This section is from the book "Stories From The Thousand And One Nights", by Edward William Lane and Stanley Lanepoole. Also available from Amazon: Stories From Thousand And One Nights: The Arabian Nights' Entertainments.
They led troops in multitudes, and collected riches; and they left their wealth and buildings, and departed To the narrow graves, and lay down in the dust; and there they have remained, pledged for their actions; As if the company of travellers had put down their baggage during night in a house where was no food for guests. And its owner had said to them, O people, there is not any lodging for you in it. So they packed after alighting: And they all thereupon became fearful and timid: neither halting nor journeying was pleasant unto them. Then prepare good provision that will rejoice thee to-morrow; and act not save agreeably with the fear of thy Lord.
And upon the tablet were also inscribed these words.
Whoso arriveth at our city, and entereth it, God facilitating his entrance into it, let him take of the wealth what he can, but not touch any thing that is on my body; for it is the covering of my person, and the attire with which I am fitted forth from the world.
Therefore let him fear God, and not seize aught of it; for he would destroy himself. I have caused this to be an admonition from me unto him, and a charge which I give him in confidence. And peace be on you 1 I beg God, moreover, to save you from the evil of trials and sickness.
The Emir Musa, when he heard these words, again wept so violently that he became insensible; and after he had recovered, he wrote all that he saw, and was admonished by what he witnessed. He then said to his companions, Bring the sacks, and fill them with part of these riches and these vessels and rarities and jewels. And thereupon, Talib the son of Sahl said to the Emir Musa, O Emir, shall we leave this damsel with the things that are upon her? They are things that have no equal, nor is the like of them at any time found, and they are more than the riches thou hast taken, and will be the best present by which thou mayest ingratiate thyself with the Prince of the Faithful.-But the Emir replied, O thou, heardest thou not that which the damsel hath given as a charge, in the inscription upon this tablet ? Moreover, and especially, she hath given it as a charge offered in confidence, and we are not of the people of treachery.-The Wezir Talib, however, said, And on account of these words wilt thou leave these riches and these jewels, when she is dead ? What then should she do with these things, which are the ornaments of the world, and the decoration of the living ? With a garment of cotton might this damsel be covered, and we are more worthy of the things than she.-Then he drew near to the steps, and ascended them until he reached the spot between the two men [the slaves before mentioned], when, lo, one of these two smote him upon his back, and the other smote him with the sword that was in his hand, and struck off his head, and he fell down dead. So the Emir Musa said, May God not regard with mercy thy resting-place! There was, in these riches, a sufficiency; and covetousness doth doubtlessly dishonour the person in whom it existeth!-He thereupon gave orders for the entry of the troops, who accordingly entered, and they loaded the camels with part of those riches and minerals; after which the Emir Musa commanded them to close the gate as it was before.
They then proceeded along the sea-coast until they came in sight of a high mountain overlooking the sea. In it were many caves, and, lo, in these was a people of the blacks, clad in hides, and with burnuses of hides upon their heads, whose language was not known. And when they saw the troops, they ran from them, and fled to those caves, while their women and their children stood at the entrances of the caves. So the Emir Musa said, O sheykh 'Abd-Es-Samad, what are these people? And he answered, These are the objects of the inquiry of the Prince of the Faithful. They therefore alighted, and the tents were pitched, and the riches were put down; and they had not rested when the King of the blacks came down from the mountain, and drew near to the troops. He was acquainted with the Arabic language; therefore, when he came to the Emir Musa, he saluted him; and the Emir returned his salutation, and treated him with honour. Then the King of the blacks said to the Emir, Are ye of mankind, or the Jinn? The Emir answered, As to us, we are of mankind; and as to you, there is no doubt but that ye are of the Jinn, because of your seclusion in this mountain that is separated from the world, and because of the greatness of your make. But the King of the blacks replied, Nay, we are a people of the race of Adam, of the sons of Ham the son of Nuh, on whom be peace! And as to this sea, it is known by the name of El-Karkar.-So the Emir Musa said to him, And whence obtained ye knowledge, when there hath not come unto you any prophet divinely inspired in such a country as this? He answered, Know, O Emir, that there appeareth unto us, from this sea, a person diffusing a light whereby the surrounding tracts are illuminated; and he pro-claimeth, with a voice which the distant and the near hear, O sons of Ham, be abashed at Him who seeth and is not seen; and say, There is no deity but God: Mohammad is the Apostle of God. And I am Abu-1-'Abbas El-Khidr.-Before that, we used to worship one another; but he called us to the worship of the Lord of mankind.-Then he said to the Emir Musa, He hath also taught us some words to say.-And what, asked the Emir, are those words? He answered, They are these:-There is no deity but God alone: He hath no partner: to Him belongeth dominion, and to Him belongeth praise: He giveth life and killeth: and He is able to accomplish every thing. And we seek not access to God (to whom be ascribed might and glory!) save by these words, nor know we any others. Also, every night of Friday we see a light * upon the face of the earth, and we hear a voice saying, Perfect! Holy! Lord of the Angels and the Spirit! Whatsoever God willeth cometh to pass, and what He willeth not cometh not to pass! Every benefit from God is a gratuitous favour! And there is no strength nor power but in God, the High, the Great!