[Go back to Tale of Taj al-Muluk and the Princess Dunya (cont.)]
Now when the Wazir Dandan had ended the tale of Taj al-Muluk and the Lady Dunya, Zau al-Makan said to him, "Of a truth, it is the like of thee who lighten the mourner's heart and who deserve to be the boon companions of Kings and to guide their policy in the right way." All this befel and they were still besieging Constantinople, where they lay four whole years, till they yearned after their native land; and the troops murmured, being weary of vigil and besieging and the endurance of fray and foray by night and by day. Then King Zau al-Makan summoned Rustam and Bahram and Tarkash, and when they were in presence bespoke them thus, "Know that we have lain here all these years and we have not won to our wish; nay, we have but gained increase of care and concern; for indeed we came, thinking to take our man bote for King Omar bin al-Nu'uman and in so doing my brother Sharrkan was slain; so is our sorrow grown to sorrows twain and our affliction to afflictions twain. All this came of the old woman Zat al-Dawahi, for it was she who slew the Sultan in his kingdom and carried off his wife, the Queen Sophia; nor did this suffice her, but she must put another cheat on us and cut the throat of my brother Sharrkan and indeed I have bound myself and sworn by the solemnest oaths that there is no help but I take blood wit from her. What say ye? Ponder my address and answer me." Then they bowed their heads and answered, "It is for the Wazir Dandan to opine." So the Minister came forward and said, "Know O King of the Age! it booteth us nought to tarry here; and 'tis my counsel that we strike camp and return to our own country, there to abide for a certain time and after that we should return for a razzia upon the worshippers of idols." Replied the King, "This rede is right, for indeed the folk weary for a sight of their families, and I am an other who is also troubled with yearning after my son Kanmakan and my brother 's daughter Kuzia Fakan, for she is in Damascus and I know not how is her case." When the troops heard this report, they rejoiced and blessed the Wazir Dandan. Then the King bade the crier call the retreat after three days. They fell to preparing for the march, and, on the fourth day, they beat the big drums and unfurled the banners and the army set forth, the Wazir Danden in the van and the King riding in the mid battle, with the Grand Chamberlain by his side; and all journeyed without ceasing, night and day, till they reached Baghdad city. The folk rejoiced in their return, and care and fear ceased from them whilst the stay at homes met the absentees and each Emir betook him to his own house. As for Zau al-Makan he marched up to the Palace and went in to his son Kanmakan, who had now reached the age of seven; and who used to go down to the weapon plain and ride. As soon as the King was rested of his journey, he entered the Hammam with his son, and returning, seated himself on his sofa of state, whilst the Wazir Dandan took up his station before him and the Emirs and Lords of the realm presented themselves and stood in attendance upon him. Then Zau al-Makan called for his comrade, the Fireman, who had befriended him in his wanderings; and, when he came into presence, the King rose to do him honour and seated him by his side. Now he had acquainted the Wazir with all the kindness and good turns which the Stoker had done him; and he found that the wight had waxed fat and burly with rest and good fare, so that his neck was like an elephant's throat and his face like a dolphin's belly. Moreover, he was grown dull of wit, for that he had never stirred from his place; so at first he knew not the King by his aspect. But Zau al-Makan came up to him smiling in his face, and greeted him after the friendliest fashion, saying, "How soon hast thou forgotten me?" With this the Fireman roused himself and, looking steadfastly at Zau al-Makan, made sure that he knew him; whereupon he sprang hastily to his feet and exclaimed, "O my friend, who hath made thee Sultan?" Then Zau al- Makan laughed at him and the Wazir, coming up to him expounded the whole story to him and said, "In good sooth he was thy brother and thy friend; and now he is King of the land and needs must thou get great good of him. So I charge thee, if he say, 'Ask a boon of me,' ask not but for some great thing; for thou art very dear to him." Quoth the Fireman, "I fear lest, if I ask of him aught, he may not choose to give it or may not be able to grant it." Quoth the Wazir, "Have no care; whatsoever thou askest he will give thee." Rejoined the Stoker, "By Allah, I must at once ask of him a thing that is in my thought: every night I dream of it and implore Almighty Allah to vouchsafe it to me." Said the Wazir, "Take heart; by Allah, if thou ask of him the government of Damascus, in place of his brother, he would surely give it thee and make thee Governor." With this the Stoker rose to is feet and Zau al-Makan signed to him to sit; but he refused, saying, "Allah forfend! The days are gone by of my sitting in thy presence.' Answered the Sultan, "Not so, they endure even now. Thou west in very deed the cause that I am at present alive and, by Allah, whatever thing most desired thou requirest of me, I will give that same to thee. But ask thou first of Allah, and then of me!" He said, "O my lord, I fear" "Fear not," quoth the Sultan He continued, "I fear to ask aught and that thou shouldst refuse it to me and it is only" At this the King laughed and replied, "If thou require of me the half of my kingdom I would share it with thee: so ask what thou wilt and leave talking." Repeated the Fireman "I fear" "Don't fear," quoth the King. He went on, "I fear lest I ask a thing and thou be not able to grant it." Upon this the Sultan waxed wroth and cried, "Ask what thou wilt." Then said he, "I ask, first of Allah and then of thee, that thou write me a patent of Syndicate over all the Firemen of the baths in the Holy City, Jerusalem." The Sultan and all present laughed and Zau al-Makan said, "Ask something more than this." He replied, "O my lord, said I not I feared that thou wouldst not choose to give me what I should ask or that thou be not able to grant it?" Therewith the Wazir signed him with his foot once and twice and thrice, and every time he began, "I ask of thee" Quoth the Sultan, "Ask and be speedy." So he said, "I ask thee to make me Chief of the Scavengers in the Holy City of Jerusalem, or in. Damascus town." Then all those who were present fell on their backs with laughter and the Wazir beat him; whereupon he turned to the Minister and said to him, "What art thou that thou shouldest beat me? 'Tis no fault of mine: didst thou not thyself bid me ask some important thing?" And he added, "Let me go to my own land." With this, the Sultan knew that he was jesting and took patience with him awhile; then turned to him and said, "O my brother, ask of me some important thing, befitting our dignity." So the Stoker said, "O King of the Age, I ask first of Allah and then of thee, that thou make me Viceroy of Damascus in the place of thy brother;" and the King replied, "Allah granteth thee this." Thereupon the Fireman kissed ground before him and he bade set him a chair in his rank and vested him with a viceroy's habit. Then he wrote him a patent and sealed it with his own seal, and said to the Wazir Dandan, "None shall go with him but thou; and when thou makest the return journey, do thou bring with thee my brother's daughter, Kuzia Fakan." "Hearken ing and obedience," answered the Minister; and, taking the Fire man, went down with him and made ready for the march. Then the King appointed for the Stoker servants and suite, and gave him a new litter and a princely equipage and said to the Emirs, "Whoso loveth me, let him honour this man and offer him a handsome present." So each and every of the Emirs brought him his gift according to his competence; and the King named him Zibl Khan, and conferred on him the honourable surname of al- Mujahid. As soon as the gear was ready, he went up with the Wazir Dandan to the King, that he might take leave of him and ask his permission to depart. The King rose to him and embraced him, and charged him to do justice between his subjects and bade him make ready for fight against the Infidels after two years. Then they took leave of each other and the King, the Fighter for the Faith highs Zibl Khan, having been again exhorted by Zau al-Makan to deal fairly with his subjects, set out on his journey, after the Emirs had brought him Mamelukes and eunuchs, even to five thousand in number, who rode after him. The Grand Chamberlain also took horse, as did Bahram, captain of the Daylamites, and Rustam, captain of the Persians, and Tarkash, captain of the Arabs, who attended to do him service; and they ceased not riding with him three days' journey by way of honour. Then, taking their leave of him, they returned to Baghdad and the Sultan Zibl Khan and the Wazir Dandan fared on, with their suite and troops, till they drew near Damascus. Now news was come, upon the wings of birds, to the notables of Damascus, that King Zau al-Makan had made Sultan over Damascus a King named Zibl Khan and surnamed Al-Mujahid; so when he reached the city he found it dressed in his honour and everyone in the place came out to gaze on him. The new Sultan entered Damascus in a splendid progress and went up to the citadel, where he sat down upon his chair of state, whilst the Wazir Dandan stood in attendance on him, to acquaint him with the ranks of the Emirs and their stations. Then the Grandees came in to him and kissed hands and called down blessings on him. The new King, Zibl Khan, received them graciously and bestowed on them dresses of honour and various presents and bounties; after which he opened the treasuries and gave largesse to the troops, great and small. Then he governed and did justice and proceeded to equip the Lady Kuzia Fakan, daughter of King Sharrkan, appointing her a litter of silken stuff. Moreover he furnished the Wazir Dandan equally well for the return journey and offered him a gift of coin but he refused, saying, "Thou art near the time appointed by the King, and haply thou wilt have need of money, or after this we may send to seek of thee funds for the Holy War or what not." Now when the Wazir was ready to march, Sultan al-Mujahid mounted to bid the Minister farewell and brought Kuzia Fakan to him, and made her enter the litter and sent with her ten damsels to do her service. Thereupon they set forward, whilst King "Fighter for the Faith" returned to his government that he might order affairs and get ready his munitions of war, awaiting such time as King Zau al- Makan should send a requisition to him. Such was the case with Sultan Zibl Khan, but as regards the Wazir Dandan, he ceased not faring forward and finishing off the stages, in company with Kuzia Fakan till they came to Ruhbah after a month's travel and thence pushed on, till he drew near Baghdad. Then he sent to announce his arrival to King Zau al-Makan who, when he heard this, took horse and rode out to meet him. The Wazir Dandan would have dismounted, but the King conjured him not to do so and urged his steed till he came up to his side. Then he questioned him of Zibl Khan highs Al-Mujahid, whereto the Wazir replied that he was well and that he had brought with him Kuzia Fakan the daughter of his brother. At this the King rejoiced and said to Dandan, "Down with thee and rest thee from the fatigue of the journey for three days, after which come to me again." Replied the Wazir "With joy and gratitude," and betook himself to his own house, whilst the King rode up to his Palace and went in to his brother's daughter, Kuzia Fakan, a