The fourth Darwesh began with tears the relation of his adventures in the following manner:--
"The sad tale of my misfortunes now hear,O, guides [to the path] of God,/1/ bestow a little attention. This pilgrim, who is reduced to this wretched state, is the son of the king of China; I was brought up with tenderness and delicacy, and well educated. I was utterly unacquainted with the good and evil of this world, and imagined [my life] would ever pass in the same manner. In the midst of this extreme thoughtlessness this sad event took place; the king, who was the father of this orphan, departed [this life]. In his last moments, he sent for his younger brother, who was my uncle, and said to him, "I now leave my kingdom and wealth behind me, and am going to depart; but do you perform my last wishes, and act the part of an elder. Until the prince, who is the heir to my throne, has become of age, and has sense to govern his kingdom; do you act as regent, and do not permit the army and the husbandmen to be injured or oppressed. When the prince has arrived at the years of maturity, give him advice, and deliver over to him the government; and having married him to your daughter, Roshan Akhtar, retire yourself from the throne. By this conduct, the sovereignty will remain in my family, and no harm will accrue to it."
After this speech, [the king] himself expired; my uncle became ruler, and began to regulate the affairs of government. He ordered me to remain in the seraglio, and that I should not come out of it until I reached [the years of] manhood. Until my fourteenth year I was brought up among the princesses and female attendants, and used to play and frisk about. Having heard of [my intended] marriage with my uncle's daughter, I was quite happy, and on this hope I became thoughtless, and said to myself, that I shall now in a short time ascend the throne and be married; "the world is established on hope."/2/ I used often to go and sit with Mubarak, a negro slave, who had been brought up in my late father's service, and in whom much confidence was [placed], as he was sensible and faithful. He also had a great regard for me, and seeing me advancing to the years of manhood, he was much pleased, and used to say, "God be praised, O prince, you are now a young man, and, God willing, your uncle, the shadow of Omnipotence, will shortly fulfil the injunctions [of your late father], and give you his daughter, and your father's throne."
One day, it happened that a common female slave gave me, without cause, such a slap, that the marks of her five fingers remained on my cheek. I went, weeping, to Mubarak; he clasped me to his bosom, and wiped away my tears with his sleeve, and said, "Come, I will conduct you to-day to the king; he will perhaps be kind to you on seeing you, and, conceiving you qualified [in years], he may give up to you your rights." He led me immediately to my uncle's presence; my uncle showed me great affection before the court, and asked me, "why are you so sad, and wherefore are you come here to-day?" Mubarak replied, "He is come here to say something [to your majesty]." On hearing this, he said of himself [[=voluntarily]], "I will shortly marry the young prince." Mubarak answered, "It will be a most joyful event." The king immediately sent for the astrologers and diviners into his presence, and with feigned interest asked them, "In this year what month, what day, and what hour is auspicious, that I may order the preparations for the prince's marriage?" They perceiving what were [the king's real wishes], made their calculations, and said, "Mighty sire, the whole of this year is unpropitious; no day in any of the lunar months appears happy; if this whole year pass in safety, then the next is most propitious for a happy marriage."
The king looked towards Mubarak, and said, "Reconduct the prince to the seraglio, if God willing, after this year is over, I will deliver up my trust to him; let him make himself perfectly easy, and attend to his studies," Mubarak made his salam, and taking me along with him, reconducted me to the seraglio. Two or three days after this, I went to Mubarak; on seeing me, he began to weep; I was surprised, and asked him, saying, "My father, is all well? what is the cause of your weeping?" Then, that well wisher, (who loved me with heart and soul), said, "I conducted you the other day to that tyrant; if I had known it, I would not have carried you there," I was alarmed, and asked him, "What harm has occurred from my going? pray tell me truly," He then said, "All the nobles, ministers, and officers of state, small and great, of your father's time, were greatly rejoiced on seeing you, and began to offer up thanks to God, saying, 'Now, our prince is of age, and fit to reign. Now, in a short time, the right will devolve upon the rightful [heir]; then he will do justice to our merits, and appreciate the length of our services.' This news reached the ears of that faithless wretch,/3/ and entered his breast like a serpent. He sent for me in private, and said, 'O Mubarak, act now in such a manner, that by some stratagem or other the prince may be destroyed; and remove the dread of his [existence] from my heart, that I may feel secure.' Since then I am quite confounded, for your uncle is become the enemy of your life." When I heard this dreadful news from Mubarak, I was dead without being murdered, and fell at his feet from fear of my life, and said, "For God's sake, I relinquish my throne; by any means, let my life be saved." That faithful slave lifted up my head, clasped me to his breast, and said, "There is no danger, a thought has struck me; if it turns out well, then there is nothing to fear; whilst we have life, we have everything. "It is probable that, by this scheme [of mine] your life will be preserved, and you will attain your wishes."
Giving me these hopes, he took me with him, and went to the apartment where the deceased king, my father, used to sit and sleep; and gave me every confidence. There a stool was placed; he told me to lay hold of one of its legs, and taking hold of the other himself, we removed the stool, and he lifted up the carpet that was beneath it, and began to dig the floor. A window appeared suddenly, to which were attached a chain and lock. He called me near him; I apprehended within myself that he wished to butcher me, and bury me in the place he had dug. Death appeared [in all its horrors] before my eyes; but having no other alternative, I advanced slowly and in silence towards him, repeating within myself my prayers to God. I then saw a building with four rooms inside of that window, and in every room ten large vases of gold were suspended by chains; on the mouth of each vase was placed a brick of gold, on which was set the figure of a monkey inlaid with precious stones. I counted thirty-nine vases of this kind in the four rooms, and saw one vase filled with pieces of gold, on the mouth of which there was neither the brick, nor the figure of the monkey, and I also saw a vat filled to the brim with precious stones. I asked Mubarak, "O my father, what talisman is this? whose place is this, and for what use are those figures?" He replied, "The following is the story of those figures of monkeys which you see: --Your father from his youth formed a friendship and kept up an intercourse with Malik-i Sadiq, who is the king of the jinns.
