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ARABIAN NIGHTS ENTERTAINMENTS
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THE TALISMAN IS DISCOVERED IN ONE OF THE JARS
THE ARABIAN NIGHTS
SELECTED AND EDITED
LONGMANS, GREEN, AND
39 PATERNOSTER ROW, LONDON
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LONoGANs, GREEN, & Co.
EVELYN AND MARJORY SELLAR
INV M 3EMORY OF
URRARD AND BONNY DUNDEE
THE stories in the Fairy Books have generally been
such as old women in country places tell to their
grandchildren. Nobody knows how old they are, or
who told them first. The children of Ham, Shem,
and Japhet may have listened to them in the Ark,
on wet days. Hector's little boy may have heard
them in Troy Town, for it is certain that Homer
knew them, and that some of them were written
down in Egypt about the time of Moses.
People in different countries tell them differently,
but they are always the same stories, really, whether
among little Zulus, at the Cape, or little Eskimo,
near the North Pole. The changes are only in
matters of manners and customs; such as wearing
clothes or not, meeting lions who talk in the warm
countries, or talking bears in the cold countries.
There are plenty of kings and queens in the fairy
tales, just because long ago there were plenty of
kings in the country. A gentleman who would be
a squire now was a kind of king in Scotland in very
old times, and the same in other places. These old
stories, never forgotten, were taken down in writing
x PREFA CE
in different ages, but mostly in this century, in all
sorts of languages. These ancient stories are the
contents of the Fairy Books.
Now The Arabian Nights,' some of which, but
not nearly all, are given in this volume, are only
fairy. tales of the East. The people of Asia, Arabia,
and Persia told them in their own way, not for
children, but for grown-up people. There were no
novels then, nor any printed books, of course; but
there were people whose profession it was to amuse
men and women by telling tales. They dressed the
fairy stories up, and made the characters good
Mahommedans, living in Bagdad or India. The
events were often supposed to happen in the reign
of the great Caliph, or ruler of the Faithful, Haroun
al Raschid, who lived in Bagdad in 786-808 A.D.
The vizir who accompanies the Caliph was also a
real person of the great family of the Barmecides.
He was put to death by the Caliph in a very cruel
way, nobody ever knew why. The stories must
have been told in their present shape a good long
while after the Caliph died, when nobody knew very
exactly what had really happened. At last some
storyteller thought of writing down the tales, and
fixing them into a kind of framework, as if they
had all been narrated to a cruel Sultan by his wife.
Probably the tales were written down about the
time when Edward I. was fighting Robert Bruce.
But changes were made in them at different dates,
and a great deal that is very dull and stupid was put
in, and plenty of verses. Neither the verses nor the
dull pieces are given in this book.
People in France and England knew almost
nothing about 'The Arabian Nights' till the reigns
of Queen Anne and George I., when they were trans-
lated into French by Monsieur Galland. Grown-
up people were then very fond of fairy tales, and
they thought these Arab stories the best that they
had ever read. They were delighted with Ghouls
(who live among the tombs) and Geni, who seem to
be a kind of ogres, and with Princesses who work
magic spells, and with Peris, who are Arab fairies.
Sindbad had adventures which perhaps came out
of the Odyssey of Homer; in fact, all the East had
contributed its wonders, and sent them to Europe
in one parcel. Young men once made a noise at
Monsieur Galland's windows in the dead of night,
and asked him to tell them one of his marvellous
tales. Nobody talked of anything but dervishes and
vizirs, rocs and peris. The stories were translated
from French into all languages, and only Bishop
Atterbury complained that the tales were not likely
to be true, and had no moral. The Bishop was
presently banished for being on the side of Prince
Charlie's father, and had leisure to repent of being
In this book 'The Arabian Nights are translated
from the French version of Monsieur Galland, who
dropped out the poetry and a great deal of what
the Arabian authors thought funny, though it seems
wearisome to us. In this book the stories are
shortened here and there, and omissions are made
of pieces only suitable for Arabs and old gentlemen.
The translations are by the writers of the tales in
the Fairy Books, and the pictures are by Mr. Ford.
I can remember reading The Arabian Nights'
when I was six years old, in dirty yellow old volumes
of small type with no pictures, and I hope children
who read them with Mr. Ford's pictures will be as
happy as I was then in the company of Aladdin and
Sindbad the Sailor.
The Story of the Merchant and the Genius 6
The Story of the First Old Man and of the Hind 13
The Story of the Second Old Man and of the Two Black Dogs 19
The Story of the Fisherman 23
The Story of the Greek King and the Physician Douban 29
The Story of the Husband and the Parrot 32
The Story of the Vizir who was Punished 34
The Story of the Young King of the Black Isles 48
Story of the Three Calenders, sons of Kings, and, of Five
Ladies of Bagdad 54
The Story of the First Calender, son of a King .68
The Story of the Second Calender, son of a King 75
The Story of the Envious Man, and of Him who was Envied 86
The Story of the Third Calender, son of a King 102
The Seven Voyages of Sindbad the Sailor 122
First Voyage 126
Second Voyage 131
Third Voyage .141
Fourth Voyage 153
Fifth Voyage 163
Sixth Voyage 173
Seventh and Last Voyage 180
The Little Hunchback
The Story of the Barber's Fifth Brother .
The Story of the Barber's Sixth Brother
The Adventures of Prince Camaralzaman and the Princess
Noureddin and the Fair Persian .
Aladdin and the Wonderful Lamp
The Adventures of Haroun-al-Raschid, Caliph of Bagdad 316
Story of the Blind Baba-Abdlla 320
The Story of Sidi-Nouman 31
Story of Ali Cogia, Merchant of Bagdad. 346
The Enchanted Horse 358
The Story of Two Sisters who were Jealous of their
Younger Sister .. 390
The Talisman is discovered in one of the Jars
The Genius and the Merchants .
The Calf begs for its Life
The Genius comes out of the Jar
The Girl upsets the Frying-pan .
I became Half Man and Half Marble.
Zobeida prepares to whip the Dog .
The Genius commands the Young Man to slay the
The Princess veils herself when she sees the
The Overthrow of the Brazen Horseman .
Agib entertained by the Ladies
The Black Horse leaves Agib on the Terrace
Sindbad carried off by the Roc
To facep. 8
Sindbad in the Valley of Serpents To face p. 136
The Giant enters 142
The Giants hurl Rocks at Sindbad and his
Sindbad lowered into the Cavern ,, 156
The First Roc aims a Stone at the Ship ,, 164
The Old Man of the Sea ,, 168
The Lady shows Alnaschar the Coffers packed
with Gold 204
Caschcasch is unable to decide which is theFaircr ,, 226
Badoura recognizes Camaralzaman .. 240
The Bird flies off with the Talisman 246
The Talisman is discovered in one of the Jars 258
Aladdin's Mother brings the Slaves with the
Forty Basins of Gold before the Sultan 302
The Dervish separates the Smoke and the Palace
appears in the Rock 322
She opened the Gate, intending to crush me as I
passed through 336
The Indian shows off the Enchanted Horse
before the King of Persia 358
Prince Firouz Schah in the Chamber of the
Princess of Bengal 366
The Prince and Princess arrive at the Capital
of Persia on the Enchanted Horse 374
The Prince of Persia and the Princess of Bengal
escape from' the Sultan of Cashmere 386
The Princess climbs over the Black Stones .. 408
Parizade shows the Singing Tree to the Sultan. 420
Scheherazade, Dinarzade, and the Sultan 3
The Prince falls in with the Ogress 35
The King turns over the Leaves of the Boo 39
The Man is astonished at the Beauty of the Porteress 55
The King's Son begs for his Life 71
' She cut the lion's body into two pieces' 98
' I burn, I burn 100
xvi ILL USTBATIONS
The Young Men sew up Agib in the Sheepskin .113
Hindbad curses his Fate 123
Sindbad left by the Elephants in their Burial-place 183
The Death of the Hunchback 189
Alnaschar kicks over his Basket. .199
The Barmecide's Feast 211
She could not weary gazing at Camaralzaman .221
Camaralzaman ill-treats the Grand-Vizir 231
The King of China looks at the Ring on the Princess's Finger. 235
Camaralzaman watches the Birds 255
The Beautiful Persian is brought to Khacan .269
Noureddin gets rid of the two little Slaves 273
Saouy tries to take the Beautiful Persian from Noureddin .279
The Fair Persian lights the Candles 285
Noureddin offers the Beautiful Persian to the Fisherman 289
Noureddin led to Execution 293
The Slave of the Ring appears to Aladdin. 297
The African Magician gets the Lamp from the Slave 309
The Death of the African Magician 313
The Dervish anoints the Right Eye of Baba-Abdalla 329
Amina eating the Rice 333
Amina is transformed into a Horse 344
The Gold Pieces fall out of the Jar of Olives 349
The Sultan of Cashmere rescues the Princess of Bengal
from the Indian 381
The Sisters launch the Cradle in the Canal 393
Prince Bahman prunes the Dervish's Beard 401
THE ARABIAN NIGHTS
IN the chronicles of the ancient dynasty of the Sassa-
nidae, who reigned, for about four hundred years, from
Persia to the borders of China, beyond the great river
Ganges itself, we read the praises of one of the kings of
the race, who was said to be the best monarch of his time.
His subjects loved him, and his neighbours feared him,
and when he died he left his kingdom in a more pros-
perous and powerful condition than any king had done
The two sons who survived him loved each other
tenderly, and it was a real grief to the elder, Schahriar,
that the laws of the empire forbade him to share his
dominions with his brother Schahzeman. Indeed, after
ten years, during which this state of things had, not
ceased to trouble him, Schahriar cut off the country of
Great Tartary from the Persian Empire and made his
Now the Sultan Schahriar had a wife whom he loved
more than all the world, and his greatest happiness was
to surround her with splendour, and to give her the finest
dresses and the most beautiful jewels. It was therefore
with the deepest shame and sorrow that he accidentally
discovered, after several years, that she had deceived him
completely, and her whole conduct turned out to have
been so bad, that he felt himself obliged to carry out the
THE ARABIAN NIGHTS
law of the land, and order the grand-vizir to put her to
death. The blow was so heavy that his mind almost
gave way, and he declared that he was quite sure that at
bottom all women were as wicked as the Sultana, if you
could only find them out, and that the fewer the world
contained the better. So every evening he married a
fresh wife and had her strangled the following morning
before the grand-vizir, whose duty it was to provide these
unhappy brides for the Sultan. The poor man fulfilled
his task with reluctance, but there was no escape, and
every day saw a girl married and a wife dead.
This behaviour caused the greatest horror in the town,
where nothing was heard but cries and lamentations. In
one house was a father weeping for the loss of his
daughter, in another perhaps a mother trembling for the
fate of her child; and instead of the blessings that had
formerly been heaped on the Sultan's head, the air was
now full of curses.
The grand-vizir himself was the father of two
daughters, of whom the elder was called Scheherazade,
and the younger Dinarzade. Dinarzade had no par-
ticular gifts to distinguish her from other girls, but her
sister was clever and courageous in the highest degree.
Her father had given her the best masters in philosophy,
medicine, history and the fine arts, and besides-all this,
her beauty excelled that of any girl in the kingdom of
One day, when the grand-vizir was talking to his
eldest daughter, who was his delight and pride, Schehera-
zade said to him, 'Father, I have a favour to ask of you.
Will you grant it to me?'
'I can refuse you nothing,' replied he, 'that is just
'Then listen,' said Scheherazade. 'I am determined
to stop this barbarous practice of the Sultan's, and to
deliver the girls and mothers from the awful fate that
hangs over them.'
THE ARABIAN NIGHTS 3
'It would be an excellent thing to do,' returned the
grand-vizir, 'but how do you propose to accomplish it ?'
My father,' answered Scheherazade, 'it is you who
have to provide the Sultan daily with a fresh wife, and
SCHERERAZADE, DINARZADE, AN'D THE SULTAN
I implore you, by all the affection you bear me, to allow
the honour to fall upoh me.'
Have you lost your senses?' cried the grand-vizir,
starting back in horror. What has put such a thing into
your head? You.ought to know by this time what it
means to be the Sultan's bride !'
'Yes, my father, I know it well,' replied she, and I
THE ARABIAN NIGHTS
am not afraid to think of it. If I fail, my death will be
a glorious one, and if I succeed I shall have done a great
service to my country.'
'It is of no use,' said the grand-vizir, 'I shall never
consent. If the Sultan was to order me to plunge a
dagger in your heart, I should have to obey. What a
task for a father Ah, if you do not fear death, fear at
any rate the anguish you would cause me.
