our door keeper!" So she and Taj al- Muluk abode alone together and ceased not kissing and embracing and twining leg with leg till dawn.[FN#46] When day drew near, she left him and, shutting the door upon him, passed into another chamber, where she sat down as was her wont, whilst her slave women came in to her, and she attended to their affairs and conversed with them. Then she said to them, "Go forth from me now, for I wish to amuse myself in privacy." So they withdrew and she betook herself to Taj al-Muluk, and the old woman brought them food, of which they ate and returned to amorous dalliance till dawn. Then the door was locked upon him as on the day before; and they ceased not to do thus for a whole month. This is how it fared with Taj al-Muluk and the Lady Dunya; but as regards the Wazir and Aziz when they found that the Prince had gone to the Palace of the King's daughter and there delayed all the while, they concluded that he would never return from it and that he was lost for ever; and Aziz said to the Wazir, "O my father, what shall we do?" He replied, "O my son, this is a difficult matter, and except we return to his sire and tell him, he will blame us therefor." So they made ready at once and forthright set out for the Green Land and the Country of the Two Columns, and sought Sulayman Shah's capital. And they traversed the valleys night and day till they went in to the King, and acquainted him with what had befallen his son and how from the time he entered the Princess's Palace they had heard no news of him. At this the King was as though the Day of Doom had dawned for him and regret was sore upon him, and he proclaimed a Holy War[FN#47] throughout his realm. After which he sent forth his host without the town and pitched tents for them and took up his abode in his pavilion, whilst the levies came from all parts of the kingdom; for his subjects loved him by reason of his great justice and beneficence. Then he marched with an army walling the horizon, and departed in quest of his son. Thus far concerning them; but as regards Taj al-Muluk and the Lady Dunya the two remained as they were half a year's time, whilst every day they redoubled in mutual affection; and love and longing and passion and desire so pressed upon Taj al Muluk, that at last he opened his mind and said to her, "Know, O beloved of my heart and vitals, that the longer I abide with thee, the more love and longing and passion and desire increase on me, for that I have not yet fulfilled the whole of my wish." Asked she, "What then wouldst thou have, O light of my eyes and fruit of my vitals? If thou desire aught beside kissing and embracing and entwining of legs with legs, do what pleaseth thee; for, by Allah, no partner hath any part in us."[FN#48] But he answered "It is not that I wish: I would fain acquaint thee with my true story. Know, then, that I am no merchant, nay, I am a King the son of a King, and my father's name is the supreme King Sulayman Shah, who sent his Wazir ambassador to thy father, to demand thee in marriage for me, but when the news came to thee thou wouldst not consent." Then he told her his past from first to last, nor is there any avail in a twice told tale, and he added, "And now I wish to return to my father, that he may send an ambassador to thy sire, to demand thee in wedlock for me, so we may be at ease." When she heard these words, she joyed with great joy because it suited with her own wishes, and they passed the night on this understanding. But it so befel by the decree of Destiny that sleep overcame them that night above all nights and they remained till the sun had risen. Now at this hour, King Shahriman was sitting on his cushion of estate, with his Emirs and Grandees before him, when the Syndic of the goldsmiths presented himself between his hands, carrying a large box. And he advanced and opening it in presence of the King, brought out therefrom a casket of fine work worth an hundred thousand diners, for that which was therein of precious stones, rubies and emeralds beyond the competence of any sovereign on earth to procure. When the King saw this, he marvelled at its beauty; and, turning to the Chief Eunuch (him with whom the old woman had had to do), said to him, "O Kafur,[FN#49] take this casket and wend with it to the Princess Dunya." The Castrato took the casket and repairing to the apartment of the King's daughter found the door shut and the old woman lying asleep on the threshold; whereupon said he, "What! sleeping at this hour?" When the old woman heard the Eunuch's voice she started from sleep and was terrified and said to him, "Wait till I fetch the key." Then she went forth and fled for her life. Such was her case; but as regards the Epicene he, seeing her alarm, lifted the door off its hinge pins,[FN#50] and entering found the Lady Dunya with her arms round the neck of Taj al-Muluk and both fast asleep. At this sight he was confounded and was preparing to return to the King, when the Princess awoke, and seeing him, was terrified and changed colour and waxed pale, and said to him, "O Kafur, veil thou what Allah hath veiled!"[FN#51] But he replied, "I cannot conceal aught from the King"; and, locking the door on them, returned to Shahriman, who asked him, "Hast thou given the casket to the Princess?" Answered the Eunuch, "Take the casket, here it is for I cannot conceal aught from thee. Know that I found a handsome young man by the side of the Princess and they two asleep in one bed and in mutual embrace." The King commanded them to be brought into the presence and said to them, "What manner of thing is this?" and, being violently enraged, seized a dagger and was about to strike Taj al-Muluk with it, when the Lady Dunya threw herself upon him and said to her father, "Slay me before thou slayest him." The King reviled her and commended her to be taken back to her chamber: then he turned to Taj al-Muluk and said to him, "Woe to thee! whence art thou? Who is thy father and what hath emboldened thee to debauch my daughter?" Replied the Prince, "Know, O King, that if thou put me to death, thou art a lost man, and thou and all in thy dominions will repent the deed." Quoth the King, "How so?"; and quoth Taj al-Muluk "Know that I am the son of King Sulayman Shah, and ere thou knowest it, he will be upon thee with his horse and foot." When King Shahriman heard these words he would have deferred killing Taj al-Muluk and would rather have put him in prison, till he should look into the truth of his words; but his Wazir said to him, "O King of the Age, it is my opinion that thou make haste to slay this gallows bird who dares debauch the daughters of Kings." So the King cried to the headsman, "Strike off his head; for he is a traitor." Accordingly, the herdsman took him and bound him fast and raised his hand to the Emirs, signing to consult them, a first and a second signal, thinking thereby to gain time in this matter;[FN#52] but the King cried in anger to him, "How long wilt thou consult others? If thou consult them again I will strike off thine own head.;' So the headsman raised his hand till the hair of his armpit showed' and was about to smite his neck,—And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased to say her permitted say.
When it was the One Hundred and Thirty-sixth Night,
She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that the headsman raised his hand to smite off his head when behold, loud cries arose and the folk closed their shops; whereupon the King said to the headsman, "Wait awhile," and despatched one to learn the news. The messenger fared forth and presently returned and reported, "I saw an army like the dashing sea with its clashing surge: and their horses curvetting till earth trembleth with the tramp; and I know no more of them." When the King heard this, he was confounded and feared for his realm lest it should be torn from him; so he turned to his Minister and said, "Have not any of our army gone forth to meet this army?" But ere he had done speaking, his Chamberlains entered with messengers from the King who was approaching, and amongst them the Wazir who had accompanied Taj al-Muluk. They began by saluting the King, who rose to receive them and bade them draw near, and asked the cause of their coming; whereupon the Minister came forward from amongst them and stood before him and said "Know that he who hath come down upon thy realm is no King like unto the Kings of yore and the Sultans that went before." "And who is he?" asked Shahriman, and the Wazir answered, "He is the Lord of justice and loyalty, the bruit of whose magnanimity the caravans have blazed abroad, the Sultan Sulayman Shah, Lord of the Green Land and the Two Columns and the Mountains of Ispahan; he who loveth justice and equity, and hateth oppression and iniquity. And he saith to thee that his son is with thee and in thy city; his son, his heart's very core and the fruit of his loins, and if he find him in safety, his aim is won and thou shalt have thanks and praise; but if he have been lost from thy realm or if aught of evil have befallen him, look thou for ruin and the wasting of thy reign! for this thy city shall become a wold wherein the raven shall croak. Thus have I done my errand to thee and peace be with thee!" Now when King Shahriman heard from the messenger these words, his heart was troubled and he feared for his kingdom: so he cried out for his Grandees and Ministers, Chamberlains and Lieutenants; and, when they appeared, he said to them, "Woe to you! Go down and search for the youth." Now the Prince was still under the headsman's hands, but he was changed by the fright he had undergone. Presently, the Wazir, chancing to glance around, saw the Prince on the rug of blood and recognised him; so he arose and threw himself upon him, and so did the other envoys. Then they proceeded to loose his bonds and they kissed his hands and feet, whereupon Taj al-Muluk opened his eyes and, recognising his father's Wazir and his friend Aziz, fell down a fainting for excess of delight in them. When King Shahriman made sure that the coming of this army was indeed because of this youth, he was confounded and feared with great fear; so he went up to Taj al- Muluk and, kissing his head, said to him, "O my son, be not wroth with me, neither blame the sinner for his sin; but have compassion on my grey hairs, and waste not my realm." Whereupon Taj al-Muluk drew near unto him and kissing his hand, replied, "No harm shall come to thee, for indeed thou art to me as my father; but look that nought befal my beloved, the Lady Dunya!" Rejoined the King, "O my lord! fear not for her; naught but joy shall betide her;" and he went on to excuse himself and made his peace with Sulayman Shah's Wazir to whom he promised much money, if he would conceal from the King what he had seen. Then he bade his Chief Officers take the Prince with them and repair to the Hammam and clothe him in one of the best of his own suits and bring him back speedily. So they obeyed his bidding and bore him to the bath and clad him in the clothes which King Shahriman had set apart for him; and brought him back to the presence chamber. When he entered the King rose to receive him and made all his Grandees stand in attendance on him. Then Taj al-Muluk sat down to converse with his father's Wazir and with Aziz, and he acquainted them with what had befallen him; after which they said to him, "During that delay we returned to thy father and gave him to know that thou didst enter the palace of the Princess and didst not return therefrom, and thy case seemed doubtful to us. But when thy sire heard of this he mustered his forces; then we came to this land and indeed our coming hath brought to thee relief in extreme case and to us great joy." Quoth he, "Good fortune hath attended your every action, first and last." While this was doing King Shahriman went in to his daughter Princess Dunya, and found her wailing and weeping for Taj al-Muluk. Moreover, she had taken a sword and fixed the hilt in the ground and had set the point to the middle of her heart between her breasts; and she bent over the blade saying, "Needs must I slay myself and not survive my beloved." When her father entered and saw her in this case, he cried out to her, saying, "O Princess of kings' daughters, hold thy hand and have ruth on thy sire and the folk of thy realm!" Then he came up to her and continued, "Let it not be that an ill thing befal thy father for thy sake!" And he told her the whole tale that her lover was the son of King Sulayman Shah and sought her to wife and he added, "The marriage waiteth only for thy consent." Thereat she smiled and said, "Did I not tell thee that he was the son of a Sultan? By Allah, there is no help for it but that I let him crucify thee on a bit of wood worth two pieces of silver!" Replied the King, "O my daughter, have mercy on me, so Allah have mercy on thee!" Rejoined she, "Up with you and make haste and go bring him to me without delay." Quoth the King, "On my head and eyes be it!"; and he left her and, going in hastily to Taj al-Muluk, repeated her words in his ear.