Stories of Arabian Nights -
One thousand one Arabian Nights
The Adventures of Prince Camaralzaman and the Princess Badoura
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Some twenty days' sail from the coast of Persia
lies the isle of the children of Khaledan. The island is divided into several
provinces, in each of which are large flourishing towns, and the whole forms an
important kingdom. It was governed in former days by a king named Schahzaman,
who, with good right, considered himself one of the most peaceful, prosperous,
and fortunate monarchs on the earth. In fact, he had but one grievance, which
was that none of his four wives had given him an heir.
This distressed him so greatly that one day he confided his grief to the grand-vizir,
who, being a wise counsellor, said: "Such matters are indeed beyond human aid.
Allah alone can grant your desire, and I should advise you, sire, to send large
gifts to those holy men who spend their lives in prayer, and to beg for their
intercessions. Who knows whether their petitions may not be answered!"
The king took his vizir's advice, and the result of so many prayers for an heir
to the throne was that a son was born to him the following year.
Schahzaman sent noble gifts as thank offerings to all the mosques and religious
houses, and great rejoicings were celebrated in honour of the birth of the
little prince, who was so beautiful that he was named Camaralzaman, or "Moon of
Prince Camaralzaman was brought up with extreme care by an excellent governor
and all the cleverest teachers, and he did such credit to them that when he was
grown up, a more charming and accomplished young man was not to be found. Whilst
he was still a youth the king, his father, who loved him dearly, had some
thoughts of abdicating in his favour. As usual he talked over his plans with his
grand-vizir, who, though he did not approve the idea, would not state all his
"Sire," he replied, "the prince is still very young for the cares of state. Your
Majesty fears his growing idle and careless, and doubtless you are right. But
how would it be if he were first to marry? This would attach him to his home,
and your Majesty might give him a share in your counsels, so that he might
gradually learn how to wear a crown, which you can give up to him whenever you
find him capable of wearing it."
The vizir's advice once more struck the king as being good, and he sent for his
son, who lost no time in obeying the summons, and standing respectfully with
downcast eyes before the king asked for his commands.
"I have sent for you," said the king, "to say that I wish you to marry. What do
you think about it?"
The prince was so much overcome by these words that he remained silent for some
time. At length he said: "Sire, I beg you to pardon me if I am unable to reply
as you might wish. I certainly did not expect such a proposal as I am still so
young, and I confess that the idea of marrying is very distasteful to me.
Possibly I may not always be in this mind, but I certainly feel that it will
require some time to induce me to take the step which your Majesty desires."
This answer greatly distressed the king, who was sincerely grieved by his
objection to marriage. However he would not have recourse to extreme measures,
so he said: "I do not wish to force you; I will give you time to reflect, but
remember that such a step is necessary, for a prince such as you who will some
day be called to rule over a great kingdom."
From this time Prince Camaralzaman was admitted to the royal council, and the
king showed him every mark of favour.
At the end of a year the king took his son aside, and said: "Well, my son, have
you changed your mind on the subject of marriage, or do you still refuse to obey
The prince was less surprised but no less firm than on the former occasion, and
begged his father not to press the subject, adding that it was quite useless to
urge him any longer.
This answer much distressed the king, who again confided his trouble to his
"I have followed your advice," he said; "but Camaralzaman declines to marry, and
is more obstinate than ever."
"Sire," replied the vizir, "much is gained by patience, and your Majesty might
regret any violence. Why not wait another year and then inform the Prince in the
midst of the assembled council that the good of the state demands his marriage?
He cannot possibly refuse again before so distinguished an assemblage, and in
our immediate presence."
