Anonymous.

The Arabian Nights Entertainments — Volume 04 online

. (page 1 of 32)
Online LibraryAnonymousThe Arabian Nights Entertainments — Volume 04 → online text (page 1 of 32)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook


This eBook was produced by JC Byers.



Text scanned by JC Byers and proofread by the Distributed
Proofers.




The "Aldine" Edition of

The Arabian Nights Entertainments

Illustrated by S. L. Wood

FROM THE TEXT OF DR. JONATHAN SCOTT

In Four Volumes

Volume 4


London
Pickering and Chatto
1890




Contents of Volume IV.


The Story of the Enchanted Horse
The Story of Prince Ahmed, and the Fairy Perie Banou
The Story of the Sisters Who Envied Their Younger Sister
Story of the Three Sharpers and the Sultan
The Adventures of the Abdicated Sultan
History of Mahummud, Sultan of Cairo
Story of the First Lunatic
Story of the Second Lunatic
Story of the Retired Sage and His Pupil, Related to the
Sultan by the Second Lunatic
Story of the Broken-backed Schoolmaster
Story of the Wry-mouthed Schoolmaster
Story of the Sisters and the Sultana Their Mother
Story of the Bang-eater and the Cauzee
Story of the Bang-eater and His Wife
The Sultan and the Traveller Mhamood Al Hyjemmee
The Koord Robber
Story of the Husbandman
Story of the Three Princes and Enchanting Bird
Story of a Sultan of Yemen and His Three Sons
Story of the First Sharper in the Cave
History of the Sultan of Hind
Story of the Fisherman's Son
Story of Abou Neeut and Abou Neeuteen; Or, the Well-intentioned
and the Double-minded
Adventure of a Courtier, Related by Himself to His Parton, an
Ameer of Egypt
Story of the Prince of Sind, and Fatima, Daughter of Amir Bin
Naomaun
Story of the Lovers of Syria; Or, the Heroine
Story of Hyjauje, the Tyrannical Governor of Coufeh, and the
Young Syed
Story of Ins Alwujjood and Wird Al Ikmaun, Daughter of Ibrahim,
Vizier to Sultan Shamikh
The Adventures of Mazin of Khorassaun
Story of the Sultan the Dervish, and the Barber's Son
Adventures of Aleefa Daughter of Mherejaun Sultan of Hind, and
Eusuff, Son of Sohul, Sultan of Sind
Adventures of the Three Princes, Sons of the Sultan of China
Story of the Good Vizier Unjustly Imprisoned
Story of the Lady of Cairo and Her Four Gallants
The Cauzee's Story
Story of the Merchant, His Daughter, and the Prince of Eerauk
Adventures of the Cauzee, His Wife, &c
The Sultan's Story of Himself
Conclusion




THE STORY OF THE ENCHANTED HORSE.



The Nooroze, or the new day, which is the first of the year and
spring, is observed as a solemn festival throughout all Persia,
which has been continued from the time of idolatry; and our
prophet's religion, pure as it is, and true as we hold it, has
not been able to abolish that heathenish custom, and the
superstitious ceremonies which are observed, not only in the
great cities, but celebrated with extraordinary rejoicings in
every little town, village, and hamlet.

But the rejoicings are the most splendid at the court, for the
variety of new and surprising spectacles, insomuch that strangers
are invited from the neighbouring states, and the most remote
parts, by the rewards and liberality of the sovereign, towards
those who are the most excellent in their invention and
contrivance. In short, nothing in the rest of the world can
compare with the magnificence of this festival.

One of these festival days, after the most ingenious artists of
the country had repaired to Sheerauz, where the court then
resided, had entertained the king and all the court with their
productions, and had been bountifully and liberally rewarded
according to their merit and to their satisfaction by the
monarch; when the assembly was just breaking up, a Hindoo
appeared at the foot of the throne, with an artificial horse
richly caparisoned, and so naturally imitated, that at first
sight he was taken for a living animal.

The Hindoo prostrated himself before the throne; and pointing to the
horse, said to the emperor, "Though I present myself the last before
your majesty, yet I can assure you that nothing shewn to-day is so
wonderful as this horse, on which I beg your majesty would be pleased
to cast your eyes." "I see nothing more in the horse," said the
emperor, "than the natural resemblance the workman has given him;
which the skill of another workman may possibly execute as well or
better."

