Monday, August 19, 2013

Jolnar of the Sea and Her Son Badr Basim ------- (Nights 738 through 758 from "The Arabian Nights: Tales of 1001 Nights," Volume 3, Translation by Malcom C. Lyons)

Night 738
(note that the first four paragraphs are telling the end of the previous story. The story of Jolnar begins with the fifth paragraph.)

Morning now dawned and Shahrazad broke off from what she had been
allowed to say. Then, when it was the seven hundred and thirty-eighth

I have heard, O fortunate king, that when the chief eunuch of the
harem told Hayat al-Nufus that her hand had been requested in marriage
to the son of the great king, she replied: ‘To hear is to obey.’ When the
chief eunuch heard this, he went back to tell the king of his daughter’s
answer. The king was delighted and called for a splendid robe of honour,
which he presented to the vizier, together with ten thousand dinars,
telling him to inform Ardashir’s father that Hayat al-Nufus had accepted
the proposal and to ask for his permission to visit him. ‘To hear is to
obey,’ said the vizier, who then left 'Abd al-Qadir’s court and returned
to pass the messages to his master. The great king was pleased, and as
for Ardashir he was almost out of his mind with joy, being filled with
contentment and happiness. Permission was granted to 'Abd al-Qadir to
come to visit the king, and on the following day he rode out and was
met on his arrival by the king himself, who greeted him and gave him a
place of honour. The two kings sat, While Ardashir remained standing
in front of them, and an orator, one of 'Abd al-Qadir’s close associates,
rose to deliver an eloquent address in which he congratulated Ardashir
on having achieved his wish to marry the sovereign of princesses. When
he had sat down, the great king ordered a chest filled with pearls and
gems to be produced, together with fifty thousand dinars, and he told
Uhbd al-Qadir that he was acting as his son’s representative in the matter
of the marriage settlements. 'Abd al-Qadir acknowledged the receipt of
the bride price, which included the fifty thousand dinars for the Wedding
celebrations. The judges and notaries were then summoned and a mar-
riage contract drawn up between Hayat al-Nufus, daughter of King ‘Abd
al-Qadir, and Ardashir, son of the great king. This was a momentous
day, delighting all lovers and angering those who were filled with jealous
hate. There were banquets and receptions, and after that Ardashir lay
with his bride and discovered her to be an unpierced pearl and a filly
that no one else had ridden, a precious jewel Well~guarded and a gem
that had been hidden away, a fact that he passed on to her father.
The great king then asked Ardashir whether there was anything else
that he wanted before they left. ‘Yes, 0 king,’ he replied, ‘I want to be

revenged on the vizier who maltreated us and on the eunuch who lied
about us.” His father instantly sent to iabd al-Qadir to demand the two,
who were then delivered to him, and when they appeared before him he
ordered them to be hung over the city gate. After _a further brief delay,
Y\bd al-Qadir was asked to allow his daughter to make her preparations
for travelling. He provided for her needs and she was mounted on a
carriage of red gold studded with pearls and gems and drawn by noble
horses. She took with her all her slave girls and eunuchs, and her nurse,
who had returned after her flight to take up her usual position again.
The great king and Ardashir mounted, and 2/\bd al-Qadir and his whole
court rode out to say goodbye to his son-in-law and his daughter on
what was counted as one of the best of days. When they reached open
country, the great king insisted that ?tbd al-Qadir turn back, which he
did after Hrst clasping the king to his breast, kissing him between. the
eyes, thanking him for all his goodness and entrusting his daughter to
his care. When he had said goodbye to the king and to Ardashir, he went
back and embraced his daughter, who kissed his hands, and the two of
them wept as they parted. '

While ibibd al~Qadir went back to his capital, Ardashir, together with
his wife and his father, went on to his own country, where they held a
second wedding feast. There they remained enjoying the pleasantest of
lives in joy and luxury until they were visited by the destroyer of delights,
the parter of companions, the ravager of palaces and the Hller of grave;
yards. This is the end of the story. '

(Story of Jolnar begins here.)

A story is also told, O fortunate king, that long ago in Persia there was
a king named Shahriman who lived in Khurasan. In spite of the fact that
he had a hundred concubines, none of them had ever in his life provided
him with either a son or a daughter. One day, as he thought this, he
grew melancholy, reflecting that the greater part of his life was over and
there was no son to inherit the kingdom after his death in the way that
he himself had inherited it from his father and forefathers. I-Ie was filled
with sorrow and deep distress, but then as he was sitting in his palace
one of his mamluks came to him and said: ‘Master, at the gate is a
merchant with as beautiful a slave girl as I have ever seen.’ ‘Bring them
to me,’ the king ordered, and when they entered he looked at the girl
and discovered that she was like a Rudaini spear and was wrapped in a
silken shawl embroidered with gold. When the merchant unveiled her
face, the room was illumined by her beauty. She had seven locks of hair

hanging down to her anklets like ponies’ tails; her eyes were darkened
with kohl; she had heavy buttocks and a slender Waist and could cure
the illnesses of the sick and quench the fires of thirst, as has been
described by the poet in these lines:

I fell in love with her in the perfection of her beauty,
Crowned, as it Was, by calmness and by dignity.
She was neither too tall nor yet too short;
Her waist-wrapper was too narrow for her buttocks;
Her figure struck a balance between extremes of height,
And could not be criticized for either fault.
Her hair hung down before her anklets,
While her face was always bright as day.

The king, admiring the sight of her graceful beauty and her symmetri-
cal form, asked the merchant her price. ‘Master,’ he replied, ‘I bought
her from her previous owner for two thousand dinars; I have spent three
years traveling with her and this has cost me another three thousand up
to the time that I arrived here, but I give her to you as a present? The
king ordered that the merchant be given a splendid robe of honour
together with the sum of ten thousand dinars. He took these and left
after” kissing the king’s hands and thanking him for his favour and

The king then handed over the girl to the maids, telling them to see to
her and to adorn her, as well as to furnish apartments for her and
bring her to them, while his chamberlains were instructed to fetch her
everything that she might need. The king’s capital was known as the
White City, and thanks to the fact that his realm lay by the sea, the
apartments to which the girl was brought had windows overlooking

Night 739

Morning now dawned and Shahrazad broke off from what she had been
allowed to say. Then, when it was the seven hundred and thirty-ninth

I have heard, O fortunate king, that when the king took the slave girl,
he handed her over to the maids, telling them to see to her. They took
her to her apartments, and the king instructed his chamberlains to fetch

everything she might need and then lock all the doors. The apartments
to which they escorted her had windows overlooking the sea.

When the king went in to visit her, she said nothing and took no notice
of him, leaving him to imagine that the people with whom she had been
had not taught her manners. Then he looked at her outstanding beauty
and grace, her symmetrical figure and her face that was like the full
moon or the sun shining in a clear sky, and in his admiration for these
qualities he praised God, the Ornnipotent Creator. He went up to her,
sat beside her and then clasped her to his breast, seating her on his lap
and sucking the saliva of her mouth, which he found sweeter than honey.
On his orders, all kinds of the most delicious foods were brought in,
which he ate himself and morsels of which he gave to the girl until she
had had enough. During all this time she uttered no single word and,
although he started to talk to her and ask her her name, she remained
silent, saying nothing and making no reply, with her head bent towards
the ground. It was only her great beauty and attractiveness that saved
her from the king’s anger, and he said to himself: ‘Praise be to God, Who
created her - how lovely she is! She does not speak, but perfection
belongs to the Almighty alone.’ He asked the slave girls whether she had
said anything and they told him that, from the time of her arrival until
then, they had not heard a word from her. Some of these girls, together
with a number of the concubines, were then told to sing to her and relax
with her in the hope of breaking her silence. They played different
musical instruments in front of her and indulged in various games and
so on, until everyone there was moved to delight by their songs, but the
girl herself was a silent spectator and neither laughed nor spoke, to the
distress of the king. He then dismissed the other girls and remained alone
with her. He took off his own clothes and undressed her, discovering
that she had a body like a silver ingot. He fell deeply in love with her
and deflowered her, being delighted to discover that she was a virgin.
‘By God, it is remarkable] he said to himself, ‘that the merchant should
have left untouched a beautiful girl with such a lovely figure.’

He then became entirely devoted to her, disregarding everyone else
and abandoning all his concubines, while the year that he then spent
with her passed like a single day. She had still said nothing, and one day,
when his passionate_ love had grown even stronger, he told her: ‘H-eart’s
desire, I love you deeply and for your sake I have forsaken all my slave
girls and concubines, as well as every other woman, since you are the
only thing that I now want in this world. I have waited patiently for a

whole year, and I now ask Almighty God of His grace that He may
soften your heart towards me so that you may speak to me or, if you are
dumb, then make a sign to tell me, and I will give up the thought that
you might ever talk. My hope is that Almighty God will grant me a son
by you to inherit the kingdom after my death, for I am entirely alone
and in my old age I have no heir. I implore you in God’s Name to answer
me if you love me.’

The girl looked down thoughtfully towards the ground and then she
raised her head and smiled at the king, to whom it seemed as though
lightning had filled the room. ‘Great king and strong lion,’ she said, ‘God
has answered your prayer, for I am carrying your child and am near the
time of delivery, although I do not know whether it will be a boy or a
girl. Had I not conceived, I would not have spoken a word to you.’
When the king heard this, he beamed with joy and delight and kissed
her head and her hands in his gladness, exclaiming: ‘Praise be to God,
Who has granted me my wishes, as, firstly, you have spoken to me and,
secondly, you have told me that you are carrying my child!’

The king then left her and went out to sit on his royal throne in a state
of great happiness, and he ordered his vizier to distribute a hundred
thousand dinars as alms to the poor, the wretched and the widows,
among others, in gratitude to Almighty God, an order which the vizier
carried out. The king then returned to the girl and sat with her, holding
her to his breast. He said: ‘My mistress, whose slave I am, why did you
stay silent? You have been with me day and night, waking and sleeping
for a whole year now, and during all this time you have not spoken a
word until now. What was the reason for this?’

