The king said, ‘I have heard that Sulaimán (the blessing and peace of God be upon our Prophet and upon him!) was a king whose reversed command was adorned with the honor of rapid execution. Jins,* men, animals, and birds, bound the girdle of submission and obedience to him on the waist of their souls. The writer of destiny had ornamented the diploma of his kingly office with the signature, ‘Give me a kingdom which may not be obtained by any after me,’* and the groom of omnipotence had placed the saddle of his authority on the east wind as his steed; so the verse, ‘It blew in the morning for a month, and in the evening for a month,’* affords a description of his riding.

Heaven was his servant, and the sun his slave,
Fortune obeyed him, earth his bidding did.
Genii and men devoted service gave,
And ranks of beasts and birds his portals hid.

One day one of the cherubs of the oratories of the angelic world came to see him, and presented to him a cup full of the water of life, and said, ‘The Creator of all! May His greatness be glorified and His power magnified!’ has given thee free choice, and has said, ‘Quaff, if thou wilt, this cup; and, till the end of time, be free from tasting the beverage, ‘Every soul shall taste of death.’* And if thou wishest, quickly lift up thy foot, and from the corner of the prison of humanity, betake thyself to the pure garden and expansive air of divinity.’ Sulaimán (On him be peace!) reflected within himself, that the coin of life is a stock with which it is possible to secure in the bázár of the resurrection abundant profit; and that the space of existence is a field, in which can be sown the seed of happiness in both worlds and the plant of eternal felicity.

Too short the hand of this life is,
To reach to such enduring bliss.

Wherefore, in every point of view, one ought to choose the continuance* of existence rather than the allurements of extinction and annihilation; and, for the two or three days that the reins of delay are in the hand of option, exertion ought to be used to secure the favor of the Almighty.

’T is life that’s past in serving those we love.

Again he reflected, saying, ‘The chiefs of the Genii and of men are present, and the leaders of the beasts and birds. I must consult with them, and whatever their unanimous opinion may be, that I must propose to myself as my rule in this matter.’ He then took counsel with all the fairies, and men, and birds, and all the animals, as to drinking the beverage of life. All bade him drink it, and were comforted and glad at his life being perpetuated, in which, too, the welfare of the inhabitants of the world would be included.

‘Enjoy the fruit of life eternal and of never-ending days,
For ’tis the prayer which night and morning, old and young, too, for thee raise.’

Sulaimán said, ‘Is there any one of all my subjects that is absent from this assembly?’ They replied, ‘Yes! the Heron has not come to this meeting, and is not informed of this consultation.’ Sulaimán (On him be peace!) sent the horse to summon him, but the Heron declined to come. Again he commanded the dog, saying, ‘Go! and bring the Heron.’ The dog came to the Heron, who acquiescing in his words, presented himself before Sulaimán. Sulaimán said, ‘I wish to consult thee, but before I tell thee the subject, solve a difficulty I have.’ The Heron expressed his inability, and said,

‘Who then am I, that of me that illustrious mind should think?

Thy slave has not power to solve any difficulty, nor does he deserve that such a king, as thou, should honor him by consulting him. It is not, however, strange that the great of lofty station should inquire into the circumstances of their humble subjects.

Thou art the sun and I a mote most insignificant,
It is not strange the sun to motes its fostering rays should grant.

If my lord, pre-eminent for the dignity of the prophetic office, will favor me with a declaration of that difficulty, that which passes through my feeble mind shall be represented.’ Sulaimán (On him be peace!) rejoined, ‘After man, the most noble animal is the horse, and the basest of animals is the dog. What is the meaning of this, that thou wouldest not come at the summons of the most noble animal, and didst accept the invitation of the meanest?’ The Heron replied, ‘Although the beauty of nobility is out­wardly apparent in the horse, and the most perfect gifts are luminously and evidently displayed in him, yet he has not fed in the mead of faithful­ness, nor drunk one drop from the fountain of gratitude.

Not from thy steed expect to find a sense of favors ever,
A horse—a wife—a scymitar—these three were faithful never.

And notwithstanding that the dog is notorious for his baseness, and well-known for his impurity, still he has eaten the morsel of constancy, and habituated himself to the custom of gratitude.

The dog wears in his ear the ring of love,
Nor for one morsel will unthankful prove.

And I, in accepting the invitation of my lord, who is the fountain of fidelity and the confluence of all truth and sincerity, did not listen to the words of an unfaithful animal, but gave heed to the address of a faithful one.’ Sulaimán (On him be peace!) approved of this reply, and disclosed to him the question as to drinking the water of life. The Heron said, ‘Wilt thou drink that water alone, or wilt thou give a part thereof to thy friends and kinsmen also?’ Sulaimán (On him be peace!) said, ‘They have sent it specially for me, nor have they granted a portion of it to others.’ The Heron replied, ‘O Prophet of God! how may this be, that thou shouldest continue alive and every one of thy friends and companions and children, and of those who are attached to thee, perish before thee? I cannot imagine that there could be enjoyment in such a life, nor can I suppose that there could be happiness in an existence which would be an incessant scene of separation.

