Tales from the Arabic — Complete eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 791 pages of information about Tales from the Arabic — Complete.

So she arose and tearing her clothes, went in to the king, in the presence of the viziers, and cast herself upon him, saying, “O king, falleth my shame not upon thee and fearest thou not reproach?  Indeed, this is not of the behoof of kings that their jealousy over their women should be thus [laggard].  Thou art heedless and all the folk of the realm prate of thee, men and women.  So either slay him, that the talk may be cut off, or slay me, if thy soul will not consent to his slaughter.”  Thereupon the king’s wrath waxed hot and he said to her, “I have no pleasure in his continuance [on life] and needs must I slay him this day.  So return to thy house and comfort thy heart.”

Then he bade fetch the youth; so they brought him before him and the viziers said, “O base of origin, out on thee!  Thy term is at hand and the earth hungereth for thy body, so it may devour it.”  But he answered them, saying, “Death is not in your word nor in your envy; nay, it is an ordinance written upon the forehead; wherefore, if aught be written upon my forehead, needs must it come to pass, and neither endeavour nor thought-taking nor precaution will deliver me therefrom; [but it will surely happen] even as happened to King Ibrahim and his son.”  Quoth the king, “Who was King Ibrahim and who was his son?” And the youth said, “O king,


There was once a king of the kings, by name Ibrahim, to whom the kings abased themselves and did obedience; but he had no son and was straitened of breast because of this, fearing lest the kingship go forth of his hand.  He ceased not vehemently to desire a son and to buy slave-girls and lie with them, till one of them conceived, whereat he rejoiced with an exceeding joy and gave gifts and largesse galore.  When the girl’s months were accomplished and the season of her delivery drew near, the king summoned the astrologers and they watched for the hour of her child-bearing and raised astrolabes [towards the sun] and took strait note of the time.  The damsel gave birth to a male child, whereat the king rejoiced with an exceeding joy, and the people heartened each other with the glad news of this.

Then the astrologers made their calculations and looked into his nativity and his ascendant, whereupon their colour changed and they were confounded.  Quoth the king to them, ’Acquaint me with his horoscope and ye shall have assurance and fear ye not of aught’ ‘O king,’ answered they, ’this child’s nativity denotes that, in the seventh year of his age, there is to be feared for him from a lion, which will attack him; and if he be saved from the lion, there will betide an affair yet sorer and more grievous.’  ‘What is that?’ asked the king; and they said, ’We will not speak, except the king command us thereto and give us assurance from [that which we] fear.’  Quoth the king, ’God assure you!’ And they said, ’If he be saved from the lion, the king’s destruction will be at his hand.’  When the king heard this, his colour changed and his breast was straitened; but he said in himself, ’I will be watchful and do my endeavour and suffer not the lion to eat him.  It cannot be that he will kill me, and indeed the astrologers lied.’

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Tales from the Arabic — Complete from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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