THIS elevation of a stranger to the highest post did not fail to excite universal jealousy and envy, and all the courtiers sought an opportunity of removing Far-rukhrúz. On a certain occasion the king gave a great banquet, at which the wonderful cock was ex­hibited, and when the repast was over the king thus addressed his guests: “You have all seen the world, but you have at no royal court beheld a curiosity such as this which Farrukhrúz has presented to me.” The envious courtiers replied: “That is true; but we con­ceive that if your majesty were to order a throne to be constructed of white chrysolites, yellow emeralds, and red diamonds, it would surpass anything ever pos­sessed by any sovereign.” Quoth the king, smiling: “You are wishing for an impossibility, because I have never heard that there exist white chrysolites, yellow emeralds, or red diamonds; but if so, they are prob­ably so rare that sufficient of them could not be obtained for a ring, not to speak of a throne.” The courtiers rejoined: “Any affair that can possibly be accomplished is open to the competition of skilful and experienced persons.” In this strain they con­tinued until they succeeded in exciting in the king a desire to possess such a throne, so he asked them: “Who then can procure a sufficient quantity of such precious stones with which to construct a throne?” To this question they unanimously replied: “The business may be accomplished by a very intelligent man, and we know of no other than Farrukhrúz who is qualified to undertake it, seeing that he has already brought a curiosity the like of which is not to be found in the world.” But the king said that, as Farrukhrúz had become so useful to him, he could not dispense with his presence. Farrukhrúz, how­ever, rose from his place and offered his services, promising to return within the space of forty days.* So the king gave him the required leave of absence, and he proceeded, according to the advice of Zayn al-Mofáherin, to Mosúl, in search of the hermit Habíb, whom he found in a cave near that town.

The hermit was a devout old man, reposing himself in perfect innocence and piety in the mansion of tranquillity and asceticism, with a mind free from the shackles of animal passions, and engaged in humbly praising and worshipping the Bestower of all gifts. Farrukhrúz made his salám, presented the ring of Zayn al-Mofáherin, and was welcomed by the hermit, who said: “I am glad to see you—I know the ring of my friend; and as it has been during my whole life a pleasure to assist all true believers, I request you to inform me of your wants.” Farrukhrúz ex­plained his case, after which the hermit continued: “Although no one has ever returned disappointed from this place, I must inform you that your enemies have contrived to send you in search of objects the attainment whereof they conceived to be impossible, and indeed the affair is a very difficult one. Let us however trust in God, who is able to help us.”

About sunset the hermit offered up the customary prayers, after which he said to Farrukhrúz: “By divine inspiration I learn that in Syria there is a mountain near which is a spot inhabited by genii and fairies, who possess many of the precious stones you require. They are stored in the treasury of their king, but no man has dared to approach the place since the time of King Sulayman (on whom be bless­ings!). At present, however, a son of the king of the fairies is suffering from lunacy, which greatly dis­tresses his father. All physicians who tried to cure him entirely failed; but I shall teach you a prayer which will restore him to health, and the king will very gratefully reward you.” Then the hermit taught Farrukhrúz the prayer, and giving him a staff, said: “This staff is made from the cocoa-nut tree of Ceylon, one of whose numerous properties is that it conveys its owner safely through all dangers to the place of its destination.* The various genii and sorcerers harbouring enmity towards mankind assume different forms and infest the road, and accomplish the ruin of many travellers. There is no doubt but they will also lay snares for you, and should you be so foolish as to lose this staff you will fall into troubles from which you may never escape.”

