The Two Sisters Who Envied Their Cadette

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
The Book of the Thousand Nights and a Night
The Two Sisters Who Envied Their Cadette

p.423[edit]

There was once a prince of Persia, sire, named Khosrouschah, who, on his introduction into the world, used to amuse himself very frequently by seeking after adventures during the night : he often disguised himself, and accompanied by one of his confidential attendants, likewise in disguise, visited different parts of the city, and sometimes met with, many occurrences of an extraordinary nature, which I will not at present undertake to relate to your majesty ; but I hope you will find some pleasure in listening to the account of what happened to him on the first excursion he made, a few days after he had ascended the throne of the sultan, his father, who, dying at a very advanced age, left him sole heir of the kingdom of Persia. After the customary ceremonies on his ascension to the crown, and the funeral rites to the memory of his father were performed, the new sultan, Khosrouschah, as much from a motive oi1 duty as from inclination, that he might inspect what passed in his city, left his palace one night at about two hours after dark, accompanied by his grand vizier,

p.424[edit]

who was disguised like himself. Having strolled into a quarter of the city where only the common class of people resided, he heard, as he passed through a strdet, some voices, talking very loud, and he approached the house from whence the noise proceeded : looking through the crevice of a door, he perceived a light, and three sisters, seated on a sofa, who were conversing together after supper. From the discourse of the eldest, he was soon informed, that their wishes were the subject of it. " Since we are talking of wishes," said she, " mine is, that I may have the sultan's baker for a husband : I should then eat as much as I liked of that delicious bread, which is called the sultan's bread ; now let us hear if your taste is as good as mine." — " My wish," replied the second sister, " would be to marry the cook of the sultan's kitchen ; I should then eat of such excellent dishes ; and as I am well persuaded that the sultan's bread is used in common in the palace, I should not want for that : you see, sister," continued she, addressing the elder one, " that my taste is quite as good as yours." The youngest sister, who was extremely handsome, and possessed of much more wit and pleasantry than her elder sisters, now spoke in her turn. "For my part," said she, " I do not limit my wishes to so low a standard; I take a higher flight, and since we are about wishing, I should wish to be the wife of the sultan himself; and I would bear him a prince, whose hair should be gold on one side and silver on the other ; when he cried, the tears that dropped from his eyes should be pearls; and when he smiled, his vermilion lips should appear like an opening rose-bud." The wishes of these three sisters, and particularly the latter, appeared to the sultan so singular, that he resolved to gratify them; without, therefore, communicating his design to the grand vizier, he desired him

p.425[edit]

to take particular notice of the house, that he might come to fetch them on the following day, and conduct them before him. The grand vizier, when he executed this order on the morrow, only afforded the three sisters time to dress themselves quickly, without saying any thing more to them than that the sultan desired to see them. He took them to the palace, and when he presented them to the sultan, the latter said to them, " Tell me, if you recollect the wishes you made yesterday evening, when you were all in such a pleasant humour; do not dissemble, for I will know the truth." At this question of the sultan, the three sisters, who did not at all expect one of this nature, were in the utmost confusion ; they cast their eyes down, and the blushes which overspread their cheeks added a lustre to the beauty of the youngest in particular, which completed her conquest over the heart of the sultan, As their natural modesty, together with the fear of having offended their sovereign by their late conversation, made them silent, the sultan, who perceived it, said, in an encouraging manner, "Fear nothing, I have not sent for you here to give you pain ; and as I see that the question I ask you has, contrary to my intention, confused you, and as I also know each of your wishes, I will soon relieve you from, your embarrassment. "You," added he, " who wished to be my wife, shall have your desire completed this very day; and you," addressing the eldest, and the second sister, "shall also have your wishes gratified, and I will have your nuptials solemnized with my baker and with my head cook." As soon as the sultan had declared his will, the youngest, setting her sisters the example, threw herself at the feet of the sultan, to express her gratitude. " Sire," said she, "my wish, since it is known to your majesty, was only expressed in joke and mirth ; I am

p.426[edit]

not worthy of the honor you confer. on me, and I beg your pardon for my boldness and temerity." The other two sisters wanted also to excuse themselves, but the sultan interrupted them, "No, no," said he, "I will hear of no excuses, the wish of each shall be gratified." The nuptials were celebrated on that very day, as the sultan had decreed, but with far different ceremonies ; those of the younger sister were accompanied with all the pomp and rejoicings which were proper for the union of a sultan and sultana of Persia. While those of the other two sisters were solemnized with no greater festivities than might be expected from the situation of their husbands ; that is to say, from the principal baker and the head cook of the sultan. The two elder sisters felt very forcibly the great disproportion that existed between their marriages and their younger sister's. This reflection, far from making them contented with the good fortune that had befallen them, according to their wishes, though very distant from their expectations, operated in a contrary way, and created in them an excess of jealousy, which not only disturbed their own comfort, but also caused very great unhappiness to their younger sister, and was, in the end, productive of the most mortifying and humiliating affliction to her. They had not yet had time to communicate to each other their sentiments on the preference which the sultan had given her over them ; they had only leisure to prepare for the celebration of the marriage. But when they had an opportunity of meeting some. days after at a public bath, where they had made an appointment, " Well, sister," said the eldest to the other, " what think you of our youngest sister. Is not she a pretty lady for a sultana?" — " I confess," replied the other, "that I do not understand it ; I cannot conceive what charms the sultan could see in

p.427[edit]

her to fascinate him thus; she is no better than a monkey, and you know, as well as I do, the figure we have sometimes seen her. Was it a sufficient reason for the sultan to prefer her to you, because she has a more youthful air than you have? You were worthy of his bed, and he ought to have done you the justice to give you the preference." " Sister," replied the eldest, " we will not speak of me; I should have nothing to say if the sultan had made choice of you ; hut that he should fix his heart on that dirty wench drives me to despair; I will be revenged at all events, and you are as much interested as myself in the business. I therefore propose, that you should join with me, that we may act together in a cause which concerns us equally, and that you will communicate to me any thing that may occur to you, which will be likely to mortify her ; and I, on my part, promise to acquaint you with any thing that my desire to humble her may suggest to me." After this malicious agreement, the two sisters saw each other frequently, and every time they met, their only conversation was on the means they should adopt, to interrupt and even destroy the happiness of the sultana, their youngest sister. They proposed several plans, but when, on deliberating on the execution of them, they found such great difficulties that they did not -venture to put them in practice. They, however, occasionally visited her together, and with the most cunning and malicious dissimulation, they lavished on her every mark of friendship and affection that they could devise, in order to persuade her how delighted they were to have a sister raised to so high a rank. The sultana, on her part, always received them with every mark of esteem and attention, which they could expect from a sister, who was not improperly elated with the newly-acquired dignity, and who

p.428[edit]

still continued to love them with the same cordiality as before. Some months after her marriage, the sultana became pregnant, an event which gave the sultan great pleasure ; and an universal joy prevailed on the occasion, not only in the palace, but throughout the Persian dominions. The two sisters also came to offer their congratulations, and to entreat her to employ no one except them to attend her in her approaching confinement. The sultana replied, " My dear sisters, I, as you may believe, should not make choice of any one else, if the matter rested entirely with me; I am infinitely obliged to you for your good wishes towards me, but I must submit to whatever the sultan may command. You may, however, use all the interest your husbands possess at court, to have this favor requested of the sultan ; and if he speaks to me on the subject, you may be certain, that I shall not only express my satisfaction to him, for conferring on me this pleasure, but shall also thank him for having made choice of you." The two husbands each solicited the courtiers, who were their patrons, entreating them to employ their influence to obtain for their wives the honor they aspired to ; and these patrons exerted themselves with so much diligence, as well as success, that the sultan promised to think of it. He kept his word, and in a conversation he had with the sultana, he told her, that he thought her sisters would be better than a strange woman to attend her in her lying-in, but that he would not appoint them to that office until he had previously obtained her consent. The sultana, sensible of the deference the sultan thus obligingly paid to her wishes, replied, "Sire, I am ready to do whatever your majesty will order me ; but since you have had the goodness to cast your thoughts on my sisters, I must thank you for the preference you give to them for my sake and I will not dissemble

p.429[edit]

that I shall accept of their services with much greater satisfaction than if they were strangers." The sultan Khosrouschah appointed the sisters of the sultana to attend her ; and they in consequence immediately took up their residence in the palace, quite overjoyed at having found an opportunity of putting in practice the detestable wickedness which they bad meditated against her. The period at length arrived ; and the sultana was delivered of a prince as beautiful is the morning: but neither his beauty, nor the delicacy of his form, were capable of softening the obdurate hearts of the two sisters. They wrapped him up very carelessly in some linen clothes, put him into a small basket, and exposed it with him to the current of a canal, which passed under the apartment of the sultana, and they produced a little dead dog, asserting, that the sultana had been delivered of it. This unpleasant intelligence was announced to the sultan, who felt on the occasion a degree of indignation which might have proved fatal to the sultana, if his grand vizier had not represented to him, that he could not, without injustice, consider her as responsible for the caprices of nature. The basket, in the mean time, with the prince in it, was conveyed by the current beyond a wall, which bounded the view from the apartment of the sultana, but did not impede the course of the canal, which crossed the gardens of the palace. By chance the superintendant of the gardens of the sultan, one of the principal and most respected officers in the kingdom, was walking in the garden on the batiks of the canal; and as he observed the basket floating on the water, he called a gardener who was near, " Go quickly," said he, shewing it to him, "and bring me that basket, that I may see what it contains." The gardener went immediately to the edge of the canal, and with the spade he had in his hand he dexterously

p.430[edit]

drew the basket towards him, and took it out of1 the water. The superintendant of the gardens was very much surprised to see a child, wrapped up in linen, in the basket ; a child too, who, though evidently just born, was nevertheless very beautiful. This officer had been married a considerable time ; but, though very desirous of having a progeny, heaven had not yet granted his wishes. He discontinued his walk, and desired the gardener to follow him with the basket and child. When he had reached his house, which opened into the garden of the palace, he went immediately to the apartment of his wife. " My dear wife," said he, " we have no children ; here is one, that God sends us; and I recommend him to you. Send for a nurse for him as soon as possible, and take care of him as if he were our own son ; from this moment I consider him as such." His wife joyfully took the child, and felt great pleasure in the charge. The superintendant of the gardens did not choose to investigate from whence the child could come. " I plainly see," said he himself, " that it is from the apartment of the sultana; but it is not my business to oppose what passes there, nor to cause commotions in a place where peace is so necessary." The following year the sultana was delivered of another prince. Her unnatural and inhuman sisters felt no more compassion for him than they had done for his elder brother, and they had him exposed, in the same way, in a basket on the canal ; and pretended that the sultana had produced a cat. Fortunately for the child, the superintendant of the gardens, being near the canal at the time, had him taken out and carried to his wife, charging her to take the same care of that as of the former one, which she readily agreed to, not less from inclination than to comply with the good intentions of her husband. The sultan of Persia felt still more indignant

