A Thousand And One Arabian Nights
More Adventures of Prince Camaralzaman and the Princess Badoura
By daybreak our travellers found themselves where four cross roads
met in the middle of the forest. Here Marzavan begged the prince
to wait for him, and leading the groom's horse into a dense part
of the wood he cut its throat, dipped the prince's coat in its blood,
and having rejoined the prince threw the coat on the ground where
the roads parted.
In answer to Camaralzaman's inquiries as to the reason for this,
Marzavan replied that the only chance they had of continuing their journey
was to divert attention by creating the idea of the prince's death.
"Your father will doubtless be plunged in the deepest grief,"
he went on, "but his joy at your return will be all the greater."
The prince and his companion now continued their journey by land
and sea, and as they had brought plenty of money to defray their
expenses they met with no needless delays. At length they reached
the capital of China, where they spent three days in a suitable
lodging to recover from their fatigues.
During this time Marzavan had an astrologer's dress
prepared for the prince. They then went to the baths,
after which the prince put on the astrologer's robe and was
conducted within sight of the king's palace by Marzavan,
who left him there and went to consult his mother, the princess's nurse.
Meantime the prince, according to Marzavan's instructions,
advanced close to the palace gates and there proclaimed aloud:
"I am an astrologer and I come to restore health to
the Princess Badoura, daughter of the high and mighty
King of China, on the conditions laid down by His
Majesty of marrying her should I succeed, or of losing my life if I fail."
It was some little time since anyone had presented himself to run
the terrible risk involved in attempting to cure the princess,
and a crowd soon gathered round the prince. On perceiving his youth,
good looks, and distinguished bearing, everyone felt pity for him.
"What are you thinking of, sir," exclaimed some; "why expose yourself
to certain death? Are not the heads you see exposed on the town
wall sufficient warning? For mercy's sake give up this mad idea
and retire whilst you can."
But the prince remained firm, and only repeated his cry with
greater assurance, to the horror of the crowd.
"He is resolved to die!" they cried; "may heaven have pity on him!"
Camaralzaman now called out for the third time, and at last
the grand-vizir himself came out and fetched him in.
The prime minister led the prince to the king, who was much struck
by the noble air of this new adventurer, and felt such pity for
the fate so evidently in store for him, that he tried to persuade
the young man to renounce his project.
But Camaralzaman politely yet firmly persisted in his intentions,
and at length the king desired the eunuch who had the guard of the
princess's apartments to conduct the astrologer to her presence.
The eunuch led the way through long passages, and Camaralzaman
followed rapidly, in haste to reach the object of his desires.
At last they came to a large hall which was the ante-room to the
princess's chamber, and here Camaralzaman said to the eunuch:
"Now you shall choose. Shall I cure the princess in her own presence,
or shall I do it from here without seeing her?"
The eunuch, who had expressed many contemptuous doubts as they came
along of the newcomer's powers, was much surprised and said:
"If you really can cure, it is immaterial when you do it.
Your fame will be equally great."
"Very well," replied the prince: "then, impatient though I am
to see the princess, I will effect the cure where I stand,
the better to convince you of my power." He accordingly drew
out his writing case and wrote as follows--"Adorable princess!
The enamoured Camaralzaman has never forgotten the moment when,
contemplating your sleeping beauty, he gave you his heart.
As he was at that time deprived of the happiness of conversing
with you, he ventured to give you his ring as a token of his love,
and to take yours in exchange, which he now encloses in this letter.
Should you deign to return it to him he will be the happiest
of mortals, if not he will cheerfully resign himself to death,
seeing he does so for love of you. He awaits your reply in your
Having finished this note the prince carefully enclosed the ring in it
without letting the eunuch see it, and gave him the letter, saying:
"Take this to your mistress, my friend, and if on reading it
and seeing its contents she is not instantly cured, you may call
me an impudent impostor."
The eunuch at once passed into the princess's room, and handing
her the letter said:
"Madam, a new astrologer has arrived, who declares that you will be
cured as soon as you have read this letter and seen what it contains."