'Once again, my father,' said Scheherazade, 'will
you grant me what I ask ? '
'What, are you still so obstinate?' exclaimed the
grand-vizir. 'Why are you so resolved upon your own
But the maiden absolutely refused to attend to her
father's words, and at length, in despair, the grand-vizir
was obliged to give way, and went sadly to the palace
to tell the Sultan that the following evening he would
bring him Scheherazade.
The Sultan received this news with the greatest
'How have you made up your mind,' he asked, 'to
sacrifice your own daughter to me ?'
Sire,' answered the grand-vizir, 'it is her own wish.
Even the sad fate that awaits her could not hold her back.'
Let there be no mistake, vizir,' said the Sultan.
Remember you will have to take her life yourself. If
you refuse, I swear that your head shall pay forfeit.'
Sire,' returned the vizir. Whatever the cost, I will
obey you. Though a father, I am also your subject.' So
the Sultan told the. grand-vizir he might bring his
daughter as soon as he liked.
The vizir took back this news to Scheherazade, who
received it as if it had been the most pleasant thing in
the world. She thanked her father warmly for yielding
to her wishes, and, seeing him still bowed down with
grief, told him that she hoped he would never repent
having allowed her to marry the Sultan. Then she went
THE ABABIAN NIGHTS
to prepare herself for the marriage, and begged that her
sister Dinarzade should be sent for to speak to her.
When they were alone, Scheherazade addressed her
My dear sister; I want your help in a very important
affair. My father is going to take me to the palace, to
celebrate my marriage with the Sultan. When his
Highness receives me, I shall beg him, as a last favour,
to let you sleep in our chamber, so that I may have
your company during the last night I am alive. If, as
I hope, he grants me my wish, be sure that you wake
me an hour before the dawn, and speak to me in these
words: "My sister, if you are not asleep, I beg you,
before the sun rises, to tell me one of your charming
stories." Then I shall begin, and I hope by this means
to deliver the people from the terror that reigns over
them.' Dinarzade replied that she would do with
pleasure what her sister wished.
When the usual hour arrived the grand-vizir con-
ducted Scheherazade to the palace, and left her alone
with the Sultan, who bade her raise her veil and was
amazed at her beauty. But seeing her eyes full of tears,
he asked what was the matter. Sire,' replied Schehera-
zade, 'I have a sister who loves me as tenderly as I love
her. Grant me the favour of allowing her to sleep this
night in the same room, as it is the last we shall be
Togetherr' Schahriar consented to Scheherazade's petition,
and Dinarzade was sent for.
An hour before daybreak Dinarzade awoke, and ex-
claimed, as she had promised, 'My dear sister, if you are
not asleep, tell me I pray you, before the sun rises, one of
your charming stories. It is the last time that I shall
have the pleasure of hearing you.
Scheherazade did not answer her sister, but turned to
the Sultan. Will your highness permit me to do as my
sister asks ?' said she.
'Willingly,' he answered. So Scheherazade began.
TIE ARABIAN NIGHTS
THE STORY OF THE MERCHANT AND
SIRE, there was once upon a time a merchant who
possessed great wealth, in land and merchandise, as
well as in ready money. He was obliged from time to
time to take journeys to arrange his affairs. One day,
having to go a long way from home, he mounted his
horse, taking with him a small wallet in which he had
put a few biscuits and dates, because he had to pass
through a desert where- no food was to be got. He
'arrived without any mishap, and, having finished his
business, set out on his return. On the fourth day of his
journey, the heat of the sun being very great, he turned
out of his road to rest under some trees. He found at
the foot of a large walnut-tree a fountain of clear and
running water. He dismounted, fastened his horse to a
branch of the tree, and sat down by the fountain, after
having taken from his wallet some of his dates and
biscuits. -Whilst eating the dates he threw the stones
right and left. When he had finished this frugal meal
he washed his face and hands in the fountain.
Whilst he was thus employed he saw an enormous
genius, white with rage, coming towards him, with a
scimitar in his hand.
Arise,' he cried in a terrible voice, 'and let me kill
you as you have killed my son !'
As he uttered these words he gave a frightful yell.
The merchant, quite as much terrified at the hideous face
of the monster as at his words, answered him tremblingly,
THE MERCHANT AND THE GENIUS 7
' Alas, good sir, what can I have done to -you to deserve
I shall kill you,' repeated the genius, 'as you have
killed my son.
'But,' said the merchant, 'how can I have killed your
son? I do not know him, and I have never even seen
'When you arrived here did not you sit down on the
ground?' asked the genius, 'and did you not take some
dates from your wallet, and whilst eating them did not
you throw the stones about ?'
Yes,' said the merchant, 'I certainly did so.'
'Then,' said the genius, 'I tell you you have killed my
son, for whilst you were throwing about the stones, my
son passed by, and one of them struck him in the eye
and killed him. So I shall kill you.'
'Ah, sir, forgive me !' cried the merchant.
'I will have no mercy on you,' answered the genius.
'But I killed your son quite unintentionally, so I
implore you to spare my life.'
'No,' said the genius, 'I shall kill you as you killed
my sob,' and so saying he seized the merchant by the
arm, threw him on the ground, and lifted his sabre to cut
off his head.
The merchant, protesting his innocence, bewailed his
wife and children, and tried pitifully to avert his fate.
The genius, with his raised scimitar, waited till he had
finished, but was not in the least touched.
Scheherazade, at this point, seeing that it was day,
and knowing that the Sultan always rose very early to
attend the council, stopped speaking.
'Indeed, sister,' said Dinarzade,' this is a wonderful
The rest is still more wonderful,' replied Schehera-
zade, 'and you would say so, if the Sultan would allow me
to live another day, and would give me leave to tell it you
the next night.'
THE ARABIAN NIGHTS
Schahriar, who had been listening to Scheherazade
with pleasure, said to himself,'I will wait till to-morrow;
I can always have her killed when I have heard the end
of her story.'
All this time the grand-vizir was in a terrible state
of anxiety. But he was much delighted when he saw
the Sultan enter the council-chamber without giving the
terrible command that he was expecting.
The next morning, before the day broke, Dinarzade
said to her sister, Dear sister, if you are awake I pray
you to go on with your story.'
The Sultan did not wait for Scheherazade to ask his
leave. Finish,' said he, 'the story of the genius and the
merchant. I am curious to hear the end.'
So Scheherazade went on with the story. This hap-
pened every morning. The Sultana told a story, and the
Sultan let her live to finish it.
When the merchant saw that the genius was deter-
mined to cut off his head, he said: 'One word more, I
entreat you. Grant me a little delay; just a short time to
go home to bid my wife and children farewell, and to
make my will. When I have done this I will come back
here, and you shall kill me.'
'But,' said the genius, 'if I grant you the delay you
ask, I am afraid you will not come back.'
'I give you my word of honour,' answered the mer-
chant, 'that I will come back without fail.'
How long do you require ?' asked the genius.
'I ask you for a year's grace,' replied the merchant.
'I promise you that to-morrow twelvemonth, I shall be
waiting under these trees to give myself up to you.'
On this the genius left him near the fountain and
The merchant, having recovered from his fright,
mounted his horse, and went on his road.
When he arrived home his wife and children received
him with the greatest joy. But instead of embracing
THE GENIUS AND THE MERCHANTS
THE MERCHANT AND THE GENIUS 11
them he began to weep so bitterly that they soon guessed
that something terrible was the matter.
'Tell us, I pray you,' said his wife, what has hap-
Alas !' answered her husband,' I have only a year to
Then he told them what had passed between him and
the genius, and how he had given his word to return at
the end of a year to be killed. When they heard this
sad news they were in despair, and wept much.
The next day the merchant began to settle his affairs,
and first of all to pay his debts. He gave presents to his
friends, and large alms to the poor. He set his slaves at
liberty, and provided for his wife and children. The year
soon passed away, and he was obliged to depart. When
he tried to say good-bye he was quite overcome with
grief, and with difficulty tore himself away. At length he
reached the place where he had first seen the genius, on
the very day that he had appointed. He dismounted, and
sat down at the edge of the fountain, where he awaited
the genius in terrible suspense.
Whilst he was thus waiting an old man leading a
hind came towards him. They greeted one another, and
then the old man said to him, 'May I ask, brother, what
brought you to this desert place, where there are so
many evil genii about? To see these beautiful trees one
would imagine it was inhabited, but it is a dangerous
place to stop long in.'
The merchant told the old man why he was obliged
to come there. He listened in astonishment.
'This is a most marvellous affair. I should like to be
a witness of your interview with the genius.' So saying
he sat down by the merchant.
While they were talking another old nan came up,
followed by two black dogs. He greeted them, and
asked what they were doing in this place. The old
man who was leading the hind told him the adven-
THE ABABIAN NIGH-TS
ture of the merchant and the genius. The second old
man had no sooner heard the story than he, too, decided
to stay there to see what would happen. He sat down by
the others, and was talking, when a third old man arrived.
He asked why the merchant who was with them looked
so sad. They told him the story, and he also resolved to
see what would pass between the genius and the mer-
chant, so waited with the rest.
They soon saw in the distance a thick smoke, like a
cloud of dust. This smoke came nearer and nearer, and
then, all at once, it vanished, and they saw the genius,
who, without speaking to them, approached the mer-
chant, sword in hand, and, taking him by the arm, said,
'Get up, and let me kill you as you killed my son.
The merchant and the three old men began to weep
Then the old man leading the hind threw himself
at the monster's feet and said, Prince of the
Genii, I beg of you to stay your fury and to listen to
me. I am going to tell you my story and that of the
hind I have with me, and if you find it more marvellous
than that of the merchant whom you are about to kill,
I hope that you will do away with a third part of his
The genius considered some time, and then he said,
' Very well, I agree to this.'
THE STORY OF THE FIRST OLD -34N
AND OF THE HIND
I AM now going to begin my story (said the old man),
so please attend.
This hind that you see with me is my wife. We
have no children of our own, therefore I adopted the son
of a favourite slave, and determined to make him my
My wife, however, took a great dislike to both
mother and child, which she concealed from me till too
late. When my adopted son was about ten years old
I was obliged to go on a journey. Before I went I
entrusted to my wife's keeping both the mother and
child, and begged her to take care of them during my
absence, which lasted a whole year. During this time
she studied magic in order to carry out her wicked
scheme. When she had learnt enough she took my son
into a distant place and changed him into a calf. Then
she gave him to my steward, and told him to look after a
calf she had bought. She also changed the slave into a
cow, which she sent to my steward.
When I returned I inquired after my slave and the
child. 'Your slave is dead,' she said, 'and as for your
son, I have not seen him for two months, and I do not
know where he is.'
I was grieved to hear of my slave's death, but as my
son had only disappeared, I thought I should soon find
him. Eight months, however, passed, and still no tidings
of him; then the feast of Bairam came.
THE RABAIA.N NIGHTS
To celebrate it I ordered my steward to bring me a
very fat cow to sacrifice. He did so. The cow that he
brought was my unfortunate slave. I bound her, but
just as I was about to kill her she began to low most
piteously, and I saw that her eyes were streaming with
tears. It seemed to me most extraordinary, and, feeling
a movement of pity, I ordered the steward to lead her
away and bring another. MIy wife, who was present,
scoffed at my compassion, which made her malice of no
avail. 'What are you doing?' she cried. 'Kill this
cow. It is the best we have to sacrifice.'
To please her I tried again, but again the animal's
lows and tears disarmed me.
Take her away,' I said to the steward, and kill
her ; I cannot.'
The steward killed her, but on skinning her found
that she was nothing but bones, although she appeared
so fat. I was vexed.
'Keep her for yourself,' I said to the steward, 'and
if you have a fat calf bring that in her stead.'
In a short time he brought a very fat calf, which,
although I did not know it, was my son. It tried hard
to break its cord and come to me. It threw itself at my
feet, with its head on the ground, as if it wished to excite
my pity, and to beg me not to take away its life.
I was even more surprised and touched at this action
than I had been at the tears of the cow.
'Go,' I said to the steward, 'take back this calf, take
great care of it, and bring me another in its place
As soon as my wife heard me speak this she at once
cried out, 'What are you doing, husband? Do not
sacrifice any calf but this.'
'Wife,' I answered, 'I will not sacrifice this calf,' and,
in spite of all her remonstrances, I remained firm.
I had another calf killed; this one was led away. The
next day the steward asked to speak to me in private.
