinction. He was wishing to ask
her some questions concerning her quality and situation, but just
as he was preparing to speak, another female, who opened the door,
appeared to him so beautiful that he was silent through astonish-
ment, or rather he was so struck with the brilliancy of her charms
that he was very near letting his basket and all that was in it fall,
so much did this object make him forget himself. He thought he
had never seen any beauty in his whole life that equalled her who
was before him. The lady who had brought the porter, observed
the disturbed state of his mind, and well knew the cause of it.
This discovery diverted her; and she took so much pleasure in ex-
amining the countenance of the porter, that she forgot the door was
open. Come in, sister," said the beautiful portress. What do
you wait for ? Don't you see that this poor man is so heavily laden
he can hardly bear it ?"
As soon as she and the porter were come in, the lady who opened
the door shut it; and all three, after passing through a handsome
vestibule, crossed a very spacious court, surrounded by an open
gallery, or corridor, which communicated with many magnificent
apartments, all on the same floor. At the bottom of this court there
was a sort of cabinet richly furnished, with a throne of amber in the
middle, supported by four ebony pillars, enriched with diamonds
and pearls of an extraordinary size, and covered with red satin,
relieved by a bordering of Indian gold of admirable workmanship.
In the middle of the court there was a large basin lined with white
46 THE ARABIAN NIGHTS ENTERTAINMENTS.
marble, and full of the finest transparent water, which rushed from
the mouth of a lion of gilt bronze.
Although the porter was so laden, it did not prevent him from
admiring the magnificence of this house, and the neatness and
regularity with which everything was arranged; but what principally
attracted his attention was a third lady, who appeared still more
beautiful than the second, and who was seated on the throne before
mentioned. As soon as she perceived the other two females, she
came down from the throne, and advanced towards them. The
porter conjectured from the looks and behaviour of the two first
ladies that his was the principal personage; and he was not mis-
taken. This lady was called Zobeide, she who opened the door was
called Safi', and the name of the one who had been for the provisions
"You do not, my dear sisters," said Zobeide, accosting the other
two, "perceive that this man is almost fainting under his load?
Why do you not discharge him ?" Amine and Safie then took the
basket, one before and the other behind; Zobeide also assisted, and
all three put it on the ground. They then began to empty it, and
when they had done, the agreeable Amine took out her purse and
rewarded the porter very liberally. He was well satisfied with
what he received, and was taking up his basket to go, but could
not muster sufficient resolution, so much was he delighted by the
sight of three such rare beauties, who now appeared to him equally
charming; for Amine had also taken off her veil, and he found her
quite as handsome as the others. The thing that puzzled him most
was not seeing any man in the house; and yet a great part of the
provisions he brought, such as dried fruits, cakes, and sweetmeats,
were most adapted to those who wish to drink much and feast.
ZobeidB at first thought the porter was waiting to get breath, but
observing him remain a long time, she asked him what he waited
for, and whether he was sufficiently paid. Give him something
more," added she, speaking to Amine, "and let him be satisfied."
" Madam," answered the porter, "it is not that which detains me;
I am already almost too well paid for my trouble. I know very
well that I am guilty of an incivility in staying where I ought not;
but I hope you will have the goodness to pardon it, from the as-
tonishment I experience in observing no man among three ladies of
such uncommon beauty. A party of ladies without men is as
melancholy and stupid as a party of men without ladies." To this
he added some pleasantries in proof of what he advanced. He did
not forget to repeat what they say at Bagdad, that there was no
comfort at table unless there were four; and he concluded by saying,
that as there were three they had the greatest want of a fourth.
The ladies laughed heartily at the reasoning of the porter. Zobeide,
however, then addressed him in a serious manner. "You carry
your fooleries, Mhy friend, a little too far; but though you do not
deserve that I should enter into any explanation with you, I will at
once inform you that we are three sisters, who arrange all our own
affairs without imparting them to any one. An established author,
whom we have read, says: 'Keep thy own secret and tell it to no
THE THREE CALENDERS AND FIVE LADIES. 47
one; for he who reveals a secret is no longer master of it. If thy
own breast cannot contain thy secret, how can the breast of him to
whom you entrust it?"'
"Ladies," replied the porter, "from your appearance alone, I
thought you possessed a singular degree of merit; and I perceive
that I am not mistaken. Although fortune has not been so propi-
tious to me as to bring me up to any profession superior to the one
I follow, yet I have cultivated my mind as much as I was able, by
reading books of science and history; and permit me, I entreat, to
say, that I also have read in another a maxim which I have always
happily practised: 'Conceal thy secret,' he says, 'only from such as
are known to be indiscreet, and who will abuse thy confidence; but
make no difficulty in discovering it to prudent men, because they
know how to keep it.' The secret, then, with me, is as safe as if
locked up in a cabinet, the key of which is lost, and the door sealed."
Zobeid6 saw that the porter was not deficient in cleverness; but
thinking that he was desirous of being at the entertainment they
were going to have, she good-humouredly replied, You know that
we are preparing to regale ourselves, and you must also know we
cannot do this but at a considerable expense; and it would not be
just that you should partake of the feast without bearing part of
the cost." The beautiful SafiB was of the same opinion as her sister.
"My friend," she said to the porter, "have you never heard the
common saying, 'If you bring something, you shall return with
something; if you bring nothing, you shall carry nothing back ?"'
The porter would have been obliged to retire in confusion, in
spite of his rhetoric, had it not been for Amind, who took his part
very strongly. "My dear sisters," she said to Zobeid6 and Safie,
"I entreat you to permit him to remain with us. It is unnecessary
to tell you he will divert us, for you must see he is capable of it.
I assure you, that had it not been for his readiness, quickness, and
courage in following me, I should not have executed so many commis-
sions in so short a time. Besides, if I were to repeat to you all the
amusing things he said to me on the way, you would not be much
surprised that I am become his advocate."
At this speech of Amind's, the porter, in a transport of joy, fell
on his knees, and kissed the ground at the feet of this charming
female. My dear lady," said he, raising himself, "you have from
this moment begun my happiness, and placed it almost at its sum-
mit, by so generous an act, for which I can never sufficiently express
my gratitude. In short, ladies," added he, addressing the three
sisters at once, do not suppose, because you have done me so great
an honour, that I will abuse it, and that I shall consider myself as
a man who is worthy of it; on the contrary, I shall ever regard
myself as the humblest of your slaves." In saying this, he wished
to return the money he had received; but the grave Zobeid6 ordered
him to keep it. "What we have once given," she said, as a
recompense to those who have rendered us any service, never returns.
But, in agreeing that you should remain with us, it is not only on
condition that you keep the secret we are going to entrust you with,
but we also require that you shall strictly observe the rules of pro.
48 THE ARABIAN NIGHTS ENTERTAINMENTS.
priety and decorum." While she was speaking, the beautiful Amine
took off her walking dress, and fastening her robe to her girdle, in
order to be more at liberty to prepare the table, she placed on it
various kinds of meat, and put some bottles of wine and several
golden cups upon a sideboard. This done, the ladies seated them-
selves round the table, and made the porter place himself by their
side, who was delighted beyond measure at finding himself at table
with three persons of such extraordinary beauty.
They had scarcely begun to eat, when Amine, who had placed
herself near the buffet, or sideboard, took a bottle and goblet, and
poured some for herself. Having drank the first glass, according to
the Arabian custom, she then poured out one for each of her sisters,
who drank it, one after the other. Then, filling the same goblet for
the fourth time, she presented it to the porter, who, in taking it, kissed
her hand, and before he drank it, sung a song, the meaning of which
was, that as the wind carried with it the odour of any perfumed spot
over which it passed, so the wine which he was about to drink.
coming from her hand, acquired a more exquisite flavour than it
naturally possessed. This song pleased them very much, and they
each sung in their turn. In short, the whole company were in most
excellent spirits during the repast, which lasted a long time, and
was accompanied with everything that could render it agreeable.
The day began to close, when Safie, in the name of her sisters,
said to the porter, Arise, and go; it is time to retire." To this th,
porter, not having resolution to quit them, answered, "Ah, ladies !
where would you command me to go ? I am almost beside myself,
from gazing on you, and the good cheer you have given me; and I
shall never find the way to my own house. Allow me the night to
recover myself in; I will pass it wherever you please; but less time
will not restore me to the state I was in when I came here, and even
then, I doubt I shall leave the better part of myself behind."
Amine again took the part of the porter. "He is right, my
sister," she exclaimed; "I am convinced of the propriety of his
demand. He has sufficiently diverted us; and if you wish to believe
me, or rather if you love me, I am sure you will suffer him to
pass the evening with us." "We cannot refuse any request of
yours, my sister," replied Zobeide. Porter," she added, address-
ing herself to him, "we wish to grant you even this favour, but we
must premise a fresh condition: whatever we may do in your
presence, with respect to yourself or anything else, take great care
that you do not ask the reason; for in questioning us about things
that do not at all concern you, you may hear what will not please
you. Take care, therefore, and be not too curious in attempting
to discover the motives of our actions."
"Madam," replied the porter, "my tongue shall be motionless,
and my eyes shall be like a mirror, that preserves no part of the
objects it receives." "To let you see," said Zobeide, with a serious
air, "that what we require of you is not newly established among
us, observe what is written over the door, on the inside." The
porter went and read these words, which were written in large
letters of gold :---WHOEVER TALKS ABOUT WHAT DOES NOT CONCERN
THE THREE CALENDERS AND FIVE LADIES. 49
HIM, OFTEN HEARS WHAT DOES NOT PLEASE HIM He came back
directly, and said to the three sisters, "1 swear to you, ladies, that
you shall not hear me speak a word concerning anything which
does not regard me, and in which you have any interest."
This being settled, Amine brought supper; and when she had
lighted up the hall with numerous candles, prepared with aloes and
ambergris, which scattered a very agreeable perfume, and cast a
brilliant light, she seated herself at the table, with her sisters and
the porter. They began to eat, drink, sing, and recite verses. The
ladies took pleasure in making the porter intoxicated, under the
pretence of making him drink to their health. Wit and repartee
were not wanting. They were at length all in the best humour,
when they suddenly heard a knocking at the gate. They instantly
got up, and Safie, to whom this office more particularly belonged,
ran to open it. She soon returned. "A charming opportunity, my
sisters, offers itself, to spend a great part of the night very pleasantly.
There are three calenders at the door; at least, they appear so by
their dress; but what will doubtless surprise you is, that they are all
three blind of the right eye, and have their heads, beards, and eye.
brows shaved. They say that they are only just arrived at Bagdad,
where they have never been before; and as it is dark, and they
know not where to lodge, they knocked at our door by chance; and
entreat us to have the charity to take them in. They care not where
we put them, provided they are under cover; and will be satisfied
even with a stable. They are young and well made, and appear to
possess some spirit; but I cannot, without laughing, think of their
amusing and uniform figures. It is impossible but that, with such
men, we shall finish the day still better than we began it. They
will divert us very much, and they will be of no expense to us, since
they only ask a lodging for one night, and it is their intention to leave
us as soon as it is day."
Zobeide and Amine made some difficulty in agreeing to the request
of Safie, and she herself well- knew the reason of it, but expressed so
great a desire to have her way that they could not refuse her.
Go," said Zobeid& to her, "and let them come in; but do not fail
to caution them not to speak about what does not concern them, and
make them read the inscription over the inside of the door." At
these words, Safie joyfully ran to open the door, and soon returned,
accompanied by the three calenders.
On entering they made a low bow to the sisters, who had risen to
receive them, and who obligingly told them they were welcome,
and that they were happy in being able to oblige them and contribute
towards lessening the fatigue of their journey. They then invited
their new guests to sit down with them. The magnificence of the
place and the kindness of the ladies gave the calenders a very high
idea of the beautiful hostess and her sisters; but before they took
their places, having by chance cast their eyes towards the porter, and
observing that he was dressed very like those calenders, from whom
they differed in many points of discipline, as in not shaving their
beard and eyebrows, one of them said, This man appears to be one
of our Arabian brethren who revolted."
5C THIE ARPABAN NIGHTS ENTERTAINMENTS.
The porter, half-asleep, and heated with the wine he had drunk,
said to the calenders, casting at the same time a fierce look at them,
" Seat yourselves, and meddle not with what does not concern you.
Have you not read the inscription over the door? Do not pretend,
then, to make the world live after your fashion. "My good friend,"
replied the calender who had before spoken, do not be angry, for
we should be very sorry to give you any cause; on the contrary, we
are ready to receive your commands." The dispute would not have
ended here had not the ladies interfered and pacified all parties.
When the calenders were seated, the sisters helped them, and the
delighted Safie, in particular, took care to supply them with wine.
When they had both eaten and drunk as much as they wished, they
intimated that they should be happy to give them some music if
they had any instruments, and would order them to be brought.
They accepted the offer with pleasure; and the beautiful Safie im-
mediately got up and returned the next moment, and offered them a
flute of that country, also another used in Persia, and a tambour.
Each calender received from her hand that instrument he liked best,
a.nd they all began to play a little air. The females were acquainted
with the words, which were very lively, and accompanied the air
with their voices, frequently interrupting each other with fits of
laughter from the nature of the words.
In the midst of this entertainment, and when the party were
highly delighted, they heard a knock at the door. Safie immedi-
ately left off singing, and went to see who it was.
The caliph Haroun Alraschid made it a practice to go very often,
during the night, through the city, in disguise, in order to discover
whether everything was quiet. On this evening, therefore, the
caliph set out from his palace at his accustomed hour, accompanied
by Giafar, his grand vizier, and Mesrour, chief of the eunuchs, all
three disguised as merchants. In passing through the street where
these ladies lived, the prince heard the sound of the instruments,
interrupted by laughter, and said to his vizier, "Go and knock at
the door of that house, where I hear so much noise; I wish to gain
admittance, and learn the cause of it." The vizier endeavoured to
persuade the caliph that they were only women who were making
merry that evening; and that they ought not to expose themselves
where it was probable they might meet with some insult. "Never
mind," said the caliph; knock, as I order you."
It was, then, the grand vizier Giafar, who had knocked at the
door by order of the caliph. Safie opened it, and the vizier ob-
served by the light of a candle she carried, that she was very beauti-
ful. He played his part very well. He first made a most profound
reverence, and then with a respectful air he said, Madam, we are
three merchants of Moussoul, and arrived here about ten days ago,
with some very rich merchandise, which we have deposited in a
khan, where we have taken up our lodging. We have been to spend
the day with a merchant of this city, who invited us to go to see
him. He treated us with a fine collation; and as the wine we drunk
put us into a very good humour, he sent for a company of dancers.
The night was already far advanced, and while we were playing on
THE THREE CALENDERS AND FIVE LADIES. 51
our instruments, the others dancing, and the whole company mak-
ing a great noise, the watch happened to pass by, and obliged us to
open the door. Some of the company were arrested: we were,
however, so fortunate as to escape, by getting over a wall. But,
as we are strangers," added the vizier, we are afraid of meeting
with the watch before we arrive at our khan, which is at a consider-
able distance from hence. And we should even then get there to
no purpose, for the gate would be shut, and whoever may come
there, they will not open it till morning. This is the reason, madam,
that as we heard, in passing by, the sound of instruments and voices,
we thought all those who belonged to the house were not yet re-
tired; and we took the liberty to knock, to beg you to afford us a
retreat till the morning. If we appear to you worthy of taking a
part in your amusements, we will endeavour, as far as we are able,
to contribute to it, in order to repair the interruption we have
caused; if not, do us at least the favour to suffer us to pass the
night under the cover of your vestibule."
During this speech of Giafar, the beautiful Safie had an oppor.
tunity of examining the vizier and the two persons, whom he also
called merchants, and judging from their countenances, that they
were not common men, she said that she was not mistress, but if
they would give themselves a moment's patience she would return
and bring the answer. SafiB went and related all this to her sisters,
who hesitated some time as to what they ought to do. But they
were naturally kind, and as they had conferred the same favour on
the three calenders, they resolved to permit these also to come in.
