The Book of Wonder Voyages/Hasan of Bassorah
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Hasan Of Bassorah
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|see also Jacobs' notes|
Hasan of Bassorah
IN days of yore, there lived a merchant in the Land of Bassorah who died and left two sons, who divided his estate between them. The elder of these was named Hasan, a youth of great beauty and comeliness, who soon dissipated all the wealth he had inherited from his father in feasts and frolics. At last, when he had exhausted all his property he met a friend of his father's, who recommended him to learn a trade, and he learned the trade of a goldsmith. One day as he sat in his booth in the bazaar there came to him an old Persian with a great white beard, and white turban on his head, and he looked upon Hasan's work and asked him his name.
"Hasan," said the young man. Then the old man said, "My son, thou art a comely youth. Thou hast no sire, and I have no son, and I know an art than which there is none more goodly; to none have I imparted it, but I am willing to teach it to thee and make thee my son, so that thou mayest be free from all fear of poverty."
Then Hasan asked, "What is this art thou wouldst teach me?"
Then the Persian said, "O Hasan, set the crucible and apply the bellows."
And when he had done so and lighted the charcoal, the Persian said, "Hast thou any copper?" And he replied, "I have a broken bowl." So he bade him cut
THE PERSIAN AND HASAN
it up with the shears and cast it into the crucible and blow up the fire with the bellows. And when the copper became liquid he put his hand to his turban and took from it a folded paper and sprinkled from it into the pot about half a drachm of what looked like yellow eye powder. And when Hasan had blown upon this for a time all the contents of the crucible became one lump of gold of finest quality. Then the Persian bade him carry it into the market place and sell it. He took it into the market, and there they rubbed it upon the touchstone and found it pure gold, and the merchants bought it from them for fifteen thousand dirhams.
So Hasan rejoiced and took a metal mortar and returned to the shop and laid it before the Persian and said, ' ' Let us put this in the fire and make of it lumps of gold." The Persian laughed and said, "My son, have the Jinns made thee mad that thou wouldst go down into the market with two ingots of gold in one day? People will say these men practice alchemy, and the judges will hear of us, and we shall lose our lives. If thou wouldst learn this mystery let us go to thy house."
When they came to Hasan's house he brought out food and set it before the Persian, saying, "Eat, my lord, that between us there may be bread and salt." The Persian replied with a smile, "True, my son, yet what virtue hath bread and salt? " And after they had eaten the Persian bade him prepare the crucible once more, and while he was at work the Persian said: "O Hasan, I have a daughter whose like never have eyes beheld for beauty and perfect grace. I will marry her to none but thee." And while he was saying this he took from his turban a piece of bhang, which if an elephant smelt he would sleep from night to night, cutting a bit off and putting it in a piece of sweetmeat. And he gave it to Hasan, who took it unknowing, and hardly had he swallowed it when he fell down and was lost to the world. Whereupon the Persian cried: "Thou hast fallen into my snares, O gallows bird, thou Arab dog! This many a year have I sought thee, and now have I found thee, O Hasan."
So he pinioned Hasan and placed him in an empty chest, and summoning a porter had him carried down to the harbor and placed upon a vessel at anchor there. And when they were far out at sea he opened the chest, and took out the young man and made him snuff up vinegar, and blew a powder into his nostrils. Then Hasan sneezed and opened his eyes, and found himself at sea aboard a vessel in full sail. Then he said to the Persian, "O my father, what of the convenant of bread and salt that was made betwixt thee and me?" But the Persian, whose name was Barham the Fire Worshiper, replied: "O dog, does the like of me know of the bond of bread and salt? Of youths like thee I have slain a thousand save one, and thou shalt make up the thousand unless thou do sacrifice to fire." But Hasan refused, and Barham caused his slaves to beat him with a hide whip of plaited thongs.
And after they had sailed upon the sea for three months and a day, the Persian loosed Hasan from his bonds and clad him in goodly clothes, and made excuses to him, and promised to teach him the craft, and restore him to his native land. And Hasan said: "How can I ever rely upon thee again?" To which Barham answered: "O my son, but for sin there were no pardon. Indeed, I did all these things to thee but to try thy patience." Then said Hasan to Barham: "O Master, whither goest thou?" Then the Fire Worshiper replied: "I am bound for the Mountain of Clouds, where is the elixir which we use in alchemy." And he swore by the Fire and the Light, he had no longer cause to fear him. Then Hasan's heart was set at ease, and they ceased not sailing till the ship came to anchor off a long coast of many-colored pebbles, white, and yellow, and sky-blue, and black, and every other hue. And the Fire Worshiper sprang up and said: "O Hasan, come, let us go ashore." And they landed and tramped inland till they were out of sight of the ship, when Barham sat down, and taking from his pocket a kettledrum of copper, and a silken strap worked in gold, beat the drum with the strap till there arose a cloud of dust from the further side of the desert. Presently the dust lifted, and behold there were three dromedaries, one for Barham, one for Hasan, and on the other they placed their food and baggage. And they fared on these for seven days, and on the eighth the Fire Worshiper said: "O Hasan, what seest thou?" And Hasan said: "I see clouds and mist from east and west." And Barham answered: "That is neither clouds nor mist, but a vast and lofty mountain on which the clouds split: it is for that I have brought thee thither." And they ceased not faring till they came to the foot of the mountain, where they halted. And Hasan saw a palace on it and asked Barham: "What is yonder palace?" And Barham replied: "It is an abode of the Jinns, and the Ghouls, and the Satans; there dwells a foe of mine."
Then they dismounted, and Barham opened a bag, and took a handmill and some wheat, ground the grain, and kneaded three round cakes. Then he took out a big skin, and said to Hasan: "Lie down on this skin and
THE PERSIAN SEWS UP HASAN
I will sew thee up therein. But the rukhs will come to thee and carry thee up to the top of the mountain. Take this knife with thee, and when the birds have done flying and have set thee down, slit the skin open and come forth. Then the birds will take fright at thee and fly away; and thou shalt look down from the top of the mountain and speak to me and do what I bid thee. "
And it was as he said. But as soon as Hasan felt himself on the ground he slit the skin and called out to the Fire Worshiper, who danced for joy when he heard him speak, and called out: "What is there behind thee?" And Hasan saw many rotten bones and much wood, and told it to Barham, who said to him: "This is what we need. Make six bundles of the wood and throw them down to me, for out of this wood do we do alchemy." So Hasan threw him the six bundles. And when he had them he called out to Hasan: "Thou gallows bird, I have all I wish of thee. Dwell there above, or throw thyself down, as thou wilt." So saying he left him; and Hasan knew that he had played the traitor with him. Then he looked about him and walked to the other side of the mountain, where he found the dark blue sea dashing against the foot of the mountain and turning the waves into yeast. So he said the prayers for the dead for himself, and cast himself down into the sea. But the waves bore him up unhurt and cast him safe ashore, where he found himself near the place where he had halted with Barham the Fire Worshiper.
And there he saw the palace wherein the Persian had said, "There dwells a foe of mine." So he went up to it, and finding the gate open, he entered the portico, where he found seated on a bench two girls, like twin moons, at play, with a chess-cloth before them. And one of them raised her head and cried out for joy, saying: "Here is a son of man; methinks it is the one that Barham the Fire Worshiper brought here this year." And Hasan, when he heard this, threw himself at their feet, and said: "Yes, ladies, I am indeed that unhappy one." Then the younger girl said to her sister: "Bear witness, sister, that this is my brother by covenant, and I will die for his death and live for his life, joy for his joy and mourn for his mourning. " So saying, she rose and embraced him, and led him to the palace, where she brought him royal raiment wherewith to array him. And they feasted together, and Hasan told all that had befallen him. And when they heard that Barham had called their palace "a place of Ghouls and Satans," they swore that he should die the foulest death.
And the sisters told him in return their own history. "Indeed we are daughters of a King of the Jinns, and because he would not have us married, he sought out this Castle of the Mountain of Clouds, which was built by one of the Jinns, that rebelled against Solomon. And when he desires to come to us he beats a kettle-drum and summons his hosts, so that he may ride to us through the air. And if we are to visit him, the enchanters come and bring us back to him. Now five of our sisters have gone hunting in the desert, while we two stop at home and prepare the food for them."
