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There was a king who had a son that loved hunting. He allowed him to pursue that diversion often; but gave orders to his grand vizier always to attend him.
One hunting day, the huntsman having roused a deer, the prince, who thought the vizier followed him, pursued the game so far, and with so much earnestness, that he separated himself from the company. Perceiving he had lost his way he stopped, and endeavoured to return to the vizier; but not knowing the country he wandered farther.
Whilst he was thus riding about, he met on his way a handsome lady, who wept bitterly. He stopped his horse, and enquired who she was, how she came to be alone in that place, and what she wanted. "I am," replied she, "the daughter of an Indian king. As I was taking the air on horseback, in the country, I grew sleepy, and fell from my horse, who is run away, and I know not what is become of him." The young prince taking compassion on her, requested her to get up behind him, which she willingly did.
As they were passing by the ruins of a house, the lady expressed a desire to alight. The prince stopped, and having put her down, dismounted himself, and went near the building, leading his horse after him. But you may judge how much he was surprised, when he heard the pretended lady utter these words: "Be glad, my children, I bring you a young man for your repast;" and other voices, which answered immediately, "Where is he, for we are very hungry?"
The prince heard enough to convince him of his danger. He perceived that the lady, who called herself the daughter of an Indian king, was one of those savage demons, called Gholes, who live in desolated places, and employ a thousand wiles to surprise passengers, whom they afterwards devour. The prince instantly remounted his horse, and luckily escaped.
The pretended princess appeared that very moment, and perceiving she had missed her prey, exclaimed, "Fear nothing, prince: Who are you? Whom do you seek?" "I have lost my way," replied he, "and am endeavouring to find it." "If you have lost your way," said she, "recommend yourself to God, he will deliver you out of your perplexity."
After the counterfeit Indian princess had bidden the young prince recommend himself to God, he could not believe she spoke sincerely, but thought herself sure of him; and therefore lifting up his hands to heaven, said, "Almighty Lord, cast thine eyes upon me, and deliver me from this enemy." After this prayer, the ghole entered the ruins again, and the prince rode off with all possible haste. He happily found his way, and arrived safe at the court of his father, to whom he gave a particular account of the danger he had been in through the vizier's neglect: upon which the king, being incensed against that minister, ordered him to be immediately strangled.
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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