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    14- History of the Third Calender

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    Chapter 15
    Previous Chapter
    My story, most honourable lady, very much differs from what you
    have already heard. The two princes who have spoken before me
    have each lost an eye by the pure effects of their destiny, but
    mine I lost through my own fault, and by hastening to seek my own
    misfortune, as you shall hear by the sequel of the story.

    My name is Agib, and I am the son of a sultan who was called
    Cassib. After his death I took possession of his dominions, and
    continued in the city where he had resided. It is situated on the
    sea-coast, has one of the finest and safest harbours in the
    world, an arsenal capable of fitting out for sea one hundred and
    fifty men of war, besides merchantmen and light vessels. My
    kingdom is composed of several fine provinces upon the main land,
    besides a number of valuable islands, which lie almost in sight
    of my capital.

    My first object was to visit the provinces: I afterwards caused
    my whole fleet to be fitted out, and went to my islands to gain
    the hearts of my subjects by my presence, and to confirm them in
    their loyalty. These voyages gave me some taste for navigation,
    in which I took so much pleasure, that I resolved to make some
    discoveries beyond my own territories; to which end I caused ten
    ships to be fitted out, embarked, and set sail.

    Our voyage was very pleasant for forty days successively, but on
    the forty-first night the wind became contrary, and withal so
    boisterous that we were near being lost: about break of day the
    storm abated, the clouds dispersed, and the weather became fair.
    We reached an island, where we remained two days to take in fresh
    provisions; and then put off again to sea. After ten days' sail
    we were in hopes of seeing land, for the tempests we had
    experienced had so much abated my curiosity, that I gave orders
    to steer back to my own coast; but I perceived at the same time
    that my pilot knew not where we were. Upon the tenth day, a
    seaman being sent to look out for land from the mast head, gave
    notice that on starboard and larboard he could see nothing but
    sky and sea, but that right a-head he perceived a great

    The pilot changed colour at this account, and throwing his turban
    on the deck with one hand, and beating his breast with the other,
    cried, "Oh, Sir, we are all lost; not one of us can escape; and
    with all my skill it is not in my power to effect our
    deliverance." Having spoken thus, he lamented like a man who
    foresaw unavoidable ruin; his despondence threw the whole ship's
    crew into consternation. I asked him what reason he had thus to
    despair? He exclaimed, "The tempest has brought us so far out of
    our course, that to-morrow about noon we shall be near the black
    mountain, or mine of adamant, which at this very minute draws all
    your fleet towards it, by virtue of the iron in your ships; and
    when we approach within a certain distance, the attraction of the
    adamant will have such force, that all the nails will be drawn
    out of the sides and bottoms of the ships, and fasten to the
    mountain, so that your vessels will fall to pieces and sink.

    "This mountain," continued the pilot, "is inaccessible. On the
    summit there is a dome of fine brass, supported by pillars of the
    same metal, and on the top of that dome stands a horse, likewise
    of brass, with a rider on his back, who has a plate or lead fixed
    to his breast, upon which some talismanic characters are
    engraver. Sir, the tradition is, that this statue is the chief
    cause why so many ships and men have been lost and sunk in this
    place, and that it will ever continue to be fatal to all those
    who have the misfortune to approach, until it shall be thrown

    The pilot having finished his discourse, began to weep afresh,
    and all the rest of the ship's company did the same. I had no
    other thought but that my days were there to terminate. In the
    mean time every one began to provide for his own safety, and to
    that end took all imaginable precaution; and being uncertain of
    the event, they all made one another their heirs, by virtue of a
    will, for the benefit of those that should happen to be saved.

    The next morning we distinctly perceived the black mountain.
    About noon we were so near, that we found what the pilot had
    foretold to be true; for all the nails and iron in the ships flew
    towards the mountain, where they fixed, by the violence of the
    attraction, with a horrible noise; the ships split asunder, and
    their cargoes sunk into the sea. All my people were drowned, but
    God had mercy on me, and permitted me to save myself by means of
    a plank, which the wind drove ashore just at the foot of the
    mountain. I did not receive the least hurt, and my good fortune
    brought me to a landing place, where there were steps that led up
    to the summit of the mountain.

    At the sight of these steps, for there was not a space of ground
    either on the right or left whereon a man could set his foot, I
    gave thanks to God; and recommended myself to his holy
    protection, as I began to ascend the steps, which were so narrow,
    that had the wind raged it would have thrown me into the sea.
    But, at last, I reached the top, without accident. I went into
    the dome, and kneeling on the ground, gave God thanks for his

    I passed the night under the dome. In my sleep an old grave man
    appeared to me, and said, "Hearken, Agib; as soon as thou art
    awake dig up the ground under thy feet: thou wilt find a bow of
    brass, and three arrows of lead, that are made under certain
    constellations, to deliver mankind from the many calamities that
    threaten them. Shoot the three arrows at the statue, and the
    rider will fall into the sea, but the horse will fall by thy
    side; thou must bury it in the place where thou findest the bow
    and arrows: this being done, the sea will swell and rise to the
    foot of the dome. When it has come so high, thou wilt perceive a
    boat with one man holding an oar in each hand; this man is also
    of metal, but different from that thou hast thrown down; step on
    board, but without mentioning the name of God, and let him
    conduct thee. He will in ten days' time bring thee into another
    sea, where thou shalt find an opportunity to return to thy
    country, provided, as I have told thee, thou dost not mention the
    name of God during the whole voyage."

