TAJ UL-MULUK, after suffering every inconvenience, determined at last to leave the earth altogether, and, by the aid of the green fruit which he had with him, to travel about in the air. One day he passed over a mountain so high that by its side Káf would seem a mere hillock, and of granite so hard that mount Bistán* would be reduced to powder by collision with one of its rocks. On the summit was a beautiful palace, constructed of precious stones, into which he entered from curiosity. He looked around but found no living creature, and was walking through the rooms when his ears caught a wailing sound, and going to­wards the place whence it issued he discovered a beautiful damsel extended on a couch and weeping very bitterly. The prince, taking off his hat and thus making himself visible, begged her to explain how and why she was there. “I am a fairy,” said she, “and am called Rúh-afzá.* My father, Muzaffar Sháh,* rules over the island of Firdaus.* One day I had gone to the Garden of Iram* to visit my cousin Baká-walí, who was unwell, and on my return a dív with black countenance carried me away and brought me here. Then he wished me to yield to his passion, but I refused, and hence he persecutes me, and tries by all means to increase my sufferings.” The prince asked what was her cousin's malady, and Rúh-afzá replied: “She loves a human being, whom she con­trived to bring into her presence, but she has been separated from him, and my uncle keeps her in close confinement.” At these words Táj ul-Mulúk could not suppress his sighs, and with pale cheeks and tears in his eyes confessed that he was the human creature whom Bakáwalí loved. “Alas!” added he, “while she is suffering in prison, I am pining away and wandering in search of her.” Then he told Rúh-afzá all his own history, and the recital so touched the beautiful fairy that she declared herself willing to do all in her power to help the lovers if she were freed from the dív. “Be not afraid,” said the prince; “no one can prevent your going. Come with me, and if the dív should appear, I shall settle matters with him. My only difficulty is that I am without weapons.” The fairy directed him to the armoury of the dív, from which he took a sword of the purest water. Then touching with his magic stick the chains which bound her feet they broke in pieces, and they took their way to the island of Firdaus. But they had only proceeded a short distance when a horrible noise was heard behind them. “Take care,” cried Rúh-afzá to the prince—“here is my terrible enemy!” Táj ul-Mulúk, with great presence of mind, drew his magic cap from under his arm and put it on the head of his lovely companion, and then turned to confront the dív. “Accursed one!” cried the prince, “advance not a step farther, if you would not be made a corpse by a single blow.” The dív grinned, showing his great teeth, and sneeringly asked: “Who has ever heard of a sparrow wishing to fight with the símurgh,* or an ant with an elephant? I should blush to stain my hand with the blood of a fly, and strike at a hand­ful of earth—I, who can turn aside mount Káf with a back stroke of my hand. Give me up my mistress and depart.” “Thou vile and lewd wretch,” ex­claimed Táj ul Mulúk, “dost thou dare to call Rúh-afzá thy mistress? Had I not been restrained by the grace of God, ere this time I should have torn thy foul tongue out of thy mouth.” The dív burnt with anger at these words, and lifting up a stone weighing a hundred máns* threw it at the prince, upon which the latter, to avoid it, by virtue of the green fruit which he carried with him, rose up into the air, and with his magic staff dealt such a blow on the neck of the dív that he trembled all over. Then the dív uttered loud cries, and presently a great number of other dívs, ox-headed and elephant-bodied, came to his assistance and joined in battle against the sháh-záda, who after a most formidable engagement proved victorious, and those of his foes who survived fled in dismay. But no sooner was the field cleared of the enemy than Táj ul-Mulúk fainted in consequence of his exertions. The beautiful Rúh-afzá, seeing this, ran up to him, laid her hand like a rose-leaf on his bosom, and with her fragrant breath recalled him to consciousness, and, giving him back his magic cap, warmly praised his valorous achievement. Then they continued their journey, and arriving at the capital of Firdaus, Rúh-afzá, leaving the prince in a garden belonging to herself, and bearing her own name, proceeded to her father's palace, where she was re­ceived by Muzaffar Sháh and her mother with every token of affection. Rúh-afzá told them of her adven­tures, but concealed the fact of her deliverer being the lover of Bakáwalí. Her father at once proceeded to the garden and thanked Táj ul-Mulúk for rescuing his daughter, and overwhelmed him with tokens of respect and honour.

