Story of Prince Kasharkasha.

THERE was a king of Fars called Farídún* who had a son named Kasharkasha, whom he educated and kept with himself till he was seventy years old. The young prince then, wishing to visit India, said to his father: “Since travel enlightens the understanding and entails experience, it is my desire to wander by land and sea in the capacity of a merchant.” Quoth the king: “Beloved son, I would please you in all things, but separation from you will break my heart, and I am unwilling to part with you.” But neither these words nor any other entreaties could induce the prince to forego his purpose, and he was at last allowed to depart. His father gave him abundance of money and a number of faithful attendants, and said to him: “Travelling, my son, is often attended by misfortunes; and in case you should fall into distress, I advise you to visit the merchant Sadullah, who lives in Baghdád, and is greatly devoted to and willing to do anything for me.” Then giving his seal-ring to Kasharkasha he added: “Show Sadullah this signet as a voucher for your family and connections.”*

Kasharkasha bade adieu to his father, assumed the dress of a merchant, and journeyed to India, where he acquired large profits by commerce, and then went to the country of the Franks, and became so rich that he bought a thousand Indian and Turkish slaves, who constantly waited on him. But a craving for dominion and power is inherent in the nature of all scions of royalty, and therefore all Kasharkasha's great wealth could not satisfy him, and he coveted a crown. He said to himself: “Every undertaking must succeed if the proper means be employed in its pursuit. A kingdom is gained by valour and a good army; and, thanks be to God, I possess both, and prosperity will second my efforts. Indeed, which of my ancestors ever debased himself by trading? I cannot live in such an unworthy manner; for voluntarily to descend from a high to a lower position is against common sense and betokens a mean disposition. In these regions there are many towns and principalities which I may easily conquer, and in truth most of the royal personages who attained great fame began only on a small scale and enlarged their possessions by degrees.” After this Kasharkasha travelled from place to place in the country of the Franks, seeking for an opportunity to carry out his design. One day he approached a great city, and beheld an army composed entirely of cavalry, which belonged to the king of the city, who, on discovering the squadron of Kasharkasha, imagined it to be that of an enemy and sent a messenger to make inquiries. The young prince stated to the envoy that he was a merchant from Hindústán, and in his turn asked some questions, to which the envoy replied: “This is Tytmyran, and this is the Jalyák of Tytmyran, who is on a hunting excursion.” When the messenger returned with the answer of the young prince, the Jalyák of Tytmyran rode to visit Kasharkasha, who met him half-way and saluted him courteously, because the lamp of politeness emits so great a glare as to conceal and overshadow any plans that men harbour in their minds.

On seeing the courteous demeanour of Kasharkasha the Jalyák at once concluded that he could not but be of lofty birth, and invited him to make an excursion into the surrounding country. The young prince gracefully complied, and their intimacy in­creased more and more during the day. They came to a high building, near which the king alighted, and went into it. After a short space he again came out, and in tears. Kasharkasha asked the cause of his grief, but the king replied that on another occasion he would acquaint him with the particulars. When they entered the city a suitable place was assigned to the young prince and his followers, and the king taking the hand of Kasharkasha thus addressed him: “Every man bears in his countenance signs of his character, and in our first interview I discovered you to be of noble descent and the scion of a royal family. I also had a son of extra­ordinary beauty and accomplishments. He was very fond of hunting and roaming everywhere, and once he took leave of me for two months and departed with a number of trustworthy attendants. I counted the days of his absence impatiently, and when the time for his return elapsed I dreaded that some misfortune had befallen my son, and despatched some of my officers in search of him, all of whom returned without success. I was so overpowered by melancholy that I wept day and night, until at last, after a whole year had passed, my son made his appearance quite alone, in a destitute condition and almost naked. As soon as I saw him I exclaimed: ‘Beloved son, how has the dust of this languidness settled on the skirts of your happy disposition? and how has your beauty faded? What has become of your servants and goods?’

