Facsimile and Transcript
hall covered with carpets, an outer room for placing the baggage in, a chamber for perfumes, another for ablution, another for bitel, another for sherbet, and another for wine, and said he, “You shall answer with your office that everything be ready that can possibly be asked, for even to the milk of a bird and the soul of a man.”
The steward immediately went and issued the strongest injunctions to all the servants to exert themselves and every person applied himself assiduously to his own business.
The Shah then desired Melech Mahommed to bear his respects to Gheti Afroz, and tell her, “Though it be presumptuous in a mortal to pretend to entertain her who possesses whatever God has created, yet my desire of her society is so great I cannot refrain from entreating her to illumine with the rays of her beauty. My paltry attage, though it should only be for a single hour, the princess will pardon the presumption of her goodness for once to take a single look at our habitation?”
Melech Mahommed immediately proceeded to the palace of
Gheti Afroz and knocked at the door, calling out lustily to open to the faithful Melech Mahommed.
The door was opened, he entered, and beheld Gheti Afroz as charming as ever seated on her throne. She cried, “Come away! You are very welcome. Indeed I was just thinking on you:
“Welcome, welcome, dearly welcome.
A fond welcome my dear
It brings a hundred lives to me
Each step that brings thee near.”
She seated him by her side and asked, “What news have you brought?”
He said “I bring you a message from King Anu Shah. He desired to the remembered to you in terms of the profoundest respect and with the sincerest wishes for your happiness. Moreover, he requests that you would not be displeased at his presumption when he requests you for the space of a single hour to illumine his cottage with the light of your footsteps.”
Gheti Afroz answered, “I will certainly go if it will give you any pleasure.”
Melech Mahommed replied, “How should I presume to direct your pleasure?”
The princess answered, “But I have so much as that to the lord of my heart.”
Melech Mahommed exclaimed in transport:
“As bursts the ripe pistachios and
So bursts my heart with joy confined.”
She immediately added, “Whenever my sovereign signifies his pleasure, I will take horse with heart and hand.”
She then assembled the Perizadis and arrayed herself with Izrut Afzu, the Houri Ruh Afza, and Lok Angeiz in splendid garments of golden tissue richly adorned with jewels.
“Remove the gorgeous chapetel from her neck, a hoard of jewels would her garments dark, Melech Mahommed” said she, “shall I ride on my car or go on horseback?”
He answered, “Your pleasure is my law.”
She said, “To ride in a car I fear will not be so respectful.” She had two horses of incomparable excellence, the names of which were Abarpa and Badpa.
When Badpa paces unconfined
Every bound outstrips the wind
He vibrates with a gentle spring
As if he trod the lusts sweat string
As odours float along the breeze
Both horses were accounted in a splendid manner, with bridles adorned with precious stones. The princess herself mounted Abarpa Izrut Badpa, and they set out for the city, preceded by Melech Mahommed on his own steed.
They came with great hamp and
hubbub to the gate of the city Ekabalia and Melech Mahommed went on before to apprise the Shah of her arrival.
The Shah turned up his eyes to the firmament and said, “She must be still a good way off.” There no sound in the air. As soon as he learned that she was entering the city on horseback by the gate, he advanced on foot to meet her. When the princess saw the Shah, she dismounted from her horse and joined him on foot with her whole train. The Shah’s attendants and courtiers became accustomed to the Perizadis, and they soon proceeded from astonishment to impertinence, and began to paw and handle them a little uncivilly.
Gheti afroz observed with a side-glance this presumption of mortals and, turning indignantly to the Shah, she said, “I am a Perizadi and to gratify your majesty, order I will in a moment change them into brute beasts.”
The Shah was enraged at the impertinence of his courtiers and immediately dismissed the whole of them with disgrace. Then taking the hand of Gheti Afroz in a most
respectful manner, he conducted her into a saloon and seated her on a golden throne.
The rose tinted cupbearers immediately introduced the ruddy wine, and skillful musicians entered with harp and lyre, tambourine and flute, and other delightful instruments of music.
When they had seated themselves, the Shah resumed his apologies, “We of the race of men,” said he, “have never seen such jewels and ornaments as adorn your train. Excuse the fault of curiosity.”
“May the King live forever,” said Gheti Afroz, “a jewel is but a stone and unworthy of your majesty’s attention. Let us be cheerful and think no more of it.”
The perfumes of saffron and other odors were diffused around, and the Perizadis resumed their good humor. The banquet was speedily announced. The servants with great dexterity covered the table and placed the several dishes and salt sellers in their proper places, and distributed slices of bread in the intervals.