And soon after this the other damsels returned from hunting, and bowed and saluted Hasan with the salaam, and gave him joy of his safety. So Hasan abode with them in all joy, riding to the chase and leading the most delightful of lives with them as his sisters.
Thus passed a whole year till he saw Barham the Fire Worshiper come back with a young man just as he had done with Hasan. Then the seven sisters armed themselves, and slung on their swords, and brought Hasan a steed of the best, and weaponed him with goodly weapons. And they came up to Barham just as he was saying to the young man: "Sit thou in this hide." Hasan spake to him, saying: "Hold thy hand, cursed one! dog! traitor! that has broken the bond of bread and salt." But Barham said: "O Hasan, how hast thou escaped? Thou art dearer to me than the light of mine eyes." But Hasan stepped up to him and smote him between the shoulders, that the sword came out brightly gleaming on the other side of his throat. Then he took the Fire Worshiper's bag and opened it, and taking out the kettledrum struck it with the strap, whereupon out came the dromedaries. So he unbound the youth and placed him on the camel, and loaded another with food and water, and said: "Go thou whither thou wilt."
When the damsels saw Hasan slay the Fire Worshiper they rejoiced greatly and returned to the palace. One day there rose from the desert a cloud of dust, and when the Princesses saw this they said to him: "Rise, Hasan, run to thy chamber and conceal thyself, but fear not, no harm shall befall thee." So he went to his chamber and locked the door upon himself, and presently the dust opened and showed beneath it a great host like the surging sea coming from the King, the father of the Princesses. And when they came to the palace they told the damsels that their father summoned them to a. wedding feast of one of the King's Jinns. And they asked, "How long shall we be absent from this place?" And the answer was, "The time to come and to go and to stay will be two months." So the Princesses went to Hasan and said to him: "We must be away for two months, but, in the meanwhile, this house is thy house, all the keys of it we leave with thee. But, O our brother, by the bond of brotherhood we beseech thee in very deed, open not the eighth door." So they bade him farewell and fared forth with the troops, leaving Hasan alone in the palace.
And Hasan sorrowed at their departure, nor took he any pleasure in the hunt, in his food, or in the gorgeous riches and treasures of the palace, by reason of the Princesses' absence. Then his heart was fired by thinking of the door they had forbidden him to open, and he said within himself: "My sister had never told me not to open this door unless there were behind it something about which she would have none know. But I will open it and find out what it is, even though within were sudden death." So he opened the door, but saw no treasure therein, only a vaulted, winding staircase of Yamani onyx at the upper end. This stair he mounted, which brought him out upon the terrace-roof of the palace, below which were gardens and orchards full of trees and fruits, beasts, and birds singing the praises of Allah. And he said to himself, "This is what they forbade me." And beyond all these delights he beheld a surging, billowy sea. He continued to explore the palace until he came to a pavilion built of gold and silver bricks, jacinth, and emerald, and supported by four columns. In the center thereof was a sitting-room, paved and lined with a mosaic of all manner of precious stones, rubies, emeralds, balasses, and other sorts of jewels; and in the midst was a basin brimful of water, canopied by a trelliswork of sandalwood and aloes wood, interwreathed with red, gold, and emerald wands set with various kinds of jewels and fine pearls as large as a pigeon's egg. The trellis was covered with a climbing vine bearing grapes like rubies, and beside the basin was a throne of lign-aloes latticed with red gold, inlaid with great pearls, many colored gems of every sort and precious minerals. About it the birds sang sweetly, and many voices sang to the glory of Allah, the Most High; in short, it was a palace the like of which nor Caesar nor Chosroes ever owned. And Hasan marveled and said to himself: "I wonder to which of the Kings this palace belongeth, or is it Many-Columned Iram whereof they tell, for who among mortals can pretend to the like of this?"
And as Hasan sat and wondered at the beauties of the scene around him, he espied ten birds flying towards the basin that was in the pavilion, and amongst them was one, a marvel of beauty, to whom the nine seemed to do service. As he gazed they entered the pavilion and perched on the couch, after which each bird opened its neck skin, and lo! it proved to be but a feather garment from which issued ten maidens, whose beauty shamed the brilliancy of the moon. And they doffed their clothes and plunged into the basin and fell to playing with one another. And when Hasan beheld the most beautiful maid he fell passionately in love with her, and he knew well why the Princesses had forbidden him to open the door. And he sat and gazed, and wept for longing because of the beauty of the chief damsel, but all the while he remained hidden from them. Presently they came out of the water and donned their raiment and their ornaments. And the chief maiden donned a green gown, wherein she surpassed in loveliness all the fair ones of the world; she excelled a palm branch in the grace of her bending gait.
And when the maidens were dressed they sat and talked and laughed amongst themselves, but Hasan still stood gazing, drowned in the sea of his love. And he said to himself: "My sister forbade me open the door, for she feared lest I should fall in love with one of these damsels. Now, Hasan, how shalt thou woo and win her? Thou hast cast thyself into a bottomless sea, and snared thyself in a net whence there is no escape! I shall die desolate, and none shall know of my death." And ever he gazed on the chief damsel, for she surpassed all human beings in beauty. Her mouth was magical as Solomon's seal, her hair blacker than the night, her brow bright as the full moon of the Feast of Ramazan, her eyes like unto those of a gazelle, her nose straight as a cane, her cheeks like blood-red anemones of Nu'uman, her lips like coralline, her teeth like strung pearls, her neck like an ingot of silver, indeed, she was of surpassing beauty and symmetry.
And as Hasan stood watching them, forgetting meat and drink, the chief damsel said to her maidens: "O King's daughters, it grows late, our land is afar and we weary of this place. Come, then, let us depart to our own country." So they redonned their feathered raiment, and became birds as before; thus they flew away with the chief lady in their midst.
As for Hasan, he despaired of their return, and tears ran down his cheeks. Then he dragged himself down the stairs to his own chamber, where he lay sick, neither eating nor drinking, drowned in the sea of his solitude. And on the morrow he returned to the pavilion and watched for the birds until nightfall: but they came not. Again he dragged himself down the stairs to his chamber and wept and wailed the livelong night. Nor for him was there any rest: he neither ate, drank, nor slept: by day he was distracted, by night distressed with sleeplessness, drunken with melancholy thought and love-longing.
Now whilst he was in this distress of mind behold a cloud of dust arose from the desert, upon which he ran down to hide himself, knowing that it hailed the Princesses' return. Soon after the damsels arrived and put off their arms and war armor. The youngest stayed not to doff her weapons and gear, but went straight to Hasan's apartment. Not rinding him there she sought for him till she came upon him in one of the sleeping rooms where he lay, feeble and wasted, his color changed, his eyes sunken for lack of food and for much weeping by reason of his love and longing. When she saw him thus she was greatly troubled and knew not what to say. Presently she spoke, saying: "Tell me, what aileth thee, O my brother, that I may do away with the sorrow. I will be thy ransom. " And he told his tale with tears.
When his sister heard this she marveled at his eloquence, and said: "O my brother, what hath happened to thee that thou speakest with tears? By our love as brother and sister tell me what aileth thee, tell me thy secret, nor hide aught of that which hath befallen thee during our absence, for I am sorrowful because of thee. " Hasan sighed, and his tears fell like rain as he said, "I fear, O my sister, if I tell thee thou wilt not help me to win my wish, but wilt leave me to die in my pain." "Nay," she replied, "I will not leave thee, though it cost me my life. " So he told her all that had happened, and how he had conceived a passion for the lady he had seen when he had opened the forbidden door. Then his sister wept and said: "Be of good cheer, O my brother, for though it cost me my life, I will devise means by which thou mayest wed her, if such be the will of Allah Almighty. But keep the matter from my sisters; tell it them not. If they question thee of opening the forbidden door, say 'I opened it not, but I was troubled at your absence and my loneliness in yearning for you!'" And he replied, "Yes; this is the right rede." So he kissed her head, and his heart was comforted. Then his health and spirits returned to him, and he begged for food, which she brought him. And when her sisters questioned her concerning him, she replied, "His sickness was caused by our leaving him desolate, for the days we have been absent have seemed to him more than a thousand years. Perchance, too, he has been thinking of his mother, who may have been weeping for him and mourning his loss day and night, for when we were with him we were the means of diverting his thoughts." And the sisters wept saying: "'Fore Allah, he is not to blame." Then they went to salute Hasan, and when they saw how he had changed, how wasted and shrunken he had become, they wept for very pity and did all in their power to comfort and cheer him. Yet his sickness daily increased, at seeing which they all wept, especially the youngest. Now afterwards the Princesses went a-hunting, but the youngest remained with Hasan.
