Shishu Sansaar | Arabian Nights Stories-4
|Arabian Nights Stories-4|
|Story No 83-3/4|
On the 35th Night
The Vazeer said - "You don't know that here is our enemy - al-Mueen. As soon as he will hear this, he will go to the Sultaan and say, "Your Vazeer, whom you loved very much, took 10,000 Deenaars from you, bought a slave girl whose equal is nowhere to be seen, but when he saw her, she pleased him and he said to his son - "Take her, you are worthier than the Sultaan." So he took her and now she is in his house." The King will say - "You are lying." To which he will reply - "If you permit me I will catch her unaware and bring her to you." The King will give him permission, he will come here and take her to him. He will question her and she would not be able to deny the past." Then my enemy will say - "I could have given you a better girl than this one, but I did not see the favor in your eyes." And after this I will be a gazing stock of everybody, and my life will be lost." At this the wife said - "Let nobody know about this and believe in Allaah. He will surely save you. He who knows the future will provide you for the future." Then she brought a cup of wine for the Vazeer and the Vazeer felt better.
Al-Mueen went to the King and wept there. The King saw that it was his Vazeer, he asked him - "Who did this to you?" The Vazeer said - "Today I went to the slave market to buy a cook maid. There I saw such a girl that I had never seen before. So I thought to buy her. I asked the broker of her owner. He said she belonged to Alee, the son of al-Fazal. Some time ago al-Fazal bought her for 10,000 Deenaars to give her to Sultaan and he gave her to his son. Now since his father has died and the son has sold everything, so he brought the girl to sell in the market and gave her to the broker.
The merchants bade higher and higher on her until her price reached 4,500 Deenaars. Then I said "I will buy her at this price for our Sultaan, whose money was paid for her. So I said to Noor - "O son, Sell her to me for 4,500 Deenars." He cried at me - "I can sell her to a Jew or somebody else but not to you." I said - "I am not buying her for myself but for the Sultaan." Hearing this he got very angry, he dragged me off the horse and beat me unmercifully. This happened to me because I was buying that girl only for you." Hearing this the King also got very angry and he asked his men to bring Noor and Anees.
Now there was an official standing by the King and Aalam al-Deen Sanjar who used to be the assistant to al-Fazal, but now he was an official. When he saw the King angry and that he would kill his former master's son, he went out from there and came to Noor al-Deen. Noor welcomed him, but he said - "There is no time to welcome me. Just listen to me. Run away from here, flee for your your life along with Anees. Because al-Mueen has set a trap for you and they are coming to take you. If you fall in their hands, they will kill you." He took out all the money he had that time, 40 gold pieces, and gave them to Noor for his journey.
He went inside and told everything to Anees and both left the city at once. They soon reached the river where they found a vessel. Its Captain was crying - "Whoever wants to go, come on this ship. Come soon as we are about to sail." Noor asked - "Where are you sailing to?" "To the House of Peace, Bagadaad." Noor and Anees boarded the ship and the Captain opened the sails.
On the 36th Night
Now as the men of the King reached the house of Noor, they could not find even a trace of Noor or the girl, so they came back and reported this to the King. The King ordered, "Make search for them wherever they are." Then the Sultaan ordered his crier to proclaim - "Who ever will bring Noor, the Sultaan will give him a robe of honor and 1,000 gold pieces; and he who hides him he will be punished."
Meanwhile Noor and his maid came safely to Bagadaad. Spring had set in. Noor and his maid gave the Captain five Deenaars and walked away a little that they came to gardens but the upper gate of garden was locked. They sat there for a while to enjoy the scenery. Cool wind was blowing slowly so they fell asleep. Now this garden's name was the "Garden of Gladness". In that garden, there stood a Palace of Pleasure and the Pavilion of Pictures - the whole garden belonged to the Caliph Haaroon al-Rasheed who used to come to the garden. The palace had 80 latticed windows and 80 lamps hanging around a gold candle holder. When he came back, he would order to light those lamps and light up the rooms. Then he would listen to Ishaaq bin-Ibraaheem and maids singing till he was asleep.
The keeper of the garden Sheikh Ibaaheem was a very old man. He found people pleasuring in the garden in his absence. He complained about this to the Caliph, so he said - "To whoever you see like this, deal with him as you like." When the gardener came back, he saw two people sleeping at the garden's gate. "Oh, This couple does not know that I can slay anybody I may catch at the door. But I will give them good whipping so that none may dare to come near this garden any more." So he broke a branch of a palm tree and was about to beat them, that he thought, "O Ibraaheem, Will you beat them without knowing about them? Maybe they are strangers and the Destiny has thrown them here. First ask them who they are."
So he uncovered their faces, and he found a handsome couple and he decided not to beat them. He covered their faces again and he started rubbing Noor's feet. Noor opened his eyes and got ashamed so he drew his feet in. He kissed Ibraaheem's hand. Ibraaheem asked him - "Who are you?" Noor said - "We are strangers," and he started weeping. Ibraaheem took them in that beautiful garden. It was indeed a beautiful garden. Ibraaheem took them to the Pavilion. Noor remembered his entertainment of the past, cried - "By Allaah, This is a pleasant place." Then Ibraaheem offered them food.