"Sir," replied the Hindoo, "it is not for his outward form and
appearance that I recommend my horse to your majesty's
examination as wonderful, but the use to which I can apply him,
and which, when I have communicated the secret to them, any other
persons may make of him. Whenever I mount him, be it where it
may, if I wish to transport myself through the air to the most
distant part of the world, I can do it in a very short time.
This, sir, is the wonder of my horse; a wonder which nobody ever
heard speak of, and which I offer to shew your majesty, if you
command me."

The emperor of Persia, who was fond of every thing that was
curious, and notwithstanding the many prodigies of art he had
seen had never beheld or heard of anything that came up to this,
told the Hindoo, that nothing but the experience of what he
asserted could convince him: and that he was ready to see him
perform what he had promised.

The Hindoo instantly put his foot into the stirrup, mounted his
horse with admirable agility, and when he had fixed himself in
the saddle, asked the emperor whither he pleased to command him.

About three leagues from Sheerauz there was a lofty mountain
discernible from the large square before the palace, where the
emperor, his court, and a great concourse of people, then were.
"Do you see that mountain?" said the emperor, pointing to it; "it
is not a great distance from hence, but it is far enough to judge
of the speed you can make in going and returning. But because it
is not possible for the eye to follow you so far, as a proof that
you have been there, I expect that you will bring me a branch of
a palm-tree that grows at the bottom of the hill."

The emperor of Persia had no sooner declared his will than the
Hindoo turned a peg, which was in the hollow of the horse's neck,
just by the pummel of the saddle; and in an instant the horse
rose off the ground and carried his rider into the air with the
rapidity of lightning to such a height, that those who had the
strongest sight could not discern him, to the admiration of the
emperor and all the spectators. Within less than a quarter of an
hour they saw him returning with the palm branch in his hand; but
before he descended, he took two or three turns in the air over
the spot, amid the acclamations of all the people; then alighted
on the spot whence he had set off, without receiving the least
shock from the horse to disorder him. He dismounted, and going up
to the throne, prostrated himself, and laid the branch of the
palm-tree at the feet of the emperor.

The emperor, who had viewed with no less admiration than
astonishment this unheard-of sight which the Hindoo had
exhibited, conceived a great desire to have the horse; and as he
persuaded himself that he should not find it a difficult matter
to treat with the Hindoo, for whatever sum of money he should
value it at, began to regard it as the most valuable thing in his
treasury. "Judging of thy horse by his outward appearance," said
he to the Hindoo, "I did not think him so much worth my
consideration. As you have shewn me his merits, I am obliged to
you for undeceiving me; and to prove to you how much I esteem it,
I will purchase him of you, if he is to be sold."

"Sir," replied the Hindoo, "I never doubted that your majesty,
who has the character of the most liberal prince on earth, would
set a just value on my work as soon as I had shewn you on what
account he was worthy your attention. I also foresaw that you
would not only admire and commend it, but would desire to have
it. Though I know his intrinsic value, and that my continuing
master of him would render my name immortal in the world; yet I
am not so fond of fame but I can resign him, to gratify your
majesty; however, in making this declaration, I have another to
add, without which I cannot resolve to part with him, and perhaps
you may not approve of it.

"Your majesty will not be displeased," continued the Hindoo, "if
I tell you that I did not buy this horse, but obtained him of the
inventor, by giving him my only daughter in marriage, and
promising at the same time never to sell him; but if I parted
with him to exchange him for something that I should value beyond
all else."

The Hindoo was proceeding, when at the word exchange, the emperor
of Persia interrupted him. "I am willing," said he, "to give you
whatever you may ask in exchange. You know my kingdom is large,
and contains many great, rich, and populous cities; I will give
you the choice of which you like best, in full sovereignty for
life."

This exchange seemed royal and noble to the whole court; but was
much below what the Hindoo had proposed to himself, who had
raised his thoughts much higher. "I am infinitely obliged to your
majesty for the offer you make me," answered he, "and cannot
thank you enough for your generosity; yet I must beg of you not
to be displeased if I have the presumption to tell you, that I
cannot resign my horse, but by receiving the hand of the princess
your daughter as my wife: this is the only price at which I can
part with my property."