“My son replied: ‘Dear father, my heart suffers from a wound which no medicine can cure. Do not ask me any questions, because my case is a sad one.’ Then he took from his bosom a portrait, which he contemplated, saying:

‘When I began to worship the person of my love,
My soul ascended to my lips and I lost my peace.
A ray of love's favour had alighted on my head,
But, alas! I have lost my love!’

‘Dear father,’ he continued, ‘after we embarked in our boat we sailed pleasantly for almost a week, when a contrary wind arose and we lost all control over our vessel. Thus we were tossed about during forty days, when the tempest ceased and we came in sight of land. We made haste to go on shore, but we knew not to what country or nation it belonged. We strolled about and came to a beautiful meadow luxuriant with vegetation, where we hunted and thus advanced till we arrived at a cultivated tract of land in which was a magnificent palace. On asking a man for information regarding this country he answered: “You are in Kashmír, and that palace is the abode of the daughter of Khoja Fayssur, the vazír of Kashmír. She is wont to pass a few months here every year during the season of flowers.” In one of my rambles I chanced to meet a lady of exquisite beauty, and though I had fallen in love with her I did not dare to address her, but sent her a fervent declaration of my love through an old woman, requesting the favour of an interview. The reply which I received was most discouraging; nevertheless I continued my rambles in the grounds of the palace to enjoy the happiness of an occasional glance at my idol. While I was thus standing one day, she dropped a paper from above, and on opening it I found it contained her portrait. This was a great joy to me, but it was soon turned to grief when I heard that the lady had departed to the city. I could do nothing better than follow her and endeavour to obtain a meeting. At last my passion became a mania, and as I cared nothing for money affairs my attendants gradually deserted me, so that I was at last left alone and fell into a state of the utmost destitution. The dominant idea, however, still supported me that I should yet be happy although at present a houseless beggar in the streets. One night the police were about to seize me, but I ran off at the top of my speed and sought refuge in a house, exclaiming: “Is there anyone here who possesses kindness enough to save a man from the whirlpool of misery?” A person opened the door and admitted me, saying: “Rest yourself here this night, and trust in the mercy of God.” I was tired and reclined against the wall, when suddenly I heard the tones of a harp and of a woman's voice in the adjoining apartment, and my curiosity prompted me to look through an aperture at the scene. I beheld a húrí-like maiden playing on a harp and warbling like a nightingale. The amorous melody and the tones of the instrument produced such an enervating effect on me that I could no longer stand, and falling on the floor, which was of weak construction, it gave way and I was precipitated with it on the master of the house, who was sitting in the room below, and he was killed on the spot. The girl who had been singing rose up and cried: “A robber has killed my master!” This soon brought all the neighbours into the house: they instantly seized and bound me, and gave me so many blows that my whole body was a mass of bruises. Then I was dragged before the Amír, who ordered me to be taken to prison. It chanced that the jailer was a man who had formerly been in my service, and he burst into tears on seeing me in such a condition. When I had informed him of my reason for coming to Kashmír and of the unhappy accident, he said: “Fear nothing—you are safe.” He dressed me in other clothes and sent me out to a friend of his own; while he put my garments on the corpse of a man who had died that day and been buried in the cemetery. When the police came in the morning to take me before the Amír to be beheaded, they were disappointed, and reported that the culprit had been so severely beaten on being captured that he had died during the night. The Amír remarked: “If the man was innocent, the guilt of his death cannot be attached to me,” to which the chief of the police rejoined: “That is true; but the people had no right to kill the man. This affair ought not to be lightly regarded, for those who beat him are guilty of murder.” The Amír then ordered him to carefully investigate the whole affair. Accordingly the chief of the police assembled all the inhabitants of that quarter of the town, intending to fine each one of them in a sum of money, and having caused the corpse to be brought before him, he said: “Ye impudent fellows, how many kings or governments are in this city?” They replied: “One.” He con­tinued: “If there be but one king here, why have you taken justice in your own hand and killed this man?” The people asked in amazement: “Whom have we killed?” “This man,” said he, “who was captured on suspicion of being a robber and whom you have ill-treated so as to cause his death.” But when the people looked at the dead man they declared: “This is not the robber whom we seized and beat. He was a young man of fair complexion and having black hair; of strong make and healthy appearance. This is the body of a man who was of middle age and sickly; we know not who has killed him.” Quoth the superintendent: “There is no use in denying the matter,” and he called for the instruments of torture for the purpose of eliciting a confession; when one of the bystanders, having examined the features of the corpse, suddenly cried out: “This is my father, Khoja Fays, the gladiator, who not long since performed before the Amír of Kabúl, and returning home, drank some arrack, which gave him the colic, so that he was obliged to take to his bed. He was visited by some friends, who advised him to send for Ratyl the glazier, who is so famed for his skill that he excels all the physicians of the age. I brought him to the bedside of my father, and he prescribed something which was of no avail: my father died, and we buried him.” Here the superintendent exclaimed: “You stupid fellow, who asked for your testimony?” But the man would not submit to be brow-beaten, and said: “See what our chief of police has come to! For the sake of gain he takes believers who have died out of their graves! I shall at once bring the doctor, the muezzin, the grave-digger, and the múllah. To­morrow we shall bring the affair before the Amír, and you, my friends, will be my witnesses. Come with me.” A number of persons followed him, which vexed the superintendent, who said to those that still remained: “Do not be deceived by the ravings of that fool; for I shall not let you escape without a fine.” At these words another section of the crowd became excited and cried: “The superintendent is in league with a pack of scoundrels whom he sends out in the night to rob people, and gets his share of the plunder. When any robbers are caught he allows them to escape, and in their stead he substitutes disinterred corpses. Is there no king in this place? Is it not enough that one of us was killed, and now we are to pay a fine besides?” Just then the son of the dead man returned with his witnesses, all of whom accused the superintendent, who, however, was supported by his own officers and another crowd of armed men; so that presently both parties came to blows, blood was shed, and several men were killed and wounded. When the Amír heard that the superintendent was the cause of the disturbance, he was displeased, and his enemies so worked on the mind of the Amír that the super­intendent was ordered to be hanged and the jailer who had saved my life was installed in his place. One day after these occurrences I perceived a mul­titude of people assembled in the streets and asked the cause of my friend, the new chief of police. His answer was: “To-day the daughter of the vazír has died, and all this popular excitement is on that account.” This news upset all my hopes and I at once quitted my friend's house and journeyed till I came to the sea-shore where I found some men em­barking for the country of the Franks; I accompanied them, and finally arrived here.’