girl of eight years old. When he saw her, he rejoiced in her and sorrowed for her sire; then he bade make for her clothes and gave her splendid jewelry and ornaments, and ordered she be lodged with his son Kanmakan in one place. So they both grew up the brightest of the people of their time and the bravest; but Kuzia Fakan became a maiden of good sense and understanding and knowledge of the issues of events, whilst Kanmakan approved him a generous youth and freehanded, taking no care in the issue of aught. And so they continued till each of them attained the age of twelve. Now Kuzia Fakan used to ride a horseback and fare forth with her cousin into the open plain and push forward and range at large with him in the word; and they both learnt to smite with swords and spike with spears. But when they had reached the age of twelve, King Zau al-Makan, having completed his preparations and provisions and munitions for Holy War, summoned the Wazir Dandan and said to him, "Know that I have set mind on a thing, which I will discover to thee, and I want shine opinion thereon; so do thou with speed return me a reply." Asked the Wazir, "What is that, O King of the Age?"; and the other answered, "I am resolved to make my son Kanmakan Sultan and rejoice in him in my lifetime and do battle before him till death overtake me. What reckest thou of this?" The Wazir kissed the ground before the King and replied, "Know, O King and Sultan mine, Lord of the Age and the time! that which is in thy mind is indeed good, save that it is now no tide to carry it out, for two reasons; the first, that thy son Kanmakan is yet of tender years; and the second, that it often befalleth him who maketh his son King in his life time, to live but a little while thereafterward. And this is my reply." Rejoined the King, "Know, O Wazir that we will make the Grand Chamberlain guardian over him, for he is now one of the family and he married my sister, so that he is to me as a brother." Quoth the Wazir, "Do what seemeth good to thee: we have only to obey thine orders." Then the King sent for the Grand Chamberlain whom they brought into the presence together with the Lords of the realm and he said to them, "Ye know that this my son Kanmakan is the first cavalier of the age, and that he hath no peer in striking with the sword and lunging with the lance; and now I appoint him to be Sultan over you and I make the Grand Chamberlain, his uncle, guardian over him." Replied the Chamberlain, "I am but a tree which thy bounty hath planted"; and Zau al-Makan said, "O Chamberlain, verily this my son Kanmakan and my niece Kuzia Fakan are brothers' children; so I hereby marry her to him and I call those present to witness thereof." Then he made over to his son such treasures as no tongue can describe, and going in to his sister, Nuzhat al-Zaman, told her what he had done, whereat she was a glad woman and said, "Verily the twain are my children: Allah preserve thee to them and keep thy life for them many a year!" Replied he, "O my sister, I have accomplished in this world all my heart desired and I have no fear for my son! yet it were well thou have an eye on him, and an eye on his mother." And he charged the Chamberlain and Nuzhat al-Zaman with the care of his son and niece and wife, and this he continued to do nights and days till he fell sick and deemed surely that he was about to drink the cup of death; so he took to his bed, whilst the Chamberlain busied himself with ordering the folk and realm. At the end of the year, the King summoned his son Kanmakan and the Wazir Dandan and said, "O my son, after my death this Wazir is thy sire; for know that I am about to leave this house of life transitory for the house of eternity. And indeed I have fulfilled my will of this world; yet there remaineth in my heart one regret which may Allah dispel through and by thy hands." Asked his son, "What regret is that, O my father?" Answered Zau al-Makan, "O my son, the sole regret of me is that I die without having avenged thy grandfather, Omar bin al-Nu'uman, and thine uncle, Sharrkan, on an old woman whom they call Zat al-Dawahi; but, if Allah grant thee aid, sleep not till thou take thy wreak on her, and so wipe out the shame we have suffered at the Infidel's hands; and beware of the old hag's wile and do what the Wazir Dandan shall advise thee; because he from old time hath been the pillar of our realm." And his son assented to what he said. Then the King's eyes ran over with tears and his sickness redoubled on him; whereupon his brother in law, the Chamberlain took charge over the country and, being a capable man, he judged and bade and forbade for the whole of that year, while Zau al-Makan was occupied with his malady. And his sickness was sore upon him for four years, during which the Chief Chamberlain sat in his stead and gave full satisfaction to the commons and the nobles; and all the country blessed his rule. Such was the case with Zau al-Makan and the Chamberlain, but as regards the King's son, he busied himself only with riding and lunging with lance and shooting with shaft, and thus also did the daughter of his uncle, Kuzia Fakan; for he and she were wont to fare forth at the first of the day and return at nightfall, when she would go in to her mother, and he would go in to his mother whom he ever found sitting in tears by the head of his father's couch. Then he would tend his father all night long till daybreak, when he would go forth again with his cousin according to their wont. Now Zau al-Makan's pains and sufferings were lonesome upon him and he wept and began versifying with these couplets,
"Gone is my strength, told is my tale of days * And, lookye! I am left as thou dost see:
In honour's day most honoured wont to be, * And win the race from all my company
Would Heaven before my death I might behold * My son in seat of empire sit for me
And rush upon his foes, to take his wreak * With sway of sword and lance lunged gallantly:
In this world and the next I am undone, * Except the Lord vouchsafe me clemency."
When he had ended repeating these verses, he laid his head on his pillow and closed his eyes and slept. Then saw he in his sleep one who said to him, "Rejoice, for thy son shall fill the lands with justest sway; and he shall rule them and him shall the lieges obey."; Then he awoke from his dream gladdened by the good tidings he had seen, and after a few days, Death smote him, and because of his dying great grief fell on the people of Baghdad, and simple and gentle mourned for him. But Time passed over him, as though he had never been and Kanmakan's estate was changed; for the people of Baghdad set him aside and put him and his family in a place apart. Now when his mother saw this, she fell into the sorriest of plights and said, "There is no help but that I go to the Grand Chamberlain, and I must hope for the aidance of the Subtle, the All-Wise!" Then she rose from her place and betook herself to the house of the Chamberlain who was now become Sultan, and she found him sitting upon his carpet. So she went in to his wife, Nuzhat al-Zaman, and wept with sore weeping and said unto her, "Verily the dead hath no friend! May Allah never bring you to want as long as your age and the years endure, and may you cease not to rule justly over rich and poor. Thine ears have heard and thine eyes have seen all that was ours of kingship and honour and dignity and wealth and fair fortune of life and condition; and now Time hath turned upon us, and fate and the world have betrayed us and wrought in hostile way with us, wherefore I come to thee craving thy favours, I from whom favours were craved: for when a man dieth, women and maidens are brought to despisal." And she repeated these couplets,
"Suffice thee Death such marvels can enhance, * And severed lives make lasting severance:
Man's days are marvels, and their stations are * But water-pits of misery and mischance.
Naught wrings my heart save loss of noble friends, * Girt round by rings of hard, harsh circumstance."
When Nuzhat al-Zaman heard these words, she remembered her brother, Zau al-Makan, and his son Kanmakan, and, making her draw near to her and showing her honour, she said, "Verily at this moment, by Allah, I am grown rich and thou art poor; now by the Lord! we did not cease to seek thee out, but we feared to wound thy heart lest thou shouldest fancy our gifts to thee an alms gift. Withal, whatso weal we now enjoy is from thee and thy husband; so our house is thy house and our place thy place, and thine is all our wealth and what goods we have belong to thee." Then she robed her in sumptuous robes and set apart for her a place in the Palace adjoining her own; and they abode therein, she and her son, in all delight of life. And Nuzhat al-Zaman clothed him also in Kings' raiment and gave to them both especial handmaids for their service. After a little, she related to her husband the sad case of the widow of her brother, Zau al-Makan, whereat his eyes filled with tears and he said, "Wouldest thou see the world after thee, look thou upon the world after other than thyself. Then entreat her honourably and enrich her poverty."--And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased to say her permitted say.
When It was the One Hundred and Thirty-eighth Night,
She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when Nuzhat Al-Zaman related to her husband the sad case of the widow of her brother, Zau al-Makan, the Chamberlain said, "Entreat her honourably and enrich her poverty." Thus far concerning Nuzhat al-Zaman and her consort and the relict of Zau al-Makan; but as regards Kanmakan and his cousin Kuzia Fakan, they grew up and flourished till they waxed like unto two fruit-laden boughs or two shining moons; and they reached the age of fifteen. And she was indeed the fairest of maids who are modestly veiled, lovely faced with smooth cheeks graced, and slender waist on heavy hips based; and her shape was the shaft's thin line and her lips were sweeter than old wine and the nectar of her mouth as it were the fountain Salsabil; even as saith the poet in these two couplets describing one like her,
"As though ptisane of wine on her lips honey dew * Dropt from the ripened grapes her mouth in clusters grew
And, when her frame thou doublest, and low bends her vine, * Praise her Creator's might no creature ever knew."
Of a truth Allah had united in her every charm: her shape would shame the branch of waving tree and the rose before her cheeks craved lenity; and the honey dew of her lips of wine made jeer, however old and clear, and she gladdened heart and beholder with joyous cheer, even as saith of her the poet,
"Goodly of gifts is she, and charm those perfect eyes, * With lashes shaming Kohl and all the fair ones Kohl'd
And from those eyne the glances pierce the lover's heart, * Like sword in Mir al-Muminina Ali's hold."
And (the relator continueth) as for Kanmakan, he became unique in loveliness and excelling in perfection no less; none could even him in qualities as in seemliness and the sheen of velour between his eyes was espied, testifying for him while against him it never testified. The hardest hearts inclined to his side; his eyelids bore lashes black as by Kohl; and he was of surpassing worth in body and soul. And when the down of lips and cheeks began to sprout bards and poets sang for him far and near,
"Appeared not my excuse till hair had clothed his cheek, * And gloom o'ercrept that side-face (sight to stagger!)
A fawn, when eyes would batten on his charms, * Each glance deals thrust like point of Khanjar-dagger."
And saith another,
"His lovers' souls have drawn upon his cheek * An ant that perfected its rosy light:
I marvel at such martyrs Laza-pent * Who yet with greeny robes of Heaven are dight.''
