[Go back to Khalifah The Fisherman Of Baghdad:The same from the Breslau Edition]
There was once in days of yore and in ages and times long gone before a man and a merchant Masr£r hight, who was of the comeliest of the folk of his tide, a wight of wealth galore and in easiest case; but he loved to take his pleasure in vergiers and flower-gardens and to divert himself with the love of the fair. Now it fortuned one night, as he lay asleep, he dreamt that he was in a garth of the loveliest, wherein were four birds, and amongst them a dove, white as polished silver. That dove pleased him and for her grew up in his heart an exceeding love. Presently, he beheld a great bird swoop down on him and snatch the dove from his hand, and this was grievous to him. After which he awoke and not finding the bird strave with his yearnings till morning, when he said in himself, "There is no help but that I go to-day to some one who will expound to me this vision."--And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased to say her permitted say.
When it was the Eight Hundred and Forty-sixth Night,
She continued, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when the merchant awoke, he strave with his yearnings till morning when he said to himself, "There is no help but that I go this day to some one who will expound to me this vision." So he went forth and walked right and left, till he was far from his dwelling-place, but found none to interpret the dream to him. Then he would have returned, but on his way behold, the fancy took him to turn aside to the house of a certain trader, a man of the wealthiest, and when he drew near to it, suddenly he heard from within a plaintive voice from a sorrowful heart reciting these couplets,
"The breeze o' Morn blows uswards from her trace * Fragrant, and heals the love-sick lover's case.
I stand like captive on the mounds and ask * While tears make answer for the ruined place:
Quoth I, 'By Allah, Breeze o' Morning, say * Shall Time and Fortune aye this stead regrace?
Shall I enjoy a fawn whose form bewitched * And langourous eyelids wasted frame and face?'"
When Masrur heard this, he looked in through the doorway and saw a garden of the goodliest of gardens, and at its farther end a curtain of red brocade, purfled with pearls and gems, behind which sat four damsels, and amongst them a young lady over four feet and under five in height, as she were the rondure of the lune and the full moon shining boon: she had eyes Kohl'd with nature's dye and joined eyebrows, a mouth as it were Solomon's seal and lips and teeth bright with pearls and coral's light; and indeed she ravished all wits with her beauty and loveliness and symmetry and perfect grace. When Masrur espied her, he entered the porch and went on entering till he came to the curtain: whereupon she raised her head and glanced at him. So he saluted her and she returned his salam with sweetest speech; and, when he considered her more straitly, his reason was dazed and his heart amazed. Then he looked at the garden and saw that it was full of jessamine and gilly flowers and violets and roses and orange blossoms and all manner sweet-scented blooms and herbs. Every tree was girt about with fruits and there coursed down water from four daises, which faced one another and occupied the four corners of the garden. He looked at the first Liw n and found written around it with vermilion these two couplets,
"Ho thou the House! Grief never home in thee; * Nor Time work treason on thine owner's head:
All good betide the House which every guest * Harbours, when sore distrest for way and stead!"
Then he looked at the second dais and found written thereon in red gold these couplets,
"Robe thee, O House, in richest raiment Time, * Long as the birdies on the branchlets chime!
And sweetest perfumes breathe within thy walls * And lover meet beloved in bliss sublime.
And dwell thy dwellers all in joy and pride * Long as the wandering stars Heaven-hill shall climb."
Then he looked at the third, whereon he found written in ultramarine these two couplets,
"Ever thy pomp and pride, O House! display * While starkeneth Night and shineth sheeny Day!
Boon Fortune bless all entering thy walls, * And whomso dwell in thee, for ever and aye!"
Then he looked at the fourth and saw painted in yellow characters this couplet,
"This garden and this lake in truth * Are fair sitting-steads, by the Lord of Ruth!"
Moreover, in that garden were birds of all breeds, ring-dove and cushat and nightingale and culver, each singing his several song, and amongst them the lady, swaying gracefully to and fro in her beauty and grace and symmetry and loveliness and ravishing all who saw her. Presently quoth she to Masrur, "Hola man! what bringeth thee into a house other than thy house and wherefore comest thou in unto women other than thy women, without leave of their owner?" Quoth he, "O my lady, I saw this garden, and the goodliness of its greenery pleased me and the fragrance of its flowers and the carolling of its birds; so I entered, thinking to gaze on it awhile and wend my way." Said she, "With love and gladness!"; and Masrur was amazed at the sweetness of her speech and the coquetry of her glances and the straightness of her shape, and transported by her beauty and seemlihead and the pleasantness of the garden and the birds. So in the disorder of his spirits he recited these couplets,
"As a crescent-moon in the garth her form * 'Mid Basil and jasmine and Rose I scan;
And Violet faced by the Myrtle-spray * And Nu'um n's bloom and Myrobalan:
By her perfume the Zephyrs perfumŠd breathe * And with scented sighings the branches fan.
O Garden, thou perfect of beauty art * All charms comprising in perfect plan;
And melodious birdies sing madrigals * And the Full Moon shineth in branchshade wan;
Its ring-dove, its culver, its mocking-bird * And its Philomel sing my soul t' unman;
And the longing of love all my wits confuseth * For her charms, as the man whom his wine bemuseth."
Now when Zayn al-Maw sif heard his verse, she glanced at him with eyes which bequeathed a thousand sighs and utterly ravished his wisdom and wits and replied to him in these lines,
"Hope not of our favours to make thy prey * And of what thou wishest thy greed allay:
And cease thy longing; thou canst not win * The love of the Fair thou'rt fain t' essay,
My glances to lovers are baleful and naught * I reek of thy speech: I have said my say!"
"Ho, thou! Begone about thy business, for we are none of the woman-tribe who are neither thine nor another's." And he answered, "O my lady, I said nothing ill." Quoth she, "Thou soughtest to divert thyself and thou hast had thy diversion; so wend thy ways." Quoth he, "O my lady, belike thou wilt give me a draught of water, for I am athirst." Whereupon she cried, "How canst thou drink of a Jew's water, and thou a Nazarene?" But he replied, "O my lady, your water is not forbidden to us nor ours unlawful to you, for we are all as one creation." So she said to her slave-girl, "Give him to drink;" and she did as she was bidden. Then she called for the table of food, and there came four damsels, high-bosomed maids, bearing four trays of meats and four gilt flagons full of strong old-wine, as it were the tears of a slave of love for clearness, and a table around whose edge were graven these couplets,
"For eaters a table they brought and set * In the banquet-hall and 'twas dight with gold:
Like th' Eternal Garden that gathers all * Man wants of meat and wines manifold."
And when the high-breasted maids had set all this before him, quoth she, "Thou soughtest to drink of our drink; so up and at our meat and drink!" He could hardly credit what his ears had heard and sat down at the table forthright; whereupon she bade her nurse give him a cup, that he might drink. Now her slave-girls were called, one Hub£b, another Khut£b and the third Suk£b, and she who gave him the cup was Hubub. So he took the cup and looking at the outside there saw written these couplets,
"Drain not the howl but with lovely wight * Who loves thee and wine makes brighter bright.
And 'ware her Scorpions that o'er thee creep * And guard thy tongue lest thou vex her sprite."
Then the cup went round and when he emptied it he looked inside and saw written,
"And 'ware her Scorpions when pressing them, * And hide her secrets from foes' despight."
Whereupon Masrur laughed her-wards and she asked him, "What causeth thee to laugh?" "For the fulness of my joy," quoth he. Presently, the breeze blew on her and the scarf fell from her head and discovered a fillet of glittering gold, set with pearls and gems and jacinths; and on her breast was a necklace of all manner ring-jewels and precious stones, to the centre of which hung a sparrow of red gold, with feet of red coral and bill of white silver and body full of Nadd-powder and pure ambergris and odoriferous musk. And upon its back was engraved,
"The Nadd is my wine-scented powder, my bread; * And the bosom's my bed and the breasts my stead:
And my neck-nape complains of the weight of love, * Of my pain, of my pine, of my drearihead."
Then Masrur looked at the breast of her shift and behold, thereon lay wroughten in red gold this verse,
"The fragrance of musk from the breasts of the fair * Zephyr borrows, to sweeten the morning air."
Masrur marvelled at this with exceeding wonder and was dazed by her charms and amazement gat hold upon him. Then said Zayn al-Maw sif to him, "Begone from us and go about thy business, lest the neighbours hear of us and even us with the lewd." He replied, "By Allah, O my lady, suffer my sight to enjoy the view of thy beauty and loveliness." With this she was wroth with him and leaving him, walked in the garden, and he looked at her shift-sleeve and saw upon it embroidered these lines,
"The weaver-wight wrote with gold-ore bright * And her wrists on brocade rained a brighter light:
Her palms are adorned with a silvern sheen; * And favour her fingers the ivory's white:
For their tips are rounded like priceless pearl; * And her charms would enlighten the nightiest night."
And, as she paced the garth, Masrur gazed at her slippers and saw written upon them these pleasant lines,
"The slippers that carry these fair young feet * Cause her form to bend in its gracious bloom:
When she paces and waves in the breeze she owns, * She shines fullest moon in the murkiest gloom."
She was followed by her women leaving Hubub with Masrur by the curtain, upon whose edge were embroidered these couplets,
"Behind the veil a damsel sits with gracious beauty dight, * Praise to the Lord who decked her with these inner gifts of sprite!
Guards her the garden and the bird fain bears her company; * Gladden her wine-draughts and the bowl but makes her brighter-bright.
Apple and Cassia-blossom show their envy of her cheeks; * And borrows Pearl resplendency from her resplendent light;
As though the sperm that gendered her were drop of marguerite * Happy who kisses her and spends in her embrace the night."
So Masrur entered into a long discourse with Hubub and presently said to her, "O Hubub, hath thy mistress a husband or not?" She replied, "My lady hath a husband; but he is actually abroad on a journey with merchandise of his." Now whenas he heard that her husband was abroad on a journey, his heart lusted after her and he said, "O Hubub, glorified be He who created this damsel and fashioned her! How sweet is her beauty and her loveliness and her symmetry and perfect grace! Verily, into my heart is fallen sore travail for her. O Hubub, so do that I come to enjoy her, and thou shalt have of me what thou wilt of wealth and what not else." Replied Hubub, "O Nazarene, if she heard thee speak thus, she would slay thee, or else she would kill herself, for she is the daughter of a Zealot of the Jews nor is there her like amongst them: she hath no need of money and she keepeth herself ever cloistered, discovering not her case to any." Quoth Masrur, "O Hubub, an thou wilt but bring me to enjoy her, I will be to thee slave and foot page and will serve thee all my life and give thee whatsoever thou seekest of me." But quoth she, "O Masrur, in very sooth this woman hath no lust for money nor yet for men, because my lady Zayn al-Mawasif is of the cloistered, going not forth her house-door in fear lest folk see her; and but that she bore with thee by reason of thy strangerhood, she had not permitted thee to pass her threshold; no, not though thou wert her brother." He replied, "O Hubub, be thou our go-between and thou shalt have of me an hundred gold dinars and a dress worth as much more, for that the love of her hath gotten hold of my heart." Hearing this she said, "O man, let me go about with her in talk and I will return thee and answer and acquaint thee with what she saith. Indeed, she loveth those who berhyme her and she affecteth those who set forth her charms and beauty and loveliness in verse, and we may not prevail over her save by wiles and soft speech and beguilement." Thereupon Hubub rose and going up to her mistress, accosted her with privy talk of this and that and presently said to her, "O my lady, look at yonder young man, the Nazarene; how sweet is his speech and how shapely his shape!" When Zayn al-Mawasif heard this, she turned to her and said, "An thou like his comeliness love him thyself. Art thou not ashamed to address the like of me with these words? Go, bid him begone about his business; or I will make it the worse for him." So Hubub returned to Masrur, but acquainted him not with that which her mistress had said. Then the lady bade her hie to the door and look if she saw any of the folk, lest foul befal them. So she went and returning, said, "O my lady, without are folk in plenty and we cannot let him go forth this night." Quoth Zayn al-Mawasif, "I am in dole because of a dream I have seen and am fearful therefrom." And Masrur said, "What sawest thou? Allah never trouble thy heart!" She replied, "I was asleep in the middle of the night, when suddenly an eagle swooped down upon me from the highest of the clouds and would have carried me off from behind the curtain, wherefore I was affrighted at him. Then I awoke from sleep and bade my women bring me meat and drink, so haply, when I had drunken, the dolour of the dream would cease from me." Hearing this, Masrur smiled and told her his dream from first to last and how he had caught the dove, whereat she marvelled with exceeding marvel. Then he went on to talk with her at great length and said, "I am now certified of the truth of my dream, for thou art the dove and I the eagle, and there is no hope but that this must be, for, the moment I set eyes on thee, thou tookest possession of my vitals and settest my heart a-fire for love of thee!" Thereupon Zayn al-Mawasif became wroth with exceeding wrath and said to him, "I take refuge with Allah from this! Allah upon thee, begone about thy business ere the neighbours espy thee and there betide us sore reproach," adding, "Harkye, man! Let not thy soul covet that it shall not obtain. Thou weariest thyself in vain; for I am a merchant's wife and a merchant's daughter and thou art a druggist; and when sawest thou a druggist and a merchant's daughter conjoined by such sentiment?" He replied, "O my lady, never lacked love-liesse between folk; so cut thou not off from me hope of this and whatsoever thou seekest of me of money and raiment and ornaments and what not else, I will give thee." Then he abode with her in discourse and mutual blaming whilst she still redoubled in anger, till it was black night, when he said to her, "O my lady, take this gold piece and fetch me a little wine, for I am athirst and heavy hearted." So she said to the slave-girl Hubub, "Fetch him wine and take naught from him, for we have no need of his dinar." So she went whilst Masrur held his peace and bespake not the lady, who suddenly improvised these lines,
"Leave this thy design and depart, O man! * Nor tread paths where lewdness and crime trepan!
