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Payne: The History of King Omar Ben Ennuman and His Sons Sherkan and Zoulmekan (cont.)

[Go back to Hemmad the Bedouin's Story]

When Nuzet ez Zeman heard these words of the Bedouin, the light in her eyes was changed to darkness, and she rose and drawing the sword, smote him amiddleward the shoulder-blades, that the point issued from his throat. The bystanders said to her, "Why hast thou made haste to slay him?" And she answered, "Praised be God who hath granted me to avenge myself with my own hand!" And she bade the slaves drag the body out by the feet and cast it to the dogs. Then they turned to the second prisoner, who was a black slave, and said to him, "What is thy name? Tell us the truth of thy case." "My name is Ghezban," answered he and told them what had passed between himself and the princess Abrizeh and how he had slain her and fled. Hardly had he made an end of his story, when King Rumzan struck off his head with his sabre, saying, "Praised be God that gave me life! I have avenged my mother with my own hand." Then he repeated to them what his nurse Merjaneh had told him of this same Ghezban; after which they turned to the third prisoner and said to him, "Tell us who thou art and speak the truth." Now this was the very camel-driver, whom the people of Jerusalem hired to carry Zoulmekan to the hospital at Damascus; but he threw him down on the fuel-heap and went his way. So he told them how he had dealt with Zoulmekan, whereupon Kanmakan took his sword forthright and cut off his head, saying, "Praised be God who hath given me life, that I might requite this traitor what he did with my father, for I have heard this very story from King Zoulmekan himself!" Then they said to each other "It remains only for us to take our wreak of the old woman Shewahi, yclept Dhat ed Dewahi, for that she is the prime cause of all these troubles. Who will deliver her into our hands, that we may avenge ourselves upon her and wipe out our dishonour?" And King Rumzan said, "Needs must we bring her hither." So he wrote a letter to his grandmother, the aforesaid old woman, giving her to know that he had subdued the kingdoms of Damascus and Mosul and Irak and had broken up the host of the Muslims and captured their princes and adding, "I desire thee of all urgency to come to me without delay, bringing with thee the princess Sufiyeh, daughter of King Afridoun, and whom thou wilt of the Nazarene chiefs, but no troops; for the country is quiet and under our hand." And he despatched the letter to her, which when she read, she rejoiced greatly and forthwith equipping herself and Sufiyeh, set out with their attendants and journeyed, without stopping, till they drew near Baghdad. Then she sent a messenger to acquaint the King of her arrival, whereupon quoth Rumzan, "We should do well to don the habit of the Franks and go out to meet the old woman, to the intent that we may be assured against her craft and perfidy." So they clad themselves in Frankish apparel, and when Kuzia Fekan saw them, she exclaimed, "By the Lord of Worship, did I not know you, I should take you to be indeed Franks!" Then they sallied forth, with a thousand horse, to meet the old woman, and King Rumzan rode on before them. As soon as his eyes met hers, he dismounted and walked towards her, and she, recognizing him, dismounted also and embraced him; but he pressed her ribs with his hands, till he well-nigh broke them. Quoth she, "What is this, O my son?" But before she had done speaking, up came Kanmakan and Dendan, and the horsemen with them cried out at the women and slaves and took them all prisoners. Then the two Kings returned to Baghdad, with their captives, and Rumzan bade decorate the city three days long, at the end of which time they brought out the old woman, with a tall red bonnet of palm-leaves on her head, diademed with asses' dung, and preceded by a herald, proclaiming aloud, "This is the reward of those who presume to lay hands on kings and kings' sons!" Then they crucified her on one of the gates of Baghdad; and her companions, seeing what befell her, all embraced the faith of Islam. As for Kanmakan and his uncle Rumzan and his aunt Nuzhet ez Zeman, they marvelled at the wonderful events that had betided them and bade the scribes set them down orderly in books, that those who came after might read. Then they all abode in the enjoyment of all the delights and comforts of life, till there overtook them the Destroyer of Delights and the Sunderer of Companies; and this is all that hath come down to us of the dealings of fortune with King Omar ben Ennuman and his sons Sherkan and Zoulmekan and his son's son Kanmakan and his daughter Nuzhet ez Zeman and her daughter Kuzia Fekan.

[Resume The Book of the Thousand Nights and One Night]

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

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