PRINCE CAMARALZAMAN AND THE PRINCESS OF CHINA

PRINCE CAMARALZAMAN AND THE PRINCESS OF CHINA



About twenty days' sail from the coast of Persia, in the Islands of
the Children of Khaledan, there lived a king who had an only son,
Prince Camaralzaman. He was brought up with all imaginable care;
and when he came to a proper age, his father appointed him an
experienced governor and able tutors. As he grew up he learned all
the knowledge which a prince ought to possess, and acquitted
himself so well that he charmed all that saw him, and particularly
the sultan his father.

When the prince had attained the age of fifteen years, the sultan,
who loved him tenderly, and gave him every day new marks of his
affection, had thoughts of giving him a still greater one, by
resigning to him his throne, and he acquainted his grand vizier
with his intentions. 'I fear,' said he, 'lest my son should lose in
the inactivity of youth those advantages which nature and education
have given him; therefore, since I am advanced in age, and ought to
think of retirement, I have thoughts of resigning the government to
him, and passing the remainder of my days in the satisfaction of
seeing him reign. I have undergone the fatigue of a crown a long
while, and think it is now proper for me to retire.'

The grand vizier did not wholly dissuade the sultan from such a
proceeding, but sought to modify his intentions. 'Sir,' replied he,
'the prince is yet but young, and it would not be, in my humble
opinion, advisable to burden him with the weight of a crown so
soon. Your majesty fears, with great reason, his youth may be
corrupted in indolence, but to remedy that do not you think it
would be proper to marry him? Your majesty might then admit him to
your council, where he would learn by degrees the art of reigning,
and so be prepared to receive your authority whenever in your
discernment you shall think him qualified.'

The sultan found this advice of his prime minister highly
reasonable, therefore he summoned the prince to appear before him
at the same time that he dismissed the grand vizier.

The prince, who had been accustomed to see his father only at
certain times, without being sent for, was a little startled at
this summons; when, therefore, he came before him, he saluted him
with great respect, and stood with his eyes fixed on the ground.

The sultan perceiving his constraint, said to him in a mild way,
'Do you know, son, for what reason I have sent for you?'

The prince modestly replied, 'God alone knows the heart; I shall
hear it from your majesty with pleasure.'

'I sent for you,' said the sultan, 'to inform you that I have an
intention of providing a proper marriage for you; what do you think
of it?'

Prince Camaralzaman heard this with great uneasiness: it so
surprised him, that he paused and knew not what answer to make.
After a few moments' silence, he replied, 'Sir, I beseech you to
pardon me if I seem surprised at the declaration you have made to
me. I did not expect such proposals to one so young as I am. It
requires time to determine on what your majesty requires of me.'

Prince Camaralzaman's answer extremely afflicted his father. He was
not a little grieved to see what an aversion he had to marriage,
yet would not charge him with disobedience, nor exert his paternal
authority. He contented himself with telling him he would not force
his inclinations, but give him time to consider the proposal.

The sultan said no more to the prince: he admitted him into his
council, and gave him every reason to be satisfied. At the end of
the year he took him aside, and said to him, 'My son, have you
thoroughly considered what I proposed to you last year about
marrying? Will you still refuse me that pleasure I expect from your
obedience, and suffer me to die without it?'

The prince seemed less disconcerted than before, and was not long
answering his father to this effect: 'Sir, I have not neglected to
consider your proposal, but after the maturest reflection find
myself more confirmed in my resolution to continue as I am, so that
I hope your majesty will pardon me if I presume to tell you it will
be in vain to speak to me any further about marriage.' He stopped
here, and went out without staying to hear what the sultan would
answer.

Any other monarch would have been very angry at such freedom in a
son, and would have made him repent it, but the sultan loved him,
and preferred gentle methods before he proceeded to compulsion. He
communicated this new cause of discontent to his prime minister. 'I
have followed your advice,' said he, 'but Camaralzaman is further
than ever from complying with my desires. He delivered his
resolution in such free terms that it required all my reason and
moderation to keep my temper. Tell me, I beseech you, how I shall
reclaim a disposition so rebellious to my will?'

'Sir,' answered the grand vizier, 'patience brings many things
about that before seemed impracticable, but it may be this affair
is of a nature not likely to succeed in that way. Your majesty
would have no cause to reproach yourself if you gave the prince
another year to consider the matter. If, in this interval he
returns to his duty, you will have the greater satisfaction, and if
he still continues averse to your proposal when this is expired,
your majesty may propose to him in full council that it is highly
necessary for the good of the state that he should marry, and it is
not likely he will refuse to comply before so grave an assembly,
which you honour with your presence.'

The year expired, and, to the great regret of the sultan, Prince
Camaralzaman gave not the least proof of having changed his mind.
One day, therefore, when there was a great council held, the prime
vizier, the other viziers, the principal officers of the crown, and
the generals of the army being present, the sultan began to speak
thus to the prince: 'My son, it is now a long while since I have
expressed to you my earnest desire to see you married; and I
imagined you would have had more consideration for a father, who
required nothing unreasonable of you, than to oppose him so long.
But after so long a resistance on your part, which has almost worn
out my patience, I have thought fit to propose the same thing once
more to you in the presence of my council. I would have you
consider that you ought not to have refused this, not merely to
oblige a parent; the well-being of my dominions requires it; and
the assembly here present joins with me to require it of you.
Declare yourself, then; that, according to your answer, I may take
the proper measures.'

The prince answered with so little reserve, or rather with so much
warmth, that the sultan, enraged to see himself thwarted in full
council, cried out, 'Unnatural son! have you the insolence to talk
thus to your father and sultan?' He ordered the guards to take him
away, and carry him to an old tower that had been unoccupied for a
long while, where he was shut up, with only a bed, a little
furniture, some books, and one slave to attend him.

Camaralzaman, thus deprived of liberty, was nevertheless pleased
that he had the freedom to converse with his books, and that made
him look on his imprisonment with indifference. In the evening he
bathed and said his prayers; and after having read some chapters in
the Koran, with the same tranquility of mind as if he had been in
the sultan's palace, he undressed himself and went to bed, leaving
his lamp burning by him all the while he slept.

In this tower was a well, which served in the daytime for a retreat
to a certain fairy, named Maimoune, daughter of Damriat, king or
head of a legion of genies. It was about midnight when Maimoune
sprang lightly to the mouth of the well, to wander about the world
after her wonted custom, where her curiosity led her. She was
surprised to see a light in Prince Camaralzaman's chamber, and
entered, without stopping, over the slave who lay at the door.

Prince Camaralzaman had but half-covered his face with the
bedclothes, and Maimoune perceived the finest young man she had
seen in all her rambles through the world. 'What crime can he have
committed,' said she to herself, 'that a man of his high rank can
deserve to be treated thus severely?' for she had already heard his
story, and could hardly believe it.

She could not forbear admiring the prince, till at length, having
kissed him gently on both cheeks and in the middle of the forehead
without waking him, she took her flight into the air. As she
mounted high to the middle region, she heard a great flapping of
wings, which made her fly that way; and when she approached, she
knew it was a genie who made the noise, but it was one of those
that are rebellious. As for Maimoune, she belonged to that class
whom the great Solomon compelled to acknowledge him.

This genie, whose name was Danhasch, knew Maimoune, and was seized
with fear, being sensible how much power she had over him by her
submission to the Almighty. He would fain have avoided her, but she
was so near him that he must either fight or yield. He therefore
broke silence first.

