[Go back to Abu Al-Hasan of Khorasan]
There was once, in time of old, a merchant hight Abd al-Rahman, whom Allah had blessed with a son and daughter, and for their much beauty and loveliness, he named the girl Kaubab al-Sabah and the boy Kamar al-Zaman. When he saw what Allah had vouchsafed the twain of beauty and loveliness, brilliancy and symmetry, he feared for them the evil eyes of the espiers and the jibing tongues of the jealous and the craft of the crafty and the wiles of the wicked and shut them up from the folk in a mansion for the space of fourteen years, during which time none saw them save their parents and a slave-girl who served them. Now their father could recite the Koran, even as Allah sent it down, as also did his wife, wherefore the mother taught her daughter to read and recite it and the father his son till both had gotten it by heart. Moreover, the twain learned from their parents writing and reckoning and all manner of knowledge and polite letters and needed no master. When Kamar al-Zaman came to years of manhood, the wife said to her husband, "How long wilt thou keep thy son Kamar al-Zaman sequestered from the eyes of the folk? Is he a girl or a boy?" He answered, "A boy." Rejoined she, "An he be a boy, why dost thou not carry him to the bazar and seat him in thy shop, that he may know the folk and they know him, to the intent that it may become notorious among men that he is thy son, and do thou teach him to sell and to buy. Peradventure somewhat may befal thee; so shall the folk know him for thy son and he shall lay his hand on thy leavings. But, an thou die, as the case now is, and he say to the folk, 'I am the son of the merchant Abd al-Rahman,' verily they will not believe him, but will cry, 'We have never seen thee and we knew not that he had a son,' wherefore the government will seize thy goods and thy son will be despoiled. In like manner the girl; I mean to make her known among the folk, so may be some one of her own condition may ask her in marriage and we will wed her to him and rejoice in her." Quoth he, "I did thus of my fear for them from the eyes of the folk,"--And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased to say her permitted say.
When it was the Nine Hundred and Sixty-fourth Night,
She continued, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when the Merchant's wife spake to him in such wise, he replied, "I did thus of my fear for them from the eyes of the folk and because I love them both and love is jealous exceedingly and well saith he who spoke these verses,
'Of my sight I am jealous for thee, of me, * Of thyself, of thy stead, of thy destiny:
Though I shrined thee in eyes by the craze of me * In such nearness irk I should never see:
Though thou wert by my side all the days of me * Till Doomsday I ne'er had enough of thee.'"
Said his wife, "Put thy trust in Allah, for no harm betideth him whom He protecteth, and carry him with thee this very day to the shop." Then she clad the boy in the costliest clothes and he became a seduction to all who on him cast sight and an affliction to the heart of each lover wight. His father took him and carried him to the market, whilst all who saw him were ravished with him and accosted him, kissing his hand and saluting him with the salam. Quoth one, "Indeed the sun hath risen in such a place and blazeth in the bazar," and another, "The rising-place of the full moon is in such a quarter;" and a third, "The new moon of the Festival hath appeared to the creatures of Allah." And they went on to allude to the boy in talk and call down blessings upon him. But his father scolded the folk for following his son to gaze upon him, because he was abashed at their talk, but he could not hinder one of them from talking; so he fell to abusing the boy's mother and cursing her because she had been the cause of his bringing him out. And as he gazed about he still saw the folk crowding upon him behind and before. Then he walked on till he reached his shop and opening it, sat down and seated his son before him: after which he again looked out and found the thoroughfare blocked with people for all the passers-by, going and coming, stopped before the shop to stare at that beautiful face and could not leave him; and all the men and women crowded in knots about him, applying to themselves the words of him who said,
"Thou madest Beauty to spoil man's sprite * And saidst, 'O my servants, fear My reprove:'
But lovely Thou lovest all loveliness * How, then, shall thy servants refrain from Love?"
When the merchant Abd al-Rahman saw the folk thus crowding about him and standing in rows, both women and men, to fix eyes upon his son, he was sore ashamed and confounded and knew not what to do; but presently there came up from the end of the bazar a man of the wandering Dervishes, clad in haircloth, the garb of the pious servants of Allah and seeing Kamar al-Zaman sitting there as he were a branch of Ban springing from a mound of saffron, poured forth copious tears and recited these two couplets,
"A wand uprising from a sandy knoll, * Like full moon shining brightest sheen,
And said, 'What is thy name?' Replied he 'Lulu' * 'What' (asked I) 'Lily?' and he answered 'La, la!'"
Then the Dervish fell to walking, now drawing near and now moving away, and wiping his gray hairs with his right hand, whilst the heart of the crowd was cloven asunder for awe of him. When he looked upon the boy, his eyes were dazzled and his wit confounded, and exemplified in him was the saying of the poet,
"While that fair-faced boy abode in the place, * Moon of breakfast-fete he lit by his face,
Lo! there came a Shaykh with leisurely pace * A reverend trusting to Allah's grace,
And ascetic signals his gait display'd.
He had studied Love both by day and night * And had special knowledge of Wrong and Right;
Both for lad and lass had repined his sprite, * And his form like toothpick was lean and slight,
And old bones with faded skin were o'erlaid.
In such arts our Shaykh was an Ajami * With a catamite ever in company;
In the love of woman, a Platonist he * But in either versed to the full degree,
And Zaynab to him was the same as Zayd.
Distraught by the Fair he adored the Fair * O'er Spring-camp wailed, bewept ruins bare.
Dry branch thou hadst deemed him for stress o' care, * Which the morning breeze swayeth here and there,
For only the stone is all hardness made!
In the lore of Love he was wondrous wise * And wide awake with all-seeing eyes.
Its rough and its smooth he had tried and tries * And hugged buck and doe in the self-same guise
And with greybeard and beardless alike he play'd."
Then he came up to the boy and gave him a root of sweet basil, whereupon his father put forth his hand to his pouch and brought out for him some small matter of silver, saying, "Take thy portion, O Dervish, and wend thy ways." He took the dirhams, but sat down on the masonry-bench alongside the shop and opposite the boy and fell to gazing upon him and heaving sigh upon sigh, whilst his tears flowed like springs founting. The folk began to look at him and remark upon him, some saying, "All Dervishes are lewd fellows," and other some, "Verily, this Dervish's heart is set on fire for love of this lad." Now when Abd al-Rahman saw this case, he arose and said to the boy, "Come, O my son, let us lock up the shop and hie us home, for it booteth not to sell and buy this day; and may Almighty Allah requite thy mother that which she hath done with us, for she was the cause of all this!" Then said he, "O Dervish, rise, that I may shut my shop." So the Dervish rose and the merchant shut his shop and taking his son, walked away. The Dervish and the folk followed them, till they reached their place, when the boy went in and his father, turning to the Dervish, said to him, "What wouldst thou, O Dervish, and why do I see thee weep?" He replied, "O my lord, I would fain be thy guest this night, for the guest is the guest of Almighty Allah." Quoth the merchant, "Welcome to the guest of God: enter, O Dervish!"--And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased saying her permitted say.
When it was the Nine Hundred and Sixty-fifth Night,
She pursued, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when the merchant, the father of Kamar al-Zaman, heard the saying of the Dervish, "I am Allah's guest," he replied, "Welcome to the guest of God: enter, O Dervish!" But he said to himself, "An the beggar be enamoured of the boy and sue him for sin, needs must I slay him this very night and bury him secretly. But, an there be no lewdness in him, the guest shall eat his portion." Then he brought him into a saloon, where he left him with Kamar al-Zaman, after he had said privily to the lad, "O my son, sit thou beside the Dervish when I am gone out and sport with him and provoke him to love-liesse and if he seek of thee lewdness, I who will be watching you from the window overlooking the saloon will come down to him and kill him." So, as soon as Kamar al-Zaman was alone in the room with the Dervish, he sat down by his side and the old man began to look upon him and sigh and weep. Whenever the lad bespake him, he answered him kindly, trembling the while and would turn to him groaning and crying, and thus he did till supper was brought in, when he fell to eating, with his eyes on the boy but refrained not from shedding tears. When a fourth part of the night was past and talk was ended and sleep-tide came, Abd al-Rahman said to the lad, "O my son, apply thyself to the service of thine uncle the Dervish and gainsay him not:" and would have gone out; but the Dervish cried to him, "O my lord, carry thy son with thee or sleep with us." Answered the merchant, "Nay, my son shall lie with thee: haply thy soul may desire somewhat, and he will look to thy want and wait upon thee." Then he went out leaving them both together, and sat down in an adjoining room which had a window giving upon the saloon. Such was the case with the merchant; but as to the lad, as soon as his sire had left them, he came up to the Dervish and began to provoke him and offer himself to him, whereupon he waxed wroth and said, "What talk is this, O my son? I take refuge with Allah from Satan the Stoned! O my Lord, indeed this is a denial of Thee which pleaseth Thee not! Avaunt from me, O my son!" So saying, the Dervish arose and sat down at a distance; but the boy followed him and threw himself upon him, saying, "Why, O Dervish, wilt thou deny thyself the joys of my possession, and I with a heart that loveth thee?" Hereupon the Dervish's anger redoubled and he said, "An thou refrain not from me, I will summon thy sire and tell him of thy doings." Quoth the lad, "My father knoweth my turn for this and it may not be that he will hinder me: so heal thou my heart. Why dost thou hold off from me? Do I not please thee?" Answered the Dervish, "By Allah, O my son, I will not do this, though I be hewn in pieces with sharp-edged swords!"; and he repeated the saying of the poet,
"Indeed my heart loves all the lovely boys * As girls; nor am I slow to such delight,
But, though I sight them every night and morn, * I'm neither of Lot's folk nor wencher-wight."
Then he shed tears and said, "Arise, open the door, that I may wend my way, for I will lie no longer in this lodging." Therewith he rose to his feet; but the boy caught hold of him, saying, "Look at the fairness of my face and the cramoisy of my cheeks and the softness of my sides and the lusciousness of my lips." Moreover he discovered to him calves that would shame wine and cupcarrier and gazed on him with fixed glance that would baffle enchanter and enchantments; for he was passing of loveliness and full of blandishment, even as saith of him one of the poets who sang,
"I can't forget him, since he rose and showed with fair design * Those calves of legs whose pearly shine make light in nightly gloom:
Wonder not an my flesh uprise as though 'twere Judgment-day * When every shank shall bared be and that is Day of Doom."
Then the boy displayed to him his bosom, saying, "Look at my breasts which be goodlier than the breasts of maidens and my lip-dews are sweeter than sugar-candy. So quit scruple and asceticism and cast off devoutness and abstinence and take thy fill of my possession and enjoy my loveliness. Fear naught, for thou art safe from hurt, and leave this hebetude for 'tis a bad habit." And he went on to discover to him his hidden beauties, striving to turn the reins of his reason with his bendings in graceful guise, whilst the Dervish turned away his face and said, "I seek refuge with Allah! Have some shame, O my son! This is a forbidden thing I deem and I will not do it, no, not even in dream." The boy pressed upon him, but the Dervish got free from him and turning towards Meccah addressed himself to his devotions. Now when the boy saw him praying, he left him till he had prayed a two-bow prayer and saluted, when he would have accosted him again; but the Dervish again repeated the intent and prayed a second two-bow prayer, and thus he did a third and a fourth and a fifth time. Quoth the lad, "What prayers are these? Art thou minded to take flight upon the clouds? Thou lettest slip our delight, whilst thou passest the whole night in the prayer-niche." So saying, he threw himself upon the Dervish and kissed him between the eyes; but the Shaykh said, "O my son, put Satan away from thine estate and take upon thee obedience of the Compassionate." Quoth the other, "An thou do not with me that which I desire, I will call my sire and say to him, The Dervish is minded to do lewdness with me. Whereupon he will come in to thee and beat thee till thy bones be broken upon thy flesh." All this while Abd al-Rahman was watching with his eyes and hearkening with his ears, and he was certified that there was no frowardness in the Dervish and he said to himself, "Were he a lewd fellow, he had not stood out against all this importunity." The boy continued to beguile the Dervish and every time he expressed purpose of prayer, he interrupted him, till at last he waxed wroth with passing wrath and was rough with him and beat him. Kamar al-Zaman wept and his father came in and having wiped away his tears and comforted him said to the Dervish, "O my brother, since thou art in such case, why didst thou weep and sigh when thou sawest my son? Say me, is there a reason for this?" He replied, "There is;" and Abd al-Rahman pursued, "When I saw thee weep at his sight, I deemed evil of thee and bade the boy do with thee thus, that I might try thee, purposing in myself, if I saw thee sue him for sin, to come in upon thee and kill thee. But, when I saw what thou didst, I knew thee for one of those who are virtuous to the end. Now Allah upon thee, tell me the cause of thy weeping!" The Dervish sighed and said, "O my lord, chafe not a closed wound." But the merchant said, "There is no help but thou tell me;" and the other began, "Know thou that I am a Dervish who wander in the lands and the countries, and take warning by the display of the Creator of Night and Day. It chanced that one Friday I entered the city of Bassorah in the undurn."--And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased to say her permitted say.
