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Scott: Codadad, and His Brothers (cont.)

[Go back to The Princess of Deryabar]

As soon as the princess had finished the recital of her adventures, Codadad declared to her that he was deeply concerned at her misfortunes. "But, madam," added he, "it shall be your own fault if you do not live at ease for the future. The sultan of Harran's sons offer you a safe retreat in the court of their father; be pleased to accept of it. You will be there cherished by that sovereign, and respected by all; and if you do not disdain the affection of your deliverer, permit me to assure you of it, and to espouse you before all these princes; let them be witnesses to our contract." The princess consented, and the marriage was concluded that very day in the castle, where they found all sorts of provisions. The kitchens were full of flesh and other eatables the black used to feed on, when he was weary of feeding on human bodies. There was also a variety of fruits, excellent in their kinds; and, to complete their pleasure, abundance of delicious wine and other liquors.

They all sat down at table; and after having eaten and drunk plentifully, took with them the rest of the provisions, and set out for the sultan of Harran's court: they travelled several days, encamping in the pleasantest places they could find, and were within one day's journey of Harran, when having halted and drunk all their wine, being under no longer concern to make it hold out, Codadad directing his discourse to all his company, said "Princes, I have too long concealed from you who I am. Behold your brother Codadad! I have received my being, as well as you, from the sultan of Harran, the prince of Samaria brought me up, and the princess Pirouzè is my mother. Madam," added he, addressing himself to the Princess of Deryabar, "do you also forgive me for having concealed my birth from you? Perhaps, by discovering it sooner, I might have prevented some disagreeable reflections, which may have been occasioned by a match you may have thought unequal." "No, sir," answered the princess, "the opinion I at first conceived of you heightened every moment, and you did not stand in need of the extraction you now discover to make me happy."

The princes congratulated Codadad on his birth, and expressed much satisfaction at being made acquainted with it. But in reality, instead of rejoicing, their hatred of so amiable a brother was increased. They met together at night, whilst Codadad and the princess his wife lay asleep in their tent. Those ungrateful, those envious brothers, forgetting that had it not been for the brave son of Pirouzè they must have been devoured by the black, agreed among themselves to murder him. "We have no other course to choose," said one of them, "for the moment our father shall come to understand that this stranger of whom he is already so fond, is our brother, and that he alone has been able to destroy a giant, whom we could not all of us together conquer, he will declare him his heir, to the prejudice of all his brothers, who will be obliged to obey and fall down before him." He added much more, which made such an impression on their envious and unnatural minds, that they immediately repaired to Codadad, then asleep, stabbed him repeatedly, and leaving him for dead in the arms of the princess of Deryabar, proceeded on their journey for the city of Harran, where they arrived the next day.

The sultan their father conceived the greater joy at their return, because he had despaired of ever seeing them again: he asked what had been the occasion of their stay? But they took care not to acquaint him with it, making no mention either of the black or of Codadad; and only said, that, being curious to see different countries, they had spent some time in the neighbouring cities.

In the mean time Codadad lay in his tent weltering in his blood, and little differing from a dead man, with the princess his wife, who seemed to be in not much better condition than himself. She rent the air with her dismal shrieks, tore her hair, and bathing her husband's body with her tears, "Alas! Codadad, my dear Codadad," cried she, "is it you whom I behold just departing this life? What cruel hands have put you into this condition? Can I believe these are your brothers who have treated you so unmercifully, those brothers whom thy valour had saved? No, they are rather devils, who under characters so dear came to murder you. O barbarous wretches! how could you make so ungrateful a return for the service he has done you? But why should I complain of your brothers, unfortunate Codadad! I alone am to blame for your death. You would join your fate with mine, and all the ill fortune that has attended me since I left my father's palace has fallen upon you. O Heaven! which has condemned me to lead a life of calamities, if you will not permit me to have a consort, why did you permit me to find one? Behold you have now robbed me of two, just as I began to be attached to them."

By these and other moving expressions, the afflicted princess of Deryabar vented her sorrow, fixing her eyes on the unfortunate Codadad, who could not hear her; but he was not dead, and his consort observing that he still breathed, ran to a large town she espied in the plain, to inquire for a surgeon. She was directed to one, who went immediately with her; but when they came to the tent, they could not find Codadad, which made them conclude he had been dragged away by some wild beast to be devoured. The princess renewed her complaints and lamentations in a most affecting manner. The surgeon was moved and being unwilling to leave her in so distressed a condition, proposed to her to return to the town offering her his house and service.

