Read ADVENTURES OF THE SECOND DARWESH of Bagh O Bahar / Tales of the Four Darweshes, free online book, by Mir Amman of Dihli, on ReadCentral.com.

When it came to the turn of the second Darwesh to speak, he placed himself at his ease, and said

“O friends, to this fakir’s story listen a little;
I will tell it to you, from first to the last, listen;
Whose cure no physician can perform;
My pain is far beyond remedy, listen.”

O ye clothed in the dalk! this wretch is the prince of the kingdom of Persia; men skilled in every science are born there, for which reason the [Persian] proverb “Isfahan nisfi Jahan,” or “Ispahan is half the world,” has become well known. In the seven climes, there is no kingdom equal to that ancient kingdom; the star of that country is the sun, and of all the seven constellations it is the greatest. The climate of that region is delightful, and the inhabitants are of enlightened minds, and refined in their manners. My father (who was the king of that country), in order to teach me the rules and lessons of government, made choice of very wise tutors in every art and science, and placed them over me for my instruction from my infancy. So, having received complete instruction in every kind [of knowledge], I am now learned. With the favour of God, in my fourteenth year I had learned every science, polite conversation, and polished manners; and I had acquired all that is fit and requisite for kings to know; moreover, my inclinations night and day, led me to associate with the learned, and hear the histories of every country, and of ambitious princes and men of renown.

One day, a learned companion, who was well versed in history, and had seen [a great deal of] the world, said to me, “That though there is no reliance on the life of man, yet such excellent qualities are often found in him, that owing to them, the name of some men will be handed down with praise on people’s tongues to the day of judgment.” I begged of him to relate circumstantially a few instances on that score, that I might hear them, and endeavour to act accordingly. Then that person began to relate as follows, some of the adventures of Hatim Ta’i. “That there lived in the time of Hatim, a king of Arabia, named Naufal, who bore great enmity towards Hatim, on account of his renown, and having assembled many troops, he went up to give him battle. Hatim was a God-fearing and good man; he thus conceived, that, “If I likewise prepare for battle, then the creatures of God will be slaughtered, and there will be much bloodshed; the punishment of heaven for which will be recorded against my name.” Reflecting on this, he quite alone, taking merely his life with him, fled and hid himself in a cave in the mountains. When the news of Hatim’s flight reached Naufal, he confiscated all the property and dwellings of Hatim, and proclaimed publicly, that whoever would look out for him and seize him, should receive from the king’s treasury five hundred pieces of gold. On hearing this [proclamation], all became eager, and began to make diligent search for Hatim.

“One day, an old man and his wife, taking two or three of their young children with them, for the purpose of picking up wood, strayed near the cave where Hatim was concealed; and began to gather fuel in that same forest. The old woman remarked, ’If our days had been at all fortunate, we should have seen and found Hatim somewhere or other, and seizing him, we should have carried him to Naufal; then he would give us five hundred pieces of gold, and we should live comfortably, and be released from this toil and care,’ The old woodman said, ’What art thou prating about? it was decreed in our fate, that we should pick up wood every day, place it on our heads, and sell it in the bazar, and [with its produce] procure bread and salt; or one day the tiger of the woods will carry us off: peace, mind thy work; why should Hatim fall into our hands, and the king give us so much money?’ The old woman heaved a cold sigh, and remained silent.

Hatim had heard the words of the two [old people], and conceived it unmanly and ungenerous to conceal himself to save his life, and not to conduct those helpless ones to the object of their desire. True it is, that a man without pity is not a human being, and he in whose heart there is no feeling is a butcher.

’Man was created to exercise compassion,
Otherwise, angels were not wanting for devotion.’

In short, Hatim’s manly mind would not allow him to remain concealed, after what he had with his own ears heard [from the woodman]; he instantly came out, and said to the old man, ’O friend, I myself am Hatim, lead me to Naufal; on seeing me, he will give thee whatever amount of money he has promised.’ The old woodman replied, ’It is true that my welfare and advantage certainly consist in doing so, but who knows how he will treat thee; if he should put thee to death, then what shall I do? This, on my part, can never be done that I should deliver over thee to thine enemy for the sake of my own avarice. In a few days I shall spend the [promised] wealth, and how long shall I live? I must die at last; then what answer shall I give to God?’ Hatim implored him greatly, and said, ’Take me along with thee I say so of my own pleasure; I have ever desired that, should my wealth and life be of use to some one or other [of my fellow creatures], then so much the better.’ But the old man could not in any way be persuaded to carry Hatim along with him, and receive the [proclaimed reward. At last, becoming hopeless, Hatim said, ’If you do not carry me in the way I wish, then I will go of myself to the king, and say, this old man concealed me in a cave in the mountains,’ The old man smiled and said, ’If I am to receive evil for good, then hard will be my fate.’ During this conversation, other men arrived, and a crowd assembled [around them]; perceiving the person they saw to be Hatim, they instantly seized him and carried him along; the old man also, a little in the rear, followed them in silent grief. When they brought Hatim before Naufal, he asked, ‘Who has seized and brought him here?’ A worthless, hard-hearted [boaster] answered, ’Who could have performed such a deed except myself? This achievement belongs to my name, and I have planted the standard [of glory] in the sky.’ Another vaunting fellow clamoured, ’I searched for him many days in the woods, and caught him at last, and have brought him here; have some consideration for my labour, and give me what has been promised.’ In this manner, from avidity for the [promised] pieces of gold, every one said he had done the deed. The old man, in silence, sat apart in a corner, and heard all their boastings, and wept for Hatim. When each had recounted his act of bravery and enterprise, then Hatim said to the king, ’If you ask for the truth, then it is this; that old man, who stands aloof from all, has brought me here; if you can judge from appearances, then ascertain the fact, and give him for my seizure what you have promised; for in the whole body the tongue is a most sacred [member]. It is incumbent upon a man to perform what he has promised; for in other respects God has given tongues to brutes likewise; then what would have been the difference between a man and other animals?’

Naufal called the old wood-cutter near him, and said, ’Tell the truth; what is the real state of the matter; who has seized and brought Hatim here?’ The honest fellow related truly all that had occurred from beginning to end, and added, ’Hatim is come here of his own accord for my sake.’ Naufal, on hearing this manly act of Hatim’s, was greatly astonished, and exclaimed, ’How surprising is thy liberality! even thy life thou hast not feared to risk [for the good of others]!’ With regard to all those who laid false claims to having seized Hatim, the king ordered them to have their hands tied behind their backs, and instead of five hundred pieces of gold, to receive each five hundred strokes of a slipper on their heads, so that their lives might perish [under the punishment]. Instantly, the strokes of the slippers began to be laid on in such a style, that in a short time their heads became quite bald. True it is, that to tell an untruth is such a guilt, that no other guilt equals it; may God keep every one free from this calamity, and not give him a propensity for telling lies; many people persevere in uttering falsehoods, but at the moment of detection they meet with their dessert.

“In short, Naufal having rewarded all of them according to their desserts, thought it contrary to gentlemanly conduct and manliness of character to harbour enmity and strife towards a man like Hatim, from whom multitudes received happiness, and who, for the sake of the necessitous, did not even spare his own life, and was entirely devoted to the ways of God. He instantly seized Hatim’s hand with great cordiality and friendship, and said to him, ’Why should it not be the case? such a man as you are can perform such an action.’ Then the king, with great respect and attention, made Hatim sit down near him, and he instantly restored to him the lands and property, and the wealth and moveables, he had confiscated; and bestowed on him anew the chieftainship of the tribe of Ta,i, and ordered the five hundred pieces of gold to be given to the old man from the treasury, who, blessing [the king], went away.”

When I had heard the whole of this adventure of Hatim’s, a spirit of rivalry came into my mind; and this idea occurred to me, viz., “Hatim was the only chief of his own tribe [of Arabs]. He, by one act of liberality has gained such renown, that to this day it is celebrated; whilst I am, by the decree of God, the king of all Iran; and it would be a pity if I were to remain excluded from this good fortune. It is certain that in this world no quality is greater than generosity and liberality; for whatever a man bestows in this world, he receives its return in the next. If any one sows a single seed, then how much does he reap from its produce! With these ideas impressed upon my mind, I called for the lord of the buildings, and ordered him to erect, as speedily as possible, a grand palace without the city, with forty high and wide gates. In a short time, even such a grand palace as my heart wished for, was built and got ready, and in that place every day at all times, from morning till night, I used to bestow pieces of silver and gold on the poor and helpless; whoever asked for anything in charity, I granted it to the utmost of his desire.

