[Go back to Jouder and His Brothers]
There was once of old time a mighty king called Kundemir, who had been a brave and doughty man of war in his day, but was grown very old and decrepit. It pleased God to vouchsafe him, in his extreme old age, a son, whom he named Agib, because of his beauty and grace, and committed to the midwives and nurses and handmaids and serving-women, and they reared him till he was seven years old, when his father gave him in charge to a priest of his own people and faith. The priest taught the boy the laws and tenets of their infidel faith and instructed him in philosophy and all manner of other knowledge, and it needed but three full-told years before he was proficient therein and his resolve waxed strong and his judgment sound; yea, and he became learned, eloquent and accomplished, consorting with the wise and disputing with the doctors of the law. When his father saw this of him, it pleased him and he taught him to ride and thrust with spears and smite with swords, till by the end of his twentieth year he was an accomplished cavalier, versed in all martial exercises and surpassing in all things all the folk of his day. But he grew up a stubborn tyrant and an arrogant devil, using to ride forth to the chase with a thousand horse and make raids upon the neighbouring lands, waylaying caravans and carrying off the daughters of kings and nobles; wherefore many were the complaints against him to his father, who cried out to five of his servants, saying, 'Seize me yonder dog and beat him!' So they seized the prince and binding his hands behind him, beat him till he lost his senses; after which the king imprisoned him in a chamber, where one might not know heaven from earth or length from breadth; and there he abode two days and a night. Then the Amirs went in to the King and kissing the earth before him, interceded with him for the prince, and he released him.
Agib dissembled with his father for ten days, at the end of which time he went in to him by night and smote off his head, as he slept. When the day rose, he mounted the throne and bade his men arm themselves in complete steel and stand before him and on his either hand with drawn swords. By and by, the Amirs and captains entered and finding their king slain and his son Agib seated on the throne, were confounded and knew not what to do. But Agib said to them, 'O folk, ye see what hath befallen your king. Whoso obeyeth me, I will entreat him with munificence, and whoso gainsayeth me, I will do with him even as I did with my father.' When they heard this, they feared lest he should do them a mischief; so they replied, 'Thou art our king and the son of our king;' and kissed the earth before him; whereupon he thanked them and rejoiced in them. Then he let bring money and apparel and clad them in sumptuous dresses of honour and showered largesse upon them, wherefore they loved him and obeyed him. In like manner he dealt with the governors of the provinces and the Sheikhs of the Bedouins, both tributary and independent, so that all the kingdom submitted to him and the folk obeyed him and he reigned and commanded and forbade.
He abode thus five months, till, one night, he had a vision in sleep and awoke trembling, nor did sleep visit him again till the morning. As soon as it was day, he mounted his throne and his officers stood before him, right and left. Then he called the astrologers and expounders of dreams and said to them, 'As I slept last night, my father appeared to me, with his yard uncovered, and there came forth of it a thing the bigness of a bee, which grew till it became as a mighty lion, with claws like daggers. As I lay, wondering and alarmed at this, behold, it ran upon me and smiting me with its claws, rent my bells' in sunder; whereupon I awoke, affrighted and trembling. Expound to me the meaning of this dream.' The interpreters looked at one another and answered, after consideration, 'O mighty King, this dream points to a child born of thy father, between whom and thee shall be strife, and he shall get the better of thee: so be thou ware of him, by reason of this thy dream.' When Agib heard their words, he said, 'I have no brother whom I should fear; so this your speech is a lying one.' 'We tell thee but what we know,' answered they; but he was wroth with them and beat them.
Then he rose and going in to his father's palace, examined his concubines and found one of them seven months gone with child; whereupon he bade two of his slaves carry her to the sea-shore and drown her. So they took her forth to the sea-shore and were about to drown her, when they looked at her and seeing her to be of surpassing beauty and grace, said to each other, 'Why should we drown this damsel? Let us rather carry her to the forest and live with her there in rare dalliance.' So they took her and fared on with her nights and days, till they brought her to a distant forest, abounding in fruit trees and streams, where they thought to take their will of her; but each said, 'I will lie with her first' And they fell out one with the other concerning this. As they were thus engaged, a company of blacks fell upon them, and they drew their swords and defended themselves; but the blacks slew them both in less than the twinkling of an eye. So the damsel abode alone and wandered about the forest, eating of its fruits and drinking of its waters, till in due time she gave birth to a boy, brown but clean-limbed and comely, whom she named Gherib, by reason of her strangerhood. Then she cut his navel and wrapping him in some of her own clothes, gave him suck, mournful at heart and sorrowing for the fair estate she had lost and full of fear for her loneliness.
One day, there came horsemen and footmen into the forest, with hounds and hawks and horses laden with storks and cranes and herons and young ostriches and divers and other waterfowl and hares and gazelles and wild oxen and lynxes and wolves and lions. Presently, they came upon the damsel, sitting suckling her child, and said to her, 'Art thou a mortal or a genie?' 'I am a mortal, O chief of the Arabs,' answered she. So they told their chief, whose name was Merdas, prince of the Benou Kehtan, and who had come forth to hunt that day with five hundred of his kinsmen and the nobles of his tribe. and he bade them bring her before him. They did so and she related to him her story, at which he marvelled. Then they took her and returned, hunting by the way, to their encampment, where the Amir appointed her a separate dwelling-place and five damsels to serve her; and he loved her with an exceeding love and went in to her and lay with her. She straightway conceived by him, and when her months were accomplished, she bore a male child and named him Sehim el Leil. He grew up with his brother Gherib among the nurses and throve and waxed upon the lap of the Amir Merdas; and the latter in due time committed the two boys to a doctor of the law, who instructed them in the things of their faith; after which he gave them in charge to a valiant cavalier of the Arabs, who taught them to smite with swords and thrust with spears and shoot with bows, till, by the time they reached the age of fifteen, they knew all that they needed and surpassed all the warriors of their tribe; for each of them would undertake a thousand horse.
Now Merdas had many enemies, and the men of big tribe were the bravest of all the Arabs, being all doughty cavaliers, none might warm himself at their fire. Amongst his neighbours was an Amir, by name Hissan ben Thabit, who was his friend; and he took to wife a noble lady of his tribe and bade all his friends to the wedding, amongst them Merdas, prince of the Benou Kehtan, who accepted his invitation and came with three hundred horsemen of his tribe, leaving other four hundred to guard the women. Hissan received him with honour and seated him in the highest room. Then came all the cavaliers to the bridal and he made them bride feasts and held high festival by reason of the marriage, after which the guests departed to their dwelling-places. When Merdas came in sight of his camp, he saw dead men lying and birds hovering over them right and left and his heart sank within him at the sight. Then he entered the camp and was met by Gherib, clad in complete mail, who gave him joy of his safe return. Quoth Merdas, 'What meanest this, O Gherib?' And Gherib answered, 'El Hemel ben Majid attacked us with five hundred horse.'
Now the reason of this was that the Amir Merdas had a daughter called Mehdiyeh, never saw eyes a fairer than she, and El Hemel, prince of the Benou Nebhan, heard of her charms; whereupon he took horse with five hundred of his men and rode to Merdas to demand her hand; but he refused and sent him away disappointed. So he abode his time, till Merdas was absent on his visit to Hissan, when he fell upon the camp of the Benou Kehtan with his braves and slew a number of their warriors, and the rest fled to the mountains. Now Gherib and his brother had ridden forth a-hunting with a hundred horse and returned not till midday, when they found that El Hemel had sacked the camp and carried off the women and children captives, and Mehdiyeh among them. When Gherib saw this, he lost his wits for rage and cried out to Sehim, saying, 'They have plundered our camp and carried off our women and children! Up and at the enemy, that we may deliver the captives!' So Gherib and Sehim and their hundred horse rushed upon the foe, and Gherib's wrath redoubled, and he reaped a harvest of heads, giving the warriors to drink of the cup of death, till he won to El Hemel and saw Mehdiyeh among the captives. Then he drove at the prince of the Benou Nebhan and transfixing him with his lance, hurled him from the saddle; nor was the time of the afternoon-prayer come before he had slain the most part of the foe and put the rest to the rout and rescued the captives; whereupon he returned to the camp in triumph, bearing El Hemel's head on the point of his lance and reciting the following verses:
I'm he whose might is known upon the battle-day: Earth's Jinn do quake to see my shadow in the way.
I have a sword, which when my right hand shakes on high, Death hastens from my left to plunge into the fray;
And eke a spear I have, whereon if any look, Like to the crescent moon they see its steel point ray.
Gherib I'm called, that am the champion of my tribe: What if my men be few! My heart knows not dismay.
Hardly had he made an end of this when up came Merdas, to whom he related all that had passed in his absence. So Merdas alighted and entered his pavilion, and the men stood about him. Then all the people of the tribe fell to praising Gherib and saying, 'But for Gherib, O our lord, not one of the tribe had been saved!' So Merdas thanked him and said, 'Thou hast well requited our pains in rearing thee, O Gherib!'
Now, when Gherib delivered Mehdiyeh from El Hemel, she smote him with the arrows of her glances and he fell into the toils of her love, wherefore his heart could not forget her and he became drowned in passion and love-longing. Sleep forsook him and he had no delight of meat or drink, but would spur his horse up to the mountain-tops, where he would spend the day in reciting verses and return at nightfall; and indeed the signs of love-liking and distraction were manifest upon him. He discovered his secret to one of his companions and it became noised abroad in the camp, till it reached the ears of Merdas, who thundered and lightened and rose and sat down and puffed and snorted and reviled the sun and the moon, saying, 'This is the reward of him who rears bastards! Except I kill Gherib, I shall be put to shame.'
Then he opened out his mind to one of the elders of his tribe and took counsel with him of killing Gherib. 'O Amir,' replied he, 'it was but yesterday that he freed thy daughter from captivity. If thou must needs kill him, let it be by the hand of another than thyself, so the folk may not misdoubt of thee.' Quoth Merdas, 'Advise me how I may compass his death, for I look to none but thee for this.' 'O Amir,' answered the other. 'wait till he goes forth to hunt, when do thou take a hundred horse and lie in wait for him in the caves, till he passes; then take him off his guard and fall upon him and cut him in pieces, so shalt thou be quit of his reproach.' 'This should serve,' said Merdas and chose out a hundred and fifty of his stoutest horsemen, whom he lessoned to his will. Then he watched Gherib till, one day. he went forth to hunt and rode far away amongst the hills and valleys; whereupon Merdas followed him with his men and lay in wait for him by the way against he should return from the chase; but, as they lay in ambush among the trees, there fell upon them five hundred Amalekites, who slew of them three-score and made fourscore and ten prisoners and pinioned Merdas.
Now the reason of this was that when Gherib put El Hemel and his men to the sword, the rest fled to their lord's brother and told him what had happened, whereat his gorge rose and he gathered together his Amalekites and choosing out five hundred cavaliers, each fifty cubits high, set out with them in quest of revenge for his brother. By the way he fell in with Merdas and his company and there happened between them what happened; after which he bade his men alight and rest, saying, 'O folk, the idols have given us an easy revenge; so guard ye Merdas and his men, till I carry them away and put them to death on the foulest wise.' When Merdas found himself a prisoner, he repented of what he had done and said, 'This is the reward of tyranny.' Then they lay down to sleep, and the enemy passed the night, rejoicing in their victory, whilst Merdas and his men despaired of life and made sure of death.
Meanwhile, Sehim el Leil, who had been wounded in the fight with El Hemel, went in to his sister Mehdiyeh and she rose to him and kissed his hands, saying, 'May thy hand never wither nor thine enemies have occasion to rejoice! But for thee and Gherib, we had not escaped captivity. But know, O my brother,' continued she, 'that thy father hath ridden forth with a hundred and fifty horse, purposing to kill Gherib; and thou knowest it would be foul wrong to kill him, for that it was he who saved your honour and rescued your goods.' When Sehim heard this, the light in his eyes became darkness and he donned his battle-harness and mounting, rode in quest of Gherib. He presently came up with him and found that he had taken great plenty of game; so he saluted him and said to him, 'O my brother, why didst thou go forth, without telling me?' 'By Allah,' replied Gberib, 'it was but that I saw thee wounded and thought to give thee rest.' Then said Sehim, 'O my brother, beware of my father!' and told him how Merdas was abroad with a hundred and fifty men, seeking to kill him. Quoth Gherib, 'Allah will make his treason to return on his own head.'
Then they set out, to return to the camp, but the night overtook them by the way and they rode on in the darkness, till they drew near the valley where the enemy lay and heard the neighing of horses; whereupon said Sehim, 'O my brother, my father and his men are ambushed in yonder valley; let us flee from it.' But Gherib dismounted and throwing his bridle to his brother, said to him, 'Stay here till I come back to thee.' Then he went on till he came in sight of the folk, when he saw that they were not of his tribe and heard them name Merdas and say, 'We will not kill him save in his own land.' Wherefore he knew that Merdas was their prisoner and said, 'As Mehdiyeh liveth, I will not depart hence till I have delivered her father, that she may not be troubled!' Then he sought till he came upon Merdas and found him bound with cords; so he sat down by his side and said to him, 'God deliver thee, O uncle, from these bonds and humiliation!' When Merdas saw Gherib, his reason fled and he said to him, 'O my son, I am at thy mercy: deliver me in right of my fosterage of thee!' Quoth Gherib, 'If I deliver thee, wilt thou give me Mehdiyeh?' 'O my son,' answered the Amir, 'by all that is sacred to me, she is thine to all time!' So he loosed him, saying, 'Make for the horses, for thy son Sehim is there:' and Merdas crept along till he came to his son, who rejoiced in him and gave him joy of his escape.
Meanwhile, Gherib unbound one after another of the prisoners, till he had freed the whole ninety and they were all far from the enemy. Then he sent them their arms and horses, saying to them, 'Scatter yourselves round about the enemy and cry out, "O sons of Kehtan!" And when they awake, do ye remove from them and encircle them.' So he waited till the last watch of the night, when he cried out, 'O sons of Kehtan!' and his men answered, saying, 'O sons of Kehtan!' as with one voice; and the mountains echoed their crying, so that it seemed to the enemy as though the whole tribe [of the Benou Kehtan] were upon them; wherefore they all snatched up their arms and fell upon one another with slaughter. Gherib and his men held aloof, and they fought with one another till daybreak, when Merdas and Gherib and their ninety warriors fell in upon them and killed some of them and put the rest to flight. Then they took the arms and horses of the dead and the fugitives and returned to the camp, whilst Merdas could hardly credit his deliverance.
When they reached the encampment, the folk all came to meet them and rejoiced in their safe return. Then they alighted and betook them to their tents; and all the youths of the tribe flocked to Gherib's tent and great and small saluted him and did him honour. When Merdas saw this, he was more jealous of Gherib than before and said to his kinsfolk, 'Verily, hatred of Gherib grows on my heart, and why but because I see these flocking about him! And to-morrow he will demand Mehdiyeh of me.' Quoth his confidant, 'O Amir, ask of him somewhat he cannot avail unto.' This pleased Merdas, and on the morrow, as he sat on his divan, with the Arabs about him, Gherib entered, followed by his men and surrounded by the youth of the tribe, and kissed the earth before Merdas, who rose to do him honour, making a show of joy in him and seating him beside himself.
Then said Gherib, 'O uncle, thou madest me a promise; do thou fulfil it.' 'O my son,' answered the Amir, 'she is thine to all time; but thou lackest good.' 'O uncle,' said Gherib, 'ask of me what thou wilt, and I will fall upon the Amirs of the Arabs in their dwellings and on the kings in their cities and bring thee wealth enough to cover the land from East to West.' 'O my son,' rejoined Merdas, 'I have sworn by all the idols that I would give Mehdiyeh to none but him who should take my wreak [of mine enemy] and do away my reproach.' 'O uncle,' said Gherib, 'tell me with which of the kings thou hast a feud, that I may go to him and break his throne over his head.' 'O my son,' replied Merdas, 'know that I once had a son, a champion of the champions, and he went forth one day to hunt with a hundred horse. They fared on from valley to valley, till they had wandered far away into the mountains and came to the Valley of Flowers and the Castle of Ham ben Shith ben Sheddad ben Kheled.
Now in this place dwells a black giant, seventy cubits high, who uses to pluck up trees by the roots and fight with them; and he came out upon my son and his men and slew them all, save three, who escaped and bore me the news. So I assembled my braves and went forth to fight the giant, but could not avail against him; wherefore I was baulked of my revenge and swore that I would not give my daughter in marriage but to him who should avenge me of my son.' 'O uncle,' said Gherib, 'I will go to the giant and avenge thy son on him with the help of God the Most High.' And Merdas answered, saying, 'O Gherib, if thou get the victory over him, thou wilt gain of him such booty of wealth and treasures as fires may not devour.' Quoth Gherib, 'Swear to me [before witnesses] that thou wilt give me Mehdiyeh to wife, that I may go to seek my fortune with a heart at ease.' So Merdas swore this to him and took the elders of the tribe to witness; whereupon Gherib went away, rejoicing in the [anticipated] fulfilment of his hopes, and went in to his mother, to whom he related what had passed. 'O my son,' said she, 'know that Merdas hates thee and doth but send thee to this mountain, to bereave me of thee; so take me with thee and let us depart the tents of this tyrant.' But he answered, saying, 'O my mother, I will not depart hence till I have compassed my desire and overcome my enemy.'
Then he slept, till the morning arose with its light and shone, and hardly had he mounted his charger when his friends, the young men, came up to him, two hundred stout cavaliers, and cried out to him, saying, 'Take us with thee; we will help thee and keep thee company by the way.' And he rejoiced in them and said, 'God requite you for us with good! Come, my friends, let us go.' So they set out and fared on for two days, till the evening of the second day, when they halted at the foot of a high scarped bill and unbridled their horses. As for Gherib, he left the rest and fared on into the mountain, till he came to a cave, whence issued a light. So he entered and found, at the upper end of the cave, an old man, three hundred and forty years old, whose eyebrows hung down over his eyes and whose moustaches hid his mouth. His aspect filled Gherib with awe and veneration, and the hermit said to him, 'O my son, methinks thou art of the idolaters that worship stones in the stead of the All-powerful King, the Creator of Night and Day and the revolving sphere.' When Gherib heard his words, his nerves quivered and he said, 'O elder, where is this lord of whom thou speakest, that I may worship him and take my fill of his sight?' 'O my son,' replied the old man, 'this is the Supreme Lord, none in the world may look upon Him; He seeth and is not seen. He is the Most High of aspect and is present everywhere in His works. He it is who maketh all things to be and ordereth the march of time; He is the Creator of men and Jinn and sendeth the prophets to guide His creatures into the right way. Whoso obeyeth Him, He bringeth into Paradise, and whoso disobeyeth Him, He casteth into the fire.'
'And how, O uncle,' asked Gherib, 'doth he say who worships this mighty Lord who hath power over all?' 'O my son,' answered the old man, 'I am of the tribe of Aad, which were transgressors in the land and believed not in God. So He sent unto them a prophet named Houd, but they believed not in him and he destroyed them by means of a deadly wind; but I believed, I and some of my tribe, and we were saved from destruction. Moreover, I was present with the tribe of Themoud and saw what befell them with their prophet Salih. After Salih, God the Most High sent a prophet called Abraham the Friend to Nimrod son of Canaan, and there befell what befell between them. Then my companions died and I continued in this cave to serve God the Most High, Who provideth me without my taking thought.' 'O uncle,' quoth Gherib, 'what shall I say, that I may become of the servants of this mighty Lord? 'Say,' replied the old man, '"There is no god but God and Abraham is the Friend of God."'
So Gherib embraced the faith of submission' with heart and tongue and the old man said to him, 'May the sweetness of submission and belief be stablished in thy heart!' Then he taught him somewhat of the ordinances and scriptures of Islam and said to him, 'What is thy name?' And he answered, 'My name is Gherib.' 'O Gherib,' said the old man, 'whither art thou bound?' So he told him all his history, till he came to the mention of the Ghoul of the Mountain, whereupon quoth the other, 'O Gherib, art thou mad that thou goest forth against the Ghoul of the Mountain alone?' 'O my lord,' replied Gherib, 'I have with me two hundred horse.' 'O Gherib,' rejoined the hermit, 'hadst thou ten thousand, yet shouldest thou not prevail against him, for his name is The-Ghoul-who-eats-men-we-pray-God-for-safety, and he is of the children of Ham. His father's name was Hindi, who peopled Hind and named it, and he left this son after him, whom he called Saadan the Ghoul. Now, even in his father's lifetime he was a cruel tyrant and an arrogant devil and had no other food than men's flesh. His father forbade him from this, but he would not be forbidden and redoubled in his frowardness, till Hindi banished him and drove him forth of Hind, after battle and sore travail. Then he came to this country and fortified himself therein, making his dwelling in this place, whence he uses to sally forth and waylay all that come and go. Moreover, he bath begotten five stout and warlike sons, each one of whom will do battle with a thousand braves, and be hath filled the valley with his booty of horses and camels and oxen and sheep, besides other treasure and goods. Wherefore I fear for thee from him; so do thou implore God the Most High to succour thee against him by the word of Unity, and when thou drivest at the infidels, say, "God is Most Great!" for this saying confoundeth those who misbelieve.'
Then he gave him a mace of steel, a hundred pounds in weight, with ten rings, which clashed like thunder, when the wielder brandished it, and a sword forged of a thunder-bolt, three cubits long and three spans broad, wherewith if one smote a rock, it would cleave it in sunder. Moreover, he gave him a hauberk and target and a book [of the law] and said to him, 'Return to thy people and expound Islam to them.' So Gherib left him, rejoicing in his newly-gained faith, and returned to his companions, who saluted him, saying, 'What made thee tarry thus?' Whereupon be told them all that had befallen him and expounded to them Islam, and they all embraced the faith of submission.
Next morning, Gherib mounted and rode to the hermit to bid him farewell, after which he set out to return to his camp. On his way, there met him a horseman armed cap-a-pie, so that only his eyes appeared, who made at him, saying, 'Put off what is on thee, O dog of the Arabs; or I will slay thee!' Therewith Gherib drove at him and there befell between them a battle such as would make a new-born child turn gray and melt the flinty rock with its terror; but presently the stranger did off his face-veil, and behold, it was Gherib's half-brother Sehim el Leil.
Now the manner of his coming thither was on this wise. When Gherib set out in quest of the Ghoul of the Mountain, Sehim was absent and on his return, not seeing his brother, he went in to his mother, whom he found weeping. So he asked the reason and she told him what had happened, whereupon, without allowing himself aught of rest, he donned his harness of war and mounting, pricked after Gherib, till he overtook him and there befell between them what befell. When, therefore, he discovered his face, Gherib knew him and saluted him, saying, 'What moved thee to do this?' Quoth Sehim, 'I had a mind to measure myself with thee in the field and make trial of my force in cutting and thrusting.' Then they rode on, till they drew near the valley, and on the way Gherib expounded Islam to Sehim, who embraced the faith.
Meanwhile, the Ghoul espied the dust of their horses' feet and said to his sons, 'O my sons, mount and fetch me yonder booty.' So the five took horse and made for the party. When Gherib saw the five giants approaching, he spurred towards them and cried out, saying, 'Who and what are ye and what do ye want?' Whereupon Felhoun, the eldest of the five, came out and said, 'Dismount and bind one another and we will drive you to our father, that he may roast some of you and boil other, for it is long since he hath tasted human flesh.' When Gherib heard this, he drove at Felhoun, shaking his mace, so that the rings resounded like the pealing thunder and the giant was confounded. Then he smote him a light blow with the mace between the shoulders, and he fell to the ground like a great palm-tree; whereupon Sehirn and some of his men fell upon him and bound him; then, putting a rope about his neck, they haled him along like a cow.
When his brothers saw him a prisoner, they rushed upon Gherib, who took three of them captive and the fifth fled back to his father, who said to him, 'What is behind thee and where are thy brothers?' Quoth he, 'A beardless youth, forty cubits high, hath taken them prisoner.' 'May the sun pour no blessing on you!' replied Saadan and going down from his hold, tore up a huge tree, with which he went in quest of Gherib and his folk on foot, for that no horse might carry him, because of the bigness of his body. His son followed him and they went on till they came up with Gherib and his company, when the Ghoul fell upon them, without word said, and killed five men with his club. Then he made at Sehim and struck at him with his club, but Sehim avoided the blow and it fell harmless; whereat Saadan was wroth and throwing down the weapon, sprang upon Sehim and caught him up as the merlin catches up the sparrow.
When Gherib saw his brother in the Ghoul's clutches, he cried out, saying, 'God is most Great! By the favour of Abraham the Friend, whom God bless and preserve!' And spurred his charger at Saadan, shaking his mace, till the rings resounded. Then he cried out again, 'God is most Great!' and smote the Ghoul full on the ribs with his mace, whereupon he fell to the ground, insensible, and loosed his hold of Sehim; nor did he come to himself before he was bound and shackled. When his son saw this, lie turned and fled; but Gherib drove after him and smiting him with his mace between the shoulders, unhorsed him. So they bound him with his father and brothers and haltering them with ropes, haled them all six along like camels, till they reached the Ghoul's castle, which they found full of goods and treasures and things of price; and there they found also twelve hundred Persians, bound and shackled.
Gherib sat down on Saadan's chair, which had aforetime belonged to Sasa ben Shith ben Sheddad ben Aad, with Sehim on his right and his companions standing on his either hand, and sending for the Ghoul of the Mountain, said to him, 'How findest thou thyself, O accursed one?' 'O my lord,' answered Saadan, 'in the sorriest of plights for abasement and mortification; my sons and I, we are bound with ropes like camels.' Quoth Gherib, 'It is my will that you enter my faith, that is, the faith of Islam, and acknowledge the Unity of the All-knowing King, Creator of light and darkness and of all things, - there is no God but He, the Requiting King, - and confess the prophethood of Abraham the Friend, on whom be peace I' So the Ghoul and his sons made profession of Islam after the goodliest fashion, and Gherib bade loose their bonds, whereupon Saadan wept and would have kissed his feet, he and his sons: but Gherib forbade them and they stood with the rest.
Then said Gherib, 'Harkye, Saadan!' 'At thy service, o my lord!' answered he. Quoth Gherib, 'What are these captives?' 'O my lord,' replied the Ghoul, 'these are my booty from the land of the Persians and are not the only ones.' 'And who is with them?' asked Gherib. 'O my lord,' answered Saadan, 'there is with them the princess Fekhr Taj, daughter of King Sabour of Persia, and a hundred damsels like moons.' When Gherib heard this, he marvelled and said, 'How came ye by these?' 'O Amir,' replied Saadan, 'I went forth one day with my Sons and five of my slaves in quest of booty, but finding no spoil in our way, we dispersed over deserts and plains and fared on, so haply we might happen on somewhat of prey and not return empty-handed, till we found ourselves in the land of the Persians. Presently, we espied a cloud of dust in the distance and sent one of our slaves to reconnoitre, who returned after awhile and said, "O my lord, this is the princess Fekhr Taj, daughter of Sabour, King of the Persians and Medes and Turcomans, who is on a journey, attended by two thousand horse." Quoth I, "Mayst thou be gladdened with good news! We could have no finer purchase than this." Then I and my sons fell upon the Persians and slew of them three hundred men and took the princess and twelve hundred cavaliers prisoners, together with all that was with her of treasure and riches, and brought them hither.'
