Supplemental Nights, Volume 3
by Richard F. Burton
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The incident of the kite carrying off the poor ropemaker's turban in which he had deposited the most part of the gold pieces that he received from the gentleman who believed that "money makes money"—an unquestionable fact, in spite of our story—is of very frequent occurrence in both Western and Eastern fictions. My readers will recollect its exact parallel in the abstract of the romance of Sir Isumbras, cited in Appendix to the preceding volumes: how the Knight, with his little son, after the soudan's ship has sailed away with his wife, is bewildered in a forest, where they fall asleep, and in the morning at sunrise when he awakes, an eagle pounces down and carries off his scarlet mantle, in which he had tied up his scanty store of provisions together with the gold he had received from the soudan; and how many years after he found it in a bird's nest (Supp. Nights, vol. ii. p. 260 and p. 263).—And, not to multiply examples, a similar incident occurs in the "Katha Sarit Sagara," Book ix. ch. 54, where a merchant named Samudrasura is shipwrecked and contrives to reach the land, where he perceives the corpse of a man, round the loins of which is a cloth with a knot in it. On unfastening the cloth he finds in it a necklace studded with jewels. The merchant proceeds towards a city called Kalasapuri, carrying the necklace in his hand. Overpowered by the heat, he sits down in a shady place and falls asleep. The necklace is recognised by some passing policemen as that of the king's daughter, and the merchant is at once taken before the king and accused of having stolen it. While the merchant is being examined, a kite swoops down and carries off the necklace. Presently a voice from heaven declares that the merchant is innocent, explains how the necklace came into his possession, and orders the king to dismiss him with honour. This celestial testimony in favour of the accused satisfies the king, who gives the merchant much wealth and sends him on his way. The rest of the story is as follows: "And after he had crossed the sea, he travelled with a caravan, and one day, at evening time, he reached a wood. The caravan encamped in the wood for the night, and while Samudrasura was awake a powerful host of bandits attacked it. While the bandits were massacring the members of the caravan, Samudrasura left his wares and fled, and climbed up a banyan-tree without being discovered. The host of bandits departed, after they had carried off all the wealth, and the merchant spent that night there, perplexed with fear and distracted with grief. In the morning he cast his eves towards the top of the tree, and saw, as fate would have it, what looked like the light of a lamp, trembling among the leaves. And in his astonishment he climbed up the tree and saw a kite's nest, in which there was a heap of glittering priceless jewelled ornaments. He took them all out of it, and found among the ornaments that necklace which he had found in Svarnadvipa and the kite had carried off. He obtained from that nest unlimited wealth, and descending from the tree, he went off delighted, and reached in course of time his own city of Harshapura. There the merchant Samudrasura remained, enjoying himself to his heart's content, with his family, free from the desire of any other wealth."

There is nothing improbable—at all events, nothing impossible—in the History of Khwajah Hasan al-Habbal. That he should lose the two sums of money in the manner described is quite natural, and the incidents carry with them the moral: "Always take your wife into your confidence" (but the Khwajah was a Muslim), notwithstanding the great good luck which afterwards befell, and which, after all, was by mere chance. There is nothing improbable in the finding of the turban with the money intact in the bird's nest, but that this should occur while the Khwajah's benefactors were his guests is—well, very extraordinary indeed! As to the pot of bran—why, some little license must be allowed a story-teller, that is all that need be said! The story from beginning to end is a most charming one, and will continue to afford pleasure to old and young—to "generations yet unborn."

Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves—p.219

I confess to entertaining a peculiar affection for this tale. It was the first of the tales of the "Arabian Nights Entertainments" which I read in the days of my "marvelling boyhood" eheu! fugaces, &c, etc. I may therefore be somewhat prejudiced in its favour, just as I still consider Scott's "Waverley" as the best of his long series of fascinating fictions, that being the first of them which I read—as it was the first he wrote. But "All Baba and the Forty Thieves"—the "open, sesame!" "shut, sesame!"—the sackfuls of gold and silver and the bales of rich merchandise in the robbers' cave—the avaricious brother forgetting the magical formula which would open the door and permit him to escape with his booty—his four quarters hung up in terrorem—and above all, the clever, devoted slave girl Morgiana, who in every way outwitted the crafty robber-chief,—these incidents remain stamped in my memory ineffaceably: like the initials of lovers' names cut into the bark of a growing tree, which, so far from disappearing, become larger by the lapse of time. To me this delightful tale will ever be, as Hafiz sings of something, "freshly fresh and newly new." I care not much though it never be found in an Arabic or any other Oriental dress—but that it is of Asiatic invention is self-evident; there is, in my poor opinion nothing to excel it, if indeed to equal it, for intense interest and graphic narrative power in all The Nights proper.

Sir Richard Burton has remarked, in note 1, p. 219, that Mr. Coote could only find in the south of Europe, or in the Levant, analogues of two of the incidents of this tale, yet one of those may be accepted as proof of its Eastern extraction, namely, the Cyprian story of "Three Eyes," where the ogre attempts to rescue his wife with a party of blacks concealed in bales: "The King's jester went downstairs, in order to open the bales and takes something out of them. Directly he approached one of the sacks, the black man answered from the inside,'Is it time, master?' In the same manner he tried all the sacks, and then went upstairs and told them that the sacks were full of black men. Directly the King's bride heard this, she made the jester and the company go downstairs. They take the executioner with them, and go to the first sack. The black man says from the inside, 'Is it time ?' 'Yes,' say they to him, and directly he came out they cut his head off. In the same manner they go to the other sacks and kill the other black men.''[FN#408]

The first part of the tale of Ali Baba—ending with the death of his greedy brother—is current in North Germany, to this effect:

A poor woodcutter, about to fell a beech at the back of the scattered ruins of the castle of Dummburg, seeing a monk approach slowly through the forest, hid himself behind a tree. The monk passed by and went among the rocks. The woodcutter stole cautiously after him and saw that he stopped at a small door which had never been discovered by the villagers. The monk knocks gently and cries, "Little door, open!" and the door springs open. He also cries, "Little door, shut!" and the door is closed. The woodcutter carefully observes the place, and next Sunday goes secretly and obtains access to the vault by the same means as that employed by the monk. He finds in it "large open vessels and sacks full of old dollars and fine guilders, together with heavy gold pieces, caskets filled with jewels and pearls, costly shrines and images of saints, which lay about or stood on tables of silver in corners of the vault." He takes but a small quantity of the coin, and as he is quitting the vault a voice cries, "Come again!" First giving to the church, for behoof of the poor, a tenth of what he had taken, he goes to the town and buys clothes for his wife and children, giving out to his neighbours that he had found an old dollar and a few guilders under the roots of a tree that he had felled. Next Sunday he again visits the vault, this time supplying himself somewhat more liberally from the hoard, but still with moderation and discretion, and "Come again!" cries a voice as he is leaving. He now gives to the church two tenths, and resolves to bury the rest of the money he had taken in his cellar. But he can't resist a desire to first measure the gold, for he could not count it. So he borrows for this purpose a corn-measure of a neighbour—a very rich but penurious man, who starved himself, hoarded up corn, cheated the labourer of his hire, robbed the widow and the orphan, and lent money on pledges. Now the measure had some cracks in the bottom, through which the miser shook some grains of corn into his own heap when selling it to the poor labourer, and into these cracks two or three small coins lodged, which the miser was not slow to discover. He goes to the woodcutter and asks him what it was he had been measuring. "Pine-cones and beans. But the miser holds up the coins he had found in the cracks of the measure, and threatens to inform upon him and have him put to the question if he will not disclose to him the secret of his money. So the woodcutter is constrained to tell him the whole story and much against his will, but not before he had made the miser promise that he would give one-tenth to the church, he conducts him to the vault. The miser enters, with a number of sacks, the woodcutter waiting outside to receive them when filled with treasure. But while the miser is gloating over the enormous wealth before him—even "wealth beyond the dreams of avarice"—a great black dog comes and lays himself down on the sacks. Terrified at the flaming eyes of the dog, the miser crept towards the door but in his fear forgot the proper words, and instead of saying, "Little door, open!" he cried!, "Little door, shut!" The woodcutter, having waited a long time, approached the door, and knocking gently and crying "Little door, open!" the door sprang open and he entered. There lay the bleeding body of his wicked neighbour, stretched on his sacks, but the vessels of gold and silver, and diamonds and pearls, sank deeper and deeper into the earth before his eyes, till all had completely vanished.[FN#409]

