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.
Borders of kohl enhance the witchery of her glance, Gardens of roses are her damask cheeks, Black are her tresses as the gloomy night, Illumined by the glory of her brow.
When the princess raised her veil from her face and 'Ala-ed-Din looked upon her, he said: "Of a surety her make magnifieth the Mighty Maker, and extolled be he who made her and adorned her with such beauty and loveliness!" His vigour became weak at the sight of her, and his thoughts became distraught, and his sight bewildered, and love of her got hold of his whole soul; and he went home and returned to his mother like one in a dream. And his mother spake to him, but he replied not yea or nay; and she set before him breakfast, but he remained in the same state. So she said to him: " O my son, what hath befallen thee? Doth anything distress thee? Tell me what hath happened to thee, for thou, contrary to thy wont, repliest not when I speak to thee." Then 'Ala-ed-Din,-who had believed that all women were like his mother, and though he had heard of the beauty of Bedr-el-Budur, the daughter of the Sultan, yet knew not what this beauty and loveliness might mean,-turned to his mother and said to her, "Let me alone. But she urged him to come and eat; so he came and ate a little, and then lay on his bed pondering till morning dawned. And he ceased not from this state the next day, so that his mother was perplexed for her son's condition and could not find out what had come over him. And she believed he was seriously sick, and came and asked him, saying: "O my son, if thou feel pain or anything of the kind, tell me, that I may go and bring thee a physician; and this very day there is in this city a doctor from the land of the Arabs whom the Sultan sent for, and the rumour goeth that he is very skilful. So if thou be sick, let me go and call him in".
When 'Ala-ed-Din heard that his mother wished to bring him a physician, he said to her: " O my mother, I am well, and not sick at all. But I always believed that all women resembled thee, until yesterday I saw the Lady Bedr-el-Budur, the daughter of the Sultan, going in to the bath." And he told her all that had betided him, and said: "Perhaps thou didst also hear the herald calling: 'Let no man open his shop or stay in the streets, that the Lady Bedr-el-Budur may go to the Bath.' But I did look upon her, even as she is, because she lifted her veil at the entering of the bath. And when I gazed on her form and saw that noble shape, there seized me, O my mother, a violent ecstasy of love for her, and a fixed resolve to win her possessed every part of me; nor can I possibly rest until I gain her. And I intend, therefore, to demand her of the Sultan, her father, in lawful wedlock." And when his mother heard his words she feared for his reason, and said: " O my son, God's name be on thee! for it is plain thou hast lost thy reason, my son. But be guided, and be not as the insane." And he answered: " O my mother, I have not lost my reason, nor am I mad, nor can thy words alter what is in my mind, for peace is impossible to me till I win the beloved of my heart, the lovely Lady Bedr-el-Budur. And I am determined to demand her of her father, the Sultan." And she said to him: " O my son, by my life, say not so, lest any one hear thee and say thou art mad. Put away from thee this folly; for who should do a thing like this, to ask it of the Sultan? And I know not how thou wilt set to work to ask this favour of the Sultan, even if thy speech be true, or through whom thou wilt ask it." And he answered: "Through whom, O my mother, should I make this request, when I have thee? And whom have I more trusty than thee? It is my wish that thou thyself ask this request." And she said: "O my son, God preserve me from this! Have I lost my reason like thee? Cast away this thought from thy soul, and think whose son thou art, my son, the child of a tailor, of the poorest and meanest of the tailors to be found in this city; and I, too, thy mother, come of very poor folk. So how dost thou presume to ask in marriage a daughter of the Sultan, who would not deign to marry her to any of the Kings and Sultans, unless they were his equals in grandeur and honour and majesty; and were they less than he but a single degree he would not give them his daughter.
'Ala-ed-Din waited patiently till his mother had ended her speech, and then said: "O my mother, all that thou recallest I know, and it is familiar to me that I am the son of the poor; but all these thy words cannot change my purpose in the least, nor do I the less expect of thee, as I am thy son and thou lovest me, to do me this kindness; otherwise thou wilt undo me, and speedy death is upon me; unless I obtain my desire of the darling of my heart; and in any case, O my mother, I am thy child." And when she heard his words she wept in her grief for him, and said: "O my son, yea verily I am thy mother, nor have I child or blood of my blood save thee; and the height of ray desire is to rejoice in thee and wed .thee to a wife; but if I seek to ask for thee a bride of our equals and peers, they will ask at once if thou hast trade or merchandise or land or garden, to live on. And what can I answer them? And if I cannot answer the poor people, our likes, how shall I venture upon this hazard and dare this impertinence, O my son, and by what means shall I ask for thee of the Sultan his daughter, and howsoever shall I compass access to the Sultan's presence? And if they question me, what shall I answer? And probably they will take me for a mad woman. And supposing I gain access to the presence^ what shall I take him as an offering to his Majesty?"