Quoth Gherib, 'Hast thou offered any violence to the princess Fekhr Taj?' 'Not I,' replied Saadan, 'as thy head liveth, and by the virtue of the faith I have [but now] embraced!, 'It was well done of thee, O Saadan,' said Gherib; 'for her father is king of the world and he will surely despatch troops in quest of her and lay waste the dwellings of those who took her. And whoso looks not to the issue of events, Fate is no friend to him. But where is the damsel?' And Saadan, 'I have set apart a pavilion for her and her damsels.' Quoth Gherib, 'Show me her lodging,' and Saadan answered, 'I hear and obey.' So he carried him to the pavilion, where he found the princess mournful and cast down, weeping for her former estate of honour and delight. When Gherib saw her, he thought the moon was near him and magnified God the All-hearing and seeing. The princess also looked at him and saw him a princely cavalier, with valour shining from between his eyes and testifying for him and not against him; so she rose and kissed his hands, then threw herself at his feet, saying, 'O hero of the age, I cast myself on thy mercy; protect me from this Ghoul, for I fear lest he do away my maidenhead and after devour me. So take me to serve thine handmaids.' Quoth Gherib, 'Thou shalt be restored in safety to thy father and the seat of thy worship.' Whereupon she prayed that he might live long and have advancement in rank.
Then he caused unbind the Persians and turning to the princess, said to her, 'What brought thee forth of thy palace to the deserts and wastes, so that the highway-robbers made prize of thee?' 'O my lord,' answered she, 'my father and all the people of his realm are Magians, who worship the fire, and not the All-powerful King. Now in our country is a monastery called the Monastery of the Fire, whither every year the daughters of the Magians and worshippers of the Fire resort at the time of their festival, after which they return to their houses. So I and my damsels set out, as of wont, attended by two thousand horse, whom my father sent with me to guard me; but by the way this Ghoul fell upon us and killed some of us and taking the rest captive, imprisoned us in this hold. This, then, is what befell me, O valiant champion, whom God guard against the shifts of fortune!' And Gherib said, 'Fear not; for I will bring thee to thy palace and the seat of thy worship.' Wherefore she blessed him and kissed his hands and feet.
Then he went out from her, after having commanded to treat her with honour, and slept till morning, when he made the ablution and prayed a two-bow prayer, after the rite of our father Abraham the Friend (on whom be peace), whilst the Ghoul and his sons and Gherib's company did the like after him. Then he turned to the Ghoul and said to him, 'O Saadan, wilt thou not show me the Valley of Flowers?'I will well, O my lord,' answered he. So Gherib and his company and Fekhr Taj all rose and went forth, whilst Saadan commanded his slaves and slave-girls, (of whom he had a hundred and fifty female and a thousand male slaves, to pasture his sheep and oxen and camels) to slaughter and cook and make ready the morning-meal and bring it to them among the trees.
When they came to the valley, they found it beautiful passing measure, full of trees growing singly and in clusters and birds warbling on the branches. There sang the mocking-bird, trilling out her melodious notes, and the cushat filling with her warble the mansions of God's creation, and the nightingale, with her voice like that of a man, and the merle, that the tongue fails to describe, and the turtle, whose plaining maddens men for love, and the ringdove and the popinjay answering her with fluent tongue. There also were trees laden with all manner of fruits, of each two kinds, the pomegranate, sweet and sour, the almond-apricot, the camphor-apricot and the almond of Khorassan and the plum, with whose branches entwine the boughs of the myrobalan, and the orange, as it were a flaming cresset, and the shaddock, weighing down its branches, and the lemon, that cures lack of appetite, and the citron, sovereign against the jaundice, and the date, red and yellow, the [especial] handiwork of God the Most High. Of the like of this place saith the poet El Welhan:
When its birds sing in the dawn o'er its limpid lake, El Welhan yearns for its sight ere morning break.
For as it were Paradise 'tis with its fragrant gales And its fruits and its streams that run through its shady brake.
Gherib marvelled at the beauty of the place and bade them set up there the pavilion of Fekhr Taj, daughter of the Chosroës; so they pitched it among the trees and spread it with rich carpets. Then he sat down and the slaves brought food and they ate till they were satisfied; after which quoth Gherib, 'Harkye, Saadan!' 'At thy service, O my lord,' answered the Ghoul. 'Hast thou any wine?' asked Gherib, and Saadan replied, 'Yes, I have a cistern full of old wine.' 'Then,' said Gherib, 'bring us some of it.' So Saadan sent ten slaves, who returned with great plenty of wine, and they ate and drank and made merry. And Gherib bethought him of Mehdiyeh and recited the following verses:
I mind me of the happy days of union and delight, And all my heart's on fire with love and longing for thy sight.
By God, I did not leave thy side of my unfettered will, But by the strange and evil chance of Fate in my despite!
Peace be upon thee, O my love, a thousand times be peace! Whilst I, afar from thee, remain a sad and weary wight.
They abode there three days, eating and drinking and taking their pleasure in the valley, at the end of which time they returned to the castle. Then Gherib called Sehim and said to him, 'Take a hundred horse and go to thy father and mother and thy people, the Benou Kehtan, and bring them all to this place, here to pass the rest of their days, whilst I carry the Princess of Persia back to her father. As for thee, O Saadan,' continued Gherib, addressing the Ghoul, 'abide thou here with thy sons, till I return to thee.' 'And why,' asked Saadan, 'wilt thou not carry me with thee to the land of the Persians?' 'Because,' answered Gherib, 'thou stolest away King Sabour's daughter and if his eye fall on thee he will eat thy flesh and drink tny blood.' When the Ghoul heard this, he laughed a great laugh, as it were the pealing thunder, and said, 'O my lord, if the Persians and the Medes united against me, I would make them quaff the cup of death.' 'Doubtless it is as thou sayest,' rejoined Gherib; 'but abide thou here till I return to thee.' And the Ghoul answered, 'I hear and obey.' Then Sehim departed with his comrades of the Benou Kehtan for the dwelling-pIaces of their tribe, and Gherib set out with Fekhr Taj and her company, intending for the cities of Sabour, King of the Persians.
Meanwhile, King Sabour abode awaiting his daughter's return from the Monastery of the Fire, and when the appointed time passed by and she came not, fires raged in his heart. Now he had forty viziers, whereof the wisest and chiefest was called Daidan: so he said to him, 'O vizier, the day of my daughter's return is past and I have no news of her; so do thou send a courier to the Monastery of the Fire to learn what is come of her.' 'I hear and obey,' replied Daidan, and summoning the chief of the couriers, despatched him forthright to the Monastery. When he reached it, he asked the monks of the princess, and they said, 'We have not seen her this year.' So the Courier returned to the city of Ishanir and told the vizier, who went in to the king and told him. When Sabour heard this, he was sore concerned and casting his crown on the ground, tore his beard and tell down in a swoon. They sprinkled water upon him, and presently he came to himself, weeping-eyed and mournful-hearted and repeated the words of the poet:
When in thine absence to mine aid patience and tears I call, Tears come obedient to my word, but patience not at all.
What if the days have parted us? Indeed, 'tis of their wont; For unto Fortune perfidy, alas! is natural.
Then he called ten of his captains and bade them take each a thousand horse and ride in different directions, in quest of his daughter. So they mounted forthright and departed; whilst the princess's mother clad herself and her women in black and strewed ashes and sat weeping and lamenting.
Meanwhile Gherib and the princess journeyed on ten days, and on the eleventh day, a cloud of dust appeared in the distance and rose to the confines of the sky; whereupon Gherib called the Amir of the Persians and bade him go and learn the cause thereof. 'I hear and obey,' replied he and pricked his charger, till he came within the cloud of dust, where he saw folk and enquired of them. Quoth they, 'We are of the Benou Hettal and are questing for plunder; our Amir is Semsam ben Jirah and we are five thousand horse.' The Persian returned in haste and told Gherib, who cried out to his men and to the Persians, saying, 'Don your arms!' They did as he bade them and presently up came the Arabs, shouting, 'Booty! Booty!' Quoth Gherib, 'God confound you, O dogs of Arabs!' Then he set spurs to his horse and drove at them in valiant wise, shouting, 'God is most great! Ho for the faith of Abraham the Friend, on whom be peace!' And there befell between them a sore battle and great was the clash of arms and the din of the mellay; nor did they leave fighting, till the day fled and the darkness came, when they drew off from one another.
Then Gherib numbered his men and found that five of the Benou Kehtan had fallen and three-and-seventy of the Persians; but of the Benou Hettal they had slain more than five hundred horse. As for Semsam, he alighted and sought neither food nor sleep, but said, 'In all my life I never met such a fighter as this youth! Anon he fights with the sword and anon with the mace: but to-morrow I will go forth and defy him to single combat and cut off these Arabs.' Now, when Gherib returned to his camp, the princess met him, weeping and affrighted for the terror of that which had befallen, and kissed his foot in the stirrup, saying, 'May thy hands never wither nor thine enemies rejoice, O champion of the age! Praised be God Who hath saved thee alive this day! Verily, I am in fear for thee from yonder Arabs.' When Gherib heard this, he smiled in her face and comforted her, saying, 'Fear not, O princess! Were this desert full of the enemy, yet would I scatter them, by the might of God the Most High.' She thanked him and prayed that he might be given the victory over his enemies; after which she returned to her women and Gherib went to his tent, where he cleansed himself of the blood of the infidels, and they lay on their arms that night.
Next morning, the two hosts mounted and sought the field. The first to prick into the plain was Gherib, who spurred his charger till he was near the infidels and cried out, 'Who is for jousting? Let no sluggard or weakling come out to me!' Whereupon there came out a buirdly giant of the lineage of the tribe of Aad, armed with an iron mace, twenty pounds in weight, and drove at Gherib, saying, 'O scum of the Arabs, take what cometh to thee and know that thy last hour is at hand!' So saying, he aimed a blow at Gherib, but he avoided it and the mace sank a cubit into the ground. Now the Bedouin was bent in twain with the blow; so Gherib smote him with his mace and clove his forehead in sunder; and he fell down dead and God hurried his soul to the fire. Then Gherib made his horse wheel and curvet before the foe and offered battle. So there came out to him a second and a third and a fourth and so on, till ten had come forth to him and he slew them all.
When the infidels saw his swashing blows and the slaughter he made, they hung back and forbore to go forth to him, whereupon Semsam looked at them and said, 'May God not bless you! I will go forth to him.' So he donned his battle-harness and spurring his charger into the midst of the field, cried out to Gherib, saying, 'Out on thee, O dog of the Arabs! what art thou that thou shouldst defy me in the open field and slay my men?' And Ghetib answered, 'Up and take thy wreak for the slaughter of thy braves!' So Semsam ran at Gherib, who awaited him with a dilated breast and a heart well pleased, and they hewed at one another with maces, till the two hosts marvelled and every eye was fixed on them. Then they wheeled about [and fetching a compass] in the field, [met] and struck at each other; but Gherib avoided Semsam's stroke and dealt him a buffet that beat in his breast and cast him to the ground, dead; whereupon all his host set upon Gherib as one man, and he ran at them, crying out, 'God is most Great! He giveth help and victory [to His servants] and forsaketh those who reject the faith of Abraham the Friend, on whom be peace!'
When the infidels heard the name of the All-powerful King, the One, the Victorious, whom the sights comprehend not, but He comprehendeth all sights, they looked at one another and said, 'What is this saying that makes us tremble in every nerve and weakens our resolution and causes the life to fail in us? Never in our lives heard we aught goodlier than this saying! Let us leave fighting, that we may ask its meaning.' So they held their hands from the battle and dismounted; and their chiefs assembled and held counsel together, seeking to go to Gherib and saying, 'Let ten of us go to him!' So they chose out ten of their best, who set out for Gherib's camp. Now he and his people had alighted and returned to their tents, marvelling at the withdrawal of the infidels from the fight. Presently, the ten elders came up and seeking speech of Gherib, kissed the earth before him and wished him glory and long life. Quoth he to them, 'What made you leave fighting?' 'O my lord,' answered they, 'thou didst affright us with the words thou shoutedst out at us.' Then said Gherib, 'What calamity do ye worship?' 'We worship Wedd and Souwaa and Yeghouth,' answered they, 'lords of the tribe of Noah;' and Gherib, 'We serve none but God the Most High, Maker of all things and Provider of every living creature. He it is who created the heavens and the earth and stablished the mountains, who maketh water to well from the rocks and the trees to grow and feedeth the wild beasts in the deserts; for He is God, the One, the All-powerful.'
When they heard this, their bosoms expanded to the words of the faith of Unity and they said, ' Verily, this God is a great lord, compassionate and merciful. What shall we say, to become of those that submit themselves to Him ?' Quoth Gherib, 'Say," There is no god but God and Abraham is the Friend of God."' So the ten made sincere profession of the true faith and Gherib said to them, ' If the sweetness of Islam be indeed stablished in your hearts, go to your people and expound the faith to them; and if they profess, they shall be saved, but if they refuse, we will burn them with fire.' So they returned and expounded Islam to their people and set forth to them the way of truth and righteousness, and they embraced the faith of submission with heart and tongue.
Then they repaired on foot to Gherib's tent and kissing the earth before him, wished him power and advancement, saying, 'O our lord, we are become thy slaves; command us what thou wilt, for we hearken to thee and obey thee and will never leave thee, for God hath guided us into the right way at thy hands.' 'May God abundantly requite you!' answered he. 'Return to your dwellings and take your goods and your children and forego me to the Valley of Flowers and the castle of Sasa ben Shith, whilst I carry the princess Fekhr Taj, daughter of Sabour, King of the Persians, back to her father and return to you.' 'We hear and obey,' said they and straightway returned to their encampment, rejoicing in Islam, and expounding the faith to their wives and children, who became true believers. Then they dismantled their dwellings and set forth, with their goods and cattle, for the Valley of Flowers. Now Gherib had charged them, saying, 'If the Ghoul of the Mountain come out to you and offer to attack you, do ye call upon the name of God, the Creator of all things, and he will leave his hostile intent and receive you hospitably.' So, when they came in sight of the castle of Shith, Saadan and his Sons sallied forth to them and would have fallen upon them; but they called aloud upon the name of God the Most High, and straightway he received them kindly and asked them of their case. They told him all that had passed between Gherib and themselves, whereupon he rejoiced in them and lodged them with him and loaded them with kindnesses.
Meanwhile, Gherib and his company fared on five days' journey towards the city of Isbanir, and on the sixth day, they saw in the distance a cloud of dust. So Gherib sent one of the Persians to learn the meaning of this and he went and returned, swiftlier than a bird in its flight, saying, 'O my lord, these be a thousand horse of our comrades, whom the King hath sent in quest of his daughter.' When Gherib heard this, he commanded his men to halt and pitch the tents. So they halted and waited till the new comers reached them, when they went to meet them and told Touman, their captain, that the princess was with them; whereupon he went in to Gherib and kissing the earth before him, enquired for her. Gherib sent him to her tent, and he entered and kissed her hands and feet and acquainted her with what had befallen her father and mother. She told him in return all that had befallen her and how Gherib had delivered her from the Ghoul of the Mountain, who would else have eaten her, adding, 'And indeed, it behoves my father to give him the half of his kingdom.' Then Touman returned to Gherib and kissed his hands and feet and thanked him for his good dealing, saying, 'With thy leave, O my lord, I will return to Isbanir and acquaint the King with the good news of his daughter's approach.' 'Go,' answered Gherib, 'and take of him the gift for glad tidings.'
So Touman returned with all diligence to Isbanir and entering the palace, kissed the earth before the King, who said to him, 'What is the news, O bringer of glad tidings?' Quoth Touman, 'I will not speak, till thou give me the reward for good news.' 'Tell me thy good news,' answered the King, 'and I will content thee.' So Touman said, 'O King, I bring thee the glad tidings of the return of the princess Fekhr Taj.' When Sabour heard his daughter's name, he fell down in a swoon and they sprinkled rose-water on him, till he recovered and said to Touman, 'Draw near to me and tell me all.' So he came forward and acquainted him with all that had befallen the princess; and Sabour beat hand upon hand, saying, 'Alas, unhappy Fekhr Taj!' And he bade give Touman ten thousand dinars and conferred on him the government of the city of Ispahan. Then he cried out to his Amirs, saying, 'Mount, all of you, and go forth to meet the princess Fekhr Taj!' Whilst the chief eunuch went in to the queen-mother and told her and all the harem the good news, whereat she rejoiced and gave him a dress of honour and a thousand dinars. Moreover, the people of the city heard of this and decorated the streets and houses.
Then the King and Touman took horse and rode till they fell in with Gherib, when Sabour dismounted and made some steps towards Gherib, who also dismounted and advanced to meet him; and they embraced and saluted each other, and Sabour bent over Gherib's hand and kissed it and thanked him for his favours. They pitched their tents in face of one another and Sabour went in to his daughter, who rose and embracing him, told him all that had befallen her and how Gherib had rescued her from the clutches of the Ghoul of the Mountain. 'By thy life, O princess of fair ones,' said the King, 'I will overwhelm him with gifts!' 'O my father,' rejoined she, 'make him thy son-in-law, that he may be to thee a help against thine enemies, for he is passing valiant.' This she said because her heart was enamoured of Gherib. 'O my daughter,' answered her father, 'knowst thou not that King Khired Shah seeks thee in marriage and that he hath cast the brocade and given a hundred thousand dinars [to dowry], and he is King of Shiraz and its dependencies and is lord of empire and horsemen and footmen?' 'O my father,' said the princess, 'I desire not that whereof thou speakest, and if thou constrain me to that I have no mind to, I will kill myself.' So Sabour left her and went in to Gherib, with whom he sat awhile and could not take his fill of looking upon him; and he said in himself, 'By Allah, my daughter is excusable if she love this Bedouin!' Then he called for food and they ate and passed the night together.
On the morrow, they took horse and rode till they arrived at the city of Isbanir and entered, stirrup to stirrup, and it was a great day for them. Fekhr Taj repaired to her palace and the abiding-place of her rank, where her mother and her women received her with cries of joy. As for King Sabour, he sat down on his throne and seated Gherib on his right hand, whilst the princes and viceroys and chamberlains and viziers and officers stood on either hand and gave him joy of the recovery of his daughter. Quoth Sabour, 'Whoso loveth me let him bestow a robe of honour on Gherib,' and there fell dresses of honour on him like rain. Then Gherib abode the King's guest ten days, at the end of which time he would have departed, but Sabour clad him in a dress of honour and swore by his faith that he should not depart for a month. Quoth Gherib, 'O King, I am plighted to one of the girls of the Arabs and I desire to go in to her.' 'Whether is the fairer,' asked the King, 'thy betrothed or Fekhr Taj?' 'O King of the age,' replied Gherib, 'what is the slave beside the lord?' And Sabour said, 'Fekhr Taj is become thy handmaid, for that thou didst rescue her from the clutches of the Ghoul, and she shall have none other husband than thee.'
Thereupon Gherib rose and kissed the earth, saying, "O, King of the age, thou art a king and I am but a poor man, and belike thou wilt ask a heavy dowry.' 'O my son,' replied the King, 'know that Khired Shah, lord of Shiraz, seeks her in marriage and hath appointed a hundred thousand dinars to her dower; but I have chosen thee before all men, that I may make thee the shield of my kingship and the sword of my vengeance.' Then he turned to his chief officers and said to them, 'Bear witness against me that I give my daughter Fekhr Taj in marriage to my son Gherib.' With that he joined hands with him and she became his wife. Then said Gherib, 'Appoint me a dower and I will bring it to thee, for I have in the Castle of Sasa wealth and treasures beyond count.' 'O my son,' answered Sabour, 'I want of thee neither gold nor treasure and I will take nothing for her dower save the head of Jemrcan, King of Desht and the city of Ahwaz.' 'O King of the age,' rejoined Gherib, 'I will fetch my people and go to thine enemy and lay waste his realm.' Quoth Sabour, 'May God requite thee with good!' and dismissed the assembly, thinking that, if Gherib went forth against Jemrcan, be would never return.
Next morning, the King mounted with Gherib and all his troops and rode forth to the tilting-ground, where he said to his men, 'Do ye tilt with spears and gladden my heart.' So the Persian cavaliers tilted, one against the other, and Gherib said, 'O King of the age, I have a mind to tilt with the horsemen of the Persians, but on one condition.' 'What is that?' asked the King. 'It is,' answered Gherib, 'that I shall don a light tunic and take a headless spear, with a pennon dipped in saffron, whilst the Persians tilt against me with sharp spears. If any conquer me, I will give myself to him; but, if I conquer him, I will mark him on the breast and he shall leave the lists.' Then the King cried to the commander of the troops to bring forward the champions of the Persians; so he chose out twelve hundred of his stoutest champions, and the King said to them, in the Persian tongue, 'Whoso slayeth this Bedouin may ask of me what he will.' So they strove with each other for the precedence and advanced upon Gherib and truth was distinguished from falsehood and jest from earnest. Quoth Gherib, 'I put my trust in God, the God of Abraham the Friend, Who hath power over all and from whom nothing is hidden, the One, the Almighty, whom the sight comprehendeth not!'
Then a giant of the Persian champions pricked out to him, but Gherib let him not stand long before him ere he marked him and filled his breast with saffron, and as he turned away, he smote him on the nape with [the butt of] his spear, and he fell to the ground and his pages carried him forth of the lists. Then a second champion came forth against him and he overcame him and marked him on the breast; and thus did he with champion after champion, till he had overcome them all and marked them on the breast; for God the Most High gave him the victory over them and they went forth of the lists. Then the servants set food before them and they ate and drank till Gherib's wits were dazed. By and by, he went out upon an occasion and would have returned, but lost his way and entered the palace of Fekhr Taj. When she saw him, her reason fled and she cried out to her women, saying, 'Go to your own places!' So they withdrew and she rose and kissed Gherib's hand, saying, 'Welcome to my lord, who delivered me from the Ghoul! Indeed I am thine handmaid for ever.' Then she drew him to her bed and embraced him, whereupon desire was hot upon him and he broke her seal and lay with her till the morning. Now the King thought that he had departed; but on the morrow he went in to him and Sabour rose to him and made him sit by his side.
Then entered the [tributary] kings and kissing the earth, stood on either hand and fell to talking of Gherib's valour and saying, 'Extolled be He who gave him such prowess, and he so young in years!' As they were thus engaged, the King espied from the palace-windows the dust of horse approaching and cried out to his scouts, saying, 'Out on you! Go and bring me news of yonder dust!' So one of them took horse and riding off, returned after awhile and said, 'O King, this is the dust of a hundred horse, and the name of their chief is Sehim el Leil.' Quoth Gherib, 'O my lord, this is my brother, whom I had sent on an errand, and I will go forth to meet him.' So saying, he mounted, with his hundred men of the Benou Kehtan and a thousand Persians, and rode forth to meet his brother in great state, [that is to say if greatness may be attributed to the creature] for [real] greatness belongeth to God alone. When they came up with each other, they dismounted and embraced, and Gherib said to Sehim, 'O my brother, hast thou brought our tribe to the Castle of the Ghoul of the Mountain and the Valley of Flowers?' 'O my brother,' answered Sehim, 'when the perfidious dog Merdas heard that thou hadst mastered the Ghoul of the Mountain and his stronghold, he was sore chagrined and said, "Except I depart hence, Gherib will come and take my daughter Mehdiyeh without dower." So he took his daughter and his goods and set out with his tribe for Irak, where he entered the city of Cufa and put himself under the protection of King Agib, seeking to give him his daughter to wife.' When Gherib heard his brother's story, he well-nigh gave up the ghost for rage and said, 'By the virtue of the faith of submission, the faith of Abraham the Friend, and by the Supreme Lord, I will assuredly go to the land of Irak and make fierce war upon it.'
Then they returned to the city and going in to the King, kissed the earth before him. He rose to Gherib and saluted Sehim; after which the former told him what had happened and he put ten captains at his command, under each one's hand ten thousand horse of the stoutest of the Persians and the Arabs, who equipped themselves and were ready to depart at the end of three days. Then Gherib set out and journeyed till he reached the Castle of Sasa, where the Ghoul and his sons came forth to meet him and dismounting, kissed his feet in the stirrups. He told them all that had passed and the Ghoul said, 'O my lord, do thou abide in this castle, whilst I repair to Irak with my sons and servants and lay waste town and hamlet and bring thee all its defenders bound hand and foot.' But Gherib thanked him and said, 'O Saadan, we will all go.' So they all made ready and set out for Irak, leaving a thousand horse to guard the castle.
Meanwhile, Merdas arrived at the city of Cufa and going in to Agib, kissed the earth before him and wished him what is usually wished to kings. Then he made him a handsome present, saying, 'O my lord, I come to throw myself on thy protection.' 'Tell me who hath wronged thee,' answered Agib, 'that I may protect thee against him, though it were Sabour, King of the Persians and Turco mans and Medes.' 'O King,' replied Merdas, 'he who bath wronged me is none other than a youth whom I reared in my bosom. I found him in his mother's lap in a certain valley and took her to wife. She brought me a son, whom I named Sehim el Leil, and her own son, whose name was Gherib, grew up on my knees and became a consuming lightning and a great calamity, for he slew El Hemel, prince of the Benou Nebhan, and routed footmen and overcame horsemen. Now I have a daughter, who befits thee alone, and he sought her of me; so I required of him the head of the Ghoul of the Mountain [to her dowry;] wherefore he went to him and engaging him in single combat, made him prisoner and took the castle of Sasa ben Shith ben Sheddad ben Aad, wherein are the treasures of the ancients and the moderns, and the Ghoul is become one of his liegemen. Moreover, I hear that he is become a Muslim and goeth about, summoning the folk to his faith. He is now gone to carry the princess of Persia, whom he delivered from the Ghoul, back to her father, King Sabour, and will not return but with the treasures of the Persians.'