"Accordingly, once every year, [his late majesty] used to visit Malik-i Sadiq and stay near a month with him, having carried thither with him many kinds of essences,/4/ and the rarities of this country, [as a present]. When he took his leave, Malik-i Sadiq used to give him the figure of a monkey made of emerald, and our king used to bring it and place it in these lower rooms; no one but myself knew the circumstance. Once I observed to your father, 'O mighty king, you carry with you thousands of rupees' worth of rarities, and you bring back from thence the figure of a lifeless monkey in stone; what is the advantage of this [exchange] in the end?' In answer to my question, he smiling, said, "Beware, and do not in any way divulge this secret; the information [you receive] is on this condition. Each one of these lifeless monkeys which thou seest has a thousand powerful demons/5/ at his command, ready to obey his orders; but until I have the number of forty monkeys complete, so long are all these of no use, and will be of no service to me." So one monkey was wanting [to complete the efficient number] in that very year, when the king died.
"All this toil then has been of no avail, nor has the advantage of it been displayed. O prince, I recollected this circumstance on seeing your forlorn situation, and determined within myself to conduct you by some means or other to Malik-i Sadiq, and mention to him your uncle's tyranny. It is most likely that he, recollecting your father's friendship for him, may give you the one monkey which is wanting [to complete the number]; then, with their aid, you may get your empire, and reign peaceably over China and Machin,/6/ and your life, at least, will be secured by this proceeding, if nothing else can be done; I see no other way to escape from the hands of this tyrant, except the plan I propose." On hearing all these consoling circumstances from Mubarak, I said to him, "O friend, you are now the disposer of my life; do whatever is best with regard to me." Giving me every confidence, he went to the bazar to buy some 'itr and bukhur,/7/ and whatever he deemed fit to be carried [as a present for Malik-i Sadiq].
The next day, he went to my impious uncle, who was a second Abu-Jahal,/8/ and said, "Protector of the world, I have formed a plan in my heart for destroying the prince, and if you order me, I will relate it." That wretch was quite pleased, and said, "What is the plan?" Then Mubarak said, "By putting him to death [here], your majesty will be highly censured in every way; but I will take him out to the woods, finish him, bury him, and return; no one will be conversant [of the fact]." On hearing this plan of Mubarak's, the king said, "It is an excellent [plan]; I desire this, that he may not live in safety; I am greatly afraid of him in my heart, and if thou relievest me from this anxiety, then in return for that service thou shalt obtain much; take him where thou wilt, and make away with him, and bring me the welcome tidings."
Being in this manner at ease with regard to the king, Mubarak took me with him, and having also taken the presents, he set out from the city at midnight, and proceeded towards the north. For a whole month he went on without stopping; one night we were trudging along, when Mubarak observed, "God be praised, we are now arrived at the end of our journey." On hearing this exclamation, I said, "O friend, what dost thou say?" He replied, "O prince, do not you see the army of the jinns?" I answered, "I see nothing except you." Mubarak then took out a box containing surma, and with a needle applied to both my eyes the surma of Sulaiman. I instantly began to see the host of the jinns and the tents and encampments of their army; they were all handsome, and well dressed. Recognising Mubarak, they all embraced him, and spake to him facetiously.
Proceeding onwards, we at length reached the royal tents, and entered the court. I saw they were well lighted, and stools of various kinds were arranged in double rows, on which were seated men of learning, philosophers, Darweshes, nobles, and the officers of state; servants of various grades with their arms across were in waiting, and in the centre was placed a throne set with precious stones, on which was seated with an air of dignity, the king, Malik-i Sadiq, with a crown on his head, and clothed in a tunic set with pearls. I approached him and made my salutation; he desired me with kindness to sit down, and then ordered dinner; after having finished [our repast], the dastar-khwan was removed, and he, having looked towards Mubarak, asked my story. Mubarak replied, "This prince's uncle now reigns in the room of [[=in place of]] his father, and is become the enemy of his life, for which reason I have run off with him from thence, and have conducted him to your majesty; he is an orphan, and the throne is his due; but no one can do anything without a protector; with your majesty's assistance, this injured [youth] may get his rights; recollect the return due for his father's services, afford him your assistance, and give him the fortieth monkey, that the number may be completed, and the prince, having gained his rights [with their aid],/9/ will pray for your majesty's long life and prosperity; he has no other visible resource except your majesty's protection."
On hearing all these circumstances, Malik-i Sadiq, after a pause, said, "In truth, the return for the deceased king's services, and his friendship for me, are great; and, considering that this helpless prince is overwhelmed with misfortunes, that he has quitted his lineal throne to save his life, and is come as far as this, and has taken shelter under the shadow of our protection, I shall in no way be wanting [to afford him my assistance] as far as I am able, nor will I pass him over; but I have an affair in hand; if he can do it and does not deceive me--if he executes it properly, and acquits himself fully in the trial, I then promise that I will be a greater friend to him than I was to the late king, his father, and that I will grant him whatever he asks." I joined my hands, and replied, "This servant will most cheerfully perform as far as he is able, whatever services your majesty may require; he will execute them with prudence and vigilance, and without deceit, and think it a happiness to him in both worlds." The king of the jinns observed, "You are as yet a mere boy, for which reason I warn you so repeatedly, that you may not deceive me, and plunge yourself in calamity." I answered, "God, through the good fortune of your majesty, will make it easy to me, and I will, as far as in me lies, exert myself to your satisfaction."