'Brave Maimoune,' said he, in the tone of a suppliant, 'swear to me
that you will not hurt me; and I swear also on my part not to do
you any harm.'

'Cursed genie,' replied Maimoune, 'what hurt canst thou do me? I
fear thee not; but I will grant thee this favour; I will swear not
to do thee any harm. Tell me then, wandering spirit, whence thou
comest, what thou hast seen, and what thou hast done this night.'

'Fair lady,' answered Danhasch, 'you meet me at a good time to hear
something very wonderful. I come from the utmost limits of China,
which look on the last islands of this hemisphere. But, charming
Maimoune,' said Danhasch, who so trembled with fear at the sight of
this fairy that he could hardly speak, 'promise me at least that
you will forgive me, and let me go on after I have satisfied your
demands.'

'Go on, go on, cursed spirit,' replied Maimoune; 'go on and fear
nothing. Dost thou think I am as perfidious an elf as thyself, and
capable of breaking the solemn oath I have made? Be sure you tell
nothing but what is true, or I shall clip thy wings, and treat thee
as thou deservest.'

Danhasch, a little heartened at the words of Maimoune, said, 'My
dear lady, I will tell you nothing but what is strictly true, if
you will but have the goodness to hear me. The country of China,
from whence I come, is one of the largest and most powerful
kingdoms of the earth. The king of this country is at present
Gaiour, who has an only daughter, the finest maiden that ever was
seen in the world since it was a world. Neither you nor I, nor your
class nor mine, nor all our respective genies, have expressions
strong enough, nor eloquence sufficient to describe this brilliant
lady. Any one that did not know the king, father of this
incomparable princess would scarcely be able to imagine the great
respect and kindness he shows her. No one has ever dreamed of such
care as his to keep her from every one but the man who is to marry
her: and, that the retreat which he has resolved to place her in
may not seem irksome to her, he has built for her seven palaces,
the most extraordinary and magnificent that ever were known.

'The first palace is of rock crystal, the second of copper, the
third of fine steel, the fourth of brass, the fifth of touchstone,
the sixth of silver, and the seventh of massy gold. He has
furnished these palaces most sumptuously, each in a manner suited
to the materials that they are built of. He has filled the gardens
with grass and flowers, intermixed with pieces of water, water-
works, fountains, canals, cascades, and several great groves of
trees, where the eye is lost in the prospect, and where the sun
never enters, and all differently arranged. King Gaiour, in a word,
has shown that he has spared no expense.

'Upon the fame of this incomparable princess's beauty, the most
powerful neighbouring kings sent ambassadors to request her in
marriage. The King of China received them all in the same obliging
manner; but as he resolved not to compel his daughter to marry
without her consent, and as she did not like any of the suitors,
the ambassadors were forced to return as they came: they were
perfectly satisfied with the great honours and civilities they had
received.'

'"Sir," said the princess to the king her father, "you have an
inclination to see me married, and think to oblige me by it; but
where shall I find such stately palaces and delicious gardens as I
have with your majesty? Through your good pleasure I am under no
constraint, and have the same honours shown to me as are paid to
yourself. These are advantages I cannot expect to find anywhere
else, to whatsoever husband I should give my hand; men love ever to
be masters, and I do not care to be commanded."

'At last there came an embassy from the most rich and potent king
of all. This prince the King of China recommended to his daughter
as her husband, urging many powerful arguments to show how much it
would be to her advantage to accept him, but she intreated her
father to dispense with her accepting him for the same reasons as
before, and at last lost all the respect due to the king her
father: "Sir," said she, in anger, "talk to me no more of this or
any other match, unless you would have me plunge this poniard in my
bosom, to deliver myself from your importunities."

'The king, greatly enraged, said "Daughter, you are mad, and I must
treat you as such." In a word, he had her shut up in a single
apartment of one of his palaces, and allowed her only ten old women
to wait upon her and keep her company, the chief of whom had been
her nurse. And in order that the kings his neighbours, who had sent
embassies to him on this account, might not think any more of her,
he despatched envoys to them severally, to let them know how averse
his daughter was to marriage; and as he did not doubt that she was
really mad, he charged them to make known in every court that if
there were any physician that would undertake to come and cure her,
he should, if he succeeded, marry her for his pains.

'Fair Maimoune,' continued Danhasch, 'all that I have told you is
true; and I have not failed to go every day regularly to
contemplate this incomparable beauty, to whom I would be very sorry
to do the least harm, notwithstanding my natural inclination to
mischief. Come and see her, I conjure you; it would be well worth
your while; I am ready to wait on you as a guide, and you have only
to command me. I doubt not that you would think yourself obliged to
me for the sight of a princess unequalled for beauty.'

Instead of answering Danhasch, Maimoune burst out into violent
laughter, which lasted for some time; and Danhasch, not knowing
what might be the occasion of it, was astonished beyond measure.
When she had laughed till she could laugh no more, she cried,
'Good, good, very good! you would have me believe all you have told
me: I thought you intended to tell me something surprising and
extraordinary, and you have been talking all this while of a mad
woman. What would you say, cursed genie, if you had seen the
beautiful prince that I have just come from seeing? I am confident
you would soon give up the contest, and not pretend to compare your
choice with mine.'

'Agreeable Maimoune,' replied Danhasch, 'may I presume to ask you
who is this prince you speak of?'

'Know,' answered Maimoune, 'the same thing has happened to him as
to your princess. The king his father would have married him
against his will; but, after much importunity, he frankly told him
he would have nothing to do with a wife. For this reason he is at
this moment imprisoned in an old tower which I make my residence,
and whence I came but just now from admiring him.'

'I will not absolutely contradict you,' replied Danhasch; 'but, my
pretty lady, you must give me leave to be of opinion, till I have
seen your prince, that no mortal upon earth can come up to the
beauty of my princess.'

'Hold thy tongue, cursed sprite,' replied Maimoune. 'I tell thee
once more that that can never be.'

'I will not contend with you,' said Danhasch; 'but the way to be
convinced whether what I say is true or false is to accept the
proposal I made you to go and see my princess, and after that I
will go with you to your prince.'

'There is no need I should take so much pains' replied Maimoune;
'there is another way to satisfy us both; and that is for you to
bring your princess, and place her in my prince's room; by this
means it will be easy for us to compare them together and determine
the dispute.'

Danhasch consented to what Maimoune had proposed, and determined to
set out immediately for China upon that errand. But Maimoune told
him she must first show him the tower whither he was to bring the
princess. They flew together to the tower, and when Maimoune had
shown it to Danhasch, she cried, 'Go, fetch your princess, and do
it quickly, for you shall find me here: but listen, you shall pay
the wager if my prince is more beautiful than your princess, and I
will pay it if your princess is more beautiful than my prince.'

Danhasch left Maimoune, and flew towards China, whence he soon
returned with incredible speed, bringing the fair princess along
with him, asleep. Maimoune received him, and introduced him into
the tower of Prince Camaralzaman, where they placed the princess
still asleep.

At once there arose a great contest between the genie and the fairy
about their respective beauty. They were some time admiring and
comparing them without speaking: at length Danhasch broke silence,
and said to Maimoune, 'You see, as I have already told you, my
princess is handsomer than your prince; now, I hope, you are
convinced of it.'

'Convinced of it!' replied Maimoune; 'I am not convinced of it, and
you must be blind if you cannot see that my prince is far
handsomer. The princess is fair, I do not deny; but if you compare
them together without prejudice, you will quickly see the
difference.'