When Agib heard Merdas's story, he changed colour and was in ill case and made sure of destruction; then he said to Merdas, 'Is his mother with thee or with him?' 'She is with me,' answered Merdas; 'in my tents.' Quoth Agib, 'What is her name?' and Merdas said, 'Her name is Nusreh.' 'It is indeed she,' rejoined Agib and sent for her. When she came before him, he looked on her and knew her and said to her, 'O accursed woman, where are the two slaves I sent with thee?' 'They slew each other on my account,' replied she; whereupon he drew his sword and smote her and cut her in twain. Then they took her up and cast her out; but trouble entered into Agib's heart and he said to Merdas, 'Give me thy daughter to wife.' 'She is one of thine handmaids,' answered he; 'I give her to thee to wife, and I am thy slave.' Quoth Agib, 'I desire to look upon this whoreson, Gherib, that I may make an end of him and cause him taste all manner of torments.' Then he bade give Merdas, to his daughter's dowry, thirty thousand dinars and a hundred pieces of silk fringed and brocaded with gold and a hundred pieces of bordered stuffs and handkerchiefs and collars of gold. So he went forth with this splendid dowry and set himself to equip Mehdiyeh with all diligence.
Meanwhile, Gherib fared on till he came to El Jezireh, which is the first town of Irak and is a walled and fortified city, and here he called a halt. When the people of the city saw his army encamp before it, they shut the gates and manned the walls, then went to the king of the city, who was called Damigh for that he used to brain the champions in the open field, and told him. So he looked forth from the battlements of the palace and seeing an immense army of Persians encamped before the city, said to the citizens, 'O folk, what do yonder Persians want?' 'We know not,' answered they.
Now Damigh had among his officers a man called Sebul-kifar, keen of wit and subtle as he were a flame of fire; so he called him and bade him go to the stranger host and find out who they were and what they wanted and return quickly. Accordingly, he sped like the wind to the Persian camp, where a company of Arabs met him and said to him, 'Who art thou and what dost thou want?' Quoth he, 'I am a messenger and an ambassador from the lord of the city to your chief.' So they took him and carried him through the lines of tents and standards, till they came to Gherib's pavilion and told him of the envoy. He bade them bring him in and they did so, whereupon he kissed the earth before Gherib and wished him length of days and honour. Quoth Gherib, 'What is thine errand?' and Sebulkifar answered, saying, 'I am an envoy from the lord of the city of Jezireh, Damigh, brother of King Kundemir, lord of the city of Cufa and the land of Irak.' When Gherib heard his father's name, the tears ran from his eyes and he looked at the messenger and said, 'What is thy name?' 'My name is Sebulkifar,' answered he. 'O Sebulkifar,' said Gherib, 'return to thy master and tell him that the commander of this host is called Gherib, son of Kundemir, King of Cufa, whom his son Agib slew, and he is come to avenge his father on the perfidious dog Agib.'
So Sebulkifar returned to the city, rejoicing, and told Damigh all he had heard. The latter thought himself in a dream and said to the messenger, 'O Sebulkifar, is this thou tellest me true?' ' As thy head liveth,' replied Sebulkifar, 'it is true.' Then Damigh took horse forthright with his chief officers and rode out to the camp, where Gherib met him and they embraced and saluted one another; after which Gherib carried him to his pavilion and they sat down on beds of estate. And Damigh rejoiced in Gherib, his brother's son, and turning to him, said, 'I also have yearned to avenge thy father, but could not avail against the dog thy brother; for that his troops are many and mine few.' 'O uncle,' replied Gherib, 'I am come to avenge my father and blot out our reproach and rid the realm of Agib.' Quoth Damigh, 'O son of my brother, thou hast two wreaks to take, that of thy father and that of thy mother.' 'And what ails my mother?' asked Gherib. 'Thy brother Agib hath slain her,' replied Damigh and told him what had befallen, whereupon Gherib's reason fled and he swooned away and came nigh upon death. No sooner did he come to himself than he cried out to the troops, saying, 'To horse!' But Damign said to him, 'O son of my brother, wait till I make ready mine estate and mount with my men and fare with thee and at thy stirrup.' 'O uncle,' replied Gherib, 'I have no patience to wait; do thou equip thy troops and join me at Cufa.'
So Gherib mounted with his troops and rode, till he came to the town of Babel, whose folk took fright at him. Now there was in this town a king called Jemek, under whose hand were twenty thousand horsemen, and there gathered themselves together to him from the villages [round about] other fifty thousand horse, who pitched their tents under the walls of the city. Then Gherib wrote a letter and sent it to King Jemek by a messenger, who came up to the city-gate and cried out, saying, 'I am a messenger;' whereupon the keeper of the gate went in and told Jemek, who said, 'Bring him to me.' So the messenger entered and kissing the earth before the King, gave him the letter. Jemek opened it and read as follows: 'Praise be to God, the Lord of the Worlds and of all things, Who provideth all creatures and hath power over all! These from Gherib, son of Kundemir, lord of Irak and Cufa, to Jemek. As soon as this letter reaches thee, let not thy reply be other than to break thine idols and confess the unity of the All-knowing King, Creator of light and darkness and of all things, the All-powerful; and except thou do as I bid thee, I will make this day the blackest of thy days. Peace be on those who follow in the way of righteousness, fearing the issues of frowardness, and obey the Most High King, Lord of this world and the next, Him who saith to a thing, "Be;" and it is'
When Jemek read this letter, his eyes rolled and his colour changed and he cried out to the messenger, saying, 'Go to thy lord and say to him, "To-morrow, at daybreak there shall be battle and conflict and it shall appear who is the master."' So he returned and told Gherib, who bade his men make ready for battle, whilst Jemek pitched his tents in face of Gherib's camp and his troops poured forth like the swollen sea and passed the night in expectation of battle. As soon as it was day, the two hosts mounted and drew up in battle array and beat their drums and spurred their swift horses, filling the plains; and the champions came out.
The first who sallied forth to the field was the Ghoul of the Mountain, bearing on his shoulder a terrible big tree, and he cried out between the two hosts, saying, 'I am Saadan the Ghoul: who is for fighting, who is for jousting? Let no sluggard or weakling come forth to me.' And he called out to his slaves, saying, 'Out on you! Bring me firewood and fire, for I am hungry.' So the slaves brought firewood and kindled a fire midmost the lists. Then there came out to him a man of the infidels, an Amalekite of the unbelieving Amalekites, bearing on his shoulder a mace as it were the mast of a ship, and drove at the Ghoul, saying, 'Woe to thee, O Saadan!' When the Ghoul heard this, be was angered and raising his club, aimed at the infidel a blow, that whistled through the air. The other met the stroke with his mace, but it beat down his guard and descending with its own weight and that of the mace upon his head, beat in his brain-pan, and he fell like a great palm-tree; whereupon Saadan cried to his slaves, saying, 'Take this fat calf and roast him quickly.' So they hastened to skin the infidel and roasted him and brought him to the Ghoul, who ate his flesh and crunched his bones.
When the infidels saw how Saadan did with their fellow, their skins quaked and their colour changed and their hearts died within them and they said to one another, 'Whoso goeth out against this Ghoul, he eats him and cracks his bones and maketh him to lack the wind of the world.' Wherefore they quailed for fear of the Ghoul and his sons and turned to fly, making for the town; but Gherib cried out to his troops, saying, 'Up and after them!' So the Persians and the Arabs drove after the King of Babel and his host and smote them with the sword, till they slew of them twenty thousand or more. Moreover, the fugitives crowded together in the gate of the city and there they slew of them much people; and they could not win to shut the gate. So the Persians and the Arabs entered with them, fighting, and Saadan, taking a mace from one of the slain, fought his way through the foe and broke into the King's palace, where be met with Jemek and smote him with the mace, that he fell senseless to the ground. Then he fell upon those who were in the palace and pounded them into fragments, till those who were left cried out for quarter and Saadan said to them, 'Bind your king.' So they bound Jemek and took him up, and Saadan drove them before him like sheep and brought them before Gherib, after the most part of the people of the city had perished by the swords of the latter's host.
When Jemek came to himself, he found himself bound and heard Saadan say, 'I will sup to-night off this king Jemek;' whereupon he turned to Gherib and said to him, 'I throw myself on thy mercy.' 'Become a Muslim,' replied Gherib, 'and thou shalt be safe from the Ghoul and from the vengeance of the Living [God] who ceaseth not.' So Jemek professed Islam with heart and tongue and Gherib commanded his bonds to be loosed. Then he expounded the faith to his people and they all became Muslims; after which Jemek returned to the city and despatched thence meat and drink to the camp before Babel, where they passed the night. On the morrow, Gherib gave the signal for departure and they fared on till they came to Meyya Farikin, which they found empty, for its people had heard what had befallen Babel and had fled to Cufa and told Agib. When the latter heard the news, his gorge rose and he assembled his fighting men and bade them make ready to do battle with his brother's host; after which he numbered them and found them thirty thousand horse and ten thousand foot. So he levied other fifty thousand horse and foot and taking horse with a mighty host, rode forward five days, till he came upon his brother's army encamped before Mosul and pitched his tent in face of theirs.
Then Gherib wrote a letter and said to his officers, 'Which of you will carry this letter to Agib?' Whereupon up sprang Sehim and said, 'O King of the age, I will carry thy letter and bring thee back an answer.' So Gherib gave him the letter and he repaired to the pavilion of Agib, who bade admit him and said to him, 'Whence comest thou?' 'From the King of the Arabs and the Persians,' answered Sehim, 'son-in-law of Chosroës, King of the world, who sendeth thee a letter; so do thou return him an answer.' 'Give me the letter,' said Agib. So Sehim gave him the letter and he tore it open and read as follows: 'In the name of God the Compassionate, the Merciful! Peace be on Abraham the Friend! As soon as this letter comes to thy hands, do thou confess the unity of the Bountiful King, Causer of causes and Mover of the clouds, and leave worshipping idols. If thou do this thing, thou art my brother and ruler over us and I will pardon thee the deaths of my father and mother, nor will I reproach thee with what thou hast done. But if thou obey not my commandment, behold, I will hasten to thee and cut off thy head and lay waste thy dominions. Verily, I give thee good counsel, and peace be on those who follow in the way of righteousness and obey the Most High King!'
When Agib read these words and knew the threat they contained, his eyes sank into his head and he gnashed his teeth for rage. Then he tore the letter in pieces and threw it away, which vexed Sehim and he cried out upon Agib, saying, 'God wither thy hand for that thou hast done!' With this Agib cried out to his men, saying,'Seize yonder dog and cut him in pieces with your swords' So they ran at Sehim; but he drew his sword and fell upon them and killed more than fifty of them; after which he cut his way out and won back, covered with blood, to Gherib, who said, 'What is this, O Sehim?' And he told him what had passed, whereat he grew livid for rage and crying, 'God is most great!' bade the drums beat to battle. So the fighting-men donned their hauberks and coats of strait-woven mail and girt themselves with their swords; the footmen drew out in battle-array, whilst the horsemen mounted and set their long lances in the rest and the champions pricked into the field. Agib and his men also took horse and the two hosts charged down upon each other. Then ruled the Judge of Battle, in whose ordinance is no unright, for a seal is on his lips and he speaketh not, and the blood ran down in streams and laced the earth with curious broidery; heads grew gray [for terror] and the battle raged ever hotter and fiercer. Feet slipped and the valiant stood firm and pushed forward, whilst the faint-heart turned and fled, nor did they leave fighting till the day waned and the night came with the darkness. Then the drums beat the retreat and the two hosts drew apart and returned to their tents, where they passed the night.
Next morning, as soon as it was day, the drums beat to battle, and the warriors donned their harness of war and girt on their fair swords and mounting their stout horses, couched their brown lances and cried out, saying, 'Let there be no budging to-day!' And the two hosts drew out in battle-array, like the swollen sea. The first to open the chapter of war was Sehim, who spurred his charger between the two hosts and played with swords and spears and plied all manner of martial exercises, till the choicest wits were confounded. Then he cried out, saying, 'Who is for fighting? Who is for jousting? Let no sluggard or weakling come out!' Whereupon there pricked out to him a horseman of the infidels, as he were a flame of fire; but it was not long before Sehim pierced him with his lance and overthrew him. Then a second came forth and he slew him also, and a third and he rent him in sunder, and a fourth, and he did him to death; nor did they leave to come out to him and he to slay them, till he had done to death two hundred fighting-men. Then Agib cried to his men to charge, and the two hosts met with a mighty shock and great was the clash of arms and the roar of the battle. The shining swords rang out and the blood ran in streams and men's skulls were as shoes to the horses' feet, nor did they cease from sore smiting till the day waned and the night came with the darkness, when they drew apart and returning to their tents, passed the night there.
As soon as it was day, the two hosts mounted and sought the field; and the Muslims looked for Gherib to mount and ride behind the standards as was his wont, but he came not. So Sehim sent a servant to his brother's pavilion, who, finding him not, questioned the tent-keepers, but they answered, 'We know nothing of him.' Whereat he was greatly concerned and went forth and told the troops, who refused to give battle, saying, 'If Gherib be absent from us, his enemy will destroy us.' Now there was for Gherib's absence a cause that we will set out in due order, and it was thus. When Agib returned to his camp on the preceding night, he called one of his officers by name Siyyar and said to him, 'O Siyyar, I have kept thee in reserve for a day like this; and now I bid thee go to Gherib's camp and show thy skill by bringing Gherib himself to me.' And Siyyar said, 'I hear and obey.' So he repaired to the enemy's camp and stealing into Gherib's pavilion, in the darkness of the night, when all the men had gone to rest, passed himself off for a servant and stood to serve Gherib, who presently, being athirst, called to him for water. So he brought him a flagon of water, drugged with henbane, whereof no sooner had Gherib drunk, than he fell down head fore-most; whereupon Siyyar wrapped him in his cloak and carrying him to Agib's tent, threw him down at his feet. Quoth Agib, 'O Siyyar, what is this?' 'This is thy brother Gherib,' answered he; whereat Agib rejoiced and said, 'The blessing of the idols light upon thee! Loose him and wake him.'
So they made him smell to vinegar and he came to himself and opened his eyes; then, finding himself bound and in a tent other than his own, said, 'There is no power and no virtue save in God the Most High, the Supreme!' Then Agib cried out at him, saying, 'O dog, dost thou draw on me and seek to slay me and take on me thy wreak of thy father and mother? This very day I will send thee to them and rid the world of thee.' 'O dog of the infidels, replied Gherib, 'thou shalt see against whom the wheels of fate shall revolve and who shall be overthrown of the Almighty King, Who knoweth what is in the hearts and Who shall leave thee in hell, tormented and confounded! Have pity on thyself and say with me, "There is no god but God and Abraham is the Friend of God!.' When Agib heard Gherib's words, he puffed and snorted and railed at his god of stone and called for the headsman and the carpet of blood; but his vizier, who was at heart a Muslim, though outwardly an infidel, rose and kissing the earth before him, said, 'O King, deal not hastily, but wait till we know the conquered from the conqueror. If we prove the victors, we shall be free to kill him, and if we be beaten, his being alive in our hands will be a strength to us.' And the Amirs said, 'The vizier says sooth.' So Agib bade lay Gherib in irons and chain him up in his own tent and appointed a thousand stout warriors to guard him.
Meanwhile Gherib's host, when they awoke and found not their chief, were as sheep without a shepherd; but Saadan the Ghoul cried out to them, saying, 'O folk, don your harness and trust to your Lord to defend you!' So the Arabs and the Persians donned their hauberks of iron and their strait-knit shirts of mail and mounting their horses, sallied forth to the field, with the chiefs and the ensigns in the van. Then pricked out the Ghoul of the Mountain, with a mace on his shoulder, two hundred pounds in weight, and advanced and retreated, saying, 'Ho, worshippers of idols, come ye out to-day, for it is a day of battle! Whoso knoweth me hath enough of my mischief and whoso knoweth me not, I will make myself known to him. I am Saadan, servant of King Gherib. Who is for jousting? Who is for fighting? Let no faint-heart or weakling come forth to me to-day.' And there came forth to him a champion of the infidels, as he were a flame of fire, and drove at him, but Saadan met him and dealt him a blow with his mace, which beat in his ribs and cast him lifeless to the earth. Then he called out to his sons and slaves, saying, 'Light the fire, and whoso falls of the infidels, do ye roast him well with fire and bring him to me, that I may make the morning meal of him.' So they kindled a fire amiddleward the field and laid the slain man therein, till he was cooked, when they brought him to Saadan, who gnawed his flesh and crunched his bones.
When the infidels saw this, they were sore affrighted, but Agib cried out to his men, saying, 'Out on you! Fall upon him and cut him in pieces with your swords!' So twenty thousand men ran at Saadan, whilst the footmen circled round him and rained darts and arrows upon him, so that he was wounded in four-and-twenty places and his blood ran down upon the earth, and he was alone. Then the host of the Muslims drove at the idolaters, calling for help upon the Lord of the World; and they ceased not from the battle till the day came to an end, when they drew apart. But the infidels had made Saadan prisoner, as he were a drunken man for loss of blood; and they bound him fast and set him by Gherib. When the latter saw the Ghoul a prisoner, he said, 'There is no force and no virtue but in God the Most High, the Supreme! O Saadan, what is this?' 'O my lord,' answered Saadan, 'it is God (exalted and glorified be He!) Who ordaineth misfortune and deliverance, and needs must this and that betide.' And Gherib said, 'Thou sayst sooth, O Saadan!' But Agib and his host passed the night in joy, and he said to his men, 'To-morrow, we will fall upon the Muslims and leave not one of them alive.'
Meanwhile, the Muslims passed the night, dejected and weeping for their King and for Saadan; but Sehim said to them, 'O folk, be not concerned, for the relief of God the Most High is near.' Then he waited till midnight, when he disguised himself in the habit of a tent-keeper and repairing to Agib's camp, made his way between the tents, till he came to the King's pavilion, where he saw him seated on his throne, in the midst of his princes. So he entered and going up to the candles that burnt in the tent, snuffed them and sprinkled powdered henbane on the wicks; after which he withdrew and waited without the tent, till the smoke of the burning henbane reached Agib and his princes and they fell to the earth like dead men. Then he left them and went to the prison-tent, where he found Gherib and Saadan, guarded by a thousand men, who were drowsed with sleep. So he cried out at the guards, saying, 'Out on you! Sleep not; but watch your prisoners and light the cressets.'
Then he filled a cresset with firewood, on which he strewed henbane, and lighting it, went round about the tent with it, till the smoke of the henbane entered the nostrils of the guards, and they all fell asleep; when he entered the tent and finding Ghetib and Saadan insensible for the smoke of the henbane, which had been wafted in upon them, aroused them by making them smell to a sponge full of vinegar he had with him. Then he loosed their bonds, and when they saw him, they blessed him and rejoiced in him. Then they went forth and took all the guards' arms, and Sehim bade them go to their own camp; after which he re-entered Agib's camp, and wrapping him in his cloak, lifted him up and made for the Muslim camp. And the Merciful Lord protected him, so that he reached Gherib's tent in safety and unrolled the mantle before him. Gherib looked and seeing Agib bound, cried out, 'God is Most Great! He giveth aid and victory!' And he blessed Sehim and bade him arouse Agib. So he made him smell to vinegar, mixed with frankincense, and he opened his eyes and finding himself bound and shackled, hung down his head. 'O accursed one,' quoth Sehim, 'lift thy head!' So he raised his eyes and found himself amongst Arabs and Persians and saw his brother seated on the throne of his state and the place of his power, wherefore he was silent and spake not. Then Gherib cried out and said, 'Strip me this dog!' So they stripped him and beat him with whips, till his body was weakened and his pride subdued, after which Gherib set over him a guard of a hundred cavaliers.
Presently, they beard shouts of 'There is no god but God!' and 'God is Most Great!' from the infidel camp. Now the reason of this was that King Damigh, Gherib's uncle, had set out from El Jezireh, with twenty thousand horse, ten days after his nephew, and on nearing the field of battle, had despatched one of his riders to get news. The scout was absent a whole day, after which he returned and told Damigh all that had passed. So he waited till the night, when he fell upon the infidels, crying out, 'God is Most Great!' and put them to the edge of the sword. When Gherib heard the crying aforesaid, he said to Sehim, 'Go and find out the cause of these shouts.' So Sehim repaired to the field of battle and questioned the camp followers, who told him that King Damigh had come up with twenty thousand men and fallen upon the idolaters by night, saying, 'By the virtue of Abraham the friend, I will not forsake my brother's son, but will do a brave man's part and beat back the infidels and please the Omnipotent King!'
So Sehim returned and told Gherib, who cried out to his men, saying, 'Don your arms and mount your horses and let us succour my uncle!' So they mounted and fell upon the infidels with the sharp sword. By the morning, they had killed nigh fifty thousand of them and made other thirty thousand prisoners, and the rest of Agib's army dispersed over the length and breadth of the land. Then the Muslims returned in triumph and Gherib rode out to meet his uncle, whom he saluted and thanked for his help. Quoth Damigh, 'I wonder if that dog Agib fell in this day's battle.' 'O uncle,' replied Gherib, 'have no care for him; know that he is with me in chains.' When Damigh heard this, he rejoiced mightily and the two kings dismounted and entered the pavilion, but found no Agib there; whereupon Gherib exclaimed, 'O glory of Abraham the Friend! What an evil end is this to a glorious day!' and he cried out to the tent-keepers, saying, 'Out on you! Where is my enemy?' Quoth they, 'When thou mountedst and we went with thee, thou didst not bid us guard him;' and Gherib exclaimed, 'There is no power and no virtue but in God the Most High, the Supreme!' But Damigh said to him, 'Hasten not nor be concerned, for where can he go, and we in pursuit of him?'
Now the manner of Agib's escape was on this wise. His man Siyyar, being in the camp in disguise, saw Gherib mount and ride forth, leaving Agib unguarded, and could hardly credit his eyes; so he waited awhile and presently crept to the tent and taking Agib, who was senseless for the pain of the beating, on his back, made off with him into the open country and fared on at the top of his speed all that night and next day, till he came to a spring of water, under an apple-tree. There he set Agib down and washed his face, whereupon he opened his eyes and seeing Siyyar, said to him, 'O Siyyar, carry me to Cufa, that I may recover there and levy horsemen and soldiers, wherewith to overcome mine enemy: and know, O Siyyar, that I am anhungred.' So Siyyar went out to the desert and caught an ostrich-poult and brought it to his lord. Then he gathered firewood and striking a light, kindled a fire, by which he roasted the bird and fed Agib with its flesh and gave him to drink of the water of the spring, till his strength returned to him; after which he went to one of the Bedouin encampments, and stealing a horse thence, mounted Agib upon it and journeyed on with him till they drew near the city of Cufa. The governor of the city came out to meet and salute the King, whom he found weak with the beating his brother had inflicted on him; and Agib entered the city and calling his physicians, bade them heal him in less than than ten days' time. 'We hear and obey,' answered they and tended him till he became whole of the sickness that was upon him and of the beating. Then he commanded his viziers to write letters to all his vassals, and he wrote one-and-twenty letters and despatched them to the different governors, who assembled their troops and set out for Cufa by forced marches.
Meanwhile, Gherib, being troubled for Agib's escape, despatched a thousand horse in quest of him, who dispersed on all sides and sought him a day and a night, but found no trace of him; so they returned and told Gherib, wno called for his brother Sehim, but found him not; whereat he was sore concerned, fearing for him from the vicissitudes of fortune. However, presently, Sehim entered and kissed the earth before Gherib, who rose, when he saw him, and said, 'Where hast thou been, O Sehim?' 'O King,' answered he, 'I have been to Cufa and find that the dog Agib hath made his way thither and is cured of his wounds. Moreover, he hath written letters to his vassals, who have brought him troops.' When Gherib heard this, he gave command to depart; so they struck the tents and marched for Cufa. When they came in sight of the city, they found it compassed about with a host like the swollen ocean, having neither beginning nor end. So Gherib encamped with his troops in face of the infidels and set up his standards, and the dark fell down upon the two hosts, whereupon they lighted fires and kept watch till daybreak. Then Gherib rose and making the ablution, prayed two inclinations, according to the rite of our father Abraham; after which he commanded the drums to sound the point of war. Accordingly, the drums beat to battle and the standards waved, whilst the fighting-men armed and mounted and sought the lists.
The first to open the chapter of war was King Damigh, who spurred his charger between the two armies and displayed himself and played with swords and spears, till both hosts were confounded and marvelled at him; after which he cried out, saying, 'Who is for jousting? Let no sluggard or weakling come out to me; for I am King Damigh, brother of King Kundemir.' Then there came forth a horseman of the infidels, as he were a flame of fire, and drove at Damigh, without word said; but the King received him with a lance-thrust in the breast, that the point issued from between his shoulders and God hurried his soul to the fire, and ill was the abiding-place [to which he went]. Then came forth a second and he slew him also, and a third, and they ceased not to come out to him and he to slay them, till he had made an end of six-and-seventy fighting-men.
Therewith the infidels hung back and would not encounter him; but Agib cried out to his men and said, 'Out on you, O folk! If ye all go forth against him, one after another, he will not leave one of you, sitting or standing. Charge on them, all at once, and sweep the earth clean of them and make their heads a pavement for your horses' hoofs!' So they waved the awe-striking standard and host fell upon host; the blood rained in streams upon the earth and the Judge of battle ruled, in whose ordinance is no unright. The valiant stood firm on his feet in the stead of war, whilst the faint-heart gave back and fled, thinking the day would never come to an end nor the night draw the curtains of the dusk; and they ceased not to battle and smite with swords, till the day waned and the night darkened with the shadows. Then the drums of the infidels beat the retreat, but Gherib, refusing to stay his arms, drove at the idolaters, and the believers in the unity of God followed him. How many heads and hands they sundered, how many necks and sinews they shore, how many knees and spines they crushed and how many grown men and youths they did to death! With the first peep of dawn the infidels broke and fled, and the Muslims followed them till noon and took over twenty thousand of them, whom they brought back bound.
Then Gherib sat down before the gate of Cufa and commanded a herald to proclaim pardon and safety to all who should leave the worship of idols and acknowledge the One All-knowing God, the Creator of mankind and of light and darkness. So proclamation was made as he bade in the streets of Cufa, and all that were therein embraced the true faith, great and small. Moreover, they all issued forth and made good their submission before King Gherib, who rejoiced in them with an exceeding joy and his breast expanded and he was glad. Then he enquired of Merdas and his daughter Mehdiyeh, and being told that be had taken up his abode behind the Red Mountain, called Sehim and said to him, 'Find out for me what is come of thy father.' Sehim tarried not, but mounting, set his brown spear in the rest and fared on till he reached the Red Mountain, where he sought for his father, but found no trace of him nor of his tribe; but in their stead he saw an elder of the Arabs, a very old man, broken with excess of years, and asked him of the folk and whither they were gone. 'O my son,' replied he, 'when Merdas heard of Gherib's descent upon Cufa, he was smitten with great fear and taking his daughter, set out with his slaves, male and female, and all his tribe, into the deserts, and I know not whither he is gone.' So Sehim returned to Gherib and told him what he had learnt, whereat he was greatly concerned. Then he sat down on his father's throne and opening his treasuries, distributed largesse to his braves. And he took up his abode in Cufa and sent out spies, to get news of Agib. Moreover, he summoned the grandees of the realm, who came and did him homage; as also did the townsfolk, and he bestowed on them sumptuous dresses of honour and commended the people to their care.
