"'At last, when I became quite restless, I mentioned it to my hand-maid, and gave her many presents [to gain her assistance]. She contrived, by some means or other, to introduce the youth in secrecy into my apartment; he then began to love me likewise. Many days passed in these love interviews. In short, the sentinels saw him one midnight going armed into my apartment, and seized him, and informed the Raja of the circumstance. The Raja ordered him to be put to death; through the solicitations of all the officers of state, his life was pardoned, but he was ordered to be thrown into the prison of Solomon; and the other young man, who is a fellow-prisoner with him, is his brother, and was with him the night [he was seized]. Both were put into the well, and it is now three years since they were confined, but no one has yet found out why the youth entered the Raja's palace. God has preserved my character [from public exposure], and in return for his goodness, I conceived it my duty to continue to supply the two prisoners with bread and water. Since their confinement I go there every eight days, and let them down eight days' provisions at once.
"'Last night, I saw in a dream that somebody advised me, saying, "Arise quickly and take a horse, a dress, a rope-ladder, and some money for expenses, and go to that pit, and deliver from thence the unfortunate prisoners." On hearing this, I started up [from my sleep], and being greatly rejoiced, I dressed myself like a man, filled a casket with jewels and gold pieces, and taking this horse and some clothes with me, I went to the prison to draw them out with the rope-ladder. It was in your fate to be delivered from such a confinement in this manner; no one knows what I have done; perhaps he was some protecting angel who sent me to enlarge you [[=set you at large]]. Well, whatever was in my destiny, the same has come to pass.' After finishing this relation, she took out some cakes fried in butter, some wheaten bread, some pulse, and meat curry from her handkerchief; but first, she dissolved some sugar in a cup of water, and put some spirit of bed-mushk in it, and gave it to me. I took it from her hand and drank it, and then ate some breakfast. After a short while, she made me wrap a piece of cloth round my waist, and led me to the river, and with scissors she cut my hair and nails and bathing me, dressed me in the clothes [she had brought], and made a new man of me. I, having turned my face to the qibla offered up a prayer of thanksgiving; the beautiful girl regarded what I was doing.
"When I had finished from praying, she asked me, 'What hast thou been thus doing?' I answered, 'I have been worshipping the Almighty God who has created the whole world, and who has effected my relief through a being lovely as thou art, and who has inclined thy heart to kindness towards me, and caused me to be released from such a prison. His person is without an equal,/5/ to Him I have performed my devotions, and obeisance, and rendered my thanks.' On hearing these words she said, 'You are a Musalman.' I replied, 'Thanks be to God, I am,' 'My heart,' said she, 'is delighted with your pious expressions; instruct me also, and teach me to recite your kalima.' I said in my own heart, 'God be praised that she is inclined to embrace our faith.' In short, I recited [our creed], viz., 'There is no God but God, and Muhammad is the apostle of God,' and made her repeat it. Then mounting our horses, we two set out from thence. When we halted at night, she talked of [nothing else but] our religion and faith; and she listened and felt delighted [with my words]. In this way we journeyed on incessantly day and night, for two months.
"At last, we arrived in a country which lay between the boundaries of the kingdoms of Zerbad and Sarandip;/6/ a city appeared, which was more populous than Constantinople, and the climate very fine and agreeable. On finding that the king of that country was more renowned for his justice than Naushirwan,/7/ and also for being the protector of his subjects; my heart was greatly rejoiced. Having there bought a house, we took up our residence. After some days, when we had got over the fatigues of the journey, I purchased some necessary articles, and married the young lady according to the law of Muhammad, and lived with her. In the space of three years, I having freely associated with the great and small of that place, established my credit, and entered into an extensive trade. At last, I surpassed all the merchants of that place. One day, I went for the purpose of paying my respects to the first Wazir, and saw a great crowd of people assembled on a plain. I asked some one, 'Why is there such a crowd here?' I learnt that two persons had been caught in the act of adultery and theft; and perhaps they had even committed murder; they were brought here to be stoned [to death].
"On hearing this [circumstance], I recollected my own case; that once upon a time I had likewise been led in the same manner to be empaled, and that God preserved me. 'Who can these be,' [I said to myself], 'that they should have become involved in such calamity? I do not even know if they are justly [punished], or, like me, the victims of a false accusation.' Pressing through the crowd, I reached [the spot where the culprits stood], and perceived they were my brothers, who were led along with their hands tied behind their backs, and with bare heads and feet. On seeing their sad state, my blood boiled, and my liver was on fire. I gave the guards a handful of gold pieces, and besought them to delay [the execution] for a moment; and from thence, having put my horse to his utmost speed, I went to the governor's house. I presented to him, as a nazar, a ruby of inestimable value, and made intercession for them. He replied, 'A person has a plaint against them, and their crimes have been fully proved; the king's mandate has been issued, and I have no alternative.'
"At last, after much entreaty and supplication [on my part], the governor sent for the complainant, and made him consent that for five thousand pieces of silver he should withdraw his charge of murder. I counted out the money, and got his written engagement [not to prosecute them again], and had them released from their dire calamity. O protector of the world! ask them if I tell truth or falsehood." Here the two brothers stood in silence, and hung down their heads like those who are ashamed. "Well, [to proceed], I got them released, and brought them to my house, had them bathed and dressed, and gave them apartments for their residence in the diwan-khana. I did not at that time introduce my wife to them; I myself attended to all their wants, and ate [and drank] with them, and at the hour of sleep returned to my apartment. For the space of three years [the time] thus passed in my kind treatment of them, and on their part, no evil action took place, so as to be the cause of my displeasure. When I used to go out riding any where, they remained at home.
"It happened, that my good wife went one day to the bath; when she came to the diwan-khana, seeing no male person there, she took off her veil; perhaps my second brother was lying down there awake, and immediately on seeing her, he became enamoured of her. He imparted [the circumstance] to our eldest brother, and they formed a plan together for murdering me. I had no knowledge whatever of this circumstance; on the contrary, I used to say to myself, 'God be praised, that this time, as yet, they have done nothing such [as they formerly did]; their conduct is now correct; perhaps they have felt the effects of shame.' One day, after dinner, my eldest brother began to weep, and to praise our native country, and to describe the delights of Iran./8/ On hearing this, the other brother began to sigh. I said, 'If you wish to return to] our native land; then it is well; I am devoted to your pleasure, and it is also my own wish. Now, if it please God, I will go along with you.' I mentioned the circumstance of my brothers' afflictions to my wife, and also my own intentions. That sensible woman replied, 'You may think so; but they again design to perpetrate some villany [towards you]; they are the enemies of your life; you have fostered [a brace of] serpents in your sleeve, and you still place reliance on their regard. Act as you please, but beware of those who are noxious.' At all events, the preparations for the journey were completed in a short time, and the tents pitched on the plain. A great qafila assembled, and they agreed to confer on me the rank of leader and qafila-bashi./9/ A propitious hour being ascertained, [the qafila] set out; but on my part, I was on my guard against my brothers, though in every way I obeyed their commands, and made everything agreeable to them.
"One day [when we arrived] at our stage, my second brother said that, 'one farsakh/10/ from this place is a running fountain like Salsabil/11/ and in the [circumjacent] plain, for miles around, lilies, and tulips, and narcissuses, and roses, grow spontaneously. In truth, it is a delightful spot to walk in; if we had our will, we would go there tomorrow, and enliven our hearts [with the sight], and recover from our fatigues.' I said, 'You are masters here; if you command it, we will halt to-morrow, and having gone to that spot, we will stroll about [and amuse ourselves].' They replied, 'What can we do better?' I gave orders, saying, 'Advertise the whole qafila that to-morrow there will be a halt,' and I told my cook to prepare breakfast, of every variety [of dishes] for next day, as we should go on an excursion [of pleasure]. When the morning came, these two brothers put on their clothes, and having armed themselves, they reminded me to make haste, that we might arrive there in the cool [of the morning] and enjoy our walk. I ordered my horse, but they observed thus, 'The pleasure which results by viewing [the place] on foot, can the same be felt in riding?/12/ Give orders to the grooms that they may lead the horses after us.'