In short, the necessitous entered [daily] through the forty gates, and received whatever they wanted. It happened one day that a fakir came in from the front gate and begged some alms. I gave him a gold piece; then the same person entered through the next gate, and asked two pieces of gold; though I recollected him [to be the same fakir], I passed over [the circumstance] and gave them. In this manner he came in through each gate, and increased a piece of gold in his demand each time; and I knowingly appeared ignorant [of the circumstance], and continued supplying him according to his demand. At last he entered by the fortieth gate, and asked forty pieces of gold this sum I likewise ordered to be given him. After receiving so much, the fakir re-entered from the first gate and again begged alms: his conduct appeared to me highly impudent, and I said, hear, O avaricious man, what kind of a fakir art thou, that dost not even know the meaning of the three letters which compose the word [Arabic: faqr] fakr (poverty); a fakir ought to act up to them. He replied, “Well, generous soul, explain them yourself.” I answered, “[Arabic: f] fe means faka (fasting); [Arabic: q] kaf signifies kina’at (contentment); and [Arabic: r] re means riyazat (devotion); whoever has not these three qualities, is not a fakir. All this which you have received, eat and drink with it, and when it is done, return to me, and receive whatever thou requirest. This charity is bestowed on thee to relieve immediate wants and not for the purpose of accumulation. O avidious! from the forty gates thou hast received from one piece of gold up to forty; add up the amount, and see by the rule of arithmetical progression how many pieces of gold it comes to; and even after all this, thy avarice hath brought thee back again through the first gate. What wilt thou do after having accumulated so much money? A [real] fakir ought only to think [of the wants] of the passing day; the following day the great Provider [of necessaries] will afford thee a new pittance. Now evince some shame and modesty; have patience, and be content; what sort of mendicity is this that thy spiritual guide hath taught thee?”

On hearing these reproaches of mine, he became displeased and angry, and threw down on the ground all [the money] he had received from me, and said, “Enough, sir, do not be so warm; take back your gifts and keep them, and do not again pronounce the word generosity. It is very difficult to be generous; you are not able to support the weight of generosity, when will you attain to that station? you are as yet very far from it. The word [Arabic: sakhy] Sakhi (generous), is also composed of three letters; first act up to the meaning of those three letters, then you will be called generous.” On hearing this I became uneasy, and said to the fakir, well, holy pilgrim, explain to me the meaning of those three letters. He replied, “from [Arabic: s] sin is derived sama,i (endurance); from [Arabic: kh] khe comes khaufi Ilahi (fear of God); and from [Arabic: y]ye proceeds yad (remembrance of one’s birth and death). Until one is possessed of these three qualities, he should not mention the name of generosity; and the generous man has also this happiness, that although he acts amiss [in other points], yet he is dear to his Maker [on account of his generosity]. I have travelled through many countries, but except the princess of Basra, I have not seen a [person really] generous. The robe of generosity God hath shaped out on [the person] of that woman; all others desire the name, but do not act up to it.” On hearing this, I made much entreaty, and conjured him [by all that was sacred] to forgive my rebuke, and take whatever he required. He would not, on any account, accept my proffered gifts, but went away repeating these words, “Now if thou wert to give all thy kingdom, I would not spit upon it, nor would I even .” The pilgrim went away, but having heard such praises of the princess of Basra, my heart became quite restless, and no way could I be easy. Now this desire arose within me, that by some means or other I must go to Basra and take a look at her.

In the meantime, the king, my father, died, and I ascended the throne. I got the empire, but the idea [I had formed of going to Basra]] did not leave me. I held a consultation with the wazir and nobles, who were the support of the throne, and the pillars of the empire, saying, I wish to make a journey to Basra. Do ye remain steady in your respective stations; if I live, then the duration of the journey will be short; I will soon be back. No one seemed pleased at the idea of my going; in my helplessness, my heart continued to become more and more sorrowful. One day, without consulting any one, I privately sent for the resourceful wazir, and made him regent and plenipotentiary [during my absence], and placed him at the head of the affairs of the empire. I then put on the ochre-coloured habit [of a pilgrim], and, assuming the appearance of a fakir, I took the road to Basra alone. In a few days, I reached its boundaries, and [constantly] began to witness this scene; wherever I halted for the night, the servants of the princess advanced to receive me, and made me halt at some elegant house, and they used to provide me in perfection with all the requisites of a banquet, and to remain in attendance on me all night with the utmost respect. The following day, at the next stage, I experienced the same reception. In this comfort I journeyed onwards for months; at last I entered [the city of] Basra. I had no sooner entered it, than a good-looking young man, well dressed, and well-behaved, who carried wisdom in his looks, came up to me, and said with extreme sweetness of address, “I am the servant of pilgrims; I am always on the look out to conduct to my house all travellers, whether pilgrims or men of the world, who come to this city; except my house alone, there is no other place here for a stranger to put up at; pray, holy sir, come with me, bestow honour on my abode, and render me exalted.

I asked him, “what is the noble name of your honour?” He replied, “they call the name of this nameless one Bedar Bakht.” Seeing his good qualities and affable manners, I went along with him and came to his house. I saw a grand mansion fitted up in a princely style he led me to a grand apartment, and made me sit down; and sending for warm water, he caused [the attendants] to wash my hands and feet; and having caused the dastar-khwan to be spread, the steward placed before me alone a great variety of trays and dishes, and large quantities of fruit and confectionery. On seeing such a grand treat, my very soul was satiated, and taking a mouthful from each dish, my stomach was filled; I then drew back my hand from eating.

The young man became very pressing, and said, “Sir, what have you eaten? all the dinner remains as it were for a deposit; eat some more without ceremony.” I replied, there is no shame in eating; God prosper your house, I have eaten as much as my stomach can contain, and I cannot sufficiently praise the relish of your feast, and even now my tongue smacks with their flavour, and every belch I make is absolutely perfumed, now pray take them away. “When the dastar-khwan was removed, they spread a carpet of kashani velvet, and brought to me ewers and basins of gold, with scented soap and warm water, wherewithal I might wash my hands; then betel was introduced, in a box set with precious stones, and spices of various kinds; whenever I called for water to drink, the servants brought it cooled in ice. When the evening came, camphorated candles were lighted up in the glass shades; and that friendly young man sat down near me and entertained me with his conversation. When one watch of the night had elapsed, he said to me, “be pleased to sleep in this bed, in front of which are curtains and screens.” I said, O, Sir, for us pilgrims a mat or a deer-skin is sufficient; this [luxury] God has ordained for you men of the world.

He replied, “All these things are for pilgrims; they do not in the least belong to me.” On his pressing me so urgently, I went and lay down on the bed which was softer than even a bed of flowers. Pots of roses and baskets of flowers were placed on both sides of the bedstead, and aloes and other perfumes were burning; to whichever side I turned, my senses were intoxicated with fragrance; in this state I slept. When the morning came, [the attendants] placed before me for breakfast, almonds, pistachio nuts, grapes, figs, pears, pomegranates, currants, dates, and sharbat made of fruit. In this festive manner I passed three days and nights. On the fourth day I requested leave to depart. The young man said, with joined hands, “Perhaps I have been deficient in my attentions to you, for which reason you are displeased.” I replied with astonishment, for God’s sake, what a speech is this? the rules of hospitality [require one to stay] three days these have I fulfilled; to remain longer would be improper; and besides this, I have set out to travel, and if I remain merely at one place, then it will not suit; for which reason I beg leave to depart; in other respects, your kindness is such that my heart does not wish to be separated from you.

He then said, “Do as you please; but wait a moment, that I may go to the princess and in her presence mention [the circumstance]; and as you wish to depart [be it known to you], that all the wearing apparel and bedding, also the vessels of silver and gold, and the jewelled vessels in this guest’s apartment, are your property; whatever directions you may give for the purpose of taking them away, an arrangement [to that effect] shall be made.” I answered, “cease to talk in this manner; I am a pilgrim, and not a strolling bard; if such avarice had a place in my heart, then why should I have turned pilgrim; and where would be the evil of [my leading] a worldly life?” That kind young man replied, “If the princess should hear of this circumstance [of your refusal], she will discharge me from my employment, and God knows what other punishment I shall receive; if you are so indifferent [to possess them], then lock up all these articles in a room, and put your seal on the door, and you may hereafter dispose of them as you please.”