“When my son had ended his recital,” continued the king, “he sighed heavily and added: ‘Beloved father, as a dutifnl son I should have obeyed and never left you, and thus I should not have fallen into the misery I endure. I beseech you to sweep away my transgressions with the besom of kindness, and to wash away the filth of my sins with the limpid stream of pardon.’ Having uttered these words he expired. My grief for him can never be appeased, and the edifice from which I came out weeping is his tomb. As I have now no son, I often wonder which of my enemies will succeed to my kingdom when I am no more. You are, I am sure, a man of noble blood and good disposition. May I request you to acquaint me with your affairs?” Kasharkasha most willingly com­plied, and when he had concluded, the king spoke as follows: “I am prosperous in all things and respected by friend and foe. But I have passed the meridian of life, and purpose devoting the remainder of it to the duties I owe to my Creator. And though I have meditated about and sought for some one who might take upon himself a portion of my royal affairs and be a companion of my solitude, I have found none so worthy as yourself.” As Kasharkasha was ardently wishing for such a high station, he joyfully replied: “May the beautiful leaves of the king's book of life never be scattered as long as the world-illuming sun moves in the firmament! I am ready to obey your commands.” Accordingly the Amír assembled the grandees of his kingdom and spake to them thus: “I inform you that this royal prince, Kasharkasha, who has dwelt for some time in this city, is by me appointed to be my successor, as I have no heir. Therefore I desire every one who loves and obeys me to obey him likewise.” All the vazírs and grandees drew the finger of acquiescence over the eyes of affirmation, and the Amír dressed the prince in the costly robe of a viceroy and said to him: “Dear friend, I have seven vazírs, yet I trust the direction of all important affairs to Khoja Bihrúz, whose sin­cere friendship I have tried on the touchstone of experience and never discovered a flaw in his noble character. Therefore, though you are endowed with the innate sagacity of noble personages, as you are not familiar with the laws and customs of this country, I recommend you never to act without his advice, in order that the affairs of our kingdom may prosper.” Then the Jalyák divorced the bride of royalty, married her to Kasharkasha, and retired to a corner of repose.*

