[Go back to The Story of Nimeh Ben er Rebya and Num his Slave Girl]
The princes wondered mightily at Behram's story and said, 'By Allah, this is indeed a rare story!' They passed the night thus, and next morning, Amjed and Asaad mounted and riding to the palace, sought an audience of the King, who received them with honour. As they sat talking, of a sudden they heard the townsfolk crying aloud and shouting to one another and calling for help, and the chamberlain came in to the King and said to him, 'Some King hath encamped before the city, he and his army, with arms displayed, and we know not who they are nor what they seek.' The King took counsel with his Vizier and Asaad, and Amjed said, 'I will go out to him and learn the cause of his coming.' So he took horse and riding forth the city, repaired to the stranger's camp, where he found the King and with him many soldiers and mounted officers. When the guards saw him, they knew him for an ambassador from the King of the city; so they took him and brought him to their King. Amjed kissed the ground before him; but lo, the King was a queen, who wore a chin-band over her face, and she said to Amjed, 'Know that I have no design on your city and am only come hither in quest of a beardless slave of mine, whom if I find with you, I will do you no hurt; but if I find him not, then shall there befall sore battle between you and me.' 'O Queen,' asked Amjed, 'what is thy slave's name and what like is he?' Said she, 'His name is Asaad and he is of such and such a favour. My name is Merjaneh, and this slave came to my town in company of Behram, a Magian, who refused to sell him to me; so I took him by force, but the Magian fell upon him by night and took him away by stealth.' When Amjed heard this he knew that it was his brother Asaad whom she sought and said to her, 'O Queen of the age, praised be God who hath brought us relief! Know that he whom thou seekest is my brother.' Then he told her their story and all that had befallen them in the land of exile, and acquainted her with the cause of their departure from the Islands of Ebony, whereat she marvelled and rejoiced to have found Asaad. So she bestowed a dress of honour upon Amjed, and he returned to the King and told him what had passed, at which they all rejoiced and the King and the two princes went forth to meet Queen Merjaneh. They were admitted to her presence and sat down to converse with her, but as they were thus engaged, behold, a cloud of dust arose and grew, till it covered the landscape. Presently, it lifted and discovered an army, in numbers like the swollen sea, armed cap-a-pie, who, making for the city with naked swords, encompassed it as the ring encompasses the little finger. When Amjed and Asaad saw this, they exclaimed, 'We are God's and to Him we return. What is this great army? Doubtless, these are enemies; and except we agree with this Queen Merjaneh to resist them, they will take the town from us and slay us. There is nothing for us but to go out to them and see who they are.' So Amjed mounted and passing through Queen Merjaneh's camp, came to the approaching army and was admitted to the presence of their King, to whom he delivered his message, after kissing the earth before him. Quoth the King, 'I am called King Ghaïour, lord of the Islands and the Seas and the Seven Castles, and am come out in quest of my daughter Budour, of whom fortune hath bereft me; for she left me and returned not to me, nor have I heard any news of her or her husband Kemerezzeman. Have ye any tidings of them?' When Amjed heard this, he knew that this King was none other than his grandfather, his mother's father, and kissing the earth before him, told him that he was the son of his daughter Budour; whereupon Ghaïour threw himself upon him and they both fell a-weeping. Then said Ghaïour, 'Praised be God, O my son, for safety, since I have foregathered with thee!' And Amjed told him that his daughter Budour and her husband Kemerezzeman were well and abode in a city called the City of Ebony. Moreover, he related to him how his father, being wroth with him and his brother, had commanded his treasurer to put them to death, but that the latter had taken pity on them and let them go with their lives. Quoth King Ghaïour, 'I will go back with thee and thy brother to your father and make your peace with him.' Amjed kissed the ground before him and the King bestowed a dress of honour upon him, after which he returned, smiling, to the King of the city of the Magians and told him what he had learnt, at which he wondered exceedingly. Then he despatched guest-gifts of sheep and horses and camels and provender and so forth to King Ghaïour and the like to Queen Merjaneh and told her what had chanced, whereupon quoth she, 'I too will accompany you with my troops and will do my endeavour to make peace [between the princes and their father.]' At this moment, there arose another cloud of dust and spread, till it covered the prospect and darkened the day; and under it, they heard shouts and cries and neighing of horses and saw the sheen of swords and the glint of lance-points. When this new host drew near the city and saw the two other armies, they beat their drums and the King of