Love is a net shall enmesh thy sprite, * Make thee rise a-morning sad, weary and wan:
For our spy thou shalt eke be the cause of talk; * And for thee shall blame me my tribe and clan:
Yet scant I marvel thou lovest a Fair:-- * Gazelles hunting lions we aye shall scan!"
And he answered her with these,
"Joy of boughs, bright branch of Myrobalan! * Have ruth on the heart all thy charms unman:
Death-cup to the dregs thou garrest me drain * And don weed of Love with its bane and ban:
How can soothe I a heart which for stress of pine * Burns with living coals which my longings fan?"
Hearing these lines she exclaimed, "Away from me! Quoth the saw 'Whoso looseth his sight wearieth his sprite.' By Allah, I am tired of discourse with thee and chiding, and indeed thy soul coveteth that shall never become thine; nay, though thou gave me my weight in gold, thou shouldst not get thy wicked will of me; for, I know naught of the things of the world, save pleasant life, by the boon of Allah Almighty!" He answered, "O my lady Zayn al-Mawasif, ask of me what thou wilt of the goods of the world." Quoth she, "What shall I ask of thee? For sure thou wilt fare forth and prate of me in the highway and I shall become a laughing-stock among the folk and they will make a byword of me in verse, me who am the daughter of the chief of the merchants and whose father is known of the notables of the tribe. I have no need of money or raiment and such love will not be hidden from the people and I shall be brought to shame, I and my kith and kin." With this Masrur was confounded and could make her no answer; but presently she said, "Indeed, the master-thief, if he steal, stealeth not but what is worth his neck, and every woman who doth lewdness with other than her husband is styled a thief; so, if it must be thus and no help, thou shalt give me whatsoever my heart desireth of money and raiment and ornaments and what not." Quoth he, "An thou sought of me the world and all its regions contain from its East to its West, 'twere but a little thing, compared with thy favour;" and quoth she, "I will have of thee three suits, each worth a thousand Egyptian dinars, and adorned with gold and fairly purfled with pearls and jewels and jacinths, the best of their kind. Furthermore I require that thou swear to me thou wilt keep my secret nor discover it to any and that thou wilt company with none but me; and I in turn will swear to thee a true oath that I will never false thee in love." So he sware to her the oath she required and she sware to him, and they agreed upon this; after which she said to her nurse Hubub, "To-morrow go thou with Masrur to his lodging and seek somewhat of musk and ambergris and Nadd and rose-water and see what he hath. If he be a man of condition, we will take him into favour; but an he be otherwise we will leave him." Then said she to him, "O Masrur, I desire somewhat of musk and ambergris and aloes-wood and Nadd; so do thou send it me by Hubub;" and he answered, "With love and gladness; my shop is at thy disposal!" Then the wine went round between them and their s‚ance was sweet: but Masrur's heart was troubled for the passion and pining which possessed him; and when Zayn alMawasif saw him in this plight, she said to her slave-girl Sukub, "Arouse Masrur from his stupor; mayhap he will recover." Answered Sukub, "Hearkening and obedience," and sang these couplets,
"Bring gold and gear an a lover thou, * And hymn thy love so success shalt row;
Joy the smiling fawn with the black-edged eyne * And the bending lines of the Cassiabough:
On her look, and a marvel therein shalt sight, * And pour out thy life ere thy life-term show:
Love's affect be this, an thou weet the same; * But, an gold deceive thee, leave gold and go!"
Hereupon Masrur understood her and said, "I hear and apprehend. Never was grief but after came relief, and after affliction dealing He will order the healing." Then Zayn al-Mawasif recited these couplets,
"From Love-stupor awake, O Masrur, 'twere best; * For this day I dread my love rend thy breast;
And to-morrow I fear me folks' marvel-tale * Shall make us a byword from East to West:
Leave love of my like or thou'lt gain thee blame; * Why turn thee us-wards? Such love's unblest!
For one strange of lineage whose kin repel * Thou shalt wake ill-famed, of friends dispossest:
I'm a Zealot's child and affright the folk: * Would my life were ended and I at rest!"
Then Masrur answered her improvisation and began to say these lines,
"To grief leave a heart that to love ne'er ceased; * Nor blame, for your blame ever love increased:
You misrule my vitals in tyrant-guise; * Morn and Eve I wend not or West or East;
Love's law forbids me to do me die; * They say Love's victim is ne'er released:
Well-away! Could I find in Love's Court a judge * I'd 'plain and win to my rights at least."
They ceased not from mutual chiding till morning morrowed, when Zayn al-Mawasif said, "O Masrur 'tis time for thee to depart, lest one of the folk see thee and foul befal us twain." So he arose and accompanied by nurse Hubub fared on, till they came to his lodging, where he talked with her and said to her, "All thou seekest of me is ready for thee, so but thou wilt bring me to enjoy her." Hubub replied, "Hearten thy heart;" whereupon he rose and gave her an hundred dinars, saying "O Hubub, I have by me a dress worth an hundred gold pieces." Answered she, "O Masrur, make haste with the trinkets and other things promised her, ere she change her mind, for we may not take her, save with wile and guile, and she loveth the saying of verse." Quoth he, "Hearing and obeying," and bringing her the musk and ambergris and lign-aloes and rosewater, returned with her to Zayn al-Mawasif and saluted her. She returned his salam with the sweetest speech, and he was dazed by her beauty and improvised these lines,
"O thou sheeniest Sun who in night dost shine! * O who stole my soul with those large black eyne!
O slim-shaped fair with the graceful neck! * O who shamest Rose wi' those checks o' thine!
Blind not our sight wi' thy fell disdain, * Disdain, that shall load us with pain and pine;
Passion homes in our inmost, nor will be quenched * The fire of yearning in vitals li'en:
Your love has housŠd in heart of me * And of issue but you see I ne'er a sign:
Then haply you'll pity this hapless wight * Thy sad lover and then--O the Morn divine!"
When Zayn al-Mawasif heard his verses, she cast at him a glance of eyes, that bequeathed him a thousand regrets and sighs and his wits and soul were ravished in such wise, and answered him with these couplets,
"Think not from her, of whom thou art enamoured aye * To win delight; so put desire from thee away.
Leave that thou hop'st, for 'gainst her rigours whom thou lov'st * Among the fair, in vain is all thou canst essay.
My looks to lovers bring discomfiture and woe: Indeed, * I make no count of that which thou dost say."
When Masrur heard this, he hardened his heart and took patience, concealing his case and saying in himself, "There is nothing for it against calamity save longsuffering;" and after this fashion they abode till nightfall when Zayn al-Mawasif called for food and they set before her a tray wherein were all manner of dishes, quails and pigeons and mutton and so forth, whereof they ate their sufficiency. Then she bade take away the tables and they did so and fetched the lavatory gear; and they washed their hands, after which she ordered her women to bring the candlesticks, and they set on candelabra and candles therein of camphorated wax. Thereupon quoth Zayn al-Mawasif, "By Allah, my breast is straitened this night and I am afevered;" and quoth Masrur, "Allah broaden thy breast and banish thy bane!" Then she said, "O Masrur, I am used to play at chess: say me, knowest aught of the game?" He replied, "Yes; I am skilled therein;" whereupon she commanded her handmaid Hubub fetch her the chessboard. So she went away and presently returning with the board, set it before her, and behold, it was of ivory-marquetried ebony with squares marked in glittering gold, and its pieces of pearl and ruby.--And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased to say her permitted say.
When it was the Eight Hundred and Forty-seventh Night,
She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when Zayn al-Mawasif bade the chessboard be brought, they set it between her hands; and Masrur was amazed at this, when she turned to him and said, "Wilt have red or white?" He replied, "O Princess of the fair and adornment of morning air, do thou take the red for they formous are and fitter for the like of thee to bear and leave the white to my care." Answered she, "So be it;" and, taking the red pieces, ranged them opposite the white, then put out her hand to a piece purposing the first pass into the battle-plain. Masrur considered her fingers, which were white as paste, and was confounded at their beauty and shapely shape; whereupon she turned to him and said, "O Masrur, be not bedazed, but take patience and calm thyself." He rejoined, "O thou whose beauty shameth the moon, how shall a lover look on thee and have patience-boon?" And while this was doing she cried, "Checkmate!" and beat him; wherefore she knew that he was Jinn-mad for love of her and said to him, "O Masrur, I will not play with thee save for a set stake." He replied, "I hear and obey," and she rejoined, "Swear to me and I will swear to thee that neither of us will cheat the adversary." So both sware this and she said, "O Masrur, an I beat thee, I will have ten dinars of thee, but an thou beat me, I will give thee a mere nothing." He expected to win, so he said, "O my lady, be not false to thine oath, for I see thou art an overmatch for me at this game!" "Agreed," said she and they ranged their men and fell again to playing and pushing on their pawns and catching them up with the queens and aligning and matching them with the castles and solacing them with the onslaught of the knights. Now the "Adornment of Qualities" wore on head a kerchief of blue brocade so she loosed it off and tucking up her sleeve, showed a wrist like a shaft of light and passed her palm over the red pieces, saying to him, "Look to thyself." But he was dazzled at her beauty, and the sight of her graces bereft him of reason, so that he became dazed and amazed and put out his hand to the white men, but it alit upon the red. Said she, "O Masrur, where be thy wits? The red are mine and the white thine;" and he replied, "Whoso looketh at thee perforce loseth all his senses." Then, seeing how it was with him, she took the white from him and gave him the red, and they played and she beat him. He ceased not to play with her and she to beat him, whilst he paid her each time ten dinars, till, knowing him to be distraught for love of her, she said, "O Masrur, thou wilt never win to thy wish, except thou beat me, for such was our understanding; and henceforth, I will not play with thee save for a stake of an hundred dinars a game." "With love and gladness," answered he and she went on playing and ever beating him and he paid her an hundred dinars each time; and on this wise they abode till the morning, without his having won a single game, when he suddenly sprang to his feet. Quoth she, "What wilt thou do, O Masrur?"; and quoth he, "I mean to go to my lodging and fetch somewhat of money: it may be I shall come to my desire." "Do whatso seemeth good to thee," said she; so he went home and taking all the money he had, returned to her improvising these two couplets,
"In dream I saw a bird o'er speed (meseem'd), * Love's garden decked with blooms that smiled and gleamed:
But I shall ken, when won my wish and will * Of thee, the truthful sense of what I dreamed."
Now when Masrur returned to her with all his monies they fell a-playing again; but she still beat him and he could not beat her once; and in such case they abode three days, till she had gotten of him the whole of his coin; whereupon said she, "O Masrur, what wilt thou do now?"; and he replied, "I will stake thee a druggist's shop." "What is its worth?" asked she; and he answered, "Five hundred dinars." So they played five bouts and she won the shop of him. Then he betted his slave-girls, lands, houses, gardens, and she won the whole of them, till she had gotten of him all he had; whereupon she turned to him and said, "Hast thou aught left to lay down?" Cried he, "By Him who made me fall into the snare of thy love, I have neither money to touch nor aught else left, little or much!" She rejoined, "O Masrur, the end of whatso began in content shall not drive man to repent; wherefore, an thou regret aught, take back thy good and begone from us about thy business and I will hold thee quit towards me." Masrur rejoined, "By Him who decreed these things to us, though thou sought to take my life 'twere a wee thing to stake for thine approof, because I love none but thee!" Then said she, "O Masrur, fare forthright and fetch the Kazi and the witnesses and make over to me by deed all thy lands and possessions." "Willingly," replied he and, going forth without stay or delay, brought the Kazi and the witnesses and set them before her. When the judge saw her, his wits fled and his mind was amazed and his reason was dazed for the beauty of her fingers, and he said to her, "O my lady, I will not write out the writ of conveyance, save upon condition that thou buy the lands and mansions and slave-girls and that they all pass under thy control and into thy possession." She rejoined, "We're agreed upon that. Write me a deed, whereby all Masrur's houses and lands and slave-girls and whatso his right hand possesseth shall pass to Zayn al-Mawasif and become her property at such a price." So the Kazi wrote out the writ and the witnesses set hands thereto; whereupon she took it.--And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased to say her permitted say.
