Jamshid and Zuhak part 5

Jamshid fled before him, and for a hundred years was seen by no man, till Zuhak fell upon him without warning in the confines of China and put him to death. Thus perished his pride from the earth.

For a thousand years Zuhak occupied the throne and the world sub-mitted to him, so that goodness died away and was replaced by evil. Every night during that long period two youths were slain to provide the serpents’ food. Now in the king’s country there remained two men of purity, of Persian race, the one Irmail the Pious, and the other Girmail the Clear-sighted. It happened that they met one day and talked of many matters great and small; of the unjust king, of his army, and of his horrible custom.

Preparation of the king’s meal

The one said: “We ought, by the art of the kitchen, to introduce ourselves into the king’s household and apply our wits to saving the unfortunates who lose their lives each day.” Setting to work, they learned the art of

Jamshid and Zuhak part 4

Zuhak was pleased and commended his cook, who said, “To-morrow I will prepare for your Majesty a dish than which nought is more perfect.” And the next day, when the blue dome of heaven was lighted by the red ruby of the sun, he prepared a dish of partridge and of silver pheasant, which the Arab ruler ate; and thus he abandoned his imprudent mind to the power of Iblis, who, on the third day, placed upon the table a mixture of birds and lambs’ flesh. On thefourth day, when the meal was brought, the king feasted on the flesh of a young calf seasoned with rose-water, old wine, and pure musk.

The meal filled him with delight at the skill of bis cook, and, summoning him, he said, “Think what it is that you desire, and ask it of me.” Iblis replied, “I have but one request to make of the king (may he live prosperous forever), but that is an honor too great for me; it is that I may be permitted to kiss his shoulders and to touch them with my eyes and face.”

Jamshid and Zuhak part 3

“First,” said Iblis, “you must swear an oath not to reveal my secrets to any man.” “I swear,” said Zuhak, “and I will do everything you tell me.” “Then,” said Iblis to him, “why should there be any other man but you, illustrious prince, in the palace? Of what use is a father when he has a son like you? Take his throne, for it belongs to you, and if you follow my counsel, you will be a great king on the earth.”

When Zuhak heard this he pondered long, for he loved his father. He said: “I cannot do it. Tell me something else, for that is not possible.” Iblis replied in fury, “If you do not carry out my commands and if you break the oath you swore to me, my bonds will remain attached to your neck for ever.” Zuhak submitted, and said: “How am I to bring this about?”

“I, Iblis, will prepare the means, and raise you to the sun. You have but to keep silence.”

Arab king awoke

Now the king had around his palace

Jamshid and Zuhak part 2

The present version of Jamshid and Zuhak, a single episode from The Book of the Kings, is from the translation by Reuben Levy, M.A., copyrighted in 1923 by the Oxford University Press, by whose permission it is here reprinted.

Jamshid And Zuhak

In the days when the world was young, there was a king who, from his capital in Iran, ruled the earth for seven hundred years. His name was Jamshid, and he was indeed a mighty monarch, for men and divs and birds and peris all obeyed him. The world grew prosperous under him, for he said: “I will prevent evildoers from working ill, and will guide all men aright.”

For fifty years he concerned himself with weapons of war, to open the path to glory for the valiant, and made helmets and lances and coats of mail. Then he turned to the making of garments for his people. He prepared stuffs of linen, of wool, of beaver skins and of rich brocade, and taught the people how to weave; and when the material was ready he s

Jamshid and Zuhak part 1

Persia

Introduction

The short story in Persia had its origin among the wandering story-tellers, who sometimes invented their plots (so far as any one ever invents a plot), but more commonly borrowed them from the extensive store of legends or folk-tales, Semitic or Mohammedan in origin. No story-teller’s repertory was complete unless it included tales of treasure or of love. The motive of these characteristic stories was extremely simple: one set out to amass a fortune, either by cunning or outright theft; or else one pursued some woman who was acclaimed as the perfection of maidenly beauty. In any event, the hero almost invariably succeeded in his quest and lived happy ever after.

The obstacles in the way of achievement, whether the quest was treasure or a beautiful woman, formed the basis of the story, and when these were of a super-natural character the teller excelled in the invention of particularly ingenious obstacles. The introduction of s

The Story of Abou Hassan the Wag or the Sleeper Awakened part 14

The caliph then seated himself at the heads of the two pretended corpses, and said, By the tomb of the Apostle of Allah (God favor and preserve him!), and by the tombs of my ancestors, if anyone would acquaint me which of them died before the other, I would give him a thousand pieces of gold. And when Abou Hassan heard these words of the caliph, he quickly rose and sprang up, and said, It was I who died first, O Prince of the Faithful. Give me the thousand pieces of gold, and so acquit thyself of the oath that thou hast sworn. Then Nouzatalfuad arose and sat up before the caliph and the Lady Zobeide, who rejoiced at their safety. But Zobeide chid her female slave.