When it was the Nine Hundred and Sixty-sixth Night,
She resumed, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that the Dervish said to the merchant, "Know, then, that I a wandering mendicant chanced one Friday to enter the city of Bassorah in the undurn and saw the shops open and full of all manner of wares and meat and drink; but the place was deserted and therein was neither man nor woman nor girl nor boy: nor in the markets and the main streets was there dog or cat nor sounded sound nor friend was found. I marvelled at this end and said to myself, 'I wonder whither the people of the city be gone with their cats and dogs and what hath Allah done with them?' Now I was anhungred so I took hot bread from a baker's oven and going into the shop of an oilman, spread the bread with clarified butter and honey and ate. Then I entered the shop of a sherbet-seller and drank what I would; after which, seeing a coffee-shop open, I went in and found the pots on the fire, full of coffee; but there was no one there. So I drank my fill and said, 'Verily, this is a wondrous thing! It seemeth as though Death had stricken the people of this city and they had all died this very hour, or as if they had taken fright at something which befel them and fled, without having time to shut their shops.' Now whilst pondering this matter, lo! I heard a sound of a band of drums beating; whereat I was afraid and hid myself for a while: then, looking out through a crevice, I saw damsels, like moons, come walking through the market, two by two, with uncovered heads and faces displayed. They were in forty pairs, thus numbering fourscore and in their midst a young lady, riding on a horse that could hardly move his legs for that which was upon it of silvern trappings and golden and jewelled housings. Her face was wholly unveiled, and she was adorned with the costliest ornaments and clad in the richest of raiment and about her neck she wore a collar of gems and on her bosom were necklaces of gold; her wrists were clasped with bracelets which sparkled like stars, and her ankles with bangles of gold set with precious stones. The slave-girls walked before her and behind and on her right and left and in front of her was a damsel bearing in baldric a great sword, with grip of emerald and tassels of jewel-encrusted gold. When that young lady came to where I lay hid, she pulled up her horse and said, 'O damsels, I hear a noise of somewhat within yonder shop: so do ye search it, lest haply there be one hidden there, with intent to enjoy a look at us, whilst we have our faces unveiled.' So they searched the shop opposite the coffee-house wherein I lay hid, whilst I abode in terror; and presently I saw them come forth with a man and they said to her, 'O our lady, we found a man there and here he is before thee.' Quoth she to the damsel with the sword, 'Smite his neck.' So she went up to him and struck off his head; then, leaving the dead man lying on the ground, they passed on. When I saw this, I was affrighted; but my heart was taken with love of the young lady. After an hour or so, the people reappeared and every one who had a shop entered it; whilst the folk began to come and go about the bazars and gathered around the slain man, staring at him as a curiosity. Then I crept forth from my hiding place by stealth, and none took note of me, but love of that lady had gotten possession of my heart, and I began to enquire of her privily. None, however, gave me news of her; so I left Bassorah, with vitals yearning for her love; and when I came upon this thy son, I saw him to be the likest of all creatures to the young lady; wherefore he reminded me of her and his sight revived the fire of passion in me and kindled anew in my heart the flames of love-longing and distraction. And such is the cause of my shedding tears!" Then he wept with sore weeping till he could no more and said, "O my lord, I conjure thee by Allah, open the door to me, so I may gang my gait!" Accordingly Abd al-Rahman opened the door and he went forth. Thus fared it with him; but as regards Kamar al-Zaman, when he heard the Dervish's story, his heart was taken with love of the lady and passion gat the mastery of him and raged in him longing and distraction; so, on the morrow, he said to his sire, "All the sons of the merchants wander about the world to attain their desire, nor is there one of them but his father provideth for him a stock-in-trade wherewithal he may travel and traffic for gain. Why, then, O my father, dost thou not outfit me with merchandise, so I may fare with it and find my luck?" He replied, "O my son, such merchants lack money; so they send their sons to foreign parts for the sake of profit and pecuniary gain and provision of the goods of the world. But I have monies in plenty nor do I covet more: why then should I exile thee? Indeed, I cannot brook to be parted from thee an hour, more especially as thou art unique in beauty and loveliness and perfect grace and I fear for thee." But Kamar al-Zaman said, "O my father, nothing will serve but thou must furnish me with merchandise wherewithal to travel; else will I fly from thee at unawares though without money or merchandise. So, an thou wish to solace my heart, make ready for me a stock-in-trade, that I may travel and amuse myself by viewing the countries of men." Abd al-Rahman, seeing his son enamoured of travel, acquainted his wife with this, saying, "Verily thy son would have me provide him with goods, so he may fare therewith to far regions, albeit Travel is Travail." Quoth she, "What is there to displease thee in this? Such is the wont of the sons of the merchants and they all vie one with other in glorifying globe-trotting and gain." Quoth he, "Most of the merchants are poor and seek growth of good; but I have wealth galore." She replied, "More of a good thing hurteth not; and, if thou comply not with his wish, I will furnish him with goods of my own monies." Quoth Abd al-Rahman, "I fear strangerhood for him, inasmuch as travel is the worst of trouble;" but she said, "There is no harm in strangerhood for him when it leadeth to gaining good; and, if we consent not, our son will go away and we shall seek him and not find him and be dishonoured among the folk." The merchant accepted his wife's counsel and provided his son with merchandise to the value of ninety thousand gold pieces, whilst his mother gave him a purse containing forty bezel-stones, jewels of price, the least of the value of one of which was five hundred ducats, saying, "O my son, be careful of this jewellery for 'twill be of service to thee." Thereupon Kamar al-Zaman took the jewels and set out for Bassorah,--And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased saying her permitted say.
When it was the Nine Hundred and Sixty-seventh Night,
She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that Kamar al-Zaman took the jewels and set out for Bassorah after he had laid them in a belt, which he buckled about his waist; and he stayed not till there remained aught but a day's journey between that city and himself; when the Arabs came out upon him and stripped him naked and slew his men and servants; but he laid himself down among the slain and wallowed in their blood, so that the wildlings took him for dead and left him without even turning him over and made off with their booty. When the Arabs had gone their ways, Kamar al-Zaman arose, having naught left but the jewels in his girdle, and fared on nor ceased faring till he came to Bassorah. It chanced that his entry was on a Friday and the town was void of folk, even as the Dervish had informed him. He found the market-streets deserted and the shops wide open and full of goods; so he ate and drank and looked about him. Presently, he heard a band of drums beating and hid himself in a shop, till the slave-girls came up, when he looked at them; and, seeing the young lady riding amongst them, love and longing overcame him and desire and distraction overpowered him, so that he had no force to stand. After awhile, the people reappeared and the bazars filled. Whereupon he went to the market and repairing to a jeweller and pulling out one of his forty gems sold it for a thousand dinars, wherewith he returned to his place and passed the night there; and when morning morrowed he changed his clothes and going to the Hamman came forth as he were the full moon. Then he sold other four stones for four thousand dinars and sauntered solacing himself about the main streets of Bassorah, clad in the costliest of clothes; till he came to a market, where he saw a barber's shop. So he went in to the barber who shaved his head; and, clapping up an acquaintance with him, said to him, "O my father, I am a stranger in these parts and yesterday I entered this city and found it void of folk, nor was there in it any living soul, man nor Jinni. Then I saw a troop of slave-girls and amongst them a young lady riding in state:" and he went on to tell him all he had seen. Said the barber, "O my son, hast thou told any but me of this?"; and he said, "No." The other rejoined, "Then, O my son, beware thou mention this before any but me; for all folk cannot keep a secret and thou art but a little lad and I fear lest the talk travel from man to man, till it reach those whom it concerneth and they slay thee. For know, O my son, that this thou hast seen, none ever kenned nor knew in other than this city. As for the people of Bassorah they are dying of this annoy; for every Friday forenoon they shut up the dogs and cats, to hinder them from going about the market-streets, and all the people of the city enter the cathedral-mosques, where they lock the doors on them and not one of them can pass about the bazar nor even look out of casement; nor knoweth any the cause of this calamity. But, O my son, to-night I will question my wife concerning the reason thereof, for she is a midwife and entereth the houses of the notables and knoweth all the city news. So Inshallah, do thou come to me to-morrow and I will tell thee what she shall have told me." With this Kamar al-Zaman pulled out a handful of gold and said to him, "O my father, take this gold and give it to thy wife, for she is become my mother." Then he gave him a second handful, saying, "Take this for thyself." Whereupon quoth the barber, "O my son, sit thou in thy place, till I go to my wife and ask her and bring the news of the true state of the case." So saying, he left him in the shop and going home, acquainted his wife with the young man's case, saying, "I would have thee tell me the truth of this city-business, so I may report it to this young merchant, for he hath set his heart on weeting the reason why men and beasts are forbidden the market-streets every Friday forenoon; and methinks he is a lover, for he is openhanded and liberal, and if we tell him what he would trow, we shall get great good of him." Quoth she, "Go back and say to him, 'Come, speak with thy mother, my wife, who sendeth her salam to thee and saith to thee, Thy wish is won.'" Accordingly he returned to the shop, where he found Kamar al-Zaman sitting awaiting him and repeated him the very words spoken by his spouse. Then he carried him in to her and she welcomed him and bade him sit down; whereupon he pulled out an hundred ducats and gave them to her, saying, "O my mother, tell me who this young lady may be." Said she, "Know, O my son, that there came a gem to the Sultan of Bassorah from the King of Hind, and he was minded to have it pierced. So he summoned all the jewellers in a body and said to them, 'I wish you to drill me this jewel. Whoso pierceth it, I will give him whatsoever he shall ask; but if he break it, I will cut off his head.' At this they were afraid and said, 'O King of the age, a jewel is soon spoilt and there are few who can pierce them without injury, for most of them have a flaw. So do not thou impose upon us a task to which we are unable; for our hands cannot avail to drill this jewel. However, our Shaykh is more experienced than we.' Asked the King, 'And who is your Shaykh?'; and they answered, 'Master Obayd: he is more versed than we in this art and hath wealth galore and of skill great store. Therefore do thou send for him to the presence and bid him pierce thee this jewel.' Accordingly the King sent for Obayd and bade him pierce the jewel, imposing on him the condition aforesaid. He took it and pierced it to the liking of the King who said to him, 'Ask a boon of me, O master'; and said he, 'O King of the age, allow me delay till to-morrow.' Now the reason of this was that he wished to take counsel with his wife, who is the young lady thou sawest riding in procession; for he loveth her with exceeding love, and of the greatness of his affection for her, he doth naught without consulting her; wherefore he put off asking till the morrow. When he went home, he said to her, 'I have pierced the King a jewel and he hath granted me a boon which I deferred asking till to-morrow, that I might consult thee. Now what dost thou wish, that I may ask it?' Quoth she, 'We have riches such as fires may not consume; but, an thou love me, ask of the King to make proclamation in the streets of Bassorah that all the townsfolk shall every Friday enter the mosques, two hours before the hour of prayer, so none may abide in the town at all great or small except they be in the mosques or in the houses and the doors be locked upon them, and that every shop of the town be left open. Then will I ride with my slave-women through the heart of the city and none shall look on me from window or lattice; and every one whom I find abroad I will kill.' So he went in to the King and begged of him this boon, which he granted him and caused proclamation to be made amongst the Bassorites,"--And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased to say her permitted say.