Anu Shah and Gheti Afroz seated themselves at the head of the table and every person took his respective place and assailed the dishes with
Gheti Afroz saw that the preparations ended her own, both in quantity and quality and repeated:
“Your banquet from the foremost dish
Excels e’en to the lated fish
Blest be your basket and your store
And may they prosper more and more.”17
When the tables were removed, the servants were ordered to distribute the fragments of the feast to all comers.
Having adjourned to the tank and made their ablution, another table was set and bited, and perfumes brought in. Every perfume was lavished, that was rare and costly as Sandal and chua atter of roses and saffron amber and rose water according to the prayer ofthe poet:
Yet yet the the massy goblet pour
Till joy itself be felt no more
Till not a shade of thought remain
To flis across my ruting brain
The Shah said to Gheti Afroz, “Permit your slave to perfume a certain person with my own hands. Can you guess who?”
“Ruh Afza, no doubt,” said the princess. Gheti Afroz perfumed with her own hands the garments of her favorite Izrut Afza ,and turning to Melech Mahommed with an arch look said, “It is my
sovereign will and pleasure that you perfume me, your liege and mistress, if it won’t distress you too much.”
Melech Mahommed delighted at being permitted to perform this office in the presence of the Shah and his uncle. The whole company sprung up with the utmost alacrity and perfumed her as if he would never have tried whispering all the while:
“My heart beats quick with fond alarms
My soul is fluttering round your charms
Too full my breast its joy to hide
Aright aleft I look with pride
To ask the circle where you shine
Can any mistress equal mine.”
When the company had sufficiently enjoyed the perfumes, the silver limbed cupbearers introduced the ruddy wine and the players on the lyre and flute struck up the most delightful harmony. Afterwards they walked in the garden till the rays of the Sun dived into the bake of the West and the watery circle of the Moon displayed its pale beams.
Then the Shah ordered a chamber to be prepared, and the company retired to rest. When the bustle of the retiring crowd was over, Gheti Afroz took the hand of Melech Mahommed and conducted him to
her own chamber. After some time spent in conversation, they retired to their couches.
Melech Mahommed, however, was as ready to die as to sleep. From the strength of the wine and the predominance of love, he was so intoxicated that he had no power of self-restraint. Unable to lie still, he rose up and saw Gheti Afroz sleeping in all her charms in the deep sleep of wine.
“Hap or happen what may,” said he “I may now attain my wish.”
Determined to be guilty of a heinous indiscretion, he stretched out his hand to lay hold of her cestus, when the merciless tormentor again awaked and in a fit of passion exclaimed, “Cursed ox, what is this you are about?”
Melech Mahommed with an awkward leap flounced off the couch and stood on the floor in the form of an ox. Immediately, her attendants threw a rope round his neck and bound him to a sturdy tree to prevent him from trampling the garden of the Shah with his hoofs.
Gheti Afroz at him said:
“With scornful smile with tearful eye
I see thy figure stalking by.”
Taking some brilliant jewels she suspended them round his neck at the same time
ordering several large bells to be suspended at it, when Melech Mahommed saw himself thus equipped and recollected this indiscretion he could not help admitting:
Again my said deserts I rue
My punishment is just is true
Since every poor excuse is vain
You justly give your wrath he rain
Gheti Afroz returned to sleep and left him leisure for reflection.
Mercy on me, thought he, what a dreadful change a glance of the eye has produced.
He was already but too well acquainted with the tender mercy of his mistress and he could not now help regretting that a trifling childish desire should lead person into such terrible misfortunes:
“Your heart is marble soul of mine
Nor can to mercy’s voice incline
In vain my wistful eyes entreat
Compassion that they nor should meet”
The more his reflection came to his aid, the greater was his distress, and the more remedy less did his case appear. He not only foresaw that the Shah as well as his uncle would inevitably be spectators of his disgrace, but he recollected with no very pleasurable emotions that not a single particle of
of medicine remained in his uncle’s casket.
“Lord have mercy, poor soul,” thought he, “for anything that I see I am utterly undone.” In this doleful state along night passed away till the beams of the golden sun appeared from the chamber of the East—
The Orient moon’s bright banners flew
Like Chosrus standards on the view
Hope brightens at churning ray
And drives intruding griefs away18
King Anu Shah rose with the sun and seated himself on the throne. Gheti Afroz, like a majestic peacock, advanced with stately step to salute him and seated herself by his side. After they had drunk some goblets of a morning cordial, Gheti Afroz arose and with much politeness took her leave. The Shah ordered splendid garments with rich necklaces of pearl and several bashes of beautiful horses to be presented to her at her departure. To gratify the Shah, she accepted the pearls and set out for her palace. The Shah was still sitting on his throne and conversing with Danish Bait, when, casting a side glance towards the garden, he beheld a horned ox bound to a stout tree by a rope round his neck. Everybody was
surprised and asked,
“Who has brought this ox here?” Immediately the Shah recollected that he had not seen Melech Mahommed that morning.