Malik-i Sadiq, on hearing [these assurances], called me near him, and taking out a paper from his pocket book, showed it to me, and said, "Search where you think proper for the person whose portrait this is; find her out and bring her to me; when you find out her name and place, go before her, and express great affection to her from me; if you perform this service, then whatever expectations you may have from me, I will exceed them in the performance; otherwise you will be treated as you deserve." When I looked on that paper, I perceived such a beautiful portrait in it, that a faintness came over me; I supported myself with difficulty through fear, and answered, "Very well, I take my leave; if God favours me, I shall execute what your majesty commands." Saying this, I took Mubarak with me, and bent my course towards the woods. I began to wander from city to city, from town to town, from village to village, and from country to country, and to inquire of every one [I met] the name and place [of the fair one whose portrait I had]; but no one said "Yes, I know her," or "I have heard of her from some one." I passed seven years in this wandering state, and suffered every misery and perplexity; at last, I reached a city which was populous, and contained many grand edifices; but every living creature there was repeating the great name,/10/ and worshipping God.
I saw a blind beggar of Hindustan begging alms, but no one gave him a kauri, or a mouthful; I wondered at it, and pitied him; I took out a piece of gold from my pocket, and gave it to him; he took it, and said, "O donor! God prosper you; you are perhaps a traveller, and not an inhabitant of this city." I replied, "In truth, I have wandered distractedly for seven years; I cannot find the smallest trace of the object for which I set out, and have this day reached this city. The old man poured blessings on me, and went on; I followed him; a grand building appeared without the city; he entered it, and I also followed, and saw that here and there the building had fallen down, and was out of repair.
I said to myself, "This edifice is fit for princes; what an agreeable place it will be when in repair! and now, through desolation, what an appearance it has! but I cannot conceive why it is fallen into ruin, and why this blind man lives in it." The blind man was going on feeling his way with his stick, when I heard a voice, as if someone was saying, "O father, I hope all is well; why have you returned so early to-day?" The old man, on hearing this question, replied, "Daughter, God made a youthful traveller have pity on my condition; he gave me a piece of gold; it is many a day since I have had a bellyful of good food. So I have purchased meat, spices, butter, oil, flour, and salt; and I have also procured such clothes for you as were necessary; cut them out, sew them and wear them; and cook the dinner, that we may partake of it, and then offer up our prayers for the generous man [who has been kind to us]; although I do not know the desires of his heart, yet God knows and sees all; and will grant the prayers of us destitute ones." When I heard the circumstance of his severe fasting, I wished much to give him twenty pieces of gold more; but looking towards the quarter from whence the sounds came, I saw a woman who resembled exactly the portrait I had. I drew it out and compared it, and perceived that there was not a hairbreadth of difference. A deep sigh escaped from my bosom, and I became senseless. Mubarak took me in his arms and sat down, and began to fan me; I recovered a little sensation, and was gazing at her, when Mubarak asked, "What is the matter with you?" I had not yet answered him, when the beautiful female said, "O young man, fear God, and do not look at a strange female;/11/ shame and modesty are necessary to every one."
She spoke with such propriety that I became enchanted with her beauty and manners. Mubarak comforted me greatly, but he did not know the state of my heart; having no alternative, I called out and said, "O you creatures of God, and inhabitants of this place! I am a poor traveller; if you call me near you, and give me some place to put up in, it will be an important matter [for me]." The old man called me to him, and recognising my voice, he embraced me, and conducted me to where the lovely woman was seated; she went and hid herself in a corner. The old man asked me thus: "Tell thy story; why hast thou left thy home, and wandered about alone, and of whom are you in search?" I did not mention Malik-i Sadiq's name, nor did I say anything about him; but thus told [my supposed tale]. "This wretch is the prince of China and Machin, so that my father is still king; he purchased from a merchant this picture for four lakhs of rupees; from the moment when I beheld it, my peace of mind fled, and I put on the dress of a pilgrim; I have searched the whole world, and have now found the object here; the same is in your power."
On hearing these words, the old man heaved a heavy sigh, and said, "O friend, my daughter is entangled in great misfortunes; no man can presume to marry her and enjoy her." I replied, "I am in hopes you will explain more fully." Then that strange man related thus his story; --"Hear, O prince! I am a chief and grandee of this unfortunate city; my forefathers were celebrated, and of a great family; God the Most High bestowed on me this daughter; when she became a woman, her beauty and gracefulness and elegance of manners were celebrated; and over the whole country it was said, that in such a person's house is a daughter, before whose beauty even angels and fairies are abashed; how can a human creature, therefore, be compared to her! The prince of this city heard these praises, and became enamoured of her by report without seeing her; he quitted food and drink, and became quite restless.
"At last, the king heard of this circumstance, and called me at night in private and mentioned to me how matters stood; he coaxed me so with fine speeches, that at last he got my consent to an alliance [by marriage] with him. I likewise [naturally] reflected that as a daughter was born to me, she must be married to some one or other; then what can be better, than to marry her to the prince? this the king also entreats. I accepted the proposal, and took my leave. From that day the preparations for the marriage were begun by both parties; and on an auspicious hour, all the qazis and muftis,/12/ the learned men and the nobles were convened, and the marriage rites were performed; the bride was carried away with great éclat, and all the ceremonies were finished. At night, when the bridegroom wished to consummate the nuptial rites, such a noise and uproar arose in the palace, that the people without who mounted guard were surprised. They wished that having opened the door of the room, they might see what was the matter; but it was so fastened from the inside, that they could not open it. A moment after, the noise of lamentation became less; they then broke open the door from its hinges, and saw the bridegroom with his head severed from his [body], and [his limbs] still quivering; and the bride foamed at the mouth, and rolled senseless in the dust mingled with [her husband's] blood.