I would not accept [his offer], and he would not submit [to me]. At last, this plan was adopted, I locked them all up in a room, and put my seal on the door, and waited [with impatience] for leave of departing. In the meantime a confidential eunuch, having on his head an aigrette, and a short robe round his loins, and a golden mace studded with gems in his hand, accompanied by several other respectable attendants, filling [various] offices, came near me with this splendour and pomp. He addressed me with such kindness and complaisance that I cannot express it, and added, “O, sir, if shewing kindness and benevolence, you do me the favour to dignify my humble dwelling with your presence, then it will not be far from courtesy and condescension.

Perhaps the princess will hear that a traveller had been here, and no one had received him with courtesy and politeness; and that he had gone away as he came; for this reason God knows what punishment she will inflict on me, or how far her displeasure will be raised; yea more, it is a matter affecting my life,” I refused to listen to his request, but through dint of solicitations he overcame my resistance, and conducted me to another house, which was better than the first Like the former host, he entertained me twice a day for three days and nights, with the same kind of meals, and in the morning and afternoon sherbet, and fruits for passing away the time, and he told me that I was the master of all the rich gold and silver dishes, carpets, &c, and that I might do with them whatever I pleased.

On hearing these strange proposals, I was quite confounded, and wished that I might by some means take my leave and escape from this place. On perceiving my [embarassed] countenance, the eunuch said, “O creature of God, whatever your wants or wishes may be, impart them to me, that I may lay them before the princess.” I replied, “in the garb of a pilgrim, how can I desire the riches of this world, which you offer me unasked, and which I refuse?” He then said, “The desire of worldly goods forsakes the heart of no one, for which reason some poet has composed these verses:

“I have seen [ascetics] with nails unpared;
I have seen [others] with hair thickly matted;
I have seen jogis with their ears split,
Having their bodies covered with ashes;
I have seen the maunis who never speak;
I have seen the sevras with heads shaved;
I have seen [the people] sporting,
In the forest of Ban-khandi;
I have seen the brave, I have seen heroes;
I have seen the wise and the foolish, all;
I have seen those filled with delusion,
Continuing in forgetfulness amidst their wealth;
I have seen those [who were] happy from first to last.
I have seen those [who were] afflicted from their birth;
But never have I seen those [men]
In whose minds avarice did not exist.”

On hearing these [lines], I replied, what you say is true, but I want nothing; if you will permit, I will write out a note and send it which will express my wish, and which you will convey to the presence of the princess, it will be [doing me] a great favour, as if I had received all the riches in the world. The eunuch said, “I will do it with pleasure, there is no difficulty in it.” I immediately wrote a note to the following purport: first, I began with the praise of God; I then related my circumstances and situation, saying, “that this creature of God had, some days since, arrived in the city, and from the munificence of her government, had been taken care of in every way; that I had heard such accounts of her highness’s generosity and munificence, as had raised in me an ardent desire to see her, and that I had found those qualities four-fold greater than they had been represented. Your nobles now tell me to set forth before you whatever wants or wishes I may have; for this reason I beg to represent to you without ceremony the wishes of my heart. I am not in want of the riches of this world. I am also the king of my own country; my sole reason for coming so far and undergoing such fatigues, was the ardent desire I had to see you, which motive only has conducted me here in this manner quite alone. I now hope through your benevolence to attain the wishes of my heart; I shall then be satisfied. Any further favours will rest with your pleasure; but if the request of this wretch is not granted, then he will wander about in this same manner, encountering hardships, and sacrifice his restless life to the passion he feels for you. Like Majnun and Farhad, he will end his life in some forest or mountain.”

Having written my wishes, I gave the note to the eunuch; he carried it to the princess. After a short while, he returned and called me, and conducted me to the door of the seraglio. On arriving there, I saw an elderly and respectable woman dressed in jewels, sitting on a golden stool, and many eunuchs and other servants richly clothed, were standing before her with arms across. I imagining her to be the superintendent of affairs, and regarding her as a venerable [person], made her my obeisance; the old lady returned my salute with much civility, and said, “Come and sit down, you are welcome; it is you who wrote an affectionate note to the princess.” I feeling ashamed, hung down my head and remained sitting silent.

After a short pause, she said, “O, young man, the princess has sent you her salam, and said thus, ’There is nothing wrong in my taking a husband; you have solicited me [in marriage]; but to speak of your kingdom, and to conceive yourself a king in this mendicant state, and to be proud of it, is quite out of place; for this reason, that all men among each other are certainly equal; although superior consideration ought to be due to those who are of the religion of Muhammad. I also have wished for a long while to marry, and as you are indifferent to worldly riches, to me likewise God has given such wealth as cannot be counted. But there is one condition, that first of all you procure my marriage portion.’ The marriage-gift of the princess,” added the old lady, “is a certain task to perform, if yon can fulfil it.” I replied, “I am ready in every way, and I shall not be sparing of my wealth or life; tell me what the task is, that I may hear it. The old woman then said, “Remain here to-day, and tomorrow I will tell it to you.” I accepted [her proposal] with pleasure, and taking my leave, I came out.

The day had in the meantime passed away, and when the evening came, a eunuch called upon me, and conducted me to the seraglio. On entering, I saw that the nobles, the learned, the virtuous, and the sages of the divine law were present. I likewise joined the assembly and sat down. In the meantime the cloth for the repast was spread, and eatables of every variety, both sweet and salt, were laid out. They all began to eat, and with courtesy solicited me to join them. When dinner was over, a female servant came out from the interior [of the seraglio] and asked, “Where is Bahrawar? call him.” The servants in waiting brought him immediately; his appearance was very respectable, and many keys of silver and gold were suspended from his waist. After saluting me, he sat down by me. The same female servant said, “O, Bahrawar, whatever thou hast seen, relate it fully [to this stranger].”

Bahrawar, addressing himself to me, began the following narration: “O, friend! our princess possesses thousands of slaves, who are established in trade; among them I am one of the humblest of her hereditary servants. She sends them to different countries with goods and merchandise, worth lakhs of rupees, of which they have the charge; when these return [from the respective countries to which they were sent to trade], then the princess, in her own presence, inquires of them the state and manners of such country, and hears [their different accounts]. Once it so happened that this meanest [of her slaves] went to the country and city of Nimroz to trade, and perceiving that all the inhabitants were dressed in black, and that they sighed and wept every moment, and it appeared to me that some sad calamity had befallen them. From whomsoever I asked the reason [of these strange circumstances], no one would answer my inquiry. One day, the moment the morning appeared, all the inhabitants of the city, little and great, young and old, poor and rich, issued forth. They went out and assembled on a plain; the king of the country went there also mounted on horseback, and surrounded by his nobles; then they all formed a regular line, and stood still.

“I also stood among them to see the strange sight, for it clearly appeared that they were waiting for [the arrival of] some one. In an hour’s time a beautiful young man, of an angelic form, about fifteen or sixteen years of age, uttering a loud noise, and foaming at the mouth, and mounted on a dun bull, holding something in one hand, approached from a distance, and came up in front of the people; he descended from the bull, and sat down [oriental fashion] on the ground, holding the halter of the animal in one hand, and a naked sword in the other; a rosy-coloured, beautiful [attendant] was with him; the young man gave him that which he held in his hand; the slave took it, and went along showing it to all of them from one end of the line to the other; but such was the nature [of the object], that whoever saw it, the same involuntarily wept aloud and bitterly [at the strange sight]. In this way he continued to show it to every one, and made every one weep; then passing along the front of the line, he returned to his master again.

“The moment he came near him, the young man rose up, and with the sword severed the attendant’s head [from his body], and having again mounted his bull, galloped off towards the quarter from whence he had come. All [present] stood looking on. When he disappeared from their sight, the inhabitants returned to the city. I was anxiously asking every one I met the real meaning of this strange occurrence; yea, I even held out the inducement of money and beseeched and flattered them to get an explanation, who the young man was, and why he committed the deed [I had seen], and from whence he came, and where he went, but no one would give me the slightest information on the subject, nor could I comprehend it. When I returned here, I related to the princess the astonishing circumstance I had seen. Since then, the princess herself has been amazed [at the strange event], and anxious to ascertain its real cause. For which reason she has been fixed on this very point as her marriage portion, that whatever man will bring her a true and particular account of that strange circumstance, she will accept him [in marriage]; and he shall be the master of all her wealth, her country, and herself.”

