The Man who never Laughed
And she prepared the banquets and collected the troops; and when they had eaten and drunk, the young man took her as his wife. And he resided with her seven years, passing the most delightful, comfortable, and agreeable life.
But he meditated one day upon opening the door, and said, “Were it not that there are within it great treasures, better than what I have seen, she had not prohibited me from opening it.” He then arose and opened the door, and lo! within it was the bird that had carried him from the shore of the great river, and deposited him upon the island. When the bird beheld him, it said to him, “No welcome to a face that will never be happy!” So, when he saw it and heard its words, he fled from it; but it followed him and carried him off, and flew with him between heaven and earth for the space of an hour, and at length deposited him in the place from which it had carried him away; after which it disappeared. He thereupon sat in that place, and, returning to his reason, he reflected upon what he had seen of affluence and glory and honour, and the riding of the troops before him, and commanding and forbidding; and he wept and wailed. He remained upon the shore of the great river, where that bird had put him, for the space of two months, wishing that he might return to his wife; but while he was one night awake, mourning and meditating, some one spoke (and he heard his voice, but saw not his person), calling out, “How great were the delights! Far, far from thee is the return of what is passed! And how many therefore will be the sighs!” So when the young man heard it, he despaired of meeting again that queen, and of the return to him of the affluence in which he had been living. He then entered the mansion where the sheykhs had resided, and knew that they had experienced the like of that which had happened unto him, and that this was the cause of their weeping and their mourning; wherefore he excused them. Grief and anxiety came upon the young man, and he entered his chamber, and ceased not to weep and moan, relinquishing food and drink and pleasant scents and laughter, until he died; and he was buried by the side of the sheykhs.