The Sultan ardently desired to see his son married at once, but he yielded to
the vizir's arguments and decided to wait. He then visited the prince's mother,
and after telling her of his disappointment and of the further respite he had
given his son, he added: "I know that Camaralzaman confides more in you than he
does in me. Pray speak very seriously to him on this subject, and make him
realise that he will most seriously displease me if he remains obstinate, and
that he will certainly regret the measures I shall be obliged to take to enforce
So the first time the Sultana Fatima saw her son she told him she had heard of
his refusal to marry, adding how distressed she felt that he should have vexed
his father so much. She asked what reasons he could have for his objections to
"Madam," replied the prince, "I make no doubt that there are as many good,
virtuous, sweet, and amiable women as there are others very much the reverse.
Would that all were like you! But what revolts me is the idea of marrying a
woman without knowing anything at all about her. My father will ask the hand of
the daughter of some neighbouring sovereign, who will give his consent to our
union. Be she fair or frightful, clever or stupid, good or bad, I must marry
her, and am left no choice in the matter. How am I to know that she will not be
proud, passionate, contemptuous, and recklessly extravagant, or that her
disposition will in any way suit mine?"
"But, my son," urged Fatima, "you surely do not wish to be the last of a race
which has reigned so long and so gloriously over this kingdom?"
"Madam," said the prince, "I have no wish to survive the king, my father, but
should I do so I will try to reign in such a manner as may be considered worthy
of my predecessors."
These and similar conversations proved to the Sultan how useless it was to argue
with his son, and the year elapsed without bringing any change in the prince's
At length a day came when the Sultan summoned him before the council, and there
informed him that not only his own wishes but the good of the empire demanded
his marriage, and desired him to give his answer before the assembled ministers.
At this Camaralzaman grew so angry and spoke with so much heat that the king,
naturally irritated at being opposed by his son in full council, ordered the
prince to be arrested and locked up in an old tower, where he had nothing but a
very little furniture, a few books, and a single slave to wait on him.
Camaralzaman, pleased to be free to enjoy his books, showed himself very
indifferent to his sentence.
When night came he washed himself, performed his devotions, and, having read
some pages of the Koran, lay down on a couch, without putting out the light near
him, and was soon asleep.
Now there was a deep well in the tower in which Prince Camaralzaman was
imprisoned, and this well was a favourite resort of the fairy Maimoune, daughter
of Damriat, chief of a legion of genii. Towards midnight Maimoune floated
lightly up from the well, intending, according to her usual habit, to roam about
the upper world as curiosity or accident might prompt.
The light in the prince's room surprised her, and without disturbing the slave,
who slept across the threshold, she entered the room, and approaching the bed
was still more astonished to find it occupied.
The prince lay with his face half hidden by the coverlet. Maimoune lifted it a
little and beheld the most beautiful youth she had ever seen.
"What a marvel of beauty he must be when his eyes are open!" she thought. "What
can he have done to deserve to be treated like this?"
She could not weary gazing at Camaralzaman, but at length, having softly kissed
his brow and each cheek, she replaced the coverlet and resumed her flight
through the air.
As she entered the middle region she heard the sound of great wings coming
towards her, and shortly met one of the race of bad genii. This genie, whose
name was Danhasch, recognised Maimoune with terror, for he knew the supremacy
which her goodness gave her over him. He would gladly have avoided her
altogether, but they were so near that he must either be prepared to fight or
yield to her, so he at once addressed her in a conciliatory tone:
"Good Maimoune, swear to me by Allah to do me no harm, and on my side I will
promise not to injure you."
"Accursed genie!" replied Maimoune, "what harm can you do me? But I will grant
your power and give the promise you ask. And now tell me what you have seen and
"Fair lady," said Danhasch, "you meet me at the right moment to hear something
really interesting. I must tell you that I come from the furthest end of China,
which is one of the largest and most powerful kingdoms in the world. The present
king has one only daughter, who is so perfectly lovely that neither you, nor I,
nor any other creature could find adequate terms in which to describe her
marvellous charms. You must therefore picture to yourself the most perfect
features, joined to a brilliant and delicate complexion, and an enchanting
expression, and even then imagination will fall short of the reality."