[Bahrawar concluded by saying], “You have now heard every circumstance; reflect within yourself if you can bring the intelligence [which is required] respecting the young man, then undertake the journey towards the country of Nimroz, and depart soon, or else refuse [the conditions and the attempt], and return to your home.” I answered, “If God please, I will soon ascertain all the circumstances [relating to the strange event], and return to the princess with success; or if my fate be unlucky, then there is no remedy; but the princess must give me her solemn promise she will not swerve from what she engages [to perform]. And now an uneasy apprehension arises in my heart; if the princess will have the benevolence to call me before her, and allow me to sit down outside the parda, and hear with her own ears the request I have made, and favour me with an answer from her own lips; then my heart will be at ease, and every thing will be possible for me.” These my requests the female servant related to the fairy-formed princess. At last, by way of condescension, she ordered me to be called before her.

The same female returned, and conducted me to the apartment where the princess was; what [a display of beauty] I saw! Handsome female slaves and servants, and armed damsels, from Kilmak, Turkistan, Abyssinia, Uzbak Tartary and Kashmir, were drawn up in two lines, dressed in rich jewels, with their arms folded across, and each standing in her appropriate station. Shall I call this the court of Indra? or is it a descent on the part of the fairies? an involuntary sigh of rapture escaped [from my breast], and my heart began to palpitate; but I forcibly restrained myself. Regarding them all around, I advanced on; but my feet became each as heavy as a hundred mans. Whenever I gazed on one of those lovely women, my heart was unwilling to proceed farther. On one side [of the saloon] a screen was suspended, and a stool set with precious stones was placed near it, as well as a chair of sandal-wood; the female servant made me a sign to sit down on the [jewelled] stool; I sat down upon it, and she seated herself on the [sandal-wood chair]; she said, “Now, whatever you have to say, speak it fully and from the heart.”

I first extolled the princess’s excellent qualities, also her justice and liberality; I then added, that “ever since I have entered the limits of this country, I saw at every stage accommodations for travellers and lofty buildings; and found everywhere servants of all grades appointed to attend upon travellers and necessitous persons. I have likewise spent three days at every halting place, and the fourth day, when I wished to take my leave, no one said with good will, “You may depart;” and whatever articles and furniture had been [applied to my use] at those places, such as chequered carpets, &c., &c., I was told that they were all mine, and that I might either take them away or lock them up in a room, and put my seal on it; that, should it be my pleasure, whenever I came back I might take them away. I have done so; but the wonder is, that if a lonely pilgrim like me has met with such a [princely] reception, then there must be thousands of such pilgrims who will resort to your dominions; and if every one is hospitably received in the same manner [as myself], sums incalculable must be spent. Now, whence comes the great wealth of which there is such an expenditure, and of what nature is it? The treasures of Karun would not be equal to it; and if we look at the princess’s territories, it would appear that their revenues would hardly suffice to defray the kitchen charges, setting the other expenses aside. If the princess would condescend to explain this with her own lips, then, my mind being set at ease, I shall set out for the country of Nimroz; and reaching it by some means or other, after having learned all the particulars [of the strange circumstance], I will return, if God should spare my life, to the presence of the princess, and attain the desires of my heart.”

On hearing these words, the princess herself said, “O youth, if you have a strong desire to know the exact nature of these circumstances, then stay here to-day also. I will send for you in the evening, and the account of my vast riches shall be unfolded to you without any reservation.” After this assurance, I retired to my place of residence, and waited anxiously, (saying,) “when will the evening arrive, that my curiosity may be gratified?” In the meantime a eunuch brought some covered trays on the heads of porters, and laid them before me, and said, “The princess has sent you a dinner from her own table; partake of it.” When he uncovered the trays before me, the rich fragrance [of the meats] intoxicated my brains, and my soul became satiated. I ate as much as I could, and sent away the rest, and returned my grateful thanks [to the princess.] At last, when the sun, the traveller of the whole day, wearied and fatigued, reached his home, and the moon advanced from her palace, attended by her companions, then the female servant came to me and said, “Come, the princess has sent for you.”

I went along with her; she led me to the private apartment; the effect of the lights was such that the shabi kadr was nothing to it. A masnad, covered with gold, was placed on rich carpets, with a pillow studded with jewels; over it an awning of brocade was stretched, with a fringe of pearls on [silver] poles studded with precious stones; and in front of the masnad artificial trees formed of various jewels, with flowers and leaves attached, (one would say they were nature’s own production,) were erected in beds of gold; and on the right and left, beautiful slaves and servants were in waiting with folded arms and down-cast eyes, in respectful attitude. Dancing women and female singers, with ready-tuned instruments, attended to begin their performances. On seeing such a scene and such splendid preparations, my senses were bewildered. I asked the female servant [who came with me] “there is here such gay splendour in the scene of the day, and such magnificence in that of the night, that the day may very justly be called ’Id, and the night shabi barat; moreover, a king who possessed the whole world could not exhibit greater splendour and magnificence. Is it always so at the princess’s court? The servant replied, “The princess’s court ever displays the same magnificence you see now; there is no abatement [or difference], except that it is sometimes greater: sit you here; the princess is in another apartment, I will go and inform her of your arrival.”

Saying this, the nurse went away and quickly returned; he desired me to come to the princess. The moment I entered her apartment I was struck with amazement. I could not tell where the door was, or where the walls, for they were covered with Aleppo mirrors, of the height of a man, all around, the frames of which were studded with diamonds and pearls. The reflection of one fell on the other, and it appeared as if the whole room was inlaid with jewels. At one end a parda was hung, behind which the princess sat. The female servant seated herself close to the parda, and desired me to sit down also; then she began the following narrative, according to the princess’s commands “Hear, O intelligent youth! The sultan of this country was a potent king; he had seven daughters born in his house. One day, the king held a festival, and these seven daughters were standing before him [superbly dressed], with each sixteen jewels, twelve ornaments, and in every hair an elephant pearl. Something came into the king’s mind, and he looked towards his daughters and said, ’If your father had not been a king, and you had been born in the house of some poor man, then who would have called you princesses? Praise God that you are called princesses; all your good fortune depends on my life.’

“Six of his daughters being of one mind, replied, ’Whatever your majesty says, is true, and our happiness depends on your welfare alone.’ But the princess now present, though she was younger [than all her sisters], yet even in sense and judgment, even at that age, she was superior to them, all. She stood silent, and did not join her sisters in the reply they made; for this reason, that to say so was impious. The king looked towards her with anger, and said, ’Well, my lady, you say nothing; what is the cause of this?’ Then the princess, tying both her hands with a handkerchief, humbly replied, ’If your majesty will grant me safety [of my life], and pardon my presumption, then this humble slave will unfold the dictates of her heart.’ The king said, ‘Speak what thou hast to say.’ Then the princess said, ’Mighty king, you must have heard, that the voice of truth is bitter; for which reason, disregarding life at this moment, I presume to address your majesty; whatever the great Writer has written in [the book of] my destiny, no one can efface, and in no way can it be evaded. “Whether you bruise your feet [by depending on your own exertions], or lay your head on the carpet [in prayer], your fate [written] on the forehead, whatever it be, shall come to pass.”

“’That Almighty Ruler, who has made you a king, He indeed also has made me a princess. In the arsenal of his omnipotence, no one has power. You are my sovereign and benefactor, and if I should apply the dust which lies under your auspicious feet, as a colyrium [for my eyes], then it would become me; but the destinies of every one are with every one.’ The king, on hearing this [speech], became angry; the reply displeased him highly, and he said with wrath, ’What great words issue from a little mouth! Now let this be her punishment, that you strip off whatever jewels she has on her hands and feet, and let her be placed in a sedan-chair, and set down in such a wilderness, where no human traces can be found; then we shall see what is written in her destinies.’