Two slaves carried the kaliyan/13/ and coffee-pot, and went along with us. On the road, as we proceeded, we amused ourselves by shooting arrows, and when we had gone some distance from the qafila, they sent one of the slaves on some errand. Advancing a little farther, they sent the other slave also to call back [the former]. My unfortunate fate would have it [that I remained silent] as if some one had put a seal on my lips, and they did what they wished, and having occupied my attention in talk, they continued to lead me on; this dog, however, remained with me. When we had advanced a considerable distance, I saw neither fountains nor gardens, but a plain covered with thorns. There I had a call for making water, and sat me down to perform it. I saw behind me a flash like that of a sword; and, on looking back, my second brother struck me such a sword-cut, that my skull was cleft in twain./14/ Before I could call out, O savage! why dost thou murder me; my eldest brother gave me [a blow] on the shoulder. Both wounds were severe, and I staggered and fell; then these two pitiless ones mutilated me at their ease, and left me weltering in my blood. This dog, on seeing my condition, flew at them, and they wounded him likewise. After this, they gave themselves some slight wounds, and ran back to the encampment with naked feet and heads, and gave out, that 'some robbers have murdered our brother on that plain, and we ourselves also in a close encounter with them, have been wounded. Move off quickly, or else they will immediately fall on the caravan, and utterly plunder us all.' When the people of the qafila heard the name of robbers, they immediately became alarmed, and marched off and made their escape.
"My wife had [already] heard of the [former] conduct and precious qualities of these [brothers of mine,] and of all the treachery they had practised towards me; hearing now from these liars the events [that had occurred], she instantly stabbed herself to death with her dagger, and restored her soul to her Maker." O Darweshes!/15/ when the dog-worshipping Khwaja had thus far told us of the adventures and misfortunes, I wept involuntarily on hearing them. The merchant having perceived [my grief,] said, "Lord of the world! if it were not a want of respect, I would strip myself naked, and show the whole of my body." Even on this, to [prove] the truth [of what he had related,] he tore his dress off his shoulders, and showed to us [his person]. In truth, there was not the space of four fingers on it free from wounds; and he took off his turban before me from his head, and there was such a great dint in his skull, that a whole pomegranate might be put into it. All the officers of state who were present shut their eyes, they had not the power of beholding [the shocking sight].
The Khwaja then continued his narrative, saying, "O blessed majesty! when these brothers, as they thought, had finished their work and went away; on the one side, I lay wounded, and on the other side, this dog lay wounded near me. I lost so much blood from my body, that I had not the least strength or sensation left, and I cannot conceive how life remained. The spot where I lay was on the boundary of the kingdom of Sarandip, and a very populous city was situated near the place; in that city there was a great pagoda, and the king of that country had a daughter extremely well-favoured and beautiful.
"Many kings and princes were desperately in love with her. There, the custom of [wearing] the veil was unknown; for which reason the princess used to roam about, hunting all day with her companions. Near [the spot where I lay] was a royal garden; she had on that day got leave from her father, and had come to that same garden. Walking about by way of recreation, she chanced to pass over that plain; some female attendants also accompanied her on horseback. They came to the spot where I lay, hearing my groans, they stopped near me. Seeing me in this condition, they rode off to the princess, and said, that 'a miserable man and a dog are lying weltering in their blood.' On hearing this from them, the princess herself came near me, and, afflicted [at the sight,] she said, 'See if any life still remains.' Two or three of the attendants dismounted and having examined me, replied, 'He still breathes.' The princess instantly ordered them to lay me carefully on a carpet and carry me to the garden.
"When they brought me there, [the princess] having sent for the royal surgeon, gave him many injunctions respecting the cure both of myself and of my dog, and gave him hopes of a reward and a gratuity. The surgeon having thoroughly wiped my whole body, cleaned it from dust and blood, and having washed the wounds with spirits, he stitched them and put on plasters; and he ordered the extract of the musk-willow/16/ to be dropped down my throat in lieu of water. The princess herself used to sit at the head [of my bed], and see that I was attended to; and two or four times during the day and night she made me swallow, from her own hands, some broth or sharbat. At last, when I came to myself, I heard the princess say with sorrow, 'What bloody tyrant hath used thee so cruelly? did he not fear even the great idol?'/17/ After ten days, with the efficacy of the spirit of bed-mushk, and sharbats, and electuaries, I opened my eyes; and saw as if the whole court of Indra were standing around me, and the princess at the head of my bed. I heaved a sigh and wished to move myself, but had not sufficient strength. The princess said with kindness, 'O Persian, be of good cheer, and do not grieve; though some cruel oppressor hath used thee thus; yet the great idol has made me favourable towards thee, and thou wilt now recover.'
"I swear by that God who is one, and without a partner, that on beholding her I again became senseless; the princess also perceived it, and sprinkled me with rose water out of a phial held by her own fair hand. In twenty days my wounds filled up and granulated; the princess used to come [regularly] at night when all were asleep, and she then supplied me with food and drink. In short, after forty days, I performed the ablution [of perfect recovery];/18/ the princess was extremely rejoiced, and rewarded the surgeon largely, and clothed me richly. By the grace of God, and the care and attentions of the princess, I became quite stout and healthy, and my constitution became sound; the dog also grew fat. She made me drink wine every day, listened to my conversation, and was pleased. I used also to amuse her by relating some agreeable stories and brief narratives.
"One day she asked to me, 'pray relate thy adventures, and tell me who you are, and how this accident has happened to you,' I related to her my whole history from beginning to end. On hearing this, she wept and said, 'I will now behave to thee in such a manner that thou wilt forget all thy [past] misfortunes,' I replied, 'God preserve you; you have bestowed on me a second existence, and I am now wholly yours; for God's sake, be pleased ever to regard me in this favourable manner.' In short, she used to sit all night with me alone; sometimes the nurse likewise stayed with her and heard my stories, and related [others herself.] When the princess used to go away and I remained alone, I used to perform my ablutions, and concealing myself in a corner, I used to say my prayers.
"Once it so happened, that the princess had gone to her father, and I was repeating my prayers in perfect security, after having performed my ablutions, when suddenly the princess, conversing with her nurse, entered, saying, 'Let us see what the Persian is now doing; whether he be asleep or awake!' But seeing that I was not in my place, she was greatly surprised, and exclaimed, 'Hey day! where is he gone? I hope he has not formed an attachment with some one else.' She began to examine every hole and corner in search of me, and at last came to where I was saying my prayers. She had never seen any one perform his prayers;/19/ she stood in silence, and looked on. When I had finished my prayers, and lifted up my arms to bless God, and prostrated myself, she laughed loudly, and said, 'What! is this man become mad? what various postures does he assume?'
"On hearing the sound of her laughter, I became alarmed. The princess advanced, and asked me, 'O Persian, what wast thou doing?' I could make no reply, on which the nurse said, 'May I take [the responsibility of] thy evils, and become thy sacrifice, it appears to me that this man is a Musalman, and the enemy of Lat and Manat;/20/ he worships an unseen God. The princess immediately on hearing this struck her hands together, and said in great wrath, 'I did not know he was a Turk,/21/ and an unbeliever in our gods, for which reason he had fallen under the wrath of our idol. I have erroneously saved him and kept him in my house,' Saying this she went away. On hearing [her words] I became disturbed, [and alarmed to know] how she would now behave to me. Through fear, sleep was driven from me, and until morning I continued to weep, and to bathe my face with tears.