The princess took the note and opened it with languid indifference.
But no sooner did she see her ring than, barely glancing at the writing,
she rose hastily and with one bound reached the doorway and pushed
back the hangings. Here she and the prince recognised each other,
and in a moment they were locked in each other's arms, where they
tenderly embraced, wondering how they came to meet at last after
so long a separation. The nurse, who had hastened after her charge,
drew them back to the inner room, where the princess restored her ring
"Take it back," she said, "I could not keep it without returning
yours to you, and I am resolved to wear that as long as I live."
Meantime the eunuch had hastened back to the king. "Sire," he cried,
"all the former doctors and astrologers were mere quacks.
This man has cured the princess without even seeing her."
He then told all to the king, who, overjoyed, hastened to his
daughter's apartments, where, after embracing her, he placed
her hand in that of the prince, saying:
"Happy stranger, I keep my promise, and give you my daughter to wife,
be you who you may. But, if I am not much mistaken, your condition
is above what you appear to be."
The prince thanked the king in the warmest and most respectful terms,
and added: "As regards my person, your Majesty has rightly guessed
that I am not an astrologer. It is but a disguise which I assumed
in order to merit your illustrious alliance. I am myself a prince,
my name is Camaralzaman, and my father is Schahzaman, King of the
Isles of the Children of Khaledan." He then told his whole history,
including the extraordinary manner of his first seeing and loving
the Princess Badoura.
When he had finished the king exclaimed: "So remarkable a story must
not be lost to posterity. It shall be inscribed in the archives
of my kingdom and published everywhere abroad."
The wedding took place next day amidst great pomp and rejoicings.
Marzavan was not forgotten, but was given a lucrative post at court,
with a promise of further advancement.
The prince and princess were now entirely happy, and months slipped
by unconsciously in the enjoyment of each other's society.
One night, however, Prince Camaralzaman dreamt that he saw his
father lying at the point of death, and saying: "Alas! my son whom
I loved so tenderly, has deserted me and is now causing my death."
The prince woke with such a groan as to startle the princess,
who asked what was the matter.
"Ah!" cried the prince, "at this very moment my father is perhaps
no more!" and he told his dream.
The princess said but little at the time, but next morning she went
to the king, and kissing his hand said:
"I have a favour to ask of your Majesty, and I beg you to believe
that it is in no way prompted by my husband. It is that you will
allow us both to visit my father-in-law King Schahzaman."
Sorry though the king felt at the idea of parting with his daughter,
he felt her request to be so reasonable that he could not refuse it,
and made but one condition, which was that she should only spend
one year at the court of King Schahzaman, suggesting that in future
the young couple should visit their respective parents alternately.
The princess brought this good news to her husband, who thanked
her tenderly for this fresh proof of her affection.
All preparations for the journey were now pressed forwards, and when
all was ready the king accompanied the travellers for some days,
after which he took an affectionate leave of his daughter, and charging
the prince to take every care of her, returned to his capital.
The prince and princess journeyed on, and at the end of a month
reached a huge meadow interspersed with clumps of big trees which cast
a most pleasant shade. As the heat was great, Camaralzaman thought it
well to encamp in this cool spot. Accordingly the tents were pitched,
and the princess entering hers whilst the prince was giving his
further orders, removed her girdle, which she placed beside her,
and desiring her women to leave her, lay down and was soon asleep.
When the camp was all in order the prince entered the tent and,
seeing the princess asleep, he sat down near her without speaking.
His eyes fell on the girdle which, he took up, and whilst inspecting
the precious stones set in it he noticed a little pouch sewn
to the girdle and fastened by a loop. He touched it and felt
something hard within. Curious as to what this might be, he opened
the pouch and found a cornelian engraved with various figures
and strange characters.
"This cornelian must be something very precious," thought he,
"or my wife would not wear it on her person with so much care."
