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.
Know, O my mistress, that the cause of my having shaved my beard, and of the loss Of my eye, was this:-My father was a King, and he had a brother who was also a King, and who resided in another capital. It happened that my mother gave birth to me on the same day on which the son of my uncle was born; and years and days passed away until we attained to manhood. Now, it was my custom, some years, to visit my uncle, and to remain with him several months; and on one of these occasions my cousin paid me great honour; he slaughtered sheep for me, and strained the wine for me, and we sat down to drink; and when the wine had affected us, he said to me, O son of my uncle, I have need of thine assistance in an affair of interest to me, and I beg that thou wilt not oppose me in that which I desire to do. I replied, I am altogether at thy service:-and he made me swear to him by great oaths, and, rising immediately, absented himself for a little while, and then returned, followed by a woman decked with ornaments, and perfumed, and wearing a dress of extraordinary value. He looked towards me, while the woman stood behind him, and said, Take this woman, and go before me to the burial-ground which is in such a place:-and he described it to me, and I knew it He then added, Enter the burial-ground, and there wait for me.
I could not oppose him, nor refuse to comply with his request, on account of the oaths which I had sworn to him; so I took the woman, and went with her to the burial-ground; and when we had sat there a short time, my cousin came, bearing a basin of water, and a bag containing some plaster, and a small adze. Going to a tomb in the midst of the burial-ground, he took the adze, and disunited the stones, which he placed on one side; he then dug up the earth with the adze, and uncovered a flat stone, of the size of a small door, under which there appeared a vaulted staircase. Having done this, he made a sign to the woman, and said to her, Do according to thy choice:-whereupon she descended the stairs. He then looked towards me, and said, O son of my uncle, complete thy kindness when I have descended into this place, by replacing the trap-door and the earth above it as they were before: then, this plaster which is in the bag, and this water which is in the basin, do thou knead together, and plaster the stones of the tomb as they were, so that no man may know it, and say, This hath been lately opened, but its interior is old:-for, during the space of a whole year I have been preparing this, and no one knew it but God: this is what I would have thee do. He then said to me, May God never deprive thy friends of thy presence, O son of my uncle!-and, having uttered these words, he descended the stairs.
When he had disappeared from before my eyes, I replaced the trap-door, and busied mysel f with doing as he had ordered me, until the tomb was restored to the state in which it was at first; after which I returned to the palace of my uncle, who was then absent on a hunting excursion. I slept that night, and when the morning came, I reflected upon what had oc-, curred between me and my cousin, and repented of what I had done for him, when repentance was of no avail. I then went out to the burial-ground, and searched for the tomb; but could not discover it. I ceased not in my search until the approach of night; and, not finding the way to it, returned again to the palace; and I neither ate nor drank; my heart was troubled respecting my cousin, since I knew not what had become of him; and I fell into excessive grief. I passed the night sorrowful until the morning, and went again to the burial-ground, reflecting upon the action of my cousin, and repenting of my compliance with his request; and I searched among all the tombs; but discovered not that for which I looked. Thus I persevered in my search seven days without success.
My trouble continued and increased until I was almost mad; and I found no relief but in departing, and returning to my father; but on my arrival at his capital, a party at the city-gate sprang upon me and bound me. I was struck with the utmost astonishment, considering that I was the son of the Sultan of the city, and that these were the servants of my father and of-myself: excessive fear of them overcame me, and I said within myself, What hath happened to my father? I asked, of those who had bound me, the cause of this conduct; but they returned me no answer, till after a while, when one of them, who had been my servant, said to me, Fortune hath betrayed thy father, the troops have been false to him, and the Wezir hath killed him; and we were lying in wait to take thee.-They took me, and I was as one dead, by reason of this news which I had heard respecting my father; and I stood before the Wezir who had killed my father.
Now, there was an old enmity subsisting between me and him; and the cause of it was this:-«-! was fond of shooting with the crossbow; and it happened, one day, that as I was standing on the roof of my palace, a bird alighted on the roof of the palace of the Wezir, who was standing there at the time, and I aimed at the bird; but the bullet missed it, and struck the eye of the Wezir, and knoeked it out, in accordance with the appointment of fate and destiny, as the poet hath said We trod the steps appointed for us: and the man whose steps are appointed must tread them.
He whose death is decreed to take place in one land will not die in any land but that.
When I had thus put out the eye of the Wezir, he could say nothing, because my father was King of the city. This was the cause of the enmity between him and me: and when I stood before him, with my hands bound behind me, he gave the order to strike off my head. I said to him, Wouldst thou kill me for no offence ?-^-What offence, he exclaimed, could be greater than this?^-and he pointed to the place of the eye which was put out. I did that, said I, unintentionally. He replied, If thou didst it unintentionally, I will do the same to thee purposely:-and immediately he said, Bring him for^ ward to me:'-and, when they had done so, he thrust his finger into my left eye, and pulled it out. Thus I became deprived of one eye, as ye see me. He then bound me firmly, and placed me in a chest, and said to the executioner, Take this fellow, and draw thy sword, and convey him without the city; then put him to death, and let the wild beasts devour him.