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A certain king had a son, whom he loved and favoured over all his other children; and this son said to him one day, "O my father, I have a mind to go a-hunting." So the king bade furnish him and commanded one of his viziers to bear him company and do all he needed during his absence. The vizier accordingly took all that was necessary for the journey and they set out with a retinue of slaves and servants and officers, and fared on till they came to a green and well-watered champaign abounding in pasture and game. Here the prince called a halt and they loosed the hawks and lynxes and dogs and caught great plenty of game, whereat they rejoiced and abode there some days, in all pleasance and delight of life. Then the prince gave the signal for departure, but, as they went along, a beautiful gazelle, as if the sun shone from her forehead, that had strayed from the herd, sprang up before the prince, whereupon his soul longed to make prize of her and he coveted her. So he said to the vizier, "I have a mind to follow yonder gazelle." "Do what seemeth good to thee," said the vizier. So the prince rode after the gazelle, till he lost sight of his companions, and chased her all that day till dusk, when she took refuge in the mountains and the darkness closed in upon him. Then he would have turned back, but knew not the way; whereat he was sore concerned and said, "There is no power and no virtue but in God the Most High, the Supreme!"
He rode on all night, in quest of relief, but found none, and when the day appeared, he fared on at hazard, fearful and exhausted with hunger and thirst and the heat of the sun, until midday, when he came in sight of a great city, with massive walls and lofty turrets; but it was ruined and desolate, nor was there any live thing therein save the owl and the raven. As he stood among the ruins, marvelling at their ordinance, his eyes fell on a young and beautiful damsel sitting weeping, under one of the city walls. So he went up to her and said, "Who art thou and who brought thee hither?" "I am called Bint et Temimeh, daughter of Et Tiyakh, King of the Gray Country," answered she. "I went out one day on an occasion, when an Afrit of the Jinn snatched me up and soared with me between heaven and earth; but as he flew, there fell on him a flame of fire and consumed him, and I dropped here, where I have hungered and thirsted these three days; but, when I saw thee, I coveted life."
The prince was smitten with compassion for her and took her up behind him, saying, "Take heart and be of good cheer; for, if God (blessed and exalted be He!)restore me to my people and family, I will send thee back to thine own people." Then he rode on, praying to God for deliverance, and presently she said to him, "O King's son, put me down, that I may do an occasion under yonder wall." So he drew bridle and she alighted and hid herself behind the wall. He waited for her a long while and she came back, with the foulest of favours; which when he saw, he quaked for fear of her and his hair stood on end and he turned pale. Then she sprang up behind him, wearing the most hideous of aspects, and presently she said to him, "O King's son, what ails thee that I see thee troubled and thy favour changed?" Quoth he, "I have bethought me of somewhat that troubles me." And she, '' Seek aid against it of thy father's troops and warriors." "He whom I fear," answered the prince, "cares nothing for troops, neither can warriors affright him." "Then," rejoined she, "aid thyself against him with thy father's wealth and treasures." Quoth he, "He whom I fear will not be satisfied with wealth and treasures." And she, "Ye pretend that ye have in heaven a God who sees and is not seen and who can do all things." "Yes," answered he; "we have none but Him." "Then," said she, "pray thou to Him; haply He will deliver thee from thine enemy." So he raised his eyes to heaven and began to pray with his whole heart, saying, "O my God, I implore Thee to succour me against that which troubles me." Then he pointed to her with his hand, and she fell to the ground, burnt and black as a coal. Therewith he thanked God and praised Him and fared onward. And God (blessed and exalted be He!) of His grace made the way easy to him and guided him into the right road, so that he reached his father's capital, after he had despaired of life. Now all this befell by the contrivance of the vizier, who travelled with him to the end that he might cause him to perish by the way; but God the Most High succoured him. 'And this,' said the damsel, 'have I told thee, O King, that thou mayst know that wicked viziers deal not honestly by their kings neither counsel them with sincere intent, wherefore be thou ware of them in this matter.'
The King gave ear to her speech and commanded to put his son to death; but the third vizier said [to his brother viziers,] 'I will warrant you from the King's mischief this day;' and going in to him, kissed the earth before him and said, 'O King, I am thy loyal counsellor and affectionately solicitous for thee arid thine estate, and indeed, I give thee a true counsel; it is that thou hasten not to slay thy son, the solace of thine eyes and the fruit of thine entrails. Belike his offence is but a slight matter, which this damsel hath made great to thee; and indeed I have heard tell that the people of two villages once destroyed each other, because of a drop of honey.' 'How was that?' asked the King, and the Vizier answered, saying, 'Know, O King, 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