THE following translation of “The Story of the King, his Son, the Damsel, and the Seven Vazīrs” was made by Jonathan Scott from a fragment of an Arabic MS. of the Thousand and One Nights, procured in Bengal, and published by him, in a volume entitled Tales, Anecdotes, and Letters, translated from the Arabic and Persian, in 1800. Scott states, in his preface, that in translating these tales, he had omitted a few objectionable expressions: in reprinting the Seven Vazīrs, I have taken the liberty of omitting some others which Scott thought fit to be retained; have adopted a more generally approved system of transliteration for the Arabic words and proper names which occur in the stories; and occasionally have made verbal altera­tions and emendations. Scott's notes are distinguished by the letter S from those which I have added.

It does not appear that Scott was aware that this tale of the Seven Vazīrs is an Arabian version, with some stories omitted and others interpolated, of the ancient Book of Sindibād—indeed it may be doubted whether he knew of such a work at all; nor does he seem to have suspected its affinity to the European romance of the Seven Sages, with an English rendering of which he was surely acquainted. Although those tales which are foreign to the original work have probably been inserted in the Seven Vazīrs at a comparatively recent period, in recasting some version of the Book of Sindibād for the Thousand and One Nights, they are yet of very ancient origin, and widely diffused, as will be seen from the variants and parallels presented in the APPENDIX, and therefore serve as interesting illustrations of the genealogy of popular tales and fictions.

In the Calcutta and Būlāq printed Arabic texts of the Thousand and One Nights the tale of the Seven Vazīrs occupies the 578th to the 606th Nights. Scott's manuscript seems to have been com­plete to the 29th Night, after which the division into nights was discontinued, the Seven Vazīrs immediately following—probably having been misplaced. I may add, that while the conclusion of this version is greatly abridged, compared with that of the tale as found in the Calcutta and Būlāq texts, the introduction has been much more fully preserved, and corresponds in many points with the oldest Eastern texts of the Sindibād.

W. A. C.