And when the Princesses had departed, the youngest, who remained at home, went to Hasan and said: "O my brother, show me the place where thou sawest the maidens. " Then he rejoiced at her words and tried to rise, but could not for weakness. So she took him in her arms and carried him to the top of the palace, where he showed her the pavilion and the basin of water where they had bathed. And she said: "Explain to me, O my brother, how they came." Then he described what he had seen, and especially the maiden with whom he had fallen in love. And as she listened she grew pale, for she knew all about the beautiful maiden. So that he asked her: "What aileth thee, O my sister, that thou art pale and troubled?" She replied: "O my brother, this lady is the daughter of one of the most powerful kings of the Jinn. Her father ruleth men and Jinn, and wizards and cohens, and chiefs of tribes and guards and countries and cities and islands, and is immensely rich. Our father is a Viceroy and one of his vassals, and none can avail against him. And he hath given his daughters a large tract of country, a year's journey in length and breadth, girt about with a great, deep river. He hath an army of women equal in courage to a thousand of the bravest knights, and seven daughters who excel their sisters in valor. The maidens who came with the lady thou lovest are the ladies of her court, and their feather raiment is the handiwork of the Jinn enchanters. If thou wouldst wed this queen pay good heed to my words. They come to this place on the first day of every month, and when thou watchest them beware well that they do not see thee or we shall lose our lives. When they doff their dress, note which is the feather suit of her thou lovest and take it, for it beareth her to her country, and in taking it thou hast mastered her. But beware lest she take it from thee by her wiles. Then her companions will flee, and she will be at thy mercy."Whereupon Hasan was at ease, and waited till the new moon for the coming of the birds. When he espied
THE FLIGHT OF THE SWAN MAIDENS
And when Hasan heard the beautiful damsel bewail her lot, he sprang from his hiding-place and dragged her down to his own room, where he threw a silken cloak over her and left her weeping. And he went and told the youngest Princess, who came into her and saluted her. And the beautiful captive said: "O king's daughter, how cometh it that you harbor mortal men and disclose to them our case and yours?" And Hasan's sister replied: "O king's daughter, this mortal is perfect and will do thee no harm, for he loveth thee, in sooth, he hath nearly died for love of thee." Then she brought her costly raiment, and ate with her, and ceased not to plead Hasan's cause. And when she had assigned her a chamber in the palace and comforted her, she went to Hasan and said: "Arise, go to her, and kiss her hands and feet." And Hasan went and kissed her, and said: "O Princess of fair ones, I took thee only that I might be thy bondsman till the day of doom, and I ask naught of thee but to take thee to wife after the law of Allah. And when thou wilt I will take thee to my country, and thou shalt have handmaidens of thine own, and my mother shall do thee service." But she answered him not. Then he went to the Princesses and for a while entertained them, but sorrow overcame him, and he wept because of his love for the beautiful maid. "What is the reason of thy tears? Which of us hath vexed thee that thou art thus troubled?" asked the Princesses. And the youngest said: "He hath caught a bird from the air, and would have you help him tame her." And to him she said: "Do thou tell them, for I cannot face them with these words." So she related the story of his entering the forbidden chamber, of the birds' visit to the fountain, of their feathered raiment, of their transformation into damsels, of his love for the most beautiful of these, and of how he carried her off. "Where is she?" they asked. "With him in such a chamber," quoth she. "Describe her to us." Upon which the youngest Princess gave a glowing description of the exquisite charms of the royal captive. Then they turned to Hasan, and said: "Show her to us." So he led them to the beautiful damsel, to whom they did honor, and said: "Indeed, he loveth thee with a passionate love, and seeketh thee in marriage, wherefore he came to thee in person. And he telleth us he hath burned thy feather raiment, or we had taken it from him." Then the wedding ceremony was performed, and the bridal feast celebrated as beseemeth kings' daughters.
And the honeymoon lasted forty days, and was a time of joy and feasting and delight, and the king's daughter became reconciled, and forgot her kith and kin. And at the end of the forty days Hasan dreamed a dream concerning his mother, that she was wasted and worn through bitterly bewailing her loss of him, and that she as it were spoke to him, saying: "O my son, Hasan, how is it thou livest thy life of ease and forgettest me? I have made thee a tomb in my house that I may never forget thee. Would to heaven that I knew if I should live to see thee!" Then he awoke weeping, for he was very sorrowful. And his wife said to him: "What aileth thee, O my lord?" Then he moaned and groaned, and told her his dream. This she repeated to the Princesses, who had pity on him, and said: "Do as thou wilt, for it behoveth thee to visit thy mother: but see thou visit us, though it be only once a year." So he agreed to depart, and they made him and his bride ready for the voyage, and gave them raiment and jewels and five-and-twenty chests of gold and fifty of silver. Then they beat the magic kettledrum so that the dromedaries appeared on all sides. And the youngest sister said: "If aught grieve thee, beat the kettledrum and return to us on the dromedaries." And when they had gone a little way with him they returned home sorrowing, especially the youngest sister, who wept for him night and day.
When Hasan with his wife reached Bassorah he went straight to his mother's house and was there received by her with great joy, for she had mourned him bitterly and was even weeping and wailing for him when he knocked at her door. Then Hasan told her all the story of his adventures, so that she wondered greatly and blessed Allah for having brought him back in safety. And she marveled exceedingly at the beauty of his wife, whom she cheered and comforted and welcomed as a daughter.
Now that they had become so rich his mother suggested that it would be well to leave Bassorah, where they might be accused of having obtained their wealth by means of alchemy. So they left that city and went to dwell at Bagdad, where they lived magnificently, with servants and attendants and a little black boy for the house. And he abode with his wife in all solace and delight for three years, during which time she bore him two sons, one of whom he named Nasir and the other Mansur.
Then he began to think of his sisters, the Princesses, and of how good they had been to him, and helped him to obtain his desire. So he decided to visit them, and for that purpose went out and bought costly stuffs, trinkets, and fruit confections such as they had never seen. And he told his mother of his intent and gave her strict injunctions to watch over his wife saying: "Suffer her not to go out of the door, nor to look out of the window, nor over the wall, for if aught of evil befell her I should slay myself for her sake. Here is her feather dress in a chest underground; watch over it lest she find it and take it, for then she would fly away with her children, and I should never hear of her again."
Now, as Fate would have it, his wife heard what he said to his mother, but neither of them knew thereof. So Hasan beat the kettledrum and mounted the camels and traveled for ten days over hills, and valleys, and plains, and wastes until he reached the Princesses' palace. And they rejoiced greatly to see him. And he abode with them three months, feasting and merrymaking, hunting and sporting.
