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There is yet another work usually considered as belonging to the Sindibād class of romances, namely, the Turkish Tales of the Forty Viziers, which is said to have been composed, during the reign of Sultān Murad II, in 1421, after an Arabian romance entitled "Tales of the Forty Mornings and Forty Evenings," composed by Shaikh Zada. But the author of this work, as M. Deslongchamps has justly remarked, has borrowed little from the Book of Sindibād besides the frame. The tales-which are eighty in number, forty of which are told by the Viziers, and forty by the Queen-are quite different from, yet no whit inferior to, those of any version of the King and his Seven Counsellors. M. Petit de Lacroix, last century, made a French translation of this work as far as the story of the Tenth Vizier, which was soon afterwards rendered into English, but divested of much of the Oriental costume and colour. In 1851 Behrnauer issued a German rendering of the Turkish text. And it may interest some readers to know that Mr E. J. W. Gibb-whose recently published translations of Ottoman Poems, with Introduction, Biographical Notices, and Notes, have received the approbation of competent judges-is at present engaged on a complete English translation of this highly entertaining

romance.

II-THE BAKHTYĀR NĀMA AND ITS VERSIONS.

AVING in the preceding section glanced at the various works of fiction in different languages which have been derived or imi

tated from the Book of Sindibād, let us now proceed to examine the degree of relationship which the Bakhtyar Nāma bears to the same work. The learned writer of an able and interesting analysis, in the Asiatic Journal, vol. xxx, 1839, of two different manuscripts of the Thousand and One Nights, preserved in the British Museum, has fallen into a singular mistake when he says: "It is curious enough that in each of the two MSS. a tale is interpolated on the plan of the Bakhtyar Nama. A King wishes to destroy his son, and his Viziers relate stories to prove the malice of women, alternately with the King's concubine, who has falsely accused the young man, and who tells stories of the subtlety of men." This is the frame of the Sindibād Nama, not that of the Bakhtyar Nama, since in the former the Viziers are the defenders of the innocent, and relate stories on his behalf; while the case is precisely reversed in the Bakhytär Nama, where the Viziers are the accusers, eager for the death of the innocent young man, and it is the accused youth himself who relates the stories. The only resemblance which the Ro

mance of Prince Bakhtyar bears to the leading story of the Book of Sindibad (and its offspring) is the incident of a youth being falsely accused of attempting to violate the Queen, as will be seen from the following outline of the Bakhtyar Story.

A King, flying from his own kingdom, with his Queen, is obliged to abandon in the desert a newborn male infant, close to a well. This infant is discovered by a band of robbers, the chief of whom, struck with his beauty and the richness of his clothes, carries him to his house, adopts him as his own son and gives him an excellent education. At the age of fifteen years the youth accompanies all the banditti on a plundering expedition, in which they attack a caravan, but are defeated, and many of their number, including the adopted son of their chief, are taken prisoners and brought before the King-the father of the youth, who had in the meanwhile recovered his kingdom. The young man's grace and beauty so win the King's heart, that he not only pardons the whole company, but takes the youth into his service, changing his name from Khudādād (God-given) to Bakhtyār (Befriended by Fortune). Bakhtyar acquits himself of his new duties so well that the King promotes him to a more important position—that of keeper of the royal treasury, and his own intimate friend and counsellor. These distinguished favours excite the envy of the King's Ten Viziers, who become eager for some opportunity of bringing the favourite to disgrace and ruin.

And it so chances, one evening, that Bakhtyar, being muddled with wine, straggles into one of the chambers of the harem, and throws himself upon the royal couch, where he falls asleep. Shortly afterwards, the King enters, and, discovering his favourite in the forbidden part of the palace, his jealousy is aroused, and he orders the attendants to seize the unhappy young man, then sends for the Queen, and accuses her of having introduced Bakhtyar into the harem. The Queen protests that she is entirely innocent of the charge, and at her suggestion the King causes them both to be confined for that night in separate apartments, resolving to investigate the affair in the morning. Next day, the first of the Viziers, waiting on the King, is informed of the supposed violation of the harem by Bakhtyar, upon which the Vizier obtains leave to visit the Queen, and ascertain from her the particulars of the affair. The Queen, on being questioned by the Vizier, denies all knowledge of Bakhtyär's presence in the King's chamber (it does not appear, indeed, that she had ever seen him before); but the Vizier assures her that the King would not credit her assertion, and counsels her, if she would save her own life, to accuse Bakhtyar to the King of having presumed to make dishonourable proposals to her, which she had, of course, rejected with indignation. After much persuasion, she at length consents, and accordingly accuses the young man of this capital offence. The King immediately commands Bakhtyar to be brought

before him, and after bitterly reproaching him with ingratitude for the many and unprecedented favours which he had bestowed upon him, in the meantime sends him back to prison. On the following day, the second Vizier urges the King to put him to death; and the King causes him to be brought into his presence, and tells him that he must forfeit his life. Bakhtyār, however, in eloquent terms, protests that he is perfectly innocent of the crime of which he is accused, but expresses his submission to the will of Providence, like a certain unlucky merchant, with whom no affair prospered. This arouses the King's curiosity, and Bakhtyar is permitted to relate the story, after which the King sends him back to prison for that day. Every morning of the eight following days one of the Viziers, in turn, presents himself before the King, and urges that Bakhtyār's execution should be no longer delayed; but when the youth is brought into the King's presence, as on the first day, he pleads his own cause so well, and excites the King's curiosity by reference to some remarkable story, which he is allowed to relate, that his execution is deferred from day to day, until at length the King is reluctantly compelled by the Viziers' complaints to give orders for the public execution of the young man. It happens, however, that the robber-chief who had found the royal infant at the well, and brought him up, is, with a party of his men, among the crowd assembled round the scaffold, and recognising in Bakhtyar his adopted son, rescues

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