Now it chanced one holiday, that Kuzia Fakan fared forth to make festival with certain kindred of the court, and she went surrounded by her handmaids. And indeed beauty encompassed her, the roses of her cheeks dealt envy to their mole; from out her smiling lips levee flashed white, gleaming like the chamomile; and Kanmakan began to turn about her and devour her with his sight, for she was the moon of resplendent light. Then he took heart and giving his tongue a start began to improvise,
"When shall the disappointed heart be healed of severance, * And lips of Union smile at ceasing of our hard mischance?
Would Heaven I knew shall come some night, and with it surely bring * Meeting with friend who like myself endureth sufferance."
When Kuzia Fakan heard these couplets, she showed vexation and disapproval and, putting on a haughty and angry air, said to him, "Dost thou name me in thy verse, to shame me amongst folk? By Allah, if thou turn not from this talk, I will assuredly complain of thee to the Grand Chamberlain, Sultan of Khorasan and Baghdad and lord of justice and equity; that disgrace and punishment may befal thee!" Kanmakan made no reply for anger but he returned to Baghdad; and Kuzia Fakan also returned to her palace and complained of her cousin to her mother, who said to her, "O my daughter, haply he meant thee no harm, and is he aught but an orphan? Withal, he said nought of reproach to thee; so beware thou tell none of this, lest perchance it come to e Sultan's ears and he cut short his life and blot out his name and make it even as yesterday, whose memory hath passed away." However, Kanmakan's love for Kuzia Fakan spread abroad in Baghdad, so that the women talked of it. Moreover, his breast became straitened and his patience waned and he knew not what to do, yet he could not hide his condition from the world. Then longed he to give vent to the pangs he endured, by reason of the lowe of separation; but he feared her rebuke and her wrath; so he began improvising,
"Now is my dread to incur reproaches, which * Disturb her temper and her mind obscure,
Patient I'll bear them; e'en as generous youth his case to cure.'' * Beareth the burn of brand his case to cure."
And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased saying her permitted say.
When it was the One Hundred and Thirty-ninth Night,
She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when the Grand Chamberlain became Sultan they named him King Sasan; and after he had assumed the throne he governed the people in righteous way. Now as he was giving audience one day, Kanmakan's verses came to his knowledge. Thereupon he repented him of the past and going in to his wife Nuzhat al-Zaman, said to her, "Verily, to join Halfah grass and fire, is the greatest of risks, and man may not be trusted with woman, so long as eye glanceth and eyelid quivereth. Now thy brother's son, Kanmakan, is come to man's estate and it behoveth us to forbid him access to the rooms where anklets trinkle, and it is yet more needful to forbid thy daughter the company of men, for the like of her should be kept in the Harim." Replied she, "Thou sayest sooth, O wise King!" Next day came Kanmakan according to his wont; and, going in to his aunt saluted her. She returned his salutation and said to him, "O my son! I have some what to say to thee which I would fain leave unsaid; yet I must tell it thee despite my inclination." Quoth he, "Speak;" and quoth she, Know then that thy sire the Chamberlain, the father of Kuzia Fakan, hath heard of the verses thou madest anent her, and hath ordered that she be kept in the Harim and out of thy reach; if therefore, O my son, thou want anything from us, I will send it to thee from behind the door; and thou shalt not look upon Kuzia Fakan nor shalt thou return hither from this day forth." When he heard this he arose and withdrew with out speaking a single word; and, betaking himself to his mother related what his aunt had said. She observed, "This all cometh of thine overtalking. Thou knowest that the news of thy passion for Kuzia Fakan is noised abroad and the tattle hath spread everywhere how thou eatest their food and thereafter thou courtest their daughter." Rejoined he, "And who should have her but I? She is the daughter of my father's brother and I have the best of rights to her." Retorted his mother, "These are idle words. Be silent, lest haply thy talk come to King Sasan's ears and it prove the cause of thy losing her and the reason of thy ruin and increase of thine affliction. They have not sent us any supper to-night and we shall die an hungered; and were we in any land but this, we were already dead of famine or of shame for begging our bread." When Kanmakan heard these words from his mother, his regrets redoubled; his eyes ran over with tears and he complained and began improvising,
"Minish this blame I ever bear from you: * My heart loves her to whom all love is due:
Ask not from me of patience jot or little, * Divorce of Patience by God's House! I rue:
What blamers preach of patience I unheed; * Here am I, love path firmly to pursue!
Indeed they bar me access to my love, * Here am I by God's ruth no ill I sue!
Good sooth my bones, whenas they hear thy name, * Quail as birds quailed when Nisus o'er them flew:
Ah! say to them who blame my love that I * Will love that face fair cousin till I die."
And when he had ended his verses he said to his mother, "I have no longer a place in my aunt's house nor among these people, but I will go forth from the palace and abide in the corners of the city." So he and his mother left the court; and, having sought an abode in the neighbourhood of the poorer sort, there settled; but she used to go from time to time to King Sasan's palace and thence take daily bread for herself and her son. As this went on Kuzia Fakan took her aside one day and said to her, "Alas, O my naunty, how is it with thy son?" Replied she, "O my daughter, sooth to say, he is tearful-eyed and heavy hearted, being fallen into the net of thy love." And she repeated to her the couplets he had made; whereupon Kuzia Fakan wept and said, "By Allah! I rebuked him not for his words, nor for ill-will to him, but because I feared for him the malice of foes. Indeed my passion for him is double that he feeleth for me; my tongue may not describe my yearning for him; and were it not for the extravagant wilfulness of his words and the wanderings of his wit, my father had not cut off from him favours that besit, nor had decreed unto him exclusion and prohibition as fit. However, man's days bring nought but change, and patience in all case is most becoming: peradventure He who ordained our severance will vouchsafe us reunion!" And she began versifying in these two couplets,
"O son of mine uncle! same sorrow I bear, * And suffer the like of thy cark and thy care
Yet hide I from man what I suffer for pine; * Hide it too, and such secret to man never bare!"
When his mother heard this from her, she thanked her and blessed her: then she left her and acquainted her son with what she had said; whereupon his desire for her increased and he took heart, being eased of his despair and the turmoil of his love and care. And he said, "By Allah, I desire none but her!"; and he began improvising,
"Leave this blame, I will list to no flout of my foe! * I divulged a secret was told me to keep:
He is lost to my sight for whose union I yearn, * And I watch all the while he can slumber and sleep."
So the days and nights went by whilst Kanmakan lay tossing upon coals of fire, till he reached the age of seventeen; and his beauty had waxt perfect and his wits were at their brightest. One night, as he lay awake, he communed with himself and said, "Why should I keep silence till I waste away and see not my lover? Fault have I none save poverty; so, by Allah, I am resolved to remove me from this region and wander over the wild and the word; for my position in this city is a torture and I have no friend nor lover therein to comfort me; wherefore I am determined to distract myself by absence from my native land till I die and take my rest after this shame and tribulation." And he began to improvise and recited these couplets,
"Albeit my vitals quiver 'neath this ban; * Before the foe myself I'll ne'er unman!
So pardon me, my vitals are a writ * Whose superscription are my tears that ran:
Heigh ho! my cousin seemeth Houri may * Come down to earth by reason of Rizwan:
'Scapes not the dreadful sword lunge of her look * Who dares the glancing of those eyne to scan:
O'er Allah's wide spread world I'll roam and roam, * And from such exile win what bread I can
Yes, o'er broad earth I'll roam and save my soul, * All but her absence bear ing like a man
With gladsome heart I'll haunt the field of fight, * And meet the bravest Brave in battle van!"
So Kanmakan fared forth from the palace barefoot and he walked in a short sleeved gown, wearing on his head a skull cap of felt seven years old and carrying a scone three days stale, and in the deep glooms of night betook himself to the portal of al-Arij of Baghdad. Here he waited for the gate being opened and when it was opened, he was the first to pass through it; and he went out at random and wandered about the wastes night and day. When the dark hours came, his mother sought him but found him not; whereupon the world waxt strait upon her for all that it was great and wide, and she took no delight in aught of weal it supplied. She looked for him a first day and a second day and a third day till ten days were past, but no news of him reached her. Then her breast became contracted and she shrieked and shrilled, saying, "O my son! O my darling! thou hast revived my regrets. Sufficed not what I endured, but thou must depart from my home? After thee I care not for food nor joy in sleep, and naught but tears and mourning are left me. O my son, from what land shall I call thee? And what town hath given thee refuge?" Then her sobs burst out, and she began repeating these couplets,
"Well learnt we, since you left, our grief and sorrow to sustain, * While bows of severance shot their shafts in many a railing rain:
They left me, after girthing on their selles of corduwayne * To fight the very pangs of death while spanned they sandy plain:
Mysterious through the nightly gloom there came the moan of dove; * A ring dove, and replied I, 'Cease thy plaint, how durst complain?'
If, by my life, her heart, like mine, were full of pain and pine * She had not decks her neck with ring nor sole with ruddy stain.
Fled is mine own familiar friend, bequeathing me a store * Of parting pang and absence ache to suffer evermore."
Then she abstained from food and drink and gave herself up to excessive tear shedding and lamentation. Her grief became public property far and wide and all the people of the town and country side wept with her and cried, "Where is thine eye, O Zau al- Makan?" And they bewailed the rigours of Time, saying, "Would Heaven we knew what hath befallen Kanmakan that he fled his native town, and chased himself from the place where his father used to fill all in hungry case and do justice and grace?" And his mother redoubled her weeping and wailing till the news of Kanmakan's departure came to King Sasan.--And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased saying her permitted say.
