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then brought him the silver baskets filled with sweet fruits, and laid 'Husn Banu said, “ I am a woman, and alone, how can I bring it them on the table.
out of the earth ?” All the trays and other dishes, and also the dish-covers, were of To this the man replied, gold and silver, as were likewise the ewers and goblets, and the “Do thou dig a little with a spade. Exert thyself, and God will whole display was princely in its magnificence.
give thee strength. Moreover, no one shall be able forcibly to The couches and screens were richly embroidered with gold; and deprive thee of this wealth. Arise, then, and build a city on this they placed before the dervise every variety of food, and sweet spot." meats of every description; and they waited upon him with utensils The lady awoke her nurse and related her dream, and accordingly of gold, to wash his hands therein.
they got up, and with a piece of wood began to dig the earıh, when Dinner being served, the dervise began to eat; but his eyes fre- spcedily a cave full of yellow gold presented itself. To their eyes quently wandered to the gold pieces and to the various utensils, and it seemed like seven houses filled with pure gold ; and there were he said in his heart
also chests full of jewels of every description. Beside these, there Gracious heaven ! what a wealthy merchant Burzak must have were four cups full of rubies and costly pearls of the size of ducks' been to have possessed such a store of treasures and wealth in his eggs. house: it seems almost equal to the wealth of a crowned head.” Husn Banu rejoiced, and, like a true believer, bowed her head to
He at the same time resolved in his heart—"This very night we the ground, and, kneeling, rendered thanks to God the Most High. will break into the house of Burzak's daughter, and seize this wealth She then handed some of the gold to her nurse, and said, and treasure: we must have recourse to theft."
“ Mother, do thou return to the city and procure us servants; and When the dervise had finished eating they presented him with bring with thee some food to eat and raiment to put on. At the perfumes ; but he could not keep his eyes from the plate and same time inquire out labourers, and masons, and architects, for on valuables. At length evening approached, and the dervise took his this spot I will build a substantial edifice.” leave of Husn Banu. Her waiting men and other servants, wearied The nurse objected to this, saying, “How con I leave thee here with their attendance on the dervise, soon sought their beds and alone until some one else arrives ?" went to sleep.
While they were engaged in this conversation, who should happen When the first watch of the night had passed the dervise with his to pass by but the foster-brother of Husn Banu dressed like a forty slaves, who were all expert thieves, entered the house of Husn mendicant. He recognised them, and fell at the feet of Husn Banu, Banu, and, having killed such of her people as attempted to raise an who, weeping for joy, lifted him up to her side, and consoled him, alarm, carried off the whole of her property,
saying, Husn Banu with her nurse secreted themselves at a lattice " Brother, be of good cheer : God, the great and glorious, has window, where they watched the thieves, and recognised them. bestowed on us abundance of wealth, even beyond all calculation. After they were gone, and it had become daylight, Husn Banu Take a portion of it and proceed to the city ; bring hither all my gathered together the few domestics that had survived from the dependents and relations, and purchase tents, and bring them also, murderous hands of the treacherous dervise, and went to the King's for on this spot we shall build lofty edifices, forming a spacious city; court and presented her grievance.
but, be prudent: you must not communicate this secret to anyone. The King asked, “Who is this woman, and against whom does The foster-brother, taking some of the gold, proceeded to the she demand justice ?”.
city, and, having assembled Husn Banu's former dependents, who His attendant replied, “Sire, this is the daughter of Burzak, the were wandering about the streets begging, he procured elegant merchant. She says, if the King pleases, she will come to his tents and returned with them to the Desert. presence and represent her grievance."
Husn Banu was delighted with the manner in which he hail fulThe King then summoned Husn Banu to his presence. When filled her commands, and had the tents erected. Soon afterwards she appeared she cried aloud, “Long live the King ! Yesterday, as her foster-brother went a second time to the city, and called upon a sacred duty, I gave an entertainment to a dervise, and bestowed on the principal builder, saying, him my food; last night he committed robbery and murder in my “Send along with me your brother craftsmen ; my master intends house. He, with his forty attendants, secretly entered my dwelling, to build a mansion in the Desert. He is a most generous man, and and carried off the whole of my money and property, and my people will requite you amply.", lie grievously wounded and slain : in this way has this evil- The builder to whom he spoke sent one of his brothers, by name minded dervise acted towards me.”
