Friday, February 15, 2019

the school head of my school

chronicles of the ancient dynasty of the
Sassanidae, who reigned for about four
hundred years, from Persia to the borders
of China, beyond the great river Ganges
itself, we read the praises of one of the
kings of this race, who was said to be the
best monarch of his time. His subjects
loved him, and his neighbors feared him,
and when he died he left his kingdom in
a more prosperous and powerful
condition than any king had done before
him.
The two sons who survived him loved
each other tenderly, and it was a real
grief to the elder, Schahriar, that the laws
of the empire forbade him to share his
dominions with his brother Schahzeman.
Indeed, after ten years, during which this
state of things had not ceased to trouble
him, Schahriar cut off the country of
Great Tartary from the Persian Empire
and made his brother king.
Now the Sultan Schahriar had a wife
whom he loved more than all the world,
and his greatest happiness was to
surround her with splendour, and to give
her the finest dresses and the most
beautiful jewels. It was therefore with the
deepest shame and sorrow that he
accidentally discovered, after several
years, that she had deceived him
completely, and her whole conduct
turned out to have been so bad, that he
felt himself obliged to carry out the law
of the land, and order the grand-vizir to
put her to death. The blow was so heavy
that his mind almost gave way, and he
declared that he was quite sure that at
bottom all women were as wicked as the
sultana, if you could only find them out,
and that the fewer the world contained
the better. So every evening he married a
fresh wife and had her strangled the
following morning before the grand-vizir,
whose duty it was to provide these
unhappy brides for the Sultan. The poor
man fulfilled his task with reluctance, but
there was no escape, and every day saw a
girl married and a wife dead.
This behaviour caused the greatest horror
in the town, where nothing was heard
but cries and lamentations. In one house
was a father weeping for the loss of his
daughter, in another perhaps a mother
trembling for the fate of her child; and
instead of the blessings that had formerly
been heaped on the Sultan’s head, the air
was now full of curses.
The grand-vizir himself was the father of
two daughters, of whom the elder was
called Scheherazade, and the younger
Dinarzade. Dinarzade had no particular
gifts to distinguish her from other girls,
but her sister was clever and courageous
in the highest degree. Her father had
given her the best masters in philosophy,
medicine, history and the fine arts, and
besides all this, her beauty excelled that
of any girl in the kingdom of Persia.
One day, when the grand-vizir was
talking to his eldest daughter, who was
his delight and pride, Scheherazade said
to him, “Father, I have a favour to ask of
you. Will you grant it to me?”
“I can refuse you nothing,” replied he,
“that is just and reasonable.”
“Then listen,” said Scheherazade. “I am
determined to stop this barbarous
practice of the Sultan’s, and to deliver
the girls and mothers from the awful fate
that hangs over them.”
“It would be an excellent thing to do,”
returned the grand-vizir, “but how do
you propose to accomplish it?”
“My father,” answered Scheherazade, “it
is you who have to provide the Sultan
daily with a fresh wife, and I implore you,
by all the affection you bear me, to allow
the honour to fall upon me.”
“Have you lost your senses?” cried the
grand-vizir, starting back in horror.
“What has put such a thing into your
head? You ought to know by this time
what it means to be the sultan’s bride!”
“Yes, my father, I know it well,” replied
she, “and I am not afraid to think of it. If
I fail, my death will be a glorious one,
and if I succeed I shall have done a great
service to my country.”
“It is of no use,” said the grand-vizir, “I
shall never consent. If the Sultan was to
order me to plunge a dagger in your
heart, I should have to obey. What a task
for a father! Ah, if you do not fear death,
fear at any rate the anguish you would
cause me.”
“Once again, my father,” said
Scheherazade, “will you grant me what I
ask?”
“What, are you still so obstinate?”
exclaimed the grand-vizir. “Why are you
so resolved upon your own ruin?”
But the maiden absolutely refused to
attend to her father’s words, and at
length, in despair, the grand-vizir was
obliged to give way, and went sadly to
the palace to tell the Sultan that the
following evening he would bring him
Scheherazade.
The Sultan received this news with the
greatest astonishment.
“How have you made up your mind,” he
asked, “to sacrifice your own daughter to
me?”
“Sire,” answered the grand-vizir, “it is
her own wish. Even the sad fate that
awaits her could not hold her back.”
“Let there be no mistake, vizir,” said the
Sultan. “Remember you will have to take
her life yourself. If you refuse, I swear
that your head shall pay forfeit.”