The resemblance which this North German tale bears to the first part of "All Baba" is striking, and is certainly not merely fortuitous; the fundamental outline of the latter is readily recognisable in the legend of The Dummburg, notwithstanding differences in the details. In both the hero is a poor woodcutter, or faggot-maker; for the band of robbers a monk is substituted in the German legend, and for the "open, sesame" and "shut, sesame," we have "little door, shut," and "little door, open." In both the borrowing of a corn-measure is the cause of the secret being revealed—in the one case, to Kasim, the greedy brother of Ali Baba and in the other, to a miserly old hunks; the fate of the latter and the disappearance of all the treasure are essentially German touches. The subsequent incidents of the tale of Ali Baba, in which the main interest of the narrative is concentrated;—Ali Baba's carrying off the four quarters of his brother's body and having them sewed together, the artifices by which the slave-girl checkmates the robber-chief and his followers in their attempts to discover the man who had learned the secret of the treasure-cave—her marking all the doors in the street and her pouring boiling oil on the robbers concealed in the oil-skins in the courtyard;—these incidents seem to have been adapted, or imitated, from some version of the world-wide story of the Robbery of the Royal Treasury, as told by Herodotus, of Rhampsinitus, King of Egypt, in which the hero performs a series of similar exploits to recover the headless body of his brother and at the same time escape detection. Moreover, the conclusion of the tale of Ali Baba, where we are told he lived in comfort and happiness on the wealth concealed in the robbers' cave, and "in after days he showed the hoard to his sons and his sons' sons, and taught them how the door could be caused to open and shut"—this is near akin to the beginning of Herodotus' legend of the treasury: the architect who built it left a stone loose, yet so nicely adjusted that it could not be discovered by any one not in the secret, by removing which he gained access to the royal stores of gold, and having taken what he wanted replaced the stone as before; on his deathbed he revealed the secret to his two sons as a legacy for their future maintenance. The discovery of Ali Baba's being possessed of much money from some coins adhering to the bottom of the corn-measure is an incident of very frequent occurrence in popular fictions; for instance, in the Icelandic story of the Magic Queen that ground out gold or whatever its possessor desired (Powell and Magnusson's collection, second series); in the Indian tale of the Six Brothers (Vernieux's collection) and its Irish analogue "Little Fairly;" in the modern Greek popular tale of the Man with Three Grapes (Le Grand's French collection), and a host of other tales, both Western and Eastern. The fate of Ali Baba's rich and avaricious brother, envious of his good luck, finds also many parallels—mutatis mutandis—as in the story of the Magic Queen, already referred to, and the Mongolian tale of the poor man and the Dakinis, the 14th relation of Siddhi Kur. Morgiana's counter-device of marking all the doors in the street, so that her master's house should not be recognised, often occurs, in different forms: in my work on Popular Tales and Fictions, vol. ii. pp. 164, 165, a number of examples are cited. The pretended merchant's objecting to eat meat cooked with salt, which fortunately aroused Morgiana's suspicions of his real character for robber and murderer as he was, he would not be "false to his salt''[FN#410]—recalls an anecdote related by D'Herbelot, which may find a place here, in conclusion: The famous robber Yacub bin Layth, afterwards the founder of a dynasty of Persian monarchs called Soffarides, in one of his expeditions broke into the royal palace and having collected a large quantity of plunder, was on the point of carrying it off when his foot struck against something which made him stumble. Supposing it not to be an article of value, he put it to his mouth, the better to distinguish it. From the taste he found it was a lump of salt, the symbol and pledge of hospitality, on which he was so touched that he retired immediately without carrying away any part of his booty. The next morning the greatest astonishment was caused throughout the palace on the discovery of the valuables packed up and ready for removal. Yacub was arrested and brought before the prince, to whom he gave a faithful account of the whole affair, and by this means so ingratiated himself with his sovereign that he employed him as a man of courage and ability in many arduous enterprises, in which he was so successful as to be raised to the command of the royal troops, whose confidence in and affection for their general induced them on the prince's death to prefer his interest to that of the heir to the throne, from whence he afterwards spread his extensive conquests.

* * * * * * * * * *

Since the foregoing was in type I discovered that I had overlooked another German version, in Grimm, which preserves some features of the Arabian tale omitted in the legend of The Dummburg:

There were two brothers, one rich, the other poor. The poor brother, one day wheeling a barrow through the forest, had just come to a naked looking mountain, when he saw twelve great wild men approaching, and he hid himself in a tree, believing them to be robbers. "Semsi mountain, Semsi mountain, open!" they cried, and the mountain opened, and they went in. Presently they came out, carrying heavy sacks. "Semsi mountain, Semsi mountain, shut thyself!" they cried; and the mountain closed and they went away. The poor man went up then and cried. "Semsi mountain Semsi mountain, open!" the mountain opens, he goes in, finds a cavern full of gold, silver, and jewels, fills his pockets with gold only, and coming out cries, "Semsi mountain, Semsi mountain, shut thyself!" He returns home and lives happily till his gold is exhausted. Then "he went to his brother to borrow a measure that held a bushel, and brought himself some more." This he does again, and this time the rich brother smears the inside of the bushel with pitch and when he gets it back finds a gold coin sticking to it, so he taxes his poor brother with having treasure and learns the secret. Off he drives, resolved to bring back, not gold, but jewels. He gets in by saying, "Semsi mountain, Semsi mountain, open!" He loads himself with precious stones, but has forgotten the word, and cries only, "Simeli mountain, Simeli mountain, open!" The robbers return and charge him with having twice stolen from them. He vainly protests, "It was not I " and they cut his head off.

Here the twelve wild men represent the forty robbers, and, as in Ali Baba, it is the hero's brother who falls a victim to his own cupidity. In the Arabian tale the hero climbs up into a tree when he sees the robbers approach, in The Dummburg he hides himself behind a tree to watch the proceedings of the monk; and in Grimm's version he hides in a tree. On this last-cited story W. Grimm has the following note: "It is remarkable that this story, which is told in the province of Munster, is told also in the Hartz, about The Dummburg, and closely resembles the Eastern story of 'The Forty Thieves,' where even the rock Sesam, which falls open at the words Semsi and Semeli, recalls the name of the mountain in the German saga. This name for a mountain is, according to a document in Pistorius (3, 642), very ancient in Germany. A mountain in Grabfeld is called Similes and in a Swiss song a Simeliberg is again mentioned. This makes us think of the Swiss word 'Sine!,' for 'sinbel,' round. In Meier, No. 53, we find 'Open, Simson.' In Prohle's 'Marcher fur die Jugend,' No. 30, where the story is amplified, it is Simsimseliger Mountain. There is also a Polish story which is very like it." Dr. Grimm is mistaken in saying that in the Arabian tale the "rock Sesam" falls open at the words Semsi and Semeli: even in his own version, as the brother finds to his cost, the word Simeli does not open the rock. In Ali Baba the word is "Simsim" (Fr. Sesame), a species of grain, which the brother having forgot, he cries out "Barley." The "Open, Simson" in Meier's version and the "Semsi" in Grimm's story are evidently corruptions of "Simsim," or "Samsam," and seem to show that the story did not become current in Germany through Galland's work.

Dr. N. B. Dennys, in his "Folk-Lore of China, and its Affinities with that of the Aryan and Semitic Races," p. 134, cites a legend of the cave Kwang-sio-foo in Kiang-si, which reflects part of the tale of Ali Baba: There was in the neighbourhood a poor herdsman named Chang, his sole surviving relative being a grandmother with whom he lived. One day, happening to pass near the cave, he overheard some one using the following words: "Shih mun kai, Kwai Ku hsen sheng lai," Stone door, open; Mr. Kwai Ku is coming. Upon this the door of the cave opened and the speaker entered. Having remained there for some time he came out, and saying, "Stone door, close; Mr. Kwai Ku is going," the door again opened and the visitor departed. Chang's curiosity was naturally excited, and having several times heard the formula repeated, he waited one day until the genie (for such he was) had taken his departure and essayed to obtain an entrance. To his great delight the door yielded, and having gone inside he found himself in a romantic grotto of immense extent. Nothing however in the shape of treasure met his eye, so having fully explored the place he returned to the door, which shut at his bidding, and went home. Upon telling his grandmother of his adventure she expressed a strong wish to see the wonderful cavern; and thither they accordingly went together the next day. Wandering about in admiration of the scenery, they became separated, and Chang at length, supposing that his grandmother had left, passed out of the door and ordered it to shut. Reaching home, he found to his dismay that she had not yet arrived. She must of course have been locked up in the cave, so back he sped and before long was using the magic sentence to obtain access. But alas! the talisman had failed, and poor Chang fell into an agony of apprehension as he reflected that his grandmother would either be starved to death or killed by the enraged genie. While in this perplexity the genie appeared and asked him what was amiss. Chang frankly told him the truth and implored him to open the door. This the genie refused to do, but told him that his grandmother's disappearance was a matter of fate. The cave demanded a victim. Had it been a male, every succeeding generation of his family would have seen one of its members arrive at princely rank. In the case of a woman her descendants would in a similar way possess power over demons. Somewhat comforted to know that he was not exactly responsible for his grandmother's death, Chang returned home and in process of time married. His first son duly became Chang tien shih (Chang, the Master of Heaven), who about A.D. 25 was the first holder of an office which has existed uninterruptedly to the present day.

Ali Khwajah and the Merchant of Baghdad—p. 246.

Precocious Children.—See note at end of the Tale, p. 256.—In the (apocryphal) Arabic Gospel of the Saviour's Infancy is the following passage:

"Now in the month of Adar, Jesus, after the manner of a King, assembled the boys together. They spread their clothes on the ground and he sat down upon them. Then they put on his head a crown made of flowers, and like chamber-servants stood in his presence, on the right and on the left, as if he was a king. And whoever passed by that way was forcibly dragged by the boys, saying, 'Come hither and adore the king; then go away.'"

A striking parallel to this is found in the beginning of the Mongolian Tales of Ardshi Bordshi—i.e., the celebrated Indian monarch, Raja Bhoja, as given in Miss Busk's "Sagas from the Far East," p. 252.

"Long ages ago there lived a mighty king called Ardshi Bordshi.[FN#411] In the neighbourhood of his residence was a hill where the boys who were tending the calves were wont to pass the time by running up and down. But they had also another custom, and it was that whichever of them won the race was king for the day—an ordinary game enough, only that when it was played in this place the Boy-King thus constituted was at once endowed with such extraordinary importance and majesty that everyone was constrained to treat him as a real king. He had not only ministers and dignitaries among his playfellows, who prostrated themselves before him, and fulfilled all his behests, but whoever passed that way could not choose but pay him homage also."[FN#412]

This is followed by an analogous story to that of Ah Khwajah and the Merchant of Baghdad, under the title of "The False Friend," in which a merchant on a trading journey entrusts a friend with a valuable jewel to give to his wife on his return home, and the friend retaining it for his own use suborns two men to bear witness that they saw him deliver it to the merchant's wife, so the King dismisses the suit. But the Boy-King undertakes to try the case de novo; causes the two witnesses to be confined in separate places, each with a piece of clay which he is required to make into the form of the jewel, and the models are found to be different one from the other, and both from the shape of the jewel as described by the false friend. A similar story occurs in several Indian collections, with a Kazi instead of the Boy-King.