The caliph, the grand vizier, and the chief of the eunuchs, being in-
troduced by the beautiful Safie, saluted the ladies and the calenders
with great civility. They, supposing them merchants, returned it
in the same manner; and Zobeide, as the principal person, with that
grave and serious air which so well suited her, said, You are wel-
come, but in the first place, do not take it ill if we ask of you one
favour." What favour," cried the vizier, can we refuse to such
beautiful ladies ?" It is," replied Zobeide, to have only eyes, and
no speech; to forbear from asking questions about what you may see,
in order to learn the cause; and not to speak about what does not con-
cern you, for fear you should hear what will not be pleasant to you."
" You shall be obeyed, madam," replied the vizier. "It is enough
for us to attend to our own business, without meddling with what
does not regard us." After this, each seated himself, and the conversa-
tion became general, and they drank to the health of the new guests.
"While the vizier Giafar entertained them, the caliph ceased not
from admiring the extraordinary beauty, the great elegance, the
lively disposition and spirit of the ladies; while the appearance of
the three calenders, all blind of the right eye, surprised him very
much. He anxiously wished to learn the cause of this singularity,
but the conditions they had imposed upon him and his companions
prevented any inquiry. Besides all this, when he reflected upon
the richness of the services and furniture, with the regularity and
arrangement everywhere apparent, he could hardly persuade him
self it was not the effect of encbantment.
52 THE ARABIAN NIGHTS ENTERTAINMENTS.
The conversation having fallen upon the various sorts of amuse-
ment, and the different modes of enjoying life, the calenders got up
and danced in their peculiar way, which much augmented the good
opinion the ladies had already conceived of them, and attracted also
the applause and esteem of the caliph and his company. As soon as
the calenders had finished, Zobeid6 got up, and taking Amine by
the hand, said to her, Come, sister, the company shall not think
that we will put them under any restraint, nor shall their presence
prevent us from doing as we have always been accustomed." Amine,
who perfectly understood what her sister meant, got up and took
away the dishes, tables, bottles, glasses, and also the instruments
on which the calenders had played. Nor did Safie remain idle; she
swept the hall, put everything in its proper place, snuffed the
candles, and added more aloe-wood and ambergris. Having done
this, she requested the three calenders to sit on a sofa on one side,
and the caliph and his company on the other. Get up," said she
then to the porter, looking at him, and be ready to assist in what-
ever we want you; a man like you, as strong as the house, ought
never to remain idle." I am ready," he cried, to do anything
you please." That is well," answered Safie, and you shall not
remain long with your arms crossed." A little while after, Amine
came in with a sort of seat, which she placed in the middle of the
room. She then went to the door of a closet, and having opened it,
she made a sign to the porter to approach. Come and assist me,"
she cried. He did so, and went in with her, and returned a mo-
ment after, followed by two black dogs, each of which had a collar
with a chain fastened to it, by which he held them. He brought
these dogs, which appeared to have been very ill-used, into the
middle of the room.
ZobeidB, who was sitting between the calenders and the caliph,
then got up, and approaching the porter in a very grave marner,
"I We must," cried she, with a deep sigh, do our duty." She then
turned up her sleeves, so as to uncover her arms up to the elbow,
and after taking a whip which Safie presented to her, "Porter,"
she said, take one of these dogs to my sister Amine, and then
come to me with the other." The porter did as he was ordered;
and as he approached Zobeide, the dog which he held immediately
began to howl, and, turning towards her, lifted up its head in a
most supplicating manner. But she, without regarding the melan-
choly expressions of the dog, which must have excited pity, or its
cries, which filled the whole house, flogged it till she was out of
breath; and when she had not strength left to beat it any more, she
threw away the whip; then, taking the chain from the porter, she
took up the dog by the paws, and both looking at each other with
a melancholy air, they mingled their tears together. Zobeide, after
this, took out her handkerchief, wiped the tears from its eyes, and
kissed it; then, returning the chain to the porter, she desired him to
lead that back from whence he had taken it, and bring her the other.
The porter carried the one that had been beaten back to the closet,
and, in returning, took the other from the hands of Amine, and pre-
sented it to Zobeide, who was waiting for it. Hold it as you did
THE THREE CALENDERS AND FIVE LADIES. 53
the first," said she; then, taking the whip, she served this in the
same manner. She then wept with it, dried its tears, kissed it, and
returned it to the porter, who was saved the trouble of carrying it
back to the closet by the agreeable Amine, who took it herself.
The three calenders, as well as the caliph and his party, were much
astonished at this ceremony. They could not comprehend why Zobeide,
after having whipped with so much violence the two dogs, which,
according to the tenets of the Mussulman religion, are impure
animals, should afterwards weep with them, kiss them, and dry
their tears. They conversed together about it, and the caliph, in
particular, was very desirous of knowing the reason of an action which
appeared to him so singular. He made signs to the vizier to inquire,
but he turned his head another way, till at last, importuned by re-
peated signs, he answered in the same manner, that it was not yet
time to satisfy his curiosity.
Zobeide remained for some time in the middle of the room, as if to
rest from her fatigue in beating the two dogs. "My dear sister,"
said the beautiful Safi, will you not return to your place, that I
may also perform my part?" "Yes," replied Zobeide, and seated
herself on the sofa, with the caliph, Giafar, and Mesrour on her right
hand, and the three calenders and the porter on her left.
The company continued for some time silent; at length SafiB, who
had placed herself on the seat in the middle of the room, said to
Amin, Sister, get up; you understand what I mean." Amine
rose, and went into a different closet from that whence the dogs were
brought; she returned with a case, covered with yellow satin, and
richly ornamented with an embroidery of green and gold. She opened
it, and took out a lute, which she presented to her sister. Safi6 took
it, and after having tuned it, began to accompany it with her voice;
she sung an air, on the torments of absence, in so agreeable a style
that the caliph and the rest of the company were enchanted. When
she had finished, as she had sung with a great deal of action as well
as passion, she offered the lute to Amine, saying, Sister, my voice
fails me; do you take it, and oblige the company by playing and
singing instead of me."
Amine, having played a little prelude, to hear if the instrument
was in tune, sung for some time on the same subject; but she became
so affected by the words she uttered, that she had not power to finish
the air. Zobeide began to praise her sister: You have done won-
ders," said she; "it is easy to perceive that you feel the griefs you
express." Amine had not time to reply to this speech; she felt
herself so oppressed at that moment that she could think of nothing
but giving herself air, and opening her robe, she exposed a bosom,
not white, as the beautiful Amine ought to have had, but covered
with scars. This, however, gave her no relief, and she fainted away.
Whilst Zobeida and Safie ran to assist their sister, one of the
calenders exclaimed, We had better have slept in the open air than
come here to witness such a spectacle."
The caliph, who heard him, drew near, and inquired what all this
meant. "We know no more than you," replied the calender.
" What," resumed the caliph, do not you belong to the house I
54 THE ARABIAN NIGHTS ENTERTAINMENTS.
Cannot you inform me about these two black dogs, and this lady,
who appears to have been so ill-treated ? Sir," said the calender,
" we never were in this house before now, and entered it only a few
minutes sooner than you did." This increased the astonishment of
the caliph. "Perhaps," said he, "the man who is with you can
give you some information." The calender made signs to the porter
to draw near, and asked him if he knew why the black dogs had
been beaten, and why the bosom of Amine was so scarred. "Sir,"
replied the porter, I swear that if you know nothing of the matter,
we are all equally ignorant. It is true that I live in this city; but
before to-day I never entered this house."
The caliph, whatever might be the consequence, resolved to satisfy
his curiosity. "Attend to me," he said to the rest; "we are seven
men, and there are only three women; let us, then, compel them to
give us the information we request, and if they refuse to comply with
a good grace, we can force them to it." The grand vizier, Giafar,
opposed this plan, and explained the consequences of it to the caliph,
without discovering to the calenders who he was, as he always ad-
dressed him like a merchant. "Consider, sir, I beg," said he, "that
we have our reputation to preserve. You know on what condition
these ladies suffered us to become their guests, and we accepted the
terms. What will they say to us if we infringe the compact? And
we should be still more to blame if any misfortune should happen to
us in consequence of it. It is not to be supposed that they would
require such a promise from us, unless they should be able to make
us repent if we broke it."
The vizier now drew the caliph a little aside, and spoke to him in
a low voice: The night, my lord, will not last long, if your majesty
will but have a little patience; I will then come and bring these
women before you, when on your throne, and you may learn from
them whatever you wish." Although this advice was very judicious,
the caliph rejected it, and desired the vizier to be silent, and said he
would not wait so long, but would that instant have the information
he wished. The next question was, who should first make the inquiry
The caliph endeavoured to persuade the calenders to speak first, but
they excused themselves. At last they all agreed that it should be
the porter. At this moment, Zobeide, after having assisted Amine,
who had recovered from her fainting, approached them. As she
had heard them speak in rather a loud and warm manner, she said
to them, "What are you talking of ?-what is your contest about?"
The porter then addressed her as follows :--" These gentlemen,
madam, entreat you to have the goodness to explain to them why you
wept with those dogs, after having treated them so ill; and how it has
happened that the lady who fainted has her bosom covered with scars.
This, madam, is what I have been required by them to ask of you."
At these words, Zobeide, in the most haughty manner, turned to
the caliph and the calenders. "Is it true, gentlemen," she asked,
"that you have commissioned this man to require this information
of me?" They all answered it was, except the vizier Giafar, who
did not open his lips. Upon this she replied to them, in a tone which
showed how much she was offended, "Before we granted you tho
THE THREE CALENDERS AND FIVE LADIES. 55
favour you requested of us, and in order to prevent any discontent
on your parts, we made one positive condition; that you should not
speak about what did not concern you, lest you should hear what
would not please you-yet, after having both received and entertained
you as well as we possibly could, you do not scruple to break your
word." Having said this, she struck the floor with her foot, and
clapped her hands three times, and called out, "Enter quickly !" A
door immediately opened, and seven strong powerful black slaves
rushed in, with scimitars in their hand, and each seized one of the
company. They threw them to the ground, drew them into the
middle of the hall, and were preparing to take off their beads.
We may easily conceive what was the alarm of the caliph. He
repented, but too late, at not having followed the advice of his vizier.
In the meantime this prince, Giafar, Mesrour, the porter, and three
calenders, were about to pay with their lives for their indiscreet
curiosity; but before they received the fatal stroke, one of the slaves
said to Zobeide and her sisters, "'High, powerful, and respected
mistresses, what do you command us to do ?" Stop," answered
Zobeide, "it is necessary first to interrogate them." "Madam," cried
the affrighted porter, do not make me die for the crime of another.
I am innocent, and they only are guilty. Alas !" he continued,
weeping, "we were passing the time so agreeably. These one-eyed
calenders are the cause of this misfortune; there is not even a city
that would not be ruined by men of such ill-favoured countenances.
I entreat you, madam, not to confound the first with the last, and
remember, it is much more commendable to pardon a miserable
vwretch like me, than to sacrifice him to your resentment."
Zobeide, in spite of her anger, could not help laughing inwardly
at the lamentations of the porter. But without paying any attention
to him, she addressed herself again to the others. "Answer me,"
said she, "and tell me who you are; if not, you have only an instant
to live. I cannot believe that you are honourable men, or persons of
authority or distinction in whatever country you call your own. If
that had been the case, you would have paid more attention and
more respect to us."
The caliph, being naturally impatient, suffered infinitely more than
the rest, at finding his life depending upon the commands of an
offended and justly irritated woman; but he began to conceive there
were some hopes when he found that she wished to know who they
all were, as he imagined she would not take away his life, when she
should be informed of his rank. For this reason he whispered to his
vizier, who was near him, instantly to declare who he was. But this
wise and prudent minister, wishing to preserve the honour of his
master, was unwilling to make public the great affront he had brought
upon himself. But when, in obedience to the caliph, he was about
to speak, Zobeide addressed herself to the three calenders, and asked
if they were brothers. No, madam," answered one of them for the
rest, "we are not brothers by blood, but only in consequence of being
calenders." "Have you," said she, speaking to one of them in par.
ticular, "lost the sight of one eye from your birth ?" No, indeed,
madam," he answered; "I became so through a most surprising
6 THE ARABIAN NIGHTS ENTERTAINMENTS.
adventure, by the recital or perusal of which, were it written, every
one must derive advantage. After this misfortune, I shaved my beard
and eyebrows, and taking up the habit I wear, became a calender."
Zobeide put the same question to the others, who returned her the
same answer as the first. But the last who spoke, added, "ITo inform
you, madam, that we are not common persons, and in order that you
should have some pity for us, we must tell you, that we are all the
sons of kings. Although we have never seen each other before this
evening, we have had sufficient time to become acquainted with this
circumstance; and I can assure you that the kings, who have given
us birth, have made some noise in the world !"
During this speech Zobeide became less angry, and told the slaves
to set them at liberty, but at the same time to remain where they
were. "They," said she, "who recount their history to me, and
explain the motives which brought them to this house, shall suffer
no harm, but have permission to go where they please; but such
as shall refuse to give us that satisfaction shall not be spared."
The three calenders, the caliph, the grand vizier Giafar, the eunuch
Mesrour, and the porter, were all on the carpet in the middle of the
hall before the three ladies, who sat on a sofa, with the slaves behind
them, ready to execute any orders they might receive.
The porter, understanding that he had only to relate his history
in order to be delivered from so great a danger, spoke first. You
are already acquainted, madam," he said, "'with my history, and
what brought me to your house. What I have to relate, therefore,
will soon be finished. Your sister engaged me this morning at the
place where I take my stand in quality of a porter, by which I
endeavour to gain a living. I followed her to a wine merchant's, to
an herbseller's, to an orange merchant's, and to those who sell almonds,
nuts, and other dried fruits. We then went to a confectioner's, and
to a druggist's, from thence with my basket on my head, as full as
it well could be, I came here, where you had the goodness to suffer
me to remain till now, a favour I shall never forget. This is the
whole of my history."
When the porter had concluded, Zobeide, very well satisfied with
him, said, Save thyself and begone, nor ever let us see thee again."
" I beg of you, madam," replied he, "'to let me remain a little longer.
It would be unfair that I should not hear their histories, after they
have had the pleasure of hearing mine." In saying this he took his
place at the end of the sofa, truly delighted at finding himself free
from the danger which so much alarmed him. One of the calenders
next spoke, and addressing himself to Zobeide as the principal person,
who had c mmanded them to give an account of themselves, began
his history as follows.
C ?Oatog xrf d ~ 'ind (t alrnbtr, ftjr ^mrZI of a |lixg.
In order to inform you, madam, how I lost my right eye, and the
reason that I have been obliged to take the babit of a calender, I
must begin by telling you that I am the son of a king. My father
THE FIRST CALENDER. 57
had a brother who, like himself, was a monarch over a neighboring
state. This brother had two children, a son and a daughter, the
former of whom was near my age.
When I had gone through all my exercises, and the king, my father,
thought fit to allow me a certain degree of liberty, I went regularly
every year to see my uncle, and passed a month or two at his court,
after which I returned home. These visits produced between the
prince, my cousin, and myself, the most intimate friendship. The
last time I saw him, he received me with demonstrations of the
greatest joy and tenderness, more so indeed than ever; and wishing
one day to amuse me by some great entertainment, he made extra-
ordinary preparations for it. We remained a long time at table, and
after we had both supped, "You can never, my cousin," he said to
me, "possibly imagine what has occupied my thoughts, since your
last journey. Since you were here last, I have erected a building,
which is just finished, and we shall soon be able to lodge there:
you will not be sorry to see it, but you must first take an oath that
you will be both secret and faithful; these two things I must re-
quire of you."
The friendship and familiarity in which we lived, did not permit
me to refuse him anything; I took, therefore, without hesitation,
the oath he required, Wait for me in this place," he cried, and
I will be with you in a moment." He did not, in fact, detain me
long, but returned with a female in his hand, of very great beauty,
and most magnificently dressed.
He did not say who she was, nor did I think it right to inquire.