'Though I should compare them ever so often,' said Danhasch, 'I
could never change my opinion. I saw at first sight what I see now,
and time will not make me see differently: however, this shall not
hinder my yielding to you, charming Maimoune, if you desire it.'

'Yield to me as a favour? I scorn it,' said Maimoune: 'I would not
receive a favour at the hand of such a wicked genie; I refer the
matter to an umpire, and if you will not consent I shall win by
your refusal.'

Danhasch no sooner gave his consent than Maimoune stamped with her
foot; the earth opened, and out came a hideous, humpbacked,
squinting, and lame genie, with six horns on his head, and claws on
his hands and feet. As soon as he had come forth, and the earth had
closed up, he, perceiving Maimoune, cast himself at her feet, and
then rising up on one knee asked her what she would please to do
with him.

'Rise, Caschcasch,' said Maimoune, 'I brought you hither to
determine a difference between me and Danhasch. Look there, and
tell me, without partiality, which is the handsomest of those two
that lie asleep, the young man or the young lady.'

Caschcasch looked at the prince and princess with great attention,
admiration and surprise; and after he had considered them a good
while, without being able to determine which was the handsomer, he
turned to Maimoune, and said, 'Madam, I must confess I should
deceive you and betray myself, if I pretended to say that one was a
whit handsomer than the other: the more I examine them, the more it
seems to me that each possesses, in a sovereign degree, the beauty
which is betwixt them. But if there be any difference, the best way
to determine it is to awaken them one after the other, and by their
conduct to decide which ought to be deemed the most beautiful.'

This proposal of Caschcasch's pleased equally both Maimoune and
Danhasch. Maimoune then changed herself into a gnat, and leaping on
the prince's neck stung him so smartly that he awoke, and put up
his hand to the place; but Maimoune skipped away, and resumed her
own form, which, like those of the two genies, was invisible, the
better to observe what he would do.

In drawing back his hand, the prince chanced to let it fall on that
of the Princess of China, and on opening his eyes, was exceedingly
surprised to perceive a lady of the greatest beauty. He raised his
head and leaned on his elbow, the better to consider her. She was
so beautiful that he could not help crying out, 'What beauty! my
heart! my soul!' In saying which he kissed her with so little
caution that she would certainly have been awaked by it, had she
not slept sounder than ordinary, through the enchantment of
Danhasch.

He was going to awaken her at that instant, but suddenly refrained
himself. 'Is not this she,' said he, 'that the sultan my father
would have had me marry? He was in the wrong not to let me see her
sooner. I should not have offended him by my disobedience and
passionate language to him in public, and he would have spared
himself the confusion which I have occasioned him.'

The prince began to repent sincerely of the fault he had committed,
and was once more upon the point of waking the Princess of China.
'It may be,' said he, recollecting himself, 'that the sultan my
father has a mind to surprise me with this young lady. Who knows
but he has brought her himself, and is hidden behind the curtains
to make me ashamed of myself. I will content myself with this ring,
as a remembrance of her.'

He then gently drew off a fine ring which the princess had on her
finger, and immediately put on one of his own in its place. After
this he fell into a more profound sleep than before through the
enchantment of the genies.

As soon as Prince Camaralzaman was in a sound sleep, Danhasch
transformed himself, and went and bit the princess so rudely on the
lip that she forthwith awoke, started up, and opening her eyes, was
not a little surprised to see a beautiful young prince. From
surprise she proceeded to admiration, and from admiration to a
transport of joy.

'What,' cried she, 'is it you the king my father has designed me
for a husband? I am indeed most unfortunate for not knowing it
before, for then I should not have made him so angry with me. Wake
then, wake!'

So saying, she took Prince Camaralzaman by the arm and shook him so
that he would have awaked, had not Maimoune increased his sleep by
enchantment. She shook him several times, and finding he did not
wake, she seized his hand, and kissing it eagerly, perceived he had
a ring upon his finger which greatly resembled hers, and which she
was convinced was her own, by seeing she had another on her finger
instead of it. She could not comprehend how this exchange could
have been made. Tired with her fruitless endeavours to awaken the
prince, she soon fell asleep.

When Maimoune saw that she could now speak without fear of awaking
the princess, she cried to Danhasch, 'Ah, cursed genie dost thou
not now see what thy contest has come to? Art thou not now
convinced how much thy princess is inferior to my prince? But I
pardon thee thy wager. Another time believe me when I assert
anything.' Then turning to Caschcasch, 'As for you,' said she, 'I
thank you for your trouble; take the princess, you and Danhasch,
and convey her back whence he has taken her.' Danhasch and
Caschcasch did as they were commanded, and Maimoune retired to her
well.

Prince Camaralzaman on waking next morning looked to see if the
lady whom he had seen the night before were there. When he found
she was gone, he cried out, 'I thought indeed this was a trick the
king my father designed to play me. I am glad I was aware of it.'
Then he waked the slave, who was still asleep, and bade him come
and dress him, without saying anything. The slave brought a basin
and water, and after he had washed and said his prayers, he took a
book and read for some time.

After this, he called the slave, and said to him, 'Come hither, and
look you, do not tell me a lie. How came that lady hither, and who
brought her?'

'My lord,' answered the slave with great astonishment, 'I know not
what lady your highness speaks of.'

'I speak,' said the prince, 'of her that came, or rather, that was
brought hither.'

'My lord,' replied the slave, 'I swear I know of no such lady; and
how should she come in without my knowledge, since I lay at the
door?'

'You are a lying rascal,' replied the prince, 'and in the plot to
vex and provoke me the more.' So saying, he gave him a box on the
ear which knocked him down; and after having stamped upon him for
some time, he at length tied the well-rope under his arms, and
plunged him several times into the water, neck and heels. I will
drown thee,' cried he, 'if thou dost not tell me speedily who this
lady was, and who brought her.'

The slave, perplexed and half-dead, said within himself, 'The
prince must have lost his senses through grief.' 'My lord, then,'
cried he, in a suppliant tone, 'I beseech your highness to spare my
life, and I will tell you the truth.'

The prince drew the slave up, and pressed him to tell him. As soon
as he was out of the well, 'My lord,' said he trembling, 'your
highness must perceive that it is impossible for me to satisfy you
in my present condition; I beg you to give me leave to go and
change my clothes first.'

'I permit you, but do it quickly,' said the prince, 'and be sure
you conceal nothing.'

The slave went out, and having locked the door upon the prince, ran
to the palace just as he was. The king was at that time in
discourse with his prime vizier, to whom he had just related the
grief in which he had passed the night on account of his son's
disobedience and opposition to his will. The minister endeavoured
to comfort his master by telling him that the prince himself had
given him good cause to be angry. 'Sir,' said he, 'your majesty
need not repent of having treated your son after this sort. Have
but patience to let him continue a while in prison, and assure
yourself his temper will abate, and he will submit to all you
require.'

The grand vizier had just made an end of speaking when the slave
came in and cast himself at the king's feet. 'My lord,' said he, 'I
am very sorry to be the messenger of ill news to your majesty,
which I know must create you fresh affliction. The prince is
distracted, my lord; and his treatment to me, as you may see, too
plainly proves it.' Then he proceeded to tell all the particulars
of what Prince Camaralzaman had said to him, and the violence with
which he had been treated.

The king, who did not expect to hear anything of this afflictive
kind, said to the prime minister, 'This is very melancholy, very
different from the hopes you gave me just now: go immediately,
without loss of time, see what is the matter, and come and give me
an account.'

