This is just one section from the ``Arabian Nights'' in the translation of
Sir Richard Francis Burton. Here is an
The Angel Of Death With The Proud And The Devout Man
IT is related, O auspicious King, that one of the olden monarchs was
once minded to ride out in state with the officers of his realm and
the grandees of his retinue and display to the folk the marvels of his
magnificence. So he ordered his lords and emirs equip them therefor
and commanded his keeper of the wardrobe to bring him of the richest
of raiment, such as befitted the King in his state, and he bade them
bring his steeds of the finest breeds and pedigrees every man heeds.
Which being done, he chose out of the raiment what rejoiced him most
and of the horses that which he deemed best, and donning the
clothes, together with a collar set with margarites and rubies and all
manner jewels, mounted and set forth in state, making his destrier
prance and curvet among his troops and glorying in his pride and
And Iblis came to him and, laying his hand upon his nose, blew
into his nostrils the breath of hauteur and conceit, so that he
magnified and glorified himself and said in his heart, "Who among
men is like unto me?" And he became so pulled up with arrogance and
self-sufficiency, and so taken up with the thought of his own splendor
and magnificence, that he would not vouchsafe a glance to any man.
Presently there stood before him one clad in tattered clothes and
saluted him, but he returned not his salaam, whereupon the stranger
laid hold of his horse's bridle. "Lift thy hand!" cried the King.
"Thou knowest not whose bridle rein it is whereof thou takest hold."
Quoth the other, "I have a need of thee." Quoth the King, "Wait till I
alight, and then name thy need." Rejoined the stranger, "It is a
secret and I will not tell it but in thine ear." So the King bowed his
head to him and he said, "I am the Angel of Death and I purpose to
take thy soul." Replied the King, "Have patience with me a little,
whilst I return to my house and take leave of my people and children
and neighbors and wife." "By no means so," answered the Angel. "Thou
shalt never return nor look on them again, for the fated term of
thy life is past."
So saying, he took the soul of the King (who fell off his horse's
back dead) and departed thence. Presently the Death Angel met a devout
man, of whom Almighty Allah had accepted, and saluted him. He returned
the salute, and the Angel said to him, "O pious man, I have a need
of thee which must be kept secret." "Tell it in my ear," quoth the
devotee, and quoth the other, "I am the Angel of Death." Replied the
man: "Welcome to thee! And praised be Allah for thy coming! I am
aweary of awaiting thine arrival, for indeed long hath been thine
absence from the lover which longeth for thee." Said the Angel, "If
thou have any business, make an end of it," but the other answered,
saying, "There is nothing so urgent to me as the meeting with my Lord,
to whom be honor and glory!" And the Angel said, "How wouldst thou
fain have me take thy soul? I am bidden to take it as thou willest and
choosest." He replied, "Tarry till I make the wuzu ablution and
pray, and when I prostrate myself, then take my soul while my body
is on the ground." Quoth the Angel, "Verily, my Lord (be He extolled
and exalted!) commanded me not to take thy soul but with thy consent
and as thou shouldst wish, so I will do thy will." Then the devout man
made the minor ablution and prayed, and the Angel of Death took his
soul in the act of prostration and Almighty Allah transported it to
the place of mercy and acceptance and forgiveness.
And they tell another tale of the adventures of
Sindbad The Seaman And Sindbad The Landsman.
This page was last changed on Nov 25 1994, 12:13 by
and corrections welcome.