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There was once, of old days and in bygone ages and times, in the land of Hind, a mighty king, tall and goodly of parts and presence, noble and generous of nature, beneficent to the poor and loving the tillers of the soil and all the people of his kingdom. His name was Jelyaad and under his hand were two-and-seventy [vassal] kings and in his cities three hundred and fifty Cadis. He had threescore and ten viziers and over every ten of them he set a chief. The chiefest of all his viziers was a man called Shimas, who was then two-and-twenty years old, a man of comely presence and noble nature, pleasant of speech and quick in reply. Moreover, he was shrewd and skilful in all manner of business, for all his tender age, sagacious, a man of good counsel and government, versed in all arts and sciences and accomplishments; and the king loved him with an exceeding love and cherished him by reason of his proficiency in eloquence and rhetoric and the art of government and for that which God had given him of compassion and tender solicitude for the people; for he was a king just in his governance and a protector of his subjects, constant in beneficence to great and small and giving them that which befitted them of good governance and bounty and protection and security and a lightener of their burdens. And indeed he was loving to them all, high and low, entreating them with kindness and clemency and governing them on such goodly wise as none had done before him. But, with all this, God the Most High had not blessed him with a child, and this was grievous to him and to the people of his kingdom.
It chanced, one night, as the king lay in his bed, occupied with anxious thought of the issue of the affair of his kingdom, that sleep overcame him and he dreamt that he poured water upon the roots of a tree, about which were many other trees; and behold there came fire out of this tree and burnt up all that encompassed it; whereupon Jelyaad awoke, affrighted and trembling, and calling one of his servants, bade him fetch the Vizier Shimas in all haste. So he betook himself to Shimas and said to him, 'The king calls for thee, for he hath awoke from his sleep in affright and hath sent me to bring thee to him in haste.'
When Shimas heard this, he arose forthright and going in to the king, found him seated on his bed. So he prostrated himself before him, wishing him continuance of glory and prosperity, and said, 'May God not cause thee grieve, O king! What hath troubled thee this night, and what is the cause of thy seeking me thus in haste?' The king bade him be seated and said to him, 'I have dreamt this night a dream that terrified me, and it was, that methought I poured water upon the roots of a tree and as I was thus engaged, behold, fire issued therefrom and burnt up all the trees that were about it; wherefore I was affrighted and fear took me. Then I awoke and sent to bid thee to me, because of thy much knowledge and skill in the interpretation of dreams and of that which I know of the extent of thy wisdom and the greatness of thine understanding.'
The vizier bowed his head awhile and presently raising it, smiled; whereupon the king said to him, 'What deemest thou, O Shimas? Tell me the truth of the matter and hide nothing from me.' 'O king,' answered Shimas, 'verily God the Most High granteth thee thy wish and solaceth thine eyes; for the matter of this dream presageth all good, to wit, that God will bless thee with a son, who shall inherit the kingdom from thee, after thy long life. But there is somewhat else that I desire not to expound at this present, seeing that the time is not favourable for its exposition.' The king rejoiced in this with an exceeding joy and great was his contentment; his trouble ceased from him and he said, 'If the case be thus of the happy presage of my dream, do thou complete to me its interpretation, when the fitting time cometh: for that which it behoveth not to expound to me now, it behoveth that thou expound to me, when its time cometh, so my joy may be fulfilled, because I seek nought in this but the approof of God, blessed and exalted be He!'
When the vizier saw that the king was urgent to have the rest of the exposition, he put him off with a pretext; but Jelyaad assembled all the astrologers and interpreters of dreams of his realm and related to them his dream, saying, 'I desire you to tell me the true interpretation of this.' Whereupon one of them came forward and craved the king's leave to speak, which being granted, he said, 'Know, O king, that thy Vizier Shimas is nowise unable to the interpretation of this thy dream; but he shrank from troubling thy repose: wherefore he expounded not unto thee the whole thereof: but, if thou bid me speak, I will acquaint thee with that which he hid from thee.' 'Speak without fear, O interpreter,' replied Jelyaad, 'and be truthful in thy speech.' 'Know then, O king,' said the interpreter, 'that there will be born to thee a son who shall inherit the kingship from thee, after thy long life; but he shall not order himself towards the folk after thy fashion, but shall transgress thine ordinances and oppress thy subjects, and there shall befall him what befell the mouse with the cat.' 'I seek refuge with God the Most High!' exclaimed the king. 'But what is the story of the cat and the mouse?' 'May God prolong the king's life!' replied the interpreter. 'It is related that...
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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