Stories from the Thousand and One Nights. The Harvard Classics. 190914.
The Story of Ala-ed-Din and the Wonderful Lamp: Paras. 2549
Ala-ed-Din waited patiently till his mother had ended her speech, and then said: O my mother, all that thou recallest I know, and it is familiar to me that I am the son of the poor; but all these thy words cannot change my purpose in the least, nor do I the less expect of thee, as I am thy son and thou lovest me, to do me this kindness; otherwise thou wilt undo me, and speedy death is upon me; unless I obtain my desire of the darling of my heart; and in any case, O my mother, I am thy child. And when she heard his words she wept in her grief for him, and said: O my son, yea verily I am thy mother, nor have I child or blood of my blood save thee; and the height of my desire is to rejoice in thee and wed thee to a wife; but if I seek to ask for thee a bride of our equals and peers, they will ask at once if thou hast trade or merchandise or land or garden, to live on. And what can I answer them? And if I cannot answer the poor people, our likes, how shall I venture upon this hazard and dare this impertinence, O my son, and by what means shall I ask for thee of the Sultan his daughter, and howsoever shall I compass access to the Sultans presence? And if they question me, what shall I answer? And probably they will take me for a mad woman. And supposing I gain access to the presence, what shall I take him as an offering to his Majesty?
And she went on: O my child, the Sultan indeed is clement, and never rejecteth him who approacheth him to ask of him equity or mercy or protection. Ask him for a gift, for he is generous, and granteth grace far and near. But he granteth his favour to those who deserve it, either having done something before him in battle or otherwise served their country. Then as for thee, tell me what hast thou done before the Sultans eyes or publicly, that thou shouldst merit this grace? And again, this grace which thou askest becometh not our rank, and it is not possible that the King should give thee the favour which thou wouldst ask. And whoso approacheth the Sultan to ask favours, it behooveth him to take with him something befitting his majesty, as I said to thee; and how canst thou possibly present thyself before the Sultan, and stand before him and ask his daughter of him when thou hast nothing with thee to offer him suitable to his rank? And Ala-ed-Din replied: O my mother, thou speakest aright and thinkest well, and it behooveth me to consider all that thou hast brought to mind. But, my mother, the love of the Sultans daughter, the Lady Bedr-el-Budur, hath penetrated into the core of my heart, and peace is impossible to me unless I win her. But thou hast reminded me of something I had forgotten, and this very thing doth embolden me to ask of him his daughter. Thou sayest, O my mother, that I have no offering to make to the Sultan, as is the custom of the folk, yet as a fact I have a gift to present the equal of which I think doth not exist among the Kings anywhere, nor anything approaching it; for verily what I thought to be glass or crystal is nothing but precious stones; and I believe that all the Kings of the world have never owned aught to equal the least of them. For by visiting the jewellers I learned that these are the costliest jewels which I brought in my pockets from the Treasury. Therefore be tranquil. In the house is a china bowl; arise, therefore, and fetch it, that I may fill it with these jewels, and we will see how they look in it. And his mother arose and went for the china bowl, and said within herself: Let me see if the words of my son concerning these jewels be true or not. And she set the bowl before Ala-ed-Din, and he drew from his pockets the bags of jewels, and began to arrange them in the bowl, and ceased not to set them in order until it was full; and when it was quite full his mother looked into it, and could not see into it without blinking, for her eyes were dazzled by the sheen of the jewels and their radiance and the excess of their flashing. And her reason was confounded, though she was not certain whether or not their value was so vastly great; but she considered that her sons speech might possibly be truethat their equals could not be found among the Kings. Then Ala-ed-Din turned to her and said: Thou hast seen, O my mother, that this gift for the Sultan is splendid, and I am convinced that it will procure thee great favour from him, and he will receive thee with all honour. So now, O my mother, thou hast no excuse; collect, therefore, thy faculties and arise; take this bowl and go with it to the palace. And his mother replied: O my son, certainly the present is exceeding precious, and none, as thou sayest, possesseth its equal. But who would dare to approach and ask of the Sultan his daughter, the Lady Bedr-el-Budur? As for me, I dare not to say to him, I want thy daughter when he asketh me What is thy want? But I know, O my son, that my tongue will be tied. And suppose that, by Gods help, I pluck up my courage and say to him: It is my desire to become related to thee by thy daughter, the Lady Bedr-el-Budur and my son Ala-ed-Din, they will conclude forthwith that I am possessed, and will cast me forth in shame and disgrace, till I tell thee not only that I shall run in danger of death, but thou wilt likewise. Yet, in spite of all this, O my son, in deference to thy wish, I needs must pluck up heart and go. But if the King welcome me and honour me on account of the gift, and I should ask of him what thou wishest, how shall I reply when he asketh me, as is usual, What is thy condition and thy income? Haply, O my son, he will ask me this before he asketh me who thou art. And Ala-ed-Din answered: It is impossible that the Sultan should thus question thee after looking at the precious stones and their splendor; nor doth it boot to consider things which may not happen. Do thou only arise and ask him for his daughter for me, and offer him the jewels, and do not sit there inventing obstacles. Hast thou not already learned, O my mother, that this Lamp of mine is now a firm maintenance for us, and that all I demand of it is brought to me? And this is my hope, that by its means I shall know how to make answer to the Sultan if he ask me thus.