Muâmmir, along with Husn Banu's foster-brother, and both The King on hearing this accusation was enraged, and said, returned to where that lady dwelt. “ Foolish woman, bringest thou accusation against the most exalted The builder then selected a pleasant spot, and there erected a among the living ?- he covets nothing worldly !"
lofty mansion, and Husn Banu bestowed on him a liberal remuneHusn Banu replied, “ Oh! upright prince, he deserves not to be ration. Thereupon the builder, greatly delighted, sent for his called the exalted, but rather the fiend of the world."
friends, and strenuously laboured in the rearing of edifices, the At this reply the King grew furious, and ordered that both Husn digging of wells, and the building of a lofty palace. Banu and her attendants should be stoned to death, so that others Husn Banu showed them the greatest kindness, and said, “ Now we might take warning, and not utter such calumnies against his must have a city built here.” Muammir, the builder, replied that it Majesty's spiritual guide and pious counsellor.
was not lawful to build a city without an order from the King ; but if Thereupon the King's prime minister stood up and said
his Majesty would grant permission it will be an easy matter. “ Sire, this is the daughter of Burzak the merchant, and you have Husn Banu admitted the truth of this remark, and, having been pleased hitherto to show her much kindness ; but now, when dressed herself in man's apparel, she mounted an Arab steed, and her father is no more, if you cause the daughter to be put to death summoned several of her attendants to her side. then will perish from the hearts of your subjects all confidence in She also carried with her as a present to the King a cup full of the King's protection towards their surviving children, and, instead rubies and a casket of bright jewels, and then proceeded to the city, thereof, they will be filled with mistrust. For this reason, sire, I where in a few days she arrived. She then made some valuable have deemed it my duty to warn you."
presents to the King's officers, who speedily conveyed information to To this the King replied, “ Well, for the sake of Burzak, we will their master that a certain merchant had arrived from abroad, who spare her life; but you shall expel her from our city and confiscate wished to offer presents to the King ; that he now stood at the her house. This instant she must be driven without the gates." gate-a man of beautiful countenance and of elegant form.
The slaves then executed the King's order, and Husn Banu, with The King ordered them to bring him in, and Husn Banu accordher nurse, turned their faces to the Desert with weeping and lament- ingly entered; and, after making her obeisance to the King, she ation; and all the servants of that hapless lady, being reduced to presented to him the casket of jeweis and the cup full of rubies. poverty, wandered through the streets of the city, begging their When the King beheld the jewels and the cup he was greatly bread. Husn Banu frequently said, “Oh, mother! this dervise has delighted, and said, “ Sir, whence comest thou ?” been a grievous curse to us; and yet, oh God! what crime have we Husn Banu replied, “ Oh ! King, my father was a merchant of committed that we should be involved in such calamities?"
Iram, who, in the course of events, died at sea. As I happened to The nurse endeavoured to console her, saying, “My child, what be passing this way, and had heard of your Majesty's goodness, niy remedy can be applied against the changes of fortune ?"
desire of expressing my attachment and of tendering my most In a few days they reached the Desert, where, while resting humble services became excessive. It is the wish of your slave to beneath a shady tree, exhausted with hunger and thirst, they fell pass the remainder of his life in the service of your Majesty. When asleep.
admitted to kiss the threshold of your lofty gates, my prosperity And lo ! Husn Banu dreamed a dream, in which a man with will become permanent, and my happiness be complete. Now I shining face appeared to her, saying, "Be no longer sorrowful, oh have no kindred. I am an orphan, and have pitched my tents in an my child; beneath this tree lies buried the treasures of the seven oasis of the Desert, where I hope, through your Majesty's kindness regions, which wealth the Lord of Truth has here kept hidden for and generosity, to be allowed to build a city." thy sake. Arise, thou, and take possession thereof."
At this statement the King showed much sympathy, and presented
the stranger with a badge of honour, adding, with the greatest She then sent forward her attendants to the mansion, and went courtesy and affection,
herself before the King, and said, " As you have no father, let me be as a father to you, and let me Now, O King, I go for a few days to the house of Burzak ; toadopt you as my son."
morrow I expect to entertain the renowned dervise with a banquet, Husn Banu,' with profound obeisance, replied, “Since your and pass some time in attendance upon him.” Majesty has adopted me into the royal family, and has raised this The King replied, “ It is well, such being the choice of my son, ahject slave from the dust, let me state that my name is Behram. but consider that house now as your own.” May I hope that my name will be deemed worthy of this threshold, “Your august Majesty's befriended slave is truly fortunate, but of which may the head be exalted."
unable to express his gratitude. This slave has no wish but the Hereupon Kurdan Shah bestowed on Husn Banu the name of will of your Majesty : wheresoever you command me there will I Mahru Shah, and said, “ My dear son, the Desert is far distant, you stay." must build your city near my capital, and I shall call your city by The King added, “Wheresoever you be let your heart be conthe name of Shababad.”
tented." Husn Banu respectfully replied, “ May the King live for ever. I Husn Banu, having taken leave of the King, went to her father's have taken a fancy to the Desert, and, beside, it would be disrespectful house, and ordered the materials for the banquet to be prepared. in me to build a city in the vicinity of your Majesty's capital. May She also sent one of her servants to wait upon the dervise, and say, I hope that an order will be issued to the principal architects enjoin- that if his Holiness would deign to visit her next day, he would ing them to make preparations for the building of a city ?”
