It was the custom of the King, because of his attachment to and his affection for his daughter, every morning when he had shaken off sleep, to open the latticed casement and look out therefrom that he might catch sight of her abode. So that day he arose and did as he was wont.
—It hath reached me, O King of the Age, that when the Sultan drew near the latticed casement of his palace and looked out at Alaeddin's pavilion he saw naught; nay, the site was smooth as a well-trodden highway and like unto what it had been aforetime; and he could find nor edifice nor offices. So astonishment clothed him as with a garment, and his wits were wildered and he began to rub his eyes, lest they be dimmed or darkened, and to gaze intently; but at last he was certified that no trace of the pavilion remained nor sign of its being; nor wist he the why and the wherefore of its disappearance. So his surprise increased and he smote hand upon hand and the tears trickled down his cheeks over his beard, for that he knew not what had become of his daughter. Then he sent out officials forthright and summoned the Grand Wazir who at once attended; and, seeing him in this piteous plight said, “Pardon, O King of the Age, may Allah avert from thee every ill! Wherefore art thou in such sorrow?” Exclaimed the Sovran, “Methinketh thou wottest not my case?” and Quoth the Minister, “On no wise. O our lord: by Allah, I know of it nothing at all.” “Then,” resumed the Sultan, “'tis manifest thou hast not looked this day in the direction of Alaeddin's pavilion.” “True, O my lord,” Quoth the Wazir, “it must still be locked and fast shut;” and Quoth the King, “Forasmuch as thou hast no inkling of aught, ‡195 arise and look out at the window and see Alaeddin's pavilion whereof thou sayest 'tis locked and fast shut.” The Minister obeyed his bidding but could not see anything, or pavilion or other place; so with mind and thoughts sore perplexed he returned to his liege lord who asked him, “Hast now learned the reason of my distress and noted yon locked-up palace and fast shut?” Answered the Wazir, “O King of the Age erewhile I represented to thy Highness that this pavilion and these matters be all magical.” Hereat the Sultan, fired with wrath, cried, “Where be Alaeddin?” and the Minister replied, “He hath gone a-hunting,” when the King commanded without stay or delay sundry of his Aghas and Army-officers to go and bring to him his son-in-law chained and with pinioned elbows. So they fared forth until they found Alaeddin when they said to him, “O our lord Alaeddin, excuse us nor be thou wroth with us; for the King hath commanded that we carry thee before him pinioned and fettered, and we hope pardon from thee because we are under the royal orders which we cannot gainsay.” Alaeddin, hearing these words, was seized with surprise and not knowing the reason of this remained tongue-tied for a time, after which he turned to them and asked, “O assembly, have you naught of knowledge concerning the motive of the royal mandate? Well I wot my soul to be innocent and that I never sinned against king or against kingdom.” “O our lord,” answered they, “we have no inkling whatever.” So Alaeddin alighted from his horse and said to them, “Do ye whatso the Sultan bade you do, for that the King's command is upon the head and the eyes.” ‡196
—It hath reached me, O King of the Age, that the Aghas, having bound Alaeddin in bonds and pinioned his elbows behind his back, haled him in chains and carried him into the city. But when the lieges saw him pinioned and ironed, they understood that the Sultan purposed to strike off his head; and, forasmuch as he was loved of them exceedingly, all gathered together and seized their weapons; then, swarming out of their houses, followed the soldiery to see what was to do. And when the troops arrived with Alaeddin at the palace, they went in and informed the Sultan of this, whereat he forthright commanded the Sworder to cut off the head of his son-in-law. Now as soon as the subjects were aware of this order, they barricaded the gates and closed the doors of the palace and sent a message to the King saying, “At this very moment we will level thine abode over the heads of all it containeth and over thine own, ‡197 if the least hurt or harm befal Alaeddin.” So the Wazir went in and reported to the Sultan, “O King of the Age, thy commandment is about to seal the roll of our lives; and ‘twere more suitable that thou pardon thy son-in-law lest there chance to us a sore mischance; for that the lieges do love him far more than they love us.”
Now the Sworder had already dispread the carpet of blood and, having seated Alaeddin thereon, had bandaged his eyes; moreover he had walked round him several times awaiting the last orders of his lord, when the King looked out of the window and saw his subjects, who had suddenly attacked him, swarming up the walls intending to tear them down. So forthright he bade the Sworder stay his hand from Alaeddin and commanded the crier fare forth to the crowd and cry aloud that he had pardoned his son-in-law and received him back into favour. But when Alaeddin found himself free and saw the Sultan seated on his throne, he went up to him and said, “O my lord, inasmuch as thy Highness hath favoured me throughout my life, so of thy grace now deign let me know the how and the wherein I have sinned against thee?” “O traitor”, cried the King, “unto this present I knew not any sin of thine;” then, turning to the Wazir he said, “Take him and make him look out at the window and after let him tell us where be his pavilion.” And when the royal order was obeyed Alaeddin saw the place level as a well trodden road, even as it had been ere the base of the building was laid, nor was there the faintest trace of edifice. Hereat he was astonished and perplexed knowing not what had occurred; but, when he returned to the presence, the King asked him, “What is it thou hast seen? Where is thy pavilion and where is my daughter, the core of my heart, my only child, than whom I have none other?” Alaeddin answered “O King of the Age, I wot naught thereof nor aught of what hath befallen,” and the Sultan rejoined, “Thou must know, O Alaeddin, I have pardoned thee only that thou go forth and look into this affair and enquire for me concerning my daughter; nor do thou ever show thyself in my presence except she be with thee; and, if thou bring her not, by the life of my head, I will cut off the head of thee.” The other replied, “To hear is to obey: only vouchsafe me a delay and respite of some forty days; after which, an I produce her not, strike off my head ‡198 and do with me whatso thou wishes”.