    This was the substance of the old man's discourse. When I awoke I
    felt much comforted by the vision, and did not fail to observe
    everything that he had commanded me. I took the bow and arrows
    out of the ground, shot at the horseman, and with the third arrow
    I overthrew him; he fell into the sea, and the horse fell by my
    side; I buried it in the place whence I took the bow and arrows.
    In the mean time, the sea swelled and rose up by degrees. When it
    came as high as the foot of the dome upon the top of the
    mountain, I saw, afar off, a boat rowing towards me, and I
    returned God thanks that everything succeeded according to my

    At last the boat made land, and I perceived the man was made of
    metal, as I had dreamt. I stept aboard, and took great heed not
    to pronounce the name of God, neither spoke I one word. I sat
    down, and the man of metal began to row off from the mountain. He
    rowed without ceasing till the ninth day, when I saw some
    islands, which gave me hopes that I should escape all the danger
    that I feared. The excess of my joy made me forget what I was
    forbidden: "Blessed be God," said I; "God be praised."

    I had no sooner spoken these words, than the boat sunk with the
    man of metal, leaving me upon the surface. I swam the remaining
    part of the day towards that land which appeared nearest. A very
    dark night succeeded, and not knowing where I was, I swam at
    random. My strength at last began to fail, and I despaired of
    being able to save myself, but the wind began to blow hard, and a
    wave vast as a mountain threw me on a flat, where it left me, and
    retreated. I made haste ashore, fearing another wave might wash
    me back. The first thing I did was to strip, wring the water out
    of my clothes, and lay them on the dry sand, which was still warm
    from the heat of the day.

    Next morning the sun dried my clothes; I put them on, and went
    forward to discover what sort of country I was in. I had not
    walked far before I found I was upon a desert, though a very
    pleasant, island, as it displayed several sorts of trees and wild
    shrubs bearing fruit; but I perceived it was far from the
    continent, which much diminished the joy I felt at having escaped
    the danger of the seas. Nevertheless, I recommended myself to God
    and prayed him to dispose of me according to his will.
    Immediately after, I saw a vessel coming from the main land,
    before the wind, directly towards the island. I doubted not but
    they were coming to anchor there; and being uncertain what sort
    of people they might be, whether friends or foes, I thought it
    not safe to be seen. I got up into a very thick tree, from whence
    I might safely view them. The vessel came into a little creek,
    where ten slaves landed, carrying a spade and other instruments
    for digging up the ground. They went towards the middle of the
    island, where I saw them stop, and dig for a considerable time,
    after which I thought I perceived them lift up a trap door. They
    returned again to the vessel, and unloaded several sorts of
    provisions and furniture, which they carried to the place where
    they had been digging: they then descended, which made me suppose
    it led to a subterraneous dwelling.

    I saw them once more go to the ship, and return soon after with
    an old man, who led in his hand a handsome lad of about fourteen
    or fifteen years of age. They all descended when the trap door
    had been opened. After they had again come up, they let down the
    trap door, covered it over with earth, and returned to the creek
    where the ship lay, but I saw not the young man in their company.
    This made me believe that he had staid behind in the
    subterraneous place, a circumstance which exceedingly surprised

    The old man and the slaves went on board, and getting the vessel
    under weigh, steered their course towards the main land. When I
    perceived they had proceeded to such a distance that I could not
    be seen by them, I came down from the tree, and went directly to
    the place where I had seen the ground broken. I removed the earth
    by degrees, till I came to a stone that was two or three feet
    square. I lifted it up, and found that it covered the head of a
    flight of stairs, which were also of stone. I descended, and at
    the bottom found myself in a large room, furnished with a carpet,
    a couch covered with tapestry, and cushions of rich stuff, upon
    which the young man sat, with a fan in his hand. These things,
    together with fruits and flower-pot standing about him, I saw by
    the light of two wax tapers. The young man, when he perceived me
    was considerably alarmed; but to quiet his apprehensions, I said
    to him as I entered, "Whoever you are, Sir, do not fear; a
    sultan, and the son of a sultan, as I am, is not capable of doing
    you any injury: on the contrary, it is probable that your good
    destiny may have brought me hither to deliver you out of this
    tomb, where it seems you have been buried alive, for reasons to
    me unknown. But what surprises me (for you must know that I have
    been witness to all that hath passed since your coming into this
    island), is, that you suffered yourself to be entombed in this
    place without any resistance."

    The young man felt assured at these words, and with a smiling
    countenance requested me to take a seat by him. When I had
    complied, he said "Prince, I am to acquaint you with what will
    surprise you by its singularity.

    "My father is a merchant jeweller, who, by his industry and
    professional skill, has acquired considerable property. He has
    many slaves, and also agents, whom he employs as supercargoes in
    his own ships, to maintain his correspondence at the several
    courts, which he furnishes with precious stones.

    "He had been long married without having issue, when it was
    intimated to him in a dream that he should have a son, though his
    life would be but short; at which he was much concerned when he
    awoke. Some days after, my mother acquainted him that she was
    with child, and what she supposed to be the time of her
    conception agreed exactly with the day of his dream. At the end
    of nine months she was brought to bed of me; which occasioned
    great joy in the family.

    "My father, who had observed the very moment of my birth,
    consulted astrologers about my nativity; and was answered, ‘Your
    son shall live happily till the age of fifteen, when his life
    will be exposed to a danger which he will hardly be able to
    escape. But if his good destiny preserve him beyond that time, he
    will live to a great age. It will be' (said they) ‘when the
    statue of brass, that stands upon the summit of the mountain of
    adamant, shall be thrown into the sea by prince Agib, son of king
    Cassib; and, as the stars prognosticate, your son will be killed
    fifty days afterwards by that prince.'

    "My father took all imaginable care of my education until this
    year, which is the fifteenth of my age. He had notice given him
    yesterday, that the statue of brass had been thrown into the sea
    about ten days ago. This news alarmed him much.

    "Upon the prediction the astrologers, he sought by all means
    possible to falsify my horoscope, and to preserve my life. He
    took the precaution to form this subterranean habitation to hide
    me in, till the expiration of the fifty days after the throwing
    down of the statue; and therefore, as it is ten days since this
    happened, he came hastily hither to conceal me, and promised at
    the end of forty days to return and fetch me away. For my own
    part I am sanguine in my hopes, and cannot believe that prince
    Agib will seek for me in a place under ground, in the midst of a
    desert island."