"On seeing this horrible sight, the senses of all present forsook them; that such grief should succeed such felicity! The dreadful intelligence was conveyed to the king; he flew [to the spot], beating his head; all the officers of state were soon assembled there, but no one's judgment was of any use in ascertaining the [cause of] this [mysterious] affair; at length the king, in his distracted state, ordered the ill-fated, luckless bride's head to be cut off likewise. The moment this order was issued from the king's lips, the same clamour arose; the king was alarmed, and from fear of his life, he ran off, and ordered the bride to be turned out of the palace. The female attendants conveyed this [unfortunate] girl to my house. The account of this strange event soon spread over the whole kingdom, and whoever heard it was amazed; and owing to the prince's murder, the king himself and all the inhabitants of the city became bitter enemies of my life.
"When the public mourning was over, and the fortieth day completed, the king asked counsel of the officers of state, saying, 'What is next to be done?' They all said, 'Nothing else can be done; but in order to console your majesty's mind, and inspire it with patience, to put the girl and her father to death, and confiscate their property.' When this punishment of me and mine was determined on, the magistrate received orders [to put it in execution]; he came and surrounded my house [with guards] on all sides and sounded a trumpet at the gate, and was about to enter in order to execute the king's orders. From some hidden quarter, such showers of stones and bricks were poured on them that the whole band could not stand against it, and covering their faces, they were dispersed hither and thither; and these dreadful sounds issued, which even the king himself heard in his palace; 'What misfortune impels thee! what demon possesses thee! if thou desirest thy welfare, molest not that fair one, or else the fate that thy son met with by marrying her, thou shalt experience the like doom by being her foe; if thou now molestest her, thou wilt rue its consequences.'
"The king fell into a fever through fear, and instantly ordered that 'No one should molest these evil-fated persons; to say nothing to them, to hear nothing from them, but to let them remain in their house, and that no one should injure or oppress them.' From that day, the magicians, conceiving this mysterious event to be witchcraft, have used all their exorcising arts and spells to destroy its effects; and all the inhabitants of this city read [prayers] from the glorious Kur,an, and pronounced the great name of God. It is a long while since this awful scene took place, but to this day the mysterious secret has not been developed, nor do I know anything about it; I once asked the girl what she had seen with her own eyes; she replied, I know nothing more than that when my husband wished to consummate our marriage, I saw the roof instantly open, and a throne set with precious stones descended through the aperture, on which was seated a handsome young man dressed in princely robes, and many persons in attendance upon him, came into that apartment; and were ready to put the prince to death. That young man came up to me and said, "Well, my love, where to will you now escape from me?" They had the appearance of men, but with feet like goats; my heart palpitated, and I fainted through fear; I do not know what afterwards happened.'
"From that period we have both thus lived in this ruined place; and from the fear of offending the king, all our friends have forsaken us; when I go out to beg, no one gives me a kauri; moreover, it is not allowed me even to stand before their shops; this unfortunate girl has not a rag to cover her nakedness, nor sufficient food to satisfy her hunger. From God I only pray for this, that our deaths should ensue, or that the earth may open out and swallow this ill-fated girl: death is better than such existence; God has perhaps sent thee here for our good; so that thou tookest pity on us, and gave us a piece of gold, which has enabled us to have good food and clothes for my daughter. God be praised, and blessed be thou; if she was not under the influence of some jinn or fairy, then I would give her for thy service like a slave, and think myself happy. This is my wretched story; do not think of her, but abandon all thoughts on that head."
After hearing this sad narrative, I entreated the old man to accept me as his son-in-law, and if evil be my future doom, then let it come; but the old man would on no account agree to my request. When the evening came, I took my leave of him, and went to the sarai. Mubarak said, "Well, prince, rejoice, God has favoured you, and your labours are not thrown away." I answered, "I have to-day used many fair speeches, but that infidel old man will not consent; God knows if he will give her to me or not." My mind was in such a state that I passed the night in great restlessness, and wished the morning was come that I might return [and see her]; I sometimes fancied, that if the father should be kind and agree to my wishes, Mubarak would carry her away for Malik-i Sadiq. I then said to myself, "Well, let us once get possession of her; I will then get over Mubarak, and enjoy her." Again my heart was filled with apprehensions, that even if Mubarak should likewise agree to my project, the jinns would serve me as they had served the prince; moreover the king of this city will never consent that after the murder of his son, another should enjoy [his bride].
I passed the whole night without sleep, agitated by this project. When the day appeared, I issued forth, and went to the chauk, and purchased some pieces of fine cloth and lace, and fresh and dried fruits; and carried them to the old man. He was greatly pleased, and said, "That to every one nothing is dearer than life, but even if my life could be of any use to thee, I would not grieve to sacrifice it, and give thee now my daughter; but I fear that by doing so, I might endanger thy life, and the stain of this reproach would remain upon me to the day of judgment." I answered, "I am now in this city, helpless, it is true, and you are my father in every respect, temporal and spiritual, but [consider] what pains, fatigues and miseries I have undergone, and what buffetings I have for a long while suffered to attain the object of my wishes, before I arrived here. God has likewise made you kind towards me, since you consent to marry her to me, and only hesitate on account of my safety; be just for a moment, and reflect that to save our heads from the sword of love, and screen our lives from its danger, is not commendable in any religion; let what will happen, I have lost myself in every way; and to possess the object of my love, I consider as my existence. I do not care if I live or perish; moreover, despair will finish my days without the assistance of fate, and I will stand forth as your accuser on the day of judgment."