She suffered herself to be prevailed on. The surgeon conducted her to his house, and without knowing, as yet, who she was, treated her with all imaginable courtesy and respect. He used all his endeavours to comfort her, but it was vain to think of removing her sorrow, which was rather heightened than diminished. "Madam," said he to her one day, "be pleased to recount to me your misfortunes; tell me your country and your condition. Perhaps I may give you some good advice, when I am acquainted with all the circumstances of your calamity. You do nothing but afflict yourself, without considering that remedies may be found for the most desperate diseases."

The surgeon's words were so efficacious, that they wrought on the princess, who recounted to him all her adventures: and when she had done, the surgeon directed his discourse to her; "Madam," said he, "you ought not thus to give way to your sorrow; you ought rather to arm yourself with resolution, and perform what the name and the duty of a wife require of you. You are bound to avenge your husband. If you please, I will wait on you as your attendant. Let us go to the sultan of Harran's court; he is a good and a just prince. You need only represent to him in lively colours, how prince Codadad has been treated by his brothers. I am persuaded he will do you justice." "I submit to your reasons," answered the princess; "it is my duty to endeavour to avenge Codadad; and since you are so generous as to offer to attend me, I am ready to set out." No sooner had she fixed this resolution, than the surgeon ordered two camels to be made ready, on which the princess and he mounted, and repaired to Harran.

They alighted at the first caravanserai they found, and inquired of the host the news at court. "It is," said he, "in very great perplexity. The sultan had a son, who lived long with him as a stranger, and none can tell what is become of the young prince. One of the sultan's wives, named Pirouzè, is his mother; she has made all possible inquiry, but to no purpose. All are concerned at the loss of this prince, because he had great merit. The sultan has forty-nine other sons, all by different mothers, but not one of them has virtue enough to comfort him for the death of Codadad; I say, his death, because it is impossible he should be still alive, since no intelligence has been heard of him, notwithstanding so much search has been made."

The surgeon having heard this account from the host, concluded that the best course the princess of Deryabar could take was to wait upon Pirouzè; but that step was not without some danger, and required much precaution: for it was to be feared, that if the sultan of Harran's sons should happen to hear of the arrival of their sister-in-law, and her design, they might cause her to be conveyed away before she could discover herself to Codadad's mother. The surgeon weighed all these circumstances, considered what risk he might run himself, and therefore, that he might manage matters with discretion, desired the princess to remain in the caravanserai, whilst he repaired to the palace, to observe which might be the safest way to conduct her to Pirouzè.

He went accordingly into the city, and was walking towards the palace, like one led only by curiosity to see the court, when he beheld a lady mounted on a mule richly accoutred. She was followed by several ladies mounted also on mules, with a great number of guards and black slaves. All the people formed a lane to see her pass along, and saluted her by prostrating themselves on the ground. The surgeon paid her the same respect, and then asked a calender, who happened to stand by him, "Whether that lady was one of the sultan's wives?" "Yes, brother," answered the calender, "she is, and the most honoured and beloved by the people, because she is the mother of prince Codadad, of whom you must have heard."

The surgeon asked no more questions, but followed Pirouzè to a mosque, into which she went to distribute alms, and assist at the public prayers which the sultan had ordered to be offered up for the safe return of Codadad. The people, who were highly concerned for that young prince, ran in crowds to join their vows to the prayers of the priests, so that the mosque was quite full. The surgeon broke through the throng, and advanced to Pirouzè's guards. He waited the conclusion of the prayers, and when the princess went out, stepped up to one of her slaves, and whispered him in the ear, "Brother, I have a secret of moment to impart to the princess Pirouzè; may not I, by your means, be introduced into her apartment?" "If that secret," answered the slave, "relate to prince Codadad, I dare promise you shall have audience of her this very day; but if it concern not him, it is needless for you to endeavour to be introduced; for her thoughts are all engrossed by her son, and she will not hear of any other subject." "It is only about that dear son," replied the surgeon, "that I wish to speak to her." "If so," said the slave, "you need only follow us to the palace, and you shall soon have the opportunity."