Kasharkasha, who had been so greatly favoured by his good luck, without any efforts on his own part, sat very joyfully on the throne of dignity and power, when, by the decree of Providence, the Jalyák was removed from this terrestrial abode; and as the desire of self-aggrandisement, coupled with unlimited dominion, destroys contentment and begets an inordinate long­ing for greater power, Kasharkasha indulged in ambitious schemes and resolved to conquer some of the neighbouring kingdoms. On this project he consulted all his vazírs, who readily approved of it, and even still more inflamed his ambition. When the turn of Bihrúz came he said: “May the ready-money of prosperity be always present in the treasury of the hopes of the king, and may the joyful season of perpetual spring always gladden his heart! This is not the time for attack, but rather for defence. Many potentates of the country of the Franks have attempted to conquer this land; they came with countless hosts, but were all repulsed by the Jalyák, whose fame is yet remembered among them: soon, however, they will learn of the change which has taken place, and your majesty will have enough to do in warding off their attacks.” Kasharkasha paid no attention to this warning, and, confiding in the approbation of all the other vazírs, he marched to Ráml, which is a country belonging to the Franks, and when he arrived there he halted, and despatched the following letter to Futtál Sháh, the king of Ráml:

“The title-ornament of this epistle is the name of that Sovereign of the volume of whose world-adorning book of omnipotence of existence of all creatures is but one dot. Secondly, as all nations of men are connected by the sameness of their species, and as it is incumbent upon the mighty to protect the feeble; and if they treat their subjects well they will reap blessings; therefore we send you our kind salutations, and inform you that as it is our intention to hunt in these regions, and as you would be unable to endure the brightness of our countenance, even as a bat cannot look at the sun, and we fear that if you were to behold a part of our army and warlike preparations, bodily and mental diseases might befall you;—we advise you to surrender the keys of your fortress to the bearer of this letter, on pain of incurring our displeasure.”

Futtál Sháh read the letter and returned his answer as follows: “We were astonished at the folly and presumption of your missive, and defy you to do your worst.” After despatching these lines the king hastened out with his forces to attack Kasharkasha, who had in the meanwhile received information from his spies that in his rear another king of the Frank country was in ambush. He was considering how to act with one enemy in front and another in his rear when the countless hosts of Futtál Sháh came in sight, and there was no option but to await the issue. The enemy advanced, attacked Kasharkasha, and the battle raged fiercely, for both armies fought with great bravery; at last, however, Futtál Sháh prevailed and Kasharkasha fled. In the morning he was a king, and in the evening a beggar, fleeing from his pursuers. On the second day his horse was so ex­hausted that he was obliged to walk on foot until he arrived at a spring, where having quenched his thirst he lay down and slept. A shepherd who had been searching for a lost sheep happened to come to the spot, and seeing a young man in costly garments stretched at full length, his covetousness induced him to throw a stone, which, however, missed the intended victim. Kasharkasha jumped up, and seeing a man of helpless appearance he asked: “Who are you?” The man replied: “I am a shepherd. Who are you yourself? and what right have you at the spring where I daily water the sheep of the king? Your inauspicious presence here has caused the water to become muddy. All my sheep are scattered over the desert, and how shall I answer for them to the king?” So saying, he suddenly leapt on Kasharkasha, divested him of his fine clothes and left him his own rags in exchange; then tying both the hands and feet of the prince, he went his way.