The grand vizier obeyed instantly; and coming into the prince's
chamber, he found him sitting on his bed in good temper, and with a
book in his hand, which he was reading.

After mutual salutations, the vizier sat down by him, and said, 'My
lord, I wish that a slave of yours were punished for coming to
frighten the king your father.'

'What,' replied the prince, 'could give my father alarm? I have
much greater cause to complain of that slave.'

'Prince,' answered the vizier, 'God forbid that the news which he
has told your father concerning you should be true; indeed, I
myself find it to be false, by the good temper I observe you in.'

'It may be,' replied the prince, 'that he did not make himself well
understood; but since you are come, who ought to know something of
the matter, give me leave to ask you who was that lady who was here
last night?'

The grand vizier was thunderstruck at this question; however, he
recovered himself and said, 'My lord, be not surprised at my
astonishment at your question. Is it possible that a lady, or any
other person in the world, should penetrate by night into this
place, without entering at the door and walking over the body of
your slave? I beseech you, recollect yourself, and you will find it
is only a dream which has made this impression on you.'

'I give no ear to what you say,' said the prince, raising his
voice; 'I must know of you absolutely what is become of the lady;
and if you hesitate to obey me, I shall soon be able to force you
to obey me.'

At these stern words the grand vizier began to be in greater
confusion than before, and was thinking how to extricate himself.
He endeavoured to pacify the prince by good words, and begged of
him, in the most humble and guarded manner, to tell him if he had
seen this lady.

'Yes, yes,' answered the prince, 'I have seen her, and am very well
satisfied you sent her. She played the part you had given her
admirably well, for I could not get a word out of her. She
pretended to be asleep, but I was no sooner fallen into a slumber
than she arose and left me. You know all this; for I doubt not she
has been to make her report to you.'

'My lord,' replied the vizier, 'nothing of this has been done which
you seem to reproach me with; neither your father nor I have sent
this lady you speak of; permit me therefore to remind your highness
once more that you have only seen this lady in a dream.'

'Do you come to affront and contradict me,' said the prince in a
great rage, 'and to tell me to my face that what I have told you is
a dream?' At the same time he took him by the beard, and loaded him
with blows as long as he could stand.

The poor grand vizier endured with respectful patience all the
violence of his lord's indignation, and could not help saying
within himself, 'Now am I in as bad a condition as the slave, and
shall think myself happy if I can, like him, escape from any
further danger.' In the midst of repeated blows he cried out for
but a moment's audience, which the prince, after he had nearly
tired himself with beating him, consented to give.

'I own, my prince,' said the grand vizier, dissembling, 'there is
something in what your highness suspects; but you cannot be
ignorant of the necessity a minister is under to obey his royal
master's orders; yet, if you will but be pleased to set me at
liberty, I will go and tell him anything on your part that you
shall think fit to command me.'

'Go then,' said the prince, 'and tell him from me that if he
pleases I will marry the lady he sent me. Do this quickly, and
bring me a speedy answer.' The grand vizier made a profound
reverence, and went away, not thinking himself altogether safe till
he had got out of the tower, and shut the door upon the prince.

He came and presented himself before the king, with a countenance
that sufficiently showed he had been ill-used, which the king could
not behold without concern. 'Well,' said the king, 'in what
condition did you find my son?'

'Sir,' answered the vizier, 'what the slave reported to your
majesty is but too true.' He then began to relate his interview
with Camaralzaman, how he flew into a passion upon his endeavouring
to persuade him it was impossible that the lady he spoke of should
have got in; the ill-treatment he had received from him; how he had
been used, and by what means he made his escape.

The king, the more concerned as he loved the prince with excessive
tenderness, resolved to find out the truth of this matter, and
therefore proposed himself to go and see his son in the tower,
accompanied by the grand vizier.

Prince Camaralzaman received the king his father in the tower with
great respect. The king sat down, and, after he had made his son
the prince sit down by him, put several questions to him, which he
answered with great good sense. The king every now and then looked
at the grand vizier, as intimating that he did not find his son had
lost his wits, but rather thought he had lost his.

The king at length spoke of the lady to the prince. 'My son,' said
he, 'I desire you to tell me what lady it was that came here, as I
have been told.'

'Sir,' answered Camaralzaman, 'I beg of your majesty not to give me
more vexation on that head, but rather to oblige me by letting me
have her in marriage: this young lady has charmed me. I am ready to
receive her at your hands with the deepest gratitude.'

The king was surprised at this answer of the prince, so remote, as
he thought, from the good sense he had shown before. 'My son,' said
he to him, 'you fill me with the greatest astonishment imaginable
by what you now say to me; I declare to you by my crown, that is to
devolve upon you after me, I know not one word of the lady you
mention; and if any such has come to you, it was altogether without
my knowledge. But how could she get into this tower without my
consent? For whatever my grand vizier told you, it was only to
appease you: it must therefore be a mere dream; and I beg of you
not to believe otherwise, but to recover your senses.'

'Sir,' replied the prince, 'I should be for ever unworthy of your
majesty's favour, if I did not give entire credit to what you are
pleased to say; but I humbly beseech you at the same time to give a
patient hearing to what I shall say to you, and then to judge
whether what I have the honour to tell you be a dream or not.'

Then Prince Camaralzaman related to the king his father after what
manner he had been awakened, and the pains he took to awaken the
lady without effect, and how he had made the exchange of his ring
with that of the lady: showing the king the ring, he added, 'Sir,
your majesty must needs know my ring very well, you have seen it so
often. After this, I hope you will be convinced that I have not
lost my senses, as you have been almost made to believe.'

The king was so perfectly convinced of the truth of what his son
had been telling him, that he had not a word to say, remaining
astonished for some time, and not being able to utter a syllable.

'Son,' at length replied the king, 'after what I have just heard,
and what I see by the ring on your finger, I cannot doubt but that
you have seen this lady. Would I knew who she was, and I would make
you happy from this moment, and I should be the happiest father in
the world! But where shall I find her, and how seek for her? How
could she get in here without my consent? Why did she come? These
things, I must confess, are past my finding out.' So saying, and
taking the prince by the hand, 'Come then, my son,' he said, 'let
us go and be miserable together.'

The king then led his son out of the tower, and conveyed him to the
palace, where he no sooner arrived than in despair he fell ill, and
took to his bed; the king shut himself up with him, and spent many
a day in weeping, without attending to the affairs of his kingdom.

The prime minister, who was the only person that had admittance to
him, came one day and told him that the whole court, and even the
people, began to murmur at not seeing him, and that he did not
administer justice every day as he was wont to do. 'I humbly beg
your majesty, therefore,' proceeded he, 'to pay them some
attention; I am aware your majesty's company is a great comfort to
the prince, but then you must not run the risk of letting all be
lost. Permit me to propose to your majesty to remove with the
prince to the castle in a little island near the port, where you
may give audience to your subjects twice a week only; during these
absences the prince will be so agreeably diverted with the beauty,
prospect, and good air of the place, that he will bear them with
the less uneasiness.'

The king approved this proposal; and after the castle, where he had
not resided for some time, had been furnished, he removed thither
with the prince; and, excepting the times that he gave audience, as
aforesaid, he never left him, but passed all his time by his son's
pillow, endeavouring to comfort him in sharing his grief.

Whilst matters passed thus, the two genies, Danhasch and
Caschcasch, had carried the Princess of China back to the palace
where the king her father had shut her up.