TIE CALF BEGS FOR ITS LIFE
THE FIRST OLD MAN AND THE HIND 17
'I have come,' he said, 'to tell you some news which
I think you will like to hear. I have a daughter who
knows magic. Yesterday, when I was leading back the
calf which you refused to sacrifice, I noticed that she
smiled, and then directly afterwards began to cry. I
asked her why she did so.'
'Father,' she answered, 'this calf is the son of our
master. I smile with joy at seeing him still alive, and
I weep to think of his mother, who was sacrificed
yesterday as a cow. These changes have been wrought
by our master's wife, who hated the mother and son.'
At these words, 0 genius,' continued the old man,
'I leave you to imagine my astonishment. I went imme-
diately with the steward to speak with his daughter
myself. First of all I went to the stable to see my son,
and he replied in his dumb way to all my caresses.
When the steward's daughter came I asked her if she
could change my son back to his proper shape.'
Yes, I can,' she replied, 'on two conditions. One is
that you will give him me for a husband, and the other
that you will let me punish the woman who changed
him into a calf.'
To the first condition,' I answered, 'I agree with all
my heart, and I will give you an ample dowry. To the
second I also agree, only I beg you to spare her life.'
'That will I do,' she replied; 'I will treat her as she
treated your son.
Then she took a vessel of water and pronounced over
it some words I did not understand; then, on throwing
the water over him, he became immediately a young
man once more.
My son, my dear son,' I exclaimed, kissing him in a
transport of joy. This kind maiden has rescued you
from a terrible enchantment, and I am sure that out
of gratitude you will marry her.'
He consented joyfully, but before they were married
the young girl changed my wife into a hind, and it is
THE ARABIAN NIGHTS
she whom you see before you. I wished her to have
this form rather than a stranger one, so that we could
see her in the family without repugnance.
Since then my son has become a widower and has
gone travelling. I am now going in search of him, and
not wishing to confide my wife to the care of other
people, I am taking her with me. Is not this a most
marvellous tale ?
'It is indeed,' said the genius, 'and because of it I
grant to you the third part of the punishment of this
When the first old man had finished his story, the
second, who was leading the two black dogs, said to the
genius, 'I am going to tell you what happened to me,
and I am sure that you will find my story even more
astonishing than the one to which you have just been
listening. But when I have related it, will you grant me
also the third part of the merchant's punishment?'
'Yes,' replied the genius, 'provided that your story
surpasses that of the hind.'
With this agreement the second old man began in
THE STOBY OF THE SECOND OLD MAN,
AND OF THE TWO BLACK DOGS
GREAT prince of the genii, you must know that we are
three brothers-these two black dogs and myself. Our
father died, leaving us each a thousand sequins. With
this sum we all three took up the same profession, and
became merchants. A short time after we had opened
our shops, my eldest brother, one of these two dogs,
resolved to travel in foreign countries for the sake of
merchandise. With this intention he sold all he had
and bought merchandise suitable to the voyages he was
about to make. He set out, and was away a whole year.
At the end of this time a beggar came to my shop.
'Good-day,' I said. 'Good-day,' he answered; 'is it
possible that you do not recognize me?' Then I looked
at him closely and saw he was my brother. I made him
come into my house, and asked him how he had fared in
'Do not question me,' he replied, 'seeing me, you see
all I have. It would but renew my trouble to tell of all
the misfortunes that have befallen me in a year, and have
brought me to this state.'
I shut up my shop, paid him every attention, taking
him to the bath, and giving him my most beautiful robes.
I examined my accounts, and found that I had doubled
my capital-that is, that I now possessed two thousand
sequins. I gave my brother half, saying: 'Now, brother,
you can forget your losses.' He accepted them with
joy, and we lived together a's we had before.
Some time afterwards my second brother wished also
THE ARABIAN NIGHTS
to sell his business, and travel. My eldest brother and
I did all we could to dissuade him, but it was of no use.
He joined a caravan and set out. He came back at the
end of a year in the same state as his elder brother. I
took care of him, and as I had a thousand sequins to spare
I gave them to him, and he re-opened his shop.
One day, my two brothers came to me to propose that
we should make a journey and trade. At first I refused
to go. 'You travelled,' I said, and what did you gain?'
But they came to me repeatedly, and after having held
out for five years I at last gave way. But when they had
made their preparation, and they began to buy the
merchandise we needed, they found they had spent every
piece of the thousand sequins I had given them. I did
not reproach them. I divided my six thousand sequins
with them, giving a thousand to each and keeping one
for myself, and the other three I buried in a corner of
my house. We bought merchandise, loaded a vessel with
it, and set forth with a favourable wind.
After two months' sailing we arrived at a seaport,
where we disembarked and did a great trade. Then we
bought the merchandise of the country, and were just
going to set sail once more, when I was stopped on the
shore by a beautiful though very poorly dressed woman.
She came up to me, kissed my hand, and implored me to
marry her, and to take her on board. At first I refused,
but she begged so hard and promised to be such a good
wife to me, that at last I consented. I got her some beau-
tiful dresses, and after having married her, we embarked and
set sail. During the voyage, I discovered so many good
qualities in my wife that I began to love her more and
more. But my brothers began to be jealous of my
prosperity, and set to work to plot against my life. One
night when we were sleeping they threw my wife and
myself into the sea. My wife, however, was a fairy, and
so she did not let me drown, but transported me to an
island. When the day dawned she said to me,
SECOND OLD MAN AND TWO BLACK DOGS 21
'When I saw you on the sea-shore I took a great
fancy to you, and wished to try your good nature, so I
presented myself in the disguise you saw. Now I have
rewarded you by saving your life. But I am very angry
with your brothers, and I shall not rest till I have taken
I thanked the fairy for all that she had done for me,
but I begged her not to kill my brothers.
I appeased her wrath, and in a moment she trans-
ported me from the island where we were to the roof of
my house, and she disappeared a moment afterwards.
I went down, and opened the doors, and dug up the three
thousand sequins which I had buried. I went to the
place where my shop was, opened it, and received from
my fellow-merchants congratulations on my return.
When I went home, I saw two black dogs who came to
meet me with sorrowful faces. I was much astonished,
but the fairy who reappeared said to me,
'Do not be surprised to see these dogs; they are
your'two brothers. I have condemned them to remain for
ten years in these shapes.' Then, having told me where
I could hear news of her, she vanished.
The ten years are nearly passed, and I am on the
road to find her. As in passing I met this merchant and
the old man with the hind, I stayed with them.
This is my history, 0 prince of genii I Do not you
think it a most marvellous one ?
'Yes, indeed,' replied the genius, 'and I will give up to
you the third of the merchant's punishment.'
Then the third old man made the genius the same re-
quest as the other two had done, and the genius promised
him the last third of the merchant's punishment if his
story surpassed both the others.
So he told his history to the genius, but I cannot tell
you what it was, as I do not know.
But I do know that it was even more marvellous than
either of the others, so that the genius was astonished,
THE STORY OF THE FISHERMAN
SIRE, there was once upon a time a fisherman so old and
so poor that he could scarcely manage to support his wife
and three children. He went every day to fish very early,
and each day he made a rule not to throw his nets more
than four times. He started out one morning by moon-
light and came to the sea-shore. He undressed and
threw his nets, and as he was drawing them towards the
bank he felt a great weight. He thought he had caught
a large fish, and he felt very pleased. But a moment
afterwards, seeing that instead of a fish he only had in his
nets the carcase of an ass, he was much disappointed.
Vexed with having such a bad haul, when he had
mended his nets, which the carcase of the ass had
broken in several places, he threw them a second time.
In drawing them in he again felt a great weight, so
that he thought they were full of fish. But he only
found a large basket full of rubbish. He was much
0 Fortune,' he cried, do not trifle thus with me, a
poor fisherman, who can hardly support his family !'
So saying, he threw away the rubbish, and after having
washed his nets clean of the dirt, he threw them for the
third time. But he only drew in stones, shells, and mud.
He was almost in despair.
Then he threw his nets for the fourth time. When
he thought he had a fish he drew them in with a great
deal of trouble. There was no fish however, but he
found a yellow pot, which by its weight seemed full
THE ARABIAN NIGHTS
of something, and he noticed that it was fastened and
sealed with lead, with the impression of a seal. He was
delighted. 'I will sell it to the founder,' he said; with
the money I shall get for it I shall buy a measure of
He examined the jar on all sides; he shook it to see
if it would rattle. But he heard nothing, and so, judging
from the impression of the seal and the lid, he thought
there must be something precious inside. To find out, he
took his knife, and with a little trouble he opened it.
He turned it upside down, but nothing came out, which
surprised him very much. He set it in front of him, and
whilst he was looking at it attentively, such a thick smoke
came out that he had to step back a pace or two. This
smoke rose up to the clouds, and stretching over the sea
and the shore, formed a thick mist, which caused the
fisherman much astonishment. When all the smoke was
out of the jar it gathered itself together, and became a
thick mass in which appeared a genius, twice as large as
the largest giant. When he saw such a terrible-looking
monster, the fisherman would like to have run away, but
he trembled so with fright that he could not move a step.
'Great king of the genii,' cried the monster, 'I will
never again disobey you!'
At these words the fisherman took courage.
'What is this you are saying, great genius ? Tell me
your history and how you came to be shut up in that
At this, the genius looked at the fisherman haughtily.
'Speak to me more civilly,' he said, 'before I kill you.'
-' Alas why should you kill me?' cried the fisherman.
'I have just freed you; have you already forgotten
'No,' answered the genius; 'but that will not prevent
me from killing you; and I am only going to grant you
one favour, and that is to choose the manner of your
THE GENIUS COMES OUT OF THE JAR
THE STORY OF THE FISHERMAN
'But what have I done to you ?' asked the fisherman.
'I cannot treat you in any other way,' said the genius,
'and if you would know why, listen to my story.
'I rebelled against the king of the genii. To punish
me, he shut me up in this vase of copper, and he put on
the leaden cover his seal, which is enchantment enough
to prevent my coming out. Then he had the vase thrown
into the sea. During the first period of my captivity I
vowed that if anyone should free me before a hundred
years were passed, I- would make him rich even after his
death. But that century passed, and no one freed me.
In the second century I vowed that I would give all the
treasures in the world to my deliverer; but he never
In the third, I promised to make him a king, to be al-
ways near him, and to grant him three wishes every day;
but that century passed away as the other two had done,
and I remained in the same plight. At last I grew angry at
being a captive for so long, and I vowed that if anyone
would release me I would kill him at once, and would
only allow him to choose in what manner he should die.
So you see, as you have freed me to-day, choose in what
way you will die.'
The fisherman was very unhappy. 'What an un-
lucky man I am to have freed you! I implore you to
spare my life.'
'I have told you,' said the genius, 'that it is impossible.
Choose quickly; you are wasting time.'
The fisherman began to devise a plot.
'Since I must die,' he said,' before I choose the
manner of my death, I conjure you on your honour to
tell me if you really were in that vase?'
'Yes, I was,' answered the genius.
I really cannot believe it,' said the fisherman. 'That
vase could not contain one of your feet even, and how
could your whole body go in? I cannot believe it unless
I see you do the thing.'
THE ARABIAN NIGHTS
Then the genius began to change himself into smoke,
which, as before, spread over the sea and the shore, and
which, then collecting itself together, began to go back
into the vase slowly and evenly till there was nothing left
outside. Then a voice came from the vase which said to
the fisherman, 'Well, unbelieving fisherman, here I am
in the vase; do you believe me now?'
The fisherman instead of answering took the lid of
lead and shut it down quickly on the vase.
'Now, O genius,' he cried, 'ask pardon of me, and
choose by what death you will die! But no, it will be
better if I throw you in the sea whence I drew you out,
and I will build a house on the shore to warn fishermen
who come to cast their nets here, against fishing up such
a wicked genius as you are, who vows to kill the man
who frees you.'
At these words the genius did all he could to get out,
but he could not, because of the enchantment on the lid.
Then he tried to get out by cunning.
'If you will take off the cover,' he said, 'I will repay
'No,' answered the fisherman, 'if I trust myself to you
I am afraid you will treat me as a certain Greek king
treated the physician Douban. Listen, and I will tell
THE STORY OF THE GREEK KING AND
THE PHYSICIAN DOUBAN
IN the country of Zouman, in Persia, there lived a
Greek king. This king was a leper, and all his doctors
had been unable to cure him, when a very clever physi-
cian named Douban came to his court.
He was very learned in all languages, and knew a
great deal about herbs and medicines.
