The Fifth Day
Of the issues of good and evil actions.
When it was the fifth day, the fifth Vizier, whose name was Jehrbaur, came in to the king and prostrating himself before him, said, “O king, it behoveth thee, if thou see or hear that one look on thy house,[FN#111] that thou put out his eyes. How then should it be with him whom thou sawest midmost thy house and on thy very bed, and he suspected with thy harem, and not of thy lineage nor of thy kindred? Wherefore do thou away this reproach by putting him to death. Indeed, we do but urge thee unto this for the assurance of thine empire and of our zeal for thy loyal counselling and of our love to thee. How can it be lawful that this youth should live for a single hour?”
Therewith the king was filled with wrath and said, “Bring him forthright,” So they brought the youth before him, shackled, and the king said to him, “Out on thee! Thou hast sinned a great sin and the time of thy life hath been long;[FN#112] but needs must we put thee to death, for that there is for us no ease in thy life after this,” “O king,” answered he, “know that I, by Allah, am guiltless, and by reason of this I hope for life, for that he who is guiltless of offence goeth not in fear of punishment neither maketh great his mourning and his concern; but whoso hath sinned, needs must his sin be expiated upon him, though his life be prolonged, and it shall overtake him, even as it overtook Dadbin the king and his vizier.” “How was that?” asked Azadbekht, and the youth said,
“There was once a king in the land of Teberistan, by name Dadbin, and he had two viziers, called one Zourkhan and the other Kardan. The Vizier Zourkhan had a daughter, there was not in her time a handsomer than she nor yet a chaster nor a more pious, for she was a faster, a prayer and a worshipper of God the Most High, and her name was Arwa. Now Dadbin heard tell of her charms; so his heart clave to her and he called the vizier [her father] and said to him, ‘I desire of thee that thou marry me to thy daughter.’ Quoth Zourkhan, ’Allow me to consult her, and if she consent, I will marry thee with her.’ And the king said, ‘Hasten unto this.’
So the vizier went in to his daughter and said to her, ’O my daughter, the king seeketh thee of me and desireth to marry thee.’ ‘O my father,’ answered she ’I desire not a husband and if thou wilt marry me, marry me not but with one who shall be below me in rank and I nobler than he, so he may not turn to other than myself nor lift his eyes upon me, and marry me not to one who is nobler than I, lest I be with him as a slave-girl and a serving-woman.’ So the vizier returned to the king and acquainted him with that which his daughter had said, whereat he redoubled in desire and love-liking for her and said to her father, ’An thou marry me not to her of good grace, I will take her by force in thy despite.’ The vizier again betook himself to his daughter and repeated to her the king’s words, but she replied, ’I desire not a husband.’ So he returned to the king and told him what she said, and he was wroth and threatened the vizier, whereupon the latter took his daughter and fled with her.