A curious instance of precocity is related in the Third Book of the "Masnavi" (see ante p. 365), of which Mr. E. H. Whinfield gives an outline in his admirable and most useful abridgment of that work: The boys wished to obtain a holiday, and the sharpest of them suggested that when the master came into school each boy should condole with him on his alleged sickly appearance. Accordingly, when he entered, one said, "O master, how pale you are looking! and another said, You are looking very ill to-day, and so on. The master at first answered that there was nothing the matter with him, but as one boy after another continued assuring him that he looked very ill, he was at length deluded into imagining that he must really be ill. So he returned to his house, making the boys follow him there, and told his wife that he was not well, bidding her mark how pale he was. His wife assured him he was not looking pale, and offered to convince him by bringing a mirror, but he refused to look at it, and took to his bed. He then ordered the boys to begin their lessons; but they assured him that the noise made his head ache, and he believed them, and dismissed them to their homes, to the annoyance of their mothers.

Another example of juvenile cleverness is found in a Persian collection of anecdotes entitled "Lata'yif At-Taw'ayif," by 'Ali ibn Husain Al-Va'iz Al-Kashifi: One day Nurshirvan saw in a dream that he was drinking with a frog out of the same cup. When he awoke he told this dream to his vazir, but he knew not the interpretation of it. The king grew angry and said, "How long have I maintained thee, that if any difficulty should arise thou mightest unloose the knot of it, and if any matter weighed on my heart thou shouldst lighten it? Now I give thee three days, that thou mayest find out the meaning of this dream, and remove the trouble of my mind; and if, within that space, thou art not successful, I will kill thee." The vazir went from the presence of Nurshirvan confounded and much in trouble. He gathered together all the sages and interpreters of dreams, and told the matter to them, but they were unable to explain it; and the vazir resigned his soul to death. But this story was told in the city, and on the third day he heard that there was a mountain, ten farsangs distant from the city, in which was a cave, and in this cave a sage who had chosen the path of seclusion, and lived apart from mankind, and had turned his face to the wall. The vazir set out for this place of retirement, saying to himself, "Perhaps he will be able to lay a plaster on my wound, and relieve it from the throbbings of care." So he mounted his horse, and went to find the sage. At the moment he arrived at the hill a company of boys were playing together. One of them cried out with a loud voice, "The vazir is running everywhere in search of an interpreter, and all avails him nothing; now the interpretation of the dream is with me, and the truth of it is clear to me." When these words reached the ears of the vazir he drew in the reins, and calling the boy to him asked him, "What is thy name? He replied, "Buzurjmibr." The vazir said "All the sages and interpreters have failed in loosing the knot of this difficulty—how dost thou, so young in years, pretend to be able to do it? He replied, "All the world is not given to every one." The vazir said, "If thou speakest truth, explain." Said the boy "Take me to the monarch, that I may there unloose the knot of this difficulty." The vazir said, "If thou shouldst fail, what then will come of it?" The boy replied, "I will give up my own blood to the king, that they may slay me instead of thee." The vazir took the boy with him, returned, and told the whole matter to the king and produced the boy in his presence. The king was very angry, and said, "All the wise men and dream interpreters of the court were unable to satisfy me, and thou bringest me a child, and expectest that he shall loose the knot of the difficulty." The vazir bowed his head. And Buzurjmihr said, "Look not upon his youth, but see whether he is able to expound the mystery or not." The king then said, "Speak." He replied, "I cannot speak in this multitude." So those who were present retired, and the monarch and the youth were left alone. Then said the youth, "A stranger has found entrance into thy seraglio, and is dishonouring thee, along with a girl who is one of thy concubines." The king was much moved at this interpretation, and looked from one of the wise men to another, and at length said to the boy, "This is a serious matter thou hast asserted; how shall this matter be proceeded in, and in what way fully known?" The boy replied, "Command that every beautiful woman in thy seraglio pass before thee unveiled, that the truth of this matter may be made apparent." The king ordered them to pass before him as the boy had said, and considered the face of each one attentively. Among them came a young girl extremely beautiful, whom the king much regarded. When she came opposite to him, a shuddering as of palsy, fell upon her, and she shook from head to foot, so that she was hardly able to stand. The king called her to him, and threatening her greatly, bade her speak the truth. She confessed that she loved a handsome slave and had privately introduced him into the seraglio. The king ordered them both to be impaled, and turning to the rewarding of Buzurjmihr, he made him the object of his special bounty.

This story has been imported into the "History of the Seven Wise Masters of Rome," the European form of the Book of Sindibad, where the prince discovers to his father the paramour of his step-mother, the empress, in the person of a young man disguised as one of her maid-servants, and its presence in the work is quite inconsistent with the lady's violent lust after the young prince. There is a similar tale in the Hebrew version, "Mishle Sandabar," but the disguised youth is not detected. Vatsyayana, in his "Kama Sutra" (or Aphorisms of Love), speaks of it as a common practice in India thus to smuggle men into the women's apartments in female attire. In the Introduction to the "Katha Sarit Sagara," Vararuchi relates how King Yogananda saw his queen leaning out of a window and asking questions of a Bahman guest that was looking up. That trivial circumstance threw the king into a passion, and he gave orders that the Brahman should be put to death) for jealousy interferes with discernment. Then as that Brahman was being led off to the place of execution in order that he should be put to death, a fish in the market laughed aloud, though it was dead. The king hearing it immediately prohibited for the present the execution of the Brahman, and asked Vararuchi the reason why the fish laughed. He desired time to think over the matter and learned from the conversation of a rakshasi with her children that the fish said to himself, "All the king's wives are dissolute, for in every part of his harem there are men dressed up as women, and nevertheless while those escape, an innocent Brahman is to be put to death;" and this tickled the fish so that he laughed. Mr. Tawney says that Dr. Liebrecht, in "Orient und Occident," vol. i. p. 341, compares this story with one in the old French romance of Merlin. There Merlin laughs because the wife of Julius Caesar had twelve young men disguised as ladies-in-waiting. Benfey, in a note on Liebrecht's article, compares with the story of Merlin one by the Countess d'Aulnois, No. 36 of Basile's "Pentamerone," Straparola, iv. 1, and a story in the "Suka Saptati." In this some cooked fish laugh so that the whole town hears them; the reason being the same as in the above story and in that of Merlin. In a Kashmiri version, which has several other incidents and bears a close resemblance to No. 4 of M. Legrand's "Recueil de Contes Populaires Grecs," to the story of "The Clever Girl" in Professor T. F. Crane's "Italian Popular Tales," and to a fable in the Talmud, the king requires his vazir to inform him within six months why the fish laughed in presence of the queen. The vazir sends his son abroad until the king's anger had somewhat cooled—for himself he expects nothing but death. The vazir's son learns from the clever daughter of a farmer that the laughing of the fish indicates that there is a man in the palace unknown to the king. He hastens home and tells his father the secret, who at once communicates it to the king. All the female attendants in the palace are called together and ordered to jump across the mouth of a pit which he has caused to be dug: the man would betray his sex in the trial. Only one person succeeded and he was found to be a man.[FN#413] Thus was the queen satisfied, and the faithful old vazir saved, and his son, of course, married the farmer's clever daughter.

Prince Ahmad and the Peri Banu—p. 256.

How, in the name of all that is wonderful—how has it happened that this ever-delightful tale is not found in any text of The Nights? And how could it be supposed for a moment that Galland was capable of conceiving such a tale— redolent, as it is, of the East and of Fairyland? Not that Fairyland where "True Thomas," otherwise ycleped Thomas the Rymer, otherwise Thomas of Erceldoune, passed several years in the bewitching society of the Fairy Queen, years which appeared to him as only so many moments: but Eastern Fairyland, with all its enchanting scenes; where priceless gems are as plentiful as "autumnal leaves which strong the brooks in Vallombrosa;" where, in the royal banqueting hall, illuminated with hundreds of wax candles, in candelabra of the finest amber and the purest crystal are bands of charming damsels, fairest of form and feature, who play on sweet- toned instruments which discourse heart-ravishing strains of melody;—meanwhile the beauteous Peri Banu is seated on a throne adorned with diamonds and rubies and emeralds, and pearls and other gems, and by her side is the thrice-happy Prince Ahmad, who feels himself amply indemnified for the loss of his fair cousin Princess Nur-en-Nihar. Auspicious was that day when he shot the arrow which the enamoured Peri Banu caused to be wafted through the air much farther than arm of flesh could ever send the feathered messenger! And when the Prince feels a natural longing to visit his father in the land of mortals from time to time, behold the splendid cavalcade issue from the portals of the fairy palace—the gallant jinn-born cavaliers, mounted on superb steeds with gorgeous housings, who accompany him to his father's capital. But alas! the brightest sky is sooner or later overcast—human felicity is—etc., etc. The old king's mind is poisoned against his noble son by the whisperings of a malignant and envious minister—a snake in the grass—a fly in the ointment of Prince Ahmad's beatitude! And to think of the old witch gaining access to the fairy palace— it was nothing less than an atrocity! And the tasks which she induces the king to set Prince Ahmad to perform—but they are all accomplished for him by his fairy bride. The only thing to regret—the fatal blemish in the tale—is the slaughter of the old king. Shabbar did right well to dash into the smallest pieces the wicked vazir and the foul witch and all who aided and abetted them, but "to kill a king!" and a well-meaning if soft-headed king, who was, like many better men, led astray by evil counsellors!