When it was the One Hundred and Fortieth Night,
She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that came to King Sasan the tidings of the departure of Kanmakan, through the Chief Emirs who said to him, "Verily he is the son of our Sovran and the seed of King Omar bin al-Nu'uman and it hath reached us that he hath exiled himself from the land." When King Sasan heard these words, he was wroth with them and ordered one of them to be hanged by way of silencing him, whereat the fear of him fell upon the hearts of all the other Grandees and they dared not speak one word. Then he called to mind all the kindness that Zau al-Makan had done him, and how he had charged him with the care of his son; wherefore he grieved for Kanmakan and said, "Needs must I have search made for him in all countries." So he summoned Tarkash and bade him choose an hundred horse and wend with them in quest of the Prince. Accordingly he went out and was absent ten days, after which he returned and said, "I can learn no tidings of him and have hit on no trace of him, nor can any tell me aught of him." Upon this King Sasan repented him of that which he had done by the Prince; whilst his mother abode in unrest continual nor would patience come at her call: and thus passed over her twenty days in heaviness all. This is how it fared with these; but as regards Kanmakan, when he left Baghdad, he went forth perplexed about his case and knowing not whither he should go: so he fared on alone through the desert for three days and saw neither footman nor horseman; withal, his sleep fled and his wakefulness redoubled, for he pined after his people and his homestead. He ate of the herbs of the earth and drank of its flowing waters and siesta'd under its trees at hours of noontide heats, till he turned from that road to another way and, following it other three days, came on the fourth to a land of green leas, dyed with the hues of plants and trees and with sloping valley sides made to please, abounding with the fruits of the earth. It had drunken of the cups of the cloud, to the sound of thunders rolling loud and the song of the turtle-dove gently sough'd, till its hill slopes were brightly verdant and its fields were sweetly fragrant. Then Kanmakan recalled his father's city Baghdad, and for excess of emotion he broke out into verse,
"I roam, and roaming hope I to return; * Yet of returning see not how or when:
I went for love of one I could not win, * Nor way of 'scaping ills that pressed could ken."
When he ended his recital he wept, but presently he wiped away his tears and ate of the fruits of the earth enough for his present need. Then he made the Wuzu-ablution and prayed the ordained prayers which he had neglected all this time; and he sat resting in that place through the livelong day. When night came he slept and ceased not sleeping till midnight, when he awoke and heard a human voice declaiming these couplets,
"What's life to me, unless I see the pearly sheen * Of teeth I love, and sight that glorious mien?
Pray for her Bishops who in convents reign, * Vying to bow before that heavenly queen.
And Death is lighter than the loved one's wrath, * Whose phantom haunts me seen in every scene:
O joy of cup companions, when they meet, * And loved and lover o'er each other lean!
E'en more in time of spring, the lord of flowers, * When fragrant is the world with bloom and green:
Drainer of vine-juice! up wi' thee, for now * Earth is a Heaven where sweet waters flow."
When Kanmakan heard these distichs his sorrows surged up; his tears ran down his cheeks like freshets and flames of fire darted into his heart. So he rose to see who it was that spake these words, but saw none for the thickness of the gloom; whereupon passion increased on him and he was frightened and restlessness possessed him. He descended from his place to the sole of the valley and walked along the banks of the stream, till he heard the same voice sighing heavy sighs and reciting these couplets,
"Tho' 'tis thy wont to hide thy love perforce, * Yet weep on day of parting and divorce!
Twixt me and my dear love were plighted vows; * Pledge of reunion, fonder intercourse:
With joy inspires my heart and deals it rest * Zephyr, whose coolness doth desire enforce.
O Sa'ada, thinks of me that anklet wearer? * Or parting broke she troth without remorse?
And say! shall nights foregather us, and we * Of suffered hardships tell in soft discourse?
Quoth she, 'Thou'rt daft for us and fey'; quoth I, * ' 'Sain thee! how many a friend hast turned to corse!'
If taste mine eyes sweet sleep while she's away, * Allah with loss of her these eyne accurse.
O wounds in vitals mine! for cure they lack * Union and dewy lips' sweet theriack."
When Kanmakan heard this verse again spoken by the same voice yet saw no one, he knew that the speaker was a lover like unto himself, debarred from union with her who loved him; and he said to himself, "'Twere fitting that this man should lay his head to my head and become my comrade in this my strangerhood." Then he hailed the speaker and cried out to him, saying, "O thou who farest in sombrest night, draw near to me and tell me thy tale haply thou shalt find me one who will succour thee in thy sufferings." And when the owner of the voice heard these words, he cried out, "O thou that respondest to my complaint and wouldest hear my history, who art thou amongst the knights? Art thou human or Jinni? Answer me speedily ere thy death draw near for I have wandered in this desert some twenty days and have seen no one nor heard any voice but thy voice." At these words Kanmakan said to himself, "This one's case is like my case, for I, even I, have wandered twenty days, nor during my wayfare have I seen man or heard voice:" and he added, "I will make him no answer till day arise." So he was silent, and the voice again called out to him, saying, "O thou that callest, if thou be of the Jinn fare in peace and, if thou be man, stay awhile till the day break stark and the night flee with the dark." The speaker abode in his place and Kanmakan did likewise and the twain in reciting verses never failed, and wept tears that railed till the light of day began loom and the night departed with its gloom. Then Kanmakan looked at the other and found him to be of the Badawi Arabs, a youth in the flower of his age; clad in worn clothes and bearing in baldrick a rusty sword which he kept sheathed, and the signs of love longing were apparent on him. He went up to him and accosted him and saluted him, and the Badawi returned the salute and greeted him with courteous wishes for his long life, but somewhat despised him, seeing his tender years and his condition, which was that of a pauper. So he said to him, "O youth, of what tribe art thou and to whom art thou kin among the Arabs; and what is thy history that thou goest by night, after the fashion of knights? Indeed thou spakest to me in the dark words such as are spoken of none but doughty cavaliers and lion- like warriors; and now I hold thy life in hand. But I have compassion on thee by reason of thy green years; so I will make thee my companion and thou shalt go with me, to do me service." When Kanmakan heard him speak these unseemly words, after showing him such skill in verse, he knew that he despised him and would presume with him; therefore he answered him with soft and well- chosen speech, saying, "O Chief of the Arabs, leave my tenderness of age and tell me why thou wanderest by night in the desert reciting verses. Thou talkest, I see, of my serving thee; who then art thou and what moved thee to talk this wise?" Answered he, "Hark ye, boy! I am Sabbah, son of Rammah bin Humam. My people are of the Arabs of Syria and I have a cousin, Najmah highs, who to all that look on her brings delight. And when my father died I was brought up in the house of his brother, the father of Najmah; but as soon I grew up and my uncle's daughter became a woman, they secluded her from me and me from her, seeing that I was poor and without money in pouch. Then the Chiefs of the Arabs and the heads of the tribes rebuked her sire, and he was abashed before them and consented to give me my cousin, but upon condition that I should bring him as her dower fifty head of horses and fifty dromedaries which travel ten days without a halt and fifty camels laden with wheat and a like number laden with barley, together with ten black slaves and ten handmaids. Thus the weight he set upon me was beyond my power to bear; for he exacted more than the marriage settlement as by law established. So here am I, travelling from Syria to Irak, and I have passed twenty days with out seeing other than thyself; yet I mean to go to Baghdad that I may ascertain what merchant men of wealth and importance start thence. Then will I fare forth in their track and loot their goods, and I will slay their escort and drive off their camels with their loads. But what manner of man art thou?" Replied Kanmakan, "Thy case is like unto my case, save that my evil is more grievous than thine ill; for my cousin is a King's daughter and the dowry of which thou hast spoken would not content her people, nor would they be satisfied with the like of that from me." Quoth Sabbah, "Surely thou art a fool or thy wits for excess of passion are gathering wool! How can thy cousin be a King's daughter? Thou hast no sign of royal rank on thee, for thou art but a mendicant." Re joined Kanmakan, "O Chief of the Arabs, let not this my case seem strange to thee; for what happened, happened; and if thou desire proof of me, I am Kanmakan, son of King Zau al-Makan, son of King Omar bin al-Nu'uman Lord of Baghdad and the realm Khorasan; and Fortune banned me with her tyrant ban, for my father died and my Sultanate was taken by King Sasan. So I fled forth from Baghdad secretly, lest I be seen of any man, and have wandered twenty days without any but thyself to scan. So now I have discovered to thee my case, and my story is as thy story and my need as thy need." When Sabbab heard this, he cried out, "O my joy, I have attained my desire! I will have no loot this day but thy self; for since thou art of the seed of Kings and hast come out in beggar's garb, there is no help but thy people will seek thee; and, if they find thee in any one's power, they will ransom thee with monies galore. So show me thy back, O my lad, and walk before me." Answered Kanmakan, "O brother of the Arabs, act not on this wise, for my people will not buy me with silver nor with gold, not even with a copper dirham; and I am a poor man, having with me neither much nor little, so cease then to be upon this track and take me to thy comrade. Fare we forth for the land of Irak and wander over the world, so haply we may win dower and marriage portion, and we may seek and enjoy our cousins' kisses and embraces when we come back." Hearing this, Sabbah waxed angry; his arrogance and fury redoubled and he said, "Woe to thee! Dost thou bandy words with me, O vilest of dogs that be? Turn thee thy back, or I will come down on thee with clack!" Kanmakan smiled and answered, "Why should I turn my back for thee? Is there no justice in thee? Dost thou not fear to bring blame upon the Arab men by driving a man like myself captive, in shame and disdain, before thou hast proved him on the plain, to know if he be a warrior or of cowardly strain?" Upon this Sabbah laughed and replied, "By Allah, a wonder! Thou art a boy in years told, but in talk thou art old. These words should come from none but a champion doughty and bold: what wantest thou of justice?" Quoth Kanmakan, "If thou wilt have me thy captive, to wend with thee and serve thee, throw down thine arms and put off thine outer gear and come on and wrestle with me; and whichever of us throw his opponent shall have his will of him and make him his boy." Then Sabbah laughed and said, "I think this waste of breath de noteth the nearness of thy death." Then he arose and threw down his weapon and, tucking up his skirt, drew near unto Kanmakan who also drew near and they gripped each other. But the Badawi found that the other had the better of him and weighed him down as the quintal downweighs the diner; and he looked at his legs firmly planted on the ground, and saw that they were as two minarets strongly based, or two tent-poles in earth encased, or two mountains which may not he displaced. So he acknowledged himself to be a failure and repented of having come to wrestle with him, saying in himself, "Would I had slain him with my weapon!" Then Kanmakan took hold of him and mastering him, shook him till the Badawi thought his bowels would burst in his belly, and he broke out, "Hold thy hand, O boy!" He heeded not his words, but shook him again and, lifting him from the ground, made with him towards the stream, that he might throw him therein: where upon the Badawi roared out, saying, "O thou valiant man, what wilt thou do with me?" Quoth he, "I mean to throw thee into this stream: it will bear thee to the Tigris. The Tigris will bring thee to the river Isa and the Isa will carry thee to the Euphrates, and the Euphrates will land thee in shine own country; so thy tribe shall see thee and know thy manly cheer and how thy passion be sincere." Then Sabbah cried aloud and said, "O Champion of the desert lair, do not with me what deed the wicked dare but let me go, by the life of thy cousin, the jewel of the fair!" Hearing this, Kanmakan set him on the ground, but when he found him self at liberty, he ran to his sword and targe and taking them up stood plotting in himself treachery and sudden assault on his adversary. The Prince kenned his intent in his eye and said to him, "I con what is in thy heart, now thou hast hold of thy sword and thy targe. Thou hast neither length of hand nor trick of wrestling, but thou thinkest that, wert thou on thy mare and couldst wheel about the plain, and ply me with thy skene, I had long ago been slain. But I will give thee thy requite, so there may be left in thy heart no despite; now give me the targe and fall on me with thy whinger; either thou shalt kill me or I shall kill thee." "Here it is," answered Sabbah and, throwing him the targe, bared his brand and rushed at him sword in hand; Kanmakan hent the buckler in his right and began to fend himself with it, whilst Sabbah struck at him, saying at each stroke, "This is the finishing blow!" But it fell harmless enow, for Kanmakan took all on his buckler and it was waste work, though he did not reply lacking the wherewithal to strike and Sabbah ceased not to smite at him with his sabre, till his arm was weary. When his opponent saw this, he rushed upon him and, hugging him in his arms, shook him and threw him to the ground. Then he turned him over on his face and pinioned his elbows behind him with the baldrick of his sword, and began to drag him by the feet and to make for the river. Thereupon cried Sabbah, "What wilt thou do with me, O youth, and cavalier of the age and brave of the plain where battles rage?" Answered he, "Did I not tell thee that it was my intent to send thee by the river to thy kin and to thy tribe, that thy heart be not troubled for them nor their hearts be troubled for thee, and lest thou miss thy cousin's bride-feast!" At this Sabbah shrieked aloud and wept and screaming said, "Do not thus, O champion of the time's braves! Let me go and make me one of thy slaves!" And he wept and wailed and began reciting these verses,
"I'm estranged fro' my folk and estrangement's long: * Shall I die amid strangers? Ah, would that I kenned!
