216 THE ARABIAN NIGHTS
ADVENTURES OF PRINCE CAMARAIZAMAN
AND THE PRINCESS BADOURA
Some twenty days' sail from the coast of Persia lies the isle of the children of Khaledan. The island is divided into several provinces, in each of which are large flourishing towns, and the whole forms an important kingdom. It was governed in former days by a king named Schahzaman, who, with good right, considered himself one of the most peaceful, prosperous, and fortunate monarchs on the earth. In fact, he had but one grievance, which was that none of his four wives had given him an heir.
This distressed him so greatly that one day he confided his grief to the grand-vizir, who, being a wise counsellor, said: ' Such matters are indeed beyond human aid. Allah alone can grant your desire, and I should advise you, sire, to send large gifts to those holy men who spend their lives in prayer, and to beg for their intercessions. Who knows whether their petitions may not be answered !'
The king took his vizir's advice, and the result of so many prayers for an heir to the throne was that a son was born to him the following vear.
Schahzaman sent noble gifts as thankofferings to all the mosques and religious houses, and great rejoicings were celebrated in honour of the birth of the little prince, who was so beautiful that he was named Camaralzaman, or ' Moon of the Century.'