When she awoke the next morning, and found by looking to the right
and left that Prince Camaralzaman was not by, she cried out with a
loud voice to her women. Her nurse, who presented herself first,
desired to be informed what she would please to have, and if
anything disagreeable had happened to her.

'Tell me,' said the princess, 'what is become of the young man whom
I love with all my soul?'

'Madam,' replied the nurse, 'we cannot understand your highness,
unless you will be pleased to explain yourself.'

'A young man, the best and most amiable,' said the princess 'whom I
could not awake; I ask you where he is?'

'Madam,' answered the nurse, 'your highness asks these questions to
jest with us. I beseech you to rise.'

'I am in earnest,' said the princess, 'and I must know where this
young man is.'

'Madam,' insisted the nurse, 'how any man could come without our
knowledge we cannot imagine, for we all slept about the door of
your chamber, which was locked, and I had the key in my pocket.'

At this the princess lost all patience, and catching her nurse by
the hair of her head, and giving her two or three sound cuffs, she
cried, 'You shall tell me where this young man is, old sorceress,
or I will beat your brains out.'

The nurse struggled to get from her, and at last succeeded; when
she went immediately, with tears in her eyes, to complain to the
queen her mother, who was not a little surprised to see her in this
condition, and asked who had done this.

'Madam,' began the nurse, 'you see how the princess has treated me;
she would certainly have murdered me, if I had not had the good
fortune to escape out of her hands.' She then began to tell what
had been the cause of all that violent passion in the princess. The
queen was surprised to hear it, and could not guess how she came to
be so senseless as to take that for a reality which could be no
other than a dream. 'Your majesty must conclude from all this,
madam,' continued the nurse, 'that the princess is out of her
senses. You will think so yourself if you go and see her.'

The queen ordered the nurse to follow her; and they went together
to the princess's palace that very moment.

The Queen of China sat down by her daughter's bed-side, immediately
upon her arrival in her apartment; and after she had informed
herself about her health, she began to ask what had made her so
angry with her nurse, that she should have treated her in the
manner she had done. 'Daughter,' said she, 'this is not right; and
a great princess like you should not suffer herself to be so
transported by passion.'

'Madam,' replied the princess, 'I plainly perceive your majesty is
come to mock me; but I declare I will never let you rest till you
consent I shall marry the young man. You must know where he is, and
therefore I beg of your majesty to let him come to me again.'

'Daughter,' answered the queen, 'you surprise me; I know nothing of
what you talk of.' Then the princess lost all respect for the
queen: 'Madam,' replied she, 'the king my father and you persecuted
me about marrying, when I had no inclination; I now have an
inclination, and I will marry this young man I told you of, or I
will kill myself.'

Here the queen endeavoured to calm the princess by soft words.
'Daughter,' said she, 'how could any man come to you?' But instead
of hearing her, the princess interrupted her, and flew out into
such violence as obliged the queen to leave her, and retire in
great affliction to inform the king of all that had passed.

The king hearing it had a mind likewise to be satisfied in person;
and coming to his daughter's apartment, asked her if what he had
just heard was true. 'Sir,' replied the princess, 'let us talk no
more of that; I only beseech your majesty to grant me the favour
that I may marry the young man. He was the finest and best made
youth the sun ever saw. I entreat you, do not refuse me. But that
your majesty may not longer doubt whether I have seen this young
man, whether I did not do my utmost to awake him, without
succeeding, see, if you please, this ring.' She then reached forth
her hand, and showed the king a man's ring on her finger. The king
did not know what to make of all this; but as he had shut her up as
mad, he began to think her more mad than ever: therefore, without
saying anything more to her, for fear she might do violence to
herself or somebody about her, he had her chained, and shut up more
closely than before, allowing her only the nurse to wait on her,
with a good guard at the door.

The king, exceedingly concerned at this indisposition of his
daughter, sought all possible means to get her cured. He assembled
his council, and after having acquainted them with the condition
she was in, 'If any of you,' said he, 'is capable of undertaking
her cure, and succeeds, I will give her to him in marriage, and
make him heir to my dominions and crown after my decease.'

The desire of marrying a handsome young princess, and the hopes of
one day governing so powerful a kingdom as that of China, had a
strange effect on an emir, already advanced in age, who was present
at this council. As he was well skilled in magic, he offered to
cure the king's daughter, and flattered himself he should succeed.

'I consent,' said the king, 'but I forgot to tell you one thing,
and that is, that if you do not succeed you shall lose your head.
It would not be reasonable that you should have so great a reward,
and yet run no risk on your part; and what I say to you,' continued
the king, 'I say to all others that shall come after you, that they
may consider beforehand what they undertake.'

The emir, however, accepted the condition, and the king conducted
him to where the princess was. She covered her face as soon as she
saw them come in, and cried out, 'Your majesty surprises me by
bringing with you a man whom I do not know, and by whom my religion
forbids me to let myself be seen.'

'Daughter,' replied the king, 'you need not be scandalized, it is
only one of my emirs who is come to demand you in marriage.'

'It is not, I perceive, the person that you have already given me,
and whose faith is plighted by the ring I wear,' replied the
princess; 'be not offended that I will never marry any other.'

The emir expected the princess would have said or done some
extravagant thing, and was not a little disappointed when he heard
her talk so calmly and rationally; for then he understood what was
really the matter. He dared not explain himself to the king, who
would not have suffered the princess to give her hand to any other
than the person to whom he wished to give her with his own hand. He
therefore threw himself at his majesty's feet, and said, 'After
what I have heard and observed, sir, it will be to no purpose for
me to think of curing the princess, since I have no remedies suited
to her malady, for which reason I humbly submit my life to your
majesty's pleasure.' The king, enraged at his incapacity and the
trouble he had given him, caused him immediately to be beheaded.

Some days afterwards, his majesty, unwilling to have it said that
he had neglected his daughter's cure, put forth a proclamation in
his capital, to the effect that if there were any physician,
astrologer, or magician, who would undertake to restore the
princess to her senses, he need only come, and he should be
employed, on condition of losing his head if he miscarried. He had
the same published in the other principal cities and towns of his
dominions, and in the courts of the princes his neighbours.

The first that presented himself was an astrologer and magician,
whom the king caused to be conducted to the princess's prison. The
astrologer drew forth out of a bag he carried under his arm an
astrolabe, a small sphere, a chafing dish, several sorts of drugs
for fumigations, a brass pot, with many other things, and desired
he might have a fire lighted.

The princess demanded what all these preparations were for.

'Madam,' answered the astrologer, 'they are to exorcise the evil
spirit that possesses you, to shut him up in this pot, and throw
him into the sea.'

'Foolish astrologer,' replied the princess, 'I have no occasion for
any of your preparations, but am in my perfect senses, and you
alone are mad. If your art can bring him I love to me, I shall be
obliged to you; otherwise you may go about your business, for I
have nothing to do with you.'

'Madam,' said the astrologer, 'if your case be so, I shall desist
from all endeavours, believing that only the king your father can
remedy your disaster.' So putting up his apparatus again, he
marched away, very much concerned that he had so easily undertaken
to cure an imaginary malady.

Coming to give an account to the king of what he had done, he began
thus boldly: 'According to what your majesty published in your
proclamation, and what you were pleased to confirm to me yourself,
I thought the princess was distracted, and depended on being able
to recover her by the secrets I have long been acquainted with, but
I soon found that your majesty alone is the physician who can cure
her, by giving her in marriage the person whom she desires.'