I die, nor my kinsman shall know where I'm slain, * Die in exile nor see the dear face of my friend!"
Thereupon Kanmakan had compassion on him and said, "Make with me a covenant true and swear me an oath to be a comrade as due and to bear me company wheresoever I may go." "'Tis well," replied Sabbah and swore accordingly. Then Kanmakan loosed him and he rose and would have kissed the Prince's hand; but he forbade him that. Then the Badawi opened his scrip and, taking out three barley scones, laid them before Kanmakan and they both sat down on the bank of the stream to eat. When they had done eating together, they made the lesser ablution and prayed; after which they sat talking of what had befallen each of them from his people and from the shifts of Time. Presently said Kanmakan, "Whither dost thou now intend?" Replied Sabbah, "I purpose to repair to Baghdad, thy native town, and abide there, until Allah vouchsafe me the marriage portion." Rejoined the other, "Up then and to the road! I tarry here." So the Badawi farewelled him and took the way for Baghdad, whilst Kanmakan remained behind, saying to himself, "O my soul, with what face shall I return pauper- poor? Now by Allah, I will not go back empty handed and, if the Almighty please, I will assuredly work my deliverance." Then he went to the stream and made the Wuzu-washing and when prostrating he laid his brow in the dust and prayed to the Lord, saying, "O Allah! Thou who sendest down the dew, and feedest the worm that homes in the stone, I beseech Thee vouchsafe me my livelihood of Thine Omnipotence and the Grace of Thy benevolence!" Then he pronounced the salutation which closes prayer; yet every road appeared closed to him. And while he sat turning right and left, behold, he espied a horseman making towards him with bent back and reins slack. He sat up right and after a time reached the Prince; and the stranger was at the last gasp and made sure of death, for he was grievously wounded when he came up; the tears streamed down his cheeks like water from the mouths of skins, and he said to Kanmakan, "O Chief of the Arabs, take me to thy friendship as long as I live, for thou wilt not find my like; and give me a little water though the drinking of water be harmful to one wounded, especially whilst the blood is flowing and the life with it. And if I live, I will give thee what shall heal thy penury and thy poverty: and if I die, mayst thou be blessed for thy good intent." Now under that horseman was a stallion, so noble a Rabite the tongue fails to describe him; and as Kanmakan looked at his legs like marble shafts, he was seized with a longing and said to himself, "Verily the like of this stallion is not to be found in our time." Then he helped the rider to alight and entreated him in friendly guise and gave him a little water to swallow; after which he waited till he had taken rest and addressed him, saying, "Who hath dealt thus with thee?" Quoth the rider, "I will tell thee the truth of the case. I am a horse thief and I have busied myself with lifting and snatching horses all my life, night and day, and my name is Ghassan, the plague of every stable and stallion. I heard tell of this horse, that he was in the land of Roum, with King Afridun, where they had named him Al-Katul and surnamed him Al Majnun. So I journeyed to Constantinople for his sake and watched my opportunity and whilst I was thus waiting, there came out an old woman, one highly honoured among the Greeks, and whose word with them is law, by name Zat al-Dawahi, a past mistress in all manner of trickery. She had with her this steed and ten slaves, no more, to attend on her and the horse; and she was bound for Baghdad and Khorasan, there to seek King Sasan and to sue for peace and pardon from ban. So I went out in their track, longing to get at the horse, and ceased not to follow them, but was unable to come by the stallion, because of the strict guard kept by the slaves, till they reached this country and I feared lest they enter the city of Baghdad. As I was casting about to steal the stallion lo! a great cloud of dust arose on them and walled the horizon. Presently it opened and disclosed fifty horsemen, gathered together to waylay merchants on the highway, and their captain, by name Kahrdash, was a lion in daring and dash; a furious lion who layeth knights flat as carpets in battle-crash."--And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased to say her permitted say.
When it was the One Hundred and Forty-first Night,
She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that the wounded rider spake thus to Kanmakan, "Then came out the same Kahrdash, and fell on the old woman and her men and bore down upon them bashing them, nor was it long before they bound her and the ten slaves and bore off their captives and the horse, rejoicing. When I saw this, I said to myself, 'My pains were in vain nor did I attain my gain.' However, I waited to see how the affair would fare, and when the old woman found herself in bonds, she wept and said to the captain, Kahrdash, 'O thou doughty Champion and furious Knight, what wilt thou do with an old woman and slaves, now that thou hast thy will of the horse?' And she beguiled him with soft words and she sware that she would send him horses and cattle, till he released her and her slaves. Then he went his way, he and his comrades, and I followed them till they reached this country; and I watched them, till at last I found an opportunity of stealing the horse, whereupon I mounted him and, drawing a whip from my wallet, struck him with it. When the robbers heard this, they came out on me and surrounded me on all sides and shot arrows and cast spears at me, whilst I stuck fast on his back and he fended me with hoofs and forehand, till at last he bolted out with me from amongst them like unerring shaft or shooting star. But in the stress and stowre I got sundry grievous wounds and sore; and, since that time, I have passed on his back three days without tasting food or sleeping aught, so that my strength is down brought and the world is become to me as naught. But thou hast dealt kindly with me and hast shown ruth on me; and I see thee naked stark and sorrow hath set on thee its mark, yet are signs of wealth and gentle breeding manifest on thee. So tell me, what and whence art thou and whither art thou bound?" Answered the Prince, "My name is Kanmakan, son of Zau al-Makan, son of King Omar bin al-Nu'uman. When my father died and an orphan lot was my fate, a base man seized the throne and became King over small and great." Then he told him all his past from first to last; and the horse thief said to him for he pitied him, "By Allah, thou art one of high degree and exceeding nobility, and thou shalt surely attain estate sublime and become the first cavalier of thy time. If thou can lift me on horseback and mount thee behind me and bring me to my own land, thou shalt have honour in this world and a reward on the day of band calling to band, for I have no strength left to steady myself; and if this be my last day, the steed is thine alway, for thou art worthier of him than any other." Quoth Kanmakan, By Allah, if I could carry thee on my shoulders or share my days with thee, I would do this deed without the steed! For I am of a breed that loveth to do good and to succour those in need; and one kindly action in Almighty Allah's honour averteth seventy calamities from its doer. So make ready to set out and put thy trust in the Subtle, the All- Wise." And he would have lifted him on to the horse and fared forward trusting in Allah Aider of those who seek aid, but the horse thief said, "Wait for me awhile. Then he closed his eyes and opening his hands, said I testify that there is no god but the God, and I testify that Mohammed is the Apostle of God!" And he added, "O glorious One, pardon me my mortal sin, for none can pardon mortal sins save the Immortal!" And he made ready for death and recited these couplets,
"I have wronged mankind, and have ranged like wind * O'er the world, and in wine-cups my life has past:
I've swum torrent course to bear off the horse; * And my guiles high places on plain have cast.
Much I've tried to win and o'er much my sin, * And Katul of my winnings is most and last:
I had hoped of this steed to gain wish and need, * But vain was the end of this journey vast.
I have stolen through life, and my death in strife * Was doomed by the Lord who doth all forecast
And I've toiled these toils to their fatal end * For an orphan, a pauper sans kith or friend!"