When it was the Eight Hundred and Forty-eighth Night,
She pursued, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when Zayn al-Mawasif took from the Kazi the deed which made over her lover's property to her, she said to him, "O Masrur, now gang thy gait." But her slave-girl Hubub turned to him and said, "Recite us some verses." So he improvised upon that game of chess these couplets,
"Of Time and what befel me I complain, * Mourning my loss by chess and eyes of bane.
For love of gentlest, softest-sided fair * Whose like is not of maids or mortal strain:
The shafts of glances from those eyne who shot * And led her conquering host to battle-plain
Red men and white men and the clashing Knights * And, crying 'Look to thee!' came forth amain:
And, when down charging, finger-tips she showed * That gloomed like blackest night for sable stain,
The Whites I could not rescue, could not save * While ecstasy made tear, floods rail and rain:
The Pawns and Castles with their Queens fell low * And fled the Whites nor could the brunt sustain:
Yea, with her shaft of glance at me she shot * And soon that shaft had pierced my heart and brain:
She gave me choice between her hosts, and I * The Whites like moonlight first to choose was fain,
Saying, 'This argent folk best fitteth me * I love them, but the Red by thee be ta'en!'
She played me for free accepted stake * Yet amorous mercy I could ne'er obtain:
O fire of heart, O pine and woe of me, * Wooing a fair like moon mid starry train:
Burns not my heart O no! nor aught regrets * Of good or land, but ah! her eyes' disdain!
Amazed I'm grown and dazed for drearihead * And blame I Time who brought such pine and pain.
Quoth she, 'Why art thou so bedazed!' quoth I * 'Wine-drunken wight shall more of wine assain?'
That mortal stole my sense by silk-soft shape, * Which doth for heart-core hardest rock contain.
I nerved self and cried, 'This day she's mine' * By bet, nor fear I prove she unhumane:
My heart ne'er ceased to seek possession, till * Beggared I found me for conditions twain:
Will youth you loveth shun the Love-dealt blow, * Tho' were he whelmed in Love's high-surging main?
So woke the slave sans e'en a coin to turn, * Thralled to repine for what he ne'er shall gain!"
Zayn al-Mawasif hearing these words marvelled at the eloquence of his tongue and said to him, "O Masrur, leave this madness and return to thy right reason and wend thy ways; for thou hast wasted all thy moveables and immoveables at the chessgame, yet hast not won thy wish, nor hast thou any resource or device whereby thou mayst attain to it." But he turned to her and said, "O my lady, ask of me whatso thou wilt and thou shalt have it; for I will bring it to thee and lay it at thy feet." Answered she, "O Masrur, thou hast no money left." "O goal of all hopes, if I have no money, the folk will help me." "Shall the giver turn asker?" "I have friends and kinsfolk, and whatsoever I seek of them, they will give me." "O Masrur, I will have of thee four pods of musk and four vases of civet and four pounds of ambergris and four thousand dinars and four hundred pieces of royal brocade, purfled with gold. An thou bring me these things, O Masrur, I will grant thee my favours." "This is a light matter to me, O thou that puttest the moons to shame," replied he and went forth to fetch her what she sought. She sent her maid Hubub after him, to see what worth he had with the folk of whom he had spoken to her; but, as he walked along the highways he turned and seeing her afar off, waited till she came up to him and said to her, "Whither away, O Hubub?" So she said to him, "My mistress sent me to follow for this and that," and he replied, "By Allah, O Hubub, I have nothing to hand!" She asked, "Then why didst thou promise her?"; and he answered, "How many a promise made is unkept of its maker! Fine words in love-matters needs must be." When she heard this from him, she said, "O Masrur, be of good cheer and eyes clear for, by Allah, most assuredly I will be the means of thy coming to enjoy her!" Then she left him nor ceased walking till she stood before her mistress weeping with sore weeping, and said, "O my lady, indeed he is a man of great consideration, and good repute among the folk." Quoth Zayn al-Mawasif, "There is no device against the destiny of Almighty Allah! Verily, this man found not in me a pitiful heart, for that I despoiled him of his substance and he got of me neither affection nor complaisance in granting him amorous joy; but, if I incline to his inclination, I fear lest the thing be bruited abroad." Quoth Hubub, "O my lady, verily, grievous upon us is his present plight and the loss of his good and thou hast with thee none save thyself and thy slave-girl Sukub; so which of us two would dare prate of thee, and we thy handmaids?" With this, she bowed her head for a while ground-wards and the damsels said to her, "O my lady, it is our rede that thou send after him and show him grace and suffer him not ask of the sordid; for how bitter is such begging!" So she accepted their counsel and calling for inkcase and paper, wrote him these couplets,
"Joy is nigh, O Masr£r, so rejoice in true rede; * Whenas night shall fall thou shalt do kind-deed:
Crave not of the sordid a loan, fair youth, * Wine stole my wits but they now take heed:
All thy good I reft shall return to thee, * O Masr£r, and I'll add to them amorous meed;
For indeed th' art patient, and sweet of soul * When wronged by thy lover's tyrannic greed.
So haste to enjoy us and luck to thee! * Lest my folk come between us speed, love, all speed!
Hurry uswards thou, nor delay, and while * My mate is far, on Love's fruit come feed."
Then she folded the paper and gave it to Hubub the handmaid, who carried it to Masrur and found him weeping and reciting in a transport of passion and love-longing these lines,
"A breeze of love on my soul did blow * That consumed my liver for stress of lowe;
When my sweetheart went all my longings grew; * And with tears in torrent mine eyelids flow:
Such my doubt and fears, did I tell their tale * To deaf rocks and pebbles they'd melt for woe.
Would Heaven I wot shall I sight delight, * And shall win my wish and my friend shall know!
Shall be folded up nights that doomed us part * And I be healed of what harms my heart?"
--And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased saying her permitted say.
When it was the Eight Hundred and Forty-ninth Night,
She pursued, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that while Masrur, transported by passion and love-longing, was repeating his couplets in sing-song tone Hubub knocked at his door; so he rose and opened to her, and she entered and gave him the letter. He read it and said to her, "O Hubub, what is behind thee of thy lady's news?" She answered, "O my lord, verily, in this letter is that dispenseth me from reply, for thou art of those who readily descry!" Thereat he rejoiced with joy exceeding and repeated these two couplets,
"Came the writ whose contents a new joy revealed, * Which in vitals mine I would keep ensealed:
And my longings grew when I kissed that writ, * As were pearl of passion therein concealed."
Then he wrote a letter answering hers and gave it to Hubub, who took it and returned with it to her mistress and forthright fell to extolling his charms to her and expiating on his good gifts and generosity; for she was become a helper to him, to bring about his union with her lady. Quoth Zayn al-Mawasif, "O Hubub, indeed he tarrieth to come to us;" and quoth Hubub, "He will certainly come soon." Hardly had she made an end of speaking when behold, he knocked at the door, and she opened to him and brought him in to her mistress, who saluted him with the salam and welcomed him and seated him by her side. Then she said to Hubub, "Bring me a suit of brocade;" so she brought a robe broidered with gold and Zayn al-Mawasif threw it over him, whilst she herself donned one of the richest dresses and crowned her head with a net of pearls of the freshest water. About this she bound a fillet of brocade, purfled with pearls, jacinths and other jewels, from beneath which she let down two tresses each looped with a pendant of ruby, charactered with glittering gold, and she loosed her hair, as it were the sombrest night; and lastly she incensed herself with aloes-wood and scented herself with musk and ambergris, and Hubub said to her, "Allah save thee from the evil eye!" Then she began to walk, swaying from side to side with gracefullest gait, whilst Hubub who excelled in verse-making, recited in her honour these couplets,
"Shamed is the bough of B n by pace of her; * And harmed are lovers by the gaze of her.
A moon she rose from murks, the hair of her, * A sun from locks the brow encase of her:
Blest he she nights with by the grace of her, * Who dies in her with oath by days of her!"
So Zayn al-Mawasif thanked her and went up to Masrur, as she were full moon displayed. But when he saw her, he rose to his feet and exclaimed, "An my thought deceive me not, she is no human, but one of the brides of Heaven!" Then she called for food and they brought a table, about whose marge were written these couplets,
"Dip thou with spoons in saucers four and gladden heart and eye * With many a various kind of stew and fricassee and fry. Thereon fat quails (ne'er shall I cease to love and tender them) * And rails and fowls and dainty birds of all the kinds that fly. Glory to God for the Kabobs, for redness all aglow, * And potherbs, steeped in vinegar, in porringers thereby! Fair fall the rice with sweet milk dressed, wherein the hands did plunge * And eke the forearms of the fair were buried, bracelet-high! How my heart yearneth with regret over two plates of fish * That by two manchet-cakes of bread of Tewarij did lie!"
Then they ate and drank and made mirth and merriment, after which the servants removed the table of food and set on the wine service; so cup and tasse passed round between them and they were gladdened in soul. Then Masrur filled the cup and saying, "O whose thrall am I and who is my mistress!" chanted these improvised couplets,
"Mine eyes I admire that can feed their fill * On charms of a girl rising worlds to light:
In her time she hath none to compare for gifts * Of spirit and body a mere delight.
Her shape breeds envy in Cassia-tree * When fares she forth in her symmetry dight:
With luminous brow shaming moon of dark * And crown-like crescent the brightest bright.
When treads she earth's surface her fragrance scents * The Zephyr that breathes over plain and height."
When he ended his extempore song she said, "O Masrur, whoso religiously keepeth his faith and hath eaten our bread and salt, it behoveth us to give him his due; so put away from thee all thought of what hath been and I will restore thee thy lands and houses and all we have taken from thee." He replied, "O my lady, I acquit thee of that whereof thou speakest, though thou hadst been false to the oath and covenant between us; for I will go and become a Moslem." Zayn al-Mawasif protested that she would follow suit when Hubub cried to her, "O my lady, thou art young of years and knowest many things, and I claim the intercession of Almighty Allah with thee for, except thou do my bidding and heal my heart, I will not lie the night with thee in the house." And she replied, "O Hubub, it shall be as thou wilt. Rise and make us ready another sitting-room." So she sprang to her feet and gat ready a room and adorned and perfumed it after fairest fashion even as her lady loved and preferred; after which she again set on food and wine, and the cup went round between them and their hearts were glad.--And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased to say her permitted say.
When it was the Eight Hundred and Fiftieth Night,
She resumed, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when Zayn al-Mawasif bade her maid Hubub make ready a private sitting-room she arose and did her bidding, after which she again set food and wine before them and cup and tasse went round gladdening their hearts. Presently quoth Zayn al-Mawasif, "O Masrur, come is the time of Union and favour; so, as thou studiest my love to savour recite us some verses surpassing of flavour. " Upon this he recited the following ode,
"I am taken: my heart bums with living flame For Union shorn whenas Severance came, In the love of a damsel who forced my soul And with delicate cheeklet my reason stole. She hath eyebrows united and eyes black-white And her teeth are leven that smiles in light: The tale of her years is but ten plus four; Tears like Dragon's blood for her love I pour. First I saw that face 'mid parterre and rill, Outshining full Lune on horizon-hill; And stood like a captive for awe, and cried, 'Allah's Peace, O who in demesne doth hide!' She returned my salam, gaily answering With the sweetest speech likest pearls a-string. But when heard my words, she right soon had known My want and her heart waxed hard as stone, And quoth she, 'Be not this a word silly-bold?' But quoth I, 'Refrain thee nor flyte and scold! An to-day thou consent such affair were light; They like is the loved, mine the lover-wight!' When she knew my mind she but smiled in mirth And cried, 'Now, by the Maker of Heaven and Earth! I'm a Jewess of Jewry's driest e'er seen And thou art naught save a Nazarene. Why seek my favours? Thine's other caste; An this deed thou do thou'lt repent the past. Say, does Love allow with two Faiths to play? Men shall blame thee like me, at each break of day! Wilt thou laugh at beliefs and deride their rite, And in thine and mine prove thee sinful sprite? An thou lovedest me thou hadst turnŠd Jew, Losing worlds for love and my favours due; And by the Evangel strong oath hadst sworn To keep our secret intact from scorn!' So I took the Torah and sware strong oath I would hold to the covenant made by both. Then by law, religion and creed I sware, And bound her by oaths that most binding were; And asked her, 'Thy name, O my dear delight?' And she, 'Zayn al-Maw sif at home I'm hight!' 'O Zayn al-Mawasif!' (cried I) 'Hear my call: Thy love hath made me thy veriest thrall!' Then I peeped 'neath her chin-veil and 'spied such charms That the longing of love filled my heart with qualms. 'Neath the curtain I ceased not to humble me, And complain of my heart-felt misery; But when she saw me by Love beguiled She raised her face-veil and sweetly smiled: And when breeze of Union our faces kiss'd With musk-pod she scented fair neck and wrist; And the house with her essences seemed to drip, And I kissed pure wine from each smiling lip: Then like branch of B n 'neath her robe she swayed And joys erst unlawful she lawful made: And joined, conjoined through our night we lay With clip, kiss of inner lip, langue fourr‚e. The world hath no grace but the one loved fere In thine arms to clasp with possession sheer! With the morn she rose and she bade Good-bye While her brow shone brighter than moon a-sky; Reciting at parting (while tear-drops hung On her cheeks, these scattered and other strung), 'Allah's pact in mind all my life I'll bear And the lovely nights and strong oath I sware.'"