"I passed three days and nights, weeping in this fear and hope. I never shut an eye [during this time.] The third night, the princess came to my apartment flushed with the intoxication of wine, and the nurse along with her. She was full of anger; and with a bow and arrows in her hand, she sat down outside of the room, on the border of the chaman;/22/ she asked the nurse for a cup of wine, and after drinking it off, she said, 'O nurse! is that Persian who is involved in our great idol's wrath, dead, or does he yet live?' The nurse answered, 'May I bear your evils! some life still remains,' The princess said, 'He has now fallen in my estimation; but tell him to come out.' The nurse called me; I ran forth and perceived that the princess's face glowed through anger, and had become quite red. My soul remained not in my body; I saluted her, and having joined both my hands together, stood before her [in silent respect.] Giving me a look of anger, she said to the nurse, 'If I kill this enemy of our faith with an arrow, will the great idol pardon my guilt or not? I have already committed a great crime by having kept him in my house, and by supplying [his wants.]'
"The nurse answered, 'What is the princess's guilt? you did not in the least know him to be an enemy when you kept him [in your house;] you took compassion upon him, and you will receive good for the good you have done; and this man will receive from the great idol the reward of the evil which he has done.' On hearing these words, the princess said, 'Nurse, tell him to sit down.' The nurse made me a sign to sit down; I accordingly sat down. The princess drank another cup of wine, and said to the nurse, 'Give this wretch also a cup, then he will take his killing with more ease.' The nurse presented me a cup of wine; I drank it without hesitation, and made my salam [to the princess;] she never looked at me directly, but continued all along to give me furtive side glances. When I became elevated [with the effects of the wine,] I began to repeat some pieces of poetry; among others, I recited the following couplet:
'I am in thy power, and if alive yet, what then?On hearing this verse, she smiled, and turning towards the nurse, she said, 'What, art thou sleepy?' The nurse, guessing her motive, replied, 'Yes, sleep over-comes me.' She then took her leave, and went away./23/ After a short pause, the princess asked me for a cup of wine; I quickly filled it, and presented it to her; she took it gracefully from my hand and drank it off; I then fell at her feet; she passed her hand kindly over me, and said, 'O ignorant man! what hast thou seen bad in our great idol that thou hast betaken thyself to the worship of an unseen God?' I answered, 'Pray, be just, and reflect a little, whether that God [and He only,] is worthy of adoration, who, out of a drop of water, hath created a lovely creature like thee, and hath given such beauty and perfection, that in one instant thou canst drive into distraction the hearts of thousands of men. What a [contemptible] thing is an idol that any one should worship it? The stone-cutters have shaped a block of stone into a figure, and have spread it as a net to entangle fools. Those whom the devil beguiles, confound the Creator with the created; and they prostrate themselves before that which their own hands have formed. We are Musalmans, and we worship him who hath created us. For those [misguided idolaters], He hath created hell; for us [true believers], He hath destined paradise; if you will place your faith in God, you will experience the delights [of heaven], and distinguish truth from error, and you will find that your [present] devotion is false.'
"At length, on hearing these pious admonitions, the heart of that stony-hearted one became softened, and through the favour and mercy of God she began to weep, and said, 'Well, teach me thy faith,' I taught her the kalima, which she repeated with sincerity of heart, and having expressed penitence, and prayed for pardon, she became a [true] Musalman. I then threw myself at her feet [and thanked her]. Until the morning she continued reciting the kalima, and praying for pardon. Again she said, 'Well, I have embraced your faith, but my parents are idolators; what remedy is there for them?' I replied, 'What is that to thee? as any one acts, so will he be treated.' She said, 'They have betrothed me to my uncle's son, and he is an idolator; if I should be married to him tomorrow, which God forbid, he, an idolator, would cohabit with me, and I should bear issue, which would be a dreadful misfortune. We ought immediately to think of some remedy for this, so that I may be freed from such a calamity,' I replied, 'what you say is indeed reasonable; do whatever you think proper.' She said, 'I will remain here no longer, but go forth somewhere else.' I asked, 'by what means can you escape, and where will you go?' She answered, 'In the first place, do you leave me here, and go and abide with the Musalmans in the sarai, so that every one may hear of it, and not suspect you. You will there continue on the look out for [the departure of] vessels, and if any vessel sails for Persia, let me know; for which reason I will send the nurse to you frequently, and when you send me word [that all is ready,] I will come to you, and having embarked in the vessel, I will effect my escape and obtain my release from the hands of these ill-fated heathens,' I replied, 'I will devote myself as a sacrifice for your life and safety, but what will you do with the nurse?' She answered, 'Her case can be easily settled; I will give her a cup of strong poison./24/ The plan was fixed upon, and when the day appeared, I went to the sarai, and hired a private apartment and went and resided therein. During this absence, I only lived in the hopes of meeting again. Two months/25/ [after this event,] when the merchants of Rum, of Syria, and of Isfahan were assembled together, they formed the project of returning by water, and began to embark their merchandise on vessels. From residing together I had formed acquaintances with most of them, and they said to me, 'Well, sir, will you not also come [along with us]; how long will you stay in this country of infidels?' I answered, 'what have I wherewith I can return to my country? I have as my property this only, a female slave, a chest, and a dog; if you could give me a little room to stay in and fix its price, I shall then be at ease in my mind, and embark likewise.'
"The merchants allotted me a cabin, and I paid the money for the hire of it. Having set my heart at ease, I went to the nurse's house under some pretext, and said, 'O mother, I am come to take leave of thee, and am now returning to my country; if I could through your kindness see the princess for a moment, it would be a great satisfaction to me.' At last, the nurse complied [with my request]. I said, 'I will return at night, and wait in such a place;' she replied, 'Very well,' Having settled [this point], I returned to the sarai, and carried my chest and bedding on board the vessel and delivered them in charge to the master, and added, 'I will bring my female slave on board to-morrow morning.' The master said, 'Come speedily, as we shall weigh anchor to-morrow early,' I answered, 'Very well.' When the night came, I went to the place I had fixed upon with the nurse, and waited. After a watch of the night had passed, the gate of the seraglio opened, and the princess came out dressed in soiled and dirty clothes, with a casket of jewels in her hand; she delivered the casket to me, and went along with me. As soon as it was morning, we reached the seaside, and embarking on a skiff we went on board the vessel; this faithful dog also went with me. When it was broad daylight, we weighed anchor and set sail. We were sailing along in perfect security, when the report of a cannon was heard from one of the ports. All [on board] were surprised and alarmed; the ship was anchored, and a consultation was held among us [to know] if the governor of the port intended some foul play, and what could be the cause of the firing of cannon.
"It happened, that all the merchants had some handsome female slaves [on board], and for fear lest the governor of the port might seize them, they locked them up in chests. I did so likewise, and having shut up my princess in my chest, I locked it. In the meanwhile, the governor and his suite appeared on board a swift sailing vessel, and constantly nearing us, he came and boarded our ship. Perhaps the cause of his coming to us was this: that when the news of the nurse's death and the princess's disappearance became known to the king, in consequence of his being ashamed to mention the [princess's] name, he sent orders to the governor of the port, saying, 'I have heard that the Persian merchants have very handsome slaves with them, and as I wish to buy some for the princess, you will stop them, and send all the slaves that may be in the vessel to the royal presence. On seeing them, I will pay the full value for such as may be approved of, and the remainder shall be returned.'
"According to the king's orders, the governor of the port came himself on board our vessel for this purpose. Near my cabin was [the berth of] another person; he also had a handsome female slave locked up in his chest. The governor sat down on that chest, and began to collect all the female slaves [that could be found]; I praised God, and said, 'Well, no mention has been made of the princess.' In short, the governor's people put into their own vessel all the female slaves that were to be found; and the governor, laughing, asked the owner of the chest on which he was sitting, 'Thou hadst also a female slave?' The blockhead was frightened, and answered, 'I swear by your Honour's feet, I alone have not acted in this manner; all of us from fear of you have concealed our [handsome] female slaves in our chests.' The governor, on hearing this confession, began to search all the chests. He opened my chest also, and having taken out the princess, he carried her away with the rest. I fell into a strange state of despair, and said to myself, 'such a [dreadful] circumstance has occurred that thy life is gone for nothing; and now we must see how he will treat the princess.'
