Facsimile and Transcript
and scarcely able to smother his resentment squeezed it so hard to his breast that Melech Mahommed began to conjecture that this reception would cost him dear. Sighing deeply, he recited this verse—
A soothing joy with sorrow bring
But broken vows admit no cure
And ever more their wrongs endure
After a little, the Shah desired Gheti Afroz to go and pay her respects to her mother. The princess obeyed, and, taking the hand of Melech Mahommed, left the audience chamber and entered into the interior apartments. She fell at the feet of her mother and caused Melech Mahommed to prostrate himself in like manner. Her mother showed a true motherly temper, berating her soundly and every minute more and more severely.
“Daughter, said she, “if your heart be quite fixed on this man-creature, there is no help for it. But you might live at home nevertheless, and keep him to wait in your presence. However, you have flung off into an outlandish country and left me with a burning heart to think of your conduct. But this, I fancy you reckoned. Besides, you know, I have betrothed you to person who is constantly sending some
messenger or other backwards and forwards to torment us with presentations of conduct. You durst venture to disgrace me so. Take shame to yourself and try to behave a little prudently.” Gheti afroz said,
“Nobody has any right to interfere with my conduct, and I will have nothing to do with any husband, for my affections are fixed on a mortal man. His love is so constant and pure as to disgrace a return. I am well-contented with his affections. If you leave my conduct to my own disposal, it will be best. If not, I will be the death of myself or I shall steal off without once looking behind me to some place so remote that I shall never afterwards hear of your name, nor you of mine.”
Her mother saw that her spirit was intractable. “Nevertheless,” thought she, “since she has come here, her father and brother will find a method of managing her heart. Managing her too roughly at first, however, may not be so proper.” She therefore caused a lofty hall and apartments to be prepared for her reception and left her there to her own meditations, to employ herself after her own way. Gheti Afroz placed Melech Mahommed by her and said,
“Take care, a thousand times care, to commit no impropriety here and disgrace both yourself and me, where every one is thirsting
for your blood.” Melech Mahommed answered confidently,
“I am not quite such an idiot, as with all my sense about me and my eyes open, to plunge into irreverent infancy.”
When the unwearied Sun had conducted his splendid caravan to the gates of the west, and the moon adorned with the stars of heaven for jewels appeared, splendid banquets were spread for friendly intercourse. They spent an hour in feasting and pleasant conversation and then retired to the sleeping apartment and slept beside each other. Melech Mahommed arose and said to himself,
“I find I have got into such a perilous situation that it will be next to impossible to extricate myself with life, it is better therefore at all wants to gratify my passion, that my heart may longer be tormented by with the regret of unaccomplished desire.” But just as he wished to lay hold of the girdle of desire, the tormenting tempter awoke and saw Melech Mahommed sitting up and ready to attempt an impropriety.
“Senseless creature,” said she, “what wicked design are you hatching? Lay aside every thought of the kind at least for some days, or you will repent of it! It is also absolutely necessary for you to refrain from kissing either my
lips or feet, or you will never escape from this place of perdition. In the company of the Perizadis, it is necessary to act in a respectful manner, as the saying is—
“Whenever you tarry with an host
Beware lest due respect be lost
To friendship comes no direr pest
Than is a disrespectful guest”
“Ah,” thought Melech Mahommed, “there is nothing for it but preserving my respectful carriage!” So he lay down again repeating to himself—
“Our faults I fancy soon or late
Fall on our unsuspecting pate
I counted here without my host
And have my former favour lost”
“How unlucky it is not only to fail my purpose, but to be excluded from kissing both her feet and her lips—
The helpless ass will oft in judgment fail
And lose his ears but not regain his tail
Thus thought he, and repeated to himself—
Kind to the guest and cruel to the lover
Gods! what affection can we here discover
Kind to the cruel, cruel to the kind
‘Tis true we all have heard that love is blind
But sure if love’s religion center there
The followers of his doctrine must dare19
Gheti Afroz said, “Don’t be distressed; there are a thousand nights as good as that before you. You may expect a speedy reward and reckon that much time is gone by and little remains between you and it.