“According to the king’s commands, at that midnight hour, when it was the very essence of darkness, the princess (who had been reared with such delicacy and tenderness), and had seen no other place except her own apartments, was carried by the porters in a litter, and set down in a place where not even a bird ever flapped its wing, much less did human creatures there exist; they left her there and returned. The princess’s heart was all at once in such a state [as cannot be conceived]; reduced to what she was, from what she had been! Then in the threshold of God, she offered up her prayers, and said, “Thou art so mighty [O Lord], that what thou hast wished, Thou hast done; and whatever Thou willest, Thou dost; and whatever Thou mayest wish, that Thou wilt do: whilst life remains in my nostrils, I shall not be hopeless of [thy protection’]. Impressed with these thoughts, she fell asleep. When the morn appeared, the eyes of the princess opened; she called for water to perform her ablutions. Then, all at once, the occurrences of last night came to her recollection; she said to herself, ‘Where art thou, and where this speech?’ Saying this to herself, she got up, and performed the tayammum, said her prayers, and poured forth the praises of her Maker! O youth, the heart is torn with anguish to reflect on the princess’s sad condition at that time. Ask that innocent and inexperienced heart what it felt.

“In short, she sat in the litter, and putting her trust in God, she repeated to herself at that moment these verses:

“When I had no teeth, then thou gavest milk;
When thou hast given teeth, wilt thou not grant food!
He who takes care of the fowls of the air,
And of all the animals of the earth,
He will also take care of thee.
Why art thou sad, simple-minded one!
By being sorrowful thou’lt get nothing;
He who provides for the fool, for the wise, and for the whole world,
Will likewise provide for thee.’

“It is true, that when no resource remains, then God is remembered, or else every one in his own plans, thinks himself a Lukman, and a Bu’ Ali Sina. Now listen to the surprising ways of God. In this manner three days clear passed away, during which a grain of food did not enter the princess’s mouth; her flower-like frame became quite withered as a [dry] thorn; and her colour, which hitherto shone like gold, became yellow as turmeric; her mouth became rigid, and her eyes were petrified, but still a faint respiration remained passing and re-passing. Whilst there is life, there is hope. In the morning of the fourth day, a hermit appeared of bright countenance, in appearance like Khizr, and of an enlightened heart. Seeing the princess in that state, he said, ’O daughter, though your father is a king, yet these [sorrows] were decreed in thy destiny. Now, conceive this old hermit your servant, and think day and night of your Maker. God will do what is right.’ And whatever morsels the hermit had in his wallet, he laid them before the princess; then he went in search of water; he saw a well, but where were the wheel and bucket by means of which he might draw the water? He pulled off some leaves from a tree, and made a cup, and taking off his sash, he fastened the cup to it, and drew up some water, and gave it to the princess. At last she regained her senses. The holy man, seeing her helpless and solitary state, gave her every consolation, and cheered her heart; and he himself began to weep. When the princess saw his sympathetic grief, and [heard] his kind assurances, she became easy in her mind. From that day, the old man made this an established rule, that in the morning he went to the city to beg, and brought to the princess whatever scraps or morsels he received.

“In this way a few days passed. One day the princess designed to put some oil in her hair, and comb it; just as she opened the plaits of her hair a pearl round and brilliant dropped out. The princess gave it to the hermit, and desired him to sell it in the city, and bring her the amount. He sold that pearl, and brought back the money received for it to the princess. Then the princess desired that a habitation fit for her residence might be erected on that spot. The hermit replied, ’O daughter, do you dig the foundation for the walls, and collect some earth; I will, some of these days, bring some water, knead the clay [for the bricks], and erect a room for you.’ The princess, on his advice, began to dig the ground; when she had dug a yard in depth, behold, under the soil a door appeared. The princess cleared away the earth [which lay before it]; a large room filled with jewels and gold pieces appeared: she took four or five handfuls of gold and closed the door, and having filled up the place with earth, made level its surface. In the meantime the hermit returned. The princess said to him, “bring good masons and builders, and workmen of every kind, expert and masters in their craft, so that a grand palace may be erected on this spot equal to the palace of Kasra, and superior to the palace of Ni’man; and that the fortifications of the city, a fort, a garden, a well, and an unrivalled caravanserai [be built as soon as possible]; but first of all, draw out the plans on paper and bring them to me for approval.”

“The hermit brought clever, skilful, intelligent workmen, and had them ready. The erection of the different buildings was soon begun according to the princess’s directions, and clever and trusty servants for every office were chosen and entertained. The news of the erection of such princely buildings by degrees reached the king, the shadow of Omnipotence, who was the princess’s father. On hearing it, he became greatly surprised, and asked every one, ’Who is this person who has begun to erect such edifices?’ No one knew anything of the matter to be able to give a reply. All put their hands on their ears and said, ‘No one of your slaves knows who is the builder of them.’ Then the king sent one of his nobles with this message, ’I wish to come and see those buildings, and to know also of what country you are the princess, and of what family; for I wish much to ascertain all these circumstances.’

“When the princess received this agreeable intelligence, she was greatly pleased in her mind, and wrote the [following letter]: ’To the protector of the world, prosperity! On hearing the intelligence of your majesty’s visit, to my humble mansion, I am infinitely rejoiced; and it has been the cause of respect and dignity to me, the meanest [of your slaves]. How happy is the fate of that place where your majesty’s footsteps are impressed, and on the inhabitants of which the shadow of the skirt of your prosperity is cast; may they both be dignified with the look of favour! This slave hopes that to-morrow, being Thursday, is a propitious day, and to me, it is more welcome than the day of Nau Roz, your majesty’s person resembles the sun; by condescending to come here, be pleased to bestow, with your light, value and dignity on this worthless atom, and partake of whatever his humble slave can provide; this will be the essence of benevolence and courtesy, on the part of your majesty: to say more would exceed the bounds of respect.’ To the nobleman who brought the message she made some presents, and dismissed him [with the above reply.]

“The king read the letter, and sent word, saying, ’We have accepted your invitation, and will certainly come.’ The princess ordered the servants and all the attendants to get ready the necessary preparations for an entertainment, with such propriety and elegance, that the king, on seeing [the banquet] and eating thereof, might be highly pleased; and that all who came with the king, great and little, should be well entertained and return content. From the princess’s strict directions, the dishes, of every kind, both salt and sweet, were so deliciously prepared, that if the daughter of a Brahman had tasted them, she would have become a Musalman. When the evening came, the king went to the princess’s palace, seated on an uncovered throne; the princess, with her ladies in waiting, advanced to receive him; when she cast her eyes on the king’s throne, she made the royal obeisance with such proper respect, that on seeing it, the king was still more surprised; with the same profound respect she accompanied the king to the throne, set with jewels, which she had erected for him. The princess had prepared a platform of 125,000 pieces of silver; a hundred and one trays of jewels and of gold pieces, and woollen shiffs, shawls, muslins, silk and brocades; two elephants and ten horses, of ’Irak and Yaman, with caparisons set with precious stones, were likewise prepared [for the royal acceptance]. She presented these to his majesty, and stood before him herself with folded arms. The king asked with great complacency, ’Of what country are you a princess, and for what reasons are you come here?’

“The princess, after making her obeisance, replied, ’This slave is that offender who in consequence of the royal anger was sent to this wilderness, and all these things which your majesty sees are the wonderful works of God.’ On hearing these words, the king’s blood glowed (with paternal warmth), and rising up, he pressed the princess fondly to his bosom, and seizing her hand, he ordered her to be seated on a chair that he had placed near the throne; but still the king was astonished and surprised [at all he saw], and ordered that the queen, along with the princesses, should come thither with all speed. When they arrived, the mother and sisters recognised [the princess], and, embracing her with fondness, wept over her, and praised God. The princess presented her mother and sisters with such heaps of gold and jewels, that the treasures of the world could not equal them in the balance. Then the king, having made them all sit in his company, partook of the feast [which had been prepared].

“As long as the king lived, the time passed in this manner; sometimes the king came [to visit the princess], and sometimes carried the princess with him to his own palaces. When the king died, the government of the kingdom descended to this princess; for, except herself, no other person [of her family] was fit for this office. O, youth, the history [of the princess] is what you have heard. Finally, heaven-bestowed wealth never fails, but the intentions of the possessor must [at the same time] be just; moreover, how much soever is spent [out of this providential wealth] so much also is the increase: to be astonished at the power of God, is not right in any religion.” The female servant, after finishing this narrative, said, “Now if you still intend to proceed to the country of Nimroz, and if you are determined in your mind to bring the requisite intelligence, then depart soon.” I replied, I am going this moment, and if God pleases I shall be back very soon. At last, taking leave [of the princess] and relying on the protection of God, I set out for that quarter.

