ON the following day the sixth Vizier, having paid his respects to the King, represented the danger of letting an enemy live when in one's power, and, by many artful speeches, induced his Majesty to order the execution of Bakhtyār, who was immediately brought from the prison. When he came before the King, he persisted in declaring his innocence, and advised him not to be precipitate, like King Dādīn, in putting to death a person on the malicious accusation of an enemy. The King, desir­ous of hearing the story to which Bakhtyār alluded, ordered him to relate it; and he began as follows:


THERE was a certain King named Dādīn, who had two viziers, Kārdār and Kāmgār; and the daughter of Kāmgār was the most lovely creature of the age. It happened that the King, proceeding on a hunting ex­cursion, took along with him the father of this beauti­ful damsel, and left the charge of government in the hands of Kārdār.

One day, during the warm season, Kārdār, passing near the palace of Kāmgār, beheld this fair damsel walking in the garden, and became enamoured of her beauty; but having reason to believe that her father would not consent to bestow her on him, he resolved to devise some stratagem whereby he might obtain the object of his desires. “At the King's return from the chase,” said he, “I'll represent the charms of this damsel in such glowing colours, that he will not fail to demand her in marriage; and I'll then contrive to excite his anger against her, in consequence of which he shall deliver her to me for punishment; and thus my designs shall be accomplished.”

One day after the King's return from the hunting party, he desired Kārdār to inform him of the princi­pal events which had occurred during his absence. Kārdār replied that his Majesty's subjects had all been solicitous for his prosperity; but that he had himself seen one of the most astonishing objects of the universe. The King's curiosity being thus ex­cited, he ordered Kārdār to describe what he had seen; and Kārdār dwelt with such praises on the fascinating charms of Kāmgār's daughter, that the King became enamoured of her, and said: “But how is this damsel to be obtained?”—Kārdār replied: “There is not any difficulty in this business; it is not necessary to employ either money or messengers: your Majesty needs only to acquaint her father with your wishes.”

The King approved of this counsel, and having sent for Kāmgār, mentioned the affair to him accordingly. Kāmgār, with due submission, declared that if he pos­sessed a hundred daughters they should all be at his Majesty's command; but begged permission to retire and inform the damsel of the honour designed for her. Having obtained leave, he hastened to his daughter, and related to her all that had passed between the King and him. The damsel expressed her dislike to the proposed connection; and her father, dreading the King's anger in case of a refusal, knew not how to act. “Contrive some delay,” said she; “solicit leave of absence for a few days, and let us fly from this country!” Kāmgār approved of this advice; and having waited on the King, obtained leave to absent himself from court for ten days, under pretence of making the preparations necessary for a female on the eve of matrimony; and when night came on, he fled from the city with his daughter.

Next day the King was informed of their flight; in consequence of which he sent off two hundred servants to seek them in various directions, and the officious Kārdār set out also in pursuit of them. After ten days they were surprised by the side of a well, taken and bound, and brought before the King, who, in his anger, dashed out the brains of Kāmgār; then looking on the daughter of the unfortunate man, her beauty so much affected him, that he sent her to his palace, and appointed servants to attend her, besides a cook, who, at his own request, was added to her establish­ment. After some time Kārdār became impatient, and enraged at the failure of his project; but he resolved to try the success of another scheme.

It happened that the encroachments of a powerful enemy rendered the King's presence necessary among the troops; and on setting out to join the army, he committed the management of affairs and the govern­ment of the city to Kārdār, whose mind was wholly filled with stratagems for getting the daughter of Kāmgār into his power.

One day he was passing near the palace, and dis­covered her sitting alone on the balcony; to attract her attention, he threw up a piece of brick or tile, and on her looking down to see from whence it came she beheld Kārdār. He addressed her with the usual salutation, which she returned. He then began to declare his admiration of her beauty, and the violence of his love, which deprived him of repose both day and night; and concluded by urging her to elope with him, saying that he would take as much money as they could possibly want; or, if she would consent, he was ready to destroy the King by poison, and seize upon the throne himself.

The daughter of Kāmgār replied to this proposal by upbraiding Kārdār with his baseness and perfidy. When he asked her how she could ever fix her affec­tions on the man who had killed her father, she an­swered, that such had been the will of God, and she was resolved to submit accordingly. Having spoken thus, she retired. Kārdār, fearing lest she should relate to the King what had passed between them, hastened to meet him as he returned in triumph after conquering his enemies; and whilst walking along by the side of the King's horse, began to inform his Majesty of all that had happened in his absence. Having mentioned several occurrences, he added, that one circumstance was of such a nature that he could not prevail on himself to relate it, for it was such as the King would be very much displeased at hearing.

