Gustav Karpeles.

The thousand and one nights; or, The Arabian nights entertainments online

. (page 44 of 47)
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or surprised, the hamper taken down, and Habib himself pros-
trated at the feet of his mother, who was seated on the govern-
ess's couch, the essences were again had recourse to for re-
viving the spirits of both the mother and the son, who had
mutually sunk into a trance.

. When they had somewhat recovered, " Ah ! my dear Habi V
cried Amirala, " by what favor of gracious Heaven are you thus
restored to my arms ? "

"By that, madam, which was promised me by the stars.
You see before you the husband of Dorathil-goase the king
of the Seven Seas ; the instrument, though unworthy, of the
great Solomon, the conqueror of the enemies of God and
his prophet. But I would only bewail my successes, did I not
bring with me a physician, who is able, in a moment, to restore
Bight to my father."

" Restore the sight of Salamis ! " exclaimed Amirala. " Yes,
madam," answered Habib, " and that physician is my wife her-
Belf, commissioned by the decrees of Heaven to perform thia

" Your wife ! " returned Amirala, " and where is she ? " "In
the cottage in my garden. She waits for an Arabian dress,
You will, therefore, order two dresses to be prepared ; one tot
her, under which she may conceal her sex ; and another for
me, in which I may pass through the camp without being dis-

* It Is proposed, madam, to introduce to my father, in th


riew of thj whole camp, an Arabian physician with his l
Order, then, the most trusty of the emir's grocms, and he in
whose prudence you can repose the most confidence, to follow me
to my retreat with three mules. Let him take care that the
barriers be left open for him on his return.

u You will inform your slaves that you have called a phy-
sician, for whose accommodation a tent must be provided this
night. We will arrive about sun-set, and we shall need no
ether than my kind governess to serve us.

u Till that time, madam, you may prepare my father, by re-
lating such stories as may raise in his mind some hopes of my
safety. Inspire him with confidence in the skill of an Arabian
physician, who requires no more than to see his eyes, to touch
them with his fingers ; and who engages by that means, in a
moment to restore his sight. For my own part, I will remain
concealed till after the operation."

Everything was executed according to Habib's directions ,
he instantly set out for his retreat, followed by his father's
groom with three mules. He had led the way in silence ; but
when they approached the palisadoes, he called to the man by
his name. The groom seemed struck by the sound of his voice.
" Fear not," said he, " I speak to you with Habib's voice, for I
am Habib himself. When you come into the cottage, you may
find what may surprise you more. You will there see the
queen, my royal spouse. Prepare yourself, then, to execute
whatever we shall command for the service of the emir, my

The groom could scarce persuade himself that he was
awake ; but the work he was ordered to perform soon con-
vinced him that he was not under the illusion of a dream.

Habib commanded him to load two of the mules with the
armor and the horse-trappings which he had received from the
hand of II Haboul. He and Dorathil-goase then put on theii

The young physician mounted the best mule ; her slave, on
foot, conducted one of the loaded mules, and the other was letf
^y the groom.


The armor was covered with those skins of lions and tigers
which had served as furniture in the cottage ; and this littl?
troop, in the dusk of the evening presented themselves^ and
were admitted within the lines of the camp.

In the mean time, Amirala and the governs* attended So-
Amis, who was now awake ; they addressed him 'n a tone less
mournful than usual; and the worthy emir was <x nforted by
the cheerfulness of their discourse.

" God has been pleased to humble me," said he ; " 1 w^s toe
proud of his gifts, and all have been withdrawn, that I may
learn my own insignificance. Yet I bless his name, since you,
my dear Amirala, seem as resigned to our destiny as I am

" Deprived as I am of power and glory, and cut off from
the enjoyment of light, I can brave every danger, and even f he
slavery with which I am threatened, while you assist me in
supporting my misfortunes. My enemies no longer fear my
arms ; but they will be pursued by the vengeance of the great
prophet, from which they cannot escape. We shall, at last,
rejoin our dear.Habib, and be happy."

" Yes, yes," cried the governess ; " there is no doubt of it,
after the dream both my lady and I have had. I am sure we
shall rejoin our dear Habib."

