Vathek, the ninth Caliph of the Abassides, is a majestic figure, terrible in anger and addicted to the pleasures of the flesh. He is also insatiable for knowledge, inviting scholars to converse with him. If he fails to convince the scholar of his points of view, he attempts a bribe; if this does not work, he sends the scholar to prison. But for all his powers, Vathek wants even more.
Renouncing Islam, he engages in a series of licentious and deplorable activities designed to gain him supernatural powers. When a hideous stranger arrives in town, claiming to be a merchant from India selling precious goods, Vathek buys glowing swords with letters on them from the merchant, setting in motion a series of terrible and terrifying events that will forever change Vatheks world. A tale told with rich vision and sly humor, The History of the Caliph Vathek is replete with ghosts, spirits and supernatural deeds that will surprise and entertain discerning readers!
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There is thirst: for at one part of the dream, when Vathek?s mother, his wives, and some eunuchs ?assiduously employed themselves in filling bowls of rock crystal, and emulously presented them to him, it frequently happened that his avidity exceeded their zeal, insomuch that he would prostrate himself upon the ground to lap up the water, of which he could never have enough.?
...The Caliph submitted to the reasons of his mother, and sending for Morakanabad, his prime vizir, said: ?Let the common criers proclaim, not only in Samarah, but throughout every city in my empire, that whosoever will repair hither, and decipher certain characters which appear to be inexplicable, shall experience the liberality for which I am renowned; but that all who fail upon trial shall have their beards burnt off to the last hair.
...He failed not, however, though in so reduced a condition, to be often carried to his tower, as he flattered himself that he might there read in the stars which he went to consult something more congenial to his wishes: but in this his hopes were deluded, for his eyes, dimmed by the vapours of his head, began to subserve his curiosity so ill, that he beheld nothing but a thick dun cloud, which he took for the most direful of omens.
...His attendants were his mother, his wives, and some eunuchs, who assiduously employed themselves in filling capacious bowls of rock crystal, and emulously presenting them to him; but it frequently happened that his avidity exceeded their zeal, insomuch that he would prostrate himself upon the ground to lap up the water, of which he could never have enough.
...Vathek, to whom the insolent airs of the stranger became every moment less supportable, intimated to his vizir by a wink of acquiescence that he would adopt his advice, and at once turning towards the Indian, said: ?Get up and declare in full Divan of what drugs the liquor was compounded you enjoined me to take, for it is suspected to be poison; add also the explanation I have so earnestly desired concerning the sabres you sold me, and thus show your gratitude for the favours heaped on you.?
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