Zayn al-Mawasif was delighted and said to him, "O Masrur, how goodly are thy inner gifts! May he live not who would harm thy heart!" Then she entered her boudoir and called him: so he went in to her and taking her in his arms, embraced her and hugged her and kissed her and got of her that which he had deemed impossible and rejoiced in winning the sweet of amorous will. Then said she, "O Masrur, thy good is unlawful to me and is lawfully thine again now that we are become lovers." So she returned to him all she had taken of him and asked him, "O Masrur, hast thou a flower-garden whither we may wend and take our pleasure?"; whereto he answered, "Yes, O my lady, I have a garden that hath not its like." Then he returned to his lodgings and bade his slave-girls make ready a splendid banquet and a handsome room; after which he summoned Zayn al-Mawasif who came surrounded by her damsels, and they ate and drank and made mirth and merriment, whilst the cup passed round between them and their spirits rose high. Then lover withdrew with beloved and Zayn al-Mawasif said to Masrur, "I have bethought me of some dainty verses, which I would fain sing to the lute." He replied, "Do sing them"; so she took the lute and tuning it, sang to a pleasant air these couplets,
"Joy from stroke of string doth to me incline, * And sweet is a-morning our early wine;
Whenas Love unveileth the amourist's heart, * And by rending the veil he displays his sign,
With a draught so pure, so dear, so bright, * As in hand of Moons the Sun's sheeny shine
O' nights it cometh with joy to 'rase * The hoar of sorrow by boon divine."
Then ending her verse, she said to him, "O Masrur, recite us somewhat of thy poetry and favour us with the fruit of thy thought." So he recited these two couplets,
"We joy in full Moon who the wine bears round, * And in concert of lutes that from gardens sound;
Where the dove moans at dawn and where bends the bough * To Morn, and all pathways of pleasure are found."
When he had finished his recitation she said to him, "Make us some verses on that which hath passed between us an thou be occupied with love of me."--And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased saying her permitted say.
When it was the Eight Hundred and Fifty-first Night,
She continued, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when Zayn al-Mawasif said to Masrur, "An thou be occupied with love of me, make us some verses on that hath passed between us," "With love and gladness," he replied and improvised the following Kasidah,
"Stand thou and hear what fell to me * For love of you gazelle to dree!
Shot me a white doe with her shaft * O' glances wounding woundily.
Love was my ruin, for was I * Straitened by longing ecstasy:
I loved and woo'd a young coquette * Girded by strong artillery,
Whom in a garth I first beheld * A form whose sight was symmetry.
I greeted her and when she deigned * Greeting return, 'Sal m,' quoth she
'What be thy name?' said I, she said, * 'My name declares my quality!'
'Zayn al-Maw sif I am hight.' * Cried I, 'Oh deign I mercy see,'
'Such is the longing in my heart * No lover claimeth rivalry!' Quoth she,
'With me an thou 'rt in love * And to enjoy me pleadest plea,
I want of thee oh! muchel wealth; * Beyond all compt my wants o' thee!
I want o' thee full many a robe * Of sendal, silk and damaskry;
A quarter quintal eke of musk: * These of one night shall pay the fee.
Pearls, unions and carnelian-stones * The bestest best of jewelry!'
Of fairest patience showed I show * In contrariety albe:
At last she favoured me one night * When rose the moon a crescent wee;
An stranger blame me for her sake * I say, 'O blamers listen ye!
She showeth locks of goodly length * And black as blackest night its blee;
While on her cheeks the roses glow * Like Laz -flame incendiary:
In every eyelash is a sword * And every glance hath archery:
Her liplets twain old wine contain, * And dews of fount-like purity:
Her teeth resemble strings o' pearls, * Arrayed in line and fresh from sea:
Her neck is like the neck of doe, * Pretty and carven perfectly:
Her bosom is a marble slab * Whence rise two breasts like towers on lea:
And on her stomach shows a crease * Perfumed with rich perfumery;
Beneath which same there lurks a Thing * Limit of mine expectancy.
A something rounded, cushioned-high * And plump, my lords, to high degree:
To me 'tis likest royal throne * Whither my longings wander free;
There 'twixt two pillars man shall find * Benches of high-built tracery.
It hath specific qualities * Drive sanest men t' insanity;
Full mouth it hath like mouth of neck * Or well begirt by stony key;
Firm lips with camelry's compare * And shows it eye of cramoisie.
An draw thou nigh with doughty will * To do thy doing lustily,
Thou'll find it fain to face thy bout * And strong and fierce in valiancy.
It bendeth backwards every brave * Shorn of his battle-bravery.
At times imberbe, but full of spunk * To battle with the Paynimry.
'T will show thee liveliness galore * And perfect in its raillery:
Zayn al-Mawasif it is like * Complete in charms and courtesy.
To her dear arms one night I came * And won meed given lawfully:
I passed with her that self-same night * (Best of my nights!) in gladdest glee;
And when the morning rose, she rose * And crescent like her visnomy:
Then swayed her supple form as sway * The lances lopt from limber tree;
And when farewelling me she cried, * 'When shall such nights return to me?'
Then I replied, 'O eyen-light, * When He vouchsafeth His decree!'"
Zayn al-Mawasif was delighted with this Ode and the utmost gladness gat hold of her. Then said she, "O Masrur day-dawn draweth nigh and there is naught for it save to fly for fear of scandal and spy!" He replied, "I hear and obey," and rising led her to her lodging, after which he returned to his quarters and passed the rest of the night pondering on her charms. When the morning morrowed with its sheen and shone, he made ready a splendid present and carried it to her and sat by her side. And thus they abode awhile, in all solace of life and its delight, till one day there came to Zayn al-Mawasif a letter from her husband reporting to her his speedy return. Thereupon she said in herself, "May Allah not keep him nor quicken him! If he come hither, our life will be troubled: would Heaven I might despair of him!" Presently entered Masrur and sat with her at chat, as was his wont, whereupon she said to him, "O Masrur, I have received a missive from my mate, announcing his speedy return from his wayfaring. What is to be done, since neither of us without other can live?" He replied, "I know not; but thou art better able to judge, being acquainted with the ways of thy man, more by token that thou art one of the sharpest-witted of women and past mistress of devices such as devise that whereof fail the wise." Quoth she, "He is a hard man and jealous of his household: but, when he shall come home and thou hearest of his coming, do thou repair to him and salute him and sit down by his side, saying, 'O my brother, I am a druggist.' Then buy of him somewhat of drugs and spices of sorts and call upon him frequently and prolong thy talks with him and gainsay him not in whatsoever he shall bid thee; so haply that I would contrive may betide, as it were by chance." "I hear and I obey," quoth Masrur and fared forth from her, with heart a-fire for love. When her husband came home, she rejoiced in meeting him and after saluting him bade him welcome; but he looked in her face and seeing it pale and sallow (for she bad washed it with saffron, using one of women's arts), asked her of her case. She answered that she had been sick, she and her women, from the time of his wayfaring, adding, "Verily, our hearts have been engrossed with thoughts of thee because of the length of thine absence." And she went on to complain to him of the misery of separation and to pour forth copious tears, saying, "Hadst thou but a companion with thee, my heart had not borne all this cark and care for thee. So, Allah upon thee, O my lord, travel not again without a comrade and cut me not off from news of thee, that my heart and mind may be at rest concerning thee!"--And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased to say her permitted say.
When it was the Eight Hundred and Fifty-second Night,
She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when Zayn al-Mawasif said to her mate, "Travel not without comrade and cut me not off from news of thee, that my heart and mind may be at rest concerning thee," he replied, "With love and gladness! By Allah thy bede is good indeed and right is thy rede! By thy life, it shall be as thou dost heed." Then he unpacked some of his stock-in-trade and carrying the goods to his shop, opened it and sat down to sell in the Soko. No sooner had he taken his place than lo and behold! up came Masrur and saluting him, sat down by his side and began talking and talked with him awhile. Then he pulled out a purse and taking forth gold, handed it to Zayn al-Mawasif's man and said, "Give me the worth of these dinars in drugs and spices of sorts, that I may sell them in my shop." The Jew replied, "I hear and I obey," and gave him what he sought. And Masrur continued to pay him frequent visits till, one day, the merchant said to him, "I have a mind to take me a man to partner in trade." Quoth Masrur, "And I also, desire to take a partner; for my father was a merchant in the land of Al-Yaman and left me great store of money and I fear lest it fare from me." Quoth the Jew, turning towards him, "Wilt thou be my partner, and I will be thy partner and a true friend and comrade to thee at home and abroad; and I will teach thee selling and buying, giving and taking?" And Masrur rejoined, "With all my heart." So the merchant carried him to his place and seated him in the vestibule, whilst he went in to his wife and said to her, "I have provided me with a partner and have bidden him hither as a guest; so do thou get us ready good guest-cheer." Whenas she heard this, she rejoiced divining that it was Masrur, and made ready a magnificent banquet, of her delight in the success of her device. Then, when the guest drew nigh, her husband said to her, "Come out with me to him and bid him welcome and say, 'Thou gladdenest us!'" But Zayn al-Mawasif made a show of anger, crying, "Wilt thou have me display myself before a strange man? I take refuge with Allah! Though thou cut me to bits, I will not appear before him!" Rejoined he, "Why shouldst thou be abashed at him, seeing that he is a Nazarene and we are Jews and, to boot, we are become chums, he and I?" Quoth she, "I am not minded to present myself before a strange man, on whom I have never once set eyes and whom I know not any wise." Her husband thought she spoke sooth and ceased not to importune her, till she rose and veiling herself, took the food and went out to Masrur and welcomed him; whereupon he bowed his head groundwards, as he were ashamed, and the Jew, seeing such dejection said in himself, "Doubtless, this man is a devotee." They ate their fill and the table being removed, wine was set on. As for Zayn al-Mawasif, she sat over against Masrur and gazed on him and he gazed on her till ended day, when he went home, with a heart to fire a prey. But the Jew abode pondering the grace and the comeliness of him; and, as soon as it was night, his wife according to custom served him with supper and they seated themselves before it. Now he had a mockingbird which was wont, whenever he sat down to meat, to come and eat with him and hover over his head; but in his absence the fowl was grown familiar with Masrur and used to flutter about him as he sat at meals. Now when Masrur disappeared and the master returned, it knew him not and would not draw near him, and this made him thoughtful concerning his case and the fowl's withdrawing from him. As for Zayn al-Mawasif, she could not sleep with her heart thinking of Masrur, and thus it was with her a second and even a third night, till the Jew became aware of her condition and, watching her while she sat distraught, began to suspect somewhat wrong. On the fourth night, he awoke in the middle thereof and heard his wife babbling in her sleep and naming Masrur, what while she lay on her husband's bosom, wherefore he misdoubted her; but he dissembled his suspicions and when morning morrowed he repaired to his shop and sat therein. Presently, up came Masrur and saluted him. He returned his salam and said to him, "Welcome, O my brother!" adding anon, "I have wished for thee;" and he sat talking with him for an hour or so, after which he said to him, "Rise, O my brother, and hie with me to my house, that we may enter into the pact of brotherhood." Replied Masrur, "With joy and goodly gree," and they repaired to the Jew's house, where the master went in and told his wife of Masrur's visit, for the purpose of conditioning their partnership, and said, "Make us ready a goodly entertainment, and needs must thou be present and witness our brotherhood." But she replied, "Allah upon thee, cause me not show myself to this strange man, for I have no mind to company with him." So he held his peace and forbore to press her and bade the waiting-women bring food and drink. Then he called the mocking-bird but it knew not its lord and settled upon Masrur's lap; and the Jew said to him, "O my master, what is thy name?" He answered, "My name is Masrur;" whereupon the Jew remembered that this was the name which his wife had repeated all night long in her sleep. Presently, he raised his head and saw her making signs with her forefingers to Masrur and motioning to him with her eyes, wherefore he knew that he had been completely cozened and cuckolded and said, "O my lord, excuse me awhile, till I fetch my kinsmen, so they may be present at our swearing brotherhood." Quoth Masrur, "Do what seemeth good to thee;" whereupon the Jew went forth the house and returning privily by a back way.--And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased saying her permitted say.