    While the jeweller's son was relating this story, I laughed at
    the astrologers who had foretold that I should take away his
    life; for I thought myself so far from being likely to verify
    their prediction, that he had scarcely done speaking, when I told
    him with great joy, "Dear Sir, trust in the goodness of God, and
    fear nothing; consider it as a debt you had to pay; but that you
    are acquitted of it from this hour. I rejoice that after my
    shipwreck I came so fortunately hither to defend you against all
    who would attempt your life. I will not leave you till the forty
    days have expired, of which the foolish astrologers have made you
    apprehensive; and in the mean while I will do you all the service
    in my power: after which, with leave of your father and yourself,
    I shall have the benefit of getting to the main land in your
    vessel; and when I am returned into my kingdom, I will remember
    the obligations I owe you, and endeavour to demonstrate my
    gratitude by suitable acknowedgments."

    This discourse encouraged the jeweller's son, and inspired him
    with confidence. I took care not to inform him I was the very
    Agib whom he dreaded, lest I should alarm his fears, and used
    every precaution not to give him any cause to suspect who I was.
    We passed the time in various conversation till night came on. I
    found the young man of ready wit, and partook with him of his
    provisions, of which he had enough to have lasted beyond the
    forty days, though he had had more guests than myself. After
    supper we conversed for some time; and at last retired to bed.

    The next morning, when he arose, I held the basin of water to
    him; I also provided dinner, and at the proper time placed it on
    the table: after we had dined I invented a play for our
    amusement, not only for that day, but for those that followed. I
    prepared supper after the same manner as I had done the dinner;
    and having supped, we retired to bed as before. We had sufficient
    time to contrast mutual friendship and esteem for each other. I
    found he loved me; and I on my part regarded him with so much
    affection, that I often said to myself, "Those astrologers who
    predicted to his father that his son should die by my hand were
    impostors; for it is not possible that I could commit so base a
    crime." In short, madam, we spent thirty-nine days in the
    pleasantest manner possible in this subterraneous abode.

    The fortieth day appeared: and in the morning, when the young man
    awoke, he said to me with a transport of joy that he could not
    restrain, "Prince, this is the fortieth day, and I am not dead,
    thanks to God and your good company. My father will not fail to
    make you, very shortly, every acknowledgment of his gratitude for
    your attentions, and will furnish you with every necessary
    accommodation for your return to your kingdom: but," continued
    he, "while we are waiting his arrival, I beg you will provide me
    some warm water in that portable bath, that I may wash my body
    and change my dress, to receive my father with the more respect."

    I set the water on the fire, and when it was hot poured it into
    the moveable bath; the youth went in, and I both washed and
    rubbed him. At last he came out, and laid himself down in his bed
    that I had prepared. After he had slept a while, he awoke, and
    said, "Dear prince, pray do me the favour to fetch me a melon and
    some sugar, that I may eat some to refresh me."

    Out of several melons that remained I took the best, and laid it
    on a plate; and as I could not find a knife to cut it with, I
    asked the young man if he knew where there was one. "There is
    one," said he, "upon this cornice over my head:" I accordingly
    saw it there, and made so much haste to reach it, that, while I
    had it in my hand, my foot being entangled in the carpet, I fell
    most unhappily upon the young man, and the knife pierced his

    At this spectacle I cried out with agony. I beat my head, my
    face, and breast; I tore my clothes; I threw myself on the ground
    with unspeakable sorrow and grief! "Alas!" I exclaimed, "there
    were only some hours wanting to have put him out of that danger
    from which he sought sanctuary here; and when I thought the
    danger past, then I became his murderer, and verified the
    prediction. But, O Lord!" said I, lifting up my face and my hands
    to heaven, "I intreat thy pardon, and if I be guilty of his
    death, let me not live any longer."

    After this misfortune I would have embraced death without any
    reluctance, had it presented itself to me. But what we wish,
    whether it be good or evil, will not always happen according to
    our desire. Nevertheless, considering that all my tears and
    sorrows would not restore the young man to life, and, the forty
    days being expired, I might be surprised by his father, I quitted
    the subterranean dwelling, laid down the great stone upon the
    entrance, and covered it with earth.

    I had scarcely done, when, casting my eyes upon the sea towards
    the main land, I perceived the vessel coming to fetch away the
    young man. I began then to consider what I had best do. I said to
    myself, "If I am seen by the old man, he will certainly seize me,
    and perhaps cause me to be massacred by his slaves, when he has
    discovered that his son is killed: all that I can allege to
    justify myself will not convince him of my innocence. It is
    better then to withdraw while it is in my power, than to expose
    myself to his resentment."

    There happened to be near a large tree thick with leaves, which I
    ascended in hopes of concealment, and was no sooner fixed in a
    place where I could not be perceived, than I saw the vessel come
    to the creek where she lay the first time.

    The old man with his slaves landed immediately, and advanced
    towards the subterranean dwelling, with a countenance that shewed
    some hope; but when they saw the earth had been newly removed,
    they changed colour, particularly the old man. They lifted up the
    stone, and went down; they called the young man by his name, but
    he not answering, their fears increased. They proceeded to seek
    him; and at length found him lying upon the bed with the knife in
    his heart, for I had not power to take it out. At this sight they
    cried out lamentably, which increased my sorrow: the old man fell
    down in a swoon. The slaves, to give him air, brought him up in
    their arms, and laid him at the foot of the tree where I was
    concealed; but notwithstanding all the pains they took to recover
    him, the unfortunate father continued a long while insensible,
    and made them more than once despair of his life; but at last he
    came to himself. The slaves then brought up his son's corpse,
    dressed in his best apparel, and when they had made a grave they
    buried it. The old man, supported by two slaves, and his face
    covered with tears, threw the first earth upon the body, after
    which the slaves filled up the grave.