conter the highest of favours. Kurdan Shah gave the necessary orders to the architects, and When the detestable dervise, Azrak, heard the word banquet, he taking a most affectionate leave of Husn Banu, said, “My dear son, replied that he would assuredly come next day. Husn Banu ordered when will you return? You must not long deprive me of your a princely throne to be prepared, as on the previous occasion, and society."
made ready the entertainment. Husn Banu, making a profound obeisance, said, “I hope that Next day the abominable dervise came, and Husn Banu presented once every month I may kiss your Majesty's threshold."
for his acceptance the cup of rubies and the jewels which she had Pleased and delighted, Husn Banu returned to the Desert, and brought with her; the dervise rejected them all. She at the same ordered Muâmmir to draw out the plan of a city, to send for more time placed all her plate and utensils on a sideboard, in order that workmen, and to proceed speedily with the building. Muammir the eye of the dervise might constantly fall upon them, and that his engaged in the building of the edifices which were to form the city, avarice might be excited. and prosecuted the work night and day with all expedition,
The dervise observed them, and said in bis heart, “To-night Husn Banu from month to month made a journey to the city to I shall contrive to carry of all this treasure ;" at the same visit the King, whose kindness and affection towards her increased time. Husn Banu was rejoicing in her heart, thinking that, daily.
" this night I shall have you, with all this property, tied together After two or three years a spacious city was built, and it was and carried before the King." called Shahabad; thereupon Husn Banu ordered the builders to be The banquet being placed before the dervise, he was presented munificently rewarded.
with rose water to wash his hands, and offered food of every sort and It happened one day, after Husn Banu had arrived to wait upon description. He, with his forty attendants, then began to eat. the King, that bis Majesty was proceeding to visit the dervise After taking a few mouthfuls, he commanded that they should before mentioned, and his eye having caught sight of Husn Banu, desist.
Husn Banu made many apologies, and said, “Do me the kindness “My dear Mahru Shah, to day I am going to visit the most to eat of my banquet, for your doing so will be happiness to your exalted man of the age : if you desire to do me a favour pray ac- slave.” company me; for to have seen this living saint is of itself eternal The dervise answered, saying, “To pious dervises a few mouthfuls felicity.”
are sufficient; to please you I have eaten heartily, but my usual food In reply, Husn Banu said, “ Truly my happiness in this is two-consists only of a few dates, and water from the spring." fold; first, in being honoured with the sight of this eminent per- When they had ceased eatirg, they were presented with perfumes, sopage, and, secondly, in attending your Majesty thither.” But but the dervise was saying in his heart, “ The whole of this property she said in her heart that such a tiend was an abomination in her shall be mine." şight. However, she accompanied the King to the abode of the After a time the villanous Azrak took leave of Mahru Shah and dervise
, and, following his Majesty's example, paid her respects to proceeded to his own house ; he then held council with his attendant that hypocrite.
myrmidons, saying, Kurdan Shah spoke much in praise and commendation of Mahru "I have made a vow and registered it, and all the food you have Shah (or Husn Banu), who meanwhile held down her head and eaten is to you as well as myself as an accursed thing, till you bring listened, thinking in her own mind, “these praises are bestowed away the jewels, the gold, and the silver from Burzak's house. The apon me on account of the jewels and cup (which I presented him), attendants all replied, “Be it so ;" and when the night set in, the for in fact I am the daughter of Burzak, the merchant, whom this whole of them, with their chief, were in readiness for the theft. very King once expelled from his city."
Husn Banu also counselled with her own people, and ordered When the King was about to take leave of the dervise, Husn them to leave all the plate as it was at the banquet, and leave all Band stood up respectfully, and said,
the doors unfastened. She also wrote an explanatory letter to the "If your Holiness will deign to visit my house, I hope such captain of the night-watch, concluding, condescension will not be thought unbecoming in the most illus- * We shall be on our guard here, Kotwal ; do you also come and trious,"
place yourselves in ambush, and the instant that my people raise a The hypocritical dervise replied, “I will assuredly come.” shout you shall present yourselves with the utmost speed.”
Then said Husn Banu, “The house of your slave is far distant, She then charged her own people, saying, “When the thieves but in the capital is the residence of Burzak, the merchant, a very come, you are not to move till, having stolen all my property, they commodious house, and which, I hope, you will honour with a are about to depart, then you shall seize and bind them all fast, with visit."
the goods in their possession; and give the signal to the Kotwal, She then addressed the King, saying, “The house of Burzak that he may come and arrest them.” happens to be unoccupied ; may I be favoured for a few days with Husn Banu's men, agreeably to their mistress's commands, the use of it, that I may perform my respects to his Holiness with- stationed themselves in various secret places, and remained as quietly out his having the trouble of going to a distance; after giving him as it they were dead. an entertaiment I shall then proceed to my own city.”
