Bahram on Monday sits in the Green Dome, and the
daughter of the king of the Third Clime tells him a story
Monday came the king unto the moon upraised his fortune-favoured
In green resplendent he was bright and gay , like heavenly angels
(all in) green (attired) .
He set off on his way to the Green Dome, giving his heart to gladness
and to joy.
After the garden of the stars had spread this verdure, emerald-hued,
with vernal blooms ,
The king desired the wisdom-gifted (bride), that green-throned cypress
, honeyed words to speak .
The fairy having shown him reverence, unveiled the mysteries to
She said, You by whose life my life is glad,—May all lives
be a sacrifice for yours!—
Your tent is the abode of power and state; the crown and throne
the threshold of your Gate .
The crown has exaltation from your head; the throne has sovereign
power from your Gate.
(Your) crown’s the very keystone of the realm; all heads must
seek your Gate to gain their wants.
When she had honoured (thus) the lofty throne, her lips poured forth
sweet eloquent discourse .
said, There was a worthy man in Rum , like honey in the wax, good,
blessed in heart.
Of art and knowledge all required in man he had, all goodness (too)
with it as crown.
His goodness, wisdom, such, he was disposed to pure and chaste relations
(in his life).
The people all had great respect for him; they called him Bashr,
the abstinent (and pure).
One day for pleasure by a road he went, a road devoid of incline
When, sudden, love attacked him by the way, trial, temptation played
a trick on sense.
A face in silken wrapper came to view : the moon at full beneath
a murky cloud.
Of Bashr thoughtless as she passed along, the Moon’s veil
suddenly was blown aside.
The wind to trial and temptation guide; the Moon came forth from
’neath a murky cloud.
When Bashr saw, his legs grew weak, and he, pierced by the arrow
of a glance, stood still.
He saw a face which by coquettish lures hundred such abjurations
would annul .
A heap of roses, but with cypress form ; one of fair face, washed
with the pheasant’s blood .
Her languorous drowsy glances by their spells banished from more
than thousand lovers sleep.
Her lips like roses’ petals moist (with dew); rose-petals
they in (sweetest) nectar rich.
Her eyes narcissi in their languorous drowse—disturbance in
their drowsiness concealed.
Her face appearing under curly locks , like to the eagle’s
breast beneath its plumes.
A mole she had more dusky than (her) locks; an eye more dusky than
her (dusky) mole.
Such eye-beguiling locks and mole she had, no heart could rest indifferent
A cry involuntary rose from Bashr; his reason took to wings and
left his frame.
The Moon, a lonely wanderer , at the cry fastened (at once) her
veil around (her) face.
In haste precipitate she went her way, the blood of such a murder
on her head.
When Bashr unclosed his eyes from sleep he saw a place of tumult
(and) a ruined house .
He said, If I pursue, it is not right; yet to rest patient, cold,—
how can it be ?
Yet patience is the sole resource I have; whatever passes this is
Though led astray by passion, after all I am a man, I shall not
die from grief.
To give up lust’s a token of the Faith; sobriety (too) stipulates
’Tis best that from this city I remove, and turn my face towards
That He, the God who knows both good and ill, may in this matter
give me some relief .
He made provision for the road and went, he hastened towards the
When at that holy place he had arrived, God to this lock vouchsafed
to him the key.
He sought to make excuses, pardon asked, and rose superior to his
He fled away from danger to his God, to abstinence and patience
gave his heart;
That (God) might so preserve him by His Grace that mischief should
not find a way to him.
Many prostrations on that ground he made, then from that holy sanctuary
He had a comrade on the road, with whom one would be hostile though
by nature kind.
A caviller when subtleties were broached: on any theme he’d
In this way it must be, he’d say, or that; let no one wag
his tongue in senseless words.
(Thus) Bashr, (now led to) talking, he had made forgetful (quite)
When Bashr on any theme would speak, he roused at all that would
admit of subtle glose.
He asked, What is your name, that I may know, and henceforth call
you by your proper name.