Having thus blown off the steam—I mean to say, having thus ventilated the enthusiasm engendered by again reading the tale of Prince Ahmad and the Peri Banu, I am now in a fitter frame of mind for the business of examining some versions and variants of it, for though the tale has not yet been found in Arabic, it is known from the banks of Ganga to the snow-clad hills and vales of Iceland—that strange land whose heart is full of the fiercest fires. This tale, like that of Zayn al-Asnam, comprises two distinct stories, which have no necessary connection, to wit, (1) the adventures of the Three Princes, each in quest of the rarest treasure, wherewith to win the beautiful Princess Nur-en-Nihar; and (2) the subsequent history of the third Prince and the Peri Banu. The oldest known form of the story concludes with the recovery of the lady—not from death's door, but from a giant who had carried her off, and the rival claims of the heroes to the hand of the lady are left undecided: certainly a most unsatisfactory ending, though it must be confessed the case was, as the priest found that of Paddy and the stolen pullet, somewhat "abstruse." In the "Vetalapanchavinsati," or Twenty-five Tales of a Vampyre (concerning which collection see Appendix to the preceding volumes, p. 230), the fifth recital is to this purpose:

There was a Brahman in Ajjayini (Oojein) whose name was Harisvamin; he had a son named Devasvamin and a daughter far famed for her wondrous beauty and rightly called Somaprabha (Moonlight). When the maiden had attained marriageable age, she declared to her parents that she was only to be married to a man who possessed heroism, or knowledge, or magic power. It happened soon after this that Harisvamin was sent by the king on state business to the Dekkan, and while there a young Brahman, who had heard the report of Somaprabha's beauty, came to him as a suitor for the hand of his daughter. Harisvamin informed him of the qualifications which her husband must possess, and the Brahman answered that he was endowed with magic power, and having shown this to the father's satisfaction, he promised to give him his daughter on the seventh day from that time. In like manner, at home, the son and the wife of Harisvamin had, unknown to each other, promised Somaprabha to a young man who was skilled in the use of missile weapons and was very brave, and to a youth who possessed knowledge of the past, the present, and the future; and the marriage was also fixed to take place on the seventh day. When Harisvamin returned home he at once told his wife and son of the contract he has entered into with the young Brahman, and they in their turn acquainted him of their separate engagements, and all were much perplexed what course to adopt in the circumstances.

On the seventh day the three suitors arrived, but Somaprabha was found to have disappeared in some inexplicable manner. The father then appealed to the man of knowledge, saying, "Tell me where my daughter is gone?" He replied, "She has been carried off by a rakshasa to his habitation in the Vindhya forest." Then quoth the man of magic power "Be of good cheer, for I will take you in a moment where the possessor of knowledge says she is." And forthwith he prepared a magic chariot that could fly through the air, provided all sorts of weapons, and made Harisvamin, the man of knowledge, and the brave man enter it along with himself, and in a moment carried them to the dwelling of the rakshasa. Then followed a wonderful fight between the brave man and the rakshasa, and in a short time the hero cut off his head, after which they took Somaprabha into the chariot and quickly returned to Harisvamin's house. And now arose a great dispute between the three suitors. Said the man of knowledge, "If I had not known where the maiden was how could she have been discovered?" The man of magic argued, "If I had not made this chariot that can fly through the air, how could you all have come and returned in a moment?" Then the brave man said, "If I had not slain the rakshasa, how could the maiden have been rescued?" While they were thus wrangling Harisvamin remained silent, perplexed in mind. The Vampyre, having told this story to the King, demanded to know to whom the maiden should have been given. The King replied, "She ought to have been given to the brave man; for he won her by the might of his arm and at the risk of his life, slaying that rakshasa in combat. But the man of knowledge and the man of magic power were appointed by the Creator to serve as his instruments." The perplexed Harisvamin would have been glad, no doubt, could he have had such a logical solution of the question as this of the sagacious King Trivikramasena—such was his six-syllabled name.

The Hindi version ("Baytal Pachisi") corresponds with the Sanskrit, but in the Tamil version the father, after hearing from each of the three suitors an account of his accomplishments, promises to give his daughter to "one of them." Meanwhile a giant comes and carries off the damsel. There is no difference in the rest of the story.

In the Persian Parrot-Book ("Tuti Nama" ) where the tale is also found [FN#414]—it is the 34th recital of the loquacious bird in the India Office MS. No. 2573, the 6th in B. Gerrans' partial translation, 1792, and the 22nd in Kaderi's abridgment—the first suitor says that his art is to discover anything lost and to predict future events; the second can make a horse of wood which would fly through the air; and the third was an unerring archer.

In the Persian "Sindibad Nama," a princess, while amusing herself in a garden with her maidens, is carried away by a demon to his cave in the mountains. The king proclaims that he will give his daughter in marriage to whoever should bring her back. Four brothers offer themselves for the undertaking: one is a guide who has travelled over the world; the second is a daring robber, who would take the prey even from the lion's mouth; the third is a brave warrior; and the fourth is a skilful physician. The guide leads the three others to the demons' cave, the robber steals the damsel while the demon is absent; the physician, finding her at death's door, restored her to perfect health; while the warrior puts to flight a host of demons who sallied out of the cave.

The Sanskrit story has undergone a curious transformation among the Kalmuks. In the 9th Relation of Siddhi Kur (a Mongolian version of the Vampyre Tales) six youths are companions: an astrologer, a smith, a doctor, a mechanic, a painter, and a rich man's son. At the mouth of a great river each plants a tree of life and separates, taking different roads, having agreed to meet again at the same spot, when if the tree of any of them is found to be withered it will be a token that he is dead. The rich man's son marries a beautiful girl, who is taken from him by the Khan, and the youth is at the same time put to death by the Khan's soldiers and buried under a great rock. When the four other young men meet at the time and place appointed they find the tree of the rich youth withered. Thereupon the astrologer by his art discovers where the youth is buried; the smith breaks the rock asunder; the physician restores the youth to life, and he tells them how the Khan had robbed him of his wife and killed him. The mechanic then constructs a flying chariot in the form of Garuda—the bird of Vishnu; the counterpart of the Arabian rukh—which the painter decorates, and when it is finished the rich youth enters it and is swiftly borne through the air to the roof of the Khan's dwelling, where he alights. The Khan, supposing the machine to be a real Garuda, sends the rich youth's own wife to the roof with some food for it. Could anything have been more fortunate? The youth takes her into the wooden Garuda and they quickly arrive at the place where his companions waited for his return. When they beheld the marvellous beauty of the lady the five skilful men instantly fell in love with her, and began to quarrel among themselves, each claiming the lady as his by right, and drawing their knives they fought and slew one another. So the rich youth was left in undisputed possession of his beautiful bride.

Coming back to Europe we find the primitive form of the story partly preserved in a Greek popular version given in Hahn's collection: Three young men are in love with the same girl, and agree to go away and meet again at a given time, when he who shall have learned the best craft shall marry the girl. They meet after three years' absence. One has become a famous astronomer; the second is so skilful a physician that he can raise the dead, and the third can run faster than the wind. The astronomer looks at the girl's star and knows from its trembling that she is on the point of death. The physician prepares a medicine which the third runs off with at the top of his speed, and pours it down the girl's throat just in time to save her life—though, for the matter of that, she might as well have died, since the second suitor was able to resuscitate the dead!

But the German tale of the Four Clever Brothers, divested of the preliminary incidents which have been brought into it from different folk-tales, more nearly approaches the form of the original, as we may term the Sanskrit story for convenience' sake: A poor man sends his four sons into the world, each to learn some craft by which he might gain his own livelihood. After travelling together for some time they came to a place where four roads branched off and there they separated, each going along one of the roads, having agreed to meet at the same spot that day four years. One learns to be an excellent astronomer and, on quitting, his master gives him a telescope,[FN#415] saying, "With this thou canst see whatever takes place either on earth or in heaven, and nothing can remain concealed from thee." Another becomes a most expert thief. The third learns to be a sharpshooter and gets from his master a gun which would never fail him: whatever he aimed at he was sure to hit. And the youngest becomes a very clever tailor and is presented by his master with a needle, which could sew anything together, hard or soft. At the end of the four years they met according to agreement, and returning together to their father's house, they satisfied the old man with a display of their abilities Soon after this the king's daughter was carried off by a dragon, and the king proclaimed that whoever brought her back should have her to wife. This the four clever brothers thought was a fine chance for them, and they resolved to liberate the king's daughter. The astronomer looked through his telescope and saw the princess far away on a rock in the sea and the dragon watching beside her. Then they went and got a ship from the king, and sailed over the sea till they came to the rock, where the princess was sitting and the dragon was asleep with his head in her lap. The hunter feared to shoot lest he should kill the princess. Then the thief crept up the rock and stole her from under the dragon so cleverly that the monster did not awake. Full of joy, they hurried off with her and sailed away. But presently the dragon awoke and missing the princess flew after them through the air. Just as he was hovering above the ship to swoop down upon it, the hunter shot him through the heart and he tumbled down dead, but falling on the vessel his carcase smashed it into pieces. They laid hold of two planks and drifted about till the tailor with his wonderful needle sewed the planks together, and then they collected the fragments of the ship which the tailor also sewed together so skilfully that their ship was again sea-worthy, and they soon got home in safety. The king was right glad to see his daughter and told the four brothers they must settle among themselves which of them should have her to wife. Upon this they began to wrangle with one another. The astronomer said, "If I had not seen the princess, all your arts would have been useless, so she is mine." The thief claimed her, because he had rescued her from the dragon; the hunter, because he had shot the monster; and the tailor, because he had sewn the ship together and saved them all from drowning. Then the king decreed: "Each of you has an equal right, and as all of you cannot have her, none of you shall; but I will give to each as a reward half a kingdom," with which the four clever brothers were well contented.

The story has assumed a droll form among the Albanians, in which no fewer than seven remarkably endowed youths play their parts in rescuing a king's daughter from the Devil, who had stolen her out of the palace. One of the heroes could hear far off; the second could make the earth open; the third could steal from any one without his knowing it; the fourth could throw an object to the end of the world; the fifth could erect an impregnable tower; the sixth could bring down anything however high it might be in the air and the seventh could catch whatever fell from any height. So they set off together, and after travelling along way, the first lays his ear to the ground. "I hear him," he says. Then the second causes the earth to open, and down they go, and find the Devil sound asleep, snoring like thunder, with the princess clasped to his breast. The third youth steals her without waking the fiend. Then the fourth takes off the Devil's shoes and flings them to the end of the world, and off they all go with the princess. The Devil wakes and goes after them, but first he must find his shoes—though what need he could have for shoes it is not easy to say; but mayhap the Devil of the Albanians is minus horns, hoof and tail! This gives the fifth hero time to erect his impregnable tower before the fiend returns from the end of the world. When he comes to the tower he finds all his skill is naught, so he has recourse to artifice, which indeed has always been his forte. He begs piteously to be allowed one last look of his beloved princess. They can't refuse him so slight a favour, and make a tiny hole in the tower wall, but, tiny as it is, the Devil is able to pull the princess through it and instantly mounts on high with her. Now is the marksman's opportunity: he shoots at the fiend and down he comes, "like a hundred of bricks" (as we don't say in the classics), at the same time letting go the princess, who is cleverly caught by the seventh hero, and is none the worse for her aerial journey. The princess chooses the seventh for her husband, as he is the youngest and best looking, but her father the king rewards his companions handsomely and all are satisfied.