" What dream ? " demanded Salamis. " Who y/er heard of
two people having the same dream ? "

" We have, however, both dreamed tho a&cie thing," an
Bwered the governess, " and that exactly, in each particular.
We have seen Habib. He was beautiful, .vas a king, and pos-
sessed a queen, charming as the houris. He still loved his
lather and us with all the tenderness of his nature. He hoped
goon to come here, and show himself to you, and

" Show himself to me ! " interrupted Salamio j " that can
never be, at least in this world; for my eyes, nlv ! are dhul
forever ! "

" You may, perhaps, be agreeably deceived, TO/ lord," re
Burned the governess, " as to this particular. We hitvn h^a*** 1


of * wonderful physician, whose skill is so great that, if tlw
eye- ball but remain entire, he can restore the sight in a mo-
ment, and without occasioning the smallest pain."

" I have already been too long abused by quacks and as-
trologers," cried Salamis. He is neither one nor t' other," said
she. " He offers to pledge a thousand pieces of gold before
undertaking the cure. If he does not succeed, or if he does
ths smallest injury, he is willing to forfeit the sum."

"Let him come, then," cried. Salamis. "I shall be glad to
gain a thousand pieces of gold, that I may distribute them
among my poor subjects who have been plundered of their
flocks. It will only cost me a little patience, and the empiric
will be justly punished for his vain pretensions."

This compliance on the part of Salamis, was all that Ami-
rala wanted. Habib and Dorathil-goase arrive ; are intro-
duced into the apartment of the emir, and the groom there
places the two suits of armor, covering them with the skins in
which they had been wrapped.

The operation on the emir's eyes is now to be begun. But
no strangers are suffered to intrude. A supper is already pre-
pared, which is to be served up by the governess alone. The
groom stands as sentinel at the door, to restrain the impertinent
inquiries of the crowd.

Amirala announces to her husband the arrival of the phy-
sician, and at the same time puts into his hand a purse filled
with gold.

" Weigh it," says she to the emir ; " satisfy yourself that
nothing is wanting of the sum, and keep it in your possession,
to make sure of it, in case the operation shall fail.

But as you are a sovereign, this generous physician is un-
willing that you should hazard youi person in the view of so
paltry a compromise ; that the bargain may be more equal, he
entreats that you will suffer him to pledge his head for his

"My drar Amirala," says Salamis, " would ^ you have ma
dream, as you and the good old woman there, do so often f


Would you make it a dream for three ? " u I hope," answered
she, " my honored emir, it shall soon be a dream for five ! the
most delightful, the truest dream imaginable. But here comes
the physician."

" Come near me/ 5 said the emir. " Is it true that you are
so certain of my cure ? " " As certain as of my existence."
* Ah ! you have the voice of an angel, not of a man. Are you
the messenger of Heaven, who brings me so unexpected a fa
ror ? for it is from Heaven aloqe I can hope for such a inira
cle." u You are mistaken as to the nature of my essence, but
you conjecture aright as to my commission." " I know not how
it is, but your words enchant me, and shed a raj of hope on
my soul. Look on my eyes." " I see them. Permit m<*. to
touch them, and for an instant to apply my thumbs upon them.* 1
" I feel an agreeable warmth ; what a pleasing sensation ! some
happy change has taken place, which is communicated to every
nerve, and my whole frame is invigorated "

" The operation is finished, my lord. Look up without fear.
The rays of the sun will no longer be offensive to your eyes."

" O heavens ! Isee ! " cried the good emir ; and before taking
notice of any object about him, he fell down with his fact*, tc
the ground, and thanked God for his deliverance.

Having finished his prayer, he arose and looked around ;
K Where is this physician ? " cries he, in a transport. " Where
is this messenger of God ? " " Here I am." " Divine crea-
ture!" "I am not divine, honored father; I am Dorathil-
goase, your daughter, devoted to you by fate. I am the wife

of your son Habib." " Wife of Habib ! draw near ;

Amirala, support me ; my son is married ; he lives ! Where,
where is he ? " " At your feet ! " cries Habib, embracing his

" O gracious Heaven ! " exclaims Salamis, " thou hast re-
stored my strength ; but much is necessary to sustain this ex-
cess of joy."

He remained for some time deprived of sense, in the arnu
if his son and the young queen. But this was no more than


r momentary crisis of tenderness, which gave vtot to tne torn
rent which soon gushed from his eyes. His tears were mingled
with those of his children and of his wife Amirala ; and the
good old governess, emboldened by the warmth of her attach
ment, presumed to join in the tender scene.

