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.
He then treated me with kindness, and whatever he said to me I understood, and all that he required to be done I performed as his servant.
We continued our voyage for fifty days with a fair wind, and cast anchor under a large city containing a population which no one but God, whose name be exalted, could reckon; and when we had moored our vessel, there came to us some memluks from the King of the city, who came on board the ship, and complimented the merchants on their safe arrival, saying, Our King greeteth you, rejoicing in your safety, and hath sent to you this roll of paper, desiring that each of you shall write a line upon it; for the King had a Wezir who was an eminent calligraphist, and he is dead, and the King hath sworn that he will not appoint any person to his office who cannot write equally well. Though in the form of an ape, I arose and snatched the paper from their hands; upon which, fearing that I would tear it and throw it into the sea, they cried out against me, and would have killed me; but I made signs to them that I would write, and the captain said to them, Suffer him to write, and if he scribble we will turn him away; but if he write well I will adopt him as my son; for I have never seen a more intelligent ape. So I took the pen, and demanded the ink, and wrote in an epistolary hand this couplet:
Fame hath recorded the virtues of the noble; but no one hath been able to reckon thine. May God not deprive mankind of such a father; for thou art the parent of every excellence.
Then, in a more formal, large hand, I wrote the following verses:
There is no writer that shaU not perish; but what his hand hath written endureth ever. Write, therefore, nothing but what will please thee when thou shalt see it on the day of resurrection.
Two other specimens I wrote, in two different and smaller hands, and returned the paper to the memluks, who took it back to the King; and when he saw what was written upon it, the hand of no one pleased him excepting mine; and he said to his attendants, Go to the author of this hand-writing, put upon him this dress, and mount him upon a mule, and conduct him, with the band of music before him, to my presence. On hearing this order, they smiled; and the King was angry with them, and said, How is it that I give you an order, and ye laugh at me ? They answered, O King, we laugh not at thy words, but because he who wrote this is an ape, and not a son of Adam: he is with the captain of the ship newly arrived.
The King was astonished at their words; he shook with delight, and said, I would purchase this ape. He then sent some messengers to the ship, with the mule and the dress of honour, saying to them, Ye must clothe him with this dress, and mount him upon the mule, and bring him hither. So they came to the ship, and, taking me from the captain, clad me with the dress; and the people were astonished, and flocked to amuse themselves with the sight of me. And when they brought me to the King, and I beheld him, I kissed the ground before him three times, and he ordered me to sit down: so I sat down upon my knees; and the persons present were surprised at my polite manners, and especially the King, who presently ordered his people to retire. They, therefore, did so; none remaining but the King, and a eunuch, and a young memluk, and myself. The King then commanded that a repast should be brought; and they placed before him a service of viands, such as gratified the appetite and delighted the eye; and the King made a sign to me that I should eat; whereupon I arose, and, having kissed the ground before him seven times, sat down to eat with him; and when the table was removed, I washed my hands, and, taking the ink-case, and pen and paper, I wrote these two verses:
Great is my appetite for thee, O Kunafeh!8 I cannot be happy nor endure without thee.
Be thou every day and night my food; and may drops of honey not be wanting to moisten thee.
Having done this, I arose, and seated myself at a distance; and the King, looking at what I had written, read it with astonishment, and exclaimed, Can an ape possess such fluency and such skill in calligraphy? This is, indeed, a wonder of wonders!-Afterwards, a chess-table was brought to the King, and he said to me, Wilt thou play? By a motion of my head I answered, Yes:-and I advanced, and arranged the pieces. I played with him twice, and beat Him; and the King was perplexed, and said, Were this a man, he would surpass all the people of his age.
•A kind of pastry resembling vermicelli, made of wheat-flour. It is moistened with clarified butter-then baked, and sweetened with honey or sugar.
He then said to his eunuch, Go to thy mistress, and say to her, Answer the summons of the King:-that she may come and gratify her curiosity by the sight of this wonderful ape. The eunuch, therefore, went, and returned with his mistress, the King's daughter, who, as soon as she saw me, veiled her face, and said, O my father, how is it that thou art pleased to send for me and suffer strange men to see me?-O my daughter, answered the King, there is no one here but the young memluk, and the eunuch who brought thee up, and this ape, with myself, thy father: from whom, then, dost thou veil thy face?-This ape, said she, is the son of a King, and the name of his father is Eymar: he is enchanted, and it was the 'Efrit Jarjaris, a descendant of Iblis, who transformed him, after having slain his own wife, the daughter of King Aknamus. This, whom thou supposedst to be an ape, is a learned and wise man.-The King was amazed at his* daughter's words, and, looking towards me, said, Is it true that she saith of thee? I answered, by a motion of my head, Yes:-and wept The King then said to his daughter, By what means didst thou discover that he was enchanted ?- O my father, she answered, t had with me, in my younger years, an old woman who was a cunning enchantress, and she taught me the art of en* chantment: I have committed its rules to memory, and know it thoroughly, being acquainted with a hundred and seventy modes of performing it, by the least of which I could transport the stones of thy city beyond Mount Kaf, and make its site to be an abyss of the sea, and convert its inhabitants into fish in the midst of it.-I conjure thee, then, by the name of Allah, said her father, to restore this young man, that I may make him my Wezir. Is it possible that thou possessedst this excellence, and I knew it not? •Restore him, that I may make him my Wezir, for he is a polite and intelligent youth.