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Abū Temām with a splendid robe of honour, who, when ten days had elapsed, embarked in a ship with the Princess, her damsels, and other attendants. The news of his arrival with the fair Princess of Turkestān being announced, the King, his master, was delighted, and the viziers, his mortal enemies, were confounded at the failure of their stratagems. The King, accompanied by all the people, great and small, went two stages to meet Abū Temām and the Princess, and, having led her into the city, after three days celebrated their marriage by the most sumptuous feasts and rejoicings, and bestowed a thousand thanks on Abū Temām, who every day became a greater favourite.

The ten viziers, finding, in consequence of this, their own importance and dignity gradually reduced, consulted one with another, saying: "All that we have hitherto done only tends to the exaltation of Abū Temām; we must devise some other means of disgracing him in the King's esteem, and procuring his banishment from this country."

After this they concerted together, and at length resolved to bribe two boys, whose office was to rub

the King's feet every night after he lay down on his bed; and they accordingly instructed these boys to take an opportunity, when the King should close his eyes, of saying that Abū Temām had been ungrateful for the favours bestowed on him; that he had violated the harem, and aspired to the Queen's affections, and had boasted that she would not have come from Turkestan had she not been enamoured of himself. This lesson the viziers taught the boys, giving them a thousand dinars, and promising five hundred more.

When it was night the boys were employed as usual in their office of rubbing the King's feet; and when they perceived his eyes to be closed, they began to repeat all that the viziers had taught them to say concerning Abū Temām.

The King, hearing this, started up, and dismissing the boys, sent immediately for Abū Temām, and said to him: "A certain matter has occurred, on the subject of which I must consult you; and I expect that you will relieve my mind by answering the question that I shall ask."-Abū Temām declared himself ready to obey.-"What, then," demanded the King, "does that servant merit, who, in return for various

favours, ungratefully attempts to violate the harem of his sovereign?"-"Such a servant," answered Abū Temām, “should be punished with death his blood should expiate his offence." When Abū Temām had said this, the King drew his scimitar, and cut off his head, and ordered his body to be cast into a pit.

For some days he gave not audience to any person, and the viziers began to exult in the success of their stratagem; but the King was melancholy, and loved to sit alone, and was constantly thinking of the unfortunate Abu Temām.

It happened, however, that one day the two boys who had been bribed by the viziers were engaged in a dispute one with the other on the division of the money, each claiming for himself the larger share. In the course of their dispute they mentioned the innocence of Abū Temām, and the bribe which they had received for defaming him in the King's hearing.

All this conversation the King overheard; and trembling with vexation, rage, and sorrow, he compelled the boys to relate all the circumstances of the affair; in consequence of which the ten viziers were H*

immediately seized and put to death, and their houses levelled with the ground; after which the King passed his time in fruitless lamentation for the loss of Abū Temām.

"Thus," said Bakhtyar, "does unrelenting malice persecute unto destruction; but if the King had not been so hasty in killing Abū Temām, he would have spared himself all his subsequent sorrow."

The King, affected by this observation, resolved to indulge Bakhtyar with another day, and accordingly sent him back to prison.

CHAPTER X.

ARLY on the next morning the Tenth Vizier sent a woman to the Queen with a message,

urging her to exert her influence over the King, and induce him to give orders for the execution of Bakhtyar. The Queen, in consequence of this, addressed the King on the subject before he left the palace, and he replied, that Bakhtyār's fate was now decided, and that his execution should not be any longer deferred. The King then went forth, and the Viziers attended in their proper places. The Tenth Vizier was rising to speak, when the King informed him of his resolution to terminate the affair of Bakhtyar by putting him to death on that day.

He was brought accordingly from the prison; and the King on seeing him said: "You have spoken a great deal of your innocence, yet have not been able

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