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.
O my mistress, I was not born with only one eye; but my story is wonderful, and, if written, would serve as a lesson to him who would be admonished. I am a King, and son of a King: I read the Kur'an according to the seven readings, and perused various works under the tuition of different learned professors of their subjects: I studied the science of the stars, and the writings of the poets, and made myself a proficient in all the sciences; so that I surpassed the people of my age. My hand-writing was extolled among all the scribes, my fame spread among all countries, and my history among all Kings; and the King of India, hearing of me, requested my father to allow me to visit him, sending him various gifts and curious presents, such as were suitable to Kings. My father, therefore, prepared for me six ships, and we proceeded by sea for the space of a whole month, after which we came to land; and, having disembarked some horses which we had with us in the ship, we loaded ten camels with presents, and commenced our journey; but soon there appeared a cloud of dust, which rose and spread until it filled the air before us, and, after a while, cleared a little, and discovered to us, in the midst of it, sixty horsemen like fierce lions, whom we perceived to be Arab highwaymen; and when they saw us, that we were a small company with ten loads of presents for the King of India, they galloped towards us, pointing their spears at us. We made signs to them with our fingers, and said, We are ambassadors to the honoured King of India; therefore do us no injury:-but they replied, We are not in his territories, nor under his government They slew certain of the young men, and the rest fled. I also fled, after I had received a severe wound; the Arabs being employed, without further regard to us, in taking possession of the treasure and presents which we had with us.
I proceeded without knowing whither to direct my course, reduced from a mighty to an abject state, and journeyed till I arrived at the summit of a mountain, where I took shelter in a cavern until the next morning. I then resumed my journey, and arrived at a flourishing city: the winter, with its cold, had passed away, and the spring had come, with its flowers; and I rejoiced at my arrival there, being wearied with my journey, anxious and pallid. My condition being thus changed, I knew not whither to bend my steps; and, turning to a tailor sitting in his shop, I saluted him, and he returned my salutation, and welcomed me, and wished me joy, asking me the reason of my having come thither. I acquainted him, therefore, with what had befallen me from first to last, and he was grieved for me, and said, O young man, reveal not thy case, for I fear what the King of this city might do to thee, since he is the greatest of thy father's enemies, and hath a debt of blood against him. He then placed some food and drink before me, and we ate together, and I conversed with him till night, when he lodged me in a place by his shop, and brought me a bed and coverlet; and, after I had remained with him three days, he said to me, Dost thou not know any trade by which to make gain? I answered, I am acquainted with the law, a student of sciences, a writer, and an arithmetician.-Thy occupation, he said, is profitless in our country: there is no one in our city acquainted with science or writing, but only with getting money. Verily, I replied, I know nothing but what I have told thee.-Gird thyself, then, said he, and take an axe and a rope, and cut firewood in the desert, and so obtain thy subsistence until God dispel thy affliction; but acquaint no one with thy history, else they will kill thee. He then bought for me an axe and a rope, and sent me with a party of woodcutters, giving them a charge respecting me. Accordingly, I went forth with them, and cut some wood, and brought back a load upon my head, and sold it for half a piece of gold, part of which I expended in food, laying by the remainder.
Thus I continued for the space of a year, after which I went one day into the desert, according to my custom, to cut firewood; and, finding there a tract with abundance of wood, I entered it, and came to a tree, around which I dug; and as I was removing the earth from its roots, the axe struck against a ring of brass; and I cleared away the earth from it, and found that it was affixed to a trapdoor of wood, which I immediately removed. Beneath it appeared a staircase, which I descended; and at the bottom of this I entered a door, and beheld a palace, strongly constructed, where I found a lady, like a pearl of high price, whose aspect banished from the heart all anxiety and grief and affliction. At the sight of her I prostrated myself in adoration of her Creator for the fairness and beauty which He had displayed in her person; and she, looking towards me, said, Art thou a man or a Jinni? I answered her, I am a man.-And who, she asked, hath brought thee to this place, in which I have lived five and twenty years without ever seeing a human being?-Her words sounded sweetly to me, and I answered her, O my mistress, God hath brought me to thy abode, and I hope will put an end to my anxiety and grief:-and I related to her my story from beginning to end. She was grieved at my case, and wept, and said, I also will acquaint thee with my story. Know that I am the daughter of the King of the further parts of India, the lord of the Ebony Island. My father had married me to the son of my uncle; but on the night of my bridal festivities, an 'Efrit named Jarjaris, the son of Rejmus, the son of Iblis, carried me off, and, soaring with me through the air, alighted in this place, to which he conveyed all things necessary for me, such as ornaments, and garments, and linen, and furniture, and food, and drink; and once in every ten days he cometh to me, and spendeth a night here; and he hath appointed with me, that, in cas? of my wanting any thing by night or day, I should touch jwith my hand these two lines which are inscribed upon the kubbeh, and as soon as I remove my hand I see him before me. Four days have now passed since he was last with me, and there remain, therefore, six days before he will come again; wilt thou then remain with me five days, and depart one day before his visit?-I answered, Yes;-rejoicing at the proposal; and she arose, and, taking me by the hand, conducted me through an arched door to a small and elegant bath, where I took off my clothes, while she seated herself upon a mattress. After this, she seated me by her side, and brought me some sherbet of sugar infused with musk, and handed it to me to drink: she then placed some food before me, and after we had eaten and conversed together, she said to me, Sleep, and rest thyself; for thou are fatigued.