132. Mostansir Billah.


Mostansir Billah murdered his father and succeeded to the Caliphate. One day a carpet was spread before him, wherin was woven the likeness of a horseman having a diadem on his head, and a great circle round, inscribed with Persian characters. He called for a Persian to interpret the writing; the man changed colour, and when Mostansir asked what it was, he replied, it was only Persian 250trifling. Again the Caliph demanded the meaning of the inscription, and he denied that it contained any: but when the Caliph insisted upon hearing it, then said he, thus it saith, ‘I, Siroes the son of Chosroes slew my father, and I possessed his kingdom only six months!’ And the countenance of Mostansir changed, and he arose from his throne, and only six months did he reign.

Once, when he awoke in the night, crying aloud, one of his attendants said to him, O! commander of the faithful, why weepest thou? he replied, I saw my father Mutewekkel in my sleep, and he said to me, alas, Mostansir, thou hast slain me and seized my empire; but by God few are the days that thou shalt enjoy it after me, and then shalt thou enter the fire. I awoke and am not myself for fear. Then answered Abdalla, these are the confused thoughts of a dream, arising from thy own reflections; drive them from thee by joy and mirth — call for wine and regard 251not the vision: and he did as he was advised, but the fear continued upon him till his death; and when his sickness waxed more and more, his mother came and asked of him how he fared, but he answered, by God I am losing this world, and the life to come also!

Elmacin, p. 196—198.


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