When is was the Nine Hundred and Sixty-eighth Night,
She continued, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that the barber's wife said, "When the Jeweller begged his boon, the King bade proclamation be made amongst the Bassorites, but the people objected that they feared for their goods from the cats and dogs; wherefore he commanded to shut the animals up till the folk should come forth from the Friday prayers. So the jeweller's wife fell to sallying forth every Friday, two hours before the time of congregational prayer, and riding in state through the city with her women; during which time none dareth pass through the market-place nor look out of casement or lattice. This, then, is what thou wouldest know and I have told thee who she is; but, O my son, was it thy desire only to have news of her or hast thou a mind to meet her?" Answered he, "O my mother, 'tis my wish to foregather with her." Quoth she, "Tell me what valuables thou hast with thee"; and quoth he, "O my mother, I have with me precious stones of four sorts, the first worth five hundred dinars each, the second seven hundred, the third eight hundred and the fourth a thousand ducats." She asked, "Art thou willing to spend four of these?"; and he answered, "I am ready to spend all of them." She rejoined, "Then, arise, O my son, and go straight to thy lodging and take a bezel-gem of those worth five hundred sequins, with which do thou repair to the jewel market and ask for the shop of Master Obayd, the Shaykh of the Jewellers. Go thither and thou wilt find him seated in his shop, clad in rich clothes, with workmen under his hand. Salute him and sit down on the front shelf of his shop; then pull out the jewel and give it to him, saying, 'O master, take this stone and fashion it into a seal-ring for me with gold. Make it not large, a Miskal in weight and no more; but let the fashion of it be thy fairest.' Then give him twenty dinars and to each of his prentices a dinar. Sit with him awhile and talk with him and if a beggar approach thee, show thy generosity by giving him a dinar, to the intent that he may affect thee, and after this, leave him and return to thy place. Pass the night there, and next morning, take an hundred dinars and bring them and give them to thy father the barber, for he is poor." Quoth Kamar al-Zaman, "Be it so," and returning to his caravanserai, took a jewel worth five hundred gold pieces and went with it to the jewel-bazar. There he enquired for the shop of Master Obayd, Shaykh of the Jewellers, and they directed him thereto. So he went thither and saw the Shaykh, a man of austere aspect and robed in sumptuous raiment with four journeymen under his hand. He addressed him with "Peace be upon you!" and the jeweller returned his greeting and welcoming him, made him sit down. Then he brought out the jewel and said, "O master, I wish thee to make me this jewel into a seal-ring with gold. Let it be the weight of a Miskal and no more, but fashion it excellently." Then he pulled out twenty dinars and gave them to him, saying, "This is the fee for chasing and the price of the ring shall remain." And he gave each of the apprentices a gold piece, wherefore they loved him, and so did Master Obayd. Then he sat talking with the jeweller and whenever a beggar came up to him, he gave him a gold piece and they all marvelled at his generosity. Now Master Obayd had tools at home, like those he had in the shop, and whenever he was minded to do any unusual piece of work, it was his custom to carry it home and do it there, that his journeymen might not learn the secrets of his wonderful workmanship. His wife used to sit before him, and when she was sitting thus and he looking upon her, he would fashion all manner of marvellously wroughten trinkets, such as were fit for none but kings. So he went home and sat down to mould the ring with admirable workmanship. When his wife saw him thus engaged, she asked him, "What wilt thou do with this bezel-gem?"; and he answered, "I mean to make it into a ring with gold, for 'tis worth five hundred dinars." She enquired, "For whom?"; and he answered, "For a young merchant, who is fair of face, with eyes that wound with desire, and cheeks that strike fire and mouth like the seal of Sulayman and cheeks like the bloom of Nu'man and lips red as coralline and neck like the antelope's long and fine. His complexion is white dashed with red and he is well-bred, pleasant and generous and doth thus and thus." And he went on to describe to her now his beauty and loveliness and then his perfection and bounty and ceased not to vaunt his charms and the generosity of his disposition, till he had made her in love with him; for there is no sillier cuckold than he who vaunteth to his wife another man's handsome looks and unusual liberality in money matters. So, when desire rose high in her, she said to him, "Is aught of my charms found in him?" Said he, "He hath all thy beauties; and he is thy counterpart in qualities. Meseemeth his age is even as thine and but that I fear to hurt thy feelings, I would say that he is a thousand times handsomer than thou art." She was silent, yet the fire of fondness was kindled in her heart. And the jeweller ceased not to talk with her and to set out Kamar al-Zaman's charms before her till he had made an end of moulding the ring; when he gave it to her and she put it on her finger, which it fitted exactly. Quoth she, "O my lord, my heart loveth this ring and I long for it to be mine and will not take it from my finger." Quoth he, "Have patience! The owner of it is generous, and I will seek to buy it of him, and if he will sell it, I will bring it to thee. Or if he have another such stone, I will buy it and fashion it for thee into a ring like this."--And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased saying her permitted say.
When it was the Nine Hundred and Sixty-ninth Night,
She pursued, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that the jeweller said to his wife, "Have patience! The owner of it is generous and I will seek to buy it of him; and, if he will sell it, I will bring it to thee; or, if he have another such stone I will buy it and fashion it for thee into a ring like this." On this wise it fared with the jeweller and his wife; but as regards Kamar al-Zaman, he passed the night in his lodging and on the morrow he took an hundred dinars and carried them to the old woman, the barber's wife, saying to her, "Accept these gold pieces," and she replied, "Give them to thy father." So he gave them to the barber and she asked, "Hast thou done as I bade thee?" He answered, "Yes," and she said, "Go now to the Shaykh, the jeweller, and if he give thee the ring, put it on the tip of thy finger and pull it off in haste and say to him, 'O master, thou hast made a mistake; the ring is too tight.' He will say, 'O merchant, shall I break it and mould it again larger?' And do thou say, 'It booteth not to break it and fashion it anew. Take it and give it to one of thy slave-women.' Then pull out another stone worth seven hundred dinars and say to him, 'Take this stone and set it for me, for 'tis handsomer than the other.' Give him thirty dinars and to each of the prentices two, saying, 'These gold pieces are for the chasing and the price of the ring shall remain.' Then return to thy lodging for the night and on the morrow bring me two hundred ducats, and I will complete thee the rest of the device." So the youth went to the jeweller, who welcomed him and made him sit down in his shop; and he asked him, "Hast thou done my need?" "Yes," answered Obayd and brought out to him the seal-ring; whereupon he set it on his finger-tip and pulling it off in haste, cried, "Thou hast made a mistake, O master;" and threw it to him, saying, "'Tis too strait for my finger." Asked the jeweller, "O merchant, shall I make it larger?" But he answered, "Not so; take it as a gift and give it to one of thy slave-girls. Its worth is trifling, some five hundred dinars; so it booteth not to fashion it over again." Then he brought out to him another stone worth seven hundred sequins and said to him, "Set this for me: 'tis a finer gem." Moreover he gave him thirty dinars and to each of his workmen two. Quoth Obayd, "O my lord we will take the price of the ring when we have made it." But Kamar al-Zaman said, "This is for the chasing, and the price of the ring remains over." So saying, he went away home, leaving the jeweller and his men amazed at the excess of his generosity. Presently the jeweller returned to his wife and said, "O Halimah, never did I set eyes on a more generous than this young man, and as for thee, thy luck is good, for he hath given me the ring without price, saying, 'Give it to one of thy slave-women.'" And he told her what had passed, adding, "Methinks this youth is none of the sons of the merchants, but that he is of the sons of the Kings and Sultans." Now the more he praised him, the more she waxed in love-longing, passion and distraction for him. So she took the ring and put it on her finger, whilst the jeweller made another one, a little larger than the first. When he had finished moulding it, she put it on her finger, under the first, and said, "Look, O my lord, how well the two rings show on my finger! I wish they were both mine." Said he, "Patience! It may be I shall buy thee this second one." Then he lay that night and on the morrow he took the ring and went to his shop. As for Kamar al-Zaman, as soon as it was day, he repaired to the barber's wife and gave her two hundred dinars. Quoth she, "Go to the jeweller and when he giveth thee the ring, put it on thy finger and pull it off again in haste, saying, 'Thou hast made a mistake, O master! This ring is too large. A master like thee, when the like of me cometh to him with a piece of work, it behoveth him to take right measure; and if thou hadst measured my finger, thou hadst not erred.' Then pull out another stone worth a thousand dinars and say to him, 'Take this and set it, and give this ring to one of thy slave-women.' Give him forty ducats and to each of his journeymen three, saying, "This is for the chasing, and for the cost of the ring, that shall remain.' And see what he will say. Then bring three hundred diners and give them to thy father the barber that he may mend his fortune withal, for he is a poor man." Answered Kamar al-Zaman, "I hear and obey," and betook himself to the jeweller, who welcomed him and making him sit down, gave him the ring. He took it and put it on his finger; then pulled it off in haste and said, "It behoveth a master like thee, when the like of me bringeth him a piece of work, to take his measure. Hadst thou measured my finger, thou hadst not erred but take it and give it to one of thy slave women." Then he brought out to him a stone worth a thousand sequins and said to him, "Take this and set it in a signet-ring for me after the measure of my finger." Quoth Obayd, "Thou hast spoken sooth and art in the right;" and took his measure, whereupon he pulled out forty gold pieces and gave them to him, saying, "Take these for the chasing and the price of the ring shall remain." Cried the jeweller, "O my lord, how much hire have we taken of thee' Verily, thy bounty to us is great!" "No harm," replied Kamar al-Zaman and sat talking with him awhile and giving a diner to every beggar who passed by the shop. Then he left him and went away, whilst the jeweller returned home and said to his wife, 'How generous is this young merchant! Never did I set eyes on a more open handed or a comelier than he, no, nor a sweeter of speech. And he went on to recount to her his charms and generosity and was loud in his praise. Cried she, "O thou lack tact, since thou notest these qualities in him, and indeed he hath given thee two seal rings of price, it behoveth thee to invite him and make him an entertainment and entreat him lovingly. When he seest that thou affectest him and cometh to our place, we shall surely get great good of him; and if thou grudge him the banquet do thou bid him and I will entertain him of my monies." Quoth he, "Dost thou know me to be niggardly, that thou sayest this Say?; and quoth she, "Thou art no niggard, but thou lackest tact. Invite him this very night and come not without him. An he refuse, conjure him by the divorce oath and be persistent with him "On my head and eyes," answered he and moulded the ring till he had finished it, after which he passed the night and went forth on the morrow to his shop and sat there. On this wise it was with him, but as for Kamar al-Zaman, he took three hundred diners and carrying them to the old wife, gave them to her for the barber, her husband. Said she, "Most like he will invite thee to his house this day; and if he do this and thou pass the night there, tell me in the morning what befalleth thee and bring with thee four hundred diners and give them to thy father." Answered he, "Hearing and obeying;" and as often as he ran out of money, he would sell some of his stones. So he repaired to the jeweller, who rose to him and received him with open arms, greeted him heartily and clapped up companionship with him. Then he gave him the ring, and he found it after the measure of his finger and said to the jeweller, "Allah bless thee, O prince of artists! The setting is conformable but the stone is not to my liking." And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased to say her permitted say,
When it was the Nine Hundred and Seventieth Night,
She resumed, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that Kamar al-Zaman said to the jeweller, "The setting is conformable to my wishes, but the stone is not to my liking. I have a handsomer than this: so take the seal-ring and give it to one of thy slave women." Then he gave him a fourth stone and an hundred diners, saying, "Take thy hire and excuse the trouble we have given thee." Obayd replied, "O merchant, all the trouble thou hast given us thou hast requited us and hast over whelmed us with thy great bounties: and indeed my heart is taken with love of thee and I cannot brook parting from thee. So, Allah upon thee, be thou my guest this night and heal my heart." He rejoined, "So be it; but needs must I go to my Khan, that I may give a charge to my domestics and tell them that I shall sleep abroad to night, so they may not expect me." "Where dost thou lodge?" asked the jeweller; and he answered, "In such a Khan." Quoth Obayd, "I will come for thee there;" and quoth the other "'Tis well." So the jeweller repaired to the Khan before sundown, fearing lest his wife should be anangered with him, if he returned home without his guest; and, carrying Kamar al-Zaman to his house, seated him in a saloon that had not its match, Halimah saw him, as he entered, and was ravished with him. They talked till supper was served when they ate and drank; after which appeared coffee and sherbets, and the jeweller ceased not to entertain him with talk till eventide, when they prayed the obligatory prayers. Then entered a handmaid with two cups of night drink, which when they had drunk, drowsiness overcame them and they slept. Presently in came the jeweller's wife and seeing them asleep, looked upon Kamar al-Zaman's face and her wit was confounded at his beauty. Said she, "How can he sleep who loveth the fair?" and, turning him over on his back, sat astraddle upon his breast. Then, in the mania of her passion for him, she rained down kisses on his cheeks, till she left a mark upon them and they became exceeding red and his cheek bones shone; and, she sucked his lips, till the blood ran out into her mouth; but with all this, her fire was not quenched nor her thirst assuaged. She ceased not to kiss and clip him and twine leg with leg, till the forebrow of Morn grew white and the dawn broke forth in light; when she put in his pocket four cockals and went away. Then she sent her maid with something like snuff, which she applied to their nostrils and they sneezed and awoke, when the slave-girl said, "O my lords, prayer is a duty; so rise ye and pray the dawn-prayer." And she brought them basin and ewer. Quoth Kaman al-Zamar "O master, 'tis late and we have overslept ourselves;" and quoth the jeweller, "O my