When it was the Eight Hundred and Fifty-third Night,
She pursued, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that Zayn al-Mawasif's husband said to Masrur, "Excuse me awhile, till I fetch my cousins to witness the brother-bond between me and thee." Then he went forth and, privily returning behind the sitting-room, there took his station hard by a window which gave upon the saloon and whence he could watch them without their seeing him. Suddenly quoth Zayn al-Mawasif to her maid Sukub, "Whither is thy master gone?"; and quoth she, "He is gone without the house." Cried the mistress, "Lock the door and bar it with iron and open thou not till he knock, after thou hast told me." Answered Sukub, "So shall it be done." Then, while her husband watched them, she rose and filling a cup with wine, flavoured with powdered musk and rose-water, went close to Masrur, who sprang up to meet her, saying, "By Allah, the water of thy mouth is sweeter than this wine!" "Here it is for thee," said she and filling her mouth with wine, gave him to drink thereof, whilst he gave her the like to drink; after which she sprinkled him with rose-water from front to foot, till the perfume scented the whole place. All this while, the Jew was looking on and marvelling at the stress of love that was between them and his heart was filled with fury for what he saw and he was not only wroth, but jealous with exceeding jealousy. Then he went out again and coming to the door found it locked and knocked a loud knock of the excess of his rage; whereupon quoth Sukub, "O my lady, here is my master;" and quoth Zayn al-Mawasif, "Open to him; would that Allah had not brought him back in safety!" So Sukub went and opened the door to the Jew, who said to her, "What ailed thee to lock the door?" Quoth she, "It hath never ceased to be locked thus during thine absence; nor hath it been opened night nor day;" and cried he, "Thou hast done well; this pleaseth me." Then he went in to Masrur, laughing and dissembling his chagrin, and said to him, "O Masrur, let us put off the conclusion of our pact of brotherhood this day and defer it to another." Replied Masrur, "As thou wilt," and hied him home, leaving the Jew pondering his case and knowing not what to do; for his heart was sore troubled and he said in himself, "Even the mocking-bird disowneth me and the slave-girls shut the door in my face and favour another." And of his exceeding chagrin, he fell to reciting these couplets,
"Masrur joys life made fair by all delight of days, * Fulfilled of boons, while mine the sorest grief displays.
The Days have falsed me in the breast of her I love * And in my heart are fires which all-consuming blaze:
Yea, Time was clear for thee, but now 'tis past and gone * While yet her lovely charms thy wit and senses daze:
Espied these eyes of mine her gifts of loveliness: * Oh, hard my case and sore my woe on spirit weighs!
I saw the maiden of the tribe deal rich old wine * Of lips like Salsabil to friend my love betrays:
E'en so, O mocking-bird, thou dost betray my breast * And to a rival teachest Love and lover-ways:
Strange things indeed and wondrous saw these eyne of me * Which were they sleepdrowned still from Sleep's abyss would raise:
I see my best belovŠd hath forsworn my love * And eke like my mocking-bird fro' me a-startled strays.
By truth of Allah, Lord of Worlds who, whatso wills * His Fate, for creatures works and none His hest gainsays,
Forsure I'll deal to that ungodly wight his due * Who but to sate his wicked will her heart withdrew!"
When Zayn al-Mawasif heard this, her side-muscles trembled and quoth she to her handmaid, "Heardest thou those lines?"; whereupon quoth the girl, "I never heard him in my born days recite the like of these verses; but let him say what he will." Then having assured himself of the truth of his suspicions, the Jew began to sell all his property, saying to himself, "Unless I part them by removing her from her mother land the twain will not turn back from this that they are engaged in, no, never!" So, when he had converted all his possessions into coin, he forged a letter and read it to Zayn al-Mawasif, declaring that it had come from his kinsmen, who invited him to visit them, him and his wife. She asked, "How long shall we tarry with them?" and he answered, "Twelve days." Accordingly she consented to this and said, "Shall I take any of my maids with me?"; whereto he replied, "Take Hubub and Sukub and leave Khutub here." Then he made ready a handsome camel-litter for his spouse and her women and prepared to set out with them; whilst she sent to her leman, telling him what had betided her and saying, "O Masrur, an the trysting-time that is between us pass and I come not back, know that he hath cheated and cozened us and planned a plot to separate us each from other, so forget thou not the plighted faith betwixt us, for I fear that he hath found out our love and I dread his craft and perfidy." Then, whilst her man was busy about his march she fell a-weeping and lamenting and no peace was left her, night or day. Her husband saw this, but took no note thereof; and when she saw there was scant help for it, she gathered together her clothes and gear and deposited them with her sister, telling her what had befallen her. Then she farewelled her and going out from her, drowned in tears, returned to her own house, where she found her husband had brought the camels and was busy loading them, having set apart the handsomest dromedary for her riding, and when she saw this and knew that needs must she be separated from Masrur, she waxt clean distraught. Presently it chanced that the Jew went out on some business of his; so she fared forth to the first or outer door and wrote thereon these couplets,--And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased to say her permitted say.
When it was the Eight Hundred and Fifty-fourth Night,
She resumed, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when Zayn al-Mawasif saw her spouse summon the camels and knew that the march needs must be, she waxt clean distraught. Presently it chanced that the Jew went out on some business so she fared forth to the first door and wrote thereon these couplets,
"Bear our salams, O Dove, from this our stead * From lover to beloved far severed!
Bid him fro' me ne'er cease to yearn and mourn * O'er happy days and hours for ever fled:
Eke I in grief shall ever mourn and yearn, * Dwelling on days of love and lustihead;
Long was our joyance, seeming aye to last, * When night and morning to reunion led;
Till croaked the Raven of the Wold one day * His cursed croak and did our union dead.
We sped and left the homestead dark and void * Its gates unpeopled and its dwellers sped."
Then she went to the second door and wrote thereon these couplets,
"O who passest this doorway, by Allah, see * The charms of my fere in the glooms and make plea
For me, saying, 'I think of the Past and weep * Yet boot me no tears flowing full and free.'
Say, 'An fail thee patience for what befel * Scatter earth and dust on the head of thee!
And o'er travel lands East and West, and deem * God sufficeth thy case, so bear patiently!'"
Then she went to the third door and wept sore and thereon wrote these couplets,
"Fare softly, Masr£r! an her sanctuary * Thou seek, and read what a-door writ she.
Ne'er forget Love-plight, if true man; how oft * Hast savoured Nights' bitter and sweetest gree!
O Masr£r! forget not her neighbourhood * For wi' thee must her gladness and joyance flee!
But beweep those dearest united days * When thou camest veilŠd in secresy;
Wend for sake of us over farthest wone; * Span the wold for us, for us dive in sea;
Allah bless the past days! Ah, how glad they were * When in Gardens of Fancy the flowers pluckt we!
The nights of Union from us are fled * And parting-glooms dim their radiancy;
Ah! had this lasted as hoped we, but * He left only our breasts and the rosery.
Will revolving days on Re-union dawn? * Then our vow to the Lord shall accomplisht be.
Learn thou our lots are in hand of Him * Who on lines of skull writes our destiny!"
Then she wept with sore weeping and returned to the house, wailing and remembering what had passed and saying, "Glory be to God who hath decreed to us this!" And her affliction redoubled for severance from her beloved and her departure from her mother-land, and she recited these couplets,
"Allah's peace on thee, House of Vacancy! * Ceased in thee all our joys, all our jubilee.
O thou Dove of the homestead, ne'er cease to bemoan * Whose moons and full moons sorest severance dree:
Masrur, fare softly and mourn our loss; * Loving thee our eyes lose their brilliancy:
Would thy sight had seen, on our marching day, * Tears shed by a heart in Hell's flagrancy!
Forget not the plight in the garth-shade pledged * When we sat enveil‚d in privacy:"
Then she presented herself before her husband, who lifted her into the litter he had let make for her; and, when she found herself on the camel's back, she recited these couplets,
"The Lord, empty House! to thee peace decree * Long we bore therein growth of misery:
Would my life-thread were shorn in that safe abode * And o' night I had died in mine ecstasy!
Home-sickness I mourn, and my strangerhood * Irks my soul, nor the riddle of future I ree.
Would I wot shall I ever that house resee * And find it, as erst, home of joy and glee!"
Said her husband, "O Zayn al-Mawasif grieve not for thy departure from thy dwelling; for thou shalt return to it ere long Inshallah!" And he went on to comfort her heart and soothe her sorrow. Then all set out and fared on till they came without the town and struck into the high road, whereupon she knew that separation was certain and this was very grievous to her. And while such things happened Masrur sat in his quarters, pondering his case and that of his mistress, and his heart forewarned him of severance. So he rose without stay and delay and repairing to her house, found the outer door padlocked and read the couplets she had written thereon; upon which he fell down in a fainting fit. When he came to himself, he opened the first door and entering, read what was written upon the second and likewise upon the third doors; wherefore passion and love-longing and distraction grew on him. So he went forth and hastened in her track, till he came up with the light caravan and found her at the rear, whilst her husband rode in the van, because of his merchandise. When he saw her, he clung to the litter, weeping and wailing for the anguish of parting, and recited these couplets,
"Would I wot for what crime shot and pierced are we * Thro' the days with Estrangement's archery!
O my heart's desire, to thy door I came * One day, when high waxt mine expectancy:
But I found the home waste as the wold and void * And I 'plained my pine and groaned wretchedly:
And I asked the walls of my friends who fared * With my heart in pawn and in pendency;
And they said, 'All marched from the camp and left *An ambushed sorrow on hill and lea;'
And a writ on the walls did they write, as write * Folk who keep their faith while the Worlds are three."
Now when Zayn al-Mawasif heard these lines, she knew that it was Masrur.--And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased saying her permitted say.
When it was the Eight Hundred and Fifty-fifth Night,
She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when Zayn al-Mawasif heard these lines she knew that it was Masrur and wept, she and her handmaids, and said to him, "O Masrur, I conjure thee by Allah, turn back, lest my husband see us twain together!" At her words he swooned away; and when he revived, they took leave each of other and he recited the following couplets,
"The Caravan-chief calleth loud o' night * Ere the Breeze bear his cry in the morninglight:
They girded their loads and prepared to fare, * And hurried while murmured the leader-wight.
They scent the scene on its every side, * As their march through the valley they expedite.
After winning my heart by their love they went * O' morn when their track could deceive my sight.
O my neighbour fair, I reckt ne'er to part, * Or the ground bedewed with my tears to sight!
Woe betide my heart, now hath Severance hand * To heart and vitals dealt bane and blight."
Then he clung to the litter, weeping and wailing, whilst she besought him to turn back ere morn for fear of scorn. So he came up to her Haudaj and farewelling her a second time, fell down in a swoon. He lay an hour or so without life, and when he revived he found the caravan had fared forth of sight. So he turned in the direction of their wayfare and scenting the breeze which blew from their quarter, chanted these improvised lines,
"No breeze of Union to the lover blows * But moan he maketh burnt with fiery woes:
The Zephyr fans him at the dawn o' day; * But when he wakes the horizon lonely shows:
On bed of sickness strewn in pain he lies, * And weeps he bloody tears in burning throes,
For the fair neighbour with my heart they bore * 'Mid travellers urging beasts with cries and blows.
By Allah from their stead no Zephyr blew * But sniffed I as the wight on eyeballs goes;
And snuff the sweetest South as musk it breathes * And on the longing lover scent bestows."
Then Masrur returned, mad with love-longing, to her house, and finding it lone from end to end and forlorn of friend, wept till he wet his clothes; after which he swooned away and his soul was like to leave his body. When he revived, he recited these two couplets,
"O Spring-camp have ruth on mine overthrowing * My abjection, my leanness, my tears aye flowing,
Waft the scented powder of breezes they breathe * In hope it cure heart of a grief e'er growing."
Then he returned to his own lodging confounded and tearful-eyed, and abode there for the space of ten days. Such was his case; but as regards the Jew, he journeyed on with Zayn al-Mawasif half a score days, at the end of which he halted at a certain city and she, being by that time assured that her husband had played her false, wrote to Masrur a letter and gave it to Hubub, saying, "Send this to Masrur, so he may know how foully and fully we have been tricked and how the Jew hath cheated us." So Hubub took it and despatched it to Masrur, and when it reached, its news was grievous to him and he wept till he watered the ground. Then he wrote a reply and sent it to his mistress, subscribing it with these two couplets,
"Where is the way to Consolation's door * How shall console him flames burn evermore?
How pleasant were the days of yore all gone: * Would we had somewhat of those days of yore!"
When the missive reached Zayn al-Mawasif, she read it and again gave it to her handmaid Hubub, saying to her, "Keep it secret!" However, the husband came to know of their correspondence and removed with her and her two women to another city, at a distance of twenty days' march. Thus it befel Zayn al-Mawasif; but as regards Masrur, sleep was not sweet to him nor was peace peaceful to him or patience left to him, and he ceased not to be thus till, one night, his eyes closed for weariness and he dreamt that he saw Zayn al-Mawasif come to him in the garden and embrace him; but presently he awoke and found her not: whereupon his reason fled and his wits wandered and his eyes ran over with tears; love-longing to the utterest gat hold of his heart and he recited these couplets,
"Peace be to her, who visits me in sleeping phantasy * Stirring desire and growing love to uttermost degree:
Verily from that dream I rose with passion maddenŠd * For sight of fairest phantom come in peace to visit me:
Say me, can dreams declare the truth anent the maid I love, * And quench the fires of thirst and heal my love-sick malady?
Anon to me she is liberal and she strains me to her breast; * Anon she soothes mine anxious heart with sweetest pleasantry:
From off her dark-red damask lips the dew I wont to sip * The fine old wine that seemed to reek of musk's perfumery.