‘You must understand, O king of the age,” replied the girl, ‘that I was
a poor broken-spirited stranger, having been parted from my mother,
my brother and my family.’ The king listened to this and grasped her
point but objected: ‘When you say that you are poor, this is not true, as
my kingdom, my goods and all that I have are at your service, while I
myself am your slave, but when you say that you have been parted from
mother, brother and family, tell me where they are and I shall send to
fetch them to you.’ She replied: ‘Know, O fortunate king, that my name
is julnar of the sea. My father was one of the rulers of the sea and when
he died he left his kingdom to us, his family. We held it until another
king moved against us and took it from us. I have a brother named Salih,
while my mother is one of the sea people. I quarrelled with my brother
and swore that I would throw myself away on a landsman, so I came

out of the sea and sat by moonlight on the shore of an island. A man
passed by and took me off to his house, where he tried to seduce me,
but I struck him on the head and almost killed him. He then took me
out and sold me to the merchant from whom you bought me, a good
and pious man, religious, honest and honourable. Had you not truly
loved me and preferred me to all your concubines, I would not have
stayed with you for a single hour and would have thrown myself into
the sea from this window and gone off to my mother and my people.
But I was ashamed to go to them carrying your child, for whatever oath
I took they would have suspected my virtue if I told them that a king
had bought me for money, devoted himself to me and preferred me to
his wives and everything else he owned. This is my story.’

Night 740

Morning now dawned and Shahrazad broke off from what she had been
allowed to say. Then, when it was the seven hundred and fortieth night,

I have heard, O fortunate king, that when King Shahriman questioned
]ulnar of the sea, she told him her story from beginning to end.
When the king heard all this, he thanked her, kissed her between the
eyes and said: ‘By God, my lady and the light of my eyes, I cannot bear
to be parted from you for a single hour, and if you leave me I shall die
on the spot, so how are things going to be?’ ‘Master,’ she replied, ‘it is
nearly time for my child to be born and my family will have to be there
to look after me, as women from the land don’t know how sea women give
birth and vice versa. Then, after they have come, we shall be reconciled
with each other again,’

The king asked her: ‘How can they walk in the sea and not get wet?’
She told him: ‘We walk in the sea in the same way you walk on the land,
and this is thanks to the blessing conferred by the names written on the
seal ring of Solomon, son of David, on both of whom be peace. When
my family and my brothers come, I shall tell them that you paid money
to buy me, after which you treated me with kindness and courtesy,
something that you must confirm for them. They will see your grandeur
with their own eyes, and realize that you are a king and the son of a
king.’ ‘Do what you want, as it occurs to you,’ said the king, ‘for I shall
obey you in everything you do.’ ‘Know, king of the age,’ she explained,

‘that when We walk in the sea our eyes are open and we can look at what
is there, as well as at the sun, the moon, the stars and the sky, which we
can see just as though we were on dry land, and that does us no harm.
You must know also that there are many different races in the sea, as
well as different varieties of all the types of creatures that are to be found
on land. Furthermore, what the land contains is tiny in comparison with
what is in the sea.” The king was astonished by what she had to say.

She then produced from the palm of her hand two bits of Qumari
aloes wood and, taking one of them, she threw it into a brazier that she
had lit. She whistled piercingly and started to speak some unintelligible
Words. As the ldng watched, a large cloud of smoke rose up and julnar
said: ‘Master, hide yourself away in a small room so that I may show
you my brother, my mother and the rest of my family without their
seeing you. I want to summon them, and here and now you shall see a
marvel and wonder at the different shapes and strange forms that God
Almighty has created? The king got up immediately and went into a
small room from where he could see what she was doing. She started to
burn incense and to recite spells, until the sea began to foam, and from
the disturbed Water out came a splendidly handsome young man like the
full moon, with a radiant forehead, ruddy cheeks and teeth like pearls.
He was*very like his sister and the following lines would spring auto-
matically to mind:

Once every month the moon becomes full,
But the beauty of your face is perfect every day.
The heart of a single zodiac sign holds the full moon,
But the hearts of all mankind serve as your resting place.

He was followed out of the sea by a grey-haired old lady, who was
accompanied by five girls as beautiful as moons, all bearing a resem-
blance to Julnar. As the king could see, every one of them was walking
on the surface of the sea as they approached her, and when she saw them
close to her window, she got up and went to meet them with joy and
delight. When they saw her and recognized her, they came in and
embraced her, raining down tears. ‘]ulnar,’ they said to her, ‘how could
you have abandoned us for four years? We didn’t know where you were
and the pain we suffered because of your loss made our lives miserable;
there was no single day on which we could enjoy food or drink, and
such was our longing for you that we wept night and day.’

Julnar kissed her brother’s hand and those of her mother and her

cousins. They sat with her for a time, asking her about herself, what had
happened to her and how she was. In reply she said: ‘Know that when I
parted from you and came out of the sea, I sat on the shore of an island
and a man took me and sold me to a merchant, who brought me to this
city and sold me to its king for ten thousand dinars. The king received
me with honour, abandoning all his concubines, his women and his
favourites for my sake and occupying himself with me to the exclusion
of all his other affairs and the business of his city.’

When ]ulnar’s brother heard her story, he thanked God for having
reunited them and added: ‘I want you to get up and come with us to our
own country and our people? On hearing that,- the king was distraught
lest she agree to this suggestion and, passionately in love with her as he
was, he would not be able to stop her. I-Ie remained dismayed and fearful
at the thought of losing her, but, for her part, when she heard whgt her
brother had to say, she told him: ‘By God, brother, the man who bought
me is the ruler of this city, a great king, an intelligent and noble man of
vast liberality. He has shown me honour, and he is a chivalrous and a
wealthy man, who has neither sons nor daughters; he has been good to
me; he has treated me generously, and from the day that I came here
until now I have heard no harsh word from him to cause me distress.
On the contrary, he has always been kind to me, consulting me in all
that he does, and with him I have enjoyed the pleasantest of lives and
the greatest of benefits. Further, if I leave him, he will die as he cannot
bear to be parted from me for a single hour, and I too would die if Llieft
him, so deeply do I love him because of the goodness he has shown me
during the time I have been with him. Were my father still alive, I would
not enjoy the same standing with him as I do with this great and powerful
king. You can see that I am carrying his child, and I praise God, Who
made me the daughter of the king of the sea and has given me as a
husband the greatest of the rulers of the land. He did not abandon me
but gave me a good exchange . . .’

Night 741

Morning now dawned and Shahrazad broke off from what she had been
allowed to say. Then, when it was the seven hundred and forty-first

I have heard, O fortunate king, that julnar told her story to her brother

and said: ‘The Almighty did not abandon me but gave me a good
exchange, and as the king has no son and no daughter, I ask Almighty
God to let me give birth to a boy, who may inherit from his powerful
father all that He gave him in the way of buildings, palaces and pos-
sessions.’ ]ulnar’s brother and her cousins were pleased by what she had
to say, and they said: ‘]ulnar, you know how deeply we love you, for, as
you must already know, you are the dearest of all people to us. You
must believe that all we want for you is that you should enjoy a life of
ease, without distress or drudgery. If you are not free from worry, then
come back with us to your own land and to your family, but if you are
and you are both well regarded and happy here, then this is all we hope
for, and we can want nothing more for you.’ ‘By God,’ she replied, ‘I am
enjoying all possible comfort, happiness and dignity, and everything I
wish for is mine.’ When the king heard what she had to say, he was
pleased and relieved; he was grateful to her and loved her even more
from the bottom of his heart, as he realized that she returned his love
and wanted to stay with him so that she might see his child.

]ulnar then gave orders to her slave girl for tables laden with various
types of food to be produced, after she herself had supervised the prep-
arations in the kitchen, and then these, together with sweetmeats and
fruit, were brought in bythe slave girls. When she and her family had
eaten, they said to her: ‘Julnar, your husband is a stranger to us and we
have entered his palace without his leave. You have told us that you are
grateful for his kindness, but he does not know about us and although
we have eaten his food that you brought us, we have not seen him or
met him and he has not seen us. He has not come to join us and has not
eaten with us so as to establish the tie of bread and salt.’ At that they all
stopped eating, and they were so angry with her that what looked like
flaming torches came out of their mouths.

When he saw this, the king became distraught with fear, but julnar,
having first got up to mollify them, went to the room where he was and
said: ‘Master, did you see and hear how I thanked you and praised you
to my family, and did you hear them say how they wanted to take me
home with them?’ ‘I both heard and saw,’ the king told her, adding:
‘May God reward you on my behalf, for I never knew how much you
loved me before this blessed hour, a love which I cannot doubt.’ ‘Master,’
she then said, ‘one good deed deserves another. You have treated me
well and showered great favours on me; you love me deeply, as I can
see; you have done everything that you can for me and you have preferred

me to all others whom you love and desire. So how could I be content
to part from you and leave you? How could I do that after all the
kindness that you have shown me? But now I would like you to be good
enough to come and greet my family, so that after you have seen each
other there may be a bond of sincere affection between you. For you
must know, king of the age, that my brother, my mother and my cousins
have a great love for you, because I told them how grateful I am to you.
They said that they would not leave me and return home until they have
met you and greeted you, as they want to see you and make friends with
you.’ ‘To hear is to obey,’ said the king, ‘for that is what I want myself.’

He then got up and went to Julnar’s family, whom he greeted in the
friendliest manner, and they, for their part, sprang to their feet and met
him with the greatest courtesy. He sat with them in the palace and ate
at the same table, after which they stayed with him for thirty days. At
the end of this period they wanted to set off for home, and after they
had asked for his permission and for that of Queen julnar, they left,
having received the most honourable treatment. It was then that julnar
reached the term of her pregnancy, and when she had gone into labour
she gave birth to a boy like a full moon. The king was overjoyed, as he
had no other children, male or female, and celebrations were held,
the city being adorned with decorations for seven days among general
pleasure and rejoicing.

On the seventh day, Julnar’s mother came back with her brother and
her cousins, having heard of her delivery.

Night 742

Morning now dawned and Shahrazad broke off from what she had been
allowed to say. Then, when it was the seven hundred and forty-second

I have heard, O fortunate king, that when julnar had given birth, her
family returned. They were met by the king, who was pleased by their
arrival and who told them: ‘I said that I would not name my son until
you arrived to choose his name, wise as you are.’ They all agreed to call
him Badr Basim and he was shown to his uncle, Salih, who took him in
his arms. Salih then left the others, and after walking to and fro in the
palace he left it and Went down to the sea. He walked on into it until he
was out of the king’s sight, and when the king saw that his son had been

taken away from him and plunged into the depths of the sea, he began
to Weep and sob in despair. Seeing this, julnar said: ‘Do not be afraid or
grieve for your son, king of the age, for I love him more than you do.
He is with my brother, and there is no need to concern yourself about
the sea or to fear lest he be drowned, for if my brother knew that any
harm would come to the child he would not have acted as he has. God
willing, he is just about to bring him back safe and sound.’