As for his wife, she remained with his mother two days, and on the third said: "Have I lived with him three years, and shall I never be allowed to go to the bath?" And the mother answered: "O my daughter, here we are strangers, and thy husband is abroad, but I will heat thee water and wash thy head in the Hammam-bath which is in the house." Then she wept and bewailed her lot, so that Hasan's mother let her have her way, and she went to the bath with her two little sons. And while she was at the bath even the passing women of the city stopped to gaze upon her beauty, so that the place was thronged with spectators. Now, it chanced that among those present was Tohfah the Lutanist, a slave-girl of Harun-al-Raschid, the Commander of the Faithful. So struck was she by the lady's marvelous beauty, that she ceased not to gaze upon her, and after the bath went out with her and followed her till she saw where she dwelt. Then she returned to the Caliph's palace and presented herself before Lady Zubaydah, who said, "O Tohfah, why hast thou tarried in the Hammam?" She replied, "O, my lady, I have seen a marvel, never saw I its like among men or women." "What was that?" asked Zubaydah. "O, my lady, I saw a damsel in the bath with her two little boys like moons, eye never espied her like, neither hath she her peer for beauty in the whole world. Surely, if the Commander of the Faithful knew of her he would slay her husband, Hasan of Bassorah, and take her from him." And Zubaydah cried, "Woe is thee, Tohfah, if she be not as thou sayest, for then, indeed, will I bid strike off thy head. But I must needs look on her." And she called Masrur, and said to him, "Go to the Wazir's house and bring me the damsel who dwelleth there, also her two children and the old woman. Haste, and tarry not." And Masrur hastened to Hasan's house and knocked at the door. Quoth the old woman, "Who is at the door?" "Masrur, servant of the Commander of the Faithful." So she opened the door and he entered and saluted her with the salaam, saying: "Lady Zubaydah, queen-wife of the Commander of the Faithful, summoneth thee and thy son's wife and children to her, for she hath been told of the lady's beauty." Saith the old woman, "O, my lord Masrur, we are foreign folk, and the girl's husband, who is away from home, hath bidden me not let her go forth in his absence, therefore I beseech thee, ask me not this thing." But Masrur replied, "O, my lady, there is naught to fear therein or I would not ask it of you. The Lady Zubaydah desireth to see her, and after that she may return." So Hasan's mother could not gainsay him and they all repaired to the palace of the Caliphate and presented themselves before Lady Zubaydah. And she said to the beautiful damsel, who was veiled, "Wilt thou not uncover thy face that I may look on it?" And as she did so the Queen and all her court were amazed at such marvelous beauty, for all who looked upon her became Jinn-mad. And Zubaydah embraced her and made her sit by her on the couch. Moreover, she bade decorate the palace in her honor and put upon her the richest raiment and a necklace of the rarest ornaments. And unto her she said, "O liege lady of fair ones, what arts knowest thou?" And she replied, "O, my lady, I have a dress of feathers, and if I put it on thou wouldst see one of the fairest of fashions and wouldst marvel thereat." "Where is this dress of thine?" asked Zubaydah. And the damsel answered, " It is with my husband's mother; seek it of her." So Zubaydah turned to the old woman, "O, my lady, the pilgrimess! O, my mother! fetch us the feather dress, afterwards thou mayest take it back again." But the old woman replied, "O my lady, this damsel is a liar. Hast thou ever seen any woman with a feather dress, such belongeth only to birds?" And the damsel said, "As thou livest, O my lady, she hath a feather dress of mine. It is in a chest buried in a store cupboard in the house." Then Zubaydah took from her neck a necklace of jewels worth all the treasures of Chosroe and Caesar, and gave it the old woman, saying: "O, my mother, I conjure thee by thy life, take this necklace and fetch us this dress." But she sware she had never seen any such dress and knew not what the damsel meant. Then Lady Zubaydah took the key from her and giving it to Masrur said, "Take this key and go to the house, and enter the store cupboard there, in the middle of which thou wilt find a chest buried. Take the chest out, break it open, and bring me the feather dress therein." So he went forth as she bade him, and the old woman followed him weeping. And he took the feather dress from the chest and wrapping it in a napkin brought it to Lady Zubaydah, who turned it about, marveling at its beauty. Then she gave it to the damsel, saying: "Is this thy dress of feathers?" "Yes, O my lady," replied she, and took it joyfully. Then she examined it, and was delighted to find it whole, without a feather missing. And she arose and came down from her seat, and wrapping herself and her sons in the feather dress became a bird, so that Zubaydah and all present marveled. Then she walked with a swaying, graceful gait, and danced, and sported, and flapped her wings. Then she said, "Is this goodly, O my ladies?" And they replied, "Yes, O Princess of the Fair! All thou dost is goodly." Said she, "And this, O my mistresses, that I am about to do is better yet." Then she spread her wings and flew up with her children to the palace dome and perched upon the roof, whilst they looked at her wide-eyed, and said, "This is indeed, a rare and outlandish fashion! Never saw we its like." "Wilt thou not come down to us that we may enjoy thy beauty, O fairest of the fair?" said Lady Zubaydah. "Far be it from me," she replied, "to come back to the past." And to Hasan's mother she said, "O my lady, O mother of my husband, it grieveth me to part from thee. When thy son returneth, and longeth, and wearieth after me, tell him to come to me in the Islands of Wak." Then she took flight with her children for her own country.
HASAN'S WIFE CARRIES OFF HER CHILDREN
But the old woman wept and moaned and fainted away for grief. And Lady Zubaydah said: "If thou hadst told me that this would happen I would not have gainsaid thee. And had I known she was of the Flying Jinn I would not have allowed her to don the dress. But now, words profit nothing, so do thou acquit me of offense against thee." "Thou art acquitted," replied the old woman shortly. Then she returned home, where she pined after her daughter-in-law, her grandchildren, and for a sight of her son. And she dug in the house three graves, and betook herself to them weeping all whiles of the day and watches of the night.
Now as regards Hasan, he stayed with the Princesses three months, after which he bade them farewell. And they gave him five loads of gold and the like of silver, and one load of victual, and accompanied him on his homeward way till he conjured them to return. Then each one embraced him and bade him a loving farewell.
Now when he reached Bagdad and entered his own home, he found his mother wasted and worn as thin as a toothpick for excess of mourning and watching and weeping, and when he asked her of his wife and children she fainted. Thereupon he searched the house, but there were no traces of them; and when he found the chest broken and the feather dress missing, he knew that his wife had possessed herself of it and flown away with her children. Then he returned to his mother and questioned her. And she wept and said: "O my son, may Allah requite thee their loss! These are their three tombs." Whereupon his anguish was so great that she despaired of his life. Then he brandished a stick, and coming to his mother said: "Except thou tell me the truth I will strike off thy head and kill myself." She replied, "O my son, do not such deed, put up thy sword and sit down till I tell thee what hath passed." So he put up his sword and sat by her side while she recounted all that had happened from first to last. And when the story was ended Hasan fell down in a faint and remained thus to the close of day. And for five days he wept and wailed and bemoaned himself, and would take neither meat nor drink. And one night he dreamed that he saw his wife full of sorrow, repenting for what she had done. Thus he lived for a whole month, weeping and heavy hearted, wakeful by night and eating little. Then he thought he would repair to his sisters and take counsel with them in the matter, so he summoned his dromedaries, loading them with costly gifts, and bade his mother adieu.
And when he reached the Palace of the Mountain of Clouds, the Princesses rejoiced to see him, but said: "0 our brother, what can ail thee to come again so soon, seeing thou wast with us but two months since?" Then he fainted for grief and wept bitterly, and told them what had befallen him in his absence, and how his wife had taken flight with her children. So they grieved for him, and asked what she had said at leave-taking. And he repeated word for word what his wife had said to his mother: "Tell thy son, when he cometh to thee and the nights of severance shall be longsome to him, and he craveth reunion and meeting to see, and whenas the winds of love and longing shake him dolefully, let him fare to me in the Islands of Wak." When they heard his words they signed to one another with their eyes, and shook their heads, and considered deeply for awhile; then they said: "There is no Majesty and there is no Might save in Allah, the Glorious, the Great! Put forth thy hand to Heaven, and when thou reach thither, then shalt thou win to thy wife." Whereupon Hasan wept bitterly, and the Princesses comforted him and exhorted him to patience and prayer, saying: "O my brother, be of good cheer, keep thy eyes cool and clear and be patient, so shalt thou win thy will: for whoso hath patience and waiteth, that he seeketh attaineth. " But he still grieved deeply, and abode with them a whole year, during which time his eyes could never retain their tears.
Now the sisters had an uncle whose name was Abd al-Kaddus, or Slave of the Most Holy; and he loved the eldest exceedingly and was wont to visit her once a year and do all she desired. Once he gave her a pouch filled with certain perfumes, saying, "O daughter of my brother, if thou be in want of aught or if aught trouble thee, or if thou stand in any need, cast off these perfumes upon fire naming my name, and I will be with thee and will do thy desire." So now the eldest Princess said, "Lo, the year is past and my uncle is not come. Bring me the firesticks and the perfumes." And the youngest Princess arose rejoicing and laid it before her. So she opened the box, and taking therefrom some of the perfume, cast it on the fire, naming her uncle's name. Ere it was burnt out a dust cloud appeared at the further end of the desert, which presently lifting discovered her uncle riding on an elephant. And when he arrived they embraced him and welcomed him gladly, saying how they had not seen him for more than a twelvemonth. They then recalled to his memory how Hasan had slain Barham the Magian, and proceeded to relate the story of his love for, and marriage of, the Supreme King's daughter, with all the painful results that followed.