    This being done, all the furniture was brought up, and, with the
    remaining provisions, put on board the vessel. The old man,
    overcome with sorrow, and not being able to stand, was laid upon
    a litter, and carried to the ship, which stood out to sea, and in
    a short time was out of sight.

    After the old man and his slaves were gone, I was left alone upon
    the island. I lay that night in the subterranean dwelling, which
    they had shut up, and when the day came, I walked round the
    island, and stopped in such places as I thought most proper for

    I led this wearisome life for a whole month. At the expiration of
    this time I perceived that the sea had receded; that the island
    had increased in dimensions; the main land too seemed to be
    drawing nearer. In fact, the water sunk so low, that there
    remained between me and the continent but a small stream, which I
    crossed, and the water did not reach above the middle of my leg.
    I walked so long a way upon the slime and sand that I was very
    weary: at last I got upon more firm ground, and when I had
    proceeded some distance from the sea, I saw a good way before me
    something that resembled a great fire, which afforded me some
    comfort; for I said to myself, I shall find here some persons, it
    not being possible that this fire should kindle of itself. As I
    drew nearer, however, I found my error, and discovered that what
    I had taken for a fire was a castle of red copper, which the
    beams of the sun made to appear at a distance like flames.

    I stopped in the neighbourhood of the castle, and sat down to
    admire its noble structure, and to rest myself. Before I had
    taken such a view of this magnificent building as it deserved, I
    saw ten handsome young men coming along, as if they had been
    taking a walk; but what surprised me was, that they were all
    blind of the right eye. They were accompanied by an old man, who
    was very tall, and of a venerable aspect.

    I could not suppress my astonishment at the sight of so many half
    blind men in company, and every one deprived of the same eye. As
    I was conjecturing by what adventure these men could come
    together, they approached, and seemed glad to see me. After the
    first salutations, they inquired what had brought me thither. I
    told them my story would be somewhat tedious, but if they would
    take the trouble to sit down, 1 would satisfy their curiosity.
    They did so, and I related to them all that had happened to me
    since I had left my kingdom, which filled them with astonishment.

    After I had concluded my account, the young gentlemen prayed me
    to accompany them into the castle. I accepted their offer, and we
    passed through a great many halls, ante-chambers, bed-chambers,
    and closets, very well furnished, and came at last into a
    spacious hall, where there were ten small blue sofas set round,
    separate from one another, on which they sat by day and slept at
    night. In the middle of this circle stood an eleventh sofa, not
    so high as the rest, but of the same colour, upon which the old
    man before-mentioned sat down, and the young gentlemen occupied
    the other ten. But as each sofa could only contain one man, one
    of the young men said to me, "Comrade, sit down upon that carpet
    in the middle of the room, and do not inquire into anything that
    concerns us, nor the reason why we are all blind of the right
    eye; be content with what you see, and let not your curiosity
    extend any farther."

    The old man having sat a short time, arose, and went out; but he
    returned in a minute or two, brought in supper, distributed to
    each man separately his proportion, and likewise brought me mine,
    which I ate apart, as the rest did; and when supper was almost
    ended, he presented to each of us a cup of wine.

    They thought my story so extraordinary, that they made me repeat
    it after supper, and it furnished conversation for a good part of
    the night. One of the gentlemen observing that it was late, said
    to the old man, "You do not bring us that with which we may
    acquit ourselves of our duty." At these words the old man arose,
    and went into a closet, and brought out thence upon his head ten
    basins, one after another, all covered with blue stuff; he placed
    one before every gentleman, together with a light.

    They uncovered their basins, which contained ashes, coal-dust,
    and lamp-black; they mixed all together, and rubbed and bedaubed
    their faces with it in such a manner as to make themselves look
    very frightful. After having thus blackened themselves, they wept
    and lamented, beating their heads and breasts, and crying
    continually, "This is the fruit of our idleness and debauches."

    They continued this strange employment nearly the whole of the
    night, and when they left off, the old man brought them water,
    with which they washed their faces and hands; they changed all
    their clothes, which were spoiled, and put on others; so that
    they exhibited no appearance of what they had been doing.

    You may judge how uneasy I felt all this time. I wished a
    thousand times to break the silence which had been imposed upon
    me, and ask questions; nor was it possible for me to sleep that

    The next day, soon after we had arisen, we went out to walk, and
    then I said to them, "Gentlemen, I declare to you, that I must
    renounce the law which you prescribed to me last night, for I
    cannot observe it. You are men of sense, you have convinced me
    that you do not want understanding; yet, I have seen you do such
    actions as none but madmen could be capable of. Whatever
    misfortune befalls me, I cannot forbear asking, why you bedaubed
    your faces with black? How it has happened that each of you has
    but one eye? Some singular circumstance must certainly be the
    cause; therefore I conjure you to satisfy my curiosity." To these
    pressing instances they answered only, that it was no business of
    mine to make such inquiries, and that I should do well to hold my

    We passed that day in conversation upon indifferent subjects; and
    when night was come and every man had supped, the old man brought
    in the blue basins, and the young gentlemen as before bedaubed
    their faces, wept and beat themselves, crying, "This is the fruit
    of our idleness and debauches," and continued the same actions
    the following night. At last, not being able to resist my
    curiosity, I earnestly prayed them to satisfy me, or to shew me
    how to return to my own kingdom; for it was impossible for me to
    keep them company any longer, and to see every night such an odd
    exhibition, without being permitted to know the reason.

    One of the gentlemen answered on behalf of the rest, "Do not
    wonder at our conduit in regard to yourself, and that hitherto we
    have not granted your request: it is out of kindness, to save you
    the pain of being reduced to the same condition with ourselves.
    If you have a mind to try our unfortunate destiny, you need but
    speak, and we will give you the satisfaction you desire." I told
    them I was resolved on it, let what would be the consequence.
    "Once more," said the same gentleman, "we advise you to restrain
    your curiosity: it will cost you the loss of your right eye." "No
    matter," I replied; "be assured that if such a misfortune befall
    me, I will not impute it to you, but to myself."