Muzaffar Sháh then wrote a letter to Fírúz Sháh, acquainting him of the return of Rúh-afzá. The monarch read it with joy, and induced Jamíla Khatún to go and see her niece. Bakáwalí wished to accom­pany her, which gave great pleasure to her mother, because she thought that the journey would remove the mildew of sorrow from the mirror of her heart. Jamíla unloosed the chains which bound Bakáwalí, and both departed together for the island of Firdaus. When Muzaffar Sháh was informed of their arrival he sent his daughter to meet them. Rúh-afzá greeted her aunt most heartily, kissed her forehead, fell at her feet, and then exchanged congratulations suitable to the occasion; after which she whispered to Baká-walí: “Be you glad also, for I have brought a physician who will cure your disease, by prescribing the sherbet of love to you.” The heart of Bakáwalí was full of joy, but she did not venture to reply before her mother. Muzaffar Sháh and Husn-árá* showed the greatest kindness to their sister and her daughter. The door of speech was opened and different things were talked about, especially the manner in which Rúh-afzá had been rescued. The following morning Jamíla Khatún wished to take farewell of her niece, but the latter entreated her to allow Bakáwalí to remain a few days longer with her. Jamíla consented to leave her for a week with her cousin, and returned to the garden of Iram. Then Rúh-afzá led Bakáwalí to that part of the palace where Táj ul-Mulúk was dwelling. As soon as they drew near the chamber a doleful sound was heard from within. Bakáwalí asked: “Who is this groaning?” Her cousin answered: “It is a new victim. Come, if you wish, and I will show him to you.” At last she prevailed upon Bakáwalí to enter the chamber, and brought her into the presence of the prince. The moment the eyes of the lovers fell on each other patience was lost, sense remained dormant, the reins of discretion dropped from their hands, love triumphed over all, and they ran forward and embraced with all the warmth which genuine passion can alone inspire. They wept for joy, and blotted out with their tears the remembrance of the sorrows which had caused their long separation. The lovers remained together, and gave themselves up to mutual tokens of affec­tion until at last the day arrived when Bakáwalí was obliged to return to her parents. Rúh-afzá promised to use her utmost efforts to get them united, and persuaded them to await with patience the course of events. Bakáwalí yielded to this advice and returned home.

Meanwhile Rúh-afzá related in detail to her mother the history of the love of her cousin and Táj ul-Mulúk. After the recital Husn-árá held her head for a long time bowed down in the collar of reflection, and then said to her daughter: “Although the union of a man with a fairy be an unusual thing, yet, as this mortal has delivered you from a cruel bondage, I ought, out of gratitude, to save him from some sorrow and enable him to succeed in his object.” Having taken this resolution, she called for a skilful painter and caused him to draw the portrait of Táj ul-Mulúk, and then proceeded to the garden of Iram, where she stayed a few days with Fírúz Sháh and Jamíla Khatún. One day in conversation with the latter she addressed her as follows: “My dear sister, a pearl of beautiful water is only useful when shown in a necklace. Why do you allow Bakáwalí to pine away in virginity?” “Perhaps you have already heard,” replied Jamíla, “that my daughter has placed her affections on a human being. She does not wish to be united to one of her own race. What can I do in this matter? Must I give up the customs of our ancestors? Should I allow my daughter to make a marriage which has never before taken place amongst us?” “True,” rejoined Husn-árá, “it is unwise to place a precious gem in the hands of one who cannot appreciate it; but if you knew all the merits of the human race you would never entertain such thoughts as these. Hear me: man is the most perfect of the creatures of God.* He is the image of the Deity, is glorified by all, and is considered as the lord of the creation. His sway extends over the elements, and, clothed in the gar­ments of virtue, he is more than a sovereign on earth. The light of God beams in him. Every attribute of the Deity has its corresponding representation on earth; but in man alone can we find all the several virtues bound, as it were, in a single volume. Each leaf that trembles to the gale is a leaf of the works of the Creator.* O Jamíla Khatún, man is a superior creature, and we are but his servants. What an honour it is therefore to be allied to a superior.” By such words Husn-árá endeavoured to extinguish in the heart of her sister the hatred which she had for the human race. “That is all very well,” said Jamíla, “but to a man my daughter shall never be given.” Thereupon Husn-árá placed Táj ul-Mulúk's portrait in her hands, saying: “Tell me, if ever the pen of destiny has drawn such a handsome face in the world. Make haste, then, to unite this lovely jasmine to that rose of beauty.” At length Jamíla consented to bestow her daughter on the prince, and Husn-árá returned to Firdaus, and reported the result of her expedition.