In about a year’s time, after encountering many difficulties, I arrived at the city of Nimroz. All the inhabitants of that place that I saw, noble or common, were dressed in black, and whatever I had heard, that I fully perceived. After some days the evening of the new moon occurred. On the first day of the month, all the inhabitants of the city, little and great, children, nobles, prince, women and men, assembled on a large plain. I also, bewildered and distracted in my condition, went along with the vast concourse; separated from my country and possessions, in the garb of a pilgrim, I was standing to behold the strange sight, and to see what might result from the mysterious scene. In the meantime, a young man advanced from the woods, mounted on a bull, foaming at the mouth, and roaring and shouting [in a frightful manner]. I, miserable, who had undergone such labour, and overcome so many dangers, and had come there to ascertain the circumstances, yet on seeing the young man I was quite confounded and stood silent with astonishment. The young man, according to his usual custom, did what he used to do, and returned [to the woods]; and the concourse of people from the city likewise returned thither. When I had collected my senses, I then repented [saying to myself], “What is this you have done? Now it is your lot to wait anxiously for another whole month.” Having no remedy, I returned with the rest; and I passed that month like the month of Ramazan, counting one day after another. At last the new moon appeared, and was hailed by me as ’Id. On the first of the month, the king and the inhabitants again assembled on that same plain; then I determined, that this time, let what will happen, I would be resolute, and propound this mysterious circumstance.

Suddenly the young man appeared, mounted, according to custom, on a yellow bull, and, dismounting, sat down [on the ground]; in one hand he held a naked sword, and in the other the bull’s halter; he gave the vase to his attendant, who, as usual, showed it to every one, and carried it back [to his master]. The crowd, on seeing the vase, began to weep; the young man broke the vase, and struck such a blow on the slave’s neck as to sever his head from his body, and, he himself remounting the bull, returned [towards the woods]. I began to run after him, with all speed, but the inhabitants laid hold of my hand, and exclaimed, “What is this you are going to do? why, knowingly, art thou about to perish? If thou art so tired of life, there are a great many ways of dying, by which thou mayest end thy existence.” How much soever I beseeched them [to let me go], and even had recourse to main force, in order that by some means I might escape from their hands, yet I could not release myself. Three or four men clung fast to me, and having seized me, led me towards the city. I again suffered for another whole month in a strange state of disquietude.

When that month passed also, and the last day of it had elapsed, all the inhabitants assembled on the plain on the following morning in the same manner. I, apart from all, arose at the hour of [morning] prayer. I went before all the others [were astir] into the woods, and there lay concealed, exactly on the road by which the young man was to pass; for no one could there restrain me [from executing my project]. The young man came in the usual manner, performed the same acts [already described], re-mounted, and was returning. I followed him, and eagerly running up, I joined him. The young man, from the noise of my steps, perceived that some body was coming after him. All at once, turning round the halter of his bull, he gave a loud shout, and threatened me; then drawing his sword, he advanced towards me, and was about to strike. I bent down with the utmost respect, and made him my salam, and joining both my hands together, I stood in silence. That person being a judge of respectful behaviour [restraining his blow], said to me. “O pilgrim, thou wouldest have been killed for nothing, but thou hast escaped thy life is prolonged; get away. Where art thou going?” He then drew a jewelled dagger, having a tassel set with pearls, from his waist, and threw it towards me, and added, “At this moment I have no money about me to give thee; carry this [dagger] to the king, and thou wilt get whatever thou askest.” To such a degree did my fear and dread of him prevail, that I had not power to speak or ability to move; my voice was choked, and my feet became heavy.

After saying this, the brave young man, roaring aloud, went on. I said to myself, “let what will happen, to remain behind now is, in thy case, folly thou wilt never again get such an opportunity [to execute thy project]. Regardless, therefore, of my life, I also went on. He again turned round and forbade me in great wrath [to follow him], and seemed determined to put me to death. I stretched forth my neck, and conjuring him [by all that was sacred], I said, “O Rustam of these days, strike such a blow that I may be cut clean in two; let not a fibre remain together, and let me be released from this wandering and wretched state; I pardon you my blood.” He replied, “O demon-faced! why dost thou for nothing bring thy blood on my head, and makest me criminal; go thy own way; what! is thy life become a burden to thee?” I did not mind what he said, but advanced; then he knowingly appeared not to regard me, and I followed him. Proceeding on about two kos, we passed the wood, and came to a square building; the young man went up to the door and gave a frightful scream; the door opened of itself; he entered, and I remained altogether outside. O God, [said I] what shall I now do? I was perplexed; at last, after a short delay, a slave came out and brought a message, saying, “Come in, he has called you to his presence; perhaps the angel of death hovers over your head; what evil fortune has befallen you?” I replied, “Verily it is good fortune;” and without fear, I entered along with him into the garden.

At last, he led me to a place where [the young man was sitting]; on seeing him, I made him a very low salam; he beckoned me to sit down; I sat down with respect. What do I see but the young man sitting alone on a masnad, with the tools of a goldsmith lying before him; and he had just finished a branch of emeralds. When the time came for him to rise up, all the slaves that were around the place concealed themselves in [different] rooms; I also from fear hid myself in a small closet. The young man rose up, and having fastened the chains of all the apartments, he went towards the corner of the garden, and began to beat the bull he usually rode. The noise of the animal’s roaring reached my ear, and my heart quaked [with fear]; but as I had ran all these risks to develop this mystery, I forced the door, though trembling with fear, and under the screen of the trunk of a tree, I stood and saw [what was going on]. The young man threw down the club with which he was beating [the bull], and unlocked a room and entered it. Then, instantly coming out, he stroked the bull’s back with his hand, and kissed its mouth; and having given it some grain and grass, he came towards me. On perceiving this, I ran off quickly, and hid myself in the room.

The young man unfastened the chains of all the rooms, and the whole of the slaves came out, bringing with them a small carpet, a wash-hand basin, and a water pot. After washing his hands and face, he stood up to pray; when he had finished his prayers, he called out, “Where is the pilgrim?” On hearing myself called, I ran out and stood before him; he desired me to sit down; after making him a salam, I sat down; the dinner was served; he partook of it, and gave me some, which I also ate. When the dishes were removed, and we had washed our hands, he dismissed his slaves and told them to go to rest. When no one [except ourselves] remained in the apartment, he then spoke to me, and asked, “O friend, what great misfortune has befallen thee that thou goest about seeking thy death?” I related in full detail all the adventures of my life, from beginning to end, and added, that, “from your goodness, I have hopes of obtaining my wishes.” On hearing this, he heaving a deep sigh, went raving mad, and began to say, “O God! who except thee is acquainted with the tortures of love! He whose chilblain has not yet broken out, how can he know the pains of others? he only knows the degree of this pain who has felt the pangs of love!

’The anguish of love, you must ask of the lover,
Not of him who feigns, but of the true lover.’”

A moment after, coming to himself, he heaved a heart-burning sigh; the room resounded with it; then I perceived that he was likewise tortured with the pangs of love, and was suffering from the same malady [as myself]. On this discovery, I plucked up courage and said, “I have related to you all my own adventures; now do me the favour to impart to me the past events [of your life]; I will then first of all assist you as far as I can, and by exerting myself obtain for you the desires of your heart.” In short, that true lover, conceiving me his companion and fellow-sufferer, began the relation of his adventures in the following manner. “Hear, O friend! I whose heart is tortured with anguish, am the prince of this country of Nimroz; the king, that is to say, my father, at my birth, collected together all the fortune tellers, astrologers and learned men, and ordered them to cast and examine my horoscope, to fix my nativity, and to state in full to his majesty whatever was to befall me every individual moment, and hour, and pahar, and day, and month, and year, [of my life]. They all assembled according to the king’s order, and consulting together, they, from their mystical science, ascertained my future fate, and said, ’By the blessing of God, the prince has been begotten and born under such a propitious planet, and in such a lucky moment, that he ought to be equal to Alexander in extent of dominion, and in justice equal to Naushirwan. He will be, moreover, proficient in every science, and every [branch of] learning, and towards whatever subject his heart is inclined, he will accomplish it with perfection. He will in generosity and bravery acquire such renown, that mankind will no longer remember Hatim and Rustam; but until [he attains] the age of fourteen, he is exposed to great danger if he sees the sun or moon; yea, it is to be feared he may become a mad demoniac, and shed the blood of many; and restless [of living in society], he will fly to the woods, and associate with beasts and birds; great and strict pains must be taken that he should never behold the sun by day or the moon by night, or cast a look even towards the heavens. If this period [of fourteen years] pass away without danger and in safety, then for the rest of his life he will reign in peace and prosperity.’

