The one thousand and second night of the Arabic tales
dictated by the spirit of Frédéric Soulié
THIRD AND FINAL PART
Get up, said Nureddin, and follow me.
Nazara threw herself at his feet, crying, begging for clemency.
No clemency for such a fault, said the deceitful Sultan. Be prepared to die.
Nureddin felt really bad for speaking like that but looked forward to
the moment when he could reveal himself.
Once Nazara realized that it was impossible to be heard, she fol-
lowed him trembling. They returned to the bedroom. Nureddin then
asked Nazara to dress up properly. Once she was ready and with-
out any other explanation, Nureddin told her that along with Ozana
(the dwarf) they would lead her to a suburb in Bagdad where she
would find what she deserved. Next they covered themselves with
large cloaks so that they could not be recognized and left the palace.
But, oh! Horror! They had just transposed the palace doors when
their looks changed before Nazara’s eyes; they were neither the Sultan
nor Ozana, or the merchants, but Nureddin himself and Tanapla.
They were all in shock, particularly Nazara, since they were so close
to the Sultan quarters they were fast to move away in order not to be
recognized. They had hardly arrived at Nureddin’s house to find it
surrounded by a large number of the Sultan’s men, slaves and troops
that were sent to have them arrested.
At the first sign of trouble Nureddin, Nazara and the dwarf
sought refuge in the most far away room of the palace. The dwarf
told them that they should not be afraid of anything. There was only
one thing needed to avoid prison: to introduce the pinky finger of the
left hand into their mouths and whistle three times. Nazara should
do the same and they would thus become immediately invisible to the
hostiles who wanted them arrested.
The uproar at the house proceeded to increase in an alarming
fashion; Nazara and Nureddin then followed Tanapla’s advice: when
the soldiers came into the room they found it empty. After a detailed
search they left. Then the dwarf told Nureddin that they should do
the opposite now and introduce the pinky finger of the right hand
into their mouths and whistle three times. Once they did that they
soon became what they were before.
The dwarf warned them that they were not safe in that house and
that they should leave it for some time, until the Sultan’s rage had di-
minished. He then offered to follow them to his underground palace,
where they would feel comfortable, while the means for their fearless
return to Bagdad would be arranged in the best possible conditions.
Nureddin hesitated but Nazara insisted so much that he finally
agreed. The dwarf then asked them to go to the garden and eat an or-
ange facing east; they would be unnoticeably transported. Since they
were suspicious, Tanapla then objected that he could not understand
their misgivings after everything he had done for them.
Having gone down to the gardens and eaten the orange, as re-
quested, they promptly felt elevated to a prodigious height. The cou-
ple then suddenly felt a strong vibration and a cold sensation, noticing
that they were now going down at a very high speed. They saw noth-
ing on the way down but when they recovered their awareness of the
situation they found themselves in the basement, in a magnificent
palace illuminated by twenty thousand candles.
Let us now leave our two lovers in their underground palace and
return to our dwarf that we had left at Nureddin’s house. We saw that
the Sultan had sent his soldiers to arrest the fugitives. After having
searched the farthest corners of the house, as well as the gardens, and
as they did not find anything, they had to go back and report their
useless search to the Sultan.
Tanapla followed them all the way, showing a funny face, and once
in a while he would ask how much would the Sultan pay to whoever
delivered the two fugitives. And added: “If the Sultan is willing to allow
me an audience of one hour I will tell him something that will calm
him down and he will be very happy for getting rid of a woman like
Nazara that has a bad genie and who would cast every possible disgrace
over his head, had she remained there for a few moons.”
The chief of the eunuchs promised to take the message to the
Sultan and to bring his answer back.
They had hardly arrived at the palace when the chief of the slaves
came to tell him that his master was waiting for him; but warned him
that he would be killed if he were trying to trick him.
Our little monster sped up to meet the Sultan. In the presence
of that tough and strict man he bowed three times, according to the
tradition before the prince of Bagdad.
What do you have to say? Asked the Sultan. You know what is
waiting for you if you don’t tell the truth! Speak! I am listening.
Great Spirit, celestial moon, triad of suns, I will not tell you but
the truth. Nazara is the daughter of the Black Fairy and the Genie
of the Great Serpent of Hell. Her presence in your house would
bring every imaginable plague: rain of serpents, eclipse of the sun,
blue moon impeding the nocturnal loves; finally, all of your wishes
would be denied and your women would become old before the
night had finished. I could give you a proof of what I am telling
you. I know what Nazara is. If you wish I will fetch her to convince
you. There is only one way to avoid such disgraces. It is giving
her to Nureddin. He is not what you think either: he is the son
of Manouze, the witch and the Genie Rock of Diamond. If you
allow them to get married, Manouze will protect you as a sign of
recognition. If you refuse... Poor prince! I am sorry for you. Try it.
You decide later.
