LET us now return to Bakáwalí, whom we left asleep on her beautiful couch. When she awoke she fastened her bodice, put her dress in order, drew the comb through her hair, and went to the lake where grew her cherished Rose. On reaching the bank she discovered that the precious flower was gone, and at the same moment perceived that she wore a different ring from her own. “O Heaven!” cried she, “is it a dream or the effect of magic? But no; only a man could have done this deed, for none but a human being could elude the vigilance of the dívs. None is equal to thee in daring, and an ordinary man I am sure thou art not. Gold and silver are stolen by thieves; but thou art not a common robber. If I could but see thee I would lay thy hands on my eyes and kiss them over and over. Thou hast made a mine in my bosom and stolen away my heart. To thy satisfaction thou hast not seen me; but I doubt not thou hast feasted thy eyes with a sight of these lips, and who knows, but thou mayest have tasted the honey therefrom? Thou hast stolen the gold, and the casket only is here.” Bakáwalí then returned into her palace and sum­moned her attendants in order to have them punished for their carelessness, forgetting the maxim that “when the arrow of Fate is shot none can arrest it with the shield of prudence,” and said to them: “If you wish to live, bring the thief to me immediately.” They did as desired, but no trace whatever of the thief could be found. Bakáwalí resolved to go herself in quest of him. Rendering herself invisible to all eyes, she reached the capital of Zayn ul-Mulúk, where she beheld everywhere preparations being made for a festival, and heard on all sides the sound of musical instruments. Curious to know the cause of these rejoicings, she assumed the form of a young man, and inquired of the first person she met: “What is the reason of the mirth which prevails among the inhabitants of this city?” “The king,” replied the citizen, “was blind; but his sons, after searching a long time and coming through unheard-of trials, have at last succeeded in obtaining the Rose of Bakáwalí, which has restored his sight. On this account the padisháh has ordered that every one should give himself up to pleasure for a year, and that the sound of the naubat* should everywhere be heard.”

Bakáwalí, delighted to hear tidings, at least, of her Rose, was in hopes of soon discovering the person who had stolen it from her. Returning to the bank of the river, she bathed in order to refresh herself after the fatigue of her journey, and having dressed, she pro­ceeded to the royal palace. She was introduced to Zayn ul-Mulúk, who inquired of her who she was, and whence and why she had come. Bakáwalí answered thus, very composedly: “Your slave comes from the country of the west which is called Farrukh.* I have left my home in the hope of entering the service of your majesty, and I venture to express the wish that I may be admitted among the number of officers attached to your royal person.” “I accept your services,” said the king; “remain with me.” For some time Bakáwalí performed her new duties, till one day the four sons of the king presented them­selves at court. Zayn ul-Mulúk, according to his custom, received them most affectionately, pressed them to his bosom, kissed their heads and eyes, and made them sit beside himself. Bakáwalí asked an attendant who these personages were, and was in­formed that they were the king's own sons. Then with the touch-stone of discernment she tested the gold of their countenances, and felt convinced that it was not pure. “Has the king no other son,” she inquired, “who went with these in search of the Rose of Bakáwalí?” “He has not,” was the answer.* The fairy princess loved him who had taken pos­session of her ring, and her heart told her that he was of a quite different stamp from these four sons of Zayn ul-Mulúk. In despair, that after so many diffi­culties she had discovered traces of her Rose, but still could not find out the one who had plucked it, she cursed the fate which had sported with her prudent devices, and remained convinced that these princes had not plucked the Rose and that the king had another son. So she resolved to be patient and see what should come from behind the veil of mystery.

When the four wicked brothers of Táj ul-Mulúk had deprived him of the Rose of Bakáwalí he was at first confounded, but soon afterwards followed them, and when he arrived at the frontiers of his father's country, and found himself in a dense jungle full of wild beasts, he recollected the hair which Hammála had given him, and placed it on a fire which he lighted by means of a flint. There was not a quarter of it burnt when the fairy presented herself before him, accom­panied by a thousand dívs, and asked him in what way she could be of service to him. The prince, after apologising for the liberty he had taken in summon­ing her, replied that he wished to have, then and in that spot, a palace equal to that of Bakáwalí, upon which the fairy despatched some of her followers to the four corners of the earth, to fetch the rubies of Badakshán, the carnelians of Yaman, and abundance of gold and silver and all kinds of precious stones. Within three days the dívs returned laden with treas­ures and at once began to erect a palace as instructed by the sháh-záda. It was soon finished, and one would have said that it was actually the palace of Bakáwalí. One fourth of the precious stones brought by the dívs could not be used and were deposited in the treasury of the palace. When all was ready, Hammála reminded the prince that what she had just done for him was on account of her love for Mahmúda, and counselled him never to soil with the dust of sorrow the robe of that damsel, and then departed.

