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Burton: The Tale of King Omar Bin Al-Nu'uman and His Sons Sharrkan and Zau Al-Makan (cont.)

[Go back to Tale of Hammad the Badawi]

When it was the One Hundred and Forty-fifth Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when Nuzhat al-Zaman heard these words from the Badawi, the light was changed in her eyes to night, and she rose and drawing the sword, smote Hammad the Arab between the shoulder-blades so that the point issued from the apple of his throat. And when all present asked her, 'Why hast thou made haste to slay him;" she answered, "Praised be Allah who hath granted me in my life tide to avenge myself with mine own hand!" And she bade the slaves drag the body out by the feet and cast it to the dogs. Thereupon they turned to the two prisoners who remained of the three; and one of them was a black slave, so they said to him, What is thy name, fellow? Tell us the truth of thy case." He replied, "As for me my name is Al-Ghazban," and acquainted them what had passed between himself and Queen Abrizah, daughter of King Hardub, Lord of Greece, and how he had slain her and fled. Hardly had the negro made an end of his story, when King Rumzan struck off his head with his scymitar, saying, Praise to Allah who gave me life! I have avenged my mother with my own hand." Then he repeated to them what his nurse Marjanah had told him of this same slave whose name was Al-Ghazban; after which they turned to the third prisoner. Now this was the very camel- driver whom the people of the Holy City, Jerusalem, hired to carry Zau al-Makan and lodge him in the hospital at Damascus of Syria; but he threw him down on the ashes midden and went his way. And they said to him, "Acquaint us with thy case and tell the truth." So he related to them all that had happened to him with Sultan Zau al-Makan; how he had been carried from the Holy City, at the time when he was sick, till they made Damascus and he had been thrown into the hospital; how also the Jerusalem folk had paid the cameleer money to transport the stranger to Damascus, and he had taken it and fled after casting his charge upon the midden by the side of the ash-heap of the Hammam. But when he ended his words, Sultan Kanmakan took his sword forthright and cut off his head, saying, "Praised be Allah who hath given me life, that I might requite this traitor what he did with my father, for I have heard this very story from King Zau al-Makan himself." Then the Kings said each to other, "It remaineth only for us to wreak our revenge upon the old woman Shawahi, yclept Zat al-Dawahi, because she is the prime cause of all these calamities and cast us into adversity on this wise. Who will deliver her into our hands that we may avenge ourselves upon her and wipe out our dishonour?" And King Rumzan said, "Needs must we bring her hither." So without stay or delay he wrote a letter to his grandmother, the aforesaid ancient woman, giving her to know therein that he had subdued the kingdoms of Damascus and Mosul and Irak, and had broken up the host of the Moslems and captured their princes, adding, "I desire thee of all urgency to come to me, bringing with thee Queen Sophia, daughter of King Afridun, and whom thou wilt of the Nazarene chiefs, but no armies; for the country is quiet and wholly under our hand." And when she read the letter and recognised the handwriting of King Rumzan, she rejoiced with great joy and forthright equipping herself and Queen Sophia, set out with their attendants and journeyed, without stopping, till they drew near Baghdad. Then she foresent a messenger to acquaint the King of her arrival, whereupon quoth Rumzan, "We should do well to don the habit of the Franks and fare forth to meet the old woman, to the intent that we may be assured against her craft and perfidy." Whereto Kanmakan replied, "Hearing is consenting." So they clad themselves in Frankish clothes and, when Kuzia Fakan saw them, she exclaimed, "By the truth of the Lord of Worship, did I not know you, I should take you to be indeed Franks!" Then they sallied forth with a thousand horse, King Rumzan riding on before them, to meet the old woman. As soon as his eyes fell on hers, he dismounted and walked towards her and she, recognizing him, dismounted also and embraced him, but he pressed her ribs with his hands, till he well nigh broke them. Quoth she, "What is this, O my son?" But before she had done speaking, up came Kanmakan and Dandan; and the horsemen with them cried out at the women and slaves and took them all prisoners. Then the two Kings returned to Baghdad, with their captives, and Rumzan bade them decorate the city which they did for three days, at the end of which they brought out the old woman Shawahi, highs Zat al- Dawahi, with a peaked red turband of palm-leaves on her head, diademed with asses' dung and preceded by a herald proclaiming aloud, "This is the reward of those who presume to lay hands on Kings and the sons of Kings!" Then they crucified her on one of the gates of Baghdad; and, when her companions saw what befel her, all embraced in a body the faith of Al-Islam. As for Kanmakan and his uncle Rumzan and his aunt Nuzhat al-Zaman and the Wazir Dandan, they marvelled at the wonderful events that had betided them and bade the scribes chronicle them in books that those who came after might read. Then they all abode for the remainder of their days in the enjoyment of every solace and comfort of life, till there overtook them the Destroyer of all delights and the Sunderer of all societies. And this is the whole that hath come down to us of the dealings of fortune with King Omar bin al-Nu'uman and his sons Sharrkan and Zau al-Makan and his son's son Kanmakan and his daughter Nuzhat al-Zaman and her daughter Kuzia Fakan. Thereupon quoth Shahryar to Shahrazad, "I desire that thou tell me somewhat about birds;" and hearing this Dunyazad said to her sister, "I have never seen the Sultan light at heart all this while till the present night, and his pleasure garreth me hope that the issue for thee with him may be a happy issue." Then drowsiness overcame the Sultan, so he slept;--And Shahrazad perceived the approach of day and ceased saying her permitted say.

When it was the One Hundred and Forty-sixth Night,

Shahrazad began to relate, in these words, the tale of...

[Go to The Birds and Beasts and the Carpenter]

Burton, Richard (1821-1890). The Book of the Thousand Nights and a Night. London. 1885-1888. Gutenberg Vol. I. Gutenberg Vol. II. Gutenberg Vol. III. Gutenberg Vol. IV. Gutenberg Vol. V. Gutenberg Vol. V. Gutenberg Vol. VII. Gutenberg Vol. VIII. Gutenberg Vol. IX. Gutenberg Vol. X. Please consult the Gutenberg edition for footnotes; the footnotes have not been included in this web version.

1001 Nights Hypertext. Laura Gibbs, Ph.D. This website is licensed under a Creative Commons License. The texts presented here are in the public domain. Thanks to Gene Perry for his excellent help in preparing the texts for the web. Page last updated: January 1, 2005 10:46 PM

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