The charming history of Prince Ahmad and his fairy bride is "conspicuous from its absence" in all these versions, but it re-appears in the Italian collection of Nerucci: "Novelle Popolari Montalesi," No. xl., p. 335, with some variations from Galland's story:

A certain king had three daughters, and a neighbouring king had three sons, who were much devoted to the chase. They arrived at the city of the first king, and all fell in love with his daughter[FN#416] and wanted to marry her. Her father said it was impossible to content them all, but if one of them would ask her, and if he pleased her, he would not oppose the marriage. They could not agree which it was to be, and her father proposed that they should all travel, and the one who at the end of six months brought the most beautiful and wonderful present should marry her. They set out in different directions and at the end of six months they meet by appointment at a certain inn. The eldest brings a magic carpet on which he is wafted whithersoever he will. (It goes a hundred miles in a day.) The second brings a telescope which shows whatever is happening a hundred miles away. The youngest brings three stones of a grape, one of which put into the mouth of a person who is dying restores him to life. They at once test the telescope by wishing to see the princess, and they find her dying—at the last gasp indeed. By means of the carpet they reach the palace m time to save her life with one of the grape-stones. Each claims the victory. Her father, almost at his wits' end to decide the question, decrees that they shall shoot with the crossbow, and he who shoots farthest shall win the princess. The second brother shoots farther than the first; but the youngest shoots so far that they cannot find where kits arrow has fallen. He persists in the search and falls down a deep hole, from the bottom of which he can scarcely see a speck of the sky. There an ogre (mago) appears to him and also a bevy of young fairy maidens of extreme beauty. They lead him to a marvellous palace, give him refreshments and provide him with a room and a bed, where every night one of the fairies bears him company. He spends his days in pleasure until the king's daughter is almost forgotten. At last he begins to think he ought to learn what has become of his brothers, his father, and the lady. The chief fairy however, tries to dissuade him warning him that evil will befall him if he return to his brothers. He persists, and she tells him that the princess is given to his eldest brother, who reigns in his father-in-law's stead the latter having died, and that his own father is also dead; and she warns him again not to go. But he goes. His eldest brother says that he thought he was dead "in that hole." The hero replies that, on the contrary, he fares so well with a bevy of young and beautiful fairies that he does not even envy him, and would not change places with him for all the treasures in the world. His brother, devoured by rage, demands that the hero bring him within eight days a pavilion of silk which will lodge three hundred soldiers, otherwise he will destroy his palace of delights. The hero, affrighted, returns to the fairies and relates his brother's threats. The chief fairy says, "Didn't I tell you so? You deserve that I should leave you to your fate; but, out of pity for your youth, I will help you." And he returns to his brother within eight days with the required pavilion. But his brother is not satisfied: he demands another silk pavilion for 600 soldiers, else he will lay waste the abode of the fairies. This pavilion he also receives from the fairies, and it was much finer and richer than the first. His brother's demands rise when he sees that the hero does not find any difficulty in satisfying him. He now commands that a column of iron 12 cubits (braccia) high be erected in the midst of a piazza. The chief of the fairies also complies with this requirement. The column is ready in a moment, and as the hero cannot carry it himself, she gives it to the guardian ogre, who carries it upon his shoulders, and presents himself, along with the hero, before the eldest brother. As soon as the latter comes to see the column set in the piazza the ogre knocks him down and reduces him to pulp (cofaccino, lit., a cake), and the hero marries his brother's widow and becomes king in his stead.

Almost suspiciously like the story in Galland in many of the details is an Icelandic version in Powell and Magnusson's collection, yet I cannot conceive how the peasantry of that country could have got it out of "Les Mille et une Nuits." There are two ways by which the story might have reached them independently of Galland's work: the Arabs and Persians traded extensively in former times with Scandinavia, through Russia, and this as well as other Norse tales of undoubtedly Eastern extraction may have been communicated by the same channel;[FN#417] or the Norsemen may have taken it back with them from the South of Europe. But however this may be, the Icelandic version is so quaint in its diction, has such a fresh aroma about it, and such novel particulars, that I feel justified in giving it here in full:

It is said that once, in the days of old, there was a good and wealthy king who ruled over a great and powerful realm; but neither his name nor that of his kingdom is given, nor the latter's whereabouts in the world. He had a queen, and by her three sons, who were all fine youths and hopeful, and the king loved them well. The king had taken, too, a king's daughter from a neighbouring kingdom, to foster her, and she was brought up with his sons. She was of the same age as they, and the most beautiful and accomplished lady that had ever been seen in those days, and the king loved her in no way less than his own sons. When the princess was of age, all the king's sons fell in love with her, and things even went so far that they all of them engaged her at once, each in his own name. Their father, being the princess's foster-father, had the right of bestowing her in marriage, as her own father was dead. But as he was fond of all his sons equally the answer he gave them was, that he left it to the lady's own choice to take for a husband whichever of the brothers she loved the most. On a certain day he had the princess called up to him and declared his will to her, telling her that she might choose for a husband whichever she liked best of his sons. The princess answered, "Bound I am in duty to obey your words. But as to this choice of one of your sons to be my husband I am in the greatest perplexity; for I must confess they are all equally dear to me, and I cannot choose one before the other." When the king heard this answer of the princess he found himself in a new embarrassment, and thought a long while what he could do that should be equally agreeable to all parties, and at last hit upon the following decision of the matter: that all his sons should after a year's travel return each with a precious thing, and that he who had the finest thing should be the princess's husband. This decision the king's sons found to be a just one and they agreed to meet after one year at a certain castle in the country, whence they should go all together, to the town, in order to lay their gifts before the princess. And now their departure from the country was arranged as well as could be.

First the tale tells of the eldest, that he went from one land to another, and from one city to another, in search of a precious thing, but found nowhere anything that at all suited his ideas. At last the news came to his ears that there was a princess who had so fine a spy-glass that nothing so marvellous had ever been seen or heard of before. In it one could see all over the world, every place, every city, every man, and every living being that moved on the face of the earth, and what every living thing in the world was doing. Now the prince thought that surely there could be no more precious thing at all likely to turn up for him than this telescope; he therefore went to the princess, in order to buy the spy-glass if possible. But by no means could he prevail upon the king's daughter to part with her spy-glass, till he had told her his whole story and why he wanted it, and used all his powers of entreaty. As might be expected, he paid for it well. Having got it he returned home, glad at his luck, and hoping to wed the king's daughter.

The story next turns to the second son. He had to struggle with the same difficulties as his elder brother. He travelled for a long while over the wide world without finding anything at all suitable, and thus for a time he saw no chance of his wishes being fulfilled. Once he came into a very well-peopled city; and went about in search of precious things among the merchants, but neither did he find nor even see what he wanted. He heard that there lived a short way from the town a dwarf, the cleverest maker of curious and cunning things. He therefore resolved to go to the dwarf in order to try whether he could be persuaded to make him any costly thing. The dwarf said that he had ceased to make things of that sort now and he must beg to be excused from making anything of the kind for the prince. But he said that he had a piece of cloth, made in his younger days, with which however, he was very unwilling to part. The king's son asked the nature and use of the cloth The dwarf answered, "On this cloth one can go all over the world, as well through the air as on the water. Runes are on it, which must be understood by him who uses it." Now the prince saw that a more precious thing than this could scarcely be found, and therefore asked the dwarf by all means to let him have the cloth. And although the dwarf would not at first part with his cloth at all, yet at last, hearing what would happen if the king's son did not get it, he sold it to him at a mighty high price. The prince was truly glad to have got the cloth, for it was not only a cloth of great value, but also the greatest of treasures m other respects, having gold-seams and jewel-embroidery. After this he returned home, hoping to get the best of his brothers in the contest for the damsel.

The youngest prince left home last of all the three brethren.[FN#418] First he travelled from one village to another in his own country, and went about asking for precious things of every merchant he met on his way, as also on all sides where there was the slightest hope of his getting what he wanted. But all his endeavours were in vain, and the greater part of the year was spent in fruitless search till at last he waxed sad in mind at his lot. At this time he came into a well-peopled city, whereto people were gathered from all parts of the world. He went from one merchant to another till at last he came to one who sold apples.[FN#419] This merchant said he had an apple that was of so strange a nature that if it was put into the arm-hole of a dying man he would at once return to life. He declared that it was the property of his family and had always been used in the family as a medicine. As soon as the king's son heard this he would by all means have the apple, deeming that he would never be able to find a thing more acceptable to the king's daughter than this. He therefore asked the merchant to sell him the apple and told him all the story of his search, and that his earthly welfare was based upon his being in no way inferior to his brethren in his choice of precious things for the princess. The merchant felt pity for the prince when he had told him his story, so much so that he sold him the apple, and the prince returned home, glad and comforted at his happy luck.