In truth it was a talisman which the Queen of China had given
her daughter, telling her it would ensure her happiness as long
as she carried it about her.
The better to examine the stone the prince stepped to the open
doorway of the tent. As he stood there holding it in the open
palm of his hand, a bird suddenly swooped down, picked the stone
up in its beak and flew away with it.
Imagine the prince's dismay at losing a thing by which his wife
evidently set such store!
The bird having secured its prey flew off some yards and
alighted on the ground, holding the talisman it its beak.
Prince Camaralzaman advanced, hoping the bird would drop it, but as
soon as he approached the thief fluttered on a little further still.
He continued his pursuit till the bird suddenly swallowed the stone
and took a longer flight than before. The prince then hoped to kill
it with a stone, but the more hotly he pursued the further flew the bird.
In this fashion he was led on by hill and dale through the entire day,
and when night came the tiresome creature roosted on the top
of a very high tree where it could rest in safety.
The prince in despair at all his useless trouble began to think
whether he had better return to the camp. "But," thought he,
"how shall I find my way back? Must I go up hill or down?
I should certainly lose my way in the dark, even if my strength
held out." Overwhelmed by hunger, thirst, fatigue and sleep,
he ended by spending the night at the foot of the tree.
Next morning Camaralzaman woke up before the bird left its perch,
and no sooner did it take flight than he followed it again
with as little success as the previous day, only stopping to eat
some herbs and fruit he found by the way. In this fashion he
spent ten days, following the bird all day and spending the night
at the foot of a tree, whilst it roosted on the topmost bough.
On the eleventh day the bird and the prince reached a large town,
and as soon as they were close to its walls the bird took a sudden
and higher flight and was shortly completely out of sight,
whilst Camaralzaman felt in despair at having to give up all hopes
of ever recovering the talisman of the Princess Badoura.
Much cast down, he entered the town, which was built near the sea
and had a fine harbour. He walked about the streets for a long time,
not knowing where to go, but at length as he walked near the seashore
he found a garden door open and walked in.
The gardener, a good old man, who was at work, happened to look up,
and, seeing a stranger, whom he recognised by his dress as a Mussulman,
he told him to come in at once and to shut the door.
Camaralzaman did as he was bid, and inquired why this precaution
"Because," said the gardener, "I see that you are a stranger and
a Mussulman, and this town is almost entirely inhabited by idolaters,
who hate and persecute all of our faith. It seems almost a miracle
that has led you to this house, and I am indeed glad that you
have found a place of safety."
Camaralzaman warmly thanked the kind old man for offering him shelter,
and was about to say more, but the gardener interrupted him with:
"Leave compliments alone. You are weary and must be hungry.
Come in, eat, and rest." So saying he led the prince into his cottage,
and after satisfying his hunger begged to learn the cause of
Camaralzaman told him all without disguise, and ended by inquiring
the shortest way to his father's capital. "For," added he,
"if I tried to rejoin the princess, how should I find her after
eleven days' separation. Perhaps, indeed, she may be no longer alive!"
At this terrible thought he burst into tears.
The gardener informed Camaralzaman that they were quite a year's land
journey to any Mahomedan country, but that there was a much shorter
route by sea to the Ebony Island, from whence the Isles of the Children
of Khaledan could be easily reached, and that a ship sailed once
a year for the Ebony Island by which he might get so far as his very home.
"If only you had arrived a few days sooner," he said, "you might
have embarked at once. As it is you must now wait till next year,
but if you care to stay with me I offer you my house, such as it is,
with all my heart."
Prince Camaralzaman thought himself lucky to find some place of refuge,
and gladly accepted the gardener's offer. He spent his days working in
the garden, and his nights thinking of and sighing for his beloved wife.
Let us now see what had become during this time of the Princess Badoura.
On first waking she was much surprised not to find the prince
near her. She called her women and asked if they knew where he was,
and whilst they were telling her that they had seen him enter
the tent, but had not noticed his leaving it, she took up her belt
and perceived that the little pouch was open and the talisman gone.
