Aladdin: The Pavilion
—It hath reached me, O King of the Age, that when the Sultan beheld Alaeddin after such fashion, he rejoiced in him with mighty great joy and straightway bade the music and the bands strike up; then he arose and, taking the youth led him into the palace where supper had been prepared and the Eunuchs at once laid the tables. So the Sovran sat down and seated his son-in-law on his right side and the Wazirs and high officials and Lords of the land took places each according to his degree, whereupon the bands played and a mighty fine marriage-feast was dispread in the palace. The King now applied himself to making friendship with Alaeddin and conversed with the youth, who answered him with all courtesy and eloquence, as though he had been bred in the palaces of the kings or he had lived with them his daily life. And the more the talk was prolonged between them, the more did the Sultan's pleasure and delight increase, hearing his son-in-law's readiness of reply and his sweet flow of language. But after they had eaten and drunken and the trays were removed, the King bade summon the Kazis and witnesses who presently attended and knitted the knot and wrote out the contract-writ between Alaeddin and the Lady Badr al-Budur.
And presently the bridegroom arose and would have fared forth, when his father in law withheld him and asked, “Whither away, O my child? The bride-fêtes have begun and the marriage is made and the tie is tied and the writ is written.” He replied, “O my lord the King, 'tis my desire to edify, for the Lady Badr al-Budur, a pavilion befitting her station and high degree, nor can I visit her before so doing. But, Inshallah! the building shall be finished within the shortest time, by the utmost endeavor of thy slave and by the kindly regard of thy Highness, and, although I do (yes indeed!) long to enjoy the society of the Lady Badr al-Budur, yet 'tis incumbent on me first to serve her and it becometh me to set about the work forthright.” “Look around thee, O my son,” replied the Sultan, “for what ground thou deemest suitable to thy design and do thou take all things into thy hands; but I deem the best for thee will be yonder broad plain facing my palace; and, if it please the build thy pavilion thereupon.” “And this,” answered Alaeddin “is the sum of my wishes that I may be nearhand to thy Highness. So saying he farewelled the King and took horse, with his Mamelukes riding before him and behind him, and all the world blessed him and cried, “By Allah he is deserving,” until such time as he reached his home. Then he alighted from his stallion and repairing to his chamber, rubbed the Lamp and be hold, the Slave stood before him and said, “Ask, O my lord whatso thou wantest;” and Alaeddin rejoined, “I require thee of a service grave and important which thou must do for me, and 'tis that thou build me with all urgency a pavilion fronting the palace of the Sultan; and it must be a marvel for it shall be provided with every requisite, such as royal furniture and so forth.” The Slave replied, “To hear is to obey.”
—It hath reached me, O King of the Age, that the Slave evanished and, before the next dawn brake, returned to Alaeddin and said, “O my lord, the pavilion is finished to the fullest of thy fancy; and, if thou wouldst inspect it, arise forthright and fare with me.” Accordingly, he rose up and the Slave carried him in the space of an eye-glance to the pavilion which, when Alaeddin looked upon it struck him with surprise at such building, all its stones being of jasper and alabaster, Sumákí ‡169 marble and mosaic-work. Then the Slave led him into the treasury which was full of all manner of gold and silver and costly gems, not to be counted or computed, priced or estimated. Thence to another place, where Alaeddin saw all requisites for the tables, plates and dishes, spoons and ladles, basins and covers, cups and tasses, the whole of precious metal: thence to the kitchen, where they found the kitcheners provided with their needs and cooking batteries, likewise golden and silvern; thence to a warehouse piled up with chests full-packed of royal raiment, stuffs that captured the reason, such as gold-wrought brocades from India and China and kimcobs ‡170 or orfrayed cloths; thence to many apartments replete with appointments which beggar description; thence to the stables containing coursers whose like was not to be met with amongst the kings of the universe; and, lastly, they went to the harness-rooms all hung with housings, costly saddles and other furniture, everywhere studded with pearls and precious stones. And all this was the work of one night.