We again sat down to the table with the lady, and remained there
some time, talking of different things, and drinking bumpers to
each other's health. The prince then said to me, We have no
time to lose ; oblige me by taking this lady with you, and conduct
her, by such a way, to a place where you will see a tomb, newly
erected, in the shape of a dome. You will easily know it, as the
door is open. Enter there together, and wait for me; I will return
Faithful to my oath, I did not wish to know more. I presented
my hand to the lady, and following the instructions, which the
prince, my cousin, had given me, I conducted her safely, by the
light of the moon, without any mistake. We had scarcely got to
the tomb, when we saw the prince, who had followed us, with a
small vessel full of water, a hoe or spade, and a small sack, in which
there was some lime, or mortar. The spade served him to destroy
the empty sepulchre, which was in the middle of the tomb; he
took the stones away, one by one, and placed them in one corner.
When he had taken them all away, he made a hole in the ground,
and I perceived a trap-door under the sepulchre. He lifted it up,
and discovered the beginning of a winding staircase. My cousin,
then addressing himself to the lady, said, This is the way, madam,
that leads to the place I have mentioned to you." At these words
the lady approached and descended the stairs. The prince was
just going to follow her, but first turning to me, "I am infinitely
obliged to you, my cousin," said he, "for the trouble you have
58 THE ARABIAN NIGHTS ENTERTAINMENTS.
had; receive my best thanks for it, and farewell." "My dear
cousin," I cried, "what does all this mean?" "That is of no
consequence," he answered; "you may return by the same way
I was unable to learn anything more from him, and was obliged
to take my leave of him. In returning to my uncle's palace, the
vapour of the wine I had before drunk began to affect my head. I
nevertheless reached my apartment, and retired to rest. On waking
the next morning, I made many reflections on the occurrences of the
night before, and recalled all the circumstances of so singular an
adventure. The whole appeared to me to be a dream. I was so
much persuaded of it, that I sent to know if the prince, my cousin,
was yet dressed. But when they brought me word that he had
not slept at home, nor did they know what was become of him, and
were very much distressed at it, I concluded that the strange ad-
venture of the tomb was too true. This afflicted me very much,
and keeping myself in private, I went secretly to the public ceme-
tery, or burial-place, where there were a great many tombs similar
to that which I had before seen. I passed the day in examining
them all, but was unable to discover the one I searched for. I spent
four days in the same useless pursuit.
It is necessary for me to inform you, that the king, my uncle, was
absent during the whole of this time. He had been for some time
on a hunting party. I was very unwilling to wait for his coming
back, and having requested his ministers to make my excuses for
going, I set out on my return to my father's court, from which I was
not accustomed to make so long a stay. I left my uncle's ministers
very much distressed at not being able to discover what was become
of the prince; but as I could not violate the oath I had taken to
keep the secret, I dared not lessen their anxiety by informing them
of any part of what I knew.
I arrived at the capital of my father, and, contrary to the usual
custom, I discovered at the gate of the palace a large guard, by
whom I was immediately surrounded. I demanded the reason of
this, when an officer answered, "The army, prince, has acknowledged
the grand vizier as king in the room of your father who is dead, and
I arrest you as prisoner on behalf of the new king." At these words
the guards seized me, and conducted me before the tyrant. "Judge,
madam, what was my surprise and grief."
This rebellious vizier had conceived a strong hatred against me,
which he had for a long time cherished. The cause of it was as
follows. When I was very young I was fond of shooting with a
cross-bow. One day I took one to the top of the palace, and amused
myself with it on the terrace. A bird happened to fly before me;
I shot at it, but missed: and the arrow by chance struck the vizier
in the eye, and put it out, as he was taking the air on the terrace of
his own house. As soon as I was informed of this accident, I went
and made my apologies to him in person. He did not, however, fail
to preserve a strong resentment against me, of which he gave every
proof he could when any opportunity occurred. When he now found
me in his power, he evinced it in the most barbarous manner. As
THE FIRST CALENDER. 59
soon as he saw me he ran towards me in the utmost rage, and tore
out my right eye from the socket. It was in this way that I be-
But the usurper did not confine his cruelty to this action alone.
He ordered me to be imprisoned in a sort of cage, and to be carried
in this manner to some distant place, where the executioner, after
cutting off my head, was to leave my body exposed to the birds of
prey. The executioner mounted his horse, accompanied by another
man, and carried me with him. He did not stop till he came to a
place proper for the execution of his order. I made, however, so
good a use of entreaties, prayers, and tears, that I excited his com-
passion. "Go," said he to me, "depart instantly out of the kingdom,
and take care never to return; if you do you will only encounter
certain destruction, and will be the cause of mine." I thanked him
for the favour he did me, and I was no sooner alone than I consoled
myself for the loss of my eye, by reflecting that I had just escaped
from a greater misfortune.
In the state in which I was I could not get on very fast. During
the day I concealed myself in unfrequented and secret places, and
travelled by night as far as my strength would permit me. At
length I arrived in the country belonging to the king, my uncle,
and I proceeded directly to the capital.
I gave a long detail of the dreadful cause of my return, and of the
miserable state in which he saw me. "Alas !" cried he, "was it
not sufficient to lose my son; but must I now learn the death of a
brother, whom I dearly loved, and find you in the deplorable state
to which you are reduced?" He informed me of the distress he had
suffered from not being able to learn any tidings of his son, in spite
of all the inquiries he had made, and all the diligence he had used.
The tears ran from the eyes of this unfortunate father in giving me
this account, and he appeared to me so much afflicted that I could
not resist his grief, nor could I keep the oath I had pledged to my
cousin. I then related to the king everything that had formerly
He listened to me with some sort of consolation, and when I had
finished, he said, The recital, my dear nephew, you have given me
affords me some little hope. I well know that my son built such a
tomb, and I know very nearly on what spot. With the recollection,
also, which you may have, I flatter myself we may discover it. But
since he has done all this so secretly, and required you also to keep it
unknown, I am of opinion that we two only should make the search,
in order to avoid its being generally known and talked of." He
had also another reason, which he did not inform me of, for wishing
to keep this a secret.
We each of us disguised ourselves, and went out by a garden gate
which opened into the fields. We were fortunate enough very soon
to discover the object of our search. I immediately recognized the
tomb, at which I was the more rejoiced as I had before searched for
it so long to no purpose. We entered, and found the iron trap-door
shut down upon the opening to the stairs. We had great difficulty
in lifting it up, because the prince had cemented it down with the
60 THE ARABIAN NIGHTS ENTERTAINMENTS.
lime and the water, which I mentioned his having carried: at last.
however, we got it up. My uncle was the first who descended, and I
followed. We went down about fifty steps, when we found our-
selves at the bottom of the stairs in a sort of ante-room, which was
full of a thick smoke, very unpleasant to the smell, and which ob-
scured the light thrown from a very brilliant lustre.
From this antechamber we passed on to one much larger, the roof
of which was supported by large columns, and illuminated by many
lustres. In the iniddle there was a cistern, and on each side we
observed various sorts of provisions. We were much surprised at not
seeing any one. Opposite to us, there was a raised sofa, to which
they ascended by some steps, and beyond this there appeared a very
large bed, the curtains of which were drawn. The king went up,
and undrawing them, discovered the prince, his son, and the lady,
but both quite dead.
The king wept bitterly at this sight, and I mingled my tears with
his. Some time after he cast his eyes on me: But, my dear
nephew," resumed he, embracing me, if I have lost an unworthy
son, I may find in you a happy reparation of my loss."
We ascended the same staircase, and quitted this dismal abode.
We put the iron trap-door in its place, and covered it with earth and
the rubbish of the building. We returned to the palace before our
absence had been observed, and shortly after we heard a confused
noise of trumpets, cymbals, drums, and other warlike instruments.
A thick dust, which obscured the air, soon informed us what it was,
and announced the arrival of a formidable army. It was the same
vizier who had dethroned my father, and taken possession of his
dominions, and who came now with a large number of troops to
seize those of my uncle.
This prince, who had only his usual guard, could not resist so
many enemies. They invested the city, and as the gates were opened
to them without resistance, they soon took possession of it. They
had not much difficulty in penetrating to the palace of the king, who
attempted to defend himself, but he was killed, after having dearly
sold his life. On my part, I fought for some time, but seeing that I
must surrender if I continued, I retired, and had the good fortune
to escape, and take refuge in the house of an officer of the king, on
whose fidelity I could depend.
Overcome with grief, and persecuted by fortune, I had recourse to
a stratagem, which was the last resource to preserve my life. I
shaved my beard and my eyebrows, and put on the habit of a calen-
der, under which disguise I left the city without being recognized.
After that, it was no difficult matter to quit the dominions of the
king, my uncle, by unfrequented roads. I avoided the towns till I
arrived in the empire of the powerful sovereign of all believers, the
glorious and renowned Caliph Haroun Alraschid, when I ceased to
fear. I considered what was my best plan, and I resolved to come
to Bagdad and throw myself at the feet of this great monarch, whose
generosity is everywhere admired.
After a journey of several months, I arrived to-day at the gates of
the city; when the evening came on I entered, and having rested a
THE SECOND CALENDER. 61
little time to recover my spirits, and deliberate which way I should
turn my steps, this other calender, who is next to me, arrived also.
He saluted me, and I returned the compliment. "You appear," said
I, a stranger like myself." "You are not mistaken," returned he.
At the very moment he made this reply, the third calender,
whom you see, came towards us. He saluted us, and acquainted us
that he, too, was a stranger, and just arrived at Bagdad. Like
brothers we united together, and resolved never to separate.
But it was late, and we did not know where to go for a lodging,
in a city where we never had been before. Our good fortune, how-
ever, having conducted us to your door, we took the liberty of
knocking; you have received us with so much benevolence and
charity that we cannot sufficiently thank you. "This, madam, is
what you desired me to relate; this was the way in which I lost my
right eye; this was the reason I have my beard and eyebrows
shaved, and why I am at this moment in your company."
"Enough," said Zobeide; "we thank you, and you may retire
whenever you please." The calender excused himself, and entreated
the lady to allow him to stay and hear the history of his two com-
panions, whom he could not well abandon, as well as that of the
three other persons of the party.
The history of the first calender appeared very surprising to the
whole company, and particularly to the caliph. The presence of the
slaves armed with their scimitars, did not prevent him from saying
in a whisper to the vizier, As long as I can remember, I never
heard anything to compare with this history of the calender, though
I have been all my life in the habit of hearing similar narratives."
He had no sooner finished than the second calender began, and
addressing himself to Zobeid6, spoke as follows.
of a "ing.
To obey your commands, madam, and to inform you by what
strange adventure I lost my right eye, is to give you an account of
my whole life.
I was scarcely more than an infant when the king, my father (for
I too am a prince by birth), observing that I possessed great
quickness of intellect, spared no pains in its cultivation. He
collected from every part of his dominions, whoever was famous for
science, and a knowledge of the fine arts, for the purpose of instruct-
ing me. I no sooner knew how to read and write, than I learnt by
heart the whole of the Koran, that admirable book in which we
find the basis, precepts, and regulations of our religion. I perused
the works of the most approved authors, who have written on the
same subject. I added an acquaintance with all the traditions, re-
ceived from the mouth of our prophet, by those illustrious men, who
were his contemporaries. I made also a particular study of our his-
tories, and became master of polite literature, of poetry, and versifi.
62 THE ARABIAN NIGHTS ENTERTAINMENTS.
cation. I then applied myself to geography and chronology; and
all this without neglecting those exercises which are so suited to a
prince. There was, however, one thing in which I most delighted,
and at length excelled, and that was in forming the characters of
our Arabic language; and I surpassed all the writing masters of
our kingdom, who had acquired the greatest reputation.
Fame bestowed upon me even more honour than I deserved. She
was not satisfied with spreading a report of my talents throughout
the dominions of the king my father, but even carried the account of
them to the court of the Indies, whose powerful monarch became so
curious to see me that he sent an ambassador, accompanied with the
richest presents to my father, to request me of him. This embassy,
for many reasons, delighted him. He was persuaded that it was the
best possible thing for a prince of my age to travel to foreign courts ;
and he was also very well satisfied at forming a friendship with the
sultan of India. I set out with the ambassador, but with very few
attendants, and little baggage, on account of the length and diffi-
culties of the way.
We had been about a month on our journey when we saw in the
distance an immense cloud of dust, and soon after we discovered fifty
horsemen, well armed. They were robbers, who approached us at
full speed. As we had ten horses laden with our baggage, and the
presents which I was to make to the sultan in my father's name, and
as our party consisted but of very few, you may easily imagine that
the robbers attacked us without hesitation. Not being able to re-
pel force by force, we told them we were ambassadors of the sultan
of India, and we hoped they would do nothing contrary to the re-
spect they owed to him. By this we thought we should preserve
both our equipage and lives; but the robbers insolently answered,
Why do you wish us to respect the sultan your master ? We are
not his subjects, nor even within his realm." Having said this,
they immediately surrounded and attacked us on all sides. I
defended myself as long as I could, but finding that I was
wounded, and seeing the ambassador and all our attendants over-
thrown, I took advantage of the remaining strength of my horse,
who was also wounded, and escaped from them. I pushed him on
as far as he would carry me, he then suddenly fell under my weight,
quite dead from fatigue, and the blood he had lost. I disentangled
myself as fast as possible, and observing that no one pursued me, I
supposed the robbers did not choose to neglect the plunder they had
Imagine me, then, madam, alone, wounded, destitute of every
help, and in a country where I was an entire stranger. I was
afraid of regaining the great road, from the dread of falling once
more into the hands of the robbers. After having bound up my
wound, which was not dangerous, I walked on the rest of the day,
and in the evening I arrived at the foot of a mountain, on one side
of which I discovered a sort of cave. I went in, and passed the night
without any disturbance, after having eaten some fruits, which I
had gathered as I came along.
For some days following I continued my journey without meeting
THE SECOND CALENDEI. (3
with any place where I could rest ; but at the end of about a month I
arrived at a very large city, well inhabited, and most delightfully
and advantageously situated, as several rivers flowed round it, and
caused a perpetual spring. The number of agreeable objects which
presented themselves to my eyes, excited so great a joy, that it sus-
pended for a moment the poignant regret I felt at finding myyself
in such a miserable situation. My whole face, as well as my hands
and feet, were of a brown tawny colour, for the sun had quite burnt
me; and my slippers were so completely worn out by walking,
that I was obliged to travel barefoot; besides this, my clothes were
all in rags.
I entered the town in order to learn the language spoken, and
thence to find out where I was. I addressed myself to a tailor, who
was at work in his shop. On account of my youth, and a certain
manner about me, which intimated I was something better than I
appeared, he made me sit down near him. He asked me who I was,
where I came from, and what had brought me to that place. I con-
cealed nothing from him, but informed him of every circumstance
that had happened to me, and did not even hesitate at discovering
my name. The tailor listened to me very attentively; but when I
finished my narration, instead of giving me any consolation, he aug-
mented my troubles. Take care," said he to me, "that you do
not place the same confidence in any one else that you have in me,
for the prince who reigns in this kingdom is the greatest enemy of
the king, your father; and if he should be informed of your arrival
in this city, I doubt not but he will inflict some evil upon you." I
readily believed the sincerity of the tailor, when he told me the
name of the prince; but as the enmity between my father and him
has no connexion with my adventures, I shall not, madam, enter
into any detail of it.
I thanked the tailor for the advice he had given me, and told
him that I placed implicit faith in his good counsel, and should
never forget the favour I received from him. As he supposed I was
not deficient in appetite, he brought me something to eat, and
offered me even an apartment at his house, which I accepted.
Some days after my arrival, the tailor, remarking that I was toler-
ably recovered from the effects of my long and painful journey,
and being aware that most of the princes of our religion had the
precaution, in order to guard against any reverse of fortune, to make
themselves acquainted with some art or trade, to assist them in case
of want, asked me if I knew anything by which I could acquire a
livelihood, without being chargeable to anybody. I told him that
I was well versed in the science of laws, both human and divine,
that I was a grammarian, a poet, and, above all, that I wrote remark-
ably well. With all this," he replied, "'you will not in this country
procure a morsel of bread; nothing is more useless here than this
kind of knowledge. If you wish to follow my advice," he added,
" you will procure a short jacket, and as you are strong and of a
good constitution, you may go into the neighboring forest, and cut
wood for fuel. You may then go and expose it for sale in the mar-
ket; and I assure you that you may acquire a small income, but
64 THE ARABIAN NIGHTS ENTERTAINMENTS.
sufficient to enable you to live independently of every o'ae. By
these means, you will be enabled to wait till heaven shall become
favourable to you; and till the cloud of bad fortune, which hangs
over you, and obliges you to conceal your birth, shall have blown
over. I will furnish you with a cord and hatchet."
