Page:The Book of the Thousand Nights and a Night - Volume 3.djvu/54

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him on, passing through doors and vestibules, till they had passed seven doors. [1] As they approached the seventh, she said to him, "Hearten thy heart and when I call out to thee and say, 'O damsel pass on!' do not slacken thy pace, but advance as if about to run. When thou art in the vestibule, look to thy left and thou wilt see a saloon with doors: count five doors and enter the sixth, for therein is thy desire." Asked Taj al-Muluk, "And whither wilt thou go?"; and she answered, "Nowhere shall I go except that perhaps I may drop behind thee, and the Chief Eunuch may detain me to chat with him." She walked on (and he behind her) till she reached the door where the Chief Eunuch was stationed and he, seeing Taj al-Muluk with her dressed as a slave girl, said to the old woman, "What business hath this girl with thee?" Replied she, "This is a slave girl of whom the Lady Dunya hath heard that she is skilled in different kinds of work and she hath a mind to buy her." Rejoined the Eunuch, "I know neither slave girls nor anyone else; and none shall enter here without my searching according to the King's commands."--And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased to say her permitted say.


When it was the One Hundred and Thirty-fifth Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that the Chamberlain Eunuch cried to the old woman, "I know neither slave girl nor anyone else; and none shall enter here without my searching him according to the King's commands." Then quoth she, feigning to be angry, "I thought thee a man of sense and good breeding; but, if thou be changed, I will let the Princess know of it and tell her how thou hinderest her slave girl;" and she cried out to Taj al-Muluk, saying, "Pass on, O damsel!" So he passed on into the vestibule as she bade him, whilst the Eunuch was silent and said no more. The Prince counted five doors and entered the sixth where he found the Princess Dunya standing and awaiting him. As soon as she saw him, she knew him and clasped him to her breast, and he clasped her to his bosom. Presently the old woman came in to them, having made a pretext to dismiss the Princess's slave girls for fear of disgrace; and the Lady Dunya said to her, "Be thou our door keeper!" So she and Taj al-Muluk abode alone together and ceased not kissing and embracing and twining leg with leg till dawn. [2]

  1. In our idiom six doors.
  2. They refrained from the highest enjoyment, intending to marry.