Bashr answered him and said, Your servant’s name is Bashr;
now (tell me), prythee, what is yours.
He said, (Then) you are Bashr, pride of men, (and) I, Malikha, leader
Whate’er is in the sky or on the earth; whate’er by
sense and judgment may be judged—
All this I by my knowledge know in full; I know what’s lawful,
what forbidden too.
I’m one, but more expert than (any) twelve; one art of mine
exceeds the arts of twelve.
The mountain see, the hill, the plain, the stream,—all things
which are beneath the azure sphere,—
The principle of each exactly found, (I know) whence this gained
being, whence that grew.
And of the sky too,—whatsoe’er’s in it,—I
am informed, though my hand touch it not.
If any news affect (too) any tract, with truest estimation it I
If any realm should fall into decay, I know it many years before
Whatever thing may reach maturity , I can give news of it a year
I know so well the pulse and testing glass that fever from the body
I can turn.
When I bring fire and horse-shoe ’neath a spell, like pearl
and ruby amber’s power I use .
Stones by my alchemy are turned to gems, (and) earth (too) in my
hands becomes as gold.
By breath of sorcery breathed from my mouth I make a pied-snake
of palm-fibre rope .
And every treasure (too) which God has made,—I am the breaker
of its talisman .
All one may ask about the sky and earth,—I can give knowledge
both of this and that.
In no abode of learning can be found skilled master having learning
more than mine.
When he had boasted thus to some extent, Bashr at his senseless
words was much amazed.
A black cloud (then) arose from o’er the mount, and when Malikha
cast a glance at it,
He said, Why is one cloud as black as pitch; another cloud as white
in hue as milk?
Bashr answered, God’s command effects such things; you know
yourself (that it is even so).
He said, No more of this, ’tis (but) a shift, the arrow shot
should hit the target (fair).
The dusky cloud is (naught but) burning smoke; on such a point intelligence
Whilst the milk-coloured cloud of pearly hue has in its native state
a frigid damp .
(Then) he discussed with him the hidden winds. Again see how the
idle gabbler spoke.
He said, Say (now) what is the moving wind?—grovelling one
should not live like ox or ass .
Bashr answered, This too is from God’s decree; nothing is
ordered save by God’s command.
He said, Let science take in hand the reins. How long old women’s
stories will you tell?
The wind, no doubt, arises from the air, to movement stirred by
vapour from the earth.
He saw a lofty mount, and said, This mount—why is it more
majestic than the rest?
Bashr answered, This relation is of God that one of them is low,
He said, You throw me still on argument; how long will you ascribe
things to the Pen ?
Terrific torrents brought on by the clouds incline the mountains
to the lower ground.
But when the summit tends to lofty heights, ’tis farther off
from where the torrents rush.
By reason guided Bashr exclaimed at him, and said, (Seek) not (to)
strive with God’s decrees.
The secrets of (such) things are known to me ; in every learning
greater I than you.
But, self-inspired, to deal in wisdom’s ill, or take the path
of fancy and conceit .
We cannot reach to yon side of the Veil, then how review the pictures
on this side ?
No effort void of error can be made; no trust in faulty reading
can be placed .
When cast aside this Veil I fear they’ll tax the faulty readers
with their faulty view .
(So) with the tree whose branches tower so high the hand of everyone
should not make free.
The sacred spell recited (thus) by Bashr was powerless with that
idle gabbler div .
For sundry days together they remained; in naught abated he that
Their road a burning waste with water none, their brains (too) all
on fire with sleeplessness,
They rushed along with cries and clamour loud, until, from it excited,
Before a tree with branches towering high, wide-spreading, verdant,
beautiful and tall.
Verdure (there was) beneath it like green silk, the eye was cheered
and gladdened at the sight.
Embedded in it was an earthen jar, in which was water truly sweet
The gabbler saw the limpid water there like fresh sweet basil in
(dry) earthen sherds.
