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- The Arabian Nights Entertainments Complete - 250/272 -

father. The aged sultan, unable to bear the absence of his son, had marched from his capital in hopes of overtaking him; but on his arrival at the junction of the three ways, being confounded at the sight of the inscriptions, he had halted, not knowing where to proceed. Great was his joy on discovering the prince advancing towards that face of the pyramid on which was engraved, "Whoever travels this road will probably never return." When the raptures of meeting and mutual congratulations were over, the prince informed the sultan of his wonderful and successful adventures, which overpowered him with astonishment and joy. After reposing a few days, they proceeded towards the capital of the sultan; where tidings having arrived of their approach, the inhabitants ornamented the city with silks, carpets, and transparent paintings; and the nobles and respectable persons issued forth with splendid trains to meet and congratulate their sovereign and the prince, who entered in triumphal procession, amid the greatest rejoicings and prayers for their welfare and prosperity.


A fisherman's son having in company with his father caught a large fish, the latter proposed to present it to the sultan, in hopes of receiving a great reward. While he was gone home to fetch a basket, the son, moved by compassion, returned the fish into the water; but fearful of his father's anger, fled from his country, and repaired to a distant city, where he was entertained by a person as a servant. Strolling one day in the market, he saw a Jew purchase of a lad a cock at a very high price, and send it by his slave to his wife, with orders to keep it safely till his return home. The fisherman's son supposing that as the Jew gave so great a price for the cock it must possess some extraordinary property, resolved to obtain it; and, accordingly, having bought two large fowls, carried them to the Jew's wife, whom he informed that her husband had sent him for the cock, which he had exchanged for the fowls. She gave it him; and he having retired, killed the bird, in whose entrails he found a magical ring; which being rubbed by his touch, a voice proceeded from it demanding what were the commands of its possessor, which should be immediately executed by the genii who were servants of the ring. The fisherman's son was rejoiced at his good fortune, and while meditating what use he should make of his ring, passed by the sultan's palace, at the gates of which were suspended many human heads. He inquired the reason, and was informed that they were those of unfortunate princes, who having failed in performing the conditions on which the sultan's daughter was offered them in marriage, had been put to death. Hoping to be more fortunate than them by the aid of his ring, he resolved to demand the princess's hand. He rubbed the ring, when the voice asked his commands: upon which he required a rich dress, and it was instantly laid before him. He put it on, repaired to the palace, and being introduced to the sultan, demanded his daughter to wife. The sultan consented, on condition that his life should be forfeited unless he should remove a lofty and extensive mound of sand that lay on one side of the palace, which must be done before he could wed the princess. He accepted the condition; but demanded an interval of forty days to perform the task. This being agreed to, he took his leave, and having repaired to his lodging, rubbed his ring, commanded the genii to remove the mound, and erect on the space it covered a magnificent palace, and to furnish it suitably for a royal residence. In fifteen days the task was completed; he was wedded to the princess, and declared heir to the sultan. In the mean while, the Jew whom he had tricked of the cock and the magical ring resolved to travel in search of his lost prize, and at last arrived at the city, where he was informed of the wonderful removal of the mound, and the ereftion of the palace. He guessed that it must have been done by means of his ring, to recover which he planned the following stratagem. Having disguised himself as a merchant, he repaired to the palace, and cried for sale valuable jewels. The princess hearing him, sent an attendant to examine them and inquire their price, when the Jew asked in exchange only old rings. This being told to the princess, she recollected that her husband kept an old shabby looking ring in his writing stand, and he being asleep, she took it out, and sent it to the Jew; who, knowing it to be the one he had so long sought for, eagerly gave for it all the jewels in his basket. He retired with his prize, and having rubbed the ring, commanded the genii to convey the palace and all its inhabitants, excepting the fisherman's son, into a distant desert island, which was done instantly. The fisherman's son, on awaking in the morning, found himself lying on the mound of sand, which had reoccupied its old spot. He arose, and in alarm lest the sultan should put him to death in revenge for the loss of his daughter, fled to another kingdom as quickly as possible. Here he endured a disconsolate life, subsisting on the sale of some jewels, which he happened to have upon his dress at his flight. Wandering one day through a town, a man offered him for sale a dog, a cat, and a rat, which he purchased, and kept, diverting his melancholy with their tricks, and uncommon playfulness together. These seeming animals proved to be magicians; who, in return for his kindness, agreed to recover for their master his lost prize, and informed him of their intention. He eagerly thanked them, and they all set out in search of the palace, the ring, and the princess. At length they reached the shore of the ocean, after much travel, and descried the island on which it stood, when the dog swam over, carrying on his back the cat and the rat. Being landed, they proceeded to the palace; when the rat entered, and perceived the Jew asleep upon a sofa, with the ring laid before him, which he seized in his mouth, and then returned to his companions. They began to cross the sea, as before, but when about half over the dog expressed a wish to carry the ring in his mouth. The rat refused, lest he should drop it; but the dog threatened, unless he would give it him, to dive and drown them both in the sea. The rat, alarmed for his life, complied with his demand: but the dog missed his aim in snatching at the ring, which fell into the ocean. They landed, and informed the fisherman's son of his loss: upon which he, in despair, resolved to drown himself; when suddenly, as he was going to execute his purpose, a great fish appearing with the ring in his mouth, swam close to shore, and having dropped it within reach of the despairing youth, miraculously exclaimed, "I am the fish which you released from captivity, and thus reward you for your generosity." The fisherman's son, overjoyed, returned to his father-in-law's capital, and at night rubbing the ring, commanded the genii to convey the palace to its old site. This being done in an instant, he entered the palace, and seized the Jew, whom he commanded to be cast alive into a burning pile, in which he was consumed. From this period he lived happily with his princess, and on the death of the sultan succeeded to his dominions.


