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Scott: The Adventure of the Caliph Haroon Al Rusheed (cont.)

[Go back to The Story of Syed Naomaun]

When the caliph found that Syed Naomaun had ended his story, he said to him, "Your adventure is very singular, and the wickedness of your wife inexcusable; therefore I do not condemn the chastisement you have hitherto given her; but I would have you consider how great a punishment it is to be reduced to the condition of beasts, and wish you would be content with the chastisement you have already inflicted. I would order you to go and address yourself to the young enchantress, to end the metamorphosis she has inflicted, but that I know the obstinacy and incorrigible cruelty of magicians of both sexes, who abuse their art; which makes me apprehensive that a second effect of your wife's revenge might be more fatal than the first."

The caliph, who was naturally mild and compassionate to all criminals, after he had declared his mind to Syed Naomaun, addressed himself to the third person the grand vizier had summoned to attend him. "Khaujeh Hassan," said he, "passing yesterday by your house, it seemed so magnificent that I felt a curiosity to know to whom it belonged, and was told that you, whose trade is so mean that a man can scarcely get his bread by it, have built this house after you had followed this trade some years. I was likewise informed that you make a good use of the riches God has blessed you with, and your neighbours speak well of you.

"All this pleases me well," added the caliph, "but I am persuaded that the means by which Providence has been pleased to bestow these gifts on you must have been very extraordinary. I am curious to know the particulars from your own mouth, and sent for you on purpose to have that satisfaction. Speak truly, that when I know your story, I may rejoice in your good fortune.

"But that you may not suspect my curiosity, and believe I have any other interest than what I tell you, I declare, that far from having any pretensions, I give you my word you shall enjoy freely all you possess."

On these assurances of the caliph, Khaujeh Hassan prostrated himself before the throne, with his forehead down to the carpet, and when he rose up, said, "Commander of the faithful, some persons might have been alarmed at having been summoned to appear before your majesty; but knowing that my conscience was clear, and that I had committed nothing against the laws or your majesty, but, on the contrary, had always the most respectful sentiments and the profoundest veneration for your person, my only fear was, that I should not be able to support the splendour of your presence. But nevertheless on the public report of your majesty's receiving favourably, and hearing the meanest of your subjects, I took courage, and never doubted but I should have confidence enough to give you all the satisfaction you might require of me. Besides, your majesty has given me a proof of your goodness, by granting me your protection before you know whether I deserve it. I hope, however, you will retain the favourable sentiments you have conceived of me, when, in obedience to your command, I shall have related my adventures."

After this compliment to conciliate the caliph's good-will and attention, and after some moments' recollection, Khaujeh Hassan related his story in the following manner:

[Go to The Story of Khaujeh Hassan Al Hubbaul]

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

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