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.
Now as to 'Ali Nur-ed-Din and his slave, they arrived in safety at Baghdad, and the master of the vessel said to them, This is Baghdad, and it is a city of security: winter with its cold hath departed from it, and the spring-quarter hath come with its roses, and its trees are in blossom, and its waters are flowing. And upon this, 'Ali Nur-ed-Din landed with his slave-girl, and gave the master five pieces of gold. They then walked a little way, and destiny cast them among the gardens, and they came to a place which they found swept and sprinkled, with long mastabahs, and pots suspended filled with water, and over it was a covering of trellis-work of canes extending along the whole length of a lane, at the upper end of which was the gate of a garden ; but this was shut. And Nur-ed-Din said to the damsel, By Allah, this is a pleasant place!-and she replied, O my master, let us sit down a while upon one of these mastabahs. So they mounted and seated themselves there, and they washed their faces and hands, and enjoyed the current of the zephyr, and slept-Glory be to Him who sleepeth not!
This garden was called the Garden of Delight, and in it was a palace called the Palace of Diversion, and it belonged to the Khalifeh Harun Er-Rashid, who, when his heart was contracted, used to come to this garden, and enter the palace above mentioned, and there sit The palace had eighty latticed windows, and eighty lamps were suspended in it, and in the midst of it was a great candlestick of gold; and when the Khalifeh entered it, he commanded the female slaves to open the windows, and ordered Ishak.the cup-companion, to sing with them: so his heart became dilated, and his anxiety ceased. There was a superintendent to the garden, an old man, named the sheykh Ibrahim; and it happened that he went forth once to transact some business, and found there persons diverting themselves with women of suspicious character, whereupon he was violently enraged, and having waited until the Khalifeh came thither some days after, he acquainted him with this occurrence, and the Khali f eh said, Whomsoever thou shalt find at the gate of the garden, do with him what thou wilt Now on this day the sheykh Ibrahim went out to transact an affair of business, and found the two sleeping at the garden-gate, covered with a single izar; and he said, Do not these two persons know that the Khalifeh hath given me permission to kill every one whom I find here? But I will only give these two a slight beating, that no one may again approach the gate of the garden. He then cut a green palm-stick, and went forth to them, and raised his hand until the whiteness of his arm-pit appeared, and was about to beat them; but he reflected in his mind, and said, O Ibrahim, how shouldst thou beat them when thou knowest not their case? They may be two strangers, or of the children of the road,* whom destiny hath cast here. I will therefore uncover their faces, and look at them.-So he lifted up the izar from their faces and said, These are two handsome persons, and it is not proper that I should beat them. And he covered their faces again, and, approaching the foot of 'Ali Nur-ed-Din, began to rub it gently; whereupon Nur-ed-Din opened his eyes, and saw that he was an old man; and he blushed, and drew in his feet, and, sitting up, took the hand of the sheykh Ibrahim and kissed it; and the sheykh said to him, O my son, whence $re ye?-O my master, he answered, we are strangers.- And a tear gushed from his eye. The sheykh Ibrahim then said to him, O my son, know that the Prophet (God bless and save him!) hath enjoined generosity to the stranger. Wilt thou not arise, O my son, and enter the garden, and divert thyself in it, that thy heart may be dilated?-O my master, •aid Nur-ed-Din, to whom doth this garden belong? The sheykh answered, O my son, this garden I inherited from my family. And his design in saying this was only that they might feel themselves at ease, and enter the garden. And when Nur-ed-Din heard his words, he thanked him, and arose, together with his slave, and, the sheykh Ibrahim preceding them, they entered the garden.
The gate was arched, and over it were vines with grapes of different colours; the red, like rubies; and the black, like ebony. They entered a bower, and found within it fruits growing in clusters and singly, and the birds were warbling their various notes upon the branches: the nightingale was pouring forth its melodious sounds; and the turtle-dove filled the place with its cooing; and the blackbird, in its singing, resembled a human being; and the ring-dove, a person exhilarated by wine. The fruits upon the trees, comprising every description that was good to eat, had ripened; and there were two of each kind: there were the camphor-apricot, and the almond-apricot, and the apricot of Khurasan; the plum of a colour like the complexion of beauties; the cherry delighting the sense of every man; the red, the white, and the green fig, of the most beautiful colours; and flowers like pearls and coral; the rose, whose redness put to shame the cheeks of the lovely; the violet, like sulphur in contact with fire; the myrtle, the gilliflower, the lavender, and the anemone; and their leaves were bespangled with the tears of the clouds; the chamomile smiled, displaying its teeth, and the narcissus looked at the rose with its negroes' eyes; the citrons resembled round cups; the limes were like bullets of gold; the ground was carpeted with flowers of every colour, and the place beamed with the charms of spring; the river murmured by while the birds sang, and the wind whistled among the trees; the season was temperate, and the zephyr was languishing.
The sheykh Ibrahim conducted them into the elevated saloon, and they were charmed with its beauty and the extraordinary elegances which it displayed, and seated themselves in one of the windows; and Nur-ed-Din, reflecting upon his past entertainments, exclaimed, By Allah, this place is most delightful! It hath reminded me of past events, and quenched in me an anguish like the fire of the gh&hu-The sheykh Ibrahim then brought to them some food* and they ate to satisfaction, and washed their hands, and Nur-ed-Din, seating himself again in one of the windows, called to his slave, and she came to him; and they sat gazing at the trees laden with all kinds of fruits; after which, Nur-ed-Din looked towards the sheykh, and said to him, O sheykh Ibrahim, hast thou not any beverage? For people drink after eating.-So the sheykh brought him some sweet and cold water: but Nur-ed-Din said, This is not the beverage I desire.-Dost thou want wine? asked the sheykh.-Yes, answered Nur-ed-Din. The sheykh exclaimed, I seek refuge with Allah from it! Verily, for thirteen years I have done nothing of that kind; for the Prophet (God bless and save him!) cursed its drinker and its presser and its carrier.