Táj ul-Mulúk proceeded in great state to seek Dilbar and Mahmúda at the place where they were to wait for him. He provided them with palankíns, which were decorated with priceless gems and beauti­ful brocaded curtains, and preceded by slaves on horseback, carrying sticks of gold and silver in their hands. In this manner did he bring them to his palace, where they passed the time very agreeably.

One day, as a slave of the prince, named Sa'íd, was strolling through the forest he came upon some wood­cutters, and asked them whither they were carrying the faggots they had prepared. “We are,” said they, “men of the east country, and it is by the sale of our wood that we support our families.” The slave desired them to convey their burdens to the house of his master, promising they should be richly recom­pensed. The men answered that they had never seen any sign of a habitation in that forest. “Follow me,” said the slave, “and you will soon be convinced I speak the truth, and that my master's house is not far distant.” The woodcutters complied in the hope of gain, and soon arrived near the palace of Táj ul-Mulúk. As the precious stones of which its walls were built reflected the rays of the sun, they thought it was a great fire. “May God preserve us,” they cried, “from the devil, who has been stoned!* We will not go a step farther.” “Calm yourselves,” replied Sa'íd; “what you see is not fire, but the brilliancy of the stones which cover the walls. Con­tinue to follow me, and fear nothing.” When they reached the palace, Sa'íd brought them before Táj ul-Mulúk, who received them with great kindness, and gave to each a handful of pearls and precious stones, saying to them that if they would come and stay with him he would give them every day twice as much as they had just received. So they left their own country and settled there. The news spread far and wide, and many others followed the example of the wood­men, and those who went remained in this new city. Every day the Kutwál* was complaining to the minister of Zayn ul-Mulúk of the migration of his subjects, and how even in one night a thousand had quitted the capital. The minister inquired whither they had gone. “I have heard,” said the kutwál, “that in a forest a city has been built on foundations of gold, and that a palace has been erected which is unequalled in earth. The generosity of the king of that city bids fair to erase the name of Hatim* from the minds of the people; and such is the fame of his justice that the glory of Núshírván is eclipsed.* The minister asked: “How can a man do what is beyond the power of mortals to perform?” “But I have been credibly informed of it many times,” said the kutwál. “And that powerful God who transformed a man into a woman and metamorphosed a woman into a man can also bestow wealth (which is like a beautiful woman) on a human being. Have you not heard of the princess who borrowed virility from a dív and married a wife?” “No,” answered the vazír. “At­tend then,” said the kutwál:

Story of the Princess and the Dív who exchanged sexes.

IN ancient times there lived a king, who had a hundred beautiful girls in his haram yet had no issue by any one of them. At length one of them gave birth to a daughter, and afterwards she bore three other children, but every time a female. When she was pregnant for the fourth time the king swore that if a daughter was born again he would have both the child and the mother destroyed. It happened that a daughter was again born; but lovely and fairy­like was the infant. The mother, anxious to preserve the life of her darling, gave out that it was a son, and prevailed upon the astrologers to counsel the king not to see the child's face for ten years, for should he do so harm would come to him, and the father agreed to do as they desired.

When the girl grew up in years and understanding, and the prescribed period was near expiring, the mother explained matters to her, and requested her to assume the garb of a young man and thus appear before the king, so that in this way both their lives might be preserved. The daughter followed her mother's instructions, and in due course she was betrothed to the daughter of another monarch. When the wedding-day approached, the king caused her to be clothed in rich garments, and, placing her in a golden litter, despatched her to the country of the bride. The girl sometimes wept and sometimes laughed at the situation in which she was placed. At last when she reached a dense forest, where she had occasion to stay for the night, she could bear her shame no longer, and finding life nothing less than a burden, she left her litter secretly and wandered far into the wood, trusting that some beast of prey would destroy her.