In short, in such altercations, in hesitations between refusal and acquiescence, a tedious month passed heavily over my head, accompanied with future hopes and fears; I used every day to devote my services to the old man, and every day, with flattering speeches, I entreated him [to grant my boon]. It came to pass, that the old man fell sick; I attended him during his illness; I used always to relate his case to the physician, and whatever medicine he ordered, I used to get them, and administer them to him; I used to dress with my own hand his rice and pulse and other light diet, and gave it to him to eat. One day he was [uncommonly] kind, and said, "O young man, thou art very obstinate; I have repeatedly told thee of all the evils which will ensue if thou persistest in thy object, and have often warned thee not to think of it. Whilst we have life, we have every thing, but thou art determined to jump into the abyss; well, I will to-day mention thee to my daughter; let us hear what she says." O holy Darweshes, on hearing these enchanting words, I swelled so with joy, that my clothes could scarce contain me; I fell at the old man's feet, and exclaimed, "You have now laid the foundation of my [future happiness and] existence." I then took my leave and returned to my abode, I passed the whole night in talking of this circumstance with Mubarak; where was sleep, and where was hunger! Early in the morning I again went and saluted the old man; he said, "Well, I give you my daughter--God bless you with her--I have put you both under his protection--whilst I have life, stay with me; when my eyes are closed, then do what you wish; you will then be master of your own actions."
A few days after [this conversation], the old man died; we mourned for him and buried him. After the tija,/13/ Mubarak brought this beautiful daughter to the sarai in a doli,/14/ and said to me, "She belongs, [pure and untouched], to Malik-i Sadiq; beware you do not play false, and lose the fruits of your labour."
I replied, "O friend, what has Malik-i Sadiq to do here? my heart will not mind me, and how can I have patience? let what will happen, whether I live or perish, let me now enjoy her." Mubarak, having lost all patience, replied, with anger, "Do not act like a boy; now, in an instant, matters will change dreadfully; do you think Malik-i Sadiq far off, that you disregard his injunctions? He explained every circumstance to you on taking leave, and warned you of the consequences; if you act according to his directions, and convey her safe and sound to him, he has a royal mind, and may regard the toils you have undergone with a favourable eye, and give her to you; how different will the case be then! you will preserve his unbounded friendship, and gain the sincere affection [of your mistress]."
At last, [from the force of his] threats and admonitions, I remained silent; I bought two camels, and mounting on kajawas,/15/ we set out for the country of Malik-i Sadiq. We pursued our journey, and at last reached a plain, where loud noises were heard. Mubarak exclaimed, "God be praised, our labours have turned out well, for lo! the army of jinns is here arrived." He met them at last, and asked them where they intended to go. They replied, "The king has sent us forward for the purpose of receiving you, and we are now under your orders; if you command us, we will convey you in a moment to the presence [of the king]." Mubarak, turning to me, said, "See how, after all our toils and dangers, God has favoured us before the face of the king; what is the need of haste now? if some misconduct should occur, which God forbid, then the fruits of our labours would be lost, and we should fall under the king's displeasure." They all answered, "You are the sole master in this; proceed as you please." Although we were comfortable in every way, yet we made it our business to march day and night.
When we approached [the place where the king was], I, seeing Mubarak asleep, fell at that beautiful woman's feet, and bewailing to her the restless state of my heart, and my helpless condition, owing to the threats of Malik-i Sadiq, and that from the day I had seen her picture, I had forsworn sleep and food and repose; and now that God had shewn to me this day, I still remained an utter stranger to her. She replied, "My heart is also inclined towards you, for what toils and dangers have you undergone for my sake, and with what labour and difficulty have you brought me away; remember God, and do not forget me; let us see what may be revealed from behind the curtain of mystery." On saying this, she wept so loud that she was nearly suffocated. Such was my state, and such was hers! In the meantime, Mubarak's slumbers were broken, and seeing us both in tears, he was greatly affected, and said, "Be comforted; I have an ointment which I will rub over the body of this fair one; from the smell of it the heart of Malik-i Sadiq will be disgusted, and he will perhaps abandon her to you."
On hearing this plan of Mubarak's, my heart was greatly revived; and, embracing him fondly, I said, "O friend, you are now in the place of a father to me; owing to you my life was saved, now also act so that I may still live on, otherwise I must perish in this grief." He gave me every friendly assurance. When the day appeared, we heard the noise of the jinns, and saw that many personal attendants of Malik-i Sadiq were arrived, and had brought two rich khil'ats for us, and a covered litter with a network of pearls accompanied them. Mubarak rubbed the ointment over my beloved's body; and having caused her to be richly dressed, he conveyed her to Malik-i Sadiq. On beholding her, the king rewarded me greatly, and having honoured and dignified me, he made me sit down [near himself], and said, "I will behave to thee such as no one has as yet done to any one; the kingdom of thy father awaits thee, besides which thou art in the place of a son to me." He was talking to me in this gracious manner, when the beautiful woman appeared before him, and suddenly at the smell of that ointment, his brain became confused, and his mind distracted; he could not endure that smell; having got up, he went out and called Mubarak and me; he addressed himself to Mubarak, and said, "Well, sir, you have truly performed the injunctions [I gave].