A person named Abou Neeut, or the well-intentioned, being much distressed in his own country, resolved to seek a better livelihood in another. Accordingly he took with him all he possessed, being only one single sherif, and began his journey. He had not travelled far when there overtook him a man, who entertained him with his conversation; in the course of which it appeared that his name was Abou Neeuteen, or double-minded. Being upon the same scheme, they agreed to seek their fortunes together, and it was settled that Abou Neeut should be the purse- bearer of the common stock. The other possessed ten sherifs.

After some days of toilsome journey they reached a city; on entering which, a beggar accosted them, crying out, "Worthy believers, disburse your alms and ye shall be rewarded ten-fold." Upon this, Abou Neeut gave him a sherif; when his companion, enraged at what he thought prodigality, demanded back his money, which was given him, and he marched off leaving his new friend without any thing. Abou Neeut, resigned to his fate, and relying on Providence, proceeded to a mosque to pay his devotions, hoping to meet some charitable person who would relieve his necessities; but he was mistaken. For a night and day he remained in the mosque, but no one offered him charity. Pressed by hunger, he in the dusk of evening stole out, and wandered with fainting steps through the streets. At length perceiving a servant throwing the fragments from an eating cloth, he advanced, and gathering them up, sat down in a corner, and gnawed the bones and half-eaten morsels with eagerness; after which, lifting up his eyes towards heaven, he thanked God for his scanty meal. The servant, who had observed his motions, was surprised and affected at his wretched condition and devotion, of which he informed his master; who, being a charitable man, took from his purse ten sherifs, which he ordered the servant to give to Abou Neeut.

The servant, through avarice, having retained one sherif as a perquisite, delivered the rest to Abou Neeut; who, having counted the money, thanked God for his bounty; but said, agreeably to the scriptural declaration he ought to have had ten-fold for the sherif he had given to the beggar. The master of the servant overhearing this, called Abou Neeut up stairs; and having seated him, inquired his story, which he faithfully related to his host, who was a capital merchant, and was so much pleased at his pious simplicity, that he resolved to befriend him, and desired him to abide for the present in his house.

Abou Neeut had resided some days with his friendly host, when the season arrived at which the merchant, who was punctual in discharging the duties of religion, having examined his stock, set apart the tenth of it in kind, and bestowed it upon his guest, whom he advised to open a shop and try his fortune in trade. Abou Neeut did so, and was so successful, that in a few years he became one of the most reputable merchants in the place.

At the end of this period, sitting one day in his warehouse, he saw in the streets wretchedly habited, lean, and with eyes sunken and dim, his old companion Abou Neeuteen, begging alms of passengers with the importunate cry of distress. Abou Neeut compassionating his miserable situation, ordered a servant to call him to him; and on his arrival, having seated him, sent for refreshments to relieve his immediate want. He then invited him to spend the night at his house; and in the evening, having shut up his warehouse, conducted him home, where a bath was made warm for him, and when he had bathed, he was presented with a change of handsome apparel. Supper was served, and when they had eaten till they were satisfied they conversed on several subjects. At

The Arabian Nights Entertainments Complete - 250/272

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