"In my anxiety for her, I forgot all fear for my own life; the whole day and night I spent in prayers to God [for her safety]. When the next early morn arrived, they brought back all the female slaves in their own vessel. The merchants were well pleased, and each took back his own. All returned, but the princess alone was not among them. I asked, 'What is the reason that my slave is not come back [with the rest]?' They answered, 'We do not know; perhaps the king may have chosen her.' All the merchants began to console and comfort me, and said, 'Well, what has happened is past; do not afflict yourself; we will all subscribe and make up her price, and give it to you.' My senses were utterly confounded; I said, 'I will not now go to Persia.' Then I addressed myself saying to the boatmen, 'O friends, take me with you, and land me on the shore.' They agreed, and I left the vessel and stepped into the boat; this dog likewise came along with me.
"When I reached the port, I kept to myself only the casket of jewels which the princess had brought with her; all my other property I gave to the governor's servants. I wandered everywhere in the way of search, that perhaps I might get some intelligence of the princess; but I could find no trace of her, nor could I get the smallest hint respecting that affair. One night I entered the king's seraglio by a trick, and searched for her, but got no intelligence. For nearly the space of a month I sifted every lane and house in the city; and through sorrow I reduced myself almost to death's door, and began to wander about like a lunatic. At last, I fancied that 'my princess must, in all probability, be in the governor's house, and nowhere else.' I went round and inspected the governor's house, to the intent that should I discover any passage I might enter it.
"I perceived a sewer high enough to allow a man to go in and out, but there was an iron grating at its mouth; I formed the resolution to enter [the house] by the way of this sewer; I took off my clothes, and descended into that filthy channel. After a thousand toils, I broke the grating, and entered the chor-mahal/26/ through the sewer. Then, having put on the dress of a woman, I began to search and examine all around me. From one of the apartments a sound reached my ear, as if some one was praying fervently. Advancing towards the place, I saw it was the princess, who was weeping bitterly and was prostrating herself before her Maker, and praying to him thus, 'For the sake of thy prophet and his pure offspring,/27/ deliver me from this country of infidels; and restore me once more in safety to the person who taught me the faith of Islam.' On seeing her, I ran and threw myself at her feet; the princess clasped me to her bosom, and upon us both a state of insensibility fell. When our senses were restored, I asked her what had happened to her; she answered, 'When the governor of the port carried all the female slaves on shore, I was offering up this prayer to God that my secret might not any how be known, and that I might not be recognised, and that your life might not be endangered. He is so great a concealer [of our shame], that no one knew I was the princess. The governor was examining every one with a view to purchase [some for himself]; when it came to my turn, he chose me, sent me secretly to his house; the rest he forwarded to the king.
"'When my father did not see me among those [slaves], he sent them all back. The whole of this artifice was had recourse to on my account. He now gives out, that the princess is very ill, and if I do not soon appear, then in a few days the news of my death will fly through the whole country; then the king's shame will not be [divulged]. But I am now greatly distressed, as the governor has other designs upon me, and always urges me to cohabit with him; I do not agree [to his desires]. Inasmuch as he [really] loves me, he has as yet waited for my acquiescence, and therefore he remains silent and quiet. But I dread [to think] how long matters can go on in this way; for which reason I have determined within myself, that when he attempts anything further, I will put myself to death. But now that I have met thee, another thought has arisen in my mind; if God is willing, except this mode, I see no other for escape.'
"I replied, 'Let me hear it; what sort of scheme is it?' She said, 'If you assist and exert yourself, it can be accomplished.' I said, 'I am ready to obey your commands; if you order me, I will leap into the burning flames, and if I could find a ladder, I would for your sake ascend to the sky; [in short], I will perform whatever you command.' The princess said, 'Go, then, to the temple of the great idol; and in the place where [the people take off/28/ their shoes, there lies a piece of black canvas. The custom of this country is, that whoever becomes poor and destitute, he having wrapt himself up in that piece of canvas, sits down in that spot. The people of this country who go there to worship, give him something, each according to his means.
"'In three or four days, when he collects some money, the head priests give him a khil'at on the part of the great idol, and dismiss him; having thus become rich, he goes away, and no one knows who he was. Go thou also, and sit under that canvas, and hide well thy hands and face, and speak to no one. After three days, when the priests and idolaters shall have given thee a khil'at, and [wish greatly to] dismiss thee; do not thou on any account get up from thence. When they entreat thee greatly, then tell them, "I do not want money nor am I avaricious of riches. I am an injured person, and am come to complain; if the mother of the Brahmans does me justice, it is well; otherwise the great idol will do me justice; and this same great idol will attend to my complaint against my oppressor." As long as the mother of the Brahmans does not come herself to thee, let any one entreat thee ever so much, consent thou not. At last, being compelled to it, she will come to thee herself; she is very old, for she is two hundred and forty years of age, and six and thirty sons, that have been born of her, are the chief priests of the temple; and she is highly respected by the great idol. For this reason she possesses such vast power that all the little and great of this country deem her command [a matter of] felicity; whatever she orders, that they perform with all their heart and soul. Lay hold of the skirt of her garment, and say to her, "O mother, if you do not exact justice from the oppressor to this injured traveller, I will dash my head on the ground before the great idol; he will at last pity me, and intercede for me with you."
"'When, after this, she asks thee all the particulars of thy complaint, tell her, "I am an inhabitant of Persia; I am come here from a great distance, both to perform a pilgrimage to the great idol, and in consequence of having heard of your justice. For some days I lived here in peace; my wife also came with me; she is young, her form and figure are excellent, and her features perfect. I do not know how the governor of the port saw her, but he forcibly took her away from me, and shut her up in his house. With us Musalmans it is a rule, that if a stranger sees one of our wives, or takes her away, it is right that the stranger be put to death by whatever means it may be accomplished, and the wife be taken back; and otherwise, we must abandon food and drink; for whilst the stranger lives, that wife is forbidden to the husband. Now, having no other resource, I am come hither; let us see what justice you do to me."' When the princess had fully instructed me in all these circumstances, I took my leave, and came out by the same sewer, and once more replaced the iron grating.
"As soon as the morning came, I went to the temple, and, having covered myself with the black canvas, I sat down. In three days' time so many pieces of gold, and silver, and articles of apparel were heaped up near me, that it appeared a regular store. On the fourth day, the priests, performing their devotion, and singing and playing, came to me with a khil'at, and wished to dismiss me. I would not agree to it, and called on the great idol for protection, and said, 'I am not come to beg, but to get justice from the great idol and the mother of the Brahmans; and until I get justice I shall not stir from hence.' On hearing this [determination], they went to the presence of the old woman, and related what I had said; after which a Brahman came to me and said, 'Come, the mother calls you.' I instantly wrapped myself up in the black canvas from head to foot, and went to the threshold [of her apartment]. I saw that the great idol was placed on a jewelled throne in which were set rubies, diamonds, pearls and coral; and a rich covering was spread on a golden chair, on which was seated, with great pomp and dignity, an old woman dressed in black, with cushions and pillows [around her], and near her stood two boys, ten or twelve years old, one on her right and one on her left. She called me before her; I advanced towards her with profound respect, and kissed the foot of the throne, and then took hold of the skirt [of her garments]. She asked me my story; I related it exactly as the princess had instructed mo to do.