The whole night was spent in this unsatisfactory kind of conversation, until the greater light, the dispenser of happiness to the world, the beautiful sun that illuminates the earth at the order of the Merciful God, raised his head in the region of the East, and the tyrant of the world was illuminated—
At dawn of morn, the mighty painter rose
And bade his splendid palaces unloose
Rich flowery tents display’d his vast design
With golden hues from the carnation mine
Night’s black blanket vanished from the sky
Faint and more faint her twinkling tapers die
A monarch now his radiance darts afar
Along the dusky realms of Zanguibar
So great Secander struck the nations dumb
When waved his conquering mace and vanquished
At sun rise Ansar Shah mounted his imperial throne and ordered the drums to announced the nuptials. At the order of the
Shah, there struck up the double drums, the trumpets, the serpents, the cornets, the barbuts, and all the other kinds of musical instruments. The sound of Ansar Shah’s drum was heard from as far as five farsangsaway. All the world was enraptured at the noise, and immediately prepared to celebrate the marriage. In short, an assembly was soon collected, like that of the blest in Paradise illuminating the world, and thus they spent seven days in festive joys.
On the eighth day, which was that of the ceremony, the Shah ordered all the city to be adorned with looking glasses and to be illuminated with lustres and torches in the most splendid style. He himself went in procession with all his hosts of Houris and Peris in royal splendor. He ordered Juan Bukkt to proceed before him to the splendid palace where the bride resided. There they prepared a throne for the Shah so splendid that it dazzled the eyes of all the world. Ansar Shah seated himself on the throne, and Gheti Afroz adorned herself in the most elegant royal robes.
“For,” thought she, “Melech Mohammed will see me.” On every side the Perizadis in squadrons and in rows
ranged themselves before him—
A-right a-left before the throne
Bright ranks of youthful charmers shone
While regal pomp was placed on high
Mid fortune and prosperity
On the one side appeared the nobles of the city; on the other, the judged. In this manner the social board was arranged and nothing could excel the magnificence of the Perizadis for, as the poetsays—
High in the Palace sat the princely band
With martial nobles ranged on every hand
The welcome nuptials all their thoughts employ
And tune their souls to sprightly notes of joy
O’er treasured heaps the deft assistants lean
And wealth unmeasured flits their hands between
Beneath the loads of pearl and precious stone
Jacinth and ruby numerous camels groan
But first of gems the ruby claims the van
Fair light of Yemen and of Budukonan
A thousand camel loads of tapestry gay
Glittering brocades that changeful hues display
Fair Khoten’s youths the radiant stuffs unfold
Each wears a belt and poniard rough with gold
With numerous Linge youths of amber hue
Who boast the scent and tinge of amber too
Around were heaps of gems of amber spread
Innumerous as the waves that roughen ocean’s bed
In short it baffled all powers of description to describe the magnificence and splendor of the ceremonies with which the noble maid was wedded to the young prince; as the planet Jupiter united with the moon of beauty. They brought her home with all manner of mirth and magnificence, and Gheti Afroz likewise, having taken lease of her father and mother, came to her palace and spent some hours in pleasant conference with Melech Mahommed. The luckless lover said in his passion—
“When all are rising in joys
One only grief my heart employs
One only thought of my spirit fills
Yet fortune to increase the ills
Which on my tortured bosom prey
Has stolen my hapless kiss away."
The fair maid, to please him, pledged him in some cups saying—
"What would you heartless lover say
If fortune stole myself away."
Gheti Afroz showed him great affection, and Melech Mahommed recited—
"With water from the crystal lake
You promised first my thirst to slake
I seized the tempting draught in haste
And again in the same train
Ah pierce not the heart again
A thousand times already slain."
Gheti Afroz was highly pleased and said—
If heaven shall grant me thine embrace
I fancy it will soon take place
The roseate bud of young desire
Expands by passions genial fire20
She then kindly laid her lip to his and said, “Soul of my life, I fear for you lest you get intoxicated with my favour and swerve from the dictates of that profound respect, the neglect of which will be equally regretted by both you and me. The nature of this place is such that a man of mortal race cannot safely reside in it.
Melech Mahommed without remedy, hung down his head and attempted to fortify his resolution by every terrible consideration he could think of and recited the following verse—
When the story had proceeded thus far, Semen Ruh opened her mouth and said, “Ha! My learned young man, did the unhappy lover ever attain the accomplishment of his desire? The sheik smiled and observed,
“That would appear to be so from the progress of the story.” When Azar Shah heard this, he was delighted
and kissed the feet of the sheik and poured out the most profuse effusions of thanks. To this Danadil replied,
“It is all through virtue of his holiness here present, or I might have told a thousand such stories without the slightest effect. Verily, in removing the sorcery and restoring Semen Ruh to herself again, it is all the virtue of the sheiks most venerable presence. As they were in the height of their compliments, Semen Ruh, impatient at seeing no prospect of the story proceeding, interrupted them to request that Danadil would return to Melech Mahommed. She was quite impatient to hear the rest of the story.
“That will come in its due time,” said the Shiek. Semen Ruh did not so easily give up the point, but the more she entreated, the farther she was from attaining it. Behold—at last instead of Danadil, Roshhen Zemir was called up and desired to re-tell what adventures he had heard and seen. Roshen Zemir did not want many entreaties, but immediately proceeded as follows.
