As for the governor, he wasted all that was with him and returned to the city, where he saw the youth and excused himself to him. Then he questioned him of what had befallen him and he told him, whereat he marvelled and returned to companionship with him; but the youth ceased to have regard for him and gave him not stipends, as of his [former] wont, neither discovered to him aught of his secrets. When the governor saw that there was no profit for him with the young Khorassani, he returned to the king, the ravisher of the damsel, and told him what the chamberlain had done and counselled him to slay the latter and incited him to recover the damsel, [promising] to give his friend to drink of poison and return. So the king sent for the chamberlain and upbraided him; whereupon he fell upon him and slew him and the king’s servants fell upon the chamberlain and slew him.
Meanwhile, the governor returned to the youth, who questioned him of his absence, and he told him that he had been in the city of the king who had taken the damsel. When the youth heard this, he misdoubted of the governor and never again trusted him in aught, but was still on his guard against him. Then the governor made great store of sweetmeats and put in them deadly poison and presented them to the youth. When the latter saw the sweetmeats, he said in himself, ’This is an extraordinary thing of the governor! Needs must there be mischief in this sweetmeat, and I will make proof of it upon himself.’ So he made ready victual and set on the sweetmeat amongst it and bade the governor to his house and set food before him. He ate and amongst the rest, they brought him the poisoned sweetmeat; so he ate thereof and died forthright; whereby the youth knew that this was a plot against himself and said, ’He who seeketh his fortune of his own [unaided] might[FN#190] attaineth it not.’ Nor (continued the vizier) is this, O king of the age, more extraordinary than the story of the druggist and his wife and the singer.”
When King Shah Bekht heard his vizier’s story, he gave him leave to withdraw to his own house and he abode there the rest of the night and the next day till the evening.
The Second Night of the Month
When the evening evened, the king sat in his privy sitting-chamber and his mind was occupied with the story of the singer and the druggist. So he called the vizier and bade him tell the story. “It is well,” answered he, “They tell, O my lord, that
There was once in the city of Hemadan[FN#191] a young man of comely aspect and excellently skilled in singing to the lute, and he was well seen of the people of the city. He went forth one day of his city, with intent to travel, and gave not over journeying till his travel brought him to a goodly city. Now he had with him a lute and what pertained thereto,[FN#192] so he entered and went round about the city till he