to thee, O our lord! This whole month have we been expecting thee. Praised be Allah who hath sent us one who is worthy of us, even as we are worthy of him!” Then they made me sit down upon a high divan and said to me, “This day thou art our lord and master, and we are thy servants and thy handmaids, so order us as thou wilt.” And I marvelled at their case. Presently one of them arose and set meat before me and I ate and they ate with me; whilst others warmed water and washed my hands and feet and changed my clothes and others made ready sherbets and gave us to drink; and all gathered around me being full of joy and gladness at my coming. Then they sat down and conversed with me till nightfall, when five of them arose and laid the trays and spread them with flowers and fragrant herbs and fruits, fresh and dried, and confections in profusion. At last they brought out a fine wine service with rich old wine; and we sat down to drink and some sang songs and others played the lute and psaltery and recorders and other instruments, and the bowl went merrily round. Hereupon such gladness possessed me that I forgot the sorrows of the world one and all and said, “This is indeed life; O sad that ‘tis fleeting!” I enjoyed their company till the time came for rest; and our heads were all warm with wine, when they said, “O our lord, choose from amongst us her who shall be thy bed-fellow this night and not lie with thee again till forty days be past.” So I chose a girl fair of face and perfect in shape, with eyes Kohl-edged by nature’s hand;[FN#289] hair long and jet black with slightly parted teeth[FN#290] and joining brows: �twas as if she were some limber graceful branchlet or the slender stalk of sweet basil to amaze and to bewilder man’s fancy, even as the poet said of such an one— To even her with greeny bough were vain * Fool he who finds her beauties in the roe: When hath the roe those lively lovely limbs * Or honey dews those lips alone bestow? Those eyne, soul piercing eyne, which slay with love, * Which bind the victim by their shafts laid low?