And when he had finished his verses he closed his eyes and opened his mouth; then with a single death-rattling he left this world. Thereupon Kanmakan rose and dug a grave and laid him in the dust; after which he went up to the steed and kissed him and wiped his face and joyed with exceeding joy, saying, "None hath the fellow of this stallion; no, not even King Sasan." Such was the case with Kanmakan; but as regards King Sasan, presently news came to him that the Wazir Dandan had thrown off his allegiance, and with him half the army who swore that they would have no King but Kanmakan: and the Minister had bound the troops by a solemn covenant and had gone with them to the Islands of India and to Berber-land and to Black-land; where he had levied armies from far and near, like unto the swollen sea for fear and none could tell the host's van from its rear. And the Minister was resolved to make for Baghdad and take the kingdom in ward and slay every soul who dare retard, having sworn not to return the sword of war to its sheath, till he had made Kanmakan King. When this news came to Sasan, he was drowned in the sea of appal, knowing that the whole state had turned against him, great and small; and his trouble redoubled and his care became despair. So he opened his treasuries and distributed his monies among his officers; and he prayed for Kanmakan's return, that he might draw his heart to him with fair usage and bounty; and make him commander of those troops which ceased not being faithful to him, so might he quench the sparks ere they became a flame. Now when the news of this reached Kanmakan by the merchants, he returned in haste to Baghdad on the back of the aforesaid stallion, and as King Sasan sat perplexed upon his throne he heard of the coming of Kanmakan; whereupon he despatched all the troops and head-men of the city to meet him. So all who were in Baghdad fared forth and met the Prince and escorted him to the palace and kissed the thresholds, whilst the damsels and the eunuchs went in to his mother and gave her the fair tidings of his return. She came to him and kissed him between the eyes, but he said to her, "O mother mine, let me go to my uncle King Sasan who hath overwhelmed me with weal and boon." And while he so did, all the palace-people and head-men marvelled at the beauty of the stallion and said, "No King is like unto this man." So Kanmakan went in to King Sasan and saluted him as he rose to receive him; and, kissing his hands and feet, offered him the horse as a present. The King greeted him, saying, "Well come and welcome to my son Kanmakan! By Allah, the world hath been straitened on me by reason of thine absence, but praised be Allah for thy safety!" And Kanmakan called down blessings on him. Then the King looked at the stallion, Al-Katul highs, and knew him for the very horse he had seen in such and such a year whilst beleaguering the Cross-worshippers of Constantinople with Kanmakan's sire, Zau al- Makan, that time they slew his uncle Sharrkan. So he said to the Prince, "If thy father could have come by this courser, he would have bought it with a thousand blood horses: but now let the honour return to the honourable. We accept the steed and we give him back to thee as a gift, for to him thou hast more right than any wight, being knightliest of knights." Then King Sasan bade bring forth for him dresses of honour and led horses and appointed to him the chief lodging in the palace, and showed him the utmost affection and honour, because he feared the issue of the Wazir Dandan's doings. At this Kanmakan rejoiced and shame and humiliation ceased from him. Then he went to his house and, going to his mother, asked, "O my mother, how is it with the daughter of my uncle?" Answered she, "By Allah, O my son, my concern for thine absence hath distracted me from any other, even from thy beloved; especially as she was the cause of thy strangerhood and thy separation from me." Then he complained to her of his case, saying, "O my mother, go to her and speak with her; haply she will vouchsafe me her sight to see and dispel from me this despondency." Replied his mother, "Idle desires abase men's necks; so put away from thee this thought that can only vex; for I will not wend to her nor go in to her with such message.' Now when he heard his mother's words he told her what said the horse-thief concerning Zat al-Dawahi, how the old woman was then in their land purposing to make Baghdad, and added, "It was she who slew my uncle and my grandfather, and needs must I avenge them with man-bote, that our reproach be wiped out." Then he left her and repaired to an old woman, a wicked, whorish, pernicious beldam by name Sa'adanah and complained to her of his case and of what he suffered for love of his cousin Kuzia Fakan and begged her to go to her and win her favour for him. "I hear and I obey," answered the old hag and leaving him betook herself to Kuzia Fakan's palace, that she might intercede with her in his behalf. Then she returned to him and said, "Of a truth Kuzia Fakan saluteth thee and promiseth to visit thee this night about midnight."--And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased saying her permitted say.
When it was the One Hundred and Forty-second Night,
She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when the old woman came to Kanmakan and said, "Of a truth the daughter of thine uncle saluteth thee and she will visit thee this night about midnight;" he rejoiced and sat down to await the fulfilment of his cousin's promise. But before the hour of night she came to him, wrapped in a veil of black silk, and she went in to him and aroused him from sleep, saying, "How canst thou pretend to love me, when thou art sleeping heart-free and in complete content?" So he awoke and said, "By Allah, O desire of my heart, I slept not but in the hope that thine image might visit my dreams!" Then she chid him with soft words and began versifying in these couplets,
"Hadst thou been leaf in love's loyalty, * Ne'er haddest suffered sleep to seal those eyne:
O thou who claimest lover-loyalty, * Treading the lover's path of pain and pine!
By Allah, O my cousin, never yet * Did eyes of lover sleep such sleep indign."
Now when he heard his cousin's words, he was abashed before her and rose and excused himself. Then they embraced and complained to each other of the anguish of separation; and they ceased not thus till dawn broke and day dispersed itself over the horizon; when she rose preparing to depart. Upon this Kanmakan wept and sighed and began improvising these couplets,
"O thou who deignest come at sorest sync, * Whose lips those teeth like necklaced pearls enshrine'
I kissed him thousand times and clips his waist, * And spent the night with cheek to cheek close li'en
Till to depart us twain came dawning day, * Like sword edge drawn from sheath in radiant line."
And when he ended his poetry, Kuzia Fakan took leave of him and returned to her palace. Now certain of her damsels became aware of her secret, and one of these slave girls disclosed it to King Sasan, who went into Kuzia Fakan and, drawing his sabre upon her, would have slain her: but her mother Nuzhat al-Zaman entered and said to him, "By Allah, do her no harm, for if thou hurt her, the report will be noised among the folk and thou shalt become a reproach amongst the Kings of the age! Know thou that Kanmakan is no son of adultery, but a man of honour and nobility, who would not do aught that could shame him, and she was reared with him. So be not hasty; for verily the report is spread abroad, among all the palace-people and all the folk of Baghdad, how the Wazir Dandan hath levied armies from all countries and is on his way hither to make Kanmakan King." Quoth Sasan, "By Allah, needs must I cast him into such calamity that neither earth shall support him nor sky shall shadow him! I did but speak him fair and show him favour because of my lieges and my lords, lest they incline to him; but right soon shalt thou see what shall betide." Then he left her and went out to order the affairs of the realm. Such, then, was the case with King Sasan; but as regards Kanmakan, on the next day he came in to his mother and said, "O my mother! I am resolved to ride forth a raiding and a looting: and I will cut the road of caravans and lift horses and flocks, negroes and white slaves and, as soon as I have collected great store and my case is bettered galore, I will demand my cousin Kuzia Fakan in marriage of my uncle Sasan." Replied she, "O my son, of a truth the goods of men are not ready to hand like a scape-camel; for on this side of them are sword-strokes and lance-lungings and men that eat the wild beast and lay countries waste and chase lynxes and hunt lions." Quoth he, Heaven forefend that I turn back from my resolve, till I have won to my will! Then he despatched the old woman to Kuzia Fakan, to tell her that he was about to set out in quest of a marriage settle ment befitting her, saying to the beldam, "Thou needs must pray her to send me an answer." "I hear and I obey," replied the old woman and going forth, presently returned with Kuzia Fakan's reply, which was, "She will come to thee at midnight." So he abode awake till one half of the night was passed, when restlessness get hold on him, and before he was aware she came in to him, saying, "My life be thy ransom from wakefulness!" and he sprang up to receive her, exclaiming, "O desire of my heart, my life be thy redemption from all ills and evils!" Then he acquainted her, with his intent, and she wept: but he said, "Weep not, O daughter of my uncle; for I beseech Him who decreed our separation to vouchsafe us reunion and fair understanding." Then Kanmakan, having fixed a day for departure, went in to his mother and took leave of her, after which came he down from his palace and threw the baldrick of his sword over his shoulder and donned turband and face-veil; and mounting his horse, Al-Katul, and looking like the moon at its full, he threaded the streets of Baghdad, till he reached the city gate. And behold, here he found Sabbah bin Rammah coming out of town; and his comrade seeing him, ran to his stirrup and saluted him. He returned his salutation, and Sabbah asked him, "O my brother, how camest thou by this good steed and this sword and clothes, whilst I up to present time have gotten nothing but my sword and target?" Answered Kanmakan, "The hunter returneth not but with quarry after the measure of his intention. A little after thy departure, fortune came to me: so now say, wilt thou go with me and work thine intent in my company and journey with me in this desert?" Replied Sabbah, "By the Lord of the Ka'abah, from this time forth I will call thee naught but 'my lord'!" Then he ran on before the horse, with his sword hanging from his neck and his budget between his shoulder blades, and Kanmakan rode a little behind him; and they plunged into the desert, for a space of four days, eating of the gazelles and drinking water of the springs. On the fifth day they drew near a high hill, at whose foot was a spring-encampment and a deep running stream; and the knolls and hollows were filled with camels and cattle and sheep and horses, and little children played about the pens and folds. When Kanmakan saw this, he rejoiced at the sight and his breast was filled with delight; so he addressed himself to fight, that he might take the camels and the cattle, and said to Sabbah, "Come, fall with us upon this loot, whose owners have left it unguarded here, and do we battle for it with near and far, so haply may fall to our lot of goods some share." Replied Sabbah, "O my lord, verily they to whom these herds belong be many in number; and among them are doughty horsemen and fighting footmen; and if we venture lives in this derring do we shall fall into danger great and neither of us will return safe from this bate; but we shall both be cut off by fate and leave our cousins desolate." Then Kanmakan laughed and knew that he was a coward; so he left him and rode down the rise, intent on rapine, with loud cries and chanting these couplets,
"Oh a valiant race are the sons of Nu'uman, * Braves whose blades shred heads of the foeman-clan!
A tribe who, when tried in the tussle of war, * Taketh prowess stand in the battle-van:
In their tents safe close gaberlunzie's eyne, * Nor his poverty's ugly features scan:
And I for their aidance sue of Him * Who is King of Kings and made soul of man."
