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arabian nights - Comics/Fantasy/Anime

♪1øø1~The Young King of the Black Isles♪


The story of the Young King of the Black Isles

"I must first inform you," began the young man, "that my father, who was named Mahmoud, was the king of this state. It is the kingdom of the Black isles and takes its name from four small neighbouring mountains that were formerly islands, and the capital, in which my father dwelt, was situated on the spot which is now occupied by yonder lake. You will hear how these changes took place as i proceed with my history."

"The King, my father, died at the age of seventy years. Immediatelly upon mounting his throne, i married, and the person whom i chose as the partner of my state was my cousin. I had every reason to be satisfied with the proofs of affection i received from her, and i returned her regard with equal tenderness. But in the end of that time, i began to perceive that the queen no longer loved me."

"One day after dinner, when she had gone to bathe, i felt inclined to sleep, and threw myself on a sofa, two of the queen's women, who happened to be in a room, seated themselves, one at my head, the other at my feet to fan me. Those two women, supposing me asleep, began to talk in whispers, but my eyes were only closed, and i overheard their whole conversation."

"'Is it not a pity,' said one of them to another, 'that the queen does not love our King, who is such an amiable prince?'
'Surely it is,' replied the other, 'and i cannot conceive why she goes out every night and leaves him, does he not perceive it?'
'How should he perceive it?' resume the first, 'Every night she mixes in his drink the juice of a certain herb, which makes him sleep all night so profoundly that she has time to go wherever she likes, and when at break of day she returns to him, she awakes him by passing a particular scent under his nose.'"

"You may judge my astonishment after speech an how i felt when i heard it! Nevertheless i had sufficiend command over myself to suppress my emotions. I pretendet to awake, and gave no sign of having heard anything."

"Presently the queen returned from the bath, we supped together, and before we went to bed she presented me with cup of water, which it was usual for me to take. But instead of drinking it, i approached a window that was open, and throw it out unperceived by her. I then returned the cup into her hands, that she might suppose i had drunk the contents. We soon retired to rest, and shortly afterwards, supposing that i was asleep, she got up with very little procaution and even said aloud, 'Sleep, and i may never wake you againg.' She dressed herself quickly, and left the chamber."

"So soon as the queen was gone i rose up and throw on my clothes as quickly as possible, and taking my scimitar. I followed her so closely that i heard her footsteps just before ne. She passee through several doors, which opened by virtue of some magic words she pronounced. The last she opened was that of the garden which she entered. I stopped at this door that she might not see me, while she crossed a lawn, and following her with my eyes. I remarked that she went into a little wood, which was bounded by a thick hedge. I repaired thither by another way, and hiding myself. I perceived that she was walking with a man."

"I did not fail to listen attentively to their discourse, when i heard what follows, 'I do not,' said the queen to her companion, 'deserve your reproaches for my want of diligence, but if all the tokens of love which i have hither to given you are not sufficient to persuade my sincerity, i am ready to give zou still more convincing proofs. You have only to command, you know my power. I will, if you wish it, before the sun rises, change this great city and this beautiful palace into frightful ruins, which shall be inhabited only with wolves and owls. Shall i transport all the stones, with which those walls are so strongly build beyond mount Caucasus, and farther than the boundaries of the habitable world? You have only to speak, and all this place shall be transformed.'"

"As the queen finished this speech, she and her lover reached the end of the walk, and turning to enter another, passed before me. I had already drawn my scimitar, and as the man walked past me, i struck him on the neck, and he fell. I belived i had killed him, and retired precipitately, without discovering myself to the queen, whom i wished to spare."

"Although her lover's wound was mortal, she yet contrived by her magic art to preserve him a kind of existence, which can be called neither death nor life. When i reached my chamber i returned to bed, and satisfied with punishment i had inflicted on the wretch who had offend me, i feel asleep. On waking the next morning, i found the queen by my side. I cannot say whether she was in the real or feigned sleep, but i got up without dirobing her. I afterwards attended the cuncil. On my return, the queen, dressed in mourning, with her hair dishevelled and torn, presented herself before me.
'My lord,' said she, 'i come to entreat your Majesty not to be displeased at the state in which you now see me. I have just received intelligence of three events which occasion the grief i so strongly feel that i can scarcely express it.'
'What are these events, madam?' i inquired.
'The death of the queen, my beloved mother,' replied she, 'that of the king, my father, who was killed in battle, and of my brother, who fell down a precipice.'"