    He farther represented to me, that when I had lost an eye I must
    not hope to remain with them, if I were so disposed, because
    their number was complete, and no addition could be made to it. I
    told them, that it would be a great satisfaction to me never to
    part from such agreeable gentlemen, but if there were a necessity
    for it, I was ready to submit; and let it cost me what it would,
    I begged them to grant my request.

    The ten gentlemen perceiving that I was so fixed in my
    resolution, took a sheep, killed it, and after they had taken off
    the skin, presented me with a knife, telling me it would be
    useful to me on an occasion which they would soon explain. "We
    must sew you in this skin," said they, "and then leave you; upon
    which a bird of a monstrous size, called a roc, will appear in
    the air, and taking you for a sheep, will pounce upon you, and
    soar with you to the sky: but let not that alarm you; he will
    descend with you again, and lay you on the top of a mountain.
    When you find yourself on the ground, cut the skin with your
    knife, and throw it off. As soon as the roc sees you, he will fly
    away for fear, and leave you at liberty. Do not stay, but walk on
    till you come to a spacious castle, covered with plates of gold,
    large emeralds, and other precious stones: go up to the gate,
    which always stands open, and walk in. We have each of us been in
    that castle; but will tell you nothing of what we saw, or what
    befell us there; you will learn by your own experience. All that
    we can inform you is, that it has cost each of us our right eye,
    and the penance which you have been witness to, is what we are
    obliged to observe in consequence of having been there. The
    history of each of us is so full of extraordinary adventures,
    that a large volume would not contain them. But we cannot explain
    ourselves farther."

    When the gentleman had thus spoken, I wrapt myself in the sheep's
    skin, held fast the knife which was given me; and after the young
    gentlemen had been at the trouble to sew the skin about me, they
    retired into the hall, and left me alone. The roc they spoke of
    soon arrived; he pounced upon me, took me in his talons like a
    sheep, and carried me up the summit of the mountain.

    When I found myself on the ground, I cut the skin with the knife,
    and throwing it off, the roc at the sight of me flew sway. This
    roc is a white bird, of a monstrous size; his strength is such,
    that he can lift up elephants from the plains, and carry them to
    the tops of mountains, where he feeds upon them.

    Being impatient to reach the castle, I lost no time; but made so
    much haste, that I got thither in half a day's journey, and I
    must say that I found it surpassed the description they had given
    me of its magnificence.

    The gate being open, I entered a square court, so large that
    there were round it ninety-nine gates of wood of sanders and
    aloes, and one of gold, without reckoning those of several superb
    staircases, that led to apartments above, besides many more which
    I could not see. The hundred doors I spoke of opened into gardens
    or store-houses full of riches, or into apartments which
    contained many things wonderful to be seen.

    I saw a door standing open just before me, through which I
    entered into a large hall. Here I found forty young ladies of
    such perfect beauty as imagination could not surpass: they were
    all most sumptuously appareled. As soon as they saw me they
    arose, and without waiting my salutations, said to me, with
    demonstrations of joy, "Noble Sir, you are welcome." And one thus
    addressed me in the name of the rest, "We have long been in
    expectation of such a gentleman as you; your mien assures us,
    that you are master of all the good qualities we can desire; and
    we hope you will not find our company disagreeable or unworthy of

    They obliged me, notwithstanding all the opposition I could make,
    to sit down on a seat that was higher than their own; and when I
    expressed my uneasiness, "That is your place," said they, "you
    are at present our lord, master, and judge, and we are your
    slaves, ready to obey your commands."

    Nothing, madam, so much astonished me, as the solicitude and
    eagerness of those fair ladies to do me all possible service. One
    brought hot water to wash my feet, a second poured sweet scented
    water on my hands; others brought me all kinds of necessaries,
    and change of apparel; others again brought in a magnificent
    collation; and the rest came with glasses in their hands to fill
    me delicious wines, all in good order, and in the most charming
    manner possible. I ate and drank; after which the ladies placed
    themselves about me, and desired an account of my travels. I gave
    them a full relation of my adventures, which lasted till night
    came on.

    When I had finished my narrative to the forty ladies, some of
    them who sat nearest me staid to keep me company, whilst the
    rest, seeing it was dark, rose to fetch tapers. They brought a
    prodigious number, which by the wonderful light they emitted
    exhibited the resemblance of day, and they disposed them with so
    much taste as to produce the most beautiful effect possible.

    Other ladies covered a table with dry fruits, sweetmeats, and
    everything proper to relish the liquor; a side-board was set out
    with several sorts of wine and other liquors. Some of the ladies
    brought in musical instruments, and when everything was ready,
    they invited me to sit down to supper. The ladies sat down with
    me, and we continued a long while at our repast. They that were
    to play upon the instruments and sing arose, and formed a most
    charming concert. The others began a kind of ball, and danced two
    and two, couple after couple, with admirable grace.

    It was past midnight ere these amusements ended. At length one of
    the ladies said to me, "You are doubtless wearied by the journey
    you have taken to-day; it is time for you to retire to rest; your
    lodging is prepared: but before you depart choose which of us you
    like best to be your bedfellow." I answered, "That I knew not how
    to make my own choice, as they were all equally beautiful, witty,
    and worthy of my respects and service, and that I would not be
    guilty of so much incivility as to prefer one before another."

    The lady who had spoken to me before answered, "We are very well
    satisfied of your civility, and find it is your fear to create
    jealousy among us that occasions your diffidence; but let not
    this hinder you. We assure you, that the good fortune of her whom
    you choose shall cause no feeling of the kind; for we are agreed
    among ourselves, that every one of us shall in her turn have the
    same honour; and when forty days are past, to begin again;
    therefore make your selection, and lose no time to take the
    repose you need." I was obliged to yield to their entreaties, and
    offered my hand to the lady who spoke, and who, in return, gave
    me hers. We were conducted to a sumptuous apartment, where they
    left us; and then every one retired to her own chamber.