As soon as he was told of the king's illness he put on
his best robe and presented himself before the king.
' Sire,' said he, 'I know that no physician has been able
yet to cure your majesty, but if you will follow my
instructions, I will promise to cure you without any
medicines or outward application.'
The king listened to this proposal.
'If you are clever enough to do this,' he said, I
promise to make you and your descendants rich for
The physician went to his house and made a polo
club, the handle of which he hollowed out, and put in
it the drug he wished to use. Then he made a ball,
and with these things he went next day to the king.
He told him that he wished him to play at polo.
Accordingly the king mounted his horse and went
to the place where he played. There the physician
approached him with the bat he had made, saying,
'Take this, sire, and strike the ball till you feel your
hand and whole body in a glow. When the remedy
that is in the handle of the club is warmed by your
THE ARABIAN NIGHTS
hand it will penetrate throughout your body. Then you
must return to your palace, bathe, and go to sleep, and
when you awake to-morrow morning you will be cured.'
The king took the club and urged his horse after
the ball which he had thrown. He struck it, and then it
was hit back by the courtiers who were playing with
him. When he felt very hot he stopped playing, and
went back to the palace, went into the bath, and did all
that the physician had said. The next day when he
arose he found, to his great joy and astonishment, that he
was completely cured. When he entered his audience-
chamber all his courtiers, who were eager to see if the
wonderful cure had been effected, were overwhelmed with
The physician Douban entered the hall and bowed
low to the ground. The king, seeing him, called him, made
him sit by his side, and showed him every mark of
That evening he gave him a long and rich robe of
state, and presented him with two thousand sequins.
The following days he continued to load him with
Now the king had a grand-vizir who was avaricious,
and envious, and a very bad man. He grew extremely
jealous of the physician, and determined to bring about
In order to do this he asked to speak in private with
the king, saying that he had a most important communi-
cation to make.
What is it ?' asked the king.
'Sire,' answered the grand-vizir,' it is most dangerous
for a monarch to confide in a man whose faithfulness is
not proved. You do not know that this physician is not
a traitor come here to assassinate you.'
'I am sure,' said the king, 'that this man is the most
faithful and virtuous of men. If he wished to take my
life, why did he cure me? Cease to speak against him.
THE GREEIK KING AND THE PHYSICIAN 31
I see what it is, you are jealous of him; but do not think
that I can be turned against him. I remember well what
a vizir said to King Sindbad, his master, to prevent him
from putting the prince, his son, to death.'
What the Greek king said excited the vizir's curiosity,
and h3 said to him, Sire, I beg your majesty to have
the condescension to tell me what the vizir said to King
'This vizir,' he replied, told King Sindbad that one
ought not to believe everything that a mother-in-law says,
and told him this story.'
THE ARABIAN NIGHTS
THE STORY OF THE HUSBAND AND
A GOOD man had a beautiful wife, whom he loved
passionately, and never left if possible. One day, when
he was obliged by important business to go away from
her, he went to a place where all kinds of birds are sold
and bought a parrot. This parrot not only spoke well,
but it had the gift of telling all that had been done before
it. He brought it home in a cage, and asked his wife to
put it in her room, and to take great care of it while he
was away. Then he departed. On his return he asked
the parrot what had happened during his absence, and
the parrot told him some things which made him scold
She thought that one of her slaves must have been
telling tales of her, but they told her it was the parrot,
and she resolved to revenge herself on him.
When her husband next went away for one day, she
told one slave to turn under the bird's cage a hand-mill;
another to throw water down from above the cage, and a
third to take a mirror and turn it in front of its eyes, from
left to right by the light of a candle. The slaves did this
for part of the night, and did it very well.
The next day when the husband came back he asked
the parrot what he had seen. The bird replied, 'My
good master, the lightning, thunder and rain disturbed
me so much all night long, that I cannot tell you what I
The husband, who knew that it had neither rained nor
THE HUSBAND AND THE PABBOT 33
thundered in the night, was convinced that the parrot
was not speaking the truth, so he took him out of the
cage and threw him so roughly on the ground that he
killed him. Nevertheless he was sorry afterwards, for he
found that the parrot had spoken the truth.
When the Greek king,' said the fisherman to the
genius,' had finished the story of the parrot, he added
to the vizir, "And so, vizir, I shall not listen to
you, and I shall take care of the physician, in case I
repent as the husband did when he had killed the
parrot." But the vizir was determined. Sire," he
replied, the death of the parrot was nothing. But when
it is a question of the life of a king it is better to sacrifice
the innocent than save the guilty. It is no uncertain
thing, however. The physician, Douban, wishes to
assassinate you. My zeal prompts me to disclose this to
your Majesty. If I am wrong, I deserve to be punished
as a vizir was once punished." "What had the vizir
done." said the Greek king, to merit the punishment ? "
"I will tell your Majesty, if you will do me the honour to
listen," answered the vizir.'
TIE ARABIAN NIGHTS
THE STORY OF THE- VIZIR WHO
THERE was once upon a time a king who had a son
who was very fond of hunting. He often allowed him to
indulge in this pastime, but he had ordered his grand-
vizir always to go with him, and never to lose sight of
him. One day the huntsman roused a stag, and the
prince, thinking that the vizir was behind, gave chase,
and rode so hard that he found himself alone. He
stopped, and having lost sight of it, he turned to rejoin
the vizir, who had not been careful enough to follow him.
But he lost his way. Whilst he was trying to find it, he
saw on the side of the road a beautiful lady who was
crying bitterly. He drew his horse's rein, and asked her
who she was and what she was doing in this place, and if
she needed help. 'I am the daughter of an Indian king,'
she answered, and whilst riding in the country I fell
asleep and tumbled off. My horse has run away, and
I do not know what has become of him.'
The young prince had pity on her, and offered to take
her behind him, which he did. As they passed by a
ruined building the lady dismounted and went in. The
prince also dismounted and followed her. To his great
surprise, he heard her saying to some one inside, Re-
joice, my children; I am bringing you a very nice fat
youth. And other voices replied, 'Where is he, mamma,
that we may eat him at once, as we are very hungry?'
The prince at once saw the danger he was in. He
THE VIZIR WHO WAS PUNISHED 35
now knew that the lady who said she was the
daughter of an Indian king was an ogress, who lived
THE PRINCE FALLS IN WITH THE OGRESS
in desolate places, and who by a thousand wiles
surprised and devoured passers-by. He was terrified,
and threw himself on his horse. The pretended princess
THE ARABIAN NIGHTS
appeared at this moment, and seeing that she had lost
her prey, she said to him, 'Do not be afraid. What do
'I am lost,' he answered, 'and I am looking for the
Keep straight on,' said the ogress, 'and you will find
The prince could hardly believe his ears, and rode off
as hard as he could. He found his way, and arrived safe
and sound at his father's house, where he told him of
the danger he had run because of the grand-vizir's
carelessness. The king was very angry, and had him
Sire,' went on the vizir to the Greek king, to return
to the physician, Douban. If you do not take care, you
will repent of having trusted him. Who knows that this
remedy, with which he has cured you, may not in time
have a bad effect on you ?'
The Greek king was naturally very weak, and did not
perceive the Wicked intention of his vizir, nor was he
firm enough to keep to his first resolution.
I 'Well, vizir,' he said, 'you are right. Perhaps he
did come to take my life. He might do it by the mere
smell of one of his drugs. I must see what can be done.'
'The best means, sire, to put your life in security, is
to send for him at once, and to cut off his head directly he
comes,' said the vizir.
I really think,' replied the king, 'that will be the
He then ordered one of his ministers to fetch the
physician, who came at once.
I have had you sent for,' said the king, 'in order to
free myself from you by taking your life.'
The physician was beyond measure astonished when
he heard he was to die.
'What crime have I committed, your majesty?'
I have learnt,' replied the king, 'that you are a spy,
THE VIZIR WHO WAS PUNISHED
and intend to kill me. But I will be first, and kill you.
Strike,' he added to an executioner who was by, 'and rid
me of this assassin.'
At this cruel order the physician threw himself on
his knees. 'Spare my life,' he cried, 'and yours will be
The fisherman stopped here to say to the genius:
'You see what passed between the Greek king and the
physician has just passed between us two. The Greek
king,' he went on, 'had no mercy on him, and the
executioner bound his eyes.'
All those present begged for his life, but in vain.
The physician on his knees, and bound, said to the
king: 'At least let me put my affairs in order, and leave
my books to persons who will make good use of them.
There is one which I should like to present to your
majesty. It is very precious, and ought to be kept care-
fully in your treasury. It contains many curious things,
the chief being that when you cut off my head, if your
majesty will turn to the sixth leaf, and read the third
line of the left-hand page, my head will answer all the
questions you like to ask it.'
The king, eager to see such a wonderful thing, put off
his execution to the next day, and sent him under a
strong guard to his house. There the physician put his
affairs in order, and the next day there was a great
crowd assembled in the hall to see his death, and the
doings after it. The physician went up to the foot of
the throne with a large book in his hand. He carried a
basin, on which he spread the covering of the book, and
presenting it to the king, said: 'Sire, take this book, and
when my head is cut off, let it be placed in the basin on
the covering of this book; as soon as it is there, the blood
will cease to flow. Then open the book, and my head
will answer all your questions. But, sire, I implore your
mercy, for I am innocent.'
'Your prayers are useless, and if it were only to
THE ARABIAN NIGHTS
hear your head speak when you are dead, you should
So saying, he took the book from the physician's
hands, and ordered the executioner to do his duty.
The head was so cleverly cut off that it fell into the
basin, and directly the blood ceased to flow. Then, to the
great astonishment of the king, the eyes opened, and the
head said, 'Your majesty, open the book.' The king did
so, and finding that the first leaf stuck against the second,
he put his finger in his mouth, to turn it more easily.
He did the same thing till he reached the sixth page, and
not seeing any writing on it, 'Physician,' he said, 'there
is no writing.'
'Turn over a few more pages,' answered the head.
The king went on turning, still putting his finger in his
mouth, till the poison in which each page was dipped
took effect. His sight failed him, and he fell at the foot
of his throne.
When the physician's head saw that the poison had
taken effect, and that the king had only a few more
minutes to live, 'Tyrant,' it cried, 'see how cruelty and
injustice are punished.'
Scarcely had it uttered these words than the king died,
and the head lost also the little life that had remained
That is the end of the story of the Greek king, and
now let us return to the fisherman and the genius.
'If the Greek king,' said the fisherman, had spared
the physician, he would not have thus died. The same
thing applies to you. Now I am going to throw you
into the sea.'
'My friend,' said the genius, 'do not do such a cruel
thing. Do not treat me as Imma treated Ateca.'
What did Imma do to Ateca ?' asked the fisherman.
Do you think I can tell you while I am shut up here?'
replied the genius. 'Let me out, and I will make you
THE VIZIR WHO WAS PUNISHED 39
The hope of being no longer poor made the fisherman
'If you will give me your promise to do this, I will
open the lid. I do not think you will dare to break your
The genius promised, and the fisherman lifted the lid.
He came out at once in smoke, and then, having resumed
THE KING TURNS OVER THE LEAVES OF THE BOOK
his proper form, the first thing he did was to kick the
vase into the sea. This frightened the fisherman, but
the genius laughed and said, 'Do not be afraid; I only
did it to frighten you, and to show you that I intend to
keep my word; take your nets and follow me.'
He began to walk in front of the fisherman, who
followed him with some misgivings. They passed in
front of the town, and went up a mountain and then
THE ARABIAN NIGHTS
down into a great plain, where there was a large lake
lying between four hills.
When they reached the lake the genius said to the
fisherman, 'Throw your nets and catch fish.'
The fisherman did as he was told, hoping for a good
catch, as he saw plenty of fish. What was his astonish-
ment at seeing that there were four quite different kinds,
same white, some red, some blue, and some yellow. He
caught four, one of each colour. As he had never seen
any like them he admired them very much, and he was
very pleased to think how much money he would get for
'Take these fish and carry them to the Sultan, who
will give you more money for them than you have ever
had in your life. You can come every day to fish in this
lake, but be careful not to throw your nets more than
once every day, otherwise some harm will happen to
you. If you follow my advice carefully you will find it
Saying these words, he struck his foot against the
ground, which opened, and when he had disappeared it
The fisherman resolved to obey the genius exactly, so
he did not cast his nets a second time, but walked into
the town to sell his fish at the palace.
When the Sultan saw the fish he was much aston-
ished. "He looked at them one after the other, and
when he had admired them long enough, 'Take these
fish,' he said to his first vizir, and give them to the
clever cook the Emperor of the Greeks seni me. I
think they must be as good as they are beautiful.'
