The Arabian Nights Entertainments - online book

Children's Classic Fairy Tales From The East, Edited By Andrew Lang

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THE ARABIAN NIGHTS
5
to prepare herself for the marriage, and begged that her sister Dinarzade should be sent for to speak to her.
When they were alone, Scheherazade addressed her thus:
' My dear sister; I want your help in a very important affair. My father is going to take me to the palace, to celebrate my marriage with the Sultan. When his Highness receives me, I shall beg him, as a last favour, to let you sleep in our chamber, so that I may have your company during the last night I am alive. If, as I hope, he grants me my wish, be sure that you wake me an hour before the dawn, and speak to ine in these words: "My sister, if you are not asleep, I beg you, before the sun rises, to tell me one of your charming stories." Then I shall begin, and I hope by this means to deliver the people from the terror that reigns over them.' Dinarzade replied that she would do with pleasure what her sister wished.
When the usual hour arrived the grand-vizir con­ducted Scheherazade to the palace, and left her alone with the Sultan, who bade her raise her veil and was amazed at her beauty. But seeing her eyes full of tears, he asked what was the matter. ' Sire,' replied Schehera­zade, 'I have a sister wrho loves me as tenderly as I love her. Grant me the favour of allowing her to sleep this night in the same room, as it is the last we shall be together.' Schahriar consented to Scheherazade's petition, and Dinarzade was sent for.
An hour before daybreak Dinarzade awoke, and ex­claimed, as she had promised, ' My dear sister, if you are not asleep, tell me I pray you, before the sun rises, one of your charming stories. It is the last time that I shall have the pleasure of hearing you.'
Scheherazade did not answer her sister, but turned to the Sultan. ' Will your highness permit me to do as my sister asks?' said she.
' Willingly,' he answered. So Scheherazade began.
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