Soon there was a disturbance in the sea and from the frothing water
emerged Salih with the uninjured child. Carrying him in his arms he flew
out to rejoin the others, and the child meanwhile made no sound, while
his face was as radiant as the full moon. Looking at the king, Salih said:
‘Were you, perhaps, afraid that harm might come to your son when I
took him down with me into the sea?’ ‘I was indeed, sir,’ the king replied,
‘and I never thought that he would come out alive.’ ‘King of the land,’
said Salih, ‘we rubbed his eyes with a type of kohl we know of, and
recited over him the names engraved on the signet ring of Solomon, son
of David, on both of whom be peace, as this is what we do with our
own newborn babies. You need never fear that he Will drown or suffocate
or that any sea will be dangerous for him, for, as you walk on the land,
so We walk in the sea.’ From his pocket he then brought out a sealed
case with writing on it. He broke the seal and spread out the contents -
strings of gems of all types, sapphires and so on, together with three
hundred emerald rods* and three hundred pierced jewels, each as large
as an ostrich egg, gleaming more brightly than the sun and the moon.

*These ‘emerald rods’ were explained by Reinhart Dozy as a cluster of emeralds set
together in the form of a branch.

‘King of the age,’ he said, ‘these gems are a gift from me to you. We had
not brought you anything because we had had no news of Julnar and
did not know where she was, but now that we see your 'relationship to
her and we have become one family, we make you this present, and after
every few days, God willing, we shall bring you the same again, because
there are more of these jewels with us than there are pebbles on the land.
We know which of them are good and which are bad, and we know
how to get to them and where they are to be found, and so it is easy for
us to obtain them.’

The king looked at the jewels in astonishment and amazement,
exclaiming: ‘By God, a single one of these is worth as much as my
kingdom!’ He thanked Salih, and then, looking at julnar, he said: ‘Your

brother has made me feel ashamed by giving me a more splendid present
than anyone on earth could produce.’ julnar, for her part, thanked Salih,
who said: ‘King of the age, you have a prior claim on us, and it is right
that we should thank you because of your kindness to my sister, and
because we have entered your palace and eaten your food. The poet
has said:

Had I shed tears of love for Su‘da before she wept,
I would have cured my soul before having to repent.
But she wept first, prompting my tears,
And I said: ‘fThe merit belongs to the first to Weep.” ’

He continued: ‘King of the age, even if we served you as best we could
for a thousand years, we still could not repay you, and that would be
little enough to do for you.’

The king thanked him profusely, after which Salih and his mother and
his cousins stayed there for forty days. At the end of this period, he came
and kissed the ground before the king, and when the latter asked what
he wanted, he said: ‘King of the age, you have shown us kindness, and I
want you to be good enough to give us leave to go, as we long for our
own folk, our lands, our relatives and our home. I shall never cut myself
off from your service or from my sister and my nephew, and I swear by
God that I do not want to leave you, but what can we do? We were
brought up in the sea and have no liking for the land.’ When the king
heard what he had to say, he got to his feet to take leave of him, as well
as of his mother and his cousins. They all shed tears of parting, but said:
‘We shall be with you again soon and will never cut ourselves off from
you.’ They flew off, making for the sea, into which they plunged and
were lost from sight.

Night 743

Morning now dawned and Shahrazad broke off from what she had been
allowed to say. Then, when it was the seven hundred and forty-third

I have heard, O fortunate king, that when ]ulnar’s relatives had said
goodbye both to the king and to Julnar, they shed tears of sorrow at
parting, but then flew off, plunged into the sea and were lost from sight.

The king treated Julnar well, showing her even greater respect; the

child was raised successfully and his uncle, his grandmother, his aunt
and his mother’s cousins would come to the palace every few days and
stay with him for a month or two before returning home. As he grew
older, the child grew ever more handsome and graceful, until by the time
he was fifteen he was unique in his perfection and the symmetry of his
Hgure. He had studied writing, reading, history, grammar and philology,
as well as archery; he could manage a lance and a horse, and had learned
everything else that princes need to know. There was no one among the
children of the citizens there, either male or female, who did not talk
about his beauty, for this was so marked that the poet’s lines could be
applied to it:

Down has written with ambergris on pearl,
Inscribing an apple with twin lines of jet.
When he looks, there is death in his languorous eyes,
And drunkenness is in his cheeks, not in the wine.

Another wrote:

Down spread upon the surface of his cheek,
Like embroidery, and there it thickened.
It was as though a lamp hung there suspended
On chains of ambergris beneath the dark.

One day the king, who was exceedingly fond of his son, Badr Basim,
summoned the emirs, viziers, state officials and the leading men of his
kingdom to make them take a solemn oath that, in succession to him,
they would take Badr as their king. They swore to this gladly, as the
king was a man who treated his people well, spoke pleasantly and united
in himself all virtues, while consulting the general good in what he said.
On the following day he rode out, accompanied by the state officials and
the other emirs, together with all the troops. They paraded through the
city before turning back and then, when they were near the palace, the
king dismounted as an act of deference to his son, who went on ahead,
with each of the emirs and the officials taking turns to carry the royal
saddle cloth before him. When they reached the entrance hall of the
palace, Badr dismounted from his horse and was embraced by his father
as well as by the emirs. They sat him on the royal throne, with his father
and the emirs standing before him.

Badr now gave his decisions to his people, deposing unjust officials and
replacing them with honest men. He continued exercising his authority

until it was almost noon, when he got up from the throne and went to
visit his mother, wearing the crown and looking as radiant as the moon.
When his mother saw him standing there with the king in front of him,
she got up to kiss him and congratulate him on having taken power,
wishing both him and his father a long life and victory over their enemies.
He sat and relaxed with his mother, until in the afternoon he rode out
to the exercise ground, preceded by the emirs, and there he joined his
father and his officials in practising with his weapons until evening. Then
everyone there went on ahead as he returned to the palace.

Every day he would follow his Visit to the exercise ground by sitting
in judgement among the people, giving fair treatment to the powerful
and the poor alike. He continued this practice for a whole year, and
after that he started to ride out hunting, touring the lands and districts
that were under his control, proclaiming security and peace and¥acting
as a king. He was unequalled in his time for his renown and courage, as
well as the justice with which he treated his subjects.

It happened that one day the -king, Badr’s father, fell ill, and the
throbbing of his heart alerted him to the fact that he was about to move
to his eternal home. When the illness had become so grave that he was
on the point of death, he summoned his son and instructed him to look
after his subjects, his mother, his officials and all his retainers. These, in
turn, he made bind themselves again with an oath to obey'Badr, and a
few days later he died and was taken to a merciful God. He was mourned
by his son and by ]ulnar, his wife, as well as by the emirs, viziersand
officials of state. They built a tomb for him and buried him there, after
which they sat in mourning for a whole month. Salih arrived with
]ulnar’s mother and her cousins to share in the mourning, saying: ‘]ulnar,
although the king is dead, he has left an excellent son and no one dies
who leaves behind one like this. This young man has no equal; he is a
savage lion . . .’

Night 744

Morning now dawned and Shahrazad broke off from what she had been
allowed to say. Then, when it was the seven hundred and forty-fourth

I have heard, O fortunate king, that ]ulnar’s brother, Salih, together
with her mother and her cousins, told her that, although the king was

dead, he had left behind a son without equal, a savage lion and a shining
moon. The officials of state and the leading men came to Badr, the new
king, and said: ‘There is nothing wrong with grieving for your father,
but mourning is something that is only suitable for women, so do not
let yourself or us become preoccupied with sorrow for your father. He
has died, leaving you to succeed him, and no one who has left behind
someone like you is really dead.’ They spoke gently to him, consoling
him, and they then escorted him to the baths. When he came out, he put
on splendid clothes embroidered with gold and studded with gems and
sapphires, and, after placing the kingly crown on his head, he took his
seat on his royal throne and judged the affairs of his people, giving weak
justice against the strong and helping the poor to their rights over the
emirs. In this way he gained the affection of his people.

This state of affairs continued for a whole year, with his family from
the sea visiting him at short intervals. He led a pleasant and a comfortable
life and this went on for a long time until it happened that one night his
uncle came to visit ]ulnar. He greeted her and she got up to embrace
him, after which she made him sit by her side and asked him how he
was and about her mother and her cousins. He assured her that all was
very well with them and that the only thing they lacked was the sight of
her. She had food brought for him and after he had eaten they began to
talk and the conversation turned to Badr, his beauty and grace, his
symmetrical figure, his mastery of horsemanship, his intelligence and
good manners. Badr himself happened to be resting there, propped on
his elbow, and when he heard his mother and his uncle talking about
him, he listened to what they were saying while pretending to be asleep.
Salih said to ]ulnar: ‘Your son is seventeen years old but, as he has no
wife, I am afraid that something may happen to him and he will leave
no heir. So I want to marry him to one of the sea princesses, his equal in
beauty and grace.’ ‘Tell me their names,” said Julnar, ‘for I know them.’
Salih started to list the princesses one by one, but julnar kept saying:
‘She will not do for my son, and I shall only marry him to someone as
beautiful and graceful as he is, who is his match in intelligence, piety,
good manners, generous qualities, sovereignty and noble birth.’ Salih
said: ‘I don’t know of any other princess. I have given you more than a
hundred names, but you don’t approve of any of them.”

I-Ie then told her to check to see whether Badr was really asleep or
not. When she had touched him and found that it looked as though he
was, she confirmed this to Salih and added: ‘So what do you have to say

and why do you want to find whether he is asleep or not?’ ‘I have thought
of a princess who would suit him,” he said, ‘but I would be afraid of
mentioning her if he were awake lest he fall in love with her, and then
as he might not be able to reach her, he would suffer as would we and
his ministers. This would be a cause of concern for us, as the poet
has said:

Love starts as a drop of water,
But when it takes hold, it is an ocean.’

‘Tell me about this girl,’ said julnar, when she heard this. ‘What is her
name? For I know the sea princesses and the other girls as well, and ifI
see that she is a suitable bride for Badr, I shall ask her father for her
hand, even ifI have to spend all that I have in order to get her, Don’t be
afraid to tell me, as he is asleep.’ Salih objected: ‘I’m afraid that he may
be awake, andvas the poet has said:

I loved her when she was described to me;
At times the ear falls in love before the eye.’

‘You can speak without fear, but keep it brief, brother,’ Julnar told
him. He then said: ‘Sister, the only suitable girl for your son is Princess
]auhara, the daughter of King Samandal, who is his equal in beauty,
grace, splendour and perfection. Nowhere on land or sea is there anyone
more charming or sweeter tempered than she; she is a lovely girl with a
good figure, red cheeks, a radiant brow, teeth like pearls, dark ~eyes,
heavy buttocks, a slender waist and a beautiful face. If she turns, she
puts to shame the wild cows and the gazelles; she sways as she walks
and the branch of the ban tree is filled with jealousy, while, when she is
unveiled, she shames the sun and the moon, captivating all who see her.
Her lips are sweet to kiss and she is soft to embrace.’

