THEY say that the ground on which the temple of Bakáwalí once stood was tilled by a farmer, who sowed it with mustard-seed. Táj ul-Mulúk often repaired thither to gaze upon the fields, which were spread with carpets of the richest verdure. When the plants emerged from the soil and blossomed the prince visited the fields each morning and evening, and thus addressed them:

“Flowers of the field! how fare ye here?
Love's fragrance in your bloom I find;
From earth emerging ye appear—
Say, where's the charmer of my mind?”

In due time the mustard-plants ripened, and the farmer reaped his crop and put it in the oil press. Peasants are generally accustomed to try the first fruits of their fields themselves. Hence it happened that the farmer's wife, partaking of a dish prepared with the oil thus produced, became pregnant, although she had hitherto been sterile. In due course she gave birth to a fairy-faced daughter, whose presence illumined the heretofore dark abode of the farmer. It was soon noised abroad that a hitherto sterile woman had brought forth a fair daughter through the virtue of some mustard oil. As for the infant, the neighbours all declared that, while even now the splendour of her countenance eclipsed that of the moon, when she should have reached her fourteenth year it would excel the glory of the sun itself.

When Táj ul-Mulúk heard of this wonderful occur­rence, he summoned the farmer and his babe to his presence; and the moment he cast his eyes upon the latter, he recognised the features of his beloved, and was convinced that Bakáwalí had been thus re-born in the farmer's humble abode.* He gave the farmer a large sum of money and desired him to bring up the infant with every possible care. When she was seven years of age, many were the applications made for her hand in marriage; but the farmer, remembering that the prince had shown a deep interest in her welfare, knew not how to decide. To all he replied that when the girl came to be of marriageable age, she should have free permission to choose her husband. When she was on the verge of her tenth year,* Táj ul-Mulúk sent a messenger to her father, demanding the hand of his daughter in marriage. The farmer trembled when he heard this, saying: “How can a poor farmer dare to make the king's son-in-law the husband of his daughter? Should I even do so, the result must be that her position will be that of a slave; and I cannot think of such a fate for my lovely child. When Bakáwalí heard him thus soli­loquise, “Father,” said she, “hear me. My name is Bakáwalí, and I am a fairy. Do not be anxious on my account; for the rose is always destined to grace the head, and the pearl to adorn the princely diadem. In answer, desire the prince to wait for a few days more.” The messenger of Táj ul-Mulúk returned and gave him an account of all that he had heard. The prince was highly delighted; his sorrows all vanished. He rewarded the messenger and dismissed him.

The dark days of Bakáwalí having passed away, troops of fairies now came to visit her, and with them Saman-rú, enrobed with richly-embroidered garments, and glittering with jewels, and seated on a golden throne. Bakáwalí changed her dress, put on her ornaments, and when all was ready she addressed her father, saying: “Hitherto I have been your guest; now I am about to depart.” She then led him behind the house, and pointed out a spot which contained hidden treasures under ground. Then she left him, and ascending the throne, guided by her attendant fairies, alighted in the mansion where Táj ul-Mulúk was sitting in company of Chitrawat, Nirmalá, and Chapalá. Bakáwalí entered the chamber alone. On approaching Chitrawat she embraced her with sisterly affection. Chitrawat was so much struck with the beauty of Bakáwalí that she sank on her sofa quite exhausted. Then Bakáwalí recounted her adventures to Táj ul-Mulúk, and heard his in return. She asked Chitrawat if her heart still glowed with love for the prince, “because, if so, my house is yours.” Chitra-wat replied: “I live only in the prince; and when he departs, how can I continue to live? I am ready to go with you.”

On a sign from Bakáwalí, her attendants made themselves visible; and it is related that when they appeared, Ceylon was so densely filled that no space of four fingers' breadth even was left unoccupied:* confusion reigned throughout the city. Even the king was dismayed, and sought the shelter of his palace. The moment he entered Táj ul-Mulúk rose to greet him. He went a few steps in advance, and led the king to a seat on his own throne. He then gave him a detailed history of his love for Bakáwalí. For some time the king seemed much distressed; but at length signs of joy were visible in his countenance, and rising from his seat he placed the hands of his daughter into those of Bakáwalí, saying: “I trust my only child to you; not, indeed, as a rival, but as a slave. My only hope is, that you will not withhold your kindness from one who is bound to regard you as her superior.” He then gave them leave to depart.