I wondered at the wondrous things between us done in dreams, * And won my wish and all my will of things I hoped to see;
And from that dreamery I rose, yet ne'er could hope to find * Trace of my phantom save my pain and fiery misery:
And when I looked on her a-morn, 'twas as a lover mad * And every eve was drunken yet no wine brought jollity.
O breathings of the northern breeze, by Allah fro' me bear * Them-wards the greetings of my love and best salams that be:
Say them, 'The wight with whom ye made that plight of fealty * Time with his changes made him drain Death's cup and slain is he!'"
Then he went out and ceased not to weep till he came to her house and looking on it, saw it empty and void. Presently, it seemed to him he beheld her form before him, whereupon fires flamed in him and his griefs redoubled and he fell down aswoon;--And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased to say her permitted say.
When it was the Eight Hundred and Fifty-sixth Night,
She continued, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when Masrur saw the vision of Zayn al-Mawasif and felt her embrace, he joyed with passing joy. As soon as he awoke he sought her house, but finding it empty and void he fell down a-swoon; and when he came to himself, he recited these couplets,
"Fro' them inhale I scent of Ottar and of B n; * So fare with heart which ecstasies of love unman:
I'd heal thy longings (love-sick lover!) by return * To site of beauty void sans friend or mate to scan:
But still it sickeneth me with parting's ban and bane * Minding mine olden plight with friend and partisan."
When he had made an end of these verses, he heard a raven croak beside the house and wept, saying, "Glory be to God! The raven croaketh not save over a ruined homestead." Then he moaned and groaned and recited these couplets,
"What ails the Raven that he croaks my lover's house hard by, * And in my vitals lights a fire that flameth fierce and high?
For times now past and gone I spent in joyance of their love * With love my heart hath gone to waste and I sore pain aby:
I die of longing love and lowe still in my liver raging * And wrote to her but none there is who with the writ may hie:
Ah well-away for wasted frame! Hath farŠd forth my friend * And if she will o' nights return Oh would that thing wot I!
Then, Ho thou Breeze of East, and thou by morn e'er visit her; * Greet her from me and stand where doth her tribe encamped lie!"
Now Zayn al-Mawasif had a sister, by name Nasim--the Zephyr--who stood espying him from a high place; and when she saw him in this plight, she wept and sighed and recited these couplets,
"How oft bewailing the place shall be this coming and going, * While the House bemoaneth its builder with tear-flood ever a-flowing?
Here was bestest joy ere fared my friend with the caravan hieing * And its dwellers and brightest-suns ne'er ceased in its walls a-glowing:
Where be those fullest moons that here were always arising? * Bedimmed them the Shafts of Days their charms of spirit unknowing:
Leave then what is past of the Fair thou wast ever with love espying * And look; for haply the days may restore them without foreshowing:
For hadst thou not been, its dwellers had never departed flying * Nor haddest thou seen the Crow with ill-omened croak a-crying."
Masrur wept sore hearing these verses and apprehending their significance. Now Nasim knew that which was between him and her sister of love and longing, ecstasy and passion; so she said to him, "Allah upon thee, O Masrur, away from this house, lest any see thee and deem thou comest on my account! Indeed thou hast caused my sister quit it and now thou wouldst drive me also away. Thou knowest that, but for thee, the house would not now be void of its dwellers: so be consoled for her loss and leave her: what is past is past." When he heard this, he wept bitterly and said to her, "O Nasim, if I could, I should fly for longing after her; so how can I be comforted for her?" Quoth she, "Thou hast no device save patience;" and quoth he, "I beseech thee, for Allah's sake, write me a writ to her, as from thyself, and get me an answer from her, to comfort my heart and quench the fire in my vitals." She replied, "With love and gladness," and took inkcase and paper, whilst Masrur began to set out to her the violence of his longing and what tortures he suffered for the anguish of severance, saying, "This letter is from the lover despairing and sorrowful * the bereaved, the woeful * with whom no peace can stay * nor by night nor by day * but he weepeth copious tears alway. * Indeed, tears his eyelids have ulcerated and his sorrows have kindled in his liver a fire unsated. His lamentation is lengthened and restlessness is strengthened and he is as he were a bird unmated * While for sudden death he awaiteth * Alas, my desolation for the loss of thee * and alas, my yearning affliction for the companionship of thee! * Indeed, emaciation hath wasted my frame * and my tears a torrent became * mountains and plains are straitened upon me for grame * and of the excess of my distress, I go saying,
"Still cleaves to this homestead mine ecstasy, * And redoubled pine for its dwellers I dree;
And I send to your quarters the tale of my love * And the cup of your love gave the Cup-boy to me.
And for faring of you and your farness from home * My wounded lids are from tears ne'er free:
O thou leader of litters, turn back with my love * For my heart redoubleth its ardency:
Greet my love and say him that naught except * Those brown-red lips deals me remedy:
They bore him away and our union rent * And my vitals with Severance-shaft shot he:
My love, my lowe and my longing to him * Convey, for of parting no cure I see:
I swear an oath by your love that I * Will keep pact and covenant faithfully,
To none I'll incline or forget your love * How shall love-sick lover forgetful be?
So with you be the peace and my greeting fair * In letters that perfume of musk-pod bear."
Her sister Nasim admired his eloquence of tongue and the goodliness of his speech and the elegance of the verses he sang, and was moved to ruth for him. So she sealed the letter with virgin musk and incensed it with Nadd-scent and ambergris, after which she committed it to a certain of the merchants saying, "Deliver it not to any save to Zayn al-Mawasif or to her handmaid Hubub." Now when the letter reached her sister, she knew it for Masrur's dictation and recognised himself in the grace of its expression. So she kissed it and laid it on her eyes, whilst the tears streamed from her lids and she gave not over weeping, till she fainted. As soon as she came to herself, she called for pencase and paper and wrote him the following answer; complaining the while of her desire and love-longing and ecstasy and what was hers to endure of pining for her lover and yearning to him and the passion she had conceived for him.--And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased saying her permitted say.
When it was the Eight Hundred and Fifty-seventh Night,
She pursued, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that Zayn al-Mawasif wrote the following reply to Masrur's missive: "This letter to my lord and master I indite * the king of my heart and my secret sprite * Indeed, wakefulness agitateth me * and melancholy increaseth on me * and I have no patience to endure the absence of thee * O thou who excellest sun and moon in brilliancy * Desire of repose despoileth me * and passion destroyeth me * and how should it be otherwise with me, seeing that I am of the number of the dying? *O glory of the world and Ornament of life, she whose vital spirits are cut off shall her cup be sweet to quaff? * For that she is neither with the quick nor with the dead." And she improvised these couplets and said,
"Thy writ, O Masr£r, stirred my sprite to pine * For by Allah, all patience and solace I tyne:
When I read thy scripture, my vitals yearned * And watered the herbs of the wold these eyne.
On Night's wings I'd fly an a bird * And sans thee I weet not the sweets of wine:
Life's unlawful to me since thou faredst far * To bear parting- lowe is no force of mine."
Then she sprinkled the letter with powder of musk and ambergris and, having sealed it with her signet, committed it to a merchant, saying, "Deliver it to none save to my sister." When it reached Nasim she sent it to Masrur, who kissed it and laid it on his eyes and wept till he fell into a trance. Such was their case; but as regards the Jew, he presently heard of their correspondence and began again to travel from place to place with Zayn al-Mawasif and her damsels, till she said to him, "Glory to God! How long wilt thou fare with us and bear us afar from our homes?" Quoth he, "I will fare on with you a year's journey, so no more letters may reach you from Masrur. I see how you take all my monies and give them to him; so all that I miss I shall recover from you: and I shall see if Masrur will profit you or have power to deliver you from my hand." Then he repaired to a blacksmith, after stripping her and her damsels of their silken apparel and clothing them in raiment of hair-cloth, and bade him make three pairs of iron shackles. When they were ready, he brought the smith in to his wife, having said to him, "Put the shackles on the legs of these three slave-girls." The first that came forward was Zayn al-Mawasif, and when the blacksmith saw her, his sense forsook him and he bit his finger tips and his wit fled forth his head and his transport grew sore upon him. So he said to the Jew, "What is the crime of these damsels?" Replied the other, "They are my slave-girls, and have stolen my good and fled from me." Cried the smith, "Allah disappoint thy jealous whims! By the Almighty, were this girl before the Kazi of Kazis, he would not even reprove her, though she committed a thousand crimes a day. Indeed, she showeth not thief's favour and she cannot brook the laying of irons on her legs." And he asked him as a boon not to fetter her, interceding with him to forbear the shackles. When she saw the blacksmith taking her part in this wise she said to her husband, "I conjure thee, by Allah, bring me not forth before yonder strange man!" Said he, "Why then camest thou forth before Masrur?"; and she made him no reply. Then he accepted the smith's intercession, so far as to allow him to put a light pair of irons on her legs, for that she had a delicate body, which might not brook harsh usage, whilst he laid her handmaids in heavy bilboes, and they ceased not, all three, to wear hair-cloth night and day till their bodies became wasted and their colour changed. As for the blacksmith, exceeding love had fallen on his heart for Zayn al-Mawasif; so he returned home in great concern and he fell to reciting extempore these couplets,
"Wither thy right, O smith, which made her bear * Those iron chains her hands and feet to wear!
Thou hast ensoiled a lady soft and bright, * Marvel of marvels, fairest of the fair:
Hadst thou been just, those anklets ne'er had been * Of iron: nay of purest gold they were:
By Allah! did the K zis' K zi sight * Her charms, he'd seat her in the highest chair."
Now it chanced that the Kazi of Kazis passed by the smith's house and heard him improvise these lines; so he sent for him and as soon as he saw him said to him, "O blacksmith, who is she on whom thou callest so instantly and eloquently and with whose love thy heart is full filled?" The smith sprang to his feet and kissing the Judge's hand, answered, "Allah prolong the days of our lord the Kazi and ample his life!" Then he described to him Zayn al-Mawasif's beauty and loveliness, brilliancy and perfection, and symmetry and grace and how she was lovely faced and had a slender waist and heavily based; and acquainted him with the sorry plight wherein she was for abasement and durance vile and lack of victual. When the Kazi heard this, he said, "O blacksmith, send her to us and show her that we may do her justice, for thou art become accountable for the damsel and unless thou guide her to us, Allah will punish thee at the Day of Doom." "I hear and obey," replied the smith and betook himself without stay and delay to Zayn al-Mawasif's lodging, but found the door barred and heard a voice of plaintive tone that came from heart forlorn and lone; and it was Zayn al-Mawasif reciting these couplets,
"I and my love in union were unite; * And filled my friend to me cups clearly bright
Between us reigned high mirth and jollity, * Nor Eve nor Morn brought 'noyance or affright
Indeed we spent most joyous time, with cup * And lute and dulcimer to add delight,
Till Time estranged our fair companionship; * My lover went and blessing turned to blight.
Ah would the Severance-raven's croak were stilled * And Union-dawn of Love show blessŠd light!"