The Marvelous adventures of Roshen Zemirs
When story tellers have to tell a story
The orator behind in all his glory
The pearl of price is sure the power of speech
It is a jewel that no price can reach
No man of understanding dare deny it
Why men are reckoned men of judgment by it
But next to him who can relate a story
The hero of the late comes in for glory
A man is lucky in this lower dwelling
Of whom remains a story with the telling
For this good reason Roshen Zemir proceeded to relate a story about himself. “Lady of the land, I will tell you what,” said he, “I formerly travelled a good deal with the caravans and once upon a time as were journeying towards Mirr we happened to pitch our tents at the foot of a hill around which the ground was smooth and level. As the day drew to a close, the shades of night began to thicken, and the sun descended into the cavern of the west and the sable legions of Zanguebar began to prevail against the brilliant sun of Rum. As the song says—
For in the palace of the twilight skies
The graceful queen of heaven began to rise
Wan was her watery with grief opprest
Like some sweet angel banished from the blest
The modest groves like timid virgins drew
Before their charms a veil of shadowy blue
Fine as the Houris veils in paradise
Which hide their charms from guardian angels eyes
Amid the gardens torch lights glimmering gay
The roses buds like turquoise gems display
With ruby light the opening petals shine
As mantles in the cup the rosy wine
How softly beams the radiant lamp of night
While earths dark Mansion glows with silver light
And swiftly though the sky‘s pavilion move
The airy dancers of the fields above
While from the Ocean of ethereal blue
Celestial divers bring the starry gems to view
In short at sunset the whole caravan went
to rest and the half of the night was spent
When I awoke, without saying a word to anybody but myself, I proceeded to reconnoiter our situation. I came without the lines, when I was astonished to see the whole caravan surrounded by an immense wall.
“What in the world is this,” said I to myself, “when we pitched our tents here no such thing was to be seen”. What can this be? I approached it and put my hand on the wall. I felt a part of it soft and warm and distinctly perceived the motion of breathing.
“Lord have mercy,” thought I, “if this be not a living creature.” To be more certain, I held my hand still for some time and observed at last that it was an immense serpent
which had encircled the whole caravan.
“God a Mercy, “said I, “if we shall all of us be a mouthful for it.” As I was in these doleful dumps, what should I hear to comfort me but the shrieks, regrets, and lamentations of the whole caravan. Every man began to wail and cry out lustily,
“Ah, my poor fatherless children!” said one.
“Ah, my luckless self!” said another, “to owe my death to such a fearful brute in this delightful vale.” Still they kept each other company till morning. The sun, the Sultan of Rum, at last raised his head. As the Poetsays—
Now from his halls with stately stalk
His talisman ofSunderos
Dispels the vapours dark and gross
His crystal ear he raises high
O’er every throne of ebony
from shrinking Night his timid bride
The rosy veil he draws aside
Ye drowsy sleepers, ope your eyes!
To view the gay reviving skies
The cock crows up the drowsy dawn
The birds are chirping on the lawn
Ye sleepers hark tis opening day
Tell us what the songsters say21
At break of day people saw that the whole caravan was encircled like a gem set in a
ring by an immense serpent, that from time to time uttered a most frightful hiss that was heard for many furlongs. Nobody could suggest a remedy for our distress. It held its tail in its mouth and neither attempted to swallow any body alive not yet would suffer them to proceed on their journey.
Everyone was quite at a loss. “What device to fall on the Mussulmen and the Dervishes!” went their loud lamentations, said as fast as they were able to, “From such a dreadful monster, good lord, deliver us!” However, the snake did not budge an inch for their orisons, and everybody was ready to expire for terror, when, all at once and by the grace of God, I plucked up courage.
“Roshen Zemir, my friend,” said I to myself, “come along and stir thy stumps, and try whether or not thou art destined for victory. Everybody else is driven to despair. If thou killest not this monster, thou art no men for this good world.” Having therefore rattled over my prayers and said my confession of faith to prepare for the worst, I seized my bow and my polished arrows of pure water and advanced to the monster, who presented himself exactly like hill or a mountain.
I notched one of my arrows in the great name of God and drew it home quite to my ear, but just as I took aim at him, the monster’s mouth quitted the lip of his tail and opened a space of a couple of spear lengths. I immediately tried to step outside the terrible circle when he again seized the lip of his tail in his mouth, and effectually barred all passion. I repeated the process several times, and always failed.
