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- The Arabian Nights Entertainments Volume 1 - 100/114 -


The eunuch entering the princess of China's chamber, gave her the packet he received from prince Camaralzaman. Madam, said he, the boldest astrologer that ever lived, if I am not mistaken, is arrived here, and pretends that, on reading this letter, and seeing what is in it, you will be cured: I wish he may prove neither a liar nor an impostor.

The princess Badoura took the billet, and opened it with a great deal of indifference, but, on seeing the ring, she had not patience to read it through; she rose hastily, broke the chair; which held her down with struggling, and ran and opened the door. She knew the prince the moment she saw him, and he her; they presently embraced each other with all imaginable tenderness, and, without being able to say a word for excess of joy, they looked on one another, admiring how they met again after their first interview. The princess's nurse, who ran to the door with her, made them come into her chamber, where the princess Badoura gave the prince her ring, saying, Take it, I cannot fairly keep it without restoring yours, which I will never part with: neither yours nor mine can be in better hands.

The eunuch went immediately to the king to tell him what had happened. Sir, said he, all the astrologers and doctors who have hitherto pretended to cure the princess, were a company of fools in comparison of him who came last! He used neither schemes, conjurations, perfumes, nor any thing else; but cured her without seeing her! Then he told the king how he did it, who was agreeably surprised at the news; and going presently to the princess's chamber, embraced her; after which he took Camaralzaman's hand, and joined it to the princess's. Happy stranger, said the king, I will keep my word, and give my daughter to be your wife; though, by what I see of you, it is impossible for me to believe that you are really what you appear in this assumed character, and would have me believe.

Prince Camaralzaman thanked the king in the most humble expressions, that he might the better show his gratitude. As for my profession, said he, I must own I am not an astrologer, as your majesty very judiciously observed; I only put on the habit of one, that I might succeed more easily in my ambition to be allied to the most potent monarch in the world. I am born a prince, and the son of a king and queen; my name is Camaralzaman; my father is Schahzaman, who now reigns over the islands that are known by the name of the islands of the Children of Khaledan. He then told the adventures of his life, and the wonderful rise of his love; that the princess's was altogether as marvelous, and that both were confirmed by the exchange of two rings.

When the prince had done speaking, the king said, This history is so extraordinary, that it deserves to be known to posterity; an account of it shall be taken; and the original being deposited in my royal archives, I will spread copies of it abroad, that my own kingdom, and the kingdoms around me, may know it.

The marriage was solemnized the same day, and the rejoicings for it were universal all over the empire of China; nor was Marzavan forgotten; the king immediately gave him an honourable post in his court, and a promise to advance him higher afterwards.

Prince Camaralzaman and the princess Badoura enjoyed the fulness pf their wishes in the sweets of marriage; and the king kept continual feastings for several months, to testify his joy on the occasion.

In the midst of these pleasures, prince Camaralzaman one night dreamed that he saw his father Schahzaman on death-bed, ready to give up the ghost, and heard him speak thus to his attendants: My son, whom I so tenderly loved--my son, whom I bred with so much fondness, so much care, has abandoned me, and is the cause of my death! He awoke and sighed; which wakened the princess, who asked him the reason of it.

Alas, my love! cried the prince, perhaps the very moment that I am speaking of it, my father is no more! He then acquainted her with his melancholy dream, and why that sad thought came into his head. The princess, who studied to please him in every thing, presently contrived a way to do it; and, fearing that he would take less delight in her company if he was kept from seeing his father, went that very day to her father, whom she found alone. After kissing his hand, she thus addressed herself: Sir, I have a favour to beg of your majesty, and beseech you not to deny me; but, that you may not believe I am put upon it by the prince my husband, I assure you beforehand that he knows nothing of my asking it of you; it is, that you will give me leave to go and see the king Schahzaman, my father-in-law.

The king replied, Daughter, though I shall be very sorry to lose your company, and part with you for so long a time as a journey to a place so distant will take up, yet I cannot disapprove of your resolution; it is worthy of yourself: Go, child, I give you leave, but on condition that you stay no longer than a year in king Schahzaman's court. I hope the king will be willing to come to this agreement with me, that we, in our turn, may see him, his son, and daughter-in-law, and I my daughter and son-in-law.

The princess communicated the king of China's consent to prince Camaralzaman, who was transported to hear it, and gave her a thousand thanks for this new token of her love.