She at once concluded that her husband had taken it and would shortly
bring it back. She waited for him till evening rather impatiently,
and wondering what could have kept him from her so long. When night
came without him she felt in despair and abused the talisman
and its maker roundly. In spite of her grief and anxiety however,
she did not lose her presence of mind, but decided on a courageous,
though very unusual step.
Only the princess and her women knew of Camaralzaman's disappearance,
for the rest of the party were sleeping or resting in their tents.
Fearing some treason should the truth be known, she ordered her
women not to say a word which would give rise to any suspicion,
and proceeded to change her dress for one of her husband's, to whom,
as has been already said, she bore a strong likeness.
In this disguise she looked so like the prince that when she gave
orders next morning to break up the camp and continue the journey no
one suspected the change. She made one of her women enter her litter,
whilst she herself mounted on horseback and the march began.
After a protracted journey by land and sea the princess, still under
the name and disguise of Prince Camaralzaman, arrived at the capital
of the Ebony Island whose king was named Armanos.
No sooner did the king hear that the ship which was just in port
had on board the son of his old friend and ally than he hurried
to meet the supposed prince, and had him and his retinue brought
to the palace, where they were lodged and entertained sumptuously.
After three days, finding that his guest, to whom he had taken
a great fancy, talked of continuing his journey, King Armanos said
"Prince, I am now an old man, and unfortunately 1 have no son
to whom to leave my kingdom. It has pleased Heaven to give me
only one daughter, who possesses such great beauty and charm
that I could only give her to a prince as highly born and as
accomplished as yourself. Instead, therefore, of returning to your
own country, take my daughter and my crown and stay with us.
I shall feel that I have a worthy successor, and shall cheerfully
retire from the fatigues of government."
The king's offer was naturally rather embarrassing to the Princess
Badoura. She felt that it was equally impossible to confess that she
had deceived him, or to refuse the marriage on which he had set his heart;
a refusal which might turn all his kindness to hatred and persecution.
All things considered, she decided to accept, and after a few moments
silence said with a blush, which the king attributed to modesty:
"Sire, I feel so great an obligation for the good opinion
your Majesty has expressed for my person and of the honour
you do me, that, though I am quite unworthy of it,
I dare not refuse. But, sire, I can only accept such
an alliance if you give me your promise to assist me with your counsels."
The marriage being thus arranged, the ceremony was fixed for the
following day, and the princess employed the intervening time in
informing the officers of her suite of what had happened, assuring them
that the Princess Badoura had given her full consent to the marriage.
She also told her women, and bade them keep her secret well.
King Armanos, delighted with the success of his plans, lost no
time in assembling his court and council, to whom he presented
his successor, and placing his future son-in-law on the throne
made everyone do homage and take oaths of allegiance to the new king.
At night the whole town was filled with rejoicings, and with much pomp
the Princess Haiatelnefous (this was the name of the king's daughter)
was conducted to the palace of the Princess Badoura.
Now Badoura had thought much of the difficulties of her first
interview with King Armanos' daughter, and she felt the only thing
to do was at once to take her into her confidence.
Accordingly, as soon as they were alone she took Haiatelnefous
by the hand and said:
"Princess, I have a secret to tell you, and must throw myself
on your mercy. I am not Prince Camaralzaman, but a princess
like yourself and his wife, and I beg you to listen to my story,
then I am sure you will forgive my imposture, in consideration
of my sufferings."
She then related her whole history, and at its close Haiatelnefous
embraced her warmly, and assured her of her entire sympathy
The two princesses now planned out their future action, and agreed
to combine to keep up the deception and to let Badoura continue
to play a man's part until such time as there might be news
of the real Camaralzaman.
Whilst these things were passing in the Ebony Island Prince
Camaralzaman continued to find shelter in the gardeners cottage
in the town of the idolaters.
