THE king of Yaman again gave a grand banquet, at which the wonderful cock was exhibited beside the magnificent throne which Farrukhrúz had brought from fairyland, and which was greatly admired by the assembled people. The vazírs were obliged to conceal their malevolence, and after giving utterance to many expressions of admiration they said: “Although your majesty's humble servants and well-wishers are unable to produce anything themselves, yet they consider it their duty to suggest anything which might increase your glory. If four date-trees of gold, having fruits and leaves of jewels, were placed at the four corners of this throne there is no doubt your majesty would be unequalled as the possessor of costly and rare objects, and no monarch on earth could pretend to the least shadow of equality with our king.”* The sultan smiled disdainfully and said: “Such a wish cannot be realised; for, though I have perused many biographical and historical works, I have never read that anything of this kind exists in the world.” They replied: “May it please your majesty, there is nothing which will not yield to skill and intelligent efforts.” Quoth the king: “Who, then, is able to procure those objects?” “Farrukhrúz is the man,” said the vazírs. “God forbid,” exclaimed the king, “that I should burden him with this affair, seeing that I am already under great obligations to him. Propose some one else.” After the conversation had thus continued for some time, Farrukhrúz stood up and said: “If your majesty will give me leave, I shall be most happy to undertake this business.” The king hesitated long, but ultimately permitted him to go, on condition that he returned at the end of six months.

Farrukhrúz accordingly departed in quest of the treasure-trees, and when he was well out of the city he took the signet-ring given to him by the king of the fairies and put it on his finger, when immediately an afrít* of dreadful aspect, large as an elephant and fierce as a dragon, appeared before him, and bowing humbly said: “I am Kashank the afrít whom the king of the fairies has sent to serve you, and I have come to execute your orders.” “I wish to see her majesty the queen of the fairies,” rejoined Farrukhrúz, upon which the afrít Kashank drew the finger of obedience over the eyes of acquiescence, and taking Farrukhrúz on his back ascended into the sky.

After the fairy queen had despatched Farrukhrúz to her cousin to cure his son, she sent a number of afríts for her sister Nafísa, who had ill-treated Farrukhrúz, and when she was brought the queen spoke to her thus: “Sinful woman! how is it that you always afflict Muslims, who are of all men by their piety and devotion the greatest favourites in the courts of Unity. How had poor Farrukhrúz offended you that you should change him into a monkey?” Then the queen would have punished her, but all the fairies pleaded in her favour and Nafísa was pardoned. But so far from feeling grateful for this clemency, Nafísa, to avenge the humiliation which she had been forced to endure at the court of her sister, plotted with a number of malevolent genii against Queen Bánú. Knowing that her sister wished to marry Farrukhrúz, and that he had cured the prince and obtained from his father such a powerful talisman as the signet-ring, she said to her complotters: “It is likely that the love which Farrukhrúz entertains for Queen Bánú will induce him to visit her presently, and as she has so deeply insulted me you must kill him and thus disappoint her. Let one of my damsels be dressed to resemble Queen Bánú, and send her with a suitable retinue to meet Farrukhrúz, who will mistake her for the queen and marry her. In his attentions to her he will become careless about the ring, so that you will be able to take it from his finger and then easily put him to death.” Matters having been thus arranged, they waited for the appearance of Farrukhrúz. It happened also that Kashank the afrít, whom the king of the fairies had sent to Farrukhrúz, was a friend and well-wisher of Nafísa, so he informed her of his errand, and she in return disclosed to him her scheme, upon which he said: “Be not dismayed; make all arrangements for your damsel to meet Farrukhrúz in the spot where you first saw him, and I shall bring him thither.”

When Kashank took up Farrukhrúz he ascended higher than any flight of imagination could conceive, but on coming over the country of Syria he gradually lowered himself and set Farrukhrúz down in the fairy park, saying: “Happy mortal! as the secrets of our minds are known to our true friends and reflected to each other in the mirrors of their hearts, the queen has obtained the glad tidings of your propitious advent, and will to-day throw a halo of felicity by meeting you with a numerous company in this very place. I have brought you here to see your love.” Farrukhrúz was charmed with this information, and presently was introduced to one of Nafísa's maids, dressed to personate Queen Bánú, seated on a throne, and surrounded by numerous attendants, in great pomp and dignity. He was deceived by her striking resemblance to the queen, and, losing self-possession, eagerly ran to meet her, and they fell into each other's arms. After the first ebullition of joy was over, she invited him to seat himself on the throne by her side, and conversed with him on his adventures. On being informed of the envy of the vazírs she said: “Beloved friend, are you not disgusted to live among persons who are unable to appreciate your merits and send you on such errands? I entreat you by your love not to expose yourself to farther dangers, and never to return to that place. Remain with me, and let us both be happy.” While she was thus cajoling Farrukhrúz her attendants gradually disappeared, and when they were quite alone she threw her arms around his neck and kissed him. Farrukhrúz had no sooner yielded to the impulse of his passions than he felt that his mind was becoming deranged; his head became dizzy and he closed his eyes, and on opening them again he could find no trace of his mistress, and the whole scene was changed. He heard the wind blowing and thunders roaring; his mind was confused; he began to babble incoherently, and at last was drowned in the ocean of unconscious­ness. When he recovered from his trance he found that he had assumed the form of an old barber in Damascus, and was just then engaged in shaving the head of a customer, having in his shop the utensils required in the trade and a number of apprentices standing round him. He was amazed at this new scene, and thought within himself: “What have I come to?” and recollecting the signet-ring, with the injunction of the king of the fairies, he began to weep bitterly.

