Page:The Book of the Thousand Nights and a Night - Volume 3.djvu/38

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May the Granter grant thee all honour and prosperity! And what stuffs hast thou brought with thee? Show me something passing fine; for the beauteous should bring nothing but what is beautiful." When he heard her words, his heart fluttered and he knew not their inner meaning; but Aziz made a sign to him and he replied, "I have everything thou canst desire and especially I have goods that besit none but Kings and King's daughters; so tell me what stuff thou wantest and for whom, that I may show thee what will be fitting for him." This he said, that he might learn the meaning of her words; and she rejoined, "I want a stuff fit for the Princess Dunya, daughter of King Shahriman." Now when the Prince heard the name of his beloved, he joyed with great joy and said to Aziz, "Give me such a parcel." So Aziz brought it and opened it before Taj al-Muluk who said to the old woman, "Select what will suit her; for these goods are to be found only with me." She chose stuffs worth a thousand dinars and asked, "How much is this?"; and she ceased not the while to talk with him and rub what was inside her thighs with the palm of her hand. Answered Taj al-Muluk, "Shall I haggle with the like of thee about this paltry price? Praised be Allah who hath acquainted me with thee!" The old woman rejoined, "Allah's name be upon thee! I commend thy beautiful face to the protection of the Lord of the Daybreak. [1] Beautiful face and eloquent speech! Happy she who lieth in thy bosom and claspeth thy waist in her arms and enjoyeth thy youth, especially if she be beautiful and lovely like thyself!" At this, Taj al-Muluk laughed till he fell on his back and said to himself, "O Thou who fulfillest desires human by means of pimping old women! They are the true fulfillers of desires!" Then she asked, "O my son, what is thy name?" and he answered, "My name is Taj al-Muluk, the Crown of Kings." Quoth she, "This is indeed a name of Kings and King's sons and thou art clad in merchant's clothes." Quoth Aziz, "for the love his parents and family bore him and for the value they set on him, they named him thus." Replied the old woman, "Thou sayest sooth, Allah guard you both from the evil eye and the envious, though hearts be broken by your charms!" Then she took the stuffs and went her way; but she was amazed at

  1. A formula for averting fascination. Koran, chaps. cxiii. 1. "Falak" means "cleaving" hence the breaking forth of light from darkness, a "wonderful instance of the Divine power."