Prize high the converse of thy friends, for know! the coin of life-time here
Was given but to scatter at the feet of those that we hold dear.
Oh! life is precious but to view the flowers that in the world appear,
This spectacle is joyous but when friends and those we love are near.’

Sulaimán (On him be peace!) applauded what he said, and declining the envenomed draught of separation, sent back the water of life untasted to the place whence they had brought it.

And I have cited this story to show that without this group of beings I do not wish for life, and see no difference betwixt my own death and their extinction. Moreover, as a matter of course, every kingdom verges to decay, and every monarch is on the brink* of departure and migration; and, in the end, this perilous journey must be traveled by all; and in this fearful cata­comb,* for the sake of two or three days’ transitory existence, why should I take steps towards so perilous and grave a measure? and why, with my own hand, lay waste the foundation of my greatness, and the basis of my enjoy­ment? Can ye not devise some other scheme? and contrive in a more simple manner a remedy for this misfortune?

For I, what this demands, can ne’er fulfil.’

The Bráhmans answered, ‘May the king live long! the words of truth are bitter, and faithful counsel appears harsh. We are amazed at the State-enlightening judgment of the king, in that he esteems the lives of others as equally precious with his own life and person, and for their preservation surrenders his precious existence and his hereditary kingdom! He ought to listen to the advice of his well-wishers, and to repose confidence in the words of the disinterested, and to consider his own person and his broad dominions as an equivalent for all losses. It behoves him therefore without hesitation or change of purpose to enter upon this affair, which will be a cause of universal joy, and of tranquillity to high and low. It is certain too that a wise man is attached to others for his own sake; and it is not hidden from the king that it is with a hundred toils that man arrives at sovereign power, and the keys of the treasures of dominion are acquired only by infinite exertion. To decide then on relinquishing the high estate of life, and to abandon the throne of glory and good-fortune appears far removed from the path of good sense. And so long as the king himself lives, he will not want for wives and offspring, and as long as his kingdom is stable, there will be no deficiency nor scarcity of articles of convenience and luxury, or of clever and faithful servants.

If nought is left—while thou art—all remains.’

When the king heard these statements, and saw the determination with which they delivered these words, he was very sad, and went from the hall of audience into his private apartments, and from the dais of his palace set his face towards the retirement of the house of sorrows.

Since I, alas! to none can tell the story of my woes and grief,
I’ll to myself lament, and in the cell of sorrow seek relief.

Then, having placed the face of supplication on the ground, he let loose the water of regret from his eyes, and his heart being roasted with the fire of despair, he gave the harvest of patience and composure to the wind of spoliation, and said, ‘This cloud of mischief, which rains down the shower of calamity, whence has it made its appearance? and this troop of griefs, which has made spoil of the goods of life alone, by what channel has it found its way to invade me?

While I sate uninterrupted with my friend, and sang elate,
Who showed grief the way to enter? who told sorrow of our state?

How forsooth can one call the death of beloved ones a matter of small importance?* and what enjoyment can one derive from life without [seeing] the beauty of sons and spouses? and of what use will my kingdom be to me without my sons, who are the light of my eyes, and the fruit of my heart, and who are my solace in the present life, and my hope after treading the path of death?

Of nought do fathers stand in so much need,
Nought’s dearer, than sons worthy to succeed.

And Irán-dukht (from the well of whose chin the fountain of the radiant sun is but a drop, and the dawning light of the bright moon but a glimmer from the reflection of her brilliant face; whose cheek is like the time of happy fortune, fresh and joyous, and whose locks, like the nights of adversity, are dark and raveled;

Her cheek is peerless like the sun through all sublunar space,
The young moon stole its crescent from those archèd eyebrows twain;
The fountain of day’s glory is my fair one’s radiant face,
And rubies from her red red lips, do added lustre gain;)

possesses the power of fascinating by her society, and of exhilarating the soul by her companionship; and without her what fruition can I have in life? And if my vazír Balár (whose luminous judgment is a light-increasing sun in every night of emergency, and the ray of the taper of whose intellect is a gloom-dispelling light in the darkness of every critical event;

Without the aid his restless pen aye brings,
No rest were certain for the throne of kings;)

were not before the throne of my glory, how would the building up of the State, and the lustre of administration, and the plenishing of the treasuries, and the acquisition of desired objects, be possible? And when the page of the counsels of the secretary Kamál (of whose fingers the sublime limner of the sky is a pupil, and of the tray of whose eloquence Mercury of elegant style is but a crumb-eater; whose words delight the heart like a string of pearls, and whose handwriting, like scattered gems, increases joy;

Water and fire together are commingled in his diction’s grace,
And in his writing’s beauty, we darkness at once and light can trace,)

is withdrawn from our sight, how can the affairs of the provinces and the events of the neighboring country be known? or by what device will information be obtained as to the circumstances of our enemies and the intentions of our foes? And whenever the line of extinction is drawn through the volume of the life of these two faithful counsellors and efficient officers, which are to the frame of the kingdom like helping hands* and watchful eyes, of course the benefits of their advice and the results of their ability will be cut off from the State. Then, supposing this to be the case, the lustre of affairs and arrangement of matters will belong to the class of impossibilities. Again, without the white elephant (whose body shines like the lunar orb, and who is beautiful and swift as the revolving sky;