[FN#53] So he arose and accompanied the King to the Princess, and when she caught sight of her lover, she took hold of him and embraced him in her father's presence and hung upon him and kissed him, saying, "Thou hast desolated me by thine absence!" Then she turned to her father and said, "Sawest thou ever any that could do hurt to the like of this beautiful being, who is moreover a King, the son of a King and of the free born,[FN#54] guarded against ignoble deeds?" There upon King Shahriman went out shutting the door on them with his own hand; and he returned to the Wazir and to the other envoys of Sulayman Shah and bade them inform their King that his son was in health and gladness and enjoying all delight of life with his beloved. So they returned to King Sulayman and acquainted him with this; whereupon King Shahriman ordered largesse of money and vivers to the troops of King Sulayman Shah; and, when they had conveyed all he had commanded, he bade be brought out an hundred coursers and an hundred dromedaries and an hundred white slaves and an hundred concubines and an hundred black slaves and an hundred female slaves; all of which he forwarded to the King as a present. Then he took horse, with his Grandees and Chief Officers, and rode out of the city in the direction of the King's camp. As soon as Sultan Sulayman Shah knew of his approach, he rose and advanced many paces to meet him. Now the Wazir and Aziz had told him all the tidings, whereat he rejoiced and cried, "Praise be to Allah who hath granted the dearest wish of my son!" Then King Sulayman took King Shahriman in his arms and seated him beside himself on the royal couch, where they conversed awhile and had pleasure in each other's conversation. Presently food was set before them, and they ate till they were satisfied; and sweetmeats and dried fruits were brought, and they enjoyed their dessert. And after a while came to them Taj al-Muluk, richly dressed and adorned, and when his father saw him, he stood up and embraced him and kissed him. Then all who were sitting rose to do him honour; and the two Kings seated him between them and they sat conversing a while, after which quoth King Sulayman Shah to King Shahriman, "I desire to have the marriage contract between my son and thy daughter drawn up in the presence of witnesses, that the wedding may be made public, even as is the custom of Kings." "I hear and I obey," quoth King Shahriman and thereon summoned the Kazi and the witnesses, who came and wrote out the marriage contract between Taj al-Muluk and the Lady Dunya. Then they gave bakhshish[FN#55] of money and sweetmeats; and lavished incense and essences; and indeed it was a day of joy and gladness and all the grandees and soldiers rejoiced therein. Then King Shahriman proceeded to dower and equip his daughter; and Taj al-Muluk said to his sire, "Of a truth, this young man Aziz is of the generous and hath done me a notable service, having borne weariness with me; and he hath travelled with me and hath brought me to my desire. He ceased never to show sufferance with me and exhort me to patience till I accomplished my intent; and now he hath abided with us two whole years, and he cut off from his native land. So now I purpose to equip him with merchandise, that he may depart hence with a light heart; for his country is nearhand." Replied his father, "Right is thy rede;" so they made ready an hundred loads of the richest stuffs and the most costly, and Taj al-Muluk presented them with great store of money to Aziz, and farewelled him, saying, "O my brother and my true friend! take these loads and accept them from me by way of gift and token of affection, and go in peace to thine own country." Aziz accepted the presents and kissing the ground between the hands of the Prince and his father bade them adieu. Moreover, Taj al-Muluk mounted and accompanied him three miles on his homeward way as a proof of amity, after which Aziz conjured him to turn back, saying, "By Allah, O my master, were it not for my mother, I never would part from thee! But, good my lord! leave me not without news of thee." Replied Taj al-Muluk, "So be it!" Then the Prince returned to the city and Aziz journeyed on till he came to his native town; and he entered it and ceased not faring till he went in to his mother and found that she had built him a monument in the midst of the house and used to visit it continually. When he entered, he saw her with hair dishevelled and dispread over the tomb, weeping and repeating these lines,
"Indeed I'm strong to bear whate'er befal; * But weak to bear such parting's dire mischance: What heart estrangement of the friend can bear? * What strength withstand assault of severance?"
Then sobs burst from her breast, and she recited also these couplets,
"What's this? I pass by tombs, and fondly greet * My friends' last homes, but send they no reply: For saith each friend, 'Reply how can I make * When pledged to clay and pawned to stones I lie? Earth has consumed my charms and I forget * Thy love, from kith and kin poor banisht I.' "
While she was thus, behold, Aziz came in to her and when she saw him, she fell down, fainting for very joy. He sprinkled water on her face till she revived and rising, took him in her arms and strained him to her breast, whilst he in like manner embraced her. Then he greeted her and she greeted him, and she asked the reason of his long absence, whereupon he told her all that had befallen him from first to last and informed her how Taj al-Muluk had given him an hundred loads of monies and stuffs. At this she rejoiced, and Aziz abode with his mother in his native town, weeping for what mishaps had happened to him with the daughter of Dalilah the Wily One, even her who had castrated[FN#56] him. Such was the case with Aziz; but as regards Taj al-Muluk he went in unto his beloved, the Princess Dunya, and abated her maidenhead. Then King Shahriman proceeded to equip his daughter for her journey with her husband and father in law, and bade bring them provaunt and presents and rarities. So they loaded their beasts and set forth, whilst King Shahriman escorted them, by way of farewell, three days' journey on their way, till King Shah Sulayman conjured him to return. So he took leave of them and turned back, and Taj al-Muluk and his wife and father fared for wards night and day, with their troops, till they drew near their capital. As soon as the news of their coming spread abroad, the folk decorated for them the city,—And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased saying her permitted say.
When it was the One Hundred and Thirty-seventh Night,
She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when Shah Sulayman drew near his capital, the folk decorated the city for him and for his son. So they entered in state and the King, sitting on his throne with his son by his side, gave alms and largesse and loosed all who were in his jails. Then he held a second bridal for his son, and the sound of the singing women and players upon instruments was never silent for a whole month, and the tire women stinted not to adorn the Lady Dunya and display her in various dresses; and she tired not of the displaying nor did the women weary of gazing on her. Then Taj al-Muluk, after having foregathered awhile with his father and mother, took up his sojourn with his wife, and they abode in all joyance of life and in fairest fortune, till there came to them the Destroyer of all delights.[FN#57] Now when the Wazir Dandan had ended the tale of Taj al-Muluk and the Lady Dunya, Zau al-Makan said to him, "Of a truth, it is the like of thee who lighten the mourner's heart and who deserve to be the boon companions of Kings and to guide their policy in the right way." All this befel and they were still besieging Constantinople, where they lay four whole years, till they yearned after their native land; and the troops murmured, being weary of vigil and besieging and the endurance of fray and foray by night and by day. Then King Zau al-Makan summoned Rustam and Bahram and Tarkash, and when they were in presence bespoke them thus, "Know that we have lain here all these years and we have not won to our wish; nay, we have but gained increase of care and concern; for indeed we came, thinking to take our man bote for King Omar bin al-Nu'uman and in so doing my brother Sharrkan was slain; so is our sorrow grown to sorrows twain and our affliction to afflictions twain. All this came of the old woman Zat al-Dawahi, for it was she who slew the Sultan in his kingdom and carried off his wife, the Queen Sophia; nor did this suffice her, but she must put another cheat on us and cut the throat of my brother Sharrkan and indeed I have bound myself and sworn by the solemnest oaths that there is no help but I take blood wit from her. What say ye? Ponder my address and answer me." Then they bowed their heads and answered, "It is for the Wazir Dandan to opine." So the Minister came forward and said, "Know O King of the Age! it booteth us nought to tarry here; and 'tis my counsel that we strike camp and return to our own country, there to abide for a certain time and after that we should return for a razzia upon the worshippers of idols." Replied the King, "This rede is right, for indeed the folk weary for a sight of their families, and I am an other who is also troubled with yearning after my son Kanmakan and my brother 's daughter Kuzia Fakan, for she is in Damascus and I know not how is her case." When the troops heard this report, they rejoiced and blessed the Wazir Dandan. Then the King bade the crier call the retreat after three days. They fell to preparing for the march, and, on the fourth day, they beat the big drums and unfurled the banners and the army set forth, the Wazir Danden in the van and the King riding in the mid battle, with the Grand Chamberlain by his side; and all journeyed without ceasing, night and day, till they reached Baghdad city. The folk rejoiced in their return, and care and fear ceased from them whilst the stay at homes met the absentees and each Emir betook him to his own house. As for Zau al-Makan he marched up to the Palace and went in to his son Kanmakan, who had now reached the age of seven; and who used to go down to the weapon plain and ride. As soon as the King was rested of his journey, he entered the Hammam with his son, and returning, seated himself on his sofa of state, whilst the Wazir Dandan took up his station before him and the Emirs and Lords of the realm presented themselves and stood in attendance upon him. Then Zau al-Makan called for his comrade, the Fireman, who had befriended him in his wanderings; and, when he came into presence, the King rose to do him honour and seated him by his side. Now he had acquainted the Wazir with all the kindness and good turns which the Stoker had done him; and he found that the wight had waxed fat and burly with rest and good fare, so that his neck was like an elephant's throat and his face like a dolphin's belly. Moreover, he was grown dull of wit, for that he had never stirred from his place; so at first he knew not the King by his aspect. But Zau al-Makan came up to him smiling in his face, and greeted him after the friendliest fashion, saying, "How soon hast thou forgotten me?" With this the Fireman roused himself and, looking steadfastly at Zau al-Makan, made sure that he knew him; whereupon he sprang hastily to his feet and exclaimed, "O my friend, who hath made thee Sultan?" Then Zau al- Makan laughed at him and the Wazir, coming up to him expounded the whole story to him and said, "In good sooth he was thy brother and thy friend; and now he is King of the land and needs must thou get great good of him. So I charge thee, if he say, 'Ask a boon of me,' ask not but for some great thing; for thou art very dear to him." Quoth the Fireman, "I fear lest, if I ask of him aught, he may not choose to give it or may not be able to grant it." Quoth the Wazir, "Have no care; whatsoever thou askest he will give thee." Rejoined the Stoker, "By Allah, I must at once ask of him a thing that is in my thought: every night I dream of it and implore Almighty Allah to vouchsafe it to me." Said the Wazir, "Take heart; by Allah, if thou ask of him the government of Damascus, in place of his brother, he would surely give it thee and make thee Governor." With this the Stoker rose to is feet and Zau al-Makan signed to him to sit; but he refused, saying, "Allah forfend! The days are gone by of my sitting in thy presence.' Answered the Sultan, "Not so, they endure even now. Thou west in very deed the cause that I am at present alive and, by Allah, whatever thing most desired thou requirest of me, I will give that same to thee. But ask thou first of Allah, and then of me!" He said, "O my lord, I fear" "Fear not," quoth the Sultan He continued, "I fear to ask aught and that thou shouldst refuse it to me and it is only" At this the King laughed and replied, "If thou require of me the half of my kingdom I would share it with thee: so ask what thou wilt and leave talking." Repeated the Fireman "I fear" "Don't fear," quoth the King. He went on, "I fear lest I ask a thing and thou be not able to grant it." Upon this the Sultan waxed wroth and cried, "Ask what thou wilt." Then said he, "I ask, first of Allah and then of thee, that thou write me a patent of Syndicate over all the Firemen of the baths in the Holy City, Jerusalem." The Sultan and all present laughed and Zau al-Makan said, "Ask something more than this." He replied, "O my lord, said I not I feared that thou wouldst not choose to give me what I should ask or that thou be not able to grant it?" Therewith the Wazir signed him with his foot once and twice and thrice, and every time he began, "I ask of thee" Quoth the Sultan, "Ask and be speedy." So he said, "I ask thee to make me Chief of the Scavengers in the Holy City of Jerusalem, or in. Damascus town." Then all those who were present fell on their backs with laughter and the Wazir beat him; whereupon he turned to the Minister and said to him, "What art thou that thou shouldest beat me? 