Jamíla related to her husband, Fírúz Sháh, the con versation she had with her sister, and showed him the likeness of Táj ul-Mulúk, which he sent to Bakáwalí, with the message that he was willing she should marry the young prince of the East, since such was her desire. Bakáwalí at once recognised her dearly beloved, and felt that this change in the sentiments of her parents was due to Rúh-afzá. So she hastened to her father, and said: “Sire, children ought to obey their parents, therefore I accept the husband whom you offer me. Were he a dív or an Abyssinian, I would consider him as one of the youths of paradise, or as the Moon of Canaan.”* Fírúz Sháh at once gave orders to make preparations for the marriage. All the houses were decorated with gold, and songs and dances resounded throughout the city. Letters of invitation were de­spatched everywhere; troops of fairies came to swell the festive gathering. The wine went gaily round,* and plates with cakes and sweets. Fírúz Sháh treated all with princely hospitality. As the festivities began well, so they ended. In the island of Firdaus the same arrangements were made by Muzaffar Sháh and the same ceremonies performed.

On the day before the marriage orders were given to the amírs and vazírs that they should array them­selves in the most brilliant garments. The army was directed to be drawn out. Husn-árá also adorned herself with the most precious jewels, and her maids and attendants were as splendidly decorated. At last, when the auspicious moment arrived,* they brought the prince, arrayed in royal robes, and placed him on a throne of state. A gorgeous turban adorned his head, whence descended long folds of flowing cloth, richly embroidered with pearls and flowers. His neck was surrounded with wreaths of valuable pearls, and his wrists encircled with the precious nauratan.* He was then placed on a beautiful horse, caparisoned in the richest fashion. Muzaffar Sháh, with several other sovereigns, rode in the train. The palankíns of the ladies followed. When the procession arrived at the palace of Fírúz Sháh he sent some of his officers to conduct them to the reception room where the com­pany had assembled. Jamíla and Husn-árá then came forward, the former as mother of the bride, the latter as fulfilling the same duty for the bridegroom. The prince and princess were duly united in marriage, and congratulations resounded throughout the hall. Wines and sherbets were passed round abundantly. The singers only ceased their love-songs when sleep over­took them, and then they reposed in each other's arms as on cushions.

In the morning, as the prince went to the bath, Rúh-afzá came into the nuptial chamber and found Bakáwalí still asleep, and perceived on her cheeks the marks of the teeth of Táj ul-Mulúk,* and on her bosom the trace of his hands tinged with mehndí.* Muzaffar Sháh and Husn-árá soon took their leave of their relations and set out for their own country. Some time after, Táj ul-Mulúk, with the consent of Bakáwalí, asked permission to quit the palace of Fírúz Sháh. In giving his sanction, the king of the fairies presented the prince with a great number of slaves of both sexes, and, besides the dowry of Bakáwalí, ready money for the journey; and many articles of use and ornament were also bestowed on him, a mere catalogue of the names of which would fill a volume. Táj ul-Mulúk, attended with every pomp and magnificence, took Bakáwalí to his own palace. Dilbar and Mah-múda on beholding him were restored to joy, and the dry field of their hope was again refreshed with the shower of gladness. The beauty and grace of Baká-walí, however, filled them with confusion, but the fairy tenderly embraced them both and assured them that she would never disturb their domestic happiness. They spent their time in peace and mutual love and never had the least jealousy or rivalry between them­selves. The prince passed his days with these rosy-lipped beauties, immersed in a sea of bliss.