Accordingly, as soon as Pirouzè was returned to her apartment, the slave acquainted her that a person unknown had some important information to communicate to her, and that it related to prince Codadad. No sooner had he uttered these words, than Pirouzè expressed her impatience to see the stranger. The slave immediately conducted him into the princess's closet, who ordered all her women to withdraw, except two, from whom she concealed nothing. As soon as she saw the surgeon, she asked him eagerly, what news he had to tell her of Codadad? "Madam," answered the surgeon, after having prostrated himself on the ground, "I have a long account to give you, and such as will surprise you." He then related all the particulars of what had passed between Codadad and his brothers, which she listened to with eager attention; but when he came to speak of the murder, the tender mother fainted away on her sofa, as if she had herself been stabbed like her son. Her two women used proper means, and soon brought her to herself. The surgeon continued his relation; and when he had concluded, Pirouzè said to him, "Go back to the princess of Deryabar, and assure her from me that the sultan shall soon own her for his daughter-in-law; and as for yourself, be satisfied, that your services shall be rewarded as liberally as they deserve."

When the surgeon was gone, Pirouzè remained on the sofa, in such a state of affliction as may easily be imagined; and yielding to her tenderness at the recollection of Codadad, "O my son," said she, "I must never then expect to see you more! Alas! when I gave you leave to depart from Samaria, and you took leave of me, I did not imagine that so unfortunate a death awaited you at such a distance from me. Unfortunate Codadad! Why did you leave me? You would not, it is true, have acquired so much renown, but you had been still alive, and not have cost your mother so many tears." While she uttered these words, she wept bitterly, and her two attendants moved by her grief, mingled their tears with hers.

Whilst they were all three in this manner vying in affliction, the sultan came into the closet, and seeing them in this condition, asked Pirouzè whether she had received any bad news concerning Codadad? "Alas! sir," said she, "all is over, my son has lost his life, and to add to my sorrow, I cannot pay him the funeral rites; for, in all probability, wild beasts have devoured him." She then told him all she had heard from the surgeon, and did not fail to enlarge on the inhuman manner in which Codadad had been murdered by his brothers.

The sultan did not give Pirouzè time to finish her relation, but transported with anger, and giving way to his passion, "Madam," said he to the princess, "those perfidious wretches who cause you to shed these tears, and are the occasion of mortal grief to their father, shall soon feel the punishment due to their guilt." The sultan having spoken these words, with indignation in his countenance, went directly to the presence-chamber where all his courtiers attended, and such of the people as had petitions to present to him. They were alarmed to see him in passion, and thought his anger had been kindled against his people. Their hearts were chilled with fear. He ascended the throne, and causing his grand vizier to approach, "Hassan," said he, "go immediately, take a thousand of my guards, and seize all the princes, my sons; shut them up in the tower used as a prison for murderers, and let this be done in a moment." All who were present trembled at this extraordinary command; and the grand vizier, without uttering a word, laid his hand on his head, to express his obedience, and hastened from the hall to execute his orders. In the mean time the sultan dismissed those who attended for audience, and declared he would not hear of any business for a month to come. He was still in the hall when the vizier returned. "Are all my sons," demanded he, "in the tower?" "They are, sir," answered the vizier, "I have obeyed your orders." "This is not all," replied the sultan, "I have further commands for you;" and so saying he went out of the hall of audience, and returned to Pirouzè's apartment, the vizier following him. He asked the princess where Codadad's widow had taken up her lodging? Pirouzè's women told him, for the surgeon had not forgotten that in his relation. The sultan then turning to his minister, "Go," said he, "to this caravanserai, and conduct a young princess who lodges there, with all the respect due to her quality, to my palace."

The vizier was not long in performing what he was ordered. He mounted on horseback with all the emirs and courtiers, and repaired to the caravanserai, where the princess of Deryabar was lodged, whom he acquainted with his orders; and presented her, from the sultan, a fine white mule, whose saddle and bridle were adorned with gold, rubies, and diamonds. She mounted, and proceeded to the palace. The surgeon attended her, mounted on a beautiful Tartar horse which the vizier had provided for him. All the people were at their windows, or in the streets, to see the cavalcade; and it being given out that the princess, whom they conducted in such state to court, was Codadad's wife, the city resounded with acclamations, the air rung with shouts of joy, which would have been turned into lamentations had that prince's fatal adventure been known; so much was he beloved by all.

