Page:The Book of the Thousand Nights and a Night - Volume 3.djvu/52

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about, whilst Taj al-Muluk looked upon her and fed his eyes on her beauty and loveliness (but she knew it not); and every time he gazed at her he fainted by reason of her passing charms. [1] The old woman drew her on by converse till they reached the pavilion which the Wazir had bidden be decorated, when the Princess entered and cast a glance round and perceived the picture of the birds the fowler and the pigeon; whereupon she cried, "Exalted be Allah! This is the very counterfeit presentment of what I saw in my dream." She continued to gaze at the figures of the birds and the fowler with his net, admiring the work, and presently she said, "O my nurse, I have been wont to blame and hate men, but look now at the fowler how he hath slaughtered the she bird who set free her mate; who was minded to return to her and aid her to escape when the bird of prey met him and tore him to pieces." Now the old woman feigned ignorance to her and ceased not to occupy her in converse, till they drew near the place where Taj al-Muluk lay hidden. Thereupon she signed to him to come out and walk under the windows of the pavilion, and, as the Lady Dunya stood looking from the casement, behold, her glance fell that way and she saw him and noting his beauty of face and form, said to the old woman, "O my nurse, whence cometh yonder handsome youth?" Replied the old woman, "I know nothing of him save that I think he must be some great King's son, for he attaineth comeliness in excess and extreme loveliness." And the Lady Dunya fell in love with him to distraction; the spells which bound her were loosed and her reason was overcome by his beauty and grace; and his fine stature and proportions strongly excited her desires sexual. So she said, "O my nurse! this is indeed a handsome youth;" and the old woman replied, "Thou sayest sooth, O my lady," and signed to Taj al-Muluk to go home. And though desire and longing flamed in him and he was distraught for love, yet he went away and took leave of the Gardener and returned to his place, obeying the old woman and not daring to cross her. When he told the Wazir and Aziz that she had signed him to depart, they exhorted him to patience, saying, "Did not the ancient dame know that there was an object to be gained by thy departure, she had

  1. According to the Hindus there are ten stages of love-sickness: (1) Love of the eyes (2) Attraction of the Manas or mind; (3) Birth of desire; (4) Loss of sleep; (5) Loss of flesh; (6) Indifference to objects of sense; (7) Loss of shame, (8) Distraction of thought (9) Loss of consciousness; and (10) Death.