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- The Arabian Nights Entertainments vol. 4 - 1/71 -
Text scanned by JC Byers and proofread by the Distributed Proofers.
The "Aldine" Edition of
The Arabian Nights Entertainments
Illustrated by S. L. Wood
FROM THE TEXT OF DR. JONATHAN SCOTT
In Four Volumes
London Pickering and Chatto 1890
Contents of Volume IV.
The Story of the Enchanted Horse The Story of Prince Ahmed, and the Fairy Perie Banou The Story of the Sisters Who Envied Their Younger Sister Story of the Three Sharpers and the Sultan The Adventures of the Abbdicated Sultan History of Mahummud, Sultan of Cairo Story of the First Lunatic Story of the Second Lunatic Story of the Retired Sage and His Pupil, Related to the Sultan by the Second Lunatic Story of the Broken-backed Schoolmaster Story of the Wry-mouthed Schoolmaster Story of the Sisters and the Sultana Their Mother Story of the Bang-eater and the Cauzee Story of the Bang-eater and His Wife The Sultan and the Traveller Mhamood Al Hyjemmee The Koord Robber Story of the Husbbandman Story of the Three Princes and Enchanting Bird Story of a Sultan of Yemen and His Three Sons Story of the First Sharper in the Cave History of the Sultan of Hind Story of the Fisherman's Son Story of Abou Neeut and Abou Neeuteen; Or, the Well-intentioned and the Double-minded Adventure of a Courtier, Related by Himself to His Parton, an Ameer of Egypt Story of the Prince of Sind, and Fatima, Daughter of Amir Bin Naomaun Story of the Lovers of Syria; Or, the Heroine Story of Hyjauje, the Tyrannical Gtovernor of Coufeh, and the Young Syed Story of Ins Alwujjood and Wird Al Ikmaun, Daughter of Ibrahim, Vizier to Sultan Shamikh The Adventures of Mazin of Khorassaun Story of the Sultan the Dervish, and the Barber's Son Adventures of Aleefa Daughter of Mherejaun Sultan of Hind, and Eusuff, Son of Sohul, Sultan of Sind Adventures of the Three Princes, Sons of the Sultan of China Story of the Good Vizier Unjustly Imprisoned Story of the Lady of Cairo and Her Four Gallants The Cauzee's Story Story of the Merchant, His Daughter, and the Prince of Eerauk Adventures of the Cauzee, His Wife, &c The Sultan's Story of Himself Conclusion
THE STORY OF THE ENCHANTED HORSE.
The Nooroze, or the new day, which is the first of the year and spring, is observed as a solemn festival throughout all Persia, which has been continued from the time of idolatry; and our prophet's religion, pure as it is, and true as we hold it, has not been able to abolish that heathenish custom, and the superstitious ceremonies which are observed, not only in the great cities, but celebrated with extraordinary rejoicings in every little town, village, and hamlet.
But the rejoicings are the most splendid at the court, for the variety of new and surprising spectacles, insomuch that strangers are invited from the neighbouring states, and the most remote parts, by the rewards and liberality of the sovereign, towards those who are the most excellent in their invention and contrivance. In short, nothing in the rest of the world can compare with the magnificence of this festival.
One of these festival days, after the most ingenious artists of the country had repaired to Sheerauz, where the court then resided, had entertained the king and all the court with their productions, and had been bountifully and liberally rewarded according to their merit and to their satisfaction by the monarch; when the assembly was just breaking up, a Hindoo appeared at the foot of the throne, with an artificial horse richly caparisoned, and so naturally imitated, that at first sight he was taken for a living animal.
The Hindoo prostrated himself before the throne; and pointing to the horse, said to the emperor, "Though I present myself the last before your majesty, yet I can assure you that nothing shewn to- day is so wonderful as this horse, on which I beg your majesty would be pleased to cast your eyes." "I see nothing more in the horse," said the emperor, "than the natural resemblance the workman has given him; which the skill of another workman may possibly execute as well or better."
"Sir," replied the Hindoo, "it is not for his outward form and appearance that I recommend my horse to your majesty's examination as wonderful, but the use to which I can apply him, and which, when I have communicated the secret to them, any other persons may make of him. Whenever I mount him, be it where it may, if I wish to transport myself through the air to the most distant part of the world, I can do it in a very short time. This, sir, is the wonder of my horse; a wonder which nobody ever heard speak of, and which I offer to shew your majesty, if you command me."
The emperor of Persia, who was fond of every thing that was curious, and notwithstanding the many prodigies of art he had seen had never beheld or heard of anything that came up to this, told the Hindoo, that nothing but the experience of what he asserted could convince him: and that he was ready to see him perform what he had promised.
The Hindoo instantly put his foot into the stirrup, mounted his horse with admirable agility, and when he had fixed himself in the saddle, asked the emperor whither he pleased to command him.
About three leagues from Sheerauz there was a lofty mountain discernible from the large square before the palace, where the emperor, his court, and a great concourse of people, then were. "Do you see that mountain?" said the emperor, pointing to it; "it is not a great distance from hence, but it is far enough to judge of the speed you can make in going and returning. But because it is not possible for the eye to follow you so far, as a proof that you have been there, I expect that you will bring me a branch of a palm-tree that grows at the bottom of the hill."
The emperor of Persia had no sooner declared his will than the Hindoo turned a peg, which was in the hollow of the horse's neck, just by the pummel of the saddle; and in an instant the horse rose off the ground and carried his rider into the air with the rapidity of lightning to such a height, that those who had the strongest sight could not discern him, to the admiration of the emperor and all the spectators. Within less than a quarter of an hour they saw him returning with the palm branch in his hand; but before he descended, he took two or three turns in the air over the spot, amid the acclamations of all the people; then alighted on the spot whence he had set off, without receiving the least shock from the horse to disorder him. He dismounted, and going up to the throne, prostrated himself, and laid the branch of the palm-tree at the feet of the emperor.
The emperor, who had viewed with no less admiration than astonishment this unheard-of sight which the Hindoo had exhibited, conceived a great desire to have the horse; and as he persuaded himself that he should not find it a difficult matter to treat with the Hindoo, for whatever sum of money he should value it at, began to regard it as the most valuable thing in his treasury. "Judging of thy horse by his outward appearance," said he to the Hindoo, "I did not think him so much worth my consideration. As you have shewn me his merits, I am obliged to you for undeceiving me; and to prove to you how much I esteem it, I will purchase him of you, if he is to be sold."
"Sir," replied the Hindoo, "I never doubted that your majesty, who has the character of the most liberal prince on earth, would set a just value on my work as soon as I had shewn you on what account he was worthy your attention. I also foresaw that you would not only admire and commend it, but would desire to have it. Though I know his intrinsic value, and that my continuing master of him would render my name immortal in the world; yet I am not so fond of fame but I can resign him, to gratify your majesty; however, in making this declaration, I have another to add, without which I cannot resolve to part with him, and perhaps you may not approve of it.
"Your majesty will not be displeased," continued the Hindoo, "if I tell you that I did not buy this horse, but obtained him of the inventor, by giving him my only daughter in marriage, and promising at the same time never to sell him; but if I parted with him to exchange him for something that I should value beyond all else."
The Hindoo was proceeding, when at the word exchange, the emperor
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