Meanwhile, Azrak with his forty slaves arrived at and entered the The King enquired, "Whence, my son, have you learned the residence of Mabru Shah, and all the property in money or effects name of Burzak?"
which they found they tied up in bundles and were about to carry Husn Banu replied, “ There are in this city many men who were them off-Azrak himself, having taken in his hands the cup full of in his service, of them I have learned that his is a house most suitable rubies, was retreating with them. for a few days' residence.”
At that instant Husn Banu's people raised a shout and those The King said, “ I bestow upon you that house as a present." belonging to the Kotwal rushed from their hiding places, and seized Husn Banu, having made her obeisance, went to her father's the thieves, whose hearts were ready to burst with rage, and bound house ; and when she found it fallen to decay site shed many tears, their hand's behind their backs. and gave orders to have it repaired.
The thieves were then consigned to the custody of the night-watch, Meanwhile she returned to her city, and about a month afterwards each having the bundle which he had stolen fastened around his she sent to her father's house the materials for the entertainment, neck; and strict orders were issued to bind them fast till morning, including trays of gold and silver; and having selected a cup full when the affair should be investigated before the King. of rubies and jewels likewise, she carried them with her.
When Husn Banu saw that the thieves were overpowered and
taken captives, pleased and delighted she called her servants together “I lately called thee my child—then my tongue uttered, and my and rewarded them munificently, and then said, “As much of the mind conceived, what was true. Thou art no longer Burzak's night still remains, that period you may pass in repose."
daughter, thou art my own daughter." Next morning, when the King opened the public court, and was May I then hope," said Husn Banu, " that your Majesty will seated on his royal throne, he remarked,
condescend to visit the house of your daughter in the Desert ; there "Last night there was a very great uproar; pray, does any onc I have immense wealth, which I will freely bestow on Lim who is know the cause of it?"
both my King and my father." The Kotwal then entered, and gave his report saying,
This invitation his Majesty was graciously pleased to accept; and, O King, live for ever! About the time of midnight a gang of in the meantime, all the property lest by Burzak, found in the house thieves entered the dwelling of Mahru Shah, the house that belonged of Azrak, was presented by Husn Banu to the King. She then to Burzak the merchant; they seized all the property that Mahru returned to Shahabad, and ordered the streets of the city to be Shah had taken thither with him, and were escaping with it when adorned on each side with elegant banners, preparatory to his Mainformation was given to me: I hurried to the spot, and secured the jesty's visit. thieves with the stolen property. I have now brought them before Two days after this event Kurdan Shah arrived at Shahabad, the public court; and of the truth of this, Sire, we are certain, for we where Husn Banu received liim with due honour, and conducted have witnessed the deed.". Whilst they were thus discoursing, him to her palace. She then presented his Majesty with another Mahru Shah entered and made his obeisar.ce.
cup full of rubies and a golden tray filled with rare jewels; after The King having commanded him to be seated, said, “My son, which she pointed out the cave containing the gold. pray did the thieves break into your house last night?”
His Majesty was greatly delighted, and Husn Banu requested him Husn Banu said, in reply, " Long live your Majesty! The Kot- to issue orders to his attendants for conveying the gold by loads to wal of the city arrived with timely assistance; and now it will be the royal treasury: The King' gave his prime minister orders to best to summon all the thieves into your royal presence."
that effect, who, along with the accountants, proceeded to the mouth To this the King agreed, and ordered the thieves to be brought in. of the cave. But whenever they attempted to take up the gold, in The Kotwal led them before the King in a row, at the head of which order to convey it away, the whole of it assumed the forins of serpents was Azrak with the cup of rubies suspended to his neck, and after and dragons. him the other dervises, each having the bundle which he had stolen The attendants were terrified, and sent information of it to the suspended round his neck and his hands tied behind him.
King. The instant the King saw then he remarked,
His Majesty, on hearing this statement, was astonished, and Ilusn “ This man at their head greatly resembles a certain dervise." Banu's countenance turned pale whilst she dreaded what proccedings
Husn Banu said, “ Please your majestly, let them be brought he might adopt. nearer, and closely inspected; it is impossible that he should be the The King, observing her anxiety, saidpious dervise."