The Sultan heard Tanapla’s words very calmly but then called a troop
of armed men and commanded that the little monster be arrested until
any event could demonstrate what he had just said.
I thought I was dealing with a great prince; I see, however, that
I was wrong and leave up to the genies the matter of revenging
their children. Having said that he then followed those who came
to arrest him.
Only a few hours had passed since Tanapla was taken to prison when the
sun was covered by a somber cloud, as if a veil covered the Earth; then a
huge noise was heard and a giant came from inside a mountain, just out-
side town, stomping towards the Sultan’s palace.
I would not say that the Sultan was very calm. He was far from that. He
trembled like a leaf from an orange tree. As the giant approached he ordered
that all doors should be closed and that all soldiers should be in a state of
readiness, in order to defend their prince. But, oh! What a surprise! Once
the giant approached all doors were opened as if pushed by an invisible
hand; then the giant advanced steadily towards the Sultan without a sign or
a word. The Sultan got on his knees, before the giant, asking to have his life
spared; he wanted to know what the giant demanded from him.
Prince! Said the giant, I don’t say much at this first encounter. I only
warn you. Do as Tanapla has advised you to and we ensure that you
have our protection. Otherwise you will suffer the consequences of your
That said, he left!
In the beginning the Sultan became awestruck but after a quarter
of an hour he recovered from the scaring surprise and far from fol-
lowing Tanapla’s advice, he commanded that an edict be published,
promising a magnificent reward to whom gave him the direction of
the fugitives. Then he ordered that guards be placed at the entrance
of the palace and around town and waited patiently. However, his
patience did not last long, or even better, he was not given time to test
it. Just on the second day an army showed up at the entrance of the
city, seemingly coming from the depths of Earth. The soldiers wore
moleskin for clothes and used turtle’s carapace as their shields; their
axes were made of stones.
The guards wanted to resist but the formidable aspect of that
army discouraged them, and dropping their weapons, they opened
the doors without saying a word, keeping their posts, and the hostile
army solemnly marched towards the palace. The Sultan wanted to
resist their entry into his bedroom but, with great surprise, the guards
fell asleep and the doors opened by themselves. After that the army
commander firmly advanced towards the Sultan and said:
I came to tell you this: Observing your stubbornness, Tanapla
sent us to look for you. Instead of remaining the Sultan of a peo-
ple that you cannot govern, we will send you to the moles. You
will become a mole and you will be a softened Sultan. Behold
what you prefer: It is either this or you do what Tanapla told you
to do. You have ten minutes to think about it.
The Sultan would rather resist, but, for his own good, after a few mo-
ments of consideration he agreed with the demands. He only wanted to
impose one condition: that the fugitives would not live in his kingdom.
He got the promise and immediately, without knowing how and where to,
the army just disappeared before his eyes.
Now that the fate of the two lovers was perfectly guaranteed, let us
return to them, observing that we have left them in the underground
After a few minutes, astonished, enchanted by the aspect of the won-
ders surrounding them, they wanted to visit the palace and its surround-
ings. They saw amazing gardens and, a strange thing; they saw it almost
as clearly as in the open sky. They approached the palace. All doors were
open and there was an ongoing arrangement as if for a big party. They saw
this magnificently dressed lady at the main door. Our fugitives did not
promptly recognize her. However, as they approached, they recognized
Manouze, the witch. A completely transformed Manouze was no longer
the dirty, old and crumbling rag. She was a lady of a certain age, but nice,
bearing a magnificent poise.
Nureddin, said the witch, I promised you help and assistance.
Today I will accomplish that promise. You are close to the end of
your sufferings and will receive the price of your tenacity. Nazara
will be your wife. Besides, I give you this palace. You will live here
and you will be the king of a brave and thankful people. They are
worth of you as you are worthy of reigning over them.
Following those words a harmonious melody was heard. A
huge crowd of men and women came from all sides, all dressed
up for a party. Noble gentlemen and great ladies kneeled before
him. He was offered a golden crown, covered in diamonds, while
he was told that they acknowledged him as their king; that the
throne belonged to him as a paternal inheritance; that for 400
years they were enchanted by the will of perverse witches and
such an enchantment could only end by Nureddin’s presence.
Then a long speech was given about his virtues and Nazara’s vir-
tues also. Manouze then said:
You are happy and I no longer have anything to do here. If one
day you feel you need me, knock on the statue that is in the mid-
dle of your garden and I will attend immediately. After that she
Nureddin and Nazara felt like keeping her longer in order to thank
her for all the goodness that she showed towards them. After having talk-
ed for a while they returned to their vassals. The parties and celebrations
lasted for eight days. His kingdom was long and happy. They lived thou-
sands of years and I can tell you that they still live. The only thing is that
their country has never been found, or even better, never known.
OBSERVATION: We bring to the attention of the readers the observa-
tions that preceded this story, in the numbers of November 1858 and