"The king, her father, has carefully shielded this treasure from the vulgar
gaze, and has taken every precaution to keep her from the sight of everyone
except the happy mortal he may choose to be her husband. But in order to give
her variety in her confinement he has built her seven palaces such as have never
been seen before. The first palace is entirely composed of rock crystal, the
second of bronze, the third of fine steel, the fourth of another and more
precious species of bronze, the fifth of touchstone, the sixth of silver, and
the seventh of solid gold. They are all most sumptuously furnished, whilst the
gardens surrounding them are laid out with exquisite taste. In fact, neither
trouble nor cost has been spared to make this retreat agreeable to the princess.
The report of her wonderful beauty has spread far and wide, and many powerful
kings have sent embassies to ask her hand in marriage. The king has always
received these embassies graciously, but says that he will never oblige the
princess to marry against her will, and as she regularly declines each fresh
proposal, the envoys have had to leave as disappointed in the result of their
missions as they were gratified by their magnificent receptions.
"Sire," said the princess to her father, "you wish me to marry, and I know you
desire to please me, for which I am very grateful. But, indeed, I have no
inclination to change my state, for where could I find so happy a life amidst so
many beautiful and delightful surroundings? I feel that I could never be as
happy with any husband as I am here, and I beg you not to press one on me."
"At last an embassy came from a king so rich and powerful that the King of China
felt constrained to urge this suit on his daughter. He told her how important
such an alliance would be, and pressed her to consent. In fact, he pressed her
so persistingly that the princess at length lost her temper and quite forgot the
respect due to her father. `Sire,' cried she angrily, `do not speak further of
this or any other marriage or I will plunge this dagger in my breast and so
escape from all these importunities.'"
"The king of China was extremely indignant with his daughter and replied: `You
have lost your senses and you must be treated accordingly.'" So he had her shut
in one set of rooms in one of her palaces, and only allowed her ten old women,
of whom her nurse was the head, to wait on her and keep her company. He next
sent letters to all the kings who had sued for the princess's hand, begging they
would think of her no longer, as she was quite insane, and he desired his
various envoys to make it known that anyone who could cure her should have her
"Fair Maimoune," continued Danhasch, "this is the present state of affairs. I
never pass a day without going to gaze on this incomparable beauty, and I am
sure that if you would only accompany me you would think the sight well worth
the trouble, and own that you never saw such loveliness before."
The fairy only answered with a peal of laughter, and when at length she had
control of her voice she cried, "Oh, come, you are making game of me! I thought
you had something really interesting to tell me instead of raving about some
unknown damsel. What would you say if you could see the prince I have just been
looking at and whose beauty is really transcendent? That is something worth
talking about, you would certainly quite lose your head."
"Charming Maimoune," asked Danhasch, "may I inquire who and what is the prince
of whom you speak?"
"Know," replied Maimoune, "that he is in much the same case as your princess.
The king, his father, wanted to force him to marry, and on the prince's refusal
to obey he has been imprisoned in an old tower where I have just seen him."
"I don't like to contradict a lady," said Danhasch, "but you must really permit
me to doubt any mortal being as beautiful as my princess."
"Hold your tongue," cried Maimoune. "I repeat that is impossible."
"Well, I don't wish to seem obstinate," replied Danhasch, "the best plan to test
the truth of what I say will be for you to let me take you to see the princess
"There is no need for that," retorted Maimoune; "we can satisfy ourselves in
another way. Bring your princess here and lay her down beside my prince. We can
then compare them at leisure, and decide which is in the right."
Danhasch readily consented, and after having the tower where the prince was
confined pointed out to him, and making a wager with Maimoune as to the result
of the comparison, he flew off to China to fetch the princess.
In an incredibly short time Danhasch returned, bearing the sleeping princess.
Maimoune led him to the prince's room, and the rival beauty was placed beside
When the prince and princess lay thus side by side, an animated dispute as to
their respective charms arose between the fairy and the genius. Danhasch began
"Now you see that my princess is more beautiful than your prince. Can you doubt
"Doubt! Of course I do!" exclaimed Maimoune. "Why, you must be blind not to see
how much my prince excels your princess. I do not deny that your princess is
very handsome, but only look and you must own that I am in the right."