And Ala-ed-Din and his mother kept talking over the matter all that night. And when morning dawned his mother arose and plucked up courage, the more as her son had explained to her somewhat of the properties of the Lamp and its virtuesthat it would supply them with all they wanted. Ala-ed-Din, however, when he saw that his mother had plucked up courage on his explaining to her the effects of the Lamp, feared lest she should gossip about it to the people, and said to her: O my mother, take heed how thou tellest any one about the Lamp and its virtues, for this is our own benefit. Restrain thy thought, lest thou babble to any one about it, for fear we lose it and lose the benefit which we possess from it. And his mother answered, Fear not for that, O my son. And she arose and took the bowl of precious stones and passed forth early, that she might reach the audience before it was crowded. And she covered the bowl with a kerchief, and went to the palace, and when she arrived the audience was not full; and she saw the ministers and sundry of the magnates of the state entering to the presence of the Sultan. And presently the levee was completed by the wezirs and lords of the state and grandees and princes and nobles. Then the Sultan appeared, and the ministers bowed down before him, and in like manner the rest of the grandees and nobles. And the Sultan seated himself on the divan on the kingly throne, and all who attended the levee stood before him with crossed arms awaiting his command to be seated. And he ordered them to sit, and every one of them sat down in his order. Then the petitioners presented themselves before the Sultan, and he decided everything, as usual, until the audience was over; when the King arose and went in to the palace, and every soul departed his own way. And when Ala-ed-Dins mother saw the Sultan had risen from his throne and gone into the Harim, she too took her departure and went her way to her house. And when Ala-ed-Din perceived her, and saw the bowl in her hand, he thought that probably some accident had befallen her, but he did not wish to question her until she was come in and had set down the bowl. Then she related to him what had happened, and ended by saying: Praise be to God, my son, that boldness came to me, and I found a place in the levee this day, although it did not fall to my lot to address the Sultan. Probably, if it please God Most High, to-morrow I will speak to him. Indeed, to-day many of the people could not address the Sultan, like me. But to-morrow, my son, be of good cheer, since I must speak to him for the sake of thy desire, and how shall what happened happen again? And when Ala-ed-Din heard his parents words he rejoiced with exceeding joy; and though he expected the affair from hour to hour, from the violence of his love and yearning for the Lady Bedr-el-Budur, for all that he practised patience. So they slept that night, and in the morning his mother arose and went with the bowl to the audience of the Sultan; but she found it closed. So she asked the bystanders, and they told her that the Sultan did not hold an audience continually, but only thrice a week.
So she resolved to return home that day. And every day she went, and when she saw the audience begin she would stand before the Sultan till it was over, and then she would return; and next day she would go to see if the court were closed; and in this manner she went for a whole month. Now the Sultan had perceived her at every levee, and when she came on the last day and stood before the presence, as was her wont, until it was over, without having courage to come forward or address him a word, and the Sultan had risen and gone to his Harim, and his Grand Wezir with him, the Sultan turned to him and said: O Wezir, six or seven days at each audience have I seen that old woman presenting herself here; and I see she always carries something under her cloak. Tell me, O Wezir, knowest thou aught of her and her business? And the Wezir answered: O our lord the Sultan, verily women are wanting in sense; probably this woman hath come to complain to thee of her husband or one of her people. But the Sultan was not satisfied with the Wezirs reply, but commanded him, if the woman came again to the levee, to bring her before him. So the Wezir put his hand on his head and said: I hear and obey, O our lord the Sultan.
