No. XVII—pp. 80 and 144.

THIS story is told by the first vazīr in all the versions, save the Persian Sindibād Nāma, where it is related by the seventh vazīr, and two of the Arabian texts, namely, Scott's MS. and the Rich MS. in the British Museum, where it is, not inappropri­ately, told by the Damsel, since it tells rather against men than women, the king being the aggressor, and the “wile” of the lady being in defence of her own virtue.—As an instance of the “hashy” manner in which the Book of the Thousand and One Nights has been put together, it may be mentioned that in the Calcutta printed Arabic text (which hardly differs at all from that printed at Būlāq), this tale of the Sultan and the Virtuous Wife is also related separately from the Seven Vazīrs—Night 404.

A variant of the story is found in a Turkish collection, entitled 'Ajā'ibu-'l-Ma'āsir, Marvels of Memorials (i.e. of Traditions, etc.), which Cardonne translated, under the title of “La Pantoufle du Sultan,” in his Mélanges de Littérature Orientale. This version differs in some particulars from that of Scott. The sultan sends the vazīr a written order to proceed on some business to a distant place. The vazīr, in his haste to depart, leaves on the sofa the sultan's order. Instead of the lady giving the sultan a book to read while she prepares supper for his entertainment, she recites to him two distichs, to the effect that the lion would scorn to devour what the wolf leaves, and deigns not to quench his thirst in the river which had been polluted by the dog. “These words immediately convinced the sultan that he had nothing to hope for there; he retired greatly disconcerted, and in his confusion forgot one of his slippers. The vazīr, in the meantime, having in vain searched for the prince's order, recol­lected that he had left it on the sofa, and was obliged to return home for it. The sultan's slipper, which had lain till then un­perceived, gave him a too clear conviction of the monarch's real designs, and his motive for sending him away. Tormented at once by ambition and jealousy, he concerted means to divorce his wife without the loss of his dignity. Having despatched his business, he returned to give the sultan an account of his com­mission, and pretended to his wife that, as the sultan had just given him a sumptuous palace, it was necessary for her to pass a few days with her father, in order that he might have leisure to furnish it, presenting her at the same time with a hundred pieces of gold.” The rest of the story agrees with the Arabian and other versions.

Boccaccio has adapted the first part of the Arabic version for the 5th Novel, Day i, of his Decameron. The Marchioness of Monferrat, while her husband was absent—being engaged in the crusade against the Turks—was visited by Philip, King of France, who had become enamoured of her from the accounts he had heard of her beauty and virtue. The lady, suspecting his designs, bought up all the hens she could, and caused them to be dressed in as many different ways as possible. When the king perceived the uniform character of the fare, he said: “Madam, are only hens bred in this country?” “Not so,” the lady replied; “but women, however they may differ in dress and titles, are the same here as in other places.” The king felt the force of the rebuke, and presently departed.