The princess of Deryabar found the sultan at the palace-gate, waiting to receive her: he took her by the hand, and led her to Pirouzè's apartment, where a very moving scene took place. Codadad's wife found her affliction redouble at the sight of her husband's father and mother; as, on the other hand, those parents could not look on their son's wife without being much affected. She cast herself at the sultan's feet, and having bathed them with tears, was so overcome with grief, that she was not able to speak. Pirouzè was in no better state. And the sultan, moved by these affecting objects, gave way to his own feelings, and wept. All three, mingling their tears and sighs, for some time observed a silence, equally tender and pitiful. At length the princess of Deryabar, being somewhat recovered, recounted the adventure of the castle, and Codadad's disaster. Then she demanded justice for the treachery of the princes. "Yes, madam," said the sultan, "those ungrateful wretches shall perish; but Codadad's death must be first made public, that the punishment of his brothers may not cause my subjects to rebel; and though we have not my son's body, we will not omit paying him the last duties." This said, he directed his discourse to the vizier, and ordered him to cause to be erected a dome of white marble, in a delightful plain, in the midst of which the city of Harran stands. Then he appointed the princess of Deryabar a suitable apartment in his palace, acknowledging her for his daughter-in-law.

Hassan caused the work to be carried on with such diligence, and employed so many workmen, that the dome was soon finished. Within it was erected a tomb, which was covered with gold brocade. When all was completed, the sultan ordered prayers to be said, and appointed a day for the obsequies of his son.

On that day all the inhabitants of the city went out upon the plain to see the ceremony performed, which was after the following manner. The sultan, attended by his vizier and the principal lords of the court, proceeded towards the dome, and being come to it, he went in and sat down with them on carpets of black satin embroidered with gold flowers. A great body of horse-guards hanging their heads, drew up close about the dome, and marched round it twice, observing a profound silence; but at the third round they halted before the door, and all of them with a loud voice pronounced these words: "O prince! son to the sultan, could we by dint of sword, and human valour, repair your misfortune, we would bring you back to life; but the King of kings has commanded, and the angel of death has obeyed." Having uttered these words, they drew off, to make way for a hundred old men, all of them mounted on black mules, and having long grey beards. These were anchorites, who had lived all their days concealed in caves. They never appeared in sight of the world, but when they were to assist at the obsequies of the sultans of Harran, and of the princes of their family. Each of these venerable persons carried on his head a book, which he held with one hand. They took three turns round the dome without uttering a word; then stopping before the door, one of them said, "O prince! what can we do for thee? If thou couldst be restored to life by prayer or learning, we would rub our grey beards at thy feet, and recite prayers; but the King of the universe has taken thee away for ever."

This said, the old men moved to a distance from the dome, and immediately fifty beautiful young maidens drew near to it; each of them mounted on a little white horse; they wore no veils, and carried gold baskets full of all sorts of precious stones. They also rode thrice round the dome, and halting at the same place as the others had done, the youngest of them spoke in the name of all, as follows: "O prince! once so beautiful, what relief can you expect from us? If we could restore you to life by our charms, we would become your slaves. But you are no longer sensible to beauty, and have no more occasion for us."

When the young maids were withdrawn, the sultan and his courtiers arose, and having walked thrice around the tomb, the sultan spoke as follows: "O my dear son, light of my eyes, I have then lost thee for ever!" He accompanied these words with sighs, and watered the tomb with his tears; his courtiers weeping with him. The gate of the dome was then closed, and all the people returned to the city. Next day there were public prayers in all the mosques, and the same was continued for eight days successively. On the ninth the king resolved to cause the princes his sons to be beheaded. The people incensed at their cruelty towards Codadad, impatiently expected to see them executed. The scaffolds were erecting, but the execution was respited, because, on a sudden, intelligence was brought that the neighbouring princes, who had before made war on the sultan of Harran, were advancing with more numerous forces than on the first invasion, and were then not far from the city. It had been long known that they were preparing for war, but their preparations caused no alarm. This news occasioned general consternation, and gave new cause to lament the loss of Codadad, who had signalized himself in the former war against the same enemies. "Alas!" said they, "were the brave Codadad alive, we should little regard those princes who are coming to surprise us." The sultan, nothing dismayed, raised men with all possible speed, formed a considerable army, and being too brave to await the enemy's coming to attack him within his walls, marched out to meet them. They, on their side, being informed by their advanced parties that the sultan of Harran was marching to engage them, halted in the plain, and formed their army.