The courtiers about the emperor of Persia could not forbear
laughing aloud at this extravagant demand of the Hindoo; but the
prince Firoze Shaw, the eldest son of the emperor, and
presumptive heir to the crown, could not hear it without
indignation. The emperor was of a very different opinion, and
thought he might sacrifice the princess of Persia to the Hindoo,
to satisfy his curiosity. He remained however undetermined,
considering what he should do.

Prince Firoze Shaw, who saw his father hesitated what answer to
make, began to fear lest he should comply with the Hindoo's
demand, and regarded it as not only injurious to the royal
dignity, and to his sister, but also to himself; therefore to
anticipate his father, he said, "Sir, I hope your majesty will
forgive me for daring to ask, if it is possible your majesty
should hesitate about a denial to so insolent a demand from such
an insignificant fellow, and so scandalous a juggler? or give him
reason to flatter himself a moment with being allied to one of
the most powerful monarchs in the world? I beg of you to consider
what you owe to yourself, to your own blood, and the high rank of
your ancestors."

"Son," replied the emperor of Persia, "I much approve of your
remonstrance, and am sensible of your zeal for preserving the
lustre of your birth; but you do not consider sufficiently the
excellence of this horse; nor that the Hindoo, if I should refuse
him, may make the offer somewhere else, where this nice point of
honour may be waived. I shall be in the utmost despair if another
prince should boast of having exceeded me in generosity, and
deprived me of the glory of possessing what I esteem as the most
singular and wonderful thing in the world. I will not say I
consent to grant him what he asked. Perhaps he has not well
considered his exorbitant demand: and putting my daughter the
princess out of the question, I may make another agreement with
him that will answer his purpose as well. But before I conclude
the bargain with him, I should be glad that you would examine the
horse, try him yourself, and give me your opinion."

As it is natural for us to flatter ourselves in what we desire,
the Hindoo fancied, from what he had heard, that the emperor was
not entirely averse to his alliance, and that the prince might
become more favourable to him; therefore, he expressed much joy,
ran before the prince to help him to mount, and shewed him how to
guide and manage the horse.

The prince mounted without the Hindoo's assisting him; and no
sooner had he got his feet in both stirrups, but without staying
for the artist's advice, he turned the peg he had seen him use,
when instantly the horse darted into the air, quick as an arrow
shot out of a bow by the most adroit archer; and in a few moments
the emperor his father and the numerous assembly lost sight of
him. Neither horse nor prince were to be seen. The Hindoo,
alarmed at what had happened, prostrated himself before the
throne, and said, "Your majesty must have remarked the prince was
so hasty, that he would not permit me to give him the necessary
instructions to govern my horse. From what he saw me do, he was
ambitious of shewing that he wanted not my advice. He was too
eager to shew his address, but knows not the way, which I was
going to shew him, to turn the horse, and make him descend at the
wish of his rider. Therefore, the favour I ask of your majesty
is, not to make me accountable for what accidents may befall him;
you are too just to impute to me any misfortune that may attend
him."

This address of the Hindoo much surprised and afflicted the
emperor, who saw the danger his son was in to be inevitable, if,
as the Hindoo said, there was a secret to bring him back,
different from that which carried him away; and asked, in a
passion, why he did not call him the moment he ascended?

"Sir," answered the Hindoo, "your majesty saw as well as I with
what rapidity the horse flew away. The surprise I was then, and
still am in, deprived me of the use of my speech; but if I could
have spoken, he was got too far to hear me. If he had heard me,
he knew not the secret to bring him back, which, through his
impatience, he would not stay to learn. But, sir," added he,
"there is room to hope that the prince, when he finds himself at
a loss, will perceive another peg, and as soon as he turns that,
the horse will cease to rise, and descend to the ground, when he
may turn him to what place he pleases by guiding him with the
bridle."

Notwithstanding all these arguments of the Hindoo, which carried
great appearance of probability, the emperor of Persia was much
alarmed at the evident danger of his son. "I suppose," replied
he, "it is very uncertain whether my son may perceive the other
peg, and make a right use of it; may not the horse, instead of
lighting on the ground, fall upon some rock, or tumble into the
sea with him?"