One day, he went out to hunt, with a hundred horse, and fared on till he came to a valley, abounding in trees and fruits and streams and birds. It was a pasturing-place for antelopes and gazelles, delightsome to the spirit, and the fragrance of its flowers brought repose from the languor of strife. It was a brilliant day; so they encamped in the valley and passed the night there. On the morrow, Gherib made the ablution and prayed the morning prayers, offering up praise and thanks to God the Most High; when, behold, there arose a great clamour and tumult in the meadows, and he bade Sehim go and see what was the matter. So Sehim mounted and rode till he saw horsemen carrying off women and children, captive and crying out, and plundered goods and haltered horses; whereupon he questioned the shepherds and they said, 'This is the harem of Merdas, Chief of the Benou Kehtan, and his goods and those of his tribe; for yesterday Jemrcan slew Merdas and made prize of his women and children and household stuff and those of his tribe. It is his wont to go a-raiding and waylay travellers, and he is a mighty man of war; neither Arabs nor kings can avail against him and he is the scourge of the land.'
When Sehim heard this, he returned to Gherib and told him the case, wherefore fire was added to his fire and his blood boiled to avenge himself and wipe Out his reproach. So he rode after the robbers, till he overtook them and fell upon them, crying out and saying, 'God is Most Great! Down with the covetous oppressors, who deny Him!' And he slew in one onset one-and-twenty fighting men. Then he halted in mid-field, with no coward's heart, and cried out, saying, 'Where is Jemrcan? Let him come out to me, that I may make him quaff the cup of humiliation and rid the earth of him!' Hardly had he made an end of speaking, when out came Jemrcan, - a huge tall Amalekite, as he were a calamity of calamities or a piece of a mountain, cased in steel, and bearing a passing heavy club of China steel, wherewith if he smote a mountain, he crashed it, - and drove at Gherib like a fierce tyrant, without speech or salutation. Gherib met him like a hungry lion, and the brigand aimed a blow at his head with his club; but he evaded it and the club smote the earth and sank therein half a cubit deep. Then Gherib took his mace and smiting Jemrcan on the wrist, crushed his fingers and the club dropped from his grasp; whereupon Gherib bent down from his saddle and snatching it up, swiftlier than the blinding lightning, smote him therewith full on the ribs, and he fell to the earth like a huge palm tree. So Sehim took him and binding him, haled him off with a rope, and Gherib's men fell on those of Jemrcan and slew fifty of them and put the rest to flight; nor did they draw bridle till they reached their camp and raised their voices in clamour; whereupon all who were in the stronghold came out to meet them and they told them what had passed, and when they heard that their chief was a prisoner, they set out for the valley, vying with each other in their haste to deliver him.
Meanwhile King Gherib dismounted and called for Jemrcan, who humbled himself before him, saying, 'I throw myself on thy mercy, O champion of the age!' 'O dog of the Arabs,' replied Gherib, 'dost thou waylay the servants of God the Most High and fearest not the Lord of the Worlds?' 'O my lord,' said Jemrcan, 'and who is the Lord of the Worlds?' 'O dog,' rejoined Gherib, 'and what calamity dost thou worship?' 'O my lord,' answered the brigand, 'I worship a god made of dates kneaded with butter and honey, and whiles I eat him and make me another.' When Gherib heard this, he laughed, till he fell backward, and said, 'O unhappy wretch, there is none worship-worth save God the Most High, who created thee and all things and provideth all creatures, from whom nothing is hidden and who hath power over all.' Quoth Jemrcan, 'And where is this mighty god, that I may worship him?' 'O fellow,' answered Gherib, 'know that this god's name is Allah, and it is He who created the heavens and the earth and maketh the trees to grow and the waters to run. He created beasts and birds and Paradise and Hell-fire and secludeth Himself from all eyes, seeing and being seen of none. Extolled be His perfection! There is no god but He!' When Jemrcan heard these words, the ears of his heart were opened and his skin shuddered and he said, 'O my lord, what shall I say that I may become one of you and that this mighty Lord may accept of me?' 'Say,' replied Gherib, "'There is no god but God and Abraham the Friend is the Apostle of God!"' So he repeated the profession of the faith and was written of the people of felicity. Then said Gherib, 'Hast thou tasted the sweetness of Islam?''Yes, answered the other; and Gherib said, 'Loose his bonds.' So they unbound him and he kissed the earth before Gherib and his feet.
At this moment they espied a great cloud of dust, that spread tilled it walled the world, and Gherib bade Sehim go and see what it was. So he went off, like a bird in full flight, and presently returning, said, 'O King of the age, it is the Benou Aamir, the comrades of Jemrcan.' Whereupon quoth Gherib to the latter, 'Ride out to thy people and expound to them Islam, and if they profess, they shall be saved; but, if they refuse, we will put them to the sword.' So Jemrcan mounted and Spurring towards his tribesmen, cried out to them; and they knew him and dismounting, came up to him on foot and said, 'We rejoice in thy safety, O our lord!' 'O folk,' said he, 'whoso obeyeth me shall be saved; but whoso gainsayeth me, I will cut him in twain with this sabre.' And they made answer, saying,' Command us what thou wilt, for we will not gainsay thy commandment' Quoth he, 'Then say with me, "There is no god but God and Abraham is the Friend of God!"' 'O our lord,' asked they, 'whence hast thou these words?' And he told them what had befallen him, adding, 'O folk, know ye not that I am your chief and foremost among you in the field and stead of war, and yet a single man took me prisoner and made me quaff the cup of humiliation?'
When they heard his speech, they spoke the word of Unity, and Jemrcan led them to Gherib, at whose hands they affirmed their profession and wished him glory and victory, after they had kissed the earth before him. Gherib rejoiced in them and bade them return to their people and expound Islam to them; but they said, 'O our lord, we will never leave thee, whilst we live; but we will go and fetch our families and return to thee.' And Gherib said, 'Go, and join me at the city of Cufa.' So Jemrcan and his comrades returned to their camp and expounded Islam to their women and children, who all to a soul embraced the true faith, after which they dismantled their houses and struck their tents and set out for Cufa, driving before them their horses and sheep and camels.
Meanwhile Gherib returned to Cufa, where the horsemen met him and carried him into the city in state. He entered his palace and sat down on his throne, with his officers standing on either hand. Then the spies entered and informed him that his brother Agib had made his escape and taken refuge with Julned ben Kerker, the lord of the city of Oman and land of Yemen; whereupon Gherib bade his troops make ready to set out in three days' time. Then he expounded Islam to the thirty thousand men he had taken in the first battle and exhorted them to profess and take service with him. Twenty thousand embraced the faith, but the rest refused and he slew them. Then came Jemrcan and his tribe and kissed the earth before Gherib, who bestowed on him a splendid dress of honour and made him captain of his vanguard, saying, 'O Jemrcan, mount with the chiefs of thy kinsmen and twenty thousand horse and fare on before us to the land of Julned ben Kerker.' 'I hear and obey,' answered Jemrcan and set forward with his men, leaving the women and children of the tribe in Cufa.
Then Gherib passed in review the harem of Merdas and his eye lit upon Mehdiyeh, who was among the women, whereupon he fell down in a swoon. They sprinkled rose-water on his face, till he came to himself, when he embraced Mehdiyeh and carried her into a privy chamber, where he sat with her; and they lay together that night without lewdness. Next morning, he went out and sitting down on the throne of his kingship, invested his uncle Damigh with a dress of honour and appointed him his viceroy over all Irak, commending Mehdiyeh to his care, till he should return from his expedition against Agib; after which he set out for the land of Yemen with twenty thousand horse and ten thousand foot.
Now, when Agib and his defeated army came in sight of Oman, King Julned saw the dust of their approach and sent scouts to find out its meaning, who returned and told him that this was the dust of Agib, lord of Irak. And Julned wondered at his coming and said to his officers, 'Go forth and meet him.' So they went forth and met him and pitched tents for him at the gate of the city; and Agib sent in to Julned, weeping and mournful-hearted. Now Julned's wife was the daughter of Agib's father's brother, and he had children by her. So, when he saw his kinsman in this plight, he asked what ailed him and Agib told him all that had befallen him, saying, 'O King, Gherib commandeth the folk to worship the Lord of the Heavens and forbiddeth them from the service of idols and other gods.' When Julned heard this, he was mightily enraged and said, 'By the virtue of the light-giving sun, I will not leave one of thy brother's folk on life! But where didst thou leave them and how many men are they?' 'I left them in Cufa,' answered Agib; 'and they are fifty thousand horse.' Whereupon Julned called his Vizier Jawamerd, saying, 'Take seventy thousand horse and go to Cufa and bring me the Muslims alive, that I may torture them with all manner of tortures.'
So Jawamerd departed with his host and fared on seven days' journey towards Cufa, till he came to a valley abounding in trees and streams and fruits, where he called a halt and they rested till the middle of the night, when the Vizier gave the signal for departure and mounting, rode on before them till hard upon daybreak. A little before the dawn, he descended into a well-wooded valley, whose flowers were fragrant and whose birds warbled on the branches, as they swayed gracefully to and fro, and Satan blew into his sides [and puffed him up with pride] and he recited the following verses:
I put my battle-harness on and don my dreadful arms, And here and there on every side I drive through the mellay;
I and my troops, we plunge into the seething sea of war And of my prowess and my might the captives lead away.
The doughtiest horsemen of the world do know me for a fear, A scourge and terror to my foes, my kinsmen's help and stay.
Lo, upon Gherib will I seize and drag him forth in chains! Then, with a joyful heart and proud, I'll homeward wend my way.
Hardly had he made an end of his verses when there came out upon him from among the trees a horseman of noble presence, clad in complete steel, who cried out to him, saying, 'Stand, O brigand of the Arabs! Put off thy clothes and lay down thine arms and dismount and begone!' When Jawamerd heard this, the light in his eyes became darkness and he drew his sabre and drove at Jemrcan, [for he it was,] saying, 'O thief of the Arabs, wilt thou play the highwayman with me, who am captain of the host of Julned ben Kerker and am come to bring Gherib and his men bound?' When Jemrcan heard these words, he said, 'How grateful is this to my heart!' And made at Jawamerd, reciting the following verses:
I am the cavalier renowned for valour in the field: The foemen everywhere do dread my sabre and my spear.
I'm Jemrcan, whose whole delight is in the press of war, And all the champions of the world my lance-thrust know and fear.
Gherib my lord and sultan is, the high-priest of my faith, That is the lion of the fight, when hosts to strife draw near!
Devout and full of pious dread, a doughty chief is he; Midmost the tented field he slays his enemies like deer.
Despite the gods of unbelief, verses he chants and bids The folk to Abraham his faith, with clarion voice and clear.
Now Jemrcan had fared on with his men ten days' journey from Cufa and called a halt on the eleventh day till midnight, when he bade depart and rode on in advance, till he came to the valley aforesaid and heard Jawamerd reciting his braggart verses. So he drove at him, as he were a ravening lion, and smiting him with his sword, clove him in twain and waited till his captains came up, when he told them what had passed and said to them, 'Let each of you take five thousand men and disperse round about the valley, whilst I and the Benou Aamir fall upon the enemy's van, crying out and saying, "God is Most Great!" When ye hear our shouts, do ye charge them with the same cry and smite them with the sword.' 'We hear and obey,' answered they and turning back to their men, spread themselves about the sides of the valley in the fore-dawn twilight.
Presently up came the army of Yemen, like a flock of sheep, filling mountain and plain, and Jemrcan and the Benou Aamir fell upon them, shouting, 'God is Most Great!' Whereupon the Muslims in ambush in the valley cried out in answer and the hills and mountains echoed the cry and all things, green and dry, answered, saying, 'God is Most Great! He giveth aid and victory and forsaketh those who deny Him!' And the infidels were confounded and smote one another with the keen sabre, whilst the true believers fell upon them like flames of fire and nothing was seen but heads flying and blood spouting and faint-hearts giving back in dismay. By the time they could see each other's faces, two-thirds of the infidels had perished and God hastened their souls to the fire and ill was the abiding-place [to which they went]. The rest took to flight and dispersed about the deserts, whilst the Muslims pursued them, slaying and taking captive till midday, when they returned in triumph with seven thousand prisoners; and but six-and-twenty thousand of the infidels escaped and the most of them wounded.
Then the Muslims collected the arms and horses and tents and baggage of the enemy and despatched them to Cufa with an escort of a thousand horse; whilst Jemrcan and the rest of his force dismounted and expounded Islam to the prisoners, who made profession of the faith with heart and tongue; whereupon they released them and embraced them and rejoiced in them. Then Jemrcan made his troops rest a day and a night and set out with the dawn, intending for the city of Oman; whilst the thousand horse fared back to Cufa with the booty. When they reached the city, they went in to Gherib and told him what had passed, whereat he rejoiced and said to the Ghoul of the Mountain, 'Take horse and follow Jemrcan with twenty thousand men.' So Saadan and his sons mounted and set out for Oman with twenty thousand horse.
Meanwhile, the remains of the defeated army reached Oman and went in to Julned, weeping and crying, 'Woe!' and 'Ruin!' whereat he was amazed and said to them, 'What hath befallen you?' So they told him what had happened and he said, 'Out on you! How many men were they?' 'O King,' answered they, 'there were twenty standards, under each a thousand men.' When Julned heard this, he said, 'May the sun pour no blessing on you! Out on you! Shall twenty thousand overcome you, and you seventy thousand horse and Jawamerd equal to three thousand in the open field!' Then, in the excess of his rage and mortification, he drew his sword and cried out to those who were present, saying, 'Fall on them!' So the courtiers drew their swords upon the fugitives and slew them to the last man and cast them to the dogs. Then Julned cried out to his son (whose name was Courejan and than whom there was no doughtier cavalier in the army of his father, for he was wont to undertake three thousand horse, single-handed), saying, 'Take a hundred thousand horse and go to Irak and lay it waste altogether.' So Courejan and his host made haste to equip themselves and set out in battle array, with the prince at their head, glorying in himself and reciting the following verses:
I'm El Courejan, the first-born of renown! I vanquish the dwellers in desert and town.
How many a champion I've slain with my sword! Like an ox, to the earth I have stricken him down.
How many a host have I scattered abroad And their heads made like balls roll o'er desert and down!
Now for Irak I'm bound, for the enemies' land, Where my foes in the sea of their blood I will drown.
I will lead away Gherib in chains with his chiefs, So their fate to the wise for a warning be known!
They fared on twelve days' journey, till a great cloud of dust arose before them and covered the horizon and the country, and Courejan sent out scouts to reconnoitre, who returned and said to him, 'O King, this is the dust of the Muslims.' Whereat he was glad and said, 'Did ye count them?' And they answered, saying, 'We counted the standards, and they were twenty in number.' 'By my faith,' quoth the prince, 'I will not send one man-at-arms against them, but will go forth to them alone and strew their heads under the hoofs of the horses!'
Now this was the army of Jemrcan, who, espying the host of the infidels and seeing them as the swollen sea, called a halt; so his troops pitched the tents and set up the standards, calling upon the name of the All-wise Creator of light and darkness, Lord of all creatures, who seeth and is not seen, blessed and exalted be He! There is no god but He! The infidels also halted and pitched their tents, and Courejan said to them, 'Sleep upon your arms, for in the last watch of the night we will mount and trample yonder handful under our feet!' Now one of Jemrcan's spies was standing by and heard what Courejan purposed; so he returned and told his chief who said to his men, 'Arm yourselves and as soon it is dark, bring me all the camels and mules and hang all the bells and bangles and rattles ye have about their necks.' And they had with them more than twenty thousand camels and mules.
So they waited till the infidels were asleep, when Jemrcan commanded them to mount, and they took horse, committing themselves to God and seeking aid of the Lord of the Worlds. Then said Jemrcan, 'Goad the mules and camels with the points of your spears and drive them to the infidels' camp.' They did as he bade and the beasts rushed upon the enemy's camp, whilst the bells and bangles and rattles jangled and the Muslims followed at their heels, shouting, 'God is Most Great!' till all the hills and mountains resounded with the name of the Most High God, to whom belong glory and majesty! The cattle, hearing this terrible din, took fright and rushed upon the tents and trampled the folk, as they lay asleep; whereupon the idolaters started up in confusion and snatching up their arms, fell upon one another with smiting, till the most part of them were slain.
When the day broke, they looked at each other and found no Muslims slain, but saw them all on horseback, armed; wherefore they knew that this was a trick that had been played them, and Courejan cried out to the remnant of his folk, saying, 'O sons of whores, what we had a mind to do with them, that have they done with us and their craft hath gotten the better of ours.' And they were about to charge, when, behold, a cloud of dust appeared and the wind smote it, so that it rose and hung vaulted in the air and there, appeared beneath it the glint of helmets and gleam of hauberks and splendid warriors, armed with tempered swords and supple spears. When the infidels saw this, they held back from the battle and each army sent out scouts, to know the meaning of this dust, who returned with the news that it was an army of Muslims.
Now this was the host of the Ghoul of the Mountain, whom Gherib had despatched to Jemrcan's aid, and Saadan himself rode in their van. So the two hosts of the true believers joined company and rushing upon the infidels, like a flame of fire, plied them with the keen sword and the straight and quivering spear, whilst the day was darkened and eyes blinded for the much dust. The valiant stood fast and the coward fled and sought the deserts, whilst the blood flowed like a tide over the earth; nor did they cease from the battle till the day departed and the night came with the darkness. Then the Muslims drew apart from the infidels and returned to their tents, where they ate and slept, till the darkness fled and gave place to the smiling morn; when they prayed the morning-prayer and mounted to battle.
Now, when Courejan found the most part of his men wounded, for indeed two-thirds of their number had perished by sword and spear, he said to them, 'To-morrow, I will go forth into the open field and play the champion in the stead of war.' So, as soon as the day broke and the morning appeared with its light and shone, the two hosts mounted and unsheathed their swords and couched their brown lances and cried out lustily and drew out in order of battle. The first to open the chapter of war was Courejan, who cried out, saying, 'Let no weakling come out to me to-day!' Whereupon there ran at him a captain of the Benou Aamir and the two drove at each other awhile, like two rains butting. Presently Courejan seized the Muslim by his coat of arms and tearing him from his saddle, threw him to the ground; where the infidels laid hands on him and bound him and bore him off to their tents; whilst Courejan wheeled about and curvetted and offered battle, till another captain came out, whom also he took prisoner; nor did he leave to do thus till he had made prize of seven captains before midday. Then Jemrcan gave such a cry, that the whole field resounded thereto and both armies heard it, and ran at Courejan with a heart on fire with anger, reciting the following verses:
Harkye, I'm Jemrcan, the champion stout and wight; The terror of my stroke is feared of every knight.
I take the strengths by storm and leave the fortress-walls To mourn the loss of those that held them in their might.
Wherefore, O Courejan, quit thou the erring path; Turn from the froward ways and tread the road of right;
Confess to the one true God, who spread the heavens above, Who made the streams to flow and hills to stand upright;
For, if the slave embrace the true, the only faith, Hell's anguish shall he 'scape and win to heaven's delight.
When Courejan heard these words, he puffed and snorted and railed at the sun and the moon and drove at Jemrcan, repeating these verses:
I'm Courejan, the chief and champion of the age! Es Shera's lions flee my shadow in affright!
I take the forts by storm and snare the beasts of prey, And all the horsemen fear to meet me in the fight.
Wherefore, O Jemrcan, if thou believe me not, Up to the middle field and try with me thy might!
Jemrcan met him with a stout heart and they hewed at each other with swords and thrust with spears, till the two hosts lamented for them and great was the clamour between them: nor did they leave fighting till the time of afternoon-prayer was passed and the day began to wane. Then Jemrcan drove at Courejan and smiting him on the breast with his mace, cast him to the ground, as he were the trunk of a palm-tree; and the Muslims bound him and haled him away with ropes like a camel.
When the idolaters saw their prince captive, a blind fury seized on them and they bore down upon the Muslims, thinking to rescue him; but the Muslim champions met them and left [many of] them prostrate on the earth, whilst the rest turned and sought safety in flight, with the sword clanking at their backs. The Muslims pursued them till they had scattered them over mountain and desert, when they returned to the spoil, good luck to it for a spoil! great store was there of horses and tents and so forth. Then Jemrcan went in to Courejan and expounded Islam to him, threatening him with death, except be embraced the faith; but he refused; so they cut off his head and sticking it on a spear, fared on towards Oman.
Meanwhile, the survivors of the routed host returned to Julned and made known to him the death of his son and the destruction of his army, whereupon he cast his crown to the earth and buffeting his face, till the blood spouted from his nostrils, fell down in a swoon. They sprinkled rose-water on his face, till he came to himself and cried to his Vizier, saying, 'Write letters to all my governors and bid them leave not a smiter with the sword nor a thruster with the spear nor a bender of the bow, but bring them all to me.' So he wrote letters and despatched them by runners to the governors, who levied their power and joined the King with an immense army, whose number was ninescore thousand men. Then they made ready tents and camels and swift horses and were about to depart, when up came Jemrcan and Saadan the Ghoul, with seventy thousand horse, as they were fierce lions, all clad in complete steel; which when Julned saw, he rejoiced and said, 'By the virtue of the light-giving Sun, I will not leave one of mine enemies alive, no, not one to carry the news, and I will lay waste the land of Irak, that I may take my wreak for my son, the havoc-making champion; nor shall my fire be quenched!'
Then he turned to Agib and said to him, 'O dog of Irak, it was thou that broughtest this calamity on us! But by the virtue of that which I worship, except I avenge me of mine enemy, I will put thee to death after the toulest fashion!' When Agib heard this, he was sore troubled and blamed himself; but he waited till nightfall, when he took those who were left to him of his suite apart from the camp and said to them, 'O my kinsmen, know that Julned and I are sore dismayed at the coming of the Muslims, and I know that he will not avail to protect me from my brother nor from any other; so meseems we should do well to make our escape, whilst all men sleep, and flee to King Yaarub ben Kehtan, for that he hath more soldiers and is stronger of kingship.' they fell in with his proposal and he bade them kindle fires at the doors of their tents and set out under cover of the night. So they did his bidding and departing, by day-break were far away.
As soon as it was morning, the drums beat a point of war, and Julned mounted with two hundred and sixty thousand fighting-men, clad cap-a-pie in hauberks and cuirasses and strait-knit coats of mail, and drew out in order of battle. Then Jemrcan and Saadan rode out with forty thousand cavaliers, doughty champions, foremost in the fight. The two hosts drew out in battalia and bared their swords and couched their limber lances, for the drinking of the cup of death. The first to open the chapter of battle was Saadan, as he were a mountain of flint or a Marid of the Jinn. Then pricked out to him a champion of the infidels, and he slew him and casting him to the earth, cried out to his sons and servants, saying, 'Light the fire and roast me this dead man.' They did as he bade and brought him the roast, and he ate it and crunched the bones, whilst the infidels stood looking on from afar; and they cried out, saying, 'O light-giving Sun!' and were affrighted at Saadan.
Then Julned cried out to his men, saying, 'Slay me yonder foul beast!' Whereupon another captain of his host drove at the Ghoul; but he slew him, and he ceased not to slay horseman after horseman, till he had made an end of thirty men. with this the vile infidels held back and feared to face him, saying, 'Who shall cope with Jinn and Ghouls?' But Julned cried out, saying, 'Let a hundred horse charge him and bring him to me, alive or dead.' So a hundred horse ran at Saadan with swords and spears, and he met them with a heart firmer than fling, proclaiming the unity of the Requiting King, whom no one thing diverteth from another. Then he set on them, crying, 'God is Most Great!' and smote them with his sword and made their heads fly. In one onset he slew of them four-and-seventy and put the rest to flight.
Then Julned cried out to ten of his captains, having each a thousand men under his hand, and said to them, 'Shoot his horse with arrows, till it fall under him, and then lay hands on him.' So ten thousand horse drove at Saadan, who met them with a stout heart; and Jemrcan, seeing this, bore down upon the infidels with his Muslims, crying out, 'God is Most Great!' Before they could win to the Ghoul, the enemy had slain his horse and taken him prisoner; but they ceased not to charge the infidels, though they were amongst them as a white patch on a black bull, till the day grew dark [for dust] and eyes were blinded, and the sharp sword clanged, whilst the valiant stood firm and destruction overtook the faint-heart; nor did they stint from the mellay till the dark fell down, when they drew apart, after there had been slain of the infidels men without number.
Then Jemrcan and his men returned to their tents, in great grief for Saadan, so that neither meat nor sleep was sweet to them, and they counted their host and found that less than a thousand of them had fallen. And Jemrcan said, 'O folk, to-morrow I will go forth into the lists and slay their champions and make prize of them and their families and ransom Saadan therewith, if it please the Requiting King, whom no one thing distracteth from another!' Wherefore their hearts were comforted and they separated to their tents, rejoicing.
Meanwhile, Julned entered his pavilion and sitting down on his bed of estate, with his grandees about him, called for Saadan and said to him, 'O raging dog and least of the Arabs and carrier of firewood, who was it slew my son Courejan, the champion of the age, slayer of heroes and caster down of warriors?' Quoth the Ghoul, 'Jemrcan slew him, captain of the host of King Gherib, prince of cavaliers, and I roasted and ate him, for I was anhungred.' When Julned heard this, his eyes started from his head for rage and he bade his swordbearer strike off Saadan's head. So he came forward in that intent, but Saadan stretched himself mightily and bursting his bonds, snatched the sword from the headsman and cut off his head. Then he made at Julned; but he cast himself down from the throne and fled; whilst Saadan fell on the bystanders and slew twenty of the King's chief officers, and the rest fled. Therewith great was the crying in the camp of the infidels and the Ghoul sallied forth of the pavilion and falling upon the troops, smote them with the sword, till they opened and left a lane for him to pass; nor did he cease to press forward, cutting at them right and left, till he won free of the tents and made for the Muslim camp. As soon as he was gone, the infidels and their King returned to their tents and Julned said to them, 'O folk, by the virtue of the light-giving sun and by the darkness of the night and the light of the day and the wandering stars, I thought not to have escaped death this day; for, had I fallen into yonder fellow's hands, he had eaten me, as I were a grain of wheat or a barley-corn.' 'O King,' answered they, 'never saw we any do the like of this Ghoul.' And he said, 'To-morrow do ye all don your arms and mount and trample them under your horses' feet.'