The king was very much enraged at the astrologer, and had his head
cut off upon the spot. Not to make too long a story of it, a
hundred and fifty astrologers, physicians, and magicians all
underwent the same fate, and their heads were set up on poles on
every gate of the city.

The Princess of China's nurse had a son whose name was Marzavan,
and who had been foster-brother to the princess, and brought up
with her. Their friendship was so great during their childhood, and
all the time they had been together, that they treated each other
as brother and sister as they grew up, even some time after their
separation.

This Marzavan, among other studies, had from his youth been much
addicted to judicial astrology, geomancy, and the like secret arts,
wherein he became exceedingly skilful. Not content with what he had
learned from masters, he travelled as soon as he was able to bear
the fatigue, and there was hardly any person of note in any science
or art but he sought him in the most remote cities, and kept
company with him long enough to obtain all the information he
desired, so great was his thirst after knowledge.

After several years' absence in foreign parts on this account, he
returned to the capital city of his native country, China, where
seeing so many heads on the gate by which he entered, he was
exceedingly surprised; and coming home he demanded for what reason
they had been placed there, but more especially he inquired after
the princess his foster-sister, whom he had not forgotten. As he
could not receive an answer to one inquiry without the other, he
heard at length a general account with much sorrow, waiting till he
could learn more from his mother, the princess's nurse.

Although the nurse, mother to Marzavan, was very much taken up with
the princess, she no sooner heard that her dear son had returned
than she found time to come out, embrace him, and converse with him
a little. Having told him, with tears in her eyes, what a sad
condition the princess was in, and for what reason the king her
father had shut her up, he desired to know of his mother if she
could not procure him a private sight of her royal mistress,
without the king's knowing it. After some pause, she told him she
could say nothing for the present, but if he would meet her the
next day at the same hour, she would give him an answer.

The nurse knowing that none could approach the princess but herself
without leave of the officer who commanded the guard at the gate,
addressed herself to him, who she knew had been so lately appointed
that he could know nothing of what had passed at the court of
China. 'You know,' said she to him, 'I have brought up the
princess, and you may likewise have heard that I had a daughter
whom I brought up along with her. This daughter has since been
married; yet the princess still does her the honour to love her,
and would fain see her, but without anybody's perceiving her coming
in or out.'

The nurse would have gone on, but the officer cried, 'Say no more;
I will with pleasure do anything to oblige the princess; go and
fetch your daughter, or send for her about midnight, and the gate
shall be open to you.'

As soon as night came, the nurse went to look for her son Marzavan,
and having found him, she dressed him so artificially in women's
clothes that nobody could know he was a man. She carried him along
with her, and the officer verily believing it was her daughter,
admitted them together.

The nurse, before she presented Marzavan, went to the princess, and
said, 'Madam, this is not a woman I have brought to you; it is my
son Marzavan in disguise, newly arrived from his travels, and he
having a great desire to kiss your hand, I hope your highness will
admit him to that honour.'

'What! my brother Marzavan,' said the princess, with great joy:
'come hither,' cried she, 'and take off that veil; for it is not
unreasonable, surely, that a brother and a sister should see each
other without covering their faces.'

Marzavan saluted her with profound respect, when she, without
giving him time to speak, cried out, 'I am rejoiced to see you
returned in good health, after so many years' absence without
sending the least account all the while of your welfare, even to
your good mother.'

'Madam,' replied Marzavan, 'I am infinitely obliged to your
highness for your goodness in rejoicing at my health: I hoped to
have heard a better account of yours than what to my great
affliction I am now witness of. Nevertheless, I cannot but rejoice
that I am come seasonably enough to bring your highness that remedy
of which you stand so much in need; and though I should reap no
other fruit of my studies and long voyage, I should think myself
fully recompensed.'

Speaking these words, Marzavan drew forth out of his pocket a book
and other things, which he judged necessary to be used, according
to the account he had had from his mother of the princess's
illness. The princess, seeing him make all these preparations,
cried out, 'What! brother, are you then one of those that believe
me mad? Undeceive yourself and hear me.'

The princess then began to relate to Marzavan all the particulars
of her story, without omitting the least circumstance, even to the
ring which was exchanged for hers, and which she showed him.

After the princess had done speaking, Marzavan, filled with wonder
and astonishment, continued for some time with his eyes fixed on
the ground, without speaking a word; but at length he lifted up his
head and said, 'If it be as your highness says, which I do not in
the least doubt, I do not despair of procuring you the satisfaction
you desire; but I must first entreat your highness to arm yourself
with patience for some time longer, till I shall return after I
have travelled over kingdoms which I have not yet visited; and when
you hear of my return, be assured that the object of your wishes is
not far off.' So saying, Marzavan took leave of the princess, and
set out next morning on his intended journey.

He travelled from city to city, from province to province, and from
island to island, and in every place he passed through he could
hear of nothing but the Princess Badoura (which was the Princess of
China's name), and her history.

About four months afterwards, Marzavan arrived at Torf, a seaport
town, great and populous, where he no more heard of the Princess
Badoura, but where all the talk was of Prince Camaralzaman, who was
ill, and whose history very much resembled hers. Marzavan was
extremely delighted to hear this, and informed himself of the place
where the prince was to be found. There were two ways to it; one by
land and sea, the other by sea only, which was the shortest way.

Marzavan chose the latter, and embarking on board a merchant ship,
he arrived safe in sight of the capital; but, just before it
entered the port, the ship struck against a rock through the
unskilfulness of the pilot, and foundered. It went down in sight of
Prince Camaralzaman's castle, where were at that time the king and
his grand vizier.

Marzavan could swim very well, and immediately on the ship's
sinking cast himself into the sea, and got safe to the shore under
the castle, where he was soon relieved by the grand vizier's order.
After he had changed his clothes and been well treated, and had
recovered, he was introduced to the grand vizier, who had sent for
him.

Marzavan being a young man of good air and address, this minister
received him very civilly; and when he heard him give such just and
fitting answers to what was asked of him, conceived a great esteem
for him. He also gradually perceived that he possessed a great deal
of knowledge, and therefore said to him, 'From what I can
understand, I perceive you are no common man; you have travelled a
great way: would to God you had learned any secret for curing a
certain sick person, who has greatly afflicted this court for a
long while!'

Marzavan replied that if he knew what malady it was, he might
perhaps find a remedy for it.

Then the grand vizier related to him the whole story of Prince
Camaralzaman from its origin, and concealed nothing; his birth, his
education, the inclination the king his father had to see him
married early, his resistance and extraordinary aversion to
marriage, his disobeying his father in full council, his
imprisonment, his pretended extravagancies in prison, which were
afterwards changed into a violent madness for a certain unknown
lady, who, he pretended, had exchanged a ring with him; though, for
his part, he verily believed there was no such person in the world.

Marzavan gave great attention to all the grand vizier said; and was
infinitely rejoiced to find that, by means of his shipwreck, he had
so fortunately lighted on the person he was looking after. He saw
no reason to doubt that Prince Camaralzaman was the man, and the
Princess of China the lady; therefore, without explaining himself
further to the vizier, he desired to see him, that he might be
better able to judge of his illness and its cure. 'Follow me,' said
the grand vizier, 'and you will find the king with him, who has
already desired that I should introduce you.'

The first thing that struck Marzavan on entering the prince's
chamber was to find him upon his bed languishing, and with his eyes
shut. Although he saw him in that condition, and although the king
his father was sitting by him, he could not help crying out, 'Was
there ever a greater resemblance!' He meant to the Princess of
China; for it seems the princess and prince were much alike.