Alaeddin was wonder-struck and astounded by that magnificent display of wealth which not even the mightiest monarch on earth could produce; and more so to see his pavilion fully provided with eunuchs and handmaids whose beauty would seduce a saint. Yet the prime marvel of the pavilion was an upper kiosque or belvedere of four-and-twenty windows all made of emeralds and rubies and other gems; ‡171 and one window remained unfinished at the requirement of Alaeddin that the Sultan might prove him impotent to complete it. When the youth had inspected the whole edifice, he was pleased and gladdened exceedingly: then, turning to the Slave he said, “I require of thee still one thing which is yet wanting and whereof I had forgotten to tell thee.” “Ask, O my lord, thy want,” Quoth the Servitor; and Quoth the other, “demand of thee a carpet of the primest brocade all gold-inwrought which, when unrolled and outstretched, shall extend hence to the Sultan's palace in order that the Lady Badr al-Budur may, when coming hither, pace upon it ‡172 and not tread common earth.” The Slave departed for a short while and said on his return, “O my lord verily that which thou demandest is here.” Then he took him and showed him a carpet which wildered the wits, and it extended from palace to pavilion; and after this the Servitor bore off Alaeddin and set him down in his own home.
—It hath reached me, O King of the Age, that the Slave, after displaying the Carpet to Alaeddin, bore him home. Now day was brightening so the Sultan rose from his sleep and throwing open the casement looked out ‡173 and espied, opposite his palace, a palatial pavilion ready edified. Thereupon he fell to rubbing his eyes and opening them their widest and considering the scene, and he soon was certified that the new edifice was mighty fine and grand enough to be-wilder the wits. Moreover, with amazement as great he saw the carpet dispread between palace and pavilion: like their lord also the royal door-keepers and the household, one and all, were dazed and amazed at the spectacle. Meanwhile ‡174 the Wazir came in and, as he entered, espied the newly builded pavilion and the carpet, whereat he also wondered; and, when he went in to the Sultan the twain fell to talking on this marvellous matter with great surprise at a sight which distracted the gazer and attracted the heart. They said finally, “In very truth, of this pavilion we deem that none of the royalties could build its fellow;” and the King, turning to the Minister, asked him, “Hast thou seen now that Alaeddin is worthy to be the husband of the Princess my daughter? Hast thou looked upon and considered this right royal building, this magnificence of opulence, which thought of man can not contain?” But the Wazir in his envy of Alaeddin replied, ‘O King of the Age, indeed this foundation and this building and this opulence may not be save by means of magic nor can any man in the world, be he the richest in good or the greatest in governance, avail to found and finish in a single night such edifice as this.” The Sultan rejoined, “I am surprised to see in thee how thou dost continually harp on evil opinion of Alaeddin; but I hold that 'tis caused by thine envy and jealousy. Thou west present when I gave him the ground at his own prayer for a place whereon he might build a pavilion wherein to lodge my daughter, and I myself favoured him with a site for the same and that too before thy very face. But however that be, shall one who could send me as dower for the Princess such store of such stones whereof the kings never obtained even a few, shall he, I say, be unable to edify an edifice like this?”