p.431[edit]

against the sultana for this second production than he had done before, and his anger and resentment would have burst forth, had not the grand vizier again made use of the most persuasive remonstrances to appease him. The sultana at length lay in a third time, not of a prince, but of a daughter; the poor little innocent shared the same fate with the princes her brothers. The two sisters, who had resolved not to desist from their detestable design, until they succeeded in reducing the sultana to the most humiliating situation, in making her despised and driven from her present state, treated the little princess in the same way, by exposing her on the canal. She was snatched from inevitable death by the charity and compassion of the superintendant, as the two princes her brothers had been, and with them she was nursed and educated. To this inhuman action the two sisters added deceit and imposture, as on the former occasions. They shewed a piece of wood, which they falsely affirmed to be a mole, of which the sultana had been delivered. The sultan Khosrouschah could not contain himself when he heard of this last extraordinary production. " This vile woman, so unworthy of my bed," said he, " will fill my palace with monsters if I suffer her to live any longer. No," added he, " this must not be ; she is a monster herself, and I will rid the world of her." He thus pronounced the decree for her death, and commanded the grand vizier to see it executed. The grand vizier and the courtiers, who were present, threw themselves at the feet, of the sultan, entreating him to revoke the sentence. The former addressing him, said, " Sire, will your majesty allow me to represent to you, that the laws which condemn to death have been established only for the punishment

p.432[edit]

of crimes. The three strange and unexpected productions of the sultana cannot be deemed such. How can she be accused of having contributed to them ? An infinite number of women hare met with the same misfortune, and examples daily occur of such events ; they are to be pitied,, but they are not punishable. Your majesty may desist from seeing her, yet still suffer her to live. The affliction in which she will pass the remainder of her days, after having lost your favour, will be a sufficient atonement for the offence." The sultan of Persia yielded to these arguments, and as he plainly saw the injustice of condemning to death a sultana for having miscarried, for thus he was induced to believe, "Let her live then," cried he; " but I grant her life only on a condition which will make her wish for death more than once every day. There shall be erected a sort of wooden cage, or prison, at the gate of the principal mosque, one of the • windows of which shall be always open. She shall be shut up in it, dressed in a coarse habit, and every mussulman who goes to the mosque to say his prayers, shall spit in her face as he passes. If any one fails in complying with this order, he shall be exposed to the same punishment. And that I may be punctually obeyed, I command yon, vizier, to appoint proper persons to see it executed." The tone of voice in which the sultan pronounced this last decree silenced the grand vizier. It was executed to the great satisfaction of the two jealous sisters. The building' was erected when completed, the sultana, truly worthy of compassion, was confined in it as soon as she was recovered from her lying-in, in the way the sultan had commanded, and ignominously exposed to the contempt and ridicule of the common people ; a treatment which, in fact, she had not deserved, but which she bore with a firmness

p.433[edit]

and patience that attracted the admiration, and at the same time the compassion, of all those who judged of circumstances in their proper light. The two princes and the princess were brought up by the superintendant of the gardens and his wife with parental tenderness; and this affection increased as they advanced in age, from the greatness of mind which displayed itself in the brothers as well as sister, but, .above all, from the extreme beauty of the latter, who every day unfolded new charms ; from their docility, their inclinations, so much above the trivial pursuits of children in general, and from a certain air and manner which plainly indicated their rank. In order to distinguish the two princes according to their age, they named the first Bahman, and the second Perviz, both names of some of the ancient kings of Persia. The princess they called Parizade, also after some of the Persian queens and princesses. When the princes were of a proper age, the superintendant of the gardens provided them with a master to teach them to read and write ; and the princess, their sister, who was present when they took their lessons, shewed so great a desire to learn also, though younger than her brothers, that the superintendant, delighted with the disposition he saw in her to improve herself, gave her the same master. Her vicacity and quick penetration soon excited in her a desire to excel, and, in a short time, she became as clever as her brothers. From that time the two princes and their sister had the same masters in other sciences, such as geography, poetry, and history, and also in the occult sciences. And as they had wonderful facility in learning, they made so great a progress that their masters were astonished, and soon confessed, without hesitation, that they, in a short time, would go beyond what they themselves knew. In their hours of

p.434[edit]

recreation the princess learnt to sing and play on several instruments. When the princes began to ride on horseback, she would not. suffer them to have even this advantage over her; she exercised herself with them, so that she knew the whole art of horsemanship, of archery, of throwing the javelin, and often also excelled them in the race. The superintendant, who was highly delighted to see his adopted children so accomplished in every bodily as well as mental excellence, and that they fully recompensed him" for the expense he had been at in their education, even beyond his most sanguine expectation, formed a more extensive plan for their accommodation and pleasure. Till then, contented with his residence in the centre of the garden of the palace, he had lived without having a country-house: tie now purchased one at a little-distance from the city, which had a good deal of ground annexed, consisting of fields, meadows, and woods : and as the house did not appear to him sufficiently handsome or convenient, he had it pulled down, and spared no expense to render it the most magnificent habitation in the neighbourhood. He went there every day, that, by his presence, he might excite the great number of workmen he employed to be expeditious; and as soon as an apartment was completed for his reception, he passed several days there at a time, and indeed as much as the functions and duties of his office would allow. At length, by continued assiduity on his part, the house was finished ; and • while it was furnishing with equal dispatch in the most elegant style, corresponding with the richness and magnificence of the edifice, he had the garden laid out according to a design which he had himself planned, and in the manner which the nobles of Persia usually adopt. He added to it a park of vast extent, which he had enclosed with substantial walls, and furnished with all kinds of animals tor the chase,

p.435[edit]

that the princes and their sister might take the diversion of hunting whenever they liked. When the house was entirely completed, and ready to be inhabited, the superintendant of the gardens went to throw himself at the feet of the sultan ; and, after having represented to him the length of time he had been in his service, and the infirmities of age, which were advancing on him, he entreated him to grant him permission to resign his office into the hands of his majesty, and retire. The sultan granted him this favour with so much the greater pleasure, as he was well satisfied with his services, for he had been in office, not only during his own reign but also while his father was on the throne; and in giving him his dismissal, he asked him what he could do to recompense him. "Sire," replied the superintendant, " I am so overwhelmed with the favours I have received from your majesty, as well as from the sultan your father, of happy memory, that I have now nothing to desire but that I may die with your good opinion." He then took his leave of the sultan ; after which he removed to the country-house he had built, with the two princes, Bahman and Perviz, and the princess Parizade. His wife had been dead some years. He had not fixed his residence here with them longer than five or six months, when he was taken from them by a death sp sudden, that he had riot even time to acquaint them with the true circumstances of their birth ; a thing which, however he had resolved on doing, as a necessary inducement to them to continue to live, as they had hitherto done, according to their rank and condition, and in conformity with the education he had given them, and the natural inclinations they evinced. The princes Bahman and Perviz, and their sister Parizade, who knew no other father than the superintendent of the gardens, regretted him as a parent, and performed all the funeral duties which filial

p.436[edit]

affection and gratitude required of them. Perfectly satisfied with the possessions he had bequeathed them, they continued to live together in the same union which they had hitherto preserved : the princes feeling no ambition to appear at court, or to aspire to those principal offices and dignities which they might easily have acquired. One day, when the two brothers were hunting, and Parizade had remained at home, a mussulman devotee, who was very aged, presented herself at the gate, and entreated permission to enter and repeat her prayer, as it was the hour for it. The princess was asked if she would consent to it, and she ordered her to be admitted, and shewn into the oratory, which had been erected by the superintendent in the house, as there was no mosque in the neighbourhood. She also desired, when the devotee had finished her prayer, she might be taken over the house and gardens, and then conducted to her. The devotee went in, and repeated her prayer in the oratory; when she had done, two of the princess's women, who were waiting for her to come out, invited her to see the house and gardens. As she said she was ready to follow them, they took her through ' all the apartments, in each of which she observed every thing as if she understood the value of the furniture, and the proper arrangement of each room. They also went with her into the gardens, the design of which she thought so new and well-disposed, that she admired it very much ; and observed, that he who had laid it out must have been a great master in the art. She was at last conducted before the princess, who was waiting for her in a large saloon, which, in beauty, elegance, and richness, surpassed all that she had been shewn in the other apartments. As soon as the princess saw the devotee enter the saloon, " My good mother," said she, " come here,

p.437[edit]

and sit by me; I am very happy in the opportunity which chance affords me of profiting for some minute from the good example and conversation of a person like you, who have taken the right path by devoting yourself entirely to God, and whom every one that is wise should also follow. The devotee, instead of going upon the sofa, would have seated herself at the edge of it, but the princess would not sutler her ; she rose from her place, and going towards her, took her by the hand, and obliged her to sit near her in the place of honour. The devotee was sensible of this civility, and said to her," Madam, I ought not to be treated thus honourably, and I only obey you because you command it, and are mistress in your own house." When she was seated, before they began to converse, one of the princess's women placed before them a small low table, inlaid with mother of pearl and ebony, with a bason of porcelain on it, containing a variety of cakes, and some smaller dishes, with the fruits- that were in season, together with sweetmeats, both liquid and dry, The princess took one of the cakes, and presenting it to the devotee, "Take and eat this, my good mother," said she, "and choose whatever fruit you like; you must want food, after the long walk you have ha,d to come here." — " Madam," replied the devotee, " I am not accustomed to eat such delicate things; and if I take them, it is only not to refuse what God sends me through such liberal hands." Whilst the devotee was eating, the princess, who also eat something by way of setting her the example, asked her several questions on the devotional exercises she practised, and on the manner in which she lived 5 to all which she replied with great humility. Led on, from one subject to another, the princess at length, asked her what she thought of the house she was in and whether it suited her taste.

p.438[edit]

"Madam," replied the devotee, " I must have a very bad taste to find any fault in it. It is elegant, cheerful, richly furnished, and the decorations are managed with great judgment. It is situated in pleasant grounds, and it is impossible to conceive a garden more delightful than that which belongs to it. If, however, you will permit me not to dissemble, I must take the liberty to tell you, that the house would be incomparable if three things, which, in my opinion, arc wanting, were assembled." — "My good woman," replied Parizade, "what are these , three things ? I entreat you, in the name of God, to inform me ; I will spare nothing to procure them, if it be possible." "Madam," returned the devotee, "the first of these three things is the talking bird. It is a very uncommon bird, called Bulbulhezar, which has also the property of attracting all the singing birds in the vicinity, which come to accompany its song. The second is the singing tree, the leaves of which are so many mouths, that constantly form an harmonious concert of different voices that never cease. The third and last is the water, of the colour of gold, one single drop of which dropped into a bason made for the purpose in any part of a garden, increases so rapidly, that it immediately fills it, and then rises in the middle in a sort of fountain, which never ceases springing up and falling into the bason without ever running over." "Ah, my good mother," cried the princess, " how much am I obliged to you for having told me of these things ! They are astonishing, and I never heard that the world contained any thing so curious and wonderful ; but, as I am sure that you know the place where they may be found, I hope you will do me the favour to inform me of it." In order to satisfy the princess, the devotee replied,

p.439[edit]