Now nothing more is related of the three brothers till they met together at the place before appointed. When they were all together each related the striking points in his travelling. All being here, the eldest brother thought that he would be the first to see the princess and find out how she was and therefore he took forth his spy-glass and turned it towards the city. But what saw he? The beloved princess lying in her bed, in the very jaws of death! The king, his father, and all the highest nobles of the court were standing round the bed in the blackness of sorrow, sad in their minds, and ready to receive the last sigh of the fair princess. When the prince saw this lamentable sight he was grieved beyond measure. He told his brothers what he had seen and they were no less struck with sorrow than himself. They began bewailing loudly, saying that they would give all they had never to have undertaken this journey, for then at least they would have been able to perform the last offices for the fair princess. But in the midst of these bewailings the second brother bethought him of his cloth, and remembered that he could get to the town on it in a moment. He told this to his brothers and they were glad at such good and unexpected news. Now the cloth was unfolded and they all stepped on to it, and in one of moment it was high in the air and in the next inside the town. When they were there they made all haste to reach the room of the princess, where everybody wore an air deep sadness. They were told that the princess's every breath was her last. Then the youngest brother remembered his wonderful apple, and thought that it would never be more wanted to show its healing power than now. He therefore went straight into the bed-room of the princess and placed the apple under her right arm. And at the same moment it was as if a new breath of life flushed through the whole body of the princess; her eyes opened, and after a little while she began to speak to the folk around her. This and the return of the king's sons caused great joy at the court of the king.

Now some time went by until the princess was fully recovered. Then a large meeting was called together, at which the brothers were bidden to show their treasures. First the eldest made his appearance, and showing his spy-glass told what a wonderful thing it was, and also how it was due to this glass that the life of the fair princess had ever been saved, as he had seen through it how matters stood in the town. He therefore did not doubt for a moment that his gift was the one which would secure him the fair princess.

Next stepped forward the second brother with the cloth. Having described its powers, he said, "I am of opinion that my brother's having seen the princess first would have proved of little avail had I not had the cloth, for thereupon we came so quickly to the place to save the princess; and I must declare that to my mind, the cloth is the chief cause of the king's daughter's recovery."

Next stepped forward the youngest prince and said, as he laid the apple before the people, "Little would the glass and the cloth have availed to save the princess's live had I not had the apple. What could we brothers have profited in being only witnesses of the beloved damsel's death? What would this have done, but awaken our grief and regret? It is due alone to the apple that the princess is yet alive; wherefore I find myself the most deserving of her."

Then a long discussion arose in the meeting, and the decision at last came out, that all the three things had worked equally towards the princess's recovery, as might be seen from the fact that if one had been wanting the others would have been worthless. It was therefore declared that, as all gifts had equal claim to the prize, no one could decide to whom the princess should belong.

After this the king planned another contrivance in order to come to some end of the matter. He soon should try their skill in shooting, and he who proved to be the ablest shooter of them should have the princess. So a mark was raised and the eldest brother stepped forward with his bow and quiver. He shot, and no great distance from the mark fell his arrow. After that stepped forward the second brother, and his arrow well-nigh reached the mark. Last of all stepped forward the third and youngest brother, and his arrow seemed to go farther than the others, but in spite of continued search for many days it could not be found. The king decided in this matter that his second son should marry the princess They were married accordingly, and as the king, the father of the princess, was dead, his daughter now succeeded him, and her husband became king over his wife's inheritance. They are now out of this tale, as is also the eldest brother, who settled in life abroad.

The youngest brother stayed at home with his father, highly displeased at the decision the latter had given concerning the marriage of the princess. He was wont to wander about every day where he fancied his arrow had fallen, and at last he found it fixed in an oak in the forest, and saw that it had by far outstripped the mark. He now called together witnesses to the place where the arrow was, with the intention of bringing about some justice m his case. But of this there was no chance, for the king said he could by no means alter his decision. At this the king's son was so grieved that he went well-nigh out of his wits. One day he busked for a journey, with the full intention of never again setting foot m his country. He took with him all he possessed of fine and precious things, nobody knowing his rede, not even his father, the king.

He went into a great forest and wandered about there many days, without knowing whither he was going, and at last, yielding to hunger and weariness, he found himself no longer equal to travelling; so he sat down under a tree, thinking that his sad and sorrowful life would here come to a close. But after he had sat thus awhile he saw ten people, all in fine attire and bright armour, come riding towards the stone. On arriving there they dismounted, and having greeted the king's son begged him to go with them, and mount the spare horse they had with them, saddled and bridled in royal fashion. He accepted this offer and mounted the horse, and after this they rode on their way till they came to a large city. The riders dismounted and led the prince into the town, which was governed by a young and beautiful maiden-queen. The riders led the king's son at once to the virgin-queen, who received him with great kindness. She told him that she had heard of all the ill-luck that had befallen him and also that he had fled from his father. "Then," quoth she, "a burning love for you was kindled in my breast and a longing to heal your wounds. You must know that it was I who sent the ten riders to find you out and bring you hither. I give you the chance of staying here; I offer you the rule of my whole kingdom, and I will try to sweeten your embittered life;— this is all that I am able to do." Although the prince was in a sad and gloomy state of mind, he saw nothing better than to accept this generous offer and agree to the marriage with the maiden-queen. A grand feast was made ready, and they were married according to the ways of that country. And the young king took at once in hand the government, which he managed with much ability.

Now the story turns homewards, to the old king. After the disappearance of his son he became sad and weary of life, being, as he was, sinking in age. His queen also had died sometime since. One day it happened that a wayfaring woman came to the palace. She had much knowledge about many things and knew how to tell tales.[FN#420] The king was greatly delighted with her story-telling and she got soon into his favour. Thus some time passed. But in course of time the king fell deeply in love with this woman, and at last married her and made her his queen, in spite of strong dissent from the court. Shortly this new queen began meddling in the affairs of the government, and it soon turned out that she was spoiling everything by her redes, whenever she had the chance. Once it happened that the queen spoke to the king and said, "Strange indeed it seems to me that you make no inquiry about your youngest son's running away: smaller faults have been often chastised than that. You must have heard that he has become king in one of the neighbouring kingdoms, and that it is a common tale that he is going to invade your dominions with a great army whenever he gets the wished-for opportunity, in order to avenge the injustice he thinks he has suffered in that bygone bridal question. Now I want you to be the first in throwing this danger off-hand." The king showed little interest in the matter and paid to his wife's chattering but little attention. But she contrived at length so to speak to him as to make him place faith in her words, and he asked her to give him good redes, that this matter might be arranged in such a way as to be least observed by other folk. The queen said, "You must send men with gifts to him and pray him to come to you for an interview, in order to arrange certain political matters before your death, as also to strengthen your friendship with an interchange of marks of kindred. And then I will give you further advice as to what to do." The king was satisfied with this and equipped his messengers royally.

Then the messengers came before the young king, saying they were sent by his father, who wished his son to come and see him without delay. To this the young king answered well, and lost no time in bushing his men and himself. But when his queen knew this she said he would assuredly rue this journey. The king went off, however, and nothing is said of his travels till he came to the town where his father lived. His father received him rather coldly, much to the wonder and amazement of his son. And when he had been there a short while his father gave him a good chiding for having run away. "Thereby," said the old king, "you have shown full contempt of myself and caused me such sorrow as well-nigh brought me to the grave. Therefore, according to the law, you have deserved to die; but as you have delivered yourself up into my power and are, on the other hand, my son, I have no mind to have you killed. But I have three tasks for you which you must have performed within a year, on pain of death. The first is that you bring me a tent which will hold one hundred men but can yet be hidden in the closed hand;[FN#421] the second, that you shall bring me water that cures all ailments;[FN#422] and the third, that you shall bring me hither a man who has not his like in the whole world." "Show me whither I shall go to obtain these things," said the young king. "That you must find out for yourself," replied the other.

Then the old king turned his back upon his son and went off. Away went also the young king, no farewells being said, and nothing is told of his travels till he came home to his realm. He was then very sad and heavy-minded, and the queen seeing this asked him earnestly what had befallen him and what caused the gloom on his mind. He declared that this did not regard her. The queen answered, "I know that tasks must have been set you which it will not prove easy to perform. But what will it avail you to sit sullen and sad on account of such things? Behave as a man, and try if these tasks may not indeed be accomplished."

Now the king thought it best tell the queen all that had happened and how matters stood. "All this," said the queen, "is the rede of your stepmother, and it would be well indeed if she could do you no more harm by it than she has already tried to do. She has chosen such difficulties she thought you would not easily get over, but I can do something here. The tent is in my possession, so there is that difficulty over. The water you have to get is a short way hence but very hard of approach. It is in a well and the well is in a cave hellishly dark. The well is watched by seven lions and three serpents, and from these monsters nobody has ever returned alive; and the nature of the water is that it has no healing power whatever unless it be drawn when all these monsters are awake. Now I will risk the undertaking of drawing the water." So the queen made herself ready to go to the cave, taking with her seven oxen and three pigs. When she came before the cave she ordered the oxen to be killed and thrown before the lions and the pigs before the serpents. And while these monsters tore and devoured the carcases the queen stepped down into the well and drew as much water as she wanted. And she left the cave just in time as the beasts finished devouring their bait. After this the queen went home to the palace having thus got over the second trial.

Then she came to her husband and said, "Now two of the tasks are done, but the third and indeed the hardest, of them is left. Moreover, this is one you must perform yourself, but I can give you some hints as to whither to go for it. I have got a half brother who rules over an island not far from hence. He is three feet high, and has one eye in the middle of his forehead. He has a beard thirty ells long, stiff and hard as a hog's bristles. He has a dog's snout and cat's ears, and I should scarcely fancy he has his like in the whole world. When he travels he flings himself forward on a staff of fifty ells' length, with a pace as swift as a bird's flight. Once when my father was out hunting he was charmed by an ogress who lived in a cave under a waterfall, and with her he begat this bugbear. The island is one-third of my father's realm, but his son finds it too small for him. My father had a ring the greatest gem, which each of us would have, sister and brother, but I got it, wherefore he has been my enemy ever since. Now I will write him a letter and send him the ring in the hope that that will soften him and turn him in our favour. You shall make ready to go to him, with a splendid suite, and when you come to his palace-door you shall take off your crown and creep bareheaded over the floor up to his throne. Then you shall kiss his right foot and give him the letter and the ring. And if he orders you to stand up, you have succeeded in your task; if not, you have failed."