"On hearing it, she said, 'Do Musalmans keep their wives concealed?' I replied, 'Yes, may it fare well with your children; it is an ancient custom of ours.' She said, 'Thine is a good religion; I will instantly give orders that the governor of the port, together with your wife, shall appear here, and I shall punish that ass in such a manner that he will not act so another time, and all shall prick up their ears and tremble.' She asked her attendants, 'Who is the governor of the port? How dares he take away by force the wife of another man?' They answered, 'He is such a one.' On hearing his name, she told the two boys who were standing near her, 'Take this man along with you instantly, and go to the king, and say, "That the mother declares, that this is the command of the great idol, that whereas the governor of the port commits excessive violence on the people; for instance, he has carried off [by force] this poor man's wife, and his guilt is proved to be great; therefore let an inventory be quickly taken of the delinquent's effects and property, and let them be delivered to this Turk, whom I esteem, otherwise you will be destroyed tonight, and you will fall under our wrath.' The two boys rose up, came out of the place, and mounted their horses; all the priests, blowing their shells, and singing hymns, went in their retinue.
"In short, the great and little of that country having conceived the dust of the spot where the feet of those boys trod as holy, used to take it up and put it to their eyes. In this manner, they went to the palace of the king. He heard of it, and came forth with naked feet for the purpose of their reception, and having conducted them with great respect, he placed them on the throne near himself, and asked them, 'What has given me the honour of your visit to-day?' The two young Brahmans repeated on the part what they had heard from the mother, and threatened him with the great idol's anger.
"On hearing it the king said, 'Very well,' and issued an order to his attendants, saying, 'Let some officers of justice go, and let them immediately bring the governor of the port, along with that woman into our presence, then shall I, having investigated his crime, inflict upon him deserved punishment.' On hearing [this order], I was greatly alarmed in my own heart, [and said to myself], 'This affair indeed is not quite so well; for if they bring the princess with the governor of the port, the matter will be discovered; what then will be my situation?' Being extremely fear-stricken in my mind, I looked up to God, but my countenance was overcast with anxiety, and my body began to tremble. The boys seeing my colour change, perhaps observed that this order was not agreeable to my wish; they instantly rose with vexation and anger, and said harshly to the king, 'O wretch, art thou become mad, that thou steppest aside from the great idol's obedience, and conceivest what we said to be untrue, that thou wishest to send for them both and verify [the circumstance]? Now, take care, thou hast fallen under the great idol's wrath; we have delivered our orders, now do thou look [to it], or the great idol will look [to thee].'
"On hearing these words, the king was so greatly alarmed, that, joining both his hands together, he stood [before the boys] and trembled from head to foot. Having made humble supplication, he endeavoured to appease them; but they would not sit down, and they remained standing. In the meantime, all the nobles who were present, began with one voice to speak ill of the governor, saying, 'He is indeed such a wicked man, and so tyrannical, and commits such offences, that we cannot relate the same before the royal presence. Whatever the mother of the Brahmans has sent word of, is all true; inasmuch as it is the great idol's decision; how can it be false?' When the king heard the very same story from all, he was much ashamed and regretful of what he had said. He instantly gave me a rich khil'at; and having written an order with his own hand, and sealed/29/ with his sign manual [[=his personal seal]], he consigned it to me; he also wrote a note to the mother of the Brahmans, and having laid trays of gold and jewels before the boys as presents, he dismissed them. I returned to the temple highly pleased, and went to the old woman.
"The contents of the king's letter which had arrived were as follows. After the usual compliments and tenders of service and devotion, [the king] had written, 'That according to the orders of your highness, the situation of governor of the fort has been conferred upon this Musalman, and a khil'at/30/ has been bestowed on him. He is now at liberty to put the former governor to death; and all his effects and money now belong to this Musalman; he may do with him what he pleases. I hope my fault will be forgiven.' The mother of the Brahmans was pleased with the letter, and said, 'Let the music strike up in the naubat-khana of the pagoda.' Then she sent with me five hundred well-armed soldiers, who were good marksmen/31/ with the musket, to go with me, and gave them orders to go to the port, seize its governor, and deliver him up to this Musalman, in order that he may put him to death with what torture he pleases. Also let them take care that, except this honoured [Musalman], no one be permitted to enter the [governor's] seraglio, and let them deliver over his money and effects [untouched to the new governor]. When he sends them back with his own accord, let them get a letter of approbation from him, and return to me.' She then gave me a complete dress from the wardrobe of the great idol, and having caused me to mount, she dismissed me.
"When I reached the port, one of my men proceeded before me, and informed the governor [of my arrival]. He was sitting like one in great perplexity, when I arrived my heart was already filled with rage; on seeing the harbour-master, I drew my sword, and struck him such a blow on the neck, that his head flew off like a stalk of Indian corn. Then having ordered the agents, the treasurers, the superintendants and other officials to be seized, I took full possession of the records; and then I entered the seraglio. There I met the princess; we embraced each other most tenderly, and wept, and praised the goodness of God; we wiped each other's tears; I then came out and sat on the masnad, and gave khil'ats to the officers [of the port], and re-established them in their respective situations; to the servants and slaves I gave promotion. To those people who had come as an escort from the temple, I gave presents and gratuities, and having bestowed dresses on their officers, I dismissed them. Then having taken with me jewels of great value, and pieces of fine cloth, and shawls, and brocaded stuffs and goods, and rarities of every region, and a large sum of money as a nazar/32/ for the king, and for the nobles, according to their respective ranks, and for the priests and priestesses, to be divided among them, after one week I went to the idol-temple and laid the presents before the old woman.
"She gave me another khil'at of dignity, and a title. I then went to the audience of the king, and presented my pesh-kash. I addressed his majesty [on the best means] to remove the evil consequences of whatever acts of tyranny and injustice the [former] governor of the port had committed. For this reason, the king, the nobles, and the merchants were all well pleased with me, and the king showered many favours on me, and having given me a khil'at and a horse, he bestowed on me a title and a ja-gir,/33/ with other dignities and honours. When I came out from the royal presence, I gave the servants and attendants so much, that they all began to pray [for my welfare]. In short, I became very happy in my condition; and I passed my days in that country in extreme ease and felicity, after marrying the princess; and I offered up thanks to God [for the happiness I enjoyed]. The inhabitants were quite happy through the equity of my administration; and once a month I used to go to the temple and the king's levee; his majesty, from time to time, conferred on me additional promotion.
"At last, he enrolled me as one of his privy counsellors, and did nothing without my advice; my life began to pass in extreme delight; but God only knows that I often thought on these two brothers [and was anxious to know] where they were and how they were. After the space of two years, a qafila of merchants arrived at the port from the country of Zerbad, and they were all bound for Persia; they wished to return to their own country by sea. It was the rule at that port, that whenever a karavan arrived there, the chiefs of the karavan used to present to me as a nazar some rare presents and curiosities of different countries. On the day following, I used to go to [the chief's] place of residence, and to levy ten per cent. on the value of his goods by way of duty; after which, I gave him permission to depart. In the same manner, those merchants from Zerbad likewise came to wait on me, and brought with them presents beyond value; the second day I went to their tents. There I perceived two men dressed in tattered old clothes, who bore packages and bundles on their heads, right into my presence. After I had examined [the packages], they carried them back; they laboured hard, and attended constantly.
"I looked at them with great attention, and perceived they were, indeed, my two brothers. At that time, shame and pride would not allow me to see them in such servitude. When I returned home, I desired my servants to bring those two men to me; when they brought them, I had clothes made up for them, and kept them near me. But these incorrigible villains again laid a plan to murder me. One day at midnight,/34/ finding all off their guard, they came like thieves to the head of my bed. I had maintained a guard at my door from apprehensions for my life, and this faithful dog was asleep at the side of my bed; but the moment they drew their swords from the scabbard, the dog first barked, then flew at them; the noise he made awaked all; I, also alarmed, started up. The guards seized them, and I knew them to be themselves all over. Every one began to execrate them, [and said] 'notwithstanding all this kindness, how infamously they have behaved!'