"I should be unworthy, Madam, of the hospitality you have so bounteously shewn me, if I refused to gratify your curiosity on what you are so desirous of being informed. Allow me then the honour of telling you, that the three things I have just mentioned are all to be found in the same place, on the confines of this kingdom, and on the side next India. The road which leads to it passes by your house ; whoever you send to procure them has only to follow this road for twenty days, and on the twentieth, let him ask where the talking bird, the singing tree, and the golden water are, and the first person he meets will point it out to him." As she finished these words she rose, and having taken her leave, she went away, and continued her journey. Princess Parizade had her mind so occupied with attending to the instructions which the mussulman devotee had given her, on the subject of the talking bird, the singing tree, and the golden water, that she did not perceive she was gone, until she wanted to ask her some questions, to render the information more clear. She did not in fact think that what she had just heard was sufficiently explanatory to authorise her taking a journey that might be useless : she would not, however, send after her to make her return, but she endeavoured to recollect all that she had said, and to impress it on her memory, so that nothing might escape it. When she thought that she was perfectly sure of every circumstance, she reflected with the greatest satisfaction on the pleasure she should experience, if she could arrive at the possession of such wonderful things ; but the difficulties that occurred, and the fear of not succeeding in the undertaking, filled her with uneasiness. Parizade was absorbed in these considerations when the princes her brothers returned from the

p.440[edit]

chase ; they entered the saloon, and instead of finding her with an open countenance, and cheerful temper, according to her usual custom, they were surprised to see her meditating as if some affliction had befallen her ; and not even raising her head to indicate that she perceived them to be present. Prince Bahman was the first to speak ; "Sister," said he, " where are the cheerfulness and gaiety which have hitherto been inseparably your companions? Are you unwell ? Has any misfortune befallen you ? Has any thing afflicted you ? Tell us, that we may participate in your grief, and apply some remedy ; or that we may revenge you, if any one has had the temerity to offend a person like you, to whom every respect is due." The princess remained for sometime without making any reply, or altering her position. At length she raised her eyes, and looked at the princes her brothers; then casting them down again almost immediately, she said that it was nothing. " Sister," replied prince Bahman, "you do not tell us the truth ; something must be the matter, and something too of a serious nature. It is not possible that in the short time we have been absent from you, so great and unexpected a change as that we observe in you can have happened without a cause. You must allow us to be incredulous about an answer, which is so far from satisfactory. Do not then conceal from us what occasions this behaviour, unless you wish us to believe, that you renounce entirely that friendship and union which has till now subsisted amongst us, from our earliest infancy." The princess, who was very far from wishing to quarrel with her brothers, did not choose to let them remain in this opinion. " When I told you," she said, " that what gave me uneasiness was of no moment, I meant only with respect to you, and not as relative to myself, who certainly consider it of some

p.441[edit]

importance; but since you press me to explain it, and. urge it under the right of friendship, and the connection there is between us, I will tell you what it is. " You thought, as I did also, that this house, which our late respected father built for us, was quite complete, and that there was not one single thing wanting; I have, however, been informed today, that there are three things which would set it beyond comparison, with respect to every other country-house that is in the whole world. These are, the talking bird, the singing tree, and the golden water." After having explained to them in what their several excellencies consisted, she went on, and said, "A devotee of our holy religion is the person who has observed this; and she has informed me of the place where they are to be found, and the way that leads to them. You may think, perhaps, that these things, which are requisite to make our habitation excel all others, are of little consequence, and that it will always be esteemed a very handsome one, notwithstanding the want of this acquisition ; and that we can very well do without them. You may think on this subject as you please ; but I cannot help telling you, that, with respect to myself, I am persuaded that they are absolutely necessary, and I shall not be satisfied till I see them placed here. Whether, therefore, you take any interest or not in the things themselves, I request you to assist me with your advice, and point out some one whom I can employ to obtain them." " Nothing, sister," replied Prince Bahman, "that interests you can be indifferent to us. It. is enough that you are anxious to possess these three things you mention, in order to engage us to take the same interest. But independent of what we feel on your account, we must ourselves be anxious for them. I am well satisfied my brother is of the same

p.442[edit]

opinion as myself. We ought, therefore, to do every thing in our power to procure them ; and, indeed, the singularity and importance of the things themselves fully deserve that appellation. I then will take this charge. Tell me only the road I am to go, and the place where they are to be found, and I will not defer my journey longer than to-morrow." " Brother," said prince Perviz, " it is not proper that you should absent yourself from home for so long a time; you are our chief and support, and I must request my sister to join with me in desiring you to relinquish this design, and let me undertake the journey ; I will endeavour to. acquit myself as well as you would, and it will also be much more proper." — " I am very well satisfied of your good intentions, brother," replied prince Bahman, "and am sure you would not execute the business worse than I should : but the thing is determined, I will go, and nothing shall prevent me ; you will remain with our sister, whom it is not necessary to recommend to your particular care." The remainder of the day was passed in making preparations for the journey, and in being instructed by the princess in the different signs and observations that the devotee had given, that no one might, mistake the road. Very early the next morning prince Bahman mounted his horse, and prince Perviz and his sister, who were anxious to see him set off, embraced him and wished him a prosperous journey. At the very instant of their saying farewell, the princess recollected an objection, that till now had not struck her. " Until this moment, my brother," she exclaimed, " I did not reflect upon the various accidents to which people are exposed in their travels ; who knows whether I shall ever see you again. Dismount, therefore, I conjure you, and do not undertake this journey ; I would infinitely rather deprive myself of the talking bird, the singing tree, and the

p.443[edit]

golden water, than run the least risk of losing you for ever." "Sister," replied Prince Bahman, smiling at the sudden alarm of Parizade, " my resolution is taken, and even were that not the fact, I would take it again, and you should see that I would execute it. The accidents you speak of happen only to the unfortunate. It is true that I may be among that number ; but I may also be among the successful, and they form a much more numerous class than the former. . As, however, events of this kind are in their nature uncertain, and as I may fail in my enterprize, all that lean now do is to give you this knife." Prince Bahman then took out a knife, and presented it in its case to the princess. "Take this," added he, " and occasionally give yourself the trouble to draw it out of its case, and as long as you shall find it clean and bright, as it is now, it will be a certain sign that I am alive ; but, if you shall ever see any drops of blood fall from it, you may be assured I am no longer living, and you may pray for my repose." This was the only thing that the princess could obtain from Prince Bahman. He then took his leave of her and his brother for the last time ; and being well mounted, armed, and equipped; set out. He proceeded straight forward on his journey, without deviating either to the right or left, and continued to traverse the kingdom of Persia. On the twentieth day of his journey, he perceived a most hideous old man by the side of the road. He was seated at the foot of a tree, at a little distance from a cottage, which served him as a retreat against the inclemency of the weather. His eye-brows were like snow, as was also his hair, his mustachios, and his beard, and they reached to the end of his nose; his mustachios quite covered his mouth, which his beard, equally white with his


p.444[edit]

hair, fell almost to his feet. The nails of his hand* and feet were of an excessive length. And he wore a sort of large and flat hat on his head, ibat served as an umbrella. The remainder of his dress * was comprised in a single mat, that was wrapped ( entirely round him. . This good old man was a dervise, who had for many years retired from the world, and neglected his own concerns, in order to attach himself more strongly to the service of God. So that at last he was become the figure we have just described. Prince Bahman had been very attentive, from the break of day, in observing whether he met any one that could describe the place which he was in search of; he stopped, therefore, when be came Rear the dervise, who was in fact the first person he had met, and immediately dismounted, that he might, in every particular, conform to what the Devotee had told the princess. He advanced towards the dervise, while he held his horse by the bridle, and addressed him in these words ; " May God, my good father, prolong your days, and grant you the accomplishment of your wishes." The dervise saluted the prince in return, but spoke so unintelligibly, that he could not understand a single word. As the prince observed that the obstacle arose from the mustachios of the dervise, which quite covered his mouth, and as he did not wish to proceed without getting the information he wanted, he took a pair of scissars, with which he was provided, and after fastening his horse to the branch of a tree, he said to him, " My good dervise, I have something to say to you, but your mustachios prevent me from understanding you in return. I should be much obliged to you, to suffer me to cut both those and your eye-brows, which absolutely disfigure you, and make you resemble a bear more than a man." The dervise made no opposition to the design of

p.445[edit]

the prince, but suffered him to do as he wished. And as Bahman saw, when he had finished, that the dervise had a fresh and clear skin, and appeared much younger than he really was, he said to him, " If I had a mirror, my good dervise, I would let you see how much younger you appear. You are now a man, but no person could distinguish before • what you were." The compliments of Prince Bahman excited a smile in the countenance of the dervise. " Whoever you are, sir," said the dervise to him, "I am much obliged to you for the good office you have done me : and I am ready to shew my gratitude in whatever is in my power. You would not have dismounted, unless you were in want of something : inform me what it is, and I will endeavour to satisfy you, if I am able." — " My good dervise," replied the prince, I come from a considerable distance, and am in search of the talking bird, the singing tree, and the golden water. I know that these three things are somewhere in this neighbourhood, but I am ignorant of the precise spot. If you are acquainted with it, I entreat you to shew me the way to it, that I may make no mistake, and thus lose the fruit of the long journey I have undertaken." As the prince addressed these words to the dervise, he observed that he changed colour, cast his eyes on the ground, and put on a most serious countenance ; and then, instead of making any reply, he remained silent. He therefore resumed his speech, and added, " I think, my good father, that you understand what I say. Tell me, then, whether you know what I ask you, that if you are ignorant of it I may not lose any more time, but go and seek somewhere else for the information." The dervise at last broke silence. " Sir," said he, " the road you inquire for is well known to me ; but the friendship I conceived for you, the instant I beheld you, and

p.446[edit]

which is much increased by the great service yo» have rendered me, holds me in suspense, and makes me uncertain whether I ought to grant you the satisfaction you require." — "What motive can hinder you;" replied the prince, "what difficulty can you have in giving it me ?"-—" I will tell you," answered the dervise ; " it is the danger to which you will be exposed, and which is infinitely greater than you can have any idea of. A great many other persons besides you, and some who did not possess less courage or perseverance than you seem to have, have passed this place, and have asked me the same question which you have done. After I had used all my endeavours and persuasions to prevent them from proceeding, they have, nevertheless, paid no regard to whatever I could say. I have at last, although against my inclination, informed them of the road, at their repeated entreaties, and I can assure yon, that every one of them have been destroyed, and I have pot seen one individual return. If, therefore, you have the least regard for your life, and will follow my advice, you will not proceed a step further, but immediately return home." Prince Bahman, however, persisted in his determination. "I am willing to believe," he said to the dervise, "that your advice is sincere; and I feel myself obliged to you for this proof of your friendship ; but however great the danger may be, of which you speak, neither that, nor any thing else, is capable of making me alter my resolution. If any one should attack me, I have good arms to defend myself, and he will not possess greater courage than myself." — " Those, however, who will attack," replied the dervise, " for they consist of more than one, are not to be seen. How then can you defend yourself from invisible beings?" — "All this is of no consequence," cried the prince ; " whatever you may say to me will not persuade me to act contrary to my duty. Since you are acquainted with the road

p.447[edit]

