“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 a garden in which he took great delight, and here, often rising before dawn, he would walk, without even one slave to carry his torch. On the path the div dug a deep pit, covered it with brushwood, and spread earth on the top. Early the fol-lowing morning, before the sun was up, the Arab king awoke and went out into the cold air of dawn. As he approached the fatal pit his star paled, but he disregarded its warning, and, falling into the chasm, was slain. Thus perished this pious man who had scarce ever spoken a harsh word to his son.
Iblis, his plan accomplished, then approached Zuhak again, and said: “When you have turned your heart towards me, you may obtain all that you desire. Renew but your oath, and the entire world will be your kingdom; the wild beasts, the birds, and the fishes will be your subjects.” And with these words he vanished.
Soon afterwards Iblis asumed the guise of a young man of ready speech and agile form, and presented himself to Zuhak, saying that he was an excellent cook. The prince engaged him, and by his royal com-mand delivered to him the keys of his kitchen. Now the design of Iblis was to make the prince abandon his eating of herbs and to persuade him to the eating of meat. He began by preparing yolk of egg for him, which in a short time gave him great vigor of body.
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