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- The Arabian Nights Entertainments Complete - 240/272 -


the matter, prevailed upon him to reveal the cause of his complaint. She then informed her friend, and entreated her to accept her father in marriage; but the princess said, at the same time weeping bitterly, "Misfortune hath separated me from my family; I know not whether my sisters, my father and my mother, are living, or, if so, what is their condition. How can I be happy or merry, while they are perhaps involved in misery?"

The daughter of the sultan did not refrain from comforting the unfortunate princess, at the same time representing the hopeless condition of her father, till at length she consented to the marriage. This joyful intelligence speedily revived the love-lorn sultan, and the nuptials were celebrated with the utmost joy and magnificence.

The aged sultan and sultana continued to lament the loss of their daughters for some years, when at length the former resolved to travel in search of them, and having left the government in charge of his wife, departed, attended only by his vizier. They both assumed the habit of dervishes, and after a month's uninterrupted travelling reached a large city extending along the sea coast, close upon which the sultan of it had erected a magnificent pleasure house, where the pretended dervishes beheld him sitting in one of the pavilions with his two sons, one six and the other seven years old. They approached, made their obeisance, and uttered a long invocation, agreeably to the usage of the religious, for his prosperity. The sultan returned their compliment, desired them to be seated, and having conversed with them till evening, dismissed them with a present, when they repaired to a caravanserai, and hired an apartment. On the following day, after amusing themselves with viewing the city, they again repaired to the beach, and saw the sultan sitting with his children, as before. While they were admiring the beauty of the strufture, the younger prince, impelled by an unaccountable impulse, came up to them, gazed eagerly at them, and when they retired followed them to their lodging, which they did not perceive till he had entered with them and sat down. The old sultan was astonished at the child's behaviour, took him in his arms, kissed and fondled him, after which he desired him to return to his parents, but the boy insisted upon staying, and remained four days, during which the pretended dervishes did not stir from their caravanserai.

The sultan missing his son, supposed that he had gone to his mother, and she imagined that he was still with his father; but on the latter entering the haram the loss was discovered. Messengers were despatched every way, but no tidings of the boy could be obtained. The miserable parents now supposed that he had fallen into the sea and was drowned. Nets were dragged, and divers employed for three days, but in vain. On the fifth day orders were issued to search every house in the city, when the infant prince was at length discovered at the caravanserai in the apartment of the pretended dervishes, who were ignominiously dragged before the sultan.

The sultan was transported with joy at the recovery of his son, but supposing the dervishes had meant to steal him away, he ordered them instantly to be put to death. The executioners seized them, bound their hands behind them, and were going to strike, when the child with loud outcries ran up, and clinging to the knees of the elder victim could not be forced away. The sultan was astonished, and ordering the execution for the present to be delayed, went and informed the mother of the child of his wonderful behaviour.

The sultana, on hearing it, was no less surprised than the sultan, and felt a curiosity to hear from the dervish himself on what account he had enticed away her son. She said, "It is truly extraordinary that the boy should express such affection for a strange dervish. Send for him to your closet, and order him to relate his adventures, to which I will listen from behind a curtain."

The sultan sent for the supposed dervish, and commanding all his attendants to retire, withdrew with him into his closet, and desired him to be seated; after which he said, "Wicked dervish, what could have induced thee to entice away my son, or to visit my kingdom?" He replied, "Heaven knows, O sultan, I did not entice him. The boy followed me to my lodging, when I said, My son, return to thy father,' but he would not; and I remained in continual dread till what was decreed occurred." The sultan was softened, spoke kindly to him, and begged him to relate his adventures, when the pretended dervish wept, and said, "My history is a wonderful one. I had a friend whom I left as my agent and guardian to my family, while I was performing a pilgrimage to Mecca; but had scarcely left my house ten days, when accidently seeing my wife he endeavoured to debauch her, and sent an old woman with a rich present to declare his adulterous love. My wife was enraged, and put the infamous messenger to death. He sent a second, and a third, whom she also killed.

These last words were scarcely spoken, when the sultana bursting from her concealment ran up to the dervish, fell upon his neck, and embraced him: upon which, the sultan her husband was enraged, put his hand to his cimeter, and exclaimed, "What means this shameless behaviour?" The sultana, at once laughing and crying with rapture, informed him that the supposed dervish was her father: upon which the sultan also fell at his feet and welcomed him. He then ordered the other dervish his vizier to be released, commanded royal robes to be brought for his father-in-law, and a suite of apartments in the palace to be prepared for his reception, with an attendance befitting his dignity.

