Page:The Book of the Thousand Nights and a Night - Volume 4.djvu/39

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man, "O Ni'amah, who told thee where she was and taught thee how to get at this place?" He replied, "O Commander of the Faithful, hearken to my tale and give ear to my history; for, by the virtue of thy pious forefathers, I will hide nothing from thee!" And he told him all that had passed between himself and the Persian physician and the old nurse, and how she had brought him into the palace and he had mistaken the doors; whereat the Caliph wondered with exceeding wonder and said, "Fetch me the Persian." So they brought him into the presence and he was made one of his chief officers. Moreover the King bestowed on him robes of honour and ordered him a handsome present, saying, "When a man hath shown like this man such artful management, it behoveth us to make him one of our chief officers." The Caliph also loaded Ni'amah and Naomi with gifts and honours and rewarded the old nurse; and they abode with him seven days in joy and content and all delight of life, when Ni'amah craved leave to return to Cufa with his slave-girl. The Caliph gave them permission and they departed and arrived in due course at Cufa, where Ni'amah was restored to his father and mother, and they abode in all the joys and jollities of life, till there came to them the Destroyer of delights and the Sunderer of societies. Now when Amjad and As'ad heard from Bahram this story, they marvelled with extreme marvel and said, "By Allah, this is indeed a rare tale!"—And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased to say her permitted say.

When it was the Two Hundred and Forty-seventh Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when Amjad and As'ad heard this story from Bahram the Magian who had become a Moslem, they marvelled with extreme marvel and thus passed that night; and when the next morning dawned, they mounted and riding to the palace, sought an audience of the King who granted it and received them with high honour. Now as they were sitting together talking, of a sudden they heard the towns folk crying aloud and shouting to one another and calling for help; and the Chamberlain came in to the King and said to him, "Some King hath encamped before the city, he and his host, with arms and weapons displayed, and we know not their object and aim." The King took counsel with his Wazir Amjad and his brother