"Sir," replied the Hindoo, "I can deliver your majesty from this
apprehension, by assuring you, that the horse crosses seas
without ever falling into them, and always carries his rider
wherever he may wish to go. And your majesty may assure yourself,
that if the prince does but find out the other peg I mentioned,
the horse will carry him where he pleases. It is not to be
supposed that he will stop any where but where he can find
assistance, and make himself known."

"Be it as it may," replied the emperor of Persia, "as I cannot
depend upon the assurance you give me, your head shall answer for
my son's life, if he does not return safe in three days' time, or
I should hear that he is alive." He then ordered his officers to
secure the Hindoo, and keep him close prisoner; after which he
retired to his palace in affliction that the festival of Nooroze
should have proved so inauspicious.

In the mean time the prince was carried through the air with
prodigious velocity; and in less than an hour's time had ascended
so high, that he could not distinguish any thing on the earth,
but mountains and plains seemed confounded together. It was then
he began to think of returning, and conceived he might do this by
turning the same peg the contrary way, and pulling the bridle at
the same time. But when he found that the horse still rose with
the same swiftness, his alarm was great. He turned the peg
several times, one way and the other, but all in vain. It was
then he grew sensible of his fault, in not having learnt the
necessary precautions to guide the horse before he mounted. He
immediately apprehended the great danger he was in, but that
apprehension did not deprive him of his reason. He examined the
horse's head and neck with attention, and perceived behind the
right ear another peg, smaller than the other. He turned that
peg, and presently perceived that he descended in the same
oblique manner as he had mounted, but not so swiftly.

Night had overshadowed that part of the earth over which the
prince was when he found out and turned the small peg; and as the
horse descended, he by degrees lost sight of the sun, till it
grew quite dark; insomuch that, instead of choosing what place he
would go to, he was forced to let the bridle lie upon the horse's
neck, and wait patiently till he alighted, though not without the
dread lest it should be in the desert, a river, or the sea.

At last the horse stopped upon some solid substance about
midnight, and the prince dismounted very faint and hungry, having
eaten nothing since the morning, when he came out of the palace
with his father to assist at the festival. He found himself to be
on the terrace of a magnificent palace, surrounded with a
balustrade of white marble, breast high; and groping about,
reached a staircase, which led down into an apartment, the door
of which was half open.

Few but prince Firoze Shaw would have ventured to descend those
stairs dark as it was, and in the danger he exposed himself to
from friends or foes. But no consideration could stop him. "I do
not come," said he to himself, "to do anybody harm; and
certainly, whoever meets or sees me first, and finds that I have
no arms in my hands, will not attempt any thing against my life,
before they hear what I have to say for myself." After this
reflection, he opened the door wider, without making any noise,
went softly down the stairs, that he might not awaken anybody;
and when he came to a landing-place on the staircase, found the
door of a great hall, that had a light in it, open.

The prince stopped at the door, and listening, heard no other noise
than the snoring of some people who were fast asleep. He advanced a
little into the room, and by the light of a lamp saw that those
persons were black eunuchs, with naked sabres laid by them; which was
enough to inform him that this was the guard-chamber of some sultan or
princess; which latter it proved to be.

In the next room to this the princess lay, as appeared by the light,
the door being open, through a silk curtain, which drew before the
door-way, whither prince Firoze Shaw advanced on tip-toe, without
waking the eunuchs. He drew aside the curtain, went in, and without
staying to observe the magnificence of the chamber, gave his attention
to something of greater importance. He saw many beds; only one of them
on a sofa, the rest on the floor. The princess slept in the first, and
her women in the others.

This distinction was enough to direct the prince. He crept softly
towards the bed, without waking either the princess or her women,
and beheld a beauty so extraordinary, that he was charmed, and
inflamed with love at the first sight. "O heavens!" said he to
himself, "has my fate brought me hither to deprive me of my
liberty, which hitherto I have always preserved? How can I avoid
certain slavery, when those eyes shall open, since, without
doubt, they complete the lustre of this assemblage of charms! I
must quickly resolve, since I cannot stir without being my own
murderer; for so has necessity ordained."