When julnar heard what her brother had to say, she exclaimed: ‘By
God, that is true! I have seen her many times, for when we were small
she was my companion, but now, as we live so far apart, our acquaint-
anceship has lapsed and I have not set eyes on her for eighteen years.
She and she alone is worthy of my son.’ Badr heard and understood all
that they had to say from start to finish about Princess Jauhara. What
he heard made him fall in love with her, and although he kept up the
pretence of being asleep, the fire of love blazed up in his heart and he
drowned in a restless sea without a shore.

Night 745

Morning now dawned and Shahrazad broke off from what she had been
allowed to say. Then, when it was the seven hundred and forty~fifth

I have heard, O fortunate king, that when Badr heard what his uncle,
Salih, and his mother, ]ulnar, had to say about the daughter of King
Samandal, the fire of love blazed up in his heart and he drowned in a
restless sea without a shore.

Salih now looked at his sister and said: ‘By God, there is no stupider
man than her father among the kings of the sea and no one more violent
by nature. So don’t tell your son anything about the girl until we can
ask her father for her hand. If he agrees, we can praise Almighty God,
but if he turns us away and refuses to marry her to your son, then we
can let the matter rest and ask for the hand of someone else.’ ‘That is a
good idea,’ replied julnar and the two of them said no more. Salih spent
the night with his sister, but as for Badr he was on fire for love of Princess
jauhara, and although he concealed the matter and said nothing about
her to his mother or his uncle, he was roasting on the coals of passion.

The'next morning he went with his uncle to the baths, and after they
had washed and come out, they drank. Food was brought and Badr ate
together with his mother and his uncle, until, when they had had enough,
they washed their hands. Salih then got to his feet and asked the other
twofor permission to leave, explaining that he wanted to go back to his
mother since he had stayed with them for a number of days andashe
would be concerned about him and expecting him back. ‘Stay with us
for today,’ Badr told him, and when he had agreed to do this, Badr told
Salih to come into the garden with him. The two of them went out and
strolled around inspecting the garden, until Badr sat down under a shady
tree with the intention of taking a restful nap. He then remembered what
Salih had said about the beauty of the princess, and, bursting into a flood
of tears, he recited these lines:

The fire is kindled and blazes in my heart
As my entrails burn.
Were I asked which I would prefer, to see them,
Or to enjoy a drink of cold water, I would choose them.

With further complaints, moans and tears he recited:

Who will protect me from a human gazelle,
Whose face is like the sun, or even lovelier?
Love had not troubled my heart before,
Until it blazed with passion for the daughter of Samandal.

When Salih heard this, he struck his hands together and recited the
formula: ‘There is no god but God; Muhammad is God’s Prophet and
there is no might and no power except with God, the Exalted, the
Omnipotentf He then asked: ‘My son, did you hear what your mother
and I said when we were talking about Princess jauhara and describing
her?’ ‘Yes, uncle,’ Badr replied, ‘and I fell in love when I heard what you
said. So deeply is my heart attached to her that I cannot endure to be
without her.’ ‘Your majesty] said Salih, ‘let us go back to your mother
and tell her what has happened, and then I shall ask her permission to
take you with me so that I may woo the princess for you. When 'ive have
said goodbye to your mother, you and I will come back, for I am afraid
that, if I were to take you and go off without her leave, she would quite
rightly be angry with me, as I would be responsible for parting the two
of you, just as I was responsible for her leaving us. The city would have
no king and no one to lead its citizens and look after their affairs. The
kingdom would be ruined and you would lose your throne.’

On hearing this, Badr said: ‘Uncle, you must know that were I to go
back to my mother and consult her on this she would never allow me to
go, and so I shall not do this.’ I-Ie then burst into tears in front ‘of his
uncle and said: ‘I shall go off with you without telling my mother, and
after that I shall come back.’ When Salih heard this, he was at a loss to
know what to do, and he exclaimed: ‘I ask for help from Almighty God
in every circumstancel’ He saw the state his nephew was in, and, realizing
that he did not want to return to his mother but was going to leave with
him, he took from his finger a ring inscribed with some of the Names of
Almighty God and gave it to him. ‘Put this on your finger] he said, ‘and
it will save you from drowning and from other disasters, as well as from
any harmful sea beasts and fishes.’

Badr took the ring from his uncle and, after he had put it on his finger,
the two of them dived into the sea.

Night 746

Morning now dawned and Shahrazad broke off from what she had been
allowed to say. Then, when it was the seven hundred and forty-sixth

I have heard, O fortunate king, that after Badr and his uncle, Salih,
had dived into the sea, they travelled on to Salih’s palace, where Badr’s
grandmother was seated with her relatives. The two entered and kissed
their hands, and when Badr’s grandmother saw him, she got up to greet
him, embracing him and kissing him between the eyes. ‘This is a happy
arrival, my son,’ she said, before going on to ask: ‘How was your mother,
julnar, when you left her?’ ‘Well and in good health,’ he replied, ‘and
she sent her greetings to you and to her cousins.” Salih then told his
mother of what had happened between him and Julnar and that, because
of what he had heard, Badr had fallen in love with Princess Jauhara, the
daughter of King Samandal.

When he had explained the whole story from beginning to end, he
went on to say that the reason why Badr had come was to ask Samandal
for ]auhara’s hand and then to marry her. On hearing this, his mother
became furiously angry with him and, disturbed and distressed, she
exclaimed: ‘My son, you were wrong to mention Jauhara in front of
your nephew, for you know how stupid Samandal is and that he is a
savage tyrant with little intelligence, who is reluctant to give his daughter
tqany of her suitors. The other sea kings have asked him for her hand,
but he has refused and has not been willing to give her to any single one
of them. In rejecting them, he told them that they were no match for her
in beauty, grace or anything else. I am afraid that if we approach him he
will turn us away as he turned away the others and, honourable as we
are, we will come back disappointed? On hearing this, Salih asked:
‘What can we do then, mother, since it was whenl mentioned her to my
sister, julnar, that Badr fell in love with her? We have to ask for her
hand, even if it costs me all that I own, for he claims that, unless he
marries her, he will die of love for her.’

He went on to tell his mother that Badr was more beautiful and
graceful than jauhara, and that, since Badr had succeeded his father as
king of all the Persians, he was the only suitable husband for her. ‘I
propose to take sapphires and other gems and bring a suitable present
to Samandal before asking him for ]auhara’s hand. If he objects, telling us

that he is a king, then we can say that Badr is a king and the son of a king;
if he points to her beauty, Badr outdoes her in this, and as for the size of
the kingdom, Badr rules over wider lands than she and her father, and has
more troops and guards and a larger state. I must do my best to settle this
affair for my nephew, even if it costs me my life, for I was the cause of the
whole affair and, since it was I who threw him into the sea of love, it is up
to me to try to get him married to the princess, with the help of Almighty
God? ‘Do what you want,’ said his mother, ‘but take care not to speak
rudely to Samandal, as you know how stupid and violent he is, and I am
afraid he might strike you, as he pays no regard to anyone’s rank.’

‘To hear is to obey,” said Salih, and he then got up and took two sacks
filled with sapphires and other gems, together with emerald rods and
precious stones of all kinds, which he gave to his servants to carry. He
and Badr then set out with these treasures, making for the palace of King
Samandal. I-Ie asked leave to approach the king, and when this had been
granted, he went in and kissed the ground before him, greeting him with
the greatest courtesy. For his part, on seeing him the king rose to greet
him and treated him with all possible respect. When lie had sat clown,
as he had been told to do, the king said: ‘This is a happy arrival, Salih,
for we have been lonely without you. Tell me what has brought you
here, so that I may do whatever it is that you want.’

Salih got up and then kissed the ground a second time before saying:
‘King of the age, I address my need to God and to the magnanimpus
king, the great lion, news of whose fame is carried by the caravans~and
the renown of whose bounty, generous deeds, forgiveness, mercy and
benevolence has spread throughout all regions and lands.’ He then
opened up the two bags, and when he had removed from them the jewels
and what else was there, he spread them out in front of Samandal, saying:
‘King of the age, perhaps you would be kind enough to gratify me by
accepting this gift of mine.’

Night 747

Morning now dawned and Shahrazad broke off from what she had been
allowed to say. Then, when it was the seven hundred and forty-seventh

I have heard, O fortunate king, that Salih presented his gift and said:
‘O king, perhaps you would be kind enough to gratify me by accepting

this gift of mine.’ ‘Why have you given me this?’ asked Samandal. ‘Tell
me your story and let me know what you need, for if I can, I shall at
once satisfy it for you without putting you to any trouble, but if I cannot,
then God does not force anyone to do what is beyond his power.’

Salih rose again and, having kissed the ground thrice, he said: ‘King
of the age, you can indeed grant my request, as this is something that is
within your power and under your control. I am not asking you to do
anything difficult and I am not mad enough to talk to you about some-
thing that you cannot do, for a wise man has said: “If you want to be
obeyed, then ask for what is possible.” What I have come to seek is
something that the king, may God preserve him, is able to grant.’ ‘Tell
me what you want; explain the matter and then make your request,” the
king told him, and Salih then said: ‘King of the age, know that I have
come to ask for the hand of the unique pearl, the hidden jewel, the
princess jauhara, your daughter.”

When the king heard this, he laughed scornfully until he fell over
backwards. Then he said: ‘Salih, I used to think of you as someone of
sense, an excellent young man who acted with understanding and said
nothing that was not reasonable. What has happened to your intelligence
and induced you to undertake so grave a business and risk such great
danger, leading you to ask for the hand of the daughter of a king who
rules over lands and climes? Have you reached such a position, coming
at last to so high a rank, or has your mind weakened to such an extent
that you dare say this to my face?’ ‘May God bring the king good
fortune,’ Salih replied. ‘I am not asking this for myself, although if I did,
I am at least her equal, for, as you know, my father was one of the kings
of the sea, even though today it is you who are our ruler. I am asking
for the princess’s hand on behalf of King Badr Basim, ruler of the regions
of Persia, whose father was King Shahriman, whose power you know.
You claim to be a greatking, but King Badr Basim is greater; you claim
that your daughter is beautiful, but King Badr Basim is morebeautiful
with a more handsome appearance and of a more famous lineage. He is
the champion horseman of his time, and if you agree to my request, king
of the age, you will be putting something where it belongs, while if you
stand on your dignity and refuse, you will not be doing us justice or
treating us fairly. As you know, your majesty, Princess jauhara, your
daughter, has to marry, for the sage has said: “The only choice for a girl
is between marriage and the tomb.” If you intend to find a husband for
her, my nephew has a better right to her than anyone else.’

