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Prince Camaralzaman and the Princess Badoura.
From The Arabian Nights Entertainments by Andrew Lang.
Start of Story
Age Rating 8 Plus.
Princess Badoura, delighted to see him looking himself once more,
turned to the other emirs, saying:
"My lords, I introduce to you a new colleague, Camaralzaman, whom I
have known on my travels and who, I can assure you, you will find well
deserves your regard and admiration."
Camaralzaman was much surprised at hearing the king--whom he never
suspected of being a woman in disguise--asserting their acquaintance,
for he felt sure he had never seen her before. However he received all
the praises bestowed on him with becoming modesty, and prostrating
"Sire, I cannot find words in which to thank your Majesty for the great
honour conferred on me. I can but assure you that I will do all in my
power to prove myself worthy of it."
On leaving the council the prince was conducted to a splendid house
which had been prepared for him, where he found a full establishment
and well-filled stables at his orders. On entering his study his
steward presented him with a coffer filled with gold pieces for his
current expenses. He felt more and more puzzled by such good fortune,
and little guessed that the Princess of China was the cause of it.
After a few days the Princess Badoura promoted Camaralzaman to the post
of grand treasurer, an office which he filled with so much integrity
and benevolence as to win universal esteem.
He would now have thought himself the happiest of men had it not been
for that separation which he never ceased to bewail. He had no clue to
the mystery of his present position, for the princess, out of
compliment to the old king, had taken his name, and was generally known
as King Armanos the younger, few people remembering that on her first
arrival she went by another name.
At length the princess felt that the time had come to put an end to her
own and the prince's suspense, and having arranged all her plans with
the Princess Haiatelnefous, she informed Camaralzaman that she wished
his advice on some important business, and, to avoid being disturbed,
desired him to come to the palace that evening.
The prince was punctual, and was received in the private apartment,
when, having ordered her attendants to withdraw, the princess took from
a small box the talisman, and, handing it to Camaralzaman, said: "Not
long ago an astrologer gave me this talisman. As you are universally
well informed, you can perhaps tell me what is its use."
Camaralzaman took the talisman and, holding it to the light, cried with
surprise, "Sire, you ask me the use of this talisman. Alas! hitherto
it has been only a source of misfortune to me, being the cause of my
separation from the one I love best on earth. The story is so sad and
strange that I am sure your Majesty will be touched by it if you will
permit me to tell it you."
"I will hear it some other time," replied the princess. "Meanwhile I
fancy it is not quite unknown to me. Wait here for me. I will return
So saying she retired to another room, where she hastily changed her
masculine attire for that of a woman, and, after putting on the girdle
she wore the day they parted, returned to Camaralzaman.
The prince recognised her at once, and, embracing her with the utmost
tenderness, cried, "Ah, how can I thank the king for this delightful
"Do not expect ever to see the king again," said the princess, as she
wiped the tears of joy from her eyes, "in me you see the king. Let us
sit down, and I will tell you all about it."
She then gave a full account of all her adventures since their parting,
and dwelt much on the charms and noble disposition of the Princess
Haiatelnefous, to whose friendly assistance she owed so much. When she
had done she asked to hear the prince's story, and in this manner they
spent most of the night.
Next morning the princess resumed her woman's clothes, and as soon as
she was ready she desired the chief eunuch to beg King Armanos to come
to her apartments.
When the king arrived great was his surprise at finding a strange lady
in company of the grand treasurer who had no actual right to enter the
private apartment. Seating himself he asked for the king.
"Sire," said the princess, "yesterday I was the king, to-day I am only
the Princess of China and wife to the real Prince Camaralzaman, son of
King Schahzaman, and I trust that when your Majesty shall have heard
our story you will not condemn the innocent deception I have been
obliged to practise."
The king consented to listen, and did so with marked surprise.
At the close of her narrative the princess said, "Sire, as our religion
allows a man to have more than one wife, I would beg your Majesty to
give your daughter, the Princess Haiatelnefous, in marriage to Prince
Camaralzaman. I gladly yield to her the precedence and title of Queen
in recognition of the debt of gratitude which I owe her."
King Armanos heard the princess with surprise and admiration, then,
turning to Camaralzaman, he said, "My son, as your wife, the Princess
Badoura (whom I have hitherto looked on as my son-in-law), consents to
share your hand and affections with my daughter, I have only to ask if
this marriage is agreeable to you, and if you will consent to accept
the crown which the Princess Badoura deserves to wear all her life, but
which she prefers to resign for love of you."
"Sire," replied Camaralzaman, "I can refuse your Majesty nothing."
Accordingly Camaralzaman was duly proclaimed king, and as duly married
with all pomp to the Princess Haiatelnefous, with whose beauty,
talents, and affections he had every reason to be pleased.
The two queens lived in true sisterly harmony together, and after a
time each presented King Camaralzaman with a son, whose births were
celebrated throughout the kingdom with the utmost rejoicing.