Girt like a fortress in an iron net;
His tusked blows could castles overset;)

how could I advance to meet the foe? Moreover, without those two other* elephants (which, in the ranks of war, like tumultuous floods, bear down the enemy; and, like a whirlwind, carry off men from amid the battle;

With their huge trunks the lasso’s circles making,
And in these fetters valiant warriors taking;)

how, in the day of conflict, shall I break through the hostile ranks? and how, in the moment of strife, shall I overturn the army of my opponents? And if, too, I had no longer any rapid dromedaries (at the time of whose speeding forth, the courier of the east wind is unable to distinguish, even from a distance, the dust of their footsteps; and the messenger of the northern breeze cannot frame the notion of being able to accompany the pulverized atoms which their passage stirs up;

Thorn-eating, head-upraising like fire, these,
And through the desert traveling like the breeze.)

how shall I obtain information as to what passes around? and by what conveyance transmit the imperial commands through the kingdom? So, without that fleet steed, of rapid pace and steely sinews, and lightning movements, and dazzling speed (which would kindle in the heart of the Rakhsh of Rustam the brightness of the lightning of the fire of calamity; and the nimbleness of whose motions would make the rose-colored tears [of envy] roll from the eyes of the Shabdíz of Khusrau,

A steed that in a single rush would strain,
Though long as hope, quite through the extended plain.)

how could I hope to spread the carpet of enjoyment? and in what manner could I carry off the ball of hilarity from the plain of mirth with the bat of pleasure? Lastly, without the sharp sword (which is of the form of water, so that the fire of sedition is quenched by the water of its terror, and is fiery in its dealings, so that the honor* of the State is sustained by the awe it inspires;

Thy blue sword shows its water on its blade,
Like violet fresh with drops of rain o’erlaid.)

what impression shall I make in war? And when I am left destitute of these instruments and with my own hand render useless a number of my supporters, what enjoyment can I reap from my kingdom? and what relish can I derive from life? And in truth,

If ’t is so passed—we cannot count it life.’

To be brief, the king dived for a while day and night, in the ocean of reflection, yet found not the gem of counsel by which he could grasp the clue of hope. The mention of the king’s reveries was spread among the Pillars of the State, and the abstraction of the monarch became known to all the favorites of the imperial court. The vazír Balár bethought himself, ‘If I am the first to endeavor to lay bare this matter, and before a hint is given me from the king, if I open the subject, it will be far removed from due respect and reverence. While, on the other hand, if I choose to be supine and adopt a course of hesitation and delay, it will not be comform­able to sincere and marked attachment.’ He therefore went to Irán-dukht and after offering the usual salutations, began to utter benedictions, and said,

‘Thou who on high* hast set the curtain of thy chastity,
While Gabriel* attentive waits the haram of thy honor by!

It is not unknown to thy sublime mind, that from the day when I obtained the honor of insertion on the string of the attendants of this court—whose pomp resembles that of heaven,—to this moment, the king has concealed nothing from me, and has not thought it right to enter upon affairs, either small or great, without consulting me. Yesterday he once or twice sum­moned the Bráhmans and conferred with them; and to-day he continues in private and sits thoughtful and dejected. Now thou art the queen of the time and the partner of the affections of the prince; and the people, and soldiers, next to the king’s favor, look hopefully to thy bounty; while thy commands, after the mandate of the king, are regarded by them as second in the management of affairs.* It is advisable that thou shouldest go to the king, and, having learned the state of the case, favor me with information regarding it, that we may engage with all despatch, in such measures as may appear salutary. For the Bráhmans are perfidious and malevolent, and I fear lest by their deceptions they may induce him to steps which will result in regret and repentance; while after an event has taken place, remorse and contrition are unavailing.

Before th’ event precautions should be used.’

Irán-dukht replied, ‘Reproofs have passed between me and the king, and some angry hints have been thrown out. I am ashamed while this is the case, to intrude on the king’s privacy and to loose my tongue to ask an explanation.’ The vazír rejoined, ‘O queen of the world! Reproof is the offering of dear friends,—chiding is a cause of the stability of friendship’s basis, and a reason of the permanence of the foundation of attachment and cordiality.

Thou mayst be froward, and I, too, may chide!
Friends are by faults and chidings best allied.

On this occasion thou must put aside this lovers’ quarrel, for since the king is overwhelmed with anxiety, and long and painful excogitation has made him sad, his servants and attendants ought not to show such boldness [as to intrude], and save thyself, none can open this door with the key of advice. Moreover, I have repeatedly heard the king say, ‘Whenever Irán-dukht comes to me—though I be sad—I appear joyful, and am freed, by her auspicious presence, from the fetters of grief and despondency.’ Go, then, and discover this affair, and thus* confer a vast favor on all the royal retinue in court.’ Irán-dukht then approached the king, performed the usual obeisance, and said,

‘Far be from thee both care and pain, and fortune’s ills as well!
Thou art our heart’s ease and life’s joy, and dost our griefs dispel.