The words of Marzavan excited the prince's curiosity so far that he
opened his eyes and looked at him. Marzavan, who had a ready wit,
laid hold of that opportunity, and made his compliment in verse
extempore: but in such a disguised manner, that neither the king
nor grand vizier understood anything of the matter. However, he
represented so nicely what had happened to him with the Princess of
China, that the prince had no reason to doubt that he knew her, and
could give him tidings of her. This made him so joyful, that the
effects of it showed themselves in his eyes and looks.

After Marzavan had finished his compliment in verse which surprised
Prince Camaralzaman so agreeably, his highness took the liberty to
make a sign to the king his father, to go from the place where he
was, and let Marzavan sit by him.

The king, overjoyed at this alteration, which gave him hopes of his
son's speedy recovery, quitted his place, and taking Marzavan by
the hand, led him to it. Then his majesty demanded of him who he
was, and whence he came. And upon Marzavan's answering that he was
a subject of China and came from that kingdom, the king cried out,
'Heaven grant that you may be able to cure my son of this profound
melancholy, and I shall be eternally obliged to you; all the world
shall see how handsomely I will reward you.' Having said thus, he
left the prince to converse at full liberty with the stranger,
whilst he went and rejoiced with the grand vizier.

Marzavan leaning down to the prince, spoke low in his ear, thus:
'Prince,' said he, 'it is time you should cease to grieve. The lady
for whom you suffer is the Princess Badoura, daughter of Gaiour,
King of China. This I can assure your highness from what she has
told me of her adventure, and what I have learned of yours. She has
suffered no less on your account than you have on hers.' Here he
began to relate all that he knew of the princess's story, from the
night of their extraordinary interview.

He omitted not to acquaint him how the king had treated those who
had failed in their pretensions to cure the princess of her
indisposition. 'But your highness is the only person,' added he,
'that can cure her effectually, and may present yourself without
fear. However, before you undertake so great a voyage, I would have
you perfectly recovered, and then we will take such measures as are
necessary. Think then immediately of the recovery of your health.'

This discourse had a marvellous effect on the prince. He found such
great relief that he felt he had strength to rise, and begged leave
of his father to dress himself, with such an air as gave the old
king incredible pleasure.

The king could not refrain from embracing Marzavan, without
inquiring into the means he had used to produce this wonderful
effect, and soon after went out of the prince's chamber with the
grand vizier to publish this agreeable news. He ordered public
rejoicings for several days together, and gave great largesses to
his officers and the people, alms to the poor, and caused the
prisoners to be set at liberty throughout his kingdom. The joy was
soon general in the capital and every corner of his dominions.

Prince Camaralzaman, though extremely weakened by almost continual
want of sleep and long abstinence from almost all food, soon
recovered his health. When he found himself in a condition to
undertake the voyage, he took Marzavan aside, and said, 'Dear
Marzavan, it is now time to perform the promise you have made me. I
burn with impatience to see the charming princess, and if we do not
set out on our journey immediately I shall soon relapse into my
former condition. One thing still troubles me,' continued he, 'and
that is the difficulty I shall meet with in getting leave of my
father to go. This would be a cruel disappointment to me, if you do
not contrive a way to prevent it. You see he scarcely ever leaves
me.'

At these words the prince fell to weeping: and Marzavan said, 'I
foresaw this difficulty; let not your highness be grieved at that,
for I will undertake to prevent it. My principal design in this
voyage was to deliver the Princess of China from her malady, and
this from all the reasons of mutual affection which we have borne
to each other from our birth, besides the zeal and affection I
otherwise owe her; and I should be wanting in my duty to her, if I
did not do my best endeavour to effect her cure and yours, and
exert my utmost skill. This then is the means I have contrived to
obtain your liberty. You have not stirred abroad for some time,
therefore let the king your father understand you have a mind to
take the air, and ask his leave to go out on a hunting party for
two or three days with me. No doubt he will grant your request;
when he has done so, order two good horses to be got ready, one to
mount, the other to change, and leave the rest to me.'

Next day Prince Camaralzarnan took his opportunity. He told the
king he was desirous to take the air, and, if he pleased, would go
and hunt for two or three days with Marzavan. The king gave his
consent, but bade him be sure not to stay out above one night,
since too much exercise at first might impair his health, and a too
long absence create his majesty uneasiness. He then ordered him to
choose the best horses in his stable, and himself took particular
care that nothing should be wanting. When all was ready, his
majesty embraced the prince, and having recommended the care of him
to Marzavan, he let him go. Prince Camaralzaman and Marzavan were
soon mounted, when, to amuse the two grooms that led the fresh
horses, they made as if they would hunt, and so got as far off the
city and out of the road as was possible. When night began to
approach, they alighted at a caravansera or inn, where they supped,
and slept till about midnight; then Marzavan awakened the prince
without awakening the grooms, and desired his highness to let him
have his suit, and to take another for himself, which was brought
in his baggage. Thus equipped, they mounted the fresh horses, and
after Marzavan had taken one of the groom's horses by the bridle,
they set out as hard as their horses could go.

At daybreak they were in a forest, where, coming to the meeting of
four roads, Marzavan desired the prince to wait for him a little,
and went into the forest. He then killed the groom's horse, and
after having torn the prince's suit, which he had put off, he
besmeared it with blood and threw it into the highway.

The prince demanded his reason for what he had done. He told his
highness he was sure the king his father would no sooner find that
he did not return, and come to know that he had departed without the
grooms, than he would suspect something, and immediately send people
in quest of them. 'They that come to this place,' said he, 'and find
these blood-stained clothes, will conclude you are devoured by wild
beasts, and that I have escaped to avoid the king's anger. The king,
persuading himself that you are dead will stop further pursuit, and
we may have leisure to continue our journey without fear of being
followed. I must confess,' continued Marzavan, 'that this is a
violent way of proceeding, to alarm an old father with the death of
his son, whom he loves so passionately; but his joy will be the
greater when he hears you are alive and happy.'

'Brave Marzavan,' replied the prince,' I cannot but approve such an
ingenious stratagem, or sufficiently admire your conduct: I am
under fresh obligations to you for it.'

The prince and Marzavan, well provided with cash for their
expenses, continued their journey both by land and sea, and found
no other obstacle but the length of time which it necessarily took
up. They, however, arrived at length at the capital of China, where
Marzavan, instead of going to his lodgings, carried the prince to a
public inn. They tarried there incognito for three days to rest
themselves after the fatigue of the voyage; during which time
Marzavan caused an astrologer's dress to be made for the prince.
The three days being expired, the prince put on his astrologer's
habit; and Marzavan left him to go and acquaint his mother, the
Princess Badoura's nurse, of his arrival, to the end that she might
inform the Princess.

Prince Camaralzaman, instructed by Marzavan as to what he was to
do, and provided with all he wanted as an astrologer, came next
morning to the gate of the king's palace, before the guards and
porters, and cried aloud, 'I am an astrologer, and am come to
effect a cure on the estimable Princess Badoura, daughter of the
most high and mighty monarch Gaiour, King of China, on the
conditions proposed by his majesty, to marry her if I succeed, or
else to lose my life for my fruitless and presumptuous attempt.'

Besides the guards and porters at the gate, this drew together a
great number of people about Prince Camaralzaman. No physician,
astrologer, nor magician had appeared for a long time, deterred by
the many tragic examples of ill success that appeared before their
eyes; it was therefore thought that there were no more men of these
professions in the world, or that there were no more so mad as
those that had gone before them.