Now the mother of Ala-ed-Din was wont to set forth every day to the audience and stand in the presence before the Sultan, although she was sad and very weary; yet for the sake of her sons desire she made light of her trouble. And one day she came to the levee, as usual, and stood before the Sultan, who when he saw her ordered his Wezir, saying: This is the woman I spake of to thee yesterday; bring her instantly before me that I may inquire into her suit and decide her business. And straightway the Wezir arose and brought Ala-ed-Dins mother to the Sultan. And when she found herself in the presence, she performed the obeisance and invoked glory upon him, and long life and perpetual prosperity; and she kissed the ground before him. And the Sultan said to her: O woman, for some days have I seen thee at the levee, and thou hast not addressed a word to me; tell me if thou hast a want, that I may grant it. So she kissed the ground again and invoked blessings upon him, and said: Yea, by the life of thy head, O King of the Age, verily have I a suit. But, first of all grant me immunity, if I can present my suit to the hearing of our lord the Sultan, for perhaps thy Felicity may find my petition strange. So the Sultan, wishing to know what was her petition, and being endowed with much mildness, promised her immunity, and at once ordered all who were there to depart, and remained alone, he and the Wezir.
Then the Sultan, turning to her, said: Explain thy suit, and the protection of God Most High be on thee. But she answered: O King of the Age, I shall need thy pardon also. And he replied, God pardon thee. Then she said: O our lord the Sultan, verily I have a son whose name is Ala-ed-Din. One day of the days he heard the herald proclaiming that none should open his shop or appear in the streets of the city, because the Lady Bedr-el-Budur, the daughter of our lord the Sultan, was going to the bath. And when my son heard that, he longed to see her, and hid himself in a place where he would be able to look upon her closely, and that was behind the gate of the Hammam. So when she drew near, he looked upon her and gazed full upon her as much as he liked; and from the moment he saw her, O King of the Age, to this instant, life hath been intolerable to him; and he hath desired me to ask her of thy Felicity that he may wed her. I have not been able to banish this fancy from his mind, for the love of her hath taken possession of his heart, so that he told me: Be assured, O my mother, that if I do not obtain my desire, without doubt I shall die. So I trust for clemency and pardon from thy Felicity for this hardihood of mine and my sons, and punish us not for it.
When the King had heard her story, looking kindly at her, he fell a-laughing, and asked her: What is it thou hast with thee, and what is this bundle? Then the mother of Ala-ed-Din, perceiving that the Sultan was not wroth at her speech, but rather laughing, forthwith opened the cloth and set before him the bowl of jewels. And when the Sultan saw the stones, after the cloth was taken off, and how the hall was lighted up, as it were, by chandeliers and lustres, he was dazed and amazed at their sparkling, and wondered at their size and splendour and beauty, saying:To this day have I never seen the like of these jewels for beauty and size and loveliness, nor do I believe that there is in my treasury a single one equal to them. The turning to his Wezir, he said: What sayest thou, O Wezir, hast thou seen, thou in thy time, the like of these splendid jewels?
And the Wezir answered: Never have I seen such, O our lord the Sultan, and I do not think that the smallest of them is to be found in the treasuries of my lord the King. And the King said to him: Verily he who hath presented me with these jewels is worthy to be the bridegroom of my daughter Bedr-el-Budur, for, methinks, as far as I can see, none is worthier of her than he. When the Wezir heard this speech of the Sultan, his tongue became tied with vexation, and he grieved with sore grieving, because the King had promised to marry the Princess to his son. So after a little he said to him: O King of the Age, thy Felicity was graciously pleased to promise the Lady Bedr-el-Budur to my son: it is therefore incumbent on thy Highness to graciously allow three months, when, please God, there shall be a present from my son more splendid even than this. So the King, though he knew that this thing could not be accomplished either by the Wezir or by any of the grandees, yet of his kindness and generosity granted a delay of three months, as he had asked. And turning to the old woman, Ala-ed-Dins mother, he said: Go back to thy son, and tell him I have given my royal word that my daughter shall bear his name, but it is necessary to prepare her wardrobe and requisites, and so he will have to wait three months.