The caliph and the Lady Zobeide congratulated them both on their safety, and knew this pretended death was a stratagem for the purpose of obtaining the gold: so the Lady Zobeide said to Nouzatalfuad, Thou shouldst have asked of me what thou desiredst without this proceeding, and not have tortured my heart on thi

The Story of Abou Hassan the Wag or the Sleeper Awakened part 13

They all four arose, laying wagers with each other, and went forth and walked from the gate of the palace until they entered the gate of the street in which dwelt Abou Hassan the Wag: when Abou Hassan saw them, and said to his wife Nouzatalfuad, In truth, everything that is slippery is not a pancake, and not every time the jar is struck doth it escape unbroken.

It seefheth that the old woman hath gone and related the story to her lady and acquainted her with our case, and that she hath contended with Mesrour the eunuch, and they have laid wagers respecting our death: so the caliph, and the eunuch, and the Lady Zobeide, and the old woman have all four come to us. And upon this Nouzatalfuad arose from her extended position, and said, What is to be done? Abou Hassan answered her, We will both feign ourselves dead, and lay ourselves out and hold in our breath. And she assented to his proposal.

Abou Hassan the Wag

They both stretched themselves along, bo

The Story of Abou Hassan the Wag or the Sleeper Awakened part 12

Then Abou Hassan laid himself along, and Nouzatalfuad covered him, and bound his eyes and his feet, and seated herself at his head, weeping. And the old woman came in to Nouzatalfuad, and saw her sitting at the head of Abou Hassan, weeping, and enumerating his merits; and when Nouzatalfuad saw the old woman, she shrieked, and said to her, See what hath befallen me! Abou Hassan hath died’ and left me single and solitary! Then she shrieked again, and tore Tier clothes in pieces, and said to the old woman, O my mother, how good he was! The old woman replied, Truly thou art excusable; for thou hadst become habituated to him, and he had become habituated to thee.

And knowing howMesrour had acted to the caliph and the Lady Zobeide, she said to Nouzatalfuad, Mesrour is about to cause a quarrel between the caliph and the Lady Zobeide. And what is this cause of Quarrel, O my mother? said Nouzatalfuad. The old woman answered, O my daughter, Mesrour hath come to them and told them

The Story of Abou Hassan the Wag or the Sleeper Awakened part 11

Accordingly, Nouzatalfuad extended herself, and Abou Hassan cov-ered her with her veil, and seated himself at her head, weeping. And lo Mesrour the eunuch came up into the house of Abou Hassan, and saluted him, and saw Nouzatalfuad stretched out; upon which he un-covered her face, and exclaimed, There is no deity but God! Our sister Nouzatalfuad is dead! How speedy was the stroke of fate! May Allah have mercy upon her, and acquit thee of responsibility! He then re-turned, and related what had happened before the caliph and the Lady Zobeide, laughing as he spoke. So the caliph said to him, O thou accursed, this is not a time for laughing.

Tell us which of them is dead. He therefore replied, By Allah, O my lord, verily Abou Hassan is well, and none is dead but Nouzatalfuad. And upon this the caliph said to Zobeide, Thou has lost thy pavilion in thy play. And he laughed at her, and said, O Mesrour, relate to her what thou sawest. So Mesrour said to her, In truth, O my mistre

The Story of Abou Hassan the Wag or the Sleeper Awakened part 10

And the Lady Zobeide re- joined, In truth he was not with thee, nor, didst thou see him; and none was with me just now but Nouzatalfuad, who was mourning and weeping, with her clothes rent in pieces; and I exhorted her to have patience, and gave her a hundred pieces of gold, and a piece of silk; and I was waiting for thee, that I might console thee for the loss of thy boon- companion Abou Hassan the Wag; and I was going to send for thee.

On hearing this the caliph laughed, and said, None is dead but Nouzatalfuad. And the Lady Zobeide said, No, n6, O my lord; none is dead but Abou Hassan. But the caliph now became enraged; the vein between his eyes, which was remarkable in members of the family of Hashim, throbbed, and he called out to Mesrour the Executioner, saying to him, Go forth and repair to the house of Abou Hassan the Wag, and see which of the two is dead.

Mesrour, therefore, went forth running. And the caliph said to the Lady Zobeide, Wilt thou lay me a