When Abd al-Kaddus heard this he shook his head and bit his forefinger, and began to make marks on the earth with his finger-tips, after which he looked right and left, and shook his head a third time, whilst Hasan watched him from where he was hidden. Then said the Princesses, "Return us some answer, for our hearts are rent in sunder." And when he saw them in this transport of grief and trouble and mourning, he was moved with compassion and said, "Be ye silent!" Then turning to Hasan: "O my son, hearten thy heart and rejoice in the winning of thy wish: take courage and follow me." So Hasan took leave of the Princesses, and followed him rejoicing. Then Abd al-Kaddus took Hasan up behind him on the elephant, and they journeyed three days and three nights till they came to a vast blue mountain, the stones of which were blue and in the midst of which was a cavern with a door of Chinese iron. Here they dismounted and dismissed the elephant. Then Abd al-Kaddus went to the door and knocked, whereupon it opened and there came out to him a black slave, hairless, with brand in right hand, and targe of steel in left. When he saw Abd al-Kaddus he threw away sword and buckler and came and kissed his hand. Thereupon the old man entered the cave with Hasan whilst the slave shut the door behind them. It was a huge vast place, through which ran an arched corridor; and they walked on for a mile or so, till they came to a large open space, whence they made for an angle of the mountain, wherein were two immense doors of solid brass. And the old man said to Hasan, "Sit at the door till I return, and beware lest thou open it and enter." Then he went in and shut the door, and was absent for a full hour, when he returned leading a black stallion, bridled and saddled with velvet housings. And when it ran it flew, and when it flew the very dust would pursue, and he brought it to Hasan saying: "Mount!" So he mounted and Abd al-Kaddus opened a second door, beyond which appeared a vast desert. And the two passed through the door into the desert, when the old man said: "O my son, take this scroll and go whither the steed will carry thee. When thou seest him stop at the door of a cavern like this, alight and throw the reins over the saddle-bow and let him go. He will enter the cavern, but enter not with him; tarry at the door five days without wearying of waiting. On the sixth day will come forth to thee a black Shaykh clad in sable, with a long white beard. Kiss his hands, seize his skirt, and lay it on thy head, and weep before him, till he take pity on thee and ask thee what thou wouldst have. When he saith: 'What is thy want?' give him this scroll, which he will take without speaking, and go in and leave thee. Wait at the door another five days without wearying, and on the sixth day expect him. And if he come out to thee himself, know that thy wish will be won, but if one of his pages come, know that he meaneth to kill thee; and—thus thy story will end."
Then Abd al-Kaddus tried to dissuade him from undertaking the journey, but Hasan would in no way agree. And seeing it was useless to try to turn him from his purpose he said: "Know, O my son, that the Islands of Wak are seven in number, peopled by a mighty host of women, and the Inner Isles by Satans, Mardis, Warlocks, and various tribes of the Jinn. And no man once entering this land hath ever returned. Will nothing serve thee but that thou must make the journey?" Hasan replied, "Nothing! I only ask thy prayers for help and aidance. "So the old man knew he would not turn from his purpose though it cost him his life, so he handed him the scroll, saying: "I have in this letter given a strict charge concerning thee to Abu al-Ruwaysh, son of Bilkis, daughter of Muin, for he is my Shaykh and my teacher, and all men and Jinn humble themselves to him and stand in awe of him."
Thus Hasan set out, and his horse flew swifter than lightning, and stayed not for ten days until there appeared before him a vast loom, black as night, walling the world from east to west. And as he neared it his steed neighed under him, whereupon horses many as the drops of rain came rubbing themselves against it. And Hasan was afraid, for he rode thus until he came to the cavern described by Abd al-Kaddus. And on reaching it the steed entered, but Hasan abode without as the old man had bidden him. And when the appointed five days for waiting were expired, out came the Shaykh Abu al-Ruwaysh, a
THE SHAYKH ABU AL-RUWAYSH
blackamoor, clad in black raiment. And Hasan threw himself at his feet, and seizing his skirt, laid it on his head, and wept before him. "What wantest thou, O my son ?" quoth the old man. Whereupon he gave him the letter, which Abu al-Ruwaysh took and reentered the cavern without making answer. So Hasan sat down and waited another five days, weeping and be- moaning himself. And on the sixth day the Shaykh came forth clad in white raiment and signed him to enter. And the old man went with him half a day's journey, till they reached an arched doorway with a door of steel. This the Shaykh opened, and they entered a vestibule vaulted with onyx stones and arabesqued with gold, and they stayed not till they came to a great wide hall of marble. In the midst was a flower garden containing all manner of flowers and fruits, with birds singing on the boughs. And there were four daises facing each other, in each a jetting fountain, at the corners of which were lions of red gold. On each dais was a chair, whereon sat an elder with many books before him, and censers of gold containing fire and perfumes, and before each elder were students who read the books to him.
Now when the two entered the elders rose and did them honor; whereupon Abu al-Ruwaysh signed to them to dismiss their scholars, and they did so. Then the four arose, and seating themselves before the Shaykh, asked him of the case of Hasan. Then Hasan told them all that had befallen him from first to last, and the Shaykh begged them to help him to recover his wife and children. Then Abu al-Ruwaysh wrote a letter, which he gave to Hasan with a pouch of perfumed leather containing incense and fire sticks, saying: "Whenas thou fallest into any strait, burn a little of the incense and name my name, whereupon I will be with thee and save thee from thy stress." Then he bade them fetch him an Ifrit of the Flying Jinn, and when it appeared, he whispered something in the ear of the firedrake, whereat the Ifrit shook his head, and answered: "I accept, O elder of elders!" And Abu al-Ruwaysh said to Hasan: "Mount the shoulders of this Ifrit, Dahnash the Flyer, but when he heaveth thee heavenwards, and thou hearest the angels glorifying God, have a care lest thou do the like, or thou and he will both perish." And the old man continued: "O Hasan, after faring with thee all day, to-morrow at peep of dawn he will set thee down in a land white like unto camphor, whereupon walk ten days by thyself till thou come to the gate of a city. This enter and inquire for the King, and when thou comest to his presence, salute him with the salaam and kiss his hand, then give him this scroll and consider well whatso he shall counsel thee." Hasan replied: "To hear is to obey," and mounted the Flyer's back. Thus he traveled till at dawn the next day, when he was set down in a land white as camphor. There he followed the Shaykh's directions, and inquired for the King, whose name was Hassun, Lord of the Land of Camphor. And being admitted into his presence, Hasan gave the letter into his hands. While reading it the King shook his head awhile, and then said: "O Hasan, thou comest to me, seeking to enter the Islands of Wak. I would send thee thither this very day, but that by the way are many perils and wolds full of terrors, yet have patience and naught save fair shall befall thee. Presently there will come to us ships from the Islands of Wak, and the first that shall arrive I will send thee aboard her, and give thee in charge to the sailors, who will bear thee thither. As soon as thou comest ashore, thou wilt see a multitude of wooden benches about the beach: choose thee one, and crouch under it and stir not. When night sets in, thou wilt see an army of women flocking about the goods landed from the ship, and one will sit down on the bench under which thou art hiding. Wherefore put forth thy hand and take hold of her and implore her protection. If she give thee protection, thou wilt regain thy wife and children; if not, mourn for thyself, and give up all hope of life."
And Hasan waited three whole months for the coming of the ship. And at the end of that time the King sent for him, and presenting him with costly gifts, summoned the captain, saying: "Take this youth with thee so that none may know of him save thee, and carry him to the Islands of Wak." So the captain laid him in a chest and bore him aboard, and none doubted but that the chest contained merchandise.
And at the end of ten days Hasan was set ashore, and as he walked up the beach he saw wooden benches without number, and hid under one till nightfall. Then there came many women armed with hauberks, coats of mail, and drawn swords, who busied themselves with the merchandise from the ships. And one seated herself on the bench under which Hasan crouched, whereupon he took hold of the hem of her garment and did as the Shaykh had bidden him. And her heart inclined to him, for she knew he had not come to that place save for a grave matter. So she said: "Be of good cheer, keep thine eyes cool and clear, take courage and return to thy hiding-place till the coming night, and Allah shall do as he will."