So he did everything that he was bidden by the queen, and when he appeared before the one-eyed king he was stupefied at his tremendous ugliness and his bugbear appearance; but he plucked up courage as best he could and gave him the letter and the ring. When the king saw the letter and the ring his face brightened up, and he said, "Surely my sister finds herself in straits now, as she sends me this ring." And when he had read the letter he bade the king, his brother-in-law, stand up, and declared that he was ready to comply with his sister's wish and to go off at once without delay. He seized his staff and started away, but stopped now and then for his brother-in-law and his suite, to whom he gave a good chiding for their slowness.[FN#423] They continued thus their march until they came to the palace of the queen, the ugly king's sister; but when they arrived there the one-eyed king cried with a roaring voice to his sister, and asked her what she wished, as she had troubled him to come so far from home. She then told him all the matter as it really was and begged him to help her husband out of the trial put before him. He said he was ready to do so, but would brook no delay.

Now both kings went off, and nothing is told of their journey until they came to the old king. The young king announced to his father his coming and that he brought with him what he had ordered last year. He wished his father to call together a ting[FN#424] in order that he might show openly how he had performed his tasks. This was done, and the king and the queen and other great folk were assembled. First the tent was put forward and nobody could find fault with it. Secondly the young king gave the wondrous healing water to his father. The queen was prayed to taste it and see if it was the right water, taken at the right time. She said that both things were as they should be. Then said the old king, "Now the third and heaviest of all the tasks is left: come, and have it off your hands quickly." Then the young king summoned the king with one eye, and as he appeared on the ting he waxed so hideous that all the people were struck with fright and horror, and most of all the king. When this ugly monarch had shown himself for a while there he thrust his staff against the breast of the queen and tilted her up into the air on the top of it, and then thrust her against the ground with such force that every bone in her body was broken. She turned at once into the most monstrous troll ever beheld. After this the one eyed king rushed away from the ting and the people thronged round the old king in order to help him, for he was in the very jaws of death from fright. The healing water was sprinkled on him and refreshed him.

After the death of the queen, who was killed of course when she turned into a troll, the king confessed that all the tasks which he had given his son to perform were undeserved and that he had acted thus, egged on by the queen. He called his son to him and humbly begged his forgiveness for what he had done against him. He declared he would atone for it by giving into his hand all that kingdom, while he himself only wished to live in peace and quiet for the rest of his days. So the young king sent for his queen and for the courtiers whom he loved most. And, to make a long story short, they gave up their former kingdom to the king with one eye, as a reward, for his lifetime, but governed the realm of the old king to a high age, in great glee and happiness,

The Two Sisters Who Envied Their Cadette—p. 313.

Legends of castaway infants are common to the folk-lore of almost all countries and date far back into antiquity. The most usual mode of exposing them—to perish or be rescued, as chance might direct—is placing them in a box and launching them into a river. The story of Moses in the bulrushes, which must of course be familiar to everybody, is not only paralleled in ancient Greek and Roman legends (e.g. Perseus, Cyrus, Romulus), but finds its analogue in Babylonian folk-lore.[FN#425] The leading idea of the tale of the Envious Sisters, who substituted a puppy, a kitten, and a rat for the three babes their young sister the queen had borne and sent the little innocents away to be destroyed, appealing, as it does to the strongest of human instincts, is the theme of many popular fictions from India to Iceland. With a malignant mother-in-law in place of the two sisters, it is the basis of a mediaeval European romance entitled "The Knight of the Swan," and of a similar tale which occurs in "Dolopathus," the oldest version of the "Seven Wise Masters," written in Latin prose about the year 1180: A king while hunting loses his way in a forest and coming to a fountain perceives a beautiful lady, whom he carries home and duly espouses much against the will of his mother, Matabrun. Some time after, having to lead his knights and men-at-arms against an enemy, he commits the queen, now far advanced in pregnancy to the care of his mother, who undertakes that no harm shall befall her during his absence. The queen is delivered at one birth of seven lovely children, six boys and one girl, each of whom has a silver chain around its neck.[FN#426] The king's mother plots with the midwife to do away with the babes and place seven little dogs in bed beside the poor queen. She gives the children to one of her squires, charging him either to slay them or cast them into the river. But when the squire enters the forest his heart relents and laying the infants wrapped in his mantle, on the ground, he returns and tells his mistress that he has done her behest. When the king returns, the wicked Matabrun accuses his wife to him of having had unnatural commerce with a dog, and shows him the seven puppies. The scene which follows presents a striking likeness to that in the Arabian story after the birth of the third child. King Oriant is full of wrath, and at once assembles his counsellors, "dukes, earls knights and other lords of the realm, with the bishop and prelate of the church," and having stated the case, the bishop pleads in favour of the queen, and finally induces him not to put her to death, but confine her in prison for the rest of her life. Meanwhile the children are discovered by an aged hermit, who takes them to his dwelling, baptises them and brings them up. After some years it happens that a yeoman in the service of the king's mother, while hunting in the forest, perceives the seven children with silver chains round their necks seated under a tree. He reports this to Matabrun, who forthwith sends him back to kill the children and bring her their silver chains. He finds but six of them one being absent with the hermit, who was gone alms seeking; and, touched by their innocent looks, he merely takes off the silver chains, whereupon they become transformed into pretty white swans and fly away. How the innocence of the queen is afterwards vindicated by her son Helyas—he who escaped being changed into a swan—and how his brethren and sister are restored to their proper forms would take too long to tell, and indeed the rest of the romance has no bearing on the Arabian tale.[FN#427]

In another mediaeval work, from which Chaucer derived his Man of Law's Tale, the Life of Constance, by Nicholas Trivet, an English Dominican monk, the saintly heroine is married to a king, in whose absence at the wars his mother plots against her daughter-in- law. When Constance gives birth to a son, the old queen causes letters to be written to the king, in which his wife is declared to be an evil spirit in the form of a woman and that she had borne, not a human child, but a hideous monster. The king, in reply, commands Constance to be tended carefully until his return. But the traitress contrives by means of letters forged in the king's name to have Constance and her son sent to sea in a ship, where she meets with strange adventures. Needless to say, the old queen's wicked devices come to naught.

The story of the Envious Sisters as told by Galland was known in Italy (as Dr. W. Grimm points out in the valuable notes to his K. u. H.M.) many generations before the learned Frenchman was born, through the "Pleasant Nights" of Straparola. That Galland took his story from the Italian novelist it is impossible to believe, since, as Mr. Coote has observed, Straparola's work "was already known in France for a couple of centuries through a popular French translation," and Galland would at once have been an easily convicted copyist. Moreover the story, imitated from Straparola, by Madame d'Aulnois, under the title of "La Belie Etoile et Le Prince Cheri," had been published before Galland's last two volumes appeared, and both those writers had the same publisher. It is clear, therefore, that Galland neither invented the story nor borrowed it from Straparola or Madame d'Aulnois. Whence, then, did he obtain it?—that is the question. His Arabic source has not yet been discovered, but a variant of the world-wide story is at the present day orally current in Egypt and forms No. xi. of "Comes Arabes Modernes. Recueillis et Traduits par Guillaume Spitta Bey" (Paris, 1883), of which the following is a translation:


There was once a King who said to his vazir, "Let us take a walk through the town during the night." In walking about they came to a house where they heard people talking, and stopping before it they heard a girl say, "If the King would marry me, I would make him a tart (or pie) so large that it would serve for him and his army." And another said, "If the King would marry me, I would make him a tent that would shelter him and his whole army." Then a third said, "If the King would marry me, I would present him with a daughter and a son, with golden hair, and hair of hyacinth colour alternately; if they should weep, it would thunder, and if they should laugh, the sun and moon would appear." The King on hearing these words went away, and on the following day he sent for the three girls and made the contract of marriage with them. He passed the first night with the one who had spoken first, and said to her, "Where is the tart that would be sufficient for me and my army?" She answered him, "The words of the night are greased with butter: when day appears they melt away." The next night he slept with the second, saying to her, "Where is the tent which would be large enough for me and my army?" She answered him, "It was an idea that came into my mind." So the King ordered them to go down into the kitchen among the slaves. He passed the third night with the tattle one, saying, "Where are the boy and girl whose hair is to be like gold and hyacinth?" She replied, "Tarry with me nine months and nine minutes." In due time she became pregnant, and on the night of her confinement the midwife was sent for. Then the other wife of the King went and met her in the street and said to her, "When she has been delivered, how much will the King give you ?" She answered, "He will issue orders to give me fifteen mahbubs.[FN#428] The other said, "Behold, here are forty mahhubs from me. Take these two little blind puppies, and when she has given birth to a son and a daughter, take them and place them in a box and put these two puppies in their stead, and remove the children." The midwife took the money and the little dogs and went away. When the King's new wife was safely delivered, the midwife did according to her agreement with the other wife of the King, and then went before him and said, "I fear to speak." He answered, "Speak; I grant you pardon." Then said she, "Your wife has been delivered of two dogs." Then the King gave orders, saying, "Take and cover her with tar, and bind her to the staircase, and let any who may go up or down spit upon her," which was done accordingly. And the midwife carried away the children and threw them into the river.

Now there was a fisherman who lived on an island with his wife, and they had no children. On the morrow he went to the water-side to fish and found a box driven on to the shore He carried it home to his wife, and placing it between them, he said, "Listen, my dear, I am going to make a bargain with you: if this contains money, it will be for me, if it contains children, they will be for you." She replied, "Very well, I am quite content." They then opened the box and found in it a baby boy and girl. The baby boy had his finger in the baby girl's mouth and the latter had her finger in his mouth, and they were sucking one another's fingers. The woman took them out of the box and prayed to Heaven, "Make milk come into my breasts, for the sake of these little ones." And by the Almighty power the milk came into her breasts, and she continued to bring them up until they had reached the age of twelve years.