“On hearing this [prognostication], the king ordered this garden to be laid out, and caused to be built in it many apartments of various kinds. He gave an order for me to be brought up in a vault, lined [on the inside] with felt, so that not a single ray of light from the sun or moon might penetrate [into my apartment]. I had a wet nurse and all other kinds of female servants and attendants attached to me, and was brought up in this grand palace with this [imagined] security. A learned tutor, who was skilled in public affairs, was appointed to [superintend] my education; so that I might acquire every science and art, and the practice of the seven varieties of penmanship; and my father always looked after me; the occurrences of every day and every moment were told to the king. I considered that same place as the whole world, and amused myself with toys and flowers; and I had procured for me every delicacy the world [could produce] for my food; whatever I desired I had. By the age of ten years, I had acquired every species of learning, and every useful accomplishment.

“One day, beneath that dome, an astonishing flower appeared from the sky-light, which increased in size as I gazed upon it; I wished to seize it with my hands, but as I stretched them towards it, it ascended [and eluded my grasp]. I, having become astonished, was looking steadfastly at it, when the sound of a loud laugh reached my ear; I raised my head to look [towards the dome from which the noise proceeded]. Then I saw that a face, resplendent as the full moon, having rent the felt, continued issuing forth. On beholding it, my reason and senses vanished. On coming to myself, I looked up, and saw a throne of jewels raised on the shoulders of fairies; a person was seated on it, with a crown of precious stones on her head, and clothed in a superb dress; she held in her hand a cup made of ruby, and seated, was drinking wine. The throne descended by slow degrees from its height, and rested on [the floor of] the dome. Then the fairy called me, and placed me beside her [on the throne]; she began to make use of expressions of endearment, and having pressed her lips to mine, she made me drink a cup of rosy wine, and said, ’The human race is faithless, but my heart loves thee.’ The expressions she uttered were so endearing and so fascinating, that in a moment my heart was enraptured, and I felt such pleasure as if I had tasted the supreme joys of life, and thus I conceived that I had only on that day entered the world [of enjoyment].

“The result is my present state! but no one [on earth] hath ever seen, or heard such ecstatic pleasure! In that zest, with our hearts at ease, we both were seated, when all at once our joys were dashed to pieces! Now listen to the unlooked-for circumstance [which produced this sudden change]. At the moment, four fairies descended from the heavens, and whispered something in that beloved one’s ear. On hearing it, her colour changed, and she said to me, ’O my beloved, I fondly wished to pass some moments with you, and regale my heart, and to repeat my visits in the same manner, or to take thee with me. But fate will not permit two persons [like us] to remain in one place in peace and felicity; farewell, my beloved! may God protect you!’ On hearing these [dreadful words], my senses vanished, and my bliss fled from my grasp. I cried, ’O my charmer, when shall we meet again? what dreadful words of wrath are these which you have made me hear? If you will return quickly, then you will find me alive, otherwise you will regret the delay; or else tell me your name and place of residence, that I may from those directions, by diligent search, conduct myself to you.’ On hearing this she said, ’God forbid [you should do so]; may the ears of Satan be deaf; may your age amount to a hundred and twenty years; if we live we shall meet again; I am the daughter of the king of the Jinns, and I dwell in the mountain of Kaf. On saying this, she caused the throne to ascend, and it ascended in the same manner as it had descended.

“Whilst the throne was in sight, our eyes were fixed on each other; when it disappeared from my eyes, my state became such as if the shadow of a fairy had fallen on me; a strange sort of gloom was spread over my heart, and my understanding and consciousness left me; the world appeared dark under my eyes; distracted and confused, I wept bitterly, and scattered dust over my head, and tore my clothes; I became regardless of food and drink, nor cared for good or evil.

’What various evils result from this same love!
In the heart are produced sadness and impatience.’

“My misfortune was soon known to my nurse and preceptor; with fear and trembling they went before the king, and said, ’Such is the state of the prince of the people of the world; we do not know how this disaster has suddenly and of itself fallen upon him, so that rest, food, and drink have all [on his part] been abandoned.’ [On hearing these sad tidings] the king immediately came to the garden [where I resided], accompanied by the wazir, intelligent nobles, wise physicians, true astrologers, learned mullas, holy devotees, and men abstracted from worldly affairs. On seeing my distracted, sighing, weeping condition, his mind became also distracted; he wept, and with fond affection clasped me to his breast, and gave orders for my proper treatment. The physicians wrote out their prescriptions, in order to strengthen my heart and cure my brain, and the holy priests wrote out charms and amulets, some to be swallowed, and others to be worn on my person, and having each repeated prayers [of exorcism], they began to blow upon me; the astrologers said this misfortune had happened owing to the revolution of the stars [for the averting] of it, give pious donations. In short, every one advised according to his science; but what was passing within me, my heart alone experienced; no one’s assistance or remedy was of avail to my evil destiny; day after day my lunacy increased, and my body became emaciated from the want of nourishment. There remained for me only to shriek and moan, day and night. Three years passed away in this state. In the fourth year, a merchant, who was on his travels, arrived, and brought with him into the royal presence rare and valuable articles of different countries; he met with a gracious reception.

“The king favoured him greatly, and after inquiries respecting his health, he said to him, ’You have seen many countries; have you anywhere seen a truly learned physician, or have heard of such from any one?’ The merchant replied, ’Mighty sire, this slave has travelled a great deal; in the middle of the [Ganges] river in Hindustan there is a small mountain; there a Jata-dhari Gusa,in has built a large temple to Mahadev, together with a place of worship, and a garden of great beauty, and in that [mountain-island] he lives; and his custom is this, that once a year on the day of Shevrat, he comes out of his dwelling, swims in the river, and enjoys himself. After washing himself, when he is returning to his abode, then the sick and afflicted of various countries and regions, who come there from afar, assemble near his door. Of these a numerous crowd is formed.

“’The holy Gusa,in (who ought to be called the Plato of these days), moves along examining the urine, and feeling the pulse of each, and giving each a recipe. God has given him such healing power, that, on taking his medicines, their effects are instantaneous, and the disease utterly vanishes. These circumstances I have seen with my own eyes, and adored the power of God which has created such beings! If your majesty orders it, I will conduct the prince of the people of the world to that [wonderful man], and show the prince to him; I firmly hope he will soon be completely cured; moreover, this scheme is externally beneficial, for from inhaling the air of various places, and from the diet and drink of different countries [through which we shall pass], the prince’s mind will be restored to cheerfulness.’ The merchant’s advice seemed very proper to the king, and being pleased, he said, ’Very well; perhaps the holy man’s treatment may prove efficacious, and this melancholy may be removed from my son’s mind.’ The king appointed a confidential nobleman, who had seen the world, and had been tried on [various] occasions, together with the merchant, to attend me, and he furnished us with the requisite equipment. Having seen us embark on boats of every variety, together with our baggage, he dismissed us. Proceeding onwards, stage after stage, we arrived at the place [where the holy Gusa,in lived]. From change of air, and from living on a different diet, my mind became somewhat composed; but there still remained the same state of silence; and I wept incessantly. The recollection of the lovely fairy was not for a moment effaced from my mind; if I spoke sometimes, it was only to repeat these lines:

’I know not what fairy-faced one has glanced over me,
But my heart was sound and tranquil not long ago.’

At last, when two or three months had passed away, nearly four thousand sick had assembled on the rock, and all said, ’If God please, the Gusa,in will shortly come out of his abode, and bestow on us his advice, and we shall be perfectly cured.’ In short, when that day arrived, the Gusa,in appeared in the morning, like the sun, and bathed and swam in the river; he crossed over it and returned, and rubbed ashes of cow-dung over his body, and hid his fair form like a live coal under the ashes. He made a mark with sandal wood on his forehead, girded on his langoti, threw a towel over his shoulders, tied his long hair up in a knot, twisted his mustachios, and put on his shoes. It appeared, from his looks, that the whole world possessed no value to him. Having put a small writing desk set with gems under his arm, and looking at each [patient] in turn, he gave them his recipes, and came to me. When our looks met, he stood still, paused for a moment, and then said to me, ‘Come with me.’ I went along with him.