Ala-ed-Dins mother accepted this answer, and thanked the Sultan and blessed him, and hastened forth, and almost flew with delight till she came home and entered. And Ala-ed-Din her son saw how her face was smiling; so he was cheered by the hope of good news; moreover, she had come back without loitering as heretofore, and had returned without the bowl. So he asked her, saying: If it please God, my mother, thou bringest me good news, and perhaps the jewels and their rarity have had their effect, and the Sultan hath welcomed thee and been gracious to thee and hearkened to thy request? And she related it all to himhow the Sultan had received her and marvelled at the multitude of the jewels and their size; and the Wezir also; and how he had promised that his daughter shall bear thy name; only, O my son, the Wezir spake to him a private word before he promised me, and after the Wezir had spoken he covenanted for a delay of three months; and I am afraid the Wezir will be hostile to thee and try to change the mind of the King.
When Ala-ed-Din heard the words of his mother and how the Sultan had promised him after three months, his soul was relieved and he rejoiced exceedingly, and said: Since the Sultan hath promised for three months, though it is indeed a long time, on all accounts my joy is immense. Then he thanked his parent and magnified her success above her toil, and said: By Allah, O my mother, just now I was, as it were, in the grave, and thou hast pulled me out; and I praise God Most High that I am now sure that there liveth none richer or happier than I. Then he waited in patience till two months of the three were gone.
One day of the days the mother of Ala-ed-Din went forth about sunset to the market to buy oil and beheld all the bazars closed, and the whole city deserted, and the people were putting candles and flowers in their windows; and she saw troops and guards and cavalcades of aghas, and lamps and lustres flaming. And wonder gat hold of her at this marvel and gala, and she went to an oilmans shop which was still open, and having bought the oil, said to the dealer: O Uncle, inform me what is the occasion to-day in the city, that the people make such adornment, and the markets and houses are all closed and the troops paraded? And the oilman answered: O woman, I suppose thou art a stranger, not of this city. But she said, Nay, I am of this city. So he cried: Art thou of this city, and hast not heard that the son of the chief Wezir this night is to unite himself to the Lady Bedr-el-Budur, the daughter of the Sultan, and he is now at the bath; and these officers and soldiers are drawn up waiting to see him come forth from the bath and accompany him to the palace into the presence of the daughter of the Sultan!
When the mother of Ala-ed-Din heard his words she was sad and perplexed in her mind how she should contrive to break this dismal news to her son, for her unhappy boy was counting hour by hour till the three months should be over. So she returned home after a little, and when she had come and entered to her son she said: O my son, I would fain tell thee certain tidings, though thy grief thereat will cost me dear. And he answered, Tell me, what is this news. And she said: Verily the Sultan hath violated his covenant to thee in the matter of his daughter the Lady Bedr-el-Budur, and this night the Wezirs son goeth in to her. And O my child, I have long suspected that the Wezir would change the Sultans mind, as I told thee how he spake privily to him before me. Then Ala-ed-Din asked her: How knowest thou that the Wezirs son is going in this night to the Lady Bedr-el-Budur, the daughter of the Sultan? So she told him about all the decorations she had noticed in the town when she went to buy oil, and how the aghas and grandees of the state were drawn up waiting for the Wezirs son to come forth from the bath, and how this was his nuptial night. When he learnt this, Ala-ed-Din was seized with a fever of grief, till after a while he bethought him of the Lamp. Then he cheered up, and said: By thy life, O my mother, suppose the Wezirs son should not enjoy her, as thou thinkest. But now let us cease this talk, and arise; bring our supper, that we may eat, and after I have retired awhile within my chamber all will be well.
So after supper Ala-ed-Din withdrew to his chamber and fastened the door and took out the Lamp and rubbed it, and immediately the Slave came and said: Ask what thou wilt, for I am thy slave, the slave of him who hath the Lamp, I and all the servants of the Lamp. And Ala-ed-Din said: Listen. I asked the Sultan that I might marry his daughter, and he promised me, in three months; but he hath not kept his word, but hath given her to the son of the Wezir, and this very night it is his intention to go in to her. But I command thee, if thou be a true servant of the Lamp, that when thou seest the bride and bridegroom together this night thou bring them in the bed to this place. This is what I require of thee. And the Marid answered: I hear and obey; and if thou hast any other behest, besides this, command me in all thou desirest. But Ala-ed-Din said: I have no other command save that which I have told thee. So the Slave vanished, and Ala-ed-Din returned to finish the evening with his mother. But when the time came when he expected the Slaves return, he arose and entered his chamber, and soon after beheld the Slave with the bridal pair on their bed. And when Ala-ed-Din saw them he rejoiced with great joy. Then said he to the Slave: Take away yonder gallows-bird and lay him in a closet. And immediately the Slave bore the Wezirs son and stretched him in a closet, and before leaving him he blew a cold blast on him, and the state of the Wezirs son became miserable. Then the Slave returned to Ala-ed-Din and said: If thou needest aught else, tell me. And Ala-ed-Din answered, Return in the morning to restore them to their place. So he said, I hear and obey, and vanished.