The vizir took them himself to the cook, saying,
'Here are four fish that have been brought to the Sultan.
He wants you to cook them.'
Then he went back to the Sultan, who told him to
give the fisherman four hundred gold pieces. The fisher-
man, who had never before possessed such a large sum
THE VIZIR WHO WAS PUNISHED
of money at once, could hardly believe his good fortune.
He at once relieved the needs of his family, and made good
use of it.
But now we must return to the kitchen, which we
shall find in great confusion. The cook, when she had
cleaned the fish, put them in a pan with some oil to fry
them. When she thought them cooked enough on one
side she turned them on the other. But scarcely had she
done so when the walls of the kitchen opened, and there
came out a young and beautiful damsel. She was dressed
in an Egyptian dress of flowered satin, and she wore ear-
rings, and a necklace of huge pearls, and bracelets of gold
set with rubies, and she held a wand of myrtle in her
She went up to the pan, to the great astonishment of
the cook, who stood motionless at the sight of her. She
struck one of the fish with her rod, 'Fish, fish,' said she,
' are you doing your duty?' The fish answered nothing,
and then she repeated her question, whereupon they all
raised their heads together and answered very distinctly,
'Yes, yes. If you reckon, we reckon. If you pay your
debts, we pay ours. If you fly, we conquer, and we are
When they had spoken the girl upset the pan, and
entered the opening in the wall, which at once closed, and
appeared the same as before.
When the cook had recovered from her fright she
lifted up the fish which had fallen into the ashes, but she
found them as black as cinders, and not fit to serve up to
the Sultan. She began to cry.
'Alas! what shall I say to the Sultan? He will be
so angry with me, and I know he will not believe me !'
Whilst she was crying the grand-vizir came in and
asked if the fish were ready. She told him all that had
happened, and he was much surprised. He sent at once
for the fisherman, and when he came said to him,' Fisher-
man, bring me four more fish like those you have brought
THE ABABIAN NIGHTS
already, for an accident has happened to them so that they
cannot be served up to the Sultan.'
The fisherman did not say what the genius had told
him, but he excused himself from bringing them that day
on account of the length of the way, and he promised to
bring them next day.
In the night he went to the lake, cast his nets, and on
drawing them in found four fish, which were like the
others, each of a different colour.
He went back at once and carried them to the grand-
vizir as he had promised.
He then took them to the kitchen, and shut himself up
with the cook, who began to cook them as she had done the
four others on the previous day. When she was about to
turn them on the other side, the wall opened, the damsel
appeared, addressed the same words to the fish, received
the same answer, and then overturned the pan, and dis-
The grand-vizir was filled with astonishment. I
shall tell the Sultan all that has happened,' said he.
And he did so.
The Sultan was very much astounded, and wished
to see this marvel for himself. So he sent for the fisher-
man, and asked him to procure four more fish. The
fisherman asked for three days, which were granted, and
he then cast his nets in the lake, and again caught four
different coloured fish. The Sultan was delighted to see
he had got them, and gave him again four hundred gold
As soon as the Sultan had the fish he had them
carried to his room with all that was needed to cook
Then he shut himself up with the grand-vizir, who
began to prepare them and to cook them. When they
were done on one side he turned them over on the other.
Then the wall of the room opened, but instead of the
maiden a black slave came out. He was enormously tall,
THE GIRL UPSETS THE FRYING-PAN
THE VIZIR WHO WAS PUNISHED 45
and carried a large green stick with which he touched the
fish, saying in a terrible voice, 'Fish, fish, are you doing
your duty?' To these words the fish lifting up their
heads replied, 'Yes, yes. If you reckon, we reckon. If
you pay your debts, we pay ours. If you fly, we conquer,
and are content.'
The black slave overturned the pan in the middle
of the room, and the fish were turned to cinders. Then
he stepped proudly back into the wall, which closed
After having seen this,' said the Sultan, 'I cannot
rest. These fish signify some mystery I must clear up.'
He sent for the fisherman. 'Fisherman,' he said,
'the fish you have brought us have caused me some
anxiety. Where did you get them from ?'
Sire,' he answered, I got them from a lake which
lies in the middle of four hills beyond yonder moun-
Do you know this lake ?' asked the Sultan of the
'No; though I have hunted many times round that
mountain, I have never even heard of it,' said the vizir.
As the fisherman said it was only three hours' journey
away, the Sultan ordered his whole court to mount and
ride thither, and the fisherman led them.
They climbed the mountain, and then, on the other
side, saw the lake as the fisherman had described. The
water was so clear that they could see the four kinds of
fish swimming about in it. They looked at them for
some time, and then the Sultan ordered them to make a
camp by the edge of the water.
When night came the Sultan called his vizir, and
said to him,' I have resolved to clear up this mystery.
I am going out alone, and do you stay here in my tent,
and when my ministers come to-morrow, say I am not
well, and cannot see them. Do this each day till I
THE ARABIAN NIGHTS
The grand-vizir tried to persuade the Sultan not to
go, but in vain. The Sultan took off his state robe and
put on his sword, and when he saw all was quiet in the
camp he set forth alone.
He climbed one of the hills, and then crossed the
great plain, till, just as the sun rose, he beheld far in front
of him a large building. When he came near to it he
saw it was a splendid palace of beautiful black polished
marble, covered with steel as smooth as a mirror.
He went to the gate, which stood half open, and went
in, as nobody came when he knocked. He passed through
a magnificent courtyard and still saw no one, though he
called aloud several times.
He entered large halls where the carpets were of
silk, the lounges and sofas covered with tapestry from
Mecca, and the hangings of the most beautiful Indian
stuffs of gold and silver. Then he found himself in a
splendid room, with a fountain supported by golden
lions. The water out of the lions' mouths turned into
diamonds and pearls, and the leaping water almost
touched a most beautifully-painted dome. The palace
was surrounded on three sides by magnificent gardens,
little lakes, and woods. Birds sang in the trees, which
were netted over to keep them always there.
Still the Sultan saw no one, till he heard a plaintive
cry, and a voice which said, 'Oh that I could die, for I
am too unhappy to wish to live any longer !'
The Sultan looked round to discover who it was who
thus bemoaned his fate, and at last saw a handsome
young man, richly clothed, who was sitting on a throne
raised slightly from the ground. His face was very
The Sultan approached him and bowed to him. The
young man bent his head very low, but did not rise.
'Sire,' he said to the Sultan, 'I cannot rise and do
you the reverence that I am sure should be paid to your
THE VIZIR WHO WAS PUNISHED 47
'Sir,' answered the Sultan, 'I am sure you have a
good reason for not doing so, and having heard your cry
of distress, I am come to offer you my help. Whose is
this palace, and why is it thus empty?'
Instead of answering the young man lifted up his
robe, and showed the Sultan that, from the waist down-
wards, he was a block of black marble.
The Sultan was horrified, and begged the young man
to tell him his story.
'Willingly I will tell you my sad history,' said tho
THE ABABIAN NIGHTS
THE STORY OF THE YOUNG KING OF
THE BLACK ISLES
You must know, sire, that my father was Mahmoud,
the king of this country, the Black Isles, so called from
the four little mountains which were once islands, while
the capital was the place where now the great lake lies.
My story will tell you how these changes came about.
My father died when he was sixty-six, and I suc-
ceeded him. I married my cousin, whom I loved ten-
derly, and I thought she loved me too.
But one afternoon, when I was half asleep, and was
being fanned by two of her maids, I heard one say to
the other, 'What a pity it is that our mistress no longer
loves our master! I believe she would like to kill him
if she could, for she is an enchantress.'
I soon found by watching that they were right, and
when I mortally wounded a favourite slave of hers for a
great crime, she begged that she might build a palace in
the garden, where she wept and bewailed him for two
At last I begged her to cease grieving for him, for
although he could not speak or move, by her enchant-
ments she just kept him alive. She turned upon me in
a rage, and said over me some magic words, and I
instantly became as you see me now, half man and half
Then this wicked enchantress changed the capital,
which was a very populous and flourishing city, into
the lake and desert plain you saw. The fish of four
II ~ r~~r~
I. ?~ I -
I BECAME HALF MAN AND HALF MARBLE
i '( rl
THE YOUNG KING OF THE BLACK ISLES 51
colours which are in it are the different races who lived
in the town; the four hills are the four islands which
give the name to my kingdom. All this the enchantress
told me to add to my troubles. And this is not all.
Every day she comes and beats me with a whip of buffalo
When the young king had finished his sad story he
burst once more into tears, and the Sultan was much
'Tell me,' he cried, 'where is this wicked woman,
and where is the miserable object of her affection, whom
she just manages to keep alive?'
'Where she lives I do not know,' answered the
unhappy prince,' but she goes every day at sunrise to
see if the slave can yet speak to her, after she has beaten
'Unfortunate king,' said the Sultan, 'I will do what
I can to avenge you.'
So he consulted with the young king over the best
way to bring this about, and they agreed their plan
should be put in effect the next day. The Sultan then
rested, and the young king gave himself up to happy
hopes of release. The next day the Sultan arose, and
then went to the palace in the garden where the black
slave was. He drew his sword and destroyed the little
life that remained in him, and then threw the body down
a well. He then lay down on the couch where the slave
had been, and waited for the enchantress.
She went first to the young king, whom she beat with
a hundred blows.
Then she came to the room where she thought her
wounded slave was, but where the Sultan really lay.
She came near his couch and said,' Are you better
to-day, my dear slave ? Speak but one word to me.
'How can I be better,' answered the Sultan, imitating
the language of the Ethiopians, 'when I can never sleep
for the cries and groans of your husband?'
THE ABABIAN NIGHTS
'What joy to hear you speak !' answered the queen.
'Do you wish him to regain his proper shape ?'
'Yes,' said the Sultan; 'hasten to set him at liberty,
so that I may no longer hear his cries.'
The queen at once went out and took a cup of water,
and said over it some words that made it boil as if it
were on the fire. Then she threw it over the prince, who
at once regained his own form. He was filled with joy,
but the enchantress said, Hasten away from this place
and never come back, lest I kill you.
So he hid himself to see the end of the Sultan's plan.
The enchantress went back to the Palace of Tears
and said, 'Now I have done what you wished.'
'What you have done,' said the Sultan, 'is not
enough to cure me. Every day at midnight all the
people whom you have changed into fish lift their heads
out of the lake and cry for vengeance. Go quickly, and
give them their proper shape.'
The enchantress hurried away and said some words
over the lake.
The fish then became men, women, and children, and
the houses and shops were once more filled. The
Sultan's suite, who had encamped by the lake, were not
a little astonished to see themselves in the middle of a
large and beautiful town.
As soon as she had disenchanted it the queen went
back to the palace.
'Are you quite well now?' she said.
'Come near,' said the Sultan. 'Nearer still.'
She obeyed. Then he sprang up, and with one blow
of his sword he cut her in two.
Then he went and found the prince.
Rejoice,' he said, your cruel enemy is dead.'
The prince thanked him again and again.
'And now,' said the Sultan, 'I will go back to my
capital, which I am glad to find is so near yours.'
'So near mine said the King of the Black Isles.
THE YOUNG KING OF THE BLACK ISLES 53
'Do you know it is a whole year's journey from here ?
You came here in a few hours because it was enchanted.
But I will accompany you on your journey.
'It will give me much pleasure if you will escort me,'
said the Sultan, 'and as I have no children, I will make
you my heir.'
The Sultan and the prince set out together, the
Sultan laden with rich presents from the King of the
The day after he reached his capital the Sultan
assembled his court and told them all that had befallen
him, and told them how he intended to adopt the young
king as his heir.
Then he gave each man presents in proportion to his
As for the fisherman, as he was the first cause of the
deliverance of the young prince, the Sultan gave him
much money, and made him and his family happy for
the rest of their days.
THE ARABIAN NIGHTS
STORY- OF THE THREE CALENDERS, SONS
OF KINGS, AND OF FIVE LADIES OF
IN the reign of the Caliph Haroun-al-Raschid, there lived
at Bagdad a porter who, in spite of his humble calling,
was an intelligent and sensible man. One morning he
was sitting in his usual place with his basket before him,
waiting to be hired, when a tall young lady, covered with
a long muslin veil, came up to him and said, Pick up
your basket and follow me.' The porter, who was greatly
pleased by her appearance and voice, jumped up at once,
poised his basket on his head, and accompanied the lady,
saying to himself as he went, 'Oh, happy day Oh, lucky
The lady soon stopped before a closed door, at which
she knocked. It was opened by an old man with a long
white beard, to whom the lady held out money without
speaking. The old man, who seemed to understand what
she wanted, vanished into the house, and returned bring-
ing a large jar of wine, which the porter placed in his
basket. Then the lady signed to him to follow, and they
went their way.