—It hath reached me, O King of the Age, that when the Wazir heard the Sultan's words, he knew that his lord loved Alaeddin exceedingly; so his envy and malice increased; only, as he could do nothing against the youth, he sat silent and impotent to return a reply. But Alaeddin seeing that it was broad day, and the appointed time had come for his repairing to the palace (where his wedding was being celebrated and the Emirs and Wazirs and Grandees were gathered together about the Sultan to be present at the ceremony), arose and rubbed the Lamp, and when its Slave appeared and said, “O my lord, ask whatso thou wantest, for I stand before thee and at thy service,” said he, “I mean forthright to seek the palace, this day being my wedding-festival and I want thee to supply me with ten thousand dinars.” The Slave evanished for an eye-twinkling and returned bringing the moneys, when Alaeddin took horse with his Mamelukes a-van and a-rear and passed on his way, scattering as he went gold pieces upon the lieges until all were fondly affected towards him and his dignity was enhanced. But when he drew near the palace, and the Emirs and Aghas and Army-officers who were standing to await him noted his approach, they hastened straightway to the King and gave him the tidings thereof; whereupon the Sultan rose and met his son-in-law and after embracing and kissing him, led him still holding his hand into his own apartment where he sat down and seated him by his right side. The city was all decorated and music rang through the palace and the singers sang until the King bade bring the noon-meal, when the eunuchs and Mamelukes hastened to spread the tables and trays which are such as are served to the kings. Then the Sultan and Alaeddin and the Lords of the land and the Grandees of the realm took their seats and ate and drank until they were satisfied. And it was a mighty fine wedding in city and palace and the high nobles all rejoiced therein and the commons of the kingdom were equally gladdened, while the Governors of provinces and Nabobs of districts flocked from far regions to witness Alaeddin's marriage and its processions and festivities. The Sultan also marvelled in his mind to look at Alaeddin's mother ‡175 and recall to mind how she was wont to visit him in pauper plight, while her son could command all this opulence and magnificence. And when the spectators, who crowded the royal palace to enjoy the wedding-feasts, looked upon Alaeddin's pavilion and the beauties of the building, they were seized with an immense surprise that so vast an edifice as this could be reared on high during a single night; and they blessed the youth and cried, “Allah gladden him! By Allah, he deserveth all this! Allah bless his days!”—And Shahrazad was surprised by the dawn of day and ceased to say her permisted say.
—It hath reached me, O King of the Age, that when dinner was done, Alaeddin rose and, farewelling the Sultan, took horse with his Mamelukes and rode to his own pavilion that he might prepare to receive therein his bride, the Lady Badr al-Budur. And as he passed, all the folk shouted their good wishes with one voice and their words were, “Allah gladden thee! Allah increase thy glory. Allah grant thee length of life!” while immense crowds of people gathered to swell the marriage procession and they conducted him to his new home, he showering gold upon them during the whole time. When he reached his pavilion, he dismounted and walked in and sat him down on the divan, whilst his Mamelukes stood before him with arms afolded; also after a short delay they brought him sherbets and, when these were drunk, he ordered his white slaves and handmaids and eunuchs and all who were in the pavilion to make ready for meeting the Lady Badr al-Budur. Moreover, as soon as mid-afternoon came and the air had cooled and the great heat of the sun was abated, the Sultan bade his Army-officers and Emirs and Wazirs go down into the Maydán plain ‡176 whither he likewise rode. And Alaeddin also took horse with his Mamelukes, he mounting a stallion whose like was not among the steeds of the Arab al-Arbá, ‡177 and he showed his horsemanship in the hippodrome and so played with the Jaríd ‡178 that none could withstand him, while his bride sat gazing upon him from the latticed balcony of her bower and, seeing in him such beauty and cavalarice, she fell headlong in love of him and was like to fly for joy. And after they had ringed their horses on the Maydan and each had displayed whatso he could of horsemanship, Alaeddin proving himself the best man of all, they rode in a body to the Sultan's palace and the youth also returned to his own pavilion. But when it was evening, the Wazirs and Nobles took the bridegroom and, falling in, escorted him to the royal Hammam (known as the Sultání), when he was bathed and perfumed. As soon as he came out he donned a dress more magnificent than the former and took horse with the Emirs and the soldier-officers riding before him and forming a grand cortége, wherein four of the Wazirs bore naked swords round about him. ‡179 All the citizens and the strangers and the troops marched before him in ordered throng carrying wax-candles and kettle drums and pipes and other instruments of mirth and merriment, until they conducted him to his pavilion. Here he alighted and walking in took his seat and seated the Wazirs and Emirs who had escorted him, and the Mamelukes brought sherbets and sugared drinks, which they also passed to the people who had followed in his train. It was a world of folk whose tale might not be told; withal Alaeddin bade his Mamelukes stand without the pavilion-doors and shower gold upon the crowd.
