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Payne: Story of King Shehriyar and his Brother

[Go back to Marouf the Cobbler and His Wife Fatimeh]

Now, during this time, Shehrzad had borne the King three male children: so, when she had made an end of the story of Marouf, she rose to her feet and kissing the earth before him, said, "O king of the age and unique pearl of the time and the day, I am thine handmaid and these thousand nights and one have I entertained thee with stories of foregone peoples and admonitory instances of the ancients. May I then make bold to crave a boon of Thy Majesty?" "Ask, O Shehrzad," answered he, "and it shall be given unto thee." Whereupon she cried out to the nurses and the eunuchs, saying, "Bring me my children." So they brought them to her in haste, and they were three male children, one walking, one crawling and one sucking [at the breast]. She took them and setting them before the King, kissed the ground and said, "O king of the age, these are thy children and I crave that thou release me from the doom of death, for the sake of these infants; for, if thou slay me, they will become motherless and will find none among women to rear them aright."

When the King heard this, he wept and straining the children to his bosom, said, "By Allah, O Shehrzad, I pardoned thee before the coming of these children, for that I found thee chaste, pure, noble and pious! May God bless thee and thy father and thy mother and thy root and thy branch! I take God to witness against me that I exempt thee from aught that can harm thee." So she kissed his hands and feet and rejoiced with an exceeding joy, saying, "May God make thy life long and increase thee in reverence and majesty!" Therewith joy spread throughout the palace of the King and the good news was bruited abroad in the city; it was a night not to be counted among lives and its colour was whiter than the face of day.

On the morrow, the King arose, full of joy and contentment, and summoning all his troops, bestowed on his vizier Shehrzad's father, a rich and splendid robe of honour and said to him, "God protect thee, for that thou gavest me to wife thy noble daughter, who hath been the means of my repentance from slaying the daughters of the people. Indeed, I have found her noble, pure, chaste and virtuous, and God hath vouchsafed me three male children by her; wherefore praised be He for this exceeding bounty!" Then he bestowed dresses of honour upon all his viziers and amirs and the grandees of his realm and bade decorate the city thirty days; nor did he put one of the townsfolk to aught of charge on account thereof, but the whole of the expenditure was from the Kings treasury. So they decorated the city in splendid fashion, never before was seen the like thereof, and the drums beat and the pipes sounded, whilst all the mimes and mountebanks and players plied their various arts and the King lavished on them gifts and largesse. Moreover, he gave alms to the poor and needy and extended his bounty to all his subjects and the people of his realm. And he and they abode in pleasance and delight and happiness and contentment, till there came to them the Destroyer of Delights and the Sunderer of Companies So glory be to Him whom the vicissitudes of time waste not away nor cloth aught of change betide Him? whom one case diverteth not from other and who is unique in the attribute of perfection! And blessing and pea e upon the High Priest of His Majesty and His Elect among His creatures, our lord MOHAMMED, the chief of mankind, through whom we beseech Him for a goodly end!


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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