Natural offection here operated so powerfully that> for some
time, curiosity, and every other sentiment, remained in sus-

At last, Amirala recollected that she ought to offer hei
guests some refreshment ; and the governess, on receiving
her orders, prepared to serve them.

The father is seated at table between his two children ;
Amirala sits opposite, and enjoys the inexpressible felicity of
beholding the re-union of so many objects of her love.

For a long time her breaching had been interrupted by con.
tinu^l sighs ; her mouth was seldom open but to utter a com-
plaint ; her heart was wrung with sorrow, her mind haunted
with terrors. She shed the most bitter tears ; was dead to
every pleasure, and grief preyed on her vitals. Every step
she made seemed marked with misfortune.

In a moment all is reversed. The flood of tears that pours
from her eyes is a delicious enjoyment ; her soul is filled with
enthusiastic joy, and her lips can give it utterance.

" Let my heart taste of pleasure ; it is not now a time to re-
sist the impressions of delight ; let my heart open and furnish
an abundance of tears !

"When each tear I shed was accompanied with a heavy
groan, who could have persuaded me that I should one day find
such pleasure in weeping ?

" O laughter, how deceitful art thou ? Thou canst not ex-
press the joy of the soul. Thou art a stranger to sweet sensi-
bility. Go, distort the faces, and mark the insipid mirth of the
Cools who court thee ; begone from those who can taste the ten-
der delight of weeping !

" Dorathil-goase ! Habib ! how charming are your tears .
how they exalt every beauty ! how they improve every feat ore
f thnae arurelic faces ! "


Amiiala might have proceeded longer in the langjage of
poetry ; for the happiness she then felt had inspired her with
ill the vivacity of youth ; but the situation of the objects on
which her attention was fixed, began to change. The repast
BTHS short ; the governess had retired, and it was now time that
Salamis should learn from his son's own mouth in what man*
ner he was restored to him by the kindness of Heaven.

The young hero recounted to him his history, from the mo-
ment he set out on the expedition to mount Caucasus ; he de-
Bcribed the behavior of the twenty knights till the instant they
left him exposed in the desert to the rigors of the climate, to
famine, to thirst, and to the rage of ferocious animals.

He described all his exploits in the most natural colors.
Even the fault he termed unpardonable, which he committed
before leaving the caverns, and the consequences that followed
that error.

He proceeded to relate his meeting with the daughters of
the sea, a meeting which was, no doubt, ordained by fate. He
described in what manner his labors were facilitated by their
assistance, and how they had, in a manner, saved his life. In
short, he expressed the extreme felicity he enjoyed since the
moment of his union with the charming Dorathil-goase.

He concluded with mentioning the reasons which led him to
return to mount Caucasus ; how he there, for the first time,
teamed from II Haboul the unhappy situation of his father, of
his mother, and of his whole tribe ; and how, on this, he took
<he resolution of hastening to Arabia.

Salamis eagerly listened to this narrative, without interrupt-
ing him. When he had done , " My son," said he, " have you
aot resolved to punish those treacherous knights, who have so
basely plotted your destruction ? "

" Father," said Habib, " I think *c unnecessary ; I leav
them to the stings of internal remorse, and to the vengeance of
Heaven. Such despicable monsters are so mean, so far be*
eath me, that I cannot stoop to punish them."

* Your sentiments," rejoined Salamis, " are truly ruaguaui


mou?; your answer is worthy of a hero; but yju sboulj al&l
judge as a king. Vengeance ought always to pursue cnrnes,
and the guilty are not proper objects of mercy. But aftei
their infamous treachery to you, what wonder is it that then
cowardice has been the chief cause of all the disorders which
have desolated our tribe; for not one of them had courage
enough to face an enemy.

u They have oppressed my people with every species of in-
justice. The crimes they have committed against you and
Against myself are so enormous, that you expose the whole
tribe to danger in suffering them to live. Besides, as you are
now to discover yourself, their villany must come to light, and
public justice will demand their punishment. I might add, did
I not know that you were superior to such fears, that they
would still be dangerous enemies."

Habib yielded to these reasons ; and entreated his father to
acquaint him with the particulars of that unhappy revolution
in Arabia, which H Haboul had mentioned to him only in gen-
eral ; and of which the sad effects were too visible on the face
of the country.