Farrukhrúz then took his leave of the hermit, started on his journey, and arrived after several days within the dominions of the fairies, entering a pleasant meadow adorned with beautiful flowers and rivulets. The fragrant vegetation and salubrious air which he inhaled exhilarated Farrukhrúz, and invited him to walk about in that delightful spot. He soon perceived a group of beauteous fairies sitting around one of their own sex, who seemed to be their queen, on seeing whom he was so fascinated by her attractions that he stood still as if petrified, but his heart palpitated violently. A fairy presently approached him, and taking him by the hand drew him into the circle. He completely forgot the admonitions of the hermit, and chatted with the fairy damsel very pleasantly, till they all leapt up nimbly and taking him along with him, walked till they came to a palace which the ladies entered, but Farrukhrúz was turned away by the male attendants with these words: “This is not a place where any stranger may freely go in and out.” Accordingly he sat down in melancholy and expectation, and after a short space one of those heart-ravishers issued forth to call him. Farrukhrúz quickly arose to obey the joyful summons, but a gate-keeper met him half-way, saying: “The laws of courtesy prohibit any one from entering the private apartments of high personages armed; it would be highly improper for you to pay your respects to the queen of this country with a staff in your hand.” Then he took the staff from Farrukhrúz, who rushed in as if intoxicated with the desire of beholding the object of his adoration. When he entered, he found himself in a paradise-like place containing a throne ornamented with innumerable gems, on which that beauty reposed like the world-illuming sun, with all the attendant ladies seated around her, conversing, playing on musical instruments, laughing, eating, and drinking.

Farrukhrúz was rejoiced at beholding this scene, and flattered himself that he might soon become more closely acquainted with the occupant of the throne, considering himself as already happier than a thousand kings of Yaman. Nor was he disappointed in his expectations; for the charming queen addressed him in the most gratifying terms; dallied with him amorously; and having asked for a goblet of wine she sipped some of it, and handing it to him desired him to quaff the contents. But no sooner had Farrakhrúz done so than he became transformed into a monkey, with dugs full of milk, and several young monkeys tugging at them, in the midst of a shoreless ocean, and floating on a piece of timber. He looked in all directions, but perceived no land, and awaking, in his bitter grief, from his sleep of carelessness, he recollected the advice of Habíb the hermit and the loss of his staff. But his self-reproaches availed him nothing, while the little monkeys pulled away at the teats and were even manifesting their enmity; but the maternal kindness of a monkey, with which he had been invested, prevented him from retaliating. In this manner he spent several days without food, drink, sleep, or rest, suffering from the burning heat of the sun, and imploring the mercy of the Almighty to rescue him from this peril, till at last after the expiration of seven days a ship came in sight, from which a beautiful lady descended into a skiff with two attendants. The skiff was rowed about the sea till it approached the piece of timber on which Farrukhrúz was sitting, when he began to moan most pitifully after the manner of monkeys, which attracted the attention of the lady and she said to her attendants: “Unless I am greatly mistaken, I again behold an effect of the wickedness of that God-forgetting fairy, who has changed this poor wretch into a monkey.” Then she uttered a magic spell, upon which Farrukhrúz sneezed and immediately recovered his human shape. The piece of timber drew near the skiff, and as soon as Farrukhrúz stepped into it he perceived he was in a garden with the beautiful lady and several other persons, when he exclaimed: “Praise be to God! I experience wonderful changes!” The lady took him by the hand, congratulated him on his delivery, and said: “Be of good cheer. I have, by divine Providence, been guided to this spot, and have thus been enabled to save you. Others have fallen into the same snare like yourself and have lost their lives, while you have come forth unscathed from the whirlpool of calamity.”

For a while the lady promenaded with Farrukhrúz, and then they proceeded to a splendid mansion, wherein was a throne encrusted with jewels on which she took her seat, and was waited upon by legions of attendants. Presently most delicious food was brought to Farrukhrúz, who broke his fast of seven days, and having satisfied his hunger and recovered his strength he was obliged to relate his adventures. Then quoth the lady: “Since cunning and hatred have brought so much trouble on your head, perhaps kindness may now do somewhat to aid you. Know that the wicked fairy who has injured you is my sister. Her name is Nafísa, and we are both the daughters of King Núbahár, who reigned supreme over all the fairies of this country; but after our father's death my sister was for some time led astray from the true faith by an infidel genie who got her into his power, and even now she tries to injure Muslims as much as she can.” Having thus spoken, she whispered to a fairy, who went away and returned with the staff which the hermit Habíb had given to Farrukhrúz, and of which the other fairies had deprived him. Farrukhrúz thanked the queen, who then said: “I should be glad if you were to remain here and live with me, but I wish not to detain you. Yet I be­seech you to return, because that comfort which you may enjoy here you will never find among men and their follies. In the meanwhile, however, you may go in quest of the precious stones you are in want of: the king whose son is subject to fits of lunacy is my uncle, and he possesses a countless store of the gems you require, but is in great distress on account of his son's malady.” Then she sent one of her courtiers with Farrukhrúz to inform her uncle that he would cure the prince.