'Tis no fault of mine: didst thou not thyself bid me ask some important thing?" And he added, "Let me go to my own land." With this, the Sultan knew that he was jesting and took patience with him awhile; then turned to him and said, "O my brother, ask of me some important thing, befitting our dignity." So the Stoker said, "O King of the Age, I ask first of Allah and then of thee, that thou make me Viceroy of Damascus in the place of thy brother;" and the King replied, "Allah granteth thee this." Thereupon the Fireman kissed ground before him and he bade set him a chair in his rank and vested him with a viceroy's habit. Then he wrote him a patent and sealed it with his own seal, and said to the Wazir Dandan, "None shall go with him but thou; and when thou makest the return journey, do thou bring with thee my brother's daughter, Kuzia Fakan." "Hearken ing and obedience," answered the Minister; and, taking the Fire man, went down with him and made ready for the march. Then the King appointed for the Stoker servants and suite, and gave him a new litter and a princely equipage and said to the Emirs, "Whoso loveth me, let him honour this man and offer him a handsome present." So each and every of the Emirs brought him his gift according to his competence; and the King named him Zibl Khan,[FN#58] and conferred on him the honourable surname of al- Mujahid.[FN#59] As soon as the gear was ready, he went up with the Wazir Dandan to the King, that he might take leave of him and ask his permission to depart. The King rose to him and embraced him, and charged him to do justice between his subjects and bade him make ready for fight against the Infidels after two years. Then they took leave of each other and the King,[FN#60] the Fighter for the Faith highs Zibl Khan, having been again exhorted by Zau al-Makan to deal fairly with his subjects, set out on his journey, after the Emirs had brought him Mamelukes and eunuchs, even to five thousand in number, who rode after him. The Grand Chamberlain also took horse, as did Bahram, captain of the Daylamites, and Rustam, captain of the Persians, and Tarkash, captain of the Arabs, who attended to do him service; and they ceased not riding with him three days' journey by way of honour. Then, taking their leave of him, they returned to Baghdad and the Sultan Zibl Khan and the Wazir Dandan fared on, with their suite and troops, till they drew near Damascus. Now news was come, upon the wings of birds, to the notables of Damascus, that King Zau al-Makan had made Sultan over Damascus a King named Zibl Khan and surnamed Al-Mujahid; so when he reached the city he found it dressed in his honour and everyone in the place came out to gaze on him. The new Sultan entered Damascus in a splendid progress and went up to the citadel, where he sat down upon his chair of state, whilst the Wazir Dandan stood in attendance on him, to acquaint him with the ranks of the Emirs and their stations. Then the Grandees came in to him and kissed hands and called down blessings on him. The new King, Zibl Khan, received them graciously and bestowed on them dresses of honour and various presents and bounties; after which he opened the treasuries and gave largesse to the troops, great and small. Then he governed and did justice and proceeded to equip the Lady Kuzia Fakan, daughter of King Sharrkan, appointing her a litter of silken stuff. Moreover he furnished the Wazir Dandan equally well for the return journey and offered him a gift of coin but he refused, saying, "Thou art near the time appointed by the King, and haply thou wilt have need of money, or after this we may send to seek of thee funds for the Holy War or what not." Now when the Wazir was ready to march, Sultan al-Mujahid mounted to bid the Minister farewell and brought Kuzia Fakan to him, and made her enter the litter and sent with her ten damsels to do her service. Thereupon they set forward, whilst King "Fighter for the Faith" returned to his government that he might order affairs and get ready his munitions of war, awaiting such time as King Zau al- Makan should send a requisition to him. Such was the case with Sultan Zibl Khan, but as regards the Wazir Dandan, he ceased not faring forward and finishing off the stages, in company with Kuzia Fakan till they came to Ruhbah[FN#61] after a month's travel and thence pushed on, till he drew near Baghdad. Then he sent to announce his arrival to King Zau al-Makan who, when he heard this, took horse and rode out to meet him. The Wazir Dandan would have dismounted, but the King conjured him not to do so and urged his steed till he came up to his side. Then he questioned him of Zibl Khan highs Al-Mujahid, whereto the Wazir replied that he was well and that he had brought with him Kuzia Fakan the daughter of his brother. At this the King rejoiced and said to Dandan, "Down with thee and rest thee from the fatigue of the journey for three days, after which come to me again." Replied the Wazir "With joy and gratitude," and betook himself to his own house, whilst the King rode up to his Palace and went in to his brother's daughter, Kuzia Fakan, a girl of eight years old. When he saw her, he rejoiced in her and sorrowed for her sire; then he bade make for her clothes and gave her splendid jewelry and ornaments, and ordered she be lodged with his son Kanmakan in one place. So they both grew up the brightest of the people of their time and the bravest; but Kuzia Fakan became a maiden of good sense and understanding and knowledge of the issues of events, whilst Kanmakan approved him a generous youth and freehanded, taking no care in the issue of aught. And so they continued till each of them attained the age of twelve. Now Kuzia Fakan used to ride a horseback and fare forth with her cousin into the open plain and push forward and range at large with him in the word; and they both learnt to smite with swords and spike with spears. But when they had reached the age of twelve, King Zau al-Makan, having completed his preparations and provisions and munitions for Holy War, summoned the Wazir Dandan and said to him, "Know that I have set mind on a thing, which I will discover to thee, and I want shine opinion thereon; so do thou with speed return me a reply." Asked the Wazir, "What is that, O King of the Age?"; and the other answered, "I am resolved to make my son Kanmakan Sultan and rejoice in him in my lifetime and do battle before him till death overtake me. What reckest thou of this?" The Wazir kissed the ground before the King and replied, "Know, O King and Sultan mine, Lord of the Age and the time! that which is in thy mind is indeed good, save that it is now no tide to carry it out, for two reasons; the first, that thy son Kanmakan is yet of tender years; and the second, that it often befalleth him who maketh his son King in his life time, to live but a little while thereafterward.[FN#62] And this is my reply." Rejoined the King, "Know, O Wazir that we will make the Grand Chamberlain guardian over him, for he is now one of the family and he married my sister, so that he is to me as a brother." Quoth the Wazir, "Do what seemeth good to thee: we have only to obey thine orders." Then the King sent for the Grand Chamberlain whom they brought into the presence together with the Lords of the realm and he said to them, "Ye know that this my son Kanmakan is the first cavalier of the age, and that he hath no peer in striking with the sword and lunging with the lance; and now I appoint him to be Sultan over you and I make the Grand Chamberlain, his uncle, guardian over him." Replied the Chamberlain, "I am but a tree which thy bounty hath planted"; and Zau al-Makan said, "O Chamberlain, verily this my son Kanmakan and my niece Kuzia Fakan are brothers' children; so I hereby marry her to him and I call those present to witness thereof." Then he made over to his son such treasures as no tongue can describe, and going in to his sister, Nuzhat al-Zaman, told her what he had done, whereat she was a glad woman and said, "Verily the twain are my children: Allah preserve thee to them and keep thy life for them many a year!" Replied he, "O my sister, I have accomplished in this world all my heart desired and I have no fear for my son! yet it were well thou have an eye on him, and an eye on his mother." And he charged the Chamberlain and Nuzhat al-Zaman with the care of his son and niece and wife, and this he continued to do nights and days till he fell sick and deemed surely that he was about to drink the cup of death; so he took to his bed, whilst the Chamberlain busied himself with ordering the folk and realm. At the end of the year, the King summoned his son Kanmakan and the Wazir Dandan and said, "O my son, after my death this Wazir is thy sire; for know that I am about to leave this house of life transitory for the house of eternity. And indeed I have fulfilled my will of this world; yet there remaineth in my heart one regret which may Allah dispel through and by thy hands." Asked his son, "What regret is that, O my father?" Answered Zau al-Makan, "O my son, the sole regret of me is that I die without having avenged thy grandfather, Omar bin al-Nu'uman, and thine uncle, Sharrkan, on an old woman whom they call Zat al-Dawahi; but, if Allah grant thee aid, sleep not till thou take thy wreak on her, and so wipe out the shame we have suffered at the Infidel's hands; and beware of the old hag's wile and do what the Wazir Dandan shall advise thee; because he from old time hath been the pillar of our realm." And his son assented to what he said. Then the King's eyes ran over with tears and his sickness redoubled on him; whereupon his brother in law, the Chamberlain took charge over the country and, being a capable man, he judged and bade and forbade for the whole of that year, while Zau al-Makan was occupied with his malady. And his sickness was sore upon him for four years, during which the Chief Chamberlain sat in his stead and gave full satisfaction to the commons and the nobles; and all the country blessed his rule. Such was the case with Zau al-Makan and the Chamberlain, but as regards the King's son, he busied himself only with riding and lunging with lance and shooting with shaft, and thus also did the daughter of his uncle, Kuzia Fakan; for he and she were wont to fare forth at the first of the day and return at nightfall, when she would go in to her mother, and he would go in to his mother whom he ever found sitting in tears by the head of his father's couch. Then he would tend his father all night long till daybreak, when he would go forth again with his cousin according to their wont. Now Zau al-Makan's pains and sufferings were lonesome upon him and he wept and began versifying with these couplets,
"Gone is my strength, told is my tale of days * And, lookye! I am left as thou dost see: In honour's day most honoured wont to be, * And win the race from all my company Would Heaven before my death I might behold * My son in seat of empire sit for me And rush upon his foes, to take his wreak * With sway of sword and lance lunged gallantly: In this world and the next I am undone, * Except the Lord vouchsafe me clemency."