Meanwhile the Muslims heard the shouts of the infidels and said to each other, 'Haply, some succour hath reached them; but, as they stood wondering, up came Saadan. So they all rejoiced in him and gave him joy of his escape, and the gladdest of them all was Jemrcan, who said to them, 'To-morrow, I will show you my fashion and what behoveth the like of me, for, by the virtue of Abraham the Friend I will slay them on the foulest wise and smite them with the edge of the sword, till all who have understanding are confounded at them. But I mean to attack [both] the right and left wings; so, when ye see me drive at the King under the standards, do ye charge resolutely behind me, and with God is it to decree what shall betide!'
So the two hosts lay upon their arms till the day broke and the sun appeared to sight, when they mounted swiftlier than the twinkling of the eye. The raven of ill-omen croaked and the two hosts drew out in battalia and looked at each other with the evil eye. The first to open the chapter of war was Jemrcan, who wheeled and curvetted and offered battle; and Julned and his men were about to charge, when, behold a cloud of dust arose and spread till it covered the plains and obscured the day. Then the four winds smote it and it dispersed and there appeared beneath it cavaliers, black and white, and princely champions, with keen swords and piercing lances, and footmen who knew not fear, as they were lions. At this sight both armies left fighting and sent out scouts, who disappeared within the cloud of dust and returned after awhile with the news that the approaching host was one of Muslims, under the command of King Gherib. When the Muslims heard of the coming of their King, they rejoiced and spurring out to meet him, dismounted and kissed the earth before him and saluted him, whilst he welcomed them and rejoiced in their safety. Then they escorted him to their camp and pitched pavilions for him and set up standards; and Gherib sat down on his couch of estate, with his grandees about him, and they related to him all that had befallen.
Meanwhile, the infidels sought for Agib and finding him not among them nor in their tents, told Julned of this, whereat his gorge rose and he bit his fingers, saying, 'By the light-giving sun, he is a perfidious dog and hath fled into the deserts with his crew of rascals! But nought save hard fighting will serve us to repel these enemies; so fortify your resolves and harden your hearts and beware of the Muslims.' And Gherib also said to the Muslims, Fortify your hearts and strengthen your courage and seek aid of your Lord, beseeching Him to vouchsafe you the victory over your enemies.' 'O King,' answered they, 'thou shalt see what we will do in the field and the stead of war.'
So the two hosts slept till the day arose with its light and the sun shone out upon hill and plain, when Gherib prayed two inclinations, after the rite of Abraham the Friend (on whom be peace) and wrote a letter, which he despatched by his brother Sehim to the King of the infidels. When Sehim reached the enemies' camp, the guards asked him what he wanted and he replied, 'I want your ruler.' Quoth they, 'Wait till we consult him;' and he waited, whilst they went in to their King and told him of the coming of a messenger, and he said, 'Bring him to me.' So they brought Sehim before Julned, who said to him, 'Who hath sent thee?' Quoth he, 'King Gherib sends me, whom God hath made ruler over the Arabs and Persians; take his letter and return an answer thereto.' So Julned took the letter and opening it, read as follows: 'In the name of God the Compassionate, the Merciful, the Immemorial Lord, the Supreme, the One, the All-knowing, the Lord of Noah and Salih and Hood and Abraham and of all things! Peace be on him who followeth in the way of righteousness and feareth the issues of frowardness, who obeyeth the Almighty King and preferreth the next world to the present! O Julned, none is worthy of worship save God alone, the One, the Victorious, Creator of night and day and the re-volving sphere, who sendeth the holy prophets and maketh the streams to flow and the trees to grow, who vaulted the heavens and spread out the earth like a carpet and feedeth the birds in their nests and the wild beasts in the deserts; for He is the All-powerful God, the Forgiving, the Long-suffering, the Protector, whom no eye comprehendeth and who maketh the night to return upon the day, He who sent down the apostles and the Scripture. Know, O Juined, that there is no faith but the faith of Abraham the Friend; so do thou embrace the faith of submission and send me the dog Agib, that I may take my wreak of my father and mother. So shalt thou be saved from the sharp sword in this world and from the fiery torment in the world to come. But, if thou refuse, look for destruction and the wasting of thy realm and the cutting off of thy traces.'
When Julned had read this letter, he said to Sehini, 'Tell thy Lord that Agib hath fled, he and his people, and I know not whither he is gone; but, as for Julned, he will not forswear his faith, and to-morrow, there shall be battle between us and the Sun shall give us the victory.' So Sehim returned to his brother with this answer and on the morrow the Muslims donned their arms and bestrode their stout horses, calling aloud on the name of the All-conquering King, Creator of bodies and souls, and magnifying Him. The drums beat to battle, till the earth trembled, and all the lordly warriors and doughty champions sought the field.
The first to open the chapter of battle was Jemrcan, who spurred his charger into the mid-field and played with sword and javelin, till the understanding were amazed; after which he cried out, saying, 'Who is for jousting, who is for fighting? Let no sluggard nor weakling come out to me to-day! I am he who slew Courejan ben Julned; who will come forth to avenge him?' When Julned heard the name of his son, he cried out to his men, saying, 'O sons of whores, bring me yonder horseman who slew my son, that I may eat his flesh and drink his blood.' So a hundred fighting men ran at Jemrcan; but he slew the most part of them and put their chief to flight; which when Julned saw, he cried out to his men, saying, 'Charge upon him, all at once.' So the two hosts drove at one another and met in the mid-field, like two seas clashing together. The Yemen sword and spear wrought havoc and breasts and bellies were cloven, whilst the two armies saw the angel of death face to face and the dust of the battle rose up to the confines of the sky. Ears were deaf and tongues mute and death came on from every side, whilst the valiant stood fast and the faint-heart turned to flee; and they ceased not from the battle till ended day, when the drums beat the retreat and the two hosts drew apart and returned, each to its tent.
Then Gherib sat down on the throne of his kingship and the place of his dominion, whilst his chief officers ranged themselves about him, and said, 'I am sore troubled for the flight of the dog Agib and I know not whither he is gone. Except I overtake him and take my wreak of him, I shall die of despite.' Whereupon Sehim came forward and kissing the earth before him, said, 'O King, I will go to the army of the infidels and find out what is come of the perfidious dog Agib.' 'Go,' answered Gherib, 'and learn the truth regarding the hog.' So Sehim disguised himself in the habit of the infidels and became as he were of them; then, making for the enemy's camp, he found them all asleep, drunken with war and battle, and only the guards awake. Presently he came to the King's pavilion, where he found Julned asleep and unattended; so he made him smell to powdered henbane, and he became as one dead. Then Sehim went out and took a mule and wrapping the King in the coverlet of his bed, laid him on her back; after which he threw a mat over him and led the mule to the Muslim camp.
When he came to Gherib's pavilion and would have entered, the guards knew him not and forbade him entrance, saying, 'Who art thou?' He laughed and uncovered his face, and they knew him and admitted him. When Gherib saw him, he said, 'What hast thou there, O Sehim?' 'O King,' answered he, 'this is Julned ben Kerker.' Then he uncovered him, and Gherib knew him and said, 'Arouse him, O Sehim.' So he made him smell to vinegar and frankincense; and he cast the henbane from his nostrils and opening his eyes, found himself among the Muslims; whereupon, 'What is this foul dream ?' quoth he and closing his eyes again, would have slept; but Sehim dealt him a buffet, saying, 'Open thine eyes, O accursed one!' So he opened them and said, 'Where am I?' Quoth Sehim, 'Thou art in the presence of Gherib ben Kundemir, King of Irak.' When Julned heard this, he said, 'O King, I am at thy mercy. Know that I am not at fault, but that he who made us come forth to fight thee was thy brother, who embroiled us with thee and fled.' 'Knowest thou whither he is gone?' asked Gherib. 'No, by the light-giving sun,' replied Juined, 'I know not.'
Then Gherib bade lay him in bonds and set guards over him, whilst each captain returned to his own tent, and amongst the rest Jemrcan, who said to his men, 'O sons of my uncle, I purpose this night to do a deed wherewith I may whiten my face with King Gherib.' 'Do what pleases thee,' answered they; 'we hearken and obey thy commandment.' Quoth he, 'Arm yourselves and disperse about the infidels' camp, muffling your steps, so that the very ants shall not be ware of you; and when you hear me magnfy God, do ye the like and cry out, saying, "God is Most Great!" and hold back and make for the gate of the city; and we seek aid from God the Most High.' So the folk armed themselves cap-a-pie and waited till midnight, when they dispersed about the enemy's camp and waited till Jemrcan smote his target with his sword and shouted, 'God is Most Great!' Whereupon they all cried out the like, till valley and mountain and hill and sands and ruins rang again with the noise. The infidels awoke in dismay and tell upon one another, and the sword went round amongst them; but the Muslims held aloof and made for the gate of the city, where they slew the warders and entering, made themselves masters of the town, with all that was therein of treasure and women and children.
Meanwhile, Gherib, hearing the noise and clamour of 'God is Most Great!' mounted with all his troops and sent Sehim on in advance. When the latter came near the field of battle, he saw that Jemrcan had fallen upon the infidels with the Benou Aamir by night and made them drink the cup of death. So he returned and told his brother, who called down blessings on Jemrcan. And the infidels ceased not to smite each other mightily with the sharp sword, till the day rose and lighted up the land, when Gherib cried out to his men, saying, 'Charge, O ye noble, and win the favour of the All-knowing King!' So the true believers fell upon the idolaters and plied them with the keen sword and the quivering spear, till they sought to take refuge in the city; but Jemrcan came forth Upon them with his tribesmen. So they hemmed them in, as between two mountain-ranges, and slew an innumerable host of them, and the rest fled into the deserts; nor did the Muslims give over pursuing them with the sword, till they had scattered them abroad in the plains and stony wastes. Then they returned to the city of Oman and Gherih entered the palace of the King and sitting down on the throne of his kingship, with his lords and officers on his either hand, sent for Julned. They brought him in haste and Gherib expounded to him Islam; but he refused to embrace the faith; wherefore Gherib let crucify him on the gate of the city, and they shot at him with arrows, till he was like unto a hedgehog. Then Gherib bestowed a dress of honour upon Jemrcan and said to him, 'Thou shalt be lord and ruler over this city, and thine be it to loose and to bind therein, for it was thou didst conquer it with thy sword and thy men.' And Jernrcan kissed the King's feet and wished him abiding victory and glory and fair fortune. Moreover, Gherih opened Julned's treasuries and saw what was therein and gave largesse to his captains and standard-bearers and fighting-men, yea, even to the women and children; and thus did he ten days long.
After this, one night he dreamt an ill dream and awoke, troubled and affrighted. So he aroused his brother Sehim and said to him, 'I dreamt that we were in a wide valley, when there swooped down on us two birds of prey, with legs like lances, never in my life saw I greater than they, and we were in fear of them.' 'O King,' answered Sehim, 'this portends some great enemy; be on thy guard, therefore, against him.' Gherib slept not the rest of the night and when the day broke, he called for his courser and mounted. Quoth Sehim, 'Whither goest thou, my brother?' and Gherib answered, saying, 'I am heavy at heart this morning; so I mean to ride abroad ten days and lighten my breast.' Said Sehim, 'Take with thee a thousand men;' but Gherib replied, 'I will not go forth but with thee alone.' So the two brothers mounted and seeking the open country, fared on from valley to valley and from meadow to meadow, till they came to a valley abounding in sweet-smelling flowers and streams and trees laden with all manner eatable fruits, two of each kind. On the branches were birds warbling their various songs; the mocking-bird trilled out her sweet notes and the turtle filled the place with her voice. There sang the nightingale, whose chant arouses the sleeper, and the merle with its note like the human voice and the cushat and the ring-dove, whilst the popinjay answered them with its fluent tongue.
The valley pleased them and they ate of its fruits and drank of its waters, after which they sat under the shadow of the trees, till drowsiness overcame them and they slept, glory be to Him who sleepeth not! As they lay asleep, two fierce Marids swooped down on them and taking each one on his shoulders, flew up with them into the air, till they were above the clouds. Presently, Gherib and Sehim awoke and found themselves betwixt heaven and earth; so they looked at those who bore them and saw that they were two Marids, each as big as a great palm-tree, with hair like horses' tails and claws like lions' claws; the head of the one was as that of a dog and that of the other as that of an ape. When they saw this, they exclaimed, 'There is no power and no virtue save in God the Most High, the Supreme!'
Now the reason of this was that a certain king of the kings of the Jinn, Muraash by name, had a son called Saaic, who loved a damsel of the Jinn, named Nejmeh; and the twain used to foregather in the valley, in the guise of birds. Gherib and Sehim saw them thus and deeming them birds, shot at them with arrows and wounded Saaic, whose blood flowed. Nejmeh mourned over him, then, fearing lest the like should befall herself, caught up her lover and flew with him to his father's palace, where she cast him down at the gate. The warders bore him in and laid him before the King, who, sucing the arrow sticking in his side, exclaimed, 'Alas, son! Who hath done with thee this thing, that I may lay waste his abiding-place and hasten his destruction, though he were the greatest of the kings of the Jinn?' Thereupon Saaic opened his eyes and said, 'O my father, it was a mortal that slew me in the Valley of Springs.' Hardly had he made an end of these words, when his soul departed; whereupon his father buffeted his face, till the blood streamed from his mouth, and cried out to two Marids, saying: 'Go to the Valley of Springs and bring me all who are therein.' So they betook themselves to the valley in question, where they found Gherib and Sehim asleep and snatching them up, carried thme to their King, whom they saw seated on the throne of his kingship, as he were a huge mountain, with four heads on his body, the first that of a lion, the second that of an elephant, the third that of a panther and the fourth that of a lynx. The Marids set them down before Muraash and said to him, 'These are they whom we found in the Valley of Springs.'
Muraash looked at them with wrathful eyes and puffed and snorted and blew sparks from his nostrils, so that all who stood by feared him. Then said he, 'O dogs of mankind, ye have slain my son and kindled fire in my heart.' 'Who is thy son,' asked Gherib, 'and who hath seen him?' Quoth Muraash, 'Were ye not in the Valley of Springs and did ye not see my son there, in the guise of a bird, and did ye not shoot at him with arrows, that he died?' 'I know not who slew him,' replied Garib; 'and by the virtue of the Great God, the One, the Immemorial, who knoweth all things, and of Abraham the Friend, we saw no bird, neither slew we bird nor beast!'
Now Muraash worshipped the Fire, not the All-powerful King; so, when he heard Gherib swear by God and His greatness and by Abraham the Friend, he knew that he was a Muslim and cried out to his people, saying, 'Bring me my mistress.' Accordingly they brought a brasier of gold and setting it before him, kindled therein fire and cast on drugs, whereupon there arose therefrom green and blue and yellow flames and the King and all who were present prostrated themselves before the brasier, whilst Gherib and Sehim ceased not to magnify God and attest His greatness and omnipotence. Presently, Muraash raised his head and seeing the two princes standing, said to them, 'O dogs, why do ye not prostrate yourselves?' 'Out on thee, O accursed one!' replied Gherib. 'Prostration befits not, save to the Worshipful King, who bringeth forth all creatures into being from nothingness and maketh water to well from the barren rock, Him who inclineth the heart of the father unto his new-born child and who may not be described as sitting or standing, the God of Noah and Salih and Houd and Abraham the Friend, who created Paradise and Hell-fire and trees and fruit, for He is God, the One, the All-powerful.'
When Muraash heard this, his eyes started from his head and he cried out to his guards, saying, 'Bind these two dogs and sacrifice them to my mistress.' So they bound them and were about to cast them into the fire, when, behold, one of the merlons of the parapet fell down upon the brasier and broke it and did out the fire, which became ashes flying in the air. Then said Gherib, 'God is Most Great! He giveth aid and victory and forsaketh those who deny Him and worship the Fire, not the Almighty King!' Quoth Muraash, 'Thou art a sorcerer and hast bewitched my mistress, so that this thing hath befallen her.' 'O madman,' answered Gherib, 'if the fire had soul or movement, it would ward off from itself that which doth it hurt.' When Muraash heard this, he roared and bellowed and reviled the Fire, saying, 'By my faith, I will not kill you save by the fire!'
Then he cast them into prison and calling a hundred Marids, bade them bring much firewood and set fire thereto. So they brought great plenty of wood and made a huge fire, which flamed up mightily till the morning, when Muraash mounted an elephant, bearing on its back a throne of gold set with jewels, and the tribes of the Jinn gathered about him, in their various kinds. Then they brought in Gherib and Sehim, who, seeing the flaming of the fire, sought help of the One God, the All-conquering Creator of night and day, Him who is mickle of might, whom no sight comprehendeth, but who comprehendeth all sights, for He is the Subtle, the All-knowing; and they ceased not to solicit Him, till, behold, a cloud arose from West to East and pouring down showers of rain, like the swollen sea, quenched the fire.
When the King saw this, he was affrighted, he and his troops, and entered the palace, where he turned to his Vizier and grandees and said to them, 'How say ye of these two men?' 'O King,' answered they, 'were they not in the right, this thing had not befallen the fire; wherefore we say that they speak sooth.' 'Indeed,' rejoined Muraash, 'the truth hath been shown forth to me, ay, and the manifest way, and I am certified that the worship of the fire is false; for, were it [god and] mistress, it had warded off from itself the rain that quenched it and the stone that broke its brasier and beat it into ashes. Wherefore I believe in Him Who created the fire and the light and the shade and the heat. And ye, what say ye?' 'O King,' answered they, 'we also hear and follow and obey.'
So the King called for Gherib and Sehim and embraced them and kissed them between the eyes; whereupon the bystanders all crowded to kiss their hands and heads. Then Muraash sat down on the throne of his kingship and seating Gherib on his right and Sehim on his left hand, said to them, 'O mortals, what shall we say, that we may become Muslims?' 'Say,' answered Gherib, "' There is no god but God, and Abraham is the Friend of God!"' So the King and his folk professed Islam with heart and tongue, and Gherib abode with them awhile, teaching them the ritual of prayer. But presently he called to mind his people and sighed, whereupon quoth Muraash, 'Verily, trouble is past and gone and joy and gladness are come.' 'O King,' said Gherib, 'I have many enemies and I fear for my people from them.' Then he related to him his history from first to last, and Muraash said, 'O King of men, I will send one who shall bring thee news of thy people, for I will not let thee go till I have had my fill of gazing on thy face.' Then he called two stout Marids, by name Kailjan and Courjan, and bade them repair to Yemen and bring him news of Gherib's army. They replied, 'We hear and obey,' and departed.
Meanwhile, when the captains of the Muslims arose in the morning and rode to Gherib's palace, to do their service to him, the servants told them that the King had ridden forth with his brother at point of day. So they made for the valleys and mountains and followed the track of the princes, till they came to the Valley of Springs, where they found their arms cast down and their horses grazing and said, 'By the glory of Abraham the Friend, the King is missing from this place!' Then they dispersed and sought in the valley and the mountains three days, but found no trace of them; whereupon they raised lamentations and despatched couriers to all the cities and strengths and fortresses, to seek news of their King. Accordingly, the couriers dispersed hither and thither and sought everywhere for Gherib, but found no trace of him.
Now, when the news came to Agib by his spies that his brother was missing, he rejoiced and going in to King Yaarub ben Kehtan, sought aid of him. He granted him the help he sought and gave him two hundred thousand Amalekites, with whom he set out for Yemen and sat down before the city of Oman. Jemrcan and Saadan sallied forth and gave him battle, and there were slain of the Muslims much people, wherefore the true believers retired into the city and shut the gates and manned the walls. At this juncture the two Marids arrived and seeing the Muslims beleaguered, waited till the night, when they fell upon the infidels and plied them with sharp swords of the swords of the Jinn, each twelve cubits long, if a man smote therewith a rock, he would cleave it in sunder. They attacked the idolaters, shouting, 'God is Most Great! He giveth aid and victory and forsaketh those who deny the faith of Abraham the Friend!' whilst fire issued from their mouths and nostrils, and they made great slaughter amongst them. Thereupon the infidels ran out of their tents and seeing these strange things, were confounded and their flesh shuddered and their reason fled. So they snatched up their arms and fell on each other, whilst the Marids shore off their heads, as a reaper cuts grain, crying, 'God is Most Great! We are the henchmen of King Gherib, the friend of Muraash, King of the Jinn!' The sword ceased not to go round amongst them till the night was half spent, when the misbelievers, imagining that the mountains were all Afrits, loaded their tents and treasure and baggage upon camels and made off; and the first to fly was Agib. The Marids ceased not from the pursuit, till they had driven them far away into the hills and deserts; and but fifty thousand infidels of two hundred thousand escaped with their lives and made for their own land, wounded and discomfited.
Meanwhile, the Muslims gathered together, marvelling at this that had betided the infidels and fearing the tribes-men of the Jinn; but presently the latter returned and said to them, 'O host of the Muslims, your lord King Gherib and his brother Sehim salute you; they are the guests of Muraash, King of the Jinn, and will be with you anon.' When Gherib's men knew that he was safe and well, they rejoiced greatly and said to the Marids, 'May God rejoice you with good news, O noble spirits!' So Courjan and Kailjan returned to Muraash and Gherib and acquainted them with that which had happened, whereat Gherib's heart was set at ease and he said, 'May God abundantly requite you!'
Then said King Muraash, 'O my brother, I have a mind to show thee our country and the city of Japhet son of Noah, on whom be peace!' 'O King,' replied Gherib, 'do what seemeth good to thee.' So he called for horses and mounting, he and Gherib and Sehim, set out with a thousand Marids, as they were a piece of a mountain cut endlong. They fared on, diverting themselves with the sight of valleys and mountains, till they came to the city of Japhet son of Noah (on whom be peace), where the townsfolk all, great and small, came forth to meet King Muraash and brought them into the city in great state. Then Muraash went up to the palace of Japhct son of Noah and sat down on the throne of his kingship, which was of alabaster, ten stages high, hung with all manner coloured silks and trellised with wands of gold. The people of the city stood before him and he said to them, 'O descendants of Japhet, what did your fathers and grandfathers worship?' Quoth they, 'We found them worshipping the fire and followed their example, as thou well knowest.' 'O folk,' rejoined Muraash, 'it hath been manifested to us that the fire is but one of the creatures of God the Most High, Creator of all things; and when we knew this, we submitted ourselves to God, the One, the All-powerful Maker of night and day and the revolving sphere, whom no sight comprehendeth, but who comprehendeth all sights, for He is the Subtle, the All-wise, So do ye likewise, and ye shall be saved from the wrath of the Almighty and from the fiery torment in the world to come.' And they embraced Islam with heart and tongue.
Then Muraash took Gherib by the hand and showed him the palace and its ordinance and all the marvels it contained, till they came to the armoury, wherein were the arms of Japhet son of Noah. Here Gherib saw a sword hanging to a peg of gold and said, 'O King, whose sword is that?' Quoth Muraash, 'It is the sword of Japhet son of Noah, wherewith he was wont to do battle against men and Jinn. The sage Jerdoun forged it and graved on its back names of might. It is named El Mahic, for that it never descends upon a man, but it annihilates him, nor upon a genie, but it crushes him; and it one smote therewith a mountain, it would over-throw it.' When Gherib heard tell of the virtues of the sword, he said, 'I desire to look on this sword;' and Muraash said, 'As thou wilt.' So Gherib put out his hand and taking the sword, drew it from its sheath; whereupon it flashed and death crept and glittered on its edge ; and it was twelve spans long and three broad. Now Gherib wished to take it, and Muraash said, 'If thou canst wield it, take it.' ' It is well,' answered Gherib, and took it up, and it was in his hand as a staff; wherefore all who were present, men and Jinn, marvelled and said, 'Well done, O prince of cavaliers!' Then said Muraash, 'Lay thy hand on this treasure, that the Kings of the earth sigh for in vain, and mount, that I may show thee the city.'
Then they took horse and rode forth the palace, with Jinn and men attending them on foot, and passed through the streets and thoroughfares of the town, threading their way through ranks of palaces and deserted mansions and gilded doorways, till they issued from the gates and entered gardens full of fruit-laden trees and running waters and birds speaking and celebrating the praises of Him to whom belong power and eternity; nor did they cease to take their pleasance in the land till nightfall, when they returned to the palace of Japhet son of Noah and they brought them the table of food. So they ate and Gherib turned to the King of the Jinn and said to him, 'O King, I would fain return to my people and my troops; for I know not their plight after me.' 'By Allah, O my brother,' answered Muraash, 'I will not part with thee for a full month, till I have had my fill of thy sight.'
Gherib could not say him nay, so he abode with him in the city of Japhet, eating and drinking and making merry, till the month was up, when Muraash clad him and Sehim in dresses of honour of gold-inwoven silk and set on Gherib's head a crown jewelled with pearls and diamonds of inestimable value. Moreover, he gave him great store of presents of emeralds and balass rubies and diamonds and other jewels and ingots of gold and silver and ambergris and musk and brocaded silks and other rarities and things of price. All these he made up into loads for him and calling five hundred Marids, said to them, 'Make ready to set out on the morrow, that we may bring King Gherib and Sehim back to their own country.' And they answered, saying, 'We hear and obey.' So they passed the night in the city, purposing to depart on the morrow, but, next morning, as they were about to set forth, they espied a great host advancing upon the city, with horses neighing and drums beating and trumpets sounding, to the number of threescore and ten thousand Marids, flying and diving, under a king called Bercan, and the earth was filled with them.
Now this Bercan was lord of the City of Cornelian and the Castle of Gold and under his rule were five strongholds, in each five hundred thousand Marids; and he and his people worshipped the fire, not the Omnipotent King. He was the son of Muraash's father's brother and the cause of his coming was on this wise. It chanced that there was among the subjects of King Muraash a misbelieving Marid, who professed Islam hypocritically, and he stole away from his people and made for the Valley of Cornelian, where he went in to King Bercan and kissing the earth before him, wished him abiding glory and fair fortune. Then he told him of Muraash's conversion to Islam, and Bercan said, 'How came he to forsake his faith?' So the rebel told him what had passed and Bercan snorted and puffed and railed at the sun and the moon and the sparkling fire, saying, 'By the virtue of my faith, I will surely slay my cousin and his people and this mortal, nor will I leave one of them on life !' Then he cried out to the tribes of the Jinn and choosing of them seventy thousand Marids, set out and fared on till he came to the city of Japhet and encamped before its gates. When Muraash saw this, he despatched a Marid to learn what the stranger host wanted, bidding him return in haste. So the messenger repaired to Bercan's camp, where the Marids hastened to meet him and said to him, 'Who art thou?' Quoth he, 'I bear a message from King Muraash;' whereupon they carried him in to Bercan, before whom he prostrated himself saying, 'O my lord, my master hath sent me to thee, to know what brings thee hither.' 'Return to thy lord,' replied Bercan, 'and say to him, "This is thy cousin Bercan, who is come to salute thee."' So the messenger returned and told Muraash, who said to Gherib, 'Abide here whilst I go and salute my cousin and return to thee.' Then he mounted and rode to Bercan's camp.