"I was not sorry that she had this pretext to conceal the true couse of her affliction, and i concluded that she did not suspect me of having been the murderer of her lover. 'Madam,' i said, 'i do not blame your sorrow, on the contrary, i assure you, that i sympathize in the cause. I hope, nevertheless, that time and philosophy will restore to you your wonted cheerfulness.'"

"She retired to her apartment, and, abandoning herself to her griuf, she passed a whole year there, weeping and bewailing the fate of her lover. At the expiration of that time, she reguested my permision to buid for herself, in the centre of the palace, a mausoleum, in which, she said, she designed to pass the remainder of her days. I did not refuse, and she erected a magnificent palace, with a dome, which may be seen from this place, and she called it the Palace of Tears."

"When it was completed, she had her lover removed and brought to his mausoleum from the place whither she had transported him. She had untill that period preserved his life by giving him certain potions, which she administered herself, and continued to give him daily after his removal to the Palace of Tears."

"All her enchantments, however, did not avail much, for he was not only unable to walk or stand, but had also lost the use of his speech, and gave no signs of life but by looks. Although the queen had only the consolation of seeing him and saying to him all the tender things that her love inspired, yet she constantly paid him two long visits every day. I was well acquainted with this circumstance, but i pretend to be ignorant of it."

"Moved by curiosity, i went one day to the Palace of Tears, to know how the queen passed her time there, and concealing myself i heard her speak these words to her lover, 'Oh, what a heavy affliction to me to see you in this state. I share with you all the agonies you endure, but dearest Life, i am always seaking to you, and yet you return no answer. How long will this distressing silence continue? Speak, just once, and i am satisfied. Alas! I cannot exist away from you, and i should prefer the pleasure of seeing you continually to the empire of the whole universe.'"

"This speech, which was frequently interrupted by tears, exhusted my patience. I could no longer remain in concealment, but approaching her, exclaimed, 'Madam, you have wept enough, it is now time to have done with a grief which dishonours us both!
'Sir,' replied she, 'if you still retain any regard for me, i entreat you to leave me to my sorrows, which time can neither diminish nor relieve.'"

"I endeavoured, but in vaie, to bring her to sense of her duty, finding that all my arguments only increased her obstinacy. I at last desisted and left her. She continued to visit her lover every day, and for two years she was inconsolable."

"I went a second time to the Palace of Tears while she was there. I hid myself as beforehand her say, 'It is now three years since you have spoken to me, nor do you return the tokens of affection and fondness which i offer you. Is it from insensibility or disdain? Have you, o Tomb, destroyed that excess of thenderness which he bore me? Have you closed for ever those dear eyes, which beamed with love, and were all my delight? Ah, no, i cannot think it, rather let me say, you are become the depository of the rarest treasure the world ever saw.'"

"I confess to you my Lord, that i was enqaged at these words, and i indeed this cherished lover, this adored mortal, was not the kind of man you would imagine. He was a black Indian, one of the original inhabitiants of this country. I was, as i have said, so enraged that i suddenly showed myself, and apostrophizing the tomb as my wife had dond. I said, 'Why dont you not, o Tomb, swallow up this monster, who is disgusting to human nature? Or rather, why dont you not consume both the lover and his mistress?'"

"So soon as i had spoken these words, the queen, who was seated near the Black, started up like a fury. 'Ah, wretch!' cried she to me, 'It is you who have been the cause of my grief. It was your barbarous hand which reduced the object of my affection to the miserable state he now is in.'
'Yes,' exclaimed i, transported with anger, 'I have chastised the monster as he deserved, and i ough to treat you in the same maner. I repent that i have not already done it, for you have too long abused my goodness.'
As i said this i drew my scimitar, and raised my arm to punish her. 'Moderate you rage,' said she to me with a disdainful smmile. After a moment she pronounced some words, which i did not understand and added, 'By virtue of my enchantments, i command you, from this moment, to become half marble and half man.'
Immediately, my Lord, i was changed to what you see, already dead among the living, and still living among the dead."

"As soon as this cruel enchantress had transported me, and by means of her magic has conveyed me to this apartment, she destroyed my capital, which had been ...
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