The King's curiosity being thus excited, he ordered Kārdār to relate this occurrence; and he, declaring that it was a most ungrateful task, informed him that it was a maxim of the wise men: “When you have killed the serpent, you should also kill its young.” He then proceeded to relate that, one day during the warm season, being seated near the door of the harem, he overheard some voices, and his suspicions being excited, he concealed himself behind the hangings, and listened attentively, when he heard the daughter of Kāmgār express her affection for the cook, who, in return, declared his attachment; and they spoke of poisoning the King in revenge for his having killed her father. “I had not patience,” added Kārdār, “to listen any longer.”—At this intelligence the King changed colour with rage and indignation, and on ar­riving at the palace, ordered the unfortunate cook to be instantly cut in two. He then sent for the daughter of Kāmgār, and upbraided her with the intention of destroying him by poison. She immediately perceived that this accusation proceeded from the malevolence of Kārdār, and was going to speak in vindication of herself, when the King ordered her to be put to death; but being dissuaded by an attendant from killing a woman, he revoked the sentence of death; and she was tied hands and feet, and placed upon a camel, which was turned into a dreary wilderness, where there was neither water nor shade, nor any trace of cultivation.

Here she suffered from the intense heat and thirst, to such a degree that, expecting every moment to be her last, she resigned herself to the will of Providence, conscious of her own innocence. Just then the camel lay down, and on that spot where they were a fountain of delicious water sprang forth; the cords which bound her hands and feet dropped off: she refreshed herself by a hearty draught of the water, and fervently returned thanks to Heaven for this blessing and her wonderful preservation. On this the most verdant and fragrant herbage appeared around the borders of the fountain; it became a blooming and delightful spot, and the camel placed himself so as to afford his lovely com­panion a shade and shelter from the sunbeams.

It happened that one of the King's camel-keepers was at this time in pursuit of some camels which had wandered into the desert, and without which he dared not return to the city. He had sought them for sev­eral days amidst hills and forests without any success. At length on coming to this spot he beheld the daugh­ter of Kāmgār and the camel, which at first he thought was one of those he sought, and the clear fountain with the verdant banks, where neither grass nor water had ever been seen before. Astonished at this dis­covery, he resolved not to interrupt the lady, who was engaged in prayer; but when she had finished, he addressed her, and was so charmed by her gentleness and piety, that he offered to adopt her as his child, and expressed his belief that, through the efficacy of her prayers, he should recover the strayed camels.

This good man's offer she thankfully accepted; and having partaken of a fowl and some bread which he had with him, at his request she prayed for the re­covery of his camels. As soon as she had concluded her prayer, the camels appeared on the skirts of the wilderness, and of their own accord approached the camel-keeper.

He then represented to the daughter of Kāmgār the danger of remaining all night in the wilderness, which was the haunt of many wild beasts; and pro­posed that she should return with him to the city, and dwell with him in his house, where he would provide for her a retired apartment, in which she might per­form her devotions without interruption. To this proposal she consented, and being mounted on her camel, she returned to the city, and arrived at the house of her companion at the time of evening prayer. Here she resided for some time, employing herself in exercises of piety and devotion.

One day the camel-keeper, being desired by the King to relate his past adventures, mentioned, among other circumstances, the losing of his camels, the finding them through the efficacy of a young woman's prayers, the discovery of a spring where none had been before, and his adopting the damsel as his daughter: he con­cluded by telling the King that she was now at his house, and employed day and night in acts of devotion.

The King, on hearing this, expressed an earnest wish that he might be allowed to see this young woman, and prevail on her to intercede with Provi­dence in his behalf. The camel-keeper, having con­sented, returned at once to his house accompanied by the King, who waited at the door of the apartment where the daughter of Kāmgār was engaged in prayer. When she had concluded he approached, and with astonishment recognised her. Having tenderly em­braced her, he wept, and entreated her forgiveness. This she readily granted, but begged that he would conceal himself in the apartment whilst she should converse with Kārdār, whom she sent for.

When he arrived, and beheld her with a thousand expressions of fondness, he inquired the means where­by she had escaped; and he told her that on the day when the King had banished her into the wilderness, he had sent people to seek her, and to bring her to him. “How much better would it have been,” added he, “had you followed my advice, and agreed to my proposal of poisoning the King, who, I said, would endeavour to destroy you, as he had killed your father! But you rejected my advice, and declared yourself ready to submit to whatsoever Providence should decree. Hereafter,” continued he, “you will pay more attention to my words. But now let us not think of what is past: I am your slave, and you are dearer to me than my own eyes!” So saying, he at­tempted to clasp the daughter of Kāmgār in his arms, when the King, who was concealed behind the hang­ings, rushed furiously on him, and put him to death. After this he conducted the damsel to his palace, and constantly lamented his precipitancy in having killed her father.

Here Bakhtyār concluded the story; and having requested a further respite, that he might have an opportunity of proving his innocence, he was sent back to prison by order of the King.