The man whom he was shaving saw him moving his lips, muttering something, and shaking his head; so he said to him: “Barber, what is the matter with you? Perhaps you are calculating the income of your trade, or have been long in the bath, the fumes of which have muddled your brains, that you have stopped shaving my head.* Be quick! The police magistrate has invited a large number of high person­ages to be his guests to-day, and there is no one except myself to make the necessary arrangements for the repast.” But Farrukhrúz was so absorbed in his thoughts about Queen Bánú that he paid not the least attention to what his customer said, at which the latter became wroth and expostulated, where­upon Farrukhrúz, who imagined him to be the afrít Kashank, threw away his razor, and tore his own clothes from top to bottom, strewed dust on his head, struck the man several times, began to weep, and exclaimed: “Wicked afrít! the king of the fairies warned me to be on my guard against such as you, and not let them see the ring. I disregarded this injunction and trusted in you. By your perfidy I have lost a talisman which is more valuable than the diadem of Iskandar or the goblet of Jamshíd!* I have been deprived of the society of my mistress and become subject to fits of lunacy and epilepsy, and have lost my happiness. You are not satisfied with having thus reduced me to misery, but you even now rail at me.” The customer jumped up, bareheaded as he was, and ran into the bazár, pursued by Far-rukhrúz shouting: “Muslims! seize on Kashank the afrít, who has deeply wronged me, and destroyed my peace of mind!” As he was thus bawling and running after the man, his girdle became loose and falling to his feet he stumbled and fell to the ground, breaking his brow and losing a great quantity of blood.

When the people saw the servant of the police magistrate running bare-headed, and a decrepit old barber pursuing him and falling down wounded, as they knew the other man to be a very bad char­acter, they concluded that he must have injured the barber, so they assailed Farrukhrúz with questions, to all of which he only replied: “Seize the afrít Kashank, who has done me damage of the value of a thousand tománs!” The people said: “We know him to be the servant of the police magistrate and a very great scoundrel. He may have injured you, but his name is not Kashank the afrít. He has now escaped, but if you submit your case to his master he will be punished.” Then the people bound up his wound and accompanied him to the magistrate. Farrukhrúz tumbled headlong into the office and shouted: “Muslims, by the treachery of Kashank the afrít my happiness has been de­stroyed!” Several high personages happened to be with the magistrate just then and were astonished at the intrusion, but still more so when Farrukhrúz threw a stone in their midst; and as a few days before an astrologer had predicted that bloodshed and slaughter would take place in the country, they considered this as an omen and all ran away, while the magistrate retired to his women's apart­ments. * Farrukhrúz rushed into the street, calling out: “Seize Kashank the afrít, who has changed the spring of my peace into the autumn of misery!” The people fancied that a thief had escaped from the magistrate's house and many of them ran after the fugitives shouting: “Catch Kashank the afrít, who has run away from the house of the magistrate!” But no one knew who Kashank was.

It happened that a very tall, dark-complexioned fellow, with a long dishevelled beard and hair, and dressed in rags, had arrived from the desert and was walking about the streets. As he had never before seen such a mob, he got frightened at the noise and began to run like a goblin of the wilder­ness, and the people, thinking him to be either Kashank the afrít or the escaped thief, seized and bound him. Farrukhrúz the maniac, taking the man for Kashank, then sprang forward, and striking him, exclaimed: “Perfidious wretch! why have you deprived me of my mistress and my ring, and thus precipitated me into the abyss of misery?” The man of the desert was astonished, but thought that it might possibly be the custom thus to speak to outsiders who intruded themselves into the city. When the mob perceived the embarrassed countenance and uncouth figure of the stranger, they also took him for Kashank the afrít and said: “There is no doubt but he has greatly injured the barber.” At last many people assembled, and seeing Far-rukhrúz lamenting in the most pitiful manner they began to reproach the stranger, saying: “O Kashank, are you not ashamed of having done such wrong to this old barber?” The man of the desert, who had during his whole life never been in a town, supposed this to be the usual mode of accosting strangers, so he made no reply, merely shaking his head like the goat of Akhfash.* The Amír of the city happened to return at this time from a hunting excursion, and, seeing the excited crowd in the street through which he passed, sent a chamberlain to make inquiries. He returned with the information that a fellow, Kashank the afrít by name, had deprived the barber of his wife, to­gether with a costly ring. When Farrukhrúz beheld the royal cavalcade he shouted the more, but all that the Amír and his courtiers could learn from him was: “Woe is me! The whirlwind of the treachery of Kashank the afrít has extinguished the lamp of my happiness, and the fire of his oppression has melted my soul and my life!” The Amír was of a very kind disposition and would not suffer even the poorest of his subjects to be wronged, and he said: “It appears that this peasant has so injured the poor old barber as to cause him to lose his senses;” then calling to the stranger, who was now greatly confused, he exclaimed: “Wretch, why have you wronged this poor man?” The man of the desert, unable to say anything, merely shook his head as before. At this the Amír smiled and observed: “Here we have a strange plaintiff and an equally strange defendant, neither of whom we are able to understand.* Is any one present who was a witness of the outrage?” Hereupon several persons came forward who had been in the shop when the barber was shaving the servant of the police magistrate, and next day the latter appeared at the court, but nothing could be elicited inculpating either him or the man from the desert, and they were merely required to give securities for their good behaviour, while Farrukhrúz was sent to the hospital for lunatics.

As soon as Nafísa had, with the assistance of Kashank, succeeded in deranging the mind of Far-rukhrúz, they sought for the ring but could not find it. Then quoth Nafísa: “My object was not so much to obtain possession of the ring as to prevent Queen Bánú from meeting her lover, and therefore we must kill him.” But Kashank, who had some experience of life, replied: “O queen of the universe, though, for the sake of gaining your approbation, I have become unfaithful to my sovereign, I shall not commit this new crime, the consequences of which were irreparable. This young man has done much good by curing the son of the king, who will be highly displeased at what has happened, but if we execute this second part of your scheme we shall certainly jeopardise our own lives.” So it was concluded to spare the life of Farrukhrúz, whom the afrít transported to Damascus, where he arrived early in the morning, and perceived only a barber's shop open, the owner of which he seized and threw into the sea, putting Farrukhrúz in his stead after having by a magic spell caused him to assume the form of the old man. For this reason, wise and intelligent men have warned people never to open their shops before sunrise, because if they do so they become liable to be injured by genii and demons.

After committing this diabolical crime, Kashank waited the next day on the king of the fairies, who immediately asked about Farrukhrúz. The afrít replied: “May it please your exalted majesty, a misfortune has befallen Farrukhrúz. He was merely sent by the king of Yaman on some business to the river Nile, and when I brought him thither the water became very rough, and the afrít Hankál, who is one of his enemies, and dwells in Egypt, and persecutes human beings, issued from the stream with seventy afríts of extraordinary power, and as I was unable to cope with them, they dragged Farrukhrúz under the water and separated his head from his body, which immediately rose again to the surface and became the prey of voracious beasts, so that I was compelled to return in great distress.” At first the king believed this statement, but his vazír Akhtár said to him: “As I know the evil disposition of Kashank, I intended to dissuade your majesty from appointing him to this business, especially as he had been still more led astray by Nafísa, and it is most probable that she has had something to do in this matter, since she has on a former occasion injured Farrukhrúz and bears bitter enmity towards Queen Bánú.” Then the king examined Kashank more closely but without effect, and finally imprisoned him till farther orders.

The following day one of the treasurers came before the king with a ring in his hand and said: “This is the ring which your majesty gave to Farrukhrúz, and which has returned to the treasury.” This betokened that Farrukhrúz was still alive, and the king sending for Kashank showed him the ring and told him that he would extort the truth from him by force. Just then one of the king's serving genii, who had for some time been wandering among men for the purpose of avenging his brother's death, made his appearance, and stated that he had seen at Damascus a lunatic who was constantly complaining of Kashank and was probably Farrukhrúz. The king at once delivered the ring to an afrít with orders to bring Farrukhrúz, which was done accordingly, and as soon as Farrukhrúz saw the king he wept bitterly, but the king embraced and comforted him. Then the king of the fairies sent for Kashank, Nafísa, and Queen Bánú, the two former of whom he reproved and imprisoned, and to the latter he said: “Though it is not customary for fairies to marry human beings, yet as this young man has conferred great benefits on us, I have resolved to espouse him to you after the orthodox Muslim manner.” Queen Bánú replied: “Noble uncle! I consider you as my father and shall obey you as long as I live.” The matrimonial cere­mony was celebrated in due form and the happy couple were full of joy. Some time afterwards Far-rukhrúz informed the king of his promise to the sultan of Yaman, and said that if he were allowed a year's leave of absence he would then return and never more separate from them. The king and the queen Bánú consented, and caused the required four treasure-trees to be carried to Yaman by seventy faithful afríts, whom Farrukhrúz accompanied.