friend verily the air of this room is heavy; for, whenever I sleep in it, this happens to me." Rejoined Kamar al-Zaman, "True," and proceeded to make the Wuzu ablution; but, when he put the water to his face, his cheeks and lips burned him. Cried he, "Prodigious! If the air of the room be heavy and we have been drowned in sleep, what aileth my cheeks and lips that they burn me?" And he said to the jeweller, "O master, my cheeks and lips burn me." The other replied, "I guess this cometh of the mosquito bites." "Strange!" said Kamar al-Zaman. "Hath this thing happened to thee?" Replied Obayd, "No! But whenever I have by me a guest like thee, he complaineth in the morning of the mosquito bites, and this happeneth only when he is like thee beardless. If he be bearded the mosquitoes sting him not, and naught hindereth them from me but my beard. It seems mosquitoes love not bearded men." Rejoined Kamar al-Zaman, "True." Then the maid brought them early breakfast and they broke their fast and went out. Kamar al-Zaman betook himself to the old woman, who exclaimed, when she saw him, "I see the marks of joyance on thy face: tell me what thou hast seen." Said he, "I have seen nothing. Only I supped with the house master in a saloon and prayed the night prayer, after which we fell asleep and woke not till morning." She laughed and said, "What be those marks on thy cheeks and lips?" He answered, "'Twas the mosquitoes of the saloon that did this with me;" and she rejoined, "'Tis well. But did the same thing betide the house master?" He retorted, "Nay; but he told me that the mosquitoes of that saloon molest not bearded men, but sting those only who have no hair on face, and that whenever he hath for guest one who is beard less, the stranger awaketh complaining of the mosquito bites; whereas an he have a beard, there befalleth him naught of this." Said she, "Sooth thou speakest: but say me, sawest thou aught save this?" And he answered, "I found four cockals in my pocket." Quoth she, "Show them to me." So he gave them to her and she laughed and said, "Thy mistress laid these in thy pocket." He asked, "How so?" And she answered, " 'Tis as if she said to thee, in the language of signs, 'An thou wert in love, thou wouldst not sleep, for a lover sleepeth not: but thou hast not ceased to be a child and fit for nothing but to play with these cockals. So what crave thee to fall in love with the fair?' Now she came to thee by night and finding thee asleep, scored thy cheeks with her kisses and left thee this sign. But that will not suffice her of thee and she will certainly send her husband to invite thee again to night; so, when thou goest home with him, hasten not to fall asleep, and on the morrow bring me five hundred diners and come and acquaint me with what hath passed, and I will perfect for thee the device." Answered he, "I hear and obey," and went back to the Khan. Thus it befel him; but as regards the jeweller's wife, she said to her husband, "Is the guest gone?" Answered he, "Yes, but, O Halimah,the mosquitoes plagued him last night and scarified his cheeks and lips, and indeed I was abashed before him." She rejoined, "This is the wont of the mosquitoes of our saloon; for they love none save the beardless. But do thou invite him again to night." So he repaired to the Khan where the youth abode, and bidding him, carried him to his house, where they ate and drank and prayed the night prayer in the saloon, after which the slave-girl entered and gave each of them a cup of night drink, And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased saying her permitted say.
When it was the Nine Hundred and Seventy first Night,
She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that the slave- girl went in to the twain and gave each of them a cup of night drink, and they drank and fell asleep. Presently, in came Halimah and said, "O good for nothing, how canst thou sleep and call thy self a lover? A lover sleepeth not!" Then she mounted on his breast and ceased not to come down upon him with kisses and caresses, biting and sucking his lips and so forth, till the morning. when she put in his pocket a knife and sent her handmaid to arouse them. And when the youth awoke, his cheeks were on fire, for excess of redness, and his lips like coral, for dint of sucking and kissing. Quoth the jeweller, "Did the mosquitoes plague thee last night?"; and quoth the other, "Nay!"; for he now knew the conceit and left complaining. Then he felt the knife in his pocket and was silent; but when he had broken his fast and drunk coffee, he left the jeweller and going to the Khan; took five hundred diners of gold and carried them to the old woman, to whom he related what had passed, saying, "I slept despite myself, and when I woke at dawn I found nothing but a knife in my pocket." Exclaimed the old trot, "May Allah protect thee from her this next night! For she saith to thee by this sign, 'An thou sleep again, I will cut thy throat.' Thou wilt once more be bidden to the jeweller's house to night, and if thou sleep, she will slay thee." Said he, "What is to be done?"; and said she, "Tell me what thou atest and drankest before sleeping." Quoth he, "We supped as was our wont and prayed the night prayer, after which there came in to us a maid, who gave each of us a cup of night drink, which when I had drunk, I fell asleep and awoke not till the morning." Quoth the old woman, "The mischief is in the cup: so, when the maid giveth it to thee, take it from her, but drink not and wait till the master of the house have drunken and fallen asleep; then say to her, 'Give me a draught of water,' and she will go to fetch thee the gugglet. Then do thou empty the cup behind the pillow and lie down and feign sleep. So when she cometh back with the gugglet, she will deem that thou hast fallen asleep, after having drunk off the cup, and will leave thee; and presently the case will appear to thee; but beware of disobeying my bidding." Answered he, "I hear and I obey," and returned to the Khan. Meanwhile the jeweller's wife said to her husband, "A guest's due honour is three nights' entertainment: so do thou invite him a third time." Whereupon he betook himself to the youth and inviting him, carried him home and sat down with him in the saloon. When they had supped and prayed the night prayer, behold, in came the handmaid and gave each of them a cup. Her master drank and fell asleep; but Kamar al-Zaman forbore to drink, whereupon quoth the maid, "Wilt thou not drink, O my lord?" Answered he, "I am athirst, bring me the gugglet." Accordingly she went to fetch it, and he emptied the cup behind the pillow and lay down. When the slave-girl returned, she saw him lying down and going to her mistress said, "He hath drunk off the cup and fallen asleep;" whereupon quoth Halimah to herself, "Verily, his death is better than his life." Then, taking a sharp knife, she went in to him, saying, "Three times, and thou notedst not the sign, O fool! So now I will rip up thy maw." When he saw her making for him knife in hand, he opened his eyes and rose, laughing; whereupon said she, "'Twas not of thine own wit, that thou camest at the meaning of the sign, but by the help of some wily cheat; so tell me whence thou hadst this knowledge." "From an old woman," replied he, "between whom and me befel such and such;" and he told her all that had passed. Quoth she, "To morrow go thou forth from us and seek her and say, 'Hast thou any further device in store?' And if she answer, 'I have,' do thou rejoin, 'Then do thy best that I may enjoy her publicly.' But, if she say, 'I have no means of doing that, and this is the last of my devices,' put her away from thy thought, and to morrow night my husband will come to thee and invite thee. Do thou come with him and tell me and I will consider what remaineth to be done." Answered he, "There is no harm in that!" Then he spent the rest of the night with her in embracing and clipping, plying the particle of copulation in concert and joining the conjunctive with the conjoined, whilst her husband was as a cast-out nunnation of construction. And they ceased not to be thus till morning, when she said to him, "'Tis not a night of thee that will content me, nor a day; no, nor yet a month nor a year; but it's my intent to abide with thee the rest of my life. Wait, however, till I play my husband a trick which would baffle the keenest witted and win for us our wishes. I will cause doubt to enter into him, so that he shall divorce me, whereupon I will marry thee and go with thee to thine own country; I will also transport all his monies and hoards to thy lodging and will contrive thee the ruin of his dwelling place and the blotting out of his traces. But do thou hearken to my speech and obey me in that I shall say to thee and gainsay me not." He replied, "I hear and I obey: in me there is none opposition." Then said she, "Go to the Khan and, when my husband cometh to thee and inviteth thee, say to him, 'O my brother, a son of Adam is apt to be burdensome, and when his visits grow over frequent, both generous and niggard loathe him. How then shall I go with thee every night and lie I and thee, on the saloon? An thou wax not chagrined with me, thy Harim will bear me grudge, for that I hinder thee from thine. Therefore if thou have a mind to my company, take me a house beside thine own and we will abide thus, now I sitting with thee till the time of sleep, and now with me thou. Then I will go to my place and thou to thy Harim and this will be a better rede than that I hinder thee from thy Harim every night.' Then will he come to me and take counsel with me, and I will advise him to turn out our neighbour, for the house wherein he liveth is our house and he renteth it of us; and once thou art in the house, Allah will make easy to us the rest of our scheme." And presently she added, "Go now and do as I bid thee." Answered he, "I hear and obey;" whereupon she left him and went away, whilst he lay down and feigned to be asleep. Presently, the handmaid came and aroused them; and when the jeweller awoke, he said to his guest, "O merchant have the mosquitoes worried thee?" He replied, "No," and Obayd said, "Belike thou art grown used to them." Then they broke their fast and drank coffee, after which they fared forth to their affairs, and Kamar al-Zaman betook himself to the old crone, and related to her what had passed, And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased to say her permitted say.
When it was the Nine Hundred and Seventy-second Night,
She continued, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when Kamar al-Zaman betook himself to the old crone, he related to her what had passed, saying, "She spake to me this and that, and I answered her thus and thus. Now say me, hast thou any farther device for bringing me to enjoy her publicly?" Quoth she, "O my son, here endeth my contrivance, and now I am at the term of my devices." Upon this he left her and returned to the Khan where, as eventide evened, the jeweller came to him and invited him. He said, "I cannot go with thee." Asked the merchant, "Why so? I love thee and cannot brook separation from thee. Allah upon thee come with me!" The other replied, "An it be thy wish to continue our comradeship and keep up the friendship betwixt thee and me, take me a house by the side of thine own and when thou wilt, thou shalt pass the evening with me and I with thee; but, as soon as the time of sleep cometh, each of us shall hie him to his own home and lie there." Quoth Obayd, "I have a house adjoining mine, which is my own property: so go thou with me to night and to- morrow I will have the house untenanted for thee." Accordingly he went with him and they supped and prayed the night prayer, after which the jeweller drank the cup of drugged liquor and fell asleep: but in Kamar al-Zaman's cup there was no trick; so he drank it and slept not. Then came the jeweller's wife and sat chatting with him through the dark hours, whilst her husband lay like a corpse. When he awoke in the morning as of wont, he sent for his tenant and said to him, "O man, quit me the house, for I have need of it." "On my head and eyes," answered the other and voided the house to him, whereupon Kamar al-Zaman took up his abode therein and transported thither all his baggage. The jeweller passed that evening with him, then went to his own house. On the next day, his wife sent for a cunning builder and bribed him with money to make her an underground-way from her chamber to Kamar al-Zaman's house, with a trap-door under the earth. So, before the youth was ware, she came in to him with two bags of money and he said to her, "Whence comest thou?" She showed him the tunnel and said to him, "Take these two bags of his money." Then she sat with him, the twain toying and tumbling together till the morning, when she said, "Wait for me, till I go to him and wake him, so he may go to his shop, and I return to thee." He sat expecting her, whilst she went away and awoke her husband, who made the Wuzu ablution and prayed and went to his shop. As soon as he was gone, she took four bags and, carrying them through the Souterrain to Kamar al-Zaman, said to him, "Store these up;" then she sat with him awhile, after which she retired to her home and he betook himself to the bazar. When he returned at sundown, he found in his house ten purses and jewels and much besides. Presently the jeweller came to him and carried him to his own house, where they passed the evening in the saloon, till the handmaid came in according to custom, and brought them the drink. Her master drank and fell asleep, whilst naught betided Kamar al-Zaman for that his cup was wholesome and there was no trick therein. Then came Halimah who sat down atoying with him, whilst the slave-girl transported the jeweller's goods to Kamar al-Zaman's house by the secret passage. Thus they did till morning, when the handmaid awoke her lord and gave them to drink coffee, after which they went each his own way. On the third day the wife brought out to him a knife of her husband's, which he had chased and wrought with his own hand, and which he priced at five hundred diners. But there was no knife like it and because of the eagerness with which folk sought it of him, he had laid it up in a chest and could not bring himself to sell it to any one in creation. Quoth she, "Take this knife and set it in thy waist shawl and go to my husband and sit with him. Then pull out the knife and say to him, 'O master, look at this knife I bought to day and tell me if I have the worst or the best of the bargain.' He will know it, but will be ashamed to say to thee, 'This is my knife;' so he will ask thee, 'Whence didst thou buy it and for how much?'; and do thou make answer, 'I saw two Levantines disputing and one said to the other, 'Where hast thou been?' Quoth his companion, 'I have been with my mistress, and whenever I foregather with her, she giveth me ten dirhams; but this day she said to me, 'My hand is empty of silver for thee to day, but take this knife of my husband's.' So I took it and intend to sell it.' The knife pleased me and hearing his tale I said to him, 'Wilt thou sell it to me?' when he replied, 'Buy.' So I got it of him for three hundred gold pieces and I wonder whether it was cheap or dear.' And note what he will say to thee. Then talk with him awhile and rise and come back to me in haste. Thou wilt find me awaiting thee at the tunnel mouth, and do thou give me the knife." Replied Kamar al-Zaman, "I hear and I obey," and taking the knife set it in his waist-shawl. Then he went to the shop of the jeweller, who saluted him with the salam and welcomed him and made him sit down. He spied the knife in his waist shawl, at which he wondered and said to himself, "That is my knife: who can have conveyed it to this merchant?" And he fell a musing and saying in his mind, "I wonder an it be my knife or a knife like it!" Presently Kamar al-Zaman pulled it out and said to him, "Harkye, master; take this knife and look at it." Obayd took it and knew it right well, but was ashamed to say, "This is my knife;" And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased saying her permitted say.