“When he had done with all the rest, he led me into the garden, and into a neat and richly-ornamented private apartment, and he said to me, ‘Do you make your residence here,’ and went himself to his abode. When forty days had elapsed, he came to me, and found me better comparatively with [what I had been] before. He then, smiling, said, ’Amuse yourself by walking about in this garden, and eat whatever fruits you like.’ He gave me a china pot filled with ma’jun, and added, ’Take without fail six mashas from this pot every morning, fasting.’ Saying this, he went away, and I followed strictly his prescription. My body perceptibly gained strength daily, and my mind composure, but mighty love was still triumphant; that fairy’s form ever wandered before my eyes.

“One day I perceived a book in a recess in the wall; I took it down, and saw that all the sciences relating to the future and the present world were comprised in it, as if the ocean had been compressed into a vase. I used to read it at all times; I acquired great skill in the science of physic, and the mystical art of philters. A year passed away in the meantime, and again that same day of joy returned; the Gusa,in, having arisen from his devotional posture, came out [of his abode]; I made him my salam; he gave me the writing case, and said, ‘Accompany me.’ I [accordingly] went along with him. When he came out of the gate a vast crowd showered blessings on him. The nobleman and the merchant, seeing me with the Gusa,in, fell at his feet, and began to pour forth their blessings on him, saying, “by the favour of your holiness, this much at least has been effected.” The Gusa,in went to the ghat of the river, according to custom, and performed his ablutions and devotions, as he was wont to do every year; returning [from thence], he was proceeding along the line and examining the sick.

“It happened, that in the group of lunatics, a handsome young man, who had scarce strength to stand up, attracted the Gusa,in’s attention. He said to me, ‘Bring him with you.’ After delivering his prescriptions of cure to all, he went into his private apartment and opened a little of the young lunatic’s skull; he attempted to seize with his forceps the centipede which was curled on his brain. An idea struck me, and I spoke out, saying, ’If you will heat the forceps in the fire, and then apply it to the centipede’s back, it will be better, as it will then come out of its own accord; but if you thus attempt to pull it off, it will not quit its grasp on the brain, and [the patient’s] life will be endangered.’ On hearing this, the Gusa,in looked towards me; silently he rose up, and, without saying a word, he went to the corner of the garden, and seizing a tree in his grasp, he formed his long hair into a noose, and hanged himself. I went to the spot, and saw, alas! alas! that he was dead. I became quite afflicted at the strange and astonishing sight; but being helpless, I thought it best to bury him. The moment I began to take him down from the tree, two keys dropt from his locks; I took them up, and interred that treasure of excellence in the earth. Having taken with me the two keys, I began to apply them to all the locks. By chance I opened the locks of two rooms with these keys, and perceived that they were filled from the floor to the roof with precious stones; in one place I saw a chest covered with velvet, with clasps of gold, and locked. When I opened it, then I saw in it a book, in which was written the “Most awful of Names,” and the mode of invoking the genii, and the fairies, and the holding of intercourse with spirits, and how to subdue them, also the mode of charming the sun.

“I became quite delighted at the idea of having acquired such a treasure, and began to put those [charms] in practice. I opened the garden door, and said to the nobleman, and to those who had come with me, ’Send for the vessels [which had brought us, and embark in them all these jewels, specie, merchandise, and books,’ and having embarked myself in a small vessel, I proceeded from thence to the main ocean. When sailing along, I approached my own country. The intelligence reached my father. He mounted his horse, and advanced to meet us; with anxious affection he clasped me to his bosom; I kissed his feet, and said, ’May this humble being be allowed to live in the former garden?’

“The king replied, ’O my son, that garden appears to me calamitous, and I have therefore forbidden its being kept up; that spot is not at present fit for the abode of man; reside in any other abode which your heart may desire. You had best choose some place in the fort, and live under my eyes; and having there formed such a garden as you wish, continue to walk about and to amuse yourself.’ I strenuously resisted and caused the former garden to be repaired once more, and having embellished it like a perfect paradise, I went to reside in it. There, at my ease, I fasted forty days for the purpose of subduing the jinns to my will; and having abandoned living creatures, I began to practise [my spells] on the world of spirits.

“When the forty days were completed, such a terrible storm arose at midnight, that the very strongest buildings fell down, and trees were uprooted and scattered in all directions; an army of fairies appeared. A throne descended from the air, on which a person of dignified appearance was seated, richly dressed, with a crown of pearls on his head. On seeing him, I saluted him with great respect; he returned my salutation, and said, ’O friend, why hast thou raised this commotion for nothing? what dost thou want with me?’ I replied, ’This wretch has been long in love with your daughter, and for her I have every where wandered about wretched, distracted, and am dead, though alive; I am now sick of existence, and have staked my life on this deed which I have done. All my hopes now rest on your benevolence, that you will exalt this unfortunate wanderer with your favour, and that you will bestow on me life and happiness, by allowing me to behold [your fair daughter]; it will be an act of great merit.’

“On hearing my wishes he said, ’Man is made of earth, and we are formed of fire; connection between two such [classes] is very difficult.’ I swore an oath, saying, ’I only desire to see her, and have no other purpose.’ Again the king [of the fairies] replied, ’Man does not adhere to his promises; in time of need he promises everything, but he does not keep it in recollection. I say this for thy good; for if ever thou formest other wishes, then she and thou wilt be ruined and undone; moreover, it will endanger your lives.’ I repeated my oaths, and added, that whatever could injure both of us, I would never do, and that all I desired was to see her sometimes. These words were passing [between us], when suddenly, the fairy (of whom we were talking) appeared before us, with much splendour, and completely adorned; and the throne of the king [of the fairies] remounted thence. I then embraced the fairy with fond eagerness, and repeated this verse:

’Why should not she of the arched eyebrows come [to my house],
She for whose sake I have fasted for forty days.’

In that state of felicity we resided together in the garden. I dreaded through fear to think of other joys; I only tasted the superficial pleasure [of her roseate lips], and constantly gazed upon her charms. The lovely fairy, seeing me so true to my oath, was surprised within herself, and used sometimes to say, ’O my beloved, you are indeed strictly faithful to your promise; but I will give you, by the way of friendship, a piece of advice; take care of your mystical book; for the jinns, seeing you off your guard, will purloin it some day or other.’ I replied, ‘I guard this book as I would my life.’

“It so happened, that one night Satan led me astray; in a fit of overpowering passion, I said to myself, ’Let happen what will, how long can I restrain myself?’ I clasped the [lovely fairy] to my bosom, and attempted to revel in ecstatic joys. Instantly, a voice came forth, saying, ’Give me the book, for the great name of God is written in it; do not profane it.’ In that fervour of passion, I was insensible [to every other consideration]; I took the book from my bosom and delivered it, without knowing to whom I gave it, and plunged myself into the fervid joys of love. The beautiful fairy, seeing my foolish conduct, said, ’Alas! selfish man, thou hast at last transgressed, and forgotten my admonition.’

“On saying this, she became senseless, and I perceived a jinn standing at the head of the bed, who held the magical book in his hand; I attempted to seize him, and beat him severely, and snatch away the book, when in the meantime another appeared, took the book from his hand, and ran off. I began to repeat the incantations I had learnt. The jinn, who was still standing near me, became a bull; but, alas! the lovely fairy had not in the least recovered her senses, and that same state of stupor continued. Then my mind became distracted, and all my joys were turned into bitterness. From that day, man became my aversion. I live in a corner of this garden; and for the sake of agreeably occupying my mind, I made this emerald vase, ornamented with flowers, and every month I go to the plain, mounted on that same bull, break the vase, and kill a slave, with the hope that every one may see my sad state and pity me; perhaps some creature of God may so far favour me and pray for me, that I even may regain the desire [of my heart]. O faithful friend, such as I have related to thee is the sad tale of my madness and lunacy.”

I wept at hearing it, and said, “O prince, you have truly suffered greatly from love; but I swear here by God, that I will abandon my own wishes, and will now roam among woods and mountains for your good, and do all I can [to find out your beloved fairy]. Having made this promise, I took leave of the prince, and for five years wandered through the desert, sifting the dust, like a mad man, but found no trace [of the fairy]. At last, desponding of success, I ascended a mountain, and wished to throw myself down [from its summit], so that neither bone nor rib [in my frame] might remain entire. The same veiled horseman, [who saved you from destruction], came up to me and said, “Do not throw away thy life; in a few days thou wilt be in possession of the desires of thy heart.” O holy Darweshes! I have at last seen you. I have now hopes that joy and happiness will be our lot, and all of us, now affected as we are, may attain our wished-for objects.