While Ali Baba retired to his chamber, Morgiana went into the kitchen to fetch the broth, but before he would drink it, he first entreated her to satisfy his impatience, and tell him what had happened, with all the circumstances; and she obeyed him.
"As soon as I had finished, 'I confess,' said he, 'that the things you tell me are very extraordinary, yet you must for my sake undertake this voyage which I propose to you. You will only have to go to the isle of Serendib, and deliver the commission which I give you, for you know it would not comport with my dignity to be indebted to the king of that island.' Perceiving that the caliph insisted upon my compliance, I submitted, and told him that I was willing to obey. He was very well pleased, and ordered me one thousand sequins for the expenses of my journey.
"Since you all agree that you never heard of it," said the sultan, "and as I am no less astonished than you are at this novelty, I am resolved not to return to my palace till I learn how this lake came here, and why all the fish in it are of four colours." Having spoken thus, he ordered his court to encamp; and immediately his pavilion and the tents of his household were planted upon the banks of the lake.
"From the isle of Salabat, we went to another, where I furnished myself with cloves, cinnamon, and other spices. As we sailed from this island, we saw a tortoise twenty cubits in length and breadth. We observed also an amphibious animal like a cow, which gave milk; its skin is so hard, that they usually make bucklers of it.
In this manner I lived with them a whole year; but on the first day of the new year, they seated themselves around me, and began to weep, and bade me farewell, clinging to my skirts. "What calamity hath befallen you?" said I. "Ye are breaking my heart." They answered: "Would that we had never known thee; for we have associated with many men, but have seen none like thee. May God, therefore, not deprive us of thy company." And they wept afresh. I said to them: "I wish that you would acquaint me with the cause of this weeping." "Thou," they replied, "art the cause; yet now, if thou wilt attend to what we tell thee, we shall never be parted; but if thou act contrary to it, we are separated from this time; and our hearts whisper to us that thou wilt not regard our warning." "Inform me," said I, "and I will attend to your directions." And they replied: "If then thou wouldst inquire respecting our history, know that we are the daughters of kings: for many years it hath been our custom to assemble here, and every year we absent ourselves during a period of forty days; then returning, we indulge ourselves for a year in feasting and drinking. This is our usual practice; and now we fear that thou wilt disregard our directions when we are absent from thee. We deliver to thee the keys of the palace, which are a hundred in number, belonging to a hundred closets. Open each of these, and amuse thyself, and eat and drink, and refresh thyself, excepting the closet that hath a door of red gold; for if thou open this, the consequence will be a separation between us and thee. We conjure thee, therefore, to observe our direction, and to be patient during this period." Upon hearing this, I swore to them that I would never open the closet to which they alluded; and they departed, urging me to be faithful to my promise.
As soon as the two princes were old enough, the intendant provided proper masters to teach them to read and write; and the princess, their sister, who was often with them, showing a great desire to learn, the intendant, pleased with her quickness, employed the same master to teach her also. Her vivacity and piercing wit made her, in a little time, as great a proficient as her brothers. From that time the brothers and sister had the same masters in geography, poetry, history, and even the secret sciences, and made so wonderful a progress that their tutors were amazed, and frankly owned that they could teach them nothing more. At the hours of recreation, the princess learned to sing and play upon all sorts of instruments; and when the princes were learning to ride she would not permit them to have that advantage over her, but went through all the exercises with them, learning to ride also, to bend the bow, and dart the reed or javelin, and oftentimes outdid them in the race and other contests of agility.
"You say it is not customary to go to the sultan without a present, and that I have nothing worthy of his acceptance. Do not you think, mother, that what I brought home with me the day on which I was delivered from death may be an acceptable present? I mean those things that you and I both took for coloured glass: but now I can tell you that they are jewels of inestimable value. I know the worth of them by frequenting the shops; and you may take my word that all the precious stones which I saw in the jewellers' shops were not to be compared to those we have, either for size or beauty; I am persuaded that they will be received very favourably by the sultan: you have a large porcelain dish fit to hold them; fetch it, and let us see how they will look, when we have arranged them according to their different colours."
After the ceremonies of his father's funeral rites and his own inauguration were over, the new sultan, as well from inclination as from duty, went out one evening attended by his grand vizier, disguised like himself, to observe what was transacting in the city. As he was passing through a street in that part of the town inhabited only by the meaner sort, he heard some people talking very loud; and going close to the house whence the noise proceeded, and looking through a crack in the door, perceived a light, and three sisters sitting on a sofa, conversing together after supper. By what the eldest said he presently understood the subject of their conversation was wishes: "for," said she, "since we are talking about wishes, mine shall be to have the sultan's baker for my husband, for then I shall eat my fill of that bread, which by way of excellence is called the sultan's; let us see if your tastes are as good as mine." "For my part," replied the second sister, "I wish I was wife to the sultan's chief cook, for then I should eat of the most excellent dishes; and as I am persuaded that the sultan's bread is common in the palace, I should not want any of that; therefore you see," addressing herself to her eldest sister, "that I have a better taste than you." The youngest sister, who was very beautiful, and had more charms and wit than the two elder, spoke in her turn: "For my part, sisters," said she, "I shall not limit my desires to such trifles, but take a higher flight; and since we are upon wishing, I wish to be the emperor's queen-consort. I would make him father of a prince, whose hair should be gold on one side of his head, and silver on the other; when he cried, the tears from his eyes should be pearls; and when he smiled, his vermilion lips should look like a rosebud fresh-blown."
The party therefore turned thither and journeyed on, and it was the right way. They took that route, and continued their course the same day and the next night until they had traversed a wide tract of country. And as they were proceeding, one day, they came to a pillar of black stone, wherein was a person sunk to his arm-pits, and he had two huge wings, and four arms; two of them like those of the sons of Adam, and two like the fore-legs of lions, with claws. He had hair upon his head like the tails of horses, and two eyes like two burning coals, and he had a third eye, in his forehead, like the eye of the lynx, from which there appeared sparks of fire. He was black and tall; and he was crying out: "Extolled be the perfection of my Lord, who hath appointed me this severe affliction and painful torture until the day of resurrection!" When the party beheld him, their reason fled from them, and they were stupefied at the sight of his form, and retreated in flight; and the Emeer Moosa said to the Sheikh Abd-Es-Samad: "What is this?" He answered: "I know not what he is." And the emeer said: "Draw near to him, and investigate his case: perhaps he will discover it, and perhaps thou wilt learn his history." So the Sheikh Abd-Es-Samad drew near to him, and said to him: "O thou person, what is thy name, and what is thy nature, and what hath placed thee here in this manner?" And the person answered him: "As to me, I am an efreet of the genies, and my name is Dahish, and I am restrained here by the majesty of God." Then the Emeer Moosa said: "O Sheikh Abd-Es-Samad, ask him what is the cause of his confinement in this pillar." He therefore asked respecting that, and the efreet answered him: "Verily my story is wonderful; and it is this:
"The ship set sail, and after a very successful navigation we landed at Bussorah, and from thence I went to Bagdad, where the first thing I did was to acquit myself of my commission.