I inquire, I once more entreat you to inform me of it, and not refuse me this favour." When the dervise found that he could make no impression upon the mind of Prince Bahman, and that he continued obstinately determined U> proceed on his journey, notwithstanding the good advice he gave him, he put his hand into a bag, that lay by the side of him, and took out a bowl, which he presented to the prince. " Since I cannot persuade you," said the dervise, " to pay any attention to what J have said, and profit by my advice, take this bowl, and as soon as you shall have again mounted your horse, throw it before you, and follow it till you come to the foot of a mountain where it will stop. When there, you must dismount, and you may leave your horse with his bridle over his neck, as he will remain in that spot until you come back. As you ascend the mountain, you will see, both on the right and left of you, a great quantity of large black stones, and you will hear on all sides a confusion of voices, that will abuse you, and say a thousand injurious things, in order to discourage you, and prevent your reaching the top ; but do you be particularly careful not to be alarmed, and, above all things, be sure not to turn your head to look behind you; for if you do, at that very, moment you will be changed into a black stone, such as those you see about you, and which in fact are so many men, who, like you have undertaken this enterprise, but, as I have told you, have failed in the attempt. If you overcome this danger, which I assure you I cannot speak of in terms sufficiently strong, and on which I would have you reflect very seriously, and arrive at the top of the mountain, you will there find a cage, in which the talking bird is confined that you are in search of. As it speaks, yon must ask it where the singing tree is, and also the golden water, and it will inform you. I have now nothing more to say ; yon know what you have to do, and what to avoid ;

p.448[edit]

but if you will depend upon me, you will follow the advice I have given you, and not expose yourself to the loss of your life. Once again, while there still remains an opportunity for you to reflect, consider well that this loss is irreparable, and depends upon a condition you cannot violate, should you, through inadvertence, subject yourself to it, as yon may easily understand." " The advice which you have now repeated, and for which I must ever feel myself obliged to you," replied prince Bahman, after he had taken the bow!, " I cannot think of following : but I will endeavour to profit by what you say, respecting looking back as I ascend ; and I hope you will soon see me return, and I will thank you still more gratefully. when laden with the spoils I am in search of." Having said thus much, to which the dervise returned no other answer than that he wished him success, and should see him come back with great pleasure, the prince mounted his horse, took leave of the dervise, by making a profound reverence with his - head, and then threw the bowl before him. The bowl continued to roll on with the same celerity with which prince Bahman first threw it forward ; in order, therefore, to follow, and not lose sight of it, he was obliged to accommodate the pace of his horse exactly as that went forward. He continued close behind it ; and when it came to the foot of the mountain the dervise mentioned, it stopped, and the prince dismounted. He did not fasten his horse, which indeed did not stir from the spot, when he even threw the bridle on its neck. When he had cast his eyes round the mountain, as far as he could, and had observed the black stones, he began to ascend, and had not proceeded more than four or five steps before he heard the voices, which the dervise had mentioned, although he could see no one. Some said, " What is the fool about ? Where is he going ? What does he want ? Don't let him

p.449[edit]

pass." Others cried, " Stop him ; seize him ; murder him." While a third party, in voices like thunder, exclaimed, " Oh, the thief, the assassin, the murderer." Some, on the contrary, called out, in a tone of raillery, " No, no, do not hurt him; let the pretty fellow pass ; he is the very person for whom the cage and bird are kept." Notwithstanding: these tiresome and importunate exclamations, Prince Bahman continued, for some time, to ascend with great fortitude and perseverance, encouraging himself to go on. But the voices kept increasing, and the noise became so great, and appeared so near, and surrounding him, that he began to be very much alarmed. His feet and legs trembled under him, be felt himself faint; and, as soon as he found that his strength began to fail, he forgot the advice of the dervise, and turned round, in order to descend and save himself, when he was instantly changed into a black stone ; a transformation that had happened to many others before him, who had attempted the same enterprise. His horse also underwent a similar change. Ever since Prince Bahman first set out on this expedition, Princess Parizade had constantly worn the knife, with its case, at her girdle, in order to inform herself whether her brother was alive or dead ; nor had she ever omitted to consult it several times during the day. She had, in this manner, the consolation of learning, that he was in perfect health ; and she also frequently talked of him with Prince Perviz, who was equally anxious as herself to learn some news of him. At length, on the fatal day that Bahman was changed into the black stone, as the prince and princess were, as usual, conversing about him in the evening : " Pray, sister," said Perviz, " take the knife out, and let us see how our brother is." She did so; and, looking at its blade, they saw the blood run from the point. Struck with horror at this

p.450[edit]

sight, the princess threw down the knife. " Alas my dearest brother," she exclaimed, " I have then destroyed you entirely through my own fault. Never shall I see you more. How wretched I am! Why did I mention to you the talking bird, the singing tree, or the golden water? or rather of what consequence was it to me to know the opinion the devotee had formed of this house and grounds, and whether she thought them beautiful or ugly, well furnished, or otherwise ? Would to God that she had never thought of addressing herself to me. Hypocritical and deceitful wretch !" she exclaimed ; " is it thus thou hast repaid the reception I afforded thee ? Why didst thou speak to me of a bird, of a tree, and of a water which I now believe to be ideal things only, through the unfortunate death of my dearest brother ; and yet which I cannot, through thy enchantment, imaginary as they are, drive from my mind." Prince Perviz was not less afflicted by the loss of his brother than was the princess : but without losing his time in useless complaints, and as he understood from his sister's lamentations that she still most ardently wished to obtain the talking bird, singing tree, and golden water, he interrupted her, and said, " All our sorrow and regret for the death of Prince Bahman are unavailing; neither our tears nor our affliction will bring him to life. It is the will of God, and we ought to submit to it. Let us adore his dispensations, whether of good or ill, and not endeavour to penetrate into the cause of them. Why should we, at this moment, doubt the words of the devotee, after having hitherto supposed them perfectly just and true ? Why should we think she spoke of three things that did not exist, and merely invented them to amuse and deceive you, who, so far from giving her any cause, have received and entertained her with so much liberality and kindness? Let us rather suppose, that the death of my brother arose from

p.451[edit]

his own fault, or from some accident, for which we are unable to account. Let not, therefore, his death, my sister, prevent us from pursuing our inquiry. I at first offered to undertake the journey instead of him. I am still willing to do it; and as his example and fate does not in the least make me alter my opinion, I will set out to-morrow morning." The princess did all she could in order to dissuade Prince Perviz, begging him not to expose himself to the danger, lest she might, instead of one, have to lament the loss of two brothers. He continued, however, inflexible, notwithstanding any remonstrances she could make. But, before he set out, that she might be informed of the success of his expedition, as she had been in the instance of Prince Bahman, by means of the knife he had left her, he gave her a chaplet, consisting of a hundred pearls, for the same purpose. And, as he presented it to her, he said, " Tell over this chaplet during my absence for this purpose ; and if, in telling it, it should happen that the pearls are set fast, so that you cannot move them, or make them go over each other, as if they were glued, it will be a sign that I have experienced the same fate as my brother; but let us hope that this will not happen, and that I shall again have the happiness of seeing you with all the satisfaction we both can wish." Prince Perviz began his journey, and on the twentieth day he met the same dervise, exactly in the same spot where prince Bahman had found him. He went up to him, and, having saluted, requested him, if he knew, to inform him of the place where the talking bird, the singing tree, and the golden water were to be found. The dervise made the same difficulties, and urged the same remonstrances, as in the instance of prince Bahman, and even told him, that not long since, a person, of the same age, and who bore a great likeness to him, had come and asked the road, and that overcome by his pressing entreaties

p.452[edit]

and importunities, he had shewn him the way, and had given him something as a guide, and told him every particular that he ought to follow in order to succeed, but that lie had never seen him return ; and he had therefore no iloubt that he had experienced the same fate as those who had gone before. "My good dervise," replied Prince Perviz, " I know the person you mention very well. He was my elder brother, and I am informed, for a certainty, that he is dead. But of what nature his death was I am ignorant."— "I can tell you then," replied the dervise; "he has been changed into a black stone, like those I have mentioned to you-; and you may expect the same transformation, unless you follow more accurately than he did all the advice I have given you, if you persist in proceeding with what I so earnestly exhorted you to desist from, and concerning which I still beg you to alter your resolution." "Dervise," said prince Perviz, " I cannot sufficiently prove to you how much I feel indebted for the interest you take in the preservation of my life, notwithstanding I am so much a stranger to you, and have done nothing to deserve your kindness : but I must inform you, that I thought very seriously on the subject before I undertook this expedition, and that I cannot now abandon it. I entreat you, therefore, to do me the same favor you shewed my brother. I perhaps shall succeed better than he has done, in adhering to the same advice which I am now waiting for from you." — " Since, then, I cannot accomplish my wishes, by persuading you to change your resolution," said the dervise, " and if my great age did not prevent my rising, I would get up and give you a bowl, which will serve you as a guide." Without troubling the dervise to say any more, prince Perviz dismounted, and as he approached him the latter took a bowl out of the bag, in which there were a great many more, and giving it the prince, told him how to make use of it, as he had before informed

p.453[edit]

