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- The Arabian Nights Entertainments Complete - 150/272 -

principal lords of the court, proceeded towards the dome, and being come to it, he went in and sat down with them on carpets of black satin embroidered with gold flowers. A great body of horse-guards hanging their heads, drew up close about the dome, and marched round it twice, observing a profound silence; but at the third round they halted before the door, and all of them with a loud voice pronounced these words: "O prince! son to the sultan, could we by dint of sword, and human valour, repair your misfortune, we would bring you back to life; but the King of kings has commanded, and the angel of death has obeyed." Having uttered these words, they drew off, to make way for a hundred old men, all of them mounted on black mules, and having long grey beards. These were anchorites, who had lived all their days concealed in caves. They never appeared in sight of the world, but when they were to assist at the obsequies of the sultans of Harran, and of the princes of their family. Each of these venerable persons carried on his head a book, which he held with one hand. They took three turns round the dome without uttering a word; then stopping before the door, one of them said, "O prince! what can we do for thee? If thou couldst be restored to life by prayer or learning, we would rub our grey beards at thy feet, and recite prayers; but the King of the universe has taken thee away for ever."

This said, the old men moved to a distance from the dome, and immediately fifty beautiful young maidens drew near to it; each of them mounted on a little white horse; they wore no veils, and carried gold baskets full of all sorts of precious stones. They also rode thrice round the dome, and halting at the same place as the others had done, the youngest of them spoke in the name of all, as follows: "O prince! once so beautiful, what relief can you expect from us? If we could restore you to life by our charms, we would become your slaves. But you are no longer sensible to beauty, and have no more occasion for us."

When the young maids were withdrawn, the sultan and his courtiers arose, and having walked thrice around the tomb, the sultan spoke as follows: "O my dear son, light of my eyes, I have then lost thee for ever!" He accompanied these words with sighs, and watered the tomb with his tears; his courtiers weeping with him. The gate of the dome was then closed, and all the people returned to the city. Next day there were public prayers in all the mosques, and the same was continued for eight days successively. On the ninth the king resolved to cause the princes his sons to be beheaded. The people incensed at their cruelty towards Codadad, impatiently expected to see them executed. The scaffolds were erecting, but the execution was respited, because, on a sudden, intelligence was brought that the neighbouring princes, who had before made war on the sultan of Harran, were advancing with more numerous forces than on the first invasion, and were then not far from the city. It had been long known that they were preparing for war, but their preparations caused no alarm. This news occasioned general consternation, and gave new cause to lament the loss of Codadad, who had signalized himself in the former war against the same enemies. "Alas!" said they, "were the brave Codadad alive, we should little regard those princes who are coming to surprise us." The sultan, nothing dismayed, raised men with all possible speed, formed a considerable army, and being too brave to await the enemy's coming to attack him within his walls, marched out to meet them. They, on their side, being informed by their advanced parties that the sultan of Harran was marching to engage them, halted in the plain, and formed their army.

As soon as the sultan discovered them, he also drew up his forces, and ranged them in order of battle. The signal was given and he attacked them with extraordinary vigour; nor was the opposition inferior. Much blood was shed on both sides, and the victory remained long dubious; but at length it seemed to incline to the sultan of Harran's enemies, who, being more numerous, were upon the point of surrounding him, when a great body of cavalry appeared on the plain, and approached the two armies. The sight of this fresh party daunted both sides, neither knowing what to think of them: but their doubts were soon cleared; for they fell upon the flank of the sultan of Harran's enemies with such a furious charge, that they soon broke and routed them. Nor did they stop here; they pursued them, and cut most of them in pieces.

The sultan of Harran, who had attentively observed all that passed, admired the bravery of this strange body of cavalry, whose unexpected arrival had given the victory to his army. But, above all, he was charmed with their chief, whom he had seen fighting with a more than ordinary valour. He longed to know the name of the generous hero. Impatient to see and thank him, he advanced towards him, but perceived he was coming to prevent him. The two princes drew near, and the sultan of Harran discovering Codadad in the brave warrior who had just assisted him, or rather defeated his enemies, became motionless with joy and surprise. "Father," said Codadad to him, "you have sufficient cause to be astonished at the sudden appearance before your majesty of a man, whom perhaps you concluded to be dead. I should have been so had not heaven preserved me still to serve you against your enemies." "O my son!" cried the sultan, "is it possible that you are restored to me? Alas! I despaired of seeing you more." So saying he stretched out his arms to the young prince, who flew to such a tender embrace.