When the blacksmith heard this, he wept like the weeping of the clouds. Then he knocked at the door and the women said, "Who is at the door?" Answered he, "'Tis I, the blacksmith," and told them what the Kazi had said and how he would have them appear before him and make their complaint to him, that he might do them justice on their adversary.--And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased to say her permitted say,
When it was the Eight Hundred and Fifty-eighth Night,
She resumed, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when the blacksmith told Zayn al-Mawasif what the Kazi had said, and how he summoned them that he might apply the Lex Talionis to their adversary, she rejoined, "How can we go to him, seeing the door is locked on us and our feet shackled and the Jew hath the keys?" The smith replied, "I will make the keys for the padlocks and therewith open door and shackles." Asked she, "But who will show us the Kazi's house?"; and he answered, "I will describe it to you." She enquired, "But how can we appear before him, clad as we are in haircloth reeking with sulphur?" And the smith rejoined, "The Kazi will not reproach this to you, considering your case." So saying, he went forthright and made keys for the padlocks, wherewith he opened the door and the shackles, and loosing the irons from their legs, carried them forth and guided them to the Kazi's mansion. Then Hubub did off the hair-cloth garments from her lady's body and carried her to the Hammam, where she bathed her and attired her in silken raiment, and her colour returned to her. Now it happened, by exceeding good fortune, that her husband was abroad at a bride-feast in the house of one of the merchants; so Zayn al-Mawasif, the Adornment of Qualities, adorned herself with the fairest ornaments and repaired to the Kazi, who at once on espying her rose to receive her. She saluted him with softest speech and winsomest words, shooting him through the vitals the while with the shafts of her glances, and said, "May Allah prolong the life of our lord the Kazi and strengthen him to judge between man and man!" Then she acquainted him with the affair of the blacksmith and how he had done nobly by them, whenas the Jew had inflicted on her and her women heart-confounding torments; and how his victims deathwards he drave, nor was there any found to save. "O damsel," quoth the Kazi, "what is thy name?" "My name is Zayn al Mawasif,--Adomment of Qualities--and this my handmaid's name is Hubub." "Thy name accordeth with the named and its sound conformeth with its sense." Whereupon she smiled and veiled her face, and he said to her, "O Zayn al-Mawasif, hast thou a husband or not?" "I have no husband"; "And what Is thy Faith?" "That of Al-Islam, and the religion of the Best Of Men." "Swear to me by Holy Law replete with signs and instances that thou ownest the creed of the Best of Mankind." So she swore to him and pronounced the profession of the Faith. Then asked the Kazi, "How cometh it that thou wastest thy youth with this Jew?" And she answered, "Know, O Kazi (may Allah prolong thy days in contentment and bring thee to thy will and thine acts with benefits seal!), that my father left me, after his death, fifteen thousand dinars, which he placed in the hands of this Jew, that he might trade therewith and share his gains with me, the head of the property being secured by legal acknowledgment. When my father died, the Jew coveted me and sought me in marriage of my mother, who said, 'How shall I drive her from her Faith and cause to become a Jewess? By Allah, I will denounce thee to the rulers!' He was affrighted at her words and taking the money, fled to the town of Adan. When we heard where he was, we came to Adan in search of him, and when we foregathered with him there, he told us that he was trading in stuffs with the monies and buying goods upon goods. So we believed him and he ceased not to cozen us till he cast us into jail and fettered us and tortured us with exceeding sore torments; and we are strangers in the land and have no helper save Almighty Allah and our lord the Kazi." When the judge heard this tale he asked Hubub the nurse, "Is this indeed thy lady and are ye strangers and is she unmarried?", and she answered, "Yes." Quoth he, "Marry her to me and on me be incumbent manumission of my slaves and fasting and pilgrimage and almsgiving of all my good an I do you not justice on this dog and punish him for that he hath done!" And quoth she, "I hear and obey." Then said the Kazi, "Go, hearten thy heart and that of thy lady; and to-morrow, Inshallah, I will send for this miscreant and do you justice on him and ye shall see prodigies of his punishment." So Hubub called down blessings upon him and went forth from him with her mistress, leaving him with passion and love-longing fraught and with distress and desire distraught. Then they enquired for the house of the second Kazi and presenting themselves before him, told him the same tale. On like wise did the twain, mistress and maid with the third and the fourth, till Zayn al-Mawasif had made her complaint to all the four Kazis, each of whom fell in love with her and besought her to wed him, to which she consented with a "Yes"; nor wist any one of the four that which had happened to the others. All this passed without the knowledge of the Jew, who spent the night in the house of the bridefeast. And when morning morrowed, Hubub arose and gat ready her lady's richest raiment; then she clad her therewith and presented herself with her before the four Kazis in the court of justice. As soon as she entered, she veiled her face and saluted the judges, who returned her salam and each and every of them recognised her. One was writing, and the reed-pen dropped from his hand, another was talking, and his tongue became tied, and a third was reckoning and blundered in his reckoning; and they said to her, "O admirable of attributes and singular among beauties! be not thy heart other than hearty, for we will assuredly do thee justice and bring thee to thy desire." So she called down blessings on them and farewelled them and went her ways.--And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased saying her permitted say.
When it was the Eight Hundred and Fifty-ninth Night,
She continued, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that the Kazis said to Zayn al-Mawasif, "O admirable of attributes and singular among beauties! Be not thy heart other than hearty for our doing thy desire and thy winning to thy will." So she called down blessings on them and farewelled them and went her ways, the while her husband abode with his friends at the marriage-banquet and knew naught of her doings. Then she proceeded to beseech the notaries and scribes and the notables and the Chiefs of Police to succour her against that unbelieving miscreant and deliver her from the torment she suffered from him. Then she wept with sore weeping and improvised these couplets,
"Rain showers of torrent tears, O Eyne and see * An they will quench the fires that flame in me:
After my robes of gold-embroidered silk * I wake to wear the frieze of monkery:
And all my raiment reeks of sulphur-fumes * When erst my shift shed musky fragrancy:
And hadst thou, O Masr£r, my case descried, * Ne'er hadst thou borne my shame and ignomy.
And eke Hub£b in iron chains is laid * By Miscreant who unknows God's Unity.
The creed of Jewry I renounce and home, * The Moslem's Faith accepting faithfully
Eastwards I prostrate self in fairest guise * Holding the only True Belief that be:
Masrur! forget not love between us twain * And keep our vows and troth with goodly gree:
I've changed my faith for sake of thee, and I * For stress of love will cleave to secrecy:
So haste to us, an us in heart thou bear, * As noble spirit, nor as laggard fare."
After this she wrote a letter to Masrur, describing to him all that the Jew had done with her from first to last and enclosed the verses aforesaid. Then she folded the scroll and gave it to her maid Hubub, saying, "Keep this in thy pocket, till we send it to Masrur." Upon these doings lo and behold! in came the Jew and seeing them joyous, said to them, "How cometh it that I find you merry? Say me, hath a letter reached you from your bosom friend Masrur?" Replied Zayn al-Mawasif, "We have no helper against thee save Allah, extolled and exalted be He! He will deliver us from thy tyranny, and except thou restore us to our birth-place and homestead, we will complain of thee tomorrow to the Governor of this town and to the Kazi." Quoth he, "Who struck off the shackles from your legs? But needs must I let make for each of you fetters ten pounds in weight and go round about the city with you." Replied Hubub, "All that thou purposest against us thou shall fall into thyself, so it please Allah the Most High, by token that thou hast exiled us from our homes, and to-morrow we shall stand, we and thou, before the Governor of the city." They nighted on this wise and next morning the Jew rose up in haste and went out to order new shackles, whereupon Zayn al-Mawasif arose and repaired with her women to the court-house, where she found the four Kazis and saluted them. They all returned her salutation and the Kazi of Kazis said to those about him, "Verily this damsel is lovely as the Venus-star and all who see her love her and bow before her beauty and loveliness." Then he despatched four sergeants, who were Sharifs, saying, "Bring ye the criminal after abjectest fashion." So, when the Jew returned with the shackles and found none in the house, he was confounded; but, as he abode in perplexity, suddenly up came the officers and laying hold of him beat him with a sore beating and dragged him face downwards before the Kazi. When the judge saw him, he cried out in his face and said to him, "Woe to thee, O foe of God, is it come to such a pass with thee that thou doest the deed thou hast done and bringest these women far from their country and stealest their monies and wouldst make them Jews? How durst thou seek to make miscreants of Moslems?" Answered the Jew, "O my lord this woman is my wife." Now when the Kazis heard this, they all cried out, saying, "Throw this hound on the ground and come down on his face with your sandals and beat him with sore blows, for his offence is unpardonable." So they pulled off his silken gear and clad him in his wife's raiment of hair-cloth, after which they threw him down and plucked out his beard and belaboured him about the face with sandals. Then they sat him on an ass, face to crupper, arsi-versy, and making him take its tail in his hand, paraded him round about the city, ringing the bell before him in every street; after which they brought him back to the judges in sorriest plight; and the four Kazis with one voice condemned him to have his feet and hands cut off and lastly to be crucified. When the accursed heard this sentence his sense forsook him and he was confounded and said, "O my lords the Kazis, what would ye of me?" They replied, "Say thou, 'This damsel is not my wife and the monies are her monies, and I have transgressed against her and brought her far from her country.'" So he confessed to this and the Kazis recorded his confession in legal form and taking the money from him, gave it to Zayn al-Mawasif, together with the document. Then she went away and all who saw her were confounded at her beauty and loveliness, whilst each of the Kazis looked for her committing herself to him. But, when she came to her lodging, she made ready all matters she needed and waited till night. Then she took what was light of load and weighty of worth, and setting out with her maids under cover of the murks three days with their nights fared on without stopping. Thus it was with her; but as regards the Kazis they ordered the Jew to prison.--And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased to say her permitted say.
When it was the Eight Hundred and Sixtieth Night,
She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that the Kazis ordered the Jew to prison and on the morrow they looked for Zayn al-Mawasif coming to them, they and their assessors; but she presented herself not to any of them. Then said the Chief Kazi, "I wish to-day to make an excursion without the town on business there." So he mounted his she-mule and taking his page with him, went winding about the streets of the town, searching its length and width for Zayn al-Mawasif, but never finding her. On this errand he came upon the other three Kazis, going about on the same, each deeming himself the only one to whom she had given tryst. He asked them whither they were riding and why they were going about the streets; when they told him their business, whereby he saw that their plight was as his plight and their quest as his quest. So they all four rode throughout the city, seeking her, but could hit on no trace of her and returned to their houses, sick for love, and lay down on the bed of langour. Presently the Chief Kazi bethought himself of the blacksmith; so he sent for him and said to him, "O blacksmith, knowest thou aught of the damsel whom thou didst direct to me? By Allah, an thou discover her not to me, I will whack thee with whips." Now when the smith heard this, he recited these couplets,
"She who my all of love by love of her hath won * Owns every Beauty and for others leaves she none:
She gazes, a gazelle; she breathes, fresh ambergris * She waves, a lake; she sways, a bough; she shines, a Sun."
Then said the blacksmith, "By Allah, O my lord, since she fared forth from thy worshipful presence, I have not set eyes on her; no, not once. Indeed she took possession of my heart and wits and all my talk and thoughts are of her. I went to her lodging but found her not, nor found I any who could give me news of her, and it is as if she had dived into the depths of the sea or had ascended to the sky." Now when the Kazi heard this, he groaned a groan, that his soul was like to depart therefor, and he said, "By Allah, well it were had we never seen her!" Then the smith went away, whilst the Kazi fell down on his bed and became sick of langour for her sake, and on like wise fared it with the other three Kazis and assessors. The mediciners paid them frequent calls, but found in them no ailment requiring a leach: so the city-notables went in to the Chief Kazi and saluting him, questioned him of his case; whereupon he sighed and showed them that was in his heart, reciting these couplets,
"Stint ye this blame; enough I suffer from Love's malady * Nor chide the Kazi frail who fain must deal to folk decree!
Who doth accuse my love let him for me find some excuse: * Nor blame; for lovers blameless are in lover-slavery!
I was a K zi whom my Fate deigned aid with choicest aid * By writ and reed and raisŠd me to wealth and high degree;
Till I was shot by sharpest shaft that knows nor leach nor cure * By Damsel's glance who came to spill my blood and murther me.
To me came she, a Moslemah and of her wrongs she 'plained * With lips that oped on Orient-pearls ranged fair and orderly:
I looked beneath her veil and saw a wending moon at full * Rising below the wings of Night engloomed with blackest blee:
A brightest favour and a mouth bedight with wondrous smiles; * Beauty had brought the loveliest garb and robed her cap-…-pie.
By Allah, ne'er beheld my eyes a face so ferly fair * Amid mankind whoever are, Arab or Ajami. My Fair!
What promise didst thou make what time to me thou said'st * 'Whenas I promise I perform, O Kazi, faithfully.'
Such is my stead and such my case calamitous and dire * And ask me not, ye men of spunk, what dreadful teen I dree."
When he ended his verse he wept with sore weeping and sobbed one sob and his spirit departed his body, which seeing they washed him and shrouded him and prayed over him and buried him graving on his tomb these couplets,
"Perfect were lover's qualities in him was brought a-morn, * Slain by his love and his beloved, to this untimely grave:
K zi was he amid the folk, and aye 'twas his delight * To foster all the folk and keep a-sheath the Justice-glaive:
Love caused his doom and ne'er we saw among mankind before * The lord and master louting low before his thrallŠd slave."
Then they committed him to the mercy of Allah and went away to the second Kazi, in company with the physician, but found in him nor injury nor ailment needing a leach. Accordingly they questioned him of his case and what preoccupied him; so he told them what ailed him, whereupon they blamed him and chid him for his predicament and he answered them with these couplets,
"Blighted by her yet am I not to blame; * Struck by the dart at me her fair hand threw.
Unto me came a woman called Hub£b * Chiding the world from year to year anew:
And brought a damsel showing face that shamed * Full moon that sails through Night-tide's blackest hue,
She showed her beauties and she 'plained her plain * Which tears in torrents from her eyelids drew:
I to her words gave ear and gazed on her * Whenas with smiling lips she made me rue.
Then with my heart she fared where'er she fared * And left me pledged to sorrows soul subdue.
Such is my tale! So pity ye my case * And this my page with Kazi's gear indue."
Then he sobbed one sob and his soul fled his flesh; whereupon they gat ready his funeral and buried him commending him to the mercy of Allah; after which they repaired to the third Kazi and the fourth, and there befel them the like of what befel their brethren. Furthermore, they found the Assessors also sick for love of her, and indeed all who saw her died of her love or, an they died not, lived on tortured with the lowe of passion.-- And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased saying her permitted say.