Now this was a trick of Bercan, to bring Muraash out and seize upon him, and he said to his Marids, who were about him, 'When ye see me embrace my cousin, lay hold of him and bind his hands behind him. And they answered, saying, 'We hear and obey.' So, when Muraash came up and entered Bercan's pavilion, the latter rose to him and embraced him, whereupon the Jinn fell upon Muraash and seized him and bound him. He looked at Bercan and said, 'What manner of thing is this?' Quoth Bercan, 'O dog of the Jinn, wilt thou leave the faith of thy fathers and grandfathers and enter a faith thou knowest not?' 'O son of my uncle,' rejoined Muraash, 'indeed I have found the faith of Abraham the Friend to be the true faith and all other than it vain.' 'And who told thee of this?' asked Bercan. 'Gherib, King of Irak,' answered Muraash, 'whom I hold in the highest honour.' 'By the fire and the light and the shade and the heat,' cried Bercan, 'I will slay both thee and him!' And he cast him into prison.
Now, when Muraash's henchman saw what had befallen his lord, he fled back to the city and told the King's men, who cried out and mounted. Quoth Gherib, 'What is to do?' And they told him what had passed, whereupon he cried out to Sehim, saying, 'Saddle me one of the chargers that King Muraash gave me.' 'O my brother,' said Sehim, 'wilt thou do battle with the Jinn?' 'Yes,' answered Gherib; 'I will fight them with the sword of Japhet son of Noah, seeking help of the God of Abraham the Friend, (on whom be peace,) for He is Lord and Creator of all things. So Sehim saddled him a sorrel horse of the horses of the Jinn, as he were a castle, and he armed and mounting, rode out with the tribes of the Jinn, aimed cap-a-pie. Then Bercan and his host mounted also and the two hosts drew cut in battalia in face of one another. The first to open the chapter of war was Gherib, who spurred his charger into the mid-field and drew the enchanted sword, whence issued a glittering light, that dazzled the eyes of all the Jinn and struck terror to their heart. Then he played with the sword, till their wits were amazed, and cried out, saying, 'God is Most Great! I am Gherib, King of Irak. There is no faith save the faith of Abraham the Friend!'
When Bercan heard Gherib's words, he said, 'This is he who seduced my cousin from his faith; so, by the virtue of my faith, I will not sit down on my throne till I have cut off the head of this Gherih and made an end of his life and forced my cousin and his people back to their faith: and whoso baulketh me, I will destroy him.' Then he mounted a paper-white elephant, as he were a tower plastered with gypsum, and goaded him with a pike of steel, whereupon the elephant trumpeted and made for the middle of the field. When Bercan drew near Gherih, he cried out to him, saying, 'O dog of mankind, what made thee come into our land, to debauch my cousin and his people and pervert them from one faith to another? Know that this day is the last of thy worldly days.' And Gherib answered, saying, 'Avaunt, O vilest of the jinn!' Therewith Berean drew a javelin and poising it in his hand, cast it at Gherib; but it missed him. So he threw a second javelin at him; but Gherib caught it in mid-air and hurled it at the elephant. It smote him on the flank and came out on the other side, whereupon the beast fell down dead and Bercan was cast to the ground, like a great palm-tree. Before he could stir, Gherib smote him with the sword of Japhet flatlings on the nape of the neck, and he fell down in a swoon; whereupon the Marids swooped down on him and bound him.
When Bercan's people saw their king a prisoner, they drove at the others, seeking to rescue him, but Gherib and the true-believing Jinn fell upon them and bravo for Gherib! indeed that day he pleased God who answereth prayer and slaked his vengeance with the enchanted sword! Whomsoever he smote, he clove him in sunder and before his soul could depart, he became a heap of asshes in the fire; whilst the two hosts of the Jinn cast flames of fire at one another, till the battle-field was wrapped in smoke. And Gherib tourneyed right and left among the infidels and they gave way before him, till be came to King Bercan's pavilion, with Kailjan and Courjan on his either hand, and cried out to them, saying, 'Loose your lord!' So they unbound Muraash and broke his fetters and he said to them, 'Bring me my arms and my winged horse.'
Now he had two flying horses, one of which he gave to Gherib and the other he mounted himself, after he had donned his battle-harness. Then he and Gherib fell upon the enemy, flying through the air on their winged horses, and the true-believing Jinn followed them, shouting, 'God is Most Great!' till the earth and hills and valleys and mountains answered them. The infidels fled before them and they returned, after having slain more than thirty thousand Marids and Satans, to the city of Japhet, where the two kings sat down on their beds of estate and sought for Bercan, but found him not; for, whilst they were diverted from him by stress of battle, an Afrit of his servants made his way to him and loosing him, carried him to his folk, of whom he found part slain and the rest in full flight. So he flew up with the King into the air and set him down in the City of Cornelian and Castle of Gold, where Bercan seated himself on the throne of his king-ship. Presently, those of his people who had escaped from the battle came in to him and gave him joy of his safety; and he said, 'O folk, where is safety? My army is slain and they took me prisoner and have rent in pieces my repute among the tribes of the Jinn.' 'O King,' answered they, 'it is ever thus that kings still smite and are smitten.' Quoth he, 'Needs must I take my revenge and wipe out my reproach, else shall I be for ever dishonoured among the tribes of the Jinn.' Then he wrote letters to the governors of his fortresses, who came to him with three hundred and twenty thousand fierce Marids and Satans; and he bade them make ready to set out in three days' time.
Meanwhile, when Muraash discovered Bercan's escape, it was grievous to him and he said, 'Had we set a hundred Marids to guard him, he had not fled; but whither shall he go from us?' Then said he to Gherib, 'Know, O my brother, that Bercan is perfidious and will never rest from avenging himself on us, but will assuredly assemble his clans and return upon us; wherefore I am minded to forestall him and fall on him, on the heels of his defeat, whilst he is yet weak by reason thereof.' 'This is well see;' replied Gherib; and Muraash said, 'O my brother, let the Marids bear thee back to thine own country and leave me to fight the battles of the Faith against the infidels, that I may be lightened of the burden of my sins.' 'By the virtue of the Clement, the Bountiful, the Protector,' answered Gherib, 'I will not go hence till I do to death all the mis-believing Jinn and God hasten their souls to the fire and evil shall be the abiding-place [to which they go;] and none shall be saved but those who worship God the One, the Victorious! But do thou send Sehim back to the city of Oman, so haply he may be healed of his sickness.' For Sehim was sick. So Muraash bade the Marids take up Sehim and the treasures and bear them to the city of Oman; and they took them and made for the land of men.
Then Muraash wrote letters to all his governors and captains of fortresses and they came to him with eight-score thousand men. So they made them ready and departed for the City of Cornelian. In one day, they marched a year's journey and halted in a valley, where they encamped and passed the night. Next morning, as they were about to set forth, the vanguard of Bercan's army appeared, whereupon the Jinn cried out and the two hosts met and fell upon each other in that valley, that the earth trembled with the shock. Then there befell a sore strife and the battle swayed to and fro with a might clamour. Jest gave place to earnest and there was an end of parley, whilst long lives were cut short and trouble and confusion befell the unbelievers; for Gherib charged them, proclaiming the Unity of God, the Worshipful, the Exalted, and shore through necks and made heads roll in the dust; nor did the dark betide before nigh seventy thousand of the infidels were slain, and of the true believers over ten thousand Marids had fallen. Then the drums beat the retreat, and the two hosts drew apart. So Gherib and Muraash returned to their tents, after they had wiped their arms, and the evening meal being set before them, they ate and gave each other joy of their safety. As for Bercan, he returned to his tent, grieving for the slaughter of his champions, and said to his officers, 'If we abide here and do battle thus with them, we shall be cut off to the last man in three days' time.' Quoth they, 'And how shall we do, O King?' 'We will fall upon them under cover of the night,' said Bercan, 'whilst they sleep, and not one of them shall be left to tell the tale. So take your arms and when I give the word of command, fall on your enemies as one man.'
Now there was amongst them a Marid named Jendel whose heart inclined to Islam; so, when he heard the Infideis' plot, he stole away from them and going in to King Muraash and King Gherib, told them what Bercan had devised; whereupon Muraash turned to Gherib and said to him, 'O my brother, what shall we do?' Quoth Gherib, 'To-night we will fall upon the infidels and chase them into the mountains and deserts, if it be the will of the Omnipotent King.' Then he summoned the captains of the Jinn and said to them, 'Arm yourselves, you and your men, and as soon as it is dark, steal out of your tents on foot and hide among the mountains; and when ye see the enemy engaged among the tents, do ye fall upon them from all quarters. Strengthen your hearts and put your faith in your Lord, and ye shall conquer; and behold, I am with you!' So, as soon as it was dark, the infidels attacked the camp, invoking the aid of the light and the fire; but, when they came among the tents, the Muslims fell upon them, calling for help on the Lord of the Worlds and saying, 'O Most Merciful of those that show mercy, O Creator of all created things!' till they left them like mown grass, cut down and dead. By the morning the most part of the unbelievers were bodies without souls and the rest made for the marshes and deserts, whilst Gherib and Muraash returned in triumph and making prize of the enemy's baggage, rested till the morrow, when they set out for the City of Cornelian.
As for Bercan, when he saw that the battle had turned against him and that the most part of his men were slain, he fled with the remnant of his folk to his capital city, where he entered his palace and assembling his tribes, said to them, 'O folk, whoso hath aught of price, let him take it and follow me to the Mountain Caf, to the Blue King, lord of the Parti-coloured Palace; for he it is who shall avenge us.' So they took their women and children and goods and made for the Mountain Caf. Presently Muraash and Gherib arrived at the City of Cornelian and found the gates open and none left to give them news; whereupon they entered and Muraash took Gherib, that he might show him the city, whose walls were builded of emeralds and its gates of red cornelian, with nails of silver, and the roofs of its houses and mansions ceiled with aloes and sandal-wood. So they took their pleasance in its streets and alleys, till they came to the palace of gold and entering, passed through seven vestibules, till they came to a building, whose walls were of royal balass rubies and its pavement of emerald and jacinth. The two kings were astounded at the goodliness of the place and fared on from vestibule to vestibule, till they came to the inner court of the palace, wherein they saw four estrades, each different from the others, and in the midst a fountain of red gold, compassed about with golden lions, from whose mouths issued water. The estrade at the upper end was hung and carpeted with brocaded silks of various colours and thereon stood two thrones of red gold, inlaid with pearls and jewels. So Muraash and Gherib sat down on the thrones and held high state in the palace of gold. Then said Gherib to Muraash, 'What thinkest thou to do?' And Muraash answered, saying, 'O King of men, I have despatched a hundred horse to learn where Bercan is, that we may pursue him.'
Then they abode three days in the palace, till the scouts returned with the news that Bercan had fled to the Mountain Caf and thrown himself on the protection of the Blue King; whereupon quoth Muraash to Gherib, 'What sayst thou, O my brother?' And Gherib answered, saying, 'Except we attack them, they will attack us.' So they made ready for departure and after three days, they were about to set out with their troops, when the Marids, who had carried Sehim back to Oman, returned and kissed the earth before Gherib. He questioned them of his people and they answered, saying, 'After the last battle, thy brother Agib fled to the King of Hind and sought his protection. The King granted his prayer and writing letters to all his governors, levied an army as it were the swollen sea, having neither beginning nor end, with which he purposes to invade Irak and lay it waste.' When Gherib heard this, he said, 'Perish the unbelievers! Verily, God the Most High shall give the victory to Islam and I will show them cutting and thrusting.' 'O King of men,' said Muraash, 'by the virtue of the Mighty Name, I must needs go with thee to thy kingdom and destroy thine enemies and bring thee to thy desire.' Ghenib thanked him and they rested till the morrow, when they set out, intending for the City of Alabaster and the Patti-coloured Palace.
Now this city was builded of alabaster and [precious] stones by Baric ben Fakia, father of the Jinn, and he built also the Patti-coloured Palace, which was so named for that the ordinance of its building was one brick of gold and one of silver, nor was there its like in all the world. When they came within half a day's journey of the city, they halted to rest, and Muraash sent out a scout to reconnoitre, who returned and said, 'O King, in the City of Alabaster are tribesmen of the Jinn in number as the leaves of the trees or as the drops of rain.' So Muraash said to Gherib, 'How shall we do, O King of men?' 'O King,' answered he, 'divide your men into four bodies and encompass the camp of the infidels with them ; then, in the middle of the night, let them cry out, saying, "God is Most Great!" and hold aloof and watch what happens among the tribes of the Jinn.' So Muraash did as Gherib counselled and the troops waited till midnight, when they cried out, saying, 'God is Most Great! Ho for the Faith of Abraham the Friend, on whom be peace!' The unbelievers awoke in affright and snatching up their arms, fell upon each other till the morning, when the most part of them were dead men and but few remained. Then Gherib cried out to the true believers, saying, 'Up and at the remnant of the infidels! Behold, I am with you, and God is your helper!' So the Muslims drove at the enemy and Gherib drew his sword El Mahic and fell upon the foe, cutting off noses and sending heads flying. Presently be came up with Bercan and smote him and bereft him of life and he fell down, drenched in his blood. On like wise he did with the Blue King, and by the forenoon not one of the infidels was left alive to tell the tale.
Then Gherib and Muraash entered the Patti-coloured Palace and found its walls builded of alternate courses of gold and silver, with sills of crystal and keystones of emerald. In its midst was a fountain adorned with bells and pendants and figures of birds and beasts vomiting forth water, and thereby an estrade furnished with gold-brocaded silks, with borders of gold embroidered with jewels and they found the treasures of the palace past count or description. Then they entered the inner court, where they found a magnificent seraglio and Gherib saw, among the Blue King's women, a girl clad in a dress worth a thousand dinars, never had he beheld a goodlier. About her were a hundred slave-girls, holding up her skirts with hooks of gold, and she was in their midst as the moon among stars. When he saw her, his reason was confounded and he said to one of the waiting-women, 'Who is yonder damsel?' Quoth they, 'This is the Blue King's daughter, Morning Star.' Then Gherib turned to Muraash and said to him, 'O King of the Jinn, I have a mind to take yonder damsel to wife.' Quoth Muraash, 'The palace and all that therein is are the prize of thy right hand; for, hadst thou not devised a stratagem to destroy the Blue King and Bercan, they had cut us off to the last man wherefore the treasure is thy treasure and the people thy slaves.' Gherb thanked him for his fair speech and going up to the girl, gazed steadfastly upon her and loved her with an exceeding love, forgetting Fekhr Taj and Mehdiyeh.
Now her mother was the King's daughter of China, whom the Blue King had carried off from her palace and deflowered, and she conceived by him and bore this girl, whom he named Morning Star, by reason of her beauty and grace for she was the princess of the fair. Her mother died when she was a babe of forty days, and the nurses and eunuchs reared her, till she reached the age of seventeen; but she hated her father and rejoiced in his death. So Gherib put his hand in hers and went in to her that night and found her a virgin. Then he pulled down the Parti-coloured Palace and divided the spoil with the true-believing Jinn, and there fell to his share one and-twenty thousand bricks of gold and silver and money and treasure beyond count. Then Muraash took Gherib and showed him the Mountain Caf and all its marvels; after which they returned to Bercan's fortress and dismantled it and shared the spoil thereof.
Then they returned to Muraash's capital, where they abode five days, at the end of which time Gherib sought to go to his own country and Muraash said, 'O King of men, I will ride at thy stirrup and bring thee to thine own land 'Nay, by the virtue of Abraham the Friend,' answered Gherib; 'I will not suffer thee to weary thyself thus nor will I take any of the Jinn save Kailjan and Courjan.' Quoth the King, 'Take with thee ten thousand horsemen of the Jinn, to serve thee;' but Gherib said, 'I will take only as I said to thee.' So Muraash bade a thousand Marids take him up and carry him to his native land, with his share of the spoil; and he commanded Kailjan and Courjan to follow him and obey him; and they answered, 'We hear and obey.' Then said Gherib to the Marids, 'Do ye carry the treasure and Morning Star;' for he himself thought to ride his flying charger. But Muraash said to him, 'O my brother, this horse will live only in our clime, and if it come upon the earth, it will die but I have in my stables a sea horse, whose like is not found in Irak, no, nor in all the world' So he caused bring forth the horse, and when Gherib saw it, it interposed between him and his reason. Then they bound it and Kailjan took it on his shoulders and Courjan took what he could carry. And Muraash embraced Gherib and wept for parting from him, saying, 'O my brother, if aught befall thee, to which thou art unable, send for me and I will come to thine aid with an army that may avail to lay waste the whole earth and all that is thereon.' Gherib thanked him for his courtesy and kindness and his zeal for the True Faith and took leave of him; whereupon the Marids set out with Gherib and his goods and after traversing fifty years' journey in two days and a night, alighted near the city of Oman and halted to rest.
Then Gherib sent out Kailjan, to learn news of his people, and he returned and said, 'O King, thy city is beleaguered by a host of infidels, as they were the swollen sea, and thy people are fighting them. The drums beat to battle and Jemrcan goeth forth to them in the field.' When Gherib heard this, he cried out, saying, 'God is Most Great!' and said to Kailjan, 'Saddle me the horse and bring me my arms; for to-day the valiant shall be known from the coward in the stead of war and battle. So Kailjan brought him all he sought and Gherib armed and girding on El Mahic, mounted the sea-horse and made toward the armies. Quoth Kailjan and Courjan to him, 'Set thy heart at ease and let us go to the infidels and scatter them abroad in the wastes and deserts till, by the help of God the Most High, the All-powerful, we leave not a soul of them on life, no, not a blower of the fire.' But Gherib said, 'By the virtue of Abraham the Friend, I will not let you fight them without me!'
Now the manner of the coming of that great host was on this wise. When Agib fled from the field, after Yaarub's army had been put to the rout by Kailjan and Courjan, be said to his people, 'If we return to Yaarub ben Kehtan, he will say to us, "But for you, my son and my people had not been slain;" and he will put us to death, even to the last man. Wherefore, methinks we were better go to Terkenan, King of Hind, and beseech him to avenge us.' 'Come, let us go thither,' answered they; 'and the blessing of the Fire attend thee!' So they fared on days and nights till they reached King Terkenan's capital city and Agib went in to him and kissed the earth before him. Then he wished him what men use to wish to kings and said to him, 'O King, do thou protect me, so may the sparkling fire and the night with its thick darkness protect and defend thee!' Terkenan looked at Agib and said, 'Who art thou and what dost thou want?' 'I am Agib, King of Irak,' replied he; 'my brother hath usurped my throne and gotten the mastery of the land and the people have submitted themselves to him. Moreover, he has embraced the faith of Islam and ceases not to chase me from country to country; and behold, I am come to seek protection of thee and thy power.' When Terkenan heard Agib's words, he rose and sat down and said, 'By the virtue of the Fire, I will assuredly avenge thee and will let none serve other than my mistress the Fire!' And he cried out to his son, saying, 'O my son, make ready to go to Irak and lay it waste and bind all who serve aught but the Fire and punish them and make an example of them; yet slay them not, but bring them to me, that I may ply them with various tortures and make them taste the bitterness of humiliation and leave them a warning to all who will take warning in this time.' Then he chose out to accompany him fourscore thousand fighting-men on horse-back and the like number on giraffes, beside ten thousand elephants, bearing on their backs turrets of sandal-wood, trellised with network of gold and railed and plated with gold and silver and guarded with shields of gold and emerald, and store of war-chariots, in each eight men fighting with all kinds of weapons.
Now the prince's name was Raadshah and he was the champion of his time, having no peer for prowess. So he and his army equipped them in ten days' time, then set out, as they were a bank of clouds, and fared on two months' journey, till they came to Oman and encompased it, to the joy of Agib, who thought himself assured of victory. So Jemrcan and Saadan and all their fighting-men sallied forth into the field, whilst the drums beat to battle and the horses neighed. At this moment up came King Gherib, who spurred his charger and entered among the infidels, waiting to see who should come forth and open the chapter of war. Then came out Saadan the Ghoul and offered battle, whereupon there issued forth to him one of the champions of Hind; but Saadan scarce let him take his stand in front of him ere he smote him to the earth with his mace and crushed his bones; and so did he with a second and a third, till he had slain thirty fighting-men. Then there pricked out to him an Indian cavalier, by name Bettash el Acran, uncle to King Terkenan and the doughtiest champion of his time, reckoned worth five thousand horse in battle, and cried out to Saadan, saying, 'O thief of the Arabs, what art thou that thou shouldst slay the Kings of Hind and their champions and capture their horsemen? But to-day is the last of thy worldly days.' When Saadan heard this, his eyes waxed bloodshot and he drove at Bettash and aimed a stroke at him with his club; but he evaded it and the force of the blow bore Saadan to the earth; and before he could recover himself, the Indians bound him and haled him off to their tents.
When Jemrcan saw his comrade a prisoner, he cried out, saying, Ho for the faith of Abraham the Friend!' and clapping spurs to his horse, ran at Bettash. They wheeled and feinted awhile, till Bettash drove at Jemrcan and catching him by his coat of arms, tore him from his saddle and threw him to the ground; whereupon the Indians bound him and dragged him away to their tents. And Bettash ceased not to overcome all who came out to him, till he had made prisoners of four-and-twenty captains of the Muslims, whereat the latter were sore dismayed. When Gherib saw what had befallen his men, he drew from beneath his knee a mace of gold, six-score nounds in weight, which had belonged to King Bercan, and set spurs to his sea-horse, which bore him like the wind into the middle of the field. Then he drove at Bettash, crying out, 'God is Most Great! he giveth aid and victory and forsaketh those who reject the faith of Abraham the Friend!' and smote him with the mace, whereupon he fell to the ground and Gherib, turning to the Muslims, saw his brother Sehim and said to him, 'Bind this dog.' When Sehim heard his brother's words, he ran to Bettash and bound him fast and bore him off, whilst the Muslims wondered who this cavalier could be and the Indians said to one another, 'Who is this horseman that came out from amongst us and hath taken our chief prisoner?'
Meanwhile Gherib continued to offer battle and there came out to him a captain of the Indians, whom he felled to the earth with his mace, and Kailjan and Courjan bound him and delivered him to Sehim; nor did Gherib leave to do thus, till he had taken prisoner two-and-fifty of the doughtiest captains of the army of Hind. Then the day came to an end and the drums beat the retreat; whereupon Gherib left the field and rode towards the Muslim camp. The first to meet him was his brother Sehimn, who kissed his feet in the stirrups and said, 'May thy hand never wither, O champion of the age! Tell us who thou art among the braves.' So Gherib raised his vizor and Sehim knew him and cried out, saying, 'This is your king and your lord Gherib, who is come back from the land of the Jinn!' When the Muslims heard Gherib's name, they threw themselves off their horses' backs and crowding about him, kissed his feet in the stirrups and saluted him, rejoicing in his safe return. Then they carried him into the city of Oman, where he entered his palace and sat down on the throne of his kingship, whilst his officers stood around him, in the utmost joy. Food was set on and they ate, after which Gherib related to them all that had befallen him with the Jinn in the Mountain Caf, and they marvelled thereat exceedingly and praised God for his safety. Then be dismissed them to their sleeping-places; so they withdrew to their several lodgings, and when none abode with him but Kailjan and Courjan, who never left him, he said to them, 'Can ye carry me to Cufa, that I may take my pleasure in my harem, and bring me back before the end of the night?' 'O our lord,' answered they, 'this thou askest is easy.'
Now the distance between Cufa and Oman is threescore days' journey for a diligent horseman, and Kailjan said to Courjan, 'I will carry him going and thou coming back.' So he took up Gherib and flew off with him, in company with Courjan; nor was an hour past before they set him down at the gate of his palace in Cufa. He went in to his uncle Damigh, who rose to him and saluted him; after which quoth Gherib, 'How is it with my wives Morning Star and Mehdiyeh?' And Damigh answered, saying, 'They are both well and in good case.' Then the eunuch went in and acquainted the women of the harem with Gherib's coming, whereat they rejoiced and raised cries of joy and gave him the reward for good news. Presently in came Gherib, and they rose and saluting him, conversed with him, till Damigh entered, when Gherib related to them all that had befallen him in the land of the Jinn, whereat they all marvelled. Then he lay with Morning Star till near daybreak, when he took leave of his uncle and wives and mounted Courjan's back, nor was the darkness dispelled before the two Marids set him down in the city of Oman. Then he and his men armed and he bade open the gates, when, behold, up came a horseman from the host of the Indians, with Jemrcan and Saadan and the rest of the captives, whom he had delivered, and committed them to Gherib. The Muslims rejoiced in their safety and the drums beat a point of war, whilst the two hosts drew out in battle array.
The first to open the chapter of war was Gherib, who drove his charger between the two ranks and drawing his sword El Mahic, cried out, saying, 'Whoso knoweth me hath enough of my prowess and whoso knoweth me not, I will make myself known to him. I am Gherib, King of Irak and Yemen, brother of Agib.' When Raadshah beard this, he cried out to his guards, saying, 'Bring me Agib.' So they brought him and Raadshah said to him, 'Thou knowest that this quarrel is thy quarrel and thou art the cause of all this slaughter. Now yonder stands thy brother Gherib amiddleward the field; go thou out to him and bring him to me prisoner, that I may set him on a camel, face to tail, and make a show of him and carry him to the land of Hind.' 'O King,' answered Agib, 'send out to him other than I, for I am in ill case this morning.' But Raadshah puffed and snorted and said, 'By the virtue of the sparkling fire and the light and shade and heat, except thou go out to thy brother and bring him to me in haste, I will cut off thy head and make an end of thee.' So Agib took courage and spurring his horse up to his brother in mid-field, said to him, 'O dog of the Arabs and vilest of all who smite upon tent-pegs, wilt thou contend with kings? Take what cometh to thee and receive the tidings of thy death.' When Gherib heard this, he said to him, 'Who art thou among the kings?' And Agib answered, saying, 'I am thy brother, and to-day is the last of thy worldly days.'
When Gherib was assured that he was indeed his brother Agib, be cried out and said, 'Ho, to avenge my father and mother!' Then giving his sword to Kailjan, he drove at Agib and smote him with his mace a swashing blow, that all but beat in his ribs, and seizing him by the neckrings, tore him from the saddle and cast him to the ground; whereupcn the Marids fell on him and binding him fast, dragged him off, abject and humiliated; whilst Gherib rejoiced in the capture of his enemy and repeated the following verses of the poet:
I have won to my wish and the end of affrays: Unto Thee, O my Lord, be the thanks and the praise!
I grew up, uncared for and abject and poor; But God hath vouchsafed me the aim of my ways.