The fear of being known, and the necessity of supporting myself,
determined me to pursue this plan, in spite of the degradation a.l
pain which were attached to it.
The next day the tailor brought me a hatchet and a cord, and
also a short jacket, and recommending me to some poor people who
obtained their livelihood in the same manner, he requested them to
take me with them. They conducted me to the forest, and from
this time I regularly brought back upon my head a large bundle of
wood, which I sold for a small piece of gold money, current in that
country; for although the forest was not far off, wood was never-
theless dear in that city, because there were few men who gave
themselves the trouble of going to cut it. I soon acquired a consi-
derable sum, and was enabled to repay the tailor what he had
expended on my account.
I had passed more than a year in this mode of life, when having
one day gone deeper into the forest than usual, I came to a very
pleasant spot, where I began to cut my wood. In cutting up the
root of a tree, I discovered an iron ring fastened to a trap-door of
the same material. I immediately cleared away the earth that
covered it, and on lifting it up, I perceived a staircase, by which I
descended, with my hatchet in my hand. When I got to the bottom
of the stairs, I found myself in a vast palace, which struck me very
much by the great brilliancy with which it was illuminated, as
much so indeed as if it had been built on the most open spot above
ground. I went forward, along a gallery supported on columns of
jasper, the bases and capitals of which were of massive gold, but
stopped suddenly on beholding a lady, who appeared to have so
noble and graceful an air, and to possess such extraordinary beauty,
that my attention was taken off from every other object, and .my
eyes fixed on her alone.
To prevent this beautiful lady from having the trouble of coming
to me, I made haste towards her; and while I was making a most
respectful reverence, she said to me, "Who are you, a man or a
Genius ?" "I am a man, madam," I answered, getting up, nor
have I any commerce with Genii." By what adventure," replied
she, with a deep sigh, "have you come here? I have remained
here more than twenty-five years, and during the whole of that
time I have seen no other man than yourself."
Her great beauty, which had already made a deep impression on
me, together with the mildness and good humour with which she
received me, made me bold enough to say, "Before, madam, I have
the honour of satisfying your curiosity, permit me to tell you, that
I feel highly delighted at this unexpected interview." I then faith-
fully related to her by what strange accident she saw in me the son
of a king, why I appeared to her in that condition, and how acci-
dent had discovered to me the entrance into the magnificent prison
THE SECOND CALENDER. 65
in which I found her, and of which, from all appearance, she was
heartily tired. "Alas, prince," she replied, again sighing, "you
may truly say this rich and superb prison is unpleasing and weari-
some. The most enchanting spots cannot afford delight when we
are there against our wills. Is it possible you have never heard any
one speak of the great Epitimarus, king of the Ebony Isle, a place
so called from the great quantity of that precious wood which it
produces? I am the princess, his daughter."
The king, my father, had chosen for my husband a prince, who
was my cousin ; but on the very night of our nuptials, in the midst
of the rejoicings of the court and capital of the Isle of Ebony, and
before I had been given to my husband, a Genius took me away.
I fainted almost the same moment, and lost all recollection, and
when I recovered my senses, I found myself in this place. For a
long time I was inconsolable; but habit and necessity have recon-
ciled me to the sight and company of the Genius. Twenty-five
years have passed, as I have already told you, since I first was
brought to this place, in which I must own that I have, even by
wishing, not only everything necessary for life, but whatever can
satisfy a princess who is fond of decoration and dress."
"Every ten days," continued the princess, "the Genius comes to
visit me. In the meantime, if I have any occasion for him, I have
only to touch a talisman, which is placed at the entrance of my
chamber, and he appears. It is now four days since he was here,
and I have therefore to wait six days more before he again makes
his appearance. You therefore may remain five with me, if it be
agreeable to you, in order to keep me company; and I will endea-
vour to regale and entertain you equal to your merit and quality."
The princess then conducted me to a bath, the most elegant,
convenient, and at the same time sumptuous you can possibly ima-
gine. When I came out, I found instead of my own dress, another
very rich one, which I put on, less for its magnificence than to
render myself more worthy of her notice. We seated ourselves on
a sofa, covered with superb drapery; the cushions of which were
of the richest Indian brocade; she then set before me a variety of
the most delicate and rare dishes. We ate together, and passed the
remainder of the day and evening very agreeably.
The next day, in order to entertain me, she produced, at dinner,
a flask of very old wine, the finest I ever tasted; and to please me,
she drank several glasses with me. I no sooner found my head
heated with this agreeable liquor, than I said, "Beautiful princess,
you have been buried here alive much too long; follow me, and go
and enjoy the brightness of the genuine day, of which for so many
years you have been deprived. Abandon this false though brilliant
light you have here." "Let us talk no more, prince," she answered,
smiling, "on this subject. I value not the most beautiful day in
the world, if you will pass nine with me here, and give up the tenth
to the Genius." "Princess," I replied, "I see very well that it is
the dread you have of the Genius which makes you hold this lan-
guage. As for myself, I fear him so little, that I am determined to
break his talisman in pieces, with the magic spell that is inscribed
66 THE ARABIAN NIGHTS ENTERTAINMENTS.
upon it. Let him then come; I will wait for him: and however
brave, however formidable he may be, I will make him feel the
weight of my arm. I have taken an oath to exterminate all the
Genii in the world, and he shall be the first." The princess, who
knew the consequence of this conduct, conjured me not to touch the
talisman. Alas !" she cried, "it will be the means of destroying
both you and myself. I am better acquainted with the dispositions
of Genii than you can be." The wine I had drunk prevented me
from acknowledging the propriety of her reasons; I kicked down
the talisman, and broke it in pieces.
This was no sooner done than the whole palace shook, as if ready
to fall to atoms, accompanied with a most dreadful noise like thunder,
and flashes of lightning, which heightened still more the intermediate
gloom. This in a moment dissipated the fumes of the wine, and
made me own, though too late, the fault I had committed. Prin-
cess," I exclaimed, "what does all this mean?" Alarmed for me,
she, in a fright, answered, "Alas, it is all over with you, unless
you save yourself by flight."
I followed her advice; and my fear was so great that I forgot
my hatchet and my cord. I had hardly gained the staircase by
which I descended, than the enchanted palace opened to afford a
passage to the Genius, and I heard him say in an angry tone, What
has happened to you, and why have you called me?" and then, still
more angrily, "how came this hatchet and this cord here?" I has-
tened up the staircase, shut down the trap-door, covered it over
with the earth, and returned to the city with a load of wood
which I collected, without even knowing what I was about, so
much was I absorbed and afflicted at what had happened.
My host, the tailor, expressed great joy at my return. "Your
absence," said he, "has caused me much uneasiness on account of
the secret of your birth, with which you have entrusted me. I knew
not what to think, and began to fear some one might have recognized
you." I thanked him much for his zeal and affection, but did not
inform him of anything that had happened; nor of the reason why
I returned without my hatchet and cord. I retired to my chamber,
where I reproached myself a thousand times for my great imprudence.
While I was abandoning myself to these afflicting thoughts, the
tailor entered my apartment, and said that an old man, whom he
did not know, had brought my hatchet and cord, which he had
found on his way. Come and speak to him, as he wishes to deliver
them into your own hands." At this speech I changed colour, and
trembled from head to foot. The tailor inquired the cause, when
suddenly the door of my chamber opened. The old man, who had
not the patience to wait, appeared, and presented himself to us with
the hatchet and cord. "Is not this thy hatchet?" added he, ad-
dressing me, "and is not this thy cord?"
The Genius, for it was he who had come in disguise, gave me no
time to answer these questions. He took me by the middle of my
body, and dragging me out of the chamber, sprang into the air, and
carried me up to a great height; he then descended towards the
earth; and having caused it to open, by striking his foot against it,
,;'in hs 0o a~gis t
THE ENVIOUS MAN. 67
he sank into it, and I instantly found myself in the enchanted palace,
and in the presence of the beautiful princess of the Isle of Ebony.
But alas what a sight! It pierced my very inmost heart. She was
covered with blood, and lying on the ground more dead than alive.
The Genius heaped reproaches on us both, and first bade the lady
kill me with a scimitar, and then, when she refused, put it into my
hand to kill her, but I threw it on the ground.
At this, the monster took up The scimitar, and cut off one of the
hands of the princess, who had barely time to bid me an eternal
farewell with the other, before she expired. I fainted at the
When I returned to my senses, I cried, "Strike I am ready to
receive the mortal wound, and expect it from you as the greatest
favour you can bestow." "No," answered the Genius, "I shall
content myself with changing you into a dog, an ass, a lion, or a
bird. Make your choice." These words gave me some hopes of
softening him; I said, "Moderate, O powerful Genius, your wrath,
and grant me my life in a generous manner. If you pardon me, I
shall always remember your clemency, as one of the best of men
pardoned his neighbour, who bore him a most deadly envy." The
Genius then asked me what had passed between these two neigh-
bours, when I told him, if he would have the patience to listen to
me, I would relate the history.
Vp\ Wuisttrg of tflt l nbious jTn, an of int
tula i az Gbisb
In a town of no inconsiderable importance, there were two men,
who lived next door to each other. One of them was so excessively
envious of the other, that the latter resolved to change his abode,
and go and reside at some distance from him, supposing that near-
ness of residence alone was the cause of his neighbour's animosity;
for although he was continually doing him some friendly office, he
perceived that he was not the less hated. He therefore sold his
house and the small estate he had there, and went to the capital of
the kingdom, which was at no great distance, and bought a small
piece of ground about half a league from the town, on which there
stood a very convenient house. He had also a good garden and a
moderate court, in which there was a deep cistern, that was not
The good man having made this purchase, put on the habit of a
dervise, in order to pass his life more quietly, and made, also, many
cells in his house, where he soon established a small community of
dervises. The report of his virtue was soon more generally spread
abroad, and failed not to attract the attention and visits of great
numbers of the principal inhabitants as well as common people. At
length he became honoured and noticed by almost every one. They
came from a great distance to request him to offer up his prayers
68 THE ARABIAN NIGHTS ENTERTAINMENTS.
for them; and all who remained in retirement with him published
an account of the blessings they thought they received from Heaven
through his means.
The great reputation of this man at length reached the town from
whence he came, and the envious man was so vexed, that he left his
house, with the determination to go and destroy him. For this
purpose he went to the convent of dervises, whose chief, his former
neighbour, received him with every possible mark of friendship.
The envious man told him that he was come with the express design
of communicating an affair of great importance to him, and which
he could only inform him of in private. "In order," said he, "that
no one may hear us, let us, I beg of you, walk in your court: and
when night comes on, order all the dervises to their cells." The
chief of the dervises did as he requested.
When the envious man found himself alone with the good man,
he began to relate to him whatever came into his thoughts, while
they walked from one end of the court to the other, till observing
they were just at the edge of the well, he gave him a push and
threw him into it. No witness beheld this wicked deed, and he
directly went away, reached the gate of the house, passed out un-
seen, and returned home, highly pleased that the object of his envy
was at length no more. In this, however, he was deceived.
Fortunately for the dervise, this well was inhabited by fairies
and Genii, who caught and supported him in their arms, in such a
way that he received not the least injury. He naturally supposed
there was something very extraordinary in his preservation after
such a fall as ought to have cost him his life, and yet he could
neither see nor perceive anything. He soon after, however, heard
a voice say, Do you know anything of this man to whom we have
been so serviceable?" when some other voices answered, "No."
The first then informed them of his history, and how the envious
man had attempted to murder him, and said, His reputation is so
great that the sultan, who resides in the neighboring town, was
coming to visit him to-morrow, in order to recommend the princess,
his daughter, to his prayers."
Another voice then asked what occasion the princess had for the
prayers of the dervise, to which the first answered: Are you
ignorant, then, that she is possessed by the power of the Genius
Maimoun, the son of Dimdim, who has fallen in love with her ?
But I know how this good dervise can cure her. The thing is by
no means difficult, as I will inform you. In his monastery there is
a black cat, which has a white spot at th3 end of her tail, about the
size of a small piece of money. Let him only pull out seven hairs
from this white spot and burn them, and then with the smoke per-
fume the head of the princess. From that moment she will be so
thoroughly cured, and free from Maimoun, the son of Dimdim, that
he will never again be able to come near her."
The chief of the dervises did not lose a single syllable of this con-
versation between the fairies and the Genii, who from this time
remained silent the whole night. The next morning, as soon as the
day began to break, and different objects became discernible, the
THE SECOND CALENDER. 69
dervise perceived, as the wall was decayed in many places, a hole,
by which he could get out without any difficulty.
The other dervises, who were seeking after him, were delighted
at his appearance. He related to them, in a few words, the cunning
wickedness of the guest he had entertained the day before, and then
retired to his cell. It was not long before the black cat, which had
been mentioned in the discourse of the fairies and Genii, came to
him to be taken notice of as usual. He then took it up, and plucked
out seven hairs from the white spot in its tail, and put them aside,
in order to make use of whenever he should have occasion for them.
The sun had not long risen above the horizon when the sultan,
who wished to neglect nothing from which he thought there was any
chance of curing the princess, arrived at the gate. He ordered his
guards to stop, and went in with the principal officers who accom-
panied him. The dervises received him with the greatest respect.
The sultan directly took the chief aside, and said to him, "Worthy
sheikh, you are perhaps already acquainted with the cause of my
visit."-" If, sire," the dervise modestly answered, "I do not deceive
myself, it is the malady of the princess that has been the occasion
of my seeing you, an honour of which I am unworthy." "It is so,"
replied the sultan; "and you will restore almost my life to me if,
by means of your prayers, I shall obtain the re-establishment of my
daughter's health." "If your majesty," answered the worthy man,
"will have the goodness to suffer her to come here, I flatter myself
that, with the help and favour of God, she shall return in perfect
The prince, transported with joy, immediately sent for his daughter,
who soon appeared, accompanied by a numerous train of females and
eunuchs, and veiled in such a manner that her face could not be
seen. The chief of the dervises made them hold a shovel over the
head of the princess, and he no sooner threw the seven white hairs
upon some burning coals, which he had ordered to be brought in it,
then the Genius Maimoun, the son of Dimdim, uttered a violent
scream, and left the princess quite at liberty. In the meantime
nothing at all could be seen. The first thing she did was to put her
hand to the veil which covered her face, and lift it up to see where
she was. "Where amI," she cried; "who has brought me here?"
At these words the sultan could not conceal his joy; he embraced
his daughter, he kissed her eyes, and then took the hand of the
dervise and kissed that. Give me," said he to his officers, "your
opinion; what return does he deserve, who has cured my daughter."
They all answered that he was worthy of her hand. This is the
very thing I was meditating," he cried, "and from this moment I
claim him for my son-in-law."
Soon after this the first vizier died, and the sultan immediately
advanced the dervise to the situation. The sultan himself afterwards
dying without any male issue, this excellent man was proclaimed
sultan by the general voice of the different religious and military
The good dervise, being thus raised to the throne of his father-in.
law, observed one day, as he was walking with his courtiers, the
70 THE ARABIAN NIGHTS ENTERTAINMENTS.
envious man among the crowd who were in the road. He called
one of his viziers who accompanied him, told him in a whisper to
bring that man whom he pointed out to him, and to be sure not to
alarm him. The vizier obeyed; and. when the envious man was in
the presence of the sultan, the latter addressed him in these words:
"I am very happy, my friend, to see you: go," said he, speaking
to an officer, "and count out directly from my treasury a thousand
pieces of gold. Nay, more, deliver to him twenty bales of the most
valuable merchandise my magazines contain, and let a sufficient
guard escort him home." After having given the officer this com-
mission, he took his leave of the envious man, and continued his walk.