And the next night the merchant-woman with whom he had taken refuge came up to him and gave him a habergeon and a helmet, a spear, a sword, and a gilded girdle, and bade him don them, and stay where she left him for fear of the troops.
And as Hasan sat upon the bench, behold there came up an army of women. So he arose, and mingling with them, became as one of them. A little before daybreak they set out and marched to their camp, where they dispersed each to her tent. And Hasan followed one of them, and lo! it was her for whose protection he had prayed. When she entered she threw down her arms and doffed her veil, and Hasan saw her to be a grizzled old woman, with pock-marked face and without teeth or eyebrows. And she questioned him of his case, and promised him her safeguard, saying, "Have no fear whatsoever. " So he told her this tale from first to last. And she said, "Glory be to God, who hath made thee appeal to me, for hadst thou appealed to any other thou wouldst have lost thy life. But know, O my son, thy wife is not here, but in the seventh of the Islands of Wak, and between us and it is seven months' journey. From here we go to an island called the Land of Birds, wherein, for the loud crying of the birds and the flapping of their wings, one cannot hear other speak. From this country we come to another, the Land of Wild Beasts, where for roaring of lions, howling of wolves, laughing of hyenas, and crying of other beasts of prey, we shall hear naught. The next is the Land of the Jann, where our eyes are blinded by the fires, the sparks and smoke from their mouths, and our ears deafened by their groaning. And after this we come to a huge mountain and running river close to the Isles of Wak. And on the bank of the river is another mountain, called Mount Wak, named thus by reason of a tree that bears fruits like heads of the sons of Adam."
Then the old woman beat the kettledrums for departure, and the army set out. And they journeyed through the terrible lands she had spoken of until they came to the river, and set down their loads at the foot of the huge mountain. And the old woman set Hasan a couch of alabaster, inlaid with pearls and jewels and nuggets of red gold. And he sat down thereon, and bound his face with a kerchief that discovered naught of him but his eyes. And the old woman bade him watch the women as they went to bathe, to discover whether his wife were among them. And although the maids were beautiful to look upon, and one of them exceeding fair, reminding him much of her he had come to seek, yet was she not among them. And at the old dame's request he gave her a description of his wife, whereupon she made answer, "O Hasan, would to heaven I had never known thee! This woman is none other than the eldest daughter of the Supreme King, she who ruleth over all the Islands of Wak. It is impossible for thee to obtain her, as between her and thee the distance is as that between earth and heaven. So return whence thou earnest lest our lives be lost." And Hasan wept sore, and bemoaned himself and despaired of life. And Shawahi said, "O my son, tell me which of the maidens pleaseth thee and I will give her thee instead of thy wife, and thou canst say that thy wife and children are dead, for if thou fall into the King's hand I have no means of delivering thee." Then Hasan wept till he swooned away, and Shawahi sprinkled water on his face till he revived. And she was sorry for him, and Allah planted the seed of affection for him in her heart, and she comforted him, saying, "Be of good cheer, and keep thine eyes cool and clear, and put away trouble from thy thought, for I will risk my life for thee until thou attain thine aim or I die."
Now the Queen of the Island wherein they dwelt was Nur al-Huda, eldest daughter of the Supreme King, and she ruled over all the lands and Islands of Wak. So when the ancient dame saw Hasan weary with his longing, she repaired to the palace and going to the Queen Nur al-Huda, kissed ground before her, for she had a claim in her favor because she had reared the King's daughters, and was had in high honor and consideration with them and the King. Nur al-Huda rose to her as she entered, and embracing her seated her by her side, and asked her of her journey. And the dame replied, "O Queen of the Age and the Time, I have a favor to crave of thee and I fain would discover it to thee, that thou mayest help me to accomplish it, and but for my confidence that thou wilt not gainsay me, therein I would not expose it to thee." And the Queen asked: "What is thy need? Expound it to me and I will accomplish it to thee, for I and my kingdom and troops are all at thy command." Thereupon the old woman fell down before her, and acquainted her with the whole of Hasan's case. And the Queen was exceeding wroth, and said to Shawahi, "O illomened beldam, art thou come to such a pass that thou earnest men with thee into the Islands of Wak? But for thy claim on me I would make both him and thee die the foulest of deaths. Go and bring him hither that I may see him." So the old woman went to Hasan and said: "Rise, speak with the Queen, O wight, whose last hour is at hand." And when he came in the Queen's presence, he kissed ground before her, and saluted her with the salaam. And the Queen bade the old woman ask him questions that she might hear his answers. Thus she heard from his own lips the story of what had befallen him. And when he quoted the parting words of his wife, in which she intimated that if he longed for her he should come to the Islands of Wak for her, the Queen shook her head and said: "She would not have spoken thus, if she had not desired thee, nor acquainted thee with her abiding place." And Hasan said: "O mistress of Kings and asylum of prince and pauper, oppress me not, but have compassion on me and aid me to regain my wife and children." And the Queen replied, "I have compassion on thee, and am resolved to show thee in review of all the maidens in the city and in the provinces. If thou discover among them thy wife I will deliver her to thee, but if thou know her not, I will put thee to death and crucify thee over the old woman's door." And the Queen commanded that all the maidens in the Island should be brought before her, and that they should pass before Hasan hundred after hundred, but he tound not his wife amongst them. And the Queen was enraged and said: "Take him along, face to earth, and cut off his head." So they threw him down and dragged him along, and with bared brands awaited the royal permission. But the old woman kneeled before the Queen and said: "Verily he hath entered our land, and eaten of our meat, wherefore he hath a claim upon us, the more especially since I promised him to bring him in company with thee; and thou knowest that parting is a grievous ill and severance hath power to kill, especially separation from children. Now he hath seen all our women save only thyself, so do thou show Jiim thy face." The Queen smiled and said: "How can he be my husband and have had children by me, that I should show him my face?" Then she made them bring Hasan before her, and unveiled her face, which when he saw he cried out with a great cry and fell down fainting. And when he came to himself he looked on the Queen's face, and cried out with a great cry, for stress whereof the palace was like to fall upon all therein. And he said: "In very sooth this Queen is either my wife or else the likest of all folk to my wife." And when Nur al-Huda heard this she said: "This stranger is either Jinn-mad or out of his mind, for he saith I am his wife, " and she laughed, for she was unmarried. Then she asked: "What is it in thy wife that resembleth me?" And Hasan replied, "All that is in thee of beauty and loveliness, elegance and amorous grace. Thou art her very self in the way of speaking, in the fairness of thy favor, and the brilliancy of thy brow." And the Queen was flattered, and said to Shawahi, "Carry him back to the place where he tarried with thee till I examine into this affair, for he is a manly man, and forge tteth not friend or lover." Then she bade Shawahi haste to the abode of her youngest sister, Manar al-Sana, and to tell her to clothe her two sons in the coats of mail their aunt had made them, and send them to her, and after securing the children, to say to Manar, "Thy sister inviteth thee to visit her. And," continued the Queen, "I swear that if my sister prove to be his wife, I will not hinder him from taking her and the children to his own country."