“Sire,” returned the vizir. “Whatever the
cost, I will obey you. Though a father, I
am also your subject.” So the Sultan told
the grand-vizir he might bring his
daughter as soon as he liked.
The vizir took back this news to
Scheherazade, who received it as if it had
been the most pleasant thing in the
world. She thanked her father warmly for
yielding to her wishes, and, seeing him
still bowed down with grief, told him that
she hoped he would never repent having
allowed her to marry the Sultan. Then
she went to prepare herself for the
marriage, and begged that her sister
Dinarzade should be sent for to speak to
her.
When they were alone, Scheherazade
addressed her thus:
“My dear sister; I want your help in a
very important affair. My father is going
to take me to the palace to celebrate my
marriage with the Sultan. When his
Highness receives me, I shall beg him, as
a last favour, to let you sleep in our
chamber, so that I may have your
company during the last night I am alive.
If, as I hope, he grants me my wish, be
sure that you wake me an hour before
the dawn, and speak to me in these
words: “My sister, if you are not asleep, I
beg you, before the sun rises, to tell me
one of your charming stories.” Then I
shall begin, and I hope by this means to
deliver the people from the terror that
reigns over them.” Dinarzade replied that
she would do with pleasure what her
sister wished.
When the usual hour arrived the grand-
vizir conducted Scheherazade to the
palace, and left her alone with the Sultan,
who bade her raise her veil and was
amazed at her beauty. But seeing her eyes
full of tears, he asked what was the
matter. “Sire,” replied Scheherazade, “I
have a sister who loves me as tenderly as
I love her. Grant me the favour of
allowing her to sleep this night in the
same room, as it is the last we shall be
together.” Schahriar consented to
Scheherazade’s petition and Dinarzade
was sent for.
An hour before daybreak Dinarzade
awoke, and exclaimed, as she had
promised, “My dear sister, if you are not
asleep, tell me I pray you, before the sun
rises, one of your charming stories. It is
the last time that I shall have the
pleasure of hearing you.”
Scheherazade did not answer her sister,
but turned to the Sultan. “Will your
highness permit me to do as my sister
asks?” said she.
“Willingly,” he answered. So
Scheherazade began.
 The merchant and the Genie)
Sire, there was once upon a time a
merchant who possessed great wealth, in
land and merchandise, as well as in ready
money. He was obliged from time to time
to take journeys to arrange his affairs.
One day, having to go a long way from
home, he mounted his horse, taking with
him a small wallet in which he had put a
few biscuits and dates, because he had to
pass through the desert where no food
was to be got. He arrived without any
mishap, and, having finished his business,
set out on his return. On the fourth day of
his journey, the heat of the sun being
very great, he turned out of his road to
rest under some trees. He found at the
foot of a large walnut-tree a fountain of
clear and running water. He dismounted,
fastened his horse to a branch of the tree,
and sat by the fountain, after having
taken from his wallet some of his dates
and biscuits. When he had finished this
frugal mean he washed his face and
hands in the fountain.
When he was thus employed he saw an
enormous Genie, white with rage, coming
towards him, with a scimitar in his hand.
“Arise,” he cried in a terrible voice, “and
let me kill you as you have killed my
son!”
As he uttered these words he gave a
frightful yell. The merchant, quite as
much terrified at the hideous face of the
monster as at his words, answered him
tremblingly, “Alas, good sir, what can I
have done to you to deserve death?”
“I shall kill you,” repeated the Genie, “as
you have killed my son.”
“But,” said the merchant, “How can I
have killed your son? I do not know him,
and I have never even seen him.”
“When you arrived here did you not sit
down on the ground?” asked the Genie,
“and did you not take some dates from
your wallet, and whilst eating them did
not you throw the stones about?”
“Yes,” said the merchant, “I certainly did
so.”
“Then,” said the Genie, “I tell you you
have killed my son, for whilst you were
throwing about the stones, my son passed
by, and one of them struck him in the
eye and killed him. So I shall kill you.”
“Ah, sir, forgive me!” cried the merchant.
“I will have no mercy on you,” answered
the Genie.
“But I killed your son quite
unintentionally, so I implore you to spare
my life.”
“No,” said the Genie, “I shall kill you as
you killed my son,” and so saying, he
seized the merchant by the arm, threw
him on the ground, and lifted his sabre to
cut off his head.
The merchant, protesting his innocence,
bewailed his wife and children, and tried
pitifully to avert his fate. The Genie, with
his raised scimitar, waited till he had
finished, bit was not in the least touched.