“No, thought I, “if I strike him with an arrow ever so dexterously, he will never die of a single wound. It will be a terribly unlucky piece of business if it should provoke him to swallow up the whole caravan, but no doubt the monster must have some meaning in having stopped us in this manner. I therefore present myself before the cuff of the caravan. Sir,” said I, “you are a venerable and respectable man. No doubt there are many respectable persons who have seen life along with you, and will have the goodness to assemble to assist you.”
The chief of the caravan assented and proclaimed that all the men of learning and wisdom and bravery present should for the with
assemble and favor him with their advice.
“My firiends,” said he, “let every person declare what he thinks the most useful expedient.
Truly, this monster without a tongue is not without an intention. Had he intended to devour us, he would not have left us all safe and sound to the present time. However, he has neither injured us nor will he suffer us to proceed on our journey. Wherefore the question is by what means are we to find out what he wants.”
Among the rest, an intelligent, business-like gentleman who knows the outs and ins of life stood up and said, “Hajeh, it is true this snake has no tongue, but that is no reason why he should have no ears, and it is very probable if any person would take the trouble to speak to him, that he may turn out not to be very hard of hearing. If any stout-hearted lad could get up to his ear and ask him in a civil whisper what it is that he wants, I warrant you he will make some motion to betray his meaning.”
On this everybody turned their eyes on me. “Let Roshen Zemir do it, for he is the man for my money, your humble servant.”
For the sake of modesty, I was necessitated to agree to the proposal after a couple of genuflections and thanks for the favor conferred on me and set off to the conference.
I went up to the monsters head and shouted, “Halloo Mr. Sun-stomached! What kind of a business is this? You have set about to annoy the race of true believers in such an unheard-of manner. Not a man of them, I can assure you, ever expected you, of all the birds in the air, to interrupt their journey. If you have any particular wish, do me the favor to tell me, that I may do my utmost to oblige you.”
When the snake heard this civil request, he lifted up his head for the space of three spear lengths. When the people of the caravan perceived this favorable symptom, they began to recover their spirits. I returned to the chief of the caravan to inform him of the success of my mission and the same sensible old gentleman said again to the master of the caravan,
“There can be no doubt that the snake has opened a passage for you. Give orders to pack up and load without delay and fear nothing.”
Everybody packed up his baggage with prodigious alacrity but nobody had the courage to take the road. The self-same old gentleman, seeing his posture of affairs, mounted his horse and went out of the circle courageously. The caravan followed him.
I set forward, but just as I was going to advance, the snake again put forward his head and completed the circle. I stepped hastily back, and the snake instantly opened the patch. I was a good deal amazed at this, and by no means delighted.
“In truth, he is enraged at me,” thought I, and I immediately shaped my fist up around an arrow, but on second thoughts I determined to be patient again. I attempted to mix in the crowd, but again the monster advanced his snout across my way. “God a mercy,” said I, “what malicious design can the monster be hatching against me?” I put my trust in providence and stepped back behind the few people who remained by this time. I alone remained within the circle when it suddenly struck me: had the snake wanted only to devour men, he would never had let the caravan go. He must certainly have some peculiar spite at me that of all persons in the world he is determined to detain me here.
My friends of the caravan had set
me down for a dead man. “Poor Roshen Zemir,” said they, “he drew the wrong bow when he took aim at the snake, and will certainly be swallowed alive for his feats of archery. Else why of all the caravan did the snake detain him alone?”
Everybody made their own reflections, and I shouted aloud, “For god’s sake, friends, try to give me a little water!” Accordingly, they contrived to hand me a little water and, having recommended me to providence, set off.
When the caravan had got to a good distance and could no longer be seen the snake, slipped his tail out of his mouth and stretched himself at length. His length was about one league and his breadth very little short of it. He then raised his head and looked after the caravan and I, for fear of my life, began to fly as fast as my feet could carry me. When the snake saw me absconding in this manner, he drew me back to him with his breath so gently that I really did not perceive my own motion. He immediately made me
a sign to mount and seat myself on his back. I really had not courage to cut capers or ride the great horse with such a monstrous animal, but he immediately took me up in his mouth and placed me on his back in spite of my lack of desire. As his sides were steep and his skin slippery, I immediately slipped down to the ground. He quickly lifted me up again, and, having placed one hand on his neck, I saw that there was a hole among the scales. Having fixed myself there, I held stoutly with both hands and recommended myself to god as the verse goes—
While tis a friend that holds the rope
Where’er he leads me I have hope
When the snake perceived that I had got so firm a hold that there was no further fear of falling, he began to stir himself with such agility that he presently outstripped the wind. Every time that he drew his breath, fire burst from his mouth that parched and shriveled the whole desert.
When he had travelled on for