    I was scarcely dressed next morning, when the other thirty-nine
    ladies came into my chamber, all in different dresses from those
    they had worn the day before: they bade me good-morrow, and
    inquired after my health. After which they conveyed me to a bath,
    where they washed me themselves, and whether I would or no,
    served me with everything I needed; and when I came out of the
    bath, they made me put on another suit much richer than the

    We passed the whole day almost constantly at table; and when it
    was bed-time, they prayed me again to make choice of one of them
    for my companion In short, madam, not to weary you with
    repetitions, I must tell you that I continued a whole year among
    those forty ladies, and received them into my bed one after
    another: and during all the time of this voluptuous life, we met
    not with the least kind of trouble. When the year was expired, I
    was greatly surprised that these forty ladies, instead of
    appearing with their usual cheerfulness to ask me how I did,
    entered my chamber one morning all in tears. They embraced me
    with great tenderness one after another, saying, "Adieu, dear
    prince, adieu! for we must leave you." Their tears affected. I
    prayed them to tell me the reason of their grief, and of the
    separation they spoke of. "Fair ladies, let me know," said I, "if
    it be in my power to comfort you, or if my assistance can be any
    way useful to you." Instead of returning a direct answer,
    "Would," said they, "we had never seen or known you! Several
    gentlemen have honoured us with their company before you; but
    never one of them had that comeliness, that sweetness, that
    pleasantness of humour, and that merit which you possess; we know
    not how to live without you." After they had spoken these words,
    they began to weep bitterly. "My dear ladies," said I, "have the
    kindness not to keep me any longer in suspense: tell me the cause
    of your sorrow." "Alas!" said they, "what but the necessity of
    parting from you could thus afflict us? Perhaps we shall never
    see you more; but if it be your wish we should, and if you
    possess sufficient self-command for the purpose, it is not
    impossible but that we may again enjoy the pleasure of your
    company." "Ladies," I replied, "I understand not what you mean;
    pray explain yourselves more clearly."

    "Well," said one of them, "to satisfy you, we must acquaint you
    that we are all princesses, daughters of kings. We live here
    together in the manner you have seen; but at the end of every
    year we are obliged to be absent forty days upon indispensable
    duties, which we are not permitted to reveal: and afterwards we
    return again to this castle. Yesterday was the last of the year;
    to day we must leave you, and this circumstance is the cause of
    our grief. Before we depart we will leave you the keys of
    everything, especially those of the hundred doors, where you will
    find enough to satisfy your curiosity, and to relieve your
    solitude during our absence. But for your benefit, and our own
    personal interests, we recommend you to forbear opening the
    golden door; for if you do we shall never see you again; and the
    apprehension of this augments our grief. We hope, nevertheless,
    that you will attend to our advice; your own peace, and the
    happiness of your life, depends upon your compliance; therefore
    take heed. If you suffer yourself to be swayed by a foolish
    curiosity, you will do yourself a considerable injury. We conjure
    you to avoid the indiscretion, and to give us the satisfaction
    finding you here again at the end of forty days. We would
    willingly take the key of the golden door with us; but that it
    would be an affront to a prince like you to question your
    discretion and firmness."

    This speech of the fair princesses grieved me extremely. I
    omitted not to declare how much their absence would afflict me. I
    thanked then for their good advice, assuring them that I would
    follow it, and expressed my willingness to perform what was much
    more difficult, to secure the happiness of passing the rest of my
    days with ladies of such beauty and accomplishments. We separated
    with much tenderness, and after I had embraced them all, they
    departed, and I remained alone in the castle.

    The agreeableness of their company, their hospitality, their
    musical entertainments, and other amusements, had so much
    absorbed my attention during the whole year, that I neither had
    time nor desire to see the wonders contained in this enchanted
    palace. I did not even notice a thousand curious objects that
    every day offered themselves to my view, so much was I charmed by
    the beauty of those ladies, and the pleasure they seemed to take
    in promoting my gratification. Their departure sensibly afflicted
    me; and though their absence was to be only forty days, it seemed
    to me an age to live without them.

    I determined not to forget the important advice they had given
    me, not to open the golden door; but as I was permitted to
    satisfy my curiosity in everything else, I took the first of the
    keys of the other doors, which were hung in regular order.

    I opened the first door, and entered an orchard, which I believe
    the universe could not equal. I could not imagine any thing to
    surpass it, except that which our religion promises us after
    death. The symmetry, the neatness, the admirable order of the
    trees, the abundance and diversity of unknown fruits, their
    freshness and beauty, delighted my senses.

    Nor must I omit to inform you, that this delicious orchard was
    watered in a very particular manner. There were channels so
    artificially and proportionately dug, that they carried water in
    considerable quantities to the roots of such trees as required
    much moisture. Others conveyed it in smaller quantities to those
    whose fruits were already formed: some carried still less to
    those whose fruits were swelling, and others carried only so much
    as was just requisite to water those which had their fruits come
    to perfection, and only wanted to be ripened. They far exceeded
    in size the ordinary fruits of our gardens. Lastly, those
    channels that watered the trees whose fruit was ripe had no more
    moisture than just what would preserve them from withering.

    I should never have tired in examining and admiring so delightful
    a place; nor have left it, had I not conceived a still higher
    idea of the other things which I had not seen. I went out at last
    with my mind filled with the wonders I had viewed: I shut the
    door, and opened the next.