Then Ala-ed-Din arose, and could hardly believe that this affair had prospered with him. But when he looked at the Lady Bedr-el-Budur in his own house, although he had long been consumed with love of her, yet he maintained an honourable respect towards her, and said: O Lady of Loveliness, think not that I brought thee here to harm thine honour; nay, but only that none other should be privileged to enjoy thee, since thy father the Sultan gave me his word that I should have thee. So rest in peace. But when Bedr-el-Budur found herself in this poor and dark house, and heard the words of Ala-ed-Din, fear and shuddering took hold of her, and she was dazed, and could not make him any reply. Then Ala-ed-Din arose and stripped off his robe, and laying a sword between himself and her, slept beside her in the bed, without doing her wrong, for he wished only to prevent the nuptials of the Wezirs son with her. But the Lady Bedr-el-Budur passed the worst of nights; she had not passed a worse in all her life; and the Wezirs son, who slept in the closet, dared not move from his fear of the Slave which possessed him.
When it was morning, without any rubbing of the Lamp, the Slave appeared to Ala-ed-Din, and said: O my master, if thou desirest anything, command me, that I may perform it on the head and the eye. So Ala-ed-Din said: Go bear the bride and bridegroom to their place. And in the twinkling of an eye the Slave did as Ala-ed-Din bade him, and took the Wezirs son and the Lady Bedr-el-Budur and carried them and restored them to their place in the palace, as they had been, without seeing any one, though they almost died of fear when they found themselves being carried from place to place. Hardly had the Slave put them back again and departed, when the Sultan came to visit his daughter. And when the Wezirs son heard the door open, he forthwith leaped from the bed, for he knew that none but the Sultan could come in at that time; but it was exceedingly disagreeable to him, for he wished to warm himself a little, since he had not long left the [cold] closet; however, he arose and put on his clothes.
The Sultan came in unto his daughter the Lady Bedr-el-Budur, and kissed her between the eyes and wished her good-morning, and asked her concerning her bridegroom, and whether she was content with him. But she made him never an answer, but looked at him with an eye of anger; and he asked her again, and she remained silent and said not a word to him. So the Sultan went his way and departed from her house, and went to the Queen, and told her what had befallen him with the Lady Bedr-el-Budur. Then the Queen, loth to have him vexed with the Princess, said to him: O King of the Age, this is the way with most brides in their honeymoon; they are shy, and a trifle whimsical. So chide her not, and soon she will return to herself and converse with people; for now it is her modesty, O King of the Age, that preventeth her speaking. However, it is my intention to go and visit her.
So the Queen arose and put on her robes and went to her daughter the Lady Bedr-el-Budur, and approached her and gave her good-day, and kissed her betwixt the eyes. And the Princess answered her never a word. So the Queen said to herself: Some strange thing must have happened to her to disquiet her thus. So she asked her: O my daughter, what is the cause of the state thou art in? Tell me what hath come to thee, that when I visit thee and bid thee good-day, thou answerest me not. Then Bedr-el-Budur turned her head and said to her: Chide me not, O my mother; it was indeed my duty to meet thee with all regard and reverence, since thou hast honoured me by this visit. However, I beg thee to hear the reason of this my behaviour, and see how this night which I have passed hath been the worst of nights for me. Hardly had we gone to bed, O mother, when one whose shape I know not lifted up the bed and bore us to a dark, loathly, vile place. And she related to her mother the Queen all that had happened to her that night, and how they had taken away her bridegroom and she had been left alone, till presently another youth came and slept, instead of her husband, and placed a sword betwixt them. And in the morning he who took us returned to carry us back, and came with us to this our abode. Hardly had he restored us to it and left us, when my father the Sultan entered at the very hour of our return, and I had not heart or tongue to speak to him from the greatness of the fear and trembling which had come over me. And perhaps it may have vexed my father; so I pray thee, O my mother, tell him the reason for my condition, that he may not blame me for my lack of reply to him, but instead of censure, excuse me.