What is the reason of thy gloom, and the cause of thy anxiety? and if any thing has reached thy ears from the Bráhmans, it is right thou shouldest acquaint thy slaves, in order that, aiding therein, they may perform the services due from them.’ The king replied, ‘It is not proper to ask a question as to a thing which is of such a nature, that if an answer be given it will prove painful to the mind, [for it is said,] ‘Do not ask about things, which, if told to you, would annoy you.’’ Irán-dukht answered, ‘If this suffering is to fall on the body of the king’s dependants, it matters not, for the safety of the royal person is a remedy for all calamities.

A thousand lives be offered up for thee!

And if (which heaven forfend!) the thing has reference to the precious person of your Majesty, even then, too, let us not give way to perplexity, nor on any account sit down desponding; but let us show manly deter­mination (for ‘firm purpose is of the purposes of kings,’) in company with the qualities of patience and composure. For complaining does but augment suffering, and impatience makes our enemies happy and joyous, and our friends vexed and chagrined. And in whatever befalls man, when he has recourse to the strongest handle* patience, in the end the face of his desired object appears; and we may justly regard that as the best of objects in which the favor of God is not lost.

O heart! bear patiently disastrous things,
For patience in the end good fortune brings.

And it befits the king, when an affair of importance arises, and a critical event occurs, not to suffer the means of remedy and mode of averting it to remain uncertain or concealed from his perfect penetration and abundant sagacity; especially as there is no deficiency of power and ability; and the means of dispelling despondency and of removing care and solicitude are ready and prepared.

Thou hast treasure and retainers; kingly pomp, wide realms hast thou,
From thy lonely chamber stepping, plant thy banner on earth’s plain.
Set thy face toward thy object, let thy grief be banished now,
Make thy friends rejoice, and from thy heart remove the load of pain.’

The king said, ‘If of what the Bráhmans pointed out to me, they were to whisper a single letter in the ear of a mountain, its sides, like that of the glorious* mountain Sinai, would be rent asunder, and the description, ‘And the mountains shall be dashed in pieces,* would be shown to apply to it; and if they were to give a hint of it to the bright day, sadness would turn it to the color of gloomy night, and the sign, Darkness one over the other,* would be manifest in it.

Cursed were the moon did it not clothe itself in mourning at this woe;
Shameless the cloud whence at these horrors tears sanguineous did not flow.

Do thou, too, importune me not as to this, nor be over instant in investi­gating it; for neither have I the power to tell it, nor thou fortitude to listen to it.’ Again Irán-dukht urged him exceedingly to tell; and the king, to gratify her, having made known somewhat of what was hidden in his breast said, ‘In one of these nights I saw a thing, and alarmed by the horror of it, I disclosed it to the Bráhmans to explain and interpret it; and those accursed ones viewed it as expedient that men should slay thee, together with thy two blessed and noble sons, and the pure-minded vazír, and the eloquent secretary, and the white man-destroying elephant, and the other gigantic army-crushing elephants, and the waste-traversing, thorn-eating dromedaries, and the steed of fair paces, with the high-tempered sword, in order that the calamitous effects of that dream might be averted.’ When Irán-dukht heard these words, the sigh* of grief rose from the fire-temple of her heart to the aperture of her brain, and she was near shedding drops of regret from the fountain of her eyes. However, inasmuch as she was wise and discreet, she swallowed that life-dissolving grief, and with heart unmoved, said,

‘If for thy love I’m called to perish, may thy life so ransomed be!
May thousand lives, and like me, hundreds, fall a sacrifice for thee!

The king ought not to be sorrowful on this account, for of what use are the lives of his slaves, if they are not devoted to his advantage? As long as his august person is safe, and the position of his authority fixed, he will not want for wives and children, nor will his servants and royal equipment decrease. But when the ill effects of the dream are averted, and the royal mind is freed from this sorrow, the king must not place confidence in this perfidious sect; and if they exhort the king to slay a number of individuals, he must not take this step without reflection; for the shedding of blood is a grave matter, and to subvert the foundations of the existence of a living being is a troublous thing; and if, (we take refuge from it with God!) the blood should turn out to be wrongfully spilt, the end thereof will be disastrous, and its punishment enduring torment; and repentance and regret, and remorse and anguish, will be then unavailing; for to recall the past and to restore the dead to life is beyond the circle of human ability.

Not by my hand nor thine can this be done.