    Instead of an orchard, I found here a flower garden, which was no
    less extraordinary in its kind. It contained a spacious plot, not
    watered so profusely as the former, but with greater niceness,
    furnishing no more water than just what each flower required. The
    roses, jessamines, violets, daffodils, hyacinths, anemonies,
    tulips, pinks, lilies, and an infinite number of flowers, which
    do not grow in other places but at certain times, were there
    flourishing all at once, and nothing could be more delicious than
    the fragrant smell which they emitted.

    I opened the third door, and found a large aviary, paved with
    marble of several fine and uncommon colours. The trellis work was
    made of sandal wood and wood of aloes. It contained a vast number
    of nightingales, gold-finches, canary birds, larks, and other
    rare singing-birds, which I had never heard of; and the vessels
    that held their seed and water were of the most precious jasper
    or agate.

    Besides, this aviary was so exceedingly neat, that, considering
    its extent, I judged there must be not less than a hundred
    persons to keep it clean; but all this while not one appeared,
    either here or in the gardens I had before examined; and yet I
    could not perceive a weed, or any thing superfluous or offensive
    to sight. The sun went down, and I retired, charmed with the
    chirping notes of the multitude of birds, who then began to perch
    upon such places as suited them for repose during the night. I
    went to my chamber, resolving on the following days to open all
    the rest of the doors, excepting that of gold.

    The next day I opened the fourth door. If what I had seen before
    was capable of exciting my surprise, what I now beheld
    transported me into perfect ecstacy. I entered a large court
    surrounded with buildings of an admirable structure, the
    description of which I will omit, to avoid prolixity.

    This building had forty doors, all open, and through each of them
    was an entrance into a treasury: several of these treasuries
    contained as much wealth as the largest kingdoms. The first was
    stored with heaps of pearls: and, what is almost incredible, the
    number of those stones which are most precious, and as large as
    pigeons' eggs, exceeded the number of those of the ordinary size.
    In the second treasury, there were diamonds, carbuncles, and
    rubies; in the third, emeralds; in the fourth, ingots of gold; in
    the fifth, money; in the sixth, ingots of silver; and in the two
    following, money. The rest contained amethysts, chrysolites,
    topazes, opals, turquoises, and hyacinths, with all the other
    stones known to us, without mentioning agate, jasper, cornelian,
    and coral, of which there was a store house filled, not only with
    branches, but whole trees.

    Filled with astonishment and admiration at the view of all these
    riches, I exclaimed, "If all the treasures of the kings of the
    universe were gathered together in one place, they could not
    equal the value of these. How fortunate am I to possess all this
    wealth with so many admirable princesses! "

    I will not tire you, madam, with a detail of all the other
    objects of curiosity and value which I discovered on the
    following day. I shall only say, that thirty-nine days afforded
    me but just as much time as was necessary to open ninety-nine
    doors, and to admire all that presented itself to my view, so
    that there was only the hundredth door left, which I was
    forbidden to open.

    The fortieth day after the departure of those charming princesses
    arrived, and had I but retained so much self-command as I ought
    to have had, I should have been this day the happiest of all
    mankind, whereas now I am the most unfortunate. They were to
    return the next day, and the pleasure of seeing them again ought
    to have restrained my curiosity: but through my weakness, which I
    shall ever repent, I yielded to the temptations of the evil
    spirit, who allowed me no rest till I had involved myself in the
    misfortunes I have since suffered.

    I opened that fatal door! But before I had moved my foot to
    enter, a smell pleasant enough, but too powerful for my senses,
    made me faint away. However, I soon recovered: but instead of
    taking warning from this incident to close the door, and restrain
    my curiosity, after waiting some time for the external air to
    correct the effluvia of the place, I entered, and felt myself no
    longer incommoded. I found myself in a spacious vaulted
    apartment, the pavement of which was strewed with saffron. It was
    illuminated by several large tapers which emitted the perfume of
    aloes and ambergris, and were placed in candlesticks of solid
    gold. This light was augmented by gold and silver lamps, burning
    perfumed oils of various kinds.

    Among the many objects that attracted my attention was a black
    horse, of the most perfect symmetry and beauty that ever was
    beheld. I approached in order the better to observe him, and
    found he had on a saddle and bridle of massive gold, curiously
    wrought. One part of his manger was filled with clean barley and
    sesame, and the other with rose-water. I laid hold of his bridle,
    and led him out to view him by daylight. I mounted, and
    endeavoured to make him move: but finding he did not stir, I
    struck him with a switch I had taken up in his magnificent
    stable. He had no sooner felt the blow, than he began to neigh in
    a most horrible manner, and extending his wings, which I had not
    before perceived, flew up with me into the air. My thoughts were
    fully in keeping my seat; and considering the fear that had
    seized me, I sat well. At length he directed his course towards
    the earth, and lighted upon the terrace of a castle, and, without
    giving me time to dismount, shook me out of the saddle with such
    force, as to throw me behind him, and with the end of his tail he
    struck out my eye.

    Thus it was I became blind of one eye. I then recollected the
    predictions of the ten young gentlemen. The horse again took
    wing, and soon disappeared. I got up much vexed at the misfortune
    I had brought upon myself. I walked upon the terrace, covering my
    eye with one of my hands, for it pained me exceedingly, and then
    descended, and entered into a hall. I soon discoved by the ten
    sofas in a circle, and the eleventh in the middle, lower than the
    rest, that I was in the castle whence I had been carried by the

    The ten young gentlemen were not in the hall when I entered; but
    came in soon after, attended by the old man. They seemed not at
    all surprised to see me, nor at the loss of my eye; but said, "We
    are sorry that we cannot congratulate you on your return, as we
    could wish; but we are not the cause of your misfortune." "I
    should do you wrong," I replied, "to lay it to your charge; I
    have only myself to accuse." "If," said they, "it be a subject of
    consolation to the afflicted to know that others share their
    sufferings, you have in us this alleviation of your misfortune.
    All that has happened to you we have also endured; we each of us
    tasted the same pleasures during a year; and we had still
    continued to enjoy them, had we not opened the golden door, when
    the princesses were absent. You have been no wiser than we, and
    have incurred the same punishment. We would gladly receive you
    into our company, to join with us in the penance to which we are
    bound, and the duration of which we know not. But we have already
    stated to you the reasons that render this impossible: depart,
    therefore, and proceed to the court of Bagdad, where you will
    meet with the person who is to decide your destiny." After they
    had explained to me the road I was to travel, I departed.