"I had warned you, that if you deceived me, you would incur my displeasure; what smell is this? now see how I will treat you." He was very angry; Mubarak, from fear, opened his trowsers, and showed his condition,/16/ and said, "Mighty king, when I undertook this business, according to your commands, I then cut off my privities, and put them in a box, sealed it, and delivered it over in charge to your treasurer, and putting some ointment of Solomon on the mutilated parts, I set out on the errand." On hearing this reply from Mubarak, the king of the jinns looked sternly at me, and said, "Then, this is thy doing;" and getting into a rage, he began to abuse me. I immediately perceived from his words that he would put me to death. When I felt convinced of this from his looks, despairing of life, I became desperate, and snatching the dagger from Mubarak's waist, I plunged it into the king's belly; on receiving the stab, he bent down and staggered; I wondered, for I thought he must assuredly have perished; I then perceived that the wound was not so effective as I imagined, and could not account for it; I was staring [with surprise] when he rolled on the ground, and assuming the appearance of a tennis ball, he flew up to the sky. He ascended so high, that at last he disappeared; a moment after, flashing like lightning, and vociferating some meaningless words in his rage, he descended, and gave me such a kick, that I swooned away, and fell flat on my back, and became as one lifeless. God knows how long I remained ere I came to my senses; but when I opened my eyes I saw that I was lying in such a wilderness, where, except thorns and briars, nothing else was to be seen; at that moment my understanding was of no avail to fix on what I should do, or where I should go. In this state of despondence, I gave a sigh, and followed the first path that offered; if I met any one any where, I inquired after the name of Malik-i Sadiq; he, thinking me mad, answered that he had not even heard his name.
One day, having ascended a mountain, I likewise determined to throw myself [off its summit], and end my existence; just as I was ready to jump off, the same veiled horseman, the possessor of Zu-l-faqar,/17/ appeared and said, "Why do you throw away your life; man is exposed to every pain and misery; your unhappy days are now over, and your propitious ones are coming; go quickly to Rum--three afflicted persons like thee are gone there before thee--meet them, and see the king of that country; the wishes of all five will be fulfilled in the same place." This is my story which I have just related; at last, from the happy tidings of our difficulty-solving guardian,/18/ I am come into the presence of your worships, and have also been kindly received by the king, who is the shadow of Omnipotence; we ought all now to be comforted."
This conversation was passing between the king Azad Bakht and the four Darweshes, when a eunuch came running from the royal seraglio and with respectful salutation, wished his majesty joy, and added, "This moment a prince is born, before whose refulgent beauty the sun and moon are abashed." The king was surprised, and asked, "No one was pregnant/19/ in appearance; who has brought forth a son?" The eunuch replied, "Mahru, the female slave, who for some time hath lain under your majesty's displeasure, and lived like an outcast in a corner [of the seraglio], and no one from fear ever went near her or asked after her state; on her the grace of God hath been such, that she hath borne a son like the moon."
The king was so rejoiced, that he nearly expired from excessive joy; the four Darweshes also blessed him, and said, "May thy house be ever happy, and may thy son prosper; and may he grow up under thy shadow." The king replied, "This is owing to your propitious arrival, for otherwise I had no idea of such an event; if you give me leave, I will go and see him." The Darweshes answered, "In the name of God, go." The king went to the seraglio, and took the young prince in his lap, and thanked God; his mind became easy; pressing the infant to his bosom, he brought it and laid it at the Darweshes' feet; they blessed it, and exorcised all evil spirits from approaching it. The king commanded the preparations of a festival to be made [on the happy occasion], and the royal music struck up, and the door of the treasury was opened; with princely donations he made the poor/20/ rich; on all the officers of state he bestowed a two-fold increase of lands and higher titles, and to the army he gave five years' pay as a present; to the learned and holy he gave pensions and lands; and the wallets of the beggars were filled with pieces of gold and silver; and the ryots/21/ were excused from paying any revenue for three years, and that whatever they cultivated during this period, they should keep for themselves.
Throughout the whole city, in the houses of the high and the low, wherever one looked, there were merry dances; in their joy, every one, small and great, felt himself a prince. In the midst of these rejoicings, the sounds of lamentation and weeping issued suddenly from the seraglio; the female servants, of all descriptions, and the eunuchs, ran out, scattering dust upon their heads, and said to the king, "When we had washed and bathed the prince, and delivered him to the bosom of the nurse, a cloud descended from the sky and enveloped the nurse; a moment after, we saw the nurse prostrate and senseless, and the little prince gone; what a dreadful calamity has occurred!" The king was thunderstruck on hearing this wonderful occurrence; and the whole country mourned [for the sad event]; for two days no one dressed any victuals, but fed on their grief, and drank their own blood, for the prince's loss.
In short, they began to despair of their lives, living in this manner; on the third day the same cloud appeared, and a cradle studded with jewels, and with a covering of pearls, descended from it into the area of the seraglio; the cloud then disappeared, and the servants found the little prince in the cradle sucking his thumb; the royal mother immediately invoking blessings upon him, took him up in her arms, and pressed him fondly to her bosom; she saw that he was dressed in a jacket of fine muslin embroidered with pearls, and had a child's bib of brocade, and many ornaments set with jewels on his hands and feet, and a necklace with nine gems on his neck, and there was a child's rattle with golden balls placed by his side. Through joy all [the female attendants] were transported; and they began to offer up prayers, saying, "May all thy mother's wishes be gratified, and mayest thou attain a period of mature old age."
The king ordered a new grand palace to be built and furnished with carpets, and kept the four Darweshes in it; when he was disengaged from the affairs of state, he used to go there, sit with them, and to provide everything for them and wait on them; but on the first Thursday night of every month the same cloud descended, and took away the prince, and after keeping him two days, it used to bring him back, with such rich toys and rarities of every country, and of every description, in his cradle, that on beholding them, the minds of the spectators were confounded with astonishment. In this manner, the prince reached in safety his seventh year; on the birthday the king Azad Bakht said to the Darweshes, "O holy men, I cannot conceive who carries the prince away and brings him back; it is very wonderful; let us see what will be the end of it." The Darweshes said, "Do one thing; write a friendly note to this purport, and put it into the prince's cradle, viz.: --'Having seen your friendship and kindness [to my son], my heart wishes most anxiously to meet you, and if by way of amity you favour me with your tidings, my heart will be highly gratified, and my wonder will cease.'" The king, according to the Darweshes' advice, wrote a note to this purport on paper sprinkled with gold, and put it in the golden cradle.