The king must understand that the Bráhmans are not friendly to him, and though they have dived into science and learned some problems as far as they have, still the sages of the faith are unanimous on this point, that one of an evil and accursed nature cannot derive beauty from any ornament, and that neither learning nor wealth can bestow on him the adornment of good faith and benevolence. For the impurity of a dog is unchanged, though they throw a chain of gold round his neck; and the filthiness of a hog will not be altered into cleanliness, though they were to encase his teeth with the same precious metal; and the subtle saying, ‘Like an ass that carries books,’ confirms the truth of this

If knowledge touch the heart, it is a friend:
A snake, if it does but to shew extend.*

And knowledge is like a sword with which all may be slain. Those who are pure of mind and of unsullied natures, put to death with that sword the lusts and appetites, than which man has no worse enemy. Some on the other hand, who are devoid of spirit and of impure dispositions, afflict with that same sword the understanding and the spirit through which alone man is ennobled. Thus, they turn what ought to be an instru­ment for repelling their foes, into an implement for injuring their friends. And that perfect sage* alludes to this, where he says,

A base man’s mind with science to expand,
Is to put weapons in a robber’s hand.
Better to arm a drunken negro, than
To lavish learning on a wicked man.*
Such natures base will practise but deceit,
And with more skill their wily arts repeat.*

And their object in this interpretation is, to secure an opportunity for revenge, and that the wounds which have been inflicted on their hearts by the royal chastisement should, by this guileful artifice on which they have imposed the name of salutary regulation, be salved over. They will first remove out of their way your sons, which are like the king himself, and are the counter­parts of the gracious Sháh, in order that the king may be left without an heir. Next they would take away the united nobles, who are the Pillars of the State, and on whose ability depends the populousness of these realms, and the plenishment of the treasuries, that the people may become turbulent* and the army dispirited. They would destroy, too, the other means of empire, such as the elephants and camels, horse and weapons, that the king might be left alone and helpless. For my own part I, this poor slave, am of no account; and many like me are to be found in the service of the king; but [let me say] that when they find the king isolated, this vengeful purpose will in the lapse of time be manifest, and that which they have for years concealed in their minds, they will bring from volition to execution. And hitherto they could but contemplate this with impotence and perplexity, but when, having obtained full power, they get the reins of option into their hands, their purpose is to excite tumults in the kingdom, and set open the gates of mischief. For in case the king destroys his followers, both the soldiers will become dejected and the people suspicious; and when the civilians and the military are of two hearts and ten tongues, this becomes a cause of triumph and exaltation to foes, and, supposing this to be the case, territory and wealth depart from the grasp, and soul and life fall into imminent peril. And kings ought not to be careless of the deceits and artifices of their enemies;

Be not secure of foes that would thee harm,
For traitrous are they and defiled with sin.
To outward sight they breathe of friendship warm,
But malice, rankling, lurks their breasts within.*

Yet, notwithstanding all this, if in what the Bráhmans have deemed advisable, there is any relief* or relaxation of anxiety to the king, of course it is not fit that there should be any delay; but if there be room for postponement, one measure of caution may yet be adopted, which at the king’s command, I will utter.’ The king gave the required permission, and said, ‘What thou sayest is in my belief clear of all suspicion of doubt, and will assuredly be acceptable and listened to with attention.’ Irán-dukht continued, ‘The sage Kárídún, who is the founder of the pedestals of eminent qualities, and the traveler of the roads of virtue and excellence, and who is gifted with a disposition, which is a storehouse of the precious things of spirituality and wisdom, and endued with an intellect, which is a mine of the mysteries of special manifestations and merit.*

His mind, illumined, lifts the veil that hides fate’s mysteries,
His pure heart is acceptable to heaven’s all gracious eyes.

has at this time made choice of a retirement in a cave in the mountain Khaẓrá,* and continually observes the recitation of faith in the unity of God and abnegation of self. Though, by origin, he is related to the Bráhmans, yet in sincerity, and uprightness, and good faith, and rectitude, he has the pre-eminence over them. His sight is more perfect as to the issue of affairs, and his right-aiming counsel is more comprehensive of the propulsion of calamity and accident. If the king’s judgment acquiesce, this sage must be honored by being made a confidant, and the circumstances of the dream and the inter­pretation of the Bráhmans must be communicated to him. There is no doubt that he will truly instruct the king as to every particular thereof, and will not withhold any circumstance of the explanation of what is at present hidden. If his interpretation correspond with that of the Bráhmans, all doubt will be extinguished, and it will be right to execute the same resolve; and if his directions are contrary, the luminous mind of the king will decide between right and wrong, and will discriminate sound advice from perfidy.’ This speech pleased the king, and he immediately mounted his horse and went to the sage Kárídún, and having obtained the felicity of an interview with the divine sage, who was a gathering-place of endless virtues, he performed the required respectful salutations. The sage, too, fulfilled the courtesies due, and said,

‘Since Eden’s prince has entered here, my hut is changed to Paradise.
To Canaan wafted Joseph’s scent, has lent new lustre to these eyes.

What is the cause of the procession of the fortune-attended train hither? Hadst thou conveyed thy mandate, I myself would have attended at the court, for it is in accordance with what is right that servants should attend to minister.

Attendance and the claim to serve, to me
Commit, O Lord! and thou my sulṭán be.