The next place she stopped at was a fruit and flower
shop, and here she bought a large quantity of apples,
apricots, peaches, and other things, with lilies, jasmine,
and all sorts of sweet-smelling plants. From this shop
she went to a butcher's, a grocer's, and a poulterer's, till
at last the porter exclaimed in despair, 'My good lady,
THE THREE CALENDERS
if you had only told me you were going to buy enough
provisions to stock a town, I would have brought a horse,
or rather a camel.' The lady laughed, and told him she
had not finished yet, but after choosing various kinds of
THE MAN IS ASTONISHED AT THE BEAUTY OF THE PORTERESS
scents and spices from a druggist's store, she halted
before a magnificent palace, at the door of which she
knocked gently. The porteress who opened it was of
such beauty that the eyes of the man were quite
THE AIABIAN NIGHTS
dazzled, and he was the more astonished as he saw clearly
that she was no slave. The lady who had led him hither
stood watching him with amusement, till the porteress
exclaimed, Why don't you come in, my sister? This
poor man is so heavily weighed down thrt he is ready to
When they were both inside the door was fastened,
and they all three entered a large court, surrounded by
an open-work gallery. At one end of the court was a
platform, and on the platform stood an amber throne
supported by four ebony columns, garnished with pearls
and diamonds. In the middle of the court stood a marble
basin filled with water from the mouth of a golden lion.
The porter looked about him, noticing and admiring
everything; but his attention was specially attracted by
a third lady sitting on the throne, who was even more
beautiful than the other two. By the respect shown
to her by the others, he judged that she must be the
eldest, and in this he was right. This lady's name was
Zobeida, the porteress was Sadie, and the housekeeper
was Amina. At a word from Zobeida, Sadie and Amina
took the basket from the porter, who was glad enough to
be relieved from its weight; and when it was emptied,
paid him handsomely for its use. But instead of taking
up his basket and going away, the man still lingered, till
Zobeida inquired what he was waiting for, and if he
expected more money. 'Oh, madam,' returned he, 'you
have already given me too much, and I fear I may have
been guilty of rudeness in not taking my departure at
once. But, if you will pardon my saying so, I was lost
in astonishment at seeing such beautiful ladies by them-
selves. A company of women without men is, however,
as dull as a company of men without women.' And after
telling some stories to prove his point, he ended by
entreating them to let him stay and make a fourth at
The ladies were rather amused at the man's assurance,
THE THBEE CALENDERS
and after some discussion it was agreed that he should
be allowed to stay, as his society might prove entertaining.
'But listen, friend,' said Zobeida, 'if we grant your
request, it is only on condition that you behave with the
utmost politeness, and that you keep the secret of our
way of living, which chance has revealed to you.' Then
they all sat down to table, which had been covered by
Amina with the dishes she had bought.
After the first few mouthfuls Amina poured some
wine into a golden cup. She first drank herself, according
to the Arab custom, and then filled it for her sisters.
When it came to the porter's turn he kissed Amina's
hand, and sang a song, which he composed at the moment
in praise of the wine. The three ladies were pleased with
the song, and then sang themselves, so that the repast
was a merry one, and lasted much longer than usual.
At length, seeing that the sun was about to set, Sadie
said to the porter, 'Rise and go; it is now time for us to
'Oh, madam,' replied he, 'how can you desire me to
quit you in the state in which I am? Between the wine
I have drunk, and the pleasure of seeing you, I should
never find the way to my house. Let me remain here
till morning, and when I have recovered my senses I
will go when you like.'
'Let him stay,' said Amina, who had before proved
herself his friend. 'It is only just, as he has given us
so much amusement.'
'If you wish it, my sister,' replied Zobeida; 'but if
he does, I must make a new condition. Porter,' she
continued, turning to him, 'if you remain, you must
promise to ask no questions about anything you may see.
If you do, you may perhaps hear what you don't like.'
This being settled, Amina brought in supper, and lit
up the hall with a number of sweet smelling tapers.
They then sat down again at the table, and began with
fresh appetites to eat, drink, sing, and recite verses. In
THE ARABIAN NIGHTS
fact, they were all enjoying themselves mightily when
they heard a knock at the outer door, which Sadie rose to
open. She soon returned saying that three Calenders,
all blind in the right eye, and all with their heads, faces,
and eyebrows clean shaved, begged for admittance, as
they were newly arrived in Bagdad, and night had already
fallen. They seem to have pleasant manners,' she added,
'but you have no idea how funny they look. I am sure
we should find their company diverting.'
Zobeida and Amina made some difficulty about ad-
mitting the new comers, and Sadie knew the reason of
their hesitation. But she urged the matter so strongly
that Zobeida was at last forced to consent. 'Bring them
in, then,' said she, 'but make them understand that they
are not to make remarks about what does not concern
them, and be sure to make them read the inscription over
the door.' For on the door was written in letters of gold,
'Whoso meddles in affairs that are no business of his,
will hear truths that will not please him.'
The three Calenders bowed low on entering, and
thanked the ladies for their kindness and hospitality.
The ladies replied with words of welcome, and they were
all about to seat themselves when the eyes of the
Calenders fell on the porter, whose dress was not so very
unlike their own, though he still wore all the hair that
nature had given him. 'This,' said one of them, 'is
apparently one of our Arab brothers, who has rebelled
against our rules.'
The porter, although half asleep from the wine he
had drunk, heard the words, and without moving cried
angrily to the Calender, 'Sit down and mind your own
business. Did you not read the inscription over the
door? Everybody is not obliged to live in the same way.
'Do not be so angry, my good man,' replied the
Calender; 'we should be very sorry to displease you;
so the quarrel was smoothed over, and supper began in
good earnest. When the Calenders had satisfied their
THE THBEE CALENDERS
hunger, they offered to play to their hostesses, if there
were any instruments in the house. The ladies were
delighted at the idea, and Sadie went to see what she
could find, returning in a few moments laden with two
different kinds of flutes and a tambourine. Each Calender
took the one he preferred, and began to play a well-
known air, while the ladies sang the words of the song.
These words were the gayest and liveliest possible, and
every now and then the singers had to stop to indulge
the laughter which almost choked them. In the midst
of all their noise, a knock was heard at the door.
Now early that evening the Caliph secretly left the
palace, accompanied by his grand-vizir, Giafar, and
Mesrour, chief of the eunuchs, all three wearing the
dresses of merchants. Passing down the street, the
Caliph had been attracted by the music of instruments
and the sound of laughter, and had ordered' his vizir to
go and knock at the door of the house, as he wished to
enter. The vizir replied that the ladies who lived there
seemed to be entertaining their friends, and he thought
his master would do well not to intrude on them; but
the Caliph had taken it into his head to see for himself,
and insisted on being obeyed.
The knock was answered by Sadie, with a taper in
her hand, and the vizir, who was surprised at her beauty,
bowed low before her, and said respectfully, 'Madam,
we are three merchants who have lately arrived from
Moussoul, and, owing to a misadventure which befel us
this very night, only reached our inn to find that the
doors were closed to us till to-morrow morning. Not
knowing what to do, we wandered in the streets till we
happened to pass your house, when, seeing lights and
hearing the sound of voices, we resolved to ask you to
give us shelter till the dawn. If you will grant us this
favour, we will, with your permission, do all in our power
to help you spend the time pleasantly.'
Sadie answered the merchant that she must first
THE ARABIAN NIGHTS
consult her sisters; and after having talked over the
matter with them, she returned to tell him that he and
his two friends would be welcome to join their company.
They entered and bowed politely to the ladies and their
guests. Then Zobeida, as the mistress, came forward
and said gravely, 'You are welcome here, but I hope you
will allow me to beg one thing of you-have as many
eyes as you like, but no tongues; and ask no questions
about anything you see, however strange it may appear
'Madam,' returned the vizir, 'you shall be obeyed.
We have quite enough to please and interest us without
troubling ourselves about that with which we have no
concern.' Then they all sat down, and drank to the
health of the new comers.
While the vizir, Giafar, was talking to the ladies the
Caliph was occupied in wondering who they could be, and
why the three Calenders had each lost his right eye. He
was burning to inquire the reason of it all, but was silenced
by Zobeida's request, so he tried to rouse himself and to
take his part in the conversation, which was very lively,
the subject of discussion being the many different sorts of
pleasures that there were in. the world. After some time
the Calenders got up and performed some curious dances,
which delighted the rest of the company.
When they had finished Zobeida rose from her seat,
and, taking Amina by the hand, she said to her, 'My
sister, our friends will excuse us if we seem to forget their
presence and fulfil our nightly task.' Amina understood
her sister's meaning, and collecting the dishes, glasses,
and musical instruments, she carried them away, while
Sadie swept the hall and put everything in order. Having
done this she begged the Calenders to sit on a sofa on
one side of the room, and the Caliph and his friends to
place themselves opposite. As to the porter, she requested
him to come and help her and her sister.
Shortly after Amina entered carrying a seat, which she
ZOBEIDA PREPARES TO WHIP THE DOG
THE THREE CALENDERS
put down in the middle of the empty space. She next
Sent over to the door of a closet and signed to the porter
to follow her. He did so, and soon reappeared leading
two black dogs by a chain, which he brought into the
centre of the hall. Zobeida then got up from her seat
between the Calenders and the Caliph and walked slowly
across to where the porter stood with the dogs. 'We
must do our duty,' she said with a deep sigh, pushing
back her sleeves, and, taking a whip from Sadie, she said
to the man, 'Take one of those dogs to my sister Amina
and give me the other.'
The porter did as he was bid, but as he led the dog to
Zobeida it uttered piercing howls, and gazed up at her
with looks of entreaty. But Zobeida took no notice, and
whipped the dog till she was out of breath. She then
took the chain from the porter, and, raising the dog on its
hind legs, they looked into each other's eyes sorrowfully
till tears began to fall from both. Then Zobeida took
her handkerchief and wiped the dog's eyes tenderly, after
which she kissed it, then, putting the chain into the porter's
hand she said, Take it back to the closet and bring me
The same ceremony was gone through with the second
dog, and all the while the whole ".... In-,i looked on with
astonishment. The Caliph in particular could hardly
contain himself, and made signs to the vizir to ask what
it all meant. But the vizir pretended not to see, and
turned his head away.
Zobeida remained for some time in the middle of the
room, till at last Sadie went up to her and begged her to
sit down, as she also had her part to play. At these
words Amina fetched a lute from a case of yellow satin
and gave it to. Sadie, who sang several songs to its
accompaniment. When she was tired she said to Amina,
'My sister, I can do no more; come, I pray you, and take
Amina struck a few chords and then broke into a
THE ARABIAN NIGHTS
song, which she sang with so much ardour that she was
quite overcome, and sank gasping on a pile of cushions,
tearing open her dress as she did so to give herself some
air. To the amazement of all present, her neck, instead
of being as smooth and white as her face, was a mass of
The Calenders and the Caliph looked at each other
and whispered together, unheard by Zobeida and Sadie,
who were tending their fainting sister.
'What does it all mean ?' asked the Caliph.
'We know no more than you,' said the Calender to
whom he had spoken.
'What! You do not belong to the house ?'
'My lord,' answered all the Calenders together, 'we
came here for the first time an hour before you.'
They then turned to the porter to see if he could
explain the mystery, but the porter was no wiser than
they were themselves. At length the Caliph could
contain his curiosity no longer, and declared that he
would compel the ladies to tell them the meaning of their
strange conduct. The vizir, foreseeing what would happen,
implored him to remember the condition their hostesses
had imposed, and added in a whisper that if his Highness
would only wait till morning he could as Caliph summon
the ladies to appear before him. But the Caliph, who
was not accustomed to be contradicted, rejected this
advice, and it was resolved after a little more talking that
the question should be put by the porter. Suddenly
Zobeida turned round, and seeing their excitement she
said, What is the matter-what are you all discussing so
Madam,' answered the porter, 'these gentlemen
entreat you to explain to them why you should first whip
the dogs and then cry over them, and also how it
happens that the fainting lady is covered with scars.
They have requested me, Madam, to be their mouth-
THE THREE CALENDERS
Is it true, gentlemen,' asked Zobeida, drawing her-
self up, that you have charged this man to put me that
'It is,' they all replied, except Giafar, who was silent.