When he had ended repeating these verses, he laid his head on his pillow and closed his eyes and slept. Then saw he in his sleep one who said to him, "Rejoice, for thy son shall fill the lands with justest sway; and he shall rule them and him shall the lieges obey."; Then he awoke from his dream gladdened by the good tidings he had seen, and after a few days, Death smote him, and because of his dying great grief fell on the people of Baghdad, and simple and gentle mourned for him. But Time passed over him, as though he had never been[FN#63] and Kanmakan's estate was changed; for the people of Baghdad set him aside and put him and his family in a place apart. Now when his mother saw this, she fell into the sorriest of plights and said, "There is no help but that I go to the Grand Chamberlain, and I must hope for the aidance of the Subtle, the All-Wise!" Then she rose from her place and betook herself to the house of the Chamberlain who was now become Sultan, and she found him sitting upon his carpet. So she went in to his wife, Nuzhat al-Zaman, and wept with sore weeping and said unto her, "Verily the dead hath no friend! May Allah never bring you to want as long as your age and the years endure, and may you cease not to rule justly over rich and poor. Thine ears have heard and thine eyes have seen all that was ours of kingship and honour and dignity and wealth and fair fortune of life and condition; and now Time hath turned upon us, and fate and the world have betrayed us and wrought in hostile way with us, wherefore I come to thee craving thy favours, I from whom favours were craved: for when a man dieth, women and maidens are brought to despisal." And she repeated these couplets,
"Suffice thee Death such marvels can enhance, * And severed lives make lasting severance: Man's days are marvels, and their stations are * But water-pits[FN#64] of misery and mischance. Naught wrings my heart save loss of noble friends, * Girt round by rings of hard, harsh circumstance."
When Nuzhat al-Zaman heard these words, she remembered her brother, Zau al-Makan, and his son Kanmakan, and, making her draw near to her and showing her honour, she said, "Verily at this moment, by Allah, I am grown rich and thou art poor; now by the Lord! we did not cease to seek thee out, but we feared to wound thy heart lest thou shouldest fancy our gifts to thee an alms gift. Withal, whatso weal we now enjoy is from thee and thy husband; so our house is thy house and our place thy place, and thine is all our wealth and what goods we have belong to thee." Then she robed her in sumptuous robes and set apart for her a place in the Palace adjoining her own; and they abode therein, she and her son, in all delight of life. And Nuzhat al-Zaman clothed him also in Kings' raiment and gave to them both especial handmaids for their service. After a little, she related to her husband the sad case of the widow of her brother, Zau al-Makan, whereat his eyes filled with tears and he said, "Wouldest thou see the world after thee, look thou upon the world after other than thyself. Then entreat her honourably and enrich her poverty."—And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased to say her permitted say.
When It was the One Hundred and Thirty-eighth Night,
She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when Nuzhat Al-Zaman related to her husband the sad case of the widow of her brother, Zau al-Makan, the Chamberlain said, "Entreat her honourably and enrich her poverty." Thus far concerning Nuzhat al-Zaman and her consort and the relict of Zau al-Makan; but as regards Kanmakan and his cousin Kuzia Fakan, they grew up and flourished till they waxed like unto two fruit-laden boughs or two shining moons; and they reached the age of fifteen. And she was indeed the fairest of maids who are modestly veiled, lovely faced with smooth cheeks graced, and slender waist on heavy hips based; and her shape was the shaft's thin line and her lips were sweeter than old wine and the nectar of her mouth as it were the fountain Salsabil[FN#65]; even as saith the poet in these two couplets describing one like her,
"As though ptisane of wine on her lips honey dew * Dropt from the ripened grapes her mouth in clusters grew And, when her frame thou doublest, and low bends her vine, * Praise her Creator's might no creature ever knew."
Of a truth Allah had united in her every charm: her shape would shame the branch of waving tree and the rose before her cheeks craved lenity; and the honey dew of her lips of wine made jeer, however old and clear, and she gladdened heart and beholder with joyous cheer, even as saith of her the poet,
"Goodly of gifts is she, and charm those perfect eyes, * With lashes shaming Kohl and all the fair ones Kohl'd[FN#66] And from those eyne the glances pierce the lover's heart, * Like sword in Mir al-Muminina Ali's hold."
And (the relator continueth) as for Kanmakan, he became unique in loveliness and excelling in perfection no less; none could even him in qualities as in seemliness and the sheen of velour between his eyes was espied, testifying for him while against him it never testified. The hardest hearts inclined to his side; his eyelids bore lashes black as by Kohl; and he was of surpassing worth in body and soul. And when the down of lips and cheeks began to sprout bards and poets sang for him far and near,
"Appeared not my excuse till hair had clothed his cheek, * And gloom o'ercrept that side-face (sight to stagger!) A fawn, when eyes would batten on his charms, * Each glance deals thrust like point of Khanjar-dagger."
And saith another,
"His lovers' souls have drawn upon his cheek * An ant that perfected its rosy light: I marvel at such martyrs Laza-pent * Who yet with greeny robes of Heaven are dight.''[FN#67]
Now it chanced one holiday, that Kuzia Fakan fared forth to make festival with certain kindred of the court, and she went surrounded by her handmaids. And indeed beauty encompassed her, the roses of her cheeks dealt envy to their mole; from out her smiling lips levee flashed white, gleaming like the chamomile[FN#68]; and Kanmakan began to turn about her and devour her with his sight, for she was the moon of resplendent light. Then he took heart and giving his tongue a start began to improvise,
"When shall the disappointed heart be healed of severance, * And lips of Union smile at ceasing of our hard mischance? Would Heaven I knew shall come some night, and with it surely bring * Meeting with friend who like myself endureth sufferance."[FN#69]
When Kuzia Fakan heard these couplets, she showed vexation and disapproval and, putting on a haughty and angry air, said to him, "Dost thou name me in thy verse, to shame me amongst folk? By Allah, if thou turn not from this talk, I will assuredly complain of thee to the Grand Chamberlain, Sultan of Khorasan and Baghdad and lord of justice and equity; that disgrace and punishment may befal thee!" Kanmakan made no reply for anger but he returned to Baghdad; and Kuzia Fakan also returned to her palace and complained of her cousin to her mother, who said to her, "O my daughter, haply he meant thee no harm, and is he aught but an orphan? Withal, he said nought of reproach to thee; so beware thou tell none of this, lest perchance it come to e Sultan's ears and he cut short his life and blot out his name and make it even as yesterday, whose memory hath passed away." However, Kanmakan's love for Kuzia Fakan spread abroad in Baghdad, so that the women talked of it. Moreover, his breast became straitened and his patience waned and he knew not what to do, yet he could not hide his condition from the world. Then longed he to give vent to the pangs he endured, by reason of the lowe of separation; but he feared her rebuke and her wrath; so he began improvising,
"Now is my dread to incur reproaches, which * Disturb her temper and her mind obscure, Patient I'll bear them; e'en as generous youth his case to cure.'' * Beareth the burn of brand his case to cure."[FN#70]
And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased saying her permitted say.
When it was the One Hundred and Thirty-ninth Night,
She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when the Grand Chamberlain became Sultan they named him King Sasan; and after he had assumed the throne he governed the people in righteous way. Now as he was giving audience one day, Kanmakan's verses came to his knowledge. Thereupon he repented him of the past and going in to his wife Nuzhat al-Zaman, said to her, "Verily, to join Halfah grass and fire,[FN#71] is the greatest of risks, and man may not be trusted with woman, so long as eye glanceth and eyelid quivereth. Now thy brother's son, Kanmakan, is come to man's estate and it behoveth us to forbid him access to the rooms where anklets trinkle, and it is yet more needful to forbid thy daughter the company of men, for the like of her should be kept in the Harim." Replied she, "Thou sayest sooth, O wise King!" Next day came Kanmakan according to his wont; and, going in to his aunt saluted her. She returned his salutation and said to him, "O my son! I have some what to say to thee which I would fain leave unsaid; yet I must tell it thee despite my inclination." Quoth he, "Speak;" and quoth she, Know then that thy sire the Chamberlain, the father of Kuzia Fakan, hath heard of the verses thou madest anent her, and hath ordered that she be kept in the Harim and out of thy reach; if therefore, O my son, thou want anything from us, I will send it to thee from behind the door; and thou shalt not look upon Kuzia Fakan nor shalt thou return hither from this day forth." When he heard this he arose and withdrew with out speaking a single word; and, betaking himself to his mother related what his aunt had said. She observed, "This all cometh of thine overtalking. Thou knowest that the news of thy passion for Kuzia Fakan is noised abroad and the tattle hath spread everywhere how thou eatest their food and thereafter thou courtest their daughter." Rejoined he, "And who should have her but I? She is the daughter of my father's brother and I have the best of rights to her." Retorted his mother, "These are idle words. Be silent, lest haply thy talk come to King Sasan's ears and it prove the cause of thy losing her and the reason of thy ruin and increase of thine affliction. They have not sent us any supper to-night and we shall die an hungered; and were we in any land but this, we were already dead of famine or of shame for begging our bread." When Kanmakan heard these words from his mother, his regrets redoubled; his eyes ran over with tears and he complained and began improvising,
"Minish this blame I ever bear from you: * My heart loves her to whom all love is due: Ask not from me of patience jot or little, * Divorce of Patience by God's House! I rue: What blamers preach of patience I unheed; * Here am I, love path firmly to pursue! Indeed they bar me access to my love, * Here am I by God's ruth no ill I sue! Good sooth my bones, whenas they hear thy name, * Quail as birds quailed when Nisus o'er them flew:[FN#72] Ah! say to them who blame my love that I * Will love that face fair cousin till I die."