As soon as the sultan discovered them, he also drew up his forces, and ranged them in order of battle. The signal was given and he attacked them with extraordinary vigour; nor was the opposition inferior. Much blood was shed on both sides, and the victory remained long dubious; but at length it seemed to incline to the sultan of Harran's enemies, who, being more numerous, were upon the point of surrounding him, when a great body of cavalry appeared on the plain, and approached the two armies. The sight of this fresh party daunted both sides, neither knowing what to think of them: but their doubts were soon cleared; for they fell upon the flank of the sultan of Harran's enemies with such a furious charge, that they soon broke and routed them. Nor did they stop here; they pursued them, and cut most of them in pieces.

The sultan of Harran, who had attentively observed all that passed, admired the bravery of this strange body of cavalry, whose unexpected arrival had given the victory to his army. But, above all, he was charmed with their chief, whom he had seen fighting with a more than ordinary valour. He longed to know the name of the generous hero. Impatient to see and thank him, he advanced towards him, but perceived he was coming to prevent him. The two princes drew near, and the sultan of Harran discovering Codadad in the brave warrior who had just assisted him, or rather defeated his enemies, became motionless with joy and surprise. "Father," said Codadad to him, "you have sufficient cause to be astonished at the sudden appearance before your majesty of a man, whom perhaps you concluded to be dead. I should have been so had not heaven preserved me still to serve you against your enemies." "O my son!" cried the sultan, "is it possible that you are restored to me? Alas! I despaired of seeing you more." So saying he stretched out his arms to the young prince, who flew to such a tender embrace.

"I know all, my son," said the sultan again, after having long held him in his arms. "I know what return your brothers have made you for delivering them out of the hands of the black; but you shall be revenged to-morrow. Let us now go to the palace where your mother, who has shed so many tears on your account, expects me to rejoice with us for the defeat of our enemies. What a joy will it be to her to be informed, that my victory is your work!" "Sir," said Codadad, "give me leave to ask how you could know the adventure of the castle? Have any of my brothers, repenting, owned it to you?" "No," answered the sultan; "the princess of Deryabar has given us an account of every thing, for she is in my palace and came thither to demand justice against your brothers." Codadad was transported with joy, to learn that the princess his wife was at the court. "Let us go, sir," cried he to his father in rapture, "let us go to my mother, who waits for us. I am impatient to dry up her tears, as well as those of the princess of Deryabar."

The sultan immediately returned to the city with his army, and re-entered his palace victorious, amidst the acclamations of the people, who followed him in crowds, praying to heaven to prolong his life, and extolling Codadad to the skies. They found Pirouzè and her daughter-in-law waiting to congratulate the sultan; but words cannot express the transports of joy they felt, when they saw the young prince with him: their embraces were mingled with tears of a very different kind from those they had before shed for him. When they had sufficiently yielded to all the emotions that the ties of blood and love inspired, they asked Codadad by what miracle he came to be still alive?

He answered, that a peasant mounted on a mule happening accidentally to come into the tent, where he lay senseless, and perceiving him alone, and stabbed in several places, had made him fast on his mule, and carried him to his house, where he applied to his wounds certain herbs chewed, which recovered him. "When I found myself well," added he, "I returned thanks to the peasant, and gave him all the diamonds I had. I then made for the city of Harran; but being informed by the way, that some neighbouring princes had gathered forces, and were on their march against the sultan's subjects, I made myself known to the villagers, and stirred them up to undertake his defence. I armed a great number of young men, and heading them, happened to arrive at the time when the two armies were engaged."

When he had done speaking, the sultan said, "Let us return thanks to God for having preserved Codadad; but it is requisite that the traitors, who would have destroyed him, should perish." "Sir," answered the generous prince, "though they are wicked and ungrateful, consider they are your own flesh and blood: they are my brothers; I forgive their offence, and beg you to pardon them." This generosity drew tears from the sultan, who caused the people to be assembled and declared Codadad his heir. He then ordered the princes, who were prisoners, to be brought out loaded with irons. Pirouzè's son struck off their chains, and embraced them all successively, with as much sincerity and affection as he had done in the court of the black's castle. The people were charmed with Codadad's generosity, and loaded him with applause. The surgeon was next nobly rewarded in requital of the services he had done the princess of Deryabar.

[Go to Abu Hassan, or the Sleeper Awakened]

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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