When the old sultan had spent some time with his youngest daughter thus happily recovered, he became anxious to search after the others, and signified his intention of departing; but his son-in-law declared that he would accompany him on the expedition with a number of his nobles, and an army, lest some fatal accident might occur from his being unattended. Preparations were accordingly made for march, the two sultans encamped without the city, and in a few days began their expedition, which proved successful to their wishes. The aged monarch having recovered his children retired to his own kingdom, where he reigned prosperously till the angel of death summoned him to Paradise.

STORY OF THE BANG-EATER AND THE CAUZEE.

In a certain city there was a vagabond fellow much addicted to the use of bang, who got his livelihood by fishing. When he had sold the product of his day's labour, he laid part of it out in provisions and part in bang, with which (his day's, work over) he solaced himself till he became intoxicated, and such was his constant practice. One night, having indulged more than ordinary, his senses were unusually stupefied; and in this, condition he had occasion to come down into the square in which was his lodging. It happened to be the fourteenth night of the moon, when she shone uncommonly bright, and shed such a lustre upon the ground, that the bang-eater from the dizziness of his head mistook the bright undulations of her reflection on the pavement for water, and fancied he was upon the brink of the river. He returned to his chamber, and brought down his line, supposing that he should catch his usual prey.

The bang-eater threw out his line, made of strong cord, and baited on several hooks with bits of flesh, into the square, when a dog, allured by the scent, swallowed one of the pieces, and feeling pain from the hook which stuck in his throat, pulled strongly at the cord. The bang-eater, supposing he had caught a monstrous fish, lugged stoutly, but in vain. The dog, agonized by the hook, resisted; at the same time yelping hideously, when the bang-eater, unwilling to quit his prey, yet fearing he should be dragged into the imaginary river, bellowed aloud for help. The watch came up, seized him, and perceiving him intoxicated, carried him bound to the cauzee.

It happened that the cauzee often privately indulged himself with bang. Seeing the intoxicated situation of the fisherman, he pitied his condition, and ordered him to be put into a chamber to sleep off his disorder; at the same time saying to himself, "This is a man after my own heart, and to-morrow evening I will enjoy myself with him." The fisherman was well taken care of during the day, and at night the cauzee sent for him to his apartment; where, after eating, they took each a powerful dose of bang, which soon operating upon their brains, they began to sing, dance, and commit a thousand extravagancies.

The noise which they made attracted the notice of the sultan, who with his vizier was traversing the city, disguised as merchants. Finding the doors open, they entered, and beheld the cauzee and his companion in the height of their mirth, who welcomed them, and they sat down. At length, after many ridiculous tricks, the fisherman starting up, exclaimed, "I am the sultan!" "And I," rejoined the cauzee, "am my lord the bashaw!" "Bashaw!" continued the fisherman, "if I choose I can strike off thy head." "I know it," returned the cauzee, "but at present I am not worth beheading; give me first a rich government, that I may be worth punishing." "Thou sayest true," answered the fisherman; "I must make thee fat before thou wilt be fit for killing."

The sultan laughed at their extravagancies, and said to his vizier, "I will amuse myself with these vagabonds to-morrow evening:" then rising up, he and his minister departed.

The next evening the cauzee and the fisherman indulged themselves as before, and while they were making merry, the sultan and his vizier entered, but in different disguises from those they had worn on the former night. They brought with them a strong confection of opium, which they presented to their hosts, who, highly delighted, greedily devoured it, and such were the effects that they became madder than ever. At length, the fisherman starting up, exclaimed, "The sultan is deposed, and I am sovereign in his stead." "Suppose the sultan should hear thee," replied the prince. "If he opposes me," cried the fisherman, "I will order my bashaw to strike off his head; but I will now punish thee for thy insolent question." He then ran up and seized the sultan by the nose, the cauzee at the same time attacking the vizier: it was with difficulty that they made their escape from the house.

The sultan, notwithstanding his tweak by the nose, resolved to divert himself further with the bang-eaters, and the next evening putting on a fresh disguise, repaired to the cauzee's house with his vizier; where he found the happy companions in high glee.


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