After Futtál Sháh had won the battle, captured the army of his foe, and plundered his treasury, he could find no trace of Kasharkasha; so he sent off a number of men in search of him, some of whom arrived at the spring, and discovering a man there with his hands and feet tied, asked him who he was. Kasharkasha guessed they were servants of Futtál Sháh who had come to look for him, and replied: “I am a shepherd, and came here with my flock, when a young man, from whose forehead the marks of royalty radiated, approached and asked me for a sheep, but I said they all belonged to the king and I was not at liberty to dispose of any of them. Upon this he became so incensed that he tied my hands and feet and then walked off with a sheep. Since you have arrived here so opportunely, I request you to liberate me from my bonds.” The men believed that he had given them information about Kasharkasha, so they loosed him, and giving him some food, hastened off in search of the fugitive. For this lucky escape Kasharkasha thanked the Most High, and speeding to a mountain not far from the spring, he found there refuge in a cave.

Meanwhile the emissaries of Futtál Sháh were scouring the plain and at length caught sight of the shepherd while he was trying to catch the horse of Kasharkasha. They said to each other: “We must not allow him to get at the horse;” and when the shepherd perceived that they meant to seize him he thought that they were the servants of Kasharkasha who had come in pursuit of him, so he cried out: “My good friends, I have committed an error. I hope you will pardon my transgression;” and he began to undress himself. But they replied: “Kasharkasha, we are not such fools as to let you go if you give us your clothes. We have been in quest of you for the last three or four days and have taken no rest. Your garments alone cannot reward our pains, and Futtál Sháh will require an account of you; so come along with us.” Quoth the shepherd: “The affair between your master and me has only taken place to-day; why should you be seeking me these three or four days?” The pursuers said to one another: “He has lost his kingdom and become crazy. We must convey him at once to our king.” On hearing these words the shepherd wished to make use of the sword of Kashar-kasha, but being too awkward to do so, he threw it on the ground and wielded his own staff in such a manner as to kill one of his captors, when the others closed round him, tied his hands, and set him on a horse, saying: “Kasharhasha, do not struggle now that the boat of your prosperity has become a wreck and is sunk into the ocean of misfortune, for it will be of no use.” Quoth the shepherd: “I swear by the souls of Pir Siah Posh, Baják, Baba Ali Mest, and Mezar Mongal, that I had no idea he was a king. My covetousness induced me to rob him of his clothes; I hope you will pardon my incivility.” “You simulate folly,” they replied. “Do you not remember that you wrote a letter to the king, and after marching with so large an army against him do you not know that he is a sovereign? You say that you have robbed him of his clothes; but these words are very silly, considering that you were of elegaat speech and great intellect, and that you sat on a royal throne.” “You are talking book-words,” said the shepherd: “I have never learned to read—what do I know about letters and armies? I have done no farther harm than taken his clothes. Besides, it is not usual for kings to come into the desert alone and on foot. As it is, he might have met with a worse man than myself, who would have killed him. I beseech you, for God's sake, take the clothes and let me go; because there is no one to take care of my sheep, and if anything happen to them I shall have to atone for it by the loss of all that I possess.” The men now looked at each other and smiled. They then said: “Kashar-kasha, if you have gone mad on account of the loss of your kingdom it is no wonder, but it is a marvel that you are still alive.” Quoth the shepherd: “Why have you changed my name? I am called Kallam ed-Dín Ahmed and you hail me always by the name of Kasharkasha. Perhaps you mean to sell me?” While they were thus going along, talking and laughing, they came to a small village, some of the inhabitants of which recognised the shepherd and asked him: “Where have you got these fine clothes? Who are these men? Why have they tied your hands?” He said: “I have robbed a man of these clothes, and these men have caught me and are taking me to the king. I am willing to abandon the clothes but they will not abandon me. I beseech you, by the favour of Pír Muhammed Jendah Poosh, to give them anything they ask for my freedom, and I shall repay you in goats.” Several of the headmen of the village now stepped forward and addressed the king's messengers: “Good friends, Kallam ed-Dín Ahmed confesses his fault, and he has acted wrongly. But of what use would it be to take him before the king? We have agreed to prepare a good roast for you if you will let him go.” But they laughed and said: “This is Kasharkasha, the king of Tytmyran, who succeeded the Jalyák, and having wantonly attacked our sovereign was put to flight. The king has sent a thousand men in pursuit of him, and has promised to confer dignity and wealth on his captor. We have searched for him without resting for more than three days, and it is not likely that we shall now let him go free. All his speeches come from a disordered mind.” Hearing this the villagers were astonished and silenced.