Scheherazade, at this point, seeing that it
was day, and knowing that the Sultan
always rose very early to attend the
council, stopped speaking.
“Indeed, sister,” said Dinarzade, “this is a
wonderful story.”
“The rest is still more wonderful,” replied
Scheherazade, “and you would say so, if
the sultan would allow me to live another
day, and would give me leave to tell it to
you the next night.”
Schahriar, who had been listening to
Scheherazade with pleasure, said to
himself, “I will wait till to-morrow; I can
always have her killed when I have heard
the end of her story.”
All this time the grand-vizir was in a
terrible state of anxiety. But he was much
delighted when he saw the Sultan enter
the council-chamber without giving the
terrible command that he was expecting.
The next morning, before the day broke,
Dinarzade said to her sister, “Dear sister,
if you are awake I pray you to go on with
your story.”
The Sultan did not wait for Scheherazade
to ask his leave. “Finish,” said he, “the
story of the Genie and the merchant. I am
curious to hear the end.”
So Scheherazade went on with the story.
This happened every morning. The
Sultana told a story, and the Sultan let
her live to finish it.
When the merchant saw that the Genie
was determined to cut off his head, he
said: “One word more, I entreat you.
Grant me a little delay; just a short time
to go home and bid my wife and children
farewell, and to make my will. When I
have done this I will come back here, and
you shall kill me.”
“But,” said the Genie, “if I grant you the
delay you ask, I am afraid that you will
not come back.”
“I give you my word of honour,”
answered the merchant, “that I will come
back without fail.”
“How long do you require?” asked the
Genie.
“I ask you for a year’s grace,” replied the
merchant. “I promise you that to-morrow
twelvemonth, I shall be waiting under
these trees to give myself up to you.”
On this the Genie left him near the
fountain and disappeared.
The merchant, having recovered from his
fright, mounted his horse and went on his
road.
When he arrived home his wife and
children received him with the greatest
joy. But instead of embracing them he
began to weep so bitterly that they soon
guessed that something terrible was the
matter.
“Tell us, I pray you,” said his wife, “what
has happened.”
“Alas!” answered her husband, “I have
only a year to live.”
Then he told them what had passed
between him and the Genie, and how he
had given his word to return at the end
of a year to be killed. When they heard
this sad news they were in despair, and
wept much.
The next day the merchant began to
settle his affairs, and first of all to pay his
debts. He gave presents to his friends,
and large alms to the poor. He set his
slaves at liberty, and provided for his
wife and children. The year soon passed
away, and he was obliged to depart.
When he tried to say good-bye he was
quite overcome with grief, and with
difficulty tore himself away. At length he
reached the place where he had first seen
the Genie, on the very day that he had
appointed. He dismounted, and sat down
at the edge of the fountain, where he
awaited the Genie in terrible suspense.
Whilst he was thus waiting an old man
leading a hind came towards him. They
greeted one another, and then the old
man said to him, “May I ask, brother,
what brought you to this desert place,
where there are so many evil genii
about? To see these beautiful trees one
would imagine it was inhabited, but it is
a dangerous place to stop long in.”
The merchant told the old man why he
was obliged to come there. He listened in
astonishment.
“This is a most marvelous affair. I should
like to be a witness of your interview
with the Genie.” So saying he sat down
by the merchant.
While they were talking another old man
came up, followed by two black dogs. He
greeted them, and asked what they were
doing in this place. The old man who was
leading the hind told him the adventure
of the merchant and the Genie. The
second old man had not sooner heard the
story than he, too, decided to stay there
to see what would happen. He sat down
by the others, and was talking, when a
third old man arrived. He asked why the
merchant who was with them looked so
sad. They told him the story, and he also
resolved to see what would pass between
the Genie and the merchant, so waited
with the rest
  1. They soon saw in the distance a thick
smoke, like a cloud of dust. This smoke
came nearer and nearer, and then, all at
once, it vanished, and they saw the
Genie, who, without speaking to them,
approached the merchant, sword in
hand, and, taking him by the arm, said,
“Get up and let me kill you as you killed
my son.”
The merchant and the three old men
began to weep and groan.
Then the old man leading the hind threw
himself at the monster’s feet and said, “O
Prince of the Genii, I beg of you to stay
your fury and to listen to me. I am going
to tell you my story and that of the hind I
have with me, and if you find it more
marvellous than that of the merchant
whom you are about to kill, I hope that
you will do away with a third part of his
punishment?”
The Genie considered some time, and
then he said, “Very well, I agree to this.”

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