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Burton: King Jali'ad of Hind and His Wazir Shimas: Followed by the History of King Wird Khan, son of King Jali'ad with His Women and Wazirs (cont.)

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"And we," continued the Wazir, "beseech Allah (who hath rewarded the King for his singleness of heart and patience and hath taken pity on his subjects and blessed them with His favour and hath vouchsafed the King this son in his old age, after he had despaired of issue and removed him not from the world, till He had blessed him with coolth of eyes and bestowed on him what He hath bestowed of Kingship and Empire!) to vouchsafe unto thy son that which He hath vouchsafed unto thee of dominion and Sultanship and glory! Amen." Then said the King, "Praised be Allah over all praise and thanks be to Him over all thanks! There is no god but He, the Creator of all things, by the light of whose signs we know the glory of His greatness and who giveth kingship and command over his own country to whom He willeth of His servants! He chooseth of them whomso He please to make him His viceroy and viceregent over His creatures and commandeth him to just and equitable dealing with them and the maintenance of religious laws and practices and right conduct and constancy in ordering their affairs to that which is most acceptable to Him and most grateful to them. Whoso cloth thus and obeyeth the commandment of his Lord, his desire attaineth and the orders of his God maintaineth; so Providence preserveth him from the perils of the present world and maketh ample his recompense in the future world; for indeed He neglecteth not the reward of the righteous. And whoso cloth otherwise than as Allah biddeth him sinneth mortal sin and disobeyeth his Lord, preferring his mundane to his supra-mundane weal. He hath no trace in this world and in the next no portion, for Allah spareth not the unjust and the mischievous, nor cloth He neglect any of His servants. These our Wazirs have set forth how, by reason of our just dealing with them and our wise governance of affairs, Allah hath vouchsafed us and them His grace, for which it behoveth us to thank Him, because of the great abundance of His mercies; each of them hath also spoken that wherewith the Almighty inspired Him concerning this matter, and they have vied one with another in rendering thanks to the Most High Lord and praising Him for His favours and bounties. I also render thanks to Allah for that I am but a slave commanded; my heart is in His hand and my tongue in His subjection, accepting that which He adjudgeth to me and to them, come what may thereof. Each one of them hath said what passed through his mind on the subject of this boy and hath set froth that which was of the renewal of divine favour to us, after my rears had reached the term when confidence faileth and despair assaileth. So praised be Allah who hath saved us from disappointment and from the alternation of rulers, like to the alternation of night and day! For verily, this was a great boon both to them and to us; wherefore we praise Almighty Allah who hath given a ready answer to our prayer and hath blessed us with this boy and set him in high place, as the inheritor of the kingship. And we entreat him, of His bounty and clemency, to make him happy in his actions, prone to pious works, so he may become a King and a Sultah governing his people with justice and equity, guarding them from perilous error and frowardness, of His grace, goodness and generosity!" When the King had made an end of his speech, the sages and Olema rose and prostrated themselves before Allah and thanked the King; after which they kissed his hands and departed, each to his own house, whilst Jali'ad withdrew into his prayers for him and named him Wird Khan. The boy grew up till he attained the age of twelve, when the King being minded to have him taught the arts and sciences, bade build him a palace amiddlemost the city, wherein were three hundred and threescore rooms, and lodged him therin. Then he assigned him three wise men of the Olema and bade them not be lax in teaching him day and night and look that there was no kind of learning but they instruct him hterin, so he might become versed in all knowledge. He also commanded them to sit with him one day in each of the rooms by turn and write on the door thereof that which they had taught him therein of various kinds of lore and report to himself, every seven days, whatso instructions they had imparted to him. So they went in to the Prince and stinted not from educating him day nor night, nor withheld from him aught of that they knew; and presently there appeared in him readiness to receive instruction such as none had shown before him. Every seventh day his governors reported to the King what his son had learnt and mastered, whereby Jali'ad became proficient in goodly learning and fair culture, and the Olema said to him, "Never saw we one so richly gifted with understanding as is this boy Allah bless thee in him and give thee joy of his life!" When the Prince had completed his twelfth year, he knew the better part of every science and excelled all the Olema and sages of his day; wherefore his governors brought him to his sire and said to him "Allah gladden thine eyes, O King, with this auspicious youth! We bring him to thee after he hath learnt all manner knowledge; and there is not one of the learned men of the time nor a scientist who hath attained to that whereto he hath attained of science." The King rejoiced in this with joy exceeding and, thanking the Almighty, prostrated himself in gratitude before Allah (to whom belong Majesty and Might!), saying, "Laud be to the Lord for His mercies incalculable!" Then he called his Chief Wazir and said to him, "Know, O Shimas, that the governors of my son are come to tell me that he hath mastered every kind of knowledge and there is nothing but they have instructed him therein, so that he surpasseth in this all who forewent him. What sayst thou, O Shimas?" Hereat the Minister prostrated himself before Allah (to whom belong Might and Majesty!) and kissed the King's hand, saying, "Loath is the ruby stone, albeit be bedded in the hardest rock on hill, to do aught but shine as a lamp, and this thy son is such a gem. His tender age hath not hindered him from becoming a sage and Alhamdolillah--praised be Allah--for that which He deigned bestow on him! But to-morrow I will call an assembly of the flower of the Emirs and men of learning and examine the Prince and cause him speak forth that which is with him in their presence, Inshallah!" ---And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased saying her permitted say.