Prince Bahman ; and after having warned him to be very careful, and not regard, or be alarmed at the voices he would hear, without being able to see any one, however threatening they might be, desired him to continue ascending-, until he perceived the cage and the bird. The dervise then bid him farewell. Prince Perviz thanked the dervise, and as soon as he had mounted his horse, he threw the bowl before him, and then spurring the animal, he continued to follow it. He at length arrived at the foot of the mountain, and when he saw the bowl stop, he dismounted. Before he began to ascend, he waited a moment, to consider and recall to his memory all the advice and precaution the dervise had given him. He then called forth his courage, and went up, quite determined to reach the top of the mountain. He had hardly proceeded above five or six paces, before he heard a voice, close behind him, like that of a man, calling to and insulting him. " Stop, adventurous wretch," it exclaimed, " until I punish thy audacity." At this insulting menace Prince Perviz forgot the advice of the dervise, seized his sabre, and drew it, He then turned round to revenge the insult; he had- scarcely time to see that no one followed him, before both hi; and his horse were changed into black stones. From the moment prince Perviz had set out, Parizade did not omit to put her hand to the chaplet she had received from him the day before his departure, every time she was not otherwise employed ; and to count over the pearls with her fingers. Nor did she even part from it during the night. Every evening, when she retired to rest, she put it round her neck ; and, when she awoke in the morning, the first thing she did was to feel it, in order to know if the different pearls were loose. At length, the fatal day and hour arrived, when Prince Perviz

p.454[edit]

experienced the same fate as his brother prince Bahman had done, that of being changed into a black stone; and as the princess as usual held the chaplet, and began to count it, she suddenly perceived that the pearls no longer yielded to her efforts, but were stationary, and she then became too well assured of the death of the prince her brother. As she had already formed her resolution as to the part she intended to take, if this unfortunate event happened, she did not waste her time in giving any external marks of sorrow. She made the greatest effort to confine her feelings to her own breast; and the next morning:, disguised as a man, and well armed and equipped, after first telling her attendants that she should return in a few days, she set out, and pursued the same road as the two princes, her brothers, had done. The princess, who had been very much accustomed to ride on horseback, in taking the diversion of hunting, supported the fatigue of the journey much better than most other females would have done. As she travelled exactly at the same rate her brothers had done, she also met the dervise on the twentieth day of her journey, as they also did. As soon as she was near enough to him, she alighted; and, holding her horse by the bridle, she went and sat down close to him. " Will you suffer me, my good dervise," she said to him, " to rest myself a little while near you ; and will you also do me the favor to inform me, whether there is not some place in this neighbourhood where there is a talking bird, a singing tree, and some golden water !" — " Madam," replied the dervise, " for your voice evidently tells me you are not of our sex, although you are disguised as a man, and therefore it is as a female that I ought to address you, I accept the compliment you pay me with great pleasure. I do know the place where the things are which you


p.455[edit]

mention; but for what reason do you ask this question ?" — " I have heard such an extraordinary account of them," answered the princess, " that I am anxious beyond measure to possess them." — " You are right, madam," said the dervise ; " these things are more wonderful and singular than it is possible they should have been described to you ; but you probably have not been informed of the difficulties that must be overcome, in order to acquire them. You would not, indeed, have engaged in so painful arid dangerous an undertaking, if you had been better informed. Believe me, therefore, and do not proceed any further. Return, and do not expect that I shall contribute to your destruction." " My good father," replied the princess, " I come from a great distance, and I should be exceedingly sorry to return home without having put my design in execution. You tell me of difficulties and dangers ; but you do not say in what these difficulties consist, and whence these dangers arise. This is what I wish to know ; that I may consider and examine whether I may rely on my own strength and courage, or give up the enterprise." The dervise then related to the princess every thing he had before told Prince Bahman and Prince Perviz, and he even exaggerated the difficulties that existed in ascending to the top of the mountain, where the bird was in its cage, and of which it was necessary to acquire the possession, as from that she would learn where the tree and golden water were to be found. He mentioned the great noise of dreadful and menacing voices, which she would hear on all sides of her, without seeing any one, and also the quantity of black stones ; an object which was alone sufficient to alarm and dismay every one, when they knew that these stones were, in fact, only so many gallant men, who had been thus transformed because they did not strictly observe the principal

p.456[edit]

condition necessary for the success of this enterprise ; and which consisted in not turning the head in order to look back, previous to obtaining possession of the cage. When the dervise had finished his account, the princess addressed him as follows: " From what I understand by your speech, the great difficulty of succeeding in this enterprise consists, in the first place, in the alarm and astonishment that is excited by the noise and din of different voices, without the appearance of any one, in ascending the mountain to the spot where the cage is placed; and, in the second place, in avoiding to look behind you. With respect to this last condition, 1 trust I shall be sufficiently mistress of myself to observe it most carefully. And in regard to the first, I freely own to you, that these voices, as you represent them, are capable of alarming the most confident and steady. But as in all enterprises of importance and danger we are not prohibited from making use of any kind of address or stratagem, I ask you, whether 1 may not do the same in this instance, which is so very important to me?" — " Of what do you wish to make use of ?" replied the dervise. " It appears to me," the princess continued, " that in stopping the ears with cotton, these voices, however strong and alarming they may be, will by these means make a much less impression ; and as they will thus also produce a less effect upon my imagination, my mind will be more at ease, and I shall not be so disturbed as to be likely to lose the use of my reason." "Of all those, madam," said the dervise, " who have hitherto addressed themselves to me, in order to be informed of the road you have also inquired about, I know not of any one who has made use of the means you have mentioned to me. All I know is, that not one has proposed the thing to me, and


p.457[edit]

that all have perished. If, then, you persist in your intention, you may try it, and fortunate will you be if you are successful ; but I advise you not to expose yourself to the danger." "My good father," replied the princess, " there is nothing that can prevent me from persevering in my design. My heart tells me, that my plan will succeed ; and I am resolved on making use of the , means I mentioned. Nothing, therefore, now remains, but to learn from you what road I must take ; and this is a favor I must entreat you not to refuse me."—" The dervise again exhorted her, and for the last time, to consider well of the enterprise : but as he found she was resolutely fixed on the attempt, he took out a bowl, and presented it to her. " Take this bowl," he added, " and when you have remounted your horse, throw it before you ; follow it along all the windings and deviations you observe it to make, as it rolls on towards the mountain that contains what you are in search of, at which place you will find it stop. When this happens, do you also stop, dismount from your horse, and begin to ascend the mountain. Go, you know the rest, and do not neglect to profit by it." Princess Parizade remounted her horse, having first thanked, and taken leave of, the dervise. She threw the bowl before her, and followed it, as it proceeded along its road, till it came to the foot of the mountain, where it stopped. The princess alighted ; and then stuffed her ears with cotton. Having considered for a short time what was the path she was to pursue, in order to arrive at the top of the mountain, she began to ascend with a steady pace, and an undaunted mind. She, indeed, heard the voices, but found that the cotton was of considerable assistance to her. The farther she advanced the louder and more numerous the voices became, but they did not make a sufficient impression to disturb

p.458[edit]

her. She heard various injurious expressions and satirical remarks alluding to her sex : these, however, she completely despised, and the only effect they had was to excite her laughter. " Neither your reproaches nor your raillery," she said to herself, " offend me. Proceed, and say your worst, I shall only think them ridiculous, and you will not prevent me from pursuing my way." She at length ascended so high, that she perceived the cage and the bird, which joined itself with the other voices in endeavouring to intimidate her, calling out, in a thundering tone, although it was so small in itself, " Go back, fool, do not approach !" Animated still more by this sight, the princess doubled her speed; and when she found herself so near the end of her journey, and had gained the top of the mountain, where the ground was level, she ran directly to the cage, and laying her hand upon it, she exclaimed, " I have you now, in spite of yourself, and you shall never escape from me." The princess then took the cotton from her ears, when the bird replied to her, " Brave lady, do not suppose that I wish you any harm, from what I have done in conjunction with those who have made so many efforts to preserve my liberty. Although I am confined within this cage, I am not dissatisfied with my lot; but as I am destined to become a slave, I would rather have you, who have obtained me in so worthy and intrepid a manner, for my mistress, than any other person in the world : and from this moment I swear to you the most inviolable fidelity, and an entire submission to your commands. I know who you are, and I can even tell you more about yourself than you are acquainted with. But the day will come, when I shall render you a service which I trust you will candidly acknowledge. That I may immediately

p.459[edit]

give you some marks of my sincerity, tell me what you wish, and I will obey you." The acquisition she had made filled the princess with the most inexpressible joy ; and the more so, as the attempt had deprived her of two brothers whom she so tenderly loved ; and had been productive of much fatigue and danger to herself: a danger, the extent of which she herself was better acquainted with, now it was passed, than when she first undertook the enterprise, notwithstanding every thing the dervise had told her. When the bird had finished its speech, the princess said to it; "It was my intention, bird, to have informed you, that I wished for many things, which are of the greatest consequence to me; and I am, therefore, highly pleased that you should have prevented my inquiries by the proof yon have given of your readiness to oblige me. In the first place, I have understood that there is near here some golden water, possessed of most wonderful properties; you must, therefore, inform me where it is." The bird pointed out the spot, which was not far distant. The princess went to if, and filled a small silver vessel she had brought with her. She then came back, and said to the bird, " This is not enough ; I am in search also of the singing tree, tell me where that is." — " Turn round," replied the bird, " and you will see behind you a wood, where you will find this tree." The wood was not far off; and the princess went there, when the harmonious concert she heard made her easily distinguish the tree she was in search of from all the others ; but it was both large and loft v. She came hack, and said to the bird, " I have discovered the singing tree, but I can neither take it up by the roots, nor even then carry it." — " Neither of these is at all necessary," answered the bird, " you need only break off the smallest branch, and carry it with you to plant in your garden.

p.460[edit]

It will take root soon after it is planted, and will become, in a very short time, as beautiful and fine a tree as that you have just now seen." When the princess held in her hand the three things for which the mussulman devotee had caused her ardently to desire, she again addressed herself to the bird. " All that you have yet done for me, bird, is not sufficient. You have been the cause of the death of my two brothers, who are among the black stones which I observed as I ascended ; I must carry them back with me." The bird seemed very unwilling to satisfy the princess on this point, and raised the greatest difficulties about it. " Bird," replied the princess, " do you remember, that you told me you were my slave, as in fact you are ; and your life is at my disposal ?" — " I cannot deny it," answered the bird ; " and although what you request of me is a matter of the greatest difficulty, I will not fail to satisfy you. Cast your eyes round the place where you are, and look if you do not see a pitcher." — " I do," said the princess. " Take it then," resumed the bird, " and sprinkle, as you go down, a little of the water it contains upon each of the black stones ; and this will be the means of discovering your two brothers." Princess Parizade took the pitcher, and carried at the same time the bird in its cage, the silver vessel of water, and branch of the tree. As she began to descend, she threw a little water from the pitcher upon every stone she met with, each of which was directly changed into a man ; and as she did not leave a single stone unsprinkled, all the horses, as well as the princes her brothers, and the other persons, re-appeared. She instantly recognised Prince Bahman and his brother, as they also did her, whom they ran to embrace. " My dear brothers," she exclaimed, after embracing them in her turn, and expressing her astonishment, " what have

p.461[edit]

you been doing here?" When they replied, that they were just awakened from a deep sleep. " Perhaps so," she added ; " but without me your sleep would have continued most likely to the day of judgment. Do you not recollect, that you wire in search of the talking bird, the singing tree, and the golden water ; and remember also to have seen, on coming here, a great many black stones lying about this place? look now, and see if there be one remaining. These gentlemen, who stand round us, and yourself, were these black stones, together with your horses, who now are, as you may observe, waiting for you. And if you wish to know how this miracle has been performed, I must inform you," she added, in shewing the pitcher, for which she had now no farther occasion, and had therefore set it down at the foot of the mountain, "that it is by virtue of the water, of which this pitcher was full, and which I have thrown over each stone. As I did not wish to return without you, after having obtained the talking bird, which you may now see in this cage, and found, through that, the singing tree, of which this is a branch, and the golden water, of which this vessel is full, I compelled the bird, by means of the power I have acquired over it, to inform me where this pitcher was, and how I ought to make use of it." Prince Bahman and Prince Perviz were thus informed of the obligation they were under to their sister : the other gentlemen, who were collected round her, and who had heard the same speech, were equally conscious how much they were indebted to her; and so far from envying her the acquisition she had made, and to which they had themselves aspired, they thought they could not better shew their gratitude for the life she had restored to them, than by declaring themselves her slaves, and ready to do whatever she ordered them.

