Page:The Book of the Thousand Nights and a Night - Volume 3.djvu/43
the old woman, "By the life of thy youth, needs must I risk my existence for thee, that I may bring thee to thy desire and help thee to win what thou hast at heart!" And Taj al-Muluk said, "Whatever thou dost, I will requite thee for it and do thou weigh it in the scales of thy judgement, for thou art experienced in managing matters, and skilled in reading the chapters of the book of intrigue: all hard matters to thee are easy doings; and Allah can bring about everything." Then he took a sheet of paper and wrote thereon these improvised couplets,
"Yestre'en my love with slaughter menaced me, * But sweet were slaughter and Death's foreordainèd: Yes, Death is sweet for lover doomed to bear * Long life, rejected, injured and constrainèd: By Allah! deign to visit friendless friend! * Thy thrall am I and like a thrall I'm chainèd: Mercy, O lady mine, for loving thee! * Who loveth noble soul should be assainèd."
Then he sighed heavy sighs and wept till the old woman wept also and presently taking the letter she said to him, "Be of good cheer and cool eyes and clear; for needs must I bring thee to thy wish."--And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased saying her permitted say.
When it was the One Hundred and Thirty-fourth Night,
She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when Taj al-Muluk wept the old woman said to him, "Be of good cheer and cool eyes and clear; for needs must I bring thee to thy wish." Then she rose and left him on coals of fire; and returned to Princess Dunya, whom she found still showing on her changed face rage at Taj al-Muluk's letter. So she gave her his second letter, whereat her wrath redoubled and she said, "Did I not say he would desire us the more?" Replied the old woman, "What thing is this dog that he should aspire to thee?" Quoth the Princess, "Go back to him and tell him that, if he write me after this, I will cut off his head." Quoth the nurse, "Write these words in a letter and I will take it to him that his fear may be the greater." So she took a sheet of paper and wrote thereon these couplets,