"There is no need for me to look longer," said Danhasch, "my first impression
will remain the same; but of course, charming Maimoune, I am ready to yield to
you if you insist on it."
"By no means," replied Maimoune. "I have no idea of being under any obligation
to an accursed genius like you. I refer the matter to an umpire, and shall
expect you to submit to his verdict."
Danhasch readily agreed, and on Maimoune striking the floor with her foot it
opened, and a hideous, hump-backed, lame, squinting genius, with six horns on
his head, hands like claws, emerged. As soon as he beheld Maimoune he threw
himself at her feet and asked her commands.
"Rise, Caschcasch," said she. "I summoned you to judge between me and Danhasch.
Glance at that couch, and say without any partiality whether you think the youth
or the maiden lying there the more beautiful."
Caschcasch looked at the prince and princess with every token of surprise and
admiration. At length, having gazed long without being able to come to a
decision, he said
"Madam, I must confess that I should deceive you were I to declare one to be
handsomer than the other. There seems to me only one way in which to decide the
matter, and that is to wake one after the other and judge which of them
expresses the greater admiration for the other."
This advice pleased Maimoune and Danhasch, and the fairy at once transformed
herself into the shape of a gnat and settling on Camaralzaman's throat stung him
so sharply that he awoke. As he did so his eyes fell on the Princess of China.
Surprised at finding a lady so near him, he raised himself on one arm to look at
her. The youth and beauty of the princess at once awoke a feeling to which his
heart had as yet been a stranger, and he could not restrain his delight.
"What loveliness! What charms! Oh, my heart, my soul!" he exclaimed, as he
kissed her forehead, her eyes and mouth in a way which would certainly have
roused her had not the genie's enchantments kept her asleep.
"How, fair lady!" he cried, "you do not wake at the signs of Camaralzaman's
love? Be you who you may, he is not unworthy of you."
It then suddenly occurred to him, that perhaps this was the bride his father had
destined for him, and that the King had probably had her placed in this room in
order to see how far Camaralzaman's aversion to marriage would withstand her
"At all events," he thought, "I will take this ring as a remembrance of her."
So saying he drew off a fine ring which the princess wore on her finger, and
replaced it by one of his own. After which he lay down again and was soon fast
Then Danhasch, in his turn, took the form of a gnat and bit the princess on her
She started up, and was not a little amazed at seeing a young man beside her.
From surprise she soon passed to admiration, and then to delight on perceiving
how handsome and fascinating he was.
"Why," cried she, "was it you my father wished me to marry? How unlucky that I
did not know sooner! I should not have made him so angry. But wake up! wake up!
for I know I shall love you with all my heart."
So saying she shook Camaralzaman so violently that nothing but the spells of
Maimoune could have prevented his waking.
"Oh!" cried the princess. "Why are you so drowsy?" So saying she took his hand
and noticed her own ring on his finger, which made her wonder still more. But as
he still remained in a profound slumber she pressed a kiss on his cheek and soon
fell fast asleep too.
Then Maimoune turning to the genie said: "Well, are you satisfied that my prince
surpasses your princess? Another time pray believe me when I assert anything."
Then turning to Caschcasch: "My thanks to you, and now do you and Danhasch bear
the princess back to her own home."
The two genii hastened to obey, and Maimoune returned to her well.
On waking next morning the first thing Prince Camaralzaman did was to look round
for the lovely lady he had seen at night, and the next to question the slave who
waited on him about her. But the slave persisted so strongly that he knew
nothing of any lady, and still less of how she got into the tower, that the
prince lost all patience, and after giving him a good beating tied a rope round
him and ducked him in the well till the unfortunate man cried out that he would
tell everything. Then the prince drew him up all dripping wet, but the slave
begged leave to change his clothes first, and as soon as the prince consented
hurried off just as he was to the palace. Here he found the king talking to the
grand-vizir of all the anxiety his son had caused him. The slave was admitted at
once and cried:
"Alas, Sire! I bring sad news to your Majesty. There can be no doubt that the
prince has completely lost his senses. He declares that he saw a lady sleeping
on his couch last night, and the state you see me in proves how violent
contradiction makes him." He then gave a minute account of all the prince had
said and done.