'Is this,' continued Zobeida, growing more angry
every moment, 'is this the return you make for the
hospitality I have shown you ? Have you forgotten the
one condition on which you were allowed to enter the
house? Come quickly,' she added, clapping her hands
three times, and, the words were hardly uttered when
seven black slaves, each armed with a sabre, burst in and
stood over the seven men, throwing them on the ground,
and preparing themselves, on a sign from their mistress,
to cut off their heads.
The seven culprits all thought their last hour had
come, and the Caliph repented bitterly that he had not
taken the vizir's advice. But they made up their minds
to die bravely, all except the porter, who loudly inquired
of Zobeida why he was to suffer for other people's faults,
and declared that these misfortunes would never have
happened if it had not been for the Calenders, who
always brought ill-luck. He ended by imploring Zobeida
not to confound the innocent with the guilty and to spare
In spite of her anger, there was something so comic
in the groans of the porter that Zobeida could not refrain
from laughing. But putting him aside she addressed the
others a second time, saying, 'Answer me; who are you?
Unless you tell me truly you have not another moment
to live. I can hardly think you are men of any position,
whatever country you belong to. If you were, you would
have had more consideration for us.'
The Caliph, who was naturally very impatient,
suffered far more than either of the others at feeling that
his life was at the mercy of a justly offended lady, but
when he heard her question he began to breathe more
freely, for he was convinced that she had only to learn
THE ARABIAN NIGHTS
bis name and rank for all danger to be over. So he
whispered hastily to the vizir, who was next to him, to
reveal their secret. But the vizir, wiser than his master,
wished to conceal from the public the affront they had
received, and merely answered, 'After all, we have only
got what we deserved.'
Meanwhile Zobeida had turned to the three Calen-
ders and inquired if, as they were all blind, they were
'No, madam,' replied one, 'we are no blood relations
at all, only brothers by our mode of life.'
And you,' she asked, addressing another, 'were you
born blind of one eye?'
No, madam,' returned he, 'I became blind through a
most surprising adventure, such as probably has never
happened to anybody. After that I shaved my head and
eyebrows and put on the dress in which you see me
Zobeida put the same question to the other two
Calenders, and received the same answer.
But,' added the third,' it may interest you, madam, to
know that we are not men of low birth, but are all three
sons of kings, and of kings, too, whom the world holds in
At these words Zobeida's anger cooled down, and she
turned to her slaves and said, You can give them a little
more liberty, but do not leave the hall. Those that will
tell us their histories and their reasons for coming here
shall be allowed to leave unhurt; those who refuse- '
And she paused, but in a moment the porter, who under-
stood that he had only to relate his story to set himself
free from this terrible danger, immediately broke in,
Madam, you know already how I came here, and
what I have to say will soon be told. Your sister found
me this morning in the place where I always stand
waiting to be hired. She bade me follow her to various
shops, and when my basket was quite full we returned to
THE THREE CALENDERS 67
this house, when you had the goodness to permit me to
remain, for which I shall be eternally grateful. That is
He looked anxiously to Zobeida, who nodded her head
and said, 'You can go; and take care we never meet
'Oh, madam,' cried the porter, 'let me stay yet a.
little while. It is not just that the others should have
heard my story and that I should not hear theirs,' and
without waiting for permission he seated himself on the end
of the sofa occupied by the ladies, whilst the rest crouched
on the carpet, and the slaves stood against the wall.
Then one of the Calenders, addressing himself to
Zobeida as the principal lady, began his story.
THE ARABIAN NIGHTS
THE STORY OF THE FIRST CALENDER,
SON OF A KING
IN order, madam, to explain how I came to lose my right
eye, and to wear the dress of a Calender, you must first
know that I am the son of a king. My father's only
brother reigned over the neighboring country, and had
two children, a daughter and a son, who were of the same
age as myself.
As I grew up, and was allowed more liberty, I went
every year to pay a visit to my uncle's court, and usually
stayed there about two months. In this way my cousin
and I became very intimate, and were much attached to
each other. The very last time I saw him he seemed
more delighted to see me than ever, and gave a great
feast in my honour. When we had finished eating, he
said to me, My cousin, you would never guess what I
have been doing since your last visit to us! Directly
after your departure I set a number of men to work on a
building after my own design. It is now completed, and
ready to be lived in. I should like to show it to you, but
you must first swear two things: to be faithful to me,
and to keep my secret.'
Of course I did not dream of refusing him anything
he asked, and gave the promise without the least hesita-
tion. He then bade me wait an instant, and vanished,
returning in a few moments with a richly dressed lady of
great beauty, but as he did not tell me her name, I
thought it was better not to inquire. We all three sat down
STORY OF THE FIRST CALENDER 69
to table and amused ourselves with talking of all sorts of
indifferent things, and with drinking each other's health.
Suddenly the prince said to me, 'Cousin, we have no
time to lose; be so kind as to conduct this lady to a
certain spot, where you will find a dome-like tomb,
newly built. You cannot mistake it. Go in, both of
you, and wait till I come. I shall not be long.'
As I had promised I prepared to do as I was told,
and giving my hand to the lady, I escorted her, by the
light of the moon, to the place of which the prince had
spoken. We had barely reached it when he joined us
himself, carrying a small vessel of water, a pickaxe, and
a little bag containing plaster.
With the pickaxe he at once began to destroy the
empty sepulchre in the middle of the tomb. One by one
he took the stones and piled them up in a corner.
When he had knocked down the whole sepulchre he
proceeded to dig at the earth, and beneath where the
sepulchre had been I saw a trap-door. He raised the
door and I caught sight of the top of a spiral staircase;
then he said, turning to the lady, Madam, this is the
way that will lead you down to the spot which I told you
The lady did not answer, but silently descended the
staircase, the prince following her. At the top, however,
he looked at me. My cousin,' he exclaimed, 'I do not
know how to thank you for your kindness. Farewell.'
'What do you mean?' I cried. 'I don't understand.'
'No matter,' he replied, 'go back by the path that
He would say no more, and, greatly puzzled, I
returned to my room in the palace and went to bed.
When I woke, and considered my adventure, I thought
that I must have been dreaming, and sent a servant to
ask if the' prince was dressed and could see me. But on
hearing that he had not slept at home I was much
alarmed, and hastened to the cemetery, where, unluckily,
THE ABABIAN NIGHTS
the tombs were all so alike that I could not discover
which was the one I was in search of, though I spent
four days in looking for it.
You must know that all this time the king, my uncle,
was absent on a hunting expedition, and as no one knew
when he would be back, I at last decided to return home,
leaving the ministers to make my excuses. I longed to
tell them what had become of the prince, about whose
fate they felt the most dreadful anxiety, but the oath I
had sworn kept me silent.
On my arrival at my father's capital, I was astonished
to find a large detachment of guards drawn up before
the gate of the palace; they surrounded me directly I
entered. I asked- the officers in command the reason of
this strange behaviour, and was horrified to learn that
the army had mutinied and put to death the king, my
father, and had placed the grand-vizir on the throne.
Further, that by his orders I was placed under arrest.
Now this rebel vizir had hated me from my boy-
hood, because once, when shooting at a bird with a bow,
I had shot out his eye by accident. Of course I not only
sent a servant at once to offer him my regrets and
apologies, but I made them in person. It was all of no
use. He cherished an undying hatred towards me, and
lost no occasion of showing it. Having once got me in
his power I felt he could show no mercy, and I was
right. Mad with triumph and fury he came to me in my
prison and tore out my right eye. That is how I lost it.
My persecutor, however, did not stop here. He shut
me up in a large case and ordered his executioner
to carry me into a desert place, to cut off my head, and
then to abandon my body to the birds of prey. The
case, with me inside it, was accordingly placed on a
horse, and the executioner, accompanied by another man,
rode into the country until they found a spot suitable for
the purpose. But their hearts were not so hard as they
seemed, and my tears and prayers made them waver.
STORY OF THE FIRST CALENDER 71
Forsake the kingdom instantly,' said the executioner
at last, and take care never to come back, for you will not
only lose your head, but make us lose ours.' I thanked
him gratefully, and tried to console myself for the loss
of my eye by thinking of the other misfortunes I had
THE KING'S SON BEGS FOR HIS LIFE
After all I had gone through, and my fear of being
recognized by some enemy, I could only travel very
slowly and cautiously, generally resting in some out-of-
the-way place by day, and walking as far as I was able
by night, but at length I arrived in the kingdom of my
uncle, of whose protection I was sure.
I found him in great trouble about the disappearance
of his son, who had, he said, vanished without leaving a
THE ARABIAN NIGHTS
trace; but his own grief did not prevent his sharing
mine. We mingled our tears, for the loss of one was the
loss of the other, and then I made up my mind that it
was my duty to break the solemn oath I had sworn to
the prince. I therefore lost no time in telling my uncle
everything I knew, and I observed that even before I
had ende. his sorrow appeared to be lightened a little.
'My dear nephew,' he said, 'your story gives me some
hope. I was aware that my son was building a tomb,
and I think I can find the spot. But as he wished to
keep the matter secret, let us go alone and seek the place
He then bade me disguise myself, and we both
slipped out of a garden door which opened on to the
cemetery. It did not take long for us to arrive at the
scene of the prince's disappearance, or to discover the
tomb I had sought so vainly before. We entered it, and
found the trap-door which led to the staircase, but we
had great difficulty in raising it, because the prince had
fastened it down underneath with the plaster he had
brought with him.
My uncle went first, and I followed him. When we
reached the bottom of the stairs we stepped into a sort
of ante-room, filled with such a dense smoke that it was
hardly possible to see anything. However, we passed
through the smoke into a large chamber, which at first
seemed quite empty. The room was brilliantly lighted,
and in another moment we perceived a sort of platform
at one end, on which were the bodies of the prince and a
lady, both half-burned, as if they had been dragged out of
a fire before it had quite consumed them.
This horrible sight turned me faint, but, to my sur-
prise, my uncle did not show so much surprise as anger.
'I knew,' he said,' that my son was tenderly attached to
this lady, whom it was impossible he should ever marry.
I tried to turn his thoughts, and presented to him the
most beautiful princesses, but he cared for none of them,
STORY OF THE FIRST CALENDER 73
and, as you see, they have now been united by a horrible
death in an underground tomb.' But, as he spoke, his
anger melted into tears, and again I wept with him.
When he recovered himself he drew me to him. My
dear nephew,' he said, embracing me, 'you have come to
me to take his place, and I will do my best to forget that
I ever had a son who could act in so wicked a manner.
Then he turned and went up the stairs.
We reached the palace without anyone having noticed
our absence, when, shortly after, a clashing of drums,
and cymbals, and the blare of trumpets burst upon our
astonished ears. At the same time a thick cloud of dust
on the horizon told of the approach of a great army.
My heart sank when I perceived that the commander
was the vizir who had dethroned my father, and was
come to seize the kingdom of my uncle.
The capital was utterly unprepared to stand a siege,
and seeing that resistance was useless, at once opened
its gates. My uncle fought hard for his life, but was
soon overpowered, and when he fell I managed to escape
through a secret passage, and took refuge with an officer
whom I knew I could trust.
Persecuted by ill-fortune, and stricken with grief,
there seemed to be only one means of safety left to me.
I shaved my beard and my eyebrows, and put on the
dress of a calender, in which it was easy for me to travel
without being known. I avoided the towns till I reached
the kingdom of the famous and powerful Caliph, Haroun-
al-Raschid, when I had no further reason to fear my
enemies. It was my intention to come to Bagdad and
to throw myself at the feet of his Highness, who would, I
felt certain, be touched by my sad story, and would grant
me, besides, his help and protection.
After a journey which lasted some months I arrived
at length at the gates of this city. It was sunset, and I
paused for a little to look about me, and to decide which
way to turn my steps. I was still debating on this
74 THE ARABIAN NIGHTS
subject when I was joined by this other calender, who
stopped to greet me. 'You, like me, appear to be a
stranger,' I said. He replied that I was right, and before
he could say more the third calender came up. He, also,
was newly arrived in Bagdad, and being brothers in mis-
fortune, we resolved to cast in our lots together, and to
share whatever fate might have in store.
By this time it had grown late, and we did not know
where to spend the night. But our lucky star having
guided us to this door, we took the liberty of knocking
and of asking for shelter, which was given to us at once
with the best grace in the world.
This, madam, is my story.