The prince, according to custom, disappeared; and in the evening Azad Bakht was sitting with the Darweshes and conversing with them, when a folded paper fell near the king; he opened it and read it, and found that it was an answer to his note; these two lines were written in it: "Conceive me likewise anxious to see you; a throne goes for you; it is best that you should come now, that we may meet; all the preparations of enjoyment are ready; your majesty's place alone is empty." The king Azad Bakht took the Darweshes with him, and ascended the celestial throne; it was like the throne of Solomon, and mounted into the air; proceeding on, it descended in a place where grand edifices and sumptuous preparations appeared; but it could not be perceived if any one was there or not. In the meantime someone rubbed the eyes of all five with the surma of Sulaiman; two drops of tears fell from the eyes of each, and they saw an assembly of the fairies, who were waiting to receive them, dressed in rich habits of various colours, with vials of rose-water in their hands.
Azad Bakht advanced amidst two rows consisting of thousands of fairy-born creatures, standing in respectful order, and in the centre was placed an elevated throne inlaid with emeralds, on which was seated leaning on pillows, with an air of great dignity, Malik Shah Bal, the son of Shah-rukh; a beautiful little girl of the fairy race was seated before him, and was playing with the young prince Bakhtiyar. Chairs and seats were arranged in rows on both sides of the throne, on which the nobles of the fairy race were seated. Malik Shah Bal stood up on seeing the king Azad Bakht and descended from his throne and embraced him, and taking him by the hand, he seated him on the throne by the side of himself, and they began to converse together with much cordiality; the whole day passed in feasting and hilarity, and music and dancing. The second day, when the two kings met, Shah Bal asked Azad Bakht the reason for bringing the Darweshes with him.
Azad Bakht related fully their adventures as he had previously learned, and interceded for them, and asked [the king's] assistance, saying, "These have undergone many hardships, and suffered great misfortunes; and if now, through your favour, they attain their wishes, it will be an act of great merit, and I also will be grateful for it through life; by your kind assistance they will all reach the summit of their desires." Malik Shah Bal, after hearing [these adventures, replied, "Most willingly; I will not fail to obey your commands." Saying this, he looked sternly at the divs and fairies [who were present], and he wrote letters to the great jinns, who were chiefs in different places, and ordered them, that on receiving his commands, they must repair speedily to the presence, and if anyone should delay in coming, he should be punished, and brought as captive; and that whoever possessed any persons of the human species, male or female, he must bring them along with him; that if [a jinn] having concealed any one, should detain the same, and it be known hereafter, the concealer and his wife and family shall be exterminated, and no vestige of them will remain.
Receiving these written orders, the divs were dispatched in all directions. A great warmth of friendship arose between the two kings, and they passed their time in amicable conversation, amidst which Malik Shah Bal, turning round to the Darweshes, said, "I had a great wish to have children, and had resolved, if God gave me a son or a daughter, to marry it to the offspring of some king of the human race. After this resolve, I learned that my wife was pregnant; at last, after counting with anxiety each day and hour, the full period arrived, and this girl was born. According to my determination, I ordered the jinns to search the four corners of the world, and that whatever king had a prince born to him, to bring the child quickly to me with care; agreeably to my orders, the jinns flew instantly to the four corners of the earth, and after some delay, brought this young prince to me.
"I thanked God, and took the child in my lap, and loved it dearer than my own daughter; I could not bring myself to separate him from my sight for a moment, but used to send him back for this reason, that if his parents did not see him, they would be greatly afflicted. For this reason I sent for him once every month, and after keeping him with me a few days, I sent him back. If it please God the Most High, now that we have met, I will marry them to each other; all are liable to death, then let us, whilst we are alive, see their marriage performed."
The king Azad Bakht, on hearing this proposal of Shah Bal's, and seeing his amiable qualities, was greatly pleased and said, "At first the prince's disappearance and re-appearance raised very strange aprehensions in my breast, but I am now, from your conversation, easy in my mind, and perfectly satisfied; this son is now yours; do with him whatever you please." In short, the intercourse between the two kings was like that of sugar and milk, and they fully enjoyed themselves. In the space of less than ten days, mighty kings of the race of the jinns, from the rose garden of Iram,/22/ and from mountains and islands, (to call whom the fairies had been dispatched) all arrived at the court [of Shah Bal]. In the first place, Malik-i Sadiq was ordered to produce the human creature he had in his possession; he was much vexed at it, and sad, but having no remedy, he produced the rosy-cheeked fair one [the blind man's daughter]. Next, he demanded of the king of 'Umman/23/ the daughter of one of the jinns for whom the prince of Nimroz, the bull rider, went mad; he likewise made many excuses, but produced her at last. When the daughter of the king of the Franks and Bihzad Khan were demanded, all present denied having any knowledge of them, and swore by Solomon [to that effect].
At last, when the king of the sea of Qulzum was asked if he knew anything of them, he hung down his head, and remained silent. Malik Shah Bal had a deference for him, and entreated him to give them up, and gave him hopes of future favour and even threatened him. Then he also joined his hands together, and said, "Please your majesty, the particulars of that circumstance are as follows: --When the king [of Persia] came to the river Qulzum to meet his son, and the prince from eagerness plunged his horse into the flood, it chanced that I had gone out that day to roam about and to hunt. I passed by the place, and the cavalcade stopped to behold the scene. When the princess's mare carried her also into the stream, my looks met hers, and I was enchanted, and gave instant orders to the fairy race to bring her to me, together with the mare. Bihzad Khan plunged in also after her on horseback; I admired his bravery and gallantry, and had him seized likewise; I took him with me, and returned home; so they are both safe, and with me."