I have conquered the lands, I have mastered the folk: But for Thee, I were nothing, O Ancient of Days!
When Raadshah saw how Agib fared with his brother, he called for his charger and donning his harness and coat of arms, mounted and pricked out into the field. As soon us he drew near Gherib, he cried out to him, saying, 'O vilest of Bedouin faggot-bearers, who art thou, that thou shouldst capture kings and warriors? Dismount and put thy hands behind thy back and kiss my feet and set my warriors free and go with me in chains to my kingdom, that I may pardon thee and make thee an elder in our country, so mayst thou eat a morsel of bread there.' When Gherib heard this, he laughed till he fell backward and answered, saving, 'O raging dog and scurvy wolf, thou shalt soon see against whom the shifts of Fate will turn!' Then he cried out to Sehim to bring him the prisoners; so he brought them, and Gherib smote off their heads; whereupon Raadshah drove at him, with the onslaught of a lordly champion and a fierce warrior, and they wheeled and feinted and hewed at each other till nightfall, when the drums beat the retreat and the two Kings returned, each to his own place, where his people gave him joy of his safety. And the Muslims said to Gherib, 'O King, it is not of thy wont to prolong a fight.' 'O folk,' answered he, 'I have done battle with many kings and champions; but never saw I a sturdier swordsman than this one. Had I chosen to draw El Mahic upon him, I had crushed his bones and made an end of his days: but I went about with him, thinking to take him prisoner and give him part in Islam.'
Meanwhile, Raadshah returned to his pavilion, where his chiefs came in to him and asked him of his adversary, and he said, 'By the sparkling fire, never in my life saw I the like of yonder warrior! But to-morrow I will take him prisoner and lead him away, abject and humbled.' Then they slept till daybreak, when the drums beat to battle and the fighting-men girt on their scimitars and mounting their stout horses, raised their war-cries and drew out into the field, filling all the hills and plains and wide places. The first to open the chapter of battle was the prince of cavaliers and the lion of war, King Gherib, who drove his steed between the two hosts and spurred to and fro, crying, 'Who is for jousting, who is for fighting? Let no sluggard nor weakling come out to me to-day!' Before he had made an end of speaking, out came Raadshah, riding on an elephant, as he were a vast tower, in a howdah girthed with silken bands; and between the elephant's ears sat the driver, bearing in his hand a hook, wherewith he goaded the beast and directed him right and left. When the elephant drew near Gherib's horse, the latter, seeing a creature it had never before set eyes on, took fright; wherefore Gherib dismounted and gave the horse to Kailjan. Then he drew El Mahic and advanced to meet Raadshah on foot.
Now it was Raadshah's wont, when he found himself overmatched, to mount an elephant, taking with him an engine called the noose, which was in the shape of a net, narrow at top and wide at bottom, with a running cord of silk passed through rings along its edges. With this he would attack horsemen and casting the net over them, draw the running noose and pull the rider off his horse and make him prisoner; and thus had he conquered many cavaliers. So, when Gherib came up to him, he raised his hand and casting the net over him, pulled him on to the back of the elephant and cried out to the latter to return to the Indian camp. But Kailjan and Courjan, who had not left Gherib, laid hold of the elephant and falling upon Raadshah, bound him wlth a rope of palm-fibres, whilst Gherib strove with the net, till he rent it in sunder. Thereupon the two armies drove at each other and met with a shock like two seas crashing or two mountains smiting together, whilst the dust rose to the confines of the sky and all eyes were blinded. The battle waxed fierce and the blood ran in streams, nor did they cease to wage war lustily with push of pike and stroke of sword, till the day departed and the night brought on the darkness, when the drums beat the retreat and the two hosts drew asunder.
Now the Muslims were hard pushed that day by reason of the riders on elephants and giraffes, and many of them were slain and most of the rest wounded. This was grievous to Gherib, who commanded the wounded to be cared for and turning to his chief officers, asked them what they counselled. 'O King,' answered they, 'it is but the elephants and giraffes that irk us; were we but quit of them, we should overcome the enemy.' Quoth Kailjan and Courjan, 'We two will draw our swords and fall on them and slay the most part of them.' But there came forward a man of Oman, who had been privy counsellor to Julned, and said, 'O King, I will be surety for the army, if thou wilt but hearken to me and follow my counsel.' And Gherib turned to his captains and said to them, 'Obey this wise man in whatsoever he shall say to you.' And they answered, saying, 'We hear and obey.' So he chose out ten captains and said to them, 'How many men have ye under your hands?' And they replied, 'Ten thousand fighting-men.' Then he carried them into the armoury and armed [five thousand of them with arquebuses and other] five thousand with cross-bows and taught them to shoot therewith.
As soon as it was day, the Indians came out to the field, armed cap-a-pie, with the elephants and giraffes in their van; whereupon Gherib and his men mounted and the drums beat and both hosts drew out in battle array. Then the counsellor cried out to the archers and arquebusiers to shoot, and they plied the elephants and giraffes with shafts and bullets. The arrows and the lead entered the beasts' flanks, and they roared out and turning upon their own ranks, trampled them with their feet. Then the Muslims charged the misbelievers and set on them right and left, whilst the elephants and giraffes trampled them and drove them into the hills and deserts. Moreover, the Muslims followed hard upon them with the keen-edged sword and but few of the giraffes and elephants escaped.
Then Gherib and his folk returned, rejoicing in their victory; and on the morrow they divided the spoil and rested five days; after which King Gherib sat down on his throne and sending for his brother Agib, said to him, 'O dog, how hast thou assembled the kings against us! But He who hath power over all things hath given us the victory over thee. Wherefore do thou embrace Islam and thou shalt be saved, and I will forbear to avenge my father and mother on thee. Moreover, I will make thee King again as thou wast and will myself be under thy hand.' But Agib said, 'I will not leave my faith.' So Gherib bade lay him in irons and appointed a hundred stalwart slaves to guard him; after which he turned to Raadshah and said to him. 'How sayst thou of the faith of Islam?' 'O my lord,' answered Raadshah, 'I will enter thy faith, for, were it not a true faith and a goodly, thou hadst not carried it over us. So put forth thy hand and I will testify that there is no god but God and that Abraham the Friend is His apostle.' At this Gherib rejoiced and said to him 'Is thy heart indeed stablished in the sweetness of the Faith?' And he answered, saying, 'Yes, O my lord!' Then said Gherib, 'O Raadshah, wilt thou go to thy country and thy kingdom?' 'O my lord,' replied he, 'my father will put me to death, for that I have left his faith.' Quoth Gherib, 'I will go with thee and make thee King of the country and constrain the folk to obey thee, by the help of God the Bountiful, the Beneficent.' And Raadshah kissed his hands and feet. Then Gherib rewarded the counsellor, who had been the cause of the rout of the infidels, and gave him great riches; after which be turned to Kailjan and Courjan and said to them, 'O chiefs of the Jinn, it is my will that ye carry me, together with Raadshah and Jemrcan and Saadan, to the land of Hind.' 'We hear and obey,' answered they. So Courjan took up Jemrcan and Saadan, whilst Kailjan took Gherib and Raadshah, and flew on with them from sundown till the end of the night, when they set them down on the terrace of King Terkenan's palace at Cashmere.
Now news was come to Terkenan of the rout of his army and that his son [was a prisoner], whereat he was sore troubled and slept not neither took delight in aught. As he sat in his harem, pondering his case, behold, Gherib and his company descended the stairways of the palace and came in to him; and when he saw his son and those who were with him, he was confounded and fear took him of the Marids. Then Raadshah turned to him and said, 'How long wilt thou persist in thy frowardness, O traitor and worshipper of the Fire? Woe to thee! Leave worshipping the fire and serve the Magnanimous King, Creator of night and day, whom no sight attaineth.' When Terkenan heard his son's speech, he cast at him an iron mace he had by him; but he avoided it and it fell upon a buttress of the palace and smote out three stones. Then said the King, 'O dog, thou hast destroyed my troops and forsaken thy faith and comest now to make me do likewise!' With this Gherib stepped up to him and dealt him a buffet on the neck, that knocked him down; whereupon the Marids bound him fast and all the women fled.
Then Gherib sat down on the throne and said to Raadshah, 'Do thou justice upon thy father.' So Raadshah turned to him and said, 'O perverse old man, become a Muslim and thou shalt be saved from the fire and the wrath of the Almighty.' And Terkenan said, 'I will die in my own faith.' Whereupon Gherib drew El Mahic and smote him therewith, and he fell to the earth in two piece; and God hurried his soul to the fire and ill was the abiding-place [to which he went]. Then Gherib bade hang his body over the gate of the palace and they hung one-half on the right hand and the other on the left and waited tilt day, when Gherib caused Raadshah don the royal habit and sit down on his father's throne, with himself on his right hand and Jemrcan and Saadan and the Marids standing right and left; and he said to Kailjan and Courjan,'Whoso entereth of the princes and officers, seize him and bind him, and let not a single captain escape you.' And they answered, saying, 'We hear and obey.'
Presently, the officers made for the palace, to do their service to the King, and the first to appear was the chief captain, who, seeing Terkenan's dead body cut in half and banging on either side the gate, was seized with horror and amazement. Then Kailjan laid hold of him by the collar and dragged him into the palace and bound him; and before sunrise they had bound three hundred and fifty captains and set them before Gherib, who said to them, 'Have you seen your King hanging at the palace-gate?' Quoth they, 'Who hath done this thing?' And he answered, 'I did it, by the help of God the Most High; and whoso gainsayeth me, I will do with him likewise.' Then said they, 'What is thy will with us?' 'I am Gherib, King of Irak,' answered he, 'he who slew your warriors; and now Raadshah has embraced the faith of submission and is become a mighty king and ruler over you. So do ye become true believers and all shall be well with you; but, If you refuse, you shall repent it.' So they pronounced the profession of the faith and were numbered of the people of felicity. Then said Gherib, 'Are your hearts indeed stablished in the sweetness of the Faith?' And they answered, 'Yes;' whereupon he bade release them and clad them in robes of honour, saying, 'Go to your people and expound Islam to them. Whosoever accepts the faith, spare him; but, if he refuse, slay him.' So they went out and assembling the men under their command, expounded Islam to them, and they all professed, except a few, whom they put to death; after which they returned and told Gherib, who praised God the Most High and glorified Him, saying, 'Praised be God who hath made this thing easy to us without strife!'
Then he abode in Cashmere forty days, till he had ordered the affairs of the country and cast down the shrines and temples of the Fire and built mosques and places of worship in their stead, whilst Raadshah made ready for him gifts and treasures beyond count and despatched them to Irak in ships. Then Gherib mounted on Kailjan's back and Jemrcan and Saadan on that of Courjan, after they had taken leave of Raadshah, and before daybreak they were in Oman, where their troops met them and saluted them and rejoiced in them. Then they set out for Cufa, where Gherib called for his brother Agib and commanded to crucify him on the city-gate and shoot at him with arrows. So Sehim brought hooks of iron and driving them into the tendons of Agib's heels, hung him over the gate; and they riddled him with arrows, till be was like a porcupine.
Then Gherib entered his palace and sitting down on the throne of his kingship, passed the day in ordering the affairs of the state. At nightfall he went in to his harem, where Morning Star came to meet him and embraced him and gave him joy, she and her women, of his safety. He lay the night with her and on the morrow, after he had washed and prayed the morning prayer, he sat down on his throne and commanded preparation to be made for his marriage with Mehdiyeh. So they slaughtered three thousand head of sheep and two thousand oxen and a thousand goats and five hundred camels and the like number of horses, beside four thousand fowls and great store of geese; never was such a wedding in Islam to that day. Then he went in to Mehdiyeh and did away her maidenhead and abode with her ten days; after which he committed the kingdom to his uncle Damigh, charging him to rule the people justly, and journeyed with his women and warriors, till he came to the ships laden with presents, which Raadshah had sent him, and divided the treasure among his troops. Then they fared on till they reached the city of Babel, where he bestowed on Sehim a dress of honour and appointed him Sultan of the city. He abode with him ten days, at the end of which time he set out again and journeyed till he reached the castle of Saadan the Ghoul, where they rested five days.
Then said Gherib to Kailjan and Courjan, 'Go ye to Isbanir el Medain, to the palace of Chosroës, and find what is come of Fekhr Taj and bring me one of the King's kinsmen, who shall acquaint me with what has passed.' 'We hear and obey,' answered they and set out forthright for Isbanir. As they flew between heaven and earth, they caught sight of a mighty army, as it were the swollen sea, and Kailjan said to Courjan, 'Let us descend and see what is this army.' So they alighted and walking among the troops, found them Persians and questioned the soldiers whose men they were and whither they were bound; to which they made answer, saying, 'We are bound for Irak, to kill Gherib and all who are with him.' When the Marids heard this, they repaired to the pavilion of the Persian general, whose name was Rustem, and waited till the soldiers slept, when they took up Rustem, bed and all, and made for Gherib's camp. They arrived there by mid night and going to the door of the King's pavilion, said, 'Permission;' which when the latter heard, he sat up and said, 'Enter.' So they entered and set down the couch with Rustem asleep thereon. Quoth Gherib, 'Who is this?' and they answered, 'This is a Persian prince, whom we met coming with a great host, thinking to slay thee and thine; and we have brought him to thee, that he may tell thee what thou hast a mind to know.' 'Fetch me a hundred men,' said Gherib, and they fetched them; whereupon he made them draw their swords and stand at Rustem's head.
Then they awoke him and he opened his eyes and finding a vault of steel over his head, shut them again, saying, 'What is this foul dream?' But Kailjan pricked him with his sword-point and he sat up and said 'Where am I?' Quoth Sehim, 'Thou art in the presence of King Gherib, son-in-law of the King of the Persians. What is thy name and whither goest thou?' When Rustem heard Gherib's name, he bethought himself and said, 'Am I asleep or on wake?' Whereupon Sehim dealt him a buffet, saving, 'Why dost thou not answer?' And he raised his head and said, 'Who brought me from my tent out of the midst of my men?' Quoth Gherib, 'These two Marids brought thee.' So he looked at them and voided in his hose [for affright]. Then the Marids fell upon him, baring their tusks and brandishing their swords, and said to him, 'Wilt thou not rise and kiss the earth before King Gherib?' and he trembled at them and was assured that he was not asleep; so he stood up and kissed the earth before Gherib, saying, 'The blessing of the Fire be on thee, O King, and long be thy life!' 'O dog of the Persians,' answered Gherib, 'fire is not worshipful, for that it is harmful and profiteth not save for [cooking] food.' 'Who then is worshipful?' asked Rustem; and Gherib replied, saying, 'God alone is worshipworth, who made thee and formed thee and created the heavens and the earth.' Quoth the Persian, 'What shall I say, that I may become of the party of this Lord and enter thy faith?' 'Say,' rejoined Gherib, '"There is no god but God, and Abraham is the friend of God."' So Rustem pronounced the profession of the faith and was written of the people of felicity.
Then said he to Gherib, 'Know, O my lord, that thy father-in-law, King Sabour, seeks to kill thee and hath sent me with a hundred thousand men, charging me to spare none of you.' Quoth Gherib, 'Is this my reward for having delivered his daughter from death and dishonour? God will requite him his evil intent. But what is thy name?' And the Persian answered, saying, 'My name is Rustem, general of Sabour.' Quoth Gherib, 'Thou shalt have the like rank in my army. But tell me, O Rustem, how is it with the princess Fekhr Taj?' 'May thy head live, O King of the age!' answered Rustem. 'What was the cause of her death?' asked Gherib; and Rustem said, 'O my lord, no sooner badst thou left us, than one of the princess's women went in to King Sabour and said to him, "O my lord, didst thou give Gherib leave to lie with the princess my mistress?" " No, by the virtue of the fire!" answered he, and drawing his sword, went in to his daughter and said to her, "O filthy baggage, why didst thou suffer yonder Bedouin to lie with thee, without wedding or dower?" "O my father," answered she, "thou gavest him leave to lie with me." "Did he have to do with thee?" asked he. But she was silent and hung down her head. Then he cried out to the midwives and slave-girls, saying, "Bind this harlot's hands behind her and look at her privy parts!" So they did as he bade and said to him, "O King, she hath lost her maidenhead." Whereupon he ran at her and would have slain her, but her mother threw herself between them, saying, "O King, slay her not, lest thou be for ever dishonoured; but shut her in a cell till she die." So he cast her into prison till nightfall, when he called two of his officers and said to them, "Carry her afar off and cast her into the river Jihon and tell none." They did his commandment, and indeed her memory is forgotten and her time is past.'
When Gherib heard this, he said, 'By the virtue of Abraham the Friend, I will assuredly go to yonder dog and destroy him and lay waste his kingdom!' Then he sent letters to Jemrcan and to the governors of Mosul and Meyya Farikin and turning to Rustem, said to him, 'How many men hadst thou in thine army?' 'A hundred thousand Persian horse,' answered he. And Gherib said, 'Take ten thousand horse and go to thy people and occupy them with war.' So Rustem took ten thousand Arab horse and departed, saying in himself, 'I will do a thing that shall whiten my face with King Gherib.' So he fared on seven days, till there remained but half a day's journey between him and the Persian camp; when he divided his men into four troops and bade them attack the Persians from different sides and fall on them with the sword. So they rode on from even-tide till midnight, when they came to the camp of the Persians, who were asleep in security, and fell upon them, shouting, 'God is Most Great!' Whereupon the Persians started up from sleep and their feet slipped and the sabre went round amongst them; for the All-knowing King was wroth with them, and Rustem wrought amongst them as fire in dry firewood, till, by the end of the night, the whole of the Persian host was slain or wounded or fled, and the Muslims made prize of their tents and baggage and horses and camels and treasure-chests. Then they alighted and rested in the tents of the beaten army, till Gherib came up and seeing what Rustem had done, invested him with a dress of honour and said to him, 'O Rustem, it was thou didst put the Persians to the rout; wherefore all the spoil is thine.' So he kissed Gherib's hand and thanked him, and they rested till the end of the day, when they set out for King Sabour's capitaL
Meanwhile, the survivors of the defeated army reached Isbanir and went in to Sabour, crying out and saying, 'Alas!' and 'Ruin!' and 'Woe worth the day!' Quoth he, 'What hath befallen you and who hath smitten you with his mischief?' So they told him all that had passed and how his general Rustem had embraced Islam and fallen upon them in the darkness of the night and routed them. When the King heard this, he cast his crown to the ground and said, 'There is no worth left to us!' Then he turned to his son Werd Shah and said to him, 'O my son, there is none for this affair but thou.' 'By thy life, O my father,' answered Werd Shah, 'I will assuredly bring Gherib and his chiefs of the people in chains and slay all who are with him.' Then he numbered his army and found it eleven score thousand men. So they slept, intending to set forth on the morrow; but, next morning, as they were about to depart, a cloud of dust arose and spread till it covered the lands and baffled the sharpest sight.
Now Sabour had mounted to take leave of his son, and when he saw this great dust, he despatched a runner to discover the cause thereof, who went and returned, saying, 'O my lord, Gherib and his men are upon you;' where-upon they unloaded their beasts and drew out in order of battle. When Gherib came up and saw the Persians drawn out in battalia, he cried out to his men, saying, 'Charge, and the blessing of God be upon you!' So they waved the standards and the Arabs and the Persians drove at each other and people fell upon people. The blood ran in streams and all souls saw death face to face; the brave advanced and pressed forward and the coward turned and fled and they ceased not from the battle till ended day, when the drums beat the retreat and the two hosts drew apart. Then Sabour commanded to pitch his camp before the city-gate, and Gherib set up his tents in front of theirs and every one went to his tent until the morning. As soon as it was day, the two hosts mounted their strong horses and couched their lances and donned their harness of war; then they raised their war-cries and drew out in battle-array, whilst all the lordly champions and the lions of war came forth.
The first to open the chapter of battle was Rustem, who spurred his charger into the mid-field and cried out, saying, 'God is Most Great! I am Rustem, chief of the champions of the Arabs and the Persians. Who is for jousting, who is for fighting? Let no sluggard or weakling come out to me to-day!' Then there came forth to him a champion of the Persians and there befell between them a sore battle, till Rustem smote his adversary with a mace he had with him, seventy pounds in weight, and beat his head down upon his breast, and he fell to the earth, dead and drowned in his blood. This was grievous to Sabour and he commanded his men to charge; so they drove at the Muslims, invoking the aid of the light-giving Sun, whilst the Muslims called for help upon the Magnanimous King. But the infidels outnumbered the true believers and made them drink the cup of death; which when Gherib saw, he drew his sword El Maliic and crying out [his war-cry], fell upon the Persian; with Kailjan and Courjan at his either stirrup; nor did he leave tourneying amongst them with the sword till he hewed his way to the standard-bearer and smote him on the head with the flat of his sword, whereupon he fell down in a swoon and the two Marids carried him off to their camp. When the Persians saw the standard fallen, they turned and fled towards the gates of the city; but the Muslims followed them with the sword and they crowded together to enter the city, so that they could not shut the gates and there died of them much people. Then Rustem and Saadan and Jemrcan and Sehim and Kailjan and Courjan and all the Muslim braves and the champions of the Faith of Unity fell upon the misbelieving Persians in the gates and the blood of the infidels ran in the streets like a tide, till they threw down their arms and harness and called out for quarter; whereupon the Muslims stayed their hands from the slaughter and drove them to their tents, as one drives a flock of sheep.
Meanwhile, Gherib returned to his pavilion, where he did off his harness and washed himself of the blood of the infidels; after which he donned his royal robes and sat down on his chair of estate. Then he called for the King of the Persians and said to him, 'O dog of the Persian; what moved thee to deal thus with thy daughter? How seest thou me unworthy to be her husband?' And Sabour answered, saying, 'O King, be not wroth with me for that which I did; for I repent me and came out to thee in battle but in my fear of thee.' When Gherib heard this, he bade throw him down and beat him. So they beat him, till he could no longer groan, and cast him among the prisoners. Then Gherib expounded Islam to the Persians and six-score thousand of them embraced he faith, and the rest he put to the sword. Moreover, all the townsfolk professed Islam and Gherib mounted and entered the city in great state.
Then he went into the King's palace and sitting down on his throne, gave gifts and largesse and distributed the booty and treasure among the Arabs and Persians, wherefore they loved him and wished him power and victory and length of days. But Fekhr Taj's mother remembered her daughter and raised the voice of mourning for her, and the palace was filled with crying and lamentation. Gherib heard this and entering the harem, asked the women what ailed them, whereupon the princess's mother came forward and said, 'O my lord, thy presence put me in mind of my daughter and how she would have joyed in thy coming, had she been alive.' Gherib wept for her and sitting down on his throne, called for Sabour, and they brought him, stumbling in his shackles. Quoth Gherib to him, 'O dog of the Persians, what didst thou with thy daughter?' 'I gave her to such an one and such an one,' answered the King, 'saying, "Drown her in the river Jihon."' So Gherib sent for the two men and said to them, 'Is what he saith true?' 'Yes, O King,' answered they; 'yet did we not drown her, but took pity on her and left her on the banks of the Jihon, saying, "Save thyself and do not return to the city, lest the King put thee to death and us with thee." This is all we know of her.' When Gherib heard this, he summoned the astrologers and said to them, 'Draw me a geomantic figure and find out what is come of Fekhr Taj and whether she is still in the chains of life or dead.' So they levelled a table of sand and drawing a geomantic figure, said, 'O King, the princess is alive and hath borne a male child; but she is with a tribe of the Jinn and will be absent from thee twenty years; look, therefore, how many years thou hast been absent.' So he reckoned up the years of his absence and found them eight years and said, 'There is no power and no virtue but in God the Most High, the Supreme!' Then he sent for all Sabour's governors of towns and strongholds and they came and did him homage.
One day after this, as he sat in his palace, a cloud of dust appeared in the distance and spread till it covered the whole country and darkened the horizon. So he despatcbed the two Marids to reconnoitre, and they went forth and snatching up a horseman of the advancing army, returned and set him down before Gherib, saying, 'Ask this fellow, for he is of the army.' Quoth Gherib, 'Whose army is this?' And the man answered, 'O King, it is the army of Khired Shah, King of Shiraz, who is come to do battle with thee.' Now the manner of Khired Shah's coming was on this wise. When Gherib defeated Sabour's army, as hath been related, and took the King himself, the latter's son fled, with a handful of his father's men, to Shiraz, where he went in to King Khired Shah and kissed the earth before him, whilst the tears ran down his cheeks. When the King saw him in this case, he said to him, 'Lift thy head, O youth, and tell me what makes thee weep.' 'O King,' answered the prince, 'a King of the Arabs, by name Gherib, hath fallen on us and taken the King my father prisoner and slain the Persians and made them drink the cup of death.' And he told him all that had befallen. Quoth Khired Shah, 'Is my wife well?' And the prince answered, saying, 'Gherib hath taken her.' 'As my head liveth,' cried the King, 'I will not leave a Bedouin or a Muslim on the face of the earth!' So he wrote letters to his governors, who levied their troops and joined him with an army of fourscore and five thousand men. Then he opened his armouries and distributed arms and armour to the troops, after which he set out with them and journeyed till he came to Isbanir and encamped before the city-gate.
With this Kailjan and Courjan came in to Gherib and kissing his knee, said to him, 'O King, heal our hearts and give us this army to our share!' And he said, 'Up and at them!' So they flew up into the air and lighting down in the pavilion of the King of Shiraz, found him seated on his chair of estate, with the Prince of Persia sitting on his right hand, and about him his captains, with whom he was taking counsel for the slaughter of the Muslims. Kailjan caught up the Prince and Courjan the King and flew back with them to Gherib, who caused beat them, till they fainted. Then the Marids returned to the Shirazi camp and drawing their swords, which no mortal man might wield, fell upon the infidels, and God hurried their souls to the fire and evil was the abiding-place [to which they went], whilst they saw nothing but two swords flashing and reaping men, as a husbandman reaps corn. So they forsook their tents and mounting their horses bare-backed, fled for their lives. The Marids pursued them two days and slew of them much people, after which they returned and kissed Gherib's hand. He thanked them for that which they had done and said to them, 'The spoil of the infidels is yours alone: none shall share with you therein.' So they called down blessings on him and going forth gathered the booty together and abode in their own place.
