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.
Shall fortune oppress me while thou existest; and the dogs devour me when thou art a lion ?
Shall all else who are dry drink freely from thy tanks, and I thirst in thine asylum when thou art as rain?
O my lord, he continued, thus is every one who loveth thee and serveth thee: these afflictions always befall him.- And who, said the King again, hath done thus unto thee? -Know, answered the Wezir, that I went forth to-day to the market of the female slaves with the idea of buying a cook-maid, and saw in the market a slave-girl the like of whom I bad never in my life beheld, and the broker said that she belonged to 'Ali Nur-ed-Din* Now our lord the Sultan had given his father ten thousand pieces of gold to buy for him with it a beautiful female slave, and he bought that girl, and she pleased him; so he gave her to his son; and when his father died, the son pursued the path of prodigality, until he sold all his houses and gardens and utensils; and when he had become a bankrupt, nothing else remaining in his possession, he took the slave-girl to the market to sell her, and delivered her to the broker: so he cried her for sale, and the merchants continued bidding for her until her price amounted to four thousand pieces of gold; whereupon I said to myself, I will buy this for our lord the Sultan; for her original price was from him. I therefore said, O my son, receive her price, four thousand pieces of gold. But when he heard my words, he looked at me and replied, O ill-omened old man! I will sell her to the Jews and the Christians rather than to thee.-I then said to him, I would not buy her for myself, but for our lord the Sultan, who is our benefactor. As soon, however, as he had heard these words from me, he was filled with rage, and dragged me and threw me down from the horse, notwithstanding my advanced age, and beat me, and ceased not to do so until he left me in the state in which thou seest me. Nothing exposed me to all this ill treatment but my coming to purchase this slave-girl for your majesty.-The Wezir then threw himself upon the ground, and lay weeping and trembling.
Now when the Sultan beheld his condition, and had heard his speech, the vein of anger swelled between his eyes, and he looked towards the members of his court who were attending him; whereupon forty swordsmen stood before him, and he said to them, Descend immediately to the house of 'AH the son of El-Fadl the son of Khakan, and plunder it and demolish it, and bring hither him and the slave-girl with their hands bound behind them: drag them along upon their faces, and so bring them before me. They replied, we hear and obey:-and went forth to repair to the house of 'Ali Nur-ed-Din. But there was in the court of the Sultan a chamberlain named 'Alam-ed-in Senjer, who had been one of tlje memluks of El-Fadl the son of Khakan, the father of 'Ali Nur-ed-Din; and when he heard the order of the Sultan, and saw the enemies prepared to slay his master's son, it was insupportable to him; so he mounted his horse and proceeded to the house of 'Ali Nur-ed-Din, and knocked at the door. Nur-ed-Din came forth to him, and, when he saw him, knew him, and would have saluted him; but he said, O my master, this is not a time for salutation, nor for talking. Nur-ed-Din said, O 'Alam-ed-Din, what is the news ? He replied, Save thyself by flight, thou and the slave-girl; for El-Mo'in the son of Sawi hath set up a snare for you, and if ye fall into his hands he will slay you: the Sultan hath sent to you forty swordsmen, and it is my advice that ye fly before the evil fall upon you. Then Senjer stretched forth his hand to Nur-ed-Din with some pieces of gold, and he counted them, and found them to be forty pieces; and he said, O my master, receive these, and if I had with me more, I would give it thee; but this is not a time for expostulating. And upon this, Nur-ed-Din went in to the damsel, and acquainted her with the occurrence, and she was confounded.
The two then went forth immediately from the city, and God let down the veil of his protection upon them, and they proceeded to the bank of the river, where they found a vessel ready to sail: the master was standing in the midst of it, and saying, He who hath anything to do, whether leave-taking or procuring provisions, or who hath forgotten aught, let him do what he desireth and return; for we are going. And they all replied, We have nothing remaining to do, O master. So, upon this, the master said to his crew, Quick! Loose the rope's end, and pull up the stake.-And 'Ali Nur-ed-Din exclaimed, Whither, O master? He answered, To the abode of Peace, Baghdad. And Nur-ed-Din embarked, and the damsel with him, and they set the vessel afloat, and spread the sails and it shot along like a bird with its pair of wings, carrying them forward with a favourable wind.
Meanwhile, the forty men whom the Sultan had sent came to the house of 'Ali Nur-ed-Din, and broke open the doors and entered, and searched all the chambers, but without success; so they demolished the house, and returned, and acquainted the Sultan, who said, Search for them in every place where they may be:-and they replied, We hear and obey. The Wezir El-Mo'in the son of Sawi then descended to his house, after the Sultan had invested him with a robe of honour, and had said to him, None shall take vengeance for thee but myself. And he greeted the King with a prayer for long life, and his heart was set at ease: and the Sultan gave orders to proclaim throughout the city, O all ye people! our lord the Sultan hath commanded that whoever shall meet with 'Ali Nur-ed-Din, and bring him to the Sultan, shall be invested with a robe of honour, and he will give him a thousand pieces of gold; and he who shall conceal him, or know where he is, and not give information thereof, will merit the exemplary punishment that shall befall him! So all the people began to search for him; but could not trace him.-Such was the case with these people.