The Book Of The Thousand Nights And A Night, Vol 1 Page-25

The Book Of The Thousand Nights And A Night, Vol 1

A plain and literal translation of the arabian nights entertainments

behind me in the palace a string of jewels intended as a gift to thee. I returned for it alone and found my wife on my carpet bed and in the arms of a hideous black cook. So I slew the twain and came to thee, yet my thoughts brooded over this business and I lost my bloom and became weak. But excuse me if I still refuse to tell thee what was the reason of my complexion returning.” Shahryar shook his head, marvelling with extreme marvel, and with the fire of wrath flaming up from his heart, he cried, “Indeed, the malice of woman is mighty!” Then he took refuge from them with Allah and said, “In very sooth, O my brother, thou hast escaped many an evil by putting thy wife to death,[FN#9] and right excusable were thy wrath and grief for such mishap which never yet befel crowned King like thee. By Allah, had the case been mine, I would not have been satisfied without slaying a thousand women and that way madness lies! But now praise be to Allah who hath tempered to thee thy tribulation, and needs must thou acquaint me with that which so suddenly restored to thee complexion and health, and explain to me what causeth this concealment.” “O King of the Age, again I pray thee excuse my so doing!” “Nay, but thou must.” “I fear, O my brother, lest the recital cause thee more anger and sorrow than afflicted me.” “That were but a better reason,” quoth Shahryar, “for telling me the whole history, and I conjure thee by Allah not to keep back aught from me.” Thereupon Shah Zaman told him all he had seen, from commencement to con elusion, ending with these words, “When I beheld thy calamity and the treason of thy wife, O my brother, and I resected that thou art in years my senior and in sovereignty my superior, mine own sorrow was belittled by the comparison, and my mind recovered tone and temper: so throwing off melancholy and despondency, I was able to eat and drink and sleep, and thus I speedily regained health and strength. Such is the truth and the whole truth.” When King Shahryar heard this he waxed wroth with exceeding wrath, and rage was like to strangle him; but presently he recovered himself and said, “O my brother, I would not give thee the lie in this matter, but I cannot credit it till I see it with mine own eyes.” “An thou wouldst look upon thy calamity,” quoth Shah Zaman, “rise at once and make ready again for hunting and coursing.[FN#10] and then hide thyself with me, so shalt thou witness it and shine eyes shall verify it.” “True,” quoth the King; whereupon he let make proclamation of his in tent to travel, and the troops and tents fared forth without the city, camping within sight, and Shahryar sallied out with them and took seat amidmost his host, bidding the slaves admit no man to him. When night came on he summoned his Wazir and said to him, “Sit thou in my stead and let none wot of my absence till the term of three days.” Then the brothers disguised themselves and returned by night with all secrecy to the