Then the old woman armed herself and taking with her a thousand weaponed horsemen journeyed to the city where dwelt Lady Manar al-Sana. And on reaching the city she went in to the Princess and gave her the Queen's message. And the Princess said, "Verily, I am beholden to my sister, and have failed in my duty in not visiting her, but I will do so forthwith." And she made ready to go taking with her rare gifts for her sister. Now she was the youngest daughter of the King, who had seven children, and when he heard she was about to visit his eldest daughter he brought from his treasuries meat and drink and money and jewels and rarities which beggar description. But the old woman again presented herself and said, "Thy sister, Queen Nur alHuda, biddeth thee clothe thy two sons in the coats of mail she made for them and send them to her by me." And the Princess was troubled and said, "O mother, I tremble when thou namest my children, for from the time of their birth none hath looked on their faces, neither Jinn, nor man, nor woman." And Shawahi replied, "Dost thou fear for them from thy sister? Indeed, the Queen would be wroth with thee if thou disobeyed her. And, O my daughter, thou knowest my tenderness and love for thee and thy children. I will take them under my care, so be of cheerful heart and send them her." So she equipped her little sons and clad them in the coats of mail and delivered them to the old woman, who took them and sped on her way like a bird by another road than that the Princess would travel. So she brought them into the Queen's presence, who rejoiced greatly and embraced them, and seated them, one on the right side and the other on the left. Then she bid them summon Hasan. But Shawahi said, "If I bring him wilt thou reunite him with his children? Or if they prove not his wilt thou pardon him and restore him to his own country?" And the Queen was furious and replied, "This shall never be; no, never; for if they be not his children I will slay him and strike off his neck with my own hand." Upon which the old woman fell down for fear, and Nur alHuda set upon her the Chamberlain and twenty Mamelukes, saying, "Go with this crone and fetch me the youth who is in her house." Thus they brought Hasan into the Queen's presence, where he found his two sons, Nasir and Mansur, sitting in her lap while she played and made merry with them. And as soon as his eyes fell on them he gave a great cry and fell down fainting for excess of joy at the sight of them. And they also knew him, and freed themselves from the Queen's lap and put their arms round Hasan's neck and said to him, "O our father." And all present wept for pity and tenderness. But Nur al-Huda was wroth beyond measure. And she cried out saying, "Arise, fly for thy life. But that I swore no evil should betide thee if thy tale proved true, I would slay thee with mine own hand." So Hasan departed from her presence, and, giving himself up for lost, wept and repented of having come to these lands.
But as regards his wife, Manar al-Sana, when she was about to depart on her journey, the King, her father, sent requesting that she would first visit him. So she rose and repaired to his presence, when he said unto her, "O my daughter, I have had a dream which maketh me fear that sorrow will betide thee where thou goest." And she replied, "What didst thou see in thy dream, O my father?" "I dreamed," said he, "that I entered a secret hoard where was great store of moneys, jewels, jacinths,
THE KING AND MANAR AL-SANA
and other riches. But naught pleased me save seven bezels, which were the finest things there. And I chose the smallest of the seven, for it was the finest and most lustrous. And as I came out at the door, a bird from a far land, snatched it out of my hand and returned it whence it came. At once on awaking I summoned the interpreters and expounders of dreams, who said unto me ... "Thou hast seven daughters, and wilt lose the youngest, who will be taken from thee without thy will. Now, my daughter, thou art my youngest and dearest, but I know not what may befall thee, so I beseech thee leave me not, but return to the palace. " But she feared for her children and replied, "O King, my sister hath made ready for me an entertainment and awaiteth my coming; for these four years she hath not seen me, if I go not she will be angry. Besides, no stranger can gain access to the Islands of Wak, for he would be drowned in the seas of destruction. " So she ceased not to persuade him till he gave her leave to depart, at the same time bidding her not remain longer than two days.
And when she arrived at her sister's palace the children ran to her weeping and crying, "O our father!" And she kissed them and put her arms about them, saying, "What! Have you seen your sire at this time? Would the hour had never been in which I left him. If I knew him to be in the house of the world I would carry you to him." And when her sister saw this she saluted her not, but said, "Whence hadst thou these children? Hast thou married unbeknown to thy sire? Or are they not legally thy children?" Then she bade her guards seize her, and pinion her elbows and shackle her with shackles of iron. And she beat her unmercifully and hanged her up by the hair, after which she cast her in prison and wrote the King, her father, acquainting him with the whole of her case. Then she delivered the letter to a courier and he carried it to the King, who, when he read it, was exceedingly angry with his daughter Manar and wrote to Nur al-Huda, saying, "I commit her case to thee, and give thee command over her life; if the matter be as thou sayest kill her without consulting me." And when the Queen had read her father's letter she sent for Manar and made her stand in her presence humiliated and abashed. And Nur al-Huda continued to treat her sister cruelly, binding her with cords to a ladder of wood and beating her with a palm stick and with thongs till her charms were wasted for excess of beating, nor would she hearken to her tears and piteous cries for mercy. And when Shawahi saw this she wept and cursed the Queen, for which she was seized and beaten and turned out of the palace. But as for Hasan he wandered lonely and sad by the riverside, albeit he felt that deliverance from trouble was at hand and reunion with those he loved.Now as he walked he came upon two little boys, the sons of sorcerers, who were quarreling about a rod of copper graven with talismans, and a skull cap of leather wrought in steel. And Hasan parted them, saying: "What are you quarreling about?" And they replied: "We are brothers-german, and our father was a mighty magician. He died and left us this cap and rod. Now my brother wants the rod, and so do I, but thou shalt be the judge between us." "And what are their properties?" asked Hasan. And they replied: "The virtue of the cap is that whoso setteth it on his head is concealed from all men's eyes, nor can any see him while it remains on his head. That of the rod is that whoso owneth it hath authority over seven tribes of the Jinn, and when the possessor thereof smiteth therewith on the ground their kings come to do him homage, and all the Jinn are at his service." Then Hasan said to the two boys: "If ye would have me decide the case, I will take a stone and throw it, and he who first catcheth the stone shall have the rod, while the cap remaineth for the one who faileth." And they said: "We consent and accept this, thy proposal." Then Hasan threw a stone with all his might, so that it disappeared from sight. The boys ran after it, and when they were at a distance he donned the cap to prove the truth of what they had said. When they returned they found him not, and the rod and cap, too, were both gone. And they began to abuse one another and retrace their steps, but as for Hasan, he entered the city wearing the cap and bearing the rod, and none saw him. And he entered the lodging of Shawahi and shook a shelf filled with glass and china over her head. And seeing no one, she called out: "Huda hath sent a Satan to torment me, and hath tricked me this trick." Upon which Hasan replied: "I am no Satan, but Hasan the afflicted." And he raised his cap from his head, and appeared to the old woman. And she told him all that had befallen his wife, and said: "The Queen repenteth of having let thee go, and hath sent one after thee, promising him gold and honor if he bring thee back. "Then Hasan showed her the rod and cap, whereat she rejoiced exceedingly, and said: "O my son, don the cap and take the rod in hand and enter where thy wife and children are. Smite the earth with
HASAN REJOINS HIS WIFE
So he bade her farewell, and donning the cap and taking the rod entered where his wife was. And his heart ached for her, for he found her bound to the ladder by her hair and almost lifeless. Then he took the cap from his head, and the children saw him and cried out, "O our father!" And their mother asked them, "What remindeth you of your father at this time?" And she thought of her married life with Hasan, and of all that had befallen her since, so that she wept bitterly and her tears ran down upon the ground. Then Hasan could contain himself no longer, and took the cap from his head so that his wife saw him and screamed a scream that startled all in the palace, and said to him, "How earnest thou hither? From the sky hast thou dropped? Or through the earth hast thou come up?" And Hasan answered, "O lady of fair ones, I came not save to deliver thee with this rod and this cap." And he told her what had befallen him with the two boys, but whilst he spake the Queen came up and heard his speech, whereupon Hasan donned his cap and was hidden from sight. Then she said to the Princess, "O wanton, who is there with whom thou wast talking?" And Manar replied, "Who should talk with me except these children?" Then the Queen beat her and loosed her and carried her to another room, while Hasan followed unseen. And he waited patiently till night came on, when he arose and went to her and loosing her kissed her, saying: "How long have we wearied for our motherland and for reunion here?" Then he took the elder boy and she the younger, and they went forth from the palace. And Allah veiled them with the veil of his protection so that they came safe to the outer gate of the Queen's Seraglio. But finding it locked they despaired of escape, and his wife said, "There is no relief for us but to kill ourselves and be at rest from this great and weary travail." At this moment they heard a voice from without the door say, "O my Lady Manar al-Sana, I will not open to thee and thy husband except ye obey me in whatso I shall say to you." And they were silent for excess of fright; when the voice spake again, saying: "What aileth you both to be silent and answer me not?" And they knew the speaker to be the old woman, Shawahi. So they said, "Whatsoever thou biddest us we will do." And she replied, "I will not open until ye both swear that ye will take me with you, so that whatever bef aileth you shall befall me, for yonder abominable woman treateth me with indignity and tormenteth me on your account." Now recognizing her they trusted in her and sware an oath such as contented her, whereupon she opened the door and they found her riding on a Greek jar of red earthenware with a rope of palm-fibers about its neck, which rolled under her and ran faster than a Najdi colt, and she said to them, "Follow me and fear naught, for I know forty modes of magic by the least of which I could make this city a dashing sea, and ensorcel each damsel therein to a fish, and all before dawn." So Hasan and his wife rejoiced, making sure of escape.