The king, much moved, begged the vizir to examine into this new misfortune, and
the latter at once went to the tower, where he found the prince quietly reading
a book. After the first exchange of greetings the vizir said:
"I feel really very angry with your slave for alarming his Majesty by the news
he brought him."
"What news?" asked the prince.
"Ah!" replied the vizir, "something absurd, I feel sure, seeing how I find you."
"Most likely," said the prince; "but now that you are here I am glad of the
opportunity to ask you where is the lady who slept in this room last night?"
The grand-vizir felt beside himself at this question.
"Prince!" he exclaimed, "how would it be possible for any man, much less a
woman, to enter this room at night without walking over your slave on the
threshold? Pray consider the matter, and you will realise that you have been
deeply impressed by some dream."
But the prince angrily insisted on knowing who and where the lady was, and was
not to be persuaded by all the vizir's protestations to the contrary that the
plot had not been one of his making. At last, losing patience, he seized the
vizir by the beard and loaded him with blows.
"Stop, Prince," cried the unhappy vizir, "stay and hear what I have to say."
The prince, whose arm was getting tired, paused.
"I confess, Prince," said the vizir, "that there is some foundation for what you
say. But you know well that a minister has to carry out his master's orders.
Allow me to go and to take to the king any message you may choose to send."
"Very well," said the prince; "then go and tell him that I consent to marry the
lady whom he sent or brought here last night. Be quick and bring me back his
The vizir bowed to the ground and hastened to leave the room and tower.
"Well," asked the king as soon as he appeared, "and how did you find my son?"
"Alas, sire," was the reply, "the slave's report is only too true!"
He then gave an exact account of his interview with Camaralzaman and of the
prince's fury when told that it was not possible for any lady to have entered
his room, and of the treatment he himself had received. The king, much
distressed, determined to clear up the matter himself, and, ordering the vizir
to follow him, set out to visit his son.
The prince received his father with profound respect, and the king, making him
sit beside him, asked him several questions, to which Camaralzaman replied with
much good sense. At last the king said: "My son, pray tell me about the lady
who, it is said, was in your room last night."
"Sire," replied the prince, "pray do not increase my distress in this matter,
but rather make me happy by giving her to me in marriage. However much I may
have objected to matrimony formerly, the sight of this lovely girl has overcome
all my prejudices, and I will gratefully receive her from your hands."
The king was almost speechless on hearing his son, but after a time assured him
most solemnly that he knew nothing whatever about the lady in question, and had
not connived at her appearance. He then desired the prince to relate the whole
story to him.
Camaralzaman did so at great length, showed the ring, and implored his father to
help to find the bride he so ardently desired.
"After all you tell me," remarked the king, "I can no longer doubt your word;
but how and whence the lady came, or why she should have stayed so short a time
I cannot imagine. The whole affair is indeed mysterious. Come, my dear son, let
us wait together for happier days."
So saying the king took Camaralzaman by the hand and led him back to the palace,
where the prince took to his bed and gave himself up to despair, and the king
shutting himself up with his son entirely neglected the affairs of state.
The prime minister, who was the only person admitted, felt it his duty at last
to tell the king how much the court and all the people complained of his
seclusion, and how bad it was for the nation. He urged the sultan to remove with
the prince to a lovely little island close by, whence he could easily attend
public audiences, and where the charming scenery and fine air would do the
invalid so much good as to enable him to bear his father's occasional absence.
The king approved the plan, and as soon as the castle on the island could be
prepared for their reception he and the prince arrived there, Schahzaman never
leaving his son except for the prescribed public audiences twice a week.