Farrukhrúz left the park with the fairy courtier, and at the gate there was a box wherein he was requested to take his position and close his eyes, and on opening them after a moment he perceived that he had been transported into a royal palace, the like of which, for beauty, magnificence, and decoration, no human eye had ever beheld. There he saw a monarch seated on a throne with great pomp and surrounded by numerous courtiers, all of whom were in deep mourning. He was presented by his guide to the king, who said to him: “Young man, considering that human beings excel all other earthly creatures in beneficence and happiness, I welcome your advent. I am informed that you have come to cure my son, and if you do so I shall feel myself indebted to you as long as I live.” Farrukhrúz replied: “Exalted sovereign, although every cure depends in the first place upon the mercy of the Most High, your humble servant possesses a supplication in which he has the fullest confidence, and hopes by means of it to effect a cure.” The king then gave orders to produce the prince, who was accordingly brought forth in bonds and chains. He wept by turns like a vernal cloud and smiled like a fresh rose; he had also fits of a violent character. As soon as Farrukhrúz cast his eyes upon the afflicted prince he opened the portals of eloquence with the name of God and recited the prayer which he had learned of Habíb the hermit. When he had com­pleted the invocation the prince recovered the perfect use of his intellect and was cured; he sneezed a few times, thanked God, and asked: “For what cause have I been put in chains?” At these words the king manifested his joy, kissed the prince, and delivered him from his chains, and all the fairies rejoiced. Then quoth the sultan to Farrukhrúz: “I cannot express to you my gratitude in words, nor am I able to reward you. May God requite you!” Farrukhrúz opened the lips of civility, saying: “I am delighted with the fortunate result of my prayer,” and preferred his request for the precious stones, when the king immediately caused immense quantities of white chrysolites, yellow emeralds, and red diamonds to be brought from the treasury, and ordered a skilful genie to construct a throne with the gems, which was instantly done. When it was evening a genie called Tahmatán, who moved with the celerity of lightning, departed with the throne to the kingdom of Yaman, accompanied by Farrukhrúz, to whom the king of the fairies said affectionately: “Take this ring, which has been kept for many ages in the treasury of my ancestors, and the possession of which is connected with numerous blessings; keep it always on your finger, and it will preserve you from all misfortunes, except when you are in a state of ceremonial unclean­ness, because the Ineffable Name is written on it;* and if you keep it with you when in such a condition you will become subject to fits of epilepsy and lunacy, and it will return to our treasury, nor will any mortal be able to cure you except ourselves. Whenever any difficulty occurs to you, turn the ring on the forefinger of your right hand, and ask aid of the victorious spirit of Sulayman (on whom be blessing!), when instantly a genie will make his appearance, to whom you may entrust any service and he will accomplish it. But you must not let it be seen by wicked demons, who are the sworn enemies of mankind, lest they should deprive you of this talisman.” Farrukhrúz thanked the king and was taken up by Tahmatán with the throne at midnight and set down in Yaman before daybreak.

When Farrukhrúz had departed in quest of the wonderful gems, the envious vazírs and secretaries were delighted, believing that he would never return. But the king was grieved at being separated from his favourite and impatiently counted the days of his absence. At last he said to his courtiers: “What need had I of such a throne, since the society of such a friend was more valuable to me than a thousand thrones of king Sulayman? Perchance Farrukhrúz has been unable to attain his object and is ashamed to return.” The vazírs professed to agree with the king's opinion, being afraid to contradict him. On the fortieth day, however, Farrukhrúz brought the throne to the palace before any of the vazírs or secretaries had made their appearance. At the joyful sight the king embraced and kissed him affectionately, and ordered all the great drums of gladness to be beaten. The grandees, who were yet in their own houses, were astonished at the sounds they heard, and when they learned what had happened they were confused and dismayed. On going to the palace, and seeing that the honour which Farrukhrúz had before enjoyed was greatly increased, they said one to another: “The luck of this man is truly marvellous, since he has accomplished what everybody considered an impossi­bility.”