And, moreover, one may see on the royal face the marks of disturbance, and the traces of grief are physiognomically discernible on the august coun­tenance. The king must state the case, and recount the cause of his sadness. The king narrated in full detail the circumstances of the vision, and the interpretation of the Bráhmans. Kárídún shook the head of astonish­ment, and having bitten the finger of amazement, said, ‘The king has committed an error in this, for this secret was not to be disclosed to that sect, and this story ought not to have been related to that body of men.

Secrets are suited not for every ear.

And let it not remain hidden from the royal mind, that these perfidious advisers are not suitable interpreters of these things, because they have neither reason to guide them, nor their faith rightly planted. Now the king’s happiness ought to be augmented by these dreams, and he ought, as a thank-offering, to bestow on deserving objects an infinite abundance of alms; for the proofs of happiness and the testimonies of honor and exaltation are manifest and clear on the pages of the explanations of these events. Every moment, events which are to occur will be in accordance with his wish; and every hour the affairs of his glory and greatness will be in order of arrangement.

Heaven will obsequious, Time thy slave, the sky thy captive, be.
Fortune will serve thee, realms obey, and life and hopes agree.

And I will at this very time, fully deliver the interpretation of every thing that has occurred, and repel with the shield of wisdom, the arrow of the artifices of those counsellors.

If thou an arrow hast, I’ve, too, a shield.

First, those two red fishes which stood on their tails, are ambassadors, who will come from Sarándíp and who will present to the king two strong elephants with four hundred raṭls* of red rubies, in envy of whose color the heart of the pomegranate will be filled with blood; and the body of fire, in jealousy of their rays, will hide itself in the secret chamber of the stone. And those two ducks and the goose, which flew after the king and alighted in front of him, are two horses and a mule which the King of Delhi will send to his Majesty as a present; and those two steeds will have voices of thunder, the fiery spirit of lightning, keen sagacity, and unflagging energy.

On the earth’s face their hoofs the crescent stamp,
Their forkèd ears darts on the air imprint.
Their strength of joint no stirrup’s weight can damp,
Nor dragging reins their generous ardor stint.

And that mule is a carrier, fleet as the wind—spirited as fire, such that it passes swift as lightning over roads and narrow gorges; and like the thunderbolt, with the wound of its hoof brings fire out of stone.

Silver-hoofed, with reins of gold; fleet of pace, it speedeth on;
Heaven’s orchard is its pasture-ground, its drinking-place the sun.

And that snake which twisted round the king’s foot, is a sword of fiery efficacy and of high temper, which in the day of battle showers from the fountain of its blue water a torrent of liquid rubies, and scatters o’er its diamond-colored surface, particles of carnelion and coral sand.

Conquest and triumph ever on thy lustrous sword attend!
Nay, victory in it does with an outward figure blend.

And that blood with which the king found himself stained, is a scarlet robe ornamented with gems which they will bring as an offering to the royal wardrobe from the imperial city Ghaznah. And that white mule on which the king was mounted, is a white elephant which the Sulṭán of Bíjánagar is sending for the royal service, and the king will enjoy the pleasure of exercise on that elephant. It will be huge as a cloud, and, in the ranks of war, will make its emerald-colored trunk like a lustrous ruby with the blood of the brave; and with its dragon-taming tusk,* which is united to a mountain of iron, it destroys a whole world in an instant of time.

A form whose mountain-hugeness fills the waste
Unpillared, on four pillars—moved with haste.*

And that which blazed like fire on the august forehead of the king, is a crown which the King of Sailán* is sending as a gift; which is such a diadem that the ornament of its circlet may vie with the highest region of the blue-colored heaven; and by the radiance it showers, it will make every hair of the sovereign that wears it a string of jewels.

Upon the sky where shines the moon, reflected fall its radiant beams,
And, like Muḳanna’s* magic work, a second Queen of Night it seems.

And the bird, which struck its beak on the King’s head, betokens that some slight disaster is to be looked for, but the consequences are not so important or injurious. The utmost of it is, that the king will for some days avert his face from a dear friend and an affectionate com­panion; and the conclusion of it will be beneficial and fortunate. This is an account of the interpretation of the visions of the king, and in that he saw them at seven successive times, this shows that envoys will arrive on seven distinct occasions with the presents of princes to his august court; and the king will be gratified and delighted by the receipt of those valuables, and the acquisition of those precious things. Moreover, he will be rendered felicitous by the stability of his good-fortune and the continuance of life; and it behoves the emperor of the world here­after not to make worthless persons the confidants of his secrets; nor until he has tested the wisdom of a man, to consult with him in an affair of importance.

Thou shouldst a man a hundred times test well;
And not till then to him thy secrets tell.

And it is the very essence of wisdom to regard it as a sacred duty to shun altogether the society of audacious, impure, base, and unprincipled men; and not to arrange the precious jewel of one’s own self on the string of men fatuous, of mean spirit, and accursed nature.

See how the water murmurs at its lot,*
When it meets comrades that do suit it not.’