The prince's good mien, noble air, and blooming youth made
everybody that saw him pity him. 'What mean you, sir,' said some
that were nearest to him, 'thus to expose a life of such promising
expectation to certain death? Cannot the heads you see on all the
gates of this city deter you from such an undertaking? Consider
what you do: abandon this rash attempt, and be gone.'

The prince continued firm, notwithstanding all these remonstrances;
and as he saw nobody come to introduce him, he repeated the same
cry with a boldness that made everybody tremble. Then they all
cried, 'Let him alone, he is resolved to die; God have mercy upon
his youth and his soul!' He then proceeded to cry out a third time
in the same manner, when the grand vizier came in person, and
introduced him to the King of China.

As soon as the prince came into the king's presence, he bowed and
kissed the ground. The king, who, of all that had hitherto
presumptuously exposed their lives on this occasion, had not seen
one worthy to cast his eyes upon, felt real compassion for Prince
Camaralzaman on account of the danger he was about to undergo. But
as he thought him more deserving than ordinary, he showed him more
honour, and made him come and sit by him. 'Young man,' said he, 'I
can hardly believe that you, at this age, can have acquired
experience enough to dare attempt the cure of my daughter. I wish
you may succeed; and would give her to you in marriage with all my
heart, with the greatest joy, more willingly than I should have
done to others that have offered themselves before you; but I must
declare to you at the same time, with great concern, that if you do
not succeed in your attempt, notwithstanding your noble appearance
and your youth you must lose your head.'

'Sir,' replied the prince, 'I am under infinite obligations to your
majesty for the honour you design me, and the great goodness you
show to a stranger; but I desire your majesty to believe that I
would not have come from so remote a country as I have done, the
name of which perhaps may be unknown in your dominions, if I had
not been certain of the cure I propose. What would not the world
say of my fickleness, if, after such great fatigues and dangers as
I have undergone on this account, I should abandon the enterprise?
Even your majesty would soon lose that esteem you have conceived
for me. If I must die, sir, I shall die with the satisfaction of
not having lost your esteem after I have merited it. I beseech your
majesty therefore to keep me no longer impatient to display the
certainty of my art.'

Then the king commanded the officer who had the custody of the
princess to introduce Prince Camaralzaman into her apartment: but
before he would let him go, he reminded him once more that he was
at liberty to renounce his design; yet the prince paid no heed,
but, with astonishing resolution and eagerness, followed the
officer.

When they came to a long gallery, at the end of which was the
princess's apartment, the prince, who saw himself so near the
object of the wishes which had occasioned him so many tears, pushed
on, and got before the officer.

The officer, redoubling his pace, with much ado got up with him.
'Whither away so fast?' cried he, taking him by the arm; 'you
cannot get in without me: and it would seem that you have a great
desire for death thus to run to it headlong. Not one of all those
many astrologers and magicians I have introduced before made such
haste as yourself to a place whither I fear you will come but too
soon.'

'Friend,' replied the Prince, looking earnestly at the officer, and
continuing his pace, 'this was because none of the astrologers you
speak of were so sure of their art as I am of mine: they were
certain, indeed, that they would die if they did not succeed, but
they had no certainty of their success. On this account they had
reason to tremble on approaching the place whither I go, and where
I am sure to find my happiness.' He had just spoken these words as
he was at the door. The officer opened it, and introduced him into
a great hall, whence was an entrance into the princess's chamber,
divided from it only by a piece of tapestry.

Prince Camaralzaman stopt before he entered, speaking softly to the
officer for fear of being heard in the princess's chamber. 'To
convince you,' said he, 'that there is neither presumption, nor
whim, nor youthful conceit in my undertaking, I leave it to your
own desire whether I should cure the princess in your presence, or
where we are, without going any further?'

The officer was amazed to hear the prince talk to him with such
confidence: he left off insulting him, and said seriously, 'It is
no matter whether you do it here or there, provided the business is
done: cure her how you will, you will get immortal honour by it,
not only in this court, but over all the world.'

The prince replied, 'It will be best then to cure her without
seeing her, that you may be witness of my skill: notwithstanding my
impatience to see a princess of her rank, who is to be my wife,
yet, out of respect to you, I will deprive myself of that pleasure
for a little while.' He was furnished with everything suitable for
an astrologer to carry about him; and taking pen, ink, and paper
out of his pocket, he wrote a letter to the princess.

When the prince had finished his letter, he folded it up, and
enclosed in it the princess's ring, without letting the officer see
what he did. When he had sealed it, he gave it to him: 'There,
friend,' said he, 'carry it to your mistress; if it does not cure
her as soon as she reads it, and sees what is inclosed in it, I
give you leave to tell everybody that I am the most ignorant and
impudent astrologer that ever was, is, or shall be.'

The officer, entering the Princess of China's chamber, gave her the
packet he received from Prince Camaralzaman. 'Madam,' said he, 'the
boldest astrologer that ever lived, if I am not mistaken, has
arrived here, and pretends that on reading this letter and seeing
what is in it you will be cured; I wish he may prove neither a liar
nor an impostor.'

The Princess Badoura took the letter, and opened it with a great
deal of indifference, but when she saw the ring, she had not
patience to read it through; she rose hastily, broke the chain that
held her, ran to the door and opened it. She knew the prince as
soon as she saw him, and he knew her; they at once embraced each
other tenderly, without being able to speak for excess of joy: they
looked on one another a long time, wondering how they met again
after their first interview. The princess's nurse, who ran to the
door with her, made them come into her chamber, where the Princess
Badoura gave the prince her ring, saying, 'Take it; I cannot keep
it without restoring yours, which I will never part with; neither
can it be in better hands.'

The officer immediately went to tell the King of China what had
happened. 'Sir,' said he, 'all the astrologers and doctors who have
hitherto pretended to cure the princess were fools in comparison
with the last. He made use neither of schemes nor spells or
perfumes, or anything else, but cured her without seeing her.' Then
he told the king how he did it. The monarch was agreeably surprised
at the news, and going forthwith to the princess's chamber embraced
her: he afterwards embraced the prince, and, taking his hand,
joined it to the princess's.

'Happy stranger,' said the king, 'whoever you are, I will keep my
word, and give you my daughter to marry; though, from what I see in
you, it is impossible for me to believe that you are really what
you appear to be, and would have me believe you.'

Prince Camaralzaman thanked the king in the most humble tones, that
he might the better show his gratitude. 'As for my person,' said
he, 'I must own I am not an astrologer, as your majesty very
judiciously guessed; I only put on the habit of one, that I might
succeed more easily in my ambition to be allied to the most potent
monarch in the world. I was born a prince, and the son of a king
and queen; my name is Camaralzaman; my father is Schahzaman, who
now reigns over the islands that are well known by the name of the
Islands of the Children of Khaledan.' He then told him his history.

When the prince had done speaking, the king said to him, 'This
history is so extraordinary that it deserves to be known to
posterity; I will take care it shall be; and the original being
deposited in my royal archives, I will spread copies of it abroad,
that my own kingdoms and the kingdoms around me may know it.'

The marriage was solemnized the same day, and the rejoicings for it
were universal all over the empire of China. Nor was Marzavan
forgotten: the king immediately gave him an honourable post in his
court, and a promise of further advancement; and held continual
feastings for several months, to show his joy.

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Główna Czytelnia Literatura Baśnie Tysiąca i Jednej Nocy PRINCE CAMARALZAMAN AND THE PRINCESS OF CHINA
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