the Magians exclaimed, 'This is indeed a blessed day! Praised be God who hath made us of accord with these two armies! If it be His will, He will give us peace with yon other also.' Then said he to Amjed and Asaad, 'Go forth and bring us news of them, for they are a mighty host, never saw I a mightier.' So they opened the city gates, which the King had shut for fear of the surrounding troops, and Amjed and Asaad went forth and coming to the new host, found that it was the army of the King of the Ebony Islands, led by their father, King Kemerezzeman in person. When they came before him, they kissed the earth and wept; but, when he saw them, he threw himself upon them, weeping sore, and strained them long to his breast. Then he excused himself to them and told them how sore desolation he had suffered for their loss; and they acquainted him with King Ghaïour's arrival, whereupon he mounted with his chief officers and proceeded to the King of China's camp, he and his sons. As they drew near, one of the princes rode forward and informed King Ghaïour of Kemerezzeman's coming, whereupon he came out to meet him and they joined company, marvelling at these things and how Fortune had ordered their encounter in that place. Then the townsfolk made them banquets of all manner of meats and confections and brought them sheep and horses and camels and fodder and other guest-gifts and all that the troops needed. Presently, behold, yet another cloud of dust arose and spread till it covered the landscape, whilst the earth shook with the tramp of horse and the drums sounded like the storm-winds. After awhile, the dust lifted and discovered an army clad in black and armed cap-a-pie, and in their midst rode a very old man clad also in black, whose beard flowed down over his breast. When the King of the city saw this great host, he said to the other Kings, 'Praised be God the Most High, by whose leave ye are met here, all in one day, and proved all known one to the other! But what vast army is this that covers the country?' 'Have no fear of them,' answered they; 'we are here three Kings, each with a great army, and if they be enemies, we will join thee in doing battle with them, were three times their number added to them.' As they were talking, up came an envoy from the approaching host, making for the city. They brought him before the four Kings and he kissed the earth and said, 'The King my master comes from the land of the Persians; many years ago he lost his son and is seeking him in all countries. If he find him with you, well and good; but if he find him not, there will be war between him and you, and he will lay waste your city.' 'That shall he not,' rejoined Kemerezzeman; 'but how is thy master called in the land of the Persians?' 'He is called King Shehriman, lord of the Khalidan Islands,' answered the envoy; 'and he hath levied these troops in the lands traversed by him, whilst seeking his son.' When Kemerezzeman heard his father's name, he gave a great cry and fell down in a swoon; then, presently coming to himself, he wept sore and said to Amjed and Asaad, 'Go, O my sons, with the messenger: salute your grandfather, King Shehriman, and give him glad tidings of me, for he mourns my loss and even now wears black for my sake.' Then he told the other Kings all that had befallen him in his youth, at which they all wondered and mounting with him, repaired to his father, whom he saluted, and they embraced and fell down in a swoon, for excess of joy. When they revived, Kemerezzeman acquainted his father with all his adventures, and the other Kings saluted Shehriman. Then they married Merjaneh to Asaad and sent her back to her kingdom, charging her not to leave them without news of her. Moreover, Amjed took Bustan, Behram's daughter, to wife, and they all set out for the City of Ebony. When they arrived there, Kemerezzeman went in to his father-in-law, King Armanous, and told him all that had befallen him and how he had found his sons; whereat Armanous rejoiced and gave him joy of his safe return. Then King Ghaïour went in to his daughter, Queen Budour, and satisfied his longing for her company, and they all abode a month's space in the City of Ebony; after which the King of China and his daughter returned to their own country with their company, taking prince Amjed with them, whom, as soon as Ghaïour was settled again in his kingdom, he made king in his stead. Moreover, Kemerezzeman made Asaad king in his room over the Ebony Islands, with the consent of his grandfather, King Armanous, and set out himself, with his father, King Shehriman, for the Islands of Khalidan. The people of the capital decorated the city in their honour and they ceased not to beat the drums for glad tidings a whole month; nor did Kemerezzeman leave to govern in his father's room, till there overtook them the Destroyer of Delights and the Sunderer of Companies."
"O Shehrzad," said King Shehriyar, "this is indeed a right wonderful story!" "O King," answered she, "it is not more wonderful than that of Alaeddin Abou esh Shamat." "What is that?" asked he, and she said, "I have heard tell, O august King, that...
[Go to Alaeddin Abou Esh Shamat]
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