The messengers of Futtál Sháh proceeded to the city, and on their arrival the rumour soon spread that they had taken Kasharkasha. The shepherd was brought into the presence of the king, and the splendour of the court so dazzled him that he lost his speech, and the king thus addressed him: “You fool, do sovereigns and high personages indite such letters? Now shall I ignominiously kill you, as a warning to all presumptuous and foolish persons.” When the shepherd heard this sentence he was roused, and exclaimed: “O king, I swear, by the soul of Baba Nasym Sermest, that I made that very day a vow of repentance to go on pilgrimage to the tomb of Baba Jany and never again to commit such an act. Indeed the clothes are present and at hand. I possess several ewes big with young which I shall give you if you set me free. I have the sheep of one hundred men under my charge, and were any accident to befal them all my friends and relatives would be unable to make compensation on my account,” and he wept bitterly. Futtál Sháh asked in astonishment: “How does this reply agree with our question?” Upon this all the assembly smiled, and a merchant present, who had been at Tytmyran and knew the person of Kasharkasha, kissed the floor of civility, and said: “O king, this is not Kashar-kasha. He is a man of handsome appearance and fair speech; this is an ignorant boor.” Hereupon the king first questioned the shepherd closely and then his captors, who stated their case, after which he declared: “Both parties are right; Kasharkasha was at the spring and has purposely misled you. At present there is no use of making further efforts, because he has gained time to go wherever he pleased.” Then he gave the shepherd five thousand dirhams and dismissed him.

Soon after Kasharkasha had concealed himself in the mountain cave he was driven out of it by hunger, and descending into the plain wandered from town to town, scratching the wound of the loss of his kingdom and of the treasure of prosperity with the nails of regret and sorrow, and keeping it fresh with the salt of repentance, until he arrived in Turkey. There it occurred to him one day that his father had told him, in case his good fortune should desert him, to visit the merchant Khoja Sadullah, who would aid him. So he proceeded to Baghdád and found the house of the merchant, who was a very kind­hearted man, and happened at the time to be going on a visit to the Khalíf, with whom he stood in high favour. On seeing Kasharkasha he concluded from his mean attire that he was a mendicant and ordered one of his attendants to give him alms, on receiving which the prince burst into tears. When Khoja Sadullah asked him why he wept, he produced his father's signet, which when the Khoja examined, “This ring,” said he, “belongs to King Farídún of Fars. I gave it to him; but how came it into your possession?” Kasharkasha replied: “He is my father. The desire to travel has separated me from him, and the instability of fortune has reduced me to this pitiable state.” Khoja Sadullah warmly em­braced and welcomed him, saying: “Forget all your troubles and be comforted; because you will again become lucky, and this unpropitious condition will depart from the horoscope of your felicity. All men are subject to reverses of fortune, but the end is frequently very happy. My life and property are at your service.” Then he sent the prince to the bath, provided him with a costly wardrobe, assigned to him a number of apartments fit for a royal personage, and appointed fifty slaves to wait on him, all of whom he ordered to obey and try to please him. Thus Fortune again smiled on Kasharkasha and he spent his days in comfort and felicity.

One day he was walking on the roof of the house and chanced to look into the haram of the Khoja, having mistaken it for that of another dwelling. The wife of the Khoja was in the open court-yard when his eye alighted on the countenance of that heart-ravishing beauty, which so captivated him that his person became more attenuated every day. He kept the matter to himself, but one of his attendants re­ported it to the Khoja, who seemed to pay no attention, but nevertheless went to his wife and said to her: “Darling of my soul, I have a request to make to you, but on condition that you swear to comply with it.” The lady took the required oath, and the Khoja continued: “I divorce you.” She asked: “Of what fault has the bud sprouted in the rose-grove of my imagination? And what crime have I committed to deserve your abhorrence and to be separated from you?” Quoth the Khoja: “God forbid that I should have experienced from you anything save kindness and love; but I have been compelled to part with you.”