"My child, why has thy face turned pale ? Let nothing disturb The King gave a signal to the Kotwal, who made the thieves, each thy mind; but be of good heart, this gold is destined only for thee; with his bundle, pass one by one before his Majesty.
over it I have no control. Do with it whatsoever thou pleasest; The Kotwal having thus sent them up by turns, Husn Banu rose take it into thy possession and use it." up, and seizing hold of the dervise with the cup of rubies, led him Husn Banu bowed her head, and addressed the following request before the King.
to the King : His Majesty asked, “What is this suspended to the neck of “Sire, it is my wish to make this city my home, and to spend this Azrak?"
treasure in the service of God; and, also, that no one may be allowed Husn Banu displayed the cup of rubies to the King, who was lost to molest me in my retirement." in amazement; at length he spoke, and said,
Kurdan Shah, in courteous phrase, replied, “Wheresoever thou “Let every one of these wretches be executed on the scaffold, in dwellest thou art my child, and hast the command of this treasnre order that the rest of the priesthood may be deterred from such vil- in thy own hand; do, therefore, as thou thinkest fit." lany, and that they may not mislead the people; and let them also He then sent back his people to guard his palace, and after be stripped naked."
residing seven days at the house of Husn Banu, returned to his When the thieves were stripped of their clothes all their imple- capital. ments of thieving were discovered.
After that Husn Banu fitted up another house for entertaining The King then issued an order, saying
travellers, and bounteously furnished each guest with food and rai“Let them be speedily executed on the gibbet, and let whatever ment suitable to his rank, and, at his departure, presented him with property belongs to Mahru Shah be returned into his possession." money for his journey, and such other articles as might be deemed
When Husn Banu saw that they were conveying Azrak to execu- useful; thus showing her guests every attention and consideration. tion, she arose from her seat and stood with hands clasped before the In a short time the name of Husn Banu became celebrated by King.
travellers through every city and town, in the following terms: His Majesty said, “What is your request ?"
“There is a young lady, not yet married, Husn Banu by name, Husn Banu replied
who is extremely bountiful to her fellow-creatures. Her servants “Oh, my Lord, I am the hereditary child of your court, nay, I and attendants are so endowed with integrity that they will not am your Majesty's adopted daughter, the child of Burzak, the mer- exact from the stranger a single coin. Gracious heaven! what an chant. I am she whom your Majesty, on account of this very age is this when even inenials are so conscientious. What wonderful dervise, sentenced to banishment from your capital. The property liverality, whereby they freely bestow golden dinars upon the poor! that belonged to my dear father is still in the dwelling of the der- At the present day worldly people, generally, begrudge every farvise; his house must, therefore, be strictly searched, in order that thing they give to the poor, and menials unscrupulously pilfer men's the whole of his villany may be made manifest, and the veracity of property ; but such as these have neither the fear of God nor respect your daughter's declaration will then be confirmed before your for bis Prophet.” Majesty.
In short, Husn Banu's fame shone brighter than the sun throughThe King, on hearing these words, was greatly surprised, and out every quarter of the globe, even to the uttermost confines of gave orders for searching the house of Azrak. He then addressed the earth. Husn Banu, saying
(To be continued.)
Athens, and that at the place where she lived the cruel law could THE MAY QUEEN.
not be put in force against Hermia (this law not extending You must wake and call me early, call me early, mother dear,
beyond the boundaries of the city), he proposed to Hermia that she To-morrow 'll be the happiest time of all the glad new year :
should steal out of her father's house that night, and go with him Of all the glad new year, mother, the maddest, merriest day:
to his aunt's house, where he would marry her. “ I will neet you," For I'm to be Queen o' the May, mother, I'm to be Queen o’the May. said Lysander, “in the wood a few miles without the city ; in that There's many a black black eye, they say, but none so bright as mine; delightful wood, where we have so often walked with Helena in the There's Margaret and Mary, there's Kate and Caroline :
pleasant month of May." But none so fair as little Alice in all the land, they say;
To this proposal Hermia joyfully agreed; and she told no one of So I'm to be Queen o' the May, mother, I'm to be Queen o' the May. her intended Hight but her friend Helena. Helena (as maidens will I sleep so sound all night, mother, that I shall never wako
do foolish things for love) very ungenerously resolved to go and tell If you do not call me loud when the day begins to break;
this to Demetrius, though she could hope no benefit from betraying But I must gather knots of flowers, and buds and garlands gay,
her friend's secret but the poor pleasure of following her faithless For I'm to be Queen o' the May, mother, I'm to be Queen o' the May.
lover to the wood : for she well knew that Demetrius would go Little Efie shall go with me tomorrow to the green.
thither in pursuit of Hermia. And you'll be there, too, mother, to see me made the Queen;
The wood, in which Lysander and Hermia proposed to meet was For the shepherd lads on every side will come from far away :
the favourite haunt of those little beings known by the name of And I'm to be Queen o' the May, mother, I'm to be Queen o' the May.