Early one morning the gardener said to the prince:
"To-day is a public holiday, and the people of the town not only
do not work themselves but forbid others to do so. You had better
therefore take a good rest whilst I go to see some friends, and as
the time is near for the arrival of the ship of which I told you I
will make inquiries about it, and try to bespeak a passage for you."
He then put on his best clothes and went out, leaving the prince,
who strolled into the garden and was soon lost in thoughts of his
dear wife and their sad separation.
As he walked up and down he was suddenly disturbed in his reverie
by the noise two large birds were making in a tree.
Camaralzaman stood still and looked up, and saw that the birds were
fighting so savagely with beaks and claws that before long one fell dead
to the ground, whilst the conqueror spread his wings and flew away.
Almost immediately two other larger birds, who had been watching the duel,
flew up and alighted, one at the head and the other at the feet of
the dead bird. They stood there some time sadly shaking their heads,
and then dug up a grave with their claws in which they buried him.
As soon as they had filled in the grave the two flew off, and ere
long returned, bringing with them the murderer, whom they held,
one by a wing and the other by a leg, with their beaks, screaming and
struggling with rage and terror. But they held tight, and having
brought him to his victim's grave, they proceeded to kill him,
after which they tore open his body, scattered the inside and once
more flew away.
The prince, who had watched the whole scene with much interest,
now drew near the spot where it happened, and glancing at the dead
bird he noticed something red lying near which had evidently fallen
out of its inside. He picked it up, and what was his surprise when he
recognised the Princess Badoura's talisman which had been the cause
of many misfortunes. It would be impossible to describe his joy;
he kissed the talisman repeatedly, wrapped it up, and carefully
tied it round his arm. For the first time since his separation
from the princess he had a good night, and next morning he was up
at day-break and went cheerfully to ask what work he should do.
The gardener told him to cut down an old fruit tree which had quite
died away, and Camaralzaman took an axe and fell to vigorously.
As he was hacking at one of the roots the axe struck on something hard.
On pushing away the earth he discovered a large slab of bronze,
under which was disclosed a staircase with ten steps.
He went down them and found himself in a roomy kind of cave
in which stood fifty large bronze jars, each with a cover on it.
The prince uncovered one after another, and found them all filled
with gold dust. Delighted with his discovery he left the cave,
replaced the slab, and having finished cutting down the tree waited
for the gardener's return.
The gardener had heard the night before that the ship about which he
was inquiring would start ere long, but the exact date not being yet
known he had been told to return next day for further information.
He had gone therefore to inquire, and came back with good news
beaming in his face.
"My son," said he, "rejoice and hold yourself ready to start
in three days" time. The ship is to set sail, and I have arranged
all about your passage with the captain
"You could not bring me better news," replied Camaralzaman,
"and in return I have something pleasant to tell you. Follow me
and see the good fortune which has befallen you."
He then led the gardener to the cave, and having shown him the
treasure stored up there, said how happy it made him that Heaven
should in this way reward his kind host's many virtues and compensate
him for the privations of many years.
"What do you mean?" asked the gardener. "Do you imagine that I should
appropriate this treasure? It is yours, and I have no right whatever
to it. For the last eighty years I have dug up the ground here without
discovering anything. It is clear that these riches are intended
for you, and they are much more needed by a prince like yourself
than by an old man like me, who am near my end and require nothing.
This treasure comes just at the right time, when you are about
to return to your own country, where you will make good use of it."
But the prince would not hear of this suggestion, and finally
after much discussion they agreed to divide the gold. When this
was done the gardener said:
"My son, the great thing now is to arrange how you can best carry
off this treasure as secretly as possible for fear of losing it.
There are no olives in the Ebony Island, and those imported from
here fetch a high price. As you know, I have a good stock of the
olives which grew in this garden. Now you must take fifty jars,
fill each half full of gold dust and fill them up with the olives.
We will then have them taken on board ship when you embark."
The prince took this advice, and spent the rest of the day filling
the fifty jars, and fearing lest the precious talisman might slip
from his arm and be lost again, he took the precaution of putting
it in one of the jars, on which he made a mark so as to be able
to recognise it. When night came the jars were all ready,
and the prince and his host went to bed.