And when he had ended his verses he said to his mother, "I have no longer a place in my aunt's house nor among these people, but I will go forth from the palace and abide in the corners of the city." So he and his mother left the court; and, having sought an abode in the neighbourhood of the poorer sort, there settled; but she used to go from time to time to King Sasan's palace and thence take daily bread for herself and her son. As this went on Kuzia Fakan took her aside one day and said to her, "Alas, O my naunty, how is it with thy son?" Replied she, "O my daughter, sooth to say, he is tearful-eyed and heavy hearted, being fallen into the net of thy love." And she repeated to her the couplets he had made; whereupon Kuzia Fakan wept and said, "By Allah! I rebuked him not for his words, nor for ill-will to him, but because I feared for him the malice of foes. Indeed my passion for him is double that he feeleth for me; my tongue may not describe my yearning for him; and were it not for the extravagant wilfulness of his words and the wanderings of his wit, my father had not cut off from him favours that besit, nor had decreed unto him exclusion and prohibition as fit. However, man's days bring nought but change, and patience in all case is most becoming: peradventure He who ordained our severance will vouchsafe us reunion!" And she began versifying in these two couplets,
"O son of mine uncle! same sorrow I bear, * And suffer the like of thy cark and thy care Yet hide I from man what I suffer for pine; * Hide it too, and such secret to man never bare!"
When his mother heard this from her, she thanked her and blessed her: then she left her and acquainted her son with what she had said; whereupon his desire for her increased and he took heart, being eased of his despair and the turmoil of his love and care. And he said, "By Allah, I desire none but her!"; and he began improvising,
"Leave this blame, I will list to no flout of my foe! * I divulged a secret was told me to keep: He is lost to my sight for whose union I yearn, * And I watch all the while he can slumber and sleep."
So the days and nights went by whilst Kanmakan lay tossing upon coals of fire,[FN#73] till he reached the age of seventeen; and his beauty had waxt perfect and his wits were at their brightest. One night, as he lay awake, he communed with himself and said, "Why should I keep silence till I waste away and see not my lover? Fault have I none save poverty; so, by Allah, I am resolved to remove me from this region and wander over the wild and the word; for my position in this city is a torture and I have no friend nor lover therein to comfort me; wherefore I am determined to distract myself by absence from my native land till I die and take my rest after this shame and tribulation." And he began to improvise and recited these couplets,
"Albeit my vitals quiver 'neath this ban; * Before the foe myself I'll ne'er unman! So pardon me, my vitals are a writ * Whose superscription are my tears that ran: Heigh ho! my cousin seemeth Houri may * Come down to earth by reason of Rizwan: 'Scapes not the dreadful sword lunge of her look * Who dares the glancing of those eyne to scan: O'er Allah's wide spread world I'll roam and roam, * And from such exile win what bread I can Yes, o'er broad earth I'll roam and save my soul, * All but her absence bear ing like a man With gladsome heart I'll haunt the field of fight, * And meet the bravest Brave in battle van!"
So Kanmakan fared forth from the palace barefoot and he walked in a short sleeved gown, wearing on his head a skull cap of felt[FN#74] seven years old and carrying a scone three days stale, and in the deep glooms of night betook himself to the portal of al-Arij of Baghdad. Here he waited for the gate being opened and when it was opened, he was the first to pass through it; and he went out at random and wandered about the wastes night and day. When the dark hours came, his mother sought him but found him not; whereupon the world waxt strait upon her for all that it was great and wide, and she took no delight in aught of weal it supplied. She looked for him a first day and a second day and a third day till ten days were past, but no news of him reached her. Then her breast became contracted and she shrieked and shrilled, saying, "O my son! O my darling! thou hast revived my regrets. Sufficed not what I endured, but thou must depart from my home? After thee I care not for food nor joy in sleep, and naught but tears and mourning are left me. O my son, from what land shall I call thee? And what town hath given thee refuge?" Then her sobs burst out, and she began repeating these couplets,
"Well learnt we, since you left, our grief and sorrow to sustain, * While bows of severance shot their shafts in many a railing rain: They left me, after girthing on their selles of corduwayne * To fight the very pangs of death while spanned they sandy plain: Mysterious through the nightly gloom there came the moan of dove; * A ring dove, and replied I, 'Cease thy plaint, how durst complain?' If, by my life, her heart, like mine, were full of pain and pine * She had not decks her neck with ring nor sole with ruddy stain.[FN#75] Fled is mine own familiar friend, bequeathing me a store * Of parting pang and absence ache to suffer evermore."
Then she abstained from food and drink and gave herself up to excessive tear shedding and lamentation. Her grief became public property far and wide and all the people of the town and country side wept with her and cried, "Where is thine eye, O Zau al- Makan?" And they bewailed the rigours of Time, saying, "Would Heaven we knew what hath befallen Kanmakan that he fled his native town, and chased himself from the place where his father used to fill all in hungry case and do justice and grace?" And his mother redoubled her weeping and wailing till the news of Kanmakan's departure came to King Sasan.—And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased saying her permitted say.
When it was the One Hundred and Fortieth Night,
She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that came to King Sasan the tidings of the departure of Kanmakan, through the Chief Emirs who said to him, "Verily he is the son of our Sovran and the seed of King Omar bin al-Nu'uman and it hath reached us that he hath exiled himself from the land." When King Sasan heard these words, he was wroth with them and ordered one of them to be hanged by way of silencing him, whereat the fear of him fell upon the hearts of all the other Grandees and they dared not speak one word. Then he called to mind all the kindness that Zau al-Makan had done him, and how he had charged him with the care of his son; wherefore he grieved for Kanmakan and said, "Needs must I have search made for him in all countries." So he summoned Tarkash and bade him choose an hundred horse and wend with them in quest of the Prince. Accordingly he went out and was absent ten days, after which he returned and said, "I can learn no tidings of him and have hit on no trace of him, nor can any tell me aught of him." Upon this King Sasan repented him of that which he had done by the Prince; whilst his mother abode in unrest continual nor would patience come at her call: and thus passed over her twenty days in heaviness all. This is how it fared with these; but as regards Kanmakan, when he left Baghdad, he went forth perplexed about his case and knowing not whither he should go: so he fared on alone through the desert for three days and saw neither footman nor horseman; withal, his sleep fled and his wakefulness redoubled, for he pined after his people and his homestead. He ate of the herbs of the earth and drank of its flowing waters and siesta'd under its trees at hours of noontide heats, till he turned from that road to another way and, following it other three days, came on the fourth to a land of green leas, dyed with the hues of plants and trees and with sloping valley sides made to please, abounding with the fruits of the earth. It had drunken of the cups of the cloud, to the sound of thunders rolling loud and the song of the turtle-dove gently sough'd, till its hill slopes were brightly verdant and its fields were sweetly fragrant. Then Kanmakan recalled his father's city Baghdad, and for excess of emotion he broke out into verse,
"I roam, and roaming hope I to return; * Yet of returning see not how or when: I went for love of one I could not win, * Nor way of 'scaping ills that pressed could ken."