Then he rushed upon the she-camels like a he-camel in rut and drove all before him, sheep and cattle, horses and dromedaries. Therewith the slaves ran at him with their blades so bright and their lances so long; and at their head rode a Turkish horseman who was indeed a stout champion, doughty in fray and in battle chance and skilled to wield the nut-brown lance and the blade with bright glance. He drove at Kanmakan, saying, "Woe to thee! Knewest thou to whom these herds belong thou hadst not done this deed. Know that they are the goods of the band Grecian, the champions of the ocean and the troop Circassian; and this troop containeth none but valiant wights numbering an hundred knights, who have cast off the allegiance of every Sultan. But there hath been stolen from them a noble stallion, and they have vowed not to return hence without him." Now when Kanmakan heard these words, he cried out, saying, "O villain, this I bestride is the steed whereof ye speak and after which ye seek, and ye would do battle with me for his sake' So come out against me, all of you at once, and do you dourest for the nonce!" Then he shouted between the ears of Al-Katul who ran at them like a Ghul; whereupon Kanmakan let drive at the Turk and ran him through the body and threw him from his horse and let out his life; after which he turned upon a second and a third and a fourth, and also of life bereft them. When the slaves saw this, they were afraid of him, and he cried out and said to them, "Ho, sons of whores, drive out the cattle and the stud or I will dye my spear in your blood." So they untethered the beasts and began to drive them out; and Sabbah came down to Kanmakan with loud voicing and hugely rejoicing; when lo! there arose a cloud of dust and grew till it walled the view, and there appeared under of it riders an hundred, like lions an-hungered. Upon this Sabbah took flight, and fled to the hill's topmost height, leaving the assailable site, and enjoyed sight of the fight, saying, "I am no warrior; but in sport and jest I delight." Then the hundred cavaliers made towards Kanmakan and surrounded him on all sides, and one of them accosted him, saying, "Whither goest thou with this loot?" Quoth he, "I have made it my prize and am carrying it away; and I forbid you from it, or come on to the combat, for know ye that he who is before you is a terrible lion and an honourable champion, and a sword that cutteth wherever it turneth!" When the horseman heard these words, he looked at Kanmakan and saw that he was a knight like a mane-clad lion in might, whilst his face was as the full moon rising on its fourteenth night, and velour shone from between his eyes. Now that horseman was the captain of the hundred horse, and his name was Kahrdash; and when he saw in Kanmakan the perfection of cavalarice with surpassing gifts of comeliness, his beauty reminded him of a beautiful mistress of his whose name was Fatin. Now she was one of the fairest of women in face, for Allah had given her charms and grace and noble qualities of all kinds, such as tongue faileth to explain and which ravish the hearts of men. Moreover, the cavaliers of the tribe feared her prowess and all the champions of that land stood in awe of her high spirit; and she had sworn that she would not marry nor let any possess her, except he should conquer her in combat (Kahrdash being one of her suitors); and she said to her father, "None shall approach me, save he be able to deal me over throw in the field and stead of war thrust and blow. Now when this news reached Kahrdash, he scorned to fight with a girl, fearing reproach; and one of his intimates said to him, "Thou art complete in all conditions of beauty and goodliness; so if thou contend with her, even though she be stronger than thou, thou must needs overcome her; for when she seeth thy beauty and grace, she will be discomfited before thee and yield thee the victory; for verily women have a need of men e'en as thou heedest full plain." Nevertheless Kahrdash refused and would not contend with her, and he ceased not to abstain from her thus, till he met from Kanmakan that which hath been set down. Now he took the Prince for his beloved Fatin and was afraid; albeit indeed she loved him for what she had heard of his beauty and velour; so he went up to him and said, "Woe to thee, O Fatin! Thou comest here to show me thy prowess; but now alight from thy steed, that I may talk with thee, for I have lifted these cattle and have foiled my friends and waylaid many a brave and man of knightly race, all for the sake of thy beauty of form and face, which are without peer. So marry me now, that Kings' daughters may serve thee and thou shalt become Queen of these countries." When Kanmakan heard these words, the fires of wrath flamed up in him and he cried out, "Woe to thee, O Persian dog! Leave Fatin and thy trust and mistrust, and come to cut and thrust, for eftsoon thou shalt lie in the dust;" and so saying, he began to wheel about him and assail him and feel the way to prevail. But when Kahrdash observed him closely he knew him for a doughty knight and a stalwart in fight; and the error of his thought became manifest to him, whenas he saw the green down on his cheeks dispread like myrtles springing from the heart of a rose bright-red. And he feared his onslaught and quoth he to those with him, "Woe to you! Let one of you charge down upon him and show him the keen sword and the quivering spear; for know that when many do battle with one man it is foul shame, even though he be a kemperly wight and an invincible knight." Upon this, there ran at Kanmakan a horseman like a lion in fight, mounted on a black horse with hoofs snow-white and a star on his forehead, the bigness of a dirham, astounding wit and sight, as he were Abjar, which was Antar's destrier, even as saith of him the poet,
"The courser chargeth on battling foe, * Mixing heaven on high with the earth down low:
As though the Morning had blazed his brow, * And he rends her vitals as quid pro quo."
He rushed upon Kanmakan, and they wheeled about awhile, giving blows and taking blows such as confound the sprite and dim the sight; but Kanmakan was the first to smite the foe a swashing blow, that rove through turband and iron skull cap and reached his head, and he fell from his steed with the fall of a camel when he rolleth over. Then a second came out to him and offered battle, and in like guise a third, a fourth and a fifth, and he did with them all as he had done with the first. Thereupon the rest at once rushed upon him, for indeed they were roused by rage and wild with wrath; but it was not long before he had pierced them all with the point of his spear. When Kahrdash saw these feats of arms, he feared death; for he knew that the youth was stoutest of heart and concluded that he was unique among knights and braves; and he said to Kanmakan, "I waive my claim to thy blood and I pardon thee the blood of my comrades: so take what thou wilt of the cattle and wend thy ways, for thy firmness in fight moveth my ruth and life is better for thee than death." Replied Kanmakan, "Thou lackest not of the generosity of the noble! but leave this talk and run for thy life and reck not of blame nor think to get back the booty; but take the straight path for thine own safety." Thereupon Kahrdash waxed exceeding wroth, and rage moved him to the cause of his death; so he said to Kanmakan, "Woe to thee, an thou knew who I be, thou wouldst not wield these words in the open field. I am the lion to bash known as Kahrdash, he who spoileth great Kings and waylayeth all travellings and seizeth the merchants' preciousest things. And the steed under thee is that I am seeking; and I call upon thee to tell me how thou camest by him and hast him in thy keeping." Replied Kan makan, "Know thou that this steed was being carried to my uncle King Sasan, under the escort of an ancient dame high in rank attended by ten slaves, when thou fellest upon her and tookest the horse from her; and I have a debt of blood against this old woman for the sake of my grandfather King Omar bin al Nu'uman and my uncle King Sharrkan.' "Woe to thee!" quoth Kahrdash, "who is thy father, O thou that hast no lawful mother?" Quoth he, "Know that I am Kanmakan, bin Zau al-Makan, son of Omar bin al-Nu'uman." But when Kahrdash heard this address he said, "Thy perfection cannot be denied, nor yet the union in thee of knightly virtue and seemlihead," and he added, "Fare in peace, for thy father showed us favour." Rejoined Kanmakan, "By Allah, I will not deign to honour thee, O wretch I disdain, so far as to overcome thee in battle plain!" Upon this the Badawi waxed wroth and they drove at each other, shouting aloud, whilst their horses pricked their ears and raised their tails. And they ceased not clashing together with such a crash that it seemed to each as if the firmament were split in sunder, and they continued to strive like two rams which butt, smiting and exchanging with their spears thrust and cut. Presently Kahrdash foined at Kanmakan; but he evaded it and rejoined upon him and so pierced him through the breast that the spearhead issued from his back. Then he collected the horses and the plunder, and he cried out to the slaves, saying, "Up and be driving as hard as ye may!" Hearing this, down came Sabbah and, accosting Kanmakan, said to him, "Right well hast thou dight, O Knight of the age! Verily I prayed Allah for thee and the Lord heard my prayer." Then he cut off Kahrdash's head and Kanmakan laughed and said, "Woe to thee, O Sabbah! I thought thee a rider fain of fight." Quoth the Badawi, "Forget not thy slave in the division of the spoil, so haply therewith I may marry my cousin Najmah." Answered Kanmakan, "Thou shalt assuredly share in it, but now keep watch over the booty and the slaves." Then he set out for his home and he ceased not journeying night and day till he drew near Baghdad city, and all the troops heard of Kanmakan, and saw what was his of loot and cattle and the horse-thief's head on the point of Sabbah's spear. Also (for he was a noted highwayman) the merchants knew Kahrdash's head and rejoiced, saying, "Allah hath rid mankind of him!"; and they marvelled at his being slain and blessed his slayer. Thereupon all the people of Baghdad came to Kanmakan, seeking to know what adventures had befallen him, and he told them what had passed, whereupon all men were taken with awe of him and the Knights and champions feared him. Then he drove his spoil under the palace walls; and, planting the spear heel, on whose point was Kahrdash's head, over against the royal gate, gave largesse to the people of Baghdad, distributing horses and camels, so that all loved him and their hearts inclined to him. Presently he took Sabbah and lodged him in a spacious dwelling and gave him a share of the loot; after which he went in to his mother and told her all that had befallen him in his last journey. Meanwhile the news of him reached the King, who rose from his levee and, shutting himself up with his chief officers, said to them, "Know ye that I desire to reveal to you my secret and acquaint you with the hidden facts of my case. And further know that Kanmakan will be the cause of our being uprooted from this kingdom, our birth place; for he hath slain Kahrdash, albeit he had with him the tribes of the Kurds and the Turks, and our affair with him will end in our destruction, seeing that the most part of our troops are his kinsmen and ye weet what the Wazir Dandan hath done; how he disowneth me, after all I have shown him of favours; and after being faithful he hath turned traitor. Indeed it hath reached me that he hath levied an army in the provinces and hath planned to make Kanmakan Sultan, for that the Sultanate was his father's and his grandfather's; and assuredly he will slay me without mercy." Now when the Lords of the Realm heard from him these words, they replied, "O King, verily this man. is unequal to this, and did we not know him to have been reared by thee, not one of us would approve of him. And know thou that we are at thy commandment; if thou desire his death, we will do him die; and if thou wilt remove him, we will remove him." Now when King Sasan heard this, he said, "Verily, to slay him were wise; but needs must ye swear an oath to it." So all sware to slay Kanmakan without giving him a chance; to the end that, when the Wazir Dandan should come and hear of his death, his force might be weakened and he fail of his design. When they had made this compact and covenant with trim, the king honoured them with the highest honours and presently retired to his own apartments. But the officers deserted him and the troops refused their service and would neither mount nor dismount until they should espy what might befal, for they saw that most of the army was with the Wazir Dandan. Presently, the news of these things came to Kuzia Fakan and caused her much concern; so that she sent for the old woman who was wont to carry messages between her and her cousin, and when she came, bade her go to him and warn him of the plot. Whereto he replied, "Bear my salutation to the daughter of my uncle and say to her, 'Verily the earth is of Allah (to whom belong Might and Majesty!), and He giveth it as heritage to whomsoever of His servants He willeth.' How excellent is the saying of the sayer,
