Having thus ended his third example, the vazír added: “As this story likewise clearly shows the truth of my assertion, your majesty would do well to dis­miss Nassar to a distant country until the rust of his misfortunes is wiped off the mirror of his circum­stances, when you may safely receive him again into your royal favour.” The king of Egypt approved of this advice, and ordered the vazír to give Nassar a thousand dínars and send him away. The vazír immediately sent for Nassar and gave him the money; he even apologised to Nassar, and desired him to return after his fortune had become more propitious, when his majesty would receive him most graciously, and reward him handsomely.

Nassar was very sad and knew not where to go, till he recollected that Khayrandísh had given him a ring which he was to show at Aleppo to his friend Abú Jurjas, if he should fall into any troubles and be in need of assistance. So he set out for that city. On the way he came to a delightful meadow, adorned with trees and flowers, and as he was fatigued he lay down near a beautiful spring, and, placing the gold he had received from the vazír under his head, soon fell asleep. Presently he was awoke by a voice exclaim­ing: “Young man, this is a perilous place for resting or sleeping in. Arise, and save your life!” He leaped up hastily and fled. After a while he re­collected that he had forgotten his gold, but was afraid to return; and considering this also as a consequence of his ill-luck he continued his journey.

When he arrived in the vicinity of the hermitage of Abú Jurjas, he beheld it in a state of neatness and cleanliness. From its walls blessings and felicities radiated; but he could find no trace of the hermit. After looking all round, he perceived a man sleeping on a couch, and said to himself: “This must be the hermit, who has probably spent the night in devotion and is now sleeping.” Accordingly he waited till evening, but the hermit did not move. Then thought Nassar: “Although it is uncivil to awaken any one from sleep, yet as this man would be sorry to miss the time for evening prayers I must disturb him.” He therefore went forward and shook the hermit slightly, but still he did not move. He perceived a slip of paper on the pillow which contained these words:

“Fortunate youth! on the bank of the river of life no tree grows which is not blown down by the wind of Fate. In a vision I was informed that you would come hither, but whilst I was alive I expected you in vain. But since the goblet of my existence has become filled to-day, I could not postpone my departure, and, bowing my head obediently to the summons of the omnipotent Sovereign, I laid myself down on my death-bed. I am perfectly aware of what you have come to seek. Dread nothing: all your reverses will soon be turned to prosperity. Friend, I have three injunctions to communicate to you: First, that you wash my corpse and bury it in this place; secondly, that as soon as you have the means you build a chapel here, so that whenever people see it they may remember me, and their kind wishes may rejoice my soul, for nothing is more useful to those who sleep on the pillow of death than the prayers of the living for their pardon; and, thirdly, that every Friday* night frankincense or other perfumes be burnt over my tomb, because wherever that is done angels of mercy alight. On account of the hardships which you have hitherto suffered, your fortune will henceforward be very great. In the neighbourhood of this spot there is a spring called the Fountain of Al-Kamyss, which was a place where Muslim fairies were wont to amuse themselves, and therefore infidel genii have dried it up. You must during the space of forty days* go to that place every day and pray God to cause the water again to flow. As soon as by divine command the water reappears, you must perform the sacred ablution of gratitude to the Almighty, when all the filth of your misfortunes will be removed and the fairies will everywhere shower happiness on your head.”

After Nassar had read the paper he washed and buried the body of the hermit. Then he betook him­self to the fountain and prayed during forty days, at the end of which period the water again began to flow and fishes appeared in it, by order of the Almighty, and each fish bore a jewel in its ear and a ring in its mouth. The fishes exclaimed: “Praise be to the Most High!” and saluted Nassar, who was very much astonished at the spectacle. Then a white fish more beautiful than all the others raised its head from the water, brought the purse of gold which Nassar had left in the meadow when he was scared away by the warning voice, and said: “Happy young man! this is your property. Be not amazed at the sight of us, for, though we are now in the form of fishes, we are in reality fairies, and live according to the ordinances of Islám; and for this reason we usually assume the shape of fish, because they are the most innocent of God's creatures.* This fountain is our abode and place of amusement. When the malevolent genii had, on account of their enmity towards us, dried up this spring, we were compelled to wander about; but now that, by the blessing of your advent, the water has again appeared, we are engaged in praising God and in thanking you. Young man, in the meadow where you slept near a fountain we warned you to depart, because that region is the abode of a tremendous dragon which has destroyed numberless people by its fiery breath, and no one has been able to kill it. The astrologers have predicted that a stranger will destroy the monster, and the king of the country, who has no offspring, has made a vow that he will abdicate the throne in favour of that fortunate stranger. We shall reward your good deed by killing the dragon and bringing you a sign, whereby you shall obtain the bride of royalty and gain every day a hundredfold more than your father Khoja Humáyún has lost.”

Then the fairies brought forth various savoury dishes, of which they invited him to eat, while they went and slew the dragon, after which they vanished. But soon a great tempest and dust enveloped the whole firmament in confusion and darkness; and when all the noise and turmoil had passed away, the surface of the fountain became slightly agitated, and the fishes again appeared, and placed the head of the dragon, which was of monstrous size, on the brim of the spring. Then one of the fairy fishes addressed Nassar, saying: “This dragon was sleeping in the shadow of a moun­tain; we went with seventy thousand fairies to the spot where the monster lay, and separating half of the mountain threw it on the dragon, which immediately perished—its last agonies caused the tempest and darkness. Although the service which we have thus done to you is as nothing compared with the favour you have conferred upon us, yet as every return, be it ever so slight, is acceptable, we have been happy to serve you; and, please God, we shall hereafter consider it as our highest pleasure to gratify every one of your wishes. And now you may depart to the city.”

Nassar went away accordingly; and when the people saw the head of the dragon they notified the event to the capital, from which immense crowds issued, so that not less than twenty thousand persons met Nassar and escorted him with great pomp into the city, the people constantly bowing and thanking him for the great benefit he had conferred on them. Just then the good king was on his deathbed, and, having no son, his ministers did not know who should be his successor. But when they heard of Nassar's entrance into the city they instantly conveyed him before the dying king, who was rejoiced to learn that the dragon was slain, kissed Nassar on the forehead, offered his thanksgivings to the Most High, murmuring: “If I must die, I have now no other wish.” Then he handed his diadem and royal signet to Nassar, and said to the vazír: “He is indeed a good servant who obeys his sovereign on his deathbed; therefore now let every one who loves me pay his allegiance to Nassar.” With one accord the ministers and others who were present did homage to Nassar and elevated him to the throne of royalty.

When the king died Nassar began to govern. He fulfilled the last wishes of the hermit. He sent messengers to Baghdád to bring his father Khoja Humáyún with all his relatives, and on their arrival, with great ceremony and pomp, the father rejoiced to meet his son like Jacob when he was brought to Joseph. Nassar appointed his father to be his vazír and bestowed high stations on all his kindred; he also wrote a letter to the king of Egypt, which he sent with many gifts, informing him of the happy turn his destiny had taken. Thus Nassar, although for some time in the gripe of various misfortunes, became ultimately very happy and spent his life in great comfort.