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A certain King had a son, whom he loved and favoured with exceeding favour, over all his other children; and this son said to him one day, "O my father, I have a mind to fare a-coursing and a-hunting." So the King bade furnish him and commanded one of his Wazirs to bear him company and do all the service he needed during his trip. The Minister accordingly took everything that was necessary for the journey and they set out with a retinue of eunuchs and officers and pages, and rode on, sporting as they went, till they came to a green and well-grassed champaign abounding in pasture and water and game. Here the Prince turned to the Minister and told him that the place pleased him and he purposed to halt there. So they set down in that site and they loosed the falcons and lynxes and dogs and caught great plenty of game, whereat they rejoiced and abode there some days, in all joyance of life and its delight. Then the King's son gave the signal for departure; but, as they went along, a beautiful gazelle, as if the sun rose shining from between her horns, that had strayed from her mate, sprang up before the Prince, whereupon his soul longed to make prize of her and he coveted her. So he said to the Wazir, "I have a mind to follow that gazelle;" and the Minister replied, "Do what seemeth good to thee." Thereupon the Prince rode single-handed after the gazelle, till he lost sight of his companions, and chased her all that day till dusk, when she took refuge in a bit of rocky ground and darkness closed in upon him. Then he would have turned back, but knew not the way; whereat he was sore concerned and said, "There is no Majesty and there is no Might save in Allah, the Glorious, the Great!" He sat his mare all night till morning dawned, in quest of relief, but found none; and, when the day appeared, he fared on at hazard fearful, famished, thirsty, and knowing not whither to wend till it was noon and the sun beat down upon him with burning heat. By that time he came in sight of a great city, with massive base and lofty bulwarks; but it was ruined and desolate, nor was there any live thing therein save owl and raven. As he stood among the buildings, marvelling at their ordinance, lo! his eyes fell on a damsel, young, beautiful and lovely, sitting under one of the city walls wailing and weeping copious tears. So he drew nigh to her and asked, "Who art thou and who brought thee hither?" She answered, "I am called Bint al-Tamimah, daughter of Al-Tiyakh, King of the Gray Country. I went out one day to obey a call of nature, when an Ifrit of the Jinn snatched me up and soared with me between heaven and earth; but as he flew there fell on him a shooting-star in the form of a flame of fire and burned him, and I dropped here, where these three days I have hungered and thirsted; but when I saw thee I longed for life." --And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased to say her permitted say.
When it was the Five Hundred and Eighty-second Night,
She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that the Prince when addressed by the daughter of King Al-Tiyakh who said to him, "When I saw thee I longed for life," was smitten with ruth and grief for her and took her up on his courser's crupper, saying, "Be of good cheer and keep thine eyes cool and clear; for, if Allah (extolled and exalted be He!) restore me to my people and family, I will send thee back to thine own folk." Then he rode on, praying for deliverance, and presently the damsel said to him, "O King's son, set me down, that I may do an occasion under this wall." So he drew bridle and she alighted. He waited for her a long while as she hid herself behind the wall; and she came forth, with the foulest of favours; which when he saw, his hair stood on end and he quaked for fear of her and he turned deadly pale. Then she sprang up on his steed, behind him, wearing the most loathly of aspects, and presently she said to him, "O King's son, what ails thee that I see thee troubled and thy favour changed?" "I have bethought me of somewhat that troubles me." "Seek aid against it of thy father's troops and his braves." "He whom I fear careth naught for troops, neither can braves affright him." "Aid thyself against him with thy father's monies and treasures." "He whom I fear will not be satisfied with wealth." "Ye hold that ye have in Heaven a God who seeth and is not seen and is Omnipotent and Omniscient." "Yes, we have none but Him." "Then pray thou to Him; haply He will deliver thee from me thine enemy!" So the King's son raised his eyes to heaven and began to pray with his whole heart, saying, "O my God, I implore Thy succour against that which troubleth me." Then he pointed to her with his hand, and she fell to the ground, burnt black as charcoal. Therewith he thanked Allah and praised Him and ceased not to fare forwards; and the Almighty (extolled and exalted be He!) of His grace made the way easy to him and guided him into the right road, so that he reached his own land and came upon his father's capital, after he had despaired of life. Now all this befel by the contrivance of the Wazir, who travelled with him, to the end that he might cause him to perish on the way; but Almighty Allah succoured him. "And this" (said the damsel) "have I told thee, O King, that thou mayst know that wicked Wazirs deal not honestly by nor counsel with sincere intent their Kings; wherefore be thou wise and ware of them in this matter." The King gave ear to her speech and bade put his son to death; but the third Wazir came in and said to his brother Ministers, "I will warrant you from the King's mischief this day" and, going in to him, kissed the ground between his hands and said, "O King, I am thy true counsellor and solicitous for thee and for thine estate, and indeed I rede thee the best of rede; it is that thou hasten not to slay thy son, the coolth of thine eyes and the fruit of thy vitals. Haply his sin is but a slight slip, which this damsel hath made great to thee; and indeed I have heard tell that the people of two villages once destroyed one another, because of a drop of honey." Asked the King, "How was that?"; and the Wazir answered, saying, "Know, O King, that I have heard this story anent...
[Go to The Drop of Honey]
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