"O king, peace be upon you, I also became at last alarmed [for my life]. There is a common saying, 'That the first and second fault may be pardoned, but the third punished.'/35/ I determined then, in my own heart, to confine them; but if I had put them in the prison, who would have taken care of them? They might have perished from want of food and drink, or they might have contrived more mischief. For this reason, I have confined them in a cage, that they may be always under my own eye, then my mind will be at rest; lest being absent from my sight, they may hatch further wickedness. The honour and esteem which I evince towards this dog, are on account of his loyalty and fidelity. O, great God, a man without gratitude is worse than a faithful brute! These were the past events of my life, which I have related to your majesty, now, either order me to be put to death, or grant me my life; to the king command belongs."
On hearing this narrative,/36/ I praised that man of honour, and said, your kindness has been uninterrupted, and there has been no limits to these fellows' shameless and villainous conduct; so true is it, "That if you bury a dog's tail for twelve years, it will still remain crooked as ever."/37/ After this, I asked the Khwaja the history of those twelve rubies which were in the dog's collar. He replied, "May the age of your majesty be a hundred and twenty years! After I had been three or four years governor of that port, I was sitting one day on the top of my house, which was high, for the purpose of viewing and enjoying the sea and plain beneath. I was looking in all directions, when suddenly, I perceived two human figures, who were coming along from one side of the wood, where there was no high road. Having seized a telescope, I looked at them, and saw they were of a strange appearance: I speedily sent some mace-bearers to call them [to my presence.]
"When they came, I perceived they were a man and a woman. I sent the woman into the seraglio to the princess, and called the man before me; I saw he was a youth of twenty or twenty-two years of age, whose beard and mustaches had commenced [growing;] but the colour of his face had become black as that of the tawa/38/. The hair of his head, and the nails of his fingers owing to the heat of the sun were greatly grown, and he looked like a man of the woods. He held on his shoulder a boy of about three or four years old, and two sleeves of a garment, filled [with something], were suspended like a collar round his neck; he cut a strange appearance, and was oddly dressed, I was greatly surprised, and asked him, 'O, friend, who art thou, and of what country art thou the inhabitant, and in what a strange condition do I see thee?' The young man began to weep bitterly, and taking off the two filled sleeves from around his neck, he laid them before me, and cried out, 'Hunger, hunger! for God's sake give me something to eat; I have subsisted for a long while on roots and herbs, and there is not a particle of strength remaining in me.' I instantly ordered him some bread, meat, and wine; he began to devour them.
"In the meantime, the eunuch brought from my haram several other bags which he found on [the stranger's wife.] I ordered them all to be opened, and saw that they contained precious jewels of every kind, each of which was equal in value to the amount of the king's revenue; each one was more valuable than another in weight, shape and brilliancy; and the whole apartment was illuminated with variegated colours, from the reflection of their different coloured rays. When the young man had eaten something, and drank a cup of wine, his senses returned; I then asked him, 'where did you get these stones?' He answered, 'My native country is Azurbaijan./39/ Having separated from my home and parents in my infancy, I have undergone many hardships; I was for a long while buried alive, and have often escaped from the claws of the angel of death.' I said, 'pray, young man, give me the details that I may fully comprehend [your story].' Then he began to relate his adventures as follows:-- 'My father was a merchant, and he used to travel constantly to Hindustan, China, Khata, Rum, and Europe. When I was ten years of age, my father set out for Hindustan, and wished to take me with him. Although my mother and various aunts remarked that I was yet a child, and not old enough to travel; my father did not mind them, and said, "I am now old; if he is not instructed under my own eye, I will carry the regret with me to my grave; he is the son of a man, and if he does not learn now, when will he learn?"
"'Saying this, he took me with him, in spite of their entreaties, and we set out. The journey was performed in health and safety, and when we arrived in Hindustan, we sold some of our goods there, and taking some rarities with us from thence, we set out for the country of Zerbad. This journey was likewise performed in safety; there also we sold and bought goods, and embarked on board a ship, to return the quicker to our country. One day, about a month after, we were overtaken by a storm and hurricane, and the rain began to fall in torrents; the whole earth and sky became dark as a mass of smoke, and the rudder broke; the pilot and master began to beat their heads; for ten days the winds and waves carried us where they pleased; the eleventh day the ship having struck against a rock, went to pieces. I did not know what became of my father, our servants and our goods.
"'I found myself on a plank, which floated for three days and nights beyond any control [of mine]. On the fourth day it reached the shore. I had just life enough remaining. I got off the plank, crawled along on my knees. I some how or other reached the dry land. I saw some fields at a distance, and many people were assembled there; but they were all black, and as naked as the day they were born; they said something to me; but I did not understand their language in the least. It was a field of the chana/40/ pulse; the men, having lighted a large fire, were parching the ears [of chana] and eating them; and some houses also appeared [near the spot]. Perhaps this was their usual food, and that they lived in those houses; they made signs to me also that I should eat. I plucked up some of the graum, roasted it, and began to toss it into my mouth; and having drunk a little water, I laid down to sleep in a corner of the field.
"'After some time, when I awoke, a man from among them came to me, and began to show me [by signs] the road; I plucked up some more of the graum, and followed the road [he pointed out]. A great level plain appeared before me, vast as the plain of the day of judgment./41/ I proceeded, eating the graum as I went; after four days, I perceived a fort; when I went near it, then I saw it was a very high fort, all built of stone, and each side of which was two kos in length, and the door was cut out of a single stone, and had a large lock attached; but I could see no trace of any human being. I proceeded on from thence and saw a hillock, the earth of which was in colour black as surma;/42/ when I passed over the hillock, I saw a large city, surrounded with a rampart with bastions at regular intervals; and a river of great width flowed on one side of the city. Proceeding on, I reached a gate, and invoking God, I entered it. I saw a person who was dressed in the garment of the people of Europe, and seated on a chair; the moment he saw I was a foreign traveller, and heard me invoke God, he desired me to advance. I went up to him, and made him a salam; he returned my salutation with great kindness, and laid on the table instantly some bread and butter, and a roast fowl and wine, and said, "Eat thy belly full." I ate a little, and drank [some of the wine], and fell sound asleep. When the night came, I opened my eyes, and washed my hands and face; he gave me again something to eat, and said, "O son, relate thy story." I told him all that had happened to me. He then said, "Why art thou come here?" I became vexed, and replied, "Perhaps thou art mad; after hardships of long duration, I have at last seen the appearance of [human] dwellings. God has conducted me so far, and thou askest me why I am come here." He answered, "Go and rest thyself now; I will tomorrow tell thee what I have to say."
"'When the morning came he said to me, "There are in this room a spade, a sieve, and a leather bag; bring them out." I said to myself, God knows what labour he will make me undergo because he has made me eat of his bread; having no help for it, I took up those articles and brought them to him. He then ordered me to go to the black hillock [I had passed] and dig a hole a yard deep, and "whatever you find in it pass it through this sieve; whatever cannot pass through, put it in the leather bag, and bring it to me." I took all those implements and went there, and having dug as much [as I was ordered], I passed it through the sieve, and put what remained into the bag, [as directed]; I then saw they were all precious stones of different colours, and my eyes were dazzled with their brilliancy. In this manner I filled the bag up to the mouth, and carried it to that person; on seeing it, he said, "Whatever is in the bag take it for thyself, and go away from hence; for thy stay in this city will not do thee good." I gave for answer, "Your worship has, on your part, done me a great favour by giving me these stones and pebbles; but of what use are they to me? When I become hungry, I shall not be able to eat them nor to fill my belly; and if you give me more of them, what use will they be to me?? That person smiled, and said, "I pity thee, for thou, like me, art an inhabitant of the kingdom of Persia; for this reason I advise thee [against remaining here], otherwise it rests with thee. If thou art determined, at all hazards, to enter this city, then take my ring with thee; when thou reachest the centre of the market place, thou wilt find sitting there a man with a white beard-- his face and general appearance are very like mine-- he is my eldest brother-- give him this ring-- he will then take care of thee; act conformably to what he says, otherwise thou wilt lose thy life for nothing; my authority only extends as far as this; I have no entrance into the city."