When he ended his recital he wept, but presently he wiped away his tears and ate of the fruits of the earth enough for his present need. Then he made the Wuzu-ablution and prayed the ordained prayers which he had neglected all this time; and he sat resting in that place through the livelong day. When night came he slept and ceased not sleeping till midnight, when he awoke and heard a human voice declaiming these couplets,
"What's life to me, unless I see the pearly sheen * Of teeth I love, and sight that glorious mien? Pray for her Bishops who in convents reign, * Vying to bow before that heavenly queen. And Death is lighter than the loved one's wrath, * Whose phantom haunts me seen in every scene: O joy of cup companions, when they meet, * And loved and lover o'er each other lean! E'en more in time of spring, the lord of flowers, * When fragrant is the world with bloom and green: Drainer of vine-juice! up wi' thee, for now * Earth is a Heaven where sweet waters flow.[FN#76]"
When Kanmakan heard these distichs his sorrows surged up; his tears ran down his cheeks like freshets and flames of fire darted into his heart. So he rose to see who it was that spake these words, but saw none for the thickness of the gloom; whereupon passion increased on him and he was frightened and restlessness possessed him. He descended from his place to the sole of the valley and walked along the banks of the stream, till he heard the same voice sighing heavy sighs and reciting these couplets,
"Tho' 'tis thy wont to hide thy love perforce, * Yet weep on day of parting and divorce! Twixt me and my dear love were plighted vows; * Pledge of reunion, fonder intercourse: With joy inspires my heart and deals it rest * Zephyr, whose coolness doth desire enforce. O Sa'ada,[FN#77] thinks of me that anklet wearer? * Or parting broke she troth without remorse? And say! shall nights foregather us, and we * Of suffered hardships tell in soft discourse? Quoth she, 'Thou'rt daft for us and fey'; quoth I, * ' 'Sain thee! how many a friend hast turned to corse!' If taste mine eyes sweet sleep while she's away, * Allah with loss of her these eyne accurse. O wounds in vitals mine! for cure they lack * Union and dewy lips' sweet theriack."[FN#78]
When Kanmakan heard this verse again spoken by the same voice yet saw no one, he knew that the speaker was a lover like unto himself, debarred from union with her who loved him; and he said to himself, "'Twere fitting that this man should lay his head to my head and become my comrade in this my strangerhood."[FN#79] Then he hailed the speaker and cried out to him, saying, "O thou who farest in sombrest night, draw near to me and tell me thy tale haply thou shalt find me one who will succour thee in thy sufferings." And when the owner of the voice heard these words, he cried out, "O thou that respondest to my complaint and wouldest hear my history, who art thou amongst the knights? Art thou human or Jinni? Answer me speedily ere thy death draw near for I have wandered in this desert some twenty days and have seen no one nor heard any voice but thy voice." At these words Kanmakan said to himself, "This one's case is like my case, for I, even I, have wandered twenty days, nor during my wayfare have I seen man or heard voice:" and he added, "I will make him no answer till day arise." So he was silent, and the voice again called out to him, saying, "O thou that callest, if thou be of the Jinn fare in peace and, if thou be man, stay awhile till the day break stark and the night flee with the dark." The speaker abode in his place and Kanmakan did likewise and the twain in reciting verses never failed, and wept tears that railed till the light of day began loom and the night departed with its gloom. Then Kanmakan looked at the other and found him to be of the Badawi Arabs, a youth in the flower of his age; clad in worn clothes and bearing in baldrick a rusty sword which he kept sheathed, and the signs of love longing were apparent on him. He went up to him and accosted him and saluted him, and the Badawi returned the salute and greeted him with courteous wishes for his long life, but somewhat despised him, seeing his tender years and his condition, which was that of a pauper. So he said to him, "O youth, of what tribe art thou and to whom art thou kin among the Arabs; and what is thy history that thou goest by night, after the fashion of knights? Indeed thou spakest to me in the dark words such as are spoken of none but doughty cavaliers and lion- like warriors; and now I hold thy life in hand. But I have compassion on thee by reason of thy green years; so I will make thee my companion and thou shalt go with me, to do me service." When Kanmakan heard him speak these unseemly words, after showing him such skill in verse, he knew that he despised him and would presume with him; therefore he answered him with soft and well- chosen speech, saying, "O Chief of the Arabs, leave my tenderness of age and tell me why thou wanderest by night in the desert reciting verses. Thou talkest, I see, of my serving thee; who then art thou and what moved thee to talk this wise?" Answered he, "Hark ye, boy! I am Sabbah, son of Rammah bin Humam.[FN#80] My people are of the Arabs of Syria and I have a cousin, Najmah highs, who to all that look on her brings delight. And when my father died I was brought up in the house of his brother, the father of Najmah; but as soon I grew up and my uncle's daughter became a woman, they secluded her from me and me from her, seeing that I was poor and without money in pouch. Then the Chiefs of the Arabs and the heads of the tribes rebuked her sire, and he was abashed before them and consented to give me my cousin, but upon condition that I should bring him as her dower fifty head of horses and fifty dromedaries which travel ten days[FN#81] without a halt and fifty camels laden with wheat and a like number laden with barley, together with ten black slaves and ten handmaids. Thus the weight he set upon me was beyond my power to bear; for he exacted more than the marriage settlement as by law established. So here am I, travelling from Syria to Irak, and I have passed twenty days with out seeing other than thyself; yet I mean to go to Baghdad that I may ascertain what merchant men of wealth and importance start thence. Then will I fare forth in their track and loot their goods, and I will slay their escort and drive off their camels with their loads. But what manner of man art thou?" Replied Kanmakan, "Thy case is like unto my case, save that my evil is more grievous than thine ill; for my cousin is a King's daughter and the dowry of which thou hast spoken would not content her people, nor would they be satisfied with the like of that from me." Quoth Sabbah, "Surely thou art a fool or thy wits for excess of passion are gathering wool! How can thy cousin be a King's daughter? Thou hast no sign of royal rank on thee, for thou art but a mendicant." Re joined Kanmakan, "O Chief of the Arabs, let not this my case seem strange to thee; for what happened, happened;[FN#82] and if thou desire proof of me, I am Kanmakan, son of King Zau al-Makan, son of King Omar bin al-Nu'uman Lord of Baghdad and the realm Khorasan; and Fortune banned me with her tyrant ban, for my father died and my Sultanate was taken by King Sasan. So I fled forth from Baghdad secretly, lest I be seen of any man, and have wandered twenty days without any but thyself to scan. So now I have discovered to thee my case, and my story is as thy story and my need as thy need." When Sabbab heard this, he cried out, "O my joy, I have attained my desire! I will have no loot this day but thy self; for since thou art of the seed of Kings and hast come out in beggar's garb, there is no help but thy people will seek thee; and, if they find thee in any one's power, they will ransom thee with monies galore. So show me thy back, O my lad, and walk before me." Answered Kanmakan, "O brother of the Arabs, act not on this wise, for my people will not buy me with silver nor with gold, not even with a copper dirham; and I am a poor man, having with me neither much nor little, so cease then to be upon this track and take me to thy comrade. Fare we forth for the land of Irak and wander over the world, so haply we may win dower and marriage portion, and we may seek and enjoy our cousins' kisses and embraces when we come back." Hearing this, Sabbah waxed angry; his arrogance and fury redoubled and he said, "Woe to thee! Dost thou bandy words with me, O vilest of dogs that be? Turn thee thy back, or I will come down on thee with clack!" Kanmakan smiled and answered, "Why should I turn my back for thee? Is there no justice in thee? Dost thou not fear to bring blame upon the Arab men by driving a man like myself captive, in shame and disdain, before thou hast proved him on the plain, to know if he be a warrior or of cowardly strain?" Upon this Sabbah laughed and replied, "By Allah, a wonder! Thou art a boy in years told, but in talk thou art old. These words should come from none but a champion doughty and bold: what wantest thou of justice?" Quoth Kanmakan, "If thou wilt have me thy captive, to wend with thee and serve thee, throw down thine arms and put off thine outer gear and come on and wrestle with me; and whichever of us throw his opponent shall have his will of him and make him his boy." Then Sabbah laughed and said, "I think this waste of breath de noteth the nearness of thy death." Then he arose and threw down his weapon and, tucking up his skirt, drew near unto Kanmakan who also drew near and they gripped each other. But the Badawi found that the other had the better of him and weighed him down as the quintal downweighs the diner; and he looked at his legs firmly planted on the ground, and saw that they were as two minarets[FN#83] strongly based, or two tent-poles in earth encased, or two mountains which may not he displaced. So he acknowledged himself to be a failure and repented of having come to wrestle with him, saying in himself, "Would I had slain him with my weapon!" Then Kanmakan took hold of him and mastering him, shook him till the Badawi thought his bowels would burst in his belly, and he broke out, "Hold thy hand, O boy!" He heeded not his words, but shook him again and, lifting him from the ground, made with him towards the stream, that he might throw him therein: where upon the Badawi roared out, saying, "O thou valiant man, what wilt thou do with me?"[FN#84] Quoth he, "I mean to throw thee into this stream: it will bear thee to the Tigris. The Tigris will bring thee to the river Isa and the Isa will carry thee to the Euphrates, and the Euphrates will land thee in shine own country; so thy tribe shall see thee and know thy manly cheer and how thy passion be sincere." Then Sabbah cried aloud and said, "O Champion of the desert lair, do not with me what deed the wicked dare but let me go, by the life of thy cousin, the jewel of the fair!" Hearing this, Kanmakan set him on the ground, but when he found him self at liberty, he ran to his sword and targe and taking them up stood plotting in himself treachery and sudden assault on his adversary.[FN#85] The Prince kenned his intent in his eye and said to him, "I con what is in thy heart, now thou hast hold of thy sword and thy targe. Thou hast neither length of hand nor trick of wrestling, but thou thinkest that, wert thou on thy mare and couldst wheel about the plain, and ply me with thy skene, I had long ago been slain. But I will give thee thy requite, so there may be left in thy heart no despite; now give me the targe and fall on me with thy whinger; either thou shalt kill me or I shall kill thee." "Here it is," answered Sabbah and, throwing him the targe, bared his brand and rushed at him sword in hand; Kanmakan hent the buckler in his right and began to fend himself with it, whilst Sabbah struck at him, saying at each stroke, "This is the finishing blow!" But it fell harmless enow, for Kanmakan took all on his buckler and it was waste work, though he did not reply lacking the wherewithal to strike and Sabbah ceased not to smite at him with his sabre, till his arm was weary. When his opponent saw this, he rushed upon him and, hugging him in his arms, shook him and threw him to the ground. Then he turned him over on his face and pinioned his elbows behind him with the baldrick of his sword, and began to drag him by the feet and to make for the river. Thereupon cried Sabbah, "What wilt thou do with me, O youth, and cavalier of the age and brave of the plain where battles rage?" Answered he, "Did I not tell thee that it was my intent to send thee by the river to thy kin and to thy tribe, that thy heart be not troubled for them nor their hearts be troubled for thee, and lest thou miss thy cousin's bride-feast!" At this Sabbah shrieked aloud and wept and screaming said, "Do not thus, O champion of the time's braves! Let me go and make me one of thy slaves!" And he wept and wailed and began reciting these verses,
"I'm estranged fro' my folk and estrangement's long: * Shall I die amid strangers? Ah, would that I kenned! I die, nor my kinsman shall know where I'm slain, * Die in exile nor see the dear face of my friend!"
Thereupon Kanmakan had compassion on him and said, "Make with me a covenant true and swear me an oath to be a comrade as due and to bear me company wheresoever I may go." "'Tis well," replied Sabbah and swore accordingly. Then Kanmakan loosed him and he rose and would have kissed the Prince's hand; but he forbade him that. Then the Badawi opened his scrip and, taking out three barley scones, laid them before Kanmakan and they both sat down on the bank of the stream to eat.[FN#86] When they had done eating together, they made the lesser ablution and prayed; after which they sat talking of what had befallen each of them from his people and from the shifts of Time. Presently said Kanmakan, "Whither dost thou now intend?" Replied Sabbah, "I purpose to repair to Baghdad, thy native town, and abide there, until Allah vouchsafe me the marriage portion." Rejoined the other, "Up then and to the road! I tarry here." So the Badawi farewelled him and took the way for Baghdad, whilst Kanmakan remained behind, saying to himself, "O my soul, with what face shall I return pauper- poor? Now by Allah, I will not go back empty handed and, if the Almighty please, I will assuredly work my deliverance." Then he went to the stream and made the Wuzu-washing and when prostrating he laid his brow in the dust and prayed to the Lord, saying, "O Allah! Thou who sendest down the dew, and feedest the worm that homes in the stone, I beseech Thee vouchsafe me my livelihood of Thine Omnipotence and the Grace of Thy benevolence!" Then he pronounced the salutation which closes prayer; yet every road appeared closed to him. And while he sat turning right and left, behold, he espied a horseman making towards him with bent back and reins slack. He sat up right and after a time reached the Prince; and the stranger was at the last gasp and made sure of death, for he was grievously wounded when he came up; the tears streamed down his cheeks like water from the mouths of skins, and he said to Kanmakan, "O Chief of the Arabs, take me to thy friendship as long as I live, for thou wilt not find my like; and give me a little water though the drinking of water be harmful to one wounded, especially whilst the blood is flowing and the life with it. And if I live, I will give thee what shall heal thy penury and thy poverty: and if I die, mayst thou be blessed for thy good intent." Now under that horseman was a stallion, so noble a Rabite[FN#87] the tongue fails to describe him; and as Kanmakan looked at his legs like marble shafts, he was seized with a longing and said to himself, "Verily the like of this stallion[FN#88] is not to be found in our time." Then he helped the rider to alight and entreated him in friendly guise and gave him a little water to swallow; after which he waited till he had taken rest and addressed him, saying, "Who hath dealt thus with thee?" Quoth the rider, "I will tell thee the truth of the case. I am a horse thief and I have busied myself with lifting and snatching horses all my life, night and day, and my name is Ghassan, the plague of every stable and stallion. I heard tell of this horse, that he was in the land of Roum, with King Afridun, where they had named him Al-Katul and surnamed him Al Majnun.[FN#89] So I journeyed to Constantinople for his sake and watched my opportunity and whilst I was thus waiting, there came out an old woman, one highly honoured among the Greeks, and whose word with them is law, by name Zat al-Dawahi, a past mistress in all manner of trickery. She had with her this steed and ten slaves, no more, to attend on her and the horse; and she was bound for Baghdad and Khorasan, there to seek King Sasan and to sue for peace and pardon from ban. So I went out in their track, longing to get at the horse,[FN#90] and ceased not to follow them, but was unable to come by the stallion, because of the strict guard kept by the slaves, till they reached this country and I feared lest they enter the city of Baghdad. As I was casting about to steal the stallion lo! a great cloud of dust arose on them and walled the horizon. Presently it opened and disclosed fifty horsemen, gathered together to waylay merchants on the highway, and their captain, by name Kahrdash, was a lion in daring and dash; a furious lion who layeth knights flat as carpets in battle-crash."—And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased to say her permitted say.