Whilst all this was happening in the capital of Schahzaman the two genii had
carefully borne the Princess of China back to her own palace and replaced her in
bed. On waking next morning she first turned from one side to another and then,
finding herself alone, called loudly for her women.
"Tell me," she cried, "where is the young man I love so dearly, and who slept
near me last night?"
"Princess," exclaimed the nurse, "we cannot tell what you allude to without more
"Why," continued the princess, "the most charming and beautiful young man lay
sleeping beside me last night. I did my utmost to wake him, but in vain."
"Your Royal Highness wishes to make game of us," said the nurse. "Is it your
pleasure to rise?"
"I am quite in earnest," persisted the princess, "and I want to know where he
"But, Princess," expostulated the nurse, "we left you quite alone last night,
and we have seen no one enter your room since then."
At this the princess lost all patience, and taking the nurse by her hair she
boxed her ears soundly, crying out: "You shall tell me, you old witch, or I'll
The nurse had no little trouble in escaping, and hurried off to the queen, to
whom she related the whole story with tears in her eyes.
"You see, madam," she concluded, "that the princess must be out of her mind. If
only you will come and see her, you will be able to judge for yourself."
The queen hurried to her daughter's apartments, and after tenderly embracing
her, asked her why she had treated her nurse so badly.
"Madam," said the princess, "I perceive that your Majesty wishes to make game of
me, but I can assure you that I will never marry anyone except the charming
young man whom I saw last night. You must know where he is, so pray send for
The queen was much surprised by these words, but when she declared that she knew
nothing whatever of the matter the princess lost all respect, and answered that
if she were not allowed to marry as she wished she should kill herself, and it
was in vain that the queen tried to pacify her and bring her to reason.
The king himself came to hear the rights of the matter, but the princess only
persisted in her story, and as a proof showed the ring on her finger. The king
hardly knew what to make of it all, but ended by thinking that his daughter was
more crazy than ever, and without further argument he had her placed in still
closer confinement, with only her nurse to wait on her and a powerful guard to
keep the door.
Then he assembled his council, and having told them the sad state of things,
added: "If any of you can succeed in curing the princess, I will give her to him
in marriage, and he shall be my heir."
An elderly emir present, fired with the desire to possess a young and lovely
wife and to rule over a great kingdom, offered to try the magic arts with which
he was acquainted.
"You are welcome to try," said the king, "but I make one condition, which is,
that should you fail you will lose your life."
The emir accepted the condition, and the king led him to the princess, who,
veiling her face, remarked, "I am surprised, sire, that you should bring an
unknown man into my presence."
"You need not be shocked," said the king; "this is one of my emirs who asks your
hand in marriage."
"Sire," replied the princess, "this is not the one you gave me before and whose
ring I wear. Permit me to say that I can accept no other."
The emir, who had expected to hear the princess talk nonsense, finding how calm
and reasonable she was, assured the king that he could not venture to undertake
a cure, but placed his head at his Majesty's disposal, on which the justly
irritated monarch promptly had it cut off.
This was the first of many suitors for the princess whose inability to cure her
cost them their lives.
Now it happened that after things had been going on in this way for some time
the nurse's son Marzavan returned from his travels. He had been in many
countries and learnt many things, including astrology. Needless to say that one
of the first things his mother told him was the sad condition of the princess,
his foster-sister. Marzavan asked if she could not manage to let him see the
princess without the king's knowledge.
After some consideration his mother consented, and even persuaded the eunuch on
guard to make no objection to Marzavan's entering the royal apartment.
The princess was delighted to see her foster-brother again, and after some
conversation she confided to him all her history and the cause of her
Marzavan listened with downcast eyes and the utmost attention. When she had
finished speaking he said,
"If what you tell me, Princess, is indeed the case, I do not despair of finding
comfort for you. Take patience yet a little longer. I will set out at once to
explore other countries, and when you hear of my return be sure that he for whom
you sigh is not far off." So saying, he took his leave and started next morning
on his travels.