When it was the Nine Hundred and Seventy-third Night,
She pursued, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when the jeweller took the knife from Kamar al-Zaman, he knew it, but was ashamed to say, "This is my knife." So he asked, "Where didst thou buy it?" Kamar al-Zaman answered as Halimah had charged him, and the jeweller said, "The knife was cheap at that price, for it is worth five hundred diners." But fire flamed in his heart and his hands were tied from working at his craft. Kamar al-Zaman continued to talk with him, whilst he was drowned in the sea of solicitudes, and for fifty words wherewith the youth bespoke him, he answered him but one; for his heart ached and his frame was racked and his thoughts were troubled and he was even as saith the poet,
"I have no words though folk would have me talk * And who bespeak me find me thought waylaid:
Plunged in the Care-sea's undiscovered depths, * Nor aught of difference see 'twixt man and maid!"
When Kamar al-Zaman saw his case thus changed, he said to him "Belike thou art busy at this present," and leaving him, returned in hottest haste to his own house, where he found Halimah standing at the passage door awaiting him. Quoth she "Hast thou done as I bade thee?"; and quoth he, "Yes." She asked, "What said he to thee?"; and he answered, "He told me that the knife was cheap at that price, for that it was worth five hundred diners: but I could see that he was troubled; so I left him and know not what befel him after that." Cried she, "Give me the knife and reck thou not of him." Then she took the knife and restoring it to its place, sat down. Now after Kamar al-Zaman's departure fire flamed in the jeweller's heart and suspicion was sore upon him and he said to himself, "Needs must I get up and go look for the knife and cut down doubt with certainty." So he rose and repaired to his house and went in to his wife, snorting like a dragon; and she said to him, "What mattereth thee, O my lord?" He asked, "Where is my knife?" and she answered, "In the chest," and smote hand upon breast, saying, "O my grief! Belike thou hast fallen out with some one and art come to fetch the knife to smite him withal." Said he, "Give me the knife. Let me see it." But said she, "Not till thou swear to me that thou wilt not smite any one therewith." So he swore this to her and she opened the chest and brought out to him the knife and he fell to turning it over, saying, "Verily, this is a wondrous thing!" Then quoth he to her, "Take it and lay it back in its place;" and she, "Tell me the meaning of all this." He answered, "I saw with our friend a knife like this," and told her all that had passed between himself and the youth, adding, "But, when I saw it in the chest, my suspicion ended in certainty." Said she, "Haply thou misdoubtedest of me and deemedst that I was the Levantine's mistress and had given him the knife." He replied, "Yes, I had my doubts of this; but, when I saw the knife, suspicion was lifted from my heart." Rejoined she, "O man, there is now no good in thee!" And he fell to excusing himself to her, till he appeased her; after which he fared forth and returned to his shop. Next day, she gave Kamar al-Zaman her husband's watch, which he had made with his own hand and whereof none had the like, saying, "Go to his shop and sit by his side and say to him, 'I saw again to- day him whom I saw yesterday. He had a watch in his hand and said to me, 'Wilt thou buy this watch?' Quoth I, 'Whence hadst thou it?'; and quoth he, 'I was with my mistress and she gave me this watch.' So I bought it of him for eight-and-fifty gold pieces. Look at it: is it cheap at that price or dear?' Note what he shall say to thee; then return to me in haste and give me the watch." So Kamar al-Zaman repaired to the jeweller and did with him as she had charged him. When Obayd saw the watch, he said, "This is worth seven hundred ducats;" and suspicion entered into him. Then the youth left him and returning to the wife, gave her back the watch. Presently, her husband suddenly came in snorting, and said to her, "Where is my watch?" Said she, "Here it is;" and he cried, "Give it to me." So she brought it to him and he exclaimed, "There is no Majesty and there is no Might save in Allah, the Glorious, the Great!"; and she too exclaimed, "O man, there is something the matter with thee. Tell me what it is." He replied, "What shall I say? Verily, I am bewildered by these chances!" And he recited these couplets,
"Although the Merciful be doubtless with me, Yet am I sore bewildered, for new griefs Have compassed me about, or ere I knew it I have endured till Patience self became Impatient of my patience.--I have endured Waiting till Heaven fulfil my destiny.-- I have endured till e'en endurance owned How I bore up with her; (a thing more bitter Than bitter aloes) yet though a bitterer thing Is not, than is that drug it were more bitter To me should Patience leave me unsustained."
Then said he to his wife, "O woman, I saw with the merchant our friend, first my knife, which I knew, for that its fashion was a device of my own wit, nor cloth its like exist; and he told me of it a story that troubled the heart: so I came back and found it at home. Again to day I see him with the watch, whose fashion also is of my own device, nor is there the fellow of it in Bassorah, and of this also he told me a story that saddened my heart. Wherefore I am bewildered in my wit and know not what is to come to me." Quoth she, "The purport of thy speech is that thou suspectedst me of being the friend of that merchant and his leman, and eke of giving him thy good; so thou camest to question me and make proof of my perfidy; and, had I not shown thee the knife and the watch, thou hadst been certified of my treason. But since, O man, thou deemest me this ill deme, henceforth I will never again break with thee bread nor drain with thee drink, for I loathe thee with the loathing of prohibition." So he gentled her and excused himself till he had appeased her and returned, repenting him of having bespoken her thus, to his shop, where he sat, And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased to say her permitted say.
When it was the Nine Hundred and Seventy-fourth Night,
She resumed, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when the jeweller quitted his wife, he repented having bespoken her thus and, returning to his shop, he sat there in disquiet sore and anxiety galore, between belief and unbelief. About eventide he went home alone, not bringing Kamar al-Zaman with him: whereupon quoth his wife, "Where is the merchant?"; and quoth he, "In his lodgings." She asked, "Is the friendship between thee and him grown cold?" and he answered, "By Allah, I have taken a dislike to him, because of that which hath betided me from him." Quoth she, "Go fetch him, to please me." So he arose and went in to Kamar al-Zaman in his house; where he saw his own goods strewn about and knew them. At this sight, fire was kindled in his heart and he fell asighing. Quoth the youth, "How is it that I see thee melancholy?" Obayd was ashamed to say, "Here are my goods in thy house: who brought them hither?"; so he replied only, "A vexation hath betided me; but come thou with me to my house, that we may solace ourselves there." The other rejoined, "Let me be in my place: I will not go with thee." But the jeweller conjured him to come and took him to his house, where they supped and passed the evening together, Kamar al-Zaman talking with the jeweller, who was drowned in the sea of solicitude and for a hundred words, wherewith the guest bespoke him, answered him only one word. Presently, the handmaid brought them two cups of drink, as usual, and they drank; whereupon the jeweller fell asleep, but the youth abode on wake, because his cup was not drugged. Then came Halimah and said to her lover, "How deemest thou of yonder cornuted, who is drunken in his heedlessness and weeteth not the wiles of women? There is no help for it but that I cozen him into divorcing me. To-morrow, I will disguise myself as a slave-girl and walk after thee to his shop, where do thou say to him, 'O master, I went to-day into the Khan of Al-Yasirjiyah, where I saw this damsel and bought her for a thousand diners. Look at her for me and tell me whether she was cheap at that price or dear.' Then uncover to him my face and breasts and show all of me to him; after which do thou carry me back to thy house, whence I will go to my chamber by the secret passage, so I may see the issue of our affair with him." Then the twain passed the night in mirth and merriment, converse and good cheer, dalliance and delight till dawn, when she returned to her own place and sent the handmaid to arouse her lawful lord and her lover. Accordingly they arose and prayed the dawn-prayer and brake their fast and drank coffee, after which Obayd repaired to his shop and Kamar al-Zaman betook himself to his own house. Presently, in came Halimah to him by the tunnel, in the guise of a slave-girl, and indeed she was by birth a slave-girl. Then he went out and she walked behind him, till he came to the jeweller's shop and saluting him, sat down and said, "O master, I went into the Khan of Al-Yasirjiyah to-day, to look about me, and saw this damsel in the broker's hands. She pleased me; so I bought her for a thousand diners and I would have thee look upon her and see if she be cheap at that price or no." So saying, he uncovered her face and the jeweller saw her to be his own wife. clad in her costliest clothes, tricked out in her finest trinkets and kohl'd and henna'd, even as she was wont to adorn herself before him in the house. He knew with full knowledge her face and dress and trinkets, for those he had wrought with his own hand, and he saw on her fingers the seal rings he had newly made for Kamar al- Zaman, whereby he was certified with entire assurance that she was indeed his very wife. So he asked her, "What is thy name, O slave-girl?"; and she answered, "Halimah," naming to him her own name; whereat he was amazed and said to the youth, "For how much didst thou buy her?" He replied, "For a thousand diners"; and the jeweller rejoined, "Thou hast gotten her gratis; for her rings and clothes and trinkets are worth more than that." Said Kamar al-Zaman, "May Allah rejoice thee with good news! Since she pleaseth thee, I will carry her to my house;" and Obayd said, "Do thy will." So he took her off to his house, whence she passed through the secret passage to her own apartment and sat there. Meanwhile, fire flamed in the jeweller's heart and he said to himself, "I will go see my wife. If she be at home, this slave- girl must be her counterpart, and glory be to Him who alone hath no counterpart! But, if she be not at home, 'tis she herself without a doubt." Then he set off running, and coming to his house, found his wife sitting in the same clothes and ornaments he had seen upon her in the shop; whereupon he beat hand upon hand, saying, "There is no Majesty and there is no Might save in Allah, the Glorious, the Great!" "O man," asked she, "art thou mad or what aileth thee? 'Tis not thy wont to do thus, and needs must it be that something hath befallen thee." Answered he, "If thou wilt have me tell thee be not vexed." Quoth she, "Say on"; so he said, "Our friend the merchant hath bought a slave-girl, whose shape is as thy shape and her height as thy height; more- over, her name is even as thy name and her apparel is the like of thine apparel. Brief, she resembleth thee in all her attributes, and on her fingers are seal rings like thy seal rings and her trinkets are as thy trinkets. So, when he displayed her to me, methought it was thyself and I was perplexed concerning my case. Would we had never seen this merchant nor companied with him; and would he had never left his own country and we had not known him, for he hath troubled my life which before was serene, causing ill feeling to succeed good faith and making doubt to enter into my heart." Said she, "Look in my face, belike I am she who was with him and he is my lover and I disguised myself as a slave-girl and agreed with him that he should display me to thee, so he might lay a snare for thee." He replied, "What words are these? Indeed, I never suspected that thou wouldst do the like of this deed." Now this jeweller was unversed in the wiles of women and knew not how they deal with men, nor had he heard the saying of him who said,
"A heart bore thee off in chase of the fair, * As fled Youth and came Age wi' his hoary hair:
Layla troubles me and love joys are far; * And rival and risks brings us cark and care.
