Page images

The old woman, having then found that the King was alone in his summer-house, presented herself before him, and said: "O King, this solitary life occasions melancholy and sadness!" The King replied that it was not solitude which rendered him melancholy, but vexation on account of the Queen's infidelity, and the ingratitude of Farrukhzād, on whom he had heaped so many favours, and whom he had adopted as his own son. "Yet," added he, "I am not convinced of his guilt; and since the day that I caused him to be killed, I have not enjoyed repose, nor ta am I certain whether the fault was his or the Queen's.”






"Let not the King be longer in suspense on this subject," said the old woman, I have a certain talisman, one of the talismans of Solomon, written in Grecian characters, and in the Syrian language; if your Majesty will watch an opportunity when the Queen shall be asleep, and lay it on her breast, and say: O thou that sleepest! by virtue of the talisman, and of the name of God, which it contains, b I conjure thee to speak to me, and to reveal all the secrets of thy heart, she will immediately begin to speak, and will declare everything that she knows, both true and false."

[ocr errors]


де К

The King, delighted at the hopes of discovering the here truth by means of this talisman, desired the old ary woman to fetch it. She accordingly went home, and ing taking a piece of paper, scrawled on it some unmeaneding characters, folded it up, and tied it with a cord, Queer and sealed it with wax; then hastened to the King, wh and desired him to preserve it carefully till night e should afford an opportunity of trying its efficacy.

[ocr errors]



When it was night, the King watched until he found se, that the Queen was in bed; then gently approaching, and believing her to be asleep, he laid the talisman on her breast, and repeated the words which the old woman had taught him. The Queen, who had also tal received her lesson, still affecting the appearance of one asleep, immediately began to speak, and related all the circumstances of her story.


[ocr errors]

n the


On hearing this the King was much affected, and fth tenderly embraced the Queen, who started from her bed as if perfectly unconscious of having revealed the


[ocr errors]

secrets of her breast. He then blamed her for not in having candidly acknowledged the circumstance of Farrukhzād's birth, who, he said, should have been considered as his own son.

All that night they passed in mutual condolence, and on the next morning the King sent for the person to whom he had delivered Farrukhzād, and desired him to point out the spot where his body lay, that he might perform the last duty to that unfortunate youth, and ask forgiveness from his departed spirit. The man replied: "It appears that your Majesty is ignorant of Farrukhzād's situation: he is at present in a place of safety; for although you ordered me to kill him, I ventured to disobey, and have concealed him in my house, from whence, if you permit, I shall immediately bring him." At this information the King was so delighted that he rewarded the man with a splendid robe, and sent with him several attendants to bring Farrukhzād to the palace.

On arriving in his presence, Farrukhzad threw himself at the King's feet, but he raised him in his arms and asked his forgiveness, and thus the affair ended in rejoicing and festivity.

[ocr errors]

Now," said Bakhtyar, having concluded his story, "it appears that women are expert in stratagems; and if Farrukhzād had been put to death, according to the

King's command, what grief and sorrow would have. been the consequence ! To avoid such," added he, "let not your Majesty be precipitate in ordering my execution."

The King resolved to wait another day, and Bakhtyār was sent back to prison.


N the next morning, the Eighth Vizier, having paid his compliments to the King, addressed

him on the subject of Bakhtyār, and said: "Government resembles a tree, the root of which is legal punishment. Now, if the root of a tree become dry, the leaves will wither: why then should the punishment of Bakhtyär be any longer deferred?"

In consequence of this discourse, the King ordered the executioner to prepare himself, and Bakhtyar was brought from prison. When the unfortunate young man came before the King, he addressed him, and said: "If your Majesty will consider the consequences of haste and precipitancy, it will appear that they are invariably sorrow and repentance; as we find confirmed in the Story of the Jewel-Merchant."

The King expressed his desire of hearing the story

« PreviousContinue »