When it was the Eight Hundred and Sixty-first Night,
She pursued, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that the city folk found all the Kazis and the Assessors sick for love of her, and all who saw her died lovesick or, an they died not, lived on tortured with the lowe of passion for stress of pining to no purpose--Allah have mercy on them one and all! Meanwhile Zayn al- Mawasif and her women drave on with all diligence till they were far distant from the city and it so fortuned that they came to a convent by the way, wherein dwelt a Prior called Danis and forty monks. When the Prior saw her beauty, he went out to her and invited her to alight, saying, "Rest with us ten days and after wend your ways." So she and her damsels alighted and entered the convent; and when Danis saw her beauty and loveliness, she debauched his belief and he was seduced by her: wherefore he fell to sending the monks, one after other with love-messages; but each who saw her fell in love with her and sought her favours for himself, whilst she excused and denied herself to them. But Danis ceased not his importunities till he had dispatched all the forty, each one of whom fell love-sick at first sight and plied her with blandishments never even naming Danis; whilst she refused and rebuffed them with harsh replies. At last when Danis's patience was at an end and his passion was sore on him, he said in himself, "Verily, the sooth-sayer saith, 'Naught scratcheth my skin but my own nail and naught like my own feet for mine errand may avail.'" So up he rose and made ready rich meats, and it was the ninth day of her sojourn in the convent where she had purposed only to rest. Then he carried them in to her and set them before her, saying, "Bismillah, favour us by tasting the best of the food at our command." So she put forth her hand, saying, "For the name of Allah the Compassionating, the Compassionate!" and ate, she and her handmaidens. When she had made an end of eating, he said to her, "O my lady, I wish to recite to thee some verses." Quoth she, "Say on," and he recited these couplets,
"Thou hast won my heart by cheek and eye of thee, * I'll praise for love in prose and poesy.
Wilt fly a lover, love-sick, love-distraught * Who strives in dreams some cure of love to see?
Leave me not fallen, passion-fooled, since I * For pine have left uncared the Monast'ry:
O Fairest, 'tis thy right to shed my blood, * So rue my case and hear the cry of me!"
When Zayn al-Mawasif heard his verses, she answered him with these two couplets,
"O who suest Union, ne'er hope such delight * Nor solicit my favours, O hapless wight!
Cease to hanker for what thou canst never have: * Next door are the greedy to sore despight."
Hearing this he returned to his place, pondering in himself and knowing not how he should do in her affair, and passed the night in the sorriest plight. But, as soon as the darkness was darkest Zayn al-Mawasif arose and said to her handmaids, "Come, let us away, for we cannot avail against forty men, monks, each of whom requireth me for himself." Quoth they, "Right willingly!" So they mounted their beasts and issued forth the convent gate,-- Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased to say her permitted say.
When it was the Eight Hundred and Sixty-second Night,
She resumed, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that Zayn al-Mawasif and her handmaids issued forth the convent gate and, under favour of the night, rode on till they overtook a caravan, with which they mingled and found it came from the city of 'Adan wherein the lady had dwelt. Presently, Zayn al-Mawasif heard the people of the caravan discoursing of her own case and telling how the Kazis and Assessors were dead of love for her and how the townsfolk had appointed in their stead others who released her husband from prison. Whereupon she turned to her maids and asked them, "Heard ye that?"; and Hubub answered, "If the monks were ravished with love of thee, whose belief it is that shunning women is worship, how should it be with the Kazis, who hold that there is no monkery in Al-Islam? But let us make our way to our own country, whilst our affair is yet hidden." So they drave on with all diligence. Such was their case; but as regards the monks, on the morrow, as soon as it was day they repaired to Zayn al-Mawasif's lodging, to salute her, but found the place empty, and their hearts sickened within them. So the first monk rent his raiment and improvised these couplets,
"Ho ye, my friends, draw near, for I forthright * From you depart, since parting is my lot:
My vitals suffer pangs o' fiery love; * Flames of desire in heart burn high and hot,
For sake of fairest girl who sought our land * Whose charms th' horizon's full moon evens not.
She fared and left me victimed by her love * And slain by shaft those lids death-dealing shot."
Then another monk recited the following couplets,
"O ye who with my vitals fled, have ruth * On this unhappy: haste ye homeward-bound:
They fared, and fared fair Peace on farthest track * Yet lingers in mine ear that sweetest sound:
Fared far, and far their fane; would Heaven I saw Their shade in vision float my couch around:
And when they went wi' them they bore my heart * And in my tear-floods all of me left drowned."
A third monk followed with these extempore lines,
"Throne you on highmost stead, heart, ears and sight * Your wone's my heart; mine all's your dwelling-site:
Sweeter than honey is your name a-lip, * Running, as 'neath my ribs runs vital sprite:
For Love hath made me as a tooth-pick lean * And drowned in tears of sorrow and despight:
Let me but see you in my sleep, belike * Shall clear my cheeks of tears that lovely sight."
Then a fourth recited the following couplets,
"Dumb is my tongue and scant my speech for thee * And Love the direst torture gars me dree:
O thou full Moon, whose place is highest Heaven, * For thee but double pine and pain in me."
And a fifth these,
"I love a moon of comely shapely form * Whose slender waist hath title to complain:
Whose lip-dews rival must and long-kept wine; * Whose heavy haunches haunt the minds of men:
My heart each morning burns with pain and pine * And the night-talkers note I'm passion-slain;
While down my cheeks carnelian-like the tears * Of rosy red shower down like railing rain."
And a sixth the following,
"O thou who shunnest him thy love misled! * O Branch of B n, O star of highmost stead!
To thee of pine and passion I complain, * O thou who fired me with cheeks rosyred.
Did e'er such lover lose his soul for thee, * Or from prostration and from prayers fled?"
And a seventh these,
"He seized my heart and freed my tears to flow * Brought strength to Love and bade my Patience go.
His charms are sweet as bitter his disdain; * And shafts of love his suitors overthrow.
Stint blame, O blamer, and for past repent * None will believe thee who dost Love unknow!"
And on like wise all the rest of the monks shed tears and repeated verses. As for Danis, the Prior, weeping and wailing redoubled on him, for that he found no way to her enjoyment, and he chanted the following couplets,
"My patience failed me when my lover went * And fled that day mine aim and best intent.
O Guide o' litters lead their camels fair, * Haply some day they'll deign with me to tent!
On parting-day Sleep parted from my lids * And grew my grieving and my joy was shent.
I moan to Allah what for Love I dree'd * My wasted body and my forces spent."
Then, despairing of her, they took counsel together and with one mind agreed to fashion her image and set it up with them, and applied themselves to this till there came to them the Destroyer of delights and Severer of societies. Meanwhile, Zayn al-Mawasif fared on, without ceasing, to find her lover Masrur, till she reached her own house. She opened the doors, and entered; then she sent to her sister Nasim, who rejoiced with exceeding joy at the news of her return and brought her the furniture and precious stuffs left in her charge. So she furnished the house and dressed it, hanging the curtains over the doors and burning aloes-wood and musk and ambergris and other essences till the whole place recked with the most delightful perfumes: after which the Adornment of Qualities donned her finest dress and decorations and sat talking with her maids, whom she had left behind when journeying, and related to them all that had befallen her first and last. Then she turned to Hubub and giving her dirhams, bade her fetch them something to eat. So she brought meat and drink and when they had made an end of eating and drinking, Zayn al-Mawasif bade Hubub go and see where Masrur was and how it fared with him. Now he knew not of her return; but abode with concern overcast and sorrow might not be overpast;--And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased saying her permitted say.
When it was the Eight Hundred and Sixty-third Night,
She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when Zayn al-Mawasif entered her house she was met by her sister Nasim who brought her the furniture and stuffs wherewith she furnished the place; and then she donned her finest dress. But Masrur knew naught of her return and abode with concern overcast and sorrow might not be overpast; no peace prevailed with him nor was patience possible to him. Whenas pine and passion, desire and distraction waxed on him, he would solace himself by reciting verse and go to the house and set him its walls to buss. It chanced that he went out that day to the place where he had parted from his mistress and repeated this rare song,
"My wrongs hide I, withal they show to sight; * And now mine eyes from sleep to wake are dight.
I cry when melancholy tries my sprite * Last not, O world nor work more despight;
Lo hangs my soul 'twixt hardship and affright.
Were the Sultan hight Love but fair to me, * Slumber mine eyes' companion were to me,
My Lords, some little mercy spare to me, * Chief of my tribe: be debonnair to me,
Whom Love cast down, erst rich now pauper-wight!
Censors may blame thee but I look beyond * Mine ears I stop and leave their lies unconned
And keep my pact wi' those I love so fond: * They say, 'Thou lov'st a runaway!' I respond,
'Whist! whenas Fate descends she blinds the sight!'"
Then he returned to his lodging and sat there weeping, till sleep overcame him, when he saw in a dream as if Zayn al-Mawasif were come to the house, and awoke in tears. So he set off to go thither, improvising these couplets,
"Shall I be consoled when Love hath mastered the secret of me * And my heart is aglow with more than the charcoal's ardency?
I love her whose absence I plain before Allah for parting-stower * And the shifts of the days and doom which allotted me Destiny:
When shall our meeting be, O wish O' my heart and will? * O favour of fullest Moon, when shall we Re-union see?"
As he made an end of his recitation, he found himself walking adown in Zayn al-Mawasif's street and smelt the sweet savour of the pastiles wherewithal she had incensed the house; wherefore his vitals fluttered and his heart was like to leave his breast and desire flamed up in him and distraction redoubled upon him; when lo, and behold! Hubub, on her way to do her lady's errand suddenly appeared at the head of the street and he rejoiced with joy exceeding. When she saw him, she went up to him and saluting him, gave him the glad news of her mistress's return, saying, "She hath sent me to bid thee to her." Whereat he was glad indeed, with gladness naught could exceed; and she took him and returned with him to the house. When Zayn al-Mawasif saw him, she came down to him from the couch and kissed him and he kissed her and she embraced him and he embraced her; nor did they leave kissing and embracing till both swooned away for stress of affection and separation. They lay a long while senseless, and when they revived, Zayn al-Mawasif bade Hubub fetch her a gugglet of sherbet of sugar and another of sherbet of lemons. So she brought what she desired and they sat eating and drinking nor ceased before nightfall, when they fell to recalling all that had befallen them from commencement to conclusion. Then she acquainted him with her return to Al-Islam, whereat he rejoiced and he also became a Moslem. On like wise did her women, and they ail repented to Allah Almighty of their infidelity. On the morrow she made send for the Kazi and the witnesses and told them that she was a widow and had completed the purification period and was minded to marry Masrur. So they drew up the wedding-contract between them and they abode in all delight of life. Meanwhile, the Jew, when the people of Adan released him from prison, set out homewards and fared on nor ceased faring till he came within three days' journey of the city. Now as soon as Zayn al-Mawasif heard of his coming she called for her handmaid Hubub and said to her, "Go to the Jews' burial-place and there dig a grave and plant on it sweet basil and jessamine and sprinkle water thereabout. If the Jew come and ask thee of me, answer, 'My mistress died twenty days ago of chagrin on thine account.' If he say, show me her tomb, take him to the grave and after weeping over it and making moan and lament before him, contrive to cast him therein and bury him alive." And Hubub answered, "I hear and I obey." Then they laid up the furniture in the store closets, and Zayn al-Mawasif removed to Masrur's lodging, where he and she abode eating and drinking, till the three days were past; at the end of which the Jew arrived and knocked at the door of his house. Quoth Hubub, "Who's at the door?"; and quoth he, "Thy master." So she opened to him and he saw the tears railing down her cheeks and said, "What aileth thee to weep and where is thy mistress?" She replied, "My mistress is dead of chagrin on thine account." When he heard this, he was perplexed and wept with sore weeping and presently said, "O Hubub, where is her tomb?" So she carried him to the Jews' burial-ground and showed him the grave she had dug; whereupon he shed bitter tears and recited this pair of couplets,
"Two things there are, for which if eyes wept tear on tear * Of blood, till they were like indeed to disappear,
They never could fulfil the Tithe of all their due: * And these are prime of youth and loss of loveling dear."
Then he wept again with bitter tears and recited these also,
"Alack and Alas! Patience taketh flight: * And from parting of friend to sore death I'm dight:
O how woeful this farness from dear one, and oh * How my heart is rent by mine own unright!
Would Heaven my secret I erst had kept * Nor had told the pangs and my liverblight:
I lived in all solace and joyance of life * Till she left and left me in piteous plight:
O Zayn al-Mawasif, I would there were * No parting departing my frame and sprite:
I repent me for troth-breach and blame my guilt * Of unruth to her whereon hopes I built."
When he had made an end of this verse, he wept and groaned and lamented till he fell down a-swoon, whereupon Hubub made haste to drag him to the grave and throw him in, whilst he was insensible yet quick withal. Then she stopped up the grave on him and returning to her mistress acquainted her with what had passed, whereat she rejoiced with exceeding joy and recited these two couplets,
"The world sware that for ever 'twould gar me grieve: *Tis false, O world, so thine oath retrieve!
The blamer is dead and my love's in my arms: * Rise to herald of joys and tuck high thy sleeve!"
Then she and Masrur abode each with other in eating and drinking and sport and pleasure and good cheer, till there came to them the Destroyer of delights and Sunderer of societies and Slayer of sons and daughters. And I have also heard tell the following tale of...
[Go to Ali Nur Al-Din and Miriam the Girdle-Girl]
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