Saying this, he sent for them both before Malik Shah Bal. Great search had been made for the daughter of the king of Syria, and strict inquiries were put to all present, but no one acknowledged having her, or knowing anything about her. Malik Shah Bal then asked if any king or chief was absent, and if all were arrived; the jinns answered, "Mighty sire, all are present except one named Musalsal Jadu, who has erected a fort on the mountain Qaf by the means of magic; he, from haughtiness, is not come, and we, your majesty's slaves, are not able to bring him by force; the place is strong, and he himself also is a great devil."
On hearing this, Malik Shah Bal was very angry, and an army of jinns, 'afrits, and fairies were sent with orders that if he came of his own accord, and brought the princess with him, well and good, but otherwise subdue him, and bring him tied by the neck and heels, and raze his fort to the ground, and drive the plough, drawn by an ass, over it. Immediately, on the orders being given, such numbers of troops flew to the place, that in a day or two the rebellious haughty chief was brought in irons to the presence. Malik Shah Bal repeatedly asked about the princess, but the haughty rebel gave no reply. The king at length got angry, and ordered him to be cut to pieces, and his skin stretched and filled with chaff;/24/ a body of fairies were ordered to go to the mountain of Qaf, and search for the princess; they went and found her, and brought her to Malik Shah Bal. All these prisoners and the four Darweshes, seeing the strict orders and justice of the king Shah Bal, were greatly rejoiced, and admired him highly; the king Azad Bakht was also much pleased. Malik Shah Bal then ordered the men to the palace, and the women to the royal seraglio; the city was ordered to be illuminated, and the preparations for the marriages to be quickly completed; [all was instantly made ready], as if the order alone was wanted to be given.
One day, a happy hour being fixed upon, the prince Bakhtiyar was married to the princess Roshan Akhtar; and the young merchant of Yaman/25/ was married to the princess of Dimashq; and the prince of Persia/26/ was married to the princess of Basra; and the prince of 'Ajam/27/ was married to the princess of the Franks; Bihzad Khan was married to the daughter of the king of Nimroz; and the prince of Nimroz was married to the jinn's daughter; and the prince of China/28/ was married to the daughter of the old blind man of Hindustan; she who had been in the possession of Malik-i Sadiq. Through the favour of Malik Shah Bal, every hopeless person gained his desires, and obtained his wishes; afterwards, they all enjoyed themselves for forty days, and passed their time, night and day, in pleasures and festivity.
At last, Malik Shah Bal gave to each prince rich and rare presents, and dismissed them to their different countries. All were pleased and satisfied, and set out and reached their homes in safety, and began their reigns; but Bihzad Khan, and the merchant's son of Yaman, of their own accord, remained with the king Azad Bakht, and in the end the young merchant of Yaman was made head steward to his majesty, and Bihzad Khan generalissimo of the army of the fortunate prince Bakhtiyar; whilst they lived, they enjoyed every felicity. O God! as these four Darweshes and the king Azad Bakht attained their wishes, in like manner grant to all hopeless beings the wishes of their hearts, through thy power and goodness, and by the medium of the five pure bodies,/29/ the twelve Imams, and the fourteen innocents,/30/ on all of whom be the blessing of God! Amen, O God of the universe.
When this book was finished, through the favour of God, I took it into my mind to give it such a name, that the date should be thereby found out./31/ When I made the calculation, I found that I had begun to compose this work in the end of the year of the Hijra 1215, and owing to want of leisure, it was not finished until the beginning of the year 1217; I was reflecting on this circumstance, when it occurred to me that the words Bagh O Bahar formed a proper title, as it answered to the date of the year when the work was finished; so I gave it this name. Whoever shall read it, he will stroll as it were through a garden; moreover, the garden is exposed to the blasts of winter, but this book is not; it will ever be in verdure.
When this Bagh O Bahar was finished, the year was 1217; do you now stroll through it night and day, as its name and date is Bagh O Bahar; the blasts of winter can do it no injury; for this Bahar/32/ is ever green and fresh; it hath been nourished with the blood of my heart, and its (the heart's) pieces are its leaves and fruits; --all will forget me after death; --but this book will remain as a souvenir; whoever reads it, let him remember me. This is my agreement with the readers; if there is an error, excuse it; for amidst flowers lie concealed the thorns; man is liable to faults and errors, and he will fail, let him be ever so careful. I have no other wish except this, and it is my earnest prayer. O my Creator, that I may ever remain in remembrance of Thee, and thus pass my nights and days! That I may not be questioned with severity on the night of death/33/, and the day of reckoning! O God, in both worlds shower thy favours on me, through the mediation of the great prophet!
One of the many epithets applied to Darweshes in the East.
It must be allowed, that the author has displayed great adroitness in the "denouement" of his tale. In the course of a few pages all the principal characters, male and female, are suddenly produced, safe and unscathed, before the reader. To be sure, this is done by the aid of a little "diablerie," but then it is done very neatly,--much more so than in some of the clumsy fictions of the late Ettrick Shepherd, to say nothing of the edifying legends about the Romish saints which the good people of southern Europe are taught to swallow as gospel. Finally, be it remembered, that Oriental story-tellers have never subscribed to Horace's precept,--
"Nec deus interait, nisi digens vindice nodusOn the contrary, their rule is, when, by a free use of the supernatural, you have got the whole of your characters into a regular fix, it is but fair that you should get them off by the same means.
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