Whether in consequence of his great age, or of the fatigues and excitement
of the previous day, I do not know, but the gardener passed a very
bad night. He was worse next day, and by the morning of the third day was
dangerously ill. At daybreak the ship's captain and some of his sailors
knocked at the garden door and asked for the passenger who was to embark.
"I am he," said Camaralzaman, who had opened the door.
"The gardener who took my passage is ill and cannot see you,
but please come in and take these jars of olives and my bag,
and I will follow as soon as I have taken leave of him."
The sailors did as he asked, and the captain before leaving charged
Camaralzaman to lose no time, as the wind was fair, and he wished
to set sail at once.
As soon as they were gone the prince returned to the cottage
to bid farewell to his old friend, and to thank him once more
for all his kindness. But the old man was at his last gasp,
and had barely murmured his confession of faith when he expired.
Camaralzaman was obliged to stay and pay him the last offices,
so having dug a grave in the garden he wrapped the kind old man up
and buried him. He then locked the door, gave up the key to the owner
of the garden, and hurried to the quay only to hear that the ship
had sailed long ago, after waiting three hours for him.
It may well be believed that the prince felt in despair at this
fresh misfortune, which obliged him to spend another year in a strange
and distasteful country. Moreover, he had once more lost the Princess
Badoura's talisman, which he feared he might never see again.
There was nothing left for him but to hire the garden as the old man
had done, and to live on in the cottage. As he could not well cultivate
the garden by himself, he engaged a lad to help him, and to secure
the rest of the treasure he put the remaining gold dust into fifty more
jars, filling them up with olives so as to have them ready for transport.
Whilst the prince was settling down to this second year of toil
and privation, the ship made a rapid voyage and arrived safely
at the Ebony Island.
As the palace of the new king, or rather of the Princess Badoura,
overlooked the harbour, she saw the ship entering it and asked what
vessel it was coming in so gaily decked with flags, and was told
that it was a ship from the Island of the Idolaters which yearly
brought rich merchandise.
The princess, ever on the look out for any chance of news of her
beloved husband, went down to the harbour attended by some officers
of the court, and arrived just as the captain was landing. She sent for
him and asked many questions as to his country, voyage, what passengers
he had, and what his vessel was laden with. The captain answered all
her questions, and said that his passengers consisted entirely of traders
who brought rich stuffs from various countries, fine muslins, precious
stones, musk, amber, spices, drugs, olives, and many other things.
As soon as he mentioned olives, the princess, who was very partial
to them, exclaimed:
"I will take all you have on board. Have them unloaded and we
will make our bargain at once, and tell the other merchants to let
me see all their best wares before showing them to other people."
"Sire," replied the captain, "I have on board fifty very large
pots of olives. They belong to a merchant who was left behind,
as in spite of waiting for him he delayed so long that I was obliged
to set sail without him."
"Never mind," said the princess, "unload them all the same, and we
will arrange the price."
The captain accordingly sent his boat off to the ship and it soon
returned laden with the fifty pots of olives. The princess asked
what they might be worth.
"Sire," replied the captain, "the merchant is very poor. Your Majesty
will not overpay him if you give him a thousand pieces of silver."
"In order to satisfy him and as he is so poor," said the princess,
"I will order a thousand pieces of gold to be given you, which you
will be sure to remit to him."
So saying she gave orders for the payment and returned to the palace,
having the jars carried before her. When evening came the Princess
Badoura retired to the inner part of the palace, and going to the
apartments of the Princess Haiatelnefous she had the fifty jars
of olives brought to her. She opened one to let her friend taste
the olives and to taste them herself, but great was her surprise when,
on pouring some into a dish, she found them all powdered with
gold dust. "What an adventure! how extraordinary!" she cried.
Then she had the other jars opened, and was more and more surprised
to find the olives in each jar mixed with gold dust.
