The Book Of The Thousand Nights And A Night, Vol 1 Page-75

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

A plain and literal translation of the arabian nights entertainments

of thy city.” Quoth the King, “How many days’ march?” Quoth he, “O our lord the Sultan, a walk of half hour.” The King wondered and, straight way ordering his men to march and horsemen to mount, led off the Fisherman who went before as guide, privily damning the Ifrit. They fared on till they had climbed the mountain and descended unto a great desert which they had never seen during all their lives; and the Sultan and his merry men marvelled much at the wold set in the midst of four mountains, and the tarn and its fishes of four colours, red and white, yellow and blue. The King stood fixed to the spot in wonderment and asked his troops and all present, “Hath any one among you ever seen this piece of water before now?” and all made answer, “O King of the age never did we set eyes upon it during all our days.” They also questioned the oldest inhabitants they met, men well stricken in years, but they replied, each and every, “A lakelet this we never saw in this place.” Thereupon quoth the King, “By Allah I will neither return to my capital nor sit upon the throne of my forbears till I learn the truth about this tarn and the fish therein.” He then ordered his men to dismount and bivouac all around the mountain; which they did; and summoning his Wazir, a Minister of much experience, sagacious, of penetrating wit and well versed in affairs, said to him, “‘Tis in my mind to do a certain thing whereof I will inform thee; my heart telleth me to fare forth alone this night and root out the mystery of this tarn and its fishes. Do thou take thy seat at my tent door, and say to the Emirs and Wazirs, the Nabobs and the Chamberlains, in fine to all who ask thee: —The Sultan is ill at ease, and he hath ordered me to refuse all admittance; [FN#109] and be careful thou let none know my design.” And the Wazir could not oppose him. Then the King changed his dress and ornaments and, slinging his sword over his shoulder, took a path which led up one of the mountains and marched for the rest of the night till morning dawned; nor did he cease wayfaring till the heat was too much for him. After his long walk he rested for a while, and then resumed his march and fared on through the second night till dawn, when suddenly there appeared a black point in the far distance. Hereat he rejoiced and said to himself, “Haply some one here shall acquaint me with the mystery of the tarn and its fishes.” Presently drawing near the dark object he found it a palace built of swart stone plated with iron; and, while one leaf of the gate stood wide open, the other was shut, The King’s spirits rose high as he stood before the gate and rapped a light rap; but hearing no answer he knocked a second knock and a third; yet there came no sign. Then he knocked his loudest but still no answer, so he said, “Doubtless ‘tis empty.” Thereupon he mustered up resolution and boldly walked through the main gate into the great hall and there cried out aloud,