The Khoja, having thus divorced his wife, went to Kasharkasha and spoke to him as follows: “I have been made aware of your condition, and your wish shall be gratified in a few days. The woman whom you have seen is the foster-sister of Farrukhzád the merchant. Her husband died a few days ago, and her time of mourning is not yet over. Her brother, my most intimate friend, is in Basra, and I have sent a man to him to sue for her hand in your behalf—be of good cheer.” Kasharkasha was highly pleased, and the Khoja amused him until the time required by the law was expired. Then he sent for the Kází, and Kasharkasha was married to the lady in due form. In the evening the Khoja led his former wife to the apartments of the prince; and, when she beheld the unparalleled beauty and comeliness of her new hus­band, she whispered to the Khoja: “Although you have divorced me, I thank God that I am to be the spouse of this youth.” When the Khoja had taken his leave, the prince asked the lady: “What did you just now whisper to the Khoja?” She replied: “Young man, I was the wife of the Khoja and we lived together very happily, but he has without any cause divorced me and married me to you; so I said to him, when I beheld you, and he had no longer any power over me: ‘Although you have divorced me without cause, I am delighted to be the wife of this young man, who seems to be a great deal better than yourself.’” As soon as Kasharkasha learned that she had been the wife of the Khoja he drew the hand of refusal over the breast of his desires and said:

“To overcome one's own lust is victory;
To master one's own passion is bravery indeed.

God forbid that I should touch this woman, for I consider her unlawful to me.” So he slept that night alone, and in the morning apologised to her, saying: “I was somewhat indisposed and unable to keep your company. Pray have patience for a few days till I recover fully.”

In this manner some days passed, when the prince, conversing with the Khoja about his own country, said to him: “It is now a long time since I left my dear father, and though I have in your company and by your kind services forgotten all my misfortunes, I nevertheless feel a very great desire to rejoin him.” Therefore the Khoja loaded twenty strings of camels with costly goods and sent them under the care of fifty trustworthy slaves with Kasharkasha. Taking affectionate leave of his benefactor and promising always most gratefully to remember his great kindness, the prince departed on the road to Fars. When he arrived in the vicinity of the capital he sent the glad tidings to his father, who hastened to meet him. They entered the city together, and King Farídún was so rejoiced at the happy event that he opened his treasury and distributed much money among the people. After some time he abdicated the government in favour of his beloved son, and died, leaving him his sole heir and successor.

In the meantime Kasharkasha's kind-hearted bene­factor suffered a reverse of fortune. One day Sadullah was informed that an agent whom he had despatched to Hindústán was returned, but had been shipwrecked and lost everything. The Khoja piously observed: “He from whose favour all that is in this world depends is able to make good this loss.” But a week later news reached him that another of his agents had been plundered by robbers. Soon after this second calamity the Khalíf of Baghdád died, and was succeeded by Mutassim,* who had long nourished ill-will against the Khoja, therefore he confiscated all the merchant's property. Khoja Sadullah, now reduced to absolute poverty, determined to go to Fars and take refuge with Kasharkasha. He con­trived to collect a sum of money among the merchants for the expenses of his journey, and quitting Baghdád proceeded as far as Tabríz, where he fell sick and spent all his little store of money. At last he recovered his health, but being unable to proceed on his journey he resolved to apply to the Amír for some assistance. During the preceding night a robbery had been committed in the Amír's treasury, and a number of suspected persons were brought to the palace, among whom Sadullah unwittingly took his place, and was along with them committed to prison to await the trial. They were all kept in confinement for several months, and tortured daily to draw from them acknowledgment of their guilt, until at length the real thieves were discovered in another quarter and the suspected persons were all discharged.