When it was the One Hundred and Forty-first Night,
She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that the wounded rider spake thus to Kanmakan, "Then came out the same Kahrdash, and fell on the old woman and her men and bore down upon them bashing them, nor was it long before they bound her and the ten slaves and bore off their captives and the horse, rejoicing. When I saw this, I said to myself, 'My pains were in vain nor did I attain my gain.' However, I waited to see how the affair would fare, and when the old woman found herself in bonds, she wept and said to the captain, Kahrdash, 'O thou doughty Champion and furious Knight, what wilt thou do with an old woman and slaves, now that thou hast thy will of the horse?' And she beguiled him with soft words and she sware that she would send him horses and cattle, till he released her and her slaves. Then he went his way, he and his comrades, and I followed them till they reached this country; and I watched them, till at last I found an opportunity of stealing the horse, whereupon I mounted him and, drawing a whip from my wallet, struck him with it. When the robbers heard this, they came out on me and surrounded me on all sides and shot arrows and cast spears at me, whilst I stuck fast on his back and he fended me with hoofs and forehand,[FN#91] till at last he bolted out with me from amongst them like unerring shaft or shooting star. But in the stress and stowre I got sundry grievous wounds and sore; and, since that time, I have passed on his back three days without tasting food or sleeping aught, so that my strength is down brought and the world is become to me as naught. But thou hast dealt kindly with me and hast shown ruth on me; and I see thee naked stark and sorrow hath set on thee its mark, yet are signs of wealth and gentle breeding manifest on thee. So tell me, what and whence art thou and whither art thou bound?" Answered the Prince, "My name is Kanmakan, son of Zau al-Makan, son of King Omar bin al-Nu'uman. When my father died and an orphan lot was my fate, a base man seized the throne and became King over small and great." Then he told him all his past from first to last; and the horse thief said to him for he pitied him, "By Allah, thou art one of high degree and exceeding nobility, and thou shalt surely attain estate sublime and become the first cavalier of thy time. If thou can lift me on horseback and mount thee behind me and bring me to my own land, thou shalt have honour in this world and a reward on the day of band calling to band,[FN#92] for I have no strength left to steady myself; and if this be my last day, the steed is thine alway, for thou art worthier of him than any other." Quoth Kanmakan, By Allah, if I could carry thee on my shoulders or share my days with thee, I would do this deed without the steed! For I am of a breed that loveth to do good and to succour those in need; and one kindly action in Almighty Allah's honour averteth seventy calamities from its doer. So make ready to set out and put thy trust in the Subtle, the All- Wise." And he would have lifted him on to the horse and fared forward trusting in Allah Aider of those who seek aid, but the horse thief said, "Wait for me awhile. Then he closed his eyes and opening his hands, said I testify that there is no god but the God, and I testify that Mohammed is the Apostle of God!" And he added, "O glorious One, pardon me my mortal sin, for none can pardon mortal sins save the Immortal!" And he made ready for death and recited these couplets,
"I have wronged mankind, and have ranged like wind * O'er the world, and in wine-cups my life has past: I've swum torrent course to bear off the horse; * And my guiles high places on plain have cast. Much I've tried to win and o'er much my sin, * And Katul of my winnings is most and last: I had hoped of this steed to gain wish and need, * But vain was the end of this journey vast. I have stolen through life, and my death in strife * Was doomed by the Lord who doth all forecast And I've toiled these toils to their fatal end * For an orphan, a pauper sans kith or friend!"
And when he had finished his verses he closed his eyes and opened his mouth; then with a single death-rattling he left this world. Thereupon Kanmakan rose and dug a grave and laid him in the dust; after which he went up to the steed and kissed him and wiped his face and joyed with exceeding joy, saying, "None hath the fellow of this stallion; no, not even King Sasan." Such was the case with Kanmakan; but as regards King Sasan, presently news came to him that the Wazir Dandan had thrown off his allegiance, and with him half the army who swore that they would have no King but Kanmakan: and the Minister had bound the troops by a solemn covenant and had gone with them to the Islands of India and to Berber-land and to Black-land;[FN#93] where he had levied armies from far and near, like unto the swollen sea for fear and none could tell the host's van from its rear. And the Minister was resolved to make for Baghdad and take the kingdom in ward and slay every soul who dare retard, having sworn not to return the sword of war to its sheath, till he had made Kanmakan King. When this news came to Sasan, he was drowned in the sea of appal, knowing that the whole state had turned against him, great and small; and his trouble redoubled and his care became despair. So he opened his treasuries and distributed his monies among his officers; and he prayed for Kanmakan's return, that he might draw his heart to him with fair usage and bounty; and make him commander of those troops which ceased not being faithful to him, so might he quench the sparks ere they became a flame. Now when the news of this reached Kanmakan by the merchants, he returned in haste to Baghdad on the back of the aforesaid stallion, and as King Sasan sat perplexed upon his throne he heard of the coming of Kanmakan; whereupon he despatched all the troops and head-men of the city to meet him. So all who were in Baghdad fared forth and met the Prince and escorted him to the palace and kissed the thresholds, whilst the damsels and the eunuchs went in to his mother and gave her the fair tidings of his return. She came to him and kissed him between the eyes, but he said to her, "O mother mine, let me go to my uncle King Sasan who hath overwhelmed me with weal and boon." And while he so did, all the palace-people and head-men marvelled at the beauty of the stallion and said, "No King is like unto this man." So Kanmakan went in to King Sasan and saluted him as he rose to receive him; and, kissing his hands and feet, offered him the horse as a present. The King greeted him, saying, "Well come and welcome to my son Kanmakan! By Allah, the world hath been straitened on me by reason of thine absence, but praised be Allah for thy safety!" And Kanmakan called down blessings on him. Then the King looked at the stallion, Al-Katul highs, and knew him for the very horse he had seen in such and such a year whilst beleaguering the Cross-worshippers of Constantinople with Kanmakan's sire, Zau al- Makan, that time they slew his uncle Sharrkan. So he said to the Prince, "If thy father could have come by this courser, he would have bought it with a thousand blood horses: but now let the honour return to the honourable. We accept the steed and we give him back to thee as a gift, for to him thou hast more right than any wight, being knightliest of knights." Then King Sasan bade bring forth for him dresses of honour and led horses and appointed to him the chief lodging in the palace, and showed him the utmost affection and honour, because he feared the issue of the Wazir Dandan's doings. At this Kanmakan rejoiced and shame and humiliation ceased from him. Then he went to his house and, going to his mother, asked, "O my mother, how is it with the daughter of my uncle?" Answered she, "By Allah, O my son, my concern for thine absence hath distracted me from any other, even from thy beloved; especially as she was the cause of thy strangerhood and thy separation from me." Then he complained to her of his case, saying, "O my mother, go to her and speak with her; haply she will vouchsafe me her sight to see and dispel from me this despondency." Replied his mother, "Idle desires abase men's necks; so put away from thee this thought that can only vex; for I will not wend to her nor go in to her with such message.' Now when he heard his mother's words he told her what said the horse-thief concerning Zat al-Dawahi, how the old woman was then in their land purposing to make Baghdad, and added, "It was she who slew my uncle and my grandfather, and needs must I avenge them with man-bote, that our reproach be wiped out." Then he left her and repaired to an old woman, a wicked, whorish, pernicious beldam by name Sa'adanah and complained to her of his case and of what he suffered for love of his cousin Kuzia Fakan and begged her to go to her and win her favour for him. "I hear and I obey," answered the old hag and leaving him betook herself to Kuzia Fakan's palace, that she might intercede with her in his behalf. Then she returned to him and said, "Of a truth Kuzia Fakan saluteth thee and promiseth to visit thee this night about midnight."—And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased saying her permitted say.
When it was the One Hundred and Forty-second Night,
She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when the old woman came to Kanmakan and said, "Of a truth the daughter of thine uncle saluteth thee and she will visit thee this night about midnight;" he rejoiced and sat down to await the fulfilment of his cousin's promise. But before the hour of night she came to him, wrapped in a veil of black silk, and she went in to him and aroused him from sleep, saying, "How canst thou pretend to love me, when thou art sleeping heart-free and in complete content?" So he awoke and said, "By Allah, O desire of my heart, I slept not but in the hope that thine image might visit my dreams!" Then she chid him with soft words and began versifying in these couplets,
"Hadst thou been leaf in love's loyalty, * Ne'er haddest suffered sleep to seal those eyne: O thou who claimest lover-loyalty, * Treading the lover's path of pain and pine! By Allah, O my cousin, never yet * Did eyes of lover sleep such sleep indign."
