[Go back to The Story of Mahummud, Sultan of Cairo]
When the sultan of Cairo had finished his narrative, the abdicated prince expressed his surprise at his adventures: upon which the sultan said, "Wonder not, my brother, at the dispensations of the Almighty, for he worketh in secret, and when he pleaseth revealeth his mysteries. Since thou hast quitted thy kingdom, if thou choosest, thou shalt be my vizier, and we will live together as friends and brothers." "To hear is to obey," replied the prince. The sultan then constituted him vizier, enrobed him in a rich uniform, and committed to him his seal, the inkstand, and other insignia of office, at the same time conferring upon him a magnificent palace, superbly furnished with gorgeous carpets, musnuds, and cushions: belonging to it were also extensive gardens. The vizier entered immediately upon his new office; held his divans regularly twice every day, and judged so equitably on all appeals brought before him, that his fame for justice and impartiality was soon spread abroad; insomuch, that whoever had a cause or dispute willingly referred it to his decision, and was satisfied with it, praying for his life and prosperity. In this state he remained for many years, the sovereign pleased with him, and he happy under the protection of the sultan of Cairo, so that he did not regret his abdicated kingdom.
It happened one evening that the mind of the sultan was depressed, upon which he sent for the vizier, who attended; when he said, "Vizier, my mind is so uneasy that nothing will amuse me." "Enter then," replied the minister, "into thy cabinet, and look at thy jewels, the examination of which may perhaps entertain thee." The sultan did so, but it had no effect on his lassitude; when he said, "Vizier, this dispiritedness will not quit me, and nothing gives me pleasure within my palace; let us, therefore, walk out in disguise." "To hear is to obey," replied the vizier. They then retired into a private chamber, and putting on the habits of dervishes of Arabia, strolled through the city till they reached a hospital for lunatics, which they entered. Here they beheld two men, one reading and the other listening to him; when the sultan said to himself, "This is surprising;" and addressed the men, saying, "Are you really mad?" They replied, "We are not mad, but our stories are so wonderful, that were they recorded on a tablet of adamant, they would remain for examples to them who would be advised." "Let us hear them," said the sultan; upon which, the man who had been reading exclaimed, "Hear mine first!" and thus began.
[Go to The Story of the First Lunatic]
Scott, Jonathan (1754-1829). The Arabian Nights Entertainments. London: Pickering and Chatto, 1890. 4 Volumes. Project Gutenberg.
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