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♪1øø1~Noureddin Ali & Bedreddin Hassan♪

1001 NIGHTS

The history of Noureddin Ali and Bedreddin Hassan

"Commander of the Faithful, there was once a sultan in Egipt who was a great observer of justice. He was merciful, beneficent, and liberal, and his valour made him the terror of the neighbouring states. The vizier of this sultan was a prudent, wise, and discerning man, skilled in literature and all the sciences. This minister had two sons, handsome in person, and resembling their father talents. The eldest was named Schemseddin Mohammed, and the youngest Noureddin Ali. On the death of the vizier, their father, the sultan sent for them, and having put on each the dress of an ordinary vizier, spoke thus, 'I regret your father's death, and feel sincerely for your loss, and as i wish to prove my symphaty to you, i inves each of you with equal dignity, for i know you live together, and are perfectly united. Go and imitate your father.'"

"The two new viziers thanked the sultan for the favour he had conferred on them, and returned home to order their father's funeral. When a month had expired they made their appearance in public, and went for the first time to the council of the sultan, after which they continued to attend regulary every day that it assembled. Whenever the sultan went out to hunt one of the brothers accompanied him, and this honour was accorded to them alternately. One evening, when the eldest brother was to accompany the sultan to the chase on the morrow, the brothers were talking after supper on different subjects, Schdmseddin Mohammed said to Noureddin Ali, 'Brother, as we are not yet married, and live in such harmony, a thought has occurred to me. Let us both marry on the same day, and wed two sisters, whom we will choose out of some family whose rank is equal to our own. What think you of this proposal?'
'I think, brother,' replied Noureddin Ali, 'its a worthy of the friendship that unite us. You could not have proposed a better plan, and i am ready to do whatever you wish in this matter.'
'Oh,' resumed the eldest, 'this in not all, my design goes much farther. In the event that our marriage is blessed with offspring, and that your wife brings you a son, while mine presents me with a daughter, we will unite the two when they are in proper age.'
'Ah!' exclaimed his brothes, 'This is indeed an admirable project. This marriage will complete our union, and i readily give my consent. But, brother,' added he, 'if this marriage is indeed to take place, should you expect my son to settle a fortune on your daughter?'
'In that there is no difficulty,' replied the other, 'and i am persuaded that besides the usual agreements in a marriage contract, you would not object to give in your son's name at leas three thousand sequins, three good estates and three slaves.'
'That i cannot agree to,' returned Noureddin Ali. 'Are not we brothers and colleagues, each invested with the same dignity and title? And do not we both know what is just? Inasmuch as the man is more noble than the woman, ought not you to bestow a handsome marriage portion on your daughter? I perceive you are a man who wishes to enrich himself at the expense of others.'"

"Althouh Noureddin Ali spoke these words in jest, his brother, who was of a fiery temper was highly offended. 'Woe to thy son!' said he, angrily, 'since you dare to prefer him to my daughter. Know that after such insolence i would not marry my daughter to your son, even if you were to give her more riches than you possess.'
This strange quarrel between the brothers about the marriage of their children, who were not yet born, did not cease here. Shemseddin Mohammed went so far as to threaten his brother. 'If i were not obliged,' said he, 'to accompany the sultan tomorrow, i would treat you as you deserve. But on my return you shall learn that it does not become the younger brother to theat the elder with the insolence you have shown towards me.'
With these words he retired to his apartment, and his brother followed his example.'"

"Shemseddin Mohammed rose very early the next morning, and repaired to the palace, from whence he went out with the sultan. As for Noureddin Ali, he passed the night in great distress, and having well considered that it was not possible for him to remain any longer with a brother who treated him with such contempt, he formed the resolution of quitting his home. He caused a good mule to be caparisoned, provided himself with money, precious stones, and some eatables, and having told his people that he was going on a journey of three or four days, he departed."

"On leaving Cairo, he went over the desert towards Arabia, but his mule became lame on the road, and he was obliged to continue his journey on foot. He had the good fortune to be overtaken by a messenger who was going to Balsora, and who took him up behind him on his camel. When they were arrived at Balsora, Noureddin Ali alighted, thanking the messenger for his assistance. As he walked along the streets, seeking for lodging, he saw a person of high rank coming towards him, accompanied by a numerous train. All the inhabitants paid great respect to this personage, waiting to let him pass, and Noureddin Ali stopped like the rest. It was the grand vizier of the Sultan of Balsora, parading the city to enforce peace and good order by his presence."