p.462[edit]

"Gentlemen," replied the princess, " if you had paid any attention to what I said, you might have remarked, that my object, in what I have done, was to recover my two brothers; if, therefore, you have derived any benefit from me, as you say you have, you at least are not under any obligation to rue for it. I feel flattered by the compliment you have had the goodness to pay me; and I thank you for it, 88 I ought. I therefore consider you all as being as much at liberty as you were before your misfortune ; and I sincerely rejoice with you in the happiness you experience through my means. But let us not remain any longer in a place where we have nothing to detain us. Let us re-mount our horses, and each return to that part of the world whence we came." The princess set the example, by taking her horse, which she found in the very spot where she had left it. Prince Bahman, who wished to give her some assistance, went up to her before she mounted, and requested her to permit him to carry the cage. "This bird, my brother," replied the princess, " is my slave, and I wish to carry it myself: but you may, if you please, take charge of the branch of the singing tree. Be so good, however, as to hold the cage, while I get on horseback." When she had mounted, and Prince Bahman had returned the cage to her, she turned towards Prince Perviz, and added, " You too, brother, shall have the care of the vessel with the golden water in it, if it will not be troublesome to you." Prince Perviz took charge of it with great pleasure. When the two princes, and all the others, had mounted their horses, the princess wailed for some one of them, to put himself at their bead, and lead the way. The two princes wished, out of civility, that one of the others would do so : and they, on their parts, wished the princess to conduct them.

p.463[edit]

As Parizade saw that no one was inclined to assume this honor, but that they all left it for her, she addressed herself to them, and said, " I am waiting, gentlemen, for you to proceed." — "Madam," replied one of those who were nearest her, in the name of the rest, " even if we were ignorant of that deference which is due to your sex, there is no distinction we should not be ready to bestow upon you, after the great benefits we have derived from you, although your great modesty chooses not to assume it to yourself. We entreat you, therefore, not to deprive us any longer of the happiness of following you." — " Gentlemen," replied the princess, " I by no means deserve the honor you do me, and if I accept of it, it is only because you wish it." She immediately began to move forward ; while the princes, her brothers, and all the rest followed without any distinction. They all wished to see the dervise, as they went along, to thank him for his kind treatment, and the good advice he had given them, of which they had proved the truth; but they found him no longer alive ; and they were ignorant whether his death, was occasioned by old age, or because he was no longer of any use in pointing out the road which led to the acquisition of the three things which Princess Parizade had thus obtained. The troop, or company, continued their journey ; but every day produced a diminution in its numbers. As the different individuals who composed it had come from different countries, as has been mentioned, they each, after acknowledging to the princess how much they were indebted to her, and taking leave of her and her brothers, continued to depart, as they approached the different roads by which they had comt ; while Parizade and the princes, her brothers, continued their journey until they arrived at their own house.

p.464[edit]

When the princess had placed the cage in the garden, on that side on which the saloon was, as soon as the bird began his song, the nightingales, larks, linnets, goldfinches, and a variety of other birds of the country, came to accompany it with their notes. With respect to the branch, she had it planted in her presence, in a particular spot, at * little distance from the house. It immediately took root, and soon grew to a large tree, the leaves of which produced as much harmony and as full a concert as the tree from which they had broken it. She also ordered a large bason of beautiful marble to be made in the midst of a flower bed ; and, when it was finished, she poured into it all the golden water the vessel contained. She immediately saw it increase, and bubble up; and when it had filled the bason up 'to the edge, it rose in the centre like a large fountain, twenty feet in height, and returned again into the bason without overflewing. The news of these wonders was soon spread over the country, and as the doors, either of the house or garden, were never shut against any one, a great number of people continued to come and admire them. After a few days, Prince Bahman and Prince Perviz, having quite recovered from the fatigues of their journey, again began to pursue their former mode of life; and as the chase was their usual diversion, they mounted their horses, and went for the first time, since their return, not into their park, but to hunt at the distance of .two or three leagues from their house. It happened while they were engaged in their sport, that the sultan of Persia accidently came to hunt in the same spot they had chosen. As soon, therefore, as they perceived, by the great number of horsemen, that he wits about to arrive, they determined to leave off, and retire

p.465[edit]

in order to avoid meeting him. But they took the very road by which he came, and thus met him, and in a part of the road, too, that wag so narrow, they could neither turn out on one side, nor retreat without being seen. Their surprise was so sudden, that they had only time to dismount, and prostrate themselves to the earth without even raising their heads to look at him. But the sultan, who saw that they were well mounted, and as handsomely and properly dressed as if they had belonged to his court, felt some curiosity to see their faces. He, therefore, stopped, and ordered them to rise. • The princes got up, and remained standing before the sultan, in a manner so unrestrained and easy, yet unassuming and modest, that the sultan was rather surprised. He observed them in an earnest manner for some time, without speaking. After having admired their open countenance and good manners, he inquired their names, and asked where they lived. " We are, sire," replied prince Bahman, who took upon himself to answer, " the sons of the superintendent of your majesty's gardens, I mean of him who died last; and we live in a house, which he built for us a short time before his death, that we might continue there until we arrived at an age, capable of being of use to your majesty, and of going to request some employment, when a proper occasion presented itself." — " From what I now observe," said the sultan, " you seem fond of hunting." — " It is our customary amusement, sire," answered Prince Bahman ; and which not one of your majesty's subjects, who is destined to bear arms, ought to neglect; at least, if he conforms to the ancient customs of the kingdom." The sultan was delighted with this intelligent answer, and added, " Since that is the case, I shall be happy to see you hunt.

p.466[edit]

Come with me, and choose the tort of hunting you like best." The princes remounted their horses, and followed the sultan. They had not proceeded very far, when various kinds of beasts came into view at the same time. Prince Bahman chose a lion, and Prince Perviz a bear. They both began the attack with an intrepidity and ardour that astonished the sultan. They got up to their beasts almost at the same time, and threw their javelins with so much skill, that they pierced them through and through, and the sultan saw both the lion and the bear fall dead at their feet, nearly at the same instant. Without taking any rest, prince Bahman now pursued a bear, and prince Perviz a lion, and, in a few moments, these were also extended lifeless on the ground. They even wished to continue the sport, but the sultan prevented them; and having called them back, when they came up by the side of him, he said, " If I were to suffer you to go on, you would soon destroy all my hunting. It is not, however, so much on that account, as for the sake of yourselves, whose life will, from this time, continue very dear to me ; because I am persuaded, that your courage, will one day become as useful to me as your society will be agreeable." The sultan Khosrouschah, in short, felt so strong a regard for the two princes, that he invited them to his palace, and even wished them to return with him. " Sire," replied Prince Bahman, " your majesty honors us in a manner we are undeserving of, and we beg of you to dispense with our attendance." The sultan could not comprehend what motives the princess could have for refusing to accept of such a strong mark of his favor as he thus shewed them; he therefore asked them the reason. "Sire," answered Prince Bahman, " we have a sister, who is younger than ourselves, with

p.467[edit]

whom we live in so united and happy a manner, that we cannot undertake any plan without first consulting her ; as she, on her part, never does any thing without asking our advice." — " I rejoice to hear of this fraternal union," said the sultan: "go then, and consult your sister, and return to- morrow to hunt with me, and then bring back your answer." The two princes returned home ; but neither of them thought any more of this adventure; not only of having met the sultan, and had the honor of hunting with him, but also of speaking to their sister respecting his wish for them to go to the palace with him, without returning home. The next morning, when they were with the sultan, be said to them, " Well, have you spoken to your sister ; and does she consent to my having the pleasure of enjoying your society in a more agreeable manner ?" The princes looked at each other, while the colour rushed into their cheeks. " Sire," replied prince Bahman, " we entreat your majesty to excuse us; but, in truth, neither my brother nor myself thought of it." — " Do not then forget it to-day," answered the sultan, " and remember to bring me an answer to-morrow." The princes again forgot the sultan's commands, and yet he was not angry with them for their negligence : and, instead of being so, he took out three little gold balls, which he had in a purse ; and put - ting them into prince Bahman's bosom, he said, with a smile on his countenance, " These balls will prevent you from forgetting, a third time, to do what my regard for you makes me so much wish ; the noise they will, make this evening, in falling out of your clothes, will put you in mind of it, if you should not have remembered it before." The event turned out exactly as the sultan predicted ; for, without the three balls of gold, the

p.468[edit]

princes would again have forgotten to mention the matter to their sister Parizade. But as prince Bahman took off his girdle, when he was preparing to retire to rest, the balls fell on the ground. Her therefore, went immediately to find Prince Perviz, and they both proceeded to the apartment of their sister, who was not yet gone to bed. They asked her pardon for coming to disturb her at such an unseasonable hour, and then informed her of all the circumstances that had occurred in the several meetings with the sultan. Princess Parizade was very much alarmed at this intelligence. " Your accidental meeting with the sultan," she said to them, " is both fortunate and honorable for you, and in the end may be very advantageous, but to me it is truly melancholy and distressing. I see very well that it is on my account you have withstood the wishes of the sultan ; and I feel highly obliged to you for it. I am sure, therefore, that your regard perfectly equals my own. You would rather, if I may so speak, be guilty of an incivility towards the sultan, and refuse his kind invitation, as you must yourself own it to be, than act in opposition to that fraternal union we have sworn to preserve : and you have supposed, that, if you once begin to see and visit him, you will in the end be insensibly obliged to abandon me, and give yourselves up entirely to him. But do you think it will be so easy a matter absolutely to refuse the sultan in a point he seems so anxious to obtain ? It is dangerous to oppose the wishes of sultans. If, therefore, I were to follow my inclination, and dissuade you from complying with what he requires of you, I should only expose you to his resentment, and at the same time make myself equally miserable. You see then what my opinion is : before, however, we absolutely determine, let us consult the talking-bird ; and hear what that

p.469[edit]