Samandal, on hearing this, fell into such a rage that he almost lost his
mind and came close to expiring. ‘Dog,’ he cried, ‘does a man like you
dare to speak to me like this and to mention my daughter’s name in a
public gathering? You say that the son of your sister julnar is her equal,
but who are you and who is your sister? Who is her son and who is his
father to lead you to say this and to address me in this way? Compared
to her, are you all anything more than dogs?’ He then shouted to his
servants: ‘Cut off the head of this scoundrel!’ The servants unsheathed
their swords and made for Salih, who ran back to the palace gate. When
he got there he found more than a thousand of his cousins, relatives,
clansmen and servants, all in full armour, holding spears and gleaming
swords, who had been sent by his mother to help him. On seeing the
state that he was in they asked him what had happened, and after he
had told them his story, realizing how stupid and violent Samandal was,
they dismounted and entered his court with drawn swords. They found
him, still enraged against Salih, seated on his throne. He had not noticed
them and his servants, pages and guards were unprepared, but when he
saw them brandishing their naked swords, he called out to his followers:
‘Damn you, cut off the heads of these dogsi’ Before long, however, his
followers were routed and fled, after which Salih and his relatives laid
hold of him and tied him up.

Night 748

Morning now dawned and Shahrazad broke off from what she had been
allowed to say. Then, when it was the seven hundred and forty-eighth

I have heard, O fortunate king, that Salih and his relatives tied up
King Samandal.

When jauhara woke to find that her father had been captured and his
guards killed, she left the palace and fled to an island, where she made
for a high tree and hid herself in its topmost branches. During the battle
some of Samandal’s pages had fled and Badr, seeing them, asked what
had happened to them. They told him, and when he heard that Samandal
had been captured, he fled in fear for his own life, saying to himself: ‘It
was I who was the cause of this disturbance, and it is I for whom they
will look.’ So he turned tail to look for safety, without knowing where
he was going. As had been predestined throughout eternity, he reached

the island where Jauhara had taken refuge and, going to her tree, he
threw himself down like a dead man to get some rest, without realizing
that there can be no rest for the pursued and that no one knows what
fate has hidden in the future.

As he lay there, he looked up at the tree and his eyes met those of
Jauhara. Gazing at her, he saw that she was like a shining moon and he
exclaimed: ‘Praise be to the Creator of all, the Omnipotent, Who has
formed this marvellous shape! Praise be to God, the Glorious, the
Creator, the Maker, the Fashioner! By God, if my suspicions are right,
this must be jauhara, the daughter of King Samandal, and I suppose that
when she heard about the battle she must have run away to this island
and hidden herself at the top of the tree. If it is not her, it is someone
even more lovely.’

He then started to think things over and said to himself that he should
go and take hold of her, before asking her about herself. Then, if she
turned out to be Jauhara, he could ask her to marry him, which was
what he wanted. So he got up and said: ‘You who are the goal of desire,
who are you and what has brought you here?’ Jauhara looked at him
and saw that he was like a full moon appearing beneath a dark cloud, a
slender youth with a lovely smile. She told him: ‘Excellent young man, I
am Princess Jauhara, the daughter of King Samandal. I have fled here
because Salih and his army fought with my father, killed some of his
men and captured others, together with my father himself. It was because
of this that I ran away in fear for my life.’ Having repeated this, she
added that she did not know What had happened to her father.

When Badr heard what she had to say, he was astonished at this
remarkable coincidence and said to himself: ‘There is no doubt that I
have got what I want thanks to the capture of her father.’ So he looked
at her and said: ‘Come down from the tree, lady, for love for you is
killing me and your eyes have captured me. All this fighting was because
of my wish to marry you, and you must know that I am Badr Basim,
king of Persia, and that Salih, who is my maternal uncle, approached
your father to ask for your hand. It was because of you that I left my
kingdom, and it is an extraordinary chance that we should have met
here. Come down to me so that you and I may go to your father’s palace,
where I shall ask my uncle to free him, and we can then be married

Jauhara listened to this but said to herself: ‘It is thanks to this miserable
wretch that all this happened, that my father 'was captured and his

chamberlains and followers killed, while I myself have been driven from
my palace and forced to come here. I shall have to think of some scheme
to protect myself from him, for otherwise, ifl fall into his power, he will
take what he wants, as he is a lover and whatever lovers do is not held
to be a fault.’ So she tricked him with soft words and he did not realize
the deception that she had in mind. ‘Master and light of my eyes,’ she
said, ‘are you really King Badr Basim, the son of Queen ]ulnar?’ ‘Yes,
my lady,’ he told her.

Night 749

Morning now dawned and Shahrazad broke off from what she had been
allowed to say. Then, when it was the seven hundred and fortyfninth

I have heard, O fortunate king, that jauhara said to Badr: ‘Master,
are you really King Badr Basim, the son of Queen ]ulnar?’ ‘Yes, my
lady,’ he told her. She said: ‘If my father was looking for someone more
handsome than you or with finer qualities, then may God destroy him,
take away his kingdom, give him no comfort and leave him in exile. By
God, he is a stupid blunderer, but don’t blame him for what he did. If
you love me an inch, I love you a yard. I have become entangled in your
love and am one of your victims, as your own love has moved to me,
leaving you with only a tenth of what I have.’

She climbed down from the treetop, went up to him and embraced
him, clasping him to her breast and beginning to kiss him. When he saw
what she was doing, the passion of his love for her increased because he
was sure that she loved him. So he returned her embraces, kissing her
and exclaiming: ‘Princess, I swear by God that my uncle Salih never told
me a quarter of a tenth of your beauty, nor a quarter of one carat from
among its twenty-four.’ She clasped him again to her breast, but then,
after muttering some unintelligible words, she spat in his face and said:
‘Leave this mortal shape and take the form of a lovely bird with white
feathers and a red beak and feet.’ Before she had finished speaking, Badr
had turned into a beautiful bird, and after shaking himself, he stood up
on his feet and remained staring at her.

Jauhara had a slave girl named Marsina at whom she now looked and
said: ‘By God, if I were not afraid because his uncle is holding my father
prisoner, I would kill him, may God give him no good reward. What ill

fortune he has brought here with him, for all this business is thanks to
him!’ She then told the girl to take him to the Waterless Island and leave
him there to die of thirst. The girl took him there and was about to
abandon him and come back, when she said to herself: ‘By God, no one
as beautiful and graceful as this deserves to die of thirst,’ and so she took
him from there to a wooded island with fruits and streams, where she
left him. She then returned to her mistress and said that she had deposited
the bird on the Waterless Island.

So much for Badr, but as for his uncle Salih, when he had killed
Samandal’s guards and servants and had taken the king himself as a
prisoner, he looked for jauhara, the king’s daughter, but failed to find
her. He then rejoined his mother in his palace and asked her where his
nephew Badr was. ‘By God, my son,’ she said, ‘I have no idea, and I
don’t know Where he Went, but when he heard that you had been fighting
with King Samandal he took fright and fled.’ Salih was distressed to hear
this and said: ‘We neglected him. I’m afraid that he may die or fall in
with one of Samandal’s men or even with Princess jauhara herself.
This will bringshame on us as far as his mother is concerned, and no
good will come to us from her, for I took him without her permission.’
He sent out guards and scouts towards the sea and in other directions to
try to” track Badr, but they could find no news of him and had to come
back and report their failure. This added to Salih’s distress and anxiety
for his nephew.

So much for Badr and his uncle Salih, but as for his mother, Julnar,
the sea queen, after her son had gone down with Salih, she waited for
him, but he did not come back and news of him was slow in coming.
After having sat Waiting for some days, she got up, plunged into the sea
and went to her mother, who, on seeing her, rose to kiss and embrace
her, as did her cousins. She then asked about Badr, and her mother told
her: ‘He came with his uncle, who took sapphires and other gems and
set off with them, accompanied by your son, to King Samandal, whom
he asked for the hand of his daughter. Samandal refused and spoke
roughly to your brother. I had sent him something like a thousand riders,
and there was a light between them and Samandal in which God gave
victory to your brother. Samandal’s guards and his troops were killed
and he himself was captured. Badr heard of that and he seems to have
feared for his own life, as he fled from use through no choice of ours.
Since then he has not come back and we have heard no news of him.’
Julnar then asked about Salih and was told by her mother that he was

seated on the royal throne in Samandal’s palace and had sent out scouts
in all directions to search both for Badr and for Princess jauhara.

Julnar was filled with sorrow for her son when she heard her mother’s
news, and she was furiously angry with her brother Salih for having
taken Badr off into the sea without her permission. She told her mother:
‘I am afraid for our kingdom because I came to you without telling
anyone there, and if I am slow to return I fear that things may go wrong
and that we may lose control. I think that the right thing for me to do is
to go back and govern the kingdom until God settles the affair of my
son, but you are not to forget about him or neglect to search for him. If
he comes to harm, I shall very certainly die, as he is my only link with
this world and his life is my only pleasure.’ ‘We shall do this willingly,
my daughter,’ her mother replied, ‘and you need not ask how saddened
we are to be separated from him when he is away.’ While her mother sent
out search parties, ]ulnar herself returned to her kingdom in sorrowful
tears and in a state of great distress.

Night 750

Morning now dawned and Shahrazad broke off from what she had been
allowed to say. Then, when it was the seven hundred and fiftieth night,

I have heard, O fortunate king, that]ulnar left her mother and returned
to her kingdom in a state of great distress. So much for her.

As for Badr himself, after jauhara had cast a spell on him she had
ordered a slave girl to take him off and abandon him to die of thirst on
the Waterless Island. The girl, however, disobeyed her and left him on
an island that was green and well wooded, with fruits which he ate and
streams from which he drank. He stayed there in his bird shape for a
number of days and nights, not knowing where to go or how to fly.
Then, one day, a hunter came looking for something to catch and eat.
He caught sight of the Badr bird with its white feathers and red beak
and legs, which captivated the eye and enchanted the heart. The sight of
it delighted the hunter and he said to himself: ‘This is a lovely creature
and its beauty and form are such as I have never seen in any other bird.’
He threw his net and caught it, after which he went to the local town,
telling himself that he would sell it for a good price. One of the towns-
people met him and asked how much he wanted for it. ‘IfI sell it to you,

what will you do with it?’ the hunter asked, and the man replied: ‘I’ll
kill it and eat it.’ ‘Who could bring himself to treat it like that?’ asked
the hunter. ‘I intend to present it to the king, who will give me more
than I would get from you and, far from killing it, will enjoy looking at
its beauty, for in all my life as a hunter I have never seen anything like
it on land or sea. As for you, even if you wanted it, the most that you
would give me for it would be a single dirham and so I swear by Almighty
God that I shall not sell it.’