"The minister chanced to cast his eyes on the young man, and was struck with his engaging countenance. He looked on Noureddin Ali with favour, and he passed near him, perceiving that the stranger wore a traveller's garb, he stopped and ask him who he was, and from whence he came. 'My lord,' replied Noureddin Ali, 'i come from Egypt, and am a native of Cairo. I have quitted my country on account of a quarrel with one of my relations, and i have resolved to travel over the whole world, and to die rather then return home.'
When the grand vizier, who was a venerable old man, heard these words, he replied, 'My son, do not persever in the project you have formed. In this world there is nothing but misery, and you little think what hardships you will have to endure. Come rather with me, and perhaps i can make you forget the cause which has induced you to quit your country.'"

"Noureddin Ali followed the grand vizier of Balsora, who soon became acquainted with his good qualities and conceived a great affection for him, so that one day when they were alone together, the old man addressed him, 'My son, i am, as you see, so far advanced in years that there is no prospect of my living much longer. Heaven has given me an only daughter as handsome as yourself, and she is now of a marriageable age. Many of the most powerful lords of this court have already demanded her of me for their sons, but i never could bring myself to part with her. Now, i love you, and think you so worthy of being allied to my family that i am willing to accept you as my son in law. If this proposal pleases you, i will inform the sultan that i have adopted you by this marriage, and i will entreat him to permit me to bestow upon you my appointment as a grand vizier of Balsora, and as i require rest in my old age, i will resign to you all my possessions, with the administration of the affairs of state.'"

"On hearing this speech, Noureddin Ali threw himself at the grand vizier's feet, and in terms which envinced the joy and gratitude that flowed from his heart, declared himself ready to do anything his patron should dictate. The grand vizier then called together the principal officers of his household, and ordered them to prepare the great hall in his house for a grand entertainment. He sent invitations to all the nobles of the court, and to the great men of the city, to summon them to the fest. Noureddin Ali had made him acquanted with his rank, and when they were all assembled he thus addressed them, 'My friends, i am happy to inform you of a circumstance which i have hitherto kept secret. I have a brother who is grand vizier of the Sultan of Egypt, as i have the happiness to be grand vizier to the sultan of these dominions. This brother of mine has an only son, whom he would not marry at the court of Egypt, and he sent him here to be united to my daughter, that the two branches of our family might be thus joined together. This young noblemen whom you see here, and whom i recognized as my nephew on his arrival, i am going to make my son in law. I trust you will do him the honour of being present at the nuptials which i intend shall be solemnized this day.'
The grand vizier spokf thus becouse he thought that no one could be offended at his preferring his nephew to all those nobleman who had offered their alliance, and indeed, they replied that he did right to conclude this marriage, that they would willingly be present at the ceremony, and that they hoped Allah would bless both uncle an nephew many years with the fruits of this happy union. When they had thus expressed their approbation for marriage of the vizier's daughter with Noureddin Ali, they sat down to table, and feasted for a considerable time. Towards the end of the repast the cadis entered with the marriage contract in their hands. The chief among the noblemen signed it and the whole company retired."

"When all the guests were gone, the grand vizier desired the attendants who had the care of the bath to conduct Noureddin Ali thither. He found provided for him new lined of a beautiful fineness and whiteness, as well as every other necessary. When the bridgeroom had enjoyed his bath he was going to resume his own dress, but another of the greates magnifience was presented to him in its place. Thus adosned, and perfumed with the most exquisite odours, he returned to the grand vizier, his father in law, who was charmed with his appearance, and placed him by his side, saying, 'My son, you have disclosed to me who you are and the rank you held at the Egyptian court. You have also told me that you had a quarrel with your brother, and that this caused you to leave your country. I entreat you to relate to me the nature of this quarrel, for you must conceal nothing from me.'"

"Noureddin Ali related all the circumstances connected with his dispute with his brother. The grand vizier could not refrain from laughing very heartly. 'This is indeed,' said he, 'the strangest thing i ever heard of! Is it possible that your quarrel was carried to such lenghts merely for an imaginary wedding? I am sorry that you quarrelled with your elder brother for such a trifle, however, i perceive that he was in the wrong to be offended with what you said merely in jest, and i ought to be thankful that this strife has been the means of procuring me a son in law such as you. But,' continued the old man, 'the night is advancing, and it is time for you to retire. Go, my daughter is expecting your arrivall. Tomorrow i will present you to the sultan, and i flatter ...
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