Presently, the vizier entered and the king signed to him to cause avoid the place. So he signed to those who were present to withdraw, and they departed; whereupon quoth the king to him, “How deemest thou, O excellent vizier, O loyal counsellor in all manner of governance, of a vision I have seen in my sleep?” “What is it, O king?” asked the vizier, and Shah Bekht related to him his dream, adding, “And indeed the sage interpreted it to me and said to me, ’An thou put not the vizier to death within a month, he will slay thee.’ Now I am exceeding both to put the like of thee to death, yet do I fear to leave thee on life. What then dost thou counsel me that I should do in this matter?” The vizier bowed his head awhile, then raised it and said, “God prosper the king! Verily, it skills not to continue him on life of whom the king is afraid, and my counsel is that thou make haste to put me to death.”
When the king heard his speech, he turned to him and said, “It is grievous to me, O vizier of good counsel.” And he told him that the [other] sages testified [to the correctness of their fellow’s interpretation of the dream]; whereupon Er Rehwan sighed and knew that the king went in fear of him; but he showed him fortitude and said to him, “God assain the king! My counsel is that the king accomplish his commandment and execute his ordinance, for that needs must death be and it is liefer to me that I die, oppressed, than that I die, an oppressor. But, if the king see fit to defer the putting of me to death till the morrow and will pass this night with me and take leave of me, when the morrow cometh, the king shall do what he will.”
Then he wept till he wet his gray hairs and the king was moved to compassion for him and granted him that which he sought and vouchsafed him that night’s respite.
The First Night of the Month
When it was eventide, the king caused avoid his sitting chamber and summoned the vizier, who presented himself and making his obeisance to the king, kissed the earth before him and bespoke him as follows:
“There was once a man of Khorassan and he had a son, whose improvement he ardently desired; but the young man sought to be alone and to remove himself from his father’s eye, so he might give himself up to pleasance and delight. So he sought of his father [leave to make] the pilgrimage to the Holy House of God and to visit the tomb of the Prophet (whom God bless and keep!). Now between them and Mecca was a journey of five hundred parasangs; but his father could not gainsay him, for that the law of God made this[FN#178] incumbent on him and because of that which he hoped for him of improvement [therefrom]. So he joined unto him a governor, in whom he trusted, and gave him much money and took leave of him. The son set out on the holy pilgrimage[FN#179] with the governor and abode on that wise, spending freely and using not thrift.