He said, Felicitous companion mine, I ask (of you), pray say on
This earthen jar (here) with (its) open mouth is hidden to the brim
beneath the ground?
Say, how far does the water in it reach? No mountain tract (here),
desert all around.
Bashr answered (thus), Someone for heavenly meed has set it up,
as they have often done;
And fearing by some shock it might be broke (deep) in the ground
they have embedded it.
He said, If in this mode your answer be, pure error is what you
have said and say.
Yes, yes, indeed, one person for his like will bear each moment
water on his back:
That, through a desert too, where from the heat you’d find
no water if you sought an age.
Of trappers this must be the abiding place, the place of those whose
business is the chase.
Truly, this jar, fixed in the ground by them,—they’ve
made it as a snare to take the game:
That when ox, deer, gazelle, or onager, eats in the desert of the
(Then) thirsty makes for water (for its need), it may speed quickly
to this watering-place.
The hunter (then) will have waylaid (the game); have lain (for it)
in ambush with a bow.
He’ll shoot the game (there) as it (stands to) drink, and
of the wounded game will make “kababs” .
So loosen you the knots of bonds and ties that the investigator
cry, Well done !
Bashr answered, Happy speaker of the world, each one at heart has
his own mode of thought.
That which is hidden in your heart and mine we think is in the heart
Do not have evil in your heart at first, for evil thought at last
makes evil deed .
Spreading their wallets by the water-side, they ate of bread, drank
water (from the jar) :
Water, in truth, for thirsty people fit—sparkling and wholesome,
limpid too and cold.
Malikha (then) to Bashr in haste cried out, Get up and sit a little
That I may get into this wholesome fount, may wash my body and be
free from dust.
For dirt has settled on me head to foot from perspiration troublesome
With water I will wash away my dirt, and get upon the road quite
clean and fine.
Then with a stone I’ll break the jar to bits, and save the
quarry (thus) from injury.
(Then) Bashr exclaimed, Stop, simple-minded man! Make not a dyeing-jar
of such as this .
With stimulated heart you’ve water drunk; why pour on it the
foulness of your limbs?
He who drinks water which shall comfort him, would never think of
spitting on the same.
On mirrors vinegar should not be rubbed , nor should a pure thing
be defiled with dregs.
So when another, tried (as we) , shall come, he may get comfort
from the pleasant fount.
The ill-advised man would not hear his words; he made his evil nature
He stripped, and (then) together tied his clothes, drew himself
in, and sprang into the jar.
When he was in, no jar ’twas, but a well, (and) to the bottom
a long distance down.
(His) smartness against death availed (him) not; he struggled much,
but he could not escape.
The water which he swallowed stopped his breath; at last he drowned
and ’neath the water sank.
On that side Bashr sat with troubled heart, (and) shed some tears
(of sorrow) for his friend.
Again he said, He with consummate schemes has in his smartness bidden
me farewell .
I fear with dirt that sample of the base will bring pollution on
the limpid fount;
Cast through the water foulness of two kinds, and then will use
a stone upon the jar.
Malevolence like this comes from the base; not from the pure and
May no one have a comrade such as this! May one so low and mean
be only drowned!
After he’d spoken in these terms awhile, the man came not,
and (so) a long time passed.
He (then) went towards the jar to seek his friend, (having) no knowledge
that the man was drowned.
When o’er the jar he had inclined his head, he saw a marvel,
and bereft of sense
Felt strangely helpless, thought what can this be? (then) from the
(lofty) tree he broke a branch.
With hands and nails he made it as a fork, in length about the measure
of a spear.
Then, like unto surveyors of the sea, thrust it into the jar to
gauge the fount.
Speak not of jar! What saw he? A deep well, rising to rare and marvellous
The surface bore a species of short weed, so that the swimmer would
be lost in it.
Bashr, estimable man of worthy deeds, could swim, and God was aid
to him and friend.
Much strength exerted he, much effort used, till he had brought
to light a sign of him.
With urgent haste he drew the drowned man out, bore him to pit of
earth from watery pit.