Meanwhile, the remains of the beaten army drew not bridle, till they reached the city of Shiraz and there lifted up the voice of weeping for those that had been slain of them. Now King Khired Shah had a brother by name Siran the Sorcerer, than whom there was no greater wizard in his day, and he lived apart from his brother in a certain stronghold, called the Castle of Fruits, in a place abounding in trees and streams and birds and flowers, half a day's journey from Shiraz. So the fugitives betook them thither and went in to Siran, weeping and crying out. Quoth he, 'O folk, what ails you to weep?' And they told him all that had happened, whereupon the light in his eyes became darkness and he said, 'By the virtue of my faith, I will slay Gherib and all his men and leave not one alive to tell the tale!' Then he pronounced certain magical words and summoned the Red King, who appeared and Siran said to him, 'Go to Isbanir and fall on Gherib, as he sits upon his throne.' 'I hear and obey,' answered the genie, and gathering his troops, repaired to Isbanir and set upon Gherib. When the latter saw him, he drew his sword El Mahic and he and Kailjan and Courjan fell upon the army of the Red King and slew of them five hundred and thirty and wounded the King himself grievously; whereupon he and his people fled and stayed not in their flight, till they reached the Castle of Fruits and went in to Siran, crying out and saying, 'Woe!' and 'Ruin!' And the Red King said to Siran, 'O sage, Gherib hath with him the enchanted sword of Japhet son of Noah, whomsoever he smites withal, he cuts him in sunder, and with him also are two Marids from the Mountain Caf, given him by King Muraash. He it is who slew the Blue King and Bercan, lord of the Cornelian City, and did to death much people of the Jinn.'
When Siran heard this, he dismissed the Red King and conjuring up a Marid, by name Zuazia, gave him a drachm of powdered henbane and said to him, 'Take the form of a sparrow and go to King Gherib's palace at Isbanir. Wait till he is asleep and there is none with him; then put the henbane up his nostrils and bring him to me.' 'I hear and obey,' answered the Marid and changing himself into a sparrow, flew to Isbanir, where he perched on a window of the palace and waited till all Gherib's attendants retired and the King himself slept. Then he flew down and going up to Gherib, blew the powdered henbane into his nostrils, till he lost his senses, whereupon he wrapped him in the coverlet of the bed and flew off with him, like the storm-wind, to the Castle of Fruits; where he arrived at midnight and laid his prize before Siran. The enchanter thanked him and would have put Gherib to death, as he lay senseless; but a man of his people withheld him, saying, 'O sage, if thou slay him, his friend King Muraash will fall on us with all his Jinn and lay waste our realm.' 'How then shall we do with him? asked Siran. 'Cast him into the Jihon,' answered the other, 'and he will ho drowned and none will know who threw him in.' And Siran bade the Marid take Gherib and cast him into the Jihon. So he carried him down to the river-bank, but it was grievous to him to drown him, wherefore he made a raft of wood and binding it with cords, pushed it and Gherib thereon out into the current, which carried it away.
Meanwhile, when Gherib's people awoke in the morning and went in to do their service to their King, they found him not and seeing his rosary on the throne, awaited him awhile, but he came not. So they sought out the chamberlain and said to him, 'Go into the harem and look for the King; for it is not his wont to tarry till this time.' Accordingly, the chamberlain entered the harem and enquired for the King, but the women said, 'We have not seen him mince yesterday.' So he returned and told the officers, who were confounded and said, 'Let us see if he have gone to take his pleasure in the gardens.' Then they went out and questioned the gardeners if they had seen the King, and they answered, 'No;' whereat they were sore concerned and searched all the gardens till the end of the day, when they returned, weeping. Moreover, the Marids sought for him all round the town, but returned after three days, without having come on any tidings of him. So the people donned black and made their complaint to the Lord of all Creatures, who doth what pleaseth Him.
Meanwhile, the current bore the raft along for five days, till it brought it to the salt sea, where the waves played with Gherib and his stomach, being troubled, threw up the henbane. Then he opened his eyes and finding himself in the midst of the sea, tossed about by the waves, said, 'There is no power and no virtue but in God the Most Uigh, the Supreme! I wonder who hath done this thing with me!' Presently, as he lay, knowing not what to make of his case, he caught sight of a ship and signalled with his sleeve to the sailors, who came to him and took him up, saying, 'Who art thou and whence comest thou?' Quoth he, 'Do ye feed me and give me to drink, till I recover myself, and after I will tell you who I am.' So they brought him water and victual, and he ate and drank and God restored his reason to him. Then said he to them, 'O folk, what countrymen are ye and what is your faith? 'We are from Kerej,' answered they, 'and worship an idol called Mincash.' 'Perdition to you and your idol!' cried Gherib. 'O dogs, none is worthy of worship save God who created all things, who saith to a thing "Be!" and it is.' When they heard this, they fell upon him in great wrath and would have seized him. Now he was unarmed, but whomsoever he struck, he smote down and deprived of life, till he had felled forty men, after which they overcame him by force of numbers and bound him fast, saying. 'We will not put him to death save in our own country, that we may [first] show him to our King.'
Then they sailed on till they came to the city of Kerej, the builder whereof was a fierce Amalekite and set up at each gate of the city a magical figure of brass, which, whenever a stranger entered, blew a blast on a trumpet, that all in the city heard it and fell upon the stranger and slew him, except he embraced their faith. When Gherib entered the city, the brazen figure stationed at the gate blew such a terrible blast that the King was affrighted and going in to his idol, found fire and smoke issuing from its eyes and mouth and nostrils. Now a devil had entered the belly of the idol and speaking as with its tongue, said to the King of the city, 'O King, there is come to thy city one Gherib, King of Irak, who uses to bid the folk quit their faith and worship his Lord; wherefore, when they bring him before thee, look thou spare him not' So the King went out and sat down on his throne; and presently, the sailors brought in Gherib, saying, 'O King, we found this youth shipwrecked in the midst of the sea, and he believeth not in our gods.' Then they told him all that had passed and the King said, 'Carry him to the house of the great idol and cut his throat before him, so haply he may look favourably upon us.' But the Vizier said, 'O King, it befits not to slaughter him thus, for he would die forthright; rather let us burn him with fire.'
So the King commanded to cast Gherib into prison and caused wood to be brought; and they made a great pyre and set fire to it, and it burnt till the morning. Then the King and the people of the city came forth and the King sent to fetch Gherib; but his men found him not; so they returned and told the King, who said, 'How made he his escape?' Quoth they, 'We found the doors locked and the chains and shackles cast down.' Whereat the King marvelled and said, 'Hath this fellow flown up to heaven or sunk into the earth?' And they said, 'We know not.' Then said the King, 'I will go and ask my god, and he will tell me whither he is gone.' So he rose and went in, to prostrate himself to his idol, but found it not and began to rub his eyes and say, 'Am I asleep or awake?' Then he turned to his Vizier and said to him, 'Where is my god and where is the prisoner? By my faith, O dog of Vmziers, hadst thou not counselled me to burn him, I had slaughtered him; for it is he who hath stolen my god and fled; and needs must I be avenged of him I' Then he drew his sword and cut off the Vizier's head.
Now there was a strange cause for Gherib's escape, and it was on this wise. When they had shut him up in a cell adjoining the temple of the idol, he rose to pray, calling upon the name of God the Most High and seeking deliverance of Him, may He be exalted and glorified! The Marid who had charge of the idol and spoke in its name, heard him and fear gat hold upon his heart and he said, 'Confusion! Who is this that seeth me and whom I see not?' So he went in to Gherib and throwing himself at his feet, said to him, 'O my lord, what must I say that I may become of thy company and enter thy religion?' 'Say,' answered Gherib, "'There is no god but God, and Abraham is the Friend of God."' So the Marid pronounced the profession of the faith and was written of the people of felicity. Now his name was Zelzal, son of El Muzelzel, one of the chief of the Kings of the Jinn. Then he unbound Gherib and taking him and the idol, made for the upper air.
When the King's soldiers saw what had befallen, they renounced the worship of the idol and drawing their swords, slew the King; after which they fell on one another, and the sword went round amongst them three days, till there abode alive but two men, one of whom overcame the other and killed him. Then the boys attacked the survivor and slew him and fell to fighting amongst themselves, till they were all killed; and the women and girls fled to the hamlets and villages; wherefore the city became desert and none dwelt therein but the owl.
Meanwhile, the Marid Zelzal flew with Gherib towards his own country, the Islands of Camphor and the Castle of Crystal and the land of the Enchanted Calf, so called because its King, Muzelzel, had a pied calf which he clad in housings of gold brocade and worshipped as a god. One day, the King and his people went in to the calf and found him trembling; so the King said, 'O my god, what hath troubled thee?' Whereupon the Satan in the calf's belly cried out and said, 'O Muzelzel, thy son hath deserted to the faith of Abraham the Friend, at the hands of Gherib, King of Irak.' When the King heard this, he was confounded and going forth, sat down upon his throne. Then he summoned his grandees and told them what be had heard from the idol, whereat they marvelled and said, 'What shall we do, O King?' Quoth he, 'When my son comes and ye see me embrance him, do ye lay hold of him.' And they said, 'We hear and obey.'
After two days came Zelzal and Gherib, with the King's idol of Kerej, but no sooner had they entered the palace gate than the Jinn seized on them and carried them before Muzelzel, who looked at his son with angry eyes and said to him, 'O dog of a genie, hast thou left thy faith and that of thy fathers and grandfathers?' Quoth Zelzal, 'I have embraced the true faith, and thou, do thou likewise and thou shalt be saved from the wrath of the Almighty King, Creator of Night and Day.' Therewith his father waxed wroth and said, 'O whoreson, dost thou affront me with these words?' Then he bade clap him in prison and turning to Gherib, said to him, 'O wretch of a mortal, how hast thou abused my son's wit and seduced him from his faith?' Quoth Gherib, 'Indeed, I have brought him out of error into the way of righteousness, out of Hell into Paradise and out of idolatry to the true faith.' Whereupon the King cried out to a Marid called Siyyar, saying, 'Take this dog and cast him into the Valley of Fire, that he may perish.'
Now this valley was situate in the desert quarter of the world and was so named by reason of the excess of its heat and the flaming of its fire, which was so fierce that none who fell therein could live an hour, but was destroyed; and it was compassed about by high and slippery mountains, wherein was no opening. So Siyyar took up Gherib and flew with him towards the Valley of Fire, till he came within an hour's journey thereof, when, being aweary, he alighted in a valley full of trees and streams and fruits, and setting down Gherib, chained as he was, fell asleep for weariness. When Gherib saw that he slept and heard him snore, be strove with his bonds till he burst them; then, taking up a heavy stone, he cast it down on the Marid's head and crushed his bones, so that he died forthright. Then he fared on into the valley and found himself in a great island in mid-ocean, full of all fruits, that lips and tongue could desire. So he abode alone on the island, drinking of its waters and eating of its fruits and of fish that he caught, and days and years passed over him, till he had sojourned there seven years.
One day, as he sat, there came down on him from the air two Marids, each carrying a man; and they said to him, 'Who art thou, O fellow, and of which of the tribes art thou?' Now they took him for a genie, because his hair was grown long; and he replied, saying, 'I am no genie,' and told them all that had befallen him; whereupon they grieved for him and said, 'Abide here till we carry these two lambs to our king, that he may make the morning meal of the one and sup on the other, and after we will come back and carry thee to thine own country.' He thanked them and said, 'Where are the lambs?' Quoth they, 'These two mortals are the lambs.' And Gherib said, 'I crave the protection of the God of Abraham the Friend, the Lord of all creatures, who hath power over everything!' Then the Marids flew away and Gherib abode awaiting them two days, when one of them returned, bringing with him a suit of clothes, in which he clad him. Then he took him up and flew with him out of sight of earth, till Gherib heard the angels glorifying God in heaven, and a flaming arrow issued from amongst them and made for the Marid, who fled from it towards the earth. The arrow pursued him, till he came within a spear's cast of the earth, when Gherib leapt from his back, and the fiery shaft overtook the Marid, who became a heap of ashes.
As for Gherib, he fell into the sea and sank two fathoms deep, after which he came to the surface and swam for two days and two nights, till his strength failed him and he despaired of life. But, on the third day, he caught sight of a steep and mountainous island; so he made for it and landing, walked on inland, where he rested a day and a night, feeding on the fruits of the earth. Then he climbed to the mountain-top and descending the opposite slope, fared on two days till he came in sight of a wailed and fortified city, abounding in trees and streams. So he made for it, but, when he reached the gate, the warders seized on him and carried him to their queen, whose name was Janshah. Now she was five hundred years old, and every man who entered the city, they brought to her and she lay with him; then, when he had done his work, she put him to death, and so had she slain many men. When she saw Gherib, he pleased her and she said to him, 'What is thy name and faith and whence comest thou?' Quoth he, 'My name is Gherib, King of Irak, and I am a Muslim.' 'Leave this faith,' said she, 'and enter mine and I will marry thee and make thee king.' But he looked at her with angry eyes and said, 'Thy faith perish with thee!' Quoth she, 'Dost thou blaspheme my idol, the which is of red cornelian, set with pearls and jewels?' And she cried out to her men, saying, 'Imprison him in the house of the idol; peradventure it will soften his heart.' So they shut him up in the temple and locking the doors upon him, went their way. As soon as they were gone, Gherib went up to the idol, which was of red cornelian, with collars of pearls and precious stones about its neck, and lifting it up, dashed it on the ground and broke it in pieces; after which he lay down and slept till daybreak.
Next morning, the Queen sat down on her bed of estate and said to her men, 'Bring me the prisoner.' So they opened the temple doors and entering, found the idol broken in pieces, whereupon they buffeted their faces, till the blood ran from the corners of their eyes. Then they made at Gherib, to seize him; but he smote one of them with his fist and killed him, and so did he with another and another, till he had slain five-and-twenty of them and the rest fled to Queen Janshah, crying out. Quoth she, 'What is the matter?' And they said, 'The prisoner hath broken thine idol and slain thy men,' and told her all that had passed. When she heard this, she cast her crown to the ground and said, 'There is no worth left in idols!' Then she mounted with a thousand fighting-men and rode to the temple, where she found Gherib had gotten him a sword and come forth and was slaying men and over-throwing warriors. When she saw his prowess, her heart was drowned in the love of him and she said in herself, 'I have no need of the idol and care for nought but this Gherib, that he may lie in my bosom the rest of my life.' Then she bade her men hold aloof from Gherib, and going up to him, muttered certain magical words, whereupon his arm became benumbed and the sword dropped from his grasp. So they seized him and bound him, as he stood confounded and stupefied.
Then the Queen returned to her palace and seating herself on her throne, bade her people withdraw and leave Gherib with her. When they were alone, she said to him, 'O dog of the Arabs, wilt thou break my idol and slay my men?' 'O accursed woman,' answered he, 'had he been a god, he had defended himself!' Quoth she, 'Lie with me and I will forgive thee that which thou hast done.' But he replied, saying, 'I will do nought of this.' And she said, 'By the virtue of my faith, I will punish thee grievously!' So she took water and conjuring over it, sprinkled it upon him and he became an ape. And she used to feed and keep him in a closet, appointing one to care for him; and in this plight he abode two years. Then she called him to her one day and said to him, 'Wilt thou hearken to me?' And he signed to her with his head, as who should say, 'Yes.' So she rejoiced and freed him from the enchantment. Then she brought him food and he ate and toyed with her and kissed her, so that she trusted in him. When it was night, she lay down and said to him, 'Come, do thy business.' 'It is well,' answered he and mounting on her breast, seized her by the neck and broke it, nor did he arise from her till life had left her. Then, seeing an open cabinet, he went in and found there a sword of watered steel and a buckler of Chinese iron; so he armed himself cap-a-pie and waited till the day.
As soon as it was morning, he went forth and stood at the gate of the palace. When the Amirs came and would have gone in to do their service to the Queen, they found Gherib standing at the gate, clad in complete steel; and he said to them, 'O folk, leave the service of idols and worship the All-wise King, Creator of Night and Day, who giveth life to dry bones, for He made all things and hath dominion over all.' When they heard this, they ran at him, but he fell on them like a ravening lion and slew of them much people; but, when the night came, they overcame him by dint of numbers and would have taken him, when behold, there descended upon the infidels a thousand Marids, under the command of Zelzal, who plied them with the keen sabre and made them drink the cup of perdition, whilst God hurried their souls to the fire, till but few were left of the people of Janshah and the rest cried out for quarter and believed in the Requiting King, whom no one thing diverteth from another, the Destroyer of tyrants and Exterminator of the Chosroës, Lord of this world and the next.
Then Zelzal saluted Gherib and gave him joy of his safety; and Gherib said to him, 'How knewest thou of my plight?' 'O my lord,' answered Zelzal, 'my father kept me in prison two years, after which he released me, and I abode with him another year, till I was restored to favour with him, when I slew him and his subjects submitted to me. I ruled them for a year's space, till, one night, I lay down to sleep, having thee in my mind, and saw thee, in a dream, fighting against Janshah's people; wherefore I took these thousand Marids and came to thee.' And Gherib marvelled at this happy chance. Then he took Janshah's treasures and those of the slain and appointed a ruler over the city, after which the Marids took up Gherib and the treasure and he lay the same night in the palace of Crystal. He abode Zelzal's guest six months, at the end of which time he desired to depart; so Zelzal gave him rich presents and despatched three thousand Marids, who brought the spoils of the city of Kerej and added them to those of Janshah. Then Zelzal loaded forty thousand Marids with the treasure and himself taking up Gherib, flew with his host towards the city of Isbanir, where they arrived at midnight.
Gherib looked and seeing the city invested on all sides by a vast army, as it were the swollen sea, said to Zelzal, 'O my brother, how cometh the city thus beleaguered and what is this army?' Then he alighted on the roof of his palace and cried out, saying, 'Ho, Morning Star! Ho, Mehdiyeh!' Whereupon they started up from sleep in amazement and said, 'Who calleth us at this hour?'' Quoth he, 'It is I, your lord, Gherib of the wondrous deeds.' When the princesses heard their lord's voice, they rejoiced and so did the eunuchs and women. Then Gherib went down to them and they threw themselves upon him and raised cries of joy, that all the palace rang again and the captains of the army awoke and said, 'What is to do?' So they made for the palace and said to the eunuchs, 'Hath one of the King's women given birth to a child?' 'No,' answered they; 'but rejoice, for King Gherib hath returned to you.' So they rejoiced, and Gherib came forth to his comrades, who threw themselves upon him and kissed his hands and feet, returning thanks to God the Most High. Then he sat down on his throne, with his officers about him, and questioned them of the beleaguering army. 'O King,' answered they, 'they sat down before the city three days ago, and we know not what they want; for we have had with them neither battle nor speech.'
Now the name of the commander of the besieging army was Murad Shah and he had with him a hundred thousand horse and three thousand foot, besides two hundred tribesmen of the Jinn; and the manner of his coming was on this wise. When the two men, whom Sabour had charged to drown his daughter Fekhr Taj, let her go, bidding her flee for her life, she went forth distracted, knowing not whither to go and saying, 'Where is thine eye, O Gherib, that thou mayst see my case?' and wandered on from place to place and country to country, till she came to a valley abounding in trees and streams, in whose midst stood a lofty and strong-builded castle, as it were one of the pavilions of Paradise. So she betook herself thither and entering the castle, found it hung and carpeted with stuffs of silk, and therein were a hundred beautiful damsels and great plenty of gold and silver vessels. When the damsels saw her, they came up to her and saluted her, deeming her of the damsels of the Jinn, and asked her of her case. Quoth she, 'I am the King's daughter of the Persians,' and told them all that had befallen her; which when they heard, they wept over her and condoled with her, saying, 'Take comfort and be of good cheer, for here shalt thou have meat and drink and raiment, and we all are thy hand-maids.' She called down blessings on them and they brought her food, of which she ate till she was satisfied. Then said she to them, 'Who is the owner of this palace and lord over you?' Quoth they, 'King Selsal, son of Dal, is our master; he passes a night here once in every month and departs in the morning to rule over the tribes of the Jinn.'
So Fekhr Taj took up her abode with them and after five days she gave birth to a male child, as he were the moon. They cut the cord of his navel and anointing his eyes with kohl, named him Murad Shah, and he grew up in his mother's lap. After awhile came Selsal, riding on a paper-white elephant, as he were a tower plastered with gypsum, and attended by the troops of the Jinn. He entered the palace, where the hundred damsels met him and kissed the earth before him, and amongst them Fekhr Taj. When he saw her, he looked at her and said to the others, 'Who is yonder damsel?' And they answered, saying, 'She is the daughter of Sabour, King of the Persians and Turcomans and Medes.' Quoth he, 'Who brought her hither?' And they repeated to him her story; whereat he was moved to pity for her and said to her, 'Grieve not, but take patience till thy son be grown a man, when I will go to the land of the Persians and strike thy father's head from his shoulders and seat thy son on the throne in his stead.' So she rose and kissed his hands and blessed him.
Then she abode in the castle and her son grew up and was reared with the children of the King. They used to ride forth together a-hunting, and he became skilled in the chase of the wild beasts and of the ravening lions and ate of their flesh, till his heart became harder than the rock. When he reached the age of fifteen, his spirit waxed big in him and he said to Fekhr Taj, 'O my mother, who is my father?' 'O my son,' answered she, 'Gherib, King of Irak, is thy father and I am the King's daughter of the Persians,' and she told him her story. Quoth he, 'Did my grandfather indeed give orders to slay thee and my father Gherib ? And she answered, 'Yes.' Whereupon, 'By the claim thou hast on me for that thou rearedst me,' cried he, 'I will assuredly go to thy father's city and cut off his head and bring it to thee!' And she rejoiced in his speech.
Then he used to go a-riding with two hundred Marids till he grew to man's estate, when he fell to making raids and excursions in quest of plunder, till, one day, he attacked the city of Shiraz and took it and cut off the King's head, as he sat on his throne, and slew many of his troop; whereupon the rest, to the number of ten thousand horse, cried out for quarter and kissed his stirrups. He led them to Balkh, where he slew the King of the city and put his men to the rout and made himself master of the riches of the place. Thence he passed to Nourain, at the head of an army of thirty thousand horse, and the King of the city came out to him, with presents and tribute, and did him homage. Then he went on to Samarcand of the Persians and took the city, and after that to Akhlat and took that town also; nor was there any city he came to but he took it. On this wise he became at the head of a great army, and all the booty he made he divided among his soldiers, who loved him for his valour and munificence. At last he came to Isbanir el Medain and sat down before it, saying, 'Let us wait till the rest of my army come up, when I will seize on my grandfather and solace my mother's heart by striking off his head in her presence.' So he sent for her, and by reason of this, there was no battle for three days, at the end of which time Gherib and Zelzal arrived with the forty thousand Marids, laden with treasure. Presently came Fekhr Taj, and her son Murad Shah embraced her, saying, 'Abide in thy tent till I bring thy father to thee.' And she sought succour for him of the Lord of the Worlds, the Lord of the heavens and the earths.
Next morning, as soon as it was day, Murad Shah mounted and rode forth, with the two hundred Marids on his right hand and the kings of men on his left, whilst the drums beat a point of war. When Gherib heard this, he also took horse and calling his people to battle, rode out, with the Jinn on his right hand and the men on his left. Then came forth Murad Shah, armed cap-a-pie, and spurred his charger right and left, saying, 'O folk, let none come forth to me but your King. If he conquer me, he shall be lord of both armies, and if I conquer him, I will slay him, as I have slain others.' When Gherib heard his speech, he said, 'Avaunt, O dog of the Arabs!' And they drove at each other and thrust with spears, till they broke, then hewed at each other with swords, till the blades were notched; nor did they cease to advance and retreat and wheel and feint, till the day was half spent and their horses fell down under them, when they dismounted and gripped each other. Then Murad Shah lifted Gherib up and strove to dash him to the ground; but Gherib seized him by the ears and pulled them with his might, till it seemed to him as if the heavens were falling on the earth and he cried out, with his heart in his mouth, saying, 'I yield myself to thy mercy, O champion of the age!' So Gherib bound him, and the Marids his comrades would have charged and rescued him, but Gherib fell on them with a thousand Marids and was about to smite them down, when they cried out for quarter and threw down their arms.
Then Gherib returned to his pavilion, which was of green silk, embroidered with red gold and set with pearls and jewels, and seating himself on his throne, called for Murad Shah. So they brought him, shuffling in his fetters, and Gherib said to him, 'O dog of the Arabs, who art thou that thou shouidst ride forth and measure thyself against kings?' 'O my lord,' replied Murad Shah, 'reproach me not, for indeed I have excuse.' Quoth Gherib, 'What is thine excuse?' And he answered, saying, 'Know, O my lord, that I came out to avenge my mother and my father on Sabaur, King of the Persians; for he would have slain them; but my mother escaped and I know not whether he killed my father or not.' 'By Allah! rejoined Gherib, 'thou art indeed excusable! But who were thy father and mother and what are their names?' Quoth Murad Shah, 'My father was Gherib, King of Irak, and my mother Fekhr Taj, daughter of King Sabour of Persia.' When Gherib heard this, he gave a great cry and fell down in a swoon. They sprinkled rose-water on him, till he came to himself, when he said to Murad Shah, 'Art thou indeed Gherib's son by Fekhr Taj?' And he answered, 'Yes.' Quoth Gherib, 'Thou art a champion, the son of a champion. Loose my son.' And Sehim and Kailjan went up to Murad Shah and loosed him.
Then Gherib embraced him and seating him beside himself, said to him, 'Where is thy mother?' 'She is with me in my tent,' answered Murad Shah; and Gherib said, 'Bring her to me.' So Murad Shah mounted and repaired to his camp, where his men met him, rejoicing in his safety, and asked him of his case; but he answered, saying, 'This is no time for questions.' Then he went in to his mother and told her what had passed; whereat she rejoiced with an exceeding joy. So he carried her to Gherib, and they embraced and rejoiced in each other. Then Fekhr Taj and Murad Shah embraced Islam and expounded the faith to their troops, who all made profession with heart and tongue. After this, Gherib sent for Sabour and his son Wird Shah and upbraided them for their evil dealing and expounded Islam to them; but they refused to profess. So he crucified them on the gate of the city and the people decorated the town and held high festival. Then Gherib crowned Murad Shah with the crown of the Chosroës and made him King of the Persians and Turcomans and Medes. Moreover, he made his uncle, King Damigh, King over Irak, and all peoples and lands submitted themselves to Gherib. Then he abode in his kingship, doing justice among his subjects, wherefore all the people loved him, and he and his wives and comrades ceased not from all delight and solace of life, till there came to them the Destroyer of Delights and Sunderer of Companies, and extolled be the perfection of Him whose glory endureth for ever and whose benefits embrace all His creatures! This is all that hath come down to us of the history of Gherib and Agib.
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Payne, John (1842-1916). The Book of the Thousand Nights and One Night. London. 1901. Gutenberg Vol. I. Gutenberg Vol. II. Gutenberg Vol. III. Gutenberg Vol. IV. Please consult the Gutenberg edition for footnotes; the footnotes have not been included in this web version. Wollamshram Vol. V. Wollamshram Vol. VI. Wollamshram Vol. VII. Wollamshram Vol. VIII. Wollamshram Vol. IX. Please consult the Wollamshram 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