SI am satisfied,' replied Zobeida; 'you can go when
The calender, however, begged leave to stay and to
hear the histories of his two friends and of the three
other persons of the company, which he was allowed to
THE STORY OF THE SECOND CALENDER,
SON OF A KING
MADAM-said the young man, addressing Zobeida-if you
wish to know how I lost my right eye, I shall have to tell
you the story of my whole life.
I was scarcely more than a baby, when the king my
father, finding me unusually quick and clever for my age,
turned his thoughts to my education. I was taught first
to read and write, and then to learn the Koran, which is
the basis of our holy religion, and the better to understand
it, I read with my tutors the ablest commentators on its
teaching, and committed to memory all the traditions
respecting the Prophet, which have been gathered from
the mouth of those who were his friends. I also learnt
history, and was instructed in poetry, versification,
geography, chronology, and in all the outdoor exercises
in which every prince should excel. But what I liked
best of all was writing Arabic characters, and in this I
soon surpassed my masters, and gained a reputation in
this branch of knowledge that reached as far as India
Now the Sultan of the Indies, curious to see a young
prince with such strange tastes, sent an ambassador to
my father, laden with rich presents, and a warm invitation
to visit his court. My father, who was deeply anxious to
secure the friendship of so powerful a monarch, and held
besides that a little travel would greatly improve my
manners and open my mind, accepted gladly, and in a
THE ARABIAN NIGHTS
short time I had set out for India with the ambassador,
attended only by a small suite on account of the length
of the journey, and the badness of the roads. However,
as was my duty, I took with me ten camels, laden with
rich presents for the Sultan.
We had been travelling for about a month, when one
day we saw a cloud of dust moving swiftly towards us;
and as soon as it came near, we found that the dust
concealed a band of fifty robbers. Our men barely
numbered half, and as we were also hampered by the
camels, there was no use in fighting, so we tried to over-
awe them by informing them who we were, and whither
we were going. The robbers, however, only laughed, and
declared that was none of their business, and, without
more words, attacked us brutally. I defended myself to
the last, wounded though I was, but at length, seeing
that -resistance was hopeless, and that the ambassador
and all our followers were made prisoners, I put spurs to
my horse and rode away as fast as I could, till the poor
beast fell dead from a wound in his side. I managed to
jump off without any injury, and looked about to see if
I was pursued. But for the moment I was safe, for, as I
imagined, the robbers were all engaged in quarrelling over
I found myself in a country that was quite new to me,
and dared not return to the main road lest I should again
fall into the hands of the robbers. Luckily my wound
was only a slight one, and after binding it up as well as I
could, I walked on for the rest of the day, till I reached a
cave at the foot of a mountain, where I passed the night
in peace, making my supper off some fruits I had
gathered on the way.
I wandered about for a whole month without knowing
where I was going, till at length I found myself on the
outskirts of a beautiful city, watered by winding streams,
which enjoyed an eternal spring. My delight at the
prospect of mixing once more with human beings was
STORY OF THE SECOND CALENDER 77
somewhat damped at the thought of the miserable object
I must seem. My face and hands had been burned nearly
black; my clothes were all in rags, and my shoes were
in such a state that I had been forced to abandon them
I entered the town, and stopped at a tailor's shop to
inquire where I was. The man saw I was better than
my condition, and begged me to sit down, and in return
I told him my whole story. The tailor listened with
attention, but his reply, instead of giving me consolation,
only increased my trouble.
'Beware,' he said, 'of telling any one what you have
told me, for the prince who governs the kingdom is your
father's greatest enemy, and he will be rejoiced to find
you in his power.
I thanked the tailor for his counsel, and said I would
do whatever he advised; then, being very hungry, I
gladly ate of the food he put before me, and accepted his
offer of a lodging in his house.
In a few days I had quite recovered from the hard-
ships I had undergone, and then the tailor, knowing that
it was the custom for the princes of our religion to learn
a trade or profession so as to provide for themselves in
times of ill-fortune, inquired if there was anything I could
do for my living. I replied that I had been educated as
a grammarian and a poet, but that my great gift was
'All that is of no use here,' said the tailor. Take my
advice, put on a short coat, and as you seem hardy and
strong, go into the woods and cut firewood, which you
will sell in the streets. By this means you will earn your
living, and be able to wait till better times come. The
hatchet and the cord shall be my present.'
This counsel was very distasteful to me, but I thought
I could not do otherwise than adopt it. So the next
morning I set out with a company of poor wood-cutters,
to whom the tailor had introduced me Even on the
THE ARABIAN NIGHTS
first day I cut enough wood to sell for a tolerable sum,
and very soon I became more expert, and had made
enough money to repay the tailor all he had lent me.
I had been a wood-cutter for more than a year, when
one day I wandered further into the forest than I had
ever done before, and reached a delicious green glade,
where I began to cut wood. I was hacking at the root of
a tree, when I beheld an iron ring fastened to a trap-door
of the same metal. I soon cleared away the earth, and
pulling up the door, found a staircase, which I hastily
made up my mind to go down, carrying my hatchet with
me by way of protection. When I reached the bottom I
discovered that I was in a huge palace, as brilliantly
lighted as any palace above ground that I had ever seen,
with a long gallery supported by pillars of jasper, orna-
mented with capitals of gold. Down this gallery a lady
came to meet me, of such beauty that I forgot everything
else, and thought only of her.
To save her all the trouble possible, I hastened towards
her, and bowed low.
Who are you? Who are you?' she said. 'A man
or a genius ?'
A man, madam,' I replied; 'I have nothing to do
'By what accident do you come here?' she asked
again with a sigh. 'I have been in this place now for
five and twenty years, and you are the first man who has
Emboldened by her beauty and gentleness, I ventured
to reply, 'Before, madam, I answer your question, allow
me to say how grateful I am for this meeting, which is
not only a consolation to me in my own heavy sorrow,
but may perhaps enable me to render your lot happier,'
and then I told her who I was, and how I had come there.
'Alas, prince,' she said, with a deeper sigh than before,
'you have guessed rightly in supposing me an unwilling
prisoner in this gorgeous place. I am the daughter of
STORY OF THE SECOND CALENDER 79
the king of the Ebony Isle, of whose fame you surely
must have heard. At my father's desire I was married
to a prince who was my own cousin; but on my very
wedding day, I was snatched up by a genius, and
brought here in a faint. For a long while I did nothing
but weep, and would not suffer the genius to come near
me; but time teaches us submission, and I have now
got accustomed to his presence, and if clothes and jewels
could content me, I have them in plenty. Every tenth
day, for five and twenty years, I have received a visit
from him, but in case I should need his help at any other
time, I have only to touch a talisman that stands at the
entrance of my chamber. It wants still five days to his
next visit, and I hope that during that time you will do
me the honour to be my guest.'
I was too much dazzled by her beauty to dream of
refusing her offer, and accordingly the princess had me
conducted to the bath, and a rich dress befitting my rank
was provided for me. Then a feast of the most delicate
dishes was served in a room hung with embroidered
Next day, when we were at dinner, I could maintain
my patience no longer, and implored the princess to break
her bonds, and return with me to the world which was
lighted by the sun.
What you ask is impossible,' she answered; 'but
stay here with me instead, and we can be happy, and
all you will have to do is to betake yourself to the
forest every tenth day, when I am expecting my master the
genius. He is very jealous, as you know, and will not
suffer a man to come near me.
Princess,' I replied, 'I see it is only fear of the genius
that makes you act like this. For myself, I dread him
so little that I mean to break his talisman in pieces!
Awful though you think him, he shall feel the weight of
my arm, and I herewith take a solemn vow to stamp out
the whole race.'
THE ARABIAN NIGHTS
The princess, who realized the consequences of. such
audacity, entreated me not to touch the talisman. 'If
you do, it will be the ruin of both of us,' said she; 'I know
genii much better than you.' But the wine I had drunk
had confused my brain; I gave one kick to the talisman,
and it fell into a thousand pieces.
Hardly had my foot touched the talisman when the
air became as dark as night, a fearful noise was heard,
and the palace shook to its very foundations. In an
instant I was sobered, and understood what I had done.
'Princess !' I cried, 'what is happening?'
Alas !' she exclaimed, forgetting all her own terrors
in anxiety for me, 'fly, or you are lost.'
I followed her advice and dashed up the staircase,
leaving my hatchet behind me. But I was too late. The
palace opened and the genius appeared, who, turning
angrily to the princess, asked indignantly,
'What is the matter, that you have sent for me like
'A pain in my heart,' she replied hastily, 'obliged me
to seek the aid of this little bottle. Feeling faint, I
slipped and fell against the talisman, which broke. That
is really all.'
'You are an impudent liar cried the genius. How
did this hatchet and those shoes get here ?'
'I never saw them before,' she answered, 'and you
came in such a hurry that you may have picked them up
on the road without knowing it.' To this the genius only
replied by insults and blows. I could hear the shrieks
and groans of the princess, and having by this time taken
off my rich garments and put on those in which I had
arrived the previous day, I lifted the trap, found myself
once more in the forest, and returned to my friend the
tailor, with a light load of wood and a heart full of shame
The tailor, who had been uneasy at my long absence,
was delighted to see me; but I kept silence about my
THE GENIUS COMMANDS THE YOUNG MAN TO SLAY THE PRINCES
STORY OF THE SECOND CALENDER 83
adventure, and as soon as possible retired to my room to
lament in secret over my folly. While I was thus
indulging my grief my host entered, and said, 'There is
an old man downstairs who has brought your hatchet
and slippers, which he picked up on the road, and now
restores to you, as he found out from one of your comrades
where you lived. You had better come down and speak
to him yourself.' At this speech I changed colour, and
my legs trembled under me. The tailor noticed my
confusion, and was just going to inquire the reason when
the floor of the room opened, and the old man appeared,
carrying with him my hatchet and shoes.
'I am a genius,' he said, 'the son of the daughter of
Eblis, prince of the genii. Is not this hatchet yours, and
these shoes?' Without waiting for an answer-which,
indeed, I could hardly have given him, so great was my
fright-he seized hold of me, and darted up into the air
with the quickness of lightning, and then, with equal
swiftness, dropped down towards the earth. When he
touched the ground, he rapped it with his foot; it opened,
and we found ourselves in the enchanted palace, in the pre-
sence of the beautiful princess of the Ebony Isle. But
how different she looked from what she was when I had
last seen her, for she was lying stretched on the ground
covered with blood, and weeping bitterly. 'Traitress !'
cried the genius, 'is not this man your lover?'
She lifted up her eyes slowly, and looked sadly at me.
'I never saw him before,' she answered slowly. 'I do
not know who he is.'
'What!' exclaimed the genius, 'you owe all your
sufferings to him, and yet you dare to say he is a stranger
to you '
'But if he really is a stranger to me,' she replied,
'why should I tell a lie and cause his death?'
'Very well,' said the genius, drawing his sword, 'take
this, and cut off his head.'
'Alas,' answered the princess, 'I am too weak even
THE ARABIAN NIGHTS
to hold the sabre. And supposing that I had the strength,
why should I put an innocent man to death ?'
'You condemn yourself by your refusal,' said the
genius; then turning to me, he added, 'and you, do you
not know her?'
'How should I ?' I replied, resolved to imitate the
princess in her fidelity. How should I, when I never
saw her before?'
'Cut her head off, then, if she is a stranger to you,
and I shall believe you are speaking the truth, and will
set you at liberty.'
'Certainly,' I answered, taking the sabre in my
hands, and making a sign to the princess to fear nothing,
as it was my own life that I was about to sacrifice, and
not hers. But the look of gratitude she gave me shook
my courage, and I flung the sabre to the earth.
'I should not deserve to live,' I said to the genius, 'if
I were such a coward as to slay a lady who is not only
unknown to me, but who is at this moment half dead
herself. Do with me as you will-I am in your power-
but I refuse to obey your cruel command.'
'I see,' said the genius, 'that you have both made up
your minds to brave me, but I will give you a sample of
what you may expect.' So saying, with one sweep of
his sabre he cut off a hand of the princess, who was just
able to lift the other to wave me an-eternal farewell.
Then I lost consciousness for several minutes.
When I came to myself I implored the genius to keep
me no longer in this state of suspense, but to lose no
time in putting an end to my sufferings. The genius,
however, paid no attention to my prayers, but said sternly,
'That is the way in which a genius treats the woman
who has betrayed him. If I chose, I could kill you
also; but I will be merciful, and content myself with
changing you into a dog, an ass, a lion, or a bird-which-
ever you prefer.'
I caught eagerly at these words, as giving me a faint