Fairies. The honeysuckle round the porch has wov'n its wavy bowers,
Oberon the king and Titania the queen of the Fairies, and all their And by the meadow-trenches blow the faint sweet cuckoo-flowers ;
tiny traiu of followers, in this wood held their midnight revels. And the wild marsh-marigold shines like fire in swamps and hollow.gray, this time, a sad disagreement; they never met by moonlight in the
Between this little king and queen of sprites there happened, at And I'm to be Queen o'the May, mother, I'm to be queen o' the May. The night-winds come and go, mother, upon the meadow-grass,
shady walks of this pleasant wood but they were quarrelling, till all And the happy stars above them seem to brighten as they pass ; their fairy elves would creep into acorn-cups and hide themselves There will not be a drop of rain the whole of the live long day:
for fear. And I'm to be Queen o' the May, mother, I'm to be Queen o' the May. The cause of this unhappy disagreement was Titania's refusing to All the valley, mother, will be fresh and green, and still,
give Oberon a little changeling boy, whose mother had been And the cowslip and the crowfoot are over all the hill :
Titania's friend; and upon her death the fairy queen stole the child And the rivulet in the flowery dale will merrily glance and play, from its nurse, and brought him up in the woods. Tor I'm to be Queen o'the May, mother, I'm to be Queen o' the May. The night on which the lovers were to meet in this wood, as So you must wake and call me early, call me early, mother dear : Titania was walking with some of her maids of honour, she met To-morrow will be the happiest time of all the glad new year;
Oberon attended by his train of fairy courtiers. To-morrow will be of all the year the maddest, merriest day,
“Ill met by moonlight, proud Titania," said the fairy king. The For I'm to be Queen o'the May, mother, I'm to be Queen of the May. queen replied, “What, jealous Oberon, is it you ? Fairies, skip
hence; I have foresworn his company."' “Tarry, rash fairy," said
Oberon; "am I not thy lord ? Why does Titania cross her TALES FROM SHA KSPEARE.
Oberon? Give me your little changeling boy to be my page.".
“Set your heart at rest,” answered the queen; "your whole fairy kingdom buys not the boy of me.” She then left her lord in great anger, "Well, go your way,” said Oberon : before the morning dawns I will torment you for this injury."
Oberon then sent for Puck, his chief favourite and privy counsellor.
Puck (or, as he was sometimes called, Robin Goodfellow) was a shrewd and knavish sprite, that used to play comical pranks in the neighbouring villages; sometimes getting into the dairies and skimming the milk, sometimes plunging his light and airy form into the butter-churn, and while he was dancing his fantastic shape in the churn, in vain the dairy maid would labour to change her cream
into butter ; nor had the village swains any better success ; whenA MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM.
ever Puck chose to play bis freaks in the brewing copper, the ale was WHERE was a law in the city of Athens which gave to its citi- sure to be spoiled. When a few good neighbours were met to drink
zens the power of compelling their daughters to marry some comfortable ale together, Puck would jump into the bowl of
whomsoever they pleased; for upon a daughter's refusing ale in the likeness of a roasted crab, and when some old goody was to marry the man her father had chosen to be her husband, the going to drink, he would bob against her lips and spill the ale father was empowered by this law to cause her to be put to death; over her withered chin ; and presently after, when the same old but as fathers do not often desire the death of their own dame was gravely seating herself to tell her neighbours a sad and daughters, even though they do happen to prove a little re- melancholy story, Puck would slip her three-legged stool from fractory, this law was seldom or never put in execution, though under her and down toppled the poor old woman, and then the old perhaps the young ladies of that city were not unfrequently threatened gossips would hold their sides and laugh at her, and swear they by their parents with the terrors of it.
never wasted a merrier hour. There was one instance, however, of an old man, whose name was “Come hither, Puck," said Oberon to this merry wanderer of the Egens, who actually did come before Theseus (at that tinie the reign- night; "fetch me the flower which maids call Love in Idleness; the ing Duke of Athens), to complain that his daugbter Hermia, whom juice of that little purple flower laid on the eyelids of those that sleep he had commanded to marry Demetrius, a young man of a noble will make them when they wake dote on the first thing they see. Athenian family, refused to obey him, because she loved another Some of the juice of that flower I will drop on the eyelids of my young Athenian, named Lysander. Egeus demanded justice of Titania when she is asleep; and the first thing she looks upon when Theseus, and desired that this cruel law might be put in force against she opens her eyes she will fall in love with, even though it be a
lion or a bear, a meddling monkey or a busy ape ; and before I Hermia pleaded, in excuse of her disobedience, that Demetrius will take this charm from off her sight, which I can do with another had formerly professed love for her dear friend Helena, and that charm I know of, I will make her give me that boy to be my page." Helena loved Demetrius to distraction ; but this honourable reason Puck, who loved mischief to his heart, was highly diverted with which Hermia gave for not obeying her father's command, moved this intended frolic of his master, and ran to seek the flower ; not the stern Egeus.