The Sultan said to Alaeddin, “Verily I have granted thee thy request, a delay of forty days; but think not thou canst fly from my hand, for I would bring thee back even if thou wert above the clouds instead of being only upon earth's surface.” Replied Alaeddin, “O my lord the Sultan, as I said to thy Highness, an I fail to bring her within the term appointed, I will present myself for my head to be stricken off.” Now when the folk and the lieges all saw Alaeddin at liberty, they rejoiced with joy exceeding and were delighted for his release; but the shame of his treatment and bashfulness before his friends and the envious exultation of his foes had bowed down Alaeddin's head; so he went forth a wandering through the city ways and he was perplexed concerning his case and knew not what had befallen him. He lingered about the capital for two days, in saddest state, wotting not what to do in order to find his wife and his pavilion, and during this time sundry of the folk privily brought him meat and drink. When the two days were done he left the city to stray about the waste and open lands outlying the walls, without a notion as to whither he should wend; and he walked on aimlessly until the path led him beside a river where, of the stress of sorrow that overwhelmed him, he abandoned himself to despair and thought of casting himself into the water. Being, however, a good Moslem who professed the unity of the God-head, he feared Allah in his soul; and, standing upon the margin he prepared to perform the Wuzú-ablution. But as he was baling up the water in his right hand and rubbing his fingers, ‡199 it so chanced that he also rubbed the Ring. Hereat its Marid appeared and said to him, “Adsum! thy thrall between thy hands is come: ask of me whatso thou wantest.” Seeing the Marid, Alaeddin rejoiced with exceeding joy and cried, ‡200 “O Slave, I desire of thee that thou bring before me my pavilion and therein my wife, the Lady Badr al-Budur, together with all and everything it containeth.” “O my lord,” replied the Marid, “ 'tis right hard upon me that thou demandest a service whereto I may not avail: this matter dependeth upon the Slave of the Lamp nor dare I even attempt it.” Alaeddin rejoined, “Forasmuch as the matter is beyond thy competence, I require it not of thee, but at least do thou take me up and set me down beside my pavilion in what land soever that may be.” The Slave exclaimed, “Hearing and obeying, O my lord ;” and, uplifting him high in air, with in the space of an eye-glance set him down beside his pavilion in the land of Africa and upon a spot facing his wife's apartment. Now this was at fall of night yet one look enabled him to recognise his home; whereby his cark and care were cleared away and he recovered trust in Allah after cutting off all his hope to look upon his wife once more. Then he fell to pondering the secret and mysterious favours of the Lord (glorified be His omnipotence!); and how, after despair had mastered him, the Ring had come to gladden him and how, when all his hopes were cut off Allah had deigned bless him with the services of its Slave. So he rejoiced and his melancholy left him; then, as he had passed four days without sleep for the excess of his cark and care and sorrow and stress of thought, he drew near his pavilion and slept under a tree hard by the building which (as we mentioned) had been set down amongst the gardens outlying the city of Africa.
—It hath reached me, O King of the Age, that Alaeddin lay that night under a tree beside his pavilion in all restfulness; but whoso weareth head hard by the headsman may not sleep o’ nights save whenas slumber prevail over him. He slumbered till Morning showed her face and, when awakened by the warbling of the small birds, he arose and went down to the bank of the river which flowed thereby into the city; and here he again washed hands and face ‡201 and after finished his Wuzú-ablution. Then he prayed the dawn-prayer, and when he had ended his orisons he returned and sat down under the windows of the Princess's bower. Now the Lady Badr al-Budur, of her exceeding sorrow for severance from her husband and her sire the Sultan, and for the great mishap which had happened to her from the Maghrabi, the Magician, the Accursed, was wont to rise during the murk preceding dawn and to sit in tears inasmuch as she could not sleep o’ nights, and had forsworn meat and drink. Her favourite slave-girl would enter her chamber at the hour of prayer-salutation in order to dress her; and this time, by decree of Destiny, when she threw open the window to let her lady comfort and console herself by looking upon the trees and rills, and she herself peered out of the lattice, she caught sight of her master sitting below, and informed the Princess of this, saying, “O my lady! O my lady! here's my lord Alaeddin seated at the foot of the wall.” So her mistress arose hurriedly and gazing from the casement saw him; and her husband raising his head saw her; so she saluted him and he saluted her, both being like to fly for joy. Presently Quoth she, “Up and come in to me by the private postern, for now the Accursed is not here;” and she gave orders to the slave-girl who went down and opened for him. Then Alaeddin passed through it and was met by his wife, when they embraced and exchanged kisses with all delight until they wept for overjoy. After this they sat down and Alaeddin said to her, “O my lady, before all things 'tis my desire to ask thee a question. ‘Twas my wont to place an old copper lamp in such a part of my pavilion, what became of that same?” When the Princess heard these words she sighed and cried, “O my dearling, ‘twas that very Lamp which garred us fall into this calamity!” Alaeddin asked her, “How befel the affair?” and she answered by recounting to him all that passed, first and last, especially how they had given in exchange an old lamp for a new lamp, adding, “And next day we hardly saw one another at dawn before we found ourselves in this land, and he who deceived us and took the lamp by way of barter informed me that he had done the deed by might of his magic and by means of the Lamp; that he is a Moorman from Africa, and that we are now in his native country.”blog comments powered by Disqus