will advise. The bird has a great degree both of penetration and forecast, and has promised us his assistance in any difficulties we may meet with." Princess Parizade ordered the cage to be brought, and after explaining to the bird, in the presence of the princess, the embarrassment they were in, she asked what was most proper for them to do in this perplexing situation. To this question the bird thus replied : " The princes, your brothers, must comply with the wishes of the sultan ; and even in their turn invite him to come and see your house." — " But, bird," said the princess, " my brothers and I have such a strong and unequalled attachment to each other, that we are afraid our affectionate union will suffer from this mode of proceeding." — " It will not, however, in the least," answered the bird ; " but will even become stronger." — " But in this case," added the princess, " will not the sultan see me?" — " It is necessary that he should see you," replied the bird ; and every thing will be the better for it." Prince Bahman and Prince Perviz returned to the chase the next morning, and the sultan asked them, as soon as they were near enough to hear him, if they had spoken to their sister. Prince Bahman then approached, and answered, " Your majesty, sire, may dispose of us as you please, we are ready to obey you. We not only had no difficulty in obtaining our sister's consent, but she even chid us for having observed such a deference for her opinion in what it was our duty only to attend to your majesty. But, sire, she is so worthy of our affection, that, if we have done wrong, we entreat your majesty's pardon." — " Do not let this matter give you a moment's uneasiness," replied the sultan ; " so far from being offended at what you have done, I very much approve of it; and I hope you will have for my person the same deference

p.470[edit]

and attachment, as far as I can obtain any part of your friendship." The princes were quite confused at the great goodness and condescension of the sultan ; and they could only answer him by inclining their heads almost to the ground, in order to shew him the great respect with which they accepted his kindness. Contrary to his usual custom, the sultan continued his sport but for a short time. For, as he conjectured that the princes possessed not a less cultivated and refined mind than they did a daring and intrepid disposition, he was impatient to converse with them more at his ease, nd, therefore, hastened his return home. As they proceeded towards the capital, he wished them to keep by his side ; an honor which excited the jealousy, not only of the principal courtiers who accompanied him, but even of the grand vizier himself, who was extremely mortified at seeing them take the lead. When the sultan arrived at his capital, the attention of all the people who lined the streets was entirely taken up with looking at Prince Bahman and Prince Perviz ; asking every one who they were, and whether they were foreigners or natives. " Let that, however, be as it will," exclaimed some of them, " I wish to God the sultan had given us two princes so handsome and well-looking as these are. They would have been nearly of this age, if the sultana, who has been suffering so tedious a punishment, had been but fortunate in her productions." The first thing the sultan did, when he arrived at the palace, was to carry the princes through the principal apartments, the beauty and richness of which they bestowed appropriate praise upon ; as well as on the furniture and ornaments, and the symmetry that ran through the whole, without affectation, and like persons possessed of good taste. A very splendid repast was served up, and the sultan made them

p.471[edit]

sit at the same table with himself. They desired indeed to be excused, but at last obeyed the sultan, as he said it was his particular wish. The sultan, who possessed a very good understanding, and had made a considerable progress in the different sciences, particularly in history, naturally supposed that the princes, either through their modesty or respect, would not take the liberty of beginning any particular conversation with him. In order, therefore, to relieve them from this restraint, he began one himself, and continued to converse during the repast. Upon whatever subject, however, he spoke, they shewed such a variety of knowledge, wit, discrimination, and judgment, that he was quite astonished at their abilities and acquirements. " If they had been my own children," he said to himself, " and had received all the advantages of education that I could have given them, with such an understanding as they have, they could not be more intelligent, or better instructed." He, in short, felt such a pleasure from their conversation, that after remaining even longer at table than he was accustomed to, on getting up he took them into his cabinet, where he again conversed with them for a considerable time. " I should never have supposed," said the sultan, addressing them, " that there were any young men among my subjects, who resided in the country, that possessed so fine an understanding, and were so well educated. I have never, in all my life, held a conversation that has afforded me so much pleasure as this has done; but it is time to conclude it, and let you enjoy some of the amusements of my court ; and as nothing is more capable of affording a relaxation to the mind than music, we will now go and hear a concert, both vocal and instrumental, which you will not find at all unpleasant or disagreeable. When he had finished his speech, the musicians,

p.472[edit]

who had already received their orders, came in, and perfectly answered, by their skill, the expectations that had been excited. This concert was succeeded by some excellent buffoons, while troops of dancers, of both sexes, concluded the entertainment. As the two princes observed the evening approaching, they prostrated themselves at the sultan's feet, and requested his. leave to retire, after having returned him their thanks for the great goodness and honor with which he had treated them : when, on taking leave of them, the sultan said, " I permit you to go ; but remember that I have conducted you to the palace myself, only to shew you the road, that you may for the future come of your own accord. You will be always welcome ; and the oftener you come, the more pleasure you will afford me." Before they left the sultan, Prince Bahman thus addressed him, "If we might, sire, take such a liberty, we would entreat your majesty to do our sister and ourselves the honor, the first time the diversion of hunting leads you into our neighbourhood, to stop and rest yourself at our house. It is not, indeed, worthy of receiving you ; but monarchs do not sometimes disdain to rest themselves in a cottage." — " The house of such persons as you are," replied the sultan, " cannot but be excellent, and worthy of yourselves. I shall examine it with great pleasure; and be still more rejoiced at being the guest of you and your sister; whom I even now, before I see her, feel a considerable regard for, by the account only you have given of her good qualities. I will not, therefore, deny myself .this satisfaction, even longer than the day after to-morrow. Early in the morning I will not fail to be at the same spot where I well remember to have first met you : do you also be present, and become my guides." Prince Bahman and Prince Perviz returned home the same evening, and related to their sister, on their

p.473[edit]

arrival, the kind and honorable reception the sultan had given them ; and they then informed her, that they had not neglected to request him to honor their house with his presence, whenever he passed near it. And that in answer he had not only agreed to it, but also appointed the day after to-morrow for his visit." " If that be the case," answered the princess, " we must think of preparing a repast that may not be unworthy of his majesty ; and, in order to do this, I think it will be right to consult the talking bird; that perhaps will inform us of some dish which may please the sultan's taste better than any other." As her brothers agreed to whatever she thought proper, the princess went and consulted the bird by herself when they were gone to bed. " Bird," she said, " the sultan does us the honor of visiting us the day after to-morrow, to see our house ; and as we ought to entertain him, pray tell me in what manner we must acquit ourselves, and how he will be best pleased. " My good mistress," replied the bird,' " you have excellent cooks, who will, of course, do their best ; but, above all things, let them set out a dish of cucumbers with pearl sauce, which must be placed before the sultan in the first course, in preference to every other dish." " Cucumbers dressed with pearls !" exclaimed the princess with astonishment, " you do not know what you are talking about, bird : there never was such a dish heard of. The sultan, indeed, might admire it from its magnificence, but he sits at table for the purpose of eating, and not to look at pearls. Besides, if I were to employ all the pearls I have, there would not be sufficient to make such a dish." — " Mistress," replied the bird, "be so good as to do as I say, and do not make yourself uneasy about the event ; nothing but good will arise from it. And with respect to the pearls, do you go very early to-morrow, and at the

p.474[edit]

foot of the first tree in your park, on the right hand, turn up the earth, and you will find more than you will have any occasion for." Princess Parizade desired the gardener to be informed the same evening to hold himself in readiness, and very early the next morning she took him with her, and went to the tree which the bird had pointed out. When the gardener had dug down to a certain depth, he observed something resist the spade, and immediately discovered a gold box, about a foot square, which he pointed out to the princess. " It was for this that I brought you here," replied the princess ; " proceed, and take care you do not injure it with your spade." The gardener at last got out the box, and put it into the hands of the princess ; and as it was only fastened by small clasps, Parizade easily opened it : she found it quite full of pearls, of a moderate size, all alike, and very proper for the purpose for which she wanted them. Well satisfied at having found this little treasure, she shut the box, put it under her arm, and returned to the house, while the gardener filled up the hole with the earth, and left It in the same state as before. As Prince Bahman and Prince Perviz had seen the princess in the garden much earlier than usual, while they were dressing in their rooms, they went together, as soon as they had finished, to meet her. They perceived her in the middle of the garden, and observed, at a distance, that she was carrying something under her arm. When, on approaching her, they found it was a small gold box, they were very much surprised. " Sister," said one of the princes in accosting her, " you carried nothing out with you, when we saw you go along, followed by the gardener, and now you have a gold box in your hand ! Is it a treasure that the gardener discovered, and came to inform you of?" — " My dear brother," replied the

p.475[edit]

princess, " it is the very reverse. It was I who took the gardener to the spot where the box was, and where, when I had shewed it him, I made him dig up the earth, and you will be still more astonished at my good luck, when you shall see what it contains." The princess then opened the box, and her brothers were much struck when they saw that it was full of pearls, not perhaps very rich from their size, when individually considered, but of great value, both from their quantity and goodness. They inquired by what accident she had become acquainted with this treasure. " If you have no business of any consequence to take you any where else," replied Parizade to her brothers, " come with me, and I will inform you." — " What business of importance," said Prince Per- viz, " can we have, that ought to prevent us from, knowing what seems so much to interest you." Princess Parizade then proceeded towards the house with her brothers on each side, and as she went along, she related to them the consultation she had with the bird, as had been before agreed upon between them : the question she put, and the answers the bird gave ; of the objection she made to the dish of cucumbers, with pearl sauce ; of the means the bird had pointed out, and of the place it had mentioned, where she was to go and find the gold box. The princess and her brothers meditated a long time upon the reasons, and endeavoured to discover the motive of the bird, in wishing to have such a dish prepared for the sultan, and in having also pointed out the means of procuring it. After, however, a great deal of conversation on the subject, they acknowledged they could make nothing out; but they determined to follow the advice and directions of the bird in every particular, and not to omit a single thing. When she went into the house, the princess ordered the chief cook to come to her apartment ; and when

p.476[edit]

she had given him all the orders for the repast with which she intended to entertain the sultan, she added, " Besides what I have now said, you must prepare one dish for the sultan's particular taste, and no person but yourself must assist in its preparation. And this is a dish of cucumbers with pearl sauce." She then opened the box, and shewed him the pearls. At this speech the chief cook, who had never before heard of such a dish, stepped back two or three paces, and proved, by his countenance, how much he was astonished. The princess easily conjectured the reason. " I see very well," she added, " that you think me very foolish, in ordering such a dish, which you have never heard of before, and which, it may be even said, has never yet been made. All this is very true, and I know it as well as yourself. But I. know what I am about, and am aware of the nature of the order I give you. Do you go, therefore, and find it out. Take the box, and do your best. If there are more pearls than you want, bring me back what remain." The chief cook made no answer, but took the box and carried it away. Princess Parizade then went and gave her orders to have every thing put in its best state, and properly arranged, both in the house and garden, in order to afford the sultan a more worthy reception. The princes set off rather early the next morning to meet the sultan, and were at the appointed place when he arrived. He then began to hunt, and continued the chase with great eagerness, till the sun, which now approached its highest elevation, obliged him to desist. And then Prince Perviz put himself at the head of the company to shew the way, while Prince Bahman accompanied the sultan. When they were come within sight of the house, Prince Perviz pushed forward, in order to inform Princess Parizade of the sultan's arrival; but the attendants of the princess, whom she had placed at some distance on

p.477[edit]