After these reflections on his situation, and on the princess's
beauty, he fell on his knees, and twitching gently the princess's
sleeve, pulled it towards him. The princess opened her eyes, and
seeing a handsome man on his knees, was in great surprise; yet
seemed to shew no sign of fear.

The prince availed himself of this favourable moment, bowed his
head to the ground, and rising said, "Beautiful princess, by the
most extraordinary and wonderful adventure, you see at your feet
a suppliant prince, son of the emperor of Persia, who was
yesterday morning in his court, at the celebration of a solemn
festival, but is now in a strange country, in danger of his life,
if you have not the goodness and generosity to afford him your
assistance and protection. These I implore, adorable princess,
with confidence that you will not refuse me. I have the more
ground to persuade myself, as so much beauty and majesty cannot
entertain inhumanity."

The personage to whom prince Firoze Shaw so happily addressed
himself was the princess of Bengal, eldest daughter of the Rajah
of that kingdom, who had built this palace at a small distance
from his capital, whither she went to take the benefit of the
country air. After she had heard the prince with all the candour
he could desire, she replied with equal goodness, "Prince, you
are not in a barbarous country; take courage; hospitality,
humanity, and politeness are to be met with in the kingdom of
Bengal, as well as in that of Persia. It is not merely I who
grant you the protection you ask; you not only have found it in
my palace, but will meet it throughout the whole kingdom; you may
believe me, and depend on what I say."

The prince of Persia would have thanked the princess for her
civility, and had already bowed down his head to return the
compliment; but she would not give him leave to speak.
"Notwithstanding I desire," said she, "to know by what miracle
you have come hither from the capital of Persia in so short a
time; and by what enchantment you have been able to penetrate so
far as to come to my apartment, and to have evaded the vigilance
of my guards; yet, as it is impossible but you must want some
refreshment, and regarding you as a welcome guest, I will waive
my curiosity, and give orders to my women to regale you, and shew
you an apartment, that you may rest yourself after your fatigue,
and be better able to satisfy my curiosity."

The princess's women, who awoke at the first words which the
prince addressed to the princess, were in the utmost surprise to
see a man at the princess's feet, as they could not conceive how
he had got thither, without waking them or the eunuchs. They no
sooner comprehended the princess's intentions, than they were
ready to obey her commands. They each took a wax candle, of which
there were great numbers lighted up in the room; and after the
prince had respectfully taken leave, went before and conducted
him into a handsome chamber; where, while some were preparing the
bed, others went into the kitchen; and notwithstanding it was so
unseasonable an hour, they did not make prince Firoze Shaw wait
long, but brought him presently a collation; and when he had
eaten as much as he chose, removed the trays, and left him to
taste the sweets of repose.

In the mean time, the princess of Bengal was so struck with the
charms, wit, politeness, and other good qualities which she had
discovered in her short interview with the prince, that she could
not sleep: but when her women came into her room again asked them
if they had taken care of him, if he wanted any thing; and
particularly, what they thought of him?

The women, after they had satisfied her as to the first queries,
answered to the last: "We do not know what you may think of him,
but, for our parts, we are of opinion you would be very happy if
your father would marry you to so amiable a youth; for there is
not a prince in all the kingdom of Bengal to be compared to him;
nor can we hear that any of the neighbouring princes are worthy
of you."

This flattering compliment was not displeasing to the princess of
Bengal; but as she had no mind to declare her sentiments, she
imposed silence, telling them that they talked without
reflection, bidding them return to rest, and let her sleep.

The next day the princess took more pains in dressing and
adjusting herself at the glass than she had ever done before. She
never tired her women's patience so much, by making them do and
undo the same thing several times. She adorned her head, neck,
arms, and waist, with the finest and largest diamonds she
possessed. The habit she put on was one of the richest stuffs of
the Indies, of a most beautiful colour, and made only for kings,
princes, and princesses. After she had consulted her glass, and
asked her women, one after another, if any thing was wanting to
her attire, she sent to know, if the prince of Persia was awake;
and as she never doubted but that, if he was up and dressed, he
would ask leave to come and pay his respects to her, she charged
the messenger to tell him she would make him the visit, and she



Online LibraryAnonymousThe Arabian Nights Entertainments — Volume 04 → online text (page 1 of 32)