When the king had heard this discourse, he immediately made repeated prostrations in thankfulness, and expressed his acknowledgments to that auspicious-minded old man, who, like the Messiah, had given to his lifeless heart unbounded happiness; and said, ‘The divine favor has bestowed on me the aid of success, and guided me to your highness wise and joy-bestowing, so that by the happy influences of the blessed spirit of your holiness, the difficulties of distress have been exchanged for the advantages of tranquillity.

God sent one voiced like Jesus, who away,
Removed the griefs which did my soul down weigh.

Praise be to God! a praise, lasting and eternal!’ Then the king, with glad heart, bestowed the honor of his alighting on the settled abode of his greatness; and for seven days, in succession, envoys arrived with gifts and offerings, and in the same manner as the perfect sage had announced conveyed to the place of representation, the purport of the messages with which they were charged. On the seventh day, the king summoned to a private audience his sons, and the vazír Balár, and Irán-dukht, and his secretary, and said, ‘I committed a strange fault in disclosing my dream to my enemies; and had not the mercy of God been a bar to their artifices, and the counsel of Irán-dukht not opened the hand of remedy, the directions of those accursed ones would, in the end, have achieved my destruction, and that of all my kin and retainers. And whoever is befriended by the Divine Felicity, and supported by the Eternal Power, he will assuredly hold dear friendly advice, and enter upon affairs with deliberation and reflection; and cautiously avoiding a disastrous result, will take care not to quit the place of prudence and spot of vigilance. And they have said,

‘He finds no rest who unreflecting acts.’

He then issued his commands, that as the minds of those his beloved, owing to such circumstances, could not be clear from grief, it was fitting that these presents should be divided among them, and that a special share should be given to Irán-dukht, who, by the delivery of her sentiments, had remedied this affair. The vazír Balár said, ‘Thy slaves are for this, viz., to make themselves the shields of calamity in emergencies, and thus not to withhold their lives and spirits;

He that would serve thee must not care for life.

And if by the assistance of fortune and the succor of felicitous destiny, service of this nature and the fulfilment of this duty be attainable, and it become possible to lay down one’s wealth and life in the path of the service of one’s benefactor, a reward and gifts are not to be looked for, nor are presents and requital to be expected. However, the Queen of the Age has exerted herself much in this matter, wherefore of these gifts the crown adorned with jewels, or the scarlet robe ornamented with gems befits her; and the king ought to present her with whichever she chooses to accept.’ The king commanded them to carry both of these things into a private chamber, and he, himself, with the vazír Balár, entered. Now there was in the haram, another damsel whom they used to call Bazm Afrúz.* She possessed a form such that the sun of the east from shame on her account, veiled his face with the curtain, ‘Until the sun is hidden by the veil of night,’* and the fresh rose-leaf, through the diffidence it occasioned, retired into concealment behind its verdant screen.

Small mouth, and oval-face, and archèd brow,
Cheek like the red rose on a verdant bough:
With smile of honey like the sugar-cane,
Neat, pleasant, charming, sweet, and succulent.
Each time she smiled she added a new pain
To wounded hearts, and them with salt besprent.

The king was warmly attached to her, and although Irán-dukht was, by her beauty and piquancy, a mischief to the whole world; and by her grace and elegance, a cause of agitation to the age; still the king used to give Bazm Afrúz a turn with her, and was one night out of every two in the chamber of the former. This day the king commanded them to call Bazm Afrúz, and they brought the crown and the robe, and the royal mandate was issued that whichever Irán-dukht chose, the other should fall to Bazm Afrúz. Irán-dukht was more inclined towards the crown, and that golden constellation with gems for stars pleased her most. Feeling disposed towards this, she looked towards the vazír Balár to see that he approved of her choice. Balár signaled with his eyes towards the robe, and in the midst of his glance the king looked towards him. Irán-dukht saw that that interchange of looks was observed, and she snatched up the crown in order that the king might not discover their consultation; and Balár kept his eyes just as they were, that the king might not observe the signal. And for forty years after that he waited at court, whenever he approached the king he preserved the same strabism, lest the king’s suspicion should become certainty. Thus, but for the cleverness of the vazír and the queen’s own shrewdness both would have lost their lives.

Who makes good sense the pivot of life’s course
Will through the bonds of woe a passage force.

And when Irán-dukht had had her wishes crowned by accepting the diadem, Bazm Afrúz also was rendered happy* by choosing the scarlet robe. Now, according to the custom aforesaid, the king passed one night with her and one night with Irán-dukht. And it happened that one night, when it was the turn of Irán-dukht, the king, in accordance with the stipulation, went to Irán-dukht’s chamber, who with a face lit up with joy and enchanting locks,

(She with fresh musk had washed each several hair,
And in life’s water bathed her visage fair;)

had set her golden crown on her head, and holding in her hands a golden dish filled with rice, presented herself before the king. He ate a morsel from the dish, and allocating himself in propinquity to her, illumined the eye of his heart with surveying her beauty. At this moment Bazm Afrúz passed by them clothed in the scarlet robe, with cheeks like a blossoming rose and a face like the moon when two weeks old.