When I had told this his story to the Genius who had murdered
the princess of the Isle of Ebony, I made the application to myself:
" 0 Genius," I said to him, "you may observe how this benevolent
monarch acted towards the envious man, and was not only satisfied
in forgetting that he had attempted his life, but even sent him back
with every benefit and advantage I have mentioned." But all my
eloquence to persuade him to imitate so excellent an example was
"All that I can do for you," he said, "is to spare your life. I
must, at least, make you feel what I can do by means of my en-
chantments." At these words he violently seized me, and carrying
me through the vaulted roof of the subterranean palace, which
opened at his approach, he elevated me so high that the earth ap-
peared to me only like a small white cloud. From this height he
again descended as quick as lightning, and alighted on the top of a
mountain. On this spot he took up a handful of earth, and mutter.
ing certain words, of which I could not comprehend the meaning,
threw it over me: Quit," he cried, "the figure of a man, and as-
sume that of an ape." He immediately disappeared, and I remained
quite alone, changed into air ape, overwhelmed with grief, in an
unknown country, and ignorant whether I was near the dominions
of the king, my father.
I descended the mountain and came to a flat, level country, the
extremity of which I did not reach till I had travelled a month, when
I arrived at the sea-coast. There was at this time a profound calm,
and I perceived a vessel about half a league from the shore. That 1
might not omit taking advantage of so fortunate a circumstance, I
broke off a large branch from a tree, and dragged it after me to the
sea-side. I then got astride it, with a stick in each hand by way of
oar. In this manner I rowed myself along towards the vessel, and
when I was sufficiently near to be seen, I presented a most extra-
ordinary sight to the sailors and passengers who were upon deck.
They looked at me with great admiration and astonishment. In the
meantime I got alongside, and taking hold of a rope, I climbed up to
the deck. But as I could not speak, I found myself in the greatest
embarrassment. And, in fact, the danger I now ran was not less
imminent than what I had before experienced when I was in the
power of the Genius.
The merchants who were on board were superstitious, and thought
that I should be the cause of some misfortunes happening to them
THE SECOND CALENDER. 71
during their voyage if they received me. "I will kill him," cried one,
"with a blow of this handspike. Let me shoot an arrow through
his body," exclaimed another; "and then let us throw him into the
sea," said a third. Nor would they have desisted from executing
their threats if I had not run to the captain, and thrown myself pro-
strate at his feet. In this supplicating posture I laid hold of the
bottom of his dress, and he was so struck with this action, as well
as with the tears that fell from my eyes, that he took me under his
protection, declaring he would make any one repent who should
offer me the least injury. He even caressed and encouraged me.
In order to make up for the loss of speech, I in return showed him
by means of signs how much I was obliged to him.
The wind which succeeded this calm was not a strong, but it was
a favourable one. It did not change for fifty days, and we then
happily arrived in the harbour of a large, commercial, well-built, and
populous city. Here we cast anchor. The city was of still more
considerable importance, as it was the capital of a powerful kingdom.
Our vessel was immediately surrounded with a multitude of small
boats, filled with those who came either to congratulate their friends
on their arrival, or to inquire of whom and what they had seen in
the country they had come from-or simply from mere curiosity to
see a ship which had arrived from a distance.
Among the rest some officers came on board, who desired, in the
name of the sultan, to speak to the merchants that were with us.
The sultan, our sovereign," said one of them to the merchants who
immediately appeared, "has charged us to express to you how
much pleasure your arrival gives him, and entreats each of you to
take the trouble of writing upon this roll of paper a few lines. In
order to make you understand his motive for this, I must inform
you that he had a first vizier, who, besides his great abilities in the
management of affairs, wrote in the greatest perfection. This minister
died a few days since. The sultan is very much afflicted at it, and,
as he values perfection in writing beyond everything, he has taken a
solemn oath to appoint any person to the same situation who shall
write as well. Many have presented specimens of their abilities, but
he has not yet found any one throughout the empire whom.he has
thought worthy to occupy the vizier's place."
Each of those merchants, who thought they could write well
enough to aspire to this high dignity, wrote whatever they thought
proper. When they had done, I advanced and took the paper from
the hands of him who held it. Everybody, and particularly the mer-
chants who had written, thinking that I meant either to destroy it
or throw it into the water, instantly called out; but they were soon
satisfied when they saw me hold the paper very properly, and make
a sign that I also wished to write in my turn. Their fears were now
changed to astonishment. Yet, as they had never seen an ape that
could write, they wished to take the roll from my hands-but the
captain still continued to take my part. Suffer him to try," he
said, let him write; if he only blots the paper I promise you 1
will instantly punish him."
Finding that no one any longer'opposed my design, I took the pen,
72 THE ARABIAN NIGHTS ENTERTAINMENTS.
and did not leave off till I had given an example of six different sorts
of writing used in Arabia. Each specimen contained a distich, or
impromptu stanza of four lines, in praise of the sultan. My writ-
ing not only excelled that of the merchants, but I dare say they had
never seen any so beautiful, even in that country. When I had
finished, the officers took the roll, and carried it to the sultan.
The monarch paid no attention to any of the writing except mine,
which pleased him so much that he said to the officers, Take the
finest and most richly caparisoned horse from my stable, and also
the most magnificent robe of brocade possible for him who has written
these six varieties, and bring him to me." At this order of the sul-
tan, the officers could not forbear laughing, which irritated him so
much that he would have punished them, had they not said, "We
entreat your majesty to pardon us; these are not written by a man,
but by an ape." "What do you say?" cried the sultan; "we assure
your majesty," answered one of the officers, "that we saw an ape
write them." This appeared so wonderful to the sultan that he said
to them, Hasten to bring me this extraordinary ape."
The officers returned to the vessel, and showed their order to the
captain, who said the sultan should be obeyed. They immediately
dressed me in a robe of very rich brocade, and carried me on shore,
where they set me on the horse of the sultan, who was waiting in his
palace for me, with a considerable number of people belonging to the
court, whom he had assembled to do me the more honour. The march
commenced, while the gate, streets, public buildings, windows, and
terraces of both the palaces and houses were all filled with an immense
number of persons, of every age and sex, whom curiosity had drawn
together from all quarters of the town, to see me, for the report was
spread in an instant that the sultan had chosen an ape for his grand
vizier. After having afforded so uncommon a sight to all these
people, who ceased not to express their surprise by violent and con-
tinued shouting, I arrived at the sultan's palace.
I found the sultan seated on his throne, in the midst of the nobles
of his court; I made him three low bows, and the last time I pros-
trated myself, kissed the earth by his feet. I then got up, and seated
myself exactly like an ape. No part of the assembly could withhold
their admiration, nor did they comprehend how it was possible for
an ape to be so well acquainted with the form and respect attached
to sovereigns; nor was the sultan the least astonished. The whole
ceremony of audience would have been complete if I had only been
able to add speech to my actions; but apes never speak, and the advan-
tage of having once been a man did not now afford me that privilege.
The sultan took leave of the courtiers, and there remained with
him only the chief of his eunuchs, a little young slave, and myself.
He went from the hall of audience into his own apartment, where he
ordered some food to be served up. While he was at table, he made
me a sign to come and eat with him. As a mark of my obedience, I
got up, kissed the ground, and then seated myself at table; I ate,
however, with much modesty and forbearance.
Before they cleared the table, I perceived a writing desk, which,
by a sign, I requested them to bring me; as soon as I had got it, 1
THE SECOND CALENDER. 78
wrote upon a large peach some lines of my own composition, which
evinced my gratitude to the sultan. His astonishment at reading
them, after I presented the peach to him, was still greater than be-
fore. When the things were taken away, they brought a particular
sort of liquor, of which he desired them to give me a glass. I drank
it, and then wrote some fresh verses, which explained the state in
which I now found myself after so many sufferings. The sultan,
having read these also, exclaimed, A man who should be capable
of doing thus would be one of the greatest men that ever lived."
The prince then ordered a chess-board to be brought, and asked me,
by a sign, if I could play, and would engage with him. I kissed
the ground, and putting my hand on my head, I showed him I was
ready to receive that honour. He won the first game, but the second
and third were in my favour. Perceiving that this gave him some
little pain, I wrote a stanza to amuse him, and presented it to him;
in which I said that two powerful armed bodies fought the whole day
with the greatest ardour, but that they made peace in the evening,
and passed the night together very tranquilly upon the field of battle.
All these circumstances appearing to the sultan much beyond what
he had ever seen or heard of the address and ingenuity of apes, he
wished to have more witnesses of these prodigies. He had a daugh-
ter who was called the Queen of Beauty; he therefore desired the
chief of the eunuchs to fetch her. "Go," said he to him," and bring
your lady here; I wish her to partake of the pleasure I enjoy." The
chief of the eunuchs went and brought back the princess with him.
On entering, her face was uncovered, but she was no sooner within
the apartment than she instantly threw her veil over her, and said to
the sultan, Your majesty must have forgotten yourself. I am sur-
prised that you order me to appear before men." What is this, my
daughter ?" answered the sultan, "it seems that you are the person
who has forgotten yourself. There is no one here but the little slave,
the eunuch your governor, and myself, and we are always at liberty
to see your face." "Sire," replied the princess, "your majesty will
be convinced I am not mistaken. The ape which you see there, al-
though under that form, is not an ape, but a young prince, the son of
a great king. He has been changed into an ape by enchantment. A
Genius has been guilty of this malicious action, after having
cruelly killed the princess of the Isle of Ebony."
The sultan was astonished at this speech, and turning to me,
asked, but no longer by signs, whether what his daughter said was
true. As I could not speak, I put my hand upon my head to show
that she had spoken the truth. "How came you to know, daugh-
ter," said the king, "that this prince had been 'transformed into
an ape by means of enchantment?" "Sire," replied the princess,
"your majesty may recollect, that when I first came from the
nursery, I had an old woman as one of my attendants. She was
very well skilled in magic, and taught me seventy rules of that
science, by virtue of which I could instantly cause your capital to
be transported to the middle of the ocean, nay, beyond Mount
Caucasus. By means of this science, I know every person who is
enchanted, the moment I behold them-not only who they are, but
74 THE ARABIAN NIGHTS ENTERTAINMENTS.
by whom also they were enchanted. Be not, therefore, surprised,
that I have at first sight discovered this prince, in spite of the charm
which prevented him from appearing in your eyes such as he really
is." My dear daughter," answered the sultan, I did not think you
were so skilful; you can perhaps dissolve the enchantment of this
prince." "I can, sire," said she, and restore him to his own form."
"Do so, then," interrupted the sultan, "for you cannot give me
greater pleasure, as I wish to have him for my grand vizier, and
bestow you upon him for a wife." I am ready, sire," answered
the princess, "to obey you in all things you please to command."
The Queen of Beauty then went to her apartment, and returned
with a knife, which had some Hebrew characters engraved on the
blade. She desired the sultan, the chief of the eunuchs, the little
slave, and myself, to go down into a secret court of the palace, and
then, leaving us under a gallery which surrounded the court, she
went into the middle of it, where she described a large circle, and
traced several words, both in the ancient Arabic characters and
those which are called the characters of Cleopatra.
When she had done this and prepared the circle in the manner she
wished, she went and placed herself in the midst of it, where she
began making her adjurations, and repeating some verses from tI-
Koran. By degrees, the air became obscure, as if night was comiul
on, and the whole world was vanishing. We were seized with the
greatest fright, ahd this was the more increased when we saw the
Genius, the son of the daughter of Eblis, suddenly appear, in the
shape of an enormous lion.
The princess no sooner perceived this monster than she said to it,
"Dog, instead of cringing before me, how darest thou present thyself
under this horrible form, thinking to alarm me ?" "And how darest
thou," replied the lion, "break the treaty, which we have made and
confirmed bya solemn oath, not to injure each other ?" "Ah, wretch !"
added the princess, "thou art the person I am to reproach on that
account." Thou shalt pay dearly," interrupted the lion, "for the
trouble thou hast given me of coming here." In saying this, he
opened his horrible jaws, and advanced forward to devour her; but
she, being on her guard, jumped back, and had just time to pluck
out a hair, and pronouncing two or three words, she changed it
into a sharp scythe, with which she immediately cut the lion in
pieces through the middle.
The two parts of the lion directly disappeared, and the head only
remained, which changed into a large scorpion. The princess then
took the form of a serpent, and began a fierce combat with the
scorpion, which, finding itself in danger of being defeated, changed
into an eagle, and flew away. But the serpent then became another
eagle, black, and more powerful, and went in pursuit of it. We
now lost sight of them for some time.
Shortly after they had disappeared, the earth opened before us,
and a black and white cat appeared, the hairs of which stood quite
on end, and which made a most horrible mewing. A black wolf
directly followed, and gave it no respite. The cat, being hard
pressed, changed into a worm, and, finding itself near a pomegranate,
at last came to a lose ttac1." Th SecoC-775
THE SECOND CALENDER. 75
which had fallen by accident from a tree that grew upon the bank
of a deep but narrow canal, instantly made a hole in it, and con-
cealed itself there. The pomegranate immediately began to swell,
and became as large as a gourd, which then rose up as high as the
gallery, and rolled backwards and forwards there several times; it
then fell down to the bottom of the court, and broke into many pieces.
The wolf, in the meantime, transformed itself into a cock, ran to
the seeds of the pomegranate, and began swallowing them, one after
the other, as fast as possible. When it could see no more, it came
to us, with its wings extended, and making a great noise, as if to
inquire of us whether there were any more seeds. There was one
lying on the border of the canal, which the cock, in going back, per-
ceived, and ran towards it as quick as possible; but at the very
instant in which its beak was upon it, the seed rolled into the canal
and changed into a small fish. The cock then flew into the canal,
and becoming a pike, pursued the little fish. They were both two
hours under water, and we knew not what was become of them,
when we heard the most horrible cries, that made us tremble. Soon
after, we saw the Genius and the princess, all on fire. They threw
the flames against each other with their breath, and at last came to
a close attack. Then the fire increased, and everything about was
encompassed with smoke and flame to a great height. We were
afraid, and not without reason, that the whole palace would be
burnt; but we soon had a much more dreadful cause of terror, for
the Genius, having disengaged himself from the princess, came to-
wards the gallery where we were, and blew his flames all over us.
This would have destroyed us, if the princess, running to our assist-
ance, had not compelled him by her cries to retreat to a distance,
and guard himself against her. In spite, however, of all the haste
she made, she could not prevent the sultan from having his head
singed and his face scorched; the chief of the eunuchs too was stifled,
and consumed on the spot; and a spark flew into my right eye, and
blinded me. Both the sultan and myself expected to perish, when
we suddenly heard the cry of Victory, victory !" and the princess
immediately appeared to us in her own form, while the Genius was
reduced to a heap of ashes.
The princess approached us, and in order to lose no time, she asked
for a cup full of water, which was brought by the young slave, whom
the fire had not injured. She took it, and after pronouncing some
words over it, she threw some of the water upon me, and said, "If
thou art an ape by enchantment, change thy figure, and take that
of a man, which thou hadst before." She had hardly concluded,
when I again became a man, the same as before I was changed,
except with the loss of one eye.
I was preparing to thank the princess, but she did not give me
time, before she said to the sultan, her father, I have gained, sire,
the victory over the Genius, as your majesty may see, but it is a
victory which has cost me dear. I have but a few moments to live,
and you will not have the satisfaction of completing the marriage
you intended. The fire, in this dreadful combat, has penetrated my
body, and I feel that it will soon consume me. This would not have
76 THE ARABIAN NIGHTS ENTERTAINMENTS.
happened if I had perceived the last seed of the pomegranate, when
I was in the shape of a cock, and had swallowed it as I did the others.
The Genius had fled to it as his last retreat, and on that depended
the success of the combat, which would then have been fortunate,
and without danger to me. This omission obliged me to have recourse
to fire, and fight with that powerful weapon, between heaven and
earth, as you saw me. In spite of his dreadful power and experience.
I have at length conquered and reduced him to ashes, but I cannot
avoid the death which I feel approaching."
The princess had no sooner finished this account of the battle,
than she suddenly exclaimed, I burn, I burn." She perceived that
the fire which consumed her, had at last seized her whole body, and
she did not cease calling out, I burn," till death put an end to her
almost insupportable sufferings. The effect of this fire was so
extraordinary, that in a few minutes she was reduced, like the
Genius, to a heap of ashes.
I need not say how much this dreadful and melancholy sight
affected us. I would rather have continued an ape, or a dog, my
whole life, than have seen my benefactress perish in such a horrid
manner. The sultan, too, on his part, was beyond measure afflicted.