while Oberon was waiting the return of Puck, he observed DemeTheseus, though a great and merciful prince, bad no power to trius and Helena enter the wood; he overheard Demetrius reproachalter the laws of his country; therefore he could only give Hermia ing Helena for following
him, and after many unkind words on his four days to consider of it; and at the end of that time, if she still part and gentle expostulations from Helena reminding him of his refused to marry Demetrius, she was to be put to death.
former love and professions of true faith to her he left her (as he said) When Hermia was dismissed from the presence of the duke, she to the mercy of the wild beast, and she ran after him as swiftly as went to her lover Lysander, and told him the peril she was in, and she could. that she must either give him up and marry Demetrius, or lose her The fairy king, who was always friendly to true lovers, felt great
compassion for Helena ; and perhaps, as Lysander said they used to Lysander was in great affliction at hearing these evil tidings; but walk by moonlight in this pleasant wood, Oberon might have seen recollecting that he had an aunt who lived at some distance from Helena in those happy times when she was beloved
life in four days.
However that might be, when Puck returned with the little purple | mocked and scorned by every one ? Is it not enough, is it not enough, flower, Oberon said to his favourite, “ Take a part of this flower: young man, that I can never get a sweet look or a kind word from there has been a sweet Athenian lady here, who is in love with a dis- Demetrius, but you, sir, must pretend in this disdainful manner to dainful yonth; if you find him sleeping drop some of the love juice court me? I thought, Lysander, you were a lord of more true gentlein his eyes, but contrive to do it when she is near him, that the ness.” Saying these words in great anger, she ran away: and first thing he sees when he awakes may be this despised lady. You Lysander followed her, quite forgetful of his own Hermia, who was will know the man by the Athenian garments which he wears.” still asleep. Puck promised to manage this matter very dexterously; and then When Hermia awoke, she was in a sad fright at finding herself Oberon went, unperceived by Titania, to her bower, where she was alone. She wandered about the wood, not knowing what was bepreparing to go to rest. Her fairy bower was a bank, where grew come of Lysander, or which way to go to seek for him. In the wild thyme, cowslips, and sweet violets, under a canopy of wood- mean time, Demetrius, not being able to find Hermia and his rival bine, musk-roses, and eglantine. There 'Titania always slept some Lysander, and fatigued with his fruitless search, was observed by part of the night; her coverlet the enameled skin of a snake, which, Oberon fast asleep. Oberon had learnt by some questions he had though a small mantle, was wide enough to wrap a fairy in. asked of Puck, that he had applied the love charm to the wrong
He found Titania giving orders to her fairies, how they were to person's cyes; and now, having found the person first inteoded, be employ themselves while she slept. “Some of you," said her touched the eyelids of the sleeping Demetrius with the love juice, majesty,“ must kill cankers in the musk-rose buds, and some wage and he instantly awoke; and the first thing he saw being Helena, he, war with the bats for their leathern wings, to make my small elves as Lysander had done before, began to address love speeches to her; coats; and some of you keep watch that the clamorous owl, that and just at that moment Lysander, followed by Hermia (for through nightly boots, come not near me: but first sing me to sleep.” They Puck's unlucky mistake it was now become Hermia's turn to run then began to sing this song:
after her lover), made his appearance; and then Lysander and You spotted snakes with double tongue,
Demetrius, both speaking together, made love to Helena, they being Thorny h dgehogs, be not seen;
each one under the influence of the same potent charm. Newts and blind-worms do no wrong,
The astonished Helena thought that Demetrius, Lysander, and her Come not near our Fairy Queen.
once dear friend Hermia, were all in a plot together to make a jest of Philomel, with melody,
her. Sing in your sweet lullaby ;
Hermia was as much surprised as Helena; she knew not why Lulla, lulla, lullaby ; lulla, lulla, lullaby ;
Lysander and Demetrius, who both before loved her, were now beNever harm nor spell nor charm,
come the lovers of Helena ; and to Hermia the matter seemed to be Come our lovely lady nigh;
no jest. So good night with lullaby.
The ladies, who before had always been the dearest of friends, When the fairies had sung their queen asleep with this pretty now fell to high words together. lullaby, they left her, to perform the important services she had
“ Unkind Hermia,” said Helena, “it is you have set Lysander on enjoined them. Oberon then softly drew near his Titania, and to vex me with mock praises ; and your other lover Demetrius, who dropped some of the love juice on her eyelids, saying
used almost to spurn me with his foot, have you not bid him call What thou seest when thou dost wake
me goddess, nymph, rare, precious, and celestial ? He would not speak Do it for thy true-love take.