The hunter then took the bird to the palace and the king, struck by its
beauty and the redness of its beak and legs, sent a eunuch to buy it from
him. The eunuch asked if he was prepared to sell and the man said: ‘No,
but I shall give it to the king as a present from me.’ The eunuch took the
bird and went to tell the king what the man had said, and the king
accepted it, giving the hunter ten dinars. He took these and, after having
kissed the ground, he went off, leaving the eunuch to take the bird to
the palace, where he hung it up in a fine cage with food and water. When
the king came he asked for it to be brought to him so_ that he could
admire its beauty, but when the eunuch brought it and set it in front of
him, he could see that it had eaten none of its food. ‘By God,’ said the
king, ‘I don’t know how to feed it as I don’t know what it eats.’ He then
ordered food to be brought, and when the tables had been set before
him he sampled it. When the bird saw the meat and the other foodstuffs,
together with the sweetmeats and the fruit, it started to eat from all the
dishes that were in front of the king. When he saw what it ate, the king
was astonished and amazed, as was everyone else there. He told his
entourage of eunuchs and mamluks: ‘Never in my life have I seen a bird
eating like this one,’ and he ordered that his wife be brought to look at
it. The eunuch was sent to fetch her and, when he saw her, he said:
‘Mistress, the king wants you to come and look at the bird that he has
bought. When we brought in food, it flew out of its cage and settled on
the table, after which it ate from all the dishes that were there. Come and
look, mistress, as it is a beautiful creature, one of the marvels of the age.’

When the queen heard this, she came quickly, but after she had studied
the bird carefully, she covered her face and turned back again. The king
followed her and asked her why she had veiled herself when there was
no one there apart from the slave girls and eunuchs who were in her
service, as well as her own husband. ‘Your majesty,’ she answered, ‘this
is no bird but a man like you.’ ‘That cannot be true!’ he exclaimed. ‘You
must be joking. How can it be anything but a bird?’ ‘By God, I am not

joking with you and I have told you nothing but the truth,’ she said,
adding: ‘This is King Badr Basim, the son of Shahriman, king of Persia,
and of Julnar, the sea queen.’

Night 751

Morning now dawned and Shahrazad broke off from what she had been
allowed to say. Then, when it was the seven hundred and fifty-first night,

I have heard, O fortunate king, that the queen told the king: ‘This is
no bird but a man like you, and he is Badr Basim, the son of King
Shahriman and Julnar, the sea queen.’ ‘How did he come to be in this
shape? her husband asked, and she explained: ‘Princess Jauhara, the
daughter of King Samandal, put a spell on him.’ Then she told him
everything that had happened to Badr from beginning to end, explaining
that he had asked her father for Jauhara’s hand and had been refused
and how his uncle Salih had then fought With Samandal and got the
better of him before capturing him. The king was astonished to hear all
this, but, as she was the leading sorceress of her age, he said: ‘I implore
you to release him from this spell and free him from his torture. May
God cut off Jauhara’s hand. How foul and irreligious she must be and
how full of deceit and trickery!’ The queen told him: ‘Say to him: “Badr,
go into this closet.” ’ The king did that, and when Badr heard the order,
he obeyed. The queen then veiled her face and Went into the closet with
a cup of water in her hand, over which she recited some unintelligible
Words. Then she said: ‘I conjure you by the virtue of these great names,
by the noble verses of the Quran and by the truth of God, the Exalted,
the Creator of the heavens and the earth, Who brings the dead to life,
Who apportions men their livelihood and allots them their life spans,
leave your present shape and return to the form in which God created
you.’ Before she had finished speaking, Badr shook himself and resumed
his human form, appearing before the king as a young man unsurpassed
in beauty by any of the inhabitants of the earth.

For his part, when Badr saw what had happened, he exclaimed: ‘There
is no god but God and Muhammad is the Prophet of God! Praise be to
the Creator of all things, Who decrees for men their livelihoods and their
allotted spans.’ Then he kissed the king’s hands, praying that he be
granted long life, and in return the king kissed his head and said: ‘Badr,

tell me your story from beginning to end.’ Badr did this, concealing
nothing, and the astonished king said: ‘Now that God has freed you
from this sorcery, what plan do you have and what do you want to do?’
‘King of the age,” Badr replied, ‘would you be kind enough to prepare
a ship for me, manned by a crew of your servants and supplied with
the necessary provisions? I have been away for a long time and I am
afraid of losing my kingdom. I doubt whether my mother will still be
alive, thanks to my absence, as I think it likely that grief for me will have
killed her. She does not know what happened to me or whether I am
alive or dead, and so I would ask you to complete your kindness to
me by granting my request.’ The king, taking note of Badr’s beauty and
eloquence, agreed to this, exclaiming: ‘To hear is to obey!’ He got a
ship ready for him, provisioned it and detailed a number of his servants
to go with him.

After Badr had taken his leave and embarked, the ship put to sea and
enjoyed favourable winds for ten consecutive days. Then, on the eleventh
day, the sea became very rough, the ship rising and falling out of its
crew’s control, and it continued to be tossed to and fro by the waves
until it approached a reef, on which it struck. The ship itself was smashed
and aH on board were drowned except for Badr, who had come close to
death but had managed to climb on to a plank. He had no idea where
he was going and he had no means of controlling the plank as it took
him wherever wind and wave carried it. This went on for three days and
on the fourth it was washed up on a shore where Badr discovered a city
gleaming like the whitest of doves. It was built on a peninsula that ran
out to sea and was tall and well constructed, with lofty walls against
which the sea broke.

Badr was delighted by the sight of this peninsula, as he was half-dead
of hunger and thirst. He got off his plank with the intention of going up
to the city, but, as he did so, herds of mules, donkeys and horses, in
numbers like grains of sand, approached and began to strike at him,
preventing him from getting there. So he swam around to the far side of
the city, and when he landed he was astonished to find that there was
no one there. ‘Who do you suppose owns this city,” he asked himself, ‘as
it has no king and no inhabitants? Where did the mules, donkeys and
horses come from that stopped me reaching it?’ He was thinking about
this as he walked along with no notion where he was going when he
caught sight of an old greengrocer, with whom he exchanged greetings.
The man looked at him, and, on seeing how handsome he was, he said:

‘Where have you come from, young man, and what has brought you
here?’ Badr astonished him with his story, which he told from beginning
to end, and the old man then asked: ‘My son, did you see anyone as you
came?’ ‘Father,’ said Badr, ‘I was surprised to discover that there was no
one in the city.’ ‘Come into my shop,’ the man said, ‘lest you be killed.’

Badr went in and sat down in the shop while his host got up and
fetched him food, telling him to come to the inner room and exclaiming,
to his great alarm: ‘Glory be to God, who has saved you from this
she-devil.’ After having eaten his fill, Badr washed his hands and, looking
at the old man, he asked: ‘Master, what are you talking about? You have
made me frightened of the city and its people.’ ‘My son,’ replied the
other, ‘you must know that this is a city of magicians and that its queen
is a witch, a she-devil, a soothsayer and a mistress of magic, wiles and
treachery. The horses, mules and donkeys that you can see were all men
like you and me, who came here as strangers. Any handsome young man
like you who arrives here is taken by this infidel Sorceress, who keeps
him with her for forty days and after that she transforms him into a
mule or a horse or a donkey, like those that you saw by the'shore.’

Night 752

Morning now dawned and Shahrazad broke off from what she had been
allowed to say. Then, when it was the seven hundred and fifty-second

I have heard, O fortunate king, that the old greengrocer told Badr
about the sorceress queen and explained that she had transformed all
the inhabitants of the city, going on: ‘When you wanted to land, they
were afraid that you might be enchanted as they had been, and it was
out of pity for you that they were trying to tell you by their gestures not
to land lest the Sorceress see you and treat you as she had treated them.’
He went on to say that the Sorceress had taken the city from its people
by magic and that her name was Queen Lab, a Word meaning ‘calculation
of the sun’. Badr was terrihed when he heard this" and began to tremble
like a reed in the wind. ‘I have only just managed to escape from a
misfortune brought on me by magic, before fate delivers me to an even
Worse place.’

The old man saw that he was brooding about his circumstances and
his experiences and that he was terribly afraid. ‘My son,’ he said, ‘come

and sit on the doorstep of the shop and look at these creatures, their
different coverings and species, and the enchantment from which they
suffer. There is no need to be frightened, because the queen and all the
townsfolk are on friendly terms with me. They look after me and cause
me no alarm or distress.’ When Badr heard that, he came out and sat by
the shop door as the people passed by, looking at the sights and the
innumerable creatures that were there. When the people saw him, they
approached the old man and asked: ‘Is this a captive of yours whom you
have taken recently?’ ‘This is my nephew,’ he told them. ‘I heard 'that
his father had died and so I sent to him and brought him here to quench
the fire of my longing.’ They said: ‘He is a handsome young man and we
are afraid that Queen Lab will trick you and take him from you, as she
has a liking for pretty boys.’ ‘The queen will not go against what I tell
her,’ replied the old man, ‘for she looks after my interests and is fond of
me. When she finds out that he is my nephew, she will not do anything
to harm him or cause me concern about him.’

Badr stayed for some months with the old man, who supplied him
with food and drink and had deep affection for him. Then, one day,
While he was in his usual place by the shop door, he was suddenly
confronted by a thousand eunuchs with drawn swords in their hands,
variousfyrclad, but with jewel-studded belts around theirwaists. They
were riding on Arab horses with their Indian swords hanging from
baldrics, and after they had come to the old man’s shop, they greeted
him and then went off. They were followed by a thousand slave girls as
beautiful as moons, who wore smooth silks embroidered with gold and
set with jewels of all kinds. They were all carrying spears and in the
middle of them was one riding on an Arab mare with a saddle of gold,
studded with sapphires and other gems. They too came to the shop and
greeted the old man before leaving. Next came Queen Lab herself in a
'great procession, and she rode up to the shop, where she saw Badr sitting
like the full moon.

She was astounded and taken aback by his beauty and became infatu-
ated with him. As a result, she came to the shop, dismounted and sat
down beside him. ‘Where did this handsome youth arrive from?" she
asked the old man. ‘He is a nephew of mine who has only recently come,’
the man told her. ‘Let him spend the night with me so that we can talk,’
she said. ‘Do you agree not to put a spell on him if you take him from
me?’ he asked, and when she said yes, he asked her to swear an oath for
him. She swore not to harm him or enchant him, and then on her orders

a fine horse was brought for him, saddled and provided with a golden
bridle, all of its trappings being made of gold and set with jewels. She
then presented the old man with a thousand dinars for his own use.

She now Went off with Badr, who was looking like a full moon on its
fourteenth night, and as he rode with her, all those who saw how
handsome he was felt sorry for him, saying: ‘By God, this young man
does not deserve to be enchanted by this damned woman.’ Badr heard
what they were saying but he kept quiet, having entrusted his affairs to
Almighty God. They rode on to the palace . . .