—It hath reached me, O King of the Age, that when the Sultan returned from the Maydan-plain to his palace he ordered the household, men as well as women, straightway to form a cavalcade for his daughter, with all ceremony, and bear her to her bridegroom's pavilion. So the nobles and soldier-officers, who had followed and escorted the bridegroom, at once mounted, and the handmaids and eunuchs went forth with wax-candles and made a mighty fine procession for the Lady Badr al-Budur and they paced on preceding her till they entered the pavilion of Alaeddin whose mother walked beside the bride. In front of the Princess also fared the wives of the Wazirs and Emirs, Grandees and Notables, and in attendance on her were the eight and forty slave-girls presented to her aforetime by her bridegroom, each hending in hand a huge cierge scented with camphor and ambergris and set in a candlestick of gem-studded gold. And reaching Alaeddin's pavilion they led her to her bower in the upper storey and changed her robes and enthroned her; then, as soon as the displaying was ended, they accompanied her to Alaeddin's apartments and presently he paid her the first visit. Now his mother was with the bride and, when the bridegroom came up and did off her veil, the ancient dame fell to considering the beauty of the Princess and her loveliness; and she looked around at the pavilion which was all litten up by gold and gems besides the manifold candelabra of precious metals encrusted with emeralds and jacinths; so she said in her mind, “Once upon a time I thought the Sultan's palace mighty fine, but this pavilion is a thing apart; nor do I deem that any of the greatest Kings of Chosroës attained in his day to aught like thereof; also am I certified that all the world could not build anything evening it.” Nor less did the lady Badr al-Budur fall to gazing at the pavilion and marvelling for its magnificence. Then the tables were spread and they all ate and drank and were gladdened; after which fourscore damsels came before them each holding in hand an instrument of mirth and merriment; then they deftly moved their finger tips and touched the strings smiting them into song, most musical, most melancholy, till they rent the hearts of the hearers. Hereat the Princess increased in marvel and Quoth she to herself, “In all my life ne'er heard I songs like these,” ‡180 till she forsook food, the better to listen. And at last Alaeddin poured out for her wine and passed it to her with his own hand; so great joy and jubilee went round amongst them and it was a notable night, such an one as Iskander, Lord of the Two Horns, ‡181 had never spent in his time. When they had finished eating and drinking and the tables were removed from before them, Alaeddin arose and went in to his bride. ‡182 As soon as morning morrowed he left his bed and the treasurer brought him a costly suit and a mighty fine, of the most sumptuous robes worn by the kings. Then, after drinking coffee devoured with ambergris, he ordered the horses be saddled and, mounting with his Mamelukes before and behind him, rode to the Sultan's palace and on his entering its court the eunuchs went in and reported his coming to their lord.
—It hath reached me, O King of the Age, that when the Sultan heard of Alaeddin's approach, he rose up forthright to receive him and embraced and kissed him as though he were his own son: then, seating him on his right, he blessed and prayed for him, as did the Wazirs and Emirs, the Lords of the land and the Grandees of the realm. Presently, the King commanded bring the morning-meal which the attendants served up and all broke their fast together, and when they had eaten and drunken their sufficiency and the tables were removed by the eunuchs, Alaeddin turned to the Sultan and said, “O my lord, would thy Highness deign honour me this day at dinner, in the house of the Lady Badr al-Budur thy beloved daughter, and come accompanied by all thy Ministers and Grandees of the reign?” The King replied (and he was delighted with his son-in-law), “Thou art surpassing in liberality, O my son!” Then he gave orders to all invited and rode forth with them (Alaeddin also riding beside him) till they reached the pavilion and as he entered it and considered its construction, its architecture and its stonery, all jasper and carnelian, his sight was dazed and his wits were amazed at such grandeur and magnificence of opulence. Then turning to the Minister he thus addressed him, “What sayest thou? Tell me hast thou seen in all thy time aught like this amongst the mightiest of earth's monarchs for the abundance of gold and gems we are now beholding?” The Grand Wazir replied, “O my lord the King, this be a feat which cannot be accomplished by might of monarch amongst Adam's sons; ‡183 nor could the collected peoples of the universal world build a palace like unto this; nay, even builders could not be found to make aught resembling it, save (as I said to thy Highness) by force of sorcery.” These words certified the King that his Minister spake not except in envy end jealousy of Alaeddin, and would stablish in the royal mind that all this splendour was not made of man but by means of magic and with the aid of the Black Art. So Quoth he to him, “Suffice thee so much, O Wazir: thou hast none other word to speak and well I know what cause urgeth thee to say this say.”