When the Queen heard the words of her daughter the Lady Bedr-el-Budur, she said to her: O my child, calm thyself. If thou wert to tell this story to any one, it might be said that the daughter of the Sultan had lost her wits, and thou hast well done in not telling thy father this tale; and beware, my daughter, beware of telling him thereof. But the Princess answered her: Mother, I have spoken to thee sensibly, and I have not lost my wits, but this is what hath happened to me; and if thou dost not believe it when I say it, ask my bridegroom. Then the Queen said to her: Arise, now, my daughter, and away with such fancies from thy mind; put on thy robes and view the bridal fete which is going on in the city in thy honour and the rejoicings that are taking place all over the realm for thy marriage; and listen to the drums and songs, and look at these decorations, all done for the sake of pleasing thee, my daughter. Thereupon the Queen summoned the tirewomen, and they robed the Lady Bedr-el-Budur and straightened her up. And the Queen arose and went to the Sultan and told him that the Princess had been troubled that night with dreams and nightmare, and added: Chide her not for her lack of answer to thee. Then she summoned the Wezirs son secretly, and asked him concerning the matter, and whether the story of the Princess were true or not; but he, in his fear of losing his bride from out his hand, answered: O my sovereign lady, I know nothing of what thou sayest. So the Queen was sure that her daughter had been distraught by nightmare and dreams. The festivities lasted all day, with Almehs and singers and the beating of all sorts of instruments, and the Queen and the Wezir and the Wezirs son did their utmost to keep up the rejoicing, so that the Lady Bedr-el-Budur might be happy and forget her trouble; and all day they left nothing that incited to enjoyment undone before her, that she might forget what was in her mind and be content. But all this had no influence upon her; she remained silent and sad and bewildered at what had befallen her that night. Worse indeed had happened to the Wezirs son than to her, since he passed the night in a closet; but he had denied the fact and banished this calamity from his mind, because of his fear of losing his bride and his distinction, especially as all men envied him the connection and the exceeding honour thereof; and, moreover, because of the splendour of the brides loveliness and her excessive beauty.
Ala-ed-Din too went out that day to see the festivities which were going on in the city and the palace, and he began to laugh, above all when he heard people talking of the honour which had fallen to the Wezirs son and his good-fortune in becoming the son-in-law of the Sultan, and the great distinction shewn in his rejoicings and wedding festivities. And Ala-ed-Din said to himself: Ye know not, ye rabble, what happened to him last night, that ye envy him! And when night fell and it was bedtime, Ala-ed-Din arose and went to his chamber and rubbed the Lamp, and immediately the Slave presented himself. And he ordered him to bring the Sultans daughter and her bridegroom as on the past night, before the Wezirs son had taken her to him. And the Slave waited not an instant, but vanished awhile, till he reappeared, bringing the bed in which was the Lady Bedr-el-Budur and the son of the Wezir. And he did with the latter as on the preceding night,took and put him to sleep in a closet, and there left him bleached with excessive trembling and fear. And Ala-ed-Din arose and placed the sword betwixt himself and the Princess, and went to sleep. And when it was morning the Slave appeared and restored the pair to their own place; and Ala-ed-Din was filled with delight at the misadventure of the Wezirs son.
Now when the Sultan arose in the morning he desired to go to his daughter, Bedr-el-Budur, to see whether she would behave to him as on the preceding day. So, after he had shaken off his drowsiness, he arose and dressed himself and went to his daughters palace and opened the door. Then the Wezirs son hastily got up and rose from the bed and began to put on his clothes, though his ribs almost split with cold; for when the Sultan came in the Slave had only just brought them back. So the Sultan entered, and approached his daughter Bedr-el-Budur, who was in bed; and drawing aside the curtain, he wished her good-morning, and kissed her betwixt the eyes, and inquired after her state. But he saw she was sad, and she answered him never a word, but looked at him angrily; and her state was wretched. Then the Sultan was wroth with her, since she replied not, and he fancied that something was wrong with her. So he drew his sword and said to her: What hath come to thee? Tell me what hath happened to thee, or I will take thy life this very hour. Is this the honour and reverence thou shewest me, that I speak and thou repliest not a word? And when the Lady Bedr-el-Budur saw how angry her father the Sultan was, and that his sword was drawn in his hand, she was released from her stupor of fear, and turned her head and said to him: O my honoured father, be not wroth with me, nor be hasty in thy passion, for I am excusable, as thou shalt see. Listen to what hath befallen me, and I am persuaded that when thou hast heard my account of what happened to me these two nights, thou wilt excuse me, and thy Felicity will become pitiful toward me, even as I claim thy love. Then the Lady Bedr-el-Budur related to her father the Sultan all that had happened to her, adding: O my father, if thou dost not believe me, ask the bridegroom, and he will tell thy Felicity the whole matter; though I knew not what they did with him when they took him away from me, nor did I imagine where they had put him.