It is almost impossible to conceive what lamentable cries he uttered,
beating himself at the same time most violently on his head and
"breast, till at last, yielding to despair, he fainted, and I feared even
his life would fall a sacrifice. In the meantime the cries of the
sultan brought the eunuchs and officers to his assistance, and they
found great difficulty in recovering him.
As soon as the knowledge of an event so tragical was spread
through the palace and the city, every one lamented the melancholy
fate of the princess, surnamed the Queen of Beauty, and joined in
the grief of the sultan. They put on mourning for seven days, and
performed many ceremonies; the ashes of the Genius they scattered
in the wind, but collected those of the princess in a costly urn, and
preserved them; this urn was then deposited in a superb mausoleum,
which was erected on the very spot where the ashes had been found.
The grief which preyed upon the sultan for the loss of his daughter,
was the origin of a disease that confined him to his bed for a whole
month. He had not quite recovered his health, when he called me
to him, and said, "Listen, prince, and attend to the order which I
am going to give you; if you fail to execute it, your life will be the
forfeit." I assured him I would obey. "My daughter is dead," he
continued; "her governor is no more; and I have escaped with my
life only by a miracle. You are the cause of all these misfortunes,
if you remain any longer it will be the cause of my death also, since
I am persuaded your presence is productive only of misfortune.
This is all I have to say to you. Go, and take care you never again
appear in my kingdom; if you do, no consideration shall prevent my
making you repent of it." I wished to speak, but he prevented me
by uttering some angry words, and I was obliged to leave his palace.
Rejected and abandoned by every one, I knew not what was to
become of me. Before I left the city, I went into a bath, I got my
beard and eyebrows shaved, and put on the dress of a calender. 1
THE THIRD CALENDER. 77
then began my journey, lamenting less my own miserable condition,
than the death of the two beautiful princesses, of which I had been
the unhappy cause. I travelled through many countries without
making myself known; at last I resolved to visit Bagdad, in hopes
of being able to present myself to the Commander of the Faithful,
and excite his compassion by the recital of so strange a history. I
arrived here this evening, and the first person I met was the calender,
my brother, who has already related his life. You are acquainted,
madam, with the sequel, and how I came to have the honour of
being at your house.
When the second calender had finished his history, Zobeide, to
whom he had addressed himself, said, "You have done well, and I
give you leave to go whenever you please." But instead of taking
his departure, he entreated her to grant him the same favour she
had done the other calender, near whom he went and took his place
Then the third calender, knowing it was his turn to speak, addressed
himself like the others to Zobeide, and began his history as follows.
UTJF yi)1*Srg of Aiz ljxlr 1knme, ty Son of a 1 inff'
What I am going to relate, most honourable lady, is of a very
different nature from what you have already heard. The two princes
who have recited their histories, have each of them lost an eye, as
it were by destiny; while my loss has been in consequence of my
own fault, in wilfully seeking the cause of misfortune, as you will
find by what I am going to mention.
I am called Agib, and am the son of a king, whose name was Cassib.
After his death I took possession of his throne, and established my
residence in the same city which he had made his capital. This city,
which is situated on the sea-coast, has a remarkably handsome and
safe harbour, with an arsenal sufficiently extensive to supply an
armament of a hundred and fifty vessels of war, always lying ready
for service on any occasion; and to equip fifty merchantmen, and as
many sloops and yachts, for the purpose of amusement and pleasure
on the water. My kingdom was composed of many beautiful pro-
vinces, and also a number of considerable islands, almost all of which
were situated within sight of my capital.
The first thing I did was to visit the provinces; I then made them
arm and equip my whole fleet, and went round to all my islands, in
order to conciliate the affections of my subjects, and to confirm them
in their duty and allegiance. After having been at home some time,
I went again; and these voyages, by giving me some slight knowledge
of navigation, infused such a taste for it in my mind, that I resolved
to go in search of discoveries beyond my islands. For this purpose
I equipped only ten ships, and embarking in one of them, we set sail.
During forty days our voyage was prosperous ; but on the night of
the forty-first the wind became adverse, and so violent, that we were
driven at the mercy of the tempest, and thought we should have
been lost. At break of day, however, the wind abated, the cloud
78 THE ARABIAN NIGHTS ENTERTAINMENTS.
dispersed, and the sun brought fine weather back with it. We now
landed on an island, where we remained two days, to take in some
provisions. Having done this, we again put to sea. After ten days'
sail, we began to hope to see land; for since the storm we had en-
countered, I had altered my intention, and determined to return to
my kingdom, but I then discovered that my pilot knew not where
we were. In fact, a sailor, on the tenth day, who was ordered to the
masthead for the purpose of making discoveries, reported that to the
right and left he could perceive only the sky and sea, which bounded
the horizon, but that straight before him he observed a great blackness.
At this intelligence the pilot changed colour, and throwing his
turban on the deck with one hand, he smote his face with the other,
and then cried out, "Ah, sire, we are lost; not one of us can pos-
sibly escape the danger in which we are." I asked him what reason
he had for this despair. "Alas, sire," he answered, "the tempest
has so driven us from our track, that by midday to-morrow we shall
find ourselves near that blackness, which is nothing but a black
mountain, consisting entirely of a mass of loadstone, that will soon
attract our fleet, on account of the bolts and nails in the ships.
To-morrow, when we shall come within a certain distance, the power
of the loadstone will be so violent, that all the nails will be drawn
out, and fastened to the mountain; our ships will then fall in pieces,
and sink. This mountain towards the sea is entirely covered with
nails, that belonged to the infinite number of ships of which it has
proved the destruction. It is very steep, and on the summit there
is a large dome, made of fine bronze, which is supported upon co-
lumns of the same metal. Upon the top of the dome there is also
a bronze horse, with the figure of a man upon it; and there is a
tradition, sire," added he, "that this statue is the principal cause
of the loss of so many vessels and men, and that it will never cease
from being destructive to all who shall have the misfortune to ap-
proach it until it be overthrown." The pilot having finished his
speech, renewed his tears, which excited those of the whole crew.
As for myself, I did not doubt that I was now approaching the end
of my days.
The next morning we distinctly perceived the black mountain;
and the idea we had formed of it made it appear still more dreadful
and horrid than it really was. About mid-day we found ourselves
so near it, that we began to perceive what the pilot had foretold.
We saw the nails, and every other piece of iron belonging to the
vessel, fly towards the mountain, against which, by the violence
of the magnetic attraction, they struck with a horrible noise.
The vessel then immediately fell to pieces, and sunk to the bottom
of the sea. All my people were lost; but God had pity upon me,
and suffered me to save myself by laying hold of a plank, which
was driven by the wind directly to the foot of the mountain. I did
not experience the least harm, and had the good fortune to land in
a place where there were steps, which led to the summit. I was
much rejoiced at sight of these steps, for there was not the least
piece of land either to the right or left, upon which I could have set
my foot to save myself. I returned thanks to God, and invoking His
THE THIRD CALENDER. 79
holy name, began to ascend the mountain. The path was narrow,
and so steep and difficult, that had the wind been at all violent, it
must have blown me into the sea. I arrived at last at the summit
without any accident, and entering the dome, I prostrated myself
on the ground, and offered my thanks to God for the favour he had
I passed the night under this dome; and while I was asleep, a
venerable old man appeared to me, and said, Agib, attend; when
you awake, dig up the earth under your feet, and you will find a
brazen bow with three leaden arrows, manufactured under certain
constellations, in order to deliver mankind from many evils, which
continually menace them. Shoot these three arrows at the statue:
the man will then fall into the sea, and the horse at your feet, which
you must bury in the same spot from whence you take the bow and
arrows. This being finished, the sea will begin to be agitated, and
will rise as high as the foot of the dome, at the top of the mountain.
When it shall have risen thus high, you will see a small vessel come
towards the shore, with only one man in it, who holds an oar in
each hand. This man will be of brass, but different from the one
that was overthrown. Embark with him without pronouncing the
name of God, and let him conduct you. In ten days he will have
carried you into another sea, where you will find the means of re-
turning to your own country in safety; provided, as I have already
told you, you forbear from mentioning the name of God during the
whole of your voyage."
Such was the discourse of the old man. As soon as I was awake,
I got up, much consoled by this vision, and did not fail doing as the
old man had ordered me. I uncovered the bow and the arrows, and
shot them at the statue. With the third arrow I overthrew the
man, who fell into the sea, while the horse lay at my feet. I buried
it in the place where I found the bow and arrows, and while I was
doing this, the sea rose by degrees, till it reached the foot of the
dome on the summit of the mountain. I perceived a vessel at a
distance coming towards me. I offered my benedictions to God at
thus seeing my dream in every respect proving a reality. The
vessel at length approached the land, and I saw in it a man made
of brass, as had been described. I embarked, and took particular
care not to pronounce the name of God. I did not even utter a
single word. When I sat down, the brazen figure began to row
from the mountain. He continued doing so without intermission
till the ninth day, when I saw some islands, which made me hope I
should soon be free from every danger that I dreaded. The excess
of my joy made me forget the order that had been given me as a
security, Blessed be God," I cried out God be praised."
I had hardly finished these words, when both the vessel and brazen
man sunk to the bottom. I remained in the water, and swam during
the rest of the day towards the nearest island. The night, which
came on, was exceedingly dark; and as I no longer knew where I
was, I continued swimming at a venture. My strength was at last
quite exhausted, and I began to despair of being able to save myself,
when, the wind having much increased, a wave as large as a mountain
80 THE ARABIAN NIGHTS ENTERTAINMENTS.
threw me upon a flat, shallow place, and on retiring left me there. I
immediately made haste to get farther on land, for fear another wave
should come and carry me back. The first thing I then did, was to
undress, and wring the water out of my clothes, and spread them upon
the sand, which was still warm from the heat of the preceding day.
The next morning, as soon as the sun had quite dried my dress, I
put it on, and began to reconnoitre; and tried to discover where I
was. I had not walked far, before I found out I was upon a small
desert island, very pleasant, and where there were many sorts of
fruit-trees, as well as others; but I observed, that it was at a consi-
derable distance from the mainland, which rather lessened the joy I
felt at having escaped from the sea. I nevertheless trusted in God to
dispose of my fate according to His will: soon afterwards I discovered
a very small vessel, which seemed to come full sail directly from the
mainland, with her prow towards the island where I was. As I had
no doubt they were coming to anchor here, and as I knew not what
sort of people they might be, whether friends or enemies, I deter-
mined at first not to shew myself. I got up, therefore, into a very thick
tree, from whence I could examine their countenances without dan-
ger. The vessel soon sailed up a small creek, or bay, where ten slaves
landed, with a spade and other instruments in their hands, for the
purpose of digging the earth. They went towards the middle of the
island, where I observed them stop, and dig up the earth for some
time; and by their actions, they appeared to me to lift up a trap-door.
They immediately returned to the vessel, from which they landed
various kinds of provisions and furniture, and each taking a load,
they carried them to the place where they had before dug up the
ground. They then seemed to descend, which made me conjecture
there was a subterraneous place. I saw them once more go to the
vessel, and come back with an old man, who brought with him a
youth, seemingly well made, and about fourteen or fifteen years old.
They all descended at the spot where the trap-door had been lifted
up. After theycame out again, they shut down the door, and covered
it with earth as before; and then returned to the creek where the
vessel lay; but I observed that the young man did not come back
with them; whence I concluded, that he remained in the subterrane-
ous place. This circumstance very much excited my astonishment.
The old man and the slaves then embarked, and hoisting the sails,
made way for the mainland. When I found the vessel had got so far
off, that I could not be perceived by the crew, I came down from the
tree, and went directly to the place where I had seen them dig away
the earth. I now did the same thing, and at last discovered a stone
two or three feet square. I lifted it up, and found that it concealed
the entrance to a flight of stone stairs. I descended, and at the bot-
tom perceived that I was in a large chamber, the floor of which was
covered with a carpet, as was also a sofa and some cushions with a
rich stuff, where I saw a young man sitting down with a fan in his
hand. I distinguished all these things by the light of two torches, as
I did also the fruits and pots of flowers, which were near him. At
the sight of me, the young man was much alarmed; but in order to
give him courage, I said to him on entering, "Whoever you are, fear
THE THIRD CALENDER. 81
nothing, sir: I am incapable of doing you any injury. On the con-
trary, you may esteem it as a most fortunate circumstance that I am
come here to deliver you from this tomb, where you seem to me to
have been buried alive. I have been a witness to everything that has
passed since you landed on this island, but what I cannot understand
is, that you seem to have suffered yourself to have been buried here
without making any resistance."
The young man was much encouraged by this speech, and requested,
in a pleasing manner, that I would take a seat near him. As soon as
I was seated, he said, I am about to inform you of a circumstance,
the singular nature of which, will very much surprise you.
My father is a jeweller, who has acquired by his industry and
great skill in his profession a very large fortune. He had been mar-
ried a long time without having any children, when one night he
dreamed that he should have a son, whose life, however, would be
but short. This dream, when he awoke, gave him great uneasiness.
Some months afterwards I was burn, to the great joy of all the family.
My father having observed the moment of my birth with the great-
est exactness, consulted the astrologers, who answered, Your son
will live without any accident or misfortune till he is fifteen; but he
will then run a great risk of losing his life, and will not escape from
it without much difficulty. If, however, he should have the good
fortune not to perish, his life will continue many years. About this
time too,' they added, 'the equestrian statue of brass, which stands
on the top of the loadstone mountain, will be overthrown by Prince
Agib, the son of King Cassib, and fall into the sea; and the stars also
discover, that fifty days'afterwards your son will be killed by that
"As this prediction agreed with my father's dream, he was very
much struck and afflicted by it. He did not, however, omit taking
the greatest care of my education till the present moment, which is
the fifteenth year of my age. He was yesterday informed that ten days
ago the brazen figure was overthrown by the prince whom I men-
tioned to you: and this intelligence cost him so many tears and
alarms, that he hardly looks like the same man.
For a long time past, he has taken the precaution to have this
habitation built, in order to conceal me for the fifty days. It was on
this account, that, as soon as he knew what had happened ten days
since, he came here for the purpose of concealing me during the
forty days that remain; and he has promised, at the expiration of
that time, to come and take me back. As for myself," he added, "I
have the best hopes, for I do not believe that Prince Agib will come
and look for me underground, in the midst of a desert island. This,
my lord, is all I had to inform you of."
I felt myself so very unlike .ly 4 o verify the prediction of the astro-
logers, that he had scarcely finished speaking before I exclaimed with
transport, Have confidence, my dear sir, in the goodness of God,
and fear nothing. I will not quit you for a moment during the forty
days. During this time I will render you every service in my power,
and afterwards I will take advantage, with your and your father's
permission, of embarking in your vessel, in order to return to the Con*
82 THE ARABIAN NIGHTS ENTERTAINMENTS.
tinent, and will endeavour to prove my gratitude by every means in
I encouraged him by this discourse, and thus gained his confidence.
I took care, from the fear of alarming him, not to inform him that
I was the very person whom he dreaded; nor give him the least
suspicion on the subject. We conversed about various things till
night; and I easily discovered that the young man possessed a
sensible and well-informed mind. We ate together out of his store
of provisions, which were so abundant that they would have lasted
more than the forty days, had there been other guests beside myself.
We had sufficient time to contract a friendship for each other. I
perceived that he had an inclination for me, and on my side the
regard was so strong that I often said to myself, The astrologers,
who have predicted to the father that his son should be slain by my
hands were impostors, for it was impossible I could commit so horrid
a crime." In short, we passed thirty-nine days in the pleasantest
manner possible in this subterraneous habitation.
At length, the fortieth arrived. The youth, when he was getting
up, said to me, in a, transport of joy, which he could not restrain,
"Behold me now, prince, on the fortieth day, and thank God, and
your good society, I am not dead. My father will not fail very soon
to acknowledge his obligation to you by every means in his power.
But while we are waiting," added he, "I beg of you to have the
goodness to warm some water, that I may wash my whole body in
the portable bath. I wish to cleanse myself and change my dress,
in order to receive my father with the greater propriety." I put the
water on the fire, and when it was just warm, I filled the portable
bath. The young man got in: I both washed and rubbed him myself.