"'I took the ring from him, and, saluting him, took my leave. I entered the city, and saw it was a very elegant place; the streets and market-places were clean and the men and women without concealment were buying and selling among themselves, and were all well dressed. I continued advancing on, and viewing sights. When I reached the four cross roads of the market place, such a crowd there was, that if you threw a brass plate, it would have skimmed over the heads of the people. The multitude were so close to each other, that one could with difficulty make his way through. When the concourse became less, I, pushing and jostling, advanced forward. I saw at last the person [described], seated on a chair, and a chummak/43/ set with precious stones lay before him. I approached him, made him my salam, and gave him the ring; he looked at me with a look of anger, and said, "Why hast thou come here, and plunged thyself in calamity? Did not my foolish brother forbid thee?"
"'I replied, "He did forbid me, but I did not mind him." I then related to him all my adventures from beginning to end. That person got up, and taking me with him, he went towards his own house; his residence appeared like the abode of a king, and he had many servants and attendants. When he had retired to his private apartment and sat down, he said with mildness, "O son! what folly hast thou committed, that on thine own feet thou hast walked to thy grave? What unfortunate blockhead ever comes to this enchanted city?" I answered, I have already fully related to you my history; now indeed fate has brought me here; but do me the kindness to enlighten me on the customs and ways of this place, then shall I know for what reasons you and your brother have dissuaded me from staying here." The good man answered, "The king and all the nobles of this city have been excommunicated; strange are their manners and religion! In an idol temple here there is an idol, from whose belly the devil tells the name, sect, and faith of every individual; so, whatever poor traveller arrives here, the king has information of it; and he conveys the stranger to the pagoda, and makes him prostrate himself before the idol. If he prostrates himself, it is well; otherwise, they cause the poor wretch to be immersed in the river; and if he attempts to escape from the river, his private parts/44/ become elongated to such a degree that he has to drag them along the ground. Such enchantment [has God] ordained in this city. I feel pity for thee on account of thy youth; but for thy sake I am going to execute a scheme I have formed that thou mayest be able to live at least a few days, and be saved from this calamity."
"'I asked, "What is the nature of the project [you have formed]? impart it to me." He replied, "I mean to have thee married; and to get thee the Wazir's daughter for thy wife." I gave for answer, "How can the Wazir give his daughter to a wretch so poor and destitute as myself? Will it be when I embrace his faith? This is what I never can do." He replied, "The custom of this city is, that whoever prostrates himself before the idol, if he be a beggar and demand the king's daughter, the king must deliver her up to him in order to gratify his wish, and that they may not grieve him. Now I am in the king's confidence, and he esteems me, for which reason all the nobles and officers of state of this place respect me. In the course of every week, they go twice to the pagoda on a pilgrimage, and there they perform their worship; so they will all assemble there tomorrow, and I will carry thee with me." Saying this, he gave me something to eat and drink, and sent me away to sleep. When the morning came, he took me with him to the pagoda; when we arrived there, I saw that people were going to and fro, and performing their devotions.
"'The king and nobles in front of the idol, near the priests, with heads uncovered, were respectfully seated; also unmarried girls and handsome boys, like Hur and Ghilman,/45/ were drawn up in lines on the four sides. The good old man spoke to me and said, "Now do whatever I say." I agreed, and said, "Whatever you command, that I will perform." He said, "First, kiss the king's hands and feet, then, lay hold of the Wazir's dress." I did so. The king asked, "Who is this, and what has he to say?" The man replied, "This young man is my relation, and he is come from far to have the honour to kiss your majesty's feet, and with this expectation, that the Wazir will exalt him by [admitting him] into his service, if the order of the great idol and your majesty's approbation be [to that effect]." The king said, "If he will embrace our faith and sect, and adopt our customs, then it will be auspicious [for him]." Immediately, [the drums of] the nakkar-khana/46/ of the pagoda struck up; and I was invested with a rich khil'at; they then put a black rope round my neck, and dragged me before the seat of the idol, and having made me prostrate myself before it, they lifted me up.
"'A voice issued from the idol, saying, "O respected youth, thou hast done well to enter into my service; rely on my mercy and favour." On hearing these words, all the people prostrated themselves, and began to roll on the ground, and exclaimed, "Long may you prosper! why should it not be!" When the evening came, the king and the Wazir mounted, and went to the Wazir's house, and they made over to me the Wazir's daughter according to their rites and ceremonies; they gave a great dowry and presents with her, and expressed themselves highly obliged, saying, that according to the commands of the great idol, they had given her to me. They settled us both in one house; when I saw that beauty, then [I perceived that] in truth her beauty was equal to that of a fairy, perfect from top to toe. All the beauties we have heard of, as peculiar to Padmini/47/ females, were centred in her. I cohabited with her without ceremony, and experienced great delight. In the morning, after having bathed, I waited on the king; he bestowed on me the khil'at of marriage, and ordered that I should always attend his levee; at last, after some days, I became one of his majesty's counsellors.
"'The king used to be much pleased with my society, and often gave me presents and rich khil'ats, although I was rich in worldly treasures, for my wife possessed so much gold, property, and precious stones, that they exceeded all bounds and limits. Two years passed in extreme delight and ease. It happened that [my wife] the Wazir's daughter, became pregnant; when the seventh and eighth months had passed, and she entered her full time, the pains came on; the nurse and midwife came, and a dead child was brought forth; its poison infected the mother, and she also died. I became frantic with grief, and exclaimed, what a dreadful calamity has burst upon me! I was seated at the head of the bed, and weeping; all at once the noise of lamentations spread through the whole house, and women began to pour in [upon me] from all sides. Each as she entered, struck one or two blows with her hands on my head, and stood before my face, and began to weep. So many women were assembled [round me], that I was perfectly hidden among them, and nearly expiring.
"'In the meantime, some one from behind seized me by the collar, and dragged me along; I looked up, and saw it was the same man of Persia who had married me [to the Wazir's daughter]. He exclaimed, "O blockhead! for what art thou weeping?" I replied, "O cruel! what a question thou askest! I have lost my empire, and the repose of my house is utterly gone, and thou demandest why I weep!" He said, with a smile, "Now weep on account of thy own death; I told thee at first, that perhaps thine evil fate had led thee here [to perish]; so it has turned out; now, except death, thou hast no release." At last, the people seized me, and led me to the pagoda; I saw that the king, the nobles, and thirty-six tribes of his subjects were assembled there; the wealth and property of my wife were all collected there; whatever article any one's heart desired, he took; and put down its price in cash.
"'In short, all her property was converted into specie; with this specie precious stones were purchased, and locked up in a small box; they then filled a chest with bread, sweetmeats, roast meat, dried and green fruits, and other eatables; and they put the corpse of my wife into another chest, and slung both the chests across a camel; they mounted me on it, and put the box of precious stones in my lap. All the Brahmans went before me singing hymns and blowing their shells, and a crowd for the purpose of wishing me joy came on behind. In this manner I was conducted out of the city, through the same gate by which I entered the first day. The moment when the same keeper of the gate saw me, he began to weep, and said, "O unfortunate, death-seized [wretch]! thou wouldst not listen to me, but by entering this city thou hast lost thy life for nothing! It is not my fault; I did dissuade thee." He said this to me; but I was so confounded, that I could not use my tongue to reply to him; nor were my senses in their right place, to foresee what would become of me at last.