When it was the Nine Hundred and Ninth Night,

She pursued: It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when the King Jali'ad heard the words of his Wazir, Shimas, he commended the attendance of the keenest-witted of the Olema and most accomplished of the learned and sages of his dominions, and they all presented themselves on the morrow at the door of the palace, whereupon the King bade admit them. Then entered Shimas and kissed the hands of the Prince, who rose and prostrated himself to the Minister. But Shimas said, "It behoveth not the lion-whelp to prostrate himself to any of the wild beasts, nor besitteth it that Light prostrate itself to shade." Quoth the Prince, "Whenas the lion-whelp seeth the leopard, he riseth up to him and prostrateth himself before him because of his wisdom, and Light prostrateth itself to shade for the purpose of disclosing that which is therewithin." Quoth Shimas, "True, O my lord, but I would have thee answer me anent whatso I shall ask thee, by leave of His Highness and his lieges." And the youth said, "And I, with permission of my sire, will answer thee." So Shimas began and said, "Tell me what is the Eternal, the Absolute, and what are the two manifestations thereof and whether of the two is the abiding one?" Answered the Prince, "Allah (to whom belong Might and Majesty!) is the Eternal, the Absolute; for that He is Alpha, without beginning, and Omega, without end. Now his two manifestations are this world and the next, and the abiding one of the two is the world to come." Q "Thou sayst truly and I approve thy reply; but I would have thee tell me, how knowest thou that one of Allah's manifestations is this world and the other the world to come?"--"I know this because this world was created from nothingness and had not its being from any existing thing; wherefore its affair is referable to the first essence. Moreover, it is a commodity swift of ceasing, the works whereof call for requital of action and this postulateth the reproduction of whatso passeth away; so the next world is the second manifestation." Q "Now inform me how knowest thou that the world to come is the abiding one of the two existences?"-- "Because it is the house of requital for deeds done in this world prepared by the Eternal sans surcease." Q "Who are the people of this world most to be praised for their practice?"--"Those who prefer their weal in the world to come before their weal in this world." Q "And who is he that preferreth his future to his present welfare?"--"He who knoweth that he dwelleth in a perishing house, that he was created but to vade away and that, after vading away, he will be called to account and indeed, were there in this world one living and abiding for ever, he would not prefer it to the next world." Q "Can the future life subsist permanently without the present?"--"He who hath no present life hath no future life; and indeed I liken this world and its folk and the goal to which they fare with certain workmen, for whom an Emir buildeth a narrow house and lodgeth them therein, commanding each of them to do a certain task and assigning to him a set term and appointing one to act as steward over them. Whoso doeth the work appointed unto him, the steward bringeth him forth of that straitness; but whoso doeth it not within the stablished term is punished. After awhile, behold, they find honey exuding from the chinks of the house, and when they have eaten thereof and tasted its sweetness of savour, they slacken in their ordered task and cast it behind their backs. So they patiently suffer the straitness and distress wherein they are, with what they know of the future punishment whereto they are fast wending, and are content with this worthless and easily won sweetness; and the Steward leaveth not to fetch every one of them forth of the house, for ill or good, when his appointed period shall have come. Now we know the world to be a dwelling wherein all eyes are dazed, and that each of its folk hath his set term; and he who findeth the little sweetness that is in the world and busieth himself therewith is of the number of the lost, since he preferreth the things of this world to the things of the next world; but whoso payeth no heed to this poor sweetness and preferreth the things of the coming world to those of this world, is of those who are saved." Q "I have heard what thou sayest of this world and the next and I accept thine answer; but I see they are as two placed in authority over man; needs must he content them both, and they are contrary one to other. So, if the creature set himself to seek his livelihood, it is harmful to his soul in the future, and if he devote himself to the next world, it is hurtful to his body, and there is no way for him of pleasing these two contraries at once."--"Indeed, the quest of one's worldly livelihood with pious intent and on lawful wise is a viaticum for the quest of the goods of the world to come; if a man spend a part of his days in seeking his livelihood in this world, for the sustenance of his body, and devote the rest of his day to seeking the goods of the next world, for the repose of his soul and the warding off of hurt therefrom; and indeed I see this world and the other world as they were two Kings, a just and an unjust." Asked Shimas, "How so?" and the youth began the tale of...

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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

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