He then got out, and went into the bed I had prepared for him, and
I threw the cover over him. After he had reposed himself, and slept
for some time, he said to me, Oblige me, and bring me a melon
and some sugar. I want to eat something to refresh me."
"I chose one of the melons which remained, and put it on a plate,
and as I could not find a knife to cut it, I asked the youth, if he
knew where there was one. There is one," he replied, "upon the
cornice over my head." I looked up and perceived one there; but I
strained myself so much in endeavouring to reach it, that at the
very moment I had it in my hand, my foot by some means got so
entangled in the covering of the bed, that I fell down on the young
man, and pierced him to the heart with the knife. He expired the
very same instant.
At this sight, I cried most bitterly; I beat my head and breast.
I tore my habit, and threw myself onhe ground in grief and despair.
"Alas !" I cried, "a few hours only remained for him to be out of
the danger against which he sought an asylum; and at tlie very
moment I thought the danger past, I am become the assassin, and
have caused the prediction to come to pass." After this misfortune
death would have been very acceptable to me, and I should have
met it without dread. But we are neither afflicted with evil, nor
blessed with good fortune always at the moment we may desire it.
In the meantime, reflecting that neither my tears nor sorrow could
THE THIRD CALENDER. 83
revive the youth, and that as the forty days were now concluding,
I should be surprised by the father, I quitted the subterraneous
building, and ascended to the top of the stairs. I replaced the large
stone over the entrance, and covered it with the earth. I had scarcely
finished, when, looking towards the mainland, I perceived the vessel,
which was coming for the young man. Meditating what plan ]
should pursue, I said to myself, If I let them see me, it is probable
the old man will seize me, and order his slaves to slay me, when he.
shall have discovered his son in the state in which I have left him.
Whatever I could allege in my own justification would never per-
suade him of my innocence. It is surely better, then, to withdraw
myself from his sight, while I have the power, than expose myself
to his resentment."
Near the subterraneous cavern there was a large tree, the thick
foliage of which seemed to me well adapted for concealment. I
immediately got up into it, and had no sooner placed myself so as
not to be seen, than I observed the vessel come to land in the same
place it had before done. The old man and the slaves instantly
came on shore, and approached the subterraneous dwelling in a
manner that showed they had some hopes. But when they saw
that the ground had been lately disturbed, they changed colour,
especially the old man. They then lifted up the stone, and descended
the stairs. They called the young man by his name, but no answer
was returned. Their fears redoubled. They searched about, and
at last found him stretched on his couch, with the knife through his
heart, for I had not had the courage to draw it out. On seeing this,
they utter c such lamentable cries, that my tears flowed afresh.
The old man fainted, and the slaves brought him out in their arms,
that he might feel the air, and for this purpose they placed him at
the foot of the very tree in which I was. Notwithstanding all their
cares, the unfortunate father remained so long in this state, that
they more than once despaired of his life.
He at length recovered from this long fainting fit. The slaves
then went down, and brought up the body of his son, clothed in the
finest garments, and as soon as the grave, which they made, was
ready, they put the body in. The old man, supported by two slaves,
with his face bathed in tears, threw in the first piece of earth, after
which the slaves filled up the grave. This being done, the furniture
and remainder of the provisions were put on board the vessel. The
old man, overcome with sorrow, was unable to support himself, and
was therefore carried to the vessel, in a sort of litter, by the slaves,
and they immediately put to sea. They soon got to a considerable
distance from the island, and I lost sight of them.
I now remained alone in the island, and passed the following night
in the subterraneous dwelling, which had not been again shut up;
and the next day I took a survey of the whole island, resting in
those places most adapted to the purpose, whenever I felt myself
weary. I spent a whole month in this unpleasant manner; at the
end ol which time I perceived the sea considerably diminish, the
island appeared to become sensibly larger, and the mainland ap-,
proached nearer. In truth, the water decreased so much, that there
84 THE ARABIAN NIGHTS ENTERTAINMENTS.
was now only a small channel between me and the continent, and I
passed over without being deeper than the middle of my leg. I then
walked so far on the flat sand, that I was greatly fatigued. I at
last reached firmer ground, and was already at a considerable distance
from the sea, when I saw before me something that appeared like a
large fire. At this I was much rejoiced; "For here," said I to
myself, "I shall certainly find some persons, as a fire cannot light
itself." But as I went nearer, my mistake began to clear up, and I
soon found out, that what I had taken for a fire was a sort of castle
of red copper, from which the rays of the sun were reflected in such
a manner as to make it appear in flames.
I stopped near this castle, and sat down, as well to consider the
beauty of the building, as in some degree to recover from my fa-
tigue. I had not yet bestowed all the attention upon this magnifi-
cent house which it deserved, when I perceived ten well-made young
men come out for the purpose, as it appeared, of walking; but what
seemed to me more surprising was, that they were all blind of the
right eye; an old man of rather a large stature, whose appearance
was very venerable, accompanied them.
I was very much astonished at meeting so many people at the same
time, who were not only blind of one eye, but had also lost the same
eye. While I was endeavoring to discover in my own mind for what
purpose, or by what circumstance, they were thus collected together,
they accosted me; and showed signs of great joy at seeing me.
After the first compliments had passed, they inquired of me what
brought me there: I told them that my history was rather long;
but if they would take the trouble to sit down, I would afford them
the satisfaction they wished. They seated themselves, and I re-
lated to them everything that had happened to me, from the moment
I had left my own kingdom till that instant. This narration greatly
excited their surprise. When I had finished my story, they en-
treated me to come with them into the castle. I accepted their offer,
and passing through a long suite of halls, antechambers, saloons, and
cabinets, all well furnished and appointed, we came at length to a
large and magnificent apartment, where there were ten small blue
sofas, placed in a circle, but unconnected, which served both to sit
on and rest during the day, and also to sleep upon in the night. In
the midst of this circle there was another sofa, less raised, but of
the same colour, upon which the old man of whom I have spoken
sat, while the young ones seated themselves upon the other ten. As
each sofa held only one person, one of the young men said to me,
" Sit down, my friend, upon the carpet in the middle of this place;
and do not endeavour to inform yourself of anything that regards
us, nor ask the reason why we are all blind of the right eye; be
satisfied with what you see, and do not carry your curiosity any fur-
ther." The old man did not remain long seated; he got up and went
out, but very soon returned, bringing with him a supper for the ten
young men; to each of whom he distributed a certain portion. He
gave me mine in the same way, which, like the rest, I ate alone. As
soon as it was finished, the old man presented each of us with a
cup of wine.
THE THIRD CALENDER. 85
My history appeared to them so extraordinary, that they made
me repeat it when supper was over. This afterwards led to a con-
versation, which lasted great part of the night. One of the young
men now observing that it was so late, said to the old man, "You
see that it is time to retire to rest, and yet you do not bring us what
is necessary for us to discharge our duty." At this the old man got
up, and went into a cabinet, from whence he brought upon his head
ten blue basins, one after the other; he placed one of them with a
torch before each of the young men. They uncovered their basins,
in which there were some ashes, some charcoal, in powder, and some
lamp-black. They mixed all these altogether, and began to rub them
over their faces, and smear their countenances until their appear-
ance was very frightful. After they had blacked themselves over
in this manner, they began to weep, to make great lamentations, and
to beat their head and breast, calling out incessantly all the time, "Be-
hold the consequences of our idleness and debaucheries !"
They passed almost the whole night in this strange occupation;
at last they gave over, when the old man brought them some water,
in which they washed their faces and hands. They then took off
their dresses, which were much torn, and put on others, so that they
did not appear to have been engaged in those extraordinary occupa-
tions to which I had been a witness. Judge what was my fear dur-
ing all this time. I was tempted a thousand times to break the silence
which they had imposed upon me, for the purpose of asking them
questions; nor could I, during the remainder of the night, get any rest.
The following morning, as soon as we were up, we went out to
take the air, and I then said unto them, I must inform you, gen-
tlemen, that I renounce the law you imposed upon me last night, as
I can no longer observe it. You are wise men, and you have given
me sufficient reason to believe that you possess an enlarged under-
standing; yet, at the same time, I have seen you do things of which
none but madmen would be guilty. Whatever misfortune may hap-
pen to me in consequence, I cannot refrain from inquiring for what
reason you daubed your faces with ashes, charcoal, and black paint,
and how you have all lost an eye. Something very singular must be
the cause of this, I entreat you therefore to satisfy my curiosity."
Notwithstanding such pressing entreaties, they only answered that
the inquiries I made did not relate to me, that I had no interest in
their actions, and that I might remain in peace. We passed the day
in conversing upon different subjects, and when night approached,
we supped separately, as before, and the old man again brought the
blue basins, with the contents of which the others anointed them-
selves ; they then wept, beat themselves, and exclaimed, "Behold
the consequences of our idleness and our debaucheries !" The follow-
ing night they repeated the same thing.
I could at last no longer resist my curiosity; and I very seriously
entreated them to satisfy me. One of the young men thus answered
me for the rest: "Do not be astonished at what we do in your pre-
sence: if we have not hitherto yielded to your entreaties, it has
been entirely out of friendship for you; and to spare you from the
regret of being reduced to the same state in which you see us. If
86 THE ARABIAN NIGHTS ENTERTAINMENTS.
you wish to experience our unfortunate fate, you have only to speak,
and we will give you the satisfaction you require." I told them, I
was determined to know it at all events. Once more," replied the
same young man, "(we advise you to restrain your curiosity; for it will
cost you the sight of your right eye." It is of no consequence," I
answered, "and I declare to you, that if this misfortune does hap-
pen, I shall not consider you as the cause of it, but shall lay the blame
entirely on myself." Again he represented to me, that, when I should
have lost my eye, I must not expect to remain with them; even if
I had thought of it; as their number was complete, and could not
be increased. I told them that it would cause me much regret to
separate myself from such agreeable company, but still, if it were
necessary, I would submit to it; since whatever might be the con-
sequence, I was bent on obtaining the satisfaction I required.
The ten young men, observing that I was not to be shaken in my
resolution, took a sheep, and killed it; after they had taken off the
skin, they gave me the knife they had made use of, and said, Take
this knife; it will serve you for an occasion of which we will soon
inform you. We are going to sew you up in this skin, in which it
is necessary you should be entirely concealed. We shall then leave
you in this place, and retire. Soon afterwards a bird of a most enor-
mous size, which they call a roc, will appear in the air, and, taking
you for a sheep, will plunge down upon you, and lift you up to the
clouds; but do not let this alarm you. The bird will soon return
with his prey towards the earth, and will lay you down on the top
of a mountain. As soon as you shall feel yourself upon the ground,
rip open the skin with the knife, and discover yourself. On seeing
you, the roc will be alarmed, and fly away, leaving you at liberty.
Do not stop there; but go on until you arrive at a castle of a most
prodigious magnitude, entirely covered with plates of gold, set with
large emeralds and other precious stones. Go to the gate, which is
always open, and enter. All of us who are here have been in this
castle; but we will tell you nothing of what we saw nor what hap-
pened to us, as you will learn everything yourself. The only thing
we can inform you of is, that it has cost each of us a right eye, and
the penance which you have witnessed is what we are obliged to
undergo in consequence of our having been there. We cannot now
tell you more."
As soon as the young man had finished this speech, I wrapped
myself up in the sheep-skin, and took the knife which they had
given me. After they had taken the trouble to sew me up in it,
they left me in that place, and retired into their apartment. It
was not long before the roc, which they had mentioned, made its ap-
pearance, plunged down upon me, took me up in its talons, as if I
were a sheep, and transported me to the summit of a mountain. When
I perceived that I was upon the ground, I did not fail to make use
of the knife. I ripped open the skin, threw it off, and appeared
before the roc, who flew away the instant it saw me. This roc is a
white bird, of an enormous size; its strength is such, that it will
lift up elephants from the ground, and carry them to the top of
mountains, where it devours them.
THE THIRD CALENDER. 87
My impatience to arrive at the castle was such, that I reached it
in less than half a day, and I certainly found it much more beauti-
ful than it had been described. The gate was open, and I entered
into a square court, of such vast extent that in it were ninety-nine
doors, made of sandal-wood and aloes, and one of gold, not to reckon
those of many magnificent staircases, which led to the upper apart-
ments, and some others which I did not see. The hundred doors I
have mentioned formed the entrances, either into the gardens, or
into magazines filled with riches, or some other places, which con-
tained things most surprising to behold.
Opposite to me, I saw an open door, through which I entered into
a large saloon, where forty young females were sitting, whose beauty
was so perfect that it was impossible for the imagination to form to
itself anything beyond it. They were all very magnificently dressed,
and as soon as they perceived me they got up, and, without waiting
for me to pay my compliments, they called out, with appearance of
great joy, "Welcome, my brave lord, you are welcome ;" and one of
them, speaking for the rest, said, "We have a long time expected
a person like you. Your manner sufficiently shows that you possess
all the good qualities we could wish, and we hope that you will not
find our company either disagreeable or unworthy of you." After
some resistance on my part, they forced me to sit down on a place
that was more raised than theirs; and when I shewed them it was
unpleasant to me, they said, "It is your place ; from this moment
you are our lord, our master, and our judge; we are your slaves, and
ready to obey your commands." Nothing in the world could have
astonished me more than the desire and the eagerness these ladies
professed to render me every possible service. One brought me
some warm water to wash my feet; another threw some perfumed
water over my hands; some brought me whatever was nece-ary
to change my dress; and others served up a magnificznt collation;
while another party presented themselves iclore me with a goblet
in their hands, ready to pour out the most delicious wine. All this
was done without .,ny confusion, and in such admirable order and
such a pleasant way, that I was quite charmed. I ate and drank;
after which, all the ladies, placing themselves around me, asked me
to relate the particulars of my journey. I gave them so full an ac-
count, that it lasted till the beginning of night. When I had
finished the relation of my history to the forty ladies, some of those
who were seated nearest to me waited to entertain me, while others
went out to seek for lights. They returned with such a prodigious
quantity, that they produced almost the brilliancy of day; but they
were arranged with so much symmetry and taste as we could hardly
In short, madam, not to tire you, I may tell you at once that I
passed a whole year with these forty ladies, and that, during the
whole of this times, the life I led was not interrupted by the least
I was never more surprised than at the end of the year, when
the forty ladies, instead of presenting themselves to me with their
accustomed good spirits, and making inquiries after my health, one
88 THE ARABIAN NIGHTS ENTERTAINMENTS.
morning entered my apartment with their countenances bathed in
tears. They each came and said, "Adieu, dear prince, adieu; we
are now compelled to leave you."
Their tears affected me very much. I entreated them to inform
me of the cause of their grief, and why they were obliged, as they
said, to leave me. "My beautiful ladies," I exclaimed, "tell me,
I beseech you, is it in my power to console you ? or will my aid and
assistance prove useless ?" Instead of answering me in a direct
manner, they said, "Would we had never seen or known you.
Many men have done us the honour of visiting us, previous to your-
self ; but no one possessed the elegance, the power of pleasing, the
merit, of yourself, nor do we know how we shall be able to live
without you." Upon this, they renewed their tears. "Amiable
ladies," I cried, "do not, I beg of you, keep me any longer in sus-
pense, but tell me the cause of your sorrow." "Alas !" answered
they, what else could afflict us but the necessity of separating
ourselves from you. Perhaps we shall never meet again. Yet, still,
if you really wished it, and had sufficient command over yourself
for the purpose, it is not absolutely impossible for you to rejoin us."
" In truth, ladies," I replied, I do not at all understand what you
mean; speak, I conjure you, more openly." "Well, then," said
one of them, "to satisfy you, we must inform you we are all prin-
cesses, and the daughters of kings. You have seen in what manner
we live here; but at the end of each year we are compelled to ab.
sent ourselves forty days, to fulfil some duties which cannot be
dispensed with, but which we are not at liberty to reveal; after
this, we again return to this castle. Yesterday the year finished,
and to-day we must leave you. This is the great cause of our
affliction. Before we go, we will give you the keys of everything,
"and particularly of the hundred doors, within which you will find
ample room to gratify your curiosity and amuse your solitude during
our absence. But, for your own sake, and for our particular inte-
rest, we entreat you to refrain from opening the golden door. If
you do open it, we shall never see you again; and the fear we are
in, lest you should, increases our sorrow. Your repose, your hap-
piness, nay, your life, depends upon it; therefore, be careful. We
conjure you, therefore, not to be guilty of this fault, and to afford
us the consolation of finding you here at the end of the forty days."