Now when he heard his cousin's words, he was abashed before her and rose and excused himself. Then they embraced and complained to each other of the anguish of separation; and they ceased not thus till dawn broke and day dispersed itself over the horizon; when she rose preparing to depart. Upon this Kanmakan wept and sighed and began improvising these couplets,
"O thou who deignest come at sorest sync, * Whose lips those teeth like necklaced pearls enshrine' I kissed him[FN#94] thousand times and clips his waist, * And spent the night with cheek to cheek close li'en Till to depart us twain came dawning day, * Like sword edge drawn from sheath in radiant line."
And when he ended his poetry, Kuzia Fakan took leave of him and returned to her palace. Now certain of her damsels became aware of her secret, and one of these slave girls disclosed it to King Sasan, who went into Kuzia Fakan and, drawing his sabre upon her, would have slain her: but her mother Nuzhat al-Zaman entered and said to him, "By Allah, do her no harm, for if thou hurt her, the report will be noised among the folk and thou shalt become a reproach amongst the Kings of the age! Know thou that Kanmakan is no son of adultery, but a man of honour and nobility, who would not do aught that could shame him, and she was reared with him. So be not hasty; for verily the report is spread abroad, among all the palace-people and all the folk of Baghdad, how the Wazir Dandan hath levied armies from all countries and is on his way hither to make Kanmakan King." Quoth Sasan, "By Allah, needs must I cast him into such calamity that neither earth shall support him nor sky shall shadow him! I did but speak him fair and show him favour because of my lieges and my lords, lest they incline to him; but right soon shalt thou see what shall betide." Then he left her and went out to order the affairs of the realm. Such, then, was the case with King Sasan; but as regards Kanmakan, on the next day he came in to his mother and said, "O my mother! I am resolved to ride forth a raiding and a looting: and I will cut the road of caravans and lift horses and flocks, negroes and white slaves and, as soon as I have collected great store and my case is bettered galore, I will demand my cousin Kuzia Fakan in marriage of my uncle Sasan." Replied she, "O my son, of a truth the goods of men are not ready to hand like a scape-camel;[FN#95] for on this side of them are sword-strokes and lance-lungings and men that eat the wild beast and lay countries waste and chase lynxes and hunt lions." Quoth he, Heaven forefend that I turn back from my resolve, till I have won to my will! Then he despatched the old woman to Kuzia Fakan, to tell her that he was about to set out in quest of a marriage settle ment befitting her, saying to the beldam, "Thou needs must pray her to send me an answer." "I hear and I obey," replied the old woman and going forth, presently returned with Kuzia Fakan's reply, which was, "She will come to thee at midnight." So he abode awake till one half of the night was passed, when restlessness get hold on him, and before he was aware she came in to him, saying, "My life be thy ransom from wakefulness!" and he sprang up to receive her, exclaiming, "O desire of my heart, my life be thy redemption from all ills and evils!" Then he acquainted her, with his intent, and she wept: but he said, "Weep not, O daughter of my uncle; for I beseech Him who decreed our separation to vouchsafe us reunion and fair understanding." Then Kanmakan, having fixed a day for departure, went in to his mother and took leave of her, after which came he down from his palace and threw the baldrick of his sword over his shoulder and donned turband and face-veil; and mounting his horse, Al-Katul, and looking like the moon at its full, he threaded the streets of Baghdad, till he reached the city gate. And behold, here he found Sabbah bin Rammah coming out of town; and his comrade seeing him, ran to his stirrup and saluted him. He returned his salutation, and Sabbah asked him, "O my brother, how camest thou by this good steed and this sword and clothes, whilst I up to present time have gotten nothing but my sword and target?" Answered Kanmakan, "The hunter returneth not but with quarry after the measure of his intention. A little after thy departure, fortune came to me: so now say, wilt thou go with me and work thine intent in my company and journey with me in this desert?" Replied Sabbah, "By the Lord of the Ka'abah, from this time forth I will call thee naught but 'my lord'!" Then he ran on before the horse, with his sword hanging from his neck and his budget between his shoulder blades, and Kanmakan rode a little behind him; and they plunged into the desert, for a space of four days, eating of the gazelles and drinking water of the springs. On the fifth day they drew near a high hill, at whose foot was a spring-encampment[FN#96] and a deep running stream; and the knolls and hollows were filled with camels and cattle and sheep and horses, and little children played about the pens and folds. When Kanmakan saw this, he rejoiced at the sight and his breast was filled with delight; so he addressed himself to fight, that he might take the camels and the cattle, and said to Sabbah, "Come, fall with us upon this loot, whose owners have left it unguarded here, and do we battle for it with near and far, so haply may fall to our lot of goods some share." Replied Sabbah, "O my lord, verily they to whom these herds belong be many in number; and among them are doughty horsemen and fighting footmen; and if we venture lives in this derring do we shall fall into danger great and neither of us will return safe from this bate; but we shall both be cut off by fate and leave our cousins desolate." Then Kanmakan laughed and knew that he was a coward; so he left him and rode down the rise, intent on rapine, with loud cries and chanting these couplets,
"Oh a valiant race are the sons of Nu'uman, * Braves whose blades shred heads of the foeman-clan![FN#97] A tribe who, when tried in the tussle of war, * Taketh prowess stand in the battle-van: In their tents safe close gaberlunzie's eyne, * Nor his poverty's ugly features scan: And I for their aidance sue of Him * Who is King of Kings and made soul of man."
Then he rushed upon the she-camels like a he-camel in rut and drove all before him, sheep and cattle, horses and dromedaries. Therewith the slaves ran at him with their blades so bright and their lances so long; and at their head rode a Turkish horseman who was indeed a stout champion, doughty in fray and in battle chance and skilled to wield the nut-brown lance and the blade with bright glance. He drove at Kanmakan, saying, "Woe to thee! Knewest thou to whom these herds belong thou hadst not done this deed. Know that they are the goods of the band Grecian, the champions of the ocean and the troop Circassian; and this troop containeth none but valiant wights numbering an hundred knights, who have cast off the allegiance of every Sultan. But there hath been stolen from them a noble stallion, and they have vowed not to return hence without him." Now when Kanmakan heard these words, he cried out, saying, "O villain, this I bestride is the steed whereof ye speak and after which ye seek, and ye would do battle with me for his sake' So come out against me, all of you at once, and do you dourest for the nonce!" Then he shouted between the ears of Al-Katul who ran at them like a Ghul; whereupon Kanmakan let drive at the Turk[FN#98] and ran him through the body and threw him from his horse and let out his life; after which he turned upon a second and a third and a fourth, and also of life bereft them. When the slaves saw this, they were afraid of him, and he cried out and said to them, "Ho, sons of whores, drive out the cattle and the stud or I will dye my spear in your blood." So they untethered the beasts and began to drive them out; and Sabbah came down to Kanmakan with loud voicing and hugely rejoicing; when lo! there arose a cloud of dust and grew till it walled the view, and there appeared under of it riders an hundred, like lions an-hungered. Upon this Sabbah took flight, and fled to the hill's topmost height, leaving the assailable site, and enjoyed sight of the fight, saying, "I am no warrior; but in sport and jest I delight."[FN#99] Then the hundred cavaliers made towards Kanmakan and surrounded him on all sides, and one of them accosted him, saying, "Whither goest thou with this loot?" Quoth he, "I have made it my prize and am carrying it away; and I forbid you from it, or come on to the combat, for know ye that he who is before you is a terrible lion and an honourable champion, and a sword that cutteth wherever it turneth!" When the horseman heard these words, he looked at Kanmakan and saw that he was a knight like a mane-clad lion in might, whilst his face was as the full moon rising on its fourteenth night, and velour shone from between his eyes. Now that horseman was the captain of the hundred horse, and his name was Kahrdash; and when he saw in Kanmakan the perfection of cavalarice with surpassing gifts of comeliness, his beauty reminded him of a beautiful mistress of his whose name was Fatin.[FN#100] Now she was one of the fairest of women in face, for Allah had given her charms and grace and noble qualities of all kinds, such as tongue faileth to explain and which ravish the hearts of men. Moreover, the cavaliers of the tribe feared her prowess and all the champions of that land stood in awe of her high spirit; and she had sworn that she would not marry nor let any possess her, except he should conquer her in combat (Kahrdash being one of her suitors); and she said to her father, "None shall approach me, save he be able to deal me over throw in the field and stead of war thrust and blow. Now when this news reached Kahrdash, he scorned to fight with a girl, fearing reproach; and one of his intimates said to him, "Thou art complete in all conditions of beauty and goodliness; so if thou contend with her, even though she be stronger than thou, thou must needs overcome her; for when she seeth thy beauty and grace, she will be discomfited before thee and yield thee the victory; for verily women have a need of men e'en as thou heedest full plain." Nevertheless Kahrdash refused and would not contend with her, and he ceased not to abstain from her thus, till he met from Kanmakan that which hath been set down. Now he took the Prince for his beloved Fatin and was afraid; albeit indeed she loved him for what she had heard of his beauty and velour; so he went up to him and said, "Woe to thee,[FN#101] O Fatin! Thou comest here to show me thy prowess; but now alight from thy steed, that I may talk with thee, for I have lifted these cattle and have foiled my friends and waylaid many a brave and man of knightly race, all for the sake of thy beauty of form and face, which are without peer. So marry me now, that Kings' daughters may serve thee and thou shalt become Queen of these countries." When Kanmakan heard these words, the fires of wrath flamed up in him and he cried out, "Woe to thee, O Persian dog! Leave Fatin and thy trust and mistrust, and come to cut and thrust, for eftsoon thou shalt lie in the dust;" and so saying, he began to wheel about him and assail him and feel the way to prevail. But when Kahrdash observed him closely he knew him for a doughty knight and a stalwart in fight; and the error of his thought became manifest to him, whenas he saw the green down on his cheeks dispread like myrtles springing from the heart of a rose bright-red. And he feared his onslaught and quoth he to those with him, "Woe to you! Let one of you charge down upon him and show him the keen sword and the quivering spear; for know that when many do battle with one man it is foul shame, even though he be a kemperly wight and an invincible knight." Upon this, there ran at Kanmakan a horseman like a lion in fight, mounted on a black horse with hoofs snow-white and a star on his forehead, the bigness of a dirham, astounding wit and sight, as he were Abjar, which was Antar's destrier, even as saith of him the poet,