(Quoth Abdallah ben Nan) So I became his boon-companion and entertained him by night [with stories and the like]; and this pleased him to the utmost and he took me into especial favour and bestowed on me dresses of honour and assigned me a separate lodging; brief, he was everywise bountiful to me and could not brook to be parted from me a single hour. So I abode with him a while of time and every night I caroused with him [and entertained him], till the most part of the night was past; and when drowsiness overcame him, he would rise [and betake himself] to his sleeping-place, saying to me, “Forsake not my service for that of another than I and hold not aloof from my presence.” And I made answer with “Hearkening and obedience.”
Now the king had a son, a pleasant child, called the Amir Mohammed, who was comely of youth and sweet of speech; he had read in books and studied histories and above all things in the world he loved the telling and hearing of verses and stories and anecdotes. He was dear to his father King Jemhour, for that he had none other son than he on life, and indeed he had reared him in the lap of fondness and he was gifted with the utterest of beauty and grace and brightness and perfection. Moreover, he had learnt to play upon the lute and upon all manner instruments of music and he was used to [carouse and] company with friends and brethren. Now it was of his wont that, when the king rose to go to his sleeping-chamber, he would sit in his place and seek of me that I should entertain him with stories and verses and pleasant anecdotes; and on this wise I abode with them a great while in all cheer and delight, and the prince still loved me with an exceeding great love and entreated me with the utmost kindness.
It befell one day that the king’s son came to me, after his father had withdrawn, and said to me, “Harkye, Ibn Nafil” “At thy service, O my lord,” answered I; and he said, “I would have thee tell me an extraordinary story and a rare matter, that thou hast never related either to me or to my father Jemhour.” “O my lord,” rejoined I, “what story is this that thou desirest of me and of what kind shall it be of the kinds?” Quoth he, “It matters little what it is, so it be a goodly story, whether it befell of old days or in these times.” “O my lord,” said I, “I know many stories of various kinds; so whether of the kinds preferrest thou, and wilt thou have a story of mankind or of the Jinn?” “It is well,” answered he; “if thou have seen aught with thine eyes and heard it with thine ears, [tell it me."Then he bethought himself] and said to me, “I conjure thee by my life, tell me a story of the stories of the Jinn and that which thou hast heard and seen of them!” “O my son,” replied I, “indeed thou conjurest [me] by a mighty conjuration; so [hearken and thou shalt] hear the goodliest of stories, ay, and the most extraordinary of them and the pleasantest and rarest.” Quoth the prince, “Say on, for I am attentive to thy speech.” And I said, “Know, then, O my son, that