Page:The Book of the Thousand Nights and a Night - Volume 3.djvu/22

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
This page needs to be proofread.


me;"--And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased saying her permitted say.


When it was the One Hundred and Twenty-eighth Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that the Wazir Dandan pursued to King Zau al-Makan, And the youth Aziz continued to Taj al-Muluk: So I read what my cousin had written and the charge to me which was, "Preserve this cloth with the gazelles and let it not leave thee, for it was my companion when thou west absent from me and, Allah upon thee! if thou chance to fall in with her who worked these gazelles, hold aloof from her and do not let her approach thee nor marry her; and if thou happen not on her and find no way to her, look thou consort not with any of her sex. Know that she who wrought these gazelles worketh every year a gazelle cloth and despatcheth it to far countries, that her report and the beauty of her broidery, which none in the world can match, may be bruited abroad. As for thy beloved, the daughter of Dalilah the Wily, this cloth came to her hand, and she used to ensnare folk with it, showing it to them and saying, 'I have a sister who wrought this.' But she lied in so saying, Allah rend her veil! This is my parting counsel; and I have not charged thee with this charge, but because I know [1] that after my death the world will be straitened on thee and, haply, by reason of this, thou wilt leave thy native land and wander in foreign parts, and hearing of her who wrought these figures, thou mayest be minded to fore gather with her. Then wilt thou remember me, when the memory shall not avail thee; nor wilt thou know my worth till after my death. And, lastly, learn that she who wrought the gazelles is the daughter of the King of the Camphor Islands and a lady of the noblest." Now when I had read that scroll and understood what was written therein, I fell again to weeping, and my mother wept because I wept, and I ceased not to gaze upon it and to shed tears till night fall. I abode in this condition a whole year, at the end of which the merchants, with whom I am in this cafilah, prepared to set out from my native town; and my mother counseled me to equip myself and journey with them, so haply I might be consoled and my sorrow be dispelled, saying, "Take comfort and put away from thee this mourning and travel for a year or two or

  1. The purity and intensity of her love had attained to a something of prophetic strain.