Night 753

Morning now dawned and Shahrazad broke off from what she had been
allowed to say. Then, when it was the seven hundred and Hfty-third

I have heard, O fortunate king, that Badr, Queen Lab and her followers
rode on to the palace door, where the emirs, the great ministers of state
and the eunuchs dismounted. The queen instructed her chamberlains to
order all the officials to disperse, which they did after having kissed the
ground. Accompanied by her eunuchs and slave girls she then entered
her palace, a building the like of which Badr had never seen. Its walls
were of gold and in the centre of it was a huge lake with a plentiful
supply of water set in an extensive garden. In the garden, Badr saw birds
whose songs were of all kinds, joyful and sad, while they themselves
were of various shapes and colours. At these indications of great power he
exclaimed: ‘Praise be to God, Who through His generosity and clemency
provides for those who worship other gods!’

The queen took her seat on an ivory couch with splendid coverings by
a window that overlooked the garden. As Badr sat down beside her, she
kissed him and clasped him to her breast before telling her slave girls to
fetch a table of food. The table they brought in was made of red gold set
with pearls and other jewels and laden with all kinds of food. The two
of them ate their fill, and when they had washed their hands, the slave
girls fetched vessels of gold, silver and crystal, together with flowers and
bowls of dried fruits. On the queen’s orders, ten singing girls as beautiful
as moons then entered with various musical instruments in their hands.
She herself filled a goblet with wine and drank it, after which she filled
another and passed it to Badr. He took it and drank and they went on

drinking like that until they had had enough. The queen then told the
girls to sing, and the melodies they produced made it seem to Badr that
the palace itself was dancing with joy. He became light-headed, and in
his delight he forgot that he was a stranger. ‘This a lovely young
woman,’ he told himself. ‘I shall never leave her, for this kingdom of
hers is bigger than mine and she is more beautiful than Jauhara.’
He went on drinking with her until evening, when the lamps and the
candles were lit and incense released. They both drank until they were
drunk, to the accompaniment of the songs of the singing girls, and when
the queen was drunk she got up and lay down on a couch, dismissing
her girls, and she then told Badr to lie down beside her. He slept with
her, enjoying the greatest pleasure until morning came.

Night 754

Morning now dawned and Shahrazad broke off from what she had been
allowed to say. Then, when it was the seven hundred and fifty-fourth

I have heard, O fortunate king, that the queen then woke and took
Badr _with her to the palace baths, where they bathed. When they left,
she produced for him the finest of clothes, and when they had drunk
from goblets fetched, on her instructions, by slave girls, she took him by
the hand and they both sat down on chairs. She ordered food to be
brought and after they had eaten they washed their hands. The slave
girls then fetched goblets and fruits, fresh as well as dried, together with
flowers, and Badr and the queen went on eating and drinking as the girls
sang a variety of melodies until evening came. They continued to enjoy
themselves in this way for forty days, after which the queen asked: ‘Badr,
which is the more pleasant place, this or your uncle’s shop?’ ‘By God,
your majesty,’ Badr replied, ‘it is more pleasant here, as my uncle is a
poor man who sells beans,’ at which she laughed and the two of them
passed the night in enjoyment until morning.

When Badr woke up, he failed to find the queen lying beside him and
he wondered where she could have gone. He was disturbed by her
absence and he did not know what he should do. A long time passed
ind when she still had not come back he put on his clothes, saying to
himself: ‘Where can she have got to?’ He searched for her unsuccessfully
and then he told himself that she might have gone to the garden. He

went there himself, and there beside a flowing stream he caught sight of
a white bird with other birds of various colours on top of a tree that was
growing by the bank. As he looked, he saw a black bird fly down from
the tree and start to feed the white bird with its beak as doves do, before
treading it thrice. After a while the white bird changed into human shape,
and when Badr looked closely he saw that this was Queen Lab. He
realized that the black bird must be a man under a spell and that the
queen, being in love with him, had transformed herself into a bird in
order to copulate with him. This made him jealous and because of the
bird he became angry with the queen.

When he got back to his room he lay down on his bed, and after a
time the queen came and started to kiss him and to joke with him, but
he was too angry to say a single word. She realized what he was feeling
and was sure that he must have seen her when she had turned into a
bird, to be trodden by her mate, but she gave nothing away and kept
this secret. After Badr had satisfied her lust, he asked her to allow him
to go to his uncle’s shop, pointing out that he had not seen him for forty
days and was longing for a meeting. ‘Go to him,’ she said, ‘but come
back to me quickly, for I cannot bear to be parted from you for a single
hour.’ ‘To hear is to obey,’ he replied, and he then mounted and rode to
the old man’s shop. The old man got up to embrace him and then asked:
‘How are you getting on with the infidel woman? ‘All was going well,’
Badr replied, ‘but this last night she went to sleep beside me and when I
woke up I couldn’t find her. I put on my clothes and went around looking
for her until I came to the garden.’ He then explained about the stream
and the birds that he had seen on the-treetop. When the old man heard
about this, he said: ‘Be on your guard against her. You must know that
the birds on the tree were all young strangers who became her lovers
and whom she then changed by magic into birds. The black bird was
one of her mamluks of whom she was particularly fond, but he turned
his attention to one of the slave girls and she transformed him by magic
into his present shape.” ,

Night 755

Morning now dawned and Shahrazad broke off from what she had been
allowed to say. Then, when it was the seven hundred and fifty-fifth night,

I have heard, O fortunate king, that Badr told the old greengrocer all
about Queen Lab and what he had seen her do. The man explained that
all the birds on the tree were young strangers, whom she had transformed
by magic. The black bird had been one of her mamluks, whom she had
turned into that shape by a spell. ‘Then, whenever she wants him,’ he
went on, ‘she turns herself into a bird so that he can tread her, as she is
still deeply in love with him. Now that she has realized that you know
about this, she will harbour a grudge against you and try to harm you.
But no harm will come to you as long as I am here to protect you. There
is no need to be afraid, for I am a Muslim named Abdallah, and there
is no greater sorcerer in this age, although I only use magic when I am
forced to it. I have often frustrated the spells of this damned witch and
saved people from her. She does not worry me as she has no power over
me, but, on the contrary, she is terrified of me, as are all the other
sorcerers of her kind in the city. They are all co-religionaries of hers,
worshipping fire in place of the Omnipotent God. Come back to me
tomorrow and tell me what she did to you, for she will try her best to
destroy you tonight, and I will tell you what to do to in order to escape
from her wiles.’

Badr said goodbye to the old man and went back to the queen, whom
he found sitting and waiting for him. When she saw him she got up to
welcome him, before making him sit and fetching him food and drink.
The two of them ate until they had had enough, and, after they had then
washed their hands, she ordered wine to be brought. When it had come,
they started to drink and went on until midnight, as she kept leaning
over to pass him Wine cups until he became drunk and incapable. When
she saw this, she said: ‘In God’s Name, I conjure you by the object of
your worship to tell me, if I ask you about something, will you give me
a truthful answer?’ ‘Yes,’ replied the drunken Badr, and she went on:
‘You did not find me there when you woke up and so you looked for me
and came to me in the garden, where you saw me in the form of a white
bird and you saw the black bird which flew down on me. I shall tell you
the truth about this bird, which was one of my mamluks, Whom I loved
dearly. One day he eyed one of my slave girls, and in my jealousy I
changed him by magic into the shape of a bird and killed the girl. Now,
however, I find that I cannot do without him for a single hour and
whenever I want him I turn myself into a bird and go to him so that he
can tread me and possess me as you saw. Is this not why you are angry
with me? Although I swear by fire, light, dark and heat that I love you

even more, and that you are all that I want from the world.’ Badr, still
in his drunken state, said: ‘You are right in thinking that it was this and
only this that made me angry.’

She then clasped him to her breast and kissed him, pretending to be
in love with him, and she then went to sleep while he slept beside her.
Halfway through the night she got out of bed. Badr was awake but
pretended to be sleeping, and he stole a glance at her to see what she
was doing. From a red bag she took something red which she scattered
in the middle of the palace, where it turned into a flowing stream like a
sea. Next she took a handful of barley, sowed it on the soil and, when
she had watered it from the stream, the grains became stalks with ears,
which she took and ground into flour. She put this away somewhere and
then went back to sleep beside Badr until morning.

In the morning, Badr got up, washed his face and then asked the
queen’s permission to visit the old greengrocer. When she had allowed
him to go, he went off and told the man what she had done and what
he had seen. On hearing this, the old man burst out laughing and said:
‘By God, this infidel witch has laid a trap for you, but you have no need
to worry about her.’ He then brought out a ratl’s weight of barley gruel
and told Badr to take it with him. ‘When she sees you,’ he went on, ‘she
will ask what it is and what you are doing with it. Tell her: “Eat it, as
you can never have too much of a good thing.” She will then produce
something<i>sawiq</i> of her own, which she will tell you to sample. You must pretend
to do that, but instead you must eat mine, taking care not to take a single
grain of hers. Were you to do that, you would be under her spell; she
would bewitch you and when she said: “Leave your human shape,” you
would find yourself transformed into whatever shape she might choose,
but if you don’t eat any of it, her spell will not work and no harm will
come to you. She will be covered with embarrassment and will tell you:
“I was only joking,” while professing love and affection for you, but this
will merely be hypocrisy and trickery on her part. You yourself should
make the same pretence of love for her and say: “My mistress and the
light of my eyes, try this dish of mine and see how tasty it is.” If she eats
even one grain, take some water in your hand and dash it in her face,
telling her to quit her mortal shape for any other that you want. Then
leave her and come back to me so that I can arrange something for you.”

Badr said goodbye to him and went up to the palace. When he came
to the queen, she welcomed him, getting up and kissing him. ‘You have
been slow in coming back to me,’ she complained, and he told her: ‘I

was with my uncle, who gave me some of this <i>sawiq</i> to eat.’ ‘I have some
that is better,’ she said, and she then put his on one plate and her own
on another before saying: ‘Try some of this, for it is tastier than yours.’
He pretended to do this, and when she thought that he had eaten it she
took some water in her hand and sprinkled it over him before saying:
‘Leave this shape, you miserable wretch, and become an ugly one-eyed
mule.’ When she saw that, far from being transformed, he was still
exactly as he had been, she got up, kissed him between the eyes and said:
‘My darling, I was playing a joke on you. Don’t be angry with me.’ ‘By
God, lady,’ he replied, ‘my feelings towards you have not changed at all.
I am sure that you love me, so eat some of this food of mine.’ She took
a mouthful and ate it, but when it s settled in her stomach she had
convulsions and he took some water in his hand and sprinkled it over
her face, saying: ‘Quit your human shape and become a dappled mule.’
When she looked at herself and found that this was what she was, tears
began to roll down her cheeks and she started to rub at them with her
legs. Badr fetched a bridle but she refused to accept it, and so he left her and went back to the old man to tell him what had happened.