Marzavan journeyed from city to city and from one island and province to
another, and wherever he went he heard people talk of the strange story of the
Princess Badoura, as the Princess of China was named.
After four months he reached a large populous seaport town named Torf, and here
he heard no more of the Princess Badoura but a great deal of Prince Camaralzaman,
who was reported ill, and whose story sounded very similar to that of the
Marzavan was rejoiced, and set out at once for Prince Camaralzaman's residence.
The ship on which he embarked had a prosperous voyage till she got within sight
of the capital of King Schahzaman, but when just about to enter the harbour she
suddenly struck on a rock, and foundered within sight of the palace where the
prince was living with his father and the grand-vizir.
Marzavan, who swam well, threw himself into the sea and managed to land close to
the palace, where he was kindly received, and after having a change of clothing
given him was brought before the grand-vizir. The vizir was at once attracted by
the young man's superior air and intelligent conversation, and perceiving that
he had gained much experience in the course of his travels, he said, "Ah, how I
wish you had learnt some secret which might enable you to cure a malady which
has plunged this court into affliction for some time past!"
Marzavan replied that if he knew what the illness was he might possibly be able
to suggest a remedy, on which the vizir related to him the whole history of
On hearing this Marzavan rejoiced inwardly, for he felt sure that he had at last
discovered the object of the Princess Badoura's infatuation. However, he said
nothing, but begged to be allowed to see the prince.
On entering the royal apartment the first thing which struck him was the prince
himself, who lay stretched out on his bed with his eyes closed. The king sat
near him, but, without paying any regard to his presence, Marzavan exclaimed,
"Heavens! what a striking likeness!" And, indeed, there was a good deal of
resemblance between the features of Camaralzaman and those of the Princess of
These words caused the prince to open his eyes with languid curiosity, and
Marzavan seized this moment to pay him his compliments, contriving at the same
time to express the condition of the Princess of China in terms unintelligible,
indeed, to the Sultan and his vizir, but which left the prince in no doubt that
his visitor could give him some welcome information.
The prince begged his father to allow him the favour of a private interview with
Marzavan, and the king was only too pleased to find his son taking an interest
in anyone or anything. As soon as they were left alone Marzavan told the prince
the story of the Princess Badoura and her sufferings, adding, "I am convinced
that you alone can cure her; but before starting on so long a journey you must
be well and strong, so do your best to recover as quickly as may be."
These words produced a great effect on the prince, who was so much cheered by
the hopes held out that he declared he felt able to get up and be dressed. The
king was overjoyed at the result of Marzavan s interview, and ordered public
rejoicings in honour of the prince's recovery.
Before long the prince was quite restored to his original state of health, and
as soon as he felt himself really strong he took Marzavan aside and said:
"Now is the time to perform your promise. I am so impatient to see my beloved
princess once more that I am sure I shall fall ill again if we do not start
soon. The one obstacle is my father's tender care of me, for, as you may have
noticed, he cannot bear me out of his sight."
"Prince," replied Marzavan, "I have already thought over the matter, and this is
what seems to me the best plan. You have not been out of doors since my arrival.
Ask the king's permission to go with me for two or three days' hunting, and when
he has given leave order two good horses to be held ready for each of us. Leave
all the rest to me."
Next day the prince seized a favourable opportunity for making his request, and
the king gladly granted it on condition that only one night should be spent out
for fear of too great fatigue after such a long illness.
Next morning Prince Camaralzaman and Marzavan were off betimes, attended by two
grooms leading the two extra horses. They hunted a little by the way, but took
care to get as far from the towns as possible. At night-fall they reached an
inn, where they supped and slept till midnight. Then Marzavan awoke and roused
the prince without disturbing anyone else. He begged the prince to give him the
coat he had been wearing and to put on another which they had brought with them.
They mounted their second horses, and Marzavan led one of the grooms' horses by
Index of stories of Arabian nights