But when at length her talisman was discovered in one of the jars
her emotion was so great that she fainted away. The Princess
Haiatelnefous and her women hastened to restore her, and as soon
as she recovered consciousness she covered the precious talisman
Then, dismissing the attendants, she said to her friend:
"You will have guessed, my dear, that it was the sight of this
talisman which has moved me so deeply. This was the cause
of my separation from my dear husband, and now, I am convinced,
it will be the means of our reunion."
As soon as it was light next day the Princess Badoura sent
for the captain, and made further inquiries about the merchant
who owned the olive jars she had bought.
In reply the captain told her all he knew of the place where the
young man lived, and how, after engaging his passage, he came
to be left behind.
"If that is the case," said the princess, "you must set sail
at once and go back for him. He is a debtor of mine and must be
brought here at once, or I will confiscate all your merchandise.
I shall now give orders to have all the warehouses where your cargo
is placed under the royal seal, and they will only be opened when you
have brought me the man I ask for. Go at once and obey my orders."
The captain had no choice but to do as he was bid, so hastily
provisioning his ship he started that same evening on his return voyage.
When, after a rapid passage, he gained sight of the Island of Idolaters,
he judged it better not to enter the harbour, but casting anchor
at some distance he embarked at night in a small boat with six
active sailors and landed near Camaralzaman's cottage.
The prince was not asleep, and as he lay awake moaning over
all the sad events which had separated him from his wife,
he thought he heard a knock at the garden door. He went to
open it, and was immediately seized by the captain and sailors,
who without a word of explanation forcibly bore him off to
the boat, which took them back to the ship without loss of time.
No sooner were they on board than they weighed anchor and set sail.
Camaralzaman, who had kept silence till then, now asked the captain
(whom he had recognised) the reason for this abduction.
"Are you not a debtor of the King of the Ebony Island?" asked the captain.
"I? Why, I never even heard of him before, and never set foot
in his kingdom!" was the answer.
"Well, you must know better than I," said the captain. "You will soon
see him now, and meantime be content where you are and have patience."
The return voyage was as prosperous as the former one, and though
it was night when the ship entered the harbour, the captain lost no
time in landing with his passenger, whom he conducted to the palace,
where he begged an audience with the king.
Directly the Princess Badoura saw the prince she recognised him in
spite of his shabby clothes. She longed to throw herself on his neck,
but restrained herself, feeling it was better for them both that
she should play her part a little longer. She therefore desired
one of her officers to take care of him and to treat him well.
Next she ordered another officer to remove the seals from the warehouse,
whilst she presented the captain with a costly diamond, and told
him to keep the thousand pieces of gold paid for the olives,
as she would arrange matters with the merchant himself.
She then returned to her private apartments, where she told the
Princess Haiatelnefous all that had happened, as well as her plans for
the future, and begged her assistance, which her friend readily promised.
Next morning she ordered the prince to be taken to the bath and
clothed in a manner suitable to an emir or governor of a province.
He was then introduced to the council, where his good looks and grand
air drew the attention of all on him.
Princess Badoura, delighted to see him looking himself once more,
turned to the other emirs, saying:
"My lords, I introduce to you a new colleague, Camaralzaman, whom I
have known on my travels and who, I can assure you, you will find
well deserves your regard and admiration."
Camaralzaman was much surprised at hearing the king--whom he never
suspected of being a woman in disguise--asserting their acquaintance,
for he felt sure he had never seen her before. However he
received all the praises bestowed on him with becoming modesty,
and prostrating himself, said:
"Sire, I cannot find words in which to thank your Majesty
for the great honour conferred on me. I can but assure
you that I will do all in my power to prove myself worthy of it."
On leaving the council the prince was conducted to a splendid house
which had been prepared for him, where he found a full establishment
and well-filled stables at his orders. On entering his study his
steward presented him with a coffer filled with gold pieces for his
current expenses. He felt more and more puzzled by such good fortune,
and little guessed that the Princess of China was the cause of it.