The king of Chiha commanded preparations to be made for the journey, and, when all things were ready, accompanied the prince and princess several leagues on their way. When they came to part, great was the weeping on all sides. The king embraced them, and desired the prince to be kind to his daughter, and to love her always with the same passion he then manifested towards her. So he left them to proceed on their journey, and, to divert himself, hunted all the way as he returned to his capital city.

When prince Camaralzaman and the princess Badoura had dried up their tears, and given over mourning for parting with the king of China, they comforted themselves with thinking how glad king Schahzaman would be to see them, and how they should rejoice to see him.

They travelled about a month incessantly, and at last came to a large field, planted with tall trees at convenient distances, under whose shade they went on very pleasantly. The weather being that day much hotter than ordinary, Camaralzaman thought it best to stay there during the heat, and proposed it to Badoura, who, wishing for the same thing, readily consented. They alighted in the most agreeable place of the grove; a tent was presently set up, and the princess, rising from the shade under which she sat down, entered it. The prince ordered his servants to pitch their tent also while they staid there, and gave them directions himself how to do it. The princess, being weary with the fatigues of her journey, bid one of her women untie her girdle, which they laid down by her; and, falling asleep, her attendants left her by herself.

Prince Caraaralzaman having seen all things in order, came to the tent where the princess was sleeping. He entered, and sat down without making any noise, intending to take a nap himself; but observing the princess's girdle lying by her, he took it up, and looked upon the diamonds and rubies one by one. In doing so, he saw a little purse hanging to it, tied fast with a riband; he felt it, and found there was something in it: being desirous to know what it was, he opened the purse, and took out a cornelian engraved with unknown characters and figures. This cornelian, said the prince to himself, must have something extraordinary in it, or my princess would not be at the trouble to carry it with her; and, indeed, it was Badoura's talisman, or a scheme of her nativity drawn from the constellations of heaven, which the queen of China had given her daughter as a charm that would keep her from all harm as long as she had it about her.

The prince, to see what the talisman was, took it out to the light, the tent being dark; and, while he was holding it up in his hand, a bird darted down from the air, and snatched it away.

Your majesty may easily conceive the concern and grief of prince Camaralzaman, when he saw the bird fly away with the talisman*[Footnote: There is an adventure like this in the romance of Peter of Provence and the Fair Maguelona, which was taken from the Arabic.] . He was more troubled at it than words can express, and cursed his unseasonable curiosity, by which means he had lost a treasure that was so exceedingly precious, and so much valued by his dear princess.

The bird, having got her prize, pitched upon the ground, not far off, with the talisman in her mouth. The prince drew near it, in hopes she would drop it; but, as he approached, the bird took wing, and pitched again on the ground further off. Camaralzaman followed her; and the bird, having swallowed the talisman, took a small flight further off still. The prince, being very dexterous at a mark, thought to kill her with a stone, and still followed. The further she flew, the more eager he grew in pursuing, keeping her always in view. Thus the bird drew him along from hill to valley, and from valley to hill, all day; every step leading him out of the way from the field where he left his camp and the princess Badoura: and, instead of perching at night on a bush, where he might probably have taken her, she roosted on a high tree, safe from his pursuit. The prince vexed to the heart for taking so much pains to no purpose, thought of returning to the camp; but, alas! he thought of it too late. Whither could he go? which way return? how could he find out the untracked way of the mountains, and the untrodden paths of the vallies? Darkness spread over the heavens; and night, with the fatigues of the day's labour, would not suffer him to undertake so soon to return the way he came, were there any hopes of his finding it. Ah! said the despairing lover, if I knew which way to return, how durst I appear before my princess without her talisman? Overwhelmed with such afflicting thoughts, and tired with his pursuit of the bird, sleep came upon him, and he lay down under a tree, where he passed the night.

He awoke next morning before the bird had left the tree, and, as soon as he saw her on the wing, followed her again the whole day, with no better success than the former, eating nothing but herbs and fruits all the way as he went. He did the same for ten days together, pursuing the bird, and keeping her in his eye from morning till night, lying always under the tree where she roosted. On the eleventh day, the bird still flying, Camaralzaman observed that he came near a great city: the bird made towards it, flew over the walls, and the prince saw no more of her; so he despaired of ever recovering the princess of Badoura's talisman.

Camaralzaman, whose grief was beyond expression, went to the city, which was built on the sea-side, and had a fine port. He

The Arabian Nights Entertainments Volume 1 - 100/114

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