" O my son," resumed the virtuous emir, " I call on you to
execute vengeance on wretches whose existence is a disgrace
to humanity ; and while I excite you to repress your generous
feelings, that you may secure the welfare of a people over
whom you may hereafter bear rule, it is a task truly painful to
set before your eyes the unpleasing picture which must banish,
for the time, those sentiments of universal benevolence which
ihould always inspire the heart of a true mussulman.

" When the Arabians saw me deprived of sight, when they
loald no longer hope to triumph by my arms, nor share with
me in my conquests, they regarded me as an outcast unworthy
of life. The emirs, that I had appointed in my provinces, for-
got that they owed their elevation to me. They all deserted
their allegiance. They quarrelled among themselves, nof
would they even listen to my counsels.

" By my conduct and military skill they had subdued th


formidable tribe of Kleb, who were infidels, worshippers of tut
ma and the stars. We were obliged to reduce them to servi-
tude by imposing heavy contributions, which rendered them im-
patient of the yoke.

" A warrior started up among them named Zir , a man of
enormous stature and extraordinary strength ; he was naturally
ambitious, enterprising and brave, but quarrelsome and crueL

" Zir had excited his brethren to revolt ; they flew to arma j
and whilo the emirs were disputing with each other about the
vain honor of command, they were routed, their forces dis-
persed, and their flocks driven off. The few that were not en
tirely subjected by him are now wandering in the neighboring

" Thus freed from every enemy whose force he had reason
to fear, the terrible Zir advanced to my camp, to accomplish
the most important part of his project.

" The tribe of Benihelal, who rendered such important ser-
vices to our holy prophet, was, above all the others, odious in
the eyes of the infidels. Zir was ambitious of subjecting them
to the same degree of slavery from which he had delivered hia
own people ; or even, if he could, of cutting them off, root and
branch, from the face of the earth.

"The favorable situation of our camp, between two steep
hills, the exact discipline which I have enjoined, and the means
I have suggested of repelling attacks and avoiding surprise,
have hitherto prevented my defeat; but we are daily losing
ground, and the few cattle still remaining with us, can scarcely
find pasturage sufficient for their support.

" Had you not, my dear son, arrived so seasonably ; had not
Heaven been pleased to restore my sight, no other propped
was before us than death, or the most humiliating slaveiy.

" Though the enemy, from a knowledge of our position, have
ceased to attempt to force our lines, yet they daily present
themselves at our barriers, and exultingly reproach our warriors
with cowardice. None of them have courage to resent thosa



cruel insulbj : and one might imagine that the whote tribe erf
Benihelal was reduced to women and infants."

This recital kindled a flame in the breast of Habib. Hii
father forsaken his tribe dishonored, these were ideas al-
together insupportable ; but above all, the ungenerous advan-
tage which Zir had taken of his father's weakness, filled his
Boul with indignation and fury.

** O ! my father ! " cried he ; "I hope before to-morrow*!
dawn to begin our vengeance !

" Under these tiger-skins, which perhaps you have not yet
observed, are concealed some pieces of armor of no ordinary
kind, which were given me by II Haboul, when I last visited
Caucasus. Your groom shall prepare me a war-horse. I will
fly to the barrier there to await the insolent bravadoes of our
enemies, and give them a proper reception.

" If the enemy does not appear, I will rush on to the tents
of Zir, and dare him to the combat."

* And where shall Salamis be," cried the generous old war-
rior, " if he fails to accompany his son in so glorious an enter-
prise ? Here are two suits of armor under the tiger-skins. I
pray thee tell me, was this intended for your wife, or me ?
What Arab is able to bear these arms, or even to lift this

Having said this, he took it up and brandished it in the air
in a terrible manner. While he wielded the enormous lance.
it looked, in his grasp, like a reed in the hand of a child. "
Mohammed ! " exlaimed he, u thou hast restored two chiefs to
thy tribe ; restore, also, to the people, their courage and theii
strength ! "

Amirala and Dorathil-goase, far from being alarmed for th
*afety of their husbands, were delighted to see them assist each
other in adjusting their armor, and to observe the graceful
manner in which they, by turns, tried the weight and temper
tf their weapons.

When they were completely armed, they embraced : " Thou


wt my son! ' said Salamis; "I am thy fatker* To-day w
are brothers and rivals in the field of honor.

" Pity it is we have none to contend with but laves ! Let
us, however, take comfort ; we fight for the great prophet, and
pur glory is connected with his."