One day the fisherman caught two large white fish, and the youth said to him, "These two white fish are pretty, my father; I will take and sell them, or carry them as a present to the King." So the boy took them and went away. He sat down with them in the Fish Market: people gathered about him, and those who did not look at the fish looked at the boy. The King also came past, and seeing the two white fish and the boy he called to him saying, "What is the price, my lad?" The boy answered, "They are a present for you, my prince." Thereupon the King took him to the palace and said to him, "What is your name?" and he replied, "My name is Muhammed, and my father is the fisherman who lives on the island." Then the King gave him thirty mahbubs, saying, "Go away, discreet one, and every day return here to my house." So the lad returned home and gave the money to his father. The next morning two more white fish were caught and Muhammed carried them to the King, who took him into his garden and made him sit down opposite him. The King remained there drinking his wine and looking on the beauty of the youth: love for the lad entered his heart and he remained with him two hours.[FN#429] Then he gave orders to provide the youth with a horse for his use in coming to and returning from his house, and Muhammed mounted the horse and rode home.

When he visited the King the following day he was again led into the garden, and the other wife of the King, looking from her window saw the lad and recognised him. She at once sent for the old midwife, and said to her, "I bade you kill the children, yet they are still living upon the earth." Replied the old woman, "Have patience with me, O Queen for three days, and I will kill him." Then she went away, and having procured a pitcher tied it to her girdle, bewitched it, mounted on it, and struck it with a whip, and forthwith the pitcher flew away with her and descended upon the island near the fisherman's cottage.[FN#430] She found the young girl, Muhammed's sister, sitting alone, and thus addressed her: "My dear, why are you thus alone and sad? Tell your brother to fetch you the rose of Arab Zandyk, that it may sing to you and amuse you, instead of your being thus lonely and low-spirited." When her brother came home, he found her displeased and asked her, "Why are you vexed, my sister?" She replied, "I should like the rose of Arab Zandyk, that it may sing to me and amuse me." "At your command," said he; "I am going to bring it to you."

He mounted his horse and travelled into the midst of the desert, where he perceived an ogress seated and pounding wheat with a millstone on her arm. Alighting, he came up to her and saluted her saying, "Peace be with you, mother ogress." She replied, "If your safety did not prevail over your words, I would eat the flesh from off your bones." Then she asked, "Where are you going, Muhammed the Discreet?" He answered, "I am in quest of the singing rose of Arab Zandyk." She showed him the way, saying, "You will find before the palace a kid and a dog fastened, and before the kid a piece of meat and before the dog a bunch of clover: lift the meat and throw it to the dog, and give the clover to the kid.[FN#431] Then the door will open for you: enter and pluck the rose; return immediately without looking behind you, because, if you do so, you will be bewitched and changed into stone, like the enchanted ones who are there." Muhammed the Discreet carefully followed the instructions of the ogress: plucked the rose, went out by the door, put back the meat before the kid and the clover before the dog, and carried the rose home to his sister.

Then he again went to the house of the King, who saluted him and said, "Where hast thou been, discreet one? Why hast thou absented thyself so long from my house?" And he answered, "I was sick, O King." Then the King took him by the hand and entered the garden, and both sat down. The wife of the King saw them seated together, and sending for the midwife she angrily asked, "Why do you befool me, old woman?" She replied "Have patience with me for three days more, O Queen." Then she mounted her pitcher and arriving at the house of the young girl, she said, "Has thy brother fetched thee the rose?" "Yes," answered the girl, "but it does not sing." Quoth the old woman, "It only sings with its looking-glass," and then went away. When the youth returned he found his sister vexed, and he asked, "Why are you so sad, my sister?" She replied, "I should like the looking-glass of the rose, by means of which it sings." Quoth he, "I obey your orders, and will bring it to you."

Muhammed the Discreet rode on till he came to the ogress, who asked him what he wanted. "I wish," said he, "the looking-glass of the rose." "Well, go and do with the dog and kid as you did before. When you have entered the garden you will find some stairs go up them, and in the first room you come to you will find the mirror suspended. Take it, and set out directly, without looking behind you. If the earth shake with you, keep a brave heart, otherwise you will have gone on a fruitless errand." He went and did according to the instructions of the ogress. In taking away the mirror the earth shook under him, but he made his heart as hard as an anvil and cared nothing for the shaking. But when he brought the mirror to his sister and she had placed it before the rose of Arab Zandyk, still the rose sang not.

When he visited the King, he excused his absence, saying, "I was led on a journey with my father, but here am I, returned once more." The King led him by the hand into the garden, and the wife of the King again perceiving him she sent for the midwife and demanded of her, "Why do you mock me again, old woman?" Quoth she, "Have patience with me for three days, O Queen; this time will be the beginning and the end." Then she rode on her pitcher to the island, and asked the young girl, "Has thy brother brought thee the mirror?" "Yes, but still the rose sings not." "Ah, it only sings with its mistress, who is called Arab Zandyk," and so saying she departed. Muhammed the Discreet on his return home again found his sister disconsolate, and in answer to his inquiries, she said, "I desire Arab Zandyk, mistress of the rose and of the mirror, that I may amuse myself with her when you are absent."

He at once mounted his horse and rode on till he came to the house of the ogress. "How fares it with you, mother ogress?" "What do you want now, Muhammed the Discreet?" "I wish Arab Zandyk, mistress of the rose and of the mirror." Quoth the ogress, "Many kings and pashas have not been able to bring her: she hath changed them all into stone; and thou art small and poor—what will become of thee?" "Only, my dear mother ogress show me the way, and I shall bring her, with the permission of God." Said the ogress, "Go to the west side of the palace; there you will find an open window. Bring your horse under the window and then cry in a loud voice, 'Descend, Arab Zandyk!'" Muhammed the Wary went accordingly, halted beneath the window, and cried out, "Descend, Arab Zandyk!" She looked from her window scornfully and said," Go away, young man." Muhammed the Discreet raised his eyes and found that half of his horse was changed into stone. A second time cried he in a loud voice, "Descend, Arab Zandyk!" She insulted him and said, "I tell you, go away, young man.' He looked again and found his horse entirely enchanted and half of himself as well. A third time he cried in a loud voice, "I tell you, descend, Arab Zandyk!" She inclined herself half out of the window, and her hair fell down to the ground. Muhammed the Discreet seized it, twined it round his hand pulled her out, and threw her on the earth. Then said she, "Thou art my fate, Muhammed the Wary; relinquish thy hold of my hair, by the life of thy father the King." Quoth he "My father is a fisherman." "Nay," she replied, "thy father is the King, by-and-by I will tell thee his history." Quoth he, "I will leave hold of your hair when you have set at liberty the enchanted men." She made a sign with her right arm and they were at once set free. They rushed headlong towards Muhammed the Prudent to take her from him but some of them said "Thanks to him who hath delivered us: do you still wish to take her from him?" So they left him and went their several ways.

Arab Zandyk then took him by the hand and led him into her castle. She gave her servants orders to build a palace in the midst of the isle of the fisherman, which being accomplished, she took Muhammed the Discreet and her soldiers and proceeded thither and then she said to him, "Go to the King, and when he asks you where you have been reply, 'I have been preparing my nuptials and invite you, with your army.'" He went to the King and spoke as Arab Zandyk had instructed him, upon which the King laughed and said to his vazir, "This young man is the son of a fisherman and comes to invite me with my army!" Quoth the vazir, "On account of your love for him, command that the soldiers take with them food for eight days, and we also will take our provender for eight days." The King having issued orders to that effect, and all being ready, they all set out and arriving at the house of the fisherman's son, they found a large number of beautiful tents erected for the soldiers' accommodation and the King was astonished. Then came the feasting—one dainty dish being quickly followed by another still more delicious and the soldiers said among themselves, "We should like to remain here for two years to eat meat and not be obliged to eat only beans and lentils." They continued there forty days until the nuptials were completed, well content with their fare. Then the King departed with his army. The King sent a return invitation, and Arab Zandyk commanded her soldiers to set out in order to precede her to the capital. When the soldiers arrived they filled the town so that there was scarcely sufficient house-room for them. Then Arab Zandyk set out accompanied by Muhammed and his sister. They entered the royal palace, and as they ascended the staircase, Arab Zandyk perceived the mother of Muhammed covered with tar and in chains, so she threw over her a cashmere shawl and covered her. The servants who were standing about said to Arab Zandyk, "Why do you cover her with a shawl? Spit upon her when you go up and also when you come down." She asked, "Why so?" Said they, "Because she gave birth to two dogs." Then they went to the King and said, "A lady amongst the strangers has thrown a cashmere shawl over her who is fastened to the staircase, and has covered her without spitting upon her." The King went and met Arab Zandyk and asked, "Why have you covered her?" Said she, "Give orders that she be conducted to the bath, cleansed, and dressed in a royal robe, after which I will relate her history." The King gave the required orders, and when she was decked in a royal robe they conducted her into the divan. Then said the King to Arab Zandyk, "Tell me now the history." Said she, "Listen, O King, the fisherman will speak," and then Arab Zandyk said to the fisherman, "Is it true that your wife gave birth to Muhammed and his sister at one time or at separate times?" He replied, "My wife has no children." "Where, then did you get them?" Quoth he, "I went one morning to fish, and found them in a box on the bank of the river. I took them home, and my wife brought them up." Arab Zandyk then said, "Hast thou heard, O King?" and turning to his wife, "Are these thy children, O woman?" Said she, "Tell them to uncover their heads that I may see them." When they uncovered their heads, they were seen to have alternately hair of gold and hair of hyacinth. The King then asked her, "Are these thy children?" "Tell them to weep: if it thunders and rains, they are my children, and if it does not thunder or rain, they are not mine." The children wept, and it thundered and rained. Then he asked her again, "Are these thy children?" And she said, "Tell them to laugh: if the sun and moon appear, they are my children." They told them to laugh, and the sun and moon appeared. Then he asked her once more, "Are these thy children?" and she said, "They are my children!" Then the King appointed the fisherman vazir of his right hand, and commanded that the city be illuminated for forty whole days; on the last day he caused his other wife and the old witch (the midwife) to be led out and burnt, and their ashes to be dispersed to the winds.

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