Táj ul-Mulúk ascended the fairy throne; Bakáwalí and Chitrawat sat on either side of him; while Nir-malá and Chapalá stood respectfully before them. In a moment the throne alighted on the threshold of Táj ul-Mulúk's palace, and the two princesses entered. Bahrám,* the son of the minister of Zayn-ul-Mulúk, who had been left in charge of the palace and gardens of the prince, came forth to welcome his master and mistress home. Táj ul-Mulúk received him graciously, accepted his presents,* and rewarded him with a robe of honour. He then entered the palace, and was received with the utmost delight by Mahmúda and Dilbar, with whom, as well as with Chitrawat and Bakáwalí, the stream of life glided through peace and tranquility.

Historians relate that Táj ul-Mulúk addressed letters to Fírúz Sháh, Muzaffar Sháh, and his father, com­municating to them the happy intelligence of his return. The perusal of these letters afforded much pleasure to the recipients, who forthwith set out to meet him. Fírúz Sháh and Jamíla Khatún set out for the East attended by splendid equipages. Muzaffar Sháh and Husn-árá followed their example. Zayn ul-Mulúk, with his lawful wife for his companion, and his army preceding him, went after the other princes to the country of Nighárín,* which they reached in a few days. They observed that its vicinity was so crowded with men and fairies that there was not sufficient space left to plant a seed of sesamum even.* Táj ul-Mulúk and Bakáwali were highly delighted to receive their guests. Sorrow departed from the heart of each. Nought was heard but songs and music—nought was seen save dancing and mirth. With the fourth day the feast ended, and the princes departed, highly pleased with the hospitality of Táj ul-Mulúk. But Bakáwalí prevailed upon Rúh-afzá to remain with her a few days longer, and a carnelian room was set apart for her sleeping chamber.

It happened one night, when Rúh-afzá was sleeping near the window, that her flowing locks descended therefrom, and a bright gem was glittering in one of the ribbons that tied her tresses. At that time Bahrám was roving about, enjoying the moonlight scene. As he approached the window, his eyes fell on the gem glittering there. He thought that a dragon was holding his jewel in his mouth.* But on looking more attentively, he perceived that it was a ruby glittering in a lock of hair which had escaped from the window. He then supposed that the room must be occupied by Bakáwalí, and that the lock of hair was hers. All that night he knew no rest. When morning dawned he could restrain himself no longer. He asked Saman-rú whose chamber that was, and she told him it was Rúh-afzá's. The moment he heard this the fire of love blazed in his heart, and maniac-like he wandered to and fro. The next midnight he watched for an opportunity, applied a scaling-ladder to the window, and entered the chamber. There he saw the rival of Venus sleeping gracefully on a golden bed. Beholding this, he became senseless, like one intoxicated, and as he was yet a stranger to the pleasure which was now stealing through his veins, incontinently he threw himself on the bed, embraced the fairy and kissed her rapturously. That instant Rúh-afzá started up and found that the intruder was Bahrám; and though she secretly loved him, she was displeased at this breach of the rules of decency. She pretended to be highly offended and slapped him till he was fairly pushed out of the window, and Bahrám retired weeping to his own apartment.

Next morning Rúh-afzá begged permission of Baká-walí to depart: and although the latter endeavoured to persuade her to prolong her visit, she was resolute, for she was well aware that if Bakáwalí came to know of the incident of the last night, she would laugh at her and plague her with her sarcastic remarks. At length she bade adieu to her fair hostess, and set out for the island of Firdaus. But love accom­panied her; for her thoughts were only of Bahrám. No comfort came to her by day, and no rest through the live-long night. Her eyes were always moist with tears, and the simúm of grief withered the bloom of her cheeks.