The old man now went and fetched another bridle for him, telling him
to take it and use it on her. He brought it back to her, and when she saw
him she went up and he put it in her mouth. After that, he mounted her
and left the palace to return to Abdallah. He, on seeing the mule, went
up to her and said: ‘May Almighty God pay you back, you damned
woman.’,He then told Badr: ‘My son, you cannot stay here any longer,
so mount her and ride off to wherever you want, but take care not to
hand over the bridle to anyone.’

Badr thanked him, took his leave and left. When he had ridden for
three days, he came in sight of a city and was met by an old man with a
handsome head of white hair who asked him where he had come from.
‘From the city of the witch,” Badr told him, at which the man offered
him hospitality for the night. He accepted and as he was accompanying
his host along the road, he came across an old woman who wept when
she saw the mule and exclaimed: ‘There is no god but God! This is very
like my son’s mule which, to my sorrow, has just died. I implore you in
God’s Name, master, to sell yours to me.’ ‘By God, mother, I cannot do
that,’ he told her, but she urged him not to refuse her, saying: ‘If I don’t
buy it for him, my son will very certainly die.’ She went on and on
pressing him, until at last he said: ‘I shall only sell it for a thousand
dinars,’ thinking to himself: ‘Where will an old woman like this get a

thousand dinars?’ At that, however, she produced the money from her
belt and when Badr said: ‘I was only joking, mother, and I cannot sell
the mule,’ the old man looked at him and said: ‘My son, in this town no
one tells lies, for any liar found here is put to death.”
Badr dismounted . . .

 Night 756

Morning now dawned and Shahrazad broke off from what she had been
allowed to say. Then, when it was the seven hundred and fifty-sixth

I have heard, O fortunate king, that Badr dismounted and handed the
mule over to the old woman. She removed the bit from its mouth and
then took some water in her hand, which she sprinkled over it, saying:
‘Daughter, leave this shape and resume the one that you had before.’ At
that, the mule instantly became a woman again and she and her rescuer
went up to ,each other and embraced. Badr realized' that this must be
Lab’s mother and that he had been tricked. He was about to take to his
heels when the old woman gave a loud whistle and an ‘ifrit like a huge
mountain appeared in front of her. Badr stopped still in fear and the old
woman mounted on the ‘ifrit’s back, taking up her daughter behind her
and setting Badr in front of her. The ‘ifrit flew off with them and no
more than an hour had passed before they had returned to the queen’s

When she had taken her seat on her royal throne, she turned to Badr
and said: ‘Miserable wretch, here I am again with my wishes granted,
and I shall now show you what I shall do with you and the old green-
grocer. How many favours have I shown him, but still he tries to harm
me, and it was only thanks to him that you got what you wanted.’ She
then took water, sprinkled him with it and said: ‘Quit your shape and
become the ugliest of all birds.” Instantly Badr was transformed into a
repulsive-looking bird and the queen put him in a cage, allowing him
neither food nor drink. I-Ie was seen, however, by a slave girl who took
pity on him and began to feed him and supply him with water without
the queen’s knowledge.

One day this girl found that her mistress was not paying attention to
her, and so she went off to tell the old greengrocer what had happened,
saying: ‘Queen Lab intends to kill your nephew? He thanked her and

said: ‘I am going to have to take the city from her and put you in her
place as its queen.’ He gave a loud whistle, at which a four-winged ‘ifrit
appeared. ‘Take this girl,’ the old man said, ‘and carry her to the city of
Julnar, the sea queen, and her mother, Farasha, for they are the finest
magicians on the face of the earth.’ He then told the girl: ‘When you get
there, tell the two of them that King Badr Basim is being held prisoner
by Queen Lab.’ The ‘ifrit took up the girl and no more than an hour
later he set her down in ]ulnar’s palace. She came down from the roof
and entered ]ulnar’s presence, where she kissed the ground and told her
all that had happened to her son from start to finish. julnar gOt up,
treated her with honour and thanked her, after which she had drums
beaten throughout the city to spread the good news, announcing to the
citizens and the state officials that King Badr had been found.

Julnar and her mother, Farasha, together with Salih, her brother, then
summoned all the tribes of the jinn and the armies of the sea, since after
the capture of Samandal the jinn kings obeyed them. They then flew off
through the air and alighted at Lab’s city, where they sacked the palace
and in the twinkling of an eye had killed all the infidels that they found
there. julnar then asked the girl where her son was, and the girl fetched
the cage and put it down in front of her. Pointing at the bird inside it,
slfesaidz ‘Here he is.’ Julnar brought him out of the cage and then, taking
some water in her hand, she sprinkled him with it and said: ‘Leave this
shape for the one you had before.’ Before she had finished speaking, the
bird shivered and became a man again. Julnar, seeing her son in his
original shape, embraced him, as did Salih, his uncle, Farasha, his grand-
mother, and his cousins, who started to kiss his hands and feet, while
he, for his part, shed floods of tears. Julnar sent for the old greengrocer
and thanked him for his goodness to her son, before marrying him to
the girl whom he had sent to bring her the news of Badr. The marriage
was consummated, and ]ulnar then appointed Qhbdallah as king of the
city. She summoned the Muslims who remained there and made them
take an oath of allegiance to Yfibdallah and vow to obey and serve him,
which they agreed to do.

When Julnar and the others had taken their leave of ‘Abdallah they
returned to their own city, and when they reached the palace they were
met by the citizens with gladness and rejoicing. As an expression of their
delight at the return of Badr, their king, the city was adorned with
decorations for three days, after which Badr told his mother: ‘It only
remains for me to get married, so that we may all remain together? ‘That

is a good idea,’ she agreed, ‘but wait until we can ask which princess
would make you a suitable bride.’ Farasha, Badr’s grandmother, together
with his uncle Salih and his cousins, all promised to help, and each one
of them went out on this quest throughout the lands. Julnar herself sent
her slave girls, riding on ‘ifrits, with orders to look at all the pretty girls
that were to be found in every city and every royal palace. When Badr
saw the trouble that they were taking in the search, he told his mother
to stop, adding: ‘No one will satisfy me except Jauhara, the daughter of
King Samandal, for she is a jewel, like her name.'*

* jauhar is Arabic for ‘jewel’.

When she knew what
he wanted, Julnar had Samandal brought before her, after which she
sent for Badr and told him that Samandal was there. Badr went into the
room, and when Samandal saw him coming he got up, greeted him
and welcomed him. Badr then asked him for his daughter’s hand and
Samandal replied: ‘She is at your service as your slave to command?

Samandal now sent a number of his companions back to his own
country with orders to fetch his daughter and to tell her that her father
was with King Badr. Off they flew and before an hour had passed they
had returned, bringing the princess with them. When she saw her father,
she went up to him and embraced him. For his part, he looked at her
and said: ‘Daughter, know that I have married you to this great king,
the mighty lion, King Badr Basim, son of Queen Julnar, for he is the
handsomest man of his time, the highest in rank and the noblest. He is
the only suitable husband for you and you are the only suitable wife for
him.’ ‘I cannot disobey you, father,’ she said, ‘so do what you want. My
worries and distress are over and I am one of his servants.’

At that, the qadis and notaries were brought forward and a marriage
contract drawn up between King Badr, son of ]ulnar the sea queen, and
the Princess Jauhara. The city was adorned with decorations, drums
were beaten to spread the good news, all prisoners were released and the
king provided clothes for widows and orphans as well as presenting
robes of honour to the officers of state, the emirs and the grandees. There
was a great festival with banquets and celebrations that continued night
and day for ten days. jauhara was displayed to Badr in nine different
robes, after which he gave a robe of honour to King Samandal and
returned him to his own country, his family and his relations. They
remained enjoying the pleasantest of lives and the most delightful of
times, eating, drinking and living in comfort until they were visited by

the destroyer of delights and the parter of companions. This is the end
of their story, may God have mercy on them all.

A story is told, O fortunate king, that in the old days there was a Persian
king named Muhammad ,ibn Saba’ik, who ruled over Khurasan. Every
year he would launch raids on the lands of the unbelievers in Hind,
Sind, China, Transoxania and other foreign parts. He was a just and
courageous ruler, characterized -by generosity, and he had a fondness
for social gatherings, tales, poems, histories and stories, narratives and
conversations. Anyone who could remember a remarkable tale and tell
it to him would be rewarded, and it is said that when a stranger came
with this kind of thing, and the king approved of it, he would be pre-
sented with a splendid robe of honour, given a thousand dinars and
provided with a horse, saddled and bridled. After having been clothed
from top to toe, he would be given great gifts to take away with him.

It happened on one occasion that an elderly man arrived and won the
king’s favour with a remarkable story. The king ordered him to be given
a splendid reward, part of which consisted of a thousand Khurasanian
dinars and a horse with all its trappings. News of his generosity now
spread throughout all lands and his reputation reached a merchant
named Hasan, a learned man, liberal and generous and an excellent poet.
The king had as a vizier an envious and malevolent person who had no
fondness for anyone, rich or poor. He was jealous of anyone who came
to the king and was given a reward, and he used to say that the king’s
generosity wasted money and was ruining the kingdom. As the king
continued to act like this, what the vizier said was prompted solely by
envy and hatred.

As it happened, the king heard of Hasan the merchant and sent to
have him brought to his court. When he arrived, the king told him: ‘My
vizier is opposed to the way in which I give money to poets as well as to
those who entertain me with their conversation and who tell stories and
quote verses. I want you to tell me a story that is both pleasant and
remarkable, such as I have never heard before. If I approve of it, I shall
present you with many lands, together with their castles, and add to
your fiefs, and I shall give you authority over the whole of my kingdom,
appointing you as my grand vizier, where you will sit at my right hand,
delivering judgements to the people. But if you fail in this, I shall seize
all your goods and expel you from my country.’ ‘To hear is to obey,
your majesty,’ Hasan answered, ‘but your servant asks you for a year’s

delay and he shall then produce for you a story the like of which you
have never heard in your life and whose equal or superior no one else
has ever been told.’ ‘I grant you a full year,’ the king said, and he then
called for a splendid robe of honour, which he gave to the man, saying:
‘Stay at home; don’t ride out or go to and fro for a whole year until you
bring me what I have asked for. If you do this, you will enjoy my special
favour and .you will be glad to learn that I shall keep my promise, but if
you don’t, We shall have nothing more to do with each other.’

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