After roaming about for some time, she found herself under the branches of a tall, umbrageous tree, in which dwelt a dív, who immediately fell in love with her beauty. In the shape of a young man he appeared to her, and inquired the cause of her distress. The girl told her story frankly, upon which the heart of the dív melted, and he offered to change her into a man and himself into a woman for a short time. She consented to this, and the transformation took place at once, after which she took her leave, with a light and happy heart, and rejoined her attendants unperceived by any of them. In a few days more they reached the country of the bride. The marriage was consummated and the old king returned to his own country. The prince who was originally a prin­cess remained with his spouse until a child was born to him, and then he set out on a visit to his father. In passing through the forest he sought out the tree and found the dív sitting there in the form of a woman. “O dív,” cried the prince, “through thy favour I have obtained the wish of my heart. Take back your virility and restore my womanhood to me.” But this the dív could not do, as in the form of a woman he had fallen in love with another dív and expected soon to become a mother. “Therefore,” added the dív, “do thou retain thy manhood: I am content to remain a woman.”*

The kutwál having finished his story, the vazír re­marked: “God is great and powerful. I do not doubt this; but how a man can act so miraculously as you say the ruler of that new city has done, I cannot understand. Do you, however, go and inspect that wonderful palace and bring me an account of all that you see.” So the kutwál at once proceeded to Mulk-i Nighárín,* accompanied by a large body of cavaliers. Táj ul-Mulúk, on hearing of his approach, ordered all the ponds to be filled and the fountains to be set playing, and that he should be received in the ruby-room. When the prince graced the throne with his presence the kutwál rose, made his obeisance to him, and spoke as follows: “The news of your residence in this jungle, where you have a palace and a city, has reached the ears of the king, my master, who has sent me to verify the fact. Now permit me to ex­plain to you that if you wish to remain independent, you must quit this place without delay. If not, you must put your neck in the collar of submission and present yourself at the court of the king, for one scabbard cannot hold two swords nor one country be governed by two sovereigns.” “It is true,” replied Táj ul-Mulúk, “that I have constructed buildings in a place inhabited by wild beasts, but I am only occupied here in the service of the Most High, and I do not covet sovereignty, but wish to be re­garded as friendly towards your king.” The kutwál, satisfied with this declaration, returned to the vazír and related to him all that he had seen and heard, whereupon the vazír communicated it to Zayn ul-Mulúk. The fairy Bakáwalí, who was still in the king's service, heard the news with joy: she now beheld the Aurora of hope emerge from the night of despair.

Meanwhile Zayn ul-Mulúk bent his head for some time in the collar of reflection, then expressed his fear that this new city might one day be the ruin of his kingdom. But the vazír represented to him that it was a maxim of the sages, that discretion should be practised towards an enemy who could not be con­quered, and therefore he recommended that the king should enter into an allegiance with the stranger. “I consent,” replied the monarch; “and, as no one can arrange this affair so well as yourself, do you go, and kill the serpent without breaking the stick.”* The sagacious vazír accordingly went in great state to visit Táj ul-Mulúk, and was accorded a reception suited to his exalted rank. “You have already received a visit of a servant of my master, the king,” said the vazír. “He has spoken so highly of your qualities that the anger which had become kindled in the heart of the padisháh, on hearing of your settlement here, has been extinguished, and he purposes himself paying you a visit. What can be better than a union of two rivers of goodness and generosity?” Táj ul-Mulúk replied: “I accept with great pleasure the message which you bring me on the part of your royal master. I ought to have made the first advance, for the king's wish which you have conveyed to me is also my own.” It was then arranged that the king should come in a week, and, after the vazír had dined with Táj ul-Mulúk in the most sumptuous manner, he returned and gave his master a faithful account of his interview and the wonders of the new city.