When the Sultan heard the speech of his daughter, grief took hold of him and his eyes ran over with tears. And he sheathed the sword, and came and kissed her, saying: O my daughter, why didst thou not tell me last night, that I might have averted this torment and fear which have fallen upon thee this night? However, it signifieth nothing. Arise and drive away from thee this fancy, and next night I will set a watch to guard thee, and no such unhappiness shall again make thee sad. And the Sultan returned to his palace, and straightway ordered the presence of the Wezir. And when he came and stood before him, he asked him: O Wezir, what thinkest thou of this affair? Perchance thy son hath informed thee of what occurred to him and my daughter? But the Wezir made answer: O King of the Age, I have not seen my son, neither yesterday nor to-day. Then the Sultan told him all that his daughter the Princess Bedr-el-Budur had related, adding: It is my desire now that thou find out from thy son the truth of the matter; for it may be that my daughter, from terror, did not understand what befell her, though I believe her story to be all true.
So the Wezir arose and sent for his son and asked him concerning all that the Sultan had told him, whether it were true or not. And the youth replied: O my father the Wezir, God forbid that the Lady Bedr-el-Budur should tell lies! Nay, all she said is true, and these two nights that have passed were the worst of nights, instead of being nights of pleasure and joy to us both. But what befell me was the greater evil, for, instead of sleeping with my bride in the bed, I was put to sleep in a closet, a cursed, dark, and loathsome place smelling horribly, and my ribs almost split with the cold. And the young man told his father all that had happened to him, and added. O honoured parent, I entreat thee, speak to the Sultan that he release me from this marriage. Truly it is a great honour to me to be the son-in-law of the Sultan, and most of all since the love of the Lady Bedr-el-Budur hath taken possession of my being; but I have not strength to endure another night like the two which are over.
When the Wezir heard his sons words he was exceeding sad and sorry, for he hoped to exalt and magnify his son by making him son-in-law to the Sultan; therefore he considered and pondered over this case, how to remedy it. It was a great hardship to him to break off the marriage, for he had been much congratulated on his success in so high a matter. So he said to his son: Take patience, my child, till we see what may betide this night, when we set warders to watch over you; and do not reject this great honour, which hath been granted to none save thee alone.
Then the Wezir left him and returned to the Sultan and told him that what the Lady Bedr-el-Budur had said was true. Therefore the Sultan said: If it be so, we must not delay. And he straightway ordered the rejoicings to cease and the marriage to be annulled. And the people and folk of the city wondered at this strange affair, and the more so when they saw the Wezir and his son coming forth from the palace in a state of grief and excess of rage; and men began asking what had happened and what the cause might be for annulling the marriage and terminating the espousals. And none knew how it was save Ala-ed-Din, the lord of the invocation, who laughed in secret. So the marriage was dissolved, and still the Sultan forgot and recalled not the promise he had made to the mother of Ala-ed-Din, nor the Wezir either, and they knew not whence came that which had come.
Ala-ed-Din waited in patience until the three months were over, after which the Sultan had covenanted to wed him to his daughter, the Lady Bedr-el-Budur. Then he instantly despatched his mother to the Sultan to demand of him the fulfilment of his promise. So the mother of Ala-ed-Din went to the palace; and when the Sultan came to the hall of audience and saw her standing before him, he remembered his promisethat after three months he would marry his daughter to her son. And turning to the Wezir, he said: O Wezir, this is the woman who gave us the jewels, and to whom we did pledge our word for three months. Bring her to me before anything else. So the Wezir went and brought Ala-ed-Dins mother before the Sultan; and when she came up to him she saluted him and prayed for his glory and lasting prosperity. Then the Sultan asked her if she had any suit. Whereto she answered: O King of the Age, verily the three months are over, for which thou didst covenant with me, after which to marry my son Ala-ed-Din to thy daughter the Lady Bedr-el-Budur.