I'm still reading my way through Arabian Nights. This is the most metal thing I've ever read:
! These verses filled the King with wonder and delight,and he said to the eunuch, “Go to thy mistress, the Ladyof Beauty, and bid her come and amuse herself with thesight of this wonderful ape.” So the eunuch went out andpresently returned with the lady, who, when she saw me,veiled her face, and said, “O my father, how comes it thatthou art pleased to send for me and show me to strangemen?” “O my daughter,” said he, “there is none here savethe little slave and the eunuch who reared thee and myself,thy father. From whom then dost thou veil thy face?” Quoth she, “This that thou deemest an ape is a wiseand learned man, the son of a king; the Afrit Jerjis ofthe lineage of Iblis enchanted him thus, after putting todeath his own wife, the daughter of King Efitamous, Lord of the Ebony Islands.” At this the King wondered and turning to me, said, “Is this true that she says of thee?”And I signed with my head, as who should say, “Yes;” and wept. Then said he to his daughter, “Whence knewest thou that he was enchanted?” “O my father,” answered she, “there was with me, in my childhood, an old woman who was skilled in magic and taught me its rules and practice; and I became skilled therein and committed to memory a hundred and seventy magical formulas, by the least of which I could transport the stones of thy city behind the mountain Caf and make its site an abyss of thesea and its people fishes swimming in its midst.” “O mydaughter,” said her father, “I conjure thee, by my life, to disenchant this young man, that I may make him my Vizier, for he is a right pleasant and ingenious youth. “With all my heart,” replied she, and taking a knife, onwhich were engraved Hebrew characters, drew there with a circle in the midst of the hall and wrote there in namesand talismans and muttered words and charms, some of which we understood and others not. Presently the worlddarkened upon us, and the Afrit presented himself beforeus in his own shape and aspect, with hands like pitchforks,legs like masts and eyes like flames of fire. We wereaffrighted at him, but the princess said to him, “An illwelcome to thee, O dog!” Whereupon he took the formof a lion and said to her, “O traitress, thou hast brokenthy compact with me! Did we not swear that neither ofus should molest the other?” “O accursed one,” answered she, “how could there be a compact between me and thelike of thee?” “Then,” said he, “take what thou hastbrought on thyself.” And opening his mouth, rushed uponher: but she made haste and plucked a hair from her headand waved it in the air, muttering the while; and it at oncebecame a sharp sword, with which she smote the lion andcut him in two. His head became a scorpion, whereuponthe princess transformed herself into a great serpentand fell upon the scorpion and there befell a sore battle between them. Presently the scorpion changed to an eagle, and the serpent at once became a griffin, whichpursued the eagle a long while, till the latter became ablack cat. Thereupon the griffin became a piebald wolfand they fought long and sore, till the cat finding itselfbeaten, changed into a worm and crept into a pomegranatewhich lay beside the fountain in the midst of the hall, whereupon the pomegranate swelled till it was as big as awater-melon. The wolf ran to seize it, but it rose into theair and falling on the pavement, broke in pieces, and allthe seeds fell out and rolled hither and thither, till the floorwas covered with them. Then the wolf shook itself andbecame a cock, which fell to picking up the seeds, tillthey were all gone, except one that, by the decree of Fate,had rolled to the side of the basin and lay hidden there.The cock began to crow and clap its wings and signed tous with his beak, as who should say, “Are there any grainsleft?” But we understood him not; and he gave such acry that we thought the palace would fall on us. Then he ran about all over the hall, till he saw the remaining pomegranate-seed, and rushed to pick it up, but it sprang into the midst of the water and became a fish, which sankto the bottom of the basin. Thereupon the cock becamebig fish and plunged in after the other; and we sawnothing of them for a time, but heard a loud crying andscreaming and trembled. Presently the Afrit rose out ofthe water, as he were one great flame, with fire andsmoke issuing from his mouth and eyes and nostrils.Immediately after, the princess rose also, like a great coalof fire, and they fought till they were wrapped in flamesand the hall was filled with smoke. As for us, we werewell-nigh suffocated and hid ourselves and would haveplunged into the water, fearing lest we be burnt up and destroyed: and the King said, “There is no power and no virtue but in God the Most High, the Supreme! We are God’s and to Him we return! Would God I had not urged my daughter to attempt the delivery of this ape, whereby I have imposed on her this fearful labour with yonder accursed Afrit, against whom all the other Afrits in theworld could not prevail! And would we had never seenthis ape, may God’s blessing not be on him nor on thehour of his coming! We thought to do him a kindness for the love of God, by freeing him from this enchantment,and lo, we have brought this terrible travail upon ourselves!” But my tongue was tied and I could not saya word to him. Suddenly, the Afrit roared out from underthe flames and coming up to us, as we stood on thedais, blew fire in our faces. The princess pursued himand blew flames at him, and the sparks from them both fell upon us; her sparks did us no hurt, but of his one lighted on my right eye and destroyed it; another fell onthe King’s face and scorched the lower part, burning awayhalf his beard and making his under teeth drop out, and a third lighted on the eunuch’s breast and set him on fire,so that he was consumed and died forthright. So wedespaired of life and looked for nothing but death; butpresently we heard a voice exclaiming, “God is mostgreat! He giveth aid and victory to the true believerand abandoneth him who denieth the religion of Mohammed,the Moon of the Faith!” And lo, the King’sdaughter had burnt up the Afrit and he was become aheap of ashes!