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.
She replied, With pleasureand, taking a knife upon which were engraved some Hebrew names, marked with it a circle in the midst of the palace. Within this she wrote certain names and talismans, and then she pronounced invo» cations, and uttered unintelligible words; and soon the palace around us became immersed in gloom to such a degree, that we thought the whole world was overspread; and lo, the 'Efrit appeared before us in a most hideous shape, with hands like winnowing-forks, and legs like masts, and eyes like burning torches; so that we were terrified at him. The King's daughter exclaimed, No welcome to thee! to which the 'Efrit, assuming the form of a lion, replied, Thou traitress, how is it that thou hast broken thine oath? Did we not swear that we would not oppose one another? Thou wretch, said she, when didst thou receive an oath? The 'Efrit, still in the form of a lion, then exclaimed, Take what awaiteth thee!-and, opening his mouth, rushed upon the lady; but she instantly plucked a hair from her head and muttered with her lips, whereupon the hair became converted into a piercing sword, with which she struck the lion, and he was cleft in twain by the blow; but his head became changed into a scorpion. The lady immediately transformed herself into an enormous serpent, and crept after the execrable wretch in the shape of a scorpion, and a sharp contest ensued between them; after which, the scorpion became an eagle, and the serpent, changing to a vulture, pursued the eagle for a length of time. The latter then transformed himself into a black cat, and the King's daughter became a wolf, and they fought together long and fiercely, till the cat, seeing himself overcome, changed himself into a large red pomegranate, which fell into a pool; but, the wolf pursuing it, it ascended into the air, and then fell upon the pavement of the palace, and broke in pieces, its grains becoming scattered, each apart from the others, and all spread about the whole space of ground enclosed by the palace. The wolf, upon this, transformed itself into a cock, in order to pick up the grains, and not leave one of them; but, according to the decree of fate, one grain remained hidden by the side of the pool of the fountain. The cock began to cry, and flapped its wings, and made a sign to us with its beak; but we understood not what it would say. It then uttered at us such a cry, that we thought the palace had fallen down upon us; and it ran about the whole of the ground, until it saw the grain that had lain hid by the side of the pool, when it pounced upon it, to pick it up; but it fell into the midst of the water, and became transformed into a fish, and sank into the water; upon which the cock became a fish of a larger size, and plunged in after the other. For a while it was absent from our sight; but, at length, we heard a loud cry, and trembled at the sound; after which, the 'Efrit rose as a flame of fire, casting fire from his mouth, and fire and smoke from his eyes and nostrils: the King's daughter also became as a vast body of fire; and we would have plunged into the water from fear of our being burnt and destroyed; but suddenly the 'Efrit cried out from within the fire, and came towards us upon the liwan,* blowing fire at our faces. The lady, however, overtook him, and blew fire in like manner in his face; and some sparks struck us both from her and from him: her sparks did us no harm; but one from him struck me in my eye, and destroyed it, I being still in the form of an ape; and a spark from him reached the face of the King, and burned the lower half, with his beard and mouth, and struck out his lower teeth: another spark also fell upon the breast of the eunuch; who was burnt, and died immediately. We expected destruction, and gave up all hope of preserving our lives; but while we were in this state, a voice exclaimed, God is most great! God is most great! He hath conquered and aided, and abandoned the denier of the faith of Mohammad, the chief of mankind.10 -The person from whom this voice proceeded was the King's daughter: she had burnt the 'Efrit; and when we looked towards him, we perceived that he had become a heap of ashes.
The lady then came to us, and said, Bring me a cup of water:-and when it was brought to her, she pronounced over it some words which we understood not, and, sprinkling me with it, said, Be restored, by virtue of the name of the cried out, The fire! the fire! O my father, I shall no longer live, for I am predestined to be killed. Had he been a human being, I had killed him at the first of the encounter.
Truth, and by virtue of the most great name of God, to thy original form!-whereupon I became a man as I was at first, excepting that my eye was destroyed. After this, she wThis was, and I believe still is, a common battie-cry of the Arabs, ana more commonly used on the occasion of a victory.
I experienced no difficulty till the scattering of the grains of the pomegranate, when I picked them up excepting the one in which was the life of the Jinni: had I picked up that, he had instantly died; but I saw it not, as fate and destiny had appointed; and suddenly he came upon me, and a fierce contest ensued between us under the earth, and in the air, and in the water; and every time that he tried against me a new mode, I employed against him one more potent, until he tried against me the mode of fire; and rarely does one escape against whom the mode of fire is employed. Destiny, however, aided me, so that I burned him first; but I exhorted him previously to embrace the faith of El-Islam. Now I die; and may God supply my place to you.-Having thu9 said, she ceased not to pray for relief from the fire; and lo, a spark ascended to her breast, and thence to her face; and when it reached her face, she wept, and exclaimed, I testify that there is no deity but God, and I testify that Mohammad is God's Apostle!-We then looked towards her, and saw that she had become a heap of ashes by the side of the ashes of the 'Efrit We were plunged into grief on her account, and I wished that I had been in her place rather than have seen that sweet-faced creature who had done me this kindness reduced to a heap of ashes: but the decree of God cannot be averted. The King, on beholding his daughter in this state, plucked out what remained of his beard, and slapped his face, and rent his clothes; and I also did the same, while we both wept. for her. Then came the chamberlains and other great officers of the court, who, finding the King in a state of insensibility, with two heaps of ashes before him, were astonished, and remained encompassing him until he recovered from his fit, when he informed them of what had befallen his daughter with the 'Efrit; and great was their affliction. The women shrieked, with the female slaves, and continued their mourning seven days. After this, the King gave orders to build, over the ashes of his daughter, a great tomb with a dome, and illuminated it with candles and lamps: but the ashes of the 'Efrit they scattered in the wind, exposing them to the curse of God. The King then fell sick, and was near unto death: his illness lasted a month; but after this he recovered his health, and, summoning me to his presence, said to me, O young man, we passed our days in the enjoyment of the utmost happiness, secure from the vicissitudes of fortune, until thou earnest to us, when troubles overcame us. Would that we had never seen thee, nor thy ugly form, on account of which we have been reduced to this state of privation; for, in the first place, I have lost my daughter, who was worth a hundred men; and, secondly, I have suffered this burning, and lost my teeth: my eunuch also is dead: but it was not in thy power to prevent these afflictions: the decree of God hath been fulfilled on us and on thee; and praise be to God that my daughter restored thee, though she destroyed herself. Now, however, depart, O my son, from my city. It is enough that hath happened on thy account; but as it was decreed against us and thee, depart in peace.
So I departed, O my mistress, from his presence; but before I quitted the city, I entered a public bath, and shaved my beard. I traversed various regions, and passed through great cities, and bent my course to the Abode of Peace, Baghdad, in the hope of obtaining an interview with the Prince of the Faithful, that I might relate to him all that had befallen me.
The third mendicant then advanced, and thus related his story: