NOW the courtiers of the sultan of Yaman had been all the time exulting in the belief that Farrukhrúz would not return; but the king was confident that he would soon make his appearance. One month before the leave had expired news was brought that Farrukhrúz was come back with the treasure-trees on four elephants and himself riding on a fifth. The king at once marched out with his army to meet him, and when they were in sight of each other they alighted and embraced with the greatest mani­festations of joy.* They rode side by side into the city amidst the acclamations of the people, and in the palace a throne was placed for Farrukhrúz, on which he seated himself. When the four golden date-trees were set around the sultan's throne and everything was arranged with the utmost splendour, the envious vazírs and secretaries were full of chagrin and said to each other: “This man's luck is most extraordinary, for he succeeds in whatever he under­takes, and he has so eclipsed us that the king cares little for any person besides him.”

The golden date-trees being placed one at each corner of the throne which Farrukhrúz had first procured, with the wonderful cock in front of it, and all the grandees being assembled, the king said: “What else besides these rare objects and so dear a friend can contribute to augment the happiness and glory of a monarch?” Quoth the envious courtiers: “May your majesty live for ever! Indeed there is nothing in this world so splendid as this spectacle we at present behold; and to make your felicity complete it would only be necessary to convey this news to the eternal world—to inform the forefathers of your majesty who now occupy the chief places in Paradise; and, as they enjoy the closest intimacy with the angels of mercy and their prayers meet with acceptance, it would be well to request a prolongation of your life, which would doubtless be granted.” The king replied, full of astonishment: “You ask indeed something very foolish and unattainable.” But they said: “May it please your majesty, all things in this world depend upon good luck, and as long as it serves a man he will easily succeed in anything he may undertake; and, praise be to the Most High, such is your majesty's case.”

As opinions expressed by different persons find generally an approbative response, though they may be absurd, and the flames into which they fan the imagination cannot be extinguished by every intellect, so these suggestions made an impression on the mind of the king, who thought there could be no harm in discussing the matter, so he inquired: “Who can undertake such a business?” To this the envious vazírs replied with one voice: “Farrukhrúz is the happy man who is successful in everything!” But the king said: “I have scarcely recovered from the grief I suffered on account of his absence and only begun to enjoy the happiness of his presence; how, then, could I again separate from him? You must propose some one else.” Farrukhrúz, seeing the turn things had taken, arose and thus addressed the king: “As long as your majesty's slave is alive, he is always ready to obey your behests. If I obtain leave for one year I shall accomplish the business.” As no other person offered his services, the king reluctantly consented to part with his favourite. Farrukhrúz suggested that all the letters should be prepared, and that every one who had a relative or friend in the other world might send him a message. Accordingly the king dictated to one of his secretaries the following epistle:

“In consequence of the intimation of the Sovereign of the decrees of Fate, of whose power the existence of all creatures is but one sign, our glorious relatives and ancestors have left this terrestrial abode for the eternal Paradise, and having thus been delivered of all the vicissitudes of Fortune, they have left me to inherit their just and righteous government, so that I have, by the boundless favour of the Giver of all gifts, become very happy and have no wishes un­fulfilled. I have therefore sent this letter by my devoted servant Farrukhrúz to set the minds of my beloved ancestors at rest on this subject. And as I am aware that they are immersed in the shoreless ocean of the divine mercy, and I fear lest the thread of my life may be suddenly snapped, I cannot enjoy my happiness as I ought; and since those denizens of the holy regions of the Kingdom of Pardon are closely connected with and befriended by the angels of mercy and the cherubim of the courts of Unity, I trust they will be able to obtain the prolongation of the terrestrial existence of my life. I do not venture to draw out this request to greater length; and, making my obeisance, I crave that the bearer of this, Farrukhrúz, who is indispensable to my comfort, be not detained beyond the space of a few days.”

The vazírs and secretaries followed the example of their sovereign and also wrote affectionate letters to their beatified relatives; and when all the letters were written the king sealed them and gave them to Far-rukhrúz. When the sultan asked Farrukhrúz how he meant to depart for the next world, he requested a large quantity of dry wood to be piled up. After more than a thousand ass-loads of fuel had been accumulated, Farrukhrúz kissed the sultan's hand, bade him farewell, and desired the fire to be kindled at the four corners of the pile; and when he was enveloped in smoke he put the magic ring on his finger and was in a twinkling transported by afríts to the presence of the king of the fairies and the queen Bánú, to whom he related his adventures, and they highly approved of his stratagem.

In that delightful region Farrukhrúz spent a whole year joyfully with his beloved spouse Bánú, and when his leave of absence was almost expired he told her that this was the last service he should perform for the sultan of Yaman, after which he should be entirely devoted to her. The king of the fairies said they wished only to please him, and he might act as he thought fit. So Farrukhrúz wrote various replies on the part of the spirits in Paradise for the sultan of Yaman and his vazírs and secretaries, after which the afríts conveyed him to Yaman.

The sultan and all the people were sorely grieved at the departure of Farrukhrúz on his last enterprise, but not so the vazírs, who rejoiced and said one to another: “It is wonderful that a young man who was so very intelligent should have thus voluntarily destroyed him­self! He cannot possibly return.” And even the king almost despaired of again seeing his favourite; never­theless on the day appointed for his return he held a grand levee, at which all the grandees were ordered to be present. The vazírs of course obeyed the summons, whispering to each other: “Our sultan is indeed a fool! A whole year has elapsed since he saw a man burnt to ashes and now he expects him to return.” Their exultation was, however, soon ended on hearing the approach of Farrukhrúz announced among tumul­tuous acclamations of joy; and when he actually appeared the king was almost frantic with ecstasy, kissed him fervently, and exclaimed: “Now am I the happiest of men!” Then his majesty made inquiries regarding his blessed ancestors, and Farrukhrúz took out the letters, saying: “Most exalted sovereign, no man is able to describe the multifarious pleasures of Paradise—the sweetness of the climate, the beauty of the flowers, the graces of the húrís, the splendid palaces of that beatified abode; and your majesty will not have any idea of them until you participate yourself in those delights. Indeed I was very reluctant to leave that blessed region. Your majesty's exalted father is in paradise, and your mother is his partner;* your other relatives enjoy appropriate dignities and are waited upon by many húrís and slaves.” Farrukhrúz having concluded, the sultan thanked him, and began to read the letter from Paradise, which contained many compliments, and stated that his ancestors had pre­pared for his acceptance many costly presents which they would entrust to such of his vazírs, secretaries, and other officials whose names were written in a list given to Farrukhrúz, and for this purpose they were to come at once to Paradise—their own relatives moreover being extremely desirous of seeing them; therefore they were in no way to elude this command, on pain of incurring the displeasure of the Most High, but, as they were necessary to carry on the government of Yaman, they should be sent back to the earth at the end of forty days.*

This message having been communicated to the vazírs and other officials, the king commanded them to be ready next morning to set out for Paradise, and they at once perceived that their lives were in danger. The sultan, reading their thoughts in their terrified countenances, exclaimed: “O ye besotted fools! All intelligent and pious men labour during their whole lives to attain Paradise, and you ought to be delighted with the message you have just received. Get quickly ready to depart!” Accordingly they were obliged to feign acquiescence and prepare for death. Then said Farrukhrúz to the sultan: “Though there are many roads, none is shorter than that by which your majesty's humble servant departed.” So the sultan caused a great quantity of wood to be piled up and about fifty of those wicked and envious men to be placed upon it. When the fire was kindled and began to distress them, they pleaded for mercy, and said: “We acknow­ledge our fault and repent of it. Hereafter we shall never envy or slander any one.” But their entreaties were not heeded and they became a prey to the flames.

After this the sultan counted the days, and when the fortieth arrived he said to Farrukhrúz: “To-day our friends should return, and I am expecting them.” But when it was evening and there was no sign of them, the sultan said to his favourite: “Wise men have said that the road to the next world is full of dangers, and I begin to fear that some accident has befallen our friends.” Hereupon Farrukhrúz exclaimed: “May it please your majesty, that is a road which not every­body can travel upon,” and proceeded to relate the truth of the whole affair, adding: “The greatest service I have rendered your majesty was to purge the kingdom of those villains, because they would, by their con­spiracies and treacherous machinations, at last have succeeded in ruining the country.” When the sultan became fully aware of the wickedness of the vazírs he thanked Farrukhrúz and said: “So long as I have you what more vazírs do I need? And as I possess no offspring I make you my successor.” Farrukhrúz kissed the ground of obedience and replied: “May power and dominion ever belong to your majesty! I have sojourned here to serve you and to remove those wretches. But as I am connected with the fairies, I have no longer the option to remain here. I shall however bring my parents and relatives, and beg your majesty to receive them under the shadow of your protection.” The sultan agreed to this proposal and by order of Farrukhrúz the afríts brought his whole family to Yaman, and they were most happy to meet him. The sultan made Khoja Marján, the father of Farrukhrúz, his vazír, and appointed his other relatives to various stations.

When the leave of Farrukhrúz had expired he bade adieu to the sultan and his relatives, and departing to the land of the fairies he joined his spouse Queen Bánú, and whilst he lived never omitted to visit his friends at Yaman once every six months. At last, however, all responded to the unavoidable behest of the sovereign of destiny, and, being divested of the borrowed garments of this perishable life, departed to the regions of eternity.