With a broken heart Sadullah resumed his journey to Fars, and chanced to arrive at the royal palace at the time when Kasharkasha was holding a levee and receiving petitions from his subjects. He entered the hall of audience and made his obeisance, but, as Kasharkasha did not recognise him in his wretched plight, Sadullah's salutation was not returned. After trying in vain to attract the notice of the king, Sadullah stepped a little apart from the crowd and thus addressed Kasharkasha: “O King, why does your highness disdain to look at me? I am Khoja Sadullah, the merchant, of Baghdád, who was always devoted to your family. But now fortune has turned its face from me, and I am come to seek refuge at your court.” The king turned to one of the atten­dants and said: “Give one hundred of the govern­ment sheep in charge of this man, and give him also two loaves every day.” Then he said to Sadullah: “My good friend, we have appointed you to be one of our shepherds; take good care of your flock.” Khoja Sadullah thought this proceeding very strange, and said to himself: “What meanness is this on the part of the king, to appoint me to be a shepherd! However, though I have occupied a high station, I must obey and perform the duties of a shepherd till something better turns up.” So he took a staff, a sling, a bag, and a dog, and went every day with the other shepherds to pasture his flock, and soon learned the business. But an epidemic broke out which carried off daily several of his sheep until every one had perished. Then thought Sadullah: “Since my entire flock has died, it seems that I am not even fit to be a shepherd.” One day the king observed the Khoja approaching with a great load on his back, and asked him: “How are the sheep?” Quoth Sadullah: “May the flock of the king's health and comfort be always on the increase and remain unscathed by the touch of the wolf of misfortune, and abide under the protection of the Shepherd of divine favour! Thanks to my unlucky destiny, an epidemic has carried off all the sheep, and I have brought their brands.” The king smiled and said: “Give him another hundred sheep.” These, however, also died, and likewise a third hundred, so that the Khoja was ashamed to show his face. But the fourth flock entrusted to him became more plump every day; no evil befell them; all the ewes threw twin lambs; and when the king next called for the Khoja he made his appearance with a number of sprightly and nimble lambs, and a quantity of butter, cheese, and milk. The king said to him: “O Khoja, what do you now think of your sheep?” He answered: “May the game of prosperity and the fawn of life remain within the grasp of the brave lion of the king's happiness, as long as the flock of stars browse in the meadow of the sky, and as long as the sun continues to travel in the firmament! Thanks be to the Most High, by the blessing of the king's good fortune, the contrary wind of my ill-luck has become appeased, the lamp of success has been kindled, the sheep of the king are all safe and sound, and my disgrace is wiped off.” At these words the king rose from his place, fell on the Khoja's neck, and exclaimed: “Dear friend, your fate had taken such a mischievous turn that had I entrusted you with my kingdom you would have lost it, and it was prudent to wait till your luck changed. It was against my will that I kept you in so mean an occu­pation until that calamity withdrew its foot from the circle of your destiny. But now the obscurity of misfortune has disappeared and the light of prosperity illumines the speculum of your hopes. Do whatever you please; you are welcome to govern my kingdom.” So saying, he seated the Khoja on the throne of inti­macy, overwhelmed him every moment with renewed kindness, and said to him: “I have a foster-sister seated within the curtains of innocence and modesty; if you marry her you will oblige me greatly.” The Khoja consented, and was for the second time espoused to his own wife. When night set in the lady was brought to the Khoja, who recognised her with no little astonishment, exclaiming: “My love, I meet you again!” Said the lady: “Khoja, the prince learnt the first night the true circumstances and has never touched me, or even seen my face till the moment when he surrendered me back to you.” Kasharkasha made the Khoja his vazír, and they all lived happily together for many years until they at last quaffed the beverage of death, left this rewardless abode, and departed to the mansions of eternal joy.

When Khayrandísh had concluded this story he said: “Nassar, I have related this narrative to impress on your mind that self-conceit and pre­sumptuousness are very great obstacles to happiness. Had Prince Kasharkasha followed the advice of his minister Bihrúz when he succeeded to the kingdom of Tytmyran, and not attacked Futtál Shah, his dominion would have been permanent, and the autumnal blasts of misfortune would not have in­jured the rose-garden of his comfort and happiness:

You will be happy in both worlds,
If you moderate your desires.”