That very night the sháh-záda placed Hammála's hair on the fire, and immediately she appeared with a thousand dívs. Mahmúda rose to greet her mother, who kissed and embraced both her children, and inquired if they were in health. Táj ul-Mulúk an­swered: “In your safety is our happiness and all our wants are supplied. But in eight days the king of the East will visit me, and I wish you to cause carpets of wool and red and green velvet to be spread on the ground from my palace to his, and erect at the dis­tance of every two miles tents made of fine ermine, with strings of gold texture, screens of satin and brocade, and hooks of gold and silver. These tents must be so numerous that every attendant of the king may be accommodated separately.” Hammála gave the necessary orders to her followers and returned to her own country.

On the day appointed, the king set out to visit Táj ul-Mulúk, mounted on an elephant, in an amári* of gold, accompanied by his ministers and a great number of cavaliers. The four sons of the king, mounted on their own elephants, were also of the party, while Bakáwalí attended as an officer of the royal household. Táj ul-Mulúk went one day's march to meet his father.* He paid his respects to him and led him with joy to his palace, and made him sit down in the room of emeralds. The king was so astonished that he fell into a kind of stupor. Bakáwalí, on her part, almost lost her reason, when she beheld the prince. His handsome features pointed him out to her as the stealer of her Rose, and she was confirmed in this when she recognised that the palace was an exact copy of her own, for she felt sure that he who had designed it had seen the original. She wished at once to make herself known, but her natural timidity restrained her, and she resolved to wait patiently for a favourable opportunity to accomplish her purpose. Meanwhile a splendid feast was spread out, and music and song diffused pleasure over all. When every amusement was over, the king and Táj ul-Mulúk began to converse, and the prince inquired how many sons he had. The king pointed to the four princes and said that these were his only children. “I had one more,” he added, “by gazing on whose counten­ance I lost my eyesight. Thanks be to God that I have regained it now; but there is no knowing where that child has gone.” Táj ul-Mulúk asked how it was that the prince had turned away his face from duty and left his father's house, and farther inquired whether any one in the company would be able to recognise him. On this Zayn ul-Mulúk gave a detailed account of the birth of the lost prince as well as a history of his own blindness. He then pointed out one of his vazírs, who, he said, might be able to identify him. The prince turned towards him and inquired whether among all present he saw any one who bore a resem­blance to Táj ul-Mulúk. The old and experienced man, after gazing steadfastly in the countenance of the speaker, replied that none but the prince himself pre­sented any likeness to that person.

Hardly were these words uttered than Táj ul-Mulúk threw himself at the feet of his father, exclaiming: “I am that unfortunate son, who has wandered so long from your court in consequence of an adverse destiny and my sorrowful horoscope. Blessed be God who has at last permitted me to behold your venerable face and embrace your knees!” The king, deeply moved, pressed his young son to his bosom; then he returned thanks to God, saying to Táj ul-Mulúk that the astrologers who were consulted at his birth had predicted his present illustrious condition. “But tell me, dear son,” he continued, “have you remained free till now, like the cypress, without uniting yourself to some beautiful lady?” The prince replied: “I have two wives, whom I shall have the honour to present to your majesty,” and at once he went into the women's apartments and led out Dilbar and Mahmúda, who, however, stopped at the threshold of the hall and would not advance farther. The king impatiently exclaimed: “Why do they not come near me, that my eyes may be illumined and my heart delighted by beholding them?” The prince answered: “My sovereign, it is shame that restrains them. The four princes, your sons, were once in bondage to one of them, and bear the tokens on their backs. If you have any doubt of this, you can satisfy yourself.” At these words the pallor of confusion overspread the faces of the four princes, who immediately retired, fearing to be disgraced in public.* Then the wives of Táj ul-Mulúk were introduced to the king, and the prince related their history; how he bore away the flower from the garden of Bakáwalí and saw her asleep in all her beauty; how his brothers had de­prived him of the flower; and how he had built his palace in the forest. Zayn ul-Mulúk immediately thought of the mother of his son. “You,” said he, addressing the prince, “have restored my eyesight and opened the gates of joy to me. It is now incumbent on me to communicate the happy tidings to your mother, and relieve her from the pains of absence, by restoring her long-lost son to her.” He then arose to depart; and the same night he paid a visit to Táj ul-Mulúk's mother, begged a thousand pardons for all that he had done to her, and informed her of the return of her son.