'Allah holds Kingship! Whoso seeks without Him victory * Shall be cast out, with soul condemned to Hell of low degree:
Had I or any other man a finger breadth of land, * The rule were changed and men a twain of partner gods would see.' "
Then the old woman returned to Kuzia Fakan and told her his reply and acquainted her that he abode in the city. Meanwhile, King Sasan awaited his faring forth from Baghdad, that he might send after him some who would slay him; till it befel one morning that Kanmakan went out to course and chase, accompanied by Sabbah, who would not leave him night or day. He caught ten gazelles and among them one that had tender black eyes and turned right and left: so he let her go and Sabbah said to him, "Why didst thou free this gazelle?" Kanmakan laughed and set the others free also, saying, "It is only humane to release gazelles that have young, and this one turned not from side to side, save to look for her fawns: so I let her go and released the others in her honour." Quoth Sabbah, "Do thou release me, that I may go to my people." At this Kanmakan laughed and smote him with the spear butt on the breast, and he fell to the ground squirming like a snake. Whilst they were thus doing, behold, they saw a dust cloud spireing high and heard the tramp of horses; and presently there appeared under it a plump of knights and braves. Now the cause of their coming was this. Some of his followers had acquainted King Sasan with Kanmakan's going out to the chase; so he sent for an Emir of the Daylamites, called Jami' and twenty of his horsemen; and gave them money and bade them slay Kanmaken. So when they drew near the Prince, they charged down upon him and he met them in mid-charge and killed them all, to the last man. And behold, King Sasan took horse and riding out to meet his people, found them all slain, whereat he wondered and turned back; when lo! the people of the city laid hands on him and bound him straitly. As for Kanmakan after that adventure, he left the place behind him and rode onward with Sabbah the Badawi. And the while he went, lo! he saw a youth sitting at the door of a house on his road and saluted him. The youth returned his greeting and, going into the house, brought out two platters, one full of soured milk and the other of brewis swimming in clarified butter; and he set the platter before Kanmakan, saying "Favour us by eating of our victual." But he refused and quoth the young man to him, "What aileth thee, O man, that thou wilt not eat?" Quoth Kanmakan, "I have a vow upon me." The youth asked, "What is the cause of thy vow?", and Kanmakan answered, "Know that King Sasan seized upon my kingdom like a tyrant and an enemy, although it was my father's and my grand father's before me; yet he became master of it by force after my father's death and took no count of me, by reason of my tender years. So I have bound myself by a vow to eat no man's victual till I have eased my heart of my foe." Rejoined the youth, "Rejoice, for Allah hath fulfilled thy vow. Know that he hath been prisoned in a certain place and methinks he will soon die." Asked Kanmakan, "In what house is he confined?" "Under yon high dome," answered the other. The Prince looked and saw the folk entering and buffeting Sasan, who was suffering the agonies of the dying. So he arose and went up to the pavilion and noted what was therein; after which he returned to his place and, sitting down to the proferred victual, ate what sufficed him and put the rest in his wallet. Then he took seat in his own place and ceased not sitting till it was dark night and the youth, whose guest he was slept; when he rose and repaired to the pavilion wherein Sasan was confined. Now about it were dogs guarding it, and one of them sprang at him; so he took out of his budget a bit of meat and threw it to him. He ceased not casting flesh to the dogs till he came to the pavilion and, making his way to where King Sasan was, laid his hand upon his head; whereupon he said in a loud voice, "Who art thou?" He replied, "I am Kanmakan whom thou stravest to kill; but Allah made thee fall into thine evil device. Did it not suffice thee to take my kingdom and the kingdom of my father, but thou must purpose to slay me?" And Sasan swore a false oath that he had not plotted his death and that the bruit was untrue. So Kanmakan forgave him and said to him, "Follow me." Quoth he, "I cannot walk a single step for weakness." Quoth Kanmakan, "If the case be thus we will get us two horses and ride forth, I and thou, and seek the open." So he did as he said, and he took horse with Sasan and rode till day break, when they prayed the dawn prayer and fared on, and ceased not faring till they came to a garden, where they sat down and talked. Then Kanmakan rose to Sasan and said, "Is aught left to set thy heart against me?" "No, by Allah!" replied Sasan. So they agreed to return to Baghdad and Sabbah the Badawi said, "I will go before you, to give folk the fair tidings of your coming." Then he rode on in advance, acquainting women and men with the good news; so all the people came out to meet Kanmakan with tabrets and pipes; and Kuzia Fakan also came out, like the full moon shining in all her splendour of light through the thick darkness of the night. So Kanmakan met her, and soul yearned to soul and body longed for body. There was no talk among the people of the time but of Kanmakan; for the Knights bore witness of him that he was the most valiant of the folk of the age and said, "It is not right that other than Kanmakan should be our Sultan, but the throne of his grandfather shall revert to him as it began." Meanwhile Sasan went in to his wife, Nuzhat al-Zaman, who said to him, "I hear that the folk talk of nothing but Kanmakan and attribute to him such qualities as tongue never can." He replied, "Hearing of a man is not like seeing a man. I have seen him, but have noted in him none of the attributes of perfection. Not all that is heard is said; but folk ape one another in extolling and cherishing him, and Allah maketh his praises to run on the lips of men, so that there incline to him the hearts of the people of Baghdad and of the Wazir Dandan, that perfidious and treacherous man; who hath levied troops from all lands and taketh to himself the right of naming a King of the country; and who chooseth that it shall be under the hand of an orphan ruler whose worth is naught." Asked Nuzhat al-Zaman, "What then is it that thou purposest to do?"; and the King answered, "I mean to kill him, that the Wazir may be baulked of his intent and return to his allegiance, seeing nothing for it but my service." Quoth she, "In good sooth perfidy with strangers is a foul thing and how much more with kith and kin! The righteous deed to do would be to marry him to thy daughter Kuzia Fakan and give heed to what was said of old time,
'An Fate some person 'stablish o'er thy head, * And thou being worthier her choice upbraid,
Yet do him honour due to his estate; * He'll bring thee weal though far or near thou vade:
Nor speak thy thought of him, else shalt thou be * Of those who self degrade from honour's grade:
Many Harims are lovelier than the Bride, * But Time and Fortune lent the Bride their aid.'"
When Sasan heard these her words and comprehended what her verse intended, he rose from her in anger and said, "Were it not that thy death would bring on me dishonour and disgrace, I would take off thy head with my blade and make an end of thy breath." Quoth she, "Why art thou wroth with me? I did but jest with thee." Then she rose to him and bussed his head and hands, saying, "Right is thy foresight, and I and thou will cast about for some means to kill him forthright." When he heard this, he was glad and said, "Make haste and contrive some deceit to relieve me of my grieving: for in my sooth the door of device is straitened upon me!" Replied she, "At once I will devise for thee to do away his life." "How so?" asked he; and she answered, "By means of our female slave the so-called Bakun." Now this Bakun was past mistress in all kinds of knavery and was one of the most pestilent of old women, in whose religion to abstain from wickedness was not lawful; she had brought up Kuzia Fakan and Kanmakan who had her in so great affection that he used to sleep at her feet. So when King Sasan heard his wife name her, he said, "Right is this recking"; and, sending for the old woman, told her what had passed and bade her cast about to kill Kanmaken, promising her all good. Replied she, "Thy bidding shall be obeyed; but I would have thee, O my lord, give me a dagger which hath been tempered in water of death, that I may despatch him the speedilier for thee." Quoth Sasan, "And welcome to thee!"; and gave her a hanger that would devance man's destiny. Now this slave women had heard stories and verses and had learned by rote great store of strange sayings and anecdotes: so she took the dagger and went out of the room, considering how she could compass his doom. Then she repaired to Kanmakan, who was sitting and awaiting news of tryst with the daughter of his uncle, Kuzia Fakan; so that night his thought was taken up with her and the fires of love for her raged in his heart. And while he was thus, behold, the slave woman, Bakun, went in to him and said, "Union time is at hand and the days of disunion are over and gone." Now when he heard this he asked, "How is it with Kuzia Fakan?"; and Bakun answered, "Know that her time is wholly taken up with love of thee." At this he rose and doffing his outer clothes put them on her and promised her all good. Then said she, "Know that I mean to pass this night with thee, that I may tell thee what talk I have heard and console thee with stories of many passion distraughts whom love hath made sick." "Nay," quoth he, "rather tell me a tale that will gladden my heart and gar my cares depart." "With joy and good will," answered she; then she took seat by his side (and that poniard under her dress) and began to say: "Know thou that the pleasantest thing my ears ever heard was...
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Burton, Richard (1821-1890). The Book of the Thousand Nights and a Night. London. 1885-1888. Gutenberg Vol. I. Gutenberg Vol. II. Gutenberg Vol. III. Gutenberg Vol. IV. Gutenberg Vol. V. Gutenberg Vol. V. Gutenberg Vol. VII. Gutenberg Vol. VIII. Gutenberg Vol. IX. Gutenberg Vol. X. Please consult the Gutenberg edition for footnotes; the footnotes have not been included in this web version.
1001 Nights Hypertext. Laura Gibbs, Ph.D. This website is licensed under a Creative Commons License. The texts presented here are in the public domain. Thanks to Gene Perry for his excellent help in preparing the texts for the web. Page last updated: January 1, 2005 10:46 PM