SHAWARI ON THE JAR
And they walked on till they came without the city, when Hasan smote the earth with the rod crying: "Ho, ye servants of these names, appear to me and acquaint me with your conditions." Thereupon the earth clave asunder and out came ten Ifrits, with their feet in the earth, and their heads in the clouds. And they kissed the earth three times and said, "Adsumus! Here are we at thy service, O our lord and ruler over us! What dost thou bid us do? If thou wilt we will dry thee up seas and remove mountains from their places." So Hasan rejoiced and said: "Who are ye, and what be your names and your races, and to what tribes do ye belong?" They replied: "We are seven Kings, each ruling over seven tribes of the Jinn, and Satans and Marids, flyers and divers, dwellers in mountains and wastes and wolds and haunters of the seas; so bid us do whatso thou wilt, for whoso possesseth this rod hath dominion over us." And Hasan rejoiced exceedingly, as did his wife and the old woman. And he said: "I would have you carry me forthwith to the city of Bagdad, me and my wife, and this honest woman." And they answered: "O our lord, we are of the covenant of our lord, Solomon son of David, and he made us sware that we would bear none of the sons of Adam upon our backs. But we will harness the horses of the Jinn and they shall carry thee and thy company to thy country." "How far are we from Bagdad?" asked Hasan. "Seven years' journey for a diligent horseman," they replied. At this Hasan marveled and said: "Then how came I hither in less than a year?" And they replied: "Allah softened to thee the hearts of his pious servants." And he asked again, "When ye have mounted me upon your steeds, in how many days will they bring us to Bagdad?" They answered: "They will carry you thither under the year, but not till ye have endured terrible perils and hardships, and horrors, and we cannot promise thee safety."
Then they struck the ground with their feet, whereupon it opened, and they disappeared within, and were absent awhile, after which they reappeared with three horses, saddled and bridled, and on each saddlebow a pair of saddlebags, with a leathern bottle of water in one pocket and the other full of food. So Hasan mounted one steed and took a child before him, whilst his wife mounted a second and took the other child before her, and the old woman bestrode the third. And they rode on all through the night. And as they rode, Hasan caught sight of a black object, which as he drew nearer turned out to be an Ifrit, with a head like a huge dome, tusks like grapnels, jaws like a lane, nostrils like ewers, ears like leathern targes, a mouth like a cave, teeth like pillars of stone, hands like winnowing forks, and legs like masts; his head was in the clouds and his feet in the earth he had plowed. And he said to Hasan, "Fear not, I wish to accompany you and be your guide till you leave the Wak Islands. Be of good cheer, for I am a Moslem even as ye." So they followed the Ifrit and made merry, and Hasan told his wife all that had befallen him while she related all she had seen and suffered.
Thus they rode till the thirty-first day, when there arose before them a dust-cloud that walled the world and darkened the day. And the old woman said to Hasan: "This is the army of the Wak Islands that hath overtaken us; they will lay violent hands upon us. Strike the earth with the rod." And the seven Kings presented themselves, saying, "Fear not, neither grieve. Ascend the mountain, thou and thy wife and children and she who is with thee, and leave us to deal with them. We know you are in the right and they in the wrong." So they dismissed their horses and ascended the mountainside.
Now a great battle was fought wherein the seven Kings of the Jinns and their armies defeated Queen Nur al-Huda and her armies, slaying many and taking her and the powerful men of her realm prisoner. And on the morning after the battle the Jinn Kings set before Hasan an alabaster throne, inlaid with pearls and jewels, and he sat down thereon. Also a throne of ivory plated with glittering gold for his wife and the dame, and there they judged Queen Nur al-Huda and alt the captives. And Hasan commanded that all the captives were to be slain, and the old woman cried out: "Slay all, and spare none." But Princess Manar pleaded for her sister Nur al-Huda and wept over her, so that Hasan gave her into her hands, saying, "Do whatso thou wilt." Thereupon she bade them loose her sister and all the captives, and she went up to her and embraced her, and they all made peace together after the goodliest fashion. And Hasan dismissed his servants of the rod, and thanked them for having helped him against his foes.
And they passed the night together in converse, and on the morrow bade one another farewell. And Shawahi departed with Nur al-Huda to the left, while Hasan and his wife went to the right. And Hasan and his wife rode till they came to a city surrounded with trees and streams, and as they rested there they were greeted by King Hassun, Lord of the Land of Camphor and Castle of Crystal. And they rejoiced to meet one another and Hasan told all that had befallen him. Whereupon the King said: "O my son, none ever reached the Islands of Wak and returned thence but thou; indeed thy case is wondrous." And Hasan with his wife and children lodged in the guest house of the palace three days, eating and drinking in mirth and merriment, after which they sought the King's permission to depart. And the King granted it and rode with them ten days, after which he bade them farewell. And they journeyed for a month, after which they came to the cavern with the brass door, out of which the Shaykh Abu al-Ruwaysh issued, and saluted Hasan, and gave him joy of his safety. And when Hasan told him all that had befallen him, the Shaykh replied, "O my son, but for this rod and cap, thou hadst never delivered thy wife and children." And as they talked together there came a knocking at the door, and Abu al-Ruwaysh went and found Abu al-Kaddus mounted on his elephant. And he embraced Hasan and congratulated him on his safety. And Hasan told him everything from first to last until he came to the story of the rod and cap, when Abu al-Kaddus said: "O my son, thou hast delivered wife and children, and hast no further need of the two. Now we were the means of thy getting to the Islands of Wak, and I have done thee kindness for the sake of my nieces, therefore I beg thee give me the rod and Abu al-Ruwaysh the cap." And Hasan hung down his head, ashamed to say, "I will not give them you," then in his mind he thought of how good they had been to him, and how if it had not been for them he would not have received the rod and cap. So he raised his head and answered: "Yes, I will give them you. But, O my lords, I fear lest the Supreme King, my wife's father, come to me in my own country to fight, and I be unable to repel them for want of the rod and cap." And they replied: "Fear not, we will continually succor thee and keep watch and ward for thee, and whoso shall come against thee from thy wife's father or any other, we will send him from thee, therefore be of good cheer, for no harm shall come to thee." And the two elders rejoiced exceedingly and gave him riches and treasures, beautiful beyond description. And Hasan and his wife abode with them three days, when they bade them farewell and departed for the Land of the Princesses, to which Abu al-Kaddus, mounted on a mighty big elephant, guided them by a short cut and easy way. And as they drew near the palace, the Princesses came forth to meet them, and saluted them and their uncle, who said to them: "Behold I have accomplished the need of this, your brother Hasan, and have helped him to regain his wife and children." So they embraced him and gave him joy of his health, and it was a day of feasting with them. And the youngest Princess wept bitterly as she embraced Hasan, and told him how she had longed and suffered for his return. And Hasan told all that had happened on his journey from first to last, and said to his youngest sister, "I shall never forget all thou hast done for me from first to last."
And Hasan and his wife abode with the Princesses ten days, feasting and merrymaking, at the end of which time they prepared to continue their journey. And his sisters made him presents of riches and rarities, and bade him a loving farewell. And after journeying two months and ten days they came to Bagdad, and Hasan repaired to his home by the private gate and knocked at the door.
Now his mother had not ceased to mourn him since his departure, but shed tears night and day, and for lack of food and sleep had fallen ill. And she heard her son's voice, saying, "O mother, mother, Fortune hath been kind and hath vouchsafed our reunion." Whereupon she went to the door between belief and misbelief, and when she saw him and his wife and children she cried aloud for excess of joy, and fell to the earth in a fainting fit. And when she had recovered and he had comforted her, he related all his adventures from beginning to end. And they passed the night in all pleasure and happiness, and on the morrow Hasan donned rich apparel and went to the bazaar and bought black slaves and slave girls, rich stuffs and ornaments and furniture, carpets and costly vessels, and all manner of precious things. Moreover, he purchased houses and gardens and estates, and abode with his wife and children and mother in all joy and happiness till the Destroyer of delights and the Severer of societies knocked at their door.