Page:The Book of the Thousand Nights and a Night - Volume 3.djvu/36

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Then his eye-sight roamed and browsed on the gardens of their beauty and he repeated these two couplets,

"I went to the house of the keeper-man; * He was out, but others to smile began: I entered his Heaven [1] and then his Hell; [2] * And I said 'Bless Málik [3] and bless Rizwán.' “ [4]

When they heard these verses they were charmed, and the Over seer invited them to his house; but they declined and returned to their own place, to rest from the great heat of the bath. So they took their ease there and ate and drank and passed that night in perfect solace and satisfaction, till morning dawned, when they arose from sleep and making their lesser ablution, prayed the dawn- prayer and drank the morning draught. [5] As soon as the sun had risen and the shops and markets opened, they arose and going forth from their place to the bazar opened their shop, which their servants had already furnished, after the handsomest fashion, and had spread with prayer rugs and silken carpets and had placed on the divans a pair of mattresses, each worth an hundred dinars. On every mattress they had disposed a rug of skin fit for a King and edged with a fringe of gold; and a-middlemost the shop stood a third seat still richer, even as the place required. Then Taj al-Muluk sat down on one divan, and Aziz on another, whilst the Wazir seated himself on that in the centre, and the servants stood before them. The city people soon heard of them and crowded about them, so that they sold some of their goods and not a few of their stuffs; for Taj al-Muluk's beauty and loveliness had become the talk of the town. Thus they passed a trifle of time, and every day the people flocked to them and pressed upon them more and more,

  1. The frigidarium or cold room, coolness being delightful to the Arab.
  2. The calidarium or hot room of the bath.
  3. The Angel who acts door-keeper of Hell; others say he specially presides over the torments of the damned (Koran xliii. 78).
  4. The Door-keeper of Heaven before mentioned who, like the Guebre Zamiyád has charge of the heavenly lads and lasses, and who is often charged by poets with letting them slip.
  5. Lane (i. 616), says "of wine, milk, sherbet, or any other beverage." Here it is wine, a practice famed in Persian poetry, especially by Hafiz, but most distasteful to a European stomach. We find the Mu allakah of Imr al-Keys noticing "our morning draught." Nott (Hafiz) says a "cheerful cup of wine in the morning was a favourite indulgence with the more luxurious Persians. And it was not uncommon among the Easterns, to salute friend by saying."May your morning potation be agreeable to you!" In the present day this practice is confined to regular debauchees.