When he had filled (the grave) with earth and stones, sad, grieved
in heart, he sat beside its head.
He said, Where (now) your judgment, cunning arts? Where is that
awl with which you loosened knots?
(Where too is) all your claim to artful schemes towards beasts of
prey and demons, men and fays?
And (all) your boast that you would lasso, you, the secrets of the
seven lofty spheres?
Where now your claim to (knowledge of) twelve arts? (your words),
Nor man nor woman one thus dead ?
And your declaring that you could foresee by your devices all things
(which should come)?
An open well before (you) on the road how with your eyes of knowledge
saw you not?
Then the inquiries (too) of every kind which have been made by us
on such a fount,—
Though our decisions with each other clashed, I say not (either)
had a watery base .
We cast a fire upon our jar by all we cast into the water of that
Other the work of that Artificer ; outside my reckoning, out of
your’s it stood.
The Sphere has tied the thread together, so that none have come
upon the end of it .
Though all that we have uttered of that kind was only (based) upon
You through those (thoughts) were drowned, and I was saved, because
you were not grateful, and I was.
You who described it as a snare for beasts, stuck in a snare yourself,
e’en as the beasts.
But I about it entertained good thoughts,—my good was fortunate,
I saved my life.
He spoke these words, and (then) rose from the ground, and sought
(Malikha’s) goods to right and left.
He went and took up one by one his things: Egyptian stuffs, turban
of linen fine.
When from his roll of goods he took the seal, a purse of gold fell
out upon the ground.
A thousand “durusts” of Egyptian gold, those ancient
coins which were in early times.
He sealed (it) up, detached his heart from it, and left it as before
sealed at the mouth.
(Said he), Since he received no help from me, I’ll serve the
office of custodianship.
All I will fasten up and keep secure, and give to him who has a
claim to it.
I’ll seek his house with closest scrutiny, and give it to
the person of the house .
If I indeed should do as he has done, I too should eat from the
same place as he.
(So) he tied up the roll as it had been, and when ’twas tied
he took it in his hand.
He set out on his way and travelled on; by hill and plain he came
towards a town.
After a few days’ rest within the town, partaking of (the
needful) food and sleep,
He showed the turban to each person there, asking who might the
owner of it be.
A worthy man who recognized it said, You must from here a little
Within a street, the houses it contains so many, stands a mansion
fine and high.
Knock at the door, the threshold of his house; do not have any doubt,
the house is his.
(Then) Bashr, garments, turban, gold, in hand, went to the house
of which he’d been informed.
He knocked, (and soon) a sweet-lipped beauty came, and oped the
portal of the lofty house.
She said, Tell (me your) business or (your) need, that I may further
it as may seem best.
He (thus) replied, I have some property; inform your lady, I would
give it up.
If I’m allowed to go into the house, when I go in I will with
Tell her what fraud and perfidy from fate Malikha, he of heaven-born
The woman led him (then) within the house, and on a cushioned seat
gave him a place.
(The dame) herself, with face inveiled (from view), said, Speak,
a meritable act ’twill be.
To her of moon-bright face and silvery limbs Bashr told fully every
His coming into fellowship with him, his hearing him hold forth
on arts (he claimed).
Then his rude rousing up to argument, his claiming (knowledge) on
all themes (that rose).
His thinking evil too of everything, putting on every good the stain
How too he dug a well for other men, and how he went himself into
How then it rose in billows like the deep, and how at last the water
stopped his breath .
When he had told of all that he had seen, what he had heard too
from that faithless man,
He said, Though he is dead, may you live long! His place the earth,
the mansion be your place!
The carrion which the water had washed clean I put into the store-house
of the earth .
I fastened up whatever things he had, and see, behold! I have them
in my hand.
Clothes, gold he laid at once before (the dame), approving his integrity
She was experienced and possessed rare gifts; she read the page
(before her) word by word.
Awhile she was afflicted by the words; she shed some tears at that
which had occurred.