“God forbid,” said he, “that this unlucky beast should be our friend himself. Bring us toward where he is; perhaps he has gone to his uncle’s house.” His uncle immediately bowed his head to the ground and said,
“God knows I can tell you nothing about him.” But as soon as he saw the ox adorned with gold and jewels, thought he,
“I would not wonder if this very animal were that ill fated fellow,” and he said with a sarcastic smile,
“May the King live forever if Melech Mahommed be not standing in the presence in beauty and grandeur for Gheti Afroz has gone and left him here to draw.” The prince asked where he was.
“There he is!” said Danish Bait, “tied in a most magnificent style to the tree.”
“It was very wrong,” said the prince, “for Melech Mahommed to kiss the cheek of the princess in the manner he did before all the company.” The hapless ox said to himself,
“I also repent of it most heartily, but I have some hopes from the courtesy and kindness of the king. A shower of tears trickled down his ox-like face. Danish Bait said,
“If the king will not credit it, let him only look here.” He began to lament bitterly by the side of the ox, crying,
“Melech Mahommed, if this be you make some sign to let me know!” The ox made signs by nodding his head. Danish Bait said,
“The curse of God light on you and your doings, wretch, that you are of matchless shamelessness and impudence.” He called his people to get cords and bind him and make him carry all the water that was wanted for ablution. The Shah and all who were at the banquet burst out a laugh. While the hapless—
He that hath happiness in store
May laugh today or tomorrow
But a man will never laugh the more
That his heart is oppressed with sorrows
At last Danish Bait called to his servants to loosen that ill-starred wretch and drive him off to his house. Mounting his horse, he set out while they drove the ox before him all the way. When he got home he ordered them to conduct him to the stall and every day to give him fodder till he grew fat.
“When winter comes,” said he, “I will have him
boiled and make mince meat of him, to show that he meant to keep his promise.” He gave one of his people the charge of him till he should grow fat. The poor helpless ox was forced to take up his residence in the stall. A long time passed away and the affair slipped out of the memory of the Shah, and still his uncle showed no sign of compassion. For the space of six months he stayed in the stall. It happened, however, one day that as the Prince was at his wine it came to his head that it was a long while since he had heard any news of Gheti Afroz and that all the while she seemed to have quite forgotten him.
“Who,” thought he, “shall I send to fetch tidings of her?” He recollected the unlucky Melech Mahommed, who had been his messenger on a former occasion and who was still in the shape of an ox.
“What was to be done,” the prince said to Danish Bait, “can you for this time do me the favor to restore Melech Mahommed to his proper shape?” The Vizir recollected the oath he had taken never again to give him medicine, but suffer him to die in the shape in which he was. He began to make excuses and even sent
for the box of medicine and showed it to the prince that he might see with his own eyes that he could give him no more.
“To cure him,” said he, “by any other means will be very difficult.” After remaining some time silent, the Shah said,
“To gratify me, make a little more of that medicine.” He answered,
“May the king live for ever if the plant of which it is made can be procured in this country any where except on the hill of Serendil! When the Prince asked how many days journey it was off, he answered a whole month’s journey. The Prince ordered some swift runners to be brought into the presence and asked them in how many days they could bring him that plant. One said in twenty days. The prince said,
“It must be brought much more quickly!" Another said,
“In fifteen days.” The Prince said,
“It must be brought much sooner than that!” Then said one of them,
“I will bring it in ten days.” The Prince conferred on him great rewards and presents beyond number and bade him instantly depart. The Messenger set out with speed and flew like the swiftest falcon. In five days he arrived at
the foot of the Hill, and, by the favour of Providence, brought away the plant in his hand. Immediately turning round, he began to fly like a bird so that on the tenth day at noon he presented the plant to the Shah. The Shah praised him highly and conferred on him many honors. Sending for Danish Bait, he showed him the plant. Danish Bait, at the command of the Shah, immediately brought some other ingredients from his house and prepared such a quantity of the medicine that if Melech Mahommed had been metamorphosed a hundred times into a beast it would have been sufficient to restore him to his own shape. The Shah ordered Melech Mahommed to be brought. They brought him accordingly and placed him at the foot of the throne. Danish Bait said,
“Fallacious face, this time, by the fortune and favour of the Shah, you are to become a man. Else you would have died under your disgrace, for you would have never been cured by me. But if you will now take a solemn oath never again to incur the same, I will give you the medicine once more.” The ox saw that the box was again full
of medicine and immediately he began to significantly move his head up and down as much as to say that he promised whatever they pleased. Danish Bait ordered them to lower a little water on the medicine and pour it into his mouth. As soon as he had swallowed it, he made a bound and stood up in his own form. He immediately expressed obeisance to the Shah and fell at his uncle’s feet, but they dispatched him directly to the bath. After he had dressed himself, he returned to the presence of the Shah. The Shah said,
“Really Melech Mahommed, you have made a beast of yourself often enough that now you occasion great distress to me and my Vizir.” He promised faithfully to do so no more and made a great many apologies.