thus to me, whom he hates, if you did not set him on to make a
jest of me. Unkind Hermia, to join with men in scorning your But to return to Hermia, who made her escape out of her father's poor friend. Have you forgot our school-day friendship? How house that night to avoid the death which she was doomed to for often, Hermia, have we two, sitting on one cushion, both singing one refusing to marry Demetrius. When she entered the wood she song, with our needles working the same flower, both on the same found her dear Lysander waiting for her, to conduct her to his aunt's sampler wrought; growing up together in fashion of a double cherry, house; but before they had passed half through the wood, Hermia scarcely seeming, parted ? Hermia, it is not friendly in you, it is was so much fatigued, that Lysander, who was very careful of this not maidenly to join with men in scorning your poor friend." dear lady, who had proved her affection for him even by hazarding her “ I am amazed at your passionate words,” said Hermia ; “I scorn life for his sake, persuaded her to rest till morning on a bank of soft you not; it seems you scorn me.” “Ay, do,” returned Helena, moss, and lying down bimself on the ground at some little distance, persevere, counterfeit scrious looks, ard make mouths at me when they soon fell fast asleep. Here they were found by Puck, who I turn my back ; then wink at each other, and hold the sweet jest seeing a handsome young man asleep, and perceiving that his up. If you had any pity,'grace, or manners, you would not use me clothes were made in the Athenian fashion and that a pretty lady thus." was sleeping near him, concluded that this must be the Athenian While Helena and Hermia were speaking these angry words to maid and her disdainful lover whom Oberon had sent him to seek ; each other, Demetrius and Lysander left them, to fight together in and he naturally enough conjectured that, as they were alone the wood for the love of Helena, together, she must be the first thing he would see when he awoke ; When they found the gentleman had left them, they departed, so, without any more ado, he proceeded to pour some of the juice of and once more wandered weary in the wood in search of their the purple fiower into his eyes. But it so fell out that Helena came lovers. that way, and instead of Hermia was the first ohject Lysander beheld As soon as they were gone, the fairy king, who, with little Puck, when he opened his eyes; and strange to relate, so powerful was had been listening to their quarrels, said to him, “ This is your the love charm, all his love for Hermia vanished away, and Lysan- negligence, Puck; or did you do this wilfully ?” “ Believe me, King of der fell in love with Helena.
Shadows," answered Puck," it was a mistake ; did not you tell Had he first seen Hermia when he awoke, the blunder Puck me I should know the man by his Athenian garments ? However, committed would have been of no consequence, for he could not love I am not sorry this has happened, for I think their jangling makes that faithful lady too well ; but for poor Lysander to be forced by a excellent sport." You heard," said Oberon, " that Demetrius and fair love charm to forget his own true Hermia, and to run after Lysander are gone to seek a convenient place to fight in. I comanother lady, and leave Hermia asleep quite alone in a wood at mid- mand you to overhang the night with a thick fog, and lead these night, was a sad mischance indeed.
quarrelsome lovers so astray in the dark that they shall not be able Thus this misfortune happened. Helena, as has been before re- to find each er. Counterfeit each of their voices to the other, lated, endeavoured to keep pace with Demetrius when he ran away and with bitter taunts provoke them to follow you, while they think so rudely from her; but she could not continue this unequal race it is their rival's tongue they hear. See you do this, till they are long, men being always better runners in a long race than ladies. so weary they can go no further; and when you find they are asleep, Helena soon lost sight of Demetrius; and as she was wandering drop the juice of this other flower into Lysander's eyes, and when about, dejected and forlorn, she arrived at the place where Lysander he awakes he will forget his new love for Helena, and return to his was sleeping. “Ah !” said she, “this is Lysander lying on the old passion for Hermia ; and then the two fair ladies may each one ground ; is he dead or asleep?" Then, gently touching him, she be happy with the man she loves, and they will think all that has said, “Good sir, if you are alive, awake." Upon this Lysander opened passed a vexatious dream. About this quickly, Puck, and I will go his eyes, and (the love charm beginning to work) immediately and see what sweet love my Titania has found.” addressed her in terms of extravagant love and admiration ; telling Titania was still sleeping, and Oberon seeing a clown near her, her she as much excelled Hermia in beauty as a dove does a raven, who had lost his way in the wood, and was likewise asleep: “This and that he would run through fire for her sweet sake ; and many fellow," said he, “shall be my Titania's true love ;” and clapping an more such lover-like speeches. Helena knowing Lysander was her ass's head over the clown's, it seemed to fit him as well as if it friend Hermia's lover, and that he was solemnly engaged to marry had grown upon his own shoulders. Though Oberon fixed the ass's her, was in the utmost rage, when she heard herself
addressed in head on very gently, it awakened him, and rising up, unconscious of this manner; for she thought (as well she might) that Lysander was what Oberon had done to him, he went towards the bower where the making a jest of her. "Oh!" said she, "why was I born to be fairy queen slept.