"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?'/1/ Saying this to herself, she got up, and performed the tayammum,/2/ 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;"It is true, that when no resource remains, then God is remembered, or else every one in his own plans, thinks himself a Luqman, and a Bu 'Ali Sina./3/ 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/4/ 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,/5/ and superior to the palace of Ni'man;/6/ 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,/7/ 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/8/ had tasted them, she would have become a Musalman./9/ 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;/10/ 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 'Iraq 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 [[=pleasedness]], '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/11/ 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,/12/ counting one day after another. At last the new moon appeared, and was hailed by me as 'Id./13/ 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,/14/ 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/15/ 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/16/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/17/ 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,
"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./18/ 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;/19/ if we live we shall meet again; I am the daughter of the king of the Jinns, and I dwell in the mountain of Qaf./20/] On saying this, she caused the throne to ascend,/21/ 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
"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 Vazir, 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/23/ 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/24/ has built a large temple to Mahadev,/25/ 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 Shivrat,/26/ 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/27/ 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,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,/28/ 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,/29/ and added, 'Take without fail six mashas/30/ 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/31/ 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.'/32/ 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,"/33/ 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 everywhere 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.'/34/
"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],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.
Meaning that, under present circumstances, her commands were altogether
out of place.
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