"I know all, my son," said the sultan again, after having long held him in his arms. "I know what return your brothers have made you for delivering them out of the hands of the black; but you shall be revenged to-morrow. Let us now go to the palace where your mother, who has shed so many tears on your account, expects me to rejoice with us for the defeat of our enemies. What a joy will it be to her to be informed, that my victory is your work!" "Sir," said Codadad, "give me leave to ask how you could know the adventure of the castle? Have any of my brothers, repenting, owned it to you?" "No," answered the sultan; "the princess of Deryabar has given us an account of every thing, for she is in my palace and came thither to demand justice against your brothers." Codadad was transported with joy, to learn that the princess his wife was at the court. "Let us go, sir," cried he to his father in rapture, "let us go to my mother, who waits for us. I am impatient to dry up her tears, as well as those of the princess of Deryabar."

The sultan immediately returned to the city with his army, and re-entered his palace victorious, amidst the acclamations of the people, who followed him in crowds, praying to heaven to prolong his life, and extolling Codadad to the skies. They found PirouzŤ and her daughter-in-law waiting to congratulate the sultan; but words cannot express the transports of joy they felt, when they saw the young prince with him: their embraces were mingled with tears of a very different kind from those they had before shed for him. When they had sufficiently yielded to all the emotions that the ties of blood and love inspired, they asked Codadad by what miracle he came to be still alive?

He answered, that a peasant mounted on a mule happening accidentally to come into the tent, where he lay senseless, and perceiving him alone, and stabbed in several places, had made him fast on his mule, and carried him to his house, where he applied to his wounds certain herbs chewed, which recovered him. "When I found myself well," added he, "I returned thanks to the peasant, and gave him all the diamonds I had. I then made for the city of Harran; but being informed by the way, that some neighbouring princes had gathered forces, and were on their march against the sultan's subjects, I made myself known to the villagers, and stirred them up to undertake his defence. I armed a great number of young men, and heading them, happened to arrive at the time when the two armies were engaged."

When he had done speaking, the sultan said, "Let us return thanks to God for having preserved Codadad; but it is requisite that the traitors, who would have destroyed him, should perish." "Sir," answered the generous prince, "though they are wicked and ungrateful, consider they are your own flesh and blood: they are my brothers; I forgive their offence, and beg you to pardon them." This generosity drew tears from the sultan, who caused the people to be assembled and declared Codadad his heir. He then ordered the princes, who were prisoners, to be brought out loaded with irons. PirouzŤ's son struck off their chains, and embraced them all successively, with as much sincerity and affection as he had done in the court of the black's castle. The people were charmed with Codadad's generosity, and loaded him with applause. The surgeon was next nobly rewarded in requital of the services he had done the princess of Deryabar.


In the reign of the caliph Haroon al Rusheed, there lived at Bagdad a very rich merchant, who, having married a woman advanced in years, had but one son, whom he named Abou Hassan, and educated with great restraint: when his son was thirty years old, the merchant dying, left him his sole heir, and master of great riches, amassed together by much frugality and close application to business. Abou Hassan, whose views and inclinations were very different from those of his father, determined to make another use of his wealth; for as his father had never allowed him any money but what was just necessary for subsistence, and he had always envied those young persons of his age who wanted for nothing, and who debarred themselves from none of those pleasures to which youth are so much addicted, he resolved in his turn to distinguish himself by extravagancies proportionable to his fortune. To this end he divided his riches into two parts; with one half he bought houses in town, and land in the country, with a resolution never to touch the income of his real estate, which was considerable enough to live upon .very handsomely, but lay it all by as he received it. With the other half, which consisted of ready money, he designed to make himself amends for the time he had lost by the severe restraint in which his father had always kept him.

With this intent, Abou Hassan formed a society with youths of his own age and condition, who thought of nothing but how to make their time pass agreeably. Every day he gave them splendid entertainments, at which the most delicate viands were served up, and the most exquisite wines flowed in profusion, while concerts of the best vocal and instrumental music by performers of both sexes heightened their pleasures, and this young band of debauchees with the glasses in their hands, joined their songs with the music. These feasts were accompanied by ballets, for which the best dancers of both sexes were engaged. These

The Arabian Nights Entertainments Complete - 150/272

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