The Visit of Gheti Afroz and Melech Mahommed to court of her Father Ansar Shah, king of the Peris
The Shah again ordered him to carry a message—to present his respect to Ghiz afram and to tell her that it was now a long while since he had heard how she fated and he was quite distressed at her coldness and he was anxious to have
the pleasure of seeing her. Melech Mahommed took his leave, mounted his steed and soon arrived at the door of the palace. He knocked at the door. Gheti Afroz heard a noise without and cried,
“Open the door; for my faithful Melech Mahommed is come!” Immediately the door was opened. He entered and saw Gheti Afroz sitting on the throne draped in green garments. Her ears and neck were adorned with rich jewels, a perfect picture of voluptuousness and pleasure. Melech Mahommed said,
“Great God! Here have I been spending my precious days in woe for the space of six months, separated from you, while you are living as merry as the day is long without the slightest regard to my situation. He then repeated this verse—
“‘Tis a strange custom is it not
Alas those men maintain it true
The absent ever are forgot
Soon as their face is out of view”
Gheti Afroz said, “I swear by god I have thought of you day and night, all the time!” But come sit down beside me. She placed him by her side. He called for wine and Ruh afza with the cupbearers entered. The cup had passed round several times when
a wonderful and extraordinary noise rang from the azure vault of heaven and forty of the Perizadas mounted on horseback appeared. Gheti Afroz saw that the pomp and state was that of one of her elder brothers. With great tumult they entered the palace. Gheti Afroz arose and made respectful salutations, and with great kindness enquired concerning the state of her brother’s health and how her mother, father, sister, aunt, and the whole of her relations were. Her brother answered every question civilly, and seeing a youth of the race of man sitting by her side, he said,
“Gheti afroz, is this the person of human race of whom you are so much enamoured?” She answered,
“It is.” He asked,
“What is his name?” She said
“The faithful Melech Mahommed.”
“What fidelity,” said he, “has he shown to you?” She said,
“He has endured the most wonderful distress for my sake, and has never lost his patience.”
The colour left the cheek of Melech Mahommed, who said to himself,
“What new mischief in the Devil’s name means to come of all this?” Gheti Afroz saw that he was terribly frightened and in a most affectionate manner said,
“You now! What are you afraid of? You have nothing to do with anybody but myself! Take courage, Melech.”
Melech Mahommed then recovered a little tranquility of mind. The brother of Gheti Afroz laid hold of her hand.
“Sister, you must swear by the unity of the just and powerful God and the favour of the prophet Solomon that you will for once return to the allegiance of your father. At this very time the marriage of our elder brother is to be celebrated and, if you are absent, the ornament of the family will be absent and, though you have cause to be angry, do not expose me to the disgrace of a fruitless journey.” He pressed her so earnestly that Gheti Afroz could not find in her heart to resist his importunity. She rose and ordered her car and desired all her attendants to make ready.
“On one condition alone,” said she, “I will go with you. I have a particular affection for this youth of the race of man and from him I cannot endure to be absent for a moment. I will take him along with me, and therefore take care that nobody behave to him disrespectfully. Her brother said,
“Do exactly as you think proper. I will act with proper respect and the pleasure shall be mine. She immediately mounted her car in which her brother seated himself along with Melech Mahommed. Her brother said, “Carry
all your servants and furniture with you. She answered, “You shall afterwards return here.” They set out and shortly arrived near the abode of her father. Anzar Shah was informed that Gheti afroz was coming and he sent her elder brother with all his Vizirs and Troops to meet her, as he had the greatest affection for her of all his children. For this reason, he was extremely delighted and he ordered the most care for her and for costly carpets to be spread in the most delightful places. He also ordered his own chamber to be prepared for her reception. Gheti Afroz was introduced into the city with every mark of respect and conducted in the most respectful manner to an interview with her father. The Shah showed her every mark of favour and affection and inquired kindly about her affairs.
“But what man-creature is this,” said he, “that you have taken such an affection for?”
“This is he,” said she, turning to Melech Mahommed.
“But what is his name?” said her father.
“The faithful Melech Mahommed,” answered the Princess. Catching him immediately by the hand she made him prostrate himself at the feet of her father, Ansar Shah raised the head of Melech Mahommed