After a few days the Princess Badoura promoted Camaralzaman to the
post of grand treasurer, an office which he filled with so much
integrity and benevolence as to win universal esteem.
He would now have thought himself the happiest of men had it not
been for that separation which he never ceased to bewail. He had
no clue to the mystery of his present position, for the princess,
out of compliment to the old king, had taken his name, and was
generally known as King Armanos the younger, few people remembering
that on her first arrival she went by another name.
At length the princess felt that the time had come to put an end
to her own and the prince's suspense, and having arranged all her
plans with the Princess Haiatelnefous, she informed Camaralzaman
that she wished his advice on some important business, and, to avoid
being disturbed, desired him to come to the palace that evening.
The prince was punctual, and was received in the private apartment,
when, having ordered her attendants to withdraw, the princess took
from a small box the talisman, and, handing it to Camaralzaman,
said: "Not long ago an astrologer gave me this talisman. As you
are universally well informed, you can perhaps tell me what is its use."
Camaralzaman took the talisman and, holding it to the light,
cried with surprise, "Sire, you ask me the use of this talisman.
Alas! hitherto it has been only a source of misfortune to me,
being the cause of my separation from the one I love best on earth.
The story is so sad and strange that I am sure your Majesty will be
touched by it if you will permit me to tell it you."
"I will hear it some other time," replied the princess.
"Meanwhile I fancy it is not quite unknown to me. Wait here for me.
I will return shortly."
So saying she retired to another room, where she hastily changed
her masculine attire for that of a woman, and, after putting on
the girdle she wore the day they parted, returned to Camaralzaman.
The prince recognised her at once, and, embracing her with the
utmost tenderness, cried, "Ah, how can I thank the king for this
"Do not expect ever to see the king again," said the princess,
as she wiped the tears of joy from her eyes, "in me you see the king.
Let us sit down, and I will tell you all about it."
She then gave a full account of all her adventures since their parting,
and dwelt much on the charms and noble disposition of the
Princess Haiatelnefous, to whose friendly assistance she owed
so much. When she had done she asked to hear the prince's story,
and in this manner they spent most of the night.
Next morning the princess resumed her woman's clothes, and as soon
as she was ready she desired the chief eunuch to beg King Armanos
to come to her apartments.
When the king arrived great was his surprise at finding a strange
lady in company of the grand treasurer who had no actual right to
enter the private apartment. Seating himself he asked for the king.
"Sire," said the princess, "yesterday I was the king, to-day I am
only the Princess of China and wife to the real Prince Camaralzaman,
son of King Schahzaman, and I trust that when your Majesty shall
have heard our story you will not condemn the innocent deception I
have been obliged to practise."
The king consented to listen, and did so with marked surprise.
At the close of her narrative the princess said, "Sire, as our religion
allows a man to have more than one wife, I would beg your Majesty
to give your daughter, the Princess Haiatelnefous, in marriage
to Prince Camaralzaman. I gladly yield to her the precedence and
title of Queen in recognition of the debt of gratitude which I owe her."
King Armanos heard the princess with surprise and admiration,
then, turning to Camaralzaman, he said, "My son, as your wife,
the Princess Badoura (whom I have hitherto looked on as my son-in-law),
consents to share your hand and affections with my daughter,
I have only to ask if this marriage is agreeable to you, and if you
will consent to accept the crown which the Princess Badoura deserves
to wear all her life, but which she prefers to resign for love of you."
"Sire," replied Camaralzaman, "I can refuse your Majesty nothing."
Accordingly Camaralzaman was duly proclaimed king, and as duly
married with all pomp to the Princess Haiatelnefous, with whose
beauty, talents, and affections he had every reason to be pleased.
The two queens lived in true sisterly harmony together, and after
a time each presented King Camaralzaman with a son, whose births
were celebrated throughout the kingdom with the utmost rejoicing.
Next: AN: The Story of Noureddin and the Fair Persian
Return to A Thousand and One Arabian Nights