After eating, Noor asked Ibraheem - "You don't have some drink, because we are used to drink after the food?" Ibraaheem brought some cool fresh water but Noor said - "Not this." "Oh, You want wine?" "Yes." Ibraaheem said - "In fact I left it some 13 years ago. Listen, if you curse an already cursed ass, that curse will fall upon you." "By no means. Take this Deenaar and two Dirhams, go to a wine shop, but stand at some distance and call the first man you see buying liquor, and say to him - "Take these two Dirhams for yourself and buy me some wine and set it on the ass. In this way you will neither be a presser, nor a buyer, nor a carrier and no part of the curse will fall upon you." At this Ibraahem laughed and said - "By Allaah, I have never met such an intelligent person and having sweeter speech than yours."
Ibraaheem showed him his store and asked him to take anything he needed. Noor went inside the store and found many kinds of vessels of gold and silver and crystal set with all kinds of gems. He was very surprised to see all that. He took whatever he wanted, set them out on the table and started drinking. Ibraaheem brought them fruits, flowers and aromatic herbs and they drank to their satisfaction. Ibraaheem sat at a distance, but soon thought "Why should I sit at a distance, why not sit with them? When will I get the company of such beautiful people?" So he moved from the place where he was sitting and sat down at the edge of the dais. Noor tried to give him a drink but Ibraaheem did not drink it.
After a while, when Noor had drunk a lot, he fell down and Anees complained to Ibraaheem about this - "He always treats me like this. He drinks so much that after drinking he falls and leaves me alone. Now with whom should I sing?" By now Ibraaheem had got inclined towards her, so he said to her - "This is not good." Anees gave him a cup of wine, although he refused to take it, but Anees said - "Please do not refuse, drink it to heal my heart." So he took it and drank it, and then the second, and then the third ...
On the 37th Night
As he was about to drink the third cup, Noor got up and seeing him drinking said to him - "Didn't you tell me that you have left drinking some 13 years ago?" "I am not at fault, this lady insisted." Then Anees whispered in his ear - "Do not force him to drink, you drink this and I will show you some sport with him." And they filled each other's cup to drink. Ibraaheem said - "What a good fellowship is this? Allaah curse the one who keeps the cup to himself. Why don't you give me a cup? What manners are these?" So they all drank till 1/3rd night passed.
Then Anees said - "O Ibraaheem, With your permission, I will light one of these candles." "Do so, But do not light more than one." So she sprang up on her feet and lighted all the 80 candles and sat down again. Noor also got up and lighted all the 80 lamps. The palace seemed to dance with brilliancy. Ibraaheem opened all the lattices and sat down again. They sang, recited verse till the whole place was noisy.
Now the Caliph was sitting in the light of the Moon at one of the windows of his palace, looking at the Tigris. He saw the light of the lamps and candles reflected in the river. He noticed that the reflection was coming from the garden palace. He cried at Zaafar - "Did you take the city of Bagadaad from me without telling me?" Zaafar said - "What are you talking about?" The Caliph said - "If Bagadaad city had not been taken from me, then the Palace of Pictures would not have been illuminated with lamps and candles. Who has dared to do this?" Zaafar asked - "Who told you that the Palace of Pictures has been illuminated?" "Come here and see for yourself."
Zaafar came close to the Caliph and saw the Palace illuminate; thinking that this might have been permitted by the keeper for some reason of his own, he tried to make an excuse for him - "O Lord, Sheikh Ibraaheem said to me last week, "I wish to circumcise my sons during the life of the Caliph." I asked him "What do you want?" He said, "Permit me to hold the celebration in the Garden Palace." I permitted him and then I forgot to tell you about this."
The Caliph said - "Zaafar, You have committed two crimes; one, you did not report me, two, you have not given him what he wanted. Maybe he needed some small amount of money." "I forgot." The Caliph said - "Now I wish to pass this night in his company, because he is a very pious man. Many Elders of Faith and Faqeers etc. must have gathered in his celebration, so maybe that the prayers of one of them can work for us both in this and the other world. Besides he will be happy to see me in his celebrations." Zaafar said - "The greater part of night has passed and they might be breaking up now." The Caliph said - "It doesn't matter, I must go to him."
Zaafar could not think what to do so he became quiet. Then the Caliph, Zaafar and Masaroor, all three disguised themselves as merchants and left the city palace. They came to the garden Palace gate. It was wide open. The Caliph was very surprised to see it open at this hour. He asked Zaafar - "Zaafar, How did this gardener leave the door open like this at this hour?" They went in. The Caliph said - "O Zaafar, There is no sound at all, not even a Faqeer is calling Allaah's name. I wish to see them unaware as what are they doing." So he climbed up a tree and set himself on a branch that he could see inside the palace. He saw a girl, a youth and by them was sitting Sheikh taking a cup in his hand and saying - "O Princess, Drinking without music is nothing."
Created by Sushma Gupta on January 15, 2002
Modified on 07/15/14