An would'st ask me of woman, behold I am * In physic of womankind wise and ware:
When grizzleth man's head and his monies fail, * His lot in their love is a poor affair."
Nor that of another,
"Gainsay women; he obeyeth Allah best, who saith them nay And he prospers not who giveth them his bridle rein to sway For they'll hinder him from winning to perfection in his gifts, Though a thousand years he study, seeking after wisdom's way."
And a third,
"Women Satans are, made for woe of man: * To Allah I fly from such Satanesses!
Whom they lure by their love he to grief shall come * And lose bliss of world and the Faith that blesses."
Said she, "Here am I sitting in my chamber; so go thou to him forthright and knock at the door and contrive to go in to him quickly. An thou see the damsel with him 'tis a slave-girl of his who resembleth me (and Glory be to Him who hath no resemblance) But, an thou see no slave-girl with him, then am I myself she whom thou sawest with him in the shop, and thine ill thought of me will be stablished." "True," answered Obayd, and went out leaving her, whereupon she passed through the hidden passage and seating herself by Kamar al-Zaman, told him what had passed, saying, "Open the door quickly and show me to him." Now, as they were talking, behold, there came a knocking at the door. Quoth Kamar al-Zaman, "Who is at the door?"; and quoth the jeweller, "I, thy friend; thou displayedst to me thy slave- girl in the bazar, and I rejoiced for thee in her, but my joy in her was not completed; so open the door and let me look at her again." Rejoined he, "So be it," and opened the door to him, whereupon he saw his wife sitting by him. She rose and kissed their hands; and he looked at her; then she talked with him awhile and he saw her not to be distinguished from his wife in aught and said, "Allah createth whatso He will." Then he went away more disheartened than before and returned to his own house where he saw his wife sitting, for she had foregone him thither by the souterrain. And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased saying her permitted say.
When it was the Nine Hundred and Seventy-fifth Night,
She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that the young lady forewent her spouse by the souterrain as he fared through the door and sat down in her upper chamber; so as soon as he entered she asked him, "What hast thou seen?" and he answered, "I found her with her master; and she resembleth thee." Then said she, "Off to thy shop and let this suffice thee of ignoble suspicion and never again deem ill of me." Said he, "So be it: accord me pardon for what is past." And she, "Allah grant thee grace!" whereupon he kissed her right and left and went back to his shop. Then she again betook herself to Kamar al-Zaman through the underground passage, with four bags of money, and said to him, "Equip thyself at once for the road and be ready to carry off the money without delay, against I devise for thee the device I have in mind." So he went out and purchased mules and loaded them and made ready a travelling litter, he also bought Mamelukes and eunuchs and sending, without let or hindrance, the whole without the city, returned to Halimah and said to her, "I have made an end of my affairs." Quoth she, "And I on my side am ready; for I have transported to thy house all the rest of his monies and treasures and have left him nor little nor much, whereof he may avail himself. All this is of my love for thee, O dearling of my heart, for I would sacrifice my husband to thee a thousand times. But now it behoveth, thou go to him and farewell him, saying, 'I purpose to depart after three days and am come to bid thee adieu; so do thou reckon what I owe thee for the hire of the house that I may send it to thee and acquit my conscience.' Note his reply and return to me and tell me; for I can no more; I have done my best, by cozening him, to anger him with me and cause him to put me away, but I find him none the less infatuated with me. So nothing will serve us but to depart to thine own country." And quoth he, "O rare! an but swevens prove true!" Then he went to the jeweller's shop and sitting down by him, said to him, "O master, I set out for home in three days' time, and am come to farewell thee. So I would have thee reckon what I owe thee for the hire of the house, that I may pay it to thee and acquit my conscience." Answered Obayd, "What talk is this? Verily, 'tis I who am indebted to thee. By Allah, I will take nothing from thee for the rent of the house, for thou hast brought down blessings upon us! However, thou desolatest me by thy departure, and but that it is forbidden to me, I would certainly oppose thee and hinder thee from returning to thy country and kinsfolk." Then he took leave of him, whilst they both wept with sore weeping and the jeweller went with him, and when they entered Kamar al-Zaman's house, there they found Halimah who stood before them and served them; but when Obayd returned home, he found her sitting there; nor did he cease to see her thus in each house in turn, for the space of three days, when she said to Kamar al-Zaman, "Now have I transported to thee all that he hath of monies and hoards and carpets and things of price, and there remaineth with him naught save the slave-girl, who used to come in to you with the night drink: but I cannot part with her, for that she is my kinswoman and she is dear to me as a confidante. So I will beat her and be wroth with her and when my spouse cometh home, I will say to him, 'I can no longer put up with this slave-girl nor stay in the house with her; so take her and sell her.' Accordingly he will sell her and do thou buy her, that we may carry her with us." Answered he, "No harm in that." So she beat the girl and when the jeweller came in, he found her weeping and asked her why she wept. Quoth she, "My mistress hath beaten me." He then went in to his wife and said to her, "What hath that accursed girl done, that thou hast beaten her?" She replied, "O man, I have but one word to say to thee, and 'tis that I can no longer bear the sight of this girl; so take her and sell her, or else divorce me." Quoth he, "I will sell her that I may not cross thee in aught;" and when he went out to go to the shop he took her and passed with her by Kamar al-Zaman. No sooner had he gone out than his wife slipped through the under ground passage to Kamar al-Zaman, who placed her in the litter, before the Shaykh her husband reached him. When the jeweller came up and the lover saw the slave-girl with him, he asked him, "What girl is this?"; and the other answered, "'Tis my slave-girl who used to serve us with the night drink; she hath disobeyed her mistress who is wroth with her and hath bidden me sell her." Quoth the youth, "An her mistress have taken an aversion to her, there is for her no abiding with her; but sell her to me, that I may smell your scent in her, and I will make her handmaid to my slave Halimah." "Good," answered Obayd: "take her." Asked Kamar al-Zaman, "What is her price?"; but the jeweller said, "I will take nothing from thee, for thou hast been bountiful to us." So he accepted her from him and said to Halimah, "Kiss thy lord's hand." Accordingly, she came out from the litter and kissing Obayd's hand, remounted, whilst he looked hard at her. Then said Kamar al-Zaman, "I commend thee to Allah, O Master Obayd! Acquit my conscience of responsibility." Answered the jeweller, "Allah acquit thee! and carry thee safe to thy family!" Then he bade him farewell and went to his shop weeping, and indeed it was grievous to him to part from Kamar al- Zaman, for that he had been friend and friendship hath its debtorship; yet he rejoiced in the dispelling of the doubts which had befallen him anent his wife, since the young man was now gone and his suspicions had not been stablished. Such was his case; but as regards Kamar al-Zaman, the young lady said to him, "An thou wish for safety, travel with me by other than the wonted way." And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased to say her permitted say.
When it was the Nine Hundred and Seventy-sixth Night,
She continued, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when Halimah said to Kamar al-Zaman, "An thou wish for safety travel with me by other than the wonted way," he replied, "Hearing and obeying;" and, taking a road other than that used by folk, fared on without ceasing from region to region till he reached the confines of Egypt-land and sent his sire a letter by a runner. Now his father the merchant Abd al-Rahman was sitting in the market among the merchants, with a heart on fire for separation from his son, because no news of the youth had reached him since the day of his departure; and while he was in such case the runner came up and cried, "O my lords, which of you is called the merchant Abd al-Rahman?" They said, "What wouldst thou of him?"; and he said, "I have a letter for him from his son Kamar al-Zaman, whom I left at Al-Arish." At this Abd al-Rahman rejoiced and his breast was broadened and the merchants rejoiced for him and gave him joy of his son's safety. Then he opened the letter and read as follows, "From Kamar al-Zaman to the merchant Abd al-Rahman. And after Peace be upon thee and upon all the merchants! An ye ask concerning us, to Allah be the praise and the thanks. Indeed we have sold and bought and gained and are come back in health, wealth and weal." Whereupon Abd al-Rahman opened the door of rejoicing and made banquets and gave feasts and entertainments galore, sending for instruments of music and addressing himself to festivities after rarest fashion. When Kamar al-Zaman came to Al-Salihiyah, his father and all the merchants went forth to meet him, and Abd al-Rahman embraced him and strained him to his bosom and sobbed till he swooned away. When he came to himself he said, "Oh, 'tis a boon day O my son, whereon the Omnipotent Protector hath reunited us with thee!" And he repeated the words of the bard,
"The return of the friend is the best of all boons, * And the joy cup circles o' morns and noons:
So well come, welcome, fair welcome to thee, * The light of the time and the moon o' full moons."
Then, for excess of joy, he poured forth a flood of tears from his eyes and he recited also these two couplets,
"The Moon o' the Time, shows unveiled light; * And, his journey done, at our door cloth alight:
His locks as the nights of his absence are black * And the sun upstands from his collar's white."
Then the merchants came up to him and saluting him, saw with him many loads and servants and a travelling litter enclosed in a spacious circle. So they took him and carried him home; and when Halimah came forth from the litter, his father held her a seduction to all who beheld her. So they opened her an upper chamber, as it were a treasure from which the talismans had been loosed; and when his mother saw her, she was ravished with her and deemed her a Queen of the wives of the Kings. So she rejoiced in her and questioned her; and she answered, "I am wife to thy son;" and the mother rejoined, "Since he is wedded to thee we must make thee a splendid marriage feast, that we may rejoice in thee and in my son." On this wise it befel her; but as regards the merchant Abd al-Rahman, when the folk had dispersed and each had wended his way, he foregathered with his son and said to him, "O my son, what is this slave-girl thou hast brought with thee and for how much didst thou buy her?" Kamar al-Zaman said, "O my father, she is no slave-girl; but 'tis she who was the cause of my going abroad." Asked his sire, "How so?"; and he answered, "'Tis she whom the Dervish described to us the night he lay with us; for indeed my hopes crave to her from that moment and I sought not to travel save on account of her. The Arabs came out upon me by the way and stripped me and took my money and goods, so that I entered Bassorah alone and there befel me there such and such things;" and he went on to relate to his parent all that had befallen him from commencement to conclusion. Now when he had made an end of his story, his father said to him, "O my son, and after all this didst thou marry her?" "No; but I have promised her marriage." "Is it thine intent to marry her?" "An thou bid me marry her, I will do so; otherwise I will not marry her." Thereupon quoth his father, "An thou marry her, I am quit of thee in this world and in the next, and I shall be incensed against thee with sore indignation. How canst thou wed her, seeing that she hath dealt thus with her husband? For, even as she did with her spouse for thy sake, so will she do the like with thee for another's sake, because she is a traitress and in a traitor there is no trusting. Wherefore an thou disobey me, I shall be wroth with thee; but, an thou give ear to my word, I will seek thee out a girl handsomer than she, who shall be pure and pious, and marry thee to her, though I spend all my substance upon her; and I will make thee a wedding without equal and will glory in thee and in her; for 'tis better that folk should say, Such an one hath married such an one's daughter, than that they say, He hath wedded a slave-girl sans birth or worth." And he went on to persuade his son to give up marrying her, by citing in support of his say, proofs, stories, examples, verses and moral instances, till Kamar al-Zaman exclaimed, "O my father, since the case is thus, 'tis not right and proper that I marry her." And when his father heard him speak on such wise, he kissed him between the eyes, saying, "Thou art my very son, and as I live, O my son, I will assuredly marry thee to a girl who hath not her equal!" Then the merchant set Obayd's wife and her handmaid in a chamber high up in the house and, before locking the door upon the twain, he appointed a black slave-girl to carry them their meat and drink and he said to Halimah, "Ye shall abide imprisoned in this chamber, thou and thy maid, till I find one who will buy you, when I will sell you to him. An ye resist, I will slay ye both, for thou art a traitress, and there is no good in thee." Answered she, "Do thy will: I deserve all thou canst do with me." Then he locked the door upon them and gave his Harim a charge respecting them, saying, "Let none go up to them nor speak with them, save the black slave-girl who shall give them their meat and drink through the casement of the upper chamber." So she abode with her maid, weeping and repenting her of that which she had done with her spouse. Meanwhile Abd al-Rahman sent out the marriage brokers to look out a maid of birth and worth for his son, and the women ceased not to make search, and as often as they saw one girl, they heard of a fairer than she, till they came to the house of the Shaykh al-Islam and saw his daughter. In her they found a virgin whose equal was not in Cairo for beauty and loveliness, symmetry and perfect grace, and she was a thousand fold handsomer than the wife of Obayd. So they told Abd al-Rahman of her and he and the notables repaired to her father and sought her in wedlock of him. Then they wrote out the marriage contract and made her a splendid wedding; after which Abd al-Rahman gave bride feasts and held open house forty days. On the first day, he invited the doctors of the law and they held a splendid nativity: and on the morrow, he invited all the merchants, and so on during the rest of the forty days, making a banquet every day to one or other class of folk, till he had bidden all the Olema and Emirs and Antients and Magistrates, whilst the kettle drums were drummed and the pipes were piped and the merchant sat to greet the guests, with his son by his side, that he might solace himself by gazing on the folk, as they ate from the trays. Each night Abd al-Rahman illuminated the street and the quarter with lamps and there came every one of the mimes and jugglers and mountebanks and played all manner play; and indeed it was a peerless wedding. On the last day he invited the Fakirs, the poor and the needy, far and near, and they flocked in troops and ate, whilst the merchant sat, with his son by his side. And among the paupers, behold, entered Shaykh Obayd the jeweller and he was naked and weary and bare on his face the marks of wayfare. When Kamar al-Zaman saw him, he knew him and said to his sire, "Look, O my father, at yonder poor man who is but now come in by the door." So he looked and saw him clad in worn clothes and on him a patched gown worth two dirhams: his face was yellow and he was covered with dust and was as he were an offcast of the pilgrims. He was groaning as groaneth a sick man in need, walking with a tottering gait and swaying now to the right and then to the left, and in him was realized his saying who said,
"Lack-gold abaseth man and cloth his worth away, Even as the setting sun that pales with ended day. He passeth 'mongst the folk and fain would hide his head; And when alone, he weeps with tears that never stay. Absent, none taketh heed to him or his concerns; Present, he hath no part in life or pleasance aye. By Allah, whenas men with poverty are cursed, But strangers midst their kin and countrymen are they!"