A scarlet robe her symmetry displayed,
Like cypress with red tulips for a margin.
Her Turkish eyes for hearts kept ambuscade;
Her eyebrows twain ’gainst breasts were shafts discharging;
Her cheeks shone brightly from her heavy tresses,
Like moonlight gleaming from night’s dark recesses.

When the king beheld her he drew back his hand from the food and an overpowering inclination of his mind towards her, and a sincere longing for her society, removed the rein of self-possession from the grasp of his power, and detached the guiding-strings of repression from the hand of choice. Approaching Bazm Afrúz, therefore, he loosed his tongue in eulogy and applause,

‘O cypress! treading gracefully, O young rose newly blown!
Eyes, stature, cheek, to match with thine not e’en in sleep I’ve known.

By thus coming thou hast opened the doors of joy in my breast, and by this graceful approach thou hast given to the winds the harvest of my patience and composure.

Hail! fortune, made [thrice] blest by thy approach.’

He then said to Irán-dukht, ‘This crown which thou hast taken is worthy the head of Bazm Afrúz, and in choosing it thou hast turned from the path of right-dealing to the region of error.’ The jealousy of love seized the skirt of Irán-dukht, and the flame of the fire of jealousy fell in the chafing-dish of her breast. At these words she blushed, and like one distraught, dashed the plate of rice upside down on the head of the king, and besmeared there­with the royal face and hair. Thus the interpretation of the dream which the Sage had given, by the occurrence of that contretemps, turned out true. The fire of the king’s wrath was kindled. He called the vazír Balár, and told him the hasty act of which she had been guilty and said, ‘Take this foolish woman from my presence and cut off her head,* in order that she may know that such as she are not of such importance that they should dare to do such audacious things, and we pardon them.’ Balár led the queen out and thought to himself, ‘In this matter it is not right to be precipitate, for this woman is peerless in eloquence and wit, and has no equal in sagacity and intelligence; and the king will not rest without seeing her, and by the blessing of her pure spirit and the auspicious influence of her clear judgment, a number of persons have been saved from the whirlpool of destruction. It is possible that the king will deny that he authorised such haste, and irrespective* of the king’s displeasure, precipitation in such matters does not appear advisable. I have no better course therefore than to base this transaction on deliberation, in order that I may not be ashamed when questions are put, and answers given thereupon.

When Ḳáẓís write with caution their decree,
They will not by the rulers* censured be.

I must pause, then, two or three days. If the king evinces repentance, at least the opportunity of remedying the affair will not have gone by. But if he is obstinately bent on putting her to death, and urgent for it, there will be no difficulty in slaying her. Moreover, by this delay I secure three positive advantages; first, the merit of preserving an individual; secondly, the acquisition of the king’s favor if he repent of her execution; thirdly, the gratitude of all the people of the realm for preserving to them such a queen as she is, whose beneficence is communicated to all, and the marks of whose good works are widely and completely diffused.’ He then conveyed her to his own house with a number of confidential attendants, who used to perform the service of the king’s seraglio; and he commanded them saying, ‘Take charge of her with the utmost caution, and consider the utmost care obligatory as to the respect and deference to be shewn to her.’ He then himself, with his sabre stained with blood and with downcast head like the mournful, entered the king’s chamber and said, ‘I have performed the king’s command, and have punished and chastised that disrespectful one, who had set her foot on the carpet of audacity.’ The king’s anger was upon the whole somewhat appeased, and the tumultuous billows of the ocean of wrath were calmed. When he heard these words, and recalled the thought of her beauty and perfections, and her good sense and judgment, he was exces­sively sorrowful. Yet he was ashamed to shew signs of irresolution, and to give an urgent command and one for the infraction of it close together, for it is self-evident that conflicting orders are attended with numerous disadvan­tages. He then began to reproach himself, and said, ‘This is thy* fault in that thou hast set clemency and long-suffering on one side, and, for a slight offence, which, in point of fact, might have been forgiven, hast exposed to destruction thine own mistress. Thou oughtest not for a fault so trivial to have issued such an order, but to have assuaged the fire of wrath with the water of forgiveness.

A piece of fire that furious man will be
Whose breath the flame of rage up-kindles high;
His fiery wrath exceeds all just degree
Who ne’er gives vent to a remorseful sigh.’*

However, when the vazír perceived the signs of penitence on the coun­tenance of the king, he said, ‘The king ought not to be pensive, for the arrow which has leapt from the string cannot be brought back, nor can the slain person be resuscitated either by strength or gold, and to give way to unavailing regret renders the body emaciated and the heart sad, and nought can be gained thereby but the distress of friends and the gratification of foes. Every one, too, who hears that the king issued an order, and repented immediately it was carried into execution, will become distrustful of the firmness and steady determination of his majesty. But it behoved the king to have been more gentle in this matter, and to have avoided harshness and severity; and like the Letter-possessing King, to have mastered his resentment, so that there would have been no room for repentance. But, if his command is given, I will recount to him a story. The king replied, ‘Of course narrate how that was.’