"'They conducted me at last to the same fort, the door of which I had seen shut the first day [I entered this country]. The lock was opened with the assistance of many people united, and they carried in the corpse and the chest of food. A priest came up to me, and began to console me, saying, "Man is born one day, and one day dies; such is the [mode of] transmigration in this world; now these, thy wife, thy son, thy wealth, and forty days' food are placed here; take them, and remain here until the great idol is favourable to thee." In my wrath I wished to curse the idol, the inhabitants of that place, and their manners and customs, and to inflict blows and buffets on that priest. That same man of Persia in his own tongue, forbade me, and said, "Take care, do not on any account utter a word; if you should say anything whatever, they will burn you immediately. Well, whatever was in your destiny, that has taken place: rely now on the mercy of God; perhaps He will deliver you alive from this place."
"'In short, all of them, having left me by myself, went out of that fortress, and shut the door. At that moment I wept bitterly at my solitary and helpless state, and began to kick the corpse of that woman, saying, "O cursed corpse, if thou wast to perish in child-birth, why didst thou marry and become pregnant?" After thoroughly beating her, I again sat silent. In the meantime, the day advanced, and the sun became very hot; my brains began to boil, and I was dying by reason of the stench. On whatever side I looked, I saw the bones of the dead, and boxes of precious stones in heaps. I then, having gathered some old chests together, placed them over each other, so that there might be a shed against the heat of the day, and the dews of the night. I began to search for water, and on one side I saw something like a cascade, which was cut out of stone in the wall of the inclosure, and had a mouth like a pot. In short, my life was [sustained] for some time on the food [they had left with me], and the water [I had found.]
"'At last, the victuals were exhausted, and I became alarmed and complained to God. He is so beneficent that the door of the inclosure opened and another corpse was brought in; an old man accompanied it. When, having left him also, they went away, it came into my head to kill the old man, and take possession of his chest of provisions. So, having taken up the leg of an old chest, I went up to him; he was, poor wretch, sorely perplexed, seated with his head resting on his knees. I came behind him, and struck him such a blow, that his skull was fractured and his brains came out, and he instantly resigned his soul to God. I seized his stock of provisions, I began to live on it. For a long while this was my way, that whatever living beings came in with the dead, I used to kill the former, and having taken their provisions, I fared plentifully.
"'After some time, a young girl once came with a corpse; she was very handsome, and I had not the hard heart to kill her [as had hitherto been my practice]. She espied me, and swooned away through fear. I took up her stock of provisions, and carried it to where I lived; but I did not eat it alone; when I was hungry, I used to carry her some victuals, and we ate together. When the young girl perceived that I did not molest her, her timidity lessened daily and she became more familiar, and used to come to my shed. One day I asked her her story, and who she was; she replied, "I am the daughter of the king's Wakil-i mutlak,/48/ and had been betrothed to my uncle's son. On the day of the marriage night he was attacked with a colic, and was in such agonies from the pain, that he expired in an instant;/49/ they brought me here with his corpse and have left me." She then asked to hear my story; I also related the whole to her, and said, "God hath sent thee here for my sake." She smiled and remained silent.
"'In this way mutual affection increased between us in a short time; I taught her the principles of the Musalman faith, and made her repeat our kalima. I then performed the marriage ceremony, and cohabited with her; she also became pregnant and brought forth a son. Nearly three years passed in this manner. When she weaned the child, I said to my wife, "How long shall we remain here, and how shall we get out from hence?" She replied, "If God takes us out, then we shall get out; otherwise we shall some day die here." I wept bitterly at what she said, and at our confinement, and continuing to weep, I fell asleep. I saw a person in my dream, who said to me, "There is an outlet through the drain; go thou forth." I started up with joy, and said to my wife, "Collect and bring with you all the old nails and bolts which belonged to the rotten chests, that I may [with their help] widen [the mouth of the drain]." In short, I having applied a large nail to the mouth of that drain, used to strike it with a stone until I became quite tired; however, after a year's labour, I widened the opening so much that a man could get through it.
"'I then put the very finest of the precious stones into the sleeves of the habits of the dead, and taking them with us, we three got out through the opening [I had made]. I offered up thanks to God [for our deliverance], and placed the boy on my shoulders. It is a month since we quitted the high road from fear, and have travelled through bye-paths of the woods and mountains; when hunger attacked us, we fed on grass and leaves. I have not strength left to say a word more; these are my adventures which you have just heard,' O mighty king./50/ I took pity on his condition, and having sent him to the bath, I had him well dressed, and made him my deputy. In my own house I had had several children by the princess, but they died one after another, when young; one son lived to five years of age, and then died; from grief for him my wife died also. I was greatly afflicted, and that country became disagreeable to me after her loss; my heart became quite sad, and I determined to return to Persia. I solicited the king's leave to depart, and got the situation of the governor of the port transferred to the young man [whose story I have just related]. In the meantime the king died also; I took this faithful dog and all my jewels and money with me, and came to Naishapur, in order that no one should know the story of my brothers. I have become well-known as the dog-worshipper; and owing to this evil fame, I to this day pay double taxes into the exchequer of the king of Persia.
"It so happened that this young merchant went to Naishapur, and owing to him I have had the honour to kiss your majesty's feet." I asked/51/ the Khwaja, 'Is not this [young merchant] your son? He answered, "Mighty sire, he is not my son; he is one of your majesty's own subjects; but he is now my master or heir, or whatever you choose to call him." On hearing this, I asked the young merchant, "What merchant's son art thou, and where do thy parents reside?" The youth kissed the ground, and beseeching pardon for his life, replied, "This slave is the daughter of your majesty's Wazir; my father came under the royal anger on account of this very Khwaja's rubies, and your majesty's orders were, that if in one year my father's words should not be verified, he should be put to death. On hearing [the royal mandate], I assumed this disguise and went to Naishapur; God has conducted the Khwaja, together with the dog and rubies, before your majesty, and you have heard all the circumstances; I now am hopeful that my aged father may be released."
On hearing these circumstances from the Wazirzadi, the Khwaja gave a groan, and helplessly fell down. When rose water was sprinkled over his face, he recovered his senses, and exclaimed, "O, dire mishap! that I should have come from such a distance, with such toil and sorrows, in the hope that, having adopted the young merchant for my son, I should make over to him by a deed of gift, all my wealth and property, that my name might not perish, and every one should call him Khwaja-zada;/52/ but now my imaginations have proved vain, and the affair has turned out quite the contrary. He, by becoming a woman, has ruined the old man. I fell into female snares, and now the saying may be applied to me, 'Thou remainedst at home, and didst not go to pilgrimage; yet thy head was shaved, and thou art scoffed by all.'"/53/
To shorten my story, I took pity on agitation, and groans and lamentations, and called him near me, and whispered in his ear some glad tidings, and added, "Do not grieve; I will marry thee to her, and, if God pleaseth, thou shalt have children from her, and she shall [now] be thy master." On hearing these welcome words, he became altogether comforted. I then ordered them to conduct the Wazirzadi to the seraglio, and to take the Wazir out of prison, bathe him in the bath, dress him in the khil'at of restoration to favour,/54/ and bring him quickly before me. When the Wazir arrived, I went to the end of the farsh/55/ to receive him, and conceiving him my superior, I embraced him, and bestowed on him anew the writing case of the Wazirship./56/ I conferred also titles and jagirs on the Khwaja, and fixing on a happy hour, I married him to the Wazir's daughter.
In a few years, he had two sons and a
daughter born to him. In short, the eldest son is now Malikut-Tujjar, and
the youngest, the chief manager of my household. O Darweshes, I have related
these adventures to you for this reason, that last night, I heard the adventures
of two of your number; now you two who remain, fancy to yourselves that
I am still where I was last night, and think me your servant, and my house
your takiya; /57/
relate your adventures without fear and stay some days with me. When the
Darweshes perceived that the king was very kind to them, they said, "Well,
as your majesty condescends to form amity with Darweshes, we both will
also relate our adventures: be pleased to hear them."
The name of the countries which lie, as the people of Hindustan term it,
below Bengal, i.e., to the south-east of it; the name includes the kingdoms
of Ava and Pegu.
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