And the saying of another,
"The poor man fares by everything opposed: * On him to shut the door Earth ne'er shall fail:
Thou seest men abhor him sans a sin, * And foes he finds tho none the cause can tell:
The very dogs, when sighting wealthy man, * Fawn at his feet and wag the flattering tail;
Yet, an some day a pauper loon they sight, * All at him bark and, gnashing fangs, assail."
And how well quoth a third,
"If generous youth be blessed with luck and wealth, * Displeasures fly his path and perils fleet:
His enviers pimp for him and par'site-wise * E'en without tryst his mistress hastes to meet.
When loud he farts they say 'How well he sings!' * And when he fizzles cry they, 'Oh, how sweet!'"
--And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased saying her permitted say.
When it was the Nine Hundred and Seventy-seventh Night,
She pursued, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when his son said to Abd al-Rahman, "Look at yonder pauper!" he asked, "O my son, who is this?" And Kamar al-Zaman answered, "This is Master Obayd the jeweller, husband of the woman who is imprisoned with us." Quoth Abd al-Rahman, "Is this he of whom thou toldest me?"; and quoth his son, "Yes; and indeed I wot him right well." Now the manner of Obayd's coming thither was on this wise. When he had farewelled Kamar al-Zaman, he went to his shop and thence going home, laid his hand on the door whereupon it opened and he entered and found neither his wife nor the slave-girl, but saw the house in sorriest plight, quoting in mute speech his saying who said,
"The chambers were like a bee hive well stocked: * When their bees quitted it, they became empty."
When he saw the house void, he turned right and left and presently went round about the place, like a madman, but came upon no one. Then he opened the door of his treasure closet, but found therein naught of his money nor his hoards; whereupon he recovered from the intoxication of fancy and shook off his infatuation and knew that it was his wife herself who had turned the tables upon him and outwitted him with her wiles. He wept for that which had befallen him, but kept his affair secret, so none of his foes might exult over him nor any of his friends be troubled, knowing that, if he disclosed his secret, it would bring him naught but dishonour and contumely from the folk; wherefore he said in him self, "O Obayd, hide that which hath betided thee of affliction and ruination; it behoveth thee to do in accordance with his saying who said,
'If a man's breast with bane he hides be straitened, * The breast that tells its hidden bale is straiter still.' "
Then he locked up his house and, making for his shop, gave it in charge of one of his apprentices to whom said he, "My friend the young merchant hath invited me to accompany him to Cairo, for solacing ourselves with the sight of the city, and sweareth that he will not march except he carry us with him, me and my wife. So, O my son, I make thee my steward in the shop, and if the King ask for me, say thou to him, 'He is gone with his Harim to the Holy House of Allah.'" Then he sold some of his effects and bought camels and mules and Mamelukes, together with a slave- girl, and placing her in a litter, set out from Bassorah after ten days. His friends farewelled him and none doubted but that he had taken his wife and gone on the Pilgrimage, and the folk rejoiced in this, for that Allah had delivered them from being shut up in the mosques and houses every Friday. Quoth some of them, "Allah grant he may never return to Bassorah, so we may no more be boxed up in the mosques and houses every Friday!"; for that this usage had caused the people of Bassorah exceeding vexation. Quoth another, "Methinks he will not return from this journey, by reason of the much praying of the people of Bassorah against him." And yet another, "An he return, 'twill not be but in reversed case." So the folk rejoiced with exceeding joy in the jeweller's departure, after they had been in mighty great chagrin, and even their cats and dogs were comforted. When Friday came round, however, the crier proclaimed as usual that the people should repair to the mosques two hours before prayer time or else hide themselves in their houses, together with their cats and dogs; whereat their breasts were straitened and they assembled in general assembly and betaking themselves to the King's divan, stood between his hands and said, "O King of the age, the jeweller hath taken his Harim and departed on the pilgrimage to the Holy House of Allah: so the cause of our restrains hath ceased to be, and why therefore are we now shut up?" Quoth the King, "How came this traitor to depart without telling me? But, when he cometh back from his journey, all will not be save well: so go ye to your shops and sell and buy, for this vexation is removed from you." Thus far concerning the King and the Bassorites; but as for the jeweller, he fared on ten days' journey, and as he drew near Baghdad, there befel him that which had befallen Kamar al-Zaman, before his entering Bassorah; for the Arabs came out upon him and stripped him and took all he had and he escaped only by feigning himself dead. As soon as they were gone, he rose and fared on, naked as he was, till he came to a village, where Allah inclined to him the hearts of certain kindly folk, who covered his shame with some old clothes; and he asked his way, begging from town to town, till he reached the city of Cairo the God guarded. There, burning with hunger, he went about alms seeking in the market streets, till one of the townsfolk said to him, "O poor man, off with thee to the house of the wedding festival and eat and drink; for to day there is open table for paupers and strangers." Quoth he, "I know not the way thither": and quoth the other, "Follow me and I will show it to thee." He followed him, till he brought him to the house of Abd al-Rahman and said to him, "This is the house of the wedding; enter and fear not, for there is no doorkeeper at the door of the festival." Accordingly he entered and Kamar al- Zaman knew him and told his sire who said, "O my son, leave him at this present: belike he is anhungered: so let him eat his sufficiency and recover himself and after we will send for him." So they waited till Obayd had eaten his fill and washed his hands and drunk coffee and sherbets of sugar flavoured with musk and ambergris and was about to go out, when Abd al-Rahman sent after him a page who said to him, "Come, O stranger, and speak with the merchant Abd al-Rahman." "Who is he?" asked Obayd; and the man answered, "He is the master of the feast." Thereupon the jeweller turned back, thinking that he meant to give him a gift, and coming up to Abd al-Rahman, saw his friend Kamar al-Zaman and went nigh to lose his senses for shame before him. But Kamar al- Zaman rose to him and embracing him, saluted him with the salam, and they both wept with sore weeping. Then he seated him by his side and Abd al-Rahman said to his son, "O destitute of good taste, this is no way to receive friends! Send him first to the Hammam and despatch after him a suit of clothes of the choicest, worth a thousand dinars." Accordingly they carried him to the bath, where they washed his body and clad him in a costly suit, and he became as he were Consul of the Merchants. Meanwhile the bystanders questioned Kamar al-Zaman of him, saying, "Who is this and whence knowest thou him?" Quoth he, "This is my friend, who lodged me in his house and to whom I am indebted for favours without number, for that he entreated me with exceeding kindness. He is a man of competence and condition and by trade a jeweller, in which craft he hath no equal. The King of Bassorah loveth him dearly and holdeth him in high honour and his word is law with him." And he went on to enlarge before them on his praises, saying, "Verily, he did with me thus and thus and I have shame of him and know not how to requite him his generous dealing with me." Nor did he leave to extol him, till his worth was magnified to the bystanders and he became venerable in their eyes; so they said, "We will all do him his due and honour him for thy sake. But we would fain know the reason why he hath departed his native land and the cause of his coming hither and what Allah hath done with him, that he is reduced to this plight?" Replied Kamar al- Zaman, "O folk, marvel not, for a son of Adam is still subject to Fate and Fortune, and what while he abideth in this world, he is not safe from calamities. Indeed he spake truly who said these couplets,
The world tears man to shreds, so be thou not * Of those whom lure of rank and title draws:
Nay; 'ware of slips and turn from sin aside * And ken that bane and bale are worldly laws:
How oft high Fortune falls by least mishap * And all things bear inbred of change a cause!'
Know that I entered Bassorah in yet iller case and worse distress than this man, for that he entered Cairo with his shame hidden by rags; but I indeed came into his town with my nakedness uncovered, one hand behind and another before; and none availed me but Allah and this dear man. Now the reason of this was that the Arabs stripped me and took my camels and mules and loads and slaughtered my pages and serving men; but I lay down among the slain and they thought that I was dead, so they went away and left me. Then I arose and walked on, mother naked, till I came to Bassorah where this man met me and clothed me and lodged me in his house, he also furnished me with money, and all I have brought back with me I owe to none save to Allah's goodness and his goodness. When I departed, he gave me great store of wealth and I returned to the city of my birth with a heart at ease. I left him in competence and condition, and haply there hath befallen him some bale of the banes of Time, that hath forced him to quit his kinsfolk and country, and there happened to him by the way the like of what happened to me. There is nothing strange in this; but now it behoveth me to requite him his noble dealing with me and do according to the saying of him who saith,
'O who praises" Time with the fairest appraise, * Knowest thou what Time hath made and unmade?
What thou dost at least be it kindly done, * For with pay he pays shall man be repaid.'"
As they were talking and telling the tale, behold, up came Obayd as he were Consul of the Merchants; whereupon they all rose to salute him and seated him in the place of honour. Then said Kamar al-Zaman to him, "O my friend, verily, thy day is blessed and fortunate! There is no need to relate to me a thing that befel me before thee. If the Arabs have stripped thee and robbed thee of thy wealth, verily our money is the ransom of our bodies, so let not thy soul be troubled; for I entered thy city naked and thou clothedst me and entreatedst me generously, and I owe thee many a kindness. But I will requite thee."--And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased to say her permitted say,
When it was the Nine Hundred and Seventy-eighth Night,
She resumed, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that Kamar al-Zaman said to Master Obayd the jeweller, "Verily I entered thy city naked and thou clothedst me and I owe thee many a kindness. But I will requite thee and do with thee even as thou didst with me; nay, more: so be of good cheer and eyes clear of tear." And he went on to soothe him and hinder him from speech, lest he should name his wife and what she had done with him nor did he cease to ply him with saws and moral instances and verses and conceits and stories and legends and console him, till the jeweller saw his drift and took the hint and kept silence concerning the past, diverting himself with the tales and rare anecdotes he heard and repeating in himself these lines,
"On the brow of the World is a writ; an thereon thou look, * Its contents will compel thine eyes tears of blood to rain:
For the World never handed to humans a cup with its right, * But with left it compelled them a beaker of ruin to drain."