    On the road I caused my beard and eye-brows to be shaven, and
    assumed a calender's habit. I have had a long journey, but at
    last I arrived this evening, and met these my brother calenders
    at the gate, being strangers as well as myself. We were mutually
    surprised at one another, to see that we were all blind of the
    same eye; but we had not leisure to converse long on the subject
    of our misfortunes. We have only had time enough to bring us
    hither, to implore those favours which you have been generously
    pleased to grant us.

    The third calender having finished this relation of his
    adventures, Zobeide addressed him and his fellow calenders thus:
    "Go wherever you think proper, you are at liberty." But one of
    them answered, "Madam, we beg you to pardon our curiosity, and
    permit us to hear the stories of those gentlemen who have not yet
    spoken." Then the lady turned to the caliph, the vizier Jaaffier,
    and Mesrour, and said to them, "It is now your turn to relate
    your adventures, therefore speak."

    The grand vizier who had all along been the spokesman, answered
    Zobeide: "Madam, in order to obey you, we need only repeat what
    we have already said. We are merchants of Moussol come to Bagdad
    to sell our merchandize, which lies in the khan where we lodge.
    We dined today with several other persons of our condition, at a
    merchant's house of this city; who, after he had treated us with
    choice dainties and excellent wines, sent for men and women
    dancers, and musicians. The great noise we made brought in the
    watch, who arrested some of the company, and we had the good
    fortune to escape: but it being already late, and the door of our
    khan shut up, we knew not whither to retire. We chanced as we
    passed along this street to hear mirth at your house, which made
    us determine to knock at your gate. This is all the account that
    we can give you, in obedience to your commands."

    Zobeide having heard this statement, seemed to hesitate what to
    say, which the calenders perceiving, prayed her to grant the same
    favour to the three Moussol merchants as she had done to them.
    "Well then," said she, "you shall all be equally obliged to me; I
    pardon you all, provided you immediately depart."

    Zobeide having given this command in a tone that signified she
    would be obeyed, the caliph, the vizier Mesrour, the three
    calenders, and the porter departed, without saying one word: for
    the presence of the seven slaves with their weapons awed them
    into silence. As soon as they had quitted the house, and the gate
    was closed after them, the caliph said to the calenders, without
    making himself known, "You gentlemen, who are newly come to town,
    which way do you design to go, since it is not yet day?" "It is
    this," they replied, "that perplexes us." "Follow us," resumed
    the caliph, "and we will convey you out of danger." He then
    whispered to the vizier, "Take them along with you, and tomorrow
    morning bring them to me; I will cause their history to be put in
    writing, for it deserves a place in the annals of my reign."

    The vizier Jaaffier took the three calenders along with him; the
    porter went to his quarters, and the caliph and Mesrour returned
    to the palace. The caliph went to bed, but could not sleep, being
    perplexed by the extraordinary things he had seen and heard. But
    above all, he was most concerned to know the history of Zobeide;
    what reason she could have to be so severe to the two black
    bitches, and why Amene had her bosom so scarred. Day began to
    appear whilst he was thinking upon these things; he arose and
    went to his council chamber, and sat upon his throne.

    The grand vizier entered soon after, and paid his respects as
    usual. "Vizier," said the caliph, "the affairs that we have to
    consider at present are not very pressing; that of the three
    ladies and the two black bitches is the most urgent: my mind
    cannot rest till I am thoroughly satisfied, in all those matters
    that have so much surprised me. Go, bring those ladies and the
    calenders at the same time; make haste, and remember that I
    impatiently expect your return."

    The vizier who knew his master's quick and fiery temper, hastened
    to obey, and went to the ladies, to whom he communicated, in a
    civil way,. the orders with which he was charged, to bring them
    before the caliph, without taking any notice of what had passed
    the night before at their house.

    The ladies put on their veils, and went with the vizier As he
    passed his own house, he took along with him the three calenders,
    who in the interval had learnt that they had seen and spoken with
    the caliph, without knowing him. The vizier conducted them to the
    palace with so much expedition, that the caliph was much pleased.
    This prince, that he might observe proper decorum before the
    officers of his court who were then present, ordered that the
    ladies should be placed behind the hangings of the door which led
    to his own chamber, and placed the three calenders near his
    person, who, by their respectful behaviour, sufficiently evinced
    that they were not ignorant before whom they had the honour to

    When the ladies were thus disposed of, the caliph turned towards
    them, and said, "When I acquaint you that I was last night in
    your house, disguised in a merchant's habit, you may probably be
    alarmed, lest you may have given me offence; you may perhaps
    believe that I have sent for you for no other purpose than to
    shew some marks of my resentment; but be not afraid; you may rest
    assured that I have forgotten all that has past, and am well
    satisfied with your conduct. I wish that all the ladies of Bagdad
    had as much discretion as you evinced before me. I shall always
    remember the moderation with which you acted, after the rudeness
    of which we were guilty. I was then a merchant of Moussol, but am
    at present Haroon al Rusheed, the fifth caliph of the glorious
    house of Abbas, and hold the place of our great prophet. I have
    only sent for you to know who you are, and to ask for what reason
    one of you, after severely whipping the two black bitches, wept
    with them? And I am no less curious to know, why another of you
    has her bosom so full of scars."

    Though the caliph pronounced these words very distinctly, the
    three ladies heard him well enough, yet the vizier out of
    ceremony, repeated them.

    Zobeide, after the caliph by his address had encouraged her,
    began thus:
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