Salamis then called his groom. " Prepare for us," said he,
two horses of the noblest breed ; let them be caparisoned in
these trappings, and conduct them to your tent. Keep them
to readiness till day-break, when we shall mount.

<fc God has been pleased to restore my strength, as you see,
vJOgether with my sight.

" To-morrow my son and I go to receive the challenge of
the rebel knights from the army of Zir.

" When we set out from your tent, you will follow at a small
distance. Yoa may answer to those in the camp, who inquire
who we are, thai these are two strangers, knights, who come to
offer their services to Salamis."

The groom retired to do as he had been commanded ; and
the darkness- of the night enabled him to execute his orders
without being perceived.

The guards who kept the passages to the emir's tents, saw
the groom enter without suspicion ; and as they knew him to be
the emir's servant, suffered him to take from thence two horses
without the least disturbance.

At ofay-break the two warriors, armed cap-a-pie, after taking
the most affectionate leave of their spouses, went out unob-
served. They came to the groom's tent, mounted their horses,
and rode up to the barriers to wait the approach of Zir's war-
riors, who came there daily to renew their insults.

Nor had they long to wait. Six knights, in complete armor,
soon made their appearance ; and, followed by a small party
of their attendants, advanced towards the barriers of the camp.
One of them alighted, and thus addressed the guard who kepi
that post :

" PeopJ e of Arabia : Are you mad ? Would you remain in-
gloriously penned up like your cattle, on the last of which yof


now feed ? Would you suffer famine and death for the safctj
of a poor blind man ? Our chains are honorable, and are des-
tined to be worn by the bravest people of the earth. Submit,
then, to the common lot of the nations conquered by our arms*
You shall be permitted to become a footstool to the throne of
the mighty emir Zir, our glorious sovereign. Leave, then, for
shame, this feeble old man, who can only share with you hii
disgrace and imbecility. You shall even be allowed to mij
with our tribe, and there forget the ignominy of your owa
Why not forsake a prince abandoned by Heaven, who has not,
among his friends, one knight bold enough to face the weakest
of us ? "

" Thou liest, vile slave of a rebel slave ! " cried Habib, who
had suddenly started from behind the palisade. He then struck
the visor of his casque with one of his gauntlets, as a signal
of defiance.

" I here defy thee," said Habib, " and challenge thee to en-
gage a knight of the great Salamis."

In the mean time, the valiant husband of Dorathil-guase
overleaped the barrier, and came up with his adversary before
he had time to remount his horse, or lay hold of his shield.

Habib threw away his, disdaining the least advantage of that
sort, and the fight began. But the victory was soon decided in
favor of the son of Salamis. Habib scarcely struck a blow
that did not pierce the armor of his antagonist, and he fell
dead at his feet, before the other knights of the tribe of Kleb
could advance to assist their companion in arms.

He who first came up, forgetting the laws of war and of
honor, tried to overthrow Habib by rushing on him with hit
horse. The brave son of Salamis avoided the shock, and with
A mortal blow smote his adversary to the ground.

Salamis, who had just passed the barrier, met the third
knight, and despatched him. Habib, who had now taken hia
horse, joined his father, and both fell upon the three remaining
warriors of the tribe of Kleb.

These knights would have sought safety in flight, had no!


the shame of being seen by their attendants restrained them
Fear, however, had seized their hearts ; they suffered .hen*
selves to be disarmed, and the fate of their companions com*
pleted their terror.

Salamis and his son returned to the camp. Every one, wha
bore t^e title of knight in the tribe of Benihelal, came about
them half-armed. Joy, mixed with suspicion and shame, ap-
peared in their faces. They asked, " Who can they be ? From
whence are those wonderful strangers who have displayed such
intrepidity against our enemies, who have so easily tri-
umphed in the. unequal contest of two against six ? "

The two knights did not remove the visors of their casques.
They answered those who praised their valor, only by a grace-
ful inclination of the head. They observed a profound silence,
and the groom who spoke for them, told the people that they
were two noble and valiant strangers, who were come to offer
their services to the emir ; and that they had requested to be
conducted to his tent, that they might be introduced to him.

The two heroes again mounted their steeds, and proceeded

Online LibraryGustav KarpelesThe thousand and one nights; or, The Arabian nights entertainments → online text (page 44 of 47)