Then Kamar al-Zaman and his father took Obayd and carrying him into the saloon of the Harim, shut themselves up with him; and Abd al-Rahman said to him, "We did not hinder thee from speaking before the folk, but for fear of dishonour to thee and to us: but now we are private; so tell me all that hath passed between thee and thy wife and my son." So he told him all, from beginning to end, and when he had made an end of his story, Abd al-Rahman asked him, "Was the fault with my son or with thy wife?" He answered, "By Allah, thy son was not to blame, for men must needs lust after women, and 'tis the bounder duty of women to defend themselves from men. So the sin lieth with my wife, who played me false and did with me these deeds." Then Abd al-Rahman arose and taking his son aside, said to him, "O my son, we have proved his wife and know her to be a traitress; and now I mean to prove him and see if he be a man of honour and manliness, or a wittol." "How so?" asked Kamar al-Zaman; and Abd al- Rahman answered, "I mean to urge him to make peace with his wife, and if he consent thereto and forgive her, I will smite him with a sword and slay him and kill her after, her and her maid, for there is no good in the life of a cuckold and a queen; but, if he turn from her with aversion I will marry him to thy sister and give him more of wealth than that thou tookest from him." Then he went back to Obayd and said to him, "O master, verily, the commerce of women requireth patience and magnanimity and whoso loveth them hath need of fortitude, for that they order themselves viper wise towards men and evilly entreat them, by reason of their superiority over them in beauty and loveliness: wherefore they magnify themselves and belittle men. This is notably the case when their husbands show them affection; for then they requite them with hauteur and coquetry and harsh dealing of all kinds. But, if a man be wroth whenever he seeth in his wife aught that offendeth him, there can be no fellowship between them; nor can any hit it off with them who is not magnanimous and long suffering; and unless a man bear with his wife and requite her foul doing with forgiveness, he shall get no good of her conversation. Indeed, it hath been said of them, 'Were they in the sky, the necks of men would incline themwards'; and he who hath the power and pardoneth, his reward is with Allah. Now this woman is thy wife and thy companion and she hath long consorted with thee; wherefore it behoveth that thou entreat her with indulgence which in fellowship is of the essentials of success. Furthermore, women fail in wit and Faith, and if she have sinned, she repenteth and Inshallah she will not again return to that which she whilome did. So 'tis my rede that thou make peace with her and I will restore thee more than the good she took; and if it please thee to abide with me, thou art welcome, thou and she, and ye shall see naught but what shall joy you both; but, an thou seek to, return to thine own land. For that which falleth out between a man and his wife is manifold, and it behoveth thee to be indulgent and not take the way of the violent." Said the jeweller, "O my lord, and where is my wife?" and said Abd al-Rahman, "She is in that upper chamber, go up to her and be easy with her, for my sake, and trouble her not; for, when my son brought her hither, he would have married her, but I forbade him from her and shut her up in yonder room, and locked the door upon her saying in myself, 'Haply her husband will come and I will hand her over to him safe; for she is fair of favour, and when a woman is like unto this one, it may not be that her husband will let her go.' What I counted on is come about and praised be Allah Almighty for thy reunion with thy wife! As for my son, I have sought him another woman in marriage and have married him to her: these banquets and rejoicings are for his wedding, and to-night I bring him to his bride. So here is the key of the chamber where thy wife is: take it and open the door and go in to her and her handmaid and be buxom with her. There shall be brought you meat and drink and thou shalt not come down from her till thou have had thy fill of her." Cried Obayd, "May Allah requite thee for me with all good, O my lord!" and taking the key, went up, rejoicing. The other thought his words had pleased him and that he consented thereto; so he took the sword and following him unseen, stood to espy what should happen between him and his wife. This is how it fared with the merchant Abd al-Rahman; but as for the jeweller, when he came to the chamber door, he heard his wife weeping with sore weeping for that Kamar al-Zaman had married another than her, and the handmaid saying to her, "O my lady, how often have I warned thee and said, 'Thou wilt get no good of this youth: so do thou leave his company.' But thou heededst not my words and spoiledst thy husband of all his goods and gayest them to him. After the which thou forsookest thy place, of thine fondness and infatuation for him, and camest with him to this country. And now he hath cast thee out from his thought and married another and hath made the issue of thy foolish fancy for him to be durance vile." Cried Halimah, "Be silent, O accursed! Though he be married to another, yet some day needs must I occur to his thought. I cannot forget the nights I have spent in his company and in any case I console myself with his saying who said,
'O my lords, shall he to your mind occur * Who recurs to you only sans other mate?
Grant Heaven you ne'er shall forget his state * Who for state of you forgot own estate!'
It cannot be but he will bethink him of my affect and converse and ask for me, wherefore I will not turn from loving him nor change from passion for him, though I perish in prison; for he is my love and my leach and my reliance is on him that he will yet return to me and deal fondly with me." When the jeweller heard his wife's words, he went in to her and said to her, "O traitress, thy hope in him is as the hope of Iblis in Heaven. All these vices were in thee and I knew not thereof; for, had I been ware of one single vice, I had not kept thee with me an hour. But now I am certified of this in thee, it behoveth me to do thee die although they put me to death for thee, O traitress!" and he clutched her with both hands and repeated these two couplets,
"O fair ones forth ye cast my faithful love * With sin, nor had ye aught regard for right:
How long I fondly clung to you, but now * My love is loathing and I hate your sight."
Then he pressed hardly upon her windpipe and brake her neck, whereupon her handmaid cried out "Alas, my mistress!" Said he, "O harlot, 'tis thou who art to blame for all this, for that thou knewest this evil inclination to be in her and toldest me not." Then he seized upon her and strangled her. All this happened while Abd al-Rahman stood, brand in hand, behind the door espying with his eyes and hearing with his ears. Now when Obayd the ]eweller had done this, apprehension came upon him and he feared the issue of his affair and said to himself, "As soon as the merchant learneth that I have killed them in his house, he will surely slay me; yet I beseech Allah that He appoint the taking of my life to be while I am in the True Belief!" And he abode bewildered about his case and knew not what to do, but, as he was thus behold, in came Abd al-Rahman from his lurking place without the door and said to him, "No harm shall befal thee, for indeed thou deserves" safety. See this sword in my hand. 'Twas in my mind to slay thee, hadst thou made peace with her and restored her to favour, and I would also have slain her and the maid. But since thou hast done this deed, welcome to thee and again welcome! And I will reward thee by marrying thee to my daughter, Kamar al-Zaman's sister." Then he carried him down and sent for the woman who washed the dead: whereupon it was bruited abroad that Kamar al-Zaman had brought with him two slave-girls from Bassorah and that both had deceased. So the people began to condole with him saying, "May thy head live!" and "May Allah compensate thee!" And they washed and shrouded them and buried them, and none knew the truth of the matter. Then Abd al-Rahman sent for the Shaykh al-Islam and all the notables and said, "O Shaykh, draw up the contract of marriage between my daughter Kaukab al-Salah and Master Obayd the jeweller and set down that her dowry hath been paid to me in full." So he wrote out the contract and Abd al-Rahman gave the company to drink of sherbets, and they made one wedding festival for the two brides the daughter of the Shaykh al-Islam and Kamar al-Zaman's sister; and paraded them in one litter on one and the same night; after which they carried Kamar al-Zaman and Obayd in procession together and brought them in to their brides. When the jeweller went in to Abd al-Rahman's daughter, he found her handsomer than Halimah and a thousand fold lovelier. So he took her maidenhead and on the morrow, he went to the Hammam with Kamar al-Zaman. Then he abode with them awhile in pleasance and joyance, after which he began to yearn for his native land; so he went in to Abd al-Rahman and said to him, "O uncle, I long for my own country, for I have there estates and effects, which I left in charge of one of my prentices; and I am minded to journey thither that I may sell my properties and return to thee. So wilt thou give me leave to go to my country for that purpose?" Answered the merchant, "O my son, I give thee leave to do this and there be no fault in thee or blame to thee for these words, for 'Love of mother land is a part of Religion'; and he who hath not good in his own country hath none in other folks' country. But, haply, an thou depart without thy wife, when thou art once come to thy native place, it may seem good to thee to settle there, and thou wilt be perplexed between returning to thy wife and sojourning in thine own home; so it were the righter rede that thou carry thy wife with thee; and after, an thou desire to return to us, return and welcome to you both; for we are folk who know not divorce and no woman of us marrieth twice, nor do we lightly discard a man." Quoth Obayd, "Uncle, I fear me thy daughter will not consent to journey with me to my own country." Replied Abd al-Rahman, "O my son, we have no women amongst us who gainsay their spouses, nor know we a wife who is wroth with her man." The jeweller cried, "Allah bless you and your women!" and going in to his wife, said to her, "I am minded to go to my country: what sayst thou?" Quoth she, "Indeed, my sire had the ordering of me, whilst I was a maid, and when I married, the ordering all passed into the hands of my lord and master, nor will I gainsay him." Quoth Obayd, "Allah bless thee and thy father, and have mercy on the womb that bare thee and the loins that begat thee!" Then he cut his thongs and applied himself to making ready for his journey. His father-in- law gave him much good and they took leave each of other, after which tile jeweller and his wife journeyed on without ceasing, till they reached Bassorah where his kinsmen and comrades came out to meet him, doubting not but that he had been in Al-Hijaz. Some rejoiced at his return, whilst others were vexed, and the folk said one to another, "Now will he straiten us again every Friday, as before, and we shall be shut up in the mosques and houses, even to our cats and our dogs." On such wise it fared with him; but as regards the King of Bassorah, when he heard of his return, he was wroth with him; and sending for him, upbraided him and said to him, "Why didst thou depart, without letting me know of thy departure? Was I unable to give thee somewhat wherewith thou mightest have succoured thyself in thy pilgrimage to the Holy House of Allah?" Replied the jeweller, "Pardon, O my lord! By Allah, I went not on the pilgrimage! but there have befallen me such and such things." Then he told him all that had befallen him with his wife and with Abd al-Rahman of Cairo and how the merchant had given him his daughter to wife, ending with these words, "And I have brought her to Bassorah." Said the King, "By the Lord, did I not fear Allah the Most High, I would slay thee and marry this noble lady after thy death, though I spent on her mints of money, because she befitteth none but Kings. But Allah hath appointed her of thy portion and may He bless thee in her! So look thou use her well." Then he bestowed largesse on the jeweller, who went out from before him and abode with his wife five years, after which he was admitted to the mercy of the Almighty. Presently the King sought his widow in wedlock; but she refused, saying, "O King, never among my kindred was a woman who married again after her husband's death; wherefore I will never take another husband, nor will I marry thee, no, though thou kill me." Then he sent to her one who said, "Dost thou seek to go to thy native land?" And she answered, "An thou do good, thou shalt be requited therewith." So he collected for her all the jeweller's wealth and added unto her of his own, after the measure of his degree. Lastly he sent with her one of his Wazirs, a man famous for goodness and piety, and an escort of five hundred horse, who journeyed with her, till they brought her to her father; and in his home she abode, without marrying again, till she died and they died all. So, if this woman would not consent to replace her dead husband with a Sultan, how shall she be compared with one who replaced her husband, whilst he was yet alive, with a youth of unknown extraction and condition, and especially when this was in lewd carriage and not by way of lawful marriage? So he who deemeth all women alike, there is no remedy for the disease of his insanity. And glory be to Him to whom belongeth the empire of the Seen and the Unseen and He is the Living, who dieth not! And among the tales they tell, O auspicious King, is one of...
[Go to Abdullah Bin Fazil and His Brothers]
Burton, Richard (1821-1890). The Book of the Thousand Nights and a Night. London. 1885-1888. Gutenberg Vol. I. Gutenberg Vol. II. Gutenberg Vol. III. Gutenberg Vol. IV. Gutenberg Vol. V. Gutenberg Vol. V. Gutenberg Vol. VII. Gutenberg Vol. VIII. Gutenberg Vol. IX. Gutenberg Vol. X. Please consult the Gutenberg edition for footnotes; the footnotes have not been included in this web version.
1001 Nights Hypertext. Laura Gibbs, Ph.D. This website is licensed under a Creative Commons License. The texts presented here are in the public domain. Thanks to Gene Perry for his excellent help in preparing the texts for the web. Page last updated: January 1, 2005 10:46 PM