This speech affected me very sensibly. I made them understand
that their absence would cause me much pain, and thanked them
very much for the good advice they gave me. I assured them I
would profit by it, and would perform things much more difficult if
it would procure me the happiness of passing the remainder of my
life with ladies of such rare and extraordinary merit. We took the
most tender leave of each other; I embraced them all, and they
departed from the castle, in which I remained quite alone.
The pleasantness of their company, good living, concerts, and
various amusements, had so entirely engrossed my time during the
whole year, that I had not the least opportunity, nor indeed incli-
nation, to examine the wonders that were contained in this enchanted
palace. I had not even paid any attention to the multitude of extra.
THE THIRD CALENDER. 89
ordinary objects which were continually before my eyes, so much
was I taken up with the charms and accomplishments of the ladies,
and the pleasure I felt at finding them always employed in endea-
vouring to amuse me. I was very much afflicted at their departure;
and although their absence was to last only forty days, this time,
when deprived of their society, seemed to me an age.
1 determined, in my own mind, to attend to the advice they had
given me not to open the golden door; but as I was permitted, with
that one exception, to satisfy my curiosity, I took the keys belonging
to the others, which were regularly arranged, and opened the first
door. I entered a fruit-garden, to which I thought nothing in the
world was comparable. The admirable order and arrangement in
which the trees were disposed, the'abundance and variety of the
fruits, many of which were unknown to me, together with their
freshness and beauty, and the elegance apparent in every spot,
ravished me with astonishment. Nor must I neglect to inform you
that this delightful garden was watered in a most singular manner;
small channels, cut out with great art and regularity, and of different
sizes, conveyed the water in great abundance to the roots of some
trees which required it, in order to send forth their first leaves and
flowers; while others, whose fruits were already set, received it with
a more sparing hand; and those where the fruit was much swelled,
had still less; while a fourth sort, having the fruit come to its full
size, obtained just what was sufficient to ripen it. The size also
which all the fruits acquired, very much exceeded what we are
accustomed to observe in our gardens. Besides which, those channels
which conducted the water to the trees on which the fruit was ripe,
had barely enough to preserve it in the same state without over-
I then closed that door and opened the next. In the place of a
fruit garden, I now discovered one of flowers, which was not less
singular in its kind. It contained a spacious parterre, not watered
with such abundance as the preceding, but with greater skill and
management, as it did not supply each flower with more than it
wanted. The rose, the jessamine, the violet, the narcissus, the
hyacinth, the anemone, the tulip, the ranunculus, the carnation,
the lily, and an infinity of other flowers, which in other places
bloom at various times, come all into flower at once in this spot;
and nothing can be more luxuriously soft than the air you breathe
in this garden.
I then opened the third door, where I discovered a very large
aviary. It was paved with different coloured marbles, of the finest
and least common sort. The cages were of sandal-wood and aloes,
and contained a great number of nightingales, goldfinches, canaries,
larks, and other birds, whose notes were sweeter and more melodious s
than any I had ever heard before. The vases which contained their
food and water, were of jasper or the most valuable agate. This
aviary also was kept with the greatest degree of neatness: and from
its vast extent I conceive that it would employ not less than a
hundred persons to keep it in the state it then was, and yet no one
appeared either hero or in the other gardens, in none of which did I
90 THE ARABIAN NIGHTS ENTERTAINMENTS.
observe a single weed that was noxious, nor the least superfluous
thing that could offend the sight.
The sun was already set, and I retired much delighted with the
warbling of the multitude of birds which were then flying about to
find the most commodious place to perch and enjoy the repose of
the night. I went back to my apartment, and determined to open
all the other doors on the succeeding days, except the hundredth.
The next day I did not fail to go to the fourth door and open it.
But if that which I had seen on the foregoing days was capable of
surprising me, what I now beheld put me in ecstasy. I first entered
into a large court, surrounded by buildings of a very singular sort
of architecture, of which, to avoid being very prolix, I will not give
you a description.
This structure had forty doors all open, each of which was an
entrance into a sort of treasury, containing more riches than many
kingdoms. The first contained large quantities of pearls, and, what
is almost incredible, the most valuable, which were as large as
pigeons' eggs, were more numerous than the smaller. The second
was filled with diamonds, carbuncles, and rubies; the third with
emeralds; the fourth contained gold in ingots; the fifth gold in
money; the sixth ingots in silver, and the two following silver money.
The rest were filled with amethysts, chrysolites, topazes, opals,
turquoises, and every other sort of precious stone we are acquainted
with; not to mention agate, jasper, cornelian, and coral, both in
branches, and whole trees, with which one apartment was entirely
filled. Struck with surprise and admiration at the sight of all these
riches, I exclaimed, "It is impossible that all the treasures of every
potentate in the universe, if they were collected in the same spot,
could equal these! How happy am I in possessing all these treasures,
as well as the love of such charming princesses !"
I will not detain you, madam, by giving you an account of all the
wonderful and valuable things which I saw on the following days;
I will only inform you that I spent nine-and-thirty days in opening
the ninety-nine doors, and in admiration of everything that offered
itself to my view. There now remained only the hundredth, which
I was forbidden to touch. The fortieth day since the departure of
the charming princesses now arrived. If I had been able, only for
that one day, to have had the power over myself I ought to have
had, I should have been the happiest instead of the most miserable
of men. They would have returned the next day, and the pleasure
I should have experienced in receiving them ought to have acted as
a restraint upon my curiosity; but through a weakness, which I
shall never cease to lament, I yielded to the temptation of some evil
spirit, who did not suffer me to rest till I had subjected myself to
the pain and punishment I have since experienced.
I opened the fatal door, though I had promised not to attempt it.
Before I even set my foot within, a very agreeable odour struck
me, but so powerful it made me faint. I soon, however, recovered,
but instead of profiting by such warning, instantly shutting the door,
and giving up all idea of satisfying my curiosity, I entered; having
first waited till the odour was lessened and dispersed through the
THE THIRD CALENDER. 91
air. I then felt no inconvenience from it. I found a very large and
vaulted room, the floor of which was strewed with saffron. It was
illuminated with lights made of aloe-wood and ambergris, and placed
on golden stands; these afforded a stong smell. The brightness caused
by these was still farther heightened by many lamps of silver and
gold, which were filled with oil composed of many perfumes.
Among the numerous objects which attracted my attention, was
a black horse, the best-formed and most beautiful that ever was seen.
I went close to it in order to observe it more attentively. The saddle
and bridle, which were on it, were of massive gold, richly worked.
On one side of its manger there was clean barley and sesame, and
the other was filled with rose-water; I then took hold of its bridle,
and led it towards the light, to examine it the better.. I mounted
it, and endeavoured to make it go, but as it would not move, I struck
it with a switch, which I had found in its magnificent stable. It
had hardly felt the stroke, before it began to neigh in a most dreadful
manner; then spreading its wings, which I had not till that moment
perceived, it rose so high in the air that I lost sight of the ground.
I now thought only of holding fast on its back; not did T a perience
any injury if I except the great terror with which I was seized
At length it began to descend towards the earth, and lighted upon
the terraced roof of a castle; then, without giving me time to get
down, it shook me so violently that I fell off behind, and with the
end of its tail it dashed out my right eye.
This was the way I became blind, and the prediction of the ten
young lords was now instantly brought to my recollection. The
horse itself immediately after spread its wings, took flight, and
disappeared. I rose up much afflicted at the misfortune, which I
had thus voluntarily brought upon myself. I traversed the whole
terrace, keeping my hand up to my eye, as I experienced very con-
siderable pain from the stroke. I then went down, and came to a
saloon, which I immediately recognized from observing ten sofas
disposed in a circle, and a single one in the middle less elevated; it
was, in fact, in the very castle whence I had been carried up by
The ten young lords were not in it at that time. I however
waited, and it was not long before they came, accompanied by the
old man. They did not seem at all astonished at seeing me, nor at
observing that I had lost my right eye. We are very sorry," they
said, "we cannot congratulate you on your return in the manner
we could have wished; but you know we were not the cause of your
misfortune." "It would be," I replied, "very wrong in me to
accuse you of it; I brought it entirely upon myself, and the fault
lies with me alone." If the unfortunate," answered they, can
derive any consolation from knowing that others are in the same
situation, we can afford you that satisfaction. Whatever may have
happened to you, be assured we have experienced the same. We
have equally enjoyed every species of pleasure for a whole year; and
we should have continued in the enjoyment of the same happiness,
if we had not opened the golden door during the absence of the
princesses. You have not been more prudent than we were, and
92 THE ARABIAN NIGHTS ENTERTAINMENTS.
you have experienced the same punishment. We wish we could
receive you into our society, to undergo the same penance we are
performing, and of which we know not the duration; but we have
before informed you of the motives which prevent us. You must,
therefore, take your departure and go to the court of Bagdad, where
you will meet with the person who will be able to decide your fate."
They pointed out the road I was to follow; I then took my leave
During my journey, I shaved my beard and eyebrows, and put on
the habit of a calender. I was a long time on the road, and it was
only this evening that I arrived in this city. At the entrance of
one of the gates I encountered these two calenders, my brethren,
who were equally strangers with myself. We were all much sur-
prised with each other at the singular circumstance of having each
lost our right eye. We had not, however, much leisure to converse
on the subject of our mutual disgraceful misfortune. We had only
time, madam, to implore your assistance, which you have so gener-
ously afforded us.
When the third calender had finished the recital of his history,
Zobeide, addressing herself both to him and his brethren, said,
"Depart, you are all three at liberty to go wherever you please."
"Pardon, madam," answered one of them, "our curiosity, and
permit us to stay and hear the adventures of these gentlemen, who
ave not yet spoken." The lady then turned to the side where
the caliph, the vizier Giafar, and Mesrour were, and desired each of
them to relate his history.
The grand vizier, Giafar, who was always prepared to speak, im-
mediately answered ZobeidB. Madam," said he, we have only
to repeat to you what we already related before we entered, that we
are merchants of Moussoul, who are come to Bagdad for the purpose
of trading with our merchandise, and happening accidentally to pass
through your street, we heard the sound of gaiety, and determined
to knock at the door."
Zobeide, when he had finished, after some hesitation agreed to
pardon them also, but ordered them all instantly to quit the house,
which they did without replying a word, for the presence of the
seven armed slaves served to make them very respectful. They
had no sooner left the house, and the door was shut, than the caliph
said to the three calenders, What, gentlemen, as you are strangers,
and but just arrived in this city, do you intend to do? and which
way do you think of going, as it is not yet daylight?" "This very
thing, sir," answered they, "muoh embarasses us." "Follow us
then," replied the caliph, "and we will relieve you from this diffi-
culty." He then whispered his vizier, and ordered him to conduct
them to his own house, and bring them to the palace in the morn-
ing. "I wish," added he, to have their adventures written, for
they are worthy of a place in the annals of my reign."
The vizier Giafar carried the three calenders home, the porter
went to his own house, and the caliph, accompanied by Mesrour,
returned to his palace. He retired to his couch, but his mind was
so entirely occupied by all the extraordinary things he had both
THE THREE CALENDERS &ND FIVE LADIES. 93
seen and heard, he was unable to close his eyes. The morning at
length broke. He immediately got up and went into the room
where he held his councils; he then gave audience, and seated him-
self on his throne.
It was not long before the grand vizier arrived, who directly went
through the usual ceremonies of respect. "Vizier," said the caliph to
him, "the business which is now before us is not very pressing; that
of the three ladies and the two black dogs is of more consequence, nor
will my mind be free from agitation till I am fully informed of
everything that has caused me so much astonishment. Go and order
these ladies to attend, and, at the same time, bring back the three
calenders with you. Begone, and remember I am impatient for
The vizier, who was well acquainted with the quick and violent
disposition of his master, hastened to obey him. He arrived at the
house of the ladies, and informed them, with as much politeness as
possible, of the orders he had received to conduct them to the caliph
-but did not hint at anything relative to what had passed the
The ladies immediately put on their veils and went along with
the vizier, who, in passing his own door, called for the calenders.
They had just learned that they had before seen the caliph, and had
even spoken to him without even knowing it was he. The vizier
brought them all to the palace, and executed his commission, with
so much diligence that the caliph was perfectly satisfied. This prince
ordered the ladies to stand behind the doorway, which led to his
own apartment, in order to preserve a certain decorum before the
officers of his household. He kept the three calenders near him, who
made it sufficiently apparent, by their respectful behaviour, that they
were not ignorant in whose presence they had the honour to appear.
When the ladies were seated, the caliph turned himself towards
them, and said, When I inform you, ladies, that I introduced my-
self to you last night, disguised as a merchant, I shall, without
doubt, cause you some alarm: you are afraid, probably, that you
offended me, and you think, perhaps, that I have ordered you to
come here only to show you some marks of my resentment; but be
of good courage, and be assured that I have forgotten what is past,
and that I am even very well satisfied with your conduct. I wish
that all the ladies of Bagdad were possessed of as much sense as I
have observed in you. I shall always remember the moderation
with which you conducted yourselves after the incivility of which
we were guilty towards you. I was then a simple merchant of
Moussoul, but I am now Haroun Alraschid, the seventh caliph of
the glorious house of Abbas. I have ordered you here only for the
sake of being informed who you are, and to inquire of you for what
reason one of you, after having ill-treated the two black dogs wept
with them. Nor am I less curious to learn why the bosom of an-
other became so covered with scars."
Though the caliph pronounced these words very distinctly, and
the three ladies understood them very well, the vizier Giafar, as was
the custom, did not fail to repeat them. The prince had no sooner
94 THE ARABIAN NIGHTS ENTERTAINMENTS.
encouraged Zobeid6 by this speech, which he addressed to her, than
she gave him the satisfaction he required, in the following manner.
Commander of the Faithful, the history which I am going to relate
to your majesty is probably one of the most surprising you have
ever heard. The two black dogs and myself are three sisters by the
same mother and father; and I shall, in the course of my narration,
inform you by what strange accident they have been transformed
into these animals. The two ladies who live with me, and who are
now here, are also my sisters by the same father, but by a different
mother. She whose bosom is covered with scars is called Amin,,
the name of the other is Safie, and I called Zobeide.
After the death of our father, the estate which he left us was
equally divided amongst us. When my two half-sisters had re-
ceived their share, they went and lived with their mother; my other
two sisters and I remained with ours, who was still alive, and who,
when she died, left a thousand sequins to each of us. When we had
received what belonged to us, my two elder sisters, for I am the
youngest, married. They of course went to live with their husbands,
and left me alone. Not long after their marriage, the husband of
my eldest sister sold everything he possessed, both of estate and
moveables, and with the money he thus got together, and with what
he received also with my sister, they both of them went over to
Africa. Her husband there squandered away, in good living
and dissipation, not only all his own fortune, but also that which
my sister brought him. At length finding himself reduced to the
greatest distress, he found out some pretext for a divorce, and drove
her from him.
She returned to Bagdad, but not without suffering almost in-
credible evils during so long a journey. She came to seek a refuge
at my house, in a state so deserving of pity, that she would have
excited it even in the most obdurate hearts. I received her with
every mark of affection she could expect from me; and I said to her,
"You are my elder sister, and I shall always look upon you as a
mother. During your absence, God has caused the little fortune
which has fallen to my lot to prosper, and the occupation I have
followed has been that of breeding and bringing up silk-worms. Be
assured that everything I possess is equally yours."
From this time we lived together in the same house for many
months in perfect harmony. We often talked about our other
sister, and were much surprised at never hearing anything of her.
At last she unexpectedly arrived, and in as miserable a state as the
eldest had done. Her husband had ill-treated her in a similar man-
ner, and I received her with the same kindness.
A year passed, and we continued on the best terms. Observing
that God had blessed my small fortune, I determined to make a
sea voyage, and risk some part of it in commercial speculations.