She then gave answer, Man of noble sense, beneficent you are, a
slave of God.
On your integrity may blessings rest, and on your courteous grace
Who would show ever generosity such as you have towards a friendless
Beneficence is not to fill oneself, for that is what a fly is fit
to do .
Beneficent is he whom, in his acts, Satan leads not astray by coins
Malikha, dead, consigned to earth his frame, has borne his soul
to an appropriate place.
You spoke of him as hard to please, ’twas so; ’tis true,
increased a thousandfold your count.
His occupation naught but tyranny, but faithlessness and torture
He did much wrong to women and to men; for such a one such (fate)
is fit and meet.
A Jew of rancorous nature in his faith, subtle as snake, a dragon
in his acts.
For years from him I suffered much distress, no fruit I’ve
eaten from him saving ill.
I, sleeping on the couch of his ?arim; he, forging falsehoods to
Through loads imposed my head like clouds depressed; he, like the
lightning, drawing sword at me.
(But now) since God has driven him from my side, disturbance and
distress have left me (too).
But good or ill his acts, his face is hid; evil must not be spoken
of the dead.
He has departed from the midst of us; relations (now) are otherwise
(And) you, since you are one who meets my views, I choose to be
the partner (of my life).
Wealth, land, and beauty, modesty, are mine ; better where should
you meet with lawful spouse?
(For union) order soon all needful things, a union God Himself has,
I have approved of you to be my mate, for I have seen your noble,
If you have any inclination (too, tell me), that I may claim to
be your slave.
My words are done, this is the state of things; much wealth is mine,
and this, my beauty, (see)!
Then from the pearl she lifted up the veil, from moist cornelian
took the impression dry .
When Bashr saw her loveliness and grace, her eyes’ seductiveness,
her witching moles,—
He saw the fairy-faced one whom before as world-illuminator he had
He raised a cry and fell bereft of sense, a slave to her who was
a slave (to him).
The honey-lipped one seeing this made speed, she sprinkled scent,
and brought him back to life .
The unconscious man to consciousness restored, his head was heated
with the heat of shame.
He said, Though through a fairy I’m distraught, think not
that I am a demoniac .
Though he is lost who has beheld a div, a fairy I have seen, O fairy-born.
And what you see is no love of to-day’s; long time it is that
I have felt this pain.
For in a certain narrow street one day the wind blew from your hand
your veil aside.
I saw you (then), and (to myself) was lost; was drunk ere I had
drunk of union’s wine.
I burnt (then) in the hidden grief of love; my life departed in
my love for you.
Though for a moment you’ve not left my mind, to none have
I my secret ever told.
But patience, resignation failing me, I went and fled (for refuge)
And by His favour and compassion God brought to me all that is before
Unlike the sensual I avoided lust for ?aram fair ones, wealth of
If He now give one fair as you and wealth, if He has made them lawful
(now), ’tis well.
When she became acquainted with his love, her own from erstwhile
grew from one to ten.
So fair entreated by that ?uri Bashr went out on festive preparations
Pledged to the marriage-gift , he married her; a boon he gained,
and for the boon gave thanks.
With her so fair he gained his heart’s desire, and used a
spell against the evil eye .
He saved a queenly being from a Jew; he rescued from eclipse a (brilliant)
Washed from her mead the dust of yellowness; petals of lily grew
and hyacinth .
He judged her to the heavenly ones akin, so dressed her like the
?uris (all) in green.
Green dress is better far than yellow badge ; green is becoming
to the cypress-tree .
Green shows the welfare of the seed that’s sown; green is
the adornment of the angels (too).
More than to ought the soul inclines to green; the eye is brightened
too by verdant meads.
In green the plants (too) have their norm and law; through green
comes every flourishing, fresh state.
When that assembly-gracing Moon had told the tale, the monarch took
her to his arms.
Source: The Haft
Paikar (The Seven Beauties), Translated by C. E. Wilson
(1924). Stephen Austin & Sons, Hertford.
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