the road for that purpose, had already acquainted her with it, and the prince found her waiting-, and ready to receive him. When the sultan arrived, and had entered the court, where he dismounted close to the vestibule, Princess Parizade presented herself, and fell at his feet ; her brothers, who were present, informed the sultan who she was, and requested him to accept the homage she rendered him. The sultan stooped clown, in order to assist the princess in rising-, and after locking at her for some time and admiring her beauty, which quite dazzled him, as well as the elegance of her form, and a certain gracefulness of manner, which did not at all bespeak a country life, " Here," he exclaimed, " are two brothers, worthy of their sister, and a sister equally worthy of her brothers; and to judge from what I see, I am no longer surprised that such brothers wish to do nothing without the advice and consent of such ;i sister ; and I hope, from what she appears to me at first sight, to become better acquainted with her, when I shall have looked over the house." The princess then spoke ; " This, sire, must be considered only as a country- house; and suited to such as we are, who pass our lives at a distance from the great world. It possesses nothing, worthy of being compared with the residences in cities; and still less with the magnificent palaces belonging to sultans !" — " I cannot," replied the sultan, in an obliging manner, " be entirely of your opinion, What I have already seen, makes me rather suspicious of what I am going to view. I will, however, reserve my judgment until you have shewn me the whole. Proceed therefore, and point out the way." The princess, passing by the saloon, took the sultan through all the apartments, and after having examined each of them very attentively, and admired their variety, "Do you call this, my beautiful lady,"

p.478[edit]

he exclaimed, " a country-house ? The finest and most magnificent cities would be very soon deserted, if all country-houses resembled yours. I am no longer astonished that you are so well pleased with your situation, and despise the city. Let me also see your garden ; for I have no doubt it well answers to the beauty of the house." Princess Parizade then opened the door that led into the garden ; where the first thing that attracted the sultan's eyes was the fountain of yellow water, resembling liquid gold. Surprised at so new and unexpected an appearance, he looked at it, for some time, with marks of the greatest admiration. " Where does this wonderful water, which I am so delighted with, come from ? Whence is its source, and by what contrivance does it rise in a way that seems to me more extraordinary than any thing in the whole world ? I must examine it more nearly.** And, as he said this, he went forward. The princess continued to conduct him on, and at last led him, to the place where the singing-tree was planted. As he approached it, the sultan heard a concert very different from any be was acquainted with ; he slopped and cast his eyes round for the musicians, but he could not see any either far or near ; yet he continued to hear a concert that delighted him. " Where," he exclaimed, "are the performers I hear ? Are they under the earth, or in the air, invisible ? With such delightful and charming voices as they possess, they would risk nothing by being seen, but on the contrary afford only pleasure." — " They are not musicians, sire," replied the princess, with a smile, " that form the concert which you hear: it is the tree which your majesty sees before you, that produces it: and if you will give yourself the trouble to go three or four steps forward, you will be sure of it, as the voices will be more distinct."

p.479[edit]

The sultan went forward, and was so charmed with the sweet harmony of the concert, that he could not break off his attention. He at last recollected that he had seen the golden water not far off; and then addressed Parizade in these words: " Tell me, I entreat you, whether you accidently found this wonderful tree in your garden ; whether it is a present that was made you ; or whether you have had it brought from any distant country ? It must, indeed, most assuredly come from a considerable distance, otherwise I, who am so curious about such natural rarities, must have heard it mentioned. What name is it known by ?" " Sire," replied the princess, " this tree is known by no other name than the singing-tree ; and it does not grow in this country. It would occupy too long a time to relate the adventure by which it was placed here. It is a history that is connected with the golden water, and the talking- bird, both of which • were brought here at the same time; and your majesty is going to see the last of them, when you have looked to the golden water as long as you • wish. If it will be agreeable to you, I will have the honour of giving an account of them, when you shall have rested yourself, and recovered from the labours of the chase, and the additional fatigue you have given yourself during the great heat of the sun." " I feel none of the fatigue you mention," said the sultan, " so amply am I repaid by the wonderful things you shew me. Rather say, that I pay no attention to the trouble I give you. Let us then make an end, and again go and see the golden water. I am already full of anxiety also to behold and admire the talking-bird." When the sultan came to the golden water, he continued to look at it for a long time, particularly at the fountain, which never ceased to rise in the


p.480[edit]

air in such a wonderful manner, and again to fall into the bason. "As you have told me," said the sultan, addressing Parizade, "that this water has no source, and comes from no place in the neighbourhood through pipes, laid on the ground, I must at least conclude that it is foreign, like the singing- tree." " The matter is, sire," replied the princess, " exactly as your majesty supposes ; and to prove to you that this water comes from no other place, I must inform you that this bason is made out of a single stone, and therefore it can come in neither through the bottom nor sides ; and what makes this water the more remarkable is, that I only put a very small vessel of it into the bason, and that through a property, which is peculiar to it, it rises up as you see." The sultan at last left the bason. "Well," said he, as he went away, "this is enough for the first time, but I promise myself the pleasure of coming here very often. Take me now to see the talking- bird." As they approached the saloon, the sultan perceived a great multitude of birds upon the trees, each of which filled the air with its peculiar song. He inquired on what account they thus collected altogether in this- place, in preference to the other parts of the garden, where he had neither seen nor heard a single one. "Sire," replied Parizade, "the reason is, that they all come here to accompany the talking-bird. Your majesty may perceive it in its cage upon one of the windows of the saloon, into which we are now going. And if you will pay attention to it, you will discover also that it sings far more melodiously than all the other birds, not excepting even the nightingale, which does not come near it in excellence." The sultan then went into the saloon, while the bird continued to sing. " My slave," said the princess,

p.481[edit]

addressing the bird, and raising her voice, " do you not see the sultan ? Pay your compliments to him." The bird immediately ceased from singing ; on which the other birds were also silent. " The sultan," said the bird, " is welcome ; and may God cause him to prosper, and prolong his life for many years." As the repast was served up on a sofa near the window where the bird was, the sultan, on sitting down to the table, replied, " I thank you, bird, for your compliment, and am delighted to see in you the sultan and king of birds. The sultan, who perceived a dish of cucumbers near him, which he supposed to be dressed in the usual manner, drew it towards him with his hand, and was astonished to see them dressed with pearls, " What novelty is this?" he cried. "Why have a sauce with pearls ? They are not fit to eat." He looked both at the princes and their sister, as if to demand an explanation, but, the bird interrupted him. " Can your majesty be in so great a surprise at seeing cucumbers dressed with pearls, when you could so easily give credit to the account, that the sultana, your consort, was delivered of a dog, a cat, and a piece of wood ?" — " I thought so," replied the sultan, " because the attending women assured me of the fact." — "These women," answered the bird, " were the sultana's sisters ; but they were sisters who were jealous of the honour and happiness you had bestowed upon her in preference to themselves ; and to appease their rage, they abused your majesty's good-nature. They will confess their crime, if you question them. The two brothers and the sister, whom you behold, are your children, whom they exposed, but who were found by the super- intendant of your gardens ; and who were nursed and educated through his care and kindness." This speech of the bird instantly made the sultan comprehend the whole plan. "I have no difficulty

p.482[edit]

bird," replied he, " in giving full credit to what your speech has discovered to me. The strong inclination that attracted me towards them, the affection I already feel for them, both tell me, most plainly, they are my offspring. Come, then, my children, and let me embrace you all, and give you the first proof of my tender love as a father." He rose, and embraced them all three, mingling his tears with theirs. " This is not enough, my children," he exclaimed, " you must also embrace each other, not as the offspring of the superintendant of my gardens, to whom I am under an everlasting obligation for having preserved your lives, but as belonging to me, as sprung from the blood-royal of Persia, of which, I am persuaded, you will well support the glory." When the two princes and their sister had mutually embraced each other with a new-felt ardour, as the sultan wished, he sat down to table with them, and pressed them to eat. When he had finished, he said, " In my person, my children, you behold your father ; to-morrow I will bring you the sultana, your mother; prepare, therefore, to receive her." The sultan mounted his horse, and returned with the utmost deligence to the capital. The first thing he did on dismounting and entering his palace, was to order the grand vizier to make all possible haste and draw up an accusation against the two sisters of the sultana. They were arrested, carried from their own houses, and separately interrogated. They even applied the torture, convicted, and condemned them to be quartered. The whole of this was performed in less than an hour." In the mean time sultan Khosrouschah, followed by his whole court, went on foot to the gate of the great mosque ; and after having taken the sultana out of the narrow prison with his own hand, in

p.483[edit]

which she had languished for so many years, and suffered so much, "Madam," he cried, embracing her at the same time with tears in his eyes, at seeing the wretched state she was in, " I am come, madam, to implore your pardon for the injustice I have done you ; and to make you all the reparation that is so justly due to you from me. I have already begun it, by the punishment of those who have seduced me by so abominable an impostor; and I hope you will consider it as completed, when I shall have presented you with two accomplished princes, and am amiable and charming princess, all of whom are our own offspring. Come, then, and re-assume the rank which belongs to you, with every honour that is your due." This reparation was made before a multitude of people, who had collected in crowds from every part, on the first report of what was going forward ; the knowledge of which was very soon spread all over the city. Very early the next morning, the sultan and sultana, the latter of whom had changed her dress of humiliation and affliction, which she had worn the preceding day, for a most magnificent robe, such as suited her rank, followed by all the court in regular order, set out for the house of the children. When they were arrived, and as soon as they had alighted, the sultan presented the sultana to Prince Bahman, Prince Perviz, and Princess Parizade. "Behold, madam," he exclaimed, " your two sons and your daughter. Embrace them with the same tenderness and affection I have done, for they are worthy of us both." During this affecting introduction, tears, but they were those of joy, fell in abundance from the eyes of all, but most from the sultana, from the excess of her feelings, at embracing three children, who had been the cause of her long and severe afflictions.

p.484[edit]

The two princes and the princess had prepared a most magnificent repast for the sultan, sultana, and all the court. They then sat down at table ; and after the repast was finished, the sultan carried the sultana into the garden, where he pointed out to her the singing-tree, and the fine effect of the golden water. She had already seen the bird in its cage, in the saloon, of which the sultan spoke very highly in praise during the repast. When nothing remained to detain the sultan any longer, he mounted his horse. Prince Bahman accompanied him on his right, and Prince Perviz on his left, while the sultana, with the princess on her left hand, followed the sultan. In this order, with some of the officers of the court preceding and others following them, each according to his rank, they pursued the road to the capital. As they approached the city, the people came out in crowds, even to some distance from the gates, and they looked as much at the sultana, and rejoiced with her at her happy change, after so long a penance, as they did at the two princes and the princess ; and they accompanied them with the loudest acclamations. Their attention was also attracted by the bird in its cage, which the princess carried before her. They could not but admire its singing, by which also it attracted all the other birds round it, and which kept following it, perching upon the trees in the country, and on the roofs of the houses as they passed along the streets. In this magnificent and joyful manner Prince Bahman, Prince Perviz, and Princess Parizade, were all conducted to the palace, and in the evening the most brilliant illumination and greatest rejoicings took place, all of which continued for many days, not only in the palace, but throughout the city.